#SDCC14: The Horrors of Preview Night (July 23rd) and Day One (July 24th) - Dread Central
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#SDCC14: The Horrors of Preview Night (July 23rd) and Day One (July 24th)

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#SDCC14: The Horrors of Preview Night (July 23rd) and Day One (July 24th)SDCC 2014 kicks off soon, and we’ve already told you what’s planned for Preview Night (July 23rd). Here’s a quick recap along with the numerous horror highlights of Day 1 (July 24th).

Per usual, what we’re posting is just the tip of the iceberg with panels running all day and evening. Check out our picks below, and be sure to visit the official San Diego Comic-Con 2014 website for the full lineup.

PREVIEW NIGHT: WEDNESDAY, JULY 23, 2014
6:00pm – Special Sneak Peek Pilot Screenings

Constantine: Based upon the characters from DC Comics and executive produced by Daniel Cerone (Dexter) and David S. Goyer (Man of Steel, The Dark Knight films), Constantine reflects the lore of the fan-favorite comic, combining noirish storytelling with the evolving mythology of John Constantine (Matt Ryan), a morally challenged character who doesn’t come down on the side of either good or evil … but ultimately might be the only thing defending us against the dark forces from beyond.

iZombie: Co-created and executive produced by Rob Thomas & Diane Ruggiero-Wright (Veronica Mars), along with executive producers Danielle Stokdyk and Dan Etheridge (also of Veronica Mars), Rose McIver (Masters of Sex, Once Upon a Time) stars as Olivia “Liv” Moore, a 25-year-old medical resident on the fast track to a perfect life … until she’s turned into a zombie. Liv transfers her residency to the coroner’s office for access to the brains she must reluctantly eat, but with each brain she consumes, she inherits the corpse’s memories. With her medical examiner boss and a police detective, she now solves homicides to quiet the voices in her head. iZombie is based upon characters created by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred for Vertigo.

Also being shown that evening are “The Flash” and “Teen Titans Go!”

DAY 1: THURSDAY, JULY 24, 2014
10 AM – The Witcher

A franchise spanning literature, comics, film & television, board games, and widely popular video games, The Witcher has touched millions with its engaging characters and exciting adventures. A diverse panel of experts discuss the many aspects of this renowned universe. Be the first to see new Dark Horse publications, see the first-ever live consumer demo of the upcoming The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt video game, and get a chance to meet the team behind Wild Hunt. Panelists include actors Doug Cockle (Geralt of Rivia, The Witcher franchise), Dark Horse Comics author Paul Tobin (The Witcher House of Glass), Nick McWhorter, CD PROJEKT RED’s game developers Damien Monnier and Lukasz Wnek (The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt), and Rafal Jaki. Moderated by SpikeTV’s Geoff Keighley.
Thursday July 24, 2014 10:00am – 11:00am

Room 6A

10:30 AM – Behind the Music: Crime, Death and Resurrection
Murder, mayhem, mystery and more are all at the center of crime, death and resurrection, a Behind the Music panel featuring composers that create the music to some of your favorite television shows and movies! Nathan Barr (True Blood, Hemlock Grove, The Americans), James Levine (American Horror Story), Jeff Russo (Fargo), Trevor Morris (Dracula, Reign), Daniel Licht (Dexter), Brian Reitzell (Hannibal, 30 Days of Night), Sean Callery (24, Bones, Elementary) Steve Jablonsky (Transformers, The Last Ship, Ender’s Game), Christopher Young (Deliver Us From Evil, Dominion, SpiderMan 3) as they share their secrets for getting us to the edge of our seats as blood spills on screen. Special guest moderator to be announced soon! share their secrets for getting us to the edge of our seats as blood spills on screen. With exclusive giveaways for fans!
Thursday July 24, 2014 10:30am – 11:30am

Room 4

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Like Me – Will You Like This Dystopian Thriller?

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Starring Addison Timlin, Ian Nelson, Larry Fessenden

Directed by Robert Mockler


While Like Me is not dystopian in the classic science-fiction sense, it does aptly put the downer vibe across. If the present is abysmal, then the future is downright hopeless. We learn this as we follow an unhinged teenage loner called Kiya (Addison Timlin) on a hollow crime spree that she broadcasts on social media. At first the world “likes” her—with the exception of YouTube rival Burt (Ian Nelson), who disdainfully denounces her viral videos—but pride goes before the fall, and Kiya’s descent is spectacular.

If you’ve peeped the trailer for Like Me, then you’re probably expecting a horror movie. I mean, they’ve got the requisite menacing masked baddie and they’ve got genre icon Larry Fessenden in a major role—those are a couple of the key ingredients, right? Yes they are, but this simmering, shimmering stew of Natural Born Killers, Excision and King Kelly, it boils down to a whole lotta nothing. Like Me is sort of a drama, kind of a road trip flick, and almost a thriller. It succeeds at none yet does stand on its own as a compelling collection of cool visuals and pertinent performances. But is that enough?

While Kiya is a compelling character on the surface, there’s barebones beneath. Sure, she’s a Millennial mind-fed on random online clips and snappy soundbites—but what turned her into a psychopath? Was she born that way? Is social media to blame? We’ll never know, because not a hint is given. I don’t mind ambiguity, but even a morsel would have been welcome in this case. As Kiya ramps up her reckless exhibitionistic extremes, the stakes are never raised. In the end, who cares? Maybe that’s the point.

A word of warning: If you plan on watching this movie while chomping snacks…don’t. There is stomach-turning scene after vomit-inducing scene of orgiastic easting, binging, and the inevitable purging. I’m sure it’s all metaphorical mastication, a cutting comment on disposable consumption. I get it. But I don’t wanna look at it, again and again and again. Having said that, Like Me is an experimental film and in its presentation of such grotesquery, it’s quite accomplished. Montages, split-screens and jittered motions are scattered throughout, showing us all sorts of unpleasant things…Kudos to the editor.

I didn’t hate Like Me. But I do think one has to be in the mood for a movie such as this. It’s not an easy or entertaining watch, but it is a peculiar and thought-provoking one. There’s some style and mastery behind the camera, and I am curious to see what first-time writer-director Rob Mockler comes up with next.

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Last Toys on the Left

Funko Giving Jurassic Park the Pop! Treatment as Only They Can

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It is no secret we’re BIG fans of Funko’s Pop! Vinyl line here at DC HQ, and now they’ve announced a new series that has made our hearts just about burst… read on for a look at Pop! Movies: Jurassic Park, heading our way in February. The regular figures are awesome on their own, but wait until you see the exclusives!

From the Funko Blog:
Jurassic Park fans, get excited! To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the iconic film’s appearance on the silver screen, Jurassic Park is coming to Pop!

This series of Pop! features paleontologist Dr. Grant, Jurassic Park CEO John Hammond, mathematician Dr. Malcolm, and embryo-smuggler Dennis Nedry. (Keep an eye out for Dr. Ellie Sattler in Pop! Rides coming soon.)

We couldn’t forget the Jurassic Park dinosaurs! Featured in this line are the great T. rex, Velociraptor, and Dilophsaurus. Look for the Dilophosaurus chase, a rarity of 1-in-6.

Be on the lookout for exclusives. At Target you can find a wounded Dr. Malcolm, and the Dennis Nedry and Dilophosaurus 2-pack is available only at Entertainment Earth.

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American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review

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Starring Aidan Bristow, Nicholas Urda, Andres Montejo

Directed by Colin Bemis


Recently I wrote up an article here on Dread Central which was basically an open letter to anyone who was listening called “I Miss Found Footage.” Well, it seems like someone WAS listening, as I was then sent the link to an all-new found footage film called Strawberry Flavored Plastic from first-time writer-director Colin Bemis.

The film follows the “still-at-large crimes of Noel, a repentant, classy and charming serial killer loose in the suburbs of New York.” Basically, you could think of the flick as American Psycho meets Mark Duplass and Partick Brice’s Creep. That, or you could think of it as “Man Bites Dog in color!” However you choose to label Colin Bemis’ psychological thriller, just make sure you check out the film once it hits in the future.

As I alluded to above, the film is basically a found footage version of American Psycho. But that said, the film sports a twist on the charming serial killer subgenre that I have yet to see play out in any of the above-mentioned classics. I’m not going to go into spoiler territory here, but I will say that the film introduces an element to the tale that spins it into much more of a character drama than a straight horror film. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

Truth be told, the film’s turn from serial killer flick into a layered character study might have been its kiss of death, but this slight genre switch is rendered a minor issue as the film’s central narcissistic antagonist is played by Aidan Bristow. Bristow is an actor you may not have heard of before this review, but you will hear his name more and more over the years to come, I promise. The guy gives (no pun intended) a killer performance as the film’s resident serial killer Noel Rose, and time after time surprised me with how chilling, charming, or downright vulnerable he chose to play any given scene.

Bristow’s performance is, in the end, the major element the film has going for it. But that said, as a fan of found footage, I was smiling ear to ear at first-time director Colin Bemis’ understanding of what makes a found footage suspense sequence work.

In Strawberry Flavored Plastic director Colin Bemis is confident and content to allow full emotional scenes to play out with the camera directed at nothing more than a character’s knees. Why is this so important? Because it keeps the reality of the film going. Too many found footage directors would focus on the actors’ faces during such emotional scenes – no matter how contrived the camera angle was. In this film, however, Bemis favors the reality that says, “If you were really in this emotional state and holding a camera, you would let it drop to your side.” I agree, and it is small touches like that which make the film feel authentic and thus – once the shite hits the fan – all the scarier.

On the dull side of the kitchen knife, the film does feel a bit long even given it’s short running time, and there doesn’t seem too much in the way of visceral horror to be found within. Again, graphic blood and gore aren’t a must in a fright flick, but a tad more of the old ultra-violence would have gone a long way in selling our main psychopath’s insanity and unpredictability. But all the same, the film does feature a rather shocking sequence where our main baddie performs a brutal home invasion/murder that puts this film firmly in the realm of horror. In fact, the particular POV home invasion scene I’m talking about holds about as much horror as you’ll ever wish to witness.

In the end, Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic is a must-see for fans of found footage and serial killer studies such as American Pyscho, Creep, and Man Bites Dog. I recommend giving it a watch once it premieres. If only to be able to point to Aidan Bristow in the near future and tell all your friends that you watched (one of) his first movies.

Until then, check out the film’s trailer HERE, and follow the movie on Facebook.

  • Strawberry Flavored Plastic
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Summary

Lead actor Aidan Bristow turns in a star-making performance in Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic, a found footage film that plays out like Man Bites Dog in Color before introducing a new element to the charming-serial-killer subgenre and becoming more character study than a straight horror. Think American Psycho meets Creep.

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