Why Hollywood is Killing Horror: A Rant - Dread Central
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Why Hollywood is Killing Horror: A Rant

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The Mist didn't do well; was it Hollywood's fault?This past weekend saw the release of not only the year’s best horror film, but the finest creature feature since The Thing. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? A little movie called The Mist from this guy named Stephen King. Many of us have been waiting a few decades for it. Regardless, I’m willing to bet a lot of you haven’t even seen it. And it’s hard to fault you for that.

So why is this modern day classic dying at the box office? Your average studio exec will tell you that it’s because no one cared or that horror is dead, but a fifth grader could give you the real answer: Horror doesn’t sell during the holidays. It wouldn’t matter if half the world’s population were fear fanatics, most of us find it damn near impossible to pull ourselves away from the vice grip of family on Thanksgiving weekend. Even when our in-laws and nieces drag us to see Fred Claus.

So who in Hollywood is making these decisions and why hasn’t it penetrated their thick skulls yet? You would think a studio like Dimension Films would’ve learned after the colossal failure of Grindhouse on Easter weekend. Nope. The Weinsteins just scratched their heads, pulled all advertising, and ruined the whole project by splitting the films up on DVD. It never occurred to them that the lack of interest might be due to the fact that people don’t generally associate the Easter Bunny with exploitation movies? Imagine if Lionsgate had put Saw out on Christmas Day. We sure as hell wouldn’t have Saw II, III, and IV. Hell, we might not even have a Lionsgate.

I’m no psychic, but I’d bet my house the same fate will befall the R-rated “back-to-basics” Aliens vs Predator: Requiem this Christmas. Nothing reminds you of Baby Jesus more than a violent alien gorefest, right? That may hold true for a few hardcore horror fans, but something tells me the general public won’t jump on it. When the poor numbers come in, Fox will inevitably declare the franchise dead just as they did with the stand-alone Alien series after dumping Resurrection into theaters on Turkey Day, screwing legions of fans instead of taking the blame for their own lousy foresight. Sorry, folks, no Ridley Scott/James Cameron Alien 5 for us. According to Fox, we’re “not interested anymore” since we were at home eating pumpkin pie with our relatives.

Will Pathology do better in its new slot?This doesn’t just go for the holidays. The summer movie season is suicide for horror films, which can’t compete with movies 50 times their budget and hype. That doesn’t stop studios from lining up films like Land of the Dead and Hostel Part II for box office failure. Yet they always act surprised in the end. Why? Sure, every now and then there will be a moderate success (see last summer’s 1408) but they’re few and far between. It’s no industry secret: Horror scores big in the fall and in the dry months before summer. I realize that many studios are now running scared from the Saw franchise (Warner Bros screwed the acclaimed Trick ’r Treat by moving it to mid-2008), but I really have to ask the question: Do audiences keep going back to Saw movies because of their quality or because they’re now the only movies opening for Halloween?

Anyone who attended Comic-Con can tell you that one of the coolest looking horror films this year was Pathology, previously set for release next week. But the higher-ups at MGM wisely decided to bump the flick to the quiet January/February season. Whether this was a strategic move or due to last-minute studio changes remains to be seen, but the new release will definitely pay off with more box office receipts. The same goes for the sad-looking One Missed Call remake, which is guaranteed to clean house like Hostel and When A Stranger Calls did in past years.

Studios are so intent on screwing horror films by molding them to fit those formulas and demographics they think will equal that mystical gold mine. But what if they did the reverse? What if they let the filmmakers do their thing and turned those statistics on proper release dates and good marketing? Maybe then they’d have more hits than misses. News flash, Hollywood: Don’t ask yourself why the fans weren’t there and think about what you didn’t do to get them there in the first place. Just like a good scare, timing is everything.

Andrew Kasch

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First Details on Eduardo Sanchez-Directed Supernatural Episode 13.13 – Devil’s Bargain

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The upcoming 13th episode of the 13th season of “Supernatural,” titled “Devil’s Bargain,” is notable for two reasons: (1) it’s directed by none other than Eduardo Sanchez (The Blair Witch Project, Lovely Molly), and (2) it features a guest appearance by series star Jensen Ackles’ wife, Danneel Ackles (“One Tree Hill,” The Roommate).

The CW has released the official synopsis for the ep, which you’ll find below.

Are you still a fan of the show after all these years? Looking forward to seeing how Sanchez leaves his mark on the Winchesters? Sound off in the comments section or on social media!

“Supernatural” Episode 13.13 – “Devil’s Bargain” (airs 2/8/18)
Sam (Jared Padalecki), Dean (Jensen Ackles), and Castiel (Misha Collins) search for Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino), who, meanwhile, strikes an unlikely deal with a local faith healer named Sister Jo (guest star Danneel Ackles). Asmodeus (guest star Jeffrey Vincent Parise) inches closer to finding Jack (Alexander Calvert). Eduardo Sanchez directed the episode written by Eugenie Ross-Leming & Brad Buckner.

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George A. Romero’s Daughter, Tina, Wrote a Script For Queens of the Dead

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The loss last year of director George A. Romero was a huge blow to the horror community, as well as the filmmaking community at large. The passing of the man responsible for creating the modern day zombie and whose work influenced “The Walking Dead”, Dead Alive, 28 Days Later, and Jordan Peele’s Get Out was felt far and wide but we take solace knowing that his work and legacy will live on forever.

Something that brings a smile to my face is hearing that his daughter, Tina, who DJ’s under the name DJ TRx, has written a screenplay for a zombie film that is called Queens of the Dead. And yes, it’s very gay! Romero has not only written the script but also plans on directing the film herself.

Romero tells The Saunder Blog about the film, saying, “Queens of the Dead is a fusion of two huge parts of my world: zombies and Gay nightlife. It’s a tribute to my father as well as my entrée into the genre he grandfathered. I can’t say too much yet, but what I can tell you is that this film will have all the hallmarks of a George A. Romero classic: farce, politics, heroes, assholes, and most importantly, herds of silly and slow moving walkers that you can’t help but love. But I’m doing it Tina-style, and bringing the glitter, choreography, queers & queens.

Romero’s father always brought some sort of social message into his work, so to hear that she will continue that tradition is inspiring, especially since it comes on a topic that is so discussed and topical.

If you want to read more about Romero and her DJ career, click on the link above.

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Wanna See Something REALLY Scary?

Wanna See Something REALLY Scary? Local 58 Contingency Emergency Broadcast

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Wanna See Something REALLY Scary

“Wanna see something REALLY scary?”

To horror fans who came of age in the 1980s, the line above instantly evokes memories of Dan Aykroyd and Albert Brooks in the opening scene from Twilight Zone: The Movie. Now, on a bi-monthly basis, I’ll be asking, “Wanna see something REALLY scary?” with the goal of shocking you with chilling footage plumbed from the darkest corners of YouTube.

As a child of the Cold War born in the 1970s and traumatized by films like The Day After and Threads, I remember immediately panicking every time an Emergency Broadcast broke into a TV show I was watching. That alarming tone made my stomach drop and in the moments before it was confirmed to be “only a test” I had already imagined a barrage of nuclear warheads bursting overhead.

My heart went out to the residents of Hawaii who, due to a false alarm, believed a missile attack was imminent this weekend. For almost 40 minutes, families scrambled into fallout shelters, bathrooms, and even storm drains, believing war had begun between the United States and North Korea. Even after the all-clear was announced and the warning revealed as a mistake, nerves were severely rattled. I can only imagine the potential long-term damage done to the psyches of Hawaii’s youngest residents.

For a taste of the pandemonium that occurred, check out an excerpt from CNN’s reporting below.

While the shock must have been unprecedented for most, a bizarre alert that accidentally aired in the late 1960s puts the Hawaii debacle to shame. What viewers of a local station saw just before the end of programming at 3 am was a message announcing the fall of the US Government, and included instructions for committing suicide rather than surrendering to enemy forces.

Wanna see something REALLY scary?

The message bore the seal of The U.S. Department for the Preservation of American Dignity, included a statement from President Lyndon B. Johnson, and warned that failure to commit suicide as instructed would have consequences:

“Your local law enforcement has been ordered to ensure your compliance,” the message cautioned. “It is against the law to delay.” The final instructions remind adult viewers to put down their children and pets first while promising “There is nothing to fear.” Though the station later posted a statement ensuring viewers the message was a hoax, the potential loss of life this broadcast could have inspired is staggering. Have a look:

If the Local 58 Contingency, as it’s become known, seems too outlandish to be true, that’s because it isn’t. Though the video doesn’t include an admission of fiction, it’s written and directed by Kris Straub. If that name sounds familiar, that’s because he’s the writer of the popular creepypasta Candle Cove, recently adapted into a TV series on SyFy.

Still, the vintage look of the Local 58 Contingency, not to mention the current climate of heightened tensions between American and a rogue nuclear nation, make this video a truly terrifying viewing experience.

Got an idea for a future installment of “Wanna See Something REALLY Scary?” Hit me up on Twitter @josh_millican!

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