Event Report: Weekend of Horrors - June 2008 - Dread Central
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Event Report: Weekend of Horrors – June 2008

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Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors (click for larger image)**UPDATE: A ton of pics have just been added to the WoH gallery, so be sure to check it out!**
So Ryan (plagiarize), his wife Katy and I missed most of the first day of the show, having to do things like “work” and “travel” and stuff, but that in no way dampened our return to the Weekend of Horrors in Secaucus, NJ. Man, am I glad I made it, too; during the show they “>announced that the Weekend of Horrors is returning to Manhattan, the Javits Center no less, for their next show, so this could feasibly be the last chance we had to get down and dirty in Jersey!

The night was spent catching up, meeting new people, and sharing in the overall fantastic vibe that always goes down at these shows. Sure, the celebrities are cool and it’s awesome that they’re the reason we’ve gathered, but hanging out with people like Rob G. from Icons of Fright and our own Nomad is part of the entire experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

After some serious fun the previous night, I was up bright and early Saturday morning, oddly enough, because I wanted to catch Tom Noonan’s panel at 1PM (yes, that’s early for me at a con, shuttup). Noonan was great, fielding questions about his time under the Frankenstein makeup for The Monster Squad and his recent projects like House of the Devil. And man, that guy is huge; I think I’m pretty tall but he just dwarfed me!

I missed the American Zombie panel, though I hear it went quite well, because I wanted to catch Simona & Claudio Simonetti’s short film “The Dirt”, which stars the always lovely Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni. The film was very weird and pretty nasty, well worth taking our time out of the day to check out. Expect a full review soon!

Click to check out the whole WoH gallery!After that Eric Red, screenwriter of The Hitcher and Near Dark and director of Body Parts and Bad Moon, got up to talk about his return to both writing and directing, 100 Feet. Famke Jensen stars as a woman who murdered her abusive cop husband (played by Michael Pare) and gets slapped with house arrest for her troubles, unable to go more than 100 feet from her house. This becomes an even bigger hassle when her ex’s vengeful ghost shows up, none too happy about being killed.

Red showed four clips from the film, and Famke looked wonderful in every single one of them. I have full confidence that 100 Feet will satisfy genre audiences looking for something a little different while having enough appeal to impress the mainstream. And man, it’s great to have him back!

I stuck around for the Scareflix panel, hosted by Larry Fessenden and featuring the directors of I Sell the Dead, Satan Hates You and I Can See You, three of the newest films coming from Fessenden’s horror-centric production arm. It was a really fun panel as Fessenden’s great with a crowd, and each film had its moment to shine with the directors giving info about them afterwards. Look for some highlights from that panel soon!

We had asked Eric Red if he’d do an interview with us before he left, and he was more than happy to, so after the Scareflix panel we set off to get some one-on-one time. Heather Buckley, one of Dread’s secret weapons (she asks some really great questions no matter who she’s talking to and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the genre), did the interviewing, and the results will be up shortly. Needless to say, we monopolized the rest of Eric’s time before he had to catch his flight, bullshitting about his movies and the state of horror in general. That’s one of the aspects I love the most about this job, let me tell you!

As the day wound down, I found myself hovering more and more in the dealer room, despite its sub-zero temperatures. There was a good selection of vendors who had steady business all day Saturday and Sunday, and it was just a cool place (literally!) to unwind. That’s one aspect I won’t miss about this location, though; the vendor room is located down a long hallway, almost to the point you think you took a wrong turn somewhere, and is far too separated from the rest of the show’s goings-on. I’m sure that won’t be an issue at the Javits Center, as anyone who’s ever been there can attest to how massive that place is.

Click to check out the whole WoH gallery!The night was filled with the usual, including an impromptu visit from a man we’ve worked with behind the scenes for years, Mike Furno, who along with his friend and producing partner Mike Ahearn is always great fun. Those two are working on a very, very big project that you’re going to be hearing more about on Dread very soon, so remember those names!

Sunday began with exhaustion, as it usually does, but that didn’t stop us from trekking over to a small neighborhood deli across the road from the convention called Natoli’s. That is one aspect of Fango’s move I will miss; this place was amazing and had the most incredible food, and we’d never have known about it if it weren’t for Ryan’s desire to try something different for breakfast/lunch. We were stuffed to the gills for most of the day but loved every minute of it.

Rob G. hosted a panel for Brutal Massacre: A Comedy, the new film from Malevolence director Stevan Mena, which we made it back in time for. Anchor Bay’s putting it out on DVD July 22nd and I think you guys are going to dig this one. It’s all about the exploits of a down and out horror director (played by David Naughton) trying to make his big comeback movie and keeps looking funnier every time I see it.

Of course, Mena dished some info about Malevolence: Bereavement, the upcoming prequel that stars Michael Biehn, but you’ll be able to read more about that when I put up my one-on-one with him in a few days.

I missed the Night of the Living Dead: 40th Anniversary panel, unfortunately, but the crowd I saw in there was huge, which would be expected, and everyone said it was great. You can read all about the first of such panels in “>Creepy’s write-up of the last LA Weekend of Horrors, if you’re jonesing for it.

Click to check out the whole WoH gallery!We did make it for the author’s panel, which featured Sarah Langan (who just did a “>Dreadtime Story for us) as well as “>99 Coffins (review) writer David Wellington, Gerard Houarner, Linda Addison and Gordon Linzner. It was under attended, as these things always seem to be (for shame on you, horror fans!), but those who were there asked some really good questions and kept it moving along nicely.

Then JT Petty got up to talk about The Burrowers, though sadly without any footage to show from it. I just keep getting more and more excited for this one, mainly because JT’s a cool guy and knows his shit, so I’m pretty much in with whatever he’s doing. The fact that it’s a monster movie set in the Old West that stars Clancy Brown just makes it that much cooler. Look for some highlights from that panel soon.

Finally Ray Wise took to the stage, managing to fit in bits about his entire career in a very short amount of time. He was funny, witty, self-deprecating and looked like he really loved talking to fans about his work. I never got a chance to meet him — he had a huge line to get autographs and we had a huge drive ahead of us — but I’m sure he would’ve been just as personable one-on-one.

Click to check out the whole WoH gallery!Our day ended with the customary good-byes, most tearful and full of promises of calling and/or e-mailing. It’s kind of like the end of camp in that way, without the uncomfortable feeling of not having showered. The great thing about people you meet at cons is when they say they’ll contact you outside of the show, more often than not they mean it. That’s why I love this genre; even though we bathe ourselves in blood and guts and stories about psychotics and ghosts and just all-around bad people, we’re all pretty damn cool at the end of the day.

So another successful Weekend of Horrors is under our collective belt, significant because it’s possibly the last one we’ll see in Jersey, at least for a while. Their move back to Manhattan is long overdue, and I really can’t wait to see what they do with a space the size of the Javits Center!

Thanks to Tony Timpone, Mike Gingold, and all the Creation staff for putting on the show and letting us run wild across it! See ya next year!

Johnny Butane

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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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The Housemaid Haunts a New Trailer

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Here’s the thing… if we had the choice between cleaning up our own house or being haunted by a vengeful spectral servant of sorts, well… just hand us a friggin’ mop, wouldja already? Still, in the case of The Housemaid, it looks like nothing is gonna stop her from sensing shivers! Dig on this new trailer.

Derek Nguyen directs the flick, which stars Kate Nhung, Jean-Michel Richaud, Kim Xuan, Svitlana Kovalenko, and Rosie Fellner. Look for IFC Midnight’s release of The Housemaid coming to select theaters, VOD, and via Digital platforms in the U.S. on February 16, 2018.

Synopsis:
A forbidden passion awakens vengeful spirits within a haunted mansion in this bloodcurdling, erotic tour-de-force.

Vietnam, 1953: Linh (Nhung Kate), a poor, orphaned young woman, finds employment as a housemaid in a crumbling rubber plantation presided over by the emotionally fragile French officer Sebastien Laurent (Jean-Michel Richaud). Soon, a torrid love affair develops between the two – a taboo romance that rouses the ghost of Laurent’s dead wife, who won’t rest until blood flows.

Submerged in moody Gothic atmosphere, this stylish supernatural saga confronts the dark shadows of Vietnam’s colonial past while delivering heart-stopping scares.

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