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Exclusive Preview: The Whispers

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The Whispers

There’s never been a better time for scripted horror, mystery, sci-fi, and suspense series on television. It’s wonderful to have so many choices in top-quality programming, and there’s yet another coming down the pike and into our homes on June 1, 2015.

whispers

ABC’s “The Whispers” is brought to us by the likes of Steven Spielberg and “Under the Dome” and “The Killing” executive producer Soo Hugh, and it stars “Revenge’s” Barry Sloane, “American Horror Story’s” Lily Rabe, horror icon Dee Wallace, and Milo Ventimiglia (“Heroes”). The pilot episode, directed by One Hour Photo’s Mark Romanek, is eerie and creepy as can be. While the series is based on a short story by Ray Bradbury (“The Zero Hour,” which was originally published in his Illustrated Man anthology), it feels more like something from Stephen King with just perhaps a touch of Guillermo Del Toro’s “The Strain” miniseries.

The first episode centers on a little girl named Minx (her given name was Mink in the Bradbury tale… why change it?), who’s played to great effect by 11-year-old Kylie Rogers. Minx has an imaginary friend she calls Drill. At first, it’s all innocent fun and games. But then of course, someone dies. Drill is blamed. But Drill isn’t real… is he?

It’s interesting to note that, while the series “The Whispers” is only very loosely based on “The Zero Hour,” how topical – and chilling – it is in relevance to kids and killing today. First published in 1951, “The Zero Hour” recounted how the neighborhood children all started playing this game called “Invasion.” Invasion was invented by an evil alien entity called Drill, who plans on taking over the world by compelling those with the most fragile, suggestible minds to eliminate anyone over the age of 10. Minx’s mother laughs at this and marvels at her daughter’s imagination. However, when Mom gets on the phone with her friend in another state, she’s told that they are playing the same game with someone named Drill too. This is absolutely a foreshadowing and a scary premonition of our modern-day “Slender Man” legend that’s actually driven real, everyday kids to attempt murder.

“The Whispers” features an ensemble cast, ranging from little pixies to hardboiled cops, reporters to government agents, and ill-fated parents and scheming scientists. While it’s more a mystery and a conspiracy thriller than outright horror (at least in the pilot episode, which is all we were allowed to see this early on), “The Whispers” has no shortage of murder and mayhem. As the clock counts down throughout Season One, the race is on to save not only individual families, but the world.

I liked what I saw; if you enjoy shows like “Under the Dome,” “Jericho,” and “The Returned,” then “The Whispers” is definitely worth the space on your DVR. It premieres June 1 at 10-11 pm ET/PT on ABC.

“The Whispers” stars Lily Rabe as Claire Bennigan, Barry Sloane as Wes Lawrence, Milo Ventimiglia as John Doe, Derek Webster as Jessup Rollins, Kristen Connolly as Lena Lawrence, Kylie Rogers as Minx Lawrence, and Kyle Harrison Breitkopf as Henry Bennigan.

The series is executive produced by Steven Spielberg, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, and Zack Estrin. The pilot was written and co-executive produced by Soo Hugh, who also developed the series. “The Whispers” is produced by ABC Studios with Amblin TV as co-producer.

Synopsis:
We love to play games with our children. But what happens when someone else starts to play with them, too? Someone we don’t know. Can’t see. Can’t hear. In “The Whispers” someone – or something – is manipulating the ones we love most to commit the unthinkable. In the country’s center of political power, Washington D.C., several kids have been talking about their imaginary friend, Drill. What the parents don’t know is that this friend is not as imaginary as they think. And when the mysterious games Drill convinces them to play turn dangerous, FBI child specialist Claire Bennigan is called in to investigate. What is it that Drill wants, and why does he – or it – only communicate with children? As the clock counts down, a suspenseful race will begin to save not only their families, but the world. Before it’s too late.

The Whispers

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Video: The Shape of Water Q&A with Guillermo del Toro and Doug Jones at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre

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This past weekend at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, CA betwixt a double screening of The Shape of Water and the classic The Creature from the Black Lagoon, the former’s director Guillermo del Toro (and star Doug Jones) sat down to discuss the latter’s influence on the film, Gill-man sex, “one sock movies,” his career in the genre, and more with moderator Jonah Ray, and we were there to film a portion of it.

Our sincere thanks to American Cinematheque general manager Dennis Bartok for extending the invitation.

For more Cinematheque screenings, visit the official website here.

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Michael C. Hall Buried in Stephen King’s Pet Sematary

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Now here’s an audio book we can REALLY get behind! Entertainment Weekly is reporting that former “Dexter” star Michael C. Hall will be narrating the first ever unabridged recording of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. Sometime’s audio is better!

Readers have been asking for this audiobook for a very long time,” Stephen King said in a statement. “I know the listening experience will be worth the wait with Michael as narrator.

We’re thrilled to finally bring Pet Sematary to King’s audiobook fans,” Simon & Schuster Audio president and publisher Chris Lynch added. “Michael C. Hall is a perfect match for this timeless story, which has long deserved an unabridged production.

The unabridged audiobook of Pet Sematary will be released by Simon & Schuster Audio on March 27. Speaking of Hall… you know he would make a pretty friggin’ good casting choice to play Victor Pascow in the upcoming Pet Sematary remake. Just sayin’.

BUY IT NOW!

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Saw-inspired Game Play With Me Sets a Trap on Steam

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Saw fans have a lot to be happy about right now. In addition to Jigsaw being teased for Dead by Daylight, a new Saw-themed game called Play With Me has launched on Steam, and although it’s not officially connected with the franchise in any way, developer Airem promised that they created a videogame which looks and plays as though it were made by Jigsaw himself. As you can tell from the trailer and screenshots, the production values and overall quality of Play With Me appear to be considerably higher than most other indie horror games released on Steam, and you’ll probably be very happy to see that Airem took the time and effort to create stylized hand drawn environments rather than using purchased assets from the Unity Store.

The killer behind the sinister traps in Play With Me is known as the Illusion, with the player taking control of investigative journalist Robert Hawk as he tries to fight his way through a series of sick and twisted obstacles created by the lunatic. The voice acting in the trailer was a little cheesy, although we see at 1:09 that the player will be tasked with using a kitchen knife to cut open a dead body (presumably to retrieve an item hidden in the cadaver’s stomach), which is not an image you’ll be forgetting anytime soon.

IQ Publishing are offering a 15% discount off Play With Me for those who purchase the game before January 24, so Saw fans might want to mark that deadline in their calendars and purchase it from Steam before the time is up. After all, it can’t be worse than Konami’s awful official Saw videogames.

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