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Event Coverage: HorrorCon UK 2017

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As any horror fan worth his/her salt will tell you, over in England we’ve been spoiled because in theory we have had two HorrorCons in one year. The 2016 edition, which presented us with the likes of Kane Hodder, Doug Bradley, David McNaughton and Linnea Quigley, rolled around last July; and this, the third edition of England’s premier horror event, was held earlier this month in Sheffield, England.

Wendy, Gill and her team of horror fiends (which is an ironic title since they couldn’t have been any friendlier) outdid themselves once again with a host of some of the most famous and iconic horror stars from the present and yesteryear. All eyes of course were on a veteran actor, the one and only Sid Haig, reanimated of sorts by the likes of Quentin Tarantino and Rob Zombie this past decade. Haig was incredibly down to earth and very cool; we knew he would be, but seeing him in the flesh just confirmed that. Haig even mentioned a certain Uncle Creepy and to give our regards to him!

All Photos: David Bronstein

The queue for Haig’s autograph complete with a chat was huge, but he remained animated telling each and every fan a small snippet from his incredible career. Later in the Q&A panel Haig was asked firstly about his exploitation movies with the great director Jack Hill and the many movies that he has starred in with 70’s star Pam Grier. Topic of conversation quickly turned to his Captain Spaulding role in Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses and then its sequel, The Devil’s Rejects. Haig reminded the audience that he wasn’t Captain Spaulding, meaning there was much more to him than the famed clown character; however, he did appreciate that his role had become, even after little more than a decade, an iconic horror villain. When a fan asked if he would ever revive the role – for instance, if Zombie decided to do a prequel, he confirmed that he would jump at the chance.

Haig was amusing throughout, and okay, even though he didn’t blurt out the lines ”tasty fried chicken” or ”What’s the matter? Don’t you think clowns are funny?,” he did something that was terrifically classy. Before he started his talk, he looked at the audience face to face and said, “Remember… I am only here because you are sitting there.”  It was 10 words that instantly filled your heart with even more gratitude for the man. In his photoshoot later on a fan actually came in with a Captain Spaulding 18-inch figure. “Look! It’s mini you,” said the fan. “So it is,” replied Haig.

The event organizers gave us a special introduction to the one and only Heather Langenkamp, whom the folks at HorrorCon UK had tried to get for a few years. Here she was in all her radiant glory. Langenkamp will of course always be remembered as Freddy Krueger’s nemesis in the classic A Nightmare on Elm Street where she played Nancy Thompson. Langenkamp was happy to talk about her own nightmares and the two movie sequels she appeared in, the fan favorite A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, where she revealed that she was happy to be killed off, especially in such shocking fashion when Freddy pretends to be her recently deceased father. And then of course she had positive words for the much missed Wes Craven and his underrated return to the franchise with New Nightmare, which Langenkamp agreed was still one of the scariest roles she had been in.

The beautiful Elvira, aka Cassandra Peterson (sadly, with no makeup on) was another guest, and she made up for the Elvira no-show with her warmth and gratitude towards the event. Plus there were plenty of Elvira fans present; let’s just say this reporter had to know when to duck and dive. Peterson talked about how her show as horror host in the classic “Movie Macabre” elevated her to stardom which culminated into the classic 1986 movie Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. But would you know that one of her very first roles on television was in “Happy Days”? Well there you go.

Thom Mathews was a late fill-in guest for David Warner, who unfortunately had to cancel due to commitments on the new Mary Poppins film, but Mathews was an inspired choice to have in the lineup. For one he arguably starred in one of the best horror movies of the 80’s in The Return of the Living Dead; his character died in that, but Mathews was presumed to be so cool that they just let him star again in the sequel. Sandwiched in between these movies he starred as Tommy Jarvis in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, which has a lot of love here at Dread Central and in the horror community. So to get the chance to be in Mathews’ presence was pretty special, and he mentioned that even more cuts were made to Jason Lives than the work print suggests.

Linda Hayden, most famous for her roles in Hammer Horror’s Dracula franchise, was also here. Stunning for her age, she signed autographs, posed for fans and reminisced about one of horror’s biggest icons, Christopher Lee.

And if that wasn’t enough, a certain Aussie was here, Mr. Mick Taylor, aka John Jarratt, and thank God Jarratt is one of the friendliest people you could ever wish to meet. (Note to self: That’s why he’s such a great actor.) For his Q&A Jarratt broke with tradition of sitting down to answer fans questions and stood up and walked around with the microphone. It was a very refreshing idea, and if horror ever deserts him, Jarratt certainly has a career as stand-up comedian. You read that here first!

Apart from the star-studded guests were the masses of stalls selling everything from model kits, masks, cushions, t-shirts, you name it… it was here. Then of course there were the fans dressed up as their favorite fiends from Freddy Krueger to Jason Voorhees. Kavity the Clown was back again from last year, and one fan went to a lot of trouble to dress up as the deceased character Nathan Grantham from Creepshow, “I want my cake!” One word: Wow!

HorrorCon UK will surely be returning next year, and we already want to know who the special guests will be! The event has outdone itself each passing year, and so the anticipation will be nail-biting. Until then, ghouls, you’ll have to catch up with all your classic horror movies and guess who’ll be coming to dinner in 2018.

You can find out even more information on this year’s event and be the first to know about HorrorCon UK 2018 by clicking here.

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Trailer Takes Us DOWN A DARK HALL With AnnaSophia Robb and Uma Thurman

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It was just the other day that we shared your first look at producer Stephenie Meyer (Twilight) and director Rodrigo Cortés’ (Buried) adaptation of I Know What You Did Last Summer author Lois Duncan’s  Down a Dark Hall

The film stars AnnaSophia Robb (The Reaping), Isabelle Fuhrman (Orphan), Taylor Russell (Netflix’s Lost in Space) and Uma Thurman (Pulp Fiction). And today we have the film’s trailer and poster!

You can check out the poster to the right and the trailer below and then make sure to let us know what you think below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

Down a Dark Hall is directed by Rodrigo Cortés from a screenplay by Mike Goldbach and Chris Sparling based on the book by Lois Duncan and stars AnnaSophia Robb, Isabelle Fuhrman, Victoria Moroles, Noah Silver, Taylor Russell, Rosie Day, and Uma Thurman. It’s produced by Stephenie Meyer, Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen, Meghan Hibbett, and Adrián Guerra.

The film hits theaters, On Demand, and iTunes August 17th.

Synopsis:

Kit (Robb), a difficult young girl, is sent to the mysterious Blackwood Boarding School when her heated temper becomes too much for her mother to handle. Once she arrives at Blackwood, Kit encounters eccentric headmistress Madame Duret (Thurman) and meets the school’s only other students, four young women also headed down a troubled path. While exploring the labyrinthine corridors of the school, Kit and her classmates discover that Blackwood Manor hides an age-old secret rooted in the paranormal.

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Tom Six Reveals “Vile” THE ONANIA CLUB…So What?

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Tom Six of The Human Centipede fame is coming back to theaters with The Onania Club, a film he promises will be, “…one of the most vile, inhumane movie experiences of all time.” IndieWire revealed the news, which adds that the film is produced by Tom Six and Ilona Six through Six Entertainment Company.

Details are being kept secret for now but the site says Six will bring a psychological thriller that will feature, “…mostly strong female characters” and that it will, “…definitely pass the Bechdel test with flying colors.” Starring in the film are Jessica Morris, Darcy DeMoss, Deborah Twiss, Karen Strassman, and Flo Lawrence.

Let me try and gather all my thoughts here because this is hitting some notes that I’m frankly not really feeling. I’ll try to organize this as best I can.

…[a] vile, inhumane movie experience…
If that’s what Tom Six is aiming for, my interest has already dropped by a huge percentage. I didn’t see The Human Centipede in theaters but I saw it after it hit home video. It wasn’t a gross movie but it had a gross premise, which I honestly thought made it more interesting. Then came along The Human Centipede 2, which I did see in theaters. I found it to be a brilliant response to those who were disappointed by the lack of vomit-inducing moments in the first film and who demanded it be more grotesque. Once they got it, they felt like it had gone too far, which made me want to point and say, “Trust filmmakers. They very often make decisions because they know how to do it right.” That being said, I think it’s a bad, unpleasant, mean-spirited movie. I never bothered with The Human Centipede 3 because of shockingly bad reviews and even worse word-of-mouth from friends and the horror community.

If Six’s goal is to create a movie experience that will haunt and disgust audiences, then my immediate concern is that there is no story to back up the intention. Hell, the announcement is more focused on creating a spectacle than it is on letting people know what the film is actually about. It’s Marketing 101 and as a horror fan for my entire life, I find it almost offensive that the idea of “gross first, everything else second” is being pushed in the initial blitz.

I have no problems whatsoever with gore, viscera, or shocking scenes. Martyrs, I Saw The Devil, The Thing, and the like are all great examples of movies that push a lot of envelopes but never fail to have fascinating concepts backing everything up. There is purpose in their horror. There is method to their madness. So far, Six isn’t inspiring much faith that The Onania Club will walk down that kind of path.

…[it will] pass the Bechdel test with flying colors…
The Bechdel Test, for those who don’t know, is a test within films that sees if there are two, or more, women talk to each other about something other than men. That’s it. Two women in a coffee shop spend 30 seconds talking about a book? Your movie passes. A group of teenage girls discuss what they’re going to wear at an upcoming high school dance? Pass. Ronda Rousey and Michelle Rodriguez trade barbs before beating each other senseless. Check.

While noble in intention, the Bechdel Test is a shockingly low barometer for movies to be considered women-friendly. It doesn’t ask for nuance or depth. It doesn’t set any expectations for emotion or drive. If Six thinks that his movie is a landmark simply because it passes the Bechdel Test, he clearly doesn’t know that horror has been doing this for a long time. And from reading about Bree Olson’s character in The Human Centipede 3 (the only woman in the IMDb credit list), and taking into account the female characters of the first two films in that series, I think one can understand my lack of faith when it comes to Six and women in his films.

I am fully aware of how negative and critical I sound here and I really do hope that I’m going to be proven wrong. Every film should be allowed the chance to stand on its own merits. Hopefully The Onania Club will see Six give us a film that will generate interesting conversation for years to come. But until more is revealed, my expectations are very low.

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Ben Hanscom Has Been Cast in IT: CHAPTER 2

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Some fun news out of Deadline as the site has reported that Jay Ryan (Mary Kills People) has been cast as the adult Ben Hanscom in It: Chapter 2. He joins Jessica Chastain, Andy Bean, James Ransone, James McAvoy, and Bill Hader, who will be playing Beverly, Stanley, Eddie, Bill, and Richie, respectively. Bill Skarsgard will also be back as Pennywise.

Andy Muschietti will be directing based on a script by Gary Dauberman (Annabelle: Creation) with a planned release date of September 6, 2019, almost two years to the day after the release of the first film.

It was a massive success, earning just over $700 million globally against a $35 million budget. That film starred Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Jack Dylan Grazer, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Chosen Jacobs, Nicholas Hamilton, Owen Teague, Javier Botet, and Steven Williams.

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