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Quite possibly the nerdiest competition ever televised, “The Quest” constructs a full-fledged immersive fantasy world complete with ogres, dragons, dark forces and an imperiled Queen. It’s “Survivor” meets live-action role playing, as 12 contestants navigate physical competitions and a scripted mythology to vie for the title of One True Hero. The camp factor is off the charts, and auds will either buy into the conceit or they won’t, but it’s all presented with an admirably straight face. The weirdly endearing result feels relatively fresh enough to attract a following in the generally unimaginative realm of reality TV.
The mass appeal of “Game of Thrones,” “Harry Potter” and Peter Jackson’s ongoing Tolkien adaptations suggest hardcore fantasy isn’t just for social outcasts anymore, and “The Quest” casts a wide net with the 12 competitors. They range from predictably geeky — scrawny college student Jim, bullied horse aficionado Ashley — to the »
- Geoff Berkshire
It’s hard to believe that "The Blair Witch Project," the movie that launched the found footage genre, turns 15 years old today.Back in 1999, Heather Donahue became a household name after she memorably filmed herself crying in terror in the spooky flick. So, where is she now? A few short years after the film's release, the actress' acting career stalled. She embarked on a new venture as a medical marijuana grower and released a book called "GrowGirl: How My Life After The Blair Witch Project Went to Pot" about the experience. "I took all my stuff into the desert related to my acting career and burned it all," Donahue told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2011. "The acting projects I was lucky enough to work on weren’t always things that I felt good about putting out into the world," she said in a Q&A on her website. "I didn’t »
- tooFab Staff
At first glance, the horror movie that seemed most primed for success in the summer of 1999 was the remake of The Haunting. While no one had been clamoring for a remake of Robert Wise’s 1963 classic, at least the talent involved in the modern revamp was promising. You had director Jan de Bont of Speed (1994) and Twister (1996) fame and even if that wasn’t quite an assurance of quality, there was producer Steven Spielberg who clearly knew a thing or two about building cinematic haunted houses. Sure, Poltergeist (1982), with its avalanche of Ilm wizardry, had been a very different movie than The Haunting but anyone would’ve told you that in 1999 no audience would settle for anything less than the state-of-the-art – especially in the age of CGI – so going with the FX-heavy approach would be a must. Add to that a cast that included Liam Nesson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lily Taylor, »
- Ryan Turek
On July 30, 1999, The Blair Witch Project expanded to a wide theatrical release and raked in over $25,000 per screen on over a thousand screens, thus becoming the first sleeper horror hit of that late summer, one week before The Sixth Sense opened. The weekend of July 30th solidified Blair Witch’s status as a phenomenon, but to recognize it as a defining date of the film would be to misrecognize what Blair Witch did. Rather than come about as an instantaneous cinematic event (in the way that the 30th anniversary of Purple Rain or the 25th anniversary of Batman have been nostalgically reflected upon this summer), Blair Witch’s reputation manifested as a slow unraveling over many months of speculation and word-of-mouth, from its chilling first-screening at Sundance to an Internet-based fury of speculation to a teaser attached to The Phantom Menace of all things. The film represented a first in many respects – transmedia marketing via the web »
- Landon Palmer
In an odd turn of events, this list has a number of films that don’t have English-language titles. They just go by whatever the original title was. Good for us. What we do see in this portion of the list is a few movies that weren’t really created specifically to be horror films, but their themes and visuals made it so. In addition, we have some heavyweights of non-horror cinema creating horror films that push the genre all the more upward. “Thinking man horror,” if you will.
20. Le locataire (1976)
English Language Title: The Tenant
Directed by: Roman Polanski
Roman Polanski has made one of the greatest horror “trilogies” of all time with 1965′s British production Repulsion, 1968′s American production Rosemary’s Baby, and 1976′s French production The Tenant, completing his “Apartment Trilogy.” Unlike the other two, Polanski actually stars in The Tenant as Trelkovsky, a reserved man renting an apartment in Paris. »
- Joshua Gaul
With the original paranormal thriller "Intruders" heading to BBC America in just about a month, a new trailer has arrived that gives us an extended look at the upcoming series. Check it out, and look for lots more soon.
"Intruders," from writer/exec producer Glen Morgan ("The X-Files"), will premiere on Saturday, August 23rd, at 10/9c on BBC America. The series is based on Michael Marshall Smith's novel The Intruders.
"Intruders" stars celebrated British actor John Simm ("Life on Mars," "State of Play," and "Doctor Who") and Oscar winner Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite, Norma Jean & Marilyn, Human Trafficking) with James Frain ("The White Queen," "Grimm," "True Blood") and Tory Kittles ("True Detective") and introducing Millie Brown ("Once Upon a Time in Wonderland"), making her debut in a series lead role.
- Debi Moore
BBC America has released another "inside" look at its new series "Intruders," and in this one we discover the mystery, a second soul, inside all of us, waiting to break free. Check it out, and then set your second soul free!
If you'll be among the masses descending on San Diego next week for Comic-Con, the "Intruders" panel is on Friday, July 25th, from 8:00 to 9:00 pm in Room 7Ab. You can get more details by clicking here.
Eduardo Sanchez (The Blair Witch Project, Exists) and Daniel Stamm (13 Sins, The Last Exorcism) are directing various episodes. The creative team includes acclaimed production designer Mark Freeborn ("Breaking Bad"). The series is executive produced by Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner for BBC Worldwide Productions, »
- Debi Moore
In the summer of 1999 I was a 17-year-old floorboy at a suburban multiplex showing Eyes Wide Shut. There were other movies that caught my attention that summer—Limbo, Election, Summer of Sam, The Blair Witch Project, South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut—but Kubrick’s was the only one of any import. I saw it four times in a week, defended it against my peers’ scorn, and had Jonathan Rosenbaum’s Chicago Reader review practically memorized. For my generation, seeing a Stanley Kubrick film in its original run was a novelty. Sadly, the experience would also be unrepeatable.
1999 was a hard year to be a cinephile. Kubrick vanished in March, and by the time December rolled around the news came in that Robert Bresson had also passed away. I was obsessed with both filmmakers. The previous year I already felt anguished learning about Akira Kurosawa’s death. Looking back, the »
- Gabe Klinger
No, I didn't forget about these journal entries, but I'll be damned if this week hasn't been jam-packed and it doesn't seem to want to end as the temperatures here in Seattle aren't making it any easier. Tonight is... restrict paid="true" Sex Tape and before that, dinner, but I also need to get home to start digging into Criterion's Scanners Blu-ray, which I haven't even had a chance to put in the player, and tomorrow it's the podcast in the evening while I will need to write my Sex Tape review on top of the daily grind. I did, fortunately, finish my The Purge: Anarchy review today so that's ready to go for tomorrow putting me one step ahead, but I had to skip I Origins today just to get everything done... something I did not want to do. I also want to put together two more Best Movies »
- Brad Brevet
Fifteen years ago this week, on July 16, 1999, moviegoers were stunned by a little Sundance-approved movie called "The Blair Witch Project," which purported to be the newly-discovered footage of three documentarians who disappeared in the Maryland woods while investigating an old ghost story. Those who hadn't been paying attention were fooled by the film's clever marketing to believe its frightening footage was real, and soon, what began as a $60,000 mockumentary became a $248 million worldwide horror hit. What's more, the movie launched an entire subgenre of "found footage" films, most of them similar frightfests supposedly made by documentarians who themselves fell victims to the horrors they were filming.
"Blair Witch" may have kicked off the current wave of found footage films, but it wasn't the first; that would be 1980's famous fake, "Cannibal Holocaust." Nor are all found footage films horror movies (the current sci-fi/family film release "Earth to Echo," for example, »
- Gary Susman
BBC America is taking its new series "Intruders" to this year's San Diego Comic-Con, where an exclusive sneak peek will be shown, but right now we have an inside look at the show narrated by stars John Simm and Mira Sorvino, executive producer Glen Morgan, and director Daniel Stamm.
If you'll be among the masses descending on San Diego soon, the "Intruders" panel is on Friday, July 25th, from 8:00 to 9:00 pm in Room 7Ab. You can get more details by clicking here.
Eduardo Sanchez (The Blair Witch Project, Exists) and Daniel Stamm (13 Sins, The Last Exorcism) are directing various episodes. The creative team includes acclaimed production designer Mark Freeborn ("Breaking Bad"). The series is executive produced by »
- Debi Moore
While working in a remote woods, wildlife researcher Marco Contrada’s studies lead him to an abandoned village deep in the Italian countryside where he becomes trapped due to flooding. His presence in the village unleashes a horrifying evil. This ancient curse would like nothing better than Marco’s guts lying in a pool of blood at his feet… but only once it’s had its terrifying fun.
Well that’s the official synopsis. My synopsis?
Wildlife researcher spends the majority of the movie tagging wildlife, setting up cameras, recording and reviewing data, and generally having a bit of a wander around the forest. Then some scary shit happens – the usual dead animals, weird noises etc., plus a bit of found-footage from Marco’s cameras – all scored by some of the creepiest music »
- Phil Wheat
Found footage films are frequently on the receiving end of a thorough bashing. Some people find them cheap and nasty, some hate their lack of decent resolutions, and some would simply rather the footage had never been dug up in the first place. At the centre of these films is a character who is also usually the camera operator. From Heather Donahue in The Blair Witch Project, to Brian Taylor in End of Watch, these characters are single-minded in their desire to ensure that us viewers get to see everything. Whether it’s endless running around the woods looking for a witch, or running away from a giant monster in New York, there are always determined documentarians who are keen to capture every extraordinary event that occurs. With their lightweight cameras, these characters invite the audience to experience everything from their point of view.
One of the major »
- Peter Turner
With 2008's "Cloverfield," J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves showed that the found footage aesthetic—comprised of shaky, you-are-there camerawork and rough cutting and usually relegated to hardcore horror films like the "Paranormal Activity" series and, of course, "The Blair Witch Project"—could also be employed to evoke moments of wide-eyed awe and wonder. Unfortunately, since then, the gee-whiz factor of found footage has been largely ignored, popping up only occasionally (in things like "District 9" or "Chronicle"). Instead, it's been largely sequestered in the horror movie ghetto. "Earth to Echo," though, hopes to open things up considerably, with a found footage family film aimed at people who were even too young for the rampaging beastie in "Cloverfield." Maybe the most impressive thing about "Earth to Echo" is the way that the filmmakers harness the inherent harshness of the format, turning it into »
- Drew Taylor
This atmospherically frightening sci-fi short 9 Minutes centers on a man who lives in the remote desert. There, he starts to go through some very strange phenomena. The title of the film refers to nine minutes of video that was recorded on the main character's phone that he doesn't remember.
The short was directed by P.J. Wolff and stars Joshua Leonard (The Blair Witch Project). I will say that it starts off a little slow, but it turns out to be a really awesome, trippy thriller. If you start watching, please make sure to watch to the end because the ending is solid.
- Joey Paur
The question of the existence of extraterrestrial life has long been a mystery plaguing the human race. While many continue to be fascinated by this question, film offers us some answers. In film, aliens are often portrayed as monstrous animals, creatures that thrive on basic instinct and kill for the sake of killing. This vicious take on otherworldly beings has been the basis of many science fiction-horror movies over the decades. Ever since H.G. Welles’ novel War of the Worlds, fictional accounts of aliens taking over the world and destroying humanity has been an extremely popular premise for many entertainment mediums.
To explore the history of malevolent aliens on film, one must start with such 1950s classics as Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Blob. These films used the alien monster as a metaphor for paranoia. This was a time in which the atomic bomb was a threat »
- Randall Unger
The line-up for this year's Film4 FrightFest in London has just been announced – and boy, is it a doozy! Sporting a record-breaking 38 UK/European premieres and 11 world premieres, this August is going to be an exciting time in the genre calendar.
Check it all out right here, including lots of new images!
This year Film4 FrightFest will be moving from its previous home at Leicester Square's Empire Cinema to the nearby Vue Cinema (also on Leicester Square), prompting an ingenious reshuffle of the screening arrangements.
All main screen films will be presented at different times across three different screens, with two extra screens reserved for single-slot screenings of the various films hitting this year's Discovery Screens.
Here's the full list of goodies:
Main Screens (5, 6, 7)
Thursday Aug 21
Opening Night Film - The Guest (UK Premiere)
- Gareth Jones
Film4 FrightFest 2014, returning for its 15th year, unveils its biggest line-up ever. From Thurs 21 August to Monday 25 August, the UK’s leading event for genre fans will be at the Vue West End, Leicester Square, to present sixty-four films plus twenty shorts across five screens. There are sixteen countries representing five continents with a record-breaking thirty-eight UK or European premieres and eleven world premieres.
Are you ready for a monstrous and memorable mayhem of killer claws, cannibalism, cult classics, murderous musicals, chiller thrillers, graphic novel action and sick celluloid masterpieces? Then prepare yourself for the biggest, strongest and most eclectic must-see programme in Film4 FrightFest’s history.
From the opening night turbo-driven thrill-ride The Guest to the UK premiere of the closing night mesmeric sci-fi fantasy The Signal, FrightFest has netted the latest works from genre big-hitters such as Eli Roth (The Green Inferno), Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkins (Show »
- Phil Wheat
Found footage movies have come a long way since The Blair Witch Project, and this new trailer for Into The Storm is proof of that. Just look at how insane this is!!! It could be my love of Twister, or that I just love seeing destruction at a gargantuan scale, but I can't wait for this one. Synopsis: A group of high school students document the events and aftermath of a devastating tornado. Released: USA August 8th / Ireland & UK August 22 »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Tom White)
If you were holed up in a cabin with your loved one during the apocalypse, what horrors would you find outside your long unopened door? That’s the question at the heart of writer/director Ben Wagner’s latest film, Dead Within, which Millennium Entertainment recently picked up.
A release date has not yet been set for this psychological horror film, but we’ll let Daily Dead readers know when one is determined. To get real results out of his actors, Ben Wagner filmed the movie in the tradition of The Blair Witch Project, placing stars Amy Cale Peterson and Dean Chekvala (both of whom helped write the script) in a real locked cabin wherein they had no idea what horror the filmmakers would throw at them. In addition to the film, a prequel comic illustrated by artist Alfonso Ruiz will soon be available, perhaps expanding on the apocalyptic events »
- Derek Anderson
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