13 items from 2015
Article and photo by Michael Lizaragga.
Call it a Mardi Gras for comic geeks or a mosh pit for monster fans, Comic-Con International was again the world’s largest epicenter for the eclectic masses July 9-12. More than 130,000 pop culture devotees gathered in San Diego, CA for a quasi-crazed kaleidescope that ranged from Batman Vs Superman cast member panels to previews of the anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
But amongst the hammers and shields of superheroes were also the axes and gallows of the grotesque and gruesome. Sdcc featured a session with Blumhouse Productions, with Elijah Wood and other producers praising and empowering the independent horror genre and its filmmakers.
It Follows, You’Re Next, The Gallows, Resolution, Unfriended, and The Visit are just a few of today’s successful horror movies coming straight out of the independent genre vault, making film festivals such as Sundance and Fantastic »
- Holly Interlandi
In two weeks, vampires, cannibals, Halloween frights and more will grace the screen at the Muvico Theater in Rosemont, Illinois for Bruce Cambell's Horror Film Festival. Now a telekinetic kid and and an apocalypse have joined the killer lineup, as both June and JeruZalem will make their U.S. premieres at the festival.
Press Release: "Chicago, Illinois (August 6, 2015) – The second annual Bruce Campbell Horror Film Festival presented by Wizard World, running August 20 – 23 at the Muvico Theater in Rosemont, Illinois (9701 Bryn Mawr Ave., Rosemont), is proud to announce the addition of two more films to the already bursting schedule.
June, starring Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers) and Kennedy Brice (The Walking Dead), tells the story of nine-year-old June (Brice), who has been shuffled in and out of foster homes for years. Though she tries to be good, no matter where she goes a trail of chaos and terror seems to follow. »
- Derek Anderson
Just keep diving Kate Middleton! The Duchess of Cambridge may be busy raising two adorable children. But Prince William's leading lady has made some time to get a little sporty. Kensington Palace confirmed that Prince George and Princess Charlotte's mom recently passed a Professional Association of Diving Instructors Advanced Open Water Diver qualification. In far simpler terms, she can now scuba dive to a depth of 30 meters or 98 feet. According to the Telegraph, who first reported the news, the new status has enabled Kate to join her husband on deep dives (where sharks may be present) during holidays in Mustique. Kelly Fisher Katz recently met the Duke and Duchess when she was on »
One month from now, Bruce Cambell's Horror Film Festival will take over the Muvico Theater in Rosemont, Illinois and they've announced killer lineup that includes Tales of Halloween, a screening of Fright Night with a Q&A from Tom Holland, and Eli Roth introducing Cannibal Holocaust:
"Chicago, July 22, 2015 – The second annual Bruce Campbell Horror Film Festival presented by Wizard World, running August 20 – 23 at the Muvico Theater in Rosemont, Illinois (9701 Bryn Mawr Ave., Rosemont), promises thrills, chills, guests and surprises to Chicago’s legions of horror fans. The four-day event, programmed by The Awesome Fest, will coincide with Wizard World Chicago and offers convention-goers and ticket holders a chance to sit back, relax, and lose their minds.
“You can have your rom-coms, your indie darlings and your blockbusters,” remarks Bruce Campbell. “I’ll take a good old-fashioned horror movie any day or night of the week!”
“With this program we »
- Jonathan James
Sharks, more sharks everywhere. In addition to the giant shark movie Meg finally getting a new director (Eli Roth, details below) another shark movie has found a director. Deadline says Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra, of House of Wax, Orphan, Unknown, Non-Stop and Run All Night, is looking at directing a movie called In the Deep at Sony Pictures. While it sounds a lot like that 2003 found footage thriller Open Water, the descriptions compare it to Gravity or 127 Hours meets Jaws – or any shark movie. It's about a young woman surfing on an isolated beach who gets stranded at a buoy off-shore because of a great white shark in the water and she can't swim back. I'm sure there's more to the story, but that is a scary scenario. As for the other shark movie, it was just revealed a few weeks ago that Eli Roth is taking over directing the »
- Alex Billington
It is June 19, 2015, and I have never seen Jaws. Should I turn in my movie fan membership card now or after I'm done writing this? I won't go into specific excuses as to why I've never watched the Steven Spielberg classic, mostly because I don't have any. I have literally no idea why I never got around to watching it. It could be partly due to my fear of the depths of the ocean (cruises? See you never.), but I have inexplicably (and embarrassingly) seen both Open Water and Into the Blue. But never mind all that. This month is the 40th anniversary of Jaws, and the flick is hitting theaters this weekend for another hoorah. I figured there's no better time than the present than to »
Forty years after its release (on June 20,1975), "Jaws" often takes the blame for spawning the soulless summer blockbuster, a charge that's not entirely fair, given the Steven Spielberg film's surprisingly personal artistry. But you can blame it for launching a decades-long wave of toothy imitators.
It wasn't just all the shark movies, from "Open Water" to SyFy's "Sharknado" franchise. There were also films that took place far from the ocean. "Alien" got made because it was pitched as "'Jaws' in space." Lion-hunting thriller "The Ghost and the Darkness" was dubbed "'Jaws' with paws." And those are just the pedigreed imitators. What of the even more gloriously exploitative knock-offs? (And we don't just mean the three "Jaws" sequels.)
In honor of Spielberg's classic celebrating its 40th anniversary this week, here are 10 of the "Jaws" rip-offs homages that will give you a chuckle over their cheerful cynicism -- »
- Gary Susman
No two horror fans are alike, and our differing tastes is a large part of why horror remains such a successful genre. Fear is universal, but what exactly inspires that fear varies from person to person. Over on Halloween Love, journalist John Squires tagged me in a “10 Random Horror Questions” survey that’s been circulating on YouTube. Getting to know a writer can help you determine who’s opinion you most align with when looking for film recommendations. I challenge the rest of the Icons crew to do the same.
1. What was the first horror movie you remember watching?
My mother has always loved horror movies. My dad was the type of person that loved to scare other people, but hated being scared. This meant that my mom would often watch horror alone, until they had me. Thinking that I would just be too young to remember, my mom would »
- BJ Colangelo
This Time, It’s… Bore: Green’s Debut Piggybacks Indie Sci-Fi
Seeing as the cephalopod shaped extraterrestrials have only managed to move from conquering Mexico in Gareth Edwards’ well received 2010 indie sci-fi Monsters to the arid terrain of an unnamed Middle Eastern country in ten years time to Tom Green’s sequel Monsters: Dark Continent, one wonders just how many installments of these metaphoric, peripheral threats may be in store. Bleeding immediately out into unnecessary territory, its connection to the Edwards’ film may be the launching pad that lends the project relevancy, but this basic marketing ploy is only bound to backfire. Whereas Edwards’ film was a pleasant surprise considering what he was able to accomplish on a limited budget, Green’s follow up may have better special effects but otherwise fails to add anything of note.
With little else to do in their hometown of Detroit, rabble-rousers Michael (Sam »
- Nicholas Bell
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, it's time for another shark thriller in the vast ocean. After bringing genre flicks like the first two installments of The Transporter franchise and the remake of Clash of the Titans to the big screen, as well as the magician heist crowd-pleaser Now You See Me, Deadline reports director Louis Leterrier has boarded In The Deep. The script by Anthony Jaswinski made the Black List with a story about a lone female surfer attacked by a shark at sea and ends up stranded on a reef, trying to get back to shore before her injuries become fatal. It's Gravity meets Jaws. Shark dramas haven't fared so well, if only because Jaws has made it impossible for many other films with the sharp-toothed ocean killer to measure up. The next best candidate has probably been Open Water while »
- Ethan Anderton
“We’ll be lucky to see anything bigger than a chipmunk,” says a weekend-warrior hiker to his skittish girlfriend early on in “Backcountry” — and, if you listen closely, you can hear a chipmunk tittering knowingly at the grisly jackpot to come. A wilderness (mis)adventure of surprising ingenuity and blunt-force trauma, Canadian actor-turned-director Adam MacDonald’s debut feature takes its sweet time building to a startling climax and denouement that are almost impossible to describe without giving the game away. Suffice it to say that if you’re planning dinner and a movie, dinner should definitely wait until after. A fine calling card for both MacDonald and leading lady Missy Peregrym, this IFC Midnight release should do healthy VOD business from genre buffs seeking a few good, old-fashioned scares.
MacDonald has seen enough horror movies of varying kinds to know what audiences expect, and one of the pleasures of “Backcountry »
- Scott Foundas
The best way to watch Adam MacDonald’s Backcountry is to go in not knowing anything about it. Not because it’s full of surprises and twists, but because it’s a slow-burn backwoods thriller that carefully creates a gathering sense of unease. Wait — have I already said too much?? No, really: Feel free to stop reading anytime, and consider everything from here on to be a spoiler. Go into Backcountry expecting too much and you might be disappointed. But know that it’s beautifully tense and well-acted — the kind of modest genre picture we don’t see enough of these days. It bears some resemblance to previous entries in the people-stuck-in-a-desperate-battle-against-the-elements genre. Think of Adam Green’s Frozen (not the Disney movie), which gave us three people stranded on a ski lift, and Chris Kentis’s Open Water, which had a couple cast out in the open ocean with a bunch of sharks. »
- Bilge Ebiri
Sundance may be better known for its serious indie dramas than its bloodsoaked genre fare, but a surprising number of well-known horror films got their start at the annual festival - and we've rounded up a few of the most notable highlights from years past. While the list is far from exhaustive - notable omissions include 2003's "Open Water" and 2005's "Hardy Candy" - it's nevertheless representative of the fest's commitment to spotlighting left-of-center visions, from shockingly smart limb-spewers (Peter Jackson's "Braindead") to verite-style spookfests ("The Blair Witch Project") to body-horror provocations ("Teeth"). Included are discussions of how each film performed with mainstream audiences, whose tastes don't always align with the Park City hype machine. The 2015 Sundance Film Festival runs from Jan. 22-Feb.1. »
- Chris Eggertsen
13 items from 2015
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