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Review by Scott Clark
Rodney Ascher impressed with his insightful Kubrick excavation Room 237, but for his next documentary The Nightmare, Ascher points the camera at 8 individuals haunted by the terrors of sleep paralysis.
These experiences are relayed to us with conversational intimacy and a brand of frankness that’s laudable and often funny. However, specific fears, especially those that appear in such specific circumstance (which most people can’t even begin to understand), don’t always translate to the viewer. One man’s recurrent visits from an obnoxious old guy and some static alien-like creatures seem silly against some of the other reports, reports that are perhaps a bit more unsettling by themselves. Like a Lovecraft short story collection, there’s only so much unimaginable terror you can handle, then your imagination stops taking the leap, »
When approached by a grisly monster, it's usually we mortal humans who need the prayers. However, Gary Pullin's "Pray for the Monsters" vinyl stickers depict just the contrary. Also: details on the Eli Roth-produced The Stranger on Blu-ray and two new shirts inspired by The 'Burbs courtesy of Fright Rags.
Pray for the Monsters Stickers: Designed by artist "Ghoulish" Gary Pullin, all five of these stickers from Hell and Company come with a Uv protective coating.
Priced at $3.50 apiece, the stickers are 5" in diameter and are limited to only 500.
For more information, visit: http://www.hellandcompany.com/
The Stranger: Press Release: "Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel, The Green Inferno) presents the riveting directorial debut of writer Guillermo Amoedo (Aftershock, The Green Inferno, Knock Knock) with this macabre and gruesome tale set in a small Canadian town. Scream Factory, in partnership with IFC Midnight, will bring The Stranger, »
- Tamika Jones
The Nightmare UK Trailer Arrives. Rodney Asher‘s The Nightmare (2015) movie trailer stars Siegfried Peters, Yatoya Toy, Elise Robson, and Nicole Bosworth. The Nightmare‘s plot synopsis: “A look at a frightening condition that plagues thousands; sleep paralysis.” Rodney Asher’s Room 237 (2012) was a certified hit in the documentary film-festival circuit back when it came out. People fawned over the mystery behind […] »
- Marco Margaritoff
While I am not lucky enough this summer to be in Montreal at the always-delightful Fantasia Film Festival, they've been kind enough to reach out to share some of their programming with me, and the first thing I watched once again reaffirms my faith in just how great they are at picking and supporting worthwhile and challenging and entertaining movies. Case in point: "Director's Commentary: Terror Of Frankenstein." There are certain titles that are provocative or that paint a picture or that hit you as particularly poetic or clever, but I'm especially fond of titles that sneak up on you. When I saw "Short Term 12" at SXSW, it was towards the end of the festival, and it was because it won a major narrative award. Before that, I thought it was a shorts program, and since I rarely review shorts out of festivals (simply because of the workload, not »
- Drew McWeeny
The month of August is off to a great start in terms of DVD and Blu-ray releases as fans have an interesting variety of horror and sci-fi titles to look forward to on Tuesday, August 4th. One of my personal favorite zombie movies as of late, Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead, will be making its home entertainment bow and we’ve also got a handful of other notable titles, including The Last Survivors, Lake Placid Vs. Anaconda, Into the Grizzly Maze, Joe Dante’s Burying the Ex and the fest-favorite documentary, The Nightmare.
Lake Placid Vs. Anaconda (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, DVD)
Anacondas large enough to crush an SUV. Crocodiles strong enough to leap onto speedboats. When they're not hunting for human prey, »
- Heather Wixson
Stanley Kubrick was a sucker for order, so he might have appreciated the desire to catalogue his career. However, since his films often warn against placing too much faith in systems, perhaps he knew that this way madness lies.
Frankly, most of his films have fair claim to being number one, so establishing first amongst equals means some hard choices have been made along the way - just try not to trigger the doomsday device or start swinging the axe if you don't agree.
So without further ado, let's open the pod bay doors and enter the enigmatic, exceptional work of Stanley Kubrick.
13. Fear and Desire (1953)
Even a genius has to start somewhere. Already a successful magazine photographer and documentary maker, 24-year-old Kubrick directed his debut about a military mission on limited funds - it was shot silently with sound added later.
Plagued by difficulties, Kubrick later called it "a completely inept oddity, »
Every day, more and more films are added to the various streaming services out there, ranging from Netflix to YouTube, and are hitting the airwaves via movie-centric networks like TCM. Therefore, sifting through all of these pictures can be a tedious and often times confounding or difficult ordeal. But, that’s why we’re here. Every week, Joshua brings you five films to put at the top of your queue, add to your playlist, or grab off of VOD to make your weekend a little more eventful. Here is this week’s top five, in this week’s Armchair Vacation.
5. Ballet 422 (VOD)
There are very few things in this world quite like the birth of a new creative venture. Be it the making of a film, the writing of a new novel or the painstaking artistry that goes into the crafting of a new sculpture, watching an artist or »
- Joshua Brunsting
Co-written and directed by Kiah Roache-Turner, Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead features telepathy, a zombie-fueled truck, plenty of living dead mayhem, and much more. On August 4th, Scream Factory's releasing the IFC Midnight film on Blu-ray and DVD.
Press Release: "A raucous, blood-soaked post-apocalyptic epic filled with inspired vehicular mayhem and unrestrained gore, Wyrmood: Road of the Dead is one of the most wildly entertaining genre films in years. Making its Blu-ray and DVD debut on August 4th, 2015 from Scream Factory, in partnership with IFC Midnight, this critically-acclaimed rambunctious adventure Wyrmood: Road of the Dead comes loaded with bonus features, including an audio commentary with the Roache-Turner Brothers, the featurette The Wyrmdiaries: Behind the Scenes of Wyrmwood, Crowdfunding Videos: Wyrmwood Production Pitch, deleted scenes, a seven minute teaser scene, a gallery of storyboards by the director and the theatrical trailer. Fans can pre-order their copies now at ShoutFactory.com
- Derek Anderson
*Updated* The month of June has a spectacular variety of horror and sci-fi titles arriving on VOD that make for a ton of opportunities for fans to beat the summer heat from the comfort of your own living room, all while catching up on some great films. Rodney Ascher’s latest terrifying sleep paralysis documentary, The Nightmare, is getting a release courtesy of Gravitas Ventures, Dark Sky Films is unleashing Ted Geoghegan’s We Are Still Here in early June and the latest from iconic director Joe Dante—Burying the Ex—digs its way onto VOD via Image Entertainment.
Amigo Undead (Gravitas Ventures) - June 2nd
Amigo Undead is a horror/comedy that begins when Kevin Ostrowski, a straight laced financial adviser, is invited to his ne’er do well older brother Norm’s 40th birthday party. It takes some arm twisting, but the free-wheelin’ Norm eventually convinces his brother »
- Heather Wixson
The 19th Fantasia International Film Festival is right around the corner. Though the full lineup for the festival won't be unveiled until early next month, the second wave of Fantasia titles have been revealed and horror fans have a lot to look forward to.
Press Release: "Montreal, June 11, 2015 – The 19th edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival, presented by Ubisoft and Anchor Bay, will soon be stunning Montreal with three weeks of cinematic ingenuity from July 14 until August 4, 2015.
- Derek Anderson
The 19th edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival, presented by Ubisoft and Anchor Bay, will soon be stunning Montreal with three weeks of cinematic ingenuity from July 14 until August 4, 2015.
From The Official Press Release:
The International Premiere Of Takeshi Kitano’S Ryuzo And The Seven Henchmen Coming immediately after his Outrage saga, Takeshi Kitano’s hilarious crime story stars screen legend Tatsuya Fuji (In The Realm Of The Senses) as a retired yakuza who realizes that the only way to break the monotony of his daily life by reuniting with his old gang. This is a funny and heartfelt meditation on growing old that only the master of Japanese cinema could deliver. International Premiere
A Special Screening »
- BJ Colangelo
A little over one month away, the Fantasia Film Festival announced it’s second wave of titles this morning. Fantasia Film Festival holds a special place in the hearts of Sound on Sight and we could not be more excited for their upcoming edition which promises to be bigger and better than ever. Arguably the largest genre film festival in the world, Fantasia will run from July 14th to August 4th this year and feature a large number of world and international premieres. The full-lineup, including special events, will be announced on July 7th.
From the official press release, here are some titles we can now look forward to:
- Justine Smith
Room 237 was, for documentary fans and cinephiles in general, a punch to the gut. Formally groundbreaking and experimental not only as a piece of filmmaking and video essay crafting but also on much bigger levels post modern criticism, the film launched director Rodney Ascher into the realm of documentarians who are truly important voices in modern cinema. And thankfully Ascher, who is back with his latest picture The Nightmare, isn’t a one hit wonder. Not in the slightest.
A far cry from the video essay that one could describe, rightfully so, Room 237 as, The Nightmare takes the same multi-focused approach as it tells the story of eight people and their battles with sleep paralysis. Giving us a glimpse as to who these men and women are instead of leaving them as simply voices like those in his previous film, Ascher’s latest takes a look at these various encounters with the occurrence, »
- Joshua Brunsting
Available now on VOD and in select theaters is director Rodney Ascher's horror documentary The Nightmare. The film premiered at Sundance earlier this year and has played others including SXSW and Stanley Film Festival since. Built upon the first-hand recollections of eight people who suffer from sleep paralysis and intercut with expertly staged recreations of their experiences, Ascher's follow-up to the excellent Room 237 is a visceral and terrifying delve into a phenomenal horror of the mind. While some may criticize the doc for lacking a scientific approach (a fair criticism, to be sure), I find Ascher's method of letting the afflicted tell their story to be extremely effective. By intentionally focusing on the "what?" rather than the "why?", Ascher frees viewers to experience these horrific accounts of sleep paralysis and his superb dramatizations instead of trying too hard to rationalize them. The goal is not to educate the »
- Jason Barr
James Wan's longtime collaborator Leigh Whannell was the co-creator and co-writer of the Saw and Insidious series. For the third chapter of Insidious, Whannell has personally picked up the director's megaphone for the very first time.
We met up last week to speak about his newly-forged processes as a writer-director, his ambitions, the lessons he learned from this film, and lots more besides, from Poltergeist to The Shining and, at three separate talking points, the Star Wars saga.
I think would-be filmmakers and students of the medium will find some of his answers particularly intriguing, but be warned, there are spoilers for The Others, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
Going back to the beginning, the first Insidious was regularly compared to Poltergeist. Did it start out as a Poltergeist homage, »
Read More: 'The Nightmare' is One of the Scariest Documentaries Ever "Room 237," Rodney Ascher's inventive 2012 documentary, profiled a series of outrageous conspiracy theories about the hidden meanings of Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining." His follow-up, "The Nightmare" deals with a different sort of hidden experience — the ominous and, at times, downright terrifying experiences of people stricken with sleep paralysis. The movie features eight sometimes eerily similar accounts from subjects who have found themselves paralyzed in the middle of the night and afflicted with visions of menacing figures. After its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival's midnight section in January, we dubbed the movie "one of the scariest documentaries ever made," partly because Ascher puts so much effort into making the victims' nighttime delusions feel real for his viewers. At the festival, we asked him to break down his method for injecting real scares into the »
- Eric Kohn
The frightening netherworld of night terrors and sleep paralysis sounds utterly terrifying just in description alone; people trapped in awakened states of semi-consciousness, unable to move, but capable of witnessing some truly horrific hallucinations that seem all too real. Or are they real? Are these nightmarish horrors a manifestation of something supernatural? A chemical imbalance triggered by stress or one’s lifestyle? A sleep disorder based on the anxieties of the human subconscious? All of this is explored, but not much of it illuminated in any meaningful way in Rodney Ascher’s docudrama “The Nightmare.” Ascher’s follow-up to the critically acclaimed “Room 237” that gave wacko conspiracy theorists plenty of room to wax about their idiotic, totally-off-base hypotheses about Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” his latest doc takes a creepy and creative approach to the malady of sleep paralysis and its devastating aftereffects. Studying eight different subjects, mostly from the. »
- Rodrigo Perez
Director Rodney Ascher follows up his 2012 feature debut "Room 237," a documentary deconstruction of all the hair-brained close readings of Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining," with "The Nightmare" about the terrified victims of sleep paralysis. Ascher, who has suffered the condition himself, plumbs the nighttime terrors of eight individuals plagued by malevolent, dream-state visions—and many are alarmingly similar. Victims see shadowy figures stalking them, or alien-like figments made of jittery white static; others feel the encroaching, creepy presence of an unseen evil force. One woman is a YouTube celebrity whose horrifying accounts led to a religious awakening because of sleep paralysis. She thinks she's a kind of conduit between warring spiritual realms. One man thinks he's insane, and that sleep paralysis will one day kill him. But the most ingenious aspect of this spooky, silly doc is Ascher's inventively staged reenactments: eerie, cartoon-cutout »
- Ryan Lattanzio
The producers of a documentary about a Twin Peaks mega-fan who spent his teen years in the town where the cult TV series was shot are seeking funds for their movie on Kickstarter. The proposed film, Northwest Passage: A Doc About Growing Up in Twin Peaks, will tell the story of Travis Blue, who survived bullying and bouts with hooking and doing drugs by relying on his Laura Palmer fandom. The producers aim to put out the film next year, the same year in which Twin Peaks will return »
Addictive, dangerous, and more than likely a hoax, Polybius might be getting its own documentary courtesy of Kickstarter...
Portland, Oregon, 1981. Queues are forming for a new game called Polybius. Nobody can quite agree what it's about, but it's said to be insidiously addictive - and perhaps even dangerous. Those who claim to have played Polybius have reported headaches, amnesia and nightmares. Others have suggested that arcades have been visited by government officials in black suits.
These are just a small sample of the stories that have circulated since the earlier days of the internet. Although widely dismissed as a hoax, the Polybius legend has just enough shreds of truth about it to maintain a nagging sense of interest.
Players of games like Asteroids and Tempest really were reporting symptoms like sickness and migraine in the early 80s - though these were more an unwelcome side-effect of extended periods of play »
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