Good day, horror fans. Well, it’s probably a good day for anyone but horror fans, as the holidays have all but squashed horror releases. Tis the season, right? Hopefully many of you have horror Blu-rays and DVDs under the tree that can make up for the lack of scares in cinemas. And feel free to put some of that under my tree as well, via decorated Tremors’ graboids.
In smaller news, Drafthouse Films has snatched up the rights to the Brit Marling-starring western thriller The Keeping Room. Steven Wolsh’s ancient burial ground horror Muck has already crowdfunded a sequel ahead of its March 2015 release date. Andrew Pyper’s upcoming supernatural thriller novel The Damned has already been acquired by Legendary Pictures. And finally, here’s an unexpected and delightfully creepy holiday message from Jennifer Kent’s pitch-perfect thriller The Babadook.
And now, more anti-Santa propagan-ta and, more importantly, what may become the greatest cinematic rivalry known to man.
Roddy Piper vs. Cthulhu Short is Becoming a FeatureRarely do I want to put an exclamation point into a headline, but the one above deserves at least seven of them. A couple of weeks ago, an Indiegogo campaign popped up for the short film Portal to Hell!!! (which uses its own punctuation wisely) that would pit wrestling legend "Rowdy" Roddy Piper against the otherworldly elder god Cthulhu. Even though the campaign has only raised just over $11,000 of the $21,000 goal, distributors Raven Banner and XYZ Films have already stepped up to show their support for a full-length feature film. We’re getting more Piper vs. Cthulhu before even getting our initial serving of it. This really does feel like Christmas.
Directed by Vivieno Caldinelli and written by Matt Watts, the short sees Piper as a building superintendent who is dismayed to find his tenants have opened up the titular portal to hell (!!!) in his building’s basement, and he must battle to close it back up. The feature version would broaden the story and will see Piper’s character and his monster-fighting underlings heading to R’lyeh to fight the Lovecraft monster on his own turf. The short, featuring visual effects work from Manborg director Steve Kostanski, will go into production in March 2015, and the feature package will be put together in the fall. I can’t wait to get my tentacles on this.
Krampus Makes Itself Known in Storybook ImageryBeyond his work on certain X-Men flicks, filmmaker Michael Dougherty sits on a horror pedestal for directing the excellent-though-delayed Halloween anthology Trick ‘r Treat. While the proposed sequel is no doubt going to be traditional viewing when/if it comes out, he’s got a new holiday feature on the way in the sadistic Christmas thriller Krampus. Legendary Pictures wants potential audiences to start celebrating early, having released a few motion-heavy Christmas cards to tease the future mayhem.
Is anyone's town ready for Krampus? Probably not, so there's very little singsong happening when "Krampus is coming to town," is said. Or written, as it were. I really love the storybook aesthetic happening, and it's so strange that the beast's head is shaped like a heart. These are teasers I can make do with. There's another card that features "We Wish You a Scary Christmas and a Happy New Fear," which is really kind of stupid. Still, these cards look awesome and do a good job of showing the mix between horror and black comedy that Krampus will no doubt be full of when it hits theaters during the Christmas 2015 season. All good boys and girls need not buy tickets.
It Follows Trailer Is A Perfectly Terrifying ThrowbackThe only thing I ever want to worry about when I’m finished having sex is how wobbly my legs are going to be. (Sorry if that was too intense for some of you.) But 19-year-old Jay (Maika Monroe), the main character in David Robert Mitchell’s lo-fi thriller It Follows, has something else going on. She does the dirty with a guy who knowingly passes on an unexplained presence that haunts its hosts. There doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason behind the form that the malicious entity takes – it can be a stranger or your best friend – but that just makes it all the more frightening. Here’s the ominous new poster to go along with the trailer above.
I really, really love this trailer. It feels like something that would have aired in theaters before Friday the 13th Part III in 1982. The deep synth and the driving piano create a tense ambiance. The storyline, which plays kind of like The Ring, basically forces the lead character to become so scared that she feels comfortable dooming someone else. And I absolutely love the tagline "It Doesn’t Think. It Doesn’t Feel. It Doesn’t Give Up. It Follows." It’s going to be a long three months before I get my peepers on this one, as It Follows will see its U.S. release on March 27, 2015, with an earlier U.K. release on February 27th.
Suburban Gothic Trailer Mixes Comedy With Its FrightsFor Excision director Richard Bates Jr.’s second feature, he’s taking on small town haunts with big city main character Raymond, as played with stiff-haired quirkiness by Matthew Gray Gubler. A highly intelligent guy with very little social skills, Raymond can see paranormal things happening all around him - but this latest threat is the biggest of all and may destroy everyone and everything. Considering he’s been forced to move back in with his shitty parents in a town where he was bullied for much of his life, ghosts seem like the better option.
He teams up with Kat Dennings’ hardcore bartender Becca and they both attempt to stop the supernatural chaos. Now, I’m not going to lie and say that I thought this trailer was funny, because I didn’t laugh at all, but I’m still intrigued. Bates’ colorfully visual style is quite compelling in certain areas, specifically when the spooky shit is happening. (That coffin-bound dude spewing blackness is particularly notable.) Plus, the film has a slew of genre greats in it, including Ray Wise, Sally Kirkland, Jeffrey Combs and John motherfucking Waters. Find out whether laughs or scares win out when Suburban Gothic hits VOD on January 30, 2015.
The Phoenix Project Raises Interest From the DeadI’m not quite sure how much of a horror film The Phoenix Project will end up being, but Tyler Pavey’s directorial debut will assumedly feature someone being raised from the dead, and that’s enough of a genre trope for me. The film’s first trailer, seen above, looks like a Frankenstein-inspired version of Shane Carruth’s time-traveling mindbender Primer, though it’s doubtful this film feature a similar narrative density. But one can hope.
The film stars Corey Rieger, Andrew Simpson, Orson Ossman and David Pesta, whose character name is Ampersand. The foursome play scientists who are building a machine that can reanimate dead organisms. To be expected, the machine is more powerful than they imagined, and allows them access to even more life-changing decisions. This is presumably where the "Monkey’s Paw" consequences come into play, and everything goes wrong. I love realistically low-key looks at stereotypical subject matter, and here’s hoping The Phoenix Project doesn’t fall dead when it hits limited theaters and VOD on January 16, 2015.