AJ Bowen

Gene Jones in

In recent years dramatic features like Martha Marcy May Marlene and Kill List, and even documentaries like The Source Family, have seemed to have started a movement that has brought the subject of cult to the forefront of movie thrillers. Perhaps the zombie craze and the vampire craze are finally over, and the next big thing is going to be films of all sorts that tap into the fringe groups of the late 60s and early 70s for inspiration. If we get a misguided movie aimed at tweens where a bookish young girl comes out of her shell after starting an unlikely romance with her school’s dreamy Charles Manson-type, we’ll know we’ve stumbled into a full-on trend. Before the movement can reach its mainstream peak, however, we’ve probably still got some room for a couple more artistically-driven filmmakers to make a couple more legitimately creepy movies about cults, and to that end modern horror master Ti West (The House of the Devil, The Innkeepers) is getting ready to release his next feature, The Sacrament. It’s a found-footage affair about a group of documentarians visiting a cult called Eden Parish, and getting more than they bargained for. Click through to get a glimpse of the carnage, but be warned, the red-band before this trailer only seems to be there because of a little bit of blood and destruction, so don’t expect anything too gruesome to be given away.

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Youre Next Masks

You’re Next caused up quite a stir at last year’s Fantastic Fest. The movie was swiftly picked up for distribution by Lionsgate after receiving stellar reviews, one of which came from our own Scott Beggs, who described the movie as, “pure horror bliss, delivering an engaging group of characters, a badass chick, some iconic masks to add to the collection, and a new twist on slashers.” Rob wasn’t quite as taken with the film, but one thing is for sure, You’re Next is packed with horror images and a song that’ll stick with audiences. While at SXSW, we spoke with the director of You’re Next, Adam Wingard, about those memorable masks, finding its theme song and getting to direct fellow horror directors:

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Why Watch? “Isolated in a place where twisted creatures torment him from the dark, a man desperately tries to find an escape.” From a director we’ve known for a while (Kristoffer Aaron Morgan) and a writer we know as well (Eric Vespe of Ain’t It Cool News fame), comes a bloody fun short starring an actor we follow on Twitter (A.J. Bowen). It’s hauntingly atmospheric and even if you’ve seen it already, you should probably watch it again. The work speaks for itself. What will it cost you? Only 9 blood-soaked minutes. Skip work. Watch more short films.

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Director George Clooney

What is Casting Couch? Proof that not everyone’s tracking Hurricane Sandy’s path on Twitter. Some are still out there casting movies. The big casting news over the weekend was all of the big names that were announced for George Clooney’s next project as a director, The Monuments Men. Deadline had the scoop that this period drama about a group of art historians and museum curators trying to recover important and historical works from the clutches of the Nazis is going to star names like Bill Murray, Daniel Craig, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville, and Bob Balaban. As far as I know none of these people can even speak German, but you’ve still got to look at that list and be impressed. You could cast this crew as an office full of telemarketers and everyone would still watch the movie, making them heroes during the dying days of the Nazi regime is just icing on the cake.

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Grow Up Tony Phillips

It’s not often that you get to see an exciting filmmaking talent growing and developing before your eyes, but one such example can be found in Emily Hagins. It’s impressive enough that she’s directing a film at the age of nineteen, but when you realize her latest will be her fourth feature? It’s enough to make a person wish for a time machine so they could go back in time to light a fire under their own ass. Hagins’ last movie, My Sucky Teen Romance, was a popular feature on the festival circuit and saw a DVD release last month from Dark Sky Films. Again, impressive for a film featuring no name talent to speak of. (Apologies to the two hundred and forty eight Austin bloggers who appeared throughout the film in various capacities.) She’s stepping up her game for her new film with both a more mature story and some recognizable talent in front of the camera. Genre and indie favorites Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator) and AJ Bowen (The House of the Devil) have signed on to star in Grow Up, Tony Phillips which is scheduled to begin production in the next month or so. Even better, you can have a hand in the film’s production too. Check out the full press announcement below or go straight to the film’s Kickstarter page to help make Grow Up, Tony Phillips a reality (and score some pretty cool swag in the process).

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The Coroner

Ah springtime! Is there a better season than spring? Aside from summer I mean. Maybe, maybe not, but when it comes to springtime in horror films there’s one constant. The harvest needs to be watered with the blood of human sacrifice. The harvest in question can be literal or more of a metaphorical inference to the season’s life-giving nature. Children of the Corn, The Wicker Man and even Jeepers Creepers all fall into this category, as does today’s horror film. Of the three examples Rites of Spring most resembles the last as it features a semi-annual slaughter as someone, or some thing, comes out of hiding to kill on the first day of spring. It’s an improvement over Jeepers Creepers in that it’s not directed by a convicted pedophile, but in almost every other regard unfortunately it’s a disappointment.

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When the calendar page turns to October, we Rejects have only one thought: horror. To celebrate this grandest and darkest of months, we’ll cover one excellent horror film a day for the entirety of the month. That’s 31 Days of Horror and 31 Films perfect for viewing on a dark, chilly, October night. If you, like us, love horror and Halloween, give us a Hell Yeah and keep coming every day this month for a new dose of adrenaline. College student Samantha Hughes has found her perfect apartment. The problem is, as one would expect, she has to come up with the rent each month. In desperation, she turns to the campus bulletin board and inquires about a babysitting job posted there. When she arrives at the house, she is told that she is actually caring for an invalid elderly woman whom she will probably never see. Though uneasy about the scenario, the man hiring her offers $400 for her services which makes it impossible to turn down the gig. By the end of the night, Samantha will wish she had opted for the dog-walking job flyer instead.

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We’ve all had bad relationships wherein we naively overlook some major flaw in our partner. The bad news is that sometimes even when we are freed from that relationship, either by mustered gumption or serendipitous intervention of fate, that past comes back to haunt us. Such is the case with Sarah and Garrick. Toward the end of their relationship, Sarah began to suspect Garrick of being unfaithful; his late night excursions and evasive explanations seeming to paint no other conclusion. But these accusations turn out to be an unfair attack on Garrick’s fidelity as he was not, in fact, cheating on his girlfriend…he was killing people. Ultimately it is Sarah who makes this discovery and informs the police; putting Garrick away for life. But one day, while being transferred between prisons, Garrick escapes and begins a bloody journey back to Sarah.

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