Evil Dead

47 Ronin

This is a special edition of Short Starts, where we look at the past year of disappointing feature debuts from filmmakers who previously wowed us with their short films. Short films can be good calling cards, but they aren’t always the best proof that a filmmaker has the skills to immediately jump into a feature. Especially a big Hollywood production. In recent years, thanks to the combination of the Internet, social media and cheaper tools for making movies on a personal computer, we’ve seen some awesome short films go viral and then get the attention of studio execs and big time producers. The filmmakers, in only a few minutes of screen time, display a lot of talent and imagination and, most importantly, promise. But they’re often handed properties that are too much to handle even for experienced directors, as we saw with Neill Blomkamp’s assignment of Halo as a feature debut. Fortunately, that never happened and instead we got District 9, an extension of his popular short, Alive in Joburg. It’s fitting that Blomkamp disappointed with his sophomore effort (Elysium) in 2013, a year that overall was pretty dismal for directors transitioning from shorts to features. Terrible movies from people who had broken out with acclaimed shorts isn’t anything new. In the past we’ve seen Oscar nominees like Stephen Kessler and Christian E. Christiansen move “up” to Vegas Vacation and The Roommate, respectively. The past year was particularly heavy on the disappointing newcomers, though. 2013 even finished out with what’s possibly […]

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Boo. Now turn off the lights, pull your feet in under the covers, and keep reading for a look at our choices for the Best Horror Movies of 2013.

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South American director Fede Alvarez isn’t exactly a household name, but if his career keeps moving in the same direction that it has been lately, it might only be a matter of time before that becomes the case. The first step on his journey was the production of a short film about giant robots called Panic Attack, which was so impressively staged despite the fact that it didn’t have big financial backing, it got spread all over the Internet and became a viral sensation. The success was enough for Alvarez to have Hollywood come calling, but what they presented him with could have been seen as more of a challenge than it was an opportunity. Sam Raimi tasked him with the lofty job of stepping into his own giant shoes and directing the Evil Dead remake, which was a project that—given its status as the king of the cult classics—was essentially predestined to get crapped on by horror fans all over the world. Alvarez’s take on the material was so fun that it was actually able to earn a surprising amount of praise though, even from a curmudgeonly audience. Given the success he’s seen so far, the next step on his path could be the crucial one that cements him as having a continued career as a director of studio films, so what’s it going to be?

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disc header kidnapped

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Kidnapped Four men weighed down with stolen loot try to make their escape, but when one of their own is gunned down the remaining three take hostages in their bid for freedom. They end up in a car with a woman, a man, and the man’s son as they force the hostages to drive them out of the city. As the hours tick by the tension builds as to what will happen and who will survive the getaway. Director Mario Bava took a break from his usual horrific fare to make this tight and somewhat claustrophobic thriller, and the result is one of his most entertaining films. Much of the movie is a fairly traditional setup that puts in place certain expectations, but Bava and writer Alessandro Parenzo are far more interested in subversion and true suspense than they are in fulfilling cliches. The ending alone makes this one worth seeing, and the film itself is a nearly lost gem worth owning. It also doesn’t hurt that Kino Classics’ Blu-ray transfer is absolutely stunning. [Blu-ray extras: Trailers]

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What started out with a bunch of foolish pranks and fun became a very sad week for the world of movie lovers. It’s terrible to lose any one of us, and surely many cinephiles die by the day, but this guy was among the biggest and most important. As it turns out, this week’s Reject Recap seems more filled with bad stories than good. Of course, it’s a week in which we saw a lot of recycling and — appropriately for the holiday that fell recently — resurrection of properties including Jurassic Park, Evil Dead and Finding Nemo. Looking over the list of the ten big stories, it’s a pretty disappointing time for us in general. Well, it’s not disappointing as a reader, as we hosted a bunch of great writing this week and also found some notable features by friends at other sites. Strewn through, we share some videos of Roger Ebert‘s reviews of films being discussed. Start your weekend right after the jump.

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What happens when a legendary film critic brings is geriatric crankiness to an internet movie show? Film Jockeys follows the adventures of Carl Barker, his far-too-young production staff, the filmmakers and the movie characters that inhabit their world. Written and illustrated by Derek Bacon, it’s the perfect webcomic for passionate movie fans who want to know how Evil Dead will make them feel. For your consideration, Episode #17:

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Editor’s note: Rob’s review originally ran during SXSW last month, but we’re re-running it as Evil Dead officially hits theaters starting tonight. When a remake of Sam Raimi‘s seminal horror film was first announced it was met with a fair share of understandable skepticism. The hostility was tempered somewhat by the inclusion of Raimi, Robert Tapert and original star Bruce Campbell in the producers’ chairs, but still people wondered if that bloody magic could be recaptured. The answer is a tentative and extremely gory “yes.” Kind of. Somewhat. Unless you’re someone who prefers their horror films to be smart and scary in addition to being creatively bloody. Five friends head to a cabin in the woods (surprise!) looking for both a fun vacation and a place to help one of their own kick a bad drug habit. But withdrawal is the least of their problems when a bloody basement and a skin-bound book are discovered beneath their feet. Soon an evil entity is causing violent and messy mayhem in the form of extreme acts of self-mutilation and murder. And tree rape. Can’t forget the tree rape.

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mr balls

Short Starts presents a weekly short film from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. Director Fede Alvarez, who made the Evil Dead remake out this Friday, broke out with a short film that went viral. You’ve probably seen that one, the giant robot invasion pic Ataque de Panico! (Panic Attack!) — watch here if not. Before that, though, he and his Evil Dead writing partner, Rodo Sayagues, made a few other movies including one that you can also watch online. And it’s a lot more akin to what we can probably expect from his Hollywood horror debut. There’s blood, boobs, semen, guns, machetes and screams of pleasure and of pain. It’s called El Cojonudo: La Nunca Jamas Contada Historia De — loosely translated on screen as The Never Ever Told Story of Mr. Balls.

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SXSW

SXSW 2013 ended ten days ago, but the memories live on thanks to the great friends we met, delicious food we ate and fantastic movies we had the pleasure of seeing. (Our intrepid interviewer, Jack, also has a strange rash to remind him of the dangers of 6th Street after dark.) You can catch up on our coverage of the films and the talents, but as a final goodbye to this year’s fest we want to highlight some of the movies we enjoyed the most. Rather than simply list the best of the fest though we’ve chosen to look at our favorites as lessons learned, things we discovered and/or talking points that other filmmakers could probably learn from as well. It’s worth noting that my personal favorite of the fest was Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color, but since it was already my #1 film at this year’s Sundance I decided to highlight two other excellent movies instead. Keep reading to see what Jack Giroux, Kevin Kelly, Neil Miller, Luke Mullen and I learned about the movies of SXSW 2013.

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sxsw anticipated

SXSW 2013 begins in a couple days, and we couldn’t be more excited. By “we,” I mean FSR founder, publisher and beard-model Neil Miller, professional interviewer and lanky ladies man Jack Giroux, and myself. We’ll be descending on Austin this Friday to take in as much festival film-going, socializing and Alamo Drafthouse food as we possibly can. Of course we’re excited to see movies too. A lot of movies. And to give you an idea of what we’re most looking forward to film-wise the three of us have each listed our five most anticipated films of SXSW 2013 below.

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Evil Dead Trailer

If, like all grandmothers, yours is into gallons of blood spewing from someone’s mouth, forced tree seduction, banned books and mangled lesbian make-out scenes, she is going to absolutely rave about the new redband trailer for the Evil Dead remake. She may even knit a sweater with the Necronomicon on it. And if you were afraid they were going to dial back on the violence and gore, take heart. Then squeeze it, jab an exacto knife into it, and you’ll have the kind of red-raining imagery that the Fede Alvarez-directed, Diablo Cody-scripted flick. If you’re sitting in the front row, it’s time to put on the raincoat we’ve provided for you:

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The Best Movie Trailers of 2012

Everyone knows you can’t judge a book by its cover, but were you aware that movies shouldn’t be judged by a trailer either? I know, seems counter-intuitive, but while the trailer advertises a feature the two aren’t interchangeable. Terrible trailers sometimes give way to fantastic films just as brilliant trailers sometimes reveal ridiculously bad ones. It’s a crap shoot really. The list below features twelve of our favorite trailers that premiered in 2012. Some of the movies turned out to be gems, others ended up being far less impressive and a few won’t be released until 2013, but all of them made us excited to watch one more movie…

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Most terrifying film ever? That’s a pretty bold claim to make, and it also signals (like the recent trailer did) that this is not your daddy’s Evil Dead. The film looks to be almost old school in its lack of humor and dedication to pure terror and practical effects. Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell are on as producers, and they’ve given their blessing to director Fede Alvarez to craft something as terrifying as possible. But most terrifying ever? We’ll find out when it opens on April 12, 2013. [Yahoo! Movies]

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Although different in style and tone, celebrating Halloween and Suspiria together is an obviously great idea after speaking with Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, two horror writers who have created wicked traps for the Saw franchise, played lifeguard for Piranha 3DD and continue the terror of their own masked killer with the forthcoming The Collection. From grisly realism to stylized violence, we discuss how they both prove horror films can be beautiful and revel in Melton’s still-fierce fear of the plants outside his window. Plus, we check in with Bloody Good Horror co-host Casey Criswell to get his take on the new Evil Dead (2013) trailer. Download Episode #154

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Evil Dead Trailer

It feels like just yesterday we we wondering why we were supporting the latest idiotic trend in movie marketing by watching a teaser for a trailer of the new Evil Dead. It was a move that makes even less sense now that, barely twenty four hours later, the actual trailer has been released. And it looks like a gloriously violent and gory return to real horror without any post-modern, meta or comedic trappings. The lovely Jane Levy and the always wonderful (and equally lovely) Lou Taylor Pucci co-star among a group of friends who head to a cabin in the woods for some dispensable reason only to find a nightmare involving murder, possession, mutilation and tree branch splinters in their bajangos. Director/co-writer Fede Alvarez has remade Sam Raimi‘s classic with Raimi’s blessing and hands-on involvement, and the result looks to be a hardcore horror film that immediately impresses with its tone and dedication to practical effects. Check out the gleefully nasty redband trailer for the new Evil Dead below.

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Evil Dead Teaser Trailer

While we might have all balked at the news that horror classic Evil Dead was being remade (who is directing it? it’s being written by Diablo Cody? and there’s no Ash? and our Ash stand-in might be Lily Collins?), the latest news about the “quasi-remake” has been surprisingly solid, particularly thanks to some great buzz out of this month’s New York Comic-Con. What? You didn’t believe it? That’s okay, because the Evil Dead team gets that, which is why the film’s first teaser trailer capitalizes on all that positive buzz. The word out of NYCC was that the full Evil Dead trailer was one hell of a crowdpleaser – and that it was bloody as sin (The Playlist called it “explicitly red band”), and there’s some nice hints of that in this first teaser (but only hints – or drips). Of course, as is becoming the norm, this teaser is really just a teaser for a teaser, and we’ll be getting the “full” teaser tomorrow. But for now, yeah, this will do.

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It’s called a character arc, and everybody has one. It’s the progression of a character throughout a film as they go from “A” to “B” and change emotionally, intellectually, and physically along the way. It exists because nobody sane wants to watch two hours of some dude sitting in a chair…which just so happens to be the story of how this very list was made. When it comes to action, horror, and any other fast-paced genre of film, one of the best things about watching the characters adapt is that since the environment they exist in is so do-or-die, there is a incredibly steep learning curve – so by the end of the film, you most likely have a completely different person you started with…and considering that they are still alive, they probably got way, way more badass along the way.

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The girl with the eyebrows won’t be playing the man with the chin. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “scheduling issues” (which they also put in quotation marks) have forced Lily Collins to back away from taking the lead role in the remake of Evil Dead being produced by Sam Raimi and directed by Fede Alvarez. On the one hand, this is good news. On the other, it seems likely that the production team is still trying to make the film about a young drug addict trying to get clean when bad people with melting faces start biting at her. Why they’re moving so far away from the original concept is unknown, and whether or not the finished product will even resemble the original movie is also unclear. The real victim here? Alvarez – who has the impossible task of recreating a cult phenomenon. Too much to the right, and he’ll have a bland retread with no outside appeal. Too much to the left, and he’ll piss off fans. If he teeters both ways, he might fall off the tightrope altogether. Can’t we just pop in the discs in our Book of the Dead Box Set and forget about all this?

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Boiling Point

Well here we are in the last week of December, coming up on another 365 days of anger at the entertainment industry. In 52 installments, I’ve been upset about a wide range of topics, criticized directors, defended 3D, argued with my peers and said the f-word a whole lot, much to the disappointment of my mother. As a way of saying so long to 2011 and hello to the End of the World as We Know It (aka 2012), I wanted to take a brief look back at the previous year and pull the heaviest themes from Boiling Point and take a look at the recipients of my rage. So take off your shoes, grab a warm cup of cocoa and let’s take this journey together, provided you’re nowhere near me. If by some strange miracle you are near me, put your shoes on, put down my coffee cup and get the fuck out of my house.

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Boiling Point

Hollywood is a business. A big business. A ten billion dollar box office per year kind of business. While that is an impressive number, you also have to remember that I said “box office,” which is ignoring the home video market. If you include direct sales only, that’s another $5 billion. I swore that I would never do math again after college, so I’m not going to bother with rentals and licenses and all that shit. Suffice it to say, Hollywood is a big business. And they want to be bigger, like all businesses. Enter the shady world of rehashing. The repeated raping of your wallet. There was a time when it was as simple as releasing a Special Edition or Collector’s Edition of a movie. Now, films have two theatrical releases, get remastered in 3D and sent to theaters, and are then released on three to four separate DVD releases. As a super-fan, I’m excited to get Collector’s Editions – I’ll even double dip now and then, but the process has gone too far and offers too little.

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