Horror Movies

Picnic at Hanging Rock

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PetSemetary

With this weekend’s A Fantastic Fear of Everything, Simon Pegg stars as Jack, a children’s book author who becomes obsessive and paranoid about death and murder — even when there’s nothing at all to worry about. While Jack is an adult who can’t cope with the real world because of his obsessions, it’s more often the kids who are deemed the scaredy cats due to their irrational fears. Maybe that has a little to do with sneaking scary movies bright and early? It’s a rite of passage, really, that happens when Dad is snoring on the other side of the couch and the remote is blissfully, blessedly unattended for once. That’s right; it’s time to steal that remote and secretly switch the channel to the scariest programming possible. Nightmares be damned, you’re nine years old and you have living to do, man! Trying to watch horror movies (and just plain fear-themed films) before the appropriate age comes from a specific scientific combination of attempting to appear more grown-up and the innate desire that exists within all of us to do the opposite of whatever our parents say. When the lights go out and the moms are out of sight, it’s time to see exactly how brave you can be when facing down Freddy Krueger. As tough and gallant as we might fancy ourselves as children – and this especially applies if we’re literally talking about us, little movie buffs in the making – there are just some films you just really […]

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scarytruth-1

By now, you’ve likely seen the article atYahoo Movies about ten college-aged kids who were shown John Carpenter’s Halloween for the first time to see if the film was still scary 35 years after it was released. The results would make a true horror movie fan weep: this group found the film to be silly, ineffective, and cheesy. In short, not scary at all. There’s even a Vine of these students’ reaction to the whole experience, which may or may not cause fits of anger in true horror fans. More over, this group claimed films like the remake of The Omen (easily inferior to the unmentioned original) and The Cabin in the Woods (a brilliant movie, but never intended to be actually scary) to be more frightening than anything in Halloween. Let’s start by getting past a few completely unscientific elements of this piece. First, ten subjects is hardly a valid sample size for any study, so this is just an academic exercise. However, even more so, I question who the hell these people are that made it to their college years without seeing John Carpenter’s Halloween. I’m sure there are plenty of those folks knocking about, but honestly, would these people be qualified to evaluate horror movies? No self-respecting horror movie fan (or even someone who claims to passively enjoy scary movies) would make it into his or her twenties without at least seeing this film once, whether it’s on an old VHS tape or during one of AMC’s […]

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Maniac Header

The lethargy inherent in being in between two of the biggest holidays of the year has made this week kind of a dead zone for movie news, but a couple of studios have still been throwing us bones by delivering extended previews of what they’ve got coming up in the next year. Just yesterday we were treated to the first four minutes of zombie comedy Warm Bodies, and today Warner Bros. is upping the ante by bringing us the first six minutes of their upcoming Maniac remake. Six minutes! That’s two more than yesterday. At this rate, tomorrow we may get to see the first eight minutes of something. And then, eventually, entire movies will get released without us having to pay for them at all. What a world.

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Aftershock

Normally when pretty young people are getting tortured and mutilated in a horror movie it’s because they’ve run afoul of some sort of creature, spirit, or at least a mass-murdering psycho who’s developed a unique gimmick. The things doing all of the killing are just fantastical enough, just far enough apart from reality, that you can disengage your moral compass and have a good time watching the slaughter. Director Nicolás López’s new film, Aftershock, takes a different approach. It takes an earthquake, the sort of natural calamity that would usually be the jumping off point for a disaster movie, and uses it as its big scary monster. In the process, he’s made a movie in a sub genre that feels unique and fresh next to recent horror offerings: a disaster horror. The basic story of this one seems to be that Eli Roth is some dopey American bro looking for a good time down in Chile. His problems start when his ogling of scantily clad ladies at the local nightclub gets cut short by an Earthquake. Suddenly lighting rigs are collapsing on dancers, shards of glass are cutting up people at the bar, and the whole place is turned into a gory splatter fest. That isn’t the end of the horror that López and Roth have in store for us, though.

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Guillermo Del Toro has added so many projects to his wish list of cool things that he’d like to make that keeping up with every movie he’s attached to make and what order he’s supposed to make them in could be a full time job. But, despite the fact that this list is ever-expanding and ever-changing, it is sometimes possible to know for sure what movie he’s going to be doing next, and Deadline has a report that seems to solidify the fact that the next project he actually sits down and completes is going to be a ghost story called Crimson Peak. Backed by Legendary Pictures, Crimson Peak comes from a script that Del Toro wrote with his frequent collaborator Matthew Robbins. The current plan is for the director to work through another rewrite alongside Lucinda Coxon, and then start production on the film sometime in early 2014. This gives him plenty of time to wrap up his publicity work for Pacific Rim and also film a pilot for an FX show called The Strain, to which he is already committed. What do we know about Crimson Peak so far? We know that it’s a story Del Toro has described as being very set-oriented, and one that is supposed to work in the conventions of the ghost story genre, but give them a modern twist. The director says that he’s using this project as an opportunity to honor some of his favorite horror movies of the past, including “Robert […]

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Dark Skies Trailer

Over the years we’ve seen so many alien home invasions in movies that we’ve grown to believe that visits from extraterrestrial beings aren’t necessarily a big deal. Maybe the alien who comes for a visit could even be a cute little friend who lives in your closet and develops an addiction to Reese’s Pieces! And heck, worst case scenario you get pulled out of your bed, anally probed up on the mothership, and then they drop you right back off like nothing happened, right? Maybe not. Scott Charles Stewart’s (Priest) new thriller Dark Skies asks what it would be like if the aliens stuck around for a while and tortured your family. If the new trailer for this film is to be believed, an extended occupation of your home by extraterrestrial forces would not just include objects in your kitchen being mysteriously stacked and dazzling lights glimmering off of your ceiling, but it would also bring an unwelcome plague of birds, brandings and blackouts. Oh my. Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton are starring here as a suburban couple who get tormented by the little green menace, and watching them deal with flocks of birds mysteriously slamming into their windows, strange marks being burnt into their kids’ skin, and their minds getting repeatedly taken over by some mysterious force can be some pretty harrowing stuff.

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Insidious

Despite producer Jason Blum’s initial comments that he wouldn’t get behind a sequel to 2010’s possession horror, Insidious, unless he was presented with a story that really made sense, it always seemed like a sequel was going to be inevitable anyway. Not only is Insidious one of the mostly widely well-reviewed horror movies of the last decade, but it also managed to make a whole bunch of money without having a very big budget. That’s too good of a formula for the Hollywood money-making machine to abandon. So, sure enough, last February we got word that director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell were both coming back, and Insidious 2 was officially in the works. The press release issued for the film today [via ComingSoon] brings a couple of more surprises with it as well, though. Despite the fact that the original Insidious ended with a situation that looked pretty grim for the family that it featured, and you might have imagined that a sequel would introduce us to a whole new cast of characters battling a similar evil spirit, the money men behind this sequel say that Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, and Ty Simpkins will all be back for this new film, reprising their roles from the original. Is it likely that Wan and Whannell have come up with a great story that will bring these characters back for more hauntings and manage to make sense in the process, or can we take the returns of the […]

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Warm Bodies Trailer

Zombies don’t exactly lend themselves to teen romance stories as well as vampires do, what with their flesh being all gross and decaying, like a jack o’ lantern in November, rather than pale and smooth, like a porcelain doll. But that’s not going to stop the creators of Warm Bodies from capitalizing on the current zombie crazy by making a teen zombie romance anyway. Ridiculous idea or not, one has to admit that the zombie apocalypse genre can get pretty homogenous and predictable, and could use some sprucing up. It feels kind of refreshing to see a zombie movie where the walking dead have thoughts and emotions, but have trouble acting on them due to their newly unresponsive bodies and overpowering craving to consume living flesh. Not only does the conceit seem to make for good comedy, but there are hints in this new Warm Bodies trailer that it could make for an effective character moment or two as well; which kind of makes sense, because this one is being brought to us by Jonathan Levine, the director of the funny, yet affecting cancer drama 50/50.

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Silent Night Trailer

Remember that ’80s era slasher flick, Silent Night, Deadly Night? It’s back! In remake form. Or, maybe not exactly in remake form. It seems like it’s also possible to look at this film as being a loose sequel to the original as well as being a remake, kind of like The Evil Dead and The Evil Dead 2. Either way, when you hear the words “horror movie” and “Silent Night” in the same sentence, you know what to expect: a murderous Santa taking out the townsfolk with an axe. Or, to be more accurate to this trailer, a murderous Santa taking out the townsfolk with an axe, a cattle prod, a wood chipper, and a flame-thrower. Sure, it’s not likely that Silent Night is going to be anything other than exploitative schlock, but seeing as Jaime King makes for a lovely leading lady, Malcolm McDowell is getting the chance to overact, and Donal freakin’ Logue is playing the super-creepy Santa Clause, it’s not likely that it will disappoint anyone who’s just looking for a Christmas movie about people getting killed. And, deep down, aren’t we all just looking for a Christmas movie about people getting killed?

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Joe Dante

It should be a cause for celebration any time horror legend Joe Dante gets a chance to bring his unique blend of chills and chuckles to a new project. Over the course of his lengthy and awesome career this guy has brought us gems like The Howling, Gremlins, The ‘burbs, and Eerie, Indiana, and though he still stays busy keeping the horror love alive over at Trailers From Hell, it’s a shame that we haven’t been able to see more feature work from him over the last decade or so. Heck, his latest film, The Hole, sat on the shelf for three years before most of us even got the chance to watch it. That’s just not enough Joe Dante. The world cries out for more. Good news! Ask and you shall receive. New Films Cinema has announced [via ComingSoon] that filming is scheduled to start soon on a new project they’ve put together for Dante called Air Disturbance. Taking place on a transcontinental flight between Los Angeles and Toronto, Air Disturbance tells the tale of a recently widowed man who must protect his children and the other passengers on a plane once the aircraft starts becoming affected by strange atmospheric phenomena.

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VHS Horror Movie

Recent horror release V/H/S was kind of a mixed bag, but that’s to be expected from anthology films that combine shorts from different filmmakers into a loosely connected whole. Regardless of which segments were your favorites, or which you thought didn’t work, it’s still pretty cool that V/H/S took little known filmmakers like the guys from Radio Silence and let them present their work alongside much-loved directors like Ti West and Joe Swanberg. So, good news for horror fans and horror creators alike, V/H/S/2 is already in the works, and it’s already signed up some top notch directors.

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John Dies at the End

If you watch the new trailer for co-writer/director Don Coscarelli’s (Bubba Ho-Tep) latest film, John Dies at the End, you’ll probably be left with some questions. Why are those pills that can grow wings called “soy sauce?” Can taking them really make you jump to different dimensions? Is the main character talking into a Polish sausage like it’s a cell phone? Don’t let all of these questions left hanging in the air worry you—a lot of them don’t even get answered after you watch this crazy film in its entirety—just focus in on the fact that Coscarelli has taken David Wong’s crazy novel of the same name and made a crazy movie out of it, and the results are crazy hilarious.

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31 Days of Horror - October 2011

They said it couldn’t be done. A fifth year of 31 Days of Horror? 31 more terror, gore and shower scene-filled movies worth highlighting? But Rejects always say die and never back away from a challenge (unless you count that time Nathan Adams was double dog dared to eat Nazi-flavored snow), so we’ve rounded up the horror fans among us and put together another month’s worth of genre fun. Enjoy! Synopsis: What could possibly be worse than a zombie attack? A zombie attack where all of the undead are racists, that’s what. And that’s exactly what eight Norwegian med students stumble into when they take a trip out to the mountains for some leisurely skiing and instead find themselves face-to-face with hordes of undead Nazis who have returned from their graves to avenge a WWII-era villager revolt. The girl with the dreadlocks better watch herself. I bet they take her first.

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31 Days of Horror - October 2011

They said it couldn’t be done. A fifth year of 31 Days of Horror? 31 more terror, gore and shower scene-filled movies worth highlighting? But Rejects always say die and never back away from a challenge (unless you count that time Kate Erbland was dared to walk like a man while singing “Walk Like a Man” and wearing an inflated latex glove on her head), so we’ve rounded up the horror fans among us and put together another month’s worth of genre fun. Enjoy! Synopsis: Even though it’s a sequel to a 2009 film called The Offspring, Lucky McKee’s The Woman can stand fine on its own as a super weird and super horrific tale of misogyny taken to its furthest extent. That film introduces us to a clan of cannibals who abduct and devour townsfolk somewhere in the Northeast. It details the fate of the last surviving member of this clan (Pollyanna McIntosh) and what happens when a hunter comes upon her one day when he’s out in the woods. Which begs the question, what would you do if you came across a cannibalistic woman bathing in a river? Because this creep (Sean Bridgers) decides to chain her up down in his root cellar and instruct his family through the process of trying to civilize her. And, even worse, this guy being an abusive, creepy misogynist, his idea of civilizing someone probably resembles psychological torture and sexual abuse much more than other people’s. Revenge scenarios follow.

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The producers behind the Paranormal Activity franchise have created a lucrative money-making machine based solely on giving us faux found footage of ghosts making various bits of technology go glitchy every October. The first trailer for directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman’s next installment in the series revealed a film that was going to inch along the loose story Paranormal Activity has been telling, that was going to stick to its web cam shots of flickering lights aesthetic, and that was going to add video chatting to the mix of technological things that ghosts like to mess with. Well, there’s plenty of time before Paranormal Activity 4’s October 21 release, so the studio has saw fit to put out a second preview for the film, and this one adds yet another high tech gadget to the spine-chilling mix. Gasp in white-knuckled terror as you take in the horrific results of just what happens when ghostly spirits take over the operations of your living room’s Xbox Kinect. Oh, the humanity!

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The bad thing about The Exorcist is that it has been so influential that we’re coming up on 40 years since its release and still we’re getting a handful of cheap knockoffs released in theaters every year. From The Devil Inside, to The Rite, to The Last Exorcism, to The Exorcism of Emily Rose, demonic possession movie after demonic possession movie is made with the same plot, the same characters, and the same tone. And every time you watch the whole thing play out, it manages to hit with slightly less impact than it did the time before. It was with great enthusiasm, then, that I watched J.T. Petty’s (The Burrowers) latest film, Hellbenders, which is finally, finally an exorcism movie that’s nothing like all of the other exorcism movies that have come before. There are no creepy little girls and wise but weary priests here. Instead, Hellbenders populates itself with foul-mouthed, hard-partying priests who seem to be more comfortable sinning than they do going to Sunday mass. You see, the conceit is this: in order for a priest who deals in exorcism to be ready to take a demon into his body and escort it to hell — by offing himself — he must always have enough sin wracked up to actually be worthy of going to the place. So, the merry band of miscreants that this film follows have checklists to make sure that they’re on top of their sinning. They curse, they steal, they blaspheme, they engage in […]

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Here Comes the Devil

For Fantastic Fest year 7, director Adrian Garcia Bogliano brought his feature film Penumbra about a female lawyer desperately attempting to rent out a flat she owns to an even more desperate (auspiciously so) man claiming that his employer will pay a sum of money far exceeding that of which the flat is worth. The story then becomes a mystery as to the intentions of the employer and the mystery was well executed in keeping the audience’s attention all the way to an non-fulfilling climax. In this, Bogliano makes good on the promise of the well-constructed mystery of his last feature while ensuring he doesn’t  fizzle his way to the ending. Also unlike his last picture Here Comes the Devil doesn’t feel quite as cheap as its budget would suggest. Even in its explicit B-movie motifs — the rapid close-up during the most mundane moments, and a high amount of gratuitous nudity and sex — the sense is there that it isn’t a grown up child behind the camera. Not completely, anyway. He can follow up a scene with a married couple having a heavy, undisturbed fondling session at a truck stop while reminiscing on teenage sexual encounters for arousal (while their two kids are off exploring an ominous hillside) with another scene where the two worried parents have a sincere spat about who is to blame for their kids going missing on that ominous hillside. It’s a well-performed moment of two struggling parents letting pent up thoughts of each other explode […]

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Makinov

There are a lot of professions out there that might require a person to wear a mask: welder, murderer, Mexican professional wrestler. But one job that we don’t often think of as being held by hooded weirdos is film director. A mysterious figure from Belarus known only as Makinov is looking to change all of that, however. Despite the fact that Makinov appears in public only while wearing a creepy red bag over his head, and despite the fact that nobody really has any idea who he is, he was somehow able to make a horror movie called Come Out and Play and get it shown at TIFF. According to the festival’s synopsis, Come Out and Play is a movie about a young couple (Vinessa Shaw and Ebon Moss-Bachrach) looking to vacation on a beautiful island off the coast of Mexico. Unfortunately, things take a tragic turn when they discover that the island is populated solely by creepy children who want to murder them. Ain’t that always the easiest way to ruin a vacation?

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Texas Chainsaw 3D Trailer

There’s a certain segment of the filmgoing audience who’s going to go see every movie about a group of hard-partying young people who go out to a remote location to get sadistically slaughtered by hillbillies, no matter how many times the plot gets overdone, and no matter how many entries in this cookie-cutter genre end up being just plain bad. If you’re one of these people, then boy does the new trailer for Texas Chainsaw 3D look like it’s advertising a movie for you.  Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a movie franchise that’s already been sequalized, rebooted, and reborn into the ground, but it’s yet to have an entry presented in glorious three dimensions, so it seems the suits in charge have deemed that there’s still some life to be sucked from this old girl yet. From the look of things, Texas Chainsaw 3D seems to be telling a very simple story, that of partying young people and chainsaw wielding maniacs. But it also seems to be working in the same old aesthetic that’s responsible for all of these horror movie remakes being so forgettable. This movie looks glossily generic, and fails to capture any of the gritty grossness of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre that’s made it such an enduring horror favorite down through the decades.

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