Connecticut Cult Classics “Sci-Fi Madness” Festival Wrap-Up

On Saturday, April 22nd, Connecticut Cult Classics invaded the historic Strand Theater in Seymour, CT for the latest installment of its double-bill film festival.  Entitled “Sci-Fi Madness”, the cinematic voyage included two films that encapsulate the genre magnificently in Lady Terminator and Predator.  For some movie-goers, this was the first time seeing either cult film on the big screen (for the little-known gem Lady Terminator, that’s no huge surprise).  Founder and owner of CCC, Larry Dwyer, made sure that everyone went home happy and overflowing with goodies and celluloid memories to last a lifetime.

Fans braved the seasonably cool night and filled the theater with anticipation and a thirst for blood.  After some nifty retro trailers (and a few under-appreciated recent entries like American Mary), first up was the 1989 James Cameron-inspired Indonesian flick Lady Terminator.  While not a direct remake, this movie does borrow from the 1984 sci-fi classic The Terminator in terms of general storyline and of course…..in perfectly-time quotes and one-liners. For the vast majority on hand, this was their first viewing of the foreign shoot-em-up.  Judging by the raucous audience reaction, it’s safe to say it won’t be the last for some.  Especially, of course, if they’re an anthropologist.

Following a brief break, Mr. Dwyer said a few words and awarded the large cache of raffle prizes to the lucky winners.  For Sci-Fi Madness, the prizes were many and varied, including a bag full of Funko re-action figures, Pop! Vinyl dolls, a Predator photo autographed by Jesse “The Body” Ventura, and so much more.  Goodie bags for ALL attendees were also handed out, which included a customized beer coozie, Predator pin, “I ain’t got time to bleed” band-aids, a toy soldier and candy.  An awesome original Lady Terminator/Predator poster, created by the prolific Matt Wilson, was also on sale to the lucky few able to snag one of the numbered images.

More vintage trailers (Truck Turner!) preceded Predator, the quintessential Arnold Schwarzenegger action thrill-ride originally released in 1987 and which eventually spawned two direct sequels, an upcoming remake and a successful crossover series (Alien vs. Predator).  The appreciative fans showed their support for Arnold, Ventura, Weathers and the rest with resounding applause at its conclusion.  And with that, another edition of the growing CCC double-bill festival came to end.

The next movie event announced by Connecticut Cult Classics will be on Saturday, June 17th at the Strand.  While the films for that night have not yet been announced, Mr. Dwyer encourages everyone to “beware the moon.”  Draw your own conclusions, but rest assured HNN will be on hand to partake in the fun once again.

 

Ryan Murphy Drops More Details on American Horror Story Seasons 7 and 8

Last year around this time, fans knew absolutely nothing about Season Six of FX’s popular series, American Horror Story. The production of My Roanoke Nightmare was so secretive, that even the cast later revealed that they were unaware of their parts until just before shooting. This time around, showrunner Ryan Murphy is taking a different approach. He first revealed that Season Seven would be about the 2016 US election cycle in mid-February. He has since clarified and re-clarified his statements, and invited newcomers Billy Eichner and Billie Lourd to his established cast of Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters. While speaking with E! Online on Saturday about his new series, Feud, Murphy shared even more details about what we should expect for the upcoming season. Here’s what he had to say!

Murphy will not be casting Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton characters for Season Seven of American Horror Story.

“We don’t have actors playing them. You’ll see them on television.”

The first 10 minutes of Season Seven is “like a horror story upon a horror story,” which takes place on election night, 2016.

“The first 10 minutes of the season, this season, takes place in a very eerie macabre way on election night and there’s something terrible that happens in the lives of our characters on election night as they’re watching it all go down. Which in itself was a horror story, so it’s like a horror story upon a horror story.”

Jessica Lange may return to American Horror Story for a planned Murder House-Coven crossover season.

In related news, Jessica Lange’s departure from the series after Season Four’s Freak Show may not be as final as it was originally planned. Ryan Murphy told TVGuide.com earlier this week that it is possible Lange could return for his planned Murder House-Coven crossover season, which would air sometime after the upcoming election season. Here’s how he put it:

“I think she would if I bribed her enough, you know? I haven’t really talked to her about it at all because we are still figuring out that story, but I think we do want to do that.”

Never say never!

Stay tuned to Horror News Network for more details on all of Ryan Murphy’s upcoming American Horror Story projects as they break!

 

 

Summer 2017 Horror Movie Preview

Coming off of an unusually busy (and profitable) winter season, this summer’s slate of horror films brings some well-known franchises, properties, and directors, as well as some expensive and inexpensive gambles to your local multiplex.  These films will not only be competing with each other for horror fans’ dollars, but they will naturally also have to contend with the usual high profile tent-pole action and super hero films.  Let’s take a look at the upcoming releases and trailers below and please use this as your Horror News Network guide for the summer season:

Alien: Covenant (May 19th):   This one seems like a sure-fire hit as it is directed by series creator Ridley Scott, takes place directly after Prometheus, and boasts a star-studded cast with the likes of Michael Fastbender, James Franco, and Danny McBride to name only a few.  However, fans may want to be cautiously optimistic, as Prometheus was not the box office bonanza ($126 million domestically) it was expected to be and the trailer does boast a lot of CGI for fans of the original and its action-filled sequel.  20th Century Fox and Scott have a lot riding on the success of Covenant, with multiple sequels planned if all goes according to plan.

The Mummy (June 6th): Talk about expectations!  Universal Studios has bet the farm on this potential “world-building” film, hopefully ushering in a new age “of Gods and Monsters” for the classic Universal Monsters pantheon.  Fans of the seminal black and white monster films cheered when they heard that Universal would be building a “Marvel-style” shared universe, but many traditional fans were surprised by the action-filled trailer which looked a little too much like Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible franchise.  Whatever happens, fans will most likely be talking about this film and with numerous other monsters slated for a 21st century make-over,  the fate of a successful launch is in the resin-soaked hands of the lead monster (played this time around by Sofia Boutella).

It Comes at Night (June 6th): In a perfect example of counter-programming, indie hit factory A24 (the Witch, Green Room) is releasing a very creepy, harrowing tale of a family trapped in the woods by an unknown, unnatural force on the same day as Universal’s The Mummy.  For fans looking for a smart, challenging, and frightening film, this may be the best bet of the summer and it appears that it is no coincidence that it is being offered as this type of choice to more selective, older fans.  With independent, low-budget horror experiencing a bit of a renaissance at the moment (It Follows, The Witch, Split, Get Out), this film does have a chance to capture hardcore fans’ interest, but it also has a packed summer film season to contend with.  The Trey Edward Shults film may have been better suited for a mid-August run ala last year’s Don’t Breathe, but fans should pay attention to this one.

47 Meters Down (June 16th): One thing we enjoy as much as movies in the summer are sharks!  Whether it is the original summer blockbuster Jaws or the Discovery Channel’s long running Shark Week, people are still fascinated by these denizens of the deep.  After the financial success of Blake Lively’s The Shallows, Dimension Films seems to be following the same formula to a tee; a young, attractive star (Mandy Moore), a low budget, a shark or two, and a PG-13 rating. Strangely enough, the film was originally titled In the Deep and set for a home video release in 2016.  The re-branding of the film and theatrical release may have everything to do with the Shallows success for this very reason.  The trailer does look both claustrophobic (and familiar), but 47 Meters Down should attract young viewers to see another “shark-tale”.

Amityville: The Awakening (June 30th): If you think 47 Meters Down took a serendipitous route to the silver screen, it has nothing on Amityville: The Awakening!  The only thing more shocking than the film’s troubled past is the fact that is going to be released at all.  It all started in 2012 when the film was called Amityville: The Lost Tapes and was designed to capitalize on the popularity of “found footage” films such as Paranormal Activity. By the time production began, the Weinstein Company got the memo that they missed the “found footage” window of opportunity, and decided to scrap the whole project and make a traditional horror film.  The original trailer was released in August of 2014(!) and the film’s release date was set for January of 2015.  It was then mysteriously removed from the studio’s schedule and then resurfaced, moving to April of 2016.  Once people finally saw the film at test screenings, the feedback was so negative that the studio yet again moved the film to a different date (and also had star Bella Thorne return for additional filming), this time January of 2017.  Think it’s over yet? Nope.  The studio finally (we think) moved the release to June 30th, 2017, where it sits at this very hour.  Will it stay there? Time will tell.  Should you pay money to see this movie?  That’s a better question…

Wish Upon (June 30th): Targeting the same audiences that 47 Meters and Amityville: The Awakening are pursuing, Wish Upon could be this year’s Lights Out.  With a young lead (Joey King) and a supernatural threat in the form of an Asian-style dibbuk box, this one is set to be a standard teen-age scare fest.  With Wish Upon’s “wish-fulfillment” and punishment of bullies, the film is sure to remind some viewers who were teenagers in the 90’s of The Craft.   The target audience is sure to be pleased with these tropes, but not all audiences may be.

The Dark Tower (August 1st): Stephen King’s long gestating epic fantasy will finally get a release on August first, originally slated for February of this year.  While the story does have horror elements, the tale is a genre-bending mix of western, fantasy, and science fiction elements.  Like Alien: Covenant and the Mummy, Sony has visions of turning The Dark Tower into a franchise.  If this film is a success, it could very well lead to future adaptations of King’s series, but if not, it may not only mean trouble for the series, but for the company itself.  As reported by HNN’s John Evans, Sony has considered selling their movie division due to a long string of financial disasters at the box office.  The success of The Dark Tower (as well as this summer’s Spider-Man Homecoming and shockingly, the Emoji Movie) could determine the fate of Sony’s movie division.

As far as the film itself, director Nikolaj Arcel comes to the property with an international pedigree, but literally no experience with mainstream (or fantasy) films.  The Dark Tower does feature Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey as the Gunslinger and the Man in Black respectively, bringing needed star power and acting chops to the property.  Surprisingly, no trailer has been released at this time, so please enjoy the picture below.

Annabelle: Creation (August 11th): One thing you can count on in the movie business is the profitability (and frequency) of horror films related to Warner Brothers’ Conjuring franchise.  After the Conjuring took the summer of 2013 by storm, outpacing a number of more expensive summer action films, any films related to The Conjuring have been “a license to print money”.  This was never clearer than the success of the evil doll spin-off Annabelle.  The little “demon doll” made an ungodly amount at the box office, taking in $256 million dollars at the world-wide box office on a $6.5 million dollar budget.

The original film was also “review proof”, garnering only 29% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. While all signs point to another “cash grab” during the mid-August frame, the original film did only receive a “B” Cinemascore and the Conjuring Two did not impress fans as the first one did. Annabelle: Creation is directed by David F. Sandberg of Light’s Out fame and stars Miranda Otto (Homeland, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers). Sandberg brings some buzz to the property, and the undoubtedly austere budget should make this a hit at the box office, but the jury is still out on if this prequel will correct some of the flaws of the first film.

Polaroid (August 25th): Rounding out the summer season is Polaroid, a film that started as a 25 minute short film by Norwegian director Lars Klevberg (who is also on board for the American re-make/extension).  Critics raved about the short film, and Variety described the new film as “the story of a high school loner, Bird Fitcher, who stumbles upon a vintage Polaroid camera tainted with a dark secret. She soon discovers the camera’s special power: those who have their picture taken are destined to have a tragic fate.”  If this sounds a bit like a new take on The Ring concept, you’re not alone.  Do horror fans want another film that focuses on antiquated technology stealing your soul?  We’ll see, but if The Ring remake is any indication, this potential franchise starter may leave the cinema “over-exposed”.  The remake stars Madelaine Petsch (Riverdale) and genre favorite Mitch Pileggi (The Shocker, X-Files). Again, the target audience appears to be teenagers, but will they care about or even comprehend a film about a camera that was last used 40 years ago?  No trailer is currently available (or pictures for that matter.  Maybe the producers are afraid of them after watching this film).

Enjoy the summer season and be sure to keep checking The Horror News Network for further updates and reactions to this summer’s horror film slate.

 

 

The Predator Delayed to Late Summer 2018

Fans of The Predator are going to have to wait a little longer to get to da choppa! Fox’s film, which is directed by Shane Black, was originally scheduled to hit theaters on February 9th, 2018. The Wrap reports that the release date has now been pushed back to August 3rd, 2018. No reason was given for this delay.

The Predator began principal photography on February 20th, 2017. Since then, major talent like Yvonne Strahovski and Edward James Olmos have been added to the cast. Those announcements rolled in up until March 27th… a full month after cameras started rolling. Usually the core cast of a film is secured before principal photography begins. Now, two months into production, the release date has been pushed back by five full months. No one has come out and said that the production on the film has been troubled, but all of these developments are starting to add up.

While an extra five months to work on the film certainly allows for more time to improve the picture, this shift in its launch date drops The Predator into a summer release schedule full of stiff competition. Its original February date would have seen the film launching beside Peter RabbitMaze Runner: The Death Cure, and Fifty Shades Freed. None of these movies would appeal to The Predator‘s target audience. On the other hand, August 3rd will see the premieres of Holmes & Watson and an untitled Disney live action film (and we all know how these have been performing at the box office lately).

With that said, Fox could be looking at the film’s long term performance, as the two weeks following a potential February release bring Black Panther and Pacific Rim: Uprising to the marketplace, respectively. And those franchises definitely would have pulled from The Predator‘s target audience. Because studios tend to launch their massive summer blockbusters between the months of May and July, The Predator has no major competition in its second, third, and fourth weeks at the cinemas except for a Scarface remake starring Diego Luna. Only time will tell how this box office calculation ultimately plays out.

Stay tuned to Horror News Network for more developments on The Predator as it breaks!

 

 

Fox Wins Bidding War Over Neil Cross’ Monster Thriller Inside

Deadline reported today that 20th Century Fox outbid a number of rival studios to acquire Neil Cross’ first feature film Inside.

Cross is best known for the critically acclaimed BBC detective series Luther (starring Idris Elba).  Inside “…will be produced by the Picture Company’s Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman. Fox expands its relationship with Cross, Rona and Heineman, who are in the middle of the Escape From New York remake that recently got Robert Rodriguez aboard to direct. Mike Ireland is the Fox exec on that project and will serve in that role on the new project.”

The film will be a departure from Cross’ reality-based crime drama, and will instead focus on ” …a CDC-like secure facility that houses dangerous artifacts that include mythological creatures. The protagonist is a wronged man who finds himself behind bars along with the menagerie of creatures.”

Cross has dabbled in horror in the past however, co-writing the screenplay to 2013’s Mama with Andres Muschietti.  The same year, Cross also wrote two episodes of the BBC’s long-running sci-fi series Doctor Who. 

Stay tuned to Horror News Network for further details on this project as they happen.

Friday the 13th Video Game – New Trailer and Release Date!

It’s finally here, gore whores! Like us, we know that you fellow lovers of chaos and carnage have been eagerly awaiting the release (or at least the release date) of the video game featuring the world’s most famous slasher: Jason Voorhees. Game creators Gun Media and IllFonic announced the news on Twitter today that Friday the 13th: The Game would be available for Xbox One, PS4 and Steam on May 26th, 2017.

Friday the 13th: The Game is a third-person horror/survival game that takes place at the legendary Camp Crystal Lake. Everything you see in the game is straight from the movies you love. You can play as Jason Voorhees or as a camper trying to survive the onslaught. The single-player part of the game is still on track for this summer.

Along with the blood-thirsty maniacs at Gun Media and IllFonic, there are some other names involved in this game that should be mucho recognizable to fans of the series. Master of SFX Tom Savini served as executive producer and cinematographer on the project, the man behind the mask for four of the iconic films, Kane Hodder, was the motion capture actor for the game AND legendary film composer Harry Manfredini who composed nine of the films for the series was on board to score this huge game.

It’s certainly looking like after six years of not owning a gaming system, this guy will be shelling out some cash for one towards the end of May. Enjoy the new trailer below and keep it locked to Horror News Network for our review of the game itself…if we can pry ourselves away from it.

 

Stay gory my friends.

Trailer Revealed for The Walking Dead: A New Frontier – Episode 4

Telltale Games has announced that the latest episode of The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series – A New Frontier will be available for download beginning on April 25th.

The game follows Javier Garcia, a former baseball player who is desperately trying to keep his family alive. Javier faces many trials and tribulations as he makes his way across the Unites States trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. Things quickly go from bad to worse as his family is confronted by a group of unfriendly survivors.

The California-based game publisher, Telltale Games has had massive success with The Walking Dead franchise as they have sold over 50 million episodes of the series worldwide.

The game is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC/Steam, iOS, and Android-based devices.

We’ll keep you up to date with more news from this series as it becomes available.

 

Insidious: Chapter 4 Delayed Until January 2018

Unfortunately, Insidious fans are going to have to spend a little more time in The Further, waiting for Chapter 4 to hit theaters! Variety reports that the film has been pushed back from its planned October 20th, 2017 released date to make way for Universal Pictures’ and Sony Pictures’ “darkly comic” murder mystery, Half to Death. Apparently, the studios felt that moviegoers wouldn’t want to see two horror films during the Halloween season! Both films come from Blumhouse, hot off its massive success with Get Out.

Insidious: Chapter 4 will now debut in theaters on January 5th, 2018. Anyone who follows the movie industry knows that the only thing scarier than some spooky jittery old man or woman in old-timey makeup is an opening weekend in January! January release dates are often reserved for films that studios are not confident about. For example, January 2017 brought us such stinkers as The Bye Bye Man and Underworld: Blood Wars. This time period right after the winter holidays historically sees the lowest theater attendance of all year, so studios find it a suitable month to release projects they’d like to forget about.

To be fair, there are some exceptions. For example, M. Night Shyamalan’s Split also debuted in theaters this past January, and it was, shockingly, a hit with critics and moviegoers. But to be fair, before that film came out most viewers were praying that Shyamalan would never work behind a camera again after all of his cinematic disasters of the past decade; so it wouldn’t be surprising if the stigma surrounding his recent work at the time originally factored into the January release date.

Insidious: Chapter 4 is another prequel to the series, which will follow Lin Shaye’s Dr. Elise Rainier as she explores more creepy hauntings… this time in her family’s home. Co-creator, James Wan, is back, this time to co-produce the film. Leigh Whannell, the other co-creator and director of Chapter 3, wrote the script. Adam Robitel (writer of Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension and director of The Taking of Deborah Logan) directed the film.

Stay tuned to Horror News Network for more details on Insidious: Chapter 4 as it breaks!

Lionsgate Acquires James Wan’s and Alexandre Aja’s New Thriller, Smart House

James Wan’s Saw and Alexandre Aja’s High Tension are two horror films which helped solidify Lionsgate as one of the premiere providers of edgy and intense new material in the early 2000’s, so it’s no wonder that the studio would be eager to work with these two filmmakers again on new material. That opportunity will soon be realized with today’s announcement that Lionsgate has acquired the rights to a new thriller entitled Smart House. Variety reports that the film is based on an original idea of James Wan, who will produce the film. Alexandre Aja will direct. 

According to Variety’s report, Smart House is about “a family in the witness protection program placed in the custody of a state of the art, autonomous ‘smart house.’ When a group of assassins locates the family, the house goes into a lethal defense mode.” This sounds like required viewing for anyone who ever thought about sprinkling Amazon Echo Dots throughout their house!

Lionsgate president of acquisitions and co-productions, Jason Constantine, had this to say about today’s partnership:

“We are delighted that Smart House brings James Wan and Alex Aja back to Lionsgate for this cool, of-the-moment thriller. We had the privilege of being involved with James’ directorial debut with Saw and with Alex on one of his earlier films, High Tension. The idea of combining their talents into one project for the first time is exciting for us and genre fans everywhere.”

Exciting times, indeed! Stay tuned to Horror News Network for more information on Smart House as it breaks!

The X-Files to Return in Second Event Series in 2017-2018

We’ve got some good news for fans of Fox’s The X-Files who couldn’t get enough of the 10-episode revival series which ran in early 2016! After a long period of planning and scheduling, Indie Wire reports that Fox plans to bring back the series for another 10 episodes during its 2017-2018 television season. Chris Carter, David Duchovny, and Gillian Anderson are all set to return for the upcoming project, and production will begin as early as this summer.

Here’s what Fox Broadcasting Company’s President, David Madden, had to say about the new series:

“Iconic characters, rich storytelling, bold creators – these are the hallmarks of great TV shows. And they are some of the reasons why The X-Files has had such a profound impact on millions of fans worldwide. Chris’ creativity, along with the brilliant work of David and Gillian, continue to propel this pop culture phenomenon, and we can’t wait to see what fresh mysteries Mulder and Scully uncover in this next chapter of The X-Files.”

Details about the storyline of the new series are under wraps, and Madden’s comments do little to shed light on the subject. Fox and Chris Carter’s Ten Thirteen Productions released an eerie new teaser poster for the project, which strays from the typical smoky blacks and grays which usually dominate promotional materials for The X-Files. Check out the full image by clicking the banner above, and see if you can spot any clues!

Stay tuned to Horror News Network for more details on this upcoming revival season of The X-Files as it breaks!