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11

‘Ghost Adventures’ New Year’s Marathon Includes the Television Premiere of Zak Bagan’s Documentary ‘Demon House’

A lot of things can scare you on New Year’s eve, but if you are looking for scares of the supernatural variety, The Travel Channel has you covered this holiday season with a two-day Ghost Adventures marathon, and the television premiere of Zak Bagans’ documentary Demon House.  The festivities kick off on Monday, December 31 at 8:00 a.m. , and will feature Bagans, Aaron Goodwin, Billy Tolley and Jay Wasley, highlighting some of their most popular and terrifying investigations including: “Manresa Castle,” “Odd Fellows Asylum,” “Grand Canyon Caverns,” “Old Lincoln County Hospital,” “Palace Saloon,” “Kennedy Mine,” “The Titanic Museum,” “Pythian Castle,” “The Slaughter House,” “Nevada State Prison,” “Black Dahlia House,” “Return to Winchester Mystery House,” “Stone Lion Inn,” “The Washoe Club: Final Chapter,” and more.

According to the official press release, “The marathon culminates in the television premiere of Zak Bagans’ film, Demon House, on Tuesday, January 1 at 9:00 p.m. The documentary follows Bagans’ investigation of a Gary, Indiana, home he purchased sight unseen, after learning about its demonic history. Immediately following the film’s network debut, Travel Channel will premiere the one-hour special “Demon House: Lost Footage,” revealing exclusive, never-before-seen footage from the documentary, along with special commentary from Bagans about the unforgettable and terrifying experience.”

The boys will also return with a new episode in the New Year with “Curse of the River Bend” a two-part Ghost Adventures Special on Saturday, January 5  at 9 p.m.  The location is described as “A city just north of St. Louis, Missouri, Alton sits on the Mississippi River. Rife with dark history, it’s considered one of America’s most haunted towns. The crew investigates two of the town’s most haunted buildings in hopes of capturing paranormal evidence.”

Stay tuned for more updates on the Ghost Adventures team and more holiday marathons, right here at your home for supernatural news, Horror News Network.

 

 

 

 

12

Buy / Wait / Rent: May 2018 Blu-Ray Releases

We sift through the new release heap so you don’t have to!

Welcome to Horror News Network’s Buy / Wait / Rent, a monthly article devoted to the most highly-anticipated horror releases on blu-ray. Here you will find the best home video releases of each month, along with our opinion on whether each film is a must-own on the first day of release, something you should wait to buy until it goes on sale, or something you’re better off renting for a one-time watch. And now, on to the notable new releases of May 2018!


5/1/18:

RENT:

  

Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell will likely satisfy fans who are disappointed about the cancellation of the Kevin Bacon reboot series, and it has a solid cast (including Jamie Kennedy) despite its direct-to-video status. Fans who aren’t series die-hards might want to rent this one until more reviews start to roll out. Winchester released to very poor critical acclaim in spite of solid casting choices like Hellen Mirren and Jason Clarke. Those who are curious about the admittedly-interesting “real life” subject matter should give this one a rental.


5/8/18:

WAIT:

The MVD Rewind Collection is releasing one of Heather Locklear’s strangest movies on blu-ray for the first time! Serious Swamp Thing fans will want this one on their shelves next to the Wes Craven original, but most general collectors could give this release a few months before picking it up at a better sale price.


5/15/18:

BUY:

Shout! Factory’s It’s Alive trilogy falls into a sort of gray area. While the Larry Cohen classic certainly isn’t for everyone, the current pre-order pricing on this set is so good that I don’t expect it to drop tremendously in later sales. I recommend that fans of the franchise pick this one up on day one.


5/22/18:

WAIT:

  

May 22nd’s two major horror-related releases couldn’t be on two further ends of the spectrum, but they both come with “wait” recommendations. The early reviews of the upcoming 4K UHD/HDR transfer of Jurassic Park have been mixed, and it’s too early to tell how they will turn out. Furthermore, Universal has historically dropped the prices on their major box sets significantly in just a few weeks after each release. Even better, fans of the franchise who only really love the first title will eventually be able to pick up individual releases later down the road. Arrow Video’s The Last House on the Left is certainly not for everyone, but its current pre-order pricing is attractive. Fans (who know what they’re in for and know they want the definitive version of this film in their collections) who don’t lock in at that pricing will want to wait for a sale going forward.


5/29/18:

BUY:

Of all of May’s releases, I am most excited for the 4K UHD edition of Annihilation by a mile! Director Alex Garland’s (Ex Machina) film is beautifully shot and it’s going to look stunning in the new format. The only caveat is that this release will be a Best Buy exclusive for a couple of months, so fans who want to own this one right away should pre-order it or pick it up as soon as it becomes available.

 

 

 

13

‘A Quiet Place’ Makes Some Noise at the Box Office with $50 Million Opening

When it comes to box office returns for horror films this year, the releases have been relatively “quiet” at the box office, until Paramount’s A Quiet Place was released this weekend.  According to preliminary reports, A Quiet Place will win this weekend’s box office with $50.4 million, making it the second highest opening so far this year, behind only Black Panther.

Unlike last year, which saw Split and Get Out dominate the winter box office frame, no horror film has been able to capture the attention of audiences in a similar fashion.  Although profitable, many of the horror films (most notably Winchester, Strangers: Prey at Night, and Unsane with $25, $24, and $8 million respectively) under performed, with the exception of Insidious: The Last Key surprising everyone with a $67 million dollar take and an additional $100 million overseas.  A Quite Place is poised to do much better however, taking in almost 75% of Insidious’ domestic gross in its first weekend alone.

Due to the muted response that audiences had to the other horror fare of the season, A Quiet Place was set up to do well at the box office, especially with a 97% score on Rotten Tomatoes and a PG-13 rating which always does well to attract teen audiences, the bread and butter of horror marketing.

A Quiet Place should do well in coming weeks, although the summer season will be in full swing very shortly with the opening of Avengers: Infinity War on April 26.  As far as horror competition, Blumhouse may be thinking they lost a dare when their Truth or Dare has to go up against the film next week and David Tennant’s Bad Samaritan doesn’t open until May 4.

Stay tuned for the HNN review of A Quiet Place and more box office reports and our Summer Horror Movie Preview coming soon!

14

‘Insidious: The Last Key’ Approaching 100 Million at Worldwide Box Office

January is off to a great start for the film industry, thanks to Jumanji, a slew of new releases, and the perennial horror favorite Insidous: the Last Key.

Insidious: the Last Key is quickly approaching the 100 million dollar mark at the worldwide box office, and it should also become the second most profitable film in the entire franchise before its theatrical run is over.  The Last Key added an estimated $12.5 million over the Martin Luther King Day weekend, bringing the film’s total to just over $50 million at the domestic box office.   Internationally, the film is also fairing well with $44 million at this point, with other territories on the horizon.

The Last Key should continue to perform well the rest of this month with little horror competition until Winchester is released in early February. The Last Key actually added theaters in its second week of release, and only experienced an expected 58% drop from its debut weekend.

Jumanji finished first at the four day weekend box office with $35.5 million, continuing to astound an industry that never expected any film to challenge Star Wars: the Last Jedi’s supremacy in the month of January.  The maligned Jedi fell to 6th place this weekend, being beaten by not only Jumanji, but also by The Post, The Commuter, The Greatest Showman, and Insidious.

Stay tuned for more box office updates on this season’s horror favorites and be sure to catch up on all of the upcoming release by using your trusty Horror News Network 2018 Winter Preview as your guide. 

 

 

15

‘The Last Key’ Defeats ‘The Last Jedi’ at Weekend Box Office

Variety is reporting that Insidious: The Last Key defeated Star Wars: The Last Jedi at this weekend’s box office, knocking the film down from first place to third place in its fourth week of release.

Insidious: The Last Key (not to be confused with the Jedi hating Darth Sidious) is projected to finish second at this weekend’s box office with a solid $29 million.  The Last Jedi is projected to finish third with just under $24 million (although if you have paid attention to Jedi’s box office history, the film has performed below estimates every weekend so far, perhaps due to some “Jedi mind tricks” being performed on entertainment reporters by “Darth Disney-ous”).

Insidious: The Last Key (the fourth film in the franchise) opened better than the previous installment ($26 vs. $22 million) and could top both Insidious and Insidious 3’s numbers when all is said and done.  Although the film is sure to experience a 60% or better drop at the box office next weekend, Insidious 4 should continue to perform well since it has no horror competition until the release of February’s Winchester.

First place at the box office went to Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (with a lion-sized $36 million) which has performed well beyond anyone’s expectations.   Jumanji, the big winner of the winter season, will end the weekend with over $240 million at the domestic box office (in addition to $200 million plus overseas).  Whether people love Dwayne Johnson, or just decided that seeing Last Jedi once was more than enough, theater goers have supported Jumanji like few films in recent history, astounding box office prognosticators and Sony executives alike.

Be sure to come back to Horror News Network for more box office analysis and if you a haven’t checked out our Winter 2018 Movie Preview, be sure to take a look so you are prepared for a full slate of upcoming releases during this bone-chilling season.

16

Horror News Network’s Winter 2018 Movie Preview

The winter of 2017 was a banner season for horror films, with Split and Get Out dominating the box office, beginning one of the most profitable years for horror films of all time.  While there might not be a film that reaches the box office heights of either of the aforementioned films, there are a number of intriguing new films, time-tested sequels, and the inevitable stinkers that traditionally appear in this coldest of seasons.

Insidious: the Last Key (January 5): The Insidious franchise returns for a fourth time this January with a slight twist.  The film will chronologically take place before Insidious Chapter 2, focusing on the Lorraine Warren-esque psychic investigator Elise Rainier (portrayed by Lin Shaye) from the original film.  It seems like some “hitchhiking ghosts” have followed the investigator home to get even after the events that took place in the Lambert Household.

This is not a bad idea when it comes to spicing up the fourth entry in a series of successful films, but sequel (and prequel) fatigue is always a concern.  Irregardless, the film should do well on the opening weekend due to the fan base, name recognition, and the fact that no horror film has been released to theaters since Jigsaw in late October.  Insidious: The Last Key was originally scheduled for an October release, but was moved away from a competitive month of October horror films.  The film is directed by Adam Robitel and written by series co-creator Leigh Whannell (who will also appear in the film as the character “Specs”).  The cast also includes Angus Sampson, Josh Stewart, Caitlin Gerard, and Spencer Locke among others.

Winchester (February 2):  If you are looking to “class up” a horror film, you could probably do a lot worse than casting Helen Mirren as the lead in your historical ghost story.  The film, directed by Michael and Peter Spierig (Predestination, Daybreakers), is about the famous widow Sarah Winchester, the heir to the Winchester rifle fortune, who built a bizarre mansion in San Jose, California to supposedly confuse ghosts looking for vengeance on the family that created the weapon that “Won the West”.  The story has been featured on countless cable television ghost programs for years and should be easily recognizable to fans of ghost hunts and eerie tales.

Winchester was moved from its original release date of February 23, 2018 to February 2, 2018, and now opens before the sure-fire hit Black Panther.  With the removal of the still untitled Cloverfield sequel from the Winchester’s debut date, it allows the film to capture the full attention of those looking for some PG-13 frights.  Along with Mirren, the film stars Sarah Snook, Jason Clarke, and Angus Sampson (who is pulling double-duty this winter, as he also appears in Insidious: The Last Key).

Annihilation (February 23): Alex Garland’s (Ex Machina) latest film based on the first novel in Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy has been touched by controversy, but it also arrives as one of the most unique and possibly best horror/sci-fi films of the frame.  It also boasts one of the best casts in any film of the season including Natalie Portman, Oscar Issacs, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Tessa Thompson.    

According to an expose featured in the Hollywood Reporter, producers Scott Rudin and Dave Ellison disagreed over the first cut of the film, with Ellison saying that Annihilation “…had a poor test screening this summer that sources say was the root of the conflict. After the screening, Ellison became concerned that the movie was “too intellectual” and “too complicated,” according to sources, and wanted changes made to make it appeal to a wider audience. They included making Portman’s character more sympathetic as well as tweaking the ending.  Rudin, who executive produced Ex Machina, sided with Garland, defending the movie and refused to take notes. Rudin was able to hold his line, according to a source, because he has final cut.”

Although the dispute ended with the  international rights being sold to Netflix, Annihilation will still screen in theaters in the United States, Canada, and China.

Death Wish (March 3): Bruce Willis takes over the role that made Charles Bronson famous as vigilante Paul Kersey in Eli Roth’s remake of Death Wish.  The film’s first trailer offered a strange combination of revenge scenes mixed with arena rock music; not the tone one remembers from the 1974 film by Michael Winner that launched the urban revenge drama.

The second trailer seems to be more in line with the original film (and thankfully, the music has changed).  Roth is still popular with horror fans and his interpretation of a grindhouse staple certainly seems up his alley, but we’ll have to see which trailer reflects the true essence of this film.  It will also be interesting to see if the realistic and horrific violence of the first film is retained, or if it is made more palpable for a general audience.  This one also has the potential to attract controversy, as the original was often branded by critics as racist and many modern critics and bloggers did not react well to the first trailer, leveling the same charges at the new production.  Watch for this discussion to heat up when the film is released.

Strangers: Prey at Night (March 9):  No release this season has the potential to be more polarizing among fans than Strangers: Prey at Night.  The original film has been lauded by critics and horror fans alike as one of the best horror films released in the new century.  The sequel arrives 10 years after the original hit theaters and one has to wonder if casual fans remember it.  Hardcore fans will, but hardcore fans may also be skeptical about the quality of a sequel that no one asked for or needed.  Reboots or sequels to once-hot properties such as Blair Witch and the Ring landed with a thud at the box office in recent years, so it is worth watching to see if Prey at Night can avoid his trend.

The film is co-written by original writer/director Brian Bertino (along with Ben Ketai) and directed by Johannes Roberts (best known for this past summer’s surprise theatrical hit, the once straight-to-video shark tale 47 Meters Down).  The film stars a trio of small-screen actors including  Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), Bailee Madison (The Fosters), and Martin Henderson (Grey’s Anatomy).

Pacific Rim: Uprising (March 23):  Many reporters in North America figured that the original Pacific Rim would never get a sequel after a underwhelming $100 million dollar take at the box office against a reported $190 million dollar budget, at least until the world-wide receipts were reported…  Pacific Rim did Kaiju-sized business overseas (particularly in China) and grossed almost $310 million outside of North America, so Universal decided to roll the dice again on the giant robots vs. monsters premise.

While it didn’t do huge business in the U.S., the fans that saw it did enjoy Guillermo del Toro’s futuristic “monster mash” and the sequel will star Jon Boyega (one of the young stars of the Force Awakens and the Last Jedi, and hopefully Uprising is more akin to Force than Jedi in terms of quality and coherence) as Jake Pentecost, the son of Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba).  Jake will reunite with Pacific Rim’s Mako Mori to organize a new generation of Jaeger pilots against bigger and badder Kaiju.  The producers are also doubling down on the international box office by casting international stars Tian Jing and Adria Arjona, along with Scott Eastwood and Charlie Day. Uprising is written by del Toro and Zak Penn and directed by first time feature film director Steven S. DeKnight.  DeKnight (a prolific television writer) has directed a handful of television episodes (Daredevil, Smallville), but it will be interesting to see how he handles a CGI-heavy blockbuster.

We hope you enjoyed the preview and be sure to use it as your guide for all of the horror releases during this chilly season, and be sure to come back to Horror News Network for further updates on these films, as well as the Spring 2018 Movie Preview in late March!

17

Universal Removes ‘Extinction’ From Release Schedule

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Universal Pictures has removed sci-fi/horror film Extinction from their release schedule.

The film was originally scheduled for a January 26th release.  It has not been rescheduled at this time. The move is not a surprising one, as no trailer or poster has ever been released for the film, even though the start date is only two months away.

The film stars Michael Pena and Lizzy Kaplan and is directed by Ben Young.  Extinction has been described by Young as “…nothing I’d ever read before. It’s a sci-fi family drama. It’s about a guy trying to redeem himself within his family in the midst of an alien invasion.”

The movie may be a strategic one on Universal’s part.  Universal will release Insidious: The Last Key on January 5th and may have wanted to give the horror staple a chance to generate the most income possible during a weak winter month.  More importantly, the company is keeping Extinction away from both Maze Runner: The Death Cure (January 26th) and the still untitled Cloverfield movie and Winchester: the House that Ghosts Built which both open on February 2nd.

If you are looking for more information on upcoming horror movie releases, be sure to check out 2018’s Horror News Network Winter Horror Movie Preview, available in late December.

 

18

Theatrical Release Date for Annihilation Announced

According to Deadline, Paramount Pictures has announced a February 23rd, 2018 theatrical release date for Alex Garland’s somewhat-secretive film Annihilation (based on the novel by author Jeff VanderMeer.)  A preview of the film was shown to a live audience back in June during CineEurope, but little else was divulged at the time regarding a wide release.  This is welcome news to fans of both the horror and sci-fi genres.

Annihilation, Garland’s follow-up to his critically-acclaimed 2014 film Ex Machina, will also reunite the director with Star Wars‘ Oscar Issac.  Annihilation will also star Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Gina Rodriguez.  Isaac’s Star Wars universe colleague, Natalie Portman, plays the lead of a biologist who signs up for a secretive and dangerous expedition in a post-apocolyptic world, where she finds that the human laws of nature don’t apply.  Garland also wrote the screenplay for the film.

Annihilation will face some serious horror competition based on the announced release dates for a couple of other film projects.  CBS Films’ horror period vehicle Winchester will also open on February 23rd, while the third Cloverfield movie is scheduled to be released just a few weeks prior on February 2nd.

Stay tuned to HNN for more details as they become available!

 

19

Ghost Brothers Season Two Debuts in March on TLC

TLC announced via a press release today that Ghost Brothers will return to TLC’s successful “Friday Night Supernatural Strand” on March 10th, 2017.

Season Two of Ghost Brothers will consist of eight episodes ranging from a visit to, “New Castle, Indiana to investigate paranormal claims at the historic Thornhaven Manor, a desolate sawmill nicknamed the “Mill of Death” in the bayou of Louisiana; the maze-like home of the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose; a haunted elementary school in Middletown, Ohio; the “White Witch” of Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica; and more.”

For those unfamiliar with the show, it follows the similar format of every other cable paranormal investigative program, originated by Syfy’s Ghost Hunters.  Where Ghost Brothers differs is the amount of humor that is injected into the investigations, primarily through the reactions of each member (Dalen, Juwan, and Marcus) of the team to the “ghostly activity” they find.  Because of this, Ghost Brothers is a breath of fresh air next to some of their more serious competition and sets the show apart from many others on the cable dial.

TLC has cornered the market on “ghost shows” of late, not only adding Ghost Brothers to their schedule, but also Paranormal Lockdown (featuring Nick Goff, formerly of the Travel Network’s long running Ghost Adventures) and Kindred Spirits (which features Ghost Hunter alums Amy Bruni and Adam Berry).  All three programs were moved over to TLC from Destination America after each exhibited a degree of success and fan interest (especially after SyFy cancelled perennial fan favorite Ghost Hunters).

Stayed tuned to Horror News Network for more paranormal news and everything else horror.

20

Fall TV – The Horror! The October Premieres (Part 2)

So much horror TV! As our DVRs reach their breaking point, we move into the second half of October. No new shows are on the horizon, but three returning shows are here for our continued enjoyment.

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Supernatural. Thursday, October 13. 9PM on The CW.

Back for its 12th season, Supernatural is still going strong with plot lines and drama at the ready. This season, we get to spend a bit of time with the Winchester matriarch, Mary. Never mind that she has been dead since Sam was a baby; Supernatural cares nothing for death! This show moves characters through life and death, space and time, and in and out of reality however it sees fit. This season looks to be no different and will hopefully offer more of its less serious episodes to lighten the mood a bit as there will certainly be many tears this season.

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The Vampire Dairies. Friday, October 21. 8PM on The CW.

This will be the eighth and final season of the long-running horror soap, The Vampire Diaries. Maybe one of the biggest questions is “will we see Elena (Nina Dobrev) return for the ending?” Here’s hoping that this series will be able to deliver a finale that will leave you feeling satisfied with all of the characters’ choices.

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The Walking Dead. Sunday, October 23. 9PM on AMC.

And here is the one you have all been waiting for…the long awaited return of The Walking Dead. As we all know, last season left off on one of the biggest cliff-hangers of all time: who did Negan hit? Executive Producer Robert Kirkman let us know at San Diego Comic Con that the premiere was going to jump right into the action and not make us wait. This is good news because the fans have certainly waited long enough. This is expected to be a very brutal first episode followed by a season of terrible, terrible things. In addition to the most charming villain in Negan (Jeffery Dean Morgan), a variety of additional characters will make their appearances including one who keeps a tiger as a pet. If AMC really lets this show cut loose and match the comics this will be one of the most tense and brutal seasons yet.

Only November is left and yes, there are more fall shows to come!