- Jonathan’s Favorites of 2017
- Interview: PSYCHOPATHS Filmmaker Mickey Keating on Making Movies That Celebrate Movies
- Contest: Win HELL NIGHT Collector’s Edition on Blu-ray / DVD
- THE DARK CRYSTAL 30th Anniversary Edition 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray & Digital Release Details
- Get Behind the Wheel with 68 KILL Blu-ray Clips & Trailer
- Interview: Director Adam Robitel on Taking the Reins and Leaning into the Human Drama for INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY
- GAME OF THRONES Tarot Cards Highlight Key Characters from the HBO Series
- February Digital & DVD Release Date Announced for KEEP WATCHING, Co-Starring Bella Thorne & Chandler Riggs
- Sideshow Collectibles Teases New Gotham City Nightmare Collection Joker Statue
Posted: 02 Jan 2018 03:02 PM PST
For many, last year was filled with ups and downs, but one definite highlight was the varied and impressive output of genre entertainment. We're in a golden age of horror in which we're seeing incredible works of art in multiple mediums, and there's so much out there to be thankful for.
For those that are new to Daily Dead, we handle our year-end lists differently here. Rather than just covering films, our lists can extend to TV, games, collectibles, events, and anything else genre-related. In short, we're sharing with you a list of our favorite horror experiences from 2017.
Check back every day this week to find out what made the cut for the rest of the Daily Dead team.
The Shape of Water: I love Guillermo del Toro's Spanish language films, but always felt that his English language output wasn't as strong. I don't blame the language barrier as much as I do the budget and scale of the movies. It's hard to make something in the vein of Pan's Labyrinth when you have a $100 million budget and executives to please.
That's why I'm so happy del Toro went with Fox Searchlight and a smaller budget for The Shape of Water, allowing him to release his Creature From the Black Lagoon-inspired fairly tale without creative interference. The Shape of Water feels like Guillermo del Toro at his most confident, and it's amazing to see a director turn out something like this 30+ years into his professional career. This is easily my favorite film from Guillermo del Toro and my favorite film of 2017.
Resident Evil 7: Survival horror went through terrible growing pains in the 2000s. Companies like Capcom and EA weren't satisfied with the sales numbers, even though these games were profitable. Everyone wanted to make the next Grand Theft Auto and create games that would have the broadest appeal, so survival horror got watered down. We saw games go in a more action direction, with co-op, multiplayer, micro transactions, and needless DLC.
Thankfully, survival horror has rebounded and is stronger than ever. With a clearly PT (Kojima's now-canceled Silent Hill)-inspired vibe, Resident Evil has gone back to its roots with a tight, first-person horror tale that is one of the best survival horror games I've ever played. This game's initially slow and atmospheric pace, merged with disturbingly violent encounters, makes this feel more like an Evil Dead meets The Texas Chain Saw Massacre game, and that is absolutely a compliment. If recent Resident Evil installments make you think this is more of the same, definitely reconsider. This is an absolute must-play game for horror fans.
Get Out: Starting off 2017 on a strong note was Jordan Peele's Get Out. Anyone who watched Key and Peele knows that Jordan Peele was a horror fanatic, but no one expected him to make a movie quite like this for his first directorial outing. There have been a lot of arguments online about how we should classify Get Out. Is it a horror movie? Is it a psychological thriller? Is it a comedy? I just like to say that it's a damn good movie any way you slice it. Equal parts terrifying, socially important, and funny, giving a single label to this movie is the furthest thing from my mind.
It would have been very easy for Jordan Peele to continue with Key and Peele or direct a straight comedy. Even after the success of Get Out, it would have been very easy for him to take on a summer tentpole from a big studio, but he's going to take on another original horror concept as his next directorial effort. He's a true horror fan, the genre runs through his veins, and I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.
The Overlook Film Festival: Long-time Daily Dead readers know that The Stanley Film festival was one of my favorite film festival experiences ever, which is why I'm so happy that the festival's creative team continued the tradition with The Overlook Film Festival this year at the Timberline Lodge in Oregon (used for many of the outside shots in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining).
The Overlook Film Festival was created for horror fans by a team whose passion for the genre runs deep. Not only have they scoured the globe for the latest horror movies that fans will get excited for, but they've also worked with some of the most creative people in performance art and immersive entertainment to offer attendees one-of-a-kind experiences.
The immersive game is THE reason why The Overlook Film Festival was one of my favorite genre experiences ever. There are many film festivals, but there's only one that includes a weekend filled with murders, clues, a witch hunt, and me being gagged, zip-tied, and accused of being a serial killer. Can't wait to see everyone at The Overlook Film Festival in New Orleans this April!
Gerald's Game: Considered by many to be an un-filmable story, Mike Flanagan (Hush) was up to the task of adapting Stephen King's tale of a woman stuck handcuffed to the bed after an unfortunate set of circumstances.
Single-room movies are extremely difficult to pull off, but Gerald's Game keeps your attention for the full hour and 43 minutes thanks to Mike Flanagan and captivating performances from Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood. Also, hats off to everyone involved in creating one of the most cringe-inducing scenes I've ever watched.
Scream Factory & NECA's Silent Night Deadly Night Figure: I've become a little obsessed with NECA's retro Mego-style action figures recently. For the most part they've stuck to fairly safe choices, such as Freddy, Jason, and Ash, but they teamed up with Scream Factory for a Silent Night, Deadly Night Billy figure that was one of the biggest horror collectibles surprises in 2017.
A limited run of only 2000 figures was included as part of Scream Factory's Silent Night, Deadly Night Blu-ray set, and is now sold out, making this an instant collector's item. The fact that this figure even exists is incredible and I'm so thankful to NECA and Scream Factory for teaming up to do this. Here's hoping that we see similar collaborations in the near future.
Dave Made a Maze: Out of all the indie films I saw this year, none were as inventive or stuck with me as long as Dave Made a Maze. In other hands, this concept could have been a very by-the-numbers execution, but the risks definitely paid off here with some inventive uses of perspective and a transformation you'll have to see for yourself. A little bit Doctor Who, a little bit The Muppet Show, and a whole lot of fun, Dave Made a Maze is a movie I've been recommending to friends and readers for most of 2017.
The Devil's Rain: I didn't come under the spell of The Devil's Rain until much more recently, but how can you not love a cult movie starring William Shatner, Ernest Borgnine, and Tom Skerritt, directed by Robert Fuest (The Abominable Dr. Phibes)?
The fact that this was even given a Blu-ray transfer is impressive, but the care given to it by Severin Films is incredible, and the disc is loaded with bonus features. Severin is doing the Devil's work here and I'm thankful that these horror gems are reaching new (and old) audiences.
"Heaven help us all when THE DEVIL'S RAIN!" (How did no one stop them from putting this on the poster???)
IT: Get Out may have been a huge surprise in 2017, but the biggest shock of the year for me was IT. Who would have thought that this adaptation would not just be good, but an all-time great horror movie that broke box office records and did the same kind of business we see from Marvel movies?
With amazing chemistry from the cast and a killer performance from Bill Skarsgård, this R-rated, Stranger Things-inspired take on the Stephen King classic packed theaters for weeks on end. I love that we're in a time now where studios aren't shying away from the R rating, and where average moviegoers are more receptive to horror. IT brought horror fans together, introduced a new generation to Pennywise, and proved to studios that there's a hunger for R-rated horror movies—wins all around and I couldn't be more excited.
John Carpenter Live: I would have never started watching John Carpenter movies had it not been for my mother introducing me to them. Sadly, she was out of the country when I went to see him perform last year, so I was determined to take her to a show when it was announced that Carpenter was going back on tour. Thankfully, Toronto is only a quick drive away and we went to see him perform at the Danforth Music Hall in November.
The general admission venue was much better than being in seats last year, the crowd had some of Canada's biggest horror fans, and the live themes from Halloween, Escape From New York, and Big Trouble in Little China were just as good the second time around. Last year, I said that very few events in my life felt as surreal as giving the Chang Sing hand gesture back to John Carpenter. Seeing the same "how is this real life???" look on my mom's face as she was rocking out to John Carpenter was priceless.
Honorable Mentions: There were so many great genre releases in 2017. Some didn't stay with me as much as those I mentioned above, while others weren't horror enough (or at all) to make the cut. Either way, these were also some of my favorite releases from last year:
Posted: 02 Jan 2018 02:29 PM PST
Arriving today on VOD is Psychopaths, the latest movie from prolific genre filmmaker Mickey Keating, who has helmed six feature films over the last six years, and currently serves as the host for the Shudder exclusive series, The Core. Psychopaths follows various storylines on one fateful night as murder and mayhem take over the streets, and features performances from Ashley Bell, Larry Fessenden, Mark Kassen, Angela Trimbur, Josh Ethier, Jeremy Gardner, and Jeff Daniel Phillips, who serves as the film's narrator.
Daily Dead recently chatted with Keating about his evolution as a filmmaker over the last few years, making movies that celebrate movies, his new talk show on Shudder, and much more. Look for Psychopaths today on VOD, courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films.
Great to chat with you again, Mickey. I think what's really cool about your career is that with every film that you do, you can see this really fun progression with you as a storyteller, and I'm loving this '70s phase you've been in as of late. Was that your biggest challenge with Psychopaths, pushing yourself in a way you hadn't before?
Mickey Keating: Oh yeah, yes, I'm definitely going through my '70s phase for sure, and I think it's funny now, because my next movie that I want to do is very '60s, so I feel like I'm just becoming older and older in spirit. I was watching a lot of Robert Alton movies, a lot of Rainer Werner Fassbinder movies, and this idea of just making cinema as a sensation inspired me. I know that sounds so pretentious, but just making something that is a sensation. It's a roller coaster ride, it's very emotional, more first and foremost than an A to B plot, that was what I was really intrigued by. And, of course, trying to do something like that is very challenging, so a lot of this process was this "Let's see what happens" kind of thing.
I would love to talk about Ashley and Angela's characters, because I immediately was drawn into both of them. A lot of times in movies in this regard, female characters kind of get discarded along the way. Here, they are very much the focal points, and I thought they both gave two very unique and intriguing performances.
Mickey Keating: Oh, that's awesome. With Ashley, we had such a great time working together on Carnage Park, and she's just a force of nature as a human being. And so, just to be able to make something and write a character for her again was great. When I had written the initial draft of the script—this film kind of went through many phases—I hadn't had her character in it. But then, when we worked together on Carnage Park, basically, right afterwards, I was like, "I need to write a character for you in Psychopaths, and let's just build that character together." And so I think her character really comes from just being in awe of such a brilliant performer, and she kind of takes it and runs with it.
Then for Angela as well, initially in the script, the character of Blondie was a little bit different. But when I met Angela right after Sundance, I was just again like, "You are another force of nature. The character will become you." And what's so great about this film was that freedom of just being like, "We'll shoot as much stuff as we possibly can at the greatest psychopath range," and so it was just really great to build two characters around such brilliant actors. It doesn't always happen that way.
Absolutely. Also, you convinced me that I need to have Jeff Daniel Phillips narrate everything in my life now, because I love that dude so much.
Mickey Keating: He's incredible. And yeah, I met him at Sundance, too, and I was just in awe of him and his voice. He's got the perfect voice, and so when we needed a narrator, I begged him to do it, and fortunately, he did.
That's awesome. Now, we've chatted a bunch of times over the last couple years, and I know that you're a huge cinephile and a lot of that can be seen in your work. Is it hard walking that line of creating these homages but still making these stories feel like your own?
Mickey Keating: Yes, absolutely. Wow. It's funny, I think all of my favorite filmmakers always embraced cinema, whether it's going back to Hitchcock or even Kubrick. It's bizarre, because you can see all of the references that inspire Kubrick in Kubrick's movies, and I think what's so interesting is that all art inspires art, and I think in a way, part of encouraging film preservation is the embracing of saying, "This is the art that inspired me. These are the filmmakers that inspired me." And for whatever reason, the power of movies is that there are certain themes that stay in your head, whether you like the films or not.
I just had an argument about this last night, about the film Gummo. Somebody said it was the first movie that they regretted seeing. They informed me that they wished they had never seen it, and my argument to that is, isn't that amazing that a piece of film can inspire such an emotion in you that you wish that you hadn't seen it? And so I think if you love movies, you can't help but have this imprint and shadows of filmmakers that inspire you in your work. That's not something that wears off. And I guess I just want to make movies that celebrate movies, because I love movies, and I always will.
I know that you're doing that new show The Core on Shudder now, and I'm curious, what's that process been like for you? Because now you're putting yourself out there in a totally different way.
Mickey Keating: Yeah, again, I think I always want to be doing unexpected things, so that nobody knows what I'm going to do next, if that makes sense. I feel like the thrill of the quick, abrupt left hand turn is something that I really get a thrill for. And so The Core is something that is totally different than a movie. I approach it from a film fan perspective first, and I don't really approach it at all from a director's perspective. So that's a very different experience for me.
But it's just such an exciting thing. Any opportunity that I get to sit and talk with people like Mary Harron or Adam Green or Leigh Whannell and just dissect what inspires them about movies, it's so wonderful, and it's such a great, different look into film, as opposed to being a director and always panicking, from that perspective. Now, the directors on the show, I'm sure they're panicking when they're shooting it, but it's just a really exciting thing. And it's great to be able to be on the receiving end of gallons of blood, too, because that's something I'm a big fan of. It's been a great experience.
The post Interview: PSYCHOPATHS Filmmaker Mickey Keating on Making Movies That Celebrate Movies appeared first on Daily Dead.
Posted: 02 Jan 2018 01:58 PM PST
After being possessed by the demon Pazuzu in The Exorcist, Linda Blair faced a different kind of threat that made some horror fans "pray for day" in Hell Night. With the 1981 slasher film out now on a Collector's Edition Blu-ray from Scream Factory, we've been provided with three copies to give away to lucky Daily Dead readers.
Prize Details: (3) Winners will receive (1) Collector's Edition Blu-ray / DVD combo pack copy of Hell Night.
How to Enter: We're giving Daily Dead readers multiple chances to enter and win:
Entry Details: The contest will end at 12:01am EST on January 9th. This contest is only open to those who are eighteen years of age or older that live in the United States. Only one entry per entry method, per household will be accepted.
The post Contest: Win HELL NIGHT Collector's Edition on Blu-ray / DVD appeared first on Daily Dead.
Posted: 02 Jan 2018 01:32 PM PST
The story of The Dark Crystal continues to live on in many forms since its release 30 years ago, which is a sign of a timeless narrative. To celebrate the film's recent anniversary, it is being re-released on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and digital platforms on March 6th, and we have the complete list of bonus features for the 4K restoration.
The post THE DARK CRYSTAL 30th Anniversary Edition 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray & Digital Release Details appeared first on Daily Dead.
Posted: 02 Jan 2018 01:24 PM PST
Love is strange. You can now visually go for the wild ride that Liza (AnnaLynne McCord) takes Chip (Matthew Gray Gubler) on in three high-def clips from Trent Haaga's film adaptation of Bryan Smith's 68 Kill, out this month on Blu-ray and DVD from Scream Factory.
The post Get Behind the Wheel with 68 KILL Blu-ray Clips & Trailer appeared first on Daily Dead.
Posted: 02 Jan 2018 10:55 AM PST
While no stranger to the realm of horror, filmmaker Adam Robitel (The Taking of Deborah Logan) is a newcomer to the world of Insidious, as he was recently brought on to helm the latest chapter in the franchise, The Last Key. This fourth Insidious film goes back to where it all began for Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye)—her childhood home—as a dark presence has settled in that's terrorizing the house's new resident, and only she has the power to stop to it.
During the recent press day for Insidious: The Last Key, Daily Dead had the opportunity to chat with Robitel about coming aboard the successful franchise, and he discussed having to prove himself to Blumhouse before taking on directorial duties, his experiences collaborating with his longtime friend Lin Shaye, and the inspiration behind The Last Key's demonic baddie.
Look for Insidious: The Last Key in theaters everywhere this weekend, courtesy of Universal Pictures.
Great to speak with you today, Adam. I really enjoyed Deborah Logan. What was the experience like coming into the Insidious franchise? There are the established players involved already, and you're essentially coming in to play in this new sandbox, yet you have to find a way to make it your own, too.
Adam Robitel: Yeah, there was definitely a steep learning curve. I felt like the dog who caught the bus, though. I had known James Wan socially through Lin Shaye, actually, and James was really supportive of The Taking of Deborah Logan. And so, when Leigh Whannell decided he was not going to direct this one, I guess my name was put on a short list. And I went into Blumhouse, because I think when you make a found footage movie, you have to kind of prove to the powers that be that you can make a traditional movie too, because it's a different skill set. So, I went in and really auditioned, where I had a bunch of presentational material and storyboards and concept art about the demon.
But at its core, about a week into shooting, I realized I can't "Out-Wan the Wan." James is so good at what he does, and so that was really liberating in the sense of I really leaned into the human drama of Insidious: The Last Key. Because really, it's about childhood abuse, it's about a father who does not understand his daughter and is therefore punishing her. And I think that's far scarier than any demon who could pop out of a door. For me, it's always about whether or not you can take the horror stuff, the scares, out of it and it still works—whether it's Alzheimer's and a daughter struggling as a caregiver, or if you're a young girl who has this ability and her father's literally trying to beat it out of her. That's what is fascinating to me.
And look, Leigh Whannell was super cool, too, and super gracious, and I learned a lot from him. And if there was ever a time when I've wanted to do something that was a little outside of the Insidious world, he was there to say, "Uh, maybe you shouldn't set kittens on fire." Not that I wanted to set kittens on fire, but you get the idea [laughs]. So, I had a lot of help and it was a great learning experience. Each movie you do is like a whole new film school.
Plus, when you're working with Blumhouse, you can't get a better film school than that since they're known for being hands off, for the most part, and really allow their directors the space to stretch a bit.
Adam Robitel: Oh yeah, they give you a lot of latitude, and they leave you alone. And that was definitely my experience, and it was very empowering in that sense. And look, there are always challenges, and you always want more time each day. There were logistical challenges, but the best part was working with Lin Shaye, because I have been friends with Lin for a long time. I've acted in a couple of movies with her, and she's just amazing. She's a tour de force, and it was just such a pleasure to direct her in this.
Was that a different collaborative process for you then, working with Lin, because you did have that shorthand with her already?
Adam Robitel: I think that I could push her a little further because I knew her, and I'd had this preexisting relationship. Each relationship with an actor is like a marriage, and you don't know what their process is until you're in the thick of it with them. And so much of it, my job, is to stay out of their way when they're really good, or to sculpt when they might be going off the rails. A lot of times it was like, "Okay, we did a big version, let's do a subtler version now," or things like that.
There was this funny moment where Lin called me on something, and she was totally right. We're outside of Elise's house, and I have this Prius picked out for her character's car. Lin comes up to me, and she's like, "Elise wouldn't drive a Prius; you are so off-base here." And so, we found some beater truck that was much more in line with who Elise was as a person. And I was like, "That's it." But because we had this relationship, she knew she could call me on that, all in an attempt to make the movie better.
I'm curious, because you mentioned bringing in concept art early on, I was wondering if the Key Demon was your doing, or if that was something dictated by the script? Because that design was great.
Adam Robitel: Yeah, when I read the first draft when I came in, it did not have the demon in it. There was the motif of locks and keys and prison and sort of the austerity of living near a prison, which I thought was interesting. And so, one of the things I brought to the table was that I told them, "Guys, I think you need an entity in the movie. When I think of Insidious, I think of the Lipstick Demon, I think of the Man Who Couldn't Breathe. And so, from that initial draft, I pitched this idea, and I worked with a concept artist by the name of Jacob Hare, and we did some early, early work on what Key Face could look like.
I loved this idea of a gullet with a keyhole to it. And then, in one of Jake's early drawings, he did keys for fingers, and so I really glommed onto that. Ultimately, Justin Raleigh from Fractured FX, who does all James' stuff, took our early concept art and kept refining it. I was like, "We have to put Javier Botet in the movie," because he has this great physicality, he's very thin and reed-like. And so, it was an evolution out of the themes that were in the first draft that gave birth to this entity. I think he came out pretty great.
Posted: 02 Jan 2018 10:17 AM PST
See what the future holds for you with these Game of Thrones tarot cards, plus a hardcover instructional book from Liz Dean. Written by Dean and illustrated by Craig Coss, this official deluxe set will be released in March, and we have a look at thirteen of the tarot cards to help sweeten your wait.
The post GAME OF THRONES Tarot Cards Highlight Key Characters from the HBO Series appeared first on Daily Dead.
Posted: 02 Jan 2018 10:09 AM PST
In Sean Carter's Keep Watching, Bella Thorne (Amityville: The Awakening) and Chandler Riggs (The Walking Dead) must play "Kill or Be Killed," and if you missed its one night only theatrical release, you can experience Keep Watching on digital platforms and DVD beginning February 6th courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
The post February Digital & DVD Release Date Announced for KEEP WATCHING, Co-Starring Bella Thorne & Chandler Riggs appeared first on Daily Dead.
Posted: 02 Jan 2018 08:05 AM PST
Home to some of the most intriguing characters in comic book history, Gotham City, when viewed by the right creative eye, can become the setting of a full-on horror story. With their Batman statue, Sideshow Collectibles proved that even the Dark Knight is not immune to being perceived as a monster. The next character in the Gotham City Nightmare Collection is one of the creepiest to walk the streets of Gotham, and Sideshow's daring depiction of the iconic villain may even give Batman nightmares.
Revealed by Sideshow as a special holiday season treat, the Nightmare Joker statue offers a haunting new take on the Clown Prince of Crime. We all knew that the Joker was mad, but this new statue (what has been revealed of it so far) brings Batman's nemesis to a whole new level of insanity.
Showing the Joker as he may appear to someone overtaken with fear (or someone who took a deep pull on the Scarecrow's fright-filled hallucinogen), this statue stretches the character's grin into an impossibly wide smile packed with rows of teeth that look ready to gnash down on anyone unlucky enough to get too close.
Sideshow has so far only revealed a fraction of the new Joker statue, but full details and photos will eventually be revealed, and we'll be sure to share them with you when the time comes. In the meantime, you can see the new teaser image of the Joker statue below... just make sure it's not the last thing you see before you go to bed.
The post Sideshow Collectibles Teases New Gotham City Nightmare Collection Joker Statue appeared first on Daily Dead.
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