Arizona State University, Nanowrimo, and the Chabot Science Center are commemorating the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein with a series of events, including a short-story contest judged by Elizabeth Bear. Read the rest
The world's most famous haunted house, 108 Ocean Avenue (formerly 112 Ocean Avenue), in Amityville, New York is on the market again. This is the Dutch Colonial home where in 1974 Ronald DeFeo, Jr. killed six family members and, four years later, George and Kathy Lutz and their children reported that they were terrorized by evil demons. Their story became the basis for the Jay Anson's 1977 book The Amityville Horror, director Stuart Rosenberg's 1979 film adaptation, and a slew of crappy sequels that followed.
Listed at $850,000, the five bedroom, 3.5 bath home on the Amityville River includes a large boat house and slip.
According to the realtors, "There've been four owners since the murders, and none of them ran out of the house screaming, and there were no strange experiences [such as murder.]"
If I bought it, the first thing I'd do is reinstall the demonic pig'e eye windows.
A promo for "Sadako vs. Kayako," a forthcoming movie in which the monsters from J-horror classics The Ring and The Grudge fight one another, saw the two of them playing out the ceremonial first pitch at a Nippon-Ham Fighters baseball game, with The Ring's Sadako pitching a 96km/h ball to The Grudge's Kayako, who handed off running duties to Toshio. Read the rest
This week, Kodak and Kickstarter announced a joint venture to support low budget film projects that want to shoot on celluloid (that means real film, as opposed to digital). Of the four films Kodak is supporting, psychological horror movie Darkfall is the most interesting to me.
Written, produced, and directed by my long-time buddy magician R. Paul Wilson, Darkfall returns to the classic filmmaking techniques inspired by our fellow conjuror Georges Méliès—that means using magic methods and illusion secrets in place of modern CGI. Inspired by classic horror movies like Cat People, The Haunting and Halloween, Paul hopes to produce a powerful experience using psychology, audio effects, and “in-camera” trickery to terrify the audience.
Special effects and cinematic storytelling were pioneered by Méliès, whose life story was the inspiration for Martin Scorsese’s film, Hugo. Méliès produced and directed over 500 films in which he invented new effects and techniques to tell fantastic stories, leaving an invaluable legacy for future filmmakers. Wilson is a huge fan and, during a visit to an exhibit of Méliès’s work in Madrid, it occurred to him to use modern conjuring methods in the same way.
Paul says, “Filmmaking has evolved at an amazing pace and so has the art of magic, but the two have grown apart, especially with the introduction of digital effects. I began to wonder what Georges Méliès would do with modern magic and the idea grew from there.”
The Darkfall story revolves around how perception can be distorted. It’s a supernatural tale with a killer twist inspired by Paul’s time working on television. Read the rest
Hugh sends us this "beautifully made mashup video of the Republican candidates as Munsters." Read the rest
In Ridley Scott's classic 1979 science fiction/horror film Alien, the terrifying creature was played by a 6'10" Nigerian named Bolaiji Badejo. It was Badejo's only film credit. In fact Badejo, who died of sickle cell disease in 1992 at age 39, wasn't even an actor. He was studying graphic arts in London when casting agent Peter Ardram spotted him in a pub. From CNN:
"As soon as I walked in Ridley Scott knew he'd found the right person," Badejo said in a rare interview for the French film magazine, Cinefantastique, in 1979...
"I could barely see what was going on around me," Badejo recalled in 1979, "except when I was in a stationary position, while they were filming. Then there were a few holes I could look through... It was terribly hot... I could only have it on for about 15 or 20 minutes at a time. When I took it off, my head would be soaked."
Below, Badejo's surreal screen test that I've previously posted:
Indie sf movie kingpin Jim Munroe writes, "Ever wonder how the Hilton and the Marriott families feel about Airbnb? What would happen if the heir to a hotel chain empire gets fed up and decides to rebrand the sharing economy... as the scaring economy? A concept trailer for a new tech-horror webseries called THE INTERNET WANTS by Postopian Pictures, the guys behind HAPHEAD and GHOSTS WITH SHIT JOBS." Read the rest
Lara writes, "The Alpha SF/F/H Workshop For Young Writers is running a scholarship drive February 16-23. Make a tax-deductible donation to change a teen writer's life!" Read the rest
Matt Ruff is a spectacular and versatile science fiction writer who is perhaps most commonly considered an absurdist, thanks to his outstanding 1988 debut Fool on the Hill, but whose more recent works have highlighted his ability to walk the fine line between funny-ha-ha and funny-holy-shit. The Mirage was one such novel, but as brilliant as it was (and it was), it was only a warm-up for this book, Lovecraft Country, a book that takes a run at the most problematic writer in today's pop culture canon and blasts right through him. Read the rest
The Chickening, directed by Nick DenBoer and Davy Force:
It is a theatrical trailer for a fictional film in which Stanley Kubrick’s classic film The Shininghas been artfully transformed into a new, poultryinfused comedy adventure by digitally altering the film to create a new narrative. This new style of filmmaking is a hilarious collision of classic films with modern day visual effects; “Cinegraffiti” — the ultimate neonostalgic visual feast for this digital age.
Zach Smothers hand-colored all 1,300 frames from the opening credit roll of The Munsters, doing a beautiful job that balances the palette of the later color episodes and the classic EC/Haunted Mansion horror-colors. Read the rest