In the early 1970s, acclaimed horror director George A. Romero was commissioned by the Lutheran Society to make a new film to help raise awareness about ageism and elder abuse. And in true Romero fashion, he did just that. As Bloody Disgusting describes the story:
The Amusement Park stars Martin’s Lincoln Maazel as an elderly man who finds himself disoriented and increasingly isolated as the pains, tragedies, and humiliations of aging in America are manifested through roller coasters and chaotic crowds.
According to the RogerEbert.com review, The Amusement Park was so shocking and appalling that the Lutheran Society refused to release it. The movie was canned until recently, when Romero's widow, Suzanne, produced a 4K restoration of the film, which has thus far aired at a few festivals. "Though not in the horror genre it is George’s most terrifying film," Suzanne Romero said. "It has Romero’s unique footprint all over it!"
The formerly lost film has now been purchased by Yellow Veil Productions for distribution, and is expected to be available within the year on digital platforms as well as in theaters, if those still exist.
George A. Romero’s Long Lost Film “The Amusement Park” Being Sold by Yellow Veil Pictures [John Squires / Bloody Disgusting]
George A. Romero’s Restored Lost Film Is Ready for Release: ‘His Most Terrifying Movie’ [Zack Sharf / Indiewire] Read the rest
This rare color test footage of Boris Karloff goofing around during the 1939 filming of Son of Frankenstein is even more fun than the classic creature feature!
(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest
Want a Jason Voorhees mask from its legendary creator? Complete with a fabric backing to reduce the likelihood of viral transmission? Tom Savini is taking orders. Via iHorror:
Savini has worked on two of the Friday the 13th films, the 1980 original as well as Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter in 1984. Baker was responsible for the visual effects on The Dark Knight Rises. If anyone can create a fashionable and functional mask for the health and safety of others, it’s this duo! Now horror fans can don the infamous hockey mask as they protect themselves, and others, from COVID-19. The masks are being sold for $60. However, if you want your mask autographed by the father of horror make up effects himself, Savini’s signature will grace your Voorhees mask for an additional $40.
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Ice Cream Man is one of the comic books I most look forward to every month. Written by W. Maxwell Prince with art by Martín Morazzo and Chris O'Halloran, it's basically a horror anthology that mines the existential depths of suburban ennui. And all of it, or some of it, may tie back to the Ice Cream Man, who might be a demon, or a God, or maybe it's all in your head. Each issue is a done-in-one, focusing on a new and different character (although there are some subtle connections between them), and many of them take hyper-stylized approaches to graphic storytelling — an entire issue written and drawn as a palindrome, for example; and another one where an incident with Neapolitan ice cream bar creates 3 splintering timelines, shaded in chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry (A Vulture review compared this issue to "Sliding Doors, but terrifying," which is accurate).
Unfortunately, the comic book industry is now indefinitely on hold thanks to the coronavirus pandemic (an invisible existential horror which would actually be right home in an issue of Ice Cream Man).
But now the creators of Ice Cream Man have launched Quarantine Comix, a digital-only collection of short comics in Ice Cream Man continuity that they'll release online once or twice a week. There's more:
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Half of profits go to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (BINC), which supports struggling booksellers. This includes local Comic Book Shops, who are facing unprecedented financial hardship after the closure of many of their stores, the temporary shuttering of their distribution system, and the non-operation of pretty much every paper printer in the country.
I count myself as one of the superfans of horror auteur Jordan Peele, so I'm superexcited to see his remake of Candyman, a 1992 cult-favorite about an urban legend that turns out not to be a legend. Peele produced and co-wrote the screenplay, and it comes out June 12, 2020.
From the synopsis:
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For as long as residents can remember, the housing projects of Chicago’s Cabrini Green neighborhood were terrorized by a word-of-mouth ghost story about a supernatural killer with a hook for a hand, easily summoned by those daring to repeat his name five times into a mirror. In present day, a decade after the last of the Cabrini towers were torn down, visual artist Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II; HBO’s Watchmen, Us) and his girlfriend, gallery director Brianna Cartwright (Teyonah Parris; If Beale Street Could Talk, The Photograph), move into a luxury loft condo in Cabrini, now gentrified beyond recognition and inhabited by upwardly mobile millennials.
With Anthony’s painting career on the brink of stalling, a chance encounter with a Cabrini Green old-timer (Colman Domingo; HBO’s Euphoria, Assassination Nation) exposes Anthony to the tragically horrific nature of the true story behind Candyman. Anxious to maintain his status in the Chicago art world, Anthony begins to explore these macabre details in his studio as fresh grist for paintings, unknowingly opening a door to a complex past that unravels his own sanity and unleashes a terrifyingly viral wave of violence that puts him on a collision course with destiny.
The incredible Julia Garner stars in the upcoming horror movie, The Assistant, which Vanity Fair says, "tracks a day in the life of Jane (Julia Garner), a recent college graduate working as a junior assistant to a powerful, abusive (and unnamed) movie mogul in Manhattan." Vanity Fair has a brief exclusive clip from the movie. Above, the trailer. Read the rest
Famed "Mother" crooner and former ex-lead-singer of the Misfits Glenn Danzig has finally directed his first film, and of course it's a horror anthology. The movie's called Verotika, and while I'm slightly disappointed he didn't name it Die Die My Darling, this absolutely bonkers minute-long trailer makes up for it.
The trailer doesn't really tell you what the movies about, per se, but it definitely gives you some gorey, self-indulgent, eerily terrifying B-movie vibes—though whether it's genuinely terrifying, or just terrifyingly bad, well, the reviews so far lean towards the latter. Alex McLevy at the AV Club caught the film last summer at the Cinepocalypse Film Festival in Chicago, and his review is a work of art in and of itself:
Within the first 60 seconds, a narrator pokes out a woman’s eyes with her fingers, and it works all too well as a metaphor for what this movie puts the audience through.
This wasn’t quite the willful misunderstanding of a Tommy Wiseau, but it wasn’t far off.
Glenn Dan-zigged where he should have Dan-zagged, and for that we should all be profoundly grateful.
Verotika will be available on Vimeo on-demand starting February 25, with a 3-disc collector’s set to follow in March. Read the rest
Universal's attempts to make their shared Dark Universe full of updated iterations of classic movie monsters, has so far, been kind of a failure. Sure The Mummy was flashy and filled with big names. but its script was lacking in the substance that made the original film so great. And while it wasn't a Dark Universe film, Universal's The Wolfman suffered from the same problem. From the looks of things, Universal's intellectual property losing streak may well change with The Invisible Man.
If the trailer is anything to go by,iIt looks to be full of suspense and possesses a plot that might put bums in seats once the reviews come in. That Elisabeth Moss, versatile actor that she is, has been cast as the lead gives me hope that maybe this will be a Universal monster movie worth the price of admission. Read the rest
A friend of mine on Facebook posted a link to this wonderfully twisted and funny Twitter exchange between the brilliant Chuck Wendig (author of Zer0es, the Star Wars Aftermath trilogy, and one of my all-time fave books on scrivener-craft, The Kick-Ass Writer) and Sam Sykes (author of The City Stained Red).
Cue the backwards violin music and read the rest of the exchange here.
[H/t Andrew Terranova] Read the rest
George Romero was 27 when he made the zombie movie Night of the Living Dead on a $114,000 budget. He went on to make over 20 movies, many with a horror or zombie apocalypse theme. He died today at age 77 from lung cancer.
From the LA Times:
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In recent years, as the zombie genre had a resurgence, Romero wasn’t always a fan. He told a British newspaper in 2013 that he’d been asked to do some episodes of “The Walking Dead,” but had no interest.
“Basically it’s just a soap opera with a zombie occasionally,” he told the Big Issue. “I always used the zombie as a character for satire or a political criticism, and I find that missing in what’s happening now.”
Romero took an intellectual view to his depiction of zombies, an approach he found lacking in some of the work that came after him.
“I grew up on these slow-moving-but-you-can’t-stop-them [creatures], where you’ve got to find the Achilles’ heel, or in this case, the Achilles’ brain,” Romero told The Times in 2005, referring to the organ whose destruction waylays a zombie. “In [the remake] they’re just dervishes, you don’t recognize any of them, there’s nothing to characterize them.... [But] I like to give even incidental zombies a bit of identification.
HYPNO-VISTA was an experimental opening sequence used in the late 1950s on a few horror movies. The film would be spliced to start with a hypnotist practicing that dark art. Read the rest
Japanese culture website Tofugu has a rundown of the best Japanese horror movies of all time. Number 6 on the list is Hausu, a cartoonishly gory flick from 1977.
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This is what makes Hausu great. It's an absolutely childish horror movie. So much so that the characters are one-dimensional (their names even indicate their behavior). But it all plays into the experience. Watching Hausu as an adult means you're forced to think like a child and find scary the things children find scary. This makes for gory fun when the piano starts dismembering people, blood gushing out its sides.
Sometimes Hausu's blend of silliness and gore is perfect. Other times not so much. But despite the film's imperfection, it works because it's authentic. Though people in 2010 praised Hausu for its "wackiness," I think affection for the film comes from its authenticity. Hausu knows exactly what it wants to be and goes for it full force. Combine that with a childlike perspective and you've got a film worth falling in love with.
In German-speaking Alpine lands, as Americans are increasingly aware, St. Nicholas is accompanied on his gift-giving rounds by the devilish Krampus, who’s said to punish naughty children with stinging blows from birch switches, by stuffing them in a sack and carrying them off to hell, throwing them in a lake, or even eating them -- punishments that all seem infinitely more pleasant than sitting through Michael Dougherty’s horror-comedy Krampus due in theaters December 4.
I am not a film critic. I was invited to a preview screening because of my involvement in co-producing Krampus events in Los Angeles since 2013. Over the course of these events and in writing a book on the subject, I’ve had conversations with dozens of Europeans who don the suits annually. I’ve talked to mask-carvers, and Austrian cultural anthropologists, and gotten close enough to Alpine Krampuses to smell their animal pelts and steamy, schnappsy breath. I know the Krampus pretty well, well enough to say this film has almost nothing to do with that old devil.
Even from the trailers I already knew we weren’t exploring authentic traditions. I expected some creativity with the tradition and wanted to be entertained. I was there as a horror fan. I’ve been one all my life. By the age 10, I could tell you the release date, directors, lead players and usually the make-up artist behind any of Universal’s classic horror films. But sitting in the Carl Laemmle building watching this, I could hear the old man cursing the very first pfennig he dropped in a nickelodeon. Read the rest
Halloween is almost upon us; apropos of the season, here’s a tale of terror in a Manhattan movie theater, and a horror film that changed cinema.
Living in New York City in my 20s, I was one of those geeks who saw a helluva lot of movies on opening day, back when you had to wait in line for an hour in order to make sure you actually got into the theater. Benefits? I saw the cut scene at the end of The Shining where Shelly Duval is in the hospital; saw Heaven’s Gate twice at its full length before it got the chop; saw At Long Last Love before it got the chop; and so on.
As an aside, I saw E.T. on opening day on June 11, 1982. Yuck … thought it was a bucket of emotional diarrhea for kids. A genuinely awful movie that was beloved by many, and why that is so remains a complete mystery to me, even today. It’s just bleh.
Also saw lots of films previewed before they were released, including a completely different cut of Capricorn One that was almost an hour longer than the final edit. These types of previews were always “blind” — you never knew what film you were going to see. However, the rumor got around that a new film by John Carpenter was going to preview at the Kips Bay Cinema on Second Avenue at midnight on June 24, 1982. Before the Internet, there were only rumors, but the dedicated knew it was a pretty good bet that it was going to be his remake of John Campbell’s novella Who Goes There? Read the rest
Shot on a $25,000 budget and a 35-page script that called for lots of improvisation, 1999's The Blair Witch Project made an astounding $248 million in theaters. Mental Floss put together a fun list of 17 facts about the horror movie classic. Read the rest
Think through trauma and anxiety in a therapy group of film "final girls."