Burning rubber on the small screen tonight is the first episode of Blood Drive, a new Syfy series that's both a lurid love letter to Roger Corman's Death Race movies and the gory, glorious drive-in days of old, while also making a mark with its own crimson-stained swagger. Taking place in a world circa 1999 where water is coveted above currency and violence is commonplace, Blood Drive is populated with intriguing characters looking to make it across the finish line in a cross-country race with a big prize and an even bigger penalty for losing. There is nothing else on television quite like Blood Drive, and with the series premiering tonight on Syfy at 10:00pm ET, I had the pleasure of speaking with lead actor Alan Ritchson about playing Arthur Bailey, a moral compass in a world gone mad.
Not often do the worlds of horror and musicals cross over. Aside from a few notably strange blends—The Rocky Horror Show and Repo! The Genetic Opera of course, along with the elusive but acclaimed Evil Dead musical extravaganza—and other efforts that missed the mark (did you know there was a Dracula musical? There’s probably a reason you didn’t.), these genres are polar opposites. How does one combine the melodrama and cheese of a musical with the dreadful macabre of horror? By being SLASHED! That’s how.
This past weekend, the 2017 Dances With Films festival wrapped up here in Los Angeles, and before we said goodbye to the fest’s impressive slate of indie genre projects, we had the opportunity to check out the stellar short film, Alfred J. Hemlock, from co-writer/director Edward Lyons and co-writer/producer Melissa Lyons. It stars Tristan McKinnon as the titular character who stalks a young woman named Emily (Renaye Loryman) one night down a darkened alley and terrorizes her, only to have Emily push back against her supernatural antagonizer in some unexpected ways.
The feature film directional debut of Jason Lei Howden, 2015’s Deathgasm is the perfect party flick for horror hounds and headbangers alike. Taking a blood-soaked page or two out of New Zealand counterpart Peter Jackson’s first feature film, Bad Taste, this satanic-themed splatter-fest also turns things up to "11" with a soundtrack filled with some of black metal’s finest. Needing an artist to capture the essence of the film for the vinyl release, Death Waltz Records commissioned Sam Turner to dish out a devilish display for the album’s cover art.
Thanks to The Omen (1976) and little Damien’s watchdog, Hollywood figured they could mine some horror from our canine friends, on the assumption that there’s something inherently evil to exploit. Except…they’re not. Are they sometimes vicious? Definitely. But I would hardly call dogs evil, especially ones allegedly in favor with Satan. Which brings us to todays’ Tube, as TV naturally had to take a shot at demonizing our four legged friends, a task at which Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell (1978) fails spectacularly. It is however, a blast and more fun than a bowl full of kibble.
By the early ‘70s, Hammer films was wheezing and sputtering just to stay alive. Their attempts to stay current with the changing tides of horror were often misbegotten and misdirected (Dracula A.D. 1972, anyone?) as the plots continued to recycle shopworn ideas when audiences were ready for more modern concerns, such as hulking maniacs with chainsaws. In essence, time was passing Hammer by, and they were willing to try anything. Hence we arrive at The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974), a delightful elixir of Dracula and…Kung Fu. This was the last gasp for Hammer’s beloved franchise, and it’s a very worthy burial.
The legendary Boris Karloff portrayed many iconic characters throughout his long career—The Monster in Frankenstein (1931) and Imhotep in The Mummy (1932) are undoubtedly two of the most recognizable. Mr. Karloff's roles in these films are a fundamental building block in creating the foundation for Universal Pictures, which would go on to make the classic monsters we can all identify today.
And now, Tom Cruise has been chosen to lead the Universal Monster universe in a new direction, with a new franchise.
This weekend marks the final days of the 2017 Dances With Film festival being held at the Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. Later tonight, director Adam Ripp’s supernaturally themed thriller Devil’s Whisper will be enjoying its world premiere at the historic cinema.
In Joseph Conrad's cynical, politically influenced work Under Western Eyes, the author takes steps in describing themes of terrorism, the degradation of character, and the suffering experienced by ordinary people caught in the wave of political influence. Mr. Conrad makes a poignant statement describing how two factions of society lived in pre-Revolutionary Russia when it is stated, "only that a belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness."
It's within this nature of humanity that writer/director Trey Edward Shults positions his new film It Comes At Night; within the turmoil that humanity faces with the unknown, within the natural distrust that exists deep in the souls of humans, within the emotions that motivate choices to act without compassion.
There are horror authors whose fiction never sees the light of a film screen. This is likely for the best—their works are so complex and visually bizarre that an adaptation would destroy them. Thomas Ligotti is a prime example of this barrier. Most of his stories are so perfectly phrased and nebulous that seeing them, rather than reading them, would break their terrifying spell. That does not mean that their themes or aesthetics can’t be translated into film through different, less rigid structures. Perhaps unintentionally, Alex Proyas embodies many of Ligotti’s qualities in his cinematic masterpiece, Dark City.
Here’s a spicy hot take—I’m as far as one could get from excited for Universal’s new film The Mummy. This isn’t exactly the movie’s fault, per se, as much as it is the world the movie inhabits, a sort of bizarro realm where a Brian Tyler-scored Tom Cruise action spectacle that’s meant to lay the groundwork for a Marvel-style cinematic universe, complete with Dr. Jekyll in the role of Nick Fury, is the most commercially viable way to make a movie about an ancient mummy’s curse. Now, I can see why the film’s being made, and you can’t exactly fault a studio for wanting to chase the money train that is the MCU, but personally, I couldn’t care less about the picture being released. Because when I think of mummies, I don’t think of Tom Cruise, or Brendan Fraser, or even Boris Karloff or Lon Chaney Jr. I think of Christopher Lee.
Now in theaters everywhere is The Mummy from director Alex Kurtzman, and earlier this week, Daily Dead had the chance to speak with the filmmaker about his approach to resurrecting the classic Universal Monster for modern audiences, marrying horror and action, his experiences collaborating with Tom Cruise, and more.
On Friday, June 9th, Aaron B. Koontz’s Camera Obscura hits theaters before making its way onto VOD platforms everywhere just a few days later on the 13th. The psychological horror film stars Christopher Denham (Money Monster, The Bay), Nadja Bobyleva (Bridge of Spies), Noah Segan (Looper, Starry Eyes, Brick), and also features some other stellar supporting talent that should be familiar to genre fans, including Chase Williamson (John Dies at the End, Beyond the Gates), Andrew Sensenig (We Are Still Here), and Gretchen Lodge (Lovely Molly).
Arriving in theaters this weekend is Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy, kicking off Universal’s upcoming Dark Universe that hopes to resurrect all of the studio's classic monsters for modern audiences. During the press day earlier this week, Daily Dead had the opportunity to speak with Jake Johnson (Jurassic World, New Girl) about taking on his most action-oriented role to date, collaborating with Tom Cruise as well as Kurtzman, and more.
This Friday, June 9th, Trey Edward Shults’ It Comes At Night arrives in theaters everywhere. The pandemic-themed horror/domestic hybrid thriller stars Joel Edgerton, Carmen Ejogo, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Riley Keough, and Christopher Abbott, and explores how paranoia and fear can tear apart even the strongest of families and exploit our own psychological cracks, most of all when we least expect it.