DREAD presents Assassinaut, which is set to be released on VOD and Blu-ray on July 30th. Also in today's Highlights: Crawl's 4DX release and a Q&A with The Saturday Night Ghost Club author Craig Davidson.

Assassinaut VOD and Blu-ray Release Details: "Coming July 30th to VOD and Blu-Ray from DREAD is the very space-ial horror-thriller, ASSASSINAUT!

In the near future, aliens have invaded Earth and declared a galactic war resulting in thousands of human casualties. To save Earth, a team of four teenage astronauts braves the alien wilderness of a distant planet to stop an assassin from changing the course of history forever.

ASSASSINAUT is written and directed by Drew Bolduc, starring Vito Trigo (Return to Nuke 'Em High), Johnathan Newport (Permanent), Shannon Hutchinson, Jasmina Parent, and Yael Haskal.

About Epic Pictures
Established in 2007, Epic Pictures Group has grown to become one of the most creative and dynamic independent studios. Focusing on filmmaker-driven projects. Epic often helps shape them from script to launch via its domestic distribution division, Epic Pictures Releasing. Epic Pictures Group seeks out relationships with exceptional producers and talent in order to secure A-level, high-quality projects. Epic Pictures Group actively develops a full range of new relationships and strategic alliances with financers, independent production companies, producers and studios both domestically and in Europe and Asia. Epic Pictures recently acquired Dreadcentral.com and now features horror titles through DREAD."

Red band trailer:

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Crawl's 4DX Release Details: "CJ 4DPLEX (www.cj4dx.com), the world's leading cinema technology company, and Paramount Pictures announced today the release of Crawl in the immersive, multi-sensory 4DX format. The announcement further extends the commitment between CJ 4DPLEX and Paramount Pictures with plans to announce additional titles later in 2019. Crawl will open in 4DX auditoriums on July 7th.

The summer release of Crawl builds on successful past releases with Paramount including A Quiet Place, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Bumblebee and Pet Sematary. Crawl is directed by Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes) and produced by Sam Raimi (Don’t Breathe, Evil Dead) and Craig Flores (300).

When a massive hurricane hits her Florida hometown, Haley (Kaya Scodelario) ignores evacuation orders to search for her missing father (Barry Pepper). Finding him gravely injured in the crawl space of their family home, the two become trapped by quickly encroaching floodwaters. As time runs out to escape the strengthening storm, Haley and her father discover that the rising water level is the least of their fears.

“We are thrilled to announce the addition of Crawl in our lineup this year. It will be the perfect addition to our summer slate where we know 4DX will amp up the horror and action beats, adding water, motion and all the effects, giving the film a full 4DX treatment. It’s going to be an incredible experience for moviegoers this summer to watch Crawl amplified in 4DX,” JongRyul Kim, CEO of CJ 4DPLEX.

“We can’t wait to share Crawl in 4DX with audiences this summer and expand our partnership with CJ 4DPLEX,” said Mark Viane, President of International Theatrical Distribution at Paramount Pictures. “Paramount Pictures is always looking to create new and engaging experiences for audiences, and we are excited to utilize new technologies like 4DX to showcase great stories in unique new ways.”

CJ 4DPLEX’s 4DX innovative theater technology enhances the on-screen visuals of action-packed blockbusters and haunting horror films, transcending the traditional cinema experience through special effects including motion-synchronized seats, wind, fog, rain, lightning, snow, bubbles, vibrations, and scents. The result is one of the most immersive cinema formats in the industry, drawing fans into the action on the big screen. 4DX currently reaches more than 644 locations worldwide, with 21 of those locations in the United States."

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Q&A with The Saturday Night Ghost Club : "From acclaimed Canadian author Craig Davidson (horror pen name Nick Cutter), comes gripping, suspenseful novel THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB (Penguin Books; OS: 07/09/19; 9780143133933; $16).

A coming-of-age story set in Niagara Falls, in the vein of Stranger Things (season 3 premiering July 4), Craig Davidson’s novel is the perfect paranormal, the 1980s fix for fans of the show. The story follows the adventures of twelve-year-old Jake Baker during his first summer as a member of the “Saturday Night Ghost Club.” Told through the perspective of adult neurosurgeon Jake, the narrative engages themes of childhood curiosity, the mutability of memory, and the bond of familial love. Davidson’s novel unfolds piece by piece as young Jake and his friends discover that perhaps the real demons are human. This novel is much more than it initially seems—it will stick with you for weeks after reading."

You’ve previously published four literary fiction books, including the short story collection Rust and Bone, which was adapted into a Golden Globe-nominated feature film, and penned bestselling horror novels under your pseudonym Nick Cutter. Already a prominent writer in Canadian fiction, THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB seems poised to be your big, breakout book in the U.S. Why do you think this novel will resonate with so many people? How did your previous books and your horror novels as Nick Cutter influence THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB?

Craig Davidson: Well, it would be nice to break out, sure! I think this is probably the most, I guess you’d say, the most accessible book I’ve ever written? With my earlier work, well, those are the books of a young man, full of the things that some young men worry about, obsess over, aspire to—as a result, they were kinda violent, myopic in the way that twentysomethings can occasionally be, navel-gazing, all that. They were a true expression of how I felt at the time, for sure—all the things that vexed and bothered and energized me, they’re all on display. But they may’ve been narrowly focused for all that. The Cutter books … I’m really proud of those, but again, perhaps narrowly focused. They’re likely seen (fairly) as pretty extreme in some ways. They’re a product of the horror books I grew up reading; in addition to King and McCammon and Barker—who is himself a rough pill to swallow sometimes—I enjoyed David Schow, Joe Lansdale, Poppy Z Brite, Skipp and Spector; writers who had a real dangerous edge. So again, if your influences are those, and you set out to have your writing have those kinds of sharp teeth … well, likely it won’t be for everyone. But that’s not to say The Saturday Night Ghost Club is some sort of toothless pap. It’s just that it’s concerned, I suppose, with the things that now matter to me: being a parent, nostalgia and what it felt like to be a child, the mysteries innate to that time of one’s life. Maybe I’ve become an old softie, I don’t know.

THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB beautifully addresses sophisticated concepts of memory, trauma, family dynamics, and mental health, but it is also very accessible and includes fantastical elements that appeal to wide range of readers. How were you able to create a story that transcends both genre and generation and why was that important?

Craig Davidson: I suppose to be honest it was a lot of luck! Most writers will likely tell you that they aren’t 100% sure where their ideas come from—although there’s often a hint of their own selves and history in their stories, as there is for me in this one—but ultimately I just find some characters who I want to follow, to invest myself in their fictional existences, and I guess to work through some element of life (my own, or just some ambient question that I’ve wanted to try to answer, in this case about the power and frailty of human memory) that I find fascinating. Where it goes from there, how successful it eventually is in capturing those characters or addressing that question … well, that’s one of the challenges and fears of writing a book. How close did I come to accomplishing my ambition, lofty though it may have been?

The mutability and fallibility of memory is a clear theme of THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB, which makes the protagonist Jake an unreliable narrator as he looks back on his summer as a twelve year old. Memory continues to be a thread throughout the narrative with adult Jake’s profession as a neurosurgeon and his eccentric Uncle Calvin’s severe brain trauma. How do you think readers will look back on Jake’s story after revealing himself to be an unreliable narrator? Why does the function of brains in relation to memories interest you?

Craig Davidson: I think we’re all fairly unreliable narrators when it comes to chronicling our own lives, or even the lives of others. Some of that is pretty harmless—say, a person’s Instagram page presenting a narrative of that person that is more glamorous or wise or instructive than their lives most likely are; so, basically a curated presentation of one’s life—and some are probably more problematic. But I mean, I’ve curated my own memories over time. I remember things differently than they happened, I’m sure. I could talk to old friends about a given event from our childhood or even our twenties, and we all may remember it slightly (or vastly) differently. Why is that? Well, we evolve as people. The things we felt and believed at one point in our lives—and acted on those beliefs—may not prevail when we look back at those events years later. So we kind of … sanitize our past selves, I guess. Make our past selves measure up in some way to the people we believe ourselves to be now. Unless there’s definitive proof to dispute our memory, then I suppose it can hold up in the only place it really matters—our own minds. So however readers react to Jake, I suppose it may inform the way they think about their own memories, and how reliable they really are.

THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB introduces its central characters to the supernatural world. However, they come to learn that the real monsters, and ghosts that haunt us, are human. Through the scenes depicting human violence, you weave in stories of how far one will go to protect those they love. What were you trying to convey about the challenges of protecting someone from the world and themselves and, as a father yourself, particularly the desire for parents to protect their children?

Craig Davidson: I think a lot of that comes from being a parent now. Someone wrote that being a parent opens up this new intensity of love—like, something that registers on a different tenor or timbre than romantic love, or love for a friend. I’m not sure that’s the case. It could be for some, that’s not for me to say. But I do feel that it unlocked a new level of fear. I feel fear that I never really dreamt was possible when I think of all the terrible things that could happen to my kid. A lot of it is stupid, daydream-y ridiculous things, shark attacks and bizarre unfeasible threats, but they feel real to me! But in the end, I won’t always be there to protect my son. I won’t be there when he needs me, not always, and anyway, he may not take any advice I have to offer. So a great deal of that kind of love—of all love, really—is helplessness. You’re helpless to make someone love you, and you’re helpless sometimes to help those you love so much.

In THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB, you alternate between scenes of twelve-year-old Jake and adult Jake’s perspective, which creates a fascinating juxtaposition between the experiences that shape us as children and who we become as adults. How do you write such complex children?

Craig Davidson: I just came back from picking up our six-year-old from daycare, and it always amazes me the innocence of emotion and, I guess, need, on display. As adults, we withhold things, don’t say what we mean (or not quite), and sometimes fail to let other people know how we feel about them, good or bad. And that’s likely the way it needs to be to have a functioning adult society. But the kids in this novel (and in a way, Uncle Calvin, who exists in somewhat of a permanent, willfully childlike state) are in that middle zone: old enough to know you can’t just blurt out your feelings like you did when you were five, but not yet cynical or wounded that they might chastise themselves for feeling things as deeply as they do. So, to be honest, I think any ability I may have on the front is really a “feel” kind of thing; you try different ideas and different thoughts out, as presented through your younger characters—and if they feel accurate, representative of how you yourself may have felt at that age, then you go with them.

Niagara Falls is not only the perfect setting for a ghost story given its surrounding lore, such as the “Maid of the Mist,” but it is also your hometown. As someone who grew up in Cataract City, how much of the book is inspired by your own childhood? Why was it an important setting for the narrative?

Craig Davidson: A great deal, yes. A huge amount. The Niagara Falls of the book is more the Niagara Falls of my childhood and teenagehood: the taffy stands, the cheap tourist junk shops, the cheesy haunted houses and wax museums. Clifton Hill’s really corporate now! They’ve got Starbucks and IHOPs on the strip now. All the mom and pop places are kinda gone. So again, it’s that feeling of going back, for me. The more I write, the older I get, the more I inevitably seem to retreat to those times and places and people in my past. It’s not that I don’t love my life now. I do. I’m so lucky, so grateful for it. But the world now has a complexity and threat that unnerves me sometimes. You’ve got people in positions of great power who don’t seem like they belong there, aren’t doing the right things, and vast swathes of people who support them anyway. So maybe I just skedaddle back into the past as a mental health measure!

From Stranger Things to GLOW to The Americans, eighties nostalgia has become increasingly prevalent in media and pop culture over the last five years. Why do you think that decade is captivating viewers and readers right now? Why did you choose it as the time period for THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB?

Craig Davidson: Yes, well, the simplest answer is: I grew up and came of age in the 80s. I basically thought, what year was it when I was Jake’s age? 1988. So I tried to put myself there, at the tail end of the 80s, and write from that perspective. I would guess the popularity may be due to simple nostalgia value, plus the fact that a lot of creative people from that generation are now in their thirties and forties, and are writing books and TV shows and films, and that’s the time-frame they gravitate to for the same reasons I do. The 80s feel like such a lightweight, untroubled decade now. The Amblin decade, right? The nineties, everyone became Wall Streeters. So it feels like the right decade to tell stories for some of us who grew up at the time, and it’s perhaps an embraceable decade for those who didn’t.

Tamika Jones
About the Author - Tamika Jones

Tamika hails from North Beach, Maryland, a tiny town inches from the Chesapeake Bay.She knew she wanted to be an actor after reciting a soliloquy by Sojourner Truth in front of her entire fifth grade class. Since then, she's appeared in over 20 film and television projects. In addition to acting, Tamika is the Indie Spotlight manager for Daily Dead, where she brings readers news on independent horror projects every weekend.

The first horror film Tamika watched was Child's Play. Being eight years old at the time, she remembers being so scared when Chucky came to life that she projectile vomited. It's tough for her to choose only one movie as her favorite horror film, so she picked two: Nosferatu and The Stepford Wives (1975).