Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Tales From the Dead Zone (2017) - Horror Anthology Film News

Tales From the Dead Zone is an upcoming Canadian horror anthology film that is set to feature wrestling legend Bret Hart (as Private Investigator Tom Jenkings), as well as an appearance by Corey Feldman. I always have a lot of love for anthologies as usually there is at least one decent short among them.

The gist of the main plotline is that a medical examiner (played by the prolific actor Kim Sonderholm) has an over active imagination and starts to imagine how victims of a terrible car crash may have lived their lives. The tales in this anthology include Legend of the Peoples Demon, End Game, Rock Star Legacy, Rope A Dope, and Burt the Sailor. The first of those films has already been shot and is currently in post production.

This movie is to be directed by Barry J.Gillis (The Killing Games) who has recently finished post production on House of Many Sorrows that will be out 2017. Tales From the Dead Zone continues shooting in Edmonton, Canada this December with an aim for it to be released late 2017. I so hope this is good as I do enjoy a good anthology.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

The Returned: Season 2 (2015) - Horror TV Show Review

The French horror show The Returned (Les Revenants) was a surprise hit with me, I loved the mysterious, brooding atmosphere and the beautiful locations. Like the film it was based on (that I reviewed here) there were many many questions I had left unanswered when the first season ended. I have now watched season two and while it did solve some riddles it left nearly as many in its wake. As always unavoidable spoilers for the first season.

Season two takes place around six months after the season one finale in which the small mountain town was mysteriously flooded and the returned (a large group of dead people who have somehow returned to life) vanished. During that time the army have been called in to help the displaced population as well as work out what caused the flooding, and also to discover what happened to the towns police force who are all missing. Unknown to the residents (and the army themselves who are unaware of the returned) the newly revived are now living in a secluded housing estate that the rising water has cut off from the rest of the town.

Monday, 29 August 2016

The Purge: Election Year (2016) - Horror Film Review

When I first heard of The Purge I thought it was a fantastic idea for a movie, the movie itself while enjoyable was not much more than a typical home invasion film. The sequel The Purge: Anarchy made much better use of the idea that once a year in America all crime becomes legal for twelve hours. I was pretty confident that the third and seemingly final film in the series The Purge: Election Year would again be a fun thrill ride, I just wasn't sure if it would have any new tricks up it's sleeve.

Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) is running for presidency with the aim to abolish the deadly purge night. On the last purge before the elections she finds her safe house compromised and ends up out on the streets, on the run with her head of security Leo (Frank Grillo), being hunted by a group of mercenaries hired by the founding fathers (a secretive political group who created the purge). Teaming up with a group of strangers they meet along the way Leo has one aim for the senator; to get her out of the bloody violence of the city.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Downhill (2016) - Horror Film Review

Downhill is a horror film that takes place in the wilderness of Chile, it combines horror of two different types, along with an extreme sports bend to it. Being on the cutting edge of news here at The Rotting Zombie I can report it was shown at Frightfest 2016 at three different times today in the main stand, I use the past tense as I am a bit late to be telling you that!

Stephanie (Natalie Burn) and her former mountain biking star boyfriend Joe (Bryce Draper) are out in the wilderness of Chile testing a route for a bike race when they stumble across a strange sight. They discover a crashed truck that has in it an injured man who seems to be suffering some type of strange infection. They and their friends try to help him, but then a group of psychotic hunters show up and soon they find themselves on the run from these men who seem to want to kill them all. From here events only go...Downhill.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Lights Out (2016) - Horror Film Review

While I very much enjoyed the short film that this feature length one is based on (both directed by David F.Sandberg) from the very first trailer I got the sense that Lights Out was not going to be the grandest of films, it just all seemed so pedestrian and formulaic. It would be fair to say I went to see this with my expectations set low and unlike the fantastic Suicide Squad I was right to expect little of this.

Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) becomes concerned for her little brother Martin (Gabriel Bateman) when he starts talking about someone called Diana haunting the home of him and his mentally unstable mother Sophie, for the same thing happened to her when she was younger. She decides to investigate this woman to see how she is linked to her troubled family, but Diana does not want Rebecca to interfere and will resort to any method to stop her...

Monday, 22 August 2016

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 'Hearts of Stone' (2015) - Expansion Pack Review (PS4)

Last week I reviewed The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and stated I would review the expansion packs should they contain any horror elements. Little did I know that the first and smallest of the two expansion; Hearts of Stone is around 80% horror focussed centering as it does around a Faustian pact.

After a contract Witcher (monster hunter) Geralt takes on goes bad he is rescued by a mysterious man calling himself Gaunter O'Dimm. All the man wants in return is his assistance in granting three wishes to a certain disgraced nobleman named Olgierd von Everec, but the wishes asked for by Olgierd are unified in their impossibility. Should Geralt manage to fulfill these wishes he is promised a great reward, as well as the removing of a bizarre brand that has appeared on his face...

Friday, 19 August 2016

Driller Queen (2017) - Horror Film News and Trailer

Driller Queen is an upcoming exploitation horror from director, producer and musician Kurt Dirt, it is his second film after Life is Cheap. He describes his latest film as "a cross between 'Party Monster', 'Maniac', and every H.G Lewis movie ever made'. This one is due to follow the style of his first film with a retro look of a shot on video style.

Ida Skinner is a troubled morgue attendant/drag queen who is ridiculed for his bad drag look. One day a female corpse with great hair arrives at the morgue and Ida decides to scalp her to have the hair for himself. Praised for his new look people begin requesting he get them hair as well, but soon he resorts to murder to fulfil the many requests...

Violet Blonde stars as Ida, with a lot of the cast of Dirt's previous film also getting parts. A trailer has been released which gives an idea of the style quite well. The special effects look bad, as does the acting but this all seems very purposefully so, reminded me a bit of Acid Head: The Buzzard Nuts County Slaughter and Music Store Massacre, films of that type can be quite fun. The trailer has fantastic synth music by Polypores, he is also scoring the whole film, so that is definitely a plus. A Kickstarter campaign is going to begin soon for this, so check out the trailer below and if it seems like something you want to get behind then wait for the campaign to begin.


Thursday, 18 August 2016

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (2016) - Zombie Mode News and Trailer

So the next annual Call of Duty is coming out this November 4th, I am locked in to the series so would have brought it anyway but news of Infinity Ward creating their own version of Zombies (the popular extra mode in the Treyarch developed Black Ops games). It proves just how popular this mode is as previously Sledgehammer Games also made an extra mode with the undead in it (Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's Exo Zombies).

So the other day the first trailer for this version of Zombies was released, in Infinite Warfare it is to be called Zombies in Spaceland (or least that's the name of this particular map), this is set in the 1980's and looks to take on a more light hearted approach. The set up for it is that four actors (played by Seth Green, Ike Barinholtz, Jay Pharoah and Sasheer Zamata) are tricked by a horror director (voiced by Paul Reubens) and transported straight into a zombie film that is set in a space-themed amusement park. Here they have to survive against waves of zombies as is the norm. Also on board is David Hasselhoff as a resident D.J.

From the trailer (included below) things look to be 'zany' then the more serious Black Ops Zombies, it seems to be the usual assortment of guns, as well as special weapons, level based traps and barricades to keep up. For example there is a boom box which attracts zombies, only to then explode, much like the monkey bombs. There is also a dance floor at one point where lasers from a disco ball start slicing up the undead. I am not a hundred percent sure but I get a feeling the game is going to be full of licensed music from the eighties, at least in the menu screens. I have watched a bit of the developers speaking about this mode, apparently one new thing is that when you die in the game you end up in an 'Afterlife Arcade' where you can play mini games in order to earn the right to get back into the game.

I am very pleased a new Zombies exists but I do have some small concerns. Firstly I am unsure of the tonal shift, the main four characters in particular seem like they are going to be annoying, while the bright colours and comedy weapons also are not ideal for making a scary game. On the plus side there are windows to board up, the zombies look pretty awesome (including the usual super zombies and even zombie clowns!), and there are going to be the equivalent of gobble gums and perk-a-cola's (cards and candies I believe). Anyway check out the trailer below, I look forward to getting to play this.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Scream: Season 2 (2016) - Horror TV Show Review

Season one of Scream was an unexpected hit with me, I had heard it was good but wasn't prepared for how much I enjoyed the majority of it. I loved that it was a more mature imagining of the Scream story (albeit still packed with in jokes), I loved the quality of it also, the effects were decent and for me the only let down was the over the top finale. With huge plot holes left open I was interested to see how a second season would fare.

Scream: season two takes place some months after the first one, Emma (Willa Fitzgerald) has been away from Lakewood at a mental institute after suffering PTSD due to the horrors she witnessed at the hands of the now deceased masked psycho. Her return to the small town brings with it a new wave of terror, the original killer had a secret partner who is now looking to carry on the torment, this time Audrey (Bex Taylor-Klaus) is targeted and black mailed into helping this new psycho carry out its sick games...

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015) - Fantasy Video Game Review (Playstation 4)

So finally after many months I have played through the entire The Witcher trilogy one after the other. Starting in the middle of June with The Witcher it has taken me two months to get to the stage where I can put up the review for the final game. I still have both (apparently quite large) expansion packs to do for this game but I do tend to have a bad habit of rabbiting on when reviewing games so will do the reviews for those for another time, assuming of course the expansions actually feature horror elements to them. Spoilers abound for previous games in the series, as well as minor spoilers for this game.

In between The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings and this game Geralt the Witcher (monster slayer) has completely recovered his memories of his past. The game starts with Geralt searching for the sorceress Yennefer who had been his lover for countless years prior to his memory loss. The prologue ends with him locating her and discovering she is now working for the Nilfgaardian emperor who is currently leading an invasion into the northern lands. He is hired by the emperor to help him discover the whereabouts of his daughter Ciri, a girl who is also like an adopted daughter to Geralt. He learns that Ciri is being hunted by a mythical group of spectral warriors named the Wild Hunt and so sets out to locate her before this unstoppable ghostly army do...

Monday, 15 August 2016

Slashermania (2016) - Horror Graphic Novel News

Slashermania is a graphic novel that takes the tropes of classic slasher films as its inspiration. It was written by Russell Hillman and has inks by Ron Joseph, Jake Isenberg and C.J Camba. There is currently a Kickstarter running to get funds to get the graphic novel printed and sent out to people, as well as pay artists for a pin-up section for the comic. I was provided with a rough copy of the graphic novel that featured around two thirds of the story so will provide my thoughts on that.

Set in the early 1980's fifty troubled teens head out to an American summer camp where they are told they shall be trained how to be camp counselors. However unknown to them they are actually there as part of Slashermania 1983, this is a gruesome annual show where for a large sum millionaires are able to watch ten competing prolific serial killers slash their way through teens with prizes given to the killers based on different categories such as 'best multiple kill'. As the body count rises the survivors must find away to survive the slaughter, all the time being watched via hidden cameras by a bloodthirsty crowd.

I loved the idea for this, similar in style to Battle Royale and more specifically the fun low budget horror Slashers which has pretty much an identical storyline (aside from the fact the victims in that one know they are in a game show). Thankfully after reading a large chunk of the comic I can confirm it is pretty decent stuff, in fact I enjoyed it enough that I intend to back the project when I get paid. The story is split between the Slashermania show and the camp. At the show we get two former killers hosting the event who provide a lot of commentary, a lot of the humour comes from here as kills by the deranged murderers are analysed, while score boards are kept. At the camp the plot is more in line with traditional slashers, plenty of sex and drugs and brutal murders. There is plenty of female nudity but this is undeniably a staple of the genre which Slashermania pokes fun at so is required. In some respects this is more mature, at least in dealing with gay characters who do a good job of defending themselves against the more homophobic ones.

The ten serial killers are all quite varied and include a decent enough mix of male and female killers. There was an interesting segment that discussed the killers in more detail as well as provide out of comic context for why they were included. Obviously the setting seems like it is straight out of Friday 13th, to match this we have masked killers such as The Mechanic and Franklin Frost who represent the silent slasher type, elsewhere we have ones who wisecrack in the Freddy Kruger mold, best of which is The March Hare; a smartly dressed psycho wearing a hare mask. Each of the killers have different methods of murder and with fifty unprepared teens there are plenty of inventive deaths. The teens are more faceless but the focus is not really on them, it will be interesting to see how the story goes; if Slashermania stays at the forefront or if the story will go more the way of the victims.

The Kickstarter is running from 13th August to 13th September where the creator hopes to raise £4,500. Currently on day 3 of the campaign £838 has been pledged which isn't a bad figure at all. If you want to back the project or read more about it (as well as download a preview of the comic) then head here. As usual there are an assortment of rewards based on how much is pledged.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

The Shallows (2016) - Horror Film Review

Going in to watch The Shallows I found it very hard to not want to draw comparisons between this and Jaws. For me by the time I saw that in my teenage years I found it to be quite dull with not much happening. In actuality I found this movie to have far more in common with Open Water. At times in this review my tongue may be firmly in my cheek, so bonus points if you recognise those moments...

Blake Lively stars as Nancy; a med student on a holiday of sorts after the death of her mother. She has decided to go to a remote Mexican beach to do some surfing but unwittingly catches the attention of a giant shark. After a series of misadventures she ends up stranded 200 yards from the shore on a rapidly shrinking rock with a seagull she names Steven (Sully Seagull). Now the two most unlikeliest of friends must work together to outwit the killer shark and reach land.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Stranger Things (2016) - Horror TV Show Review

Straight away I am going to admit that I doubt this review will do this TV show justice. Before watching Stranger Things I had heard nothing but great things about it, I had heard it had great acting, a great story and that it felt like The Goonies in serial form. While the show did turn out to be different than expected over the course of a concise eight episodes I found myself drawn in to the strange events. There will be unavoidable spoilers here so be warned.

Stranger Things takes place in the eighties, in a small, sleepy American town, the plot revolves around Will; a young boy who while cycling home from a day of playing Dungeons and Dragons with his geeky friends Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) vanishes into thin air. This leads into no end of strange things occurring in the once quiet town that include alternate dimensions, fearsome monsters, and the appearance of a psychic girl who has escaped from an ominous government facility...

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

B*stard (2015) - Horror Film Review

B*stard (as it shall be known throughout this review despite having the cover image shown, no swearing at The Rotting Zombie!) is yet another film that I went into with next to no knowledge. Directed by Powell Robinson and Patrick Robert Young this film is a retro off shoot to the glory days of pure grind house slashers, but with the flair of refreshing modern day effects and camera work.

Newly wed serial killers Hannah (Ellis Greer) and West (Dan Creed) pick up a hitch hiking runaway couple; Betty (Rebekah Kennedy) and Jake (Will Tranfo) and though a small series of events they end up at a bed and breakfast in a small mountain town. They end up going on a hike organised by the owner Rachael (Tonya Kay). Unfortunately unknown to them there is a masked killer on the loose, soon enough the group start to get picked off one by one...

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017) - Zombie Horror Film Teaser Trailer

Finally the official teaser trailer for the latest as well as final Resident Evil film has been shown off. This series gets a lot of flack from people, fans of the games think it is too far removed while everyone else seems to be repelled by the style over substance, yet if you sit down to watch them they really are not that bad at all, each has at least a few good moments in it and personally the very first Resident Evil film is probably up there in my top ten horrors of all time for sheer enjoyability.

So today the official teaser trailer was shown off, here's my thoughts on it, it shall also be included below for your viewing pleasure, spoilers of the other films are bound to occur. Resident Evil: Retribution ended with series heroine Alice (Milla Jovovich) at the White House in Washington preparing to take place in humanity's last stand against the hordes of undead. It seems that last stand didn't exactly go to plan as now we see Alice and heading back to the source of all the madness; Raccoon City, and more specifically the Hive (an underground research base) where the evil Umbrella Corporation are planning to wipe out the last living survivors of the zombie apocalypse.

The trailer is set to Guns N' Roses famous Welcome to the Jungle and is mostly a series of fast paced images. We get Alice riding an awesome looking Umbrella branded motorbike, we see an armoured vehicles laden with guns heading into the undead hordes. There is the Red Queen A.I taunting Alice, and scenes of complete devastation, especially with the very post apocalyptic looking Raccoon City. It seems Alice will once again be doing acrobatics whilst fighting armoured Umbrella soldiers, it looks like there will be thousands of zombies (always a good thing) as well as some recurring boss monsters. A giant monstrous bat that seems to have either been taken from Resident Evil 4 or 5, and a lumbering hulk of a creature that I couldn't quite tell what game it was from, maybe something from Resident Evil 6 (that I am quite hazy on, though could also be a later in the game creature from Resident Evil 4).

Feel free to check out the trailer below, regardless of your thoughts on the series I think any zombie film that makes it to our cinema screens is only a good thing for horror fans, there are still (in my opinion) far too few zombie films that make it big. Sure this is going to be a lot of brain dead action scenes and very little actual horror but sometimes that isn't a bad thing. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is due for release January 2017.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Classic Horror on the Big Screen: Season 2 - Horror Film Event News

Classic Horror on the Big Screen is the pretty self explanatory title for a horror event that is going to occur throughout August and September in the AMC Manchester cinema complex in (surprise, surprise) Manchester, UK. The first one took place earlier this year during spring time and was apparently successful enough that an autumn one will happen. Over seven Saturdays double bills of classic horror films will be shown on the big screen, each of the fourteen films will cost just £4 each to watch. Below are the dates and films to be shown for 'season 2' of this event...

Starting off on 13th August at 19:00 will be John Carpenter's The Thing (1982). This classic stars Kurt Russell and takes place at a remote Antarctic research base where a shape shifting alien being creates a sense of paranoia and horror. Next on this night at 21:10 is Prince of Darkness (1992); another John Carpenter film that shockingly I had never heard of or seen. The following week on 20th August we will be treated to Evil Dead II (1987) which finds Bruce Campbell trapped in a cabin with a bunch of deadites, as well as his severed hand trying to kill him. This is followed of course by Army of Darkness (1992); the third in the Evil Dead trilogy and the weakest one, though it does have it's moments. 27th August see John Landis's An American Werewolf in London (1981). I'm not keen on the werewolf genre at all though this is one of the better ones. After this comes Return of the Living Dead (1985); a great and hilarious zombie film that I heartily recommend.