Sunday, 26 February 2012

The Moth Diaries [trailer]

American Psycho 2000 deserves its reverence and Horrorfolk will revere the deserving. Whereas the film is not horror it is a fine example of crossover appeal (reminiscent of Se7en 1995). It is director Mary Harron’s second film. Her debut feature is I Shot Andy Warhol 1996. These two pictures alone establish her as an auteur more so since she wrote both scripts. Her third movie, The Notorious Betty Paige 2005, was a misstep but not an artistic faux pas.

That is the sum total of her feature cv to date. She has released three films in 16 years because Hollywood rewards box office and ignores the cultural significance of storytelling. That is why McG has directed five pictures in 12 years.

In her first three films Harron has directed Lili Taylor, Christian Bale, Chloë Sevingy, Reese Witherspoon, Samantha Mathis, Willem Dafoe, Gretchen Mol and David Strathairn amongst others. The Moth Diaries 2012 is film number four for Harron. There are no names in this feature perhaps because it is a horror film.
 The damage done to the contemporary version of bloodsuckers started with Interview with the Vampire 1994. Television’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) made the demon palatable to young girls. The Twilight movies finished the job. It is time for vampires to horrify humans again.

Whether The Moth Diaries will achieve this or no is speculation based on the trailer. As her name suggests Harron is female and women bring a different sensibility to the genre. Not everyone is Kathryn Bigelow.

Not everyone directed American Psycho.
The Moth Diaries is released 20 April in the US in limited theatres. DVD and VOD dates to be announced. UK dates to be confirmed.

Read more Thrill Fiction: The best horror film of 2012
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Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Doomsday Book [teaser trailer]

The J-Horror1 remake fad is dead in Hollywood.

Now that the yankee carpetbagger is looking elsewhere to plunder the genre can progress in its own direction and at its own pace.

1 Here at Thrill Fiction J-Horror is a catchphrase for Asian cinema. This includes but is not exclusive to Japan, Thailand, China, Malaysia and South Korea. It does not include Bollywood as that is its own category.

Doomsday Book 2012 is not based on the land survey of England of 10862. Nor is it based on the British scifi novel published in 19923. The forthcoming film is an anthology of three stories; two directors.

Jee-woo Kim is best known to Westerners for A Tale of Two Sisters 2003 and I Saw the Devil 2010. Both films were flawed beyond repair but therein remains a great filmmaker awaiting discipline. Pil-sung Yim directed Hansel & Gretel 2007 which I’m yet to see. IMDb scored it a 6.9.

So Doomsday Book has pedigree.
Doomsday Book is scheduled for a soft March release in Korea4. US and UK dates to be announced. Thrill Fiction would like to thank Dread Central for use of its exclusive content.

Read more Thrill Fiction: Top 10 Coming Soon Horror Films 2012
2 Domesday Book  Wikipedia
3 Doomsday Book (novel) Worlds Without End
4 release schedule Screen International
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The Dead

This editorial is dedicated to Bill Hinzman (1936-2012). He was the first of all the undead to walk in modern horror. He will always remain so.


Zombies never die.

The first amongst evil crimes against humanity is the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade1. This practice of commercial genocide was fair trade for 500 years. It built the economies of the West/whites. It has dehumanized them to the point that they justify evil9.

Adolf Hitler reassured the Nazis prior to the Final Solution by saying; “Who after all speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians2?”3 He could have easily said “Who, after all, cares about the annihilation of the Africans?”

The Trans Atlantic Slave Trade kidnapped free men, women and children in West and Central Africa and transported them to the Americas. The Africans were of various ethnic groups/tribes4. They took their various religions with them.

4 I must declare an interest: I am second generation British of Nigerian descent. Ie I am 100% Yoruba5.
the first zombie was white (1932)
Africa created zombies but Hollywood invented them. The Golden Age of Horror (1931-1948)6 is also the gothic age of horror. White Zombie 1932 and I Walked with a Zombie 1943 present the undead as exotica and erotica. They are precursor to the Stepford Wife.

George A Romero changed all that when he stole the zombie from Hollywood. He sexed it up and gifted it to the masses. Night of the Living Dead 1968 is the beginning of modern horror.

Fear bypasses language thus Romero’s zombies translate into every tongue. Be it Italian (Zombie Flesh Eaters 1978) or even English (28 Days Later 2002). Director Danny Boyle7 is credited with the ‘super’ zombie – a reinvention of Romero’s prototype.

These zombies can run.
28 Weeks Later directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadilio

7 The credit to Boyle is misplaced. Romero himself directed The Crazies 1973. If there is an argument that The Crazies weren’t zombies then the same applies to 28 Days Later.

There can be no argument vis-à-vis Return of the Living Dead 1985. Those zombies not only run but they talk too. Writer John A Russo also co wrote (with Romero) Night of the Living Dead. The back story can be seen in the documentary More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead 2011.

The super-zombie is bigger, stronger, faster but not intrinsically better. This is especially not so in the horror genre and particularly not so in the universe opened up by Romero’s allegory. The super-zombie dominated the subgenre when it was new and different10. Once the novelty wore off its strength was exposed as its weakness.

10  2002-2009: from Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later to [REC]2.

The ‘super’ attributes attracted action directors into the genre which is akin to inviting strippers to a porno set. Dawn of the Dead 1978 is the subgenre’s best film. In 2004 Zack Snyder remade it as a run & gun. The Day of the Dead 2008 remake suffered similar ignominy. By La Horde 2010 the public was savvy to the super-zombie as gimmick8.
run zombie run
The super-zombie maintained traction because there were gifted filmmakers who adopted the monster. Spaniards Juan Carlos Fresnadilio (28 Weeks Later 2007), Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza ([REC] 2007 and [REC]2). During this time the Romero zombie walked a rearguard action.

Shaun of the Dead 2004 was a worldwide hit. George A Romero’s Land of the Dead 2005 was for the fans. Dance of the Dead 2008 scored on the indie circuit and Pontypool 2009 was a critical darling. The mainstream was reminded by four Resident Evil sequels. The Romero zombie would not walk away.

The counter attack came in 2010. The Walking Dead is AMC’s most successful show. The Romero zombie is on television. He is mainstream. The movies reflect this: Zombies of Mass Destruction 2010, Rammbock 2011, The Dead 2011.

It is satisfying that today’s typical zombie bears little difference to the one Romero created. Despite the tinkering over the decades and the superficial add-ons the undead remain dead. James Bond no longer slaps women around but the zombie has come full circle. He walks again.

Hollywood first introduced the myth to the world 80 years ago. In the outbreak of the last decade there have been British, French, German and even Cuban zombies. It is apropos that there are now African zombies. It is an undead back-to-basics.
The Dead is a British film shot and set in the birthplace of Vodun (later Voodoo) – West Africa. This part of planet Earth starts at the Atlantic coast where beach merges into rain forest. Dense foliage gives way to savanna which melds into Sahel – semi-arid plains. After which comes the Sahara.

Filmmakers the Ford Brothers capture topography as vista as soon as the plane crashes in the opening scenes. This is a road movie from coast to desert. It is a sojourn and odyssey. It is horror. It is unforgiving. It is entertainment. It is art. It is cinema.

The Dead has its faults but they wont be nick picked here. For those who love The Dead Trilogy and Lucio Fulci’s Zombi 2 aka Zombie Flesh Eaters then The Dead is a pleasure – almost a privilege. To everyone else; go watch The Hunger Games.

It’s a Battle Royale 2000 rip off – but that won’t stop you.
uncorrupted by neon: beautiful sunrise and beautiful night skies
Magic sometimes occurs in pro wrestling. If the broadcast match reaches a pitch that is so exciting and if the crowd in attendance are that frenzied then the commentators will shut their mouths. This is the point where they acknowledge there is nothing they can say to further enhance the viewer’s appreciation of the fight. They put down their microphones and enjoy the match as fans.

It’s called ‘mark out’.
Mark out.

The Dead is released on DVD/Blu-ray on 14th February.

Read more Thrill Fiction: Survival of the Dead
1 the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade African Holocaust
2 Germany, Turkey and the Armenian Genocide Youtube
5 Yoruba people Wikipedia
6 Horror Films Wikipedia
8 The Dead and the Quick The Guardian
9 UK slave trade Apology ‘needed’ BBC

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Saturday, 4 February 2012

Red Lights [trailer]

There is the issue of validation when dealing with Hollywood horror: finally the master has noticed me; finally he will spend money on me; I will become belle of the ball.

The success of The Exorcist 1973 hovers over every production like a possibility.

Studio horror intention is at its best this year with The Woman in Black and at its worst with Underworld: Awakening. Red Lights is listed as a thriller1 but its premise and trailer scream horror tropes. This looks like is an A-list film to note however it is being distributed by Millennium Entertainment. They bequeathed the world Faces in the Crowd last year so what do they know?
Director Rodrigo Cortéz helmed Buried 2010. That much lauded film is a one-trick one act stretched into 95 minutes. It is fraud – but like the best cons it fooled the right people.

Robert De Niro was once inspiration to the acting profession and to the public that watched him. He hasn't played a good role since Jackie Brown 1997. Sigourney Weaver is what everyone expected from De Niro. She is second only to Meryl Streep. Cillian Murphy is as steadfast as Ed Norton. Elizabeth Olsen is a limited actress inexplicably receiving a huge push.

Or perhaps she is easily explained. The Olsen twins have been in Hollywood for 20 years. Both they and their parents have no doubt built solid connections in that time. If the twins want their little sister to be a star (like they were) there are plenty of sycophants who will oblige. It seems Rooney Mara2 (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010) is taking a similar course – except she has talent.

Despite the red flags Red Lights will create buzz. That's what Robert De Niro does. Despite a previous cringe worthy foray into horror (Hide and Seek 2005). The audience knows if he turns it on its lights out.
Read more Thrill Fiction: Top 10 Coming Soon Feb-Apr
2 Rooney Mara Wikipedia

Friday, 3 February 2012

Coming Soon: Dark Circles

Thrill Fiction exists to celebrate horror film – and to showcase my talent. The genre lives beneath the Hollywood utopia and its sheep herded mass mainstream. Our living conditions are independent and one of those independents is After Dark Films1.

After Dark started out as a distributor. In 2006 they held the 8 Films to Die For festival which included the J-Horror Reincarnation. In 2007 8 Films became Horrorfest and ran until 2010. In 2011 they founded After Dark Originals and produced (and released) 8 films. One of which was Husk. In 2012 there is After Dark Originals 2.

They begin with Dark Circles.

Press release (edit) below:

Los Angeles, CA (February 2, 2012) – With the success of the After Dark Films Horrorfest "8 Films To Die For" brand, and the unanimous success of the first installment of After Dark Originals (ADO), ADF, in conjunction with Lionsgate and IM Global, is proud to announce that they will be bringing another set of 8 terrorizing films to theaters in 2012 -- After Dark Originals 2 (ADO2).
We’re very proud of this new line of horror films and DARK CIRCLES is the perfect film to set the tone for our ‘newest brand of fear’.”
-Courtney Solomon, CEO of After Dark Films

After Dark Films kicks off After Dark Originals 2 with its first chilling feature of the new series that will send shivers down your spine.

Written and directed by Writer-Director Paul Soter (of Broken Lizard infamy, the team behind CLUB DREAD, SUPER TROOPERS and BEERFEST) and starring Pell James (The Lincoln Lawyer) and Johnathon Schaech (That Thing You Do), will have its blood-curdling theatrical release in 2012. 
Hopefully this will serve as some kind of cinematic equivalent of birth control.” - Paul Soter, Writer/Director of Dark Circles
Thrill Fiction congratulates CEO Courtney Solomon and the After Dark Film crew for services rendered to the horror genre.

Those people in Hollywood; they should be scared of you.

Read more Thrill Fiction: Babycall

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The Top 10 Coming Soon Horror Films (Feb-Apr) 2012

One month down; 11 to go. Does anyone doubt the expression 'time flies'?

January used to be cinematic dumpng ground but now it is terra firma for horror fims. At the start of 2010 Legion and Daybreakers were wide released. In 2011 it was The Rite and Season of the Witch. This year The Devil Inside, Underworld Awakening and to a lesser extent The Grey have had January releases.

WWE's Survivor Series was traditionally held on Thanksgiving Night because Vince McMahon learnt from Jim Crockett: wrestling fans need something to enjoy after the bliss of a family reunion. The same rule applies to football (soccer). Here in the UK the Boxing Day (Dec 26th) fixtures are highly anticipated because one can only take so much of Uncle Jimmy's drunken prison stories.

The Hollywood studios have learnt the same lesson. November is Oscar© bait and December is family fare. That means a whole market is neglected until the new year. January 1st – Halloween is the horror calender. One month down; 9 to go.

The following 10 films qualify by confirmed release dates in the US and UK. Emphasis is on saturation and buzz. Unless stated all films are wide releases.

Chronicle (Feb 1st UK & Feb 3rd US)
It's arguable whether this is horror. The trailer does include tropes but the overall impression is scifi/superhero. The film purports to be found-footage but judging by the trailer its 35mm found-footage. This Fox release is rated PG-13 and whilst that's not a kiss of death buyers should beware.
The Innkeepers (Feb 3rd US Limited & Jun 8th UK)
Ti West is a name to watch in the genre. Unfortunately The Innkeepers isn't a film to watch. This movie is a case of craft over composition. The acting is great, the directing is distinct, the set design convincing. The inn where the story unfolds lives like its own character.

Shame about the story.

West should start directing screenplays written by others. This movie is self indulgence too far.

I'm available by the way. As soon as I get an agent Ti call me.

Playback (Feb 3rd US Video-On-Demand, Mar 9th Ltd)
Christian Slater missed the Brat Pack by a couple of years but his one-two punch of Heathers 1988 and Pump Up the Volume 1990 made him a movie star forever. This is my blog and my opinion counts - even if this film is only VOD. Christian Slater headlining a horror flick is worth a look.
The Dead (Feb 14th US DVD première)
The best horror feature of last year.
Mark out.

Outcast (Feb 21st US DVD première)
This Irish flicker was released in the UK in 2010. It bills itself as a supernatural thriller which it means it wants the audience to take it seriously. It does deserve respect in some scenes and as one would expect from a British cast the acting is on point. Unfortunately this looks and feels like BBC output on a wet Saturday night.
The DVD première is apropos.

ATM (Mar 2nd US VOD, Apr 6th Ltd)
The big boy blogs have been braying about this one since last year. Many of those site have been bought out by The Man. They may have a vested interest.
This movie is camcorder-cinema but it is also high concept. Don Simpson would have recognised ATM. He would have also recognised the thriller-as-horror film (Shuttle 2008, Hush 2009). The trailer succeeds.

The flick deserves a chance.
The Raven (Mar 9th UK & Apr 27th US)
Edgar Allen Poe was an American Romantic who lived and died in 1849 aged 40 as a starving writer. He is literary hero. He is also the writer of The Raven (pub. 1845).


This may not be horror per se but it should have enough elements to satisfy the hardcore.

Over to you Mr Cusack.
Silent House (Mar 9th US)
Judging by the amount of people who read the Thrill Fiction LaCasa Muda 2011 article the Uruguayan film has its fans. Adolf Hitler had his fans too and some of them escaped to South America.

Meanwhile in the liberal paradise that is North America the Yankee imperialist has carbon copied this Spanish language farce. They've removed the subtitles and added an English American language soundtrack. Oh and an actress called Elizabeth Olsen.

Not even Kim Kardashian could save this.
Intruders (Mar 30th US)
When a Spanish writer-director team make a film in English the result can be The Others 2001 or Darkness 2002. This movie was released in the UK last week and incurred mainstream critical impatience1.

Clive Owen is the man who could have been James Bond. He headlines this film in same sized shoes as Daniel Craig – the man who does play James Bond – did in Dream House 2011.

This is one to watch.

Detention (Apr 6th US Ltd)
Teen horror set in a high school. Any resemblance to The Breakfast Club 1985 is purely contrived. Rated R for Rubbish.
There are other films to be released in the next three months that have been mentioned before in this blog thus do not make this list. The film to see is The Dead. The American DVD could even have the 'making of' documentary on it.

It's a steal at whatever price they charge.

These are the films for this winter. Don't thank Hollywood. Thank me.

Read more Thrill Fiction: The 10 Best Horror Films of 2011