Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Australia’s 2016 ‘Stranger With My Face’ International Film Fest Now Accepting Submissions

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Australia’s 2016 ‘Stranger With My Face’ International Film Fest Now Accepting Submissions



Tasmania based female-centric film fest launches call for submissions.

Lurking within the darkest corners of Tasmania, a gaggle of movie-minded cineastes are currently plotting and planning for the 2016 Stranger With My Face International Film Festival, an edgy horror fest that focuses primarily on films made by emerging female artists. SWMF derives its name from the novel by young adult author Lois Duncan and is the brainchild of Australian filmmakers Briony Kidd and Rebecca Thomson.

And though the SWMF team skipped this year, they’re back with a bloody vengeance and grim purpose; today, they just announced their first call for submissions. The call is open, with both feature length and short films made after January 1, 2015 eligible for consideration. The festival takes a broad approach to horror, with dark fantasy, Gothic melodrama, horror comedy, dystopian sci-fi, animation, documentary and experimental hybrids all qualifying for the selective festival lineup.

“There’s a great awareness right now that women are underrepresented in the film industry and audiences are hungry for female-driven stories,” says Festival Director Kidd. “Combine that with the innovation characteristic of the indie horror scene currently, and we’re seeing an explosion of female genre talent that makes Stranger With My Face more relevant than ever.”

A new addition to the festival team this year is longtime genre film programmer and writer Kier-La Janisse, author of the film memoir, HOUSE OF PSYCHOTIC WOMEN. Janisse is serving a residency with Stranger With My Face until July 2016. “Stranger With My Face is a brilliantly-curated festival and I wanted to be a part of the enormous potential I saw here,” says Janisse. “With so many gutsy female-centric genre films in recent years, this is a very exciting place to be.”

For submission guidelines and more festival info visit the official SWMF site.

The post Australia’s 2016 ‘Stranger With My Face’ International Film Fest Now Accepting Submissions appeared first on Shock Till You Drop.

Top 10 Twisted Tales From Author Chuck Palahniuk

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Top 10 Twisted Tales From Author Chuck Palahniuk


  SHOCK looks at the ten most perverse books in the Chuck Palahniuk pantheon.
Celebrating the success of author Chuck Palahniuk’s FIGHT CLUB 2 graphic novel, out now from Darkhorse,earlier this year, SHOCK felt inspired to take a look at the weirder work of one of this generation’s most prolific and controversial writers. Palahniuk is a writing machine, with 17 novels already under his belt since 1996.  He’s famously known for his “transgressive fiction” (his self declared style) and literary works that push societal buttons, but in a very intelligent and humorous way…
So strap yourself in as we eagerly serve up our Top Ten Twisted Tales from the brilliant madman, Chuck Palahniuk:

The post Top 10 Twisted Tales From Author Chuck Palahniuk appeared first on Shock Till You Drop.

New KRAMPUS Movie Featurette Hears Slay Bells Ringing

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New KRAMPUS Movie Featurette Hears Slay Bells Ringing


Krampus movie

The family that stays together gets slayed together in a new Krampus movie featurette

Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures have just released a new featurette for Michael Dougherty’s Krampus movie featuring new footage from the horror comedy, which you can check out below!

The Krampus movie follows young Max (Emjay Anthony) who, after his dysfunctional familyclashes over the holidays, becomes disillusioned and turns his back on Christmas. Little does he know, this lack of festive spirit has unleashed the wrath of Krampus: a demonic force of ancient evil intent on punishing non-believers. All hell breaks loose as beloved holiday icons take on a monstrous life of their own, laying siege to the fractured family’s home and forcing them to fight for each other if they hope to survive.

Horror fans are likely already familiar with Doughterty’s flair for Holiday terror, as he made his feature film directing debut with the Halloween anthology Trick ‘r Treat. His Krampus movie boasts a cast that includes Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, Allison Tolman, Conchata Ferrell, Stefania Lavie Owen and Krista Stadler.

For the film, Krampus and his mischievous underlings have been created by the combined efforts of Weta Workshop and Weta Digital, both renowned for their epic work on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies and King Kong, among many others.

Written and directed by Dougherty, the Krampus movie is co-written by Zach Shields and Todd Casey and produced by Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni, Alex Garcia and Dougherty. The film will be released by Universal Pictures on December 4.

The post New KRAMPUS Movie Featurette Hears Slay Bells Ringing appeared first on Shock Till You Drop.

Blu-ray Review: FEAR THE WALKING DEAD Season One

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Blu-ray Review: FEAR THE WALKING DEAD Season One


FearDead2 SHOCK reviews the first season of AMC’s FEAR THE WALKING DEAD on Blu-ray.

FEAR THE WALKING DEAD was a nice surprise.

When AMC announced that they would be birthing a flesh-ripping sibling to their flagship series THE WALKING DEAD it sorta seemed like overkill. Wasn’t one epic long-form, undead apocalypse narrative enough? How much further could they go? What new humans vs. zombies arc could they possibly etch? Indeed, the idea of FEAR seemed like a case of singing the same song, albeit one performed as a cash-grabbing cover version.

Of course, if you caught the show in its initial run this past summer, you know that such cynicism was unwarranted. In fact, FEAR THE WALKING DEAD is an incredibly sophisticated, innovative show, one that takes co-creator Robert Kirkman’s Romero-informed formula of putting people first and ghoul gore second and then steers it into new, nerve-shredding, territory.


The series dials back the clock to the early stages of the “walker” outbreak, events that take place during the point in which TWD’s hero Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) was locked into his coma. Instead of trotting out its horrors in the sweaty city streets and back woods of Atlanta, FEAR follows a pack of survivors living in the sun-scorched urban decay of LA, an ideal backdrop to illustrate the collapse of society. Our point of entry into the story is high school guidance counselor Madison (GONE GIRL’s Kim Dickens), a tough single mom now shacked up in a blended family with her boyfriend Travis (Cliff Curtis), daughter Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and troubled, junkie son Nick (Nick Dillane, a ringer for a young Johnny Depp). When Nick is almost killed by a ghouli-ified junkie in a squatter’s shoot-up dive, he escapes and is immediately hit by a car. Rushed to hospital, the teen tries in vain to convince his mother and others that something is wrong, though the obviously battered matriarch chalks his ravings up to his now unmanageable addictions.

Meanwhile, slowly, surely, the world starts to break down and eventually both Madison and Travis become believers. Travis breaks away to rescue his own son and ex-wife and , after a series of truly harrowing encounters with both the living dead and frenzied inner-city rioters, the clan is reunited in a military safe zone. Of course, as the “protected” residents soon discover, there is no safe zone in this new world, one that propels without rule and mirrored by murder.


First of all FEAR has a radically different look. It’s beautifully shot by Michael McDonough, every day-lit scene looking like a hazy, sun-soaked LA noir. And where THE WALKING DEAD functions as a quasi-western, FEAR THE WALKING DEAD is very much an urgent thriller. The cadence of the dialogue is snappy, the punishing electronic soundtrack by Paul Haslinger, creates an atmosphere of consistent paranoia and stress. And having a female stand as the central hero, especially one played by such an appealing and complex performer as Dickens, is a real coup and adds a kind of vulnerable gravitas to the story.

In many respects, FEAR ‘s first season is superior to TWD’s first two seasons in that it isn’t chained to a direct source material and has the freedom to find its own legs and be its own beast, which it most certainly is. The audience never knows quite where the narrative is leading, resulting in many surprises, shocks and bizarre twists. It’s a confident first round and moves with purpose, deftly balancing the horror of a world breaking down, with carefully ladled out doses of the expected graphic gore and KNB-fuelled zombie shock effects.

Watching the entire season on Blu-ray in a binge, as this critic did, one feels like they’ve seen a fully realized, 8-hour long feature film, one that has both closure to leave the viewer satisfied and yet has enough open ends to keep us on edge for the impending second round.

Anchor Bay’s 2 disc release looks and sounds magnificent but is virtually bereft of substantial extras of any kind, save for a double shot of EPK “making-of” talking head reels. But with all the endless press, blogging and assorted spoiler-doling found all over the internet anyway, it’s rather nice to have a simple, elegant package that leaves the art as is.

Highly recommended.

The post Blu-ray Review: FEAR THE WALKING DEAD Season One appeared first on Shock Till You Drop.

TV Recap: SCREAM QUEENS Episode 11: ‘Black Friday’

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TV Recap: SCREAM QUEENS Episode 11: ‘Black Friday’

SCREAM QUEENS: Jamie Lee Curtis in the "Black Friday" episode of SCREAM QUEENS airing Tuesday, Dec. 1 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Patti Perret/FOX.

SCREAM QUEENS: L-R: Jamie Lee Curtis, Skyler Samuels and Emma Roberts in the SHOCK recaps the 11th round of TV’s SCREAM QUEENS.

It’s Chanel’s second favorite holiday: Black Friday. She likes buying cheap trinkets as gifts for her friends, and bribing stock boys to let her into stores a half hour before they open so that the deal hunters lined up outside become enraged when she buys all the doorbusters. The dean isn’t happy that the Chanels are leaving Kappa house to go shopping. But while they do that, Wes, Grace, and Pete go down to the police station to report Gigi’s head turning up on their table, but the detective can’t be bothered. The entire police force, including the chief of police, has been fired due to gross incompetence.

At the mall, the Chanels are oblivious to the fact that they are literally the last people there. The lights go out and they discover all the doors are locked from the outside. The Red Devil is there, stalking them. The girls run and see a loading gate left just a little bit open. The girls slide through it, all but Chanel. She decides as Kappa president, it is her job to stand up to the Devil. So she does, taunting him. The Devil doesn’t care for this and shoots her in the shoulder with a crossbow. Chanel doesn’t stop her taunts, even as she tries desperately to crawl away, and the Devil reloads for another shot. Denise comes running in, announcing that she is the new chief of police and yammers on about nothing while the Devil shoots one of her officers dead and makes his escape.

This incompetence idea is, well, utterly incompetent. In what scenario, on what planet, is an entire police force fired? The police unions are way too strong for that to happen. And in what galaxy is Denise more competent than anyone else on that force? The whole thing is so beyond stupid it makes my teeth hurt. In a season full of stupidity, this one really bothered me.

SCREAM QUEENS: L-R: Keke Palmer, Abigail Breslin, Emma Roberts, Billie Lourd and Lea Michele in the

Anyway, the girls all regroup at the Kappa House, and Chanel thinks it is clear that the dean is the Red Devil and decides they need to kill her. Zayday is a strong holdout, but Grace is on Chanel’s side. She gives another one of her ridiculous sisterhood speeches and the two girls decide they need to poison the dean.

Grace and Chanel visit the dean at her home and the girls concoct a story, asking the dean to teach them how to be more effective feminists. It is nonsense, but the dean bites and starts talking about her internship at Ms. magazine and other assorted nonsense. They toast over mason jars of homemade apple cider (the dean’s favorite drink) that they dosed with a whole bottle of puffer fish poison. Despite it being enough to kill three men, the poison cider doesn’t slow down the dean.

Chad calls a meeting of the Dicky Dollars, but he is the only one still alive. Pete is there because this meeting is the reading of Boone’s will, and he left everything to Pete. Chad thinks they were secret lovers, and Pete admits the truth: Boone was his source in the Greek system. Pete had tried to pledge the Dollars the year before, with the same nonsense of brotherhood that Grace has about her own sorority, but he was roundly refused. Chad invites Pete to join now, because “any secret friend of Boone’s is a friend of mine.” Pete declines, which according to the rules means that he and Chad must duel to the death. Pete leaves, which Chad tells him is a forfeit of his life. “You will get murdered to death!” he yells after him.

SCREAM QUEENS: Jamie Lee Curtis in the

Grace goes to Pete and rants about how her first attempt at killing the dean failed. She promises she is killing to stop more killing, but he doesn’t want her to do it – he doesn’t believe she is a killer. He has to “tell her something:” Chad’s invite to join the Dollars. But he doesn’t need that; all he needs is his work and Grace. He says he loves her and wants to have sex with her, but she isn’t in the right headspace. He agrees she is worth the wait. Apparently Grace is a virgin.

Chanel holds another Kappa meeting, freaking out that the dean didn’t die and looking for a Plan B. Grace decides she no longer thinks it is a good idea to kill the dean, which angers Chanel and she decides to kick Grace out of Kappa. Grace expects Zayday to come with her, but she doesn’t. Now she thinks that killing the dean is a good idea. 

Grace storms out and goes home, where she finds Wes… with Pete. They are going over the info they were able to find on Gigi. It turns out that Gigi’s real name was Jess Meyer. Her sister, Amy, was the girl who took the bathtub babies, but a few months later, she killed herself. Gigi took over care of the kids, but had a nervous breakdown and they all went to the institution. She raised the kids to be killers in order to get revenge. Pete leaves, and Grace asks her dad for sex advice. It turns into a damned after school special. Pete goes back to his dorm and is packing when he gets a call. He tells the unidentified caller that he is leaving campus and he feels guilty and doesn’t want to be part of this. He warns the person never to call again.

Meanwhile, the Chanels and Zayday take the dean to the cryo-sauna (basically a sauna that freezes you). The dean goes first and steps into the chamber, which is cranked down to -220 degrees. The girls watch the door to make sure staff doesn’t come in, and they leave the dean in the chamber for nearly a half-hour. When they open it back up, they are shocked to find the dean – frozen and covered in icicles – alive and feeling great.

Chanel is beside herself. She has failed twice to kill the dean. After letting the minions give their asinine theories as to how the dean survived, Chanel has a new plan. She gives her minions their Christmas presents, smartphones that light up on the edge. When she calls they will get a red notification light. This means they are to meet Chanel and the dean at the pool, where they will drown the dean. Unfortunately, when Chanel sends out her notification, her minions are arguing with a retail clerk and totally miss the call. Chanel is alone when the dean comes to the pool, and she has to stumble through a terrible excuse about holding a lecture at the pool about feminism and bondage (to explain away the chains she brought) then go for a swim. The dean doesn’t buy this stupidity and leaves.

Grace goes back to Pete’s room and finds him anxious and out of breath. She doesn’t say anything because she is ready to have sex with him now. Pete pulls away uncomfortably, and Grace insists this is what she wants. “I don’t want your first time to be with a murderer,” he admits feebly.

The post TV Recap: SCREAM QUEENS Episode 11: ‘Black Friday’ appeared first on Shock Till You Drop.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


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SHOCK resurrects Jorge Grau’s terrifying zombie thriller THE LIVING DEAD AT THE MANCHESTER MORGUE.

This in an essay about the living dead so, for the sake of space, let’s start our story in Pittsburgh, 1968, with that too-tall, goggle-eyed grandfather of American horror, George A. Romero…

Taking his cues from Matheson’s seminal 1954 vampire plague novella I AM LEGEND (‘I ripped him off!’ the writer/director unashamedly told me once), commercial /industrial filmmaker Romero’s first feature was a nightmarish, grainy, black and white tale of undead apocalypse; a gruesome story of the fresh dead inexplicably reviving and groping their grey-eyed way to cannibalize the living. That picture, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, would slowly shamble its way into horror history, becoming a critical and cult favorite, a staple at midnight screenings and a massive international hit, especially in Europe where it was heralded as a Grand Guignol arthouse masterpiece.

Enter filmmaker Jorge Grau, a young, experimental Spanish director who, along with an equally visionary, French New Wave inspired pack of bratty celluloid slingers (the likes which include THE BLOOD SPATTERED BRIDE helmer Vincente Aranda) was, at the time, being championed as the avant-garde future of the Spanish film industry. In the wake of Grau’s violent, sexual and historically accurate telling of the Elizabeth Bathory legend, 1973’s THE BLOODY COUNTESS, producer Edmondo Amati approached the filmmaker to direct a movie that would blatantly ride the box office coattails of the Romero picture, but add the more immediate dimension of dripping, full blooded color, replacing the gritty, cheap, shadowy expressionism of NIGHT with a more garish, pulpy and stomach churning pallet. Grau, swayed by a larger paycheck and the chance to film in England eagerly obliged, taking the rather straight forward genre screenplay and giving it a re-write, grafting on his own, unique personality quirks, obsessions and style, borrowing from Romero’s creation but forging something completely fresh and deliciously offbeat…


Known on these shores under at least a dozen lurid (and occasionally ludicrous) titles, including DON’T OPEN THE WINDOW, BRUNCH WITH THE DEAD and LET SLEEPING CORPSES LIE, Grau’s resulting 1974 Spanish/Italian zombie shocker “Non Si Deve Profanare Il Sonno Dei Morti”, is a movie that I’ve always preferred to call by its UK moniker, THE LIVING DEAD AT THE MANCHESTER MORGUE. Because I just love the way it reads.

London antique dealer George (a bearded, badass looking Ray Lovelock from, among many other things Armando Crispino’s AUTOPSY) is on a cross-country motorcycle trip into rural England when, after a bike crushing accident, he regretfully hooks up with the beautiful, fragile Edna (Christina Galbo from WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE?) who is also traveling into the sticks to visit her mentally ill sister. On route, the pair come across a strange machine; a whirring, pulsing metallic engine sitting squarely in the centre of a farmers field. Said machineis an agricultural device that sends out waves of low frequency radiation designed to provoke insects to go mad and cannibalize each other. Science!


Lanky haired, neo-hippie George balks at such underhanded environmental buggery, a position which only increases in intensity when he and Edna discover said supposedly harmless radiation is in fact stimulating the recently dead to get up and kill, with the people they kill then getting up to kill. As the local police (led by American stage actor Arthur Kennedy, in a cruel and cranky performance) attempt to pin the rash of violent zombie induced murders on the troubled couple, the evil crop-protecting, dead- provoking device keeps chugging and spinning and the corpses keep-a-coming, resulting in the inevitable tragic, violent, titular (emphasis on the tit!) morgue set climax.

When THE LIVING DEAD AT THE MANCHESTER MORGUE was released it almost immediately came under fire from critics for its then outrageous levels of graphic splatter, a truly shocking cavalcade of carnage designed by none other than Italian FX wizard Giannetto De Rossi. De Rossi is the latex and karo syrup slinging genius who would later find acclaim drilling brains, poking out eyes and regurgitating guts under the watchful eye of the late, great Fulci and though his art here was not yet quite state of, it’s still pretty damned fantastic: flesh is ripped from bodies, innards are torn out of heaving bellies, eyeballs are eaten and perhaps most notoriously, an unfortunate lass has her blouse ripped open and her left breast crudely removed by the clawing hands of a hungry ghoul.


And speaking of ghouls, the homicidal stiffs on display here are really terrifying; a mangy, slow and stiff lot of relentless red-eyed refuse (incidentally, the crimson contact lenses appear to be exactly the same as the ones utilized for the ‘infected’ in Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later and its sequel 28 Weeks Later). And these zombies aren’t a bunch of amateur local yokels bumbling around in greasepaint but are in fact real actors, characters ripped right out of the worst (or best, as the case with us horror fans may be) nightmare; I can honestly say that Spanish actor Fernando Hilbeck’s, gravestone tossing, recently resurrected, drowned hobo Gutherie, with his sopping wet clothes, blotchy stare and stubbly lock jaw is one of the most frightening screen bogeymen I’ve ever seen and the damage he inflicts on his victims is just as shuddery.

But beyond the moldy monsters and the ample waste of human life on display, the real impact in Grau’s remarkable motion picture lies in the level of intelligence, of finely crafted human drama, of mounting dread and almost Hitchcockian suspense (and black humor) that so effortlessly guides the grue. We come to genuinely care for George and Edna, to believe in their blossoming love, their genuine connection that builds under the direst of circumstances. And when things take a turn for the worse in the final reel, there’s a palpable sense of loss that pushes the horror into an emotional level unseen in the post Night, non-Romero zombie efforts. The score, by Giuliano Sorgini (SS HELL CAMP) is another major source of the picture’s skin tightening power, a soundscape that deftly veers between string soaked British lounge pop (especially effective in the dazzlingly edited opening credits montage) and heaving, gasping, synth burbling experimentalism.


THE LIVING DEAD AT THE MANCHESTER MORGUE is an accessible, thought provoking and paralyzing Eurohorror classic whose ample flaws, frequent lapses in logic (does ANY of the action actually take place IN Manchester?) and many plot inconsistencies (how does Hilbeck manage to revive his fellow cadavers by wiping blood on their eyelids, exactly? Who cares! It’s creepy!) take a backseat to the movie’s many macabre and gruesomely elegant delights.

This isn’t the quasi- realist American horror of Romero and it isn’t the chunky in your face zombie opera shock of Fulci. This is the zombie film as dark, lyrical, melancholy fairy tale, a film that exists in a class of its own.

And it very well might be the best zombie movie ever made.

The post The Best Zombie Movie Ever Made? THE LIVING DEAD AT THE MANCHESTER MORGUE appeared first on Shock Till You Drop.

Starz to Run Marathon of ASH VS. EVIL DEAD This Month

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Starz to Run Marathon of ASH VS. EVIL DEAD This Month


Ash vs Evil Dead
Juggernaut series ASH VS. EVIL DEAD to get December marathon treatment on Starz.

With the critic and fan approved Rami/Campbell/Tapert-sculpted series ASH VS. EVIL DEAD still chainsawing its way across the airwaves(or the digital equivalent of such), the network that birthed it has scheduled a mini-marathon of every episode, leading up to the season finale on Saturday, January 2nd at 9pm.
Here’s the schedule:
Monday, December 28th at 9:00 PM PT/ ET – “ASH vs EVIL DEAD” episodes 101-103
Tuesday, December 29th at 9:00 PM PT/ET – “ASH vs EVIL DEAD” episodes 104-106
Wednesday, December 30th at 9:00 PM PT / ET – “ASH vs EVIL DEAD” episodes 107-109
Saturday, January 2nd at 9:00 PM PT /ET – “ASH vs EVIL DEAD” episode 110 – Season Finale 
To learn more about STARZ and ASH VS. EVIL DEAD go to the official site.


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