Stay inside and watch Shudder for free, find out what really happened on the set of horror’s “cursed films”, experience the best of SXSW online, and more.
Now that it looks like many of us won’t be leaving our homes anytime soon, we’re proud to bring you this roundup of great recommendations to keep you entertained and somewhat sane during these dark times. From Shudder’s epic annual celebration of the halfway to Halloween point, to must watch new and returning series, killer tunes, online film festivals, and exceptional short horror, these Horror Headlines prove it’s not all bad news!
THE UNIVERSAL MONSTERVERSE REIMAGINED
Millions of horror-loving hearts were broken in 2017 when Universal’s “Dark Universe” franchise imploded, their debut blockbuster The Mummy having crashed and burned at the box office. While, now we may never see Javier Bardem as Frankenstein’s Monster, the Tentpole-Franchise-That-Was seems to be giving way to some far more interesting content.
Instead of Dark Universe, the proposed Avengers ripoff in horror clothing, Universal pivoted to smaller, stand-alone stories, teaming up with Blumhouse to make a The Invisible Man, a lesser-known Universal monster story at the fraction of The Mummy’s budget. The Invisible Man’s unique twist on a classic story paid off, proving to be a box office hit just weeks before Coronavirus concerns pushed the film into an early VOD release.
It seems as if Universal learned its lesson and is returning to what made them successful in the first place: leaning into the horror for some of the next films in their classic monster revival.
Karyn Kusama, known for The Invitation and the criminally underrated Jennifer’s Body, has been tapped to direct a new reboot of the Dracula story. Kusama’s version will take place in present-day, taking a page from The Invisible Man’s playbook and grounding the horror in reality. While several other names have been thrown out for additional movies — Elizabeth Banks, Paul Fieg, James Wan and John Krasinski — it is unclear if the surprise box office success has caused Universal to do a complete course correct for the remainder of their slate.
The Invisible Man is everything that The Mummy was not; it is tense, smart, timely, and scary as Hell. It’s a fine showing of a studio that was once synonymous with truly great horror films. Here’s hoping that with this new move, they will ensure the next movies in the franchise will live up to their iconic roots. While we wait to see what’s next, be sure to watch The Invisible Man now on VOD. (Written by Alli Hartley)
LINGUA IGNOTA’S NEW SINGLE
Thanks to our new Music Editor Kirby Kellogg for letting us know that, on March 26th, metal performer and frequently cited Morbidly Beautiful favorite Lingua Ignota (aka Kristin Hayter) released the song “O Ruthless Great Divine Director” on her bandcamp and onto most major music platforms. The song was premiered the day prior by Adult Swim as part of their Singles Program and follows the release of “ABOVE US ONLY SKY” – Hayter’s harsh noise manipulation of the recently viral (and very ill-received) video of celebrities such as Gal Gadot, Kristen Wiig, Sia, and many others performing a cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine”. It also follows the February release of the album Grave of a Dog, an album she created with The Body’s Lee Buford and Full of Hell’s Dylan Walker in a supergroup called Sightless Pit (and an album you can expect to get a formal review on this site soon).
In a statement about the track, Hayter said that it “both addresses and embodies the hypocrite and the false prophet. The sanctimonious scene police, the friend or community who will turn away or against when things get hard, fear mongering and pervasive misinformation.”
Listen and purchase the song here!
FANTASPOA FILM FESTIVAL
The 16th Annual Fantaspoa Film Festival has recently begun the latest casualty of the heartbreaking COVID-19 pandemic currently sweeping the world. Initially scheduled for this coming May, the festival directors forecast that this year’s edition will now take place between the months of October and December, 2020, if deemed responsible and safe at that time.
Due to executive decisions made by the Brazilian government prior to this unprecedented health crisis, Fantaspoa and countless other organizations dedicated to the arts were stripped of all federal sponsorship money. In addition to the financial and emotional strain of COVID-19, for the first time in ten years, Fantaspoa received zero funding to continue its unique goal of bringing the best in world genre cinema to the people of Brazil.
With this in mind, Fantaspoa has been forced to resort to a crowdfunding campaign to sustain the future of the festival. They humbly ask lovers of genre film around the world, filmmakers and artists who have had their works presented at the festival, and anyone who hopes to see film survive this terrible pandemic to please donate to or share their campaign at www.catarse.me/fantaspoa16 .
Acknowledging the desperate need to quarantine and social distance during these difficult times, Fantaspoa also launched the “Fantaspoa at Home” initiative on April 1. It consists of an original digital platform that will make available – completely free of charge and accessible worldwide – select feature films from the festival’s previous fifteen editions.
Each week, the fest will offer seven feature films at www.fantaspoaathome.com.
THE COMPLEX: LIVE ACTION INTERACTIVE SCI-FI FILM
Wales Interactive, Red and Black Films, Good Gate Media, and Little Jade Productions have teamed up to bring film and gaming fans THE COMPLEX — a completely live action, interactive sci-fi thriller filmed in the UK now available worldwide through PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
Following Black Mirror‘s ‘Bandersnatch’ and BAFTA-winning game Late Shift – THE COMPLEX is written by Lynn Renee Maxcy, part of the Emmy award-winning writing team from The Handmaid’s Tale and is the very first live interactive Science Fiction film and one of only a small number of interactive films in existence.
After a major bio-weapon attack on London, two scientists find themselves in a locked-down laboratory with time, and air, running out. With choose-your-own-adventure style gameplay, your actions and your relationship with other characters will lead you to one of eight suspenseful endings. The game also features a real-time Relationship Status Tracking that influences the story as you play and a real-time Personality Trait Tracking that evolves based on your choices.
PIPPO (CGI ANIMATED SHORT FILM)
Pippo is a short but captivating film from filmmaker and Visual Effects supervisor Chris Keller that’s as beautiful as it is heartbreaking. In a bleak world that has lost its sense for joy and wonder, an old clown reminisces about better days. About his moving animated tale, Keller had this to say:
“Pippo is primarily a mood piece and a cinematic metaphor for how I increasingly feel about our world. The film’s unique style was achieved by combining miniature photography with CGI.”
Keller’s VFX credits including mega productions such as Pacific Rim Uprising, Assassin’s Creed, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Man of Steel, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. He has an outstanding command of the cinematic language, and uses it to maximize the emotional impact of his work. With a run time of only three minutes, his latest short Pippo manages to leave quite an impression, with an ending that will linger long after the credits roll.
HALFWAY TO HALLOWEEN MONTH (SHUDDER)
This week’s streaming column is dedicated to our friends at Shudder. They’ve been absolutely killing it with new and original programming, and they’re helping make sure that horror fans stuck at home during this pandemic stay entertained — even while on a budget. If you don’t yet have Shudder, you can enjoy an incredible 30 days of programming absolutely free with the promo code SHUTIN when signing up at Shudder.com.
Throughout April, Shudder is celebrating “Halfway to Halloween Month” the service’s celebration of All Hallows’ Eve in April. In addition to the amazing programming featured below, fans can enjoy:
- The first eight Friday the 13th movies and three documentaries about the famed franchise
- New seasons of Wolf Creek
- The Exorcist
- Elvira: Mistress of the Dark
- Live, personalized phone-in recommendations from Shudder’s Curator and much more
0.0Mhz is an upcoming South Korean horror film featuring a group of students as they use the radio frequency to summon a ghost that will threaten all of their lives.
Written and directed by Yoo Sun-Dong, the Shudder original film follows members of a paranormal exploration club, who go to an abandoned house in the remote small town to prove the existence of a ghost using radio frequency-based technology. Unfortunately, the young students unwittingly become the ghost’s host. Starring South Korean actress and singer Jung Eun-Ji, the film will be making its debut in Shudder on April 23.
THE ROOM (SHUDDER)
In our last Horror Headlines, we recommended you check out Shudder’s original movie The Room, which debuted on March 12. Since its premiere, the film has become a runaway hit, easily claiming the top spot as the service’s most-watched Shudder Original film of the year — and one of the most watched Original premieres in the history of the service. The film tells the story of a couple, played by Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace) and Kevin Janssens (Revenge), who move to an old house in the country only to discover it contains a room that grants wishes… but with a price.
“The Room had a strong debut in week one, which is where we usually see the biggest numbers,” said Craig Engler, Shudder’s General Manager. “But in week two the audience grew a staggering 150 percent, and week three viewership was only a hair below that, turning it into a monster hit. There’s something about The Room and its claustrophobic story of a family stuck inside a house under extraordinary circumstances that’s really resonating with Shudder members.”
If you haven’t seen it yet, I strongly encourage you to check it out. It definitely lives up the positive buzz it’s getting.
CURSED FILMS (SHUDDER)
On April 2, Shudder premiered the new documentary series Cursed Films, which explores the myths and legends behind some of Hollywood’s notoriously “cursed” horror film productions, revealing the events through interviews with experts, witnesses and the film crews who experienced them. The premiere episode starts off with a bang, exploring the behind-the-scenes drama of one of the scariest, most celebrated horror films ever made: The Exorcist. Upcoming episodes include Poltergeist, The Omen, The Crow, and Twilight Zone: The Movie.
At just under 30 minutes per episode, this weekly series is a quick and utterly fascinating watch — essential viewing fan of both onscreen and real life horror.
THE LAST DRIVE-IN WITH JOE BOB BRIGGS (SHUDDER)
While April may be a tough month for all of us, there’s at least one shining bright spot to give all of us horror fans a reason to smile. Everyone’s favorite redneck horror host, B-movie aficionado, and walking encyclopedia of film history Joe Bob Briggs is back to give all us shut-ins a chance to connect with fellow members of the horror community while enjoying some great movies, plenty of laughter, and lots of insightful commentary from Briggs. The wildly popular series The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs is back for another season of Friday night double features starting April 24th at 9 pm ET.
SXSW ONLINE FILM FESTIVAL
Amazon Prime Video and SXSW are joining forces to launch “Prime Video presents the SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection”, following the unprecedented cancellation of the South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conference and Festivals by the City of Austin due to concerns surrounding the Coronavirus. “Prime Video presents the SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection” offers filmmakers in the 2020 SXSW Film Festival lineup an invitation to opt in to take part in this online film festival, which will play exclusively on Prime Video in the U.S. for 10-days. The one-time event will be available in front of the Prime Video paywall and free to all audiences around the country, with or without an Amazon Prime membership, all that is needed is a free Amazon account.
Filmmakers who choose to participate will receive a screening fee for streaming their film over the 10-day period. The launch date is yet to be announced, but SXSW and Prime Video are targeting a late April date. Be sure to stay tuned for more news about this unprecedented opportunity to see festival submissions from the world’s best and brightest established and up-and-coming filmmakers from the comfort of your own home.
OFFICIALLY LICENSED RE-ANIMATOR APPAREL (TERROR THREADS)
Our amazing friends over at Terror Threads have done it again, with a worthy celebration of the late Stuart Gordon‘s first — and arguably most iconic — film, Re-Animator. We had the pleasure of sharing our love for this timeless horror comedy classic over at the Terror Threads blog, and we encourage you to head there now to check out “13 Things You May Not Know About Re-Animator“. Then, be sure to share your own appreciation for Gordon’s brilliant Lovecraft adaptation by picking up one of five jaw-dropping designs, available in an assortment of tees, tanks, baseball tees, and hoodies.
Click here to shop the entire Re-Animator collection.