May 2024

Katheryn Winnick’s Role In Bones Came With A Warning

Bones actor Katheryn Winnick was warned that the show’s fans wouldn’t take kindly to her character coming between Brennan and Booth.

A Fox Executive’s Loose Lips Earned John Wayne A $250K Payday

Fox executive Daryl F. Zanuck pay a literal price for badmouthing John Wayne, resulting in the actor’s $250K payday for The Longest Day.

‘A Sacrifice’ Trailer – Sadie Sink Stars in Suicide Cult Thriller

Inspired by Nicholas Hogg’s 2015 novel Tokyo Nobody, the thriller A Sacrifice starring Sadie Sink (“Stranger Things”) is on the way from Vertical, and the official trailer has arrived.

From director Jordan Scott, the film releases on June 28, 2024.

A Sacrifice is an emotionally turbulent story that follows American social psychologist Ben Monroe who is investigating a local Berlin cult connected to disturbing events.

“While he immerses himself in his work, his rebellious teenage daughter, Mazzy, becomes embroiled with a mysterious local boy who introduces her to the city’s underground party scene. As their two worlds head toward a dangerous intersection, Ben will need to race against the clock in order to save his daughter.”

Sadie Sink stars alongside Eric Bana and Sylvia Hoeks.

A Sacrifice is produced by Ridley Scott.

The post ‘A Sacrifice’ Trailer – Sadie Sink Stars in Suicide Cult Thriller appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.

One Of The Coolest Elements Of Furiosa Was Originally Meant For Mad Max: Fury Road [Exclusive]

Furiosa tells the story of the fierce warrior who made waves in Mad Max: Fury Road, and it also utilizes an unused idea to add even more vehicular mayhem.

Seeing Things: Roger Corman and ‘X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes’

When the news of Roger Corman’s passing was announced, the online film community immediately responded with a flood of tributes to a legend. Many began with the multitude of careers he helped launch, the profound influence he had on independent cinema, and even the cameos he made in the films of Corman school “graduates.”

Tending to land further down his list of achievements and influences a bit is his work as a director, which is admittedly a more complicated legacy. Yes, Corman made some bad movies, no one is disputing that, but he also made some great ones. If he was only responsible for making the Poe films from 1960’s The Fall of the House of Usher to 1964’s The Tomb of Ligeia, he would be worthy of praise as a terrific filmmaker. But several more should be added to the list including A Bucket of Blood (1959) and Little Shop of Horrors (1960), which despite very limited resources redefined the horror comedy for a generation. The Intruder (1962) is one of the earliest and most daring films about race relations in America and a legitimate masterwork. The Wild Angels (1966) and The Trip (1967) combine experimental and narrative filmmaking in innovative and highly influential ways and also led directly to the making of Easy Rider (1969).

Finally, X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (1963) is one of the most intelligent, well crafted, and entertaining science fiction films of its own or any era.

Officially titled X, with “The Man with the X-Ray Eyes” only appearing in the promotional materials, the film arose from a need for variety while making the now-iconic Poe Cyle. Corman put it this way in his indispensable autobiography How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime:

“If I had spent the entire first half of the 1960s doing nothing but those Poe films on dimly let gothic interior sets, I might well have ended up as nutty as Roderick Usher. Whether it was a conscious motive or not, I avoided any such possibilities by varying the look and themes of the other films I made during the Poe cycle—The Intruder, for example—and traveling to some out-of-the-way places to shoot them.”

Some of these films, in addition to Corman’s masterpiece The Intruder (1962), included Atlas and Creature from the Haunted Sea in 1961, The Young Racers (1963), The Secret Invasion (1964), and of course X, which was originally brought to him (as was often the case) only as a title from one of his bosses, James H. Nicholson. Corman and writer Ray Russell batted the idea presented in the title around for a couple days before coming to this idea also described in Corman’s book:

“He’s a scientist deliberately trying to develop X-Ray or expanded vision. The X-Ray vision should progress deeper and deeper until at the end there is a mystical, religious experience of seeing to the center of the universe, or the equivalent of God.”

While Corman worked on other projects, Russell and Robert Dillon wrote the script, which has a surprising profundity rarely found in low-budget science fiction films of the era. Like The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) before it and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) after, X grapples with nothing less than humanity’s miniscule place in an endless cosmos. These films also posit that, despite our infinitesimal nature, we still matter.

In some senses, X plays out like an extended episode of The Twilight Zone. Considering Corman’s work with regular contributors to that show Richard Matheson and Charles Beaumont during this era, this makes a lot of sense. It begins with establishing the conceit of the film—X-ray vision discovered by a well-meaning research scientist Dr. James Xavier, played by Academy Award Winner Ray Milland. The concept is then developed in ways that are innocuous, fun, or helpful to humanity or himself. As the effect of the eyedrops that expand his vision cumulate, Xavier is able to see into his patients’ bodies and see where surgeries should be performed, for example. He is also able to see through people’s clothes at a late-evening party and eventually cheat at blackjack in Las Vegas. Finally, the film takes its conceit to its extreme, but logical, conclusion—he keeps seeing further and further until he sees an ever-watching eye at the center of the universe—and builds to a shock ending. And like many of the best episodes of The Twilight Zone, X is spiritual, existential, and expansive while remaining grounded in way that speaks to our humanity.

Two sections of the film in particular underscore these qualities. The first begins after Xavier escapes from his medical research facility after being threatened with a malpractice suit. He hides out as a carnival sideshow attraction under the eye of a huckster named Crane, brilliantly played by classic insult comedian Don Rickles in one of his earliest dramatic roles. At first, a blindfolded Xavier reads audience comments off cards, which he can see because of his enhanced vision. Corman regulars Dick Miller and Jonathan Haze appear as hecklers in this scene. He soon leaves the carnival and places himself into further exile, but Crane brings people to him who are infirmed or in pain and seeking diagnosis. Crane then collects their two bucks after Xavier shares his insights. This all acts as a kind of comment on the tent revivalists who hustled the desperate out of their meager earnings with the promise of healing. Now in the modern era, it is still effective as these kinds of charlatans have only changed venues from canvas tents to megachurches and nationwide television.

The other sequence comes right at the end. After speeding his way out of Las Vegas under suspicion of cheating at cards, Xavier gets in a car accident and wanders out into the Nevada desert. He finds his way to a tent revival and is asked by the preacher, “do you wish to be saved?” He responds, “No, I’ve come to tell you what I see.” He speaks of seeing great darknesses and lights and an eye at the center of the universe that sees us all. The preacher tells him that he sees “sin and the devil,” and calls for him to literally follow the scripture that says, “if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.” Xavier’s hands fly to his face, and the last moment of the film is a freeze frame of his empty, bloody eye sockets.

At this point, Xavier is seeing the unfathomable secrets of the universe. Taken in a spiritual sense, he is the first living human to see the face of God since Adam before being exiled from the Garden of Eden. But neither the scientific community nor the spiritual one can accept him. The scientific community sees him as a pariah, one who has meddled in a kind of witchcraft because he has advanced further and faster than they have been able to. The spiritual leader believes he has seen evil because he cannot fathom a person seeing God when he, a man of God, is unable to do so himself. The one man who can supply answers to the eternal questions about humanity’s place in the universe, questions asked by science and religion alike, is rendered impotent by both simply because they are unable to see. The myopia of both camps is the greater tragedy of X. Xavier himself perhaps finally has relief, but the rest of humanity will continue to live in darkness, a blindness that is not physical but the result of a lack of knowledge that Xavier alone could provide. In other words, he could help them see, or to use religious terminology, give sight to the blind. Rumor has it that a line was cut from the final film in which Xavier, after plucking out his eyes, cries out “I can still see!” A horrifying line to be sure, but it also would have kept the tragedy personal. In the final version, the tragedy is cosmic.

I usually try to keep myself out of the articles in this column, but allow me to break convention if I may. Roger Corman’s death affected me in ways that I did not expect. With his advanced age I knew the news would come down sooner rather than later, but maybe a part of me expected him to outlive us all. Corman’s legacy loomed large, but he never seemed to believe too much of his own press. I’ve heard many stories over the years of his gentle, even retiring demeanor, his ability to have tea and conversation with volunteers at conventions, his reaching out to people he liked and respected when they felt alone in the world. I never had the pleasure of meeting or speaking with him myself, but I did get to speak with his daughter Catherine and sneak in a few questions about her father. It was fascinating to hear about the kind of man he was, the things that interested him, and the community he created in his home and studio.

X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes was the first Corman movie I ever heard of, though I saw it for the first time many years later. When my family first got a VCR back in the mid-80s, my parents quickly learned about my obsession with horror movies, though at the time I was too afraid to actually see most of them. One day while browsing the horror section at the gigantic, pre-Blockbuster video store we had a membership with, my dad said, “Oo! The Man with the X-Ray Eyes! That’s a great one.” For whatever reason, we didn’t pick the video up that day, but I never forgot that title. Then I read about it in Stephen King’s Danse Macabre and, though he spoils the entire movie in that book (which is fine, it’s not really that kind of movie) I was enthralled and became a bit obsessed with seeing it. Of course, by then it was a lot harder to track down the film, so I only had King’s plot description, a few scattered details from my dad’s memory, and my imagination to go by. When I finally did see it, the film did not disappoint. Sure, the special effects, clothes, music, and styles are pretty dated, but the themes and messages of the film are endlessly fascinating and relevant.

It may seem obvious, but X is a film about seeing and all the different meanings of that word. There are those things seen by the physical eye but there is so much more to it than that limited meaning. It asks questions of what we see with imagination, the spiritual, and intellectual eye. It explores what society does to people who can truly see. Some are deified while others are condemned and ostracized. And then there are those questions of if there is something out there that sees us. Is it a force of good or evil or indifference? Is there anything at all out there that looks for us as much as we look for it? It may just be a silly little low-budget science fiction film, but somehow X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes has the power to provoke thought and imagination in a way few films can. It may even have the power to help us see in ways we could only imagine.


In Bride of Frankenstein, Dr. Pretorius, played by the inimitable Ernest Thesiger, raises his glass and proposes a toast to Colin Clive’s Henry Frankenstein—“to a new world of Gods and Monsters.” I invite you to join me in exploring this world, focusing on horror films from the dawn of the Universal Monster movies in 1931 to the collapse of the studio system and the rise of the new Hollywood rebels in the late 1960’s. With this period as our focus, and occasional ventures beyond, we will explore this magnificent world of classic horror. So, I raise my glass to you and invite you to join me in the toast.

The post Seeing Things: Roger Corman and ‘X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes’ appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.

The Last Of Us Season 2 Casts The Great Jeffrey Wright As The Same Character He Played In The Game

Jeffrey Wright has joined the cast of The Last of Us season 2 and will reprise his role from the video game The Last of Us Part II.

Blumhouse Bringing the ‘My Bloody Valentine’ Franchise Back to Life [Exclusive]

Released in 1981, the original Canadian slasher classic My Bloody Valentine spawned a Hollywood remake (My Bloody Valentine 3D) in 2009, but it’s now been 15 years since we’ve heard a peep from the franchise about a sadistic and bloodthirsty miner with a pick(axe) to grind. But as “The Ballad of Harry Warden” once told us, it’s a curse that will live on and on…

And the My Bloody Valentine franchise does indeed plan to live on, as Bloody Disgusting has exclusively learned that Blumhouse is developing a brand new My Bloody Valentine movie.

Stay tuned for more information as we learn it.

My Bloody Valentine is one of those franchises that never was, with both the original movie and the 2009 remake failing to spawn follow-up movies. That’s despite Lionsgate’s My Bloody Valentine 3D scaring up $100 million at the worldwide box office, and the original becoming a classic that horror fans enjoy watching every time the calendar flips to February 14.

George Mihalka directed the original 1981 movie. In the film, “A decades-old folk tale surrounding a deranged murderer killing those who celebrate Valentine’s Day turns out to be true to legend when a group defies the killer’s order and people start turning up dead.” 

Directed by Patrick Lussier, the 3D remake follows a similar storyline. “Tom returns to his hometown on the tenth anniversary of the Valentine’s night massacre that claimed the lives of 22 people. Instead of a homecoming, Tom finds himself suspected of committing the murders, and it seems like his old flame is the only one that believes he’s innocent.”

“In this little town when the 14th comes ’round, there’s a silence and fear in the air…”

The post Blumhouse Bringing the ‘My Bloody Valentine’ Franchise Back to Life [Exclusive] appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.

Furiosa Returns The Mad Max Series To Its Gnarly, Revenge-Driven Roots

Furiosa is more like Mad Max than it is Fury Road … and that’s a good thing.

Is Any of This Real? The Unreliable Narrator in ‘Braid’ & ‘mother!’

Perception is everything. Filmmakers often toy with reality by unscrewing the story from the unreliable narrator’s vantage point. In filtering events through a distorted lens, incrementally unraveling the truth, writers and directors keep the viewer tip-toeing through a battlefield littered with dynamite. Darren Aronofsky’s mother! and Mitzi Peirone’s Braid shift reality like tectonic plates. Both are illusory, fever dreams that don’t even seem real. The filmmakers test our mental capacity and push our patience for such absurdism to the absolute limits.

Audiences raked mother! over the coals upon release. A cult classic in many ways, the 2017 horror mystery plunges into allegorical territory, asking the audience to glance deeper into its storytelling elements and below its superficial layers. Its basic conceptual drivers (God, mankind, Mother Nature) mingle in plainspoken verse to mess with your head. Aronofsky ensures the audience is as flabbergasted and delirious as Jennifer Lawrence’s mother, who embodies Mother Earth and has little control over the tragedy devouring the flesh from her bones.

The film sets up its premise in reverse. Him (Javier Bardem) moves about the ash and rubble of a secluded farmhouse to discover a rare crystal. He dusts off the charcoal exterior, polishes it up, and places it upon a nearby mantel. The environment quickly melts away, repairing itself and slowly revealing Mother (Lawrence) cozy in bed. Yawning, she goes downstairs searching for her husband (Bardem), a poet who has moved them into a home far from civilization. The countryside sweeps out in all directions, giving it a real Garden of Eden aesthetic. Bardem’s Him hopes the serenity and silence will inspire him to write again, while Mother spends her free time renovating the estate.

As their relationship flourishes, each finding a sense of purpose and accomplishment, strangers (Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer among them) appear on their doorstep. The disruptors, whose personal turmoil leaks into the lives of their hosts, spread like a disease, multiplying by the day, the hour, the minute. The house, serving as the Earth itself, encases the inhabitants within a fragile ecosystem. As the population grows, the walls crack, and the floorboards buckle under tremendous weight. The film devolves further, as riots break out, cops burst through the front doors, and adoring fans flock to Him, whose talents represent God’s hypnotizing power over generations of followers.

Mother’s perspective is on a tilt, mimicking that of the viewers as they witness reality collapse. The lines between fact and fiction bleed into one another. When Lawrence’s character becomes pregnant, there’s a cosmic shift. The chaos within the home escalates, the walls vibrating with chatter, screams, and mayhem. By the time Mother gives birth to a baby boy, the intruders descend upon her like beasts to prey and snatch the infant up into their arms, passing him around and picking him apart until there’s nothing but a heap of blood and flesh on the hardwood. It’s fiendish and ritualistic.

Most Polarizing 2017 Horror Films

‘mother!’

With decay spreading like mold, a fire breaks out amid the waves of bodies and swallows Mother whole. She crumbles into a shell of her former self, her beauty now dark and ghoulish. Her carcass becomes one of contempt and sadness. With her final breath, the world fades, dissipating into a suffocating void. The film then recycles, picking back up with the beginning – of time and creation itself. A new perspective emerges, that of a fresh-faced young woman who bears no resemblance to Jennifer Lawrence’s Mother. Aronofsky slaps the audience with deja vu, regurgitating images to impress with the notion that suffering is never-ending. It simply exists as something else. One being falls away, and another is born.

Much of mother! requires a personal shift in perspective. Where many unreliable narrator films include a revelation about reality (such as in the case of this column’s other film), Darren Aronofsky’s story keeps those cards close to the vest, allowing them to go up in smoke with the climax’s fiery armageddon. The audience is as unreliable as Mother, left to parse the layers on their own terms. Without clearly defining reality and fantasy, there’s never that cathartic release – where things are fully explained to the audience. Instead, Aronofsky leaves the viewer hanging in the air, unsatisfied and hungry.

In contrast, Mitzi Peirone’s Braid relies heavenly upon the unreliable narrator twist, alleviating the pressure from the audience and giving them real answers. Playfully preposterous, the picture goes full throttle in its conceit about three friends who play-pretend. We first find Tilda (Sarah Hay) and Petula (Imogen Waterhouse) weighing and packaging drugs to sell on the streets when police sirens pierce the mid-afternoon air. The duo hightail it to the train station and bolt out of town with only one destination on their minds: Daphne’s (Madeline Brewer) sweeping estate. There, they hope to rob their former childhood friend of her inheritance. But they first must play a game.

When Tilda and Petula arrive, they immediately slot into their respective roles as the daughter and the doctor. Daphne, strangely awaiting this moment, turns from her work at the sink and asks Tilda about her school day. Brewer’s slightly aloof performance as the mother instantly drops the audience into her delusional, whirling-dirvish world, one in which child’s play is commonplace and a necessary part of life. Noticing that her daughter might be sick, she fusses over Tilda until the doctor appears on the doorstep. Reality progressively grows more peculiar, as each ensemble player commits to the play-acting. Tilda and Petula’s dedication operates to lull Daphne into a false sense of security until they can find the safe and empty it of its contents.

A psychedelic drug-filled odyssey, the game has three rules: everyone must play, no outsiders allowed, and nobody leaves. Peirone slices the film into sections with each offering glimpses behind the curtain. At present, the film proposes that Daphne has disassociated from reality, exacerbated by her seclusion and loneliness. Her need to play pretend dates back to her youth and a tragic mile marker in her life – a time when the trio played doctor in a treehouse and one fell from the wavering eaves. Shown in a flashback, this moment defines Daphne’s life and leads to a sick obsession with pretend; it somehow eases her anxiety-addled mind, so Petula and Tilda play along for her well-being.

‘Braid’

Meanwhile, Detective Siegel (Scott Cohen) makes his rounds to the estate after answering a call about screams being heard on the property. Daphne excuses the occurrences to the fact she’s still adapting to a new medication and promises it’ll never happen again. Siegel has been hunting Petula and Tilda, who’ve been reported missing, and he remains skeptical about her explanation. He’s keenly aware something is amiss, but without proper evidence for a search warrant, he’s unable to press further.

The game slowly winds down to its conclusion, finding Daphne claiming she’s “pregnant” after a sexual encounter with Petula. It’s enough to drive one mad – and leads Petula to convince Daphne she needs a C-section. When performing faux surgery on their friend, Siegel returns to find Petula and Tilda ready to kill Daphne as she lies unconscious on a slab. In a twisted turn of events, Siegel is murdered in cold blood – with Daphne initiating the act. The trio must then bury the body out back and steer his police car into a nearby pond.

Reality comes crashing down upon their shoulders. Siegel’s death triggers the revelation that it has been Petula all along who has lost her sanity. Every part of the film takes place inside Daphne’s mansion, even the beginning when we meet Petula and Tilda and later on the train. It’s all been for the sake of the “game,” which we’re led to believe has taken place over many years. There’s no real purpose other than Daphne proclaiming Petula isn’t fit for the outside world, so she must remain on the estate for the rest of her existence. The film concludes with Tilda arriving home from school again, but this time, Daphne is shown in old age, indicating that the game is never-ending.

In all its weird glory, Braid makes great use of its dramatic unreliable narrator turn. Mitzi Peirone offers bits and pieces of dialogue as telltale signs, and it’s up to the audience to pick up the scent. It’s important the characters believe each version of reality, so much so that they become consumed by the play-acting and perhaps even slip into disarray themselves. While Petula has certainly been conditioned that her runaway lifestyle is real, Tilda and Daphne buy into their other selves to a certain degree. Otherwise, it just wouldn’t work – they must keep Petula contained, or else their perfect little world would be shattered.

mother! and Braid work overtime on the viewer’s mind. To varying degrees, both films immerse audiences in tanks of surrealism, playing upon expectation and in-universe reality. With each flicker of the screen, the stories suck you deeper into a warped, deteriorating fantasy marked by mankind’s self-made delusions. You can agonize over the details and what it all means, but the outcome remains the same: reality has immortalized our fear.

‘mother!’


Double Trouble is a recurring column that pairs up two horror films, past or present, based on theme, style, or story.

The post Is Any of This Real? The Unreliable Narrator in ‘Braid’ & ‘mother!’ appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.

Latest Public Domain Horror Movie Unleashes Killer ‘Piglet’ [Poster]

Coming soon from SpookHouse MediaWorks and Strange Films Studios is a horror movie titled Piglet, the latest twisted take on a public domain character from the Pooh universe.

The team tells BD, “This new take on the public domain character Piglet blends elements of classic slasher films like Friday the 13th and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.”

“We’re sparing no expense to stay true to the genre’s practical effects roots and create a truly nightmare-inducing experience. With an ensemble cast, Piglet is primed to be a cult classic in the making,” they continue, also comparing the upcoming film to Motel Hell.

Piglet will be directed by August Aguilar (The Gifted). The cast features Celeste Blandon (Phantom Fun-World), Jasper Hammer (All Eyes), and Brian Bremer (Pumpkinhead). The score is composed by Dr. Chud, formerly of the The Misfits.

Here’s the official synopsis…

Deep in the remote Appalachian hills, lives Piglet.

The son of a once industrious butcher and marred by tragedy, Piglet’s solitary life is shattered when fame-hungry millennials trespass onto his land.

In a foolish bid to manufacture exploitation, one of them slaughters Piglet’s beloved pig. Little do they know; they’ve just incurred the wrath of a vengeful killer. Incensed, Piglet brutally dispatches the trespassers one by one, displaying savage power.

Check out early poster art for Piglet below and expect more soon.

For clarity, this project is not part of the public domain universe known as the “Poohniverse,” which began with Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey. Same idea, different team.

The post Latest Public Domain Horror Movie Unleashes Killer ‘Piglet’ [Poster] appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.