Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday Scream Queen: Suzi Lorraine

Because there can never be enough pictures of cats on the web, here's actress and model Suzi Lorraine with Loki the Cat.

East Coast born-and-raised, Lorraine has become a familiar and appreciated presence in low-budget horror films in recent years, and she is featured in over a dozen different films slated for release during the second half of this year and through 2014. And I can only assume that even more projects will be added to her very busy schedule.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Merry Christmas (in July)! is having their annual Christmas in July sale, and NUELOW Games is taking part.

This means that all the fiction anthologies I've put together for them are 25% off, including Shadows of Texas, a small collection of two-fisted tales of terror by the legendary Robert E. Howard; White Fell and Other Stories, off-beat werewolf chillers from Clemence Housman and Robert E. Howard & Steve Miller; and, of course, Horror for the Holidays, a collection of Christmas-themed horror and mystery stories.

If you haven't checked out any of NUELOW Games's fiction collections, now might be a great time. You'll get some great content for your iPad or e-book reader (if it can handle PDF format) and I will personally appreciate the royalties that will come my way. :)

Click here to see the entire line-up of NUELOW Games's fiction anthology. (I love them all, but I HIGHLY recommend any of the ones that are part of Robert E. Howard Collection.)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saturday Scream Queen: A Pause

Was she late for the photo-shoot? Or did the monsters get her at a late-night movie screening in Colorado, or while she was vacationing in Bulgaria?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Creepy music videos from Laibach

Laibach is a Slovenian avant-garde rock group that enjoyed their greatest international success during the late 1980s through the mid-1990s. During that time, some effectively creepy videos were made to promote them and their albums. In fact, I consider the video for "Life Is Life" to be one of the creepiest videos I've ever seen. Take a look... let me know if you agree.

Similar thematically, creepy, but not quite as bone-chilling is the video for their cover of "Sympathy for the Devil".

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

'A Perfect Getaway' is not a perfect

A Perfect Getaway (2009)
Starring: Steve Zahn, Milla Jovovich, Timothy Olyphant, and Kiele Sanchez
Director: David Twohy
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

A honeymooning couple (Jovovich and Zahn) on a multi-day nature hike in Hawaii discover that brutal killers targeting tourists may have taken refuge in the same area. Can their new friends (Olyphant and Sanchez) be the murderers?

"A Perfect Getaway" is a weakly written thriller that is elevated by good performances by its stars and nice cinematography. While it pulls off its Big Reveal with some skill and "plays fair" for the most part--allowing the viewers to try to solve the mystery of who the murderers are before the filmmakers do--the writer/director's assumption that the viewer will buy into the fact that someone is ex-military or used to work as a butcher makes them spooky and creepy and viable murder suspects is moronic and probably an notion that only someone born and bred in Los Angeles and Hollywood would buy into. Other red herrings presented as the film unfolds are even weaker, leading the film be rather boring.

Unless, of course, you think military people and outdoorsy types are somehow inherently spooky and scary. If you do, then you'll probably find the film to be all sorts of kinds of exciting and thrilling.

That sensation may dissapate, however, when you realize that the murderers are rather idiotic, in that they box themselves in on a dead-end trail and then call attention to their location by notifying the authorities and putting an innocent couple in a really flimsy frame that would break at the slightest scrutiny. (I'm aware that the driving force behind the killers is the psychotic goal one of them has to "live 100 lives" but they can't have been doing it for as long as the story implies if they've been as stupid as they are shown to be here).

It's too bad the good performances here are wasted on such a weak script. All the stars come across as perfectly normal and likeable people (assuming Southerners and military men don't scare you out of hand) and it's especially nice to see Jovovich in a role unlike those she usually plays. And it's surprising that the writer/director who brought us such fun B-movie romps as "Warlock" and "Pitch Black" would blow it so badly when making a more "respectable" thriller. But then that may have been the problem. He was going for "realism," but instead ended up putting Hollywood biases on display?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Saturday Scream Queen: Winona Ryder

Born to hardcore hippie parents in 1971, Winona Ryder's earliest years were spent on a commune without electricity. Still, she would steal away with her mother to a nearby barn that had electricity to watch movies, often at the expense of going to school.

Ryder eventually graduated from high school with a 4.0 GPA, and she was already on the path to being a professional actress. Although her career has been focused mostly around mainstream dramas and romantic comedies, her first major horror roles came in 1988 when she had starred in both "Beetlejuice" and "Heathers".

Other horror projects have been "Lost Souls" (2000) and "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (1992). Ryder was instrumental in shaping that last project, conceiving and pitching it to producer/director Francis Ford Coppola, and being heavily involved in lining up the cast.

Ryder recently completed work on animated horror comedy "Frankenweenie", providing the voice of Elsa Frankenstein. The film is slated for release on October 5, 2012.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Revelations... the Music Video!

Death metal with incomprehensible lyrics... Catholic Demon Hunters... Zombies... ... and an appearance by the always-fabulous Cheyenne King! What more can one ask for in a horror-themed music video?

Revelations (2010)
Starring: Sarah French, Cheyenne King, and Daigoro
Director: Eli Funaro
Rating: Six of Ten Stars

By the way, the people who worked on this low-budget video did a better job with the cheap digital gore effects than what I've seen in some recent big-budget, full-blown movies who have turned to the same technology. It's a sad commentary on how some effects artists are paid entirely too much for their incompetence; these guys should have been hired for "Machete", "Expendbles", and several other pathetic examples of crappy digital effects I could mention. On the downside... just what the hell is the song about? I think maybe I understood a total of five words out of four-five minutes of screeching.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Saturday Scream Queen: Jennifer Carpenter

Born in Kentucky in 1979, Jennifer Carpenter trained at New York City's famous Julliard School, making her professional acting debut on Broadway in 2002. Her first films ro9les were in dramas about New Yorkers in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks ("People Are Dead" in 2002 and "Ash Wednesday" in 2003), and in 2005 she made her had her first horror movie appearances in 2005, with starring roles in "Lethal Eviction" and "The Exorcism of Emily Rose."

In 2006, Carpenter was cast as the foul-mouthed sister-by-adoption and law enforcement colleague of the title character in "Dexter." This long-running mystery television series has lots of horror overtones, as its main character is a psychopath who was molded by his adopted father to be as close to a force for good as he could possibly become, and who become a serial killer who targets serial killers, both identifying them and covering his tracks through his job as a police scientist. Carpenter remains a fixture of the series, which has been renewed by Showtime through 2013.

When not working on the series, Carpenter has continued to make movies, including the chillers "Quarantine" (2008), "The Factory" (2008), and "Gone" (2011).

Carpenter recently completed work on "The Occult," a thriller about members of a religious sect who are being murdered to bring about a prophecy. No firm release date has been set, but it will likely be released around the middle of 2013.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Bonus Scream Queen: Amanda Tapping

It's Independence Day in the United States, and in celebration, I'm presenting the second annual Bonus Scream Queen.

Amanda Tapping is a veteran television actress who spent 13 years portraying U.S. Air Force scientist and inter-stellar explorer Samantha Carter on "Stargate: SG-1" and the spin-off series and movies, from 1997 through 2010. More recently, she starred as the unaging Helen Magnus on the SyFy Channel monster series "Sanctuary", which was formally cancelled in May of 2012 after four seasons.

As she was getting established, Tapping had small parts on several horror series in the mid-1990s, including "Forever Knight", "Goosebumps", "The X-Files", and "Millennium". In between her series work, she also had roles in the horror films "Blacktop", "The Haunting of Lisa", and "The Void".

Tapping's most recent horror film, "Taken Back", was released last month. She plays a deranged mother who think she's located her long-lost daughter living with another couple.