[Shawn Macomber checks in from sunny Florida with a new Sinister Seven.]
Jaie Laplante can still vividly recall how he felt exiting a perspective-altering midnight screening of Candyman at the Toronto International Film Festival as a young film student. “It was my first exposure to a genre film that could transcend what we think of as B-movie clichés and be powerful and emotional and upsetting in the same ways I found good art films or finely crafted Hollywood movies to be,” he tells Rue Morgue. Now as the executive director of the Miami International Film Festival, Laplante strives to pay that infernal gift forward with a tastefully curated special block of genre films dubbed Mayhem…
There’s already a Midnight Syndicate Sinister Seven with Edward Douglas from 2011 done by the talented Sean Plummer. So why do another one?
The last interview covered Midnight Syndicate’s movie The Dead Matter as well as their collaboration with Destini’s Beard on the album A Time Forgotten. This time around, we’re going to delve into the duo’s origins. Who cares? You should, if you like Halloween and horror themed music…
[Shawn Macomber contributes this Sinister Seven with Ed Glass-Donnelly, writer/director of The Last Exorcism Part II, in theatres today.]
Considering the epic conflagration that closed out the surprisingly excellent 2010 found footage film The Last Exorcism, director/screenwriter Ed Gass-Donnelly was a superlative choice to call up for resurrection duty: His much-praised 2010 effort Small Town Murder Songs not only deftly dealt with the (sometimes menacing) eccentricities engendered by isolation and religious fervor, it also showcased a bold and evocative style that existed outside of genre boundaries but could clearly be put to good use within them – an essential quality if The Last Exorcism Part II was going to avoid listing into overly self-referential hack-work territory…
[RM contributor Alexandra West checks in with a shiny new Sinister Seven.]
Horror is often relegated to the cobwebbed corners of popular culture. It’s dismissed, misunderstood or deemed a guilty pleasure. But the EMP Museum in Seattle, Washington has given the genre its due. With their exhibit Can’t Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film, senior curator Jacob McMurray, along with guest curators Roger Corman, John Landis and Eli Roth, has created an interactive and sensory experience that illuminates the history of horror cinema for gore-hounds and the casually curious alike.
The exhibit incorporates props such as the axe from The Shining, the Xenomorph creature suit from Alien and the Creature From the Black Lagoon’s mask as well interactive elements including The Scream Booth, where photos of shrieking visitors become part of the exhibit, and artist Philip Worthington’s Shadow Monster installation, which invites visitors to turn their own shadows into projected monsters…
Writer, director and producer Don Coscarelli was well ahead of his time when fathoming Phantasm back in 1974. It was a film that tackled multiple phobias, not the least of which included abandonment, bereavement and separation anxiety. Above all, we, the audience, were reminded that “death” was not a slasher, but a stalker – a stalker that we will all inevitably meet. Of course, death’s personification – the Tall Man – demanded some theatricality: A mortician who bled yellow, commanded a fleet of flying, razor-wielding, silver spheres, whose agenda was to abduct the dead and turn them into his personal army of zombie-dwarves – and the same fate awaited any living person who happened to get in his way!
[Fabien Delage, the voice of Rue Morgue France, was mightily impressed with Death of a Shadow, a short film about a man who collects the shadows of the dying. Fabien checks in with a Sinister Seven with the film’s director, Tom Van Avermaet, whose short has been stirring up considerable buzz on the festival circuit.]
[It’s my pleasure to welcome first-time contributor Rebecca Fields into our freakish fold. All together, now: We accept her, one of us, we accept her, one of us…]
Horror writer. Opera singer. Voice-over artist. Circus freak.
Nope, it’s not ultimate career day on the Rue Morgue blog; this is young-adult horror author Gretchen McNeil’s resume. With a few exceptions (Dia Reeves, Richard Yancey and Kendare Blake come to mind), recent YA horror has mainly consisted of paranormal romance yarns. It was enough to make anyone searching for real chills skip the entire section and head straight for the nearest Lovecraft reprint.
[RM contributor Shawn Macomber recently interviewed the hell out of horror writer/filmmaker John Skipp. Catch part of Shawn's interview in RM's Halloween issue, and the other part right here.]
In The Devil’s Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce called “Longevity” the “uncommon extension of the fear of death” – a definition that seems highly apropos when delving into the professional proclivities of splatterpunk auteur John Skipp, an effervescent oeuvre which includes game-changing genre novels (The Light at the End, 1986; The Bridge, 1991), a much-lauded series of award-winning Black Dog horror anthologies (Demons: Encounters with the Devil and His Minions, Fallen Angels, and the Possessed; Werewolves and Shape Shifters: Encounters with the Beasts Within), and his own genre imprint, Ravenous Shadows.
At this point in his career, Skipp could reasonably sit back and watch esteem, notoriety and homage fight over his legacy’s exquisite table scraps, but instead he has chosen to continue to push boundaries and drop jaws with a pair of fantastically freaky films, Rose: The Bizarro Zombie Musical and Stay at Home Dad…
[RM contributor and Black Museum curator Paul Corupe checks in with a new Sinister Seven.]
One of the most interesting treats of this year’s Fantastic Fest was Michael Paul Stephenson’s latest documentary, The American Scream. After tackling the story of the infamously awful Troll 2 in his essential documentary Best Worst Movie, Stephenson has turned his attention to home haunting, telling the story of three different home haunters in Fairhaven, Massachusetts frantically trying to put the finishing touches on their scary backyard haunted walkthroughs.
[Rondal Scott serves up a fresh Sinister Seven with Declan O'Brien, whose credits include the last three installments of the Wrong Turn hillbilly horror franchise.]
In any franchise it’s hard to keep things fresh and interesting for fans, but just imagine starting off with a film in which your main characters are dead. That’s exactly where director Declan O’Brien found himself after taking on Wrong Turn 3 in 2009, a sequel that saw the last surviving cannibalistic mountain man (Three Finger) meet his demise. Undeterred, O’Brien managed to not only resurrect the hellish hillbillies, but he provided them with an entire back story to show us just how deranged they were from the start. With Wrong Turn 5, out on DVD and Blu-ray tomorrow from 20th Century Fox, the director revisits the trio once again, inviting horror icon Doug Bradley to join in the carnage.