Category Archives: Horror

Arri’s expansion of the Franz Wieser Grant Program gives new filmmakers more reason to work harder

One of the biggest camera and imaging giants based in Munich, Arri, has today expanded its grant program, the Franz Wieser Grant program, to accommodate for creativity from aspiring filmmakers and directors.

The Franz Wieser Grant program is in charge of providing aspiring filmmakers access to all Arri products and resources so that can practice and gain experience through shooting documentaries and short videos without compromising their portfolio.

The expansion of this already fantastic program means aspiring filmmakers can now do much more than create short videos, or feature videos or music videos, they can now try their hands at some real filmmaking.

Previously named as Amira Grant Program and Launched nine (9) years ago, the grant program has since been renamed after one of Arri’s hardworking executives, Franz Wieser – a man who never tires of empowering small filmmakers. Franz died in 2019 after which the grant was named after him.

Many rising star filmmakers have been beneficiaries of this grant program and are more often than not being nominated for awards in the filmmaking industry.

Speaking about the expansion, the chairman of the grant program, Ksenia Lappo said, “Our goal is to challenge and inspire filmmakers to create the best projects they possibly can.”

This statement in itself shows there’s still a lot the grant program has for its aspiring talents.

Applying for the Franz Wieser Grant program is open all year round although beneficiaries are chosen by how interesting the grant committee sees their proposal. Once someone is selected to join the program, he or she automatically qualifies for the technical support and equipment package offered by the grants.

The 2022 Las Vegas International Horror Film Festival Now open for Submissions

The Las Vegas International Horror Film Festival has announced that the 2022 edition of the prestigious annual awards event will take place on October 23rd and 24th, 2022 in the Entertainment Capital of the world

A film festival that’s all about terrifying its audience

The film festival reputed for showcasing and awarding the best horror films from all over the globe will be awarding eligible films in eleven different categories. All filmmakers looking to showcase their features or shorts to the world are invited to submit their work starting on May 31s, 2021..

LVIHFF which was founded by Christopher Levy, Chief Executive Officer of Falcon Film Exports, has become a platform where independent horror filmmakers can drive awareness to their movies alongside films from top-rated horror filmmakers and directors.

The After party is sure to be a scream. Asides from winning an award, the festival also offers independent filmmakers a chance to network with celebrity judges, film distributors, sales agents, representatives from major film studios all expected to be in attendance.

The fest event will award films based on the following categories:

Best Feature
Best Short
Best Director
Best Actress
Best Actor
Best Visual Effects
Best Special Effects
Best Make Up artist
Best Editing
Best Musical Score
Best Screenplay

For more information on how to submit your film  FilmFreeway

Amazon Purchases the Iconic Film Studio MGM for $8.45 Billion

Amazon announces the purchase of the studio Behind the James Bond Franchise, MGM for $8.45 Billion

Amazon and MGM earlier today announced that an agreement, that will see Amazon acquire the studio and rights to all its works, has been reached between the two companies.

Founded in 1924, MGM has gone from being just a movie-making studio to a giant entertainment company with a rich catalog of films under its name. Alongside the announcement of the merger, the two companies added that all the movies and TV shows owned by MGM would be even more easily accessible now that the two companies are together.

While we cannot say which company is benefitting more from the merger, there is one thing we do know for sure,  Amazon Prime Video subscriptions are about to be worth every single dollar subscribers pay for it. What with the addition of over 4,000 movies and 17,000 TV shows owned by MGM, it is a good time to be a Prime Video subscriber! Furthermore, Amazon Studios would be looking to revive popular old franchises from the studio such as the incredible 007 series among other classic titles.

Speaking while announcing the deal officially to the public, Senior VP of Amazon Studios and Prime Video, Mike Hopkins, said that “The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of (intellectual property) in the deep catalog that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team. It’s very exciting and provides so many opportunities for high-quality storytelling.” During the announcement, Hopkins also briefly mentioned that MGM studios have over 800 global employees, all of whom will be joining the studio to Amazon.

This is not the first time Amazon would be pulling off incredibly expensive acquisitions but the $8.45 Billion deal sure puts it second on the list of Amazon’s expensive company acquisitions.

Although there is no confirmed date on when the merger deal would be approved by a regulatory body governing the whole industry, Variety quoted insiders believe the deal should be done by the end of the year (2021). One of the interesting terms and conditions of the deal is that Amazon will take responsibility for MGM’s debt while the studio will be working as a branch under the Amazon Brand.

In a statement released by MGM’s executive chairman, Kevin Ulrich, he expressed his happiness about the deal saying “I am very proud that MGM’s Lion, which has long evoked the Golden Age of Hollywood, will continue its storied history, and the idea born from the creation of United Artists lives on in a way the founders originally intended, driven by the talent and their vision. The opportunity to align MGM’s storied history with Amazon is an inspiring combination.”

While it is yet to be seen as to whether the next title in the Bond franchise would debut on the Amazon Prime streaming service, there is no denying that the merger can open a whole world of possibilities not only for both companies but also for fans of the various classics mentioned by Hopkins during the deal announcement. Some of the popular titles include Creed; Rocky;  Tomb Raider;  Robocop; Raging Bull; Poltergeist; The James Bond series; The Pink Panther;  Moonstruck;  Fargo (TV Show);  Vikings (TV Show);  The Handmaid’s Tale (TV Show); among others, all of which have generated not just huge revenue for the MGM studio and other marketing companies that own rights to them but also amassed jaw-dropping audience all over the world.

Considering Amazon studio has recently adopted an aggressive commercial fare type of production, it would be really interesting to see how MGM and Amazon handle how to run the new “film division”.

Sam Raimi’s EVIL DEAD Serie coming to HBO Max

Forty years after the first movie was produced, Sam Raimi and his ‘Evil Dead’ film series are coming to HBO Max

Evil Dead Rise, a new installment and sequel to ‘Evil Dead’ – a supernatural horror trilogy created and produced by Sam Raimi is already in the works and set to debut on HBO Max!

Forty years ago, Sam Raimi introduced the world to his horror franchise world and while the other titles in the franchise have gotten theatrical releases, ‘Evil Dead Rise’ would be launching on HBO Max, a streaming platform. This, of course, is only available for the U.S. Other countries such as France, U.K. would be getting a theatrical release a few days after the streaming platform debut.

While Raimi directed and produced the original film in the franchise, “The Evil Dead(1981)” as well as the two sequels, “Evil Dead II” and “Army of Darkness” released in 1987 and 1993 respectively, he won’t be directing this new installment. However, he would be acting as an executive producer alongside Bruce Campbell, one of the franchise’s old protagonists. Another veteran of the franchise who would be contributing to the production of the new installment is Robert Tapert and it is yet to see whether or not he would feature on-screen in the movie.

This is not the first time a Studio or Streaming platform has tried to revive and reboot the franchise. A soft reboot was directed by Fede Alvarez for Sony in 2013 but it didn’t quite hit the ground running in terms of ratings and revenue generated.

Raimi’s new installment for HBO max would pick up exactly where the original trilogy left off in 1993 by moving the horror from the woods into the heart of the city. The plot of this installment would see two estranged sisters thrust into a primal survival battle due to the sudden rise of nightmarish flesh possessing demons who just won’t die.

Speaking about the new installment he is working on for HBO max, Raimi said in his statement that he was thrilled the ‘Evil Dead’ series was finally back to where it belongs saying “The company’s history as pioneers of horror speaks for itself. I’m equally excited to be working with Lee Cronin, whose gifts as a storyteller make him the ideal filmmaker to continue the enduring legacy of the franchise.”

While there might be new protagonists in this installment, one thing is certain, they would both have to step up to the task because “Evil Dead” does not have a history of being less dramatic when it comes to staging terrifying situations.

Production for “Evil Dead Rise” begins June 2021 and a release date for the movie is still unclear at the time of this writing.

“Evil Dead” is not the only horror hits that have been produced by New Line Cinema. The studio has also produced hit titles like “It and It: Chapter Two”, “The Conjuring” series, among other titles.

Speaking about the studio’s preparation to create a new installment to the original “Evil Dead” trilogy, New Line Cinema’s president and Chief Creative officer said while the studio has had a history of producing influential and successful horror films, he is very excited to see Sam Raimi, Rob and Bruce Campbell all coming back to work on a new installment to the franchise; stating that there is no better producer that can understand what “Evil Dead” means.

More news will be updated about the movie’s release date as more information is churned out.

 

Looking Back: The Pit

The Pit(1981)

Directed by Lew Lehman

Starring Sam Snyders, Jeannie Elias, Sonja Smits, and Richard Aiden

The Pit is about a young boy named Jaime Benjamin who lures people into a creature pit, due to the suggestion of his demonic plush toy, Teddy.

This movie is an intriguing creature feature. The acting is pretty good, and I felt that Sam Snyders who played Jaime, gave a good performance. You got the sense of a kid going through the trials of puberty, and experiencing some inner psychological turmoil.

The Pit overall is entertaining, and if you’re looking for something different, this comes recommended. I would suggest you watch this on a streaming service before you decide to add it to your collection. My Score: 7.5/10

Looking Back: PIECES

PIECES(1982)

Directed by Juan Piquer Simon

Starring Lynda Day George, Ian Sera, Christoper George, Frank Brana, and Jack Taylor

I just finished watching Pieces, and I have to say that this slasher exceeds expectations. The story is a very solid whodunit, and the kills were disturbing, but great.

Here’s a quick synopsis: A young boy named Timmy is putting together a puzzle of a naked woman. His mother sees this and demands that he gets a bag to throw the puzzle away. However, he returns with an ax and dismembers her. Forty years later, the viewer is taken to a college campus where some bizarre deaths occur.

I liked how the story keeps you guessing as to what Timmy’s role is at the campus. I will not reveal it because you’ll definitely have to watch this film to find out. You will be surprised. The kills are graphic, but with a purpose.

In addition to the surprisingly good story and the bizarre kills, the ending is very memorable. It is shocking along the lines of Friday the 13th and SleepAway Camp.

What else can I say about Pieces? All I will tell you is that If you want a great 80s slasher, this one comes highly recommended. My score: 8.5/10 (Add to your horror library)

Looking Back: The Fly (1986)

WARNING!! (For those who have not seen this film) This review may contain some spoilers!

The Fly(1986)      Directed by David Cronenberg

Starring Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, and John Getz

I’m working on something that will change the world as we know it,” announces Seth to Veronica, the journalist who is looking for a good story. This sentence, in my opinion,  provides the set-up to this movie’s basic premise: A scientist who develops a major breakthrough with the idea to change the world, but a mistake creates some unfortunate results.

The Fly centers on Seth, a scientist who creates a device that teleports objects from one pod to another. Soon after he succeeds with a living organism, he decides to perform the act on himself. However, a fly goes into the pod without his knowledge, resulting in a genetic fusion of man and insect.

This film is a very engaging hybrid of horror, sci-fi, and romance. Jeff Goldblum’s(Seth) and Geena Davis’s(Veronica) romantic chemistry was impressive. I felt that their attraction developed a little quickly, but overall their relationship was organic and believable. The story kept me engaged, and the practical effects still holds up to this day. Those effects definitely made you believe that Seth was plausibly turning into a fly.

If you’re looking for a great Body-Horror movie that blends sci-fi and romance quite effectively, The Fly comes highly recommended. My score: 8.5/10(Add to your horror collection).

Hidden Horror Gems: SleepAway Camp

SleepAway Camp(1983)

Directed and Written by Robert Hiltzik

Starring Felissa Rose, Jonathan Tierston, Paul DeAngelo, and Karen Fields

When it comes to hidden horror gems, Sleepaway Camp definitely fits that definition. Honestly, I’ve never heard of this film until recently, but I am glad that I discovered it. I was so impressed with this movie, that I had to purchase a copy.

Released in 1983, this film centers on Angela, a shy girl whose family is killed in a boating accident. As a result, she goes to live with her eccentric Aunt Martha and her cousin Ricky. Years later, Aunt Martha sends the two children to camp, where some mysterious and bizarre deaths occur.

Sleepaway Camp is both impressive and provocative. It is a well-paced, solid whodunit. The idea of using actual children gives you an authentic “life at a camp” feeling, and their overall performances were very engaging and memorable. Even though the kills were not too graphic, the practical effects were solid. And the ending..well, there is a reason Sleepaway Camp has one of the greatest plot twists ever in horror. You’ll just have to watch the film to experience it.

Not to sound like a commercial, but your collection will not be complete until you pick up a copy of this movie. Make sure you get the Shout Factory! Edition to watch the extras and gain more insight into this unique slasher. My score: 9/10(Add to your library)

Another Look: A Nightmare on Elm St. 2: Freddy’s Revenge

A Nightmare on Elm St. 2:  Freddy’s Revenge(1985)

Directed by Jack Sholder

Starring Robert Englund,  Mark Patton, Kim Meyers, and Robert Rusler.

I haven’t seen a Nightmare on Elm St. 2: Freddy’s Revenge in awhile, so I decided to watch it again, and perhaps gain another perspective. Yes, I am aware of the controversy that surrounds this sequel, but when I first saw it I was very young, and honestly, I didn’t see the subtext. There are other videos and reviews that cover that subtext if you want to look more into it. Controversies aside, I will say that this entry is an intriguing take on the Nightmare canon, and it deserves another look.

This sequel takes place 5 years after the first one. It focuses on Jesse, a teenager that has moved into Nancy’s old house on Elm St. As to be expected, Freddy Krueger invades his dreams. His goal is not to kill Jesse, but to use him as a conduit to enter into the real world. The movie starts off very strong with the scene of Freddy driving the school bus, tormenting Jesse and the other characters riding it. I will not give the entire movie away, but there are quite a few scenes that gives Freddy’s Revenge more of a psychological-slasher vibe.

There aren’t many graphic kills, but the effects work is impressive. The story is well written with stellar performances by Mark Patton(Jesse) and Kim Meyers(Lisa). The dynamic between those two is so engaging, that I wish that they were further explored in some of the sequels.

This entry in the franchise..you have to admire the risk the filmmakers took when they allowed Freddy into the real world, basically giving a different angle to the Nightmare lore. Also, Freddy is more menacing and scarier, not having the comedic tone we see in the future sequels.

A Nightmare on Elm St. 2: Freddy’s Revenge may be considered underrated to some, but I will suggest that you take a different look at this one because of the risks, giving you another angle on Nightmare’s world. This film, in my opinion, is one of the definitions of an authentic horror movie. If you haven’t seen this one, I’d suggest you watch it and add it to your collection. My score: 9/10-(Collection-Worthy)

Looking Back at Remakes: Maniac

Maniac(2012)

Directed by Franck Khalfoun

Starring Elijah Wood, America Olivo,  and Nora Arnezeder

Sometimes, remakes do not live up to the original. Other times, remakes are impressive to the point that they are their own films. Maniac(2012) belongs to that latter camp.

This more hi-gloss update of the 1980 slasher flick centers on Frank Zito, a man who has an insatiable lust for killing and scalping women. He soon meets Anna, an artist who asks for his help with her exhibit. Maniac asks if she will finally be the one who stops his lust, and perhaps give him a sense of the love he has always wanted.

One compelling aspect of Maniac is that it is shot in full POV, allowing us to see the movie through Frank’s eyes. I admired that because this makes the movie unique, not being a carbon copy of the original.

This film is more glossy and a little more artsy than the original. The performances and the overall mood gives you an eerie feeling, but I admit that you don’t get a real sense of intense fear until the third act. The kills are interesting, and if you are into blood and gore, this slasher is for you.

If you liked the original Maniac, you owe it to yourself to give this one a watch.  However, if you haven’t seen the original, that is fine.  I think you will still find this intriguing and enjoyable.  My score: 8/10(Add to your collection).