The Last Horror Blog: 'Frankenstein's Army' Invades, 'VHS' Returns, and We Examine the Latest in Found-Footage Horror

The Last Horror Blog: 'Frankenstein's Army' Invades, 'VHS' Returns, and We Examine the Latest in Found-Footage Horror

Mar 08, 2012

Poster for Grabbers

IFC Midnight acquires rights for Irish horror-comedy Grabbers – We heard lots of good things about Grabbers, Jon Wright’s creature-feature horror-comedy, when it played Sundance earlier this year. Now we’ve learned that IFC’s Midnight movies imprint has scored the exclusive rights to release the film on DVD here in the USA.

When strange tentacle monsters start killing off the locals, it’s up to a pair of mis-matched cops to save the population of Erin Island. Things take a turn for the hilarious when they discover that the only line of defense is alcohol – which means everyone’s gonna have to get drunk.

No word on a release date for Grabbers yet, but check out the clip below (which is paying homage to Jaws 2) and let us know what you think.

 

Magnolia brings VHS to the masses – Speaking of movies that made a splash at Sundance, word is that Magnolia has acquired the rights to the found-footage anthology flick VHS.

Featuring the direction of Adam Wingard, Ti West, David Bruckner, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg and Radio Silence, the film follows a group of thieves tasked with stealing a rare videotape. The only problem is, they find a lot of other tapes – each featuring some truly disturbing footage.

VHS will hit VOD on August 31st, followed by a limited theatrical release on October 5th

Takashi Miike teaches us the Lesson of the Evil – We love cult Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike around here, so whenever he announces a new gig (which is pretty regularly – the guy makes a ton of movies), it’s cause for celebration.

The Rabid Dog of Japanese cinema has just announced his latest, a violent little film entitled Lesson of the Evil.

Based on a bestselling Japanese novel, the film follows a teacher (Hideaki Ito) who’s loved and respected by his students and peers. The problem is, underneath his professional exterior, the teacher is a psychopath who deals with his issues through the act of murder. We can only imagine how Miike will push the envelope with this one…

Lesson of the Evil is set to begin shooting next month, with hopes of finishing in time for the Venice Film Festival. A theatrical release is planned for November. 

Frankenstein’s Army marches in front of cameras – After what feels like an eternity of waiting and hoping, Richard Raaphorst’s absolutely awesome-sounding Frankenstein’s Army has finally started shooting.

The film, which is set at the end of World War II, finds the Nazis undertaking experiments from the journals of one Viktor Frankenstein. The result? An undead army of super soldiers stitched together from multiple body parts. How cool is that?

Below, find the first photo from the production. Expect more on Frankenstein’s Army as it works through its shooting schedule.

Frankenstein's Army still photo

 

Horror Review

Atrocious DVD cover artIt takes a massive amount of confidence to make a film and title it Atrocious. I mean, critics like me see a name like that and it’s almost like waving a red cape in front of a raging bull – I’m already thinking about jokey headlines before the DVD has even started spinning. To filmmaker Fernando Barreda Luna’s credit, he manages to make a film that doesn’t live up to its title.

Atrocious is the latest Spanish-language found-footage film, following in the footsteps of Jaume Balageuro and Paco Plaza’s Rec series. While Barreda Luna’s film isn’t as good as either of the Rec entries, Atrocious still manages to carve out its own niche in the burgeoning found-footage subgenre of horror cinema – it’s just more Blair Witch than Cloverfield.

Depending on one’s perspective, the story is either the film’s greatest strength or most damning failing. I don’t want to spoil it, because I think seeing Atrocious without knowing much about it works in the film’s favor. I will say that it follows teenaged siblings Cristian (Cristian Valencia) and July (Clara Moraleda) as they document a family trip to a summer house in Sitges. Naturally, strange things start happening. I’ll leave you to discover what those things are on your own.

Running just 74 minutes, Atrocious is short for a feature film – yet the one major complaint detractors have is that it meanders about for awhile before it really picks up narrative steam. It’s a valid complaint – the first half of Atrocious does sort of wander aimlessly, but it works within the confines of the found-footage subgenre. The film is supposed to be recovered footage from a crime scene – and as such the characters don’t know what’s happening as the events unfold, so neither does the audience. While the pace could be leaner, Barreda Luna uses the slower opening to allow us to get to know the main characters.

Valencia and Moraleda are likable actors and each makes that languid first half more bearable because of it. They come across as real siblings, and the audience likes them – which makes it all the more horrifying when things start to go wrong.

What’s behind things going wrong is the film’s great mystery – and while some have argued that the resolution feels “tacked on,” it’s still a decent enough twist that I didn’t mind the “out of left field” feel of it all.

What I did mind was a late second act segment of characters running through the pitch black woods with a bouncing camera in night vision mode. What was supposed to be intense and disorienting winds up more headache-inducing thanks to constant camera movements and shrill screaming.

That being said, none of this is enough to derail Atrocious. This is a middle of the road entry in the found footage subgenre, but for fans of fake flicks masquerading as real, it’s definitely worth a look.

Horror on the Horizon

Another quiet couple of weeks on the theatrical horror front. The only major release upcoming is Silent House, another Hollywood remake of a foreign film -- this time, Uruguay's La Casa Muda. Elizabeth Olsen stars in the spooky update, which is mostly notable because it was shot in one extended 80-minute take. Watch our interview with Olsen here.

While there may not be a lot of scary flicks at the local multiplex, gamers have a cornucopia of new titles to give them nightmares. March 13th sees the release of Yakuza: Dead Souls on the PS3 -- which takes the popular gangster series and adds zombies to the mix -- as well as Silent Hill: Downpour, which is the newest entry in Konami's venerable survival horror series.

Meanwhile, the 20th features Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, which finds players once again dealing with the evil Umbrella Corporation and their virally mutated zombies. 

On the DVD front, viewers who missed out on A&E's adaptation of the Stephen King novel Bag of Bones can get caught up when the two part miniseries hits home video on the 13th.

The bounty on the 20th is a little richer, highlighted by the long-awaited release of Kinji Fukasaku's brilliant Battle Royale and the hysterically awful (the dog has a flashback...) Wes Craven horror "classic", The Hills Have Eyes 2.

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