scop (noun):

Old English – bard, minstrel, storyteller

Opening Week: Bring on the Nightmares

June 22nd, 2019

We have arrived!

The anthology project that Producer-Director Mick Garris first envisioned when his ground-breaking series Masters of Horror concluded its run in 2007, is now playing on big screens across the country and on home screens via VOD (where it is currently closing on Jordan Peele’s top-ranked Us.

Also of note (for me and for those of you following this blog), the segment titled “This Way to Egress” (which David Slade, Charly Cantor, and I began developing in 2000) is finally a reality. It may be a shorter version of the feature we envisioned 19 years ago, but the results are nonetheless gratifying.

Below is a sampling of the critical responses that have appeared in the press in the past couple days. You can read the complete reviews by clicking the links at the end of each entry.

At left, the cast and crew of Nightmare Cinema gather at The Hayworth Theatre.

Nightmare Cinema brings together some of horror’s top storytellers in winning efforts to create a buffet of tales that are sure to deliver an assortment of spine-tingling shrieks, scares, and goosebumps. The segments are sprinkled with fantastic performances only reiterating how important writing and story-telling truly are as each segment delivered something unique and truthfully terrifying. Not one episode was a dud – Nightmare Cinema is the icing on the cake and I truly hope this is only just the beginning. —

David Slade’s segment, “This Way to Egress,” which he brilliantly co-wrote with Lawrence C. Connolly, can be best described as both a poignant take on loss and trauma and an examination of how the human mind is conditioned to either accept or reject them. Visually, Slade crafts a […] a hauntingly-beautiful, artfully-shot, and emotionally-exhausting character study that proves to be the most human among the rest. This could have fit right at home as an episode of Netflix’s Black Mirror, but it adds such an integral piece to the soul of Nightmare Cinema. — Dead Entertainment.

Slade’s segment stands out as the most unique and hallucinogenic. — Bloody Disgusting.

“This Way to Egress,” Nightmare Cinema’s most visually distinct segment, opts for a less cartoonishly macabre approach and instead relies on atmospheric dread, captured through cinematographer Jo Willems’ patient camerawork, as struggling mother Helen (Elisabeth Reaser) endures a mental breakdown in gray-scale. — The Week.

David Slade (30 DAYS OF NIGHT, HARD CANDY, episodes of BREAKING BAD, HANNIBAL, and AMERICAN GODS) turns in one of the most stunning, and heady, stories in gorgeous black and white with “This Way To Egress. Here we meet Helen  (Elizabeth Reaser) in a doctor’s waiting room with her two children. Helen’s husband recently left them, and she’s spiraling down a dark path. The longer she waits the more her surrounding become blood soaked, and the people around her become monsters. Is she losing her mind, or is she in danger of losing much more? This segment reminded me of an old TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE episode, and I look forward to revisiting it again. — Podcast Macabre.

… a truly original and searing piece of work: “The Way to Egress,” from the accomplished director David Slade (“Hard Candy,” “30 Days of Night,” episodes of “Breaking Bad,” “Hannibal” and “Black Mirror”). Filmed in black and white and filled with unforgettable, sometimes deeply troubling visuals, “The Way to Egress” has a Hitchockian vibe. Elizabeth Reaser is absolutely sensational as Helen, a mother of two who finds herself in a world where things are becoming increasingly surreal and dreamlike — or should we say nightmare-like. Is she trapped in a horror house, or losing her mind?Chicago Sun-Times.

Such compendiums are often a little too potluck, with wildly different approaches and levels of expertise. But while “Nightmare Cinema” has little thematic or stylistic repetition between segments, there’s nonetheless a consistency of overall packaging. Production designer Lauren Fitzsimmons, editor Mike Mendez and DPs Andrew Russo and Matthias Schubert are among major contributors involved throughout — or nearly, with “This Way to Egress” appearing the major outlier. — Variety.

Bracing for Nightmare Cinema:
This Week & Beyond

June 17th, 2019

This week, five strangers will enter an abandoned theater to watch their darkest fears play out before them. And you can join them.

It all kicks off this Thursday, June 20, when the cast and crew of Nightmare Cinema gather at the historic Hayworth Theatre (2511 Wilshire Blvd) for a special pre-release screening of  the movie that Entertainment Weekly calls “one of the best horror films of the year so far.” The limited number of advance tickets that were available to the public for the pre-release event sold out quickly, but you will be plenty of opportunities to catch the film as it opens in theatres across the country beginning on July 21.

Here’s the list of theatres and opening dates from Cranked-Up Films:

6/20       Dynasty Typewriter at The Hayworth – Los Angeles, CA         
6/21       Harkins Superstition Springs – Mesa, AZ 
6/21       The Loft Cinema – Tucson, AZ 
6/21       Arena – Los Angeles, CA
6/21       Pickwick, Chicago, IL
6/21       Tower City – Cleveland, OH
6/21       Presidio – San Francisco, CA
6/21       SIFF Film Center – Seattle, WA
6/21       Emagine – Lakeville, MN
6/21       Harkins – Southlake, TX
6/21       Harkins Northfield – Denver, CO
6/21       North Oaks Cinema 6 – Houston, TX
6/21       Screenland Crossroads – Kansas City, MO
6/21       Historic Howell Theater – Howell,  MI
6/21       Gateway – Columbus, OH
6/21       Central Cinema – Knoxville, TN
6/21       Alamo Drafthouse La Centerra – Houston, TX
6/21       Alamo Drafthouse – Richardson, TX
6/21       Alamo Drafthouse – Yonkers, NY
6/21       Guild – Albuquerque, NM
6/21       Frida Cinema – Santa Ana, CA
6/21       Lyric – Ft. Collins, CO
6/23       Alamo Drafthouse – Littleton, CO
6/24       Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – Mueller, TX
6/24       Alamo Drafthouse – Winchester, VA
6/28       Parkway Theater – Pittsburgh, PA

Nightmare Cinema will also be available via VOD from iTunes, Amazon, FandangoNow, and others. And for fans of physical media, Amazon has a disk available for presale with a release date of September 3 — in plenty of time for planning that Halloween movie party.

More coverage of opening events coming soon. For now, here’s Mick Garris at Trailers from Hell with a few words on the film.

An Evening of Nightmares

June 12th, 2019

With the theatrical release of the new anthology film Nightmare Cinema just over a week away, Cranked-Up Films and Shudder are launching An Evening of Nightmares — a curated screening series that, according to a recent article at, “centers on filmmakers showcasing their own work and the work of their creative influences.”

Scheduled for June 14 at the Hayworth Theater in Los Angeles, the first screening in the series will feature three Nightmare Cinema directors, each sharing one of his early horror films.

Mick Garris, the Nightmare Cinema producer who also wrote and directed the anthology’s concluding segment “Dead,” will screen Sleepwalkers (1992), which features what could be horror cinema’s first use of CGI to morph an actor’s face into that of a snarling monster — a real jolt for moviegoers who first caught the film back in the early 90s.

Alejandro Brugues, writer and director of Nightmare Cinema‘s opening segment “The Thing in the Woods,” will screen his zombie comedy Juan of the Dead (Juan de los Muertos, 2011). The film delivers a biting political subtext that is all the more remarkable for having been filmed in Cuba. Of this aspect of the film, critic Simon Kinnear writes in the British magazine Total Film that Juan “resurrects the genre’s political subtexts with jibes at a country where zombies are dismissed as ‘dissidents’ …” Clearly, it’s a film that shows how effectively horror can serve as a vehicle for entertaining and provocative political commentary.

Filling out the program will be Joe Dante, director of the Nightmare Cinema segment “Mirari.” He’ll be screening his cult favorite Piranha (1978), the Roger Corman production released the same year as Jaws 2. Clearly the more entertaining of the two, Piranha has gone on to win a well-deserved cult following.

With that said, it’s worth noting that a clip from the intro to “Mirari” is now available exclusively at SyFy Wire. The clip features Zarah Mahler as Anna and Mickey Rourke as the Projectionist in a tense prelude to Richard Christian Matheson‘s story about plastic surgery gone terribly wrong.

An Evening of Nightmares will screen on June 14, from 5:30 to 11:00 pm, at Dynasty Typewriter (Hayworth Theatre) on 2511 Wilshire Blvd, the same place where the directors will be joined by Nightmare Cinema‘s cast and crew for a pre-release event on June 20.

Tickets for both An Evening of Nightmares and the Nightmare Cinema cast-and-crew screening are available here and here. In the meantime, you can check out the exclusive Nightmare Cinema clip (and read the related article) from SyFi Wire by clicking the image below.



Unleashing 100 Years of Nightmares

June 1st, 2019

I’m the projectionist, curator of 100 years of nightmares trapped in a silver screen that never forgets.

— Mickey Rourke as the Projectionist.

This month, the new anthology film Nightmare Cinema concludes its successful run on the international festival circuit to open in select theatres around the country.

The film releases on June 21, just a few weeks shy of the anniversary of the film’s packed-house premiere at the Fantasia International Film Festival, and since Cranked-Up Films has arranged for a run on AMC’s Shudder platform a month later, everyone will soon get the chance to see what has been called one of the year’s most anticipated horror films.

The release schedule begins with an advance cast-and-crew event at the Hayworth Theatre on Wilshire Boulevard. The evening will feature a 10:00 PM screening of the film followed by Q&As with directors Mick Garris, Joe Dante, Alejandro Brugues and Ryûhei Kitamura. Two days later, the same directors are scheduled to appear at the Frida Cinema in Santa Anna for screening sponsored by Horror Buzz. Advance tickets for this event are on sale now.

To promote the film’s release, Cranked Up has been offering some exclusive clips from the film. One is from the segment titled “Mashit,” written by Mexican best-selling author Sandra Becerril and directed by Ryûhei Kitamura (Godzilla Wars, Midnight Meat Train, Downrange). It stars Emmy-Award winner Maurice Benard and features the demon pictured in the poster on the right.

Available exclusively at, the “Mashit” clip featured action that takes place right before the segment’s climax as a gang of possessed children corner Father Benedict (Maurice Bernard) and Sister Patricia (Mariela Garriga) on the altar of a church. The scene features one of the film’s many existing locations that were dressed and transformed into nightmarish sets by production designer Lauren Fitzsimmons. You can view the clip by visiting the Deadline website, accessible by clicking the image at the bottom of this page.

Another exclusive preview features a section from “This Way to Egress,” from a script that I co-wrote with director David Slade,  based on my original story “Traumatic Descent.” “Egress” stars Elizabeth Reaser (The Haunting of Hill House) and features Mitch, the creepy janitor in the poster on the left.

Like the “Mashit” clip, the “Egress” preview shows off some the film’s amazing sets. Kudos again to Lauren Fitzsimmons and her crew for transforming the interiors of ordinary office buildings into a world of nightmares. The Dread Central website and preview is accessible by clicking the player image below.

So here you go. “That’s “Mashit” on the left; “Egress” on the right. Enjoy!