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Nightmare Cinema Bought for 2019 Release

November 10th, 2018

A couple of interesting links this week.

The first arrived a few days ago from G. Brandon Hill, Executive Director of Acquisitions and Distribution at Good Deed Entertainment. It’s a link to an exclusive piece in Variety that includes the long-awaited details about Nightmare Cinema’s release.

According to the article:

Cranked Up Films has partnered with AMC Network’s streaming platform Shudder to buy North American distribution rights to Cinelou Films’ Nightmare Cinema

Although not mentioned in the article, I have it on good authority that a release to physical media (DVD and Blu-Ray) is also in the cards. You can read the complete article here.

Also of interest is a post at the blog-site of World-Fantasy-Award nominee Michael Liebling, in which he considers how “Traumatic Descent” became Nightmare Cinema‘s “This Way to Egress.” You can read Michael’s account of the story’s dramatic ascent here.

And finally, I’ll leave you with a video in which Joe Dante talks about his contribution to Nightmare Cinema. The interview was shot last summer at Fantasia Fest, but the video was just posted this week. It presents an interesting overview of the anthology format and some insightful comments on the changing face of cinema.

 

Tales from the Hood 2
Horror, History, Humor & Politics

September 22nd, 2018

“All of that art-for-art’s-sake stuff is BS. What are these people talking about? Are you really telling me that Shakespeare and Aeschylus weren’t writing about kings? All good art is political!” – Toni Morrison

Morrison’s words are particularly relevant to the horror genre. After all, horror literature is all about powers beyond comprehension. It’s true in the genre’s seminal works (think Dante’s Inferno), and it’s certainly true with horror stories today.

Case in point is Tales from the Hood 2, the new anthology film from Rusty Cundieff and Darrin Scott, which serves up a mix of timely jokes, jolts, and meditations on contemporary politics.

I caught the film at the Fantasia International Film Festival, where it screened along with the world premiere of Nightmare Cinema. Here’s what I had to say about it in a brief blog post the following day:

Tales from the Hood 2, from filmmakers Rusty Cundieff and Darrin Scott, is a topical mix of dark comedy and thought-provoking horror. I can’t recommend it enough, but I will try my damnedest in tomorrow’s post.

Although I may have tried my damnedest, that post didn’t appear the next day. But now – with Hood 2 scheduled for release in two weeks – I’m at last making good on my promise.

Coming more than 20 years after the original Tales from the Hood, the sequel opens with a wrap-around segment titled “Robo Hell,” in which Keith David plays Portifoy Simms, a 21st-century scop hired to help program Robo Patriot — a sentient robot that operates on a kind of next-generation AI software known as RI (Real Intelligence).  As one of the developers tells Simms, RI enables Robo Patriot to “learn from second-hand experience — stories, fables, tales. And that’s where you come in.”

The conceit: Simms will help the Robo Patriot develop a sense of justice by telling it stories, the first of which is titled “Good Golly.”

“Good Golly” opens with two friends, Audrey (Alexandria DeBerry) and Zoe (Jasmine Akako), visiting the Museum of Negrosity in search of golliwogs, rag dolls fashioned as racists caricatures. Audrey had a golliwog as a child. She thinks they’re cute, and though the museum’s curator explains that the dolls were an attempt to perpetuate racial stereotypes and are not for sale, she refuses to be turned away.

Presented with equal doses of history, horror, and humor, “Good Golly” accelerates into what appears at times to recall the “Amelia” segment of Richard Matheson’s Trilogy of Terror. But where Matheson went for thrills, “Good Golly” has another agenda — a lesson that doesn’t become clear to the golliwog shoppers until it’s too late.

The next segment, “Medium,” centers on TV psychic John Lloyd (Bryan Batt from Mad Men). Dealing with a band of gangsters who put their trust in Lloyd’s pseudo skills, this episode is perhaps the most straightforwardly entertaining of the four, offering a humorous riff on the blurred line between reality TV and the realities of life. It benefits from energetic performances and twists reminiscent of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone.

Perhaps inspired by the Me-Too movement, “Date Night” centers on a pair of pick-up artists who pass themselves off as casting directors. Their plans go south when they meet Carmen and Liz — aspiring actresses who are not what they seem. It’s a story of predators becoming prey that plays like an allegory for our times.

As Hood 2 draws to a close, storyteller Simms presents his grand finale, a poignant ghost story about a politician haunted by past civil-rights leaders and victims of racial injustice. Depicting such historical figures in film is challenging, yet Cundeiff and Scott pull this one off beautifully. In all, it’s a timely meditation on race in America.

The final act returns us to the film’s wrap-around device. Here, the RI robot has listened to the stories and is ready to apply what it has learned. As you might imagine, things do not go quite the way the robot’s designers had planned.

Speaking with Rusty Cundeiff and Darrin Scott following their Fantasia premier, I discovered we share a fondness for the old Twilight Zone series and the way writers like Rod Serling and Richard Matheson used horror as an allegory to comment on timely issues and social injustice.

With Tales of the Hood 2, the Cundeiff-Scott team is carrying that tradition into the 21st century.

Tales from the Hood 2 comes out on home video on October 2.


Images

  • Promotional images from Tales from the Hood 2, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, 2018
  • A view from the stage during Rusy Cundeiff and Darrin Scott’s Q&A session at The Fantasia International Film Festival. Photo by Vincent Fréchette, 13 July 2018.

What’s Axle’s Buried Secret?
Answer to Win an Amazon Gift Card

January 25th, 2015

Vortex CoverThe good people at Fantasist Enterprises, publishers of the Veins Cycle books, are interested in buried secrets.

They’re also interested in giving away a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card.

Here are the details.

First the set up:

Vortex: Book Three of the Veins Cycle opens with a boy burying something beneath his house. He thinks he is alone, that no one sees him.

But someone does.

The man he will become watches from the shadows of a dream, looking on as the child tries disposing of something the man has spent a lifetime forgetting. It’s an important secret . . . and in many ways it is part of who and what the adult has become.

Axle from VEINS by Lawrence C ConnollySuch is sometimes the case with childhood secrets. We may not remember them. Indeed, in some cases, they may be associated with things we do not want to remember. Yet they remain part of us.

So here’s the challenge: Fantasist Enterprises would like you to visit their I-Am-Axle Sweepstakes page and speculate on what terrible thing Axle (the Veins Cycle protagonist) watches his childhood self bury in the opening pages of Vortex. (Fantasist even provides a free excerpt of the book so that you can see everything the adult Axle sees.)

Now here’s the thing. Fantasist is not asking you to spill the beans on some ancient and terrible secret you yourself have kept locked away. That’s your baggage. Instead, they’d like to you imagine — based on the details provided in the opening chapter (and possibly in the earlier books Veins and Vipers) — what it is it the young Axle might be trying to hide.

StokerIf you’re a writer, consider this a writing prompt (the sort of challenge that horror writer Michael A. Arnzen calls an Instigation). Who knows, you could come away with a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card.

 Be creative . . . and have fun!

And oh, by the way, did you hear the big news?

Vortex has made the Preliminary Ballot for the Bram Stoker Award, and to celebrate Fantasist is offering all of Veins Cycle books for .99 at all major retailers, including Amazon and the FE Website. Those are 1960’s prices folks. Who says time travel’s impossible.

Image Credits:
Vortex. Cover art by Rhonda Libbey.
Axle (from Veins). Illustration by Star Olson.
Bram Stoker Award. Design by Gahan Wilson.