As I mentioned in my last post, I love HorrorFest (aka: 8 Films to Die For). Warts and all. For 4 years in a row, a pack of 8 horror films of varying levels of quality see a short run in theaters followed by a quick DVD release. Although the films don’t live up to After Dark’s silly “too extreme for theaters!” hype, it’s a fun horror event and they always present at least 1 or 2 impressive acquisitions.
Although After Dark has assured us that the HorrorFest we know and love isn’t dead, things seem awfully different this year. And not for the better… considering most of our fest favorites have been acquired from abroad. Instead, this January sees the release of After Dark Originals. http://www.afterdarkoriginals.com/
Building upon the success of Horrorfest®, After Dark Films has developed a second film series, After Dark Originals, comprised of 100% original scripts and not from acquired, previously created films. After Dark takes complete control of the development of the films, from script to post production in partnership with Syfy and Lionsgate. The ADO slate of eight films runs the gamut of the genre, from paranormal phenomena, black magic, space aliens and vengeful ghosts to psychological trauma, murderous psychopaths, vampires and the undead.
So the 8 original films mentioned are: 51, Fertile Ground, Husk, Prowl, Re-Kill, Scream of the Banshee, Seconds Apart and The Task.
Originally promised to appear in theaters for a week starting today, information on the fest became more and more confusing and film details remain suspiciously scarce. Wait, 2 of the films are being released some other time… So only 6 films are being released today… Wait, only 5… What’s up with that last film then? And where the hell are the trailers? I am so thankful to Mr. Disgusting at Bloody Disgusting for clearing the whole thing up. Thanks again, sir! And geez… what a mess.
So 2 of the films, 51 and Scream of the Banshee, were co-created with SyFy (ruh-roh) and will be released at a later date. Re-Kill has been pulled to enjoy an individual release. Many wonder… does that mean Re-Kill is the only one that’s any good? Now that that’s cleared up, here are the 5 films:
Emily and Nate Weaver leave the city for the rural comfort of Nate’s ancestral home in the country. Once there, Emily is plagued by horrifying visions and haunted by the ghosts inhabiting their isolated new home. When Nate’s behavior undergoes a strange and fearful metamorphous, Emily fears she might be the latest target in a murderous tradition.
This film was directed by Adam Gierasch of Autopsy and the Night of the Demons remake. We are not fans of his work so far and I don’t expect this film to change our minds. A shame since haunted houses are my favorite thing ever. (Along with Apocalypses and Space Horror. Can I have 3 favorite things ever?)
Fertile Ground on IMDB
When a murder of crows smash into their car windshield, a group of young friends are forced to abandon the vehicle, leaving them stranded beside a desolate cornfield. Hidden deep within the cornfield they find a crumbling farmhouse – but they soon discover that instead of a sanctuary, the house is actually the center of a terrifying supernatural ritual that they are about to become a part of…
This one stars Devon Graye, known to Dexter fans as the teenage version of our favorite serial killer, and appears to be going for a Pumpkinhead meets Texas Chainsaw Massacre vibe. Killer scarecrows are fun, but Husk strikes us as a straight-to-DVD movie and NOT a feature fit for theater release. I am also a little confused about what scarecrows have to do with hammering nail claws into one’s fingers, but I’m willing to rent it and find out.
Amber dreams of escaping her small town existence and persuades her friends to accompany her to find an apartment in the big city. When their transportation breaks down, she and her friends gratefully accept a ride in the back of a semi. But when the driver refuses to stop and they discover the cargo is hundreds of cartons of blood, they panic. Their panic turns to terror when the truck disgorges them into a dark, abandoned warehouse where blood-thirsty creatures learn to hunt human prey, which, the friends realize, is what they now are…
The second film in a row to involve young people on a road trip gone wrong. Young people should stop going on road trips! This “vampire” thriller from Norwegian director, Patrik Syversen (Manhunt aka: Rovdyr), delivers a handful of unsuspecting victims to an abandoned warehouse infested with hungry monsters. It’s the only trailer, thus far, that has piqued my interest. Sure to be a bloodbath, but will it disappoint?
Seth and Jonah are murderous twins who share an evil kinship. Damned from the moment of their births, the brothers possess a gruesome talent for telekinesis – a power they use in the most horrific ways imaginable. As their fellow students meet gory fates, the local law enforcement begin to suspect the twins’ connection to the depraved murders. What started as a jealous rage escalates into a supernatural showdown – pitting brother against brother, evil against evil.
Creepy twins are creepy. And the cast includes both Louis Herthum and Shanna Forrestall from The Last Exorcism. I’m interested in this one the most, but I’m not inclined to pay theater prices without more information.
Seconds Apart on IMDB
Something diabolical is taking place on the set of “The Task” a new reality show in which players complete terrifying missions within the confines of an abandoned prison hoping to win a hefty cash prize. As six young students explore their new environment, malicious spirits make their presence known in the most gruesome ways imaginable, Unable to escape the labyrinthine prison, the contestants become unwitting pawns caught at the centre of a blood-soaked night of terror.
This looks just… horrible. That clown has ensured that I wouldn’t even watch this if it was on TV. And the TV was stuck on that one channel. And my legs were broken.
The Task on IMDB
Sadly, there are only ten theaters participating. If you live in or near the following cities, you have the option of seeing these 5 After Dark Originals until Thursday night:
Mentor, OH, Spanish Fort, AL, Hollywood, Elizabeth, NJ, South Barrington, IL, Kennesaw, GA, Grapevine, TX, Cambridge, MA, Westbrook, ME and Lansdale, PA.
I hate to say it, horror guys and gals, but I recommend giving this fest a miss. Unless you’re very close to one of the listed theaters and don’t mind taking a chance with your ticket money, it’s probably not worth the trouble. But if you do see any of these this week, we expect a full report!