Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Happy Birthday To The Only Man I Could Ever Love


One of my great loves in life that I never talk about on here (even though I should, and it's totally stupid that I don't) is more than just a man, he's a hero. He's dark, he's brooding, he has an alter ego and he could kick Superman's ass. He goes by Batman, and I love him. 

Today has been declared Batman Day by DC Comics, and today is the day that we celebrate 75 years of the Dark Knight. Most people think of Batman as the guy who dresses all in black, uses a scraggly voice and hates jokes, but he's so much more than that. Today I want to focus on that, as Batman has not only been someone to entertain me, but he has literally brought me out of depression and put a smile on my face when life was darkest. 


Batman was first brought to the public eye in 1939. Created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane (and I put them in that order for a reason), he was intended to capitolize on the superhero craze that was created by Superman in 1938. When Batman was first introduced he was nothing like we know him today, he used guns, he killed (Batman's big no-no these days) and he was not the dark and physical embodiment of fear that we know him to be today. While he is largely credited to be a creation of Bob Kane, it was Bill Finger who molded Batman and the mythos that surrounded him. While Kane came up with the name, he placed him in red tights with a domino mask (closely resembling Superman). It was Finger who gave him the cowl, the purple gloves, and the dark tights. Instead of wings attached to his arms, Finger gave him a cape so as to ease the restriction of movement, and from here the Batman was born in what is known as the Golden Age of Batman. 

Over the years, Batman has undergone more character growth than one could possibly imagine. While Finger not only gave Batman his image, he gave him his greatest super-villains including: Riddler, Penguin, Scarecrow, The Calendar Man and the most infamous of all, The Joker. We also saw the birth of Robin the Boy Wonder in 1940. After the Golden Age came the Silver Age in the mid-50's. While sales of superhero comics in the fifties began to wane, Batman sales were never higher. The storylines began to become heavily influenced by the sci-fi genre that was prevalent in film at the time. In the Sixties, when sales reached an all time low, his image was revamped the iconic yellow Batsymbol was introduced. Following the success of the wildly popular television show starring Adam West, the comics took on a campy tone which sent sales through the roof. 

However, this was short lived and in 1968, the television show was cancelled and Batman was brought back to his gritty roots. The camp was dropped and in 1969 Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams, two of the most important players in Bat-history, brought Batman out of the camp and portrayed him once again as the gritty avenger of the night. His look was once again re-imagined in the iconic blue and gray Batsuit which he kept through the 70's into the 80's. His physique was much stronger, and his villains began to evolve with more a more sinster presence as the storylines went back to their gritty roots, however one thing that remained the same: Batman did not kill. He always found another way.


Possibly the biggest landmark for Batman's evolution was in 1986, when Frank Miller took Batman out of the Silver Age and into the Modern Age. The Dark Knight Returns, one of the most iconic Bat stories of all time, was released and took the comic world by storm. Featuring a retired and battle-worn Bruce Wayne (and also gigantic and terrifying), the elseworld story introduced the Batman that the generation of today has come to know and love. A dark, brutal and often violent Batman, Miller's interpretation introduced pyschological aspects of the Dark Knight's persona in ways that had never been explored. While the Dark Knight grew darker, as did his villains and this was a theme that went on to be explored through the years and up until today. 


As Batman entered the film world in 1989 with Tim Burton's Batman, love for the character grew and flourished and he became DC's most popular hero. Since then, we've seen 4 actors take on the cowl and we wait in anticipation for a 5th to take it on in 2016. In the comic world He was reinvented in 2011 yet again, in the new line of New 52 comics for DC, with Greg Capullo and Scott Snyder writing the best Bat stories yet, and I am always left sitting in anticipation for what the next issue may entail. Batman is 75 years old, yet he has never been stronger or better. 

Batman has become more than a character for many people, myself included. He has not only reminded what it was like to be 5 years old with my mask and cape, but he has shown me what it means to be a better person. He was a source of hope and joy when my grandmother passed, he was there for me when I was lost and afraid to go on when times seemed their darkest. He has always been there when I needed something to hold onto and something to show me that times can always be darker and they will always get better. He has been a friend and a mentor, and I love him. 

To Bill Finger, Bob Kane, Dennis O'Neill, Neal Adams, Frank Miller, Jim Lee, Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and the countless others who have brought the Bat to the eager masses, I thank you. We thank you, and we can't wait for the next 75 years. You have brought a joy into our lives that will never be forgotten. There is so much more that could be written about the history of the Bat, his psychology and his growth, but I've already written a novel and want to get out to the celebration so I'll leave you with this: Go to your local comic book store, get your free Batman comic and read up. You won't regret it. 


Friday, July 18, 2014

THE SHINING Prequel THE OVERLOOK HOTEL Trudges Onward...

Header courtesy of NabundaNada @ DeviantArt
As a horror fan, it's hard to report news like this without any bias. You guys know my stance on The Shining, and the place that it holds in my personal life, and as happy as I am to know that this isn't a remake I am still a bit uncertain about the news that The Overlook Hotel, a prequel to Kubrick's masterpiece, is in the works and has secured a director. 

I think that out of all the remakes/reboots/what-have-you that the horror world has seen in the past decade, this will draw some of the heaviest speculation simply because Kubrick's work is regarded as some of the best in the film world, not only the horror world. 

Rumors of this project began circulating sometime ago and it appears that they were more than just rumors. Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo) has laid claim to the directors chair with a draft written by Greg Mazzara (The Walking Dead). James Vanderbilt (The Amazing Spider Man), Brad Fischer (Zodiac) and Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island) will be producing. In May, Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity) was heavily rumored to have first rights in terms of directing the flick, and in all honesty, I would be much more interested in he were the one helming the project. His use of atmosphere in Gravity was mesmorizing, and while Romanek's One Hour Photo was plenty chilling, that film came out twelve years ago. That's a pretty big gap between major productions, minus the slew of music videos he's directed over the years. 

King's original prologue (which was later cut before the book went to print in '77) stands as the basis for the film, which "will tell the origin story of the Overlook Hotel through the eyes of its first owner, Bob T. Watson. A robber baron at the turn of the 20th century, Watson scaled the remote peaks of the Colorado Rockies to build the grandest resort in America, and a place he and his family would also call home“.

For now, as always, we wait and we see what's going to come of this new project.  No word has come of yet as to whether or not King will be involved, but seeing as this is one of the novels that hit's closest to home for him, I can't imagine that he won't. Hopefully Romanek won't Kubrick him and effectively shut him out of production on this one, as my hope for this project lies in whether or not King is involved. 

Either way, speculation is fun and there is going to be a ton of that going on until we get more details. Will they recreate the same look for the Overlook? Will they use the original source material and film at the Stanley, as King's mid-90's mini-series did, in Estes Park? Will we see Dan Lloyd return for a cameo in this installment? And what about getting backstory from the original? Will we see the massacre of the Grady twins, or the demise of the woman in room 217 (although it will probably remain 237 for continuity's sake)? 

What do you all think? Are you ready for another jaunt in the halls of the Overlook? 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Daniel Radcliffe Sprouts HORNS In New Teaser for Alexandre Aja's Latest Horror


I've been looking forward to this one, and it looks like it's finally got a release date (atleast in the UK). I am a huge fan of Alexandre Aja (Haute Tension, The Hills Have Eyes) and being a big fan of the Harry Potter novels, I guess you could say I dig on Radcliffe as well. I've reported on Horns before, but it seems as if that was ages ago, so I return today with the brand new teaser, which happens to look pretty damn good. Head below to check out the teaser and the new one sheet!

Directed by Aja and starring Radcliffe, Horns follows a young man “in the aftermath of his girlfriend’s mysterious death, who awakens to strange horns sprouting from his temples.

The film has a release date of October 31st in the UK, so we should hopefully be seeing it in America at the same time. 



Friday, July 11, 2014

EXCISION Director Richard Bates, Jr. Is Back With SUBURBAN GOTHIC


If you haven't seen Excision yet, go to Amazon, steam it and thank me later. Richard Bates, Jr. managed to craft an amazing horror film in his debut effort, you can read my review here, and I am very excited to see that he's back with his next flick! 

While Excision was a very dark and macabre film with bits of dark humor, Suburban Gothic appears to be a horror comedy at it's finest. It also features an amazing cast of horror favorites, including Ray Wise (Twin Peaks, Dead End), John Waters (Excision) and Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator, Would You Rather?). The flick stars Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds), which I'm pretty excited as I've thought he'd be great in a good horror flick, and Kat Dennings. 

"Quirky young Raymond has been having a tough couple of months. Even with his recent college degree, he can’t find work in the big city — and he’s realizing that it’s time to swallow his pride and move back in with his overbearing, suburban parents.

Little does he realize, however, that this temporary layover in Middle America is going to be anything but mundane… Haunted by otherworldly visions since childhood, Raymond soon finds himself beset upon by spirits intent on making his time at home as miserable as possible. His only outlet for sanity seems to be local bartender Becca who, aside from chasing off the same bullies who wanted to beat Raymond up in high school, finds herself drawn to his endearing quirkiness. Together, the duo find themselves unraveling the mystery behind a century-old murder — and scaring up plenty of laughs along the way."
Check out the red band trailer below and sound off in the comments! I think it looks pretty solid, I'll definitely be looking forward to this one. 

Header courtesy of BloodyDisgusting.com

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Kate Beckinsale Stars in New Thriller THE DISAPPOINTMENTS ROOM


Courtesy of Deadline, news has broken that Relativity has closed a deal to fully finance The Disappointments Room. Kate Beckinsale (Underworld) has signed on to star in the film that will be directed by D.J. Caruso (Disturbia).

"Inspired by a true event, The Disappointments Room tells the story of one family’s terror-filled encounter within their own home. Looking for a fresh start, Dana (Kate Beckinsale) and David, together with their 5-year-old son Jeremy, move into their dream house, a beautiful old rural home. Hidden within the attic was a secret room. When frightening and unexplainable events lead Dana to discover the long lost key to this room, she accidentally unlocks a host of unimaginable horrors that reveal the house’s past is terrifyingly tied with her own."

The film is being described as a "Shining-esque" thriller which, of course, piqued my interest from the get go, but it gets better from there in that Wentworth Miller (writer; Stoker) has penned the script, and I absolutely loved Stoker

The Disappointments Room will be begin shooting in August. 

Remake Hell: 5 Remakes To Make You Hair Stand on End (And Not In A Good Way)

Aw, the elusive horror remake. If there is one topic that gets the proverbial guts flying the most, it's the horror remake. Most people hate them, a few love them, I find myself standing right in the middle ground. I don't see a problem, necessarily, with remakes. Some of them I love; for instance, I find 2004's The Hills Have Eyes to be a superior film to Wes Craven's original, if only because I found the original to be rather boring. However, I definitely see the hatred that remakes garner, and I can empathize with it. If a remake was announced for The Exorcist or The Shining, I'm pretty sure most possessions in my house would be broken in a violent rampage.

Now, I've been meaning to venture into the list article format that so many blogs and publications these days seem to be crazy about so since I already have my favorite remakes listed in my header, I decided to compile my list of the 5 worst remakes of all time:

5. House of Wax (2005)


What more can be said other than the fact that Paris Hilton stars in this shotty remake of the 1953 classic starring Vincent Price? It has become more and more common place for major studios to take lesser well known classics, dumb them down with a cast of Abercrombie models to appeal to a young audience and pump them out like hot cakes. This is just one example. As awesome as Hilton's death scene in the film is, a horror film should never be watched in anticipation of character deaths.

Boasting a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 25% Jaume Collet-Serra's House of Wax makes the list at number 5.

4. The Amityville Horror (2005)


Being that the original, released in 1979, was far from a great movie it should have been relatively easy to take the source material and craft a superior film. This was not the case with Andrew Douglas's take on The Amityville Horror. Starring Ryan Reynolds (huh?) as  a  shirtless George Lutz for pretty much the entirety of the film, it suffers from the same constraints House of Wax did in the sense that it was a shotty attempt at bringing an old story into a new age. Featuring an entirely new third act, the film failed to deliver the scares and often times left me wondering, “Why?”.

The Rotten Tomatoes score comes in at a whopping 23%

3. Halloween 2 (2009)


Normally I won't comment on a film like this, as I stood up and walked out of the room halfway through, but I suppose that should be a testament as to how I felt about the film. I am a fan of Zombie's work, and while I wasn't crazy about his rendition of Halloween, I thought it was a solid effort at taking on such an iconic film. Halloween II, however, was just a big ol' pile of crap as far as I was concerned. It seemed completely contrived, as if Zombie threw it together as quickly as possible to get the studio off his back, and it's just sad. I still haven't seen the ending to it, and I doubt I ever will. I'm still trying to forget act one, to be honest.

Rotten Tomatoes says: 20%

2. Psycho (1998)


I think that if Horror was a physical governing body, one of the gravest crimes one could commit would be remaking certain films or directors, one of the top being Alfred Hitchcock. Zombie had some pretty massive balls to be willing to get in the ring with Halloween, but they compare in no way to the basketballs Gus Van Sant must be lugging around for even daring to touch Psycho. From the laughable decision to cast Vince Vaughn to fill Anthony Perkins' shoes, to the horrible performance by A-list stars, the film seems like a sad portrait of the original. While it's not as bad as the others, I'm putting it so close to number one simply because it's fucking Psycho.

Rotten Tomatoes gives it 37%, the highest score out of any film on the list.

1. The Omen (2006)


There are a few films in my book that are absolutely untouchable. As I mentioned earlier, The Shining and The Exorcist are a couple, but so is The Omen and I don't think I've ever walked out of a theater more angry and upset than I did on June 6, 2006. The Omen is a classic for many reasons, but the things that it did to move the horror genre forward are , innumerable. Seriously, watch a making-of of The Omen, it'll blow your mind. From the soundtrack, to the subject matter, to the death scenes; Richard Donner put so much thought and care into every aspect of this film that it is truly perfect in it's original format. What we received in 2006 was more along the lines of Final Destination than what the original was. Another horror film remade and stripped of any substance in an effort to fill seats and sell popcorn, and considering the originals legacy in the genre, this is why I put it at number one.

Rotten Tomatoes gives it 27%, and honestly I was surprised it rated that highly. I think that it's one of the darkest marks on horrors permanent record, and I can only hope that it will collectively be forgotten in the coming years.

So there you have it, my personal list of the worst horror remakes in recent years. Now I have to ask, what are yours? Sound off in the comments, and in case you didn't know, you can find me on Twitter now (@rglovecraft)!

Til' next time!

Keep it spooky,

Rg Lovecraft

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Whistle While You Work: Bloody Disgusting Will Keep You Going for Over 90 Hours!


I don't know about you, but when I'm reading horror, writing horror or even just want to dream horror, I throw on my favorite soundtracks, be it Re-Animator or The Omen, and have myself a good old time. Obviously the guys over at Bloody-Disgusting feel the same way, so they've compiled a massive 90+ hour Spotify playlist full of all your favorites?

Whether you want to take a trip down memory lane with your favorite themes, or just put it on shuffle and create a fun little guessing game, this playlist is pretty much a must have for horror fans. Head below and check it out, and thank BD's John Marrone for the ear candy!