On the Radar – The Laplace’s Demon

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Italian horror-mystery and homage to classic black-and-white noir cinema The Laplace’s Demon is centered around a 19th-Century theory of physics that speculates that one can predict the past and future state of all things using nothing more than data and mathematics. Much like the techniques used throughout this film, that scientific treatise has fallen out of favor in modern times. However, it is the use of that old hypothesis, along with a conceptually stylish presentation that invokes the look and feel of classic Twilight Zone, that has earned the movie much critical acclaim on its lengthy festival run.

The story centers on a group of researchers that have honed in on an equation that allows them to very reliably predict the manner in which a dropped glass will break, but this revelation in predictive science is not quite perfect. Their work earns the attention of a wealthy recluse, who invites them to his island manor with promises of assisting their efforts, but upon arrival, they discover him to be absent. Yet, a giant model of the home dominates the central room, with a chess pawn that represents each one of them and mimics their movements through the mansion with absolute precision. They are captivated and amazed by this mechanical miracle – that is, until the appearance of a queen piece within the replica suggests that they are neither alone or safe.

According to director Giordano Giulivi, production of his debut feature took a staggering seven years to complete, but with a crew of only six people, counting himself, preparation and process of the completed film must have indeed been pain-staking and time-consuming. Considering the awards and nominations The Laplace’s Demon has racked up at its numerous screenings, the effort was apparently worth it. The movie has been acquired by Reel Nightmare Films for distribution in the U.S. & Canada for release by either the end of the year or early next year. This is definitely my kind of thing, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for it.

Trailer:



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On the Radar – The Head

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For this week’s installment, we go from an Indian horror-fantasy to a Viking horror-fantasy. The Head comes from director Jordan Downey and screenwriter Kevin Stewart, the team behind the immensely wacky Thankskilling franchise, which is about a killer turkey with a foul mouth (or is that a fowl mouth? Eh? You get it? Fowl mouth.) Word from festival screenings suggests this to be a far more mature and refined effort from the duo, as it took home best feature and best cinematography from the Nightmares Film Festival (Columbus, OH) and impressed audiences at Sitges International (Barcelona) and the Telluride Horror Show with its epic presentation on a shoestring budget. Starring Norwegian actor Christopher Rygh, the film tells the tale of a grieving father looking to avenge the death of his family at the hands of a ghastly monster by working as a bounty hunter/creature exterminator for the kingdom, hoping to one day encounter the murderous beast. While no trailer is yet available for the movie, it has been acquired by Vertical Entertainment (Under the Shadow, Don’t Hang Up) for distribution, and we could likely expect to see this in the first half of 2019.


Here’s what a few of the critics have had to say about The Head:

Skyrim goes horror – Fingers crossed this film finds a large and supportive audience so that we can get additional stories set in this world.

THE HEAD exists in its own universe alongside some of the greatest horror/fantasy epics of the modern era. I would personally love to see this universe expanded and I think it has that kind of potential.

Reminiscent of some of the best episodes of Tales from The Crypt, the result is a riveting, original fantasy that keeps the viewers invested until the very end.


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Streaming Top 50 – 11/10/18

The Terror Spective Streaming Top 50 – ranking the 50 most popular titles on the 5 major services we cover – Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Shudder, and Hoopla.

*Titles in bold link to review

Rank Last Wk Title Year Service
1 New Gerald’s Game 2017 NETFLIX
2 New The Shining 1980 NETFLIX
3 New It Follows 2015 NETFLIX
4 New Halloween 1978 SHUDDER
5 New Apostle 2018 NETFLIX
6 New The Strangers: Prey at Night 2018 Amazon-Instant-Video
7 New mother! 2017 Amazon-Instant-VideoHULU
8 New Ghost Stories 2018 HULU
9 New Bad Samaritan 2018 Amazon-Instant-Video
10 New From Dusk Till Dawn 1996 NETFLIX
11 New Psycho 1960 SHUDDER
12 New Jigsaw 2017 Amazon-Instant-VideoHULU
13 New The Sixth Sense 1999 NETFLIX
14 New Child’s Play 1988 Amazon-Instant-VideoHULU
15 New Summer of 84 2018 SHUDDER
16 New Cargo 2018 NETFLIX
17 New Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil 2018 NETFLIX
18 New The Witch 2016 NETFLIXAmazon-Instant-Video
19 New Blade 1998 NETFLIX
20 New Unsane 2018 Amazon-Instant-Video
21 New The Endless 2018 NETFLIXHOOPLA
22 New The Conjuring 2013 NETFLIX
23 New Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later 1998 HOOPLA
24 New Bram Stoker’s Dracula 1992 NETFLIX
25 New The Evil Dead 1981 SHUDDER
26 New Malevolent 2018 NETFLIX
27 New Cloverfield 2008 NETFLIX
28 New Veronica 2018 NETFLIX
29 New 28 Days Later 2002 HULU
30 New Cold Skin 2018 HOOPLA
31 New The Neon Demon 2016 Amazon-Instant-VideoHOOPLA
32 New Interview with the Vampire 1994 NETFLIX
33 New The Fog 1980 SHUDDER
34 New Train to Busan 2016 NETFLIXHOOPLA
35 New The Cloverfield Paradox 2018 NETFLIX
36 New Mom and Dad 2018 HULU
37 New The Devil’s Advocate 1997 NETFLIX
38 New The Girl with All the Gifts 2017 Amazon-Instant-Video
39 New Revenge 2018 SHUDDER
40 New Stonehearst Asylum 2014 NETFLIX
41 New Marrowbone 2018 HULU
42 New Blade II 2002 NETFLIX
43 New Scream 1996 HOOPLA
44 New American Psycho 2000 Amazon-Instant-VideoSHUDDER
45 New The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974 SHUDDER
46 New The Babysitter 2017 NETFLIX
47 New Lifeforce 1985 Amazon-Instant-Video
48 New The Ritual 2018 NETFLIX
49 New Species II 1998 HULU
50 New Death Note 2017 NETFLIX

Upcoming Stuff

No review or feature today for the first time in 8 weeks, but working on some more ambitious material. Gonna roll out a new feature tomorrow that required a program to be written for it, have a deeper modern horror history article coming soon, and some web stuff and graphic design to work on. With no promo budget, there’s been 500 visitors to Terror Spective since the launch, so thanks for checking out this horror freak’s passion project. Plenty more ghoulish, gruesome, and macabre offerings on the way.

On the Radar – Tumbbad

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This week, we’re taking a look at Indian horror fantasy Tumbbad, a genre epic being heralded for its stunning cinematography, fine storytelling, and creepy atmosphere. Winner of Best Picture at last month’s Screamfest (Los Angeles), it also snagged some awards at the prestigious Sitges International Film Fesitval in Barcelona and was the first Indian film ever selected to open Critics Week at the Venice International Film Festival. Tumbbad takes place in the 18th Century and tells the story of an ambitious young man who discovers his family’s secret connection to an evil fallen god. In a classic fable about placing greed above common sense, he’ll discover over the course of his life that some deals aren’t meant to made. It took directors Rahi Anil Barve, Anand Gandhi, and Adesh Prasad six long years to finish production of the film, but reactions from the festival circuit – boasting both an 8.8 on iMDB and 88% on Rotten Tomatoes – suggest that the mammoth effort was worth it. Still without an American distributor, no release date is yet scheduled in the States or most anywhere outside India as it continues on its festival tour, but we would expect to see this sometime throughout 2019.


Here are some of the critics’ reactions to Tumbbad:

“Atmospheric, heavy on mythology, and scary as hell. Not a film for the squeamish or claustrophobic.”

    Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter

Tumbbad sears char-blackened folklore into a supernatural bake that sizzles and steams and hardens over with a crispy bite…an accomplishment in horror filmmaking that lights any discredit of genre quality arguments ablaze.”

    Matt Donato, Slashfilm

Tumbbad is pure classic horror through and through – its finale is ambitiously crazy, and in some ways, it reminded me of The Descent meets The Evil Dead.”

    Heather Wixson, Daily Dead

“A slow burn whose finale is wonderfully unexpected yet fitting, Tumbbad is a great film and hopefully the start of a new trend in India.”

    J Hurtado, ScreenAnarchy

You can check out the English-subtitled trailer here:



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Horror Watch – November 2018

Here’s a list of the upcoming horror releases for November, and we have a remade classic, Nazi monsters, a zombie musical, killer cowboys, a vegan fable, and something like the 12th Amityville movie. Also, with three wide releases, there will be no shortage of horror on the big screen this month.


Suspiria

Release: Nov. 2 (expansion – limited began Oct. 26)
Rated R – 2hr 32min
Directed by Luca Guadagnino
Starring Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Chloë Grace Moretz, Mia Goth

Official Synopsis:
Young American dancer Susie Bannion arrives in 1970s Berlin to audition for the world-renowned Helena Markos Dance Co. When she vaults to the role of lead dancer, the woman she replaces breaks down and accuses the company’s female directors of witchcraft. Meanwhile, an inquisitive psychotherapist and a member of the troupe uncover dark and sinister secrets as they probe the depths of the studio’s hidden underground chambers.

Expanding from 2 screens to 250. A wider expansion is expected Nov. 9th.



Welcome to Mercy

Release: Nov. 2
Unrated – 1hr 43min
Directed by Tommy Bertelsen
Starring Lily Newmark, Eileen Davies, Kristen Ruhlin

Official Synopsis:
Stricken with stigmata, Madaline travels to a convent where nothing is what it seems — and her friend August is seemingly the only person she can trust. Together, they must confront the demons inside Madaline before she becomes the Antichrist.


Coming to limited theaters & VOD.


Possum

Release: Nov. 2
Unrated – 1hr 25min
Directed by Matthew Holness
Starring Sean Harris, Alun Armstrong

Official Synopsis:
After returning to his childhood home, a disgraced children’s puppeteer is forced to confront his wicked stepfather and the secrets that have tortured his entire life. Featured in our Oct. 23rd feature of Under the Radar.

Coming to VOD.



Monster Party

Release: Nov. 2
Unrated – 1hr 29min
Directed by Chris von Hoffman
Starring Julian McMahon, Robin Tunney, Sam Strike, Virginia Gardner

Official Synopsis:
Three thieves plan a daring heist at a mansion dinner party. When their plan goes horribly wrong, the thieves realize the dinner guests are not as innocent as they seem, and their simple cash grab becomes a violent and desperate battle to survive.

Coming to limited theaters and VOD.



Haunting on Fraternity Row

Release: Nov. 2
Unrated – 1hr 33min
Directed by Brant Sersen
Starring Jacob Artist, Jayson Blair, Molly Tarlov, Shanley Caswell

Official Synopsis:
A fraternity house throws their big “Winter Luau” party but when fraternity brothers and coeds begin dying horrible deaths, they discover an evil entity has taken over the house.

Coming to VOD.



The Amityville Murders

Release: Nov. 5
Unrated – 1hr 37min
Directed by Daniel Farrands
Starring John Robinson, Chelsea Ricketts, Paul Ben-Victor

Official Synopsis:
On the night of November 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo, Jr. took a high-powered rifle and murdered his entire family as they slept. At his trial, DeFeo claimed that “voices” in the house commanded him to kill. This is their story. A pseudo-remake of Amityville II: The Possession.

Coming to VOD and disc.



Death House

Release Nov. 6
Rated R – 1hr 35min
Directed by Harrison Smith
Starring Cortney Palm, Cody Longo, Kane Hodder, Sid Haig, Tony Todd, Bill Moseley, Barbara Crampton, Dee Wallace, Tiffany Shepis

Official Synopsis:
Touted as ‘The Expendables’ of horror – during an exclusive tour, a power breakdown inside a secret prison known as the Death House sends two agents fighting through a labyrinth of horrors while being pursued by a ruthless army of roaming inmates. As they fight to escape, the agents push toward the lowest depths of the facility where they learn a supernatural group of evil beings is their only chance for survival.

Coming to VOD.



Overlord

*Pick of the Month*
Release: Nov. 9
Rated R – 1hr 49min
Directed by Julius Avery
Starring John Magaro, Wyatt Russell, Pilou Asbæk, Mathilde Ollivier

Official Synopsis:
On the eve of D-Day, American paratroopers are dropped behind enemy lines to carry out a mission crucial to the invasion’s success. But as they approach their target, they begin to realize there is more going on in this Nazi-occupied village than a simple military operation. They find themselves fighting against supernatural forces, part of a Nazi experiment.

Coming to theaters everywhere.



Lasso

Release: Nov. 13
Unrated – 1hr 37min
Directed by Evan Cecil
Starring Sean Patrick Flanery, Lindsey Morgan, Andrew Jacobs

Official Synopsis:
Tour guides unwittingly lead their group into a death trap when they bring the people deep into the woods for a rodeo, and relentless cowboys begin to hunt them like animals as part of an evil ritual.

Coming to VOD.



The Clovehitch Killer

Release: Nov. 16
Unrated
Directed by Duncan Skiles
Starring Dylan McDermott, Samantha Mathis, Charlie Plummer

Official Synopsis:
Tyler Burnside is a Boy Scout, a volunteer at his local church, and the dutiful son of an upstanding, community leader dad. Only one thing troubles the quiet Kentucky town he lives in: the unsolved murders—in which ten women were brutally tortured and killed by a psychopath known as Clovehitch—that rocked the community more than a decade ago.

Coming to limited theaters & VOD.



The Farm

Release: Nov. 16
Directed by Hans Stjernswärd
Starring Nora Yessayan, Alec Gaylord

Official Synopsis:
After taking a wrong turn on the highway, a young couple decide to stop at a roadside diner for food and relaxation. Their fun trip soon becomes a fight for survival when masked kidnappers imprison them on a farm where humans are the main course.

Coming to VOD.



Anna and the Apocalypse

Release: Nov. 30
Rated R – 1hr 32min
Directed by John McPhail
Starring Ella Hunt, Sarah Swire, Paul Kaye

Official Synopsis:
A zombie apocalypse threatens the sleepy town of Little Haven – at Christmas – forcing Anna and her friends to fight, slash and sing their way to survival, facing the undead in a desperate race to reach their loved ones. But they soon discover that no one is safe in this new world, and with civilization falling apart around them, the only people they can truly rely on are each other.

Coming to limited theaters. Nationwide Dec. 7.



The Possession of Hannah Grace

Release: Nov. 30
Rated R
Directed by Diederik Van Rooijen
Starring Shay Mitchell, Stana Katic, Grey Damon

Official Synopsis:
A shocking exorcism spirals out of control, claiming the life of a young woman. Months later, morgue worker Megan Reed takes delivery of a disfigured cadaver during the graveyard shift. Locked inside the basement corridors, Megan’s horrifying visions soon lead her to believe that the body is possessed by a demonic force.

Coming to theaters everywhere.



On the Radar – Pledge

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In this week’s installment of On the Radar, we have college thriller Pledge, a nasty piece of work that was the talk of this year’s Fantasia Fest (Montreal) and FrightFest (London). From director Daniel Robbins and writer/co-star Zack Weiner, this film depicts three hapless freshmen who, in their attempts to rush a fraternity to improve their social standings, wind up in the hands of sadists who run them through a brutal gauntlet of abuse and torture and may perhaps have no intentions of allowing them to survive the ordeal. Despite his debut feature Uncaged having failed to gain much love or attention, Robbins appears to have hit the mark with this vicious exploration of a culture driven by toxic behavior and paired with a crushing pressure to conform. With a score of 7.8 on IMDb and 80% on Rotten Tomatoes so far in its festival run, Pledge has been acquired by IFC Midnight for release sometime next year.


Here’s what a few of the critics have had to say:

With a smart and savvy script – rich with genuine characters and the matching dialogue and a breathless pace of twists and turns – I have zero hesitation in offering up a very high recommendation. 4.5/5.

    – Michael Klug, Horror Freak News

Pledge is a mean and disgusting home run of a horror film…Don’t miss this one.

    – Luke Rodriguez, Modern Horrors

It’s not gore for gore’s sake…but you may need a strong constitution to last the duration. This film is a bloody and brutal burst of masculinity that packs a punch. 4/5.

    – Kat Hughes, The Hollywood News

Pledge sets a model example of what an indie effort can accomplish simply through solid production value and remarkably strong casting…It’s just a clear-cut slash of traditional thrills biting off only what it can chew with entertainingly sharp teeth. 85/100.

    – Ian Sedensky, Culture Crypt


IFC Midnight generally makes all its releases in simultaneous limited theater/VOD style or straight to VOD and disc, so we’ll be looking out for when they lock in a solid date next year and are looking forward to experiencing this alleged “Green Room meets Saw” stomach-churner.



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On the Radar – Possum

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With this first installment of On the Radar, I’m taking a look at the British creeper Possum, the debut feature from Matthew Holness, a comedian who is apparently notable in the UK, but I’m admittedly unfamiliar with. While I can’t speak for his comedic talent, he certainly appears to have quite the dark streak. Possum is the story of a children’s puppeteer who returns to the home of his abusive stepfather carrying with him a satchel containing a horrific creation, the puppet Possum, that appears to be taking on a life of its own. Shot on 35mm film, Holness is apparently going for an authentic 70s/80s aesthetic for his unorthodox creature feature and, as 2014’s The Babadook featured a sinister take on children’s pop-up books, is invoking the innocent nature of both nursery rhymes and children’s puppets to corrupt for the viewer’s discomfort. “Can you spy him deep within? Little Possum. Black as sin.” The title character’s little rhyme sounds about as charming as he looks on the poster. Currently with a 7.2 rating on IMDb and an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, Possum is promising to be quite the squirm-inducing experience. According to those who have already seen it, it is of the ‘slowburn’ variety, and while I wouldn’t mind if horror had a little more fun these days, that seems to be the defining quality of this era in the genre.

Here’s a sample of what some of the critics have had to say:

“Supremely disturbing…possibly the scariest puppet ever committed to celluloid.”

    – Matthew Turner, Nerdly

“Part of its slow burn terror is just how dangerously unpredictable the whole thing feels.”

    – Josh Slater-Williams, SciFiNow

“[Possum] strikes the nerve between wanting to cry and wanting to scream. 10/10.

    – Katie Driscoll, Starburst

“Matthew Holness taps into psychological horror greatness with a cerebral picture that will lay eggs in your brain.”

    -Daniel Kurland, Den of Geek

Those are some bold reviews for this movie thus far, and it is coming to theaters in the UK on Oct. 26th and to VOD in the States on Nov. 2nd. I’ll be posting a review of my own shortly thereafter, and while I have some reservations that this might be insufferably pretentious horror exclusively for the arthouse crowd (I’ve gotten burned like that before), I have some high hopes for this eerie-looking flick.

Check out the trailer here:


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Horror Watch – October 2018

Here’s a list of notable new horror movies coming to theaters or VOD this month. With Halloween – both the holiday and the much-anticipated new entry in the Michael Myers franchise – on the way, there’s plenty to choose from.


Tales from the Hood 2

Release: Oct. 2
Rated R – 1hr 51min
Directed by Rusty Cundieff & Darin Scott
Starring Keith David, Kedrick Brown, Alicia Davis Johnson

Official Synopsis:
Horror is back in the hood! The sequel to the ground-breaking original film Tales From the Hood reunites Executive Producer Spike Lee (Honorary Academy Award® winner) and Writers/Directors/Producers Rusty Cundieff and Darin Scott for an all-new gripping, horrifying and oftentimes devilishly comical anthology. Keith David stars as a contemporary Mr. Simms to tell bloodcurdling stories about lust, greed, pride and politics through tales with demonic dolls, possessed psychics, vengeful vixens and historical ghosts. Mr. Simms’s haunting stories will make you laugh…while you scream.

Available on VOD & DVD/Blu-Ray


Housewife


Release: Oct. 2
Unrated – 1hr 22min
Directed by Can Evrenol
Starring Clémentine Poidatz, David Sakurai, Alicia Kapudag

Official Synopsis:
From Can Evrenol, writer/director of international horror hit Baskin – on a snowy eve, little Holly’s sister and father are killed by her frantic mother. Years later, Holly is married, lonely, and her life is soon about take a turn for the ultra-weird, when she visits a gathering of “Umbrella of Love and Mind”.

Available on VOD & DVD/Blu-ray


Sleep No More

Release: Oct. 2
Unrated 1hr 31min
Directed by Phillip Guzman
Starring Keli Price, Brea Grant, Stephen Ellis

Official Synopsis:
It’s 1986 and a group of grad students are close to discovering what happens to the human brain after staying awake for 200 hours, but something goes terribly wrong with a test subject. After their department is shut down, the team moves forward in secret – only this time on themselves.

Available on VOD & DVD/Blu-ray


Extremity

Release: Oct. 2
Unrated – 1hr 43min
Directed by Anthony DiBlasi
Starring Dana Christina, Chad Rook, J. LaRose

Official Synopsis:
From Anthony DiBlasi, director of Last Shift and Dread, a young woman obsessed with horror subjects herself to hours of grueling torment inside an extreme haunt in an attempt to confront her fears and conquer the tragic past that haunts her.

Available on VOD & DVD/Blu-ray


Knuckleball

Release: Oct. 5
Unrated – 1hr 29min
Directed by Michael Peterson
Starring Michael Ironside, Munro Chambers, Luca Villacis

Official Synopsis:
Alone, and targeted on an isolated farm, 12 year old Henry finds himself at the center of a maelstrom of terror, and a dark family legacy, when his secretive grandfather dies suddenly in the night.

Coming to VOD


Halloween

*Pick of the Month*
Release: Oct. 19
Rated R – 1hr 49min
Directed by David Gordon Green
Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Nick Castle

Official Synopsis:
Laurie Strode comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.

Coming to theaters everywhere


High Voltage

Release: Oct. 19
Directed by Alex Keledjian
Starring Allie Gonino, David Arquette, Luke Wilson

Official Synopsis:
An emerging rock band, managed by industry vet Jimmy Kleen (Arquette), strike a deal with record executive Rick Roland (Wilson). Things take a sinister turn when the band’s lead singer, Rachel (Gonino), and her mother, Barb, are struck by lightning and killed. Rachel is brought back to life, but she is different than before. Lightning courses through her veins and she uses her new strange electrical powers to drain the life from men, turning it into electrifying stage performances, but just how far are the band willing to go to make it.

Coming to VOD


Killer Kate!

Release: Oct. 26
Unrated – 1hr 20min
Directed by Elliot Feld
Starring Alexandra Feld, Danielle Burgess, Tiffany Shepis

Official Synopsis:
Kate attends her estranged sister’s bachelorette party at the request of their dying father. The weekend, held at a remote cabin booked on a home sharing app, turns into a savage life-or-death struggle that pits family against family, and past against present.

Coming to VOD


The Dark

Release: Oct. 26
Unrated – 1hr 35min
Directed by Justin P. Lange & Klemens Hufnugl
Starring Nadia Alexander, Toby Nichols, Karl Markovics

Official Synopsis:
An undead teenage girl befriends a blind boy that she meets in a forest she haunts and hunts in. Both have been victims of unimaginable abuse, and each finds solace in the other. There may be a chance of light at the end of their tunnel, but it will come with a body count.

Coming to VOD