Welcome to Horror Movie Maniacs. We are a new podcast discussing horror movies in graphic detail – from the plots, characters and themes to the behind the scenes stories that made the movies possible. This is our website/blog to accompany our podcast in which we shall be posting short news stories and occasional spoiler free reviews of new movies playing in cinemas.
by Peter Davis
The Alien franchise isn’t going anywhere. After the seminal first movie was released in 1979 there have been 3 sequels and 2 prequels (4 prequels if you count the Alien vs Predator movies), as well as countless books and video games. Now with a new Marvel comic and possibly a new film in development, the news has just broken that there is also a TV series in the works.
It was revealed yesterday at the Disney Investor Day presentation that the Disney owned FX Channel is currently working on a TV show set in the Alien world. According to FX head John Landgraf, “FX is moving quickly to bring audiences the first television series based on one of the greatest science- fiction horror classics ever made – Alien.” He went on to say that the show “will be helmed by Fargo and Legion‘s Noah Hawley stepping into the creator/executive producer chair, and FX is in advanced negotiations with Academy Award winner Sir Ridley Scott – director of the first Alien film and the sequel Alien: Covenant to join the project as an Executive Producer. Set not too far into our future, it’s the first Alien story set on Earth—and by blending both the timeless horror of the first Alien film with the non-stop action of the second, it’s going to be a scary thrill ride that will blow people back in their seats.”
So saying it will be the first story set on Earth I guess they aren’t counting the AvP movies (probably for the best). But that description sounds good to me, and I for one am very much looking forward to it. I’m also looking forward to the new comic. As a big fan of the Dark Horse Aliens comics that started in the late 80s, I was very excited to hear that Marvel are working on a new comic, simply titled Alien. Last week the cover of Alien #1 was revealed. According to Marvel, “The new story will feature a Weyland-Yutani mercenary named Gabriel Cruz as he battles a deadly new breed of xenomorph with the survival of his child hanging in the balance. Featuring both new and classic characters from Earth and beyond, this bold take on the Alien mythology will entertain both longtime fans and newcomers to the legendary horror/science-fiction saga.”
As for a new movie, in September of this year Ridley Scott said that they are working on it, but has not said yet whether it will be a continuation of the story set out in Prometheus and Alien: Covenant.
What do you guys think? What are you most excited about? Let us know.
For extra bonus weekly content join us on Patreon here.
WARNING – the trailer linked below features intense flashing images. Viewer discretion advised.
Back in 1973 Warner Brothers were preparing to release their latest movie The Exorcist. A trailer was put together by the film’s editor Bud Smith and composer Lalo Schifrin was hired to create the accompanying music for it. The trailer that was created was never put into wide release and was not generally known about until a couple of years ago. Then in March 2018 Scott Derrickson (director of The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), Sinister (2012) and Doctor Strange (2016)) tweeted a video of the trailer, and asked William Friedkin if he could authenticate it. Friedkin replied, saying he thought it was the best trailer ever made for the movie, but was kept back due to fears it was too disturbing.
In an interview for Score Magacine back in 2005, Schifrin said, “What happened is that the director, William Friedkin, hired me to write the music for the trailer, six minutes were recorded for the Warner’s edition of the trailer. The people who saw the trailer reacted against the film, because the scenes were heavy and frightening, so most of them went to the toilet to vomit. The trailer was terrific, but the mix of those frightening scenes and my music, which was also a very difficult and heavy score, scared the audiences away.”
The truth might be a little different. The trailer itself starts with the iconic shot of Father Merrin being dropped off at the MacNeil house, getting out of the cab and the famous poster image of Merrin silhouetted against the house. What comes next is an assault on the senses – a series of quick flashes of still images of Linda Blair as possessed Regan and Eileen Dietz as demon Pazuzu (a.k.a The Demon Face), accompanied by Schifrin’s moody and creepy score. The images are a mixture of stills from the movie and posed publicity shots, all in black and white.
Now, I’m not sure about rushing off to the toilet to vomit, but all the flashing images and lights certainly gave me a headache! It may be that the strobing was too much for audience members, and the line about the trailer being too disturbing or frightening was just to cover up people’s physical symptoms. Either way, it is certainly an effective piece of marketing, but it is also completely understandable why it was never widely released.
What do you think? Have a look below and let us know (unless you’re sensitive to very flashy things). We also talk more about the hysterical reaction the film received in 1973 and Lalo Schifin’s involvement in the movie in “The Extra-cist”, our latest post over on our Patreon page. You can also join us on Twitter @ManiacsHorror or on Facebook.
Our 4th episode (and 2nd episode in isolation) sees us tackling one of the most talked about movies in horror history – William Friedkin’s The Exorcist from 1973.
Among other things we discuss the real life inspiration behind the story – a documented exorcism from 1949. This led William Peter Blatty to write the fantastic novel that the movie was based on, as well as the screenplay for the film itself. Blatty sadly passed away in 2017 but he leaves a legacy that will live forever with this story, as well as the follow up novel Legion in 1983 which he then adapted into the movie The Exorcist III (1990), which we will definitely be talking about in a future podcast.
We also talk through many behind the scenes stories, the cast, the themes and intricacies of the plot and the fact that some people to this day believe the movie to be ‘cursed’.
Now online – our third episode, and the first of possibly a few self-isolation quarantine podcasts. Due to the events surrounding COVID-19 we were unable to get together so Peter dropped off sterilised recording equipment to Phil’s doorstep and then we recorded separately while talking on the phone. The final result took longer than usual to edit but hopefully still sounds the same as usual.
Anyway, we talk all about the fantastic movie A Quiet Place from 2018, directed (and co-written) by John Krasinski and starring Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe. During the chat we actually find a lot of similarities and ties to the current worldwide emergency, from keeping yourself isolated, home schooling, saying hi to your neighbours from a distance, and the news that the sequel has been temporarily shelved due to the virus. This is a complete coincidence – we decided this would be Episode 3 back in January. Weird.
But mainly it’s a discussion about the movie itself in graphic spoilerific detail – if you haven’t seen the film yet then definitely do – it’s excellent. Enjoy the podcast!
You can find Episode 3 wherever you usually get your podcasts or you can stream it directly here.
It seems that A Quiet Place Part II is the latest in a string of movies pulled from release due to the coronavirus. John Krasinski took to Twitter today to inform the world about the move and there doesn’t seem to be a future release date in mind yet.
This is a brave move by Krasinski and Paramount as the film was due to be released next week and they have spent a huge amount of money already on its marketing, but it makes perfect sense due to what’s going on in the world right now. As Krasinski says:-
Other movies that have been postponed due to the virus are the James Bond film No Time to Die (delayed until November), Peter Rabbit 2 (delayed until August) and the new Fast & Furious movie “F9” delayed almost a whole year from May until April 2021.
Our 3rd podcast all about A Quiet Place (the first one) will be out later this month.
The fantastic actor Max von Sydow has died aged 90 it has been revealed today. He will be known to a variety of different fans for appearing in several genres in a career spanning over 70 years.
Born in Lund, Sweden in 1929, von Sydow’s breakthrough role was in The Seventh Seal in 1957 – the movie where he famously plays a game of chess with Death. Among many other film credits he went on to play Jesus in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), Ming the Merciless in Flash Gordon (1980) and Blofeld in the James Bond remake Never Say Never Again (1983). He also appeared in Conan the Barbarian (1982), David Lynch’s Dune (1984), the Stephen King movie Needful Things (1993), Judge Dredd (1995) and Minority Report (2002). More recently he was seen as Lor San Tekka in Star Wars Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015) and as the Three-Eyed Raven in Game of Thrones (2016).
But for horror fans he will be best known for his star performance as Father Merrin in William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (1973). Only 44 years old at the time, special make up was used to turn him into the elderly Merrin, apparently taking 3 hours every day. His performance is so iconic in the movie that he IS the image of the movie.
(He also reprised the role of Father Merrin in Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) but the less said about that film the better)
He was a phenomenal screen presence and he will be sadly missed.
by Peter Davis
I have been a fan of Leigh Whannell ever since he plopped out of a bathtub at the beginning of Saw in 2004. I adore the first Saw movie and I am an unapologetic fan of the whole franchise. I was also very impressed with Whannell’s directorial debut Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015), which he followed up with the less well known but absolutely stunning sci-fi body horror Upgrade in 2018. Now he brings a new take on H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man to our screens, and it truly cements him in horror cinema as one of the most impressive auteurs working today.
His creative partner in crime for these movies has been producer Jason Blum and his company Blumhouse Productions, who leapt into the stratosphere in 2007 with Paranormal Activity, and have since gone from strength to strength producing the likes of Insidious, Get Out, Whiplash, and the Purge movies and TV series. Now, after Universal’s epic Dark Universe plan has fallen to the wayside mainly due to the underwhelming Tom Cruise vehicle The Mummy (2017), Blumhouse has grabbed hold of the Invisible Man for Whannell’s new take on the story.
The beauty of the movie is that it is not about the invisible man – it’s all about his victim. It is the story of Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss) who manages to leave an abusive relationship only to be plunged into a world of PTSD and paranoia. A miracle appears when she is informed of her abuser’s suicide (and a very generous inheritance) only for strange occurrences to plague her, resulting in the fear that he may still be around as a terrifying unseen presence. And that’s all I’m going to say about the plot – the rest you have to watch for yourself.
It is a vast understatement to say that Elisabeth Moss is fantastic in the role. We are with her for pretty much the entire movie, and we suffer with her as she descends further and further into frustration and despair, as the violence around her escalates and those closest to her are pushed away, assuming she is plummeting into madness. This is not just a tale about a bad man, this is a serious exploration of gaslighting, toxic masculinity and the lengths that some people have to go to before they are believed – something that is currently very relevant in our real world and deserves to be talked about more. Moss is absolutely believable throughout, and the film would not work as well without her commitment and sheer bloody talent.
And it’s scary too – there are some very well crafted jump scares in there (and a couple of very shocking moments) but it is when the camera is left alone to be still that the film really excels – knowing that there could be something there you cannot see means you are constantly looking around, watching and waiting for whatever it is to revel itself. Those static shots had me squirming in my seat, taking me straight back to the most successful instalments in the Paranormal Activity series (1 and 3 if you’re asking). In fact you are on edge from the very opening – Cecilia’s silent escape from the clutches of the all-too-visible man is a masterclass in suspense and really sets the tone for the entire movie.
The sound design is also fantastic. Being predominantly an audio podcast you may know that we talk about sound a lot – and Whannell takes full advantage of the soundscape, from little suspicious moments to those big jump scares. I would highly recommend you see this movie on the big screen with the best sound system you can find, ideally in Dolby Atmos to get the full extent of the creative team’s intentions. And the bigger the screen, the more you can scan the background for glimpses of … something. Seriously – get your butts to the cinema.
One slight word of warning – for those who have had similar experiences in real life it may be a difficult watch – the domestic abuse and gaslighting elements of the film are done very well and very believably, but they are absolutely key to the story being told here, and are certainly not cheap or exploitative (I’m looking at you Hollow Man).
All in all, it’s a big recommendation from me. I am very, very glad Leigh Whannell plopped out of that bathtub and I can’t wait to see what he does next.
What did you think? Let us know in the comments below or join us on Twitter @ManiacsHorror. We’re also on Facebook here and if you haven’t yet subscribed to our podcast – what the hell are you waiting for?