April 12, 2014 | 9:00 a.m.

‘Oculus’: Karen Gillan on ‘Doctor Who,’ horror, action hero boot camp

Karen Gillan is photographed in Los Angeles April 2, 2014. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
In her childhood years in Inverness, the quaint Scottish city nestled miles away from Loch Ness in the country’s picturesque highlands, Karen Gillan developed a bit of an obsession with darkness – perhaps a natural reaction to growing up in a place with limited sunlight and the mythical presence of monsters nearby. As a young girl, she’d watch episodes of “Tales of the Unexpected” with her mother and films such as Wes Craven’s satiric “Scream” with her friends. “One time, my friend came over to my house dressed in the ‘Scream’ costume and jumped into my room and it was the scariest moment of my life,” Gillan recalled recently over a cup of English breakfast tea at a West Hollywood hotel. “I’ve always been a horror film fan.” So, when director Mike Flanagan approached Gillan about starring in his time-bending […]
April 11, 2014 | 11:32 a.m.

‘Oculus’ director on smart horror, Karen Gillan’s ‘spitfire intensity’

Karen Gillan stars in "Oculus." (John Estes/ Relativity)
In the new horror film “Oculus,” which arrives in theaters Friday, Karen Gillan plays a confident young woman who fearlessly confronts the demons of her past – which just so happen to reside inside a haunted mirror that slowly drives its victims insane. The film is based on a short that director Mike Flanagan made back in 2005 — the expanded feature-length treatment allows Flanagan to jump back and forth between the past and the present, as the audience witnesses young Kaylie (Annalise Besso) and her brother Tim (Garrett Ryan) become increasingly fearful of their parents’ (Rory Cochrane and Katee Sackhoff) unusual behavior. As an adult Kaylie (Gillan) decides to confront the evil spirit inside the lethal Lasser Glass, and recruits her brother (Brenton Thwaites) to assist her in her scheme. With its time-bending, hallucinatory structure, “Oculus” aspires to the […]
March 19, 2014 | 6:00 a.m.

‘American Vampire’: Rafael Albuquerque talks monstrous ‘Second Cycle’

Skinner Sweet is hell on wheels, and “American Vampire” co-creator Rafael Albuquerque says the visual engine is “Easy Rider.” The original Abominus americana rides in the sunlight again Wednesday as Brazilian artist Albuquerque and writer Scott Snyder’s Eisner Award-winning Vertigo series begins its “Second Cycle” after a planned hiatus that lasted more than a year. Set in the 1960s, the new arc finds the deadly outlaw Sweet, first of a new breed that walks in daylight and is felled by gold, up to no good in Mexico. Meanwhile, the woman he turned, former aspiring actress Pearl Jones, has returned home to Kansas from Los Angeles, an ever-young widow who outlived her beloved musician husband Henry. And, as teased in the last regular issue before the break, a mysterious threat called the Gray Trader is on the horizon. “AV” readers’ blood thirst […]
March 03, 2014 | 2:20 p.m.

‘The Simon and Kirby Library — Horror’: Preview new Titan anthology

"The Simon and Kirby Library -- Horror."  (featured image)
Joe Simon and Jack Kirby’s comics collaborations yielded some classic, spine-tingling tales — and for the first time, the entirety of their work in the genre is being collected, in the new hardcover edition, “The Simon and Kirby Library — Horror,” due this week from English publisher Titan. Hero Complex readers can check out an exclusive excerpt from the new book in the gallery above or using the links below. Simon and Kirby’s fabled creative partnership left an indelible imprint on comics — in Timely Comics’ Captain America Comics #1, dated March 1941 but out the previous December, they introduced the world to the patriotic superhero whose legacy and influence remains widespread — Cap will star in his second big-screen solo outing this spring, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” opening April 4. Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 […]
Feb. 14, 2014 | 1:24 p.m.

Horror cinema: A valentine to genre favorites from two admirers

Horror hall of fame
Two Hero Complex horror fans dig through basement and attic for their favorite fear-inducing films. Click through the gallery for Gina McIntyre and Mark Olsen's five top horror flicks. (Picturehouse; Rosebud Releasing; Universal)
At this time of year the cinematic conversation usually is centered on Oscar front-runners, or the best titles that screened in Park City, Utah, or looking ahead to how much money “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” stands to rake in when it kicks off the summer blockbuster season. But in TV land, “The Walking Dead” is cable’s highest-rated drama. The astonishing popularity of that series owes to a number of factors — compelling characters under constant threat, grappling with what it means to be human in a world beset by inhuman calamity. And also zombies. In other words, all the hallmarks of what makes for the best horror cinema. With that in mind, it seemed a good time to explore the undying popularity of horror movies. As the two L.A. Times writers who most frequently cover the genre, we’re both serious […]
Jan. 17, 2014 | 12:30 p.m.

Chris Burnham gets the creeps over his, Grant Morrison’s ‘Nameless’

Chris Burnham was being “cagey” about his and writer Grant Morrison’s “Nameless” horror, but he was excited to name the terrors that keep him up at night. The good-humored artist, a surprise guest at last week’s Image Expo in San Francisco, had used that word on stage in not discussing what the upcoming comic book miniseries is about (though Morrison has revealed a few details), and in a backstage interview he apologetically kept mum on the subject. But Burnham, 36, who recently moved to L.A. from Chicago to be nearer to opportunities in film, video games and other media, was forthcoming about how his and “Batman Incorporated” collaborator Morrison’s creative dynamic works, the freedom of drawing a creator-owned book, and which comics, movies and books haunt him at home and freak him out in L.A. traffic jams. And, after having […]
Jan. 16, 2014 | 11:02 a.m.

Sundance Film Festival: 10 Park City picks for sci-fi and horror fans

Nazi zombies return in "Dead Snow: Red vs Dead." (Tappeluft Pictures)
Thursday evening sees the kickoff to the 2014 edition of the Sundance Film Festival, the annual indie confab that is the site of plenty of industry dealmaking and celeb-spotting as half of Hollywood seems to descend on Park City, Utah, for 10 days of hard-core movie-watching and celebrating. The 2014 lineup features 117 feature-length films culled from more than 4,000 submissions, and a handful of those have a decidedly Hero Complex bent. With that in mind, here are 10 films to look out for. Some might be hard to find — Sundance movies don’t always land national theatrical distribution — but with VOD and online viewing options multiplying at a rapid clip, chances are good you’ll have the opportunity to see these titles in some fashion in the months ahead. The Babadook: In Australian writer-director Jennifer Kent’s supernatural thriller, Essie […]
Jan. 15, 2014 | 8:30 a.m.

Scott Snyder on his, Jock’s ‘bestial and primal’ ‘Wytches’ at Image

Don’t think witches are scary? Scott Snyder says wait until you see “Wytches.” “We want you to be afraid to go to bed at night,” said the writer of the bestselling “Batman” at DC and the Eisner Award-winning “American Vampire” at Vertigo to the crowd Thursday at Image Expo in San Francisco  about his and artist Jock’s new horror series. In a backstage interview, Snyder discussed creating a more “bestial and primal” breed of witches, reteaming with Jock (Mark Simpson, his collaborator on a harrowing, acclaimed epic in “Detective Comics” issues collected as “Batman: The Black Mirror”), the influence of Roald Dahl, how “Wytches” may be scarier than “American Vampire,” why this series is at Image Comics (where he did “Severed”), making up stories deep in the woods, and the why of that “y” in the title. Hero Complex: Why […]
Jan. 14, 2014 | 2:59 p.m.

‘Carrie’: Chloe Grace Moretz talks maternal energy on horror remake

“Carrie,” last year’s big-screen retelling of Stephen King’s first published novel, arrives on DVD and Blu-ray Tuesday with an alternate ending and some featurettes exploring the making of the film, which stars Chloe Grace Moretz as the traumatized telekinetic who becomes the brunt of a cruel prom night prank. The experience of making the film, a remake of Brian De Palma’s 1976 classic starring Sissy Spacek in an Oscar-nominated turn, was profoundly emotional for the young actress, who shot to fame with memorable turns in such films as Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” and the “Kick-Ass” movies, not to mention a winning guest stint on the television comedy “30 Rock.” In an interview with Hero Complex prior to the release of the movie, Moretz mentioned that she relied on the support of her family members to help carry her through the production. […]
Dec. 16, 2013 | 6:00 a.m.

‘Locke & Key: Alpha 2′: Gabriel Rodriguez reflects on series’ end

The Lockes are struggling to cope with all the horrors they’ve faced, and as their haunting, heartbreaking story reaches its end, artist Gabriel Rodriguez says he’s still too close to the family to process it all. But the architecture-trained, Chilean “Locke & Key” co-creator does have plenty to say about his experiences working on his and writer Joe Hill’s award-winning IDW series, which has followed teens Tyler and Kinsey, and young Bode, on a terrifying journey involving magical, mind-opening, out-of-body-experience-enabling keys and an evil from a shadow world that is scheming and killing in ours. The horror story, which has been told over six volumes — “Welcome to Lovecraft,” “Head Games,” “Crown of Shadows,” “Keys to the Kingdom,” “Clockworks” and “Alpha & Omega” — unlocks its conclusion with “Locke & Key: Alpha” No. 2, out Wednesday, and celebrates with a […]
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