horror

Nov. 26, 2014 | 7:00 a.m.

‘The Babadook': Director Jennifer Kent confronts a boogeyman

Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman in a scene from "The Babadook." (Matt Nettheim / IFC Films)
Jennifer Kent was a successful actress in her native Australia when she wrote a letter to art house provocateur Lars von Trier, whom she had long admired but never met. She was seeking career advice — Kent hoped to transition behind the camera — so she reached out to one of the world’s most singular directors. Not long after, she found herself shoveling snow and handling other odd jobs on the set of Von Trier’s divisive 2003 drama “Dogville.” But she also had the rare opportunity to shadow the Danish filmmaker and study his take-no-prisoners approach. “I didn’t need to learn about the technical process of filmmaking,” Kent said earlier this month, during a visit to L.A. “I needed to develop courage in my own voice.” Her unconventional course of study appears to have paid off. With her new horror […]
Nov. 10, 2014 | 1:00 p.m.

‘Evil Dead’ TV series: Bruce Campbell returns in Starz’s ‘Ash Vs. Evil Dead’

Talk about groovy — Bruce Campbell is set to reprise his iconic role as Ash in a new TV series for Starz, “Ash Vs. Evil Dead.” The new series, which arrives as a follow-up to Sam Raimi’s venerated horror franchise, reteams director Raimi with longtime producing partner Rob Tapert and star Campbell. Raimi will direct the first episode of the new series, which will unfold in 10 half-hour installments. It is set to premiere on Starz in 2015. “ ‘Evil Dead’ has always been a blast. Bruce, Rob and I are thrilled to have the opportunity to tell the next chapter in Ash’s lame, but heroic saga.  With his chain saw arm and his ‘boomstick,’ Ash is back to kick some monster butt. And brother, this time there’s a truckload of it,” Raimi said in a statement. “Ash Vs. Evil […]
Oct. 30, 2014 | 6:10 p.m.

Clive Barker on ‘Nightbreed’: ‘Where there are monsters, I feel home’

Clive Barker, famous for his horror stories and movies, spends much of his time now in his Beverly Hills gallery painting the demonic and fantastic. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)
In 1990, horror novelist Clive Barker released “Nightbreed,” his second feature film as a writer-director. The follow-up to his provocative 1987 study in sadomasochism, “Hellraiser,” “Nightbreed” arrived as an adaptation of Barker’s novella “Cabal” and posited a world in which monsters had been driven to an underground sanctuary called Midian. The city begins to haunt the dreams of a Canadian man named Aaron Boone (Craig Sheffer), who is under the psychiatric care of one Philip Decker (David Cronenberg), a therapist with questionable motives and dark secrets of his own. The movie, which featured artistic contributions from the likes of Ralph McQuarrie and Danny Elfman, opened to middling reviews. Writing for The Times, critic Michael Wilmington observed that there was a “thick, clunky quality” to the film with “remarkable moments scattered throughout — wild nightmare visions and a tingling sound track […]
Oct. 30, 2014 | 12:37 p.m.

‘Alien': Neil Marshall praises Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic [guest essay]

In the spirit of Halloween, Hero Complex reached out to select filmmakers to solicit their fondest memories of classic horror. Below, Neil Marshall — who recently directed the pilot episode of NBC’s new series “Constantine,” and who produced the ghost story “Soulmate,” which arrived on DVD this week — discusses his respect and admiration for Ridley Scott’s “Alien.” He also addresses its influence on his features, including the acclaimed thriller “The Descent,” a superlative horror story that sees a strong heroine fighting monsters in a confined setting. Few horror movies have had such a profound effect on me as Ridley Scott’s 1979 masterpiece, “Alien.” Few movies of any kind have had as much of an impact and influence on the movies I make. I was too young to catch it at the cinema when it was first released, but my […]
Oct. 29, 2014 | 6:31 p.m.

The high art of ‘The Shining’: A guest essay by ‘Horns’ director Alexandre Aja

"Horns" director Alexandre Aja and star Daniel Radcliffe; "The Shining." (Radius-TWC; Warner Bros.)
In the spirit of Halloween, Hero Complex reached out to select filmmakers to solicit their fondest memories of classic horror. Below, Alexandre Aja, whose new Joe Hill adaptation “Horns” starring Daniel Radcliffe opens Friday, fondly recalls the influence that Stanley Kubrick’s iconic take on Stephen King’s “The Shining” has exerted over his own work.   The first time I saw “The Shining” it changed my life. There was a video club right down the street from us, a two- or three-minute walk from our house. As soon as I was old enough, my mother gave me permission to go to the video club and rent films. Even then I loved movies. I knew there was that section at the end of the store where they had all the horror movies. I remember the poster for “Evil Dead II” was the […]
Oct. 28, 2014 | 10:00 a.m.

‘Wytches’ writer Scott Snyder’s 13 picks for Halloween horror

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Scott Snyder prefers horror where the humans are worse than the monsters. That idea, rooted in the Eisner Award-winning, bestselling writer’s early exposure to George Romero’s classic “Night of the Living Dead,” is at play in his new Image Comics series with artist Jock, “Wytches,” which arrived to enthusiastic reviews earlier this month. In “Wytches,” the titular terrors look more fearsome than “cackling women around the caldron,” as Snyder put it in a phone conversation with Hero Complex about his favorite horror stories. But what he hopes is more frightening than their bestial, skeletal appearance is that “they don’t come and eat anybody unless someone gives that person to them.” ‘Wytches’ preview: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 The witches’ far-advanced knowledge of natural sciences means they can do […]
Oct. 22, 2014 | 7:00 a.m.

‘American Horror Story': Twisty the Clown actor John Carroll Lynch is scary good

'American Horror Story' - John Carroll Lynch - feature image (LAT / FX)
When “American Horror Story” creator Ryan Murphy first contacted actor John Carroll Lynch about a possible role on the fourth season of his gleefully deranged hit, he was upfront about his aims for a new character, a silent, grinning killer straight out of a child’s nightmare. “He described it in a way that I understood it to be somebody calling me up and going, ‘We’d like you to play my version of the Phantom of the Opera,’ ” Lynch recalled recently. “He said he wanted to create the most terrifying clown in the history of television.” By all accounts, he succeeded. Lynch’s Twisty the Clown has become the chief talking point of “American Horror Story: Freak Show,” quite an achievement considering Murphy stocked the latest season of his Emmy-winning anthology series with conjoined twins, a bearded Kathy Bates and a […]
Oct. 12, 2014 | 8:00 a.m.

‘The Walking Dead': 55 images from Season 5 of AMC’s hit zombie drama

"The Walking Dead" actor Norman Reedus. (Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC)
“The Walking Dead” kicks off its fifth season Sunday with Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl (Norman Reedus) and the other survivors facing off against hungry cannibals. No one said life during the zombie apocalypse would be easy. Although the road the group has traveled has been unspeakably difficult, their hardships have helped catapult the hit AMC drama to the center of popular culture — “The Walking Dead” continues to rank as television’s most watched prime-time scripted drama, averaging more than 13 million viewers last year. (The season 4 finale was seen by 15.7 million people.) It’s little wonder that AMC has ordered a pilot for a “Walking Dead” spinoff, which is set to go into production this year, and already has confirmed that the series, overseen by show runner Scott M. Gimple, will return for a sixth season. Click through the […]
Oct. 02, 2014 | 5:36 p.m.

‘Annabelle’ director conjured prequel horror film from ‘Rosemary’s Baby’

A scene from New Line Cinema's supernatural thriller, "Annabelle," a Warner Bros. Pictures release. (Gregory Smith/Warner Bros.)
Watch the new film “Annabelle,” which arrives in theaters Friday as the first horror movie of October, and you might experience a slight sense of déjà vu. A prequel to last year’s breakout hit “The Conjuring,” “Annabelle” owes a creative debt to Roman Polanski’s classic “Rosemary’s Baby,” which sees expectant mother Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) increasingly come to believe that evil forces are pursuing her unborn child. “Annabelle” director John R. Leonetti said he took a great deal of inspiration both for the look of his movie, which is set entirely in Southern California in the 1960s, from the 1968 thriller, which earned supporting actress Ruth Gordon an Oscar for her performance as the Satanist-next-door Minnie Castevet. But thematically, the movies link up too. While “Annabelle” purports to explain the origins of the evil doll introduced in “The Conjuring,” both […]
Sept. 25, 2014 | 2:21 p.m.

‘The Strain': Kevin Durand channels his inner Viking warrior for Fet

Kevin Durand stars in "The Strain." (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
There are few things that will bond a cast of actors more closely than two consecutive weeks of filming at night in close confines during a polar vortex event in Toronto, according to actor Kevin Durand, who plays the towering exterminator Vasiliy Fet in “The Strain,” FX’s hit series adapted from the novels by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. But the experience of shooting the eighth episode, “Creatures of the Night” — which sees the show’s ensemble of heroes fending off hordes of attacking vampires from inside a Brooklyn convenience store — didn’t just help him forge lasting connections among the actors, Durand said. It also allowed him to channel his inner action hero. “I love getting physical with characters,” Duran said in an interview earlier this year on the Toronto set of the show. “With this guy, there’s […]
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