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The Wailing (2016, South Korea)

The Wailing (2016)

The Wailing offers images that appear in many a horror films: disembowelled livestock; creepy candlelit shrines plastered with odd photographs; curtains of blindingly heavy rain; a foul-mouthed, possessed child; blackened, rabid zombies lunging at stunned victims and blood-splattered murder scenes.

It’s unlikely however, that any horror aficionado has seen all these tropes thrown with such bravado into the same melting pot, producing such a rich and unsettling brew.

“You awoke something recently that you weren’t supposed to. You disturbed it.”

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Train to Busan (2016, South Korea)

Train to Busan (2016)

I usually have a bit of a problem with zombie movies – I find them dull. Yes, I know zombie fans will be throwing their Walking Dead box sets at my head (and those are some hefty tomes) but I find that, although they may be a popular horror monster, zombies are forced to rely heavily on the cheap, gross-out factor in order to distract from the fact that they have scanty horror mileage, no rich mythos to draw on and offer little scope for variation, tension or development. I am left to suppose that zombie fans are in it for the fashion statement. I am however, an Asian horror enthusiast.

“Life-or-death survival begins.”

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Cell (2016, USA)

Cell (2016) Theatrical Poster

Those who might shift the blame for Cell’s shortcomings onto a writer with a feeble understanding of the source book should be aware that Stephen King himself had a hand in composing the screenplay. Not only that, he also warned admirers of said novel that some changes that might rub them the wrong way would be imminent. King wasn’t lying, having willingly helped turn a visceral and harrowing work like Cell into a limp-wristed 28 Days Later riff with too many cut corners to freak out seasoned horror buffs.

“When everyone is connected, no one is safe…”

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Unforgettable Retro Zombie Video Games

Zombie Nation (1990)

Whereas retro zombie video games were the “Next Big Thing” in their days, this is not the case anymore since more stylistic and graphically-rich games have emerged. As a result, gaming enthusiasts across the globe have been forced to forget blasting through corpses in favor of the most current, action-intense games like like those from the Forza Horizon, Mafia and Gears of War series.

“The zombies are coming!”

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The Sky Has Fallen (2009, 2015, USA)

The Sky Has Fallen (2009, 2015)

Doug Roos’ independently produced, feature-length, post-apocalyptic horror film was promoted primarily on it’s practical special effects, make-up and lack of computer-generated imagery (CGI). In this respect The Sky Has Fallen does not disappoint. Shot in Missouri and clearly influenced by Ryuhei Kitamura’s Yakuza/Zombie splatter-fest Versus (2000), The Sky Has Fallen combines elements from various horror subgenres and, whereas most would fail, Roos’ somehow manages to make everything work cohesively with only a few missteps.

“All practical FX. No CGI.”

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The Walking Dead (2012) Xbox 360

The Walking Dead (2012) Xbox Live Arcade CoverThe Walking Dead is very graphic in it’s depiction of violence. These moments can be unsettling, amplifying the harsh emotional tone in a video game where anyone can be torn apart without notice. Telltale Games don’t hold back when it comes to gore!

“It’s impossible to go through life without causing some kind of pain.”

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Dead 7 (2016, USA)

Dead 7 (2016) Promotional Poster“Larger than Life!”

Wow, if there ever was a less promising tagline for a zombie Twistern, I can’t recall it. Hopefully, whoever came up with it will work on expanding their creative writing skills. BTW, I know that’s a reference to a Backstreet Boys song, but still. How do I know? Well, I didn’t; I looked it up and I’m choosing to take the word of the Interwebz. It’s right 100% of the time, isn’t it?

“Everybody’s gotta die someday…”

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The Vineyard (1989, USA / Canada)

The Vineyard (1989) VHS PosterI can’t even begin to discuss 1989’s The Vineyard without first discussing the undisputed talent of James Hong. With a filmography that has spanned over six decades, it is Hong’s portrayal of the legendary sorcerer Lo Pan in John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China (1986) that has become the most iconic. Yet, those of us that have seen Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) will also remember Hong as Hannibal Chew, the genetic (eye) engineer hired by the Tyrell Corporation. That being said, James Hong is truly a force to be reckoned with…

“An island of death fueled by the blood of its victims.”

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Support Down by Kontact on Kickstarter (Become a Zombie!)

Down by Kontact by Matthew Myers and Dixie FilloyThe year is 1996. Four inebriated friends plan to dominate a local arcade tournament but soon find themselves stalked by the undead, struggling to survive in a terrifying nightmare inspired by George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, and the Pre-Code horror films of the 1930’s.

Matthew Myers has joined forces with Dixie Filloy; artist of the macabre and daughter of Arthur Filloy (animator of the The Ren & Stimpy Show).

Back this project on Kickstarter.

Deadline: Monday 15th August 2016

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10 Essential Japanese VHS Covers

Frankenhooker (1990)

Anyone with even the slightest interest in home entertainment recognises the importance of VHS. The marketing and promotion from the independent distribution companies elevated the medium to such an extent that collectors today now happily pay significant amounts of money for a VHS tape; not for the movie itself, but for the incredible artwork/design featured on the cover.

“Prepare yourself for the darkest day of horror the world has ever known!”

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