Sinister: A Look Back

Saturday, October 13th, 2012, it was about 9:30pm that I decided I would head on out to the small theater near my apartment to checkout the late showing of the newest horror flick. I really had no clue what the film was about, other than the fact that Ethan Hawke was in it. I for whatever reason at the time had not paid any attention to the advertising, which turned out to be a great thing (as it usually is) because I was going in with zero expectations, that film as you probably guessed by clicking on this article was Sinister. I still remember sitting in the theater and being stunned by that opening scene of the family hanging from the tree. Accentuated by the accompanying score it was downright chilling. I was all in after that minute long opening. What followed ended up living up to that grim opening and Sinister has since gone on to become one of my favorite modern horror films. A film I recommend to anyone I think can handle it and more importantly...appreciate it.

On the surface Sinister might look like any of the number of haunted house/ghost films that so many horror fans seem to hate and write off immediately. I personally enjoy all types of horror films and feel when done right, a haunted house/ghost film can be the creepiest kind of horror film. Still there are plenty of duds out there and I have known many people to write off Sinister as just another ghost movie. Still to those that look deeper into films,what goes into making them, and what themes and ideas they bring forth, Sinister is full of questions about morality, mortality and sacrifices one makes to achieve their goals. Oh yeah it's also extremely creepy when it wants to be.

Directed by Scott Derrickson (Exorcism of Emily Rose, Deliver Us From Evil) and co-written with C. Robert Cargill, Sinister tells the story of struggling true crime writer Ellison Oswalt played by Ethan Hawke, who hit it big with a best selling novel entitled Kentucky Blood. Ellison has had trouble duplicating that success since and in a desperate moment, moves his family into the house where the previously mentioned family was hung in order to attempt to write a book that will help him recapture the fame he once had. The hook of the film is that Ellison discovers a box of super 8 films in the attic that each feature footage of families being murdered. Things obviously get worse from there. With that basic recap out of the way I want to talk about why I found Sinister to be so well done and why I am also looking forward to the sequel which is fast approaching.

The main character Ellison Oswalt is a character I would imagine many people can relate to in some way. His ambition drives him to make a bad decision and it costs him dearly. He claims to his wife he was doing it for the family, but she knows he was doing it for himself. He was afraid of not mattering, he was afraid of what his legacy would ultimately be. I for one can relate to that fear, it is one that has crossed my mind more than once lately and I can be honest and say this entire site was built for many reasons but one big one was so that I could have something to show for all my interests and passions. I wanted to matter and be able to show people what I do and hopefully have somone say "hey man, thats pretty cool!" Egotistical? perhaps, but just like Ellison, even when it involves ones ego, that doesnt mean it is any less of a real fear. So while you may watch the film and initially say "This guy is an idiot, or an asshole" his fear of failure and anonimity is genuine and real, and it makes you understand why the character takes such risks. One's mortality and legacy is a very important thing and this helped me relate and root for the character (who is played to perfection by Ethan Hawke by the way), even when he was doing things that were selfish and dangerous. It is my understanding that this was a fear of the filmmakers as well, that Ellison is the person they were afraid of becoming, so in that regard it is a very personal project as well and not some "product" spat out by a studio for a quick cash in. Whats also interesting is you could say the villain of the film has a parallel desire for fame, the pagan deity known as "Bughuul" or "Mr. Boogie" also seeks to keep his legacy going and feels a need to be seen in the 8mm films to carry on his own story.

Now while it is ultimately personal and intimate fears driving the protaganist's ambition that cause him to go down the proverbial rabbit hole, it is in fact the supernatural element that Sinister derives it's real moments of horror from. The whole film plays out like a nightmare and there is good reason for that. The concept of the 8mm murder films found in the attic was drawn directly from a nightmare Cargill had and is what he pitched to Derrickson when trying to get the idea turned into a film. It is those nightmarish 8mm films that truly give Sinister it's edge on other horror films. Directed with a grim perfection, each one gets creepier and more disturbing than the next. Watching those murders unfold on the screen puts you directly into the shoes of Ellison who is doing the same, he can barely watch as well. Whether its the brutal "BBQ" footage or the pool party scene that houses the initial chilling underwater reveal of Bughuul, each one is filmed to macabre perfection. They stay with you long after the credits roll. Part of that is due to the superb sound design of those home movies. The terrifying imagery is masterfully paired up with an equally creepy soundscape. If the footage is what a nightmare looks like, the scoring for those scenes is certainly what a nightmare would sound like.

While Christopher Young handles the scoring duties for the film with aplomb, the real musical star of the film are the sounds cultivated from the likes of Ulver, Aghast and Judgehydrogen. The use of their respective music elevated those 8mm scenes to an entirely new level of creepy. These scenes melding of sight and sound illustrate just how integral sound design is to film, especially horror. I listen to horror scores often while writing or editing photos, but the music used in this film I cannot listen to on it's own. The track "Silence Teaches You To Sing" by Ulver that is used throughout the film has one particular portion is used in the "BBQ" scene that is simply haunting. I remember when I first tracked it down and attempted to listen to it while trying to go to sleep one morning after a late night (it was in the ipod along with other more suitable music) and I got chills and immediately turned it off. That music accompanied with the imagery in the film left and impact and stayed with me long after the film had ended. You can hear that track below and see how you feel about it, the portion im referring to comes in at about 2:20,  for maximum effect listen to it alone in the dark.

There is much more I could say about Sinister but that would bring this closer to full blown review which is not what I wanted this to be. Sure I don't find it to be a perfect movie, but the things I don't love are more aesthetic choices like the makeup on the ghost children. But that is more a personal preference than a major gripe. Sinister is a film made with the utmost love and care for the project, this really shows throughout. So many horror films released today are just churned out by hired gun directors who do not have any attachment to the material. So when something comes along that is created from start to finish by the same team it deserves a bit more attention. Sinister is a very adult oriented, disturbing horror film that not only plays on your fears of the supernatural, but also those fears that you face in your mind on a day to day basis as you get older and there are lessons to be learned if you look deep enough. It ends on a perfectly grim note that sews up this story in the most horrific and surprising way possible. Which now brings us to Sinister 2...

Sinister 2 is something I never expected but probably should have. The succes of the original yielded a worldwide gross of 77 million dollars off of a relatively cheap 3 million dollar budget. So why not go back to the well to see if you can capture some more magic. Generally I have concerns about sequels to films that seem to have been all wrapped up and told the story they needed to tell to completion. However the original filmmakers are involved in the production as writers so that is something that piqued my interest. The second was the fact Shannyn Sossamon was cast, if ask anyone that really knows me, they will tell you she always been one of my favorite actresses. Of course last but not least, I was interested to see what else they could do with the character of Bughuul, and thought it would be fun to see if they can help cement his status as one of cinemas modern era boogeymen. I really don't know what to expect, as I have made it a point to not watch the trailer as I did with the first and that worked out pretty well. I am hoping for another creepy affair that leaves me equally disturbed and pleasantly surprised. You can expect an in depth review of the film upon it's release from us and it will be the first horror movie to begin to get us ready for the Halloween season, so we hope it delivers. In case you WANT to see the trailer we have that for you as right below!

In addition to the trailer we also have something Focus Features created to help promote the film and "Spread the Fear". It is a fun web app that you can take 10 second video  and "Sinisterize" it while uploading it to instagram, it is a neat idea and I imagine you would be able to creep out at least one person on your followers list. Just visit the link here to try it out!

Wanna Play? Holly Visits The Good Guy Factory

WANNA PLAY? : Holly visits the Play Pals Toy factory in search of a Good Guy. 

(Originally posted October 2013) In dual honor of the re- launch of and the release of Curse of Chucky, I am excited to present a brand new photo set featuring one of my favorite people to collaborate with, Holly. This photo set is inspired by the Good Guy Doll factory seen in Child’s Play 2. A great deal of enthusiasm, care, and effort was put into creating these colorful new images and I hope it shows in the final product.

In addition to these new photos we also have our first ever behind the scenes video, detailing the process behind this latest project.

Dissecting Fear: An Interview with Marc Shoenbach / Sadist Art Designs

One of the best thing about doing what we do here at is meeting new, like minded people. This website has opened up so many doors for new friendships and collaborations that I would have otherwise never made. For that I am extremely grateful. It is especially cool when those new people are on the same wavelength as you when it comes to things you enjoy creating. As many of you know we love creating our own faux movie posters here as well as ones for existing films. Which brings us to Marc of Sadist Art Designs. The New York based artist specializes in creating custom poster art for media design and has a special love for retro horror and art house stylization. I remember being put on to Marc's work by a mutual pal, Uncle Tnuc and was really impressed by just how perfectly it captured the style of 80's horror poster art. What he creates would feel right at home in the horror section of any video store in the 80's. He has done work for Fangoria and countless independent horror films who are all looking for that magical retro touch. Thanks to his chosen field, I expected to get a unique perspective on the subject of VHS cover art and horror posters and he did not disappoint. From the get go Marc has been a supporter of and has just been an all around cool dude, so we are happy and appreciative to have him contribute to our ongoing "Dissecting Fear" series of interviews. Now while Marc doesn't scare easily, he still provides insight into his love affair with horror films while displaying his love of the F word. We are also happy to share some pieces of Marc's work that represents what Sadist Art Designs is all about. 

As a child what horror film and/or character scared you the most and why do you feel they had this effect on you.

Michael Myers. Hands down. Halloween II was the first horror film I ever saw when I was 4. My older brother, who was about 13 then, had also been fascinated by the boogieman. Around that time in the early 80's, my family had just gotten cable TV and Halloween II was the film HBO had been showing on repeat as was common to repeat movies on cablte TV back then. While Myers scared the fuck out of me, I couldn't help but be captivated by his presence. That emotionless mask gave me nightmares that really fucked me up. Back then, though I think the childhood innocence masqueraded the true fear, and like so many horror fans today, is what made horror and being scared a good feeling, not one to shy away from but to embrace. Yeah thanks a lot Michael!

Crying Skull poster design inspired by Halloween II opening sequence by Sadist Art Designs

Do you have an example telling of an instance or two where this fear really manifested itself and had an impact on you or your behavior? 

Of all the horror movies I had been watching back then, the only time I had ever been affected by it was by one dream. Only one. At the time, my second oldest brother (two years older than me) had shared a room with me. I remember one night I dreamt Michael Myers had come inside our room! But he had brought a friend, this stranger fucker wearing a hawaiian shirt and yellow dishwashing gloves. Myers worked on my brother while Dishwashing Gloved Man choked the fuck out of me! Horror movies don't usually scare me. Just that one time. It's mostly the local news that haunts me. 

What horror movie VHS covers or posters scared you as a kid and why do you feel the poster or cover had this effect on you?

I wouldn't use the word scared. Because like I said, horror movies don't scare me. They fascinate me. I'm much more scared about tales of kidnappings, hijackings, and home invasions...and house fires. But, VHS titles affected my life so profoundly as you can imagine. Covers like Friday the 13th part IV, Return of the Living Dead1/III, Chopping Mall, and Halloween II to name just a few, were truly pieces of art that left etchings on my brain. Hell, I make a living now trying to recreate those feelings of nostalgia it brought me. 

Do you have a specific example of a time you may remember that you have come across one of these VHS covers and have it have an effect on you when you were younger?

Hmm...Covers that are more simplistic that are shrouded in blackness give me the creeps. FT13IV, Bloody Birthday, Halloween I/II...something about that blackness around it, that void is what scares me. I don't know why. It's like, I think about all that darkness and I imagine whats lurking in the shadows. You ever see the cover of Halloween the paperback? The one with the boy in a ghost sheet with a jackolantern as a fucking head? he's surrouonded by all this blackness! Lots of 70's and 80's horror paperbacks do this. Creeeeepy!!!

What is your definition of "scary" when it comes to modern horror films these days? So many people are quick to say a film isn't scary but each person has a different definition of "scary" and what that means. 

Movies that use primitive fears to scare their audiences will always be the most effective. Night Of The Living Dead works really well despite the unbelievability of walking zombies. This has a lot to do with the notion of feeling trapped and confined in a place where all this madness is going on outside and the is the idea of "Whats out there and how many of them are there?!" The beginning of "Scream" played with this concept really well too. That idea of being vulnerable. Remember Drew Barrymore was in the living room on the phoen with the creep (Ghostface) ? Look at those large ass windows with no shades! She was a sitting duck, man!

What do you NOT consider scary or not like in your horror films?

Unless treated really carefully, like The Changeling or The Sentinel, ghost stories do nothing for me.

What do you look for or want to get out of horror films these days?

Oy. I haven't been to a modern horror movie in quite a while. I stick with the oldies. I just want to have fun and I wanna dig the characters. While I didn't love "It Follows" like everyone and their mothers, I thought the group of kids and their relationships worked well. I like realistic relationships in modern horror. The Innkeepers did this really well. 80's films didn't as much. But that is okay, they were cheese and they get a pass!

What is your favorite recent horror film and why?

I really dug The Innkeepers and The House of the Devil. Haha, does the latter count? I also thought Cloverfield was fan-fucking-tastic. I loved Tusk too!

Lastly, do you feel these is a certain way or mindset to have to watch a horror film as far as it being effectively frightening?

Stay off your fucking phone if you want to be scared! If you're watching a fun one, post #nowwatching posts on Instagram to get involved in the horror community. Just remember, part of the experience of being scared is putting yourself in the characters situations. So pop some popcorn, kill the lights, and enjoy!


Here is a batch of some of Marc's fantastic work. Below it you will find links to all Sadist Art Designs online presence. 

You can also follow Marc and Sadist Art Designs on Instagram for plenty of cool horror goodness and behind the scenes looks at the making of his posters : @sadistartdesigns 

Nicole Feasts in MANEATER

Excited (as always) to share this latest photoshoot with you all. Nicole here and I had been talking about working together on a shoot for a while now. So when we finally set a date to get together and work on it, I quickly started to prepare. The concept we landed on was loosely inspired by the Succubus who is a demon that takes the form of a woman in order to seduce it's prey. I really liked the concept of a woman who had just picked the bones clean of an unsuspecting victim whom she had lured into her clutches. Nicole was into this idea and I thought she would be able to pull it off and as you will no doubt see, she absolutely did. Now generally Succubi (thats the plural I guess?) have wings and tails, which of course is really awesome, but here we opted for a more simple approach for a few reasons, of course one of those being budget, but I knew if we got the imagery of her victims eaten corpse, that it would all fall into place and result in some creepy and equally sexy images. I think we pulled that off here and think the photos speak for themselves. Nicole came into this ready to go and was not shy when it came to getting messy for this shoot. She really was a trooper through this one and have to thank her so much for that. Also as many of you know, we at love creating our faux movie posters and this project afforded us the opportunity to create one of our most striking yet, in the form of the "Maneater" one sheet you will see at the end of this post. I am especially proud with how that turned out and very pleased to add Nicole and these images to our site as she did a great job and is a welcome addition to the family. Be sure to follow Nicole on instagram @findnicolehere to see some of her other shoots and cosplay work. These shots hold true to our Blood, Babes, and Boogeymen slogan. Hope you all enjoy! 

Saved the best piece for last

Maneater one-sheet

Dissecting Fear: An Interview with Artist Travis Falligant

Last week we began our  new weekly interview series "Dissecting Fear" where we discuss childhood experiences and memories with horror films as well as what we want out of today's horror films. Today we continue exploring those same questions with artist Travis Falligant. Travis is a gifted illustrator who is well known for his "Lost Mysteries" series of drawings where he blended classic Scooby Doo gang images with classic horror villains, it is these along with his penchant for stylized charicature work that captures a characters essence perfectly that really makes his work stand out and be something special. Travis contributed an awesome Patrick Bateman from American Psycho portrait for our Art Show last Halloween and has always been a supporter of our site.We are really appreciative to have him participate in this series of interviews while being able to showcase some more of his art. 

Travis Falligant/
Terminator inspired David from "The Guest"

Lost Mysteries "Daphne meets Leatherface" by Travis Falligant

As a child what horror film and/or character scared you the most and why do you feel they had this effect on you.

I remember sneaking downstairs when I was younger and saw my dad watching Body Double on cable. It was the part where the Indian Driller Killer was killing the woman. It scared the shit outta me! Freddy Krueger also scared me when I was younger (I had a thing for being scared of melty faced, hook nosed monsters I guess). I think both of those characters freaked me out because they were stalking their prey and their facial features and evil grimaces were terrifying!

Do you have an example telling of an instance or two where this fear really manifested itself and had an impact on you and your behavior? 

I had night terrors when I was younger for a number of years. I could hear my parents watching scary movies in the bedroom and having nightmares based on the screams and sounds from the tv they were watching. I have a very wild imagination. When I say night terrors, I mean bolting up in my bed, screaming my little lungs out night terrors.

What VHS covers or horror movie posters scared you as a kid and why do you feel the poster or cover had that effect on you?

Ummm...there were SO MANY great horror movie VHS covers and posters. I remember asking my dad when we were going to see Indiana Jones and I first saw the Nightmare on Elm Street poster where the claw was over the girls head. He told me it was a bear claw to make it seem more innocent (yeah right). That poster left an impression. Going to the video store, the poster for "Fright Night", the 1972 Sally Field slasher "Home for the Holidays" and "Mother's Day (original) stick out in my head as ones that frightened me as well as intrigued me. 

Do you have a specific example of a time you may remember that you have come across one of these and it had that effect on you when you were younger? 

I remember when i went to the local Circuit City where they were renting VHS tapes (yeah go figure) and saw the Mother's Day box. The Front Graphic was so insane to me and I looked at the sparse photos on the back and was even more intrigued  and frightened because I didn't know what the movie inside the box would show. How depraved the contents of the film would be.

What is your definition of "scary" when it comes to modern horror films these days? So many people are quick to say a film isn't scary but each person ha sa different definition of what scary means.

So many films rely on violence or loud jump scares to be "scary". For a movie to be scary these days, it's all about the story. Is it a compelling one? Are the situations relatable? Does the film use tension to build the scares? 

What is a modern horror film you would say actually scared you?

The last modern horror film I can remember that truly frightened me was Session 9. I am talking goosebumps and hairs raising on my arm scary.

What do you NOT consider scary or not like in your horror films?

Exorcism films, ghost/supernatural films (for the most part) zombie films. I'm over all of those. NOT scary and too played out these days. 

What do you look for/to get out of horror films these days? 

I tell ya, these days, I look for an 80's aesthetic in horror films. Stuff like "It Follows". I think it's because of my age and the fact that I attribute a lot of my fear from movies of my generation. It's a total nostalgia thing I guess. 

What is your favorite recent horror film and why? 

It Follows poster design by Travis Falligant
It Follows. For it's creativity on a small budget. For it's ability to pull thrills and scares from it's premise (call it a hokey one or a simple one). The mood, settings, music, EVERYTHING worked in that film for me. Everything. 

Lastly, do you feel there is a certain way or mindset to have to watch a horror film as far as it being effectively frightening?

I think it's subjective. What we fear is very specific to one's life experiences, phobias, etc. For something to be effectively frightening, it has to tap into the individual's fears. My fears may be different than yours. The most successful horror films tap into a universal fear of something.

We would like to thank Travis again for his participation in this interview and have posted some more of his artwork as well as links where you can see more below. 

Jaws versus Michael Myers

Nancy Thompson from "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and Jay Height from "It Follows" by Travis Falligant
Terminator by Travis Falligant

Pamela Voorhees by Travis Falligant


Be sure to check out more of Travis' work for sale at the following link: webstore 

And see much more on his Instagram and twitter accounts: @ibtrav


Dissecting Fear: An interview with Fright Rags founder Ben Scrivens

Fear is something we all first experience in some shape or form at a young age. Whether it be the fear of the dark, fear of sleeping alone, and of course the dreaded monster under the bed. As children we are at our most impressionable and our imagination knows no boundaries, so you never know just what might make the wrong impression in terms of frightening you and you may not even know why it had such an effect on you. You just know you don't like it and want to stay away from it. As adult horror fans, we seek out the fear, anticipating and hoping for it whenever we watch a new film or enter that haunt during October. We crave the experience of being scared and the rush that comes with it. Fear and horror go hand in hand, yet no matter how creepy the latest film is or how cool the new poster for it looks, there is nothing like that fear you felt as a child when watching those first horror films or coming across that eerie VHS cover art.

One of the main things I wanted to focus on when I started this site was to put a personal spin on things when possible, especially when it came to talking about films and my experience with them, particularly associating my memories of my youth with their first time viewings and how those shaped and informed my likes and dislikes today. I find it supremely interesting to delve into just what makes something scary to someone as horror fans are such a finicky bunch, that we all have different tastes and expectations when it comes to what a horror film should be. I wanted to further explore this subject by reaching out to other horror fans who are invested in the genre in many different ways, and learning about their early experiences when it came to the combination of fear and horror films. So I came up with a list of questions and will be asking those same questions to all of the participants. I am excited to share these interviews with you all as I feel they will bring a personal touch to the site and help you better understand your fellow horror fan. This week for our first "Dissecting Fear" interview, we are honored to have Fright Rags founder Ben Scrivens, who was kind enough to take time out from his busy schedule and delve into a bit of his history with horror.

As a child what horror film and/or horror character scared you the most and why do you feel they had this effect on you?
I suppose most of the main iconic characters spooked me out at least once or twice as a kid. However the one that got me the most was Michael Myers. As a child, he scared me more than anyone and was the reason I started liking the genre.

Do you have an example telling of an instance where this fear really manifested itself and had an impact on you and your behavior?
Since there was a span of about 7 years between Halloween films that featured Myers, I grew up watching the original Halloween and the sequel for the most part, I recall one time when I was 10, having watched those back to back and not being able to sleep all night because I kept picturing him coming into my room. I ended up sleeping on my parents' bedroom floor.

What VHS covers or horror movie posters scared you as a kid and why do you feel the poster or cover had this effect on you? 
What affected me most were the posters and standees in video stores. Films like Prom Night 2, Child's Play, Hellraiser, any A Nightmare On Elm Street or Friday the 13th film; they all intrigued me. Of course just browsing through the horror section at any video store. That's why we have a VHS video wall at the office with all our horror VHS lined brings back fond memories.

Do you have a specific example of a time you may remember that you have come across one of these and it had that effect on you when you were younger?
I don't recall any in particular, just the excitement of walking into a video store or theater and seeing a poster of what was being released soon. Those are some of my most vivid memories.

What is your definition of "scary" when it comes to modern horror films these days? So many people are quick to say a film isn't scary, but each person has a different definition of just what "scary" means. 
I think scary should be timeless. Many films seem to overuse modern techniques in an effort to "scare" audiences but it just comes off as cheap. That has been happening for decades though. But the ones that cut through and are scary to me are the ones that focus on atmosphere and not just effects.

What is a modern horror film you would say actually scared you?
"Insidious" was a film in recent memory that scared me in the theaters. While it shares many of the hallmarks of modern ghost films, I felt that it established mood and atmosphere quite effectively so that any effects complemented that, rather than were the main focus. Well, at least until "Darth Maul" came in at the end! Another recent film I enjoyed was "It Follows". While it didn't scare me, it really set a mood that stuck with me afterward. That is a sign of a good film to me.

What do you NOT consider scary or not like in your horror films?
Any film with no heart that just tries to cash in on trends to make a quick buck.

What do you look for or want to get out of horror films these days?
I don't look for much - just to be entertained. If it makes me think, great. If it's just fun and entertaining, great. If I done with the film and felt that I would not want to see it again or that I was bored, then I'm not a fan. I'm pretty easy to please. I don't think there will be anything that comes close to the films of my youth - not because they were somehow better - but because of the time I watched them. We all have this yearning for days gone by that gets us all nostalgic when we talk about watching horror films as kids. I don't expect  that to happen again watching a movie as an adult. There have been times it has come close, but nothing gives me the same feeling as a movie like "Halloween" or "Night of the Living Dead" do, because of all the memories attached to those films.

What is your favorite recent horror film and why?
I've really enjoyed a few recent ones like The Babadook, It Follows, and Starry Eyes. While they are different films, I felt each one really focused on mood and atmosphere. It's too early to call them classics, but I think they are some of the better films to have come out in recent years.

Lastly, do you feel there is a certain way or mindset to have to watch a horror film as far as it being effectively frightening.
I have to go into a film with no pre-conceived notions, for example, if I am expecting to be scared, I will be let down. I remember seeing "Stir of Echoes" in theaters and not expecting much and was quite frightened by it. It didn't hold up on video, but in the theaters it really got me.

Be sure to check out the Fright Rags website where you can see all of their awesome and original horror shirts and products. 

Review: MTV's Scream: the series - Episode 1

Full Disclosure up front, I am not the biggest fan of the Scream series overall. I do genuinely love the first one and still remember fondly the night me and my friends went to go see it for the first time. It was a refreshing horrific blast and everyone was into it. It at the time saved horror as well as damned it in a sense that everything that followed, stuck to the Scream template. The sequels at the time of their release were certainly enjoyable for what they were and there is no denying that the Ghostface costume itself is a horror icon even if it's rep has been tarnished by the goofy appearance it takes on in the Scary Movie films. Still as much good as I can say about the first film, there is twice as much bad as I can say about the 3 sequels that followed. With each sequels killer reveal growing increasingly silly, they lacked the excitement and even care that the first was handled with. They each certainly had their moments, but overall I find them to be not so great. Still with that being said, I have no problem with any horror fans loving them. I can totally see why fans of the series like it, regardless of my appreciation or lack thereof for it's sequels. The one thing the Scream films always had going for them, were characters you could relate to and or root for. Whether you were a fan of Neve Campbell's Sidney Prescott, Jamie Kennedy's film geek Randy, David Arquette's bumbling yet heroic police deputy Dewey or Courtney Cox's bitchy yet somehow still likable reporter Gale Weathers, there was someone you could grasp on to and take interest in to see how they would deal with the events that were unfolding. Even for myself, as a person who doesn't hold the series in high regard, I like all those characters and was always interested to see what they would be up to in the next installments. They were the heart and soul of the series and you didn't want to see them get offed by Ghostface. Which brings us to my thoughts on MTV's SCREAM: The Series.

When it was announced that MTV would be bringing Scream to the small screen, I originally thought to myself, well that can't be a good idea being that it's MTV yet it can't be any worse than Scream 4 was, can it? To provide you with further context let me provide you with my thoughts on part 4. I was actually pretty excited when it was announced, I was there opening day to see it and was supremely let down, mostly because I really was hoping for something that would help align it with the grimmer style of horror that had become so popular, and was hoping to see a slightly more serious and menacing take on Ghostface, as I felt there is still alot of potential with that costume,character and setting. What I got was nothing at all like that, it was bloody sure, but it was also extremely goofy and too cute for it's own good with all the excessive focus on being meta and webcams, etc. I totally get the intention and the statement they were trying to make with it, I just feel it was handled so clumsily and the ultimate reveal was so underwhelming and "silly" that I just checked out. So part of me probably thought maybe THIS will be the way to get the Ghostface and Scream story I was hoping for in part 4. Well, I could not have been more wrong.

As much as I disliked Scream 4, at least it had a few real new characters who's personality, in addition to the series stars of Campbell, Arquette and Cox were interesting. Which brings us back (finally) to this new TV incarnation of Scream. The first GLARING problem with his new series is the characters, I didn't buy them at all. I did not buy them as high schoolers, I did not buy them as friends and I did't even buy them as actual people. Aside from probably the one character Audrey (who for some reason carries a video camera with her like the kid from American Beauty) played by Bex Taylor-Klaus, the rest of the bunch are just a terrible collection of way too old, one note cliches, who as of this first episode couldn't even breathe any new life into said cliches. Granted nobody in the original film really screamed high schooler either, and whomever was responsible for assembling this cast might have been forgiven for casting far to mature looking had they actually got some actors with personalities that stood out. I cannot recall a more bland, unlikable cast, which is funny as the Randy-esque character Noah goes on a diatribe about how we are supposed to care about these cliche'd characters for a horror tale that revolves around them to work. Well I certainly did not, not in the least. It is the cast that was the major failure for me in this show, nothing felt real or organic and thats a problem that can come with an MTV production.

I haven't even touched on the actual STORY of Scream the series yet. No longer is Woodsboro the focus or main setting and I would have been okay with that since the sequels ventured outside of it before returning home in 4, but I watched the episode and still can't remember where this new story takes place, I DO remember some bizarre inclusion of a backstory of some deformed killer with an elephant man complex who terrorized this new town many years ago. It was such a weirdly out of place concept to throw into the mix and I am not sure I will be sticking around to see how it pays off or plays out, but we do get a "someone grabbed me from under the water in the lake scene" that would feel much more at home in Friday the 13th than Scream. There are some threads set up to try to make us wonder who the killer may be and that is done successfully enough aside from the fact that I honestly didn't even care because everything else that accompanied it in this episode was so damn dull. I can't leave out my thoughts on the new killer who I don't even know if we can refer to them as Ghostface because well, they have a brand new mask that is not Ghostface, but still doesn't look quite as bad or as blow up dollish as it did in the promo photo it released. It wasn't bad, but their "voice" was a poor man's impression of the orginal Ghostface voice which is iconic in it's own right. Still this new killer didn't do enough in this episode either, except ripoff the Drew Barrymore murder from the first one in a sequence that in all honesty was probably the highlight of the show, yet still was not anywhere near as effective as the original scene it was ripping off. Not to mention there is a big loose end from that scene that is never mentioned again and I am hoping that is on purpose because if not, it is simply laughable how that could be overlooked.

Overall I was skeptical on this new take on the Scream concept, especially with it being an MTV production. I went in with zero expectations and turned out to be still disappointed. To give you an idea of how much I disliked this show, I generally never bother to write negative reviews for the site, to me it's just a waste of time. However "SCREAM" is a big deal for horror fans, and a show based on that should be as well. There is plenty of potential for a GOOD and REAL Scream series, but I am pretty certain this won't be it. Time will tell if it gets better, but I am pretty sure by that point I won't care or bother to find out.

Deb Raises Hell

Well it took a while, but we finally got around to doing a Hellraiser themed photoset. It wasn't exactly pre-planned, it just kind of happened and sometimes those result in the coolest images. In this particular instance, Deb and I were hanging out kicking around ideas, thinking we could probably do something cool if we put our minds to it. We eventually landed on Hellraiser. There are so many ways you can go about doing something related to those films, the obvious route would normally be something cenobite related. However that requires alot of prep, makeup, and time. All of which on this particular evening we didn't really have. What we did have was some candles, some prop replica prints from Hellraiser II and the iconic Lament Configuration puzzle box. So Deb, who is a big fan of the films, landed on this one particular scene from Hellraiser II as inspiration. It was a fun way to spend an evening and resulted in some pics that while relatively simple, are still very different from other stuff we have done on the site. It was fun trying to figure out how to do something a bit more with them during the editing process, which is when we decided to add some of the blue electricity so prevalent in the films when the puzzle box is activated. Deb is always a pleasure to shoot with and be around and its great to get her input on anything we work on. I have a feeling these won't be the last Hellraiser themed shots Deb and I do, so I consider these to be part 1 of this photo set, hopefully we can get a little more bloody and weird in round 2. Till then though, hope you guys enjoy these as much as we do. 

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