WHERE HAS JOHN G. JONES BEEN FOR THE LAST THIRTY YEARS?

Amityville boyJohn G. Jones was a musician, composer, and producer — Australian by birth, in America by choice — when he first met George and Kathy Lutz. Almost against his will, they persuaded him to tell the continuing story of what happened to the family from Amityville, New York after they escaped the most evil haunted house of the twentieth century.

He wrote a series of harrowing and revealing novels about the evil that escaped from Amityville and continued to plague them for years. He became an internationally renowned, best-selling author in North America, Europe, and around the world.

And then … he disappeared.

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THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE IS A WHOLE NEW KIND OF CREEPY

Trollhunter, way back in 2010, was a rulebreaker when it came to horror genrification. It was sort of a found footage/mockumentary, but done with such a deft and realistic touch that you didn’t really think of it that way. It was a monster movie, too, and a fantasy with a whole set of fairly elaborate rules. But there wasn’t a fairy or magic spell to be seen. It was even a satire, in a way, about bureacracy, government regulation, and human denial. It was also a bit of a cult phenom, and it’s popular even today.

Now André Øvredal, the director of Trollhunter, is returning with a new film that looks like the same kind of rulebreaker. It might be a zombie movie. It might be a medical thriller. It might be nothing of the kind. All we know for sure is that Øvredal is firmly in control,a nd that there are some recognizable and very talented actors in this one: Brian Cox (brilliant Canadian charcter actor you’ll remember him as Agamemnon in Troy, Stryker in a couple of X-Men movies, Langrishe in Deadwood, and of course the voice of the Green Dragon in Scooby Doo and the Samurai Sword) and Emile Hirsch (Lords of Dogtown, Speed Racer). 

Even Øvredal’s pathway to this project is unconventional. The story goes that he was inspired to do a horror movie after attending a screening of The Conjuring. He immediately called his agent and told them that they should try and find a good horror script for him. A month later they showed him this script and he was immediately interested.

And here we are. The tense and mysterious trailer gives us just a hint of what might be hiding in the morgue, and frankly … it’s pretty cool:

The Autopsy of Jane Doe appears in a limited number of dark rooms near you on December 21

DON’T MOVE: ANOTHER SCARY SHORT

Don’t confuse this with Don’t Breathe or Lights Out. It’s an unsettling little short all its own, one of the artifacts from a Chilling Tales for Dark Nightsa fascinating YouTube channel that actually hides some gold.

There are a lot of great things in this piece: a rich story, some good scares, and a world around the story that makes you want more — more, in fact, than the aforementioned Lights Out, which got itself made into a full-length movie. Frankly this dark little gem, from writer David Scullion and director Anthony Melton, should be next in line.

Take a look … but do it with the lights on.

 

… and let us know what you think! Check out Chilling Tales… for more. And special thanks to Jose Omar Contreras for pointing us towards this weird beauty.

FLEX: AN ELECTRIC, SURPRISING, SMART AS HELL URBAN FANTASY

… only $1.99 on Kindle right now.

flex-144dpiThe vast, depressing majority of ‘urban fantasy’ these days is just half-hearted noir in fantasy drag, with orcs taking the place of gunsels, damsels instead of dames, elves as substitute street creeps, and magic bolts as stand-ins for pistols. Most of it, therefore, is not very good and there’s way too much of it.

Then, once in a while, something really worthwhile shows up. Like Flex, the first in a new series by the amazingly named  Ferrett Steinmetz. It’s the first book in the ‘Mancer series, and its rules are simple and devastating: not only does magiv exist in the modern world, side-by-side with modern life, it has horrible consequences. Every act of ‘mancy rips a hole in probability and reality; it’s already reduced Europe to a violent wasteland, and America is well on its way. ‘Mancers are rounded up and either bent to the government’s will or imprisoned, and yet more are showing up all the time. The genie, quite literally,c an’t be put back in the bottle. And worse is coming…

Steinmetz is a damn strong writer. His imagery is vivid, his ideas are uncommon and unexpected, and there is a welcome relentless logic to the world he’s created. If you’re going to make magic ‘real,’ he seems to be saying, it has rules … and the rules can bring tragedy as well as power — no exceptions.

 

Flex is the first in the ‘Mancer series, and it a semi-brilliant attempt to make new addicts, you can get it for a mere $1.99 on Kindle, right now Just click here and get a copy. With so much imitation and repetition out there, it’s a joy to find a new set of stories that are neither of the above.

Let us know what you think.

 

AFTERMATH: A POTENT POST-APOCALYPSE SHORT WORTH WATCHING

Short subjects are enjoying a bit of a renaissance these days, but sadly most of them — especially in the horror and speculative genres — are either highly imitative or just plain poorly made. Not so with Aftermath, a twenty-minute tale set ina near-future ice age that has more to say — like most good post-apoc stories — about humans and their strengths and weaknesses that it does about the blood and guts and big ol’ explosions at the end of the world.

It comes from filmmaker Jeremy Robbins, and it’s definitely worth a look:

 

THE MAIDEN: SHORT & SCARY

Sometimes you can tell a whole story in just a few minutes — like eight minutes and a few seconds, which is all it took Michael Chaves to tell The Maiden. It’s a smart, scary, beautifully made short, available on Vimeo and right here …

THE MAIDEN – short horror film from Michael Chaves on Vimeo.

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TRAIN TO BUSAN: FAST ZOMBIES, HIGH SPEED, CLASS WAR

busanEvery time we think the zombie trope has finally run its course, something like Train to Busan comes along, and we’re reminded there’s still some activity left in the old corpse yet.

Check out this trailer. Things happen fast on the train, and they don’t stop happening. The zombies look to be your standard fast-moving maniacs at first, but — as in all the best dead-folks-walking iterations — it’s the humans that pose a far greater threat. Add the normal glut of bravery, cowardice, fear and rage, ratchet it up to 70 mph (how fast is that in kilometers?), and something exciting and terrifying happens.

Train to Busan s the work of writer/director Sang-ho Yeon, and though it seems impossible, this is his first live-action feature (he’s been an anime director up ’til now). It premiered in the U.S. briefly this summer; it’s currently unavailable in VOD or anywhere else, and there are rumors it’ll be out on October 28. We’ll keep an eye out for it. Meanwhile, watch the trailer and put it on your “Watch When It Gets Here” list …

 

DR. STRANGE, GREATEST KID’S MAGICIAN IN THE COSMO (NOT REALLY)

Okay, this is funny. We’re still weirded out by Benedict Cumberbatch talking American, and it takes a little while getting started, but we’re up for trying to turn, “Do you want to go home with Marcus?” into the next threatening internet meme. (Btw, Dr. Strange premieres at an interdimensional portal near year on Nov. 4,)

OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL IS JUST PLAIN SCARY

ouija-origin-of-evilYes, yes, the Ouija Board is just a made-up thing that Parker Brothers hacked together a few decades ago, and it has about as much authenticity as a haunted version of Hungry Hungry Hippos … but over the years, it has developed a kind of urban-legend power all its own, and Ouija: Origin of Evil plays off all that accumulated weirdness to make a move that seems — at least judging by this trailer — exceedingly creepy. (And yes, we know that “talking boards” and even the “Ouija” name has been around for centuries, but this version, this design, and its popularity as a ‘harmless’ parlor game showed up in the mid-Sixties.)

It’s got a few things going for it. Number one: director/co-writer Mike Flanagan, who’s the guy behind Oculus and Hush. And the cast includes Doug Jones, probably the creepiest physical actor working in film today, Kate Siegel, the beautiful actress who did a hell of job as the lead in Flangan’s Hush (and who also happens, purely by accident, to be married to him), and — get this — Henry Thomas as the male lead. Yeah, that cute little boy from E.T. is all grown up and weeeeird. Talk about your fantasy pedigree.

There’s also something icky and charming about setting it in 1967, when Ouija was still new and nobody knew what it would become. And Flanagan’s done a great job in placing it in the long-ago time (was it really fifty years ago? Damn!), and featuring the (terribly familiar) possession of an innocent young girl, giving the film both an innocence and a weirdness that serves it — and us horror fans — well.

It’s coming October 21. Don’t get it confused with the really awful horror film called Ouija from a couple of years ago. this is all different and, we’re betting, all better. Check out the trailer and circle 10/21 on your calendar:

 

IVERSON, INVASION, WHATEVER: GO WATCH ROBOT OVERLORDS

We’re clearly obsessed here at AmitvyilleNow International Headquarters. We recently were looking at our Twitter account, and noticed in the left-hand column that #AllenIverson was trending … and immediately read it as #AlienInvasion instead.

This of course, immediately brought to mind Robot Overlords, available now on Netflix. It isn’t about an alien invasion, exactly, but they are alien robots, so it’s close enough. It’s also a crazy-fun movie with stars like Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson and that new kid actor, Milo Parker, who was more recently in Mr. Holmes and coming up in Miss Peregrine’s Home for  Peculiar Children. His age is not listed in imdb, which makes us think he’s probably, like, thirty-two.

Enjoy!

BATMAN vs DEATHSTROKE: WHAT SUPERHERO FIGHTS ARE SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE

Yeah, you can shoot it at night. Yeah, you can have them in for close hand-to-hand combat. But you have to do it right, and way back when, future Deadpool director Tim Miller showed us how it was done, in a short animated (though it barely looks animated) short ostensibly produced to promote the video game Arkham Asylum.

All future superhero movie directors/designer/combat masters, take note. This is how it’s done.

 

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