As horror fans may know, Universal Pictures was pulling a play from the Marvel handbook and creating a cinematic monster world, called the Dark Universe. Originally, Universal had plans to release monster films for The Mummy, Bride of Frankenstein, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Invisible Man, Van Helsing, Wolf Man, Frankenstein, Dracula, Phantom of the Opera and Hunchback of Notre-Dame.
Well, The Mummy (2017) came out starring Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella and personal I didn't care for it. I wasn't the only person that felt that way because The Mummy started showing poor numbers in the theatres and by its third week it was pulled from 827 of the US theatres. Now, it did better in the worldwide numbers, but domestically it pulled in around $80 million, which doesn't look good against a budget of $125 million. Next up was supposed to be the Bride of Frankenstein, which was set to be released February 2019. Javier Bardem is signed to play Frankenstein's monster and Angelina Jolie is in talks to play the title character. Word is Jolie is still on the fence about taking on the project. Although it may not matter if Jolie gets on board or not because the Bride of Frankenstein film has been pulled from the Universal schedule. It seems that The Mummy's poor reception has caused concern in Universal. They've decided to pull the film so that director Bill Condon and writer David Koepp can re-work the script to better reflect their vision of the film. Not much more is known about the other films except that Johnny Depp signed on to be in the Invisible Man movie.
So, what's the deal, one movie (The Mummy) went bad and everyone freaks out? Well, yes and no. Yes the powers that be are concerned with how the fans received the intro movie to the universe, but that's not what freaked everyone out. Apparently, franchise’s architects, Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan, have stepped away from the Dark Universe to focus on other projects. It was Kurtzman and Morgan's job to map out the studio's vision of the Dark Universe. It looks like Kurtzman is currently working as an executive producer for CBS's Star Trek: Discovery and Morgan has returned to the Fast and Furious franchise to work on a spin-off film that will star Jason Statham and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Well, least some good has come out of this sad news because we need more Fast and Furious films!
So, between money lost on The Mummy, Bride of Frankenstein being taking of the schedule and then Kurtzman and Morgan leaving, many people are left wondering if the Dark Universe project is dead in the water. Sadly, I don't have an answer for you right now because some of the people that are left wondering are also from Universal Studios. They are currently running the numbers to see if the Universe is worth saving or if changes can be made to save it. Like still making the monster films, but scrapping the shared world idea. However, Universal’s president of production Peter Cramer did have this to say about the situation. “We’ve learned many lessons throughout the creative process on Dark Universe so far, and we are viewing these titles as filmmaker-driven vehicles, each with their own distinct vision. We are not rushing to meet a release date and will move forward with these films when we feel they are the best versions of themselves.”
Personally, I love the idea of a shared monster world. I would absolutely love seeing the Wolfman running with The Creature from the Black Lagoon and so on. Who remembers The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)? Yeah, the movie was crappy, but watching the Invisible Man running with Mr. Hyde and the others, was so cool. So, when Universal announced the Dark Universe, I felt like a dream had come true. Unfortunately, after watching the intro film to the universe, I found out it was nothing more than a big budget nightmare. As a horror fan and an old-school monster fan, I'm hoping they can save the Dark Universe, but serious changes need to be made for that to happen.
So, there you have it, the Dark Universe is currently floating in limbo while it's trying to figure out what to do, which means all of the "it's dead in the water" that you're hearing isn't necessarily true... yet!
Since 1922 with the making and release of F. W. Murnau's Dracula inspired horror film Nosferatu the creature known as the vampire has taken over movies, tv, and also pop culture. The vampire is known throughout the world for its many qualities such as immortality, seduction, hunger, and power.
Many people wonder what exactly is it about the vampire lore that makes us gravitate towards them? Some researchers speculated that the answer lies in our interest with the concept of immortality. However, other researchers have theorized that we, humanity, are possibly more interested in the horror side of the vampire myth.
So, when did this idea or the belief in the vampire or vampires begin for the humankind, and when did we as a culture start to entertain ourselves with stories featuring these creatures of the night? This article will exam where our fear, interest and even our need to explore the reaches of the undead from different cultures around the world. It'll also cover where they first believed in the vampire myth to the eventual beginning of when Hollywood brought the vampire to the big screen.
Origins Of The Vampire
It isn’t widely known where exactly the creature known as the vampire originated from. In folklore, the vampire emerged as an answer to major unsolved crimes. Whatever the case, the earliest account of the vampire that I could find was in Malaysia, being the Langsuyar. The Langsuyar was a beautiful young woman giving birth to a stillborn child. On being told that her child was dead the woman clapped her hands, rose out of bed and then flew out of the window into the trees. The Langsuyar would then feast on the blood of children she attacked. A similar tale was also found in Greece and they called them Lamiai. In Poland, if a child was born with a membrane cap on their heads or was born with two teeth that child was likely to become a vampire if the child wasn’t dealt with while growing up. In the Slavic folklore, a vampire can be created through many ways such as violent deaths like suicide. Even the burial of the dead was seen as another way for a potential vampire to rise. A common creation of a vampire was allowing an animal to jump over a body before burial. Or even during a funeral if a black cat were to walk in front of the casket. It was believed that these events would cause the deceased to come back as a vampire, then haunt the family of the deceased.
Characteristics of the Vampire
The first time fangs were ever used to reference vampires was the James Malcolm Rymer’s novel Varney The Vampire in the 1840’s a half-century before Bram Stoker penned Dracula in 1897. In film, however, the first glimpse we get of a vampiric character with fangs was Graf Orlock in F.W. Murnau ‘s Nosferatu in 1922. The role of Orlock was played by German character actor Max Schreck.
Another characteristic you add to Nosferatu is sunlight being used as a weapon against the undead in a film. Although in folklore and in literature the vampire was able to roam about society freely at any time.
Stake In The Heart
Of course, the best-known way to dispatch the undead is a wooden sharpened stake. It was used to penetrate the creature’s chest. Usually, a hammer would be used to plunge the stake deeper into the chest to destroy the heart. It was believed that the only to stop the corpse from rising from its grave was to nail them to the ground where it lays. The practice was very much widespread throughout Europe. The first time on film this ancient method was used was in 1931’s Dracula with Bela Lugosi.
The Vampire has been associated with blood as a creature that feasts on the living. There has always been a connection to blood and life since the ancient times. In fact, some believed by drinking the blood of your enemies you can absorb their strength.
Defense Against A Vampire
Not only is the crucifix a major symbol of Christianity, but in the novel Dracula (1897) an old woman gives Jonathan Harker a rosary in Bistritz, Transylvania to wear around his neck to ward off evil spirits, especially vampires.
In Slavic folklore, garlic was believed to prevent a vampire from attacking or entering your household. Garlic became widely known for this through the character Dr. Abraham Van Helsing in Bram Stoker’s Novel Dracula. In ancient times garlic was believed to have magical powers for protection against supernatural forces such as Demons, Witches, and Sorcerers. It was also used against natural phenomena like plagues and other diseases.
The Vampire Hunter
The archenemy of any or all members of the undead is the Vampire Hunter. The hunter would travel to small villages to hire himself or herself out for their services. Usually, the Vampire Hunter would try to organize as many people in the village to assist in the destruction of the creature. The Vampire Hunter always carried with him or her a toolkit of the trade. Inside this toolkit held a vile of holy water, a crucifix, a sharpened wooden stake and a hammer to drive the stake into the vampire’s chest.
The best example I believe for the Vampire Hunter is John Carpenter’s film Vampires (1998), which follows Jack Crow (James Woods) who is the leader of a band of vampire slayers that are employed by the Catholic Church. At one point, Crow and his team are met face to face with the first of all vampires Valek (Thomas Ian Griffith) who slaughters almost his entire team except for two people Montoya (Daniel Baldwin) and Catrina (Sheryl Lee) who was bitten by Valek. They regroup with a priest who has joined them in their hunt of the first vampire with the plan to use Catrina to find Valek since she is now linked psychically to him. The priest informs the group why Valek is in the area. Valek is looking for a black cross that was used in an exorcism on him and made him into what he is, a vampire.
For those of us that have been keeping up with the Jeepers Creepers controversy, then you know a lot of people have been very upset about this movie being made. There's been petitions and boycotts trying to get people not to support it. Now, for those of you that have no clue what I'm talking about, the controversy actually has to do with the director Victor Salva, not the movie its self. Salva was convicted of sexual molestation of a twelve-year-old actor from his film Clownhouse and for possession of child pornography. Salva served eight-teen months of his three-year sentence. Now, here's where the issue is, people believe if you watch Jeepers Creepers 3 then you're supporting Salva, which is true. The better the film does, the better he looks. However, other people believe that all the hard work the crew did on the film shouldn't be held responsible for Salva's crimes and you should see the movie to help them. Because if the film fails, then the actors etc. take a hit, which is also true.
Fast forward a little bit, the movie was finished and ready for it's September 13th (2017) premiere. Unfortunately, the premiere that was scheduled to take place at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Aneles was canceled, even though it had quickly sold out. Threats of protest during the premiere lead the TCL theatre to cancel the showing so as not to hurt their reputation. Then news hit that Jeepers Creepers 3 would be going to be released in theaters September 26th (2017), but, here's the catch, it would be a one night only showing at selected theaters.
Also worth mentioning, word has it that if the third movie does well then Salva could get the green light to move forward with his fourth installment of the Jeepers Creepers franchise that he has planned, which raises the question... how many Creeper films does he have plans for?
So, here's your chance to decide which side of the fence you stand on. Do you watch the movie or let it pass you by? If you want to watch it then you're in luck because the SyFy channel is showing it October 28th (2017) and here's what we know about it. It's set between the first and second movie and the story is about “A sergeant and his task force embark on a mission to destroy the Creeper on its last day of feeding. The Creeper soon fights back when they get close to discovering its mysterious and dark origins.” Some of the stars you'll see in Jeepers Creepers 3 are Jonathan Breck (Jeepers Creepers), Brandon Smith (Bernie), Meg Foster (They Live), Gina Philips (Love & Debate), Stan Shaw (Snake Eyes), and Ray Wise (Robocop).
Now, I assume the title of the article caught your attention and you're wondering about the "maybe" part. Even though word is floating around that the SyFy channel has a viewing date for Jeepers Creepers 3, I couldn't actually find it on the SyFy channels website. The furthest I could go on their schedule guide was October 21st. Now, maybe they're still working on what time slot it should have or they're trying to keep it on the down-low as much as possible (and failed) in hopes to lessen the Creeper backlash. Or, and this could very well be true also, a friend of someone's mailman, that knows a guy, that overheard a guy talking about the movie by the water cooler is blowing smoke up peoples arses and as movie news tends to do... it spread like wildfire.
So, I guess we'll just have to wait and see if Jeepers Creepers 3 hits the SyFy channel on October 26th or not. If it doesn't then keep your head up because the DVD is set to be released on December 26th, 2017, ...that much I know is true.
When I say (type) the word Witch, what do you think of? For me, it's kind of the typical picture. A woman keeping watch over a black cauldron that's sitting atop of a strong fire with a mysterious fog overflowing it and filling the ground around her ankles. Nearby, a cat watching over her as if to warn her of any coming danger. Growing up, those were the kind of pictures I always saw associated with a witch, be it in books or movies. Back in the day, if you wanted to know if you were looking at a witch you could hit the checklist. Cauldron, check. Pointy hat, check, broom, check. Cat, check. ...Yep, you're looking at a witch! Think about it, The Wizard of Oz (1939) or The Witches (1990) both films showed us the ugly, long-nosed women that liked to use children for evil means. Throughout history, literature and media have told us told what a witch looks like.
Nowadays, the witch has taken on a different look. For example, look at the Halloween customs. We see all sorts of versions of a witch. Be it, the short-skirted "sexy" witch all the way to the old school traditional style with the crooked nose and a giant wart, but we're seeing more and more that a witch... looks normal. So, why the change? Well, part of that is the changing of times. Again, literature and media are hard at work telling us that witches can look like "normal" everyday people. For instance, Practical Magic (1998) and The Craft (1996) were films where we don't see any of the "witch checklist traits". All the women in the movies looked like everyday people. No warts, cauldrons or broom riding, just woman doing their magic thing.
So, if a witch can look like anyone and doesn't need the pointy hat and cauldron anymore... where did all that stuff come from in the first place? Well, it took some digging, but I found my answer!
Now, this might get a bit long in the tooth, but stay with me. Throughout history, society has run with the idea of the male as the hunter/protector and the woman as the gather/caretaker. So, it was up to the woman to clean, cook, etc. What does any of that have to do with my search to find the first witch? Well, come to find out, my journey starts thanks to one word... Alewife. Back in the 15-century, mostly women would brew ale for either their home or to sale it. Because brewing involved a lot of tasks with proper kitchen chores, it was considered a "domestic science" that was reserved for the wife. Think about it all the work women did back then. They would make dough, grow herbs, boil ingredients (in large cauldrons) and grind up grains. Back then, they felt it was economic for the women to handle it. Fast forward a second, now we know women made and sold ale, so where's all the witchy stuff at? No worries, stay with me. As the woman went around selling the ale, they would wear tall black pointy hats (✔) so they could be found in crowds. They made the ale in black cauldrons (✔) and they kept cats (✔) around to keep mice out of the grain. So, where do the brooms fall into all this? A broom (✔) was hung over the door to let people know that this house was a seller of alcohol. Witch checklist... complete! So, how did all of these things, that seem pretty normal and made sense, become a stigma against them?
Enter... the Spanish Inquisition! During the 15th and 16th century, the Inquisition was in full swing. As some of you may know, it was a dark time for many, but especially for women. Keep in mind, they were living in a time period where clean water was in short supply, so alcohol... was a money maker. Certain individuals realized there was money to be made and used the Inquisition to make a power move, which would change who could make and sell alcohol. So, how do you get rid of the competition? Turn those alewives stereotypes (hat, cat, cauldron & broom) into a negative thing. When a church was built in a town the local guilds were given money for the construction. This gave the guild say over the artwork and decorations for the church. Scattered throughout England you could find artwork depicting alewives being carried off to hell by demons with a drink in hand. Artwork also showed them as immoral and worthy of reproach. Between the propaganda and the power shift going on behind the scenes... alewives didn't have a chance. That's not to say all women gave up the ale making, but most did. Especially after the Brewer's Guild made their constitution in 1639 that detailed the exclusion of women based on them being unfit to brew or sell alcohol.
So, what did we learn from all this? Basically, if you stuck with me this far, (thank you if you did), the "witch" that I grew up knowing wasn't so bad after all and if it wasn't for 15th-century marketing propaganda... we might not even have a witch to dress up as nowadays. Also, all those outcries of witch might not have had anything to do with anyone actually dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight. Maybe they were just trying to get someone bumped off while keeping their hands clean. So, next time you grab a beer, don't forget to pour out a little for the homies... and the alewives.
Since a new Hellboy project is in the works I thought it'd be a cool time to review one of the Hellboy animes. This time I'm covering the second animated movie, Hellboy Blood & Iron, which was released in March 2007. It was directed by Victor Cook and Tad Stones. One of the cool things about this anime is they got the cast from the Hellboy live-action movies to do the voice work for their characters, Perlman as Hellboy, Jones as Abe etc.
Now, the anime is based on the Hellboy character that was created by Mike Mignola. In August 1993 Hellboy made his first appearance in the San Diego Comic-Con Comics #2. Over time, Hellboy has been found in comics, animated films, live-action films and in December 2000 he made the jump to video games. His most recent appearance can be found in the PS4 (PlayStation 4) video game Injustice 2 as part of the DLC (downloadable content) Fighter Pack 2.
Here's the story they're spinning for Blood & Iron. Back in 1939, a female vampire, Erzebet Ondrushko, known for bathing in the blood of the innocents stay young was killed by Professor Bruttenholm. Now, someone is trying to resurrect her. After Professor Broom finds this out, he decides that the BPRD (Bureau of Paranormal Research) need to do some investigating into the matter. Low and behold, someone is trying to bring Erzebet back and now it's up to Hellboy, Liz, and Abe to stop it from happening.
The story for Blood & Stone is based in part from the Hellboy: Wake the Devil storyline from the original comics, which I dug. The story has all of the same cast chemistry and attitude in it that I dug from the live-action movies. The storyline is pretty simple, something evil is coming and it's up to Hellboy and the crew to take it down. As everyone knows, you can't have Hellboy just taking down evil. You also have to bring up his right hand of doom.
I thought the playthrough was cool and it held my attention the entire time. As far as entertainment goes, you get a bit of everything in this one from fights, monsters and the loveable, shoot first ask questions later, Hellboy that we've all come to know. The weird thing about this one is the anime has a seventy-five-minute runtime, but it feels shorter when watching it.
Some of the voice cast is Ron Perlman as Hellboy, Selma Blair as Liz Sherman, John Hurt as Professor Trevor "Broom" Bruttenholm, Doug Jones as Abe Sapien, Cree Summer as Hecate and Kath Soucie as Erzebet Ondrushko. After watching Blood & Iron I came to the realization that animated or live, Perlman rocks it as Hellboy.
The animation looked good. I wasn't a fan of the character designs, but on the plus side, they went with Hellboy's small goat leg body style from the comics, which I think fans will dig. Unfortunately, since this one is rated TV-14 it's pretty tame as far as the gore goes.
Overall, as a Hellboy fan I thought this one was cool and if you haven't seen it, then you should change that.