Wednesday, October 17, 2012

JOSHUA HOFFINE JOINS FORCES WITH VISCERA FILM FESTIVAL

Joshua Hoffine is the man behind the lens of some of the most horrific photographs in recent history.  Taking inspirations from his grotesquely gorgeous photography from childhood nightmares, skinned corpses, H.P. Lovecraft, Jack the Ripper, and supernatural urban legends, Hoffine has recently teamed up with the Viscera Film Festival to create an aura all its own. 


FROM THE PRESS RELEASE: Viscera’s Founder and Chief Officer of Operations, Shannon Lark, explains: “We went with Hoffine's work to represent the Viscera Film Festival this year because his photography captures an eerie beauty, conjuring a nostalgic feeling of horror that hits the human psyche with memories of childhood fears and reminds us of how deeply moving and vital the genre is for humans to express and share.
The Viscera Organization's festivals exploit the terrifying, the thrilling, and the fantastic with a vivid landscape of genre films by women. Hoffine's depiction of the body, the soul, and the monstrosity of the imagination completely resonates with the mind blowing work by female filmmakers who participate in the Viscera Film Festival.”
And what about that ghoulish woman lying among roses? “Persephone was a nature goddess who became Queen of the Underworld after being abducted by Hades. The myth of her abduction represents her role as the personification of vegetation – which shoots forth in spring and withdraws into the earth in autumn.  When she is in the Underworld we experience winter.  And when she visits the world she brings with her spring, flowers, and the resurrection of life. As both a Goddess of Spring, and the Queen of the Underworld – she exemplifies the tension between life and death,” Hoffine states. “As for Viscera, I proudly support emerging women filmmakers in the horror genre.”
About the Viscera Film Festival and Viscera Organization:

The Viscera Film Festival was created in 2007 by Shannon Lark to encourage and promote the work of women horror filmmakers. The fest has grown each year, morphing into a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with an ever-expanding, dynamic staff of men and women who eat, sleep, and breathe genre cinema. Beginning as a touring festival, Viscera has become a highly anticipated genre event in Los Angeles, complete with red carpet (what we affectionately refer to as the “Bloody Carpet”), celebrity guests, and a raucous after-party. 2012 marked the third annual Bloody Carpet event in Los Angeles at the Egyptian Theatre. Viscera’s tentacles have encircled the globe and films programmed at the festival have screened all over the world. 
The call for submissions for Viscera’s 2013 festival is open through February 28, 2013 (culminating in Women in Horror Month), accepting digital submissions only. Unlike most festivals, Viscera does not charge submission fees. Filmmakers interested in submitting should head to the Submissions tab of the main website, www.viscerafilmfestival.com.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

STRANGE KIDS CLUB RELEASES ART PRINTS FOR FAMOUS HORROR SEQUELS (that should have happened)

Artwork by Nathan Thomas Milliner. 18″x24″ digital print. Hand numbered. Edition of 100.
As much as we'd all like to think that each and every horror film is made with the hopes of moving forward a storyline, or giving new life to the world of the film.  Unfortunately, most of the time, it's all about making money.  There's a reason we keep seeing Wrong Turn 525600 being made while incredible films more deserving of advancements in plot are left to sit and collect dust.  Luckily, Rondal Scott and the folks over at Strange Kids Club have found a fantastic way to give our little fanhearts something we've always dreamed of, but also given a way for you to hold on to a piece of would-be horror history.

Strange Kids Club is very excited to announce their latest project, kicking off this October with the release of its collector’s art print series based on horror sequels that don’t, but certainly should, exist. The series will include three prints, each brought to life by a different artist. The first poster in the series, “The Burning 2” by artist Nathan Thomas Milliner was unveiled this morning and will be made available for purchase on Strange Kids Club today, Thursday, October 4th at 9:30am.


Click the poster above or right HERE to get your hands on your copy, today!


PLEASE NOTE: These posters will be on pre-order, so please allow approximately 5 to 6 weeks for poster to ship. Actual shipping transit time (once your order has been shipped) will vary based on your location.

Monday, October 1, 2012

WILL HD BE THE DEATH OF PRACTICAL FX?

Before I continue any further with this article, let it be known that I am in no way an AV expert, nor have I ever claimed to be one.  I DO NOT KNOW THE PROPER TERMINOLOGY FOR ANY OF THIS HD/LCD/FPS/OPP NONSENSE.  I do, however, know when something looks like garbage. This article is a reflection of an opinion gathered by my own personal experiences. 
 
In the wake of the uproar tied to The Hobbit's release trailer in 48fps (frames per second), fans and critics have been in a constant debate on whether or not this sort of filmmaking is necessary.  Some are claiming that this is the way of the future, that we need to bite our tongues and accept the fact that sooner or later, all films are going to be in this clearer than the naked-eye format, while others are finding it difficult to watch with a jarring clarity.  48fps is dramatically quicker than what our eyes are used to and while the picture quality in still frames look monumentally better, the clarity does not come without a price. Even if the film is shot in the more standard "cinematical" format, film companies are upgrading to a higher picture quality.  While the picture quality is undoubtedly gorgeous, it enhances flaws just as dramatically as it does perfections.  Wrinkles that we wouldn't see in person are now glaring at us in the face, and hairs beneath pores are now seen on an insanely large scale. Without going into the details about these enhancements making everything look like a Daytime Soap Opera, I'm concentrating on the one thing that will affect the world of horror movies more than any other film genre.  Practical FX. 

Ever since films fell in love with the quick and cheap process of using CGI effects, the incredible art form of practical effects in films have taken a back seat.  Blood and guts have gone digital, and movie monsters look faker than your sister's prom date.  People have become so absorbed with their new fangled hi-def flat screens, that we're globbering up enhanced films quicker than they're coming out.  That's not to say that I'm not for the progression of film quality, because I'm completely for it.  However, comma, enhancements aren't always for the best.  Have you ever looked at your skin under one of those 15x mirrors?  Suddenly you're spending hours prodding pores, plucking hairs, and applying more makeup. HD and higher FPS formatting do somewhat of a similar thing when it comes to film.  It takes something that already looks pretty good, and enhances absolutely EVERYTHING.  I mean EVERYTHING.  It's nearly impossible to hide imperfections in these formats because we ourselves cannot see these imperfections with our naked eye.  It's only after things are enhanced that we think "Christ, do I really look like that?"  For practical effects, this is a death sentence.

As someone who only recently stepped into the HD scene, I've never really noticed the issue.  This past May was the first time I've ever owned a flat screen TV, and it was also the first time I've ever had a blu-ray player.  Call me behind the times all you want, I prefer "broke-ass college student," if I may.  Moving on, the past week I have been finally able to experience Netflix Instant Watch (again, broke college kid) on a 52 inch LCD flatscreen with amazeballs picture quality.  Forgive my ignorance, but as I am not an AV girl, I'm just going to refer to the hyper-realistic clarity as "super HD".  I first watched Pontypool in "super HD" and it was a walk in the park.  The only real special effects were vomiting blood and I didn't have any gripes with it.  Looking at a man's five o' clock shadow in HD however, a little strange to get used to.  Simply out of pure boredom, I watched the final installment of the SAW franchise.  I was curious to see how such an effects driven film was going to do in such a HD setting, and my worst fears were realized.  I commend the people behind SAW 3D for the amount of practical effects used in the film.  Seriously, there were a butt load of practical kills and I was pleasantly surprised to notice.  I never noticed them when I saw the film in theaters, probably because the theater didn't look like this.  It's a theater. It looked cinematical and in a completely different format.  When I watched the film again in "super HD", everything looked so...fake.  Everything looked completely unrealistic and the already over the top kills weren't scary, they were distracting.  The worst was by far the "skin grafted onto the car leather" scene, but every single practical kill looked horribly amateur.

At first I thought it was a fault of the FX artist, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized...it's not.  It is absolutely, 100% not the FX artist's problem that their work looks fake in HD.  Now, before anyone starts to badger me about this, let me explain.  You see, these clarity enhancements make pictures crisper than what our eye can see naturally.   The visual enhancements are done in post-production, after the FX have already been completed and shot.  How can we hold an artist accountable for something completely out of their control?  It would be insane to blame an FX artist for bad coloring when it's physically impossible for them to see their work any clearer than what their eye can give them.  If the FX look fake, filmmakers are going to opt for CGI.  Not only is CGI much cheaper, but if practical FX look as tacky as CGI, filmmakers are just going to go for the cheaper route.  This is a tragedy.  An honest to goodness tragedy.  The only real practical FX that seems to break the mold is The Thing, but that film defies all logic and reason on its own.  Again, let me restate that I'm not against the progression of visual quality, but maybe, just maybe we don't need to get this clear with EVERY film.  In the same sense that we're never going to have a need for What To Expect When You're Expecting 3-D, I don't think we need horror requiring practical FX in 48fps or in ridiculously high picture quality.  It could always just be my special eyes, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject. I've already heard people telling me that this issue can be fixed by changing a setting on the television, but even after making this change, the HD still made some practical FX look like muff cabbage.  Tell me what you think and comment below!
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