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The Master Of Horror, John Carpenter, Turns 70… and No, He’s NOT Dead
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Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  
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John Carpenter

“The report of my death was an exaggeration.” – Mark Twain, 5/31/1897

On Tuesday, January 16th the Master of Horror John Carpenter turned 70. Rotten Tomatoes was quick to wish the acclaimed director, writer, and composer a Happy Birthday, with one minor mistake… they thought he was DEAD! They penned an article at 7:30 AM titled: “John Carpenter would have been 70 years old today!” In classical Twain-like manner, Carpenter responded on Twitter, “To Rotten Tomatoes, despite how it appears, I’m actually not dead.” Carpenter directed his first feature film in 1974 at only 26, the low-budget sci-fi comedy Dark Star. Four year later, he reinvented the genre with the most successful independent film of all time, Halloween. That record stood for 21 years until 1999’s The Blair Witch Project.

More below.

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Dr. Zaius’s Not-So-Obvious Top 10 Horror Movies Of 2017
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Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  
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Top 10 Horror Movies of 2017

I was so excited pooling together my list of the best horror movies of 2017. Pretty quickly the list went upwards of 20 films. 2017 was a remarkable year for horror both critically and at the box office. Andy Muschietti’s IT broke records and finished 6th in yearly box office returns. Jordan Peele captured the zeitgeist of America with his debut film, the instant classic, Get Out. Even M. Night Shyamalan re-emerged as a viable hitmaker with Split, which featured both an acclaimed performance by James McAvoy and a twist ending worthy of watercooler talk. And then there’s Guillermo del Toro, who reimagined 1950s monster movie Creature from the Black Lagoon as a Cold War era romantic drama and created my favorite movie of the year with The Shape of Water. It occurred to me as I was making the list that a Top 10 Horror Movies list would be very similar to my Top 10 Movies of 2017. So rather than listing the obvious choices, I’m going to list some hidden gems and lesser-known horror films that were overshadowed in an awesome year for the genre.

See below for my Not-So-Obvious Top 10 Horror Movies of 2017.

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Comic Review: John Carpenter’s Tales Of Science Fiction: Vortex #3
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Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  
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John Carpenter Tales of Science Fiction: Vortex #3 review

John Carpenter’s Tales of Science Fiction: Vortex #3
Written by Mike Sizemore
Pencils and Inks by Dave Kennedy
Colors by Pete Kennedy
Lettering by Janice Chiang
Edited by Sandy King
Cover Art by Tim Bradstreet
Storm King Comics
Release date: January 3, 2018
Price: $3.99

Vortex is the second story from Storm King Comics’ new monthly anthology series, John Carpenter’s Tales of Science Fiction, developed by the Horror Master himself with his wife and collaborator Sandy King Carpenter. Vortex is an 8-issue story harkening back to genre classics like Aliens, dealing with a mining station in space in which the crew disappears forcing Captain Jake Dixon and crew to lead the rescue mission. As is the tradition now, writer Mike Sizemore gives our introduction highlighted by a classical poet, this time William Blake: “In the universe there are things that are known and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors.”

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Dr. Zaius’s Top 10 Movies Of 2017
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Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  
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Top 10 Movies of 2017

Each year that goes by I feel I see less and less films in the theaters. Between work, overtime, and all the activities of two children there just isn’t as much time and money as there used to be. I normally make a mad dash after Oscar nominations are released to see all the award contenders. Luckily, Netflix and other streaming devices have simplified life and become the source for some huge films. Two of my favorite films of the year were made possible via Netflix and Amazon. My list, like many other critics, contains several “superhero” films, but I think if nothing else, 2017 became the year where great “superhero movies” just started becoming “great movies.” Consider of the 5 major studio superhero-themed films I saw this year (sorry, not sorry Justice League), Wonder Woman ranked fifth.

Below are my Top 10 Favorite Movies of 2017…

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Movie Review: Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape Of Water
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Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  
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The Shape of Water Header

The Shape of Water
Written by Guillermo Del Toro & Vanessa Taylor
Directed by Guillermo Del Toro
Starring Sally Hawkins, Doug Jones, Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Jenkins
Fox Searchlight
Rated R | 123 Minutes
Release Date: December 15, 2017

You know pretty much when walking into a Guillermo del Toro movie that you’re in for a visual masterclass in filmmaking. Even the films of his I didn’t love (Hellboy 1 & 2, Crimson Peak) were beautiful to watch. But the films where he matches the visuals and production design with tour de force acting and writing become classics. Pan’s Labyrinth is one of most incredible films I have ever watched and The Shape of Water echoed it, exchanging the Spanish Civil War for The Cold War, and switching the lead protagonist from a young girl to an adult woman. It is beautiful, not just in imagery, but in characters. Like Pan’s, there’s a psychotic and powerful antagonist and an epic performance by the “Master of Disguise,” Doug Jones, this time as the “Amphibian Man.”

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‘The Barn’: Interview With Writer/Director Justin M. Seaman & Blu-ray Review
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Justin M. Seaman Interview

Back at the New York City Horror Film Festival in the fall of 2016, I saw a super cool poster for an original horror film The Barn. I missed it when it premiered there and it took my nearly a year to finally see a screening at this year’s New Jersey Horror Con and Film Festival. At that con, I met and spoke with writer/editor/director Justin M. Seaman. Based on a story he wrote in his childhood, Seaman put his heart and soul into this film, and it was worth it. You can read my review of the film and the screening Q&A here.

With a week to go before Christmas, horror fans looking for the perfect gift can stop searching. The Barn is now on Blu-ray and would make any horror fan happy, particularly fans who grew immersed in the video store culture of the 1980s. Right before Halloween, I got to speak with the creator of The Barn about his inspirations, the challenges of independent filmmaking, and more. See what he had to say along with some thoughts on the Blu-ray release below.

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Blu-ray Review: Brigsby Bear
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Brigsby Bear Header

Brigsby Bear
Blu-ray
Director: Dave McCary
Screenwriters: Kevin Costello, Kyle Mooney
Cast: Kyle Mooney, Mark Hamill, Claire Danes, Jane Adams, Greg Kinnear, Matt Walsh, Michaela Watkins, Ryan Simpkins, Alexa Demie, Jorge Lendeborg Jr.
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated PG-13 | 97 Minutes
Release Date: November 14th, 2017

Combining elements of Blast From the Past, Room, and Perks of Being a Wallflower, Brigsby Bear is a wholly unique animal, and one to be greatly admired. This is a refreshingly original work of art that feels like a bizarro-world SNL sketch stretched into a 90+ minute film. Considering nearly everyone involved is connected to Saturday Night Live, it all kind of makes sense. Written by Kevin Costello and Kyle Mooney, and directed by their childhood friend Dave McCary, Brigsby Bear is full of wonder and creativity, a movie both heart-wrenching and heartwarming simultaneously. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at parts, and I spent most of the film doing some weird combination of the two.

More below.

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Walker Stalker Con: Vendor Spotlight – Where Zombies Go Shopping
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Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  
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Walker Stalker Sign

Walker Stalker Con shuffled into Edison, this past weekend, with stars from The Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy, and more on hand to thrill the fans with photo ops, autographs, selfies, and some quick conversation. Although the main draw for these events are generally the celebrities, conventions are the perfect place for a diehard geek to find some quirky and artistic products that they probably don’t need, but would die to have.

Check out some of the fabulous merchandise from the incredible vendors below.

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Walker Stalker Con 2017: ‘The Walking Dead’ Producer Greg Nicotero
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Walker Stalker Con Greg Nicotero-03

Greg Nicotero is one of the most respected special effects/make up effects artists in the industry. He is the N in KNB Effects. His IMDb page reads like a who’s who of Hollywood, working alongside some of the best directors and filmmakers of all time in his more than 30-year career. He is currently one of most important people in The Walking Dead universe as chief effects artist and director. Sunday, at Walker Stalker Con in Edison, NJ he took the stage for a panel/Q&A about The Walking Dead and his career in the monster business.

More below.

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Walker Stalker 2017 Comes To New Jersey This Weekend
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Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  
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Walker Stalker 2017 New Jersey

Get your cosplay ready and arm yourself for the zombie apocalypse, because Walker Stalker is invading the New Jersey Convention and Expo Center this weekend. The fan convention, which started back in 2012, serves as a traveling celebration to AMC’s hit series The Walking Dead as well as all things genre. Walker Stalker welcomes over 30 celebrity guests, features panels and Q&As with the stars on their Main Stage, a cosplay contest, and all the merchandise you need for the holiday season. If you’re in the tri-state area and need a Comic Con fix, then head over to Edison, NJ for Walker Stalker.

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