Brooke Hamilton

Driving up a winding dirt road, horses grazing as the summer sun sets, an abundance of friendly smiles are there to greet you upon entering Luck, Texas. Nestled in the hill country just outside of Austin, Texas on Willie Nelsons property, Luck is home to seventy-five rescue horses and the set from Red Headed Stranger, a film near and dear to all who worked on it. However, Willie is no stranger to Texans. His friendly demeanor, long braided pigtails, classic country music, and advocacy for marijuana are all staples that make Willie a beloved figure in the Lone Star State.

True to his southern hospitality, he invited a large group individuals to his property for a Luck Cinema and Rolling Roadshow event complete with a delicious dinner courtesy of Austin-based restaurant Dai Due and a screening of Red Headed Stranger, followed up by a Q&A with the man, the myth, and the legend himself.

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midsommar trailer new

Ari Aster’s directorial film debut, Hereditary, invited audiences into the home of the Graham family as its members spiraled deep into the dark corners of grief, loss, and depravity. His sophomore film, Midsommar, lures similar themes out of the shadows into the bright, sunny landscape of Sweden where a lovelorn couple attend a symbolically sinister festival. In order to capture the proper tone of juxtaposition and deeper themes within the film, folklore, and cultural traditions, Aster paired up with Swedish production designer Henrik Svensson.

A prolific musician and artist, Svensson’s extensive research and meticulous design methods enhance the characters’ pain, beliefs, and motives. An impressive first feature film as production designer, I spoke with Svensson to unveil his inspirations and design choices that made the village of Hårga a place you should think twice before visiting.

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Theres a reason why the term movie magicexists. Movies depict worlds outside out of our mundane reality by stretching deep into the far corners of our minds and extracting experiences we would otherwise never know. Monsters are brought to life in order to haunt our dreams and, if effective, linger decades later with spin-off films evolving into a beloved franchise. A large part of movie magic is conducted by those behind the camera: production designers, composers, costume designers, and of course, special effects artists.

This certainly applies to the new Child’s Play, which offers a modern take on the iconic horror series while also being decidedly old school with its practical killer doll.

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Child's Play remake

Bear McCreary has grown to be one of the most prolific composers in the business. His work on The Walking Dead, Playstation 4’s God of War, and Outlander all cemented his talents for the silver screen, television, and vast world of gaming. This year alone, he scored Happy Death Day 2U, The Professor and the Madman, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, most recently, the remake of Child’s Play. McCreary possesses the innate ability to fluctuate between genres and create potent melodies that allow audiences to fully immerse themselves into worlds of intergalactic warfare, monsters, and period dramas.

I spoke with him this week about Child’s Play and his tactile, whimsical approach to scoring one of the most uniquely creative horror scores ever composed.

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Red Headed Stranger Screening

The Alamo Drafthouse’s Rolling Roadshow and Luck Productions are teaming up for a screening of Willie Nelson’s 1986 western drama Red Headed Stranger. The screening will take place on Saturday, July 6 on the original film set in Luck, Texas aka “Willieville”. The Austin Genre Film Archive remastered the movie digitally for the first time after the original print was lost two decades ago. Following the starlit screening will be an in-person Q&A with the movie’s stars, Willie Nelson himself, and special guests from the film.

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Blood on Black Wax Review

Vinyl is one of those beautiful mediums that should not die out. I think film scores are in general enjoying more of a renaissance as a celebrated art form, and thats beautiful. Vinyl is one of the things that contributes to letting people know that the scores to films are in themselves works of art that are worth being treasured. – Michael Abels, Composer of Us and Get Out

In the foreword of 1984 Publishing and Rue Morgues latest book, Blood on Black Wax: Horror Soundtracks on Vinyl, writer/director/producer Mick Garris writes film music is its pulse, and when the right film and composer meet, magic happens. While film scores and composers do not always get the recognition they truly deserve, there is no denying that horror scores linger in our memories and have tendencies to haunt listeners years later. If youve ever heard John Williams’ “Main Titlefrom Jaws in your head while at the beach or Bernard Herrmanns The Murderfrom Psycho while taking a shower, then you understand.

Rue Morgue Music Editor Aaron Lupton, and Rue Morgue contributor Jeff Szpirglas, collaborate as co-authors on the hardbound, 240-page book to capture the beauty, talent, and terror behind horror scores by filling the pages with album reviews, original and rare artwork on LP sleeves, and exclusive interviews. Blood on Black Wax even accompanies a vinyl release of its own with a first-time pressing of Prom Night in either a disco ball variant or the acid flashback variant.

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Horror Noire Review

The month of February observes Black History Month and Women in Horror Month. So, its fitting that the world premiere of Shudders first original documentary Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror occurred on February 1. Featuring acute commentary from legendary actors, writers, and directors in the genre, Horror Noire provides critical analysis while delving into a century of genre films that utilized, caricatured, exploited, sidelined, and finally embraced Black culture. Executive producers on the documentary include horror-loving academics and professionals including Robin R. Means Coleman, Ph.D, educator Tananarive Due, and Phil Nobile Jr., Editor-in-Chief of the recently resurrected Fangoria.

In a statement, director Xavier Burgin emphasizes: I want black boys, girls, men, and women to know their creativity is valid and justified when they watch. I want them to understand the massive triumphs and struggles that have led to a landscape where we can no longer be silenced. When they look up at the screen, they see themselves. That is the greatest gift Horror Noire can give.

This documentary is definitely a gift and here are five reasons why.   

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The Prodigy Pregnant Woman Screening

“You are all completely insane.”

Last night in Austin, Texas, director Nicholas McCarthy lovingly sent this message to all of the brave women in the audience who attended an Orion Pictures and Fons PR-sponsored screening of his new evil-child horror film, The Prodigy…while pregnant.

McCarthy does have a point – as far as elaborate screening stunts go, this one is pretty wild. McCarthy went on to emphasize that “you should not fear what you are going to see, because most of it will likely not happen to you. MOST of it.” As the lights went down, I saw ladies calmly lay their hands across their round bellies and there was an air of unease and morbid curiosity as we all set out on this journey.

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a quiet place best horror

2018 created a common thread within the horror genre: stories contained a family drama at their core while utilizing disabilities and themes of loss to augment tension and fear. Disabilities displayed on screen ranged from food allergies to vision loss and hearing impairments. Monsters and elements of the supernatural served as secondary plot devices, while primary storylines navigated the psychological depths within the nuclear family as a result of the bodys limitations to enhance the severity of grief and survival, all while providing much needed representation of marginalized communities.

Spoilers for Hereditary, Bird Box and A Quiet Place follow.

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Cam Review

“Please. You need to do something. This is my life. This is my job.” Frantic and desperate, Alice begs policemen to track down whomever has stolen her camgirl account and online persona as “Lola”. After slyly expressing “it’s a shame” Alice does not engage in sexual activity with her clients in real-life, the officers tell her “if you don’t want to see stuff like this, then stay off the internet.”

This is just one relatable example of accusatory sex-shaming women, especially sex workers, face on a daily basis. Director Daniel Goldhaber and writer Isa Mazzei further explore the notion of agency and freedom of sexual expression through their sex-positive horror film, Cam. While many genre films utilize sex workers to drive the plot forward by killing them off in the first act, Cam enables audiences to empathize with Alice as she fights to take back her stigmatized, although chosen and loved, profession.

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