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Activision Blizzard Wants To Track Employee Pregnancies And It’s Scary

Activision Blizzard is using health tracking technology on its employees, according to a new report, and the voluntary service even goes so far as to monitor employee pregnancy. The company has been using health tracking technology since 2014, when it began to encourage employees to use Fitbit activity trackers.

Activision Blizzard is one of the largest publishers and developers in the industry, with the Blizzard component of the organization remaining one of the most well-known and respected studios in gaming. Activision’s practices have come under fire recently after the company announced record profits before firing hundreds of employees in the same breath, and the publisher’s frayed relationship has become increasingly clearer after a messy split from Bungie left Activision without access to the lucrative Destiny IP. Now, there’s a fair amount of criticism that’s rightfully frightened over a perceived invasion of employee privacy, even if the process is strictly voluntary, as Activision has stated.

Related: Activision Blizzard and EA Make List of “Most Overpaid” CEOs

According to a report featured in a Washington Post article on Ovia, a pregnancy tracking app, Activision Blizzard has an extensive list of health tracking tools that it encourages its employees to opt in on. According to the article, Activision Blizzard uses health trackers that inquire over mental health, sleep habits, diet, and autism and cancer care. When it comes to Ovia, Activision Blizzard offers $1 a day in gift cards to employees who decide to use it. The app tracks women attempting to conceive through after birth, and the information it acquires includes sleep schedule, diet, weight, mood, the appearance of their cervical fluid, and even when they’re having sex. According to Activision Blizzard VP of global benefits Milt Ezzard, though, employees have received the technology well:

Each time we introduced something, there was a bit of an outcry: ‘You’re prying into our lives.’ But we slowly increased the sensitivity of stuff, and eventually people understood it’s all voluntary, there’s no gun to your head, and we’re going to reward you if you choose to do it.”

There are, obviously, a number of concerns about this kind of practice. Privacy advocates have pointed out that use of these apps could allow employers to discriminate against employees who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant—according to the report, the publisher averages around 50 employees tracking pregnancies at any one time, and even with anonymous data, it’s possible that the company could narrow down whose report they are looking at. Another concern is the security of apps like Ovia. An ovulation-tracking app called Glow infamously allowed anyone to access a user’s information—including daily alcohol consumption and sexual habits down to position preference—by simply knowing what their email address was.

Companies like Activision Blizzard maintain that these apps allow them to save on health costs, as women who use these tracking tools might be able to avoid expensive infertility treatments and complicated births, the latter of which can incur costs of over $1 million USD. But when execs like Ezzard describe the start of human life as “great for our business experience,” it’s fair to wonder whether these companies really have their employees best interests at heart. Health tracking software reveals so many of the things companies wouldn’t normally have access to that it’s probably closer to selling valuable information for literal dollars a day than it is helping establish a healthier workplace, and as practices like these continue to grow, it’s a terrifying prospect altogether.

More: Over 200 Blizzard Employees To Be Laid Off As Part Of Activision Blizzard Layoffs

Source: Washington Post


2019-04-11 07:04:13

Cody Gravelle

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Teaser Trailer: The Book Reads You

Alvin Schwartz’s creepy children’s horror stories come to life in the trailer for the Guillermo del Toro-produced Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Published from 1981-1991, Schwartz’s three Scary Stories collections were inspired by a variety of older folk stories and urban legends about everything from wicked scarecrows to vengeful ghosts, Death itself, and even the occasional polite, if misunderstood, monster.

CBS Films acquired the Scary Stories movie rights in 2013, and had writers like John August (Frankenweenie) and Saw sequel duo Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton work on the film adaptation, before bringing del Toro aboard. The Shape of Water director is credited for the film’s screen story and served as a producer here, with André Øvredal (The Autopsy of Jane Doe) calling the shots from a script by del Toro’s Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia collaborators, Dan and Kevin Hageman.

Related: Scary Stories Movie: 5 Confirmed Stories (& 5 We Hope to See)

The film’s marketing got underway in February with a poster and Super Bowl TV spots that nodded to some of Schwartz’s more infamous stories, like “The Red Spot”, “Harold”, and “The Big Toe”. CBS Films has now released a Scary Stories teaser trailer online, ahead of its premiere in theaters. The studio also unveiled a pair of posters this week that once again reference “The Red Spot” and the Pale Lady character from Schwartz’s books (who even showed up in the Super Bowl spots). You can check out the latter one-sheet after the trailer, below.

As seen in the teaser, Scary Stories takes place in a small American town called Mill Valley, circa 1968, and follows a group of young teens as they investigate the mystery of Sarah Bellows – a tortured young girl who lived on the edge of town in the now-abandoned Bellows mansion, several years ago. However, upon discovering Sarah’s secret writings (where she wrote about the horrible experiences she had in life), the unsuspecting kids find themselves being menaced by the various monsters and ghouls that Sarah wrote about.

Schwartz’s original short stories were disconnected, but it seems the film adaptation uses a plot device that strings them together and, in turn, allows for all manner of gnarly specters, spirits, and creatures to show up (including ones that aren’t from the original collections, like the Jangly Man in the trailer and Super Bowl promos). Beyond that, Scary Stories looks and feels a bit like a del Toro movie, but his storytelling approach appears to meld well with Øvredal’s horror filmmaking style so far.

And on a related note: between the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark teaser and the Godzilla: King of the Monsters “Beautiful” promo from earlier, it’s been an… interesting day for trailers using “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz.

MORE: The Most Anticipated Horror Movies of 2019

Source: CBS Films/Lionsgate


2019-03-28 01:03:27

Sandy Schaefer

Just How Scary (& Violent) Is Us?

How scary is Us, the new movie from Jordan Peele? The first big horror release of what promises to be a very scary 2019, Peele’s follow-up to Get Out has received some of the most unnerving trailers in years, and while the marketing has hidden a lot, they’re not misselling the movie at all.

Us follows a family on holiday in Santa Cruz who fall foul of home invaders… that look exactly like them. To go any more into this doppelganger chiller would be to spoil the twisty, layered story Peele has constructed, but this is sure to be one of the most debated films since, well, Get Out. With critics raving (the film currently sits at 98% on Rotten Tomatoes) and box office predictions growing, it’s fair to assume a lot of people will go see Us this weekend. But some may be curious just what terrors they’re in for.

Related: Read Screen Rant’s Us Review

So how scary is Us? The MPAA has given the new film an R rating (meaning nobody under 17 can see unsupervised) for “violence/terror and language”, while the BBFC has given it a 15 rating (meaning nobody under 15 will be admitted) for “strong language, violence, threat”. But what does that translate to in terms of scares and how does Us compare to other popular horror movies? Allow us to explain just how scary Us is (with no spoilers).

How Scary Is Us Movie?

Plainly put, Us is a scarier movie than Get Out – whereas Jordan Peele’s first film could get away with being described as a thriller (or a comedy at the Golden Globes), Us is an all-out horror. There are longer stretches of high-tension where the characters are completely out of their depth and running or fighting for their lives. That’s the primary horror for much of Us: fear and threat of attack, like in many slasher films. On a bigger scale, the ideas at play are certainly unnerving too and will chill long after the movie’s over.

As for how Us‘ horror is conveyed, there’s a lot of slow-burn, anxiety-building sequences where Peele uses all the filmmaking tricks at his disposal – uneasy lighting, careful blocking of locations – to freak the audience out. The imagery alone of the often-disfigured, always-glaring doppelgangers is pretty scary, and there’s a lack of restraint in their attacks.

There aren’t any proper jump scares in Us; the movie has plenty of surprise moments but the jolts come from more the fear of what’s coming than the shock itself (so don’t expect any high-pitched stings). In addition, there’s a grounded humor present throughout that keeps things on the entertaining side and a good balance in the power play between victims and hunters that provides occasional respite. Unless the first lick of tension is too much for you, you should be able to go along for the ride of Us.

How Violent Is Us Movie?

With the premise, violence is inevitable in Us. Multiple characters are stabbed and beaten with an assortment of weapons leading to death or long-sustained injury.

That said, while there’s a lot of blood shown, most of the violence itself is suggestive. Kills focus on the splatter rather than the impact, more brutal slayings occur in the background and penetration by knives, scissors and other weapons are only seen briefly. While there’s enough to creep out those with a fear of gore, if you’re not too upset by sharp objects you should be OK with Us.

The Rest Of Us Movie’s R-Rating: Nudity & Swearing

There is strong language used throughout Us, with the severity going as high as “f*ck”. “Sh*t” is also used and the n-word appears in song lyrics.

There is no nudity in Us.

Next: How Us Is A Very Different Film To Get Out


2019-03-21 02:03:14

Alex Leadbeater

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween Interview – R.L. Stine

Halloween is just around the corner, and to celebrate the spookiest holiday of the year there’s a new Goosebumps movie arriving in theaters – Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween. The movie features a new cast of kids – played by Jeremy Ray Taylor (IT), Caleel Harris (Castle Rock), and Madison Iseman (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) – who discover a lost Goosebumps book in a hidden room and unwittingly unleash a new season of terror, as Slappy the Dummy brings Halloween costumes to life and wreaks havoc on the city.

Jack Black reprises his role as Goosebumps author R.L. Stine in Haunted Halloween , so to celebrate the movie’s release, Screen Rant spoke to the real R.L. Stine to find out about the new monsters on parade, and ask whether Black’s curmudgeonly portrayal of the author is accurate.

Related: Watch the Trailer For Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

I have to ask, because the movie’s about a secret Goosebumps book hidden in a box – is there actually a secret Goosebumps book somewhere out there?

R.L. Stine: No. I wish [laughs]. I wish there were some extra ones somewhere that I could pull out. No, no secret book… But it’s kind of creepy, these two boys go into this house and knock over something and find this book and it’s locked, and they unlock it. And that starts all the action. All the horrible action.

Are there any Goosebumps monsters in this movie that we didn’t see in the last one?

Stine: Well, there are gummy bears [laughs]. They didn’t have gummy bears. After the first one I said, “How will we ever do a sequel? You used every single monster in the first movie!” There was nothing left. But yes, there are some. There’s an ogre, for one thing. We didn’t have an ogre in the first one. And my very favorite scene is the one with the gummy bears. Cute little gummy bears and then they turn into monsters.

But they’re so cute, what harm could they possibly do?

Stine: Well, they grow teeth for one thing. And then they all stick together and become a huge blob and attack people. It’s a wonderful scene [laughs]. Very proud of that!

It seems like there aren’t a lot of scary movies aimed at kids, since so many horror movies involve blood and gore. Is there a special trick to terrifying kids?

Stine: No, it’s the same as for grown-ups, I think. I think it’s surprise, it’s travelling into the unknown where you don’t really know what’s next and you can’t see what’s coming up, and it’s a lot of twists and turns. I think it’s the same as doing horror for adults.

There’s a whole new cast of kids in this movie. Can you tell us a bit about them?

Stine: Well, there’s a delightful boy who’s building a replicas of Tesla’s lab, because Tesla’s real lab is actually in their town. And he’s fiddling with the electricity and he keeps blowing out all the electricity in the house, but he’s determined to do it. And his doing this leads to an amazing scene near the end at Tesla’s real lab. It’s a real Frankenstein type lab. I went to Atlanta, where we filmed the film… and they showed me these sets. These guys are geniuses! They built this amazing Frankenstein’s lab… I couldn’t believe what these guys could build. It was incredible.

So Slappy the Dummy is the ringleader in this movie again. What is it about Slappy that people love so much?

Stine: I don’t really get it [laughs]. I don’t know why a dummy coming to life is so scary. But people are really frightened of him, and he’s so popular now that every other Goosebumps book has to be a Slappy book. I think I’ve written about fourteen of them [laughs]. It doesn’t get any easier to think of plots about a dummy coming to life.

Maybe it’s also because he likes to insult people. People like comedy roasts, so maybe that’s why they like Slappy.

Stine: Well that’s why I like to write him – he’s really an insult comedian. That’s why I love writing him, because he’s so rude!

Do you think kids are easier to scare than adults, or harder?

Stine: Probably easier. Probably don’t have to work as hard to scare them. But you know, my audience – seven to twelve year-olds – I get them the last time in their lives they’ll ever be enthusiastic. And then when they turn twelve, they have to be cool… and they’re gone. But before then they love writing to an author, they love reading, they love hearing from you, they love going to things… it’s just the best audience.

Was Jack Black’s portrayal of you in the first movie accurate?

Stine: I love Jack. Not accurate at all! Nothing accurate. But he’s a great guy, I thought he was wonderful. He flew to New York in a blizzard to meet me, to try to figure out how he was going to play the character. And we had lunch and he was like, looking at me, right? [Laughs] And then he said, “Bob… what about the script is true about you?” And I said, “Nothing, not one thing, none of it’s true!” And he said, “I’m going to be a sinister version of you.” And that’s what he decided to do.. And then when it started filming he started talking like Orson Welles, right? He does, in that first film, and I said, “Jack, I’m from Ohio, I don’t sound like that!” But I thought it was really fun. What a weird thing, to be a character in a movie.

Seeing as, unlike Jack’s version of you, you don’t hate kids – is there a favorite interaction with a young fan that you’ve had?

Stine: I’ve had way too many. I’m just so lucky. Because I go out, I really talk to kids, I go to schools, and I really do like kids. And you know, I have a son and I have a grandson, who’s four and hilarious. And he’s taking after my son, he won’t read my books. That’s my son’s claim to fame, he never read one. Isn’t that horrible?

Does he tell you that all the time?

Stine: He bragged about it, how he never read one!

You should write him into a book so that he has to read it.

Stine: I did! I made him the star of a Fear Street book, it was a vampire book, and he was the star and he didn’t read that one either. In the very last paragraph of the book he gets bit in the neck. [Laughs] I got my revenge!

More: Read Screen Rant’s Review of Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween arrives in theaters this weekend.



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2018-10-11 04:10:45 – Hannah Shaw-Williams

20 Things Wrong With American Horror Story We All Choose To Ignore

The horror anthology hit TV show American Horror Story just might be the magnum opus of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuck. Scarier and more riveting than any of the duo’s other projects, the spine-tingling series features a new theme and characters every season that are all still linked to each other’s universe. From the casting announcements to the series hints, theme reveals, and each season’s unique introductory visuals, it’s riveting entertainment all around. Even so, some seasons fall further off the mark than others, with many episodes barely even registering on the “horror” radar while others left us scratching our heads wondering what the heck just happened.

The thing is, we tend to give glaring errors, plot flops, and other things wrong with the show a pass because we love it so much. From intriguing horror to irresistible characters, from unexpected plot twists to some of the best storytelling on TV, American Horror Story keeps us coming back, not because it’s flawless but because it’s still addictive despite, and sometimes because of, its many flaws.

We might love a character and conveniently forget that he or she is a monster. We’ll keep tuning in even after an entire sequence left us feeling disgusted, embarrassed for the actress who had to play out the scene, or even angry at the creators themselves. It’s just that addictive.

We love it and we’ll keep coming back for me, even with these 20 Things Wrong With American Horror Story We All Choose To Ignore.

20 Some Seasons Aren’t Scary

With a name like American Horror Story, you might expect every episode to be a scream-fest. That’s just not the case, especially in seasons four and five. While there’s no shortage of horror-inducing characters in these seasons, they didn’t really give us nightmares like previous and subsequent seasons were able to do.

Were we jaded from all the mutants, ghosts, zombies, and other creatures in previous seasons?

Both Freak Show and Hotel fell short on promises of terror, often vying for more intense drama (a calling card of Falchuck and Murphy) instead. While we still received interesting stories, Gaga’s vampire and Twisty the Clown just weren’t all that scary.

19 There’s No Reason Given For All The Hotel Vampire Kids

In season five, Hotel, Lady Gaga’s character, The Countess Elizabeth, is a little less fabulous than we expected her to be. Perhaps she couldn’t live up to the Gaga we all know and love already. One of the things that just made zero sense about the character was her propensity to collect children and turn them into little vampires. Does Elizabeth have an old woman in the shoe complex? Is she just that bored? What is the point?

Here’s the thing about kids in horror movies: they add instant scare-factor. Take a look at most scary film kids, from Village of the Damned to The Others and you’ll see the scariest moments. The fact that the vampire kid collection wasn’t even scary was a pretty big letdown.

18 Teeth Fall From The Sky For No Reason

Season six of AHS, Roanoke, was able to recover some of the lost ground from the previous two less-scary seasons but still suffered from the lack of the one and only Jessica Lang. The season saw a return to the haunted house theme, always popular in AHS history, and wove in some new elements, like the whole “based on a true story” theme.  Between Deliverance-like hillbillies and more incredible Kathy Bates, Roanake was much better-received than Hotel, but it had some weird unexplained moments, like teeth randomly falling from the sky.

Not only do the teeth inexplicably fall while Matt is at work, but they also disappear.

The reason why is never given, prompting us to chalk this one up to “random scare tactic.”

17 Queenie Tried To Hook Up With A Minotaur

While we definitely applaud Murphy and Falchuck’s use of mythology throughout American Horror Story, it often makes no sense. Gabourey Sidibe was fantastic as Queenie, the young and lonely witch who gave as well as she got, used LaLaurie as her own personal racist slave, and really deserved main credits billing. But there was that one time she tried to hook up with a grotesque Minotaur…

While the inclusion of adult content is pretty standard in AHS, getting involved with a man who has bull’s head sewed over his own is pretty far out there. It didn’t make any sense, nor did Queenie’s own survival following the incident (or anything else including the Minotaur, really), so we just move along and say that there’s nothing to see here.

16 Zoe’s Hell Is Just Life Without Kyle

Zoe Benson, portrayed by Taissa Farmiga, starts out as a compelling character in the third season of American Horror Story, Coven. She has unique powers that pay homage to classic horror and a long journey ahead.

Tossing in a love interest is a great way to derail a personal growth story.

That’s what happened to Zoe with Kyle, her resurrected boyfriend played by Evan Peters. While we’re glad that Murphy and Falchuck used Kyle to illustrate that mothers can be abusive to their sons just as much as fathers can, “life without Kyle” as Zoe’s own personal hell is really stupid and overly angst-ridden.

15 Aliens In Asylum Makes No Sense

When it comes to American Horror Story, many fans reacted to the inclusion of aliens in season two, Asylum, in the same way that fans of Indiana Jones reacted to the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. For many horror fans, aliens don’t enter the territory without very specific rules, and you certainly don’t add aliens into an already-existing story for a scare factor.

The aliens of AHS also just weren’t scary. Sure, they made Pepper more interesting and gave convenient explanations for a few weird happenings, but at the end of the day mixing aliens in with mutants, a mean nun, demons, and war criminals just doesn’t work. It’s a hodgepodge of plot devices tossed together like a salad with too many kinds of dressing. Sometimes simpler is just better.

14 The Musical Sequences

We get that Sister Jude is losing her mind in this tenth episode of season two, Asylum, but must we lose ours as well? The episode itself was gripping, but watching Jessica Lange sashay through “The Name Game” wasn’t nearly as eerie as it should have been. It played off as more of an homage to the creators’ Glee in a way that didn’t work.

While some critics enjoyed the mind-boggling number, many of us like to pretend it never happened.

It’s not the last time the showrunners implemented a bit of music and dance, either. Season four, Freak Show, featured several ditties, including a rendition of “Come As You Are” by Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson’s “Dream a Little Dream of Me”, and Lange singing David Bowie’s “Life on Mars”.

13 What Happens To Dr. Arden’s Experiments?

The mutants created in Dr. Arden’s horrific experiments are the stuff of nightmares, and they definitely present an interesting side story among the rest of the godawful happenings at Briarwood Manor in season two of American Horror Story, Asylum. Their issue, of course, is that they disappear off the radar without much of a peep.

Once turned into a mutant and taken to a hospital, Shelley, played by Chloë Sevigny as a homage to the many women unjustly committed to asylums throughout history, seems as if she may be able to lead the authorities toward Arden, but alas, Joseph Fiennes’ conflicted yet greedy Monsignor Timothy Howard takes her out instead. We don’t hear much about them afterward. What happened to the mutants?

12 The Messed-Up Historical Figures

Anne Frank was lobotomized by the evil Dr. Arden from Briarcliff Manor in season two, Asylum. Not only does this make zero sense, but it also really does a disservice to Anne Frank’s memory. There is a lot of artistic license taken with historical figures throughout American Horror Story, from Delphine Lalaurie to James March. Even characters used as backgrounds for new characters, like Nellie Bly’s inspiration for Lana Winters, often seems a bit much, especially when the representation is so loose.

The misrepresentation or grand re-representation of historical figures is nothing new.

Our own history books present complete falsehoods about everyone from Christopher Columbus to Paul Revere. Perhaps it’s just so glaring because we acknowledge that now, particularly during an age of “fake news” awareness.

11 The Opening Sequence And Spoilers Promise More Than We Get

One of the most exciting elements of a new season of American Horror Story is always the opening sequence and the slowly-revealed spoilers. Cast announcements and cool visuals trickle in until we finally get to see that first episode with its incredible casting graphics. The creepy opening sequence does much more than announce the cast: it revs us up like the announcer for a really scary joust about to take place.

The only problem is that it often goes downhill from there. While season 1 typically delivered, the casting graphics in seasons like Freak Show were actually scarier than the episodes themselves. That’s a real problem if we are supposed to be watching a horror program.

10 We Have No Idea What Happened To The Pig Boys

They were a successful execution of “the scary children” in a way that the little vampire entourage of the previous season just couldn’t seem to manage, so maybe that’s why Murphy and Falchuck decided to never let the “pig boys” of season six be seen again.

Aside from the fact that the boys could have made for some truly scary storytelling, the problem here isn’t just that they had no deeper involvement in the story than “check out these creepy kids” but that they don’t even have a resolution. Why the kids say, “Croatoan!” and why they drink pig milk remains unknown, and we may never know what happened to the charming little tykes.

9 No Consequences for the bad things the “good guys” do

As fans of American Horror Story, we sure do forgive a lot of murderers, don’t we? When someone bad finally goes good, all of their wicked deeds don’t seem to be as problematic. Even sweet Nan takes out Joan. Misty Day, otherwise a kind hippie, offs a couple of guys with alligators.

Were these warranted attacks? Maybe, but that doesn’t erase the fact that many characters end the lives of others and we pretty much turn a blind eye toward it like we wouldn’t if they occurred in real life. Of course, from people returning from the grave to mutant attacks near an asylum, there’s really not a lot in the show that applies to real life.

8 There’s Really No War Between The Coven And The Voodoo Witches

During season three, Coven, there’s a big build up about an oncoming war between the coven and the voodoo witches of the area. Both are led by powerful women, and who wasn’t excited to see Fiona, played by Jessica Lange, and Marie Laveau, played by Angela Bassett, go up against one another?

While there was plenty of tension and a zombie attack, it pretty much stopped there, especially after the witch hunters came to town.

AHS often builds up to something we’re expecting and completely abandon it for another plot instead. While we get that they want to keep us on our toes, broken promises do leave us unsatisfied and underwhelmed.

7 Zoe And Madison Gave Their Souls To Azaezel And It Never Came Up Again

When the bus full of frat boys who assaulted Madison wrecks, taking out all of the monsters on board on Madison’s whim, it’s satisfying. Even seeing Kyle taken out doesn’t bother some of us, given that we’ve already seen Evan Peters return from the grave before and wouldn’t be surprised if he returned. He may have stopped his “brothers” but he certainly tried to help them not get caught, making him complicit in the attack.

When Zoe and Madison decide to put “boy parts” together to resurrect Kyle as the perfect Frankenstein boyfriend, they sell their souls to Azaezel in order to do so, and yet it never comes up again. Given that both girls bite the dust during the show, shouldn’t that at least be an issue?

6 Roanoke’s Reality Show Inception

It was one of the most pointless plot points to ever be inserted into a season of American Horror Story. During season six, Roanoke, we’re treated to a reality show type of setting where re-enactors help us understand what happened to the Millers in “My Roanoke Nightmare”, an obvious play on so many other popular reality-based ghost hunting and experience shows. That’s an intriguing concept that works well for much of the season, but then we’re hit with reality-ception.

Getting all of the actors and people involved in actual events together for the blood moon event is one thing, but what about the disclaimer that nobody even survived the ordeal? If that’s true (which makes sense, since this is Roanoke), how did we get the footage in the first place?

5 There’s No Point To Scathach

Scathach, the mythical warrior from the Isle of Skye in Irish folklore, is an incredible character. It’s too bad we didn’t really get to know her in season six, Roanoke.

Lady Gaga’s Scathnach has a plethora of powers, is said to be the first Supreme and yet has no real point in the series.

The witch does a few nefarious things here and there, from purchasing souls to rendering people evil and insane, but in the grand scheme of things she has no real point except to serve as one of those random elements of horror woven in to just be spooky. Given the history of the traditional character, it would be amazing to see Murphy and Falchuck to use this as a tie-in for a more myth-heavy season.

4 People Are Constantly Offed Only To Be Brought Back

Character losses in the American Horror Story realm are pretty much like those in any comic book series: you don’t ever count them as permanent. Even when an entire series ends and you believe a character to be truly gone, they may return in another season! It’s definitely not a new tactic to have characters return from the grave; it’s a strategy used in everything from Dallas to Supernatural.

It makes us feel a little more jaded and a little less invested when tragedy does strike.

Oh, Fiona is sick? Oh, Ethel’s not going to make it? It’s too often meaningless. We want to feel affected, and we can’t help but worry a bit because we do love these characters, but deep down we’re always still wondering when they’ll return.

3 Twisty’s “Resolution” Is Basically A Deus Ex Machina

Season four’s big villain, Twisty the Clown, turned out to be much more Bozo than Pennywise. Sure, he was scary-looking, and he had the tragic backstory to boot, but Twisty’s crimes felt more garden variety scary movie than the monstrous panache we’d expect from AHS.

Twisty, played by John Carroll Lynch, even had a disappointing resolution as a character. Not only was he never really sorted out by a main character or a victim bent on revenge, but he was literally yanked out of the show to join Edward Mordrake’s nightmarish troupe, collecting the clown’s soul after hearing his tale of woe.

2 Misty Day Was Unjustly Lost

One of the characters fans most resonated with in season three, Coven, was Misty Day, played by the talented Lily Rabe. Misty’s character screamed Supreme, from her unique abilities to her lack of really caring about the position.

Misty was all about fairness, being kind to animals, and protecting the vulnerable, making her a fantastic character to root for.

Unfortunately she was also a red herring. Falchuck and Murphy offed her in such a terrible way in a Hell made up of her own personal vivisection nightmare, which made zero sense given her ability to bring things back to life so easily. Misty didn’t deserve her ending, but neither did Nan and many other characters.

1 Tate Is A School Shooter

Tate Langdon is one of the most romanticized characters in the history of AHS. The season 1 character is a doting friend, devoted boyfriend who would do anything for Violet, and speaks volumes of teen angst to many a smitten heart. It doesn’t hurt that Evan Peters, who plays Tate, is easy on the eyes as well. Is that why it’s so hard to remember that Langdon is such a deplorable character?

Tate is a school shooter. He took the lives of several classmates and should represent what we most despise and do not condone in this nation right now. He also assaulted Violet’s mother, Vivian, causing her to become pregnant with his Antichrist baby. How can anyone still crush on this guy knowing what harm he’s done?

What other problems with American Horror Story do fans overlook? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-10 08:10:37 – Sara Schmidt

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween Review – A Pretty Slappy Sequel

Goosebumps 2 lacks the charm and inventiveness of its predecessor, but still has a reasonable amount of spoopy entertainment value to offer.

R.L. Stine’s beloved 1990s children’s horror book series makes its way back to the big screen in Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, a sequel to the live-action film adaptation of Stine’s novels that came out in 2015. While Jack Black starred as a fictional version of Stine in that movie, Sony didn’t even confirm the actor’s return for the followup until a few weeks before its release. Similarly, neither the director, writer, nor supporting cast of the (generally well-received) first Goosebumps film worked on the second installment. While Haunted Halloween certainly suffers for it, the sequel isn’t an entirely hollow continuation of the franchise either. Goosebumps 2 lacks the charm and inventiveness of its predecessor, but still has a reasonable amount of spoopy entertainment value to offer.

Goosebumps 2 picks up in the small town of Wardenclyffe, New York, as its residents prepare for the fast-approaching Halloween Night festivities. Meanwhile, in the Quinn household, high school senior Sarah (Madison Iseman) is trying to finish her college application and her younger brother Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor) is struggling with his science class project – a miniature replica of an experimental wireless transmission station in Wardenclyffe that was built and designed by Nikola Tesla, but never finished (aka. the Tesla Tower). The Quinns are joined by Sonny’s best friend Sam Carter (Caleel Harris), who is staying over at their house while his parents are away for the Halloween holiday.

After some prodding from Sam, Sonny agrees to take a break from his project and clear out an abandoned local house, as part of the duo’s ongoing efforts to launch a (successful) junk cleanup business. While there, however, the pair stumble upon an incomplete manuscript for a Goosebumps novel, unaware that the building was once owned by R.L. Stine himself. Not knowing any better, Sam and Sonny unlock the book and inadvertently unleash the Goosebumps villain Slappy the Dummy back into the real world. While the living ventriloquist dummy seems (sorta) friendly at first, it’s not long before he reveals his true evil plan, with only Sam, Sonny and Sarah to stand in his way.

If the original Goosebumps movie was a throwback to the popular family-friendly spooky adventures of the 1990s (think Hocus Pocus), then Haunted Halloween is closer to being the 2018 equivalent of a direct-to cable scary movie for kids from the ’90s – that is, noticeably cheaper and more generic, yet otherwise harmless and playful in its own right. The Goosebumps 2 script by Rob Lieber (Peter Rabbit) likewise carries over the first movie’s imaginative premise and conceit (e.g. Stine’s Goosebumps novel manuscripts are really enchanted objects which contain and prevent his “demons” from entering the real world) and includes references to its story, yet never really tries to build on its concepts, much less its themes and lore. Instead, Haunted Halloween offers helpful, if unchallenging, life lessons for kids and a serviceable narrative that doesn’t exactly push the envelope for the larger Goosebumps brand.

At the same time, Goosebumps 2 is perhaps more successful than its predecessor when it comes to being genuinely menacing and scary for the juice box crowd, yet still light-hearted enough to avoid traumatizing them (hence, “spoopy”). Much of the credit for that goes to director Ari Sandel (The DUFF), who does a commendable job of combining suspenseful and creepy storytelling with comedic moments here, much like Stine did so well in his original Goosebumps novels. Haunted Halloween, as indicated earlier, feels like a lower-budgeted affair than the first Goosebumps, yet Sandel and his creative team – including, DP Barry Peterson (Game Night) and production designer Rusty Smith (Get Out) – still manage to deliver a movie that’s a proper cut above a comparable TV film, in terms of overall craftsmanship. That also goes for the CGI and creature effects in the sequel’s first half (more on the second half later).

The actual setting of Haunted Halloween is mostly populated by stock types, be they the film’s young heroes or the local bullies that Sonny and Sam have to deal with (not to mention, Sarah’s dishonest would-be boyfriend). While their characters are fairly two-dimensional in the Goosebumps sequel, Harris, Iseman and Ray nevertheless have the same affable screen presence that’s allowed them to stand out in films and TV shows past and, thus, make their protagonists all the easier to root for. That also goes for the adult supporting players here, as Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs) and Ken Jeong (Community) mostly channel their famous small screen personas as Sarah and Sonny’s adorkable mother Kathy and their eccentric neighbor Mr. Chu, respectively. As for Black as R.L. Stine: his own role in Goosebumps 2 is pretty superfluous, which is disappointing considering the energy that he brought to the proceedings as the first Goosebumps‘ co-protagonist (not to mention, his vocal performance as Slappy, which Black didn’t reprise in the sequel).

All in all, Haunted Halloween is a passable if derivative sequel – but not because the Goosebumps books themselves are incapable of sustaining multiple films. Rather, the problem is that the sequel recycles too much from the first movie and struggles to make creative use of the fresh elements (like the real-world Tesla Tower) that it brings into the mix here. It’s too bad, seeing as Goosebumps 2 had a wealth of different monsters and horror genres in Stine’s source novels to draw from, yet elected to continue simplifying the author’s mythology by making Slappy the big bad (again) and skimping on giving the other creatures much in the way of personality. As a result, the second half of the movie plays out as a watered down version of what happened in the original Goosebumps, albeit with lower production values and emotional impact.

Still, Goosebumps 2 should go over best with its young target demographic and provide them with enough silly scares and fun adventure to keep them engaged for its brisk runtime. Moreover, much like your average comic book movie these days, Haunted Halloween delivers its fair share of Goosebumps easter eggs and nods to the real Stine’s source material (right down to a Stan Lee-esque cameo from Stine himself), to further serve the property’s youngest fans. As for those who prefer their family-friendly fantasies with Jack Black starring front and center – The House with a Clock in Its Walls is still playing in theaters and ought to fulfill your own needs for some spoopy entertainment this Halloween season.

TRAILER

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween begins playing in U.S. theaters on Thursday evening, October 11. It is 90 minutes long and is rated PG for scary creature action and images, some thematic elements, rude humor and language.

Let us know what you thought of the film in the comments section!



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2018-10-10 01:10:58 – Sandy Schaefer

Doctor Who: Biggest Questions After Jodie Whittaker’s First Episode

Warning! SPOILERS for the Doctor Who season 11 premiere ahead!

The new season of Doctor Who finally arrived and now the world has had their first taste of Jodie Whittaker’s 13th Doctor. The episode, “The Woman Who Fell to Earth,” is exciting, scary, action-packed, and surprisingly emotional – all the elements that make up a great Doctor Who episode. It’s a brand new era for the 50+ year-old sci-fi series, and it’s only just getting started.

Along with a new Doctor, there’s a whole new cast of characters joining Whitaker on the adventure. This cast is also the most diverse cast Doctor Who has ever had, which feels like the right choice for this new era of Who, and that diversity exists both on screen and off, with season 11 including the first writers of color in the show’s history. For a television series that can go anywhere and do just about anything, it’s about time Doctor Who began branching out and including new voices.

Related: Doctor Who Season 11 Premiere Early Reviews Praise Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor

Now that the world has seen the 13th Doctor’s first episode and gotten a taste of the show’s new direction, we have a few questions that we’re very interested to see answered in the upcoming season.

  • This Page: Why Did the TARDIS Abandon The Doctor?
  • Page 2: How Powerful Is The New Sonic Screwdriver?

Why Did The TARDIS Abandon The Doctor?

When the Doctor began regenerating from 12 into 13, the TARDIS also began to change. The console room exploded and the Doctor went tumbling out the doors. As she fell to Earth, the Doctor could only watch as the TARDIS dematerialized – abandoning her. And while the TARDIS is known to be a temperamental old thing, it doesn’t usually strand the Doctor without good reason. So where has it gone? And why?

The next episode of Doctor Who will probably reveal where the TARDIS ended up, but it could be a little while before we get a full explanation for why it disappeared in the first place. One reason might be that the TARDIS simply doesn’t care for this new version of the Doctor. As far as we know, this is the first time the Doctor has regenerated into a woman. Maybe the TARDIS just doesn’t recognize her? Or is more fond of men? Those would be rather silly explanations for why the TARDIS acted the way it did, but they aren’t entirely out of the realm of possibility.

It’s more likely, however, that the TARDIS is malfunctioning. This could be happening either as a result of the regeneration (the TARDIS also went haywire when 10 regenerated into 11) or because it’s been tampered with somehow. Whatever the reason, it’ll be up to The Doctor to reunite with her TARDIS, and in doing so, the show may just reveal more about the special bond between The Doctor and her best traveling companion.

Page 2: How Powerful Is The New Sonic Screwdriver?

How Powerful Is The New Sonic Screwdriver?

The 13th Doctor isn’t only without her TARDIS in the Doctor Who season 11 premiere – she’s also without her trusty sonic screwdriver. But the Doctor is very clever, and a bit of tinkerer. With a few parts from an alien transportation pod and some Sheffield steel, she constructs her own sonic screwdriver. Well, it’s more than a screwdriver, as fans already know, but with her building her sonic screwdriver instead of receiving one from the TARDIS we have to wonder… how is it different from previous screwdivers?

In the episode, the screwdriver already appears to have a few short circuits, sparking when the Doctor first reveals it. But then, as the episode continues, it more or less performs it’s job as it should. So will the fact that this screwdriver is handcrafted from arguably lesser quality materials than a typical sonic device (sorry Sheffield steel, you just aren’t that high tech) affect how powerful it is? And more importantly, will this screwdriver work on wood?

Related: Doctor Who Season 11 Premiere Video: Jodie Whittaker Arrives On Earth

Who Will Rescue The Doctor?

At the end of the episode, as the Doctor is attempting to transport herself to the planet where her TARDIS wound up, she manages to send not just herself but Ryan, Yaz, and Graham as well. And she doesn’t actually transport them to a planet, but rather into outer space, where they’re left floating in the vacuum.

Of course, the previews for next week’s episode already reveal they’ll be rescued, but by who? The obvious guess is that it’s the other people seen on the planet in that preview. Their outfits  appear to be space suits or a uniform, suggesting they’re a crew of some sort. They may also be military, which isn’t going to sit well with the Doctor at all. Just how they rescue The Doctor and her new companions from an icy death in space remains to be seen, but perhaps the bigger question we should be asking is – why were they transported to space in the first place?

The Doctor said the signal came from the TARDIS, but there is no TARDIS where they are. And though initially it appeared as if the TARDIS abandoned the Doctor, maybe it was actually stolen? A stolen TARDIS isn’t the same as it being lost, and it would mean someone is trying to keep the Doctor away from it – in which case, season 11 might see the Doctor searching the galaxy for her TARDIS. It’s a little unlikely given that the reveal of a new TARDIS interior is almost as big of a deal as a new Doctor, but it would be an interesting twist on the typical formula. And besides, it isn’t as if the Doctor hasn’t been without their TARDIS before.

Next: Doctor Who Season 11: New Cast & Character Guide

Doctor Who season 11 continues next Sunday with ‘The Ghost Monument’ at 8pm/7c on BBC America.



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2018-10-07 04:10:37 – Sarah Moran

20 Crazy Details Behind The Making Of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

It’s been almost forty years since E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was first released, but this 1982 Steven Spielberg-directed gem is still going strong to this day with audiences of all ages. This wonderful film about a boy and his friend alien melted the hearts of all those who first watched it back in the early 1980s, and it still remains a most treasured family film. Its legacy is seen in every aspect of our pop culture, and it is regularly cited as people’s favorite film of all time. Only a director as visionary as Spielberg could take such a simple concept and transform it into a lasting cinematic treasure.

E.T. also helped transform the lives of those who participated in its making, sending a young Drew Barrymore into stratospheric fame and solidifying Henry Thomas as one of the most famous child actors of all time. There’s no doubt that E.T. will continue to leave its mark on future generations, and we can only hope that its perfection is respected without Hollywood grasping for a remake or an ill-advised, modern-day sequel.

If you’re a fan of this classic film or if you’re a Steven Spielberg aficionado wanting to know his tricks of the trade, you’ll be fascinated by the secrets that went on behind the scenes during the movie’s making. From the movie’s conception based on Spielberg’s life to the inspiration behind E.T.’s famous face, we have all the facts you’ll want to know about this iconic film.

With that in mind, here are 20 Crazy Details Behind the Making of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.

20 Henry Thomas Brought Up His Tragic Past For His Audition

Landing the role of Elliott in E.T. unquestionably changed child actor Henry Thomas’ life. Having only previously done a couple of small movie parts in 1981, Thomas all of a sudden became the most famous kid in the world thanks to his on-screen adventures with his alien co-star.  

According to the Mirror, Thomas was only nine years old when he landed this role of a lifetime. In order to secure himself the part, during the audition the young actor drew upon the traumatic experience of seeing his pet dog attacked by his neighbor’s dog, which brought on real tears. Spielberg and the casting directors were immediately impressed. Being able to call upon real emotion showed the director that he could definitely act, and solidified Thomas as a genuine child talent.

19 Drew Barrymore’s Vivid Imagination Got Her Her Role

Drew Barrymore has been on the Hollywood scene for a long time, but her first big start on screen was in E.T. playing the part of Gertie. According to an interview on Ellen, Barrymore revealed that she wasn’t originally even going to audition for E.T. During her interview, Barrymore explained how she was actually trying to get a part in Poltergeist, but the director wasn’t there that day. Instead, Poltergeist’s producer, Steven Spielberg was there in his place.

She told Ellen: “I was six, and I lied my face off. I told him I was in a rock ‘n’ roll band, that I was a drummer, that I was a cook.”

After her audition, Spielberg said she wasn’t quite right for Poltergeist, but that he’d love to have her come in and audition for another project he was working on. Sure enough, he called her up soon after and gave her the part of Gertie in E.T.

18 It had a very boring title at first

When a movie becomes a huge hit, especially one that continues to garner success decades and generations after its first release, it’s hard to imagine it separately from its title. Indeed, the title of a movie becomes its first point of cultural consciousness, and there are those that last the test of time, and those that don’t.

Mention E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial to anyone and they’ll know exactly what you’re talking about. It’s not only a memorable film title, it’s also become so deeply ingrained in our collective pop culture that we all know what it is even if we haven’t seen it. Well, E.T. might have faded away in the land of forgotten films, had they gone with the original title, A Boy’s Life, as noted by The New Yorker. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with A Boy’s Life, it’s not half as memorable as E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.

17 Harrison Ford Shot a Cameo

While Spielberg was working on getting things ready to begin filming E.T., he was still in the process of filming Raiders of the Lost Ark, which, of course, starred Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. Ford dating Melissa Mathison, who was the scriptwriter for E.T., at the time.

Because of his friendship with Spielberg and his relationship with Mathison, Ford agreed to make a cameo appearance in the film.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Ford’s bit part was supposed to be a kind of a joke as he was going to play against his usual type, here as an uptight school principal who would scold Elliott after the frog-releasing scene. In the final edit, the decision was made to cut the Ford scene as it didn’t fit in with the rest of the movie and it was thought Ford’s presence would be too distracting from the story line.

16 M&M’s Were Supposed To Be E.T.’s favorite candy

Reese’s Pieces surged in popularity after the release of E.T.. The candy was featured in the scene where Elliott tries lays a trail of candy to lure E.T. back to his house. Many people back then, and now for that matter, might have thought it strange that Elliott used Reese’s Pieces.

Well, according to Business Insider, the reason for the choice of sweet was down to the fact that M&Ms had refused the production permission to use its brand in the film. Culinary Lore also states that Mars Inc., which owned M&Ms, refused the filmmakers the right to use the candy because it didn’t want to be associated with aliens. This was clearly a bad call, as after the release of E.T., sales of Reese’s rose exponentially, topping the numbers sold of M&Ms for the first time ever.

15 E.T.’s Face Was Modeled On Some Famous People

E.T. is one of the most recognizable movie characters in history and one of the cutest, albeit weirdest, examples of an on-screen alien. No character had, or has since, looked like like this singular creature, and its aesthetic is all thanks to Spielberg and his incredible designer Carlo Rambaldi.

Rambaldi created the aliens for Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and his talents were once again put to use in E.T.

In a special featurette called The Making of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Spielberg reveals: “I remember saying to Carlo, here’s some pictures of Albert Einstein, Ernest Hemingway and Carl Sandburg. I love their eyes, can we make E.T.’s eyes as frivolous and also wizened and as sad as those three icons.” Based on these famous celebrities, we have the E.T. we all know and recognize.

14 E.T. Was Played by Three Different Actors

With today’s technology, it would be a fairly easy task creating a CGI alien to act as the main part in a blockbuster film. However, when E.T. was being made in 1982, things were not so simple According to The Vintage News, creating a believable, friendly alien back then took three mechanical puppets as well as three actors, one of whom was a young 12-year-old boy who had been born without legs.

There wasn’t always someone wearing the suit in every scene, as often E.T. was being controlled by a team of mechanical operators. However, when the alien was required to walk or move about, a small person was often behind the movements. Watching E.T. today, the alien might seem like quite a basic piece of engineering, but back then, Spielberg and his team were making technological strides.

13 Drew Barrymore Thought E.T. Was Real

Drew Barrymore was only six years old when she played the part of Gertie in E.T., and even though she was already developing into a bright, young, talented actress, she was still very much at an age where imagination and make-believe can cloud reality. Barrymore’s acting is fantastic in the film, especially for someone so young, but her great reactions to things on screen could be down to the fact that she believed E.T. was a real alien.

 The cast and crew encouraged her to believe E.T. was really alive, and she seems to have taken the bait completely.

In a behind-the-scenes featurette for the movie, Elliott actor Henry Thomas reveals: “Drew, she’s imaginative. She introduced E.T. to her mom and said ‘He’s just a little shy now. He doesn’t want to talk to you right now but he’s just a little shy.’”

12 E.T.’s Voice Comes From Raccoons, Otters, Horses, and Burps

E.T. is one of the most imitated movie characters, with people of all ages having tried at one time or another to impersonate the alien’s singular speech patterns. If you listen closely, you’ll hear that there are a lot of different elements and sounds to the alien’s voice. This wasn’t achieved by employing one spectacularly gifted voice recording artist. Instead, as we learn from the BBC, it was a talented sound designer, Ben Burtt, who collected noises from an entire array of sources and put them together to create E.T.’s voice.

As Burtt tells the BBC: “I created the voice for E.T. out of many different things, about 18 different people and animals and sound effects. There are raccoons in there, there are sea otters, there are some horses, there’s a burp from my old cinema professor from USC.” They also used the voice of a chain-smoking housewife.

11 Spielberg Dressed As A Woman On Set

Being around such a young cast, Spielberg had to ensure that there was enough fun and playfulness on set. In The Making of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial from 1996, we learn that the director definitely didn’t take himself too seriously while on set. Apparently, around Halloween, Spielberg came to set dressed up as a lady school teacher.

As Henry Thomas remembers: “Halloween was great. He directed the whole day like that, as an old lady.”

Spielberg adds: “I didn’t have children back then in the early 1980s, and you know suddenly I was becoming a father every single day, I felt like a father and it felt good.” Spielberg certainly knew how to keep spirits high on his set, and his kind, playful personality has left wonderful lasting memories on his cast and crew.

10 A Mime Was Hired To Move E.T.’s Arms

In The Making of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, we learn that it took a lot of work to create the alien we all know and love. Aside from having a whole team of mechanics working to ensure the creature looked real, Spielberg also hired a mime to help out E.T.’s gestures.

The director reveals: “When I saw the mechanical arms, they were really great but they were very jerky when they worked. The fingers would move, but almost too thoughtfully. And I felt E.T.’s got to have almost balletic arms, almost like the hands of a mime. So I just put it out there, can we hire a mime and we’ll put the E.T. hand makeup on a mime’s hand so the artist can really be artistic about picking things up and touching themselves and reaching out. So this is where this wonderful mime artist came to work with us.”

9 The Original Ending Was Very Different

When a movie is as beloved as E.T. is, it’s hard to imagine it being any different. Grown men and women still weep when thinking about the emotionally-charged final scene, but we could have ended up an alternative ending had Spielberg gone with his original idea.

According to actor Michael MacNaughton’s interview in Express, “The last scene was going to be all of us playing Dungeons & Dragons again, except this time, Elliott’s the dungeon master. Because he was the one that found ET, he sort of got in with the group. […] And then they would pan up to the roof and you’d see the communicator and it’s still working — in other words, Elliott is still in touch with E.T. But after they did the score and they saw what they had with the spaceship taking off and everything… How can you follow that? I mean, it was a wise choice.”

8 There Was A Dark Sequel Planned

Because E.T. did so unexpectedly well at the box-office, it’s a wonder why there was never a sequel released. Had the movie been made today, it’s almost certain that Hollywood would have tried to make it a franchise. Well, according to Syfy, there was actually a story treatment for an E.T. sequel, but it was so terrible that it never got made.

Apparently, its dark tone was done on purpose.

Spielberg was reportedly completely against the idea of a sequel to his 1982 film, saying: “Sequels can be very dangerous because they compromise your truth as an artist. I think a sequel to E.T. would do nothing but rob the original of its [purity].” Who knows, maybe someday someone will dust off the draft and attempt to make it, but Spielberg will certainly be the first to veto the project.

7 They shot the movie in chronological order for the kids

It’s a well known fact that most large-scale film projects aren’t filmed in chronological order. Due to shooting schedules, location requirements, and budget factors, it’s usually not possible to film in script-order. Well, E.T. is one of the very few exceptions to this usual Hollywood practice, as Steven Spielberg insisted that the scenes be shot chronologically.

According to TIME, Spielberg made this unorthodox decision in order to help his younger cast. The director explained: “I insisted on shooting the film in complete continuity so the kids knew, emotionally, where they had been the day before, and they pretty much didn’t have any idea of where they were going the next day. So, like real life, every day was a surprise – Drew, Henry Thomas and Robert really believed that this was happening to their lives.”

6 Robert MacNaughton’s Dungeons & Dragons love got him his part

Robert MacNaughton played Elliott’s older brother Michael in the movie, and he revealed to Express that a childhood pastime of his helped land him the role. Apparently, E.T.’s screenwriter Melissa Mathison was a huge fan of Dungeons & Dragons and she was always playing it with her then husband Harrison Ford at their house.

This explains the game at the start of the film, where we see Elliott trying to join in playing D&D with Michael and his friends.

MacNaughton revealed that he too was an avid Dungeons & Dragons player, and when asked by Spielberg what his hobbies were, he told the director about his love of the game. Spielberg seemed pleased that MacNaughton’s hobbies fit with his character Michael’s pastimes, and the role became his shortly after.

5 The Film Was Shot From A Child’s Point-of-View

One of the things that you may not have noticed while watching E.T. is the fact that is is filmed from a child’s point of view. According to Filmsite, the movie was deliberately shot from a lower-angle in order to encourage younger audience members to identify more easily with the child characters on screen. It also helps adults put themselves back into the shoes of a child, encouraging them to remember how scary and threatening the taller, bigger world of adults can really be for a kid.

In fact, the only adult we ever see in full is the mother, Mary, who was played by Dee Wallace.

Otherwise, most of the other grown-ups in the movie are seen from the waist down, the way a child would see the world in front of them.

4 Real Doctors And Nurses Were Hired As Actors

E.T. is a very emotional movie. From the burgeoning friendship between Elliott and E.T. to the ending when we face the teary goodbyes between these unlikely friends, the movie is rife with sentiment. One of the most poignant, dramatic scenes is when E.T. and Elliott are lying side-by-side in the makeshift medical facility at their house, both fading away while doctors and nurses try to revive them.

According to People, the medical staff we see looking after these two friends were actually real-life medics. Spielberg contacted the UCLA Center for the Health Services in order to get information on cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and he was referred to a specialist. Wanting the scene to look as real as possible, Spielberg got real-life medical staff to play out the scene in order to simulate the chaos that really happens in emergencies.

3 E.T. was inspired by real children

E.T. is one of the most lovable incarnations of an alien to grace our screens.

Part of this androgynous creature’s charm is the fact that there’s so much goofiness and childlike innocence to it.

Well, this sweet naivete, as well as E.T.’s powers, were actually inspired by the screenwriter’s interactions with children. As Melissa Mathison tells us in The Making of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: “Many of the scenes from the movie come from my own experience being with children. For instance, what children would like [E.T.’s] powers to be. A lot of the children would mention the obvious of telepathy or telekinetic powers but I was struck by the fact that several of them mentioned that they would like this magic creature to be able to heal. And I thought it was such an incredibly poignant idea to come from a child.”

2 Spielberg Didn’t think E.T. Would Make A Lot of Money

According to Business Insider, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is the fourth highest-grossing movie of all time– not too shabby for a low-budget film about a boy and his alien pal. While the movie became a immense success and has been hailed as the most successful film to come out of the 1980s, Steven Spielberg didn’t think it was going to be a hit with audiences.

Speaking in The Making of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, the director said: “I think E.T.’s not going to make a lot of money, I think I’m making a movie that is only going to appeal to kids. I said I’m probably making a big mistake, I’m going to make an old-fashioned Walt Disney movie about an alien and a kid and that’s all it’s going to be.”

1 The Movie Was Inspired by Spielberg’s Lonely Childhood

It’s always interesting to find out how some of our favorite movies came about, but no one would ever expect that Spielberg’s tale of a boy and an alien would stem from his own childhood experiences. In an interview with director James Cameron for People, Spielberg admitted that E.T. was “never meant to be a movie about an extra-terrestrial,” but instead about something very personal.

“It was supposed to be a movie about my mom and dad getting a divorce,” he explains.

“So I started a story, not a script per say, but I started writing a story about what it was like when your parents divide the family up and they move to different states.” Eventually, the idea for a boy and an alien friend developed from this, and the rest is E.T. history.

Do you have any other trivia to share about E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-06 04:10:51 – Steph Brandhuber

Is Venom Too Scary For Kids?

Venom may be rated PG-13, but given that it’s a movie about an alien parasite that forcibly takes over someone’s body and then starts threatening to bite heads and limbs off, parents may be wondering if the movie is too scary for younger children.

Though Sony claims that Venom was always intended to have a PG-13 rating, director Ruben Fleischer was uncertain in August whether or not the movie would ultimately earn an R-rating, and stated that he was agreeable to putting together an unrated director’s cut. Add to this Fleischer’s earlier comments on taking inspiration from the works of body-horror masters John Carpenter and David Cronenberg, and Venom certainly sounds like the kind of movie that could give you nightmares – even without the 40 minutes of deleted scenes.

Related: Venom Review: Tom Hardy’s Superhero Movie is a Weirdly Fun Monster

Ultimately, the MPAA rated Venom PG-13 for “intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for language.” The BBFC rated Venom 15 for “strong threat, horror, violence.” Here is a run down of what all that means.

How Violent Is Venom?

Venom‘s violent content makes up the majority of the reason for its rating. The movie contains a lot of intense action sequences, including falls from great heights and a chase through the streets of San Francisco with explosions. There are numerous fights, with guns and tasers being employed. However, many of the on-screen deaths (particularly those caused by the main villain Riot and the two instances of Venom biting someone’s head off) happen very quickly and bloodlessly, and in the case of the bitten-off heads it’s unclear what even happened until characters talk about it afterwards. Overall, the violence is fairly standard for a superhero movie.

The Body Horror Elements

The body horror elements of Venom are far more likely to unsettle younger audiences than its action sequences. Though often played for laughs as Eddie Brock argues with the voice in his head, the idea of having your body taken over against your wishes may be uncomfortable for some viewers. There are various sequences of the slimy symbiotes latching on to their victims and crawling across their struggling bodies, forcing their way in. There’s a further element of revulsion given some of the things Brock does while under the symbiote’s influence, which include biting into a live lobster, eating a chicken out of the garbage, and later throwing up into a clearly unclean toilet. If you have emetophobia, you may want to step out of the theater for a few minutes when Eddie starts raiding his freezer.

Language And Sexual Content

Venom contains several uses of the phrase “Oh s**t” as Eddie Brock is unwillingly dragged from one dangerous situation to the next by the symbiote. There is also one use of the F-word in the lead-up to the final battle. The movie is completely free of nudity and there is no real suggestion of sexual activity apart from one scene where Eddie and his fiancee, Anne Weying, are depicted in bed together, fully-clothed, and a passionate kiss between Eddie and Venom/Anne later in the movie, in which the symbiote transfers from her to him.

More: Venom: The 10 Biggest Spoilers



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2018-10-05 03:10:15 – Matt Morrison

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Movie Casts Breaking Bad’s Dean Norris

Producer Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming adaptation of the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books adds Breaking Bad star Dean Norris to its cast. For many a young horror fan, the Scary Stories series was a prime introduction to the macabre and terrifying, years before most kids would be allowed to watch R-rated films. Written by Alvin Schwartz, the Scary Stories books basically served as collections of popular urban legends and campfire tales, spiced up by the often ghastly drawings of illustrator Stephen Gammell.

Famous for his love of the horror, fantasy, and sci-fi genres, del Toro has expressed his appreciation for the Scary Stories books before, and has been trying to adapt them into a film for several years now. Originally, the plan was for del Toro to direct the adaptation, but as with many of the projects he’s been attached to helm over the course of his career, that didn’t end up working out. However, del Toro remains onboard as a producer, guiding the project toward its anticipated arrival in theaters.

Related: Guillermo del Toro Horror Anthology Series Ordered By Netflix

The Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark movie really kicked into high gear in late-2017, when director Andre Ovredal (The Autopsy of Jane Doe) signed on. By this spring, production was moving forward, with filming planned to begin in the summer. Filming did indeed commence in late-August, and around that time, the cast started to fill out. Now, CBS Films has announced that actor Dean Norris is set to join the Scary Stories cast in an as yet undisclosed role. Norris is best known for playing DEA agent Hank Schrader on Breaking Bad, and also starred as the villainous “Big” Jim Rennie on CBS’ adaptation of Stephen King’s Under the Dome.

In addition to Norris, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark has also cast in-demand character actors Gil Bellows and Lorraine Toussant. Details on their roles are also yet to be revealed. Bellows and Toussaint both boast extremely long resumes, with Bellows appearing in films like The Shawshank Redemption and TV shows like Ally McBeal, and Toussaint counting films like Selma and shows like Orange is the New Black among her credits.

The film’s story officially concerns a group of teens working to solve the mystery behind a string of mysterious deaths in the small town they call home. Leading this group is relative newcomer Zoe Colletti, in easily her highest-profile role to date as Stella Michaels. Adding to the official logline above, other unconfirmed reports have suggested that a malevolent ghost is involved, one that Stella and her friends run afoul of as a result of a Halloween prank. Said ghost also reportedly uses familiar Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark tales to frighten and attack her targets. How exactly that will work remains to be seen, but del Toro likely won’t settle for anything that doesn’t properly honor the source material that he loves.

More: Keri Russell In Talks For Guillermo del Toro’s Supernatural Film Antlers

Source: CBS Films



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2018-09-12 11:09:29 – Michael Kennedy