You may have noticed that Under The Skin, our (usually) weekly roundup of all the net’s new horror trailers, has been missing for the past few weeks. In part this was due to chronic understaffing in the wake of illness and/or holidays, and in part to the fact that there haven’t been enough trailers to justify it. But fret not – we’re back and we’re bursting at the seams! In the run-up to Christmas, when all is festive good cheer and jolly fat men, you can trust LaptopZombie to be the shadow in the brightness... We kick off with [REC] 4, the third sequel in the ever-more unsatisfying franchise. Will this final entry redeem the series? Find out 2 January. ‘Several hours have passed since the terrible events that ravaged the old building in Barcelona. After the chaos of the first few moments, the army decided to intervene and an elite group of soldiers infiltrated the building in order to plant detonators and put an end to this nightmare once and for all. The mission is a success; quick and precise. Angela Vidal, the young television reporter who entered the building with the fireman just hours before, manages to make it out alive. But what they don’t know is that she hasn’t made it out of the building alone; within her she carries the seed of the strange infection. She is to be taken to a provisional quarantine facility, a high-security installation where she will have to stay in isolation for several days. A perfect location for the virus to be reborn in all its splendor. It will take on new and even more deadly forms, setting the scene for horrors we could only have imagined, before finally revealing its true nature. The apocalypse has just begun…’
Fancy a slice of survival horror? It’s writer/director Christopher Denham’s PRESERVATION, available On Demand 9 January. ‘Preservation follows brothers Sean (Pablo Schreiber), a recently returned veteran, and Mike (Aaron Staton), a hedge fund manager, who head out of town to hunt in a closed nature preserve with Mike’s wife, Wit (Wrenn Schmidt) – a brainy anesthesiologist – in tow. With Sean unhinged from his stint in the military and Mike distracted by career ambition, this was not the romantic getaway Wit was hoping for. But soon the trio are threatened by an unseen menace, and the hunters become the hunted. A camping trip in the woods turns into a contest for survival. When the brothers are stalked and ensnared, Wit must unleash her own animal instincts or else end up a trophy.’
We’ve already featured Steve Wolsh’s MUCK, but here’s a new trailer for Kane Hodder fans. It’s released on DVD 13 March. ‘After narrowly escaping an ancient burial ground, long forgotten and buried underneath the marshes of Cape Cod, a group of friends emerge from the thick, marshy darkness, tattered and bloody, lucky to be alive. They have already lost two of their friends in the marsh, presumably dead. They stumble upon an empty Cape Cod vacation house alongside the foggy marsh and break in to take shelter. Whatever was in the marsh is still after them and soon after one of them goes for help, the rest of the group learns that the evil in the marsh is not the only thing that wants them dead. Something worse, something more savage, was lying in wait just outside the marsh, in the house. What happens next is unspeakable horror that cannot be unseen. These unlucky travelers spend their St. Patrick’s Day trapped between two evils forcing them to fight, die, or go back the way they came.’
If you’re as offended as I am by puns, look away now. It’s Verne Troyer’s GNOME ALONE. ‘When timid college student Zoe witnesses a hit-and-run, the dying victim gives her a strange amulet. Suddenly, all those who have offended Zoe in her life begin dying horrible deaths at the hands of a malicious gnome (Troyer). When Zoe discovers the horrible history behind the amulet, will she be able to harness its magical power before the gnome begins killing those closest to her?’
Following the trend of recent dark sci-fi/horror hybrids, here’s Jabbar Raisani’s ALIEN OUTPOST. Look for it in cinemas and On Demand 30 January. ‘ A documentary crew tracks a group of elite soldiers after an alien invasion who reach the world’s most dangerous outpost only to discover that the first wave was just the beginning.’
Again, it’s not straight-up horror, but Kely McClung’s ALTERED looks more than a little intriguing. ‘A beautiful, naive young woman fights to control a dark, constantly changing reality while trying to maintain her own grip on sanity when she is thrust into the hunt for a brutal serial killer.’
It wouldn’t be Under The Skin without the zombie apocalypse. Luckily, co-directors Chris Niespodzianski and Raymond Mongelli III are on hand with THE OTHER SIDE. ‘It’s just another routine day in Elkwood, PA… or is it? People are missing, and lives will be changed forever once the haunting truth is revealed. Follow Chris Sullivan (Conley) as he searches for his missing wife while unknowingly finding himself in the middle of the dawning zombie apocalypse.’
From zombies to another horror staple – ghosts. Check On Demand 9 January for Paul Solet’s DARK SUMMER. ‘Summer is a time to relax, unwind, take a vacation, and be free. But 17-year-old Daniel Austin gets none of that because his obsessive online stalking of his classmate and crush, Mona Wilson, got him put on house arrest for the whole summer. So, no cell phone, no Internet, no leaving the property, and especially no Mona. Then Daniel’s single mother has to go on a long business trip, and Daniel has the place to himself.
Daniel figures out a way to piggyback onto his neighbors’ wireless signal and, believing he’s surfing off the grid, uses his time to check in on his friends – and Mona… But what Daniel didn’t expect is for Mona to check up on him. And what she does next shakes him to his very core.
And then things start to happen. Daniel receives mysterious packages in the mail, hears phantom noises, sees inanimate objects move, and feels a strange presence in the house…’
Where would the horror genre be without scary kids? Take it away Lluis Quilez, with OUT OF THE DARK. ‘Sarah Harriman’s (Julia Stiles) family has relocated from London to a small town in Colombia to take over her father’s business. Moving into a beautiful old home and having her father nearby, their new life in Santa Clara seems like a promising place to raise their young daughter, Hannah. But Sarah and her husband, Paul (Scott Speedman), soon learn of an ancient legend that haunts the town and has created a culture where ghosts have become the answer to anything that goes wrong.
As they settle into their new surroundings, Hannah begins to act strangely, wandering off into the jungle as if following something, and suddenly falls ill. When Sarah and Paul start seeing disfigured ghost-like creatures around the house, Hannah disappears, sending them on a frantic search to find her. As they delve deeper into the town’s superstitions, they discover a shocking secret about their family and must uncover the truth in order to save their daughter.’
Hm, this sounds interesting. I’ll let the press release do the heavy lifting: ‘Wild Eye Releasing has announced the December 16th DVD release of Hi-8: Horror Independent 8. The eight-part anthology brings together some of the most recognizable names in home video horror of the past 30 years, capturing the creative essence of low budget, shot-on-video filmmaking. The DVD release of Hi-8 will be available nationwide (SRP $14.95).
Called “The Expendables of shot on video horror” by Horror Hound Magazine, the directors for Hi-8 are Tim Ritter (Killing Spree), Brad Sykes (Camp Blood), Marcus Koch (100 Tears), Ron Bonk (The Vicious Sweet), Donald Farmer (Demon Queen), Todd Sheets (Zombie Bloodbath), Chris Seaver (Mulva), and Tony Masiello (SOV: The True Independents), who have returned to 80s and 90s style, gore-laced storytelling.
All eight segments feature only practical effects, and all directors were forbidden to use any post-Internet technology, including HD cameras, green screen, CGI, or found footage. Like the V/H/Sseries, Hi-8 brings together independent genre filmmakers to spin tales of terror on tape.’
Speaking of scary kids, check out Rustam Branaman’s THE CULLING, released on DVD 23 March.