Blade Reboot Director Explains How The Vampire Hunter Is Being Handled For The MCU – CinemaBlend

What I can tease about it is that we care about character, it's very important for me, and character is something that... I don't think of genre, I think of character, and where our character has to go is gonna be really important. What's so great is it's not as boxed in as I think people imagine it to be, which I thought it was, but it's quite exciting. And I think the reality is there no Blade canon. If you ever read the comics, they're always changing. Oh it's this story, it's this story.What's the canon? It's not like Peter Parker. His name is Peter Parker. In some comics, his name is Fred H. Blade, you know, instead of Eric Brooks. So it's an interesting thing of unfortunately, the runs never lasted that long, and there have been some interesting and exciting waves. But I can say it's character first.

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‘The Revenant’, ‘Interview With a Vampire’, ‘The Patriot’, and More Get Many of Their Props From the Same Place – Showbiz Cheat Sheet

What do Little Women and Pirates of the Caribbean have in common? Yes, both are historical movies with a distinctive flair due to their costume and prop design. But more surprising is that they hired the same company to make their props called Townsends.The companys reach doesnt end there, as theyve been a fixture in many historical blockbusters over the decades. Yet, Townsends isnt a Hollywood company. Here is what you need to know about this little-known company.

Townsends is headquartered in the tiny town of Pierceton, IN. In charge of this company is Jon Townsend. If anything, Townsend is a historian first and foremost. He lives and breathes on recreating early American life, with a preference for early colonial cuisine.

To study and replicate these historical entrees, Townsend took the time to build replica kitchens and cooking equipment. Like most diehard history buffs, Townsend participates in many historical reenactments. As such, he had to create many period costumes and accessories to get the full historical immersion experience, as documented by The New Yorker. Over the years, Townsend became quite talented with his ability to make replicas from history. Hollywood took notice and decided to hire him.

Townsend has worked on so many movies that listing every one would make for an exceptionally long article. While he is never the chief costume designer nor production designer, his contributions are remarkable. Here is a quick highlight reel of Townsends biggest movies:

The Revenant that got Leonardo DiCaprio his long-overdue Oscar. While Leos performance is mesmerizing, dont let that distract you from Townsends brilliant props.

The Patriot was the perfect movie for Townsend, given his expertise in early colonial American history. The film received a nomination from the Art Directors Guild for excellence in production design.

Last of the Mohicans was another one Townsend worked on. If youre too young to know about this movie, watch it right now. This 1992 masterpiece follows Hawkeye and his immediate family, presumably the last members of the Mohican tribe. Many consider this to be the breakout movie for Oscar darling Daniel Day-Lewis. The movie was nominated for a BAFTA award in costume design and production design.

Interview with The Vampire fantasy drama follows a group of vampires. As Vampires dont die of natural causes, the audience gets to follow the bloodsucking group throughout the centuries. The movie was an Oscar nominee for best art direction.

Little Women was another claimed to be worked on by Townsends, but its unclear if he worked on the 1994 version or the 2019 version of this film. Either way, both are remarkable.

Pirates of the Caribbean was another well-known production with Townsend props and design. Where would Johnny Depp and this Disney franchise be without its remarkable costumes and props? This historical fantasy film would have been quite dull without his contributions.

National Treasure Franchise has Townsends fingerprint all over the quirky franchise that stars Nicholas Cage.

The Outlander, a Starz original series, follows a 1945 combat nurse who is swept back to 1743. Naturally, the shows producers hired Townsend for his colonial expertise.

While Townsend probably could have stayed satisfied with his income from Hollywood, he instead shared his love of history with YouTube. His eight-year-old channel has an impressive 1.67 million subscribers. This is a testament to his expertise and welcoming demeanor. Some of his most popular videos involve historical recipes.

RELATED: Outlander Madness All Started With a Historical Romance that Was First Published in 1991

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Bonnie Tyler hit "Total Eclipse of the Heart" is about vampires – Boing Boing

I recently came across this 2002 Playbill interview with songwriter Jim Steinman, who passed away earlier this year. The conversation was mostly about his then-upcoming Broadway flop, Dance of the Vampires, which oddly included the Steinway-penned Bonnie Tyler hit, "Total Eclipse of the Heart."

Why include an 80s love ballad in your vampire musical? As Steinway explains, it was partially a pragmatic decision to hit a deadline during a preview run in Vienna and also because the song had actually been about vampires all along anyway:

I had only a month and a half to write this whole show and we needed a big love duet. Half the show I had to talk [director Roman] Polanski into doing, and did it behind his back a lot. He's a great guy but he had a totally different vision. []

With 'Total Eclipse of the Heart,' I was trying to come up with a love song and I remembered I actually wrote that to be a vampire love song. Its original title was 'Vampires in Love' because I was working on a musical of `Nosferatu,' the other great vampire story. If anyone listens to the lyrics, they're really like vampire lines. It's all about the darkness, the power of darkness and love's place in dark. And so I figured 'Who's ever going to know; it's Vienna!' And then it was just hard to take it out.

So there you have it: "Total Eclipse of the Heart" was originally written about Nosferatu, and, like a vampire, returned from the grave to feast again.

Rando, Steinman Talk About Dance of the Vampires at Press Preview, Sept. 18 [Ernio Hernandez / Playbill]

Image: FICG.mx / Flickr (CC-BY-SA 2.0)

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Meet The Ferat Vampire, A Modern Interpretation Of A Classic By Skoda – CarScoops

The latest design in Skodas ongoing rendering series, Icons Get A Makeover, was inspired by a film star. The Ferat Vampire first graced the silver screen 40 years ago and one of Skodas designers has reimagined it for the modern-day.

The 1972 Skoda 110 Super Sport was initially just a one-off concept car, but when director Juraj Herz needed a car for his 1982 film, Ferat Vampire, the car fit the bill. Or, it nearly fit the bill. Czech painter and graphic designer Theodor Pitk gave the 110 Super Sport a red and black paint job, new head and taillights, and the massive spoiler that its hard to imagine the car without.

The movie centers around one Doctor Marek, who is dismayed that his nurse is leaving to become a rally driver with foreign automaker Ferat. It turns out that the car might be running on human blood (yes, really).

Read Also:Skoda Recreates Czechoslovakias Favorite Transporter For The 21st Century

In reality, the car was simply running gas, but not much of it. The engine, a 1.1-liter four-cylinder, made just 72 hp (73 PS/54 kW). Its wild design, though, was inspiring to Skodas Baptiste de Brugiere.

About three years ago I had the opportunity to visit the KODA Museums depository for the first time. It was there that I first saw the FERAT, which I found fascinating. So when I heard about the Icons Get a Makeover project, I immediately volunteered to create a modern interpretation of it, said de Brugiere, in a statement.

As he tells it, he tried to draw the car from memory first, to preserve just the essence of the impact it had on him, then fill out the details. To ensure it played to modern tastes, though, he exaggerated some features, like the wing, and massaged others, like the pointy front end.

The nose of the original is something that wont necessarily look good in todays perception of dynamic design, said de Brugiere. Today, the desired dynamics of a cars looks are modeled a beast ready to jump, hence the muscular lines of today with a more muscular rear end.

Among the more modern details are the X-shaped headlights that the designer says are a reference to the vampiric cars fangs. Once he worked out all the details, though, drawing the final sketch was relatively easy.

I only worked on the computer in the final stages, especially in the coloring phase, adding that maintaining the red and black color scheme was an absolute must. The resulting illustration was pretty quick, but that only came after a lot of painstaking work.

Sadly, these renderings and others like it, are simply a design exercise that Skoda has no intention of bringing into production. So well never get a chance to find out if the modern car really does run on human blood!

more photos...

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Fantasia 2021: Fear Is a Blessing in Spanish Vampire Fantasy ‘All the Moons’ – PopMatters

Director Igor Legarretas Spanish vampire fantasy dramaAll the Moons (Todas las Lunas), opens to the sounds of Spain in the grip of a civil war. The year is 1876, and the Carlist Wars that began in 1833 when King Ferdinand VIIs death ignited a power struggle for succession to the throne, are now drawing to a close.

The creature of the night is symbolic of immortality that dwarfs the life span of humans. Using the carnage of war as a backdrop to the opening of the story, Legarreta positions the vampire as a tragically romantic figure wandering amidst the ruins of human decay. When we contextualize it in this way humanity is the rubble; the vampires are the scurrying rats.

Opening with the bombing of an orphanage that severely injuresa young nameless girl (Haizea Carneros), who is later given the name Amaia, the tragic tone never lifts. A mysterious woman, Madre (Itziar Ituo) emerges out of the night and hears the desperate and fearful plea for help.

Mistaken for an angel, she warns the wounded girl that she must want it from the heart. Accepting Madres offer, a kiss heals her wounds, but shes told from now on she must avoid the sunlight. The woman also explains that just as she has saved her, so shell one day have the choice to do the same for someone.

Things do not go as planned, and their union is cut short when soldiers force them to flee. Separated, Amaia is forced to learn about her new nature and how to fend for herself on her own, but then she finds shelter with Candido (Josean Bengoetxea), a man who lives in the shadow of his own tragedy.

Tomas AlfredsonsLet the Right One In(Lt den rtte komma, 2008) remains the last greatvampirefilm. For the first time since then, a worthy challenger emerges to end the drought. Its prudent to exercise caution because whileAll the Moonslooks likely to become a festival darling, having been awarded best director and cinematography at the 25thedition of the Fantasia Film Festival, it could still fly below the radar.

A muted response would complement its muted narrative nature. It successfully explores the mythology and nature of the vampire, touching upon philosophical ideas that define its individuality within the sub-genre. If it fails to make the same mark that Alfredsons film did in 2008, itll be a grave pity, but it suggests that we should direct our gaze to Europe for the eventual successor.

Legarreta demonstrates command of his craft not only as a technician but as a storyteller. He exercises a precise control of intent thats never compromised by runaway themes and ideas. He and his co-writer Jon Sagal could be accused of missing opportunities to explore the themes more thoroughly, but the pair understand its necessary to make choices.

They constrict the focus of the narrative, implying themes and ideas are present. Otherness and the prejudice of fear are not literally addressed; instead, expect that the audiences awareness and knowledge of genre and stories can turn these spectres of ideas into something tangible.

Remainingminimalist in its narrative structure, its driven forward by the emotions of the characters resonating with the audience. Its a letter from the heart of the storytellers about the tragedy of their characters, who somehow manage to find heartfelt meaning in their sad life experiences.

The simple premise of saving a life is delicately realised, and is not taken literally. Rather, the storytellers are attentive to the idea that the metaphorical death, and what the people we meet bring to our lives, is a transformational experience.Its a core idea that could have been the concept for a short film, butAll the Moons works as a feature-length story.

The moments have time to breathe, and one sequence where Amaia seeks sanctuary in the wilderness is a silent short film within the feature. Divided into chapters, it has a transitory pace, slicing through time to pick out the moments that come to define her life story. All the Moons is not meditative. It takes an observational approach to emphasise the need to simply be with the character, asking us to feel first, think later.

Teasing whether shell give in to her vampiric nature, were asked to consider the vampires true nature. Traditionally its the werewolf that represents duality.All the Moonschallenges this, continuing on fromChristopher Walkenscivilised vampire, who controls his predatory urges inAbel FerrarasThe Addiction(1995).

Legarreta introduces the idea of dominant and submissive personalities, considering how the human side could be submissive to the dominant vampiric nature, or if theres a tussle between the two for dominance. If were vulnerable to unstable emotional responses, and as C.G Jung wrote about contradictory first and second personalities, then the vampire is a more complex being than one transformed, their humanity lost forever.

Amaia cannot detach herself from her humanity, maybe as a result of her separation from Madre, and making a home with Candido. He keeps the flame of her human self burning, and Amaias twist of fate forces us to consider how both the mind and the body must transform.

The vampire is representative of our desire to escape death.All the Moonsbeautifully captures the tragic figure of the vampire as a cursed creature. Amaia is scared of dying, but she comes to understand that you cannot be alive if you are able to see all the moons.

Were anxious about death, as we should be, but without an end, life loses its meaning. Vampire films are a statement that our fear is a blessing, not a curse. These stories penetrate the infantile fantasy of immortality.All the Moonsis a tender story about wanting to be loved and understood, to be allowed to live and to die. Who of us cannot identify with these simplest of desires?

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‘What We Do in the Shadows’ Season 3: What Joining the Vampire Council Means for the Roommates – Showbiz Cheat Sheet

The FX TV show What We Do In the Shadows introduced the Vampire Council in season 1. The council included famous celebrity vampires. Trailers for season 3 of the series show the vampire housemates take over the vampire council, and hilarity ensues.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for seasons 1-2 of What We Do In the Shadows.]

What We Do In the Shadows executive producers Paul Simms and Stefani Robinson spoke about the third season in a Television Critics Association Zoom panel. Heres what to look forward to when What We Do in the Shadows returns Sept. 2 and well have more with the cast and creators all season.

At the end of season 2, Guillermo (Harvey Guillen) slayed the vampire council. That left a big opening which the housemates Nandor (Kayvan Novak), Laszlo (Matt Berry), Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) and Colin (Mark Proksch) can fill.

I think probably early on this season its a way to explain how we can resolve the fallout, I guess, of what Guillermo did in the theater, Robinson said. But also I think its a great engine for the rest of the season. Its just sort of rife with conflict, and I think it expands their role a little bit more. But it just sort of felt like a natural progression from where we left off last season.

What We Do in the Shadows follows the mundane household lives of the four vampires and their familiar, Guillermo. Giving them actual responsibility only makes it funnier.

It also just, I think, seemed funny to us that these this group of vampires who cant even really get along with each other are given a position of power where theyre sort of making judgments on other vampires and struggling with each other, Simms said.

What youll come to find out on What We Do In the Shadows is that the vampire council brings out strong feelings in each character.

Nandor, though hes a relentless warrior, when it comes to ruling hes a little more merciful, Simms said. Nadja is a little more bloodthirsty and wants to rule with an iron fist. Laszlo says he did not become a vampire to be a paper pusher and doesnt give a sh-t about official vampire organizations. Colin Robinson is very happy to be the secretary and take the minutes, which is the most boring job in any organization. And Guillermo is behind them all whispering and trying to play a game of chess about who controls what and how he can get a little more respect and power himself.

RELATED: What We Do in the Shadows: Are Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement in the New FX Show?

Simms added that discovering those character moments was a bonus that came after they decided on the storyline.

I dont know if we started with that, but thats where it ended up, Simms said. It made it very fun about sort of fleshing out the characters more.

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From ‘Interviews With Some Vampires’ to ‘Wellington Paranormal’ – The Evolution of ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ – Bloody Disgusting

Vampires have been lurking in the shadows of our scary stories for thousands of years, finding their way into several different cultures and eventually turning into movie stars. With so many variations of these legends, its only natural that some of the specifics behind this classic monster often seem silly when judged by modern standards. If you think about it, from crippling garlic allergies to needing an invitation every time you want to enter a building, being a vampire might not be as fun as it sounds. Of course, leave it to Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement to turn the less-appealing aspects of Vampiric immortality into the basis for one of the best horror-comedies of all time.

2014s What We Do in The Shadows isnt just hilarious, its also an expertly crafted love-letter to gothic horror, and now that FXs television spin-off is currently airing its third season, I thought that it might be fun to take a look back at the origins of this franchise and how it evolved into a comedic powerhouse.

Before they were Oscar/Emmy winning legends, Clement and Waititi were just a couple of comedians from New Zealand experimenting with film and music. After working in the comedy groups So Youre a Man and The Humourbeasts, the duo eventually decided to channel their love of vampire media into a half-hour mockumentary titled What We Do in The Shadows: Interviews with Some Vampires. While the 2005 short didnt gain much international attention, it would pave the way for bigger and bloodier laughs.

Using the same setup of a documentary crew attempting to capture the more mundane aspects of undead life in New Zealand, the short works a lot like its eventual feature adaptation, only on a smaller scale. Not only was the budget tighter, leading to silly-looking fangs and costume design reminiscent of a live-action session of Vampire: The Masquerade, but the whole experience was also originally condensed into a single night casually chatting with these vampire flat-mates. Fortunately, Waititi, Clement and Jonny Brugh were already excellent as these early versions of Viago, Vladislav (here called Vulvus) and Deacon, obviously taking inspiration from characters popularized by writers like Stoker and Anne Rice.

Interviews with Some Vampires even features quite a few prototypes of some of the later films now-iconic jokes, boasting that same tongue-in-cheek energy as the vampires discuss why they prefer virgin blood and bicker over cleaning duties. Id also argue that the cheaper presentation actually makes the documentary aspect more convincing, especially when the gang dresses up for a night on the town and we get to see real reactions from the locals. Curiously, the short also feels remarkably like a scrapped pilot for a TV series rather than an attempt at selling an idea for a feature film, which makes a lot of sense when you consider the franchises future.

Ive lost friends because of how often I quote dead but delicious.

Despite the shorts overall quality, it took years to secure financing in order to expand it into a feature. Luckily, the mid-2000s saw an inexplicable boom in vampire media, with everything from Twilight to True Blood and even 30 Days of Night doing their best to once again put these fanged creatures in the spotlight. So, in 2012, Waititi and Clement dusted off their fangs and returned to the world of What We Do in The Shadows, this time backed by the New Zealand Film Commission and a respectable budget.

While the feature follows the same basic premise as the original short, it also expands on the mythology, featuring more supernatural monsters like zombies and swear-wolves as well as adding a time-sensitive plot device with the upcoming Unholy Masquerade. The film also introduces a new vampire archetype in the main cast through Petyr, a Count-Orlok-esque monster that lives in the flats basement. Even with a few recycled jokes, the added production value and better characterization make this a worthy successor to Interviews with Some Vampires, and a classic in its own right.

In an effort to keep the documentary spirit alive despite the larger budget and a couple of effects-heavy sequences, Waititi and Clement supposedly kept their 150-page screenplay a secret in order to encourage improvisation, resulting in hundreds of hours of comedic footage that were later edited into a 90-minute film. This also means that there are plenty of hilarious bonus videos out there for those who cant get enough of the gangs vampiric shenanigans, and Id recommend that fans check them out.

Theres no denying that the casts career-making performances helped to turn What We Do in The Shadows into a cult movie phenomenon (Clements Vladislav will always be my spirit animal), but Id argue that the film is successful because it doesnt look down at the material its parodying. Theres genuine passion for vampire stories here, and the film always finds a way to laugh with the characters, not necessarily at them, which I think makes all the difference.

The movies success even led to a highly underrated spin-off show thats only recently been gaining traction outside of New Zealand. Created and executive-produced by Waititi and Clement, 2017s Wellington Paranormal sees the two bumbling police officers that appear in the original film attempt to face other paranormal threats in the heart of New Zealand. Featuring the same mockumentary style as the movie, the show takes a little while to find its footing, but youll soon be begging for more Cops-styled antics as Officers OLeary and Minogue attempt to arrest everything from aliens to vengeful ghosts. While it appears that the shows upcoming fourth season will be its last, Id recommend it to anyone who likes their supernatural cop shows with a dash of Kiwi flavor.

Probably the best cop show on TV right now.

In 2019 wed also see FXs What We Do in The Shadows, another Television spin-off that I consider to be the best incarnation of the franchise so far. Still taking place in the same world as the original film (and featuring quite a few familiar faces), the show follows a new group of vampire roommates in Staten Island as they go about their day-to-day lives, once again shot as a mockumentary. One might assume that this formula would get old at this point, but the series (also produced by Waititi and Clement) manages to recapture lightning in a bottle with its incredible writing and casting.

Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry (channeling some of that seductive energy from his character in Darkplace), Natasia Demetriou and Mark Proksch are all fantastic as this new troupe of mal-adjusted creatures of the night, with their characters feeling like brand new additions to this world instead of made-for-TV analogues of the films ensemble. Demetrious Nadja and Prokschs Colin Robinson are my personal favorites, with Nadjas witty remarks and Robinsons energy-draining hijinks providing us with some of the shows best moments. Of course, everyone gets the chance to shine as the series goes on, with even the human familiar Guillermo (played to perfection by Harvey Guilln) becoming an unexpected standout, with his relationship with Novaks Nandor serving as the emotional core of the show.

While TV spin-offs have a reputation of watering down source material in order to produce enough content for a full season, the episodic format actually works in What We Do in The Shadowsfavor, allowing the show to turn tropes like vampiric orgies and possessed dolls into fully-fledged episodes with plenty of character development in between. Hell, we even get to see an unexpected reunion of some of our favorite cinematic bloodsuckers. Whats not to love?

The production value is also really impressive for a half-hour comedy, with the series overall design and effects being inspired by Francis Ford Coppolas adaptation of Bram Stokers Dracula. Theres plenty of practical movie magic and atmospheric photography on display here, and it all contributes to the spooky laughs. In all honesty, between the perfect casting and attention to detail behind the scenes, I wouldnt mind watching this show for another ten years, and I suspect (and hope) that other horror fans feel the same way.

It may have began as a quirky short made by a group of Kiwi comedians over a decade and a half ago, but What We Do in The Shadows somehow evolved into a huge franchise without losing any of the wit and charm that made the original idea so funny in the first place, and I respect that. With several iconic characters and highly quotable lines resulting in a respectable fan-base, theres no telling where Clement and Waititis brainchild will go next (Id personally love to see that long-awaited Were Wolves spin-off), but I know Ill be here to watch it with a crucifix and some holy water on hand. Just in case it was a real documentary all along.

One hell of an ensemble.

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[Review] Glenn Danzig’s ‘Death Rider in the House of Vampires’ Has All the Charm…and Flaws of ‘Verotika’ – Bloody Disgusting

I was fortunate enough to attend the world premiere of punk legend Glenn Danzigs first feature film Verotika back in 2019 during Chicagos Cinepocalypse Film Festival. At that time, no one knew what a movie written and directed by the Misfits frontman would look like, so hopes were high that Danzigs voice would be as exciting for horror as it had been for music. This, of course, was not the case, and Verotika was a catastrophe the likes of which we rarely get to see in the age of focus groups and market testing. It was, I called it at the time, the horror equivalent of The Room a new level of auteurist misfire. All of this is to say that his follow-up film, the excellently named Death Rider in the House of Vampires, is less of an unknown quantity. We know what to expect from a Danzig movie now, so the only question going into his sophomore effort was, would Death Rider be more of the same, or had Danzig learned some valuable lessons from Verotika?

The good news is that Death Rider in the House of Vampires is better than Verotika. The bad news is that its not by much. A better cast and a somewhat tighter focus makes Death Rider a more successful film, but all of Danzigs flaws and indulgences as a filmmaker are still on full display. It may be a better movie, but its still a Danzig movie.

Devon Sawa plays the titular Death Rider, a mysterious cowboy who arrives at Vampire Sanctuary with a naked woman on horseback. (Like I said, theres no question this is a Danzig movie.) After offering her up as a virgin sacrifice, Death Rider is granted Sanctuary by Count Holiday (Julian Sands), who runs what is essentially a saloon and brothel for vampires where the drinks are rotgut whiskey and the occasional virgin jugular. Though Death Riders backstory and motives are unknown, he captures the attention of vampire prostitutes Carmilla Joe (Kim Director) and Mina Belle (Ashley Wisdom, returning from Verotika and thankfully not asked to adopt a French accent here), as well as raises the eyebrows of Kid Vlad (Victor DiMattia), Drac Cassidy (Eli Roth), and Bad Bathory (Danzig himself), who dont trust Death Rider any further than they can bite him.

Devon Sawa as Death Rider

There isnt really a story to be found in Death Rider in the House of Vampires; just a setup that allows a bunch of characters to interact. Sometimes theres a shootout; sometimes vampires are turned to dust. The movie comes most alive during these moments, despite the fact that Danzig still cant get out of his own way as a filmmaker. Like with Verotika, Danzig serves not just as writer, producer, composer, and director, but as his own cinematographer and editor, too (a credit he shares with Pedja Radenkovic and Garo Setian, respectively), and the decision cripples the film once again. Every angle, every framing choice, every cut feels like the wrong one. Everything plays out in real-time. The movie opens with Devon Sawa riding across the desert, a naked woman in tow, while Danzigs terrific spaghetti western-inspired Death Rider theme plays. Its promising! But these shots are repeated over and over and over and over again. Then he (eventually) cuts to the credits, which play out in silence. There is no economy of storytelling here. Or ever. These opening ten minutes of screen time could easily be combined into three or four, and Death Rider would be better for it. Its true throughout the films 90-minute runtime theres maybe an hour of material thats been padded out and its an unfortunate mistake of Verotika thats been carried over here.

At least the performances have some energy to them. Sawa makes for a good lead, and Julian Sands sells the nonsensical dialogue hes given like the Warlock he is. Eli Roth hams it up, clearly in on the joke. The cast is almost top to bottom full of familiar faces, all doing solid work. The mixture of spaghetti western and horror seems to suit Danzig as a filmmaker, meaning Death Rider is livelier and more fun than his turgid Bava-influenced previous effort. Working within the framework of the spaghetti western gives his camera energy (zoom after zoom) and excuses some of his technical sloppiness. Even the effects are a step up, though Danzig cant resist zooming all the way in on the obvious prosthetics of a vampire-bitten neck or allowing shots of a burning vamp to repeat until its no longer effective. Danzig gotta Danzig.

Death Rider in the House of Vampires has all the charm of Verotika, and nearly all of its flaws, too. Thats probably damning praise, encouraging fans of the latter to seek out the former while scaring off those who found Danzigs first film to be insufferable. I cant fault either party for rushing out to see it or staying as far away from it as possible. Its the kind of movie thats not very good but still has me excited for whatever Danzig makes next.

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It’s Time to Put the Right-Wing Zombie Death Cult on Trial – Daily Beast

What will the Biden Administration do to save our children from the disease-spreading, right-wing zombie death cult?

This week, we started to find out.

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Education opened civil-rights investigations into five statesIowa, South Carolina, Utah, Oklahoma, and Tennesseethat are banning local school districts from imposing mask mandates. They are relying on two federal laws: the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which protects students with a disability from discrimination and guarantees them a right to a free education, and Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act, which prohibits disability discrimination by public education systems. The states could be found in violation of federal law if the investigation finds that students with disabilities who are at heightened risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are prevented from safely returning to in-person education.

The penalties include loss of federal fundingor the school can simply agree to change its policies, which in this case would be choosing life by requiring masking and vaccination for school employees.

These students with heightened risk of illness include my 5-year-old daughter Nusayba, a Stage 4 cancer survivor who is immuno-suppressed due to her liver transplant. I recently wrote about how we were desperately trying to get her into virtual school, along with her brother, Ibrahim, who just turned 7. Thankfully, they were both admitted, and now Im at home doing tech support until 3:30 p.m., but at least I know they are safe.

Meanwhile, theres already been one COVID case on the second day of school. And their school is far from the worst of it. Thanks to the GOPs multi-pronged and coordinated attack on masks, social distancing, and vaccines at schools, Delta is still thriving and there have been massive outbreaks at schools across the country.

A medical professional oversees as a fifth-grader gives himself a rapid COVID-19 test on the first day of school at Montara Avenue Elementary School in Los Angeles.

Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This isnt a both sides problem. Of the 10 states with the most COVID-19 cases per capita, as of Wednesday, nine of them were led by Republican governorssurprise!and voted for Trump in 2020, as The New York Times reported. Meanwhile, 16 Democratic states have statewide mask requirements for schools. Tennessee, one of the five states being sued, just set a new record for COVID hospitalizations, and previously moved to cut off all vaccine outreach to students and young adults.

Now, thousands of its school-aged kids have COVID-19 with no end in sight. Some school districts in the United States are even leaving it up to parents to decide if they will quarantine their exposed child or send the child to school to spread the disease to other unvaccinated children.

Meanwhile, conservative radio hosts and influencers who peddled anti-vax misinformation are winning Darwin Awards and dying weekly from the coronavirus.

However, this doesnt stop the right-wing hate machine. Onward they persist with their nihilistic, counter-majoritarian death march.

Republicans, such as those in Texas, believe they have the freedom to infect their kid and your kids with coronavirus, but women shouldnt have the freedom to control their own bodies. Other conservative activists believe freedom means harassing and threatening school boards, intimidating health care workers, and spreading the dangerous QAnon conspiracy theory, which is now a domestic terror threat. Among other things, some suggest that anyone who believes in vaccines and mask mandates in schools is actually a demonic entity and bears the mark of the beast. Thats what Melissa, an alleged nurse from Lee County, Florida, recently said at a school-board meeting where she said that Christians around America will take them all out, referring to anyone who opposed her pro-death initiatives to spread COVID-19.

People protest the North Allegheny School Districts mask mandate.

Alexandra Wimley/AP

Youd think shes a kooky outlier, a walking punchline. But shes an ordinary rank-and-file soldier in this death movement that is holding our childrens safety hostage to advance their culture war. They arent the American Taliban or enforcing Sharia, and we should stop using Islam and Muslims as the benchmark for extremism. They are agents of White Christian Supremacy hellbent on ensuring minority rule for white men by any violent means necessary.

Our kids are simply the bait and collateral damage.

Steve Lynch, a Republican running for Northampton County executive in Pennsylvania, is an anti-masker encouraging violence against school boards unwilling to submit to his anti-masking belligerence. On Aug. 29, he said, You go in and you remove em. Im going in there with 20 strong men They can leave or be removed.

In Buncombe County, North Carolina, anti-maskers tried to overthrow the school board, encouraged in part by Rep. Madison Cawthorn, who fought a tree and lost, and continued rehabilitating the imprisoned violent insurrectionists of Jan. 6 at a recent rally by referring to them as political hostages. He said hes working on busting them out, and he also seemed to call for another riot, despite this past one effectively killing five people, including a police officer, and being followed by law-enforcement suicides. He urged the Macon County Republicans to defend their children from harmful vaccines.

One of my lovely fans emailed me this week to warn me that violence will spill out into the streets and there [are] 100 million Americans waiting for the day. I dont foresee any Army coming to the rescue of the voices such as yourself who spin a web of lies and hateful rhetoric.

He used his full name and email address. Theres no need to hide in the shadows and wear the hoods when your elected officials and your God-King, Trump, openly incite potential violence and criminality.

A teacher holds up a sign protesting Floridas decision to open schools last summer.

Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty

They are deliberately using threats of violence to terrorize the majority and have us cede ground. It seems to be working, as school-board members are stepping down across the country, unwilling to tolerate the toxic and impossible environment.

Were dealing with a potential criminal element, and might need to flex with more than the Education Department and broad vaccine mandates to save our kids. I asked former career federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner if the Department of Justice could step in with a criminal investigation if theres evidence that these GOP-led state governments are actually harming children.

I happen to believe that, because education is primarily a local issue, that local and state prosecutorial authorities should be evaluating whether the state governors and governments are recklessly and criminally endangering our children, Kirschner told me, holding Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as a prime example.

He believes DeSantis mask bans in Florida school districts might give prosecutors enough evidence to initiate a criminal investigation. He cited the recent Florida judge who overturned the recent mask ban and sided with parents whose lawsuit alleges, in part, that the policy violates the state constitution that requires providing a uniform, efficient, safe, secure and high quality system of public schools.

I cannot understand why our prosecutorial authoritiesfederal, state, and localseem to have concluded that we shouldnt try to hold elected politicians accountable for killing the citizenry, Kirschner added.

It is still possible that the Department of Education is introducing the carrot before the Department of Justice unleashes the stick. From my eyes, these GOP leaders are helping to actively kill people and harm children with their pro-death policies. That should immediately warrant criminal investigations and liability for causing avoidable COVID deaths.

The rest of us, the majority, need to stand our ground against this belligerent minority for the sake of our childrens safety and public health.

We cant both sides or seek a bipartisan solution with a pro-death movement. Enough.

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It's Time to Put the Right-Wing Zombie Death Cult on Trial - Daily Beast


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The Best Zombie Games Of All Time – GameSpot

Zombies have been a staple of video games for decades now, almost becoming an annoying cliche. If you need an easy monster, throw in a few shambling undead bullet sponges and call it a day. But while zombies can be a dull addition to a game in the wrong hands, in the right ones, they can be terrifying, funny, fascinating, or intelligent, creating harrowing stories or leading to brilliant game mechanics.

We've compiled a list of zombie games that are next-level--titles that use the monsters to create intense tension, or look at the idea of a zombie apocalypse in new and interesting ways. From real-time strategy titles to horror shooters, these are the itchy, tasty zombie games that you should absolutely check out.

For years now, Call of Duty games have packed in a "Zombies" mode, and that mode and its various iterations have turned out to be fun, fascinating additions to the Call of Duty repertoire. While the Zombies mode of Black Ops - Cold War is the latest, each has offered its own unique spin on the inventive mode. It requires players to fend off waves of increasingly tough zombies, earning money from their kills to buy better weapons. But that's only the surface level--your actual goal is to accumulate cash to spend removing barriers that expose more and more of each Zombies map, where you fight to solve puzzles and figure out how to advance further. The entire mode is predicated on figuring things out through repetition and exploration, with no waypoints and few hints to tell you what to do. Add to that Zombies' penchant for bringing in famous actors and big names in horror and Hollywood--like Night of the Living Dead director George A. Romero--and you've got something that's wholly different from every other zombie game out there.

Read our Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War review.

Beginning its life as a mod, DayZ really tapped into the "survival" side of survival-horror. The game drops you on an island overrun with zombies, tasking you with finding everything you need to survive when you get there. While the computer-controlled undead are a major problem, your real worry is the fact that you might run into other player-controlled survivors. They might choose to help you, or they might try to kill you and take everything you've got. Never knowing what you might face is part of DayZ's appeal, and it left such a strong impression that it helped give rise to the survival genre of games, and later, battle royales.

The Dead Rising games take the opposite approach to titles like The Last of Us, Resident Evil 2, and The Walking Dead. These titles put you in places overrun by zombies, but the atmosphere is a little campier and there are quite a few more ridiculous costumes at play. Navigating through the hordes is less about terror and more about creatively overcoming a big, mindless obstacle--and you get some ludicrously fun ways to do that. Dead Rising 2 lets you craft ridiculous weapons to shred, cook, electrocute, explode, and otherwise dismantle zombies, while also offering a big world with lots of other characters to find and rescue. It's a funny, overwrought take on the end of the world, and if you like killing zombies in ridiculous ways, this one's for you.

Read our Dead Rising 2 review.

In video games, it seems that there are quite a few places overrun by zombies. Dying Light drops you onto an island swarming with the undead and tasks you with making your way through its open world by running and parkouring across its half-destroyed buildings and deserted vehicles. There are all sorts of missions to complete as you run around the game's island, working with different factions and trying to save survivors and procuring weapons to help you stay alive. But the best part of the game is undoubtedly its movement system, and the terror you face as night falls and the really frightening monsters come out.

Read our Dying Light review.

The Last of Us is about a world overrun by "infected," and while they're not actually zombies--the mindless humans have fungus growing in their brains and that's what turns them into killing machines--the game is basically set in a zombie apocalypse. What makes The Last of Us work is its well-drawn characters and the realism and intensity it brings to its setting and premise. It's hard to separate the two games in the series, since their narrative and mechanics are so essentially intertwined. In both The Last of Us games, developer Naughty Dog has created a story that feels populated by real human beings stuck in an impossible situation. Both games are incredibly emotional and often raw, while also putting you into frightening, violent fights for your life.

Read our The Last of Us and The Last of Us Part 2 reviews.

When you think of quintessential zombie game experiences, it's impossible not to come up with the Left 4 Dead series. Developer Turtle Rock Studios used a zombie apocalypse to define a whole subset of multiplayer games, placing you both in the role of a group of survivors fighting their way through the horde, and in that of some vicious special zombie creatures that can ravage those poor humans. The essential part of Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 is teamwork, whether you're the human crew blasting your way through hordes of infected enemies, or you're the monsters themselves, trying to lure the humans away from one another to pick them off. The zombie apocalypse is a perfect setting for a cooperative game, and Left 4 Dead created some phenomenal gaming moments by leveraging it.

Read our Left 4 Dead review and our Left 4 Dead 2 review.

Zombies make for solid opponents in the tower defense genre. Their insatiable hunger and one-track minds make them great cannon fodder, and Plants vs. Zombies allowed players to use a variety of fun, goofy plants as weapons to fend off brain-munching foes. With Garden Warfare 2, developer Popcap mixes tower defense with a third-person class-based shooter, allowing you to take on the roles of a bunch of different plants and zombies in a huge battle for the neighborhood. There's a whole lot of content here, with lots of multiplayer shooter options, giving a whole other spin to the idea of fighting zombies--and that of having a green thumb.

Read our Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 review.

With Project Zomboid, the zombie apocalypse gets a sandbox survival approach. You're a survivor of the zombie apocalypse, as usual, but here the work of staying alive requires a whole lot more effort. You not only have to deal with hordes of the undead, you also have to construct buildings and defenses to protect yourself, craft items so you can make food, and stave off other problems, like depression or infections. Project Zomboid brings a whole lot of additional depth to the usual tasks of scoring headshots on zombies, and while it's still not a "complete" game, it's constantly being updated with new features as it goes through the development process.

In no small part, the popularity and straight-up terrifying nature of the Resident Evil games is responsible for the zombie trend that has lasted for more than two decades. Several of the games in the franchise capture the best and most frightening parts of the horror subgenre and are worthy of your attention--including Resident Evil Remake and Resident Evil 3--and others aren't quite "zombie" games but are still excellent riffs on the genre. But the remake of Resident Evil 2 might just stand above the rest. It puts you in the midst of a city tearing itself apart as it's ravaged by a horde of zombies, and while there are plenty of other creatures vying to scare the hell out of you, there's nothing quite like the realization that the entirety of Raccoon City is shuffling toward you, arms outstretched and hungry.

Read our Resident Evil 2 review.

The bigger the world, the more frightening the zombie apocalypse that annihilates it, which is what makes State of Decay work. It puts you in a huge open world that's filled with zombies, in which you have to think seriously about risk and reward if you want to survive. Fighting the horde is never advisable, so what's the best path to your next objective? How can you avoid the undead to keep yourself safe? You can address your problems in different ways, especially as you meet more characters and add them to your group of survivors--and control them as you see fit. Each character has their own stats and capabilities, requiring you to harden them through combat and allowing you to use them to their strengths to help your entire group survive. Having access to lots of characters fighting for survival gives State of Decay a different strategic spin on surviving the undead.

Read our State of Decay review.

Lots of games let you fight zombies, but few let you be one. Stubbs the Zombie was the imaginative tale of one such member of the undead just trying to get by in a society that hates him. In order to keep from being killed, uh...more, you have to use Stubbs' various powers to snack on the living and create your own zombie horde, while fighting off police and the military and slowly taking over a 1950s town on a quest for revenge. Stubbs is a goofy game with a lot of fun ideas and some interesting spins on the comedic elements of the zombie genre, and does a great job of making you feel like patient zero, creating your very own zombie apocalypse.

Read our Stubbs The Zombie review.

Before The Walking Dead had quite become a full-on television phenomenon, there was Telltale's take on the iconic comics. Another story of the zombie apocalypse as it unfolded all over the country, the point-and-click, narrative heavy adventure game followed Lee, a former convict, as he worked to care for and protect Clementine, a young girl who'd lost her parents. The bond created between Lee and Clementine, as well as the often terrible choices the game would put to players as they fought to stay alive at the end of the world, turned The Walking Dead into a classic, and one that works to make the zombie apocalypse something frightening to play through.

Read our Telltale's The Walking Dead review.

Zombies are useful to a lot of genres of video games. In They Are Billions, zombies are the antagonists of a real-time strategy game in which you're tasked with protecting the colonies of the last surviving humans. As the title suggests, however, the zombie hordes are enormous and overwhelming. You've got steampunk technology at your disposal, though, allowing you to fight back the enemy with some unconventional approaches. And while They Are Billions is a real-time strategy game and thus requires you to act on the fly to use tactics to stop the zombie advance, it also allows you to pause so you can think about your actions before you commit to something that might get you and your colonists turned.

While it originally showcased the Wii-U in some cool ways, Zombi (or ZombiU as it was previously titled) eventually made it out to other platforms, where it revealed that it wasn't just the Wii-U's singular controller that made the game cool. The first-person title sends you into a zombie-infested London where you fight to survive, but each time you die, the character you were controlling is lost for good--along with all their stuff. While all the progress you previously made remains, you'll have to find your past character's corpses to recover your old gear--and you might have to fight them as a zombie as well.

Read our Zombi review.

Way back in 1993, Zombies Ate My Neighbors pitted players against all sorts of brain-crunching undead as they worked to save their suburban neighborhood. What makes the top-down action-adventure game is its sprawling levels that are all themed after classic horror movies like Night of the Living Dead, Them!, Tremors, Dracula, and a whole bunch more. With some inventive kid-themed weapons, fun level design, and a whole lot of movie Easter eggs and callbacks, Zombies Ate My Neighbors became a classic for anybody who loves old horror and sci-fi movies. It recently received an update to bring it to modern consoles, so you can enjoy the old-school shooter on just about any machine.

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The Best Zombie Games Of All Time - GameSpot


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