Escape from Tomorrow Review (Film, 2013)

Escape from TomorrowNo discussion of Escape from Tomorrow can be divorced from the production of the film. Writer/director Randy Moore’s surrealist horror story was shot on location (and without permission) in Disney World. The black and white low budget film is about the real world colliding with the all too polished magic of the Disney World and the tensions that arise from misplaced expectations of escapism. Moore scrambles the geography and style of the theme park into a vision of paranoid terror all without the Disney machine realizing a feature narrative film is being made.

There is an unexpected level of bravery to a guerrilla approach like this. If anything went wrong with production, if Moore and the cast were found out, there would be no film. A well-meaning tourist or Cast Member (as the Disney park employees are called) could have pulled the plug on the story. In fact, if you pay attention, you can see there are quite a few scenes where green screen is used to cover for scenes they couldn’t shoot in the parks.

A knowledge of the Disney World parks is helpful in understanding everything that happens in the film. The first half takes place in the Magic Kingdom, which is geared toward younger guests. You have a couple thrill rides in Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, but the rest is photo ops, meet and greets, and the super family friendly rides that don’t get much more extreme than a carousel.

Continue reading


Chiller Theatre Expo: The Jaws Museum

At the Chiller Theatre Expo in Parsippany, NJ this past weekend, the world’s largest collection of Jaws memorabilia came to the show for the first time ever. The collection is rarely exhibited in public at all. I knew I had to check it out. It’s a big part of why I even went to the show at all. Number one reason was the art contest. Number two reason was I knew too many artists/vendors not to go hang out with them for the day when they were in the area. And number three was the Jaws museum.

Chris Kiszka has been collecting Jaws props for a long time. Not just replicas or window cards, but actual props that were used on set. He even has one of the head puppets used for shooting close-ups of the shark attacks.

Protected in a thick glass case and displayed like a permanent museum exhibition, the Jaws Museum experience was quite impressive. The display cases and head were lined up on the back wall, flanked by the stars who could make it to the convention for a signing. It was quite a production that was jam packed from about 12PM until I left around 6PM. I was lucky I walked in as soon as I could (issues finding anyone who could help me find the art contest registration while I fought cold feet, more on that in a much larger post).

Continue reading

Slipstream #11: Your Halloween Playlist

Slipstream #11: Your Halloween 2013 Playlist

Why settle for last minute programming choices on Halloween night when you can have a horror aficionado set the groundwork for the best triple feature ever? In the new episode of Slipstream (all desaturated and grainy and fuzzy for extra creep factor), I break down my perfect path to a perfect horror triple or even quadruple feature, then demonstrate the technique with two Netflix and one Hulu playlist perfect for Halloween.

No need for a behind the scenes play by play on this one. It’s all in the video. I’ll put the complete playlists with links to their IMDB pages after the jump, but the video speaks for itself. Most of the cuts were me staring at my notes and cross-referencing details on my phone.

Watch, then click through if you want the playlists for reference.

Continue reading

Sketchy Details @Home #10: Flashing Poltergeist

Sketchy Details @Home #10: Flickering Poltergeist

This week on Sketchy Details @Home, we play along with the comedy poltergeist challenge of SyFy’s Face Off. The results on this challenge were really good overall. The judges hated the design I used for my inspiration, Laney’s punk rocker electrocuted during a concert, but it was my favorite design by far. She aimed for a living Monster High doll and nailed it.

My take is a cool Halloween project inspired by some random photo I saw when prepping for Halloween last year. It’s a translucent, very stable packing tape ghost. I upped my game by building up the wig head base with a custom carved hairdo that meant building it as one piece and dissecting it afterwards for the final presentation. Watch then click through for the behind the scenes.

Continue reading

The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable: The Horror and Absurdity of Free Will

The Stanley Parable
Meet Stanley, a corporate cog in a machine he will never fully understand [click for full]
In the indie adventure game The Stanley Parable, you are given a simple choice: follow what the narrator says, or go against him. The first real game-changing choice is a room with two doors. Go to the left, as instructed, and you follow along a fairly linear story about what happened to all of your missing coworkers. Go to the right, and the narrator starts to fight against you.

This is the beginning of a bizarre experiment in surrealism and video games agency (how collective choices influence a game) from Galactic Cafe. The game is all about choice. The framework always goes narrator’s choice or other option. Move on as instructed or go off the path. The further you wander, the stranger the game becomes.

On my first playthrough (the scenarios vary in length, but it’s only a few minutes from beginning to restart), for example, I caused the total nuclear annihilation of my little world at work. That happened because of one anti-narrator choice. To call that a jarring start to a gaming experience is an understatement. Yet I was sucked right into this bizarre world because the creators went that far.

Continue reading