After acquiring horror news and lifestyle site Dread Central Media earlier this year, Epic Pictures is now transitioning its horror films to the new Dread Central Presents label. If the first batch of films announced from the label is any indication, genre film fans are in for a terrific selection of cinematic fright fare from around the globe.
Former Blumhouse.com senior editor, Fangoria Magazine contributor, and current Shock Waves podcast co-host Robert Galluzzo heads up Dread Central Presents, which seeks to acquire between 12 and 24 genre films each year. Galluzo has stated on his podcast and in interviews that he is interested in bringing a diverse range of films to horror fans, from slasher homages to foreign fare, and beyond.
Among Dread Central Presents’ initial offerings are the gothic Irish chiller The Lodgers, Chinese horror comedy Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight, thought-provoking American science fiction film Imitation Girl, and 1980s American throwback gorefest Terrifier. The label releases films in monthly hosted screenings across the United States, as well as on demand and home video.
Reviewed just last week by Diabolique Managing Editor Kieran Fisher, The Lodgers is a gothic horror tale about a family curse that confines orphaned twins Rachel (Charlotte Vega) and Edward (Bill Milner) to their home as punishment for their ancestors’ sins. Bound to the rules of a haunting childhood lullaby, the twins must never let any outsiders inside the house, must be in their rooms by the chime of midnight, and must never be separated from one another. Breaking any of these three rules will incur the wrath of a sinister presence that inhabits the house after midnight. While Edward is committed to this ill-fated life, he’s becoming more unhinged because of the fact that Rachel is not. Smitten by a local soldier (Eugene Simon), Rachel grows skeptical and begins to rebel, desperate to escape the oppression and misery of their captivity.
The Lodgers was honored with three awards on the film festival circuit this year, including the Jury Prize for Best Film at the Molins de Rei Horror Film Festival in Barcelona, as well as official Jury Awards for Best Special Effects and Best Actress (Vega) at Fancine Festival de Cine Fantastico de la Universidad de Malaga in Malaga, Spain. After its preview screening on 15 February, The Lodgers opens in theaters on 23 February.
Quirky Chinese zombie horror comedy Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight, directed by Alan Lo, is the slapstick story of Lone (Michael Ning) and Yeung (Louis Cheung), a pair of eccentrics who think of themselves as heroes, particularly when a zombie outbreak caused by Lone’s favorite animated monster hits. Galluzzo said that this film, his first acquisition for the label, is “the type of bonkers cinema I love!” Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight was the first Dread Central Presents screening event, which was held in nine U.S. cities during the weekend of 27-28 January. It will be available on VOD everywhere on 23 February.
Dreamlike science fiction offering Imitation Girl is, according to the official press release, the lyrical telling of a mysterious being (Lauren Ashley Carter, who also appears in the film’s other lead role) who arrives on Earth in the shape of a young woman. Taken in by Iranian immigrants, a brother and sister living in the American Southwest, Imitation forms an understanding of the strange species around her, and as she learns more about her new body and her companions, she comes to appreciate the beauty and the sadness of her new world. At the same time, Julianna (Carter), Imitation’s world-weary earthly double, knows both glitz and grit working as an entertainer in New York City, where her fraying life and relationships now threaten her dreams for an audition that might finally set her on a happier path. On learning of Julianna’s existence, Imitation heads to New York, where only by sacrificing themselves to each other can the cosmic twins complete a full portrait of a woman. Imitation Girl debuts on VOD on 16 March and in cinemas on 20 April.
Festival favorite Terrifier is a reputedly gory throwback to 1980s slasher films set on Halloween night, when Art the Clown terrorizes a trio of girls and anyone else who tries to get in his way. The completely uncut version of this film screens as part of the Dread Central Presents series on 15 and 16 March before coming to VOD on 27 March.