Explore The World’s Most Terrifying, Ghost-Infested Places in HAUNTED TRAVELS

Even if you’re like me and have become quite skeptical as the years have come and gone, you can’t help that lingering suspicion that there may be more to reality than we usually comprehend. People you haven’t thought of in years can call you up moments after you’ve randomly thought of them. Notable events in life can initially manifest as premonitions in our sleep long before they actually take place. Certain places in the world can instill an unmistakable sense of dread and foreboding that can be tied to a disturbing occurrence in that location’s history.

James Cawley’s Haunted Travels invites you on a tour across many locations where multiple encounters of unexplainable paranormal events have taken place. 

From underground human trafficking tunnels in the Pacific Northwest, an 1800s-era penitentiary where a murder-suicide unfolded (among many other atrocities), to the bizarre and unsettling atmosphere of The Clown Motel built on a graveyard, renowned host Ben Hansen (SyFy’s Fact or Fake: Paranormal Files, UFOs Declassified) will take you on a tour through some of the world’s creepiest locations made popular by truly disturbing occurrences for those who are brave, curious, and possibly crazy enough to venture along. Haunted Travels is your travel guide to the most creepy, paranormally-infested places around the world.

If you check out some of the cinematography from director and DP James Cawley, who I’ve come to highly respect over the years for his attention to detail and technique, it comes as no surprise to me that he is officially endorsed by Zeiss, Tiffen, and Steadicam. For years, I’ve seen some of the most captivating nature footage from his catalogue of work, so now that he’s involved in a documentary about seriously spooky locations, my hopes are very high. 

I’ll be transparent with you: yes, I’m doing the music. You will hear my music in the promotional trailer in the Kickstarter. When I was hit up for the possibility of working on this, my immediate reaction was a giant “HELL YES!” because I knew this was something with immense potential to rock. The project has been developing in a beautifully creepy way over the last months and I think fans of supernatural, paranormal, and horror documentaries that peer into the darkest dimensions of curiosity and fear will get a kick out of it!

Kickstarter

New Red-Band Trailer For NEIGHBORS 2: SORORITY RISING

The first Neighbors ended up being a surprise hit for Universal, so they put a sequel into development almost immediately. They got Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, and Zac Efron to return, and instead of facing off again, they're joining forces to take down a larger threat: the sorority that moves into the former frat house next door.

Comedy Central has just released a new red-band trailer for Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, and ComingSoon has unveiled a new poster (above). Check it out and let us know if you're going to go see this when it comes out on May 20th.

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Gets The HISHE Treatment…Yet Again!

How It Should Have Ended is really milking the Star Wars: The Force Awakens train! We are now on their third installment of how they think the movie would've been better! This time, the group ponders why the Rebel Alliance didn't just build a competing Death Star.

My assumption was always due to the fact the Rebel Alliance was only united in their hatred of the Empire? Not trying to suck the humor out of it, I'm just saying.

Charlize Theron Confirmed For Role in FAST 8

Earlier this morning, we wrote about how Game of Thrones actor Kristofer Hivju had joined the cast of F. Gary Gray's Fast 8. At the time, I mentioned that Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron was may join the movie as a villain — something that's been rumored for a little while now — but there still wasn't any confirmation of that yet.

Looks like someone did some digging, because now Variety has officially confirmed that Theron will definitely be in the film. This will be a reunion for her and Gray, who worked together on the 2003 remake of The Italian Job. Theron obviously has experience behind the wheel, with her work in that movie and her recent turn as Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road. Her exact role is still being kept under wraps, but it's expected to be a villain that's new to the franchise. I wonder if she'll be working with or against Jason Statham's Deckard Shaw? Two main villains might be a way to up the ante without taking the stunts too much farther than what they've already done — this franchise is constantly walking the line of jumping the shark, but I think they've been able to stay just on this side of it so far.

Production on the sequel is set to kick off next month, and the movie is aiming to be the first studio film to shoot in Cuba, which has reopened relations with the U.S. under President Obama. Vin Diesel, Tyrese, Ludacris, Dwayne Johnson, and Michelle Rodriguez are all reprising their roles, and Fast 8 hits theaters on April 14, 2017.

Everything Wrong With THE MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS

I won't lie, I get a little tired of Cinema Sins and their sometimes fickle bashing of films in the interest of humor. This film, however, deserves any bad criticism it gets! I was so disappointed in Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. They built things up so well in the first film only to completely demolish the franchise in the sequel. If you missed it, you didn't miss anything. Check it out below.

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE Poster Teases The Surprising Return of a Character

Spoilers for Kingsman: The Secret Service ahead.

Almost immediately after Kingsman: The Secret Service became a surprise hit last year, talk of a sequel began, and one of the things director Matthew Vaughn said was that he was working on ways to get Colin Firth's Harry Hart character to return, despite killing him off in brutal fashion with a point-blank headshot in the first movie. Some time went by, and THR released a report about a month ago that mentioned their sources told them that idea had been thrown out altogether and that Firth wouldn't be coming back. 

But today, actor Taron Egerton took to Twitter to share the new poster for Kingsman: The Golden Circle, and it's pretty damn obvious that it refers to Firth's return:

When I heard the recent report that Firth wouldn't be back to reprise his role, I must admit that I felt a little relieved. Don't get me wrong, I loved his character in the first movie, but Vaughn's going to have to come up with a stroke of genius for audiences to be able to buy the fact that Harry survived that gunshot wound. It will also do The Avengers/Coulson thing and retroactively robs the first movie of some of the impact of that moment upon rewatching it, so I hope it's worth it. Vaughn did an excellent job with the first movie, so I have my fingers crossed that he'll be able to knock it out of the park again with the sequel. With people like Julianne Moore and Halle Berry along for the ride this time, hopefully that'll make it a little easier for him.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle hits theaters on June 16, 2017.

Pixar’s Newest Short Film, PIPER, is One of Their Best Yet

Pixar has been making short films since 1984, long before the company evolved into the animation studio powerhouse it’s known as today. Two of those shorts have won Academy Awards, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see their newest short add one more statue to the company’s shelves.

It’s called Piper, and it’s one of the best movies to come out of the studio in years (and that’s including feature-length projects). When I attended a press junket in Monterey, California to learn about Pixar’s upcoming feature Finding Dory, Piper director Alan Barillaro showed off a version of the film that seemed mostly finished except for the original score, which still needed to be added.

The title refers to sandpipers, those little birds at the beach that dig in the sand for food before darting out of the way of oncoming waves on the shore. The story involves an adorable little sandpiper (pictured above, via EW), and in typical Pixar fashion, it learns a valuable lesson about overcoming its fear and embracing the aspect of its personality that makes it unique. It’s a gorgeous piece of work, and while the short was definitely “cute” in the traditional sense, I thought it managed to avoid falling into the “cutesy” territory that made Lava so cheesy.

Barillaro spoke to us about how this film’s development diverged from the traditional path at the studio:

“This was a little different from a standard Pixar short. What was different about it was we usually start with an idea, and then that goes into the development of story, and that hatches into this larger story and you pitch and work with development. In my case, I had a different idea. I’ve been at Pixar for about eighteen years, more than half of that as a lead [animator], and I had all of these ideas with tools and technology. Out of these tests and working with our software engineers, the story of Piper unfolded. From the get-go, even though I knew I was doing a lot of technical tests, I wanted to have a story, because a story always constrains our ideas and breaks it out of theory and you actually have to practically do certain things. We learned that long ago. Pixar has always had a history of innovations in shorts, where shorts take risks, and I really felt very compelled to do so with this short. I wanted to take risks and try a bunch of different things.”

Using the crow from Brave as a test model, he quickly realized that he and his team needed to get down on the level of an actual sand piper to accurately recreate their world on the big screen, so they went out to the beach with tons of different lenses and cameras trying to figure out how to make the film look like it had a documentary style to it. “What does the world feel like when you’re four inches tall?” he wondered. “We’re down there getting the cameras [situated], and there’s nothing like actually being around these birds to start affecting our type of storytelling as well as acting choices and design.”

Using the art of Norman Rockwell as inspiration, he and his team made the decision to shape and design every single blade of grass in order to serve the story and the character. The water in this film also serves as a major obstacle for the protagonist, and Barillaro took a different approach to creating that, too:

“As an animator, I can only look at things as characters, so I felt the wave was a character as well. In order to get this image, it’s very common that you’d just run a simulation of waves and time that. But to me, if the wave is a character, the timing matters [down] to the frame, as an animator. So we did something very different: we hand-animated all of the waves in animation so we could caricature the timing…we kind of ran with this idea. We caricatured everything — even bubbles. I remember when the effects department was saying, ‘Should we do the bubbles? We can do bubbles.’ And I said, ‘Everybody should do bubbles.’ Animation did bubbles — we were all in the same review room — ‘Let’s just see which bubble looks the coolest. Which one could we caricature?’ This ended up being a first, as far as I know: an animator shaping the bubbles, twelve separate sculpts that he’s built, like a sculpture, and we’re referencing that. Not only that, he would give that to the simulation technical director, and you’re seeing some effects bubbles mixed in with this, so we ended up having this beautiful collaboration of many different styles.”

His attention to detail didn’t stop at waves and grass: there were four to seven million feathers on the birds that needed to be animated, all to create the feeling that these were realistic creatures interacting with their environment in a realistic fashion. “At the end of the day, I want the audience to believe in the character and when they’re down at the beach, remember and have that reference point.” But he wasn't overly concerned with photorealism:

“It was less about photo-real and more about the believability of the world and some of the textural elements, and how we would shoot that…I always love being in a position where I’m slightly fearful of like, ‘How are we going to do this? Can we do an acting scene without using [the character’s] hands?’ You don’t go for the easy choices. It was a real fun experiment. Daunting, to say you’re going to animate feathers and hand that to animators and say, ‘Yeah, would you like to animate millions of feathers?’ but when we started seeing the results, it made us excited and it felt like we were doing something unique.”

For the first year of development, Barillaro was given the freedom to just work on the tools side of things to even see if such a story could be told using the technology available to him. (Can you imagine any other company but Pixar giving an employee free reign to just develop something with no promise that they'd get results? That would be unheard of anywhere else.) Once he cracked the story and they figured out how to bring it to life, most of the production was done in one year, with some of the animators working double duty on Finding Dory and Piper at the same time.

Thankfully, all of their hard work paid off. Piper is a wonderful short, and I can’t wait to see it with a completed score in front of Finding Dory on June 17, 2016.

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg Bringing THE BOYS To Cinemax

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have been working for years to bring an adaptation of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's Preacher to the small screen, and they're about to make that happen when the show premieres on May 22nd. But now they've locked down a different TV show adaptation of another Ennis comic book for a different network: Deadline reports that the guys will adapt The Boys into a TV series for Cinemax.

There was a report a few months ago about the writer/director/producers trying to sell this to networks, and this announcement validates that report. Here's the plot synopsis for The Boys in case you're unfamiliar with it:

This is going to hurt! In a world where costumed heroes soar through the sky and masked vigilantes prowl the night, someone’s got to make sure the “supes” don’t get out of line. And someone will! Billy Butcher, Wee Hughie, Mother’s Milk, The Frenchman, and The Female are The Boys: A CIA-backed team of very dangerous people, each one dedicated to the struggle against the most dangerous force on Earth – superpower! Some superheroes have to be watched. Some have to be controlled. And some of them – sometimes – need to be taken out of the picture. That’s when you call in The Boys!

Sounds very similar to Powers and Suicide Squad, but I'm hoping Rogen and Goldberg will be able to put a fresh spin on it. Adam McKay was in talks to make a film version of this comic a few years ago with Simon Pegg and Russell Crowe attached to star, but they could never get the studio to sign off on a script. Fast & Furious producer Neil Moritz is producing, Supernatural's Eric Kripke will write, and Rogen and Goldberg will direct the pilot. Damn...am I going to have to subscribe to Cinemax now?

An Early Look at Pixar’s FINDING DORY

In early March, Disney invited me and a handful of other writers to fly to Monterey Bay, California, and attend an early press event for Pixar’s newest film, Finding Dory. Why Monterey? Because it’s the site of one of the world’s coolest aquariums, where a lot of the Dory team did hands-on research for the movie, and it serves as the inspiration for a major location in the new movie. We spent two days checking out the aquarium and talking to the filmmakers about revisiting and expanding the world of Finding Nemo, how they brought the story to life, and much more.

“Nobody plans to make a sequel thirteen years later. It’s a product of character love,” director Andrew Stanton told us. Here’s the full story about how the idea for this movie came to be, straight from the man who dreamed it up:

“For me, nobody was going to do anything unless the filmmaker offered up one day that they want to do it and they had an idea. I knew that if I said the words “Finding…” anything, it would start a snowball. So I was very cautious. In 2010, I had a notion about wanting to resolve Dory’s issues and there might be a whole story worth talking about with her there, but I waited until I think late 2012 to say it out loud to anybody, even internally, because it was too loaded…I like that it came kind of naturally. I want anything that I work on to come as honestly as possible. Somebody was asking earlier and I didn’t think I knew what sparked it, but I think it was around 2010 I had to watch Nemo again. I hadn’t watched it since it came out — I don’t usually watch my films for a long time afterwards because I just see all the work — but then I get curious if enough time passes, and it’s usually five plus years, and you’re just like, ‘OK, maybe I’ll have the slightest chance of seeing this how other people saw it.’ And I had to watch Nemo for something, and I think that’s what got my brain going again, and ultimately, some time later, I thought of the Dory idea.
But there’s no strategy. The only strategy you can give to Pixar is that we’re story-driven, and the stories come from so many different ways and sparks and manners, whether they’re original or not. They’re all original when you’re thinking them as a story standpoint because they’re all just ingredients that possibly could make a new food that you haven’t discovered yet. So you don’t really see it as an extension. If anything, you’re already loaded with a couple of key ingredients, but very quickly you’re back to square one like everything else, like, ‘Now what do we do with these ingredients?’”

Early in our trip, Stanton showed us a few scenes from the movie, including the film’s opening thirteen minutes. As someone who liked Finding Nemo but has only revisited it once or twice in the decade-plus since it came out, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get sucked back into that undersea world. Much like the beginning of Nemo, Dory’s opening sequence is pretty heart-wrenching, but Stanton asked that we not spoil it in order to preserve the surprise for audiences. So I’ll pick up just after that, when the movie briefly crosses over with Finding Nemo and shows the scene in which Dory and Marlin meet for the first time. That crossover only lasts a few seconds, though, and we quickly cut ahead to one year after the adventure of the original film, catching up with Dory as she tags along with Marlin and Nemo on a field trip to see a passing stingray migration. As Mr. Ray teaches Nemo’s class about the instinct of going home, Dory is suddenly hit with flashes of memories of her parents, who she hasn’t seen in years. Of course, she quickly forgets most of what she just remembered, but something has stuck this time: she can’t quite retain the specifics, but she knows she misses her family, and that’s the impetus for her quest to track them down. (You’ll get the gist of this by watching the trailers.)

We saw a few other scenes, too. In one, we meet a new character named Hank, a septopus (he only has seven tentacles) voiced by Modern Family’s Ed O’Neill who camouflages and humorously slinks his way around a research facility called Marine Life Institute and ends up helping Dory — though he appears to have ulterior motives. In the best sequence of all the ones we were shown, Hank and Dory end up inside a touch pool at an aquarium section of the institute, with kids plunging their hands into the water and poking and grabbing at all of the terrified creatures unfortunate enough to be in that exhibit. The scene is played like a horror movie, with lots of yelling and hiding; the best shot is of a starfish clawing at the ground and screaming as it’s being dragged off into the shadows, like it’s being pulled into the darkness by some unholy demon. We also meet Destiny, a nearsighted whale shark voiced by It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Kaitlin Olson who was friends with Dory years earlier, and a beluga whale named Bailey voiced by Modern Family’s Ty Burrell, who is convinced his ability to echolocate is busted. Marlin and Nemo weren’t present in most of the footage we saw, but fans shouldn’t worry too much: Stanton said they’re an “essential” part of the movie.

One of the big mantras that the director stressed to his crew, though, was that this is first and foremost Dory’s movie, and he wanted the audience to emotionally be with her on the journey she takes in the story. Cinematographer Jeremy Lasky explains: “One of the ways we handled that is that the audience discovers the Marine Life Institute along with Dory. Meaning, rather than having a bunch of establishing shots and explanation, we’re dropped in that tank right with her and we learn information as she learns it.” Lighting artist Ian Megibben chimed in: “On a similar note, we also worked to de-emphasize characters that are not Dory. The humans in the movie were often treated as framing devices, or in lighting, we would throw them into silhouette. This was all an effort to de-emphasize the humans as characters and really point the story back towards Dory.” The production design reflected this mantra in subtle ways, too; they created safe, round edges in the familiar reef in the beginning of the film and gradually moved into harsher angles and straight lines in the institute as Dory got further out of her element. The movie was also “shot” with a CG camera that simulated the effect of a 35mm film camera, but some sections (like the reef and things from Dory’s POV) were mainly shot with a 16mm camera to accentuate the fact that Dory is a tiny fish in an immense world. Again, this is all stuff that the average viewer won’t pick up on, but it’s part of the very smart way that the Pixar filmmakers go about making movies: every decision serves either character or story.

But just because the whole movie is created in a computer doesn’t mean it’s any easier than a typical film shoot. The film has just under 1300 total shots, and the filmmakers averaged about 70 takes per shot (one particularly complicated shot took 146 takes to get right). Earlier in the process, the story team generated over 103,000 storyboards, with reviews from John Lasseter and the Pixar brain trust every four months, to get things in order. That process lasted three and a half years.

Co-director Angus MacLane and story supervisor Max Brace walked us through the touch pool sequence, which — with its depiction of what the audience considers normal behavior, only told from a different perspective — loosely recalled the terrifying onslaught of toddlers playing with the toys in Toy Story 3’s Sunnyside Daycare. It was very cool: Brace drew out storyboards for us as MacLane simulated the act of offering notes, which really gave us a good feel of what it’d be like to be in the room as these artists slowly pare the story down to its essential parts.

Considering Dory’s memory, Nemo’s fin, Hank’s missing tentacle, Destiny’s nearsightedness, and Bailey’s broken echolocation, the idea of the movie being a metaphor for living with a disability isn’t lost on the filmmakers. I asked director Andrew Stanton and producer Lindsey Collins about that reading of the movie:

Collins: “The disability thing has always been kind of an undercurrent there, and it’s been an interesting one because it’s been more about the fact that nobody else sees Dory that way. I think when they describe Dory, they say, ‘Oh, she suffers from short-term memory loss and she’s hilarious and she’s super funny and everybody loves her’ and all of these things, and it’s kind of low on the list of things, though it is a super defining characteristic for her. So we didn’t want to fix it. That was number one. We debated it — we were like, ‘Is this something where she gets better?’ But we were like, ‘No. It’s too much of who she is. It’s fundamental to her, so we’re not trying to fix her.’ Then it became about, OK, if we’re not trying to fix her, how do we give her enough of a memory to keep her going through the film with a goal in mind, and that’s obviously when you look at a lot of your supporting characters to help out with that.
It all kind of came together in different phases, but each one of those characters has something: Bailey’s echolocation doesn’t work, and Destiny can’t see very well, and Hank is a septopus, and Nemo has a little fin. What I kind of love about it is that Dory doesn’t talk about really any of it. They all kind of confess those things to her, but she says, ‘I think you swim beautifully. Anyway…’ and she kind of moves on. The only person she apologizes for in the beginning is herself. So unintentionally, it was more about making sure that by the end of this film, she’s not apologizing for herself. She treats her own challenges the same way she treats everybody else’s, which is to not even [make a big deal about them].”
Stanton: “That was sort of the universal thing to me. I always thought she was more of a metaphor for everybody’s got a flaw, or everybody’s got something quirky about themselves that they see as a flaw, but oftentimes it’s their very strength, their superpower. It’s more about how they look at themselves and how they approach things and embrace that quirkiness about them that makes them move forward and conquer life a little bit more, and be more independent and self-sufficient.”

They also spoke about the legacy of not only this movie, but of all Pixar films:

Collins: "Andrew was saying the other day, ‘I feel like sometime soon, in ten years or five years, there are going to be a generation of kids that watch [Pixar] films totally out of order.’ There’s not going to be the knowledge of ’This one came first, and then that one, and that one,’ which is how we all think about it now because we’re all in it."
Stanton: "We treat it like baseball, like ‘That’s that person’s record.’ But in ten years, nobody’s going to give a squat about it. They’re just going to go, ‘I watched this, and I watched that, and I watched that.’ And this will be all just air."
Collins: "Which is cool, I think, because what that suggests is that it’s a level playing field and there isn’t an outcome we’re all striving for. It’s its own thing. You have to feel like we’re doing this for the movie, and then we need to be done and see what the next movie’s going to be."
Stanton: "We used to say this when we were trying to figure out who we wanted to be after Toy Story — I remember saying this a lot — the only thing that got us through Toy Story was because we didn’t think we were going to get to do it again. We knew the technology better than anybody, and we knew that it was going to be the ugliest picture we ever made, and we knew that it would look limited much sooner than anybody would want it to. So we said, ‘What are the films that are so clearly technologically limited, but we still watch?’ And it was The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, and Snow White, I think. We said, ‘It’s because of the story. We’re going to be all of our eggs in the story basket.’ Then I remember when we were in that world, we took a broad view and thinking this was our one shot, we used to say ‘We’re in it for the grandkids, not the kids.’ Meaning I’m actually in this for the long ball. I’m hoping that it will go past one generation to the next without any of the hoopla of [it being] the first computer animated movie ever, the genre changing — if you strip all of that away and the context of everything in the world changes and this is just found on a chip somewhere, will it be watched? That was our phrase ‘We’re in it for the grandkids instead of the kids’ [came from]. That worked for us so well, it’s basically been our rule ever since."

At the end of Finding Nemo, the director thought he had told a complete story that wouldn’t need to be revisited. But as you read above, the question of whether Dory would be all right eventually spurred him to make this movie to answer it. As for whether or not Dory, Nemo, and Marlin might return in even more adventures beyond this sequel, Stanton is doubtful, but doesn’t rule it out. “I really do think now it’s a closed circuit, but who knows? I’ve eaten those words [before].”

Finding Dory hits theaters on June 17, 2016.