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Baby, It’s Cold Outside: The Sub-Zero Terror of Winter Isolation



winter isolation

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, apparently, which for a lot of us (writing from the winter wasteland of Canada here) means stocking up, hunkering down, and trying to get from point A to point B with all extremities frostbite-free.

Winter is a pain in the ass as is, but when your only safe haven from freezing temperatures is suddenly compromised by a mysterious and murderous force, well, damn. That is problematic.

The terror of extended winter isolation is a theme throughout the horror genre – as seen in The Shining, The Thing, Pod, 30 Days of Night, and Black Mountain Side – but it usually acts as a component of the action rather than the catalyst.

There’s an added monstrous feature – whether human or something more overtly sinister – that jump-starts the fear that has already been creeping through the cold and oppressive atmosphere.

Arctic abandonment is an answer to the obvious solutions of “Why don’t you just leave?” or “Call for help!” in a way that is far more believable and understandable than “Oh no my phone isn’t working in the middle of this forest that is probably about a half hour away from civilization”.

Communication is complicated, running to a neighbor’s house is actually impossible, and paranoia is at an all-time-high when you’ve got nothing to do but sit around and suspect everyone else of foul play. Danger could very well be lurking around every corner, and frankly, there aren’t many places to hide.

A classic example of winter-themed horror is Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Isolation goes hand-in-hand with paranoia – it ends up being more of a warning sign for the audience than the characters directly involved. When the hotel is occupied and busy it is non-threatening, but as soon as the Torrance family is left alone with the reminder that no-one is there to help them, shit goes a bit sideways.

There’s a healthy combination of internal and external factors – Jack Torrance brings his owns issues in but the Overlook Hotel certainly stirs the pot – and the extended period of seclusion puts a lot of pressure on an already difficult scenario.

A relatively recent example of sub-zero horror is Nick Szostakiwskyj’s Black Mountain Side. The setup is simple but the results are effective; A group working at an archeological site in Northern Canada unearth a bizarre structure and are plagued with odd illness, malfunctioning communications equipment, and hallucinations that guide them to paranoia and violence.

It’s an excellent love letter to John Carpenter’s The Thing, skillfully made with a great tracking shot to start the film’s climax. The extended moments of calm are pierced by violent discoveries that give a swift kick to the pacing – though the film doesn’t waste any time in kicking off the plot points.

The distrust that builds between the characters is well played – as some of the workers retreat early, the remaining group tries to hold out to get the job done, but it’s clear they’re starting to fray – and the breaks between scenes to demonstrate the passing of time give a good sense of how quickly things can turn.

There are some beautiful establishing shots at the opener that show just how remote they are (in Northern Canada, no one can hear you scream). The ending is abrupt and bleak to echo the stark landscape. It’s a new winter staple for me and it definitely makes me feel better about bundling up to seek out rations. I mean, things could be a lot worse.

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‘Sweet Home’ Returns After Two Years For a Bloody Season 2



On December 1, the long-awaited Netflix show Sweet Home returned for season 2. If you aren’t familiar with this South Korean gore-fest, you’re not alone. But it is a popular series for fans who have followed the webtoon. It’s also had a two-year hiatus in between seasons with another one reportedly in the works.

The series follows, “Hyun, a loner high school student who lost his entire family in a terrible accident, is forced to leave his home and has to face a new reality where monsters are trying to wipe out all of humanity. Now he must fight against all odds to try and race against the clock to save what is left of the human race before it’s too late.”

Sweet Home S2 (L to R) Lee Si-young as Seo Yi-kyung, Song Kang as Cha Hyun-su in Sweet Home S2 Cr. kim Jeong Won/Netflix © 2023

Season two takes place in “A world where desire turns monstrous. The Green Home survivors and Hyun-su each fight to survive in new places, while other beings and mysterious phenomena emerge. New desires and more struggles unfold in this Netflix series.”

The first series was among one of Netflix’s highest-rated shows after its release. Praise went to its astounding special effects and character development. But many called out the lackluster tone in the final episodes of season one. Hopefully season two recaptures all the action, gore, and suspense that made the first such a favorite.

Season One Trailer:

Sweet Home: Season One

Season Two Trailer:

Sweet Home: Season 2
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‘Salem’s Lot’ Screenplay Writer Gary Dauberman Signs New Deal with Screen Gems and Sony Pictures



Gary Dauberman (The Nun) just signed himself up to create a bunch of new horror projects. It looks like Screen Gems and Sony Pictures are coming around to the idea that horror can be a lucrative endeavor. This new deal gives these two divisions a first look agreement for any future projects involving Gary Dauberman.

Gary Dauberman has made a name for himself recently as one of the modern masters of horror. He has an impressive catalog of horror flicks tied to his name. Some of the more notable flicks include The Nun II, IT Chapter Two, Swamp Thing, Annabelle, Wolves at the Door, and Within.

Salem's Lot Vampire
Salem’s Lot

Even with that impressive list of films behind him, most fans are excited to see what lies in his future. His upcoming titles include Salem’s Lot, Gargoyles, and The Last Train to New York. Fans have been ravenous for updates about Dauberman’s new reimagining of Salem’s Lot. Based on how well his work has done up until this point, I think they will be in for a good time.

Dauberman had the following to say about his new role with Screen Gems:

“I am thrilled to be part of the exciting new chapter of horror at Sony Pictures and Screen Gems. I’m truly inspired by Ashley’s energy, instincts, and vision for the genre space, and I thank Josh and Sanford for their trust and support, and their commitment to horror fans.”

These actions are taking place as Sony Pictures plans to revitalize Screen Gems. Sony intends to use Screen Gems to produce more horror films for a mainstream audience. And who can blame them for that? Putting out more horror with one of the best horror movie writers around sounds like a great idea. Here is hoping that Dauberman is up for the challenge.

That’s all the information we have on this deal at this time. Feel free to check out Dauberman’s full credit list here. As always, make sure to check back here for updates and all of your horror news.

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Director Adam Green Relays a Chilling True Story About the Ski Lift in ‘Frozen’



Just before director Adam Green announced the DVD release of his festival hit Victor Crowley back in 2018, he gave fans a behind-the-scenes tale about another one of his films; Frozen.

As we approach the 14th anniversary of that movie, we thought we would rewind a bit and re-share what he said about his experience on Frozen; his most successful film to date.

In Frozen a group of friends get stuck on a ski lift high above the ground in the middle of a snowstorm and try to figure out how to get down.

The film is not based on a true story, but there is an eerie coincidence as he tells it attached to the film’s location, and he may have had a premonition while riding the lift before cameras even started rolling.

“[We] finally came over these trees and there it was,” conveys Adam while scouting exteriors 50 feet above the ground. “There was the spot and instead of me saying ‘This is where we should shoot the movie,’ for some reason I said ‘This is where they die,’ and the chair just stopped- stopped! And I thought the representative of the mountain was like f***ing with us or something, but no it stopped.”

Adam says he excused the sudden halt to the wind or something else; it’s no rare occurrence that ski lifts stop without warning, but he says it was still really eerie and what was only a few minutes of hanging there in mid-air, felt like an hour.

Here’s the strange part,  as he was shooting the movie he found out from lift operators that someone had taken their own life with a firearm in that exact same location. They even showed a member of the crew the alleged chair that had the bullet hole in it.

Thinking it was still just a rumor, or a local urban legend Adam did more investigating. It wasn’t until Sundance that Adam got confirmation the death was real.

“Somebody in the audience raised their hand, and…said the person’s name. It was a true story, someone did die there. After that point my editor and I started going through all the footage trying to see if there was another voice on the audio or can you see anything.” They didn’t.

However chilling that story is we’d still love to hear if there was ever a conversation with Disney about using them using the name Frozen for their animated hit which came out three years later.

We sadly assume Disney won’t be doing a princess musical about Victor Cowley anytime soon, so we know that copyright is safe.

Green talks about his ski lift premonition at 11:38 in the video below:


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