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“Contagion” Vs. “Outbreak,” Which is Scarier?



"Contagion" Warner Bros.

Like the rest of you, I am holed up in my office at home because of the novel coronavirus, and just to make myself more panicked I decided to watch both Contagion and Outbreak in a double feature and lived to tell you which one I think is the scariest.

Contagion is streaming on Cinemax for subscribers and Outbreak is available on Netflix. Both can be rented on Prime.


"Outbreak" starring Dustin Hoffman

Warner Bros.

As you would expect at a time in pandemic world history–the likes recent generations have never seen before–Contagion and Outbreak have become popular re-watches not only for their depictions of real-life horror but to see how a pandemic actually happens and I can say both movies are pretty spot-on as far as protocol, but there is a standout that offers a more realistic, and scarier, scenario.

Let’s start with Outbreak, a big-budget potboiler with more Academy Award nominees per capita than a single section of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We’ve got Dustin Hoffman, Morgan Freeman, Renne Russo, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Donald Sutherland.

Hoffman plays Colonel Sam Daniels a ballsy member of the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) who’s investigating an icky viral outbreak in Zaire.

Things happen.

The virus-carrying capuchin monkey from Friends is abducted for the black market but manages to escape into the California redwoods but not before infecting his warm-hearted captor (Patrick Dempsey) who has already infected a pet store owner.

A sneeze in a movie theater from an infected victim sprays droplets into the air which land in everyone’s popcorn thus a localized pandemic begins.

Outbreak is an action picture to be sure. When you consider the long list of action stars reportedly considered for the role Hoffman plays–Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, and Sylvester Stallon–this 1995 movie feels like Die Hard with the flu.

The movie doesn’t go too far beyond a small town pandemic in the same sort of way Arachnophobia did with spiders, but the effects of the illness are pretty disturbing with bleeding eyes, purulent facial pustules, and Joker-like death masks.


"Contagion" Warner Bros.

“Contagion” Warner Bros.

Contagion, on the other hand, gets too real in some spots, even mimicking what the world is going through right now with coronavirus. It has even more A-list stars to tell the story including Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Laurence Fishburne, and an unsettling cameo by Gwyneth Paltrow.

Like our current situation, the “novel” disease called MEV-1 is traced back to China. Both films explore the possibility that both germs are a part of a government coverup in which they would be used as bioweapons.

Contagion is a bit more modern in its storytelling too. Made in 2011, there are modern conveniences not really seen in Outbreak, so touching your cellphone can be a dangerous habit.

Where Contagion surpasses Outbreak is in its depiction of spreading the disease globally. The trail of the virus gets screentime by way of close-ups of an infected person breathing on someone else in a crowded casino, a man touching a handrail inside a public bus or an infected hospitality staff member who has touched everything in a hotel room.

Just like the headlines of today, there are shots of empty airports, unoccupied streets, and grocery store runs that leave the shelves picked bare.

Both films race toward a cure, Outbreak getting there a bit sooner thanks to a hasty script, Contagion lingers a bit taking us through public disorder, a holistic shill who says he can cure the world, and terrorists who try to steal the vaccine at the source.

“Contagion” (2011)

Final Thoughts

If you want a movie where the action takes center stage then Outbreak gets high marks for stunts involving helicopters and animal actors. The film serves up some realistic warnings about the spreading of diseases but loses some of its oomph when the female lead (spoiler) gets sick but unlike other victims, looks fabulous.

Contagion is more aggressive when it comes to storytelling. There is really no action sequences, but it delves into things people are experiencing now amid the COVID-19 pandemic; people profiting off fear, social distancing and the importance of washing your hands.

There is a montage sequence at the end titled “Day 1,” which takes us through how patient zero (Paltrow) was infected and just that piece of film alone sent chills down my spine.

Approach these films as cautionary tales; they both score well as pseudo-educational stories about the spread of disease. If you want pure entertainment, go with Outbreak, but if you like a little bit more paranoia in your isolation, go with Contagion.

Feel-Good Spoiler Alert

The good news in both films is that they find a cure for their respective diseases, so let’s ride this out, let the scientists do their work and enjoy a little me-time in the meantime.

Here are some helpful links related to COVID-19:

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‘Children of the Corn’ Adaptation Headed to Theaters and Shudder



It’s been almost 40 years since Linda Hamilton and Peter Horton got into it with “He who walks behind the rows,” in Fritz Kiersch’s Children of the Corn, based on a story by Stephen King.

Today, Deadline reports that director Kurt Wimmer’s film will finally get a theatrical release on March 3, with a Shudder streaming release on March 21. But don’t get too excited, because this isn’t a remake or even a reboot. Wimmer has said this version has “almost nothing to do” with King’s original short story or the ’84 movie.

“We went back to the story and free-associated from there,” the director told Variety.

You may also notice the dateline for production is 2020. It was big news at the time that Wimmer was going to shoot his movie in Australia during the height of the COVID pandemic. Through safety protocols including social distancing, they managed to get through it.

Producer Lucas Foster said at the time, “You can theorize all you like about safety protocols, but until you get on set, you don’t really know. But I can now tell you it is impossible to keep a camera crew 1.5 meters apart.”

This updated take on King’s short story doesn’t appear to involve a married couple on a road trip at all. Instead, it is an origin story about how all the adults in the small town met their murderous ends.

Children of the Corn follows a 12 year old girl in Nebraska who is possessed by a spirit in a dying cornfield. She recruits the other children in her small town to go on a bloody rampage and kill all the adults and anyone else who opposes her. A bright high schooler who won’t go along with the plan is the town’s only hope of survival.” — Deadline

Make sure to keep checking back to iHorror for the trailer once it drops. And let us know whether you like the concept of moving away from the original story, or if you would have liked it to follow King’s short story more closely.

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Drew Barrymore Welcomes Allison Williams By Dressing Up Like ‘M3GAN’




Allison Williams star of the breakout hit, M3GAN. The film has brought in a huge and unexpected amounts of money and continues to climb. Right now it is sitting at $125 million and counting. In order to welcome Williams, Barrymore got in full M3GAN gear and served up some dance moves, and acted out other qualities the doll brings to her home.

Barrymore hilariously begins to have technical difficulties with her contact lenses leading to a moment that rivals the contact lens malfunction in Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and that is saying a lot.

The synopsis for M3GAN goes like this:

“M3GAN is a marvel of artificial intelligence, a lifelike doll that’s programmed to be a child’s greatest companion and a parent’s greatest ally. Designed by Gemma, a brilliant roboticist, M3GAN can listen, watch and learn as it plays the role of friend and teacher, playmate and protector. When Gemma becomes the unexpected caretaker of her 8-year-old niece, she decides to give the girl an M3GAN prototype, a decision that leads to unimaginable consequences.

M3GAN is now playing in theaters everywhere.

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Wes Craven’s ‘Red Eye’ is Getting a 4K UHD Release



Red Eye

Wes Craven is a true master of horror. He gave us A Nightmare on Elm Street and a few other timeless classics. Right around the time he dove into Scream he also took flight with a big thriller that scored well with audiences who were all on the edge of their seats. Craven’s Red Eye did well at the box-office and had that word of mouth that kept it in theaters for weeks. Red Eye is now coming to 4K UHD and it is coming with some rad special features.

The synopsis for Red Eye goes like this:

“In the wake of her grandmother’s funeral, hotel manager Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) is waiting to fly back home when she meets charming Jackson Rippner (Cillian Murphy) at check-in. She thinks it luck that they’re seated together on the plane, but soon learns otherwise. Jackson hopes to assassinate the head of Homeland Security, but to do so, he needs Lisa to reassign the official’s room number at her hotel. As insurance, Jackson has kidnapped Lisa’s father (Brian Cox).

The special features for Red Eye break down like this:

The special features for Red Eye goes like this:

New 4K Restoration of the film

Dolby Vision/HDR Presentation of the film

NEW Audio commentary by editor Patrick Lussier

NEW Filmmaker Focus – Wes Craven and Red Eye

NEW Wes Craven: In His Own Words – Featurette

Audio commentary by Wes Craven, Producer Marianne Maddalena, and Editor Patrick Lussier

The Making of Red Eye – Featurette

Wes Craven: A New Kind of Thriller – Featurette

Gag Reel

Optional English SDH, English, Spanish, and French subtitles for the main feature

Collectible packaging featuring a foldout image of the film’s theatrical poster and an interior spread with key movie moments

Are you excited about Red Eye coming to 4K UHD? Paramount Home Media Distribution releases Craven’s classic on March 21.

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