We have a couple of updates from Shudder regarding two new exclusives in The Last Thing Mary Saw and Superhost. We’ve got descriptions, images, and a trailer to share, so let’s dive in.
AMC Networks’ Shudder Acquires Period Horror The Last Thing Mary Saw Ahead of World Premiere at Fantasia Festival
NEW YORK – August 11, 2021 – Shudder, AMC Networks’ premium streaming service for horror, thriller and the supernatural, has acquired the period horror feature The Last Thing Mary Saw ahead of its August 15 world premiere at Fantasia International Film Festival. Shudder will release the film, which is written and directed by Edoardo Vitaletti, in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand in early 2022.
Said Craig Engler, general manager of Shudder, “We are excited to bring Edoardo’s chilling and unique directorial debut to Shudder. Full of twists and turns that will keep viewers guessing until the very end and featuring an immensely talented cast and crew, The Last Thing Mary Saw is a gripping tale we can’t wait to share with our members.”
“It is such an honor to join Shudder’s incredible slate of films. For years they have been raising the bar for thought-provoking genre storytelling, and I’m thrilled to partner with them in releasing The Last Thing Mary Saw”, added writer-director Edoardo Vitaletti.
The Last Thing Mary Saw begins in Southold, New York, 1843: Young Mary (Stefanie Scott, Insidious: Chapter 3), blood trickling from behind the blindfold tied around her eyes, is interrogated about the events surrounding her grandmother’s death. As the story jumps back in time, we witness Mary, raised in a repressively religious household, finding fleeting happiness in the arms of Eleanor (Isabelle Fuhrman, Orphan), the home’s maid. Her family, who believe they are seeing, speaking, and acting on God’s behalf, view the girls’ relationship as an abomination, to be dealt with as severely as possible. The couple attempt to carry on in secret, but someone is always watching, or listening, and the wages of perceived sin threaten to become death, with the tension only heightened by the arrival of an enigmatic stranger (Rory Culkin, Waco, Halston) and the revelation of greater forces at work.
The acquisition deal was negotiated by Emily Gotto and Samuel Zimmerman on behalf of Shudder and XYZ Films (Pip Ngo, Nate Bolotin) and CAA Media Finance on behalf of the filmmaker.
The Last Thing Mary Saw is produced by Isen Robbins and Aimee Schoof (Tesla, Blue Caprice) of Intrinsic Value Films, Harrison Allen and Madeleine Schumacher of Arachnid Films, Stephen Tedeschi (Blue Caprice) and Executive Produced by Scoop Wasserstein (The Outfit). The film will have its world premiere virtually August 15 as part of the 25th Fantasia International Film Festival, which kicked off August 5 as a hybrid event with in-person screenings in Montreal, Quebec and the virtual slate geo-locked to Canada. Following Fantasia, the film will have its UK premiere August 28 at FrightFest in London.
We also have some news about another Shudder acquisition for next month, Superhost!
Superhost Checks Into Shudder September 2nd
NEW YORK – August 12, 2021 – Shudder, AMC Networks’ premium streaming service for horror, thriller and the supernatural, will release Superhost, written and directed by Brandon Christensen (Z, Still/Born), in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand on September 2.
“Led by Gracie Gillam’s unshackled and wildly fun performance, Superhost is an unexpected, darkly humorous new terror from Brandon Christensen,” said Craig Engler, general manager of Shudder. “Following Still/Born and Z, we’re thrilled Brandon remains in the Shudder family, and are eagerly anticipating creeping out our members’ long weekends.”
Said writer and director Brandon Christensen, “I’m incredibly excited for horror fans to check out my newest film Superhost on Shudder. Superhost will stay with you long after the credits and have you rethink staying in a complete stranger’s house.”
In Superhost, travel vloggers Teddy (Osric Chau, Supernatural) and Claire (Sara Canning, Nancy Drew) share their experiences in and around vacation homes with their subscribers while maintaining a moderate level of internet fame. When their follower count starts to dwindle, they pivot to creating viral content around their most recent host, Rebecca (Gracie Gillam, Z Nation). With all eyes turned towards their “superhost,” Rebecca, they slowly start to realize something isn’t right and as they investigate further, they unlock a horrifying truth.
Written and directed by Christensen the film stars Chau, Canning, Gillam and Barbara Crampton (Jakob’s Wife). Superhost is produced by Kurtis David Harder (Spiral), Christensen, and Chau. Chris Scordo, Darren Sivertsen, Ty Sivertsen, Jon Robinson and Rob Preston serve as executive producers.
Superhost will world premiere Saturday, August 14 at Popcorn Frights in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Check out the trailer below.
What do you think about these additions to the Shudder lineup? Let us know in the comments!
A horror author goes to Nebula Con
The Science Fiction, Fantasy Writers Association is one of the most prestigious organizations in America for speculative fiction writers. While horror is not specifically mentioned, we all know that it’s nearly impossible to discuss fantasy and science fiction without the shadow of horror creeping in.
Each year, SFWA hosts a convention for writers called Nebula Con. I have virtually attended the convention for the past two years. And if you’ve never attended, you might want to consider it. Even if your writing, like mine, is long in the shadows and short on the elves.
First off, I do want to be clear that Nebula Con is a convention for speculative fiction writers. There are some fan panels, like the one on the works of Robin McKinley, this year’s Grandmaster. But the majority of the panels and events are for writers.
That being said, there are panels for writers at every stage of their careers.
For writers interested in crafting better stories, craft panels abound. My favorite panel was the one titled For The Love of Short Fiction. This panel started with a reading of some of the best short works from 2022. Then, each panelist dug into what made that piece work for them.
There were several other terrific panels, including one all about constructing a realistic legal system in your fictional world and writing fictional podcasts. (Like I do.)
But, you might say, these are panels for sci-fi and fantasy writers. No, these are panels for speculative fiction writers. Horror authors who want to have any kind of career would do well to master the short story. And if you don’t think there’s room for some legal horror in the market, you are wrong.
While the craft panels were wonderful, the career and marketing panels were probably the most useful and valuable of the whole convention. Are you, like many other online creatives, worried about the effects AI-generated writing is going to have on our field? There were two informative panels regarding that. Are you wondering how writers’ relationships with agents have changed now that self-publishing is so prevalent? There’s a panel for that.
A lot is going on in the publishing world. It’s confusing as hell, my friends. And one of the ways we keep each other up to date is with conventions like this. What I got out of the panel most was that having a career in writing is possible. My fellow participants and I learned from writers who are doing the thing. It’s hard, but it’s possible.
Of course, a convention is more than just panels. There’s the chance to meet with other authors. This might be where a virtual convention seems to have a deficit. And while I’ll admit that meeting online isn’t the same as meeting in person, there are certainly perks. I was able to meet, chat with and share stories with other writers in a Zoom chat room. And I came away feeling much like I did as a kid, having met new friends at summer camp. Even if I wasn’t sitting across from them, it was great to be surrounded by other people who want to make a living scaring the hell out of other people.
All of this writing joy culminates with the Nebula Awards Ceremony. If you’re interested in catching the awards but didn’t make it to the convention this year, you can watch it all on Youtube. Each year speculative fiction authors of all kinds of honored, from written work to gaming to television. This year’s toastmaster was Cheryl Platz, an author, and actress. As a critic, awards ceremonies are usually something I usually force my way through. The Nebula Awards are a rare treat in that scene. Partially because there’s a chance I’ve met the people up for the awards. But also because the people involved are, first and foremost, writers. It’s amazing how much more entertaining events are when the people being honored are, you know, talented storytellers.
If you’ve been on the fence about attending Nebula Con virtually, I suggest giving it a try. The world certainly needs more stories that go bump in the night.
Crashin’ in Roswell NM: Road Trippin’ with Jennifer Weigel
So on my recent road trip to Miami AZ USA for my menstruation art installation, we decided to detour to Roswell NM en route home. To be honest, this was one of the best decisions of my life, up there with road trippin’ from Arizona to San Francisco along CA-Highway 1, and I will go into the details of why here soon.
Roswell NM USA has totally embraced its alien history of the UFO crash in the late 1940s and subsequent government cover up. The whole town is alien-happy with beautiful hand carved wood totems, murals and statues everywhere celebrating otherworldly denizens of all types, though predominantly the gray aliens of the crash (and their green counterparts). Even the city logo features a flying saucer as the center of the letter “R”. It really is kind of incredible.
One of the biggest draws is the International UFO Museum and Research Center, housed in the wonderful old theater building. This museum details the crash history as well as celebrating aliens in movies and media and examining newer alien sightings and abductions. It is very thorough and includes maquettes, statues, written accounts and an extensive research library, as well as an interesting art collection of various items.
And there are TONS of fun alien themed curiosity shops. I will give a shout out to the newer Invasion Station north on Main Street where there had once been an old car dealership. I love the quirky nature of this particular store as well as their strong desire to promote local artists. Most of their wares are hand-painted in NM and feature designs by prominent local artists including one of the lead muralists in town (I bought a magnet of his). They also feature really alternative kitsch like KISS and Ace Frehley alien bobbleheads, marijuana and anal references, and such. All in all, our own Haunted MTL’s kinda folks…
And the city is a huge tourist draw internationally, so you can meet some amazing and interesting folks from all walks of life who have caught the alien bug or at least want to check out all the hype. As a result of the tourism, the residents seem really laid back and accommodating (kind of like Hawaii but not quite as much) and there is a thriving art scene. And it’s totally my kind of art – weird and a little creepy. Anyway, I feel like I’ve finally found my peeps and am eager to return someday.
If you’re feeling a bit extraterrestrial, I invite you to also check out some of my alien-themed stories here on Haunted MTL: LTD UFOs among us; my Drive-By short story; and LTD Abducted.
American Horror Story Season 12, Delicate
Killer Queens, I wasn’t expecting to be back so soon with American Horror Story info. But yesterday we were blessed with a teaser for the intro of Season 12, which we believe will be titled Delicate.
We are looking at a Summer release for season twelve, but won’t know for sure until June, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Here’s what we know right now.
First, yes Kim Kardashian is starring alongside Emma Roberts in a role that was written specifically for her.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that AHS favorites will also be involved. According to IMBD, Charlie Carver, Rebecca Dayan, Cody Fern, Leslie Grossman, Billie Lourd, and Denis O’Hare will be included this season.
AHS Delicate is different from other seasons in many other ways. It’s the first season to ever be written by just one writer, Halley Feiffer. This isn’t a writer most of us as horror fans will be familiar with. She’s written episodes of shows like Kidding, SMILF, and American Crime Story. The last one can at least be seen as a sister show to AHS.
As far as I have found, Feiffer has never written horror content. She is now the sole writer for an entire season of the most popular horror show in America. I’m not saying this is a bad thing. It’s just not what I would have expected. Most AHS writers are staff writers, actors from the show, or at least people I’ve heard of. So as we don’t have any former work to look at, we can only wait to see how she does.
We also know what the source material is for this season. It’s a book called Delicate Condition, by Danielle Valentine. This book will be released in August of this year. Which also seemed strange to me. Normally a book would be, you know, published before it inspires additional work.
Even so, Delicate Condition seems like a fascinating story. According to Goodreads, it’s the story of a woman named Anna. Anna is trying to get pregnant but starts to believe that something dark is working against her. Her doctors don’t believe her. Her husband doesn’t believe her. Is she losing her mind?
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t deeply interested in this book. And I have to assume that Feiffer and Murphy already have hands on it, to jump to this sort of decision.
By the way, Valentine at least is not an untested writer. Her first novel, How To Survive Your Murder, also made it right on my TBR pile. With a rating of 3.7 out of 4 on Goodreads, I think we can assume Valentine knows what she’s doing with the written word.
This is all that we know about American Horror Story Delicate so far. What follows are my thoughts and opinions only.
My first thought is that this season is going to be dealing heavily with women’s reproductive rights. This is a topic a lot of us are concerned about right now, as it feels like every day women lose more and more rights to our bodies.
(By the way, if you want to help fight the good fight for body autonomy and get some spooky stories, we have an anthology for that. I have a story in it, as does the horrifyingly talented Jennifer Weigel. All proceeds go to support organizations that help women make their own health decisions.)
American Horror Story has handled important political issues before. Last season, AHS NYC discussed the AIDs epidemic that went largely ignored in the 80s and killed hundreds of young gay men. They did this in the best way possible, in what this critic believes to be the only way fiction should handle heavy topics. They rooted the issue in a good story. A story that was pure fiction, but also true.
However, this season has a lot of red flags. Never before have I seen the guest star be the main focus so early. Never have I seen any franchise bank so much faith in an all but untested writer, basing work on a book that isn’t even published. And frankly, I’ve never been much of a fan of Kim K, or anyone else who’s famous seemingly just for being famous.
I’m not rooting for this season to fail just because I don’t like the guest star. If Kardashian is good at this, I’ll be thrilled. I’ll be the first one singing her praises. But when everything we know so far is added up, I’m a lot more concerned about AHS Delicate than I am excited.