HBO Taking a Ceno-Bite Out of the ‘Hellraiser’ Universe

New series based on famous horror film franchise mythology said to be in development at WarnerMedia’s famed premium network.

April showers bring May…Cenobites? That’s right, a TV show set in the famous Hellraiser universe is potentially in development at HBO. This will not be a reboot (thank the Devil), but rather a continuation and expansion of the already vast 10-movie franchise. Pinhead himself may even make a reappearance, but for now all we know is that the show will follow the currently established mythology of the films.

The project is separate from the movie franchise reboot now in development with Spyglass Media, so there may be Demon on Demon fighting for attention down the line. The first team to unlock the Lament Configuration wins.

While the first film, adapted from the novella “The Hellbound Heart,” was written and directed by Clive Barker, he is currently not attached to the HBO project. Mark Verheiden (Battlestar Gallactica, Daredevil) and Michael Dougherty (Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Trick r’ Treat) are set to write, with David Gordon Green (Halloween) directing the initial episodes. Dan Farah, Roy Lee, Lawrence Kuppin, David Salzman, Eric Gardner, Green, Danny McBride Jody Hill and Brandon James are all set to serve as EPs.


Bringing Real-World VFX to the Supernatural World of HBO’s ‘The Outsider’

Heading into this Sunday’s season finale, HBO’s The Outsider has spent the last nine weeks deftly weaving together an old-fashioned crime investigation drama with a supernatural thriller.  The show’s photorealistic, invisible visual effects come courtesy of VFX supervisor John Heller and his team at FuseFX, an award-winning VFX house, founded in 2006, that provides visual effects services for episodic television, feature films, commercials, and VR productions. They currently employ over 300 people across three studios: a flagship office in Los Angeles and facilities in New York City and Vancouver, BC.

The Outsider, based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel of the same name, begins by following a seemingly straightforward investigation into the gruesome murder of a young boy. But when an insidious supernatural force edges its way into the case, it leads a seasoned cop and an unorthodox investigator to question everything they believe in.

Heller, an industry veteran whose credits include Big Miracle, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief and The Bourne Legacy, joined the show early in pre-production, working on initial prep, through shooting, and all the way through post-production. The show’s visual effects run the gamut, from blood and gore effects, to 2D digital matte paintings, CG set extensions, environments, greenscreen work, CG effects, animation and creature work. Heller’s largest sequences appear in Episode 6, which include set extensions and a partial CG bus crash, as well as work in the final episode that, according to the VFX supervisor, “I can’t currently talk too much about yet!”

“Creating complex visual effects that are never noticed, or appear unrealistic, is always our goal,” Heller explains. “The biggest compliment I receive is when people ask me what we did for a particular film or show. We did around 800 shots for The Outsider, and the hope is that they aren’t necessarily seen. Complete photoreal imagery is more challenging, in my opinion, especially when presenting images that we are intimately familiar with, such as a human face or domesticated animals. We all refer to even the most subtle departures in these as the uncanny valley effect. Just one little clue can throw you off even if you’re not sure why.”

The show presents as quite the slow burn, gradually, and dramatically, shifting from a “whodunnit” murder mystery into a hunt for a mythical predator. Creating visuals that believably supporting the shifting tone, while staying true to Stephen King’s source material, required considerable effort. “Presenting the supernatural in a way that stays grounded, convincingly, in our very real world was the most significant creative challenge we faced,” Heller shares. “We paid close attention to whether we were riding the line of VFX supporting something that could be real or creating something that took us out of the tone of the show. We generally relied on real-world, or seemingly real-world sources that have traditionally inspired the same type of lore that our character comes from. Stephen King is a master of making us believe in and be frightened by the improbable. We tried, and hope we succeeded, in honoring that.”


Oscars 2020: Where to watch this year’s Best Animated nominees and winners

Enjoy this year’s Academy Awards nominees for Best Animated Feature and Short Film for free and paid online.

The winners may have been announced for the 92nd annual Academy Awards last night, but those who didn’t win are among the best creative examples of Hollywood and foreign cinema in 2019/2020.

The categories of most interest to animators and digital artists were those in animation, production design and visual effects, the shortlists of which you’ll find below.

We’ve also signposted where you and the kids can watch the Best Animated Feature and Animated Short Film nominees – including their respective winners Toy Story 4 and Hair Love – with directions to US/UK streaming sites and, in the case of the shorts, links to their free streams on YouTube.

Best Animated Feature

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World