Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

NEWS: Horror

Underworld: Next Generation

Kate Beckinsale Underworld movie  imageAny excuse to post a picture of Kate Beckinsale as Selene… Lakeshore Entertainment is moving forward with a reboot of the Unerdworld vampire action franchise. Lakeshore’s Tom Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi are producing the film tentatively titled Underworld: Next Generation which seems toindicate that it will focus on Eve (India Eisley), the hybrid daughter of vampire Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and Michael (Scott Speedman).

The first Underworld film, directed by Len Wiseman and starring Kate Beckinsale, was released in 2003. Playing the strong vampire Selena made Beckinsale into a bankable action star, and three films followed in 2006 (Underworld: Evolution), 2009 (prequel Underworld: Rise of the Lycans) and 2012 (Underworld: Awakening).

The vampires versus werewolves franchise has so far grossed $458.2 million worldwide.Underworld: Awakening, the 3D film that saw Beckinsale reprise her role as Selene, was the highest earner in the franchise, taking in $160 million worldwide.

Cory Goodman wrote the script for the 2011 film Priest, starring Paul Bettany. He also penned the script for the upcoming Summit film The Last Witch Hunter starring Vin Diesel and Rose Leslie, and directed by Breck Eisner of The Crazies remake, which is currently in pre-production… not holding out much hope.


Saw – 10th Anniversary Halloween Re-release

saw_japan_posterLionsgate has announced it will re-release its gruesome 2004 franchise-launcher Saw in a limited nationwide run this Halloween, giving horror fanatics something to mark their calendars for. Saw will open for a one week 10th anniversary engagement on Friday, October 31 with Thursday midnights in select locations. The serial killer pic spawned a seven-film, $874 million franchise with a simple high concept premise: Two men wake up in the lair of a serial killer named Jigsaw, forced to do the unthinkable to survive while figuring out their captor’s identity.

The gory thriller not only gave birth to the most successful horror franchise in history, it also launched the career of director James Wan, who went on to helm recent hits Insidious, The Conjuring, Insidious: Chapter 2, and Universal’s upcoming Fast & Furious 7. Wan’s Saw co-writer Leigh Whannell starred in the first film and is now set to make his directorial debut with Insidious: Chapter 3.

It appears to be a smart move by Lionsgate, as the Halloween weekend is otherwise light on horror offerings. October 31 even falls conveniently on a Friday. Only Clarius Entertainment’s Nicole Kidman thriller Before I Go To Sleep and Open Road’s crime drama Nightcrawler are hitting wide release that weekend, while more traditional horror titles The ABCs of Death 2 (Magnolia), Horns (Radius-TWC), and genre-bending import Why Don’t You Play In Hell? (Drafthouse) are opening in limited theatrical runs.

We await the inevitable 4K, 10th Anniversary Remaster on Blu-Ray…


The Bringing – Elisa Lam Movie

Sony Pictures is negotiating with Jeremy Lovering to direct The Bringing, the horror script by Brandon and Phillip Murphy based on actual events. Matt Tolmach and Daniela Cretu are producing. This has been top priority at Sony, and at one time had Nicolas Winding Refn circling. The pic is based on Elisa Lam, who was found dead in the water tanks on the roof of the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles. That’s the place that killers like Richard Ramirez called home at one time or another, and where suicides have occurred. Footage of Lam’s bizarre, inexplicable behavior in an elevator before her death became a massive Internet sensation, and this has been turned into the story of the man investigating her death, and the nightmare he stumbles into. Cretu’s First Born Films developed the script that was brought in by Kate Checchi and Brad Zimmerman.

Lovering directed In Fear, an Irish psychological horror film that premiered at Sundance 2013. It stars Iain De Caestecker and Alice Englert as a young couple terrorized by an unknown assailant.

Here’s the video of missing Canadian Elisa Lam from the LAPD.


Leatherface – The Early Years…

Texas-Chain-Saw-Massacre-Jason-Edmiston-Poster-final-orangeThe Texas Chainsaw Massacre seems to be in the news quite a bit of late, with the imminent re-mastered 4K 40th Anniversary rerelease and sadly, the death of Marilyn Burns. Now more news of yet another film to the Chainsaw canon…

Up-and-coming genre scribe Seth M. Sherwood has been hired to write a prequel to the original 1974 horror classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre titled simply Leatherface, (haven’t we already had that title..?) an individual familiar with the Millennium Films project has told The Wrap.

Official plot details are being kept under wraps, though the new film is expected to serve as an origin story that follows Leatherface’s early years in the 1970s (Didn’t we already see that in TCM:The Beginning..?)

Alexandra Daddario starred in last year’s Texas Chainsaw movie as Leatherface’s long-lost cousin, but it’s currently unclear whether she would return, given the bloody timeline of the series. If she does, it would likely be a cameo appearance as another character, such as a different member of Leatherface’s extended family.

Carl Mazzocone is producing Leatherface, while Christa Campbell and Lati Grobman will serve as executive producers. Campbell and Grobman fought hard to resurrect the franchise and being self-professed genre buffs they are excited to get started on the next installment.

Millennium Films is financing the project and will sell international rights. Millennium executives Beth Bruckner and Christine Crow are overseeing Leatherface for the studio. Production could start as soon as this winter, with a director expected to sign on in the coming weeks.

Sherwood has several projects percolating around town including a supernatural thriller at Blumhouse that will be directed by Greg Plotkin (Paranormal Activity 5). He also wrote a psychological thriller titled Interstate 5 that was voted to the 2012 Blood List. Described as a cross between Jacob’s Ladder and Natural Born Killers, the story follows a serial killer’s son and the daughter of one of his victims as they team up to find the maniac, only to be haunted by demonic forces intent on driving them mad.

I hope it’s good, it probably won’t be, but we live in hope. Some originality would be great…


Interview With The Vampire… Again

interview_with_the_vampire_xlgIt’s been 20 years since Neil Jordan’s film version of Interview With the Vampire saw Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt sucking blood, and now Universal is getting back into monsters in a big way. Not only are Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan spearheading a relaunch of the old Universal Monsters line, beginning with a new Mummy movie, the studio has snapped up rights to all of Anne Rice‘s Vampire Chronicles books.

So the whole 13-book series starting with Interview With the Vampire and ending with the forthcoming Prince Lestat novel, and the screenplay for Tales of the Body Thief, adapted by Rice’s son Christopher Rice, all belong to Universal for the time being.

The Wrap reports that Brian Grazer will produce for Imagine Entertainment with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, while Bobby Cohen will executive produce.

Reports of Universal getting into business with Anne Rice actually go back years; in 2009 reports came out that the studio had picked up rights to the author’s books. Imagine optioned that Body Thief script a couple years back, too. There was even a point when Robert Downey Jr. was apparently attached to play Lestat in a new film based on Interview With the Vampire.

Regardless, nothing was done with them at the time. Now, with Imagine Entertainment and the old Kurtzman/Orci producing team working on the project, we could see pretty swift movement.

Ironically, the Kurtzman and Morgan-produced Mummy reboot sounds like an action-adventure film, which is pretty far from the original Universal Monsters. But Anne Rice’s vampire books have a really romantic angle to them. The Vampire Chronicles films could end up being better standard-bearers for the old Universal Monsters identity than the new Universal Monsters films will be!


The Last Of Us – Sam Raimi

the-last-of-us-remasteredSam Raimi was at comic-con with Neil Druckmann, creator of the Naughty Dog game The Last Of Us, to talk about how that PlayStation 3 survival horror action game is being turned into a feature with Raimi producing and Druckmann now writing the screenplay. Screen Gems President Clint Culpepper, whose previous big videogame-to-movie transfer was Resident Evil, basically has given over big creative controls to Druckmann in the movie transfer. That includes casting, and choice of director.

At this point, Hugh Jackman and Josh Brolin have been the consensus fan favorites to play the role of Joel, and the choice most heavily favored to play Ellie is Maisie Williams, the Game Of Thrones star who’s so sparked about this prospect that she would have shown up for today’s panel were she not waylaid by being part of an Entertainment Weekly cover shoot for Game Of Thrones.

Said Raimi: “It’s gonna be a great character journey, a great love story, and great horror fiction.” Raimi also took a moment to tease the prospect of more Evil Dead: “I always loved working on that series with Bruce Campbell and Rob Tapert, and my brother and I are writing the Evil Dead TV show right now… with Bruce Campbell.” They even toyed with the idea of having Campbell be in the Last Of Us film adaptation, Campbell has been intertwined with Raimi since 1981′s The Evil Dead. That film, by the way, is a touchstone for Druckmann and the creatives behind the Naughty Dog vidgame empire.


Universal Look To Relaunch Monster Franchises

universal-monstersNot sure how I feel about this, I’m still scarred from that vile Van Helsing movie… Universal Pictures most enduring legacy is its library of classic movie monsters that include Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, Creature Of The Black Lagoon, The Invisible Man, Bride Of Frankenstein, and The Mummy. Universal is now dedicating renewed resources and an unprecedented, far-reaching commitment to revitalise its monster heritage.

The studio is in early stages of developing a substantial new production endeavor that will expand and unify a network of classic characters and stories. The architects of that narrative will be Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan. Kurtzman recently broke with partner Roberto Orci, but his big-scale projects have included Transformers, Star Trek and The Amazing Spider-Man. Morgan is the writer behind five installments of The Fast And The Furious, which has been Universal’s most reliably lucrative franchise. It’s not set in stone yet if either will write, but they will soon be going around town enlisting talent to bring new cinematic life to these enduring characters from lore, literature and Universal’s own library. While Universal has selectively tapped its Movie Monster library for The Mummy, Van Helsing, The Wolfman, and the upcoming Dracula Untold, this will be the first time that the studio has formalized an approach to these classic characters in a cohesive, connected way rather than as a series of stand-alone projects by disparate filmmaking teams.

They’ve begun the meetings to put together an interconnected slate of Monster films, and the first will be a reboot of The Mummy, which will be released April 22, 2016. Part of their duty will be to work closely with production, marketing, promotions and consumer product to support the revival. They will also reevaluate projects which have preexisting attachments, and bring it under one cohesive strategy.

Obviously some of those monster pictures haven’t panned out. With Marvel Studios and Disney building a billion-dollar business relying on the Marvel Comics superhero character library, Universal seems to be trawling it’s heritage and is looking to dust off and modernize the classic movie monsters that inspired many of the movie monsters we see today.

I’m just wary…


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