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

NEWS: Horror

Amityville Horror… Again

'THE AMITYVILLE HORROR' FILM - 1979Franck Khalfoun (“Maniac”) wrote and will direct the horror movie for Dimension Films and Blumhouse. Fresh off supporting turns in “The Giver” and “Vampire Academy” for the Weinstein Company, “Shameless” star Cameron Monaghan is nearing a deal to join Disney Channel star Bella Thorne in the new “Amityville” horror movie that Blumhouse is producing for Dimension Films, an individual familiar with the project told The Wrap online.

Franck Khalfoun (“Maniac”) wrote and will direct the film, which will star Jennifer Jason Leigh as a single mother who moves her three kids into the “Amityville” house that has a very dark history. Gotta say this is great news as Khalfoun did a fantastic job with Maniac, the most original take on a horror film of 2013.

Dimension had planned on reigniting the popular “Amityville” horror franchise using a found-footage angle but that idea has been dropped in favour of a fresher take. The original “Amityville Horror” was released in 1979 and received a high-profile remake in 2005 that starred Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George and Chloe Moretz. The franchise is based on Jay Anson’s book “The Amityville Horror: A True Story.”


The Wolfman by Nicholas Pekearo

The-Wolfman_Nicholas-PekearoMacmillan Entertainment and Everest Entertainment Group are developing a feature film from The Wolfman, the 2008 novel written by Nicholas Pekearo and published by Tor Books. It’s about a lost soul who happens to be a werewolf who struggles with his affliction until he decides to focus on the bad guys who deserve it, including a serial killer preying on young girls. This development would be a dream come true by Pekearo, a crime and comic book buff who was just getting his footing as a novelist. He was also an auxiliary policeman for the NYPD who died seven years ago after being shot six times by a crazed gunman who also killed Pekearo’s partner in Greenwich Village. That partner, 19-year-old Yevgeniy Marshalik, was the star of his high school debating team and a student at NYU. The murders created controversy and pointed up the ludicrousness of sending out auxiliary cops who are not allowed to carry weapons. Despite this, and the fact that unarmed auxiliary cops weren’t supposed to engage armed suspects, the duo chased down the gunman after he had already killed a bartender and was looking for other victims. The book was published posthumously in 2009.

“I read The Wolfman shortly after its release and couldn’t get the character of Marlowe Higgins and the world Pekearo created out of my head,” Davis said. “This is not your typical werewolf piece, and I was amazed by how much new territory he uncovered in this first novel. I have high hopes for this as it seems there is now finally a market for pieces like this, seeing the success of brilliant limited series such as True Detective, and audiences now have a hunger for out-of-the-box anti-heroes. In talking with those around him while he was alive, it was Nicholas’ hope to see this turned into a series, whether it was film or television, taking a similar journey to the one Bruce Banner did in The Incredible Hulk. Having died a hero’s death trying to protect people while chasing down a madman while he was unarmed, I hope Nicholas’ voice as a writer finally gets the attention it deserves and the journey he started with Marlowe continues.” Courtesy of Deadline.


Stakeland – The TV Series

Stakeland_Jim-Mickle_Nick-DamiciFresh off the success of their Sundance thriller “Cold in July,” director Jim Mickle and writer/actor Nick Damici are on the verge of teaming with author Joe Lansdale once again, this time for the small screen.

Mickle and Damici, long-time creative partners, teamed for 2010′s cult favourite post-apocalyptic vampire series “Stake Land,” which is also in development to continue as a television show. Greg Newman, who executive produced the movie, is also involved.

The movie actually began as a potential web series, providing Damici, who wrote that film, a base of characters and expanded lore to develop for serialization.

The series would begin seven years after the end of the film, and would involve many new species of vampires.

“They all mutated, there’s tons of different vamps,” Damici explained. “I said to Greg, the only thing I’ll need — I’ll write my ass off — the only thing is I’ve got to have enough of a budget to have flying vamps. It spread to animals, so we’ve got vamp dogs and a vamp bear.”


Manson Murders

Writer Bret Easton Ellis and director Rob Zombie have teamed with Alcon Television to develop a project for Fox that will revisit the people and events connected to the Manson Family murder spree in August 1969.

The project is envisioned as a limited series, but it is in the very early stages of development with Fox. Ellis is set to write the script and some additional materials. Zombie is on board to direct.

Zombie has long been fascinated by the Manson Family slayings, which left seven people dead in the Los Angeles area. Among the victims were actress Sharon Tate, who was eight and a half months pregnant at the time with the child of director Roman Polanski, and prominent Hollywood hairstylist Jay Sebring.

The killings were so gruesome, and the stories of Charles Manson’s level of control of his drug-addled young followers so disturbing, that Manson was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy charges even though he was never found to have committed a homicide himself.

Manson’s clutch of cult followers have been suspected of many other murders during that era. But it was sheer brutality and psychopathic theatricality of the killings (complete with messages written in blood at the crime scenes) unleashed on Aug. 8-9, 1969, that jolted the nation’s psyche.

The Ellis-Zombie collaboration aims to tell converging stories of people and events leading up to and after the murders, from shifting points of view. The project is envisioned as a multipart series, but it is one of many limited series projects in the works and is far away from receiving a greenlight.

The idea for the project began with Zombie and Adam Kolbrenner and Robyn Meisinger of Madhouse Entertainment. They developed the concept and brought it to Ellis and Alcon. To date, no source material has been optioned for the project, which plans to take an original approach to dramatizing stories drawn from the historical record.

Ellis, Zombie and the Madhouse principals will exec produce with Alcon’s Sharon Hall, Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson. Ben Roberts and Ryan Cunningham serve as co-producers.

“I have been obsessed with this insane story since I was a kid, so obviously I jumped at the chance to be involved in this incredible project. After speaking with Bret, I immediately realized that we shared the same vision for this epic madness,” Zombie said.

Manson was sentenced to death in 1971, but the sentence changed to life in prison when California abolished the death penalty the following year. He has been denied parole 12 times.

Ellis most recently penned the micro-budgeted Lindsay Lohan starrer “The Canyons,” released last year by IFC. Zombie’s last directorial effort was the 2013 indie “The Lords of Salem.”


Wolf Creek 2 – Ignored by Australian TV Reviewers

Wolf-Creek-2_Poster_bannerWolf Creek 2 writer-director Greg McLean has slammed Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton for failing to support local productions, after the ABC duo decided against reviewing his horror sequel on Tuesday’s At the Movies.

Despite the film hitting the #1 spot at the Australian box office on debut, the pair gave it a wide berth, without explanation. The pair chose to review Lone Survivor, Non-Stop, Gloria and The Wind Rises instead… so much for supporting Australian film.

greg_mcleanIn an emailed response to Fairfax Media, McLean said: “Seriously, what on earth are they thinking? Simply not reviewing an independent Aussie movie that beat its US studio competitor Lone Survivor … is worth paying some attention.”

He added that Lone Survivor, the Mark Wahlberg war epic, cost $80 million to produce and market and featured on about 15 per cent more screens.

“Even if they didn’t enjoy the movie, there are many, many Wolf Creek fans out there who love horror and thriller movies and want to support locally made productions,” he said. “Like them, I’d love to hear their thoughts on our movie, whatever they might be. I really hope they reconsider and give Wolf Creek 2 the fair go it deserves.”

The At the Movies website does carry a four-minute Wolf Creek 2 report, with clips and interviews with McLean and star John Jarrett, but neither Pomeranz, Stratton or in fact any reporter make an appearance.

Wolf-Creek-2_John-Jarratt-Mick-Taylor_Director-Greg-McleanIncredulous fans have taken to Twitter to question the TV show’s absent review. McLean also questioned the move on Twitter, saying: “Apparently there’s a new category of movie review from David and Margaret called – no review at all! That’s gotta be a first, right?”

He added that he did want a review from them: “Kinda fun watching them rip a movie apart or gush over something… either would be fine. Curious really.”

Stratton wrote a scathing review of the film in The Australian just days ago, calling it “manipulative and ugly” and only gave it two out of five stars. He also noted in his review that “this is not the place to discuss the worldwide appeal of torture-porn and extreme screen violence”.

In their 2005 At the Movies review of Wolf Creek, both critics gave the film four stars but expressed concern over the level of violence. “The film is incredibly sadistic. I think it’s foul in some ways, in terms of violence. I think it really is thoroughly nasty,” Stratton said at the time.

Pomeranz responded that it was a “worry”, while Stratton added: “I think people and audiences, potential audiences, have to be warned about it.”

WolfCreek2 (1)The MA15+-rated Wolf Creek 2 was the top draw at the Aussie box-office on its debut last weekend, pulling in $1.681 million.

In the past Stratton has refused to review 1992 skinhead drama Romper Stomper, causing its director Geoffrey Wright to throw a glass of wine over him nearly three years later at the Venice Film Festival. Stratton later said he feared the film could “stir up racial violence”.

At the Movies executive producer said Jo Chichester said in a statement: “Margaret and David reviewed the first Wolf Creek, David’s thoughts on Wolf Creek 2 are in his review in The Australian, and there is an interview with the filmmaker and lead actor on the ATM website.” SMH


The Babadook

Congratulations to all associated with Australian thriller The Babadook which has been acquired by IFC Midnight, which snatched up U.S. and Latin America rights to the film from Australian  newcomer Jennifer Kent. Essie Davis stars in the pic as a widowed single mother who connects with her troubled son (then six-year-old Noah Wiseman) by reading a bedtime storybook that unleashes a shadowy monster in their home. Kent wrote and directed the Sundance Midnighter selection which also stars Daniel Henshall, Hayley McElhinney, Barbara West, and Ben Winspear. Causeway Films’ Kristina Ceyton produced with Kristian Moliere, with backing from Screen Australia. Jonathan Page, Michael Tear, Jan Chapman, and Jeff Harrison exec produced the pic which earned raves from critics in Park City and put Kent on the map as a helmer to watch.


Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Scary-Stories_bannerHorror is hot right now, everyone wants their own horror themed series. CBS Films has sprung for a pitch from Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan, who wrote the last four Saw films, to adapt Alvin Schwartz’s classic spooky tale collection Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Melton and Dunstan adapt some of the Scary short stories into a screenplay about a group of outcast kids who stand up to their fears to save their town when nightmares come to life. Sean Daniel and Jason Brown of Sean Daniel Company and Elizabeth Grave of 1212 Entertainment will produce, with Roberto Grande and Joshua Long exec producing. SDC and 1212 initially optioned rights before teaming up with Melton and Dunstan.

Schwartz collected the Scary Stories tales from folklore and urban legend. The three-book children’s series, which has sold more than 7 million copies worldwide, began with 1981′s Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark and continued with More Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark (1984) and Scary Stories 3: More Tales To Chill Your Bones (1991). Scribes Melton and Dunstan got their start in horror but also recently wrote on Pacific Rim and were tapped to pen Disney’s Stuff of Legend, Fox’s Outliers, and Universal’s God of War. SDC, which scored a hit recently with The Best Man Holiday, is rebooting Universal’s The Mummy… again. 


The Blood List

The-Blood-List_2013Nice to see that the Blood List is working. Fox Searchlight has picked up Zak Olkewicz’s Elimination, a horror pitch to be produced by Shawn Levy through his 21 Laps banner. This marks the second studio sale this year for Olkewicz, who made a Dimension deal last spring on Ink And Bone, a script which topped the 2013 Blood List which ranks genre scripts. This pitch is described as a high concept horror film involving a cerebral game of cat and mouse. They are keeping the logline under wraps as high concepts are easy to rip off. DanTram Nguyen will oversee for Searchlight and Dan Cohen for 21 Laps, the label which produced The Spectacular Now and Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Bad Day at Disney. Levy as director wrapped This Is Where I Leave You for Warner Bros, and he is prepping (gulp!) Night at the Museum 3 at Fox.

For those of you interested, in a similar vein the The Black List, The Blood List was created in 2009 to bring attention to unproduced horror screenplays in Hollywood. A calendar year for a script to be considered for the list is from October 31st to October 31st, and the list comes out every Halloween. Voting is done by over 100 executives. The top 13 horror scripts of the year make the cut.


Day of the Dead – Remake Update

Day-of-the-Dead_BannerMillenium Films has hired Mark Tonderai to direct a modern-day retelling of the George Romero-directed cult zombie film Day of the Dead. Tonderai, best known for House At The End Of The Street, wrote the script with Lars Jacobson. In this new version, years after the zombie plague has wiped out most of Earth’s population, a group of scientists and survivors attempt to find a cure, and instead open Pandora’s box. Christa Campbell and Lati Grobman are producers. Avi Lerner, Trevor Short, Boaz Davidson and Terry Dougas are executive producers. Beth Bruckner is co-producer.

Millennium and Campbell Grobman Films are targeting a summer 2014 production. Romero directed the original film back in 1985, and Millennium first remade it in 2008 with Steve Miner directing Mena Suvari and Nick Cannon.

The film was the third one in Romero’s zombie series and interest in the flesh eaters shows little sign of abating, with a World War Z sequel in the offing and AMC’s The Walking Dead still killing in the cable ratings.


The Strain – Full Series Run at FX

The-Strain_BannerWith horror series being so in vogue at the moment, and with Guillermo del Toro and Carlton Cuse’s drama The Strain, based on del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s vampire novel trilogy, formally had a pilot order at FX, its series pickup was considered a pure formality.

From the onset, when FX landed the project in a bidding war, it hired a full writing staff, with the network committing some $500,000 to creature creation. The Strain now is heading into production on its first season, with the bulk of the scripts already completed and one major casting change. The role of Professor Abraham Setrakian, played in the pilot by John Hurt, is being recast.

The Strain is a high-concept thriller that tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), the head of the Center for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his team are called on to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. As the strain spreads, Eph, his team, and an assembly of everyday New Yorkers wage war for the fate of humanity. Co-starring on the series are Mia Maestro, Sean Astin, Kevin Durand, Natalie Brown, Jonathan Hyde, Richard Sammel, Robert Maillet, Jack Kesy, Ben Hyland, and Miguel Gomez. “This is an epic story with stunning visuals and remarkable acting,” FX’s Eric Schrier and Nick Grad said. “The Strain totally re-imagines and re-invents the genre.” Exec producers del Toro and Hogan co-wrote the pilot script for The Strain, which was directed by del Toro. Cuse will serve as executive producer/showrunner and writer. Gary Ungar will also serve as exec producer for FX Prods. “The Strain books are near and dear to my heart and now, Chuck and I have the blessing of a partnership with Carlton and FX that holds great promise,” said del Toro.

Filming is slated to begin this month in Toronto for a July premiere. As FX CEO John Landgraf indicated in August, the plan for the series is to run for 39-65 episodes.


Vicarious Entertainment

Get ready for a new genre label in Vicarious Entertainment. A project by 1821 Media’s Paris Kasidokostas-Latsis and Terry Dougas, who wrapped the Natalie Portman-starrer Jane Got A Gun and are currently developing The Odyssey. The new label will develop, produce and finance four to six thriller and horror feature films. They’ve already got four in post-production.

Vicarious teamed with Insidious producer and Paranormal Activity exec producer Steven Schneider for the Adam Levins-directed dark psychological thriller Estranged, currently in post-production. The heroine has a near-fatal accident that leaves her in a wheelchair unable to remember much. When she returns home six years later, she tries to reacquaint with her family, but she can’t remember who she was or why she left home in the first place. She soon discovers that the family is not what they seem, as shocking and deadly secrets emerge.

For horror fans, controversially, Vicarious has teamed with Campbell Grobman Films to develop Day of the Dead, a remake of George Romero’s zombie extravaganza that is set at Millenium Films. “Our goal is for Vicarious to be a premiere destination that excites creators from all over the world,” said Dougas. “We are giving them creative freedom and allowing them to showcase their strong vision and voice. There are great filmmakers out there and appetite for the genre so it’s a great time for us to be launching.”

Good luck to them… although we’ve seen Romero remakes before and they’ve not been worth the effort.


The Stand – Back on at Warner Bros

thestand_captaintrips_premierehc_leDEADLINE BREAKING: Warner Bros has set Scott Cooper to re-write and direct The Stand, based on the seminal post-apocalyptic novel by Stephen King. That means that while the studio has Ben Affleck as its new Caped Crusader for Batman Vs. Superman, Affleck has withdrawn from The Stand. He had been set in late 2011 to write the script and direct. Affleck is busy directing and starring in his scripted adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s Live By Night for Warner Bros.

Warner Bros is teamed on the project with CBS Films, which is co-producing and co-presenting and possibly financing the project together. Dave Kajganich wrote the first draft. Published in 1978, the mammoth novel covered a biological apocalyptic disaster that decimated the population. The survivors then had to try and piece together a new form of humanity and it became a good vs evil struggle, with elements of the supernatural thrown in for good measure. King was at his best, both in creating depictions of the demise of civilization and in the arcs of characters good and bad who became important in a new order. The novel is so sprawling that I always wondered how it could be compressed into a feature, and it was turned into a solid miniseries. Now, Cooper will try to mount what for Warner Bros continues to be a big priority project.

Roy Lee and Mosaic are producing for Warners and Jon Berg is the studio exec. Cooper is currently developing Creek with Leonardo DiCaprio, and his next film, Out Of The Furnace, is released December 6.


Night Of The Living Dead: Origins 3D

Night of the Living Dead_BannerGroan… A 3D ‘re-imagining’ of the classic Night Of The Living Dead is in the works. Simon West Productions, and the Graphic Film Company, in association with 2020 Entertainment and Indus Media and Entertainment, have set Bollywood actor R. Madhavan (his films include 3 IDIOTS, 13B, andTANU WEDS MANU) to star in Night Of The Living Dead: Origins 3D. It’s being directed by Zebediah De Soto and co-written by De Soto, Warren Davis II and David Reuben Schwartz. The film will also star Candyman‘s Tony Todd, Tom Sizemore, Danielle Harris, Sarah Habel, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Bill Mosley, and Joseph Pilato, a cast with plenty of B movie cred.

Apparently this one has a storyline different storyline than the George Romero 1968 B&W masterpiece. Here, a group of survivors fighting barricade themselves in an abandoned New York apartment building when the zombie plague breaks out (Really! That’s the ‘different storyline’, that’s a ‘different location’ is all…). It’s being shot in a CG setting using stereoscopic 3D, which, its makers suggest, becomes a hybrid of graphic novel and traditional animation.

Producer and CEO of 2020 Entertainment, Paresh Ghelani, says, “It’s great to help introduce American audiences to what the many fans of Bollywood films have known for years. Madhavan is a huge dynamic talent.”

Producer Simon West adds, “This movie represents a whole new way of visualizing the classic zombie genre. It has a fresh and exciting style that sets it apart from all other horror films seen up until now.”


Paranormal Activity goes on… and on…

Paranormal Activity 5Paramount and Blumhouse Productions have been very happily cranking out a new Paranormal Activity film each year since the first became a smash hit in 2009. But the fifth film won’t hit this October. It was pushed back not long ago, and we know now that Paranormal Activity 5 will open (as expected, more or less) on October 14, 2014.

But there’s another dose of supernatural found-footage horror coming before that October ’14 date. The horror website ‘Shock Till You Drop‘ reports that the first spin-off from the series, aimed at the Latino audience and called Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, will be one of the first films out of the gate next year. Release is planned for January 3 2014.  Paranormal Activity 2-4 writer Christopher Landon directed the film, and this confirms the expected January release date.

No one seems to know what the story of The Marked Ones will be at this point, other than it is set in the same general world as the other films, but don’t know if it relates directly to the story established in the first four core films in the series.


Rosemary’s Baby – TV Miniseries

rosemarys_babyNBC head Bob Greenblatt announced a couple of upcoming projects… should we be concerned…

An updated remake of Rosemary’s Baby, based on the Ira Levin novel and originally filmed in 1968 by Roman Polanski, is on track for a four hour miniseries (likely split over two nights, the way they used to air miniseries in the 1980s and early 1990s). The story about a young wife who is convinced that she is carrying the devil’s baby, will be set in Paris. Scott Abbott (Queen of the Damned) is working on the script.

Also on the schedule is a new version of The Tommyknockers, based on the novel by Stephen King. Greenblatt was inspired in part by the success of another King property, Under the Dome, which is doing well on CBS, and just announced for a second season. It is the highest-rated scripted program of the US summer season. The Tommyknockers was first brought to life at ABC in 1993 as a four hour miniseries. The story tells of a possible alien threat in a small Maine town. Yves Simoneau (V, The 4400, and the upcoming Horizon) is attached to direct.


Maniac – Banned in New Zealand

Maniac-2012-posterNew Zealand’s Office of Film and Literature Classification has banned the new Elijah Wood remake of Maniac; stating that it can be shown only if it’s being used in a tertiary media, a film studies course or screened as part of a festival. And in each case, the audience must be over 18. Directed by Franck Khalfoun and produced by The Artist‘s Thomas Langmann, Maniac is a remake of William Lustig’s 1980 grindhouse classic. It premiered in Cannes in 2012 and was released last month in the U.S. by IFC Midnight. It’s shot entirely from the POV of Wood’s character and the OFLC decision says that may be injurious to the public good because the viewer is put in the position of the killer. The ruling also means the film cannot be released on DVD.

The ban beyond festival screenings “is an insult to the intelligence of the adult population of New Zealand and does little more than to serve as an open invitation to illegally pirate the film. We are flabbergasted,” said Neil Foley of Melbourne, Australia-based distributor Monster Pictures. In a blog post, Monster said it will “explore every option” to have the ban revoked, “but at this stage it ain’t looking good.” Maniac is the first film to receive the festival-only classification since Eric Steel’s suicide documentary The Bridge in 2007. Maniac is screening at the New Zealand International Film Festival and Monster is eyeing an October release in Australia.

Check out some awesome Maniac poster art HERE


Poltergeist Remake News

poltergeist_posterA remake of the Tobe Hooper-directed horror classic Poltergeist will be made by MGM and Fox 2000, with Gil Kenan (Monster House) directing a script by David Lindsay-Abaire (Oz: The Great and Powerful). Rosemarie DeWitt has been cast in the Mum role. Jobeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson were the original parents whose ideal family life is uprooted by a cavalcade of spirits that culminates in the kidnap of their youngest daughter Carol Anne played by Heather O’Rourke. Given how well these paranormal films are faring against studio product lately, this one seemed ripe for remaking and it’s surprising that it hasn’t been remade before now. Sam Raimi and Nathan Kahane are producing.


Lon Chaney Jr’s Family vs. Universal Studios

chaney-jr-lon-wolf-manThe heirs of Old Hollywood continue to want today’s studios to pay up. Legendary horror movie actor Lon Chaney Jr’s family today went after Universal Studios in the courts for more than $1 million in damages. In a nine-page breach of contract and other claims complaint (READ IT HERE) filed Monday in LA Superior Court, Chaney Entertainment alleges that Universal Studios Licensing uses the Wolf Man and Mummy and Frankenstein actor’s likeness for merchandise and goods and services despite the fact that a representation agreement between the studio and the company expired on December 31, 2008.Although he played Lennie Small in 1939′s Of Mice and Men adaptation alongside Burgess Meredith, Chaney was best known for his performances in a series of Universal monster movies in the 1930s and 1940s. After his death in 1973, his heirs and their corporate entity entered into a number of agreements with Universal over the rights to his image and his film work. Seeking a 5-day jury trial, the complaint filed today also claims that Universal Home Video has not properly paid the Chaneys for the use of the long-deceased actor’s image or voice-over in licensed film clips.“Universal’s continued exploitation of the Chaney’s rights has been done intentionally in conscious disregards of the rights of Chaney, and with malice, fraud, or oppression towards Chaney, thereby entitling Chaney to an award of punitive damages according to proof at trial,” says the complaint. Seeking restoration of full rights to the actor’s likeness and image, a full accounting and payment of funds allegedly due plus 10% per annum in interest, the complaint also wants all legal fees paid by the defendants as well consequential and punitive damages. Chaney Entertainment is represented by attorney Joseph F. Hart of Beverly Hills in their filing.

This seems very similar to the Bela Lugosi v. Universal Pictures (1979) 25 C3d 813, which was decided in Universal’s favour.


Only Lovers Left Alive – Variety Review

only_lovers_left_alive_posterAlmost exactly one year ago I posted some exciting news that Jim Jarmusch was planning to make a vampire movie with Tilda Swinton that would be a ‘crypto-vampire love story’. Well, he’s made it and by all accounts it’s amazing. Check out the Variety review from Cannes:

Did somebody make it a rule that every director has to do a vampire movie at some point? If so, Jim Jarmusch got the memo, and he tweaks the genre slightly in “Only Lovers Left Alive” to fit his own laid-back vibe, turning in a sweet but slight love story about world-weary hipster bloodsuckers. Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston have empathic chemistry as the leads, and the pic (acquired by Sony Classics at Cannes) is a smidge more commercial than Jarmusch’s meandering previous effort, “The Limits of Control.” But it still feels like an in-joke intended only for select acolytes, who will probably love it with an undying passion.

The end credits mention Jarmusch’s longtime partner, Sara Driver, for “instigation and inspiration,” and indeed the film feels a bit like a quirky, fitfully touching love letter from one aging punk to another. Slightly upending the conventions of the vampire film (although there are precedents for this sort of reinvention), “Lovers” is a celebration of connubial bliss between two creatures who are still in love after centuries, but are out of step with the modern world. They’ve been there, done that, and ripped up the band T-shirts long ago to make cleaning rags for their awesome guitar collection.

Jarmusch’s characters tend to be either laconic, enigmatic ciphers or garrulous clowns, so it’s a surprise to hear what sounds like a clearly spelled-out author’s message for once, when Eve (Swinton) tries to cheer up her suicidal paramour, Adam (Hiddleston), by pointing out all the things in the world there are to live for, like “appreciating nature … kindness and dancing.”

Indeed, these are basically nice, hepcat vampires, deeply attractive despite their fried, undernourished-looking hair, and exquisitely unscary; they score blood from hospitals and almost never feast on live humans, which would be so 15th century. Hyper-sophisticated to the point of being sometimes irritatingly supercilious, they despair at the stupidity of humans, whom they call “zombies,” and congratulate themselves for all the great art they’ve made and the famous luminaries they hung out with, inspired and/or used as fronts to disseminate their own great masterworks (as in the case of Schubert and Shakespeare). It even turns out that Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt), another vampire, really wrote Shakespeare’s plays; he’s still alive and well, living in Tangiers and hanging out with Eve as the film opens.

Adam and Eve (someone should have talked Jarmusch out of those names) are so secure in their relationship that they can spend long stretches of time apart on separate continents, like nuclear particles in Einstein’s theory of entanglement (which is explained in the dialogue), but still keep the connection between them alive. So while she’s in Tangiers, surrounded by a library of books in every language she loves, he’s in decrepit Detroit, making droning dirge rock on vintage recording equipment supplied by Ian (Anton Yelchin), a helpful human dealer in rare goods who’s unaware of Adam’s true nature.

Foreboding dreams about her sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) send Eve on a night flight to Detroit to be with her beloved. When Ava duly blows into town from Los Angeles, Adam and Eve grit their fangs and bear it, even though they have to hide their blood stash from this selfish, feckless houseguest and can’t leave her alone with their human friends.

“Only Lovers Left Alive” works best in this section, when it’s essentially a light comedy of social mores set among a bunch of bohemians whose drug of choice just happens to be human blood, rather than cocaine or heroin. The attempt to introduce a more tragic dimension in the final act falls flat, however; by this point, the film has run out of juice, not unlike its wan, exhausted protagonists.

Languid pacing makes the result feel longer than its two-hour running time, and although lenser Yorick Le Saux’s nighttime traveling shots of desolate Detroit cityscapes and Tangiers’ acrid backstreets have a bewitching beauty at first, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Likewise, Jarmusch brings the film to a stop too often to show off his taste in slightly recherche music from all over the world, even if the tracks will collectively make for an interesting soundtrack album.


Stephen King’s ‘Cell’ filming in September

Stephen King_CellBenaroya Pictures and Miscellaneous Entertainment’s newly formed international sales company, International Film Trust (IFT), has added a new title to their slate – the Stephen King adaptation CELL, starring John Cusack – it was announced at Cannes by IFT President Ariel Veneziano.

IFT has acquired the remaining international territories for CELL, based on the novel by Stephen King, with Benaroya Pictures now on board to finance and co-produce. CELL stars Golden Globe nominee John Cusack (2012) and will be directed by Tod “Kip” Williams (PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2, THE DOOR IN THE FLOOR).

Richard Saperstein (THE TOXIC AVENGER, HANCOCK, SE7EN) and Michael Benaroya (LAWLESS, MARGIN CALL) are producing along with The Genre Company’s Brian Witten and Shara Kay. Marina Grasic and Jan Korbelin of Cargo Entertainment will executive produce. The film is currently in pre-production with principal photography set to begin in September.

When a powerful signal is broadcast across mobile networks worldwide, cell phone users’ minds are instantly and dangerously re-programmed. Heading north through New England in search of his wife and son, Clay Riddell (Cusack) is joined by a group of survivors hoping to fend off the bloodthirsty and hyper-connected “phoners.”


I Spit On Your Grave 2

i-spit-on-your-grave-dvd-2010At last, the sequel we weren’t waiting for has a release date. Anchor Bay Films has set a fall release for CineTel’s horror sequel “I Spit on Your Grave 2,” which wrapped production late last year with Steven R. Monroe directing. A loose sequel to the 2010 remake I Spit On Your Grave.

I-SPIT-ON-YOUR-GRAVE-2-First-ImageSynopsis: “Naturally beautiful, Jessica (Dallender) has just settled into New York where she, like many other young women, is trying to make it as a model. But what starts out as an innocent and simple photo shoot soon turns into something disturbingly unthinkable! Raped, tortured and kidnapped to a foreign country, Jessica is buried alive and left to die. Against all odds, she manages to escape. Severely injured, she will have to tap into the darkest places of the human psyche to not only survive, but to exact her revenge…”


Exorcism Diaries

DEADLINE EXCLUSIVE: Summit Entertainment has brought Barbara Marshall on board to write Exorcism Diaries. The log line is being kept under wraps, but the film is inspired by the book The Real Story Behind The Exorcist by Mark Opsasnick. Exorcism Diaries is being produced by Roy Lee, Sonny Mallhi and Doug Davison. The project was originally acquired by Summit as a pitch by Adam Simon and Tim Metcalfe. John Sacchi will oversee the project for the studio. Marshall’s breakthrough came when she made the 2012 Black List script Peste, which is being put together at IM Global.

With such a high bar set by the classic 1973 film, it’s difficult to see this being anything more than an Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Rite or The Last Exorcism at best…


The Walking Dead and Exorcism…

Fox International Channels, the international TV network of AMC megahit The Walking Dead, has teamed with the series’ creator/executive producer Robert Kirkman and co-producer Circle Of Confusion to develop a drama series based on Kirkman’s upcoming comic book series set in the world of exorcism. Told through the Kirkman prism, the series follows a young man, Kyle Barnes, who has been plagued by possession since he was a child. Now an adult, he embarks on a spiritual journey to find answers but what he uncovers could mean the end of life on Earth as we know it. Kirkman will executive produce through his Image Comics Skybound imprint alongside The Walking Dead executive producer David Alpert of Circle of Confusion. “Exorcism has captivated movie audiences all over the world but has never been explored on television,” said FIC’s EVP Sharon Tal Yguado. “Robert Kirkman, who forever changed the scope of Cable TV with The Walking Dead, possesses an unparalleled talent of telling big concept stories in a smart and incredibly genuine way.”


Image

First Image from Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno

2013-02-11-The Green Inferno


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 864 other followers