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

NEWS: Horror

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…


The Conjuring’s Annabelle Gets Her Own Movie

Conjuring_AnnabelleFor all those fans of creepy dolls in movies, your wish has been granted. Warner Bros and New Line have made an October 3 date with Annabelle, the doll from their horror hit The Conjuring. The companies had set aside the frame for an Untitled New Line Horror Film, making the date and title official with their Conjuring spin-off. WB/New Line also have sequel The Conjuring 2 set to be released October 23, 2015. Annabelle, directed by John R. Leonetti and written by Gary Dauberman, is neither a prequel nor a sequel but centers on the doll seen in the 1970’s Rhode Island-set Conjuring, which starred Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson and was directed by James Wan. Peter Safran and Wan are producing Annabelle , which stars Annabelle Wallis (Peaky Blinders), Ward Horton, and Alfre Woodard.


Friday the 13th – Ousted by Another Zombie Flick

Friday-the-13th_JasonBack in November, 2013 Paramount said its latest take on the Friday The 13th franchise would be unsheathed on March 13, 2015… Paramount, being followers of current trends, have now announced that it has pushed the horror flick back to November 13 — the next Friday the 13th on the 2015 calendar — and instead of Friday the 13th Jason, the studio will launch Scouts Vs. Zombies on March 13. Scouts Vs. Zombies… How many ‘Insert whatever’ Vs. Zombies flicks do we really need..? Maybe they should have made Jason Vs. Zombies and be done with it.


Maniac Cop – Remake

maniac_copNicolas Winding Refn is producing a remake of Maniac Cop. He’s got the film’s original director, William Lustig, working with him as producer, and that’s a pretty good combination. This new Maniac Cop will likely be rather different from Lustig’s original exploitation effort, which starred the Robert Z’Dar as the title character, and featured Bruce Campbell and Tom Atkins.

Great news about the remake is that Ed Brubaker, the comics writer who created the Winter Soldier storyline and whose Criminal and Gotham Central are among the best comics runs of the last decade, has scripted the film.


Cabin Fever – Remake!

cabin_fever_poster_xlgReally, it’s come to this… Cassian Elwes and Evan Astrowsky are producing a remake of Cabin Fever. Whether original creator and director Eli Roth is involved or not, and to what degree the remake/reboot/re-imagining will follow the original is up for debate. It all just seems a bit too soon…

The original film featured a handful of college graduates who vacation at a remote cabin in the woods, where they become infected with a voracious flesh-eating virus… gore aplenty. It was a great horror debut.

This news seems to be tied in with the upcoming relase of Cabin Fever: Patient Zero on June 26th, a prequel to Roth’s original film. The plot for Patient Zero is: A group of friends enjoy a bachelor cruise in the Caribbean and stumble upon a research facility on a remote island where a deadly virus is released.

The remake of Cabin Fever seems to be aimed as a follow up to this prequel…

Eli Roth is in for an incredibly busy year with the long awaited release of The Green Inferno, another horror flick Knock, Knock, about two girls who seduce a married man and make his life hell. He is also developing a sequel to Green Inferno as well as possibly directing the Dracula flick Harker.

On the production side he helped develop a film called Clown directed by Jon Watts who made a fake trailer last year in which he attached Roth’s name. Check out the fake trailer and the genuine one below.



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.


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