Did Disney Deny Us a $200 Million Lone Ranger vs. Werewolves Flick? - Dread Central
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Did Disney Deny Us a $200 Million Lone Ranger vs. Werewolves Flick?

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Did Disney Deny Us a $200 Million Lone Ranger vs. Werewolves Flick?Disney has pulled the plug on The Lone Ranger due to the budget skyrocketing upwards of $200 million. If that price tag doesn’t sound crazy enough to you, what if I told you the premise would have seen the Lone Ranger and Tonto fighting werewolves in the Old West?

For those of you unaware, The Lone Ranger was scheduled to be Disney’s tentpole blockbuster for Christmas 2012. Jerry Bruckheimer, Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio, Gore Verbinski, and Johnny Depp (aka the producer, writers, director, and star of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies) were the creative forces behind the relaunch of the iconic masked crimefighting cowboy. Depp was slated to play the Lone Ranger’s Native American sidekick, Tonto, not the Lone Ranger himself; the title role was going to rising star Armie Hammer, whom you may recall for his dual role as the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network.

Deadline reported late Friday night that Disney had stopped pre-production because of their unhappiness with the astronomical cost:

“I’m told this all just happened, and Disney pulled the plug because of the budget. I’ve heard the filmmakers were trying to reduce the film’s cost from $250 million (some even say $275 million) down to $232 million. But it wasn’t the $200 million that Disney wanted to spend. And between Depp, Bruckheimer, and Verbinski, the gross outlay on the film is substantial.”

Regardless, why the hell does a Lone Ranger movie require a $200 million budget? The answer to that question surely rests with the film’s plot, details of which had yet to surface. That got me web surfing around to various movie news sites to see if anyone had any insight.

It appears Jeffrey Wells provided the answer Saturday on his Hollywood Elsewhere website. Mr. Wells got hold of a 2009 draft of the script by Elliot and Rossio (Revolutionary Road scribe Jason Haythe was since brought in to do a rewrite) and got some behind-the-scenes tidbits from an insider revealing that the movie was going to be a special effects-laden extravaganza in the vein of the Pirates movies with the Lone Ranger and Tonto battling werewolves with more emphasis put on Depp’s Tonto than the character the movie is actually named for.

“It was going to be a Tonto show mainly. Tonto as the top dog and more dominant than the Lone Ranger. Tonto and the Indian spirits like Obi Wan Kenobi and the force. The driving engine was going to be Native American occult aspects worked in with werewolves and special effects. But flavored with doses of Native American spirituality in a serious way.”

Or, as a commenter on Wells’ article succinctly put it:

The whole pitch – right down to Tonto being the ‘real’ badass, the “Indians know the REAL score, white man is clueless” and the shamanistic magic angle sound like they basically lifted the plot of “Brotherhood of The Wolf” – which VERY self-consciously borrowed the Ranger/Tonto setup for it’s white-hero/indian-sidekick guys – and reverse-engineered it BACK into a “Lone Ranger” script. Amazing.

Wells’ story goes on to note Depp not wanting to turn his Tonto into another campy Jack Sparrow-type out of reverence for his own Native American heritage. Thank goodness, too, because the last thing you would want is too much foolishness in a film about a masked cowboy saving the Wild West from werewolves.

So why has the plug been pulled on The Lone Ranger despite being such a high concept reimagining of an iconic hero from the same production team responsible for a multi-billion dollar film franchise?

Cowboys & Aliens.

The moment that big budget, star-powered genre mash-up opened to box office disappointment three weeks ago, Disney reportedly began to panic over how much money they were potentially risking on what amounts to “cowboys & werewolves”, and with studios tightening their purse strings of late, Disney’s Van Helsing-ing of The Lone Ranger looks like it won’t be happening anytime soon.

Deadline updated the article to state that all parties involved are still hoping to get the project off the ground and discussions are ongoing so maybe they’ll iron things out budget-wise and we will get to learn the true reason why the Lone Ranger only shoots silver bullets.

Did Disney Deny Us a $200 Million Lone Ranger vs. Werewolves Flick?

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George A. Romero’s Daughter, Tina, Wrote a Script For Queens of the Dead

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The loss last year of director George A. Romero was a huge blow to the horror community, as well as the filmmaking community at large. The passing of the man responsible for creating the modern day zombie and whose work influenced “The Walking Dead”, Dead Alive, 28 Days Later, and Jordan Peele’s Get Out was felt far and wide but we take solace knowing that his work and legacy will live on forever.

Something that brings a smile to my face is hearing that his daughter, Tina, who DJ’s under the name DJ TRx, has written a screenplay for a zombie film that is called Queens of the Dead. And yes, it’s very gay! Romero has not only written the script but also plans on directing the film herself.

Romero tells The Saunder Blog about the film, saying, “Queens of the Dead is a fusion of two huge parts of my world: zombies and Gay nightlife. It’s a tribute to my father as well as my entrée into the genre he grandfathered. I can’t say too much yet, but what I can tell you is that this film will have all the hallmarks of a George A. Romero classic: farce, politics, heroes, assholes, and most importantly, herds of silly and slow moving walkers that you can’t help but love. But I’m doing it Tina-style, and bringing the glitter, choreography, queers & queens.

Romero’s father always brought some sort of social message into his work, so to hear that she will continue that tradition is inspiring, especially since it comes on a topic that is so discussed and topical.

If you want to read more about Romero and her DJ career, click on the link above.

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Wanna See Something REALLY Scary? Local 58 Contingency Emergency Broadcast

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Wanna See Something REALLY Scary

“Wanna see something REALLY scary?”

To horror fans who came of age in the 1980s, the line above instantly evokes memories of Dan Aykroyd and Albert Brooks in the opening scene from Twilight Zone: The Movie. Now, on a bi-monthly basis, I’ll be asking, “Wanna see something REALLY scary?” with the goal of shocking you with chilling footage plumbed from the darkest corners of YouTube.

As a child of the Cold War born in the 1970s and traumatized by films like The Day After and Threads, I remember immediately panicking every time an Emergency Broadcast broke into a TV show I was watching. That alarming tone made my stomach drop and in the moments before it was confirmed to be “only a test” I had already imagined a barrage of nuclear warheads bursting overhead.

My heart went out to the residents of Hawaii who, due to a false alarm, believed a missile attack was imminent this weekend. For almost 40 minutes, families scrambled into fallout shelters, bathrooms, and even storm drains, believing war had begun between the United States and North Korea. Even after the all-clear was announced and the warning revealed as a mistake, nerves were severely rattled. I can only imagine the potential long-term damage done to the psyches of Hawaii’s youngest residents.

For a taste of the pandemonium that occurred, check out an excerpt from CNN’s reporting below.

While the shock must have been unprecedented for most, a bizarre alert that accidentally aired in the late 1960s puts the Hawaii debacle to shame. What viewers of a local station saw just before the end of programming at 3 am was a message announcing the fall of the US Government, and included instructions for committing suicide rather than surrendering to enemy forces.

Wanna see something REALLY scary?

The message bore the seal of The U.S. Department for the Preservation of American Dignity, included a statement from President Lyndon B. Johnson, and warned that failure to commit suicide as instructed would have consequences:

“Your local law enforcement has been ordered to ensure your compliance,” the message cautioned. “It is against the law to delay.” The final instructions remind adult viewers to put down their children and pets first while promising “There is nothing to fear.” Though the station later posted a statement ensuring viewers the message was a hoax, the potential loss of life this broadcast could have inspired is staggering. Have a look:

If the Local 58 Contingency, as it’s become known, seems too outlandish to be true, that’s because it isn’t. Though the video doesn’t include an admission of fiction, it’s written and directed by Kris Straub. If that name sounds familiar, that’s because he’s the writer of the popular creepypasta Candle Cove, recently adapted into a TV series on SyFy.

Still, the vintage look of the Local 58 Contingency, not to mention the current climate of heightened tensions between American and a rogue nuclear nation, make this video a truly terrifying viewing experience.

Got an idea for a future installment of “Wanna See Something REALLY Scary?” Hit me up on Twitter @josh_millican!

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The Housemaid Haunts a New Trailer

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Here’s the thing… if we had the choice between cleaning up our own house or being haunted by a vengeful spectral servant of sorts, well… just hand us a friggin’ mop, wouldja already? Still, in the case of The Housemaid, it looks like nothing is gonna stop her from sensing shivers! Dig on this new trailer.

Derek Nguyen directs the flick, which stars Kate Nhung, Jean-Michel Richaud, Kim Xuan, Svitlana Kovalenko, and Rosie Fellner. Look for IFC Midnight’s release of The Housemaid coming to select theaters, VOD, and via Digital platforms in the U.S. on February 16, 2018.

Synopsis:
A forbidden passion awakens vengeful spirits within a haunted mansion in this bloodcurdling, erotic tour-de-force.

Vietnam, 1953: Linh (Nhung Kate), a poor, orphaned young woman, finds employment as a housemaid in a crumbling rubber plantation presided over by the emotionally fragile French officer Sebastien Laurent (Jean-Michel Richaud). Soon, a torrid love affair develops between the two – a taboo romance that rouses the ghost of Laurent’s dead wife, who won’t rest until blood flows.

Submerged in moody Gothic atmosphere, this stylish supernatural saga confronts the dark shadows of Vietnam’s colonial past while delivering heart-stopping scares.

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