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The Jim Henson Company Joins S. Craig Zahler’s Hug Chickenpenny Film Adaptation

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S. Craig Zahler is a name that should be very familiar to horror fans. He first broke out in 2015 with Bone Tomahawk, and now he’s currently riding high on the praise for his latest film, Brawl in Cell Block 99. But aside from being an award-winning screenwriter, director, cinematographer, AND musician, he’s also a novelist.

His latest book, the Gothic tale Hug Chickenpenny: The Panegyric of an Anomalous Child, arrives in January; and its film rights have already been scooped up by The Jim Henson Company with Zahler set to direct.

Read on to learn more, and check back soon for both an excerpt and a Q&A with S. Craig Zahler.

From the Press Release:
From the writer and director of the critically acclaimed films Brawl in Cell Block 99 and Bone Tomahawk comes HUG CHICKENPENNY: THE PANEGYRIC OF AN ANOMALOUS CHILD (Cinestate trade paperback original; $15.00; January 23, 2018) by award-winning screenwriter, director, novelist, cinematographer, and musician S. Craig Zahler.

HUG CHICKENPENNY: THE PANEGYRIC OF AN ANOMALOUS CHILD is a Gothic, Dickensian take on the Elephant Man, as if David Lynch wrote a fable for unbalanced orphans.

The Jim Henson Company (Dark Crystal, Labyrinth) has come on board to produce Zahler’s movie adaptation of HUG CHICKENPENNY, and the designers will work closely with him to create and build the animatronic puppet versions of the titular character, “Hug.” The team at Henson joins the producing team of Zahler, who will also direct, and Dallas Sonnier of Cinestate.

Synopsis:
Hug Chickenpenny is an anomalous child. Born from tragedy and unknown paternity, this asymmetrical and white-haired baby inspires both ire and pity at the orphanage, until the day that an elderly eccentric adopts him as a pet. The upbeat boy’s spirit is challenged in his new home and as he is exposed to prejudiced members of society in various encounters. Will Hug and his astronautical dreams survive our cruel and judgmental world?

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY NOW!

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The Crow Reboot Begins Location Scouting

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Corin Hardy’s reboot of Alex Proyas’ The Crow has begun location scouting in Detroit and today we have some pics from the scout via director Corin Hardy.

Hardy posted the pics on Instagram saying: “I’ve waited half my life to visit Detroit & it was 100% raining. Which was beautifully fitting for my scout. But you know what they say…. #TheCrow

Come, everybody. All at once now: “It can’t rain all the time!

You can check out his posts below and then make sure to hit us up and let us know what you think in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

The Crow Reborn is directed by Corin Hardy from a script he co-wrote with Jon Spaihts. Jason Momoa stars and the film is produced by Samuel Hadida, Kevin Misher and Ed Pressman.

Principal photography begins in early July 2018.

The Crow (1994) synopsis:

The night before his wedding, musician Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) and his fiancée are brutally murdered by members of a violent inner-city gang. On the anniversary of their death, Eric rises from the grave and assumes the gothic mantle of the Crow, a supernatural avenger. Tracking down the thugs responsible for the crimes and mercilessly murdering them, Eric eventually confronts head gangster Top Dollar to complete his macabre mission.

Kung Fu Kick. Detroit. 15.04.18

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Brennan Went To Film School

Brennan Went to Film School: The Surprisingly Inspiring Message in Nightmare on Elm Street 4

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“Brennan Went to Film School” is a column that proves that horror has just as much to say about the world as your average Oscar nominee. Probably more, if we’re being honest.

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE DREAM MASTER. READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

The Elm Street franchise has a reputation for going downhill after Freddy gets funny, with most people fearing to venture past the high-water mark of the third film, Dream Warriors. But if there’s one Freddy film that sticks in my craw and makes me think about it more than any other, it’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.

Yes, the movie with the karate dude. The movie with the soul pizza. The movie that has multiple Dramarama needle drops. Let me explain.

If you’re not familiar, The Dream Master tells the story of Alice Johnson, as played by Lisa Wilcox, who is part of a new group of friends (there’s always a new group of friends) that surround the three survivors of the previous installment. She’s a sweet, shy girl who has a tendency for daydreaming in order to escape the mundane, awful realities of life with her abusive, alcoholic father.

When Freddy Krueger returns to continue his reign of terror (this involves a fire-pissing dog named Jason, don’t ask), Alice discovers that not only do people possess special powers in the dream world, but her particular power is to absorb the skills and abilities of her friends once they are killed. After they’re all dead, she becomes the Dream Master, the only person who has a chance of conquering Freddy once and for all. Or at least until they made three more sequels and a spin-off.

It might not seem like it at first, but Alice Johnson’s character arc is probably the most powerful in the franchise. In between the cockroach weight lifting and the time loops and the movie theater vortex is a genuinely powerful story of a young woman’s self-actualization in the face of trauma.

Alice starts the movie as a beaten-down, mousy wallflower who lets her more outgoing friends lead her thoughts and actions. In fact, she’s so bland and boring that you might even start to wonder why the movie even decided to have her as the protagonist. Her whole life seems to entail going to school, going to work at the local diner, and doing her best not to stand out.

But there’s one thing that already implies her potential to be a worthy adversary to the unstoppable dream demon: she already lives in a world of daydreams, so she and Freddy share the same domain. She’s only truly at home in the dream world, as it is the place that gives her the power to carry on with her day.

As the story progresses, we see Alice literally draw strength from her friends and eventually learn to cope with the hand she’s been dealt, until she is accomplished and powerful in her own right. Not only does she defeat Freddy, but she gains her own agency, fights back against her dad, and wins the heart of the hunky guy she’s been crushing on. It’s a radical, inspiring change worthy of any high school movie, even one where a man with a charred face drowns a kid in his own waterbed.

Now that’s all well and good, but there’s a visual metaphor at the center of this that drives everything home so powerfully that it’ll never detach its vise grip on my mind. In Alice’s room, she has a mirror that’s so covered with photos of her friends there’s hardly space to check the bags under her eyes. She has literally hidden herself behind the faces and personalities of those she loves.

But as they start to die off one by one, Alice removes their pictures from her mirror. Friend by friend, power by power, Freddy’s murder spree chips away the photo collage until all she’s left with is her own reflection. Once she has become complete and ready to face her demons on her own, she is finally able to look herself full in the face and find her own identity.

It’s a powerful image, and maybe the most subtle in director Renny Harlin’s entire career. And that’s why The Dream Master never strikes me as one of the worse entries of the franchise. Not only is it a fun, cheesy supernatural slasher, it’s an uplifting tale of a girl who deserves more finally learning to respect herself and using that very respect to change the world around her for the better. I think that’s a message we could all use, even if you have to dig a little bit to get it.


Brennan Klein is a writer and podcaster who talks horror movies every chance he gets. And when you’re talking to him about something else, he’s probably thinking about horror movies. On his blog, Popcorn Culture, he is running through reviews of every slasher film of the 1980’s, and on his podcast, Scream 101, he and a non-horror nerd co-host tackle horror reviews with a new sub-genre every month!


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Pacific Rim Uprising Hits Blu-ray This June

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As much as we covered the film, I didn’t see the new Pacific Rim movie in theaters. I figured I’d just hold out for the Blu-ray. And if you’re like me, then today we have some good news.

Steven S. DeKnight’s Pacific Rim Uprising arrives on Digital and the all-new digital movie app Movies Anywhere June 5th, as well as 4K Ultra HD, 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand June 19th.

You can check out the Blu-ray cover art to the right and the full list of special features below, and then make sure to hit us up and let us know what you think in the comments below or on FacebookTwitter, and/or Instagram!

The film is directed by Steven S. DeKnight and stars John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Jing Tian, Cailee Spaeny, Rinko Kikuchi, Burn Gorman, and Charlie Day.

Bonus Features:

  • Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Director Steven S. DeKnight
  • Hall of Heroes – John Boyega takes us through the awesome weaponry and cutting-edge enhancements of the latest generation of Jaegers featured in the film.
  • Bridge to Uprising – The cast and crew discuss how the world of Pacific Rim has changed in the ten years since the events of the original film.
  • The Underworld of Uprising – Humanity won the Kaiju War, but every war has casualties. John Boyega and Steven S. DeKnight give a tour of the coastal “Relief Zones.”
  • Becoming Cadets – Step into the Shatterdome, and learn the grueling physical and mental preparation required of the young actors who portrayed the PPDC cadets.
  • Unexpected Villain – Learn the secret reason that turned one of the most beloved heroes of the original film into a villain obsessed with humanity’s destruction.
  • Next Level Jaegers – The cast and crew discuss the amazing technological advances of the Jaeger program in the years since the events of the original film.
  • I Am Scrapper – Actress Cailee Spaeny shares the backstory of Scrapper, Amara’s incredible self-built Jaeger, and its many unique abilities.
  • Going Mega – Filmmakers take us through the technical and creative challenges of creating the most deadly threat the Pan Pacific Defense Corp has ever faced: the Mega Kaiju!
  • Secrets of Shao – Meet the woman behind Shao Industries. Actress Tian Jing shares her insights on the enigmatic tech tycoon Liwen Shao.
  • Mako Returns – Actress Rinko Kikuchi and director Steven S. DeKnight explain the significance of Mako Mori’s return and her importance to the events of Pacific Rim Uprising.
  • Feature Commentary with Director Steven S. DeKnight

BUY IT HERE

Synopsis:

In Pacific Rim Uprising directed by Steven S. DeKnight, John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) stars as the rebellious Jake Pentecost, a once-promising Jaeger pilot whose legendary father gave his life to secure humanity’s victory against the monstrous Kaiju. Jake has since abandoned his training only to become caught up in a criminal underworld. But when an even more unstoppable threat is unleashed to tear through our cities and bring the world to its knees, he is given one last chance to live up to his father’s legacy. Jake is joined by gifted rival pilot Lambert (The Fate of the Furious’ Scott Eastwood), 15-year-old Jaeger hacker Amara (newcomer Cailee Spaeny), returning veterans Charlie Day (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”), Rinko Kikuchi (Pacific Rim), Burn Gorman (The Dark Knight Rises) and a talented crew of fiercely young cadets. The international cast also includes Tian Jing (Kong: Skull Island) and Adria Arjona. Rising up to become the most powerful defense force to ever walk the earth, they set course for a spectacular all-new adventure on a towering scale.

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