September 6-12, 2008, was a busy week of serendipity, shorts, and a few surprises.
Starting with one of the surprises, I doubt anyone expected to see Tom Cruise’s name associated with Hannibal in any way, even a round-about one. But now that he and United Artists have acquired the rights to Mario Spezi’s novel The Monster of Florence, upon which Thomas Harris based his iconic character, it seems anything is possible — even Cruise himself stepping into Sir Anthony Hopkins’ extremely large and accomplished shoes to tackle the role of the Monster.
If you prefer to be the one handing out the shocks and shivers, make sure you enter our Shock Festival DVD & Trailer Contest. The top five entries will be featured in the 3-disc DVD set based on both the fictional Shock Festival films and the real films that inspired them. In addition they’ll be shown publicly at the world premiere opening of the book on October 21st, and the Grand Prize winner will receive a package of 100 awesome exploitation and cult DVDs!
One thing that’s been a topic of conversation in the horror community is the direction Lionsgate has been taking since the departure of Peter Block, its former president of acquisitions. This week we got the good news that Block has formed a new company, A Bigger Boat. Hope runs high with regard to ABB, especially with the news that John Carpenter is slated to direct a new feature for them. Of course we’ll be watching developments here closely.
I’ve no idea how many of our readers are collectors of action figures and the like, but whether you’re hardcore or just dabble in a few choice pieces here and there, you shouldn’t miss a peek at the new Regan Head Knockers from NECA. There’s a Beetlejuice too, but he pales in comparison to the Pazuzu-possessed little princess.
Earlier tonight I watched a British film called The Devil’s Chair and was very impressed. The director’s name, Adam Mason, was so familiar. Duh! Just a few days ago we posted “Prey,” an early Adam Mason short film. Mason may look like a nice young British gent (you can hear his lovely accent in a DC audio interview here), but let me tell you, he pulls no punches. And most of the time his talent lives up to his ambitions. I can’t wait to see his next project, Blood River, which also stars the amazing Andrew Howard of The Devil’s Chair.
If we’re talking about “s” words this week, then don’t forget sucker because I’m a huge one when it comes to time travel flicks. As a result, one story that definitely caught my eye was the upcoming film adaptation of the novel The Thirteenth Hour. Of almost equal interest as the time travel element is the fact that it’s Mike DeLuca’s first producing job with New Line since he left his position there eight years ago. A lot will hinge on who plays the lead, a man falsely accused of murdering his wife, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for updates.
We posted two widely divergent event reports this week. The first was a wrap-up of the Dragon*Con debut of The Minions of Ka filed by Mike Furno. Despite a slightly rocky start, it was good to hear the team behind Minions found success in the crowded confines of the convention, even managing to sneak away for an out of this world experience with an astronaut! Shortly after that, Andrew provided an overview of The Fly: The Opera, directed by David Cronenberg with music by Howard Shore. According to the piece, it’s more than a triumphant experiment; “it’s the single most bizarre and elaborate thing [Andrew has] ever seen put to stage.”
Michigan seems an unlikely place to film a movie nowadays, but that’s the setting for The Steam Experiment, which recently announced the casting of veteran actors Val Kilmer and Armande Assante. The two men portray adversaries in this “journey into the darkness of human nature” that also serves as one of the few directorial projects undertaken by producer Philippe Martinez.
I readily admit I have a soft spot for award shows. While some find them self-serving embarrassments, I can’t help but be entertained by the spectacle and, yes, the glamour. Hooray for Hollywood! At least once or twice a year — the rest of the time we can gripe and moan that it’s lost both its creativity and its soul. Which is a long and round-about way (much like award shows themselves) of saying Spike TV has announced its 2008 Scream Awards nominees. I’m not one to tell people how to vote [Walking Dead, Walking Dead, Walking Dead], but if either Prom Night or The Eye wins Best Remake, then horror is officially dead.
You want to talk about spooky surprises? Imagine walking in New York City’s Times Square two days before 9/11, minding your own business, and encountering a group of six real live Chucky dolls. Wielding fake weapons no less! Be sure to watch the video embedded in the story to catch a surprise cameo at the end.
Continuing my tradition of mentioning the word “vampire” as much as possible (so sue me — Butane does it with werewolves), I was pleased to see that Chan-Wook Park’s Thirst has received an influx of cash from Universal/Focus Features. Focus rarely shies away from releasing controversial material, so Thirst should do well with these two houses behind it. Thanks to Oldboy I have a love/hate relationship with Park and can’t wait to see if he’s going to seriously blow my mind or royally piss me off with his treatment of my beloved bloodsuckers.
A couple of video game stories showed up to keep gamers’ minds off the upcoming Rock Band 2 release. Creepy grabbed the full Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe roster, and yes, I’m resigned to not seeing him the entire week after its November 30th street date. Ryan reported the good news that the highly anticipated release of Dead Space has been moved up a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, however, its animated feature-length companion DVD is still slated to drop October 28th, which kind of screws up the whole “watch the prequel first” scenario.
Lo and behold, the little horror opera that could finally avoids another screwing as Repo! was graced with an actual “official” trailer. We should all be thankful for small miracles.
Lots of good things come in small packages, and “Prey” isn’t the only short film that left an impression over the past seven days. If you’ve ever taken a road trip with a buddy and found yourself bonding over shared horror moments as the miles ticked by, then you won’t want to miss the Woman’s Story of the Week: Green and Lynch’s Road to FrightFest. This series of five episodes (plus one bonus), each premiering a week apart on Mondays through October 6th, serves as a love note to both the UK’s FrightFest film festival and horror fans the world over. Kudos to everyone involved: Adam Green, Joe Lynch, Will Barratt, Jason R. Miller, Robert Pendergraft, and the assorted horror icons who pop up in cameos.
Until next time …
– The Woman In Black
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