The Weekly Wrap-Up: September 27-October 3, 2008
One interesting side effect of the meltdown on Wall Street is that part of the "sweetening" of the bailout bill authored by the Senate during the week of September 27-October 3, 2008, included a tax break aimed at film and TV production companies. They received an increase in the single-year deduction in production costs, from $15 million to $20 million, that they may take if the costs are incurred in economically depressed areas. In an effort to keep film and TV productions in the U.S., it also allows more companies to use a domestic production deduction.
Considering the state of the economy, it probably won't be too hard to qualify as a "depressed area" so it's likely that more independent productions will be able to remain here in the States instead of trekking up to Canada or over to Romania, which bodes well for the horror genre. At least that's how it seems on the surface, but as with all the bailout provisions, you can't judge a book by its cover.
Judging a movie by its trailer is a lot like judging a book by its cover, but in the case of Sodium Babies, I think it's worth the risk. This new French vamp film directed by brothers Benoit and Julien Decaillo looks to be visually stimulating without resorting to overly emo and brooding cliché characters. Everyone's calling it stylish; from this first look there seems to be some substance, too.
The hands down best entry in last year's Horrorfest 8 Films to Die For was Mulberry Street, so it was good to see that director Jim Mickle and his co-writer Nick Damaci have another project lined up. They'll be working on Stake Land (yes, it involves that damn "V" word again) in conjunction with Larry Fessenden's Glass Eye Pix. Since shooting's scheduled to start next month, expect to hear a lot more about this one in the coming weeks.
If we're going to talk about vampires, then let's include the biggest daddy of them all, Dracula. He's about to get a major resurgence -- with, for the first time, the full support and cooperation of the Stoker family. Apparently there were characters and plot ideas edited out of Bram Stoker's original novel that are being resuscitated and expanded upon in a joint book/movie sequel entitled The Un-Dead. It sounds like something with real possibilities, but producer Jan de Bont will be hard pressed to find a better Count Dracula than Gary Oldman, not to mention a director who can top Coppola's definitive telling of the legend.
Now that it's October, there's a slight chill in the air, and pumpkin patches are springing up around town, young men and women across the country have their minds on one thing … haunted houses! What better way to hug up on your sweetie than by scaring him or her half to death? And we've got the lowdown on two of the best, one on each coast: Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights and The Official Saw Haunted Attraction in Orange County, California. And if any of you happen to visit an especially good spook house, be sure to let the rest of us know where it is by leaving a comment or visiting our Ghastly Gatherings forum.
Ever since McCannibal reviewed Peur(s) du Noir (Fears of the Dark) during Fantasia 2008, I've been on the lookout for a chance to see it. And now, thanks to IFC Films, the opportunity has presented itself. The animated anthology film will have a limited theatrical run beginning October 24th, and the list of where and when it will be shown can be found here. Most of the showings will be in Landmark theatres, so if you have one of them in your hometown, you should be in luck like I am. Nothing says Halloween like a collection of flicks that fuck with the "sinister, shadowy nightmare corners of our imagination."
LA Screamfest 08 starts on October 10th, and to help introduce the filmmakers to the fans, DC will be running several exclusive director audio interviews during the next week. Uncle Creepy is manning the mic so you know they're far from your typical dry Q&A's. Two are up already with Toby Wilkins (Splinter) and Jeffrey Schwarz (Spine Tingler: The William Castle Story), and there are plenty more to come including Gregg Bishop (Dance of the Dead [review here]) and Jon Hewitt (Acolytes [review here]). Trailers for three other Screamfest 08 films found their way online, but you'll have to click here to find out which ones they are.
Two remake projects that seem utterly uncalled for are the Matt (Cloverfield) Reeves-helmed Let the Right One In and the just announced Angel Heart. Both of these stories pretty much speak for themselves, so moving on …
Leave it to Foy to blow away the redux stench with a big blast of fresh canal-scented air via his update on the now plural Sharks in Venice. Holy gondola, Batman -- this is sure to be an instant classic!
If you prefer your sci-fi in the more serious vein, then you'll want to check out our exclusive behind-the-scenes look at The Plaguers. I've discussed this one before in the Wrap-Up, and it continues to pique my curiosity. If it keeps snagging award nominations on the film fest circuit, then it shouldn't be too long before some smart distributor snaps it up and we'll all be able to find out how successfully writer/director Brad Sykes has intermingled sexy space pirates, an alien virus, and ravenous demonic creatures.
I'm not sure if it's a sign of our environmentally challenged times or what, but another upcoming film shares a "plague" theme with The Plaguers -- a little something about deformed, homicidal children called Plague Town. Its director, David Gregory, has years of experience producing and directing supplemental DVD features for Dark Sky Films and others dating back as far as 2000. The cast is mostly comprised of newcomers, but surely in all that time he worked behind the scenes, Gregory picked up some pretty helpful pointers that he can pass on to them … by virtue of sheer osmosis if nothing else! If you live in the NYC area, Plague Town is having its East Coast premiere on October 10 at Two Boots.
Mention any kind of snake woman type creature to me, and all I can think of is Little Egypt crawling on her belly like a reptile! But it's a pleasant childhood recollection so I look forward with much enthusiasm to Jennifer Lynch's interpretation of the Nagin legend in the newly renamed Hisss. Aside from the opportunity to see how far Lynch and her nicely twisted sensibilities have come in the 15 years since Boxing Helena, I've got just two words for you: Robert Kurtzman. He's creating the snake woman. What else do you need to know?
I don't typically make a big deal out of movie posters, and I'm far from a devoted Argento fan, but the artwork for his soon to be retitled Giallo caught my eye like nothing has in quite some time. If you missed it, check it out. It'll cut all those silly floating heads right out of your memory banks.
While we're on the subject of memories, there isn't one that's much better than the first time I saw Night of the Living Dead so of course the Woman's Story of the Week is Happy 40th Birthday Night of the Living Dead! And making it even sweeter was the announcement that in the same week, exactly 40 years later, director George Romero has begun shooting his sixth entry in the Dead oeuvre. But let's not jump ahead too fast. As Shakespeare (and Joe Biden) wisely said, "Past is prologue." Without Night we never would have made it to the Dawn, much less lived to see the Day in the Land we fantasized about in our Diary. Bon voyage, George! May the end result of your current journey to the isle of the dead be as rewarding to you as Night of the Living Dead has been to all of us these past four decades. No one deserves it more than you!
Next weekend I'll be partyi … err … working … really, really hard … with a good portion of the DC crew at Rock and Shock so The Weekly Wrap-Up will be taking a little break. See you in two weeks …
- The Woman In Black
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