The Weekly Wrap-Up: September 20-26, 2008
September 20-26, 2008, is certain to go down in history as one of the bleakest weeks our country has faced. Between the proposed $700 billion bailout of Wall Street and the largest bank failure heretofore seen, there wasn’t much to be happy about over the past seven days. Some might even say that, like genre films, it’s the stuff of nightmares. But I prefer to get my dose of the dark side from fantasy horror, not the real thing. So let’s put the bad news on hold for a bit and see what’s been happening in our little corner of the world.
The perfect opportunity to escape reality is coming via LA’s Screamfest 08, and they released their full line-up earlier this week. Films I’ve been dying to see including 100 Feet, Trick ‘r Treat, Parasomnia, and The Burrowers will be screened there. Rest assured we’ll be all over it as it goes down from October 10th-19th.
I still can’t quite wrap my head around the re-emergence of Hammer Films. I tried to get into Beyond the Rave but couldn’t for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is that I just don’t enjoy watching anything on the computer for an extended period of time. Even so, if any company is deserving of another shot, it’s them. So I’m willing to keep an open mind about Hammer’s new feature film, The Wake Wood. Set in Ireland, it tells of a couple who undertake raising their daughter from the dead … but only for three days. And then what?
Wood is just the beginning, though. The revitalized studio also has acquired the rights to remake Let the Right One In and has tapped Cloverfield‘s Matt Reeves to direct. It’s killing me that I haven’t had a chance to see Right One yet since all I’ve heard are glowing reviews about it, but considering Hammer was built on vamp blood and this is supposedly one of the best vampire tales ever written, it’s likely that if anyone can keep the remake from totally sucking, it’s them.
Sick of the slimy, shark-like politicians and pundits saturating our airwaves night after night? Flip the dial and check out Shark in Venice, an upcoming Sci-Fi Channel flick starring Stephen Baldwin. I don’t think big brother Alec has to worry about little Stephen stealing his Emmy thunder, but even so, I suspect you’ll be as giddy as The Foywonder was after you watch the trailer. This could be one for the ages.
You think you have it bad with a bank that’s changed hands twice in the last six months and a mortgage that’s gone up to more than double your monthly salary? Well, you’re still better off than poor Mum & Dad, who are so down and out they live in Heathrow Airport, stealing and killing as the urge strikes them. But underneath it all, they’re probably a truly loving, tight-knit family, right? Somehow, I doubt it. If you’re in the UK, you can check out Mum & Dad on December 26th (yours truly’s birthday) and then report back to us how well it turns out.
One upcoming release I’m fortunate enough to already know turns out great is Splinter. Its British director Toby Wilkins and American editor David Michael Maurer are recording video podcasts in which they discuss the film, reviews of it, and other behind-the-scenes stuff. The podcast linked to here is the second they’ve done (hit the player’s YouTube link to see the first), and hopefully there will be at least a few more because it’s damn entertaining!
At various times I help out Butane with sizing and uploading pictures for his news stories, and a couple of days ago he sent me one for a new short called “Cottonmouth” that definitely caught my attention. Let me tell you — Those four chicks look pissed off! “Cottonmouth” is also the name of a cross-promotional horror website for the film, which is based on a story by Steve Bissette that originally appeared in the underground horror comic Gore Shriek. And if we’re talking Six Degrees of The Woman In Black, I reviewed (and rather liked) “Cottonmouth” writer/director Chris Garetano’s Horror Business (review) so you can bet I’ll be checking out its debut on Cottonmouth.tv Halloween night.
On a personal note, the highlight of my week was the arrival of The Birds Barbie on my doorstep. The one movie that scared me more than any other … the one that really cemented my love for this genre … is Hitchcock’s The Birds. I vividly remember running from the room screaming and crying when I watched it with my parents on TV as a child. It wasn’t until years later as an adult that I faced my fears and dared to watch it all the way through on DVD. To now actually have Melanie Daniels in my living room being attacked by several big black crows is, to be honest, kind of freaking me out! Who are you? What are you? Where did you come from! I think you’re evil. EVIL! Whoops … Sorry … I’m all right now. Moving on…
In this era of remake, redux, reimagine, one trend that I can see great potential for is turning our favorite films into Broadway musicals. Actually, I’d prefer if they weren’t ALL musicals — some could certainly stay dramatic in nature — but I can’t think of many more well suited to the stage than American Psycho. Bateman is the quintessential music man spreading trouble … right here in Manhattan. Trouble with a capital T, and that rhymes with P, and that stands for Patrick!
Just like no one could portray a better Bateman than Bale, I’d be hard pressed to name a more effective Angel Gabriel than Christopher Walken in The Prophecy. Now along comes Kevin Durand to give the role a shot in Legion, an apocalyptic story about a group of people trapped in a diner in the Southwest with a waitress who’s pregnant with the messiah. Durand won me over with his “love to hate him” portrayal of First Sergeant Keamy on “Lost”, and religious horror done right can tell some of the most compelling, provocative stories ever created. Nonetheless, before we all get too excited, something tells me that’s likely not the case with Legion given that it’s been pushed back to a January, 2010 release date. If we’re still hearing about it six or seven months from now, that’s when I’ll give it at least partial consideration.
My full attention, however, was captured by the list of DVD features for the three versions Hellboy II being released November 11th. HII is a film that keeps sliding in and out of my Top Five list for 2008. It was so overshadowed in theatres by The Dark Knight, but in my eyes it held its own, and this is my most anticipated DVD release of the year. It’s a total sensory overload of extras I can’t wait to indulge in!
I have no idea how Guillermo del Toro’s isn’t in overload mode all the time considering how many projects he has under way in one stage of pre-production or another, not to mention how many different hats he’s currently wearing from director to producer to co-screenwriter. Now you can add co-novelist to the mix since it was announced that he’s collaborating on a trilogy of vampire novels with crime author Chuck Hogan (Prince of Thieves).
One group that’s bound to remain eternally on the fringes of society is Satanists. But times were especially hard for them back in the mid-80’s when “Satanic Panic” swept the country. Those days are revisited in indie filmmaker Marc Selz’s Satanic Panic, a documentary style feature film that’s premiering in Wheeling, Illinois, of all places in late November.
While we’re on the subject of premieres, the little horror opera that could, Repo!, is hitting the road with stops in seven key cities across the country beginning November 10th. Repo! masterminds Terrance Zdunich and Darren Bousman will be present at each screening with a Q&A afterwards. Bear in mind that this is a truly indie undertaking by Bousman and Zdunich, who are doing it on their own with a print of the film in one hand and their bruised and battered hearts in the other. Rarely will you see such a labor of love as this.
Unless that labor of love happens to be called Rue Morgue Magazine, the subject of The Woman’s Story of the Week: Rue Morgue Turns Eleven! From its founder Rod Gudino (who’s gone on to achieve acclaim as a promising filmmaker) to its current editor-in-chief Jovanka Vuckovic, Rue Morgue has always reflected an authenticity and passion for the more cerebral aspects of the genre unlike that found in any other publication. Jovanka’s influences and interests are reflected in the magazine’s content, and her dynamic personality is truly a force of nature. I’m proud to see another female rise to such heights in our field and strongly recommend that anyone with the ability to attend this year’s H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon in Portland, Oregon, October 3-5, do so to see first-hand how knowledgeable and charismatic she is. And if you can’t make that but live in or around Toronto, help them celebrate eleven wonderful years at a joint anniversary/Halloween party being held on October 31 at The Church at Berkeley.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, RUE MORGUE! HERE’S TO MANY, MANY MORE!
Until next time …
– The Woman In Black
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