Category Archives: Horror

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‘Bond 24′ confirmed; new voices for ‘Korra’; ‘Day’ to remade again and FOX wants ‘Gentlemen’

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EON Productions, Sony Pictures and MGM have officially announced what was rumored all along, that Sam Mendes will return to helm James Bond 24, which will bow in the UK on October 23. 2015, with a US release set for November 6. Weeks ago, many entertainment websites were reporting that after much consideration of other directors -after Mendes said he could not meet the a November 2014 release date due to theater commitments- producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli agreed to delay the twenty-fourth Bond feature a year just so they could get Mendes back. While It might surprise some that they would even consider another director after the huge success of Skyfall, the folks at EON have been working a long time trying to return the Bond franchise to a two-year cycle. But seeing as the twenty-third film became the highest grossing film in the fifty year history of the series, one can guess that a year’s delay is worth it to get Sam Mendes and writer John Logan back. Nothing, however, was mentioned about a potential James Bond 25, which would most likely see the end of Daniel Craig’s reign as the British super-spy after five outings. One of the other rumors that precipitated the signing of Mendes again was that he’s most likely made a deal to helm that film as well, completing a sort-of loose trilogy. John Logan has already agreed to write Bond 25, which many assumed meant -and even somewhat confirmed by Logan himself- that Bond 24 and 25 will be a two-part film.

korra Parks and Recreation actress Aubrey Plaza, along with House alumni Lisa Edelstein and veteran character actor James Remar are among those added to the voice cast of Nickelodeon’s animated series The Legend of Korra: Book 2 (or as some would call it, the second half of season one). EW adds: “n addition, John Michael Higgins (Best in Show) has been cast as Varrick, an eccentric capitalist and self-proclaimed “Biz-Bender,” while Adrian LaTourelle (Sons of Anarchy) will tackle the role of Unalaq, Korra’s uncle and Chief of the Northern and Southern Water Tribes, who seeks assistance from Korra. Book 2 picks up six months after Book 1 ended with Korra triumphing over Amon and the Equalists. Now she faces an even greater threat “as the physical and spirit worlds collide.” Consisting of 14 episodes, Book 2 will debut later this year.”

Hoping to put the final nail in the current trend of zombie films, the team behind the 2008 direct-to-video remake of George A. Romero’s 1985 film Day of the Dead, have announced they’ll make another remake of film, hoping to have it out by August of 2014 -just in time for no one to care. I mean, just because zombie films are popular does not mean you should go and remake the Mena Suvari and Nick Cannon (which clearly shows the people behind that film were reaching for the sky when it came to casting) 2008 version, which hit the video shelves with a louder thud than zombies munching on the Olsen twins. But producer Christa Campbell thinks she might know what might work this time: “We want to keep it as close to the Romero version as possible to make sure that his fans are happy.” Wonder who the casting choices will be this time, Jaden Smith and Bryce Dallas Howard?

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FOX has put into development a TV series version The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, based on the always cuddly and agreeable Alan Moore and illustrator Kevin O’Neill’s popular graphic novel. Neither Moore or O’Neill will not be involved with the project -and Moore has tried to put considerable distance between his better take and the 2003 film attempt that bombed so well at the box-office, along with everything else when it comes to Hollywood adapting his works. I cannot wait for Moore to issue a pithy comment about this latest attempt.Green Lantern writer Michael Green -who will also be penning Blade Runner 2- is attached as showrunner.

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Cruise out, Cavill in for ‘U.N.C.L.E’; NBC renews ‘Hannibal’; Mendes back for Bond & RIP Jack Vance

While the idea of director Steven Soderbergh and long-time collaborator George Clooney doing an adaptation of the 1964-68 TV spy series The Man From U.N.C.L.E. sounded like a potentially good idea, once Clooney dropped out for medical reasons and Soderbergh flew the coop soon after, perhaps  Warner Brothers should have just acknowledged that a reboot of the show should’ve been put into turnaround, where it could eventually pass from executives thoughts. But that seemed not to enter the WB’s mind, so they shuffled the movie to British director Guy Ritchie, who has successfully made two Sherlock Holmes films for the studio, so I’m guessing they thought he could do the same to what is, though, a distinctly American TV series. Sherlock Holmes has wide appeal, yet the U.N.C.L.E. franchise ran its course before the end of the 1960s and has spent very little time in syndication since. But the studio soldiered on, casting Tom Cruise as Napoleon Solo –first played by the legendary Robert Vaughn (Armie Hammer was already set to play the David McCallum role of Illya Kuryakin). But soon after, however, Paramount announced that they were fast-tracking Mission: Impossible 5 to begin production towards the end of the year, which would’ve put Cruise in a bind as the tail end of U.N.C.L.E.’s production would have left Cruise little time to prepare for M:I-5. So Cruise decided to drop out of U.N.C.L.E. to focus all his energy on the fifth film in that “other” classic 1960s spy series.  Now, what is becoming increasingly an everyday thing for studios looking to promote unique American productions, they’ll farm out the lead role of Napoleon Solo to British actor Henry Cavill, who is donning an American accent to play the All-American super hero, Superman, in the upcoming WB film Man of Steel.Hannibal - Season 1

NBC has finally announced the fate of Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal, nearly two weeks after announcing their fall slate. The series, while not the break-out they hoped for, none the less settled in nicely in its Thursday slot. While critically lauded, with most saying the show was creatively better than FOX’s The Following (which catered to the same audience and trampled over the same ground), it was criticized (much like The Following was) for being too violent and gory (The series made headlines in April when an episode featuring children-turned-murderers was pulled upon Fuller’s request and the NBC affiliate in Salt Lake City dropped the series). The show will return at midseason, with a 13 episode order (though Fuller said he sold the show to NBC as a 13 episode seasons, culminating in a five year run).

With the huge success of the JamSkyfall_Sam_Mendes_Daniel_Craig-300x199es Bond film Skyfall, it was only natural that producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson would want Sam Mendes to return and helm the 24th Bond film. But Mendes, who’s first love is the theatre, told them that he had two projects in the pipeline -the West End production of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and King Lear- that would be done first. While Bond 24 had no release date, it was assumed that it bow in November 2014, which meant production would need to start in January. So the producers, understanding his commitment to the theatre, decided to search for a new director. That started the rumor mill of who could do the film, with Christopher Nolan being the frontrunner. But Nolan (who has made it known he would love to direct a Bond film) is deep in pre-production on Interstellar, which begins filming towards the end of summer, so that means he was out as well. Now it looks like the Bond producers will wait for Mendes, which would effectively delay the next film for a year. So now  James Bond 24 will bow in November of 2015.

Locus Online takes a look at SF Grand Master Jack Vance, an influential science fiction author of the post World War II era, who passed away on May 26 at the age of 96.

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Review: N0S4A2 by Joe Hill (2013)

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With N0S4A2 (Nosferatu), author Joe Hill hems even closer to the odd, the weird and the often horrifying universe of his father, Stephen King.

This is  a  creepy, suspenseful novel of the supernatural, where a man in a 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith kidnaps kids and takes them to a place he calls Christmasland.

Of all the holidays, Christmas remains my favorite, even if it’s lost all meaning. I love the decorations, I love the music (which is odd, because it’s so religious and I’m not very religious), I love the sweets and all the other food that goes with those 6 weeks that starts at Thanksgiving. Yeah, presents are great, but for me they pale next to the colorful lights, the sparkling tinsel, and the smell of pumpkin pie and gingerbread cookies (love the odor, but not a huge fan of the taste).

Here in N0S4A2, Hill gives us a very dark side to the holiday. Charles Manx has a totem, one that enables him to traverse our world to an “mindspace” dimension where Christmas exists all the time (ever since I saw the fourth Indiana Jones movie, the one with the aliens who don’t come from space, but from other dimension, the whole innerspace crutch seems a bit nonsensical to me, mostly because then the writer really does not have to explain too much about the internal logic of how a man and a car, or a girl and bridge can do what can be done in the this book). The Wraith, which could be the cousin to Stephen King’s Christine, exists here in our world, but is also able to open a doorway to Christmasland, where Manx drives them down the highways of his mind. It sort of preserves them in their young innocence, but it also sucks the life out of them during the car ride. What’s left of the children –empty husks, really – is stored away like cans of corn in the dark pantry of his demented mind. Thus, these kidnapped children now can live worry free life and never, ever be hurt by the outside world, or (the reason for Manx’s demented idea) by their parents. Much like Neverland, the kids never need to grow up.

For a long time, Manx has been able to do what he thought right, until he met a seventeen year-old girl in 1996, Victoria McQueen. Much like what Manx could do, when Vic was a child in the mid 1980’s, she was able to leave her squabbling parents behind, and with her Triumph bike and a magical bridge, she could go anywhere. First not understanding what it was she could do, Vic used the bridge to find lost things. But like any magical thing, it began to take its toll on her. But a near fatal accident put her trips behind her.

Until a decade later when a much troubled Vic uses her thoughts and her bridge that brings her into the contact with Manx and his able henchman (or Renfield, if you will), Bing. But Vic is able to escape, saved by a fat young man who will –as time moves on- becomes Vic’s lover that produces a son, Bruce Wayne Carmody.

Now, more than a decade later, Vic remains a troubled woman. She is damaged by her parents, her magical bridge and life in general. Despite this, she still loves her son Wayne and –though she seemed never to admit it out loud for a long time- Lou, the geek that saved her. But the past, much as the theme in many of his dad’s novels, never stays there, and Manx (caught and imprisoned and who died there, but was able to walk out even after his heart was removed) never forgot the one girl who got away.

But as much as Manx wants Vic to pay for what she did to him, his real target is her son Wayne, and an epic battle for control over the soul of a 12 year-old boy is about to begin.

It is clear that Joe Hillstrom King inherited his father’s droll, gothic style humor –that includes the rhyming Bing and stuttering Liberian who possess some version of what Vic and Charles Manx can do. And much like his dad, Hill is able to create wonderful, believable characters. We see Vic go from being a messed up kid, to a messed up parent and it all rings true. And Manx can come across, at times, as a sympathetic vampire. I mean he does horrible things in pursuant of his goals, but he is not evil in every sense of the typical horror novel tropes (and something King has done in his later novels as well , especially in Under the Dome where we meet Big Jim Rennie. He is a horrible person, but evil? And in 11/22/63, King paints Oswald much more human. Yes, he’s still a bitter man and a wife-beater, but was he evil enough to kill a president?).

Also, if Joe Hill is to be the next Stephen King, he seems to be fine with the comparison (he decided to use a pen name early in his career in hopes of getting published on his own merits, not his name. The story goes that not even his publishers of his story collection 20th Century Ghosts and his first novel, Heart-Shaped Box, was aware of his lineage until shortly before they were release), as he drops some references to his dad’s work, including a nod to The Dark Tower and the True Knot, the “vampires” that will take on Danny Torrance in this September’s long awaited sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep.  Then again, this whole book is sort of rift on his dad’s ‘Salem Lot (which borrows heavily from both the classic silent film Nosferatu and Bram Stoker’s Dracula) and, as mentioned, Christine. And Hill also names a character after his mother, Tabitha.

It’s a bit over long, but the characters are strong and the story creepy enough to keep you reading. I’ll admit it kept me turning the pages. Again, the whole “inscapes” aspect leaves me feeling a bit unfilled with what it actually is, or was, but Hill’s abilities as a writer have grown. Heart-Shaped Box was a strong debut, and Horns (which will be a film starring Daniel Radcliff) –though a more conventional Twilight Zone tale- was still wonderfully mean.

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Warner signs former ‘Walking Dead’ showrunner Glenn Mazarra to write ‘Shining” prequel

 

shiningAt the end of July of last, I reported on story that Warner Bros was in early discussions about doing a prequel to Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s best-selling novel, The Shining. While for most, the idea of doing a prequel seems unnecessary and just pointless, to the people that run the WB, apparently, they see a product that they own not generating any more money.

While King himself plans a sequel to his classic novel, Doctor Sleep, which is due in September, the author will have no plans to be involved with the proposed prequel.

Now nine months later, Warners has announced that former The Walking Dead showrunner Glenn Mazarra will write the script for The Overlook Hotel. Mazarra, who replaced Frank Darabont on the hit AMC series and who was let go in December, is an inspired choice. While there may be some fan ire about the firing of Darabont, Mazarra was able to build on ideas the director had with the comic book adaptation and made The Walking Dead a huge success, both ratings and creatively. .

It can be assumed that a prequel story will deal with how the Overlook became infested with ghosts -King dropped enough hints in his novel as well the stuff Kubrick added to the movie- but that’s a given. As to what else is ahead is unknown.

Doctor_SleepAs for King’s Doctor Sleep, which is due September 24, the novel picks-up a few decades later, with Danny Torrance trying to keep his “shining” powers at bay, but when he encounters a little girl with the same powers and a group of elderly “vampires” who need their abilities to survive, Danny must confront the demons of his past to make sure one special girl has a future.

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Who knows where 'Prometheus' sequel will go? Apparently, no one

damon_lindelof-2Love him or hate him, Damon Lindelof is probably one of the few writer/producers in Hollywood who is fairly open about his opinions and allows fans of his to berate him endlessly for the faults of the last episode of Lost, years after the final hour’s air. He seems willing to admit and take personal responsibility for the disappointments that many fans have with his work (Cowboys and Aliens, Star Trek reboot). It’s a genuine rarity not only in Hollywood, but also in everyday people.

When word broke that Ridely Scott was interested in returning the Alien franchise he helped launch, many wondered where he would go after four films. Obviously, the idea of a prequel –which would explain the events leading up to the Nostromo landing on LV-426- was a good place to start. Still, Scott seemed not keen on making a direct prequel, but maybe something that shared some of the DNA of his first film, but would not require a complete knowledge of the Alien mythology.

So maybe in Scott’s eyes, Prometheus would be a stand-alone film, but knowing the way studios work, the idea of launching another franchise was probably on their mind. Greed always trumps logic, so Fox brought in Damon Lindelof re-work Jon Spaihts script, which did have an ending, and re-shaped the movie as a trilogy.

But, Lindelof would not be returning to script any more films, because he already committed to Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland (plus, he admits he feels his work gets diluted when working on multiple projects at the same time, so he has a tendency to just take one film at a time). This, apparently, precipitated a rumor that Twentieth Century Fox and Ridely Scott are “freaking out” on how to precede with a Prometheus sequel, because they had not mapped out one. Bloody Disgusting, who broke the story initially, has said that the studio is “taking pitches from basically anyone who can crack the story. While a sequel is nearly inevitable, it definitely puts it in flux, and in a state of jeopardy.”

But instead of saying no comment, Lindelof explained to Slashfilm:

“While I’m happy to maintain my ongoing role as internets whipping boy (well, not happy, but at least resigned) this is a weird attack piece, even for someone who should be used to it by now. The unglamorous truth is this:

 

During the creative process of Prometheus, all involved (that includes Fox and Ridley) had a strong desire for this film to launch off in its own way so that by the end, it would not connect directly to the original Alien, but instead run parallel to it. This is something that I talked about many, many times in the press burst around the release of the movie. As you probably remember, there was a lot of interest as to whether Prometheus was a “prequel” – the answer was, ‘Yes. Sort of. But if there was a sequel to Prometheus, it would not be Alien.’

Taking the strong foundation that Jon Spaihts had already written, I worked on the script to this end – and yes, during that process, Ridley did occasionally riff on what he felt might happen next as Shaw and David’s Head ventured off of LV-223 in search of wherever The Engineers had come from.

 

After the movie came out and discussions began about a possible sequel, I was already neck deep in writing and producing Tomorrowland with Brad Bird. I have found, unfortunately, that if I take on too many projects at one time, there is a higher probability of those projects sucking. And contrary to popular belief, I do not want anything I work on to suck. I really don’t. I care about these stories deeply – not just as a writer, but as a fan. It might not always feel that way to the audience, but I swear to God it is true.

 

It also so happens that Ridley was about to embark on directing his next movie, The Counselor, and had another one, Child 44 lined up right behind it. The conclusion was obvious – In the best interest of the franchise, it was best to take myself out of the running before I had to suffer the embarrassment of potentially not even being offered it. And that it is the complete (if not somewhat boring) truth.

 

As to whether Ridley and Fox are “freaking out” about me not working on a sequel, well that’s news to me. I retain awesome relationships with both. More importantly, the idea that there aren’t many, MANY writers out there capable of taking the reins is sort of ridiculous. I did not map out a trilogy and then walk when the going got tough. Anyone who says otherwise doesn’t know me and doesn’t know the truth.

 

The process of working on Prometheus with Ridley was one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me. Love or hate the result of that work, I don’t regret having done it for a second. Bloody Disgusting was very clever in tagging their story with the sentiment that denials were going to come. This would seem to throw shade on me denying the veracity of the story simply by anticipating that I would.

 

But denying the story I am. As I said, I will take all the abuse in the world for the things I have done, but I refuse to take it for the things I have not. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”

 

This also may explain why Prometheus felt so choppy and why a lot of stuff just does not make sense. Of course, the lapses in logic of the characters not with standing, the film never seemed to understand what it truly was. Obviously, in the end, perhaps it would have been smarter for Ridely Scott to really do a direct prequel to Alien, instead of setting up this convoluted mythology that made the film pretty to look at, but empty of anything of wonder and surprises that made people like the 1979 film in the first place.