Definitely not giving up horror for the new year.
New year and a new horror slate, largely consisting of sequels and remakes. But worry not! Two humungo multi- movie Stephen King adaps are on the way as well as a host of creepy offerings set to debut at the Sundance film festival. Plus: time to move over Leprechaun – here comes Gnome Alone! Groan.
My time crime
Morally speaking, how long do you have to endure a horror film before you’re allowed to switch it off ? I ask because I’ve just sat through the whole of award- winning Spanish language ordeal Kidnapped ( aka Secuestrados) out of some misplaced sense of duty even though it turned out to be just as relentlessly, pointlessly, unchangingly unpleasant as I knew it was going to be. Made up of just 12 long tracking shots, occasionally using split screen to contrast the dual ordeal of the father – dragged off to a cash point by one of the opportunistic Eastern European kidnappers who break into his home – and his wife and daughter stuck back at the house with two more predictable maniacs. It’s sparse, nasty art- house torture-porn. Plot? Negligible. Emotional engagement? None. Terror? I wish. It’s 85 minutes long and I made it to the end but for anyone who’s not on board after 15 mins: Quit! I won’t judge. Also out now: Kimo Stamboel and Timo Tjanjanto’s Killers. I like Timo Tjanjanto but this was outdated sub- I Saw The Devil dirge that’s over 2 ¼ hours long. I did 45 minutes. I don’t care how it ends.
King of the world
Stephen King’s The Stand is a gargantuan opus of a novel, a post- apocalyptic tome where King re- constructs a world where humanity is all- but wiped out by a pandemic. It’s a great book – King always wanted it to be his answer to The Lord Of The Rings – and it seems like the time for a really good adap of The Stand – split into four – has come at last. Rumours buzz about the possible casting of Matthew McConaughey as icon of evil Randall Flagg and dream casting ( I’m dubious) of Christian Bale as hope for humanity Stu Redman. At last we could see a horror franchise turn into a true big bucks mainstream blockbuster. In the meantime True Detective director Cary Fukunaga is prepping in March for a summer shoot for the first part of a new IT adap. It’ll be split in two with IT Part 1 a coming of age tale about the kids terrorised by Pennywise the Clown ( Part 2 will focus on the adult reunion decades later). Apparently King’s happy with the script saying “this is the version the studio should make”.
By the time you read this you’ll know whether The Woman In Black: Angel Of Death has become a box office bonanza to match the first film ( the most successful British horror of all time) or not. Pre- Annabelle I would have said “no” but I’d probably have been wrong. Like Annabelle to The Conjuring, the stars aren’t as famous, the director’s not as experienced and the reviews aren’t as positive but “sequel” and “spinoff ” seem to trump “logic” and “quality”. Don’t get me wrong. Angel Of Death is vastly superior to Annabelle ( which wins the prize for my most hated film of last
year), and Phoebe Fox is both promising and likeable – it’s just not terribly adventurous. As an old fashioned ghost story of creaking floorboards, dashing young airmen and doe- eyed kids, it’s fine – it might even get a part three. But in ten years no one will remember it.
January sales 2
I hate to be the prophet of doom, but right now the horror release list for 2015 looks about as exciting as The Woman
In Black: Part 3. Sequels, remakes, reimaginings, things vs other things… But fear not ( or rather “fear more”) – January marks the Sundance film festival, the first big cinema event of the year which always comes with an armful of new nasties ( last year premiering The Babadook and
The Guest). Here’s three to look out for. 1 The Hallow: dark Irish- set monster movie described as “Pan’s Labyrinth meets Straw
Dogs” by debut director Corin Hardy, who’s just signed on to pick up comic- book hot potato
The Crow. 2 The Nightmare – docu- horror about sleep paralysis following eight people who get stuck between dreams and waking. 3 Knock Knock: Eli Roth’s latest starring Keanu Reeves as a married man who messes with the wrong girls in this psycho- sexual thriller. Fatale attraction meets, well, Eli Roth…
No gnome unturned
What there definitely isn’t enough of is garden gnome horror starring Austin Powers’ Mini- Me Verne Troyer. Problem solved! Gnome Alone, out in the US from Lionsgate in January, sees a college girl acquire an amulet that awakens a malicious hat- wearing homunculus ( fishing rod and tiny watering can TBC), who seems to be offing her enemies unconvincingly. Can she harness the power of the cursed charm before the gnome’s reign of terror leaves more victims in its wake? Will the “don’t call me leprechaun” jokes ever be funny? Will this film ever get a UK release? Look out for Gnome Alone 2: Curse Of The Fishpond for
Dreadful thing to do
Take a night class, horror style. The Miskatonic Institute Of Horror Studies – a Canadian venture founded by House Of Psychotic
Women author Kier- La Janisse – is launching a London branch in the new year with a series of screenings and lectures from established genre stalwarts. Monthly classes start in January focusing on obscure and cult horror including sessions on Jesús Franco, sado- masochism and classroom safety films. Head to www. miskatonic- london. com
for tickets and details.
The Nightmare: You’ll be glued to your, er, bed.
The Hallow depicts typical Irish weather. And monsters.
“Knock Knock.” “Who’s there?” “Gun.” “Oh.”