What’s happening in the world of horror movies this month…
The very latest from the world of horror.
Remake- arama blunders on, with Halloween next in the crosshairs, while Poltergeist gets a trailer and It promises viciousness. As ever, it’s indie weirdness that I’m more excited about – daring dogs, haunted hipsters and a particular grumpy sasquatch… Then later there’s something “tense and ugly and dark” on its way. Enjoy!
Wishing on a silver shamrock
While Eli Roth is busy overseeing a “re- staging ” of Cabin Fever, the latest euphemistically packaged “we promise it’s not a remake, honest” comes from Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton who have apparently been hired to write a “re- calibration” of Halloween. Imagine my eyes rolling like Regan in the un- remade Exorcist. It’s not that I hate remakes ( or retools, reboots, reimaginings etc) but because Halloween is not the right film to be overhauled by the torture porn specialists who wrote Saws 4, 5, 6 and 7 for a generation who they perhaps assume can’t cope with anything not in 4D HD or shot on an iPhone. Halloween is a classic which arguably doesn’t quite work post- mobile phone or more specifically post- Scream, which dissected the stalk and slasher and its suburban puritan morality to the point of neutering it. Dunstan and Melton aren’t talentless, it should be noted – they wrote ( and Dunstan directed) the tricksy and audacious Collector movies. But re- whatevering Michael Myers isn’t right. Remake Halloween 3: Season Of The Witch, a Myers- free fairytale about an evil corporation preying on vulnerable youth and I might be interested…
Meanwhile, the reformification of Poltergeist finally has a trailer and actually it looks quite good. Blending key beats of the original with a bit of J- horror creepiness, Paranormal Activity shocks and a good cast ( Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Jared Harris), if anything it feels a little slavish. It’s directed by Gil Keenan, who made the so- so fantasy City Of Ember, so I’m not expecting bravura direction, though Sam Raimi is producing, which could up the scare factor. I predict big box office returns and would like to be the first to suggest Human Centipede 2’ s Laurence Harvey for a cross- franchise appearance in Poltergeist 2 as sicko psycho preacher Kane. Oh and the re- transmogrification of Stephen King’s It is going to be “very scary” according to producer Seth Grahame- Smith, who told Entertainment Weekly, “I think that if anything, [ the new film] will bring back some of the viciousness of the book”. Meanwhile the re- monetisation of the film I said I wouldn’t talk about with a day of the week and an unlucky number in the title has been pushed back to 2016. Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil, as they say.
Dog gone mad
The best horror revenge movie I’ve seen recently stars 280 dogs. Odd Hungarian genre mashup White God is a mix of The Incredible Journey, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes and Death Wish, and it’s pretty brilliant. With a title referencing a bigger piece of social commentary – the illtreated mongrel dogs representing every repressed minority group, it’s moving, violent, scary and important, as an errant father throws his distant daughter’s beloved hound out to fend for itself
against police, pounds and cruel illegal dog fight organisers until it leads a troop of mistreated mutts in a revolution. Shocking, beautiful and ripe for a US re- inventification if only they could afford the salaries of all those over- pampered Hollywood pups.
Big- foota ge
More beastly revenge in Exists ( out 6 April) from
Blair Witch Project co- creator Eduardo Sanchez – a foundfootage Bigfoot movie that suffers from not being as good as Bobcat Goldthwaite’s recent Willow Creek, as a bunch of annoying teens kick about a forest holding cameras. It’s not terrible but the sasquatch is never more than a bloke in a Wookiee suit and you can’t care about any of the characters. More interesting is Suburban Gothic from director Richard Bates Jr, who made the gorgeously disgusting psycho- sexual horror
Excision. Starring Two Broke Girls’ Kat Dennings and Life After Beth’s Matthew Grey Gublar, it’s whipsmart and hipster cool. Gublar is a city boy with paranormal abilities who has to return to his small home town when he can’t find a job and ends up battling a vengeful ghost. There are some amazing setpieces ( ripped toenails playing a piano score, eye in a plug hole), sharp dialogue and cool FX, though it’s skirting a fine line between adorable and annoying. Still, give Bates Jr a decent script and a kick- ass producer and he could be the next big thing.
Finally something to freak out about. The Witch screened at Sundance this January to terrified rapture, winning it a directors’ award for first- time helmer Robert Eggers. It’s set in 17th century New England and features a Puritan family whose baby son is snatched by a crone, sparking paranoia and hysteria. “You know, there’s being ‘ scared’ and there’s actually experiencing horror. I was trying to do both,” Eggers said. “We have a handful of jump scares and I think the audience appreciates that, especially because the film is really tense and ugly and dark and full of despair.” Sounds perfectly wonderful.
Bigfoot Exists! And here’s the proof.
Mayhem in White God – and no, we haven’t gone word blind.