Penny Dread­ful

What’s hap­pen­ing in the world of hor­ror movies this month…

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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…

They’re baack!

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.

Witch­ing hour

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.

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