New projects abound: a supermodel vamp, a modern urban legend and a merman
THE INTERNET’S OWN BOY
Could The Slender Man be the Fifty Shades Of Grey of horror? Not because it’s grim and pervy (we had that first anyway – Christian Grey, meet Pinhead...), but because he’s a phenomenon born of the internet, given life by fans, that’s about to be made into what could be a major movie franchise. Slender Man was the brainchild of a horror forum user called Eric Knudsen. In 2009 he made a creepy Photoshop of a faceless bloke with long arms and a black suit herding a group of children, which he captioned with a bit of mythology about how the Slender Man abducted kids and made them do terrible things. The internet picked it up and ran with it, producing stories, comics, art and videogames around the character until he had a life of his own (so much so that in 2014 two 12-year-old girls who stabbed another 12-year-old claimed it was to please Slender Man. Though one of them also said she talked to Lord Voldemort and one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.) Slender Man is a brand without a single piece of “official” commercial content so far. Screen Gems (owned by Sony) are in negotiations on the pic, and I’ll be fascinated to see what they do.
DOWN WITH THE COOL KIDS
Vampires and the antichrist are about to get indie-arthouse makeovers with two new movies on their way. Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon will premiere at Cannes in May – a dark tale set in the world of high fashion starring Elle Fanning. Expect glossy gore, beautiful people and a meandering pace. Then The Omen is getting a prequel with Afterschool and Simon Killer director Antonio Campos at the helm. Do we need another Omen movie (after diminishing returns on 1-4 and a rubbish remake)? No. But might this be good? Yes! It’ll be called The
First Omen and explore what happened before Damien’s birth. Given that he was supposedly born of a jackal the mind boggles at exactly what weirdness this will entail. Campos’s previous films were imbued with quiet menace, though, which could be just the thing to bring the franchise back to life. Experiencing The Neon Demon.
RETURN OF THE KING
This month feels like it’s been a bit of a Stephen King-athon. Not only is It back in the frame, with a September 2017 release date announced and Mama director Andres Muschietti replacing Cary Fukunaga, but also The Dark Tower is gaining traction with Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba joined by new cast members Fran Kranz, Michael Barbieri and Katheryn Winnick. Plus I got a chance to check out Cell – out 26 August. It’s okay. I wish I could wax more lyrical. John Cusack, Samuel L Jackson and Orphan star Isabelle Fuhrman are likeable leads, but as a whole it feels a bit cheap. The gist: a mobile signal causes everyone on their phones at that time to start attacking each other, zombie-style. Only as they evolve they’re not zombies, they’re more like ants working as a colony possessed by a mysterious stranger that Cusack seems to have had premonitions about. Interesting premise but the road movie structure – Cusack searching for his kid – is a bit tedious and the gut-punch setpiece ending is undermined by it being really dark (actually, not thematically).
Guillermo del Toro’s new movie is a Cold War romance about a merman! It’s called The Shape Of Water , Richard Jenkins, Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer are thus far on board, and it might centre around a woman who falls in love with an amphibian in America in 1963. Okay, this is straight from the rumour mill. But let it be true!
More of those zombie types in Cell. Will the new It match up to the original?