SFX's high priestess of horror
Gems from Cannes, an influx of monsters and why horror movies make you a better person
Horror’s gone weird. In a move that is absolutely not a joke, a studio called Gunpowder And Sky has joined up with Mandalay Sports Media to introduce a whole new subgenre which combines horror and pro sports. It’s going to be called Sporror. It actually is. The idea is that they’ll produce chillers set in the world of sports and starring athletes. The first movie will be called Lucky Number and feature a pro basketball super star who makes a deal with the devil and becomes a highly athletic killer. It sounds awful. Awful. It’s not totally unheard of for sports stars to appear in horror movies – I mean, wrestler Hornswaggle stars in the newest Leprechaun movie, so there’s that. But I can’t imagine this being anything other than depressingly cheap and cynical. Come on then “Sporror” – prove me wrong.
Caught up this month with a sci-horror from 2016 called Rupture, starring Noomi Rapace. It’s not very good, so no need to rush out and watch it. The gist is that a secret facility is kidnapping people and exposing them to their greatest fears in the hope that when their stress levels get high enough their DNA will actually mutate, making them into higher evolved beings. Mostly nonsense sci-fi torture porn but there is a good/horrid bit with spiders running all over poor old Noomi’s face. I do like the idea that horror allows us to evolve though. There was a study last year which actually came to a similar conclusion – that watching traumatic movies could increase your pain threshold and help group bonding. I’m not a fan of actual pain, but I should show my five-year-old nephew all seven of the Saw movies to see if he turns into an X-Man.
The Mummy isn’t very scary (but it’s not awful, you’ll be pleased to hear). But now Universal has announced it will be following the first of its Dark Universe movies with The Bride Of Frankenstein, with Beauty And The Beast’s Bill Condon attached to direct. As the man who made James Whale biopic Gods And Monsters and an expert on Universal’s creature features (plus, the director of Candyman: Farewell To The Flesh, lest we forget), he’s probably a great choice. But I’m not sure how I feel about turning classic horror movies into a family-friendly franchise. We’ve already lost vampires to Twilight and zombies to iZombie and Santa Clarita Diet, so I’m not sure I’m cool with giving up Frankenstein’s monster too. Apparently Javier Bardem will play the monster and Angelina Jolie is first choice for The Bride, which would be nothing if not impactful. Fear not though – or rather, yes fear! The other Dark Universe rumour going around is that the movies are going to vary in budget – they won’t all be tentpoles starring A-listers. My beloved Jason Blum has thrown his hat in the ring to shepherd one of the lower-budget efforts, which might mean something genuinely scary. Johnny Depp has also signed on for The Invisible Man. Now I’m imagining a world where Blum produced a scary version of this with Depp as an invisible psychopath.
Last month Sofia Coppola became only the second woman to win the Palme D’Or in Cannes for best director. It was for her languorous civil war revenge story The Beguiled starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell, which, at a stretch, has some genre elements kicking about in the latter half. Another Kidman/Colin Farrell collaboration at Cannes sounds like one to watch. The Killing Of A Sacred Deer is directed by Yorgos Lanthimos who made The Lobster and is a tense horror with a layer of black comedy. Farrell play a dad forced to make an impossible choice – he must sacrifice one member of his family (and choose which one) because of a past misdeed which has caught up with him. It’s part of a subgenre known as the “Greek Weird Wave”, which includes Attenberg and Lanthimos’s Dogtooth. A subgenre I’m on board with...
The Dark Universe cast being too beautiful.