‘Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen’ Director Neil Marshall Promises R-Rated Content and Traditional Special Effects

Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent) recently spoke to fellow horror director Mick Garris on his podcast (Post Mortem with Mick Garris) about his career in film and television and also revealed some exciting news about his upcoming film, Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen.

Garris asked Marshall about the R-rating and if he was going to be “…allowed to be more extreme” to which the director replied, “We’ve been granted permission to do it R-rated, which for me is just like taking the cuffs off.”  While Marshall did state that he is going to exercise some restraint, and that he was “…not going to force it to be R-rated”, he did follow-up on his initial comments, saying that “…obviously, the success of things like Deadpool and Logan have not hurt that cause. But, also, when you go back the original material, it is kind of bloody, so I’m going to embrace that.”

Marshall also promised an emphasis on in-camera, practical effects, insisting that the film will be “…as practical as we can possibly make it. I love to do stuff in camera whenever I possibly can, and use CG as the amazing tool that it is, to enhance or expand upon the world, but not to use it to replace reality, when you can do it for real.”

Besides Hellboy, Marshall also expressed interest in directing a Creature from the Black Lagoon film (and Universal could certainly do worse than hire a director who has proven that he can deliver both frights and monsters effectively) and an Alien movie.  While mostly wishful thinking, horror fans would certainly be excited to see Marshall’s take on either of the classic monsters, whether under water or in outer space.

Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen is scheduled for a 2018 release.  Stay tuned to Horror News Network for more news on this and other Neil Marshall projects.

“The Conjuring 3” Gets a Writer; also Brings Back James Wan

As reported by Deadline, New Line Cinema has hired David Leslie Johnson to write the third installment of the hugely popular Conjuring series. Also reportedly back is James Wan, who directed the first two films. James is expected to leave the directing to someone else this time around and will just be a producer.

David Leslie Johnson should be no stranger to horror fans as he co-wrote The Conjuring 2 and also wrote 2009’s Orphan and a few episodes of a little-known show called The Walking Dead. Wan and Johnson just finished working together on the upcoming DC Comics film Aquaman which Wan is directing and Johnson was brought in to help re-write.

No word on the story-line yet other than it will follow another case in the huge catalog of Connecticut ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Conjuring 3 will be the seventh film of this current franchise; it joins The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2, The Crooked Man (currently in development) Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation and The Nun.

The first two Conjuring films grossed nearly 640 million dollars worldwide so expectations are high for another big box office return.

Keep it locked to Horror News Network for more word on The Conjuring 3 as it breaks!

 

Stay gory my friends.

Kevin Bacon to Star in and Produce 8 Episode ‘Tremors’ Television Series for Syfy

Kevin Bacon has been talking about wanting to return to the world of Tremors in the form of a television series for over a year. Based on his recent, comments it sounds like this dream will soon become reality! He recently told Screen that Syfy has ordered a pilot episode for a planned eight episode series to be produced by Bacon and Jason Blum (InsidiousSplitWhiplash). 

Here’s what Bacon had to say about the development:

“We are going to do a pilot for Syfy… It’s the only character I’ve ever played that I was interested in exploring 25 years later. It is a really good movie… I don’t go back and watch my movies but because we were doing this one, I had to go back and look at it. It’s just the idea of this loser who is living a very ordinary life and has an extraordinary experience with these monsters and becomes, for a moment, a hero.”

Bacon is clearly excited to revisit Valentine McKee, and Syfy seems serious about greenlighting new projects with potential (It was announced last week that the network ordered a pilot episode for a series based on George RR Martin’s Nightflyers), so this new collaboration could end up being a match made in sandworm heaven!

Stay tuned to Horror News Network for more details on the Tremors television series as they break!

Fox’s ‘The Exorcist’ Gets Release Date and New Executive Producer for Season 2

After narrowly escaping cancellation, Fox’s stellar The Exorcist television series is finally entering production on Season Two! We’ve already learned that there will be a major shakeup in the cast next season (No Geena Davis; no Rance family), and now we have a better idea of who will be involved with the project and when it will air.

Fox has announced that The Exorcist Season Two will premiere on Friday, September 29th, 2017. The show also aired on Friday night last year, which likely contributed to its difficulty in netting a higher viewership than the smaller, but very passionate, following it developed. Fox is doing the series no favors by keeping it on Fridays this season as well. On the other hand, last year’s gossip suggested that the show was able to get away for more visceral and questionable content because of it’s low profile time slot. So long as Fox continues to support the series based on on its creative merits rather than an unreasonable expectation for ratings despite the time that it airs, this could be a win-win for everyone.

One of the big rumors around the time it was finally announced that The Exorcist would get a second season was the speculation that the production would be bringing in a showrunner to helm the project. Last year, those duties were handled beautifully by series creator, Jeremy Slater; and there was speculation that a new showrunner could alter some qualities of the show that die hard fans loved about it. It seems that a very positive middle ground was reached in this development: Deadline reports that Jason Ensler will be joining the series as executive producer. 

Ensler is not new to The Exorcist. He directed the fifth (The one with the shocking twist!) and final episode of last season. He knows the material, he knows what makes it successful, and he has a positive working relationship with other series regulars. Ben Daniels voiced his approval of this development recently on Twitter:

By all accounts, The Exorcist Season Two has a unique vision, a promising addition to the leadership team, and an eager cast. In just a few short months we’ll be able to see the fruits of their labor! Stay tuned to Horror News Network for more details on this exciting project as they break!

Sissy Spacek Cast in Stephen King’s ‘Castle Rock’ 41 Years After Starring in ‘Carrie’

Although he is primarily a novelist, there are certain images in film which have sprung from the world of Stephen King’s literary work which will never be forgotten. One of those images is Jack Nicholson’s maniacal grin forcing its way through the splintered shards of a bathroom door. Another is Tim Curry’s greasepainted mug innocently staring up from a rainy gutter. Ranking up there with the best of them is Sissy Spacek’s eye-bulging, freshly blood-spattered grimace in Brian DePalma’s 1976 movie, Carrie. While Jack and Tim have never since returned to the works of Stephen King, Sissy Spacek will return to the world of his storytelling in the form of a major role on the upcoming new series, Castle Rock!

The Wrap reports that Spacek will play a character named Ruth Deaver in the upcoming Hulu series, which will be co-produced by J.J. Abrams. The character’s role in the show is described as, “the estranged adoptive mother of Henry (Andre Holland). Henry is the series lead — a retired professor with fading memories and a complicated history about the town.”

Spacek was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in Carrie, and many King fans will undoubtedly be excited that she will be returning to the same universe which arguably conjured up the most memorable role of her career.

In addition to this casting news comes the announcement that Jane Levy (the Evil Dead remake and Don’t Breate) will also be making an appearance in Castle Rock. According to The Wrap, Levy will play Jackie, “a death-obsessed, self-appointed Castle Rock historian.”

With the series moving closer and closer to production, we should begin to hear more and more casting news in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to Horror News Network for more details on this exciting project as they break!

‘Venom’ Movie Will Exist Separately from Marvel Cinematic Universe

Bad news just broke for anyone hoping to see Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in the upcoming Venom movie, starring Tom Hardy: at this time the two franchises will exist in totally separate universes! While the news isn’t exactly shocking to fans who are familiar with the conditions of Marvel movie deals, it’s still disappointing to know that there’s little hope of Spider-Man existing within the world of Venom.

This confusing development is directly connected to the fact that Marvel doesn’t own the cinematic rights to all of their characters. Due to Marvel’s financial uncertainty and related dealings in the late 90’s / early 2000’s, there’s a big difference between movies which exist in the Marvel Universe and movies which exist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Up until the anomaly known as this summer’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, studios who own the cinematic rights to Spidey, the X-Men, and others, have been solely responsible for producing their respective movies. The disaster that was 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 created an unusual opportunity for Sony and Marvel Studios to forget that version of the franchise and create a new one in the image of the official Marvel Cinematic Universe. As a result, Tom Holland got to appear as Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War and Marvel Studios handled development and called all of the creative shots for Sony’s Homecoming.

With all of the hype surrounding Spider-Man: Homecoming, media have begun asking questions about if and how the movie will connect to future Sony Spider-Man projects, such as Venom and possibly Black Cat. Collider recently had the chance to ask Tom Holland, Amy Pascal (former co-chair of Sony Pictures and producer of Homecoming) and Kevin Feige (president of Marvel Studios), these tough questions. Here’s what they had to say:

Tom Holland

“Sadly, I think that is true. From my understanding, I think that is the case. I’d love to make a movie with Tom Hardy. If we ever got the chance to make a Venom movie together, that would be super-cool, but his movie would have to take place in the MCU because I’m not giving up my ticket in the MCU… If it did happen, it would be very cool, but as of now, I know nothing about it.”

Amy Pascal

“Collider: Just to be definitive, Spider-Man will not appear in any of these spinoffs for now.

Pascal: For now, correct. All of them are part of the Marvel comic universe. Not all of them are part of Marvel cinematic universe.”

Kevin Feige

“Collider: Can Spider-Man be in an establishing shot swinging by in the Venom movie or does that immediately make him a part of the MCU, if you put that in there?

Kevin Feige: I think, if it looks like the MCU Spider-Man, that would probably be the case since that probably is smart. I think what they’re doing is smart in saying, “How do we make a great Venom movie?” and as I’ve already said, I don’t know much about it, but I know they started with casting Tom Hardy, which is pretty smart.”

On the surface, Feige’s comments sound the most promising about a potential crossover; but the key words there are “if it looks like the MCU Spider-Man.” By casting Hardy as Venom (an actor known largely for intense and violent performances) and selecting Carnage as the main villain of the film (one of the more extreme and excessively violent creatures of the Marvel Universe), Sony is already separating the movie from the feel-good bubblegum pop nature of Homecoming.

Based on these comments, the chances of a crossover don’t sound particularly good; but it isn’t time to completely lose hope just yet. The Spidey/MCU deal shows that anything’s possible when there’s money to be made. We will have a better idea of how everything will pan out as both projects continue to progress and experience success (or failure). Stay tuned to Horror News Network for more details on which universe Venom will eventually call home!

‘Saw: Legacy’ Undergoes Last Minute Name Change

I hope nobody out there got “Saw: Legacy” tattoos in a fit of rabid anticipation of the film’s upcoming release this Halloween… it has a new title!

The folks behind the iconic franchise recently took to Twitter to announce the name change and reinforce its release date of October 27th, 2017:

The name change is likely Lionsgate’s way of showing audiences that the eighth entry in the franchise will focus heavily on Tobin Bell’s Jigsaw, the original villain of the series whose role was continuously reduced in later installments due to the studio regrettably killing him off too soon.

With the movie being just four months from release, it’s unlikely there will be any more major changes. However, if they are considering other title choices, I’d like to recommend “Creepy Puppet 8,” in honor of (co-creator of the original movie) James Wan’s Twitter handle!

Stay tuned to Horror News Network for more details on Jigsaw as they break!

Carnage to be Featured Villain in Upcoming ‘Venom’ Movie

Marvel and Sony are currently hyping the impending release of Spider-Man: Homecoming to the multiplex. According to the early buzz, it’s “oh so fun” and better than the disasters known as Spider-Man 3The Amazing Spider-Man, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. In the midst of the carefully controlled corporate message about the great pleasure Sony took in handing over all creative control to Kevin Feige, the troubled studio revealed who the villain will be in it’s upcoming Venom movie (a film they’ve got to make on their own), starring Tom Hardy. According to THR, the bad guy duties will go to the other symbiote-enhanced maniac of the Spider-Man universe… Carnage!

Carnage first entered the world of Marvel comics in 1992, an era marked by superheroes with long hair and trenchcoats, where everything was designed to be more radical and bodacious than anything else that came before. The character was presented in books and video games in a manner which screamed, “Thought Venom was a wild and crazy guy? Wait’ll you get a load of this dude!”

If this announcement gives you pause for concern, just remember: It’s starring Tom Hardy. In The Dark Knight Rises, he turned Bane (another 1990’s abomination) into a compelling character. This man is not known for selecting bad roles or acting in bad movies. Let’s remain cautiously optimistic!

At this time, there is no other information about Carnage’s role in the film or potential actors who might play him. There is, however, the lingering suggestion that Tom Holland’s Spider-Man may be nowhere to be found in this upcoming movie based on his most famous adversaries. Here’s how THR put it:

“As for the expansion plans, Tom Hardy is starring in Venom… which will also feature the villain Carnage. A source says Holland is only contractually obligated to Spider-Man 2 and 3, but the intention is to bring him into the spinoffs and possibly other Marvel films (he is currently shooting Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War).”

We should know more details on this project relatively soon… the project has been fast-tracked and it’s currently scheduled to hit theaters on October 5th, 2018.

Stay tuned to Horror News Network for more details on Venom as they break!

‘Regression’ by Cullen Bunn and Danny Luckert: The Horror News Network Review

Cullen Bunn is one of the hardest working creators in comics.  Not only has he written a variety of “X-Titles” for Marvel such as Magneto and Uncanny X-Men , but he is equally well-known for his award winning Dark Horse series Harrow County.  Horror fans got a little nervous when Bunn started to shift much of his creative output to the the Marvel Universe (including the recently completed event series Monsters Unleashed), but fans have nothing to fear with his latest slice of paranoia-filled nightmares called Regression (published by Image Comics).

Before the release of Regression, Bunn talked extensively about how the title was grounded in some of his own unique experiences with his father as a child.  Bunn set-up the new series in his Horror News Network interview by explaining that “My father was a professional stage hypnotist, and I saw many strange feats of the human mind while watching him perform. Sometimes, in smaller group sessions, he would conduct past life regressions. That’s when things got really strange. I witnessed people describing—in vivid detail—day-to-day life from centuries earlier. I heard people speaking with perfect accents from faraway lands. I heard others speaking in languages they didn’t know.”

In particular, Bunn recounted an incident that has haunted him ever since, recalling that “There was this one guy, though. My dad hypnotized him and started the regression. He went back five years, ten, twenty, and the guy recalled precise details from his youth and childhood. But when he was regressed even further, into the years before he was born, the subject just sat there in this still, eerie silence. My dad said that maybe he had never had another life. But I remember thinking that they guy DID have past lives, but they were too frightening to talk about.  That has stuck with me for all these years. And somewhere along the way, the notion struck me: what if your past life was awful? And what if, when you did a past life regression, the awfulness followed you back?”

And so begins Regression, and it begins with a bang.  The reader is immediately tossed into the world of Adrian Padilla at a seemingly innocuous picnic.  The dire, panicked expression on his face tells a different story however, especially when insects begin to emerge from the mouths, eyes, and ears of anyone who he speaks to at the party (this is not a story for insect-phobic readers, as the creepy crawlies never stop coming from every direction, and place, possible).

Bunn does little to  set-up or explain Adrian’s “hallucinations”, and it is a good thing he didn’t, as this start provides a meandering nightmare quality to the story where the reader is left wondering if the visions are in his head, or if there is a lot more to the story that is yet to be revealed.  After a friend suggests a visit to a hypnotist that does past life regression therapy on the side, Adrian’s life becomes much more complicated and involves a booze-and-sex-filled bender, a possible visit to a cult ritual from his or someone else’s past, and a murder which he may be implicated in.

Bunn weaves together these disparate elements with ease, but he is helped immensely by newcomer Danny Luckert who provides the art for the series.  Luckert ‘s style is perfect for this suburban horror story, with elements in his style that resembles a mix between Geof Darrow and Jacen Burrows.  The page composition highlights the confusion Adrian is experiencing, but it is a delight for readers.  On one page in the first issue, Adrian stumbles to a toilet as he is about to get sick and the entire page is framed by the view from the lid with three additional panels that highlight the main character’s troubled state.  This style continues throughout the book with long shots, slanted close-ups, and haphazardly placed text-less panels adding to mess that Adrian’s life has become.  After only two issues, I can’t picture another artist handling the art chores on this title, and I hope that Luckert stays on Regression for the duration of the series. He is a young artist to watch out for in the future.

Color is another key element of the series, and I don’t know if I’ve seen a horror series with so much of it recent years.  Most horror titles stick to the standard blacks, grays, and reds, with little variation or variety, and just as some filmmakers make the mistake of shooting horror films in almost complete darkness, their comic breathern also fall into this standard genre technique.  Regression, however, utilizes the entire spectrum of the rainbow and credit must be given to Marie Enger (who serves as the colorist on Regression) for “lighting” the world of the series with more than your standard “goth” palette.  The combination of Luckert’s realistic art and Enger’s vibrant colors help establish the story in a “real world” which in turn makes the nightmares even more jarring.

Regression (which is labled “M” for mature on the cover) is certainly for older, more seasoned horror fans who appreciate the “body horror” of Cronenberg’s films and comics such as Alan Moore’s Providence which challenge, horrify, disgust and entice the reader all at once.  Because of this combination, it is one of the best horror comics to debut in years.

Regression #2 is currently on sale.  The third issue will be released on July 12, 2017.

Syfy Orders Pilot Episode Based on George RR Martin’s ‘Nightflyers’

With only two abbreviated seasons left of Game of Thrones, fans will soon need to turn elsewhere to get their George RR Martin fix! Variety reports that the Syfy network is looking to fill the upcoming void by ordering a pilot episode of a new television series based on Martin’s science fiction horror novella, Nightflyers.

Nightflyers was originally adapted into a feature film in 1987. The new series is based upon a script written by Jeff Buhler (The Midnight Meat Train). NBC Universal Cable Entertainment’s executive vice president of scripted development, Bill McGoldrick, offered these thoughts on the upcoming project:

“We are looking forward to diving deeper into George R.R. Martin’s chilling world of Nightflyers. The script that Jeff delivered encapsulates this classic sci-fi horror story and adapts it to a platform where we can truly explore the depths of madness.”

The following is a synopsis of Nightflyers, as outlined on the back cover of George RR Martin’s book:

“Nine misfit academics embark on an expedition, and the only ship available is the Nightflyer, a cybernetic wonder with a never-seen captain. Soon they are trapped in deep space, prisoners to a madman who can do anything and intends to kill them all.”

As you can tell by the synopsis, the story has more in common with Alien than Game of Thrones; but you can expect Martin’s signature storytelling, characterization and world building should the pilot episode lead to a full television series.

Stay tuned to Horror News Network for more details on Syfy’s Nightflyers as they break!