Hulu Orders Pilot Episode of Joe Hill’s Locke and Key

Deadline is reporting that Joe Hill and artist Gabriel Rodriguez’s comic book Locke and Key is about to get a one hour pilot episode from Hulu to be directed by Dr. Strange’s Scott Derrickson.

Also involved in the project is the producer of Bates Motel and The Strain Carlton Cuse, who  “…developed Locke & Key with Hill who wrote the script on spec. The finished script was sent to one director, Derrickson, who came on board right away and, if the pilot goes to series, is expected to stay with the show for the first season and direct multiple episodes before segueing to the Doctor Strange sequel.”  Cuse will also serve as showrunner if the pilot turns into a series.

Locke and Key hasn’t had an easy time being converted into a television series in recent years.  The property has been attached to a number of networks and was even “…adapted during the 2010-11 development season when it reached the pilot stage at Fox with Josh Friedman writing, Mark Romanek directing, and Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci producing alongside DreamWorks TV. While the pilot, starring Sarah Bolger, Miranda Otto and Nick Stahl, did not go to series, the title has remained a cult favorite, with Hill and IDW Entertainment last year announcing that they were taking a new stab at it for television. The unaired Fox pilot also screened at Comic-Con in 2011.”

Hopefully this time around, Locke and Key will get more than a pilot episode.  The fact that Hulu and other streaming services are searching for original content with name recognition certainly can’t hurt Locke and Key’s chances this time.

The horror comic series was originally published in 2008 by IDW, beginning with the six part mini series “Welcome to Lovecraft”.  Six other limited series followed with the last installment, “The Golden Age”, being published in 2016.  The price of the original comic books and subsequent series have gone up in recent years, and the announcement of a new pilot is sure to raise prices even higher, so if you are unfamiliar with the series, the collected graphic novels editions may be the way to go.

Stay tuned to Horror News Network for more information on the pilot and potential Locke and Key series.

 

 

Get Out: A True Horror Movie

Jordan Peele’s debut film, Get Out, is probably not the horror movie you may have expected to see. However, I can tell you it is the horror movie we all need and deserved to see right now. I know what you’re thinking. “Calm down Batman. What do you know anyway?” Well, let me tell you what I know.

Recent “scary” movies to debut in late 2016 and into 2017 have not been very impressive by my personal standards. From the lackluster gore in 31, to the not-as-frightening-as-we-thought-they-would-be children of Ouija: Origin of Evil, recent films have given us striking visuals without coherent substance. What these films lacked in an original plot and development of their characters, they made up for in blood. We may have been shocked watching sociopathic clowns cut through hippie flesh with chainsaws, but we did not sympathize with their suffering. “Do you know what it feels like to be strangled to death?” sends chills up your spine when it emanates from a petite elementary school girl, but is that moment of terror worth watching a movie that gives us an unimpressive, and completely unoriginal, Nazi-background twist? We should want more from our horror movies. Instead of vibrant hues of crimson and demonic facial contortions, we need characters that demand empathy and stories that reveal rather than unravel. Hollywood films can not only provide shocking entertainment, but also be our best avenue for social commentary. Horror, I like to argue, displays the biggest triumphs through the darkest of places. My beef with these recent films is that they don’t provide that triumph, they just leave us hanging.

In February of this year, Get Out was released and proved to be a ray of sunlight in a dark, horror-less room. What we saw from this film was every bit of substance we were missing from the others. Jordan Peele’s characters are three-dimensional and interesting. Most of us fell for Rose’s (Allison Williams) sincerity while comforting him in his most vulnerable moment. Some of us even wiped away tears hearing Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) blame himself for his mother’s untimely death. Refreshingly, we didn’t know exactly where the movie was taking us, which left us at the edge of our seats waiting to see what kind of torture this family had been devising. I don’t know about you, but I did not feel even a single ounce of anxiety watching Charly try to escape from Doomhead in 31.

What may be missing for some horror fans though is its lack of immersion into the genre. The gore was minimal, the murders were scarce and not very brutal, the jump scares were few and far between, and it remained sans-supernatural. Instead, it was fast very paced and dark, fitting more under the category of thriller rather than horror. We played detective throughout our watching experience, revealing the mystery of the Armitage family. This played out in a similar way to Silence of the Lambs, rather than The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. All in all, audiences and critics have seemed to agree, Get Out was a thriller, and not a horror. But I disagree. To me this movie proves that the horror does not always lie in the gore, but in the content.

I will admit that  Get Out is not “scary” in the conventional gory sense, especially for fans looking through the lens of Rob Zombie. But this movie made my skin crawl, it made my friends drop their popcorn, it made everyone in the theater grip the armrest for dear life and for Chris’ life. That type of  emotional connection to the characters is important to me, and that is what makes a horror movie worthwhile. In his debut film as writer and director, Jordan Peele has held a mirror up to the most disturbing parts of our society. He may have gone easy on the blood and guts, but he did not hold back. Our ears are not shielded from the objectification that Chris receives from the Armitages and their family friends. With comments on his physique, and questions about his manhood, Chris is not protected from their blatant discrimination and neither are we. What is most interesting about these characters is that their racism is not revealed, but it is ever present. It is pervasive and insidious. From the moment he steps foot on their land, Chris is never safe from the Armitage family. The reflection we should see in Peele’s mirror is that of our current racial biases. We don’t want to see ourselves in the Armitage family, but we do. Our job now, instead of sending Chris to the “sunken place,” is to get him out.

If that is not horror, then I don’t know what is.

 

“Flesh of the Void” Trailer Will Give You Nightmares

Get ready for the creepiest thing you’ll see on the internet all week….perhaps all year.  Sodom & Chimera Productions has unleashed the first trailer for their upcoming buzzworthy film Flesh of the Void and it’s everything your nightmares should be made of.  Not much is known at this time about the movie, which is being shot almost entirely on expired Super 8 film from the 80s (mostly Kodachrome) and it still currently in production.  But none of that matters right now, as the new trailer drags you through a horrific and terrifying version of a Nine Inch Nails music video from the 90s.  You can check out the trailer below.

 
Flesh of the Void, which still does not have an official cast, will be the first feature film effort from writer/director James Quinn.  As the Sodom & Chimera website boasts, the film is “a horribly disturbing and controversial experimental horror feature, visualizing what it could feel like if death really were the most horrible thing one can experience.”  While the plot seems vague, this haunting trailer presents seemingly limitless potential to scare the masses.

We encourage you to watch this with the lights on, unless you’re prepared to do without sleep for a few days.  Flesh of the Void is scheduled to be completed by the end of May, just in time for the film festival season.  A wide release on both Blu-Ray as well as VOD is planned shortly afterwards.

Stay tuned to HNN as additional details on this ghoulish fright-fest are announced.

 

Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water Theatrical Release Date Confirmed

In 2006, Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth presented an amazing mix of historical fiction and horrifying magical realism that solidified his position as one of the most important directors currently working in film. Because his projects are so diverse, he has not since revisited this style of storytelling. While many fans enjoy his recent works like Pacific Rim and Crimson Peak, some have been yearning for Del Toro to return to a more intimate style of storytelling found in CronosThe Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth. Based on early buzz, these fans may get exactly what they’re looking for this December!

Deadline reports that Fox Searchlight will release Del Toro’s latest film, entitled The Shape of Water, to theaters on December 8th, 2017. Details about this secretive project have been scarce, but the studio has released an official synopsis for the film which recalls many of the motifs of Del Toro’s earlier works:

“(The Shape of Water is) an other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1963. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of silence and isolation. Her life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.”

We know that the “secret classified experiment” is an “aquatic man” played by longtime Del Toro collaborator, Doug Jones (Abe Sapien, Fauno, Pale Man, Angel of Death). Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Lauren Lee Smith, and Michael Stuhlbarg will also star in the film.

Stay tuned to Horror News Network for more news on The Shape of Water as it breaks!

Direct Sequel to Joe Dante’s The Howling Coming in Comic Book Form as Revenge of the Werewolf Queen

The direct sequel to Joe Dante’s original The Howling film is set for release on May 31st in comic form from SpaceGoat Publishing entitled The Howling: Revenge of the Werewolf Queen.

The four issue limited series takes places directly after Karen White’s transformation on live television and her subsequent on-screen demise at the hands of Chris Halloran.  According to Comixology, because of this, “Chris Halloran is having nightmares as he awaits trial for murder. Not in jail yet, Chris is conducting an investigation of his own: if he can prove the existence of werewolves, he might just have a chance at redemption—if only his witnesses would stop turning up dead.”

The series is written by Mick Neilson with artwork from Jason Johnson & Milan Parvanov and cover art by Yvel Guichet.  Revenge of the Werewolf Queen is rated 12+ by the publisher, so it remains to be seen how much of the film’s carnage and adult content the series will contain.

Check out Guichet’s cover below and stay tuned to Horror News Network for more comic and movie news as it happens.

“King Kong: Skull Island” Headed to Television?

If the brass over at MarVista Entertainment and IM Global Television have their way, King Kong: Skull Island will be making its way to your television set courtesy of Jonathan Penner and Stacy Title; the folks responsible for The Bye Bye Man.

Described as a “serialized, contemporary continuation of the classic [film] with a female-led, multi-cultural ensemble that delves fully into the wonders and horrors of Skull Island and its origins”, KKSI (like that?) obviously hopes to cash in on the wild success of Warner Bros’ Kong: Skull Island without being a direct sequel.

Added IM Global TV president Mark Stern: “There’s clearly a deep and abiding interest in this timeless story. We love Stacy and Jonathan’s approach to this adaptation and look forward to partnering with MarVista as we bring this gripping tale of survival and adventure to life for a new generation of Kong fans.”

No word on dates or casting yet but keep it locked to Horror News Network and we’ll update you as news breaks!

Stay gory my friends.

Get Out is the Second Highest Grossing R-Rated Horror Film of All Time

Get Out, Jordan Peele’s  directorial debut, had some choice words for Ridley Scott’s 2001 film, Hannibal over the weekend: “Get Out of the #2 spot!”

For the past 16 years, no R-rated horror film has been able to exceed Hannibal‘s domestic total gross of $165, 092,268. Made on a production budget of $87 million, the film debuted to a rabid worldwide audience who were eager to see more of Anthony Hopkins in his iconic titular role. The film easily hit the #2 all time domestic slot for R-rated horror films, second only to the 1973 classic, The Exorcist (which has a domestic lifetime gross of $232,906,145).

Now, with little name recognition and no franchise recognition in the marketplace, Get Out has become an R-rated “little engine that could”! With a minuscule budget of just $4.5 million, Peele’s film has just bumped Hannibal from its longtime position on the charts. Get Out‘s current domestic total stands at $167,912,725 as of this writing.

This is good news for everyone (except for Hannibal Lecter!) Not only is Get Out yet another reminder to studios that good R-rated movies can indeed make money at the box office; it also shows that original ideas and diverse perspectives are a welcome addition to horror offerings at the cinema. One of the things that makes the film so refreshing for viewers  is the fact that it is so different from all of the cookie cutter horror films the big studios usually deliver to theaters.

Get Out is at the end of it’s theatrical run, so its domestic total won’t reach much higher than where it currently sits. Regardless, given the lack of movement at the top of the chart between 1973 and 2017, it will likely sit in the #2 spot for a very long time unless Hollywood learns from its performance and starts taking more chances.

Stay tuned to Horror News Network for more information on Get Out and the highest grossing horror films of all time as it breaks!

Bates Motel – Season 5 Episode 9: “Visiting Hours” Analysis

With only one episode to go, we find ourselves moments from the public hearing of Norman Bates, charged with three counts of murder carrying a maximum penalty of death. Amidst the mug shots, fingerprints and a brutally honest meeting with counsel, anyone and everyone who is part of Norman Bates is frozen with fear. “Serial homicides”, “multiple life sentences”, “maximum security prison”, “not guilty by reason of insanity”…these phrases hold more weight than even Norman’s strongest personality can handle. The mother/son/protector morph is once again portrayed as two bodies in one outfit. The change from one personification to the other seems to happen at the flip of a coin although the reflection of Norma in the cell window is once again magnificently orchestrated.

The Bates property is littered with investigators, metal detectors, blacklights and hazmat suits. Audrey DeCody’s suitcase is found in the yard along with Chick’s body atop the typewriter in Norma’s mausoleum. The destruction and disrespect for the home Norma worked so hard to beautify was heartbreaking for this fan. To me, it was yet again another death of our tormented and tempestuous heroine.

Our main character puts up a weak argument about the careless Sheriff questioning without access to medication; sad, old tune which will no longer fly in the face of the state’s strong physical evidence. Attorney Ramos genuinely believes that Norman is insane and wishes to have him evaluated and diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder so she can better help him in his trial. “Norman” barks back deducing that Ramos mustn’t be a mother as she likes to win and “being a mother is an impossible job to win”. Knowing that the odds of getting out of this mess are slim, “Norman” obeys Ramos’ direction and gives simple, polite answers at the hearing.

Emma leaves Katie in the care of her dad and drives down to White Pine Bay. We are all victims of the whiplash as she veers from supporting her husband to crashing into the news of her mother’s murder. Even the peace-love-dope philosophy of the all-forgiving Emma can’t get her past this news. She immediately lets Dylan know that she can’t promise they’ll survive such a tragedy. She sticks around to see to her mother’s cremation and scatters her ashes at a picturesque peak. Not a bad send off for a woman Emma declared a parishioner of “the Church of Herself”. In a bittersweet parallel, she visits Norma’s grave, the woman she felt was more of a mother than her own. (I forgot she just found out about Norma’s death; we’ve been grieving for months now.) Emma’s anger with Norman when she learns of the news is unprecedented for her character; she warns Dylan to not speak of any sympathy for his sweet-but-crazy brother. The soulful Emma slightly resurfaces after saying her goodbyes to both mothers when she stops to visit Norman at the Sheriff’s Department on her way back to Seattle. “Norman” greets her and tries to convince her that he – her friend Norman – wouldn’t kill anyone. Emma sees right through it and asks to speak to the real Norman. “Norman” gives up the façade and lets Emma know that her mother got what she deserved. Emma asks “Norman” to tell her friend that she misses him and takes off. Even “Norma” is affected by this unconditional love as Emma is quickly absorbed into the duality of the mother and son with whom she so deeply bonded. And as we heard her say in last week’s episode, even “Norma” misses Norman.

Dylan is in quite the conundrum. Still feeling drawn to defend his mentally ill brother, Emma makes it clear she cannot support that decision. When Norman’s lawyer shows up at the King’s Motel, Dylan tells her that she’s been paid and needs to keep him and his wife out of it. Attorney Ramos pleads with Dylan to be the human connection Norman needs at his public hearing. In solitude, Dylan swipes through photos on his phone of his mother, his brother, his wife, his daughter. I’m sorry but there should be NO hesitation about this, Dylan. No freaking way are you to defend your brother in court. I don’t care how bad you feel about the way things turned out. Thankfully, Dylan heard me through the TV and walks out of the courtroom after hearing Sheriff Greene dictate the sordid details of the victims from the stand. Unfortunately for him, Madeleine Loomis gets his ear in the lobby. She only had the wool pulled over her eyes for 2 weeks; how could Dylan live with himself knowing what demons lurked inside his brother for years? Daag.

Romero finds himself in Chick’s car in a field contemplating his next move. Low on gas, he stops at a station. A fellow patron gawks on Romero while he searches for the gas cap on the 1968 Ford Fury. Luckily, he just wants to know if it’s a ’68 or a ’69. Phew. Before driving away, Romero catches a glimpse at the front page of “Otter Bay Star” in the newspaper machine: “Owner of Bates Motel arrested for murder”.  Storming back into Maggie’s house, Romero berates her for not telling him about Norma’s arrest and logs onto the White Pine Bay Sheriff’s Department website to find out where Norman is being held. Maggie begs him to run away with her to her family’s cabin in Montana to start new lives with new identities. Sorry, Maggie. Not even your unrequited love can stop Romero’s revenge. Down at the station, Romero rounds up his former coworkers (sadly wounding one) and swaps them in the locked cage for Norman. After nearly strangling Norman with a grin of ecstatic avengement, he drags one of his hostages along to be the driver as he sits tight with Norman in the backseat of the ’68 Fury. Romero’s ultimate vengeance also takes a backseat to the whereabouts of Norma’s body. Lead the way, Norman.

There are strengths to note. Olivia Cooke’s performance as Emma was solid and convincing; both the character and the actress really have grown. Choosing Bobby Darin’s “Call Me Irresponsible” to play during the investigative scouring of the Bates home was one of the best music moments of the series (right up there with “Mr. Sandman” during Norma’s death scene in Season 4).

That being said, I expected more from such a precipice of an episode. I felt much closer to the end (even if I was in denial) watching previous episodes than I do right now. Norman was nonexistent. He was a minor character in the second-to-last hour of his story and I, too, missed him. Maybe this is all a part of Cuse and Ehrin’s evil plan to suck me in then spit me out. Freddie Highmore told EW that the final episode “could be the funniest episode that we’ve ever done at the same time as being the saddest.” (http://ew.com/tv/2017/04/17/bates-motel-series-finale-preview-freddie-highmore/) As much as I am not looking forward to April 24th, I definitely don’t want the funniest episode ever. What could we possibly want to laugh about at this point?

TNT Passes on Let the Right One In Series

In a move that won’t make fans of the vampire genre happy, Deadline is reporting that TNT is deciding against proceeding with the series based on 2008’s acclaimed film Let the Right One In.  The drama, which was based on the film as well as the 2008 popular novel by author John Ajvide Lidnquist, had been picked up to pilot back in August but never went into production.  The series was to be written by Jeff Davis, who created television hits Teen Wolf and Criminal Minds.
While TNT has passed, Tomorrow Studios is continuing to shop the series to other networks and outlets.  Let the Right One In is based on the 2008 vampire film, a critically-acclaimed hit in 2008 which follows a young boy, bullied by his classmates, who sparks a friendship with an enigmatic female newcomer.  Her appearance in the small Vermont town coincides with a series of grisly murders that confound and alarm law enforcement.  Lundquist would go on to adapt his novel as a screenplay for the film, and it’s unknown at this time whether he’d have a hand in the television series as well.  Davis will executive produce with Tomorrow Studios’ Marty Adelstein and Becky Clements (among others.)  Kristine Froseth is attached to star in the role of Eli.

 

Let the Right One In shows a lot of promise, and will hopefully be picked up for production by another networkor streaming service.  Keep tuned to HNN for further developments on this story.

 

 

Hellboy Into the Silent Sea Artist Gary Gianni: The Horror News Network Interview

Gary Gianni is an artist who has worked with numerous writers who are near and dear to fans around the world such as Harlan Ellison, Ray Bradbury, George R.R. Martin, Michael Chabon, and Hellboy creator Mike Mignola.  The fact that Gianni continues to collaborate with such prominent writers  is a true testament to his artistic talent and unique style of illustration.  Horror News Network was lucky enough to speak Gianni about his upcoming Hellboy graphic novel Into the Silent Sea (which will be released on April 19th), as well as his career and upcoming projects.

Horror News Network: Thank you for joining us today.  I understand that before you started your art career you worked as a court room sketch artist in Chicago.  How did this job help you as an artist?

Gary Gianni: Well, I was in art school at the time and it was a good opportunity to practice my craft in a unique environment.  In that era, cameras were the size of a stove, so the press used a lot of court room illustrations in their coverage of prominent cases.  It taught me how to work quickly and include a sense of animation in my art.  It was certainly a great training ground and a lesson in humanity, and the depths some people will sink to.  In 1980, I covered the John Wayne Gacy trial for three months, which was a true “horror story” and one that was certainly a traumatic experience for me to listen to every day.

HNN: A lot of your work has focused on classic pulp heroes such as The Shadow, Solomon Kane, Conan the Barbarian, etc.  What draws you to work on these type of heroes and novels?

Gianni: I enjoy everything about that time period; the atmosphere, mood, tone, and is one that I like to draw.  In terms of my sensibilities, that era is a natural fit for me.  I always loved Robert E. Howard’s characters and the The Shadow.  I also love the movies of the pulp era.

HNN: You recently illustrated George R.R. Martin’s prequel to his Game of Thrones series entitled Knights of the Seven Kingdoms.  How did you end up working on this high profile project?

Gianni: I knew George and, in the 1990’s, I illustrated a Solomon Kane collection (The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane) and he said that he always wanted to publish a book that looked like that one.  I ended up working on a calendar for George and I jokingly asked him “Why don’t you write something for me to illustrate?”  The next thing I knew, he asked me to illustrate the prequel to Game of Thrones.  They asked for 40 illustrations, but I ended up doing 160.  I remember asking George (possibly shooting myself in the foot): “You go to great lengths to describe these scenes in your novels and the reader can picture these scenes in their mind’s eyes; why would you want an illustrator adapting them?”  He said that he enjoyed seeing his work interpreted by artists, which certainly shows a great amount of trust on his part.

HNN: You also worked with Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Chabon on Gentlemen of the Road.  What was that experience like?

Gianni: I enjoy working with living authors because I can ask them questions.  Some authors, like Lovecraft, are famous for not describing key scenes or characters and they put illustrators in a tough position.  I think the author’s intent is important in terms of artwork.  I want to capture what the author had in mind.  When I was illustrating Gentlemen of the Road, I kept imagining one of the characters (Hanukkah) as a classic actor named Akim Tamiroff (Touch of Evil).  When I asked Michael, what he thought Hanukkah looked like, he said “kind of like Akim Tamiroff”  so we were pretty much on the same page there!

HNN: Speaking of your latest work with Mike Mignola, what was the genesis of Into the Silent Sea?

Gianni: Mignola and I have very similar tastes, temperaments, and senses of humor.  I first started doing a back-up feature in Hellboy called MonsterMen and after that he told me that he had a “lost at sea” story-line bookmarked for me, particularly since he didn’t want to draw all of the rigging that it required!

Eventually, Mike came back to the story and I started doing research on these 19th century ships as the story takes place almost exclusively on a classic phantom ship ala “The Flying Dutchman”.  It’s important for the reader to understand spatially where everything is happening on the ship during the story.  I located a model ship builder’s club in my area and showed up at one of their meetings.  They were shocked that anyone who wasn’t a model builder would come to one.  I explained to them why I was there and they were very helpful, particularly one builder who allowed me to photograph a six foot model ship for my research purposes for the story.  It ended up being a big help in terms of a frame of reference.

One piece that I didn’t use on the ship were the sails.  Sails cover up so much of the ship that I decided I didn’t want them in the way.  Hellboy quickly comments on this fact at the start of the story, so the reader can go along for the journey without them and never questions why they aren’t there the rest of the way.

HNN:  You mentioned the MonsterMen back-up feature that ran in some of the earlier Hellboy stories.  I understand that the collected edition (Gary Gianni’s MonsterMen and other Scary Stories) is being re-released by Dark Horse this summer.  Is that correct?

Gianni: Yes.  It is nice to have it available again.  Some of the material is now over 20 years old, so if fans enjoy Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea, hopefully they will also enjoy some of my earlier work.

HNN: What do you enjoy about working on Hellboy?

Gianni:  Hellboy isn’t so much straight horror as gothic storytelling.  Hellboy has a sense of whimsy and fun as well.  He also has a lot of pulp hero traits and is a lot like the “hard boiled” detectives of the era.

HNN: Examining your art, it also appears that you have a love for Universal Monsters.

Gianni: Absolutely.  I actually included a homage to The Bride of Frankenstein in Into the Silent Sea when Hellboy is chained up on the mast just as the Monster is tied up in the early stages of the film by the villagers. I also remember my father talking about Phantom of the Opera and pulling up his nose to get that Lon Chaney effect.  Famous Monsters magazine was also an influence and that is where I was able to see some great photos from those films.

HNN: Do you have any other projects that you are working on?

Gianni: I do have a collection of my Prince Valiant material that will be released in the early fall.  I worked on the Prince Valiant comic strip for eight years and produced over 450 pages of art.

HNN; Thanks for your time today and we look forward to Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea and the MonsterMen collection.