Flatliners Trailer Released

The trailer for Flatliners (the remake of the 1990 horror drama staring Kevin Bacon, Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland) has just been released by Sony Pictures.

The film will be directed by Niels Arden Oplev (the original Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) with a screenplay by Ben Ripley (Species III).  It will star Ellen Page (Juno), Diego Luna (Star Wars: Rogue One), Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries), James Norton (Black Mirror) and Kiersey Clemons (Austin & Ally).

For those needing a little refresher about this film, The Hollywood Reporter states that it is a story about “…medical students who, obsessed by the mystery of what lies beyond the confines of life, embark on a daring and dangerous experiment: stopping their hearts for short periods of time. Each triggers a near-death experience, giving them a firsthand account of the afterlife. But as their experiments become increasingly dangerous, they are haunted by the sins of their past, brought on by the paranormal consequences of trespassing to the other side.”

Flatliners will be released on September 29th, 2017.

Stay tuned to Horror News Network for the Fall Horror Movie Preview Coming in late August.

Game of Thrones’ Michiel Huisman Cast as Steven Crane in Netflix’s Haunting of Hill House

As reported in April by HNN’s John Evans, Netflix announced a new series based on Shirley Jackson’s seminal haunted house tale The Haunting of Hill House to be directed by Oculus director Mike Flanagan.

Now comes news from The Hollywood Reporter that Game of Thrones star Michiel Huisman has been cast as the lead character in the Netflix horror series.

Huisman will portray “…Steven Crane, the oldest Crane sibling and a published writer of supernatural books — including a memoir about his family’s time living at Hill House.”

Huisman is well known for his role of Daario Naharis, one of the leaders of the Second Sons and lover of “the Queen of Dragons” Daenerys Targaryen, on Game of Thrones.  Huisman is also known to fans of the HBO series Treme as Sonny, a budding musician who struggled with addiction and making the right choices for himself and others.

No information is currently available on when the series will hit Netflix, but it appears that the production is headed in the right direction with the involvement of Flanagan and Huisman.

Stay tuned to Horror News Network for more information on The Haunting of Hill House as it happens.

 

 

“The Lure” – Review

Do you remember that time you said to yourself, “Gosh, I’d really like to watch a musical set in early 1980’s Poland about two mermaids who join a disco band that plays their shows in a strip club?” No? Me neither, but I watched it anyway and…I think I liked it?

Written by Robert Bolesto and directed by Agnieszka Smoczynska, The Lure, or Córki Dancingu if you speak Polish, was first released in Poland in 2015 and then played at Sundance in 2016 winning the Special Jury Award for Unique Vision and Design. It was just released in the U.S. this year and I’ve heard some rumblings so I figured I should check it out.

Not really knowing to expect, I hit play and very quickly realized that there’d be no way to be ready for what I was about to watch anyway. The film starts out “normally” enough with two girls peering out of the water at a trio of musicians jamming together on the beach. The mermaids then use their song to try and lure the two men of the group into the water to help them but the woman screams and we cut away.

Next we are inside of an adult-themed nightclub with a creepy old owner who is making the rounds from the guest area, to the kitchen and finally to the back room. In the back room he finds the two mermaids from the lake but with legs. The trio of musicians are in there and the leader shows the owner what happens when he gets the girls legs wet.

From there, they all logically decide that the fish-girls (named Silver and Golden) should join the band. The girls are quite a hit with the club-goers as they both have lovely voices and like to be naked when they sing. All is well until Silver starts to fall for the younger boy in the band who looks remarkably like Evan Peters. Golden is not really feeling this as she’s just there for the food (aka human flesh) and thinks they should head back to the sea and swim to America; plus, there’s bad rumors about what can happen to mermaids who fall in love with a human.

Are you confused by this review? I’d be surprised if you weren’t because I am. More surprising is that I actually think I enjoyed it. I say “think” because it was so fucking bizarre that I’m not sure if I liked it or if I was sort of brainwashed by it’s sheer craziness. Everything from the crazy 80’s vibe to the disco-ish music to the characters that bounced in and out of the story without explanation just sort of worked for me.

Give it a watch and let me know if it works for you too…let’s be crazy together.

 

 

Stay gory my friends.

Russo Brothers, Henry Selick to Adapt ‘Little Nightmares’ Video Game into Television Series

Little Nightmares, the horror puzzle-platformer from Tarsier Studios (LittleBigPlanet 3) is about to appear on the small screen in another format! THR reports that Anthony and Joe Russo (You, Me and DupreeCaptain America: The Winter Soldier, and numerous upcoming generic Marvel movies) will executive produce a television series of Little Nightmares along with Dmitri M. Johnson and Stephan Bugaj of DJ2 Entertainment (who are also adapting the Life is Strange and Sonic the Hedgehog franchises for television). Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas) will direct the pilot episode, and possibly further episodes in the series.

Little Nightmares is a creepy-looking title which explores our deepest childhood fears. The visual style of the property alone makes it a perfect project for Henry Selick to join. The art direction is naturally suited for the legendary work he did when directing The Nightmare Before Christmas.

When the game was originally announced, critics strongly praised its visual style and storytelling, but there were some minor complaints about the gameplay itself. An adaptation of the franchise into the television format will have the benefit of maintaining what people liked about the game while removing any frustrating elements of the gameplay which held the original franchise back.

Stay tuned to Horror News Network for more details on the Little Nightmares television series as it breaks!

SpikeTV’s “The Mist” Episode 1 – Review

Last week we discussed SpikeTV’s upcoming take on Stephen King’s short story The Mist and one of the concerns that I had was how they planned to turn a story that only occupies 134 pages into a seasons worth of hour-long television shows. Well, my knowledge-thirsty friends, I have the answer!

The answer is this: it appears that show creator Christian Torpe has gone ahead and dreamed up a whole new vision for Stephen King’s work; one with brand new characters, brand new stories and one that takes place on a much grander scale (more on that in a bit). Gone are David Drayton and his son Billy…no sign of out-of-town neighbor and resident skeptic Brent Norton either. They have been replaced with Eve Copeland, her husband Kevin and daughter Alex. Also gone is the supermarket and instead we’re trapped in a mall. That’s not to say, however, that there are not others trapped elsewhere; keep in mind that this story is meant to be bigger than the source material.

You’ll remember that in the story (as well as in the 2007 film), all of the characters that we knew were in the supermarket. We’re introduced to David and his son and wife (briefly) and then it’s off to the market with neighbor Brent in tow and the mist rolls in pretty quickly. Well, in this pilot episode, a good deal of time is spent building up several characters all over town which leads me to believe that we will be seeing stories in different locations of different folks dealing with that funky mist. But if you’re aching for something familiar, don’t fret…we have an Arrowhead Project soldier for you.

If the pilot episode is any indication, I think SpikeTV may have a pretty rad show on their hands. The characters are interesting (like, who is this Zoe chick?) and the opening plot-lines are super-intriguing. That said, you can bet your sweet patootie that I’ll be tuned in for episode two. And if you’re looking for the bloody stuff, they delivered a bit in this first episode and for those familiar with the story, I’m sure that we can expect a lot more.

Be sure to tune in to SpikeTV on Thursday, June 22nd at 10pm EST for the premiere.

 

Stay gory my friends.

Will The Mummy Send Universal’s Dark Universe Back to the Shadows?

As detailed by HNN’s John Evan’s on FridayThe Mummy’s (2017) abysmal critical reception led to a domestic financial disaster at the box office with an estimated $32.2 million in ticket sales, amounting to a lot less than the average Pharaoh’s treasure.  While the studio is trumpeting the global box office as a “victory” with an estimated $141 million so far, The Mummy’s domestic reception could not have been worse for a film that was supposed to usher in a “new age of god’s and monsters.”

How much effect this opening film impacts the unveiling of “The Dark Universe” brand is yet to be seen, but Universal can’t be happy with the results so far.  How bad was this opening?  Every modern Mummy film (four films in total) from Universal performed better at the box office, going back to the original reboot in 1999 ($43.3 million) and even including the last entry in the cycle, 2008’s  Tomb of the Dragon Emperor ($40.5 million).  Yes, Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (with a “Tomatometer” score of 12%) scored more cash in its opening weekend than the Tom Cruise starring feature that opened this weekend (let it sink in a bit…)

How did it go so wrong?  Many hardcore Universal Monster fans were worried from the start when the initial trailers seemed to be heavy on action and CGI and seemed to cut a lot closer to the recent Brandon Fraser films rather than Karl Freund’s original film.  This, coupled with the fact that director Alex Kurtzman had only one directing credit to his name in the form of 2012’s People Like Us and no familiarity or experience with horror projects as a screen writer or producer, made many fans cautious of the film.  When the reviews were released, and many of the greatest fears of “Monster Kids” everywhere were confirmed, ticket buyer stayed away in droves.

Kurtzman recently downplayed the importance of his film as a franchise starter in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter stating that  “…variety is going to be our good friend when it comes to the evolution of Dark Universe. You obviously want to set a somewhat consistent tone, so that people know what to expect when you see these movies, but it would be ideal for each movie to have its own identity, which is largely going to be dependent on who is directing the films and who is starring in the films. I’m really excited to see what Bill Condon does with Bride of Frankenstein.”

Kurtzman even went so far as to share his excitement about the film’s reception overseas, claiming that “I’ve just been on the tour, I’ve traveled all around the world and I’ve heard it play in different countries, and one of the most satisfying thing for me is hearing audiences reactions. That’s what you make the movie for. To hear the gasps, to hear the laughter, to hear the jump scares, to hear all of those things playing. That’s the moment it all comes together, it’s the moment you go it was all worth it for this sound. I look forward to that. If there’s a great opportunity again that comes up where I feel connected to the character, I’ll happily dive in.”  Although Kurtzman remains as the lead producer and developer of the Dark Universe, with the reception of this film by fans and critics alike, it seems like a risk to invite him to direct another film in this series.

In moving forward, hopefully Universal will learn from their mistakes and follow “the Marvel Way” when it comes to building a cinematic universe. In looking back at how they became the leading power house when it comes to super hero fare, they did it slowly and without the real expectations or announcement of elaborate plans when Iron Man was originally released.  A lot was riding on the film, but they did not announce a series of seven or more films right out of the gate either.  They took time to develop the brand and “house-style” before embarking on their conquest of the cinematic world.  Marvel also knew how to play “money ball” and hired low cost directors and new or down-on-their luck stars (ala Robert Downey Jr.) that showed that they had talent, but did not yet have the clout or track record to demand large salaries.

Since Universal has already blown their opportunity to follow in Marvel’s more measured foot steps, they may be able to take some notes from Marvel’s rival: DC.  Like Universal, DC started out with grandiose plans and a long list of films in development in an effort to “hit the ground running”.  Well, DC/Warner Brothers certainly hit the ground, but they were not necessarily running with the critical reception to Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad.  While reviewers panned the films, they did make money due to huge opening weekends and a fan base that was looking for spectacle more than quality at the cinema.  The financial success of both films allowed for the company to stay the course and produce a critically and financially successful one in the form of Wonder Woman.  Even though some overzealous fans want to enshrine Wonder Woman in the halls of Olympus just for the fact that it resembles an actual film when compared to B V. S or Suicide Squad, the adventures of DC’s long-time heroine was a success because they hired a competent director (Patty Jenkins), a photogenic star that closely resembled the title character (Gal Gadot), and little to no connection to the first two films in the DC cinematic universe.  Whether this trend continues with Justice League in November remains to be seen, but if Justice League follows the previous pattern established by the original DCU films, critics will certainly be pointing to what Wonder Woman did right (and differently) than the majority of the films in this collection.

Wonder Woman is also playing to a much older and varied audience than DC’s first attempts at bringing their world-famous characters together, something that Universal should absolutely take note of.  Like Wonder Woman, Universal’s monsters also have a diverse fan base, with almost 90 years of recognition, and appealing to older and wiser fans is never a bad idea when it comes to making and marketing films. Going forward, the studio would be smart to downplay any connections to the current Mummy film and instead appeal to the essence of the old films (atmosphere, dread, make-up effects, etc.) with a modern twist.

Let’s all hope that Universal Studios learns from their mistakes and helps deliver a competent Bride of Frankenstein unlike The Mummy which left audiences and the studio “in the dust”.  If not, we may all have to say goodbye to Universal’s attempted “Dark Universe”.

 

 

 

Ivan Reitman Plans to Link ‘Ghostbusters’ Reboot to Original and Explore International Settings for Future Films

Over the past few months, producers (and original creators) Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd have publicly slammed director Paul Feige for the financial failure of last summers Ghostbusters reboot. Both have expressed nothing but love for the new cast of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon; and they believe that the film’s flaw was Feige’s unreasonably high budget and expensive reshoots, which were required to complete the film.

With Feige out of the picture Reitman and Aykroyd are free to go in any new direction they please, and they alone are responsible for the success or failure of upcoming Ghostbusters installments. Yesterday, Ivan Reitman and Ernie Hudson sat down for a Facebook Live Q&A to celebrate “Ghostbusters Day.” During the event, Reitman shared some of his ideas for future installments. Here’s what he had to say:

Reitman would like to link the world of the original film to the world of the reboot.

“I think one thing that fans have clearly wanted, and so did I, that somehow we tie the worlds together. I think it was a little awkward that it wasn’t connected, and we certainly heard a lot from everybody out there.”

I’m not exactly sure that this is the “one thing that fans have clearly wanted,” but the inclusion of the original characters in a future film certainly couldn’t hurt!

Reitman would like to create a world of international Ghostbuters franchises, with the New York business remaining as the global headquarters.

“[The] idea doesn’t have to just take place in New York, it can happen over the world. I think it would be really cool to see Korean ghosts or Chinese ghosts. All those great traditions in the world have all these tales and things those people are afraid of. To have a sort of local group of Ghostbusters that tie with the head office in New York would be fun.”

American cinema currently survives due to a global box office marketplace. For example, The Mummy is expected to bomb in American cinemas this weekend, but it will likely also make back its budget due to the fact that Chinese audiences love Tom Cruise and they are expected to head pack theaters this weekend. Given the lucrative possibilities for tailoring American films to foreign markets, it makes sense that Reitman would want to target Korean and Chinese audiences by incorporating Asian culture and locale into future films.

Ironically, it is unlikely that a film like this would make it into Chinese theaters. Last summer, the Ghostbusters reboot famously failed to be approved for Chinese cinemas. At the time, Sony executives claimed that the decision was made because Chinese audiences are largely unfamiliar with the franchise; but there were also rumblings that several similar big budget films have not passed China’s censorship screening due to their visual depictions of ghosts on screen. If Reitman plans to set the next Ghostbusters in China to soak up some of that sweet international box office, he’d better make sure that Chinese officials will allow it to be screened!

Click below to watch the entire interview:

Ghostbusters Day w/ Ivan Reitman and Ernie Hudson

Happy Ghostbusters Day! We are getting into the ghoulish spirit with director Ivan Reitman and star Ernie Hudson answering all your busting questions! SHARE this video to win all the swag you seen on screen. Stick around to the very end for a sneak preview of ACT 2 of the PlayStation Ghostbusters VR. Special thanks to Playmobil, Mondo, 80stees.com, IDW Publishing, and Cryptozoic Entertainment for all the giveaway goodies.

Posted by Super News Live on Thursday, June 8, 2017

Stay tuned to Horror News Network for more details on upcoming Ghostbusters films as they break!

‘The Mummy’ Set to Unravel at the Box Office This Weekend Amid Poor Reviews

Smell something rotten this weekend? That’s the stench of a sarcophagus that never should have been opened! The Mummy reboot, the first of Universal’s action-oriented “Dark Universe” monster franchise, is opening in theaters this weekend amid a slew of poor critical reviews and low box office predictions. Based on early indicators, this movie’s dropping faster than Tom Cruise’s plane featured in the movie’s zero-gravity stunt!

Taking into account of 178 critical reviews at the time of this writing, the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score for The Mummy is currently sitting at an embarrassing 17%. It only gets worse when examining the site’s “Top Critics” score… the Tomatometer plummets to just 8%! The content of the reviews aren’t any better. Multiple critics refer to the film as the worst movie of Tom Cruise’s career in their reviews. Many more simply refer to the movie as “a mess.” This kind of reception doesn’t exactly inspire moviegoers to race to the multiplex.

Early box office performance for the film indicates that the movie will suffer financially due to all of those poor reviews. Variety reports that The Mummy earned $2.7 million during Thursday previews. This return  is an early predictor of a particularly soft opening weekend. To put it into perspective, Wonder Woman earned $11 million during last week’s Thursday previews and it ultimately debuted to a $103 million opening weekend. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales earned $5.5 million on its first Thursday, and it ended up achieving nearly $63 million by the end of the weekend. Most analysts are pegging the movie’s cumulative weekend haul anywhere between $32-40 million. Frankly, even that may be high. Recent stinkers with poor critical reviews have bomber harder during this summer season. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword only managed to earn $15.3 million during its opening weekend after debuting to a Tomatometer score of 28%.

To add insult to injury, Wonder Woman has been earning about $2 million more per weekday than most other recent superhero films in the past week, and it shows no signs of slowing down. It will absolutely pull viewers away from The Mummy this weekend, as it is expected to earn the top slot for the second weekend in a row.

With a budget of $125 million, Universal is likely hoping for a much greater haul at the domestic box office for The Mummy. Fortunately for the studio, analysts are predicting that international fans will gobble up many more tickets than American moviegoers. The movie is expected to earn anywhere between $125-150 million at the international box office this weekend, largely in part to markets like China.

Even if the international box office saves the film from being a major financial bomb, the critical and financial reception stateside will likely affect how Universal continues to shape its “Dark Universe” franchise. Stay tuned to Horror News Network for more details on the performance of The Mummy and the future of the “Dark Universe” as it breaks!

Amityville: The Awakening Delayed Yet Again

The long delayed and embattled Amitville: The Awakening has been once again moved off of its release date on June 30th.  No new release date has been announced at this time.

In the Horror News Network Summer Movie Preview, I detailed the long, winding road that this film has taken stating that “The only thing more shocking than the film’s troubled past is the fact that is going to be released at all.  It all started in 2012 when the film was called Amityville: The Lost Tapes and was designed to capitalize on the popularity of “found footage” films such as Paranormal Activity. By the time production began, the Weinstein Company got the memo that they missed the “found footage” window of opportunity, and decided to scrap the whole project and make a traditional horror film.  The original trailer was released in August of 2014(!) and the film’s release date was set for January of 2015.  It was then mysteriously removed from the studio’s schedule and then resurfaced, moving to April of 2016.  Once people finally saw the film at test screenings, the feedback was so negative that the studio yet again moved the film to a different date (and also had star Bella Thorne return for additional filming), this time January of 2017.  Think it’s over yet? Nope.  The studio finally (we think) moved the release to June 30th, 2017, where it sits at this very hour.  Will it stay there? Time will tell.  Should you pay money to see this movie?  That’s a better question…”

At this point, it is anyone’s guess when this film will see the light of day, but if it ever does get a theatrical or home video release, Horror News Network will let you know (although this film may set a record for longest delay in cinematic history).

Re-imagining Stephen King’s “The Mist”

Back in the mid-80’s I can recall getting my hands on Stephen King’s anthology book Skeleton Crew and ripping through it like I did all of his books back then. Out of all of the stories, it was The Mist that stuck with me. I can remember having vivid dreams of being trapped by that mist and its monsters in my local grocery store. I can also remember how angered I was by the ambiguous ending that King offered for the short.

Fast forward to 2007 and Frank Darabont brought The Mist to the big screen with his adaptation featuring Thomas Jane in the lead role (and the cast of The Walking Dead in support). While celebrated as a success by most, it never quite made its way into my heart and I especially loathed the ending that they dreamed up; never did I think I would prefer King’s “non-ending”.

Well, here we are ten years later and SpikeTV is taking a shot at making The Mist work, but this time in the form of a television series. When it comes to turning books into film, folks are normally worried about how they can squeeze 600 pages into two hours without losing too much important detail. Oddly enough, the worry here is how do they stretch 134 pages into a few months worth of television?

Here is what Executive Producer and Writer Christian Torpe has to say about it:

What I’ve seen looks good so far so stay tuned as I’m sure we’ll be discussing The Mist following it’s June 22nd premiere on SpikeTV at 10pm EST.

Stay updated with The Mist here:

Website: http://TheMist.spike.com
Twitter: @TheMist
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheMistSpike/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/themist/
Join the conversation with: #TheMist

 

Stay gory my friends.