Friday, 25 September 2009

News: Night of the Living Dead finds its Barbara

It's been widely reported this week that Night of the Living Dead is being remade (again), but this time in CGI and 3D. Um, okay. Anyway, hot off the Twitter presses, that film has found its Barbara, in the form of the rather fabulous Danielle Harris. There's a plus point at least!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

News: Let The Right One In casting; title change.

Rumours surfaced yesterday that Philip Seymour Hoffman had been cast in the new adaptation of Let The Right One In, but today that rumour has been debunked. This is almost a shame, as Hoffman would have been ideal, albeit obvious, casting for the role previously known as Hakan.

The kids, however, have been cast, it seems, with Kodi Smit McPhee cast as Oskar (now Owen) and Chloe Moretz as Eli (now Abby). I'm sure both are fine young actors, however, I have a bit of a problem with Moretz's casting. To be perfectly fair to her, I am judging this from images of her only, but she looks too young. I know that Eli/Abby is only 12...ish, but it's that '...ish' that matters. Lina Leandersson, although pretty much the same age when she filmed as Eli, had a mature look about her, which worked perfectly. They could certainly cast much worse, I'm sure, but I think this, for me, is already a case of the Swedish film looming over this new version, going 'I'm better than you!'

Regardless, that's just my personal niggle for now. Here's a biggie. Supposedly the film has been retitled (it was already said that it might be titled 'Let Me In'). The new title? Fish Head. I can't figure it out. I've read the book and I certainly do not recall fish heads playing any, never mind a significant, role. Is there some symbolism at play here that I'm missing? According to BloodyDisgusting, Production Weekly has reported that filming will begin early November, in New Mexico (more confusion: is it desert-bound now? Or does New Mexico get snowy/have lots of sound stages? Please enlighten me, someone!). My only guess regarding Fish Head is that it might be the new nickname for Owen, by his bullies (as opposed to 'piggy'), perhaps in some way to tie in with the film's somewhat watery climax. Although I very much doubt that's the case, right now, that's as good a guess that I can come up with.

This new producion very much seems to be angling for the 'we're adapting the book, not remaking the film!' line of defense, but if you ask me, the Swedish film was very faithful. It left things out, that's for sure, but those are things I don't think an American production would dare put into a film. There are things in the Swedish film I don't think an American production would dare put into a film. Of course, I'll wait and see if they nicely surprise me, but I have such low hopes for this film.

And you know what, thinking about it? I think the saddest thing about this production is that Hammer are involved. It means a part of me hopes this film makes a lot of money for them, whether it sucks or not, so that they can get back to making original films. Not that Hammer was ever especially original in its sources, mind, but Let The Right One In is not Dracula or Frankenstein, mmmkay, there's a difference. Hmmph.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Why I'm Excited About 'Mother's Day'

It's a rare occurance that I look forward to a horror remake. I looked forward to My Bloody Valentine 3D, mainly for the 3D. I'm definitely looking forward to The Wolfman, because at least it's remaking something that wasn't made in the last 30 years. So, the latest remake I'm looking forward to is Mother's Day, the Troma classic being remade by Darren Lynn Bousman. Yet again, I must confess to having never seen the original Mother's Day (something I hope to rectify before the remake's release, but in my defense it's not available on DVD in the UK), so I cannot claim some sort of affinity to the original. Regardless, I would normally treat the remake with some cynicism. So what's different about Mother's Day?

The Director

I like Darren Bousman. This is primarily due to my newly discovered undying love for Repo! The Genetic Opera, but I'm also a follower of the Saw franchise and while installments 2 and 3 are far from my favourites, number 4 is second only to the original, in my opinion. I think Bousman's a big talent, who's cut his teeth with the most successful horror franchise of recent years, and proven himself immensley creative with his work on Repo! (for which he was not solely responsible, natch, but the fact remains that he was at the helm). I believe Bousman has a good attitude toward his craft, his genre and its fans, and I have high hopes that this will be evident with Mother's Day.

The Cast

It's nice to see a talented cast for a horror remake, rather than one full of models (I'm still looking at you, Platinum Dunes). On board are Rebecca de Mornay, Jaime King, Alexa Vega, Briana Evigan and Shawn Ashmore, amongst, while it's true none of these actors are (as yet) especially prestigious or Oscar-worthy, but they're no wannabes, and they've all shown their chops in the genre before.

The Independence

Mother's Day is not a studio film with a big name producer behind it (well, aside from Brett Ratner...). This gives me hope that the creativity of Bousman will be allowed through, and we'll be treated to a proper horror movie rather than a cynical money-maker.

The Endorsement

Charles and Lloyd Kaufman, director and producer of the original, have a cameo in this film. In Lloyd's own words on Twitter, "Charles now is starting to get it that his film is loved!" and he thanks Bousman for being "so respectful to the original". As a continuation from the above point, I can't think of a greater endorsement than from the king of the indepents himself.

A recent article in the LA Times uninformedly bemoaned Mother's Day as just another remake, looking to exploit violence, against women especially, to make a quick buck. Now, feminism in film is something I feel strongly about, so it's a pleasure to see a response posted by the LA Times by Mother's Day producer Shara Kay, defending the film. Although she rightly doesn't reveal any plot details, she describes the film as revolving "around strong female characters and the lengths to which they will go to protect what is dearest to them." If that's pulled off, then I'll be a happy horror fan.

Review: Sorority Row (Hendler, 2009)

It truly pains me to report that this film did not utterly suck. Everything is a stereotype, and there's nothing especially scary going on, but the girls are fun, the boys dumb, and the kills highly entertaining.

I've not seen the original, so I cannot comment on how it compares. I don't think it's too unreasonable for me to guess, however, that this new version is a significantly glossier affair, which I suspect will render it a little less charming than its predecessor for some. Luckily, though, the girls of Sorority Row, although very attractive stereotypes, have buckets of charm. This is particularly true of Leah Pipes, who as head bitch Jessica (AKA the girl we're not meant to like), is especially charismatic, entertaining and hell, likeable. Rumer Willis is also a nice surprise as the nerdy Ellie (makes you wonder how she got into Theta Pi in the first place). Some of the best moments come from Carrie Fisher as the badass house mother, Mrs. Crenshaw, especially when she decides to take matters into her own, capable, hands.

Aside from the fun girls, the kills in Sorority Row are just about imaginative enough so that interest doesn't wane for gorehounds. Refreshingly, I was surprised by how little nudity there is in the film. Although the camera lingers plenty on the girls, it somehow didn't seem overly gratuitous. The music and direction of the film is predictible, but I was expecting little else.

Sorority Row is utter tosh, but fun enough.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

News: Suspiria to Shoot in 2010

It's being reported today that the long-rumoured remake of Dario Argento's frankly untouchable Suspiria will begin shooting next year, produced by Luca Guadagnino and directed by David Gordon Green.

Are you asking who?!?! like I did? Green is the guy who directed Pineapple Express...and some other stuff. Although Empire claims that he makes "visually beautiful dramas". I can just hear the trailer voice over now..."Do the teachers hide a terrible secret? Or are the students just a bunch of stoners? From the director of Pineapple Express, comes the year's most disturbing horror-comedy!"

There's been a persistent rumour that Natalie Portman will take the role of Suzy Bannion. Now, I love Natalie Portman. I think she's talented, and intelligent, and funny, and gorgeous. I'd certainly rather her in the lead role than, I dunno, Julianna Guill. However, I don't think an actress of Portman's calibre will make any difference to the possibility of this remake being any good.