« December 2009 | Back to Book Reviews | February 2010 »

January 27, 2010

Let There Be Blood: Visiting the Set Of HATCHET 2.

Icons of Fright begins it's on-set coverage of HATCHET, thanks to contributing writer KEVIN KLEMM of GIRLS AND CORPSES MAGAZINE

LET THERE BE BLOOD

By Kevin Klemm, Contributing Writer.

01/27/10

For those of you who have never been on aHatchet 2 live movie set, it’s always controlled chaos. And I do mean always! Except when you show up during dinner break, like I did last night for my on set visit with Adam Green’s latest film, Hatchet 2.

A weird sort of calm had invaded the set. Muffled conversation and the sound of chewing was all I could hear as I toured Victor Crowley’s swamp and house. All painstakingly recreated in a downtown L.A. soundstage with live trees, plants, and vines. Adding to the detail and atmosphere of the set, some of the plants started re-seeding themselves in the wood floor, along with mushrooms and mold. And I can’t help but wonder if those new spores and mold were behind the series of sicknesses that had hit the production crew during the week of our visit.

But tonight, as I walked the set, everyone was focused on the task at hand, and that was eating. They say that if you really want to keep your cast and crew happy during a shoot, you need to feed them good. Actor AJ Bowen told me that it’s been “The best food I’ve ever had on a film shoot”. When I relayed the compliment to Co-Producer Jason Miller, he told me that they learned their lesson on the set of Green’s previous film, Frozen. On that shoot the food was so bad that Director Adam Green ate nothing but Ice Cream. And that was in temperatures hovering close to zero.

Before I walked off the set, I looked up at the ceiling and saw blood splatters on the rafters and the ventilation units, maybe thirty feet up in the air, and thought to myself “oh yes, there will be blood….

Hatchet 2 marks the return of Adam Green at the helm, which along with his solid repertory company of actors and behind the scene film technicians, looks to be crafting another horror classic.

Kane Hodder, Tony Todd, and Parry Shen are back. I know what you’re thinking… Parry Shen’s character died in the first film. How can he be back? Well, in the first Hatchet, Parry’s character, Shawn, mentions a brother back in Detroit. So now Parry’s back as Shawn’s twin brother Justin. Oh, and we can’t forget John Carl Buechler’s return as Jack Cracker.

New to the cast is Danielle Harris (Rob Zombie’s Halloween) who takes over the role of Marybeth, Tom Holland (Director of such films as Fright Night and Childs Play) in his return to his acting roots, AJ Bowen, Alexis Peters, Ed Ackerman, and even Leatherface himself, R.A. Mihaloff come on board to add their acting expertise and possibly add to the films body count as well.

Picking up exactly where the first Hatchet ended, Green this time around ups the body count along with the blood. In fact, the bulk of the budget is slatted for practical gore effects, which shows you where the producer’s minds are at. Unlike the first film where the best kill is in the middle of the movie (Mrs Permatteo), Hatchet 2 keeps ratcheting up the kills, each one topping the previous one. I was lucky enough to watch Victor Crowley in action during my visit, and I can tell you that if you are a gore hound like me, you are not going to be disappointed.

Well, that’s just a little taste of what I found out during my visit to Hatched 2. Coming up in my next installment you’ll find out some interesting tidbits like:

Which of your favorite horror stars moonlight as Hollywood Ghost Hunters?

Kane Hodder’s tattoo. What is it? And where is it?

Plus all sorts of cool tidbits to wet your appetite for the most eagerly awaited Horror film of 2010, Hatchet 2.

 

 

January 26, 2010

Tobe Hooper's Texas Birthday Massacre!

Tobe HooperThe godfather of tree-felling slaughter flicks celebrates a birthday massacre today!  Yes, Tobe Hooper himself turns 67.

 

The man first shocked audiences with what would become a seminal slasher with THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.  This film set the path for "kids go down the back path and end up meeting their grisly fates" movies.

 

Hooper also helmed another modern classic, the immaculate ghost story POLTERGEIST.  Among other fan TCM Posterfavorites are SALEM'S LOT, LIFEFORCE, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 and THE MANGLER.

Though many agree that Hooper's more recent output doesn't close to match his classics, Hooper changed the way horror films were made.  He was a trailblazer in the 1970s, and will always be remembered for his leather faced friend and family.  Let's hope he's cutting his cake with a power tool.

Happy Birthday, Tobe!

 --Phil Fasso

January 23, 2010

Rutger Hauer Still Menacing at 66! Happy Birthday, Rutger!

Some people were just born to be bad.  Rutger Hauer was born 66 years ago today to play those people.  Through roles in BLADE RUNNER and THE HITCHER to more current television work on SMALLVILLE and the remake of SALEM'S LOT, Hauer plays bad with the best of them. 

He has a way of being menacing even when doing the most mundane things.  Just take a look at the picture of him holding a dove, the universal symbol of peace.  Does that bird have any chance?

That Bird Should Be Scared

Even in his more sympathetic roles in films such as the concentration camp movie ESCAPE FROM SOBIBOR and the remake of THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE, Hauer brings an edginess to his characters, as if they're ready to go psycho any second.  He's guaranteed to give a great performance in any film, even if the material is schlocky.  THE HITCHER may be an over-the-top, sometimes silly thriller, but Hauer rises above and delivers a solid performance.

Don't Pick This Man Up

So let's all wish Rutger Hauer a Happy Birthday, and make sure not to hitchhike in his honor!

--Phil Fasso

Happy Birthday, Linda Blair!

In honor of THE EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC, we at Icons wish Linda Blair a very Happy Birthday!  Linda will always be most famous for her role as Regan in William Friedkin's first film in the franchise, but she's contributed to the zeitgeist of film lore with roles in REPOSSESSED, ZAPPED AGAIN and SCREAM.  Most recently, she gave a nod to horror again with an appearance on SUPERNATURAL.

I really wish Mike Cucinotta were writing this instead of me.  Linda Blair starred in two of his favorite films:  EXORCIST II and AIRPORT 1975.  As is obvious, Mike has an eclectic taste in film.  He's also got a great story about meeting Linda at a convention.

Don't Make Linda Blair Angry, Mike! 

I met Linda myself years back at the Chiller convention.  But that's not the story I want to share.  A few years later, when my buddy X wanted to meet her, two guys were jawing at each other and it looked as if a fight might erupt right in front of us.  Little Linda came right out from behind her table and calmed the two fans down. 

Linda's also an animal activist.  She's been running a charity to stop abuse of animals for years.  Between that and her role in one of the most important horror films of all time, we at Icons of Fright honor her today.

Linda is Always Happy to Help Save Animals from Abuse

Linda turns 51 today.  Happy Birthday, Linda!

--Phil Fasso

January 22, 2010

Blatty's LEGION to Hit the Stage

For those EXORCIST fans out there (and I know there are many), William Peter Blatty's follow-up, LEGION, will be on the stage soon, thanks to WildClaw Theatre.  It will make its debut in the Chicago area.  Here's the official press release:

 

WildClaw Theatre
presents
 
William Peter Blatty’s
“Legion”
 
Chicago – January 14, 2010 - WildClaw Theatre presents the world premiere adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s “Legion.”  With previews March 13th and 14th, and opening Monday, March 15th, 2009, 7:30pm at Chicago’s Viaduct Theater, 3111 N. Western Ave.   Running Thursday thru Sunday until April 18th, 2009.  Performance times are Thursday thru Saturday at 7:30pm, and Sunday at 3pm.
 
Directed by WildClaw company member Anne Adams, and featuring company members Brian Amidei and Scott T. Barsotti, with Len Bajenski, Ariel Brenner, Casey Cunningham, Vic Doylida, Matt Engle, Sasha Gioppo, Lindsay Nance, Benno Nelson, Elaine Robinson, Cheryl Roy, Erika Schmidt, HB Ward and Josh Zagoren.
 
WildClaw is thrilled to present the World Premiere of William Peter Blatty’s “Legion,” the bestselling sequel to Blatty’s “The Exorcist.” More than a decade after the death of Father Karras, Lieutenant Kinderman is faced with a series of grisly murders resembling the work of a dead serial killer. Kinderman’s investigation brings him face to face with the essence of true evil, and its origin. This terrifying supernatural thriller continues WildClaw theatre’s quest of bringing intelligent and imaginative horror to the Chicago stage.

Anne Adams, who recently directed the critical and commercial hit Scott Barsotti’s “The Revenants,” has once again assembled a remarkable production team for “Legion.”  Adapted by  WildClaw Artistic Director Charley Sherman, with set design by Nic Dimond, costume design by Allison Greaves, lighting design by Paul Foster, sound design by Mikhail Fiksel and Scott Tallarida, movement design by Karen Tarjan, and special blood effects by Fraser Coffeen.  
 
Tickets $10 - $20, with student discounts available.  For more information, please visit www.wildclawtheatre.com

 

If you live in the Chicago and revere THE EXORCIST, this is definitely worth checking out.

AUTOPSY OF THE DEAD Contest Winners

 

Autopsy of the Dead

Congratulations to our AUTOPSY OF THE DEAD Contest Winners!

 

RUNNER-UPS

Chris Cartusciello

Chad Milburn

will receive a DVD copy of AUTOPSY OF THE DEAD, as well as a promotional mini-poster

 

GRAND PRIZE WINNER

Darcy Barry

will receive a copy of AUTOPSY OF THE DEAD, a mini-poster, and signed 8x10s from people involved in NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.

Your prizes will be sent out this weekend.  Keep your eye on the mail in the coming days for your prizes.

 

January 21, 2010

Frank Darabont Working on Zombie TV Show (and No, It's Not Based on a Stephen King Story)

Frank Darabont is at work on a new horror project.  But that's not the real news, as Variety reports it.  Darbont has adapted his new zombie apocalypse series The Walking Dead from a graphic novel written by... Robert Kirkman.  And no, "Robert Kirkman" is not a pseudonym for Stephen King.

Darabont is most famous for his trifecta of adaptations of Stephen King's works, The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and "The Mist."  Yes, he's done work that hasn't been derived from King's works, but people tend to think that Darabont = King.  This perspective sells Darabont short, as he's a talented writer and director of his own accord.

And as the ending of his take on THE MIST proved, he's not afraid to pull punches and go to dark depths that more timid directors would shun.  That works perfectly for anyone helming a series based on zombies.

The Walking Dead will appear on AMC.  Take it from this zombie enthusiast:  despite the lack of King as the source work, Darabont's project is one worth anticipating.

Read Variety's full article here.

--Phil Fasso

January 19, 2010

Fox Pulls PREDATORS Pics from Fansite

Over the weekend, Mad Man Dan Price tipped me off to some on-set pics from the forthcoming PREDATORS.  Now before you get on me for not posting them, let me tell you that the quality of these shots was poor, and it was obvious that they were not taken by an official set photographer.  The pics showed up on an ALIENS VS. PREDATOR fansite, and if you want to see them, you can go check out our competitors' websites.

Out of curiosity, I went back to the AVP website today.

And the pics were gone.

In their place was a tidy little "Images removed at the request of 20th Century Fox."  This got me to thinking.  A little deductive reasoning suggests that once sites brought attention to these pics, Fox decided to protect its asset, and yanked the pics they should technically own the intellectual rights to.  In a society where the word "spoilers" has become a norm, Fox wouldn't want the movie to lose its momentum with fans because all the elements of surprise had been removed.  Case closed, right? 

Not quite.  When I take this one step further, it screams of hypocricy.  Studios frequently post a full synopsis for every movie they make, and those summaries often give away 85% of the movie.  Take into account, also, that at some point, Fox will likely send out official pics, so high powered sites such as Variety and The Hollywood Reporter will print them for millions of avid film goers, both in print and on the net.  Go on the IMDB, and you'll find the full cast of PREDATORS, if Variety hasn't told you about it already.

So why the secrecy?  If the old phrase "Any press is good press" still holds, why remove the pics?  Simple.  Because 20th Century Fox didn't post them itself.  Sure, it's fine if Fox spoils everthing in advance of its film.  But for fans to do so?  Clearly, Fox is throwing around its weight because it can.  If Fox had released these pics, I can guarantee they wouldn't have pulled them (and the quality sure would have been higher).

This leads to another set of questions:  Do fans have a right to those pics?  Would Fox have benefited from leaving the pictures up?  Or would they actually do harm to the potential opening weekend box office?  And if so, more so than Adrien Brody playing the Schwarzenegger role?

Food for thought.  Let us know what you think.

 --Phil Fasso

January 15, 2010

Drac Studios to Start Producing Movies

An interesting little article showed up in THR today.  SFX house Drac Studios is branching out into producing movies. 

The brain trust of president Harvey Lowry, Todd Tucker and Ron Halvas, and creative director Greg Cannom, who have worked on everything from BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA to THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, have opened Drac Studios Louisiana.

Rob Walker is to direct the studio's first feature, DEAD IN THE WATER, from a script by Si Dunn.

Read THR's full article here.

--Phil Fasso

January 14, 2010

'NIGHT FLYER''s Mark Pavia Returning To Directors Seat With 'SICK NICK'

Mark PaviaMark Pavia's 1997 adaptation of Stephen King's short story THE NIGHT FLYER, was certainly an underrated bright spot in otherwise undistinguished decade for the genre. When Icons of Fright caught up with Pavia in summer '06 he discussed a long-in-development script for called SICK NICK, a Christmas slasher, which at the time had caught the attention of Platinum Dunes.

Posted on Pavia's Facebook page today was link to Coll-Abbitt Productions, where it's been annouced that SICK NICK will soon go into production. This puts Pavia back in the directors chair for the first time since NIGHT FLYER.

The synopsis reads: 

'House-sitting for the President of the University over Christmas break, Cindy Hart and her college classmates gear up for a crazy night of holiday fun when a massive snowstorm traps them inside without power. Undeterred, they continue to party, unaware of the horror that is about to pay them a visit – a human monster dressed in a red and white suit hell-bent on delivering his terrifying gifts.'

To read more about Pavia, check out our Fright Exclusive Interview:

 Mark Pavia

DEXTER Star Hall Battling Cancer

Michael C. HallABC News is reporting that DEXTER star Michael C. Hall is in treatment for cancer.  Hall had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, which fortunately is treatable.

DEXTER just finished its fourth season with a stunner of a final episode.  Hall has played the title character in the popular series since its inception.  Let's keep him in our prayers and wish him a speedy recovery.

 Hall said through a spokesman, "I feel fortunate to have been diagnosed with an imminently treatable and curable condition, and I thank my doctors and nurses for their expertise and care."

Read ABC's full article here.

--Phil Fasso

Dark Sky Press Release for HATCHET 2

The folks at Dark Sky are releasing Adam Green's HATCHET 2 and were kind enough to pass off a press release for the sequel, which we kindly pass along to you:

 

Hatchet 2

 DARK SKY FILMS JOINS ARIESCOPE PICTURES TO PRODUCE THE MOST ANTICIPATED  HORROR FILM OF 2010,ADAM GREEN’S HATCHET 2

Director Adam Green Follows Up on His Breakout Horror Success

New York, NY (January 12, 2010) – Dark Sky Films, a subsidiary of leading independent producer and distributor MPI Media Group, today announced it has taken on the highly anticipated HATCHET 2, and will help transform  the property into a multi-release franchise. The movie, which has just begun shooting in LA, brings back Kane Hodder as the villainous Victor Crowley, who terrorized the bayou in 2007’s groundbreaking “Hatchet.” Joining Hodder in the cast are Danielle Harris (“Halloween “IV & V”), Tony Todd (“CANDY MAN”) and Tom Holland "CHILD’S PLAY”).

Dark Sky Films has partnered with ArieScope Pictures, the company behind “Hatchet” “Grace” and Green’s upcoming “Frozen,” which will premiere in this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Writer-director Adam Green says: “Victor Crowley has been in my head since I was a kid so, the first movie was really 20 years in the making and a love letter to the films I grew up watching. HATCHET 2 is a gift to the fans for their loyalty.”

ArieScope Pictures producer Cory Neal says: “Hatchet became a phenomenon and a success beyond anything we ever dreamed. So, when gearing up for the sequel we needed to do it right. We needed a company that understood and valued our goals and ambitions. Dark Sky recognizes how big this franchise will be and how far it can go.”

Adam Green added, “Once ‘Hatchet’ became a success, a lot of doors opened. We met with all sorts of companies, both on the studio and independent levels. For the most part, our projects have worked better outside of the studio system. Dark Sky Films was a company with not only experience, but the hunger, ambition and strategy we need to grow.”

Greg Newman, executive vice president Dark Sky Films says: “We are thrilled to be a part of the ‘Hatchet’ franchise. In Victor Crowley, Adam Green has developed an enduring character that will continue to wreak havoc for years to come. Green is among the most talented filmmakers working in the genre and most importantly, he listens to his audience and understands how to make films that surpass their very high expectations. HATCHET 2 will deliver the goods.”

Neal added: “We are thrilled with this marriage and are ecstatic about the opportunities that await. This partnership  with Dark Sky looks very promising because they aren’t just about playing it safe. You can see they aren’t afraid to embrace all aspects of the genre.”

Adds Dark Sky Film’s Newman, “From Ti West’s ‘The House of the Devil,’ to an ambitious slate of films currently in production with the great Larry Fessenden and his team at Glass Eye Pix, Dark Sky Films is committed to bringing the best independent horror films to fans worldwide.”

About Dark Sky Films

Dark Sky Films is dedicated to the discovery, preservation and production of classic and contemporary horror, sci-fi and cult films from around the world. Based in Chicago, Dark Sky Films is a wholly owned subsidiary of The  MPI Media Group - one of the largest independent entertainment companies producing and distributing a compelling slate of the world’s most respected cinema, documentaries, performances and television programs.

 

 About ArieScope Pictures:

ArieScope Pictures is a feature film and television production company based in Los Angeles. It was founded ten years ago on the philosophy that storytelling should be a group endeavor connecting and endearing both the filmmakers and their audience.

 # # #

January 13, 2010

Reitman to Direct GHOSTBUSTERS 3

Not really horror so much as comedy, but hey it involves ghosts.  MTV has revealed that Ivan Reitman will be returning to the director's chair for GHOSTBUSTERS 3.

On the red carpet for the National Board of Review, Reitman revealed that the script has been written by YEAR ONE's Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky.  Reitman refused to comment on the plot, or reply to speculation of Sigourney Weaver as to what the sequel's story might be.

There's been a lot of buzz around the GHOSTBUSTERS sequel for over a year now, boosted by the video game that came out.  Now that Reitman has revealed that he plans to begin filming this year for a 2011 release date, don't be surprised if the buzz picks up.

Read the full MTV blog here.

--Phil Fasso

January 12, 2010

DAYBREAKERS Has Decent Opening

Amidst the madness of AVATAR, the revisionist attitude of SHERLOCK HOLMES, and the childhood twist on the word "sequel" of ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS:  THE SQUEAKQUEL, DAYBREAKERS premiered at #4 at the U.S. Box Office.

Though it's not likely to pull down a hundred million dollars like the other three aforementioned flicks, for a horror movie released in January, this is a decent premiere.  As expectations for horror flicks are lower than they are for standard fare, even with the likes of Willem Dafoe and Dennis Quaid shouldn't have tainted expectations and skewered them much higher.  The film did almost as much business as SHERLOCK and ALVIN, without a character's name in the title, to boot.

Next week will be a better indicator of the film's success, and whether or not it has any legs.

--Phil Fasso

Cody Talks Zombies, and Why JENNIFER'S BODY Failed

Jennifer's BodyGive Diablo Cody this:  she's honest.  Rather than shying away from the failure of JENNIFER'S BODY, Cody addressed it in a discussion with iF Magazine.

Diablo thinks the marketing for the film was wrong, targeting males instead of teenage girls.  She sees hope for the movie on DVD, and hopes it meets its audience there.  She also claims that many people who hated it in theatres, but fell in love with it on DVD, have told her so on her Twitter.

She also discusses BREATHER'S:  A ZOMBIE'S LAMENT, a project writter not by her, but Geoff La Tulippe.  Her take on the living dead:  “It’s a zombie love story. Zombies are so hot now, but I like to think it’s about the personal side of being a zombie and being ostracized.”  Bringing a sensitive side to horror seems to be Cody's emphasis.

Cody will also adapt the script for the novel Sweet Valley High, a Young Adult novel popular in the 1980s.  She hasn't gotten high school girls out of her system yet.

Read the iF article here.

--Phil Fasso

Winchesters May Outlast the Apocalypse for 6th Season

 The WinchestersFans of SUPERNATURAL may be a little befuddled over this news.  According to Michael Ausiello over at EW, the show's creator Eric Kripke may be grasping the idea of a sixth season of the show.

Longtime fans of the Winchester boys' travails know that the show was originally designed to run for five seasons, and then end.  Every season so far has built upon the previous, so it's more like a mythology than just a spooky show.

This season is set to bring us right up to the end of days, the Apocalypse itself as Lucifer walks the earth and prepares to enslave humanity.  As devils and angels prepare for all-out war, Sam and Dean Winchester do their best to save humanity and each other.

The question is, how will Kripke top Armageddon itself?  Now that he's raised the stakes so high, can he really continue on?  And will fans be receptive to it?  Kripke may have backed himself into a corner here.

As an avid SUPERNATURAL fan, I eagerly await the rest of this season, as the show is in hiatus.  As for a sixth season, I'll wait and see.

Read Ausiello's brief article at EW here.

--Phil Fasso

January 05, 2010

THEATRE REPORT: THE TOXIC AVENGER MUSICAL

 

 

 

 

THEATRE REPORT:  A Hideously Deformed Monster Christmas Gift, or THE TOXIC AVENGER

X always buys me the best presents.  He’s the reason I have a TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE clock, with hook and chainsaw arms, the guy who gave me a Donkey Kong figure and a Mecha Godzilla all in one Christmas.  When he told me to keep December 30 open on my schedule, it was a mystery to me what we’d be doing, but no mystery that it would be something fun.  So when we turned the corner and I saw the small theatre on 50th Street in Manhattan, I was intrigued.  When I got close enough to read THE TOXIC AVENGER MUSICAL, I was jazzed.

 

I’m a longtime Troma fan, who understands that the studio’s movies aren’t exactly, ahem, well made, but they’re always a fun ride.  My favorite Troma film is CLASS OF NUKE EM HIGH, but as every Tromite does, I hold a special place in my heart for Toxie, the hideously deformed monster hero of Troma’s first splatter fest, THE TOXIC AVENGER.  A hardcore group of stage types felt the same way, and assembled their individual talents to produce THE TOXIC AVENGER MUSICAL.  The end result is exactly what it should have been, a fun experience that deviates much from the story of Troma’s flagship film, but carries the studio’s aesthetic to new places.

 

 From the moment I walked into the theatre (front row stage left, if I may brag), I was impressed.  On the small stage, there appeared to be hundreds of barrels of toxic waste.  Atop the barrels at center stage, the “White Guy” and “Black Guy appeared (did it matter that both of them were white?  This is Troma, after all!), singing lyrics that spoofed New Jersey.  This song was exemplary of the entire score; rocking music accompanied by lyrics with a wicked sense of humor.  Clearly, longtime Bon Jovi keyboardist captured the Troma essence to a tee.  Once the song ends, Melvin Ferd the Third appears, and promises to remove the toxic waste from his home state, which has been overrun by the stuff.  At this point, it became very clear to me that the play would not be a straight remake of the movie, but a retelling with all sorts of alterations from the source material.  Sure, some familiar elements appear:  Melvin;  Toxie’s blind girlfriend Sarah;  the social commentary on the environment.  But there’s a new take on them.

 

And that’s not a bad thing.  In fact, it’s enjoyable and refreshing.  By shedding the gym setting and much of the stuff that would have been hard to pull off on stage, playwright Joe DiPietro boldly takes things in different directions, challenging the audience with a new set of events where he could have gotten lazy and cribbed from Lloyd Kaufman’s film.  Subplots with the crazed female mayor and Toxie’s mom, as well as a whole slew of new characters that include a horny scientist and a Bruce Springsteen-like storyteller populate this new vision, and serve it well.  For Troma fans, this is like the New Testament of the Bible;  if Kaufman’s film is the Gospel of Matthew, than the play is the Gospel of Mark.  The only decision that I lament is that the play loses the tutu.  It’s an iconic part of the character, and the one piece that ties Melvin and Toxie together.

 

THE TOXIC AVENGER MUSICAL is also a love story, and this makes for my only complaint.  In the role of Sarah, American Idol’s Diana DeGarmo  comes across as a squeaky voiced, easily excitable girl who lacks the gravity of her male lead, the sizeable Nick Cordero, whose powerful voice and talent dwarf DeGarmo.  It’s a minor complaint, though, as her passable acting don’t undermine the rest of the cast.  Nancy Opel, as both corrupt mayor and kvetching mother (sometimes within the same scene!  okay, I’m abusing parentheses now), steals the show with sheer bombast and an edgy sex appeal.  The one complaint that X voiced, and others may share, is that Cordero plays both Toxie and Melvin, instead of dividing the role between separate actors, as the films always have.  This didn’t bother me personally, as the clothing and Cordero’s acting both sold Melvin as being much smaller than he is;  but I can see where some fans would take issue with this.

Toxie fans won’t take issue with the play, though.  Score, writing, stage craft and acting all converge to make for one very worthy addition to the Troma catalogue.  I haven’t had that much fun in a while, and I would gladly see it again.

See, I told you X always gets me the best presents.

--Phil Fasso

January 04, 2010

THING's Coming Together

Another day, another remake of a 1980s horror classic set to begin production.  Empire is reporting that the prequel to John Carpenter's 1982 classic THE THING will start filming in March, in Toronto.  It's to be directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr., off a script by Eric Heisserer and Ronald D. Moore.

That last paragraph suggests some problems.  First, the reason for filming in Toronto is to take advantage of Canadian tax laws, so I wouldn't be shocked if 3/4 of the cast star on CW shows or guest star on SUPERNATURAL.  Van Heijningen has directed a sum total of two movies in 14 years, one of which was a short.  Heisserer wrote the screenplay for the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET remake, so this could be another case of a guy who's happier to rescript other people's sacred cows than write his own stuff.  Moore is fresh off scripting BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, an incredibly popular show... that's also not based on an original idea.  Add these factors to what I've heard about the script itself.  From every plot synopsis I've heard, it's the same exact script as Carpenter's film, transplanted to the Norwegian camp.  If the "prequel" ends up combining the worst of these elements, it sounds like something no one will want to see.

Read the full article at Empire here.

--Phil Fasso

Pellington to Helm English Language ORPHANAGE

Another year, another English-language remake of a foreign horror movie.  According to Empire, Mark Pellington is set to direct the retelling of Guillermo del Toro's Spanish-language ORPHANAGE.

Pellington, who got his start directing music videos such as Pearl Jam's "Jeremy," graduated to making offbeat thrillers such as ARLINGTON ROAD and THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES.  Pellington is a stylist with a knack for offsetting visuals and pacing that may benefit the remake.  Couple this with Empire's claim that del Toro, a master storyteller, will be co-writing the English version, and this film should have some real potential.

Read Empire's full article here.

--Phil Fasso