movies

WHAAAAAT? Premature reports of BEETLEJUICE 2 are false?!?

bj2

Still not happening. Cool art, though.

A few days ago, we were treated to another round of “news” that BEETLEJUICE 2 was “happening.” As I have commented before, people are quick to flog reports that the “ghost with the most” is absolutely returning to the big screen. Now, a rep for Burton has confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that a follow-up to BEETLEJUICE is not being actively pursued.

I’m hardly a film insider, but even I know that Burton and some of the cast saying they’d like to revisit the material is not the same thing as a film being prepped for production. I’m not even sure why so many people want this to be true. I love BEETLEJUICE; it was my introduction to Tim Burton and it still holds up. And while a sequel could be good… it might also not be, especially nearly 30 years after the original.

BEETLEJUICE 2: chances are good I will write a variation on this entry in another year or so.

THE WITCH Review

The WitchThe much-buzzed about movie THE WITCH went into wide release in the U.S. this weekend. I’ve been looking forward to this movie ever since it was announced that its director, Robert Eggers, was mounting a remake of NOSFERATU. The fact that a lot of horror fans got excited about this rather than sighing wearily had me intrigued; THE WITCH must be something special.

Now that I have seen it, I can verify that THE WITCH is a beautifully crafted film. The scene compositions are wonderful, the acting spot-on, and the lack of “potential franchise!” storytelling is refreshing. The subtitle “A New England Folktale” is apt as this movie captures the flavor of legends about the dark arts. If you ever wondered what WGN’s SALEM looked like with the glitz ripped off, THE WITCH is your movie.

With that said, this movie’s “scare factor” is being way oversold. Make no mistake — THE WITCH is absolutely a horror film. However, it relies on a feeling of unease rather than easy jump scares. The most frightening moments are, much like in Jack Clayton’s THE INNOCENTS, the presence of things that just shouldn’t be there.

What THE WITCH brings to the table is how well-made it is. I can see why people would be excited about Eggers remaking NOSFERATU. I can see how his skill set would translate perfectly to Graf Orlok and friends. I’d love to see Eggers tackle vampires the same way he handled witch lore here, but I wish he wouldn’t waste his time with another remake of NOSFERATU.

So there you have it: THE WITCH is highly recommended, but approach it with the right frame of reference.

VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN Review

Victor Frankenstein

I liked it. Granted, this is a lighter, more “pop” take on the material — it’s not a “real” horror movie — but a Victorian setting, monsters… I’m a pretty easy mark for this kind of material. I’m sure that some people are grousing about this movie’s lack of fidelity of Mary Shelley’s novel, but if that’s your position, do yourself a favor and don’t watch any Frankenstein movies. None of them are faithful.

The tone I picked up from the U.S. trailer proved to be pretty spot-on: imagine a cross between the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes flicks and later-period Hammer Gothic. I thought Daniel Radcliffe’s Igor and James McAvoy’s Victor had a likable, easy chemistry. I was actually pretty impressed with the monster once he showed up near the end, too. He’s massive and powerful, almost Hulk-like, but realized with better special effects. Plus they kept his visual appearance simple, rather than trying to graft on various contraptions a la the monster in Van Helsing.

I guess what it boils down to is, if you saw the trailers and thought it looked fun, you’ll like the full film. It will probably turn out to be the 2010’s answer to The Bride, but, as I’ve said before, I liked that movie, too.

My thoughts about “Crimson Peak”

Crimson Peak logo

I loved Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak, but it’s a deeply divisive movie among viewers. Unfortunately, it also had a terrible opening weekend, which means it’ll probably be a while before another Gothic historical film gets greenlit. Thank God for Penny Dreadful.

While I am not going to give away major plot specifics in Crimson Peak, please be advised that there are slight SPOILERS after the jump.
(more…)

NYC “Crimson Peak” contest!

Crimson Peak Contest

Dreadpunk.com is teaming up with The Goblin Market and The Steampunk World’s Fair to offer Tri State area fans a chance to enter an advanced screening for this season’s highly anticipated horror movie Crimson Peak by visionary director Guillermo del Toro releasing world-wide on October 15th, 2015!

To enter, log into Facebook and go to The Goblin Market. Between 09/28/2015 and 10/04/2015, participants will be eligible by sharing the image that Dreadpunk friend and cohort Aristotle Pramagioulis has created (reproduced above). But that’s not all! You’ll either have to supply a two sentence horror story or a brief description of a personal ghostly encounter, along with the tag #crimsonpeak.

We will be awarding 15 general admission tickets and the top 3 will be awarded VIP tickets. Winners will be selected and contacted via social media messenger on 10/5/2015.

Winners must be able to be present in New York City, NY on October 7th at 8PM at AMC Loew’s 34th St, 312 West 34th St, New York, NY 10001. Winners will receive an email with detailed pick up directions to redeem your tickets.

Winning general admission does NOT guarantee entry and it is encouraged you arrive early before the theater reaches capacity.

Tickets cannot be exchanged for other prizes, monetary value, etc. Some exclusions may apply.

Wes Craven, 1939 – 2015

Wes Craven

Director Wes Craven passed away on Sunday at the age of 76. Although his work falls outside the parameters of this blog, I wanted to take a moment and send my condolences to his family and friends.

Although his career in horror started with the grungy Last House on the Left, Craven’s work came to typify mainstream ’80’s and ’90’s horror. Some elitists may turn their noses up at the “mainstream,” but Craven’s films served as a gateway for a lot of budding horror fans — especially at a time when options were limited. The popularity of Craven’s creations — especially Freddy Krueger — made horror accessible to a large audience. I know, because I was one of those kids.

While I love his more storied films like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream, I’m also a fan of the cheesetastic Shocker. Shocker starred Mitch Pileggi in an early role as Horace Pinker, an electricity-themed serial killer who Craven hoped would rival Freddy Krueger. It fell short of its goal, but it’s an entertaining slice of late ’80’s horror. The soundtrack was an attempt at uniting the horror and heavy metal scenes; if you ever want to hear Mitch “FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner” Pileggi sing with Alice Cooper and rapping, seek it out.

I always got the impression that Craven was uncomfortable being pigeonholed as “a horror director,” but he always seemed to handle it with grace. He’s someone I always hoped to meet, but I’ll always have his cinematic legacy. Rest in peace.

“The Witch” trailer makes me believe the hype

For me, the tip-off that there was something special about The Witch was the positive reaction that greeted the news that its writer/director, Robert Eggers, was planning to tackle a remake of Nosferatu. Those kinds of announcements usually elicit grumbling, but this time, the online horror community was practically high-fiving each other. That was a stronger endorsement than any review of the film could be.

Now that I’ve seen the incredibly creepy trailer for The Witch, I can understand the hype. I know that trailers can be cut to make a film look like something it’s not, but at the very least it looks visually enticing.

And what the hell is up with that goat?

The film’s distributor, A24 Films, also released a poster which you can see after the jump.

(more…)