The Horror News
Darkness on the Edge of Town Becomes Official - I somehow missed when this news became official weeks ago, but Brian Keene's excellent novel Darkness on the Edge of Town has been outed as the next project Scott Derrickson and Christopher Robert Cargill will write after they finish their soon-to-be-filmed flick I've talked about a number of times already. Speaking of that film, we can finally have a title for it: Sinister. Sure, it's not the most complicated title ever conceived, but it works and fits with producer Jason Blum's single word horror titles (I hope he finds a third genre project so we can have an Insidious, Sinister, Ominous hat trick).
But back to Darkness on the Edge of Town. It's a cool, grim book about a town that is engulfed in a permanent darkness. This isn't just a case of the sun never rising again, however. The darkness has formed a perimeter around the entire town and crossing into that perimeter has some sinister consequences (see what I did there?). But the darkness on the edge of town isn't the biggest worry once many of its citizens find their minds poisoned by the insidious darkness that surrounds them (I did it again!). Ribbing aside, it's a memorable, unsettling story that would make for an equally memorable film. (I said as much months ago, so I'm just going to assume it was that article that made them want to adapt the project in the first place.)
Hellraiser: Barrel Scraping - So what's the criteria for getting to make a Hellraiser sequel these days? Are they just accepting fan films now, because judging from the trailer for Hellraiser Revelations, it sure looks like it. Also, I know Doug Bradley refused to do this film, but that doesn't mean they had to replace Pinhead with Pinhead's plump cousin, Needleface. You can see the fabric of his costume fluff up as he moves. I guess this Pinhead isn't into the whole painful blending of flesh and leather. That belly gotta breathe.
The Horror Reviews
Final Destination 5 hit last week to a critical reaction that was split right down the middle (it's currently at 51% on RT). Our own Scott Weinberg hated it, but I found it to be more disappointing than it was worthless. The opening disaster on the bridge is the best sequence in the series since part two's bombastic highway carnage and the follow up death in the gymnasium has that lovely ability to infuse menace into inanimate objects that the series hasn't really had a fetish for since the first film. For those two reasons alone, I can't dismiss the entire film (plus, they collectively represent about a third of its runtime), but I do wish that the middle portion wasn't so at odds with the fanbase.
It's queer that a film that ends with a grotesque montage cherishing the four films that came before it would pretend like its audience has never seen a Final Destination movie before and is new to this whole death-is-coming-for-ya plot. Let's talk FD5 spoilers for a minute:
I appreciate the film's twist that what we're watching is actually a prequel to the first film. It's an ambitious, refreshing way to bring the franchise back around on itself, but I actually don't find it nearly as inspired as many others appear to. I've seen a number of people applauding the film's commitment to maintaining its timeline, but not having actors use iPhones or drive Priuses is hardly a bold creative decision. Plus, the film's most squirm-inducing kill involves a bladeless IntraLASIK operation that wasn't even in clinical trials in 2000 yet alone available for walk-in surgeries off the street. It's hardly got an ironclad lockdown on the time period, and I'd have rather they stayed completely committed to making it a period film so the twist actually makes sense beyond a simple "Gotchya!" that's actually predictable if you haven't forgotten that A) they're going to Paris in the first film and B) they were on flight 180 (right before Nicholas D'Agosto tells Emma Bell he's finally decided to go to Paris, which they've been talking about all movie, the camera lingers on the sign of his restaurant, which reads 180 backwards).
And then there's Tony Todd's character, who I am now convinced is horror's greatest troll. In 2000's Final Destination, he tells a group of teenagers there's nothing they can do to beat death and that they just have to figure out the order and deal with it. In 2003's Final Destination 2, he tells them cheating death is as simple as creating life. No big deal. Then he spends another two films popping up just to mentally menace obnoxious characters by providing zero advice, only to bust out his experience once again in 2011's Final Destination 5. Of course, FD5 takes place right before the 2000 film, but he tells the group of doomed 20-somethings that he has 'seen this before' and that cheating death is as simple as killing someone else to balance the books.
It's actually this discontinuity that I find the most amusing aspect of the entire franchise. Oh, I'm sure it's just the unintentional side effect of having no clear plan for the character or franchise from the beginning, but instead of accepting the likelihood that this guy, and by extension the writers, has no idea what the f-ck he's talking about, I like to think that Todd's Coroner character really is death (he does emerge in the first film from an underground cave tunnel) and that he just enjoys messing with people because he thinks psychic kids are pricks.
The Horror Horizon
Fright Night 3D comes out tomorrow and I actually have a lot to say about the film, so much so that it'll be getting its very own weekend edition of The Last Horror Blog. I'll be talking spoilers, so I wanted to wait for the film to actually come out and people had a chance to see it before diving into why I don't think it should be so easily dismissed and why it's one of the most interesting and unique vampire films to come along in a while. So stay tuned for that to appear on the site in the next day or so.