First Image from Creepy Clown Flick Stitches Emerges – If you’re afraid of killer clowns, we’ll understand you skipping this story, which showcases the first look at Stitches, the antagonist of the upcoming Conor McMahon film of the same name. It’s more of a teaser than a full-on reveal, but you can certainly see the wild clown hair and creepy white gloves in this silhouette shot.
The film revolves around Stitches, a regular party clown who dies thanks to a party mishap caused by some unruly children. The clown comes back from the grave to get his revenge when the kids (now teenagers) wind up at a party. Sounds like it could be a good time, given that we like clown movies and McMahon’s Dead Meat was a surprisingly entertaining low budget zombie romp. Get your first look at the still above.
[Rec] 3: Genesis Trailer Looks Awesome – Paco Plaza and Jaume Balaguero’s [Rec] series helped put Spanish horror back on the map (while inspiring an American remake and sequel to their work at the same time), but the dynamic duo decided they’d each fly solo for the last two films in the franchise. Earlier this week, we got our first look at Plaza’s feature, [Rec]3: Genesis, and we’re really excited to see it after watching this trailer.
Billed as a prequel to the previous films, Genesis drops the found footage motif and explores how the demonic virus spreads through a wedding. We're excited to finally move beyond the apartment building featured in the first two films and hope that this new setting will bring even more gory excitement to the series. Have a gander at the trailer and be sure to let us know what you think. Looks like Plaza’s set the bar pretty high with Genesis – will Balaguero’s film be able to keep up?
Netflix and Eli Roth Head to Hemlock Grove – As Netflix continues to attempt to regain its financial footing in the wake of a disastrous 2011, the company is hoping that creating original content will help fill the void left in the wake of expiring streaming deals. To that end, Netflix is teaming up with none other than Eli Roth to create an original series entitled Hemlock Grove. The Hostel director will produce the series, which is based on an upcoming novel by Brian McGreevy. In it, a small town murder leads to a multitude of suspects – from rich aristocrat kids to gypsy teens who claim to be werewolves – but as the heroes of the tale work to unravel the mystery, they learn something much bigger and far more malevolent is at work. There’s no word yet on when Hemlock Grove will debut, but we’ll keep you posted.
IFC Unveils New Trailer for Kill List – Director Ben Wheatley’s sophomore feature, Kill List, earned rave reviews after appearing at several festivals earlier this year. With the film due on VOD this January (a precursor to a limited theatrical bow in February), IFC has decided there’s no time like the present to unveil a new full-length trailer for the movie. After watching it, we’re even more excited to finally see Kill List than we were after reading the positive reactions of SXSW attendees.
The story follows an ex-soldier turned hitman whose last job left him scarred physically and emotionally. When he takes on a new gig, the old wounds re-open as the contract takes him to some very disturbing and unpleasant places. The plot synopsis seems purposely vague, but the trailer certainly offers up some spooky images that should have horror fans excited to check Kill List out once we get past the holidays. Check out the trailer below.
Director Jon Knautz first blipped onto the radar of horror fans with his 2008 release, Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer. That feature was a fun and clever mixture of humor and horror about a plumber destined to save the world from monsters – while dealing with his anger management issues. The film has become a cult hit (and earned a spot on my Best Horror of 2008 list), so when Knautz announced he was working on a new project, we all assumed it would be a sequel – or at the very least, another film in the Jack Brooks vein.
Turns out that wasn’t the case at all. While Knautz has promised fans a Jack Brooks follow up, his sophomore effort is a marked departure from his debut. The Shrine eschews the humorous horror of Jack Brooks in favor of a more straightforward genre offering. This could be seen as a risky move, but after a rough start The Shrine settles in and proves that Jack Brooks wasn’t a fluke.
When reporter Carmen (Cindy Sampson) gets wind of a story involving a missing backpacker in a Polish town, she grabs her boyfriend (Aaron Ashmore) and assistant (Meghan Heffern) and heads across the globe to investigate (without her editor’s approval). Upon arriving at the quaint village, she learns that the locals aren’t friendly, that the woods behind the village are shrouded in an unnatural fog, and that there’s a really freaky looking statue hidden in the wilderness. You don’t have to be Woodward and Bernstein to figure out that this is all somehow tied to the backpacker’s disappearance – but just when you think you’ve got The Shrine pigeonholed and figured out, it throws a few genuinely good twists into the mix.
While the first act of the film is a bit of a drag, Knautz hits his stride as the story progresses, managing to keep the tension level and creep factor high while not resorting to the kind of over-the-top gore the audience expected when they (wrongfully) assumed this was going to be a torture porn flick. The Shrine does have some squirm-worthy moments, but Knautz and his team have decided to use them judiciously so that the impact is more powerful. It’s the right call, as the real power of the film comes from the creepy feeling of dread that shines through in every frame of The Shrine once it hits Poland. Even bright aerial shots of sunny fields have an air of menace running just beneath the surface.
Despite the weak opening act and some less than likable lead characters, The Shrine manages overcome these potential pitfalls and becomes an entertaining indie horror romp. The real positives of the experience occur late and can’t be discussed because they’re spoilers, but believe me when I say the film does get better as it moves along. I prefer Jack Brooks overall, but Knautz has not only demonstrated that he has a knack for straight horror as well as the comedic kind, but he’s also avoided the dreaded sophmore slump. The Shrine is not a perfect film, but it’s good enough to recommend to anyone looking for a spooky low budget chiller with some surprising twists in the narrative.
Horror on the Horizon
With Christmas right around the corner, there’s not much horror on the imminent horizon – unless you count the various ghosts of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol as horror. Fear not, though – January has become a pretty scary month in recent years, with studios releasing genre offerings in the latter half of the month to decent box office numbers. Hopefully we’ll have some creepy films to look forward to after the holidays wind down and 2011 makes way for 2012…