David Yates Explains Why He's Not Making The Stand - The big sci-fi news this week involved an announcement that David Yates was developing a feature version of Dr. Who. However, horror fans have been wondering what happened with Yates’ previously announced project – a large scale adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand. Yates and Harry Potter screenwriter David Kloves were set to tackle the project, but then it was announced that Ben Affleck was in the running to direct. Yates has finally explained what happened with The Stand, saying that he and Kloves left because neither felt the project was right for them. “My issues though were about the adaptation. I wanted to work with Steve Kloves, Steve Kloves wanted to work with me, we were both committed to doing it, but in that time it took to let go of Potter and to think about how we would tackle the adaptation, we both decided that it wasn’t for us, so we left it. We sort of withdrew basically.” We respect them for not doing a half-hearted adaptation, but it’s still disappointing news.
I, Frankenstein Finds a Villain - Actor Bill Nighy will join Aaron Eckhart in the upcoming Screen Gems horror film I, Frankenstein. Nighy, best known to genre fans for his work in the Underworld series, will play a demon prince in the film, which is based on a graphic novel by Keven Grevioux. Eckhart will play the Monster, named Adam Frankenstein, and he’s tasked with saving the world from a supernatural invasion. Nighy’s character wants to study Adam to see how he was created so he can use that knowledge to make his own demonic undead army to take over the world. Stuart Beattie is set to direct.
Sand Shark Trailer Debuts - The biggest complaint leveled against killer shark movies is that they’re all basically copies of Jaws (which is invariably followed by the complaint that none of them are as good as Spielberg’s masterpiece), but perhaps all of that will change with the debut of Sand Sharks. The creature feature, which stars Corin Nemec and Brooke Hogan (Hogan plays a shark scientist, if you can believe that…) takes the toothy predators out of the water and brings them to a beach near you. As the trailer explains, a prehistoric brand of Tiger Shark has learned to swim through sand like it’s water – which is bad news for the thousands of college kids in town for an annual festival. There’s no release date set for this sure to be classic yet, but keep your eyes peeled and stay out of the… sand. Or something.
Dick Smith Claims More Oscar Gold - If you love horror movies, then you don’t need me to tell you who Dick Smith is. The guy’s a legend – one of the most influential special effects artists of all time. At long last, the Academy has recognized what horror fans already knew –Smith is one of the best of the best, and this business wouldn’t have been the same without him. As such, the make-up wizard received an honorary Oscar (to go along with his shared Best Make-up win for his work on Amadeus) over the weekend for his contributions to the industry. Luckily enough, the event was captured on video. Scroll down and watch this incredibly talented man (probably best known for his work on The Exorcist) collect a long overdue award.
Del Toro Interview Reveals Ron Perlman Joining Pacific Rim - More casting news for Guillermo Del Toro’s giant monsters vs. robots flick, Pacific Rim. Veteran actor Ron Perlman is now set to join the cast alongside Charlie Hunnam (it’s like a Sons of Anarchy episode!), Charlie Day, and Idris Elba. The director spilled the beans in a recent interview with Wired, where he also discussed his recently completed Strain novel trilogy, his thoughts on Twilight, and his in-development videogame Insane. Del Toro may be the hardest working man in horror right now – but given his level of talent and vision, we’re okay with that.
John Carpenter’s The Ward is the horror auteur’s first feature film in over a decade, so naturally fans were excited to see one of the original masters of terror back practicing his craft. Unfortunately, while The Ward has some things going for it, the overall experience is more in line with Carpenter’s lesser efforts than something like Halloween.
Amber Heard leads an ensemble cast of young woman who’ve been institutionalized for their bad behavior, but the evil Nurse Ratched wannabe and the electroshock room are the least of their worries. There’s a ghostly apparition stalking the halls and it’s determined to make the ladies pay for their past sins.
It’s hard to quantify exactly why The Ward doesn’t work. In some ways, it’s a film where the whole is somehow less than the sum of the parts. Carpenter’s direction is as stylish as ever (in a few instances, one gets the feeling he’s paying homage to friend and Italian horror icon Dario Argento with his shots), and the cast is surprisingly decent, but the story never quite works. The Ward is hampered by an uninspired ending that disappoint most viewers if only because it seems so obvious.
Still, new Carpenter is always worth at least checking out. The Ward is unlikely to vault to the top of anyone’s favorite list, but it’s nice to see Carpenter back in the saddle. Let’s hope it doesn’t take over ten years before he does it again.
Horror on the Horizon
November is often a dead zone for horror movies, since people tend to overdose on them in preparation for Halloween, and this year is no exception to the rule. With Thanksgiving looming, everything seems to shift toward potential award winning films and feel good holiday fare -- which precludes most horror flicks, unfortunately. Fear not, though -- there is some horror lurking in December -- and we'll be talking about those films in our next installment.