Ouija Lands a Screenwriter – Hasbro’s plans to craft a new family-friendly fright flick based on the ever-popular Ouija Board looked dead not too long ago, but like the spirits the board supposedly allows users to communicate with, you just can’t seem to kill this project. The infamous planchette spelled out Marti Noxon’s name recently when asked if a writer had been selected to bring the board game to the big screen.
Noxon’s a solid choice, having cut her teeth on the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer and recently penning the remake of Fright Night. Clearly, the scribe has some horror chops, but she’s also good at mixing in some levity with all the frights – something Hasbro and Platinum Dunes are insisting upon with the feature. Sources report that the film still doesn’t have a studio home (Universal had the rights – along with the rights to several other Hasbro properties – but has since passed on the project), but Hasbro and PD envision a film in the same vein as The Mummy franchise, wherein a family has to deal with the supernatural forces unleashed by the board. No offense, but we’ll stick with Tawny Kitaen in Witchboard, thank you very much.
First Photos of Elijah Wood in the Maniac Remake – The idea of anyone remaking Bill Lustig’s cult classic slasher flick Maniac makes us a little nervous, but with Alexandre Aja onboard we’re taking a cautiously optimistic approach to this redux. After all, Aja did a great job with The Hills Have Eyes and Piranha 3D, so we suspect he’ll handle Lustig’s sleaze masterpiece with the level of respect horror fans feel it deserves. We’ll admit that we were also a little nervous and excited when it was announced that Elijah Wood would be the lead actor, taking over the part made famous by the late Joe Spinell.
How would Wood do in such an against type role, we wondered? We’re still waiting on the answers, but these new photos have us convinced that he’s definitely up to the task of playing a savage serial killer with mother issues. The first photos feature Wood in action, stabbing a hapless young female victim. Those worried that a Maniac remake might be a sanitized family friendly Hollywood horror flick can stop fretting now. It appears as though Aja and Wood mean business. We couldn’t be happier. Click the link for more photos.
Diablo Cody Talks The Evil Dead Remake – While most hardcore fans really want Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell to reunite and make Evil Dead 4, it seems Deadites will have to settle for Fede Alvarez’s remake of the original Evil Dead instead. The update of the horror classic is moving along in production (Sony has just signed on to distribute), and MTV recently caught up with screenwriter Diablo Cody, who discussed her work on the film. Fans have approached Cody’s involvement with a great deal of trepidation, worried that her work on the project will make the film hip, snarky, and modern. The writer assures Josh Horowitz that’s not what she’s done at all – and that she’s a fan of the original and tried to work in lots of references to the 1981 version for the hardcore fans. Cody insists she wasn’t brought in to increase the film’s modern pop culture credibility, but instead to focus on the characters and relationships. That sounds like a good thing, but we’re still pretty concerned about this whole project. Only time will tell if The Evil Dead will satisfy fans or not, but we’re hoping for the best. Check out the clip for more of Cody's thoughts on the remake.
Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton are Vampires in Neil Jordan’s Latest – It feels like it’s been forever since Neil Jordan made a dark and spooky film, but that’s about to change as the director preps Byzantium for release presumably late next year. Hannah star Saoirse Ronan will appear alongside Gemma Arterton as a mother-daughter vampire tandem. The film is scheduled to wrap sometime in February, and is based on a script from Jane Eyre scribe Moira Buffini. The film marks Jordan’s first vampire flick since helming the big screen adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire back in 1994.
One of horror cinema’s most enduring story templates finds a group of city dwellers stranded out in the wilderness, where they often run afoul of some vicious backwoods folks who want nothing more than to kill them. The plot’s been used so many times that it’s basically become a cliché. Director Eli Craig understood this – and thought to himself “what would happen if we took this stereotype, flipped it on its ear, and made it funny in the process?” The result is Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil – an entertaining and clever deconstruction of one of the genre’s most archetypal tales.
Good ol’ boys Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) head into the woods to spend a weekend fixing up their new “vacation home” (a rather rundown shack in the middle of nowhere). On their way to their new dream house, they encounter some college kids heading out for a weekend of partying in the wilderness. Dale immediately becomes smitten with Allison (Katrina Bowden), and with Tucker’s encouragement, tries to strike up a conversation with her. Unfortunately, Dale approaches the group carrying a scythe, and his nervousness makes him come off as a little creepy. The college kids, having seen their fair share of horror films, immediately start to worry that Tucker and Dale are hillbilly serial killers.
Lighthearted and gory good fun, Tucker and Dale is a really inventive idea. The plot isn’t particularly groundbreaking, although turning a genre convention on its ear is a nice touch, but the characters are uniformly excellent. Tudyk and Labine have great chemistry and excellent comedic timing. They’re a bit of a cinematic odd couple, with Tucker being the smarter and sarcastic half of the team when compared to Dale’s naïve and shy personality, but the two feed off of each other in a really humorous way. It’s not a perfect film (the narrative loses steam in the last act), but it’s definitely worth checking out for fans who like a few laughs to go along with their gore. Grab a copy of the newly released DVD or Blu-ray to brighten (and bloody) up your December.
Horror on the Horizon
With Christmas right around the corner, most studios and television stations aren’t looking to launch scary films at this time of year. However, A&E is set to debut Bag of Bones, another miniseries based on a novel by Stephen King. Directed by Mick Garris (who’s collaborated with King on a number of adaptations over the years), this ghostly tale focuses on a writer (Pierce Brosnan) who encounters the supernatural at his lakeside retreat, where he's gone to mourn his wife’s passing. Brosnan stars alongside Melissa George and Annabeth Gish in the production, which airs on Sunday, December 12th and concludes on Monday the 13th. Have a peek at the trailer and behind the scenes featurette for Bag of Bones below.