Guillermo del Toro reveals Crimson Peak plot details – Guillermo del Toro is arguably the busiest man in horror cinema. The filmmaker has seemingly dozens of projects on his docket – some that he’s producing, some directing – and yet he keeps adding more.
Currently, he’s prepping his giant-monsters-versus-giant-mechs film Pacific Rim for its debut this summer, but he’s already working on his next projects – a sequel and a new horror film entitled Crimson Peak. The filmmaker offered up this description for the latter:
"It’s the turn of the century. So it’s at the turn of the century and half of the movie takes place in America, and the other half takes place in a crumbling mansion in Cumbria, and basically it’s a ghost story and gothic romance, trying to subvert the rules of the usual gothic romance. It’s very much... the first half is a love story, then that love story turns darker. And it’s at the same time a ghost story. I’m working at this moment with Lucinda Clarkson who is a really great playwright from the U.K. She has the proper degree of perversity and intelligence to turn it into something interesting to watch. It’s sort of a very compelling version of the classic gothic romance, where you have the spookiness and the windswept landscape that dooms the characters, you know?"
Scream Factory Reveals New Horror Blu-ray lineup – Shout Factory’s horror imprint Scream Factory has only been around for a few short months – but what a few months those have been for horror fans. The company is just killing it with releases – reminding us of the early days of Anchor Bay.
It is not done yet, either – the company has just announced five new titles that will be getting the high-def Blu-ray treatment: Deadly Blessing, The Nest, Prison, Terrorvision and The Video Dead. We’re actually pretty excited about all of those, particularly Deadly Blessing (which is an early Wes Craven effort with Ernest Borgnine in the cast) and Terrorvision. The latter will be part of a two-movie set, sharing space with the similarly themed The Video Dead.
All of these films will come packed with extras (a Scream Factory tradition at this point) and will be available this year.
When you think of found-footage horror films, the first thing that often springs to mind is that they’re low-budget productions made by filmmakers looking to break into the business. Sure, Cloverfield had J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves involved, but that was an exception. Myrick and Sanchez were unknowns when they made The Blair Witch Project – and the films that have come in that movie’s wake have often been made by directors we weren’t familiar with and who didn’t have a huge body of work.
This is part of what makes The Bay so interesting to me as a critic and fan – the title, which didn’t have a huge budget, was directed by Hollywood veteran Barry Levinson. Levinson doesn’t have a horror film pedigree (he made Rain Man and Good Morning, Vietnam), but he should certainly consider making more genre movies after this effort.
Claridge, Maryland is gearing up for their big Fourth of July celebration, but unbeknownst to everyone, there’s a killer lurking in the water. It’s not a great white shark – it’s a mutated isopod created through pollution running into the town’s bay – and when it gets inside you, it’s coming out like the Xenomorph in Alien. With a record number of people in the water, Claridge soon becomes a hot zone – with a local doctor and the CDC trying to figure out what’s happening and a local wannabe reporter (Kristen Connolly) recording everything the authorities never wanted you to see…
Levinson’s film is a slick mixture of found footage and mockumentary stylings, integrating not only the reporter’s footage, but Skype calls, cell phone camera, and even traffic light recordings to help tell the tale of a town being overrun by a force it doesn’t even comprehend. It’s an eco chiller that feels surprisingly real and totally plausible – which works in the feature’s favor as it allows the audience to more willingly suspend its disbelief.
For a filmmaker who’s never worked in the genre prior to this, Levinson does an admirable job of building the tension throughout The Bay. The director gives us characters who are more well developed than you’d find in a traditional found-footage flick, but he also delivers when it comes to the scares and the gore. Some of the FX work is quite impressive – and suitably icky. And basing the whole thing around water? Brilliant. I was afraid to even drink for days.
While it’s become easy to bag on found-footage films these days – and with good reason, since many of them aren’t particularly good – The Bay demonstrates that this narrative gimmick is still viable in the hands of an experienced filmmaker. Levinson’s latest doesn’t do anything new with the format, but it takes the tropes and polishes them until they gleam. Because of that, The Bay was one of the more interesting genre films to emerge last year. Hopefully it finds an appreciative audience when it makes its DVD and Blu-ray debut in March.
Horror on the Horizon
February closes with one final horror release in theaters – albeit a limited release – with the arrival of the extraterrestrial-based fright fest Dark Skies. We hope this is more like Fire in the Sky than The Fourth Kind.
March keeps the horror train rolling with the release of The Last Exorcism Part 2 (insert your own joke about the title here…). The trailers for this one haven’t looked all that great – and we’d be more onboard if Cotton, the main character from the first film, had returned for the sequel.
Also in limited release on March 1 is Stoker -- the highly anticipated new film from Park Chan-wook – and The Frankenstein Theory, which presumes that Mary Shelley’s story wasn’t entirely fiction.
Horror on Home Video
There’s no shortage of horror hitting the DVD and Blu-ray market on February 26, but unless you like low-budget under-the-radar stuff, the pickings are slim. Silent Hill: Revelations 3D on Blu-ray 3D is the only truly notable title hitting shelves that week.
The week of March 5 is much more impressive. Fans can finally see Barry Levinson’s The Bay, cult-classic robots-run-amok flick Westworld turns up on Blu-ray, Grave Encounters 2 tries to follow in the footsteps of the first film, and Freddy goes Blu with the Nightmare on Elm Street Collection box set (previously a Best Buy exclusive).
Follow along on Twitter @Horrorgeek and @Moviesdotcom.