It may be hard to believe, what with all the killer Santas running around Blumhouse.com lately, but even horror lovers sometimes take Christmas off. And so do their publicists, apparently, because the week preceding December 25, 2015 has been a barren wasteland, devoid of major horror news.
But don’t worry, we scoured the internet like nobody’s business to bring you the most interesting new developments from film, television, natural science and the world of novelty candles. Enjoy our somewhat-shorter-than-usual Horror News Rundown of the Week!
Rob Zombie Can’t Get an R Rating
Rob Zombie’s latest depiction of Halloween as an ultraviolent freak show, 31, is getting ready to premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where ratings rarely exist and basically don’t matter. But in the real world, where the largest movie theater chains in the country refuse to screen movies rated NC-17 (which forbids anyone under the age of 18 from seeing them, even when accompanied by an adult), he’s got a problem: the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has slapped 31 with an NC-17 rating. Twice.
“Well, after two tries through the MPAA our rating on 31 remains NC-17,” Rob Zombie wrote on his official Facebook account. “Maybe three is the charm to get an R rating. Why R you ask? Well, because your local theater will not show an NC-17. Even though you are a fucking adult… things much [sic] be censored for your enjoyment.”
Rob Zombie isn’t the first horror filmmaker to run into troubles with the MPAA. Wes Craven, Stuart Gordon and many more of your favorite filmmakers have been forced to cut their classic films down to an R-rating to ensure a theatrical release. Fortunately, no matter what happens to 31 in theater, horror fans are pretty much guaranteed to see Zombie’s original cut on home video someday, a medium about which the MPAA apparently doesn’t care.
David Fincher’s Serial Killer Series Coming to Netflix
Oscar-nominated filmmaker, David Fincher, is officially returning to the serial killer genre, after directing the grim 1995 classic SE7EN and the 2007 drama ZODIAC (which remains, arguably, his best film). His latest foray into homicidal madness will be a TV series adaptation of the 1996 non-fiction book MIND HUNTER: INSIDE THE FBI’S ELITE SERIAL CRIME UNIT, written by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker.
Douglas is a former special agent for the FBI, who spent years interviewing serial killers to develop more effective profiling techniques for the Bureau. Douglas has already served as the basis of classic horror stories before, including Jack Crawford and Will Graham, two of the main characters in Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lecter series.
David Fincher and Charlize Theron (who won an Oscar for playing serial killer Aileen Wuornos) will executive produce the adaptation, MINDHUNTER, for Netflix. According to Deadline, playwright and screenwriter Joe Penhall (THE ROAD) will handle the scripting duties, and David Fincher is expected to direct. Whether he will direct the whole series or just the pilot episode remains to be seen.
MINDHUNTER has been in development for years, and only arrived at Netflix’s doorstep after HBO passed on the project. No release date is currently set.
A Cult Classic Finally HeadSSSSSSS to Blu-ray
Ophidiophobics beware: Bernard L. Kowalski’s cult classic SSSSSSS is finally coming to Blu-ray in the summer of 2016, courtesy of Shout Factory (source: High-Def Digest).
The amusingly titled sci-fi horror movie stars Strother Martin (THE WILD BUNCH) as a mad scientist who transforms his assistants into half-man, half-snake hybrids in an attempt to prepare the human race for the (apparently) inevitable apocalypse. Dirk Benedict (THE A-TEAM) plays his victim, who begins to transform into a Black Mamba.
SSSSSSS is famous for using real venomous snakes that were not de-fanged for the production. The 1973 production was originally released on a double bill with THE BOY WHO CRIED WEREWOLF, and was one of the last double bills ever released by Universal Pictures.
Shout Factory has a history of releasing high-quality restorations of cult movie classics, and their Blu-rays are usually loaded with special features, but no further details about the upcoming release have been reported.
SyFy’s Next Original Movie Monster Discovered?
In an unexpected development that probably made low-budget SyFy Channel movie producers wet themselves, a strange new breed of shark has just been discovered off the coast of California. The black shark, which also glows in the dark, has been given the Latin name Etmopterus benchleyi (named after Jaws writer Peter Benchley), but will forever be known to the rest of us as Ninja Lanternshark.
The badass moniker was bestowed upon the new species by four young cousins of researcher Vicky Vásquez, who dialed it down a notch after their first pitch, “Super Ninja Shark,” presumably because it sounded too much like a POWER RANGERS villain.
The ninja lanternshark is only 18 inches long, but we thoroughly expect that the intrepid filmmakers at the SyFy will one day come up with a damned good reason for it to grow up to 50 feet long. It’s only a matter of time.
“Puft” Piece of the Week: Light Your Own Marshmallow Man on Fire
One of the weirdest horror icons in history — the 100 ft. tall Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from GHOSTBUSTERS — met his unfortunate end when Ray, Winston, Egon and Venkman crossed those fatal streams and melted him, way back in 1984. Now you can mourn Mr. Stay Puft’s untimely demise by lighting him on fire all over again, courtesy of firebox.com, which has just released a marshmallow-scented candle in the shape of the GHOSTBUSTERS villain. At seven inches, this candle is not to scale (even though that would be awesome), but it could be the perfect way to offset the smell from your collection of spores, molds and fungus.