The past, present and future of the horror genre seem to be in a state of constant collision, as our collective influences and aspirations inspire us to make exciting creative decisions today. In this week’s Horror News Rundown, we’re taking a look at how a classic TV series is being transformed into a futuristic medium, how a prequel to an iconic horror thriller is preventing the franchise from moving forward, and how nostalgia for an era obsessed with remakes could lead to several years of franchise saturation.
Read on… READ FOR YOUR LIVES!
TWILIGHT ZONE, Meet BIOSHOCK
Rod Serling’s iconic television series THE TWILIGHT ZONE brought sci-fi, horror and clever twist endings into the home for five years, between 1959 and 1964. Since then the brilliant and shocking series has become synonymous with the strange and unusual, and experienced several rebirths over the years as TV reboots, comic books and more.
But THE TWILIGHT ZONE is about to enter another dimension: an interactive dimension that blurs the line between TV and gaming. It sounds like a novelty at best, a terrible idea at worst, until you realize that our host this time is Ken Levine, one of the key creative forces behind the masterful video games BIOSHOCK and BIOSHOCK INFINITE. Games which, like Rod Serling’s series, used the fantastic as a metaphor for uncomfortable truths, and which boasted a few shocking twists of their own.
In an interview with Wired, Levine described the ambition of this TWILIGHT ZONE reboot’s interactive content. “Interactivity is a spectrum, it’s not binary,” Levine says. “I think of it as the viewer’s angle in the chair. When you watch something, you’re sitting back in the chair. When you’re gaming, you’re leaning forward in the chair. This is an interesting place in between … your brain is forward in the chair.”
Don’t lean forward too far just yet. Levine says the deal is still in its early stages. “We’ve done a rough outline of what we want to do,” he explains, “and now we’re stepping into the writing process, figuring out how to leverage the interactive element to make a narrative tale feel more personal for the viewer, and make them more engaged.”
Time will only tell whether this experiment is successful, but if Ken Levine can come up with an engrossing interactive experience and bring THE TWILIGHT ZONE, and narrative storytelling, into a brand new era… that would be a pretty cool way to serve man.
Sigourney Weaver Thinks ALIEN 5 is Still Happening
Neill Blomkamp is the filmmaker who keeps almost happening. After blowing the world away with his Oscar-nominated sci-fi thriller DISTRICT 9, he’s given us two ambitious films that were supposed to be the next big thing… then weren’t. ELYSIUM underperformed, and CHAPPIE was a disappointment as well, which many people believed was the reason that Blomkamp’s most exciting project – ALIEN 5, a continuation of the original series that would ignore ALIEN 3 and ALIEN: RESURRECTION – was now dead as a doornail.
But hope is not lost. According to ALIEN star Sigourney Weaver, the reasons for ALIEN 5’s delay might not be as bad as they sounded. Weaver recently made an appearance at VMWare and she was asked about the state of the project, and she was very open about she knows…
“Ridley [Scott] asked Neill NOT to make our ALIEN til after PROMETHEUS 2. He [Ridley] wanted his movie to shoot and be released first. But it’s an AMAZING script, and Neill and I are REALLY excited about doing it. We’re doing other things until we can get going on that. I’d be really surprised if we DIDN’T do it, because it’s such a great script, and we love working together. So, it’s just going to take a little bit longer to get out to you, but it’ll be worth the wait.” (via Aggressive Comix)
While there’s no reason to assume Sigourney Weaver doesn’t have the facts here, she’s also making predictions about the future and sometimes fate has other plans. But if the delay of ALIEN 5 really is a gentleman’s agreement and not a vote of “no confidence” in a filmmaker who’s directed a couple of duds lately, that’s good news, because Blomkamp clearly has the sort of storytelling vision that once defined every entry in the ALIEN franchise.
ALIEN: COVENANT comes out on August 7, 2017… so if Sigourney Weaver is right, we still have a long, long wait on our hands for ALIEN 5.
YOGA HOSERS Just Got Hosed by the MPAA
Kevin Smith is no stranger to the Motion Picture Association of America, who have often had problems with his foul-mouthed comedies in the past. But his latest horror-comedy, YOGA HOSERS, was supposed to be different. The tale of two high schoolers who do battle with Nazi bratwursts was designed to be a PG-13 movie from the outset. But the MPAA had other ideas. They’ve slapped YOGA HOSERS with an “R.”
Smith, who previously directed the R-rated horror movies RED STATE and TUSK, took to Instagram to report the news:
“The #MPAA gave my kids movie @YogaHosers an R rating for a cartoony drawing of testicles on a book cover,” Smith wrote. “So now, for the 4th time in my 22 year career, we will hold an appeals screening with the Motion Picture Association of America’s ratings board and try to get the R overturned for a less severe (and far more appropriate) PG-13.”
Kevin Smith went on to list the number of occasions he appealed to the MPAA, successfully, before continuing…
“I don’t mind doing this dance with the MPAA a fourth time (hey – at least they even OFFER an appeals screening) but this #YogaHosers R rating is riDONKulous. The core audience for the flick is tween girls (it’s Clueless meets Gremlins!), so I refrained from salty language to make a totally kid-friendly movie. And while it’s a “horror” movie, there’s no blood on display: when our Bratzi bad guys get killed, concentrated sauerkraut explodes everywhere – not guts or entrails. Honestly, this movie is TAME (or “lame” according to some reviews).”
Ever the fighter, Kevin Smith then vowed to win “#TheBattleForTheBalls” before touring with YOGA HOSERS this summer. (For what it’s worth, I liked the movie.)
INSIDIOUS: THE NEXT CHAPTER Will Continue the World’s Longest Book
Have you ever noticed that every chapter in the INSIDIOUS series has been long enough to fill an entire novel? That’s a long-ass book, and it looks like it’s about to continue with INSIDIOUS: THE NEXT CHAPTER.
We missed this story last week (because it’s so insidious), but Sony Pictures announced INSIDIOUS: THE NEXT CHAPTER at CinemaCon (via Coming Soon), along with a lot of other films that seemed a little bit more important at the time, like the baffling 21 JUMP STREET / MEN IN BLACK crossover and SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING.
We know absolutely nothing about INSIDIOUS: THE NEXT CHAPTER, except that for some reason Sony thinks “The Next Chapter” is a better subtitle than “Chapter 4,” which would literally be the next chapter. (Although CHAPTER 3 was technically a prologue, so for all we know this next movie will just be an appendix or something.)
Leigh Whannell, who co-created INSIDIOUS and co-stars as the paranormal investigator “Specs,” has been involved with every movie in the series so far. We still don’t know much about the events that transpired between CHAPTER 3 and CHAPTER 1 (sigh…) and we still don’t know exactly what the psychic specter Elise saw that scared her half to life at the end of CHAPTER 2.
So there’s plenty of material to mine in future installments, whatever they may be called. Maybe they’ll even do an INSIDIOUS movie about a cursed table that imprisons lots and lots and ghosts, called INSIDIOUS: TABLE OF CONTENTS.
RINGS… Every Year… For the Rest of Your Life
Another CinemaCon story that slipped through the cracks: RINGS, the continuation of the hit J-Horror remake that spawned a brief but all-consuming trend in Hollywood, when no scary movie from Asia was safe from the greedy hands of absolute westernization (see also: THE GRUDGE, THE EYE, MIRRORS, THE UNINVITED, DARK WATER, ONE MISSED CALL, PULSE, etc.)
RINGS, itself, isn’t news. In fact, it was supposed to come out last November. But this ongoing saga of a dead little girl who advocates for movie piracy got pushed back to the Halloween season. Paramount Vice Chairman Rob Moore recently told CinemaCon attendees that, if RINGS is successful, the studio intends to make it a perennial Halloween horror release (via MovieWeb).
Meaning, if enough people go see RINGS, Paramount will produce a new movie in the RINGS series every single year until they start losing money. It’s been a while since a studio has tried this marketing tactic, but then again it’s also been a while since any studio has had a horror franchise as popular as SAW or PARANORMAL ACTIVITY.
Whether or not RINGS is that franchise, we’ll find out when it premieres on October 28, 2017.
THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI Gets Cleaned Up
One of the greatest horror movies ever produced is finally getting the 4K restoration it deserves. THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI, Robert Wiene’s nightmarish silent film about an evil showman and his hypnotized henchman, came out in 1920 and helped solidify the German Expressionist movement that would have an indelible influence on the horror genre to this very day.
The Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation (named after another iconic horror filmmaker, who gave the world the classic NOSFERATU) has cleaned up THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI with the help of Kino Lorber. A home video release has not yet been announced, but the Kino Lorber connection makes it seem like an inevitability, especially with the film’s 100th anniversary on the horizon.