The 13th Floor

THE STRAIN, WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS and THE MURDER OF STEPHEN KING – This Week’s Horror News Rundown

All things come to an end, and every ending is a new beginning. This week on The Horror News Rundown we’re taking a look at a television series that’s coming to a close, a novella that may never see the light of day, some exciting new films and television series, and the return of one of the scariest horror movies ever produced.

Let’s not waste any more time. Here’s the rundown…

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS Will Do It On TV

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Few contemporary horror comedies have built up as much acclaimed and devotion as WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, the bloody good mockumentary about immortal vampires struggling to adapt to the social and technology conventions of the 21st century. The film was co-written and co-directed by and starring Jemaine Clement (FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS) and Taika Waititi (THOR: RAGNAROK), who are already developing a sequel called WE’RE WOLVES, about the charming werewolves audiences met in the first film, but that’s not all. They’re also bringing WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS to television!

The spin-off series PARANORMAL EVENT RESPONSE UNIT (which for some reason spells out “PERU”) will air in 2016 on the New Zealand network TVNZ 2, and will follow two police officers in the world of WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS as they tackle supernatural events on their own reality show. Radio NZ reveals that PARANORMAL RESPONSE UNIT will focus on “Karen and Mike,” which means we will probably be seeing the return of the police officer characters played by Karen O’Leary and Mike Minogue in the original film.

As of this moment it’s unclear whether PARANORMAL EVENT RESPONSE UNIT will make its way to the United States but given the horror community’s interest in the franchise and the increasing popularity of the show’s creators, it’s probably bound to get here sooner or later.

After Season Four, THE STRAIN Will Strain No More

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The ambitious apocalyptic vampire drama THE STRAIN might not have taken the world by storm the way THE WALKING DEAD has, but it’s nevertheless developed a dedicated following on the FX network. But despite the show’s popularity, nothing lasts forever, and THE STRAIN will now officially end at the conclusion of Season 4, which is expected to air next year.

THE STRAIN was created by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, adapted from their series of novels, and executive produced by Carlton Cuse (BATES MOTEL), who explained that “Our original plan was for the series to last three years. Once we began telling that story it expanded to be more. After finishing the writing on season three, Guillermo, Chuck and I looked at our remaining story and felt the best version could be told in one more season. We have a fantastic plan for an exciting and climatic season four. We are deeply grateful to FX for supporting our vision and for allowing us to end the show on our own timetable.” (Source: Coming Soon)

THE STRAIN is still airing its third, penultimate season on FX. That gives you plenty of time to catch up!

WELCOME TO HITCHCOCK Brings The Master of Suspense to TV… Again

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Alfred Hitchcock is one of the most celebrated filmmakers in the history of the medium, having crafted such masterpieces as PSYCHO, THE BIRDS, STRANGERS ON A TRAIN and VERTIGO (to name only a few), but some younger audiences may not realize that for many years he was also a ubiquitous presence on television, hosting the hit series ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS for 360 episodes between 1955 and 1960. And now, he’s coming back… sort of.

Universal Cable Productions has teamed up with the Hitchcock Estate to develop a new anthology series called WELCOME TO HITCHCOCK, which will feature “a single season-long mystery or crime in the spirit of the classic Hitchcock style and legacy,” which seems to imply that the show won’t be adapting previously existing Alfred Hitchcock material, unlike the hit series BATES MOTEL, which was of course based on the influential horror thriller PSYCHO.

The series is expected to attract major talent, much like ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS once did. The pilot will be directed by Chris Columbus, the writer of GREMLINS and director of HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE. (Source: Coming Soon)

Jared Harris Will Tackle THE TERROR


Horror fans looking for the next big thing might be looking for THE TERROR, if AMC plays its cards right. The network behind THE WALKING DEAD and PREACHER is developing an ambitious new series based on the novel by Dan Simmons, about an expedition to the Arctic in 1847 that runs afoul of a monster.

THE TERROR is heading full-speed into production, with Ciaran Hinds (GAME OF THRONES) and Tobias Menzies (OUTLANDER) now cast in the series, and Jared Harris signing on to play the leading character, an Irish captain and the second-in-command of the expedition.

Jared Harris, whose previous forays into the horror genre include the indie vampire classic NADJA (where he famously screamed, “I’m getting a psychic fax!) and John Carpenter’s THE WARD, will be returning to a network that was very good to him in the past. The actor co-starred on the Emmy-winning series MAD MEN from 2009-2012, and earned an Emmy nomination in the process.

THE TERROR begins production this winter, and is expected to premiere in 2017.

THE MURDER OF STEPHEN KING Has Been Canceled

James Patterson, the author who created ALEX CROSS and WOMEN’S MURDER CLUB, has been promoting a new line of novellas called “Bookshots” (and not called, for some reason, “novellas,” which is what they are) and he recently announced a luridly titled new thriller called THE MURDER OF STEPHEN KING, about a stalker recreating iconic scenes from the author’s horrifying stories, and Stephen King’s efforts to stop the maniac.

It’s a concept horror fans might be familiar with – since it’s basically the same concept as the 2012 thriller THE RAVEN, if you replace “Stephen King” with “Edgar Allan Poe” – but that’s not the reason why James Patterson has abruptly decided to cancel publication on the novella, which was scheduled to be released this November. According to the publisher, the author decided the project was in poor taste after learning of Stephen King’s real-life encounters with unstable fans.

“My book is a positive portrayal of a fictional character, and – spoiler alert – the main character is not actually murdered,” James Patterson said in the statement. “Nevertheless, I do not want to cause Stephen King or his family any discomfort. Out of respect for them, I have decided not to publish THE MURDER OF STEPHEN KING.” (Source: The Guardian)

The novella was to be co-written by Derek Nikitas (PYRES). The novella’s place on the “Bookshots” releasing schedule will instead be taken by TAKING THE TITANIC, about a pair of thieves on the infamously doomed vessel.

Universal Takes Joe Hill’s SNAPSHOT 1988

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Speaking of Stephen King, another one of his son’s horror novels is headed to the big screen. Joe Hill, the author of HORNS and THE FIREMAN, is publishing the novella SNAPSHOT 88 in next month’s issue of the horror magazine CEMETERY DANCE, and Universal already has picked up the rights to transform the story into a feature film.

Mike Flanagan and Jeff Howard (OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL) are in talks to write the screenplay for SNAPSHOT 1988, which tells the story of a 13-year-old boy who discovers that his housekeeper isn’t suffering from dementia, as everyone else believes. Instead, her memories are being stolen by a sinister man called “The Phoenician.” (Source: Hollywood Reporter)

Blumhouse is attached to co-produce the film, along with Akiva Goldsman’s Weed Road. No word yet on who might become attached to direct the project, although 20th Century Fox – which lost the bidding war over SNAPSHOT 1988 – was pitching Matt Reeves (DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES) for the project.

HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER Gets a New Trailer

One of the most uncompromising, terrifying motion pictures ever produced – don’t fight me on this – is finally getting the treatment it deserves. HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER, featuring an unforgettable performance by the great Michael Rooker (THE WALKING DEAD), is returning to theaters with a 4K restoration, on October 21, 2016 with live introductions by director John McNaughton in New York and Los Angeles.

The film originally debuted at the Chicago International Film Festival in 1986 but was not officially released until 1990, after its shocking content and subsequent X-rating made it difficult to find a distributor. (It was eventually released unrated.) The film is the story of a serial killer named Henry, in case you hadn’t guessed, who takes on a protégé after moving in with an unsuspecting brother and sister. It’s vicious and cruel and absolutely incredible.

Watch the new trailer above, and keep your calendars marked because HENRY is finally coming back, in less than a month!

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