The 13th Floor

LIGHTS OUT 2, DON’T BREATHE 2 and VAN HELSING – This Week’s Horror News Rundown

Sequels! Sequels! Sequels! (And some reboots!) This week on the Horror News Rundown we’ve got updates on upcoming installments in hit new franchises, the skinny on a highly anticipated reboot, and trailers galore. Why waste any more time? Let’s check it out, gang!

Here’s How the Nightmare Continues in LIGHTS OUT 2

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Earlier this week on my show The B-Movies Podcast, screenwriter Eric Heisserer stopped by to talk about his screenplay to the new sci-fi drama ARRIVAL and look back at his screenplays for the A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET remake and THE THING prequel. But we also took a moment to look to the future, and discussed some exciting new projects that will be hitting theaters soon.

First up was LIGHTS OUT 2, the sequel this summer’s hit supernatural thriller. The original film was a metaphor for a family enduring mental illness, with the violent spectre “Diana” representing the matriarch’s bipolar disorder, and only being able to impact the family in total darkness.

Eric Heisserer is returning for the follow-up, and David F. Sandberg will be back behind the camera, but little else is known about the upcoming film. But on the podcast Eric Heisserer elaborated, and said that the sequel will follow-up on the deleted ending for the original movie.

(SPOILER ALERT for the ending of LIGHTS OUT:)

When asked about the film’s ending, in which the demon Diana is defeated when the family’s matriarch killed herself, Eric Heisserer explained that there was no moral lesson to be extracted from the plot point, and that suicide did not solve anybody’s problems.

“That was never my intent. Not at all,” Heisserer said. “That was the thing we were trying push beyond, and get to talking about what happens to a family in the wake of that. There was a coda that led into another scene. There was another five minutes of the film [where Diana wasn’t disposed of completely], and that ties into little Martin saying earlier, ‘If Mom’s crazy does that mean we’re crazy too?’”

“So the grief of that and even the shame that was connected with not being able to help mom in time, and not being able to stop this, led a character to say, ‘She thought she was helping. She just made it worse […] That was the ending. Like THE RING, you shouldn’t have brought her out of the well. That kind of thing. It was a real downer kind of ending and we got hit horribly hard for it [by test audiences].”

“[In LIGHTS OUT 2] we have a chance to continue that and mend that, bring the message forward,” Heisserer elaborated. “You get to see the devastated family now and how much worse they are for it.”

Whether Diana will ever move on to another family, or if she will forever be linked to the family from the first LIGHTS OUT, the screenwriter was unable to say. “I have to remain quiet about that.”

END SPOILERS.

We’ll find out the answers when LIGHTS OUT 2 hits theaters in the future.

How Does VAN HELSING Fit into the UNIVERSAL MONSTERS Reboot?

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Eric Heisserer didn’t stop there. Later on this week’s episode of The B-Movies Podcast he went on to discuss the direction for VAN HELSING, the upcoming film in the Universal Monsters cinematic universe which will feature many of the classic monsters – like The Invisible Man, The Wolf Man and The Mummy – in starring roles.

Which begs the question, if the monsters are the stars, how does the monster hunter Van Helsing fit into this series? Is he a hero or, to the rest of the characters, is he the franchise’s villain?

“That character has certainly evolved and changed,” Eric Heisserer explained. “And I can’t talk about where he is now, but I can say that I was in a very crotchety mood when we had that first committee meeting of all the writers, and I talked about how we’re having too many movies where we outsource our problem-solving to extraordinary people. You know, like these giant heroes or these people that are far more powerful than the common man, who try and fix whatever we broke. That does a horrible thing to our psyche as a culture, and we need to stop doing that and take matters into our own hands, and that’s why I said Van Helsing should start killing off everyone else in this franchise.”

“And Universal said, ‘No! No, don’t do… No! What are you saying?! You can’t say that!’ I’m amazed I didn’t get kicked out at that point. But I can tell you it’s developed somewhere else.”

We’ll find out how much of Eric Heisserer’s original, controversial idea for VAN HELSING makes it to the big screen afters the Universal Monsters series kicks off with THE MUMMY on June 9, 2017.

The New TALES FROM THE CRYPT Will Be Based on the Comics

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I was a busy interviewer this week. In addition to learning more from Eric Heisserer about LIGHTS OUT 2 and VAN HELSING, I also sat down with writer/director M. Night Shyamalan to grill him on the upcoming TALES FROM THE CRYPT reboot he’s executive producing for the TNT network.

The new series was always going to be based on the TALES FROM THE CRYPT franchise, but it was unknown until now just how closely it would cleave to the HBO series or the comics. When I asked M. Night Shyamalan about this subject for Crave, he confirmed that he was going back to the original stories.

“These are the comics, yeah,” he explained, before explaining that he has “a folder of [his] favorites.” What’s more, the new series won’t be limited to just the TALES FROM THE CRYPT comic book series, and that comics like VAULT OF HORROR “are all valid too,” and “fair game” for the new television series.

I also asked M. Night Shyamalan – who likes to make cameos in all of his own movies – whether he was considering playing the Crypt Keeper himself in the new series, he quickly responded “No, no, no, not at all.” He also described the new series as being “absolutely naughty, and deliciously so,” and explained that he hoped to bring in celebrity guest stars in a manner similar the HBO series.

The new TALES FROM THE CRYPT is scheduled to debut with a ten-episode first season, sometime in 2017.

There Will Be a DON’T BREATHE Sequel

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When Fede Alvarez’s DON’T BREATHE debuted this summer to huge box office numbers and widespread critical acclaim, most of us assumed that a sequel would be inevitable. And although there hasn’t been any official statement from the studio just yet, Alvarez himself confirmed this week to Coming Soon that “there will be more DON’T BREATHE for sure.”

Sam Raimi also confirmed that a DON’T BREATHE sequel was in the works this week, and although he wouldn’t elaborate on the plot – which would follow-up on the original home invasion thriller, about a group of teen thieves trapped in a house with a homicidal blind man – he did tell IGN that “It’s only the greatest idea for a sequel I’ve ever heard. I’m not kidding.”

Well, don’t build it up too much or anything, Sam. Our hearts couldn’t take it! Besides, it looks like the DON’T BREATHE sequel will be on the back burner for at least a short while, as Fede Alvarez prepares to reboot the American version of the Lisbeth Salander series. David Fincher’s THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO was an Academy Award winner back in 2011, but wasn’t the box office success the studio hoped, and plans for a trilogy petered out quickly. Now, Alvarez has been tapped to reboot the series with THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER WEB, based on the follow-up novel by David Lagercrantz, who took over the series after original author Stieg Larsson died in 2004.

The DC Universe Goes Dark… JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK

Fans have been divided by the recent spate of superhero movies based on DC Comics, with many wondering whether films like BATMAN V SUPERMAN and SUICIDE SQUAD are too “dark” for their own good. Then again, some people love that.

Fortunately it looks like both sides might be appeased by the new animated movie JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK, about a team of supernatural and sometimes horrifying superheroes who team up to save the world from paranormal activities.

The film features such spooky heroes as Swamp Thing, Deadman, Etrigan the Demon and John Constantine, who is being played by fan favorite Matt Ryan, the star of the short-lived CONSTANTINE live-action series.

Watch the new trailer for JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK, and keep your yes peeled for its release on digital formats on January 24, 2017 and on DVD/Blu-ray on February 7, 2017.

It’s King Kong vs. The Skullcrawlers in KONG: SKULL ISLAND

King Kong! You know the name of King Kong. You know the fame of King Kong, ten times as big as a man? Well, you’re about to. The full-length trailer for KONG: SKULL ISLAND debuted earlier this week and it is a doozy, with a mammoth sense of scale and a whole bunch of monsters and even a sense of humor, if you can believe it.

The new reboot from Jordan Vogt-Roberts (THE KINGS OF SUMMER) stars Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly and John Goodman, and hits theaters from a mighty height on March 10, 2017.

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