Everyone loves a good horror franchise. Heck, even the bad ones sometimes pick up a sizable cult following. So a week like this one, with updates about some awesome series like HELLBOY and THE WALKING DEAD and THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, can seem pretty exciting. Unfortunately, news is news, and sometimes it’s not what we want to hear. So although this week’s horror news rundown is full of awesome potential it’s also got some cautionary tales for you too.
Let’s find out what’s what, and let’s begin with…
THE WALKING DEAD Thinks You Want Less Violence
If you ever wondered if showrunners actually pay attention to your online criticisms, the good news is that they do. The bad news is that they don’t necessarily respond the way you want them to. Case in point: the producers of THE WALKING DEAD heard a lot of complaints about the violence in the Season 7 premiere of their zombie head trauma death television series, so they toned it down for the rest of the season. [Source: Variety]
At a press conference at the National Association of Television Programming Executives (NATPE), THE WALKING DEAD producer Gale Anne Hurd confirmed that “We were able to look at the feedback on the level of violence” in the controversial season opener (in which two prominent characters left the show under brutal circumstances), and that “We did tone it down for episodes we were still filming for later on in the season.”
Hurd seemed to indicate that the reaction to the season opener was not what they were going for, adding “This is not a show that is torture porn,” and that efforts will be made in the future to make certain “we don’t cross that line.”
One has to wonder, of course, whether the violence – in a show clearly intended for adults, and one that is about zombies and death – was really the issue everyone had with THE WALKING DEAD, and whether maybe the show occasionally has some storytelling problems that warrant more scrutiny than the amount of gore that’s shown on camera.
But anyway, that was the producers’ takeaway from the controversy: THE WALKING DEAD fans want a less violent experience. If you agree, you got what you wanted. If you disagree, apparently they showrunners are taking requests, so let them know about it on social media.
Finally, a GOOD OMENS Mini-Series
The apocalyptic comedy novel GOOD OMENS is one of the funniest stories ever written about the end of the world. Written by both Neil Gaiman (AMERICAN GODS) and Terry Pratchett (DISCWORLD), it’s the story about the biblical judgment day, which was totally on schedule until somebody misplaced the Antichrist. It’s up to an angel and a demon, who have been on Earth since the Garden of Eden and have decided that they enjoy it more than Heaven or Hell, to find the little scamp and prevent the four horsepersons of the apocalypse from doing what they were always meant to do.
Blisteringly funny, GOOD OMENS was rumored to be en route to theaters for many years, under the directorial eye of Terry Gilliam. That version of the project seems to be stuck in development hell forever, but the good news is that Amazon Studios has just announced that a limited series is on the way, courtesy of Neil Gaiman himself, who will be the show’s writer and showrunner. [Source: Coming Soon]
GOOD OMENS will feature hour-long episodes, and is expected to debut in 2018. And if you’ve read the book, you probably know how much better the world will probably be for it.
Guillermo Del Toro is Taking Requests for HELLBOY 3
Don’t get too excited: director Guillermo Del Toro hasn’t officially announced that he’s making HELLBOY 3 just yet, but he did recently take a Twitter poll to see if anyone would be interested. He also announced that if he got more than 100,000 votes in the “affirmative” he would talk to original creator Mike Mignola and actor Ron Perlman about finally moving forward with the long awaited threequel. And, well… that’s exactly what happened.
“I spoke with Ron Perlman. He’s in for the sit down. Will approach Mignola next. Will keep you posted. Very moved by your love of pt I & II” the filmmaker tweeted on January 19, 2017.
Fans of Guillermo Del Toro, horror movies and action movies are legion, but not quite legion enough to have made the two HELLBOY movies enormous international blockbusters. So although both films made money it didn’t seem like Hollywood was clamoring for more, even though everybody involved said they wanted to close out the storyline. If they really do want to make Hellboy 3 they’re still going to have to convince a studio to shell out big bucks to bring the fantasy adventures of a monster-fighting demonspawn with a smallish but dedicated demographic to life.
We’ll keep you updated as Guillermo Del Toro keeps us updated.
Warner Bros. Could Be Behind an ATTACK ON TITAN
It’s one of the most exciting and horrifying anime series of the 21st century, and Hollywood has finally taken notice. Warner Bros. is currently in talks to acquire the feature film rights to ATTACK ON TITAN, a post-apocalyptic tale about the last human city on Earth, hidden behind walls high enough to protect the species from the massive, carnivorous giants that have taken over the rest of the world. [Source: Deadline]
If the project comes together, Warner Bros. would be remaking the two-part live-action feature film adaptation that came out in Japan in 2015. The two films included many of the major plot points of the series but, as you can imagine, a lot of material was left on the cutting room floor. Then again if Warner Bros. acquires the rights to ATTACK ON TITAN they could find a way to stretch the story out a bit. Producer David Heyman would be attached to the project, and he managed to squeak eight Harry Potter movies out of only seven novels, after all.
Ridley Scott Wants to Remake THE WAILING
One of the most unexpected and celebrated horror movies 2016 came from South Korea. THE WAILING is the supernatural of about a bumbling small town cop who investigates a series of strange murders, and eventually falls headlong into terror as the story evolves in unpredictable ways and eventually taps into multiple, unlikely horror genres. There was nothing else quite like it. That’s probably why Ridley Scott’s production company, Scott Free, wants to make something just like it.
Hosung Kim, the head of Fox International Productions Korea, revealed to Screen Daily that he had been contacted by Scott Free about their desire to acquire the remake rights to THE WAILING, but it’s not a done deal yet. Kim is fully aware that THE WAILING, which is deeply rooted in the specifics of South Korean culture and its many religious traditions, would be a tricky adaptation for western audiences. [Source: Screen Daily]
“What other country has such diverse religious beliefs as Korea? In The Wailing, you see not a Korean Buddhist monk, but a Japanese monk type of person, a shaman, Christianity, Catholicism, and diverse pagan and occult beliefs,” Hosung Kim explained. “It’s different from the religious worldview of the West where they have monotheism in Christianity. So when you are tossed a question about faith, would the emotional response be as intrinsic as for Koreans?”
Hosung Kim also said that he told the folks at Scott Free that “I think the only director who could do the remake is Na Hong Jin,” but also that talks are ongoing, and anything could happen.
Don’t Be Taken In By Imitation LEATHERFACE
Fans of the TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE series are looking forward to the upcoming prequel LEATHERFACE, directed by Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury (INSIDE), which will tell another origin story of the franchise’s most recognizable chainsaw-wielding murder maniac. Unfortunately the film’s release date is still a bit of a question mark, and we still don’t know exactly when this new LEATHERFACE is going to see the light of day.
What we do know is that it hasn’t been released anywhere, so don’t get too excited if you see a new horror film called LEATHERFACE with a guy who looks exactly like Leatherface from THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE on the cover. This DVD release from the U.K. is actually the horror sequel PLAYING WITH DOLLS: BLOODLUST under a different, misleading title.
It’s not uncommon for horror movies to pick up new titles in domestic or foreign markets in an attempt to capitalize on various trends, but this is a particularly egregious example. It goes beyond mockbusters, which try to trick you into thinking it’s the real deal because you’re not paying close attention to subtle title differences (like SNAKES ON A PLANE vs. SNAKES ON A TRAIN), and simply takes the title of an upcoming, anticipated horror movie and tries to pass itself off as that movie.
What’s more, the film’s director Rene Perez has spoken out against the decision, saying that it was made without his approval, and that the next film in his PLAYING WITH DOLLS series will be self-released online to avoid this sort of debacle in the future. He concluded his statement by offering his “apologies for my fellow horror fans for this title change.” [Source: Dread Central]
We haven’t seen this particular movie yet, and for all we know it’s good in its own right, but horror fans deserve to know what they’re getting into. So be warned. This is imitation LEATHERFACE, not the real thing.
But if you live in the United Kingdom, don’t get too excited