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Good day, defenders of all things radiation-filled. This is the weekend of Godzilla! Even though Gareth Edwards’ update on the monster legend doesn’t quite share the horror genre cred of its original source material, it was a bigger blast on the big screen than many horror films are, so I’m still roaring in celebration. My roar comes across as a chicken with a literal frog in its throat, but pride is relative. Let’s get Bryan Cranston over to psychological horror next, shall we? There’s an empire there.
Now for, you guessed it, your weekly horror news appetizers. Chloe Sevigny fans will be pumped to know the actress, whose dark drama series Those Who Kill was purged by A&E after only a few episodes, is joining not just one but two new flicks. She’ll star alongside indie queen Natasha Lyonne (Orange is the New Black) in the "stoner gets pregnant amidst alien rumors" thriller Antibirth, and she’ll also star in Bobby Miller’s "spiritual retreat body horror" The Master Cleanse, alongside Anjelica Huston (The Addams Family) and The Big Bang Theory’s Johnny Galecki.
In other news, the guitar-shredding director Rob Zombie halfway announced via a video clip that his next project will be called 31, will take place on Halloween (but presumably isn’t a Halloween movie), and stars a clown as the antagonist. Assuming it also involves 1,000 corpses, this could be his entire film career in one flick. Check out the teaser poster below.
And now, your weekly main course.
First Looks at The ABCs of Death 2As far as the horror anthology sequel The ABCs of Death 2 goes, I’m fairly certain it will have shorts that rival the best of the first film, and many that compare to the worst. Anthologies are a crapshoot, it’s true. So it’s almost impossible to know what’s going on in any of these first photos, courtesy of BloodyDisgusting, especially since nary a plotline or alphabetical clue is to be found. But these are all pretty eye-popping stills. The nudge-nudge shot you see above comes from Cheap Thrills director E.L. Katz's short, so let's counter it by taking a peek at (and maybe blowing a kiss to) this frumpy business that pops up in the short from Dennison Ramalho.
Before we get to the other stills, it’s worth pointing out that this film boasts an oddball list of directors whose films aren't teased here, including Julian Barratt (The Mighty Boosh), Larry Fessbender (The Last Winter), legendary animator Bill Plympton (The Tune), Vincenzo Natali (Cube), and Israeli directors Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado (Big Bad Wolves). We’ll have more on plot and release dates as the months go by, but get a head-on look at the next image from Henge director Hajime Ohata.
And finally…dammit, I’ve already used my head-loss joke for this story. Sigh. Here’s a still from the short directed by A Lonely Place to Die’s Julian Gilbey.
Stephen King’s To-Be Published Novel Mr. Mercedes Optioned for FeatureWe’ve only last year seen a second theatrical iteration of a Stephen King novel, with more remakes on the way, and wouldn’t you know it, his upcoming thriller novel Mr. Mercedes has already been snatched up by Media Rights Capital and the Twilight producers at Temple Hill, according to Tracking Board. Not only that, but they’ve already attached veteran director Jack Bender to helm it. With over 30 years in the game, Bender made his Hollywood debut with Child’s Play 3 but pretty much eschewed films altogether for TV work. His talent is seen on such notable series as The Sopranos and Carnivale, and he was a frequent director of choice for Lost and Under the Dome, adapted from King’s novel of course.
Mr. Mercedes tells the story of a Midwestern city under attack from a dangerous killer named Brad Hartfield, who uses his Mercedes to ruthlessly run people down with no apologies. He antagonizes retired cop Bill Hodges, who dedicated part of his life to bringing justice to the as-yet unsolved murders. Thus begins an extremely disturbing game of cat and mouse, with an endgame putting thousands at risk. Since I haven’t read it yet, I can’t speak for how awesome it is, but I’m a King fanatic to the bone, and he almost never fails when it comes to hyper-realistic terror. I’m already making casting wishes, throwing Mercedes hood ornaments into wells.
Lars von Trier is Headed for Horror in DetroitThere are many horror filmmakers out there whose new projects wouldn’t get a mention in the Fear Monger, since basic news doesn’t always command as much attention as casting news and trailers. But when it comes to Nymphomaniac’s Lars von Trier, one of the most controversial directors working today, we stand up and take full notice. Part of the original Dogme 95 filmmakers, von Trier has seriously horrified audiences in all kinds of non-horror films, from Dancer in the Dark to Antichrist to Melancholia, and I honestly have NO idea where he would head with a true genre label at his mercy.
It wasn’t the director himself who shared the news, but rather filmmaker Kristian Levring, who has worked with von Trier in the past. Levring shared with IndieWire that he’d for years told von Trier that he'd make a fantastic horror movie, to which von Trier replied, "I want you to stop talking about it, so I’ll write it for you instead." The working title for the project, which Levring will presumably direct, is Detroit, and Levring’s only clues are that "there is the wordplay between Detroit and destroyed," and that "it’s about a man fighting his inner demons." Psychological demons are right up von Trier’s alley, so we’re keeping a close eye on anything with Detroit in it – except for Detroit itself – over the next few months.
Rigor Mortis Mixes Spooky Ghosts with High-Flying ActionWhile modern Hollywood’s take on the supernatural ranges from the stereotypically banal (The Conjuring) to WTF (47 Ronin), first-time Chinese director Juno Mak has delivered what looks like one hell of a genre-masher in the festival hit Rigor Mortis. Well Go USA picked up the rights to this dark tale and recently announced a limited theatrical release, along with a VOD push, on June 6. To celebrate, here is the bizarre U.S. trailer, which features nearly as much punching and kicking as it does spooking.
Inspired by Hong Kong horror comedies of the past – the film even stars several leads from the classic Mr. Vampire film series - Rigor Mortis focuses on a struggling actor who moves into an apartment building which is home to quite a few spectral tenants, many of whom are interested in making everyone’s stay there a living hell. A fight just isn’t a fight unless people are flying through walls, both in physical and spiritual form. Produced by Ju-On franchise director Takashi Shimizu, Rigor Mortis is almost definitely one of the weirdest releases in a summer that includes a Transformer riding a robot dragon.
The Chair Graphic Novel Adaptation Needs Your Help!After watching the video above, don’t you kind of want to just throw all your money at your computer before running away to stand on the other side of a locked door? Prolific genre actor Bill Oberst Jr. is taking on the less than savory role of the sadistic Warden in the upcoming adaptation of Peter Semeti’s disturbing graphic novel The Chair. The Warden’s insane tactics are challenged by the innocent-but-imprisoned Richard Sullivan, sick of seeing his fellow Death Row inmates meet such hellish demises. And the story isn't just a random string of kill scenes, as it deals with themes of abuse, mental health and the state of the modern criminal justice system.
The thing is, The Chair also needs the help of fans and friends everywhere, as the project’s Kickstarter campaign is in full swing. It’s no surprise that a third of the $300,000 goal is going toward the cast, which includes Eric Roberts, Zach Galligan, Brian Thompson, Naomi Grossman, Noah Hathaway and many more. Directed by Someone’s Knocking at the Door’s Chad Ferrin and written by newcomer Erin Kohut, The Chair is offering up a load of goodies for donors, including posters, signed screenplays, graphic novels and copies of the film, props, set visits, and a walk-on role as an extra. Perhaps the most ingenious perk of all, Semeti will design your comic’s cover art! Assuming you have a comic of course, and donate the proper amount of moolah. In any case, The Chair needs to make it to at least one big screen, so donate if you can. Or else the Warden will…oh, never mind.