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Good day, magnifiers of all this maudlin. I wish I could say I was writing this from Austin while getting ready to spend the day watching great movies with the city's finest at SXSW, but alas I’ve been sitting here in the same chair and wearing the same outfit for like a week now, and I think my socks are actually becoming one with my feet. Perhaps I’ll get some sun/exercise/food/soap once I’m done with this week’s edition of The Fear Monger.
Mark Bomback, one of the screenwriters behind The Wolverine and the upcoming Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, has been hired by TWC-Dimension to handle writing duties on their feature adaptation of Ira Levin’s Broadway thriller Veronica’s Room. That’s potentially good news, but not nearly as horrifying as Jersey Shore’s Jenni "JWOWW" Farley executive producing Paul Tarnopol’s "three years too late" horror comedy Jersey Shore Massacre, due out in June. But save most of your disgust for Tom Six’s upcoming The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence) , which debuted its first still with EW recently. Thankfully it’s only of actors Dieter Laser and Laurence R. Harvey, and not the 500-person centipede that Six has been touting for years.
Oculus Pulls Freaky New Trailer and Clip From Behind the MirrorThough there’s a small chance Mike Flanagan’s upcoming supernatural horror Oculus will be disappointing, I have huge hopes for this flick, and this trailer is exactly what I’m looking for in jump-scare-heavy thrillers. The preview does a great job of letting viewers into the trippy story itself without seeming to sacrifice any of the major twists and turns that arise. Any film that features someone eating a light bulb instead of the preferred apple gets my vote of approval. Check out the film’s recently released poster below.
In Oculus siblings Kaylie (Karen Gillan) and Tim Russell (Brenton Thwaites) are teenagers when their mother (Katee Sackhoff) brings a haunted mirror into the home that plays a large part in both parents’ murders, which Tim is accused of. (Rory Cochrane plays the father.) Ten years later, Tim is released and Kaylie is determined to prove that her brother was a patsy to something much more evil and inhuman. The mirror appears to do quite a number on everyone’s minds, as time fluidly floats back and forth between the past and the present. It’s a device that’s paired with the "it’s only a dream" trope in the clip seen below.
Texas Chain Saw Massacre Goes High-Def for Theatrical Re-ReleaseWe already knew that MPI/Dark Sky Films and Tobe Hooper were celebrating the 40th anniversary of his seminal 1974 classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre by debuting a restored version of the film at this year’s SXSW on Monday, followed by a limited theatrical run. But we weren’t quite sure just how big a restoration project this was until now, as Dark Sky detailed a lot of the time-consuming process in a recent press release. As well, EW debuted the brand new promo poster from artist Jason Edmiston, which you can see above in all its armored shell glory.
Hooper’s original 16mm print was given to NOLO Digital Film in Chicago and put through hundreds of hours of restorations in transferring the resolution to 4K, and the sound to a remastered 7.1 sound. While much of the film’s aesthetic pleasure comes from its low-quality look, I’m interested in seeing it cleaned up, as the film went through a major color correction, with thousands of still frame artifacts removed from the film. There were actual rips in the film that had to be rebuilt using surrounding frames. Hooper was in on the sound restoration, as he worked on the original sound editing and score. There’s no word yet where this film will be heading once SXSW is through, but it seems like a waste of an effort to fix it up that much to only show it in New York and L.A. Bring it to the masses, Dark Sky! Here are a couple of the remastered stills EW put out, though they don’t look dramatically different to me.
Slashers Go Camp for Musical Horror Stage Fright’s Red and Green Band TrailersLike Scream for the Glee crowd, Jerome Sable’s musically inclined horror Stage Frightfollows a truly ridiculous premise that I was ready to start shitting on from the word "go." But the film’s first hoot of a trailer has swayed me over to the darkly melodic side of things. Allie MacDonald stars as Camilla Swanson, an actress who attends an uppity musical theater camp with her brother Buddy (Douglas Smith). The camp is run by former Broadway producer Roger McCall, played by none other than the Bat out of Hell himself, Meat Loaf. They’re staging a performance of The Haunting of the Opera, but there’s one person out there who is willing to kill to see this show get cancelled.
This strange mix of cornball slasher thriller, dark humor and musicals is either a genius throwback to insular 1980s horror, or it’s a modern-day mash-up disaster. I’m not fond of the melodramatic approach to Minnie Driver as the Swanson siblings’ mother, a former actress in her own right, and how THIS is the play that had such a big impression on her life. As well, the kabuki disguise and Batman-lite voice used by the killer are laughable, but maybe that’s the point. But I love the thought of a staged thriller that uses the setting to its advantage, and I’m betting this will have one of the better horror scores of the year. Check out the red band trailer below, which is pretty much the same as the one above, only with a bukkake joke thrown in.
For Art’s Sake, This Creepy Trailer Introduces Us to Mr. JonesEver since first hearing about this odd little indie from The Divide director Karl Mueller, I’ve been waiting to get a good look at what audiences would have in store. After all, it’s a movie with an apparent goal of using up stereotypes as if they’re going out of style. Scott (Jon Foster) and Penny (Sarah Jones) are artists who head into the woods for a new setting in which to create their art. They’re in close proximity to the popular and reclusive artist Mr. Jones, who drags his monstrous sculptures out at night for possibly nefarious reasons.
The couple gets a little too curious in documenting their hunt for the artist, which will almost certainly lead to their screaming doom. There’s a lot of screaming in the trailer above, and though I’m disappointed to see Mueller went with a found footage approach to the storytelling, there’s something slightly more assured about the direction rather than it just being a pure shaky-cam abomination. The addition of faux documentary footage is slightly intriguing as well, since I really don’t know how it’ll add up in the final product. I’ll find out once the film hits Blu-ray/DVD on May 6, with a limited theatrical run starting May 2.
The Voices, The Signal and The Guest All Get DistributionA trio of "The" movies sounds like a real good time at the theater, right? Except, these three flicks may well end up being three of the best horror movies of the year, if festival audiences are to be believed. The strangest of the three is Persepolis director Marjane Satrapi’s comedy horror The Voices, which Lionsgate has picked up the U.S. rights to. In the film, Ryan Reynolds plays a factory worker who has a crush on a co-worker that ends up murdered. He’s accused of the crime, but perhaps his biggest problem is his evil talking cat and his virtuous talking dog, both of which join him on his trek to freedom. No release date yet on this pic (which also stars Anna Kendrick, Gemma Arterton and Jacki Weaver), but one should be coming soon.
You’re Next director Adam Wingard reteamed with frequent collaborator Simon Barrett for the thriller The Guest, which has landed at Picturehouse and is expected to get a release this fall. In it, Dan Stevens plays a soldier who arrives at the home of a fallen comrade’s family, and though his visit is intended to convey solace, they aren’t entirely sure he is who he says.
And finally, Focus Features will be giving the sci-fi thriller The Signal a limited release on June 13, with a wider rollout over the following two weeks. Crave’s William Eubank directed and co-wrote this tech-heavy story of a group of college students that head out into the middle of the desert in a plot schemed by a hacker. This one has Laurence Fishburne, Olivia Cooke and Brenton Thwaites starring, and like the other two, it made quite a splash at Sundance.