The future has been bleak for the Halloween series. There was once a plan for The Weinstein Company to follow Rob Zombie’s two movies with a third movie, to be written by Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer, but start dates and release dates for that movie have come and gone, and in general TWC seemed little interested in making a new film.

And now the Weinsteins won’t make a new Halloween, as the rights have been sold to another company. Bloody Disgusting reports that Platinum Dunes is taking up the rights to Halloween, and will produce a new sequel, or another reboot, or something. The nature of the intended project is unknown. Supposedly the new film will not be in 3D, and it will not use found footage, and the suggestion is that Lussier and Farmer are out, too.

Given that Platinum Dunes has already remade other major horror franchises (Friday the 13th, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and A Nightmare on Elm Street) this is like collecting the final ace for a four of a kind. For them, at least. For us, given the way those other remakes went, it might look more like a bust hand.

After the break, Hellraiser goes to TV, and a comedy with a horror bent gets a remake. Read More »

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Last week Yahoo Movies published a few cool infographics comparing the most famous slasher movie villains: Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, and Freddy Krueger. Jason has “appeared” in thirteen films, Freddy was featured in nine films, and there were ten Halloween movies in total. So which one of these killers has the biggest bodycount? And which one of these horror franchises made the most at the box office? Hit the jump to find out.
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What's Under Your Mask?
What’s Under Your Mask? is a series of prints created by German illustrator Adrian Pavic honoring the masked icons in Western society, ranging from Darth Vader, to Point Break, to Spider-Man. No word on if Pavic will be making his prints available for public purchase, but you can view some of the art in the series, after the jump. I’d love to see Chop Shop produce a t-shirt based on this series.
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We’ve featured many of the Alamo Drafthouse commissioned movie posters in past editions of cool stuff. Today Mondo has released three posters for the Drafthouse’s Halloween series of films: Beetlejuice, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and John Carpenter’s Halloween. Unfortunately, the posters were very popular and sold out minutes after going on sale. But you can still check out the digital images after the jump.

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Post-Screening Update: In short, my verdict on Halloween 2 is that it’s superior to Rob Zombie‘s first effort and a far more entertaining film. Zombie definitely listened to criticism that the first film wasn’t holiday-oriented. In this one, he stages a trippy Last Supper with Jack-o-Lanterns. And moreover, it works for chrissakes. The critics labeling the film a by-the-numbers “rote slasher picture” either didn’t see the movie or haven’t been paying attention to recent  ”rote” horror flicks like Prom Night and Platinum Dunes‘ stillborn Friday the 13th.

I ask these critics to show me a comparable “rote” horror film this well-shot that stars the excellent Brad Dourif (Blue Velvet, John Huston’s Wise Blood) reminiscing about Lee Marvin. Or how about one with a fun Malcolm McDowell thinly and hilariously disguising contempt for movie journalists who trash certain directors with trigger-happy aimlessness. The early hospital scenes set to The Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin” make for only one of the sweet, sweet uses of music therein. Sidenote: I enjoyed seeing actress Silvia Jeffries‘ (Tracy on Eastbound & Down) play a stripper who receives a priceless tip from Michael. Like most, I was worried that Sheri Moon Zombie would take a sizable Yoko-like chunk out of the movie, but she’s merely a muse to Michael (and Zombie) here. And sure, the dream sequences are different from previous Myers installments, but is that a bad thing? They add genuinely creepy flourish to Zombie’s grisly murder scenes. It’s only been an hour since my screening let out, but I’d say this is the second best Halloween movie in existence: inferior to John Carpenter‘s first (obviously!) but better than Rick Rosenthal‘s original sequel. I doubt the critics hating on this movie (and Zombie, for whatever reason) can debate my closing statement. And tellingly so. Rob Zombie put Laurie Strode in a Black Flag shirt and dragged her to hell. And I liked it!! And it makes me wonder: are sites like CHUD and STYD, that profess love for horror, this out of touch per the genre? They really prefer the dated Abercrombie bottle blondes of Platinum Dunes to Zombie’s girls, who for Halloween go as guys dressed as girls and leave parties to shag a werewolf in a van? Weird.

Set Visit Report: Earlier this year, /Film went down to Georgia to visit the set of Rob Zombie‘s Halloween II. The sequel to 2007′s remake was shooting in a quaint, charming town called Newborn—an hour or so outside of Atlanta—that is tucked behind sprawling farmland and reached by hilly roads outlined in dead trees. Spring was in session, but outside it was already chilly and the approaching darkness and anticipation made it feel like Halloween night. After spending an hour completely lost and staring at a cow in search of cell phone reception, /Film finally reached the set. A handful of other peers including STYD’s Ryan Rotten joined us as we piled into a van and drove down a dark street to watch what publicists said was a climatic action piece in the film.

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While on the set of Halloween 2 earlier this year, an acquaintance and I witnessed a night scene in which a helicopter hovered above Michael Myers.  We witnessed this scene again and again and again. On the first few takes, we laughed at the bizarre noise (and at the sheer giddy thrill of hangin’ in Haddonfield) being yelled by the towering actor Tyler Mane as Myers in said scene—I won’t reveal further details at this time. However, after about the fifth take, and against the whirring of a ‘copter and an excruciating windchill, it seemed like Michael Myers was in fact emitting a single, fully-constructed word. Shock, horror. Dear Zombie detractors, no, it was not a curse word delivered with backwoods panache. Nor was it “Boo!”—the virgin utterance once prescribed to Myers and later scrapped altogether in Zombie’s first remake. But hearing Myers, a silent horror icon a la Jason, speak for the first time was simply off-putting. “Caveman” jokes were exchanged next to heat lamps.

We immediately went around and checked in with several people involved on the production. We were told that Myers was simply emitting a grunt. At that hour and temperature, the explanation seemed fair enough. And if it was a word? It was merely a performance-enhancer to later be edited out. Well, about an hour ago, Rob Zombie posted the following on Twitter: “Off to meet Tyler for some Michael Myers ADR. Sleeping some day would be great.” As STYD has pointed out, ADR means additional dialogue recording. (Note: STYD’s editor, Ryan Rotten, was on the set as well.) So, what’s the deal?

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In the second installment of /Film’s in-depth chat with Rob Zombie, we discuss the limp yet horny state of the American horror film. Zombie also rants on why getting original projects made in Hollywood has become a lamer development hell. Given that his last theatrical movie as a writer/director was a remake (Halloween), and that this summer’s H2 (Halloweeen 2) is a sequel, it’s interesting to hear Zombie get the lead out in such bold fashion. But consider that a release for his $10m animated film with Paul Giamatti, The Haunted World of El Superbeasto, is on the burner indefinitely; and that his T-Rex—a violent ’70s-set flick about a heathen war vet/boxer—now revs at a yellow-light. The status of both projects is discussed below.

While Zombie’s vision for Michael Myers has proven divisive, the privilege to re-shape one of the top three monsters of modern horror was well-earned. His directorial debut, 2003′s House of 1000 Corpses, has held up nicely in the years since; a fun-house experience akin to falling down a broken disposal, Corpses wallows in the slime of decades’ worth of deranged genre influence.  2005 brought his signature film, The Devil’s Rejects, arguably the most nefarious celluloid celebration of murder and nihilism set loose in theaters this decade. Four years later, even he’s a little surprised that it exists. But exists it does; a major studio picture that feels like the extroverted, distant Southern cousin to William Lustig‘s ode to the NYC lurker Maniac.

Rejects solidified Zombie as the rare, talented filmmaker sitting high on the pop-cult ladder whose work craps on any and all moral barometers. And after speaking at length, we’re convinced that there isn’t a working director in the U.S. more dedicated to the hard-R picture-show. (Click here for Part 1)

Hunter Stephenson: How you depict violence on film sets you apart. It seems like much of the violence in American horror films these days, it’s very routine and mundane. A lot of the violence in your films seems flat-out wrong, but in a really good way. [Zombie laughs] You were never part of the torture-porn trend, when Hostel and Saw came out, and what not.

When you show violence on screen, it serrates but then you move on, and I think it’s very effective. I’m wondering, what films do you watch to get your kicks for violence? What films do you draw on when you’re making them?

Rob Zombie: Well, I like when violence seems real and I like when it seems ugly. I like when the act doesn’t seem fun. I was never a fan of ‘80s slasher movies. I think they are cartoony and silly. I was more into the violence in movies like Taxi Driver, The Wild Bunch, and Bonnie and Clyde. The violence in those films makes a statement in some way. You know what I mean? It’s saying something. And it’s either brutal, or depressing, or it’s real. But it’s never fun.

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Last month, /Film visited the set of H2 (Halloween 2). After flying into Atlanta, Georgia, a colleague and I followed a publicity firm’s map and drove far out into the country, down winding roads encased by high trees that exhaled into healthy farmland. The sun was setting, the temperature was cooling, and our cell phones were no longer getting reception. We were lost. We finally came to a local cop car blocking a road, lights on spin. The cop exited—he was alive—and said, “Here for the movie?” and pointed us in the direction of Haddonfield, a fictional town that millions of people all over the world have watched Michael Myers terrorize for years.

Since 2007, the grisly lore of Haddonfield has rested in the determined hands of writer/director Rob Zombie. And in my opinion, so does the current state and fate of the American horror film, an institution predictably oft-sniffed at, but that is vital to our culture. As exemplified in our epic interview—divided into two parts—Zombie is a filmmaker who is unapologetically forthright about detractors of his vision for Halloween and horror, and much more. There is great irony to be found in that so many 20somethings wake up to Zombie’s music cuing The Howard Stern Show, and that the same guy is creating cinema that aspires to haunt our grandkids’ nightmares more so than the last president. (Click here for part two of the interview.)

Hunter Stephenson: In December, it was officially announced that you were on board for the sequel. So, between then and the release date this August, you have had to write, cast, prep, shoot and now you guys are editing. That’s such a small window. When you first sat down to write the script, where did you want to go with Myers and this new mythology you created?

Rob Zombie: Well, I looked back at the first film and I thought, What would be the most realistic fall-out from the events that occurred previously? So, I started with Laurie Strode. The reality now is this: here is a girl who wakes up, her parents are murdered, most of her friends are murdered, and she finds out her brother is the person who killed everybody. What is the reality of that? What does that do to a person? I felt it would be much more interesting this time to make Laurie this dark, damaged character. And everyone else too.

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