Guillermo del Toro Pan’s Labyrinth

Los Angeles film fans, April and May is a great time to live in the City of Angels. One of the many reasons is the return of the Hero Complex Film Festival, which takes place from May 10-12 at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood. In previous years, stars such as Malcolm McDowell, Warren Beatty, Christopher Nolan and Ridley Scott have been part of the festival. The 2013 lineup has just been announced, and it includes the following:

  • John Carpenter screens and discusses They Live and Halloween.
  • Frank Darabont presents The Mist.
  • Pan’s Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone with Guillermo del Toro.
  • Roland Emmerich screens Independence Day.
  • Chris Carter presents an X-Files marathon.

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Most of the biggest John Carpenter properties have either been remake or given some sort of new life (Halloween, The Fog, The Thing) or have been targeted for potential remakes (They Live, Escape From New York).

Escape From New York tells the story of a convict who is sent into Manhattan — now a maximum security prison hellhole — to rescue the President of the United States, who has crashed on the island and is hostage to a local kingpin. The Escape remake was left dead in the water at New Line two years back when the option lapsed, but now it has been given new life. (And not as the Guy Pearce film Lockout, which does have a pretty similar plot outline.)

Joel Silver (The Matrix) is working with StudioCanal to produce a reboot in the hopes of launching a new franchise.

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Well fire and damnation, this week we’re all going to hell.

Nicolas Cage is riding to your local theater on a motorbike fueled by Satan and there’s little anyone can do to stop it. I’ve seen Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and, quite frankly, it ain’t good. That said, if I hadn’t seen it yet and twenty-five people told me it stunk, I’d still go. I love Crazy Nic Cage and I like fiery demons. What can I say, it’s something that speaks to me.

With Lucifer on the mind I figured this week’s column would be about Satan, Satanism, demons, witches, possession and whatnot. There’s a whole world out there beyond the obvious (fantastic) Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby and the color-saturated visions of Dario Argento. Such as. . . Read More »

Would John Carpenter ever direct a superhero movie? Which company will be making toys for The Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel? Who trained Henry Cavill for Man of Steel? Want to see a new set video from The Dark Knight Rises? Which superhero did a high school principal show up to graduation as? How can you make Wolverine claws for $5? Read about all of this and more in today’s Superhero Bits. Read More »

Jon and Al Kaplan have done it again! Yesterday I saw a couple references to Frank Sinatra singing a musical version of John Carpenter‘s The Thing, and for some reason the idea that it might be the work of the Kaplans didn’t even occur to me. But it is their latest musical offering, a single song that recaps more or less the entire movie. And it is great. The Thing: The Musical features a spot-on Sinatra impersonation, singing the part of the shape-shifting alien. Read More »

If you know anything about artist Shepard Fairey or John Carpenter‘s film They Live, you’d be hard pressed to come up with a better marriage of artist and material. For the first time ever, the Alamo Drafthouse and their art boutique Mondo were able to get Fairey to create a poster and, of course, they chose They Live, which is screening Thursday night in Austin. Fairey predictably knocked it out of the park with an image that encompasses both his dogma and the movie’s.

After the jump check out the full image, find out when you can buy it and read about Fairey’s connection with the film.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Twice this week we’ve offered up VOTDs sourced from the Alamo Drafthouse, but how can we not highlight some great movie-related clips? The ‘Angry Caller’ anti-texting PSA we showed you on Monday really exploded over the internet in the past few days, to the point where Anderson Cooper featured it on his show, calling Drafthouse founder Tim League a great American hero, and nominating him for the Nobel Peace Price. Brilliant stuff.

This one is a little more down to Earth, but still very cool. It is John Carpenter‘s video introduction to They Live, which is playing tonight at a special screening at the Drafthouse. The show is sold out, in part because the movie will be introduced by artist Shepherd Fairey, who will also debut a new They Live poster at the screening. Those who can’t attend, however, can enjoy Mr. Carpenter’s introduction to the film. That, along with a tease of the new poster for They Live, is after the break. Read More »

John Carpenter’s The Ward Trailer

Echo Lake Productions has released the full movie trailer for John Carpenter‘s return to horror — The Ward.

Many of you know, Carpenter is a celebrated filmmaker who frequently has worked in the sci-fi and horror genres. He is one of the brand name filmmakers from the 1970’s-80’s. His filmography includes Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween, The Fog, Escape From New York, The Thing, Starman, Big Trouble in Little China, They Live, many of which have already been remade or are currently in development for a big screen redo. Carptener’s career hit a slump in the 1990’s with films like Memoirs of an Invisible Man, Village of the Damned, Escape from LA, Vampire$ and. Ghosts of Mars. Carpenter has not made a feature film in almost nine years. But don’t get too excited. It’s rare that I walk out of a movie theater angry, but this is what happened at the Toronto Film Festival screening of the film.

The story follows a young woman (played by Amber Heard) who is institutionalized after apparently setting fire to a house. Once inside “the ward,” Kristen becomes terrorized by a ghost of a former patient. The plot is beyond derivative, and functions only so that Carpenter can serve unexplained jump scares at the audience (shocking reveals with loud musical cues). The film is shot in a more old-fashioned approach, which comes off more stilted than nostalgic. But who knows, the film might have worked a lot better in the 1980’s. Watch the trailer now embedded after the jump. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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What is a trailer intro? Well, it is better than ‘announcement teaser,’ but not quite a full trailer. In this case, it looks like the first half of a trailer for the new film The Ward, starring Amber Heard, Jared Harris and Lyndsy Fonseca. Most times, I’d just wait for the full trailer to appear online, but this is a slightly special case, because The Ward is the first new theatrical feature from John Carpenter since 2001’s Ghosts of Mars. Will this be better than that last effort? Hit the break to get a slight indication one way or the other. Read More »