We’re well through the first and second tiers of horror remakes, as we’ve seen new versions of Psycho and ’80s slasher series such as Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Friday the 13th, not to mention remakes of slightly less well-knwon films such as The Hills Have Eyes and Piranha.

Now, with a remake wave that also includes Maniac, we’ve got a new version of Silent Night, Deadly Night. The 1984 original caused a minor furor less for its content (most of the people complaining never saw the original) but for the fact that the story of a serial-killing Santa was advertised during prime time.

I know there’s a war on Christmas and everything (sarcasm), but still, it’s difficult to believe that Silent Night, which remakes/updates the ’84 film, will create the same sort of furor. That said, the trailer for the remake makes it out to be a slasher in the modern exploitation mode with enough creep-out factor and weird intensity to satisfy fans of the genre. And why the hell does that voice at the end sound so much like Willem Dafoe? Read More »

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I won’t even try to pretend there’s a unifying theme among these films, aside from the fact that they’re all under-the-radar spring entertainments. After the jump, watch trailers for the found-footage scarefest Area 407, the unabashedly nasty thriller The Aggression Scale, the Martin Scorsese-produced documentary Surviving Progress, and the adorable puppy drama Quill: The Life of a Guide Dog. Like I said — they’ve got little in common.

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In the early ’80s, the horror film Silent Night, Deadly Night caused an uproar, but now it just more remake fodder. Released at Christmas in ’84, people were just as angry about one TV ad for the film, which showed an axe-wielding Santa Claus during the prime time block of TV, as they were about the movie itself. (Probably more so, as I doubt that most of the angry ones actually saw the film.)

The movie depicted a family being killed by a criminal dressed as Santa Claus; the one survivor of that family massacre then snaps at Christmas many years later, and turns into a killer. Gene Siskel ripped the movie on At the Movies — “your profits really are blood money,” he said of the film’s creators — but in truth, the only thing more hilarious than the controversy over the film is the movie itself. Mostly inept, the picture has wonderfully unintentionally funny scenes and a few depraved and entertainingly exploitative kills. Best use of a sled since Citizen Kane!

And now we’ll get to see it all again, with Malcolm McDowell in one of the lead roles. Read More »

One of the films announced today as part of the SXSW 2012 Midnight lineup is The Aggression Scale, from director/editor Steven C. Miller (Automaton Transfusion) and writer Ben Powell. The film is called “an 80′s influenced thriller with teenagers as the heroes,” and comes from Snowfort Pictures and producer Travis Stevens, who is behind A Horrible Way to Die and Jodorowsky’s Dune.

The film stars a great lineup of new and veteran genre and not-quite-mainstream actors: Fabianne Therese (John Dies at the End), Ryan Hartwig (The Thompsons), Dana Ashbrook (Twin Peaks), Derek Mears (Friday the 13th), Jacob Reynolds (Gummo), Joseph McKelheer (The Hamiltons) and Ray Wise (Twin Peaks).

We’ve got the exclusive poster premiere below, as well as some stills and the first trailer, all of which were released today. Read More »

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