new Frozen 2 details

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit Walt Disney Animation in Burbank to take an early look at some footage from Frozen II, the highly-anticipated sequel to the 2013 mega-hit. Returning directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck and their team spent the last four years making this film, which is only the fourth sequel in Disney Animation history (not counting direct-to-video movies). Read on to discover what we learned about the film’s story, its new characters, the changes to Arendelle since the original movie, and much, much more. Read More »

With 136 film and television credits to his name, Jeffrey Combs has proven himself to be one of the most reliable and fascinating character actors of the past few decades. But to horror fans, he’s nothing short of a legend. With credits that include Re-Animator, Bride of Re-Animator, From Beyond, The Frighteners and so much more, he’s a natural fit for Shudder’s revival of Creepshow. When we visited the set earlier this year, we were able to watch Combs at work in a story titled “Bad Wolf Down,” where he plays a Nazi officer who messes with the wrong squad of American G.I.s. Because they’re werewolves, you see.

We weren’t able to speak to Combs on the set (because he was too busy filming, including a particularly gnarly final showdown with a werewolf), but we were able to chat with him on the phone a few weeks later, were he dished about the new show and his long history with the horror genre.

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Mike Flanagan Themes

What if one of the best modern horror filmmakers also had a big, gooey heart? That seems to the case with Mike Flanagan, whose work blends visceral scares with shattering humanism. With The Haunting of Hill House, Gerald’s Game, Hush, and more, Flanagan has proven adept at breaking hearts and eliciting scares in equal measure, something that will surely serve him well with the upcoming Doctor Sleep.

Based on the novel by Stephen King, Doctor Sleep is a sequel to The Shining and follows a grown-up Danny Torrance as he battles his alcoholism and attempts to overcome his childhood trauma. Of course, there are also psychic vampires to deal with, because this is still a thrilling horror story. In other words, it sounds like the right fit for Flanagan.

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While there have been countless adaptations of the work of Stephen King over the years, not all of them are fortunate enough to have both a personal blessing and input from the master of suspense himself. But in the case of the upcoming adaptation of Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining, producer Trevor Macy was lucky enough to get both. That’s actually surprising since the film version of Doctor Sleep is drawing a lot of elements from Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining, which Stephen King famously hated.

Find out all about the Doctor Sleep Stephen King involvement below.

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Doctor Sleep and The Haunting of Hill House

Mike Flanagan has directed many a horror film and even has a successful Stephen King feature film adaptation under his belt. But it was his work with the Netflix anthology horror series The Haunting of Hill House that helped prepare him best for Doctor Sleep.

The first season of the 10-episode anthology series was Flanagan’s first major foray into scripted television, and presented all manner of obstacles for the filmmaker. /Film visited the set of Doctor Sleep, and learned from Flanagan and producer Trevor Macy how The Haunting of Hill House played an influence on how they approached the upcoming The Shining sequel.

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It’s one of the most famous images in horror. A young child, maneuvering his big wheel through the long, quiet corridors of an empty hotel, turns a corner and sees something awful. Something terrible. Something impossible. Little Danny Torrance’s face contorts in horror. And while he makes it out of the Overlook Hotel alive before the credits roll, nothing will ever be the same.

And now, Doctor Sleep asks: what if Dan Torrance from The Shining grew up and had a whole bunch of new problems? And what if he was played by Ewan McGregor? Director Mike Flanagan‘s new film, based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name, follows the kid from The Shining decades later, as he battles his own addictions, his own traumas, and yes, a new supernatural threat.

I visited the set of Doctor Sleep late last year and the assembled journalists were able to sit down with McGregor to talk about Dan Torrance and how you prepare to play the son of a character played by Jack Nicholson.

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Doctor Sleep matters because The Shining matters. Whether you love the original Stephen King novel or the Stanley Kubrick film adaptation (Or both! It’s possible!), the story of the cursed Overlook Hotel looms large in our collective imaginations. When Doctor Sleep was published in 2013, it immediately leapt onto Hollywood’s radar. After all, it was a sequel to The Shining, following a grown-up Dan Torrance as he tackles a new set of demons (and a few older ones). Now, six years later, the film adaptation from Gerald’s Game and The Haunting of Hill House director Mike Flanagan is months away from opening.

I visited the set of Doctor Sleep late last year and gathered with other journalists in the evil Room 237 itself to ask Flanagan and producer Trevor Macy about the film’s journey to the big screen. Here’s what we learned.

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Is Doctor Sleep a Sequel to the Shining Book or Movie

The film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel Doctor Sleep had a unique problem before cameras could roll. Or even before the script could be written. How do you make a sequel to The Shining when the original book and its iconic, widely-seen and admired film adaptation are so incredibly different? How do you please the King fans and the Stanley Kubrick fans, especially when the former has been so publicly critical about the latter’s take on his work?

The answer is surprisingly simple: you try to do both.

I visited the set of Doctor Sleep late last year and it was immediately clear that the film would deviate in significant ways from the novel…mainly because the assembled journalists interviewed Mike Flanagan on on the set of the infamous Room 237. A room that no longer exists in the book because the Overlook Hotel burns down on the page, but remains standing in the film. It was in this cursed room that we learned all about the film’s tricky balancing act and how it will serve the visions of King, Kubrick and Flanagan himself.

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Doctor Sleep Overlook Hotel Sets

Mike Flanagan is excited to show us something.

We’re on the set of Doctor Sleep in Atlanta, Georgia and the film’s director is between takes and wants to watch our faces when we see it for the first time. He leads the journalists out of one soundstage and towards another, crossing a long pathway and passing various members of the crew as they hustle about. It’s a short hike, but Flanagan seems giddy. We soon learn why.

We enter the soundstage. We walk through a set of doors. And we’re in the Overlook Hotel, the obscenely haunted hotel from Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 horror masterpiece, The Shining. Specifically, we’re in the Colorado Lounge, the sprawling space where Jack Nicholson’s Jack Torrance wrote “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy” thousands of times. The space where Wendy Torrance confronts her husband with a baseball bat. The space Danny rides his big wheel through in so many icy tracking shots.

And it’s perfect. It’s the kind of thing that sends chills down your spine. We soon learn why: this set was built using the exact blueprints from Stanley Kubrick’s film, which were in storage at Warner Bros. It’s literally as close as anyone will ever get to actually entering the original movie.

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Before Greg Nicotero was an executive producer on AMC’s The Walking Dead, he was a co-founder of the legendary KNB special make-up effects studio. And before that gig saw him applying his talents to hundreds of movies and television shows, he worked under legendary make-up guru Tom Savini and iconic horror director George Romero on 1985’s Day of the Dead. Shortly after that, he would apply his talents to Creepshow 2 in 1987, which is appropriate enough – before he even entered the industry in a professional capacity, he visited the set of Romero’s 1982 horror masterpiece Creepshow, which was written by horror royalty Stephen King.

And now it all comes together. Later this month, AMC’s Shudder streaming service will debut a new take on Creepshow, a streaming TV series where each episode tells two gnarly horror tales from two different directors. Nicotero directed one episode, an adaptation of King’s short story “Gray Matter,” but he also ran the entire operation as an executive producer, a gig that ignited his passions. It was his chance to pay tribute to the late Romero and King (who gave the project his blessing and more), to bring in old friends and mentors like Tom Savini to direct episodes, and to offer a platform to beloved horror icons and newcomers alike.

While visiting the set of Creepshow earlier this year, we sat down with Nicotero for an extended chat about the new series, a passion project powered by practical effects, gallons of fake blood, and giddy love of the horror genre.

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