Monday, September 16, 2013

See No Evil 2 Lands Harris, Isabelle is reporting that "See No Evil 2," the sequel to 2006's WWE produced horror flick starring WWE superstar Kane, has landed both Danielle Harris and Katherine Isabelle to star.

Both actresses are well known to horror audiences, having starred in numerous genre pictures over the years.  Isabelle has worked with "See No Evil 2" directors the Soska Sisters in this year's "American Mary."

More info in the link:

Sunday, September 15, 2013

"Insidious 2" Brings in $41 Million Opening

On a tiny $5 million budget, James Wan's "Insidious Chapter Two" rolled over the competition to the tune of a $41 million dollar opening weekend.  Even assuming they spent a good bit on advertising, the movie is set to make a good amount of money.  Reviews were mixed, with the movie only receiving a 38% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  By comparison, the original has a 66% positive rating on the same site.

The fact is, reviews probably have little if nothing to do with interest in horror sequels, especially a first sequel.  It took "Saw" several creatively unsatisfying sequels before audiences stopped showing up and it's still uncertain what audience reactions to the new "Insidious" really are.

Meanwhile, "You're Next" is at a box office total of about $18 million.  While the movie was inexpensive, it still has to be seen as a disappointment given how successful so many mid tier horror movies have been this year.  "You're Next" was better received critically than either of the "Insidious" movies although audiences were more mixed, some being taken out of the picture by it's off-kilter tone.  Still, horror movies sell well to their hardcore audience and "You're Next" has a good chance of becoming a cult classic that does well on DVD, especially as director Adam Wingard's career goes forward.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Happy Birthday, Dario Argento!

Today is horror's technicolor madman, Dario Argento's, birthday.

"Suspiria" was the first Argento movie I ever watched and, to me, is still his best.

Here's that first scene, in all its bloody glory.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Curse of Chucky

First scene from "Curse of Chucky" has been released.

I was never a big fan of the "Child's Play" movies but this one actually looks decent.  Hope it's something the fans like!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Looking At The Original Halloween Screenplay

The great website is a great library of original screenplays, including a lot of original horror scripts.  I thought it might be interesting to peruse a few of them and see what the differences actually are - starting with John Carpenter and Debra Hill's "Halloween."

I think you've all heard of that one, right?

In overview, I have to say pretty much the entire movie is here, on the page.  Most of the cuts are dialogue.

It's worth noting that Carpenter wrote the script intending to direct - I'll try and track something down later that was written without a director attached to see if those are more different.  But Carpenter wrote in his shots which if you write screenplays hoping to sell them, they tell you not to do.

The opening is a touch different - it has the POV shot moving in on the house until it focuses on a Halloween mask, which it describes as 'a large, full-head platex rubber mask, not a monster or a ghoul, but the pale neutral features of a man weirdly distorted by the rubber.'  In other words, that's the traditional Michael Meyers mask.  This moment is skipped in the movie and, instead the POV starts eyeing the house and moving in for the first kill - which is pretty much the same.

That big crane shot Carpenter talks so much about when the parents find Michael holding the knife is in the script.  Again, the way this movie was shot was not a happy accident, Carpenter was pretty meticulous about laying it out.

Dialogue between Loomis and the Nurse is a little different, nothing significant, the order's different and the scene talking about moving Michael because it's the law isn't on the page.

There's a moment in the script where Loomis talks to a patient and the patient tells him "It's all right now. He's gone.  The evil's gone."  Cool and foreboding but they moved the lines over to Loomis after the car drives away.  As written Michael's escape is a little more involved and Loomis is in the car for it.  Nothing significant though, unless you really wanted to see Donald Pleasance get punched.

The cut to Haddonfield's the same - Laurie talking to her dad then meeting up with Tommy.  Again, the tracking shots on Laurie are all laid out. The moment where they call the house 'The Meyers House' isn't in the script.  My guess it was added for clarity.

Scene with Loomis and his co-worker's the same.

Scene with Laurie in class while Michael watches is the same except the script says Laurie doodles the phrase 'Laurie Strode is lonely.'

The scenes with Tommy and the bullies and Loomis on the phone are switched in the script.

In the scene where the little boy plows into Michael, in the script Michael drops a butcher knife, covers it with his foot and picks it up. That's all cut.  The script is clear that we never see Michael's face in all of this.

The dialogue Loomis says on the phone is completely different - in the script it's more like he's calling home, instead of calling in another warning.  The script doesn't note the dead body left behind at all.

Girls' chatter walking down the street is pretty much the same, scene with Laurie seeing Michael, then Annie going up behind the bush to see him is the same.  Scene with Sheriff Brackett's the same.

Script has a two or three line exchange with Laurie and her mother that's cut as the movie itself moves right upstairs to Laurie seeing Michael amongst the neighbor's drying laundry.

Again, there's an order switch - in the screenplay Loomis goes to the graveyard before Annie picks up Laurie, which is switched in the final cut.

Scene with Brackett, the girls and Loomis is the same.

One of the funny moments in the movie is the abrupt cut from dusk to dark when the girls are driving around - one seond it's nice, they turn a corner and it's pitch black.  In the script, that whole conversation about Ben Tramer is supposed to be at night, after a shot showing the moon to make it clear it's night.  No idea why it was moved to dusk.  But it does make it seem like Michael follows them for a loooong time.

Michael getting out of the car and watching the Wallace's is the same.

Loomis and Brackett's dialogue is mostly the same, although the bit where Loomis says he has a gun permit isn't in the script.

Nothing new for awhile - Laurie and Annie on the phone, with Michael outside and Tommy seeing The Boogeyman is essentially the same.  The dog getting it's the same.

Not a lot of changes as time goes on - there really isn't a lot of dialogue at this point, it's mostly shots.

The scene where Michael watches Annie go into the house where Laurie is he's also supposed to have a knife.  Interesting that in the two scenes where Michael's supposed to have a knife, instead of showing the weapon, they used that hot scare with the factory whistle sound as a replacement.  The whistle's more jarring, especially since so much of the movie is pretty quiet to this point.

The set-up and delivery of Annie getting killed is about the same, although the script has a short scene where her dad calls, probably there to give Michael more time to sneak into the car.  Annie's death is a little different in the script, in the script Michael just pops up, covers her mouth with his hand and stabs her in the throat.

Scene with the kids and Laurie is the same.

Kids playing around the Meyers's house is the same, other than the script has the kid saying "bullshit" instead of "bull."  Loomis and Brackett is the same.

Lynda and Bob is the same - long sequences like this take up so much space in a screenplay.

Bob getting killed is the same.  No, Michael looking back and forth at his dead body is not in the screenplay.

The next long stretches are pretty much the same.  Loomis finds the car, Laurie goes over to the Wallace house, she has her first confrontation with Michael and then runs back across the street to the Doyle house.  All that's right there.

In fact, the entire climax is pretty much as written, which is a testament to Carpenter.  This is very much a director's screenplay, all the cuts and action are right there.

Anyway, if you're so inclined, peruse the screenplay sometime and see how many little decisions got made along the way to tighten the screenplay into what is now "Halloween."

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Back For the Attack

Ok, I'm going to get this thing rolling again here ASAP, especially as Halloween approaches.  My hope is to do more than just reviews - I mean, reviews are fine, I actually like writing reviews, but there are a lot of reviews out there.

I'll probably do a 'Favorite Horror Movie' countdown in October.  Emphasis on FAVORITE, so it's not a BEST list.  I don't know what's the best, but I know what I love.

I've also found a good amount of screenplay drafts online.  (They're not hard to find.)  Still, a lot of them are pretty interesting glimpses into how movies are made and what things get cut and what things don't.  Dialogue in particular tends to run long in original screenplays but actors can often reduce the need for so many words.

Anyway, I'm still here and going to try to make my corner of the horror web count.