Peele, Viggo, Dracula – Weekly Round Up: In times of uncertainty, politically and socially, the horror genre booms in popularity. It happened during the Depression era, and it happened in the 80s, and in today’s confusing, turbulent and volatile climate it’s happening again. It and It Chapter Two are the biggest earning horror movies of all time, Ari Aster’s Hereditary and Midsommar have brought more unusual, art-house stylings to mainstream critical success, and Jordan Peele won an Oscar for his horror movie, Get Out, which he then followed up with his successful, albeit divisive, second movie, this year’s Us.
Peele’s transition from one half of the comedy double act Key and Peele to exciting new voice in horror, has been well documented. Other than his two movies, both of which have enjoyed critical praise and commercial success, he’s also hosting and producing the reboot of The Twilight Zone on CBS, and has the upcoming series Lovecraft Country on his slate too. And that’s before we even mention next summer’s intriguing remake of the Tony Todd starring cult classic Candyman, which remains one of my most eagerly anticipated movies of 2020.
It seems that Universal Studios, who distributed Peele’s Get Out and Us, are keen to lock the writer/director into a deal, as they have recently agreed to extend their agreement with Monkeypaw Productions, Peele’s production company, that ensures they will release all of his films. The deal covers the next five-years, and any movies produced under the Monkeypaw banner will receive distribution from Universal. The agreement also extends to two new films from Peele himself, which he will write and direct, that will be made during that time.
What these movies will be I don’t know, but I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark and guess that they’ll be some sort of timely parable, told through the prism of the horror genre, and touch on current issues while using iconic imagery from classic movies as influence…
I wasn’t a huge fan of Us, I felt it lost its way in that final act, was far less focused than the excellent Get Out, and struggle to convey just whatever it was Peele was trying to say, but that doesn’t mean I’m not excited to see more from the man. His blend of darkly comic horror and contemporary analogy is intriguing.
While we’re on the subject of horror, the casting news for Halloween 2018 sequels Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends (scheduled for release in 2020 and 2021 respectively) has been gearing up as we edge closer to the start of production. Both movies are going to be shot back to back, and so we can expect a lot more information over the coming weeks.
The 2018 movie went out of its way to ignore the events of every Halloween film bar the first (a mistake, in my opinion, and one that actually damaged part of the story they were trying to tell…), but did focus heavily on bringing back some of the original cast, most obviously Jaimie Lee Curtis, who returned to the role that arguably made her.
Returning characters and cast members seem to have been the theme when it comes to the poorly titled sequels (seriously, who came up with those???). First was the news that Anthony Michael Hall will be playing Tommy Doyle, the boy Curtis’ Laurie Strode was babysitting in the original, while Kyle Richards, who played Lindsay Wallace in the original, is returning to her role.
Well, we can now add to that list Nancy Stephens. Stephen played Nurse Marion Chambers in the Carpenter original, and it was her car Myers stole in order to escape. She also appeared in a pivotal role in the original Halloween II, in which she reveals that Laurie Strode is, in fact, Myers’ sister… of course, since the new movies ignore the sequels then that is no longer the case, and she’s now just the person who’s car the killer stole. Or something. I’m not sure anymore. The entire franchise has gone off the rails and is confusing as hell.
Maybe they’ll do the sister twist in this one, since removing it from the continuity makes Myers’ determination to kill Laurie after so many years pretty weird.
As it’s October, and that means Halloween season, I’m going to stay in the horror lane this week. Screw you guys who were hoping for some Scorsese bashing, you came to the wrong place!
Bram Stoker’s Dracula is one of the most iconic and recognizable stories of all time, but it’s been a long while since we have a truly great adaptation or interesting take on the material. The last real attempt was Universal’s Dracula Untold, which marked their first attempt to kick-start a monster cinematic universe, and that film was… well, let’s call it a bad business decision.
It seems, however, that we might finally be getting another crack at the infamous Count, and one that sounds genuinely interesting and inventive as well.
Last Voyage of the Demeter is a film that has been in-development since 2001, so it’s done the rounds many times, but the concept is as great as any concept can be. For those of you who don’t know, the Demeter is the doomed ship that carries Dracula from his distant home across the sea to London in Stoker’s original novel. However, in Stoker’s novel the ship arrives at the harbor with not a single surviving crewmember. It’s a deliciously creepy little addition to the novel, which is also left wholly unexplored.
The film, then, is set to expand upon this idea, and will see Dracula and his vampire followers feeding on the doomed crew. I’m almost picturing a period piece Die Hard, with vampires instead of terrorist, and some claustrophobic, paranoid horror straight out of The Thing… and none other than Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark director Andre Ovredal is now in talks to direct.
Viggo Mortenson was also reportedly set to star at one point, although whether that is still the case remains a mystery. I’m very excited about this one, and I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for any further news.
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