Monday, October 31, 2005

Tricks and Treats

Excellent entry at Splinster about creepy films and the definition of horror.

Tired of waiting on Hollywood? Check out, Xombie. It's an amazing animated series done entirely in Flash. I keep meaning to try something like this but I'm afraid of what the end result will be: a bunch of herky-jerky stickmen.

I'm not huge fan of her work (in fact, I'm not even a little one) but it's still blogworthy, Anne Rice has declared that from now on, she will only write for the Lord. I respect her decision but I'm not sure if I understand it. Isn't it possible to be a Christian and a horror writer?




Saturday, October 29, 2005

SAW II cuts down the competition

12.5 Million on Friday alone, whoa! Guess we can expect to see a Saw III, IV and V. "Doom" came out last week and was only able to scare up around 15 million. Perhaps "The Rock" just isn't that big of a draw and/or people are getting tired of lame videogame adaptations. Maybe we're all underestimating the Donnie Walhberg factor. I mean, he was in "Sixth Sense" and look how much that made. Coincidence? I think not.


Monday, October 24, 2005

Greenlight alums do it again!

Talk about taking the bull by the horns. Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan got their big break by winning Project Greenlight with "Feast". They get hired to write "Highlander: The Source" and now they strike again by selling a "Horror Heist" pitch. And hey, maybe they could've made those deals without the benefit of PGL but it sure didn't hurt. Now if "Feast" could just make some kind profit this January, the rest of us could get another shot at the contest.


Saturday, October 22, 2005

Update: Fantasy Spec (outline)

This is ridiculous. I'm starting the damn thing. Today.

Underworld: Evolution



Check out the new trailer here.






Update: TV Pilot

Got it out yesterday, barely. You know how it is, Murphy's Law and all. Took a long time to get all the parts together but I'm glad it's finally done. There's nothing like that sense of satisfaction from finishing a script, sending it off and then waking up in a cold sweat because you had a nightmare about the script missing pages, no entry fee included... Silly, paranoid me. I'm not exactly sure where the teleplay goes from here. I never envisioned it as a screenplay but that wouldn't be an impossible task. The comic book world is another avenue but I'm getting ahead of myself, let's just see how it does in the Slamdance contest. Anyway, the dragon has been slain. Bring on the next dragon! And speaking of dragons....





Saturday, October 15, 2005

Alien vs. Predator

After all the bad publicity, I stayed away from this one like the plague but I caught the premiere on cable last weekend. Honestly, it wasn't the complete train wreck that I had expected. 20th Century Fox overreacted by not having advanced screenings for critics and turning two R-rated franchises into a PG-13 combo "alienated" hardcore fans. Screenwriter and Director Paul W. S. Anderson didn't help matters with his rants about being handcuffed by the studio. Original "Alien vs. Predator" screenwriter Peter Briggs, openly criticized Anderson's version. As luck would have it, both screenplays were on the net and it gave me an opportunity to do a little compare and contrast.
Both scripts have their strengths and weaknesses. Briggs' futuristic version is an all out slugfest. The Aliens aren't limited to humanoid hosts, they impregnate a few rhinos and other animals on the rain forests of planet Ryushi. On the minus side, the script would have been very expensive to produce. Briggs himself says it would have cost somewhere around 80-100 million dollars to produce (and this was a screenplay written in the early 90s). The Anderson version (with a little help from Shane Salerno) is more cost efficient, most of it taking place inside the mother of all pyramids (literally) which happens to be in Antartica (two thousand feet under the ice--don't ask).
I'm aware of the "Alien vs. Predator" books and the "Batman vs. Predator" comic, but most of my knowledge comes from the previous "Alien" and "Predator" movies. Sigourney Weaver's Ellen Ripley is a hard act to follow, both scripts trot out their own female protagonists (Hiroko Noguchi in the Briggs screenplay) and they work for the most part. Independent, resourceful and all the other Girl Power buzz words you can think of. The humans in both scripts are fine. Aside from our female protagonists, they aren't asked to do a whole lot (except scream and die). The Anderson/Salerno version tries to give the characters depth, a little backstory and even tries to bridge the gap of the "Alien" movies by having Lance Henrikson in the film. This focus on character probably drove fanboys crazy because it feels like Act I drags on forever. Briggs levels the playing field a bit by giving the humans guns with automatic tracking and hover bikes but the trouble with both screenplays is that they're just action movies, the horror element that was prevalent in both franchises is almost ignored.
In "Aliens", Burke locks Ripley and Newt in a room with two facehuggers so he can smuggle them past quarantine once they've been impregnated with the parasite. Hudson, the badass space marine becomes a blubbering idiot after a fire-fight with the Aliens. In "Predator", some characters are on the brink of madness while others are in complete denial. In any crisis, there are going to be heroes but there are also going to be villains and cowards. Just because we have mean nasty Aliens running around, it doesn't
mean they should be the sole bad guys. I've always thought the Aliens were the personification of the evil inside all of us. We're the real monsters.
I could nitpick at Weyland's "heroic" death, question how Lex is supposed to survive in the Artic without a hat or jacket or wonder how long the Predators will tolerate Hiroko but I'll let it go. Both screenplays are good study for sci-fi and/or action writers. Would Briggs' script have been more commercially successful? Maybe, although the Anderson version did make 171 million dollars worldwide (most of that, outside the U.S.) Anyway, just my humble my opinion.




Thursday, October 13, 2005

"Serenity"


I was going to make an entry about "Serenity" tanking at the box office, despite mostly good reviews and a rabid cult following but I came across this bit of news on

The Movie Blog
. Those Brits know a good movie when they see it. I'm not sure how to explain the poor showing in the States. My best guess would be the lack of star power. The cast is made up of mostly unknowns with television roots. Chiwetel Ejiofor isn't a big name here but he's well known in the UK, hence the success. Either way, "Serenity" will make a killing when it comes out on DVD.




Saturday, October 08, 2005

Stay

A while back, there was an early draft of the screenplay floating around the net. It involves a shrink trying help a suicidal patient....a lot of strange stuff happens along the way. I'm really curious to see what the finished product looks like, especially with a cast that includes Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts and Ryan Gosling. The script sold for an eye-popping 1.8 million dollars, almost unheard of these days. A good read but I didn't think it was *that* good.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Story Starters

You gotta love the Obscure Store cause if you're looking for ideas, it always has the best.

Cops find more than 200 rats in man's small house...
Missing man found dressed like a doctor, driving stolen ambulance...

And if you just want the scoop on cattle mutilations, UFOs, gangsters, celebrities, etc. take a gander at the FBI's FOIA reading room.Yes, the F-B-I.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

High Spirits

Curse you woman and your hypnotic charms! "Ghost Whisperer" is getting ratings, really good ratings. The first two episodes averaged around 11 million viewers, higher than any network show on Friday night.You gotta give it to CBS, they were able to dump the struggling "Joan of Arcadia", replace it with a show that caters to the same audience and got even bigger ratings.

Update: TV Pilot

Got a bit of a reprieve the other day, the final deadline for the Slamdance Teleplay contest is now October 21st. Yeah, I could have steamrolled my way through and dropped my entry off at the Post Office yesterday, but I'm happy for an extra couple of days to give everything a proper once over.



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