Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Trailers: Snow White vs. Mirror, Mirror

I'm not gonna name names, but the incredible badassness of one trailer got me super excited and then there was Mirror Mirror -- okay, so I named names. I wasn't expecting Tarsem Singh's lighthearted take. It could still turn out to be a good story though... or not.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (review)

You wouldn't believe the number of daily hits I get because of a post back in March commenting on the Dylan Dog: Dead of Night trailer. The film is based on a popular Italian comic -- learned they're called fumetti -- about a private investigator who deals with the supernatural. If you blinked, you probably missed its limited theatrical run, an underwhelming $1.1M total domestic gross and %6 rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Virtually an unknown property in the States, I'm guessing the majority those hits come from Europe.

At first glance, it's easy to mistake Dead of Night for a SyFy original movie because it looks hella cheap and cheesy. However, the budget was $20M and it features more than a few recognizable faces like Brandon Routh, Sam Huntington, Taye Diggs, and Peter Stormare. The story does feel like it was conceived with a much bigger budget in mind: Dylan (Routh) must navigate Louisiana's secret supernatural underworld by interacting with werewolves, vampires, and zombies in order to solve the murder of his client's father.

This is basically a poor man's Constantine (coincidentally, of which it shares an actor and a producer) with lots of failed attempts at humor -- to his credit, Huntington does an admirable job as Dylan's hilarious-sidekick-turned-reluctant-zombie and has nice arc. $20M is more than enough to produce a good film, but not the kind of fantasy-adventure the producers were trying to pull off. A link I tweeted a week or two ago called Confessions of a Low-Budget Horror Writer suddenly seems worth mentioning again. The special effects here just aren't up to par and the story was fairly weak. The big third act twist and resolution was just silly.

The splash pages from the comic have far more interesting ideas. They really put the theatrical posters to shame. It might have made more sense to adapt Dylan Dog into a TV series rather than a feature. Horror comedies have a notoriously spotty track record at the box office. For every Zombieland, you'll get ten Dylan Dogs.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Underworld Awakening 3D - Trailer

Still can't figure out why the girl was omitted from the previous trailer. She has an important role in the story. I guess revealing too much could scare off hardcore fans. Action looks better here. Werewolves and Vamps might be losing a bit of their pop culture sparkle luster, but this should make a decent amount of change at the box office.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The Blood List for 2011

Here are the 13 most-liked and unproduced screenplays in the horror, thriller, sci-fi, fantasy, or dark comedy/drama genres (via The Blood List):

"Maggie" by John Scott III
15 Votes
Agents: Billy Hawkins & Dan Rabinow (CAA)
Logline: After a zombie infects a 16-year old girl, she has six weeks before she transforms.
Genre: Horror/Sci Fi
Status: Pierre Ange financing. Henry Hobson attached to direct. Casting.

"Bethlehem" by Larry Brenner
13 Votes
Agent: Martin Spencer (CAA)
Manager: Mitch Soloman (Magnet Management)
Logline: In a post-apocalyptic world overrun by flesh-eating zombies, a benevolent vampire teams up with a group of humans to survive.
Genre: Horror
Status: Joe Roth & Palak Patel producing. Julius Sevcik directing.

"Subject Zero" by Dave Cohen
13 Votes
Agent: Emile Gladstone (ICM), Kathleen Remington
Manager: Jeremy Platt (Generate)
Logline: It's a love story on par with Romeo & Juliet. It's a father and son movie. It's a tragedy. It's a monster movie tipping it's hat to Frankenstein and most importantly it's an origin story explaining the birth of a viral scourge.
Genre: Horror
Status: Available

"Mr. Allen" by John Hulme
11 Votes
Agent: Adam Levine (Verve)
Manager: John O' Morisano (Powder Room Graffiti)
Logline: When his childhood boogeyman returns, a father must fight toprotect not only his inner fears, but also his family.
Genre: Horror
Status: John Hulme is attached to direct.

"The Boy Next Door" by Barbara Curry
7 Votes
Manager: John Jacobs (Smart Entertainment)
Logline: A lonely woman in her 30s has a one-night stand with the 17-year-old boy next door but his obsession proves to be deadly. In the vein of "Fatal Attraction."
Genre: Thriller
Status: Available

"The Devil's Punchbowl" by Alex & Max Schenker
6 Votes
Agent: Greg Pedicin (Gersh)
Manager: Jeremy Platt (Generate)
Logline: Upon inheriting a ranch, a man becomes mired in an age-old blood feud with his new neighbors.
Genre: Thriller
Status: Available.

"In The Event Of A Moon Disaster" by Mike Jones
6 Votes
Agent: David Kopple (CAA)
Manager: Lindsay Willams (Gotham Group)
Logline: A re-telling of the first moon landing, but in this version disaster strikes the astronauts.
Genre: Thriller
Status: FilmNation producing.

"Martyrs" by Mark L. Smith
(Based on the French film of the same name that was written and directed by Pascal Laugier)
6 Votes
Agent: Stuart Manashil (CAA)
Logline: Two best friends who grew up in foster care take revenge on those that brutalized them.
Genre: Thriller
Status: Temple Hill & Morgan White producing. Daniel Stamm is attached to direct.

"Washington Square Park" by Scott Milam
6 Votes
Agent: Adam Levine (Verve)
Manager: Brad Kaplan (Evolution)
Logline: After a girl wakes up from a brutal attack, she begins to have supernatural visions, which leads her to unravel a disturbing truth about NYC's Washington Square Park. In the vein of "Poltergeist" meets "Salem's Lot." Based on true events.
Genre: Horror
Status: Daniel Alter & Caliber Media Co.'s Jack Heller producing and looking to partner.

"No Good Deed" by Jessica Chandler-Fay
5 Votes
Manager: Ken Freimann (Circle of Confusion)
Logline: After saving the life of a young woman left for dead in an alley, a good samaritan couple realize the dying girl was just bait and quickly find themselves in an escalating game of cat and mouse with the twisted family who set the trap. In the vein of "The Strangers."
Genre: Horror
Status: Available

"Cul-De-Sac" by Evan Hoyt Wasserstrom
4 Votes
Agent: Ryan Saul (APA)
Logline: When a group of teenagers carpool to a Friday night party together,looking for a good time, they end up at the wrong house which is occupied by squatters (a murderous husband and wife) who will do anything to get their hands on a young female to procreate for them.
Genre: Horror
Status: Available, Dan Scheinkman attached to produce and looking to partner.

"The Faces" by Eric Reese
4 Votes
Agent: Stuart Manashil & Matt Rosen (CAA)
Managers: Jeremy Bell, Nate Matteson & Peter McHugh (Gotham Group)
Logline: A newlywed couple finds themselves the target of an organizationthat uses terror as a means of entertainment.
Genre: Horror
Status: FilmNation producing. Paul Solet directing.

"Rattle Man" by Victor Salva
3 Votes
Agent: Abram Nalibotsky (Gersh)
Manager: Dave Brown (Artist International)
Logline: 3 brothers encounter the evil Rattle Man, a shadowy figure that terrorizes them and their small coastal town.
Genre: Horror
Status: Available

A few quick thoughts:

The two highest rated screenplays involve zombies. The living dead are seemingly everywhere these days, but the majority of zombie-centric stories aren't especially unique or compelling -- doesn't stop folks from churning 'em out though. Maggie's logline seems like a fresh take on what it means to become a zombie. Bethlehem sounds somewhat generic. It's going to depend on execution, execution, and execution. Did I mention execution?

Hard to judge something like Subject Zero because it's so darn vague...

Washington Square Park is described as being in the vein of Poltergeist meets Salem's Lot, but it's also based on true events. Huh? Perhaps Mr. Milam knows something we don't...

Interesting crop of loglines. I don't know how effective they'd be in a query letter. Some are a little too ambiguous for my taste. Hopefully, most of these projects will be produced. There's always next year for the rest of us...


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