Sometimes when someone of note in cinema moves on, it reminds you of your own blind spots in the genre. On the upside, it can also reveal a potentially wonderful filmography for which to familiarize yourself. Today marks the passing of Spanish director Jess Franco, a prolific genre presence who dabbled in erotic themes, writing and directing such films as Vampyros Lesbos and The Sinister Eyes Of Dr. Orloff.
Other films in his canon include, Vampire Junction, Killer Barbys, Zombie 5, Hellholl Women, Cannibal Terror, The Lustful Amazons, A Virgin Among The Living Dead, Count Dracula and Dracula contra Frankenstein.
While Vampyros Lesbos seems like a good starting point, I plan on checking out at least one film from Franco’s vast body of work this weekend. How about you?
An extremely sad bit of news today as reports are emerging that director David R. Ellis has passed away at the age of 60. Ellis got his start in Hollywood as a stunt coordinator (and stunt man), working on such films as 1978′s Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, Scarface, Lethal Weapon and Misery. He worked as a 2nd Unit Director on Waterworld, Deep Blue Sea and the first Harry Potter movie among other films.
But where he really earned our love was as the director of such fun, unpretentious films as Final Destination 2, Snakes On A Plane, The Final Destination, Cellular and Shark Night 3D. I particularly loved how he elevated the Rube Goldberg style traps in Final Destination 2. At the time of his death he was prepping to reunite with his Snakes On A Plane star Samuel L. Jackson on the film KITE.
Ellis passed away this morning in Johannesburg, South Africa. The cause of death is not known at this time.
It appears as though David Slade (pictured above; 30 Days Of Night, Hard Candy, Eclipse) is the latest director to tackle Josh Zetumer’s Villain. Zetumer, if you’ll recall, also wrote the upcoming Robocop remake and is scripting The Infiltrator for as a Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle for Warner Brothers.
Per Variety, “Wayfare Entertainment has tapped David Slade to direct the psychological thriller ‘Villain,’ written by Josh Zetumer. Production is scheduled to take place in Alaska, and the filmmakers are currently casting the two lead roles.” In the film, “ a forest-fire spotter with a secret is visited by his crazy brother in the remote, frozen wilderness of the Pacific Northwest.”
I remember reading a draft of this script back in 2006 or 2007, I’m pretty sure it was Zetumer’s spec/calling card at the time. People were flipping out about it and I was wondering if they knew something I didn’t. Maybe I should dust it off again and see if I can dig it as much as everyone else apparently does. It certainly takes place in the snow, which Slade knows well.
So much for David Cronenberg, Alfonso Cuaron and Bennet Miller, The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire will be directed by Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend, Water For Elephants). Or at least it’s been offered to him (he’ll take it).
Per Variety, “Lionsgate has offered the ‘Catching Fire’ directing gig to Francis Lawrence… Lionsgate is planning to shoot the movie starting in the late summer.”
Earlier reports had claimed Lawrence as the frontrunner because his schedule was open. Lionsgate wants to get the sequel into production by August for a release date of November 22nd, 2013. The script will again be adapted by both novelist Suzanne Collins and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy. The Hunger Games, which echoes Running Man and Battle Royale, has surpassed $500 million worldwide – so I understand the need for a sequel. What I don’t understand is the rush to a release date. If the director of your big hit bows out in part because of time issues, it makes more sense to me to create time for him rather than find someone who will now have even less time to prepare.
It’s not like this thing isn’t going to be a hit – it is. I’m not necessarily against Lawrence, I’m against the rush. Lionsgate has a potential Harry Potter on their hands, a franchise of mega blockbuster films that could actually be known for being good, but they’re treating it like another Twilight. At least one HP film shifted release dates because it wasn’t ready. And another switched away from being in 3D because it didn’t look good. It’s too bad that choices from that mindset are comparatively bold.
The sequel, “features a special edition of the Hunger Games every quarter-century in which tributes are “reaped” from the victors of past games. Among the key new characters is Finnick, a combatant in the second book who leads a revolt against the Capitol, and the head Gamemaker in the second book who turns out to be working stealthily for the uprising.“
Earlier today I attended the junket for The Raven, the new film by James McTeigue (V For Vendetta) starring John Cusack (Hot Tub Time Machine), Alice Eve (Star Trek 2) and Luke Evans (The Hobbit). As part of the press day I sat down with producers Aaron Ryder (The Prestige) and Marc D. Evans (The Strangers).
While I’ll post my entire interview with the pair sometime in the coming weeks, I figured I’d go ahead and offer up the following exchange that occurred when I asked Evans about The Strangers 2. Previously Laurent Briet had been the rumored director (as of three years ago), and that still may be the case, but Evans’ comments suggest that something may have changed during the film’s protracted development process.
I have to ask about The Strangers 2.
“Yes. ‘The Strangers 2′. Well, I think that’s been a bit more of a saga than we would have all liked, and it’s a result of companies being sold and moved around and things like that. But the goal is to move that ahead this fall. Relativity and I have a great script that we love and and we’re in the process of putting that together to get it moving.”
Do you have a director yet?
“I can’t say at the moment. I know, but I can’t say. That news will be coming soon, somewhere. We’re very excited to have that move forward and get off the ground. I wish this was the ‘Strangers 3′ at this point, but sometimes things don’t always move at the pace that you’d like.”
Be sure to check out the rest of my interview with them closer to the release of the film. The Raven opens April 27th.
Roel Reine (Death Race 2) is back behind the camera of Death Race 3: Inferno, Universal Home Entertainment second sequel to the Jason Statham starrer Death Race that’s currently lensing in South Africa.
Bloody Disgusting’s been told that they’ve designed 10 new cars for the racing scenes. “They all looked very cool, more unique than ‘Death Race 1 & 2′, driving in some dunes close to Cape Town,” said a source.
Below you’ll find shots of three of said cars, the first being Frankenstein’. The sequel takes place after the events of Death Race 2. The new film will fix on off-road racing in the Mexican desert. Danny Trejo and Tanit Phoenix reprise their roles for the new film.
“Convicted cop-killer Carl Lucas , aka Frankenstein, is a superstar driver in the brutal prison yard demolition derby known as Death Race. Only one victory away from winning freedom for himself and his pit crew, Lucas is plunged into an all-new competition more vicious than anything he has experienced before. Pitted against his most ruthless adversaries ever, Lucas fights to keep himself and his team alive in a race in South Africa ‘s infernal Kalahari Desert. With powerful forces at work behind the scenes to ensure his defeat, will Lucas’ determination to win at all costs mean the end of the road for him?” READ MORE
According to the unreliable IMDB, the incredibly sexy America Olivo (pictured; Friday the 13th, Bitch Slap) will play the mother of Frank (Elijah Wood) in Franck Khalfoun’s now-filming remake of the 1980′s classic Maniac. They also report that Morgane Slemp (Hostel: Part III, R.I.P.D., Dracula 3D, Total Recall), Sal Landi (Poe), Dan Hunter, Freedom (Gangster Squad), Délé Ogundiran, Steffinnie Phrommany and Joshua De La Garza will also star alongside previously announced Nora Arnezeder and Genevieve Alexandra.
Produced by Alex Aja, “Wood plays the role of a serial killer who works at a shop that sells antique mannequins. He finds victims on the Internet and stalks them like prey, all the while suffering from hallucinations that throw him back into the past, when he was abused by his own mother. In his twisted mind, he gains a measure of revenge against his mother with each kill.” READ MORE
Roel Reine (Death Race 2) is back behind the camera of Death Race 3: Inferno, Universal Home Entertainment second sequel to the Jason Statham starrer Death Race.
Tony Giglio, who cleaned up Paul W.S Anderson’s screenplay, has posted the below first behind-the-scenes image featuring Frankenstein’s car and a perusing helicopter. The sequel takes place after the events of Death Race 2. The new film will fix on off-road racing in the Mexican desert.
It’s expected that quite a few of the cast members from the last film – including Danny Trejo and Tanit Phoenix – would reprise their roles for the new film. READ MORE
Bloody Disgusting is exclusively being told that Nora Arnezeder (Safe House) and Elijah Wood (The Lord of the Rings) have been cast as “Anna” and “Frank” in Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes, Piranha 3D, Mirrors, High Tension) and producing/writing partner Grégory Levasseur‘s remake of William Lustig’s classic 1980 slasher Maniac.
As previously reported, Aja and Levasseur will be reteaming with P2 helmer Franck Khalfoun. Khalfoun will be directing from a screenplay by Aja and Levasseur.
In the original film, “a schizoid serial killer randomly stalks and kills various young women in New York, which he sees as revenge for the mistreatment he got while being raised by his own abusive mother.” READ MORE
Back in 2010 is was revealed that Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes, Piranha 3D, Mirrors, High Tension) and producing/writing partner Grégory Levasseur would be remaking William Lustig’s classic 1980 slasher Maniac, with rumors that the French filmmaker would possibly be directing.
Bloody Disgusting exclusively learned today that Aja and Levasseur will actually be reteaming with P2 helmer Franck Khalfoun. Khalfoun will be directing from a screenplay by Aja and Levasseur.
In the original film, “a schizoid serial killer randomly stalks and kills various young women in New York, which he sees as revenge for the mistreatment he got while being raised by his own abusive mother.”
IMDB has listed Roel Reine (Death Race 2) to return to the helm of Death Race 3, Universal Home Entertainment second sequel to the Jason Statham starrer Death Race (remake).
Tony Giglio has cleaned up Paul W.S Anderson’s screenplay which takes place after the events of Death Race 2. The new film will fix on off-road racing in the Mexican desert, as previously reported by Moviehole.
It’s expected that quite a few of the cast members from the last film – including Danny Trejo and Tanit Phoenix – would reprise their roles for the new film.
Dark Horse comic Beasts of Burden is heading to the big-screen with Shrek and Chronicles of Narnia director Andrew Adamson leading the charge, reports Heat Vision.
Adamson is producing what is intended to be a CG-animated feature adaptation with his Strange Weather Films partner Aron Warner along with Mike Richardson of Dark Horse Entertainment.
“ ‘Burden’ is set in a community called Burden Hill where a series of supernatural events occur, causing a gang of dogs (and one cat) to team up in order to keep their owners and the town’s residents safe.”
Evan Dorkin (“Milk & Cheese”) and Jill Thompson (“Scary Godmother”) created the characters, which first appeared in “The Dark Horse Book of Hauntings, Witchcraft, the Dead and Monsters,” and earned the duo Eisner Awards for best short story and best painter.
Dark Horse is teeing up RIPD, to star Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges, at Universal, where it is also developing big-screen adaptations of Emily the Strange and Umbrella Academy.