Alexandre Aja

Horns-Daniel-Radcliffe

The filmmakers behind Horns had a wealth of material at their disposal. Author Joe Hill‘s novel easily could’ve been adapted into a miniseries, which is an idea even the film’s director, Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes), endorses. It’s not a gigantic book, but it tells more than one story, both tonally and structurally. Hill’s novel goes from comedy to horror in a matter of pages. In the movie, those transitions often happen in seconds. Pulling off those tonal shifts is a challenge and they’re certainly not meant for every filmgoer. Joe Hill, on the other hand, wants to see more of those kinds of movies. He also wouldn’t mind less adaptations like The Prince of Tides, a film he highly recommends staying away from. Hill had plenty more to say in our discussion with him at Comic-Con, including why having a sexual fetish beyond high heels is important.

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Piranha 3D

Four years ago Piranha 3D made an appearance at Comic Con. At the time, people weren’t expecting much from the movie. Director Alexandre Aja was just coming off the disastrously bad Mirrors and his remake of the Joe Dante film didn’t exactly look promising. In the end, Piranha 3D turned out to be a delightful surprise. It was funny, self-aware, and everything Piranha 3D should be. The sequel, however, was not. Two years after the first movie Piranha 3DD scored a 13% on Rotten Tomatoes and only grossed $8m worldwide. Now compare those numbers to the first movie’s 73% on Rotten Tomatoes and $83m global box-office take. The drop in quality is rather apparent. Maybe that wouldn’t have been the case if Aja got to make the sequel he envisioned.

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Horns-Daniel-Radcliffe

The new teaser for Horns is ever so brief, but it captures the plight of its hero in a tiny snapshot. Ig Parrish (Daniel Radcliffe) is dealing with the fallout of his girlfriend (Juno Temple) being brutally murdered, and everyone suspects him as the coldblooded killer. They don’t have much basis for their accusations — he didn’t do it — save for the fact that after her death he started sprouting alarmingly devil-like horns from his head without any explanation. Yeah, you would probably start the angry mob, too, after finding out on Nancy Grace that that guy was her boyfriend. The film, directed by Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes) adapted by Keith Bunin from the novel by Joe Hill, contains another major detail not mentioned in the teaser trailer: once Ig sprouts these strange horns, he can now also get everyone he encounters to be completely and utterly honest, even when he doesn’t want them to be that forthcoming. The horns are also a mind-control device, letting him easily manipulate the people who hate him so much into doing things out of their will. Ig didn’t kill Merrin, but the townspeople still have their pitchforks raised, wondering aloud if he has the “face of the devil.” Post-horns sprouting, are they correct?

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news horns1

Daniel Radcliffe is a having A Moment. With the trailer for Kill Your Darlings just released yesterday, we’re now getting a glimpse of his other upcoming project, Horns, in the form of some images revealing his titular problem. Horns, directed by Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes, Piranha 3D), follows an unassuming man named Ig (Radcliffe) who is accused of brutally murdering his beloved girlfriend Merrin (Juno Temple). Though Ig maintains his innocence, people have a really hard time believing his story when he starts sprouting devilish horns out of his forehead apropos of nothing. Gruesome as they may appear, the horns have the strange ability to force people around Ig to tell the truth, making this murder investigation just a little bit easier than he might have anticipated. The stills, courtesy of EW, show Ig in three states of horniness (not that kind, grow up), ranging from before Merrin’s death, in happier times,to his full incarnation looking satyr-like and emerging from a smoky bar that looks like the pits of hell itself. Should I insert my obligatory joke about Radcliffe being used to having unusual forehead features here? I’m looking forward to hearing more about this movie, which is adapted from a novel by Joe Hill (Stephen King’s son), and seeing a full length trailer that explains the process behind growing horns. Because Ig looks horrified.

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review maniac

Editor’s Note: Our review of Maniac originally ran as part of this year’s inaugural Stanley Film Fest coverage, but we’re re-running it now as the opens in limited theatrical release and premieres on VOD starting June 21st. Frank (Elijah Wood) is a lonely small business owner looking for love in all the wrong places. Sure, he meets a few girls through online dating services, but none of them work out beyond the first date. Though to be fair to the women, the evenings only go sour around the point Frank decides to scalp them for not living up to his dead mother’s high standards. His life gets a jolt and a singular chance at happiness when a photographer named Anna (Nora Arnezeder) stops by his mannequin restoration shop and asks a favor. The two develop a friendship, perhaps the first Frank has known is his life, and he begins to fall for her. It’s the closest thing to real love he’s ever felt and she’s the closest to redemption that he’ll ever get. But happiness just isn’t in the cards for Frank, and the pull of the knife begins again. This is Maniac, and not only is it one of the best serial killer films in years, but it’s also one of the most beautiful, creative and affecting ones, too.

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Screen Shot 2013-06-18 at 1.50.26 PM

Elijah Wood really defies all Hollywood expectations. After making a graceful transition from child stardom, he became a pop culture icon as Frodo in The Lord of the Rings movies while balancing out all that box office mojo with equally great performances in smaller, more personal films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Everything Is Illuminated. He’s also now in his third season as the suicidal Ryan the darkly comic Wilfred, returning this week on F/X. Wood takes his talents to more sinister depths in Franck Khalfoun’s Maniac (inspired by the 1980 film of the same name), in which he plays Frank, an isolated young man who restores antique mannequins in an industrial area of Los Angeles and freelances as a serial killer with a fetish for scalping his female victims. His murderous ways are spurred by an unhealthy relationship with his mother who exposed Frank to things as a child that he probably shouldn’t have seen. His dangerous dynamic with women gets a bit more complicated when he meets Anna (Nora Arnezeder), a beautiful artist who wants to use Frank’s mannequins in one of her installations. Frank develops true feelings for Anna, and these feelings are constantly at war with his deep-seeded urges to kill. Generic plot synopsis aside, Maniac is hardly a run-of-the-mill horror film. Filmed almost entirely through Frank’s POV, the film truly gets inside the mind of a serial killer to the point where you are forced to empathize with him despite his horrific actions. […]

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Joe Hill

Alexandre Aja‘s upcoming adaptation of Joe Hill‘s best selling novel Horns already has a solid and exciting lead actor in Daniel Radcliffe, but it looks like the cast may be about get even more interesting. Per The Wrap, three more actors are set to join the former boy wizard (and the previously-announced Max Minghella who plays the best friend and probable killer) in this dark tale of revenge and morality. Joe Anderson, Kelli Garner, and Juno Temple are all in negotiations for supporting roles. Radcliffe will play the lead, a young man who awakens one morning with devilish horns growing out of his head. Even odder, the horns make it impossible for people to lie to his face. When his girlfriend is found raped and murdered he sets out to find her killer using the power of the horns. But his search for the truth will uncover things he might not want to find.

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Like many foreign directors before him, Alexandre Aja followed the traditional path for hot filmmakers abroad who find themselves wooed by the bright lights and big money of Hollywood. He made a big, bloody splash on the genre scene with 2003′s High Tension and then pretty much tanked. He waited three years before making his American debut…with a capable but uninteresting remake of The Hills Have Eyes. Followed by Mirrors. Followed by Piranha. All three contain pockets of entertainment, but none of them had the intensity or interesting narrative of his French psycho thriller. But just because his American efforts have failed to live up to his initial hype so far doesn’t mean that he’s packing it in and heading home a la John Woo. Per Variety (and @joe_hill‘s Twitter feed), Aja will begin filming an adaptation of Hill’s novel “Horns” this fall. Shia LaBeouf was originally attached to star, but thankfully for those of us who prefer actual actors in our movies Daniel Radcliffe has signed on instead.

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Finally, a day that I’ve been waiting quite a while for has come. There’s word on what director Alexandre Aja’s next horror project is going to be. If you don’t know Aja, he’s the guy responsible for the incredibly gross The Hills Have Eyes remake that came out a couple of years ago as well as the ridiculously fun Piranha remake that hit last year. He’s pretty much the only director currently working in the horror genre that keeps turning my non-horror guy head, so I’m super excited to hear that he’s got something else in the works. What’s on the docket this time? A movie called Horns that is an adapted screenplay Scott Bunin wrote from a novel by Joe Hill. Though he probably gets annoyed that people keep bringing this up, it’s pretty much unavoidable, so I’ll say it anyway: Joe Hill is Stephen King’s son, so the horror is strong in this one.

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31 Days of Horror - October 2011

When the calendar page turns to October, we Rejects have only one thought: horror. To celebrate this grandest and darkest of months, we’ll cover one excellent horror film a day for the entirety of the month. That’s 31 Days of Horror and 31 Films perfect for viewing on a dark, chilly, October night. If you, like us, love horror and Halloween, give us a Hell Yeah and keep coming every day this month for a new dose of adrenaline. Synopsis: College students Alex (Maïwenn Le Besco) and Marie (Cécile De France)  journey into the French countryside with the intent of escaping the lure of partying and boys. They plan to focus on study while staying with Alex’s family in their quiet farm house. Unsurprisingly the picturesque country very quickly becomes frightening when an almost amusingly brutal killer terrorizes them.

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You wouldn’t expect that a movie about an Indian burial ground that brings dead pets back to life in rabid, vicious zombie form could be considered an untouchable classic, but horror fans are very protective about what they like. And Stephen King, while a horror icon on the literary shelf, has a much spottier record when it comes to film adaptations. That 1989’s Pet Sematary turned out to be one of the best King adaptations adds to its status as modern classic meant to be cherished. By now it should be clear though that nothing is sacred in Hollywood, especially horror properties. So of course a remake of Pet Sematary has been in the works for a while. The last time we heard about the project, Paramount had hired Matt Greenberg to write a script for a remake. He already had some experience adapting King work with 1408, so I guess the choice made sense. And it turns out Greenberg took Paramount’s request pretty seriously, this isn’t a goof, the man has now turned in his script. So the next step toward getting this thing off the ground is finding a director. Enter Piranha and The Hills Have Eyes director Alexandre Aja. Twitch reports that Aja is close to taking on the job. Paramount is actively pursuing him, and while Aja has a project called Cobra: The Space Pirate he’s looking to do, that film has yet to find adequate funding, and isn’t scheduled to start shooting until 2013. A […]

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The Week That Was

If you are anything like me — and I hope, for the sake of those around you, that you are not — then you only read Film School Rejects for the pictures. The words within the articles can sometimes be very difficult to decipher. Especially when we let Landon “Thesaurus-saurus” Palmer out of his cage. It’s that college reading level writing that keeps us locked in our niche (read: readership of 12. Hi Mom!). And for most readers (and site publishers), it makes all of our stuff pretty inaccessible. But there are the pictures… With that in mind, I’d like to focus this entry of The Week That Was on the articles with the best pictures. I’ve also thrown in a few with some fancy wordiness, for good measure. Please enjoy and click around on all of the stuff you missed earlier in the week while you were slowly re-reading Culture Warrior for the 35th time.

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If you don’t know what type of film Piranha 3D is simply based on the title, there’s no helping you. It’s solely interested in over-the-top fun. The kills Alexandre Aja puts on-screen makes its R-rating mind boggling. Aja doesn’t pull his punches (similar to his previous films), but here the difference is Aja going more for pure fun rather than bleak horror. Aja knows exactly what type of film he made. He was interested from the beginning in telling a comedic horror satire in the vein of the films he grew up on as a teen. Aja labels it as a “guilty pleasure” film, which many will agree with, but it’s something I question him on since one shouldn’t feel at all guilty for enjoying the epic bloodbath Aja has released. Here’s what Alexandre Aja had to say. Beware a few spoilers.

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Because audiences demand more boobs, blood, and biting of nether regions on screen, Dimension is answering the call and riding the wave of self-proclaimed success by announcing Piranha 3D 2. Producer Mark Canton excitedly proclaimed in the press release that he couldn’t “wait to get to work on the sequel.” It’s unclear right now whether Alexandre Aja will return as director, but whoever gets the job will hopefully be a newcomer that will, according to the film’s history, become the next James Cameron.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr dives into Spring Break at Lake Victoria, or at least that’s how it felt in 3D. He examined how similar Piranha 3D is to Eat Pray Love because piranhas eat their prey and all the bare boobies can inspire such self love. Then Kevin is chided by an ugly Emma Thompson for misbehaving, and suddenly she becomes a hottie. Finally, Kevin tries to determine whether vampires suck or if it’s just Vampires Suck that sucks.

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Swarming into theaters this weekend, Piranha 3D looks poised to chomp through the competition and make a mouthful of money. In a summer that has been lacking in the fun department, this flashy remake looks to turn the ridiculous level to eleven, the boobie-meter to overdrive, and the kill count to 87. In many ways, Piranha 3D achieved exactly what it set out to do: make an R-Rated horror movie full of blood and boobs. While many, including our own Neil Miller, have found something to love in the movie, I found myself strangely disappointed. When a film gives you everything it promised, what can you hold against it? Well, a weak story and a complete lack of resolution.

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Get your mind out of the gutter people. This is a family site, and we won’t be pandering to thoughts like the ones humping through your head right now. Per TotalFilm, Carla Gugino will be starring in MILF for director Franck Khalfoun. Who’s that? No clue, but the producer’s chair will be occupied by the very recognizable Alexandre Aja. Who’s that? He’s the director behind High Tension, Mirrors, and the brand new Piranha 3D. A resume like that leads one to believe MILF will not be a light and flirty romp, and the plot description seems to confirm that assumption. As we all know, MILF stands for Mother I’d Like (to) Fight, and it’s reportedly about a woman released from prison who goes about extracting revenge from some unlucky bitches who done her wrong. It’s early, and the above information is literally all we know as of right now, but I’d like to go on record anyway and call this as the best movie of 2011. Gugino is no stranger to action films having starred in visceral thrill-rides like Sin City, Watchmen, Race To Witch Mountain, and Robert Rodriguez’ Spy Kids trilogy. She’s also starring in Zack Snyder’s upcoming Sucker Punch.

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Word on the street is that director Alexandre Aja has once again delivered some magical ode to that line where the R-rating meets the NC-17 with Piranha 3D. It shouldn’t come as a surprise — he is the man who delivered High Tension and The Hills Have Eyes — two films that had this panty-waist writer running for his security blanket. And when Piranha hits theaters on Friday, many a blood-thirsty moviegoer will likely be fulfilled by gratuitous violence, nudity and unimaginable horrors — in three dimensions. Sounds like a blast, if you ask me. For Aja though, the release of Piranha 3D means that it’s time to begin looking forward. And according to words he spoke this week, forward means away from horror — and into outer space. The kind of outer space created in Japanese manga, that is. The kind that will be a tentpole-sized adaptation of Buichi Terasawa’s Cobra – The Space Pirate.

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This might be the coolest thing we write about all day. I’m willing to make that prediction, despite the fact that it’s still early. The first teaser for Piranha 3D has hit the web, and it promises to take you somewhere that 3D has never gone before.

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jessica-szohr-1

Gossip Girl star Jessica Szohr is no stranger to low rent horror movies, but now she’s taking the next step — into the fishy world of Alexandre Aja’s Piranha 3D.

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