Michael J. Bassett

If you’re not familiar with the Silent Hill franchise, whether we’re talking the video games or the 2006 film that was inspired by them, their basic conceit is that the sleepy town of Silent Hill is connected to a hellish and freaky alternate dimension called Otherworld. This isn’t the greatest situation for the town’s inhabitants, because it means that one minute they can be walking down the street minding their own business, and the next hellfire and brimstone could be raining down on them them and they might have to do battle with any number of freaky and dangerous creatures. Six years after the original Silent Hill comes a sequel, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D. This time around, Sean Bean is back, and when he mysteriously goes missing it’s up to his now-teenaged daughter (Adelaide Clemens) to navigate the town’s nightmares and release him from the clutches of all the evil whatsits. And if that doesn’t sound horrific enough for you, this poor girl also has to deal with the stresses of trying to acclimate herself to a new high school while everything around her turns to ash and spider monsters are attacking from all angles. New high schools are the worst.

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Solomon Kane Movie

In an alternate universe, Solomon Kane would have been in theaters instead of the atrocious mess that was Season of the Witch. In another alternate universe, it would have been in theaters instead of Conan. Instead, this excellent, dark adventure from director Michael J. Bassett has hung around ever since Fantastic Fest 2009 for unknown reasons – none of which had to do with quality. Up until now, it’s only been available on import DVD, but with Bassett directing the forthcoming Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, there’s renewed interest in seeing his take on the famous Robert E. Howard character on the big screen. The trailer is a nice taste of the dirt and blood involved, as well as the stellar performance from James Purefoy. Grab a torch and check it out for yourself:

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With DJ Caruso directing Preacher, it becomes the second cult western literary adaptation to be taken on by an averagely talented, workhorse director (although Caruso doesn’t even come close to Ron Howard’s league). This might be the natural evolution of “geek” properties being co-opted by Hollywood. A decade ago, it was Sam Raimi bringing his Evil Dead prowess to a web-slinging comic of note. Now, the grittier material is getting notice, but middling directors will start earning the paycheck. So it goes. The list of directors who could bring the story of a Texas preacher man whose been imbued with the power of pure goodness and pure evil (and the power to command people to do his bidding) to life is a long one. So is the list of directors better suited than DJ Caruso. Here are just seven of them (ranging from the obvious to the not-so), but feel free to brainstorm more:

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Silent Hill is one of the very, very, very few video game adaptations that has worked. It was a simple enough story that had the good sense to hire some talented actors, effects people, and the skill of director Christophe Gans (who also directed Brotherhood of the Wolf). Gans isn’t returning for the sequel (cleverly titled Silent Hill: Revelations), but the production has found another young vision to take on the project. Michael J. Bassett directed Deathwatch and the incredibly good Solomon Kane. Now, he’ll be heading back into horror territory with a story from the third game, featuring 18-year-old Heather Mason who starts having bad dreams and gets the urge to find her missing father. What’s the over/under that he’s been turned into a giant spider-humanoid in Silent Hill? Even odds? Thought so. I spoke with Bassett last year, and he’s about as sharp and energetic as you could hope for in a director. Essentially, the franchise now has a shot at 1) being a franchise and 2) being one of the good ones. [STYD]

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Great movies come from all around the world, and so do great DVDs and Blu-rays. Import This! is an irregular feature here at FSR that highlights discs and/or movies unavailable in the US that are worth seeking out for fans of fantastic cinema. Solomon Kane is good fun for a few reasons, not the least of which is the fact that this type of film just doesn’t get made that often anymore. Swords, sorcery, monsters… there was a time when these flicks were commonplace, and that time was the 80′s. Movies like The Beastmaster, The Sword & the Sorcerer, Conan the Barbarian, and others are rollicking adventures made by people with a strong love for the genre, and Michael J. Bassett’s Solomon Kane fits in perfectly with the best of them. Solomon Kane walks away from his father’s kingdom as a child and grows into a murderous mercenary who acts with greed and without conscience. His selfish ways meet their match though when the devil comes seeking his soul, but Kane escapes the demon’s wrath by leaving his violent ways behind and becoming a man sworn to pacifism. That oath gets tested when an evil scourge unfolds across the land and good people fall prey to a seemingly unbeatable foe. The people need a hero, and who better to face off against evil than one who knows it firsthand…

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solomonkaneheader

A brand new image for Solomon Kane landed on our doorstep today to signal the upcoming footage they’ll be showing at Comic-Con on Saturday. And it looks fantastic.

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