Scooby Doo

Worldvision Enterprises

When Scooby-Doo’s around, nothing stays buried for very long. Not even the Scooby-Doo film franchise. Yes, according to Deadline, Warner Bros. will be giving the reboot treatment to their beloved mystery-solving, implied weed-smoking canine. Details are scarce about the project, but we do know three major developments: 1. Screenplay duties will be handled by Randall Green. 2. This new Scooby-Doo will most likely be live-action, according to a later report from Variety. 3. Announcing an all-new Scooby-Doo adventure three days after the death of Casey Kasem is probably not the most respectful move. But WB is the one that unearthed this corpse, so we’re the ones that have to intrepidly investigate until we can figure out which local business owner is really responsible.

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Twin Peaks

April 8th marked the 24th anniversary of Twin Peaks’ premiere. But as any good fan knows, this means it’s also been 25 years since Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) first visited the Black Lodge on March 26, 1989, when Sheryl Lee’s Laura Palmer whispered in his ear: “I’ll see you again in 25 years.” For fans, it’s been a whirlwind of cherry pies and snapping fingers, but the anniversary is also a reminder of just how far David Lynch and Mark Frost’s influential show stretched. This wasn’t a little cult affair seen and quoted by few. Glimpses of the show can be seen far and wide in homages, parodies, and vague references from stage to screen, from adult comedy to children’s programming. By this point, just about everyone has seen at least a little Twin Peaks through one of media’s many references, and here are some of the best.

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monsters unleashed 01

Two news items from the past week have me recalling a movie from nearly a decade ago: Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. There was the announcement by Warner Bros. of a new animated feature based on the classic cartoon franchise, which is the obvious source of my considering Raja Gosnell’s live-action adaptations. Then there was the continued coverage of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, particularly the voice casting for its CG characters. That comic book movie is being helmed by James Gunn, who scripted both 2002′s Scooby-Doo and the 2004 sequel. I remember enjoying the latter a lot when it hit theaters, surprised that it was so much better than the misguided original and even more surprised that it was actually received worse by critics. But could I defend Monsters Unleashed today? I revisited the movie this week in the hopes of doing so, but I don’t think I can. And this isn’t some case of where my love for something as a kid turns out to be terrible after all. That’s reserved for Howard the Duck (which I still love anyway). I saw Scooby-Doo 2 in my mid-20s. No, I wasn’t high. Perhaps I was simply relieved the movie was so tied back to the initial series, Scooby Doo: Where Are You?, with its call-back of ghosts and villains, and that it was an improvement over the first movie, which had had the balls to turn Scrappy Doo into a bad guy (and featured Sugar Ray — blech). Somehow that […]

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Scooby Doo

According to Variety, Warners is ready to answer the age-old question, “Scooby Doo, where are you?” The studio is prepping an animated feature for the world’s most famous sandwich-eating dog with the same producers that worked to bring the 2002 live-action/CGI hybrid to life. Charles Roven and Richard Suckle will be producing from a script from Matt Lieberman who recently wrote the Short Circuit reboot. The studio isn’t revealing the concept, but they won’t get away with it if the meddling internet has anything to say. The character has been through a ton of incarnations (the best, of course, involving the Harlem Globetrotters), but anytime someone plans new Scooby Doo, there’s a potential for goofy greatness. Naturally it’s difficult to see new stuff without Don Messick voicing Scoobs, but maybe there’s a great vocal talent that can do the character justice. Neil Fanning was passable in the live-action movies, and there’s a chance a CGI Doo was going to be alienating no matter what, but there might be someone even better out there. If they can nail that down and come up with a fun mystery, this could be a good one. Glad to see there’s still interest in the gang.

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WWE Studios has had an interesting history. First set up in the hopes that it would be able to develop theatrically released starring vehicles for WWE wrestlers in the action and horror genres, this fledgling wing of Vince McMahon Jr.’s empire has since gone through myriad strategy changes. It’s gone from making R rated films to making PG and PG-13 rated films exclusively, from giving its movies wide releases to giving them straight to video releases, it’s moved away from action and tried its hand at family films and comedies, and most recently it’s even teamed up with Lionsgate to re-boot the Leprechaun franchise. And today the studio announced that they’re going to be adding yet another type of film to their repertoire, by creating an animated feature. Which is an historic announcement indeed, as this new project will be the first time wrestlers have appeared in animated form since Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling hit the television airwaves in the early ’80s.

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Director Spencer Parsons (I’ll Come Running) introduced Saturday Morning Massacre to a packed crowd of horror film enthusiasts late Tuesday night as something you would see if you stayed up all night watching B-horror films (while possibly indulging in some “Scooby snacks”) and now the sun is coming up, cartoons are on, you are eating a massive bowl of sugar (i.e. Count Chocula), and you find yourself starting to doze off. Massacre follows four paranormal activity detectives (plus their dog Hamlet) as they try and solve mysteries that seem to be due to ghosts or other mysterious activity, but (much like the Saturday morning cartoon they seem to emulate) these amateur detectives uncover more misdeeds than ghosts on their missions. A promising job (meaning they will actually get paid) comes in, and group leader Nancy (Ashley Spillers) has the crew pile into Frankie’s (Sean Ryan) van (which has yet to prove to be mysterious) and head to a mansion that appears to be haunted. On their way to the mansion, the van starts to break down and as they try and to figure out what the problem is, Officer Lance (Paul Gordon) pulls over to check on the group. When he realizes their destination, he warns them against staying the night in the house and, clearly taken with Nancy, offers to come by after his shift to check on everyone. Nancy is confident that everything will be fine and is excited at the prospect of a paying job, but even more so, […]

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Austin Cinematic Limits

I know, I know. A modern day, live action reinterpretation of Scooby Doo sounds like a really horrible Hollywood pitch. But, c’mon just hear me out… Because if any film community would be able to spin this particular pitch into gold, it would be Austin. The idea was originally hatched by Jonny Mars and Jason Wheling. They eventually brought Spencer Parsons (I’ll Come Running) on board as the director. Next, Aaron Leggett and Jory Balsimo were hired to flesh out the idea into a fully realized script. Then, the true moment of genius came — the casting. The slightly-skewed Scooby gang became embodied by Ashley Rae Spillers, Josephine Decker, Jonny Mars and Adam Tate, with masterful supporting turns by Chris Doubek, Paul Gordon, and Heather Kafka. The end result is Saturday Morning Massacre, a film that plays in dutiful homage to 1980s horror films with gory practical effects and boatloads of blood. Though known for being a dramatic director, it is quite obvious that Parsons has studiously memorized the unabridged history of horror films. He understands the importance of sound, lighting and framing in developing spine-tingling horror; but Saturday Morning Massacre really showcases Parsons’ inherent knack for timing, both in terms of comedy and frights. As the Saturday Morning Massacre cast and crew prepare for the film’s world premiere at the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival, we chatted with Parsons and Spillers about the making of the film.

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thisweekindvd-header1

Rob Hunter loves movies. He also loves writing bestselling mystery novels and helping hot detectives capture evil-doers. These two joys come together in the form of cash money payments that he receives every week and immediately uses to buy more DVDs. This week’s releases include Barker’s Book of Blood, Observe & Report, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Albino Farm, lots of TV shows, and more!

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