Vampires

Jim Jarmusch is a polarizing figure among the film-going public. His films are all a little off the beaten path, a little bit inaccessible to general audiences, and usually some people end up loving them and some people end up hating them. I think what everybody can agree upon though, is that there are always several interesting things going on with every project that he takes. That’s why new reports that he is planning to helm a vampire movie have left me scratching my head a little. He’s making a vampire movie? Right in the middle of a time where every hack director who can find funding is making a vampire movie? That just doesn’t seem like Jarmusch’s bag. But still, despite all of that, I certainly can’t argue with the cast he’s compiling. This new vampire project is still untitled, but it’s set to star Tilda Swinton, Michael Fassbender, and Mia Wasikowska as the children of the night. Those are some good vampires. Also, the extremely British John Hurt has been cast in an undisclosed feature role. I don’t know about you, but if I was going to be casting a distinguished gentleman like John Hurt in my new vampire film you better believe it would probably be as some grizzled old vampire hunter. In addition to the casting news, Jarmusch let a little bit slip about the setting by calling the film a, “crypto-vampire love story, set against the romantic desolation of Detroit and Tangiers.” Say what you […]

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Stake Land hit select theaters this Friday, and now two character images make their way to your eyeballs. The latest from Mulberry Street director Jim Mickle, the movie tells the story of a country collapsed, a vampire plague hosted by the abandoned towns, and a frantic escape to the safe refuge of Canada. That makes total sense. Check out the hobo chic and vampire aesthetic of the images for yourself:

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We reported back in November about Chan-wook Park setting up his first English-language gig with Fox Searchlight, but at the time, the synopsis for Stoker merely alluded to foul play by the hands of a young girl’s uncle who comes to town when her father dies. According to the usually questionable Daily Mail (via Screen Rant), the uncle is definitely a vampire. What’s more, the rag claims that Oscar winner Colin Firth is set to star as the bloodsucker alongside Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska. All of those names are various replacements for Carey Mulligan, Jodie Foster and Johnny Depp (that guy is everywhere) who were all name-dropped last Fall. Park handled vampires with his trademarked insanity in Thirst, so seeing him return to that is bittersweet. The most fascinating prospect is seeing him handle someone else’s material (sense the script for Stoker was written by Wentworth Miller). Park has written for others, but he’s never directed a screenplay that wasn’t his own. That could be a challenge, especially in the face of the curse of brilliant directors making the jump to American cinema. At the very least, it will be interesting to see the auteur try on someone else’s writing for size. Firth in the mean time will be seen in the forthcoming Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and at some point we’ll get to see Park’s iPhone movie in all its glory.

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Every day, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. Haunting. Mysterious. Sensual. Strange. Perverse. Riveting. These are all words that might describe the 1983 vampire movie featuring David Bowie and the “open sensuality” of Susan Sarandon. Fortunately, the trailer is only slightly ridiculous and refuses to say what the movie’s about. The best kind! Plus, zero of the vampires do any sparkling. Think you know what it is? Check the trailer out for yourself:

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Do you even need to read the rest of this post to get more excited? As we all know, Dario Argento is prepping Dracula 3D to shoot this Spring, and according to Twitch (via Italian media), Rutger Hauer will be moving on from playing a Hobo wielding a two-barreled firearm to Van Helsing – the iconic vampire killer. Hopefully a two-barreled crossbow will be involved. This is just one more step in Hauer’s Rourke-like return to prominence. Although he didn’t land hard with an Oscar nomination, he’s in his Sin City phase (which oddly enough didn’t come when he was in Sin City). He’s got five total films set to come out this year, a few more indies on the docket, and if he can land a high profile dramatic gig, we could see him acting crazy on an awards dais as early as 2012. Hope spring eternal. The idea of Hauer as Van Helsing is inspired. He’s grizzled yet refined in that way only European actors can manage. He also does wonderful, unspeakable things in Hobo With a Shotgun, so the violence he could perpetrate against those damned bloodsuckers might almost make up for Dracula III: The Legacy. Where, of course, he was on the other end of the stake.

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Consider originality celebrated for the day. Michael Stephenson, director of Best Worst Movie, has got his next project underway, and it’s a dark comedy called Destroy that features a vampire hunter set loose in a world where he’s taking down innocent elderly men. Well, not completely innocent. Old men have seen some things, ya know? Luckily, our human-staking hero has an assistant to help him out. Fans of the Alamo Drafthouse will be interested to know that the script was written by lead programmer Zack Carlson alongside Bryan Connolly, but the concept is enough to get me excited. It’s comedic and horrible and new, and it sounds like Don Quixote transplanted onto the world of Universal monsters. Plus, it comes at the perfect time to act as an antidote to the vampire outbreak we’ve seen in theaters. Check out the concept art by Johnny Sampson here:

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Another one of those teen monsters in a doomed relationship movies is in the works and has found a director. This one has the very utilitarian title Monster Love. It is written by comic book writer Greg Pak (of “World War Hulk” fame), and is the story of a young werewolf boy and a young vampire girl who fall into a doomed romance. Or as a hilariously on the nose press release puts it, “It’s Romeo and Juliet with fangs.” Well, I guess that makes sense. You can’t really describe it as being “Twilight with fangs” or even “Buffy and Angel with fangs”. But this one looks to have more to offer than just forbidden love. It seems like it will have a bit more action than the other monster melodramas. The same release goes on to say, “ … when some mangled bodies are discovered in the woods, Pete and Maggie must fight for their lives while grappling with the awful consequences of loving a monster.” Mysterious murders, fighting for your life, script written by a comic book guy; this might not be as bad as it sounds at first. Especially when you factor in that the director they got to put it together is living legend Joe Dante. Yes, that Joe Dante. The guy who did Piranha and The Howling. The genius behind Gremlins and The ‘burbs. Heck, he even did a few episodes of Eerie, Indiana. I would go as far as to call him the undisputed […]

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Before Seth Grahame-Smith’s groundbreaking biography “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” became all of the rage, the world was tragically clueless about the undead-destroying exploits of our 16th president. American school children are taught about the Emancipation Proclamation, they memorize lines from the Gettysburg Address; but they tragically never understand why. Just like elementary classrooms are reticent to include Chomsky in their standard curriculums, they have also shown to be reluctant to reveal to grade-schoolers the unfortunate reality that vampires are real, and that their blood sucking atrocities had a profound effect on the development and presidency of one of our greatest leaders. Fortunately, Hollywood is not as chained to the whims of conservative fundamentalist groups as our nation’s textbook makers are. So, Russian director Timur Bekmambetov has been tapped to direct a big screen adaptation of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. You may know Bekmambetov as the director of the Night Watch and Day Watch vampire franchise already, and if you don’t then clearly you haven’t been paying enough attention to vampires. It’s a wonder you still have all of your blood. Long have they searched for the perfect actor to portray Lincoln in this epic tale; one that spans the president’s life from ages 20 to 55. Many have tested, and many have failed. In the end, all of their efforts have come down to one man: some guy. That guy is actor Benjamin Walker. You may recognize him from such films as Flags of Our Fathers and Kinsey, but chances […]

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Coroner

If I were to tell you about a movie featuring beautiful, pale vampires that were all glamor and rock and roll with no sex and a lack of violence, you’d have every right to put up a hand and say pass. Unless you’re a fifteen year old girl, then you’d be really excited that I’m reviewing a Twilight film. Suck superficially sounds like something for the teen crowd but if you spend more than fifteen seconds with it you’ll discover that’s about as far from the truth as it can be. Suck manages to smartly lampoon the current fascination with vampires in their pussified forms of being beautiful, attractive monsters by creating a movie about a band that gives into their greed for fame and fortune and embrace vampirism to gain acclaim. While I personally would have liked to see a more dangerous breed of vampire at times, these rock and roll blood suckers manage humor and music in an enjoyable way.

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Drinking Games

With another week of DVD and Blu-ray releases in October, we have another horror movie to slap a drinking game on. This week, we join the Frog Brothers (or rather one of the Frog Brothers) to chew bubble gum and kick vampire ass… and we’re all out of bubble gum. Take a drink (of booze, not blood) and enjoy this second sequel to the superior teen vampire flick from the 80s.

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Now that Fox has officially retracted its position that Vampires Suck, it finds itself free to do business with the second-most famous vampire hunter of all time. As all school-aged children know, Abraham Lincoln was not only a great president, he was also a cold killer when it came to the blood-fueled undead. Now, that story will finally see the big screen. Fox would do well to check out my dreamcasting for the project in a recent Print to Projector entry, but with Tim Burton producing, 3 or 4 of the roles have probably already been mentally cast. I’ll give you a few guesses.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr strikes out against… well, pretty much everyone reviewing movies by taking issue with The Social Network. Sue him if you don’t agree, or friend him at Facebook.com/FatGuysattheMovies. But while he cringes under the weight of Jesse Eisenberg’s smug Michael Cera impression, he also rejoices in October being officially here and all the horror movies the month of Halloween promises to bring. Up first, he cowers in a dark theater to the likes of Let Me In and Case 39.

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Episode: “Evil is Going On” (Season 3, Episode 12) Synopsis: Season 3 comes to a close as Eric’s plan against Russell moves into its final act. In the middle of that, Sookie finds out the truth about both her vampire suitors. Elsewhere, Jason and Sam each face up to the new challenges in their lives. Review: My first reaction to the third season finale of True Blood is “meh.” Not because it was bad, just because when you compare it to previous season finale’s it doesn’t really stack up. There weren’t any real shocking moments, there were no spectacular deaths, and, secure in the knowledge of a fourth season, few things were wrapped up and a few storylines were left wide upon.

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Mary Harron must be obsessed with refined murderers. She famously gave the world an adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s business-card obsessed killer in American Psycho, and now she’s headed to boarding school to create The Moth Diaries – an adaptation of the Rachel Klein novel of the same name. It looks like she’s got a cast on board as well – Lily Cole, Scott Speedman, Sarah Gadon and Sarah Bolger have all signed on. As to tone, Harron notes “This is a chillingly atmospheric horror story with real emotional depth. I’ve tried to stay true to Rachel Klein’s novel in the way it re-works and updates the Gothic tradition and the whole notion of girl-on-girl vampires.”

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Alfred Hitchcock’s name gets tossed around a lot when it comes to suspense, but the truth is that this clip from Let Me In is (at the very least) the spiritual tradition of the master handed down and set to a soundtrack featuring Blue Oyster Cult. The movie is pulling double duty – attempting to present itself to an audience oblivious of its existence while proving itself to the scores of Let The Right One In fans who bristle at the thought of such a great film being remade so quickly. I found myself in that category, but after seeing this clip at Comic-Con, I found myself energized – excited to see the film at Fantastic Fest. And, yes, that’s Richard Jenkins jumping out of the backseat to kill that poor young man. That is, if he can actually get the job done:

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Episode: “Fresh Blood” (Season 3, Episode 11) Synopsis: Eric puts his plan to kill Russell Edgington into play, putting both Sookie and Bill in danger. Jason struggles with the revelation his girlfriend is a werepanther, Tara confronts Deputy Andy over Eggs’ death, and Sam hits the bottle hard. Review: Gird yourself, True Blood fans, there’s only one episode left and Bon Temps is a mess. Well, emotionally, compared to the physical trouble and threats facing the sleepy town at the end of last season. This episode went about shuffling the deck of character relationships, setting up for an explosion of change for next season, though it did seem out of place at times.

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Episode: “I Smell a Rat” (Season 3, Episode 10) Synopsis: An episode of secrets: Jason reveals his involvement in Eggs’ death, Hoyt spills his true feelings for Jessica, and Bill reveals Sookie’s true nature. Review: “A fairy? How lame is that?” You said it all, Sook, though I don’t think any of us are surprised at the reveal. And did Bill just say aliens exist? After three seasons of “What is she” we finally get our answer: Sookie is a fairy. Or an “old one.” What importance is that? Well apparently they’re super tasty and offer special abilities to vampires, who presumed to have hunted them to extinction.

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Episode: “Everything is Broken” (Season 3, Episode 9) Synopsis: Eric is confronted about the death of the Magister by Vampire League of America figurehead Nan Flanagan and the mysterious Vampire Authority comes into play. In Bon Temps, Sookie and Bill reconnect while Sam snaps under the pressures surrounding him and hands out an ass beating. Jason does something awesome. Review: Two in a row! This was another great episode of True Blood, definitely in the top three of the third season. Once again there is increased focus on Eric and the episode is better for it. Talbot’s death last episode was still a sticky residue on the ground, at least until Russell goes all creepy, scoops the goo into a crystal bowl and carries it around, talking to it. Dating someone for something like 3,000 years will do that to you.

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True Blood: Anna Paquin

Episode: “Night on the Sun” (Season 3, Episode 8) Synopsis: Sookie reevaluates her relationship with Bill while Jason takes the next step forward with Crystal. King Russell makes a move on Sookie while Alcide is away and Eric plays two gambits with bloody results. Review: Finally! A fantastic episode. While season 3 has been good, it was far from great in my opinion, until tonight. Sure the werewolves are still pussies (I have to say that every review, contractually) but there was a lot going on this week that was very engaging.

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Episode: “Hitting the Ground” (Season 3, Episode 7) Synopsis: Sookie manages to free Bill, who remains at death’s door. Meanwhile, Sam confronts the Mickens’ over their dog fighting activities while Eric and the King of Mississippi advance on their goals. Review: This episode was 50/50 for me. I really dug the subplots of Sam, Jason, and Eric, who got pretty decent screen time, but I wasn’t a fan at all of the Sookie stuff, though it reveals, presumably, something about who or what she really is.

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