John Landis Taps Simon Pegg for Burke and Hare

By  · Published on August 25th, 2009

Word from Dread Central is that John Landis is returning to horror. I’m going to give everyone a second to finish howling with delight. No, that was not a werewolf joke…….yes it was. Mr. Landis is apparently set to tackle the world of true crime with his new film Burke and Hare. The title of the film refers to William Burke and William Hare who were Irish immigrants named as the killers of at least 17 people between 1827–1828 in Edinburgh, Scotland(a.k.a The West Port Murders). As if that weren’t bastardly enough, turns out these two necro-entrepreneurs ended up selling the bodies to the Edinburgh medical college for dissection. This news is made even juicier by the supplemental announcement that Shaun of the Dead funnyman Simon Pegg has signed on to the project.

I love Simon Pegg. The guy cracks me up. Shaun of the Dead remains one of my favorite romantic comedies of all time; the hordes of flesh-starved zombies not withstanding. I’ve actually had the pleasure of meeting and chatting up Pegg and he is just as funny unscripted as he is on screen. I thought his Scotty in JJ’s Star Trek was a perfect piece of casting and I am interested to see what he can do with a dark, sinister true crime script.

John Landis’ return to horror has been a long time coming. Yes, I realize he has been working within the genre in a very satellite way (what with the dismal Fear Itself series and the patchy at best Masters of Horror collection). But this is his first major horror film since 92’s Innocent Blood so it’s been a long time coming. Like many of you, I was really hoping his next project would be a big budget sequel to The Stupids or perhaps advancing a classic film duo into a post-apocalyptic future with Blues Brothers 3000, but I will take a new horror film as a suitable substitute.

Longtime FSR columnist, current host of FSR’s Junkfood Cinema podcast. President of the Austin Film Critics Association.