As the movie reels closed on the previous decade it’s a sad but unavoidable truth that we will look back on it as the ten year remake. Remakes of Asian visceral horror and 80s lowbrow slashers dominated the genre and topped producers’ wishlists. They say horror comes in cycles, perhaps more than ever the next big horror cycle is hidden from view in a distant haze. But there are some glimpses of light breaking through, films that may not be groundbreaking but are at least looking to offer new rather than recycled memories. Let Deadly Movies take you on a tour of horror’s most promising new releases for the coming year.
Bitch Slap: Grindhouse has become a popular buzzword in horror, and general film media, since the Tarentino/Rodriguez ‘Grindhouse’ experiment in 2007. Sadly few have a firm grasp of its meaning and the recent slew of straight to DVD films further dilute this uniquely grubby sub-genre by hiding behind amazingly eye-catching elaborate titles that disguise the turgid content. Thankfully ‘Bitch Slap’ looks to have the wacky title as well as content to back up its grindhouse aspirations. Three stiletto wearing, machine touting women hunting for diamonds in the desert at the expense of a mafia boss is G-house nostalgia heaven, a plot reminiscent of 70s exploitation flicks like ‘Angel’s Wild Women’ It will need to succeed in embracing (and understanding) ridiculousness, cliches, stereotypes, pop pulp, and exploitation to avoid the pit falls of blank parody. If ‘Bitch Slap’ fails to deliver on the grindhouse front then look forward to ‘Slime City Massacre’ arriving in March.
Lake Mungo: First person horror is back after the roaring success of ‘Paranormal Activity’, and it suits the paranormal sub-genre well, far better than it does zombies (‘Diary of the Dead’) and monsters (‘Cloverfield’). Why? Because you can utlise the plot device of terrorised people searching for video evidence of their tormentors. This Australian effort looks very creepy, playing on your perception of the fact/fiction boundary. Interestingly, rather than a nameless faceless foe, the spirit in question here is a deceased and loved family member, which will help ramp up the emotional trauma when family affection turns inevitably malevolent.
Frozen: Adam Green is seen by many as the future of modern mainstream American horror. The next John Carpenter, an auteur for the 80’s teen slasher generation. ‘Frozen’ is Green’s followup to his debut feature ‘Hatchet’ (2006) and at first glance seems to be taking the ‘Open Water’ approach of stranding its protagonists in an impossibly treacherous scenario. In this case three snowboarders stranded high above the ground on a ski-lift, alone and abandoned in sub-zero temperatures for 6 days. However expect more than this from the man with 80s sensibilities aplenty. PS also expect Green’s ‘Hatchet 2′, probably in time for Halloween.
The Horde: A French Zombie movie, now there’s an interesting concept. Film purists will break into a cold sweat at the thought of the keepers of true cinema, the French, falling into the trappings of the lowest of all American trash, the Zombie movie. Truth be known France has produced some of the most brutally disturbing horror’s of the past 50 years. ‘The Horde’ looks to have that unmistakingly French feel; the actors all have that ruffled Gallic heavy set expression, the framing is beautiful, the photography expressionist, and the violence brutal and visceral. French style and American content, I’ll have a piece of that pie.
The Wolfman: Ok yes this is a remake of the 1941 Universal classic but this poorer cousin of Frankenstein and Dracula deserves it’s time in the limelight. Werewolves are about to be big business, ‘Twilight’ will see to that. So it’s somewhat serendipitous that the original popular Hollywood wolfman makes his return as the dog finally has its day. Unlike most of the current remake crop where the cast are older than the source material, ‘The Wolfman’ has the opportunity to bring something new to a cherished fable. And make no mistake this a rare occurrence indeed as ‘The Wolfman’ is no marginalised indie or genre piece, this is as close to a studio tent-pole movie as horror gets. It’s going to be as large scale and grandiose as its Victorian setting, aided with a first class lineup including Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, and Emily Blunt.
Splice: Here’s an exciting little creature feature that will exploit the cloning and genetics angle. Guillermo Del Toro the visual genius behind the the likes of ‘Mimic’ and ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ is so taken advanced screening of ‘Splice’ that he’s volunteered his ample weight to the marketing machine, appearing in promo videos praising the film as a great monster movie with ‘one of the most memorable Frankenstein [style] monsters in the history of film’. High praise indeed (ok Del Toro is executive producer but his opinion is biblically valid to many). Men pushing the boundaries of science and playig god always makes for good horror.
So there you have it, a female grindhouse gang, French zombies, Victorian werewolves, Australian ghosts, genetic mutations, and ski lifts. Oh and if it’s the big guns and icons your after then you can look forward to a new Freddy Krueger, a remake of ‘The Howling’, sequel outings for Michael Myers, Jigsaw, and Jason Voorhees, and the long awaited returns of Predators, Piranhas (in 3D), and a certain Ghost Face. I for one am looking forward to the horrors that await us in 2010.