There’s something a little more unsettling when a horror film is inspired by real events. Whether it starts out by spouting its based on a true story or recounts the lives of those caught in the cross-fire of crime or terror, we’ve collected a series of films that draw ever so slightly from the real world.
In 1978 John Carpenter and Debra Hill gave us one of the greatest indie movies of all time in Halloween. It has become a true classic, the theme music iconically representing the season, and the blank stare of the mask now synonymous with evil.
The story goes that on Halloween night, when he was only six, little Michael Myers killed his sister Judith with a butcher knife. He then spent the next 15 years institutionalized, and his parents died in a car crash, leaving behind his baby sister named Cynthia. At the age of 21, Michael escapes the hospital and returns home to murder the last remaining member of his family. The guy is thorough.
Curse of Chucky slashed its way onto DVD shelves last week, and as part of a very clever advertising campaign we now have the chance to see how Chucky would react if he got caught up in other horror movies. Below are the four videos so far that Chucky has invaded, and they are fantastic little shorts. Modern horror like The Purge comes under fire from the tiny ginger killer, but horror classics like Psycho aren’t safe either. Chucky has been inserted perfectly into these videos and in some cases enhances the clips from the original movies.
The stand out short has to be the Psycho scene which has a brilliant sight gag in it with had this reviewer chuckling. But do not take my word for it see for yourself.
The horror genre goes in phases, it always has. With the recent spell of haunting movies and zombie flicks it seems that the new trend is brutal horror pieces that dare you to keep on looking. The Purge, You’re Next and the new Evil Dead movie have all gone for extreme violence and thrills. Now Maniac is getting in on the action. Another remake, this time of a 1980s film made by cult horror director William Lustig and starring Joe Spinell (best known to main stream film goers for his part as Rocky’s mob boss) as the overweight sweaty psycho. This remake seems to be following the same formula but has switched it around by having baby face Elijah Wood in the lead role of the killer and is written by Alexandre Aja, the man behind horror classic High Tension. The director is Franck Khalfoun (P2). The killer is called Frank who is a disturbed man with only his mother for company. When she died his thoughts turned to darkness. He owns a mannequin shop and develops an obsession with a woman who he sees photographing mannequins. While this relationship is building, his killer urges still need to be satisfied in the most extreme ways. Here is the new trailer but be warned it has extreme content in it.
This trailer certainly captures the tone of the movie with its mix of sex and violence which makes for uncomfortable viewing. As usual, the red band trailer takes it just a little bit further.
Elijah Wood seems to be able to give off that puppy dog look and then switch it to inverted psycho very easily and it is pretty creepy hearing him talk about how much he loves his potential victims before smashing their faces in walls, stabbing them up, etc. The difference here is that you can imagine pretty boy Elijah having no trouble picking up these women to murder and also the relationship angle works a lot better here. In the original because of his size and general look, it was difficult to see poor Joe Spinell in a relationship with a hot lady. It seemed forced in that film, while from the bits we have seen in the trailer this relationship seems to develop more organically. The original did have a sleazy feel to it because of its tone and the low budget it had. This film tries to retain some of the original’s grime and even though it looks a lot smoother it does show that dark underbelly. The tense scenes in darkened alley ways and streets certainly helps add to this feeling. There is a good chance a shower may be in order after diving into this sleazy affair.
Elijah is a big part of this film working as he plays against his typecasting to give us a truly scary portrayal of a mad man. Much like Norman Bates in Psycho, his good looks and supposedly normal interactions with people hide the darkness inside and is merely a shell to hold the killer at bay. Mind you, anyone that has seen Green Street will know that when Elijah Wood really wants to kick off he can break heads with the best of them. The use of constant POV shots will no doubt make the viewing experience even more uncomfortable because the viewer has no escape from the carnage they are seeing and it seems like we are actively engaging in it to or just as bad, becoming a voyeur looking at all the carnage as it unfolds. Mannequins are just plain freaky anyway and they pop up a lot throughout this movie, all helping to keep that dark atmosphere.
This is all looking promising but if the film will be able to keep up with the dark tone of the original still remains to be seen, but it looks well on its way to getting there. Getting Alexandre on board is certainly a plus. He is well known for his work on hard hitting and shocking horror movies so this film is in safe hands and the dark tone seen in the trailer will hopefully be seen throughout the movie. The key part of the original film was the way the female victims were killed, with their heads getting scalped and put onto mannequin’s heads. With the new posters that have just come out (via Dread Central) it seems that this film is going the same route with some nice posters showing how gruesome this film is going to get.
In 1959 Robert Bloch wrote a novel titled Psycho. It was about an unbalanced man named Norman Bates and his mother Norma, with whom he ran a motel…and murdered people. A year later, Alfred Hitchcock cast Antony Perkins as Norman, and turned the novel into a masterpiece of film-making which to this day stands as his more recognized work.
This seems to be the days of Alfred Hitchcock with his imprint and likeness being reintroduced to pop culture recently with movies and television series abound. We had The Girl, the HBO movie; Hitchcock, the Anthony Hopkins film; and now we have some more awesome news on the new A&E series, Bates Motel.
Now, we haven’t heard too much other than the first details of the Freddie Highmore as Norman Bates as a kid series with Vera Farmiga playing his less decrepit looking mother in her youth, but we at have this first picture to show. Which is awesome because I love the house looming large in the background and it creates such a buzz for me in wanting to watch this series. But that’s not all folks! We also got some teaser trailers for you that show absolutely nothing yet definitely set the tone of (hopefully) what is to come. Shall we take a gander?
Want more? How about the 2nd teaser?
So yeah, all you really need is the Inception “BRRHAAAAAMMM” horns and you can make anything epic. Again, it sets a great tone for the series as we try to figure out what about the house makes the people go a little bit….Psycho? Too much? But seriously, looking into the relationship between how the son developed into the adult Norman Bates and the impact of his mother on his future is something we all need to see. With the teasers showing that perhaps the Bates Motel is something not to be trifled with, or at least the family, we might know exactly how dedicated this family is to each other.
Anyways, leave some comments on the bottom or on our Facebook so we can see how excited about this you are or how lame you are if you don’t like Hitchcock. It better be the former because that’s just un-American otherwise. Bates Motel is due in 2013 on A&E.
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And finally we’re down to the very last in our countdown, the biggest, the best, the #1. Of course, I’m talking about Michael Myers. His name is literally tied to Halloween, and will be for all future generations to come. When it’s Halloween and you’re at a party with a bunch of friends, what movie are you gonna put on first? Hallo-frikkin-ween. What is it that exactly makes him #1? Well first and foremost, he’s one of the most innovative characters of his time, in THE iconic Halloween movie.
His influence on Hollywood horror, suspense, and thriller films is legendary, so much so that he’s been dubbed “The Master of Suspense.” He worked with hundreds of famous names during the production of his movies, acting and producing talent alike. His name is known worldwide. And yet no one thought to make a movie about this great man as a director and person.
Directed by Sacha Gervasi, Hitchcock will get a limited release in U.S. theaters this November. Starring Sir Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock and Helen Mirren as his wife Alma Reville, the film follows the story of Hitchcock and his wife as he struggles to make the movie Psycho in 1959. As if Hopkins and Mirren are not going to be enough joy to watch on-screen, they are joined by Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh, Jessica Biel as Vera Miles, and James D’Arcy as Anthony Perkins; who of course played Norman Bates.
Hitchcock is supposedly going to be “a love story”, but we’re guessing from the trailer there will be a lot more to the film than hearts and kisses.
Hitchcock has elements of not just love between Hitchcock and Reville, but also some delightful hints of an underdog story. According to Hollywood history, most people thought Hitchcock was mad to try a “low-class” horror film like Psycho, a situation which this trailer clearly exemplifies. In addition, we see the typical struggle between an artist determined to go after his passion of creating a film and the producers and accountants who insist that it will be a financial flop.
Judging from the trailer, this film appears to have something everyone will enjoy. There’s the relationship between Hitchcock and his wife for the romance lovers, and there’s the business and social tensions that arise around Hitchcock’s decisions for those of us who love a good drama. Even more than that, though, will be the nostalgia this film brings to all film buffs. Oh, and let’s not forget the dry British humor Hopkins already delivers so well in the three short minutes of the trailer.
Make sure to add Hitchcock to your list of movies to see this year — fortunately, you won’t have to wait very long. In the meantime, check out this PSA in theatres now that Hopkins filmed as Hitchcock, begging movie-goers to avoid cell phone usage during films:
What is the fascination with serial killers? Let’s be honest with ourselves. We put on a facade in public that serial killers are diabolical filth we do not wish to be fetishized. In actuality, if you are not directly involved in their schemes or one of their victims, you can’t help but hold a bit of intrigue for them. If you don’t believe me, then why is Showtime’s Dexter on its seventh season?
Alfred Hitchcock may no longer be walking this earth, but his cinematic influence has yet to disappear entirely. Directors of horror films will still say they are going for that Hitchcock-like sense of terror and tension, and other directors simply decide to remake his stories entirely. We’ve seen several well-known remakes already, including Mission: Impossible II in 2000, Flightplan in 2005, and Disturbia in 2007. Now it’s time for Hitchcock’s Psycho, possibly his most famous title, to get some new attention.
A&E recently announced their plan to produce a series called Bates Motel, a prequel to Hitchcock’s Psycho. Coming from executive producers Carlton Cuse (Lost) and Kerry Ehrin (Friday Night Lights), the series will chronicle the relationship between Norman Bates, the famous serial killer, and his mother Norma. It will reveal how he became the murderer we know him as today. Cuse said: “We are incredibly excited to start production on Bates Motel. We think our take on the Bates family will both be surprising and subvert expectations. We can’t wait for people to check in” [The Hollywood Reporter].
Your son is gonna grow up crazy, woman.
Though the series will not debut until next year, plenty of decisions have already been made. A&E announced fairy early on, for example, that Vera Farmiga (The Departed) will be playing the role of Norma Bates. TV Guide also announced two weeks ago that child star Freddie Highmore snagged the role of young Norman. You may remember Highmore as the wide-eyed, innocent-looking chap from Finding Neverland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Bates Motel will also star Max Thieriot as Dylan, “Norma’s oldest son and the big brother to Norman who is described as a petulant and rebellious James Dean-type” [The Hollywood Reporter].
As a Hitchcock fan, I am ashamed to admit I have not had the opportunity or made the time to see Psycho yet. I have adored Rear Window for years, marveled at the three-shot-only The Rope, flinched at the heights of Vertigo, and mentally pictured Hitchcock filming North by Northwest when I visited Mount Rushmore my sophomore year of college. And yet after all of this, I have not seen Psycho. It’s also a degradation considering I’ve been at two of its filming locations – the old Jefferson Hotel building in Phoenix, Arizona, and the I-99 between Fresno and Bakersfield, California.
There are several reasons I’m determined to see Hitchcock’s classic and then watch the A&E prequel. First of all, because I’m one of those people who generally wants to see or read the first version of a story before I watch another interpretation of it, I’m going to have to add Psycho to my list. Fortunately, I have plenty of time to get to it since Bates Motel is not coming out until next year. However, since I’ve managed to avoid the original film for 25 years, I better not just assume I’ll “get to it” given another year, either. I’ll have to be diligent this time around.
In addition, I cannot wait to see Freddie Highmore’s interpretation of Norman Bates. Freddie fascinated me from the first time I saw him act in Finding Neverland, and has not lost my respect since. Definitely impressive is a young boy who can consistently hold his own against a veteran favorite like Johnny Depp. His role in Bates Motel will reveal much about how he’s developed as a young man and as an actor.
I only have one trepidation regarding the new series, though, and that has to do with Cuse’s comment that it will surprise and “subvert expectations.” To me, that implies, “We wanted to try something new that may not have anything to do with the original intent of the previous director/writer.” I automatically think of films like The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor that were intended to be in the same “spirit” as the first film(s) but failed miserably. My one consolation is that the teaser poster released for Bates Motel produces the same chilling aura as when someone mentions the word Psycho. Hopefully these artists’ skills of capturing that Hitchcockian atmosphere transfer over into the entire cast and crew, as well.
Seeing classic filmmakers’ works be appreciated, copied, and referenced in this day and age gives me hope that television and Hollywood magnates will not altogether forget their past so we can continue to pass on these stories to our children. Hopefully, this is the way that A&E is viewing its Bates Motel, and if so I’ll be ready to turn on the television. I just need to make sure to add Psycho to my “things to watch” list this week.