Not necessairly the most important headlines of 2008 (yes, the writer’s strike ended), rather the, “Oh, I remember that” variety. Note there is no chronological order to the listing of these events, the majority of which are derived from the creation/cessation of various production houses with the potential to shape the horror flow for the next few years.
There is no questioning that 2008 was the year of The Boll. Love the man, Hate the man, we all talked about him last year. First there was the petition for his retirement prompted by his own claim he would quit the biz if 1,000,000 signed such a document. As of this month, there are only 321,320 signatures, proving fanboys aren’t the power force they reckon to be. Next came the myriad of YouTube rants done to drum up promotion for POSTAL in which Boll essentially told Eli Roth, George Clooney and Michael Bay to all go get their fuckin’ shine boxes. Then Stride Gum opted to milk the viral cow and claim they’d give a pack of gum to every person who signed a one million strong anti-Boll petition, knowing full well it would never happen.
Oh, and he Uwe Boll had three movies released in 2008, all of which were panned. Yet the Boll gabbing continues…
Peter Block, who once scoured the genre land of acquisitions like the eye of Sauron for Lionsgate, created his own outfit dubbed A Bigger Boat. Block used his Lionsgate’s connections to shore up financing and distribution deals with a goal of producing 2-3 genre films in the $10-25mil budgetary range annually. First on the Bigger Boat slate is FROZEN, a thriller from HATCHET helmer Adam Green. Should FROZEN prove lucrative, expect a great many more for-the-fans films to see the light thanks to Block and co.
Drew Struzan, a man responsible for movie imagery so iconic it has indelibly shaped all of our perceptions of a golden age gone by, announced his retirement from the illustration business. Hollywood is worse off in his absence.
The Six Shooter Series was not so much a success story for Magnet Releasing, though box-office wise they seem to be doing just fine, as it is for the going public. In 2008 Magnet Releasing, the genre arm of Magnolia Pictures, began the theatrical roll out of TIMECRIMES, EDEN LOG, BIG MAN JAPAN, SPECIAL, DONKEY PUNCH and LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. Credit alone should be given for Magnet having the foresight to pick up 2008’s most acclaimed horror film, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, but the rest of the titles are all hard-sell oddities no other distributor had the protein to pick up. A sign of good things to come, I’m sure.
Thanks Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison production house spinning off a teen horror label dubbed Scary Madison, we’ll know have even more PG-13, low-brow entertainment clogging the pipeline. The first title is a yet to be released thriller called THE SHORTCUT.
Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures spread the fiscal responsibility around and created Ghost House Underground, a new label for straight-to-DVD sequels to existing GHP properties (BOOGEYMAN 3 anyone?) as well as riskier newbiews like DANCE OF THE DEAD. It may not have been theatrical, but gotta give ‘em a tip of the hat as Underground brought THE SUBSTITUTE, DANCE OF THE DEAD and NO MAN’S LAND: RISE OF THE REEKER to US shores.
Well, not entirely to the ground, just large portions of it back in June. Several historical sets were destroyed, including the BACK TO THE FUTURE/MONSTER SQUAD clock tower courtyard
Tartan US, the provocateurs who broughtBATTLE ROYALE, OLDBOY, A TALE OF TWO SISTERS, SHUTTER, A SNAKE OF JUNE, and TETSUO to the United States went belly up. Now who will swoop in and snatch buzzed Asian films from the Miramax Maw?
Ah, the poor souls who rented INSIDE from Blockbuster later found out that the copy licensed to the antiquated rental conglom with Parental Advocacy groups in its corner was a taming of the French eye opener. Dimension Extreme has an exclusivity rental agreement with the ‘Buster requiring Netflix to rent out the full retail copy of the film, which was the intended uncut version. Not exactly a huge scandal, but hey, Fuck Blockbuster.
TRICK ‘R TREAT, aka the ongoing horror nut cock tease, was jerked around yet again by Warner Brothers in ’08. There were three public screenings, all to rave receptions, but the WB is still holding the flick to its chest for the indeterminate future. So, hey, Fuck Warner Brothers.
Again, no huge news, just cool of Regal to once again start showing Red Band trailers in front of R rated affairs.
The house that Freddy built folded into Warner Brothers, severing one of the few remaining lifelines to a production house that was a foundry of brilliant, iconic franchises. New Line continues to operate in a smaller capacity under the WB, but expect it to wither on the vine til it is little more than a nostalgic title card. One should especially not count on any brave new ideas considering the Step Daddy WB won’t touch TRICK ‘R TREAT with any of its subsidiary poles.
I’m not one for writing obituaries for strangers. You know the icons as well as I do and we both know how to honor a legendary film icon. Doesn’t change the fact that I hurt like a little boy upon hearing of the passing of Stan Winston, Roy Scheider or Michael Crichton. Real bummer.
Tags: A Bigger Boat, BIG MAN JAPAN, Dance of the Dead, DONKEY PUNCH, Drew Struzan, EDEN LOG, Ghost House Underground, Inside, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, Magnet Releasing, New Line Cinema, NO MAN'S LAND: RISE OF THE REEKER, Peter Block, Scary Madison, SPECIAL, THE SHORTCUT, THE SUBSTITUTE, TIMECRIMES, TRICK 'R TREAT, Universal, Uwe Boll, Warner Brothers