Last Week in Horror News: 8/23 to 8/30

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Theatrical Trailers and Clips

  • THE DESCENT: PART 2 – I’m just going to assume this is going to end up in theaters.  A lot of people are shitting on this trailer, but I dig the idea of having her go back down in the caves, which is surprising considering I still hate that stupid movie.
  • SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD – New promo clip.

Studio News and Attachments

  • DEADMAN – Guillermo Del Toro will be producing for Warner Brothers an adaptation of the DC Comics series Deadman about the vengeful ghost of a slain trapeze artist.  Someone named Nikolaj Arcel to direct.
  • LAKE MUNGO – After Dark films announces Australia’s LAKE MUNGO will be it’s third title for January’s Horrorfest. It joins THE GRAVES (shitty poster here) and Clive Barker’s DREAD.
  • DREAM HOUSE – Daniel Craig is the next big name actor to relocate his family to a house in the countryside that was previously, but unbeknown to the new owners, host to all kinds of cheerful murders.  Get a new fucking storyline, Hollywood.
  • MY SUPER PSYCHO SWEET 16 – MTV gets in on the slasher game.  No one else wants in.
  • VANISHING ON SEVENTH STREET – Hayden Christensen is heading towards Brad Anderson’s return to horror by way of a ghost town that specializes in making, well, more ghosts.
  • BURKE AND HARE – Simon Pegg joins John Landis’ return to feature length horror, a “true-story” period piece about men who sell the dead to universities.


  • SWAMP THING – I suppose this might not technically count as a remake of the previous film(s), but Joel Silver wants to bring back Swamp Thing.  And it being 2009, he of course would like to do that in 3D.
  • THE BLOB – Rob Zombie will be remaking THE BLOB, though he’s sick and tired of that stupid, big, red, blobby thing killing people.  He’ll just leave that part out.

Indie, Foreign and Random News

  • SPAWN – Not a lot of solid facts here, but according to Todd McFarlane’s Twitter feed, SPAWN will be returning to the world of TV animation.
  • PHANTASM V? – Seems there is a new PHANTASM project on the horizon, but there are no solid details as to what that means.
  • STAN HELSING – Because we all need non-theatrical SCARY MOVIE wannabes in our life, STAN HELSING comes out October 27th.
  • HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN – The GRINDHOUSE competition winning fake trailer HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN, from the gents behind TREEVENGE, is going feature length.
  • HOUSE OF THE DEVIL – The new poster is a beautiful work of art.
  • THE SHOCK LABYRINTH – Japan’s first live-action 3D movie, directed by JU-ON’s Takashi Shimizu, picked u p international distribution.
  • “FEAR ITSELF” – FEARnet will be airing the five unaired “FEAR ITSELF” episodes starting early september.

Non-Theatrical Trailers and Clips

Review: “DEAD SET”

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Created by Charlie Brooker, 2008

“DEAD SET” may be one of my favorite horror productions of 2008 if only because it would never exist in the United States.  Shot, cast and set largely in and around the “BIG BROTHER” house in England, “DEAD SET” is a five part miniseries chronicling a zombie apocalypse whose eve coincides with the latest eviction ceremony on the ailing British reality show.  Those on the inside have no knowledge of the mayhem approaching their surreal walls until a few surviving producers of the show are forced to lock themselves in the studio while the undead world rages away around them.

When I first heard about “DEAD SET”, I assumed it was inspired by a segment in Max Brook’s brilliant WORLD WAR Z in which a hot shot producer lets celebrities stay at his house, airing footage of their day-to-day life for the rest of the plaguing world to see.  I was surprised to discover that the Charlie Brooker masterminded event is nothing of the sort.  There is no notion that TV addicted couch potatoes would spend their final days watching other people attempt to survive on “BIG BROTHER”.  Yes, it is a wry dissection of reality programming, but Brooker’s higher agenda is to tell a survivor’s story with all the instruments of his trade:  The attention craving dingbats of reality TV, vulgar, power crazy producers, fans of the show, low level production assistants and anyone else in their orbit.

It’s a unique setting to say the least, which is the first contributor to its non-Hollywood roots.  I can’t imagine any US reality show (which oddly enough are almost all based on British originators) granting permission to transform not only its brand, but the actual sets into as blood soaked an event as “DEAD SET” is.  No network, broadcast or cable, would have the balls to pull this off.  More impressive still, one would have to go to a premium network in the US to find programming this gory and yet Brooker’s aired first on E4 and then Channel 4 in the UK.  For those unfamiliar with British broadcasting, imagine if Zack Snyder’s DAWN OF THE DEAD took over NBC prime time for a week straight.  Imagine if instead of edits the gore was turned to 11.  Imagine character diatribes that would seem crass on an episode of “DEADWOOD”.

That is precisely why I cannot imagine “DEAD SET” – or anything like it – ever originating in the United States.

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