‘Deliver Us From Evil’ Trailer

I like the work of Scott Derrickson (and I hope that he’s being considered for Marvel Studios upcoming Doctor Strange feature, along with Don Coscarelli).  Heck, I even like his remake of “The Day The Earth Stood Still,” if only because he was able to find a role for Keanu Reeves that made that actor’s wooden acting style an advantage instead of a liability (which, let’s be honest, it generally is).

Derrickson also does horror well.  He did “Sinister,” which was pretty decent (if you can get around a demon with the dopey name of ‘Bagul’) as well as “Hellraiser: Inferno” one of the better of spinoffs from Clive Barker’s original movie.

Five Reasons That Will Contribute To Guillermo Del Toro Directing Doctor Strange

This post is entirely speculation, though it is based upon logic as well as current news.

Notice that in the title of this article I sad “could” as opposed to “would” because the last I heard was that Del Toro was busy working on Legendary Pictures’ upcoming fright-feature “Crimson Peak,” as well as executive producing the FX series based upon the trilogy he wrote with Chuck Hogan, “The Strain,” “The Fall” and “The Night Eternal.”

But I have been reading the tea leaves and checking the entrails regularly, and here’s what I have seen:

1.  Despite Rumors To The Contrary, Guillermo Del Toro Will Not Be Doing “Justice League Dark” Anytime Soon

Why?  Because NBC is working on “Constantine,” a series not based on the Francis Lawrence movie of the same name, but the DC (formerly under their Vertigo imprint) series, also of the same name.  While it’s possible that the character could appear in both places at the same time (this is, of course assuming that the television series has a long life), it’s probably not going to happen.  The character of John Constantine is the lynchpin that the team revolves around, and without him the concept is pretty much dead in the water, besides being somewhat esoteric.

Matt Ryan/John Constantine

Matt Ryan as John Constantine

And that’s even considering how much Warner Bros would have to invest from the budget end of things, which would probably be huge (though they could do it with a partner, as long as it’s not Legendary Pictures, since they and Warner Bros. somewhat acrimoniously parted ways.  That being said, they still work with Village Roadshow Pictures).

2.  DC/Warner Bros. Doesn’t Seem To Have Much Of A Plan Toward Developing Their Characters

Whether or not someone likes what Marvel is doing with their characters, you have to admit that they not only have a plan, but they are executing it really, really well.  This is primarily because the head of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, has apparently developed a plan to develop their characters, and is following it.  Marvel’s roadmap is divided into Phases:  Phase One consisted of “Iron Man,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man 2,” ” Captain America: The First Avenger,” and “Thor” and culminated in “The Avengers.”

Notice the pattern:  First there’s an introduction of the characters–which may or may not have more than one film in the future–and a film that brings them all together.

Phase Two consists of “Iron Man 3,” “Thor: The Dark World, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “The Guardians Of The Galaxy,” and “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

Phase Three will consist of “Ant-Man,” “Captain America 3,” “Thor 3″ and “The Avengers 3.”

As I said, you don’t necessarily have to like what Marvel is doing, but what you can’t deny is that there is a plan at work.

Warner Bros/DC?  Not so much.  What seems to be driving them is profit above all, which I understand, but that’s not a plan.  Though it didn’t exactly start that way because for awhile it appeared that DC was building toward a Justice League feature–and probably still are–which began with “Green Lantern.”

Oh, but wait!  Green Lantern?  Don’t I mean Batman?  No, I don’t because Christopher Nolan’s Batman films aren’t necessarily part of DC’s greater cinematic plans because Nolan quite deliberately kept them separate from the rest of the DC Universe, which was probably not a great decision in retrospect.

Though that’s why “Green Lantern” was so important:  It was the beginning of DC/Warner Bros. establishing a larger canvas on which to display their properties.  If Green Lantern had worked they could have brought Ryan Reynolds back as the character in other DC films, such as the Justice League, or even the upcoming “Batman Vs. Superman” feature.

But it was not to be because Green Lantern was unable to recharge either his lantern or the box office, where it earned almost $220 million on a $200 million dollar budget; not enough to make a profit.

So DC rebooted Superman, in “Man of Steel,” without a doubt the most violent Superman film ever made.

Which could perhaps explain why that film made “only” $668 million dollars.  It’s a lot of money, but for a character as iconic and as firmly established in the public consciousness as Superman, it actually wasn’t that great a performance.

For the sequel, “Superman Vs. Batman,” DC will not only feature Superman and Batman, but Wonder Woman and Lex Luthor as the villain.  It seems apparent that they are trying to follow a strategy similar to Marvel, except more compressed.

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‘Phantasm: Ravager’ Trailer

Phantasm: Ravager posterDon Coscarelli’s Phantasm series is very interesting, though not necessarily for good reasons.

The original film that started it all is pretty amazing, but the more sequels that Coscarelli did, the more apparent it became that that he was running out of ideas.

Which is why the latest film, “Phantasm: Ravager” is so interesting.  This time around it’s being helmed not by Coscarelli, but David Hartman, who worked with him on “Bubba Ho-Tep” and “John Dies At The End.”

While I assume that Don Coscarelli is writing, it will be a good thing for someone new to direct.

Besides, if Coscarelli not directing, he’d be free to handle other projects (hopefully Marvel’s Doctor Strange).

Five Reasons Why Don Coscarelli Should Direct ‘Doctor Strange’

I happened to be recently watching Don Coscarelli‘s “Bubba Ho-tep,” when I occurred to me that since Marvel Studios is working on a Doctor Strange feature (supposedly with John Hamm as the lead) he would be a perfect choice to direct it.

Off the top of my head, there are five reasons that this is the case.

  First, Coscarelli Knows Strange (Pardon The Pun)

This is the director who created the four movies that comprise the Phantasm series, so his genre bonafides are in order.  And speaking of those films, only two of them, “Phantasm” and “Phantasm II,” are worth seeing.  The others are a bit repetitive and in my view for die-hard fans of the series.  That being said, what all the films are is innovative in terms of their special effects and underlying plot.

What they also share in common is that they’re very unusual movies (even when they don’t particularly work, it’s interesting to see where Coscarelli is going with them).  Then there’s the fact that they’re all made with shoe-string budgets, yet don’t look like that is the case.

And speaking of show-string budgets, if you look carefully at any of the films in the series, you can tell (based upon the way that the Sphere sometimes travels) that there were instances that someone more than likely just chucked it down a corridor.  This could be interpreted as being cheap, but if you keep in mind that they were often working with somewhat minimal resources, you can see how innovative Coscarelli and his effects team sometimes were.

 Humor Matters, And Coscarelli Understands That

In his more recent films, particularly “Bubba Ho-Tep” and the vastly underrated “John Dies At The End” you see that Coscarelli understands the role humor plays in crafting an interesting and fun horror film.  This is a principal that is applicable to any type of movie.  A well-placed joke can do a lot to alleviate tension, and make an upcoming scare even more effective.  Most importantly, you would never mistake either film for a comedy because the humor happens as it does in life, which means it’s of the situational variety, as opposed to slapstick.

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A Movie Full Of Spiders?

This Book Is Full Of SpidersI should mention right off the bat that I haven’t heard any buzz around Don Coscarelli considering a film of “The Book Is Full Of Spiders,” the sequel to “John Dies At The End,” though I hope that he’s at least considering it.

Though for better or for worse, it all comes down to money.

And speaking of ‘Spiders,’ it reintroduces John and Dave, the (occasionally) intrepid duo from the first film.  With David Wong’s first book, which I enjoyed, I was always cognizant that no matter how starnge things got, everything would be alright.

Now, not so much.

Like the first novel – where John doesn’t die – there are actually no spiders in “This Book Is Full Of Spiders.”  That would be too easy.  Like in ‘John Dies At The End” they have to deal with is another invasion (of sorts) of our reality, a plot device somewhat similar to that in the first book.

Though the invaders are significantly more ambitious than before, and are willing to do what it takes to get ahead.

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‘John Dies At The End’ Review

John Dies At The End

“Here’s to all the kisses I snatched, and vice versa.”

—Fred Chu

Think about it for a moment, you’ll get it.

One of Marvel Studios’ Phase Two projects is a feature film version of Doctor Strange, Master of the Mystic Arts. I still think that Ioan Gruffudd should play Strange, though who should direct?  On the strength of “John Dies At The End” (never mind his rather bizarre filmography) it should be Don Coscarelli.

The reason being is that the movie takes some really odd subject matter, and not only makes it approachable, but fun.  When I heard that this film was coming out a few years ago, I picked up the book by David Wong, so that I would go into the movie with some idea of what’s going on.

I enjoyed the read, but beneath the weird chocolately coating lies a somewhat conventional center.

What Coscarelli did was bring the most interesting, stranger parts of the novel to the screen, while de-emphasizing the conventional elements.  What’s left is a movie that plays like David Cronenberg’s “Naked Lunch,” with its reliance on mainly practical special effects, while unlike that aforementioned film actually makes sense.

What “John Dies At The End” also reminded me of the Hardy Boys.  On acid.

And apropos of Doctor Strange, wouldn’t Clancy Brown be an awesome Baron Mordo?

I am also resisting the temptation to reveal more about the movie–Trust me.  My restraint has been admirable–but the actors that play John and David Wong, Rob Mayes and Chase Williamson, are a great bit of casting.

I referred to Clancy Brown earlier, though he rounds out a remarkable cast that includes genre veterans like Angus Scrimm, Glynn Turman, Doug Jones and Paul Giamatti (who also executive produced).

Though all is not rosy because “John Dies At The End” deserves a nationwide release, as opposed to the limited one that it actually got.  I live in Washington, DC, and unlike Michael (thanks for reminding me that it was available online) over at Durmoose Movie Musings, I didn’t have the benefit of seeing this awesome movie in a theater.

Pity, that.

New ‘John Dies At The End’ Poster

John Dies At The End Poster 2Has any movie taunted fans as much as Don Coscarelli’s “John Dies At The End?”  For the past few year or two drips and drabs of information about this film has appeared on the Internet, yet it somehow never manages to reach theaters, or VOD, or iTunes, or any venue that might let someone view it.

Now from what little I understand about the movie business, nothing is as simple as it should perhaps be (which is the way it is with most things, I have come to notice), so there’s probably a lot going on behind the scenes, though I would really appreciate it if this film would just come out.

That out of the way, I am not sure the poster works.  It implies weirdness, but I am not sure that it’s enough to make me want to see the film (if I haven’t been already waiting, that is).

The fans of the book–as well as the work of Don Coscarelli–are already locked in, though the filmmakers now have to try to attract those people who aren’t either of those things.

Good to know that the film is currently On Demand and will be in theaters the 25th of this month.