It – Teaser Trailer and Trailer 1

As far as I’m concerned–at least initially–the best horror is in the sizzle, not the steak.

Keep in mind that in Steven Spielberg’s Jaws for a good portion of the movie you never see the shark at all (for the most part a fortuitous accident.  The mechanical shark, known affectionately as Bruce, more often than not didn’t work as planned, forcing Spielberg  to improvise).

Ridley Scott’s Alien followed a similar template, where the monster was gradually teased, making its reveal all the more terrifying.

The first version of Stephen King’s IT did a similar thing, doling out hints and glimpses of the evil clown, Pennywise, before the final reveal.

And Tim Curry’s Pennywise was terrifying, though why he was so unnerving is important.

First off, clowns are slightly creepy in and of themselves.  It doesn’t take all that much to make one look just a bit off…

And I suspect Tim Curry knew this. Visually his Pennywise looked like any ordinary clown, but the way Curry’s voice sounded combined with the way he carried himself made Pennywise oddly disturbing.

This new version of Pennywise looks as if they’re trying too hard to be Scary, and it doesn’t particularly work.  As I mentioned earlier, Tim Curry’s version wasn’t necessarily trying to look scary.  In fact, he looked like a clown that you’d see on just about any circus in the country.


But what the makers of is rebooted series don’t seem to understand is that having one oversized shoe in the normal world, and the other in the bizarre, is what’s terrifying.

This new version, as far as I can tell, tries way too hard.

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Ridley Scott Discovers Fountain of Youth is Made of People

While that title is a bit of hyperbole on my part it does capture Ridley Scott’s feeling about the Alien franchise pretty accurately because in 2014 he said that he was done with the Alien.

After all, Prometheus as originally written by Jon Spaiths was chock full of Alien goodness, though rewrites took care of those pesky xenomorphs (unless you count the proto-Alien, known as the Deacon, that appears at the end of the movie).

Flash-forward to early 2017, and Scott’s not only talking about Alien: Covenant, the sequel to Prometheus but that he’s so keen on the creature he was finished with just over two years prior that he’s willing to crank out sequels as long as people are willing to pay to see them.

And that’s an awesome thing because no one has a visual esthetic as keen as as Ridley Scott, though I am curious as to what changed his mind.

Part of me thugs that 20th Century Fox just pulled up with a massive truckload of money and dumped it at his door, but who knows.

Alien: Covenant – Trailer 2

Don’t get me wrong, the latest trailer for Alien: Covenant looks pretty good–after all, it’s directed by Ridley Scott, so it goes without saying that cinematographically-speaking it’s going to be gorgeous.

What bothers me a bit though is that it doesn’t seem to be doing anything particularly new.

Out the box we get colonists, shots of a spaceship entering an atmosphere that look like outtakes from Prometheus (as I said, it’s gorgeous, but derivative), and hints that the while the colonists may check in to the new planet, most of them won’t definitely be checking out.

And what looks like a potential missed opportunity is that I smell not a whiff of the corporate malfeasance that permeated the two best movies in the series (Alien and Aliens) like a pair of smelly gym sneakers.

And that’s not to say that it isn’t present, but I’m missing the aspects of the movie that implies that, as deadly as the xenomorphs are, humans are deadlier and often our own worse enemies.

Alien: Covenant Movie Clip – Prologue: Last Supper – Trailer

I really, really like this recently released clip from Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant because it seems–with good reason–to assume that most viewers are already familiar with the xenomorphs and instead spends its time developing the human characters. 

And there’s more character development in the just over four minute scene than in some entire movies, which is pleasing. 

And the ‘shout-out’ to Scott’s original–which starts around 2:47–is a lot of fun and pretty cheeky.  

Though what’s not so pleasant to me is the appearance of James Franco, that felt a little bit out of place for me.

And I readily admit that I have no particularly valid reason why I feel that way. 


Alien: Covenant Red Band Trailer

Upholding The Covenant

Today 20th Century Fox released a teaser poster for Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant and the xenomorph is (apparently) once again the star of the show. 

Which is very odd because Scott originally wanted nothing more to do with the Alien universe, which at least partially explains why Damon Lindelhof’s rewrite of Joh Spaiths’ original screenplay exorcised virtually all hints of them from Prometheus

And yet it doesn’t because for someone not interested in dealing with Aliens, he certainly included a lot of the elements of their mythology, such as Weyland-Yutani, a variation of the Facehugger and what can only be called a proto-Alien. 

Weird choices, though maybe they’re an indication that Scott took less of an issue with the universe of Alien than the Alien itself. 

Which isn’t what I’d call a good sign, especially since he’s apparently leading with them.  

Why William Friedkin Was Wrong About Wes Craven

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For my money William Friedkin is one of the most talented directors working today.  Not everything he does clicks (with the public or box office-wise, for that matter) but as far as I am concerned he’s made one of the best crime thrillers in recent memory with 1985’s To Live And Die In L.A.  Some might suggest that I am crazy, and bring up 1971’s The French Connection, but for my money To Live And Die In L.A., with its combination of a talented director, an outstanding cast and great music hit all the right notes.

Interestingly enough, Friedkin also directed one of the best horror movies, The Exorcist, ever put on celluloid.

And while the movies that Wes Craven created, particularly A Nightmare On Elm Street, managed to tap into The zeitgeist in a way few other films have done besides being visually interesting, though more often then not his movies were products of the time that they were made; which is another way of saying that they don’t age particularly well.

If in doubt check out Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes.  While the idea of cannibalistic mutants preying on hapless tourists is always potentially interesting, the movie has not aged well (though Alexandre Aja’s 2006 remake…pretty good, almost brilliantly so).

Let’s contrast that with the The Exorcist.  It’s not only one of the scariest horror movies ever made–I think that Craven’s The Snake And The Rainbow was probably his most effective movie as far as terror goes though it doesn’t have the single-mindedness of Friedkin’s classic.

I also had the feeling that Craven was a horror director less because he actually wanted to do it, that it was a niche that he  happened to fall into (which isn’t an insult by any means.  John Carpenter did some groundbreaking horror films, though recognized, and at times seem embittered by the fact, that it limited his ability to move into other types of filmmaking).

So, while Craven was known as a maker of horror films, it never really felt to me that he committed to the genre to the degree that other directors, such as Carpenter (or even Friedkin himself) have demonstrated.

So Wes Craven will always be known for the horrors that he helped to bring to grisly life, though I am not at all sure that that’s what he would have wanted.

Heroes Reborn – The Extraordinary Among Us (Trailer)

I really liked this trailer for NBC’s upcoming Heroes Reborn, despite that fact that it felt very familiar (especially if you’ve seen Netflix’s Daredevil or Sense8).  That being said, the series that inspired it was really cutting edge at the time, though through a combination of a writers strike, bad timing and–in my opinion–bad writing pretty much doomed the series in its first incarnation.

But what’s past is past, and here’s to a more heroic future.