Friday, April 22, 2011

Hoppy Easter to all

Wishing everyone a Hoppy Easter!

Ronn surprised me with some yummy Easter treats, including a traditional chocolate bunny, plus a chocolate cow and a chocolate duck.

Have a happy and healthy holiday.

-- Janet Hetherington

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Stake Land strikes April 22; Lionsgate dips into eco-horror with The Bay

New poster for Stake Land
Two new horror films explain the inexplicable as "epidemics" and "biological disasters."

Director Jim Mickle's new vampire epidemic flick Stake Land, written by Nick Damici and Jim Mickle, is set to strike on April 22, 2011.

Mickle first grabbed the attention of horror film fans with his zombie-rat thriller Mulberry Street, in which Damici also starred and served as co-writer. They have teamed up again to deliver an even darker and bloodier shocker. Drawing on the post-apocalyptic frenzy described by Richard Matheson (author of the novel I Am Legend) and George Romero, Stake Land is described as a road movie with fangs.

When an epidemic of vampirism strikes, humans find themselves on the run from vicious, feral beasts. Cities become tombs and survivors cling together in rural pockets, fearful of nightfall. When his family is slaughtered, young Martin (Gossip Girl's Connor Paolo) is taken under the wing of a grizzled, wayward hunter (In the Cut's Nick Damici) whose new prey are the undead.

Simply known as Mister, the vampire stalker takes Martin on a journey through the locked-down towns of America's heartland, searching for a better place while taking down any bloodsuckers that cross their path. Along the way they recruit fellow travellers, including a nun (Kelly McGillis), who is caught in a crisis of faith when her followers turn into ravenous beasts. This ragtag family unit cautiously moves north, avoiding major thoroughfares that have been seized by The Brethren, a fundamentalist militia headed by Jebedia Loven (Tony award-winning actor Michael Cerveris) that interprets the plague as the Lord's work.

Stake Land also stars horror movie icon Danielle Harris (Hatchet II) and was produced by indie horror producer-writer-director Larry Fessenden (The Last Winter).

More horror bubbling up from The Bay

On April 14, Lionsgate reported that it acquired U.S. distribution rights to Barry Levinson's  found-footage eco-horror film The Bay (formerly Isopod) from Alliance Films. The announcement was made jointly by Joe Drake, President of the Motion Picture Group, and Jason Constantine, President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions.

"Ingenious genre films are and always will be a specialty at Lionsgate," Drake comments. "The Bay is a shining example of the kind of truly fresh horror film that audiences are always ready for, and that we excel at eventizing with them. Thanks to Barry, we'll all be afraid to go in the water for years to come."

The film was directed by Barry Levinson (Good Morning Vietnam, Rain Man) from a script he co-wrote with Michael Wallach.  The Bay was produced by Levinson, Jason Blum, Steven Schneider, and Oren Peli, and co-produced by Mythodic Films, with Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Jason Sosnoff, Colin Strause, and Greg Strause executive producing.

"It's exciting to see a company like Lionsgate embrace The Bay so enthusiastically," says director Barry Levinson. "The found footage / multiplatform approach opened up the film to creative possibilities I hadn't encountered in my previous films, and I think these sorts of films will only continue to push boundaries as the technology changes."

This "biological disaster" film is another from the producers of Paranormal Activity. The sci-fi horror flick features Michael Beasley, Lauren Cohn and Christopher Denham.

The film follows the producers' work on Insidious, and chronicles an unprecedented biological disaster unleashed from the waters of the Chesapeake Bay -- an isopod parasite, carrying a horrific untreatable disease that jumps from fish to human hosts. The horror and scope of the event unfolds on footage captured on home videos and the internet by the town's victims.

"We have been big admirers of Jason Blum, Steven Schneider and Oren Peli since their breakout hit Paranormal Activity, and are thrilled to be in business with them," says Constantine. "This film works so effectively because it establishes a very natural, everyday world, places the audience intimately within it, and then sits back as everything takes a horrific turn. Barry has incorporated found footage to the most satisfying possible effect, and it's all the scarier for not relying on anything supernatural."

The Bay is an Alliance presentation in association with IM Global. IM Global handled foreign sales, and Alliance will distribute in Canada, the UK and Spain.

The deal was negotiated by Lionsgate's Constantine, with Eda Kowan, Senior Vice President of Acquisitions, and Wendy Jaffe, Executive Vice President Business & Legal Affairs for Acquisitions.  The sale was brokered on behalf of Alliance by ICM and CAA.  ICM packaged the film and represents Levinson and Wallach.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

New Dark Tower novel from Stephen King in 2012

Roland rides again!
The newsletter reports that Stephen King has written a new Dark Tower novel, The Wind Through the Keyhole, and includes a note from author about its genesis:

"Dear Constant Readers,

At some point, while worrying over the copyedited manuscript of the next book (11/22/63, out November 8th), I started thinking—and dreaming—about Mid-World again. The major story of Roland and his ka-tet was told, but I realized there was at least one hole in the narrative progression: what happened to Roland, Jake, Eddie, Susannah, and Oy between the time they leave the Emerald City (the end of Wizard and Glass) and the time we pick them up again, on the outskirts of Calla Bryn Sturgis (the beginning of Wolves of the Calla)?

There was a storm, I decided. One of sudden and vicious intensity. The kind to which billy-bumblers like Oy are particularly susceptible. Little by little, a story began to take shape. I saw a line of riders, one of them Roland's old mate, Jamie DeCurry, emerging from clouds of alkali dust thrown by a high wind. I saw a severed head on a fencepost. I saw a swamp full of dangers and terrors. I saw just enough to want to see the rest. Long story short, I went back to visit an-tet with my friends for awhile.

The result is a novel called The Wind Through the Keyhole. It's finished, and I expect it will be published next year.

It won't tell you much that's new about Roland and his friends, but there's a lot none of us knew about Mid-World, both past and present. The novel is shorter than DT 2-7, but quite a bit longer than the first volume—call this one DT 4.5. It's not going to change anybody's life, but God, I had fun.

Steve King"