Film bosses behind spooky hit The Woman In Black are set to remake classic horror movie The Abominable Snowman. The original 1957 film, which starred Peter Cushing, focuses on a scientist's search for the mythical Yeti.
Chiefs at Britain's rebooted Hammer film studios have now announced plans for an updated version of the iconic movie, which will be penned by screenwriters Matthew Read and Jon Croker.
The project comes after Hammer Horror scored a huge hit with The Woman in Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe, last year (12).
Hammer president Simon Oakes says, "The success of The Woman In Black has shown that there is an appetite for quality horror films, so it is exciting to draw on Hammer's unparalleled source material in this genre which can be re-imagined and updated for a new audience."
The production company, famous for classic movies including The Curse of Frankenstein and Dracula, was brought back to life in 2008 after a 30-year absence.
Terry Gilliam and Richard O'Brien have thrown their support behind a campaign to save the famed U.K. film studios where the famous Hammer Horror movies were made. The current owners of Bray Studios in Berkshire, England have decided to sell off the building so it can be turned into luxury homes, but the plans have infuriated Hammer Horror fans and stars including O'Brien, who shot The Rocky Horror Picture Show there.
A petition and a Facebook.com campaign have been launched in a bid to save the iconic site, and O'Brien tells Britain's Mail on Sunday newspaper, "I would hate to see developers turn Bray into some riverside homes," while Gilliam, who filmed The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus at Bray, adds, "There is still a place for the smaller studios like Bray. There is a feeling that things have been allowed to decay."
Simon Oakes, chief executive of Hammer Films, has also thrown his support behind the campaign, but insists the studios need a complete renovation, adding, "I would love Bray to survive as it was an important part of the Hammer story. But I was there a couple of years ago and the facilities were pretty dilapidated, even then."
The studios were previously owned by Hammer bosses, who set some of the company's most famous horror films there, including 1957's The Curse Of Frankenstein and Dracula: Prince Of Darkness in 1966.
After it was sold by Hammer in the 1960s, the location continued to be used for filming and was also used for some parts of sci-fi blockbuster Alien.
The legendary Hammer Film Productions company, famed for classic movies including The Curse of Frankenstein and Dracula, was brought back to life in 2008 after a 30-year absence.
Hammer released Hilary Swank thriller The Resident, an English-language remake of Swedish vampire thriller Let the Right One In and scored a massive box office hit with Daniel Radcliffe's The Woman In Black, and bosses have now revealed they will be testing out theatre for the first time.
A Hammer production of Rebecca Lenkiewicz's play, based on the classic ghost story by Henry James, will open in London in January (13).
Hammer boss Simon Oakes tells the BBC, "It's very much at the creative centre of what we're trying to do in the rebooted Hammer. It's really a toe in the water. The Hammer name is there as a co-producer (with Act Productions) - it wasn't a project we developed ourselves... The long-term idea is to create shows that can then become content for our film business as well."
The Turn of the Screw, about a governess who takes over caring for two children after the death of their parents, will run at London's Almeida theatre from 18 January to 16 March 2013.
Hammer's move into theatre comes after the company branched out into book publishing last year (11).
The film, based on the book of the same name by Susan Hill, has become Britain's highest-grossing horror film ever after raking in more than $33 million (£20.6 million) in the U.K. and upwards of $120 million (£75 million) worldwide, and now studio bosses at Hammer Films want to cash in on its popularity with a second installment.
Author Hill has penned a sequel to the original novel, The Woman In Black: Angels of Death, which will be adapted for the big screen by Jon Crocker.
Simon Oakes, President and CEO of Hammer Films, says, "We are proud and honoured to be working with Susan again on The Woman In Black: Angels Of Death, a wonderful new tale every bit as atmospheric and terrifying as its predecessor The Woman In Black."
It is not yet known if Radcliffe will return for the sequel.
The spooky film is Radcliffe's first lead role since the end of the Harry Potter series, and his fame pulled in viewers in America, were the movie made $21 million (£13.1 million) in ticket sales.
The release is the legendary Hammer studio's biggest success story in its 78-year history, giving the production company its highest ever weekend opening.
Hammer Film Productions' Simon Oakes says, "We are delighted that The Woman in Black has performed so well. The fact that a Gothic horror has attracted such a large audience on opening weekend shows the demand for elevated and intelligent genre films which Hammer aims to produce."
There isn't much of a twist to The Woman in Black's haunted house tale: man goes to a creepy old house runs into an angry ghost and mayhem ensues. That standard horror plot would be fine if the execution were thrilling every scare sending a chill down the spine. But star Daniel Radcliffe's first post-Potter outing has less life than its spectral inhabitants with impressive early 20th century production design sharp cinematography and solid performances barely keeping it breathing. Much like the film's titular spirit The Woman in Black hangs in limbo haunting the quality divide.
Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe) is barely holding on in life having lost his wife during the birth of their child and struggling to stay employed as a lawyer. To stay afloat Kipps reluctantly takes on the job of settling the legal affairs of a recently deceased widow. Living in her home the you-should-have-known-this-house-was-haunted-by-the-name Eel Marsh House Kipps quickly realizes there's more to the woman's life than he realized unraveling her mysterious connections to a string of child deaths and a ghostly presence in the home. Even with pressure from the townspeople Kipps continues his investigation hoping to right any wrongs he's accidentally caused by putting the violent Woman in Black to rest.
Radcliffe bounces back and forth between the dusty mansion made even more forbidding by the high tides that routinely cut it off from civilization and a town full of wide-eyed psychos who live in fear of the kid-killing Woman in Black. Even after losing his own son Kipps' neighbor Daily (Ciarán Hinds) is convinced the "ghost" is a fairy tales while Daily's wife (Oscar nominee Janet McTeer) finds herself occasionally possessed by her dead son scribbling forbidding message to Arthur about future murders. Arthur wrestles with the two extreme points of view but Woman in Black doesn't spend much time exploring the hardships of a skeptic quickly slipping back into standard horror mode at every opportunity. When they have time to play around with the twisted scenario all three actors are top-notch but rarely are they asked to do anything but gasp and react in a terrified manner.
Director James Watkins (Eden Lake) conjures up some legitimately spooky imagery leaving the space behind Arthur empty or cutting to an object in the room that could potentially come back to haunt our befuddled hero all in an effort to tickle our imaginations. But like so many "jump scare" horror flicks Woman in Black relies heavily on the "Bah-BAAAAAAH" music cues obtrusively orchestrated by composer Marco Beltrami. A rocking chair a swinging door and the reveal of a decomposing zombie ghost lady could work on their own especially in such a well-designed environment as Eel Marsh House but Woman in Black insists on zapping a charge of musical electricity straight into our brain forcing us to shiver in the least graceful way possible.
The script by Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass X-Men: First Class) tries to throw back to the slow burn character-first horror films of classic cinema while injecting the sensibilities modern filmmaking. The combination turns Woman in Black into visually appealing dramatically bland ghost story. Radcliffe still has a long career ahead of him as Woman in Black does suggest but this isn't the movie that get people thinking there's life after Potter.
Why on earth would anyone want to remake Straw Dogs? Sam Peckinpah’s original film released in 1971 is a provocative disconcerting examination of man’s basest impulses. Its violence a source of some controversy when it was released seems relatively tame by today’s standards; its core assertion – that we’re all capable of the most extreme barbarism if pushed far enough – still unnerves. But it was very much a product of its time borne out of the social unrest and political upheaval of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. The appeal – commercial and otherwise – of a modernized re-telling would seem perilously limited.
In the new version director Rod Lurie (Resurrecting the Champ The Contender) partly refashions Straw Dogs as a ham-fisted allegory for the increasingly acrimonious red state/blue state divide. It is exceedingly clear which side he’s on.
James Marsden plays David Sumner a Hollywood screenwriter who moves with his actress wife Amy (Kate Bosworth) to her hometown of Blackwater Mississippi after her father’s death. Their stay is intended as only temporary long enough for them to prepare the family home for sale and for David to finish his latest screenplay about the siege of Stalingrad.
Blackwater presents more or less the prototypical (i.e. clichéd) Hollywood vision of a rural Deep South town populated with scruffy churlish yokels who instinctively recoil at anything resembling sophistication. Gun racks and confederate flags and “These Colors Don’t Run” bumper stickers abound. David with his vintage Jaguar credit cards and polysyllabic vocabulary incurs immediate resentment. David’s thinly-veiled condescension doesn’t help matters.
Everywhere he goes David is eyed with suspicion and made to feel unwelcome.
Hoping to ingratiate himself with the townsfolk he hires a local construction crew headed by Amy’s handsome ex-boyfriend Charlie (Alexander Skarsgard) to repair a barn damaged during a recent storm. The men prove less-than-stellar workers drinking on the job leaving early to go hunting and brazenly treading about the house as if they own it. Equivocal by nature David is loath to confront them and Charlie and the boys seize on his timidity. Their provocations soon adopt a more sinister face.
Straw Dogs like its predecessor is built around a climactic final “siege” of the Sumner house when David surrounded on all sides by men intent on taking everything he has is finally driven to fight back. But whereas Pekinpah’s film filled the preceding minutes with scene after scene of troubling moral complexity Lurie’s version can only offer unremitting tedium. His Straw Dogs is more than anything else a terminal bore. At 110 minutes it is actually shorter than the original but it feels a good deal longer. Even a pivotal rape scene – in which the victim’s consent is ever-so-briefly implied – and some virtuoso scenery-chewing from James Woods playing an alcoholic ex-football coach can’t breathe much life into this empty mundane film.
Matt Reeves' magnificent Let Me In is an Americanized adaptation of Let the Right One In a Swedish horror film which itself is based on an acclaimed novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist (also Swedish). As such its setting has been moved from frigid Scandinavia to the more familiar but no less frigid Los Alamos New Mexico a town depicted as so bleak and uninviting as to provoke a lawsuit from the state’s tourism commission. Its atmosphere is particularly inhospitable to timid loners like 12-year-old Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) a spindly late-bloomer who suffers regular humiliations at school courtesy of a trio of pubescent sadists.
Owen’s home life isn’t much better: Dad’s gone for good pending a divorce from mom who’s an aspiring wino and something of a religious nut. He seeks refuge nightly in the solitary confines of his apartment complex courtyard where he meets and befriends Abby (Chloe Moretz) a new neighbor and apparent kindred spirit whose quirks include a penchant for walking barefoot through the snow. That along with her professed inability to recall her exact age provides Owen with the first clues that his new friend may not be entirely normal.
She is in fact a vampire. And like any vampire Abby requires blood for sustenance. But since the sight of a little girl chomping on the necks of locals is certain to raise eyebrows at Child Protective Services she entrusts the duty of procuring nourishment to her haggard elder companion (Richard Jenkins). First believed to be Abby’s father but later revealed as otherwise he (his name is never stated) trots out wearily on occasion to find a fresh young body to drain of its blood. His skills appear to be slipping in his old age (like Owen he is a mere mortal) and his sloppiness soon attracts the attention of a grizzled local cop (Elias Koteas) who has no idea how far in over his head he is. (The film is set in 1983 when the vampire-detection tools available to law enforcement officials were woefully inadequate.)
Meanwhile Abby and Owen’s relationship blossoms and notwithstanding the inevitable complications that arise in every human-vampire relationship they develop a profound and sweetly innocent bond. Still lurking in the back of our minds is the knowledge that Abby at her core is a remorseless bloodsucker and one significantly older than her pre-teen visage would have us believe. Is her affection for Owen sincere or is she merely grooming him to assume the role of her caretaker once her current one exceeds his usefulness?
There’s a great deal of manipulation at work in Let Me In both on the part of Abby and director Reeves who alternates between tugging on our heart-strings and butchering them. Abby is one of the truly great horror villains — so great in fact that I suspect many audience members won’t view her as one even as her list of mutilated victims grows. Reeves does well to preserve an element of ambiguity resisting the urge to proffer a Usual Suspects-esque denouement inviting us instead to connect the story’s dots ourselves. The film’s unique and affecting juxtaposition of tenderness and savagery combined with a slew of stellar performances makes for an experience unlike any other in recent horror-movie memory one whose effects will linger long after the closing credits have rolled.
The actor takes on a guest role in the movie, which is part of a new batch of thrillers being produced by the revamped Hammer Film company.
And he had an extra reason to celebrate on set - he was made a Sir by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II during production of the movie last year (09).
Hammer Films boss Simon Oakes tells Empire magazine, "He didn't actually get the sword on the shoulder. But the news came out while he was making the film. All the Brits were terribly excited. The Yanks were going, 'What's all that about?'"
Daniel Radcliffe is to star in Hammer Films' gothic thriller The Woman in Black, according to various media reports.
The film, based on the book by Susan Hill, will be directed by James Watkins and adapted by Kick-Ass writer Jane Goldman. Per Variety, Radcliffe will play young lawyer Arthur Kipps, who is ordered to travel to a remote pocket of the UK to tend to a deceased client's papers. Kipps soon begins to uncover the ghostly secrets of the house and local village.
Alliance Films will co-finance along with Hammer's parent company, Exclusive Media Group. Exclusive Films International is handling international sales.
Simon Oakes is producing for Exclusive's Hammer Films label as is Richard Jackson at Talisman Films.
Exclusive's Nigel Sinclair and Guy East will serve as executive producers along with Vertigo Entertainment's Roy Lee.
Hill's novel was adapted for the stage and is still running in London's West End, more than 20 years after making its debut, notes the BBC.
Production is expected to begin in the fall.