Morning SpoilersIf there’s news about upcoming movies and television you’re not supposed to know, you’ll find it in here.
Fede Alvarez teases his Texas Chainsaw Massacre follow-up. Work has begun on Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers and The Midnight Club. Henry Golding teases reshoots on Snake Eyes. Plus, what’s to come on Supergirland The Flash. To me, my spoilers!
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
In a recent interview with Bloody-Disgusting, director Fede Alvarez described the next Texas Chainsaw Massacre film as “Old Man Leatherface,” suggesting it will follow the recent trend of sequel-ignoring follow-ups in the vain of 2018’s Halloween.
It is a direct sequel, and it is the same character. It is old man Leatherface.
Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers
Production has officially begun on the live-action Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers movie.
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Peter Pan & Wendy
Coming Soon reports production has additionally begun on Disney’s live-action Peter Pan.
A House on the Bayou
/Film reports Blumhouse is producing eight new horror films exclusively for Pennyworth’s EPIX. The first in the series, A House on the Bayou, comes from writer-director Alex McAulay and is said to follow “a troubled couple and their preteen daughter who go on vacation to an isolated house in the Louisiana bayou to reconnect as a family. But when unexpected visitors arrive, their facade of family unity starts to unravel, as terrifying secrets come to light.”
Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins
Reshoots on Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins are currently underway according to actor Henry Golding on Youtube.
NFI has our first look at Tomb Raider director Roar Uthaug’s latest film about a giant troll attacking Norway.
The Falcon and the Winter Solider
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Kevin Feige hints that the show will utilize a location that was not “previously available” to Marvel Studios prior to the Disney-Fox merger:
There’s a setting in particular that people have already glimpsed in some of the trailers that is a setting from the Marvel Comics that was not previously available to us, but it’s more of an Easter egg in and of itself.
Previous set pictures included elements of the Madripoor flag as set dressing, suggesting that Feige is teasing the infamous Southeast Asian island nation home to many of the Marvel Comics universe’s most notorious gangs and lucrative business dealings—and has many ties to the X-Men.
Meanwhile, in conversation with Comic Book Movie, series writer Malcolm Spellman appears to confirm Danny Ramirez plays Falcon’s successor, Joaquin Torres.
TV Line has photos from the March 30 season premiere of Supergirl. Click through for more.
The Midnight Club
Production has officially begun on Mike Flanagan’s adaptation of Christopher Pike’s The Midnight Club.
Hulu has released a new trailer for the Duplass Bros.’s upcoming documentary series investigating a triple homicide allegedly committed by a Sasquatch.
Painkiller enjoys his own backdoor pilot in the promo for next week’s episode of Black Lightning.
Abra Kadabra returns in the trailer for next week’s episode of The Flash, “Central City Strong.”
Superman & Lois
Captain Luthor hunts Lois Lane in the trailer for next week’s episode of Superman & Lois.
Finally, the second season of Snowpiercer draws to a close in the trailer for March 29’s two-hour finale.
For horror fans seeking thrills—highbrow, lowbrow, and everything in between—there’s no better destination than Shudder, which is stuffed to the gills with classics, cult classics, and cult-classics-in-the-making, with a wide range of international titles and exclusive releases too. Here are seven to get you started!
Joko Anwar—writer of another recent Shudder release, The Queen of Black Magic, and one of Indonesia’s leading horror filmmakers right now—wrote and directed this supremely eerie tale of a young woman (Tara Basro) who travels to the isolated village where she was born, hoping to claim an inheritance. Instead, she finds a very uneasy community that’s been plagued by a curse for decades. From its very first scene, Impetigore builds suspense and terror, dropping little clues as to what awaits our naive heroine as she makes her ill-advised homecoming—and it does so with artistic flourishes that range from gorgeous (Indonesian shadow puppetry is a theme) to outright gory(let’s just say the effects of that village curse are extremely squishy).
Before he vaulted to the top of the horror A-list with projects like The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor, and Doctor Sleep, Mike Flanagan wrote, edited, and directed this 2011 indie about a pregnant woman (Courtney Bell) whose long-missing husband returns from…somewhere very dark…just as she’s going through the process of having him declared legally dead, with an emotional assist from her younger sister (Bly Manor’s Katie Parker), a recovering addict.
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By now, we all know Flanagan is the master of unsettling, almost subliminal imagery, and Absentia is a showcase for the techniques he’d later use in his blockbuster series. The film is full of terrifying “Wait, what did I just see out of the corner of my eye?” moments; it also makes wonderful use of its setting—a nondescript Los Angeles suburb that just so happens to have an eerie tunnel connecting it to another neighborhood—to build mountains of dread. But on top of that, it also crafts a compelling story with realistic characters as it examines themes of grief, loss, and guilt, not to mention the idea that redemption often doesn’t come easy, even for people who are really making the effort.
3) The Beyond
While Shudder has become an outstanding resource for new, cutting-edge horror films, the streamer also has quite a good selection of classics. Case in point: 1981’s The Beyond, one of Italian macabre master Lucio Fulci’s best-known works that still manages to deliver stomach-turning shocks even after multiple viewings. How many ways can a human head be destroyed? Watch The Beyond and find out!
A naive New Yorker (Fulci favorite Catriona MacColl) relocates to swampy Louisiana to try her hand at refurbishing a dilapidated hotel—and discovers it’s rather inconveniently located over a doorway to hell that’s recently been re-opened. As you might expect, a thoroughly disgusting array of zombies and related bad vibes ooze into the land of the living, with some truly awful earthly horrors sprinkled in for good measure. Let’s just say if you’re an arachnophobe, well…you’ve been warned.
4) La Llorona
Horror movies don’t often get Oscar recognition, but Guatemalan director Jayro Bustamante’sexquisitechiller recently made the Oscar shortlist for Best International Feature Film—so that should tell you something about its high quality right out of the gate. As the title suggests, La Llorona draws inspiration from the weeping woman depicted in Latin American folklore, but it puts its own spin on the legend that somehow makes it even eerier.
After he’s convicted for orchestrating the genocide of Guatemala’s indigenous people—and then uses his clout to swiftly reverse the charges—an aging dictator (Julio Diaz) retreats into his mansion with his family, with very few servants (who are all indigenous people) willing to stick around and tend to his needs. As protestors call for his head outside the gates, a deeply somber young woman Alma (a wonderful María Mercedes Coroy) arrives to join the household staff. Soon, it becomes clear—to the audience if not the dictator’s family—that there’s something distinctly otherworldly about her. Atmospheric and filled with dread that just keeps building and building, La Llorona draws on Guatemala’s own tragic history to tell its tale of grief and ghosts—and effectively explores the deep well of pain that inevitably connects the two.
5) Edge of the Axe
New this month to Shudder is this Spanish-American production from Spanish B-movie specialist José Ramón Larraz; it melds two very 1980s narratives: a slasher on the loose in a small town, and the mysterious, newfangled world of personal computers. Set in a California mountain town but featuring obvious English dubbing, Edge of the Axe introduces us to an array of local folks—including the new guy in town Gerald (Barton Faulks), a confirmed computer geek—most of whom come under suspicion when a mysterious killer begins picking off members of the community. With its (unintentionally) hilarious dialogue, excited embrace of outdated technology, wildly uneven performances, and a plot so ludicrous its last-act twists drift into the surreal, nobody’s going to call Edge of the Axe a cinematic masterpiece—unless they’re looking for a very silly, intermittently horrific viewing experience. In that case, it’s a masterpiece.
CombineDie Hard(but without a central badass), every animal-attack movie ever (say hello to Shakma, a baboon whose rage has been scientifically amplified), a determined plot about immersive role-playing computer games, and gloriously unremarkable production values, and you’ll get Shakma—a 1990 B-movie populated with a cast of faces you might recognize but can’t immediately place (A Nightmare on Elm Street’s Amanda Wyss; The Blue Lagoon’s Christopher Atkins; and, thematically appropriately enough, Planet of the Apes veteran Roddy McDowall). The bonkers premise makes the entire affair ridiculously enjoyable, and while you might lose a few brain cells before the end, you’ll at least understand why Shakma has earned its own cult-movie niche. (Arrives on Shudder March 15)
From Argentine writer-director Demián Rugna, Terrified explores a series of nightmarish incidents that all transpire in the same nondescript row of houses—including a gruesome death and an entirely separate, but equally gruesome, return from death. Despite its sinister themes and gore, the movie also has a macabre sense of humor, mostly thanks to a group of aging, kinda bumbling paranormal investigators who’re brought in to assist the over-their-heads local police. The plot is propulsive, the characters aren’t your typical horror genre types, and the monstrous imagery will leave you…well…there’s a reason it’s called Terrified.
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io9 ReviewsReviews and critical analyses of fan-favorite movies, TV shows, comics, books, and more.
It’s been two years since Mike Flanagan and Netflix turned classic horror novel The Haunting of Hill Houseinto a series that earned raves not just for its story, characters, and creativity, but also for scaring the bejesus out of viewers. Can lightning strike twice? The Haunting of Bly Manoris here to find out.
We won’t be spoiling any of Bly Manor’s big twists and reveals in this review—we’ve seen how Netflix-spawned ghosts take their revenge, after all—so you can read on with confidence. But whatever you do, stay in your room. Don’t go wandering around the house at night!
That’s a request, really more of a fervent plea, pressed upon Dani Clayton (Victoria Pedretti, who played Nell in Hill House) on her first day working as an au pair at the stately country mansion known as Bly Manor. Since it comes from eight-year-old Flora Wingrave (Amelie Smith), who lives there with her 10-year-old brother Miles (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth), Dani doesn’t initially take this warning too seriously. After all, Bly Manor is “a great good place” according to its London-dwelling owner, Flora and Miles’ Uncle Henry (Henry Thomas, also back from Hill House, though this time he gets to do a British accent)—in stark contrast to Hill House, which was famously “born bad.” But by the time Dani arrives, Bly Manor has both a tragic recent past and a tragic distant past weighing on it. Heavily.
Dani—an outwardly chipper American whose preppy fashions are often the only reminder that Bly Manor’s present is 1987—has her own heavy troubles trailing behind her, so she’s thrilled to be starting a new job while she tries to make a new start. At Bly Manor, she meets the people in the Wingrave family orbit who’ll help her do that: housekeeper Hannah (T’Nia Miller), chef Owen (iZombie’s Rahul Kohli), and groundskeeper Jamie (Amelia Eve). Series creator Flanagan has spoken about how Hill House focused on a traditional family of brothers and sisters, while Bly Manor is more about a “family” of friends, and we see how Dani is welcomed by her co-workers into their close-knit ranks. Everyone is really good at their jobs—including Dani, who’s great with the kids—and has an easy rapport; they’re all fond of the sort of good-natured shit-talking that comes from genuinely enjoying each other’s company.
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So Bly Manor sounds like a pretty chill place to work, right? Not so fast. There is, as Dani suspects from the start, a “catch.” A few catches, actually. Miles and Flora are generally charming, but their moments of moodiness and mischief—initially waved away as the behavior of kids who’re still mourning the loss of their parents to an accident abroad two years prior, as well as the more recent loss of their previous nanny, Rebecca (Tahirah Sharif), who died at Bly—begin to increase after Dani’s arrival. Soon they start feeling less like childish pranks and more like dangerous cause for concern. Small details, like the way Flora arranges the dolls in her Bly Manor dollhouse, or the condescending way Miles addresses his nanny as “Dani” instead of “Miss Clayton,” begin to take on major significance.
If you’ve read Henry James’ novella The Turn of the Screw—or seen any of the other many previous adaptations, especially 1961’s The Innocents—you already have a pretty good idea where things are going to go from there, though Bly Manor isn’t just a new version of that tale. It has nine episodes to dig into the lives of its fascinating, full-bodied characters, which it does with the help of some very carefully structured flashbacks, as well as intertwining its plot with threads pulled from other ghostly James tales. And, of course, it sets up a series of mysteries for the audience to latch onto while setting a mood of deep, dripping dread. As for the main antagonist, we won’t even get into any identifying details—other than to say they do indeed achieve Bent-Neck Lady levels of sheer terror.
While Bly Manor’s central themes do traverse some of the same turf covered in Hill House (fun stuff like childhood trauma and emotional agony)—and the story does feature many, many deaths (several of which have nothing to do with the house at all, other than they affect the people who live and/or work there), it is ultimately a love story. Flanagan has expressly said as much, and it’s also something that’s specifically pointed out in the dialogue. But calling Bly Manor a “love story” (or even the more specifically foreboding “Gothic love story,” which it obviously is) is hardly simplifying it. There are many love stories contained within its chapters—forbidden or secret love, unconditional love, passionate romantic love, and the kind of love that gets twisted into something dark that feels more like possession.
That last one is what propels the forces behind many of Bly Manor’s frights. It’d be tough to pull off the show’s choice to fluidly shift perspectives and points of view—sometimes replaying scenes over and over when it serves the story—if the cast wasn’t so incredibly strong. Several actors end up playing two versions of their character as the story progresses, and we won’t reveal more other than to say that Flanagan—who also made Ouija: Origin of Evil and Doctor Sleep—is to be commended for his skill in casting and directing children.
Haunting vets Pedretti, Thomas, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen (who plays Henry Wingrave’s slippery valet, Peter Quint) get to do most of the showy emoting, but the performances never go too far over the top (as they did sometimes in the occasionally maudlin Hill House). The standouts though are T’Nia Miller, who handles her character’s dramatic heavy lifting with incredible subtlety, and Rahul Kohli, whose mischievous take on Owen injects some much-needed lightness and joy into Bly Manor’s gloom.
If we didn’t care so much about these characters—even the ones who do terrible things and then continue to be terrible—Bly Manor wouldn’t be as moving and suspenseful as it is throughout. In most haunted house stories, Hill House included, it’s tempting to wonder why the people who’re being plagued by ghosts don’t just leave the property and never look back. Bly Manor makes a case for hanging around even when things start to go supernaturally haywire. If the people you love are in peril, and there’s any chance at all that you could help, even if it means tangling with some extremely malevolent forces—why wouldn’t you?
The Haunting of Bly Manor hits Netflix on October 9.
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The Haunting of Bly Manorcomes to Netflix as a sort of pseudo-sequel to Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Hill House. It’s as good a time as any to whet your appetite just a little bit more.
Well, here’s just the thing: the Twitter account for the show, gearing up for the release, has shared one final promotional tidbit: the show’s opening credits. If you want to preserve the full experience, click off here, but otherwise enjoy the ambiance.
The opening credits sequence feels especially meaningful in a good horror show. It should set a mood, you know? I think this is a pretty strong one, moody and artful and effectively establishing the setting as a creepy old house. Which is really all you need to know.