|10-01-2005, 12:04 PM||#1|
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Florida, USA
Everything old is new again as both SCREAM and I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER return in an attempt to revive what I call the slasher lite cycle.
I suppose it was only a matter of time. Something gets big, the Hollywood suits milk it for everything its worth and finally pushes it out to pasture in favor of the next big thing. Usually the next big thing is the same old thing, which is why horror is big money for the studios about once a decade before they throw the genre to the wolves and treat it like an unwanted stepchild.
In the 1990s, the horror genre experienced one of its most polarizing booms in a resurgence of the slasher film. Now, these films were actually very much unlike the slasher films of years before. They indulged in the exact same cliches but winked at the audience as if to say they were too good for them. They also were much more squeamish about graphic sex and violence than the films of the 1980s, despite wearing their puritanism on their sleeves only. The cycle began with SCREAM, Wes Craven's surprising success and one of the most controversial horror films of the last twenty years. Personally, I enjoyed the fresh take offered in the original SCREAM but the effect would diminish considerably with the sequels (apologies to SCREAM 2 fanatic Finn Clark ). And there were sequels, the first one being rushed to theatres just less than a year after its predesessor (maybe that's why SCREAM 2 lacks opening credits and uses music from BROKEN ARROW? Hmmm.). Which wouldn't be bad except every other Hollywood studio was looking to capitalize on its success.
This led to I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, also scripted by Kevin Williamson. When it wasn't trying so hard to be trendy, I KNOW was actually pretty good, recalling old slashers like the original FRIDAY THE 13TH, complete with a corker of an ending. That was destroyed with perhaps the worst film of the entire slasher lite cycle, I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER. This was a film so insipid it required all of the main characters being so stupid as to not know the capital of Brazil (It's Brazilia, not Rio, for those of you who don't want to embarass yourselves.), thus making them too moronic to be anything but pleased when they were turned into fish sticks by the Gordon's fisherman-looking killer. This was the first film. but God help me not the last, who still had its writer listed as "TBA" midway through filming. This was a film where not even the title made sense - taking place two years after what they strangely refer to as "last summer." Not even Jeffrey Combs could save this one.
And of course, there were the countless imitators. Ever wonder how Jamie Blanks got a career. Thank slasher lite. His URBAN LEGENDS turned an interesting premise into a shit sandwich of a film and allowed him to make the equally horrible VALENTINE (and allowed Sony to start a franchise. As I have not yet watched the third LEGENDS film, I will reserve judgement.). Then there was STEPFORD TEENS film DISTURBING BEHAVIOR, the real conspiracy turned insipid with THE SKULLS, the "spreading rumors is bad" after school special of GOSSIP, the "rich people suck but don't you want to be them?" of THE IN-CROWD and so on. There were a few diamonds in the rough. Despite being scripted by the man who started it all, THE FACULTY was a fun body snatcher flick thanks to Robert Rodriguez. IDLE HANDS was about five times as subversive as it appeared.
The slasher lite craze put Dimension on the top of the horror heap. The slasher lite craze has kept the once entertaining David DeCocteau releasing tons of imitators to this day (many with a homoerotic slant, which is a little different, but still packed into lousy movies). The slasher lite craze started franchises that are still going strong in the straight to video market. And then, when they decided they had enough, Dimension lampooned their own cash cow with SCARY MOVIE. Not saying horror fans don't have a sense of humor, but when you're talking about Sean and Marlon Wayans, humor rarely comes into the picture. It sounded the death rattle for the slasher lite craze. After all, how many films could the disturbingly puffy-faced Joshua Jackson star in?
Now it all comes back as the two films that started it all announce their plans to return.
Neve Campbell spoke with Film Focus recently and announced that there will in fact be a SCREAM 4, although she will not be in it. "We were really lucky with the SCREAM films to actually make a good trilogy, I think it's very challenging to find other films that have done that properly" she revealed, "but I think it was a good idea for me to stop there. They are going to go ahead and make a SCREAM 4, I guess they're casting it right now and it was offered to me; but to me, for Sidney, it just doesn't make sense...I think it would have been smart to leave it at three. Miramax is going to go ahead and make a fourth and perhaps they'll do a good job; you never know. If Kevin [Williamson] writes it, it's quite possible they'll do a good job".
Of course, there has been no talk or speculation that Williamson will be writing the fourth SCREAM film. Since the film will likely go straight-to-video, it's doubtful. Still, you have to hand it to Campbell for taking the high road here. She's a pretty talented actress whose own career has hit the skids. She has been in numerous straight to video films recently and SCREAM 4 would likely be a big paycheck for her. And yet, the reasoning behind her not returning is that it makes no logistical sense.
"Sidney Prescott should have gone insane in the second Scream" Campell said, "It was hard for them to get me to do the third one; how far can you go with a character whose friends have either all tried to kill her or died? The only way I could be in SCREAM 4 is in an insane asylum in a straight-jacket"
Well hey, so she cares about the horror genre. Oh wait, actually Campell said in the past she has never made a horror film (Really? Not even THE CRAFT?!?) and inferred they were beneath her. Hmm, okay so moving on...
You can feel safe placing a large sum of money against the chances of Wes Craven returning. After his shameful treatment by Dimension with his latest film CURSED, Craven has recovered and delivered RED EYE to DreamWorks. That film has made nearly $60 million and counting, not bad considering that's well over twice the budget. We also have not heard if the latest SCREAM film will be released through Dimension Films, or if it will be under the banner of the Weinstein Company. Several other Dimension franchises, including HELLRAISER and HALLOWEEN will now be released by the Weinsteins' new company.
Campell and Craven may be out of the running for SCREAM 4. But Jennifer Love-Hewitt is not so highbrow. She will be returning for I'LL ALWAYS KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, diminishing hopes that she would be hacked to pieces at the end of I STILL KNOW (which would have been the only decent thing in the movie). Again, we have a title that makes no sense. Not only is it terrifying in suggesting we will never be free of these films, it still refers to the "last summer," which if you're keeping count, is now nine years (technically, it's the summer before the 1997 timeframe of the original, remember) and counting.
I'LL ALWAYS KNOW involves a kid getting murdered by a fisherman at the local state fair. His father, an ex-Navy SEAL (natch), is haunted by the murder and hunts the killer down. A plot synopsis not completely unlike Rob Zombie's DEVIL'S REJECTS, although something tells me this will be more sanitized. To confuse us more, Film Jerk is running the following synopsis: "I'LL ALWAYS KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER will focus on -- see if this sounds familiar -- four teens from a small Colorado town will be victimized by a phantom menace one year after a July Fourth prank gone awry kills one of their buddies. Against the protestation of one of them, the group agree to keep this secret, only to find their friendships torn apart from the strain. The next Independence Day, just before the town's annual carnival, the four receive intimidating communiqués indicating someone is aware of what happened before. The group suspect the cousin of the dead friend, only to discover they are very much on the wrong track. Can the friends survive and figure out the identity of their tormentor before they end up dead themselves?"
Neither one of these plots reveals how Hewitt will return to the franchise, but she says it's so. Hewitt recently returned to series television in THE GHOST WHISPERER. I have not seen the show, so I can't gauge its quality. But damn, that's got to be the worst title I've heard since UPN unleashed HOMEBOYS IN OUTER SPACE (Look it up, it was a real show.). Her husband, Freddie Prinze Jr. is also on the tube again, this time in his own sitcom, FREDDIE. If one or both of them return for I'LL ALWAYS KNOW, it will probably be when shooting for their seasons have wrapped. The film will be directed by Damon Santostefano, who hasn't directed a horror film since 1992's Fangoria produced SEVERED TIES. He did coincidentally helm one of Neve Campell's early career missteps THREE TO TANGO. It's all so incestuous, isn't it?
Both films are expected to shoot sometime next year.
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Scott W. Davis
|10-01-2005, 03:27 PM||#2|
Join Date: Apr 2004
This seems all a bit tooo far off in the future. No shooting plans confirmed....Why worry about it until it happens? And I'm willing to bet IF they do happen, there is a decent chance they will be Direct To Video fodder. If Dimension can keep on cranking out Hellraiser movies- since they make money- people want CRAP and Hollywood is happy to give it to them. Scream 4 and I KNOW What You Do Forever.... will be in that same vein, Sounds like you didn't care a whole lot of the originals, so why give a damn about parts 4 or whatever?
Maybe it's just me, but I long ago stopped checking out EVERY NEW HORROR movie. Too much of them were crap, no matter how cool the pictures in Fangoria looked. Now with dvd there is a WEALTH of older titles that are finally seeing the light of day, there's too much good older stuff to see! I've faced the fact there every year there will be a handful(or less!) of must see theatrical horror titles- this year High Tension(ok more like last year), Land of the Dead, The Devil's Rejects.....And there's also a few overseas titles that are "must sees" that may or may not make it to North America(or the Uk). If Hollywood Horror and DTV horror is your cup o' tea isn't there plenty of it released? To demand high quality horror from these folks is like expecting a retarded fellow to do your taxes.....correctly.
While I'm not much of a fan of the "Slasher Lite" genre, and never bothered with the "I Know What you Did..." series, I'm much more concerned with the watering down "PG-13" horror film trend. And of course Lion's Gate pussying out on releasing "High Tension" unrated/NC-17. With the poor box office of Land of the Dead, High Tension and Devil's Rejects- Hollywood may ease up on financing what I call 'real horror" for a while. Currently, Hollywood horror seems to on "remake" and "Supernatural" mode. Who knows whats around the corner........
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