Wednesday, January 30, 2008


In general, I’m a fan of FEARnet. While the wait for a widely accessible television network devoted to horror drags on, there are seemingly dozens of broadband/niche companies currently streaming horror content online or on-demand via digital cable, but FEARnet’s web component is the only one thus far to actually include full-length movies in its online viewing lineup (excluding the various online outlets that offer downloadable public domain titles culled from the dollar bin at Target). Even more endearing (to everyone except, maybe, people like Metallica), FEARnet allows anyone to access its offerings free of charge, without any subscriptions or memberships. Most of the movies are crap, but whenever you’re hit with that driving need to watch Wishmaster again, FEARnet’s got your back (I’m personally forever indebted to the network for making the 1982 opus Frightmare, starring a barely pubescent Jeffrey Combs, readily available 24/7 last year). The site also premiered two well-rated web series (the 30 Days of Night prequel Blood Trails and Buried Alive), along with an original feature set in a Velvet Revolver music video.

But in a recent article on the most anticipated horror movies of 2008, the site seems to have mistargeted its users’ tastes. There’s more horror in a Happy Meal than there is on this list. I’m not sure what’s more disconcerting – the article’s relative lack of horror titles, or the five lines of type it devotes to Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man. And while I wouldn’t call flicks like The Signal, France’s Ils (Them), or The Lost Boys sequel major cinematic events, they at least deserve a mention over the Day the Earth Stood Still remake.

The problem is – and this is the scary part – right now there aren’t a ton of horror movies on the horizon that are worth anticipating. A PG-13 Prom Night redux and the fifth Saw flick (who the hell let this series get that high?) won’t have me camping out for tickets.

That said, there are a few anticipated genre releases that are way more compelling than a new Roland Emmerich movie. Here’s a brief guide based on tentative schedules:

Diary of the Dead -- I remain skeptical about the place of Romero’s latest in his overall zombie pantheon, but after Land of the Dead, who isn’t looking forward to him giving it another go?

Doomsday -- The latest Spielberg flick makes FEARnet’s list, but Neil (The Descent) Marshall’s doesn’t? Whuhuh? Britain goes post-apocalyptic; sign me up. Better still – no sign of Shia LaBeouf to be found.

Sisters -- Yeah, it’s another remake, but since 85% of the original De Palma movie was lifted from Hitchcock movies in the first place, there’s a good chance Douglas Buck’s version will actually be more original. For what it’s worth, with his dark Family Portraits trilogy, Buck’s definitely the right guy for the job.

Repo! The Genetic Opera -- Bill Moseley sings.

Frontiere(s) -- It sounds an awful lot like last year’s Severence, minus the spiteful wit, but these days French horror is la merde.

The Happening -- While the rest of the public seems to think that M. Night lost is Shyamamlamagic a long time ago, I thought The Village was a totally engrossing character study, and Lady in the Water was...well, just too absurd to dislike. What is it with all of the end of the world flicks this year? Apocalypse is the new black.

Mother of Tears (La Terza Madre) -- Can the final film in Argento’s Three Mothers live up to expectations and restore faith in the guy with the black gloves? Debatable, but early reports suggest a visual feast done Dario-style, and that’s enough to have me eatin’ Italian food until showtime.

Rec -- Another first-person POV flick attempts to bring a new perspective to an old archetype (apparently vérité horror is also the new black), but word is Jaume Balagueró has finally crafted a film that’s as scary as his horror debut, The Nameless -- if not more so. “The scariest movie in years,” reviewers call it. I’m not going to assume that’s true, but I can’t


  1. The Ball & Chain said...

    Ooh! You liked The Village too? That makes four people, including myself, who thought it was awesome. Perhaps we can start a club and pretend that our small numbers are a mark of rarefied exclusivity.