Despite some declaring that horror is dead, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Just look at the news: it’s more alive now than ever, and pushing the boundaries of mainstream. Television saw an increase in both the number of shows and their popularity, and it eyed the summer box office with long, gnarling teeth.
Our First Look At The New Pennywise
There has been some trepidation about remaking classics lately, none more so than Stephen King’s IT. While people worry about new takes on old films or shows, no one can argue that the dated mini-series could use a modern update. With this particular remake, it’s not as much the story as it is its brilliant monster, Pennywise the Clown.
Originally played by none other than incredible character actor Tim Curry, both his portrayal and his makeup has led to nearly more nightmares than Freddy Krueger and Pinhead. It’s no surprise that people immediately eyed the new clown with skepticism. In June it was announced that Will Poulter was replaced by Bill Skarsgård. In July, we got our first look at the creepy entity, followed up with another photo in December. The new adaptation of IT arrives September 8, 2017.
The Rise of Negan, Or, “GOTCHA!”
For the last several years, audiences of THE WALKING DEAD comics and TV show have been asking one question: “When is Negan coming?” Fans got their wish earlier this year when the infamous villain finally appeared on the season 6 finale episode. Just as anticipated, or maybe feared, were the main character deaths that played out in front of Negan’s bat “Lucille” in the comic. And producers teased and promised they were coming.
Then one of the most anticipated moments in TV history arrived, everyone held their breath, waiting. The bat came down and…”See you next season!” The painful wails were only dwarfed by the waves and waves of rage by audiences who felt everything from betrayal to manipulation. Large swaths of people declared they were done with the show, others said they’d wait and see the season 7 premiere then bail, and others still took to social media to lambaste show creators and producers in a storm of massive hate.
But we were promised a resolution, and it came with the season 7 premiere, and the anticipation was palpable, although most that were fed up still held those feelings of being fed up. We lost not one, but two beloved characters which started one of the most brutal seasons of the show to date. As viewership has shrunk the last couple of months, one has to wonder if the ploy with Negan took its toll or the season itself isn’t’ resonating as it has the last couple of seasons, where numbers had swelled. But for better or worse, Negan was on everyone’s mind for a while.
Horror Films Sinks Their Claws Into The Mainstream Box Office!
More proof that horror hasn’t really gone anywhere, but is still rising, one only has to take a look at the attack horror films made on box office numbers, where we saw typical blockbusters falter a bit.
No surprise to anyone, James Wan’s follow-up to 2013’s THE CONJURING hit theaters in June to a resounding $102 million domestic box office, off of a rather lavish $40 million budget. Building on an incredibly creepy short film on YouTube, David F. Sandberg was given the green light to take his story to feature length. While some thought it would be too difficult to stretch out, Sandberg proved them wrong, turning $5 million into just over $67 million. Probably one of the biggest successes of the year was Fede Alvarez’s sophomore outing, the nail-biting DON’T BREATHE. On a $10 million budget, Alvarez scared audiences out of $90 million.
With several other horror films making not-so-successful but impactful premieres in 2016, horror hasn’t gone anywhere and it isn’t likely to go anytime soon.
THE WOODS Is Actually THE BLAIR WITCH
San Diego Comic Con is usually known to be the center point of geek culture, with massive panels and displays for every superhero comic and film you can think of. It’s grown of late to showcase upcoming films and television, with loads of panels and masked celebrities trying to pretend they’re one of us. But this year it wasn’t Marvel or Disney that rocked the convention. It was horror.
As critics and fans alike packed into a screening of Adam Wingard’s anticipated THE WOODS, a single slide came up on the screen to announce that they had just been part of one of the greatest secrets in film, the production was actually a direct sequel to 1999’s THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. While the movie was playing, the staff actually went around and changed all of the marketing material from THE WOODS to THE BLAIR WITCH.
The news took over comic con as nearly every film outlet started talking about the best-kept secret of the summer. Buzz coming out of that screening were incredibly high, and it had audiences ready to rush back into the Black Hills. Unfortunately, it fell flat with some of the audience, and while it turned a decent profit, didn’t hit studio expectations. Any further stories are doubtful but still in the air. But we have that unbelievable excitement at the reveal this last summer.
American Horror Story: Roanoke’s Insane Marketing Campaign
As American Horror Story continues to be increasingly popular every year, fans usually have to wait until a few months before the season premiere to hear about what the main story of the season is to be. 2016’s season 6 was a bit different, however.
Instead of a reveal, we were fed multiple TV spots and online trailers, each with a different set of images and themes. The only thing bind them together was an upside down six made to look like a question mark. With all things, the novelty of the tease started to wear off, and amused speculation turned into frustration. Many started to draw parallels between this and the way execs handled THE WALKING DEAD fiasco. But showrunners didn’t relent, didn’t give up.
It wasn’t until the season premiere started that we were told that season six would deal with the lost colony of Roanoke. Not only that, this season would be in a totally different format, playing out like a faux documentary with testimonies sprinkled throughout a reenactment of a haunted house story. The second half of the shortened season showed us behind the scenes of the show within a show, with reenactors and their “real life” counterparts being stuck in the haunted house together.
The format didn’t sit well with most of the audience, but it did immediately start speculation on what the next season will be like. There’s even a rumor that creator Ryan Murphy is working on a secret season with a single writer and director. Whatever the result, it’s sure to be just as big of a risk than season six was.
Ridley Scott Has Brought ALIEN Back!
Ridley Scott got a mixed reaction when he introduced us to PROMETHEUS, claiming it was very loosely connected to the ALIEN universe he helped create. While undeniably beautiful, plot holes and inconsistencies haunted the film, though we were treated to a very early incarnation of what would be known as a xenomorph. Most audiences wanted more of a link to ALIEN in theme and visuals, and Ridley Scott listened.
When PROMETHEUS 2 was announced, fans were excited, critics of the first film were nervous. Then the name was changed to ALIEN: PARADISE LOST, fans started to take notice and come together in the excitement that we weren’t dancing around the franchise anymore. Then soon after, it was announced that the film would actually be called ALIEN: COVENANT, following a colony ship of the same name that finds a paradise worth settling down on. But what they find is the android DAVID from PROMETHEUS, and straight up horror surrounding them.
On Christmas day we were gifted the first trailer from the film, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. While keeping the gorgeous cinematography of PROMETHEUS, it was more than clear that Scott was returning to the roots of ALIEN, a science fiction horror that wasn’t going to hold back. Skepticism has turned to all out anticipation as we suddenly can’t wait to see the link between PROMETHEUS and ALIEN.
While we lost more than our share of celebrities and idols over the course of the year, including Angus Scrimm, the amazing Tall Man of the PHANTASM series, we watched our beloved genre not only grow, but gain more notice and popularity. While we enjoy being the “odd kids” of the film industry, it’s nice to see OUR love of film get some attention. Hopefully, 2017 will continue the horror film and television swell.
And we here at Tom Holland’s Terror Time will be right there giving you all the news and celebrate everything horror