Boy oh Boy, I love it when the Box Office tells it like it is! HORROR RULES!!!
I am not a real big fan of reporting Box Office news. I feel it places the focus of film upon financing instead of art. It lends itself to legitimizing film into a business first and foremost. And... Deep down, I hate that.
So often I hear stories from Filmmakers and Screenwriters about a new script going out... And it's something new, something different. Something not tied directly to the box office of that particular weekend. And then... for whatever reason an exec says something like, "This doesn't look like THE MATRIX to me." or "This doesn't look like THE SIXTH SENSE to me." and they honestly and truthfully can't for the life of them recognize that the reason THE MATRIX and THE SIXTH SENSE performed the way they did was that THE MATRIX wasn't SPEED and THE SIXTH SENSE wasn't DIE HARD. They succeeded because they were films that stood alone and did not apologize for being horror or science-fiction.
So, on this magical Monday, what can we learn from the fact that the top 3 films this weekend, pulling in a combined 42.5 Million Dollars were all Horror Films.
Not only that, but all 3 did not feature teenagers. All three did not contain stalkers with knives, axes, drills or saws. All three were simply good old fashioned scare ya movies.
Now in a perfect world, I would have preferred that STIR OF ECHOES had placed first this weekend, with STIGMATA third (my review is coming soon, I liked it, but not as much as the other two). But hey... I'm just happy to have such a clearcut case to make to Hollywood from this weekend.
There is a trend here that needs to be picked up upon. And the trend that needs to be followed is.... Making Serious Uncompromising Horror films. I'm not talking about movies that have 3 dozen 'false' scares, but the genuine creepy, edge of your seat, ohmygod this is soo weird, and SHIT, WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT? type of films.
Now, I know... I go on this rap every now and again, but just look at this summer real quick.
The summer started off with THE MUMMY, which pulled in a nice ripe $43.3 million opening weekend, but because it wasn't quite a great movie, it had significant drops each week of 30% to 40%, but has wrangled in a damn good $156 million or so, so far. Not counting the additional $131 million it's pulled in overseas thus far, and still counting..
Then we had LAKE PLACID, which FOR ME was more of a spoof or a farce than it was a horror film, but... BECAUSE it was advertised as a HORROR film it did earn a respectable $10 million opening weekend, but... Because the audience was given laughs when they were expecting scares, the word of mouth was confused and the film suffered the same sort of drops that THE MUMMY had, but even with a piss poor ad campaign it has pulled in over $30 million. And hasn't been released overseas thus far.
Then there is DREAMWORKS' THE HAUNTING, which had a snazzy ad campaign, good talent, and a solid opening weekend of $33.4 million dollars. However, the audience response really craved more from the characters, they wanted the scares to be for real, they loved the house, but hated the cheesy jokes and sexual innuendo. And really turned off to the cornball ending. HOWEVER, I still enjoyed the heck out of the movie... as did a lot of people... But... it could have been better. Thus the film suffered 55%-45% drops every single week, until Labor Day when it experienced a 6% increase in activity. The film has not opened overseas yet, but expect pretty dang good box office that at least edges past the domestic pull for this film. As it stands, it has made over $90 million.
Next up is DEEP BLUE SEA. A popcorn horror film that doesn't take itself too seriously. A damn good ending to their trailer with a jump scare got audiences raving about the potential 'coolness' of the film, and the movie opened with a strong $25 million. BUT... once again it was still a traditional film with all of the expected twists and turns. It was fun. A joy for the 2 hours or so you were in the theater. But... other than a pair of cool characters and lots of death... it didn't offer much. So.. once again we had the cursed 40% drops, week after week. But the audience was still tolerent enough to see the movie through a solid $74 million domestic. And... Once again.. the movie hasn't opened up overseas, which if the trailers end with that same sudden shark attack... well... the film could easily gross an additional $50 to $80 million.
Then things got interesting as hell. THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT started scarying people with a promise of real scares. Not the pansy-ass forced scares of an increased soundtrack burst or a hand touching a shoulder. THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT promised the audience that they would see something that they had never seen before. It began with sold out limited small venue runs which totaled up to $63,812 per screen. Then it opened wide and raked in $29 million that weekend. The demand to add more screens ensured a low drop that next week of a mere 17%. The film is up to $137 million and still going. The film promised honest scary horror. No convenient romances or last minute happy endings. It promised you sleepless nights. For some it did... However, the film can't really be duplicated... so you have to look at what people responded to. And the real key was that they were scared before they even entered the theater. The basic premise got people scared.
In the second week of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT's release a movie that folks were not expecting a whole lot from, scared the shit out of them and made them care. The fantastic ad campaign that came from Disney focused on, "I SEE DEAD PEOPLE." I am of course talking about THE SIXTH SENSE. A film that succeeded because the trailer raised hairs on your neck and told you why they were standing there. Because that kid looked scared. Because Bruce Willis looked concerned... and it wasn't being played hokey. THEN when the audience actually saw the film. And they finally saw a film that absolutely respected them for watching it. A film that leaves you still shaking from what that little kid sees and puts up with. The wonderful thing is that it isn't a happy ending. The kid isn't cured, but he can kind of handle things. Bruce isn't exactly happy either. AND it left the audience with something to talk about. It wasn't a neat little film with the bow tied perfect. It had loose ends and topics to talk about. The acting was superb. And as a result.... that second weekend saw a drop of only 3% and then that next week it was just 7%. Was that BRUCE WILLIS? NO! It was the fact that people have been walking around talking about what a great friggin movie it was. How the characters are real and not speaking in one liners but in PARAGRAPHS. That the dialogue is snappy and intelligent. The film is filled with wit and respect for the subject matter. And it isn't like ANY OF THE OTHER HORROR FILMS THAT CAME OUT BEFORE IT! By Tuesday the film will be over $200 million. It is a great horror film.
Now, this weekend we have two new entries in the Horror Extravaganza... STIR OF ECHOES and STIGMATA.
Of the two, STIR OF ECHOES will have less of a drop in it's second weekend. Because it is the stronger movie. STIGMATA is going to have at least a 40% drop, because the audience for the film was a bit put off by the MTV jerking around and camera swirls and Michael Bay blink editing. Meanwhile, some folks are actually saying that STIR OF ECHOES is better than THE SIXTH SENSE.
So... if that's true, why didn't STIR OF ECHOES have a stronger opening. One... it was on a significantly lessor number of screens. Two, the trailers for the film didn't really SCARE you. They didn't distill the premise to something simple like, "I touched a ghost... she was cold." They didn't saturate the market as heavily as they should have. But... it'll have a drop off of probably somewhere between 20% to 30%, unless they beef it up to an additional 700 theaters, and add to trailer rotation... which could pull it up to a very marginal drop-off. We'll see.
So... Let's see. These summer time horror films... All 8 of them have come in with a grand total of $836,986,392.00 for Hollywood thus far (including foreign for just ONE of the films thus far). For a grand average of $104,623,299 buckeroos.
And that leads me to the next bit of business. The next set of horror films. Ok, before the end of the year you'll be seeing SLEEPY HOLLOW and END OF DAYS perform very well. Do ya really need a shovel upside the head to see the writing in blood upon the wall. We, the audience of the world, want to be scared in the theater... not outside of it. So... Scare us.
How? Well, it's not by making sequels to all of the above films. We don't want that. We want... believe it or not... ORIGINAL scares... Not things that we knew how it went... LAST TIME, but rather... Stories with three dimensional characters, complicated plotlines and that leave us with something to talk about when the film is over. Oh yeah... and it needs to scare us. So... Do you have any scripts like that?
Now... before you start shaking your head let me interupt and say, "YES YOU DO!"
Look around for the following projects and start putting them on the fast track cause... Well.. You can see the audience is thirsty for horror films that involve adult characters and situations. So... Hmmmm... Let's see. Guillermo Del Toro has three such projects right now, HELLBOY, LIST OF SEVEN and MEPHISTO'S BRIDGE... as well as the small film THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE. All of those fit the criteria. Then there is Stuart Gordon and his fantastic project, SHADOW OVER INNSMOUTH. There is Darabont and THE MIST. But... ya know... what about some unknown material? Well there are two scripts that have come across my desk that are not attached to any talent whatsoever that I'm aware of... and they are both genuinely scary and wonderfully thought out scripts. The first is a script called DONNIE DARKO by Richard Kelly and the other is called AMUSEMENTS by Drew McWeeny and Scott Swan. Both of these scripts feature smart characters in very scary situations.
DONNIE DARKO is a superb script about a 14 year old boy that lives on any ol average street in America. He has a regular nice ol family. He's on medication. He's been in trouble before, but he really really wants to be a good kid. HOWEVER, he sleep walks... he talks to an imaginary bloody 6ft tall rabbit-costumed guy without one of his eyes... and this rabbit asks that he do things. And if by the end of this script... which is played EXTREMELY SMART, you are not completely stunned... well... you shouldn't be in charge of development.
And AMUSEMENTS is a larger scale film... Actually it is a very large scale film that I just adore. Like DONNIE DARKO it is a superb script, but instead it's about adult characters in a place where they don't have ANY control over anything. It mixes up elements from DISNEYLAND to GHOST IN THE SHELL to... well... I don't know. And it's scares are on the very real and relatable plain. In a perfect world this script would land in Zemeckis or Fincher's hands. In hell, it'd end up in Renny Harlin or Jan De Bont's.
Then there is a talent that Hollywood doesn't know about that has made an EXCELLENT direct-to-video film entitled THE DIVIDING HOUR. After I saw it, I instantly began e-mailing these guys (Mike Prosser & David Walker) and told them how much I liked it. They were surprised but said that actually it's the least of their scripts, and how they wish they had started with something even stronger. WELL... I don't know about that, but if they are sitting on a pile of scripts better than their first little $7000 film that they have made... I'd run after it. I showed THE DIVIDING HOUR to Guillermo Del Toro and he was quite excited by it. These guys are very talented.. and unknown.
And even further in the world of the unknown is a little fella named Mike Williamson. He's directed this really smart and fun and scary short film called THE BOY IN THE GARAGE. He's a talent just waiting to be discovered.
That's four sets of folks, with great material that you guys in Hollywood haven't gotten yet... But well... they sure as hell deserve to be in the game. They haven't learned to write scripts 'THE HOLLYWOOD WAY' yet. They don't make films based on last week's latest hit. Instead.. they are writing tomorrow's. From folks like Guillermo Del Toro and Stuart Gordon... to folks like Richard Kelly, Drew McWeeny, Mike Prosser, Scott Swan and Mike Williamson... There's a shitload of talent you folks are not using.... Look at the numbers from those 8 horror films.... get to work
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Sept. 13, 1999, 3:36 a.m. CST
Harry's right! These new breed of 'intelligent' horror will last a whole lot longer in the depths of your mind then Neve being chased by a guy in an ill-fitting frock! These are the movies that really scare, not just make you jump by startling you. And I for one am delighted with the current trend and level of quality of these films.
Sept. 13, 1999, 3:38 a.m. CST
by Anakin Rocks
Don't get me wrong, I LOVED the Sixth Sense. I thought it was extremely well written & acted (If Hayley Joel Osment doesn't get an OSCAR, there is no justice). I thought it was scary, but I didn't really see it as a horror film. I saw it as a character driven story. Thinking about it, that must be why it succeeded. Maybe I'm not familiar enough with horror to recognize it, but that isn't how I would categorize the movie.
Sept. 13, 1999, 3:48 a.m. CST
Loved the article Harry - only unfortunate side effect is that I'm now even more pissed off I live in a place where WAITING seems to be the main symptom of movie-going. Blair Witch Project, Sixth Sense, Stigmata, Stir of Echoes....still waiting...!! I wouldn't call myself a 'horor' buff, I do enjoy a good scare - I've just found horror films(like most people I'd imagine) ....unscary for the last 5-10 years. The genre wasn't being taken seriously - similar to the 'sword and sorcery' epic, and until relatively recently, sci-fi. Lord of the Rings COULD be responsible for a renaissance in 'fantasy' film-making IF it pulls it off - if not, expect straight-to-video hell for the next decade or so for anything involving magic, elves, dwarves etc...I'm REALLY crossing my fingers on that one. I'm excited about these movies - I'm excited that people are pouring therir hearts and souls into horror movies, trying to engender an audience response that doesn't JUST involve turning away from the screen in disgust. Our minds are a film-makers most potent tool. One of the main reasons Event Horizon (IMO) failed was that it showed you TOO MUCH. Seven and Silence of The Lambs only showed you waht your imagination let you. Anyway, keep up the brilliant work Harry, and spare a thought for us poor -foreigners' who have to listen to you people rave about films for MONTHS before we get to!!!
Sept. 13, 1999, 3:59 a.m. CST
by mad fucker
I'm so glad no sad ass said Im First....what a bunch of sad gobshites. I'm first, me,me me,me,me.....to everyone that says that ....'stick your head up your arse you sad bastards'.
Sept. 13, 1999, 4:04 a.m. CST
I watched The Sixth Sense last night in full for the first time. I watched it on VCD in the smae way that I watched The Blair Witch 2 weeks ago. Alone and late at night. I feel pretty haunted myself this morning. I think we've been really lucky the past few months to get a batch of horror films that treat the audience with respect. I think the last time was maybe 1979 with Dawn of the Dead and Alien. And the only other horror film in recent history to give me the same response has to be Jacob's Ladder. I feel a bit fucked up about it actually, but that maybe because it's monday morning...
Sept. 13, 1999, 4:05 a.m. CST
by THE TALL MAN
Harry's absolutely right, THE DIVIDING HOUR is one of the VERY BEST, no-budget underground type horror flicks I've yet seen! Do yourselves and the filmmaker's a favor and check out their site! Hell, do everyone a BIG favor and buy a copy or tell your store to get one for rental! And no, I don't work for them, just like I didn't work for ARTISAN when I pushed BLAIRWITCH in these columns. Just wanna see the good guys (independent DIY horror guys who actually love horror) win one for a change! Here ya go - ENJOY! http://www.dolphinative.com/
Sept. 13, 1999, 4:07 a.m. CST
Hi guys.. harry soory for misbehaving last week.. well folks can someone please email me spoiler filled reviews of all the (horror) movies that you have seen... Stir.of.echoeS, sTigmaTa ... or 6th sensE ... ...would be appreciated! thank you
Sept. 13, 1999, 4:47 a.m. CST
Lake Placid has been and gone in New Zealand
Sept. 13, 1999, 5:15 a.m. CST
To Harry and all other movie spies/geeks: Please let us know more about this project. I read the book when it came out in 93, and in the hands of the right director, it would be an incredible horror/action movie. The atmosphere, the tight plotting and richly-drawn characters would be great to see on the big screen. Foggy London streets, winter-blasted chapels in ruins, and a sinister supernatural plot.
Sept. 13, 1999, 5:16 a.m. CST
can someone shed any light on the basic premises of 'list of seven', 'mephisto's bridge' and 'the devil's backbone'???
Sept. 13, 1999, 5:33 a.m. CST
by Toby O. Notobe
Sept. 13, 1999, 5:43 a.m. CST
by Homer Jay
I am suprised that Harry didn't mention this long-in-limbo project. While I agree that Mark Protosevich's script is ultracool, he has basically turned the original novel into an action film. The original novel by Richard Matheson is a dark, frightening, often emotionally heartbreaking story. Did I mention very smart, too? If they want to duplicate that, give this project to Frank Darabont, and get Mel Gibson to star.
Sept. 13, 1999, 5:59 a.m. CST
by Wesley Snipes
This is the premise of List of Seven, book version. The script may be different. Warning: Some minor spoilers. Main character is Arthur Conan Doyle (the author of Sherlock Holmes). Setting is England, late 1800s or early 1900s. He starts off as a doctor/struggling writer. Eventually gets mixed up in some occult strangeness while investigating a botched seance. Drawn further and further into conspiracy concerning a group of seven businessmen and what not conspiring to do some evil deeds (sorry I forget exactly what). Said group of seven led by some evil genius (riff on Moriarty?). Evil genius' arch nemesis is cool goverment spy who subsequently enlists the help of Doyle. Spooky adventures ensure. Some nice scenes in the dark hallways of basements of the London Museum of Natural History (?) and a detiorating mansion attacked by zombies. But the ending, as written in the book, is completely anti-climatic and unsatisfying. Also, in the past, someone here described one scene where a demon sits on the tower of london watching the city burn while eating babies. NEVER HAPPENS. I don't know where that crap came from. It's certainly not in the book. Also, with careful planning and a few matte shots, you could make this movie very cheaply. There aren't any big explosions or need for major special effects. With one or two establishing shots (using mattes or what not), you could easily create the cramped streets of London on an interior soundstage. In any case, all the big outdoor setpieces take place in the rural countryside, so it wouldn't require much to make it seem like ye olde England.
Sept. 13, 1999, 6:12 a.m. CST
by John Shaft
I live in England. The Sixth Sense isn't out for quite a few months yet. I know that the film has a good ending, and a great twist, but for me, that has already told me too much. I started to read the paragraph on The sixth Sense, and it has just blurted out that it doesn't have a happy ending. Thanks. I really didn't want to know that. I wanted to watch the film, and be shocked by whatever the ending happens to be. I skipped the rest of the paragraph, and article, but have now had an element of the film ruined. Please don't give away details to films like these. Most countries haven't seen this yet.
Sept. 13, 1999, 6:18 a.m. CST
I hve yet to see a Lovecraft done right!The most recent would be In The Mouth of Madnes but that not exactly in the Ctulthu universe just based on it.Aww,come on now hollywood!Write a great script that emphasized more on the psyho aspects,put in some CGI when it comes to the monsters,get the best character actors you can,i would prefer the director of Dark City....I wanna see Nyarla Tothep,Yggdrasil ...............
Sept. 13, 1999, 6:24 a.m. CST
by Stephen Dedalus
No, not the type that are knocked out of your haed and spilled all over the floor by some guy with an axe, but the INTELLIGENT kind- the ones that allow people to use original, grown-up characters in original, grown-up situations. I can't begin to tell you how happy I am that we've finally found something to replace all that teenaged "I Still Don't Give a Shit What You Did Last Summer" garbage.
Sept. 13, 1999, 6:58 a.m. CST
Regarding Anakin Rocks' statement - I agree that 6th Sense is basically a character-driven drama, but it's still horror - to me, as long as there are ghosts or other spirits, and as long as the subject matter is handled with some respect, I'd consider such movies to at least be "horror hybrids." That includes such diverse films as the comedy "Ghostbusters," the romance "Ghost," and the morality tale "A Christmas Carol." Heck, I even consider the Don Knotts movie "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" to be a horror movie - the ending still gives me the chills!
Sept. 13, 1999, 7:04 a.m. CST
The screenplay was written by Mark Frost, the author of the novel. And he claims that along with Del Torro some variants were taken from the book, but the structure-plot, characters, etc remain the same. Frost spoke cautiously about a BIG named being attached to produce, but he
Sept. 13, 1999, 8:37 a.m. CST
Poor David Koepp, who had to release the inferior A Stir of Echoes on the heels of the superior Sixth Sense. David Koepp's derivative trash-fest does not deserve to ride of The Sixth Sense's coat tails. A Stir of Echoes is a long, slow, unimaginative, boring, movie and a huge waste of time, despite Kevin Bacon's strong performance. Not only does it bare way too much resemblance to The Sixth Sense, but it is also so predictable, that if you don't know how it's going to end within five minutes of the movie starting, then you don't go out to the theater enough. Horror movies are good, but the studios see a trend in what filmgoers are seeing and then run with it to the death. This must be the first of the crappy studio follow-ups that are sure to come out in the wake of Blair Witch and Sixth Sense.
Sept. 13, 1999, 9:35 a.m. CST
Give them Enemy of the State, Die Hard, and Armaggedon I bet you these action films will sweep away the horror film genre. The audience is into action films....and then maybe horror.
Sept. 13, 1999, 9:46 a.m. CST
Man, Sleepy Hollow better be VERY R-rated. I heard that the movie actually shows the Headless Horseman chopping off people's heads! Sooo cool!
Sept. 13, 1999, 9:54 a.m. CST
Stigmata is so unworthy of the number 1 spot....It's not a terrible film, but damn't sixth sense shoulda still been number 1....Stigmata coulda been so much better 2....What was up with the score and directing style?? I'm all for trying something new and different but come on!! It completely ruined any type of atmosphere the film had going for it....and another thing....Anyone else see that completely god awful trailer for Supernova.....that was just so so bad....I am realy xcited that List of 7 is hopefully going to be made into a film, but damn you Guillermo for stealing my plan....
Sept. 13, 1999, 10:17 a.m. CST
Sept. 13, 1999, 10:29 a.m. CST
The Blair Witch Project hasn't been released here in the UK, as yet. However, my mate has got a DVD player that will play Region One DVD's ie. American format. He has just ordered Blair Witch over the net and should get it in a week or so. Also, as it's Region Two, it's not subject to the often logic-defying censorship of the British Board of Film Classification. I have already seen John Carpenter's Vampires, which isn't released over here until after Christmas.
Sept. 13, 1999, 10:37 a.m. CST
They all started somewhere, and Mike Prosser's journey to join horror's elite begins with the ultra-low budget, indie production of The Dividing Hour. Prosser's knowledge and appreciation of the genre is apparent. A variety of classic influences were carefully woven and culminated into an original vision. This refreshing and entertaining film is not perfect and that's only because of the restrictive vice called money. Made on a shoe-string budget of $7,000, contributions and discounts from businesses, and the demanding labor of friends and colleagues, a little gem called The Dividing Hour came to be. This is a movie that was made with passion and commitment. It's not fair for me to compare The Dividing Hour to legendary indie films like Evil Dead or Night of the Living Dead simply because of the massive gap in cost. I'll say this much - of all the ultra low budget films I have seen that were made for $10K or less - this can very well be the BEST in that category. I will watch this film again and it belongs in my video collection. If Prosser continues his journey with the same dedication and originality, he may not only join horror's elite, but also pass them. So I give The Dividing Hour a BIG thumbs up. Congrats Mike Prosser on a job well done. Attila http://www.horrormovies.com
Sept. 13, 1999, 10:55 a.m. CST
I agree with Harry to a certain extent on the fact that audiences crave NEW scares and intelligent, adult scripts. BUT...I take issue with two things. First, I disagree with him qualifying "The Mummy" as a horror film. It was more of an action adventure film and was not scary, nor did it seem to intend to be, in any way. The Indiana Jones films had a few scares here and there, but would you qualify them as horror films? A title alone does not qualify a film into a certain genre. The second thing I think Harry overlooked in his otherwise great article, was that when he went over the list of great talent waiting to be discovered, he basically let himself fall into the current Hollywood trend of "Let's discover new, young talent and screw all the old masters!" Although Harry's intentions were good, I hate this trend. Focusing on young unknown directors when guys like George Romero can't get a movie made is ridiculous. It has lead to a whole crop of poorly done big budget films that are edited and shot like MTV videos. Harry DID mention Stuart Gordon, so he didn't completely overlook the older horror directors. He just seemed to equate "different" with "young and unknown" which I think is a big mistake. If Hollywood were smart, they WOULD start hiring guys like George Romero and Tobe Hooper who haven't made films in a while. Let's show all these kids how it's REALLY done!
Sept. 13, 1999, 11:17 a.m. CST
Just wait till you see some of the things that await ! KANE HODDER WILL RULE THE HORROR REALM !!!!!!!! And I don't just mean as Jason ! Sorry if I'm being "Cryptic" but it's been a long day !
Sept. 13, 1999, 11:22 a.m. CST
Y'know, I really want George Romero to come back and kick down some doors in Hollywood, but it's really unlikely. He prefers to work on his on terms, and on a smaller scale than people realize. His biggest "hits" came in the seventies, when smaller movies could still get noticed. This recent trend regarding indie films hasn't been around long enough to warrant any true excitement, so I don't know what George is going to do. If he has something to say, I'd like to hear and see it. I was excited when he was involved with the Resident Evil film(not interesting per se, but his name always gets my attention)especially if it was a financial seque to the Dead movie he really wanted to make before settling for Day of the Dead. I would just like something with the power of Martin. As for Tobe Hooper, the further he is from a movie set the better. TCM is a classic, but the quality of his films continued on a rocky path before completely bottoming out some time ago. He can whine about studio intervention all he wants, I don't think he's all that. Although, I do admit TCM 2 was far better than its reputation. Often his movies were too sporadic, and the good bits never added up to a satisfying whole. Perhaps I'm being too harsh. TCM is one of those raw "fluke" films that comes out of working in the worst possible conditions on a prject you really want to have made. Once the money creeps in, it is IMPOSSIBLE to get back to that. Note, this is not a bad thing, either. I just think Hooper never grew into such a good filmmaker. But, he ain't dead yet.
Sept. 13, 1999, 11:23 a.m. CST
I was checking out this site today, my usual Monday morning ritual, and low and behold, the mention of Dividing Hour. I can't say enough about this film. I got a copy of it about 5 months ago, and was immediately hooked. Everyone should immediately check this film out, and get a copy for your personal horror library. You will be glad you did.... DMT
Sept. 13, 1999, 11:30 a.m. CST
You know, you're absolutely right. Stir of Echoes was made as a direct ripoff of The Sixth Sense, and you can tell because Richard Matheson went back in time to write the book in 1958. Then, once it became apparent that Sixth Sense was going to make a lot of money David Koepp wrote, financed, shot, edited, and completed the FX work on Stir of Echoes in time to come out five weeks after the Bruce Willis movie. And the people who made Jacob's Ladder and the original Carnival of Souls used the same time machine to go back and make their own movies after The Sixth Sense was financially successful. I don't know what I was thinking. Thanks for clearing everything up, Hudsucker. TelstarMan@yahoo.com
Sept. 13, 1999, 11:38 a.m. CST
After fifteen solid years of really banal movies about indestructible psychopaths, we get...a whole slew of supernatural-themed movies with equally banal premises. BWP is Hansel and Gretal with videocams & really DULL characters. Believable, yes. Realistic, yes. But still boring. What are Sixth Sense & Stir of Echoes? Contemporary downers about ordinary (read: dreary) Americans getting mixed up with your basic, vanilla dead-human-spirits-who-hang-around. There's no pizzazz, no flair. And those are the GOOD ones. Why can't American horror be more like HK horror? I want snakes who turn into beautiful women, demonic hermaphroditic trees w/ really long tongues, flying white-haired witches. Please, Hollywood, if you must plagiarize, don't plagiarize the obvious sources. Don't remake Exorcist as an exercise in Catholic-bashing (Stigmata). Don't remake the Haunting as a romp in the forest (BWP was alot closer in tone to Wise's classic than the "official" remake was). Use Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires as a template instead. Grotesque, nasty monsters that borrow elements from both Eastern & Western legends. Swashbuckling martial artists as the good guys. And some old classical-theatre geezer who can explain what's what without giggling or condescending to the material. Then, maybe, this horror renaissance will give me something to cheer about.
Sept. 13, 1999, 12:51 p.m. CST
by Scotty the Fag
Harry, Imagine if Hollywood had gotten a hold of Blair Witch's concept? Would it have spelled success? I don't think so... I think it's great that these film makers are being financially rewarded but I think that the attraction to said projects will only cause horrible copy cat type movies that will eventually have to be parodied much in the same way that Scream (the first and only good one) had to parody all the cruddy 80's slasher films... Hopefully, in the new millenium when they are making fun of this decade they will only need one film to do it with and not two sequels that reduce the whole concept to self parody.... Scotty the Fag, Out!
Sept. 13, 1999, 12:55 p.m. CST
Check out the official site for THE DIVIDING HOUR at www.dolphinative.com for information about every aspect of the flick as well as ordering. If you are an impulse buyer and want to order by credit card...call the company number. All mailed orders will get the AICN sale price of $15, post paid. Be sure and mention that Harry sent ya'. Thanks Harry! - Mike Prosser firstname.lastname@example.org director/co-writer of THE DIVIDING HOUR http://www.dolphinative.com
Sept. 13, 1999, 1:12 p.m. CST
The thought of Tobe Hooper just depresses me ! There was a guy who had such promise, but somehow burnt out early.........TCM, the excellent "Salem's Lot" "Poltergeist" then, down the toilet......."Lifeforce" "Spontaneous Combustion" etc. I very nearly liked his contribution to "Freddy's Nightmares" to be fair, but the closest he's come to delivering the goods in many a moon, was his contribution to John Carpenter's "Body Bags"...........also, curiously, Carpenter's finest scare attempt in a long while, but then.........we're still waiting for the release of "Vampyres" here in the U.K.
Sept. 13, 1999, 1:12 p.m. CST
by Cassius the Evil
I can't wait for Innsmouth to get made. I need to see this movie, like, now...
Sept. 13, 1999, 1:45 p.m. CST
by Mike Williamson
Well, at first I wasn't going to, but the DIVIDING HOUR guys did it, so why not? Click on my name to email me if you're a big Hollywood Honcho and want to see my short THE BOY IN THE GARAGE. I've also got a screenplay cookin...Oh, this is shameless. Thanks so much for the praise, Harry.
Sept. 13, 1999, 2:01 p.m. CST
Hey, Harry, same question about I Am Legend. I'm very curious about that one too. Oh, and did anyone else like Return of the Living Dead more than Dawn of the Dead? I just think the movie did a better job of taking over Romero's original legacy than Romero himself (even though he still made a great effort). Am I the only one? Oh, well...
Sept. 13, 1999, 2:02 p.m. CST
As much fun as it would be to live in the "little" (proverbially, not physically speaking) dream world that Harry builds around himself, the things he requests of horror films will just never come about. Why? Well, for one, the response to the SIXTH SENSE can be summed up in two ways: 1) For the past five weeks, the American public has had NOTHING to see in theaters. Unless you wanted to treat yourself to the insanely boring ASTRONAUT'S WIFE (I love you Charleze, I really do. But please, please, please don't hate me for that), or one of the multitude of other films that opened in recent weeks. (I can't remember them, thus telling me that's not a good sign.) 2) (That's right! I had second point!) You saw the SIXTH SENSE again and again, because there was plenty to see and interpret over multiple viewings. It's not the multiple-viewing kind of movie that say, THE MATRIX was, but it works well enough. Harry is also wrong in his presentation of projects that have yet to currently be picked up. One of those I can say I've read for myself, to an incredible amount of selfish glee at its overall stupidity. AMUSEMENT is not a horror movie. It's premise is so bizzare and contrived, that one has to wonder what the writer was thinking (of course, I always wonder this when paging through a terrible script). Possibly it's my personal taste, but a horror movie containing a giant, mechanized dog that shoots a tommy gun as "scary" doesn't qualify in the "raise-the-hair-on-my-neck" category. And to speak of the DIVIDING HOUR in a particularly unpleasant manner, I imagine I'd be flamed to the very last. I'll hold my tongue, to save the fact that I don't believe anyone should spend $15 on a ten-minute film from an unknown director/co-writer, from an unknown production moniker, from the Internet. But hey, that's just me. (And yes, to my naysayers-- I have seen the movie...) There aren't many good horror stories out there, to be honest. There are plenty of projects in the works (research New Line's FLIGHT 180 if you want to see something truly scary coming out in the next few months), but none that truly will knock people's socks off. Yes, people are responding well to horror, but it doesn't necessarily mean that Hollywood is going to dump it's collective budget into projects that "stand-out" because they have a werewolf who SHOOTS people, as opposed to eating them. (I've read this script, trust me, it exists.) If you honestly believe you have the greatest idea for a horror film, or even a script adaptation of the works of H.P. Lovecraft (without the rubbery monsters, please), or an fresh, smart script that has been overlooked-- e-mail me. I dare you. Show me your material really does stand-out. But if it's mundane, routine and antiquated (i.e. THE LIST OF SEVEN) as many of Harry's mentioned projects may be, then please, hold on to your ideas. I appreciate all comments, so long as they aren't too monosyllabic in response. I do love this site, I do love these forums-- I just hate bad movies.
Sept. 13, 1999, 2:24 p.m. CST
by All Thumbs
True horror comes with a punch line and characters that you don't love or hate...it's a little of both. I really miss the humor of the Crypt Keeper and the fresh stories from the different mix of directors and actors. I wish HBO would play the reruns again so we can see the show without the edits. Anyways, someone mentioned Carpenter's Body Bags and it made me think of TFTC.
Sept. 13, 1999, 2:44 p.m. CST
Sept. 13, 1999, 3:22 p.m. CST
Damien667 must be living in one of his own. Unless he's in a position to greenlight a picture, I can't imagine anyone sending their work to an anonymous no-one just for the privledge of having it read. As for what future films might knock people's socks off, I'm guessing that people will decide for themselves what impresses them and what doesn't. They usually do.
Sept. 13, 1999, 3:28 p.m. CST
I am really glad that real horror films are back. I grew up watching some great horror films such as Exorcist, Alien and Jaws. I am getting sick of then I still scream about the last summer crap. With the success of The 6th sense and other smart horror films I have a feeling that Scream 3 is not going to do so well.
Sept. 13, 1999, 4:09 p.m. CST
by Gore boy
Stop it, you're killing ME! http://siykm.freeservers.com The idea of this film took me way back to the 80s and DARK horror comedy.. Hence the reason I put together a fan page so darn quick.. I'm glad I've been documenting this latest horror film free for all.. We are talking well over 100 films incoming.. And aint it cool that Harry is one of us.. Horror Fans Anon http://come.to/horrorfansanon GORE boy
Sept. 13, 1999, 4:25 p.m. CST
I made fun of Sixth Sense until I finally saw it. Despite the hokey Pine-Sol( or was it Dran-O?) scene, it was a damn fine film, horror, whatever. Stimata looks like, smells like a POS! And whilst its release feels of a rip off, I kinda doubt it was seriously influenced at inception by Sixth Sense.
Sept. 13, 1999, 5:17 p.m. CST
by Lord Shell
Check out a movie called "The Resurrected" by Dan O'Bannon. It's an (not-at-all-bad) adaption of "The Case of Charles Dexter-Ward" by Lovecraft. Surprisingly faithful to the Lovecraft story and feel.
Sept. 13, 1999, 5:47 p.m. CST
People, take Harry's advice and hop on over to www.dolphinative.com and buy yourself a copy of The Dividing Hour. After seeing what I consider to be one helluva horror flick, you should drop back by here and personally thank Harry for mentioning the film. Then you can thank me for backing Harry up. Then you can thank yourself for doing three very important things: 1) Checking out a great film. 2) Supporting indy filmmaking. 3) Appeasing me. Now, what're ya waitin' on?
Sept. 13, 1999, 6:09 p.m. CST
I've seen Dividing Hour. It was pretty freaky and the director show some real narrative talent. Reminded me of Evil Dead in a way more subdued albeit creepy style. They pull off a really tough storyline with a lot of balls and no money. I read the List of 7 script (it leaked at a couple of conventions) and it was a super-ride!!! Different from the book but very similar plot. The reanimated corpses were so fucking wacko!! And it did had a Cthulhu-type guy that slithered through a fucked-up London !! The script is a draft dated 1997, so this might have changed, but this is not your father's Sherlock Holmes guys, it's nitro-steampunk. Please e-mail me with more info as to who or what studio is making this one. I looked it up in Corona and it was not listed. Also, if anyone has script for Hellboy, Mephisto's Bridge Or Devil Snapbone or wathever, let me know and maybe we'll Xchange.
Sept. 13, 1999, 9:44 p.m. CST
"Bruce isn't exactly happy either" bhahaha I am usually a critic of Harry's, but this may be his first good post all year. And it is no coincidence that his post did not include stupid underling references or Burger King job stories.
Sept. 13, 1999, 10:30 p.m. CST
Check out Drop Dead Films www.dropdeadfilms.com and their movie, The Good Book. Winners at the 1999 B-Movie Festival for Best Make Up Effects, also nominated for Best Villian, Best Set Design, Best Editing and Best Special Effects.
Sept. 13, 1999, 10:48 p.m. CST
by Sith Lord Jesus
--is almost always screwed up by endless inane sequels. The very first "Nigtmare on Elm Street" is a case in point, as is "Poltergeist" and "Jaws." I loved "The Blair Witch Project" but the Mo' Money sequel they're apparently trying to shit out is alomst guaranteed to blow goats. I mean, maybe they'll surprise me and it'll be ten times better then the origional but somehow I rather doubt it. Please, Hollywood--give us some Lovecraft! *Good* Lovecraft: "Shadow Over Innsmouth;" "The Colour Out Of Space;" "Call of Cthulhu,". . .there's so much good material out there!
Sept. 13, 1999, 11:26 p.m. CST
by 20th Century Fox
is the best of em all....A film that proves you do not nned an r rating to scare people and by far a much better film than the overhyped Blair Shit project....Lets just hope this starts a good trend...
Sept. 14, 1999, 12:09 a.m. CST
is if the hours of interview footage not used for The Blair Witch Project was cut together to make a "documentary" about the aftermath; the investigation and some of the creepy stuff mentioned in the dossier. I got major chills reading some of that stuff, and i think it would work well on screen.
Sept. 14, 1999, 1:26 a.m. CST
I have to be so big as to put something here that my giant ego could never handle (I've taken a lot of PROZAC, so I should manage to get this out without too much struggle from the voices in my head): I must retract my earlier comments I made about a script I thought I had read, but never really did. I am speaking of AMUSEMENTS, which is a story I mistook to be another that had floated by me at one point or another at my place of employment. The script AMUSEMENTS was not the one I had read, nor did it have anything to do with a "giant, mechanical dog that shoots a tommy gun." In fact, I don't know what it's about, other than Harry liked it. Personally, I'd love to hear what it's about, and I certainly hope the authors of this piece will accept my apology and send me a synopsis of their story. I do, however, want to set a point straight: Your ideas would not be sent to me on an idle whim of some random moron who would "give you the privledge" or reading your ideas. I'm not a major player, but I am someone who can make things happen for those people who are looking for some help. I don't take people's money, I don't even get money for what I do. I get respect from my employers, which is all anyone in my position can seek-- until they are the one's garnering the respect. I'm also not so stupid as to divuldge who I work for or what I do. Go ahead, speculate. Some of you may be right, others wrong. The one's I want to talk to know who I work for and what it is we do. If you're really serious about being known, and not just chatting about the crap that you wish would be done-- take a risk. Send me your idea and I'll see if it's something that is really worth developing for you. I don't claim to know what this industry wants, or what's going to get you $3 million for a spec. script. I do know what my employers look for, and I tend to keep a similar eye on those types of projects. I just wanted to set things straight with everyone and encourage those of you who are willing to risk your pride, your talent and your scripts and/or films to do so with every ounce of passion you have for movies. It's the only way to show people how much you give a shit and how much you're willing to make things happen for yourself.
Sept. 14, 1999, 3:56 a.m. CST
by Scotty the Fag
I bet that Damien is George Lucas.
Sept. 14, 1999, 12:59 p.m. CST
Did he really se my flick? He said it was ten minutes long? It's in fact a 90 minute movie? Maybe he watched the first ten and turned it off. I don't know. But anyone that thinks MATRIX merits more viewings than SIXTH SENSE must either be high on crack or be a braindread hollywood "mover and shaker." My film is not the best in the world by any means. But a lot of people have taken a shine to it. In fact Damien667 is the first person that I know of that's seen it to be dissatisfied. I'm incredibly more brutal than many of the reviews have been. - Mike Prosser director/producer of DIVIDING HOUR
Sept. 15, 1999, 6:07 p.m. CST
Damien667 said. "I don't believe anyone should spend $15 on a ten-minute film from an unknown." 10 minutes? What the fuck are you talking about? Are you some kind of a moron? IT
Nov. 24, 1999, 5:26 a.m. CST
One more vote here for this outstanding indy film done by some outstanding young film makers!
Sept. 6, 2006, 8 p.m. CST
Feb. 20, 2007, 1:34 p.m. CST
Seems I'm not the only late arrival to this talkback...
May 15, 2007, 10:43 p.m. CST
by Alonzo Mosely
That Drew McWeeny and Scott Swann will be the biggest writers in Hollywood, however no way that Donny Dorko thing will get made, a giant rabbit indeed...
Sept. 10, 2007, 10:16 a.m. CST
Jack, karma and Alonzo obviously were reading Harry's wiki page too.
Dec. 31, 2008, 10:11 p.m. CST
Whatever happened to that Drew McWeeny guy? Like did you ever talk to him or tell him how great his sript was? It's just, the name sounds kind of familiar, I can't exactly put my finger on it, but I know I've heard of him somewhere...
March 19, 2009, 8:18 p.m. CST
Next time Moriarty shows up in a talkback all moody I'm going to link to this article and get banned.
April 13, 2011, 12:37 a.m. CST
Note to Richard Kelly: If someone offers to finance Southland Tales, run away!
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