From Paramount’s point-of-view, there’s a compelling reason to continue the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY series: It’s a cash-cow — a low-budget, high-earning (number one at the box-office this past weekend) crowd-pleaser. The studio has some experience in this field, having previously cranked out the FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH films, a franchise that became so threadbare by the end that Jason wound up rampaging on a space station in the 25th century.
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 hasn’t yet gotten that desperate — we’re still somewhat in the present day, rather than a future when the series’ found-footage concept would amount to people jacking in to virtual reality terminals — but the strain is beginning to show. Can bringing in a new family, throwing Skype and smart-phones into the voyeurish mix, and carrying forward on the series’ sinister cult story arc give the franchise some sense of forward momentum, or should we just be happy to once again be living through PA’s well-established assortment of ambient chills? Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French and Dan Persons discuss whether 4 makes them wish for no more.
Then, Dan gives his capsule thoughts on the home-video release of the transgressive amateur surgery horror film EXCISION, and we discuss what’s coming to theaters in the next week.
Such a garden of delights for this Memorial Day weekend! First, we pay tribute to horror icon Christopher Lee on his 90th birthday, as Cinefantastique Online‘s Steve Biodrowski and Lawrence French highlight their favorite Lee films and Dan chips in with a memorable TV moment.
Then we delve deeply into the weekend’s major release, MEN IN BLACK III, the return of the frenetic secret agents vs. aliens comedy that reunites actors Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones with director Barry Sonnenfeld and, courtesy of a time-travel plot, introduces Josh Brolin as a young Jones. The film was rumored to have no shortage of problems during the filming process (even discounting New Yorkers’ complaints about Will Smith’s Taj Mahal of a dressing trailer), but does the final project transcend the behind-the-scenes turmoil? Steve, Larry, and Dan discuss what’s good and bad in the film, and throw in a discussion of the logic behind building a prison on the Moon.
Plus: Steve and Larry give their capsule reviews of Oren Peli’s return to horror, CHERNOBYL DIARIES, and what’s coming in theaters.
Cinefantastique’s Round Table Podcast – the podcast of horror, fantasy, and science fiction films – adjusts its schedule to make room for CFQ’s Spotlight Theatrical Podcast (Sunday/Monday) and the Laserblast Home Video Podcast (Tuesday). From now on, expect the Round Table to appear later in the week; also expect the Black Hole Ultra-Lounge to be re-incorporated into the Round Table, which will now feature both a look at the week’s news and a free-from meditations on whatever fascinating topics occur to Lawrence French, Dan Persons, and Steve Biodrowski.
This week looks at word that rights have been secured for two TERMINATOR sequels; DARK TOWER stays at Universal Pictures; Miramax plans to revive the AMITYVILLE HORROR franchise; Lionsgate plans to give us LEATHERFACE 3D. And we bid farewell to Dana Wynter, the lovely female lead of the 1956 classic, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS.
And what’s up with those final words each week? Anyone catch all the references so far?