DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK, the title urges, but you know they’re lying. There are things hiding in the dark, little things, nasty things, things that want nothing better than to drag you down, down to the caverns where they dwell in order to, well, let’s just say you won’t need your library card anymore. Director Guillermo del Toro was so transfixed as child by the original telemovie that he re-wrote the tale with frequent partner Matthew Robbins, brought in comics-artist Troy Nixey to direct, and unleashed the darkness-loving creepies on estranged father Guy Pearce, conflicted girlfriend Katie Holmes, and most especially Bailee Madison as the young girl the demons most desperately covet.
Join Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons as they explore how the story survives the updating, consider whether the chills outweigh the plot holes, and discuss why, after all these years, people still don’t realize that when disembodied voices start whispering to you the dark, it’s time to GET THE HELL OUT OF THE HOUSE.
Also: Guillermo del Toro imparts some thoughts on the importance of storytelling; and what’s coming in theaters and home video.
Guillermo del Toro says that, as a kid, he harbored great affection for the TV-movie version of DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK, enough so that he and his friends used to creep each other out merely by whispering the name, “Salllllleeeee.” The years have passed and audiences have (maybe) become more sophisticated, but the new version of the film, co-written and co-produced by del Toro and directed by comics artist Troy Nixey in his feature film debut, clearly demonstrates that there’s still room in the hearts of horror fans for a flick that worms its way into your brain with evocative atmosphere, and a story that has a young girl (Bailee Madison) ignored by her father and his girlfriend (Guy Pearce, Katie Holmes) and beset by little creatures who just plain want her.
Because of Hurrican Irene, we’re forsaking the usual production values to bring you my interview with Nixey as fast (and easily) as possible. Click on the player to hear the chat.
Special guest Judith Furnari joins Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French and Dan Persons in an exploration of the cinematic vampire past, present, and future (during which all take a bold, controversial stand against moody, glittery teen vampires). Also, Larry delivers a pithy but definitive verdict on CONAN THE BARBARIAN and his mighty thews.
Deadline.com reports that the sale of Mirmax from Disney to Colony Captial’s Filmyard will delay the feature-film remake/reboot of the harrowing 1970’s TV movie DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK.
Scheduled to be released in January of 2011, the slow-moving studio sale and transfer of assets has postponed the supernatural film and the thriller THE DEBT from their planned releases.
No new time-table has been set, and likely will not be until after the deal is finalized sometime early next year.
Guillermo Del Toro and Matthew Robbins (MIMIC) based their screenplay for the new version on the original Nigel McKeand penned teleplay. DON”T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK is directed by Troy Nixie, starring Guy Pearce (MEMENTO) and Katie Holmes (BATMAN BEGINS).
Reuters has posted a Q&A interview with Guillermo Del Toro, who discusses upcoming projects, including DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK and FRANKENSTEIN. The former is a remake of a 1973 tele-film starring Kim Darby, written by Nigel McKeand, and directed by John Newland (ONE STEP BEYOND); working with with Matthew Robbins (MIMIC), Del Toro co-wrote the new screenplay, which was directed by Troy Nixie, with Guy Pearce (MEMENTO) and Katie Holmes (BATMAN BEGINS) in the leads . Del Toro says it took twenty years to get the project to the screen, but it is one he wanted to do since he became a professional filmmaker, based on his experience of being terrified by the original, which he calls “one of the scariest movies” he saw as a child.
Says Del Toro of his remake:
“We are returning to a really classical gothic horror film with very, very interesting creatures. We are not going for the hardcore, borderline porn and gore of a teen movie. There are no teen protagonists. It’s closer to a fairytale gone horribly wrong. And the creatures are quite interesting and very faithful to the original creatures in the 1973 movie.”
Del Toro had nothing to say about his proposed FRANKENSTEIN, except that we should expect an announcement soon because he is finalizing a deal during Comic-Con. On the subject of remakes, he notes that it is a cliche to suggest Hollywood has run out of ideas; after all, some of the best horror films have been re-do’s of previously filmed material. What separates the good remakes from the bad?
“I believe a remake needs to be driven by a filmmaker’s passion to tell the story and not a studio’s marketing department. That is, I think, a huge difference. If you have a filmmaker who’s very passionate to tell a story — case in point, I am absolutely insanely passionate about redoing Frankenstein, the book — then there is a valid intent.”