Screen Gems certainly had a lot to prove with their double-barreled presentation at this past weekend's New York Comic-Con. After all, their two big upcoming releases carry with them some very heavy baggage - starting with their titles: CARRIE and EVIL DEAD. Two remakes (of course, in CARRIE's case, a remake and an adaptation) of undeniable horror classics, and, as you well know, horror fans are as protective of their beloved movies as any fanbase out there. They aren't often keen to accept anything wearing the dreaded "remake" label.
So, yes, the studio had to impress, if not thoroughly win over, the NYCC crowd with their vision of these gems. So what did they do to sway us?
CARRIE was first up; in attendance were Chloe Grace Moretz ("Carrie White"), Julianne Moore ("Margaret White"), director Kimberly Peirce (BOYS DON'T CRY) and producer Kevin Misher (THE SCORPION KING).
No time was wasted and a trailer was shown. A teaser, to be precise: A long, unbroken shot of a town in fiery ruins, while voice-overs talk about Carrie in the past tense. Finally, the camera pushes in on Carrie's bloodied, crazed visage.
It's an effective tease, but it's obviously hard to deduce anything regarding the actual film's potential from it. However, it implies that Carrie White doesn't just go buck-wild on her prom, but the rest of the town as well. Should be interesting.
Here are some interesting notes from the panel:
- All of the panelists seemed intent on comparing their movie to Stephen King's book, and not Brian De Palma's movie. Peirce, however, was very careful to heap praise on the 1976 movie. She said that De Palma was very supportive of the remake, but she only talked to him about it at the very beginning of the process.
- Producer Kevin Misher called the novel a "resource"; he also noted that the destruction in the book is quite a bit bigger than in De Palma's movie, hence why Carrie will be blowing up more than just the school in the new film.
- CARRIE will definitely be rated R, according to Misher. He said they pull no punches.
- Moretz said that she was covered with blood for at least two weeks of shooting. She eventually got used to going to the hotel just draped in the stuff. She also noted that there are different kinds of blood: "wet" blood, "dry" blood and even "fire" blood. Peirce eventually estimated that they used over 1,000 gallons of blood on the film.
- Peirce said the movie is dark and morbid, but also funny. She also talked up the film's "bullying" subtext, which is unavoidable in this day and age where bullying is a constant topic of conversation. One of Carrie's tormentors evidently uses social media to harass her.
- Stephen King remained hands-off completely, but Misher thinks the author will be pleased.
- Peirce says Carrie is complicated, and not necessarily all innocent and perfect. To contrast that, Chris, Carrie's main torturer, is not completely evil; they tried to find the vulnerability in her character.
- For some viral-campaign fun, call this number - 207-404-2604. You'll be able to talk to both Carrie and Ms. White!
You can watch the panel in full right here:
Then came EVIL DEAD which, if we're being perfectly honest, this writer was much more intrigued by. Having visited the set of the remake a few months back, I was lead to believe that the remake would indeed be a gruesome, nerve-shredding - not to mention faithful - experience. But set visits are always tricky; it's never easy to gauge what exactly the movie will ultimately look like. But footage, or at the very least a trailer, is sure to lend a more clear idea of how the ghost House-produced remake will play.
Attending the panel were Bruce "The Chin" Campbell (who is a producer on the film), star Jane Levy ("Suburgatory") and director Fede Alvarez.
- Bruce Campbell said at the beginning of the panel, when asked why do a remake instead of a sequel, "maybe it's too late to strap on that chainsaw one more time." After the crowd booed that idea, he says, "you think we should? There will be an Evil Dead 4 after all!" We don't buy it. But Bruce went on to champion the remake, saying it's got a new vision, new buckets of blood. He assured the crowd that they did not screw over the fans with this remake, that they genuinely want us to be happy. Bruce compared seeing this movie will be like putting on a comfortable shoe for the Evil Dead freaks.
- Jane Levy (who Bruce crowned "the new Ash") says Bruce almost tried to dissuade her from taking the role, asking her after she auditioned if she knew what it was like to be buried alive, to have tubes stuck down her throat so she could spew vomit forth, etc. Bruce quipped that now she wants to kill him...
- The trailer was then shown, and it's now something of a blur to me... An awesome, awesome blur. Please believe that this movie looks bloody, gory and insane in a way that most studios horror releases simply do not nowadays. There are plenty of hallmarks from the original films that can be pointed out: the roaming POV shot through the woods, the reading from the book of the dead, a possessed girl telling the group that they're all going to die, blood spattering against a lightbulb, a chainsaw being revved up, a girl about to cut off her own (possessed) hand and, yes, demonic vines wrapping themselves around a screaming woman. A few "new" stand-out images: a girl slicing her tongue in two with a straight razor and another girl's shredded cheek. Seems like there's a whole lot of self-inflicted damage going on in this cabin.
- The crowd went absolutely ape-shit for the trailer. Jane Levy admitted she had not seen it before and it "scared the shit" out of her.
- Director Fede Alvarez was asked what kind of tone the film is going for - will it include the "splatstick" from Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness? Referencing the teaser just shown, Alvarez responded, "Did you think that was funny?!" He went on to say it's hardcore, brutal and gory.
- Being completely honest, I'm inclined to believe him. If nothing else, the trailer (combined with a few under-wraps things I know about the remake thanks to my set visit), gives the impression that this isn't for the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY crowd, but for the aficionado of full-bore horror. It has been a significant length of time since we received a major studio release with a nightmarish amount of blood and body disfigurement, but EVIL DEAD looks to be just that.
Check out the video of the panel below!