The ongoing adventures of Scott Weinberg, a friendly yet annoyingly opinionated guy who does nothing but watch movies and then write about them.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Houses of Horrors

You'd think that a production company dedicated to nothing but horror flicks is an organization I could really get behind. Well I can think of three such production companies, and I'm about to explain why all three of 'em suck rotten eggs.

First off we have Dark Castle, a WB partner that was kick-started by filmmakers like Joel Silver and Robert Zemeckis. Their initial claim was that they wanted to make "William Castle"-style horror movies, and now with six movies under the belt, we're beginning to see what they meant by "William Castle"-style: They meant "bad movies." How bad? House on Haunted Hill (1999), Thirteen Ghosts (2001), Ghost Ship (2002), Gothika (2003), House of Wax (2005), and The Reaping (2007). Next up are Return to House on Haunted Hill (as if "house" is a verb) and something "original" called Whiteout. Now, I'm sure one or two of those titles fall firmly within your Guilty Pleasure umbrella -- but not mine. If you took the very best moments from all six movies, you just might be able to cobble something watchable together. Watchable and brief.

Then we have Platinum Dunes, a genre-centric production shingle that was initiated by a filmmaker who [heavy sarcasm] really knows his horror [/heavy sarcasm] -- Michael Bay. PD's first flick, 2003's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, was one I quite enjoyed, despite walking into the flick with my geek-phaser firmly set on "hate." I still dig the TCM remake more than I probably ought to, and I remember thinking "Hey cool, maybe these Platinum Dunes movies will actually deliver the goods!" Then they went and churned out The Amityville Horror (2005), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006), and The Hitcher (2007), none of which could be described as "good horror flicks" by anyone with even a passing knowledge of the genre. Up next from this company are a remake of The Birds and an "all-new" permutation of Friday the 13th. Wonderful.

Last and almost definitely least we have Ghost House, a company with Sam Raimi's name on its front door, which makes their output all the more disappointing. How could the man responsible for Evil Dead 2 put his name on listless PG-13 chaff like The Grudge (2004), Boogeyman (2005), The Grudge 2 (2006), and The Messengers (2007)? The answer, I guess, rhymes with "honey," because, hey, perpetually giggling pre-teens like to pretend they dig horror movies, too. All I know is that the Ghost House is in a pretty sad state of disrepair, especially with Boogeyman 2 already in production. One does hold out some hope, however, for GH's rendition of Steve Niles' 30 Days of Night, which should be hitting theaters later this year. Perhaps it'll be Ghost House's first horror flick for, y'know, grown-ups.

So to the inevitably wealthy people who work at Dark Castle, Platinum Dunes, and Ghost House I offer a challenge: Try a little harder, lay off the freakin' remakes, take off the damn training wheels and give us some real horror flicks already. My passion for the genre will never wane, but you three knuckleheads are really testing my patience. I'll cover Bob Weinstein's Dimension Films when I have a few extra hours to kill.

1 comment:

William Goss said...

I'll go for Haunted Hill, but that's, what, one for twenty?