The Haunting: The Abridged Script From The Editing Room – Plus My 1999 Review Of The 1999 Movie

Ugh, God, one of the worst horror remakes I’ve ever seen. I remember I saw it on a Friday night with a friend, we were both hammered and thus easily entertained, but the movie did nothing for us. The audience was sniggering openly at some of the bad CGI, the only jump was a fake one, about the only thing that roused us from our coma was Owen Wilson suddenly being decapitated. Terrible. TERRIBLE! I think that the director Jan De Bont sort of tried, but he was wrong for the project. I’m trying to think of a horror movie he made that I loved and coming up empty, but in all fairness, if I think of one I’ll come back and update this.

If you want a blast from the past,  I found the my original review from IMDB. Movies cost SEVEN DOLLARS at the time, and now I feel 150 years old. However, I still stand by my review dated July 1999. Here it is, unedited:

The original was better. I mean WAY better. I already had a lot of respect for the original as a neat little 60’s horror flick but this movie made it look even better in comparison. Why didn’t they leave it alone? It didn’t help that the original was a classic. But they messed up here. I hardly ever say this, but the effects were overdone–they didn’t make up for the putrid script or lack of scares. There was only one moment when I jumped and that was because everyone else in the theater screamed and scared me. Plenty of people were laughing at parts that were not supposed to be funny–not a good sign. There was just no excuse for the amazingly stupid line, “It’s about family!” which would make you wince under any circumstances but came at what was supposed to be the climax of the film. The house is supposed to look old, but it is so obvious that it was just created by a set designer or is CGI. Really not very scary. The sound was good, I’ll give it that, but that was about it. The writers obviously just threw in Theo’s character being bisexual because they knew the guys who think Zeta-Jones is hot would get off on it–unlike the novel, where there is a point to it. Really, see a matinée–if you really MUST see it, that is, which I do not recommend–and see it while the theaters are still packed, which makes it more of a thrill ride. All the so-called ‘scares’ and CGI in this film put together do not even measure up to be 10% as scary as the scene in the original where Nell thinks Theo is holding her hand in bed but turns on the light to see her friend across the room, who had been asleep in her own bed. I had a bad feeling about this movie when I saw the trailer months ago that featured the tagline “Some Houses Are Born Bad”. Should have stuck with my original instincts on this one and saved my time and my 7+ bucks. Do yourself a favor and rent the original instead. (The End)

Cover of "The Haunting"

Cover of The Haunting

The original, now THAT is a scary movie. We were assigned Shirley Jackson‘s novel to read in sixth grade and I remember it frightened me to the point where I lost sleep. Click the link below OR the photo to read an extremely funny Rod Hilton abridged version. It’s a way better use of your time than seeing the weak remake.

The Haunting: The Abridged Script | The Editing Room.

A First -Trailer of the Week is promoting a mainstream release!

Now, I ‘m trying not to get my hopes up for this upcoming horror flick (though I guess they’d rather we called the genre “Supernatural Thriller” or “Action Thriller”, oh please God no) that’s getting a mainstream release. I hope they give it the push they gave Insidious about this time last year (2011). Now, that’s going to be either a really, really long piece or a series of articles*. I distinctly recall (among other involuntarily actions that probably wasn’t a picnic for Rick, whom I only got to see Insidious with me by paying for both our tickets) my gut-reaction to the first HUGE jump about halfway through**- I let out a scream so loud I was dimly aware feeling my chin hit my upper chest.  I’d recently accidentally discovered, during a showing of Quarantine (the REC remake, watered-down, but close enough to the original when viewed in a pitch-dark theater) a new talent of mine: screaming like a top-tier professional Scream Queen.***

…His mother, Luisa (Pilar Lopez de Ayala), worries that her son’s fertile imagination is fueling the vivid and increasingly alarming dreams that disrupt his sleep each night (Intruders)

OK, where was I? I first discovered the existence of this movie several months ago when Entertainment Weekly magazine did a piece “grading” the best and worst movie posters of the upcoming year. They gave Intruders an F. I remember thinking, great, nice vague title that I’m pretty sure has been used before, plus –wait, that’s CLIVE OWEN? What kind of idiot covers up Clive Owen’s face on a poster when one of your target demographics is heterosexual women? Not to mention, even if Owen wasn’t sexy as hell, that  you don’t want want to market a movie with an established, likeable, A-list actor and quite possibly a box-office draw in his or her self, don’t make them unrecognizable.

I forgot about it until I saw a trailer, which looked like the movie had some potential. Then Fangoria did a feature article on it, and it looked and sounded creepy as hell-and also interesting.  I started looking for other trailers – or better yet, a red band trailer.

Here’s the trailers for you–you tube had a “red band” trailer (though it doesn’t seem especially red band-y) and the regular one back-to-back.

Here’s the HD version:

Apparently, Clive Owen’s character has never seen a single scary movie in his life, because none of us horror fans say things like,” Don’t worry. It definitely won’t come back,”  let alone, “It’s over. The nightmare is finally ove–” CHOP

 Then again, I was positive Eight-Legged Freaks would be beyond awesome; it was a no-brainer. Instead, they managed to fuck up a giant spider movie… So I’m aware I might turn out to be wildly wrong about Intruders.

Here’s one or two of the recently-released new promo stills/art. I don’t know what type of promotion the second is for, but my closest guess is that the art (not a photo, but created by an artist, the old-fashioned pen and paper-way before Photoshop, vectors and more technology came along) to be used as a bonus on some upcoming Ultimate Collector’s Set as a special limited-edition bonus (perhaps as alternate DVD art, or a small poster).  I know one thing:  it’d make a better (not to mention much cooler) movie poster than what is basically the equivalent of a 2-D version of Audience Repellant they’re using now. Click the hyperlinks above to see them.

Finally, here’s the official press-kit plot description:

In Madrid, Juan (Izán Corchero) is a ferociously bright 8 year old who loves to tell stories. His mother, Luisa (Pilar Lopez de Ayala), worries that her son’s fertile imagination is fueling the vivid and increasingly alarming dreams that disrupt his sleep each night. But for Juan, the gruesome faceless creature that enters his bedroom in the dead hours is terrifyingly real.

In London, Mia (Ella Purnell), an 11 yeared-old girl on the brink of adolescence, discovers the power of storytelling as she captivates her classmates with a disturbing tale of a blank faced ghoul called Hollowface who tries to steal the features of children as he craves contact with the human world [awww, the guy’s lonely]. Mia, too, becomes convinced that her story has crossed over from the realms of imagination into reality and that she has unwittingly unleashed a malevolent force into the world…

I’d consider seeing Intruders with an unknown male lead (though Clive Owen is a nice bonus, giving me a little more interest in going to see the film) anyway, because,  AS OF THIS CURRENT WRITING****, I’m excited to see it now that I know more plot details –such as an “Urban Legend ad/or An Old Ghost Story (or Folk Myth) That’s Been Around for decades”. The star in question of Ye Olde Folktale is called “Hollow Face”. and I think his staple terrifying goal is stealing the faces of their victims, preferably children.

*A featured piece about Insidious, that is. Writing about this gem of a movie reminds me that Tarantino went on my movie-related shit list (at the bottom slot, but still on it) when he had the balls to put Insidious on his “Worst Movies of 2011” official list …over The fucking Green Hornet, and? AND! The Hangover Part 2. (full disclosure: Green Hornet and Hangover 2 are on his “Other Greatest” List, since he only has 11 “Top” slots). Leave it to Tarantino to refuse to edit himself or not know when to shut up. I might not be one to cast stones on the “never knowing when to shut up” peronality trait (especially when I get all excited and geek out), but even hardcore Tarantino fans will admit he can be annoyingly self-indulgent at times. I still dig him enough to call myself a fan …but not only putting Insidious on his “Worst of 2011 List” (perhaps because it was PG-13 and thus only allowed one “fuck” per entire movie, and Cretin Quentin Tarantino didn’t care for the fact no-one got shot in the face) All that while giving honors to The Green Hornet and Hangover 2? No amount of alcohol in your bloodstream could make either of those movies entertaining or amusing.

**and possibly the biggest jump in the movie; while the entire last act of Insidious scared the ever-loving shit out of me, and had some other big, big PG-13-rated haunted house movie-jumps (think Poltergeist) the first one I did NOT see coming.

*** there were two moments from the last act (set in the scariest attic shy of the one in the Saeki family residence) where I screamed like it was my JOB. I do some voice-over work now, but it’s pretty rinky-dink (I do it freelance, which means way less pay, and haven’t gotten around to seeking out an agency yet). I might as well been called to audition as a screamer and told: “this is a very high-profile movie, our female lead/final girl just can’t sell it.  Give me the best, most terrified, loudest scream you can and we’ll give you $1000,00, plus you’ll have a contract providing enough regular work to pay off your mortgage and retire in a few years. Now, on my count, three, two, one, GO FOR IT!”  I overheard a guy several rows and an entire section away muttering, “Jesus, lady!”  I knew both jumps were coming, too. Oh, and about the original REC, (made in Spain–they should have just released that one) another entire novella-length post is being crafted, as REC is not only one of the ten (maybe five) scariest horror movies I’ve seen in my life,  it was on of the few, few, very few horror movies to give me nightmares. The cliche kind where you half-sit up in bed suddenly, heart pounding, like they do in TV and movies when a character is having a dream get very scary. OK, I wasn’t panting and covered in sweat, and/or sitting bolt upright and gasping for air, but it was a low-key version of that. That  horrifying, blood-curdling, disturbing attic monster still makes a cameo appearances in my dreams from time to time. In fact, I felt my pulse quicken much more fan I prefer it to just pulling up the mental image of that tall, stringy, freakishly unevenly-long-limbed albino THING crashing around that pitch-black attic as seen through a night-vision lens. Yet oh dammit, I can’t resist adding this youtube slideshow of fairly unsettling unused concept art for the final monster. Only one image of the monster was used (I won’t tell you which one) along with one or two other images of the ‘infected’ from the film. Helpful Hint: if you are in an easily-creeped-out mood, hit “mute” on your keyboard.

But I digress (even more than usual.)

****then again, Eight-Legged Freaks seemed like it was so awesome it was a no-brainer.  Greenish toxic waste seeps into a river leading down to a local “Exotic Spider Farm/Museum”?  I am fuckin’ ON BOARD. 100% sold.  WHOA! Look at all the cool shit in the trailer! The lead-in! Oh AWESOME!

Do you hate spiders?  (beat)

Do you …REALLY hate spiders?  (beat)

Well…  (beat)

THEY DON’T LIKE YOU EITHER!

OH HELL YEAH! Looks like some practical effects mixed in, and the CGI sure as hell ain’t bad! How could this possibly not be the most–(sound of record needle being yanked off)

Instead, they managed to fuck up a giant spider movie. Who the hell fucks up a giant spider movie? How? WHY? I’m still resentful over a decade later …and yet I still remember the sweet, pure adrenaline rush I got when I saw the first full-length trailer online (that I then watched half a dozen times back-to-back before I even sent anyone the link to share it). I got almost as big of a rush re-watching it when I was grabbing the you tube link (I say ‘almost ‘because now I know that the movie didn’t exactly deliver on the roller-coaster promise of this initial trailer). Since I posted the trailer HERE I watched it another dozen times.

There’s a second trailer for 8LF that’s  twice as long  (after they decided to bump the Campy B-Movie-factor up several notches), but I still think the first is a hell of a lot more fun.

Here’s the initial one that made me lose my got-damed mind: Enjoy!

Oh Eight-Legged Freaks trailer, you had me at EIGHT LEGGED FREAKS! Especially when the hero yells it at the top of his lungs while blasting away at them as all hell breaks loose.