Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ghoul, Interrupted

In this first week of the new year, I find myself in a bit of a funk. Maybe it's just the inevitable post-holiday comedown. Maybe it's a feeling of uncertainty about the year ahead. Whatever the case, I haven't been feeling 2011 yet. Maybe I just did my "movies to look forward to next year" column way too early. That's something to usher in the new year with and I did it back at, like, Thanksgiving. Clearly, that was a dumb move on my part and here I am paying the price for it.

But really, what I need to get me roused for this year is for John Carpenter's new film The Ward to secure a theatrical release in the US. It premiered at the Toronto Film Festival back in September to mostly positive notices and while no one was calling it the second coming of The Thing, most reviewers sensitive to Carpenter's work hailed it as his strongest effort in many years and a film that showed that Carpenter's chops as a genre craftsman were still in place. That sounds like something worth celebrating to me. It opens this month in the UK but no distribution plans have been announced for the US.

Set in a mental hospital in the '60s, with an all-girl assemblage of troubled patients (led by Amber Heard, of Drive Angry), The Ward is part Girl, Interrupted and part ghost story as the ward these girls are housed in appears to be haunted. The full trailer is up now and I defy any Carpenter fan to say that it doesn't look like a winner:




2011 isn't exactly packed with horror offerings so a fall release for The Ward seems like a smart bet to me. And for that matter, is it too much to ask that Joe Dante's latest offering, The Hole, get the theatrical release in the US that it deserves? I mean, come on - it looks great:



I've resigned myself to the fact that I'll probably never see a Romero or Hooper film on the big screen again but I feel like those guys have been given their chances - and then some. But Carpenter and Dante?

I say their days on US screens shouldn't be done.

9 comments:

Porky said...

Sounds like something worth celebrating to me too. I hadn't heard about it, but will keep an eye out now. Let's hope it's a new beginning.

J.D. said...

What a crime that Carpenter's film hasn't gotten US distribution yet. I mean, even Argento's MOTHER OF TEARS got a limited theatrical release here.

Jeff Allard said...

Porky, I hope this will be the start of a new era for Carpenter. If directors like Scorsese and Eastwood can still be active and making excellent films at their age, so can Carpenter.

J.D., it's hard for me to figure out. The Ward looks like a sharp movie - way better than Craven's last effort, at least - so I don't get why it hasn't been picked up yet but hopefully it's just a matter of time.

Dom Coccaro said...

Well, Ghosts of Mars bombed. I know that Craven's Cursed didn't scare up big numbers at the box office, but he has the Scream trilogy on his resume (plus, Red Eye was a minor success). Carpenter hasn't had a theatrical hit since...um, the 80's? A limited theatrical release should be in order, but don't expect anything approaching 1,000 screens.

Jeff Allard said...

Well, Vampires did ok for him. It opened at #1 at the box office, at least. GOM tanked, yeah, but this looks a lot more commercially appealing. Just going by the trailer, it looks as good as Don't Be Afraid of the Dark or any other recent supernatural thriller I can think of so I hope that it gets some kind of theater run in the US but we'll see.

Dom Coccaro said...

Just watched the trailers. The Ward looks kickass. The Hole has an 80's feel to it. It reminded me of The Gate.

Cinema Du Meep said...

I totally agree. Would love to see Carpenter and Dante back on the big screen.

I believe The Hole is available pretty soon on DVD in the UK... I'm tempted to take a look as I don't think I can wait...

Bob Ignizio said...

I definitely want to see both of those. The big problem I see with either of those getting a wide release, however, is there's no big name marketable stars and/or recognizable "property". Sadly, that's what the people who decide what gets a theatrical release or not base their decisions on.

Jeff Allard said...

Meep, if I had a chance to see The Hole I definitely wouldn't wait!

Bob, it's sad but true - there's no instant marketing hook for either of these movies. I know we'll get to see them eventually but I'll be disappointed if either goes direct-to-DVD or - choke! - right to Syfy.