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.