Some horror fans may think that the 1980s was the best times for horror movies, but Hollywood’s constant rummaging through the VHS bin of the era for remake material doesn’t always sit well. While last year’s “Fright Night” wasn’t the worst offender of 1980s horror retelling (that would be “Nightmare on Elm Street” for the record), fans who took umbrage at that effort can take comfort that the original film’s writer/director Tom Holland is finally back and ready to make his first theatrical feature since 1996’s “Thinner.”
After writing and directing both “Fright Night” and “Child’s Play” in the ’80s, the ’90s saw Holland working with Stephen King, adapting “The Langoliers” into a miniseries and directing “Thinner” before taking an extended hiatus. Holland hasn’t been completely off the grid, directing an episode of the 2007 “Masters of Horror” series and developing the FEARnet series “Tom Holland’s Twisted Tales,” but it’s fitting, now that Holland is ready to return to features, that he’s returning to King as source material. Deadline reports that Holland is going to adapt and direct “The Ten O’Clock People” based on King’s short story of the same name. The story seems to borrow a bit from John Carpenter‘s “They Live” as it follows a Bostonian man who, in his attempt to quit smoking, realizes that many people in power are actually inhuman monsters.
“This was Stephen trying to deal with his cigarette jones and the fairly new no-smoking laws back in the ’90s,” Holland said of the story. “This film will be a modernization of the original short story, a paranoid suspense piece.” We’re hoping Holland creates a 10-minute fight scene where one character tries to get another character to take a puff of his cigarette and see the truth. Production starts this summer.
Another horror remake on the horizon is “Hellraiser,” which, considering how muddled that franchise has become over the years, may receive more of a welcome than most. Clive Barker wrote and directed the 1987 horror film based on his own novella, though lately he has been more content to write his “The Books of Abarat” series and produce movies adapted his from works. However, like Holland, Barker is getting back into the director’s chair after a long hiatus — in Barker’s case, since 1995’s abysmal “Lord of Illusions” — for “Zombies vs. Gladiators.”
One of several films on the slate for Amazon Studios, a new division that creates material based on viewer feedback and submission, Deadline reports that Barker will re-write and direct “Zombies vs. Gladiators.” As one might suspect from the title, the story follows a gladiator who must defend Rome against the first ever horde of zombies unleashed by a shaman that was about to meet his end. The project seems an odd fit for Barker, considering the tongue-in-cheek aspect of the premise. Still, the hire is one that will get fans interested and hopefully Barker can find an approach that goes beyond the novelty concept.