How The Butterfly Effect Violates Its Own Time Travel Rules

2004 sci-fi/horror movie The Butterfly Effect has its lead character repeatedly travel through time, but at one point breaks its own rules. Time travel stories are inherently difficult to keep straight, if only because time travel isn’t a thing we can actually do, at least that anyone knows of. Thus, writers are forced to rely either on existing scientific theories, or make up their own rules for time travel out of whole cloth, sometimes combining both methods.

It’s become a bit of a running joke over the years among movie fans just how jumbled and hard to follow some time travel tales can become, especially if told over the course of a franchise. When things get too confusing, some viewers just choose to throw up their hands and accept what they’re being given at face value, but others find it hard to suspend their disbelief when events happen in a time travel story that just don’t make any sense, even by the rules established in that very film.

Related: The Butterfly Effect’s Director’s Cut Changes Explained

The Butterfly Effect is no different in that respect. Although a commercial hit at the time of its release, and a popular enough film to warrant a series of direct to video sequels, writers/directors Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber didn’t quite succeed in making The Butterfly Effect a logically consistent movie.

In The Butterfly Effect, lead character Evan Treborn (Ashton Kutcher) discovers that by reading his childhood journals, he can transport himself back through time into those same memories. Evan discovers he can use this to change the past, and tries to make the present better for himself and those he cares about. The problem is, as per the title, every change he makes comes with unintended consequences. Throughout the film, it’s shown that when Evan returns to the present after changing the past, he’s now created a new timeline of events that resulted from those changes. Thus, he’s the only one aware anything is different.

During one such altered timeline, Evan accidentally murders his girlfriend’s unstable brother Tommy in a fit of rage, and goes to prison for the crime. To gain access to his journals and try to once again fix the present, Evan must convince a religious fellow prisoner to help him out. He does this by using a childhood drawing to return to the past, and violently stab his hands onto pointed document holders in the classroom. Scars then are shown to magically appear on Evan’s hands in the present. The thing is, that makes absolutely no sense.

By the rules of The Butterfly Effect, Evan’s actions should’ve created another alternate timeline, and when he gets back to the present, the scars should’ve already been there the whole time, with only Evan being aware he didn’t used to have them. Additionally, doing such a grotesque action as a child likely would’ve drastically altered Evan’s life in the near term, and the ripple effects from that could’ve easily led to a reality in which Evan never got to the point where he killed Tommy, and thus never went to prison. It’s an inexplicably dumb moment in an otherwise pretty good film.

More: 10 Things You’ve Never Noticed From The Butterfly Effect

2020-02-14 01:02:10

Michael Kennedy

Cloverfield Monster In Real Life: What Animals Inspired The Creature

In addition to drawing from the decades of monster cinema, the creators of 2008’s Cloverfield found inspiration in the animal kingdom when designing their destructive creature. Afforded unique freedom due to the tight secrecy surrounding the film’s release, as even audiences knew little to nothing about the film, the VFX crew was able to create a Kaiju-like creature never seen in a movie before, incorporating elements from various wildlife inspirations create their movie monster.

J.J. Abrams was riding high in the mid-2000s. A proven talent on the small screen for years, he had just directed Mission Impossible III and was working on Paramount’s reboot of Star Trek when he signed on, in secret, to produce the monster flick, written and directed by his friends and proteges, Drew Goddard and Matt Reeves, respectively. Utilizing a marketing strategy similar to the Blair Witch Project, everything about the project was hush-hush. It had no title, which would change countless times as the film went through production and, somehow, Paramount was able to keep the project a secret from the online community, closely controlling when and how information about the film would be released.

Related: The Cloverfield Monster’s Origins Finally Explained

Inspired by toys he glimpsed during a toy shopping trip in Japan with his son, Abrams and his colleagues tapped the legendary Phil Tippett Studio to develop visual effects for the film. To design the creature itself, director Matt Reeves enlisted concept artist Neville Page. Not wanting their film’s threat to be a Godzilla-esque giant monster, the team had to think differently as design phase evolved. As gargantuan and destructive as he may be, Clover, as the rampaging monster would eventually come to be called, was conceived of as immature and suffering from separation anxiety, a lost child lashing out at his scary and unfamiliar new surroundings.

Strange as it may sound, Page wanted his creature to be tethered to reality. Seeking a biological rationale and a semblance of plausibility for every aspect of the design, he turned to wildlife for inspiration. Squid-like tentacles were a part of some early concepts, but eventually dropped. It’s face, mouth, and teeth are meant to resemble the piranha or anglerfish. Like frogs and toads, it has mucous membranes on the sides of it head where ears should be.

As if the creature itself wasn’t quite enough, it was infested with thousands of dog-sized alien “fleas” — parasites with 10 legs consisting of spider-like double jointed limbs and an ant’s pincers that could dislodge from their host monster to wreak further destruction and horrors at street level. The beast’s “lost toddler gone bezerk” psychology was modeled after that of rampaging elephants, as was its gray-white skin. Playing up the idea that the monster is acting out of fear, it was given the eyes of a “spooked horse” at the suggestion of Reeves.

All of these elements came together for a creature and a cinematic experience unlike anything seen before. Audiences had never witnessed an on-screen alien invasion quite like this. From the head of the statue of liberty rolling and bouncing down lower Manhattan, to the horrifying delayed effects of the alien flea bites, Cloverfield was tremendously effective. The shaky cam techniques and bystander with a camera format was especially effective in the context of post-9/11 America, which added to the popularity of certain sub-genres of horror. Found footage films had been around for a while, but never on this scale before.

Next: How All The Cloverfield Movies Connect

2020-02-13 03:02:13

Dan Meersand

Child’s Play Shifted Toward Horror-Comedy – Here’s Why

The Child’s Play series shifted toward horror-comedy in its later installments, a stark departure in tone from the first few films. The dark original, a surprise box office hit in 1988, spawned six sequels (so far), a reboot and television series now in development.

Taking a grounded approach to the “killer doll” subgenre, Child’s Play revolved around serial killer Charles “Chucky” Lee Ray, played by Brad Dourif, who uses a voodoo ritual to transfer his soul into a child-size doll just before he dies. The doll, from a popular line called Good Guys, is given to young Andy (Alex Vincent) as a birthday gift. Chucky begins to use the child to help him to seek revenge on the people who wronged him. He also learns that he needs to transfer his soul into Andy before he becomes permanently stuck inside the doll he inhabits.

Related: Chucky’s Origin Explained: How Charles Lee Ray Became a Doll

Directed by Tom Holland (Fright Night) from a story by Don Mancini, who co-wrote the screenplay with Holland and John Lafia, the film went on to gross over $33 million domestically, creating an instant franchise. Two years later Child’s Play 2 was released, following the resurrection of Chucky inside a new Good Guys doll and his pursuit of Andy, who is now in foster care. The sequel’s success led to a third installment, again pitting the killer doll against unfortunate target Andy, this time played by Justin Whalin. While the first three films featured different directors, each installment was either co-written or written by Mancini. His involvement would continue throughout the run of the franchise.

Mancini was responsible for shifting the storyline into a more comedic framework. While the original film had a streak of dark humor, each continuing installment began to focus more on Chucky and his sardonic approach to the mayhem. By the time Bride of Chucky, the fourth film, was released upon an unsuspecting public, any pretense of seriousness had been jettisoned. Director Ronny Yu’s campy comedy turned Chucky into a full-fledged anti-hero similar to Freddy Krueger in the later A Nightmare on Elm Street sequels. Mancini’s reasoning for the tonal shift was partly to subvert audience expectation. His reasoning was that follow-ups to horror films usually play it safe – offering the audience more of the same.

Mancini wanted to keep fans of the franchise surprised, changing the tone and motivation of Chucky as his journey progressed. Introducing Charles Lee Ray’s psychotic girlfriend Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly) and injecting a dysfunctional love story into the narrative helped Bride of Chucky become the most successful installment worldwide. Mancini’s instincts helped to turn the franchise into a genuine cult phenomenon by taking the doll into fatherhood (Seed of Chucky) and even more self-referential territory with Cult of Chucky. While a slick reboot of the original Child’s Play failed to find an appreciative audience, Mancini is set to continue his version of the franchise with a new Chucky TV show premiering on SyFy this year.

Next: What To Expect From Chucky, The Child’s Play TV Show

2020-02-13 02:02:42

Bradley Harding

Every Adaptation of The Thing Ranked, Worst to Best | Screen Rant

John W. Campbell’s 1938 novella Who Goes There? has been adapted into three movies titled The Thing, and here’s how they stack up, worst to best. It’s common for most great literary horror stories to get adapted into movies, but a more elite group of tales proves so timeless that they get told and retold for different generations of moviegoers. There have been countless versions of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Stephen King novels like IT, The Shining, Pet Sematary, and Carrie have been adapted multiple times. Jack Finney’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers has been adapted into four different films, and as mentioned, Who Goes There? has received three adaptations.

While every such remake brings with it a certain level of fan apprehension and derision, there are plenty of instances where a subsequent adaptation attempt has measured up to or even surpassed the first. They may not be the majority, but the common impression that remakes or re-adaptations are always bad is definitely not a fair one.

Related: How IT Chapter Two Paid Homage to John Carpenter’s The Thing

So, with a fourth adaptation of Who Goes There? – based on a long-lost longer version of the story called Frozen Hell – in the works, it seems like a good time to revisit the prior three versions of The Thing. Here’s a full ranking, from worst to best.

This 2011 adaptation of The Thing is technically a prequel to the 1982 John Carpenter film, but in actuality, it basically functions as a remake. While there are some clever nods to what fans know will happen in the future, the plot has most of the same beats, and again focuses on the crew stationed at a remote Antarctic research base as they fight for survival against the titular shape-shifting alien. It’s really not too bad a movie, and has a strong cast, but at the same time, really doesn’t bring much new to the table. Also, the absolutely terrible CGI effects pale in comparison to the practical monsters that populate Carpenter’s version, and are sure to disappoint horror devotees.

It’s worth mentioning that there may well be a portion of audiences who find the 2011 The Thing to be better than this first adaptation, released in 1951. Being a 1950s film, The Thing from Another World can come off quite cheesy by today’s standards, and the pace can feel a bit languid. The monster also isn’t very scary when looked at through a modern lens. Still, it’s not fair to judge such an old film by what audiences are used to today. Those with the patience needed to watch it play out will be rewarded by an interesting story, characters worth spending time with, cool sci-fi concepts, and some very tense moments. There’s a reason this was selected for the U.S. National Film Registry.

As good as The Thing from Another World is, there’s no doubt that John Carpenter’s 1982 masterpiece The Thing betters it in every way. It’s possible that Carpenter wouldn’t agree though, as his fandom of the first adaptation of Who Goes There? is what inspired him to direct a remake. Carpenter’s take is actually a lot closer to John W. Campbell’s book, and features better acting, a better score, tighter plotting, and of course some of the most amazing practical monster effects ever committed to film. The Frozen Hell movie has its work cut out for it.

More: The Thing Spoils Its Monster After 5 Minutes (But Not If You’re English)

2020-02-12 02:02:22

Michael Kennedy

Charmed Was Inspired By The Craft – Here’s Why | Screen Rant

Popular witchcraft-centered 2000s TV series Charmed took more than a little inspiration from 1996’s cult classic horror movie The Craft. Witches are one of the oldest villains in horror, and of course, one of the oldest villains in the history of people. Female practitioners of black magic have been objects of fear for centuries, despite that obviously being more borne of sexism than anything. Real-life Wiccans are usually perfectly nice people, and even those who claim to have magical powers profess that they use those powers for good.

In the pop culture realm, there have been dozens of memorable witches, some heroic and some demonic. There’s the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, Sabrina the Teenage Witch on either her old or current show, the devilishly likeable Rowena from Supernatural, Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus, and that’s barely scratching the surface. Witches have been and will seemingly continue to be a movie and TV staple.

Related: Why The Charmed Reboot Pilot Is Worse Than The Original

In 1996, director Andrew Fleming’s film The Craft hit theaters, and while reviews were mixed, it became a modest hit. As the years went on though, The Craft amassed a large cult fanbase, to the point where a reboot is currently in the works. Two years later, in 1998, Charmed debuted on The WB. That may not have been a coincidence.

The surface similarities between The Craft and Charmed are pretty clear at a glance. The former focuses on a group of four young outcasts who become witches and use magic to improve their lives and get payback on their enemies. The latter concerns three young sisters who find out that being witches run in their family, and that together they can use the Power of Three to do good. Both contain lots of mid-late 1990s fashions and music, and do their best to exert a feeling of coolness. Most strikingly, both The Craft and Charmed feature The Smiths’ song “How Soon Is Now?” as covered by the band Love Spit Love, the latter as its opening theme song.

However, according to Andrew Fleming himself, the similarities between The Craft and Charmed might be more deliberate than simply trying to emulate a thing that worked before. As he tells it, after The Craft‘s success, Fleming wrote a pilot for a TV series based on the film for FOX. That network decided to pass, but The WB was interested. For reasons unknown, FOX wouldn’t allow them to have it. Then, the following year, The WB premiered Charmed. The Craft star Robin Tunney has even publicly bashed Charmed as a ripoff, although Fleming didn’t go quite that far. While it’s normal in Hollywood for studios to play follow the leader, the timing does seem to be a bit suspect.

More: The Top 10 Best Witch Movies Ever Made, Ranked

2020-02-11 02:02:54

Michael Kennedy

Every Key in Netflix’s Locke & Key (& What They Can Do)

Warning! Major spoilers for Locke & Key.

Beloved comic series turned Netflix show Locke & Key features a number of magical keys with mysterious powers. Unlike the comic book series, the show leans more YA family drama than horror. But at the crux of both stories is the Locke siblings finding each key and learning more about what powers they each possess.

Locke & Key follows the Locke siblings trying to pick up the pieces after dealing with their father’s murder. Their mother moves the family to the Locke family ancestral home for a fresh start. It’s there that the Locke siblings find these keys and learn about their late father’s connection to them.

Related: Netflix’s Locke & Key: Cast & Character Guide

The original comic book series from horror writer Joe Hill, son of Stephen King, features dozens of keys, but the Netflix’s adaptation of Locke & Key only features a portion of those keys. This could mean they’re saving some for future seasons. Here is a breakdown of every key in Locke & Key, and what those keys do.

Anywhere Key — This is the first of the keys shown in Locke & Key. The youngest Locke sibling, Bode, finds it and learns it can take him anywhere in the world. As long as the user can picture a door at their intended destination, he or she can use the key to walk through a door and get to the destination on the other side. And, as any self-respecting young boy would do, Bode’s inaugural use of the Anywhere Key is to take him to the local ice cream shop.

Echo Key — The Echo Key can bring back the ghostly echo of someone who has died. Ellie uses it to bring back her high school love, Lucas. However, Ellie finds out too late that the key brings back the demon that had possessed Lucas at the time of his death, not the real Lucas she knew and loved. This allows all hell to break loose.

Head Key — The Head Key opens up the mind of the user, allowing anyone to go inside. Memories and feelings — and sometimes literal objects — can be inserted or removed with the help of this key. Many characters utilize this key over the span of season one. Tyler uses the key to insert knowledge into his head that will impress Jackie, Kinsey uses it to remove the fear from her mind, and Dodge/Lucas uses it to go inside the mind of Rendell’s friend Erin. By the end of Locke & Key‘s first season, it’s revealed that Rendell somehow used the Head Key to hide the Omega Key within his own mind.

Ghost Key — This key allows the user’s spirit to exit his or her body and fly around like a ghost.  Bode uses the key to meet one of his ancestors, who chose to remain on the property as a ghost after his death. As long as the corresponding door for this key remains open, the user can re-enter his or her body. Perhaps the most heartbreaking moment of Locke & Key sees a dying Sam use the Ghost Key with the door quickly shut behind him, thus sealing his fate.

Music Box Key — When inserted into its accompanying music box, this key allows its user control over others. Think of it like the voodoo doll of the keys. Kinsey uses the Music Box Key to seek revenge over her high school bully, Eden.

Mending Cabinet Key — The kids’ mom, Nina, accidentally stumbles upon the Mending Cabinet Key. If a broken object is placed in in the accompanying cabinet, using the Mending Cabinet Key will fix said object. In a devastating sequence, Nina drunkenly places her husband’s ashes in the cabinet, in hopes that it will “fix” him.

Matchstick Key — This one is just a very elaborate lighter. This is technically the first key audiences see before the keys’ power is really introduced. Once Mark Cho, an original Keeper of the Keys, gets word that his old friend Rendell is dead, he uses the Matchstick Key to commit suicide so that no one can get to the secrets that hide in his head.

Identity Key — The Identity Key actually does not appear in the comic book series. This newly created key is a combination of the Gender Key and the Skin Key. This key allows the user to take on the identity of anyone they like. In Locke & Key, this one is typically used for no good by Lucas. First, he uses this key to take on his disguise of Dodge. In the season finale, “Crown of Shadows,” it’s revealed that Lucas used the Identity Key to trick the Lockes into thinking Ellie was actually Dodge. But perhaps the cruelest use of all was in the final scene of that episode when it was revealed that Lucas also took on the form of Gabe, Kinsey’s boyfriend. From the looks of things, Lucas’s newest trick will cause a huge problem for the Lockes in a potential season two of Locke & Key.

Plant Key — This key only has a brief appearance in Locke & Key, but it’s a pretty important one. As its name suggests, the Plant Key allows its user to control plants. In season one of Locke & Key, teenage Rendell and his friends take the memories out of his brother Duncan’s head with the Head Key and use the Plant Key to hide those memories in a tree.

Shadow Key — The Shadow Key is one of the more menacing keys in this season of Locke & Key. If the user inserts this key into the Crown of Shadows, that person can control creatures that emerge from the shadows. Lucas uses this Key against the Locke kids in his ongoing search for the Omega Key.

Omega Key — The Omega Key is the most mysterious of all the keys. It can open the Black Door, which appears to be a portal to another world. Due to a case of mistaken identity by means of the Identity Key, The Lockes use the Omega Key to throw Ellie, thinking it was Dodge/Lucas, through the portal. It can be assumed that the portal on the other side of the Black Door has strong connections to Keyhouse’s power.

Odds are that many keys featured in season one will make a reappearance in a potential second season of Locke & Key. It hasn’t officially been renewed yet, but work has already begun on the second season. It’s safe to assume some of that work likely includes introducing some new keys to the mysterious world of Locke & Key

More: Netflix’s Locke & Key: Every Song on The Soundtrack

2020-02-11 01:02:58

Brynne Ramella

Urban Legend Movie Reboot Officially Happening | Screen Rant

The 1998 college slasher flick Urban Legend is the next horror film in line for the reboot treatment, this time for the social media age. The massive success of Wes Craven’s Scream in 1996 famously led to a resurgence in slasher films, especially those centered on teens or college students. Scream would of course participate in that boom by becoming a franchise, releasing Scream 2 in 1997 and Scream 3 in 2000. Among the wave of Scream imitators though, the biggest at the time were I Know What You Did Last Summer and Urban Legend.

Directed by Jamie Blanks, the original Urban Legend was set on the campus of Pendleton University, an upper class private school in New England. The plot centers on the students in Professor Wexler’s folklore class, who find their subject matter becoming all too real after a series of murders imitating urban legends takes place. Urban Legend was savaged by critics, but performed well at the box office. Today it boasts a good-sized cult following.

Related: Candyman: The Real Urban Legends That Inspired Tony Todd’s Villain

Now, Deadline reports that Urban Legend will soon receive a movie reboot, courtesy of Screen Gems. The film is said to be on the fast track.

This new Urban Legend movie will be written and directed by Colin Minihan (What Keeps You Alive), a rising name on the indie horror scene. Plot details are understandably scarce at this early stage, but things will once again center on a group of college students, although they’re planned to be more diverse this time. That makes sense, as the cast of the first Urban Legend was almost entirely white. In a modern twist, the kills in this reboot will be based on “urban legends linked to the darkest corners of social media.” It’s a bit unclear what that means from the wording used, but it seems possible that creepypastas could play a role.

Right now, it’s also unclear what, if any, connection the Urban Legend reboot will have to the original movie, or its two prior sequels. It wouldn’t necessarily need to though, as the Urban Legend franchise, such as it is, centers on new characters in a new location each film, and is basically a series of standalone stories. It’ll be interesting to see who gets cast, as one of the reasons Urban Legend is remembered today is its cast full of current/future stars. Jared Leto, Joshua Jackson, Tara Reid, Rebecca Gayheart, Alicia Witt, Michael Rosenbaum, and Danielle Harris all made appearances in the film. One wonders if the new Urban Legend will try to incorporate a few horror icons into the cast too, as both Robert Englund and Brad Dourif played small roles in the original.

More: Theory: Black Christmas & When a Stranger Calls Share the Same Killer

2020-02-10 02:02:04

Michael Kennedy

Why Gretel & Hansel’s Box Office Predictions Were So Wrong

Following a trend of popular folk horror movies, Gretel & Hansel was slated to earn well at the box office, but its opening weekend proved otherwise.

In 2015, Robert Eggers’ The Witch took box offices by storm, pulling in over $8 million on its opening weekend. Hereditary, also produced by A24, followed suit in 2018. It shot well past the projected $5-9 million, making over $13 million in its opening weekend, ultimately becoming the independent movie company’s number one highest grossing title. In its trailers, Gretel & Hansel’s dark twist on a beloved fairy tale evoked elements of these recent folk horror hits, leading to high expectations on box office turnout.

Related: Gretel & Hansel Ending Explained

Although the movie received moderate-to-good reception from critics, it was panned by audiences. As a result, its box office numbers suffered, nowhere near the predicted success. Its opening weekend, it made around $5.7 million, barely breaking even from its approximate budget of $5 million. It is still in theatres, but prospects aren’t looking good. World-wide, the storybook horror has only made around $9.2 million.

In the movie business, dump months are times of the year when studios offload the movies they are contractually obligated to release but have lower critical or commercial value. Between the uncertainty caused by winter weather, the burnout of awards season, and the ratings loss caused by the Superbowl, January and February fall categorically into one of the “dump month” periods. With a release date on January 31st, Gretel & Hansel started off at a disadvantage. However, the first two months of the year aren’t an automatic death sentence. Taken, released the 30th of January 2009, made $24 million its opening weekend, so popular it ended up launching a multi-movie franchise. The start of the year has been used by some studios as a second Halloween to set the tone for horror movies to come later in the year after witnessing the success of 2005 February release White Noise, which grossed over $91 million worldwide.

Word-of-mouth is an important marketing tool for movies during their theater run. This is especially true for movies in more niche genres like horror. Unlike the big budget big studio movies that can rely on name recognition or family appeal, horror movies often lean on their audiences to spread the word. The Blair Witch Project capitalized on this in 1999. Between a unique marketing campaign and word-of-mouth promotion, The Blair Witch Project went from a small-scale indie horror movie that made $1.5 million its opening weekend to a global phenomenon that essentially invented the found footage horror genre.

Gretel & Hansel was overall a bland movie. It had some interesting ideas and beautiful cinematography, but it failed to deliver on the horror. Audiences, and many critics, marked it a movie with plenty of style but little substance. Moviegoers hyped from the trailer left theatres disappointed. This can be observed in its opening weekend box office numbers. The movie made a little under $2.5 million Friday, a little over $2.5 million Saturday, and around $1 million Sunday. The initial numbers aren’t high but, with low audience approval, they also can’t be bolstered by person-to-person recommendations. With an ambiguous ending, the movie ambitiously opened the door to a sequel, although it’s unclear if it had the appeal to warrant one. All in all, Gretel & Hansel has not performed terribly, especially considering how low its actual budget was, but it was nowhere near the hit many expected it to be.

Next: Gretel & Hansel’s Ending Is Really Good (But The Rest Of The Movie Isn’t)

2020-02-08 03:02:27

Shannon Lewis

How Army Of Darkness Got Delayed By Hannibal Lecter | Screen Rant

Sam Raimi’s third Evil Dead film, Army of Darkness, saw its theatrical release delayed due to an unlikely suspect: cannibal killer Hannibal Lecter. Ash Williams (played by Bruce Campbell), the egotistical but surprisingly competent demon-slaying hero of the Evil Dead franchise, is a certified horror icon. The same can be said for Dr. Hannibal Lecter, as played by several actors, but most notably in three films by Anthony Hopkins. Despite their iconic status though, one would never expect the two characters to cross paths.

While that didn’t happen, at least not exactly, Hollywood’s corporate forces sometimes behave in strange ways. Case in point, sometimes producers and rights holders play hardball over control of a potential film project, and sometimes that leads to other projects suffering as a result. It’s not fair, and it’s probably not right, but Hollywood is a business above all else, even if the art they ultimately produce helps power the mainstream of pop culture.

Related: Army of Darkness’ Multiple Cuts Explained

In the case of Sam Raimi’s Army of Darkness, the film’s release ended up being greatly delayed due to a corporate fight between two studios, all revolving around Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter. Not so groovy.

Army of Darkness was produced by Dino De Laurentiis Communications, as well as Sam Raimi’s own Renaissance Pictures company. Veteran producer De Laurentiis allowed Raimi and crew to make the film they wanted to make, but once things got to the post-production stage, distributor Universal Pictures got much more hands-on. The studio didn’t like Raimi’s original downbeat ending, and demanded a happier one be shot. They also insisted on more reshoots later. At a certain point, Raimi needed more money to complete the film, about $3 million worth.

This is where things got stupid. Universal was currently in a dispute with De Laurentiis over the rights to the Hannibal Lecter character, as they wanted to make a sequel to The Silence of the Lambs, which had won lots of Oscars and become a smash hit. De Laurentiis had controlled the film rights to Lecter since 1986’s Manhunter, and had made the not too financially bright decision to let Orion Pictures use the character for free when making Silence of the Lambs, and not be at all involved in the production. Now that Lecter was a cash cow, De Laurentiis wasn’t going to make that mistake again.

Universal wanted the rights to use Hannibal Lecter, and Dino De Laurentiis wanted lots of money for those rights. As a result, Universal refused to give Raimi the money he needed to finish Army of Darkness until De Laurentiis came to terms with them on Hannibal. This caused Army of Darkness’ release date to be delayed from summer 1992 all the way to February 1993, while this unrelated spat was worked out. Releasing in February, the film was a box office dud, and while it’s not certain Raimi’s threequel would’ve fared better in the summer, we can never know for sure. Universal eventually did produce a Hannibal Lecter sequel, but not until nearly a decade later, in 2001.

More: All The Evil Dead Movies Ranked, Worst To Best

2020-02-08 02:02:41

Michael Kennedy

Seed Of Chucky Was Rejected By Universal – Here’s Why

The Child’s Play franchise has made some interesting and unique choices throughout its tenure as a slasher franchise, but Seed of Chucky was originally panned by Universal executives for some very specific reasons.

Don Mancini, the creator of the Child’s Play franchise, stepped into the director’s chair for the first time and lent his talents to writing the script as well. Seed of Chucky was intended as a direct follow-up to 1998’s Bride of Chucky, which is where the franchise started to shift tonally into more horror-comedy with the inclusion of Jennifer Tilly as Tiffany, Chucky’s paramour and – eventually – his bride. While many fans praise Bride of Chucky for adding something new to the franchise after the third installment started to feel stale and weak in comparison to the first two installments, people were quick to dismiss Seed of Chucky because of its unapologetically queer attitude, transgender child character, and meta humor in spades.

Related: Seed Of Chucky Almost Featured Quentin Tarantino As Himself

However, as it was for some fans who didn’t fully understand – or like – Mancini’s direction for the slasher franchise and his vision for the fifth movie, studio executives gave equally harsh criticisms of Mancini’s script.

According to Don Mancini, his decision to make the switch toward a more comedic route was purely intentional. In an interview with New York magazine, Mancini discussed how slasher franchises – on the whole – lose their ability to constantly terrify over time because they become formulaic, the killers themselves become predictable, and there has to be something different to keep a franchise alive. Plus, Chucky was already at a distinct disadvantage over killers like Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees. Said Mancini, “With Chucky, it’s particularly true because, well, he’s a doll. It’s already absurd. But that distance allows you to experiment“.

Mancini’s script was originally passed down with some very specific notes, including that it was “too gay.” Mancini – who is an openly gay man – has used his background and voice in the community to make the franchise accessible and relatable for his LGBTQ fans throughout the series. Said Mancini, “…it’s fun to get that kind of material into a mainstream movie in a subversive way. You know, I see so many gay-themed movies suffocated by their good intentions“. For him, Seed of Chucky was the answer to the question: “what if Chucky had a gay kid?” Glen/Glenda was a well-meaning, sweet, innocent person who happened to have killers for parents, and at the end of the day, all they wanted was to be accepted. Mancini’s decision to paint Glen/Glenda’s journey of self-discovery in a bawdy, meta horror-comedy is part of the reason why some LGBTQ horror fans love it so much.

Jennifer Tilly also spoke out about the script being passed on and rejected by Universal in an interview with the Dallas Voice. Said Tilly, “Actually, Universal said, ‘It’s too funny, it’s too gay, and there’s too much Jennifer Tilly.’ How could there ever be too much Jennifer Tilly?“. It’s clear that, while studio executives may have had their own vision for the film, Mancini won out because the film was loud and proud about its queer identity, was soaked in meta humor, and featured lots of Jennifer Tilly. As it stands, Seed of Chucky ended up being distributed by Rogue Pictures, and Universal eventually picked the Child’s Play franchise back up for Mancini’s next two movies, and his TV series.

Next: The Child’s Play Remake Shouldn’t Have Happened Without Don Mancini

2020-02-08 01:02:06

Jack Wilhelmi