June 2024

A Quiet Place: Day One Director Took Unusual Inspiration From Ocean’s Eleven [Exclusive]

A Quiet Place: Day One director Michael Sarnoski cites Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven as part of the reason food plays such an important role in his films.

New Monsterverse Movie Dated for 2027 Theatrical Release

A sixth installment in Legendary’s 10-years-strong Monsterverse is in the works, and Warner Bros. has provided us with a release date this afternoon: March 26, 2027. Yes, 2027.

The wait is long. But have no fear, as the television series “Monarch: Legacy of Monsters” has been renewed for a second season, so that will likely come along a bit earlier to tide us over.

Grant Sputore (I Am Mother) will direct the upcoming sixth movie, with Dave Callaham (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) on board to write the screenplay.

Beginning with the Godzilla film in 2014 and continuing through 2017’s Kong: Skull Island, 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters, 2021’s Godzilla vs. Kong, and most recently the record-breaking Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, the Monsterverse has accumulated over $2B at the global box office and expanded into the highly successful event series, Legendary’s Monarch: Legacy of Monsters for Apple TV+. In addition to the aforementioned second season of “Monarch,” more Monsterverse spinoff shows are being planned at Apple TV+.

“Apple TV+ has struck a new multi-series deal with Legendary Entertainment, which includes multiple spinoff series based on the franchise,” the recent press release had stated.

Angry Kong

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‘How to Make a Monster’: The 1950s Original and the 2001 Update [Revenge of the Remakes]

Before you dart toward the comments to argue that George Huang’s How to Make a Monster isn’t a remake, let me explain why it’s my focus this month.

In 2001, legendary special effects artist Stan Winston co-produced a series of made-for-cable “remakes” alongside Colleen Camp and Lou Arkoff based on AIP horror flicks of the 1950s. They were all monster films based on Samuel Z. Arkoff properties (Lou’s father) under the banner “Creature Features.” Winston developed these films for Cinemax and HBO, where they’d haunt late-night rotations. He even turned his “Creature Features” villains into a toy line, although sales were underwhelming because the figures released out of synch with each premiere.

I used quotations around “remakes” above because 2001’s How to Make a Monster is a remake by title only. Herbert L. Strock’s 1958 original is about a makeup effects artist who uses his secret foundation recipe to control actors. Huang’s Aughts update is decidedly not. They’re both horror movies, and they’re both about creative artists who are doomed by their professional obsessions, but they’re hardly siblings. How to Make a Monster is an example of a remake that barely engages with its source material; think House of Wax (2005). That’s why it’s under my microscope. It’s an entirely different “remake” despite being in a collection touted as all remakes.

Why snag rights to create something with zero resemblance to the first? Let’s investigate.

The Approach

‘How to Make a Monster’ (1958)

I’m still trying to figure out why Winston produced a remake of a horror movie about a mad special effects artist … and removed the special effects story. Writers Herman Cohen and Aben Kandel wrote a story about how the horror genre is always in demand — how the “horror cycle” always returns — making the call from inside Hollywood. It’s brilliant and could have been adapted so easily after Scream introduced the late 90s/early 00s meta-horror movement. The entry point for a How to Make a Monster remake was handed to Huang on a silver platter, who smacks the opportunity to the ground. Everything tantalizing about Cohen and Kandel’s industry-skewering thriller is switched for another generic monster-of-the-day blueprint about a murderous video game.

American International Studios is traded for Clayton Software in the Creature Features version. Robert H. Harris’ master creature designer (Pete Dumond) swaps for Steven Culp’s savvy businessman Peter S. Drummond — if that’s even a callback to the original protagonist’s name. Clayton Software CEO Faye Clayton (Colleen Camp) hires Pete and his trifecta of oddball programmers to fix their laughingstock of a horror video game, “Evilution.” To make matters worse, when testing the clanky motion capture suit (worn by “Queen of B-movies” Julie Strain), systems overload and reboot efforts bring the suit to life. With the deadline rapidly approaching, Pete, his team, and intern Laura (Clea DuVall) find themselves fighting the very game they created, now an immersive experience hunting them around Clayton Software’s high-tech facilities.

If you squint, you can see where Huang tries to honor the vastly superior 1950s spectacle. Peter S. Drummond allows himself to be consumed by his profession the same way Pete Dumond burns alive with his “children” (a unique collection of movie-made masks). Faye, the corporate overlord type, demands that Evilution be scarier, alluding to a world where horror is not only thriving but the driving force behind entertainment companies — precisely what Strock tries to say, albeit through vastly different means. In both films, victims are killed by a monster controlled by “magical” means, be they hypnotic adhesive cream or haywire artificial intelligence. That’s the best I’ve got.

The approach? It’s like Huang accidentally spilled water on a whiteboard with Cohen and Kandel’s original outline, erased everything, and pieced together a story based on objects you’d find in a teenage boy’s bedroom (Playboy posters, computer games, plastic swords).

Does It Work?

‘How to Make a Monster’ (2001)

Answering “Does it Work?” is complicated because that depends on whether you classify How to Make a Monster (2001) as a remake. I do because a remake in name only is still a remake; it’s just a different conversation than usual around these parts. “But Matt, you’re always saying remakes should be original.” Correct! They should also resemble their original — that’s the balance. What’s the point when you abandon everything about an original work but slap the name on the can for nostalgic appeal? It’s an unfortunate case of false representation in this case, really.

Huang adapts “How to Make a Monster” as a concept, not an existing film. The words in the title inspire his remodel. Standard damn-the-man ammunition fires at corporate America instead of Hollywood studios, and the monster’s beginnings reflect Frankenstein more than anything psychologically supernatural. It’s not a terrible idea — I’ll always advocate for more video game horror titles like Stay Alive — but it’s an underwhelming idea compared to Strock’s innovative approach to industry shenanigans. Huang’s screenplay isn’t breaking new ground by saying people are driven by money and the wrong types of number-crunching suits run creative industries.

On a more positive note, Huang’s special effects creatives don’t undersell the nightmarish details of the film’s video game adversary. Where Stronk’s antique is an accomplished example of old-school makeup techniques, turning pretty-boy leading men into werewolves and bulgy-eyed freaks, Huang’s crew imagines a more techno-horror barbarian. How to Make a Monster lets Winston showcase his talents, stepping in for the fictional Pete Dumond — or, more appropriately, visual effects creator Paul Blaisdell (whose iconic masks were lit ablaze in the original’s finale inferno). The prior creations look fabulous for their period, and so does Evilution’s medieval hellspawn — at least Huang brings that competency to the table.

The Result

‘How to Make a Monster’ (2001)

Strock’s How to Make a Monster (1958) is imaginative fine dining; Huang’s How to Make a Monster (2001) is a lukewarm seven-layer dip made from nothing but on-sale processed ingredients. The remake is an after-dark cable special that is appreciated as a sort of cult classic, hardly recognized past its monster effects and goofball humor. Many an underage child no doubt felt a sexual awakening thanks to Julie Strain’s nudie mo-cap routine, or covered their eyes when mangled body parts became a demonic skeleton Viking with metallic orbs for eyeballs. It’s hardly bulletproof nor a proper representation of Strock’s more successful ideas, existing in a pre-streaming era where straight-to-TV specials on unrated channels could perv out and heap on gore without censorship. Better times, worse times; those days were a bit of both.

Neither film overlaps characters or performances, so the new cast has no crossover points. Tyler Mane as Triple H Lite “Hardcore,” Jason Marsden as squeaky-voiced “Bug,” and Karim Prince as Boris Grishenko wannabe “Sol” play aggressively 2000s programmer stereotypes from the meathead weapons expert (Mane) to acne-suffering dweeb (Marsen). They’re all hamming up caricatures drawn by outsiders responding to the prompt “video game addict,” making the most of a silly script that only cares about making a monster (as the title states). Strock directs something more sinfully sophisticated, while Huang creates something you’d download off Limewire along with twenty new viruses. There is no harm in either, although Clea DuVall cannot escape terrible dialogue ripped from a company’s corny in-house workplace behavior training video.

I’d reckon How to Make a Monster plays infinitely better if you’ve never seen the (mostly) black-and-white original. Huang’s erasures and modifications are a different flavor of horror cinema, like a store-brand box of macaroni and cheese (not even Kraft). Both films question whether the right people are in charge of creative industries, but Huang’s execution is far more redundant. “The Monster” stalks characters one by one; they die bloody deaths, and Laura eventually has to vanquish the game’s horned-skull boss in reality because everyone loves a final girl. It’s just a shame the Cinemax remix has nothing to say about the industry outside references like Pikachu skins used for horrendously pixelated demons in Evilution, or an Evil Dead: Hail to the King poster in the background.

The original wants to say something; the remake wants to slay something.

The Lesson

‘How to Make a Monster’ (2001)

There’s a fine line between remakes with their own personality and remakes that completely negate the source material. How to Make a Monster (2001) chooses the latter, and it’s a foolish option. I’m still gobsmacked by the refusal to take an easy layup of going all New Nightmare or Scream 3 with How to Make a Monster, especially with Winston’s involvement. Imagine a horror movie where “Fake Stan Winston” was creating astounding horror creatures only he could control, for example. It didn’t even have to be applied makeup effects only! What if Winston’s Pumpkinhead suit came alive and started lurking around his latest sequel’s set?

There’s a much better How to Make a Monster remake somewhere out there that has not yet been made — maybe focusing on Tom Savini or at least his accomplishments in the field?

So what did we learn?

● Michael Myers got killed by a video game skelly boi?

● The 2000s illustrations of post-Y2K “nerds” sure have aged hilariously, in a film so “2000s,” there’s a P.O.D. needed drop that isn’t “Boom.”

● A remake should at least want to try to resemble its original, just a little bit.

● Is a remake by name even a remake? Yes, it is, but whether that’s a feature or bug is up to you.

You ever turn a movie on, a certain scene hits, and suddenly, you realize you’ve seen said movie a bunch growing up? That happened to me while watching How to Make a Monster (2001). It was a late-night Cinemax staple when I was the right age. I used to sneak-watch Huang’s flick before my horror fandom days, definitely without my mother’s permission (she was the Ratings Police in my household). When Monster Sol pops onto the screen, colored wires hooking into his skin, those chrome Baoding balls shoved into his eye sockets, nostalgia socked me in the face. Not even Strand’s jiggling fetishistic cosplay could jostle the memory free, but “Dead Sol” did the trick.

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‘In a Violent Nature’ Now Available on Digital at Home

One of the most talked about horror movies of the year, In a Violent Nature slashed its way into theaters last month, the unique slasher scaring up $4.2 million at the box office. If you missed it in theaters or just want to revisit the film, it’s now available at home!

In a Violent Nature is now available on Digital/VOD outlets including Amazon and Fandango at Home, and you can rent the film for $6.99 or digitally purchase it for $14.99.

It’s headed to Shudder next, but we don’t yet have a premiere date. Stay tuned.

In the film, “When a locket is removed from a collapsed fire tower in the woods that entombs the rotting corpse of Johnny, a vengeful spirit spurred on by a horrific 60-year old crime, his body is resurrected and becomes hellbent on retrieving it. The undead golem hones in on the group of vacationing teens responsible for the theft and proceeds to methodically slaughter them one by one in his mission to get it back – along with anyone in his way.”

Chris Nash wrote and directed In a Violent NatureRy Barrett, Andrea Pavlovic, Cameron Love, Reece Presley, Liam Leone, Charlotte Creaghan, Lea Rose Sebastianis, Sam Roulston, Alexander Oliver, and Lauren Taylor star in the slasher film.

Meagan Navarro wrote in her Sundance review for Bloody Disgusting, “In a Violent Nature may offer slasher thrills and a delightfully gory rampage across the wilderness, but Nash’s approach captures the carnage through ambient realism. It results in a fascinating arthouse horror experiment that plays more like a minimalist slice-of-life feature with a grim twist.”

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Arrow Video Bringing ‘Friday the 13th’ Remake to 4K Ultra HD with New Bonus Features!

Can you believe it’s now been FIFTEEN YEARS since Jason Voorhees last appeared on the big screen? Arrow Video is celebrating that sad anniversary with some great news, bringing the 2009 remake of horror classic Friday the 13th to 4K Ultra HD this September!

The release is scheduled for September 17, 2024, and it’s up for pre-order now.

Arrow Video previews the upcoming release, “In 2003, director Marcus Nispel made a lasting impression on horror fans with his box-office-topping remake The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Six years later, he turned his camera to another slasher icon, none other than the hulking masked killer Jason Voorhees, in his gore-soaked remake of Friday the 13th.

“Nispel’s taut direction and the stunning cinematography by Daniel Pearl – whose credits include the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre as well as the remake – bring a fresh and terrifying new perspective to the infamous hockey masked maniac, sure to bring chills and thrills to even hardened horror veterans.”


  • Two cuts of the film, the Theatrical Cut (97 mins) and the extended Killer Cut (105 mins)
  • Double-sided foldout poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin
  • Limited edition Greetings from Crystal Lake Postcard
  • Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Matt Konopka and Alexandra West
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin


  • 4K (2160p) Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible) of the Theatrical Cut
  • Original 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio sound
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Brand new audio commentary by director Marcus Nispel
  • Brand new audio commentary by writers Mark Swift and Damian Shannon
  • Brand new interview with director Marcus Nispel
  • Brand new interview with writers Mark Swift and Damian Shannon
  • Brand new interview with cinematographer Daniel Pearl
  • A Killer New Beginning, an exclusive video essay about why horror fans shouldn’t fear remakes, what 2009’s Friday the 13th remake gets right, and why the film serves as a perfect template for future franchise remakes by film critic Matt Donato
  • Excerpts from the Terror Trivia Track
  • The Rebirth of Jason Voorhees archival featurette
  • Hacking Back / Slashing Forward archival featurette
  • The 7 Best Kills archival featurette
  • Deleted scenes
  • Original teaser, trailer and TV spots
  • Electronic press kit
  • Image gallery


  • 4K (2160p) Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible) of the Killer Cut
  • Original 5.1 DTSHD Master Audio sound
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Brand new audio commentary by film critics Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Josh Nelson

In the Friday the 13th remake, “A group of oblivious teenagers choose Camp Crystal Lake as the destination for a weekend getaway. Among them, the young Clay Miller (Jared Padalecki) is not looking for fun and frolics, but for his sister Whitney who disappeared around the lake six weeks earlier. The trip turns into a waking nightmare as the bloodthirsty Jason emerges from the shadows, wielding a deadly machete and out for blood. Cut off from civilization, these youths discover too late that Crystal Lake bears the scars of a violent past as they uncover the terrifying events that spurred the masked killer’s quest for violent vengeance.”

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The Boys Season 4 Features The Weirdest Enemy In The Show’s History (And That’s Saying Something)

The Boys season 4 just crossed over with Gen V, giving us the show’s most bizarre (and twisted) enemies yet.

The Boys Season 4 Just Brought The Gen V Spinoff Series Into Play

It’s probably a good idea to catch up with the spin-off Gen V before you watch the latest episode of The Boys season 4.

‘The Last Breath’ Unleashes Sharks Inside a World War II Shipwreck [Trailer]

A handful of shark attack horror movies have already been released in the first half of the year, with Under Paris most recently swimming to Netflix. Up next? The Last Breath.

RLJE Films will release The Last Breath in theaters and on VOD July 26.

This one comes courtesy of director Joachim Hedén, who directed the intense underwater thriller Breaking Surface back in 2020. This time he adds hungry sharks to the mix…

“The survival thriller follows five college friends who go scuba diving into a recently uncovered WWII shipwreck in the British Virgin Islands, where they find themselves trapped by great white sharks.”

Here’s the full synopsis: “Finding the long-lost wreck of the warship USS Charlotte has been the lifelong pursuit of Levi (Julian Sands), an aging expat running a tourist dive business in the British Virgin Islands together with recent college dropout Noah (Jack Parr). When the USS Charlotte emerges for the first time in eighty years after a tropical storm, Noah’s friends visiting the island insist for them all to do a once-in-a-lifetime dive on the newly discovered wreck before it’s handed over to the authorities. The dream dive rapidly turns into a nightmare as they become trapped in the darkness of the Charlotte’s interior, thirty meters down and with a dwindling air supply. And then they discover that they are not alone.”

Kim Spearman (As I Am) and Erin Mullen also star.

Nick Saltrese (Prayer Before Dawn) wrote the script for The Last Breath.

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‘Clawfoot’ Starring Francesca Eastwood Gets July Release Date

Francesca Eastwood (OldAwake) and Milo Gibson (Hacksaw RidgeThe Outpost) lead the cast of the upcoming Clawfoot, which has been acquired for U.S. release by Vertical.

Clawfoot will be released July 19, 2024.

Olivia Culpo also stars in the upcoming Clawfoot. The film is directed and produced by Michael Day (As They Made Us) and written by April Wolfe (Black Christmas).

From the producers of the smash hit Becky and written by April Wolfe, Clawfoot is said to be “a clever thrill ride brimming with darkly vicious humor and pulse-racing tension.”

In this wild thriller, an upper-class suburban housewife, Francesca Eastwood (M. Night Shyamalan’s Old), is psychologically terrorized by a manipulative contractor, Milo Gibson (The Outpost) remodeling her bathroom… until she partners with her BFF (Olivia Culpo, I Feel Pretty) to turn the tables and a twisted battle of wits ensues with deliciously unexpected results.

Also starring Oliver Cooper (Baby Blue, Burying the Ex, Mindhunter) and Nestor Carbonell (The Dark Knight, Bates Motel), Clawfoot is the directorial debut of Michael Day.

Producers are Jordan Yale Levine & Jordan Beckerman (Becky, The Wrath of Becky).

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The Boys Season 4 Features The Most Heartbreaking, Cruel Death Of The Series

The Boys loves to kill people off, but the latest episode is a real heartbreaker.