SDCC ’08: Horror in Focus

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Rotten’s hot ticket picks

San Diego Comic-Con. Speaking in terms of genre films, of course (that’s what we do here!), there’s always one or two flicks that set the room ablaze with excitement getting fanboys talking and bloggers bloggin’. Where the studio, and its respective attending talent, feed the audience just enough footage or photos and set into motion months of hype until the picture is released. During my first stay at Comic-Con, Grindhouse dealt a crushing blow to all other horror films previewed during that time. A mixed bag arrived in the subsequent year. 30 Days of Night previews impressed, The Strangers trailer chilled and Sony called in 100 Milla Jovovich lookalikes for Resident Evil: Extinction. This begs the question – what’s the buzz on this year?

The Wolfman, Friday the 13th and Twilight appear to be the frontrunners swinging fever-pitch hype. For the Wolfman-related discussion in Hall H this Friday, Universal is sending makeup FX artist Rick Baker off with a number of select scenes and, hopefully, a few new glimpses of Benicio Del Toro as ol’ Wolfie (different from those we’ve already seen). And with two trailers already being embraced by Twilight fans online (a new preview went live last week), we can only imagine that when director Catherine Hardwicke, author Stephenie Meyer and the cast take to the stage, Summit is going to present a select scene or two. Arrive early for this one on Thursday, if you’ve gotta get your fix.

Sunday’s an odd time to roll out a Friday the 13th presentation, since the day is usually a quiet one left for tending to hangovers and wandering the exhibit hall, but with star Jared Padalecki partaking in a Supernatural panel earlier in the day, perhaps it was the easiest way to schedule things. Regardless, Voorhees fans are bound to be rewarded for their patience. Now that Entertainment Weekly has revealed the hockey mask-wearing maniac in his latest guise, what’s on tap? We’ve heard through the grapevine that Platinum Dunes has been tinkering with a teaser trailer – a damn good-lookin’ one at that. One that shows Voorhees in action? Maybe. Wouldn’t it be ideal is if Derek Mears showed up as Voorhees?

Those are the big three.

This year will hopefully offer some answers on the whereabouts of Whiteout, Warner Bros.’ adaptation of Greg Rucka’s graphic novel starring Kate Beckinsale. Previewed in ’07, complete with a con exclusive one-sheet, this is one thriller we hope to get some solid release news on. Also in need of updating and on the MIA list? Hack/Slash. Sources tell us Justin Marks’ script has been turned in. Will the H/S panel spew any news? Christ, we hope so.

Speaking of Rogue, attendees might get their first look at some footage from Wes Craven’s 25/8 on Sunday. And Goyer may have a few treats (maybe a special guest or two?) from The Unborn, his possession horror flick. We’re also excited to see what director Dave Parker’s been up to with The Hills Run Red, his return to horror starring Sophie Monk, Tad Hilgenbrink and William Sadler. Dark Castle initially announced Monk and Hilgenbrink’s appearance at the con; we can now confirm Parker will be leading the way to present a trailer (!) from his film.

Not surprisingly, Lionsgate is doing nothing to promote Midnight Meat Train (a late-night screening Friday is Lakeshore’s shindig). Instead, emphasis is being placed on their bread ‘n butter franchise, Saw V. Who honestly knows what we’ll see? Lionsgate generously presented a “scene” from the fourth installment last year. Maybe the lack of publicity stills from the production (aside from director Hackl striking a pose on set) means something juicy is in the works. There’s a missed opportunity during this time to showcase My Bloody Valentine, one of the first 3-D horror films to open 2009, but oh well…

I’m also somewhat eager to see what’s to come from Underworld: Rise of the Lycans and Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell. Raimi, Alison Lohman and Justin Long are all new additions to the con schedule, joining the Universal panel on Saturday. Raimi’s always good for a laugh and if his footage looks as impressive – not to mention “old school Raimi-esque” – as what I saw on set, I’ll be jazzed. And, of course, being the Resident Evil junkie that I am, I’m eager to chow down on more footage from Sony’s Resident Evil: Degeneration, the CG animated feature.

So, to break it down real easy like…

Must-See: The Wolfman, Friday the 13th, Twilight, 25/8 & The Unborn, Dark Castle’s presentation, Hack/Slash

The rest we’re curious about: Saw V, Repo! The Genetic Opera, Resident Evil: Degeneration, Universal’s panel, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

All I’ve mentioned above will be covered extensively here at Shock. If you’d like a complete look at the horror schedule, start via this link where all of our con coverage is collected.

See you there!

Source: Ryan Rotten