Mama Takes Number One Spot at the Box Office

Horror is back on top at the box office in 2013.  Universal’s Mama, produced by Guillermo del Toro and starring Jessica Chastain, came in at number one, grossing an estimated $28.1 million for the 3-day weekend (not counting the Martin Luther King holiday tomorrow).  The film bumped another Chastain picture, Zero Dark Thirty, from its top spot down to number two.  This is the second horror release of 2013 to open big.

Del Toro Takes Over the Ghost Hunters Twitter Account Tonight

Syfy’s longest-running unscripted series, Ghost Hunters, goes Hollywood for its ninth season premiere on Wednesday, January 16 at 9 PM ET/PT with two Los Angeles-based investigations and a Twitter takeover by famed film director Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy series, Pan’s Labyrinth), executive producer of Universal Pictures’ upcoming supernatural thriller, Mama.

In the Season 9 Ghost Hunters premiere episode, “Hollywood Horror Stories,” which airs at 9 PM ET/PT, Jason Hawes leads TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) on spooky Los Angeles investigations at the historic Sowden House – said to be the site where Elizabeth Short, aka “The Black Dahlia,” was gruesomely murdered – and Madame Tussauds Hollywood.

Review: Mama

A few years back, brother and sister Andy and Barbara Muschietti made a short horror film – essentially 3 minutes of two kids being chased through their house by a creature – and it got the attention of Guillermo del Toro who shepherded the duo into expanding the idea into a feature length film. The results are a far more clever premise then one might expect from watching the short, especially with so many horror films now falling into the same traps in trying to deliver the types of scares expected by less discerning horror fans.

The feature-length “Mama” kicks off in particularly intriguing fashion, opening on an abandoned car by the side of the road, the radio informing us of an economic crash and a shooting at a financial firm. The car’s owner, a businessman played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jamie Lannister of “Game of Thrones”), arrives home to pile his two young daughters into the car as they speed off across an icy roadway before the car skids off the road into the woods. The man leads the two girls into an abandoned cabin and we cut forward to five years later when the two girls are found, having gone completely feral. Their father’s twin brother Lucas (also played by Coster-Waldau) agrees to take them into his charge along with his punk rocker girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain), but something comes back home with them, a being they refer to as “Mama.”

Shock Video: Talking Mama with Jessica Chastain & Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Guillermo del Toro has brought us a lot of super-cool horror films over the past twenty years and while we have to wait a few more months before his next movie as a director, he’s spent the last couple years finding bright new filmmakers capable of making horror films at the same level of quality as his own. Following in the footsteps of The Orphanage, Julia’s Eyes, Splice and Alone in the Dark is Mama.

Expanded from the short film by Andres Muschietti and his sister Barbara, Mama benefits greatly from the fact it stars two of the hottest actors around right now – Game of Thrones’ Jamie Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Golden Globe-winner Jessica Chastain, who many feel is on her way to score an Oscar for her role in Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty.

The two of them play a couple who take in the daughters of the former’s brother, all of whom had vanished for five years, before being found living in a cabin in the woods. When the girls are reunited with their uncle and his punk rocker girlfriend, they’ve changed, having been living in the wild seemingly alone for all that time, but they seem to have brought something back with them

Featurette: A Look Inside the Supernatural Thriller Mama

On January 18th, Universal unleashes Mama, a supernatural thriller presented by Guillermo del Toro and anticipation of its release, the studio has released a featurette that looks at the production.

Starring Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, the film tells the haunting tale of two little girls who disappeared into the woods the day that their mother was murdered.  When they are rescued years later and begin a new life, they find that someone or something still wants to come tuck them in at night.

Get a Sneak Peek at Mama With Four Clips

Universal has provided with four clips from Mama, the Guillermo del Toro-produced supernatural thriller starring Zero Dark Thirty’s Jessica Chastain.  The film opens in theaters January 18th – check out the clips inside!

And, if you missed our set report, check out part one and part two.  We’ll have more with the cast and crew as we near the film’s release date.

Also starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, the film tells the haunting tale of two little girls who disappeared into the woods the day that their mother was murdered.  When they are rescued years later and begin a new life, they find that someone or something still wants to come tuck them in at night.

Guillermo del Toro Introduces the Original Mama Short Film

We’ve presented the short film for Mama before, but good things are worth repeating.  

You see, before the movie – opening January 18th from Universal – there was a creepy short film and that short film is now being introduced by Mama producer Guillermo del Toro in a new promotional push for the feature.  Head inside for Del Toro’s intro and check out the short – it will groom you for what’s to come.

The film stars Zero Dark Thirty’s Jessica Chastain, Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Megan Charpentier and Isabelle Nelisse.

You may watch the short and wonder how it could be stretched into a feature-length tale.  Check out our interview with director Andy Muschietti and co-writer Barbara Muschietti who explain how they did it.

The 2012 – 2013 Winter Horror Movie Guide

Winter officially begins December 21st and we’re thrilled to see that the season is going to be jam-packed with horror releases!

What was once a dumping ground (some might argue it still is) for genre titles is now prime real estate (The Devil Inside raked in big bucks in its debut at the start of 2012). breaks down the films you can expect to see later this month through March 19th, when winter concludes.  As usual, we weigh in with our thoughts on what is to come and provide you with links to photos and trailers (if available).

Use our comment boards below to sound off on what you are looking forward to!

On the Set: A Chat With Mama’s Andy & Barbara Muschietti

In the second part of our set report from Mama – where we took a jaunt to Toronto, Canada during the month of October 2011 – and other visiting members of the press sat down with Andy and Barbara Muschietti, siblings who understand the value of positive working relationship.  Andy is director of the film, which he co-wrote with his sister who also serves as a producer alongside executive producer Guillermo del Toro.

Andy and Barbara collaborated on the short film upon which Mama is based off of (watch it at the bottom of this interview).  And, in our discussion, we talk about the challenges of expanding the short film’s concept, the feature film’s inspirations and eponymous supernatural entity that haunts Jessica Chastain’s character, Annabel.

Mama opens in theaters January 18, 2013.

On the Set: Guillermo del Toro, Jessica Chastain on the Mysteries of Mama

October 27, 2011.  In the heart of Toronto on this chilly day in late October, there are traces of “Halloween” in the air.  Cardboard ghouls and skeletons are taped to windows.  Ornamental pumpkins, surrounded by colorful autumn leaves, rest in display cases of various shops.  Not far off, a horror film festival is about to get underway.  And somewhere, someone is likely feasting on a pumpkin donut or sipping from their pumpkin latte.  All of these festive elements are getting this writer – who resides in Southern California, the land devoid of seasons – in an apropos mood for an apropos set visit to Pinewood Toronto Studios where some supernatural shenanigans are unfolding. is checking in on director Andy Muschietti, who is orchestrating a feature-length spookshow called Mama, based on his short film of the same name.  The short focused on two young girls and a malevolent spirit – it was three minutes of tightly-wound terror that was all about stylistic execution over story.  The feature film, however, will provide more narrative substance.  The tale tells of Annabel (Jessica Chastain) and Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), a couple who welcome two young girls, Lily and Victoria – found living alone in a cabin – into their home.  As Annabel tries to introduce these youngsters, Lily (Isabelle Nelisse) and Victoria (Megan Charpentier), to a normal life, Annabel starts to believe an evil presence has permeated her home.

Mama marks Muschietti’s feature directorial debut and he’s able to pull off his endeavor thanks to executive producer Guillermo del Toro.  

The Trailer for the Guillermo Del Toro-Produced Mama!

“A mother’s love is forever.”

So goes the tagline for the upcoming supernatural thriller Mama, produced, or shall we say “presented,” by Guillermo Del Toro.  After the jump, you can find the trailer which made its debut today.

Starring Jessica Chastain and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, the film tells the haunting tale of two little girls who disappeared into the woods the day that their mother was murdered.  When they are rescued years later and begin a new life, they find that someone or something still wants to come tuck them in at night.

Mama opens in theaters January 18th.  Stay tuned for Shock’s set report!

Guillermo del Toro-Produced Mama Enters Crowded Month for Horror in 2013

Universal has announced Mama, from director Andy Muschietti, is set to hit theaters on January 18th, 2013.  The inclusion of this film officially makes January a very, very busy month for horror.  

2013 kicks off with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D on January 4th which is followed by Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters on the 11th.  And on the 25th, we have James Wan’s The Conjuring.  

Will one of these titles move to make breathing room?  Time will tell.  The month already has two victims of a “release date push” – Paramount bumped H&G from early 2012 to 2013 and Lionsgate did the same for TCM3D, shoving it out of this fall and into January.

Genre fans will complain that January is a terrible month for horror, but not box office-wise.  The Underworld films have turned a nice profit during this time and The Devil Inside was considered a hit during the normally quiet month.  My Bloody Valentine 3D, The Unborn and Cloverfield all performed quite nicely as well during their January releases.

Check Out Jessica Chastain’s New Look in Mama

Now in post-production: Mama, a supernatural thriller produced by Guillermo del Toro that was shot up Toronto last fall with director Andy Muschietti.

Jessica Chastain (Tree of Life), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier and Isabelle Nelisse star.  Things have been awfully quiet on the production, which is being shepherded by Universal, since Shock visited the set, however, a photo from the production surfaced at The Film Experience.  It offers a glimpse at Chastain’s new look.