M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘The Visit’ Acquired by Universal

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Director M. Night Shyamalan has partnered with Jason Blum of Bloomhouse Productions in order to produce a self-financed, low budget project he had been keeping under wraps. The film, called The Visit, is intended as a return to his earlier work and to productions outside the ‘traditional’ studio system.

The Visit concerns a brother and sister visiting their grandparents’ isolated Pennsylvania farm. Eventually, the youngsters discover the seniors are keeping a dark secret and it quickly becomes apparent to the children they may not be going home.

The Visit was written, directed and self financed by Shyamalan and shot near the director’s Pennsylvania home. The partnership with Blumhouse Productions allowed for a first-look arrangement with Universal and the company specialized in low budget genre pictures. Blumhouse’s most recent successful production was Ouija.

M. Night Shyamalan produced the film with Blum and Marc Bienstock, with Steven Schneider and Ashwin Rajan executive producing.

Universal Pictures has set September 11, 2015 as the release date.

‘Y: The Last Man’ Finds a Director at Last

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It has been a long road for the film adaptation of the critically acclaimed comic series Y: The Last Man, but it finally looks like things are starting to progress. Dan Trachtenberg has been announced as the director of New Line Cinema’s feature film version of the award winning series by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra.

A commercial director, Trachtenberg was the co-host of The Totally Rad Show alongside Jeff Cannata and the Nerdist Channel’s Alex Albrecht. He also gained viral fame for his fan-made trailer for Portal: No Escape, which has more than 11.6 million hits on YouTube. You can check that out after the break.

For anyone who hasn’t experienced this fantastic comic, Y: The Last Man takes place in a not too distant future where a mysterious plague has killed every male mammal on Earth except for a snarky amateur magician, Yorick, and his pet monkey, Ampersand. The series won five Eisner awards and has been become beloved among the comic and literature communities alike.

In addition to Trachtenberg behind the camera, the movie adaptation has a script by Matthew Federman & Stephen Scaia. We can only hope everyone involved can do this epic story justice on the big screen.

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Matthew Vaughn Has Left The Directors Chair Of ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’, What Does That Mean For Marvel’s Merry Mutants?

Matthew Vaughn is a frustratingly great director. He is great in regards to his four feature films all being excellent, and he is frustrating because the man seems to take great pleasure in agreeing to do awesome projects and slipping away from them so close to production.

For those of you who don’t remember, Vaughn was the original choice to direct X-Men: The Last Stand after Bryan Singer jumped ship to his Superman snore-fest. Everything seemed great in the X-Universe until, at the last-minute, Vaughn dropped out and Fox was forced to call in Brett Ratner who has a history of bringing in projects on time and on budget. Now X3 had an extremely mixed reaction (I actually loved it, ask me to defend it to a hater some time for raucous debate) but one thing is certain, the film suffered from Vaughn’s departure.

Fast forward a handful of years and Vaughn finally made his X-Film and it ended up being the best of the franchise and single-handedly saved the struggling mutants from an impending cinematic reboot fate. Now we stand at the precipice of another X-Film production with Vaughn at the helm and, wouldn’t you know it, the man bows out.

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Monday Picks: ‘Dawn of the Dead’ (1978)

George Romero’s second chapter in his Living Dead series, Dawn of the Dead (1978), picks up after the events of Night of the Living Dead (1968). Dawn of the Dead is a fantastic, gory and at times satirical look at America and especially at American consumerism. Despite it gruesome effects, many consider Dawn to be of the greatest horror films ever made and it still continues to hold records for its popularity in pop culture and rankings among film critics.

Set not too far after the events of Night of the Living Dead, Dawn opens where the United States (and possibly the entire world) has succumb to a phenomenon which has caused the bodies of the recently dead to return to life and to pray on the flesh of the living.

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Monday Picks: ‘An American Werewolf in London’

In celebration of October and all things associated with Halloween, horror, and the macabre, this week’s pick is the John Landis comedy/horror classic An American Werewolf in London (1981). The film stars David Naughton, Griffin Dunne, and Jenny Agutter.

After making a name for himself in Hollywood with such comedy classics as The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977), Animal House (1978), and The Blues Brothers (1980), director John Landis’ next project would further solidify him as one of Hollywood’s newest breed of film makers. An American Werewolf in London is a tongue-in-cheek film that has always been considered a comedy, but Landis says that it’s a horror film with comedic elements.

Landis had come up with the concept of the film while he was a production assistant in Yugoslavia working on the classic war film Kelly’s Heroes in 1970.  While driving through the Yugoslavian countryside, Landis and his driver/interpreter came to a crossroad where they witnessed a gypsy funeral. Landis and his driver watched as these gypsies performed rituals over the dead man’s corpse in an attempt to make sure that he didn’t come back to life and caused mischief.

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