The Week In Horror: ‘Godzilla’, ‘The House That Jack Built’, and More ‘Swamp Thing’

I hope everyone has been enjoying their weekend and watching plenty of horror movies. I kicked off my Sunday morning with a double Blind Dead feature, The Ghost Galleon and Night of the Seagulls. The Blind Dead films, which officially include Tombs of the Blind Dead and Return of the Evil Dead, are an excellent series of gothic 1970s horror from Spain, featuring some really cool undead Templar Knights, beautiful women, and lots of bright, red blood. These films could really use a restoration though; even the DVD transfers are muddy as hell. Blue Underground just posted a couple of days ago that they are down to their last thirteen copies of their box set, a five-disc collection that comes in a coffin, so if you’ve been waiting on it, you’re running out of time.

First off, two bits of Godzilla news; according to Bloody Disgusting, Shin Godzilla 2 has been cancelled in favor of pursuing a monster slate of kaiju films, one every 1-2 years. Hopefully we’ll see more horrific versions of Mothra, Hedorah, Rodan, etc. similar to Shin Godzilla’s reboot of Big G. Toho has to sit on any Godzilla related films until 2021, though, thanks to the deal they have with Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures to not compete with the American versions of Godzilla 2 and King Kong vs. Godzilla. Secondly, a new trailer for the second part of the Netflix animated Godzilla film, Godzill:; City on the Edge of Battle has dropped and looks damned good; check it out below.

Then we’ve got Lars Von Trier’s new movie to contend with. The House That Jack Built made headlines at the Cannes Film Festival with outraged journalists walking out in droves and tweeting about it incessantly, as if they had no idea what they were getting into. Laughable. This feels like a set up, and even if it’s not I’m very unimpressed with all the negative coverage this film is getting.

The House That Jack Built stars Matt Dillon as a serial killer, while Uma Thurman plays a victim. There is child murder and animal cruelty featured in the film. It all just feels like Von Trier, who is about as controversial as his films, is just fucking with us, daring us to get outraged, and these “shocked” journalists are just playing their part in his little celebrity psychodrama. Excuse me, but yawn.

The film does look well made, based on the trailer below. Matt Dillon is awesome. Aside from the abhorrent shock material, this will probably be a very good movie. But don’t try to tell me anyone went into that viewing having no idea Von Trier was going to shit in their eyes. This little campaign feels like an art house William Castle move. All we need is Vincent Price providing some punch line at the end.

Hot on the heels of MVD’s blu-ray release of Jim Wynorski’s The Return of Swamp Thing, 88 Films have announced a UK blu for the original Swamp Thing, which was directed by Wes Craven. (Look for my full review of Return later this week, here on Biff Bam Pop.) Craven’s take on Swamp Thing was far from his best work and suffers a number of flaws, but still remains a watchable film with some very entertaining moments. It was released here in the States several years ago on a barebones DVD, with a PG rating, despite a fully topless Adrienne Barbeau bathing scene, and then went out of print. Though it is streaming on Amazon.

Neither Swamp Thing film really made any effort to tap into the “sophisticated horror” of the comics and Return has a boatload of goofiness, but Craven at least tried to take the material somewhat seriously. The 1990s TV series that followed was a big improvement over the films, in terms of costume design and more mature story lines. As reported last week, James Wan will be tackling the character next, on DC Comics new streaming service.

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