The Week in Horror: ‘Shelby Oaks’, ‘Renfield’, ‘The Guest’, + more!

This week’s horror news has updates on the definitive version of one of Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard’s best films, a record-breaking found footage film, Nic Cage all gussied up as Dracula, and the first epistolary horror I’ve covered in this space. It’s a wild week for horror, so check it all out here!

The Guest (2014) is one of my favourite projects from the filmmaker team of Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard (You’re Next), and it was announced on Twitter this week that a “definitive” 4K restoration supervised by Wingard will be hitting US streaming platforms as early as this week. The Guest tells the the story of a violent supersoldier (Dan Stevens) being dropped into a suburban family’s life for the first time, and whether you’re experiencing it for the first time or itching to revisit that world, this seems to be the way to do it. The Guest co-stars Maika Monroe, Leland Orser, and Lance Reddick.

Found footage horror Shelby Oaks from filmmaker Christ Stuckmann is officially the highest-funded Kickstarter horror film ever, raking in over 1.6 million dollars (off a $311,000 goal!) ahead of the campaign’s close on Sunday.

Needless to say, Shelby Oaks will very much be going ahead. As the campaign describes the film,

“Shot as a traditional feature, but with some elements of found footage, Shelby Oaks is a horror film about missing paranormal investigators (the paranormal paranoids), the dark legacy they uncovered, and the far-reaching effects their investigation has as Mia searches for her sister Riley, the lead paranormal investigator, 12 years later. As Mia uncovers new and disturbing leads related to Riley’s disappearance, she uncovers evidence of a hidden supernatural evil dating all the way back to her and Riley’s childhood.”

Production begins on Shelby Oaks this May in Cleveland, and we’ll bring you more news on release dates as we get them!

Christina Ricci stole the show in Yellowjackets this year, and now she’s getting back in touch with an old role in Tim Burton’s Addams Family spinoff for Netflix, Wednesday. Ricci portrayed the Wednesday Addams character in the 1990 Barry Sonnenfeld feature, but Jenna Ortega (Scream, X) will be taking over while Ricci will be a series regular in an unannounced role, according to Deadline. Production is already underway on Wednesday with Ortega, Catherine Zeta-Jones as Morticia and Luis Guzman as Gomez Addams.

If that’s not enough Christina Ricci for you, she’s also starting in this 1950’s throwback, Monstrous. There’s a bit of a jaunty, garish tone to this one. With Ricci portraying a more vulnerable character than we’ve been seeing her in lately.

In Monstrous, “Laura, traumatized by an abusive relationship, finally runs away from her former husband with her seven-year-old son Cody. But in their new, idyllic and remote sanctuary, they find they have another, bigger and more terrifying monster to deal with… one that will test both their mental health issues to the limit.”

Alongside Ricci, Monstrous stars Colleen Camp, Santino Barnard, Don Baldaramos, Lew Temple and Carol Anne Watts. Check out this trailer ahead of the film’s release on VOD and in theatres on May 13!

Dread Central reports that Mandy and Beyond The Black Rainbow director Panos Cosmatos is back with some new cosmic horror that actually takes place in space with a new film called Nekrokosm. The director is teaming up with his Black Rainbow collaborators at A24 and XYZ Films to bring the sci-fi horror to life, directing from a screenplay by Maegan Houang (Counterpart).

Nekrokosm, “takes place deep within a strange galaxy where two lovers are torn apart as they try to survive a malevolent invasion in this phantasmagorical fantasy nightmare.” Sign me right the hell up for all of that. You can bet I’ll have more details about this one as soon as I get them.

Variety reports that Ben Stiller is in negotiations to star as Jack Torrance in a stage adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining from Ivo van Hove. The play is set to open next January 2023 on the West End. The Shining should be starting rehearsals this fall. Talks are said to be in early days, but it’s a potentially exciting role for Stiller who starred in John Guare’s House of Blue Leaves with Jennifer Jason Leigh and Edie Falco in 2011. Stay tuned for more details and additional casting info!

Speaking of the stage, a musical adaptation of The Jaws Log, Carl Gottlieb’s behind-the-scenes book about the production of Jaws is currently underway in Seattle. The play, entitled Bruce, has just signed it’s Steven Spielberg role in the form of veteran stage performer Jarrod Spector.

Bruce “tells the story of a virtually unknown 26-year-old Steven Spielberg in 1974 as he sets out to film an adaptation of a best-selling novel. While invading a sleepy fishing island off Cape Cod to shoot on the open ocean, he faced several challenges including weather, water, hostile locals, an exploding budget, endless delays, and a highly dysfunctional mechanical star named Bruce, to bring his vision to life in what proved to be one of the biggest success stories in film history.”

The play will begin previews on May 27 and run through June 26 at the Seattle Rep’s Bagley Theatre. If you’re in the area, you can find tickets here.

A24’s MEN, from director Alex Garland got a sick new trailer this week, and for the approximately three people out there who were worried that the film would be pulling any punches, worry no more as the MPAA has proffered the film with an R rating for “disturbing and violent content, graphic nudity, grisly images, and language.” So you can rest easy until the film’s release on May 20. Now, go watch that trailer!

Even above shark musicals, by far the most interesting horror project I saw this week comes from Shing Yin Khor (@sawdustbear on Twitter) and is called Unset 1965. It’s a short horror story whose contents will be delivered right to your door by mail between May and October, and according to the author it’ll be “about the California desert, ghost towns on old Route 66, and falling in love with a[n] old motel that needs you as much as you need it.”

You can either subscribe to the entirety of Unset 1965 in advance at this link before the end of April, or you can subscribe to Shing Yin Khor’s Patreon for $5/month (though you’ll miss content if you skip a month). If you like getting mail as much as I do, this is a beautiful project from an artist well-worth following.

Finally, People Magazine revealed some set photos from the New Orleans production of Renfield, from director Chris McKay this week, and the internet pretty much broke instantly with photos of Nic Cage as Dracula. Cage will star as the most famous vampire this side of Henry Kissinger alongside fellow Nic, Nicholas Hoult as the faithful and eponymous henchman Renfield.

Cage said to Variety back in December that “I want [the role of Dracula] to pop in a unique way from how we’ve seen it played. So I’m thinking to really focus on the movement of the character. You know, I saw Malignant and I thought what she did with those moves — and even Ringu with Sadako [Yamamura]…I want to look at what we can explore with this movement and voice.”

In an interview with GQ, Cage said that his influences for the role are his father August, and David Bowie’s Thin White Duke.

“August Coppola’s coming back. And he’s coming back as Dracula…I’m trying to become the Thin White Duke for Dracula.”

Nicolas Cage, GQ Apr 2022

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