The Week in Horror: HBO’s ‘The Last of Us’, ‘Wreck’, ‘Black Mirror’, ‘Smile’, + more!

This week’s horror news has a couple of physical releases in 4K Ultra HD, the new season of Black Mirror, and a slasher movie about a duck? All that and more in The Week in Horror!

Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror has a sixth season in production for Netflix, and Deadline dropped the scoop that Rory Culkin (Scream 4, Castle Rock, Signs) has signed on to add to a cast that already includes Zazie Beetz, Paapa Essiedu, Josh Hartnett, Aaron Paul, Kate Mara, Danny Ramirez, Clara Rugaard, Auden Thornton and Anjana Vasan.

As one would expect, the exact role Culkin will be playing in the techno-horror anthology is a secret. We last saw Black Mirror in it’s 3-episode fifth season back in 2019. It premiered in 2011 and has been described as a high-tech Twilight Zone that explores the advancing and sinister influence that technology has over human life. To borrow a phrase from Daniel M. Lavery, “what if phones, but too much?”

We got the very first teaser of HBO’s The Last of Us series last night as a surprise at the end of a sizzle reel of upcoming programming! The series, which is a co-production with Sony and Naughty Dog, stars Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsay as Joel and Ellie, navigating a post-apocalyptic nightmare. Check it out here ahead of the series premiere!

BBC Three has a slasher comedy called Wreck coming this fall, which takes place on a cruise ship. In the newly-released photo from the six-episode miniseries from Chris Baugh, it sure looks like the killer is a guy in a duck costume.

Wreck stars Oscar Kennedy (“Ladhood”) as Jamie, Thaddea Graham (“The Irregulars”) as Vivian, Jack Rowan (“Noughts + Crosses”) as Danny, Harriet Webb (“I May Destroy You”) as Karen, Jodie Tyack (“The Window”) as Pippa, Louis Boyer as Sam, Anthony Rickman as Olly, Amber Grappy as Lauren, Diego Andres as Jerome, Peter Claffey as Cormac, Miya Ocego as Rosie, Warren James Dunning as Beaker, Ramanique Ahluwalia as Lily and Alice Nokes as Sophia.

In Wreck, “20-year-old new recruit, Jamie, infiltrates the 3000 strong crew in a desperate race to find his missing sister, who was working aboard the same vessel on a previous tour and vanished mid charter. Jamie is initiated into cruise life and gets a crash course on the tribes within the staff: the theatre kids, the mafias and the low-paid workers. For this overworked and underpaid crew, life below deck can be an odyssey of partying and excess… and they remain oblivious to the bloodthirsty murders taking place on board. Jamie is forced to turn detective and uncover the sinister truth.”

Wreck and it’s duck killer come to BBC Three later this fall.

Fans of the horror OG’s, the Universal Monsters will be happy to know that four more of the Icons of Horror Collection are set for release. The first series of films in the collection featured Dracula, Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, and The Wolf Man from 1931-1941. This new four-film selection will include The Mummy, The Bride of Frankenstein, Phantom of the Opera, and Creature from the Black Lagoon, all in 4K Ultra HD for the first time.

This collection is set to release just in time for Halloween, on October 11, 2022.

Speaking of 4K upgrades, the classic 1980 horror The Changeling will also be getting a new Ultra HD release as well, from Severin Films. This one’s supposed to drop in September.

In Peter Medak’s The Changeling, “Academy Award winner George C. Scott gives “one of his greatest performances ever” (Bloody Good Horror) as a grieving music professor tormented by a paranormal horror that includes “the best séance in horror movie history” (Newsweek). Trish Van Devere (THE HEARSE), two-time Oscar winner Melvyn Douglas (THE TENANT) and Jean Marsh (FRENZY) co-star in “one of the most terrifying horror films of all time” (DVD Beaver), now scanned in 4K from the internegative with 4½ hours of Special Features – including revealing new interviews with Medak – plus a soundtrack CD and more.”

We got our first teaser trailer for Tim Burton’s Wednesday, which hits Netflix this fall. It stars Jenna Ortega (X, Scream) as Wednesday Addams, and Luis Guzman and Catherine Zeta-Jones as her parents, Gomez and Morticia. I really dug this teaser and won’t say more about it. Just watch it!

Perhaps this one belongs in a future Black Mirror season. The hugely-popular Fall from Lionsgate and which features two women dangling precariously from a 200-foot tower is one of the most popular horror movies in theatres right now. Part of the film’s wide audience is undoubtedly due to it’s PG rating, According to Variety, this was achieved by using deepfake technology to digitally overdub the (apparently profuse) cursing by the two leads (Virginia Gardner and Grace Caroline Curry). Interestingly, the tech was developed by the film’s co-writer and director Scott Mann.

Mann said that “For a movie like this, we can’t reshoot it. We’re not a big tentpole… we don’t have the resources, we don’t have the time, more than anything else. What really saved this movie and brought it into a wider audience was technology.”

Said technology is by a company called Flawless at whom Mann is a CEO. It’s called TrueSync, an “AI-based system to provide a better dubbing solution for films translated into other languages. Employing the same principles used to create “deepfakes,” TrueSync alters the mouth movements of the actors to match the alternate dialogue being spoken (a process the startup calls “vubbing”). Mann realized the Flawless engine could also be used to clean up the F-words in his movie.”

In Fall, “best friends Becky (Currey) and Hunter (Gardner) climb an abandoned radio tower to scatter the ashes of Becky’s late husband (Gooding). But when sections of the rickety ladder break off from the dilapidated tower, Becky and Hunter are left stranded. The women’s expert climbing skills — and their friendship — are put to the ultimate test as they wage a desperate fight to survive the elements, vulture attacks and a lack of supplies to get off the tower alive.”

In some more ratings-related news, Hulu’s Hellraiser movie has earned an entirely unsurprising R rating for “strong bloody violence and graphic nudity.” Not that I’d expect anything less from Pinhead and his prickly pals. David Bruckner (The Ritual, The Night House) directs from a script by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski (SiREN, Super Dark Times, The Night House). Jamie Clayton (Sense8) plays the Hell Priest. Clive Barker’s on board as a producer too.

Finally, we got a brand new poster from the movie whose trailer is freaking people out across the nation as it plays in theatres, Smile. The movie from Parker Finn stars Sosie Bacon, Jessie T. Usher, Kyle Gallner, Robin Weigert, Caitlin Stasey, Kal Penn and Rob Morgan. It’s set for wide release on September 30th but will have it’s world premiere at Fantastic Fest.

In Smile, “After witnessing a bizarre, traumatic incident involving a patient, Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) starts experiencing frightening occurrences that she can’t explain. As an overwhelming terror begins taking over her life, Rose must confront her troubling past in order to survive and escape her horrifying new reality.”

Finally, speaking of Fantastic Fest, the sannual showcase and celebration of genre films will be taking place in Austin, Texas from September 22-29. There’s also an online version which takes place from September 29-Oct 4.

The aforementioned Smile will open the lineup, along with a celebration of legendary South Korean director Park Chan-wook, of Oldboy, Snowpiercer, and The Handmaiden as well as many other classics. His newest film, Decision To Leave will also play the festival.

Also among the selections is Ruben Ostlund’s Triangle of Sadness (the closing film), food horror The Menu, Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin, A24’s Medusa Deluxe, Jason Eisener’s Kids vs Aliens, Noah Segan’s Blood Relatives, and John Hyams Sick.

Ticket information and the full lineup can be found on the festival’s website.

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