Danny Elfman Special To Air on PBS

Danny Elfman - Music for a Darkened Theatre

Now this is cool — The Hollywood Reporter reports that PBS will air a special this October 30th tentatively titled Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton. The concert will feature select pieces from Elfman’s Burton-related discography performed by a symphony orchestra. The conductor will be John Mauceri, who has worked with Elfman before on live performances of this material. The concert will be interspersed with film clips as well as art by Burton, and Elfman will (of course but thankfully) provide vocals for his Nightmare Before Christmas songs. The performance will also include selections from Batman, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, and I presume some his other scores as well (come on, Sleepy Hollow).

I remember when this material was performed in Los Angeles; I wanted to go, but time, money, and travel prohibited it (doesn’t it always?). Watching it on TV won’t have the same effect as a live performance, but it will be a lot cheaper.

October 30, 9 PM. Keep a look out for it.

“Nosferatu” Scheduled To Rise Again

Nosferatu

Shock Till You Drop is reporting that Studio 8 is developing a new version of uber-classic Nosferatu. Robert Eggers, whose film The Witch has garnered a lot of buzz, is slated to direct. I haven’t had the opportunity to see The Witch, but everything I’ve heard about it sounds great. So great, in fact, that his presence is off-setting the groans about there being another Nosferatu remake.

This is actually the second remake of Nosferatu in development. Director David Lee Fisher is at work on his take on the material, starring genuinely nice guy Doug Jones as the vampire.  You can read about the production of that version on Lee’s blog at TheVampireLives.com. Of course, there’s also Werner Herzog’s celebrated 1979 version, as well as E. Elias Merhige’s Shadow of the Vampire which fictionalized the filming of the original.

Here’s hoping for the best for both upcoming projects. Either way, I bet more people will continue to bitch about Twilight instead of acknowledging that vampire horror is still being made.

“Banshee Blacktop” looks like a moving Simon Marsden photograph

I just read about the upcoming film Banshee Blacktop: An Irish Ghost Story over at Rue Morgue’s website, and this is exactly the kind of trailer that I want to share with our readers.

Written and directed by Sean Garland, the film’s website describes Banshee Blacktop as “a supernatural folk tale inspired by the celebrated Irish ghost stories of Sheridan LeFanu and W.B. Yeats.” Jack Clayton’s The Innocents, Charles Laughton’s Night of The Hunter, and Peter Weir’s Picnic At Hanging Rock are mentioned as cinematic influences. Rue Morgue notes that the cinematography is reminiscent of the late, great Simon Marsden’s iconic photography… and I can’t say I disagree.

TL;DR LeFanu inspired ghost movie that resembles a moving Simon Marsden photograph. If you aren’t intrigued, you are probably reading the wrong blog.

Website: Banshee Blacktop: An irish Ghost Story

RE: Tim Burton

Burton inflatable sculpture

Me outside the Tim Burton exhibit at LACMA

When I posted that entry about the upcoming film adaptation of Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children yesterday, I made the caveat that I wasn’t certain if it was relevant to dreadpunk.com’s scope. Less than a day later, that brief post has become the most viewed entry on this blog ever. So I guess there’s my answer.

I have a complicated relationship with Tim Burton’s work. From the 1990’s through 2011, I was all-in when it came to Burton’s imagination. When I visited California in 2011, a friend and I went to the Tim Burton art exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (that photo above is me standing beside an inflatable sculpture outside). I have a small library of books devoted to Burton’s career.

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Tim Burton’s “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children”

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Tim Burton’s Facebook page released a “title treatment” yesterday for the film adaptation of Ransom Riggs’ novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I’m not sure how relevant it is for this blog since I haven’t read the book, but Dreadpunk Goddess Eva Green stars in the lead role and that imagery above looks right on the money.

The wild card in this is Tim Burton. A few years ago, before Dark Shadows, I would have been unreservedly excited about this. Now, I am cautious… optimistic, but cautious. The guy did direct Sleepy Hollow and Sweeney Todd, after all, and this isn’t a story that has been filmed before. So we’ll see.

Fun fact: longtime Friend of Derek Stephen Segal was an editor on Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children during his Quirk days.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is currently scheduled to be released in the US on March 4, 2016.

Image source: Tim Burton – Official Page

Mystery: Horror’s Blood Brother

Anatomy of Evil

To cover or not to cover? I’m considering expanding this blog into the world of 19th century mysteries. I’m not talking about the genteel “cozies,” but the books that promise a gritter or more macabre aesthetic. Basically, the kind of books that might appeal to  fans of the horror and dark fantasy works that I am already discussing on this blog.

The cover above was what inspired me to look beyond strictly horror and fantasy for subject material. I haven’t read a mystery novel in a long time, but that’s an eye-catching cover that encapsulates a lot of the dreadpunk “vibe.”

Will Thomas is only one of many authors mining this “period thriller” territory. I’ve meant to check out Louis Bayard’s work for years; his novel The Pale Blue Eye is part of the cottage industry of “Edgar Allan Poe as detective” novels. Harold Schechter wrote a few novels on that particular theme as well. Poe’s DNA runs so strongly through dreadpunk that works featuring him as a lead character get grandfathered in on general principle.

A friend of mine calls mystery a blood brother to horror, and I think that’s really apt. What do you all think?

F.W. Murnau’s Head Reportedly Stolen

F.W. MurnauAccording to Variety, German news outlets are reporting that grave robbers broke into Friedrich Wilhelm “F. W.” Murnau’s coffin and stole his head. The iconic German director died in 1931 and his body was interred in Stahnsdorf, Germany.

Murnau is best-known for directing the original Nosferatu, a movie that really needs no introduction. If you haven’t seen it, stop looking at the internet and go watch it. John Malkovich played Murnau in Shadow of the Vampire, a fictionalized retelling of Nosferatu‘s filming.

Wax residue found near Murnau’s grave has led some to speculate that the grave robbers had occult motives. What’s interesting to me is that this would hardly be Murnau’s first brush with esoteric practices. One of Nosferatu‘s producers, Albin Grau, was a student of the occult who slipped hermetic motifs into some of the film’s production design. Even the studio that produced the movie, Prana Film, was started in order to make mystic-themed films. Do I think there’s a connection here? No, not really, but I found that detail about the desecration more than a little odd.

This whole incident sounds comically ghoulish until you realize that this was a real person whose grave has reportedly been desecrated. Nobody deserves that.

“Crimson Peak” Cornucopia

Crimson Peak logo

Lots of stuff to mention about director Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak today. First of all, TIME magazine has a great interview with del Toro titled, “Guillermo del Toro on Strong Women, ‘Punk’ Gothic Novels and Crimson Peak’s Haunted House.” I don’t think I have to explain why seeing the term “‘Punk’ Gothic Novels” grabbed my attention, and while realistically I know that del Toro doesn’t know that my humble blog exists, it’s still kind of cool to read a quote like:

“That’s the thing that people keep forgetting: when the gothic romance novels first came out, they were pretty punk. They were very highly charged. They were sort of improper. They were bold and overt. For lack of a better analogy, they were like the Sex Pistols of that era.”

It’s a terrific interview, and he even clarifies his earlier “Crimson Peak is not a haunted house” comments, too. Go read it.

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I Wonder If The “Twist” Is…

Joss Whedon's Twist

In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, Joss Whedon described his upcoming Dark Horse comic as “…a Victorian thriller about a meek chambermaid who is fed to a dark horror — but instead of dying, she returns, with knowledge, power, and rage she can neither deny nor control.” EW said that a strong steampunk aesthetic is likely (no surprise), but it’s the “dark horror” element that intrigues me. This great piece of art was drawn by Julian Totino Tedesco, but he isn’t signed for the series. The logo was created by Nate Piekos.

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Clay and Susan Griffith’s “Crown & Key”

Crown & Key - The Shadow RevolutionI finally picked up Clay and Susan Griffith’s The Shadow Revolution the other day. It’s the first book in the Crown & Key series, and the second book, The Undying Legion, just came out. A third book, The Conquering Dark, is due later this month. The Griffith’s have also written a series titled Vampire Empire that my friend Carol from over at Bitten By Books has recommended to me several times.

Crown & Key is described as “A thrilling new Victorian-era urban fantasy for fans of Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles, the Showtime series Penny Dreadful, and the Sherlock Holmes movies featuring Robert Downey, Jr.” That totally works for me — I haven’t read Hearne’s work, but obviously I love Penny Dreadful and I liked the two RDJ Holmes flicks. This series appears to have steampunk aspects, if you like that element.

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