Martin Scorsese to Develop a Gritty Joker Origin Story for DCEU

Jaw dropping reports from DC.


By Jay Hunter Whilst the DCEU has gotten off to an uneven start, the huge news coming from Deadline this morning is bound to turn heads. In a massive show of intent, the comic book extended universe is set to have legendary director, Martin Scorsese produce a Joker origin movie, with Hangover director Todd Phillips in the directors chair.

The iconic villain played by the likes of Caesar Romero, Mark Hamill, Jack Nicolson, Heath Ledger and most recently Jared Leto, will reportedly get a fresh new take. This news of course put’s the divisive Leto – who will don the clown makeup at least once more for a Harley Quinn spin off – at risk.

Whilst this further convolutes the DCEU after a number of false starts, the promise of a possible gritty, down-to-earth Joker movie in the same vein as Scorsese’s other works (Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Mean Streets) is a tantalising one. More as this story develops.

5 Things To Know About Making Horror Movies, According To The Fright Meisters

Advice to die for from the best in the business

By Jay Hunter I watch a lot of movies. Like, a lot. More specifically, I watch a lot of horror movies. The majority of my 26 years on this planet has been spent observing teenagers being decapitated, children being possessed and an ungodly amount of innocent dogs getting slaughtered. 

Because of my strange obsession, I get to write about movies, hang out with directors, and tell you what piece of subjective art is better than another piece of subjective art.

In my writing career, I’ve had the chance to do a lot of great things and a lot of not so great things. From visiting Hollywood and production sets, to watching a movie premiere at 2 in the afternoon in the basement of a club — I’m not joking, that was literally the first premiere I went to. But in the words of the Herculean Steven Spielberg:

“Every time I go to a movie, it’s magic, no matter what the movie’s about.”

However, the world of cinema isn’t always brimming with the dazzling lights of club basements. It can be a cruel, nasty business. With that in mind, instead of boring you with three-act structures, inciting incidents or character archetypes, here’s five things to know before creating your own horror movie, courtesy of the auteurs themselves.

5. Sam Raimi: Prepare To Die

In 1928, an on set disaster whilst making Warner Bro’s Noah’s Ark tragically ended the lives of three crew, since then Hollywood introduced vigorous health and safety laws. However there’s no such thing as health and safety when you’re trying to make a feature-length movie for $350,000, you’re going to need to take risks while creating said movie. Hollywood heavyweight Sam Raimi cut his teeth with numerous Super 8 films, but you’ll probably best know him for #EvilDead, the half horror, half comedy gore-fest about five friends who travel to a cabin in the woods, only to unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons.

As you would expect, the paltry budget on The Evil Dead didn’t allow for any cast affluence. What you might not know is that The Evil Dead damn near maimed, killed or blinded their cast and crew throughout the hellacious shoot.

In the film’s commentary Raimi repeatedly states, “Oh God, we were so irresponsible,” and he wasn’t joking. Among the many barbarisms the cast and crew dealt with were Raimi getting chased by a bull and being submerged in glacial marshlands. On top of that, the crew slept in near subzero conditions during the 70-day shoot while enduring countless DIY horror scenarios.

The contact lenses used for the possessed could only be worn for 15 minutes at a time, for a maximum of five times a day. Of course, being the young, invincible go-getters they were, this recommendation was ignored, resulting in the near blinding of cast member Ellen Sandweiss.

The white contact lenses worn by the cast were so thick they caused great pain and discomfort.
The white contact lenses worn by the cast were so thick they caused great pain and discomfort.

Of course, it wasn’t all bad, as Bruce Campbell blissfully recalled at a Spooky Empire event:

“The illegal substance known as marijuana was somehow forced upon us in Tennessee … I was forced to ingest this marijuana by a local reprobate and I therefore became, let’s just say, affected by THC … I therefore lost any sense of time and where I was, and that’s the time that Sam Raimi decided that he needed to shoot Ash having a breakdown.”

Whilst all of this sounds horrific, it takes us nicely on to our next lesson.

4. Jason Lei Howden: Be Resourceful

There’s nothing easy about crafting a well-made found-footage horror; it’s an incredibly difficult task. But if throwing a plate across a room or making stick figures — as in the respective Paranormal Activity or The Blair Witch Project — doesn’t wax lyrical about incredibly resourceful achievements, the real problems come when you want to create a more visual style of horror. Speaking to Jump ScareDeathgasmdirector Jason Lei Howden stated:

“Trying to achieve the ambitious script with such limited resources (is the biggest challenge). I can see why the horror market is bloated with found-footage movies and single location ghost horror. We have heaps of characters, many different locations and some extreme gore. But I’m glad I stuck to my vision. Movies like this don’t get made very often and I’m very proud of what we achieved. It was definitely time for a heavy metal and horror fusion.”

This from a man who has spent years in the industry, working on visual effects for the likes of The HobbitThe Avengers and Prometheus. So you can imagine how arduous it was for a young Tobe Hooper in 1974 to create The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

While working seven days a week, 16 hours a day in one of Texas’s infamously inhumane summer heatwaves, the Texas cast and crew were extremely limited by their micro-budget. Due to copyright issues, the soundtrack contained no music (with the exception of music they already had the rights to), forcing Hooper to get creative. The score was comprised of the sounds of a slaughterhouse. Additionally, according to actor John Larroquette, his payment for reciting the opening narration was nothing more than a marijuana joint.

Of course, CGI is often maligned by horror fans, such is the genre’s love affair with practical effects. But these days, gore can be created to a relatively high standard with easily obtainable computer software. Which brings us to today’s technological advances, meaning any kid with a Mac can be the next John Carpenter. While this might be the case…

3. David Robert Mitchell: You’ll Probably Fail. A Lot

Nearly 10,000 movies were released in 2015. That’s an average of 192 films per week. While your movie about a flesh-eating demon virus was never going to appeal to mainstream audiences, back in 1999, when we had just 470 movies throughout the whole year, you may have lucked out. The independent film industry is growing at an exponential rate, so while you might now be able to create a feature-length movie on your iPhone, remember that there’s 9,999 other people thinking the same way.

When it comes to relatively recent “luck of the draw” stories, look no further than David Robert Mitchell. The 42-year-old director struck gold on the festival circuit with his arthouse STI horror It Follows in 2014. But make no mistake, it was still a long, hard road to get there.

Moonlighting in a plethora of industry jobs — from editor for the 82nd Academy Awards, to production manager, editor and writer for short movies — Mitchell undoubtedly sussed out the inner workings of Hollywood and made great contacts before diving into his first full-length feature, The Myth of the American Sleepover. Never heard of it, right? That’s because it wasn’t until four years after that movie grossed a paltry $41,000 that It Follows was released, and Mitchell finally achieved success with his sophomore attempt.

Met with rapturous critical acclaim upon its release, It Follows is a hyper-stylistic movie that appealed to old-school horror fans, without sacrificing it’s vision of saying something about teenage culture. Your ultraviolent movie may be entertaining, but getting press attention and acclaim from mainstream critics is another topic altogether. Because above all…

2. Wes Craven: Hollywood Is A Business

If you aspire to do it the old way and get your oeuvre championed by a studio, you’re best sticking to the trends. You know the way every horror movie since 2013’s The Conjuring has been about an idilic suburban family being terrorized by Lucifer and all his buddies? That’s because it’s a safe bet in an industry increasingly terrified of taking risks.

So if you hate “Director X” for releasing “Remake 3000,” remember that it’s nothing more than a business transaction, allowing the director to get his foot in the door. In the ’90s there was glossy slashers, the early 2000s saw wave upon wave of Japanese horror. But all it takes is for another James Wan to win the Hollywood lottery, and we’ll be right back to watching people cut each other’s limbs off in order to escape a warehouse.

Remember, making a movie and getting it noticed is a big step up. So do your homework before you go jumping in. As touched upon with David Robert Mitchell, networking is key. The dichotomy of artists and businesspeople always risks an artist’s vision being compromised. How many times have you heard of studios forcing a great idea to become a hatchet job of a movie? Unfortunately, the money men have the stranglehold. As late horror legend Wes Craven put it:

“Everybody’s making horror films and, to me, not especially well. I don’t know if it’s [due to] the corporations taking over studios or what it is. But it really calls for some young filmmakers to come in and just do something from their hearts.”

Which brings us to my final point. You might be the greatest director to never be discovered if you can’t get the right people to see your movie. Unless you…

1. John Carpenter: Build A Fanbase

Horror is a curious beast. I’ve always thought of it as a cathartic genre, a classification built upon the public paying their hard-earned money to be scared or grossed out. But when the closing credits roll, they’re safe and craving more. Sure, there’s always a passive audience, but the majority of horror buffs are junkies, scrounging around cinemas and streaming sites, totally disregarding their most basic of human instincts in order to get their next hit of cruor and gore.
 As They Live director John Carpenter once said:

“What scares me is what scares you. We’re all afraid of the same things. That’s why horror is such a powerful genre. All you have to do is ask yourself what frightens you and you’ll know what frightens me.

I’m assuming if you’ve read this far, you’re a horror fan, you know horror fans, and you probably breathe horror movies. So if you already know your fanbase and what it wants, of course you have to pay attention to the finest intricacies of filmmaking, and of course you need to know how to use a camera, how to compose your shots and have an interesting hook. But if you build a fanbase, and give them what they want, chances are you’ll be off to a good start.

Famously, Friday the 13th began its life as nothing more than a name. Initially A Long Night at Camp Blood was the working title during the film’s scripting, but director Sean S. Cunningham believed in his Friday the 13th moniker and quickly rushed out to place an advertisement for it in Variety. Worried that someone else owned the rights to the title and wanting to avoid potential lawsuits, Cunningham thought it would be best to find out immediately.

He commissioned a New York advertising agency to develop his concept of the Friday the 13th logo, which consisted of big block letters bursting through a pane of glass, and studios rushed to him in order to gain rights to the movie, before he’d even finished the script. In a stroke of marketing genius, Cunningham knew the industry and made the studios a fanbase before he’d even fleshed out his film pitch. The hype for the movie was through the roof, and the rest is history.

This is perhaps the most important of the point’s I’ve made, that passion and art go hand in hand. In many ways it’s much more difficult to get a movie made today than it was in the ’70s. Be buccaneering and remember to play ball. Be inventive and take note of the trends. But above all, pick up a camera and start filming. I’ll be here to nitpick it for you afterward.

What are your thoughts on the state of modern horror movies? Sound off in the comments section below.

Source – Movie Pilot

47 Metres Down – Review

In The Deep is the tenth feature film from director, Johannes Roberts and it is most certainly his best. Previous films such as The Other Side Of The Door and Storage 24 never cemented his place in the horror genre, but In The Deep will do just that.

In The Deep is the tenth feature film from director, Johannes Roberts and it is most certainly his best. Previous films such as The Other Side Of The Door and Storage 24 never cemented his place in the horror genre, but In The Deep will do just that.

By Dean Cox – The movie follows Lisa (Claire Holt) and Kate (Mandy Moore), who whilst on holiday in Mexico meet two local men. After a night of drinking the men offer them a chance of a lifetime, to dive with Great White Sharks. The girls have their suspicions but never the less agree to join the men the following morning. Once arriving at the dock to board the boat, they become worried about the condition of the equipment but are assured everything is fine and they are in safe hands. Of course this is not the case, after being lowered 5 meters into the water the chains holding the cage suddenly break, leaving the girls to plummet 47 metres down to the ocean bed, surrounded by Great White’s.

Whilst the movie does fails to hit the notes of more accomplished horror movies. Jump scares are used so repetitively you’d be forgiven for thinking the director wanted to just see if you’re still paying attention. The movie tends to deliver where many other animal movies fall short. Suspense and tension are here in spades and the plot device of Lisa and Kate’s oxygen running low, gives the movie an injection of urgency.

The lighting, dialogue and sound are all used well to create a tense and claustrophobic atmosphere which should keep viewers engaged throughout it’s lean runtime. The film marks the release of this Summers second shark thriller, along with The Shallows, and for my money In The Deep the more superior of the two.

If respectable shark movies continue to be pumped out, can it be long before Hollywood smell blood in the water and release a Jaws remake?

Baby Driver – Review

A joy ride down a pothole laden hill

By Jay Hunter Part nostalgic-heist film, part operatic rock-musical, Baby Driver is writer/director Edgar Wright’s fifth outing on the big screen. Telling the story of Baby (Ansel Elgort) – who has become a lucky charm getaway driver for kingpin Doc (Kevin Spacey) – he must repay debt to the Atlanta crime lord in a series of bank heists to the tune of his iPod playlists as they drown out his tinnitus from a childhood accident.

Opening with a pedal to the metal car-chase sequence, soundtracked to Bellbottoms by The Jon Spencer’s Blues Explosion, it becomes clear that the meticulously chosen soundtrack is not just central to the film, but also the engine that drives it’s entire narrative. Throughout the film there are scenes that harken back not just to classic heist films, but musicals as well, with well thought out choreography, lip-syncing and colours.


As Doc fills his heist teams (never exactly the same) with psychotic star power, including Jon Bernthal, Jon Hamm & Jamie Foxx, it becomes evident that Baby doesn’t belong in this world. Tender scenes in which we learn of Baby’s mother and his touching relationship with his adoptive father add depth – albeit generic – to his character. Problems arrive however when we are introduced to Deborah, a waitress who walks into Baby’s life singing B-A-B-Y by Carla Thomas. A deliberate blank slate in which our main character projects his dreams and memories of his mother, whether or not this is a deliberate paper thin caricature from Wright is unclear, however when love interests start spouting lines like “It’s not really about me”, it’s hard not to feel aggrieved with female portrayal in this world.

Thankfully bland characters and script choices are counterbalanced with the ever brilliant Spacey, who’s one liners “He put’s the Asian in home invasion” inject much needed comedy in the largely straight Baby Driver. As ever, Wright includes smart editing choices that carry the story along in a cool slick manner, helped by what will no doubt be the soundtrack of the summer.

Baby Driver


Support RedShirt Films First Feature ‘The Book Club’

Think Great British Bake Off meets The Purge.

The Book Club is the first feature length film from British independent film company RedShirt Films, which focuses on six months in the lives of a community of murderers and all round terrible human beings. It’s an ambitious project stuffed with classic horror practical effects and terrible, horrible people. This film is being funded through an all or nothing Kickstarter campaign that runs until June 28th and through great levels of planning and clever design we can fund the entire production on the relatively small budget of £25,000. The Kickstarter is full to the brim with great perks and rewards, such as the opportunity to have head and body casts done for practical special effects, set visits, secret message groups, premiere tickets and of course digital rewards such as the score and access to an online screener of the film once complete.

The Book Club Header Redshirt Films

That said, don’t think for a moment that this is a small scale production. RedShirt Films have just cast star of Primeval, Alice and Lucky Man, Andrew Lee Potts and are in conversation with several other actors from the world of British TV and Film.

Writer and director Jamie McKeller was raised on a healthy diet of Evil Dead, Bad Taste and other such sticky delights so audiences can expect nothing but the finest in disgraceful special effects and comedy splatter filled violence, as previously seen in his award winning webseries I Am Tim Helsing and short film The Final Girl, which was praised by acclaimed horror director Eli Roth.

If successful, the project will commence filming in July 2017, with a completion date of February 2018. The film will then be submitted into horror festivals and events across the world, such as Frightfest, Screamfest, Dead by Dawn and The British Horror Film Festival with the ultimate goal of seeking distribution, both physical and online.

You can follow the project here


The Weeks Biggest Trailers

Hero’s, losers and Blade Runners all feature in the weeks biggest trailers

By Jay Hunter This week saw some of the biggest movies of the year receive second trailers. If you’re yet to catch up, you can see all of them in one place below.


Christopher Nolan’s tenth full length movie has all the makings of a possible Oscar win for the celebrated director – however it’s release date remains a caveat for picking up the golden statue at next years Academy Awards. Starring Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy and Harry Styles, Dunkirk will document the story of allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire, Canada, and France who were surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.
Release date – 21st July


The long gestating big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s classic is nearly here. Starring Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Lieberher and Stranger Things Finn Wolfhard the movie will follow members of The Losers Club in the American town of Derry. The kids unite to try and defeat the entity known only as IT, who takes the form of Pennywise the clown and other nightmares.
Release date – 8th September

Blade Runner 2049

Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.
Release date – 6th October

Alien: Covenant – Review

Scott’s attempts to recapture the horror of his 1979 classic totally miss the mark.

By Jay Hunter After the alienating reaction to Prometheus, Ridley Scott returns with the movie monster that made him famous and buckets of gore, if nothing else. In the year 2109, the crew of USCSS Covenant, sidetracked from their colonisation mission answer a rogue transmission from a seemingly sustainable planet. When the crew discover David (Michael Fassbender), a survivor of the ill-fated Prometheus mission, terror ensues.

Marking Scott’s third return to the Alien franchise, Covenant breaches in classic fashion as the title slowly materialise in deep space scored by Jerry Goldsmiths eerie score. It’s an opening that clearly proves Scott heard the fan-backlash from the much more philosophical Prometheus, but Covenant goes in a direction that feels forceful for Scott. Clearly he does not want to let go of his previous – evolved – artistic vision as he haphazardly throws buckets of gore at the screen in hope of pleasing fans of the original.

Much like it’s predecessor, Covenant has heavy-handed ‘profound’ messages a plenty. Images of Wagner’s Entry of the Gods into Valhalla come off as clumsy and Scott’s attempts to recapture the horror of his 1979 classic totally miss the mark, as the attempts have more in common with a slasher film than a claustrophobic juggernaut of horror. It’s a worry that audiences have voiced since the shower scene was first aired on a trailer many months ago, unfortunately it’s a totally warranted concern.

Where Covenant does succeed, is in universe building. All your favourite Alien tropes are back: an altercation over quarantine, eggs, facehuggers, chesterbursters, xenomorphs, MOTHER, flashing lights and corridor runs are all back. But there are twists to the DNA, with new-morph creatures proving that there is plenty of room for expansion in the franchise.

Scott has gone on record to say that he has plans for a further six Alien movies and whilst he would serve well as an advisor, it’s clearly time to give the franchise to a new director who could inject some fresh ideas. Can we give David Fincher another pop?