Frequent theater-goer and film reviewer Gary DeWaard recognizes that nostalgia culture and Hollywood remakes are all the rage today. As for holiday horror movies, DeWaard believes the latest reboot of Black Christmas will be a definite crowd pleaser––at least for devoted horror fans.
In recent years, Gary DeWaard has witnessed how the holidays have transformed into a festive time for horror movies, with many getting theatrical releases between Thanksgiving and the New Year. As a fan of the horror film industry, he welcomes terrifying new spins on traditional holiday tales, though he admits not all seem to get off the ground during their initial releases.
“Many holiday horror movies tank at the box office while only a handful of others go down in the books as new classics that are to be enjoyed each year like a tradition,” says Gary DeWaard. “For instance, Black Christmas is a beloved holiday horror film that has been gathering a cult following since it first came out in the 70s. And here we are about to enjoy a new rendition of the film nearly half a century later.”
Movies like Krampus, which made four times its budget at the box office, prove to bring horror fans out to the movies during the holidays. Other attempts like Anna and the Apocalypse and Better Watch Out find more success later in home release sales and during TV appearances. The Black Christmas franchise to date has earned itself tens of millions of dollars in ticket sales alone, so fans like Gary DeWaard anticipate the latest reboot will find similar success this year.
Directed by Sophia Takal (All the Light in the Sky, Supporting Characters), the latest remake stays true to its slasher origins though it’s only ‘loosely based’ on the original film. The story follows a group of sorority sisters who become targeted by an unknown stalker while staying in their sorority house through the holidays. The film stars Imogen Poots, Aleyse Shannon, Lily Donoghue, Brittany O’Grady, Caleb Eberhardt, Simon Mead and Cary Elwes.
The filming was overseen by producers at Blumhouse Productions who today is considered by many to be the ultimate horror production house in operation. The studio has produced such landmark horror films in recent years as Get Out, Halloween, Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Sinister, The Purge, Oculus, The Visit and many others.
Black Christmas was also created in partnership with Adam Hendricks from the studio Divide/Conquer, and Ben Cosgrove. Greg Gilreath and Zac Locke, also from Divide/Conquer, served as executive producers for the film.
“There are a lot of great professionals with plenty of experience in the horror industry holding onto the reins of this franchise,” says Gary DeWaard. “I think audiences will be pleasantly surprised with this rendition, especially seeing how the sorority girls aren’t content being helpless victims this time around.”
Film critic Gary DeWaard keeps up with the latest Hollywood news to inform his audience of upcoming films worth checking out in theaters and the buzzworthy talk surrounding them. Below, he helps readers understand what to expect from Ghost House Pictures’ reboot of the widely-popular Japanese horror film franchise The Grudge next year.
Gary DeWaard is a film industry fanatic––especially of horror films from producers like Blumhouse Pictures and A24. After years of industry rumors of a potential reboot of the Japanese horror film franchise The Grudge, Ghost House Pictures released the first trailer for their latest installment just a few weeks ago to wide acclaim.
Already, films of the franchise are buzzing about the bold new direction Sam Raimi and partner producers have taken on the project and laud the film for its style and casting. Gary DeWaard has followed the franchise closely ever since talks of a reboot began nearly ten years back.
“There has been talk about which company will pick up the franchise and reimagine it for future generations as far back as 2010, but discussions only became more serious around 2014,” says Gary DeWaard. “A script was developed and reworked again and again before being scrapped altogether for a new direction. And from the trailer alone, it looks like the film finally landed with the right people.”
The franchise began in 2000 when director Takashi Shimizu released his horrifying vision of a domestic murder that reflected onto local residents through the ghosts of its victims. This film, Ju-On: the Curse, spawned the franchise though it was only a limited-release movie running just over an hour long. Gary DeWaard tells us that Shimizu followed up with Ju-On: the Grudge in 2002, which took the franchise to new heights and introduced his films to an international audience.
Just two years later, Shimizu teamed up with Hollywood producers to recreate his film for America. He cast Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I Know What You Did Last Summer) to helm the cast of his 2004 film and encountered huge success with horror fans. He completed a sequel a couple of years later before leaving the American franchise, though a third installment was later created and released straight to DVD.
“The 2020 reboot of The Grudge was directed by Nicolas Pesce and produced by Sam Raimi, though the team has been very careful to stay true to Shimizu’s original vision,” says Gary DeWaard. “It’s supposedly a much darker and grittier version of the film with similar plot events, and we’ve recently learned that it will take place around the same time––if not at the exact same moments––of the events of the 2004 film.”
The Grudge will follow the life of a single mother and young detective who discovers a suburban house that’s cursed by the infamous vengeful ghost of the franchise. The film is set to release on January 3, 2020.
Film fanatic Gary DeWaard has helped online readers learn about new and upcoming theatrical releases for years, and provides insightful reviews of films to help them determine which are worth spending their money on. Here, he reviews the anticipated sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s monumental 1980 film The Shining, the Stephen King penned Doctor Sleep
Since taking on work as a film critic, Gary DeWaard has helped thousands of online readers learn about new and upcoming theatrical releases to determine which are worth audiences’ time and money. While he has a passion for all film, he’s especially drawn to the horror genre, which is seeing a large resurgence in popularity in the last few years.
Recently, Gary DeWaard was invited to a prescreening of Mike Flanagan’s film Doctor Sleep, the highly-anticipated sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining that was released nearly forty years ago.
“Something I can say for certain is that fans of the previous film and of any of Stephen King’s stories will not be disappointed with Flanagan’s movie,” says Gary DeWaard. “It packs in plenty of Easter eggs from The Shining while spinning a new and entirely unique tale that chills to the bone.”
Doctor Sleep was penned by Stephen King and published in 2013 to much praise. Gary DeWaard tells us that Warner Bros. Pictures began to develop a film adaptation of the book shortly after it was published, some sources saying even as early as 2014. In 2016, writer-producer Akiva Goldsman announced that he would write and produce the film for Warner Bros., but things began to fall through when the company couldn’t settle on an initial budget to produce the film. For years, they debated on the price tag of Doctor Sleep and a planned prequel to The Shining called Overlook Hotel (which fell through in the end).
“Things started to turn around in the film’s favor after the landmark success of the latest adaptation of Stephen King’s novel It,” Gary DeWaard tells us. “The movie performed phenomenally at the box office, which inevitably put Doctor Sleep on a production fast track.”
Warner Bros. then hired director Mike Flanagan in January 2018 to rewrite the script that had been created and eventually direct the film. Flanagan told news agencies that he was interested in directing Doctor Sleep because “it touches on themes that are the most attractive to me, which are childhood trauma leading into adulthood, addiction, the breakdown of a family, and the after effects, decades later.”
Gary DeWaard names Doctor Sleep as his favorite King adaptation since Kubrick’s work on the prequel.
“The movie is a must-see for horror fans, as it takes audiences not only back to the Overlook Hotel in all its glory, but also resurrects some of the scariest elements of Kubrick’s film,” says Gary DeWaard. “The story is twisted and never feels boring or too stuffed with drama and emotion, something many films can’t get away from these days. It’s full of talented performances and incredible graphics without seeming too cheesy or over-the-top like some other Stephen King movies. All in all, I believe it’s bound to be another box office win for Warner Bros., and a powerful new entry into the horror genre that spooks as much as it surprises.”
Doctor Sleep hit theaters November 7th.
Film fanatic and critic Gary DeWaard keeps readers connected with trending Hollywood news and upcoming or current releases worth seeing in theaters. Here, he shares his opinion of the much-anticipated sequel to Ruben Fleischer’s 2009 film Zombieland in theaters today.
The zombie craze is slowly dying out, but franchises like The Walking Dead and Zombieland continue to find new ways to breathe life into the genre. Gary DeWaard recently sat down to watch Zombieland 2: Double Tap, and he shares what he thought of the sequel with readers below.
“Fans of the first movie won’t be disappointed since all the same actors are back from the original and the styling (as far as action and comedy go) are essentially the same,” says Gary DeWaard. “In this one, though, the creators brought in a lot of big-name actors to expand the story and flesh out the apocalyptic world they inhabit.”
In the original film, the story focused on the four protagonists as they survived hordes of zombies, with a surprise cameo by Bill Murray. This time, Murray makes it into an extended scene during the credits, but the original cast has expanded to include many new faces (to the franchise). Zombieland 2: Double Tap stars Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Zoey Deutch, Avan Jogia, Rosario Dawson, Luke Wilson, and Thomas Middleditch to name a few.
“It’s been ten years since the last Zombieland film hit theaters, and the story in the sequel plays into this with ten years passing since we last left the gang,” says Gary DeWaard. “Everyone’s grown a bit, but they’re still the same loveable, optimistic survivors making the most of the end of the world.”
One of the main focuses of the sequel is on personal relationships as the group struggles with the peaceful existence they’ve created while crashing at the abandoned White House. Abigail Breslin’s character Little Rock, who’s finally coming of age, is struggling with not having friends her own age around, and especially a boyfriend. Emma stone’s character Wichita worries over a proposal and the two women decide to split from the guys, which launches a plot that explores plenty of new locations and characters across the country.
“There’s definitely more drama in this film than in the first, which may throw some people, but the creators have done a pretty great job at balancing it out with new sources of comedy,” says Gary DeWaard. “For instance, Zoey Deutch’s character Madison hangs around the group like a mosquito without having much to offer in terms of survival––but somehow, she keeps escaping danger and showing up. It’s a riot. Overall, it keeps true to the original film while infusing it with enough creativity and solid humor that it doesn’t feel like a repeat effort.”
Zombieland 2: Double Tap is directed by Ruben Fleischer, and is in theaters today with a runtime of just an hour and a half.
Film critic Gary DeWaard shares insightful reviews of trending movies to inform his online readers of what’s worth seeing during theatrical runs. Below, he shares his thoughts on the latest rendition of Charles Addams’ beloved dark comedy The Addams Family.
Gary DeWaard is often invited to screen movies early on and share his thoughts with readers to help them determine which films to see while in theaters. Recently, he screened the family cartoon film The Addams Family and reported on the latest installment to the decades-old franchise.
“In short, it’s a film that is certainly worth taking the whole family to see, and it provides a nice change from the bright and overly-optimistic tones of family films today,” says Gary DeWaard. “However, it may not meet all the expectations for die-hard Addams Family fans if only because the characters don’t really perform outside of the box that was created in the 30s and 40s.”
The animation project was headed by MGM and is directed by the same pair behind the raunchy computer animated film Sausage Party from 2016. But Gary DeWaard says that shouldn’t scare off any parents; the Addams Family is quirky and filled with dark comedy, but it is first and foremost a family film. The star-studded cast includes some of the biggest names in Hollywood today: Oscar Isaac as Gomez Addams; Charlize Theron as Morticia; Chloe Grace Moretz as Wednesday; Bette Midler as Grandma; Snoop Dogg as Cousin It; Catherine O’Hara as Grandma Frump, and other top actors like Finn Wolfhard, Allison Janney, and Martin Short.
In the film, the immediate Addams Family members are busy preparing for Pugsley’s 13th birthday party, which is a landmark occasion in the family and is celebrated with a reunion at the famous mansion. Meanwhile, the family is running into trouble with locals from the nearby town, headed by TV personality Margaux Needler who is hoping to remodel their family mansion so she can sell more houses in the neighborhood.
“It retains a lot of the iconic creepiness and characterizations of the old stories, but overall the film fails to give any of the individuals in the story anything really new to run with,” says Gary DeWaard. “The result kind of feels like an homage to the original comics and stories––with extreme CGI likenesses of the initial character designs––that is lacking a bit of new development. To me, all the characters feel like odes to their older selves instead of refreshing and fitting for the times.”
While Gary DeWaard doesn’t feel the film lived up to his own personal expectations, he does recommend giving it a try with your family in theaters this Halloween season. The Addams Family hit theaters on October 11th and has a runtime at just under an hour and a half.
Film fanatic Gary DeWaard stays up-to-date with trending Hollywood news and keeps his online readers well-informed of exciting and upcoming releases. Below, he reports on the landmark success director Andrés Muschietti achieved through his remake of It, and the recent success of its sequel, in theaters now.
The original miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s It connected television audiences with the infamous killer clown Pennywise during a three-hour production in 1990. While film aficionado Gary DeWaard has a soft spot for the original production, he marvels at how Andrés Muschietti successfully shared the horrific tale of Pennywise with an international audience and broadcasted Stephen King’s story like never before.
“The two films from Andrés Muschietti have already grossed more than a billion dollars between them, and the sequel is still in theaters,” says Gary DeWaard. “While he was given a much bigger budget than most horror films get––something like a hundred million dollars for both movies––the success of these films have exceeded even some Marvel films. I think the wide appeal comes mainly from Muschietti’s artsy, creative stylings.”
In the original miniseries featuring Tim Curry as the infamous clown, the practical effects were minimal, which helped capture an element of reality for the viewer. In the Muschietti films, however, the large budget made way for an epic spectacle for the eyes that’s full of abstract imagery and intense color.
“I think it’s safe to say Muschietti took the wide success of the first film and justified an even more grand depiction of the events in It: Chapter Two,” says Gary DeWaard. “The sequel looks like something on par with a Peter Jackson film and flexes all the high-quality computer graphics the budget could afford.”
Andrés Muschietti took the themes of nightmares and dreamlike elements to heart and delivered a truly unique experience for theater audiences. In addition to the abstract visuals and horrific monster effects, he invested a chunk of his budget into massive and detailed sets that transformed the small-town vibe of the original film into an epic otherworldly adventure.
In It: Chapter 2, the Losers return to their home town to battle the returned evil clown and face all the new terrors it creates for them. They venture deep into his home in the sewers and encounter its alien origins with plenty of trippy supporting visuals throughout.
“It’s a powerful film that ranges in effect from drama and romance to comedy and adventure in addition to all the expected horror,” Gary DeWaard says. “It’s a fun ride for audiences, and the nearly three-hour runtime is buried in an exciting tale with lots of highs and lows to keep audience members on the edge of their seats.”
It: Chapter 2 premiered at the beginning of September and has already amassed more than $400 million.
Film aficionado Gary DeWaard covers a range of movies in his online reviews and blurbs but especially focuses on independent productions with limited releases in America. Below, he explains how a Naples resident scored an LA production chronicling his adventures as a creepy clown who’s paid to scare children in Florida.
Gary DeWaard is a big fan of the horror film genre, so when he heard the news that Wrinkles the Clown was getting a theatrical release later this fall, he started researching.
“The story about Wrinkles is unlike anything you’ve ever heard of before,” says Gary DeWaard. “Wrinkles made a few headlines a few years back, but it’s not until earlier this year that the press really started talking up the documentary about him. And now, the movie has a release date set for next month in a limited amount of theaters.”
Wrinkles is unlike the clowns you’d normally hire for your kids’ birthday parties: he sports a polka dot onesie, black rubber gloves, and a grotesque mask with elaborate features, but he does carry around a bunch of colorful balloons wherever he goes. He has a slight paunch and a habit of staring, fueling nightmares in his home town of Naples, Florida.
In 2015, the Washington Post interviewed Wrinkles the Clown (who refused to share his true name with the press) and claimed to be a 65-year-old veteran who made the move to Naples a few years back. He told the interviewer he moved south to escape the cold New England winters and to settle into a more relaxed life, but that retirement quickly became too boring. He purchased a clown mask online and created business cards and stickers with his phone number so locals could hire him for events, claiming to finally indulge in a life-long appreciation for clowning.
Wrinkles told the Washington Post that he is available for hire to show up at parties and gatherings or to prank your friends. Eventually, he expanded his services to scaring misbehaving kids straight, which quickly got people’s attention.
“Parents were actually paying him to scare their kids when behaving badly, which seemed to work out for a lot of them,” says Gary DeWaard. “He became a local legend––kind of like the Boogeyman––and was used as a threat against bad kids.”
Video clips of his scares began showing up online and attracting a lot of attention in 2015. A Kickstarter was formed in 2016 by Naples filmmaker Cary Longchamps who was trying to raise $45,000 for a documentary movie about the clown’s adventures, but the campaign ended with less than $4,000 in pledges.
However, Wrinkles caught the eyes of Hollywood filmmakers, which was made apparent earlier this year when news was released of an upcoming documentary about the clown. Just last month, Variety reported that Magnet Releasing, a subsidiary of Magnolia Pictures specializing in foreign and genre films, had purchased the rights to the clown documentary.
“Wrinkles is finally getting his theatrical release, and audiences will get to see first-hand how the clown interacts with the people of Naples and what crazy appearances he’s been paid to make around town,” says Gary DeWaard.
The documentary, entitled Wrinkles the Clown, is scheduled for a limited release in the United States on October 4, 2019.
Gary DeWaard is an avid moviegoer and film critic who shares personal reviews and trending news on upcoming releases and entertainment with his online audience. In anticipation of Rian Johnson’s latest directorial project, DeWaard discusses the star-studded film Knives Out below, which is set to release later this fall from Lionsgate.
For years, Gary DeWaard has worked in the entertainment industry where he’s served in a number of creative roles including taking on the position of manager for a production studio. In his professional career, he’s launched music-streaming services and produced a large-scale stadium concert. He’s been called a creative innovator who represents a forward-thinking, entrepreneurial spirit, and he has become a connoisseur on all things entertainment over time.
He’s always been an avid fan of film and today keeps up with industry news to share with his online readers. In anticipation of Rian Johnson’s Upcoming Film Knives Out, Gary DeWaard discusses why the film is making big headlines and what people should know before they see the film.
“Knives Out revives the murder-mystery franchise with one of the most solid and impressive casts ever to appear in the genre,” says Gary DeWaard. “Besides fulfilling the must-haves for a quintessential mystery film, director Rian Johnson has packed his movie with comedy, action, and true-to-life drama.”
Rian Johnson is best known for creating iconic Hollywood films like The Brothers Bloom (2008), Looper (2012), and last year’s second Star Wars installment, The Last Jedi. This will be his first film since helming the internationally-popular Star Wars franchise, and people are expecting his work to reinvigorate the murder-mystery genre. Besides directing it, he also wrote the script for the film.
A lot of the talk around Knives Out is due to it having one of the most impressive ensemble casts in years. The film stars Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, and Christopher Plummer.
It has been described as a modern take on the whodunit murder mystery, following the family of a famous mystery writer gather at his mansion to honor the family patriarch’s death, which then leads a master detective to investigate the culprit among them.
“Few films today–even superhero summer blockbusters–carry all the fun and exciting aspects that Johnson has crammed into his murder-mystery tale,” says Gary DeWaard. “It’s an unusual project for the director who seems to appreciate action and epic-scale stories more than anything. However, I think these elements will suit Knives Out well, and will help reel in audiences who normally wouldn’t see this type of film on their own.”
The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2019 and is scheduled to be theatrically released in the United States on November 27, 2019, by Lionsgate.
Entertainment professional and film aficionado Gary DeWaard shares insight into production studio news with online readers and details of movies-in-the-works. Here, he helps readers understand the hype around A24’s wide release of Robert Eggers’ film The Lighthouse later this fall.
“Few independent film production studios have made as much noise in the last few years as A24 has, and they’ve gained a reputation for being a horror movie powerhouse,” says Gary DeWaard.
While A24 isn’t strictly a horror movie studio––they’re the producers behind award-winning Lady Bird from 2017––they have contributed over a dozen buzz-worthy films to the horror industry since 2016 alone.
Next up on their list of genre-bending horror features is Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe.
“Robert Eggers is fairly new to Hollywood, he’s only made one other feature film,” says Gary DeWaard. “However, his first movie The Witch is still one of the most talked about horror films of the decade.”
In The Witch, Robert Eggers painted a bleak picture of family life in New England during the 17th century. The film is grounded in harsh realism and a lingering sense of dread as an isolated family encounters a tribe of witches deep in their woods. While serving as a respected period piece, Eggers’ film was most praised for its true-to-life portrait of an unraveling family facing the elements and its depiction of old-world evil.
His second movie, The Lighthouse, is set to release this October and takes a far departure from the stylings and choices Eggers made in The Witch.
“Everything is different in The Lighthouse,” says Gary DeWaard. “The movie is shot entirely in black-and-white film, giving a whole new feel to the approach on horror. The camera angles are different, the lenses are different, and the Lovecraftian themes running through it are starkly different from the creepiness and mythology of Colonial New England.”
In The Lighthouse, a pair of lighthouse keepers weather harsh storms atop their rocky perch overlooking the ocean. Over the course of the film, each of the men are faced with solitude and the loss of sanity, and they’re threatened by dark and mysterious forces surrounding the lighthouse.
It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 19, 2019 where it received critical acclaim. Eggers was highly praised for his direction and his choice of technical aspects as were Dafoe and Pattinson for their performances.
“With as much talk surrounding the follow up to The Witch, this isn’t going to be one of those films that slides under the radar,” says Gary DeWaard. “Without anyone seeing it, the film is already expected to shake up the horror industry and possibly nab a few awards when the season rolls around.”
A24 has scheduled to release The Lighthouse on October 18th.
One of the most beloved superheroes of all time, Spider-Man has helped move studios gross billions of dollars in recent years, especially during the character’s latest run in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Gary DeWaard explains why the character is again in the media and what the disagreement over studio ownership means for fans.
A big fan of the latest wave of superhero films, Gary DeWaard tracks the progress of upcoming movies, stays current on casting and crew roles, and keeps readers informed of any emerging obstacles. Recently, DeWaard has followed the subject of Spider-Man closely in the media after the huge success of Far From Home and the subsequent battle over film rights to the character.
“Spider-Man is one of those age-old superhero characters that everyone knew growing up either from comic books, cartoon TV shows, or films like Sam Raimi’s trilogy,” says Gary DeWaard. “The problem is that Spider-Man is clearly a Marvel product since he came from the Marvel comic universe, but his films right have belonged to Sony Studios for decades.”
Spider-Man first appeared in comic form in 1962 as a collaborative effort between Stan Lee and writer-artist Steve Ditko, but it took decades for him to appear in film. Sony Studios is responsible for the three Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies (2002-2007) that brought the web-slinger to the big screen for the first time. Each of these movies was a tremendous box office success and earned hundreds of millions of dollars for Sony Studios.
In 2012, Marc Webb tried his hand at a new Spider-Man reboot with a brand-new cast and the title of the Amazing Spider-Man, focusing on less-explored villains and characters. While not as big of a hit as Raimi’s depiction, Webb’s reboot and the subsequent sequel still earned hundreds of millions of dollars for Sony once again.
“Flash forward a few years to Disney’s various mergers and the studio leasing the rights to a series of Spider-Man appearances in their MCU films, and you’ll see where things get iffy,” says Gary DeWaard.
Once Disney purchased Marvel studios, it seemed clear that they would own the film rights to the entire Marvel pantheon of characters. However, because Sony still owned certain film rights whereas Marvel owned only character rights, it required Disney to broker a unique deal to allow him to appear in their latest superhero movies. That deal lasted for five appearances (two solo films, three Avenger appearances) with both production studios collaborating on the work and with Disney earning only a very small percentage of profit from the character.
Recently, ongoing talks to allow Disney more ownership rights to Spider-Man have fallen through, with the character’s film rights returning to Sony though his latest and greatest run has been with Disney. Marvel Studios (a Disney-owned property) is hopeful that they will one day be able to broker a more efficient deal with Sony, but for now, many fans are worried that their beloved Tom Holland depiction of Spidey may disappear from future films.
“Fans should rest easier knowing that both Sony and Marvel want to keep up Spider-Man’s wild success in theaters, meaning they will work hard to satisfy moviegoers,” says Gary DeWaard. “If he won’t appear in the next MCU film, he will almost certainly make an appearance in the sequel to Sony’s recent smash hit Venom, which is focused on Spider-Man’s iconic nemesis anyways.”