Confused Views: Hide and shriek

Why do studios keep mistreating horror movies? Why did Trick R Treat go straight to DVD? And why is Matt crapping on his food?

Sometimes when I have a little spare money and a little spare time, I like to cook. I’ll head down to the supermarket and pick up premium range and fresh ingredients. I’m quite happy to invest a bit of money on buying the best. Then, when I get home, I’ll happily spend hours dousing meat in homemade sauces and flinging spices into simmering frying pans; I’m like a version of Jamie Oliver that has an appropriately proportioned head. I even take my time to properly present the food.

Here’s where things take a turn for the strange; sometimes I decide not to eat the food. What I do is, I lay the plate in the middle of the floor, drop my trousers and take a massive shit on it. We’re not talking clenched cheeks summoning a tightly formed golden nugget of regret; we’re talking projectile defecation, like my anus was auditioning for a role in a remake of The Exorcist. It’s disgusting, it’s unpleasant and it makes no sense whatsoever.

Where could I possibly be going with this? Is it that I’ve got some hilarious anecdote about Michael Bay having diarrhoea for dinner? Well, no. The subject that I’m so expertly building towards is film companies who seemingly shit on the very films they spend time and money making.

Blood Creek (aka Town Creek and Creek), a horror film made by Lions Gate, will be bypassing theatres when it’s released, and instead heading straight for the DVD shelf. Whilst it’s hardly surprising to see a Lions Gate horror movie heading straight for disc, this one had been due a cinema release. Plus, it’s directed by Joel Schumacher. I’m not suggesting that the director of Batman & Robin be given a free pass to just project whatever he likes into multiplexes across the world (because he might secretly be into murder porn or something, and Jesus, could you imagine?), but he’s not someone I expect to be directing straight to video. If he was, he might as well be cranking out the recent Lost Boys cash-ins. So, what’s going on?

Ad – content continues below

The simple answer would seem to be that the film is terrible and so it’s been dumped. Well, fair enough. But then, I’ve seen some of Lions Gate’s theatrical output before. They don’t exclusively release appalling bullshit, but it is one of their specialities. I mean, next year they’re releasing Saw 7 in 3D.

Internet murmurs of studio politics plus a decent IMDB rating might suggest that actually something a little more disconcerting might be going on. After all, Lions Gate has a history of this sort of thing. Director Ti West has recently requested to have his name removed from Cabin Fever 2. Then there was the whole Midnight Meat Train incident.

For those who don’t know about Midnight Meat Train, here’s a brief rundown of what happened. The release of this horror film, based on a story by Clive Barker and starring former profession footballer Vinnie Jones, was limited to around a hundred discount movie theatres. People scratched their heads in confusion. They seemed to not just be dumping the film, but aggressively pursuing its failure (it later became apparent that Lions Gate was contractually obliged to release the film onto at least 100 screens). Fans were outraged. Clive Barker rallied for people to email Lions Gate and request a proper release for the movie. Rumours surfaced that the move came as a result of a studio politics, with the new head of Lions Gate sweeping away any projects his predecessor had championed. It was anarchy.

Of course, when I finally got a chance to see Midnight Meat Train, I understood everything with the kind clarity that I can only imagine descends on a drunk when they wake up in a puddle of their own kebab-sick, surrounded by the shattered remains of their life.

Midnight Meat Train got dumped onto DVD because it’s awful. It’s a direct to video film. It deserved what it got for being terrible. There’s a chance that this is what’s happened with Blood Creek. It’ll be impossible to judge until we can see the film.

Still, it’s not always so simple. The release of this year’s horror sensation Paranormal Activity spent years in jeopardy due to studio politics. Originally intended for remake rather than straight release, this got pushed back for so long that remake plans were abandoned and the original release was intended to be for a limited run.

Ad – content continues below

A similar story, minus the happy ending, is that of Trick R Treat. This horror film, produced by Bryan Singer and directed by his Superman Returns co-writer Michael Dougherty, was set for release by Warner Bros before being pulled indefinitely from the schedules. The film finally surfaced this year on DVD. Unlike Midnight Meat Train, Trick R Treat is fantastic. A fun horror film with an 80s feel, it’s filled with neat stories and cheeky homages. Honestly, this is a film that deserved a cinema release.

It’s unlikely we’ll ever really know what happened. It’s possible that Warner just didn’t know how to market it. It’s possible that they just didn’t have any faith in the film. It’s also possible that, after Superman Returns, Warner Bros wanted to get some kind of revenge on Singer and Dougherty. It’s possible that some other studio politics are the cause.

So, while I don’t know if they’ve ruined Blood Creek, I can say that a major studio has ruined the release of Trick R Treat. In a misplaced case of ‘eye for an eye’, I’m now going to attempt to ruin a major studio release for all of you. I’m lashing out at you because you’re here. I’m a bastard. Either way, here’s the trailer for the Nightmare On Elm Street remake. Freddy sounds exactly like the Waterboy. Fuck you.