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selected from Shivers #74

Boris and Bela
Plans are afoot in Hollywood to bring the story of the feuding Kings of Horror to the screen next year. If you can remember Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, you’ll recall how nasty Bela Lugosi (played by Martin Landau in his Oscar-winning performance), was about Boris Karloff who was called every bitchy name under the sun (‘limey cocksucker’, etc).

Their rivalry goes back to the original 1931 Frankenstein which had been written with Lugosi in mind as The Monster. Because Lugosi was still basking in the glorious success of Dracula, he refused the role, thinking it was beneath him. So British supporting player William Henry Pratt, aka Boris Karloff, stepped in and the rest is Horror history. But Bela never forgave him for making the film such a success...

Boris and... JeremyThe Boris and Bela script mainly focuses on their lives when they were both at their career peaks in the late Thirties. The casting for the project is very interesting too as the producers want Jeremy Irons to play Karloff and Gabriel Byrne for Bela. Until someone decides to make a film about the feud between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, which reached its zenith on Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, this battle of the Horror Titans will fit the bill nicely.

Ed Gein
I went over to Los Angeles in December to cover exclusively the making of what’s shaping up to be a major highlight in the upcoming Horror release calendar. Ed Gein is the first movie to be wholly produced by the British distribution company Metro Tartan and, although I’m sure I don’t have to tell any of you reading this, it’s the story of the infamous Fifties murderer from Plainfield, Wisconsin, who provided the inspiration for Robert Bloch’s book and Alfred Hitchcock’s classic shocker Psycho, plus Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

Unlike those movies which only appropriated certain facts about the case for dramatic and unsettling purposes, Ed Gein is the first time the whole story is being told with a rigid grip on the true facts based on Gein’s own confessions. Written by Stephen Johnston, the movie is being directed by Chuck Parello, the man responsible for launching John McNaughton’s career after he realized his friend’s low budget feature Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer was a masterpiece and should get a wider audience.

Starring as Wisconsin’s most gruesome cross-dresser is Steven Railsback whose genre credits include Disturbing Behaviour, Alligator II: The Mutation, Blue Monkey, Lifeforce and Turkey Shoot but is best remembered for his leading role in director Richard Rush’s cult 1980 movie The Stunt Man.

I arrived on the set in Topanga Canyon, California (the producers were told that their safety could not be assured if they dared film in Wisconsin itself, because feelings still run high there even after 40 years) to see Railsback dressed up in Ed’s notoriously grisly skin suit, made from his victims’ bodies and bits of grave-robbing, wailing to the moon... There’ll be a lot more on this exciting project in a future issue.

Love Witch Project
Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez, the co-director duo behind the micro-budget Horror hit The Blair Witch Project, have confirmed their next outing will be a comedy called Heart of Love which they describe as ‘Monty Python meets Airplane’ adding, “It’s the film we probably would have done first if we’d had the money. We don’t want to be pigeon-holed as Horror directors because it’s not our forte. The next film will be no Blair Witch, which was a once in a lifetime thing, although we are bracing ourselves for the ‘sophomore bomb’ reviews when critics will say our careers are over!”.

But there will be a $10 million Blair Witch prequel which the duo will produce but not direct. Myrick said, “There’s definitely going to be a prequel, and we have a first-look deal with [American distributor] Artisan who have the prequel and sequel rights. We’re slated to do the third Blair Witch film - if there is a third!’’.

Feature © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction