Nights are drawing in. You can tell as people say the telly’s getting better and everyone’s wearing more clothes, and if you like belligerent sex terrorists (Sugar, Cowell) and this Shearling stuff that’s wrapped itself around East London then this is the winter for you.

If you’re partial to films that excite and terrify then you can’t go wrong with a bit of Hollywood ingenuity this time of year as well. However, with Halloween looming, the coffers are calling, sequels are dropping and remakes are trick and treating. We’ve got Saw 3D rearing its dismembered head like a fetid bobbing apple, Paranormal Activity 2 raiding another dislikeable couple’s privacy (they’ve got a baby and a dog this time) and the fantastic Let The Right One In being re-imagined for an audience with no imagination. In all fairness Let Me In looks intriguing, director Matt Reeves has Cloverfield in his canon and the cast includes the best thing about Kick Ass, Hit Girl herself Chloe Grace Moretz.

More intrigue of a Cloverfield persuasion comes in the form of Monsters, a first time effort from director Gareth Edwards that caused a fever at FrightFest. It’s an intimate epic with the same genre-mangling thrills we saw in District 9. Made for just $15,000 this promising film looks to share Hollywood’s Godzilla values with a more naturalistic, human approach, and all from a Brit too. It’ll no doubt quench our thirst for home-grown movies with grand ambition, although still we are exposed to re-heated classics as if no lesson was learnt when Gus Van Sant bludgeoned Psycho. If that wasn’t enough Naomi Watts now wades in carrying a brand new version of Hitchcock’s The Birds for us all to squawk at. Martin Campbell looks to be directing fresh off his Green Lantern’s post-production duties, although whether it’s shot for shot, a la Van Sant, is anyone’s guess. Let’s just hope the Hollywood pecking order changes soon when it comes to gambling on fresh ideas and talent.

For full-whack, white-knuckle, no-expense-spared blockbusters though you may have to wait until 2011. Super 8 has JJ Abrams at the helm, Spielberg pulling the strings and a teaser trailer released before the cast were fully announced. It’s a behemoth already with a year still to go. Secrecy surrounds production and only if you signed up to be a ‘Rocket Poppeteer’ do you become part of the viral campaign. Quite frankly though its more entertaining reading the hysteria laden IMDB message-boards.

What we do know is that Super 8 will be set in 1979 Ohio and pays homage to the Spielberg films of the same era, hopefully Close Encounters and not 1941. Like his bearded mentor, JJ Abrams has cast an adolescent lead in Elle Fanning (currently in Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere) who will be ably supported by stalwarts like Noah Emmerich, although we still can’t look him in the eye after playing Marlon in The Truman Show. So probably Area 52 type excitement with a sentimental bent and a guaranteed shot of a grown up standing on a children’s toy. If you’re not patient enough for next summer there is always The Human Centipede 2.

By Ian Roebuck

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Originally published in issue 22 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. October 2010