Rogue

I don't care how many times they push it back, or how much potential for hackneyed disaster there is in a film about a killer crocodile -- I'm looking forward to Rogue, mostly because there was a lot that impressed me about Greg Mclean's debut film, 2005's Wolf Creek. For one thing, it was bold enough to defy several horror cliches, such as foreshadowing dread in the early scenes -- the first thirty minutes of Wolf Creek could be part of an Aussie road drip dramedy, with three aimless kids taking their rickety car way too far into unsafe areas of the Outback. It's also a film that's completely unrelenting in the psychic trauma it wants to inflict on the audience. By the time the slaughtering starts, we know these characters -- we care about them. Frankly, Mclean seems like he'd be completely bored with making a standard slasher/monster film with paper-thin characters. Therefore, I'm going to be first in line for his killer croc movie, and wait for my enthusiasm to blow up in my face.

Friday the 13th

I have no idea if this will get to theaters by late 2008, but I know that Platinum Dunes does have the gears grinding, so it's a possibility. In fact, a little birdie recently told me something hilarious -- Corey Feldman went in and pitched himself as the star of this thing. For those who don't remember, Feldman played Vorhees foe Tommy Jarvis in two installments of the original series, and he apparently had designs on making the Friday remake his newest comeback vehicle. There's really nothing you can do with Jason at this point other than remake him, but how? Word is that PD wants the remake to feature both Jason and his trademark mask -- two elements that didn't congeal until Part III of the original series, so I'm imagining a smelting together of the first three films, set in modern day and with a lot of in-jokes. I guess it will be a film about a little boy who drowns in a lake and immediately morphs into an overgrown, lumbering killer with a machete. Sounds intriguing.

Bigfoot

Again, this is only a script right now, but it's a script that a white-hot writing and producing team -- Steve Niles and Rob Zombie -- want to get into production as soon as possible, so place your bets. The concept, in exact words spoken to me by Steve Niles -- "This Bigfoot has had it." This is going to be Harry and the Bloody Carcasses of the Hendersons. This is Bigfoot as a rampaging, rip-your-arm-off-and-brain-you with it monster who won't stop killing until someone drops him. If it's done right, it could be one of the freshest monster movies in a while, and there's a lot of mythology here to work with. Bigfoot as a concept has had a few years to rest -- no one is really looking to see him on screen, so there are a lot of old staples and new approaches to explore here. Rob Zombie had the opportunity to take this on as his next project after Halloween, but passed to do something else, so a good director is needed.

Funny Games

I know a couple of industry people who've seen this film, which is being released in the dead of February, and it's apparently very brutal. The concept is pretty simple: two psychos take an upscale family hostage in their vacation cabin and make them act out sadistic little games and and scenarios with each other. Sort of like Last House on the Left meets Cache -- the latter being from the same director as this film, of course. I haven't seen the original Funny Games -- this is the English-language remake -- but the concept is intriguing and I'm anxious to actually like Naomi Watts in something. Apart from King Kong, which I thought she was okay in, she seems to have a habit of picking movies I don't care about. It's almost like she and I have the exact opposite taste in projects. Tim Roth is also in this thing, and that's usually a plus. As long as the film doesn't cop out on its concept, I think we could have a winner here.

Slaughter

The sheer law of probability tells us that one of the eight films Dominique Swain currently has in the pipeline might have a chance at a theatrical release. If that's the case, place your bets on Slaughter, her upcoming slasher film that's being helmed by Victor Garcia, a director who is known to Sam Raimi's Ghost House Pictures (he did those 30 Days of Night short films) as well as Joel Silver, and who is rumored to have some chops. This guy has to know that if he pulls out all the stops on this movie and does something interesting with it, it's going to get noticed by all the right people. And really, the concept isn't terrible -- an actress, played by Swain, accepts what she thinks is a part in a movie and then discovers that she's signed up to be part of a snuff film. There are a million ways for that to work, as well as a million reasons for it to suck, so we'll just have to see how it shakes out.

Repo! The Genetic Opera

Give Lionsgate some credit for even funding Repo! The Genetic Opera, which has no spoken dialogue whatsoever. This is a filmed opera with wall to wall singing and it will be a bigger bitch to market than Sweeney Todd, you better believe. The story concerns an evil corporation called GeneCo that offers futuristically casual organ transplants -- want some new eyes? no problem -- but once you sign on the dotted line, you also empower them to take those organs back if you fall behind on your payments. Darren Lynn Bousman, the film's director, was gifted with this, his passion project, after unexpectedly turning the mediocre film Saw into an ultra-lucrative horror franchise for Lionsgate. Judging by this weekend's take, there seems to be no end in sight to that gravy train. Bousman's cast includes Paris Hilton, and the filming had to be done in a music video way since the singing was in the can before shooting began. Watch for this film to be a crucial test of Bousman's talent, or lack thereof.

Hostel III

What are you, nuts, Ryan? Maybe. I know Eli Roth is off in a monastery somewhere, texting apologies to Nikki Finke for all the terrible choices he made in life, but I think after the strong pull of Halloween and Saw IV, the weird failure of Hostel II is going to start to look more and more like what it was -- a fluke. For whatever reason, the audience just wasn't available that opening weekend and so the film tanked. It tanked so bad that Roth lost the chance to direct Cell, in fact. And now here he is, with nothing solid lined up for the future. His 'trailer movie' smacks of desperation -- since when did Grindhouse have coattails? -- and I think as 'torture porn malaise' starts to wear off over the next few months, he's going to magically start getting ideas for Hostel III. Then he's going to take those ideas to the studio and they're going to tell him they've already found another director for the project, and it's being rushed into theaters in the next six months.