Hollywood Hooked on Horror
Hollywood is playing devil’s advocate. With Halloween approaching, a rush of films starring the Prince of Darkness is hitting theaters, from apocalyptic thrillers to lighthearted romps. Harold Ramis, director and co-writer of the comedy Bedazzled, which opens Friday, said the current crop of satanic flicks may be a carryover from the millennium fever last year, when such end-of-the-world movies as End of Days and Stigmata came out. Or it could just be coincidence. "It’s not like we call each other up and ask what devil movie is going to be hot this year," said Ramis, who has directed Analyze This and Groundhog Day. Bedazzled stars Brendan Fraser as a techno-nerd who strikes a deal with a voluptuous Satan, Elizabeth Hurley, for wealth, power and the love of a beautiful co-worker. The movie is a remake of the 1960s comedy starring Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. Adam Sandler then stars as the devil’s dimwitted son in Little Nicky, debuting Nov. 10. The movie co-stars Harvey Keitel as the devil, Rodney Dangerfield as Grandpa Lucifer and Patricia Arquette, who starred in Stigmata. "We were very determined to come out before the Adam Sandler movie. We didn’t want to be the second devil comedy this year," Ramis joked. Then there’s Lost Souls, which opened last Friday; it had been scheduled for release last year but was delayed because of the crowded market, the filmmakers say. The movie stars Winona Ryder as a zealot on a crusade to convince a non-believer, Ben Chaplin that he has been chosen as host for the earthly incarnation of Satan. Other devilish fare: The new cut of The Exorcist, featuring Linda Blair as that head-spinning, soup-spewing girl possessed by Satan, came out last month and has exceeded box-office expectations. And the 1970s flick The Omen recently came out in a DVD box set with its three sequels. On top of the new crop of devil movies, the horror sequel Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 debuts next week, while Wes Craven Presents: Dracula 2000 arrives in December. Moviegoers’ appetite for all things hellish seems strong. Distributor Warner Bros. expanded The Exorcist last week to 1,655 theaters, up about one-third, pushing the reissue’s gross to a healthy $30.5 million in just over three weeks. And despite generally poor reviews, Lost Souls managed to open as last weekend’s No. 3 movie, grossing $8 million and easily outpacing three other new movies. "People are endlessly fascinated with questions of good and evil," said Nina Sadowsky, producing partner of Meg Ryan, whose Prufrock Pictures made Lost Souls. "It’s like Winona’s character says in the movie: If you’re so sure of one, doesn’t that mean you have to be sure of the other? If people want to believe in God, a higher power that is good, doesn’t it follow that you have to believe in a higher power that is evil? I think that’s the core concept of these movies." – Albawaba.com.
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