John Carpenter Heads For Fangland

Wherever he's been, he seems to be back. Straight from finishing up post-production on The Ward, John Carpenter will jump into the vampire flick Fangland. It's like he was never away.

To be fair, he's not been entirely AWOL since Ghosts of Mars in 2001. There were a couple of solid entries in Showtime's Masters of Horror series along the way, and some producer credits on remakes of some of his finest moments. But two new proper features in two years is very welcome Big News from the director of Halloween, The Fog, Escape From New York and The Thing.

Fangland itself is a modern-day reworking of Dracula, which involves US news producer Evangeline Harker heading off to Transylvania to interview arms dealing crime lord Ion Torgu. It doesn't go well for her. Because, like, he's Dracula. It's been in development since at least 2007, and at one point had Hilary Swank set to star. There's no word yet on whether that's still the case, but the script is the same one as back then, written by Mark Wheaton (Friday 13th, The Messengers).

The film is based on the novel by John Marks, who used to produce the CBS news show 60 Minutes. Given that John Carpenter's Vampires was also based on a novel (by John Steakley) and bore very little relation to it, that's not necessarily significant intel. But Marks' book, as well as being a clever and visceral horror, is a pretty sharp media satire, which might be why the project caught the wilfully anti-establishment Carpenter's eye.

No hints yet of start dates or projected releases, or what's happened to Carpenter's The Riot (aka Scared Straight), which was set to star Nicolas Cage. But The Ward, featuring Mandy Lane's Amber Heard, should be out in the autumn.

Peter Oberth
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