Chris Columbus, savior of a lost genre? You snicker, but it may very well be the case.
In these pages we have long lamented the loss of the 1980's style kids horror and fantasy film, the unique subgenre of films that made most of us into film geeks in the first place and a genre that was effectively killed by a single rule change when the MPAA tightened up ratings on films that featured kids in peril and / or kids swearing. Thanks to that one move, any future films along the lines of Goonies or Gremlins would no longer be accessible to their target audience and so producers simply stopped making them.
In the world of this sort of film no company loomed larger than Amblin Entertainment and in the world of Amblin the key writer was Chris Columbus. Before he turned to directing with 1987's Adventures In Babysitting Columbus penned the scripts for both Gremlins and The Goonies - arguably the two biggest and most influential films of the type. Then came the rule change and the massive mainstream success of Home Alone and Columbus moved on to far, far less interesting and idiosyncratic stuff.
But now he's coming back to his roots.
It was announced today that Columbus' 1492 Pictures has joined forces with Korea's CJ Entertainment to produce a slate of three pictures, ALL of them falling neatly into the kids horror world. The first - and the highest profile - is a film adaptation of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, which Gaiman will be directly involved in as a producer with The Crying Game helmer Neil Jordan writing and directing.
The other two? Monster hunting comedy Killer Pizza, based on a novel by Greg Taylor and adapted by Hatchet's Adam Green - though it's not clear who will direct - and an adaptation of demon hunting soccer mom comedy Carpe Demon, a truly fantastic title, with Columbus himself polishing up the script.
If these work out at all it's going to be the most welcome homecoming in years.
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