<p>It's starting to sound like this isn't the only Pinhead at Dimension Films.</p>

It's starting to sound like this isn't the only Pinhead at Dimension Films.

Credit: Dimension Films

A PG-13 'Hellraiser"? Sounds like Pinhead's running things at Dimension

Amber Heard can't save this franchise if this is true

Clive Barker's world is a dark, sick, wet, sexually disturbed world, and that's exactly as it should be.

When he began releasing the "Books Of Blood," it was a sensation because there seemed to be no line that he was afraid to cross, no taboo he was afraid to confront.  His stories were dangerous.  They felt personal.  They felt invasive.  Even now if you read them, they remain transgressive, almost too dark to take.

When he directed his first feature film "Hellraiser," the film seemed to ably reflect that sensibility on film.  It's not a perfect movie, but there's a sweaty, overheated quality to it that works, and that makes it feel like something you shouldn't be watching,  Since that first film, which never really felt like a franchise movie, the series has been subject to the law of diminishing returns, quickly becoming so coarse and stupid that it's hard to believe there was ever any merit to the original.  That's the real danger with doing one terrible sequel after another.  You can eventually turn something that started well into something that any right-thinking person would actively avoid.

Dimension Films has never been accused of under-exploiting the film properties they own.  They are a sequel factory, and they seem perfectly happy to pump out straight-to-video fare if that's the way it works out, with an eye on theatrical release if the stars align.  Little wonder they've been trying to get a new "Hellraiser" off the ground for a while, and there have been a few moments in the last couple of years where there were some interesting names attached. 

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<p>Martin Sheen is Captain Willard in the iconic opening moments of 'Apocalypse Now,' making a stunning debut on Blu-ray this week.</p>

Martin Sheen is Captain Willard in the iconic opening moments of 'Apocalypse Now,' making a stunning debut on Blu-ray this week.

Credit: American Zoetrope

'Apocalypse Now' arrives on Blu-ray in the single best home video version of the film so far

Plus five of you have a chance to win the Blu-ray for yourself

"This is the end."

The end of me rebuying "Apocalypse Now," anyway, because finally, after at least three previous home video editions, they got it right.

This is not a film I watch lightly.  When I watch "Apocalypse Now," it is with intent.  I treat it like a psychoactive substance.  My relationship with "Apocalypse Now" goes back at least 20 years, and it's one of those movies I point at as proof that there is magic involved in the making of films.  There's no way all the various ingredients of "Apocalypse Now" should add up to the movie that exists, but there it is.  Chaos and madness and blood and sickness and ego and hubris, all of it adding up to the uber high concept idea of Joseph Conrad's "Heart Of Darkness," told in an updated Vietnam setting, executed in such a way as to make a silly idea into harrowing, vibrant art.

When I worked at Dave's Video, the laserdisc store in Sherman Oaks, it was the early '90s, and a lot of the titles that are making their debut right now on Blu-ray were just rolling out on laserdisc.  The "Aliens" box set, for example, which we'll get into next week when Fox drops that whole series onto Blu-ray.  That was a huge deal at the time.  And when "Apocalypse Now" was released, it was given the Rolls Royce treatment.  Big giant double-disc set, and that CAV transfer was pretty much the end of the world back then.

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<p>A chilling image from 'Let Me In,' based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist, whose new novel 'Handling The Undead' is in stores now.</p>

A chilling image from 'Let Me In,' based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist, whose new novel 'Handling The Undead' is in stores now.

Credit: Overture Films

One Thing I Love Today: John Lindqvist's new novel 'Handling The Undead'

The author of 'Let The Right One In' crafts an equally-compelling follow-up

I started this column back at AICN, and I did it for a time here at HitFix as well, but it recently occurred to me during a conversation with a friend who has also been a reader since the early AICN days that this makes a nice bookend to the Morning Read, which runs three days a week.  I want to try different regular articles on Tuesday and Thursday mornings in place of the Morning Read, so there's always something familiar in the morning, Monday through Friday, with this column at the other side of the day as an anchor.

The "thing" in question can be… anything.  A concert.  A book.  A DVD.  An event.  A toy.  An experience.  A link to something particularly poignant.  Or crazy.  Or whatever.  The point is to spotlight one thing a day that might otherwise not get that spotlight.  Considering how many things are sent here for review, there is never a shortage of things that can be featured in this column, so why not bring it back?

After all, the more regular I am in providing certain things to you guys, then hopefully the more engaged you'll be.  That is the point here.  I don't ever want to think of this as me shouting into the void.  I hope to find ways to put some of these things I love into your hands as well, and later tonight, I'll be running a piece about "Apocalypse Now" that should you should check out for that exact reason.

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Paranormal Activity 2

Never give your dog and your baby coffee before bed.

Credit: Paramount

Want to see 'Paranormal Activity 2' in Hollywood this Wednesday?

10 talented writers can win VIP passes to the event and skip the line!

Attention all LA area horror fans who want to see "Paranormal Activity 2" before everyone else in the universe:

Paramount Pictures will be holding a special FREE midnight screening at the Arclight Hollywood this Wednesday, October 20th.

They ask that you arrive early, as the line will begin forming at 4:00PM. Seating will be first come first served. Folks who RSVP and show up will get free food and a chance to win prizes like iPads, XBoxes and more cool stuff. (full details in flyer after the jump)

Don't feel like lining up for hours? HitFix has secured 10 VIP passes for Motion/Captured readers, make the jump to find out how to get yours!

A word of warning, though.  This will require you to either tell your best true-life ghost story, or to come up with one that makes us believe it's true.  The very best of them will be excerpted this Wednesday in the Morning Read in addition to winning one of those 10 VIP passes.

Ready for the details?


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<p>One of the highlights of 2009's 'The Hangover' was the cameo appearance by Mike Tyson, and now it looks like the big celebrity cameo for the sequel has already been spoiled by overeager headlines.</p>

One of the highlights of 2009's 'The Hangover' was the cameo appearance by Mike Tyson, and now it looks like the big celebrity cameo for the sequel has already been spoiled by overeager headlines.

Credit: Warner Bros/Legendary

The Morning Read: Did the internet just ruin 'The Hangover 2' celebrity cameo surprise?

Plus more on Marvel/Disney/Paramount and a look at the Green Lantern's Power Battery

Welcome to The Morning Read.

Without question, the biggest news of the morning is the announcement that Disney will be releasing "Iron Man 3" and "The Avengers."  It was inevitable, but I think everyone watching the situation from the outside expected this to be a long and ugly legal process, if not an outright war.  Instead, this one settlement makes it all go away, and the march towards "The Avenges" continues without hesitation or incident, it seems, exactly as Marvel wants.

Look, you may not like the face of modern event movies.  You may not like the movies Marvel makes.  But there is no way to argue now that they've been anything less than uncanny about trying to build a Marvel Universe onscreen.  I'm amazed this played out the way it did because it's such a defining moment for Paramount.  I like the folks over there, and I think they've had a really strong run of big movies in the last few years, with some very smart salesmanship on some tricky titles.  I also think they've got the sort of team that knows what to do when you hand them a giant "Duh" home run, and that's not always true.  I've seen great movies that should have been hits wildly mishandled many times.  Paramount has had plenty of lean years creatively, too, though, even in the time since I've started doing this job, and the loss of Marvel is something that has to be seriously considered over there.  Taking a cash payout instead of dragging things into court for a possible piece of profits is a reasonable outcome, but it's also a choice that marks a quiet passage from one era of Paramount to the next.

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<p>Nick Frost and Simon Pegg headline the SF/comedy road trip movie 'Paul,' and Universal just released the first teaser trailer.</p>

Nick Frost and Simon Pegg headline the SF/comedy road trip movie 'Paul,' and Universal just released the first teaser trailer.

Credit: Universal

Watch: The first teaser trailer for Nick Frost and Simon Pegg in 'Paul' is online now

Meet the title alien as voiced by Seth Rogen in the first peek at the film

Simon Pegg just posted an early morning Monday surprise on Twitter, a link to the first teaser trailer for the new SF/comedy "Paul."

There was a really strong presentation for this one at Comic-Con this summer, and this teaser trailer offers up a good long look at the title character, a classic gray alien trapped on Earth who escapes from Area 51 and hooks up with two comic nerds from the UK who are enjoying a post-Comic-Con road trip together.

I was curious to see how Universal was planning to handle Paul in the advertising.  I guess the only way you can handle him is to offer up a full-on here-he-is introduction like this.  Anything else would be disingenuous, and I think Universal knows it.

I'm excited to see what happens when you combine totally different comic voices like Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and Kristen Wiig and Jason Bateman and Bill Hader and Jane Lynch and Sigourney Weaver and Seth Rogen and Greg Mottola.  It's a pretty strong line-up of people involved.

It's a very different sense of humor than "Shaun Of The Dead" and "Hot Fuzz," and I think seeing what happens when these guys step outside their comfort zone of working with Edgar Wright is important.  When Edgar stepped away, the result was "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World," so that seems to have been worthwhile.

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<p>The last time Hollywood got hot and bothered about Christopher Columbus, this happened.&nbsp; Have we forgotten already?</p>

The last time Hollywood got hot and bothered about Christopher Columbus, this happened.  Have we forgotten already?

Credit: Paramount Pictures

McG and Richard Branson team up on a '300'-style take on Christopher Columbus

The promise of cultural insensitivity bordering on lunacy makes this almost too good to believe

Okay, I love this story.  I love everything about this story.

Richard Branson is one of those guys who has so much money and so much clout that he can pretty much do whatever he wants.  I love his airplanes.  LOVE them.  Flying Transatlantic in Virgin Upper Class was one of the few truly great experiences I've ever had in the air.  If I could fly Virgin America everywhere, I would.  I'm not at all shocked that he's finally turned his attention to the notion of movie making.  Figured it was just a matter of time.

He's going to be co-producing with Relativity Media, and they've picked their first film to make together.  If it's any indication of what sort of films we can expect from their collaboration, then I'm excited because if there's one thing I love, it's big expensive terrible movies.

"Columbus," a spec script by T.S. Nowlin, sold to Virgin Produced with McG attached to direct the film.  Here's the best part… Deadline describes the film as "a '300'-style film about Christopher Columbus and his discovery of America."

I can understand why Richard Branson would want to make a film that celebrates the idea of exploration and discovery.  That's his whole identity summed up.  But when I read "a '300'-style film about… his discovery of America," that suggests an action movie.  I hope it's full of completely insane battle sequences with Columbus and his army of super-ripped sailors filling lots and lots of Evil Injuns as they take the New World by force.

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<p>Martin Freeman</p>

Martin Freeman

Credit: AP

'Hobbit' casting rumors kick into high gear with Martin Freeman, Michael Fassbender and more

At least one former 'Doctor Who' may join the cast as well

Now's when things start getting interesting.

Until this point, any and all conversation about casting for "The Hobbit" has been little more than a game of hypotheticals for fans.  Now, with the announcement having been made officially that Peter Jackson will direct both films in 3D, casting is underway for the film's February start date.

Obviously the biggest question regarding "The Hobbit" has to be "Who will play Bilbo Baggins?"  In my article about the greenlight being given, I stated my preference, one I've been saying in public for a few years now.  Imagine my joy at the idea that Martin Freeman, best known as Tim from the original "Office," might actually turn out to be the man they hire for the job.  Most recently, he played Watson in the exceptional new BBC series, "Sherlock," and it's a reminder of just what a great combination of open curiosity and wry wit he's capable of given the right material.  He's an exceptional choice for the role, and if it's true he's first on the list, I think Jackson and company may have hit a home run.

There are obviously going to have to be returning cast members like Ian McKellan and Andy Serkis, but for the most part, "The Hobbit" offers dozens of new roles, great roles, and it's going to give Jackson a lot of room to put together amazing actors from around the world to help bring this new corner of Middle-earth to life.  Right now, we're starting to hear names like David "Dr. Who" Tennant and Jimmy Nesbitt being mentioned, although without any particular character name attached.  I'm pleased to see Michael Fassbender also in contention for a role in the film, and if all of these guys end up in one film together, it's going to be an embarrassingly good cast.

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<p>I'm guessing Peter Jackson feels like this was a lifetime ago, and yet he's headed back to Middle-earth for two 'Hobbit' films now that Warner has given him the greenlight</p>

I'm guessing Peter Jackson feels like this was a lifetime ago, and yet he's headed back to Middle-earth for two 'Hobbit' films now that Warner has given him the greenlight

Credit: New Line Cinema

Official: Peter Jackson directing two greenlit 'Hobbit' films

Some details remain to be determined, but the biggest choice of all has been made

And in the end, we all get what we wanted in the first place.

Warner Bros. has officially confirmed that the greenlight has been given for Peter Jackson to direct two "Hobbit" films article with production set to start in February 2011.

In an official press release, Jackson says, "Exploring Tolkien's Middle-earth goes way beyond a normal film-making experience."  I'd say that's an understatement.  Maybe we've forgotten a bit at this end of the decade just how unreal the entire proposition sounded when we first heard about Jackson's plans for "Lord Of The Rings," and yet by the time he was finished, there was little argument that he had accomplished one of the singular feats in fantasy filmmaking.

Over the last year, the drama surrounding the making of "The Hobbit" has threatened to overwhelm any conversation about the film itself, and when Guillermo Del Toro left the film earlier this year, it looked like the film was further away from happening than ever before.  If I was a betting men, I'd probably be losing money today because I felt sure the MGM bankruptcy issues would keep the movie from happening this year at all.  So many films are stuck in the black hole of MGM's money troubles that I didn't have faith this one project would be the exception.

And yet here we are, with Peter Jackson saying, "It's an all-immersive journey into a very special place of imagination, beauty, and drama.  We're looking forward to re-entering this wondrous world with Gandalf and Bilbo and our friends at New Line Cinema, Warner Brothers and MGM."

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<p>Angelina Jolie, seen here in Oliver Stone's 'Alexander,' may play royalty of a different sort if James Cameron signs on to direct 'Cleopatra'</p>

Angelina Jolie, seen here in Oliver Stone's 'Alexander,' may play royalty of a different sort if James Cameron signs on to direct 'Cleopatra'

Credit: Warner Bros.

The Morning Read: Cameron on 'Cleopatra'? Angelina Jolie may star in 3D epic for 'Avatar' auteur

Plus two 'Snow Whites,' some 'Back To The Future,' and Cage 'Drives Angry'

Welcome to The Morning Read.

I don't know what to make of the idea of James Cameron making "Cleopatra."


I thought the Steven Soderbergh "Cleo" sounded absolutely lunatic, and I really wanted to see that happen.  I doubt it ever will, though, if Cameron ends up signing on to direct Angelina Jolie in a 3D adaptation of the non-fiction book, "Cleopatra: A Life."  Jolie's already onboard, and Scott Rudin is producing the film.  Evidently the script is by Brian Helgeland and lit a fire under the studio.  Stacy Schiff, who wrote the book, is excited by the idea of Jolie being joined by Brad Pitt as Mark Antony, and that's evidently been the goal since the moment Rudin bought the rights to the book.  It sounds like Schiff has laid out a very different historical portrait of Cleopatra than we've ever seen represented before, and on an epic scale.

Certainly Cameron's the man you want to hire if you want a historical epic shot in 3D.  And he's always been drawn to powerful female protagonists, so it sounds like Schiff's book would be absolute catnip.  The things he's interested in right now as a producer and as a director are all fascinating to me.  There's "Fantastic Voyage" at Fox.  There's "At The Mountains Of Madness" at Universal.  There's the "Avatar" sequel.  There's the movie about the cave diving accident, and the other movie about the free diving couple.  And now, suddenly, there's also "Cleopatra."

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