All-Horror Movie File: ‘Hostel 2,’ Johnny Depp, Tim Burton, Korn & More

Jay Hernandez promises amped-up sequel; Depp warms up vocal cords for Burton flick; Jonathan Davis plays Satan.

Do you have all the lights in the room turned up brightly? Is someone you love on standby in case you need an arm to clutch tightly? Then maybe you’re ready for this week’s all-horror Movie File, inspired by the rapidly approaching Halloween holiday. If you choose to read further, do so at your own risk.

You might have heard all kinds of start dates and release dates for “Hostel 2,” the sequel to last January’s gory sleeper hit. According to series star Jay Hernandez, much of the confusion revolves around his suddenly packed schedule, which he’s been happily dealing with since his finger-licking-good performance made him so in demand. Still, he’s doing his best to find the time to fly to Prague and shoot some scenes before the flick finishes filming. “I will say this: I’m having difficulty with my schedule because I am on a TV show right now, so that is one thing that we’re trying to work out,” Hernandez said of his role on ABC’s “Six Degrees.” Luckily for “Hostel” fans — but maybe not for Hernandez — “Degrees” doesn’t have an episode running this week and looks to be nearing cancellation. “Hopefully it all works out the way we want it to,” Hernandez said, “but in terms of the second ‘Hostel,’ I think it’s really going to turn out the way we want it to. [Writer/director] Eli [Roth] is really trying to amp it up, if that’s at all possible, because the first one is really horrific and gruesome, but he’s working hard to make [it gorier].” The second flick will deal with female guests (Heather Matarazzo, Bijou Phillips and Lauren German) taking a room at the horrific hostel chain, and Hernandez thinks that twist will put a different slant on things. “A lot of the stuff that happened with Paxton and Josh [from the original movie] people considered sort of sexist and misogynistic, so it’s going to be interesting to see what the women do,” he insisted, adding that if his character does return, it won’t be a problem for Hernandez to wear something over his hand to help CGI artists remove his “missing” fingers in post-production. “Duct tape,” he laughed. “Duct tape fixes everything.” With the studio insisting that April 2007 is a firm release date, and Hernandez searching for an opening, Roth is currently on the Prague set slicing and dicing it all together. …

Maestro of the macabre Tim Burton is almost ready to begin rolling on “Sweeney Todd,” a bloody barber tale he envisions as a hard R-rated horror flick. “You can’t really skimp on that stuff — it’s got to be what it is. It’s not going to be a G-rated movie, no,” he laughed. “It’s kind of like doing ‘The Sound of Music’ but with lots of blood, so I don’t know how that’s going to work out. We’ll see. I’m excited to try it.” Burton’s also excited to unveil the vocal work of frequent leading man Johnny Depp, who’ll take on his first singing role in his 20-plus-year career. “It’s going to be the [actors singing]. That’s important. It’s a movie, it’s not a Milli Vanilli record,” the “Nightmare Before Christmas” mastermind insisted. So is Burton concerned about gambling his multimillion-dollar movie on a singing voice he’s never even heard? “No. I go over to his house and we sing show tunes every night. It’s a ritual with us,” he laughed. “Johnny is great. … I’m always looking for some new kind of challenge, and this certainly is that. We are laughing about it already, and we haven’t even started yet.” Another actor who’ll be exercising her vocal cords is Burton’s girlfriend, Helena Bonham Carter. But the director insisted — contrary to reports — that “Borat” star Sacha Baron Cohen is not on board. “We don’t know that for sure yet,” he said of the chameleon-esque comedian. “We’re still in the early stages of talking to people.” …

Korn singer Jonathan Davis recently finished his first leading-man flick, and he promises that the resulting devil tale, “Sin-Gyn Smith,” will creep people out in all the best ways. “The devil simultaneously appears in two places: A place in India and Kansas,” explained Davis, who plays the horned one himself. “These two guys are sent to this little hole-in-the-wall place in Canada to pick up this detained guy, and the whole movie is about them taking this guy across country to another prison. … The guy ends up being Sin-Gyn Smith, who is the devil, and it gets really crazy with all this action stuff and all this really scary sh–.” Co-starring the one and only “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Davis expects the film to hit theaters next year. …

To some, he may be more hero than horror icon, but ultimately the demon spawn of hell is a concept that can only get scarier in the upcoming “Hellboy” sequel, “The Golden Army.” Series director Guillermo del Toro agrees and was eager to give an update. “We are literally in the early stages of preproduction,” del Toro said of his sequel to the 2004 flick starring the monstrous Ron Perlman. “We’ve been designing the thing, and we are going to be shooting in April or May of next year. It’s a bigger story than the first one, and it is actually a larger scope. It’s similar to [del Toro's upcoming flick] ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ in the fact that the everyday world is grinding fantasy into the ground. Everyday life is creating a mundane reality and destroying fantasy. All of the main characters are coming back.” Del Toro expects the sequel to hit theaters in 2008. …

While Tobin Bell happily admits that he’d love to do more “Saw” movies, he first wanted to break the news that he’ll lend his creepy presence to a “Harry Potter”-like fantasy film. “It’s a children’s movie about Halloween, about a girl who loves to read,” he said of “The Bookstore,” which he’s currently filming in Pittsburgh. “I play a character called the Stranger, who is kind of a metaphysical character. The girl loves to read and loves horror stories, and she reads horror stories and she discovers a bookstore and goes inside. I’m the owner of the bookstore, but the bookstore is not real. It’s in her mind.” The film will use the “Potter”-like blueprint of mixing unknown child actors with recognizable veterans and will aim for a 2007 release. “It’s very well-written,” Bell said of the magical movie. “I like the script a lot.” …

Imagine a show-tune-singing Jigsaw, a tap-dancing amputee or Tommy Tune with a steel trap on his head, and you might have the basic concept of “Repo! The Genetic Opera,” a soon-to-film horror musical from “Saw II” and “Saw III” director Darren Lynn Bousman. “It’s a horror rock opera, like ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show,’ ” Bousman explained. “I directed a stage play in L.A. about seven years ago that was a rock opera, and I just fell in love with it. … ['Repo'] is more violent than ‘Saw,’ but it’s different. People are getting massacred, yes, but they’re breaking out in song!” Bousman hopes that the uncanny concept yields a new generation of musical pop culture, along the lines of what he grew up with. ” ‘Jesus Christ Superstar,’ ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show,’ ‘Tommy,’ ‘Hair’ — those rock operas were huge,” he said, adding that he recently shot a “presentation piece” to give studios a sampling of what the futuristic limb-repossession flick would be like. “My quick sales pitch on it is that everybody listens to music every time they drive in the car. When you go to parties, what do you do? You listen to music. And for entertainment, you go to movies. [I'm going to] mesh those two successfully.” …

John Malkovich battling toxic-waste mutants!?! It leaves us with only one simple question: Can we prepay for tickets to “The Mutant Chronicles” now? “It has John Malkovich, Ron Perlman and Thomas Jane, and it’s crazy. It’s like an end-of-the-world war movie,” explained “Sin City” actress Devon Aoki. “A lot of the film was shot in trenches and stuff like that, and there is the mutant part of it — the mutants are taking over.” Set in the 23rd century, the sci-fi horror flick tells the story of a soldier fighting against underworld monsters. “They’re more like mutants from under the ground, like toxic-waste-looking people with big hooks for arms!” Aoki said she recently finished shooting the flick in England, and the filmmakers are targeting a 2007 release. …

Think you’ve got what it takes to be the next Jamie Lee Curtis? Well, if not, could you at least be Sarah Michelle Gellar? Those who harbor dreams of being a scream queen should get themselves to “Halloween Horror Nights,” a holiday-themed Universal Studios Hollywood event that features haunted rides and even an R-rated insult room with kid-friendly killer Chucky. “Horror Nights” is searching for the best screamer out there, and is posting gotta-see-’em clips of the wannabes. Whether you live in SoCal or not, the contest is a scream (sorry).

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