3-D Ready To Embrace The Ultimate Test: Its Genre Roots

Horror flicks, exploitation films and the 'Jackass' gang will take the 3-D revolution past 'Avatar' — but are audiences ready?

“Avatar” has rewritten the record books, “Alice in Wonderland” brought in big bank, and “How to Train Your Dragon” is the latest in a long line of family-friendly 3-D movies to make easy tens of millions of dollars. But as a recent article in USA Today expressed, many believe that the real test of this new filmmaking movement will be rooted as it reconnects with its origins: genre films.

Back in the day, 3-D was the realm of the obscure , exploitative and unabashedly fun. From the soft-porn of “The Stewardesses” to the scares of “House of Wax,” the gimmickry of early Three Stooges shorts to bad ’80s slasher sequels, genre films loved 3-D when nobody else would. Now, as 3-D Week continues, here’s a look at some of the key upcoming films whose success or failure could truly be indicative of whether Hollywood’s future is three-dimensional.

“Sucker Punch” (March 25, 2011): When we caught up with Vanessa Hudgens recently, she was excited to the point of breathlessness over the recent decision to convert her Zack Snyder action flick into 3-D. Co-starring Emily Browning, Jena Malone, Abbie Cornish, Carla Gugino and Jon Hamm, the flick represents the first fully original vision from the “300″ director and has the simple but complex premise of “Alice in Wonderland” with machine guns. Everything we’ve heard is that it’s going to be unlike anything we’ve seen before — and from Snyder, we’d expect nothing less.

“Drive Angry” (February 11, 2011): As is now mandatory by Hollywood decree, Nicolas Cage stars in this action movie. Along for the ride is Amber Heard, David Morse and Billy “I don’t have this ‘Twilight’ mustache all the time” Burke, starring in a good old-fashioned car movie and a good old-fashioned revenge movie, mixed together for maximum thrill-ride satisfaction. Currently filming in Shreveport, Louisiana, under the tutelage of “My Bloody Valentine 3-D” director Patrick Lussier, it seems like the sort of film that could exploit the third dimension for all its gory, grim, gorgeous best.

“The Hole” (release date TBD): Joe Dante is the filmmaking equivalent of Brooke Shields — everyone loves the guy, and even though he hasn’t done anything worthwhile in a few decades, we’re always hoping things will turn around. Now, the “Gremlins” director gets his latest opportunity to do right with a suspense thriller about two brothers who discover a bottomless hole in their basement and accidentally unleash evil itself. Already filmed, those who’ve seen it are reporting good things — let’s just hope that Dante’s “Hole” career has been leading up to this.

“The Cabin in the Woods” (January 14, 2011): Written by Joss Whedon, the film’s Web site tells you about as much as its title does. Recently, the flick was pushed back a year to be converted into 3-D, a move that should put us right there in the cabin to feel whatever creepy things are sure to be going on.

“Jackass 3-D” (October 15, 2010): Arguably the gutsiest 3-D film on the horizon, everybody is dying to see this one because no one has any idea what it will be. “We’re going to take the same 3-D technology James Cameron used in ‘Avatar’ and stick it up Steve-o’s butt,” Johnny Knoxville has said. “We’re taking stupid to a whole new dimension.” God help us all.

Do not adjust your glasses! It’s 3-D week at MTV News. All week long, we’re looking at the biggest and boldest upcoming movies set to reach out and grab you with the wonders of 3-D technology. We’ve got exclusive sneak peeks at “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” “Tron Legacy,” “Clash of the Titans” and many more.

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