Could it be a trend?
Most of the supernatural and genre films previewed over the weekend at New York Comic Con had a female-centric theme, featuring girls and women as witches ("Beautiful Creatures"), demons ("Evil Dead"), paranormal investigators and the possessed alike ("The Conjuring"), teen assassins ("Violet & Daisy") and telekinetic prom queens ("Carrie"). This was despite the general makeup of the more than 115,000 badge-holders for the convention being 60% male.
The influence of such fantasy and dystopic-fiction series as "Twilight" and "Hunger Games" is clear, at least as far as the market is concerned, even if the subject matter is wildly different. We sampled a variety of the film offerings and talked to those involved to give a sneak peek of what dark dreams lie ahead.
"Silent Hill: Revelation 3-D"
When Kit Harington limped onto the NYCC floor, nursing an ankle injury, he was bombarded by fans dressed as his television character, Jon Snow. But the "Game of Thrones" star wasn't at the convention to promote the show. Rather, he's got his first horror film coming out, "Silent Hill: Revelation 3-D," on October 26, co-starring his "Thrones" father, Sean Bean.
"There was a bit of teasing about being his bastard son," Harington laughed. "But it was nice to be in a different genre, a different environment, with the same actor. We shot this straight off the first season of 'Thrones,' and we got to be in normal clothes for once!"
Harington plays Vincent, a character originally found in the video game that the film series is based on, but his version is remarkably different from the order priest. "He has a change of heart," the actor said. "If we had been sticking to the video game, then I wouldn't have been cast."
Vincent accompanies the female protagonist -- let's call her Heather Mason -- on her journey back to Silent Hill, a town caught in a sort of dream dimension in which the darkness takes over and monstrous creatures of corrupted flesh torment the people there. When they enter Silent Hill, it looks like snow is falling, but it's ash, since the town is perpetually burning.
"I love the ash in 3D," Harington said. "It kind of freaked my eyes out at first, but I love the image of the girl walking forward and the ash coming down."
Since Silent Hill's dreamscape is about nightmares come to life, it's only fitting that its stars have had a little trouble sleeping since the shoot. "I hope I'm never strapped to a gurney with demon nurses trying to kill me again," Harington laughed.
When the actor had to have a pin removed in the hospital, he flashed back to his scene in "Silent Hill" "because I was on a gurney in a hospital," he said. "I was passing in and out of consciousness, because I'm quite a queasy person when it comes to blood and syringes, and I was like, 'Oh, my God, it's happening all over again!'"
One of the scariest -- and most iconic -- characters from the film and video game series is Pyramid Head, who rivals Harington (for now) in the fan devotion department. "All these people were coming up to me going, 'Pyramid Head, he's my favorite,' " Harington said.
Once the film is out, he hopes he'll inherit some of that fan love. "I'm collecting fan bases is what I'm doing," he said with a smile. "I'm taking over the world slowly through fan base collection."
En route from the set of her television series, "Shameless," Emmy Rossum nearly lost her luggage. Stuck in her hotel room without a change of clothing, she contemplated "grabbing the sheets off the bed and fashioning a toga," she said. "I could go as a goddess!"
Rossum's not quite a goddess in her new film, "Beautiful Creatures," the first film adaptation of the young adult fantasy book series the Caster Chronicles, out February 13, but she might as well be. As Ridley, she's a siren who can "seduce men and kill them," the actress said with glee before explaining that she based her character's mentality on a figure in Norse mythology.
The supernatural characters at the center of "Beautiful Creatures," written and directed by Richard LaGravenese, live in a Southern Gothic world where once they turn 16, they are claimed for either the Light or the Dark. It's a series that's been hyped as the next "Twilight," but it actual bears a closer resemblance to another vampire series, according to the director.
"To me, it's like 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer,' where it's a metaphor for a bigger idea," LaGravenese said. "I love that you have this idea where you don't know what your true nature is, you don't know who you are, and you have to claim who you are. You could take the supernatural out of it, and it still works."
One distinction it has from the current spate of female-centric fantasy fiction is that it's told from a male perspective, from that of a boy named Ethan who falls for Ridley's mysterious cousin Lena, who is on the cusp of her claiming but wants to choose her own path. Lena is played by newcomer Alice Englert, and the cast also includes turns by Emma Thompson, Jeremy Irons and Viola Davis.
Alden Ehrenreich, who plays Ethan, said he originally turned down the movie because "I thought, 'Oh, it's a genre love story with witches.' " But after the filmmakers cast someone else (who subsequently fell through), he read the script and reconsidered. "I fell in love after the first three pages," he said. "And so I got the part at 8 in the morning, and by 4 in the afternoon, I was in a car and on the way there. A week later, we started shooting in New Orleans."
Rossum, whose character can melt just about anyone with one lick of her red lollipop, hopes that next Comic Con will feature fans dressed as Ridley. Until then, her on-screen boyfriend Thomas Mann, who plays Link, is happy to dress up as Carrie. "I would be covered in blood, with a wig," he joked. "Chloë Moretz should watch out for me. I might be taking all her roles now. I'm that good."
Chloë Grace Moretz flew straight from the set of "Kick-Ass 2," shooting in London, to give a preview of her other highly anticipated film (at least within the NYCC crowd), "Carrie," out March 15.
The 15-year-old plays the role Sissy Spacek made famous in the Brian De Palma original, but she's not attempting to fill Spacek's blood-drenched prom shoes. "Some people just remake horror movies for the sake of 'I want to make it gorier' or 'I want to make it more marketable,' " she noted. "But this isn't a remake of the original. It's a retelling of the book by Stephen King, and it hasn't been made this way before."
Director Kimberly Peirce called up De Palma to see how he felt about her doing this film, "because if he felt bad about it, I wouldn't want to do it," she said. But he gave her the go-ahead, and while she wasn't necessarily seeking his permission, "it was great not to have a problem with him."