January 17, 2013 9:20pm PT by Borys Kit, Lesley Goldberg
Ryan Murphy and Jason Blum Teaming Up for MGM's Remake of 'The Town That Dreaded Sundown'
Ryan Murphy and Jason Blum are teaming up for the remake of MGM’s cult-classic horror pic The Town That Dreaded Sundown.
Alfonso Gomez-Rejon is in negotiations to direct the movie, which already has a script by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the playwright who wrote MGM’s upcoming remake of Carrie.
Sundown, released in 1976, was in many ways a precursor to the found-footage phenomenon that stalks the horror genre today. The movie, directed by Charles B. Pierce, fictionally tells in documentary style, complete with a voice-over, "true events" that occurred in and around Texarkana in 1946.
Over a period of months, a serial killer dubbed the Phantom Killer murdered several people, throwing communities into fear. He was never caught.
MGM is aiming to produce the remake on a low budget and keep the original's cinema verite style. The remake is said to have horror-movie tones and elements of a procedural in the vein of David Fincher’s Zodiac. The project is eyeing a spring start and had been operating under a veil of secrecy until Murphy revealed certain details during a press screening of the second season finale for FX's horror anthology he co-created, American Horror Story.
Murphy said that while working on his next directorial project, Normal Heart, with Blum, the two began a dialogue about horror movies. Blum is considered a maestro of the low-budget found-footage genre, with credits such as the Paranormal Activity franchise.
“The movie I was the most freaked out by as a child was this movie that no one ever saw called The Town That Dreaded Sundown,” Murphy said during the Q&A. “I had just started to babysit my brother, and the ads for that movie would come on and I'd get freaked out. I went to (Blum) with this and MGM was gracious enough to let us do it with them. So we're doing a modern-day version remake, weird meta thing with (it).”
Gomez-Rejon is an in-demand second unit director who has worked on movies such as Babel and Argo. He did second unit on Murphy’s feature Eat Pray Love, which led to him working as a director on Murphy’s Fox musical Glee. That put him on the path to direct episodes of American Horror Story. Gomez-Rejon earned high praise from Murphy for his direction of Wednesday's second season AHS finale, with the helmer being tapped a producer who will direct every third episode of the FX series next season.
Gomez-Rejon is repped by WME and Kleinberg Lopez.