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Spooky ghost stories read by Christopher Lee  

It's Halloween - an odd time of year that sees people dressing up in shabby clothes, drinking, and asking other people for food. But while people play hobo for the night, I treat the macabre occasion the same way I treat the rest of life: as an excuse to watch more films.

But everyone already knows that The Exorcist and The Shining are probably the two scariest films ever made, so who needs to read yet another list of the "top horror films of all time"? Instead, I like to play Scream: The Video Game or something equally gruesome.

But if point-and-click MS-DOS games based on Wes Craven films aren't your thing, here's something a little more old-school: some actors doing what they do best when they're out of work in the winter season: reading terrifying ghost stories.

Inevitably, most of these are by Edgar Allan Poe, but there's a special treat in there for vampire fans: Dracula read by Michael Fassbender.

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Trailer: The Raven

Director: James McTeigue
Cast: John Cusack, Alice Eve, Luke Evans
Certificate: 15
Release Date: Friday 9th March

A fictionalized account of the last days of Edgar Allan Poe's life, in which the poet pursues a serial killer whose murders mirror those in the writer's stories.

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The Raven trailer John Cusack

"Her body was found lodged in a chimney, the mother's head severed with a razor." "You're referring to one of my stories. A work of fiction." "I'm afraid not."

Sometimes, someone comes along with an amazing idea for a movie and blows you away with its blend of horror and originality. At other times, someone comes up with the idea to make a film about a string of murders based on Edgar Allen Poe's stories.

The brilliant thing? I'm talking about the same idea.

Edgar Allen Poe solving Se7en-style crimes inspired by his imagination? Yes, it sounds like a load of a baloney. And yes, James "Ninja Assassin" McTeigue hardly has a great track record. But speaking as someone who loves a bit of Poe and spends half of his life dreaming of John Cusack, I cannot wait to see this film.

Part of the fun will no doubt come from working out where the titular Raven comes into it, given that Poe's classic poem doesn't really involve any killings. But we can also expect cats bricked up in basements, hearts beating underneath floorboards and pendulums swinging back and forth ready to chop a man in twain - and Alice Eve, of course.

The Raven is out in UK cinemas on Friday 9th March next year. Read on for the trailer - and my prediction for the ending.

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Joaquin Phoenix has been attached to the film Big Shoe. As an actor - not a rapper. Following Casey Affleck's documentary about Joaquin's year of meltdown/retirement/career change into hip-hop, it seems that the star is still here. And accepting meetings about acting roles.

Big Shoes is the new project from Steven Shainberg, the man who gave the world the warped but sweet Secretary, which starred a messed up James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Continuing such bizarre ideas from the director's mind, Big Shoe would involve Phoenix playing a "foot and shoe fetishist who is also an amazing footwear designer".

The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that the actor-turned-rapper has had meetings about the indie comedy-drama. But Joaquin has dipped his toes in more than just Big Shoe - he was also in talks over The Raven with Jeremy Renner, before Renner jumped onto Mission: 4mpossible and the role passed to John Cusack.

The speculation is that Phoenix (or "JP") is waiting to see how I'm Still Here performs before he looks to return to acting. Magnolia are releasing the picture today in America (check out the trailer). It hits cinemas here on Friday 17th September. And it's absolutely fascinating.




In one of the world's more inspired casting decisions, John Cusack will play Edgar Allen Poe in The Raven.

No, that's not an adaptation of The Raven. And no, it's not a biopic either. Directed by V for Vendetta's James McTeigue, The Raven takes place during the last five days of Poe's life. When a killer with an unhealthy Poe obsession is bumping off folks in the Edgar Allen style.

It's either first-grade fan fiction of the trashiest variety, or it's an amazingly brilliant movie waiting to happen. Either way, it's a chance for Cusack to shine in a weird role with snazzy period dress.

The part of Poe fell to Cusack after Ewan McGregor dropped out, Jeremy Renner ditched it for Mission: Impossible 4 and Joaquin Phoenix had a mental breakdown. The actor, who was last seen in Hot Tub Time Machine, announced it via Twitter.

The Raven starts shooting in October in Budapest and Serbia.


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