phantom limb /ˈfan(t)əm’lim/ n. an usually painful sensation of the presence of a limb that has been amputated.
Welcome to Phantom Limbs, a recurring characteristic which is able to check out meant but unproduced horror sequels and remakes – extensions to style movies we love, appendages to horror franchises that we love – that have been sadly lopped off earlier than making it past the planning phases. Right here, we might be chatting with the creators of those unmade extremities to achieve their distinctive perception into these follow-ups that by no means have been, with the discussions standing as hopefully illuminating however undoubtedly painful reminders of what may need been.
“The starvation has returned to Mr. Brooks’ mind. It by no means actually left.”
For this entry, we’ll be looking on the sadly unproduced sequels to the 2007 psychological thriller/horror movie Mr. Brooks, which starred Kevin Costner, William Harm, Dane Cook dinner, Demi Moore and Danielle Panabaker. Although that first movie was left considerably open-ended and was meant to be the primary installment in a trilogy, it has seen nothing in the way in which of follow-ups since its launch nicely over a decade in the past. In researching these second and third movies, this author was lucky sufficient to have the ability to communicate with Mr. Brooks co-writer/director Bruce A. Evans, who offered what data he may on the persevering with adventures of certainly one of cinema’s most fascinating serial killers.
For many who haven’t but seen Mr. Brooks, a recap: rich Portland businessman Earl Brooks (Costner) is the very image of success. He owns a thriving field manufacturing firm, he’s nicely revered in his group (even being named Portland’s “Man of the Yr”), and is a loving husband and doting father to his daughter Jane (Panabaker). However beneath his facade of normality, Mr. Brooks is hiding a darkish secret: he’s the serial slayer referred to as “The Thumbprint Killer”, a methodical and depraved assassin guided by means of his crimes by Marshall (Harm), a sardonic extension of Brooks’ id. Unusually, Brooks doesn’t enjoyment of his bloody transgressions, however is tortured by them. He wrestles together with his psychopathy as if it have been an habit that may be curbed, attending AA conferences, reciting numerous prayers like mantras, and doing his best always to maintain his darkish facet at bay, all whereas displaying a set of ethical rules that push him to try to be a greater particular person.
After two years with out a single homicide, Brooks falls off the wagon and kills a younger couple of their house whereas they’re in mattress. Sadly for him, this act is caught on digicam by Graves Baffert (Cook dinner), a sleazy novice photographer utilizing the alias “Mr. Smith”, who makes use of the images he took to blackmail Brooks – not for cash, however for the chance to accompany the Thumbprint Killer throughout his subsequent homicide. Brooks reluctantly takes Smith beneath his wing, displaying him the ropes of searching victims and getting ready for his or her homicide. Working parallel to Brooks’ story is a subplot involving Tracy Atwood (Moore), a pushed detective scorching on the Thumbprint Killer’s path, who’s at the moment being stalked by an escaped serial killer referred to as “The Hangman” that she’d beforehand put behind bars. Brooks takes an curiosity in Atwood, utilizing his expertise to assist the detective whereas additionally coping with the stunning revelation that his personal daughter Jane has begun displaying her personal telltale indicators of being a vicious assassin.
As written by the Starman/Stand By Me writing group of Evans and Raynold Gideon, Mr. Brooks tells a story which is at turns engrossing, pulpy, scary, and genuinely thrilling, all whereas presenting an interesting character research of its titular, self-medicating serial killer with a conscience. Although the movie’s ending hinted at extra to come back and interviews teased the opportunity of a trilogy of movies, Mr. Brooks at the moment exists solely as a standalone characteristic. In agreeing to talk with us concerning the sequels that by no means have been, Mr. Evans did warning that there have been by no means any therapies or screenplays penned for the potential follow-ups, so the next, minimal descriptions of what the second and third movies would have entailed is unfortunately all that exists of them. However, Mr. Evans was gracious together with his time, and was blissful to element what he may when it got here to Mr. Brooks 2 and three.
“One of many preliminary concepts that we weren’t in a position to totally incorporate into the primary movie [was that] Mr. Brooks was fascinated by [Detective Atwood],” Evans says. Although Demi Moore was forged as Atwood within the ultimate movie, her half was initially written for somebody a bit youthful, permitting Brooks to start feeling oddly paternal towards her. “He was impressed along with her. It wasn’t a love story. He noticed her because the daughter that he’d at all times needed. He’s tortured by his relationship together with his personal daughter [who ultimately reveals herself to be as murderous as her father], whereas [Atwood] represents who he had at all times needed as a daughter. And that engagement would have continued on with the second movie.”
As described by Mr. Evans, the plot that he and Mr. Gideon had concocted for the second movie would have discovered Brooks working with Detective Atwood to search out his spouse and daughter, who would have been kidnapped. “Somebody would have kidnapped his household, having no concept who they have been coping with,” Evans notes, stating that the abductors wouldn’t solely be contending with the murderous Brooks, however his burgeoning psychopath of a daughter as nicely. It’s a enjoyable and interesting setup for a sequel, which little doubt would have deftly juggled the kind of psychological thriller components, grisly horror and jet black humor discovered within the first movie.
Additionally returning to the fray would have been Marshall, Willam Harm’s snarky, scene-stealing manifestation of Brooks’ id. Named after actor Marshall Bell (A Nightmare on Elm Avenue 2: Freddy’s Revenge, Whole Recall), a good friend of Evans and Gideon, the enigmatic and darkly humorous character would have figured prominently within the sequels. Nevertheless, Mr. Evans revealed that Brooks would have determined in some unspecified time in the future that he wanted to dispose of Marshall, shoving down and killing this a part of his psyche. “There would have been a visualization of this loss of life,” Evans says. “And Marshall would have ultimately been resurrected, and that might have been visualized as nicely.” Evans says that there might have even been a number of deaths and resurrections for Marshall, with the character coming again “angrier and extra perverse” with each go.
Sadly, even much less data is on the market for what would have been the third movie, as solely the essential concept had been mentioned in broad strokes. Nevertheless, the plot did spring from one crystalline picture, offered by Mr. Brooks himself, Kevin Costner. “Kevin’s concept was for Mr. Brooks to drive himself and his daughter off of a pier.” The majority of the third movie would have discovered Brooks’ daughter Jane turning in opposition to her father and framing him for homicide, establishing a battle of wills between the 2 because the youthful Brooks tries to “get again at Daddy”. In realizing that there could be no hope for his daughter, he drives them each off into the water, ending his daughter’s reign of terror and his personal tortured life.
So why weren’t these sequels made? Nicely, sadly, all of it comes all the way down to cash. Whereas the primary movie initially had just one financier, the curiosity within the film was in the end offered off to quite a few traders, making a muddy quagmire of rights points with regards to who precisely owns the movie. Couple that with the truth that the film’s preliminary spring launch date (when the film was pegged as being a probable hit) was bumped to a crowded summer season blockbuster slate, hindering the movie’s probabilities at a bigger success than it wound up having, and you’ve got an totally pedestrian finish to what ought to have been a fascinating and enduring franchise.
However, Evans and Gideon have been at one level eager to proceed Brooks’ story, and the entire forged members have been keen to come back again. So is there any likelihood that we’d but see these Mr. Brooks sequels some day? Nicely, in line with Mr. Evans, it isn’t probably. “About ninety-nine % not an opportunity. The rights are a large number.”
And so, in the end, it seems as if Mr. Brooks has certainly met an premature finish. “It’s a tragedy to us. As a author and director, you sit in a room and write one thing down and also you anticipate it being one factor, and also you give it to any individual like Kevin and Invoice Harm and Danielle and Demi … I suppose the tragedy could be not seeing the phrases that you simply’d write [being placed] within the mouths of these actors once more. [They] stunned Ray and myself with their interpretations of our work. They have been all pleasant to work with. Kevin couldn’t have been extra supportive, and Harm is a genius. And Dane Cook dinner was an enormous discover. At all times very ingenious. It’s unhappy that we didn’t get to proceed the story of these individuals.”
Very particular due to Bruce A. Evans for his time and insights.