In the world of the 2024 movie schedule, we’re still in a climate in which a solo Coen Brother will be making a cinematic return. As Ethan Coen prepares to finally release the noir-tinged comedy Drive-Away Dolls, another crazy adventure of comedic errors is on its way. While promoting this movie, the co-writer/director has apparently teased that he’s reuniting with his brother, and it’s in order to direct an upcoming horror movie. See, folks, miracles do happen!
As Montages has now reported out of the recent Tromsø International Film Festival, Ethan Coen made the first mention of this unnamed tale of terror during a masterclass event. Not only are he and brother Joel Coen reuniting to direct the project, they’ve also co-written the script. As to what we should expect, Ethan Coen has put this intriguing pin on the board:
It's a pure horror film, and it gets very bloody. If you like Blood Simple, I think you'll enjoy it.
If you’ll excuse me, I’m about to go mix a White Russian and toast the fates for such news, especially when Ethan is referencing one of the most pitch black classics in the history of Coen Bros. movies as a reference point. Come to think of it, a Coens-written horror movie feels kind of overdue if you really think about it.
While the works of Joel and Ethan Coen have been mostly regarded as screwball comedies like Raising Arizona, The Hudsucker Proxy, and even the supposedly underrated The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, there’s always been an existential side to their filmography.
That sort of darkness really surfaces in both Blood Simple and Miller’s Crossing, and to a lesser extent in their comedies Barton Fink and A Serious Man. The common thread throughout their joint filmography is existential humor, which delights in slapstick happenstance but also digs into pits of despair, rage, and unchecked aggression. Though the "pure horror" designation of this new movie seems to suggest that things are going to be quite bleak, with little room for chuckles.
When reading this announcement, the first thing that came to mind was one scene from Barton Fink, involving regular collaborator John Goodman. Though as you can see, Madman Mundt is a bit removed from The Big Lebowski’s Walter Sobchak, and in a way that makes the Vietnam Vet turned bowler look positively tame:
If you needed a reason to get excited about a Coen Brothers horror movie that promises pure “very bloody” action, you don’t need to look any further. While I hope there’s still a hint of the sort of gallows humor that Joel and Ethan love to indulge in present in this new project, I’m also totally ready for these fraternal partners to dive head first into something more akin to Joel’s adaptation of The Tragedy of Macbeth.
Let’s just hope this project doesn’t go the way of the many unrealized Coen Bros projects we still hope to see made, despite their current limbo state. If you really want to get a taste of true horror, gather your most cinematically inclined friends together in a room, and merely whisper the titles To The White Sea and Old Fink. The screams will haunt you for life.
While we wait for the joyous reunion of the Coen Brothers on this mysterious horror project, Ethan Coen and wife Tricia Cooke have the joyful madness that is Drive-Away Dolls on the way much sooner. You can catch this new comedy caper when it opens in theaters, starting February 23rd.