The House with a Clock in Its Walls

Cate Blanchett and Jack Black Make Magic in The House with a Clock in Its Walls Trailer

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Universal is trying to capture some of that boy wizard magic with its new trailer for The House with a Clock in Its Walls. The film, based on the novel by John Bellairs, is about a young orphan, Lewis Barnavelt, who goes to live with his warlock uncle Jonathan. Lewis learns to use his magic abilities, and along with their witchy neighbor Mrs. Zimmerman, the trio must try to stop the apocalypse by finding a mysterious clock hidden within the walls of the Barnavelt mansion.

This film is the latest in a series of gothic horror fantasy adaptations, which include Lemony Snickets’ A Series of Unfortunate Events, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and pretty much anything from the Tim Burton canon. Jack Black has previously dabbled in the kids horror genre with Goosebumps. Cate Blanchett has also appeared in films aimed at younger audiences, playing the wicked stepmother in Disney’s live-action Cinderella as well as lending her voice to the How to Train Your Dragon films. In addition, she will be voicing Kaa in the upcoming Jungle Book-inspired film Mowgli.

Though the trailer features thematic and stylistic similarities to the Harry Potter franchise, the source material predates Rowling’s books. The House with a Clock in Its Walls was first published in 1973, featuring illustrations from famed artist Edward Gorey. Bellairs wrote two sequels to the series, which was taken over by Brad Strickland following Bellairs’ death in 1991. Strickland wrote an additional nine novels, with the most recent being published in 2008.

The film is directed by Eli Roth, best known for grisly horror movies like Cabin Fever and Hostel, in his first foray into kids movies, with a script by Supernatural‘s Eric Kripke.

(via io9, image: Universal Pictures)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.