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WIRE Buzz: David Cronenberg joins 'Slasher'; DUST plans Moreau series; BattleBots returns

By Matthew Jackson
David Cronenberg Getty 2018

Legendary director and writer David Cronenberg doesn't turn his acting skills on all that often, but when he does it's usually memorable, and it's often particularly memorable when he's willing to do it for a horror project. Thankfully for genre fans, we have a new Cronenberg performance to look forward to in 2021, courtesy of the Canadian anthology horror series Slasher

The horror streaming service Shudder announced Thursday that Cronenberg -- the visionary behind classics like The FlyScanners, and Videodrome -- has joined the upcoming fourth season of Slasher, subtitled Flesh & Blood. The new season is a collaboration between Shudder and Slasher production company Shaftesbury, and will exclusively premiere on Shudder next year. 

Slasher premiered in 2016 on Chiller before dropping its second and third seasons on Netflix in 2017 and 2019, respectively. Each season is devoted to a different story, and as the title suggests each story revolves around a different masked killer stalking a different group of characters, often played by a group of actors who've begun to form a kind of Slasher stock company. Here's how Shudder describes what's to come in Flesh & Blood:

"Slasher: Flesh & Blood follows a wealthy but dysfunctional family gathering for a reunion on a secluded island. Their old wounds and competitive rivalries flare up when the family realizes a masked killer is on the island, intent on cruelly picking them off one by one. As with the past installments of the series, Slasher: Flesh & Blood will combine elements of traditional murder mystery with the intense horror and bold kills that audiences have come to expect."

The streamer also released a creepy first-look image, which you can check out below:

Slasher Flesh and Blood

Cronenberg's role remains mysterious, but he joins a cast that includes Slasher alums Paula Brancati, Jefferson Brown, Patrice Goodman, Sabrina Grdevich, and Christopher Jacot, as well as newcomers Rachael Crawford, Jeananne Goosen, Sydney Meyer, and Alex Ozerov. Slasher: Flesh & Blood arrives sometime next year.

The classic H.G. Wells story The Island of Dr. Moreau is getting an update from an exciting genre scribe. Gunpowder & Sky announced Thursday that it's developing a new TV series based on the tale via its sci-fi label DUST. Titled Moreau, the series will aim to bring the story of a mad scientist creating human-animal hybrids into the 21st century via the work of screenwriter Zack Stentz, best known for work on films like X-Men: First Class and Rim of the World and TV series like the recent success Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous

Rather than the old-fashioned Dr. Moreau approach of vivisection to create hybrid creatures, Moreau will use modern genetic engineering as its sci-fi hook. The series is set to follow the brilliant Dr. Jessica Moreau, whose work in genetics draws the interest of a billionaire willing to use all of their financial resources to reach "the next step of human evolution."

"The double helix wasn’t even a twinkle in Watson & Crick’s eye when H.G. Wells first wrote The Island of Dr. Moreau, but his 1896 novel proved astonishingly prescient about how unlocking the secrets of DNA would open the door to humanity playing God with the natural world in strange and frightening ways,” Stentz said in a press release. “And now, in the shadow of the CRISPR revolution, it felt like the perfect time to revisit Moreau and bring it into our own 21st Century world of transgenic animals, designer babies and other scientific advances Wells never could have dreamed of."

Release information for Moreau is not yet available as the series continues to develop, but this is definitely an exciting project worth keeping an eye on as Stentz and company move forward.

After a pandemic-induced delay, the tenth season of BattleBots is coming just in time for some holiday viewing. Discovery announced Thursday that the series is set to make its return, with COVID-19 protocols in place, December 3. 

BattleBots was originally set to air new episodes beginning in May, but as with just about every other major TV production, pandemic safety concerns put a hold on that. When production resumed later in the year, it did so under strict COVID protocol supervision, with regular testing for cast and crew in place and, most notably, without a studio audience to cheer along the robot fighting competitors. Instead, the show constructed "opera boxes" to place around the BattleBox set where the competing teams could watch the action as their rivals fought in the arena. 

Chris Rose and Kenny Florian return to provide live commentary, with Jenny Taft returning as builder pit reporter and Faruq Tauheed back as ring announcer. Plus, the new season will include BattleBots veteran Peter Abrahamson (the mind behind the "Ronin" bot from the early seasons of the show) in the role of "Bot Whisperer," providing extra commentary from a robotics expert perspective. 

BattleBots returns December 3 at 8 p.m. EST on Discovery.