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Friday, November 30, 2007
More than that, rumor has it that Tom Cruise, who played the lead role of Lestat in 1994's Interview with the Vampire, may be returning to the part. The book tells the story of the French bloodsucker's attempt to regain his humanity by switching bodies with a mortal.
Many fans of Rice's work were disappointed with the Cruise casting 13 years, so they can't be pleased this time around either. But then again, most also felt that the atrocious Queen of the Damned adaptation five years ago had driven a definitive stake through the heart of this series...
Find out just what kind of zombie you are! Check out the very clever quiz I've added near the bottom of the page, courtesy of Quizilla...
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
But after all the buzz this show has been getting, including glowing recommendations from everyone from the folks on the Bloody-Disgusting forums to my Dad (Hi Dad), I realize I need to rectify this. Thus, the entire first season is now placed high atop my Netflix queue.
Chronicling the misadventures of a strangely moral serial killer played by Michael C. Hall (who was on excellent on his last cable show, HBO's Six Feet Under), Dexter set a new record this week. According to The Hollywood Reporter, last Sunday's episode drew 1.23 million viewers, the highest ever for a Showtime series. Viewership also grew an impressive 40% from last week's ep. And with a third season recently confirmed, the word on this series is officially out. Make room for me on the bandwagon!
Sunday, November 25, 2007
For as long as humans have been sophisticated enough to desire entertainment, we've had an innate fascination with being horrified. Perhaps the last vestigal remants of the "fight or flight" instinct give us this visceral thrill, which we can enjoy freely with the knowledge that what we are seeing is not real.
As ingrained as the love of being scared is in the human psyche, it's suprising that horror took a while to establish itself as a major genre in the motion picture business. In the earliest days of the movies, they were not very common, particularly in America, where religious groups still held great sway over public opinion.
At the beginning of the industry, it was in Europe that horror films first took root. Pioneering French filmmaker Georges Melies (best known for 1902's A Trip to the Moon) is credited with creating the earliest examples with his two short films, The House of the Devil (1896) and The Cave of the Demons (1898).
At the start of the 20th century, the epicenter of the motion picture biz was in Germany, and horror pictures were no different. A wave of Expressionistic films emerged there in the '10s and '20s, the impact of which continues to be felt to this day. Chief among them were Paul Wegener's The Golem (1920), Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) and of course, F.W. Murnau's 1922 masterpiece, Nosferatu--the first of countless Dracula adaptations.
Meanwhile, in the States, it was actually Thomas Edison, who had invented motion picture technology in the first place, whose production company put out what may be America's first horror movie and the first in another long tradition, 1910's short film Frankenstein.
In Hollywood, the 1920s produced the first horror movie megastar, the one and only Lon Chaney. Known as "The Man of a Thousand Faces," Chaney achieved notoriety in large part due to his uncanny ability to transform himself through make-up. Chief among his notable roles are The Monster (1925), lost film London After Midnight (1927) and his iconic turn in The Phantom of the Opera (1925), which gave rise to Universal's classic monster movie series the following decade.
The end of the 1920s saw the rise of a revolution in filmmaking thanks to arguably the greatest innovation the industry has ever seen: sound. The effects would be profound, and horror movies would lead the way.
Other major releases:Part 2 - Gods and Monsters
Saturday, November 24, 2007
It's been whispered about ever since a March 2006 interview that Nightmare star Robert Englund gave to the Pit of Horror, in which he described a film tentatively titled A Nightmare on Elm Street: The First Kills (also rumored to have the far superior title Elm Street: The First Murders) The proposed flick would deal with Freddy's often-recounted backstory, in which he sliced up a bunch of schoolkids and was burned alive by revenge-minded parents after his acquittal.
New Line is said to still be eyeing the project, but there hasn't been any movement in months, despite great interest from the fanbase. It's expected that Englund would reprise his role as everyone's favorite bastard son of a thousand maniacs. Hey, if studios are willing to greenlight every half-assed remake that comes down the pike, surely they can give this a chance.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thanks to Loneranger Zombie of the I See Dead forums for bringing this to my attention!
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
In this clip provided by Paramount Pictures to Bloody Disgusting today, Depp croons a bit of "Johanna", one of the songs written for the stage musical by Sondheim--also known for such musicals as Sunday in the Park with George, A Little Night Music, Into the Woods and West Side story (lyrics only) and for composing such standards as "Send in the Clowns", "Everything's Coming Up Roses", "Comedy Tonight" and "Let Me Entertain You."
What, I can't like horror movies and showtunes...?
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
The picture, which hits on January 18, centers on an attack upon New York City by a gigantic beast (rumored to be a squidlike creature of some kind).
Gotta say, I just have a sense that, as impressive as this trailer may be, this one has the potential to be a colossal stinker. The last time Abrams gave us a giant monster, it was part of his TV show Lost, which began life as a ratings juggernaut, and has since been shedding viewers steadily due mainly to an almost pathological refusal to divulge any details as to exactly what the heck is going on. The creative minds behind the film are also strictly small-screen people: writer Drew Goddard was Abrams' collaborator on both Lost and Alias, while director Matt Reeves hasn't helmed a cinematic project since 1996's forgettable comedy The Pallbearer, finding work instead as a head writer for Felicity.
Not to mention the fact that I seem to vaguely recall the Japanese making a movie or two like this one a few years back...
- Nosferatu: Ultimate Edition - DVD, $29.95 (discussed here a couple days back)
- Stir of Echoes 2: The Homecoming - DVD, $26.98 (starring Rob Lowe; should be good for a laugh or two)
- Tremors - HD DVD, $29.98
- The Bride of Frankenstein - Paperback, $6.99 (Intriguing novel which postulates that the Bride wasn't destroyed at the end of the movie.)
- Demon Night - Paperback, $11.95 (new one from J. Michael Straczynski)
- The Essential Dracula - Paperback, $14.95 (annotated edition of Stoker's classic)
- The Essential Phantom of the Opera - Paperback, $14.95 (you get the idea)
- The Omega Man - Blu-Ray, $28.99 (100% Anglo-Saxon, baby!!)
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Panel to Panel - Paperback, $19.95 (a look back at ten years of Buffy in Dark Horse Comics)
- Hellboy Animated Vol. 3: The Menagerie - Graphic novel, $6.95
- The Fly & Other Horror Stories - Paperback, $10.54 (British anthology)
- Winter Moon - Audiobook (for the blind/lazy Dean Koontz fan!)
- Trashfiend: Disposable Horror Fare of the 1960s and 1970s - Paperback, $19.95
- The Hellbound Heart - Hardcover, $30.00 (20th anniversary edition of Clive Barker's masterwork)
- Carrie - DVD, $19.98 (Re-released as part of MGM's "Decades Collection", comes with a CD of some kind)
- The Last Man on Earth - DVD, $14.98 (a spiffy re-release to capitalize on the sure-to-be-vastly-inferior I Am Legend)
- 20 Million Miles to Earth - DVD, $24.96 (50th Anniversay edition)
- Batman: Vampire - Graphic novel, $19.99 (continuation of Doug Moench & Kelley Jones' compelling and unrelenting saga)
- Hellblazer: Bloodlines - Graphic novel, $19.99 (hopefully better than Hellraiser: Bloodlines!)
- Masters of Horror: Season 1, Vol. 4 - Blu-Ray, $29.98
- Silent Night, Deadly Night - DVD, $14.98 (back to piss off soccer moms nationwide once more!)
- Final Destination: Spring Break - Paperback, $17.99 (see: Stir of Echoes 2)
Sunday, November 18, 2007
However, I wanted to point out a series of Universal films that gets short shrift from fans of classic horror, partly due to the legendary status of Karloff's 1932 picture. I'm referring to the "Kharis" mummy films of the 1940s, which I recently had the pleasure of rediscovering. I'm even going to go on record as saying that I prefer the "Kharis" series to the original.
This might seem blasphemy to some, but this series, relegated to relative obscurity and almost never mentioned in discussions of Universal horror, delivers the goods much better than Karloff's film. Even as a kid, I greatly preferred these movies, mainly due to the fact that the character of the mummy really lives up to your expectations of what a mummy should be--as opposed to the first movie, in which Karloff only appears as an actual mummy in the beginning, and then spends the rest of the flick as a weird wrinkled guy in a fez. Chances are, when you think of the mummy as a movie monster, you're really thinking of Kharis, whether you realize it or not.
Released between 1940 and 1944, The Mummy's Hand, The Mummy's Tomb, The Mummy's Ghost and The Mummy's Curse are among the most underrated pictures of horror's golden age. The '40s is known for its dearth of solid horror pictures, due in large part to the real-life horrors of World War II. Even the vaunted Frankenstein and Dracula series devolved into the juvenile during this period. I would argue that the "Kharis" series are the finest horror movies put out by the studio during the 1940s--and that's including The Wolf Man.
The quartet of films has nothing to do with the 1932 Mummy, in which Karloff played not Kharis but an entirely different dead Egyptian, Imhotep. This series tells its own story, of a shambling eternal killing machine, many of whose scenes still have the power to chill the blood, and in whose appearance and movements one can see an early influence on the zombies created by the likes of George Romero and Lucio Fulci. Furthermore, it can be argued that Hammer Films' 1959 The Mummy is based much more on these films than it is on the Karloff picture.
The "Kharis" series is not given the credit it deserves, perhaps due to the inescapable shadow of Karloff's earlier classic, or maybe the fact that horror movies had been relegated to B-movie status at Universal by the '40s. But fans of old school horror would do well to unearth this often overlooked series, as I did. Although the quality decreases as the series goes along, they are all highly enjoyable, and the continuity between the sequels is actually stronger than in other Universal horror series.
Although it hasn't been updated in years, here's an excellent site devoted entirely to the "Kharis" series, for those who want to find out more.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
The new Friday the 13th is going to open with Jason as a legend in the Crystal Lake area. Five kids out in the woods looking for a bunch of weed they planted and stumble upon the deserted Camp Crystal Lake. Sitting around the fire that night, the dweeby one (there's always a dweeby one) tells the legend of Jason Voorhees. After that the Survivor Girl and her boyfriend wander off into the woods, where they find a shitty old cabin. Inside are some clues, like a bed with the name Jason carved in it. An old picture of a girl who looks just like Survivor Girl. And Mama Voorhees' head. Cue Jason. He murderizes the other four kids, and as he grabs Survivor Girl... slam into the opening credits.
Sounds like this is definitely not a direct continuation, nor a straight-up reboot. You will remember that in the original Friday, Jason isn't even the killer. Rather, it seems to be a streamlined, out-of-continuity take on the franchise. For the comic book fans out there, think of it as "Ultimate Jason".
I have never very much cared for the Friday flicks, nor the '80s slasher genre in general. It will take a little more than this tidbit to get me excited to watch more pot-smoking teens get impaled on garden tools.
Shooting on the New Line/Paramount project begins in February, for a scheduled 2009 release.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
*11/16 UPDATE* Viggo Mortensen fansite Viggo-Works.com is reporting this rumor to be patently FALSE. Who's got the story straight here? Time will tell. Thanks to the anonymous commenter for tipping me off to this one.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Akroyd and Ramis, in addition to Bill Murray, as well as several supporting actors, will be lending their voice to the game, which takes place shortly after the events of the sadly disappointing Ghostbusters 2. Expect to see it by next fall.
Fans of the paranormal investigators and eliminators have been praying for a new sequel for 18 years now, so I guess there are many who are saying, "Better this than nothing." My interest in videogames cuts off at about 1987, so this really isn't doing much for me.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
His writings have been known to send chills up the spines of readers, but never before has the legendary Stephen King provoked such abject terror. In this video posted exclusively on TMZ.com yesterday, an ardent King fan asks the author to autograph one of her daughter's diapers (!) only to send her little one into uncontrolled hysterics. Now if only more of King's movie adaptations could have a similar effect on viewers...
*PREMIERE TICKET GIVEAWAY* The Vault of Horror is giving away VIP passes to premiere theatrical showings of the direct-to-DVD urban thriller Somebody Help Me in Washington, DC (Thursday), Baltimore (Friday) and Atlanta (Saturday). Anyone interested in getting their name on the VIP list, shoot me an e-mail. If you're curious, you can watch the trailer below, and check out pix from the L.A. premiere here and here.
Monday, November 12, 2007
In one week, the "Ultimate DVD Edition" of the 1922 F.W. Murnau masterpiece Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror will be released. A startling example of film restoration, the movie has been brought as close to its original grandeur as is humanly possible, including the original color tinting and a re-recording of the original score.
The edition also boasts:
- The original German intertitles, plus the option for either newly translated English intertitles or subtitles.
- "The Language of Shadows", a making-of documentary.
- A short documentary on the restoration, which can be watched in its entirety here.
- Lengthy excerpts from other Murnau films.
Basically, this thing is a treasure trove for any serious horror fan, so much so that I may even dust off the ol' wallet to spring for it, despite already owning an earlier edition. You can pre-order it here.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Apparently, the project was still awaiting script approval from Universal at the time the strike began. This means that it can't go before the cameras until the strike is resolved. Worst case scenario, it could mean the project gets canned completely, if say, the actors are no longer available, or it becomes too costly to keep the project on hold.
I'll be keeping a close eye on this one. The Wolf Man is something I've been looking forward to more than any other horror flick in production, and it would be a real shame if Hollywood politics prove even more deadly than wolfbane.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
The Polish filmmaker is known for breaking throguh in the United States thanks to a trio of films that helped to redefine the horror genre during the 1960s: Repulsion, The Fearless Vampire Killers and of course the movie that made Satanism cool, Rosemary's Baby.
The unauthorized biopic is being made by writer/director Damian Chapa, whose greatest accomplishment thus far might be his one-year marriage to Natasha Henstridge. Chapa will begin shooting the film for Amadeus Pictures in January.
"I don’t want horror to become what Eli Roth does and what Rob Zombie does because that would be highly detrimental to the genre. I have no moral problem with this torture porn stuff; it’s just that I’m bored with it."
Barker goes on to stress the importance of getting back to storytelling in horror films, and also seems less than enthusiastic for the latest installment in the Saw series. You can check out the entire interview here.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Now granted, last year's debut Horrorfest may have produced a series of flicks better left to the straight-to-video bin, but let's give them the benefit of the doubt this year. After all, it's a nationwide horror movie festival--so consider it your duty as a horror fan to get out there and support it! Go to the official Horrorfest website to check out theater listing, trailers, and all that other good stuff.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
What I saw most certainly lived up to my expectations. In short, the film is a brilliant satire, and while not quite as brilliant as the flick it's most likely to be compared to--Shaun of the Dead--it still manages to carve out an identity all its own.
In fact, after watching it, it's hard to understand how a movie like this could simply slip under the radar. Sure, horror geeks like myself knew all about it, but it only got a limited release, and really didn't make much of a dent in the mainstream, which is a shame.
The tale of a fictional 1950s in which humans have survived a zombie plague and turned their undead assailants into docile servants, Fido is highlighted by a compelling mute performance by Scottish comic Billy Connelly in the title role of the Robinson family's pet ghoul--who befriends his owners' son Timmy. The friendship is typified by a hilarious nod to the old Lassie TV show which I won't give away here for anyone who plans to see the movie.
A subversive and thoroughly original picture, this zom-com may be relatively low on blood for all you gorehounds out there, but makes up for it with a script smart enough to please any zombie-lover. Case in point: the TV commercial for a heart monitor to be used in the event of the reanimation of elderly loved ones ("Grandpa's fallen--and he's getting up!") I highly recommend taking a look at this very satisfying film. You're bound to enjoy it whether you're a horror fan or not. But then, if you're not a horror fan, what are you doing reading this?
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
With Josh Lucas (American Psycho) in the lead, Tell-Tale will be a contemporary reimagining. Lucas plays a single father with a transplanted heart who must find the donor's killer before he is also killed.
Poe's tale has already been adapted multiple times over the past 75 years, including: 5 features, 3 TV versions, 9 short films, 3 animated shorts, and even one feature currently in production.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Sunday, November 4, 2007
So I figured the time was right for something with a little more bite to it (sorry...) The other night, when his mother and older sister stepped out to the store, my boy and I kicked back our feet and enjoyed some British undead parody goodness.
His reaction? Pure delight. He laughed, he cheered, he jumped up and down. I figured it was smart to go with a horror comedy, with a lot more light-hearted moments and slapstick. To tell you the truth, other than that nasty bite scene in Barbara's driveway and the stuff at the end, the gore is not all that bad (of course I skipped through all the really bad stuff. We can save the gut-munching until he's at least seven.) Actually, I was more concerned about the expletive-laced dialogue than anything else. But he really is too young for any of that to register with him anyway.
In the end, it was great bonding experience. I got a major kick out of him trying to pretend he wasn't scared, I could see the thrill in his eyes that I got watching stuff as a kid that seemed just a little too dangerous for me. At one point, when he thought I wasn't looking, I caught him doing his best little zombie impersonation. Other fathers can have their little league--now this was a moment to be proud of!
Needless to say, the idea was to keep the whole thing a secret from his mom, who I could imagine would not totally approve. But all pretense of secrecy went out the window that very night when the boy gleefully exclaimed to Mommy that he could hear zombies outside the house. As Ricky Ricardo might say, I had some 'splaining to do.
So now Shaun of the Dead is one of the boy's favorite flicks, right alongside Cars, Madagascar and Finding Nemo. A little weird? I guess so. But he is my son, after all.
Friday, November 2, 2007
- Shaun of the Dead
- Red Dragon - Kudos to Corliss for giving props to one of the decade's most unfairly ignored thrillers.
- Dead Alive - Nice to see a mainstream critic recognizing this cult gem.
- Men Behind the Sun - Here I find major fault. If you ask me, including a docudrama based on actual Japanese war atrocities on this list borders on disgusting.
- The Fly (1986)
- Halloween (1978)
- Jaws - I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Jaws is not a horror movie.
- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
- The Exorcist
- Night of the Living Dead - I would've chosen Dawn of the Dead, but Corliss insisted on including only one film per director.
- Blood Feast
- Black Sunday
- Peeping Tom
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
- Diabolique (1955)
- Bambi - Why do these critics always have to get cute? So Bambi's mom dying freaked you out as a kid. Get over it. It's Disney.
- The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
- Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat - Another ridiculous one. This is the infamous short that allegedly scared early moviegoers because they thought the train was going to burst through the screen. Horror movie? Gimme a break.
Surprised to see Hammer go unrepresented. American bias showing through, I guess. So what do you folks make of Time's choices? Feel free to chime in. Anyone interested in my own top picks need look no further than the right hand column...