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Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Cerone has been the top man on Dexter since the show's beginning in 2006, following a run as a writer-producer on Charmed. Despite Cerone's departure, Dexter is still on track to kick off it's third season on September 30. Assuming that the writers strike put a crimp in its development, it's safe to guess that the season is still being scripted. No word on what impact, if any, Cerone's absence will have on the creative direction.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
The polls have officially closed early for the strangest/creepiest horror-related news story of the year. Late yesterday afternoon, United Press International reported that a man sitting in a screening of The Signal in Fullerton, California promptly went bananas and began stabbing fellow patrons before fleeing the building.
In case you haven't heard, the low-budget thriller is all about a mysterious transmission sent via TV, cell phones, etc. which turns people into psychopaths. So it appears we're talking about one seriously impressionable dude here.
Reportedly, in the middle of the movie, the looney tune in question began abruptly stabbing the seat next to him, then the person next to him. Then he stabbed a second audience member sitting near the exit. Police arrived on the scene to find theatergoers rushing out in a panic. The perpetrator was already long gone, and has yet to be found.
The victims suffered lacerations to the arms and chest, and are currently recovering in the hospital. They're both expected to live.
Could we be seeing a wide release for The Signal as a result of this craziness? Talk about guerilla marketing...
Monday, February 25, 2008
Many critics, and even fans, are pointing to the acting as the movie's major downfall. To those I pose the question: Have you ever actually seen a George Romero movie? As much as we love them, time and nostalgia have sweetened our appraisals of the dramatic performances in them. There isn't a single actor whose work is nearly as bad as anything on display in, say, Day of the Dead, which is filled with often laughably awful dramatics despite its brilliance in other areas. I won't say there are any particular standouts in Diary either, with the possible exception of the world-weary film professor played by Scott Wentworth, who is given some of the best lines in Romero's intelligent, if somewhat overstated script.
There are clever tips of the hat to previous Dead flicks throughout, including a snippet of newscaster dialogue from Night that can be heard in the background at one point. There's also a scene in an apartment complex which directly conjures up the tenement scene in Dawn--and the impact is just as disturbing. This is by far the picture's grimmest moment.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Apparently, a preliminary trailer for X-Files 2 was screened for fans yesterday at WonderCon in San Francisco. The following is bootleg footage of that trailer taken by a diligent spy--so enjoy before Fox's legal bulldogs descend!
Saturday, February 23, 2008
The "film" has received a staggering total of nine nominations. Lohan herself has pulled off the impressive feat of being nominated twice for Worst Actress thanks to her double role. The twin performances have also earned her the distinction of being the only person to ever be singly nominated for Worst Screen Couple.
The serial killer pic has also gotten nods for Worst Picture, Worst Remake/Rip-Off and my personal favorite, Worst Excuse for a Horror Movie. Additionally, Chris Siverston was nominated for Worst Director, first-(and hopefully last-)time screenwriter Jeff Hammond for Worst Script, and Julia Ormond for Worst Supporting Actress.
There's a lesson to be learned here, folks. And it's that Lindsay Lohan should focus more on pictures that don't move.
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Thanks to everyone who made their voice heard in the "King of Horror" poll. Congrats to the legendary Vincent Price, who took an early lead and never lost it. Bruce Campbell also made a respectable showing in second place, and it's also interesting that Boris Karloff edged out long-time rival Bela Lugosi for fourth by a single vote. Check back tomorrow for a new poll.
Friday, February 22, 2008
The Creature no longer walks among us. Benjamin F. Chapman Jr., best known for portraying the iconic Gill Man in the 1954 classic The Creature from the Black Lagoon, passed away yesterday in Honolulu at the age of 79.
Chapman was one of the last living actors to have portrayed one of the famous "Universal Monsters"--although he only portrayed the Creature in his out-of-water scenes (Ricou Browning, who played the underwater Gill Man, is still with us.) Although he only did a handful of other early 1950s B-movies, Chapman spent the rest of his life graciously meeting and greeting fans at conventions and autograph signings across the country.
Standing an imposing 6'5" (a big part of what got him cast as the Creature), Chapman served his nation in the Korean War, and even crossed paths with the Rat Pack during his days as a bartender, partying with the likes of Peter Lawford and a pre-presidential JFK.
For more on Mr. Chapman, check out his official website: http://www.the-reelgillman.com/.
Special thanks to Karswell of The Horrors of It All.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Belen Rueda (The Orphanage)
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Remix)
White Noise 2
The Mario Bava Collection (Vol. 1&2)
Vincent Price (MGM Screen Legends Collection)
Best Retro TV Series on DVD
The 1977 BBC miniseries is now available with the baby-killing scene fully restored. Yay!
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
In a new cover story for Latina magazine, Alba ineptly attempts to recreate famous scenes from her five supposedly favorite horror movies. Check out this cringe-worthy Psycho shot:
If only young Jessica possessed a tenth of the poise, class and chops of a Janet Leigh, this might not be nearly as sad. Want more? Here's her take on Rosemary's Baby:
Check her out displaying the acting skills she honed on the Disney Channel. And speaking of sacrilege, here's Jessie's impersonation of Tippi Hedren in The Birds:
Alba has some better luck with Scream, in which she steps into the shoes of an actress nearly as inane and irritating as herself:
Notice how they made sure that Ghostface can actually be seen creeping up on her, just so readers would be able to tell what movie it's supposed to be? Nice touch. If you have the constitution for one more, here's a rather artful--if only loosely adapted--tribute to The Exorcist:
Now if only that ceiling wasn't there, then maybe she might have simply floated away into the stratosphere, so that we would no longer have to be subjected to drek like Good Luck Chuck and FF: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
This one is the biggest tragedy of them all. The witty, satirical script for this amazing horror comedy is what makes it such a modern classic. In parts hysterically funny, while in others filled with charm and pathos, it's the kind of material which--had it been written for a more mainstream picture--would surely have been nominated.
Monday, February 18, 2008
So why didn't enough of you get out there to support this flick in the towns in which it was released? I guess one of the reasons may be Land of the Dead's tepid reception in the fan community. There's also the DVD factor--a lot of people out there just aren't motivated enough to see a movie like this in the theater. That leads me to draw the sad conclusion that there may not be enough died-in-the-wool Romero supporters left out there to make a theatrical release worthwhile. I guess everyone's saving up their dough for Saw XXVII. Too bad.
As for me, I'll be hopping in the Solomobile Thursday night for the big trip to Westchester. Wish me luck!
Sunday, February 17, 2008
In a move believed to be connected to the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games, that bastion of freedom and democracy is banning all things horror, according to a story reported Thursday by Reuters. Producers and distributors have three weeks to report all forbidden materials to China's General Administration of Press and Publications.
A statement posted on the Chinese government's website (that's got to be some fun reading) declares that the mission is to "control and cleanse the negative effect these items have on society, and to prevent horror, violent [and] cruel publications from entering the market through official channels and to protect adolescents' psychological health." I'd suggest another method of protecting adolescents' psychological health would be to refrain from running them over with tanks.
The People's Republic has been the site of a growing market for horror films, both domestic (as epitomized by the breakthrough Chinese flick The Eye) and foreign (read: pirate DVD black market). But now the cultural police seem to be clamping down thanks to the upcoming Summer Games, in an attempt to make a good impression on the rest of the world. Well boys, you're off to a smashing start. Try book-burning next, that should help make you even more friends.
The ban comes on the heels of recent crackdowns on supposed "vulgar" content from video, audio and internet media.
My condolenscences go out to all the horror fans in China. But then, if any of you are reading this, you'd better log off before anyone sees you.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Me neither. But still, for the curious, here's a look at the Cloverfield monster action figure that Hasbro is selling exclusively through their website. These photos were posted there yesterday, even though the toy is not available until September 30.
And for anyone who does have a C-note that's just begging to be squandered, here's the lowdown. It's 14 inches tall, makes an authentic monster sound, and comes with ten parasites (yippee!), as well as a Statue of Liberty head accessory (we're doomed as a nation). Batteries not included, kids!
Well, at least we finally get a good look at the thing.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Variety reported last night that John Landis, best known to horror aficionados as the director of An American Werewolf in London, will be stepping in to helm the biopic "Ghoulishly Yours, William M. Gaines," based on the life of the famous EC Comics and Mad Magazine publisher.
As you probably have guessed, I am a big fan of EC Comics (that's my favorite Tales from the Crypt cover, by the way.) It all began back in the 1950s when my dad first discovered them as a kid. Fast-forward 30 years later, and he passed along the love for those gore-soaked pages to me, his only begotten son.
The picture is expected to focus on the rise of EC Comics in the '50s, and in particular the First Amendment battle that ensued when his horror comics were targeted by the U.S. Senate for their "harmful influence" on kids like my dad. As another life-long fan of EC and classic horror in general, I'm hoping for Landis to knock this one out of the park.
Now all I need is for Diary of the Dead to go wide next weekend...
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
"Today I am looking forward to making a phone call to one of our cast to ask him how he feels about getting into a trap that could potentially kill him. For real. Of course we will make it as safe as we can and have paramedics standing by while we shoot. Its not like he really has an option and maybe it will make him appreciate his life. Ha!!"
In more Saw-related shenanigans, The Guardian reports today that the U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has dismissed claims that the official poster for Saw IV (pictured here) was inappropriate. The ad for the movie--featured in British newspapers, magazines and the sides of public buses--was the target of 57 complaints from those who felt it was disturbing to children. Six of the complainants claimed that the ad had actually upset their own children. The ASA stated that while it was understandable the ad was distasteful to some, it was unlikely to cause widespread offense.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Now, Movieweb is reporting that the pictures were well-orchestrated fakes. According to someone claiming to be a crewmember, Carter intentionally had the photos leaked in order to throw off the fanboys.
Movieweb isn't questioning the new revelation, but Bloody-Disgusting points out that it's also very possible that this latest development is more like damage control. Could it be that the pix were legit, and now Carter and the studio are using some reverse psychology to invalidate what would otherwise be a major spoiler? Or could it be that I've watched too much X-Files myself? The truth is out there, people.
Monday, February 11, 2008
A New Jersey kid at heart, Scheider was a boxer in his youth and actually made his acting debut starring in the 1963 horror flick Curse of the Living Corpse. Supporting roles in 1971's Klute and The French Connection made him a star, but he'll always be known for his part alongside Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss in Speilberg's monster shark film, in which he uttered the immortal line, "You're gonna need a bigger boat." He earned an Oscar nomination for his lead performance in All That Jazz (1979).
Genre fans will also remember him for taking over the role of Heywood Floyd in 2010: The Year We Make Contact, the 1984 sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey; for his starring turn in the troubled 1990s sci-fi series SeaQuest DSV; and most recently for playing Frank Castle's father in The Punisher (2004).
Farewell and adieu to ye fair Spanish ladies,
Farewell and adieu, ye ladies of Spain.
For we've received orders to sail back to Boston,
And so nevermore shall we see you again.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Variety has reported that Page, recently nominated for her star-making performance in the indy sleeper hit Juno, will be starring in Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell, playing the part of a young woman afflicted with a supernatural curse. This is Raimi's first horror pic since Army of Darkness (1992), the last installment in the Evil Dead trilogy. Page also played Kitty Pryde in X-Men: The Last Stand.
Filming on the new project, to be produced by Raimi's Ghost House Pictures, will begin next month.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Ahem...Anyway, IGN has posted some killer new footage of 2008's most anxiously awaited horror film, which only continues to boost my confidence. I particularly like the look of the ghouls in this one. I've always been a fan of having them look as human as possible, as opposed to demonic or monstrous. They are, after all, human corpses, are they not? And thank goodness, no hokey contact lenses. Check it out for yourself, let me know what you think:
Friday, February 8, 2008
Published by Virgin Comics (stop snickering...), the series will be written by Witchblade scribe Christina Z in collaboration with Jenna, with covers by Marvel cover artist Greg Horn and internal art by Mukesh Singh, who also worked on Guy Ritchie's Gamekeeper comic for Virgin. Go here for more info. Meantime, check out the trailer:
Jenna Jameson's Shadow Hunter: Trailer
[Special thanks to TheRedCarpet]
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The Vault of Horror train just keeps on barrelin' down the tracks, people. Everyone loves a good "Top 10" list, and starting today, I'll be contributing one each week to that hallowed home of horror movie news, Bloody-Disgusting. Be sure and check it out! That is all.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
If you'd like to take a listen, you can download the show in its entirety here (for a small fee). For the rest of you, here are some interesting highlights:
- For me, the most candid moment came when George was asked what he thought of Max Brooks' written work (World War Z, Zombie Survival Guide). It was obvious Romero didn't want to badmouth the guy, but he basically intimated that he and Brooks have totally different objectives. Brooks, he explained, was more interested in "zombies for zombies' sake", while his films are more about the living people. He seems to feel Brooks takes the material too literally, and I'd have to agree.
- He didn't sound all to happy with Land of Dead. It sounded like he had to make some studio concessions, which is why he's so glad to be back to making independent films. Also, he felt the story got too overblown, which is why he brought it back to an intimate setting again.
- When asked what he thought of modern horror movies like Saw and Hostel, his response was: "I've seen enough of them to know not to see the sequels." Ouch.
- Continuing in the same vein, the director lamented the lack of creativity and insight amongst Hollywood studios which motivates them to greenlight endless horror remakes. He was particularly perturbed by the news of the redo of A Nightmare on Elm Street, a film of which he's very fond.
- Touching on the Resident Evil controversy a bit, Romero explained that the American producers very much liked his script, but it was the German production company that first set the project in motion which rejected it and opted to move further away from the video game.
- Speaking of which, the explosion in popularity for zombies lately can be credited more to the zombie-related video games of recent years than from his films, according to the modest filmmaker.
- Unfortunately he was never asked to elaborate on it, but Romero briefly mentioned that he and Stephen King had spoken in the past about doing an adaptation of King's 1999 novel The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon.
- In response to years of fan speculation, Romero denied that Day of the Dead had anything to do with the AIDS epidemic. Rather, his intention was strictly to focus on the breakdown of society caused by lack of trust and communication.
- In another unexpected and interesting moment, Romero seemed a bit conflicted when asked how he felt about Lucio Fulci's Zombi 2. While he did say he enjoyed Fulci's films, it was clear he still had sour grapes when discussing how Fulci "ripped off" the European title of Dawn of the Dead and made an unofficial sequel without anyone's permission.
- I had never heard this story before: George indicated that his casting of African-American Duane Jones as the lead in Night of the Living Dead was not meant as a statement on race relations, but it was literally while they were on their way to deliver the first finished print of the movie that they heard news on the radio of Martin Luther King's assassination. He and Jones knew then that, intentional or not, his movie would have a powerful racial message. Romero denied that the militia's shooting of Ben at the end of the movie was intended as a racial comment.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
It sounds like this decision was made while the game was being produced, since apparently the makers--who specialize in film-based releases--attempted to get it ready in time for the new sequel's release, but were unsuccessful. The game will instead come out sometime in 2009. It's not clear how it will be tied in, but one thing that is known is that Saw V's screenwriters Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton are not involved in the project.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
In many ways, the 1970s represent an era in horror flicks which has yet to be equalled in terms of shocking themes, graphic violence and unflinchingly grim outlook. The demise of the restrictive Hays Code spawned two branches: one in which top-flight films began to be made with horror subject matter, and the other in which blood-soaked low-budget exploitation material meant easy money.
The success of Rosemary's Baby led to 1973's The Exorcist, often hailed as the most frightening horror film ever made. Whether or not it was, The Exorcist was a mainstream American film dealing with demonic possession--something that would've been unheard of just several years before. A series of occult and Satanic-themed pictures would follow, including Alice, Sweet Alice (1976) and The Omen (1976). All dealt frankly with matters of religion, and contained powerful dramatic performances.
On the other end of the spectrum, American audiences were confronted with a type of horror they were thoroughly unprepared for, and in the process some of horror's finest directors would make their names. Wes Craven emerged on the scene in 1972 with The Last House on the Left, featuring brutal scenes of rape and disembowelment. Two years later, Tobe Hooper created what was arguably the pinnacle of the subgenre, the nightmarish Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And in 1978, George Romero followed up his seminal '60s masterpiece Night of the Living Dead with Dawn of the Dead, this time ratcheting up both the gore quotient and the social commentary.
This explosion of explicit gore content was unheard of in the history of cinema, particularly American cinema--and it didn't go unnoticed outside U.S. boundaries. Other countries, most notably Italy, soon followed suit. Italian filmmakers such as Dario Argento, Mario Bava and Lucio Fulci churned out films that in many ways surpassed their American counterparts in terms of their power to both disturb and revolt.
Popular horror fiction writer Stephen King would become a force to be reckoned with in the movie world, as well. Beginning with 1976's Carrie, his novels and short stories would prove a fertile source of film material. Perhaps the greatest of them all would be Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980), quite possibly the best-made fright film ever.
By the end of the 1970s, the new style of horror was firmly in place, and even some of the old subgenres would begin to be reinvigorated by it. Ridley Scott gave us Alien in 1979, capitalizing on the success of Star Wars to bring back the horror/sci-fi movie. And it was the year before that John Carpenter produced a film that would take the territory first mined by Psycho to a whole new level, defining 1980s horror in the process.
Halloween was a new kind of horror flick, specifically, it was a slasher flick, portraying a superhuman, stalker/killer (in this case, Michael Myers) who systemically murders a series of hopeless victims over the course of 90 minutes. Although most still regard it as the high watermark of slasher movies, it spawned literally countless followers.
Chief among them would be Friday the 13th (1980) and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), the franchises which gave the world Jason Voorhess and Freddy Kreuger, respectively. The 1980s would be dominated by these types of horror movies and their limitless sequels. And although today a generation of fans who grew up on them look back with fondness and nostalgia, at the time they were viewed by critics and older fans as the genre's all-time nadir.
Nevertheless, by the early 1980s horror had begun to struggle again at the box office. Some point to the advent of VHS home video, with most low-budget flicks in general having trouble competing for audience dollars with massive Hollywood productions. Horror would find a new home in the video market, with releases such as The Evil Dead (1981), The Fly (1986) and Re-Animator (1985) becoming run-away hits with audiences that found it easier to pay less and watch in their own homes. In the U.K., this led to the phenomenon of the so-called "video nasties"--movies deemed by British censors to be unacceptable due to home video's availability to children. Naturally, these pictures would become the most sought-after for British horror fans.
The 1980s' other major contribution would be the proliferation of horror comedy. Although humor had always had a place in the genre, never before had gut-wrenching violence been so deftly meshed with black comedy as it was in such pictures as Sam Raimi's Evil Dead II (1987), Dan O'Bannon's The Return of the Living Dead (1985) or Peter Jackson's Bad Taste (1987). With the almost mind-numbing level horror movie violence had achieved, it was a natural reaction to spoof it.
The 1970s and 1980s produced some of the most powerful and disturbing horror movies ever seen. Some would even argue the genre hasn't reached similar heights since. Yet despite changing times, the standard set during those years would become a benchmark to inspire and motivate every horror filmmaker who came after.
Other major releases:
- Black Christmas (1974)
- The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
- Suspiria (1977)
- Phantasm (1979)
- The Brood (1979)
- Zombi 2 (1979)
- Scanners (1981)
- Creepshow (1982)
- The Thing (1982)
- Basket Case (1982)
- Poltergeist (1982)
- Day of the Dead (1985)
- Hellraiser (1987)
- Child's Play (1988)
Part 2: Gods & Monsters
Part 3: It Came from Hollywood
Part 4: The Times, They Are a-Changin'
Soon to come - Part 6: From Post Mortem to Postmodern
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Friday, February 1, 2008
Who knew that RKO Pictures even still existed, but apparently it still does, and it's the longest running of all the golden-age Hollywood studios still around. But what it's doing right now is pretty cynical and downright depressing, if you ask me.
Variety reports that the studio is creating a subsidiary called the Roseblood Movie Co. (get it, 'cause RKO made Citizen Kane) which will be charged with remaking a slate of eight RKO films from the 1930s through the 1950s, five of which fall into the horror genre, and four of which were produced by the legendary Val Lewton.
On the chopping block are Lewton chillers Bedlam, The Bodysnatcher, I Walked with a Zombie and The Seventh Victim. Roseblood is also tackling the 1933 fright flick The Monkey's Paw. The subsidiary will be partnering with Saw producers Twisted Pictures to fund the projects, which are planned to begin production in the fall and be made over a period of two years.
In addition, Roseblood will also be remaking film noir pieces Lady Scarface and While the City Sleeps, as well as the early Lucille Ball pic Five Came Back.
I usually don't get too worked up about the remake epidemic, but RKO is basically making a business of raping their treasure trove of classic movies. Unable to produce anything new and original that's worthwhile, they've made it their mission to mine their library for every penny its worth, which translates to inferior and unnecessary retreads of well-regarded films. These are the people who, three years ago, took the timeless 1948 Cary Grant vehicle Mr. Blandings Builds His Dreamhouse and turned it into Are We There Yet? starring Ice Cube. That pretty much sums up the progression of American film and culture in general over the past 60 years.
If you visit RKO's website, it gives you a pretty clear idea of the hollow merchandising machine we're dealing with here. Phrases such as "exploiting [our] brands", as well as terms like "repositioning" and "entertainment properties" abound. Folks, I've dealt with enough of these soulless marketing types in my travels to see that this does not bode well. Think it'll end here? This is the same studio that owns It's Wonderful Life. So think again.
These are people who almost surely have no respect or even knowledge of the "entertainment properties" they own. They also have no faith in you, the consumer, giving enough of a crap about classic films, otherwise they'd realize there's money to be made in "repositioning" the movies they already own. I guess if this mindset continues, we can just look forward to generation after generation simply remaking the films of a few decades before--over and over again.
I don't know about you, but I have no intention of plopping down $10 to go see "Wonderful", starring Ben Stiller as George Bailey and Owen Wilson as Clarence.