Nestled in between the low-budget horror days of the fifties and sixties and the golden age of the slasher in the eighties, there were some bloody good films made in the seventies. Of course, most people point to legendary classics like Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left and Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre as good examples, but a look at the underbelly of the genre exposes splattery flicks like Herschell Gordon Lewis’ The Wizard of Gore and Hawkes & Grinter’s Blood Freak. Also in this category of seedy slasher cinema is a little 1973 movie called Scream Bloody Murder.
It’s no secret that the Twilight movies have given vampires a bad rap. Edward Cullen has single-handedly turned the mysterious, sophisticated bloodsuckers of Dracula and Nosferatu into sparkling, romantic wusses. But, in between the suave vampires of old and the compassionate wimps of today, there existed a meaner spirited, in-it-for-themselves creature of the night. Cinema Fearité has already discussed the tribe of nocturnal bloodlusters in Near Dark, but that same year, in 1987, a more popular movie celebrated the evilness of the vampire, and did it with humor as well as horror. That movie was The Lost Boys.
The introduction of sound in motion pictures was a fairly gradual thing; it’s not like every movie suddenly had synchronized sound one weekend, the slow transformation occurred over several years in the late twenties and early thirties. Over that time, many studios double-dipped, remaking silent movies with sound and releasing them as a whole new movie, and horror movies were not exempt from this trend. Cinema Fearité has already covered how London After Midnight was turned into Mark of the Vampire, The Hands of Orlac was rechristened as Mad Love, and The Cat and the Canary became The Cat Creeps, but other classic horror tales like The Phantom of the Opera, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame found themselves remade shortly after the innovation of sound cinema as well. Amidst all of the legendary movies that were being “soundified,” there were also a bunch of lesser-known thrillers. The Drums of Jeopardy is one of these underappreciated gems.
Last week, the world lost a bona-fide icon when professional wrestler/action star Roderick George Toombs, better known as “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, died of cardiac arrest at the age of 61. Inside the ring, the fan-favorite Piper was primarily a villain in the WWF (later the WWE) and WCW, but on the screen, he was a hero. By far, Roddy Piper’s biggest cinematic legacy is the 1988 John Carpenter science-fiction horror film They Live.
In the early eighties, legendary actor Marlon Brando had the features of his head scanned and digitized by a special effects house, thinking that someday in the near future, actors would be replaced by computer generated images of themselves, therefore rendering themselves obsolete. It is both fun and fitting that director Stevan Riley (Fire in Babylon, Blue Blood) uses these cleaned-up hologram-like Brando head images to narrate Listen to Me Marlon.
To the uninitiated, it would seem as if the LEGO toy brand was thrust into the limelight by last year’s The LEGO Movie, but truthfully, the beloved construction toy was always there. Now, A LEGO Brickumentary tells curious viewers everything they ever wanted to know about one of the world’s most popular toy companies.
A couple of years ago, filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer made The Act of Killing, a disturbing look at the attitudes of former Indonesian death squad leaders towards their past crimes during their country’s genocidal communist cleansing of the mid-sixties. Now, Oppenheimer tells the other side of the story in the companion piece The Look of Silence.
It’s said that everything old is new again, and of course, the sentiment is never more apparent than in the world of horror movies. Even when a newer film is not considered a sequel or a remake (excuse me, a reboot), its concepts and themes can still usually be traced back to some earlier film that it rips off (excuse me, takes influence from). For example, take last years’ Housebound, an ingenious tale about a haunted house that ends up simply having a crazy guy living within its walls. That concept sounds suspiciously like Wes Craven’s The People Under the Stairs. But, even Craven’s masterpiece was not a completely original idea; the influence for that frightfest can be found in the 1974 television movie Bad Ronald.
It’s been over ten years since Morgan Spurlock’s eye-opening sensational documentary Super Size Me showed people the evils of dining on a diet consisting of McDonald’s food and nothing else. That’s just enough time for a new generation of activists to latch onto That Sugar Film, a movie in which Australian actor Damon Gameau (“Raw”) does basically the same thing.
The roots of the modern slasher movie can be found as far back as the early sixties in films like Psycho and Peeping Tom, but the subgenre really hit its stride in the late seventies and early eighties. The period that has come to be known as the Golden Age of the Slasher Film was spearheaded by the success of movies like Halloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street, but there were dozens (if not hundreds) of other masked killer movies flooding their way into theaters at the same time. The 1979 bloodfest Savage Weekend is one of these under-the-radar slashers.
One of the biggest stereotypes surrounding homosexual men involves their voices. Who doesn’t know the sassy, high-pitched feminine lisp that is used to both instantly recognize and incessantly parody gay men? In Do I Sound Gay?, journalist/filmmaker David Thorpe examines the “gay” voice, and makes a misguided attempt at ridding himself of it.
Alien invasions are a pretty common theme of sci-fi/horror movies, and most of them have the same thing in common; they all seem to have similar looking aliens. The typical movie alien is a bipedal humanoid with an oversized, egg-shaped head and big eyes. Even the variations of the theme still don’t stray too far from the look; whether it’s a campy b-movie like Without Warning or a horrifying vision like Xtro, the two-legged enlarged-cranial visitor from another planet reigns supreme. In 1958, right in the middle of the classic period of the sci-fi movie, director Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr. (4D Man, Dinosaurus) got creative with his alien invaders, and the results turned into one of the most beloved science fiction movies of all time: The Blob.
The teenagers-in-the-woods theme has been a staple of the horror movie for years, gaining the height of its popularity in the early eighties. Of course, when the stereotype is brought up, the first images that come to mind are those of the Friday the 13th movies, but the trope has been explored in many other fright flicks of the era such as Madman, The Burning, and The Final Terror. In 1980, right at the onset of the trend, director Greydon Clark (Satan’s Cheerleaders, Dance Macabre) was already changing things up by injecting an alien killer into the camping-kids scenario in his sci-fi horror schlockfest Without Warning.
Things can get messy when emotions are involved, so love triangles make good backdrops for horror movies, even when two of the three parties don’t realize they’re in a trio. Whether in 1932 with Tod Browning’s classic Freaks or just last year in Chan-wook Park’s masterpiece Stoker, one thing is perfectly clear; when it comes to horror movies, three’s a crowd. In 1935, accomplished cinematographer/director Karl Freund (The Mummy) took a love triangle and tossed a mad scientist into the mix, giving the world the aptly titled Mad Love.
Hollywood lost yet another star recently when composer James Horner was killed in a plane crash earlier this week. Horner is best known by movie buffs as the creator of the scores to Oscar-bait movies such as Titanic, Avatar, and Bravehart, but horror fans remember him for his earlier work on classics like Deadly Blessing, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and, of course, Aliens. In the early days of his career, Horner went through the “Roger Corman Film School,” and one of his first feature length soundtracks was that of the 1980 creature feature Humanoids from the Deep.
Ah, the good old days. The birth of hip hop music. Back when it was possible to judge a book by its cover – or, as the case may be, a person by his fat-laced Adidas sneakers, baggy sweatpants, and Kangol bucket hat. This is the time period in popular culture that is explored by music journalist Sacha Jenkins’ new documentary Fresh Dressed.
Italian Director/Screenwriter Lorenzo Sportiello has a very unique vision of the future, as seen in his debut feature film Index Zero. It is the year 2035, and gone are the European Countries we know so well; in their place is the United States of Europe. How this came to be we shall never know. It is accepted, as is the fact that the powers that be are not open and inviting to others. Nor is freedom an option any longer, or the ability to live your life as you wish. The new world order is bleak.
If you have ever wanted to see Richard Gere (Pretty Woman, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) at his eccentric best, watch Franny. Gere stars as the title character Franny, a wealthy philanthropist who has always been a tad outlandish. His behavior becomes altogether erratic after he loses his best friends in a car crash and he is left ultimately alone. Five years later and a call from their daughter Olivia (Dakota Fanning from The Runaways), who Franny always referred to as Poodles, and he is suddenly drawn out of his reclusive state and hell-bent on helping her and her new husband build a life. The catch is of course that Franny has deep psychological wounds following the accident that claimed Olivia’s parents life but spared his and he does not exactly know how to acclimate himself into the young couple’s life.
Simplicity. There a few films made today that act upon the word. They instead feel the need to fill space with the unnecessary, oftentimes to mask the problems that lie within the story being told. Mexican Director Gabriel Ripstein’s 600 Millas (600 Miles) takes the simplistic route to produce a film worthy of the art form. 600 Miles makes simplicity look like the best choice for a filmmaker, and viewers are sure to agree.
A mere 13 minutes would have changed the world forever, and one of the greatest atrocities in history could have been avoided. In German director Oliver Hirschbiegel’s (Downfall, Das Experiment) newest film, the WWII-centered thriller 13 Minutes (Elser), he tells the true story of how one man, working alone, tried to change the world in 1939 by assassinating Adolf Hitler. The film is by far one of the best tellings of real life heroics enacted during the time period, and it is done so as an homage to a man who went unrecognized for his valiant actions for decades.
Last week, the horror world was rocked by the death of one of its most prolific actors, the iconic Sir Christopher Lee. Throughout his long and storied career, Lee got to play key villains in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies, the Star Wars prequels, and the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun. However, he was best known to horror fans as one of the faces of Hammer horror, appearing in classics like The Curse of Frankenstein, The Devil Rides Out, and Scream of Fear, as well as portraying the legendary Dracula several times for the studio. Lee also made many horror movies away from Hammer, and one of the most memorable films in his catalog is the 1973 cult classic The Wicker Man.
If you took Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson, Kristen Wiig, and Jason Sudeikis and put them in a movie the last thing you would think to call it is Masterminds. Unless it is a comedy, of course. Director Jared Hess’ (Napolean Dynamite, Gentlemen Broncos—one of my favorite comedies, ever) newest film is Masterminds, and it features all of the aforementioned A-list comedy talent. Are you interested? You should be.
Everyone loves dinosaurs. Everyone especially loves movies that feature dinosaurs. If you don’t believe me, let the numbers speak for themselves.
Jurassic World has set a new record for biggest global opening in history.
Jurassic World is a movie that features dinosaurs…lots of dinosaurs.
With an opening line to the trailer that screams drama—”Our bodies will be literally dying”—Everest is painting a very vivid picture of what is in store for the characters, and us as viewers, during the film. To watch the trailer is to marvel at the environment that is Mount Everest, to establish the connections between characters and their lives, but most of all it is to witness how control is something one loses when you decide to go where your own body has no right being, naturally.
The last Mission: Impossible franchise film, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, was released in December 2011. A popular time of year for big movie releases, but not ideal for action-packed offerings. That all changes with Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation because it is getting a summer release right smack in the middle of the season, July 31.
Ten years ago, Fantastic Four debuted in cinemas when superhero movies were few and far between. That was 2005, it is now 2015, and the superhero subgenre dominates the box office each and every year thanks to the large stable of Marvel characters, and the occasional other. There is no set amount of time for when a franchise may be rebooted, and Fantastic Four is the newest in a long line that has been given such treatment.
Four character posters have been released for the film, just in case you have forgotten who the "Fantastic Four" are in the Marvel universe.
Once upon a time, a hot new director/writer named M. Night Shyamalan came on the Hollywood scene, stumping audiences worldwide with The Sixth Sense and brandishing a name for himself as one who would challenge moviegoers. Then he made another film, called Signs, and then Unbreakable, The Village, and before long each and every film created by M. Night Shyamalan fared worse than the last. It wasn't just bad luck, it was horrific moviemaking.
Hollywood should have given up completely on him by now. But they have not.
There is no denying that the Mad Max trilogy of films is iconic. To say they have created a legacy that stands to continue is perfectly acceptable, especially when it involves filling Mel Gibson's shoes with Tom Hardy in the titular role of Max Rckatansky, akaMad Max. It has been 30 years since audiences were engulfed in the post-apocalyptic wasteland that is the backdrop for the Mad Max series of films. The time has surely come to revisit it, and Mad Max: Fury Road will do just that when it hits theatres May 15.
Summer would not be complete without at least one horror movie on the schedule. Blumhouse Productions, who is responsible for scaring audiences with such films as Oculus and Insidious: Chapter 2, has big plans for the 2015 summer season. Insidious: Chapter 3 hits theatres June 5, but another movie on their roster wants to scare the living daylights out of you in July--The Gallows.
If you're pursuing a career in the entertainment industry or simply like to know what's going on in Hollywood, you're likely interested in keeping up with the latest news and offerings in the industry as-they-happen. Because the television and movie industries move forward and evolve so quickly, it can oftentimes be challenging to stay current--it doesn't have to be.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released the list of nominees for the 87th Academy Awards, with the ceremony scheduled to take place on February 22, 2015. As usual, there are safe bets and snubs, but the quality of the cinematic output for the year was high enough to make some of this year’s decisions pretty tough. Here’s a look at the nominees – and potential winners – in some of the major categories.
The moment has arrived, Universal unleashed the first trailer for Jurassic World. Call it a re-boot, a re-make, a complete waste of time, or the best thing to come in 2015. Whatever you do, don't ever tell this movie lover that you don't care about Jurassic World; my bite is ferocious.
From the trailer, there are questions that will surely be raised. My biggest one is whether or not there will be a reference to the prior three films, or whether Jurassic World is poised to stand on its own and in fact be a new telling of the famous story about the dinos we love ever so much on screen. The trailer makes me think that it is an entirely new story, with the park being created anew and any signs of the past washed away by Hollywood's ever-present eraser.
You knew it was bound to happen, and it has officially. The character posters for the Rebel Warriors of The Hunger Games; Mockingjay Part 1 have been released. You've got Gale, Pollux, Messalla, Cressida, Boggs, and Castor all looking very serious, and very ready to battle.
Are you ready for your daily dose of adorableness? Disney's "Feast" is here to help you on your way with brand-new images from the upcoming short film. Who knew an animated puppy could bring so much joy, and such a big smile to one's face.
"Feast" will release in theatres November 7, 2014, playing with Big Hero 6. Until then, go ahead and fall in love with the adorable puppy, Winston.
I will admit, the trailer for Annabelle may not be terrifying to you. For me, it is, thanks to a debilitating fear of creepy dolls. Annabelle is one of the scariest dolls I have ever seen on film--I have The Conjuring to thank--and I have seen an incredible amount of movies. Regardless, the trailer for Annabelle will get your senses going, and your anticipation peaked for this sort-of prequel to The Conjuring.
Everyone who enjoys viewing the 'Sad Keanu' picture that is plastered all over the internet--you know the one, don't deny it--well, it is time to play homage to a new Keanu Reeves photo...that of him looking bad ass in the upcoming John Wick.
Reeves plays ex-hitman John Wick who must come out of retirement in order to battle gangsters. Yes, you read that correctly...gangsters vs. Keanu Reeves. Amazing.
It is a special treat when a movie like Chef is created. A film full of heart that brings out your emotions organically, without the need for gimmicks or special circumstance. Jon Favreau's Chef deserves the accolades it has received thus far since release in May and those that are sure to follow come awards season (fingers crossed). Chef is being re-released in theatres for a special engagement begininning August 29, 2014. If you did not have a chance to catch this gem of a film before in theatres now is your chance--and do not pass it up.
It has taken years for a movie version of Marvel's Ant-Man character to the screen. Some may say it is unnecessary; others are full of joy and anticipation. Either way, the Ant-Man movie has started production in San Francisco, CA and a first-look photo of Paul Rudd as Ant-Man has been released.
Here he is, Paul Rudd as Ant-Man.
Jason Reitman had a rough time of it last year when Labor Day did not sit well with audiences or critics. A far cry from his previous works that received rave reviews and awards aplenty, such as Up In The Air. It is a new year and with that comes a new movie for Reitman to deliver to the masses--and hope that this time goes better than the last. Reitman's latest is Men, Women & Children, yet another dramedy set around familial life, this time with the internet age taking center stage.
She may not exactly be a punk rocker any longer, but being a mother post-punk is tough for Juliette Lewis' Kelly in the trailer debut for Kelly & Cal from IFC Films. Cal, 17, is having a tough time at life as well. Enter the unlikely friendship of these two different people and the way they will each make everything just a little easier to manage for one another.