Valentine’s Day is coming up, and love is in the air. When most horror fans think of Valentine’s Day, the movies that come to mind are either My Bloody Valentine (if they’re over 40), Valentine (for the 31-39 crowd), or My Bloody Valentine again (for the reboot crowd who’s under 30). But there are a few others. For example, there’s the 1981 psycho-slasher Hospital Massacre.
In case you’ve missed it, Cinema Fearité has been on a “Maniac” binge for the past couple of weeks. First, we examined Dwain Esper’s 1934 scaresploitation classic Maniac, then we explored the 1963 Hammer Pictures thriller Maniac. This week, we conclude our trilogy with the movie that most horror fans think of instantly when they hear the word “maniac”; the 1980 psycho-slasher Maniac.
Last week, Cinema Fearité examined the Dwain Esper 1934 exploitation/educational film Maniac. This week in our continuing Maniac series, we take a look at the 1963 Hammer Film Productions crime thriller called, of course, Maniac.
What’s in a name? Well, when it comes to horror movies, quite a bit. If you go too generic, you won’t pique peoples’ interest. If you’re too specific, you risk giving away plot points or, worse, including inside jokes in your title. But let’s face it; there are only so many good titles to go around, and some movies are going to end up with the same name, especially when that name is a very general term. For instance, there have been at least three different movies called Maniac over the last eighty years or so, not counting short films and reboots. Over the next few weeks, Cinema Fearité will take a look at the three most popular ones, starting with the earliest: a 1934 exploitation film called, of course, Maniac.
I was recently at dinner with a couple who had been told I write about movies. It came as no surprise when they asked me, "What were the best movies you saw this year?" I hate that question, just as much as I hate when someone asks what my favorite film is, or what movie is the greatest ever made. If you're thinking that's an easy question to answer, it's Citizen Kane, I hope we never meet. FilmFracture's James Jay Edwards did an excellent job at picking ten of the best films of 2015, and it got me thinking, "What could I contribute?" Well, I find myself unable to remember most of the films I watch, for various reasons. So what movies do I remember seeing in 2015, and why? I'm about to tell you.
It’s Oscar season again! The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released the list of nominees for the 88th Academy Awards, with the ceremony scheduled to take place on February 28, 2016. For the most part, this year’s nominees are disappointingly safe, but there are a few good dark horses here and there that may keep Oscar Night interesting. Here’s a little look at the nominees, as well as some predictions for who might walk away with the statues.
The horror community suffered yet another crushing blow this past weekend. As if it wasn’t enough that Wes Craven and Gunnar Hansen passed away this last year, another icon was lost when Angus Scrimm died on Saturday, January 9th. Over the years, Scrimm became a fixture in horror movies and television shows, appearing in dozens of productions of all sizes and budgets, but fans know and remember him from one role – he was The Tall Man in Phantasm.
On New Year’s Day, cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, the man who shot blockbusters like Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Deliverance passed away at the age of 85. During his long and prolific career, Zsigmond worked in just about every genre imaginable and photographed for everyone from Robert Altman to Brian De Palma, but he got his start in quickie westerns and low budget horror films. His first feature-length movie was the 1963 exploitation flick The Sadist.
There’s little doubt that Tom Holland is one of the most prominent Masters of Horror working today. He practically defined supernatural horror in the eighties as the director of movies like Fright Night and Child’s Play. Before he sat in the director’s chair, however, he did his time at the typewriter, penning scripts for underground classics such as The Initiation of Sarah, The Beast Within, and Class of 1984. With his impressive resume, there are bound to be some minor works of his that have flown under the radar. Scream for Help is one of these underappreciated gems.
Top ten time! These are my, James Jay Edwards’, top ten favorite movies of the year. I speak for no one else.
It’s been another wild and crazy year for horror. As has been the trend lately, horror on the big screen has been pretty stale while VOD has shined, and even though the pickings have been fairly slim, there have still been some great movies. Here are my top ten horror movies of 2015.
Somewhere between timeless classics and forgettable throwaways, there exists a wide catalogue of movies that could benefit from a modern day reboot but would likely fall under the radar if not executed perfectly. Point Break is one such movie. While the original Point Break (1991) is by no means a masterpiece, it's still a decent action caper featuring some delightfully cheesy performances by Patrick Swayze (Roadhouse) and Keanu Reeves (John Wick). A reckless cop enlists with a group of surfers who turn out to be bank robbers, and his close connection with them clouds his judgment. It's pretty standard fare by now, informing future action movies such as Fast and the Furious. Point Break (2015) takes the loose threads of the original and repackages them in the world of extreme sports. Our hero is still a reckless novice named Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) and opposite him is a fearsome, death-defying thrill chaser named Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez from Deliver Us From Evil). But somewhere in between conception and execution, Point Break either lost focus or started coming apart at the seams, and the end result feels like a movie cobbled together by one poorly conceived plot point after the next.
After over a decade of waiting, even longer if you’ve wiped the three prequel’s from your mind, Star Wars is back in a big way. Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Episode 7 in the franchise, has arrived, and brought with it a new direction. Like the original films, The Force Awakens is all about myth building and discovery, creating a mystique that slowly unravels as the 2-hour plus space tale unfolds. We see and hear the familiar sights and sounds of the galaxy far, far away, but it isn’t long before it becomes clear that this is Star Wars for the modern age, thanks in part to the gender and race blind casting.
In 1962, burgeoning young filmmaker François Truffaut approached his idol, the legendary director Alfred Hitchcock, about sitting down for an extended interview about his attitudes and methodologies towards cinema. Truffaut, a critic as well as a filmmaker, asked all the right questions and Hitchcock affably gave all the right answers, and in 1966, the results were published in veritable bible of auteur film theory, a simply titled book called Hitchcock/Truffaut. Now, “The Daily Show” writer Kent Jones has turned those conversations into a movie, the also simply titled Hitchcock/Truffaut.