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Frame Of Mind
Last week, Stephen Furst passed away at the age of 62 from complications related to type 2 diabetes. Furst was one of those actors with a face more famous than his name, his most instantly recognizable role being that of Kent “Flounder” Dorfman in Animal House. Although his early career saw him in mostly comedic roles, he also worked in drama, action, and, yep, you guessed it, horror. In 1980, just a couple of short years after he made Animal House, Furst played the “title” role in The Unseen.
Geek culture lost one of its biggest icons this past weekend when Adam West passed away at the age of 88. West was easily most well-known and loved for fighting crime on television in the sixties as “Batman” (the Pow! Zap! Bam! era), but he also won over millennial audiences by playing a cartoon version of himself, Adam West, the mayor of Quahog, Rhode Island, on the animated series “Family Guy.” But West had a plentiful and prolific career on both the big and small screens, even venturing into horror a few times with movies like Zombie Nightmare, Curse of the Moon Child, and the subject of this week’s Cinema Fearité: the 1982 supernatural thriller One Dark Night.
British science fiction writer H.G. Wells was one of the most inventive and prolific writers of the late nineteenth/early twentieth centuries, and it seems as if every one of his stories has been turned into a movie. Of course, there are the popular big name films, like The War of the Worlds and The Invisible Man, but a deeper examination of the adaptations of Wells’ bibliography will bring up awesome fright flicks like the subject of this week’s Cinema Fearité: Empire of the Ants.
In the mid-nineties, horror got very self-referential. Movies like Scream and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare gave audiences a peek into a cinematic world that as aware of itself, a meta-universe that, sometimes hammily, winked and nodded at its influences and predecessors. This wasn’t invented in 1994, though. In 1980, an all-but-forgotten gem called Fade to Black did it first.
It’s been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Well then, in 1961, Great Britain flattered the hell out of Japan by making a little Godzilla homage called Gorgo.
Cinema Fearité Says Goodbye To Michael Parks With Charles B. Pierce’s Supernatural Stalker Movie ‘The Evictors’
Last week, the talented character actor Michael Parks passed away at the age of 77. Parks was one of those actors whose name might not be instantly recognizable, but whose face is known by every cinemaniac. He was a regular in films by both Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, and Kevin Smith has gone on record saying that he wrote Red State and Tusk specifically for Parks. Like so many other cult favorite actors, Parks did his share of horror movies, schlock with titles like The Savage Bees, Nightmare Beach...and the subject of this week’s Cinema Fearité – The Evictors.
In the rapidly declining world of print journalism, newspapers are known for their different sections. There’s the news and politics section, the funny papers, the sports page…and the obituary column. Obit takes a good look at the surprisingly lively writers who are responsible for producing the content for that last section.
Cinema Fearité Presents ‘The Babysitter’ – William Shatner and Patty Duke Versus Stephanie Zimbalist In A Crazy Script-Flipping Television Movie
In the seventies, a whole subgenre of horror popped up that revolved around the profession of babysitting. Led by movies such as Halloween and When A Stranger Calls, horror films made young girls everywhere think twice about childcare as a moneymaking venture. In 1980, a television movie, simply called The Babysitter, flipped the script on the stalked kinder-care motif by making the sitter the hunter instead of the prey.
Horror filmmakers and fans alike have always had a morbid fascination with real-life serial killers. Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, and The Zodiac Killer have all inspired horror movies - even the legendary Jack the Ripper got a speculative thriller. Wisconsin murderer Ed Gein alone has been the basis for dozens of films, everything from film classics like Psycho and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to cult standards such as Deranged and Motel Hell. In 1964, just a few short months after he claimed his last victim, The Boston Strangler (aka Albert DeSalvo) got his movie – the simply titled The Strangler.
A piece of pop culture history was lost this past weekend when Erin Moran, best known as the little sister Joanie on the long-running sitcom “Happy Days” (and carrying the role over to the spinoff “Joanie Loves Chachi”), died of cancer complications at the young age of 56. “Happy Days” made Moran a household name in the seventies, but she was already a child star at that point, and went on to have a humble television career after. Of course, because this is Cinema Fearité, we’re going to take a look at Moran’s one and only horror movie, the 1981 Roger Corman-produced sci-fi schlockfest Galaxy of Terror.
Documentaries about subcultures are usually fun because they give the viewer a glimpse into a world that they might otherwise have never even known existed. The new film from Jon Manning, Burlesque: Heart of the Glitter Tribe does just that, and does it in a way that is both informative and entertaining.
This week’s Cinema Fearité is going to be a little different. With Donald Trump sending warships to North Korea and their leader, Kim Jung-un, constantly developing and testing his country’s nuclear capabilities, the world hasn’t been this close to nuclear war since the Reagan era more than thirty years ago. It’s time to revisit the 1983 television movie The Day After.
There’s little doubt that Stanley Kubrick is one of the most influential directors in modern cinema. He revolutionized the science fiction genre with 2001: A Space Odyssey, the dystopian nightmare with A Clockwork Orange, the horror movie with The Shining, and the war film with Full Metal Jacket. He even invented the political satire with Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. But he wasn’t always so...Kubrickian. Like most filmmakers (see David Cronenberg’s Stereo), Kubrick started his career making cheap and simple films. His second feature, made way back in 1955, was the tidy little noir thriller Killer’s Kiss.
Following the success of Gremlins in 1984, the film industry decided that the next big thing would be tiny creature movies. The ghoulies in Ghoulies led to the troll in Cat’s Eye and the critters in Critters led to the demons in The Gate. But all of that was just prepping the world for 1988’s Hobgoblins.