The year 1960 was a banner year for horror, even if no one knew it at the time. In America, Alfred Hitchcock was defining the slasher genre with Psycho while Michael Powell was doing the same in England with Peeping Tom. Roger Corman made two of his most memorable films, The Little Shop of Horrors and House of Usher, while Terence Fisher pounded out not one, not two, but three future Hammer classics in The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll, The Brides of Dracula, and The Stranglers of Bombay. The year also saw the production of William Castle’s 13 Ghosts, Mario Bava’s Black Sunday, Bert I. Gordon’s Tormented, and Roger Vadim’s Blood and Roses. But, amidst all of these influential and inventive films, perhaps the most creative horror film from 1960 is the French classic Eyes Without a Face.
Visual artist Hans Rudolf Giger is one of the most enigmatic of pop culture icons. His distinct work is everywhere, from the production design for the sci-fi/horror movie Alien to his album covers for groups like Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Dead Kennedys, but few fans know much about the man himself. And, after seeing Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World, they still won’t know much about him.
There’s an old showbiz adage, often attributed to the great W.C. Fields, which offers the advice to “never work with children or animals.” It’s believed that the reasoning behind this is that children and animals are not only unpredictable, but they also steal any scene in which they appear. In the case of animals, it can go one further; the unpredictability can be downright dangerous, and one only needs to look as far as the 1981 exploitation film Roar for evidence.
For as iconic of a figure as Nirvana leader Kurt Cobain is, fans of the musician really haven’t gotten the documentary about the man that they have always wanted. There was Kurt & Courtney, Nick Broomfield’s totally unsanctioned 1998 film that focused more on the suspicious circumstances that surrounded the death of the rock star than on his life itself. Then, there was About a Son, the 2006 snorefest that paired up author Michael Azerrad’s interview tapes with Cobain with a bunch of boring cinematography in an attempt to capture the desolation and despair of the singer’s old Washington state stomping grounds. But audiences have never gotten an honest depiction of the man behind the music. Until now.
There is no horror movie prop that strikes fear into the hearts of viewers quite like the Ouija board. Some say it’s a portal to another dimension, others say it’s a silly game by Parker Brothers, but no one quite understands how or why the device behaves the way it does. One thing is for sure; whether appearing in classic films like The Uninvited and The Exorcist, or in more modern movies like Paranormal Activity and What Lies Beneath, the Ouija board (also known as a talking board or a spirit board) has carved itself out a seemingly permanent place in horror movie culture. The debatable king of the Ouija board horror movies is the 1986 spook-fest Witchboard.
In 1931, Boris Karloff became a horror icon playing a character who was reanimated by a mad scientist in Frankenstein. But his star-making performance as the monster in James Whale’s classic Universal fright flick is not the only time that the talented Karloff has been brought back from the dead. In 1939, he once again cheated the reaper in The Man They Could Not Hang.
When it comes to movies, sometimes the lines between genres are not entirely black and white. This fact is never as clear as it is when discussing the horror world. Sure, there are obvious horror movies, like Halloween, Friday the 13th, and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, but there are also grey-area films that straddle the genre line like Deliverance, Taxi Driver, and last year’s amazing Nightcrawler. Another of these “fringe horror” classics is 1966’s Seconds.
Every good rock and roll act has been backed up by a good manager. Elvis Presley had Colonel Tom Parker. The Beatles had Brian Epstein. And The Who had Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, who are the subjects of a conveniently titled documentary called Lambert & Stamp.
Movies that take place in the Marvel universe are hit-or-miss for the majority of filmgoers--uber fans of the characters/mythology tend to have a blind eye to a respective films misgivings. Every so often a Marvel movie gets its right, as with Iron Man and Thor. The Avengers was not so lucky, if luck really has anything to do with it in Hollywood. The pairing of a great many of the favorite Marvel universe characters has been redeemed in the follow-up sequel: Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Horror movies are so simple when there’s a clear-cut antagonist, someone like Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, or Michael Myers to play the villain role. Sometimes, things aren’t quite so obvious, such as when zombies look like regular people in movies like Dead & Buried or when aliens take the form of other organisms such as in The Thing. And things get really complicated when the threat is completely ambiguous, as is the case with the newest sensation horror film It Follows. Way back in 1978, however, underdog horror writer/director Jeff Lieberman pondered what would happen if something that someone experienced in their past could affect their present state, using drugs as its example, and brought us Blue Sunshine.
For more than forty years, Sabastião Salgado has been one of the premier social documentary photographers in the world. He’s worked for newspapers and magazines, photo agencies and photographers’ cooperatives, and has even been a UNiCef Goodwill Ambassador. Now, Sebastião’s son, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, has teamed up with narrative and documentary filmmaker Wim Wenders (Buena Vista Social Club, Pina) to make a movie called The Salt of the Earth about his father’s life, work, and most importantly, his photographs.
Las Vegas. The mere mention of its name provokes Hollywood movie memories from all genres. It is an eternal movie city that can feature any sort of hijinks, madness, mayhem, murder, sin, romance, and anything else a Hollywood screenwriter can dream up to place on the page. The time has come for Las Vegas to meet Jason Statham in Simon West's Wild Card. The meeting of the pair, a city and an actor who both play the same character whenever they appear on screen, is an exciting idea that has come at a price. That price being a loss of wonder for both as Wild Card is without a doubt a disordered attempt at merging two of the movie world's best "characters" on screen.
Randall James Hamilton Zwinge, better known as The Amazing Randi, is one of the greatest and most renowned magicians in the world. In his day, he would amaze and confound audiences with his Houdini-like escapes and tricks. Later on in his life, also like Harry Houdini, Randi would serve the same masses that he used to deceive by routinely exposing fraudulent clairvoyants and debunking phony psychics. Because of this, he was known as one of the “good” magicians, an illusionist on the people’s side. The perfect name for a documentary about him is An Honest Liar.
A couple of years ago, writer/director Kirby Dick and producer Amy Ziering broke the silence on the issue of sexual assault in the military with their gripping documentary The Invisible War. Now, they have tackled the same problem on college campuses with their newest film The Hunting Ground.
Whenever there’s a controversial subject, each side of the debate has its experts that provide scientific and credible evidence of their argument’s superiority to the opposition. The practice of spin doctoring has been around for decades without a whole lot of change. But who are these “experts,” and what makes them so knowledgeable? That’s the question at the heart of Merchants of Doubt.
Guitar Player magazine once described guitarist Tommy Tedesco as the most recorded guitarist in history. The funny thing is that most listeners would never even know it was him playing. The twangy galloping acoustic guitar on the “Bonanza” theme? The fuzzy, distorted intro riff to “Green Acres?” The silly wah-wah solo that signaled the beginning of “Three’s Company?” All Tommy Tedesco. It turns out, Tedesco was only one of the unsung studio musicians of the Los Angeles scene. There was a group of about twenty or so seasoned professionals who seemingly played on every record made on the west coast in the sixties and seventies. This group, and the documentary film that is named after them, is known as The Wrecking Crew.
When sports fans think about dynasties, there are certain names that come to mind. The New York Yankees have dominated Major League Baseball for nearly a hundred years. The Chicago Bulls of the nineties ruled the basketball courts. The National Football League’s San Francisco 49ers won five Super Bowls in the eighties and early nineties. But perhaps the most successful dynasty of all time worked its magic on the ice, and we’re not talking about the Montreal Canadiens. For a long time, the most feared hockey team on the planet was the USSR Men’s National Ice Hockey Team, and they are the subject of a fascinating new documentary called Red Army.
Around the same time that Motown Records was doing its thing in the big city of Detroit, Stax records was recording and releasing music down south in Memphis. The output from these two labels represented the best of what American music had to offer, and continued well into the days of the British Invasion of the mid-sixties. Although Motown had more chart success and record sales, Stax had the attitude; the cool mix of blues, gospel, funk, and jazz that became a recognizable sound all its own. Director Martin Shore tells the Stax story, but not in the traditional way, in his new documentary Take Me to the River.
Meet Wetlands' Helen (Carla Juri). She is in her post-teen years, still lives at home, is quite pretty with her tomboy haircut that is juxtaposed with her liking for very short shirts. She is a tiny bit insecure, and extremely precocious; exhibiting a child-like sense in her very much young adult body. Helen is also extremely vulgar in everything that she does. Obsessed with sex, sexuality, and pushing the boundaries of appropriateness there is no end to what Helen will do. Or what those around her will be compelled to do by her influence. Helen is, in a word, amazing. Solely for the fact that she exhibits everything that is wrong for a girl of her age, and you instantly fall in love with her because of this fact.
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.