Thursday, 16 December 2010

Saturday, 27 November 2010

ASK AND YE SHALL RECEIVE


Way back in June when I posted that Dynamite Entertainment would (finally) be releasing The Vampirella Archives, I was wishful that Moebius would add a Vampirella model kit to their re-issues of the classic and infamous Aurora Monster Scenes from the 1970's. Well, it's happening. Set to be released in January of 2011, the Vampirella Monster Scenes kit is struck from the original and is poised to bring a lot of nostalgic happiness to middle-aged Monster Kids like myself. Click here for unbridled joy!


Tuesday, 23 November 2010

MY TEN FAVOURITE FLICKS

Coincidentally, Roger Ebert has posted a list of his Ten Greatest Films of All Time at the same time as I was compiling a list of My Ten Favourites. About his list, Ebert states, “My first vow is to make the list for myself, not for anybody else. I am sure than Eisenstein's "Battleship Potemkin" is a great film, but it's not going on my list simply so I can impress people. Nor will I avoid "Casablanca" simply because it's so popular: I love it all the same. If I have a criterion for choosing the greatest films, it's an emotional one.”

Here, alphabetically, is his list:

Casablanca
Citizen Kane
Floating Weeds
Gates of Heaven
La Dolce Vita
Notorious
Raging Bull
The Third Man
28 Up
2001: A Space Odyssey


For Ebert's comments and details about the films on his list, visit his site via this link: Ten Greatest Films of All Time

My criterion was the same as Ebert's. My list, however, could’ve been comprised entirely of Hitchcock films, and I wish I could’ve included something by Godard, Russ Meyer, John Waters, the Coen Brothers, Todd Solondz, Lars von Trier, and Alejandro Jodorowsky, some gialli, more Tarantino, some Corman, and Terry Zwigoff's Ghost World would definitely be there at number 11. I also had to struggle with not including the following: George A. Romero’s Martin, Brian De Palma’s Carrie, Woody Allen’s Annie Hall and Manhattan, Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove and Paths of Glory, Leo McCarey’s Duck Soup, Charles Reisner’s Steamboat Bill Jr., Kaneto Shindô’s Onibaba, Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show, Robert Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly, Mervyn LeRoy’s I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, Howard Hawks’ The Big Sleep, Ken Russell’s The Devils, Lina Wertmüller’s Seven Beauties, Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Henri-Georges Clouzot's Les Diaboliques and Wages of Fear, Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves and Umberto D., Kurosawa’s Rashomon and Ikiru, David Cronenberg’s The Brood, Robert Wise’s The Haunting, Jacques Tourneur’s The Cat People, and Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack’s King Kong, amongst a hundred others, but, um… that’s more than ten (Talk about having my cake and eating it too).

My list follows, also alphabetically. What's on yours?













Thursday, 18 November 2010

MY HAMMER HORROR DILEMMA



I love Hammer movies. I grew up with them. I saw so many Hammer Horror double bills when I was a kid in the 70's that they're as much a part of my childhood as Pet Rocks and flared jeans.

Hammer made movies that literally thrilled me as a kid, goofy as that sounds. I would watch the screen crouched down in my seat, anticipating the next vampire's hiss or Frankenstein Monster's stumble. Today, I appreciate them, partly for their nostalgia value, but mostly because they are terrific movies.

The studio was so successful at being distinctive in what it did, at creating its own world, that it also created a dilemma for me. You see, it's almost impossible for me to differentiate one Hammer movie from the other. Not that they're all the same; far from it. Some are Black & White, some are colour; some are gothic, some are contemporary; some are graced by the presence of Lee and Cushing, some aren't; and some are just better than others. But all share that Hammer stamp, unlike almost anything else I can think of other than the Val Lewton-produced cycle of suggestive horror flicks from the 40's, and there were only nine of those. Different than a world that a single filmmaker creates through an entire filmography, say Alfred Hitchcock or Jean-Luc Godard, Hammer movies feature different directors, writers, cinematographers, composers, and casts, but each Hammer Horror makes up a part of the "world of Hammer" in my mind, and to me "The World of Hammer" is one utterly fantastic, continuous movie.


As a blogger, the opportunity to take part in numerous Favourite Film lists arises with some regularity. My Hammer dilemma means that I rarely include a selection from the Hammer studio... There's just too many to choose from and I want to include them all! It's as if one Hammer film comments on or relates to another in the Hammer cannon; like one is somehow connected to the others. This leads me to attempt to pick a representative movie, but that's just foolhardy and it's just not fair to the individual films. The fact is that Hammer produced a large number of not just good films, but several that can easily be considered classics.

So in recognition of all the times that I've left a Hammer film out of the creation of whatever list I may have been taking part in, and because I'm so fond of each of these films, here are my favourite Hammer Horrors, each one a unique part of "The World of Hammer":

The Curse of Frankenstein, Horror of Dracula, The Revenge of Frankenstein, The Brides of Dracula, Never Take Candy from a Stranger, The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll, Taste of Fear, The Curse of the Werewolf, These are the Damned, Paranoiac, The Plague of the Zombies, The Reptile, Frankenstein Created Woman, Quatermass and the Pit, Dracula Has Risen from the Grave, The Devil Rides Out, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, Taste the Blood of Dracula, Scars of Dracula, The Vampire Lovers, Countess Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde, Hands of the Ripper, Twins of Evil, Straight on Till Morning, Vampire Circus, Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter, Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell, and The Satanic Rites of Dracula.

There is, however, one Hammer Horror that I'm incredibly partial towards. And having said that, I feel like I'm being oddly dismissive of all the others. That film is Hands of the Ripper. I first saw it when I was 12 years old, on TV during a trip to England with my parents. There in the St. James Hotel, I watched fascinated and terrified as Jack the Ripper's daughter gorily (for its time) slashed her way through victims both deserving and shockingly undeserving. Later during this trip, we visited the Whispering Gallery at St. Paul's Cathedral. The fact that the climax of Hands of the Ripper occurs there added an extra frisson for me as we sent our whispered messages around its circumference. I've watched this film several times since this initial and impressionable viewing, and it's still one of my favourite films. The attack scenes still pack a jolt, the story is still involving and fresh, and Anna, the Ripper's daughter played by Angharad Rees, is one of the most tragic heroines in all of Hammer's films. I love it.


Hammer Studios closed in the late 70's after changing public taste resulted in declining box office. With the old studio recently reanimated anew and producing films like the remakes (sigh) of Let Me In and The Woman in Black, there's the potential that it may yet recapture some of its old glory. Whatever the future of the new Hammer, there are plenty of Golden Era Hammer films out there; go get you some!




Friday, 8 October 2010

PUNK ROCK (i can't find)

I've been searching for these tracks to download, but to no avail. Happily, I've found the vids. PLAY LOUD!

UNITED STATE: Automoton


MINUTEMEN: King of the Hill


CRUNT: Swine/Sexy


FLIPPER: Ever



HALLOWEEN EAR WORM

A confession: I LIKE Halloween III: Season of the Witch. I like how the storyline diverges from the Michael Myers track. I like the concept of a modern day Druid plotting to wipe out a chuck o' the pre-teen population with a diabolical plan. And I like this jingle, played repeatedly in the movie. It's impossible for it to NOT get stuck in your head. So to enjoy (or get irritated) by Halloween a few days early, here's the Silver Shamrock ad from H3.




Monday, 4 October 2010

NIGHT CHILD (1975)


Directed by Massimo Dallamano (director of the essential giallo What Have You Done to Solange?), Night Child is a relatively subtle Italian thriller mis-advertised as an Exorcist-style potboiler. NOT the first time misleading advertising has been used to sell a movie. Richard Johnson (Zombie, and the actual Italian Exorcist rip-off Beyond the Door) stars as a British documentary filmmaker whose latest subject is the Devil. Traveling to Italy with his daughter (the always fantastic Nicoletta Elmi from Who Saw Her Die?, Baron Blood, Flesh for Frankenstein, Footprints on the Moon, Deep Red, and Demons) and her nanny Ida Galli (The Whip and the Flesh, The Psychic), Johnson is met by Production Manager Joanna Cassidy (Bladerunner, Six Feet Under). Johnson and Cassidy start a relationship, Galli gets jealous due to her unrequited love for the filmmaker, and Almi goes a little nuts trying to deal with the recent death of her mother who died during a house fire. Too bad daddy has let her wear mommy's medallion in memoriam. See... it's cursed. Deaths ensue, wild laughter from the terrific and throaty Cassidy ensues, and little Elmi does have one scene of thrashing about on the bed à la Linda Blair. It's an entertaining 90 minutes that is more atmospheric than scary, and features an appearance from Edmund Purdom (Pieces) and a co-starring turn from Lila Kedrova (Torn Curtain) as psychic Contessa Cappelli. Interesting enough, the ending looks like a dry run for the next year's The Omen (1976). The DVD from Code Red, the great DVD company that is apparently going to close shop next summer, looks great and features an assortment of potential Code Red titles as well as the trailer for Night Child. Possess it!


Sunday, 5 September 2010

PROFESSOR DAVID HUXLEY’S LABORIOUS, LICENTIOUS SPOTTED-LEOPARD LABOR DAY FILM QUIZ

The terrific writer Dennis Cozzalio at his essential Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule website creates fantastic film quizzes with some regularity. A new one is up, and despite trying to post my answers for over an hour, I gave up and decided to post 'em here. Anyone who is interested in movies ought to give Dennis' quizzes a try; they're a blast. Here goes:

Q1) Classic film you most want to experience that has so far eluded you.
A1) 'Cause I'm a giallo fanatic, I'm going to say Footsteps on the Moon, and mean it!

Q2) Greatest Criterion DVD/Blu-ray release ever
A2) Videodrome.

Q3) The Big Sleep or The Maltese Falcon?
A3) The Big Sleep. Such an amazing and confusing flick. It's actually the Noir that taught me how to watch the genre... forget about following the details of the story and just experience it. Fan-tastic!

Q4) Jason Bateman or Paul Rudd?
A4) Bateman's great, but Rudd is so damn likable (attractive) and funny. Rudd, I say, Rudd!

Q5) Best mother/child (male or female) movie star combo
A5) Daria Nicolodi and Asia Argento.

Q6) Who are the Robert Mitchums and Ida Lupinos among working movie actors? Do modern parallels to such masculine and no-nonsense feminine stars even exist? If not, why not?
A6) Try though I might, I just can't come up with modern equivelants. That leads me to say that Hollywood during the Mitchum/Lupino era was a differnt place and a different time, and Hollywood as we know it today just isn't the same "breeding ground".

Q7) Favorite Preston Sturges movie
A7) I've only seen one, but it's a doosie! Sullivan's Travels.

Q8) Odette Yustman or Mary Elizabeth Winstead?
A8) Winstead -- 'Cause of Pilgrim (yet to see it) and Death Proof.

Q9) Is there a movie that if you found out a partner or love interest loved (or didn't love) would qualify as a Relationship Deal Breaker?
A9) Not really. But liking Forrest Gump, Dances With Wolves or Pretty Woman would make me think that we wouldn't be going to many movies together.

Q10) Favorite DVD commentary
A10) Doris Wishman on A Night to Dismember.

Q11) Movies most recently seen on DVD, Blu-ray and theatrically
A11) DVD: I Spit on Your Grave ('77); Theatre: The Last Exorcism ("Would you like a blowing job?" Now that's comedy!).

Q12) Dirk Bogarde or Alan Bates?
A12) Bates. Did you see what he did with Oliver Reed in Women in Love?!

Q13) Favorite DVD extra
A12) Trailer! I don't really need much more than that.

Q14) Brian De Palma’s Scarface— yes or no?
A12) Yes.

Q15) Best comic moment from a horror film that is not a horror comedy (Young Frankenstein, Love At First Bite, et al.)
A15) See Anewer 11 for a fine moment, though not my fave. That would probably be The Omen. I'll never understand that flick's popularity, despite a few good scenes, an effective score and an appealing exploitation concept. Its execution is too high and mighty and silly at the same time for my taste. However, said comedy moment occurs during the terrific scene early in the flick when Damien's nanny hangs herself during the child's birthday party. Among the horrified party guests is a clown, who stares in shock. The shot of the clown during all that horror always hits my funny bone.

Q16) Jane Birkin or Edwige Fenech?
A16) Despite "Je t'aime... moi non plus" breathlessly rolling around in my iPod and Seven Death's in the Cat's Eye in my DVD collection, I LOVE Fenech, and she's just become a Facebook friend! Queen of the Giallo!

Q17) Favorite Wong Kar-wai movie
A17) Chungking Express.

Q18) Best horrific moment from a comedy that is not a horror comedy
A18) Charles Napier murdering Sheri Eubanks in the bathroom in Supervixens!

Q19) From 2010, a specific example of what movies are doing right…
A19) You know, this is the first year where I can't really thing of ANYTHING I'd put on a best of the year list... So sadly, I'm going to say that the best thing movies are doing circa 2010 is continuing to make movies.

Q20) Ryan Reynolds or Chris Evans?
A20) Reynolds. He has the best torso in the biz.

Q21) Speculate about the future of online film writing. What’s next?
A21) You mean beyond stealing ideas? I guess the opportunity for collaboration is immense.

Q22) Roger Livesey or David Farrar?
A22) I hate it when people pass on these questions, but I don't think I've actually seen either of these gents in anything, so...

Q23) Best father/child (male or female) movie star combo
A23) Lon Chaneys Sr & Jr.

Q24) Favorite Freddie Francis movie (as Director)
A24) Tales from the Crypt ('72)

Q25) Bringing Up Baby or The Awful Truth?
A25) Bringing Up Baby is, bar none, my favourite comedy. I've got The Awful Truth DVD waiting to view, but Bringing Up Baby is my answer, sir. Afterall, the love impulse in the male frequently reveals itself in terms of conflict! Or something like that.

Q26) Tina Fey or Kristen Wiig?
A27) I really enjoy 'em both, but I'm going with Fey.

Q27) Name a stylistically important director and the best film that would have never been made without his/her influence.
A27) Hitchcock! And, off the top of my head, Dressed to Kill, but the potential answers are almost limitless... any thriller since The 39 Steps!

Q28) Movie you’d most enjoy seeing remade and transplanted to a different culture (i.e. Yimou Zhang’s A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop.)
A28) Red Dawn made in Russia. Seriously. I'd enjoy watching that. Or maybe Goin' Down the Road, the qintessential Canadian film, re-made in the US of A.

Q29) Link to a picture/frame grab of a movie image that for you best illustrates bliss. Elaborate.
A29) To me Hitchcok IS the movies, and movies are bliss. This is one of his best moments, both fuuny, creepy, and to the point, cinematically. From Strangers on a Train. All heads turn to watch a tennis match. All heads but one. Bruno Anthony, the sociopathic killer, stares at his unwitting accomplice... and at US!



Q30) With a tip of that hat to Glenn Kenny, think of a just-slightly-inadequate alternate title for a famous movie. (Examples from GK: Fan Fiction; Boudu Relieved From Cramping; The Mild Imprecation of the Cat People)
A30) Fatter, Pussycat! Eat! Eat!


Monday, 30 August 2010

MY HORROR AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION

Clive Barker (Author)


Dario Argento (Dir, The Bird With the Crystal Plumage, Suspiria, Deep Red)


Herschell Gordon Lewis (The Godfather of Gore)


Herk Harvey (Dir, Carnival of Souls)


Linnea Quigley (Return of the Living Dead; Savage Streets; Silent Night, Deadly Night; Night of the Demons)


Autographs M.I.A.: David Cronenberg, Tom Savini.


Monday, 23 August 2010

70's Cult Project



The Mike over at From Midnight, With Love poses this question: "What would you say are the most essential cult films of the 1970s?". Sez The Mike, "You can pick whatever you want, as long as you formulate a ranked TOP 5 in this category. After everyone has created their list, I will compile an overall list that will use YOUR picks to determine a final list of The Midnight Warriors' Most Essential Cult Films of the 1970s! I'll plan on trying to finish this in two weeks, so I'd like to have lists from people by Monday August 30th."

With thanks to The Mike, here's the Bloody Terror List of the Most Essential Cult Films of the 1970's:

FORMER #5. Suspiria (1977, Dir. Dario Argento)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Dawn of the Dead (1978), Suspiria (1977) ... each of these deserve to be on this list. BUT I gotta get rid of this/these choices to make way for Bloody Terror's REAL choice for #5 (see below).


5. The Poseidon Adventure (1972, Dir. Ronald Neame)


4. The Streetfighter (1975, Dir. S. Ozawa)


3. Supervixens (1975, Dir: Russ Meyer)


2. El Topo (1971, Dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky)


1. Eraserhead (1978, Dir. David Lynch)



Tuesday, 17 August 2010

My Canuxploitation Film Festival



While perusing the essential Canuxploitation website, I got to thinking... If I were to program my own little festival of Canadian exploitation films, the schedule would run like this: