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NUMBER ONE FUN
When film fans hear the name Jackie Chan, they often think of
his comic skills and his penchant for dangerous stunts. He combines
those two so well that one may think he had an easy path to stardom.
However, that was not the case. Andrew Kent gave us the ins
and outs of Jackie’s life and career from birth to 1983.
Jackie Chan was born to impoverished parents in 1954 and was
sent to the Chinese Opera Academy where his acrobatic skills were honed
in an environment of discipline and asceticism. While there, he befriended
two other students whose careers later became linked with his – Sammo Hung
and Yuen Biao.
Jackie’s first films were not very successful from a financial
and audience standpoint. While he may have gained respect for his
martial arts skills, he was often cast as a grim, Bruce Lee inspired character,
most notably by director Wei Lo, with whom Jackie had a 10 film contract.
He often requested to lighten up the films and his characters, but Lo either
refused or poorly acquiesced to his wishes. Jackie even attempted
to go Hollywood and worked in THE BIG BRAWL and both CANNONBALL RUN movies,
but these Tinseltown flicks did not showcase his talents any better than
his Hong Kong directors did.
It wasn’t until he worked with action director extraordinaire
Yuen Wo Ping in SNAKE IN THE EAGLE’S SHADOW that Jackie’s unique talents
began to flower. Audiences loved his comic, almost slapstick skills
and his daring stunts. More films in the same vein followed, like
DRUNKEN MASTER, FEARLESS HYENA. By this time, Jackie was able to
escape a restrictive contract with Lo, and began to write his own ticket
These few paragraphs cannot even begin to relay all of the information
that Andrew presented - in both narrative and clip format. Needless
to say, if you wonder what happened to Jackie’s career after 1983, stick
around for Part 2 – 1983 to the present –scheduled sometime in 2006.
Thanks, Andrew, for that incredible presentation!!
Our movie choices for the night showcased the best of early Jackie
Chan. The club voted for PROJECT A – a film of almost epic scope.
The plot goes something like this: In the 19th Century, pirates are haunting
the waters around Hong Kong. But, before the city's coast guard can
be sent against the villains, their ships are mysteriously destroyed. Without
vessels, the coast guard is disbanded, and its men, including a very energetic
young sailor named Dragon (Jackie Chan), are transferred to the police
department. As a policeman, Dragon participates in an investigation
of some of the pirates' accomplices, and, while doing so, he comes into
contact with his ne'er-do-well friend, Fei (Sammo Hung), who has been hired
by the miscreants to supply them with rifles. Undeterred by this,
or by his conflicts with his superiors, Dragon continues his increasingly
complicated fight to bring law and order to the rough and tumble world
of British Hong Kong. This film also has an absolutely terrific bicycle
chase that would fit well in an old Buster Keaton comedy.
The midnight movie was interesting. This movie centers on a high school
principal who is desperate to get to the finals, but he has only a mediocre
team. The main student players are, surprise, surprise, an incompetent,
glasses-wearing outfielder, a stocky jock with more brawn than brains and
the school rebel with a killer (literally) fastball pitch.
If this were a mainstream film, you could guess the formula – the principal
would hire a fallen, but once-legendary coach who would inspire these ‘losers’
to work together as team and they would sweep the season and by the end,
everyone would learn some type of life-affirming lesson….yawn…
But, being that this is a Japanese film (courtesy of Mr. Steve Vaught,
thank you very much!) and the baseball teams’ first opponents of the season
are the undefeated Zombie team Gedo High School who play no-rules ball
(team with the most surviving members wins), you can guess that the formula
was chewed, chopped, burned, and thrown right out the window. Adding
to the fun is the fact that the school rebel has such a destructive fastball,
that his catcher requires a huge, novelty size catching mitt.
And don’t forget the odd musical number and cheesy dialogue to keep you
totally off balance. Thanks for bringing it in Steve!
TSUNAMI DRIVE A SUCCESS!!! THANKS!!!
Our Tsunami Pledge Drive netted $280 from the cigar box and check donations
and a special $1,000 check from Joe Plempel for a grand total donation
of $1,280. Thanks to Joe and to all who made a donation to this worthy
We are going to participate in the Horrorfind convention
from August 19-21. We'll need folks to staff the table. We will be passing
out a list to see who’s interested in helping out and who can confirm to
Think about what you are doing that weekend and if you can participate
by giving us an hour or two at the table, that would be great. If
you know you will be at the convention anyway, an hour is not much and
it’s for ICS! Look at your schedule and see which of the days you can help
us out. We need volunteers for the ICS table for the whole time the convention
We will also be collecting movies to sell at Horrorfind.
No books or collectible figures or toys, please. Those items are
harder to sell and take up more space. Again, MOVIES ONLY please.
Go thru the shelves and see what is gathering dust – we will take vhs or
dvd’s. And these will make money for YOUR club.
Thanks to Dave Henderson for agreeing to store the goods at his
home until the convention!
NEWS OF OUR NEXT MEETING
Our next meeting will be held on Saturday July 30th at 5:30 P.M.
at the church hall behind the Perry Hall Presbyterian Church located at
8848 BelAir Road. Take Baltimore Beltway exit 32 north on Belair Road.
Turn left onto Joppa Road. Immediately past the miniature golf course turn
left into the parking lot. If you miss it there are ample turn-around opportunities.
If you get stuck call 443-570-6455. That's Dave Willard’s cell phone. He'll
talk you in.
A NIGHT OF THE FUN-DEAD
Scrap your OC plans – July 30th is the ICS event of the SUMMER.
We have a special guest presenter - Dr. Peter Dendle, an Associate Professor
of English from Penn State’s Mont Alto campus. Dr. Dendle is the
author of the work that’s considered to be the definitive work on undead
movies – The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia (I’m bringing my copy for an autograph!).
He will discuss zombie films from the early WHITE ZOMBIE days to current
films like 28 DAYS LATER and DAWN OF THE DEAD 2004.
FOOD ALERT - ICS NEEDS PEPSI, DORITOS, CUPCAKES AND YOU!!
Please bring assorted snacks and drinks to the next meeting as our
current stock is just about down to ZERO.
This is a reminder that YOUR BELOVED FOOD FUEHRER Barry
is asking for food and drink donations from everyone attending the next
meeting. It would be appreciated. By all of the other hungy ICS members.
And please, remember t his next meeting is a special one, we will have
more then the usual members so keep that in mind when bringing treats.
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SPOTNITZ AND NIGHT STALKER
The upcoming horror series The Night Stalker will put a fresh, modern
spin on the two 1970s Night Stalker television movies and the short-lived
series, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, that inspired it, according Frank Spotnitz,
the X-Files veteran who will executive produce the new show. Spotnitz said
that his take on The Night Stalker, which will star Stuart Townsend (Queen
of the Damned) as the put-upon, evil-chasing reporter Carl Kolchak, is
to make the central character younger, sexier and more conflicted.
"What the show's really about is good and evil," Spotnitz told the
site. "In this show, evil really does have supernatural forces at its command.
Good does not. Good has to operate through human beings. So that is interesting
Spotnitz added: "I'm not a religious person, but I do a lot of reading
of religious stuff. I do think, whether you're a person of faith or not,
it does seem like evil is so much more powerful than good. I believe, if
there is a God, God expects good to operate through men and women, that
goodness in the world exists through the goodness of what people do. ...
Good people have to live by a code. They have conscience and mercy and
all those things that get in the way when you're trying to destroy evil.
That's what this show is ultimately about. It's interesting, because you
don't know if Kolchak really is what he says he is." The Night Stalker
will debut this fall on ABC.
CUOCO JOINS CHARMED
Kaley Cuoco (8 Simple Rules) is joining the cast of The WB's witch
series Charmed in its upcoming eighth season. Cuoco will play a young witch
under the tutelage of the Charmed ones (Alyssa Milano, Holly Marie Combs
and Rose McGowan).
In addition to Cuoco, the upcoming eighth season of Charmed will feature
Mark McGrath, who signed on to do a multiepisode arc.
Cuoco's credits also include the NBC miniseries 10.5 and ABC Family's
original movie Crime of Fashion.
LOST WRITER OFFERS A HINT
Javier Grillo-Marxuach, a writer and supervising producer of ABC's
hit Lost, offered only a tantalizing hint about Michelle Rodriguez, who
joins the regular cast in the show's upcoming second season. "We know she
made mention of sitting in the back of the plane," Grillo-Marxuach said
in an interview, referring to Rodriguez's brief scene in a flashback with
Jack (Matthew Fox). "So does that mean if she survived, others survived?
I guess it could mean that, couldn't it? It's just one of those things
where you have to go, 'Uh, ha!'"
Beyond that, Grillo-Marxuach said of the second season, which gears
up soon: "We have a very good idea of the [overall arc] stories of the
show. We have a plan for these characters. Now it's just a matter of doing
the spade and trowel work and turning them into episodic storylines."
Grillo-Marxuach declined to comment on several rumors about the show.
One is that Boone (Ian Somerhalder) is not dead, though he seemed to die
at the end of season one, and that the show's creators, J.J. Abrams and
Damon Lindelof, are planning to bring him back in season three. Another
is that Jack is the only one actually alive and that the series is based
on his hallucinations. "What can I tell you [and] can't tell you about
Lost?" Grillo-Marxuach said. "At this point, I cannot confirm or deny any
rumors. There are so many of those out there, and thank God for that. If
people are that excited about the show, well, I'm pretty happy with that."
He added: "I guess I could tell you no, yes, maybe or whatever to just
about anything that has been said about Lost. But the fun of the show is
to take the journey and to see how all the mysteries unravel." Lost returns
in the fall. Lost season one DVD available in September.
MEYER TINKERS ON ROBOT CHICKEN
Breckin Meyer said that he's having a blast working with pal and fellow
actor Seth Green on his Cartoon Network stop-action animated show, Robot
Chicken. "It's great to watch Seth be all serious and official while we're
doing it," Meyer said. "I mean, we go way back, so I don't take him seriously
at all, especially when he gives me directions."
Robot Chicken is a quarter-hour series consisting of brief, animated
satiric vignettes, many voiced by well-known actors such as Meyer. Meyer
and Green worked together in both Josie and the Pussycats and Can't Hardly
Wait, which were co-directed by Meyer's wife, Deborah Kaplan. Green and
Meyer were also in Rat Race, where Green discovered Meyer's wry sense of
humor. Meyer is joining the writing team of Robot Chicken in its second
season. "The show doesn't have a robot or a chicken, but we're having a
great time making fun of everything we can make fun of," Meyer said. "We're
getting away with a lot."
Robot Chicken spoofs supervillains and washed-up TV personalities and
pokes fun at everything from Quentin Tarantino movies to Star Trek. Meyer
is a common voice on the show, having appeared in half a dozen episodes.
Guest voices have included Macaulay Culkin, Burt Reynolds, Mark Hamill,
Scarlett Johannson, Ryan Seacrest, Ashton Kutcher, Sarah Michelle Gellar,
Matthew Lillard and Ming-Na.
"When you're working with friends, it's a whole different thing," Meyer
said. "It's such a blast, and you're comfortable. You don't worry about
what the director is going to think. With Seth, he directs all the recording
sessions, and he'll say, 'Uh, that's pretty good. Can you do it again and
you bring it down a little bit?' And I'm like, 'You can go f--k yourself!'
We have fun. It's about kids that have watched way too many movies. Sneaking
into way too many movies, that's what it's all about."
New episodes of Robot Chicken air Sundays as part of Cartoon Network's
Adult Swim programming block. Meyer will also appear alongside Lindsay
Lohan in Herbie: Fully Loaded, which opens June 24.
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Regent Springs ETERNAL Date
Regent Releasing and here! Films have set
a September 16 date for the limited U.S. release of ETERNAL, a Canadian-produced
modernization of the Countess Bathory story. (This is a different movie
from the Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy film BATHORY, which is currently in
negotiations, as reported last week.) Written and directed by Wilhelm Liebenberg
and Federico Sanchez, the film follows a detective whose search for his
missing wife leads him to cross paths with a contemporary Blood Countess.
Edward Furlong, Vampire Hunter in SUN
Edward Furlong will play the vampire hunter
Daly in KISS OF THE SUN for Green Valley Entertainment. Michelle Borth
(THE HILLSIDE STRANGLER) will co-star as Katya, a bloodsucker obsessed
with the sun who recreates it via virtual reality. She falls in love with
Daly, then finds out that he’s her descendant and joins him to try to destroy
her master. Short film and commercials veteran Jon Hill directs the movie,
set to shoot this month in Miami and Bucharest, from a script by producer
Micheal Valverde, based on the short story Virtual Day by Stephen L. Antczak
from his anthology Daydreams Undertaken. Furlong’s been busy in the genre
lately, appearing in Asylum’s INTERMEDIO, Dimension’s upcoming THE CROW:
WICKED PRAYER and the Christian-lit thriller THE VISITATION.
CHAINSAW Prequel GETS a Director
Jonathan Liebesman (Darkness Falls) is going
back in time, signing on to direct the as of yet untitled Texas Chainsaw
Massacre prequel that Platinum Dunes is producing for New Line Cinema.
As in the first movie, the story follows a
group of kids who run afoul of chainsaw-wielding psycho Leatherface and
his demented family. The story will reveal Leatherface's origins.
The script was written by Sheldon Turner (The
Crow) with a rewrite by David Schow. Michael Bay, Andrew Form and Brad
Fuller are producing via Platinum Dunes.
Lovecraft film THING ON THE DOORSTEP wraps
Seattle-based Maelstron Productions has announced
that it has complete principal photography on its feature adaptation of
the H.P. Lovecraft tale The Thing on the Doorstep. Directed by Eric Morgret
from a script by K.L. Young, the film begins with Miskatonic University
primitive religions professor Dan Upton (J.D. Lloyd) shooting his best
friend, Edward Derby (Erick Robertson), in the halls of Arkham Asylum.
Interrogated by police, Upton relates how the two met a beautiful, mysterious
student named Asenath Waite (Angela Grillo), who led Edward down the road
to black magic and madness.
The movie, whose full title is STRANGE AEONS:
THE THING ON THE DOORSTEP, was filmed on locations ranging from a mansion
owned by game creator/Wizards of the Coast veteran Jesper Myrfors to the
cemetery seen in the opening credits of SIX FEET UNDER. Maelstrom previously
adapted Thing as a short film, currently available from the site www.maelstromproductions.com
on DVD, with filmmakers’ commentary, a blooper reel, the trailer and a
short spoof called THE LOVE CRAFT. The THING feature will be ready for
release this fall, and Morgret and Young are planning more H.P. Lovecraft
flicks under the Strange Aeons banner.
Why Johansson Bailed On M:I 3
Scarlett Johansson said that she opted out
of this summer's Mission: Impossible 3 in favor of Woody Allen's next movie,
an as-yet-unnamed comedy. "We just had a scheduling conflict," Johansson
said during a news conference on May 25 to promote her upcoming movie The
Island. "When you have a big production like that, they can't move stuff
around that easily. I wanted to work with Woody, so, unfortunately, that
was a casualty, I guess."
Twenty-year-old Johansson was initially linked
to the third Mission: Impossible film, starring Tom Cruise and directed
by Alias creator J.J. Abrams. But she was surprised and delighted to be
asked by Woody Allen to star in his dramatic thriller Match Point with
Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (who, coincidentally, has just been cast in M:I 3),
then went on to shoot The Island with director Michael Bay and co-star
Ewan McGregor. After that, she was supposed to work with Cruise in Mission:
Impossible 3, but Allen asked her to be in his next film.
When she told Allen she was heading off to
do a Michael Bay film, she said the New York director squinted and said,
"Who?" Johansson acknowledged that Allen is a rather insulated guy and
a film snob, but she added: "He did tell me, 'Oh, I like science fiction.'
So we'll see if we can get him to the premiere [of The Island]."
Michael Chiklis Joins Lucy Liu in Rise
Michael Chiklis is set to join Lucy Liu in
Rise, the Sebastian Gutierrez-directed horror thriller that will shoot
next month. Ghost House Pictures, a partnership between Mandate Pictures,
Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert, is mounting the project. Chiklis, who stars in
the FX series The Shield, will play a haunted police detective whose daughter
was killed by a strange cult. Rise is a supernatural thriller in which
a female reporter wakes up in a morgue to find herself a member of the
undead. She vows revenge against the sect that put her there and hunts
Medusa Seduces WICKER MAN
Medusa has signed an all-rights deal for the
upcoming remake of The Wicker Man starring Nicholas Cage, directed by Nurse
Betty helmer Neil LaBute. The remake will see Cage as a distraught father
out to rescue his daughter from an island ruled by women who want to use
her in some kind of sacrifice. Medusa will distribute the film in Italy
and other regions, no word on a U.S. release as of yet. The film is still
in the pre-production stage.
Alias Duo Finds Time For 2:22
Writing and producing team Alex Kurtzman and
Roberto Orc will produce 2:22 from a script by Todd Stein for DreamWorks.
The film concerns a tortured artist to whom strange things start occurring
at the same place and time every day.
Kurtzman and Orci are writers and producers
on ABC's Alias. They are also in partnership with DreamWorks on several
high-profile projects as writers, such as this summer's The Island and
Transformers, both directed by Michael Bay. The duo also wrote all of the
Mission: Impossible films, including the third installment, now in pre-production
at Paramount under the direction of their Alias boss J.J. Abrams.
SYLVESTER STALLONE IN THE POE HOUSE
Sylvester Stallone has made a deal with Nu
Image/Millennium Films to write and direct his long-mooted film on the
life of Gothic author Edgar Allan Poe. Stallone finished a script for the
movie, simply titled POE, in 2002, and is now set to start shooting in
Europe this fall. Robert Downey Jr. is Stallone’s favorite to play the
author of The Pit and the Pendulum, The Fall of the House of Usher and
other classic horror tales, but no confirmed casting has been reported
yet. POE will join the latest wave of films inspired by the writer and
his works, including THE LIGHTHOUSE AT THE END OF THE WORLD and a group
of Ulli Lommel-directed features.
GRUDGE scripter entering the CRAWLSPACE
Paramount, which already has remakes of THE
CRAZIES and THE BLOB in the works, is developing a new feature-film adaptation
of Herbert Lieberman’s novel Crawlspace, which was previously turned into
a 1972 TV movie by director John Newland (DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK.)
THE GRUDGE’s Stephen Susco (currently also working on yet another remake,
Columbia’s PROM NIGHT) is scripting the update of Lieberman’s story, in
which a couple invite a young repairman to stay for dinner—and he ends
up inhabiting the crawlspace in the basement and begins to terrorize them.
The movie will be produced by Evolution Entertainment through its Twisted
Pictures banner, which was also responsible for SAW, the recently wrapped
CATACOMBS and the currently shooting SAW 2.
Barker, Saralegui Scare Up Films
Novelist-director Clive Barker has partnered
with producer Jorge Saralegui in the Midnight Picture Show, a venture meant
to scare up two horror films per year. Most will be based on the prolific
author's short stories published in the six volumes of The Books of Blood,
or on his original ideas.
Lakeshore Entertainment has been set to finance
The Midnight Meat Train, an adaptation of the Barker story about a Gotham-based
photographer's effort to track down "the subway butcher," a search that
leads to an unholy secret. The pic was adapted by Jeff Buhler and will
be directed by Patrick Tatopoulous, a horror vet who has done extensive
creature and production design work. Lions Gate will distribute and production
will start in the fall.
Barker and Saralegui made an earlier alliance
with Armada Pictures to finance The Plague, a Hal Masonberg/Teal Minton-scripted
fright film that will be directed by Masonberg this summer. The film concerns
an apocalypse that causes kids to lapse into vegetative states, only to
awaken years later bent on murdering their parents.
Barker and Saralegui have set Anthony DiBlasi,
an exec at Barker's Seraphim Films label, to adapt the Barker short Pig
Blood Blues, and John Heffernan to draft New York Resurrection, from an
original idea by Barker. They hope these movies will be made in 2006.
Next up will be the Barker short Age of Desire,
scripted by Charles Canzoneri, along with Revelation, a picture that Lori
Lakin is writing, based on her own idea. The venture comes at a time when
modest-budget horror pics, mostly remakes, continue to proliferate and
"We hope our advantage will come from my own
body of work of really intense horror stories that are original," Barker
said. "We will not be reheating old films, freshening up old ideas. ...
Even forgetting the sequels we hope to make, I've got enough here for 20
movies of varying budget scales."
Since this is the Barker who hatched the gory
Hellraiser and Candyman franchises, the teenage PG-13 set shouldn't expect
him to cater to their lucrative demo.
"Jorge and I want to wind up with a library
of pictures that will reflect my sensibilities, which are decidedly R rated,"
Barker said. "In fact, the moment I make a PG-13 horror movie, you can
take me out and shoot me. Our desire is to leave you feeling that we're
a little crazy."
The films will be exec produced by Seraphim's
Joe Daley and DiBlasi. Barker will polish every script. They will set up
Pig Blood Blues and New York Resurrection when the scripts are ready later
this year, and hope to form a long-term alliance with a financier that
will permit them to own or partly control the film's negative.
"We will build toward that goal, but first
we have to prove ourselves in the marketplace," Saralegui said.
Tarantino and Rodriguez Grind Up the Weinsteins
Quentin Tarantino, whose Pulp Fiction helped
turn Miramax Films into a powerhouse, and Robert Rodriguez, whose Spy Kids
movies have been a lucrative franchise for Miramax's genre arm Dimension,
are teaming up to make a film for Bob and Harvey Weinstein's new Weinstein
Co. The film is scheduled for a spring 2006 release as part of a rapidly
evolving release slate, further details of which the Weinsteins announced
Tarantino and Rodriguez will each write and
direct a 60-minute horror film, and the two films will be packaged together
under the overall title Grind House. The film, which is planned for a spring
2006 release, also will include its own trailers, bonus materials and added
extras from other filmmakers that will be packaged together between the
two horror flicks in a tribute to the old, big-city movie houses like those
on New York's 42nd Street that earned the moniker grindhouses for programming
genre pics back to back.
An aficionado of grindhouse, Tarantino sampled
grindhouse genres in his recent Kill Bill films. He said Grind House could
be the first in a series of films. In a statement, the Weinsteins said,
"We couldn't imagine anything more exciting than a film being made together
by the two godfathers of our companies, Quentin and Robert."
Lucas Approves Indiana Jones 4 Script
Screenwriter Jeff Nathanson's scripts for
Indiana Jones 4 and Rush Hour 3 are moving in opposite directions. While
it was previously reported that Chris Tucker was expected to sign a $20
million deal which would fast-track New Line's Rush Hour 3, the actor ended
up not doing so.
Meanwhile, Nathanson's draft for Indiana Jones
4 has apparently met with the approval of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.
But before Paramount can move forward, Harrison Ford still has to sign
off on the script, and he hasn't yet read it.
With Star Wars off his plate, Lucas recently
summoned Nathanson to his Bay Area headquarters, where they went over the
draft. The screenwriter also got notes from Spielberg, who brought him
into the mix after working with him on Catch Me if You Can and Terminal.
Scheduling Indiana Jones 4 for a 2006 start
will be tricky for Spielberg, who next heads to Europe to shoot his untitled
drama about the aftermath of the 1972 Munich Olympics for Universal and
DreamWorks, and is expected to follow in January with a DreamWorks film
about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, to star Liam Neeson.
Sid Haig Talks HOUSE/DEAD 2, New Jack Hill Film
Fan favorite/DEVIL’S REJECTS star Sid Haig
talked about his upcoming projects in a recent interview. He gave some
details on an upcoming sequel he appears in: HOUSE OF THE DEAD 2: DEAD
AIM. “I play a professor who makes a very botched attempt at re-animating
people and basically winds up in the soup,” laughs the easygoing genre
icon. “I am a bad guy in the movie, who just goes out to find dead bodies—and
if there are any lying around, he just helps himself.”
Haig agrees with those who found the original,
Uwe Boll-directed HOUSE something less than a transcendent cinematic experience.
“I’ll tell you the truth—I couldn’t watch it all,” he says. “But from what
I can see—and I only worked three days on the sequel—it is a much better
film, with lots of action, excellent makeup; it’s pretty scary.” Thankfully,
any fans expecting a rehash of the much-maligned original are advised by
Haig that the Mike Hurst-directed HOUSE OF THE DEAD 2 (which may go theatrical,
according to one source) could not be further removed from its predecessor.
“Yes, it is a lot different from the first,” Haig reveals. “And, just like
how THE DEVIL’S REJECTS originally started out as HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES
2, but immediately dropped the HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES part, I have a feeling
the same thing might happen to HOUSE OF THE DEAD 2. They might just go
with the DEAD AIM part.”
In further exciting news, Haig mentions that
he does not rule out a return to working with legendary director Jack Hill,
who guided the actor in such B-movie classics as SPIDER BABY and FOXY BROWN.
Hill is currently seeking to make a comeback with a fantasy-based project
entitled THE LAST STATION. “Jack sent me the script,” the actor reveals,
“and like all of Jack’s films, it is great. Hopefully we can work it out,
because I’d love to do it. I haven’t made a movie with Jack for a long
time; the last film we did together was COFFY.”
Abbey Rejects Da Vinci Code Filming
Producers of Columbia Pictures' The Da Vinci
Code, based on Dan Brown's bestselling and controversial book, were not
allowed to film in Britain's Westminster Abbey after church officials denounced
the book as "theologically unsound."
940-year-old London Abbey, where British monarchs
are crowned, features in the international murder mystery by U.S. author
Dan Brown which has been condemned by the Vatican and Anglican Church leaders
for distorting the Christian message. The novel alleges Jesus married Mary
Magdalene and had children, whereas Christians are taught that Christ never
married and was childless when he was crucified.
"Although a real page turner, The Da Vinci
code is theologically unsound and we cannot commend or endorse the contentious
and wayward religious and historic suggestions made in the book -- nor
its views of Christianity and the New Testament," the Abbey said in a statement.
"It would therefore be inappropriate to film scenes from the book here."
Last week officials at Lincoln Cathedral in
eastern England said they had agreed to allow their building to be used
by the makers of the forthcoming film, which stars Tom Hanks as the book's
central character Professor Robert Langdon. Directed by Ron Howard and
also starring Jean Reno, Audrey Tautou, Ian McKellen, Alfred Molina and
Paul Bettany, the anticipated movie hits theaters on May 19, 2006
Milian Feels Pulse
Christina Milian (Be Cool) has been cast opposite
Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) in the Japanese horror remake Pulse. The film,
based on writer/director Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Kairo, will be directed by
newcomer Jim Sonzero based on an adaptation by Wes Craven and Ray Wright.
Pulse centers on a group of college
students who must stop a destructive force after one of them unwittingly
pirates a strange wireless signal that opens a doorway to a terrifying
evil. Milian will play Bell's best friend, a street-smart party girl who
uses the Internet as a dating tool. Ian Somerhalder (Lost), Samm Levine
(Freaks and Geeks) and Rick Gonzalez (War of the Worlds) also star in the
film, set to begin shooting this month in Romania.
More details on zombie film FIDO
Principal photography is scheduled to
commence next Monday on FIDO. The Anagram Pictures film stars Henry Czerny
(CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER), Carrie-Anne Moss (THE MATRIX), Peter Stormare
(CONSTANTINE) and Tim Blake Nelson, and is “set in a small 1950s town where
rotting zombies deliver the mail,” according to reports. Some further story
details have now emerged of this independent horror-comedy, directed by
Andrew Currie from a script he wrote with Robert Chomiack and Dennis Heaton
from the latter’s story:
FIDO details the effects of Earth’s passage
through a cloud of space dust, which results in the dead arising from their
graves. In an attempt to quell the mayhem, a patented “domestication collar”
is invented by a company called ZomCom, helping society integrate the zombie
hordes, who quickly become “gardeners, milkmen, butlers and even pets.”
A boy named Timmy Robinson befriends a ghoul that his mom buys to help
around the house—and then has to defend his new pal when the creature’s
collar goes wonky and it begins reverting to its flesheating ways. Produced
by Mary Anne Waterhouse and Blake Corbet, FIDO is aiming for a 2006 release.
STRANGER Casting News
Camilla Belle has been cast as the lead in
Screen Gems' remake of When a Stranger Calls, to be directed by Simon West.
Shooting is scheduled for mid-July.
Jake Wade Wall penned the remake of the 1979
Columbia Pictures cult horror film, which starred Carol Kane as a high
school student traumatized while babysitting by a caller who repeatedly
asks, "Have you checked the children lately?" After notifying the police,
she is told that the calls are coming from inside the house. Belle will
star in the role played by Kane.
Belle stars opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in IFC's
The Ballad of Jack and Rose. She also stars in Ari Posin's The Chumscrubber,
with Glenn Close and Ralph Fiennes, which premiered at Sundance this year.
Belle just wrapped The Quiet, an indie film also starring Elisha Cuthbert
and Edie Falco.
Exorcist Author Sues Morgan Creek
The Exorcist author William Blatty has sued
Morgan Creek Productions for allegedly failing to pay him an agreed-upon
fee for a recent sequel to the franchise. Blatty, in a suit filed Friday
in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeks $750,000, the amount he was reportedly
guaranteed if the studio made a second sequel to the original 1973 release.
According to Blatty's attorneys, payment for sequels was covered in an
October 1996 settlement agreement, which called for a $930,000 payment
for a first sequel and a $750,000 payment for each subsequent release.
Blatty contends that he was paid for the first sequel, 2004's Exorcist:
The Beginning, but not the second, the recently released Dominion: A Prequel
to the Exorcist. Morgan Creek could not be reached by the press for comment.
SIN 2 Sets January Shoot
Director Robert Rodriguez said that he and
graphic novelist Frank Miller plan to begin shooting Sin City 2 starting
in January 2006, even though a cast and a script are not yet finalized.
"Let's see, Sin City 2 we'll be starting to
shoot that in January, which means our preproduction will start in February,"
Rodriguez joked during interviews for his upcoming children's film The
Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D. He pointed out that he had
no script for the first movie, but instead used Miller's actual graphic
novels as storyboards and dialogue when shooting. He said he expected to
do the same this time around, because the dialogue in the books is so concise
it doesn't need to be rewritten.
"We will shoot A Dame to Kill For next, and
maybe something else," Rodriguez said, referring to the second volume of
Miller's Sin City series. "And I don't have the cast set, not yet."
Right now, Rodriguez said that he's working
on the special DVD edition of the first Sin City, which is scheduled for
release just before Christmas. He said the DVD will divide the movie into
its three graphic-novel stories, with some extra footage. "You'll be able
to see each story separately," he said. "You can watch Yellow Bastard,
Big Fat Kill or Hard Goodbye, and there's a lot of behind-the-scenes featurettes
being planned." One of his regular inclusions on his DVDs is a recipe,
and this time he revealed that it will be Sin City breakfast tacos. "Too
many people go to the dark side and go to the store and get store-bought
tacos," he said. "This is my grandmothers' recipe with flour tortillas.
The DVD will have a lot of cool stuff."
Now it’s PIRANHA Being Remade (Again)
Chiller Films, a new outfit set up by Mark
Canton’s Atmosphere Films and Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Media, has set
as its first project a new version of PIRANHA. The 1978 Joe Dante film
was already remade as a 1995 cable movie by original producer Roger Corman;
the latest edition is being scripted by Chuck Russell (who previously redid
THE BLOB in 1988), based on previous drafts by Josh Stolberg and Peter
Goldfinger and the ’78 film’s script by John Sayles. Russell may also direct
the movie, but is waiting until he finishes writing to make that decision.
The exact tack of the updated story hasn’t
been confirmed, but a clue can be found in what the trade-paper Variety
mistakenly reported as the original PIRANHA’s plot: “…a prehistoric strain
of the feisty fish is unleashed by a subterranean tremor in Arizona’s Lake
Havasu, just as the college crowd shows up to frolic in the lake.” Canton
and Kavanaugh were among the producers of George A. Romero’s upcoming LAND
OF THE DEAD, and formed Chiller to make $20-million-and-under horror features.
“We want to take people back to a horror classic which was an enormous
success in its day,” Canton told the trade, “but which will benefit from
The Ouija Says: Here Comes Another Asian Remake
Producer Samuel Hadida announced that he has
acquired the remake rights to the South Korean film Bunshinsaba (original
English title Ouija Board). The new English-language remake of the film
will be titled The Spell (still with me?)
The story follows a teenage girl who moves
with her family to a small village from a big city. She soon finds small
town life is not so easy when she is bullied by her classmates. As the
bullies become more brutal she decides to put a curse on the girls tormenting
her, but she is shocked to discover her curse actually works, bringing
about horrors far beyond her imagination.
Known as South Korea's king of horror, Director
Byeong-ki Ahn laid the foundation for the genre with his hit debut film
Nightmare (2000), about a fraternity serial killer. His second project
Phone (2002), centers on a reporter who changes her cell phone number only
to find the new number connects her to the dead. Phone set a record as
the first horror film to generate over US$15,000,000 at the South Korean
box office. Phone has since become an international hit. Bunshinsaba is
his third horror picture.
Ratner Replaces X-Men's Vaughn
Twentieth Century Fox and Marvel Entertainment
have hired Brett Ratner (RUSH HOUR) to replace Matthew Vaughn as the director
of the third X-Men movie. The hiring keeps the film on track for an August
start date and a Memorial Day weekend 2006 opening date.
Vaughn (Layer Cake) dropped out last week,
with the official reason being that the director didn't want to uproot
his family. But it now appears the exit followed his growing apprehension
about taking on such a large assignment in his second outing.
Ratner, a comic-book enthusiast, was among
the helmers considered to direct the first X-Men before the job went to
Bryan Singer. Ratner spent a full year developing Superman Returns, the
film that ultimately prompted Singer to drop out of directing X-Men 3.
The X-Men 3 budget is locked, and Fox and
Marvel consider the script by Zak Penn and Simon Kinberg to be at least
as strong as that of the first two installments, according to reports.
The original returning stars have been signed, and the cast is bolstered
by Kelsey Grammer, Vinnie Jones and Maggie Grace (Lost), who just came
aboard as new mutant characters.
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE Possible Again
After weeks of rumors that Paramount was considering
canceling Mission: Impossible 3, starring Tom Cruise, despite having spent
millions of dollars in preproduction, the studio formally greenlit it on
Tuesday, saying that the movie will start shooting on July 18. The announcement
reportedly followed a week of intense talks between Paramount chief Brad
Grey and Cruise over the film's budget, which was said to have soared over
$150 million, Cruise's own demand for a 30-percent cut of the gross, and
his recent odd behavior. Studio execs were concerned about his antics on
Oprah, which resulted in stills from the show landing on the front pages
of numerous newspapers, his public verbal assault against Brooke Shields,
and the fact that he is using the WAR OF THE WORLDS press tour to talk
more about Scientology than the movie he is supposed to be promoting. Cruise
agreed to at least a 10-percent cut in the film's budget, the elimination
of some exotic locations, and "modifications on his payday."
28 DAYS LATER Team Lets the SUNSHINE In
Director Danny Boyle, screenwriter Alex Garland
and producer Andrew Macdonald will follow up 28 DAYS LATER with the sci-fi
thriller SUNSHINE for Fox Searchlight. The story is described as being
about an astronaut team trying to find out what happened to a previous
space crew; no explicitly horrific elements have been described yet, but
then the first reports about DAYS didn’t mention the zombies either. DAYS
star Cillian Murphy will be back to star, and the filmmakers are in final
negotiations for Michelle Yeoh (CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON) and Chris
Evans (FANTASTIC FOUR) to join him; shooting is scheduled to take place
in Britain this summer. Boyle, Garland and Macdonald are also continuing
to develop the sequel 28 WEEKS LATER, with Rowan Joffe currently working
on the script.
Goyer Flashes Back To Origins
Writer/director David S. Goyer said that he's
taking the story of The Flash back to its beginnings in his upcoming movie
based on the venerable DC Comics series. "It will be another origin story,
yes. Well, yes and no," Goyer (co-writer of Batman Begins) said cryptically
in an interview. "It's going to be very different from any other superhero
movie coming out or different from any you've ever seen."
Goyer, who is currently writing the Flash
script, added that it's too early to discuss casting yet, though reports
have linked Goyer's Blade: Trinity star Ryan Reynolds to the project.
Charles Roven, who is one of the producers
on Batman Begins, will perform the same job on The Flash, along with Goyer.
For his part, Roven said fans seem happy so far with Goyer's take on the
Batman origin story, and said The Flash will tell the story of aspiring
athlete Jay Garrick, who acquires the ability to move at superhuman speeds
after a chemical alteration. The film is based on the comic-book character
was created in 1939 by Gardner Fox and Harry Lampert.
Roven added that it will be important to avoid
crossing over into any other DC Comics storylines that may have been addressed
in movies already. "We obviously talked about [the] aspect that we don't
want to cover any ground already covered by any other comic book heroes,"
Jackman Deal Moves Wolverine Forward
Hugh Jackman has made a deal at 20th Century
Fox for a spin-off movie from the X-MEN franchise featuring his character,
Wolverine. After X-MEN 3 wraps, Jackman will star in the David Benioff
(TROY) scripted WOLVERINE.
Of the recent replacement of Matthew Vaughn
with Brett Ratner at the helm of X3, Jackman says "It got to be a roller-coaster
ride there, but I wasn't worried because the script is so strong... Brett
has come in with a lot of enthusiasm and full understanding of the franchise."
Long Gets Geeky For Sasquatch
Justin Long (Jeepers Creepers) said that he
looks like a geek these days because he's shooting The Sasquatch Dumpling
Gang with the guys who made Napoleon Dynamite. Long has a mullet haircut,
glasses and an attempt at some thin facial hair for the film, about a group
of guys who find a giant footprint in a small town and drum up a story
about a Bigfoot roaming the nearby hills.
"I'm playing this crazy little redneck name
Zurk," Long said in an interview. "Because finding a footprint isn't quite
enough, I take it one step further and come up with the Sasquatch turd.
They crap, and so I have to think scientifically about it. And that's my
Long has appeared in both Jeepers Creepers
movies, Galaxy Quest and Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. He plays Lindsay
Lohan's love interest in Herbie: Fully Loaded, which opens June 24.
Long said he tested his geekiness at a recent
Def Leppard concert. "I really felt like I belonged," he said. "The other
guys would look at me and nod."
He added that the younger generation of kids
still recognize him from Jeepers Creepers horror movies. "Yeah, a lot of
little kids are like, 'You lost your eye!' And I'm like, 'You're 4 years
old. What are you doing watching that? It's R-rated!' Kids love that movie."
Sasquatch is written and directed by Tim Skousen
and is being produced by Kevin Spacey and Jared Hess, who wrote and directed
PUNISHER director to guide DARKSIDERS
Jonathan Hensleigh has assumed the director’s
chair for DARKSIDERS, the long in the works vampire movie for New Line.
After many years writing big-ticket action scripts like DIE HARD WITH A
VENGEANCE and ARMAGEDDON, Hensleigh made his debut at the helm with last
year’s THE PUNISHER and is also working on the killer-ants remake THE NAKED
JUNGLE at Paramount. DARKSIDERS, written by Tom S. Parker and Jim Jennewein,
is about an FBI special ops team comprised of captured bloodsuckers. David
S. Goyer was going to direct at one point before opting to take on BLADE:
TRINITY, and David Nutter (DISTURBING BEHAVIOR) was subsequently attached
Mindfire Enters THE DARKROOM
Busy producer Mark Altman of Mindfire Entertainment/CFQ
Films, who has wrapped ALL SOULS DAY, HOUSE OF THE DEAD 2 and ROOM 6 all
within the last 18 months, has a new film before the cameras in LA: a serial-killer
thriller called THE DARKROOM. Written by Mike Hurst and Altman and directed
by Hurst (who also helmed by HOD2 and ROOM 6), THE DARKROOM, according
to the official synopsis, “is the story of a nameless amnesiac man who
has spent over a decade in a mental institution in hopes of remembering
anything about his past. When he is subjected to an experimental drug that
fails to help, he suffers a violent hallucination and makes his escape
during an altercation between guards and another patient.
“Arriving in the city, he befriends Stanley,
a nerdy 15-year-old boy, who lives with his alcoholic mother and his stepfather
Bob, while suffering from horrific visions of a terrible creature committing
brutal acts on those around him. Realizing that all is not right with his
stepdad, who disappears almost every night, Stanley enlists the man’s help
to investigate Bob’s hidden secrets, leading them to his locked darkroom
inside their home—which may not only hold the clue to Stanley’s questions
about his father, but the man’s identity as well.”
“THE DARKROOM is very dark,” Altman explained.
“It’s our SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. We’ve been very happy with Mike’s work
on the last few films, so he went right into DARKROOM while he was in post
on ROOM 6.”
Lead Actors Named For SAW Duo's SILENCE
Ryan Kwanten and Amber Valletta will star
in SILENCE, director James Wan and his writing partner Leigh Whannell's
follow-up to SAW for Universal. Kwanten plays a man whose wife has been
murdered and who returns to his hometown to find out why; Valletta plays
his father's trophy wife, who is actually quite malevolent (aren't they
all?), and scary ventriloquism is also a major plot element. Like the filmmakers,
Kwanten is an Australian, and has been previously visible in the U.S. on
the TV series SUMMERLAND; former model Valletta's credits include WHAT
Nine Actors Cast in HILLS HAVE EYES Remake
A whole bunch of actors have been confirmed
for the HILLS HAVE EYES remake to be directed by Alexandre Aja (HAUTE TENSION
aka HIGH TENSION). Aaron Stanford (X2's Pyro) and Vinessa Shaw (HOCUS POCUS)
will play Doug and Lynne Wood, the young couple portrayed by Martin Speer
and Dee Wallace Stone in the original; Ted Levine (SILENCE OF THE LAMBS)
is Big Bob Carter and Kathleen Quinlan (EVENT HORIZON) is his wife Ethel
(Russ Grieve and Virginia Vincent originally); Emilie de Ravin (LOST) is
Brenda Carter and Dan Byrd is Bobby Carter (Susan Lanier and Robert Houston
originally). With perennial villain Levine as one of the heroes, who do
they have playing the murderous hills family? So far, Robert Joy as Lizard,
along with Billy Drago (another longtime bad-guy performer); Tom Bower
is also in the cast.
The new HILLS, which Fox Searchlight is producing
and will release next year, was written by Aja and his HAUTE TENSION partner
Gregory Levasseur and is produced by original HILLS director Wes Craven
and producer Peter Locke, along with Marianne Maddalena. The shoot will
take place in Morocco (!) beginning this month.
Five More Set Sail on Poseidon
Mia Maestro, Freddy Rodriguez, Kevin Dillon,
Jacinda Barrett and Jimmy Bennett have joined the cast of Wolfgang Petersen's
disaster film remake The Poseidon Adventure for Warner Bros. Pictures.
Maestro will play a stowaway, and Rodriguez a member of the crew. Dillon
portrays a blowhard poker player. Barrett and Bennett play a mother-son
team trapped on the capsized cruise ship.
Shooting is set to begin June 18 on the Warners
lot. Already cast are Kurt Russell, Richard Dreyfuss, Emmy Rossum, Mike
Vogel and Josh Lucas.
Fishburne Signs on for Mission: Impossible
Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix trilogy) will
star in Paramount's Mission: Impossible 3. He joins a cast that includes
Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Michelle Monaghan
and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The second sequel is to be directed by J.J.
Abrams (Lost, Alias.) Fishburne will play Cruise's mentor, while Hoffman
will play the villain.
M:I-3 is set to start filming July 18 in Italy
and will shoot on location throughout the world for a May 5, 2006 release
Resident Evil Franchise Shambles On
POSSIBLE SPOILERS IN THIS ITEM: I’m not sure if the following item
should be considered a spoiler or not, but if you want to play it safe
as regards the plots of the next two Resident Evil movies, don’t read it.
In a nutshell, it says that there will be two more movies in the series.
Germany's Constantin Film and Paul W.S. Anderson
are ramping up preparations for a fourth edition of their successful zombie
franchise Resident Evil before the third film in the series has even begun
Constantin head of production Martin Moskowicz
said in Cannes that the third film, Resident Evil: Afterlife, will shift
locations to shoot in Australia, with principle photography planned for
November or December.
Resident Evil 4 will be set in Tokyo, and
Constantin is looking to shoot the film in Japan. Afterlife will be set
in a post-apocalyptic world overrun with mutant zombies. It will play in
the Nevada desert with the Aussie outback standing in for the American
wasteland. In the final reel, the action will shift to Japan, setting up
the fourth edition. (This is what I wasn’t sure would be a spoiler or not.
Perhaps knowing that the action shifts to Japan at the end will turn out
to be a major plot point – who knows at this point with so little information.)
Milla Jovovich is set to reprise her signature
role as zombie slayer extraordinaire Alice, though no formal deal has been
signed yet. Paul W.S. Anderson is finishing the script for the third edition.
Anderson directed the first Resident Evil and penned the sequel Resident
Dava is taking a break this month and passed the TORCH…pun
intended….to Jim Childs, for a review on the new movie – Fantastic Four
The Fantastic Four movie opened July 8, 2005, with Michael
Chiklis as “the Thing”, Ioan Gruffudd as “Mr. Fantastic”, Jessica Alba
(hubba hubba) as “the Invisible Woman”, Chris Evans as the “Human Torch”,
and Julian Mcmahon as “Doctor Doom”. A 20th Century Fox/Marvel Studios
productions, this was directed by Tim Story.
What can I say but “Funtastic!” (pun intended). I’ve been
a fan and critic of the Fantastic Four (FF) since its conception in 1961
by Stan “the Man” Lee and Jack “the King” Kirby. (Jack was the king because
at one time he was drawing 5 or 6 Marvel titles). I followed faithfully
the 60’s cut and paste styled animated TV show panel by panel from my comic
books. Those were the days. Then there were the other cartoon versions
of FF over the next 30 years.
I also stood in line and spent good money for the 1994
Roger Corman “Unreleased” version of the FF movie. I found out later it
never was supposed to be released, but was just a ploy by the then current
owners to hold onto the movie rights a little while longer.
Still the newest version of FF mania is a good effort
by Fox/Marvel to spin off another franchise. For likeability of characters
this movies is way above Daredevil and Electra almost, but not quite reaching
The comic book premise of four friends going into space
to test a new warp drive and coming back to Earth revitalized by cosmic
rays was changed a bit. The movie version of the origin is a little more
convoluted as it a combination of a number of redo’s in the Marvel universe.
Anyone heard of Hero’s Reborn? Marvel Knights? Or the Ultimate FF?
This movie has the heroes & villains powers associated
with the Air, Water, Fire Rock & Metal. (ala Ultimate FF). It is pretty
amazing and this newest version doesn’t slow down the storyline for first
timers but leaves some M.M.M. diehards a little miffed. You will walk away
wondering if this wasn’t a ploy by Victor Von Doom to gain real physical
The special effects had me having flashbacks to the first
two Superman movies, by today’s standards they were just par. Mainly because
they were trying to keep the CGI efforts down when they worked with the
Thing and yet had it flying for Torch and flowing for Reed. Over 900 special
effect shots in all, but not like other movies.
I suspect due to budget we don’t see any big ‘star’ drawing
power. No Patrick Stewart, Ben Affleck or Hugh Jackman. The stars, Chiklis,
currently in “the Shield”, Julian McMahon in “Nip/Tuck and Jessica Alba,
are all TV stars. So other than the story where is the draw? If I had wanted
to watch TV stars, I would stay home and watch cable…but I digress.
I found the dialog and family banter/interplay keeping
very much with Stan Lees writing. Ben and Johnny had some great interaction
and were very natural together. Much like what I had come to expect in
the comics. This made the movie much more pleasurable. Oh, and for those
that haven’t seen the movie, a spoiler here. Stan Lee has a small part
in each of his movies – in this one he is the mailman in the Baxter Building.
Watch for him. And a bit of trivia - inspired by his role on "Nip/Tuck"
(2003) it was Julian McMahon's idea to have Victor's scars sealed by surgical
The true stand out in the movie full of the TV stars was
Chiklis as The Thing. Chiklis, who we found can act through layers of latex
and evoke emotion. He showed us a character that went from man to rock
like and though he saved people, he couldn’t get them to see past his features.
Then when he found he still had a place to go have a beer, he could handle
it. It was very well done. Maybe this was because he was the only of the
4 to have read the comics.
So if you haven’t seen the new Fantastic Four movie, come
on…come on… we need your bucks in the seats to keep the franchises going
so we can get something like ‘Iron Man’ with Johnny Depp. (Now there would
be star power!)
So to rate the FF movie as an amusement park ride, a rollercoaster
with a corkscrew being a ten and a merry go round being a one...I’d rate
this ride a seven. It is one of those rides that pulls you up around 20
stories in the air and while you are pinned to your seat, suddenly the
floor drops out leaving you holding on breathless for awhile. Nuff
True believer - Jim Childs
farewellsfarewellsfarewells Good bye farewellsfarewellsfarewells
Robert Clarke, one of the ICS’s favorite actors who may have had the
most genre credits of all the 50’s heroes, has died. Born in Oklahoma City
in 1920, he acted at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Wisconsin
before heading to California to try to break into the movies. He managed
to become a $100-a-week contract player with RKO and debuted in the falcon
in hollywood in 1944. His imaginative films include the body snatcher,
bedlam, zombies on broadway, a game of death, dick tracy meets gruesome,
the man from planet x, the incredible petrified world, the astounding she
monster, beyond the time barrier, the hideous sun demon (produced &
directed) and from the earth to the moon (narrator).
He was also in such non-genre films as lady luck, san quentin, code
of the west, return of the badmen, champagne for caeser, blades of The
musketeers, tales of robin hood, sword of venus and the helen morgan story.
More recently he appeared in the films of some of his fans; Wade Williams,
Ted Newsome, Gary Don Rhodes and Fred Olen Ray.
Clarke’s autobiography To "B" or Not to "B": A Film Actor's Odyssey
was published in 1996, co-authored by film historian Tom Weaver. He was
Lane Smith, the actor who portrayed Richard Nixon in the 1989 docudrama
The Final Days and apoplectic Daily Planet editor Perry White in the 1990s
television series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, has died
at age 69.
Some of his films are maidstone (debut), rooster cogburn, network,
prince of the city, places in the heart, air america, my cousin vinny,
the mighty ducks and the legend of bagger vance. ICS favorites include
red dawn and bridge across time; and the T.V. series V and T.V. movie alien
nation: the udara LEGACY.
Ron Randell, an Australian-born actor whose long career included movies,
television, radio and Broadway has died at age 86. Born in Sydney, Randell
was 17 when he began a career in radio. He moved into theater and in 1946
played the lead in Smithy, about real-life Australian aviation pioneer
Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith. That led to a Hollywood movie contract, and
the following year he appeared in It Had to Be You.
He went on to appear in dozens of films over the next 35 years, including
Follow the Boys, The Longest Day, King of Kings and ICS favorite, The She-Creature.
He also played Cole Porter in Kiss Me, Kate. Randell also had starring
roles as fictional detectives Bulldog Drummond and Lone Wolf in several
1940s films and starred in the short-lived TV spy series O.S.S. in 1957.
He made dozens of guest appearances on TV shows, including Bewitched, Mission:
Impossible, Bonanza and Gunsmoke.
THE LAST WARD . . .
By John Ward
I thought I had purged my soul of a lifetime’s worth of guilty
pleasures in one of these columns a year ago. I distinctly remember
saying I had loved Hayley Mills as a Catholic schoolgirl in THE TROUBLE
WITH ANGELS, and I figured, You just can’t get more confessional than that.
(No pun intended.)
That was before someone went and got the bright idea to make
a movie out of FANTASTIC FOUR, one of the most memorable comic book fantasies
of my youth. I haven’t seen this movie yet, and it scares the crap
out of me already. Why? Well, for starters, the Sun critic
actually liked it. (We haven’t been seeing eye-to-eye for a long
time.) The only problem with his review was that he spent half of
it trying to explain the origins of the Fantastic Four. I wasn’t
more than two paragraphs in before I said to myself, This guy couldn’t
tell Ben Grimm from Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
Another point that worries me (okay, frightens me) is that I
haven’t seen a single positive review of this film on the net yet that
was written by someone I would call a comic geek. The geekier the
writer, the more he seems to loathe the film. Does this mean I’ll
steer clear? Heck, no. I’ll see it. And it’ll probably
wind up in my Guilty Pleasures Hall of Fame, on a pedestal next to Charlton
Heston’s entire ‘70s output.
That’s all it took to set me thinking about guilty pleasures
again. It turned out that I hadn’t really purged my soul; I’d only
nicked it up a little. There’s plenty more where ol’ Chuck Heston
came from, my friends. Let me count the ways.
I’ll start with the penultimate Dracula film Christopher Lee
made for Hammer: DRACULA A.D. 1972. I’ve actually been sitting
on this one for over a year, since my first guilty pleasures article, because
it came to mind not long after that article appeared. It’s considered
by many fans to be the weakest of the Hammer Dracula films featuring Lee.
But it will always hold a special place in my movie-going heart because,
of all the Hammer Dracula films, DRACULA A.D. 1972 remains the only one
I saw in a movie theater. Let me tell you, I was 14 and fairly impressed
by a buxom Caroline Munro on that sacrificial altar.
DRACULA A.D. 1972 has its faults. Most complaints I’ve
read about it can’t seem to get past that god-awful party featuring a group
called “Stoneground” as the house band. But I like it for other reasons.
The opening sequence is arguably the best ever filmed for a Hammer Dracula
picture; it features Van Helsing and the Count battling atop a runaway
horse carriage through London’s Hyde Park, with a nifty staking via a broken
It was good to see Peter Cushing back on familiar ground as Van
Helsing. He didn’t look quite as feeble here as he does in the follow-up,
SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA. There’s a nice scene where he faces off
with Dracula’s vampiric henchman and does him in with bathtub water!
For vampire buffs, there are plenty of candidates to go around once the
Count is reborn and moves through the goofy group of “mods” dumb enough
to resurrect him. All in all, I can’t complain about the movie; it’s
a true “guilty pleasure” for me. (Remember my definition of a “guilty
pleasure”: a movie you’ll trash in mixed company, then go home and watch
gleefully in the privacy of your own TV room, or simply a movie you’re
almost too embarrassed to admit liking.)
The perfect example of a movie that fits this definition for
me is SUDDEN DEATH, a thriller starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, who probably
deserves his own wing in the Guilty Pleasures Hall of Fame. As far
as I know, this movie has never been released on DVD, but when it is, I’m
there. It’s been decried (maybe rightfully so) as a cheap DIE HARD
knock-off, but I beg to differ. Back in the early to mid-‘90s, just
about every other thriller made was a DIE HARD rip-off; ask Steven Seagal,
he’ll tell you.
SUDDEN DEATH is crisply directed by Peter Hyams, who made the
underrated OUTLAND, NARROW MARGIN, and THE RELIC, to name a few.
It features Powers Boothe in the obligatory role as the psycho mastermind,
and it manages to put Van Damme (playing a “disgraced” fireman; go figure)
into all sorts of unbelievable situations. In terms of guilty pleasures,
how can one go wrong with a film in which the hero dukes it out in a nasty
smackdown with a giant stuffed penguin? A point of clarification:
Boothe and his cronies are holding a packed Pittsburgh ice hockey arena
hostage during the 7th game of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and the Pittsburgh
hockey team is nicknamed the Penguins, and one of the terrorists gets into
the Penguin mascot’s suit, and…oh, hell, that’s more than you needed.
Just imagine the Oriole Bird with an Uzi instead of a big plastic wiffle
ball bat, and you get the idea. Bottom line: SUDDEN DEATH rates high
on my list because it’s fun, fast moving, and the happy beneficiary of
my “Been There Rule”: I’m a sucker for any movie filmed in a place I have
I can’t say that about THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, because I’ve never been
to Egypt. It’s hot and full of sand and it makes me sweat just to
look at the place. But Cecil B. DeMille’s last gasp as an extravagant,
over-the-top director of celluloid spectaculars rates pretty highly as
a guilty pleasure. There’s the dialogue: “Are her lips dry
and cracked like the sun, or moist…like a pomegranate?” There’s the
insane casting, like Edward G. Robinson as the Jewish slavemaster Dathan
– “Where’s your messiah noowwww?” There’s the insistance on location
filming, with a real cast of thousands, not including the donkeys, cattle,
and other assorted livestock.
But there are also scenes of real power. In this age of CGI spectacle,
the famous parting of the Red Sea still packs a wallop. I can’t imagine
what it must have been like to sit in a huge, cavernous movie theater in
1956 and watch those waters roll back “with a blast of God’s nostrils.”
The earlier scene depicting the first night of Passover is justifiably
one of the most chilling sequences ever filmed, ranking up there with the
scariest of horror movies. Let’s face it; if you were standing there
in the alleyway and saw those tendrils of green vapor oozing toward you,
you’d run the other way.
(By the way, did you notice I didn’t even mention Charlton Heston that
time? It would have been too easy.)
Speaking of oozing…that reminds me of THE BLOB.
No, not that one. You’re thinking of the ‘50s cult classic with
“Steven” McQueen. I’m thinking of the 1988 remake with Kevin Dillon
sporting a curly mullet as the hero from the “wrong side of the tracks.”
I understand Dillon has a fairly meaty role in a new HBO series called
Entourage. More power to him, I say. Back in 1988, he had a
hard time convincing townsfolk that there was this huge glob of red gelatin
oozing around, liquefying people in the most grotesquely gory of ways.
Cheesy ‘80s gore and mullets – now that’s something Steve McQueen didn’t
have to worry about!
But wait, it gets better. What starts out as a sci-fi screamer
morphs halfway through into a government conspiracy flick, with all the
men in suits (anti-radioactive suits, that is) running around trying to
cover things up. Before the CIA fertilizer hits the fan, we’re treated
to a wealth of “Boo!” moments and some fairly impressive death scenes.
My personal favorite is the one with Candy Clark in the phone booth.
A close second would be the make-out scene in the car. Folks, guilty
pleasures just don’t come any cheesier than THE BLOB.
If you want to talk about ‘80s cheese, you’ve got to include Patrick
Swayze. When the women of America (including my wife) hear the name
“Patrick Swayze,” they think of exactly two movies, in interchangeable
order: DIRTY DANCING and GHOST. Not me. I might be American,
but I’m definitely not a woman, and I want my Swayze as buffed and bloody
as I can get him; I’m talking ROAD HOUSE!
Swayze made ROAD HOUSE in the three-year period between DANCING and
GHOST when he was actually pretty bankable. Why he chose this movie,
a rough action picture better suited for someone like Sylvester Stallone,
we’ll never know. But Swayze kicks some serious butt playing a “cooler”
(kind of a super bar-bouncer) who stands up to nasty town boss Ben Gazzara.
The supporting cast is pretty good, with Sam Elliott at his most grizzled
as Swayze’s mentor. Think of Willie Nelson with a vicious streak,
and you’ve got Elliott.
There’s also Kelly Lynch as the incredibly gorgeous local doctor who
falls for Swayze, and the Jeff Healey Band lends some pretty solid tunes
as the house band for the “Double Deuce.” You listen to them for
a bit and wonder why such a great sounding bar band winds up stuck in Podunk,
Missouri. But that would be lending the script more thought than
it deserves. ROAD HOUSE has slowly but surely developed into one
of those “surf blockers” the remote always stops on when I’m channel surfing
late at night.
Hold on, I’m not quite done. There are a couple more titles I’d
like to bring to your attention, which were only recently released
on DVD, and I mention them together because they’re very, very similar:
RACE WITH THE DEVIL and DIRTY MARY CRAZY LARRY.
What could these titles possibly have in common? For starters,
they both star Peter Fonda. Both pictures feature some downright
unbelievable car chase stunt work. And last but not least, they both
represent the embodiment of a long-lost genre: the drive-in movie.
These were not the kind of movies that played indoor theaters.
Oh, no. These puppies were designed for the drive-ins of small-town
America, which is where I found them (or they found me) in the mid-‘70s,
when I had a car, a full tank of gas, and plenty of complimentary movie
passes. RACE WITH THE DEVIL featured Fonda and Warren Oates, on a
camping trip with their wives (Lara “Dark Shadows” Parker and Loretta “Hot
Lips” Swit). Our heroes run afoul of some good-ol’-boy Satanists.
The Satanists have fast cars, and naturally, they give chase. Good,
clean, revved-up fun.
Then there’s DIRTY MARY CRAZY LARRY, again with Fonda (as Larry, natch),
this time teamed up with sluttish Susan George (as Mary), most known as
the ravaged wife in Sam Peckinpah’s STRAW DOGS. George hooks up with
fast drivin’ robber Fonda, Sheriff Vic Morrow gives merry chase, and the
race to the state line is on. The surprise ending still has the power
to rock the first-time viewer.
Given time, I’m pretty sure I could come up with a few more.
Well, okay, more than a few. How about HOLLOW MAN? RAVENOUS?
MY FELLOW AMERICANS? What’s that, you say? How could I possibly
enjoy movies like these?
Do I rattle your chain for liking FANTASTIC FOUR?
ICS CALENDER OF EVENTS
Our next meeting will be held on Saturday at 5:30 P.M.
ICS has a special guest presenter - Dr. Peter Dendle, an Associate
Professor of English from Penn State’s Mont Alto campus. He is the
author of the work that’s considered to be the definitive work on undead
movies – The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia.
Bring a friend, tell a friend, bring a snack!!!