The Official Newsletter of The Imaginative Cinema Society
The love of many, the work of a few....

August 2005  #79


What is happening with our faves

The hottest news out on ICS genre films

A Review from the eyes of an ICS member


Old friends, now gone

From ICS member John Ward

Put this up on the Fridge!

Editor-Betsy Childs 
Staff Writers- Regina Vallerani, Andrew Kent John Ward
Dava Sentz, Mike Laird, Joe Plempel, Gary Roberson, Charles Wittig
Taylor Sherblom Woodward, Jim Childs, Jeanne Matcovich, Mike Schilling

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 Our newest honorary member, Dr. Peter Dendle, breathed new life into our view of the Zombie film.  His scholarly presentation began with the early genre films WHITE ZOMBIE and OUANGA.   The films of the 30’s and 40’s concentrated on zombies created by Haitian voo-doo.  These films had common themes – they exploited the fear of losing one’s individualism (i.e. zombies have no free will) and they commented on the state of relationships and marriage.  A typical plot element consisted of a man attempting to win the affections of an uninterested woman by zombie-fy-ing her and making her subject to his every whim… yet, still ending up disappointed by her lack of passion.  The opposite relationship of husband to (zombie) wife was illustrated by a surprising clip from Hepburn and Tracy in WOMAN OF THE YEAR.  
 From the tame films of the 40’s, we next visited the Italian Zombie ‘80’s, with clips from Bruno Mattei’s exploitation extravaganza, NIGHT OF THE ZOMBIES (aka INFERNO DEI MORTI-VIVENTI).  The film blatantly ripped off the DAWN OF THE DEAD soundtrack and spliced in National Geographic style footage of jungle natives in between scenes of zombie attacks and people running for shelter in a misguided attempt to make the natives seem dangerous.  Need I also add that there was gratuitous nudity and gore?  Ah…those were the good old days.
 Dr. Dendle ended his presentation with by answering audience questions and he was kind enough to autograph our copies of his book – THE ZOMBIE MOVIE ENCYCLOPEDIA.  If you’re out there somewhere, Dr. Dendle, the ICS thanks you for your time and for sharing your knowledge with us!!   
 After a presentation on Zombie cinema, you didn’t think we’d end up watching ON GOLDEN POND (despite the Hepburn connection), did you?  Of course not.  What we saw was a many-titled film with the official name of THE LIVING DEAD AT MANCHESTER MORGUE.  It is a 1974 film that is loose remake of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.  It takes place in the English countryside.  A farmer and two government workers are in the process of testing out a new device designed to kill insects and lower life forms by emitting ultrasound and radiation that causes the insects to attack and kill each other.  Of course, what they all fail to realize is that this procedure also brings the recently dead back to life—and with a huge hankering for human flesh.  For FX work that’s over 25 years old, it holds up quite nicely.  Fans of zombie carnage and mayhem were not let down, as several people are eviscerated on camera, a woman has her breast ripped off and devoured, eyes are gouged out and eaten, a guy takes an axe to the head, and various zombies are set on fire (that’s right—head shots won’t kill the undead in England, only fire will).  If you have any interest in the zombie genre, this film is a must-see.  Good offering, Dr. Dendle!

   We are going to participate in the Horrorfind convention from August 19-21.  If you’ve signed up to help at the table, look for us in the dealer’s room.   
 We have a collection of VHS and DVD at our table and we also have some ICS flyers created by Dave Henderson (thanks!) for prospective new members and buyers. 

   … and that is the Annual ICS Pizza Night!  A growling stomach is your best accessory for our August meeting where will we have plenty of cheese, pepperoni, mushroom, and sausage pizza for all.

 Our next meeting will be held on Saturday August 27th 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.   
 Our favorite anime experts – Blake and Taylor Sherblom-Woodward – are going to give their second Anime presentation in August.  Their first presentation included a detailed booklet and consisted of clips from the different categories of Anime films.  This time, they are concentrating on cinematic Giant Robots.  It is sure to be a high-energy presentation, so be prepared for a good time – or else!

   Inspired by the dark and seamy streets of turn-of-the-century London, 'London After Dark' is curated by the Charles Theatre's John Standiford and runs in conjunction with the BMA's fall exhibition, Monet's London: Artists' Reflections on the Thames, opening October 2. 
   These rarely shown classic reels will be screened in the BMA's Auditorium on October 7, 14, 21 & 28 at 8 p.m. Admission is $7 per film and $20 for a series pass (Free for BMA Members). For tickets, call the BMA Box Office at 410-396-6001. 
   "There are a lot of 19th century references to the Thames and London as being filthy and corrupt," said John Standiford, co-owner of the Charles Theatre and curator of the film series. "These four directors seem to share this sentiment, and in these films a dark and mysterious London becomes a character in itself."

October 7     Night and the City (film noir, 1950) 
This film noir masterpiece is one of director Jules Dassin's crowning achievements. Two-bit hustler Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark) aches for a life of ease and plenty. Tailed by a history of go-nowhere schemes, he stumbles upon a chance of a lifetime in the form of legendary wrestler Gregorius the Great (Stanislaus Zbyszko). But there is no easy money in this underworld of shifting alliances, bottomless graft, and pummeled flesh--and Fabian soon learns the horrible price of his ambition. This dark and moody drama by a blacklisted American director was shot on the streets of London. 

October 14      Peeping Tom (thriller, 1960) *
Although this ahead-of-its-time shocker nearly ended the career of British director Michael Powell upon its release, Martin Scorsese hailed the film as a masterpiece and rescued it from obscurity a decade later. It has since developed a cult reputation and remains the definitive film about the voyeuristic nature of cinema and its effects on the human psyche. Subjected to bizarre experiments by his scientist-father as a boy, Mark Lewis (Carl Boehm) works as a focus-puller for a London movie studio and murders women using a camera to film their dying expressions of terror.

October 21     The Servant (drama, 1963)*
The first of directorJoseph Losey's collaborations with playwright Harold Pinter, this tightly woven psychological thriller was nominated for eight British Academy Awards, and won three. Flamboyant playboy Tony (James Fox) hires Barrett (Dirk Bogarde), a seductive and insidious manservant, to take control of his newly established household. The servant gradually takes over the life of his master. Rarely screened in the United States, the print of this film is being specially shipped from England.

October 28     Frenzy (thriller, 1972)*
Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy is a masterpiece crime thriller from the end of this career. While London is being terrorized by "the necktie murderer," down-on-his-luck Richard Blaney (Jon Finch) is suspected of being the killer. He goes on the run, determined to prove his innocence.

*Recommended for ages 17 & older.
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   Universal Studios Home Entertainment has begun production on 26 episodes of an animated Land Before Time TV series, based on the hit franchise that has sold more than 60 million units on DVD and video. The series of direct-to-video sequels to 1988's The Land Before Time, directed by Don Bluth and executive-produced by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, has sparked the development of the new series, which is slated to debut on the Cartoon Network in the first half of 2007, the trade paper reported. After the series airs, episodes will be released on DVD.
   The Land Before Time TV series will feature many of the same characters that appeared in the theatrical movie and its 10 direct-to-video sequels, including such lovable animated dinosaurs as Littlefoot, Cera and Petrie. New characters also will be introduced. The series will be created using a combination of 2-D and 3-D backgrounds, the trade paper reported. 
   Universal is also preparing a 12th Land Before Time feature film, entitled The Land Before Time: Day of the Flyers, which will be released in 2007. 

   ABC's Alias began production in Los Angeles on its upcoming fifth season. The new season will pick up the cliffhanger of last year, which ended with a shocking revelation by Vaughn (Michael Vartan) to Sydney (Jennifer Garner) and a sudden car crash. 
   Here's how ABC describes the upcoming season: "After they both survive the crash, [Sydney] learns that the man she has known as Michael Vaughn is under investigation and suspected of being a double agent. She questions whether their business and personal relationship over the years had all been a lie. When Sydney discovers that she is pregnant with Vaughn's baby, she is determined to uncover the truth about him”
   “Meanwhile, because of Jack's [Victor Garber] past betrayal by Irina [Lena Olin], he begins to worry that his daughter may suffer the same fate as he did. He will also have to deal with the fact that he will soon become a grandfather, while still learning how to be a dad. Sloane [Ron Rifkin] will have to do some soul-searching of his own, as he makes an unholy alliance in his desperate fight to find a cure for Nadia [Mia Maestro], who is still in a coma." 
   As previously announced, new regular cast members will include Rachel Nichols (The Inside) as Rachel Gibson and Élodie Bouchez as Renée Rienne. 
   Star Wars creator George Lucas told a conference that he will turn his attentions more to television projects, including two Star Wars-themed series, Variety reported. Lucas made the comments in a keynote talk at the annual Siggraph computer graphics conference and trade show. "My life's too short to become a film studio," he reportedly said. 
   Lucas added: "Lucasfilm is going more into television, but it's not a vision I'm running, either as executive producer or by laying out the groundwork." 
   The first series is a 3-D animated Clone Wars series that will be made at Lucas Animation's Singapore facility. He said he'll start scouring Asia for talent and try to build up 3-D animation there. In his proposed Star Wars live-action series, he said: "We're going do something that would normally cost [$20 million-$30 million] and try to do it for $1 million." Lucas said he'll shoot the series on a Sony digital camera system that anyone can buy at an electronics store. 

   Darren McGavin, who starred as Carl Kolchak in the 1970s Night Stalker made-for-television movies, was digitally inserted into the season premiere of the updated version, which airs on ABC this fall. Executive producer Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files) said that the cameo was his tribute to the original character. 
   "I was intent on doing it," Spotnitz said "It was not cheap to do, but it was very important to me to do that because I loved him. And I got to meet him doing The X-Files, because I cast him in that. And I loved the show so much, I just felt like you needed that respect to him in the pilot. So we went and we looked at every shot at him in the original Night Stalker movie. And we looked for shots that were lit and could be framed properly to insert into the newsroom, and got the negative out of a vault and digitized it and put it in there." 
   McGavin's appearance isn't the only reference to the original that can be seen in the pilot of the new series, according to Spotnitz. "You'll see some other little nods to Darren McGavin in the pilot," he said in a panel session. "I don't want to give them all away, but there is a straw hat somewhere in there."
   The new Night Stalker stars Stuart Townsend as Kolchak, a newspaper reporter who investigates unexplained phenomena. Unlike his predecessor, Townsend will not be wearing a straw hat, Spotnitz said. 
   Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje will be joining the cast of the hit ABC series Lost in the second season. Akinnuoye-Agbaje will be playing Emeka, a mysterious man dwelling on the island whose intentions are revealed in early episodes of the second season. 
   Akinnuoye-Agbaje is best known for his role in the HBO series Oz. He has also had roles in The Mummy Returns and The Bourne Identity. Lost returns for a second season on Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. 
   Shaun Cassidy, creator of the new ABC SF series Invasion, said that the show will be grounded in reality. "I like dealing in sort of a heightened reality," Cassidy said. "It's fun. I like it to be grounded. I like it to have plausible deniability, and that's what I strive for. I don't want people to go, 'Oh, no, that couldn't happen.' 
   There might be a moment or two where they go, 'I don't quite buy that,' but if you can actually support it and explain it, in time people might come around if you give them enough truth." 
   Cassidy acknowledged that the success of Lost helped him get the show on the air, but the only thing they will have in common is the serialized nature of the storylines. "Studio men are salesmen, and they want to sell what they can sell," he said. "If the cop show is the order of the day, they'll go to who's written the cop shows. I've worked in this kind of stuff before, and I like it. Charles Dickens is my favorite writer, and he did serialized work. He'd send a little installment to the paper or to the magazine once a month and people would hang in because they like the characters. I get invested with characters."
   One of the challenges Cassidy has found is balancing those serialized stories with more episodic ones to give the audience a sense of satisfaction at the end of each episode. "It's the biggest challenge, because you never know how much to give and how much to withhold," he said. "And we go through the script. Sometimes we throw everything in the script and we pare away, pare away. And again, you have to give room for the actors and the characters to have the moments. You can't just be doing plot things, following plot points. And the breathing room scenes can sometimes be the most interesting, especially if you have interesting characters and good actors, and we do." Invasion will follow Lost this season on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT. It premieres Sept. 21. 
   David Eick, co-creator and executive producer of SCI FI Channel's original series Battlestar Galactica, offered SCI FI Wire a few more details about the introduction of the Battlestar Pegasus, a returning element from the original series, which co-creator Ronald D. Moore revealed in a panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego. "This really came out of a conversation Ron and I had early on about the episodes we had seen of the original show and what felt like they might be well served by a fresh interpretation," Eick said. 
   He added: "The storyline that we thought was interesting was the Battlestar Pegasus. And so, naturally, we put a pretty unexpected and, I think, pretty subversive spin on it. But it's definitely going to be a fixture for a while." The Pegasus appears beginning in the 10th episode of the second season. 
   The arrival of the Pegasus will launch a complex story arc inspired by current events, Eick said. "It stands to reason that in a show that's all about how we're all trying to survive this horrific attack by this inhuman enemy, that the thing that we're really exploring is not that threat from without, but how it turns itself inward and how it becomes insidious and internal, and how it begins to break us down from inside ourselves," he said. "And what better way to take that idea to the next level than to introduce another human being who, on the face of it, is going to help us defeat the Cylons, defeat that third outside enemy, once and for all, but in reality serves to only remind us once again that the biggest enemy is really us?"
   Eick also hinted that the Pegasus will be involved in a multi-episode arc, though its crew may not be around as long. "It's not going to go away as quickly as people might think," he said. "That's not to say that the folks involved in bringing the Pegasus to us are going to remain indefinitely. But for sure it's going to be a fixture for some time." 

   Bruce Campbell—who wrote, directed and stars in the upcoming SCI FI Channel original movie Man With the Screaming Brain—said that he's thrilled the film is receiving a theatrical release in advance of its September debut on the network. "It is SCI FI Channel's first movie ever to be in a theater," Campbell said in an interview. "So I'm very OK with it. We were wailing and gnashing, but we got it into theaters."
   For 16 years, Man With the Screaming Brain was a dream project for Campbell, star of the Evil Dead pictures and a regular in the films of his friend, director Sam Raimi (Spider-Man). In Brain, Campbell plays William, a snooty American industrialist, who has part of his brain replaced by that of Yegor (Vladimir Kolev), an Eastern European taxi driver.
   Campbell said that the version of Brain that will air on SCI FI in the fall is very close to the one currently playing in theaters. "SCI FI doesn't like swearing and stuff like that, and we've got swearing," Campbell said. "Some of the holes we put in there for commercials are gone, and now it plays through like a feature. It was always designed as a feature film. It was designed with a three-act structure. So basically SCI FI is getting a TV version of that. The plan was always to treat it as a feature, but we knew it was being done for the SCI FI Channel. And so there's not any gore or blood missing. We actually held back on that. Really, at the end of the day, the movie is PG-13. There are no beheadings or s--t like that."
   Right now, Campbell is going theater to theater, city by city, with Brain, essentially taking it with him as he criss-crosses the country on a promotional tour for his latest book, Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way. "We're actually doing book signings at the theaters," Campbell said. "The coolest thing about Screaming Brain is that it's given me a chance to see these great old revival houses and art houses. That's where it's been playing, which really makes me happy. So far as releasing it wider, they're playing it by ear."
   Campbell added: "This was all a grand experiment. The bottom line is this was meant to promote the showing on SCI FI and also the DVD, which comes out in October. Some theaters have done well enough that they're bringing it back and doing midnight screenings in the weeks following my going through town. So we're just going to see how it goes. There are no plans. We're just staying loosey-goosey with it." 

   About 200 academics converged in Australia for a conference on superheroes entitled "Holy Men in Tights," sponsored by the University of Melbourne on June 9-12. "The superhero has been a persistent theme in American popular culture since the 1930s," keynote speaker Henry Jenkins III, professor and head of the comparative media studies program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said. 
   "During this time, these characters have continued to be re-framed and re-invented, reflecting shifting notions of what constitutes a hero. The surprise is not that academics are studying superheroes; the real question is why it has taken so long for serious research on this topic to emerge." 
   The conference featured the presentation of papers covering themes of gender identity, mythology and ethics. John Lenarcic of RMIT University (formerly the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology), presented a paper on "Computer Ethics through Superhero Comics." "It was interesting to see the take on comics as metaphors to explain the human condition," Lenarcic said. 
The conference concluded with a costume ball. "Who says you can't mix work and fun?" Jenkins asked.
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Go Ask Nispel and Gellar About ALICE
     Marcus Nispel (TEXAS CHAINSAW remake) will direct and Sarah Michelle Gellar will star in ALICE, the film adaptation of American McGee's Electronic Arts video game. Originally developed at Dimension, the project is now at Universal. Erich and Jon Hoeber are scripting from McGee's scenario, a dark takeoff on Lewis Carroll's classic in which Alice is the only survivor of a catastrophe that destroys her home and kills her family. Traveling back to Wonderland, she finds it's now a scary place full of fearsome beings. Nispel also directed last year's modern-day FRANKENSTEIN made-for-TV movie for the USA Network, while Gellar recently wrapped a still-untitled supernatural thriller for Rogue Pictures.

BENEATH Arises via Paramount & MTV Films
     Paramount Classics and MTV Films are teaming up on the horror film BENEATH. Directed by Dagin Merrill from a script he wrote with Kevin Burke, the movie focuses on Christy, who has a car accident that disfigures and kills her older sister. When she returns home years later, Christy begins to have visions of the accident and comes to believe that her sister was buried alive. 
     Merrill was one of the four director finalists in the second season of PROJECT GREENLIGHT, and is the son of Academy Award-winning filmmaker Kieth Merrill. He also has a project in development at Kismet Entertainment's Graveyard Filmworks, producers of BOO and the upcoming DOG SOLDIERS: FRESH MEAT.

Underdog Flying To Theaters
     Walt Disney Pictures and Spyglass Entertainment are developing a live-action feature based on the classic Saturday-morning television cartoon series Underdog. The studio is eyeing a November start for preproduction, with filming to commence in Canada in January. 
     The original animated series, created by Buck Biggers and Chet Stover, ran from 1964 to 1973. It centered around a mild-mannered beagle named Shoeshine Boy (voiced by Wally Cox) who transformed into the caped canine crusader Underdog and often uttered the line "There's no need to fear, Underdog is here!" 
     In the feature adaptation, written by Joe Piscatella and Craig A. Williams, a little pooch named Shoeshine gets super powers after a lab accident and is adopted by a 12-year-old boy who discovers his secret. Other characters from the cartoon—including mad scientist Simon Barsinister and Underdog's love interest, Sweet Polly Purebred—may also appear in the film. Producers are planning to use an actual dog for the main character, with computer-generated enhancements. 

Don't Look Now, It's Another Remake
     Mark Gordon is planning to produce a remake of Don't Look Now for Paramount Pictures. The 1973 film, directed by Nicolas Roeg and based on a story by Daphne Du Maurier, created a sensation in the early '70s thanks to a highly erotic love scene featuring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. Andrea Berloff will write the screenplay for the adaptation, which centers on a couple, John and Laura Baxter, who go to Venice, Italy, to recuperate after the sudden death of their daughter only to encounter strange visions that suggest their daughter's presence.

Goyer To Helm Invisible
     David Goyer, who wrote all three films in the Blade trilogy and directed the final installment, has signed on to direct the supernatural thriller The Invisible. It will be the third film Goyer has directed, the second which he did not write himself. 
     The story follows a teenager who, after being attacked and left for dead, finds himself in limbo, invisible to the living and racing against time to find his body before he truly perishes. The only living person who might be able to save him is his attacker, a troubled girl who is on the run from the law. 
     The original English-language script by Mick Davis was translated into Swedish in 2002 and directed by Joel Bergvall and Simon Sandquist. The upcoming English-language adaptation was written by Christine Roum. Spyglass Entertainment (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) is financing the project.

Garner Agrees To Be With You
     Jennifer Garner (Elektra, Alias) will produce and star in a remake of the 2004 Japanese hit Be With You. The original film was directed by Nobuhiro Doi from a novel by Takuji Ichikawa. It centers on a dying woman who pledges on her deathbed to return to her husband and young son. A year later, the father and son happen upon a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to the dead woman. Warner Brothers is close to announcing a director for the project.

Dungeon Cast Announced
     Jason Statham (The Italian Job) leads the cast of schlock director Uwe Boll's upcoming Dungeon Siege, a sword-and-sorcery movie based on Gas Powered Games' video game of the same name. Dungeon Siege follows Farmer (Statham) on a mission to save his wife and child as an evil army rampages across the land, destroying everything in its path and focusing on conquering the Castle Ehb. 
     The cast also includes Leelee Sobieski, Ron Perlman, John Rhys-Davies, Matthew Lillard, Kristanna Loken and Burt Reynolds. Uwe Boll (HOUSE OF THE DEAD, ALONE IN THE DARK) directs from a screenplay by Doug Taylor, David S. Freeman and Glenn Benest.

Paul Producing Highlander 5
     Highlander TV star Adrian Paul said that he will executive-produce and star in a fifth movie in the sci-fi franchise, which is currently in script stage, with an eye to a production start in Eastern Europe later this year. "David Abramowitz [a writer on the Highlander TV series] is putting the final touches on the script, and, once approved, it will go into preproduction later this year," Paul wrote on his website. 
     Paul played Duncan MacLeod in the popular television series, which ran from 1992-'98, based on the series of movies. He also appeared in the last Highlander movie, 2000's Endgame, opposite Christopher Lambert, who played Connor MacLeod. "I always said I would never do another one unless I had more control over the final product," Paul said. "Well, this time I am executive-producing it. Brett Leonard [Lawnmower Man] is set to direct. Be ready to see a new Highlander film that has the quality of [the] television ... series, with a new sound and look for 2006. Everyone is excited to be able to produce something that we have more control over and to revamp such a successful franchise. Once the rights fell back to Davis-Panzer Productions, Peter Davis approached me to star and executive-produce."

The Future Looks Dark for DANIKA
     The psychological chiller DANIKA has begun shooting. Marisa Tomei stars in the title role of a woman whose overwhelming fears for her children lead her to experience premonitions of terrible events. Craig Bierko also stars as Danika’s husband, with Regina Hall (SCARY MOVIE) as her psychiatrist. Ariel Vromen, who has won notice for short films like JEWEL OF THE SAHARA, is directing from a script by Joshua Leibner. The executive producer is Maryland-based Michael Urbanski, whose credits include Lions Gate’s upcoming DARK RIDE and who is developing another genre feature called INVISIBLE DARKNESS.

Thurman Stars As Super-Ex
     Uma Thurman and Luke Wilson will star in Super Ex, a romantic comedy Ivan Reitman will direct for Regency Enterprises. Don Payne (The Simpsons) wrote the script, in which Thurman plays a superhero who falls for a regular guy. He's OK with her superhuman abilities, but can't take her neediness. When he dumps her, she uses her powers to turn the guy's life into a nightmare. Super Ex will shoot in New York this fall. 
     Reitman directed Evolution, with David Duchovny and Julianne Moore.

Transformers Set To Roll
     Transformers will roll into movie theaters on July 4, 2007, according to a statement from DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Pictures and Hasbro, Inc. Further, Michael Bay (Armageddon and the upcoming The Island) is now officially on board to direct the film, which will be based on the adventures of the Hasbro/Takara toy line that debuted in 1984 and has already spawned comic books, animated television shows and an animated feature film. 
     "Under the direction of Michael Bay, and with Steven Spielberg executive-producing, we know that Transformers is going to be the kind of explosive action movie that is perfect for the height of the summer movie season," DreamWorks' head of distribution, Jim Tharp, said. "By staking our claim on the Fourth of July, 2007, we ensure that we not only have the time to make this movie the way it should be made, but also to build excitement and awareness leading up to its release." 
     DreamWorks will release Transformers domestically, while Paramount will handle it internationally. 

Body Snatchers Gets a Director 
     German director Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall) will direct an Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake for Warner Bros. Written by Dave Kajganich, the new version centers on a female protagonist who uncovers a conspiracy in a small town where the inhabitants' personalities seem to be changing. In Don Siegel's original 1956 sci-fi/horror film, a hysteria spreads through a small California town after townspeople appear to their relatives and friends as strangers while retaining their outward appearances.
     The studio owns the remake rights to the film after making 1993's Body Snatchers, directed by Abel Ferrara. Production on the new version will start this October in Baltimore.

John Moore bedeviled by The Omen 666
     John Moore, who directed Behind Enemy Lines and Flight of the Phoenix, has been named by 20th Century Fox to helm a remake of the 1976 horror classic THE OMEN about the arrival of the Antichrist in the home of an unsuspecting family. Dan McDermott is writing a script that will contemporize the tale. The studio has set a tentative Oct. 3 start date. The remake is titled THE OMEN 666 because it has a planned release date of June 6th, 2006 (6/6/06.)
     Richard Donner directed the original, which starred Gregory Peck as an ambassador whose dark secret --allowing a baby to be substituted for the one his wife (Lee Remick) lost in childbirth -- comes back to haunt him when the hellish prodigal son begins to hit his evil stride.

FATAL Remake
     A remake of the 1987 thriller FATAL ATTRACTION will be the first film in a multi-year, multi-production deal that rapper/actor LL Cool J has signed with Lions Gate Films. Cool J, who has previously starred in DEEP BLUE SEA and HALLOWEEN: H20, will be taking on bigger roles than he has with his previous films. 
     First on the actor’s plate will be an “urban version” of FATAL ATTRACTION, which starred Michael Douglas as a philandering husband who is stalked by his jilted mistress (Glenn Close). Cool J will play an everyman who gets into serious trouble when he engages in an extramarital affair.


A Tale of 2 Wonkas
By: Dava Sentz

   Everyone knows the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; a charming rags to riches story of a little boy who suddenly gets everything his heart desires, by way of a golden ticket. 
   This beloved children's tale was first introduced to the screen in the 1971, with Gene Wilder as the eccentric chocolatier and Peter Ostrum as the kind-hearted Charlie Bucket. Like the novel, the film became an instant classic, hosting an array of colorful characters, whimsical settings, and memorable tunes. 
   Here and now, new blood can be found within the factory gates. Johnny Depp and Tim Burton are a genre unto themselves and, in my opinion, the perfect modern day duo to introduce this story to the next generation of kiddies.
   While I don't believe it's fair to pin Johnny Depp and Gene Wilder against each other, I know that anyone who's fond of the original version will not be able to help him or herself. Gene Wilder's performance was truly unforgettable; warm and genuine, funny and strange. He was everything anyone could ever want in a candy maker. The true Wonka fan would definitely say that it was done right the first time, that if it ain't broke don't fix it. I very much agree with this viewpoint and no one, not even an actor as cool and unique as Johnny Depp, will ever replace Gene Wilder in my mind and heart. He was, is, and will always be Willy Wonka. Still, the remake demands a great deal of respect.  
   To begin with, Tim Burton is an extraordinary director. His wild, dark, and often morbid imagination has been responsible for creating some of the most memorable films in modern day cinema. It is for this reason that I see him as the ideal person to take on the imaginative, zany, and magical world of Willy Wonka. 
   No one else could've captured its splendor in quite the same way. Remaining faithful to the overall charm and mastery that the original film installed, Burton merely added touches of his classic, unmistakable style to the plot, making the film distinctly his. The world that he created, from the harsh jungles of Lumpaland to the delectable goodness of the chocolate room was reminiscent of the original's sweetness and light blended with the bizarre fright night fun one would expect from him.  
   Johnny Depp is wildly original actor with an unusual blend of charisma, emotion, and style. Perhaps this is why he seems to connect so well with Tim Burton. Each are quite unique in their abilities, sinister and dark yet soulful and humorous. Depp's portrayal of Willy Wonka serves as no exception. While it lacked the compassion of Gene Wilder's character, Depp's performance was anything but dull. His Wonka was very funny and energetic, coupled with Burton's morbidly gothic dialogue. It was delightfully refreshing and highly entertaining.
   Freddie Highmore, a veteran co-star of Johnny Depp, (you may remember Freddie from 2004's Finding Neverland) turned out a terrifically endearing performance as Charlie Bucket. There's a lot to be said about child actors. Many are all too aware of the cameras in front of them. As a result, they either over act in a pathetic attempt to prove their worth in show business, (case in point: "Richie Pettrie" from The Dick Van Dyke Show) or they under act, mumbling incoherently to their television audience as they laugh and sigh at their innocent banter. 
   Every so often, however, a child will come along with a certain spark, a kind of natural ability that only comes from the gifted. Freddie seems to be one such actor, as to his pint-sized co-stars, most of who are making their film debuts.
   "Because of Winn Dixie's" Annasophia Robb gave a very loud, very determined, and highly driven performance as the film's resident champion Violet Beauregarde. While her rendition was vastly different than the original's portrayal, Annasophia most certainly added a distinct life force the character. She reminded me very much of the over achieving athlete who works so hard to win her parent's approval. While these traits were also present in 1971, they are much less subtle in 2005 which in some ways this makes the character all the more thorough.
   Julia Winter, a newcomer, was a very entertaining Veruca Salt. Though Veruca was, is, and always will be a spoiled brat with way too much time on her hands and not enough parental structure, her Wonka fan base will always adore her. The classic temper tantrums of the original were sorely absent, but it didn't really matter. Winter's unrealistic and ungrateful demands were very much alive and quite amusing.
   Philip Wiegratz newcomer number two turned out a highly convincing portrayal as everyone's favorite glutton, Augustus Gloop. Not only did he also have the German accent and horse-like appetite down to the letter, but he also bore an absolutely striking resemblance to the original Augustus, played by Michael Bollner. I believe "Grandma Josephine" said it best, "What a repulsive boy!" That's exactly what Philip was, repulsive, greedy, and very entertaining. I think his presence in this movie will definitely pave the way for bigger and better things.
   The last member of Wonka's parade of morality and innocent is Jordan Fry, newcomer number three, giving an extremely funny, cocky, and overall scary performance as Mike Teavee. In the 1971Mike Teavee was the ultimate couch potato, a little boy who knew next to nothing about 3-dimentional life. Jordan's Mike Teavee, however, was modernized. Not only was he the ultimate couch potato but he was also hopelessly addicted to violent video games, making him much more aggressive. It was so much fun to watch, reminiscent of the stereotypical male that we've all come to know so well. I loved every minute.
   Joined by such supporting actors as David Kelly, Deep Roy, and Christopher Lee, this remake of Roald Dahl's book provided a much more detailed look into the world of Willy Wonka. There are pros and there are cons and everyone has their preference. Yet, there is absolutely no reason why both movies can't be enjoyed for years to come. It is a classic, after all, and you can't go wrong with a classic.

August 19th      Red Eye  
Cast: Rachel McAdams (Lisa Reisert), Cillian Murphy (Jackson Rippner), 
Brian Cox (Joe Reisert), Kyle Gallner (Kevin)
Premise: One a jet, moments after takeoff, Lisa's seatmate, Jackson menacingly reveals the real reason he's on board: He is an operative in a plot to kill a rich and powerful businessman, and Lisa is the key to its success. If she refuses to cooperate, an assassin awaiting a call from Jackson will kill her father. .

August 19th       Valient  
Cast: Ewan McGregor (Valiant), Ben Kingsley (General Keyserlingk), Jim 
Broadbent, John Cleese, Tim Curry, Rupert Everett, Ricky Gervais, John Hurt 
Premise: This film is (very loosely) based upon the true story of the 
carrier pigeons that the United Kingdom did use during World War II to 
communicate with the French Resistance and the Allied troops.

August 26th        Brothers Grimm 
Cast: Matt Damon (Will Grimm), Heath Ledger (Jake Grimm), Monica Bellucci (The Evil Queen), Jonathan Pryce (Delatombe), Lena Headey (Angelika)
Premise: Brothers Jake (Ledger) and Will Grimm (Damon), renowned collectors of folklore, have made a career out of traveling from village to village pretending to rid them of "enchanted" creatures. Their bluff is called, however, when they are forced by Napoleon's French government to investigate a haunted forest where girls have been disappearing mysteriously

August 26th       The Cave
Cast: Morris Chestnut (Buchanan), Eddie Cibrian (Tyler), Kieran Darcy-Smith (Vince Strode), Cole Hauser (Jack), Lena Headey (Katherine), Marcel Iures (Dr. Nicolai), Daniel Dae Kim (Alex Kim), Piper Perabo (Charlie), Brian Steele (Creature)
Premise: A rescue team is sent down into the world's largest cave system to try to find the spelunkers who first explored its depths. But when the group's escape route is cut off, they are hunted by the monstrous creatures that live down below.

September 2nd         The  Sound of Thunder
Cast: Edward Burns (Travis Ryer), Ben Kingsley (Charles Hatton), Catherine 
McCormack (Sonia Rand), Wilifried Hochholdinger (Dr. Lucas), 
Premise: Based on A Ray Bradbury story.   Set in a near future where time travel is possible, this is the story of a travel agency, Time Safari Inc that arranges hunting trips for wealthy customers back in time to hunt dinosaurs.  However, in this case, a nervous hunter steps off the trail, and steps on a butterfly. 
   The historical repercussions of the death of a single butterfly, compounded by millions of years of effects, leaves the hunters to return to a future that is not quite the one they came from. So they must stop the "time waves" that are rippling up from this event, threatening to erase humanity from existence.

farewellsfarewellsfarewells Good bye farewellsfarewellsfarewells

James N. Aparo, an illustrator for DC Comics for more than 30 years has died at age 72. Mr. Aparo worked on comic books featuring classics such as Batman, Green Arrow, Aquaman, The Brave and the Bold, The Phantom Stranger and The Spectre.
His big break came in the late 1960's when he was working for Charlton Comics and his editor, Dick Giordano, got a job at DC and took Mr. Aparo with him. He grew up in New Britain, Conn. and brought characters to life in his home studio in Southington, corresponding with DC through the mail. He retired about four years ago.

Matthew McGrory, the deep-voiced 7-foot-plus actor in the high-profile role as a gentle giant in the movie Big Fish, has died. He attended law school and showed up in music videos before starting his career in B-movies. He played a human Sasquatch in 2001's Bubble Boy, an alien in Men In Black II (2002) and Tiny in the Rob Zombie horror movies House Of 1000 Corpses (2003) and its sequel, The Devil's Rejects. He was also in the dead hate the living, big time, constantine (as a demon) and shadow box. He was 32

George D. Wallace, a versatile actor and ICS favorite who starred as Commando Cody in the Republic serial Radar Men from the Moon, has died. 
An eight-year Navy veteran, Wallace was tending bar in Hollywood in the late 1940s when gossip columnist Jimmy Fidler discovered him singing to the juke box for tips and helped launch his career in show business. Wallace had made only a few small appearances in films and on TV when he went up for a character part and instead landed the starring role of Commando Cody in the 1952 motion picture serial Radar Men from the Moon. As Cody, the brilliant scientist, Wallace donned a leather jacket, a bullet-shaped, silver helmet and an atomic-powered rocket pack with an amazingly simple control panel on his chest: One dial said Up / Down; a second dial said Fast / Slow; and the third dial said On / Off.
During his varied career he appeared in film, on Broadway and on T.V. In the 50’s and 60’s he was in numerous television western series episodes and in a broad range of shows after that. He was in episodes of such genre T.V. as Ghost Story, buffy the vampire slayer and he even played God in a joan of arcadia. His films included submarine command, kansas city confidential, destry, texas across the river, towering inferno, defending your life and nurse betty.  His genre films included ghost buster, forbidden planet, bicentennial man and minority report. He was 88.

James Doohan, best known to Imaginative Cinema fans as Scotty (Montgomery Scott), the chief engineer aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise in the original Star Trek series has died at age 83. 
He also appeared in the first seven Star Trek motion pictures. 
Born in 1920, in Vancouver, British Columbia, he fought in World War II at age 19 and was wounded in the arm and hand. 
After the war he won a two-year scholarship to the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City, were he trained under Sanford Meisner, alongside such future stars as Leslie Nielsen, Tony Randall and Jackie Gleason. 
His versatility and talent as a dialectician helped him earn parts. He appeared on television in episodes of SPACE COMMAND, Tales of Tomorrow, voyage to the bottom of the sea, the man from u.n.c.l.e., Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone and many others. As well as in films such as test pilot, bus riley’s back in town, one of our spies is missing, pretty maids all in a row, double trouble and loaded weapon 1.

Of course, there is the old standard that was actually never said, but is still known throughout the galaxies –
“Beam me up Scotty!”

And some favorites –

“On Earth, we have a saying: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

[and Scotty when faced with a 20th century computer doesn’t pause] 
Scotty: Computer. Computer?   [Bones hands him a mouse and he speaks into it] 
Scotty: Hello, computer. 
Dr. Nichols: Just use the keyboard. 
Scotty: Keyboard? How quaint.

Scotty who was known as “the Miracleworker” in Star Trek because of his engineering abilities, also had his wit and charm to which James Doohan added a wonderful sense of feeling to this great character. Both Scotty and James will be missed.

By John Ward

My family and I are vacation travelers, no doubt about it.  When my wife gets her two weeks off in the summer, we don’t stay home and loaf around the house.  That might be your idea of a fun vacation, but it isn’t ours.  We’d much rather hit the open road, see the sights, and show our son parts of the country that he’s never seen before.  When I was my son’s age – thirteen – I had stepped foot in exactly two states:  Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  My son has been through 34 of ‘em.
 We’ve just gotten back from the Ward Vacation: 2005 Edition and I’m still trying to catch my breath.  If you’ve been a frequent reader of the ICS Forum, then you’ve probably already read some of what I’m about to describe from my “Postcard from London” thread.  No sweat; my objective in this column is to try and relate our vacation escapades from a moviegoer’s point-of-view.  That puts a slightly different spin on things.  I was frankly amazed to think back on just how closely our family vacations have touched on the movies.
 In 1999, for example, we headed out to the upper Midwest, and visited several notable film landmarks:  Mt. Rushmore, site of the climactic scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s classic, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, and Devil’s Tower, Wyoming, where Steven Spielberg landed the alien mothership in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND.  You must understand that my wife never saw it as a film-lover’s journey.  (If she had, we might have gone somewhere else.)  No, she just saw it as really breathtaking scenery.  Truth to tell, most people would see it that way.  (“Hey, Jimmy!  Look at those presidents up there!  Doesn’t Lincoln have a big nose?”)
 But let’s face it, fellow club members:  We aren’t most people!!
 In 2000, we went to Disney World.  Heck, that place was built by the movies!  Every time you turned around, there was a reminder.  It wasn’t Big Brother; it was Big Mickey.  Ironically, the most disappointing part of the whole week – for me – was the day we spent at the Disney-MGM theme park.  I was expecting much more than I got, although the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was my single favorite moment of the whole vacation.  The Backlot tram ride at Disney was a painfully lacking imitation of Universal’s older, longer, and much more historically significant tour.  After leaving Disney-MGM, I had a sour look that didn’t go away until we hit the Magic Kingdom.
 In 2001, we took a movie break and did a week in Ocean City.  I think most Marylanders hit the beach at least once every five years or so; it must be some kind of state law.  Let’s face it, people don’t go “down the ocean” for the movies.  Have you ever seen the theaters at the beach?  They haven’t exactly kept up with the times.  Air conditioned, sure, but no stadium seating, no cupholders, and lots and lots of sand on the floor.  (People are slobs on vacation.)  Forget it.  I wouldn’t touch ‘em if it rained for forty days and forty nights.  Given a choice, I’d pick Yahtzee in the condo with my wife.  (Yes, I said Yahtzee.  Give me a break; this is a family column.)
 In 2002, we drove to Canada and came home through New England.  We spent a few days in Niagara Falls, where the Burger King featured a giant Frankenstein Monster munching a Whopper on the roof.  We blitzed through Toronto, home to one of the finest film festivals in the world.  And we spent four days in Boston, Beantown itself, where we took pictures of the Cheers bar and eyeballed a whole lot of history.  (Hey, history counts; they have made a lot of historical pictures.)
 In 2003, we went to New York City, where we checked out Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum – lots of creepy-yet-lifelike movie folk there – and saw The Phantom of the Opera and Beauty and the Beast, two incredibly movie-related musicals.  Whenever we visit New York, I always hope we’ll stumble across a film crew somewhere.  It would be fantastic to watch a crew filming Law and Order, for example, or maybe even a Scorsese movie.  I’d even settle for Woody Allen.  But with our luck, we’d probably get the Olsen Twins in NEW YORK MINUTE.  
 Last year, it was back out west, this time by the southern route.  If it was big, rocky, and scenic, with a National Park Service sign out front, we probably saw it.  I’m sure there have been movies with the Grand Canyon or the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop, but right now, all I can recall is  a Very Special Episode of The Brady Bunch with Jay Silverheels as some little Native American kid’s grandpa.  However, we did stop for lunch at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, where Stephen King was inspired to write The Shining, and where they did indeed film the TV movie remake.  Talk about a high-falutin’ place:  $12 for a souvenir keychain.  I contented myself with some photos out front.
 This year, we hit the movie motherlode:  8 days in London, with a day trip to Paris thrown in for good measure.  Talk about your cinematic delights; what self-respecting film buff could look at Notre Dame and not imagine Lon Chaney (or maybe Charles Laughton) swinging around the bell towers?  We also visited the Louvre Museum, which by this time next year will be on everyone’s minds, thanks to Ron Howard, Tom Hanks, and THE DA VINCI CODE.  And of course, the Eiffel Tower, which I reminded my less-than-impressed wife Terri was the backdrop for a particularly exciting scene from SUPERMAN II.
 But that was just one day in Paris.  Eight days in London gave us so much more:  the Tower of London, where they beheaded ANNE OF THE THOUSAND DAYS and a clubfooted Boris Karloff did the bidding of Basil Rathbone in – well, the TOWER OF LONDON.  Madame Tussaud’s, the British original this time, with plenty of movie stars to go around.  A fascinating walk through the Whitechapel district with a Jack the Ripper historian who was so well-respected that Johnny Depp sought him out before filming FROM HELL.  A walk along the Thames, where I could almost picture the woman’s corpse being fished out at the beginning of Hitchcock’s FRENZY – a memory that I did not share with Terri.
 Not to mention Westminster Abbey, where THE DA VINCI CODE reared its ubiquitous head again, and lots of rides on the London Underground.  Once, on our way to the British Museum, we made a connection at the Tottenham Court Road tube station (locals call the subway the “tube”) and I mentioned that we were walking along the very same hallway that had been used as the site of one of the AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON murders.  She was only slightly less impressed than she was by Superman and the Eiffel Tower.
 For film geeks, of which we are legion, the highlight would be our visit to the Forbidden Planet flagship store, on Shaftesbury Avenue, just off Charing Cross Road.  My son and I thought we’d died and gone to heaven.  Even my normally less-than-impressed wife said – and I quote – “You know, even though this isn’t my cup of tea, this is a really nice store.”  The upper floor was packed with movie collectibles and memorabilia, while the downstairs level was a book-lover’s dream.  I picked up one movie tome after another that I wanted to buy, but it was near the end of our vacation, funds were running low, and I already had a Toy Biz action figure of Peter Jackson in my hand, so all the books went back on the shelf.
 But my favorite movie memory of this year’s vacation was one that I enjoyed alone.  On a Sunday afternoon, while Terri and John decided to crash in the hotel room, I grabbed my tube pass and hurried off to the West End, where I found a movie theater showing THE DESCENT.  It was the second feature from the director of DOG SOLDIERS,  and it was a real walk on the wild side, a kind of weird hybrid of ALIEN and DELIVERANCE.  Six extreme sports enthusiasts, all buff women, on a caving expedition, wind up trapped underground, fighting for survival against a horde of sightless critters who reminded me of the Orcs scuttling all over the Mines of Moria in THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING.  THE DESCENT was a great horror movie, and I hope it gets a stateside release.  But I digress.
 The movie theater showing THE DESCENT was state-of-the-art – the Apollo West End, an underground movie house with six screens and plenty of stadium seating.  I walked in off the street, bought my ticket, and the elevator took me two floors straight down, where I bought a Diet Coke without ice.  (Here’s a tip if you go to London:  request ice.  They don’t give it to you unless you ask, and sometimes not even then.)  The theater was absolutely silent – none of that godawful “Loew’s Music Network.”  The floors were carpeted, the seats were upholstered, and even the armrests were plush.  The cupholder was in the seatback in front of me.  Sweet.
   Unfortunately, state-of-the-art does not mean they skip commercials.  The only difference is that they rate the ads in Britain the same way they rate the movies.  Most of the ads (there were about 5) were rated “U” for Unrestricted, although there was one ad rated “15” that featured a couple of gorgeous models on a foxhunt who get a whiff of some guy’s deodorant and are immediately overcome with the need to take off their clothes and mud-wrestle.  Of course.  More ads like that one and I could almost learn to accept the practice of ads in theaters.  Almost.
 Yep, it’s amazing how our vacations reflect the movies.  Next year, we’re talking about flying out to California, renting a car, and driving up the coast.  I wonder if my wife remembers that Clint Eastwood was once the mayor of Carmel?  Or that they filmed DIRTY HARRY in San Francisco?  Come to think of it, they filmed BULLITT  there, too…
 No, I don’t think I’ll bring that up.


August 19th      Red Eye  

August 19th      Valient  

August 26th       Brothers Grimm 

August 26th       The Cave

August 27th          ICS Meeting at 5:30 P.M. - the Annual ICS Pizza Night!  

September 2nd      The  Sound of Thunder