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

July 2006  #90




        Whats happening with our faves


        The hottest news out on ICS genre films



        Old friends, now gone


        From ICS member John Ward


Put this up on the Fridge!

Editor-Betsy Childs 
Staff Writers- Regina Vallerani, 
Andrew Kent, Mike Laird, 
John Ward, Joe Plempel, 
Dava Sentz, Mike Schilling, 
Dave Henderson, Jim Childs


ICSClubnewsClubnews All About Us ClubnewsClubnewsICS

 Our June meeting began in full swing with the ICS Auction!  Jim Childs and Joe Plempel were up front and center, putting together lots of VHS tapes, books and figures and working on the crowd to bid high.  It was not too long before Lisa Schilling, after growing tired of sitting by and watching Jim drop the merchandise, took charge of displaying the items for the appreciative crowd.  Jim redeemed himself by literally auctioning the shirt off of his back to help the club raise money.  And raise money, we did  - an extra $184 for the treasury.  After an hour, we took a break and re-assessed the goods.  Members were able to make their own packages for $3 a pop.  And the more valuable merchandise was auctioned off in a 15 minute round of auctioning and high bidding.
 Assistance was also provided by Richard Smith and Regina Vallerani.  Whether you were donor, bidder, assistant, or auctioneer, the ICS thanks you for your participation in this fun club event!

that’s what you get for not hailing to the chimp
 Anyone who has attended a meeting knows the warning about movie voting – be careful what you vote for… because we might just watch it.  Which turned out to be very apropos for our June Meeting.  The board had emailed several celebrities for their genre movie inspirations.  Low budget maestros Fred Olen Ray and Ted Bohus were both happy to reply.  Typical classics like THE THING and WAR OF THE WORLDS were passed over in favor of NIGHT OF THE BLOODY APES.
 NIGHT OF THE BLOODY APES is a 1970 film directed by Cuban exploitation filmmaker (SURVIVE!, Rock 'N Roll Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy) Rene Cardona.  Dr. Krallman, a mad scientist, along with his assistant, Goyo, decides to transplant an ape heart into the body of his fatally ill son.  The transplant footage is real and much bloodier than the interlaced scenes of Dr. Krallman wiping the sweat from his brow during the ‘operation’.  Needless to say, there is a complication to this simple operation.  The ape’s heart is too strong – and the son turns into a beast, with a hairy face, hulk-like body and lots more testosterone…so, women beware.  Dr. Kauffman must reverse the operation!  And surprisingly enough, the doctor does not transplant the heart of a serial killer into his son… too much of a cliché, right?  He simply opts to transplant the heart of a luchadora, hoping that a lady wrestler’s human heart will give him back his little Julio. 
 Want to know the rest?  Well before you pass and decide to watch your copy of THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL for the 78th time, know that this film contains a beheading, eye gouging, female wrestling and nudity and a man in a monkey costume.  AND, the club had a great time talking and laughing at the film! 
         Now, that’s entertainment!

  No-one fell asleep during the June late night feature.  The name of the film is FEARLESS and it was brought in by Andrew Kent.  FEARLESS is Jet Li’s final martial arts movie and it contained plenty of exciting kung-fu fight scenes.  It is loosely based on the real martial artist Huo Yuan Jia, who in 1910 founded one of the first major martial arts schools in China, the Jing Wu Athletic Association.  Huo Yuan Jia was a master of the My Jhong style of kung-fu, the lineage of which can be traced back to the Shaolin temple of the Tang Dynasty era (618-907 AD.) 
 The film opens with an adult Huo energetically defeats several challengers in an arena.  Then the storyline goes back to delve into Huo’s past and show us how he became this incredible fighter.  His father was a great martial arts expert who discouraged Huo from fighting.  Of course, he becomes obsessed with martial arts and with becoming the top rated fighter.  And as Huo grows up, his proficiency as a fighter increases as he obtains victory after victory.  But with all of this victory, comes an arrogance that becomes Huo’s downfall.  And as a result, he loses everything in an act of vengeance.  Questioning his life, Huo runs away from his city and tries to escape on a rice patty farm.  But, redemption is in our hero’s future.  And the final part of the film shows Huo’s humble rise to the top – ready to fight for the honor of his country
 While the story may not be the most original, the fighting definitely was.  The choreography is by the legendary Yuen Wo-Ping.  To quote Andrew:  “With tons of CGI and wirework, FEARLESS is a kung-fu film for folks who unabashedly love kung-fu films.”
 And those who stayed to watch FEARLESS once again beat out the summer movie crowds!  That’s right… it premiered at the ICS!  Thanks for bringing it in, Andrew.

 Skip Phillips surprised us all when he showed the opening of GHOST HOST THEATER – complete with theme music and test tubes.  Those of us who were born and raised in Baltimore remember what a treat it was to stay up late on a Saturday night and watch those old B-movies from the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.  No matter how many channels Cable TV has, it cannot replace memories of the Ghost Host.  Thanks Skip, for that little trip down memory lane!

  Need a convention fix?  The ICS will be participating in The Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention in Aberdeen on September 14-17.  Guests will include David Hedison from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Marta Kristen from Lost in Space.  The convention is geared to fans of Old-Time TV and Radio and Antique Cars. 
 ICS will have 2 tables in the dealer’s room (so we will need donated movie goods – see below for details – and volunteers to work the tables).  This convention will be sponsored by one of our ICS files subscribers, Martin Grams.  More details on the con can be found online at WWW.MIDATLANTICNOSTALGIACONVENTION.COM. 
 ICS will need your VHS, DVDs, and other movie related items.  So clean out your collection and donate to ICS. 
 The ICS board will be accepting donations for these events beginning at our next meeting, so if you have anything to donate, please bring it in.

 Our next meeting will be held on Saturday July 29th 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 torn-down 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. 

 July 29th is one day it’s okay to skip breakfast and lunch, because the ICS is hosting its annual summer pizza party.  The board always does a great job of putting this on.  So, let’s show our appreciation by chowing down!

  The only cheesy stuff we will encounter in July will be on a pizza crust.  John Clayton will be here to give a presentation on Val Lewton.  Lewton was a writer and producer of moody, black and white pieces from the 1940’s, like CAT PEOPLE and I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE.  He was also very influential to modern horror filmmakers and references to him can be seen as recently as the character named Valerie Lewton in FINAL DESTINATION (2000).  Show up in July to learn more about Lewton.

  The late night time slot in July is set aside for social time.  There will be NO late movie.  However, if you have a film you’d like to show in August, be prepared to present it to the club because we will be voting for the August late night feature.

 Troy Farwell and his wife Janet, who was a member and attended several meetings, are moving to Las Vegas in June for Troy’s new job.  Troy gave a film noir presentation a few years back and could often be found palling around with John Weber during the meetings.
We said our goodbyes at the June meeting and had a Great Cookie to congratulate Troy 
on his move.  Best of luck, Troy and Janet!

tv news tv news tv news the glass teat tv news tv news tv news
      Brian Henson—who directed the "Battleground" episode of TNT's upcoming limited anthology series Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King—said that one of his biggest challenges was creating an hour's worth of television with virtually no dialogue. "I got a call from producer Bill Haber, who said, 'I'm in a horrible situation. I have the most wonderful script, but it's impossible to shoot, but would you read it anyway?'" Henson recalled. "Even though I thought it was going to be impossible to make, I was still very intrigued about doing it." 
   Based on a short story by King, "Battleground" centers on professional hit man Jason Renshaw (William Hurt), who successfully murders the chief executive of a major toy company only to face a life-and-death battle of his own when a box of toy soldiers suddenly comes to life. 
   Henson worked closely with writer Richard Christian Matheson to create a story that could be told without dialogue, a bold step for any made-for-television project. "When I first talked to Richard about it, his first draft had some dialogue," Henson said. "But once Renshaw was in his apartment, there was no reason for dialogue. So he came up with the idea that it would be cool to do the whole thing with no dialogue. 
   Now, note that the general broadcasters' attitude is that every TV production needs to play like radio. You have to assume that your audience is cooking dinner while they're watching your show, so they need to hear every story point coming out of somebody's mouth, and I was really impressed that TNT was daring enough to say, 'No, this will be cool!'" 
   Henson added: "'Battleground' is based on a nine-page short story, and the adaptation is this wonderfully intimate piece, where you're almost trapped inside the head of this kind of psychotic character, as we're watching everything he does over this one-day period of time. Richard and I ended up probably rewriting everything that happens in that movie two or three times to figure out how to do it all." 
   Sharp-eyed viewers may notice a few subtle references to the 1970s TV movie Trilogy of Terror, written by Matheson's father, award-winning novelist and screenwriter Richard Matheson. But Henson insisted he wasn't trying to imitate the work of director Dan Curtis in that piece. "I'm a big fan of Trilogy of Terror, but what I was trying to do was a more '80s style of directing, with static cameras and clean compositions, where the movements of the lead actor are very dominating in frame, because there isn't a lot else going on. It's clean, almost sterile sometimes, in its visual presentation in order to put more emphasis on the character of Renshaw." 

     The WB network plans to sign off on Sept. 17 by airing pilots of some of  its biggest hits, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Felicity and Dawson's Creek. It also plans to air promos from its  11-year history and clips of some of the actors who have appeared on its 
shows over the years. The farewell for a network is "unprecedented."

      ABC's Lost garnered six nominations and SCI FI Channel's original series Battlestar Galactica earned three for the 58th annual prime-time Emmy Awards, which were announced July 6 in Los Angeles. The awards, covering the period from June 1, 2005, through May 31, 2006, will be televised on NBC on Aug. 27 from the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium and will be hosted by Conan O'Brien. Lost and Galactica received the most nominations among science fiction and fantasy programming, which otherwise fared poorly in the nominations, receiving nods mostly for technical achievements. 
    Galactica earned nods in technical categories, including best visual effects, costumes and sound mixing. 
   Lost was recognized for guest actor (Henry Ian Cusick as Desmond), writing (Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof for "The 23rd Psalm") and directing (Jack Bender for "Live Together, Die Alone"), as well as for visual effects, editing and sound mixing. 
   Stargate Atlantis got a nod for music composition. The SCI FI Channel original movie Mammoth also received a nomination, for outstanding visual effects. 
   Other genre series that received nominations included Alias, Smallville, Supernatural and The Ten Commandments. 

   British actress Freema Agyeman will take over from Billie Piper as the sidekick to David Tennant's Doctor Who in the upcoming third season. Rumors had circulated earlier that the 27-year-old former Crossroads actress would replace Piper, who leaves the show at the conclusion of the current second season, which winds up in England on July 8. 
   Agyeman will play Martha Jones in the third season (called a "series" in England), which begins production in three weeks for broadcast in the United Kingdom next year. 
   Agyeman appeared in last week's second-season penultimate episode "Army of Ghosts," but as a different character who meets a cruel fate at the hands of the Cybermen. 
   David S. Goyer, co-creator and executive producer of Spike TV's upcoming Blade: The Series, said that the television series will bite deeper into the franchise's mythology than the three Blade movies that Goyer also wrote. "It's a serialized show, so we're having the opportunity to tell a single story over the course of 13 episodes," he said in an interview. "So we're getting to kind of delve much more into the whole kind of inner workings of the vampire world. We're treating them sort of like the ultimate crime family. ... [Like The Sopranos] with blood-drinking, I guess." 
     Writer and supervising producer Dan Truly explained that the show will open up the character of the half-vampire warrior, played by Kirk "Sticky" Jones. "There's a kind of tension between keeping Blade the hero of the show, but also opening up his character dramatically, to understand who he is, where he comes from," Truly said. "TV does character stories much better. There's only so much action you can do on a TV budget and a TV schedule, but the key is to keep all the elements of Blade and just to open up the stories more so we understand who he is and understand more of a more complicated kind of political vampire world." 

    Comedy Central has resurrected the former Fox animated SF series Futurama, ordering 13 episodes to debut in 2008. The deal builds on the cable network's acquisition of the 72-episode library last fall. (yeah!)
   Discussions about a revival of the half-hour show began in earnest earlier this year between Futurama producer 20th Century Fox Television and series creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen. A sticking point, which has been resolved, had been bringing back the cast, who hadn't worked on new episodes for the show since it left the air in August 2003. 
   Voice actors Billy West, Katey Sagal and John DiMaggio are on board for the new episodes, which will continue the story of Fry (West), a pizza delivery boy who was accidentally frozen for 1,000 years and who wakes up in the future. 

   Michael Shanks, who plays Daniel Jackson in SCI FI Channel's original series Stargate SG-1, said that the series will play down the potential romance between his character and Claudia Black's Vala as the series kicks off its 10th season this July. 
    Last season, former Farscape star Black played Vala in half a dozen episodes, which came on the heels of an eighth-season guest shot that introduced her wily thief character. In the upcoming season, Black joins the cast as a regular, and Vala, who has been impregnated by the villainous Ori, will give birth to a rapidly maturing child named Adria, who will be played by several actresses, including ex-Firefly star Morena Baccarin. 
    "In order to justify Vala there in a regular capacity this season, we've had to tone that down a little bit," Shanks said in an interview, referring to the characters' sexual tension. "We're doing a lot of balancing right now. We're trying to find the fun of it, and we're trying to find the push-pull in a more practical, kind of friendship situation. There's an episode where Daniel and Vala go out to dinner to talk about her personal growth, so to speak, and there's all the innuendo and misconception that can happen in that kind of situation." 
    Shanks added: "So there's a lot of fun in that. What we're doing is trying to keep the joke alive without killing it. And it's always fun when you work with somebody like Claudia, who's so good at playing with you and playing off you and who just gives you so much all the time. It's been a lot of fun doing that." 

    It was just a rumor, but a pretty solid one. It was reported that Matt Damon is being eyed to play a young Capt. James T. Kirk in J.J. Abrams' proposed 11th Star Trek movie. 
    Citing an anonymous source, it was reported that Abrams (Mission: Impossible III) is so interested in Damon (The Bourne Identity) that he's sought support from the original Kirk, William Shatner. "Shatner gave his blessing," and apparently "J.J. got his approval." 
   Rumors are circulating that Abrams' Trek movie will be a prequel to the original series, centering on Kirk and Spock's early days at Starfleet. "J.J. wants Damon as Capt. Kirk," it was said. "He really loves the idea." 
   For their part, Abrams and his Trek producing partner Bryan Burk (who is also an executive producer on Abram's hit ABC series Lost) have declined to comment on speculation about the movie's storyline, saying only that any reports about its narrative have been released prematurely.

movie news movie news  Silver Screen  movie news movie news

    It became clear Monday that the Harry Potter franchise will end with the seventh film. Author J.K. Rowling said in a television interview in the U.K. on Monday that she plans to kill off two of the regular characters in her seventh book and that one of them may be Harry himself. 
    Rowling said that she could understand "the mentality of an author who thinks, 'Well, I'm gonna kill them off because that means there can be no non-author-written sequels. So it will end with me, and after I'm dead and gone they won't be able to bring back the character.'" Asked specifically whether Harry will die in the seventh book, Rowling declined to respond, saying that she feared any remark she might make would draw hate mail.

    Universal has acquired the spec script DRACULA YEAR ZERO by newcomer writers Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless and set it up with Michael De Luca to produce via his De Luca Productions. 
    The story explores the origin of Dracula, weaving vampire mythology with the true history of Prince Vlad the Impaler, depicting Dracula as a flawed hero in a tragic love story set in a dark age of magic and war. 
    Alissa Phillips of De Luca Productions, who brought the project in, will serve as co-producer. Donna Langley, president of production, and Jeffrey Kirschenbaum will oversee the project. 
    Universal was home to the original 1931 DRACULA, starring Bela Lugosi and based on Bram Stoker's horror novel, published in 1897.
    Midnight Movies Entertainment will roll out on 1,500 screens with a 3-D update of the George A. Romero classic zombie movie NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD called NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD 3-D, in November.

   Bryce Dallas Howard, who takes on the role of Gwen Stacy in Sam Raimi's upcoming SPIDER-MAN 3, said that her character adds a new dynamic to Peter Parker's romantic life. "Gwen Stacy is a pretty famous comic-book character," Howard said. "She was one of Peter Parker's first loves. In this film, it's a love triangle between Mary Jane [Kirsten Dunst], Peter Parker [Tobey Maguire] and herself. She's young and kind of sexy, but I don't want to give away too much." 
    Howard said that she auditioned for the role in the third installment in the comic-book franchise before she landed the part last year. About working with director Raimi, she said: "In SM 3, it was really fun, because I was a part of this group, and all together we tell the story. Sam Raimi was there to guide us and inspire us and, of all the choices we offered him, to take the choices that were best for the story. It was a very empowering experience. It's a very, very dramatic film. The conflict is very high, and stakes are very high in this story." 
   The Spider-Man sequel will be Howard's highest-profile film to date, after making a mark in M. Night Shyamalan's THE VILLAGE and starring in his upcoming thriller LADY IN THE WATER. When asked if she is looking to be a movie star, the actress said, "I don't want for things that you can't control. I want to be the best actor that I can be. I want to be working in this business, so if that means being a movie star, fine. To me, being a movie star and celebrity is very different from being an actor." 

   Lionsgate is picking up the Cruise/Wagner-produced remake of the Hong Kong supernatural horror movie THE EYE out of turnaround from Paramount and is negotiating with Jessica Alba to star and French helmers David Moreau and Xavier Palud to direct. The movie will shoot this winter. 
   THE EYE is a thriller about a cornea transplant recipient who sees disturbing images in the mirror that send her on a quest to find out what happened to the eye's previous owner. The original was made in Hong Kong by Thai directing brothers Danny and Oxide Pang. 
   Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner persuaded Paramount to buy the remake rights in 2002 and got close to making it there with Renee Zellweger. When Zellweger dropped out, the project lost its momentum and the studio put it into turnaround. 
   News of the Lionsgate pickup comes as Cruise/Wagner's deal nears its expiration at Paramount, and speculation has the pair eyeing other studios. 
   Alba is in talks to make THE EYE her next picture after the FANTASTIC FOUR sequel. Moreau and Palud, who last directed the French thriller Ils, will make THE EYE their first U.S. picture.

    Looks like SHREK THE THIRD is shaping up to be more of a Saturday Night Live reunion than anything else. Hey, and its okay for SNL folks taking a chance on the big screen ... so long as they're funny. 
   Joining the third installment's all-star (minor league, not big league) cast are Maya Rudolph (Rapunzel), Amy Sedaris (Cinderella), Amy Poehler (Snow White) and Cheri Oteri (Sleeping Beauty). Supposedly, the women will form an "elite, ninja-like strike force of fairy tale princesses" to help stop Prince Charming from storming the city of Far, Far Away and seizing the throne.
   Joining the ladies are Ian McShane as Captain Hook, John Krasinski as Sir Lancelot and the always hilarious Eric Idle as Merlin the Magician. Also returning once again to the hit franchise are Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy and Antonio Banderas.       Oh, and how can we forget little Justin Timberlake, who will be voicing Artie, a young King Arthur. SHREK THE THIRD hits theaters on May 18, 2007.

   If you're even half a horror geek, then two things are absolutely certain:
1. You seriously cannot wait to see Neil Marshall's THE DESCENTt.
2. You are taking the day off of work to go see the movie when it comes out. 
   Fair enough. But here's something you might not mind knowing: If you live in a certain city, you can also see it with "extra bonus footage," which better NOT be something above and beyond what is already on the lovely, lovely Region 2 DVD of THE DESCENT. Find that city online at
THE DESCENT doesn't open until August 4th, but, thanks to Fangoria and Lionsgate, extremely interested parties can check it out on July 26th. With bonus footage. 

Movie Meanderings
by Jim Childs

Superman Returns 2006

 One of most recognizable icons on this planet in this century is the Superman symbol.  Everyone knows it. On this point alone the most current Superman franchise will raise millions.  SUPERMAN RETURNS, opened on June 28th with a running time of 2 hrs and 34 minutes.  Everyone should see this movie (at least once), some will see it more.
 For the generation X’ers it will be a cool experience, for those that have basked in the sunlight of “the Adventures of Superman” with George Reeves in the 50’s and the now ‘classic’ Superman with Christopher Reeves (no relation of course) in the 70’s, we may remain somewhat cool. We are deciding if it will stand up to the past.  As a fan of the tv shows and the movies, I was looking forward to the new Return.
 Now, I liked it a lot, don’t get me wrong, but unfortunately I just didn’t feel the ‘wow’ factor that I felt when watching Christopher Reeves.  SUPERMAN RETURNS is visually stunning as at the beginning you feel you are traveling thru outer space.  This coupled with the original John Williams music score and a recreation of the 70’s Superman credits really gets you.  As we get into the movie, the CGI is top notch and there are some good character choices.  Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor was a good choice and Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane is very sweet. 
  Now lets talk about Superman. It seems, Brandon Routh as Clark Kent/Superman has been turned into an eavesdropper with x-ray vision and little or no humanity.  He has lost the ‘innocent’ feel that Clark/Superman has had in the past.  Sure he saves the world…again, but why? Brandon does have Christopher Reeves playing Clark down pat…its an odd feeling.  At times he moves so robotically as Clark that you almost think it is Zombie Reeves. 
 The plot of the SUPERMAN RETURNS has Superman having gone on a 5 yr hiatus.  When he comes back the world is a darker place, things have changed. First of all, there is no laughing.  Lex used to laugh, Lois used to laugh, even Jimmy used to laugh. Now, it is dark. And I wonder if he notices that his costume colors are a bit off. A bit dark. 
 People have moved onward. Lex is out of jail and rich again.  He got it the old fashioned way…marrying a rich woman (thank you Noel Neill) and getting her to sign it all over to him.  So Lex like.  He is back into some real estate with some kryptonite thrown in.  Sounds familiar.  But no ‘Otisville’ to add some humor.  Lois has a child (just about five years old…wink, wink) and a long term love interest.  We find her very bitter at Superman for his leaving and disinterested in the return of Clark Kent. The plot twist – the world is threatened and billions will die. 
 Jimmy Olsen is just too sweet (grab my insulin) and Perry White is so cynical you could grate cheese on the sound of his voice.  Clark is the topper, in one of  the few times you see him as Clark, he has a beer with Jimmy Olsen who looks so young he should have his ID checked by the bartender…wait…the bartender is Jimmy Olsen.  I mean the 50’s Jimmy Olsen, actor Jack Larson.  Nice touch there!
 To summarize, the movie is a visual wonder. The CGI superb – it gives you a real roller coaster ride.  The shots of Superman flying are wonderous.  Fun even. Worth getting out to see it on the big screen. Even after this review, I will be going out to see it once more on the big screen.  It is SUPERMAN after all.  There were definitely some scenes to make you sit up in your seat and cheer.  The S on the chest is nothing to chuckle at. 
         Do try to get there early enough to see the trailer for “Hollywoodland”, it’s a movie coming out about the mysterious cause of death of George Reeves.  He is played by a very subdued looking Ben Affleck, and believe me, this trailer had a ‘wow’ factor. 

 Keep looking up at the stars, but don’t forget to pick up your feet.


July 21st     My Super Ex-Girlfirend 
Cast: Uma Thurman, Luke Wilson,  Anna Faris, Eddie Izzard
Premise: Everyone's had a painful parting of the ways with a romantic partner. We pick up the pieces and move on. But for one New York guy, it's not going to be so easy. When he breaks up with his girlfriend, he discovers his ex is actually the reluctant superhero, G-Girl. A scorned woman, she unleashes her super powers to humiliate and torment him.

July 21st        Lady in the Water 
Cast: Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard
Premise: Directed by M Night Shyamalan,  This is the story of a 
superintendent of an apartment complex in Philadelphia who discovers a sea 
nymph living in the building's swimming pool.

Aug 4th         Descent 
Cast: Shauna MacDonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder 
Premise: One year after a tragic accident, six girlfriends meet in a remote part of 
the Appalachians for their annual caving trip. Deep below the surface of the 
earth, disaster strikes when a rock falls and blocks their route back to the 
surface.  But there is something else lurking under the earth a race of 
monstrous humanoid creatures that are adapted perfectly to life in the dark

Aug 4th       Jet Li's - Fearless 
Cast:: Jet Li, Betty Sun, , Shido Nakamura, Collin Chou
Premise: nspired by the story of a real-life icon, an action-drama set 
during the late 19th century when China is shrouded under increasing 
internal turmoil and the imminent threat of foreign invasion. The biopic is 
based on the life of Chinese Martial Arts Legend, Huo Yuanjia 
(1869-1910)--the founder and spiritual guru of the Jin Wu Sports Federation

Aug 6th         Ghost Rider 
Cast: Nicolas Cage (Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider), Eva Mendes, Sam Elliott, Peter Fonda 
Premise:  his is the story of motorcycle stunt performer, Johnny Blaze, who agrees to become the host of a "spirit of vengeance" in exchange 
for the safety of his true love (Mendes), but the price he pays is to be 
cursed with the avenging spirit that takes its form at night as a demon with 
a flaming skull on a motorcycle of hellfire  Based on a comic

Aug 18th     Snakes on a Plane 
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Nathan Phillips, Rachel Blanchard, Julianna Margulies
Premise: A ruthless assassin unleashes a crate full of lethal snakes
aboard a packed passenger jet over the Pacific Ocean in order to eliminate a 
witness in protective custody. The rookie pilot and frightened passengers 
must band together to survive.

farewellsfarewellsfarewells Good bye farewellsfarewellsfarewells

Robert Donner, a character actor who specialized in playing eccentrics and oddball roles, has died. On Mork & Mindy, which aired from 1978 to 1982, Donner played Exidor who led an invisible cult called the Friends of Venus. He also had a long-running role as Yancy Tucker on The Waltons. He appeared in such other television shows as rawhide, I spy, the virginian, bonanza, kung fu, columbo, gunsmoke, matlock, mac gyver, alien nation and dharma & greg. His films included rio bravo, the man who shot liberty valance, el dorado, cool hand luke, vanishing point, chisum, high plains drifter, rio lobo and santee.
He was a founding member of Harvey Lembeck's comedy-improv group, the Crazy Quilt Comedy Company, which counted John Ritter, Penny Marshall and Robin Williams among its alums. He was 75. 

Tim Hildebrandt, who along with his twin brother Greg, drew some of the most influential works of fantasy and science fiction art of the later 20th Century, has died. 
Born in 1939, Tim and Greg worked together and separately, with many of their best known works, such as the original Star Wars Poster and the series of 1970's Tolkien calendars, coming out of their joint efforts. 
They have also produced advertising art, hundreds of children’s books, and the covers of numerous fantasy and science fiction novels. Together they have won the coveted Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators. In 1973, the Child Study Association chose their Giant Panda Book as a Children’s Books of the Year. Tim also won the Award of Merit at the Society of  Illustrators’ annual show for the cover illustration of The Children of Arabel in 1987.

Jim Baen, founder of a leading science-fiction publishing company who early on understood the potential for marketing the printed word on the Web, has died. He was 62. 
Baen started his career in publishing in 1972 at Ace Books, known for its science-fiction paperbacks. A year later he moved to Galaxy magazine and rose from managing editor to editor in chief. In 1980, he became editorial director of Tor Books. And when he launched his own company in 1984, Baen expanded the business in then untypical ways, using the Internet as a main tool.
Visitors to the website can connect to Baen's Bar, a chat room where he made contact with several science-fiction writers whose books he later published. He created Baen's Library, a link on his website where readers could download books electronically, some of them free. He also made new works available to paying website subscribers before the books were sold in stores.
"Jim Baen was a truly legendary figure in the world of science fiction and fantasy," Jack Romanos, president of Simon and Schuster, which distributes Baen Books, said in a statement. "Jim and his authors exerted a wide-ranging influence on the world of science fiction today."

Actress June Allyson, the perky blond with the husky voice who was one of Hollywood's most beloved stars in the 1940s and 1950s, has died. 
Born in the Bronx, N. Y. she rose from teenage chorus girl on Broadway to contract player for MGM. She began in Hollywood as a dancer and singer in short films. She later co-starred with Jimmy Stewart, Humphrey Bogart, Van Johnson and Dick Powell in a series of wifely and other supportive roles. Powell became her real-life husband in 1945; he died in 1963.
Petite at barely 5 foot 1 and weighing less than 100 pounds, she was everybody's sweetheart. Her simple, blond pageboy, Peter Pan collars and no-nonsense manner stamped her as the all-American girl next door, the woman millions of GIs wanted to come home to. She was consistently voted a top star by movie magazines and box office surveys. 
Among her more well-known movies were her breakthrough film, Two Girls and a Sailor, in which she co-starred with Johnson and Gloria DeHaven; the 1949 remake of Little Women, playing the tomboy Jo; and three movies with Stewart: The Stratton Story, The Glenn Miller Story and Strategic Air Command. Others included dime a dance, best foot forward, her highness and the bellboy, till clouds roll by, high barbaree, the three musketeers, and they only kill their masters.
“She was a joy to know,” said actress Ann Rutherford, who met Allyson at MGM in the 1940s, “She was a wonderful actress and just confronted her life with vast enthusiasm”. She was 88.

Barnard Hughes, who won a Tony Award for his starring role on Broadway as the cantankerous Irish father in Da and starred in the television series Doc, Mr. Merlin and The Cavanaughs, has died. He was 90.
He began acting on stage in New York in 1934 and was in the Broadway hits A Majority of One, Advise and Consent, Nobody Loves an Albatross, the Richard Burton revival of Hamlet, How Now, Dow Jones, Abelard and Heloise, The Good Doctor, Angels Fall and Prelude to a Kiss. He received an Emmy Award in 1978 for a guest appearance on Lou Grant.
He appeared in such films as the young doctors, hamlet, midnight cowboy, cold turkey, rage, the borrowers, the lost boys, doc hollywood and the cradle will rock.

Red Buttons, the impish former burlesque comic who became an early TV sensation and an Academy Award-winning character actor during a career that spanned more than seven decades, has died. 
A product of New York's Lower East Side, Buttons had already performed in Minsky's Burlesque and in Broadway plays and musicals by the time he became an overnight hit on television in 1952 with the launch of The Red Buttons Show on CBS. The Academy of Radio and Television Arts and Sciences named him Comedian of the Year in 1954. His role as the tragic Airman Joe Kelly, who marries his Japanese sweetheart despite a military policy forbidding interracial marriage in the 1957 film sayonara, earned him an Oscar and a Golden Globe for best supporting actor.
Buttons appeared in more than 30 movies, including imitation general, Hatari!, The Longest Day, Harlow, They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, The Poseidon Adventure, 18 Again! and It Could Happen to You as well as genre films five weeks in a balloon, the poseidon adventure, pete’s dragon, c.h.o.m.p.s. and the day the world ended. He was 87. 

Vincent Sherman, who was one of the last surviving studio-era contract directors, has died. 
An actor-turned-screenwriter, Sherman began his directing career at Warner Bros. in 1939 with the low-budget The Return of Dr. X, which is memorable as Humphrey Bogart's sole foray into the horror genre.
Working on pictures assigned by the studio, Sherman quickly established a reputation as a competent technician with a flair for melodrama. Among his credits are All Through the Night also starring Bogart, The Hard Way with Ida Lupino and Jack Carson, Mr. Skeffington starring Bette Davis and Claude Rains, The New Adventures of Don Juan starring Errol Flynn, Goodbye, My Fancy starring Joan Crawford, Lone Star with Clark Gable and Ava Gardner, An Affair in Trinidad with Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford,  Paul Newman in The Young Philadelphians and Richard Burton in Ice Palace. He was 99.


By John Ward

Two genres that rarely get discussed around the ol’ ICS campfire are two of my favorites:  comedies and westerns.  No problem there – our club was founded on the basis of a love for horror and sci-fi, after all.  But I remember when Betsy “Perry White” Childs enticed me three years ago to write this column with the promise that I could talk about anything I wanted, and dagnabit, this month I want to talk about funny stuff.  I’ll leave the westerns for another time.
 What qualifies as a truly memorable movie comedy?  My primary criteria would have to be any movie that makes me laugh out loud and often on first viewing, and still manages to make me laugh on repeat viewings.  It’s tough to laugh at any joke after you’ve heard the punchline once; just imagine trying to laugh again and again over a roughly 90-minute span, then try to laugh at a repeat performance, and you get the idea.  I think that any repeated chuckles would have to be humor born out of comfortable familiarity, which is perfectly okay, too.
 I can think of one very glaring example for the “repeat viewings” criteria – the first time I saw PORKY’S.  Here we had an example of the wrong movie in the right place at the right time.  I believe it was the spring or summer of 1981, and this movie rolled into the local cinema duplex without a whisper of fanfare.  A bunch of us got together after work one night to go to the movies – every one of us in our late teens or early twenties.  The only thing we had to go on was the poster, a sneaky shot of a horndog eyeballing a naked female leg in the shower – quality cinema at its finest.  I think we were just hoping for some gratuitous T n’ A.  We weren’t prepared for the tidal wave of lowdown sex humor that began with the opening shot – the hero of the movie saluting his “Stiffie,” predating THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN by nearly 25 years.
 Almost 90% of the humor in the film was associated with sex, and the packed house laughed like crazy.  It was one of those experiences that kept building and building, feeding on itself – we were laughing at moments that normally wouldn’t even draw a chuckle.  I can honestly say there were tears in my eyes from laughter.  The high point had to be the practical joke involving an angry pimp, lots of fake blood, and a hooker named Cherry Forever (of course).  When the pimp came crashing through the door wielding the machete, I nearly fell out of my seat.
 But here’s the thing – this was a one-time experience.  I watched the movie again, years later, on VHS, alone in my apartment, and guess what?
 Nothing.  Not even a titter (no pun intended).
 Certain movie experiences are born of the moment, and I am sure that the packed house contributed to my enjoyment of PORKY’S.  I wouldn’t dream of watching it again, unless I was with at least 20 other people who had never seen it.  There are films that I believe cannot be enjoyed as much as they could be in the presence of others; THE STING comes to mind.  So does RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.  Damned if PORKY’S doesn’t belong on that list, too.
 Comedies are like that.  There is nothing like the riotous jolt you get when you see a funny movie comedy for the first time with an enthusiastic audience.  That’s something you just can’t recreate in a home theater.  (Sorry, Mr. Wittig.)  But it usually means that repeated viewings, especially on video, will carry a slight twinge of been-there disappointment.  So it makes sense to me that the most memorable movie comedies are those films able to sustain the humor on repeat viewings, whether you’re alone, with a spouse, a couple of friends, or in a crowd.
 As preparation for this column, I went back to my personal list of 100 all-time favorite films and pulled out the comedies.  But there was a hitch; a number of films defied easy categorization.  These films might look like comedies, but they weren’t exactly what one would call gut-busters.  There were laughs, to be sure, but in most of these films there were also some hard truths, some sacrifices, even a tragedy or two.
 Take THE APARTMENT, for example – one of my all-time favorite films, directed by the great Billy Wilder, who only the year before had directed Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe in SOME LIKE IT HOT, one of the best-loved comedies ever made.  Wilder and Lemmon were working together again, along with a young, vibrant Shirley MacLaine.  It was the perfect recipe for a laughfest – except for the long scene midway through the film when MacLaine tries to kill herself in Lemmon’s apartment with sleeping pills, and Lemmon desperately tries to revive her.  There was nothing funny about that scene, and the last half of the film dealt with its aftermath.
 Or how about DR. STRANGELOVE?  In my book, this was Stanley Kubrick’s crowning achievement, probably the darkest satire ever on film.  There were more than a few laughs, most of them coming from Peter Sellers’ trifecta of performances.  But just how funny would a nuclear war be, anyway?  Kubrick had considered a monstrous pie fight in the “war room” to end his picture, one final commentary on the insanity of the situation.  If you look closely, you can see the pastries lined up on the buffet table in the background.  He ultimately decided to go with the final shot of the mushroom cloud, signaling Armageddon.  Nothing funny about that.
 So I decided to restrict myself to a discussion of the movies that made me laugh from beginning to end.  The true nature of comedy has always dictated something of a happy ending, or at the very least, the hero’s understanding of his mistakes.  But as you’ll see in my list of the 10 Biggest Gut-Busters Ever Made, the happy ending in a comedy often borders on anarchy.

10. MY FAVORITE YEAR (1982) 
 If I could revise my Top 100, this is the first comedy I would add.  I’m kicking myself for not remembering it before, but it’s the only one I don’t own in some video form.  I keep hoping that someone with a brain and a sense of humor will release it in a nice, extras-laden DVD package one day.  It’s a wonderfully warm, constantly funny memory story of the early days of TV, based partly on the real-life appearance of Errol Flynn on the old Sid Caesar show.  Peter O’Toole is marvelous as movie star Alan Swann, the Flynn clone, a drunkard who never met a drink he didn’t like or a stewardess he couldn’t bed down.  Swann comes to New York to appear on the King Kyser Comedy Cavalcade, and Joe Bologna was never better as Kyser, the Sid Caesar clone.  Mark Linn-Baker plays Benjy Stone, the show’s rookie writer and resident Swann fan, drafted to keep Swann sober for the week of rehearsals.  Linn-Baker and O’Toole develop a nice friendship, and there’s a great scene where Benjy takes Swann to Brooklyn for dinner with his Jewish family.  Favorite moment: O’Toole accidentally walks into the ladies’ room and is confronted by show seamstress Selma Diamond (the first NIGHT COURT bailiff).  When cranky Selma insists that the room is for ladies only, O’Toole calmly unzips and replies, “And so is this, mum, but every once in a while, I like to run a little water through it.”


 This was what I meant when I was talking about anarchy.  I saw it twice when it was first released, right at the beginning of my junior year of college, and the second viewing was far more enjoyable – a packed house of rowdy college students.  Believe it or not, this movie was also based partly on real-life memories, specifically the college days of National Lampoon writers Chris Miller and Doug Kenney, who had cameos in the film as frat brothers.  (Kenney played Stork, the mostly silent nerd who has one giant line, a surprisingly Southern “What the hail we s’posed to do, ya moron?”)  As in PORKY’S, the humor here was of the lowbrow sex variety, but done with much more wit and style (if that’s possible).  John Belushi, in his first starring role, reigned as Bluto, the perpetual college student.  He had the best line, after the Dean has lowered the boom on the Delta House:  “Seven years of college down the drain!  Might as well join the f$%&$ing Peace Corps!”  ANIMAL HOUSE was a gloriously rude look at a college scene long gone, brought alive by a superb ensemble cast.  Favorite moment:  John Belushi’s jaw dropping walk through the cafeteria line.  Now that was something you couldn’t fake with CGI.


 Anyone who has ever traveled around this country for any distance has to appreciate the situational humor of PLANES.  After making his mark as the “Brat Pack” director of the ‘80s, John Hughes went in a totally different direction here, putting ad exec Steve Martin through all kinds of hell, when all the guy wants to do is get home for Thanksgiving.  John Candy is Martin’s good-hearted guide through the “inferno” – Martin even hallucinates at one point that Candy is the devil himself, hurtling pell-mell down the interstate.  Granted, the film has an incredibly sentimental ending, but before you reach the schmaltz, there are all kinds of laughs.  Favorite moment:  Martin’s obscenity-laced tirade at the car rental counter after being dumped halfway across the airport parking lot without a rental.  This one scene got the film its R rating, although rental agent Edie McClurg, all sweetness and joy, manages to get in the last zinger.

7. TOOTSIE (1982)
 Sydney Pollack is not known for comedy, but the Oscar-winning director of OUT OF AFRICA sure got it right this time, with Dustin Hoffman giving one of the two or three greatest performances of his career as Michael Dorsey, a self-centered New York stage actor who will do just about anything to get a part – and proves it by going undercover as Dorothy Michaels, the take-no-prisoners ball-buster on Southwest General, a fictitious daytime soap.  Hoffman is funny as Dorsey, bullying his agent (played by Pollack himself) to get him a job.  But he’s even better as Michaels, trying to keep his job and stay sane with the uncredited help of his roommate, played by Bill Murray.  Murray has the best line when he catches Hoffman in an unwanted clinch with the soap’s star; the guy leaves, and Murray deadpans, “You slut.”  Favorite moment:  Hoffman reveals his “new” persona to agent Pollack in the Russian Tea Room.

6. TOY STORY (1995)
 This was the first jewel in the Pixar crown, and while computer animation has improved tremendously over the past decade, it’s the characters and the witty dialogue that keep TOY STORY at the top of the heap.  It’s possibly the finest assemblage of voiceovers ever: Tom Hanks as Woody the Cowboy, Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear, Don Rickles as Mr. Potatohead, John Ratzenberger as Ham the Piggy Bank, even R. Lee Ermey as the leader of the Green Army Men (who else?).  Buzz is the new toy on the block (or in the room, as it were) and he really shakes things up, to the point that jealous Woody tries to get rid of him.  There’s one funny line after another, and lots of sight gags.  Favorite moment:  Buzz is trapped in an arcade machine with dozens of little three-eyed Martian figures; when he asks to see their leader, they all point heavenward: “The claaaaaaw.”

5. SLAP SHOT (1977)
 I’ve gone on record before as choosing SLAP SHOT  as the greatest sports movie ever made, but it has something that movies like HOOSIERS and THE NATURAL don’t have: humor.  Lots and lots of it.  SLAP SHOT could give movies like PORKY’S a run for their money on the old raunch-o-meter.  It’s about pro hockey, after all, and director George Roy Hill went for gritty realism.  He got it, with room to spare.  Paul Newman is great as Reggie Dunlop, the player-coach of the Charlestown Chiefs, a woebegone minor league hockey team.  When he sniffs out the possibility that the team will fold, he figures his only shot to sell tickets is to turn his players into goons.  He starts by recruiting the notorious Hanson Brothers, a trio of nerds who give new meaning to the phrase “arrested development.”  Favorite moment:  the first on-ice appearances of the Hansons, who proceed to lay waste to the entire other team.  They even manage to knock out the organist with a well-aimed puck.

 I can’t imagine anyone who likes both comedies and old Universal monsterfests leaving this one off the list.  Fresh off his western satire BLAZING SADDLES and looking for another genre to lampoon, Brooks hit upon the classic black-and-white monster movies of the ‘30s.  His cast is first-rate:  Gene Wilder as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (“That’s Fronkensteen”), Madeline Kahn as his fiancée, Peter Boyle as the Monster, and a scene-stealing Marty Feldman as Igor the Hunchback.  Then there’s Cloris Leachman in full Gale Sondergaard mode, Teri Garr as the lab assistant, and Kenneth Mars channeling Lionel Atwill as the Inspector.  There’s not a false note in the entire film.  Good farcical satire is incredibly difficult to pull off, but Brooks does it with ease. 
Favorite moment:  Many folks choose the famous “Puttin’ on the Ritz” number, but I’ve always liked the scene with Boyle and Gene Hackman as the blind, klutzy beggar.  The look on Boyle’s face when Hackman smashes his mug in the toast is priceless.

 While YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN stays completely within its milieu, Mel Brooks’ earlier satire of westerns scores bonus points of hilarity for daring to break the rules of movie storytelling.  BLAZING SADDLES is very nearly comic perfection, with Cleavon Little as Bart, the first black sheriff of Rock Ridge, and Gene Wilder as his sidekick, the Waco Kid.  Harvey Korman plays their nemesid Hedley Lamarr, a scheming politico aiming to score big bucks by driving a railroad through the town.  He had the best line: “Drive me off this picture.”  BLAZING SADDLES was so popular in our college dorm that we used to quote whole sections of the screenplay around the dining hall table.  Which wasn’t great for picking up girls, I admit.  Favorite moment:  Can you say baked beans?  Favorite moment not involving flatulence: The big brawl slops over into Dom DeLuise’s gay Busby Berkeley number on the neighboring soundstage. 

2. THE ODD COUPLE (1968)
 Walter Matthau’s Oscar Madison gets my vote for the funniest single performance in movie history.  He’s just one half of Neil Simon’s mismatched pair of roommates; the other is Jack Lemmon as Felix Ungar, and the biggest change that Simon makes in transferring his Broadway smash to the screen is by opening it up, giving Lemmon’s character much more to do.  Matthau’s Oscar is a lovable slob sportswriter whose idea of a fun evening is to sit around the poker table with his buddies.  Lemmon’s Felix is a compulsive, hypochondriac neatfreak, the antithesis of Oscar.  Actually, you wonder how these guys were ever friends in the first place.  But after Matthau graciously allows Lemmon to stay with him after his wife throws him out, all bets are off.  Favorite moment:  the early scene around the poker table.  Simon does a masterful job of delineating character types with a few well-chosen lines of dialogue.

 Pure insanity, and the funniest movie ever made.  It’s woefully short, and it actually ends rather abruptly, but I suspect that’s the way the Pythons, those zany Brits, wanted it.  This is the Pythons’ take on the King Arthur legend, and there’s so much here that the film almost demands repeated viewings, just to pick up the jokes around the edges.  Each of the Pythons (John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Terry Gilliam) plays a half dozen different roles, so the movie winds up looking much more populated than it really is.  But that just adds to the sublime silliness of it all; this movie has many “favorite moments.”  The two I would pick first would be Arthur’s bloody battle with the Black Knight, seemingly impervious to pain (“It’s just a flesh wound.  Come on back and fight, you pansy!”), and the scene in which the knights attempt to cross the Bridge of Death.  Only Arthur manages to fool the bridgekeeper.  Then there’s the Killer Rabbit Scene, and the scene in which the effeminate Prince is accidentally rescued after Galahad kills most of the castle population, and the scene with Lancelot and the Ladies of Castle Anthrax, and…oh, what the hell.  By now, you’ve figured out that the whole movie is a favorite moment for me!

 Sometime soon, I’m going to have to take a stab at westerns.  Somehow, I think that’s going to be a tougher sell with the ICS crowd.  Unless I count BILLY THE KID VS. DRACULA, of course.  Or maybe JESSE JAMES MEETS FRANKENSTEIN’S DAUGHTER…
 Nahhh.  I’ve already done comedies.


July 21st     My Super Ex-Girlfirend 

July 21st        Lady in the Water 


Aug 4th         Descent 

Aug 4th       Jet Li's - Fearless 

Aug 6th         Ghost Rider 

Aug 18th      Snakes on a Plane 


August 26 (*) Is it ICS-Worthy? Part 2 – CANCELLED – New topic TBD!  Stay Tuned!
September 30 Werewolf Howls at Midnight, films presented by Betsy Childs
October 28 (*) Greg Mank Returns -- Lionel Atwill and Murder at the Zoo
  Halloween Potluck Dinner All-Nighter
November 25 Jackie Chan Part 2 presented by Andrew Kent
December 30 (*) Yankee Swap
  Revenge Movies presented by Regina Vallerani