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- 05/06/13--13:00: _More Morton: Interv...
- 05/06/13--14:00: _Spiderbaby's Terror...
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- 05/06/13--16:00: _'Street Trash' Blu-...
- 05/06/13--17:00: _AIP Rises From the ...
- 05/07/13--08:00: _TV Recap: 'Bates Mo...
- 05/07/13--09:00: _Avantasia: 'The Mys...
- 05/07/13--10:00: _Exclusive: We Chat ...
- 05/07/13--10:28: _R.I.P. Ray Harryhausen
- 05/07/13--12:00: _Scream Factory Reve...
- 05/07/13--13:00: _Disney Considering ...
- 05/07/13--14:00: _New Gallery 1988 Sh...
- 05/07/13--15:00: _Fantasia Reveals Al...
- 05/07/13--16:00: _The Unseen - 'Liqui...
- 05/07/13--17:00: _Gift Guide: Vampire...
- 05/08/13--08:00: _TV Recap: 'Grimm' E...
- 05/08/13--09:00: _Three Genre Vets Jo...
- 05/08/13--10:00: _Sodom: 'Epitome of ...
- 05/08/13--11:00: _New 'Dexter' Teaser...
- 05/08/13--12:00: _As I Lay Dying Fron...
- 05/06/13--14:00: Spiderbaby's Terror Tapes: 'Popcorn' With Jill Schoelen
- 05/06/13--15:00: DIY Monster Makers: 'Creations Unearthed'
- 05/06/13--16:00: 'Street Trash' Blu-ray Premiere Date Pushed Back
- Two Audio Commentaries Featuring Producer Roy Frumkes and Director James Muro
- The Meltdown Memoirs– Feature Length Documentary on the History and Making of Street Trash
- The Original Street Trash 16mm Short Film That Inspired the Movie
- The Original Street Trash Promotional Teaser
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Jane Arakawa Video Interview and Deleted Scenes
- Create Your Own Bottle of “Tenafly Viper” Wine with the Enclosed Label Sticker
- 05/06/13--17:00: AIP Rises From the Dead With Roger Corman Remakes
- 05/07/13--08:00: TV Recap: 'Bates Motel' Episode 108 - 'A Boy and His Dog'
- 05/07/13--09:00: Avantasia: 'The Mystery of Time'– CD Review
- 05/07/13--10:00: Exclusive: We Chat With 'Kiss of the Damned' Director Xan Cassavetes
- 05/07/13--10:28: R.I.P. Ray Harryhausen
- 05/07/13--12:00: Scream Factory Reveals 'Day of the Dead' Blu-ray Artwork
- 05/07/13--13:00: Disney Considering 'Haunted Mansion' Themed Hotel Room
- 05/07/13--14:00: New Gallery 1988 Show Spotlights Whimsical Horror Portraits
- 05/07/13--15:00: Fantasia Reveals All-Star Slate of Frontieres 2013 Film Projects
- 05/07/13--16:00: The Unseen - 'Liquid Sky'
- 05/07/13--17:00: Gift Guide: Vampire Hunter's Companion
- 05/08/13--08:00: TV Recap: 'Grimm' Episode 220 - 'Kiss of the Muse'
- 05/08/13--09:00: Three Genre Vets Join 'Town That Dreaded Sundown' Remake
- 05/08/13--10:00: Sodom: 'Epitome of Torture'– CD Review
- 05/08/13--11:00: New 'Dexter' Teaser - 'Masterpiece'
- 05/08/13--12:00: As I Lay Dying Frontman Arrested Over Murder Plot
Recently on FEARnet, my fellow writer Tyler Doupe listed the top ten out-of-print horror films that fans go nuts over. Mark Herrier’s Popcorn (1991) is at the top of the list – and no surprises there – fans and distribution companies have been trying to get this film re-released for a few years now. There have been Kickstarter campaigns, social media campaigns – you name it – fans have tried it.
Popcorn is an interesting little film that came up against a few major hurdles during production; director Alan Ormsby was fired and replaced by Mark Herrier, and lead actress Amy O’Neill was also fired, and replaced by Jill Schoelen. Popcorn has reached such cult status that a VHS tape will run you up to $80+ on Amazon, Ebay, and other collector sites. Released on VHS in 1991 by Sony Pictures Home E, Popcorn also had a DVD release in 2001 through ELITE Entertainment. Do I have a copy of the VHS? Of course!
Maggie (Jill Schoelen), a student at USC film school, is plagued by recurring dreams that feature a terrifying man evoking Satan and other cultish horrors. At school, the film department’s funding has just been cut, but the department head comes up with an idea: holding a festival of old gimmick horror films in a soon-to-be-demolished theatre to raise funds. A film memorabilia expert shows them a film called The Possessor, which features occult sacrifices being conducted by Lanyard Gates, the guru of a film cult in the 1960s. Maggie is startled when the film shows things that appear in her dreams. As the festival begins, a masked madman starts killing off Maggie’s classmates and those closest to her. It also appears as though the killer wants one thing – Maggie. The story is a tad contrived – it is set up to suggest that Lanyard Gates is the killer but it turns out that the killer is someone else who fits into the contorted Lanyard Gates schema. The script does offer a few amusing lines. One student protests that there is more social relevance in one Police Academy film than in all of Ingmar Bergman’s!
The masterminds behind Popcorn were none other than Bob Clark and Alan Ormsby, who worked together on the frighteningly fabulous Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things (1972), Black Christmas (1974) and Dead of Night (1974). However, they both took their names off of Popcorn because of all the controversy surrounding the making of the film. Ormsby wrote the script and used the name Tod Hackett. Although Bob Clark was on set everyday, he decided to be uncredited. It isn’t known why their names were removed, or why Ormsby was fired.
Mark Herrier was the replacement director, and Popcorn was his first feature. Popcorn comes with a great affection for the lost pleasure of attending a movie at the theater, and it even screens old refreshment and snack ads. Popcorn may have been more successful if it were released today – with such heightened nostalgic aspects, the film would have proven to be popular amongst the sequel-loving horror fans today. In particular, Popcorn has affection for the old gimmick films of the 1950s. Many of the gimmicks used in the film – the mosquito harnessed to fly across the theatre; insurance policies and warnings about dying of fright; electric buzzers on the seats; and odors pumped into the theatre are all gimmicks that William Castle used in the 1950s. Popcorn also challenged its audience with self-reflective postmodern sensibilities in away that wasn’t really experimented with until Wes Craven’s Scream.
FEARnet had the pleasure of speaking with the star of Popcorn, the lovely Jill Schoelen about the production and how she ended up on set, in the starring role, in Jamaica with only a few hours notice.
Popcorn was a film that was promoted as a cult classic from the very beginning. How did you become part of that production? I know that three weeks into the shoot you replaced Amy O’Neill. Why were you brought in at the last minute to take over the role of Maggie?
Well, I actually I read for the part earlier. I went in and read for the part and I did not get the job. I was just finishing up another movie and I got a phone call about Popcorn, and I thought, “Oh weird. Is that that movie that I read for ages ago?” I was told that they had to let go of the lead actress and they also made a change in director half way into the shooting of the film. I literally hopped on a plane and went out there with no notice. I don’t why know they let go of Amy, no idea. I was told – and I don’t know if this is true – but Alan Ormsby originally wanted me and Bob Clark wanted Amy. They fought over that apparently, and eventually they let go of Amy, and then they let Alan go as well. Of course, then Mark Herrier was brought in to direct the film, and he knew Bob from the Porky’s films. So that’s what happened. I always found it odd, and it was strange to be working, at first, with the person (Bob) that didn’t want to hire me [laughs] but he was so sweet.
Popcorn was shot in Jamaica – which seems really unusual to me. Was it for you as well at the time?
I literally got up and left for Jamaica. Actually, my first scene when I arrived on the set was the scene where you first meet my character and I’m sleeping in the bed having a nightmare. I don’t remember exactly, but it was a scene like that. It was my first day on the job, I got there so late at night and then I had wardrobe fittings at 4am and I had to be on set for 7am. I remember they were lighting the scene, I was lying in the bed, and I just went OUT! I fell asleep! The director grabbed my toe to wake me up!
It was a bit awkward too because a lot of the dialogue had to be looped. It was also tricky for me because the other actors had already shot several of their scenes with Amy, so I had to shoot scenes without them. Their reactions were based on what Amy had done – because they shot several scenes with her and kept the footage of the other actors. I had to come in and replace her completely, and redo all of those shots!
Even after all that, we ended up reshooting audio later on in Toronto. The sound that was recorded on the set was virtually unusable. I spent ten or twelve days in Toronto working on the sound for that film, doing pick up shots and that sort of thing.
But yes, it was really hard – one day I was shopping in Los Angeles, and dancing, and being a young girl and then an hour later, I was on an airplane in Jamaica. I think the reason why we were shooting there was probably because it was cheaper. I know very little about why we were shooting there.
Alan Ormsby has had an interesting career.
Yeah, I have no idea why he was fired. I had heard rumors about him and Bob Clark, and Alan took his name off the film. He wrote under a pseudo name. He wrote the screenplay for Popcorn. Now when I think about the film, talking to you about it, it is strange. The woman I am today would have asked way more questions, but at the time it was just so hit-and-run. They were desperate to have me get out there and play the role of Maggie. It was very much like, “What do we have to do to get you here today?!” I will say though, the people on set, the Jamaicans that were working on the movie were such big movie fans and they were so happy and excited to have us in town filming. They don’t shoot too many films there, so they were really excited and really friendly.
What was your working relationship like with the new director, Mark Herrier?
Mark was great. I loved him. I feel like Bob directed for a few days as well, if I’m not mistaken. I was there just before Mark. Bob Clark was right there and he had his hand in everything.
Do you have fond memories of Bob Clark, the uncredited producer on the film?
I have a lovely picture of the two of us with our arms around each other, and he was so great. Considering all of the issues that took place on the film, Bob Clark was wonderful to me. I know that the film must have gone way over budget. It was a small horror movie without any big name stars, and they really had to dig deep to pay for it all. Financially, the film was a disaster. On the set though, I was the type of actress that would get to set, do my best work, and then I’d go back to the hotel. I felt like I was always recovering, and trying to catch up with everything. There wasn’t a lot of downtime on that shoot, but I do remember that I enjoyed Bob Clark so much. He was as sweet as can be, and he was so involved.
What was it like working with Dee Wallace?
I was such a huge Dee fan – I still am, so getting to work with her was so exciting. She’s a wonderful actress and I was very excited. The movie is interesting, but it’s not Oscar winning dialogue [laughs] so I’d love to do a heavy piece with Dee someday, because she has such great acting chops, but she was wonderful. She gives 100% plus on every movie she does. I can’t say enough wonderful and positive things about Dee Wallace.
Any behind-the-scenes secrets that you can tell us about being on the set of Popcorn?
Just the whole production was fascinating for us as actors. We were shooting in Kingston, which was a rough city. It was dangerous. And interesting. For example, you’d go out into the city and there were large city buildings and goats running around! Most of the actors spent three months there shooting – I was there a much shorter time, of course. I love Jamaica though. I fell in love there, actually! I was with that man for three years. This was after Popcorn though, years after. I went back after the film.
You also have the distinct honor of being one of the few actresses to tackle the role of Christine Day in The Phantom of the Opera. What was that like, working with Robert Englund?
So great! Robert and I got along so well, we worked really well together. I’ve just done a couple of conventions, and Robert was there – and he actually signed his book to me – which makes me so happy – he signed the inside cover, “To my favorite leading lady!” I was so excited. I’m a huge fan of his; he’s just such a wonderful actor. I really think he’s underrated – he’s both blessed and cursed by Nightmare on Elm Street.
Your character goes through so much in that film! What was it like playing the role of Christine?
It was lovely to get the opportunity to play Christine Day and I did try my best. I didn’t try to play it as a stereotypical scream queen. I never wanted to be that kind of actress. I tried to play her for real, and I did my best – I really did! I was a bit limited of course, because they turned it into a horror movie, but I loved the experience of that movie.
Did you expect The Phantom Of The Opera to be that gory and horror-cliché?
Yeah, that film took a total left hand turn and went down that gore aspect. I mean, I understand why the film had a hard time finding an audience. It was too beautiful for most horror fans, and too gore filled for non-horror fans. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed with that movie. This is just my personal opinion, but I felt that a financial choice was made based on the Nightmare series and how those films went so gore and horror – and I think they tried to capitalize on that with Phantom. It was decided that the movie had to be that way to sell the film, to have a Freddy-Phantom. I think the film could have been sold on its own merits. The score was beautiful, the costumes were beautiful, the hair and make up, the set pieces – it was all high level. My costumes were so real, down to my underwear – the corsets, everything. I wore authentic period pieces, I had to have an assistant dress and undress me. It was so authentic – the whole nine yards. But then came the gore. I didn’t understand it. I think that had the movie been made five years before or five years later, it might not have been necessary to do that to the film. The 80s wasn’t a great time for these types of horror films. I think Popcorn suffered the same fate.
You’re also fantastic in When A Stranger Calls Back. The first part of that movie is very intense, it really scared me when I watched it for the first time.
I loved that movie. I’m rarely asked about it because I don’t really look like myself in that movie! Fans will come up to me and tell me how bad I looked in that film! It’s very funny. I loved working on the film, I remember reading the script and I felt like – I knew it was for me. I knew I wanted to do it and that it was right up my alley. I felt the same way about The Stepfather. I knew I could do the role and nail it. I loved the original film, and it was wonderful to be part of the remake, and you’re right – the first twenty minutes are fantastic, and I got to work with such great actors. It was such an honor; it was the real deal for me.
I understand you’re a singer as well? How can fans and FEARnet readers out there find your music?
Yes! I’ve always been a singer. I’ve recorded one record, a very personal record based on growing up – my best friend’s parents were jazz greats – iconic jazz people. I lost my best friend to cancer ten years ago and the entire record is based on the music of her parents. Its called Kelly Smile and its available everywhere. Fans should have no trouble finding it – it’s everywhere. I’m looking forward to recording my next album; I’m in the process of putting that together. That should be out within a year or so, so I will keep you posted!
Back in the 1950s, the film industry went through some major changes. The studio system (in which the major studios had directors, actors, and writers under contract and matched them up for films) was dying, and the studios had lost ownership of most theater chains due to anti-trust laws, which meant theaters had more freedom in what they could screen. This gave rise to the independent studios, who would hire no-name directors and actors on a per-project basis, could churn out low-budget flicks with sensational topics that could turn a bigger profit.
American International Pictures (AIP) was one of the biggest independent studios of its time, with over 500 films produced and/or distributed by the company. AIP produced Roger Corman's earliest films. The company specialized in "teeny-bopper" films: juvenile crime, horror, and sci-fi tales. Throughout the years, AIP was bought and merged into a number of companies, with MGM currently owning the majority of AIP's films.
Lou Arkoff, son of AIP founder Samuel Z. Arkoff, held on to rights to a handful of his dad's films, and has joined with writer/producer Jeff Katz and former agent Hal Sadoff to remake 10 of Arkoff's 25 films.
Included in these remakes are Corman classics Viking Women and the Sea Serpents, Teenage Cave Man, The Undead, and Day the World Ended. The other films are: Cool & the Crazy, Girls in Prison, She-Creature, War of the Colossal Beast, Runaway Daughters and The Brain Eaters. The 10 films will all be shot back-to-back, and the intention is that these films (mostly creature-features, a few juvenile delinquent films) will take place in the "same universe." Hollywood Reporter compares it to the way Marvel sets up its superheroes in individual films, then brings them together in The Avengers. I'm not really sure how that is going to work out.
In a statement, Arkoff said: "The AIP spirit was all about innovation and giving new young talent a place to create. We are now using that independent spirit and our library of classic titles to create something brand-new for the modern media model, with a coordinated social effort to accelerate interest in these properties. Our goal is to engage young audiences and drive the spirit of the times with the same excitement that fueled these titles decades ago.”
Bates Motel Episode 108
“A Boy and His Dog”
Written By: Bill Balas
Directed By: Ed Bianchi
Original Airdate: 6 May 2013
In This Episode...
A coughing spell sends Emma running to the bathroom. While in the stall, a trio of “mean girls” comes in, talking about how pathetic it is that Norman hangs all over Bradley. “Doesn’t he realize she won’t ever sleep with him?” Emma storms out and defends Norman’s honor by telling the girls that they did sleep together. Word gets back to Bradley, who confronts Norman in the hall. He is hurt and confused about why she doesn’t want people to know about them, but he keeps that big dopey smile on his face until she leaves. He rushes from the school, chased by Miss Watson, who tries to get him to come back inside so he doesn’t get cited. This upsets Norman, and he jerks away from Miss Watson violently.
Norma decides she wants the empty seat on the town planning board so she can object to the location of the new freeway, and goes to Sheriff Romero to get his support. Romero is icy to her, and sternly tells her that they are not friends; they have no “deeper” connection, and he doesn’t want to hear another word about political favors. Scarcely over that slap in the face, Norman’s principal calls Norma down to the school. He and Miss Watson tell Norma about her son’s odd behavior earlier. Norman is suspended for three days, and Miss Watson wants Norman to see the school shrink. Norma balks at this, but agrees to take him to a private therapist. And she does. But at the meeting, Norma finishes all her son’s answers to the therapist’s questions. The therapist is concerned about this, and asks Norma to allow Norman to see him alone next week. She does not like this idea, and the shrink suggests she have her own sessions. She is too controlling, he says, and this is often because you feel out of control of your own life. Norma denies this flatly.
Throughout the episode, Norma had become increasingly wary of Jake Abernathy. He always seemed to be staring at her. He asked her to come in and clean the room while he watched - and initially tried to prevent her from leaving. He questioned her about her relationship with Zach Shelby. Eventually she decides to follow him one night. He goes to the docks and checks around on a boat (Keith’s boat, I assume). He doesn’t seem to find what he is looking for, but he knows Norma is following him and he surprises her. She plays dumb, but he wants what she is “hiding” from him. She has no idea what he is talking about, and taunts her with his knowledge of her and Shelby’s relationship. To Jake, this proves that she knew what Shelby was up to, and wants a secret item. I have to assume it is Jiao’s diary. He suggests that he is at the top of whatever disgusting ladder Keith and Shelby were part of.
After the therapist suggests Norma feels out of control, she decides to take control. She storms to room #9, throws Jake’s money back in his face and tells him to get out. He suggests she “dial it down before I get really annoyed.” Norma shows no fear until Jake mentions that if she was dating Shelby, she had to have known what he was up to. Norma’s fear and rage turn ugly, and she gives him five minutes to leave or else she will call the police. “You want to play? Let’s play.” Norma is relieved to watch Jake pack his car and leave the motel a short while later.
Dylan and Remo head out to California to pick up the “trimmers” - the workers who prep the raw marijuana plants for use. Along the way, the guys stop at a bar. Remo can’t hold his liquor and the men brawl. This seems to clear up any ill will Remo has for Dylan. He has been working for the company for 23 years, and was given his shot to move up the ranks, but was too unpredictable and couldn’t cut it. He also reveals that Gil is not the “big boss;” he will only tell Dylan about him when necessary. The guys pick up the trimmers - eight hippies. Remo remembers one of them as a douche from last year, but Dylan is under orders to deliver all the trimmers. Eight hippies in a van is never a good sign, and sure enough, douchebag hippie starts trouble, playing his guitar and driving Remo crazy. As retaliation, douchebag hippie tries to unionize his fellow hippies and complain about them being way past lunch. Dylan has had enough. He makes Remo pull over, throws open the back doors to the van, and tells douchebag hippie to get out. Douchebag apologizes (kind of) and promises to keep quiet. Dylan pulls a gun on him and tells him again to get out of the van. He makes the same offer to anyone who wants to play guitar and complain about lunch. No one takes the offer. Douchebag gets out of the van, and they leave him there. Remo has a newfound respect for Dylan.
Back home, Dylan brings his van full o’ hippies to his mom’s motel. Norma is only too happy to rent seven rooms to Dylan’s company. She is sincerely thankful and offers to take him to dinner. Dylan accepts, and Norma rushes home to change. Once in her bedroom, she flips on the lights - and discovers Deputy Shelby’s rotting corpse laying in her bed.
Dig It or Bury It?
Tonight’s episode seemed unusually sedate. Norma wasn’t particularly smothering; Norman wasn’t particularly mental. I think this was just one of those “middle” episodes that carries us through to the season finale. I liked the end though. It was pleasantly gruesome and was a a nice nod to Psycho.
I am a little disappointed, because it seems that Norman and Bradley really did have sex. I still feel like there is something not right about their relationship
An Ode to Psycho
We see how Norman became interested in taxidermy. He brings Juno to Emma’s dad, Will, to have her stuffed and mounted. Norman shows a keen interest in the hobby and Will offers to teach Norman how to do it. Norman says of Juno, “It seems dishonorable to just put her in the ground.” Could have been saying the same thing about Mother.
Norma finally comes to her senses and decides she wants to leave White Pine Bay. Of course, by now, Norman doesn’t want to leave.
Xan Cassavetes is from a long line of Hollywood elite. Her father, John Cassavetes, was a writer, director, and actor (he was the male lead in Rosemary’s Baby); her mother, Gena Rowlands, is a two-time Oscar nominee; her brother Nick is an actor and director. And while Xan has worked on many of her family’s projects, Kiss of the Damned marks her feature narrative directorial debut. Owing much to the Eurosleaze traditions of Jess Franco and Jean Rollin, Kiss of the Damned is the tale of demure French vampire Djuna; Paolo, the human who she is irresistibly attracted to; and Mimi, Djuna’s unpredictable sister who threatens to ruin it all.
We sat down with Xan to talk to her about Kiss of the Damned, her love of films, and why this isn’t really a “horror” movie.
Where did the idea for Kiss of the Damned come from?
The story came from me being taken on a little tour of that house, where Kiss of the Damned was shot. A big white house in Connecticut. Supposedly, the owner of the house wanted to shoot a horror film there, and I was one of the people invited to take a look and see if I had any ideas. I did have ideas. It seemed very unnatural - even though it’s a beautiful house, juxtaposed against this nature setting it felt kind of sinister and remote and isolated. The people didn’t really live in that house, so it felt like a transitional house - a house, not a home. In this way, I thought of a lonely vampiress who is in this sort of purgatory of this time and place and location. That was how I thought about.
It clearly has a 1970s Euro-sleaze feel to it. Was that by design or just a happy accident?
I’ve always been really interested in European films: horror films, sleaze films, high-brow films. I’m a big fan of Jean Rollin and Bernado Bertolucci. I do love those female-centric movies like Vampyros Lesbos that both objectify a woman’s beauty and don’t apologize for it, but also expand on that, to give them a deeper, more epic presence. It just felt very natural to this particular story.
This is your first narrative feature. Did it present any problems or difficulties that you weren’t expecting?
Problems, no. Difficulties, yes - but difficulties aren’t necessarily problems. They can be opportunities. It was one of those films that came together very quickly. There was almost no preproduction - like three weeks - and there were no rehearsals. We shot in 25 days, then it came time to edit the movie and that was difficult.
I was editing in New York, and at that point I was saying “Yes! Yes!” to everything - except the stuff that really mattered to me - to get it done. One of those things I said yes to was editing in New York. But I have two kids who live in L.A. and there came a point where I just called “Uncle.” I couldn’t do it anymore. So I came back to L.A. and I started working with this 23-year-old kid who had never edited a movie - and I’ve never edited a movie - so together we took on this movie. It was difficult and really, really fun, but it took a little longer. Also, because of the genre and fantasy nature of the project, we had to - we wanted to - work intensely and creatively with sound design and music. All of that took time, but it was the most fulfilling part. It was the hardest, too. There were times when we thought [the movie] sucked, and I thought I would be the biggest embarrassment to my family name. Like all things like that, the obsession and interest outweigh the fear, and you go back in there and say, “Dammit, we are going to make this great.” And you go in and wrestle it to submission. Of course, it ends up wrestling you into submission.
Was “bringing embarrassment to your family name” a big concern for you?
No. Only at a certain midpoint where the movie was so bad... it had never occurred to me before that to care. But at that point I was like, “What am I going to do?” Of course, I was like, “Get ahold of yourself, woman! You know what to do, just don’t be a coward. Go in there and do it.”
Someone making movies or doing anything creative should never feel comfortable with themselves or with any form of acceptance. It’s healthy.
Kiss of the Damned has vampires so it is automatically put into that horror category, but it doesn’t really feel like an out-and-out horror film. It feels more like an erotic thriller. Was that your intention?
Honestly, I didn’t even know this was a horror film until Magnet picked it up and catered it to the horror community. But looking at it... my brain and my mentality are a dark enough match, so even though it’s not filled with straight horror, and rapes and torture, what is dark about it is more psychological. There are moments of blood. You want to take it the distance when it is supposed to go the distance. I made peace with it. Now I have seen a lot of horror films and I always love to learn about different cinema. People who love [horror] movies love movies, the way I love movies, and that gives us everything in common. My mind is definitely as dark as anyone’s, I’m just not taking the same steps.
It’s dark, but it is also beautiful.
Look at Suspiria - and I’m not comparing this to Suspiria - but the reason it is so unsettling is because it is so beautiful. There is no ugliness without beauty, and there is no darkness without light. So I guess it goes together [laughs].
Stop-motion and special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen died today in London. He was 93.
Harryhausen was first entranced by stop-motion after watching Willis O'Brien's creations in 1933's King Kong. He dabbled in home movies before going on to create model animation for sci-fi films over the next 46 years. Harryhausen was particularly known for creating monsters, dinosaurs, apes, and other creatures that actually interacted with the actors of the films. His first feature was Mighty Joe Young in 1946, and he went on to do the special effects for films like The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, It Came From Beneath the Sea, One Billion Years B.C., and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. One of his most famous scenes was in Jason and the Argonauts, in which Harryhausen created seven living skeletons that fight with human actors.
Over the years, Harryhausen has received a number of awards, including a special Oscar and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Countless modern filmmakers - from Steven Spielberg to Tim Burton to James Cameron to Rick Baker - cite Ray Harryhausen as an influence.
Set in the neon grime of 1980’s New York City, Liquid Sky focuses on the new wave/punk performance art movement complete with copious amounts of sex and drug use. By today’s standards, I feel like this title may be classified more as sci-fi, but many 80s video stores lumped this into horror, and that is the vein in which I and many cult enthusiasts first viewed it. Just don’t expect any gory gut-bursting action; this one is more weird and shocking than blood-soaked.
Amidst a sea of shiny latex and heroin we find Margaret, a bi-sexual alternative model trying to build her career. She is often confronted by snarky modeling rival Jimmy who is played by the same actress as Margaret, just in drag. (This gets really weird later in the film when Jimmy and Margaret have sex.) Margaret lives in a small apartment with her girlfriend Adrien, a foul-mouthed heroin dealer. Attracted by the heroin usage and possibly the ridiculous amount of neon, a small alien space craft takes up residence atop the couple’s roof. A German scientist who has been tracking the craft explains that the aliens inside are addicted to a chemical produced in the human brain at the point of orgasm. Noticing that Margaret seems to have a constant flow of sex partners, the aliens start killing all her sex-buddies to harvest this chemical. Margaret quickly takes notices that all of her sex partners are dying and becomes convinced she is the cause.
Sound bizarre? Trust me - the alien/sex/drug concept is the most normal thing about this flick. Submerged deep in the oddball NYC performance art culture, Liquid Sky makes Warhol, Yoko Ono and Klaus Nomi look like mainstream sell-outs. The film opens with a seeming endless musical number called “Me and My Rhythm Box” preformed by Adrien (who horror fans will recognize as Alice from Alice, Sweet, Alice). Though the song is spoken-word over synth music, it somehow manages to be off-pitch. Yet, it is fantastic! Scored by the director, the piercing synth sounds continue throughout the movie, often turning into a blaring cacophony to accompany the plastic and neon on-screen.
Drugs play a prominent role in the movie, so much so that at times the film feels like a commentary of the NYC drug culture, though the message seems to have gotten lost in all the absurdity. There is even a lengthy diatribe on the benefits of heroin use. Additionally, the absurd and awkward final scenes of Liquid Sky feature much of the cast snorting lines of cocaine, causing me to question if the white powder vanishing up their noses was real, or if I should even bother wondering.
In between all the sex, drugs, and debauchery, the filmmaker inserted shots of the Empire State Building which look strangely phallic but by the end looks more like a giant hypodermic needle, further fueling the opiate derived theme. I will applaud the film for being one of the few media depictions out there to accurately portray a New York City apartment. Whereas the TV show Friends left much of the world thinking that NY dwellings featured luxuries like closets and more than one room, Liquid Sky shows the flats that most of us know well- a single room and a poorly lit mugger-hiding stairwell.
Though Liquid Sky was made for just $500,000 (most of which seemed to go towards the neon paint budget), it garnered a $1.7 million return within the first few months of theatrical runs. The film had also long been touted as an influential piece of art, often cited by modern day directors as a core inspiration. Liquid Sky does occasional theatrical screenings including 2010 showings in both NYC and LA.. The movie was released to DVD in 2000 by MTI Home Video. The limited numbers and brevity of the release did not give this quirky little flick the exposure it deserves. DVD copies now sell on Amazon and eBay from $50 to $100. Even a used VHS copy will cost around $30. This one is not on Netflix and will never come to your local Redbox. Though pricy and hard to find, this crude little rarity is worth the quest to witness the hypnotic androgynous neon lunacy.
Take a page from Buffy. Just because you are out hunting vampires doesn't mean you can't look fabulous. This vampire hunter's companion is tooled out of genuine leather and includes a 10" wooden stake and small vials (you supply the holy water.) When you are done with your slaying adventure, a notebook and pencil fit inside the pouch so you can make notes and sketch the demon you just killed. Or, if things get hairy, write out your will.
Grimm Episode 220
“Kiss of the Muse”
Written By: Sean Calder
Directed By: Tawnia McKiernan
Original Airdate: 7 May 2013
In This Episode...
A shooting at a bookstore leaves an author dead, and a Wesen possessively trying to nab a girl. The girl is Chloe; the Wesen is ex-boyfriend Anton; the dead is current boyfriend Evan. Chloe claims that Anton has been stalking her ever since they broke up. She is a little too grateful to Nick for pulling him off her; she kisses his hand, even though Anton got away. Anton is an artist, and a visit to his loft reveals he is obsessed with Chloe. Dozens and dozens of paintings of Chloe crowd his loft, and Nick is captivated by the art. The only painting that is not of Chloe is one of Evan, dead.
Nick has double-booked himself that night. Monroe is making them veggie steaks, but Juliette also invites Nick over for dinner. He is surprised, and agrees. But after work, Nick goes to “check on” Chloe. The attraction between the two is palpable, something which Chloe is used to. She delights in telling Nick that, while she can’t explain it, men are always drawn to her, and it is nothing she has control over. She kisses him teasingly, but Nick wants more. She reveals herself to be Wesen, and realizes that Nick is Grimm, and she is scared. He moves in for a deeper kiss, assuring her it is okay, but is interrupted by a phone call from Monroe. Juliette had called him to calm her nerves about dining with Nick that night, which is how Monroe knew that Nick would not be joining him for dinner. Nick had forgotten about dinner, and rushes over to her house. Juliette is nervous, afraid that Nick is no longer in love with her, but the words tumble forward - and land on deaf ears. Nick is preoccupied with thoughts of Chloe, visions of Chloe, Chloe’s voice in his head. He can’t even look at Juliette; instead he makes up an excuse and leaves.
Back home, Monroe asks Nick about their evening. Nick not only doesn’t want to talk about it, he is testy and fights with Monroe, encouraging him to get his own life so he can butt out of his. Monroe is surprised, and Nick leaves. Monroe, Juliette, and Hank are all flummoxed by Nick’s new, horrible demeanor.
Hank catches up with Nick at a bar. He barely notices his partner; he is too involved in sketching Chloe in Wesen form. A drunk guy down the bar takes an interest in his drawing, which aggravates Nick. Drunk Guy won’t stay away, so Nick sucker punches him. Hank breaks up the fight and calms down Drunk Guy. Nick disappears. Hank takes the sketch to Monroe and Rosalee, who take it to the trailer for identification. This is Rosalee’s first time in the trailer, and she is enamored with it. They identify the Wesen, a musai - yes, like a muse. Rosalee cannot find a cure, but suggests that maybe true love can break the obsessive spell.
Nick shows up at work in the morning, wearing the same clothes and describing the previous night as a “blur.” A call about graffiti comes in, and Wu encourages Renard to come out with Hank and Nick. In a parking lot, using gallons and gallons of stolen house paint, Anton had painted a massive picture of Chloe, the kind that you can only take in from above. Nick bolts. Wu takes off after him while Hank fills in Renard. Rosalee’s only suggestion is to keep Nick and Chloe apart - he will get much worse if he is with her.
Nick, of course, goes to Chloe’s house. An officer has been sitting guard outside her house until they could find Anton. Hank alerts the officer, who goes in after Nick. Nick is inside, making out heavily with Chloe. She pulls away to alert him that Anton is there. Nick finds him and beats the hell out of him. The fight excites Chloe, but when Nick “wins” and goes to claim his “prize,” Chloe informs him that she won’t be his until Nick kills Anton. So Nick sets about beating Anton to death. The cops all flood the house and pull the men apart. Anton is arrested; Renard has to physically restrain Nick. Everyone goes back to the station.
Anton is in lockup downstairs, while Renard and Hank interrogate Chloe. She again plays dumb and says she has no idea how to stop it. An officer tells Nick that Anton has been booked and he heads downstairs to finish the job. Renard and Hank come out of the interrogation to see Nick is gone. Avengers assemble! Hank, Renard, Wu, Rosalee, Juliette, and Monroe (not necessarily in that order) flood into the jail, where Nick has his gun raised at Anton. Renard has no choice but to draw his own gun and beg Nick to drop his - he can’t protect him from this. Juliette rushes forward and begs Nick to look at her. It takes some convincing, but he finally looks into her eyes - and the old Nick returns. He drops his gun and slumps against Juliette, having virtually no memory of the last few days.
Dig It or Bury It?
I was surprised that I enjoyed this episode. After all, it was essentially the Juliette/Renard storyline, but with a sappier ending (only true love has a shot at breaking the spell). I guess I have become a Grimm fangirl.
Obsession has become a major theme in Grimm. Hank was obsessed with Adalind; Juliette and Renard; now Nick and Chloe. Interesting....
...Musai. Essentially a muse, the musai are blue and sparkly with pointy, elfin ears. They emit a sort of narcotic from their lips that causes madness and murder out of pure obsession. According to some of the Wesen lore, a musai got between friends and painters Gauguin and Van Gogh, and drove Van Gogh to cutting off his ear.
Anton’s story is never delved into, but he is some kind of sea otter Wesen.
Zombies. Need I say more?
Three horror vets join Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's remake of the 1976 slasher film The Town That Dreaded Sundown. The film is based on the true story of a serial killer that stalked a small Texas town in 1946. At least five people were killed and the perpetrator was never caught. Addison Timlin (Derailed, Zero Hour) has already been cast as the headliner. Joining her are Veronica Cartwright, Gary Cole, and Joshua Leonard.
Cartwright will play Timlin's grandmother, who raises her after her parents are killed in a car accident. In a career spanning over 50 years, Cartwright has had many roles in genre films, including The Birds, Alien, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Candyman: Farewell to Flesh.
Cole will play a deputy who is chasing the hooded killer. Cole is probably best known for his role in Office Space, but to me, he will always be Lucas Buck from American Gothic.
Finally, Leonard will play another deputy, this one tasked with protecting Timlin and Cartwright. His feature debut came in 1999's The Blair Witch Project; he has since appeared in Hatchet, Bitter Feast, and Shark Night 3D.
Shooting begins this month in Louisiana, with a projected 2014 premiere.
Source: Hollywood Reporter
In this chilling new teaser for the eighth and final season of Dexter, Dexter is creating his final masterpiece. But amongst the images of his past victims, his newest "masterpiece" is a bloody red mess.
Dexter premieres June 30th on Showtime