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Billie Whitelaw R.I.P.

The-Omen_Mrs-Baylock_Billie-WhitelawAcclaimed actress Billie Whitelaw, famous for her roles in films including The Omen, has died at the age of 82.

During her career, she won a British Academy Award for best newcomer for her role in Hell is a City. There were also Baftas for her performance opposite Albert Finney in Charlie Bubbles and for her role as the mother of Hayley Mills in the psychological thriller, Twisted Nerve in 1969.

Whitelaw won much acclaim, and an international audience, for her portrayal of Mrs Baylock, the guardian of the demon child Damien in The Omen. Many critics felt she gave the best performance in the film and it won her an Evening Standard Award for Best Actress.

She also won praise for her role as the domineering mother of the Kray twins in the 1990 film, The Krays and more recently appeared in comedy Hot Fuzz.

The Coventry-born star, who was made a CBE in 1991, worked in close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, who described her as a perfect actress. But in her autobiography, Billie Whitelaw . . . Who He? she said it was her work with Beckett that generated most interest. Without their association, she wrote, “nobody would have been remotely interested in my autobiography.”

Omen-Bille-Whitelaw-Gregory-Peck-1976By this time she had given up theatre performances, partly because of Beckett’s death and also because of her failure to conquer her stage fright. “Death’s not one of those things that frighten the life out of me,” she once said. “Getting up on stage with the curtain going up frightens me more.”

She did continue to act in films, she appeared in more than 50 during her career, and on television. Billie Whitelaw was the most natural of performers, who made a speciality of playing independent, and sometimes dominant women.

But she didn’t take her profession that seriously seeing it, as she put it, something which paid the parking tickets, which she habitually collected. “I’m not really interested in acting anymore,” she said in a 1996 interview. “It’s not the centre of my life. I always thought it was a bit of a flibbertigibbety occupation.”

Tintin Meets H. P. Lovecraft

Tintin_HP-Lovecraft_1Graphic designer Muzski has created an incredibly fun series of art that takes Hergé’s classic comic character Tintin and throws him into the terrifyingly awesome universe of H.P. Lovecraft.

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Jack Davis Retires

Jack-Davis_Creepy_Tales-From-The-CryptJack Davis, the legendary Mad magazine illustrator and movie poster artist, is finally hanging up his pencils. Davis has conducted a short interview with Wired:

It’s not that the iconic 90-year-old cartoonist can’t draw anymore—he just can’t meet his own standards. “I’m not satisfied with the work,” Davis says by phone from his rural Georgia home. “I can still draw, but I just can’t draw like I used to.”

Davis has probably spent more time in America’s living rooms than anyone. Madwas a million-seller when Davis was on the mag, and when he was doing TV Guidecovers in the 1970s, the publication boasted a circulation of over 20 million. Yet, Davis is largely unaware of his massive cultural significance. “I never really thought about that, but I guess I’m very blessed,” he says. “I’ve been very lucky.”

But his luck paled in comparison to his skill. Davis started his career in 1936, when he was only 12; he won $1 as part of a national art contest and saw his work published in Tip Top Comics #9. While still a teen, his cartoons were published inThe Yellow Jacket, a humor magazine at Georgia Tech University, where his uncle was a professor. After a stint in the military, Davis caught on with EC Comics in 1950, where he was part of the artistic wave that revolutionized comics with titles like Tales from the Crypt, Two-Fisted Tales, and Mad.

Whereas Norman Rockwell’s images represented Americana of the 1940s and ’50s with his Boy Scouts and pigtailed girls, Davis’ work epitomized the ’60s and ’70s—the smirking, sardonic face of the emerging counterculture. By the time the Beats and the Hippies (who came of age reading Davis cartoons) took over, he was doing movie posters for Woody Allen’s Bananas, The Long Goodbye, American Graffiti, and others.

jack_davis_ae_cover11“Jack Davis is probably the most versatile artist ever to work the worlds of comic books, illustration, or movie poster art,” Scott Dunbier, a former art dealer and current director of special projects at comic book publisher IDW. “He can work in a humorous style or deadly serious style, historical or modern, anything. His work transcends that of almost any other cartoonist.”

IDW recently published Jack Davis’ EC Stories Artist’s Edition, reprinting some of Davis’ classic stories taken from the original art. You can view the book HERE. Other pieces from the archives may emerge, but Davis is done producing new work. “I’m just gonna sit on the porch and watch the river go by,” Davis says. “And maybe go fishing once in a while.”

Until Dawn – 7 Minute Preview

In this full playthrough from the 2014 PlayStation Experience demo, Sam, played by Hayden Panettiere, is relaxing in the bath when she’s interrupted by an intruder. When she investigates, her friends are nowhere to be seen.

This play-through represents only one of the many different paths possible. Each split-second decision you make as you play could put you on a new path. Any single decision may not be fatal, but your actions could have deadly consequences for your character later in the story.

Growing Up With I Spit On Your Grave

Day of the Woman a.k.a. I Spit On Your Grave was inspired by Meir Zarchi’s experience with a victim of rape. After stumbling upon a teenage girl in a park in the aftermath of a violent assault, Zarchi began to imagine how a woman in this situation might fantasize about revenge. Moreover, he wanted to depict to the audience the real horrors of rape.

I Spit On Your Grave follows Jennifer Hills, (played by Keaton), a magazine writer from New York City, as she retires to a secluded cabin in the woods to write her first novel. While there she is brutally assaulted, raped and left for dead. But Jennifer is alive. Emotionally destroyed, she no longer writes her novel; instead she finds herself choreographing a horrific revenge scheme to inflict punishment on her assailants.

Upon its theatrical release in 1980, the movie was described by the late prominent film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert as “Easily the most offensive film” they had ever seen, yet hailed by others as a cinematic masterpiece. The debate continued as the movie was pulled from theaters in the United States, then branded a “video nasty” in the United Kingdom and placed on the Director of Public Prosecutions’ list of prosecutable films. Still, 36 years later the film continues to attract both praise and negative criticism and has even spawned a remake in 2010 and sequel in 2013.

Now in production, the I Spit On Your Grave 1978 Documentary will reveal some insight into the madness and the man behind it all. Created by Terry Zarchi (son of Meir Zarchi, who also played a small role in the film), this project will deliver both a personal and informative view that only someone who grew up with this movie can provide.

36 years after the making of the controversial 1978 cult classic I Spit On Your Grave, actress Camille Keaton will appear on screen with director Meir Zarchi in an upcoming documentary, “Growing up with I Spit On Your Grave has inspired me to tell the story behind the story.” said Zarchi. “This is perhaps the most misunderstood film of all time and Camille Keaton’s involvement will shed some light on the many questions still surrounding the film.”

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