Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Archive for July, 2011

Terror Hotties

More ‘Scream Queen’ action, check out Terror Hotties’

Inception – Poster Art Desktop BG

I had quite a few nice responses to the Kubrick ‘A Clockwork Orange’ desktop BG from last Wednesday, so as it was Christopher Nolan’s birthday yesterday I thought I’d do  new desktop BG for ‘Inception’. Same deal, fan poster art and as Nolan is such a huge Kubrick fan I did it in a similar style. Click on the image for a full sized version.

Christopher Nolan

Christopher Jonathan James Nolan (born July 30, 1970) is an English director, screenwriter and producer. He is known for writing and directing such critically acclaimed films as ‘Memento’ (2000), ‘The Prestige’ (2006), ‘Inception’ (2010), and rebooting the Batman franchise, as well as directing the Hillary Seitz written ‘Insomnia’ (2002).

Nolan was born in London, the son of an English father who worked as an advertising copywriter and an American mother who was a flight attendant. He has a younger brother, Jonathan, with whom Nolan often collaborates on film scripts.  Nolan began making films at the age of seven using his father’s super 8mm camera and an assortment of male-action figures. He graduated to making films involving real people, and his super 8mm surreal short ‘tarantella’ was shown on PBS’ ‘image union’ in 1989. Chris studied English Literature at University College London while starting to make 16mm films at the college film society. His short film ‘larceny’ was shown at the Cambridge Film Festival in 1996, and his other 16mm shorts include a three- minute surreal film called ‘doodlebug’.

Nolan directed his first feature film, ‘Following’, in 1998. The film depicts a writer who is obsessed with following random people. Scenes are shown out of chronological order. Nolan made the film on a budget of only $6,000. He shot it on weekends, over the course of a year, working with friends he had met at the University College London film society. It began to receive notice after premiering at the 1998 San Francisco Film Festival, and was eventually distributed on a limited basis by Zeitgeist in 1999.

As a result of the film’s success, Newmarket Films optioned the script for Nolan’s next film, Memento. ‘Memento’ (2000) is a critically acclaimed cult film, which was nominated for both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for best screenplay. The movie is based on the short story written by Christopher’s brother, Jonathan. It follows widower Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) who suffers a head injury and is unable to form new memories. In keeping with this inability to know what has just happened before, the film’s narrative structure runs in reverse (with an interlude between each pair of major “flashback” sequences).

In 2002, Nolan directed ‘Insomnia’, an American remake of the 1997 Norwegian film of the same name, albeit with major changes in both the plot and the nature of the main character. The plot of Insomnia revolves around two Los Angeles homicide detectives that are dispatched to a small town in Alaska, where the sun does not set, to investigate the methodical murder of a local teenager.

In 2003, Nolan, together with Blade screenwriter David S. Goyer, convinced Warner Bros. to take the risk of entrusting the first of a revived Batman film series to a relatively unknown director. ‘Batman Begins’ was released on June 15, 2005 and became a box office hit, ranking as the eighth highest grossing film of 2005 domestically and the ninth highest grossing worldwide. It received a very positive critical and public reception, with many ranking it as superior to Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman. Strengths of the movie included its dark and intelligent storyline, strong emphasis on character, and the predominant themes of fear and duality. Batman Begins was a major winner at the 32nd annual Saturn Awards. The film won for Best Fantasy Film, Best Actor for Christian Bale and Best Writing for Nolan and Goyer. The film was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography for Nolan’s long time collaborator Wally Pfister.

Nolan followed up with ‘The Prestige’ released on October 20, 2006, about two rival magicians in the 19th century. It reunites Nolan with Batman Begins stars Christian Bale and Michael Caine as well as starring Hugh Jackman. Co-scripted by his brother, Jonathan and co-produced with his wife, Emma Thomas, the movie had a mostly positive response from critics and made over $109 million worldwide.

Nolan returned to Batman with ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008), reuniting the original cast and featuring Heath Ledger in an Academy Award winning  performance as Batman’s arch-enemy, The Joker. Nolan and his brother Jonathan wrote a script.The film was released  to overwhelming critical acclaim with some critics calling it the greatest comic-book based movie ever made. It also had enormous box office success, setting the record for the highest-grossing weekend opening in the U.S. with over $158 million and becoming the 3rd highest grossing film of all time domestically, and the sixth-highest worldwide at the time.

After the release of Nolan’s successful 2008 film The Dark Knight, Warner Bros. contracted Nolan to a seven-figure deal to direct the science fiction film ‘Inception’. The film was based on a script written by Nolan and has been described as being “a contemporary sci-fi actioner set within the architecture of the mind”. Inception was released on July 16, 2010 to largely positive reviews and became a box office hit, and in my opinion was the best film from 2010.

Nolan has written a script for a re-booted Superman movie which he will produce after hiring Zack Snyder to direct. However the big news is the forthcoming final instalment of his Batman series, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ which is due later this year.

Scream Queens

There are a slew of new young actresses who are carving out careers in the horror genre. But are any of them capable of carrying off the title of ‘Scream Queen’… probably not but it’s worth a look… even just as an excuse to post a few hot images.

If we go back further and look to include the likes of Fay Wray from ‘King Kong’, Hitchcock leading ladies Janet Leigh and Tippi Hedren, and the Hammer girls then this article will meander. So for the sake of sanity I’ll stick to the period from the late 70’s to present day. Oh, rules: they have to be primarily well known for their work in the horror genre, so that excludes actresses such as Naomi Watts (The Ring 1 & 2) and Michelle Pfeiffer (Wolf and What LiesBeneath) as they are more well known for other fare.  It was difficult to exclude Sissy Spacek from ‘Carrie’ (she also appeared in The Ring 2 and An American Haunting) but is an Oscar winner for more serious movies. It was also a difficult decision to leave out Mia Farrow as her turn in ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ was exceptional and although she is creepy in the remake of ‘The Omen’ she’s not as good as Billie Whitelaw in the original… so she’s out.

I also left out actresses known only for one series of movies like Sigourney Weaver in the ‘Alien’ series, especially as only the first movie in that series could classify as horror. I used the same rationale for excluding Courtney Cox and Neve Campbell, as in horror they’re basically only known for the ‘Scream’ series. Does anyone really remember Campbell for ‘The Craft’..? Awful.

Nancy Allen featured in ‘Carrie’, ‘Dressed To Kill’, ‘Blow Out’ and ‘Robocop’. P.J. Soles also in ‘Carrie’, ‘Halloween 2’ and recently a cameo in ‘The Devils Rejects’. Adrienne King and Heather Langenkamp set the standard for scream queens taking a stand and fighting back in ‘Friday the 13th’ and ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’; however they’re only really known for their roles in those movies.

According to Lloyd Kaufman, shameless self-promoting head of Troma Studios, a scream queen “is more than just crying and having ketchup thrown on you”.

So who should be on the list? Obviously Jamie Lee Curtis, if you have to ask then you really haven’t been watching any of the late 70’s/early 80’s classic slasher flicks. Even if she’d only ever appeared in the original ‘Halloween’ (1978), that movie alone would have been enough to secure her place on the list. Add to that classic the likes of ‘The Fog’, ‘Prom Night’ and the Halloween sequels ‘Halloween 2’, ‘Halloween H20’ and ‘Resurrection’, and it’s obvious that Jamie Lee Curtis deserves her place on the list… at the top.

Linnea Quiqley is an obvious choice; she is best known for her role in ‘Return of the Living Dead’ (1985) which featured her fantastic nude romp on a gravestone. She has been in so many horror flicks, too numerous to mention; most notably ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’, ‘Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers’, ‘Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master’ and both the original and remake of ‘Night of the Demons’.

Dee Wallace featured in ‘The Hills Have Eyes’ (1977), ‘The Howling’ (1981), ‘Cujo’ (1983), ‘Critters’ (1986), and numerous others, as well as the re-imagining of ‘Halloween’ and the forthcoming ‘Lords of Salem’. Debbie Rochon starred in dozens of Troma horror films throughout the 90’s and was even voted by Draculina magazine as “Scream Queen of the Decade”, she has to be on the list.

The current crop is headed by Danielle Harris who has featured in four ‘Halloween’ movies, ‘Hatchet 2’, ‘Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet’, ‘Stakeland’ and unfortunately ‘Left for Dead’. Then there’s Sarah Michelle Gellar from ‘Buffy’, ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’, ‘Scream 2’, ‘The Grudge’ and sequel. Shawnee Smith of the ‘Saw’ series, ‘Grudge 3’ and the ’30 Days of Night’ TV series. MelissaGeorge from the remake of ‘The Amityville Horror’, ’30 Days of Night’ and ‘Triangle’. Amber Heard, excellent as the lead in‘All the Boys Love Mandy Lane’, ‘The Ward’ and ‘And Soon The Darkness’. Odette Yustman from ‘The Unborn’ and ‘And Soon The Darkness’. Sheri Moon Zombie of ‘House of 1000 Corpses’, ‘The Devils Rejects’, ‘Toolbox Murders’ and the remakes of ‘Halloween’ and the sequel. Danielle Panabaker for ‘The Ward’ and remakes of ‘Friday the 13th’, ‘The Crazies’ and ‘Pirahna 3D’. Scout Taylor-Compton for the ‘Halloween’ remakes, however she made the awful ‘April fool’s Day’. Christina Ricci for ‘Sleepy Hollow’, ‘The Gathering’, ‘Cursed’ and ‘After.Life’ (I know those last two are awful but at least they’re in the genre). Ali Larter from ‘House on Haunted Hill’ and the ‘Final Destination’ and ‘Resident Evil’ series.

Of the current crop who I haven’t considered, Jennifer Love Hewitt, as the ‘I know What You Did Last Summer’ movies are it as far as horror is concerned, she’s known more for the execrable Ghost Whisperer, and the woeful Paris Hilton, because, well, she’s rubbish at everything.

So, who makes the top 10 list…? 1. Jamie Lee Curtis. 2. Linnea Quiqley. 3. Debbie Rochon. 4. Dee Wallace. 5. Shawnee Smith. 6. Amber Heard. 7. Sheri Moon Zombie. 8. Danielle Harris. 9. Melissa George. 10. Sarah Michelle Gellar. And Kate Beckinsale… because it’s my list and I think she’s hot!

The Walking Dead – Season 2 Full Trailer

Rise of the Planet of the Apes – Free web comic

Check out the ‘prequel’ webcomic to the forthcoming movie ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’

WEB COMIC INFO: The RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES free online prelude tells the story of two apes, Alpha and Bright Eyes, living happily in the wild when  poachers destroy their way of life and sell them into captivity. Their terrifying journey will lead them to the Gen-Sys laboratories where mysterious drug experiments bring even greater horrors. But could the newly-tested 112 drug bring the key to the captured apes’ liberation, or will it bring even further tragedy? Find out in this free all-original online prelude to what’s sure to be the sci-fi hit of the summer, RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES!

A Clockwork Orange – Desktop Background

Staying with yesterday’s Kubrick theme, here’s my ‘A Clockwork Orange’ desktop background. It features some rather nice fan art for Kubrick’s controversial masterpiece. Click on the image to get the full size version.