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

Archive for November, 2011

Ridley Scott – Part 2

Taking a step back from lavish sci-fi and fantasy, Scott made the under-rated, romantic police drama, ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’, starring Tom Berenger, Lorraine Bracco and Mimi Rogers in 1987, and the stylishly violent ‘Black Rain’, a 1989 cop drama starring Michael Douglas and Andy Garcia, shot partially in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan. Both achieved mild success at the box office.

Initially perceived as a miss-match, Scott then made ‘Thelma & Louise’ (1991) starring Genna Davis as Thelma, and Susan Sarandon as Louise. The movie was successful, and revived Scott’s reputation. However, his next project—an independent movie, ‘1492: Conquest of Paradise’ —was less so. It is a visually striking film telling the story of Christopher Columbus. However, it was a box office failure, and Scott did not release another film for four years.

In 1995, with his brother Tony, Scott formed their own film and television production company, Scott Free Productions in Los Angeles. All his subsequent feature films, starting with ‘White Squall’ and ‘G. I. Jane’,starring then-superstar, Demi Moore, were produced under the Scott Free banner. Also in 1995 the two brothers purchased controlling interest in Shepperton Studios, which later merged with Pinewood Studios. Scott and his brother have produced the CBS series ‘Numb3rs’ (2005–2010), a crime drama about a genius mathematician who helps the FBI solve crimes, and critical and commercial hit, ‘The Good Wife’ (2009–), a legal drama concerning an attorney continuing her law practice while coping with her husband, a former state attorney trying to rebuild his political career after a major scandal.

The huge success of Scott’s film ‘Gladiator’ (2000) has been credited with reviving the nearly defunct “sword and sandal” historical genre. The film was a massive commercial success and earned Best Actor Awards around the globe for leading man Russell Crowe. 

Scott then turned to ‘Hannibal’, the sequel to Jonathan Demme’s ‘The Silence of the Lambs’. In 2001, Scott released the war film, ‘Black Hawk Down’, which further established his position as a critically and financially successful film maker. The film won two Oscars.

In 2003 Scott directed ‘Matchstick Men’, starring Nicholas Cage, Sam Rockwell and Alison Lohman. It received mostly positive reviews and performed moderately at the box office. In 2005 he made the modestly successful ‘Kingdom of Heaven’, a movie about the Crusades which consciously sought to connect history to current events. The Moroccan government sent the Moroccan cavalry as extras in the epic battle scenes.

Unhappy with the theatrical version of the film (which he blamed on paying too much attention to the opinions of preview audiences), Scott supervised a director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven, which was released on DVD in 2006. In an interview to promote the latter, when asked if he was against previewing in general, Scott stated: “It depends who’s in the driving seat. If you’ve got a lunatic doing my job, then you need to preview. But a good director should be experienced enough to judge what he thinks is the correct version to go out into the cinema.”

Scott teamed up again with Gladiator star Russell Crowe, directing the movie ‘A Good Year’, based on the best-selling book. The film was released on 10 November 2006, soon after, Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp and Subsidiary studio 20th Century Fox (who backed the film) dismissed A Good Year as “a flop” at a shareholders’ meeting only a few days after the film’s release.

Scott’s next directorial work was on gritty ‘American Gangster’, the story of real-life Harlem drug kingpin Frank Lucas. He was the third director to attempt the project after Antoine Fuqua and Terry George. Denzel Washington and Benicio del Toro had been cast in the initial Steven Zallian scripted project under the working title Tru Blu, both actors having been paid salaries of $20 m and $15 m respectively without doing any production on the film. Following George’s departure, Scott took over the project in early 2006. He had Zaillian rewrite the script to focus on the dynamic between Frank Lucas and Richie Roberts. Washington signed back on to the project as Lucas, and Crowe signed on to play Roberts. The film finally premiered in November 2007 to positive reviews and good box office.

In late 2008 Scott released the Middle-East set espionage thriller, ‘Body of Lies’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Crowe once again which opened to luke-warm ticket-sales and mixed reviews. Scott directed an adaptation of ‘Robin Hood’, which starred Russell Crowe in the title role and Cate Blanchett as Maid Marian, and Max von Sydow and Mark Strong in key roles. The movie was released on 13 May 2010 in Australia and 14 May 2010 in America to mixed reviews.

Scott’s next film is ‘Prometheus‘, touted as a semi-prequel to his breakthrough hit, Alien. The internet is buzzing with theories as to exactly what the movie is about. It is due for release in July 2012.

Scott has been nominated for three Academy Awards for Directing, as well as Golden Globe and Emmy Awards. He was knighted in the 2003 New Year honours.


Ridley Scott – Part 1

Sir Ridley Scott (born 30 November 1937) is an English film director and producer. His most famous films include ‘Alien’ (1979), ‘Blade Runner’ (1982), ‘Thelma & Louise’ (1991), ‘G. I. Jane’ (1997), ‘Gladiator’ (2000), ‘Black Hawk Down’ (2001), ‘Hannibal’ (2001), ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ (2005), ‘American Gangster’ (2007), ‘Body of Lies’ (2008), and ‘Robin Hood’ (2010).

Scott was born in South Shields, Tyne and Wear, England, the son of Elizabeth and Colonel Francis Percy Scott. He was raised in an Army family, meaning that for most of his early life, his father — an officer in the Royal Engineers — was absent.

He went on to study at the Royal College of Art where he contributed to the college magazine, ARK, and helped to establish its film department. For his final show, he made a black and white short film, ‘Boy and Bicycle’, starring his younger brother, Tony Scott, and his father. The film’s main visual elements would become features of Scott’s later work; it was issued on the ‘Extras’ section of The Duellists DVD. After graduation in 1963, he secured a job as a trainee set designer with the BBC, leading to work on the popular television police series ‘Z-Cars’ and the science fiction series ‘Out of the Unknown’. Scott was an admirer of Stanley Kubrick early in his development as a director.

He was assigned to design the second Doctor Who serial, ‘The Daleks’, which would have entailed realising the famous alien creatures. Working with Alan Parker, Hugh Hudson and Hugh Johnson at RSA during the 1970s, Scott made television commercials in the UK including most notably the popular 1974 Hovis advert, “Bike Round” (New World Symphony), which was filmed in Shaftesbury, Dorset.

‘The Duellists’ (1977) was Ridley Scott’s first feature film. It was produced in Europe and won a Best Debut Film medal at the Cannes Film Festival but made limited commercial impact in the US. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, it featured two French Hussar officers, D’Hubert and Feraud (played by Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel). Their quarrel over an initially minor incident turns into a bitter, long-drawn out feud over the following fifteen years, interwoven with the larger conflict that provides its backdrop. The film was lauded for its historically authentic portrayal of Napoleonic uniforms and military conduct (often compared to the Stanley Kubrick film, ‘Barry Lyndon’), as well as its accurate early-19th-century fencing techniques recreated by fight choreographer William Hobbs. 

Scott’s box office disappointment with The Duellists was compounded by the success received by Alan Parker with American-backed films — Scott admitted he was “ill for a week” with envy. Scott had originally planned to next adapt a version of Tristan and Iseult, but after seeing ‘Star Wars’, he became convinced of the potential of large scale, effects-driven films. He therefore accepted the job of directing ‘Alien’, the ground-breaking 1979 horror/science-fiction film that would give him international recognition.

While Scott would not direct the three Alien sequels, the female action hero Ellen Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver), introduced in the first film, would become a cinematic icon. Scott was involved in the 2003 restoration and re-release of the film including media interviews for its promotion. At this time Scott indicated that he had been in discussions to make the fifth and final film in the Alien franchise. However, in a 2006 interview, the director remarked that he had been unhappy about Alien: The Director’s Cut, feeling that the original was “pretty flawless” and that the additions were merely a marketing tool.

After a year working on the film adaptation of ‘Dune’, and following the sudden death of his brother Frank, Scott signed to direct the film version of Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Renamed ‘Blade Runner’, starring Harrison Ford and featuring an acclaimed soundtrack by Vangelis, the movie was a disappointment in theatres in 1982 and was pulled shortly thereafter. Scott’s notes were used by Warner Brothers to create a rushed Director’s Cut in 1991 which removed the voiceovers and modified the ending. Scott personally supervised a digital restoration of Blade Runner and approved the Final Cut. This version was released in Los Angeles, New York, and Toronto cinemas on 5 October 2007, and as an elaborate DVD release on 18 December 2007. Today, Blade Runner is often ranked by critics as one of the most important science fiction films of the 20th century and is usually discussed along with William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer as initiating the cyberpunk genre. Scott regards Blade Runner as his “most complete and personal film”.

In 1985 Scott directed ‘Legend’, a fantasy film. Having not tackled the fairy tale genre, Scott decided to create a “once upon a time” film set in a world of fairies, princesses, and goblins. Scott cast Tom Cruise as the film’s hero, Jack, Mia Sara as Princess Lily, and Tim Curry as the Satan-horned Lord of Darkness. A series of problems with both principal photography, including the destruction of the forest set by fire, and post-production interference (including heavy editing and substitution of Jerry Goldsmith’s original score with a score by Tangerine Dream) hampered the film’s release. Legend received scathing reviews and was a box-office failure, however the movie found a cult following on VHS, largely due to Curry’s incredible demon.


C. S. Lewis

Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 –  22 November 1963), commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as “Jack”, was a British novelist, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian and Christian apologist from Belfast, Ireland. He is known for his fictional work, especially ‘The Screwtape Letters’, ‘The Space Trilogy’ and most famously, ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’.

The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven fantasy novels for children which are considered classics of children’s literature. Based around the adventures of a family of four young siblings during the second World War who live a fantasy life in a parallel world inhabited by fantastical, mythological creatures. Written between 1949 and 1954 and illustrated by Pauline Baynes, the series is Lewis’s most popular work, having sold over 100 million copies in 41 languages.It has been adapted several times, complete or in part, for radio, television, stage and most recently for the big screen as “The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe’, ‘Prince Caspian’ and ‘The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’.

The books contain Christian ideas intended to be easily accessible to young readers. In addition to Christian themes, Lewis also borrows characters from Greek and Roman mythology as well as traditional British and Irish fairy tales.

Lewis was a close friend of  J. R. R. Tolkien,  and both authors were leading figures in the English faculty at Oxford University and in the informal Oxford literary group known as the “Inklings”. According to his memoir ‘Surprised by Joy’, Lewis had been baptised in the Church of Ireland (part of the Anglican Communion) at birth, but fell away from his faith during his adolescence. Owing to the influence of Tolkien and other friends, at the age of 32 Lewis returned to the Anglican Communion, becoming “a very ordinary layman of the Church of England”. His faith had a profound effect on his work, and his wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim.

In 1956 he married the American writer Joy Gresham, 17 years his junior, who died four years later of cancer at the age of 45. Lewis died three years after his wife, as the result of renal failure. His death came one week before his 65th birthday. Media coverage of his death was minimal, as he died on 22 November 1963 – the same day that U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and the same day another famous author, Aldous Huxley, died. Lewis’s works have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies.


Joe Dante

Joseph “Joe” Dante, Jr. (born November 28, 1946) is an American film director and producer of films generally with humorous and science fiction content. His films are well known for their movie in-jokes and their special visual effects.

Dante began his movie career working for Roger Corman, similar to Francis Ford Coppola and James Cameron, however unlike those directors, Dante has always maintained hi love of the ‘B’ movie. He worked as an editor on films such as ‘Grand Theft Auto’ before codirecting ‘Hollywood Boulevard’ with Allan Arkush.

His films include ‘Piranha’ (1978) and ‘The Howling’ (1981), both from scripts by John Sayles. Though the film has been noted for its semi-humorous screenplay, it began life as a more straight forward 1977 novel by Gary Brandner. After drafts by Jack Conrad (the original director who left following difficulties with the studio) and Terence H. Winkless proved unsatisfactory, director Joe Dante hired John Sayles to completely rewrite the script. Sayles rewrote the script with the same self-aware, satirical tone that he gave Piranha, and his finished draft bears only a vague resemblance to Brandner’s book.

After the release of The Howling, he was noticed by Steven Spielberg for whom he directed the third segment of ‘Twilight Zone: The Movie’ (1983), wherein a woman is ‘adopted’ by an omnipotent child. His first really big hit, Gremlins, which was also produced by Steven Spielberg, was released in 1984. ‘Gremlins’ (1984), his first major hit. The first Gremlins film is about a young man who receives a strange creature—called a Mogwai—as a pet, which then spawns other creatures who transform into small, destructive, evil monsters. Gremlins was a huge commercial success and received positive reviews from critics. However, the film was also heavily criticized for some of its more violent sequences. In response to this, and to similar complaints about other films (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom), Steven Spielberg suggested that the MPAA reform its rating system, which it did within two months of the film’s release.

He would work with Spielberg again on Innerspace and a Gremlins sequel, ‘Gremlins 2: The New Batch’, released in 1990. In contrast to the lighter sequel, the original Gremlins opts for more black comedy, which is balanced against a Christmas-time setting. Both films were the center of large merchandising campaigns.

Films of varying success followed, ‘Explorers’ (1985), ‘Innerspace’ (1987), ‘Amazon Women on the Moon’ (1987); ‘The ‘Burbs’ (1989), ‘Matinee’ (1993), ‘Runaway Daughters’ (1994), ‘The Second Civil War’ (1997), ‘Small Soldiers’ (1998), ‘Looney Tunes: Back in Action’ (2003), and ‘Homecoming’ (2005). In 1995–1996, Dante worked on ‘The Phantom’, and when he was removed from the film, he chose screen credit (as executive producer) rather than pay. He was creative consultant on ‘Eerie, Indiana’ (1991–1992) and directed five episodes. He played himself in the series finale.

In 2007, Dante launched the web series, Trailers From Hell, which provides commentary by directors, producers and screenwriters on trailers for classic and cult movies. His last major release was the excellent, ‘The Hole’ (2009) which did quite well in the UK but was otherwise generally overlooked.


Prometheus – ‘Leaked’ Trailer and Images

Yesterday, AvP Galaxy reported on the existence of a brand new trailer for Prometheus. This new trailer lasts for around one minute and features a handful of scenes from the footage that was shown at Comic-con this year, scenes from the recently leaked 18 seconds teaser trailer and much more. You can watch it  at this link now. The quality isn’t ideal but the video is definitely worth a look.


The Lords of Salem – Update

Check out this nice little article on Cinemart featuring a new still from Rob Zombie’s new horror feature, The Lords of Salem, and the movie within that movie: ‘Frankenstein Vs. The Witchfinder’ and it’s excellent exploitation style poster. Oh, and just for good measure, they’ve included Zombie’s fake Grindhouse trailer for ‘Werewolf Women of the SS’


Slasher Poster Art

Two more great posters from the Alamo Drafthouse, for slasher classics ‘The Burning’ and ‘Sleepaway Camp’


House of Horror

French director Xavier Gens first made a name for himself in the horror community with Frontier(s), which premiered as part of the Toronto festival’s Midnight Madness program. He diverted into semi-mainstream fare with the very ill-fated adaptation of Hitman, then went back to more hardcore genre fare with The Divide, which hits theaters on January 13, 2012.

Slash Film reports that Gens is set to direct a film that will be produced by horror director James Wan (Saw, Insidious). He’s taking over from Javier Gutierrez, who was set to direct earlier this year. The movie is House of Horror, which focuses on “a gruesome crime scene” that is the aftermath of a massacre, and will blend found footage and traditional photography.

SYNOPSIS: The House of Horror is a horror-thriller that centres around a gruesome crime scene. The film is shot with a blend of found footage, interrogation video, news cameras and classical cinematography. The film focuses on the aftermath of a horrific massacre; five college students, brutally murdered inside a decrepit, abandoned home.

We are thrown right into the mix as the lead Detective, Mark Lewis, and the police department’s psychologist, Dr. Elizabeth Klein, question a suspect. The young man at the centre is John Ascot, bound by handcuffs in a mobile command station. During the interrogation, John explains everything leading up to the deaths of his friends.

We discover that they were amateur ghost-hunters, seeking out paranormal phenomenon at the abandoned house believed to be haunted. What started out as a harmless activity turned into something truly terrifying and more than they ever could bargain for. John explains to the police that he isn’t responsible for his friends’ deaths, but rather, it was the house. He tells them he believes the house is a gateway to hell; a place of concentrated evil.

We slowly witness an eerie change in John’s demeanour through the course of the movie. Things take a disturbing turn when John hints at the notion that he is possessed by the Devil. Detective Lewis and Dr. Klein are forced to unravel the mystery of how John’s friends were murdered. All this leads to a stunning revelation about the man they’ve been interrogating and a gut-wrenching conclusion.


Don’t Go In The Woods – Trailer

The directorial debut of acclaimed actor Vincent D’Onofrio (Full Metal Jacket, Law & Order: Criminal Intent), this genre-bending slasher/musical tells the story of a young band that heads to the woods to focus on writing new songs, only to find themselves in the middle of a nightmare beyond comprehension.
DON’T GO IN THE WOODS releases December 26, 2011 through On Demand via cable VOD, iTunes, Amazon Watch Instantly and Vudu, with a theatrical release in select cities in January 2012.


The Evil Dead Remake – Update

A few months ago I reported that Fede Alvarez was going to write and direct an Evil Dead remake, with Diablo Cody doing some script revisions.  In a recent interview with collider, Diablo Cody gave some insight into the project. Cody was brought on to The Evil Dead over the summer to rewrite Alvarez’s original draft, which she praised in a recent conversation with Collider as “really scary” and “unbelievably violent.”

Check out the video interview and transcript here


Ted Bundy

Theodore RobertTedBundy (born Theodore Robert Cowell; November 24, 1946 – January 24, 1989) was an American serial killer, rapist, kidnapper, and necrophile who assaulted and murdered numerous young women during the 1970s, and possibly earlier. After more than a decade of denials, he confessed shortly before his execution to 30 homicides committed in seven states between 1974 and 1978; the true total remains unknown, and could be much higher.

Bundy was handsome and charismatic, traits he exploited in winning the confidence of his young, attractive female victims. He typically approached them in public places and feigned injury or disability, or impersonated an authority figure, before overpowering and assaulting them at a more secluded location. He sometimes revisited his secondary crime scenes for hours at a time, grooming and performing sexual acts with the decomposing corpses until putrefaction and destruction by wild animals made further interaction impossible. He decapitated at least four victims and kept the severed heads in his apartment for a period of time as mementos. On a few occasions he simply broke into dwellings in the dead of night and bludgeoned victims as they slept.

Initially charged in Utah in 1975 and convicted of aggravated kidnapping and attempted criminal assault, Bundy became linked to a progressively longer list of unsolved homicides in multiple states. Facing murder charges in Colorado, he engineered two dramatic escapes, and committed at least three additional murders and several violent assaults in Florida before his ultimate recapture in 1978. He received three death sentences in two separate trials for the three known Florida homicides.

Ted Bundy died in the electric chair at Raiford Prison in Starke, Florida, in January 1989. Biographer Ann Rule described him as “…a sadistic sociopath who took pleasure from another human’s pain and the control he had over his victims, to the point of death, and even after.” He once called himself “…the most cold-hearted son of a bitch you’ll ever meet.” Attorney Polly Nelson, a member of his last defense team, agreed. “Ted,” she wrote, “was the very definition of heartless evil.”

There have been a few movies about Bundy, ‘The Stranger Beside Me’ (2003), ‘Ted Bundy’ (2002), ‘Bundy: A Legacy of Evil’ (2008), and ‘The Deliberate Stranger’ (1986), which is the best of the ones mentioned. No doubt there’s more but I’m not that interested.


Areopagitica – Decrying Censorhip

Proving that the modern battle with censorship laws around the world is nothing new, Areopagitica was published November 23, 1644.  Areopagitica: A speech of Mr. John Milton for the liberty of unlicensed printing to the Parliament of England is a 1644 prose polemical tract by English author John Milton against censorship. Areopagitica is among history’s most influential and impassioned philosophical defences of the principle of a right to freedom of speech and expression, which was written in opposition to licensing and censorship and is regarded as one of the most eloquent defences of press freedom ever written.

Published at the height of the English Civil War. It is titled after a speech written by the Athenian orator Isocrates in the 5th century BC. (The Areopagus is a hill in Athens, the site of real and legendary tribunals, and was the name of a council whose power Isocrates hoped to restore.) Like Isocrates, Milton had no intention of delivering his speech orally. Instead it was distributed via pamphlet, defying the same publication censorship he argued against.

Milton, though a supporter of the Parliament, argued forcefully against the Licensing Order of 1643, noting that such censorship had never been a part of classical Greek and Roman society. The tract is full of biblical and classical references which Milton uses to strengthen his argument. The issue was personal for Milton as he had suffered censorship himself in his efforts to publish several tracts defending divorce (a radical stance which met with no favour from the censors).

According to the previous English law, all books had to have at least a printer’s name (and preferably an author’s name) inscribed in them. Under that system, Milton argues, if any blasphemous or libellous material is published, those books can still be destroyed after the fact.

Milton is best known for his epic poem ‘Paradise Lost’, currently being made into a film by director Alex Proyas. More of which later…


Boris Karloff

William Henry Pratt (23 November 1887 – 2 February 1969), better known by his stage name Boris Karloff, was an English actor; born at 36 Forest Hill Road, East Dulwich, London, England.

Karloff is best remembered for his roles in classic horror films and his portrayal of Frankensteins monster; his popularity following Frankenstein was such that for a brief time he was billed simply as “Karloff” or “Karloff the Uncanny.” His best-known non-horror role is as the Grinch, as well as the narrator, in the animated television special of Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966).

In 1909, Pratt travelled to Canada and began appearing in stage shows throughout the country; and some time later changed his professional name to “Boris Karloff”. Karloff always claimed he chose the first name “Boris” because it sounded foreign and exotic, and that “Karloff” was a family name. However, his daughter Sara Karloff publicly denied any knowledge of Slavic forebears, “Karloff” or otherwise.

Once Karloff arrived in Hollywood, he made dozens of silent films, but work was sporadic, and he often had to take up manual labor such as digging ditches and driving a cement truck to earn a living. A number of his early major roles were in movie serials, such as ‘The Masked Rider’ (1919), in Chapter 2 of which he can be glimpsed onscreen for the first time, ‘The Hope Diamond Mystery’ (1920) and ‘King of the Wild’ (1930). In these early roles he was often cast as an exotic Arabian or Indian villain. A key film which brought Karloff recognition was ‘Five Star Final’, a harshly critical film about tabloid journalism which was nominated for an Oscar as Best Picture of 1931-32.

But it was in James Whale’s ‘Frankenstein’ (1931), in his role as Frankenstein’s monster which made him a star. The bulky costume with four inch platform boots made it an arduous role but the costume and torturously administered make-up produced the classic image. Boris was lucky to get the part, not least as it had supposedly been offered to Bela Lugosi, who declined it. A year later, Karloff played another iconic character, Imhotep in ‘The Mummy’. Also quickly followed by ‘The Old Dark House’ with Charles Laughton and the star role in ‘The Mask of Fu Manchu’. These films all very much confirmed his newfound stardom.

Karloff played Frankenstein’s monster in two other films, the superior sequel, ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ (1935) and ‘Son of Frankenstein’ (1939), with the latter also featuring Lugosi. Karloff would revisit the Frankenstein mythos in film several times afterward. The first would be as the villainous Dr. Niemann in ‘House of Frankenstein’ (1944), where Karloff would be contrasted with Glenn Strange’s portrayal of The Monster.

Karloff returned to the role of the “mad scientist” in 1958’s ‘Frankenstein 1970’, as Baron Victor von Frankenstein II, the grandson of the original inventor. The finale reveals that the crippled Baron has given his own face (i.e. Karloff’s) to The Monster. The actor appeared at a celebrity baseball game as The Monster in 1940, hitting a gag home run and making catcher Buster Keaton fall into an acrobatic dead faint as The Monster stomped into home plate.

While the long, creative partnership between Karloff and Lugosi never led to a close mutual friendship, it produced some of the actors’ most revered and enduring productions, beginning with ‘The Black Cat’. Follow-ups included ‘Gift of the Gab’ (1934), ‘The Raven’ (1935), ‘The Invisible Ray’ (1936), ‘Black Friday (1940), ‘You’ll Find Out’ (also 1940), and ‘The Body Snatcher’ (1945). During this period, he also starred with Basil Rathbone in ‘Tower of London’ (1939).

An enthusiastic performer, he returned to the Broadway stage in the original production of ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ in 1941, in which he played a homicidal gangster enraged to be frequently mistaken for Karloff. He also appeared as Captain Hook in the play ‘Peter Pan’. He was nominated for a Tony Award for his work in ‘The Lark’, by the French playwright Jean Anouilh about Joan of Arc.

In later years, Karloff hosted and acted in a number of television series, most notably ‘Thriller’, ‘Out of this World’, and ‘The Veil’, the last of which was never broadcast and only came to light in the 1990s. In the 1960s, Karloff appeared in several films for American International Pictures, including ‘The Comedy of Terrors’, ‘The Raven’ and ‘The Terror’, the latter two directed by B-movie legend Roger Corman, and ‘Die, Monster, Die’.

Karloff ended his career by appearing in four low-budget Mexican horror films: ‘The Snake People’, ‘The Incredible Invasion’, ‘The Fear Chamber’ and ‘House of Evil’. This was a package deal with Mexican producer Luis Vergara. Karloff’s scenes were directed by Jack Hill and shot back to back in Los Angeles in the spring of 1968. The films were then completed in Mexico. All four were released posthumously, with the last, The Incredible Invasion, not released until 1971, two years after Karloff’s death.

Boris Karloff lived out his final years at his cottage, ‘Roundabout,’ in the Hampshire village of Bramshott. After a long battle with arthritis and emphysema, he contracted pneumonia, succumbing to it on 2 February 1969. He was cremated, following a requested low-key service, at Guildford Crematorium, Godalming, Surrey, where he is commemorated by a plaque in the Garden of Remembrance. A memorial service was held at St Paul’s, Covent Garden (The Actors’ Church), London, where there is also a plaque.


Liebster Award

The Liebster Blog Award is given to bloggers who have less than 200 followers, all in the spirit of fostering new connections. Leibster is German & means ‘dearest’ or ‘beloved’ but it can also mean ‘favorite’ .

I was nominated by http://psychowatcher.wordpress.com/ Thank you so much for the award and your numerous ‘likes’ on my posts. I’m a subscriber to her blog and you should be too…!

The rules for the Liebster Blog Award are:
1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
2. Link back to the blogger who awarded you.
3. Copy & paste the blog award on your blog
4. Reveal your 5 blog picks.
5. Let them know you choose them by leaving a comment on their blog.

Here, in addition to Psychowatcher, are a few blogs you should read asap:

http://lifeasacat.com/ Random work-realted filthy hand drawn cartoons, generally all in bad taste, therefore generally all fairly hilarious.

http://eyespywithmylittleye.wordpress.com/ Beautiful images from Sydney based photographer.

http://anilbalan.com/ Tales of Mystery and the Supernatural… excellent original writing.

http://belchdini.wordpress.com/ Horror, comedy and random reviews done with a sense of humour.


Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis (born November 22, 1958) is an American actress and author. Born in Santa Monica, California, to actor Tony Curtis and actress Janet Leigh. Although she was initially known as a “scream queen” because of her starring roles in several horror films early in her career, such as ‘Halloween’, ‘The Fog’, ‘Prom Night’ and ‘Terror Train’, Curtis has since compiled a body of work that spans many genres, and has won BAFTA and Golden Globe awards. Her 1998 book, Today I Feel Silly, and Other Moods That Make My Day, made the best-seller list in The New York Times. Curtis is a blogger for The Huffington Post online newspaper. She is married to actor, screenwriter, and director Christopher Guest.

Curtis’s film debut occurred in John Carpenter’s classic 1978 horror film ‘Halloween’, in which she played the lead role of Laurie Strode. The film was a major box-office success and became the highest grossing independent film of its time, earning accolades as a classic horror film. Curtis was subsequently cast in several horror films, garnering her the title, “scream queen“.

Her next film was the horror film, ‘The Fog’, which was helmed by Halloween director John Carpenter. The film opened in February 1980 to mixed reviews but strong box office, further cementing Curtis as a horror film starlet. Her next film, ‘Prom Night’, was a low-budget Canadian slasher film released in July 1980. The film, for which she earned a Genie Award nomination for Best Performance by a Foreign Actress, was similar in style to Halloween, yet received negative reviews which marked it as a disposable entry in the then-popular “slasher film” genre.

That year, Curtis also starred in ‘Terror Train’, which opened in October and met with a negative reviews akin to Prom Night. Both films performed only moderately well at the box office. Curtis had a similar function in both films – the main character whose friends are murdered, and is practically the only protagonist to survive. Film critic Roger Ebert, who had given negative reviews to all three of Curtis’ 1980 films, said that Curtis “is to the current horror film glut what Christopher Lee was to the last one-or Boris Karloff was in the 1930s”. Curtis later appeared in ‘Halloween II’, ‘Halloween H20: 20 Years Later’ and ‘Halloween: Resurrection’, as well as giving an uncredited voice role in the awful ‘Halloween III: Season of the Witch’.

Her role in 1983’s ‘Trading Places’ helped Curtis shed her horror queen image, and garnered her a BAFTA Award as best supporting actress. 1988’s massive hit ‘A Fish Called Wanda’ showcased her as a comedic actress; she was nominated for a BAFTA as best leading actress. She won a Golden Globe for her work in 1994’s ‘True Lies’. Her recent film roles include Disney’s ‘Freaky Friday’ (2003), opposite Lindsay Lohan, for which she was nominated for another Golden Globe.

In October 2006, Curtis told Access Hollywood that she had closed the book on her acting career to focus on her family. She returned to acting after being cast in June 2007 in Disney’s live-action-animated film, ‘Beverly Hills Chihuahua and the 2010 comedy film ‘You Again’, opposite Kristen Bell and Sigourney Weaver.


Dexter – Renewed for Seasons 7 and 8

Last month, Deadline reported about a breakdown in the negotiations between Michael C. Hall and Showtime over a $4 million gap between the $24 million Hall’s reps were reportedly seeking and the $20 million Showtime was offering for a new 2-year contract. (Hall’s existing one is up at the end of the current Season 6.) Showtime Entertainment President, David Nevins has declined to discuss financials but stressed that they didn’t drive the deal-making. “It’s been a pretty simple negotiation, and Michael C. Hall has been incredibly gentlemanly throughout the whole process,” Nevins said. “The biggest question was: what is the trajectory of the show creatively? And after speaking with (executive producers) John Goldwyn, Sara Colleton and Scott Buck, it became pretty clear that there was a very clear 3-year trajectory. Once we established that, this became a very simple negotiation, which went down pretty quickly.” The 3-year trajectory includes the current sixth season and the upcoming Seasons 7 and 8. Does it mean that Dexter will end after eight seasons? “I’m not going to say with absolute certainty that this is the end, but that is the likely scenario, that the series is moving towards a definite end,” Nevins said.

Also key in the negotiation was working out the show’s filming schedule to accommodate Hall and Showtime. Given the success the pairing of Dexter and rookie Homeland has had, the network is looking to keep the 2 series on compatible schedules so they can continue to air together, which has been accomplished. “The pairing of Dexter and Homeland has made for a vety powerful Sunday, and our plan is to likely keep them together,” Nevins said. “Clearly those shows cement our schedule on Sunday for the next several years.” Both Dexter and Homeland have been growing in the ratings for the past five consecutive weeks. “It’s remarkable how Dexter continues to be on a steady upward trajectory in its sixth season,” Nevins said.


Martin Scorsese – Part 4 (Mid to late 90’s)

1991 brought Cape Fear, a remake of a cult 1962 movie of the same name, and the director’s seventh collaboration with De Niro. Another foray into the mainstream, the film was a stylized thriller taking its cues heavily from Alfred Hitchcock and Charles Laughton’s ‘The Night of the Hunter’ (1955). Cape Fear received a mixed critical reception and was lambasted in many quarters for its scenes depicting misogynistic violence. However, the lurid subject matter did give Scorsese a chance to experiment with a dazzling array of visual tricks and effects. The film garnered two Oscar nominations. Earning eighty million dollars domestically, it would stand as Scorsese’s most commercially successful release until The Aviator (2004), and then The Departed (2006).

The opulent and handsomely mounted The Age of Innocence (1993) was on the surface a huge departure for Scorsese, a period adaptation of Edith Wharton’s novel about the constrictive high society of late-19th Century New York. It was highly lauded by critics upon original release, but was a box office bomb. As noted in Scorsese on Scorsese by editor/interviewer Ian Christie, the news that Scorsese wanted to make a film about a 19th Century failed romance raised many eyebrows among the film fraternity all the more when Scorsese made it clear that it was a personal project and not a studio for-hire job.

Recently, it has started to come back into the public eye, especially in countries such as the UK and France, but still is largely neglected in North America. The film earned five Academy Award nominations (including for Scorsese for Best Adapted Screenplay), winning the Costume Design Oscar.

1995’s expansive Casino, like The Age of Innocence before it, focused on a tightly wound male whose well-ordered life is disrupted by the arrival of unpredictable forces. The fact that it was a violent gangster film made it more palatable to fans of the director who perhaps were baffled by the apparent departure of the earlier film. Critically, however, Casino received mixed notices. In large part this was due to its huge stylistic similarities to his earlier Goodfellas, and its excessive violence that garnered it a reputation as possibly the most violent American gangster film ever made.

Scorsese still found time for a four hour documentary in 1995 offering a thorough trek through American cinema. It covered the silent era to 1969, a year after which Scorsese began his feature career, stating “I wouldn’t feel right commenting on myself or my contemporaries.”

If The Age of Innocence alienated and confused some fans, then Kundun (1997) went several steps further, offering an account of the early life of the Dalai Lama, the People’s Liberation Army’s entering of Tibet, and the Dalai Lama’s subsequent exile to India. Not least a departure in subject matter, Kundun also saw Scorsese employing a fresh narrative and visual approach. Traditional dramatic devices were substituted for a trance-like meditation achieved through an elaborate tableau of colourful visual images.

Bringing Out the Dead (1999) was a return to familiar territory, with the director and writer Paul Schrader constructing a pitch-black comic take on their own earlier Taxi Driver. Like previous Scorsese-Schrader collaborations, its final scenes of spiritual redemption explicitly recalled the films of Robert Bresson.
(It’s also worth noting that the film’s incident-filled nocturnal setting is reminiscent of After Hours.) It received generally positive reviews, although not the universal critical acclaim of some of his other films.

With a production budget said to be in excess of $100 million, Gangs of New York was Scorsese’s biggest and arguably most mainstream venture to date. Like The Age of Innocence, it was set in 19th-century New York, although focusing on the other end of the social scale (and like that film, also starring Daniel Day Lewis). The film also marked the first collaboration between Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who since then has become a fixture in later Scorsese films.

The production was highly troubled with many rumors referring to the director’s conflict with Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein. Despite denials of artistic compromise, Gangs of New York revealed itself to be the director’s most conventional film: standard film tropes which the director had traditionally avoided, such as characters existing purely for exposition purposes and explanatory flashbacks, here surfaced in abundance. The film still received generally positive reviews with the review tallying website Rotten Tomatoes reporting that 75% of the reviews they tallied for the film were positive and summarizing the critics by saying “Though flawed, the sprawling, messy Gangs of New York is redeemed by impressive production design and Day-Lewis’s electrifying performance.”

Gangs of New York earned Scorsese his first Golden Globe for Best Director. In February 2003, Gangs of New York received ten Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis, however it did not win in any category.


Ingrid Pitt

Ingrid Pitt (21 November 1937 – 23 November 2010) was an actress best known for her work in horror films of the 1960s and 1970s. Pitt was born Ingoushka Petrov in Warsaw, Poland to a German father of Russian descent and a Polish Jewish mother. During World War II she and her family were imprisoned in a concentration camp.

In the early 1960s Pitt was a member of the prestigious Berliner Ensemble, under the guidance of Bertolt Brecht’s widow Helene Weigel. In 1965 she made her film debut in ‘Doctor Zhivago’, playing a minor role. In 1968 she co-starred in the low budget science fiction film The Omegans and in the same year played “Heidi” in ‘Where Eagles Dare’ (1968) opposite Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood.

It was her work with Hammer Film Productions that elevated her to cult figure status. She starred as “Carmilla/Mircalla” in ‘The Vampire Lovers’ (1970), and played the title role in ‘Countess Dracula’ (1971), a film based on the legends around Countess Elizabeth Bathory. Pitt also appeared in the Amicus horror anthology film ‘The House That Dripped Blood’ (1971) and had a small part in the film ‘The Wicker Man’ (1973).

During the 1980s, Pitt returned to roles in mainstream films and on television. Her role as Fraulein Baum in the 1981 BBC Playhouse Unity, who is denounced as a Jew by Unity Mitford (played byLesley-Anne Down, who had played her daughter in Countess Dracula), was uncomfortably close to her real-life experiences.

Her popularity with horror film buffs saw her in demand for guest appearances at horror conventions and film festivals. Other films Pitt has appeared in outside the horror genre are: ‘Who Dares Wins’, (aka The Final Option), ‘Wild Geese II’, and ‘Hanna’s War’. Generally cast as a ‘baddie’, she usually manages to get killed horribly at the end of the final reel. “Being the anti-hero is great – they are always roles you can get your teeth into.”

It was at this time that the theatre world also beckoned. Pitt founded her own theatrical touring company and starred in successful productions of Dial M for MurderDuty Free (aka Don’t Bother to Dress), and Woman of Straw. She also appeared in many TV shows in the UK and US –  Ironside, Dundee and the Culhane, Doctor Who (The Time Monster, Warriors of the Deep), and Smiley’s People.

Pitt made her return to the big screen in the 2000 production The Asylum. The film starred Colin Baker and Patrick Mower, and was directed by John Stewart. In 2003, Pitt voiced the role of “Lady Violator” in Renga Media’s production ‘Dominator’. The film was the UK’s first CGI animated film.

After a period of illness, Pitt returned to the screen in 2006 for the Hammer Films-Mario Bava tribute, ‘Sea of Dust’. In 1998, Pitt narrated Cradle of Filth’s “Cruelty and the Beast” album, although her narration was done strictly in-character as the Countess she portrayed in Countess Dracula.

Pitt died in a south London hospital on 23 November 2010, a few days after collapsing, and two days after her 73rd birthday. Seven months before she died, Pitt finished narration for “Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest,” an animated short film on her experience in the Holocaust, a project that had been in the works for five years. Character design and storyboards were created by two-time Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Bill Plymton. The film is directed by Kevin Sean Michaels; and drawn by 10-year-old animator, Perry Chen.


Martin Scorsese – Part 3 (Mid 80’s – Early 90’s)

Scorsese’s next project was his fifth collaboration with Robert De Niro, ‘The King of Comedy’ (1983). A satire on the world of media and celebrity, it was an obvious departure from the more emotionally committed films he had become associated with. Visually, it was far less kinetic than the style Scorsese had developed up until this point, often using a static camera and long takes.
The expressionism of his recent work here gave way to moments of almost total surrealism. It still bore many of Scorsese’s trademarks, however, such as its focus on a troubled loner who ironically becomes famous through a criminal act (murder and kidnapping, respectively). The King of Comedy failed at the box office, but has become increasingly well regarded by critics in the years since its release. Also, Scorsese apparently believes that this is the best performance De Niro ever gave for him.

In 1983 Scorsese began work on a long-cherished personal project, ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’, based on the 1951 (English translation 1960) novel written by Nikos Kazantzakis. The project collapsed under pressure from outraged Christian groups.

After the difficulties he experienced with Last Temptation, Scorsese again saw his career at a critical point, as he described in the documentary Filming for Your Life: Making ‘After Hours’ (2004). He saw that in the increasingly commercial world of 1980s Hollywood, the highly stylized and personal 1970s films he and others had built their careers on would not continue to enjoy the same status.
With After Hours (1985) he made an aesthetic shift back to a pared-down, almost “underground” film-making style – his way of staying viable. Filmed on an extremely low budget, on location, and at night in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan, the film is a black comedy about one increasingly misfortunate night for a mild New York word processor (Griffin Dunne) and featured cameos by Teri Garr and Cheech & Chong. A bit of a stylistic anomaly for Scorsese, After Hours fits in well with popular low-budget “cult” films of the 1980s, e.g. Jonathan Demme’s ‘Something Wild’ and Alex Cox’s ‘Repo Man’.

As well as the 1987 Michael Jackson music video “Bad”, in 1986 Scorsese made The Color of Money, a sequel to the much admired Robert Rossen film ‘The Hustler’ (1961) with Paul Newman reprising his role of Fast Eddie Felson and Tom Cruise. Although typically visually assured, The Color of Money was the director’s first foray into mainstream commercial film-making. It won actor Paul Newman a belated Oscar and gave Scorsese the clout to finally secure backing for a project that had been a long time goal for him: The Last Temptation of Christ.

Like the novel, the Paul Schrader scripted film depicts the life of Jesus Christ and his struggle with various forms of temptation including fear, doubt, depression, reluctance and lust. Even prior to its release the film caused a massive furore, worldwide protests against its perceived blasphemy effectively turning a low budget independent movie into a media sensation. The main source of the controversy centered on the final passages of the film which depicted Christ marrying and raising a family with Mary Magdalene in a Satan-induced hallucination while on the cross.

Looking past the controversy, The Last Temptation of Christ gained critical acclaim and remains an important work in Scorsese’s canon: an explicit attempt to wrestle with the spirituality which had under-pinned his filmsup until that point. Scorsese received an Academy Award nomination for Best Director, and Hershey’s performance as Mary Magdalene earned her a Golden Globe nomination.

Along with directors Woody Allen and Francis Ford Coppola, in 1989 Scorsese provided one of three segments in the portmanteau film ‘New York Stories’, called “Life Lessons”. That was a stepping stone to one of his greatest achievements.

Gangster epic Goodfellas (1990) was a return to form for Scorsese and his most confident and fully realized film since Raging Bull. De Niro and Joe Pesci in Goodfellas offered a virtuoso display of the director’s bravura cinematic technique and re-established, enhanced, and consolidated his reputation. After the film was released, critic Roger Ebert, a friend and supporter of Scorsese, named Goodfellas “the best mob movie ever” and is ranked #1 on Roger’s movie list for 1990, the film is widely considered one of the director’s greatest achievements.

However, Goodfellas also signified an important shift in tone in the director’s work, inaugurating an era in his career which was technically accomplished but some have argued emotionally detached. Despite this, many view Goodfellas as a Scorsese archetype – the apogee of his cinematic technique. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, Scorsese earned his third nomination for Goodfellas but again lost to a first-time director, Kevin Costner (Dances With Wolves). Joe Pesci earned the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Goodfellas. Scorsese and the film won over a numerous of different awards, including five BAFTA Awards, a Silver Lion from Venice.


Martin Scorsese – Part 2 (Mid 70’s – Early 80’s)

Scorsese made the iconic ‘Taxi Driver’ in 1976 – his dark, urban nightmare of one lonely man’s slow, deliberate descent into insanity. The film established Scorsese as an accomplished filmmaker operating on a highly skilled level, and also brought attention to cinematographer Michael Chapman, whose style tends towards high contrasts, strong colors and complex camera movements. The groundbreaking performance of Robert De Niro as the troubled and psychotic Travis Bickle was highly regarded. The film co-starred Jodie Foster in a highly controversial role as an underage prostitute, and Harvey Keitel as her pimp, Matthew, called “Sport.”

Taxi Driver also marked the start of a series of collaborations between Scorsese and writer Paul Schrader, whose influences included the diary of would-be assassin Arthur Bremmer and ‘Pickpocket’, a film by the French director Robert Bresson. Already controversial upon its release, Taxi Driver hit the headlines again five years later, when John Hinckley Jr. made an assassination attempt on then-President Ronald Reagan. He subsequently blamed his act on his obsession with Jodie Foster’s Taxi Driver character (in the film, De Niro’s character, Travis Bickle, plans an assassination attempt on a senator).

Taxi Driver won the Palme d’Or at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival, also receiving four Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, although all were unsuccessful. The critical success of Taxi Driver encouraged Scorsese to move ahead with his first big-budget project: the highly stylized musical New York, New York.

New York, New York was the director’s third collaboration with Robert De Niro, co-starring with Liza Minnelli (a tribute and allusion to her father, legendary musical director Vincente Minnelli). The film is best remembered today for the title theme song, which was popularized by Frank Sinatra. Although possessing Scorsese’s usual visual panache and stylistic bravura, many critics felt its enclosed studio-bound atmosphere left it leaden in comparison to his earlier work. This tribute to Scorsese’s home town and the classic Hollywood musical was a box-office failure.

The disappointing reception that New York, New York received drove Scorsese into depression. By this stage the director had also developed a serious cocaine addiction. However, he did find the creative drive to make the highly regarded ‘The Last Waltz’, documenting the final concert by The Band in 1976. The concert was held at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, and featured one of the most extensive lineups of prominent guest performers at a single concert, including Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Neil Diamond, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters, Joni Mitchell, Ronnie Wood and Van Morrison. However, Scorsese’s commitments to other projects delayed the release of the film until 1978.

Another Scorsese-directed documentary entitled ‘American Boy’ also appeared in 1978, focusing on Steven Prince, the cocky gun salesman who appeared in Taxi Driver. A period of wild partying followed, damaging the director’s already fragile health.

By several accounts (Scorsese’s included), Robert De Niro practically saved Scorsese’s life when he persuaded Scorsese to kick his cocaine addiction to make his highly regarded film, Raging Bull. Convinced that he would never make another movie, he poured his energies into making this violent biopic of middleweight boxing champion Jake LaMotta, calling it a Kamikaze method of film-making. The film is widely viewed as a masterpiece and was voted the greatest film of the 1980s by Britain’s Sight & Sound magazine. It received eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor Robert De Niro, and Scorsese’s first for Best Director. De Niro won, as did Thgelma Schoonmaker for editing, but Best Director went to Robert Redford for ‘Ordinary People’.

Raging Bull, filmed in high contrast black and white, is where Scorsese’s style reached its zenith: Taxi Driver and New York, New York had used elements of expressionism to replicate psychological points of view, but here the style was taken to new extremes, employing extensive slow-motion, complex tracking shots, and extravagant distortion of perspective (for example, the size of boxing rings would change from fight to fight).
Thematically too, the concerns carried on from Mean Streets and Taxi Driver: insecure males, violence, guilt, and redemption.

Although the screenplay for Raging Bull was credited to Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin (who earlier co-wrote Mean Streets), the finished script differed extensively from Schrader’s original draft. It was re-written several times by various writers including Jay Cocks (who went on to co-script later Scorsese films ‘The Age of Innocence’ and ‘Gangs of New York’). The final draft was largely written by Scorsese and Robert De Niro.

The American Film Institute chose Raging Bull as the #1 American sports film on their list of the top 10 sports films.


Alan Moore

Alan Oswald Moore (born 18 November 1953) is an English writer primarily known for his work in comic books, a medium where he has produced a number of critically acclaimed and popular series, including Watchmen, V for Vendetta, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and From Hell. Frequently described as the best comic writer in history, he has also been described as “one of the most important British writers of the last fifty years”. He has occasionally used such pseudonyms as Curt Vile, Jill de Ray, and Translucia Baboon.

Moore started out writing for British underground and alternative fanzines in the late 1970s before achieving success publishing comic strips in such magazines as 2000AD and Warrior. He was subsequently picked up by the American DC Comics and as “the first comics writer living in Britain to do prominent work in America”, he worked on big name characters such as Batman in the superb, Batman: The Killing Joke, and Superman in Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, substantially developed the minor character Swamp Thing, and penned original titles such as Watchmen. During that decade, Moore helped to bring about greater social respectability for the medium in the United States and United Kingdom, and has subsequently been attributed with the development of the term “graphic novel” over “comic book”.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s he left the comic industry mainstream and went independent for a while, working on experimental work such as the epic From Hell, pornographic Lost Girls, and the prose novel Voice of Fire. He subsequently returned to the mainstream later in the 1990s, working for Image Comics. before developing America’s Best Comics, an imprint through which he published works such as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and the occult-based Promethea.

Moore is also known as an occultist, cereonial magician, and anarchist and has featured such themes in works including Promethea, From Hell and V for Vendetta, as well as performing avant-garde spoken word occult “workings” some of which have been released on CD.

Despite his own personal objection to them, his books have provided the basis for a number of Hollywood films, including ‘From Hell’ (2001),’The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ (2003), ‘V for Vendetta’ (2005) and ‘Watchmen’ (2009)… none of which are as good as his books.


New York Nerd Map!


Martin Scorsese – Part 1 (1960’s – early 70’s)

Martin Charles Scorsese (born November 17, 1942) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and film historian. In 1990 he founded The Film Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to film preservation, and in 2007 he founded the World Cinema Foundation. He is a recipient of the AFI Life Achievemant Award for his contributions to cinema, and has won awards from the Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globe, BAFTA and the Directors Guild of America. He won the Academy Award for Best Director for ‘The Departed’ , having been nominated a previous five times.

Scorsese’s body of work addresses such themes as Italian American identity, Roman Catholic concepts of guilt and redemption, machismo, modern crime and violence. Scorsese is hailed as one of the most significant and influential American filmmakers of all time, directing landmark films such as ‘Mean Streets’, ‘Taxi Driver’, ‘Raging Bull’ and ‘Goodfellas’ – all of which he collaborated on with actor and close friend Robert De Niro.

Martin Scorsese was born in New York City; where he was raised in a devoutly Catholic environment. As a boy, he had asthma and couldn’t play sports or do any activities with other kids and so his parents and his older brother would often take him to movie theaters; it was at this stage in his life that he developed passion for cinema. His initial desire to become a priest while attending Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx gave way to cinema, and, consequently, Scorsese enrolled in NYU’s University College of Arts and Science, (now known as the College of Arts and Science), where he earned a B.A. in English in 1964. He went on to earn his M.F.A. from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 1966, a year after the school was founded.

Scorsese attended New York University’s film school (B.A., English, 1964; M.F.A., film, 1966) making the short films ‘What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This?’ (1963) and ‘It’s Not Just You, Murray!’ (1964). His most famous short of the period is the darkly comic ‘The Big Shave’ (1967), which features Peter Bernuth. The film is an indictment of America’s involvement in Vietnam, suggested by its alternative title Viet ’67.

Also in 1967, Scorsese made his first feature-length film, the black and white ‘I Call first’, which was later retitled ‘Who’s That Knocking at My Door?’ with fellow student, actor Harvey Keitel, and editor Thelma Schoonmaker, both of whom were to become long-term collaborators. Even in embryonic form, the “Scorsese style” was already evident: a feel for New York Italian American street-life, rapid editing, an eclectic rock soundtrack, and a troubled male protagonist.

From there he became friends with the influential “movie brats” of the 1970s: Francis Ford Coppola, Brian De Palma, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. It was Brian De Palma who introduced Scorsese to Robert De Niro. During this period he worked as the assistant director and one of the editors on the documentary film ‘Woodstock’ and met actor-director John Cassavetes, who would also go on to become a close friend and mentor.

In 1972 Scorsese made the Depression-era exploition flick, ‘Boxcar Bertha’ for B-movie producer Roger Corman, who has also helped directors such as Francis Ford Coppola, James Cameron and John Sayles launch their careers. It was Corman who taught Scorsese that entertaining films could be shot with next to no money or time, preparing the young director well for the challenges to come with ‘Mean Streets’ (1973). following the film’s release, Cassavetes encouraged Scorsese to make the films that he wanted to make, rather than someone else’s projects.

Championed by influential movie critic Pauline Kael, Mean Streets was a breakthrough for Scorsese, De Niro, and Keitel. By now the signature Scorsese style was in place: macho posturing, bloody violence, Catholic guilt and redemption, gritty New York locale (though the majority of Mean Streets was actually shot in Los Angeles), rapid-fire editing, and a rock soundtrack. Although the film was innovative, its wired atmosphere, edgy documentary style, and gritty street-level direction owed a debt to directors Cassavetes, Samuel Fuller, and early Jean-Luc Godard. The film was completed with much encouragement from Cassavetes, who felt Boxcar Bertha was undeserving of the young director’s prodigious talent.

In 1974, after the success of ‘The Exorcist’, actress Ellen Burstyn was allowed to choose whoever she wanted to direct her next project; she chose Scorsese to direct her in ‘Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore’, for which she won an Academy Award for Best Actress. Although well regarded, the film remains an anomaly in the director’s early career, as it focuses on a central female character. It is a film that is used regularly as a rebuttal to those who maintain that Scorsese only makes macho movies.

Returning to Little Italy to explore his ethnic roots, Scorsese next came up with ‘Italianamerican’, a documentary featuring his parents, Charles and Catherine Scorsese. He would return with his greatest triumph…


Lisa Bonet

Lisa Bonet (born Lisa Michelle Boney; November 16, 1967), also known as Lilakoi Moon, is an American actress. She is best known for her role as Denise Huxtable on the long-running NBC sitcom ‘The Cosby Show’, and originally starring in its spinoff, ‘A Different World’ with an unknown Marisa Tomei.

After being in beauty pageants and appearing in guest spots on television series as a child, Bonet landed the role of Denise Huxtable on The Cosby Show alongside Bill Cosby and Phylicia Rashad. In 1987, she briefly left The Cosby Show to star in the spin-off series A Different World, which focused on Denise Huxtable’s life at college. That year, Bonet accepted the role of Epiphany Proudfoot in the movie ‘Angel Heart’ opposite Mickey Rourke, directed by Alan Parker. In the film, Bonet appeared in a graphic sex scene with Rourke from which scenes had to be censored to ensure an R-rating, though later an uncut X-rated version was released. 

Angel Heart is adapted from the novel Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg, and is generally faithful to the
novel with the exceptions being the introduction of a child of Epiphany Proudfoot (Lisa Bonet) conceived at a voodoo ceremony by “a devil”, and that the novel never leaves New York City, whereas much of the action of the film occurs in New Orleans.

Set in 1955, Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke), a downtrodden but competent private investigator is contacted by an attorney named Herman Winesap (Dann Florek) and instructed to meet a client named Louis Cyphre (Robert De Niro) in a Harlem Church. Cyphre, an elegant but mysterious man with long, manicured fingernails, tells Angel about a once-popular big band crooner named Johnny Favorite who was drafted during World War II and suffered severe neurological trauma in action. Favorite’s incapacitation disrupted a contract with Cyphre regarding unknown collateral, and Cyphre believes that the hospital has falsified records, preventing the contract from being fulfilled. He hires Angel to discover the truth, and in the process, locate Favorite. Angel travels to the hospital and discerns that the records were altered by a morphine-addicted veteran physician named Fowler (Michael Higgins); Fowler turns up dead shortly thereafter and Angel fears being suspected.

Angel uses a journalist lover to find out more of Favorite’s background, including his pre-war friendship with a Coney Island fortune teller, Margaret Krusemark (Charlotte Rampling), now a prominent figure in voodoo and travels to New Orleans to find her. Margaret refuses to divulge much information to Angel and tells him that Johnny is dead to her. To circumvent her obstruction, he tracks down Johnny’s former secret love and discovers her daughter Epiphany Proudfoot (Lisa Bonet), who was conceived during her relationship with Favorite. Epiphany is equally reluctant to speak, and so Angel locates Toots Sweet (Brownie McGhee), a former Favorite bandmate. After witnessing Toots at a voodoo ceremony attended by Epiphany, Angel uses force to extract details of Favorite’s last known whereabouts from Toots. In the morning, the New Orleans police inform Angel that Toots was murdered after he left; Angel later finds Margaret murdered in her home and her heart removed with a sacrificial knife. Angel suspects that Favorite is in hiding and killing off his former friends to prevent his discovery…

A highly atmospheric film, Angel Heart combines elements of film noir and horror to great effect. Angel Heart broke even at the box office with its budget of $17 million. After being released on home video it became something of a cult film, appreciated for its unsettling tone, bleak cinematography (by Michael Seresin), its sad and eerie score (by Trevor Jones), and its wonderful blend of genres.

After announcing that she was pregnant to Lenny Kravitz during the run of A Different World, Bonet left the series.  The following year, she returned to The Cosby Show, but was fired in 1991 for “creative differences”. After The Cosby Show, Bonet worked on straight-to-video releases and made-for-TV movies. Her only notable film appearances through this time are a supporting role in the Will Smith action film, ‘Enemy of the State’, and as a singer in the movie ‘High Fidelity’ with John Cusack.

In August 2006, Nick at Nite briefly aired A Different World. Bonet appeared in a week-long A Different World reunion special that aired on Nick at Nite. Bonet also co-starred in the 2006 film Whitepaddy alongside Sherilyn Fenn, Karen Black and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. She resurfaced two years later in the US adaptation of the British television series, ‘Life on Mars’.