The Living Want Me Dead
Not just the best zombie short film from 2011, the BEST SHORT FILM form 2011 was ‘The Living Want Me Dead’ by Bill Palmer. I saw it ath the annual Night of Horror Film Festival in Newtown and reviewed the night here. The entire short is now available to watch for FREE on vimeo, or below. Check it out and help support Bill in his quest to make another wonderful film.
The Living Want Me Dead – Full Short Film from Bill Palmer on Vimeo.
Redd Inc. Interview – Part 2
GEORDIE: Australia has a long history of offering something different to the horror genre, from the 70’s schlock through to modern hits such as Wolf Creek, Saw and the criminally overlooked The Loved Ones. What will Redd inc. add to that culture?
JG: Hopefully we’ll be considered to fit in with that esteemed list. We think we’ve added a unique twist to the genre by taking a place that so many of us are all too familiar with, the office, and give a whole new meaning to the idea of being chained to your desk. Again, it’s amazing to me that no one has set a horror movie in such an horrific location before!
AOC: A lot of Australian horror is set in the outback because that is a huge part of our cultural identity. But what about horror for people who don’t go camping in creepy, rural settings? What about the 9-to-5’ers? What if your BOSS was genuinely insane? That’s the cool ‘what if?’ scenario Redd Inc. brings to the table.
SS: indeed Redd Inc. is a new view on the horror genre, one that includes genuine suspense and scares but also some clever comedy so that the audience can really enjoy the ride… that has always been the ideal intention, to be scared but to also enjoy it, and to stand out from other films.
DK: I don’t really see REDD INC as an Australian film. Its setting is the office – it could take place in any major city – from London to NYC to Sydney. Having said that, I would be honoured if REDD INC were mentioned in the same breath as films like “Wolf Creek”, “Saw” and “The Loved Ones”.
GEORDIE: What were you influenced by during the development of Redd Inc?
JG: That’s too broad a question for me. If you mean what movies was I influenced by: Silence of the Lambs, Psycho, Hostel.
AOC: Oh wow. Well a mix of old school horror – The Evil Dead, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Argento’s Deep Red – and more recent stuff like Martyrs, Audition and Seven. Also I was reading a lot of horror: Bentley Little, Richard Laymon, Jeff Strand and Jack Ketchum. Although to be fair I would have been doing that even if we weren’t making a movie.
SS: The idea of taking a similar approach to other timeless, enjoyable and successful films that achieved the majority of their effects in-camera and without the over-use of visual effects…… Films such as the Romero zombie flicks Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead.. Also Friday the 13th and Evil Dead….. Absolute favourites that stand up to repeat viewing over many years!
DK: I was careful not to watch too much horror during the development of REDD INC. I didn’t want to be overly influenced by any one filmmaker or style. I wanted to keep my approach as fresh and original as I could. I guess my main influence towards the story and filmmaking approach of REDD INC was to make it “real” insofar as it has its own logic and reality.
GEORDIE: The elephant in the room question. What was it like working with Tom Savini? I presume like most horror fans you would have been a little starstruck at first?
JG: What a guy. He is a generous spirit who lives in the moment and who gave himself utterly to the scenes and the people he was working with. We have extensive coverage of his involvement in our making of doco which will be released eventually with the Blu-ray and DVD.
AOC: It was a literal dream come true. I got to pump blood with my childhood hero, TOM SAVINI! Even as I write these words I can’t quite believe it all happened. He’s a total gent and he did amazing work with the MEG team. He also tells the best stories and brought such a great energy to set. The days when Tom was there had a kind of magic about them. Plus some of the things we have on the DVD/Blu-ray are horror fan GOLD. We also gave him the Australian nickname “Savvers” which he loves.
SS: After watching and enjoying his work for so many years, it was an absolute honour. Tom doesn’t really allow you to be starstruck, he has such an approachable and warm personality. He has been so generous with his time, experience, advice and enthusiasm, it has been so much fun and we cannot speak highly enough of his contribution to Redd Inc.
DK: Working with Tom Savini. VERY COOL! He was the consumate professional and a gentleman in every sense of the word. A real joy to work with. He brought a calm atmosphere to the set, and a bloody menace to the screen.
GEORDIE: Films like Funny Games, the Saw series and the recent spate of torture porn have a strong streak of sadism in them, with psychological as well as physical torture. Dario Argento said recently that all taboos are fair game now… What are your thoughts on the current state of the horror genre?
JG: If they’re not really ABOUT something as well as being unnerving and scary then they’ve lost me. I like a little story and meaning with my elevated heart rate.
AOC: Yeah, I agree. Story is king and having something to say is really important. I watch pretty much everything that comes out in the horror genre – and a lot of it is amazing – but I do feel sometimes we get a lot of style and not much substance. I miss the horror-as-social-allegory element that Romero brought to the table with Dawn of the Dead. With Redd I think we’ve made an office giallo. It has a lot of tension and surprises and a really kinetic energy, plus twists and turns along the way. It’s the kind of film that I’d like to watch.
SS: I enjoy being scared, especially in a make-believe, movie kind-of way…. I want to enjoy the ride and have fun with it…. I don’t mind the physical violence stuff if it is not all too serious and nasty, give us a bit of relief in some way that makes it a guilty pleasure so that we can enjoy the scare and I think that’s the best recipe for the genre.
DK: For me it’s all about story, no matter what the genre. I’d liken a good horror film to a roller coaster ride at a fair ground. You can have the shit scared out of you in a safe environment and live to fight another day. Having said that, I like a good scare and gory moments… but as a rule I think that less is more.
GEORDIE: Hollywood has been remaking so many of these classic auteur horror films, driven by demographics and brand-familiarity, like the way Halloween is ubiquitous in other movies. How can Horror get out of that loop again?
JG: There are plenty of originals getting made amongst the remakes. They’ve got to break through to get noticed though so maybe it’s just that the remakes are sucking all the marketing air away from the originals. My guess is that independent distribution of horror over the internet will make a big difference to redress the balance over the next few years.
AOC: I’ve been joking for a while now that for Redd Inc.’s poster we should have the tagline: “It’s not a remake. It’s not a prequel. It’s not a reboot – You’re welcome!” However, I’ve met a lot of people who are making new, innovative horror so I’m not cynical. I think 2012 is going to be a great year for horror.
SS: Remakes can sometimes bring a new life to a great film. However there is a big fan base out there that are always looking for new, original, exciting product. Redd inc. is that film for those fans in 2012.
DK: In a sense a remake is like a sequel – people wanting to have some kind of “sure bet” in an industry that is fraught with uncertainty. Hopefully REDD INC (and its sequels) will be given a fresh lease of life in 20 or 30 years with an exciting batch of remakes. I would take it as a great compliment. 🙂
GEORDIE: Where to next for Green Light Productions?
JG: Redd Inc 2 of course!
AOC: Yeah, we have such an awesome story for the sequel.
SS: Looking forward to it!
DK: Count me in.
GEORDIE: When and where can we see the movie?
JG: First festival screenings will be announced over the next month or so and theatrical dates will be posted on the website reddincthemovie.com
GEORDIE: Finally, your favourite classic horror film, when you first saw it, why it’s still a favourite; and any new releases that have impressed you?
JG: A lot of the classics don’t stand up for me anymore because I’m just older and wiser and I guess I have my bar set higher than before. In terms of highest impact on first viewing I’d say watching the old Hammer Dracula movies starring Christopher Lee when I was 11 or 12 years old because I watched them at midnight when my parents thought I was in bed and discovered the joy of scaring the shit out of myself! Of course they’re laughable now.
AOC: John Carpenter’s The Thing is probably the movie that blew me away the most when I was a youngster. The score, Carpenter’s meticulous direction, Rob Bottin’s amazing FX, the cast and the palpable sense of distrust and paranoia all add up to one of the greats. It was the film that made me take notice of film as an art form. Also the first two horror movies I ever saw were Creepshow and An American Werewolf in London and they both still rule. Recently I dug Martyrs, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, Super and Theatre Bizarre (which has a segment directed by Tom Savini called Wet Dreams).
SS: Evil Dead has got to be my favourite, classic horror film. It was so scary the first time I saw it as a teenager. It still is, if you let yourself get swept up in it, even after many, many repeat viewings. I think it is still a favourite because it has that element of humour that doesn’t let you take it all too seriously, and it’s not too realistic and that’s the great part about making these sorts of crazy films because it’s just make believe. I don’t think a lot of the new releases are scary enough, they concentrate too much on being nasty and shocking, rather than the suspense and scare elements that make great horror.
DK: AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. Loved it then, Love it now.
GEORDIE: Thanks again for the opportunity to put a few questions to you and your team about Redd Inc. Best of luck with the project. I’ll post as many updates as possible nearer release date.
Redd Inc. Interview – Part 1
A few weeks ago at the Tom Savini Q&A at the Vanguard (more of which soon); I had the pleasure of meeting Redd Inc. co-creator Anthony O’Connor and I asked if I could interview him and the Redd Inc. team, they were kind enough to take some time out from their busy schedule to do so late last week. Below are questions and answers from Jonathon Green (writer/producer), Anthony O’Connor (writer), Sandy Stevens (producer) and Daniel Krige (director).
GEORDIE: Firstly, thank you for the opportunity to put a few questions to you and your team about Redd Inc.
JG: Our pleasure.
GEORDIE: Tom was awesome; I was starstruck for most of the night… I couldn’t begin to recall how many times I’ve seen his work on screen. He was generous, open, funny and very humble face-to-face in the bar afterwards, a true legend.
JG: He’s a great guy.
GEORDIE: The website synopsis for your movie states: “Redd Inc. is the story of a capricious, officious and vicious boss (Redd) who traps his victims and forces them to work in an horrific office of his own insane creation. They are tasked with a seemingly impossible job which they must complete or face a grisly “termination”. The casual reader could assume that there are elements of Saw-like mental and physical torture involved, or should we expect Redd Inc. to take a different approach?
JG: Redd Inc. has a few brutal kills in it masterfully rendered with the help of Tom Savini but takes a very different approach to other films. Redd considers himself an office boss and is simply after results from his workers, he’s not interested in torturing them or teaching them a lesson. He’s all about achieving important work goals which become clearer as the movie progresses and which twist the story in new directions. He is clearly deluded but the pain he inflicts is a means to an end which he believes is entirely justified. I think Redd Inc. could be better described as horror/thriller/satire than horror/torture porn.
AOC: Redd is the kind of boss who takes corporate office culture to its logical (albeit INSANE) extreme. He gets no pleasure inflicting the punishment. For him it’s nothing personal. He’s just a boss, trying to get a job done. He even gives his staff members five written warnings before it’s time to… re-evaluate their positions. Admittedly he etches said warnings into their flesh but it all makes sense to him. There’s method to his madness.
SS: Redd offers up his own version of reality and some unique office-related one-liners that explain and justify his actions… This is where the satire and dark comedy add a different element, to alleviate the tension and give some relief at times so the actions are not as horrific as the torture porn version of the genre.
DK: While the situation could sound like “Saw”, REDD INC really has its own style and tone, which has elements of comedy and humour to alleviate the moments of true horror. As for the character of Redd – he’s a charming person who just wants people to do their jobs and to do them well. As in any workplace, if a task is not completed, there are consequences.
GEORDIE: Your online ‘Act 1’, ‘Act 2’ and ‘Act 3’ challenges were a unique way to cast both in front and behind the camera. It was original and I suspect due to budget restraints, one borne out of necessity, how did the process originate and evolve, and did the results surprise you?
JG: We are proud to be the first dramatic feature film in the world to do this. It would have been cheaper to create the elements we crowd-sourced ourselves so it was not borne out of necessity but we were keen to test new, innovative ideas and to include our potential audience in the process of making the film. It evolved by just thinking about what we would like to see happen and how we could develop an audience for the film… it just seems so obvious with YouTube and all the other ways that people get to self-actualize today that this should happen. Frankly, I was surprised that no-one had ever done it before. The results are very impressive. The contributions are amazing fitting perfectly into the movie and the experiment was a huge success.
AOC: Do you remember reading FANGORIA in the 80s when they’d have an open call for zombie extras in, like, Day of the Dead and similar? I used to get sooo frustrated because I was in Australia and had no way of getting there. These days your geographical location is largely irrelevant – especially for the parts we wrote for our online crowd. We got entries from literally all over the world, which was amazing and gratifying. What was surprising is how seamlessly the entries fit into the film.
SS: it is a global marketplace and in offering people an opportunity to be involved at an early stage, it is a way of attracting a worldwide fan-based audience, who we hope will remain engaged throughout the process and will want to see the end result and buy a ticket to see the film!
DK: It was an exciting and groundbreaking idea to cast certain roles from the world wide web. We got all sorts of entries. There’s some very talented people out there… and there’s also some very, well, enthusiastic people out there! From a directorial point of view, the challenge here was to make sure the performances gleaned from this process were tonally coherent with the rest of the film.
GEORDIE: I love that you guys are ‘fiercely independent’, that seems to be the way to produce original horror these days. From Blair Witch through to the Paranormal Activity series and this latest mammoth opening for The Devil Inside; even the Australian release The Tunnel from last year. How difficult has it been to stay with the project over the last year and a half without major financial backing?
JG: Very difficult but we have stayed determined and were continually re-energised by the quality of cast and crew attracted by the script.
AOC: I think having more than just one element helped a lot. We had the script, which Jonathon and I would keep rewriting – never settling for a “just okay” result. There was the website which gave us instant feedback from our online community and there was the novel: Nothing Personal – which ties in with the movie, Redd Inc., in a really cool way. So having a variety of irons in the fire is a good thing. Also we got to meet amazing people like Tom Savini who gave us a shout out and an interview waaay before he was on board supervising special make-up effects. We also had a lot of people who would give us honest feedback. Having people who will remain honest with you in the scripting stage is a must. You might kinda hate them at the time but having people challenge you along the way really helps hone your story.
SS: it has been fantastic to collaborate on a film that does not have the restraints imposed by a studio, government organisation or other outside entity. To be in a position to make the best creative decisions with the group of people that have written, developed and slaved over the project and who have the most passion and commitment to the film, decisions that can be made on the run, on the day, on the set. A privilege and a way to remain true to the idea, no matter how crazy….. I agree that is why a lot of original horror films are made this way, with low budgets, so that there can be that freedom. We watch these films and know what the fans want to see.
DK: The completely independent approach to making REDD INC was a creatively refreshing and invigorating one. While it was a relief not to have to deal with the frustrating yard-sticks that government bureaucracies or studio figures can impose, we had to be careful not to go off “half-cocked” so to speak… Jonathon and Anthony were very diligent with script development – we all wanted this thing to be the best it could on the page before the trigger was pulled on production. Because of this REDD INC was probably more of a collaborative process than a film made through more “conventional” means – from the script development to casting, right through to the shoot, solving problems on the run and making sure we kept it fresh and original. We were all there every step of the way easing this baby from the page to the screen. It was an inspiring film to make.
GEORDIE: Is it harder to get a movie made now? Have changes in the local movie business made it harder for you to get this film made?
JG: Not at all.
SS: I don’t believe it is ever easy to get a film made, it is a hard slog every time, you have to believe in the project every step of the way to be able to have the energy to get through it all!
DK: Filmmaking is an exercise in persistence and patience no matter what the job. You really have to have inspiration and belief in your material or you won’t go the distance.
GEORDIE: It’s great to see Nicholas Hope back in another dark role, he was awesome in Bad Boy Bubby. What can we expect from him as Redd in the movie?
JG: You can expect a bizarre, twisted character in Redd who is exceedingly cruel in his determination as a deluded boss-from-hell but who develops a strange, uncomfortable empathy as the movie progresses. Nicholas is amazing in this role. He relishes every moment and transfixes audiences with his off-centre characterization.
AOC: When Jonathon and I were writing Redd Inc. we would talk about our dream cast. Hope was always at the top of the list for Redd because he just inhabits those meaty roles. I still love Bad Boy Bubby but with Redd, Hope has given us a truly iconic movie monster. Honestly he’s going to blow everyone away with this.
SS: It is great to see Nicholas back on the big screen, he is a wonderful, talented, dedicated performer. Nicholas brought Redd to life from the page in a way that has thrilled us all and we can’t wait to share him with our audience.
DK: It was a great joy working with Nic Hope. As a person he’s a true gentleman, and as a performer he’s dedicated and focussed on his craft. Whenever we were doing a scene, Nic would always have an internal logic for Redd’s actions. His performance approach really brought the character of Redd to life in an exciting, entertaining and terrifying way. What more can a director ask for?
The Raven – Edgar Allan Poe
“The Raven” is a narrative poem by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in January 1845. It is often noted for its musicality, stylized language, and supernatural atmosphere. It tells of a talking Raven’s mysterious visit to a distraught lover, tracing the man’s slow descent into madness. The lover, often identified as being a student, is lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore. Sitting on a bust of Pallas, the raven seems to further instigate his distress with its constant repetition of the word “Nevermore”. The poem makes use of a number of folk and classical references.
Poe claimed to have written the poem very logically and methodically, intending to create a poem that would appeal to both critical and popular tastes, as he explained in his 1846 follow-up essay “The Philosophy of Composition”. The poem was inspired in part by a talking raven in the novel Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of ‘Eighty by Charles Dickens. Poe borrows the complex rhythm and meter of Elizabeth Barrett’s poem “Lady Geraldine’s Courtship”, and makes use of internal rhyme as well as alliteration throughout.
“The Raven” was first attributed to Poe in print in the New York Evening Mirror on January 29, 1845. Its publication made Poe widely popular in his lifetime, though it did not bring him much financial success. Soon reprinted, parodied, and illustrated, critical opinion is divided as to the poem’s status, though it remains one of the most famous poems ever written. New movie version coming soon.
Jack Hill (born January 28, 1933) is an U.S. film director, noted for his work in the exploitation film genre. Despite this, several of Hill’s later films have been characterized as feminist works.
Hill was born in Los Angeles. His mother, Mildred (née Pannill), was a music teacher and his father, Roland Everett Hill, worked as a set builder for film studios and was an architect.
Hill made over 20 exploitation movies throughout the 60’s and 70’s including ‘The Wasp Woman’ (1960); ‘The Bellboy and the Playgirl’ (1962) with Francis Ford Coppola; ‘The Terror’ (1963); ‘The Raw Ones’ (1965); ‘Mondo Keyhole’ (1966); ‘Blood Bath (aka Track of the Vampire)’ (1966); ‘Spider Baby (aka The Maddest Story Ever Told)’ (1968); ‘Pit Stop’ (1969); ‘Ich, ein Groupie’ (1970); ‘House of Evil’ (1971); ‘The Snake People’ (1971); ‘The Incredible Invasion’ (1971); ‘The Fear Chamber’ (1971); ‘The Big Doll House’ (1971); ‘The Big Bird Cage’ (1972); ‘Coffy’ (1973); ‘Foxy Brown’ (1974); ‘The Swinging Cheerleaders’ (1974); ‘Switchblade Sisters’ (1975), and ‘Sorceress’ (1982) (as Brian Stuart).
Today his films are hailed as cult classics, thanks primarily to Quentin Tarantino, who saw Hill’s work at Grindhouse theaters and as it made its way to video. He has really championed these exploitation movies and helped revive interest in Hill as well as Roger Corman, the early work of Joe Dante and various other minority cinema. Check out this interview with Jack from February 2008.
The most famous of Hills movies are the women in prison movies ‘The Big Doll House’ and ‘Big Bird Cage’ as well as the Pam Grier starring ‘Coffy’ and ‘Foxy Brown’. Hill regulars Sid Haig and other notable B-movie stars can all be seen talking about the fun they had making these movies in the Philippines in the excellent documentary ‘Machete Maidens Unleashed.
Machete Maidens Unleased: Karate-kicking midgets! Paper-mache monsters! Busty babes with blades! Filipino genre films of the ’70s and ’80s had it all. Boasting cheap labour, exotic scenery and non-existent health and safety regulations, the Philippines was a dreamland for exploitation filmmakers whose renegade productions were soon engulfing drive-in screens around the globe like a tidal schlock-wave! At last, the all-too-often overlooked world of drive-in filler from Manilla gets the Mark Hartley (NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD) treatment in Machete Maidens Unleashed! This is the ultimate insiders’ account of a faraway backlot where stunt men came cheap, plot was obsolete and the make-up guy was packing heat! Machete Maidens Unleashed! features interviews with cult movie icons Roger Corman, Joe Dante, John Landis, Sid Haig, Eddie Romero and a large assembly of cast, crew and critics, each with a jaw-dropping story to tell about filmmaking with no budget…
VHS – A New Horror Anthology
A new horror anthology from Bloody Disgusting chief Brad Miska, A POV, found footage horror film from the perspective of America’s top genre filmmakers. A group of misfits are hired by an unknown third party to burglarize a desolate house in the countryside and acquire a rare tape. Upon searching the house, the guys are confronted with a dead body, a hub of old televisions and an endless supply of cryptic footage, each video stranger than the last.
Rodrigo Cortés made a name for himself with a film that premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival: Buried, based on Chris Sparling’s black list script about a man buried alive who has to figure a way out of his coffin before his air supply is used up. The film starred Ryan Reynolds, and was critically praised for it’s direction, a tough task considering the 95-minute film takes place completely inside a casket.
Cortés returned to Sundance two years later with the $15 million thriller Red Lights, which he also wrote. The story follows Psychologist Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and her assistant Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy) as they study and disprove paranormal activity, parascience and psychics. But can they take down world-renowned psychic Simon Silver (Robert De Niro), who has come out of retirement after three decades?
According to /Film: “Red Lights has great fun building your expectations with sound science and skeptic-based theories, and later playing with these ideas, making you question if extrasensory perception might be possible (if only in this movie). The film also sets up a few great scares and jumps, which had the Eccles theatre screaming.”
Tobe Hooper – Part 2
Hooper was then offered a contract by Cannon Films to direct three films. The first was a science fiction thriller called Lifeforce (1985) about humanoid creatures from outer space who eventually cause the destruction of London. The film was based on the 1976 novel, The Space Vampires by Colin Wilson, Lifeforce was produced on a then huge budget of $25 million. Hooper was unhappy about the producers’ decision to change the title of the film from the “fun sounding” Space Vampires to the more serious Lifeforce. He was even more troubled over the producers’ decision to cut about 15 minutes of the film from the US release. Lifeforce failed to gross more than $12 million at the United States box office, but did well in overseas territories.
In 1986, Hooper remade the 1950s classic Invaders from Mars and directed the much-anticipated sequel to his first film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Due to the failure of Lifeforce, the budget for Invaders from Mars was repeatedly slashed by the studio, and the film eventually failed at the box office, opening to mixed reviews from critics. Hooper’s next film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, starred Dennis Hopper and had a budget of $4 million. The extra funding provided “Hollywood” production values in comparison to the microbudgeted original. However, the film failed to impress fans as it focused on black comedy and over the top gore instead of attempting to be genuinely scary. Nevertheless, the film now has a wide cult following. An uncut DVD version called “The Gruesome Edition” was released in October 2006 by MGM. It contains deleted scenes, a “making of” documentary, and commentary by Hooper and others.
Hooper’s film career stalled after the troubled productions at Cannon. In the late 1980s, and much of the 1990s, Hooper’s reputation as a bankable director was questioned due to the failure of the three films he made at Cannon. When combined, Hooper budgets came to a little more than $40 million, with a total box office income of $25 million. In 1989, Hooper had written a script treatment for a third Texas Chainsaw film, but never developed it further. Instead, he chose to focus on Spontaneous Combustion (1990), a thriller starring Brad Dourif. The film was shot on a budget of around $5 million, but was not successful. Hooper blamed this on constant rewrites and producer restraints. Hooper’s next film, Night Terrors (1993) was released straight to video. Hooper would end the decade with two other poorly received films, The Mangler (1995) and Crocodile (2000).
Hooper’s notable TV projects include the telefilms I’m Dangerous Tonight (1990) and The Apartment Complex (1999). He also directed pilot episodes for Freddy’s Nightmares (1988), Nowhere Man (1995) and Dark Skies (1996), and an episode of Tales from the Crypt; as well as the segment “Eye” from the TV trilogy film, John Carpenter’s Body Bags (1993).
New Line Cinema and Michael Bay remade Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Hooper served as producer on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), which became a box office success, grossing $120 million worldwide. In early 2003, Hooper himself remade a 1970s film entitled The Toolbox Murders (1978). Toolbox Murders (2004) received some of Hooper’s best critical reviews in years.
From 2005-2006, Showtime aired the Mick Garris-produced series, Masters of Horror. Hooper directed two episodes, Dance of the Dead (2005) and The Damned Thing (2006). The series allowed Hooper and other directors “final cut” approval, which meant freedom from interference by producers.
Hooper has a new movie, ‘Djinn‘ set for release sometime this year, however it seems to be tied up in ‘production hell’ due to its controversial subject matter in the Middle East. Also, coming soon is ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D’ directed by John Luessenhop and written by Debra Sullivan and Adam Marcus, with later drafts by Kirsten Elms and Luessenhop. It is the seventh film in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise and is a sequel to the 1974 original film, immediately picking up where it left off. Filming began in late July 2011 and is due for release October 2011.
Tobe Hooper – Part 1
Tobe Hooper (born January 25, 1943) is an American film director and screenwriter, best known for his work in the horror film genre. His works include the cult classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), along with its first sequel, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986); the three-time Emmy-nominated Stephen King film adaptation Salem’s Lot (1979); and the three-time Academy Award-nominated, Steven Spielberg-produced Poltergeist (1982).
Hooper was born in Austin, Texas, the son of Lois Belle (née Crosby) and Norman William Ray Hooper, who owned a theater in San Angelo. He first became interested in filmmaking when he used his father’s 8 mm camera at age 9. Hooper took Radio-Television-Film classes at the University of Texas at Austin and studied drama in Dallas under Baruch Lumet.
Hooper spent the 1960s as a college professor and documentary cameraman. His short film The Heisters (1965) was invited to be entered in the short subject category for an Oscar, but was not finished in time for the competition that year. In 1969, Hooper co-wrote and directed Eggshells, a film about a group of hippies in a commune house having to deal with the presence of a possible supernatural force. Eggshells did not receive a theatrical release, but did win Hooper several awards, including the Atlanta Film Festival Award, when the film played around different colleges. Hooper had shot over 60 documentaries, commercials, and short films before making The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
In 1974, he organized a small cast composed of college teachers and students, and with Kim Henkel, on a budget of $60,000 (which eventually rose to $70,000, though some reports say up to $120,000) made The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Hooper claims to have come up with the idea for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre while standing in the hardware section of a crowded store. While thinking of a way to get through the crowd, he spotted chainsaws for sale. However the origins have always been linked to stories surrounding notorious serial killer Ed Gein. The highly successful film changed the horror film industry and landed Hooper in Hollywood. Media reports of audiences throwing up and storming out of theaters showing the film swept the nation. Hooper wanted an MPAA PG rating for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, as there was no PG-13 at the time. Despite having no sex or sexual situations, no drug use, no hard profanity, and a low level of graphic violence, the film received an R rating. The MPAA cited the film’s intense tone as reason enough to issue the R rating.
Hooper was hired by Marty Rustam to direct his first Hollywood film, Eaten Alive (1977). Hooper and Henkel re-wrote most of Rustam and Alvin Fast’s script to fit their own desires. Eaten Alive starred Mel Ferrer, Carolyn Jones, William Finley, and Marilyn Burns, who played the lead role in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Some critics noted that Hooper tried to recreate Chainsaw, but did not succeed in terms of intensity. The main reason for this was that Hooper felt the producers were compromising his vision by exerting control over the film. As a result of this, Hooper left the set with three weeks of principal photography remaining. After Hooper’s departure, Carolyn Jones, and the editor, Michael Brown, reportedly finished directing the final weeks of the film.
Richard Kobritz, producer of the suspenseful and acclaimed John Carpenter telefilm, Someone’s Watching Me! (1978), handpicked Hooper to direct an adaptation of Stephen King’s vampire novel ‘Salem’s Lot. The novel had been a bestseller and had been in development for some time, with Hooper briefly attached under producer William Friedkin’s supervision in 1977. Salem’s Lot (1979) became Hooper’s most polished and mainstream film to date. The telefilm was well-received by critics and fans alike, and is generally thought of as a genre classic.
In 1981, Hooper directed the film, The Funhouse. The story involved four teenage friends who decide to spend the night in the funhouse of a sleazy traveling carnival. The film opened to modest box office receipts and received mainly positive reviews. Hooper had a shooting schedule similar in length to Salem’s Lot, but nowhere near the same budget. One of the most praised aspects of the film was its visually stylish cinematography.
In 1982, Hooper directed Poltergeist for MGM, with Steven Spielberg serving as co-writer with Michael Grais and Mark Victor, and co-producer with Frank Marshall. It quickly became one of the top ten highest grossing films of the year. In addition to this, Hooper was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Director. As a result of the film’s critical and commercial success, it seemed that Hooper would be propelled into Hollywood’s A-list of directors. However, some industry insiders in Hollywood viewed the film as more of a Spielberg-directed film than a Hooper-directed film, despite Hooper’s claims that he directed the film and did “half the storyboards himself”.
Redd Inc – Trailer
[box] office horror! The real horror of the 21st century is being chained to an office job with inhumane policies and practices. Like DAWN OF THE DEAD held up a mirror to the mindless congregation of brain-dead people trudging to giant malls on weekends to wander round and waste money being thoughtless consumers, REDD INC will reflect the 21st century workplace ethic of working remotely and with wi-fi – no more to be chained to a desk with a dictator-boss cracking a whip. About time!
Coming soon, full 2 part interview with Jonathon Green (writer/producer), Anthony O’Connor (writer), Sandy Stevens (producer) and Daniel Krige (director). Until then, check out the trailer.
The Last Exorcism… wasn’t, there’s more!
Production is set to begin on the sequel to horror hit The Last Exorcism next month in New Orleans. Ed Gass-Donnelly, whose credits include This Beautiful City and Small Town Murder Songs, will direct the R-rated follow-up to the 2010 PG-13 pic that grossed $70 million worldwide on a budget of $1.5 million. Star Ashley Bell is returning to reprise her role as Nell Sweetzer for the Damien Chazelle-penned film. As with the original, Eli Roth is producing with Eric Newman, Marc Abraham and Tom Bliss.
The original picture centered on a charlatan exorcist facing a crisis of conscience who invites a documentary crew on his final exorcism where he comes across the possessed Nell. I’ve been told the sequel will pick up three months after that film left off, although further story details are being kept under wraps. Delivery is expected for late 2012.
Roth says he’s “very, very excited to continue to this story. Obviously with the title of the first one we had not planned on a sequel, but we love the story and subject matter and had what we feel is an inspired idea to continue it. As you can see from other recent films, fans around the world are fascinated by this subject matter, and we want to go deeper and darker this time. The first film worked great as a PG-13 psychological film, but now we want to go R-rated and show the true horror of what this subject matter offers. The biggest creative challenge will be coming up with the right title!” Newman says, “On behalf of the producing team, we are excited to put the next installment of Nell’s story in the capable hands of Ed Gass-Donnelly. His naturalistic style and performance-based filmmaking make him the perfect choice.” Studiocanal EVP of international distribution, Harold Van Lier, adds, “We are horrified to bring to the marketplace the eagerly awaited sequel to our 2010 worldwide hit. This much bigger scale movie will unravel a profoundly scarier chapter to Nell’s battle between good and evil. God have mercy.” Courtesy of DEADLINE
Rutger Oelsen Hauer (born 23 January 1944) is a Dutch stage, television and film actor. His career began in 1969 with the title role in the popular Dutch television series ‘Floris’, directed by Paul Verhoeven. His film credits include ‘Nighthawks’, ‘Blade Runner’, ‘Flesh + Blood’, ‘Blind Fury’, ‘The Hitcher’, ‘Ladyhawke’, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, ‘Batman Begins’, ‘Confessions of a Dangerous Mind’, ‘Sin City’, ‘The Rite’ and ‘Hobo with a Shotgun’.
Hauer made his American debut in the Sylvester Stallone vehicle ‘Nighthawks’ (1981), cast as a psychopathic and cold-blooded terrorist named “Wulfgar”. The following year, he appeared in arguably his most famous and acclaimed role as the eccentric, violent, yet sympathetic replicant Roy Batty in Ridley Scott’s 1982 science fiction thriller, ‘Blade Runner’.
Hauer went on to play the adventurer courting Gene Hackman’s daughter (Theresa Russell) in Nicholas Roeg‘s poorly received ‘Eureka’ (1983); the investigative reporter opposite John Hurt in Sam Peckinpah’s ‘The Osterman Weekend’ (1983); the hardened mercenary Martin in ‘Flesh & Blood’ (1985): and the knight paired with Michelle Pfeiffer in ‘Ladyhawke’ (1985).
He made an impression on audiences, myself included, I saw it 3 times, in ‘The Hitcher’ (1986), in which he was the mysterious Hitchhiker intent on murdering C. Thomas Howell’s lone motorist and anyone else who crossed his path. At the height of Hauer’s fame, he was even set to be cast as Robocop in the film directed by old friend Verhoeven, although the role ultimately went to American method actor Peter Weller.
n the late 1980s and 1990s, as well as in 2000, Hauer acted in several British and American television productions, including ‘Inside the Third Reich’ (as Albert Speer); ‘Escape from Sobibor’ (for which he received a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor); ‘Fatherland; ‘Hostile Waters’ ; ‘Merlin’; ‘Smallville’; ‘Alias’, and ‘Salem’s Lot’.
Hauer played an assassin in ‘Confessions of a Dangerous Mind’ (2003), a villainous cardinal with influential power in ‘Sin City’ (2005) and a devious corporate executive running Wayne Enterprises in ‘Batman Begins’ (2005).
Some screenings of Grindhouse (mainly in Canada) also featured a fake trailer for a film titled Hobo with a Shotgun. The trailer, created by filmmakers Jason Eisener, John Davies, and Rob Cotterill, won Robert Rodriguez’s South by Southwest Grindhouse trailers contest. In the trailer, a vagabond with a 20-gauge shotgun becomes a vigilante; he is shown killing numerous persons, ranging from armed robbers to corrupt cops to a pedophilic Santa Claus. In 2010, the trailer was made into a full length feature film starring Rutger Hauer as the hobo. Hobo With a Shotgun was the second of Grindhouse‘s fake trailers to be turned into a feature film, the first being Robert Rodriquez hit ‘Machete’.
On March 4, 2011, it was announced that Hauer would play vampire hunter, Van Helsing in legendary horror director Dario Argento‘s new version of the vampire legend in ‘Dracula 3D‘. Scheduled for release sometime in 2011.
From the director of Paranormal Activity, Oren Peli, and executive producer, Steven Spielberg, comes a suspenseful drama series about an explorer who goes missing and the attempt made by his wife, son and others to track him down. The River will premiere this February 7th 2012 on ABC.
666 Park Avenue
ABC has given the green light to 666 Park Ave, a drama pilot from writer David Wilcox (Fringe), Warner Bros. TV and Alloy Entertainment. Based on Alloy’s book series by Gabriella Pierce, the show is set up at a historic apartment buildings in New York City and centers on a young couple who become its managers. They unwittingly begin to experience supernatural occurrences, which complicate and endanger the lives of everyone in the residence.
Wilcox is executive producing 666 Park Ave with Leslie Morgenstein and Gina Girolamo. Wilcox most recently served as a co-executive producer on Fox’s Fringe. He previously held the same position on ABC’s Life On Mars and NBC’s Law & Order.
Your Face on Stephen King’s New Book
With the help of mosaic design technologies, Hodder & Stoughton are offering thousands of readers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have their photo featured in the jacket artwork for Stephen King’s new novel The Wind through the Keyhole. To find out how you can become part of this once in a lifetime opportunity Visit their Facebook page through this link for details.
David Keith Lynch (born January 20, 1946) is an American filmmaker, television director, visual artist, musician and occasional actor. Known for his surrealist films, he has developed his own unique cinematic style, which has been dubbed “Lynchian”, and which is characterized by its dream imagery and meticulous sound design. The surreal, and in many cases violent, elements to his films have earned them the reputation that they “disturb, offend or mystify” their audiences.
Born to a middle class family in Missoula, Montana, Lynch spent his childhood traveling around the United States, before going on to study painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, where he first made the transition to producing short films. Deciding to devote himself more fully to this medium, he moved to Los Angeles, where he produced his first motion picture, the surrealist horror ‘Eraserhead’ (1977). After Eraserhead became a cult classic on the midnight movie circuit, Lynch was employed to direct ‘The Elephant Man’ (1980), from which he gained mainstream success. Then being employed by the De Laurentis Entertainment Group, he proceeded to make two films: the science-fiction epic ‘Dune’ (1984), which proved to be a critical and commercial failure, and then a neo-noir crime film, ‘Blue Velvet’ (1986), which was highly critically acclaimed, not least for the maniacal Dennis Hopper character Frank.
Proceeding to create his own television series with Mark Frost, the highly popular murder mystery ‘Twin Peaks’ (1990–1992), he also created a cinematic prequel, ‘Fire Walk With Me’ (1992): a road movie, ‘Wild at Heart’ (1990) and a family film, ‘The Straight Story’ (1999), in the same period. Turning further towards surrealist filmmaking, three of his following films worked on “dream logic” non-linear narrative structures, ‘Lost Highway’ (1997), ‘Mulholland Drive’ (2001) and ‘Inland Empire’ (2006). Meanwhile, Lynch proceeded to embrace the internet as a medium, producing several web-based shows, such as the animation ‘Dumbland’ (2002) and the surreal sitcom ‘Rabbits’ (2002).
In the course of his career, Lynch has received three Academy Award nominations for Best Director, and a nomination for best screenplay. Lynch has twice won France’s Cesar Award for Best Foreign Film, as well as the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and a Golden Lion award for lifetime achievement at the Venice Film Festival. The French government awarded him the Legion of Honor, the country’s top civilian honor, as a Chevalierin 2002 and then an Officier in 2007, while that same year, The Guardian described Lynch as “the most important director of this era”. Allmovie called him “the Renaissance man of modern American filmmaking”,whilst the success of his films have led to him being labelled “the first popular Surrealist.”
Colin Clive (20 January 1900, Saint-Malo, Ille-et-Vilaine, France – 25 June 1937) was an English stage and screen actor best remembered for his portrayal of Dr. Frankenstein in James Whale’s two Universal Frankenstein films ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Bride of Frankenstein’.
Clive was born in France, to an English colonel, and he attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where an injured knee disqualified him from military service and contributed to his becoming a stage actor. Clive first worked with James Whale in the Savoy Theatre production of Journey’s End and subsequently joined the British community in Hollywood in the 1930s, repeating his stage role in the 1930 film version of ‘Journey’s End’, which was also directed by Whale.
Although Colin Clive made only three horror films, Whale’s two Frankenstein movies and Mad Love (1935), he is widely regarded as one of the essential stars of the genre by many film buffs. His portrayal of mad Dr. Frankenstein has proved inspiration and a launching pad for scores of other mad scientist performances in films over the years. In the film, the character is renamed Henry Frankenstein (a later film shows his tombstone bearing the name “Heinrich”) and he played opposite British actor Boris Karloff as the Creature. Clive reprised his role in the superior 1935 sequel, ‘Bride of Frankenstein’, which reunited Clive, Whale and Karloff, as well as first giving Frankenstein the official title of Baron.
Clive was also an in-demand leading man for a number of major film actresses of the era, including Katherine Hepburn, Bette Davis, and Jean Arthur. He also starred as Edward Rochester in a 1934 adaptation of ‘Jane Eyre’ opposite Virginia Bruce. He was related to Clive of India and appeared in a featured role in a film biography of his relative in 1935.
From June 1929 until his death, Clive was married to actress Jeanne de Casalis. Although she worked in films and on stage, her greatest success was as a comedienne on radio sitcoms in England. De Casalis did not accompany her husband to Hollywood. There has been speculation that de Casalis was a lesbian and Clive either gay or bisexual, and their marriage was one of convenience. David Lewis, the longtime companion of Clive’s frequent director James Whale, flatly states that Clive was not gay.
Colin Clive suffered from severe chronic alcoholism and died from complications of tuberculosis in 1937 at age 37. Clive’s alcoholism was very much apparent to his co-stars, as he was often seen napping on set and sometimes was so intoxicated that he had to be held upright for over-the-shoulder shots. Not only did his ailment contribute to his ultimate demise, it also mentally took its toll. But Clive was also tormented by the medical threat of amputating his long-damaged leg. It was a final demon to taunt this brilliant, sad, young actor before his death.
Forrest J. Ackerman recalls visiting Clive’s body in the funeral parlour. “As I recall, he had a dressing gown on and he was calmly lying there. And he looked very much like that scene in Bride“. Over 300 mourners turned out for the lonely soul that died alone. One of the pallbearers was former co-star Peter Lorre.
His cenotaph is located at Chapel of Pines Crematory, but his ashes were scattered at sea in 1978 after they spent over 40 years unclaimed in the basement of the funeral parlor where his body was brought after his death.
Here’s the first image from Warm Bodies, from 50/50 and The Wackness director Jonathan Levine.
Scheduled for release on August 10.
When a highly unusual zombie rescues a girl from imminent death at the hands of his cohorts, their unlikely romance sets in motion a chain of events that will transform him, his fellow dead and maybe even the whole lifeless world.
Dracula – Poster Art
Another fantastic poster from Mondo. Martin Ansin continues the Universal Monsters series with his interpretation of the 1931 film Dracula. Already sold out… missed out again.
Universal Monsters – the 40’s and 50’s.
During the forties, the most successful of the new series of Universal Horror movies was ‘The Wolf Man’ (1941), which also established Lon Chaney, Jr., as the new leading horror actor for the studio, following in his father’s foot steps.
In 1943, the studio created a remake of ‘Phantom of the Opera’, this time starring Nelson Eddy and Susanna Foster in a film that was as much musical as horror. Claude Rains played the Phantom.
The Frankenstein and Wolf Man series continued with ‘The Ghost of Frankenstein’ (1942) and ‘Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man’ (1943) while ‘Son of Dracula’ (1943) featured Lon Chaney, Jr. as the Count. The Mummy, too, continued to rise from the grave in ‘The Mummy’s Hand’ (1940) and ‘The Mummy’s Tomb’ (1942). Eventually, all of Universal’s monsters, except the Mummy and Invisible Man, would be brought together in ‘House of Frankenstein’ (1944) and ‘House of Dracula’ (1945), where Dracula was played by John Carradine. As the decade drew to a close the comedy ‘Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein’ (1948) proved an instant hit for the studio, with Bela Lugosi starring alongside Lon Chaney, Jr. as Larry Talbot (the Wolf Man), and Glenn Strange as Frankenstein’s monster.
With the success of ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon’ (directed by Jack Arnold in 1954) the revived “Universal Horror” franchise would gain a whole new generation of fans.
The original movies such as Dracula and Frankenstein were re-released as double features in many theatres, before eventually premiering on syndicated American television in 1957 (as part of the famous Shock Theater package of Universal Monster Movies).
Soon dedicated magazines such as Famous Monsters in Filmland would help propel these movies into lasting infamy.
Carl Laemmle (January 17, 1867 – September 24, 1939), born in Laupheim, Wurttemberg, Germany, was a pioneer in American film making and a founder of one of the original major Hollywood movie studios – Universal. Laemmle produced or was otherwise involved in over four hundred films.
Regarded as one of the most important of the early film pioneers, Laemmle was born on the Radstrasse just outside the former Jewish quarter of Laupheim. He emigrated to the US in 1884, working in Chicago as a bookkeeper or office manager for 20 years. He began buying nickelodeons, eventually expanding into a film distribution service, the Laemmle Film Service.
On June 8, 1912, in New York, Carl Laemmle of IMP, Pat Powers of Powers Picture Company, Mark Dintenfass of Champion Films, and Bill Swanson of American Eclair all signed a contract to merge their studios. The four founded the Universal Motion Picture Manufacturing Company in 1914, and established the studio on 235 acres (0.95 km2) of land in the San Fernando Valley, California.
Universal became known as the most paternalistic of all the Hollywood studios. Virtually all of “Uncle” Carl’s relatives (including his son, Carl Jr., and his vastly more talented nephew, William Wyler were employed there). The studio enjoyed enormous hits during the 1920’s, especially Lon Chaney’s ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ (1923/I) and ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ (1925) before the actor was lured away to MGM.
Lacking a theater network, Universal concentrated on independent rural theatrical houses, offering affordable exhibitor’s packages which allowed them to change bills numerous times per week. This marketing strategy largely concentrated on product that would appeal to rural theaters through 1930. During the 1920’s Europe also became a major source of revenue, with Universal actively involved in co-productions overseas. Sound productions became the norm by 1929 and Universal responded by increasing the number of quality productions, scoring it’s first Academy Award for Best Picture with ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ (1930) the following year.
However, for me, it will always be synonymous with horror. Universal Monsters or Universal Horror is the name given to a series of distinctive horror, suspense and science fiction films made by Universal Studios from 1923 to 1960. The series began with the aforementioned 1923 version of ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’, and continued with such movies as ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, ‘Dracula’, ‘Frankenstein’, ‘The Mummy’, ‘The Invisible Man’, ‘Bride of Frankenstein’, ‘Werewolf of London’, ‘Son of Frankenstein’, ‘The Wolfman’, and ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon’. The iconic gallery of monsters created by Universal has created a lasting impression on generations of avid moviegoers around the world.
In spite of the Great Depression, executive Carl Laemmle Jr produced massive successes for the studio in 1931 with the legendary Dracula (directed by Tod Browning) and Frankenstein (directed by James Whale). The success of these two movies launched the careers of Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, and ushered in a whole new genre of American cinema. With Universal at the forefront, film makers would continue to build on their success with an entire series of monster movies. These films also provided steady work for a number of genre actors including Lionel Atwill, Dwight Frye, Edward Van Sloan, and John Carradine. Other regular talents involved were make-up artists Jack Pierce and Bud Westmore, and composers Hans J. Salter and Frank Skinner. Many of the horror genre’s most well-known conventions—the creaking staircase, the cobwebs, the swirling mist and the mobs of peasants pursuing monsters with torches—originated from these films and those that followed.
The Mummy was produced in 1932, followed by a trilogy of films based on the tales of Edgar Allan Poe: ‘Murders in the Rue Morgue’ (1932), The Black Cat’ (1934) and ‘The Raven’ (1935), the latter two of which teamed up Lugosi with Karloff. ‘The Invisible Man’, released in 1933, was a phenomenal hit and would spawn several sequels. Of all the Universal monsters, the most successful and sequelized was undoubtedly the Frankenstein series, which continued with ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ (1935). Althugh Dracula too had its share of sequels, beginning with ‘Dracula’s Daughter’ in 1936.
1936 also marked the end of Universal’s first run of horror films as the Laemmles were forced out of the studio after financial difficulties and a series of box office flops. The monster movies were dropped from the production schedule altogether and wouldn’t re-emerge for another three years. In the meantime the original movies were re-released to surprising success, forcing the new executives to give the go-ahead to ‘Son of Frankenstein’ (1939) starring Basil Rathbone.
Following his death from cardiovascular disease on September 24, 1939, in Beverly Hills, California, at the age of 72, Laemmle was entombed in the Chapel Mausoleum at Home of Peace Cemetary.