Victor Frankenstein is a clever and industrious 10-year-old boy who is inspired by science. He lives with his parents and dog, Sparky, in the town of New Holland. Victor immerses himself in making films and inventing in his attic workshop. When Sparky dies in a car accident, Victor uses scientific ingenuity to bring him back to life.
Check out these fantastic ‘old school Hollywood’ stills of Victor, Sparky, Mr and Mrs Frankenstein, Elsa Van Helsing, Elsa’s dog Persehone , Bob, Bob’s Mum and Toshiaki, the over-achieving and mega-competitive foil to Victor. He delights in beating Victor at his own game and like a power-hungry, mad scientist, Toshiaki will stop at nothing to win the top prize in the school’s science fair—even if it means stealing Victor’s ideas to do it.
From creative genius Tim Burton (“Alice in Wonderland,” The Nightmare Before Christmas”) comes “Frankenweenie,” a heartwarming tale about a boy and his dog. After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life–with just a few minor adjustments. He tries to hide his home-sewn creation, but when Sparky gets out, Victor’s fellow students, teachers and the entire town all learn that getting a new “leash on life” can be monstrous.
Adapted from his own, early live action short this has been a passion project of Burton’s for years and it shows in the attention to detail. The project reunites the director with many talents he’s worked with in the past, including actors Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, and Winona Ryder, as well as writer John August. The animation work looks fantastic and the cast of characters very fun indeed.
You should see Cabin in the Woods before you read this review; see it before seeing the trailer, which gives away far too much. The main problem of course is that it has been difficult for most people to see the movie at all. Bankrupt studios, lawyers, delayed release dates and a seemingly difficult movie to market; the Cabin in the Woods has had a troubled time over the last couple of years.
It beggars belief that this film hasn’t been championed by the studio or distributors, it was only due to an online campaign that we finally got to see it in the cinemas here in Australia, over a year late!
The premise is a seemingly simple one, five college students jump in a camper van and head out to distant cousins Cabin in the Woods, not an entirely unfamiliar scenario in the horror film genre. The students are Dana (Kristen Connelly), her best friend Jules (Anna Hutchison), Jules’ boyfriend Curt (Chris Hemsworth), his friend Holden (Jesse Williams) and stoner dropout Marty (Fran Kranz).
They are not your typical stereotypes, initially at least; however, their personalities change soon after they arrive at the cabin. A few beers and a game of ‘truth or dare’ lead them into the basement where they encounter a plethora of odd artifacts. What could possibly go wrong?
Sitterson (Richard Jenkins) and Hadley (Bradley Whitford), the two guys watching them on closed-circuit TV, and apparently manipulating their surroundings seem more than willing to ensure that a lot will go wrong for these kids…
To say anything more would only ruin the surprise and lessen the impact of what is so far the best movie of the year.
Written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, the script is exceptional; it’s smart, fun and filled with tension. An obvious love and deep knowledge of the genre has been poured into almost every scene and it pays off for horror fans of all sub-genres. Filled with references to horror films of all eras, with a particular focus on the classic 80’s period, most notably The Evil Dead, this movie is destined to be a drinking game staple for years to come.
The script is filled with fantastic dialogue and some excellent jokes, all of which are delivered by a solid cast, with a special mention of Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford who are particularly good.
I was never a massive fan of Buffy or Firefly, however Whedon has surpassed those efforts this year with this film and some other super hero flick that has done quite well recently. Drew Goddard has done a great job bringing all the elements together, paying homage to many the films referenced.
As a horror film it’s not really very frightening and it loses it’s way slightly towards the end, however, as a horror-comedy, it’s up there with the very best. No spoilers here, if you like horror, see it at any cost, if you love horror you’ll want to own it as soon as possible.
Quality: 5 out of 5 stars
Any Good: 4 out of 5 stars (It would have been 5 with a few more scares)
Isabelle Yasmine Adjani (born 27 June 1955) is a French film actress and singer. Adjani has appeared in 30 films since 1970. She holds the record for most César Awards for Best Actress with five, for Possession (1981), One Deadly Summer (1983), Camille Claudel (1988), Queen Margot (1994) and Skirt Day (2009). She was also given a double Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Award in 1981 and a Berlin Film Festival Best Actress Award in 1989. She also received two Academy Award nominations for Best Actress. She performs in French, English and German.
No stranger to dark roles in some of European cinema’s finest thrillers including The Tenant (1976), Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979), the aforementioned Possession (1981) and One Deadly Summer (1983), Mortelle Randonnée (1983), and Diabolique (1996) an American remake of the French classic Les Diaboliques (1955).
Peter Lorre (26 June 1904 – 23 March 1964) was an Austrian-American actor frequently typecast as a sinister foreigner. He caused an international sensation with his portrayal of a serial killer who preys on little girls in the classic Fritz Lang film M (1931). Later he became a popular featured player in Hollywood crime films and mysteries, in particular with Humphrey Bogart and Sydney Greenstreet, and as the star of the successful Mr Moto detective series.
Lorre was born László Löwenstein on 26 June 1904, as the first child of Jewish couple Alajos Löwenstein and Elvira Freischberger, in the Austrian-Hungarian town of Ružomberok in what is now Slovakia, then known by its Hungarian name Rózsahegy. At the outbreak of the Second Balkan War in 1913, Alajos moved the family to Vienna.
Lorre began acting on stage in Vienna at the age of 17, before moving to the then German town of Breslau, and later to Zürich in Switzerland. In the late 1920s, the young and short (165 cm (5 ft 5 in)) actor moved to Berlin, where he worked with German playwright Bertolt Brecht.
The actor became much more widely known after director Fritz Lang cast him as a child killer in the film M (1931).
M – Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder is a 1931 German drama directed by and also written by Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou and was Lang’s first sound film, although he had directed more than a dozen films previously. Peter Lorre played Hans Beckert, the child killer, it was Lorre’s first major starring role, and it boosted his career, even though he was typecast as a villain for many years after.
M is supposedly based on the real-life case of serial killer Peter Kürten, the “Vampire of Düsseldorf”, whose crimes took place in the 1920s, although Lang denied that he drew from this case. “At the time I decided to use the subject matter of M there were many serial killers terrorizing Germany — Haarmann, Grossmann, Kürten, Denke,” Lang told film historian Gero Gandert in a 1963 interview.
Lorre’s character whistles the tune “In the Hall of the Mountain King” from Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No. 1. However, Peter Lorre himself could not whistle – it is actually Lang who is heard. The film was one of the first to use a lietmotif, associating “In the Hall of the Mountain King” with the Lorre character. Later in the film, the mere sound of the song lets the audience know that he is nearby, off-screen. This association of a musical theme with a particular character or situation, a technique borrowed from opera, is now a film staple. The film has become a classic which Lang himself considered his finest work.
When the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, Lorre took refuge first in Paris and then London, where he was noticed by Ivor Montagu, Alfred Hitchcock’s associate producer for The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934). They first considered him to play the assassin in the film, but wanted to use him in a larger role, despite his limited command of English, which Lorre overcame by learning much of his part phonetically. He also was featured in Hitchcock’s Secret Agent (1936).
Eventually, Lorre went to Hollywood, where he specialized in playing sinister foreigners. He starred in a series of Mr. Moto movies, a parallel to the better known Charlie Chan series. He was awesome in Mad Love (1935), where he played an insane surgeon whose obsession with an actress leads him to replace her wounded pianist’s hands with the hands of a knife murderer which still have the urge to throw knives.
In 1939, he was picked to play the role that would eventually go to Basil Rathbone in Son of Frankenstein; Lorre had to decline the part due to illness. In 1940, Lorre co-starred with fellow horror actors Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff in the movie You’ll Find Out.
Lorre played the role of Joel Cairo in The Maltese Falcon (1941) and portrayed the character Ugarte in Casablanca (1942). Lorre made nine movies altogether with Sydney Greenstreet counting The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca, most of them variations on the latter film, including Background to Danger (1943); Passage to Marseille (1944); The Mask of Dimitrios (1944); The Conspirators (1944); Hollywood Canteen (1944); Three Strangers (1946), and The Verdict (1946), director Don Siegel’s first movie, with Greenstreet and Lorre finally billed first and second, respectively. Lorre also branched out (without Greenstreet) into comedy with the role of Dr. Einstein in Arsenic and Old Lace, filmed by director Frank Capra in 1941, released in 1944.
After World War II, Lorre’s acting career in Hollywood experienced a downturn, whereupon he concentrated on radio and stage work. In Germany he co-wrote, directed and starred in Der Velorene (The Lost One) (1951), a critically acclaimed art film in the film noir style. He then returned to the United States where he appeared as a character actor in television and feature films, often spoofing his ‘creepy;’ image.
In 1954, he was the first actor to play a James Bond villain when he portrayed Le Chiffre in a television adaptation of Casino Royale. Also in 1954, Lorre starred alongside Kirk Douglas and James Mason in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. He had minor roles in a few forgettable movies thereafter, his last notable appearance being The Raven (1963), a horror comedy produced and directed by Roger Corman. The film stars Vincent Price, Boris Karloff and Lorre as a trio of rival sorcerers. It is the fifth film in the series of eight Edgar Allan Poe adaptations produced by Corman. He co-starred in another comedy horror with Vincent Price, Boris Karloff and Basil Rathbone, The Comedy of Terrors (1964).
He died in 1964 of a stroke. Lorre’s body was cremated and his ashes interred at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood. Vincent Price read the eulogy at his funeral.
What’s the point of the Emmys..? Apart from those awful shows backslapping each other on their ‘achievements’ in whatever category they’ve put together to exclude quality TV (cable) and award themselves a bunch of meaningless awards. However, around this awards season we get a few good interviews and promos for forthcoming quality TV shows (cable). Below is one with Jessica Lange discussing American Horror Story: Season 2. Courtesy of DEADLINE
Constance Langdon is not a neighbor you want to borrow a cup of sugar from, and you most definitely should beware when she comes bearing home-baked gifts (or, for that matter, “sweet breads”). And yet as portrayed by Jessica Lange, who came into American Horror Story with two Oscars and an Emmy on her mantel, the Harmon family’s oft unwelcome visitor did not repel, she but regaled us. Thus far, Lange has netted a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe for her first venture into series television — might another Emmy make her housewarming complete?
AWARDSLINE: When you first started seeing the American Horror Storyscripts, did you suspect the role of Constance could be Emmy-worthy?
LANGE: I didn’t really know what to think. We were shooting really fast, so I don’t think anybody was thinking about the outcome as much as the process of getting through it. This was the first time I’d ever done this kind of television — a miniseries — and not being all that familiar with the world of TV, I didn’t have any frame of reference. So when the performances started getting recognition, yes, it did kind of surprise me. I mean, I knew how good the writing was, and I knew there was a great deal that I could do with it — it’s a big character with a huge range of emotions.
AWARDSLINE: Given how dicey the subject matter could get, how did you find the humanity amidst of all this surreality?
LANGE: I just paid attention to creating this character and playing her as absolutely real as I could, in the context of all this other stuff. I really didn’t think in terms of the overall sweep of the piece, or the tone of it.
AWARDSLINE: Because of the intensity of the material, was it a particularly galvanizing experience for the cast?
LANGE: I can’t speak for the others, but I know that for me there were moments where it was like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe that they’ve written this!’ [Laughs] It’s always a leap of faith. The only thing you can think about is: What are you given to do, and how well do you do it?
AWARDSLINE: Was there a past performance of yours that informed your portrayal of Constance? Was it Queen Tamora in Titus? Maggie in TV’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof?
LANGE: Certainly there were moments where I felt that there were shades of Tennessee Williams — because she’s Southern and because it was about failed dreams and disappointment, and loneliness. Those themes crop up in a lot of Tennessee’s women — like with Blanche [in A Streetcar Named Desire] or Amanda Wingfield [The Glass Menagerie]. But that’s really where the comparison ends. Constance’s actual behavior has nothing to do with any character I’ve ever played before.
AWARDSLINE: How did doing a TV miniseries shape you as an actress?
LANGE: It shifted something profoundly, because this piece forced me to work in a way I’ve never worked before, and that was with complete immediacy — and in some odd way it was very liberating. It forced me to be extremely bold. I couldn’t approach this with any kind of trepidation, and in that way it felt expansive to me.
AWARDSLINE: Would you concede that Constance is a despicable person? Or was she coming from a place of misplaced love?
LANGE: Certainly you can look at her actions and say that she was horrendous. However, in the playing of it I had to find her humanity, and I did that through her emotion and her capacity for love. The fact that it was so twisted in many ways came out of circumstances rather than the essence of the character. What I kind of loved about her is she did not mince words. Sometimes, like when you hear her speaking to her daughter or in a scene with her son, as a mother [myself] I was like, ‘Oh my God!’ But again, there was something very enjoyable about playing someone who was no-holds-barred.
AWARDSLINE: She certainly stood out in today’s ever-PC climate.
LANGE: I thought she was kind of a throwback to another time, pre-political correctness, when people said things that would now be seen as shocking. Like some of the dames from the films in the ’30s — hard and rough-talking but honest and forthright. Yes, we had scenes where what she did was reprehensible and criminal, but there was an element to her I found very refreshing.
AWARDSLINE: With the next chapter of American Horror Story, you have the rare opportunity to create a new character. How will your insane asylum administrator differ from Constance?
LANGE: It’s a different time [set in the 1960s] first of all, and she comes from a completely different background. There’s also different geography [being set on the East Coast], and that informs a character tremendously. So without giving away too much, I think there are similarities — they both have a history, and I’m not entirely stellar! [Laughs] — but that’s probably where the paths diverge. She is very different from what I’ve played. It’s going to be another wild ride!
Joseph Hill “Joss” Whedon (born June 23, 1964) is an American screenwriter, executive producer, film and television director, comic book writer, occasional composer, and actor, as well as the founder of Mutant Enemy Productions and co-creator of Bellwether Pictures. He was, until recently, best known as the creator and showrunner of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003), Angel, (1999–2004), Firefly (2002) and less favourably Dollhouse (2009–2010), as well as the short film Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (2008).
Whedon recently co-wrote and produced the awesome horror film The Cabin in the Woods (2012), and wrote and directed the film adaptation of Marvel’s The Avengers (2012), which is now the third highest grossing film of all time.
Joss Whedon was born in New York City. He has been described as the world’s first third-generation TV writer, as he is the son of Tom Whedon, a screenwriter for The Golden Girls in the 1980s, and the grandson of John Whedon, a writer for The Donna Reed Show in the 1950s. His mother, Lee Stearns, taught history at Riverdale Country School as Lee Whedon, and was an unpublished novelist.
Following a move to Los Angeles, Whedon secured his first writing job on the television series Roseanne. After working several years as a script doctor for films, he returned to television, where he created four TV shows.
Years after having his script for the movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), produced, Whedon revived the concept as a television series of the same name. Buffy the Vampire Slayer went on to become a critical and cult hit receiving an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series in 2000. Buffy ran for seven seasons. Angel was a spin-off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, featuring Buffy’s vampire-with-a-soul ex-boyfriend as the title character. Angel debuted on The WB in September 1999 and ran for five seasons; during its first two seasons, Angel episodes were broadcast immediately following Buffy episodes.
In 2002, Whedon created the space western television series Firefly. The series was canceled after only 11 of the 14 completed episodes were aired, many out of intended order. After the cancellation, Whedon wrote the script for a Firefly movie, titled Serenity. In late 2009, Eliza Dushku, starred in Whedon’s last television show, Dollhouse, however, it too was canceled after two seasons due to low ratings.
Whedon wrote or co-wrote several films, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Toy Story, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Alien Resurrection, Titan A.E. and Captain America: The First Avenger. He was nominated (along with six other writers) for an Academy Award for Toy Story’s screenplay.
He also wrote uncredited drafts or rewrites of Speed, Waterworld, Twister and X-Men, although in interviews, Whedon disowned the latter two films. He claimed that he had a good script for Alien Resurrection, which he felt was spoiled by its director Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
He wrote and directed 2005’s Serenity, based on his television series Firefly. Serenity won the 2006 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form. Beginning in January 2006, fans (with Universal’s blessing) began organizing worldwide charity screenings called “Can’t Stop the Serenity” (CSTS), a play on a line in the film: “You can’t stop the signal”, to benefit Equality Now, a human rights organization supported by Joss Whedon. Over $500,000 has been raised for Equality Now since 2006.
Whedon wrote a horror film titled The Cabin in the Woods with Drew Goddard, which finished production in 2009. The film was produced by MGM, but once the studio went bankrupt, the film was held back. It was finally given a theatrical release on April 13, 2012 and was distributed by Lionsgate. Goddard directed the Whedon-produced film, which starred Bradley Whitford, Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, and Richard Jenkins. Best film of 2012…
In April 2010, it was confirmed that Whedon would direct The Avengers, a live-action adaptation of the Marvel comics superhero team of the same name. The film was released on May 4, 2012. To date, it had the largest opening weekend in history, with a record box office take of $207.4m, and is both the 12th film to surpass $1 Billion, and the 3rd highest grossing film of all time. The film also received considerable praise from critics, scoring an aggregate 93% positive on Rotten Tomatoes.
On October 24, 2011, Bellwether Pictures confirmed they had completed principal photography on an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play Much Ado About Nothing, which is directed and produced by Joss Whedon. It was filmed in 12 days in Santa Monica. Whedon is also the writer and executive producer of the upcoming paranormal romance film In Your Eyes, the second feature film under production by Bellwether Pictures.
Bruce Lorne Campbell (born June 22, 1958) is an American film and television actor. As a legendary, cult b-movie actor, Campbell starred as Ashley J. “Ash” Williams in Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead series of films and he has starred in many low-budget cult films such as Crimewave, Maniac Cop, Bubba Ho-tep, and Escape From L.A. He would later spoof his B-movie career in My Name is Bruce, in which he starred and directed. He has also made voice appearances in animated films, including Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Cars 2.
Bruce Campbell began acting as a teenager and soon began making short Super 8 movies with friends. After meeting Sam Raimi in Wylie E. Groves High School, the two became very good friends and started making movies together. Campbell would go on to attend Western Michigan University while he continued to work on his acting career. Campbell and Raimi collaborated on a 30-minute Super 8 version of the first Evil Dead film, titled Within the Woods, which was initially used to attract investors.
A few years later, Campbell and Raimi got together with family and friends and began work on The Evil Dead. Campbell starred and worked behind the camera, receiving a “co-executive producer” credit. Raimi wrote, directed and edited, while fellow Michigander Rob Tapert was producer. Following an endorsement by horror writer Stephen King, the film slowly began to receive distribution. Four years following its original release, it became the number one movie in the UK. It then received distribution in the U.S., spawning two sequels – Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness. The first two films in the series are considered horror classics and are credited with spawning the “horror comedy” genre.
He has appeared in many of Raimi’s films outside of the Evil Dead series, notably cameo roles in the Spider-Man film series. Bruce Campbell also joined the cast in Raimi’s Crimewave (1985), Darkman (1990) and his western, The Quick and the Dead (1995), though having no actual screen time in the latter film’s theatrical cut. He is also in the cast for Raimi’s forthcoming Oz: The Great and Powerful.
Campbell often takes on quirky roles, such as an old Elvis Presley in the film Bubba Ho-tep (2002), and starred in My Name is Bruce (2007). He is a huge horror icon due mainly to the Evil Dead franchise, Maniac Cop (1988), Intruder and The Dead Next Door (both 1989), Maniac Cop II (1990). Bigger budget Hollywood productions such as the Coen Brothers film The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), the Michael Crichton adaptation Congo (1995), the Jim Carrey drama The Majestic (2001), Escape From L.A. (1996), the sequel to John Carpenter’s Escape From New York.
In addition to acting and occasionally directing, Campbell has become a writer, including authoring an autobiography, If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor. The autobiography was a successful New York Times Best Seller. The paperback version of the book adds a chapter about the reaction of fans at book signings: “Whenever I do mainstream stuff, I think they’re pseudo-interested, but they’re still interested in seeing weirdo, offbeat stuff. And that’s what I’m attracted to.”
If Chins Could Kill… was published in 2002 and follows Campbell’s career to date as an actor in low-budget films and television, providing his insight into “Blue-Collar Hollywood”.
Campbell has also written a book titled Make Love! The Bruce Campbell Way, a comical novel featuring himself as the main character struggling to make it into the world of A-List movies. He later recorded an audio play adaptation of Make Love with fellow Michigan actors including long time collaborator Ted Raimi. This radio drama styled interpretation of the novel was released through independent label Rykodisc and spans 6 discs with a 6 hour running time.
In addition to his novels, Campbell also wrote comic book adaptations of his Man With The Screaming Brain and most recently he wrote the introduction to Josh Becker’s The Complete Guide To Low Budget Feature Film Making.
On July 13, 2011, Campbell announced that he would be producing the remake of The Evil Dead along with Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert. Campbell will not act in the movie as Ash, but may still make some sort of appearance in the film. He had previously stated in a January 2010 interview that his new film project is called Bruce vs. Frankenstein. The film is directed and produced by his friend Mike Richardson.
After bringing Hannibal to television with an upcoming NBC series, Gaumont International Television and producer Martha De Laurentiis are looking to do the same for another iconic character, Barbarella. GIT, the U.S.-based production and distribution arm of European feature studio Gaumont, is teaming with De Laurentiis and Drive director Nicolas Refn for a TV series that will be based on the character created by Jean-Claude Forest in a graphic novel and made famous in the 1968 sci-fi movie staring Jane Fonda as a sexpot tasked with finding and stopping the evil weapons inventor. Refn will direct and executive produce the series alongside De Laurentiis, whose late husband Dino produced the 1968 movie.
Refn called Barbarella “one of the ultimate counter-cultural characters.” Added GIT CEO Katie O’Connell, “We are thrilled to have secured the rights from the Forest estate and are thrilled to be pairing the bold visceral style of Nicolas Refn with the pop culture icon Barbarella.” In addition to Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal starring Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen, GIT also is producing the upcoming Eli Roth series Hemlock Grove starring Famke Janssen and Bill Skarsgard for Netflix. Gaumont is producing two of Refn’s next feature films, including Only God Forgives starring Ryan Gosling. Dino and Martha De Laurentiis originally acquired film rights to Barbarella in 2007. Dino was working on a feature Barbarella remake before his 2010 death; the project attracted a slew of directors and young actress but ultimately didn’t take flight.
Normally this kind of thing would make me groan, however I love Refn’s movies, Drive was a highlight of 2011, so… this could be good.
Robert Anthony Rodríguez (born June 20, 1968) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer, editor and musician. He shoots and produces many of his films in his native Texas and Mexico.
Rodríguez was born in San Antonio, Texas, the son of Mexican-American parents Rebecca (née Villegas), a nurse, and Cecilio G. Rodríguez, a salesman. He began his interest in film at age 11 when his father bought one of the first VCR’s, which came with a camera. Rodríguez grew up shooting action and horror short films on video, and editing on two VCRs. Finally, in the fall of 1990, his entry in a local film contest earned him a spot in the university’s film program where he made the award-winning 16 mm short Bedhead.
This short film attracted enough attention to encourage him to seriously attempt a career as a filmmaker. He went on to shoot the action flick El Mariachi in Spanish. El Mariachi, which was shot for around $7,000 with money raised by his friend Carlos Gallardo and participating in medical research studies, won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 1993. The film, originally intended for the Spanish-language low-budget home-video market, was “cleaned up” with several hundred thousand dollars before being distributed by Columbia Pictures, while still being promoted as “the movie made for $7,000”.
His next feature film was Roadracers, a 1994 made-for-television film. The film originally aired on the Showtime Network as part of their Rebel Highway series that took the titles of 1950s-era B-movies and applied them to original films starring up-and-coming actors of the 1990s and directed by established directors such as William Friedkin, Joe Dante, and Ralph Bakshi. Rodriguez was the only young director to participate in the series.
His next film and first major release was Desperado (1995), a sequel to El Mariachi starring Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek in their first American roles. Rodríguez went on to collaborate with Quentin Tarantino on Four Rooms, a 1995 anthology comedy telling four stories set in the fictional Hotel Mon Signor in Los Angeles on New Years Eve. Tim Roth stars as the main character of the frame tale; he also appears to some degree in all four stories. The movie was directed by Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell, Rodriguez and Tarantino with each of them directing one “room” of the film.
Rodriguez continued his work with Tarantino, a partnership that thrives to this day, on the vampire thriller, From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). The film was followed by two direct-to-video follow-ups, a sequel, From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money and a prequel, From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter (1999). They were both received poorly by critics. Danny Trejo is the only actor to appear in all three. Rodriguez, Tarantino and Lawrence Bender served as producers on all three movies.
He followed up with the science fiction horror film, The Faculty (1998), written by Kevin Williamson (Scream 1 and 2). Then in 2001, Rodríguez enjoyed his first $100,000,000 (USD) Hollywood hit with Spy Kids, which went on to become a 4-movie franchise. A third “mariachi” film also appeared in late 2003, Once Upon a Time in Mexico which completed the Mariachi Trilogy.
2005 was the year that he broke through to a wider market with his adaptation of the Frank Miller graphic novels series Sin City. Rodríguez insisted that Frank Miller direct the film with him because he considered the visual style of Miller’s comic art to be just as important as his own in the film. However, the Directors Guild of America would not allow it, Rodríguez chose to resign from the DGA, stating, “It was easier for me to quietly resign before shooting because otherwise I’d be forced to make compromises I was unwilling to make or set a precedent that might hurt the guild later on.” By resigning from the DGA, Rodríguez was forced to relinquish his director’s seat on the film John Carter (an lucky break!).
Sin City was a critical hit in 2005 as well as a box office success, particularly for a hyperviolent comic book adaptation that did not have name recognition comparable to the X-Men or Spider-Man. He has stated that he is interested in eventually adapting all of Miller’s Sin City comic books, and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is currently in production.
Rodríguez also released The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 2005, a superhero-kid movie intended for the same younger audiences as his Spy Kids series. However, the film was not a major success.
Rodriguez wrote and directed the film Planet Terror for the collaboration with Quentin Tarantino in their double feature Grindhouse (2007). This film was a throwback to the Grindhouse exploitation cinema of the late 6o’s and 70’s.
In 2009 he released Shorts a family comedy adventure in keeping with his Spy Kids style. In 2010 he produced Predators and directed Machete an expansion of a fake trailer Rodriguez directed for the 2007 film Grindhouse. It starred Danny Trejo as the title character. Trejo, Rodriquez’ 2nd cousin, has worked with him on Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and Spy Kids, where Trejo’s character was also known as Machete.
He operates a production company called Troublemaker Studios, formerly Los Hooligans Productions. Rodríguez not only has the unusual credits of producing, directing and writing his films, he also frequently serves as editor, director of photography, camera operator, steadicam operator, composer, production designer, visual effects supervisor, and sound editor on his films. This has earned him the nickname of “the one-man film crew.” He calls his style of making movies “Mariachi-style”
SCP – Containment Breach is a free survival horror game based on the stories of The SCP Foundation. It’s currently in alpha stage of development. FREE 31mb download available HERE.
Clark is well known for her role as Debbie Dunham in the 1973 film American Graffiti, which garnered her an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress, a character she reprised in 1979 for the sequel More American Graffiti. Her other well-known films are The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), The Big Sleep (1978), Q – The Winged Serpent (1982), Blue Thunder and Amityville 3D (both 1983), Cat’s Eye (1985), At Close Range (1986), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), Cherry Falls (2000), Zodiac (2007) and The Informant! (2009). Clark has also made guest appearances on television series including Magnum P.I., Matlock and Criminal Minds.
The Man Who Fell to Earth is a 1976 British science fiction film directed by Nicolas Roeg. The film is based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Walter Tevis, about an extraterrestrial who crash lands on Earth seeking a way to ship water to his planet, which is suffering from a severe drought. The film maintains a strong cult following for its use of surreal imagery and its performances by David Bowie (in his first starring film role), Candy Clark, and Hollywood veteran Rip Torn.
Q – The Winged Serpent (also known as Q and The Winged Serpent) ) is a 1982 horror film written and directed by Larry Cohen. The Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, the “winged serpent”, has been resurrected by a cult in modern New York City and is flying about, snatching people off the skyscrapers.
Cat’s Eye (also known as Stephen King’s Cat’s Eye) is a 1985 horror film directed by Lewis Teague and written by Stephen King. It is based on three of King’s short stories, “The Ledge”, “Quitters, Inc.”, and “General” (the first two appeared in his Night Shift story collection). The three stories are connected only by the presence of a cat traveling long distances to find a young girl in distress. The cat plays an incidental role in the first two and is a major character of the third, in which it is adopted by a little girl, Amanda (Drew Barrymore), who names him General. The cat runs afoul of the girl’s mother (Candy Clark), who believes he will harm their pet parakeet. Despite Amanda’s protests, the mother puts the cat out at night. As a consequence he is unable to protect Amanda from a malevolent troll that has also taken up residence in the house until he manages to find another way in. The troll kills the parakeet and then tries to steal Amanda’s breath, but General comes in and battles the troll.
Clark also appears in the 2009 film The Informant! as the mother of Mark Whitacre, played by Matt Damon. More character work like that would be most welcome..!
Zoe Saldana (born June 19, 1978), sometimes stylized Zoë Saldaña, is an American actress. She had her breakthrough role in the 2000 film Center Stage and the 2002 film Crossroads. She later gained prominence for her roles as Anamaria in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Uhura in the 2009 film Star Trek, and a starring role as Neytiri in James Cameron’s megahit Avatar. She has since shared lead roles in the action films The Losers (2010) and Columbiana (2011). She will return for sequels to Star Trek in 2013, and Avatar in 2016 and beyond.
“In a strange way, two of the stories that fascinate me the most are kind of related, which is Frankenstein and Pinocchio. They are both about creatures that are created and then get lost in a world they don’t understand. And they are both journeys of understanding, and journeys of evolution of the spirit. When we started working on Pinocchio we knew very clearly that we wanted to make it different in the sense that it is not just a fairy tale but a fairy tale that actually moves you and emotionally affects you. It deals with ideas that are relevant to everyone, to all mankind in a way.”
Judging from these early pre-production stills, it will be one worth waiting for…
Isabella Fiorella Elettra Giovanna Rossellini (born 18 June 1952) is an Italian actress, filmmaker, author, philanthropist, and model. Rossellini is noted for her 14-year tenure as a Lancôme model, and for her roles in films such as Blue Velvet and Death Becomes Her.
Rossellini is a daughter of Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman and Italian director Roberto Rossellini. She was born in Rome, and raised there, as well as in Paris. At 19, she went to New York, where she attended Finch College, while working as a translator and RAI television reporter. She appeared intermittently on L’altra Domenica (“The Other Sunday”), a TV show featuring Rioberto Benigni. However, she did not decide to stay full time in New York until her marriage to Martin Scorsese (1979–1982).
At the age of 28, her modeling career began, when she was photographed by Bruce Weber for British Vogue and by Bill King for American Vogue. In March 1988, an exhibition dedicated to photographs of her, called Portrait of a Woman, was held at the Musee d’Art Moderne in Paris.
Rossellini made her film debut with a brief appearance as a nun opposite her mother in the 1976 film A Matter of Time. Her first role was the 1979 film Il Prato. She did not become successful with acting until after her mother’s death in 1982, when she was cast in her first American film, White Nights (1985). However, she is probably best known for her pivotal role as the tortured nightclub singer Dorothy Vallens in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, in which she also did her own singing.
Blue Velvet (1986) American mystery written and directed by David Lynch. The film centers on college student Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan), who, returning from visiting his ill father in the hospital, comes across a human ear in a field in his hometown of Lumberton. He proceeds to investigate the ear with help from a high school student, Sandy Williams (Laura Dern), who provides him with information and leads from her father, a local police detective. Jeffrey’s investigation draws him deeper into his hometown’s seedy underworld, and sees him forming a sexual relationship with the alluring torch singer Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini), and uncovering psychotic criminal Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper), who engages in drug abuse, kidnapping, and sexual violence.
The movie exhibits elements of both film noir and surrealism. Although initially detested by some mainstream critics, the film is now widely acclaimed, and earned Lynch his second Academy Award nomination for Best Director. As an example of a director casting against the norm, Blue Velvet is also noted for re-launching Hopper’s career and for providing Rossellini with a dramatic outlet beyond the work as a fashion model and a cosmetics spokeswoman for which she had until then been known.
Some other notable film roles include her work in Cousins (1989), Wild at Heart (1990), Death Becomes Her (1992), Fearless (1993), Immortal Beloved (1994) and Infamous (2006). In 2003, Rossellini had a recurring role on the television series, Alias. She has also appeared in quite a few minor Canadian and SyFy channel productions, but nothing of the quality of that breakthrough role.
Darkness is a poem written by Lord Byron in July 1816. Byron’s poem was written during the Romantic period, during which, several events occurred which resembled (to some) the biblical signs of the apocalypse. Many authors at the time saw themselves as prophets with a duty to warn others about their impending doom. However, at the same time period, many were questioning their faith in a loving God, due to recent fossil discoveries revealing records of the deaths of entire species buried in the earth.
In the past, critics were happy to classify Darkness as a “Last Man” poem, following a general theme of end of the world scenes from the view of the last man on earth. However, recent scholarship has pointed out the poem’s lack of any single “Last Man” character. Byron also uses the hellish biblical language of the apocalypse to carry the real possibility of these events to his readers.
I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went–and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill’d into a selfish prayer for light:
And they did live by watchfires–and the thrones,
The palaces of crowned kings–the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons; cities were consum’d,
And men were gather’d round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other’s face;
Happy were those who dwelt within the eye
Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch:
A fearful hope was all the world contain’d;
Forests were set on fire–but hour by hour
They fell and faded–and the crackling trunks
Extinguish’d with a crash–and all was black.
The brows of men by the despairing light
Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits
The flashes fell upon them; some lay down
And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest
Their chins upon their clenched hands, and smil’d;
And others hurried to and fro, and fed
Their funeral piles with fuel, and look’d up
With mad disquietude on the dull sky,
The pall of a past world; and then again
With curses cast them down upon the dust,
And gnash’d their teeth and howl’d: the wild birds shriek’d
And, terrified, did flutter on the ground,
And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes
Came tame and tremulous; and vipers crawl’d
And twin’d themselves among the multitude,
Hissing, but stingless–they were slain for food.
And War, which for a moment was no more,
Did glut himself again: a meal was bought
With blood, and each sate sullenly apart
Gorging himself in gloom: no love was left;
All earth was but one thought–and that was death
Immediate and inglorious; and the pang
Of famine fed upon all entrails–men
Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh;
The meagre by the meagre were devour’d,
Even dogs assail’d their masters, all save one,
And he was faithful to a corse, and kept
The birds and beasts and famish’d men at bay,
Till hunger clung them, or the dropping dead
Lur’d their lank jaws; himself sought out no food,
But with a piteous and perpetual moan,
And a quick desolate cry, licking the hand
Which answer’d not with a caress–he died.
The crowd was famish’d by degrees; but two
Of an enormous city did survive,
And they were enemies: they met beside
The dying embers of an altar-place
Where had been heap’d a mass of holy things
For an unholy usage; they rak’d up,
And shivering scrap’d with their cold skeleton hands
The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath
Blew for a little life, and made a flame
Which was a mockery; then they lifted up
Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld
Each other’s aspects–saw, and shriek’d, and died–
Even of their mutual hideousness they died,
Unknowing who he was upon whose brow
Famine had written Fiend. The world was void,
The populous and the powerful was a lump,
Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless–
A lump of death–a chaos of hard clay.
The rivers, lakes and ocean all stood still,
And nothing stirr’d within their silent depths;
Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea,
And their masts fell down piecemeal: as they dropp’d
They slept on the abyss without a surge–
The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave,
The moon, their mistress, had expir’d before;
The winds were wither’d in the stagnant air,
And the clouds perish’d; Darkness had no need
Of aid from them–She was the Universe.
Originally called the Villa Belle Rive, Byron named it the Villa Diodati after the family that owned it. The family was distantly related to Italian translator Giovanni Diodati, uncle of Charles Diodati, the close friend of poet John Milton. Despite the presence of a plaque at the Villa heralding a supposed visit of Milton in 1638, in fact the villa was not built until 1710, long after Milton’s death.
In the summer of 1816 Lord Byron settled at the Villa Diodati by Lake Geneva, Switzerland, with his personal physician, John William Polidori. There Byron befriended the poet Percy Blysshe Shelley, and Shelley’s future wife Mary Godwin. He was also joined by Mary’s stepsister, Claire Clairmont, with whom he’d had an affair in London.
Kept indoors at the Villa Diodati by the “incessant rain” of “that wet, ungenial summer” over three days in June, the group turned to reading fantastical stories, including Fantasmagoriana (Tales of the Dead). On the 16th of June, 1816, Lord Byron read Fantasmagoriana to his four house guests, Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, Claire Clairmont, and John Polidori, and challenged that each guest write a ghost story, which culminated in Mary Shelley writing the novel Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, John Polidori writing the short story The Vampyre, the progenitor of the romantic vampire genre, and Byron writing the poem Darkness.
1816 was known as the Year Without Summer because Mount Tambora had erupted in the Dutch East Indies the previous year, casting enough ash in to the atmosphere to block out the sun and cause abnormal weather across much of north-east America and northern Europe. This pall of darkness inspired Byron to write his poem, saying he “wrote it… at Geneva, when there was a celebrated dark day, on which the fowls went to roost at noon, and the candles were lighted as at midnight”. Literary critics were initially content to classify it as a “last man” poem, telling the apocalyptic story of the last man on earth. Themes in Polidori’s tale would continue to influence Bram Stoker’s Dracula and eventually the whole vampire genre. Shelley’s Frankenstein is peerless.
The villa is featured in the film Gothic, the 1986 film directed by Ken Russell, which is a fictionalized tale based on the Shelleys’ visit with Lord Byron in Villa Diodati, the same event has also been portrayed in the films Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and Haunted Summer (1988), among others. The villa also featured in Chuck Palahniuk’s novel Haunted, where the frame plot takes place in a modern version of the Villa Diodati, and Tim Power’s novel The Stress of Her Regard has several scenes set there featuring Byron, Polidori and the Shelley’s.
In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein’s home is called “Belrive”
Wayfare Entertainment has acquired the rights to produce and finance a feature-length version of the short thrillerThe Gate from its director Matt Westrup and producer Spencer Friend. Westrup will direct the feature version, while Friend will produce with Wayfare’s Browning and Sarah Shepard. Michael Maher will be exec producer. They will soon hire a screenwriter to expand the film to feature length. The Gateis a cool mutant tale that was named one of Viewfinder’s 10 best short films of 2011 and has drawn comparisons to Alive In Joburg, the short that was expanded into District 9.
“Our plan for The Gate was to always expand and build upon the world that I conceived for the 11 minute short,” Westrup said. “Wayfare Entertainment shares our vision in taking those themes and ideas, and adapting them into a sci-fi thriller that is driven by a grounded, sophisticated plot and intriguing character arcs.”
Said Wayfare’s Ben Browning: “”We’re always looking for intelligent genre films filled with spectacle. The Gate is a daring and original work that is a perfect addition to our slate.”
Here’s the original short film in full.