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

Archive for August, 2012

Dexter – Early Cuts: All in the Family

The Showtime network has posted a new episode of Early Cuts: All in the Family, an animated web series exploring the serial killer’s early days. Michael C. Hall narrates dialogue written by Dexter producer Scott Reynolds, over striking illustrations by comic book artist David Mack. Watch the first two episodes below.

James Bond Day

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film franchise on the anniversary of Dr. No, which enjoyed its world film premiere in London on October 5, 1962, and in anticipation of the worldwide release of the 23rd James Bond adventure SKYFALL™, Albert R. Broccoli’s EON Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment announced today that October 5, 2012 will be Global James Bond Day, a day-long series of events for Bond fans around the world.

A new feature documentary from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Passion Pictures and Red Box Films, Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007, will be also be unveiled, country-specific details to follow. Directed by Stevan Riley (Fire In Babylon), Everything or Nothing focuses on three men with a shared dream – Bond producers Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman and author Ian Fleming. It’s the thrilling and inspiring narrative behind the longest running film franchise in cinema history which began in 1962.

Further worldwide events celebrating Bond’s golden anniversary include a global online and live auction charity event of 50 lots to benefit twelve charitable institutions organized by Christie´s in London (full details at, a global survey to discover the favorite Bond film by country, a film retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, a Music of Bond night in Los Angeles hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and an exhibition, “Designing 007: 50 Years of Bond Style,” at TIFF in Toronto. Leading up to Global James Bond Day, for the first time ever fans can own all 22 films in the franchise on Blu-ray Disc in one comprehensive collection with BOND 50, releasing worldwide beginning September 24. Further updates by country will be announced in due course on and facebook/JamesBond007.

Play Dead – Full Film on Vimeo

Check out the full version of Play Dead by Andres and Diego Meza-Valdes. This was the short that should have ended the ‘Zombies! Zombies! Zombies!’ night at the 2012 Fantastic Planet Horror, Sci-Fi and Fantasy Film Festival.

Play Dead (2012) FULL MOVIE from Andres and Diego Meza-Valdes on Vimeo.

Richard Attenborough

Richard Samuel Attenborough, Baron Attenborough (born 29 August 1923) is an English actor, director, producer and entrepreneur. He is the current President of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). As a film director and producer, he won two Academy Awards for Gandhi in 1982. He has also won four BAFTA Awards and three Golden Globe Awards. As an actor he is perhaps best known for his roles in Brighton Rock, The Great Escape, 10 Rillington Place and Jurassic Park. 

Attenborough was born in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, the eldest of three sons of Mary Attenborough, and Frederick Levi Attenborough; and was educated at Wyggeston Grammer School for Boys in Leicester and at RADA. He is the elder brother of naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough.

During the Second World War Attenborough served in the Royal Air Force. After initial pilot training he was seconded to the newly-formed RAF Film Unit at Pinewood Studios. He then volunteered to fly with the Film Unit and after further training, where he sustained permanent ear-damage, qualified as a sergeant, flying on several missions over Europe filming from the rear-gunners position to record the outcome of Bomber Command sorties.

Attenborough’s film career began in 1942 as a deserting sailor in In Which We Serve, a role which would help to type-cast him for many years as spivs or cowards until his breakthrough role as a psychopathic young gangster in the film of Graham Greene’s novel Brighton Rock (1947), a part that he had previously played to great acclaim at the Garrick Theatre in 1942. In the late 1950s, Attenborough formed a production company, Beaver Films, and began to build a profile as a producer.

Attenborough worked prolifically in British films for the next thirty years and in the 1950s appeared in several successful comedies. In the 1960s, he expanded his range of character roles in films such as Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964) and Guns at Batasi (1964), for which he won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor. In 1963 he appeared in the ensemble cast of The Great Escape as RAF Squadron Leader Roger Bartlett (“Big X”), the head of the escape committee. It was his first appearance in a major Hollywood film blockbuster and his most successful film up to that time. In 1967 and 1968, he won back-to-back Golden Globe Awards in the category of Best Supporting Actor, for The Sand Pebbles and Doctor Dolittle. He won another Golden Globe, for Best Director, for Gandhi in 1983.

His feature film directorial debut was the all-star screen version of the hit musical Oh! What a Lovely War (1969), and his acting appearances became more sporadic—the most notable being his exceptional portrayal of the serial killer John Christie in 10 Rillington Place (1971). He later directed two epic period films: Young Winston (1972), based on the early life of Winston Churchill, and A Bridge Too Far (1977), an all-star account of Operation Market Garden in World War II. He won the 1982 Academy Award for Best Director for his historical epic, Gandhi, a project he had been attempting to get made for many years. As the film’s producer, he also won the Academy Award for Best Picture. His most recent films as director and producer include Chaplin (1992) starring Robert Downey, Jr. as Charlie Chaplin and Shadowlands (1993), based on the relationship between C. S. Lewis and Joy Gresham. The star of the latter was Anthony Hopkins, who also appeared in four other films for Attenborough: Young WinstonA Bridge Too Far, Magic (1978) and Chaplin.

Attenborough also directed the screen version of the musical A Chorus Line (1985) and the apartheid drama Cry Freedom (1987), based on the life and death of prominent anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko.

He took no acting roles following his appearance in Otto Preminger’s version of The Human Factor (1979) until his appearance as the eccentric developer John Hammond in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (1993) and the sequel, The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997). Since then he has made the occasional appearance in supporting roles. In 2006-07 Attenborough spent time in Belfast, Northern Ireland, working on his film as director and producer, Closing the Ring, which was set in Belfast during the Second World War.

In 1967, he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). He was knighted in 1976 and in 1993 he was made a life peer as Baron Attenborough, of Richmond upon Thames. On Monday 23 April 2012 Pinewood Studios paid tribute to his body of work by naming a purpose-built film and television stage after him. The Richard Attenborough Stage has an area of 30,000 sq ft and increases stage capacity at the Studios by 7%.

Happy Birthday Jack Kirby

The Amazing Spider-Man by my (almost) 7 Year Old Son

My son went to see the Amazing Spider-Man with his aunt and cousin, so I am yet to see it. He liked the movie and wrote this review to explain the story to me… he seemed to like it as much as the other Spider-Man movies.

The Amazing Spider-Man is called the untold story, and it’s about Spider-Man starting all over again. He makes a new suit and gadgets. His gadget on his arm is like a watch on his arm that shoots webs out of it.

Spider-Man gets bad guys out of town like Batman. He has a new guy to fight called the Lizard. The lizard used to be Peter Parkers friend who is a scientist, he puts needles into mice with no arm like him; the needle makes them turn into lizards. He puts the same needle into his arm and he gets scaly skin on his arm, he rips it off and he has a new arm. But it turns him into the lizard.

Spider-Man fights Lizard on a bridge and has to save cars from falling that the Lizard is throwing off the bridge. Spider-Man also saves a kid who is in one of the cars.

That’s all I can remember. It was good fun, I liked the bit when Spider-Man shoots a web onto a bad guys penis, but the bad guy had clothes on, but it still hurt him.

Stars 5 Stars

Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown

Having inspired such writers as Stephen King and Robert Bloch, it could be argued that the forefather of modern horror fiction was H.P. Lovecraft. The influence of his Cthulhu mythos can be seen in films, games, music and pop culture in general. But what led an Old World, xenophobic gentleman to create one of literature’s most far-reaching mythologies? What attracts even the minds of 21st century to these stories of unspeakable abominations and cosmic gods? LOVECRAFT: FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN is a chronicle of the life, work and mind that created these weird tales as told by many of today’s luminaries of dark fantasy, including John Carpenter, Guillermo Del Toro, Neil Gaiman, Stuart Gordon, Caitlin Kiernan and Peter Straub.

Friends of the Astor – Update

Amazing news – the Astor, St.Kilda’s iconic cinema, will be saved! And it’s thanks to you and more than 13,000 other people who spoke out in support of this local treasure.

The Astor has just been sold to a passionate supporter, who plans to establish a trust fund to ensure that the Astor lives on.

Not long ago, it seemed the Astor’s days were numbered. St. Michael’s Grammar, the school that bought the cinema in 2007, was refusing to discuss the situation — and sources said they were planning to redevelop the historic theatre into a performing arts centre and uniform shop.

But then a group of supporters, the Friends of the Astor, decided they would not stand by and let its iconic screen be darkened for good. They started a petition on – and the support was overwhelming.

Figures like Michael Caton, Tony Martin, Sophie Lee, Stephen Curry, Rove McManus, Tracy Bartram, Adam Hills and David Stratton joined a groundswell of community support, and their campaign was covered in media from The Age to ABC.

The pressure forced St. Michael’s to quickly backtrack from their plans. And now, instead of being redeveloped, the theatre has been sold to a buyer who will safeguard its historic screen.

Friends of the Astor President Vanda Hamilton says they couldn’t have done it without you. “Thanks to you and your signature and your wonderful comments, The Astor will live! There are not enough thanks!”

It’s proof of the power of ordinary people when they stand together to change their communities for the better. Every day, people are using to do just this. If there’s something in your local community that you want to change.

Thanks to everyone who ‘signed’ the petition.

Tim Burton – Apes to Frankenweenie

Elfman and Burton reunited for Mars Attacks! (1996). Based on a popular science fiction trading card series, the film was a hybrid of 1950s science fiction and 1970s all-star disaster films. The film boasted an all-star cast, and although great fun, was a relative failure at the box-office.

Sleepy Hollow, released in late 1999, had a supernatural setting and another offbeat performance by Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane, now a detective with an interest in forensic science rather than the schoolteacher of Washington Irving’s original tale. With Hollow, Burton paid homage to the horror films of the English company Hammer Films, Christopher Lee, was given a cameo role. Mostly well received by critics, and with a special mention to Elfman’s Gothic score, the film won an Academy Award for Best Art Direction, as well as two BAFTA’s for Best Costume Design and Best Production Design. A box office success, Sleepy Hollow was also a turning point for Burton, he changed radically in style for his next project, leaving the haunted forests and colorful outcasts behind to go on to directing Planet of the Apes which, as Burton had repeatedly noted, was “not a remake” of the earlier film.

Planet of the Apes was a commercial success, grossing $68 million in its opening weekend. The film has received mixed reviews and is widely considered inferior to the first adaptation of the novel. In 2003, Burton directed Big Fish, based on the novel by Daniel Wallace. The film is about a father telling the story of his life to his son using exaggeration and color.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) is an adaptation of the book of the same name by Roald Dahl. Starring Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka, the film generally took a more faithful approach to the source material than the 1971 adaptation, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, although some liberties were taken, such as adding Wonka’s issue with his father (played by Burton favourite Christopher Lee). The film made over $207 million domestically. Filming proved difficult as Burton and Danny Elfman had to work on this and Burton’s Corpse Bride at the same time.

Corpse Bride (2005) was Burton’s first full-length stop-motion film as a director, featuring the voices of Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter (for whom the project was specifically created) as Emily in the lead roles. In this film, Burton was able again to use his familiar styles and trademarks, such as the complex interaction between light and darkness, and of being caught between two irreconcilable worlds.

The DreamWorks/Warner Bros. production was released on December 21, 2007. Burton’s work on Sweeney Todd won the National Board of Review Award for Best Director, received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Director and won an Academy Award for Best Art Direction. The film blends explicit gore and Broadway tunes, and was well received by critics.

In 2005, filmmaker Shane Acker released his short film 9, a story about a sentient rag doll living in a post-apocalyptic world who tries to stop machines from destroying the rest of his eight fellow rag dolls. After seeing the short film, Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov, director of Wanted, showed interest in producing a feature-length adaptation of the film.

Burton turned his hand to Alice in Wonderland, in his version, the story is set 13 years after the original Lewis Carroll tales. The film won two Academy Awards for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.

Burton’s film Dark Shadows once again starred Johnny Depp, in the leading role. The film was based on the original Dark Shadows gothic soap opera, which aired on ABC from 1966 to 1971. It has received mixed to negative reviews from critics, some of whom think it is a tongue-in-cheek gothic comedy, visually appealing and fitting as an adaptation of the melodramatic soap opera, whereas others think the film has a very loose plot, is not particularly humorous, and that Burton and Depp’s collaborative efforts have worn thin.

Burton has remade his 1984 short film Frankenweenie as a feature-length stop motion film, and is set to be released on October 5, 2012.

In 2012, Shane Acker confirmed that Burton will be working with Valve to create his next animated feature film, Deep. Like 9, the film will be in a post-apocalyptic world, although it has no relation to the former film and is set in a different universe. Currently there is no set release date, although the film is rumoured to be released around 2014.

He also wrote and illustrated the poetry book The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories, published in 1997, and a compilation of his drawings, sketches and other artwork, entitled The Art of Tim Burton, was released in 2009. Numerous figurines, books and various memorabilia of his distinctive works are available.

Tim Burton – Batman and Stop-Motion

Burton’s ability to produce hits with low budgets impressed studio executives, and he received his first big budget film, Batman. The production was plagued with problems and Burton repeatedly clashed with the film’s producers, Jon Peters and Peter Guber, but the most notable debacle involved casting. For the title role, Burton chose to cast Michael Keaton as Batman following their previous collaboration in Beetlejuice. Burton had considered it ridiculous to cast a “bulked-up” ultra-masculine man as Batman, insisting that the Caped Crusader should be an ordinary (albeit fabulously wealthy) man. Burton also cast Jack Nicholson as The Joker in a move that helped assuage fans’ fears, as well as attracting older audiences not as interested in a superhero film.

When the film opened in June 1989, and became one of the biggest box office hits of all time, grossing well over $400 million worldwide (numbers not adjusted for inflation) and earning critical acclaim for the performances of both Keaton and Nicholson. The success of the film helped establish Burton as a profitable director.

In 1990, Burton co-wrote (with Caroline Thompson) and directed Edward Scissorhands, re-uniting with Winona Ryder from Beetlejuice. His friend Johnny Depp was cast in the title role of Edward, who was the creation of an eccentric and old-fashioned inventor (played by Vincent Price in one of his last screen appearances). Edward looked human, but was left with scissors in the place of hands due to the untimely death of his creator. Set in suburbia, the film is largely seen as Burton’s autobiography of his childhood in Burbank. Price at one point is said to have remarked, “Tim is Edward.” Depp wrote a similar comment in the foreword to Mark Salisbury’s book, Burton on Burton, regarding his first meeting with Burton over the casting of the film. Edward is considered one of Burton’s best movies by some critics. 

Burton agreed to direct the sequel for Warner Brothers on the condition that he would be granted total control. The result was Batman Returns which featured Michael Keaton returning as the Dark Knight, and a new triad of villains: Danny DeVito as The Penguin, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman and Christopher Walken as Max Shreck, an evil corporate tycoon and original character created for the film. Darker and considerably more personal than its predecessor, concerns were raised that the film was too scary for children. Audiences were even more uncomfortable at the film’s overt sexuality, personified by the sleek, fetish-inspired styling of Catwoman’s costume. Burton made many changes to the Penguin which would be applied to the Penguin in both comics and television. While in the comics, he was an ordinary man, Burton created a freak of nature resembling a penguin with webbed, flipper-like fingers, a hooked, beak-like nose, and a penguin-like body (resulting in a rotund, obese man). Released in 1992, Batman Returns grossed $282.8 million worldwide, making it another financial success, though not to the extent of its predecessor.

Next, Burton wrote and produced but did not direct, due to schedule constraints on Batman Returns, The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) for Disney, originally meant to be a children’s book in rhyme. The film was directed by Henry Selick, based on Burton’s original story, world and characters. The film received positive reviews for the film’s stop motion animation, musical score and original storyline and was a box office success, grossing $50 million. A deleted scene from The Nightmare Before Christmas features a group of vampires playing hockey on the frozen pond with the decapitated head of Burton. The head was replaced by a jack-o’-lantern in the final version.

Johnny Depp and Tim Burton Shot by Andrew Eccles

In 1994, Burton and frequent co-producer Denise Di Novi produced the 1994 fantasy-comedy Cabin Boy. His next film, and I believe his best, Ed Wood (1994), was of a much smaller scale, depicting the life of Ed Wood, a filmmaker sometimes called “the worst director of all time”. Starring Johnny Depp in the title role, the film is an homage to the low-budget science fiction and horror films of Burton’s childhood, and handles its comical protagonist and his motley band of collaborators with surprising fondness and sensitivity. Owing to creative squabbles during the making of The Nightmare Before Christmas, Danny Elfman declined to score Ed Wood, and the assignment went to Howard Shore. While a commercial failure at the time of its release, Ed Wood was well received by critics. Martin Landau received an Academy Award in the Best Supporting Actor category for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi, as well as the Academy Award for Best make-up.

Having been overlooked for Batman Forever by the Warner Bros. heirachy, Burton reunited with Henry Selick for the musical fantasy James and the Giant Peach, based on the book by Roald Dahl. The film, a combination of live action and stop motion footage was mostly praised by critics, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Musical or Comedy Score (by Disney regular Randy Newman).

Tim Burton – The Early Years

Timothy Walter “Tim” Burton (born August 25, 1958) is an American film director, producer, writer and artist. He is famous for his dark, quirky-themed movies such as Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Ed Wood, Dark Shadows, and blockbusters such as Batman, Batman Returns, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland. 

Burton was born in 1958, in the city of Burbank, California, to Jean and Bill Burton. As a child, Burton would make short films in his backyard using crude stop motion animation techniques or shoot them on 8 mm film without sound. His future work would be heavily influenced by the works of such childhood heroes as Dr. Seuss and Roald Dahl, as well as Edgar Allan Poe and horror and science fiction, such as Godzilla, and films made by Hammer Productions, the works of Ray Harryhausen and Vincent Price.

After graduating from Burbank High School, Burton attended the California Institute of the Arts to study character animation. Some of his now-famous classmates were John Lasseter, Brad Bird, John Musker and Henry Selick. As a student in CalArts, Burton made the shorts Stalk of the Celery Monster and King and Octopus. They remain only in fragments today.

Burton graduated from CalArts in 1979. The success of his short film Stalk of the Celery Monster attracted the attention of Walt Disney Productions animation studio, who offered young Burton an animator’s apprenticeship. He worked as an animator, storyboard artist and concept artist on films such as The Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron and Tron. 

While at Disney in 1982, Burton made his first short, Vincent, a six-minute black-and-white stop-motion film based on a poem written by the filmmaker, and depicting a young boy who fantasizes that he is his (and Burton’s) hero Vincent Price, with Price himself providing narration. This was followed by Burton’s first live-action production Hansel and Gretel, a Japanese-themed adaptation of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, which climaxes in a kung fu fight between Hansel and Gretel and the witch. Having aired once at 10:30 pm on Halloween 1983 and promptly shelved, prints of the film are extremely difficult to locate, which contributes to the rumor that this project does not exist. (In 2009, the short went on display in the Museum of Modern Art, and in 2011 the short also played at the Tim Burton art exhibit at the LACMA).

Burton’s next live-action short, Frankenweenie, was released in 1984. It tells the story of a young boy who tries to revive his dog after it is run over by a car. Filmed in black-and-white, it stars Barret Oliver, Shelley Duvall and Daniel Stern. After Frankenweenie was completed, Disney fired Burton, under the pretext of him spending the company’s resources on doing a film that would be too dark and scary for children to see.

Pursuing then an opportunity to make a full-length film, he was approached by Griffin Dunne to direct the black comedy film After Hours, however, after Martin Scorsese’s project The Last Temptation of Christ was cancelled (although it would later be completed and released in 1988), he stepped in to direct it. Not long after, actor Paul Reubens saw Frankenweenie and chose Burton to direct the cinematic spin-off of his popular character Pee-Wee Herman. The film, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985), was made on a budget of $8 million and grossed more than $40 million at the box office. Burton, a fan of the eccentric musical group Oingo Boingo, asked songwriter Danny Elfman to provide the music for the film. Since then, Elfman has provided the score for all but five of the films Burton has directed and/or produced.

After directing episodes for the revitalised version of TV series of ’50s/’60s anthology horror series Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theatre, Burton received his next big project: Beetlejuice (1988), a supernatural comedy horror about a young couple forced to cope with life after death, as well as a family of pretentious yuppies invading their treasured New England home including their teenage daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder) whose obsession with death allows her to see them. Featuring Michael Keaton as the obnoxious bio-exorcist Beetlejuice, the film grossed $80 million on a relatively low budget and won an Academy Award for Best Make-up. It would be converted into a cartoon of the same name, with Burton playing a role as executive producer, that ran on ABC and later Fox.

Roger Avary

Roger Avary (born Roger d’Avary; August 23, 1965) is a Canadian film and television producer, screenwriter and director. He worked on the screenplays for Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, the latter of which earned both him and Quentin Tarantino an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay at the 67th Academy Awards. He also directed the cult films Killing Zoe and the excellent The Rules of Attraction among other film and television projects.

When in 1981, Video Out-Takes co-owner Lance Lawson (a name that comes up repeatedly in Avary and Tarantino’s films) left to open the now famous Video Archives, Avary went along, writing the store’s database program. Under the vision of Lawson, Video Archives became a gathering place for a group of cinephiles, who became known as “Archivists”. Among this group, Avary met an odd and brilliant film enthusiast, Quentin Tarantino. The two became friends, introducing each other to their favorite films.

Early in his career, Avary made a number of contributions to some of Quentin Tarantino’s movies. He worked as a cinematographer on Tarantino’s unfinished first film, My Best Friend’s Birthday. He had written a script called “The Open Road” which Tarantino rewrote. Avary took on the producer’s role, and he and Tarantino tried unsuccessfully for several years to get funding so that Tarantino could direct the script himself. Eventually, the script was sold to French producer Samuel Hadida and became the movie True Romance. 

Avery and Tarantino worked together on Natural Born Killers, directed by Oliver Stone; Avary also co-wrote the background radio dialogue in Reservoir Dogs (1992), and designed the “Dog Eat Dog” logo which appeared in the end credits.

Most notably however, Avary contributed material which, combined with Tarantino’s, formed the basis of Pulp Fiction (1994) for which he and Tarantino won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Avary’s bizarre 1994 Oscar speech (for Best Original Screenplay) consisted of “I want to thank my beautiful wife, Gretchen, who I love more than anyone else in the world… I’m gonna go now ’cause I really got to take a pee.” The “pee comment” was a reference to all five films nominated in 1994 for Best Picture having a key scene where a character excuses themselves to use the bathroom.

Avary also wrote and directed the neo-noir cult thriller Killing Zoe (1994) which Tarantino executive produced. Avary had initially intended to write a screenplay completely devoted to his travelling experience through Europe, for which Tarantino suggested the ironic title Roger Takes a Trip. But when producer Lawrence Bender called Avary during location scouting on Reservoir Dogs asking if he had a screenplay that took place entirely in a bank so that they could take advantage of an inexpensive location they had no use for, Avary told Bender that he had such a script—and quickly wrote Killing Zoe in under a week, using elements of his European trip as inspiration. The film was honored with le Prix très spécial à Cannes 1994, the very same year that Pulp Fiction won the Palme d’Or.

From 1985 to 1986, Avary attended Menlo College, in Atherton, California. The school, “a West coast Bennington”, laid the foundations for his film adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis novel The Rules of Attraction. In 2002, Avary directed his adaptation of the novel, which he also executive produced. His film from within the film, Glitterati (2004), used elements of Victor’s European trip and was shot on digital video. In 2005, he purchased the rights to another Bret Easton Ellis novel Glamorama, and is currently developing it for himself to direct.

In 2006, Avary wrote a screenplay adaptation to the hit videogame, Silent Hill (2006), with French director and friend, Christophe Gans, and Killing Zoe producer Samuel Hadida.

According to Avary’s biography on the American “Killing Zoe” DVD, Avary directed a small, independent musical production of “Beowulf” for the stage in Paris in 1993. Beowulf seems to have been a lifelong obsession with Avary.

In the late 1990s, Avary was hired by Warner Bros studio to adapt Neil Gaiman’s comic series The Sandman to the big screen. After he was fired, Gaiman and Avary started work together writing an adaptation of the epic poem Beowulf. The film was finally produced in 2007 with Robert Zemeckis directing, utilizing performance capture technology.

On January 13, 2008, Avary was arrested under suspicion of manslaughter and DUI, following a car crash in Ojai, California where a passenger, Andreas Zini, was killed. In December 2008, he was charged with, and pleaded not guilty to, gross vehicular manslaughter and two felony counts of causing bodily injury while intoxicated. He later changed his plea to guilty on August 18, 2009.

On September 29, 2009, he was sentenced to 1 year in work furlough, (allowing him to go to his job during the day and then report back to the furlough facility at night), and 5 years of probation. However, after making several tweets about the conditions of his stay on Twitter, Avary was sent to Ventura County Jail to serve out the remainder of his term. On July 10, 2010, after spending eight months in jail, Avary was released.

Henry Lee Lucas

Henry Lee Lucas (August 23, 1936 – March 13, 2001) was an American criminal, convicted of murder in 11 different cases and once listed as America’s most prolific serial killer.

Lucas was born in a one-room log cabin in Blacksburg, Virginia, the youngest of nine children. His mother, Viola Dixon Waugh, was an alcoholic prostitute. His father, Anderson Lucas, was an alcoholic and former railroad employee who had lost his legs after being hit by a freight train. He would usually come home inebriated, and would suffer from Viola’s wrath as often as his sons.

When Lucas was 10, his brother accidentally stabbed him in the left eye while they were fighting. His mother ignored the injury for four days, and subsequently the eye grew infected and had to be replaced by a glass eye.

Henry dropped out of school in the sixth grade and ran away from home, drifting around Virginia. Lucas claimed that he first practiced bestiality and zoosadism while he was a runaway, and also began committing petty thefts and burglaries around the state. Lucas claimed to have committed his first murder in 1951, when he strangled 17-year-old Laura Burnsley, who refused his sexual advances. As with most of his confessions, he later retracted this claim. On June 10, 1954, Lucas was convicted on over a dozen counts of burglary in and around Richmond, Virginia, and was sentenced to four years in prison. He escaped in 1957, was recaptured three days later, and was released on September 2, 1959.

On January 11, 1960, in Tecumseh, Michigan, Lucas killed his mother during the course of an ongoing argument regarding whether or not he should return home to his mother’s house to care for her as she grew older. He claimed she struck him over the head with a broom, at which point he struck her on the neck and she fell. Lucas then fled the scene. Lucas claimed to have attacked his mother only in self-defense, but his claim was rejected, and he was sentenced to between 20 and 40 years’ imprisonment in Michigan for second-degree murder. After serving 10 years in prison, he was released in June 1970 due to prison overcrowding.

Lucas drifted around the American South, ending up in Florida where he made the acquaintance of Ottis Toole in 1976 and had a sexual relationship with Toole’s 12-year-old niece, Frieda Powell, who had escaped from a juvenile detention facility. Lucas and Toole both called Powell “Becky,” partly to disguise her identity and because Powell preferred it over her given name. In 1978, Lucas and Toole formed what has been called a “homosexual crime team” and embarked on a cross-country murder spree. Lucas would later claim that during this period he had killed hundreds of people, with Toole assisting him in 108 murders.

Lucas later recanted his confessions, and flatly stated “I am not a serial killer” in a letter to researcher Brad Shellady. Lucas confessed to involvement in about 600 murders, but a more widely circulated total of about 350 murders committed by Lucas is based on confessions deemed “believable” by a Texas-based Lucas Task Force, a group which was later criticized by then-Attorney General of Texas, Jim Mattox, and others for sloppy police work and taking part in an extended “hoax”.

Beyond his recantation, some of Lucas’ confessions have been challenged as inaccurate by a number of critics, including law enforcement and court officials. Lucas claimed to have been initially subjected to poor treatment and coercive interrogation tactics while in police custody, and to have confessed to murders in an effort to improve his living conditions. Amnesty International reported “the belief of two former state Attorneys General that Lucas was in all likelihood innocent of the crime for which he was sentenced to death”.

Lucas’s sentence was commuted to life in prison in 1998 by then-Governor George W. Bush. It was the first successful commutation of a death sentence in Texas since the re-institution of the death penalty in Texas in 1982. Lucas died in prison of natural causes. Lucas still maintains a reputation, in the words of author Sarah L. Knox, “as one of the world’s worst serial killers—even after the debunking of the majority of his confessions by the Attorney General of Texas”.

The sordid life of Lucas inspired Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, a 1986 psychological thriller (released in 1990) directed and co-written by John McNaughton about the random crime spree of a serial killer who seemingly operates with impunity. It starred Michael Rooker as the nomadic killer Henry, Tom Towles as Otis, a prison buddy with whom Henry is living, and Tracy Arnold as Becky, Otis’ sister. The character of Henry is loosely based on Henry Lee Lucas.

Honor Blackman

Honor Blackman (born 22 August 1925) is an English actress, known for the roles of Cathy Gale in The Avengers (1962–64) and Bond girl Pussy Galore in Goldfinger (1964).

Blackman was born in Plaistow, Newham, London. She was educated at Ealing Girl’s School in west London and trained as an actress at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Blackman’s film debut was a nonspeaking part in Fame is the Spur (1947), followed by Daughter of Darkness, a 1947 British film, with macabre overtones, released in January 1948, So Long at the Fair (1950) a British thriller directed by Terence Fisher, and the Titanic drama A Night to Remember (1958).

She played the role of the goddess Hera in one of my favourite movies, Jason and the Argonauts (1963). Starring Todd Armstrong as the titular mythical Greek hero in a story about his quest for the Golden Fleece. Directed by Don Chaffey in collaboration with stop motion animation expert Ray Harryhausen, the film is noted for its stop-motion creatures, and particularly the iconic fight with the skeletons. The score was composed by Bernard Hermann (Psycho), who also worked on other fantasy films with Harryhausen, such as Mysterious Island and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. 

Her most famous role was as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger (1964), the third film in the James Bond series. Pussy Galore was Goldfinger’s personal pilot and leader of an all-female team of pilots known as the Flying Circus. Based on the novel of the same name by Ian Fleming, the film stars Sean Connery as Bond,  Gert Fröbe as the title character Auric Goldfinger, along with Shirley Eaton as Bond girl Jill Masterson, famous for her ‘covered in Gold paint death.’

Blackman was selected for the role of Pussy Galore because of her role in The Avengers and the script was rewritten to show Blackman’s judo abilities. The character’s name follows in the tradition of other Bond girls names that are double entendres: apparently concerned about censors, the producers thought about changing the character’s name to “Kitty Galore”, but they and Hamilton decided “if you were a ten-year old boy and knew what the name meant, you weren’t a ten-year old boy, you were a dirty little bitch. The American censor was concerned, but we got round that by inviting him and his wife out to dinner and [told him] we were big supporters of the Republican Party.” During promotion, Blackman took delight in embarrassing interviewers by repeatedly mentioning the character’s name. Whilst the American censors did not interfere with the name in the film, they refused to allow the name “Pussy Galore” to appear on promotional materials and for the US market she was subsequently referred to by the title ‘Miss Galore’ or ‘Goldfinger’s personal pilot’.

She made a few British horror films in the 70’s, Fright (1971), about a homicidal escapee from a mental asylum terrorises a babysitter who is looking after his son. To the Devil… A Daughter (1976), a Hammer horror film, directed by Peter Sykes and based on the novel of the same name by Dennis Wheatley. It starred Richard Widmark, Christopher Lee, Honor Blackman, Denholm Elliot, and a young Nastassja Kinski.

The black comedy, The Cat and the Canary (1979).  Tale of the Mummy (“Talos – the Mummy”, Talos is the name) is a 1998 British-American horror film, directed by Russel Mulcahy, featuring Christopher Lee. More recently, she has had small roles in the films Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) and Jack Brown and the Curse of the Crown (also 2001).

The Dark Knight Rises – By my (almost) 7 Year Old

After what seemed like thousands of requests, and reasons as to why he should be allowed to see it, I took my (almost) seven-year old son to see The Dark Knight Rises. He still hasn’t seen Batman Begins or The Dark Knight, so I prepped him with a little bit of back-story…

I like the Dark Knight because it is from a DC comics and I like DC comics. The Dark Knight Rises is about a dark storm coming to Gotham, and he’s called Bane. Bane is a big evil strong guy who wants to destroy Gotham and Batman.

Bruce gets robbed by Catwoman, then Bruce Wayne goes to the doctors, the doctor tells him that he’s got lots of bruises on his legs, his arms, his back and his head.  But he goes back to the Bat Cave and Alfred presses a button and his new bat suit and gadgets come out of a hole in a glass cage.

First Batman chases Bane on his motorbike, Batman catches Banes henchmen but not Bane, but Bane still has some henchmen left. Batman rescues Catwoman and they escape in Batman’s new Bat jet. Batman fights more of Bane’s henchmen before Bane and Batman fight. Bane knocks Batman down, he picks him up and puts Batman in a hole in the ground which is a jail. Batman has to climb up to get out, he falls first, then climbs out and gets his bat suit back.

SPOILER Bane trapped all of Gotham’s Police underground, but Batman explodes the concrete and the Police escape. All the Police fight Bane’s henchmen, but Bane has a huge bomb that is going off in twelve hours. Batman comes back and knocks some bad guys out, then Batman breaks Banes mask, and beats Bane.

I liked the movie, my favourite was Batman. Bane was good too. SPOILER The best bits were when Batman flew in his jet and exploded Banes tank and the bit when Catwoman shoots Bane with the guns on Batman’s motorbike. It is too scary for little kids.

Stars: 5 Stars

R.I.P. Tony Scott

I was saddened to hear about the death of Tony Scott. Scott  jumped to his death Sunday from the Vincent Thomas Bridge spanning San Pedro and Terminal Island, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s officials.

Scott, 68, climbed a fence on the south side of the bridge’s apex and leapt off “without hesitation” around 12:30 p.m., according to the Coroner’s Department and port police. Los Angeles Police Department and California Highway Patrol joined city firefighters and the Coast Guard in searching the water for his body. Cargo vessels moved at slow speeds through the east side of the Main Channel during the search, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey. “It’s a dolorous task and we’re working to treat the deceased with the utmost dignity and respect,” Humphrey said. Authorities used sonar equipment to track the man in the port’s murky waters and his body was recovered by a dive team around 4:30 p.m., Alva said. Scott’s body was taken to a dock in Wilmington and turned over to the county coroner.

Scott, younger brother of Ridley Scott, was famous for directing hits such as Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop II, Days of Thunder, The Last Boy Scout, Spy Game, Man on Fire, and Unstoppable; however he also directed one of my favourite vampire movies, The Hunger (1983), and the best Quentin Tarantino movie not directed by Quentin, True Romance (1993). R.I.P. Tony.

H. P. Lovecraft

Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) — known as H. P. Lovecraft — was an American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction.

Lovecraft was born on August 20, 1890, in his family home at 194 (later 454) Angell Street in Providence, Rhode Island. He was the only child of Winfield Scott Lovecraft, a traveling salesman of jewelry and precious metals, and Sarah Susan Phillips Lovecraft. In 1893, when Lovecraft was three, his father became acutely psychotic in a Chicago hotel room while on a business trip. The elder Lovecraft was taken back to Providence and placed in Butler Hospital, where he remained until his death in 1898.

Lovecraft was a prodigy, reciting poetry at the age of three and writing complete poems by six. His grandfather encouraged his reading, providing him with classics such as The Arabian Nights, and children’s versions of the Iliad and the Odyssey. His grandfather also stirred the boy’s interest in the weird by telling him his own original tales of Gothic horror. Beginning in his early life, Lovecraft is believed to have suffered from night terrors, a rare parasomnia disorder; he believed himself to be assaulted at night by horrific “night gaunts.” Much of his later work is thought to have been directly inspired by these terrors.

Lovecraft wrote some fiction as a youth but, from 1908 until 1913, his output was primarily poetry. During that time, he lived a hermit’s existence, having almost no contact with anyone but his mother. This changed when he wrote a letter to The Argosy, a pulp magazine, complaining about the insipidness of the love stories of one of the publication’s popular writers, Fred Jackson. The ensuing debate in the magazine’s letters column caught the eye of Edward F. Dass, President of the United Amateur Press Association (UAPA), who invited Lovecraft to join them in 1914. The UAPA reinvigorated Lovecraft and incited him to contribute many poems and essays.

In 1917, at the prodding of correspondents, he returned to fiction with more polished stories, such as The Tomb and  Dagon. The latter was his first professionally-published work, appearing in W. Paul Cook’s The Vagrant (November, 1919) and Weird Tales in 1923. Around that time, he began to build up a huge network of correspondents. His lengthy and frequent missives would make him one of the great letter writers of the century. Among his correspondents were Robert Bloch, and Robert E. Howard.

Lovecraft’s guiding aesthetic and philosophical principle was what he termed “cosmicism”  or “cosmic horror”, the idea that life is incomprehensible to human minds and that the universe is fundamentally inimical to the interests of humankind. As such, his stories express a profound indifference to human beliefs and affairs. Lovecraft is best known for his Cthulhu Mythos story cycle and the Necronomicon, a fictional grimoire of magical rites and forbidden lore.

For most of the 20th century, the definitive editions (specifically At the Mountains of Madness and Other NovelsDagon and Other Macabre TalesThe Dunwich Horror and Others, and The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions) of his prose fiction were published by Arkham House, a publisher originally started with the intent of publishing the work of Lovecraft, but which has since published a considerable amount of other literature as well. Penguin Classics has at present issued three volumes of Lovecraft’s works: The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories, The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories, and most recently The Dreams in the Witch Hose and Other Weird Stories. In 2005 the prestigious Library of America canonized Lovecraft with a volume of his stories edited by Peter Straub, and Random House’s Modern Library line have issued the “definitive edition” of Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness (also including Supernatural Horror in Literature).

Despite his best writing efforts, however, he grew ever poorer. He was forced to move to smaller and meaner lodgings with his surviving aunt. He was also deeply affected by his former correspondent Robert E. Howard’s suicide. In 1936, Lovecraft was diagnosed with cancer of the intestine, and he also suffered from malnutrition. He lived in constant pain until his death on March 15, 1937, in Providence.

Although Lovecraft’s readership was limited during his lifetime, his reputation has grown over the decades, and he is now regarded as one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century. According to Joyce Carol Oates, Lovecraft—as with Edgar Allan Poe in the 19th century—has exerted “an incalculable influence on succeeding generations of writers of horror fiction”. Stephen King called Lovecraft “the twentieth century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale.” King has even made it clear in his semi-autobiographical non-fiction book Danse Macabre that Lovecraft was responsible for King’s own fascination with horror and the macabre, and was the single largest figure to influence his fiction writing. His stories have also been adapted into plays, films and games.

For more extensive information on Lovecraft, visit the excellent H. P. Lovecraft Archive HERE.

The Real Amityville Horror

With the announcement of a new documentary about Daniel Lutz entitled, My Amityville Horror, and yet another Amityville Horror movie, it’s time to check up on the ‘real’ story behind the house’s haunted history.

Producer Tony DeRosa-Grund has acquired some video footage of a seance carried out in the Amityville house in 1976 and he’s going to use this material as the basis for a new feature film. The seance was filmed for a report on the local news, but also recorded for the local radio station. That particular report was produced by Michael Linder, later one of the creators of America’s Most Wanted.

Is the story of America’s most famous haunted house real horror, or a common hoax? In 1976 The Lutz family fled from their home in Amityville, Long Island, claiming that they had been driven out by terrifying and unexplained phenomena. Their story went on to become a worldwide bestseller which spawned dozens of books and films.

This followed the mysterious slaughtering of an entire family one night a few years previous. The murderer claimed it was the work of the devil. Mediums and psychic investigators have claimed that there is a curse on the property, while others believe the gruesome history has been invented as a money-making scheme.

This documentary sets out to discover the truth about one of American folklore’s most notorious mysteries and features George Lutz’s last on-camera interview before he died in 2006.

This is the two angle raw video footage that George and Tim Yancey shot for a project about the Lutz haunting. Due to his passing a short time after this was shot, the video was never used. It is the only time Tim ever publically heard him discuss the events of the last night in the house… and the only time it has been documented on film.

Edward Norton

Edward Harrison Norton (born August 18, 1969) is an American actor, screenwriter, film director and producer. In 1996, his supporting role in the courtroom drama Primal Fear garnered him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Two years later, his lead role as a reformed white power skinhead in American History X earned a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Edward Norton was born and raised in Columbia, Maryland. His father, Edward Mower Norton, Jr., was an environmental lawyer and conversation advocate working in Asia, as well as a former federal prosecutor in the Carter Administration. His mother, Lydia Robinson “Robin”, was an English teacher. From 1981 to 1985, along with his brother, Norton attended Camp Pasquaney, on the shores of Newfound Lake in Hebron, New Hampshire. While there he won the acting cup in 1984, and later returned to the camp’s council for two years, directing theater. He maintains close connections with the camp.

He graduated from Columbia’s Wilde Lake High School in 1987, and attended Yale University, where he was a competitive rower and acted in university productions alongside Paul Giamatti, graduating in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts in History.

Following a brief stint in Osaka, Japan, Norton moved to New York City and began his acting career in Off-Broadway theatre, breaking through with his 1993 involvement in Edward Albee’s Fragments, at the Signature Theatre Company. His first film, 1996’s Primal Fear, tells a story of a defense attorney (Richard Gere), who defends Aaron Stampler (Norton), an altar boy charged with the murder of a Roman Catholic archbishop. Despite the the film’s mixed reviews, Norton won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated by the Academy for Best Supporting Actor. That same year, Norton appeared as lawyer Alan Isaacman in The People vs. Larry Flynt. 

In 1998, he took on the role of Derek Vinyard, a reformed neo-nazi, in the film American History X. American History X received positive reception, and grossed over $23 million worldwide at the box office. Norton’s performance in the film earned him an Academy Award nomination; he packed on 30 pounds (13 kg) of muscle for his role in American History X. Also in 1998, Norton starred opposite Matt Damon in Rounders, a movie following two friends who need to quickly earn enough cash playing poker to pay off a huge debt.

In the 1999 film Fight Club, Norton played the nameless protagonist, an everyman and an unreliable narrator who feels trapped with his white-collar position in society. He forms a “fight club” with soap maker Tyler Durden, (Brad Pit)t, and becomes embroiled in a relationship with him and a dissolute woman, Marla Singer, played by Bonham Carter. The film, an adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel of the same name, was directed by David Fincher. Fight Club premiered at the 1999 Venice International Film Festival. During promotion for the film, Norton said, “I feel that Fight Club really, in a way … probed into the despair and paralysis that people feel in the face of having inherited this value system out of advertising.” The film received polarized reactions from film critics, and failed to meet expectations at the box office, doing well in the UK and France, but failing miserably in the US. However, it became a cult classic after its DVD release.

In 2002, he starred in Red Dragon, as FBI profiler Will Graham and in Spike Lee’s 25th Hour. While Red Dragon received mixed reviews, it was commercially successful. 25th Hour was praised by critics, particularly for its examination of a post-9/11 New York City, but failed to break even. Norton won critical acclaim for his role as Baldwin IV, the leper king king of Jerusalem, in Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven. Norton portrayed Bruce Banner / The Hulk in the Marvel Studios film The Incredible Hulk, released in 2008. He had been expected to reprise his role as the character in the 2012 film The Avengers, but the role was later confirmed to have been given to Mark Ruffalo.

In 2006, Norton starred in two films: Down in the Valley, as a dangerous drifter affecting to be a cowpoke, and in The Illusionist, which became a sleeper hit. In 2010, Norton appeared in two films again: in Leaves of Grass, as estranged identical twins (one a small-time drug dealer and the other a Harvard professor); and in Stone, which reunited Norton with his The Score cast-mate Robert De Niro, and in which Norton plays a convict trying to con his parole officer (De Niro) into an early release. In 2008, Norton starred in New Line Cinema’s Pride and Glory, as an honest detective assigned to investigate the precinct run by his older brother. The film was not well received by critics, not strongly supported by the studio, and despite also starring Colin Farrell and Jon Voight, its worldwide grosses totaled only $31.1 million, against a production budget of $30 million.

Norton made a comedic television appearance on the Emmy award-winning ABC show Modern Family in 2010, playing a fictional member of real life ’80s new wave band Spandau Ballet.

Norton has also done uncredited script work on some of the films he has appeared in. In 2000, Norton made his debut as a director with Keeping the Faith

In his private life, Norton is an environmental and social activist. He supports Enterprise Community Partners,  a non-profit organization for developing affordable housing; the American branch of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust. In July 2010, Norton was designated as the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

James Cameron – Titanic, Avatar and Beyond

Released to theaters on December 19, 1997, Titanic grossed less in its first weekend ($28.6 million) than in its second, ($35.4 million), an increase of 23.8%. This is unheard of for a widely released film, which is a testament to the movie’s word of mouth appeal. This was especially noteworthy, considering that the film’s running time of more than three hours limited the number of showings each theater could schedule. It held the No. 1 spot on the box-office charts for months, eventually grossing a total of over $600 million in the United States and Canada and more than $1.8 billion worldwide. Titanic became the highest-grossing film ever made, until Cameron’s 2009 film Avatar. Despite criticism during production of the film, it received a record-tying 14 Oscar nominations, and won 11, including Best Picture and Best Director award for Cameron.Upon receiving the award, Cameron exclaimed, “I’m king of the world!” in reference to one of the main characters’ lines from the film. Titanic was re-released in 3D in April 2012, in order to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the actual ship.

Cameron had initially next planned to do a film of the comic book character Spider-Man, Columbia hired David Koepp to adapt Cameron’s treatment into a screenplay. Koepp’s first draft is taken often word-for-word from Cameron’s story, though later drafts were heavily rewritten by Koepp himself, Scott Rosenberg, and Alvin Sargent. In its release in 2002, Spider-Man had its screenplay credited solely to Koepp.

Unable to make Spider-Man, Cameron moved to television and created Dark Angel. In 1998 James and John David Cameron formed a digital media company, which became Earthship Productions. The company produced live multimedia documentaries from the depths of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. With Earthship Productions, John Cameron’s recent projects have included undersea documentaries on the Bismark (Expedition: Bismark, 2002) and the Titanic (Ghosts of the Abyss, 2003, in IMAX 3D) and Tony Robinson’s Titanic Adventure (2005). He was also a producer on the 2002 film Solaris, and narrated The Exodus Decoded.

Cameron is a leading advocate for stereoscopic digital 3-D films, and was the founder and CEO of Digital Domain, a visual effects production and technology company. In June 2005, Cameron was announced to be working on a project tentatively titled “Project 880” (now known to be Avatar) in parallel with another project, Battle Angel (an adaptation of the manga series Battle Angel Alita), both to be shot in 3D.

Avatar had an estimated budget of over $300 million and was released on December 18, 2009. It is composed almost entirely of computer-generated animation, using a more advanced version of the “performance capture” technique used to bring Golum to life in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Cameron explained that the delay in producing the film since the 1990s had been to wait until the technology necessary to create his project was advanced enough. The film was originally scheduled to be released in May 2009 but was pushed back to December 2009 to allow more time for post production on the complex CGI and to give more time for theatres worldwide to install 3D projectors. The world mocked, and awaited a massive financial failure.

The film went on to break the record for highest-grossing film ever, beating Cameron’s previous film Titanic. Avatar also became the first movie to ever earn more than $2 billion worldwide. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and won three for Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects and Best Art Direction. Cameron lost the award for Best Director to his ex-wife, Kathryn Bigelow, who also took Best Picture with her film The Hurt Locker. 

Most recently, James Cameron served as the executive producer of Sanctum, a $30,000,000 (estimated budget) film detailing the expedition of a team of underwater cave divers who find themselves trapped in a cave.

James Cameron went out to film a documentary that’s later going to be released as 3-D, about the “Mariana Trench”. The deepest place on earth. His the first human being to do it since 1960’s where a team of two, went down but never got any material proof on it. Cameron went down with one of his 7 year project, a special designed sub (The “Deepsea Challenger”), that’s designed to withstand the pressure given by 32,000 ft below the ocean surface. He made this dive in March 2012.

In October 2010, Cameron signed an agreement with Fox to direct two sequels to Avatar, which are scheduled to be released in December 2014 and December 2015. Another project Cameron has announced is a personal commitment to shoot a film on the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as told through the story of Tsutomi Yamaguchi, a man who survived both attacks. Cameron met with Yamaguchi just days before he died in 2010.

James Cameron – Aliens and T2

Cameron next began the sequel to Alien, the 1979 film by Ridley Scott. Cameron named the sequel Aliens, and again cast Sigourney Weaver in the iconic role of Ellen Ripley. According to Cameron, the crew on Aliens was hostile to him, regarding him as a poor substitute for Ridley Scott. Cameron sought to show them The Terminator but the majority of the crew refused to watch it and remained skeptical of his direction throughout production. Despite this and other off-screen problems (such as having to replace one of the lead actors, Michael Biehn from Terminator took James Remar’s place as Corporal Hicks), Aliens became a box office success, and received Academy Award nominations for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Weaver, Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound, and won awards for Best Sound Effects Editing and Best Visual Effects.

Cameron’s next project stemmed from an idea that had come up during a high school biology class. The story of oil-rig workers who discover otherworldly underwater creatures became the basis of Cameron’s screenplay for The Abyss. Initially budgeted at $41 million U.S. (though the production ran considerably over budget), it was considered to be one of the most expensive films of its time, and required cutting-edge effects technology. Because much of the film takes place underwater and the technology wasn’t advanced enough to digitally create an underwater environment, Cameron chose to shoot much of the movie “reel-for-real”, at depths of up to 40 feet (12 m). For creation of the sets, the containment building of an unfinished nuclear power plant was converted, and two huge tanks were used. The main tank was filled with 7,500,000 US gallons (28,000,000 L) of water, and the second with 2,500,000 US gallons (9,500,000 L). The cast and crew resided there for much of the shooting.

After the success of The Terminator, there had always been talks about a sequel to continue the story of Sarah Connor and her struggle against machines from the future. Although Cameron had come up with a core idea for the sequel, and Schwarzenegger expressed interest in continuing the story, there were still problems regarding who had the rights to the story, as well as the logistics of the special effects needed to make the sequel. Finally, in late-1980s, Mario Kassar of Carolco Pictures secured the rights to the sequel, allowing Cameron to greenlight production of the film, now called Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

For the film, Linda Hamilton reprised her iconic role of Sarah Connor. In addition, Schwarzenegger also returned in his role as The Terminator, but this time as a protector. Unlike the T-800, who is made of a metal endoskeleton, the new villain of the sequel, called the T-1000, was a more advanced Terminator made of liquid metal, and with polymorphic abilities. The T-1000 would also be much less bulky than the T-800. For the role, Cameron cast Robert Patrick, a sharp contrast to Schwarzenegger.

Cameron had originally wanted to incorporate this advanced-model Terminator into the first film, but the special effects at the time were not advanced enough. The ground-breaking effects used in The Abyss to digitally depict the water tentacle convinced Cameron that his liquid metal villain was possible.

Like Cameron’s previous film, it was one of the most expensive films of its era, with a budget of about $100 million.Terminator 2, or T2, as it was abbreviated, broke box-office records (including the opening weekend record for an R-rated film), earning over $200 million in the United States and Canada, and over $300 million in other territories, and became the highest-grossing film of that year. It won four Academy Awards: Best Make-up, Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing, and Best Visual Effects.

James Cameron announced a third Terminator film many times during the 1990s, but without coming out with any finished scripts. Kassar and Vajna purchased the rights to the Terminator franchise from a bankruptcy sale of Carolco’s assets. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was eventually made and released in July 2003 without Cameron’s involvement, although Schwarzenegger returned as the Terminator.

Before the release of T2, Schwarzenegger came to Cameron with the idea of remaking the French comedy La Totale! Titled True Lies, the story revolves around a secret-agent spy who leads a double life as a married man, whose wife believes he is a computer salesman.

Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment signed on with Twentieth Century Fox for production of True Lies. Cameron’s least successful film in terms of returns against budget, from a budget of $115 million, the film earned $146 million in North America, and $232 million abroad.

Cameron decided to script and film his next project based on famous sinking of the ship RMS Titanic The picture revolved around a fictional romance story between two young lovers from different social classes who meet on board. Before production began, he took dives to the bottom of the Atlantic and shot actual footage of the ship underwater, which he inserted into the final film. Much of the film’s dialogue was also written during these dives.

Cameron’s budget for the film reached about $200 million, making it the most expensive movie ever made at the time. Before its release, the film was widely ridiculed for its expense and protracted production schedule.

James Cameron – The Early Years

James Francis Cameron (born August 16, 1954) is a Canadian film director, producer, screenwriter, visual artist and editor, as well as a deep-sea explorer. His writing and directing work includes Piranha II: The Spawning (1981), The Terminator (1984), Aliens (1986), The Abyss (1989), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), True Lies (1994), Titanic (1997), Dark Angel (2000–02), and Avatar (2009). In the time between making Titanic and Avatar, Cameron spent several years creating many documentary films (specifically underwater documentaries) and co-developed the digital 3D Fusion Camera System. Cameron has also contributed to underwater filming and remote vehicle technologies. On March 26, 2012, Cameron reached the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean, in the Deepsea Challenger submersible.

Cameron was born in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada, 1954, the son of Shirley (née Lowe), and Phillip Cameron. Cameron grew up in Chippawa, Ontario with his brothers Mike and John David Cameron and attended Stamford Collegiate School in Niagara Falls; his family moved to Brea, California in 1971 when he was 17. Cameron enrolled at FullertonCollege, a 2-year community college, in 1973 to study physics. He switched to English, then dropped out before the start of the fall 1974 semester.

After dropping out of SonoraHigh School, he went to further his secondary education at Brea Olinda High School. After graduating, he worked several jobs such as truck driving and wrote when he had time. During this period he taught himself about special effects: “I’d go down to the USC library and pull any thesis that graduate students had written about optical printing, or front screen projection, or dye transfers, anything that related to film technology.”

After seeing the original Star Wars film in 1977, Cameron quit his job as a truck driver to enter the film industry. When Cameron read Syd Field’s book Screenplay, it occurred to him that integrating science and art was possible, and he wrote a ten-minute science fiction script with two friends, entitled Xenogenesis. They raised money and rented camera, lenses, film stock, and studio, and shot it in 35mm. To understand how to operate the camera, they dismantled it and spent the first half-day of the shoot trying to figure out how to get it running.

While continuing to educate himself in film-making techniques, Cameron started working as a miniature-model maker at Roger Corman Studios. Making rapidly produced, low-budget productions taught Cameron to work efficiently and effectively. He soon found employment as an art director in the sci-fi movie Battle Beyond the Stars (1980). He did special effects work design and direction on John Carpenter’s Escape From New York (1981), acted as production designer on Galaxy of Terror (1981), and consulted on the design of Android (1982).

Cameron was hired as the special effects director for the sequel of the Joe Dante directed drive-in hit Piranha, entitled Piranha III: The Spawning in 1981. The original director, Miller Drake, left the project due to creative differences with producer Ovidio Assonitis, Cameron was hired by Assonitis, giving him his first directorial job.

The movie was to be produced in Jamaica, however on location, production slowed due to numerous problems and adverse weather. James Cameron was fired after failing to get a close up of Carole Davis in her opening scene. Ovidio ordered Cameron to do the close-up the next day before he started on that day’s shooting. Cameron spent the entire day sailing around the resort to reproduce the lighting but still failed to get the close-up. After he was fired, Ovidio invited Cameron to stay on location and assist in the shooting. Once in Rome, Ovidio took over the editing when Cameron was stricken with food poisoning. During his illness, he had a nightmare about an invincible robot hitman sent from the future to kill him, giving him the idea for The Terminator, which later catapulted his film career.

After completing a screenplay for The Terminator, Cameron would only sell it if he could direct the movie. However, the production companies he contacted, while expressing interest in the project, were unwilling to let a largely inexperienced feature film director make the movie. Finally, Cameron found a company called Hemdale Pictures, which was willing to let him direct. Gale Anne Hurd, who had started her own production company, Pacific Western Productions, had previously worked with Cameron in Roger Corman’s company and agreed to buy Cameron’s screenplay for one dollar, on the condition that Cameron direct the film. Hurd was signed on as producer, and Cameron finally got his first break as director.

Initially, for the role of the Terminator, Cameron wanted someone who wasn’t exceptionally muscular, and who could “blend into” a normal crowd. Lance Henriksen, who had starred in Piranha II: The Spawning, was considered for the title role, that all changed when Arnold Schwarzenegger and Cameron met over lunch to discuss Schwarzenegger playing the role of Kyle Reese, both came to the conclusion that the cyborg villain would be the more compelling role Schwarzenegger. Henriksen got the smaller part of LAPD detective Hal Vukovich and the role of Kyle Reese went to Michael Biehn. In addition, Linda Hamilton first appeared in this film in her iconic role of Sarah Connor, and later married Cameron.

The Terminator was a low-budget film which cost $6.5 million to make, utilizing cost-cutting skills he’d learned working for Corman. However, The Terminator eventually earned over $78 million worldwide. Cameron was a star, he could make whatever he wanted next, and he wanted to make an Alien movie…

Antiviral – Lucas Clinic Ad and Trailer

The latest Cronenberg movie to hark back to the early days of disease/body horror is called Antiviral. The movie tells of sick celebrities and their rabid fans who are determined to infect themselves with the diseases their idols are suffering from. The difference this time is that it isn’t David Cronenberg at the helm, but his son Brandon, who seems to share his father’s tastes… Disease-centric, Dubious Medical Facility, Obsession…

The Lucas clinic brings people closer to their favourite celebrities by infecting the fans with diseases of the rich and famous. Check out the Lucas Clinic Trailer:

The first trailer, below, is excellent, and unsettling in a way that fans of early David Cronenberg films should really love.

Ripper Street – Trailer

As the sun sets on the Olympics, darkness rises on Ripper Street. Ripper Street is set in the East End of London in 1889, during the aftermath of the “Ripper” murders. The action centres around the notorious H Division – the police precinct from hell – which is charged with keeping order in the chaotic streets of Whitechapel. The series explores the lives of characters trying to recover from the Ripper’s legacy, from crimes that have not only irretrievably altered their lives, but the very fabric of their city. At the drama’s heart our detectives try to bring a little light into the dark world they inhabit. Starring Matthew Macfadyen and Jerome Flynn, Ripper Street is a brand new original British drama for BBC One.