Monica Anna Maria Bellucci (born 30 September 1964) is an Italian actress and fashion model. Bellucci was born in Città di Castello, Umbria, Italy as the only child of Brunella Briganti and Luigi Bellucci, and she grew up in San Giustino.
Monica Bellucci began modeling at age 13 by posing for a local photo enthusiast. In 1988, Bellucci moved to one of Europe’s fashion centers, Milan, where she signed with Elite Model Management. By 1989, she was becoming prominent as a fashion model in Paris and across the Atlantic, in New York City. She posed for Dolce & Gabbana and French Elle, among others. In that year, Bellucci made the transition to acting and began taking acting classes.
Bellucci’s film career began in the early 1990s. She played some minor roles in La Riffa (1991) and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992). In 1996 she was nominated for a César Award for best supporting actress for her portrayal of Lisa in L’Appartement and strengthened her position as an actress. She became known and popular with worldwide audiences, following her roles in Malèna (2000), Brotherhood of the Wolf , and Irréversible (2002).
Irréversible is a 2002 French drama film written and directed by Gaspar Noé, starring Bellucci, Vincent Cassel and Albert Dupontel. The film employs a non-linear narrative and follows two men as they try to avenge a brutally raped girlfriend. The film premiered in France on 22 May 2002 through Mars Distribution. It competed at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. Audience reactions to both the rape scene and the murder scene have ranged from appreciation of their artistic merits to leaving the theater in disgust. Newsweek‘s David Ansen stated that “If outraged viewers (mostly women) at the Cannes Festival are any indication, this will be the most walked-out-of movie of 2003.” In the same review, Ansen suggested that the film displayed “an adolescent pride in its own ugliness”.
She has since played in many films from Europe and Hollywood like Tears of the Sun (2003), The Matrix Reloaded (2003), The Passion of the Christ (2004), The Brothers Grimm (2005), Le Deuxième souffle (2007), Don’t Look Back (2009), and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010). In the documentary movie The Big Question, about the film The Passion of the Christ, she stated: “I am an agnostic, even though I respect and am interested in all religions. If there’s something I believe in, it’s a mysterious energy; the one that fills the oceans during tides, the one that unites nature and beings.”
Bellucci dubbed her own voice for the French and Italian releases of the film Shoot ‘Em Up (2007). She also voiced Kaileena in the video game Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, and the French voice of Cappy for the French version of the 2005 animated film Robots.
Bellucci is married to French actor Vincent Cassel, with whom she has appeared in several films. They have two daughters, Deva (born 2004) and Léonie (born 2010).
Luke Damon Goss (born 29 September 1968) is an English singer and actor. He has appeared in numerous films, however his best roles have been hidden beneath heavy make-up effects, such as Jared Nomak in Blade II (2002), The Creature in the TV miniseries Frankenstein (2004), and Prince Nuada in Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008).
Luke Goss along with twin brother Matt Goss, started his career with the hugely successful 1980s boy band Bros, who racked up thirteen hit singles in the UK. When Bros broke up in the early 1990s, Goss worked with the Band of Thieves. His autobiography, “I Owe You Nothing”, was a top 10 best seller book and went on to have three subsequent printings. He also began to appear in stage musicals including Grease and What a Feeling, before turning to acting in films full-time, with his first most notable role as the villain Jared Nomak in Blade II.
Blade II is a 2002 American vampire action film based on the fictional Marvel Comics character Blade. It is the sequel of the first film and the second part of the Blade film series. It was written by David S. Goyer, who also wrote the first film, and directed by Guillermo del Toro. Wesley Snipes returned as the lead character and producer. The film is the best of the trilogy as well as the most successful.
He also appeared as The Creature in the Hallmark Channel’s Frankenstein. Goss can be seen in the 2004 crime drama, Charlie in which he plays real-life gangster Charlie Richardson; and again, in the 2005 comedy, The Man he stars as another villain, Joey / Kane.
He has since had roles in One Night with the King, as King Xerxes. He appeared in Bone Dry, as Eddie and in the thrillerUnearthed, as Kale. Goss received a CAMIE (Character and Morality in Entertainment) Award for his work in One Night with the King on May 12, 2007 at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. Both One Night with the King and Bone Dry were viewed at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. Bone Dry premiered in Los Angeles on January 9, 2008.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army is a 2008 American supernatural superhero film based on the fictional Dark Horse Comics character Hellboy, starring Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, with Goss as Prince Nuada, the main antagonist of the film. He is King Balor’s son and a martial art expert of extraordinary proficiency. Goss was previously cast as the mutant vampire Jared Nomak in del Toro’s 2002 film Blade II, and the director approached the actor to be cast in Hellboy II. Goss trained with action director and former Jackie Chan Stunt Team member, Brad Allan, learning sword and spear skills for six to seven months for his role. He and Anna Walton also learned ancient Gaelic from a dialog coach.
Goss did not perceive Nuada as evil, explaining, “It’s issues, his people, he’s part of what he truly believes. I don’t think, really, he’s so deluded… [He] is driven by an ethic that was instilled by the person he has problems [with; that is,] his father, and inevitably, that leads into the conflict with him and Hellboy.” Goss also noted that his character admired and revered his twin sister, portrayed by Anna Walton. He said of the prince and the princess, “There is an incestuous relationship that’s not maybe overly obvious to everybody, but some people hopefully will pick up on the fact, certainly from my direction towards her.” The movie was written and directed by Guillermo del Toro and is a sequel to the 2004 film Hellboy, which del Toro also directed.
In February, 2008, he signed to play the role of Steve Fox in Tekken; and in January 2010, Goss won the role as Frankenstein in Death Race 2. Goss also played the lead role in Syfy’s dark tale television film Witchville. He is next up in Death Race 3: Inferno.
John Thomas Sayles (born September 28, 1950) is an American independent film director, screenwriter and author. Sayles was born in Schenectady, New York, the son of Mary, a teacher, and Donald John Sayles, a school administrator.
Like Martin Scorsese and James Cameron, among others, Sayles began his film career working with Roger Corman, scripting Piranha. In 1979, Sayles funded his first film, Return of the Secaucus 7, with money he had in the bank from writing scripts for Roger Corman. He set the film in a large house so that he did not have to travel to or get permits for different locations, set it over a three-day weekend to limit costume changes, and wrote about people his age so that he could have his friends act in it. The film received near-unanimous critical acclaim, and in November 1997, the National Film Preservation Board announced that Return of the Secaucus 7 would be one of the 25 films selected that year for preservation in the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress.
Sayles wrote, Alligator and Battle Beyond the Stars (both 1980), before writing The Howling (1981) for Joe Dante. In 1983, after writing/directing the films Lianna and Baby It’s You, Sayles received a MacArthur Fellowship. He used the money to partially fund the fantasy The Brother from Another Planet, a film about a black, three-toed slave who escapes from another planet and finds himself at home among the people of Harlem.
Sayles wrote the scripts for The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986) and Wild Thing (1987), before directing the excellent Matewan (1987) and Eight Men Out (1988). In 1989, he created and wrote the pilot episode for the short-lived television show Shannon’s Deal. Sayles received a 1990 Edgar Award for his teleplay for the pilot. The show ran for only 16 episodes before being cancelled in 1991.
Sayles has funded most of his films by writing genre scripts such as Piranha, Alligator, The Howling and The Challenge, having collaborated with Joe Dante on Piranha and The Howling, Sayles acted in Dante’s underrated 1993 movie Matinee. In deciding whether to take a job, Sayles reports that he mostly is interested in whether there is the germ of an idea for a movie which he would want to watch. Sayles gets the rest of his funding by working as a script doctor; he apparently did rewrites for Apollo 13, and Mimic.
One such genre script, called Night Skies, inspired what would eventually become the highly successful film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. That film’s director, Steven Spielberg, commissioned Sayles to write a script for Jurassic Park IV.
He has directed the dramas, City of Hope (1991), Passion Fish (1992), The Secret of the Roan Inish (1994), Lone Star (1996), Men with Guns (1997), Limbo (1999), Sunshine State (2002), Casa de los Babys (2003), political comedy Silver City (2004) and musical Honeydripper (2007). Sayles 17th and latest feature film, was the historical war drama Amigo.
In February 2009, Sayles was reported to be writing an upcoming HBO series based on the early life of Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The drama, tentatively titled Scar Tissue, centers on Kiedis’s early years living in West Hollywood with his father. At that time, Kiedis’s father, known as Spider, sold drugs (according to legend, his clients included The Who and Led Zeppelin) and mingled with rock stars on the Sunset Strip, all while aspiring to get into showbiz.
His novel A Moment in the Sun, set during the same period as Amigo, in the Philippines, Cuba, and the US, was released in 2011 by McSweeney’s. He should belt out a few more cheesy-pulp-scripts, we could do with them about now.
Official synopsis for Hotel Transylvania: Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into overprotective mode when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count’s teen-aged daughter.
My Sons review: Count Dracula builds a hotel for all the monsters to have a break away from humans, the monsters are all scared of humans. Dracula is in charge, he has a daughter called Mavis who he doesn’t want to let go out in the daytime as she would be burned by the sun Dracula’s friends are Murray the Mummy, Frank the Frankenstein monster, Wayne the Werewolf, and Griffin the Invisible Man and all the other monsters. A human comes to the hotel called Jonathan, and Dracula tries to hide him from the other monsters by dressing him up as a half-monster like Frankenstein.
The favourite parts of the movie for me was the beginning when they showed us all the monsters and the graveyard near the castle. I really liked the zombies, especially when they were on fire. It’s pretty funny, the funniest bit is when Frank does a fart-prank on Murray the Mummy, and Murray gets blamed.
If little kids liked spooky stuff, they will like the movie, if not they could be scared. It’s not really a scary movie, I would like it more if it was more scary. I give it 4 stars, it would get 5 if it was scary.
In the rating system’s early years, X-Rated movies, such as Midnight Cowboy (1969), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Fritz the Cat (1972), and Last Tango in Paris (1973) were understood to be non-pornographic films with adult content that were nonetheless mainstream films that did well at the box office. However, pornographic films – if rated at all – sometimes self-imposed the non-trademarked X rating. Thus, the X rating (along with the hyperbolic “XXX”, typically for hardcore pornography) soon became a synonym for pornography in American mainstream culture.
In 1989, two critically acclaimed arthouse films, The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, were released featuring very strong adult content. Neither was approved for an R rating, thus limiting their commercial distribution.
On September 27, 1990, the MPAA introduced the rating NC-17 (“No Children Under 17 Admitted”) as its official rating for adult-oriented films bearing the MPAA seal. Henry & June was the first film to receive the NC-17 rating.
The ratings used from 1990 to the late 1990s were:
- Rated G: General Audiences – All Ages Admitted.
- Rated PG: Parental Guidance Suggested – Some Material May Not be Suitable for Children.
- Rated PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned – Some Material May be Inappropriate for Children Under 13.
- Rated R: Restricted – Under 17 Requires Accompanying Parent or Adult Guardian.
- Rated NC-17: No Children 17 or Under Admitted.
In the late 1990s the NC-17 rating age limit was changed by rewording it from “No Children Under 17 Admitted” to “No One 17 And Under Admitted”. On January 18, 2012, it was changed to “No Children 17 and Under Admitted”. And, in practice, media that refused to advertise X-rated films and movies also refused to advertise NC-17 movies and films. In addition, large video distribution businesses such as Blockbuster video refused to stock NC-17 movies.
The sequel to the Deep Silver and Techland zombie apocalypse survival game, Dead Island, is on the way.
Just like the first trailer for Dead Island, which took the internet by storm upon its release (so much so that it led to a battle to acquire the movie rights well before the game arrived (eventually optioned by Lionsgate), a beautiful and haunting cinematic kicks things off for the sequel, which is titled Dead Island: Riptide.
The trailer isn’t quite as good as the one we saw for the first game, but still, it’s an excellent trailer well worth watching. You can watch it below now.
Melissa Sue Anderson is an American-Canadian actress. Born September 26, 1962 in Berkeley, California, she began her career as a child actress. Anderson is perhaps best known for her role as Mary Ingalls on the NBC television series Little House on the Prairie, as well as for her film roles; as Vivian in TV movie Midnight Offerings (1981), and as Ginny in the cult classic slasher flick, Happy Birthday to Me (1981).
Happy Birthday to Me was released on May 15, 1981 and has since become something of a cult classic among fans of the slasher genre, with its bizarre murder methods and twisted climactic revelation. AllMovie gave the film a mixed review, writing, “Happy Birthday to Me stands out from the slasher movie pack of the early ’80s because it pushes all the genre’s elements to absurd heights. The murders, plot twists and, especially, the last-minute revelations that are dished up in the final reel don’t just deny credibility, they outright defy it.” Nailed it.
Posted last week on Bloody Disgusting and FearNET, this is an animatic pitch by story artist Federico D’Alessandro (Thor, Captain America, Avengers, Iron Man 3 and Thor 2).
“As a lifelong HALLOWEEN fan it would be a dream to direct a reboot of the franchise that’s so near and dear to my heart. I created this animatic to show the tone and storytelling that I would bring to the project if I were lucky enough to have that chance. If you like it, please repost…if this gets enough hits, who knows, maybe I’ll get that opportunity!”
Then check out his short film, Recollection, which won which won Best Horror Short at the 2011 Comic Con. The multi-award winning short horror film, is the story of a man who awakens in a freshly dug grave with no memories of who he is or how he got there. Lost, injured and afraid, he finds himself in a fight for survival as he struggles through a macabre lair while desperately trying to escape from a man intent on killing him.
For more of Federico’s work, including artwork and boards from his short film please go to his website HERE
Bert Ira Gordon (born September 24, 1922) is an American film director most famous for such science fiction and horror B-movies as The Amazing Colossal Man and Village of the Giants. Most of Gordon’s work is in the idiom of giant monster films, for which he used rear-projection to create the special effects. His nickname “Mister B.I.G.” is a reference both to his initials and to his preferred technique for making super-sized creatures.
Gordon was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He began making home movies in 16mm after his aunt gave him a camera for his thirteen birthday. He dropped out of college to join the Air Crops in World War II; and after the war, he married and he and his wife began making television commercials. He later edited British feature films to fit half hour time slows and became a production assistant on Racket Squad and camera man on Serpent Island (1954).
In 1954 Gordon made his first feature, King Dinosaur, then The Cyclops (1957), before he began his prolific association with American International Pictures where he made The Amazing Colossal Man (1957), Earth vs. the Spider (1958), Attack of the Puppet People (1958), and The Food of the Gods (1976).
In 1960, he wrote, produced and directed The Boy and the Pirates, starring active and popular child star of the time Charles Herbert and Gordon’s own daughter, Susan Gordon. The three of them appeared together in the celebrity lineup at the 2006 Monster Bash, held June 23–25 at the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Airport Four Points. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, released a Midnite Movies double DVD set with the rarely seen The Boy and the Pirates, and the more recent Crystalstone (1988), on June 27, 2006.
His 1977 Empire of the Ants featured a pre-Dynasty Joan Collins, who later said of the film that it was her worst acting experience, but by then the loosely-based modernized H.G. Wells tale had been elevated to cult film status.
None of his films has received significant critical attention, but his work has attained popularity in some circles. The cult TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) has featured several of his movies.
Of these titles, King Dinosaur, The Amazing Colossal Man, Earth Vs. The Spider, War of the Colossal Beast, The Magic Sword, Tormented, Beginning of the End and Village of the Giants were featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
His last directed films were the poorly received Burned at the Stake (1981), Let’s Do It! (1982), The Big Bet (1985), and Satan’s Princess (1990).
The duo wrote The Movie From the Future (2000) which Miller directed with Casey starring and went on to co-write and direct/act in I Was a Teenage Frankenstein’s Roommate (2002), Hey, Stop Stabbing Me (2003), and Magma Head (2003). They also co-wrote National Lampoon Presents Dorm Daze (2003), and its sequel National Lampoon Presents Dorm Daze 2 (2006), Gamebox 1.0 (2004) and Transylmania (2009), the story of a group of not-too-bright American college kids on a semester abroad at the only college that would accept them: The Razvan University. The movie is a Spoof horror in which a group of college kids do a semester abroad in Romania and realise that if the partying doesn’t kill them, the vampires just might. All these movies are awful, but at least miller is out there doing something…
His self-penned bio on Amazon.com states: Miller was born, raised, coddled, and educated in the frosty wastes of suburban Minnesota before moving to Los Angeles. He writes film criticism for CHUD.com, as well as comedy pieces for SomethingAwful.com and MadAtoms.com. He is a script writer for Fox Digital Studios and the co-writer of several movies he doesn’t want you to see.
On December 1, 2010 his first book, A Zombie’s History of the United States: From the Massacre at Plymouth Rock to the CIA’s Secret War on the Undead was released. His second book, this time written with Patrick Casey, The World Reduced to Infographics: From Hollywood’s Life Lessons and Doomed Cities of the U.S. to Sociopathic Cats and What Your Drink Order Says About You, was released December 13, 2011.
Stephen King’s best selling, iconic novel Carrie, first published in 1974, has been firmly ingrained in the world’s pop culture landscape for nearly four decades. On September 25th, 2012, the first-ever cast recording of Carrie’s musical adaptation will be released on Ghostlight Records. Musical’s aren’t really my thing, but with all the Carrie remake buzz around at the moment I thought some of you may want to check it out…
FX is in final negotiations to order a pilot with the understanding that the project would likely be fast-tracked to a series order. Del Toro will co-write the pilot with Chuck Hogan, his co-author on the HarperCollins books, and he will direct. The plan is to begin lensing in Toronto in the fall of next year.
Project marks a leap of faith for FX, which has never before ordered a pilot on the strength of a pitch. Cinemax and Starz were also aggressive contenders for the project.
Del Toro envisions “Strain” as an event series that would have a clearly defined end date. The project is favorite of del Toro’s; he spent years developing his own unique spin on vampire mythology for the books. The first book in the series bowed in 2009. “Strain” has also spawned a popular Dark Horse comicbook series.
“These are very scary vampires,” Cuse told Variety. “These are not romantic vampires. They will give you nightmares.”
Proving irresistible to Cuse were the distinctiveness of del Toro’s take on the undead and the fact that the three voluminous books lay out a clear cinematic road map for the story. “It’s a chance to tell a gripping, suspenseful story with characters that go on a wonderful emotional journey through the course of the story,” Cuse said. “It has all the elements you look for in an epic tale. It feels like the chance to do something that really adds something new to the genre.”
Del Toro, Cuse, Hogan and del Toro’s manager Gary Ungar will serve as exec producers on the TV adaptation.
“Strain” deal is coming together as del Toro is shepherding two other TV projects for HBO in addition to a slew of feature projects. Cuse is about to begin production on a 10-episode order from A&E for the drama series “Bates Motel.”
The latest tease for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has been released. The dwarves are back along with menacing monsters and fresh footage since the first trailer from last December. This one also has extra Gollum. This will be the first picture in what recently became a trilogy of Hobbit movies. In July, it was confirmed that Jackson would split what was a planned two-picture story into three films from JRR Tolkien’s book and 125 pages of appendices that the author included in a later publication of final Lord Of The Rings installment, The Return Of The King. Set in Middle-earth, 60 years before LOTR, The Hobbit trilogy kicks off with n Unexpected Journey on December 14 this year, followed by The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug on Dec. 13, 2013 and The Hobbit: There And Back Again on July 18, 2014.
Will audiences hang around in similar numbers to The Lord of the Rings trilogy for 3 episodes of more characters walking without the epic battles and varying plot strands..?
Robert Blake (born 18 September 1933), is an American actor most known for starring in the film In Cold Blood, the U.S. television series Baretta, and more recently for the 2005 trial in which he was tried and acquitted of the 2001 murder of his wife.
Blake was born Michael James Vincenzo Gubitosi in Nutley, New Jersey. His mother, Elizabeth Cafone (b. 1910), was married to Giacomo (James) Gubitosi (1906–1956), however according to Blake in an interview with Piers Morgan, his biological father was actually Giacomo’s brother. As a result of this, he said his parents were cold and distant towards him. He had two elder siblings, brother James Gubitosi (1930–1995) and sister Giovanna Gubitosi (1932–1985).
James and Elizabeth began a song-and-dance act, in 1936, the three children began performing, billed as “The Three Little Hillbillies.” They moved to Los Angeles, in 1938, where the children began working as movie extras.
Then known as Mickey Gubitosi, Blake began his acting cat career in the MGM movie Bridal Suite (1939), before appearing in MGM’s Our Gang shorts (aka The Little Rascals) under his real name. He appeared in 40 of the shorts between 1939 and 1944, eventually becoming the series’ final lead character. James and Giovanna Gubitosi also made appearances in the series as extras.
Blake also had roles in one of Laurel and Hardy’s films The Big Noise (1944), the movies Humoresque (1946), and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948). In 1950, Blake joined the Army.
He turned down the role of Little Joe in Bonanza, before appearing in the syndicated western series 26 Men, The Cisco Kid, Have Gun Will Travel and The Restless Gun. Blake performed in numerous motion pictures as an adult, including the starring role in The Purple Gang (1960), and featured roles in Pork Chop Hill (1959), Town Without Pity (1961), Ensign Pulver (1964) and The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965). In 1967, he played real-life murderer Perry Smith in In Cold Blood; Richard Brooks directed, adapting Truman Capote’s non-fiction book for the film.
Blake featured in Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (1969), and Electra Glide in Blue (1973). Blake may be best known for his Emmy Award-winning role of Tony Baretta in the popular television series Baretta (1975 to 1978), playing an undercover police detective who specialized in disguises.
He continued to act through the 1980s and 1990s, mostly in television, in the miniseries Blood Feud (1983) and Judgment Day: The John List Story (1993), which earned him a third Emmy nomination. He also had character parts in the theatrical movies Money Train (1995) and more memorably in the warped David Lynch film Lost Highway (1997). In addition, Blake starred in the television series Hell Town, playing a priest working in a tough neighborhood.
Almost one year later, on April 18, 2002, Blake was arrested and charged in connection with the murder of his wife. His longtime bodyguard, Earle Caldwell, was also arrested and charged with conspiracy in connection with murder. A key event that gave the LAPD the confidence to arrest Blake came when a retired stuntman, Ronald “Duffy” Hambleton, agreed to testify against him. Hambleton alleged that Blake tried to hire him to kill Bonnie Lee Bakley. Another retired stuntman and an associate of Hambleton’s, Gary McLarty, came forward with a similar story.
On March 16, 2005, Blake was found not guilty of the murder of Bonnie Lee Bakley and of one of the two counts of solicitation of murder. The other count, the solicitation of Gary McLarty, was dropped after it was revealed that the jury was deadlocked 11-1 in favour of an acquittal. Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, commenting on this ruling, called Blake a “miserable human being” and the jurors “incredibly stupid.” Blake’s defense team, led by attorney M. Gerald Schwartzbach, and members of the jury responded that the prosecution had failed to prove its case. Trial analysts also agreed with the jury’s verdict. On the night of his acquittal several fans celebrated at Blake’s favorite haunt, Vitello’s.
Gene Curtis Harrington (September 17, 1926 – May 6, 2007) was an American film and television director whose work included experimental films, horror films, and episodic television. He is considered one of the forerunners of New Queer Cinema.
Harrington was born in Los Angeles on September 17, 1926, and grew up in Beaumont, California. His first cinematic endeavors were amateur films he made while still a teenager. He attended Occidental College, the University of Southern California and graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a film studies degree.
He began his career as a film critic, writing a book on Josef von Sternberg in 1948. He directed several avant-garde short films in the 1940s and ’50s, including Fragment of Seeking, Picnic, and The Wormwood Star. Cameron also co-starred in his subsequent film Night Tide (1961) with Dennis Hopper. Harrington worked with Kenneth Anger, serving as a cinematographer on Anger’s Puce Moment and acting in Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954) ( he played Cesare, the Somnambulist).
Harrington had links to Thelema (religion developed by Aleister Crowley) shared with his close associate Kenneth Anger, and Marjorie Cameron who frequently acted in his films. One of Harrington’s mentors was avant-garde film pioneer Maya Deren, an initiated voodoo priestess.
Roger Corman assigned Harrington to turn some Russian science fiction footage into a whole new American movie; the result was Queen of Blood, which led to further films such as Games.
He also directed Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1971) with Shelley Winters, What’s the Matter with Helen? (1972) again with Winters, and Killer Bees (1974) with Gloria Swanson in one of her last film roles.
Harrington made two made for television movies based on screenplays by Robert Bloch: The Cat Creature (1973) and The Dead Don’t Die (1975) .
Harrington had a cameo role in Orson Welles’s unfinished The Other Side of the Wind. In the 1970s and 1980s, Harrington directed episodes of Wonder Woman, The Twilight Zone, and Charlie’s Angels for television.
Harrington was the driving force in locating the original James Whale production of The Old Dark House (1932). Even though the rights had been sold to Columbia Pictures for a remake, he got George Eastman House to restore the negative. On the Kino International DVD, there is a filmed interview of Harrington explaining why and how this came about (the contract stipulated that they were allowed to save the film only, not release it, essentially to prove no profit motive). Harrington was an advisor on Bill Condon’s excellent Gods and Monsters, about the last days of director James Whale, since Harrington had known Whale at the end of his life. Harrington also has a cameo in this film.
Harrington’s final film, the short Usher, is a remake of an unreleased film he did while in high school, Fall of the House of Usher. His casting of Nikolas and Zeena Schreck in his updated version of Edgar Allan Poe’s ”Fall of the House of Usher” is in keeping with the magical thread that runs through the film-maker’s career. Financing of the film was partly accomplished through the Shreck’s brokering of the sale of Harrington’s signed copy of Crowley’s The Book of Thoth.
House of Harrington a short documentary about the director’s life, was released in 2008. It was directed by Jeffrey Schwarz and Tyler Hubby and filmed several years before Harrington’s death. It includes footage of his high school film Fall of the House of Usher. Check it out HERE. Curtis Harrington’s memoir Nice Guys Don’t Work in Hollywood will be published in fall 2012 by Drag City.
Fay Wray (born Vina Fay Wray; September 15, 1907 – August 8, 2004) was a Canadian-American actress most noted for playing the female lead in King Kong. Through an acting career that spanned 57 years, Wray attained international renown as an actress in horror movie roles, leading to many considering her as the first “scream queen”.
Wray was born on a ranch near Cardston, Alberta, Canada, to two Mormons, Elvina Marguerite Jones, who was from Salt Lake City, and Joseph Heber Wray, who was from Hull, England. She was one of six children. Her family returned to the United States and moved to Salt Lake City in 1912, before moving to Hollywood, where Fay attended Hollywood High School.
In 1923, Wray appeared in her first film at the age of 16, in a short historical film sponsored by a local newspaper. In the 1920s, Wray landed a major role in the silent film The Coast Patrol (1925), as well as uncredited bit parts at the Hal Roach Studios.
After appearing in minor movie roles, Wray gained media attention being selected as one of the “WAMPAS Baby Stars”, this led to Wray being contracted to Paramount Pictures as a teenager, where she made more than a dozen movies.
After leaving Paramount, Wray signed to various film companies. It was under these deals that Wray was cast in various horror films, including Doctor X. However, her greatest known films were produced under her deal with RKO Radio Pictures. Her first film under RKO was The Most Dangerous Game (1932), co-starring Joel McCrea and shot at night on the same jungle sets that were being used for King Kong during the day, with the leads from both films, Wray and Robert Armstrong, appearing in both movies.
The Most Dangerous Game was followed by Wray’s most memorable film, King Kong. According to Wray, Jean Harlow had been RKO’s original choice, but because MGM had put Harlow under exclusive contract during the pre-production phase of the film, she became unavailable and Wray was approached by director Merian C. Cooper to play the role of Ann Darrow, the blonde captive of King Kong, who was brought to life by Willis O’Brien. The film was a commercial success, and Wray was reportedly proud that the film saved RKO from bankruptcy. Wray’s role would become the one with which she would be most associated. For her appearances in various horror films, many have considered Wray the first “scream queen”.
She continued to star in various films, but by the early 1940s, her appearances became less frequent. She retired from acting in 1942, after her second marriage. However, for financial reasons, she continued in her acting career, for another three decades.
Wray featured in the TV series’ The Pride of the Family, episodes of Perry Mason, Playhouse 90, 77 Sunset Strip and The Elenth Hour. She ended her acting career in the made-for TV movie Gideon’s Trumpet (1980).
In 1988, her autobiography, On the Other Hand, was published. She was approached by James Cameron to play the part of “Rose Dawson Calvert” for his 1997 blockbuster Titanic, but she turned down the role and the part of Rose was given to Gloria Stuart. In 2004, Wray was approached by director Peter Jackson to appear in a small cameo for the 2005 remake of King Kong. She politely declined the cameo, and claimed the original “Kong” to be the true “King”.
Before filming of the remake commenced, Wray died in her sleep of natural causes on August 8, 2004, in her Manhattan apartment. Her friend Rick McKay said that “she just kind of drifted off quietly as if she was going to sleep… she just kind of gave out.” She was 96 years old. Wray was buried at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California. Two days after her death, the lights of the Empire State Building were extinguished for 15 minutes in her memory.
Harold Brent Wallis (September 14, 1898 – October 5, 1986) was an American film producer. He is most famously remembered for producing Casablanca, and other important films featuring actors such as Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Katherine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, Dean Martin, John Wayne and Elvis Presley.
Wallis was born in Chicago in 1898, the son of Eva (née Blum) and Jacob Walinsky, Eastern European Jews. His family moved in 1922 to Los Angeles, where he found work as part of the publicity department at Warner Bros.in 1923.
Within a few years, Wallis became involved in the production end of the business and would eventually become head of production at Warners. In a career that spanned more than fifty years, he was involved with the production of more than 400 feature-length movies.
Among the many significant movies he produced were Dark Victory, Now Voyager, Sergeant York and The Adventures of Robin Hood the 1938 swashbuckler directed by Michael Curtiz and William Keighley. Filmed in lush Technicolor, the picture stars Errol Flynn, Olivia de Haviland, Basil Rathbone and Claude Rains.
The Maltese Falcon is a 1941 Warner Bros. film based on the novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett. Written for the screen and directed by John Huston, the film stars Humphrey Bogart as private investigator Sam Spade, Mary Astor as his femme fatale client; Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet in his film debut. The film was Huston’s directorial debut and was nominated for three Academy Awards.
Wallis left Warner Bros. in 1944, after a clash with Jack Warner over Warner’s acceptance of the Best Picture Oscar to Casablanca, to work as an independent producer, enjoying considerable success both commercially and critically. Among his financial hits were the Martin and Lewis comedies, and several of Elvis Presley’s movies.
He produced True Grit, a 1969 American Western written by Marguerite Roberts and directed by Henry Hathaway. It is the first adaptation of Charles Portis’ 1968 novel of the same name. John Wayne stars as U. S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn and won the Academy Award for his performance in this film. Wayne reprised his role as Cogburn in the 1975 sequel Rooster Cogburn.
Wallis received sixteen Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, winning for Casablanca in 1943. For his consistently high quality of motion picture production, he was twice honored with the Academy Awards’ Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award. He was also nominated for seven Golden Globe Awards, twice winning awards for Best Picture. In 1975, he received the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement in motion pictures.
Director, Writer, Art Director, Production Designer, Story Artist, Layout Supervisor, it would appear that Deane Taylor has covered most pre-production positions on countless animated productions over the last 30+ years. Although Deane has worked with classic animated shows such as Popeye, The Flintstones, Casper, and Scooby-Doo,the excellent Cow and Chicken as well as features like Happily N’Ever After, he is most well known for his superlative work on Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Still incredibly busy on a variety of projects, Deane has been kind enough to answer a few questions about his influences, his art and his work on that classic film.
GEORDIE: With the imminent release of ParaNorman and Hotel Transylvania it would appear that the influence of The Nightmare Before Christmas is stronger than ever, are you still surprised at how popular the film remains after all these years?
DEANE: I used to get really surprised but not so much anymore. I worked on the game in Japan and the President of Walt Disney in Tokyo told me that history has shown it gets a new audience every 3 years and can go as low as 4 years old. The film has been criticised for being too dark which I believe is rubbish. “Dark” is often confused with depth of detail and distinctive, original character.I think it has elements of a modern-day fairy tale told with strong humorous undertones . To me, those are the ingredients for classic. ParaNorman has the flavour too…brilliant. I actually did a bit of early concept work on Hotel Transylvania for my very good friends David Feiss and Tony Stacchi.
GEORDIE: Your design style is very distinctive, looking at your work and the work of Tim Burton, recently on show at the Gallery of Victoria, it would seem that you guys are a perfect fit to work together. Can you explain how you came to work on the project and how your working relationship developed?
DEANE: Henry Selick looked at a hundred or so art directors but in visiting animation studios across the States his eye was drawn to faxed cartoons that I’d done, that were on the pin-boards in a number of places. (yes…it was that long ago) This was pure dumb luck in my opinion…these sketches were just me having a laugh with mates I had worked with around the world at different times. Henry saw Tim’s style and thinking in this work and he contacted me for that reason. I was working out of Sydney at the time, but found myself on the job in San Francisco within weeks of that contact. I met with Tim on two occasions. Once for 3 minutes, and again for 4 minutes. Having said that, I believe it was enough. He is very clear in his thoughts, and his style very obviously unique. My brief was to make it look like Tim’s work, and we’d hear about it if it didn’t. Rick Heinrich’s was put on the project as visual consultant. They had worked together as early as Vincent and much more.He was Tim’s eyes and ears, and he is an amazing artist. As an art department we worked very closely with him. I have had a much more direct working relationship with Tim since that time (specifically on the game ) and have found him just as direct and clear as I had before.
GEORDIE: The art direction for The Nightmare Before Christmas is iconic, I can see an incredible blend of Gothic Noir, Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Dr.Seuss and Edward Gorey. Can you describe some of your personal influences and where you drew some of your inspiration from?
DEANE: I really only looked hard at Tim’s work. In that, I saw heavy influences from Edward Gorey and another favourite of mine, Ronald Searle. As you’ve accurately mentioned… Caligari and Seuss are in the top ten also. The way I saw it was that Tim had really blended the flavours of all of these things and brought his own stamp to it, and that’s what I should do as well. We as an art department stayed true to this while allowing additional detail to develop. Kendal Chronkite in particular, brought some very tasty design work into the process, and Henry had the eye to allow it.
GEORDIE: The background work on this film is as much a ‘character’ as the actual characters. Do you have a favourite piece, and speaking of characters, is there a particular character that you identify with?
DEANE: It’s no accident that the environments play into the character so heavily. I believe they really have to, to be believable. I wanted to create illustrations that you could fly in and around. Kind of a pop-up book. The sets were realised with amazing accuracy to the sketches, and in the rendering of the surfaces we went in and painted the hatching as a guide, which really added to the expressionistic finish. We used fat water-colour brushes and black ink. The ink was crushed from hardened coal from the Altai Mountains. Just kidding…it wasn’t THAT long ago. As far as favourites…I am still very fond of Jack’s study, the Evil Scientist Laboratory, the treehouse and Oogies lair. Coincidentally, these were mostly the first sets produced and I believe have the strongest essence. The treehouse interiors especially: you should freeze frame through that sometime and look at the painted lighting and other detail. In characters, I have a very soft spot for Lock, Shock and Barrel.
GEORDIE: You’ve worked in traditional 2D, 3D and Stop-Motion animation; can you explain the difference in approach that was required to bring your designs to life?
DEANE: I think design principles remain largely the same despite the medium but I have to say that the years of having to cheat production value into the limitations of 2-D cartoons was the biggest influence in achieving the style of our sets. Fake perspectives, distorted architecture and scene planning were pivotal. Forcing the viewers eye to look at what you choose to reveal is my preferred way to work. More often than not it’s about what you don’t see rather than what you do. It’s like Keith Richards guitar playing. He knows when to shut up.
GEORDIE: On the audio commentary from the Nightmare DVD, Director Henry Selick talks about how the 1933 King Kong and Night of the Hunter (two of my all-time favourite films), were big touch stones for him throughout the duration of the project. Were there any particular films you could point to as major influences for prep or while you were working on the film?
DEANE: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari obviously, but also the early Universal Frankensteins and Dracula’s…the really early ones. Simple and direct, these films were about three course meals, not pizzas.
GEORDIE: Our influences and tastes change and develop as we age, what were you drawn to as a kid, and what are some of the constants you always return to, or one that simply had a lasting effect on you?
DEANE: The turning point in art for me was seeing huge prints of Ronald Searle’s’ designs for The Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines. They were probably huge because I was a runty eight year old but I can clearly remember thinking that an adult had done these, and that he was doing this for an actual job. I though they were beautiful to look at, and they were funny. After that I tracked down the St Trinians books and feverishly tried to copy them. Ronald Searle became my personal tutor, though he probably still doesn’t know that. After that…Wizard of Id, BC and Mad magazine, who I eventually did work for. I still keep a lot of Searle’s work handy, for inspiration.
GEORDIE: What advice would you give to any aspiring young animators, story artists or art directors?
DEANE: You have to keep your eyes and ears open to new influences as well as your heroes. Look for the strange, and understand what it is that makes it so. This can be remote tribes, cultures, weird architecture and of course the minute detail of nature. It’s all out there waiting to be interpreted with a fresh eye or a different wrist. Look for the backstory, the “why”
DEANE: I love visual storytelling and in recent years am more convinced that this should be done with a conscience. It’s easy to produce a well told story, but I believe it should matter. I’m in development of an animated property that I believe does this. It’s a mix of styles that draws heavily on the flavours that have shaped my own work for the last 30 plus years. I’m very excited about it, and look forward to bringing it to fruition with a crew of seasoned veterans and new generation artists. I look at new work all the time and am hugely inspired by the freshness and skills that are scattered around the world.
GEORDIE: Thanks to Deane for giving up some of his (VERY valuable) time to do the interview, and for sharing his thoughts and inspiration. For more of Deane’s sketches, pearls of wisdom, and often hilarious recollections, check out his blog: deanertaylor.blogspot.com.au
Brian Russell De Palma (born September 11, 1940) is an American film director and writer. In a career spanning over 40 years, he is probably best known for his suspense and thrillers, the horror film Carrie, Dressed to Kill, Scarface, The Untouchables and Mission: Impossible.
De Palma, was born in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Vivienne and Anthony Federico De Palma, an orthopaedic surgeon. He was raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, eventually graduating from Friends’ Central School.
Enrolled at Columbia as a physics student, De Palma became enraptured with the filmmaking process after viewing Citizen Kane and Vertigo. De Palma subsequently enrolled at the newly co-ed Sarah Lawrence College as a graduate student in their theatre department in the early 1960s, becoming one of the first male students among a female population. An early association with a young Robert De Niro resulted in The Wedding Party, the film had been shot in 1963 but remained unreleased until 1969, when De Palma’s star had risen sufficiently. De Palma followed this with various small films for the NAACP and The Treasury Department.
During the 1960s, De Palma began making a living producing documentary films, notably The Responsive Eye, (1966) and Dionysus in 69 (1969) De Palma’s most significant features from this decade are Greetings (1968) and Hi Mom! (1970). Greetings was entered into the 19th Berlin International Film Festival, where it won a Silver Bear award. His other major film from this period is the slasher comedy Murder a la Mod.
In 1970, De Palma left New York for Hollywood at age thirty to make Get To Know Your Rabbit, starring Orson Welles. After several small, studio and independent released films that included stand-outs Sisters, Phantom Of The Paradise, and Obsession; then he directed a small film based on a novel by Stephen King.
The psychic thriller Carrie is seen by some as De Palma’s bid for a blockbuster. In fact, the project was small, underfunded by United Artists and well under the cultural radar during the early months of production, as Stephen King’s source novel had yet to climb the bestseller list. De Palma gravitated toward the project and changed crucial plot elements based upon his own predilections, not the saleability of the novel. The movie featured a young and relatively new cast, Sissy Spacek, John Travolta and Nancy Allen who became his wife from 1979 to 1983. Carrie became a hit, the first genuine box-office success for De Palma. It garnered Spacek and Piper Laurie Oscar nominations for their performances. The “shock ending” finale is effective even while it upholds horror-film convention, its suspense sequences are buttressed by teen comedy tropes, and its use of split-screen, split-diopter and slow motion shots tell the story visually rather than through dialogue.
De Palma followed Carrie with The Fury, a science fiction psychic thriller that starred Kirk Douglas and Carrie star Amy Irving. The film boasted a larger budget than Carrie, though the consensus view at the time was that De Palma was repeating himself, with diminishing returns; however it retains De Palma’s considerable visual flair.
De Palma courted controversy with the release of Dressed to Kill (1980). It centres on the murder of a housewife, and the investigation headed by the witness to the murder, a young prostitute, and the housewife’s teenaged son. Several critics said that De Palma was pushing the envelope with the film’s graphic sex scenes, including Dickinson masturbating in the shower and later being raped in a daydream passage; a common criticism was that De Palma was exploiting sex for the purpose of keeping it on screen.
He followed Dressed to Kill with the excellent, and underrated Blow Out (1981), a thriller starring John Travolta as Jack Terry, a movie sound effects technician who, while recording sounds for a low-budget slasher film, serendipitously captures audio evidence of an assassination involving a presidential hopeful. Nancy Allen co-stars as Sally Bedina, the young woman Jack rescues during the crime.
De Palma’s gangster films, most notably Scarface, The Untouchables and Carlito’s Way, pushed the envelope of violence and depravity, and yet greatly vary from one another in both style and content and also illustrate De Palma’s evolution as a film-maker. In essence, the excesses of Scarface contrast with the more emotional tragedy of Carlito’s Way. Both films feature Al Pacino in what has become a fruitful working relationship. Later into the 1990s and 2000s, De Palma attempted to do dramas and a few thrillers plus science fiction. Some of these movies (Mission: Impossible) worked and some others (Mission to Mars, Raising Cain, Snake Eyes, The Bonfire of the Vanities) failed at the box office. Of these films, The Bonfire of the Vanities would be De Palma’s biggest box office disaster, losing millions. Another later movie from De Palma, Redacted, unleashed a torrent of controversy over its subject of American involvement in Iraq, and supposed atrocities committed there. It received limited release in the United States.
Film critics have often noted De Palma’s penchant for unusual camera angles and compositions throughout his career. He often frames characters against the background using a canted angle shot, split-screen, 360 –degree pans, slow sweeping, panning and tracking shots are often used throughout his films. Split focus shots, often referred to as “di-opt”, are used by De Palma to emphasize the foreground person/object while simultaneously keeping a background person/object in focus. Slow-motion is frequently used in his films to increase suspense.
The legendary Pauline Kael wrote in her review of Blow Out, “At forty, Brian De Palma has more than twenty years of moviemaking behind him, and he has been growing better and better. Each time a new film of his opens, everything he has done before seems to have been preparation for it.” In his review of Femme Fatale, Roger Ebert wrote about the director: “De Palma deserves more honor as a director. Consider also these titles: Sisters, Blow Out, The Fury, Dressed to Kill, Carrie, Scarface, Wise Guys, Casualties of War, Carlito’s Way, Mission: Impossible. Yes, there are a few failures along the way (Snake Eyes, Mission to Mars, The Bonfire of the Vanities), but look at the range here, and reflect that these movies contain treasure for those who admire the craft as well as the story, who sense the glee with which De Palma manipulates images and characters for the simple joy of being good at it. It’s not just that he sometimes works in the style of Hitchcock, but that he has the nerve to.”