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

Archive for September, 2014

Saw – 10th Anniversary Release Poster

Saw_10th-Anniversary_posterI remember seeing Saw on it’s release, I remember the battering it dished out, the audience reactions and how pleased I was that this had been made by Australian film makers. Now, 10 years later (10..!!!), as reported last month, Saw has an Anniversary re-release. Read the official press release here:

SANTA MONICA, CA August 27, 2014 – This Halloween, Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the theatrical release of SAW, the film that kicked off the most successful horror franchise in history, by bringing it back to theaters nationwide for one week only. The film will open on Friday, October 31st, with select screenings beginning Thursday night, October 30th. The seven SAW films grossed $874 million at the box office worldwide and were hailed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the “Most Successful Horror Franchise” of all time.

SAW was the first collaboration for co-creators James Wan, who directed the film, and Leigh Whannell, who wrote the screenplay. Together, they also created the successful INSIDIOUS franchise, and Wan has gone on to direct such high-profile films as THE CONJURING and the upcoming FAST & FURIOUS 7.

Directed by Wan from a script penned by Whannell, SAW is a psychological thriller focusing on two men who wake up in a secure lair of a serial killer, with a dead body lying between them. The killer, nicknamed “Jigsaw,” leaves them tape recorded messages with details of how to make it out alive. The only way for one man to make it out alive is to do the unthinkable. The two men desperately try to find a way out, while also trying to figure out who’s behind their kidnapping. The film, which was released over Halloween weekend on October 29, 2004, was produced by Gregg Hoffman, Oren Koules, and Mark Burg.


A World War II Fairytale: The Making of Michael Mann’s The Keep

the-keep-horrorThere have been some exceptional ‘fan made’ documentaries for classic horror films made over the last few years, the superlative Beware The Moon: Remembering An American Werewolf in London and Unearthed and Untold: The Path to Pet Semetary being two of the best examples to the studios as to how it should be done. Along with the fantastic Thommy Hutson documentaries Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy and His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th, we are getting some real quality in the genre. Now we have a documentary in the works for little known but well regarded cult flick The Keep. Directed by Michael Mann of Manhunter, Heat and Last of The Mohicans fame.

In 2011, UK filmmaker Stewart Buck and french artist Stephane Piter began a journey to document the films production. Confronting the harsh realities of filmmaking, A World War II Fairytale is the definitive documentary on the film and the world and philosophy of The Keep.

Featuring further insight into the people behind the film and the source material that inspired it. Buck brought the project to the market at the Fantasia International Film Festival recently to find completion funds and it seems like the trip was fruitful for the UK filmmaker. Check out the website HERE


How They Made the Exploding Head in Scanners

Scanners, David Cronenberg’s 1981 film that defies explanation, is justly famous for not only its mind-bending narrative, but its torrent of effects, including one scene where, well, a guy’s head explodes. Check out this video and see how they did it!


In Scanners, the people who lend the film its title possess a telepathic ability which, in the film’s universe, manifests as ability to control another’s body, as well as hear their thoughts. Or, you know, explode their heads. (NOTE: if you are reading this, you almost certainly know that.) In the most famous scene from the film, an executive (who is a scanner himself) from the evil ConSec has his cranium demolished by a renegade scanner who is totally not down with ConSec and all their nefarious plans to weaponize other scanners. But how did they do it? Well, prepare to find out how Special Effects Supervisor Gary Zeller and Special Makeup Artist Stephan Dupuis made that head (which belongs to Canadian actor Louis Del Grande, for the record) explode!


Kirby and Marvel Settle Out of Court

Just days before the Supreme Court was set to take the matter into conference, Marvel and the family of Jack Kirby have settled their long running legal dispute over the comic legend’s rights to the characters he created or co-created. Here’s their joint statement:

“Marvel and the family of Jack Kirby have amicably resolved their legal disputes, and are looking forward to advancing their shared goal of honoring Mr. Kirby’s significant role in Marvel’s history.”

Widely viewed as one of the Kings of Comics, Kirby created or co-created some of the biggest names on the page and now on the big screen in the superhero blockbusters that Hollywood has profited from in recent years. However, while his often partner Stan Lee was a Marvel employee, Kirby was a work for hire and had no rights to Captain America, The Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, the original X-Men and the plethora of other characters he played a pivotal part in bringing to life. The settlement between Marvel/Disney is confidential, but you don’t have to be a Supreme Court Justice to know that if a deal was reached this late in the process, it must be a healthy one for the Kirby’s – who were holding a lot of the cards for once.

It was a long legal road for them and Marvel to get to today’s deal. After failing repeatedly in lower courts, Lisa Kirby, Neal Kirby, Susan Kirby and Barbara Kirby petitioned the High Court on March 21 for a hearing on the matter. In their petition, the heirs wanted SCOTUS to rule in favor of their assertion that they had the right in 2009 to issue termination notices on 262 works that the comic legend helped create between 1958 and 1963. Those 45 notices went out to Marvel/Disney, Fox, Universal and Paramount Pictures and others who have made films based on the artist’s characters under the provisions of the 1976 Copyright Act. Marvel sued in 2010, after failing to reach an agreement back then with the Kirby family to invalidate the termination notices. Jack Kirby himself passed away in 1994.

Despite initial indifference and then objections from Disney-owned Marvel, SCOTUS agreed to take the case into conference to consider if they would actually hear it. That conference, where the nine Justices would ostensibly be sitting around talking about comic as well as copyright, was scheduled for September 29. The Kirby family and their legal point had a lot of support and not just among the fanboys. SAG, the WGA and the DGA back in June submitted a brief to the High Court in favour of having the Kirbys’ petition granted.

All things considered, and with the billions that Marvel/Disney have made off the films filled with characters Kirby created, this 11th hour deal should come as no great surprise – except for how long it took them. The bottom line and PR risk that the media giant was taking if SCOTUS had agreed to move the family’s petition up to an actual hearing would have sent a shudder through the market and the town. As well, if there had been a hearing and if then the High Court had found for the Kirbys, the results would have thrown Marvel/Disney into turmoil as they would have to negotiate for millions and millions with the family on everything from The Avengers, this summer’s big hit Guardians Of The Galaxy, with the popular Groot character a Kirby creation, and the all the characters in the notices if they wanted to keep the franchises going at Disney and other studios. And there would have been royalties on the already made movies like the 2008 hit Iron Man and 2012’s The Avengers with its billion dollar plus box office, to name a few. As well a wide variety of copyrights across the industry, including those at Warner Bros and DC Comics, would suddenly be in play as the work of writers, composers and others designated under a freelancer or the work for hire status could suddenly gain a piece of what they created in what would now be seen as a much more traditional employee/employer arrangement.


Mulholland Drive – Poster Art by Gabz

Incredible new poster art for the David Lynch headfuck Mulholland Drive. The poster is by Grzegorz Domaradzki at Grey Matter Art HERE

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X-Men: Apocalypse – Viral Teaser

The blu-ray release of this year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past provides Fox with a prime opportunity to launch viral promotions that expands the world seen in the X-Men films, and possibly begins to link them together, and from Fox’s point of view, promote X-Men: Apocalypse, for which Bryan Singer will return to direct.  Check out a four-minute Days of Future Past viral video below, and get links to a couple of websites that represent organizations claiming to work for the benefit of mutantkind: Tandem Initiative HERE and M Underground HERE


Common Shiner – Social Mediasochist

Chicago pop rock band Common Shiner have released the most horror icon-filled music video ever AND made it entertaining at the same time! In their slasher romance video for “Social Mediasochist”, which was directed by Zoran Gvojic of LowCarbComedy, a teenage Jason Voorhees and his pal Freddy Krueger, who attend Wes Craven’s Slasher High School, try to get Jason hooked up with the school beauty, who is seemingly the only “normal” person in the whole video.

It’s just one horror reference after another, with “cameos” from Jigsaw, Candyman, Leatherface, Pinhead, Leprechaun, and a whole slew of other familiar faces! There are also several scenes that are direct references to the scenes from the original films as well, such as Leatherface slamming the door shut after Jason gets pulled into a room.