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

Posts tagged “Big Trouble in Little China

John Carpenter – Night

Video for the track ‘Night’ from John Carpenter’s debut album of non-soundtrack material which is out now on Sacred Bones. Video by Gavin Hignight and Ben Verhulst: “Upon hearing “Night” by John Carpenter my head was instantly filled with these nighttime highway road dreamscapes. Someone or something, haunted, traveling the road alone in the late hours.”


John Carpenter’s Lost Themes

john-carpenter_lost-themesJohn Carpenter has been responsible for much of the horror genre’s most striking soundtrack work in the fifteen movies he’s both directed and scored. The themes can instantly flood his fans’ musical memory with imagery of a menacing shape stalking a babysitter, a relentless wall of ghost-filled fog, lightning-fisted kung fu fighters, or a mirror holding the gateway to hell. The all-new music on Lost Themes asks Carpenter’s acolytes to visualize their own nightmares.

“Lost Themes was all about having fun,” Carpenter says. “It can be both great and bad to score over images, which is what I’m used to. Here there were no pressures. No actors asking me what they’re supposed to do. No crew waiting. No cutting room to go to. No release pending. It’s just fun. And I couldn’t have a better set-up at my house, where I depended on (collaborators) Cody (Carpenter, of the band Ludrium) and Daniel (Davies, who wrote the songs for I, Frankenstein) to bring me ideas as we began improvising. The plan was to make my music more complete and fuller, because we had unlimited tracks. I wasn’t dealing with just analogue anymore. It’s a brand new world. And there was nothing in any of our heads when we started other than to make it moody.”


As is Carpenter’s style, repetition is the key to the thundering power of these tracks, their energy swirling with shredding chords, soaring organs, unnerving pianos and captivating percussion. Horror fans will be reminded of Carpenter’s past works, as well as ancestors like Mike Oldfeld’s Tubular Bells and Goblin’s Suspiria.

“They’re little moments of score from movies made in our imaginations,” Carpenter says.“Now I hope it inspires people to create films that could be scored with this music.”

Available on the official John Carpenter site HERE and at the Sacred Bones site HERE


Big Trouble in Little China – Eric Powell

big-trouble-in-little-china1John Carpenter’s 1986 kung fu fantasy masterpiece Big Trouble in Little China was a flop when it was first released, but a long life on home video helped foster a retroactive appreciation for star Kurt Russell’s fast-talking Jack Burton and the style with which Carpenter delivers his crazy tale. It is now a bona fide cult classic, and it is getting resurrected in comic book form.

Beginning with the first issue on June 4, Boom! Studios will be rolling out Big Trouble in Little China, the new comic book series co-written by Eric Powell (creator of the awesome series The Goon) and Carpenter, with art care of Brian Churilla (creator of the critically acclaimed The Secret History of D.B. Cooper). In the comic, Burton — still played by the likeness of the mullet-clad Russell — finds a series of new adventures aboard the Pork Chop Express, the big rig he kept trying to recover in the film.

Though they hadn’t met before, Carpenter and Powell found kindred spirits in one another. “I had a definite idea of what I wanted to do with it,” says Powell. “The minute we sat down and started talking, what he thought we should do was exactly what I had in mind. We were on the same page from the beginning.” Carpenter describes their working relationship thusly: “Eric works really hard, sends his stuff to me, and I say, ‘Good job!’” the director says. “It’s a great process. It’s one I can actually do.”

The comic book kicks off right where the film left us nearly 30 years ago, with a mythical Chinese creature stowing away on Burton’s truck. Carpenter says despite that open-ended finale, there was never a direct intention to make a sequel, though he relishes the idea of being able to explore the Big Trouble universe again. “It’s a story and characters and a world that I love, because I really loved making the film,” says Carpenter. “I hadn’t seen anything like it, and it gave me a chance to make a kung fu movie. I fell in love with kung fu films back in the ’70s. For as much fighting they had, they were also so fun and innocent. They had some outrageous stuff, and I thought what a great thing to be able to do in an American movie. It’s an innocence, a purity of character. I really love them.”

Carpenter particularly appreciates Powell’s brand of fandom, particularly because Big Trouble In Little China was so mishandled and went generally unseen when it was first released. “It’s great that people are re-discovering it and like it. It’s a nice way to go into my old age to realize that movie finally got its due. There are some others I hope will come along too,” he says.

Carpenter says the team is already into the second arc of the book, and he’s particularly pleased with Powell’s take on Burton. “He really gets Burton’s sense of humor and who he is,” Carpenter says. “Jack Burton is really a piece of s— if you want to be honest. He’s a blowhard, he’s sort of incompetent but he thinks he knows everything. He’s really fun. He’s completely out of his league. That’s the most fun about it.”

The first issue of the ongoing monthly comic book series Big Trouble In Little China hits stores on June 4 with five different collectible covers drawn by Powell, Joe Quinones, Chris Weston, Terry Dodson, and Emi Yonemura Brown. But just to whet your whistle, you can take the first exclusive look at the first six pages below:

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Stained Glass Art by Van Orton Design

Check out these ‘Stained Glass’ artworks by Van Orton Design. These and more are available through their webpage HERE

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Drew: The Man Behind The Poster

Drew: The Man Behind The Poster” is a feature-length documentary film highlighting the career of poster artist Drew Struzan, whose most popular works include the “Indiana Jones,” “Back to the Future” and “Star Wars” movie posters. Telling the tale through exclusive interviews with George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Michael J. Fox, Frank Darabont, Guillermo del Toro, Steven Spielberg and many other filmmakers, artists and critics, the journey spans Drew’s early career in commercial and album cover art through his recent retirement as one of the most recognizable and influential movie poster artists of all time.

However, the producers ran out of money in the final stages.  Says director Erik P. Sharkey: “We are currently in the final stages of our sound mix. So the film has already been shot and edited. But we have totally run out of money. That is where you come in. Your generous donation would help us finish Post Production, take care of legal fees as well as promotion for the film. We are so close to the finish line but need your help. Please help us finish a film that honors an amazing artist Drew Struzan!”

You can donate to the project at their indiegogo page HERE and also check out their website HERE


Kurt Russell

Kurt Vogel Russell (born March 17, 1951) is an American television and film actor. Russell was born on March 17, 1951, in Springfield, Massachussetts, the son of Louise Julia (née Crone), a dancer; and Bing Russell, a character actor, best known for playing Deputy Clem Foster on Bonanza. In the mid-1960s, Russell graduated from Thousand Oaks High School.

Russell began his career in the late 1950s with an appearance as a child in the pilot of the ABC western television series Sugarfoot. His film career began at the age of eleven in an uncredited part in Elvis Presley’s It Happened at the World’s Fair. His major acting role was a lead role in the Western series The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters (1963-1964). He has appeared in the television series The Fugitive, The Virginian, Gunsmoke, Gilligans Island and 

Kurt Russell and John Carpenter, Escape from New York.In the 1970s, he signed a ten-year contract with the Walt Disney Company, where he became, according to Robert Osborne, the “studio’s top star of the ’70s”.

Russell, like his father, had a baseball career. In the early 1970s, Russell played second base for the California Angels minor league affiliates, the Bend Rainbows, Walla Walla Islanders, Portland Mavericks and El Paso Sun Kings. During a play, he was hit in the shoulder by a player running to second base; the collision tore the rotator cuff in Russell’s right/throwing shoulder. Before his injury, he was leading the Texas league in hitting, with a .563 batting average. The injury forced his retirement from baseball in 1973 and led to his return to acting.

In the autumn of 1976, Russell appeared with Tim Matheson in the 15-episode NBC series The Quest, the story of two young men in the American West seeking the whereabouts of their sister, a captive of the Cheyenne.

Hollywood-star-kurt-russell-in-hells-kitchen-promoting-escape-from-new-york-1981-c2a9-allan-tannenbaumpolarisIn 1979, Russell was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Special for the made-for-television film Elvis. This would be his first pairing with John Carpenter, the director of Halloween. Although Russell did not perform the singing vocals in the series – which were provided by country music artist Ronnie McDowell – he would later go on to provide the voice of Elvis Presley in the 1994 film Forrest Gump

Throughout the 1980s, Russell would team with Carpenter several times, helping create some of his best-known roles, usually as anti-heroes, including the infamous and iconic former army hero-turned robber Snake Plissken of Escape from New York and its sequel, Escape from L. A.. He played Antarctic helicopter pilot R.J. MacReady in the 1982 horror The Thing, based upon the short story Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell, Jr., which had been interpreted on film before, albeit loosely, in 1951’s The Thing from Another World. In 1986, the two made Big Trouble in Little China, a dark kung-fu comedy/action film in which Russell played truck driver Jack Burton who was caught in an ancient Chinese war. While the film was a financial failure like The Thing, it has since gained a cult audience.

In 1994, Russell starred as Colonel Jack O’Neil in the sci-fi film Stargate. Another film with a huge cult following.

His portrayal of U.S. Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks in the 2004 film, Miracle, won the praise of critics. “In many ways,” wrote Claudia Puig of USA Today, “Miracle belongs to Kurt Russell.” Roger Ebert wrote, “Russell does real acting here.” 

In 2006, Russell revealed that he was the director of Tombstone, not George P. Cosmatos, as credited. According to Russell, Cosmatos was recommended by Sylvester Stallone and was, in effect, a ghost director, much as he had been for Rambo: First Blood Part II. Russell said he promised Cosmatos he would keep it a secret as long as Cosmatos was alive; Cosmatos died in April 2005. Russell owns the rights to the masters and makes reference to possibly re-editing the film, as he was not originally involved in the editing.

Russell appeared as villain Stuntman Mike in Quentin Tarantino’s segment Death Proof of the film Grindhouse. After a remake of Escape from New York was announced, Russell was reportedly upset with the casting of Scottish actor Gerard Butler for his signature character, Snake Plissken, as he believed the character ‘was quintessentially American.’

Russell is one of the very few famous child stars in Hollywood who has been able continue his acting career past his teen years. Russell received award nominations well into middle age. He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for his performance opposite Meryl Streep in the 1984 film, Silkwood.