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

Posts tagged “Documentary

Scream – Manipulating Expectations

Films which make the strongest impression on us make that impression for a reason. Sometimes that reason might be a slight one: you were in the right mood, you had nothing else to watch, everyone else liked the film and you can see exactly why. However, as you continue to study films, you will soon discover that the movies you remember the most typically have one thing in common: the story structure is solid.

As this thorough video essay by Cristobal Olguin points out, Wes Craven’s films are perfect to study for their structure. His films teach us that within any scene that truly frightens you, there are numerous relationships and correspondences that produce that feeling of fear. If one is missing, the entire effect might be lost.

Many of these elements are bound up in storytelling, in the little tricks Craven uses to move his tale along. This video takes a close look at a couple of the techniques Craven uses in Scream, written by Kevin Williamson.

[Spoiler alert twenty-one years later: this video reveals whodunnit in Scream.]

By the time you find out who the real killer is in Scream, you might not care. The movie has become less about suspense and more about how to tell a story. Using traditional story techniques in new and interesting ways can give your story a unique structure, such as Craven achieved from Williamson’s script for Scream.


Despite The Gods – Trailer

Despite-The-Gods-CoverJennifer Lynch, daughter of cult film auteur David Lynch, made her auspicious directorial debut in 1993 with cult classic Boxing Helena. She was the youngest American woman to direct a feature film, and after that she took an extended hiatus.

Fifteen years later, a recovering addict and hard-working single mother, Lynch returns to the director’s chair with an ambitious project that will test her skills and the entire crew’s sanity.

Despite the Gods brings us behind the scenes on the set of Lynch’s Bollywood/Hollywood action film about a man-eating snake goddess.

In the spirit of LOST IN LA MANCHA and OVERNIGHT, Penny Vozniak, friend of one of the producers hired on to do behind-the-scenes on HISSS, ended up chronicling Lynch slowly losing her grip over a much-extended eight-month shoot.


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The Nightmare – Poster

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Out of Print – FREE Documentary

Julia Marchese has spent the past couple years producing and directing Out of Print, a documentary on the allure of 35mm film projection, with the New Beverly at the center of the doc. Financed in part via Kickstarter, the film features interviews with Patton Oswalt, Edgar Wright, Rian Johnson, Joe Carnahan, Kevin Smith, Seth Green, Joe Dante, Mark Romanek, John Landis, Fred Dekker, Lloyd Kaufman, and Richard Kelly.

Now, she has released the film online for free. The title Out of Print has proven to be unfortunately prophetic, for reasons Marchese explains in her online release and on her webpage HERE, but you can enjoy the feature in full right now.


Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II

Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II is a feature length documentary uncovering the history, making of and unknown details of the making of Clive Barker’s Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II films.

With interviews and testimonies from those most closely involved, the filmmakers hope to bring a comprehensive insight to these classic cult films.

You can help their cause on the kickstarter page HERE


Dear Mr Watterson – Trailer

A documentary film about the impact of the greatest newspaper comic strip of all time: Calvin & Hobbes, created by Bill Watterson. Long overdue…


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.


West Memphis 3 – Feature Film

The West Memphis 3, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley were freed in an Arkansas hearing after being in prison 18 years for the murder of three children in 1993. The three were freed after pleading guilty and drawing a sentence equal to the time they already served. The original conviction, which was derived despite any physical evidence tying the trio to the murders, became a cause celebre and the West Memphis 3 have received moral and financial support from the likes of The Hobbit director Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, Johnny Depp, Eddie Vedder and Natalie Maines. The case has also be the subject of two Paradise Lost HBO documentaries by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky. A third installment will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival next month, followed by the New York Film Festival and a January airing on HBO.

After the West Memphis Three murder defendants were released from prison, it seemed like just a matter of time before the movie crowd got involved because the case is so controversial and became a cause celebre with the likes of Johnny Depp and Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh. Turns out that there is a feature film that already has a screenplay and a major director, ready to start production by the spring. Devil’s Knot is an under $20 million feature that has The Sweet Hereafter and Chloe director Atom Egoyan aboard to direct a script that was originally written by Scott Derrickson and Paul Boardman, the team behind The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Egoyan has spent the last six weeks working with Boardman on a rewrite.

The script is based on investigative reporter Mara Leveritt’s 2003 book Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three, an in-depth chronicle of the sensationalized trials that sent the three to prison for the murder of the three 8-year old boys who were found hog-tied in a drainage ditch. The project is not a rush job. Derrickson and Boardman began writing it in 2006 when the film first took root at Dimension Films. It will be produced by Elizabeth Fowler, Clark Peterson, Richard Saperstein and Boardman. Saperstein was Dimension president and he acquired the film. After he left, Dimension eventually put the project into turnaround and Saperstein became re-involved as producer. The package includes life rights deals with some of the figures in the case, and especially Ron Lax, a private investigator who has been working pro bono on trying to overturn the verdict since 1993. There are no rights deals with the West Memphis 3  defendants Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr., because at the time, two were serving life sentences and Echols was on death row.


Happy Birthday Michael Winterbottom

Director, Producer, Writer, Editor… One man movie industry. He’s fearless and not afraid to turn his camera onto subjects most Hollywood film makers would run a mile from… Check out his television work on the ‘Cracker’ series, documentary work on ‘The Road to Guantanamo’, feature work in ’24 Hour Party People’ and ‘The Killer Inside Me’ as well as producer for the new BBC series ‘The Trip’.