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

Posts tagged “John Landis

Tales of Halloween – Production Diaries

Check out these behind the scenes production diaries from Tales of Halloween segment directors Adam Gierasch, Mike Mendez, Andrew Kasch, and Neil Marshall; actors Kristina Klebe and Casey Ruggieri; filmmaker Adam Green in costume for his cameo; and more.


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.


An American Werewolf in London – Poster Art


Griffin Dunne

Griffin Dunne (born June 8, 1955) is an American actor and film director. Dunne was born Thomas Griffin Dunne in New York City, New York, the son of Ellen Beatriz  (née Griffin) Dunne and Dominick Dunne. His mother founded the victims’ rights organization Justice for Homicide Victims and his father was a producer, writer, and actor. He is the older brother of slain actress Dominique Dunne and the nephew of John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion.

Dunne had a couple of minor support roles in the late 70’s before he co-starred with David Naughton in the classic An American Werewolf in London (1981). The film starts with two young Americans, David (played by Naughton) and Jack, (played by Dunne) on a backpacking holiday in England. Following an awkwardly tense visit to a village pub, the two men venture deep into the moors at night. They are attacked by a werewolf, which results in Jack’s death and David being taken to a London hospital. Through apparitions of his dead friend and disturbing dream sequences, David becomes informed that he is a werewolf and will transform at the next full moon.
Critics generated mostly favourable reviews for the film. The film won the 1981 Saturn Award for Best Horror Film and an Academy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Make-up by Rick Baker. The film was one of three high-profile wolf-themed horror films released in 1981, alongside The Howling and Wolfen. Over the years, the film has accumulated a cult following and has been referred to as a cult classic, and is still the best werewolf movie ever made.

Dunne followed up with the under-rated comedy Johnny Dangerously (1984). The movie stars Michael Keaton as an honest, good-hearted man, Johnny Kelly, who is forced to turn to a life of crime to finance his neurotic mother’s skyrocketing medical bills and to put his younger brother Tommy (Dunne) through law school.

Dunne’s last great role was that of Paul Hackett in After Hours (1985), a black comedy film directed by Martin Scorsese. Paul Hackett, a New Yorker, experiences a series of adventures and perils in trying to make his way home from a night out in SoHo. Though it was not received well by audiences, it was given positive reviews at the time and went on to be considered an “underrated” Scorsese film, and a cult classic in its own right. The film did, however, garner Scorsese the Best Director Award at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival and allowed the director to take a hiatus from the tumultuous development of The Last Temptation of Christ.

Dunne had roles in the awful Madonna movie, Who’s That Girl (1987), My Girl (1991), Quiz Show (1994) and Game 6 (2005) but has never hit the heights of those early 80’s roles.

As of 2004, he has appeared in nearly 40 films and TV movies. He has produced and/or directed more than 10 other features and has made numerous TV appearances. In 1995, Griffin Dunne was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film for Duke of Groove, which he directed and co-wrote. He shared the nomination with producer Thom Colwell. He is also a known producer along with his producing partner, actress Amy Robinson (Mean Streets) for producing After Hours, Running on Empty and Game 6. 


David Naughton

David Walsh Naughton (born February 13, 1951) is an American Actor and singer best known for his starring roles in the 1981 horror film ‘An American Werewolf in London’, the 1980 Walt Disney comedy, ‘Midnight Madness’, the 1984 comedies ‘Hot Dog… The Movie’, ‘Not for Publication’ and the mid-80’s CBS sitcom ‘My Sister Sam’.

Naughton first became widely known as a result of his singing and dancing appearances in Dr Pepper TV commercials. He starred in the sitcom ‘Makin’ It’ and hit the Billboard Top Ten in 1979 with the show’s theme song, a US million selling disc. In 1980 he starred in ‘Midnight Madness’ followed in 1981 by his lead role in the Academy Award-winning horror film An American Werewolf in London.

An American Werewolf in London is a 1981 British-American horror-comedy film, written and directed by John Landis, and starring  David Naughton, Jenny Agutter and Griffin Dunne.

The film starts with two young American men, David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) on a backpacking holiday in Northern England. Following an awkwardly tense visit to a village pub, the two men venture deep into the moors at night. They are attacked by a werewolf, which results in Jack’s death and David being taken to a London hospital. Through apparitions of his dead friend and disturbing dream sequences, David becomes informed that he is a werewolf and will transform at the next full moon.

Shooting took place mostly in London but also in Surrey and Wales. It was released in the United States on August 21, 1981 and grossed $30.56 million at the box office. Critics generated mostly favourable reviews for the film. The movie won the 1981 Saturn Award for Best Horror Film. Rick Baker’s various prosthetics and fake, robotic body parts used during the film’s painful, extended werewolf transformation scenes and on Griffin Dunne when his character returns as a bloody, mangled ghost impressed the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences so much that the film won the Outstanding Achievement in Make-up in the category’s inaugural year.

During the body casting sessions, the crew danced around David Naughton singing, “I’m a werewolf, you’re a werewolf … wouldn’t you like to be a werewolf, too?” in reference to his days as a pitchman for Dr Pepper.

The film was one of three high-profile wolf-themed horror films released in 1981, alongside The Howling and Wolfen. Over the years, the film has accumulated a cult following and is been referred to as a cult classic… It’s the best werewolf movie ever.


Rick Baker

Richard A. “Rick” Baker (born December 8, 1950) is an American special make-up effects artist known for his realistic creature effects. Baker was born in Binghamton, New York, the son of Doris and Ralph B. Baker, a professional artist.

As a teen, Baker began creating artificial body parts in his own kitchen. He also appeared briefly in the “lost” classic fan production “The Night Turkey” a one hour B&W video parody of “The Night Stalker” (winner of the Best Short Film award at an early San Diego Comic-Con) directed by William Malone (who went on to direct feature films like the science fiction thriller Creature) and included in its cast Bill Mills and Robert Short (a fellow special makeup artist who also went on to win an Academy Award for his work in Beetlejuice).

Baker’s first professional job was as an assistant to the legendary Dick Smith on the film ‘The Exorcist’. He received the inaugural Academy Award for Best Makeup for his peerless work on ‘An American Werewolf in London’. He also created the “werecat” creature Michael Jackson transforms into in the music video ‘Thriller’. Subsequently, Baker has been nominated for the Best Makeup Oscar ten more times, winning on seven occasions, both records in his field. Baker claims that his work on ‘Harry and the Hendersons’ is one of his proudest achievements.

On 3 October 2009 he received the Jack Pierce – Lifetime Achievement Award title of the Chiller-Eyegore Awards. Known for his love of lyBaker most recently created the special makeup effects for the 2010 film ‘The Wolfman’ for which he also won an Academy Award in 2011.

Baker played the title role in the 1976 remake of ‘King Kong’. He also had cameos as the pilot and gunner (with director Peter Jackson) who shot down Kong in the 2005 remake of ‘King Kong’ and as a drug dealer with a business card in the John Landis film ‘Into the Night’. He also made a cameo appearance in the aforementioned Michael Jackson music video ‘Thriller’ as one of the zombies. He also makes a cameo in ‘The Wolfman’ as The Wolfman’s first kill. He would eventually win the Oscar for his work with the film’s makeup.

Baker also contributes commentaries to Joe Dante’s web series Trailers From Hell for trailers about horror and science fiction films. He was awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Academy of Art University in 2008.


John Landis – Monsters in the Movies

Check out this excellent John Landis article at Wired, where he discusses his new book: monsters in the movies