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

Posts tagged “Violence

The Warriors – Roger Ebert Review

“The Warriors” is a real peculiarity, a movie about street gang warfare, written and directed as an exercise in mannerism. There’s hardly a moment when we believe that the movie’s gangs are real or that their members are real people or that they inhabit a real city.

That’s where the peculiarity comes in: I don’t think we’re supposed to. No matter what impression the ads give, this isn’t even remotely intended as an action film. It’s a set piece. It’s a ballet of stylized male violence.

Walter Hill, the director and co-writer, specializes in fables like this. His first two films were “Hard Times” and “The Driver,” and they were both at arm’s length from realism. Hill likes characters that take on a legendary, mythic stature, and then he likes to run them through situations that look like urban tableaux.

“Hard times,” a good and interesting film, starred Charles Bronson as a professional street fist-fighter who went up against opponents with all the dimension of a James Bond villain. “The Driver” didn’t even have names for its characters; they were described by their functions, and they behaved toward each other in strangely formal, rehearsed, unspontaneous ways.

“The Warriors” takes that style to such an extreme that almost all life and juice are drained from it; there’s great vitality and energy (and choreography and stunt coordination) in the many violent scenes of gang fights and run-ins with the cops. But when the characters talk, they seem to be inhabiting a tale rehearsed many times before.

One example: Three members of a street gang are lined up in a row. The camera regards the first one. He speaks. The camera pans to the second, and he speaks. The camera pans to the third. He speaks. Because the movement of the camera dictates the order and timing of the speeches, there can be no illusion that the characters are talking as their words occur to them.

This same kind of stiff stylization dominates the film. The street gangs take stances toward each other as if they were figures in a medieval print. The deployment of the police and gang forces is plainly impossible on any realistic level; people move into their symbolic places with such perfectly timed choreography that they must be telepathic. And the chase scenes are plainly impossible, as in one extended shot showing the Warriors outrunning a rival gang’s school bus.

All of this is no doubt Walter Hill’s intention. I suppose he has, an artistic vision he’s working toward in this film, and in his work. He chooses to meticulously ban human spontaneity from his films; he allows only a handful of shallow women characters into his stories; he reduces male conduct to ritualized violence. And in “The Warriors” he chooses, with a few exceptions, to cast against type: Only three or four of the movie’s characters look and sound like plausible street-gang members. The rest look and sound like male models for the currently fashionable advertising photography combining high fashion and rough trade.

All very well, I suppose, except that Paramount chooses to advertise the movie as a violent action picture — and action audiences, I suspect, will find it either incomprehensible or laughable. Walter Hill has a considerable visual skill, and he knows what he’s doing in “The Warriors” and does it well. But is this style suited to this material? And does Hill have other notes to play? All three of his films have shown a certain skittishness in the face of human juices and the unrehearsed flow of life. And so his street gangs, and his movies, walk lockstep through sterile streets.


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.


The Tunnel – FREE Blu Ray or DVD

tunnel-posterTo celebrate the creepiest holiday of the year, Deadhouse Films are giving away, for FREE, either a DVD or BluRay of the worldwide phenomenon THE TUNNEL.

All they are asking is that you pay the cost of shipping this Australian flick to you from the Land Down Under.

One-week only, one disc per email address, but feel free to tell as many friends as you like!

The discs from this offer will be shipped together in mid-November once the promotion is over. Click on the link HERE and have your PayPal details handy…


The Boy – Trailer

The Boy is an original horror-thriller directed by William Brent Bell (The Devil Inside) starring Lauren Cohan (“The Walking Dead”).
Greta (Cohan) is a young American woman who takes a job as a nanny in a remote English village, only to discover that the family’s 8-year-old is a life-sized doll that the parents care for just like a real boy, as a way to cope with the death of their actual son 20 years prior. After violating a list of strict rules, a series of disturbing and inexplicable events bring Greta’s worst nightmare to life, leading her to believe that the doll is actually alive.


Friday the 13th: The Game

Jason Voorhees is unleashed and stalking the grounds of Camp Crystal Lake! Now we need your help to make this game an amazing reality! Check out the Kickstarter campaign HERE


The Invisible Man

The-Invisible-Man_regularThe-Invisible-Man_variantTwo new posters by Elvisdead: The Invisible Man. Available at Mondo Tees HERE

 


Tales of Halloween

tales-of-halloween_drew-struzanThe horror anthology Tales of Halloween boasts contributions from a small army of well-regarded genre directors, an even larger number of terror veterans in its cast, and opening theme music from legendary Bullitt and Dirty Harry composer Lalo Schifrin. The movie, brainchild of writer-director Axelle Carolyn, which Epic Pictures is releasing in theaters and on VOD, Oct. 16 The film has a new poster by Drew Struzan, the legendary artist whose work played such a seminal role in the marketing campaigns of the Star Wars, Back to the Future, and Indiana Jones movies, to name a few.

In a statement from The Descent filmmaker Neil Marshall, who directs one of the 10 interconnected Tales of Halloween segments, he explains how Struzan came to produce the image (turns out it doesn’t hurt to cast him in your movie).

To film geeks and movie poster collectors such as myself, Drew Struzan represents something that often seems to have been lost in recent years; the ART of movie poster design. The ability of someone to capture the essence of a movie in a single painted image and create a genuine work of art you’d be proud to hang on your wall.  So it’s an unbelievable privilege for our little film to be blessed by one of Drew’s beautiful paintings. It was incredible enough to have Drew play his first ever cameo (along with his son Christian) in my segment of Tales of Halloween. The poster itself came about when Axelle (Carolyn, my wife and also creator, producer and fellow director of the movie) plucked up the courage to ask him over dinner one night. I suspect though, since Drew is such a thoughtful and generous person, that he might have been upset if we hadn’t asked him. Either way, we’re honoured to have Drew’s incredible artwork grace our movie, and I for one will be making space on my wall for this beautiful poster.


Jinko – By Deane Taylor

Jinko_Deane-TaylorI won’t make a more important or inspiring post than this one. Please head over to the indiegogo site to be enthralled the Deane Taylor passion project Jinko, an epic fantasy adventure about an orphaned sea gypsy who brings peace to a hidden world at war… and donate for your chance to be involved in an exceptional Australian adventure and receive some incredible art by Deane.

JINKO CF video from a schuppan on Vimeo.  Jinko on Idiegogo HERE  Jinko on Facebook HERE


Eroding Designs – Classic Horror T-Shirts

GodzillaDawn of the DeadCheck out these awesome, locally made t-shirts featuring classic movies imagined by a 5 year old… Designs available An American Werewolf in London, Dawn of the Dead and Godzilla. Purchase them for only $20 including postage HERE


Kermode Uncut: Wes Craven – Pioneer of Horror

Mark Kermode pays tribute to Wes Craven – one of the most gifted horror directors of our time.


Wes Craven R.I.P

wes_cravenDirector Wes Craven died on Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles. Craven was 76 and passed away at home surrounded by his family after battling brain cancer.

From his first feature film The Last House On The Left as writer, director and editor in 1972, Craven made his mark as a genre-bending, bracingly innovative horror director with a biting sense of humour. Craven also consistently demonstrated that he was a filmmaker with heart. Among the films that followed The Last House On The Left were The Hills Have Eyes and a sequel, Deadly Blessing (featuring Sharon Stone in her first starring role) and Swamp Thing (based on the comic book).

Craven reinvented the youth horror genre again in 1984 with the now classic A Nightmare On Elm Street, in which he turned Robert Englund into a cult icon with the role of Freddy Krueger. The movie spawned several sequels, none of them directed by Craven, however, he deconstructed the genre a decade after the original, writing and directing the audacious Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, which was nominated for Best Feature at the 1995 Independent Spirit Awards.

In 1996 Craven experienced yet another rebirth in horror with the release of Scream, which he directed from a script by Kevin Williamson. Scream sparked multiple sequels and spoofs.

One of the last projects Craven worked on was MTV’s series adaptation of Scream, on which he served as executive producer. The series was recently renewed for a second season. “Wes Craven was a tremendous visionary whose sensibility for scares has connected with generations of MTV fans,” MTV said in a statement. “We are honored to have worked with him and proud to carry on his legacy with Scream. Our hearts go out to his family and friends.”

Craven took a breather from horror between Scream 2 and Scream 3, when he seized an opportunity to direct a non-genre film for Miramax, Music Of The Heart (1999), which earned star Meryl Streep an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. That same year he completed his first novel, The Fountain Society, published by Simon & Shuster.

Craven continued to stretch his creative boundaries with the 2005 thriller Red Eye, starring Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy and Brian Cox. The following year he switched gears again to write and direct a romantic comedy homage to Oscar Wilde featuring Emily Mortimer and Rufus Sewell as a segment in the popular French ensemble anthology Paris Je T’aime.

He then returned to horror as producer of remakes of two of his earlier films, The Hills Have Eyes (2006) and The Last House On The Left (2009). Craven’s most recent written and directed film, My Soul To Take (2010), once again brought together a cast of up-and-coming actors. It marked Craven’s first collaboration with wife and producer Iya Labunka, who also produced Scream 4, which reunited Craven with screenwriter Williamson, as well as with stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette, joined by newcomers Emma Roberts and Hayden Pannetierre.

Remaining creatively engaged and active until his death, Craven had signed an overall TV deal with Universal Cable Productions. He had a number of projects in development including The People Under The Stairs and We Are All Completely Fine with Syfy, Disciples with UCP, and Sleepers with Federation Entertainment.

Craven also recently wrote and was scheduled to direct the “Thou Shalt Not Kill” segment for The Weinstein Company/WGN’s Ten Commandments miniseries. Additionally he was working on a graphic novel series based on his original idea “Coming Of Rage” for Liquid Comics in collaboration with Steve Niles.

Craven was an executive producer of the upcoming feature The Girl In The Photographs, which will premiere next month the 2015 Toronto Film Festival.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Craven was a nature lover and committed bird conservationist, serving as a long-time member of the Audubon California Board of Directors. A longtime summer resident of Martha’s Vineyard, he had moved there permanently three years ago before returning to Los Angeles for work and health reasons.


Fear The Walking Dead

Welcome to the first 3 1/2 minutes of AMC’s companion series to The Walking Dead that premieres Sunday in the States. Frank Dillane stars along with Cliff Curtis, Kim Dickens, and Alycia Debnam Carey in the AMC Studios series. Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, Greg Nicotero and David Alper executive producer alongside showrunner Dave Erickson, who co-created and co-wrote the pilot with Kirkman. Watch the beginnings of the zombie apocalypse unfold in Los Angeles below.


The Witch

The first trailer for Sundance winner Robert Eggers new film, The Witch, out in 2016.

Writer/director Robert Eggers’ debut feature, which premiered to great acclaim at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival (and won the Best Director Prize in the U.S. Narrative Competition), painstakingly recreates a God-fearing New England decades before the 1692 Salem witch trials, in which religious convictions and pagan folklore famously clashed. Told through the eyes of the adolescent Thomasin – in a star-making turn by newcomer Anya Taylor-Joy – and supported by mesmerizing camera work and a powerful musical score, THE WITCH is a chilling and groundbreaking new take on the genre.


Victor Frankenstein

James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe star in a dynamic and thrilling twist on a legendary tale. Radical scientist Victor Frankenstein (McAvoy) and his equally brilliant protégé Igor Strausman (Radcliffe) share a noble vision of aiding humanity through their groundbreaking research into immortality. But Victor’s experiments go too far, and his obsession has horrifying consequences. Only Igor can bring his friend back from the brink of madness and save him from his monstrous creation.


Mad Max: Fury Road – By Ken Taylor

Mad-Max-Fury-Road_Ken-Taylor_MondoMAD MAX: FURY ROAD poster by Ken Taylor will be released as a timed-edition sale! That means for 72 hours, from midnight CST on Tuesday, August 11th until 11:59pm CST on Thursday, August 13th, the posters will be available to purchase from Mondo HERE


Willliam Friedkin – The Deadline Interview

Check out this awesome interview with William Friedkin as he revisits The French Coonection, The Exorcist and Sorcerer. At Deadline HERE


R.I.P. Rowdy Roddy Piper

they-live-posterWWE legend “Rowdy” Roddy Piper died after suffering a heart attack in his Hollywood home. He was 61.

Piper’s agent Jay Schacter confirmed the news, first reported by TMZ, to Variety. “Rod passed peacefully in his sleep last night,” Schacter said in an email. “I am shocked and beyond devastated.” Piper had suffered a bout of Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2006 but was reportedly deemed cancer-free last November.

Born Roderick George Toombs, Piper joined the WWE in 1984 after getting his start with the NWA in the late 1970s. He and Hulk Hogan met in landmark matchups including MTV’s “The War to Settle the Score” and the first WrestleMania, where Piper and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff took on Hogan and Mr. T.

Not being much of a wrestling fan I loved Piper for his film work, specifically They Live and Hell Comes To Frogtown. 

Hell Comes to Frogtown (1987) was created by Donald G. Jackson, set in an post apocalyptic wasteland where few fertile men and women exist due to atomic fallout and, as a result, the government places a high priority on those that can still breed. Sam Hell (Piper), a nomadic traveler who wanders the countryside is captured by an organization of warrior-nurses, who reveal that they located him by tracking the trail of pregnant women left in his wake. Awesome fun.

They Live follows a nameless drifter referred to as Nada (Piper), who discovers the ruling class are in fact aliens concealing their appearance and manipulating people to spend money, breed and accept the status quo via subliminal messages in the mass media (way ahead of its time!).

Director John Carpenter wanted Roddy Piper after they met at WrestleMania III earlier in 1987. For Carpenter it was an easy choice: “Unlike most Hollywood actors, Roddy has life written all over him.”

The movie featured Roddy’s now famous line: “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass…and I’m all out of bubblegum.” R.I.P. Roddy.


Jason by Sideshow Collectables

Sideshow Collectibles’ Jason Voorhees – Legend of Crystal Lake Premium Format Figure will be available for Pre-Order on Thursday, July 30, 2015 at their webpage HERE

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Worst News EVER…

Mark Neveldine was interviewed on Screencrush and talked about how he and sometime directing partner Brian Taylor, they co-directed Crank 1 and 2, Gamer and Ghost Rider, would like to remake The Warriors. I am not happy… Here is what Neveldine said:

The Warriors would be a remake that Brian and I would love to tackle, it’s just in rights hell at the moment. … We have never been interested in remakes, and probably still aren’t. But that’s the one that we’ve always felt would just be awesome. We just feel like we’re the perfect guys for that job; baseball bats, roller-skates, gangs, the heightened world. We know there’s been fear at some studios like “We make this movie today and gangs are gonna go wild!” And it’s like “Whatever.” You do it in Crank style, people are just gonna laugh and have fun. … We would set it, obviously, five minutes in the future, and we’d really love to build these flamboyant gangs and have fun with them, and have a heightened sense of action and bring all the things that we’ve learned and stolen from Rodriguez and Tarantino and other great directors and put it on the screen. [laughs]

No, no, no… let’s hope they never get the rights and just fuck off to make Crank 3 instead. Ease the nausea by enjoying the original trailer.


F. W. Murnau Skull Stolen From Grave

Murnau-graveThe skull of director Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, best known for vampire classic Nosferatu (1922), has disappeared from his grave in Stahnsdorf, outside of Berlin, German media reports said citing authorities.

The skull was discovered to be missing on Monday and slight damage to the grave led authorities to believe that it had been stolen. The theft is thought to have taken place between July 4 and July 12, according to the reports. Police opened a probe and called on possible witnesses to come forward.

F. W. Murnau died in a car accident in Santa Barbara in 1931 at the age of 42. He was buried back in German, and over the years, his tomb has become a kind of tourist spot for Satanists. His Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans won a two Oscars at the first-ever Academy Awards in 1929.


The Last Survivors

The-Last-SurvivorsThe Last Survivors centers on a teenage girl fighting to protect the last working well in a drought-stricken land. At the edge of an expansive, dusty valley, all that remains of the Wallace Farm for Wayward Youth are some hollowed-out husks of buildings. Seventeen-year-old Kendal (Haley Lu Richardson) can barely recall when the Oregon valley was all lush farmland. It’s been a decade since the last rainfall, and society at large has dried up and blown away.

Kendal and her last friend on earth, Dean (Booboo Stewart) barely scrape by while dreaming of escape. Dean is ill and can stay alive only by drinking water regularly – luckily, he and Kendal have access to a special well with enough water for both of them. But when a greedy water baron lays claim to what little of the precious resource remains underground, Kendal must decide whether to run and hide or bravely fight for the few cherished things she has left.


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Jaws – Mondo Comic Con by Nico Delort

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Escape From New York – Mondo Poster Art

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Damien

Here’s the official trailer for A&E’s upcoming TV series Damien, which quite literally follows the events after the 1976 psychological horror film The Omen. The trailer features many links the original, including footage from the film.

“Fans of that first movie will also be interested in finding out where Damien’s been for those missing 25 years since the last time we saw him when he was a boy and meeting him now,” showrunner Glen Mazzara told The Hollywood Reporter HERE

“I think ‘Damien’ is cutting-edge material,” he adds. “It’s trying to push the boundaries as far as violence and horror go. There’s a lot of really great drama on TV and that was not the case in 1976 when the film came out. So the bar is set so high given other great horror shows that are on TV. We have our work cut out for us; everybody is really interested in pushing the boundaries. I think we’ve got a few episodes that people are going to be talking about.”

Mazzara also reveals this is a conspiracy thriller:

“This really has a high-level of conspiracy. It plays as a conspiracy thriller because everybody wants Damien on their side or eliminated. There are a lot of different groups vying to either control him or eliminate him. There’s a thriller aspect to it, which is tricky and something that I haven’t done before and that comes directly out of the original film.”

But how will this work as a long-running television series? He explains:

“The antichrist is supposed to bring about the apocalypse, so the end game is exactly that. An end game with a capital E and a capital G. So it’s a question of if he fails — if he succeeds as the antichrist — he destroys the world. If he succeeds as preventing it, he saves the world, so the stakes are very high here. That’s a long story to tell.”

The ten-episode “Damien” follows the adult life of Damien Thorn (Bradley James), the mysterious child from the 1976 film who has grown up, seemingly unaware of the satanic forces around him. Haunted by his past, Damien must now come to terms with his true destiny — that he is the Antichrist, the most feared man throughout the ages.