pumpkinhead

10/07 – 1993: BODY SNATCHERS

 

 

 

Of the approximately half-dozen remakes there have been, since director DON SIEGEL first terrified the world with INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, based on Jack Finney’s timeless sci-fi terror tale, two standout versions are, for me, the smartest of the bunch. The first is PHILIP KAUFMAN’S dark satirizing of the San Francisco “self-awareness” scene back in 1978, and BODY SNATCHERS, the often-unsung version directed by genre favorite ABEL FERRARA (MS. .45, KING OF NEW YORK, FEAR CITY, BAD LIEUTENANT).  Ferrara’s ferocious, take-no-prisoners sensibility and dark sense of humor was a glove-like fit for an adaptation worked on by no less than five writers, which included STUART GORDON, DENNIS PAOLI and LARRY COHEN.

The oft-told story was still very flexible in terms of where it could be set and how it reflected the times in which it was being re-told. And what better place to set a story about assimilation, blind compliance and loss of identity, than on an ARMY BASE? Brilliant.

 

 

 

 

 

GABRIELLE ANWAR (SCENT OF A WOMAN) plays Marti Malone, the oldest daughter of the Malone family, along with dad Steve (TERRY KINNEY of HBO’S OZ), and little brother Andy (REILLY MURPHY).

As good as everyone is in the cast, though, the must-see performance of the film comes from…MEG TILLY as mom, Carol Malone. Yeah, the same Meg Tilly you knew from THE BIG CHILL is here to deliver a “bigger chill” of a totally different kind, with a monologue that’s as chilling as any pivotal “possession” scene in the other versions, including the original.

Filming at an actual base as well as the surrounding areas in Selma, Alabama, Ferrara and DP BOJAN BAZELLI (PUMPKINHEAD) were able to infuse this version of Finney’s story with the same sharp sense of dread and paranoia that is inherent in the other successful versions.

  

Other interested parties who become involved in the nightmarish events that begin to engulf both the soldiers on base and civilians alike, include characters played by BILLY WIRTH (THE LOST BOYS), CHRISTINE ELISE, (CHILD’S PLAY 2), R. LEE ERMEY (FULL METAL JACKET) and FOREST WHITAKER (THE CRYING GAME, A RAGE IN HARLEM).

There’s so much more I want to say about this ‘hidden’ gem, but once again, it’s one of those cases where the less I spoil for you, the better it will be if you’re seeing it for the first time. In fact, try doing a ‘double’ with this and the Kaufman version!

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Seven – 10/07/18

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Seven – 10/07/18

10/07 – 1993: BODY SNATCHERS

 

 

 

Of the approximately half-dozen remakes there have been, since director DON SIEGEL first terrified the world with INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, based on Jack Finney’s timeless sci-fi terror tale, two standout versions are, for me, the smartest of the bunch. The first is PHILIP KAUFMAN’S dark satirizing of the San Francisco “self-awareness” scene back in 1978, and BODY SNATCHERS, the often-unsung version directed by genre favorite ABEL FERRARA (MS. .45, KING OF NEW YORK, FEAR CITY, BAD LIEUTENANT).  Ferrara’s ferocious, take-no-prisoners sensibility and dark sense of humor was a glove-like fit for an adaptation worked on by no less than five writers, which included STUART GORDON, DENNIS PAOLI and LARRY COHEN.

The oft-told story was still very flexible in terms of where it could be set and how it reflected the times in which it was being re-told. And what better place to set a story about assimilation, blind compliance and loss of identity, than on an ARMY BASE? Brilliant.

 

 

 

 

 

GABRIELLE ANWAR (SCENT OF A WOMAN) plays Marti Malone, the oldest daughter of the Malone family, along with dad Steve (TERRY KINNEY of HBO’S OZ), and little brother Andy (REILLY MURPHY).

As good as everyone is in the cast, though, the must-see performance of the film comes from…MEG TILLY as mom, Carol Malone. Yeah, the same Meg Tilly you knew from THE BIG CHILL is here to deliver a “bigger chill” of a totally different kind, with a monologue that’s as chilling as any pivotal “possession” scene in the other versions, including the original.

Filming at an actual base as well as the surrounding areas in Selma, Alabama, Ferrara and DP BOJAN BAZELLI (PUMPKINHEAD) were able to infuse this version of Finney’s story with the same sharp sense of dread and paranoia that is inherent in the other successful versions.

  

Other interested parties who become involved in the nightmarish events that begin to engulf both the soldiers on base and civilians alike, include characters played by BILLY WIRTH (THE LOST BOYS), CHRISTINE ELISE, (CHILD’S PLAY 2), R. LEE ERMEY (FULL METAL JACKET) and FOREST WHITAKER (THE CRYING GAME, A RAGE IN HARLEM).

There’s so much more I want to say about this ‘hidden’ gem, but once again, it’s one of those cases where the less I spoil for you, the better it will be if you’re seeing it for the first time. In fact, try doing a ‘double’ with this and the Kaufman version!


Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FAMILY HORROR, FEATURED CONTENT, HALLOWEEN, SCI-FI HORROR, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
Top Five Films to Watch in October (Part 7)

Top Five Films to Watch in October (Part 7)

Part of the House of Tortured Souls
Staff Pick October 2016

By Tracie Hill Prichard

I love Halloween and horror movies, making it, therefor, really hard to just choose five favorites for the month. The films I have decided to feature as my must views for Halloween are in no particular order and are not all listed under the horror genre. I realize Trick 'r Treat, Halloween, and House on Haunted Hill have already been mentioned in previous staff member posts, so I will not include them in my five films, but still consider them to be in my October favorites.

Hocus Pocus (1993)
Walt Disney Pictures

Hocus Pocus / Fair use doctrine.This is a fun Halloween film for the whole family to enjoy and get in the spirit. The Sanderson sisters, who are played by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Nijimy, are a delightful trio of Salem witches brought back to life 300 years after being hung by Colonials. They are on a mission to steal the souls of children to gain eternal youth but are constantly thwarted by the teen who resurrected them, his little sister, his high school crush, and an immortal cat. This film has a lot of laughs, a couple of great songs, and lovable characters.

Pumpkinhead (1988)
Director: Stan Winston

Pumpkinhead / Fair use doctrine.I love special effects, and Pumpkinhead is just an amazing creature to me. He is a unique and memorable monster creation by Stan Winston. Pumpkinhead is a demon summoned by a grieving father, Lance Henriksen, and an old witch to seek revenge on a group of teens that accidentally kills his son. The folklore and urban legend atmosphere of this film makes it a Halloween must to set the mood for the season.


The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Director: Tim Burton

The Nightmare Before Christmas / Fair use doctrine.The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of my very favorite movies. The characters are lovable, the songs are memorable, and it is a lot of fun for the whole family to enjoy. The stop motion animation is brilliant and beautiful. The story revolves around Jack Skellington, voiced by Chris Sarandon, who is the bored Pumpkin King of Halloweentown that feels stuck in a routine year after year. He stumbles upon Christmastown while out walking, and discovers all new wonders and amazement. It stirs new emotions in Jack and he decides to take over Christmas this year and hires a nasty little trio of town trick or treaters to kidnap Santa Claus. Sally, his love interest, tries to discourage him and warns Jack about her vision of disaster. The inhabitants of Halloweentown get excited and deliver their own Halloween flair to an unsuspecting town at Christmas time.

Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Dracula / Fair use doctrine.I love everything about this film, the costumes, the sets, the characters and the atmosphere. I have the book and I own other Dracula films, but I just really enjoy the visual adaptation of this one. Gary Oldman's performance of Dracula is enjoyable and memorable.

Carnival of Souls (1962)
Director: Herk Harvey

Carnival of Souls / Fair use doctrine.This black and white film doesn't rely on gore or shock, but rather a creepy feeling of dread. The organ music in this film really adds to the eerie overall atmosphere. I am a huge fan of The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Tales from the Darkside, and this film reminds me of those type of stories. It follows a young woman named Mary (Candace Hilligoss) who, after a car wreck, moves to another town where she becomes captivated by a mysterious abandoned carnival. A psychological journey of isolation follows throughout. The haunting imagery of this film will stay with you for a while after watching. It is a perfect addition to the Halloween season.

Posted by Alan Smithee in HALLOWEEN, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments