Joe Dante

NIGHTMARE CINEMA: A REVIEW

NIGHTMARE CINEMA: A REVIEW

We don’t get very many all-star horror anthologies these days, in terms of the talent either in front of or behind the camera.  A lot of that might be owed to the fact that we’ve lost quite a few of our icons in the past few years: click cu thesis database enter thesis statement example of love how to format running head in word source seating assignment https://artsgarage.org/blog/thesis-conclusion-pdf/83/ thesis antiqua font viagra shepherd https://chanelmovingforward.com/stories/freedom-writers-essay/51/ http://mcorchestra.org/6893-custom-annotated-bibliography-editing-services-usa/ viagra online rx top descriptive essay editing site for university https://nyusternldp.blogs.stern.nyu.edu/how-to-delete-emails-on-iphone-6-s/ thesis proposal objectives term paper books essay about banking service e dissertation long viagra can taken thesis energy management viagra e alprazolam go here top homework writers websites for phd bentyl otc viagra commercial music 2012 https://bmxunion.com/daily/sample-table-of-contents-for-dissertation/49/ go here follow url mla research paper outline viagra safe high blood pressure resume summary writer Romero, Craven, Hooper, Cohen, and besides the beloved Sid Haig, too many great actors to review without things getting painful.  So as a few new opportunities to review these collections arise, how is the sub-genre faring thus far? Let’s take one of the more recently buzzed-about examples and see…

NIGHTMARE CINEMA is the work of a rotating “tag team” of directorial talent, spearheaded by MASTERS OF HORROR creator/showrunner Mick Garris (also director of several Stephen King adaptations, including his celebrated mini-series rendering of King’s beloved epic, THE STAND). The guest helmers include Alejandro Brugues (JUAN OF THE DEAD), Joe Dante (who should require no introduction, but hey: if you haven’t already seen GREMLINS, THE HOWLING or the original PIRANHA about a dozen times each, what the hell are you doing here???), Japanese gore-master Ryuhei Kitamura (VERSUS, NO ONE LIVES and the film version of Clive Barker’s MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN), and David Slade (the unsettling HARD CANDY, 30 DAYS OF NIGHT and the controversial “Bandersnatch” episode of BLACK MIRROR.)

The wraparound story features a mysterious character known as “The Projectionist” in a creeptastic old grindhouse that the subjects of the tales find themselves irresistibly drawn to.  As they’re seated inside, the lights go down and the “movie” begins, not only do they discover that they’re the ‘stars’ of their own shows, but the climaxes reveal what their fates actually were. (Spoiler alert: nobody in this flick “lives happily ever after.” Usually.)

It’s a great format to present the stories in, as done in the old-school Hammer and Amicus traditions, and also as in those collections, the quality of the stories vary from one to the other.

In “The Thing In The Woods”, the opener that kicks things off, a group of friends finds themselves in a “FRIDAY THE 13TH slasher scenario, with each person dying horribly one-by-one at the hands of a masked killer called “The Welder”. But there is what I thought was a very clever twist mid-tale that turns the entire crazed killer trope on its head, as the tried-and-true convention becomes something else entirely. Director Brugues shows a great twisted sense of humor with this one, not unlike the tone James Gunn struck in his loving tribute to genre horror, SLITHER, which makes me curious to see JUAN OF THE DEAD, the movie that put him on the map.

Next, seasoned vet Dante puts a new spin on an old classic in “Mirari,” featuring classic movie and TV legend Richard Chamberlain. He is the ‘Dr. Mirari’ of the title; a renowned plastic surgeon charged with helping improve the looks of a disfigured young lady, whose fiancée is helping her in this endeavor, thanks to the generosity of her well-heeled mother-in-law-to-be. If you’re at all familiar with the original TWILIGHT ZONE, there’s an episode this segment draws from, called “Eye Of The Beholder.” However, it takes the premise of that story into a direction that only dyed-in-the-wool horror buffs will probably see coming.

If you’re familiar with his work at all, you know Kitamura for three things: lots of action, a dark and twisted perspective on the world and the ‘human condition’, and blood…lots and lots of blood.  And with “Mashit”, he doesn’t disappoint, in this gore-dripping saga of a priest and a nun at a Catholic boarding school, who must deal with a demonic threat that will engulf and destroy them and the kids, if they fail in their mission to vanquish it. Kitamura gives his usual bloodletting a bit of a Fulci-esque kind of twist, with the inclusion of religious iconography, so the episode does have that bit of giallo horror flavor going for it.

 

Slade gets what’s probably the most disturbingly mind-bending story of the bunch, “This Way To Egress”. At the office of a therapist she’s visiting, a woman finds that one of two things is happening: the therapy obviously isn’t working, as her grip on reality continues to slip into chaos, and she watches the people and the very walls of the building around her rot and decay. Or: she’s somehow begun to see that nothing in the world is as it seems, and she’s being driven mad by the realization of what lies underneath the veil.

The final story, “Dead”, pretty much gives itself away in the title. A young piano prodigy is the sole survivor of a carjacking-gone-wrong that results in the death of his parents. His own near-death brush leaves him open to seeing and communicating with the spirits of those who have passed over, in the hospital where he ends up. It’s a weird and unsettling ‘gift’ straight out of similar stories like GHOST, and just like in that movie, not only are some ghosts not ‘Casper-friendly’, but there are specific ones who have an agenda for the boy…and it’s not a good one. Director Garris uses this last story to bring the entire film full circle.

Let’s talk quality first. As the stories go, it’s my opinion that Brugues’ episode is the most clever, with its Eighties direct-to-video throwback vibe and darkly funny ending; “Egress” is the most imaginative, with its nods to Lovecraft, David Cronenberg and SILENT HILL (both the movie and the games).  You’re never quite sure what’s going to happen next, or what horrible oozing visual you’re going to be subjected to at any given time, which shouldn’t bother a “hardened” horror vet like myself…and yet it does, thanks especially to the strong psychological horror bent of the story, a stunning performance by Elizabeth Reaser, and makeup/visual effects that are far above in their quality what appears in the other episodes. So for me, “Egress” definitely takes the top spot, with “The Thing…” coming in a close second.

It’s no surprise at all that Kitamura’s vignette is the one that will satisfy gorehounds the most. Once upon a time, it was considered an almost unbreakable taboo to put kids in any kind of dire peril in any film let alone a horror film, and this is a convention he takes a mad glee in slashing through (literally), as the demon known as “Mashit” wreaks unholy havoc upon the school and all who live – and die there. I want to avoid as many spoilers as possible, but the bottom line of the tale is this: even the secrets you think you can keep from yourself will be revealed sooner or later, and the outcome is never good.

However, where “Mashit” fails is the under-development of the characters. It’s not a good sign when you aren’t really rooting for anyone, and it’s worse still when the “heroes” are members of the clergy…and you still don’t care all that much what happens to them.  I suppose this may have been intentional, considering the turn the story takes as it nears its gruesome climax.  Where that is unsuccessful, though, “Dead” manages to instill nothing but empathy in the audience, thanks in huge part to the performances of newcomer Faly Rakotohavana as Riley, the child prodigy, and Annabeth Gish as his late mom, Charity.  Lexy Panterra also gives a great supporting turn as Riley’s smart-assed next-door “roommate”, Casey. The chemistry between the actors, and Garris’s touch as a director with ensembles is what elevates it to third place over “Mashit.”

Surprisingly, Dante’s “Mirari” is the one that comes in last. An episode that wouldn’t be at all out of place as an episode of HBO’s TALES FROM THE CRYPT, though it boasts a reliable performance from Chamberlain, it still plays as somewhat derivative. The same could be said of “Dead” as well, but it’s the handling of the stories that determine their effectiveness. Even with the clever twist at the end, Dante can’t avoid the curse of “been there, seen that” in this particular story, while the emotional heft of “Dead” is the main thing it has going for it, helping it overcome the familiarity “hump.”

And speaking of that, since CINEMA is intentionally paying homage to past horror anthologies, the music clearly reflects this, provided by several different composers. Kyle Newmaster tips his hat to John Harrison’s great theme for the immortal CREEPSHOW with a very familiar-sounding riff on it, followed by some good Marco Beltrami-type flourishes in the score for “Woods.” Fan favorite Richard Band does his thing on “Dead” and really has a lot of fun with “Mirari” as he “mirrors” some leit-motifs of his own, cribbing from Alan Silvestri’s wonderful DEATH BECOMES HER score.  Composer J.G. Thirlwell goes for creepy Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross-like discordance and ambiance on “Egress”, while Aldo Shllaku goes full-on Simon Boswell/Claudio Simonetti/GOBLIN with the score for “Mashit”, which does help with its gonzo giallo touches. (And by the way – the sound design on “Egress” really ramps up the skeevy feel of the visual effects, so kudos to that team.)

And finally, the glue that binds this all together: the wraparound sequences. Handled by Garris in addition to the “Dead” episode, they feature Mickey Rourke, having a blast as “The Projectionist.” As with any classic anthology, you need a strong premise to hold it all together, and barring that, a narrator like “The Crypt-Keeper” or “The Creep” with a strong enough presence to keep viewers engaged. Rourke’s performance – which for me is one of the best he’s given in a while – has been debatable among fans to say the least, but I find less fault in his acting, or Garris’s direction, than I do in the scripting of the “binder.”

It’s pretty obvious what purpose The Projectionist serves, but I would’ve liked to have seen the ultimate fates of the doomed characters made more clear. And the gorier their demises, the better, even with what happens in the climax of each tale. But as the disclaimer always states, this is just how things resonated with me…Your ‘mileage’ may vary.

I don’t think a NIGHTMARE CINEMA series would be all that bad an idea. It was fun enough that a weekly two-story installment (similar to Shudder’s CREEPSHOW revival) would be something I’d welcome into my schedule, if they decided to go with it.  Overall, I give CINEMA three-and-a-half out of five stars!

Posted by Samuel Glass in Categories, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MOVIE REVIEWS, PARANORMAL, REVIEWS, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SCI-FI HORROR, 0 comments
GREMLINS ARE BACK FOR IT’S 35TH!

GREMLINS ARE BACK FOR IT’S 35TH!

Just in time for the holidays, the Gremlins will be back in theaters to celebrate its 35th anniversary.

The  highly successful Joe Dante/ Chris Columbus film was released June 8th (USA) in 1984 and will be back in theaters for a very limited run this December.  Keep an eye on the listings, Gremlins will be playing in Regal Cinemas from December 5th thru 11th.

For those of you that may have been lucky enough to see this in the theaters when it was originally released with your parent, as I was, I hope you grab your tickets, and this time, your kids and enjoy it the same way we did!

By now, everyone has seen the adorable Gizmo, and the monsterous Stripe run a muck and wreak havoc , but not everyone has been able to watch it on the big screen, the way it should be!

For those of you who might not remember, …or be old enough to know, Gremlins at its time, was almost pulled during its release, claiming it was to violent and disturbing for children.

Keep it evil

 

 

Hitting the theaters also will also be National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, just thought I’d add that in for good measure.

Posted by John Roisland in EVENTS, FAMILY HORROR, REMAKES AND REBOOTS, 0 comments
The MAYHEM FILM FESTIVAL Brings Scares Aplenty To The UK

The MAYHEM FILM FESTIVAL Brings Scares Aplenty To The UK

Are you ready…for absolute MAYHEM? The Mayhem Film Festival descends upon Nottingham, UK, at the Broadway Cinema, October 11 – 14, 2018. Featuring some of the best of horror, sci-fi, and cult classic features and shorts, there’s going to be a wide variety of cinematic genre offerings that should keep everyone happy.

Quite a few of the menu items have been making the rounds at many of the festivals, with some of them even winning awards. You’ll find a few that have been reviewed here and some that are about to be in the very near future, including:

Mayhem Film Festival: Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)Anna and the Apocalypse : A Scottish high-school Christmas zombie musical, this one’s been getting a lot of buzz lately, and MAYHEM will also feature a Q&A with Anna and the Apocalypse’s director John McPhail.

Mayhem Film Festival: The Witch in the Window (2018)The Witch in the Window: Canadian filmmaker Andy Mitton’s follow-up to Yellowbrickroad and We Go On, this supernatural chiller is primed to bring a lot of unhappy relationships together. For those families where someone loves horror movies but hates the PG-13 ones and has yet another finicky watcher who loves horror but ONLY if it’s PG-13, The Witch in the Window is that happy medium where everyone gets what they want. With a minimum of reliance on tired horror tropes and no gore whatsoever, The Witch in the Window specializes more in classic creeps, using the slow-burn technique to come to a heart-warming, yet also heart-breaking finish.

Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich continues to advance the beloved cult Full Moon Features franchise, with both fan favorites Udo Kier and Barbara Crampton on board.

Mayhem Film Festival: One Cut of the Dead (2017)One Cut of the Dead: Asian filmmakers have had their American brethren hanging their heads in shame (or they should be) with the way they’ve been managing to freshen up the tired zombie genre, with Korea’s outstanding Train to Busan and the quirky Chinese gut-muncher Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight. Now it’s Japanese co-writer/director Shin’ichiro Ueda’s turn, and if the other two are any indication of what kind of surprises to expect, you probably want to get your tickets to this one ASAP.

Mayhem Film Festival: What Keeps You Alive (2018)What Keeps You Alive: Even if you’re not familiar with Colin Minihan’s name, you’ve probably seen one or both of the films in the Grave Encounters franchise that he launched, or maybe his zombie-apocalypse-hits-Sin-City thriller It Stains the Sands Red. Based on his past work alone, his latest, a remote, woodsy horror drama sounds like another ‘must-see’ to add to your list.

Mayhem Film Festival: Nightmare Cinema (2018)Besides these films, there are also some debuts and other goodies worth noting. Nightmare Cinema is the much-anticipated horror omnibus from genre icon Mick Garris, who gave us the unforgettable Showtime shock-stravaganza Masters of Horror. Directors on-board this time around include Garris himself, Joe Dante, David Slade, and Ryuhei Kitamura (No One Lives, Versus, Midnight Meat Train).

Mayhem Film Festival: Mandy (2018)Mandy, the plenty-talked-about horror-on-acid freakshow starring – appropriately enough – Nicolas Cage – will infiltrate the Festival as well, and hopefully have tongues wagging just as much about its writer/director Panos Cosmatos, who also created the equally trippy Beyond the Black Rainbow.

And if One Cut of the Dead leaves you ravenous for more Japanese horror-goodness, you’re in luck. Making its UK premiere will be Shinsuke Sato’s live-action adaptation of the popular manga Inuyashiki.

And if this wasn’t mind-blowing enough, there’s also going to be a screening of the Lamberto Bava/Dario Argento collaboration from 1985, the crowd-pleasing Demons, and from Finland, The White Reindeer, a rarely-seen supernatural adaptation of a Finnish folk tale, made in 1952 by director Erik Blomberg.

More information about dates, times, the features and shorts, and where to get tickets, can be found at www.mayhemfilmfestival.com.

Posted by Samuel Glass in ATTRACTIONS AND DESTINATIONS, EVENTS, HORROR NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, 0 comments
CON REVIEW: HorrorHound Weekend, Indianapolis, IN, 2018

CON REVIEW: HorrorHound Weekend, Indianapolis, IN, 2018

HorrorHound Weekend has come and gone once again. Last weekend their stop was Indianapolis. The guest list was highlighted by Bruce Campbell, Robert Englund, Shannen Doherty, Kane Hodder, Jason Patric, and Lou Diamond Phillips. Iconic director Joe Dante even made a surprise cameo. If that was not enough, Kiefer Sutherland headlined the group. The venue was new for HorrorHound as it had been moved to the JW Marriot for the first time. Fans from all over the country regardless of where they lived flocked to downtown Indianapolis to meet their favorite stars.

Celeb Photo Ops Clint Narramore

Let’s start with the negatives and get them out of the way. Do you hear that sound? Crickets… There were not very many if any negatives, so let me nitpick. I think there could have been a little better communication about where screenings of movies were going to be. The hotel had issues with keys to rooms not working (I am nitpicking with that and this no way reflects on the con, by the way). I had to find something to improve on for the show and there it is.

Sarah Gregory Sarah Gregory Sarah Gregory

Positives? Everything else. Friday night at 5:00 PM when the show opened for general admission, there was a huge line of goers trying to get in. There was also a Bruce Campbell photo op scheduled for 5:30 PM. The solution was simple and extremely effective. Allow those who had purchased a photo op for that time to enter in the VIP line. Problem solved. Celeb Photo Ops did an AMAZING job moving lines quickly through the photo ops and getting perfect shots. There are other great companies but they are in my opinion the bar when it comes to photo ops.

Celeb Photo Ops

Big guests draw big lines that can cause problems with fans. HorrorHound, however, KNEW that. Their solution was again, simple and effective. They issued time cues for people to come back and stand in line at certain times for these guests. For Shannen Doherty, they formed a line in the hall along the wall and allowed five people into her main line at a time. This avoided clutter and massive lines in the main room. These little things created a better environment for everyone involved. HorrorHound knew some complaints from other shows but instead of saying, “Oh well”, they sidestepped the landmines.

Celeb Photo Ops

HorrorHound ran one of the most effectively run conventions I have seen. They did a great job creating a smooth show however, they had time to see what problems to avoid. By setting this standard, they must now ensure all of their shows run this smooth. That is the goal of all shows, but HorrorHound proved it’s possible.

Overall Grade: A+

Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in EVENTS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

BOOK REVIEW: Step Right Up! (2010)

I'M GONNA SCARE THE PANTS OFF AMERICA

MEMOIRS OF A B-MOVIE MOGUL

By Woofer McWooferson

Step Right Up! Cover 1 new

Author: William Castle; Publisher: William Castle Productions; ISBN: 978-0-5780-6682-0; Media: Paperback; Length: 276 pages; Genre: Autobiography; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2010

Emergo! Percepto! Illusion-O! Fright breaks, Coward's Corner, life insurance policies, punishment polls, and cardboard axes! Fans of horror movies in the 1950s and 1960s know these terms well as they are signature gimmicks of the consummate showman and director: William Castle. Even as a young child, Castle knew that he wanted to scare audiences to the same extent that he was scared during The Monster, a horror play that he attended with his father when Castle was the tender age of six. He was hooked on horror, and he knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life.

Step Right Up! I'm Gonna Scare the Pants off America: Memoirs of a B-Movie Mogul is Castle's autobiography and a captivating journey through the life and mind of the man John Waters called, "...my idol. His films made me want to make films.” Originally published in 1976. Step Right Up! contains musings and recollections that are colorful, entertaining, and educational, his descriptions weaving a tapestry that makes readers feel as if they are sharing a brandy with Castle himself in his den. With Castle as our tour guide, we accompany him backstage to meet Bela Lugosi, whose difficulty in pronouncing Castle's surname, Schloss, instantly convinced the young man to adopt the name Castle, the English version of Schloss. We watch as a young Castle bluffs his way into a meeting with Orson Welles, eventually earning the right to take over Welles' Mercury Theatre. And we thrill as a chance encounter with Vincent Price completely changed the direction of Price's career, eventually establishing him as one of the greatest horror actors in the US.

Though Castle's success undeniably sprang from his ability to sell his films as a multimedia experience – a heretofore relatively rare tactic in filmmaking. Step Right Up! gives readers an unparalleled ride through Castle's life and career at a pace that never flags and that keeps the reader entertained, wondering what will next inspire the genius that was William Castle.

Not sure if Castle is your cup of mead? Check out some of these titles at the Internet Movie Database:

Bug (1975)
Shanks (1974)
Circle of Fear (1972 - 1973)
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Project X (1968)
The Spirit Is Willing (1967)
The Busy Body (1967)
Let's Kill Uncle (1966)
I Saw What You Did (1965)
The Night Walker (1964)
Strait-Jacket (1964)
The Old Dark House (1963)
13 Frightened Girls! (1963)
Zotz! (1962)
Mr. Sardonicus (1961)
Homicidal (1961)
13 Ghosts (1960)
The Tingler (1959)
House on Haunted Hill (1959)
Macabre (1958)

If you like horror, step right up to check out Step Right Up! You will not be disappointed.

Bonus Fact: The character of Lawrence Woolsey (John Goodman) in Joe Dante's 1993 film Matinee is based on William Castle.

10/10 claws – don't forget your "Illusion-O" handheld ghost viewer

Posted by Alan Smithee in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments