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John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’: The Story of an SF Horror Game-Changer

Had the good fortune of seeing a rare 70mm edition of this classic film last week, this is an excellent follow-up.

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Universal Pictures Kills “Mountains of Madness” Over R Rating

How can you do true existential terror in PG-13? I can imagine the notes from the studio: “can the giant monster from beyond time be more friendly?,” etc.

Luckily for us, they weren’t in charge of the original, and you can read H.P. Lovecraft’s At The Mountains of Madness for free on Wikisource.

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Sweatshop Movie Night: LADY FRANKENSTEIN

Tonight, on the SWEATSHOP, the 1971 italian horror film LADY FRANKENSTEIN. Join us for love, laughter, and my eventual intoxication.

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25 Years Into The Future

For those of you confused about the dates in the BTTF movies see my update below.


Back To The Future first arrived on cinema screens 25 years ago. When I was a boy, most kids wanted to be Michael Jordan, or the President, or maybe an astronaut. I wanted to be Doctor Emmett L. Brown.

He was the wonderful scientist-of-all-trades in 1985’s Back to The Future, played by the inimitable Christopher Lloyd in what has been, thus far, his finest role on the screen. I doubt he or anyone else will ever top it. As a child, I didn’t want to be a scientist, I wanted to be that scientist. Doc Brown just knew stuff about pretty much everything, and while being a little scatter-brained (with the knowledge of real, working, time travel in their head, who wouldn’t be?) was unquestionably brilliant, if not a little short-sighted.

Back To The Future released 3 July, 1985. I was barely two years old at the time, so I never got to see it in the theater. Later, though, it became my favorite movie. Over the last 20 years I’ve watched the trilogy dozens of times. Though they are very much a product of the 1980s, and the fashions looks silly to us now, the films themselves never get old, and Doc never becomes less inspirational to me. ” If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.” It’s a platitude, sure, but but coming from a guy who invented a time machine, it means a lot.

20 years since I personally first saw the the original BTTF film, am I any closer to mad scientistry? My business card says so, but I doubt I’ll ever reach Doc’s level. Part of Doc’s appeal was that he was this platonic ideal of the Mad Scientist that existed in my mind, even before I knew it was there. Like Peter Cushing’s portrayal of Van Helsing in the half-dozen Hammer-produced Dracula films, or Kevin Conroy’s voicing of Batman in the mid-90s Batman: The Animated Series, Lloyd’s Doc Brown took up residence in my headspace and will probably never leave. At least, I hope he won’t.


Update: In the BTTF film the time travel event takes place on October 25th, 1985. In BTTF 2 Marty goes to October 21st, 2015. BTTF was released July 3rd, 1985. For those wondering, as topherchris was, “how July 5, 2010 fits into this,” the Back To The Future DVD commentary: In it, Bob Zemeckis and Bob Gale (the director and co-writer of the film) explain that they put this in there as a sight gag, since July 5th was around when the movie was going to come out. It exists only as a little joke for keen-eyed viewers. Apparently it doesn’t.

Update 2: The original version of this post misused quotation marks around “25 years,” which has been fixed.

Update 3: It looks like the July 5th, 2010 screen shot is actually a hoax.

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The Evolution of Jack Torrence

’nuff said.

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Roger Ebert Adds “The Big Lebowski” to His Great Films Collection

and if you aren’t already clicking on this, we have nothing left to discuss.

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Minimalist Citizen Kane Poster

Created by yours truly (view) in about 40 minutes, using sketchy clipart from here. It is not as… minimal as the others, but I think it captures the film pretty well. It may work just as well with only the rose, or only the title. The snow says a lot. I think it would look pretty fantastic with the rose / text letterpressed.

Inspired by Eduardo Prox’s minimalist movie posters.

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Roger Ebert’s Worst films of 2009

If you need a quick shot of confidence in the whole cinematic endeavor, you will not get it here. What you will get is Ebert being his Ebert-y best.

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70-Minute Video Review of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Okay, this sounds stupid, but my god it is glorious. It is not merely a “derp Phantom Menace sucks derp” thing.

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Warren Ellis’ BLACK SUMMER In Development As A Film

Congratulations, Internet Jesus. BLACK SUMMER’s main story is a super hero killing the President of the United States due to his implicit and explicit approval of various crimes against humanity. I’ll be surprised if this actually gets made, but I look forward to it. More: The official Black Summer comic site. Amazon has the Black Summer Trade Paperback for $16.95.

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Warren Ellis Writing New Motion Picture Based on “Gravel”

Legendary Pictures has picked up the rights with Ellis serving as an Executive Producer. I’ve read the first 12 or so issues of Gravel, and it could make a fun movie. England, magic, detective grit. All good things.

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“It’s certainly biological. It’s definitely not an oil product of any kind.”

These are the first last words of a species. The last last words are “ACK IT IS ABSORBING ME.”

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The Making of Zach Galifianakis

New York Times piece on the rise of Galifianakis, his beard, and failures.

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Hausu (1977) “Killer Lampshade”

Stick with this clip. I think by friday it may still be high in the running for most batshit thing I’ve seen all week.