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Hope everyone has their wallets ready because September 1st is a doozy of a day for home entertainment releases, with over 20 horror and sci-fi titles set to make their debut on Tuesday. For those of you Mad Max: Fury Road fans out there, this is the week you’ve all been waiting for as George Miller’s epic actioner arrives on 3D and 2D Blu-ray as well as on DVD. Scream Factory has a few films they’re releasing this week—Backcountry, The Harvest and Army of Frankensteins—and Anchor Bay Entertainment is keeping busy with a pair of notable releases too—The Curse of Downers Grove (which was penned by Bret Easton Ellis) and Lost After Dark.
- Heather Wixson
Already shaking up TV with the likes of House of Cards, the on-demand pioneer is to unveil its move into film production
Like a heavenly body twinkling down from another time and galaxy, the Venice film festival still beams out the glamour of the old world. From its first incarnation in 1932, when the likes of Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, James Cagney, Ronald Colman and Joan Crawford, not to mention Boris Karloff, sipped drinks on the terrace of the Excelsior in the Lido, the festival has offered the perfect gilded backdrop for the shiny hoopla of film promotion.
This summer, however, the future is coming to the lagoon city and to the longest-established of all film festivals. As a billboard-sized sign of things to come, Netflix, one of the new breed of video-on-demand services, is bringing its first in-house production, Beasts of No Nation, to open at Venice 3 September. It stars »
- Vanessa Thorpe Arts and Media correspondent
A Hollywood hacienda that was once home to Katharine Hepburn has gone on the market for $7.39m. The star rented the Mexican-style home in Coldwater Canyon, Los Angeles, for five years when she first moved to Hollywood. She reportedly moved out claiming ghosts had taken to rearranging the furniture.
Hepburn was not the only star to have lived in the five-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bath property. Horror movie legend Boris Karloff owned the property in the 1930s and 1940s, according to property site Zillow. He liked to keep pigs and other animals there and the gardens contain roses that may have been planted by Frankenstein’s monster himself
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- Guardian Staff
It’s alive! The first trailer for 20th Century Fox’s “Victor Frankenstein” has hit the web, and judging by the footage, the latest take on Mary Shelley’s enduring monster tale seems to share more creative DNA with Guy Ritchie’s “Sherlock Holmes” movies than with the classic “Frankenstein” films starring Boris Karloff.
James McAvoy plays the titular scientist, with Daniel Radcliffe co-starring as his faithful assistant, Igor, as the two romp through Victorian England stealing body parts and trading banter as they try to unlock the secret to immortality. The film is told from Igor’s perspective as he befriends the visionary doctor and witnesses his evolution into the iconic and unwitting creator of a monster.
The film also stars “Sherlock’s” Andrew Scott and Mark Gatiss, “Downton Abbey” alum Jessica Brown Findlay, and Freddie Fox. “Victor Frankenstein” is directed by Paul McGuigan from a script by Max Landis, »
- Laura Prudom
Universal’s plans to reintroduce a new generation of moviegoers to its back catalogue of classic beasties have been met with mixed opinion. Initial press releases described the planned movies as action-adventure with no references to their cinematic heritage – horror. Understandably so, fans vocalized their upset at the studio’s proposed reboot remaining in line with the 1999 take on The Mummy. A fun romp? Yes. Scary? Not so much.
By the looks of things, there was a degree of miscommunication in that earlier statement. At the Television Critics Association Press tour, Alex Kurtzman – who is overseeing the entire Monsterverse with Roberto Orci – addressed those concerns during a chat with the folks at Collider:
“I think there was some lost in translation quality to the way it was received, because I promise you there will be horror in these movies. It is our life goal to make a horror movie. The »
- Gem Seddon
Since the announcement of Universal’s shared Monsters Universe – which is set to kick off with The Mummy in 2017 – things have been a bit quiet. We’ve heard that new two writers have been hired to re-draft the script for Creature from the Black Lagoon, which could also have Scarlet Johannson attached to it, but there appears to be problems behind the scenes.
Universal have said themselves that these monster movies will not be horror films and will instead be action movies, but Alex Kurtzman – who is overseeing the venture in the same way Joss Whedon oversaw Marvel – has clarified that they will contain horror elements.
“I think there was some lost in translation quality to the way it was received, because I promise you there will be horror in these movies,” he told TCA March of Death. “It is our life goal to make a horror movie. The tricky »
- Luke Owen
Universal Pictures has been trying to get their own cinematic universe off the ground in recent years, but opting instead to use the world of their classic monsters rather than superheroes like everyone else seems to be doing.
The plan got off to a rough start last year though when a press release described the films as "epic action-adventure" rather than "horror" that many were expecting. The hiring of "Transformers" and "Fast & Furious" franchise scribes like Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan did not alleviate those fears.
Appearing at the Television Critics Association Press Tour today, Kurtzman spoke with Collider about how the plan by Universal is progressing:
"The monster universe is coming together very very quickly, we're very excited. There will be announcements soon. We have actually started doing a lot of design work, we're getting scripts in, everything is feeling really really good, so I don't want to curse »
- Garth Franklin
Raymond Massey ca. 1940. Raymond Massey movies: From Lincoln to Boris Karloff Though hardly remembered today, the Toronto-born Raymond Massey was a top supporting player – and sometime lead – in both British and American movies from the early '30s all the way to the early '60s. During that period, Massey was featured in nearly 50 films. Turner Classic Movies generally selects the same old MGM / Rko / Warner Bros. stars for its annual “Summer Under the Stars” series. For that reason, it's great to see someone like Raymond Massey – who was with Warners in the '40s – be the focus of a whole day: Sat., Aug. 8, '15. (See TCM's Raymond Massey movie schedule further below.) Admittedly, despite his prestige – his stage credits included the title role in the short-lived 1931 Broadway production of Hamlet – the quality of Massey's performances varied wildly. Sometimes he could be quite effective; most of the time, however, he was an unabashed scenery chewer, »
- Andre Soares
In just a few days, Flashback Weekend Horror Convention will be celebrating Halloween in August with their Michael Myers-related revelry (and more), and we now have a look at the final schedule for this weekend’s convention, which runs at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare from Friday, August 7th through Sunday, August 9th.
Flashback Weekend has been a longstanding tradition for me, as both a fan and as one of the co-hosts, and this year looks to be yet another incredible time for horror lovers, featuring tons of great panels, movie screenings, events, and legendary composer Alan Howarth will even be performing a special concert for attendees on Friday night.
Take a look at Flashback’s full schedule below and be sure to say hi if you happen to see me during all the festivities over the course of the weekend. For ticket information or any further details, »
- Heather Wixson
'Jurassic World' velociraptor kicks Iron Man ass at worldwide box office. 'Jurassic World' officially surpasses 'The Avengers' at worldwide box office Directed by Colin Trevorrow; starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Vincent D'Onofrio; and co-executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, Jurassic World has officially become the third biggest worldwide box office hit in history. The Jurassic Park sequel – or reboot, as it's basically the same story with a slightly different twist – has surpassed Marvel's Joss Whedon-directed all-star superhero flick The Avengers, which broke box office records back in 2012. Of course, "officially" just ain't what it used to be – like, in the days before The Fall. So you wisely ask, "But which movie has actually sold the most tickets?" After all, that's the true measure of a film's popularity. Well, that's a tough one to answer without the studios providing accurate, precise numbers. And that's not about to happen. It always »
- Zac Gille
Theodore Bikel. Theodore Bikel dead at 91: Oscar-nominated actor and folk singer best known for stage musicals 'The Sound of Music,' 'Fiddler on the Roof' Folk singer, social and union activist, and stage, film, and television actor Theodore Bikel, best remembered for starring in the Broadway musical The Sound of Music and, throughout the U.S., in Fiddler on the Roof, died Monday morning (July 20, '15) of "natural causes" at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. The Austrian-born Bikel – as Theodore Meir Bikel on May 2, 1924, in Vienna, to Yiddish-speaking Eastern European parents – was 91. Fled Hitler Thanks to his well-connected Zionist father, six months after the German annexation of Austria in March 1938 ("they were greeted with jubilation by the local populace," he would recall in 2012), the 14-year-old Bikel and his family fled to Palestine, at the time a British protectorate. While there, the teenager began acting on stage, »
- Andre Soares
For the third week of July, genre fans have quite a few Blu-ray and DVD titles to look forward to as we’ve got a great selection of horror and sci-fi films making their home entertainment bow on the 21st. Kino Lorber is keeping themselves busy this Tuesday with a pair of cult classics—Black Sabbath and Madhouse—that are getting an HD overhaul and the fine folks over at Scream Factory are releasing Tibor Takács' I, Madman on Blu as well. The critically-acclaimed horror comedy What We Do in the Shadows also arrives on both formats this week and for those of you kids at heart out there, Scooby-Doo! and Kiss: Rock and Roll Mystery, is also coming home on DVD and Blu-ray.
What We Do in the Shadows (Paramount, Blu-ray & DVD)
Viago, Deacon, and Vladislav are vampires who are finding that modern life has them struggling with the mundane—like paying rent, »
- Heather Wixson
For director Paul McGuigan, "Victor Frankenstein" (November 25th) reclaims the mantle for the mad scientist, who's historically been overshadowed by the monster thanks to Boris Karloff. But this film also explores another twisted friendship between co-dependent, kindred spirits: Igor (Daniel Radcliffe) and Victor (James McAvoy). "Victor Frankenstein" is told from the hunchback's point of view, only he's a near intellectual equal to the scientist obsessed with bringing the dead back to life. "When he meets Victor, Igor starts out as a hunchback in the circus but he mends people's bones and is knowledgeable about medical science and is treated like a freakish kid," McGuigan explained. "And actually when Max [Landis] wrote the script, his influence was 'The Social Network,' the idea of two men on the cusp of breakthrough technology and how this brings them together and bonds them and also rips them apart. And he immediately saw a correlation with. »
- Bill Desowitz
The horror movie genre is more popular than ever, with its influence felt right across popular culture like a blood spatter from a slashed artery. Audiences are happy to suspend disbelief and strap themselves in for a good old frightfest, a sensory rollercoaster ride that’ll make eyes pop out of sockets and bathrooms get frequently used. However, sometimes there’s an element that just doesn’t sit right amongst the mayhem. More often than not, that factor is the lead actor or actress!
Does it matter if there are plenty of heads flying around, or if you’re stuffing a cushion into your face every thirty seconds? Well, yes. Even if the film is really delivering the gory goods, that mismatched central figure can really start to bug you. What were the producers thinking? Give it some time and the true terror may turn out to be »
- Steve Palace
The first week of July sees a ton of genre titles headed home on DVD and Blu-ray including a handful of cult classics including Stuart Gordon’s Robot Jox, The Crimson Cult which co-stars Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee, Luigi Cozzi’s Contamination, a pair of 1974 shockers- Deranged and Spasmo- as well as The Killers, which is based on Ernest Hemingway’s chilling tale of the same name and gave the film noir subgenre a boost back in the 1940’s.
For those of you looking for something a little more current, you’ve got Alien Outpost, The Pact 2, Trophy Heads and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent zombie film, Maggie, to look forward to as well. As if that wasn’t enough, we also have last year’s Town that Dreaded Sundown remake is also arriving on both DVD and Blu-ray, with the latter being available exclusively at Best Buy on July 7th. »
- Heather Wixson
'Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl': Johnny Depp as Capt. Jack Sparrow. 'Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl' review: Mostly an enjoyable romp (Oscar Movie Series) Pirate movies were a Hollywood staple for about three decades, from the mid-'20s (The Sea Hawk, The Black Pirate) to the mid-to-late '50s (Moonfleet, The Buccaneer), when the genre, by then mostly relegated to B films, began to die down. Sporadic resurrections in the '80s and '90s turned out to be critical and commercial bombs (Pirates, Cutthroat Island), something that didn't bode well for the Walt Disney Company's $140 million-budgeted film "adaptation" of one of their theme-park rides. But Neptune's mood has apparently improved with the arrival of the new century. He smiled – grinned would be a more appropriate word – on the Gore Verbinski-directed Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, »
- Andre Soares
Cinema’s Hidden Pearls – Part II
By Alex Simon
One of nature’s rarest items, a pearl is produced within the soft tissue (specifically the mantle) of a living shelled mollusk. Just like the shell of a clam, a pearl is composed of calcium carbonate in minute crystalline form, which has been deposited in concentric layers. Truly flawless pearls are infrequently produced in nature, and as a result, the pearl has become a metaphor for something rare, fine, admirable and valuable.
Hidden pearls exist in the world of movies, as well: films that, in spite of being brilliantly crafted and executed, never got the audience they deserved beyond a cult following.
Here are a few more of our favorite hidden pearls in the world of film:
1. Massacre at Central High (1976)
- The Hollywood Interview.com
By Lee Pfeiffer
Christopher Lee and Boris Karloff collectively made countless films that varied widely in terms of quality. However, they always brought dignity to every role they performed. Sadly, the two icons of the horror film genre only worked together twice.The first time in the late 1950s in "Corridors of Blood" and the second and last time in what turned out to be the final film of Karloff's career, the 1968 Tigon Films production of "The Crimson Cult" (released in the UK as "Curse of the Crimson Altar" and in some territories as "The Crimson Altar" and "Black Horror"). Karloff barely got through the arduous shoot during a particularly cold and unpleasant British winter. However, always the ultimate professional, he persevered and continued the film until completion, even after having been hospitalized with pneumonia. The result is a film that is not particularly well-loved by horror film fans »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
Los Angeles' Bendix Building. Photo by Jordan Cronk.The bats have left the bell towerThe victims have been bled Red velvet lines the black boxBela Lugosi's dead —BauhausBela-Bonkers Brit Bloke Brazenly Boosts Bendix-Building Black Bandana!In the annals of Los Angeles crime, it was hardly an episode to titillate James Ellroy. Was it even really a crime? I was on the short stairwell that connects the 11th—the top—floor of the Bendix Building, a Garment District block on the corner of Maple St and 12th St, when I spotted the square of white-patterned black cotton. Into my pocket it rapidly went, compensation for the fact that my quest for rooftop access had been stymied. An orange plastic sign across the door up ahead, warning (bluffing?) of alarms that would ring out if opened, dissuaded further progress. I wasn't too disheartened—my unplanned visit to the Bendix Building had yielded sufficient delights. »
- Neil Young
African-American film 'Bert Williams: Lime Kiln Club Field Day.' With Williams and Odessa Warren Grey.* Rare, early 20th-century African-American film among San Francisco Silent Film Festival highlights Directed by Edwin Middleton and T. Hayes Hunter, the Biograph Company's Lime Kiln Club Field Day (1913) was the film I most looked forward to at the 2015 edition of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. One hundred years old, unfinished, and destined to be scrapped and tossed into the dust bin, it rose from the ashes. Starring entertainer Bert Williams – whose film appearances have virtually disappeared, but whose legacy lives on – Lime Kiln Club Field Day has become a rare example of African-American life in the first years of the 20th century. In the introduction to the film, the audience was treated to a treasure trove of Black memorabilia: sheet music, stills, promotional material, and newspaper clippings that survive. Details of the »
- Danny Fortune
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