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My first foray into Italian horror was Lucio Fulci’s Zombie (1980), seen as a delightfully repulsed 10 year old. However, Dario Argento’s Deep Red (Profondo Rosso if you’re Italian) was the first Italian horror film that actually intrigued me; same age, but very different feelings. The repulsion was there, that base fear, but set within a framework of beautifully rendered images. I didn’t know much about art, but it felt like that’s what I was watching.
Released in March of 1975, Deep Red was the latest thriller from Argento in the giallo style; an Italian term which has generally become known to mean a gruesome, lurid detective story; so called due to the fact that the original Italian pulp novels a lot of these stories pay homage to were written on yellow, or giallo, paper. Argento was already making a name for himself worldwide with previous efforts in »
- Scott Drebit
There was a time when Malcolm McDowell’s status as a jobbing actor in numerous celluloid stinkers appeared to eclipse his defining roles in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange and Lindsay Anderson’s If.
However, good reviews for Amazon Studios’ Mozart In The Jungle brought him back to public attention in a way he maybe hadn’t experienced for a while. This success may be consolidated by his now taking the lead in a remake of Vincent Price comedy horror classic The Abominable Dr.Phibes.
The 1971 movie saw Price’s irrevocably-scarred academic seek revenge on the surgeons who he believed killed his wife following the devastating car crash that put her in hospital and destroyed his face. To make things more interesting he despatched each of them in the florid fashion of the Old Testament’s Ten Plagues Of Egypt. A sequel, Dr.Phibes Rises Again, followed and Price »
- Steve Palace
The Outback-set drama was lost for many years until Buckley, its editor, located the negatives in a Pittsburgh film vault labelled "For Destruction..
The print was digitally restored by the National Film and Sound Archive and screened at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, 38 years after it played in competition at the festival.
.It has since been re-released in multiple territories including the Us, the UK, France and Japan, sold internationally by Madman Entertainment.
Us critic Rex Reed declared, "In the final analysis, it may be the greatest Australian film ever made."
The Wake in Fright Trust gave Buckley a cheque at a function at Aftrs last Thursday to recognise his work in recovering the film and his lifetime contribution to the film industry. »
- Staff writer
Since 1962, the James Bond franchise has come to define the spy genre, for good or ill. More broadly, every thriller and action film that comes out now either uses them as inspiration, or attempts to ignore or re-work the tropes that have come to be associated with the series.
Coming off the release of Kingsman: The Secret Service, and with the release of a new Bond film this year, now seems like the perfect time to take a look at a sample of the films which have been inspired by James Bond — either as homages, parodies or reactions.
The Ipcress File (1965)
Produced by James Bond producer Harry Saltzman as a more grounded alternative to the largesse of Bond, The Ipcress File is more concerned with the intricacies of real spy-work — the endless paperwork, »
Carpenter’s screenplay is even credited to “Martin Quatermass”. Priest Donald Pleasence discovers an ancient canister full of liquid Evil which “broadcasts” warnings from the future. Or something. Given total creative freedom due to the low budget, this is probably Carpenter’s most off the wall picture, the middle entry in his “Apocalypse Trilogy” which includes his "The Thing" and "In the Mouth of Madness." »
- Trailers From Hell
After revisiting John Carpenter's Escape From New York, I am pleased to say that this thrilling dystopian masterpiece still holds up great and maintains its tough cynical bite at authority, appropriately reflecting the mistrust society still has with political authority today. What truly makes Snake Plissken remain an iconic character is not just his nihilistic manner and rebellious attitude, it's mostly the mystery that surrounds him. With Hollywood's urgent need today to over-explain every character and world in popular entertainment properties till every sense of awe and wonder that made these movies great die with one last desperate gasp, it's refreshing to revisit a time that respected the power of mystery and mythology.
Snake is a lone gunslinger with combat skills, an Eastwood growl, and an eyepatch who's seen some crazy shit and is thrown into a dangerous situation with his life on the line—that's all this movie needs to explain, »
- Sean McClannahan
Escape from New York, 1981.
Directed by John Carpenter.
In 1997, when the Us President crashes into Manhattan, now a giant maximum security prison, a convicted bank robber is sent in for a rescue.
Conversations about major big budget genre filmmakers of the 70s and 80s tend to center around Lucas and Spielberg, with Kubrick usually thrown into the mix, but John Carpenter deserves a spot in those talks too, even if he typically worked with a much smaller budget than those guys. Look at Halloween, The Fog, The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China, They Live, and this review’s subject, Escape from New York: That’s quite a run of films that are well remembered by many fans today, even if they didn’t all set the box office ablaze. »
- Gary Collinson
Scream Factory has most certainly done a fine job of bringing a lot of John Carpenter’s filmography to genre fans everywhere. With great collector’s edition Blurays of everything from Carpenter’s Prince Of Darkness, They Live and Assault On Precinct 13, to the complete Halloween collection and even Carpenter’s Body Bags anthology. It’s been great to see some of my favorite films not only being re-released with amazing new transfers and sound, and to see films like The Fog and various other Carpenter films find new audiences and appreciation due to the resurgence that the gang at Sf have helped kickstart.
Adding to the growing Carpenter lineup at Sf, is today’s brand new release of the master of horror’s 1981 action classic, Escape From New York. With a brand new 2K scan of the inter-positive and an almost endless supply of supplemental material, this release »
- Jerry Smith
April 21st is another big day for genre fans looking to add to their home entertainment collections, as we’ve got a bounty of titles heading our way this Tuesday. The good folks over at Scream Factory are keeping busy with the release of several great Blu-rays, including their Collector’s Edition of John Carpenter’s Escape From New York and their Ghoulies double feature. Joe Lynch’s Everly and the film fest sensation A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night are also making their way to Blu-ray and DVD this week, and we’ve got a Ton of indie titles arriving Tuesday to look forward to, including the latest from the great Jeffrey Combs, Motivational Growth.
Escape from New York (Collector’s Edition) (Scream Factory, Blu-ray)
A thrilling landmark film that jolts along at a breakneck pace, Escape From New York leapt to cult status with high-octane action, edge-of-your-seat »
- Heather Wixson
“Snake Plissken… I’ve heard of you. I heard you were dead.” Scream Factory's out to prove The Duke of New York City wrong with the resurrection of Kurt Russell's awesome anti-hero in their Escape From New York Collector’s Edition Blu-ray that hits shelves on April 21st with 2k digital restoration and a bunch of bonus features. Ahead of its release, we have a couple of clips and two trailers from the Blu-ray that show off the film's high-definition upgrade.
"A thrilling landmark film that jolts along at a breakneck pace, Escape From New York leapt to cult status with high-octane action, edge-of-your-seat suspense and the mind-blowing vision of lone warrior Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) battling his way out of a post-apocalyptic Manhattan!
In a world ravaged by crime, the entire island of Manhattan has been converted into a walled prison where brutal prisoners roam. But when the »
- Derek Anderson
Nb: the following contains potential spoilers for the identity of Spectre's villain.
Anticipation's been gradually rising for James Bond's next outing, Spectre - stoked in no small part by the first teaser trailer released at the end of March, which played up the atmosphere and suspense rather than high-wire stunts.
Part of the excitement surrounding the latest Bond is, of course, derived from the return of the criminal organisation of its title. And then there's Christoph Waltz, who's billed everywhere as a villain by the name as Franz Oberhauser. But there's been no shortage of speculation surrounding Waltz's role, with one UK newspaper's sources stating that his true identity is none other than Bond's arch-enemy, Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
Knowing what we do about Waltz's abilities as an actor, »
The trailer reveals him in shadow, sitting at a table beneath which he could conceivably be stroking a white cat. He is the sinister new bad guy in a film called Spectre, which reintroduces the Special Executive For Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge And Extortion into the James Bond franchise. There has, understandably, been much speculation that Christoph Waltz will be revealed to be a certain Ernst Stavro Blofeld in this year's 24th Bond movie. But Waltz is categorically insisting that this isn't so."That is absolutely untrue," Waltz told GQ. "That rumour started on the internet, and the internet is a pest. The name of my character is Franz Oberhauser."Attentive readers may recall that Naomie Harris similarly told Empire flat-out pre-Skyfall that she wasn't playing Miss Moneypenny. You may also cast your minds back to the time Benedict Cumberbatch absolutely was not playing Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness. »
When it comes to ridiculously cumbersome and ultimately unsuccessful evil plans for world domination, you can depend on two things: the James Bond films and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. While enough has been penned on the latter, it’s time someone exposed the former.
So as the world eagerly awaits the release of Spectre, let’s hark back to a time when Bond was far less convincing…
10. Blofeld Thwarted By His Own Fail-Safes – You Only Live Twice Eon Productions
The Plan: Steal Us and Soviet spacecraft (while they’re already in space) in order to incite global nuclear war by playing the superpowers against each other.
Dastardly villain Ernst Stavros Blofeld had previously made mysteriously unseen appearances in Bond films but You Only Live Twice marked his first proper outing as 007’s ultimate cat-stroking, scar-faced, Nehru-suit-wearing nemesis.
Residing in a hollowed out volcano filled with piranhas and a »
- Dave Lancaster
Spectre, the 24th film in the James Bond saga, is scheduled to hit theaters November 6th, and although the latest 007 flick is still in the midst of shooting, filmmakers unveiled a minute-long first look at what Daniel Craig's secret agent faces in the aftermath of Skyfall.
As the official 007 YouTube page explains, "A cryptic message from Bond's past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind Spectre. »
Earlier today, as the world anxiously awaited the premiere of the teaser trailer for "Spectre," the latest James Bond adventure (once again starring Daniel Craig as 007), we were on the set of the film in Mexico City, watching them film the movie's dramatic opening sequence and chatting with various members of the crew. This sequence obviously didn't make it into the teaser, which was weirdly action-free, but it did give us a hint at what's to come from this spy thriller.
Mexico is a location that the James Bond franchise has utilized plenty of times before, most recently in the mostly forgotten Craig entry "Quantum of Solace" and the hotel where part of this action sequence takes place, the Gran Hotel de Mexico, had already been used in a 007 movie -- the even-more-forgotten Timothy Dalton joint "The Living Daylights," way back in 1987 (no, I don't remember that one either).
- Drew Taylor
A strange offering this one, sandwiched between two considerably more significant films. Undoubtedly a lightweight outing, despite featuring a heavyweight star in more ways than one. The cartoonish tone is sharpened by lashings of violence and a surprisingly high body count. A moribund Connery and garish Las Vegas add to the sense of a series going to seed. Implausibilities abound through Diamonds Are Forever. Yet its dysfunctional parts create a film that, while far from a classic, has a certain battered panache – and a wry smile throughout. I rather like it.
The Villain: Like buses, Blofelds come in threes. After Donald and Telly, here’s Charles – utterly estranged from his predecessors in appearance and manner. This Blofeld has hair, a penchant for crossdressing and a rather winning air of bonhomie. Plus there’s three of him. »
Following March’s lecture on sadomasochism in 60s/70s cult cinema—instructed by Miskatonic London co-director and Electric Sheep founder Virginie Sélavy—the horror history and studies series continues with celebrated author and critic Kim Newman on Gary Sherman’s 1972 cult favorite Death Line (aka Raw Meat). The film, featuring Donald Pleasence in one of his best roles, concerns…
- Samuel Zimmerman
Shooting is just underway on Rob Zombie's crowd-funded horror 31, and with that comes a steady stream of casting updates. The latest to be revealed, in his third collaboration with the director, is Malcolm McDowell.31 stems from rocker-turned-director Zombie's interest in the (supposed) fact that more people go missing in the Us on Halloween than on any other day of the year. His plot revolves around five people kidnapped during the run-up to the spooky holiday, and held hostage in a facility called Murder World where they're forced to battle for their lives against an insane posse of "vile, bloodthirsty clowns called The Heads" (not to be confused with the Bristolian stoner spacerock band).McDowell, who played Dr. Sam Loomis (rather differently to Donald Pleasance) in both Zombie's Halloween films, will be essaying the part of Father Murder, the owner of Murder World.He's joined, as announced so far, by »
This one's big. So big it exerts a gravitational pull, orbited by numerous pop culture satellites, sketch shows and 90% of Austin Powers. Has some nice little moments and memorable big moments. Shame about the bits inbetween. A film that I loved as a child and find increasingly flawed. Characters so two-dimensional you could stick them to the fridge, writing that dips into laziness and is occasionally outright indolent. Plus Connery looks bored by the whole thing.
The Villain: It seems perverse to label one of the great villains of cinema a disappointment. And, despite several incarnations, there’s no denying this Blofeld, Pleasance’s Blofeld, is still seen as the archetype. The cat, the baldness, the scar, the lack of stature have all entered into (pop) cultural lore. Yet I find »
I. The Landmine
In August 1955, George Devine, director of London’s Royal Court Theatre, ventured to meet a promising writer, living on a Thames houseboat. “I had to borrow a dinghy… wade out to it and row myself to my new playwright,” he recalled. Thus began a partnership between Devine, who sought to rescue the English stage from stale commercialism, and the 26 year old tyro, John Osborne. Together, they’d revolutionize modern theater.
Born in London but raised in Stoneleigh, Surrey, Osborne lost his father at age 12, resented his low-born mother and was expelled from school for striking a headmaster. While acting for Anthony Creighton’s repertory company, his mercurial temper and violent language appeared. In 1951 he wed actress Pamela Lane, only to divorce six years later. Osborne soon immortalized their marriage: their cramped apartment, with invasive friends and intruding in-laws, John and Pamela’s pet names and verbal abuse, »
- Christopher Saunders
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