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One of the reasons why we love horror films is the dangerous sex appeal – especially in slasher films from the 80s. Although most teenagers in these slasher films suffer brutal deaths after they engage in such sexy behaviors, there is something still strangely and erotically appealing about sex in these horror films. But what about the monster sex scenes? Do they have the same effect on spectators? Are monster scenes sexy? Maybe we’re getting too far ahead of ourselves - what qualifies as a monster sex scene? For the purposes of this list, I am only examining non-human sex – although one human might be involved in the act, at least one monster must be present: whether it be a re-animated head without a body, a creature with several legs, an alien, a ghoulie; basically anything that isn’t human and has undergone some process of “evil-i-zation” qualifies as a »
- Lianne Spiderbaby
Our astute managing editor, Erik Davis, spotted another great find at Tumblr fave Cinephilia and Beyond. Shannon Davis' 2006 documentary Edge of Outside is an hour-long, in-depth look at the history of independent cinema, celebrating the genre's hallmark directors: John Cassavetes, Peter Bogdanovich, Roger Corman and more. Davis interviewed Hollywood heavy hitters like Martin Scorsese, who shares great stories about filmmakers like Sam Fuller. The Steel Helmet director made pictures at major studios like Fox and Columbia that didn't look like studio films and had a "pure, singular way of seeing the world." Scorsese also explains that the spirit of indie filmmaking was alive in Hollywood during the 1920s and was nurtured by the system for a time...
- Alison Nastasi
It's not a banner week for new releases. Ardent Baz Luhrmann groupies may revel in his loud and gaudy take on The Great Gatsby. But the other new films -- a draggy period piece about Renoir, an artsy but lackluster comic drama about escaping one's past and a rom-com that bravely goes where many have gone before (don't they all?) -- make for a yawning time at the cinema.
Not to worry, film fans. As usual, Slackerwood's friends at the Austin Film Society offer some interesting alternatives. The Afs Spotlight on John Cassavetes series kicks off today with A Woman Under the Influence, the great director's 1974 drama starring a devastating Gena Rowlands as a woman who breaks down under life's pressures and Peter Falk as her well-meaning but loutish husband. The film screens tonight and Sunday at the Marchesa Hall and Theatre.
Afs also presents an Essential Cinema screening of »
- Don Clinchy
Writer-director Jeff Nichols has been drawing steady acclaim since his debut in 2007 with Shotgun Stories, which won notice on the fringes of the film festival circuit then earned a John Cassavetes Award nomination for the Independent Spirit Awards. With a growing reputation, Nichols next awed audiences at more prestigious festivals like Sundance and Cannes with his chilling thriller Take Shelter. Now hot on the heels of his third feature Mud, theatrical debut, Deadline reports Nichols has sold his next venture to Warner Bros, meaning his first studio project is on the way. Nichols has been heading this way for a while. His first feature starred a then unknown Michael Shannon, who returned to front his second film which also boasted a powerful performance by fast-rising ingénue Jessica Chastain. Mud has been his most star stacked affair yet, with Matthew McConaughey as its titular mysterious man and Shannon pulling supporting »
Xan Cassavetes is from a long line of Hollywood elite. Her father, John Cassavetes, was a writer, director, and actor (he was the male lead in Rosemary’s Baby); her mother, Gena Rowlands, is a two-time Oscar nominee; her brother Nick is an actor and director. And while Xan has worked on many of her family’s projects, Kiss of the Damned marks her feature narrative directorial debut. Owing much to the Eurosleaze traditions of Jess Franco and Jean Rollin, Kiss of the Damned is the tale of demure French vampire Djuna; Paolo, the human who she is irresistibly attracted to; and Mimi, Djuna’s unpredictable sister who threatens to ruin it all.
We sat down with Xan to talk to her about Kiss of the Damned, her love of films, and why this isn’t really a “horror” movie.
Where did the idea for Kiss of the Damned come from? »
- Alyse Wax
Now in theaters and on VOD is Xan Cassavetes' Kiss of the Damned, a sexy throwback to '60s vampire fare that stars Milo Ventimiglia as a screenwriter who meets a gorgeous bloodsucker named Djuna (Josephine de La Baume).
She tries to resist the advances of the writer, but eventually gives in to temptation. When her troublemaker sister Mimi arrives unexpectedly, Djuna’s love story is threatened and the whole vampire community becomes endangered.
Cassavetes - daughter of the legendary John Cassavetes - makes her feature debut with the film and we spoke to her about her directing experience.
Read more »
Xan Cassavetes may not be a name that immediately jumps out at you (well, maybe the last name does if you're a cinephile…) but that’s all about to change come May 3rd when her feature film debut, Kiss of the Damned, arrives in limited theaters courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
The vampire-infused story follows two sisters who lead very different paths in life- there’s Djuna (Josephine de La Baume), the well-meaning and soulful vampire who has spent a lifetime and more trying to retain her humanity, while her sister, Mimi (Roxane Mesquida), has always been a troublemaker with an unquenchable thirst for blood and anarchy.
After Djuna sparks up a passionate love affair with a human screenwriter named Paolo (Milo Ventimiglia), Mimi’s arrival threatens the passion developing between the two lovers, and soon Mimi’s latest reckless actions trigger a dangerous chain reaction, threatening the entire vampire community »
Xan Cassavetes, the daughter of John Cassavetes and the director of the wonderful film world documentary "Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession," wrote and directed "Kiss of the Damned" with a wink and a nod so overt that, from the opening credit sequence, which closely mimics the similarly-titled Hammer horror movie "Lust for the Vampire," it runs dangerously close to becoming a ninety-minute game of Spot The Reference. Thankfully, the knowingness never becomes too cloying, and what Cassavetes lacks in technical proficiency, she more than makes up for in a kind of heartfelt conviction sorely lacking in the genre. Story-wise, everything in "Kiss of the Damned" you've seen before (in the production notes, Cassavetes states that she was "not a fanatical vampire person"). But its simplicity is never a hindrance, often acting a charming framework for her characters to play (and spill blood) in; for once familiarity works in its favor. »
- Drew Taylor
One of the nicest surprises of the always-excellent Sarasota Film Festival this year was Will Slocombe’s Pasadena, starring Peter Bogdanovich and Cheryl Hines. It’s a pressure cooker of a family drama with a very personal connection to its writer/director. Anchored by Bogdanovich and Hines, plus standouts like Sonya Walger, Wilson Bethel, and especially a bravura performance by Alicia Witt, the film wasn’t always pleasant to watch, but it was never less than fascinating. Paste sat down with Slocombe, Bogdanovich, and Hines to discuss family connections, awkward silences, and how John Cassavetes saved Bogdanovich’s premiere once upon a time. »
Top 10 Ryan Lambie 24 Apr 2013 - 07:37
From remote typing to making giraffes run around in a zoo, here's Ryan's pick of 10 strange and unnerving paranormal powers in cinema...
Telekinesis. Mind over matter. Distant mental influence. Whatever you care to call the paranormal ability to move chairs, bend spoons and cook ready meals with the power of thought, such phenomena are a common presence in popular culture.
This list is devoted to a few of the weird and sometimes unsettling use of paranormal abilities in movies. These are the unlikely and surprising uses of powers, and some of them could be quite useful in everyday life, if we were lucky enough to possess them - who wouldn't like to be able to do a day's typing without even having to get out of bed? If there are any scientists reading this (who just happen to be working in the field of »
With Xan Cassavetes' (daughter of John Cassavetes and actress Gena Rowlands) Kiss of the Damned currently enjoying a VOD push, Magnolia Pictures has just set the preliminary release date for which we can expect the film to street on Blu-ray. In the film, "Beautiful vampire Djuna (de La Baume) tries to resist the advances of the handsome, human screenwriter Paolo (Ventimiglia) but eventually gives in to their passion. When her troublemaker si… »
For decades, Mark Rappaport has been championed by cinephiles and scholars. His distinctively meta and at times essayistic work has screened at major film festivals and art houses around the world. And for years, one of Rappaport's biggest fans was Boston University film professor Ray Carney, who once called Rappaport "a genuine national treasure." As recently as 2010, Carney -- an iconoclastic scholar of indie cinema primarily known for his research on John Cassavetes -- hoped to teach an entire seminar dedicated to Rappaport's films, which range from a period of irreverent comedies released in the seventies and eighties (such as the acclaimed "The Scenic Route") to quasi-diary films produced in the nineties that include the imaginative "Rock Hudson's Home Movies." Over the past year, however, the two men have become intrinsically linked for reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of Rappaport's films. Instead, Carney has been »
- Eric Kohn
Have you ever wondered what are the films that inspire the next generation of visionary filmmakers? As part of our monthly Ioncinephile profile (read here), we ask the filmmaker the incredibly arduous task of identifying their top ten list of favorite films. Eleanor Burke & Ron Eyal (Stranger Things) provided us with a combined/all time top ten film list (dated: April 2013).
Les Quatres cents Coups Blows (400 Blows) – Francois Truffaut (1959)
“I saw this when I was at secondary school (high school) and there was something in it that really spoke to me. It’s the film that made me want to be a director.” (Eb)
“Truffaut was getting out there onto the streets of Paris with the camera and capturing life. I love the playful scene with Antoine turning upside-down on the Rotor, and that final breathtaking tracking shot as Antoine runs down to the sea.” (Re)
- Eric Lavallee
We're getting to know The Film Experience community with little spotlights on You the readers. Here's Zé from Portugal who you've talked to in the comments section as he's a regular.
What's your earliest movie memory?
Zé: The dinner scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, what with the beetle hors d'oeuvres and the "chilled monkey brains". I live for Kate Capshaw's histrionics in that scene and throughout the whole movie.
Your three favorite directors?
When did you start reading The Film Experience?
During the 2006 Oscar season. I had always been a huge movie and awards buff and in that year I was particularly outraged that Helen Mirren (who I nevertheless thought was wonderful in The Queen) was steamrolling what I thought was one of the best Lead Actress line-ups ever. So more than ever I started looking up »
- NATHANIEL R
The Place Beyond the Pines is a sprawling film from co-writer/director Derek Cianfrance about the connections between fathers and their sons, with drastic life decisions rippling through generations. The ambitious movie stars Ryan Gosling as circus performer-turned-bank robber, Bradley Cooper as a man of justice, Eva Mendes as a disturbed mother, Ray Liotta as a corrupt cop, and Dane DeHaan as the ultimate product of all of these characters’ decisions.
Cianfrance previously directed Gosling in Blue Valentine, the 2010 aching relationship drama starring Gosling and Michelle Williams. For her performance in the film, Williams was nominated for an Oscar.
I sat down with Cianfrance to discuss his film, why shooting is living but editing is death, how his failed first film was a blessing, his uncanny facial resemblance to Gosling, and more.
The Place Beyond the Pines opens in Chicago on April 5.
Something striking about your films is the concept of maturity within your characters, »
- Nick Allen
Vampires should not be sparkly teenagers full of angst and awkwardness, at least not in my opinion. Somewhere in the last few years, all of the elements that made the vampire character so damn appealing, have been sucked up and recycled into the current trend of whatever passes for bloodsuckers these days. The same could be said for zombies, werewolves and many other creatures that were once mysterious, dangerous, and downright sexy. Our beloved horror creatures have become household objects that are not only safe for the whole family, but are only watered down remnants of the scary as hell creatures that growing up, made me smile.
Luckily, that mysterious and gorgeously sexy approach to vampires is set for a return, in Xan Cassavetes’s Kiss Of The Damned. It’s a sexually charged and beautifully shot tale of love, death and a bloody as hell rivalry between two vampire sisters. »
Now that the sparkly vampires are done with their saga, we can get back to basics with a new horror film about vampires. Take a look at a preview of Kiss Of The Damned, directed by Xan Cassavetes, daughter of famed director John Cassavetes.
A mortal man falls for a vampire in Kiss Of The Damned, starring French actress Joséphine de La Baume and Milo Ventimiglia from the television series Heroes. The indie film marks the directorial debut of Xan Cassavetes, the daughter of actress Gena Rowlands and John Cassavetes, director of classics like Rosemary’s Baby and Dirty Dozen.
The trailer for Kiss Of The Damned certainly has a very European sensibility, which adds a bit more flavor and intrigue to the love/horror story. The movie premiered this year at the South By Southwest
Read more »
If you’re a fan of NBC sitcoms, then you’ll definitely want to watch the promo for Nick Offerman’s movie Somebody Up There Likes Me, which features Community’s Alison Brie, Parks & Recreation’s Adam Scott and Amy Poehler, and Offerman’s Parks & Rec ex-wife/real-world still-wife Megan Mullally. And they’re all doing terrible, weird, wild things. What things you ask? Let’s just say it involves a folksy ode to marijuana, lady parts, and maybe John Cassavetes. Why not? Also, they turn Nick Offerman into a bong. Watch the video below (then take a shower).
- Darren Franich
The Austin, Texas music-film-interactive festival is often ground zero for emerging talent working in sometimes divergent, sometimes complimentary, media and when it comes to the business of movies, South by Southwest has been especially important to indie filmmakers looking to get noticed, make their mark and start amassing some buzz in the hopes that a distributor comes knocking and a bigger audience can enjoy their work.
With the 2013 SXSW film fest coming to the end of its nine-day run, members of the jury, who range from critics, journalists, filmmakers and bloggers, chose writer-director Destin Cretton's Short Term 12, starring Rami Malek, John Gallagher Jr. and a stand-out Brie Larson (21 Jump Street, Scott Pilgrim vs the World "United States of Tara") as a troubled young woman who works at a teen foster facility, as the Grand Jury winner, in the Narrative Feature category.
Other winners in that category include Special Jury Prize (ensemble) for Burma, »
- Andrea Miller
If you're the sort of horror fan who is old (or thorough) enough to be familiar with the late-era Hammer Films movies as well as the salacious European genre films from Roger Vadim, Jean Rollin, and Roman Polanski, there's a very good chance you'll enjoy what writer/director Xan Cassavetes has to offer here. Forged from some fine cinematic DNA (her parents are John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands!) and director of the rather fascinating 2004 documentary Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession, Ms. Cassavetes' first feature seems like it was cobbled together from A) fond memories of sexy horror movies, B) an obvious affection for old-school vampire tales, and C) a touch of disgust for how childishly neutered our cinematic vampires have become.
In other words, Kiss of the Damned is quiet but consistently interesting, more than clever enough to make horror fans happy, and overtly sexy in a way that only »
- Scott Weinberg
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