19 items from 2015
Hell's Kitchen: Soul stew image likely from the 1922 Benjamin Christensen horror classic 'Häxan / Witchcraft Through the Ages.' Day of the Dead post: Cinema's Top Five Scariest Living Dead We should all be eternally grateful to the pagans, who had the foresight to come up with many (most?) of the overworked Western world's religious holidays. Thanks to them, besides Easter, Christmas, New Year's, and possibly Mardi Gras (a holiday in some countries), we also have Halloween, All Saints' Day, and the Day of Dead. The latter two are public holidays in a number of countries with large Catholic populations. Since today marks the end of the annual Halloween / All Saints' Day / Day of the Dead celebrations, I'm posting my revised and expanded list of the movies' Top Five Scariest Living Dead. Of course, by that I don't mean the actors listed below were dead when the movies were made. »
- Andre Soares
Special mention: Häxan
Directed by Benjamin Christensen
Denmark / Sweden, 1922
Häxan (a.k.a The Witches or Witchcraft Through The Ages) is a 1922 silent documentary about the history of witchcraft, told in a variety of styles, from illustrated slideshows to dramatized reenactments of alleged real-life events. Written and directed by Benjamin Christensen, and based partly on Christensen’s study of the Malleus Maleficarum, Häxan is a fine examination of how superstition and the misunderstanding of mental illness could lead to the hysteria of the witch-hunts. At the time, it was the most expensive Scandinavian film ever made, costing nearly 2 million Swedish krona. Although it won acclaim in Denmark and Sweden, the film was banned in the United States and heavily censored in other countries for what were considered, at that time, graphic depictions of torture, nudity, and sexual perversion. Depending on which version you’re watching, the commentary is »
- Ricky Fernandes
Here we are at what is a surprisingly modern list. At the beginning of this, I didn’t expect to see so much cultural impact coming from films so recently made, but that’s the way it goes. The films that define the horror genre aren’t necessarily the scariest or the most expensive or even the best. The films that define the genre point to a movement – movies that changed the game and influenced all the films after it. Movies that transcend the horror genre. Movies that broke the mold and changed the way horror can be created.
10. El laberinto del fauno (2006)
English Language Title: Pan’s Labyrinth
Directed by: Gullermo del Toro
It’s more a dark fantasy film than a horror film, but it would be tough to make a list of 50 of those. Plus, it has enough graphic, nightmarish images to push it over the threshold. »
- Joshua Gaul
"Films don't get much bigger than this." It's back! For the 50th Anniversary of its original release, BFI is restoring and re-releasing David Lean's 1965 classic Doctor Zhivago, which won five Oscars, including Best Cinematography, Best Writing and Best Score. So far it seems like this is just in the UK, via BFI, but that doesn't mean it won't get over to the Us soon in its restored form, too. The updated version of Doctor Zhivago is a digitally restored 4K Dcp, with a runtime of 200 minutes, starring Julie Christie, Omar Sharif, Tom Courtenay, Geraldine Chaplin, Rod Steiger, Klaus Kinski and Alec Guinness. It's a gorgeous, and fittingly epic trailer for this epic romance, filled with tons of footage from the film and that amazing score. If you haven't seen it yet, you really need to get to theatres to watch this film. Take a gander. Here's the new trailer »
- Alex Billington
Though it’s a harder film festival to regulate and therefore tabulate a comprehensively genuine list reflecting the totality of the fest’s offering per any individual’s perspective, the Toronto Film Festival manages to be a healthy platform for new and developing voices for those willing to sift through the multitude of titles. Of course, many new exciting voices were present that debuted at earlier film festivals, like Berlin, Sundance, and Cannes. From Guy Maddin’s co-director Evan Johnson on The Forbidden Room and Josh Mond’s stunning debut James White out of Sundance, to notable Cannes berths like Laszlo Nemes of Son of Saul, Deniz Gamz Erguven of Mustang, and Thomas Bidegain’s Les Cowboys, 2015 brought a wide variety of new filmmakers to light. In deliberating the Top Ten New Voices out of Tiff, we focused on offerings either unique to the festival or near concurrent premieres with Locarno and Venice. »
- Nicholas Bell
'Hotel Transylvania 2.' 'Hotel Transylvania 2' far surpasses expectations at domestic box office: Adam Sandler a hit when heard but not seen Adam Sandler has been having his share of domestic box office flops lately. Chris Columbus' Pixels, which opened in late July to scathing reviews and indifferent audiences, was the latest one: a reported $88 million production (plus marketing and distribution expenses) that earned $76.67 million in the U.S. and Canada (plus an estimated $145.1 million elsewhere). But now comes the Sony Pictures release Hotel Transylvania 2, the concisely titled sequel to the late Sept. 2012 hit Hotel Transylvania. Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, the $80-85 million-budgeted animated feature should open around $48 million from 3,754 theaters according to early weekend box office estimates found at Deadline.com. The report adds that some “rival studio box office analysts” believe Hotel Transylvania 2 may actually pass the $50 million mark. On Friday, Sept. 25, '15, it collected a better than expected (estimated) $13.5 million. »
- Zac Gille
Read More: Watch: Nicole Kidman is the 'Queen of the Desert' in Trailer for Werner Herzog Epic German filmmaker Werner Herzog has always nurtured an affection for lunacy. His continual recasting of the outrageous actor Klaus Kinski serves as an obvious example of this, as does Herzog's on-foot trek across Europe (from Munich to Paris, in the middle of winter) to see film critic Lotte Eisner when she was dying. He has long displayed an aggressive rejection of bourgeois, behavioral norms. You might consider him deranged, potentially detrimental to himself and those around him; the cold, deliberate German accent in which he says many a sadistic thing does not always reveal his sardonic sense of humor. Herzog famously allows his actors and crew to attempt certain chancy stunts only after he himself has tried them. He doesn't like to work in studios, something he feels kills spontaneity. Studio-filming »
- Anya Jaremko-Greenwold
Directed by Wes Craven
Written by Wes Craven
A Nightmare on Elm Street has a special place in my heart. It was not only the first horror film I had ever watched, but it was the first film in which I took notice of a film’s director and its stars. Prior to A Nightmare On Elm Street, perhaps the only director I was familiar with was George Lucas. A Nightmare On Elm street was my gateway into the world of cinema, and I owe Wes Craven for that. For those who dare dismiss it as trash, I give you 2060 words as to why you are so very, very wrong.
Wes Craven intended Nightmare to be an exploration of surreal horror as opposed to just another stalk-and-slash horror movie, and not only did Nightmare offer a wildly imaginative, inspired concept, but it was a »
Kino Lorber brings the infamous 1967 Spaghetti western Navajo Joe to Blu-ray, an overlooked gem of the genre that’s long been shadowed by its troubled reputation and the continual disparagement of its lead star, Burt Reynolds. In retrospect, this Italian/Spanish co-production promises to be a bit too politically incorrect to be taken seriously considering the casting of American star Reynolds as a Navajo Indian (he is, in fact, partly of Cherokee descent, though not enough to avoid the necessity of bronzer and a black wig).
It’s hardly the first or last time we’ve seen whitewashed casting of Native Americans (Audrey Hepburn in John Huston’s 1960 western The Unforgiven comes to mind), and to many the casting seems to compromise the integrity of the title. Instantly reviled and dismissed by Reynolds in his second starring role during his transition from television to film, it is, nevertheless, a very »
- Nicholas Bell
A while back, when we released the 400th episode of the Sound On Sight podcast, a few close friends and longtime listeners requested we compile a list of our favorite shows we recorded over the years. Now that the podcast has officially come to an end, I decided to finally set aside some time in my schedule and give them what they want. Initially, I set out to pick ten, but after 500 recordings and 8 long years, it was simply too hard to choose so few, so I opted for 20 instead. In selecting these episodes, I tried to show the wide range of genres we covered over the years, including Spaghetti Westerns, Italian Horror, Southern Gothic, underground cult, family friendly, foreign language and even Hollywood classics. We’ve been blessed with several guest hosts and interviews with many filmmakers including genre legends George A. Romero and John Landis, to name a few. »
Fans must resign themselves to directors wanting another crack at the classics. But there are some movies so definitive – and so of their time – they oughtn’t to be resurrected
Related: Nosferatu to rise from dead again as Hollywood plans second remake
For a film to be remade once looks like flattery. Any more than that and it is starting to become creepy. So the news that the classic silent film Nosferatu is in Hollywood’s sights is more than a little disquieting. Following the gruesome news that Murnau’s grave has been ransacked, now his most famous film has been exhumed – neither for the first time. Thirty-six years after Werner Herzog channeled the ghost of Fw Murnau’s Dracula adaptation into his Nosferatu the Vampyre, starring Klaus Kinski, former Warner Bros executive Jeff Robinov is itching for another go.
Continue reading »
- Pamela Hutchinson
Released in 1922, Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror was an unauthorised adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with Max Schreck starring as the hideous Count Orlock. The film was previously remade in 1979, with Wener Herzog directing and Klaus Kinski starring in the lead role.
- Gary Collinson
There’s something very traditional about Eli Roth’s recent horror output, be it the score he utilises here in Knock Knock or the fact that his last few directorial efforts seem to spend half of their running time setting up the film before the true plot kicks in and everything goes to hell in a handcart.
That’s certainly the case here.
Knock Knock starts off pretty innocently enough: architect and family man Evan (Reeves) is left home alone – to work – whilst his wife and kids head off for a weekend away. His peace and quiet is disturbed by two strangers, nubile young girls (as is the wont of many a horror film cliche, looking for a party they should be at. Only they never reach the party. »
- Phil Wheat
The day monster kids have dreaded for some time has arrived. Mournful, nostalgic, and melancholy – it’s the end of an era for more than one generation of horror fans. It seemed like Christopher Lee would live through all eternity, but unlike some of the characters he played, there’s no bringing him back to life this time. He made it to 93 and went out on a high note, appearing in the final Hobbit film just this past winter. He had an amazing career of fantastic performances and remains the greatest villain actor in film history. Rip to the last classic horror star and thank you for all the monster memories.
Christopher Lee was married to his wife Birgit (Gitte) for 54 years.
Here, according to Movie Geeks Jim Batts, Dana Jung, Sam Moffitt, and myself, are Christopher Lee’s ten best roles.
It’s only fitting that The Curse Of Frankenstein, »
- Tom Stockman
Words With Friends: Gozlan’s Stylish Noir all Amalgamated Pulp
Enjoyably anxious, director Yann Gozlan’s sophomore feature A Perfect Man (Un homme idéal) would better recall suspense masters like Hitchcock or Chabrol if its narrative felt a little less familiar. As such, it seems more like the B noir cousin of the cinema Gozlan is in conversation with rather than a revisionist take on one of cinema’s greatest femme fatales—karma. Featuring an excellent lead performance from recent Cesar award winning actor Pierre Niney, there’s much to admire even as Gozlan overdoses with increasing complications that hinge on the ludicrous.
Mathieu Vasseur (Niney) is an aspiring novelist, whose first manuscript, The Man From Behind, has been promptly rejected by publishers. Working vaguely as some sort of janitorial staff and/or garbage man, Vasseur stumbles into a lecture being given about scent’s relationship to memory and literature »
- Nicholas Bell
Hollywood is not exactly a warm and fuzzy place where everyone gets along like best friends. That’s why so many film sets are hotbeds for drama. But no drama is more intense than the art-infused feuds between actor and director, because Art!
Here are some of the biggest and best actor-director fights in film history.
Let’s start with the most recent. After Mo’Nique won an Oscar for her role in Precious, she says Daniels told her she was blackballed for not playing the Hollywood game. Then recently she announced that she’d been offered roles in both The Butler and Empire, but never heard anything more until she learned Oprah and Taraji P. Henson were respectively playing what she’d been led to believe were her roles. Despite the struggles, Mo’Nique says she “could work with Lee Daniels tomorrow.”
- Courtney Enlow
Actors and directors have always clashed – it’s part of the process of filmmaking to butt heads over creative decisions, with director and star often having their own individual interpretations for how a movie should play out. Star and director artistically duking it out is normal on a film set, but only rarely does the process actually lead to full-blown arguments, much less physical fights.
There have, of course, been instances where actor/director partnerships have proven volatile. Faye Dunaway famously threw a cup of urine in Roman Polanski’s face in reaction to his harsh treatment of her on Chinatown, while Robert Downey Jr. has said David Fincher’s relentless tactics for drawing the performances he wanted from actors on Zodiac had him consider “garroting” the director.
With others, it should’ve been predictable from the off that things wouldn’t necessarily go smoothly – though Werner Herzog »
- Brogan Morris
The world is full of men content to spend their lives within a few miles of where they were born, men who will love one woman, learn one language and go to their graves hardly having dreamed at all. These are not the men about whom Werner Herzog makes movies, although it took until age 72 for the chronicler of such bombastic souls as “Aguirre” and “Fitzcarraldo” to deem a woman worthy of one of his mighty portraits. Better late than never, and though Nicole Kidman is hardly the female Klaus Kinski, in the formidable character epic “Queen of the Desert,” she conveys with quiet determination what Kinski never could: the kind of conviction that changes the world.
Leaning more on romance than one might suppose to capture such an independent spirit as Gertrude Lowthian Bell, whose self-directed explorations among and dealings with the Middle East’s many conflicting tribes informed »
- Peter Debruge
2015 marks the ending of a fifteen year hiatus from filmmaking for Polish auteur Andrzej Zulawski, whose last film was 2000’s La Fidelite, which starred the director’s then wife French actress Sophie Marceau. Known for capturing some of the most memorably gonzo performances ever committed to film, Zulawski’s most celebrated title is 1981’s Possession, which starred Isabelle Adjani (who nabbed Best Actress at Cannes for her unforgettable performance) and Sam Neill. Infamous for its inclusion on the dreaded “Video Nasties” list of the 1980s, the title slowly nurtured a cult audience and is still, by far, the most easily accessible title of Zulawski’s impressive filmography. Plagued by Polish censors, the critical success following his first two features, 1971′s The Third Part of the Night and 1972’s The Devil saw Zulawaski migrate to France for the magnificent The Most Important Thing is »
- Nicholas Bell
19 items from 2015
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