15 items from 2014
"Nobody's really captured the quality of a film festival," observed musician/composer Neil Brand, "You're doing something that's pleasurable, but then the fatigue sets in..." It's true—a celluloid feast like Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna is a particular case, too, since so many of the films are rarities. It's like being a cake specialist and suddenly somebody offers you fifty magnificent cakes of unique recipe but says "You have to eat them all in an hour or I'll take them away and you'll never see them again." You plunge in, and even when nausea starts to replace pleasure you can't bring yourself to stop...
Cinephiles like to grumble, and the venues of Bologna attract a certain amount of criticism (one has a bar which runs between the front row and the screen, cutting the subtitles in half; air conditioning is switched on and off at random; and then there's »
- David Cairns
Anyone who’s interested in vaudeville, burlesque, sideshows, and the fringes of 20th century show business will know of The Hilton Sisters, Violet and Daisy. These attractive “Siamese twins” (as they were called in those days) were headliners on stage, appeared in Tod Browning’s movie Freaks in 1932 and starred in their own exploitation feature Chained for Life twenty years later. But while they’ve long been on my radar, I must confess that I knew virtually nothing about their lives. Leslie Zemeckis, who explored the backstage world of burlesque in her last documentary, Behind the Burly Q, now offers a straightforward and thorough biography of Violet and Daisy. She has diligently...
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- Leonard Maltin
It was back in 2012 when we first heard about Bound by Flesh, a documentary focusing on the lives of Siamese twins Daisy and Violet Hilton, who were featured in Tod Browning's classic film Freaks. Here we are years later with an exclusive clip and lots more.
From the Press Release
Sundance Selects will open the new documentary Bound By Flesh, about conjoined twin superstars Daisy and Violet Hilton, theatrically in Los Angeles on June 27 and on VOD. The award-winning film was directed by Leslie Zemeckis (Behind The Burly Q).
American sideshows were in fairs, circuses, and carnivals. There were acts such as glass blowers, musicians, and also the freaks. Most freaks just stood there while the audience wandered past. The Hilton sisters, however, were trained to put on a winning performance. They sang, danced, and played a variety of musical instruments. Once they quit the carnival world and started playing vaudeville houses, »
- Steve Barton
Check out the brand new posters for Dracula Untold.
The original 1931 vampire masterpiece starred Bela Lugosi and was directed by Tod Browning. The inspiration for hundreds of subsequent remakes and adaptations, the classic Dracula film launched the Hollywood horror genre with its eerie passion, shadowy atmosphere, and spooky cinematography.
Look for Dracula Untold in theaters October 17, 2014.
Visit the official site: www.draculauntold.com
- Michelle McCue
‘Dracula’ 1931 actress Carla Laemmle dead at 104 (photo: Carla Laemmle ca. 1930) Carla Laemmle, a bit player in a handful of silent movies and at the dawn of the sound era — e.g., the horror classics The Phantom of the Opera (1925) and Dracula (1931) — and a niece of Universal Studios co-founder Carl Laemmle, died on June 12, 2014, at her Los Angeles home. Laemmle, who had reportedly been in good health, was 104 years old. Born Rebekah Isabelle Laemmle on October 20, 1909, in Chicago, Carla Laemmle was less known for her movie work than for having survived most of her contemporaries and for her family connection to the Universal mogul — her father, Joseph Laemmle, was Carl’s brother. ‘Dracula’ actress was a member of Carl Laemmle’s ‘very large faemmle’ "Uncle Carl Laemmle, Has a very large faemmle," once half-joked poet Ogden Nash, in reference to Laemmle’s penchant for hiring family members. As Laemmle’s niece, »
- Andre Soares
Alejandro Jodorowsky's name has been on everyone's lips as of late after Jodorowsky's Dune, a documentary telling of the Chilean filmmaker's failed attempt to bring Frank Herbert's novel to the big screen, made such a big splash beginning at the Cannes Film Festival last year. Well, also last year at Cannes, Jodorowsky's first film in 23 years premiered, that being The Dance of Reality, a story of his childhood told as only Jodorowsky can tell it, which is to say it has a vision all its own. My personal experience with Jodorowsky is limited as I introduced myself to his most popular feature, El Topo (1970), just last year with a wordless exploration of screen captures from the feature, but I am proud to have the chance to introduce you to his latest feature with the following exclusive clip. Set for release on May 23, this autobiographical feature is said to »
- Brad Brevet
The big payoff moment. The money shot. The Omg/Wtf/Nsfw scene in horror. These are the moments that define films. The moment that either grosses and disgusts or shocks the audience in such a way that they have to come back for the sequel. Here are our Top 13 Wtf Moments in Horror.
We're going to try to keep this to relatively mainstream films. That's not to say that some lesser known indies haven't had some shocking moments, but things seem that much more disturbing when the movie in question reaches a wide audience.
Beginning with our honorable mentions, we've got to include I Spit on Your Grave, one of the most censored and banned films of all times. Camille Keaton played Jennifer Hills who was raped for the better part of the first half of the film. Plenty of Nsfw moments there. Also those infamous shit-eaters in Salo: 120 Days of Sodom were certainly shocking. »
- Scott Hallam
We move into the top 20 now, where the films become incredibly spiritual. One major component seen in many of these religious films: the overtones meant to instill a sense of mystery and wonder. You see it in films set in both sweeping landscapes and intimate settings. Whether or not any of the films on this list are condoning the acceptance or rejection of faith and religion is almost beside the point. The real point is that it is so influential on our culture that movies will always be made about it.
courtesy of lassothemovies.com
20. Babette’s Feast (1987)
Directed by Gabriel Axel
The 1987 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar winner (beating Au Revoir Les Enfants), Babette’s Feast is the story of two devout Christian sisters whose father – the leader of a small Christian sect in Denmark – has died. Unfortunately, Martine (Birgitte Federspiel) and Philippa (Bodjil Kjer) find they have no way to gain new members, »
- Joshua Gaul
The San Francisco International Film Festival, now in its 57th year, will pull several silent treasures out of the vault to accompany live performances by indie pop band Magnetic Fields frontman Stephin Merritt, and by Thao Nguyen of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down.On Tuesday, May 6, Merritt will present a new original score to "Freaks" director Tod Browning's mind-bending, circus-set crime classic "The Unknown" (clip below). A match made in heaven for Merritt who, back in 2010, performed a wonderful live score to "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." A week earlier, on Tuesday, April 29, Thao Nguyen and her band will perform alongside a selection of silent shorts, with a presentation of her own short films. Both musical events will go down at Sf's beloved Castro Theatre.This year's edition of Sfiff runs April 24 to May 8. We'll be there covering films and festivities. It was previously announced that Richard Linklater will »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Word on the interwebs is that American Horror Story season 4 is going to be set in a Carnival or play with the idea of a Circus-theme. I’ve been craving the Ahs touch on a carnival ever sense the appearance of ‘Pepper’ in Season 2. If you don’t think she was modeled by something out of Tod Browning’s Freaks, you need to do your homework. While there is still no “official” word from Ryan Murphy confirming the season’s theme, the Internet is already swarming with theories, fan art, and dream casts. Circuses and Carnivals play a very prominent role in the history of American entertainment, but it’s sadly becoming a dying art form. I can’t even remember the last time a carnival came to town and allowed me to get funnel cake drunk before trying to pretend I couldn’t see the missing screws on the Tilt-a-Whirl. »
- BJ Colangelo
The rumors were right, or nearly so. Season four of American Horror Story will be: Carnival.
Technically, it won't necessarily be called American Horror Story: Carnival. Writer/producer Douglas Petrie confirmed: "Yes. It doesn't have a title, but that's the idea. Very roughly, that's the idea."
Naturally, I am excited about the idea of setting the show in a carnival. Since this is Ahs, I imagine that they will take a path similar to Tod Browning's Freaks in that I suspect the show will be filled with real "freaks," humans with genetic anomalies. Let the casting calls for conjoined twins and glass eaters begin! Maybe we will see Naomi Grossman reprise her role of Pepper the Pinhead from Asylum.
Okay, let the theorizing commence!
- Alyse Wax
A boy born on the coldest day on earth survives only by the grace of a magical ticker in “Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart,” a steampunk-rock musical reverse-engineered from an album by French band Dionysos and the popular tie-in book written by its frontman, Mathias Malzieu. Co-directed by Malzieu and musicvideo helmer Stephane Berla, this charming, yet oddly miscalibrated computer-animated fairy tale combines gothic, Tim Burton-esque elements with a younger-skewing porcelain-doll look, confusing auds as to who’s being targeted exactly. The answer: no one in particular, as Malzieu seems to be making this idiosyncratic, overly precious film mostly for himself.
After saving infant Jack’s life by installing a mechanical apparatus where his frozen heart had been, a well-meaning witch makes clear that he must closely follow three rules or risk irreparably damaging the high-maintenance thingamabob that’s keeping him alive. First, Jack should never touch the hands of his heart. »
- Peter Debruge
Slapstick Festival | The Loco London Comedy Film Festival | Rybczynski: Exploring Space | CarnyVille
Slapstick Festival, Bristol
With Buster Keaton back in cinemas (The General is on reissue and there's a retrospective at London's BFI), it's a good time to brush up on silent comedy, and this festival, celebrating its 10th anniversary, has done much to spread the word, or maybe the subtitle. This year Charlie Chaplin takes his turn in the spotlight and marks the 100th anniversary of his Little Tramp incarnation, with Omid Djalili introducing an orchestra-backed screening of City Lights at Colston Hall on Friday. The seen-it-all crowd will be more intrigued by celebrations of forgotten stars such as Constance Talmadge, Raymond Griffith and Max Davidson. More up to date, Tim Vine explains why he loves Benny Hill (Watershed, 26 Jan), and Phill Jupitus asks Paul McGann and Ralph Brown about the making of Withnail & I (Bristol Old Vic, 26 Jan).
Various venues, »
- Steve Rose
There is such a ton of rubbish out there in the horror cinema realm, it can be a very hard job to separate the wheat from the chaff. I see a lot of McHorror films on specialist satellite channels – real yawn fests that are as interesting as watching a nice shade of beige dry on a wall. On the other hand, little gems get lost in the mulch and may lie dormant for decades.
Tod Browning directed one of Horror’s great classics – Freaks – back in the 1930s. A pioneering movie which was far ahead of its time, critics were shocked and appalled when they watched it and it wasn’t for many decades that Freaks’ full artistic greatness was appreciated.
The films on this list are not as dramatically neglected as Freaks, but on the other hand they deserve more appreciation than they get. Some of them, I would »
- Clare Simpson
Designed by British architect Milner in 1866, Castle Miranda became the opulent home to a wealthy French family in the Belgian village of Celles. Sadly, today it lies in ruins... but amazing ruins.
Photo © David Herreman via Flickr
After World War II, the castle became the residence for children of Belgian railway workers, and it remained open as a children's home until 1991. From that point, the castle's condition quickly deteriorated; with no one in charge of its upkeep, the once palatial estate fell victim to the elements and vandals, including some with a macabre sense of humor, who “accented” some of the rooms with creepy mannequins and dolls... as if the place weren't creepy enough already.
Despite its many structural dangers – including collapsing stairways and ceilings – Castle Miranda remains one of the most popular destinations for urban explorers and photographers, and we can definitely see why.
Photo: P. »
- Gregory Burkart
15 items from 2014
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