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Second Update, 7:29 a.m. with link to Today show appearance.
Update, 5:25 a.m. with more information below:
The musical that poignantly poses the question “Who will love me as I am?” got its answer last night: Very few.
Side Show, the $8 million reboot of a 1997 flop about freak-show legends Daisy and Violet Hilton, helmed in his Broadway debut by Dreamgirls and Gods And Monsters director Bill Condon, will fold after the Sunday, January 4 matinee, the producers announced this morning. The original production also closed on January 4 — 1998, after 91 performances, a record the new version will not match. After successful tryouts at the La Jolla Playhouse in California and the Kennedy Center last summer, the heavily revised show opened November 16 at the Jujamcyn-owned St. James Theatre to several glowing reviews, including a rave from the New York Times’ Charles Isherwood:
“Being a freak is virtually the new normal, »
- Jeremy Gerard
This review contains spoilers.
4.9 Tupperware Party Massacre
As American Horror Story gains traction and propels itself towards a season finale like an out-of-control carnival ride, it feels as though there's a certain loss of poise. Perhaps it's due to the fact that our hero, Jimmy, is an aimless drunk who is distracted by grief and the gigantic bosoms of the side show's new fat lady. Perhaps that's due to the fact that Stanley and Elsa's complicated plot to capture and decapitate the twins continues to run into complications. Perhaps it's due to the fact that the show's biggest villain, Dandy, is so wildly entertaining that it's distracting from the rest of the show.
After opening up with Twisty as the focus, the show has become the Dandy Mott Murder Hour, and »
Consequences of Grief: Kent’s Stunning Debut Wades Through Primordial Fears
Satisfying genre films are generally few and far between these days, so it’s with absolute delight to discover something as genuinely impressive as Jennifer Kent’s directorial debut, The Babadook. Expanded from her 2005 short film, “Monster,” it’s not so much that Kent’s premise is anything revolutionary, but her ability to tap into base human fears and without the aid of cheap or excessive frills only makes this simplistic narrative all the more potent. Additionally, Kent’s built her scares around a strong, emotional core, examining the frazzled relationship between a single mother and her son as they struggle to come together after a terrible tragedy. A metaphor for the havoc wreaked when one cannot lay one’s demons to rest, Kent wields a commanding, and graciously moving parable into a film that deserves a long winded »
- Nicholas Bell
We’re over halfway through the fourth season of American Horror Story and Ryan Murphy has once again served us a peculiar plate of camp, horror, and recycled storytelling. Of all the horror television shows out there, the only one I follow religiously is Ahs. Perhaps it’s my small obsession with Frances Conroy or the show’s intentional game of horror movie “I Spy With My Little Eye,” but Ahs is something that can do no wrong in my world. Ahs: Coven was critically believed to be the weakest season so far, but I still couldn’t get enough of it. I feel the same way about Freak Show, if not more. Sure, the season suffers from some of the traditional problems of Ryan Murphy’s other shows like derivative story lines, one-dimensional characters, cheap scares, wasted cameos, and over stylized cinematography, but there’s this strange allure »
- BJ Colangelo
Top 100 horror movies of all time: Chicago Film Critics' choices (photo: Sigourney Weaver and Alien creature show us that life is less horrific if you don't hold grudges) See previous post: A look at the Chicago Film Critics Association's Scariest Movies Ever Made. Below is the list of the Chicago Film Critics's Top 100 Horror Movies of All Time, including their directors and key cast members. Note: this list was first published in October 2006. (See also: Fay Wray, Lee Patrick, and Mary Philbin among the "Top Ten Scream Queens.") 1. Psycho (1960) Alfred Hitchcock; with Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam. 2. The Exorcist (1973) William Friedkin; with Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Jason Miller, Max von Sydow (and the voice of Mercedes McCambridge). 3. Halloween (1978) John Carpenter; with Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Tony Moran. 4. Alien (1979) Ridley Scott; with Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt. 5. Night of the Living Dead (1968) George A. Romero; with Marilyn Eastman, »
- Andre Soares
Art by Ian Churchill
Unlike Marvel, with its successful Tomb of Dracula series, DC never integrated a specific iteration of Dracula into their superhero universe. However, once the loosening of the Comics Code allowed for them, vampires of all different sorts certainly found their way into the pages of DC’s comics, but there was never a definitive Dracula that existed alongside Superman, Batman, and the rest. As such, the DC heroes have encountered a handful of different Dracula-esque characters through the years. Once such example can be found in 2002′s Superman #180.
Written by Jeph Loeb & Geoff Johns, with art by Ian Churchill, the issue finds Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen arriving in the Eastern European home of Dracula stand-in Count Rominoff. What follows is a loose adaption of the first act of Tod Browning’s »
- Austin Gorton
Kino Classics refurbishes public domain title The Death Kiss, a 1932 release made purely to capitalize off the success of Tod Browning’s 1931 Dracula by casting three of the main leads from that film. The title retains little interest except for Lugosi completists, who isn’t given much to do this time around as a rather miffed film studio manager. However, film historians may appreciate the film for its locale, set almost entirely within the back lot of what was termed a Poverty Row studio, shackled by the meager prospects of the Great Depression.
As director Tom Avery (Edward Van Sloan) films his final sequence on his new film The Death Kiss at the sound stage of Tonart Studios in Los Angeles, his lead actor Myles Brent (Edmund Burns) is shot with a real bullet. All the prop guns on set are checked. Investigating Detective Lt. Sheehan (John Wray) and Sergeant »
- Nicholas Bell
It's another busy week in area theaters, but as we start ramping up into awards season that isn't going to change too much through the end of the year. We've got a lot of new releases out this weekend along with the ninth annual Austin Polish Film Festival, which got underway yesterday at the Marchesa. The fest will screen new Polish cinema, restored classic films recommended by Martin Scorsese ... even a children's matinee of Disney's Frozen dubbed in Polish on Saturday morning.
At Alamo Drafthouse Ritz, a 35mm print of John Carpenter's Halloween screens on Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday. If you're looking for even more vintage scares, check out Night Of The Living Dead (with a live score by Bird Peterson) on Sunday night, Monday night's Universal Horror double feature with The Mummy in 35mm paired with the alternate Spanish version of Dracula, which runs 25 minutes longer than the »
- Matt Shiverdecker
Before he spiraled into a critical nose-dive from which he’s yet to recover, M. Night Shyamalan was heralded as the next great American filmmaker. (No, seriously.) Before his gimmickry become obvious–all the twist endings, the important details withheld, trickery in lieu of genuine cleverness–Shyamalan crafted a genuine masterpiece that remains as potent as ever, regardless of the spoiling of its sneaky surprises. Bruce Willis has never approached the grace and subtlety of his performance here; his empathetic, sorrowful turn as a child psychologist searching for redemption deserved an Oscar nod. Maybe he woulda gotten one had this movie not come out in the insanely good movie year of our lord 1999. Willis is matched every step of the way by Haley Joel Osment, giving one of the great childhood performances, and lending credence to lines that could have »
- Greg Cwik
In this week’s episode of American Horror Story: Freak Show, the arrival of Ethel’s ex, hot-tempered strongman Dell Toledo (Michael Chiklis), set off a power struggle so intense, it left one member of Elsa’s troupe headed for the big top in the sky.
Who basked in the glow of the spotlight for the last time? Read on; I’ll tell you…
Misery Has Company | As “Massacres and Matinees” began, it seemed as if everyone was suffering. Tormented Twisty the Clown distracted himself from his woes by visiting a toy store to continue his murder spree. But there »
Play It Again, Vlad: Shiner’s Debut Attempts to Reboot Legendary Monster
It’s a bit hard on the undead when you shackle their malevolent natures into the censorship of the PG-13 vehicle, one of many reasons that Gary Shiner’s directorial debut, Dracula Untold, doesn’t quite fly right. Another attempt to reboot its slim grab bag of classic movie monsters, Universal at least manages to buoy this bastardization with a decent budget, though its nonsensical narrative isn’t much better than the stench of I, Frankenstein. Cinema’s greatest villains are being replaced by hunky, B-grade actors (sorry to lump you in there Aaron Eckhart) that now have to compete with the action extravaganzas of the Marvel glut at the box office, and until that ever ends, all these reboots can do is reflect what they are—pale, lifeless, inferior copies of the original material they keep recycling. »
- Nicholas Bell
Surprisingly effective, the latest iteration of the Dracula legacy seeks to rebuild vampire-movie mythology by going back to the beginning. First published in 1897, Bram Stoker's novel inspired F.W. Murnau's unofficial adaptation Nosferatu in 1922, which then sparked a series of stage plays, one of which served as the more direct source for Tod Browning's Dracula in 1931. That movie entranced moviegoers with a startling vision of an elegant, bloodsucking vampire, following in the footsteps of earlier horror productions from Universal Studios. Though it plays somewhat flat and dry today, it established characters -- and character traits -- that Universal copied in subsequent editions, establishing a fair portion of the monster movie mythology that it is now seeking to reboot. Serving as a prologue --...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
Every year near Halloween, I find myself re-watching at least some of the classic Universal monster movies from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. This year, thanks to purchasing the Universal Classic Monsters 30-Film Collection, I’m pretty much revisiting all of them. Kicking off that list is Tod Browning’s timeless classic Dracula, which was the first Hollywood production of the character and also the risky endeavor Universal diving into the monster movie market. Of course, being more than 80 years old, there are no contemporary filmmaker commentaries available on this title. In the DVD box set, which packages together all the Legacy Collection discs, we are left with a commentary by film historian David J. Skal and the screenwriter from Dracula: Dead and Loving It. As much as I enjoy Mel Brooks’ works, I felt it was a better bet to go with the possibly drier but more insightful historian. This »
- Kevin Carr
American Horror Story: Freak Show debuted last night, heir to a long legacy of stories built around the weird world of sideshows and human oddities. If Ahs has whet your appetite for more of the same, step right up and peer behind the curtain for 11 strange and splendid displays of fiction at its freakiest. Freaks Based loosely on Tod Robbins’s 1923 short story “Spurs,” Tod Browning’s 1932 pre-code horror flick stands alone as a subgenre of one. Freaks is notable mostly for its inversion of the traditional evil-freaks-versus-good-guy-normals: In Freaks, the human oddities and sideshow performers are sympathetic and humanized as they face off against a predatory trapeze artist and her strongman boyfriend. The movie was a spectacular flop — it all but destroyed the career of Browning, who had directed Bela Lugosi in Dracula the year prior, and was blamed for at least one miscarriage when it was »
- Rachel Edidin
"American Horror Story" has always been about one freak show or another; it's just that this season actually takes place in the sideshow. The characters and events from the previous seasons sound like a club that Stefon from "Saturday Night Live" would make up: a murder house with a ghost who wears a rubber suit; a former Nazi scientist who experiments on his patients in an asylum; a beautiful swamp witch who listens to Stevie Nicks and can bring the dead back to life; a Louisiana grand dame who used to torture and kill her slaves and bathe in their blood; a sexy collegiate Frankenstein; a tragic take on E. Jane Cochrane; a psycho psychiatrist with a taste for wearing human skin and drinking breast milk; and So. Much More.
It's breathtaking, invigorating, and utterly bananas. It's frankly insane that it's on a basic cable network. And I love it. »
- Jenni Miller
American Horror Show returns with a visually gorgeous episode that proves there's no other show like it on television...
This review contains spoilers.
4.1 Monsters Among Us
Tod Browning's 1932 horror film Freaks is a bonafide classic thanks in no small part to Browning's brilliant use of “us versus them.” On one side, you have the outwardly terrifying freaks and on the other side the so-called “normal” folks as represented by Cleopatra and Hercules. The freaks look scary, but deep down inside, they're the good people. They accept Cleopatra because Hans loves her, but when Cleopatra and Hercules betray the trust of the sideshow folks, the freaks protect their own in one of the most terrifying sequences in movie history. Terrifying yes, but also well-deserved in the end, as Cleopatra and Hercules prove themselves to be despicable.
Freaks is a film existing in a genre of one. If you've seen it, »
Dracula Untold bites the UK box office this week, but are we reaching vampire overload, James wonders...
Drac is back (in, erm, black, but we're not going to crank AC/DC because it's cliché, it's anachronistic in this medieval setting and it might be mistaken as a reference to Iron Man). If you go to your local cinema this weekend you can see Dracula Untold which has Luke Evans vamping it up as the latest incarnation of the most infamous bloodsucker in cultural history.
Once the movie has been seen the title should be changed to 'Dracula Told' because then it won't be a story 'Untold' but, ah, I digress. The important thing to know is that audiences are going to get to enjoy a new movie expanding the Dracula mythos and this one has a lot to offer cinemagoers getting into the horror mindset in the Halloween month.
Horror cinema has a long tradition of creating iconic characters and none more so than those borne in the early days of the genre: characters such as Frankenstein’s monster, the Mummy, the Creature from the Black Lagoon and, of course, Dracula – the king of horror. A character who, despite his many cinematic deaths, always returns to the silver screen for one more bite of flesh… As he does this week in Dracula Untold, which features Luke Evans as the evil Vlad Tepes.
With that in mind we thought we’d rundown the ten best unforgettable Dracula performances in cinema. Check them out below and let us know in the comments if you agree or disagree!
Dracula (1958) is the first in the series of Hammer Horror films. Directed by Terence Fisher, Dracula (1958) stars Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Melissa Stribling, Carol Marsh and Michael Gough. Retitled Horror of Dracula »
- Phil Wheat
By now, avid TV watchers know that each season of American Horror Story is an entirely new plot but with much of the same group of actors. Each installment also most importantly stems from the brilliant and imaginative minds of co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. For EW’s Fall TV Preview, on stands now, Murphy offered up some details from the New Orleans set of Ahs’s latest installment, Freak Show—about the titular group of entertainers in 1952 in Jupiter, Florida—which premieres Oct. 8 at 10pm on FX.
EW: Where did this come from? I know it’s something »
- Tim Stack
Following call sheet-based rumors earlier this summer, American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy has now confirmed the anthology series’ fourth run will make its first connection with another season: Naomi Grossman returning as Asylum favorite, Pepper. If Asylum’s microcephalic character Pepper was a nod to Tod Browning’s classic Freaks—there’s never a shortage of nods on Ahs—then she’s […] »
- Samuel Zimmerman
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