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After all the debates, controversies, and stereotype accusations have cleared, looking back on Blaxploitation cinema today it’s easy to see healthy portions of the crime and action genres. Using these genres and the struggles of the black community, these films were created for those that wanted to see African American characters on the big screen not taking shit from the man, “getting over”, and–above all else—being the heroes in movies. In the documentary Baad Asssss Cinema, Samuel L. Jackson gives his take on the heroes of Blaxploitation: “We were tired of seeing the righteous black man. And all of a sudden we had guys who were…us. Or guys who did the things we wanted those guys to do.”
- Gregory Day
The genius behind some of cinemas most incredible transformations, make-up artist and special-effects maestro Rick Baker is now officially among the Hollywood elite with his own star on the Walk Of Fame – and not before time.
Baker began work in film during the early 1970s with creative supporting tasks on William Friedkin’s The Exorcist, Larry Cohen’s cult horror fave It’S Alive, Star Wars and the notorious Jeff Bridges-led remake of King Kong. However, his jaw-dropping work on An American Werewolf In London cemented his reputation and in-turn winning the first ever Oscar for ‘Best Make-Up Effects’ with John Landis’ 1981 classic, comic-horror.
Since then, he has won a further six Academy Awards from work on family favourite Harry & The Hendersons, Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, Eddie Murphy comedy The Nutty Professor, blockbuster Men In Black, Dr Seuss How The Grinch Stole Christmas and most recently, The Wolfman. »
- Craig Hunter
I’m not going to lie, there’s something about the big guy downstairs that’s always appealed to me. Growing up I was forced to go to church for years, and there were quite a few youth group sleepovers where I was told that I’d go to hell if I didn’t pray at night and stop listening to whatever metal band I was into as a kid. There were still traces of the whole “satanic panic” in my church and everything from Motley Crue to the effin Smurfs were said to be “of the devil”. Well naturally what’s most dangerous to people is usually what we gravitate to. I grew up and eventually realized that the majority of what I was taught as a kid was just a bunch of horseshit to scare kids into trusting Jesus (no offense to any believers out there) and embraced »
Before founding the profitable audio-book company Dove Books-on-Tape in the mid-’80s,Deborah Raffin was a busy actress. The Los Angeles native landed parts in the 1973 film 40 Carats and in 1975′s Once Is Not Enough adapted from the steamy Jacqueline Susann novel. In the 1980s, she became something of a TV-movie staple appearing in such memorable fare as Mind Over Murder and Noble House.
But it.s her role as the girlfriend of Charles Bronson (an actor 32 years her senior) in Death Wish 3 (1985), one of American cinema.s finest hours, that will forever endear her to this movie geek. Raffin played public defender Kathryn Davis, who tracks down suspected vigilante Paul Kersey (Bronson), invites him to dinner, falls in love with him and, because she.s a love interest in a Death Wish movie, is promptly blown to smithereens. Raffin also had roles in Larry Cohen.s ambitious cult »
- Tom Stockman
Before getting into the penultimate edition of when comedy meets horror, let’s get into the honourable mentions.
Treevenge is a Canadian short film about Christmas trees getting revenge that has an evil dead attitude to gore, from the director of Hobo with a Shotgun. Feast, a siege movie starring Henry Rollins as a group of drinkers are hit by mysterious monsters, the film also boats as referential pallet for video games. Dead & Breakfast, a comedy horror musical in which a night at a local bed and breakfast turns into a supernatural fight to the death. Blacula and Scream Blacula Scream could be included, because if we learned anything from Black Dynamite, it’s that all Blaxploitation films are ripe for parody. There are countless other films that could be included; this endeavour could easily stretch to around the 150 films mark. Until tomorrow, the last one is The Cottage, a »
- Rob Simpson
The definition of a slasher film varies depending on who you ask, but in general, it contains several specific traits that feed into the genre’s formula. Author Vera Dika rather strictly defines the sub-genre in her book Games of Terror by only including films made between 1978 and 1984. In other words, she saw it as a movement. When someone describes Brick, they don’t define it as a noir, but instead neo-noir . In other words, it’s a modern motion picture that prominently utilizes elements of film noir, but with updated themes, content, style, visual elements or media that were absent in those from the 1940s and 1950s. So does one consider Scream a slasher film or a neo-slasher, or simply put, a modern slasher?
Some consider Thirteen Women to be the earliest slasher – released all the way back in 1932. Personally I think that is rubbish. Thirteen Women is more like Desperate Housewives on sedatives. »
Our friends at Horror Channel have just sent us details of their latest themed “event” which will be slicing its way through their schedules every Friday night throughout October – Stalk and Slash Season. Yes, Horror channel are celebrating the slasher films, both classic and contemporary, as only they know how. From October 5th there will be four double-bills, headed up by four UK TV premieres; and as a huge slasher movie fan I’ll be tuning in for Every one!
Here’s the details:
Fri Oct 5th @ 22:55
The season kicks off with the premiere of Going To Pieces: The Rise And Fall Of The Slasher Film (2006) a documentary which features a host of genre legends including Wes Craven, Rob Zombie & John Carpenter, who take us on a journey to the darkest recesses of cinematic shock. This is followed at 00:40 by Black Christmas (1974). Bob Clark’s Sorority House horror classic, »
The highlights of Terror in the Aisles 12 include a screening of Frankenhooker with star Patty Mullen in attendance and a viewing of The Stuff with director Larry Cohen. Terror in the Aisles 12 will be held at the Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago.
Tickets are available for purchase here. For more info be sure to "like" Terror in the Aisles on Facebook.
Friday, September 14
Portage Theater, Chicago
Doors open at 7pm
7:30pm - Trailer Trash (short films and vintage trailers)
8pm - Iron Sky (Midwest Premiere)
Free autographs and photo ops! Plus vintage trailers, dealer tables, charity auction for Vital Bridges. Free parking in the Sears lot around the corner. »
- Doctor Gash
Terror in the Aisles 12 is sponsoring the best contest ever a part of their next dynamite event. You can win a short date with Frankenhooker herself simply by sending an email to Why I Should Should Get A Shot At Frankenhooker The rules are simple. Keep it clean and respectful. Keep it short. This event is shaping up to be a lot of fun. Besides Mullen on hand for the screening of Frankenhooker, director Larry Cohen will be there to introduce his classic 80's horror satire The Stuff and will have a small number of actual Stuff containers used in the film for sale. But the thing I'm most looking forward to is the Midwest Premiere of the ultra gonzo Iron Sky. The Nazis »
Whether you measure your movies by box office, reviews, or popular appeal, Sony’s $125 million remake of the 1990 Ah-nuld Schwarzenegger interplanetary action fest Total Recall looks like a strike-out. The movie opened with a lethal softness; a $25.7 million first weekend meaning Recall won’t even come close to making back its budget during its domestic theatrical run. In fact, despite 22 years of ticket price increases, it’s doubtful the movie will even match the original’s $119.3 million haul.
And for those of you who think maybe the problem is Total Recall was outgunned opening while The Dark Knight Rises was still sucking up box office coin, entertain, at least for a moment if you will, the possibility the movie just plain sucks. According to Rotten Tomatoes’ canvas, almost 70% of reviewers – and over three-quarters of “top critics” – gave Total Recall a thumbs-down. Those who went to see the movie didn’t »
- Bill Mesce
Remakes, sequels, reboots: these are common parlance in the film industry today and have been since its birth, really. There is no film property immune to this, especially a successful one. And though the blaxploitation genre, which reached its height of popularity in the 1970s, still enjoys a rabid cult following, few of the attempts to re-energize this vital branch of American film have been very successful.
Black Dynamite, the 2009 film starring Michael Jai White, is now also an animated series now airing Sundays on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. And while the character and his world may still effectively be a cult happening, it is clear that Black Dynamite is the most successful blaxploitation property to hit the streets since platform shoes went out of fashion. Loaded with sex, violence, and sex and violence, Black Dynamite is the true sequel to Shaft that fans have been waiting for. »
- Jimmy Callaway
Once upon a time, in the days before The Simpsons, adults and children alike were enchanted by the surprisingly satirical antics of The Muppets on both the small and big screen. Combining splendidly simple puppetry with razor-sharp wit and instantly hummable tunes, the Muppets' programmes and movies formed an instant connection with the mischievous anarchist that lurks within. Yet, like all good things, the magic came to an end – until, that is, co-writer and star Jason Segel made it his mission to breathe new life into Jim Henson's finest creations.
While such nostalgic series reboots have in the past proved decidedly iffy fare, two elements raise The Muppets (2011, Disney, U) above the level of the usual reanimated, long-dormant franchise fodder. First, Segel has managed to address the perceived obsolescence of his childhood heroes in a script »
- Mark Kermode
Noonan is absolutely incredible as a serial murderer in this underrated adaptation of Thomas Harris’ novel Red Dragon. With all respect to the talented but miscast actors involved in Brett Ratner’s 2002 adaptation Red Dragon (USA), with the exception of Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter, the acting in this earlier, superior version of the book exists on a much higher level. Most notably, there’s nothing resembling a comparison between Noonan’s Francis Dollarhyde and Ralph Fiennes’ interpretation. This role is by far Noonan’s finest film work to date and should not be missed.
Having once described his role in this film as “the hillbilly Lucifer”, Walken is incredible as a rural crime boss bringing his son, »
- Terek Puckett
Late last week we were treated to the first images of Franck Khalfoun’s remake of the graphic 1980 psycho-thriller Maniac. The original film, directed by William Lustig and starring the late Rocky and The Godfather actor Joe Spinell, told the disturbing tale of Frank, a man whose abuse as a child from his domineering mother, led to psychopathic behaviour on the dark, sleazy streets of New York. The notorious realistic gore effects came from make-up legend Tom Savini.
Here we have the chilling teaser trailer from the updated version, written and produced by Piranha 3D and The Hills Have Eyes remake director Alexandre Aja along with filmmaking partner Gregory Lavesseur. Elijah Wood takes the over lead role of Frank, starring alongside America Olivo, Nora Arnezeder, Morgane Slemp and Liane Balaban, likely playing the victims of his obsessive killing spree.
We’re also expecting a remake of another William Lustig exploitation horror, »
- Craig Hunter
Ordinarily I wouldn't bother posting something at this short notice. But this is a very rare Free opportunity. Ever seen God Told Me To (1976)? The seventies horror flick written and directed by Larry Cohen, featuring the screen debut of Andy Kaufman in a brief but memorable role? No? You are in good company. It is truly a minor gem.Well you not only get the chance to see that film but the Brand New Larry Cohen Film With Cohen Himself In Attendance. Free Autographs, free pics, all due to the good folks at Terror In The Aisles. I don't know what this new flick is. I do know I really enjoyed Larry's last foray into directing, the Masters of Horror episode Pick Me Up. Bottom line »
This is short notice, but for those of you in the Windy City, listen up! Larry Cohen is going to be appearing at a Free screening of his latest film at the Portage Theater this Thursday, May 3. Dig in for the details.
Presented by Terror in the Aisles and The Portage Theater (4050 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, Il) the double feature will feature the Us premiere of a new Larry Cohen (It's Alive, Q, The Stuff, God Told Me To) film, followed by a Q&A with Cohen. The title of the film is being withheld by the distributor. You'll have to show up to find out what it is. The night will culminate with a rare screening of God Told Me To. Cohen will be signing autographs and taking pictures for free.
Also included will be short films (including Kusper on Ice by Zoran Gvojic and Insane from Infinity by Gary Schultz), vintage trailers, »
- Doctor Gash
"Drive" (Read our french "Drive" review) filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn is said to be closing a deal to produce a prequel/remake to the 1980's cult horror movie "Maniac Cop" reports Daily Grindhouse (via Bad Ass Digest). The original film's writer Larry Cohen and director William Lustig are producing this update and Cohen says "it's going to be more a prequel than anything else, I am really excited to come back to this world especially since Nick (Winding Refn) is going to be a part of it. Nick has been talking to us about it for a while now and I had an idea that would work so we're going to do it.. Cohen says that the film will maintain the noir-ish comic book feel of the first three films but will certainly have a bigger budget. He adds that "the project isn't 100% signed off »
With Nicolas Winding Refn recently acting as executive producer on a remake of his own film Pusher, he is now apparently contemplating taking on a remake of someone else's film as well. Word on the street is that he may be involved in an upcoming remake of William Lustig's Maniac Cop, the 1988 cult classic starring Tom Atkins and Bruce Campbell. The movie isn't officially greenlit yet, but according to Daily Grindhouse, Refn is interested in helping to produce and could possibly even direct it. Like a lot of recent remakes, it's being positioned as a prequel / remake, with both Lustig and writer Larry Cohen also involved as well. Here's what Cohen had to say about it: "It’s going to be more a prequel than anything else, I am really excited to come back to this world especially since Nick is going to be a part of it... Nick »
We've been seeing a ton of behind the scenes footage of "Silent Hill: Revelation" — most of it from fans invading the set. Shaky cam be damned, we're still curious and anxious to see more — and finally, a release date has been set for the 3D horror film.
The videogame-inspired sequel will be hitting theaters on October 26, just in time for your Halloween festivities. Sean Bean, Deborah Kara Unger and Radha Mitchell will be returning to the story directed by Michael J. Bassett. In "Silent Hill: Revelation," Heather Mason (Clemens) and her father (Bean) have been running from dangerous and mysterious forces that the young girl doesn't fully understand. Eventually all is revealed, sinking her deeper into a demonic world.
Are you still worried about the 3D aspect of the film, or will that immerse you in "Silent Hill's" twisted universe even more? Let us know in the comments, »
- Alison Nastasi
Nicolas Winding Refn made his name with stylish, arthouse-friendly spins on lurid B-movie material with films like Pusher, Bronson, and, of course, Drive. Now the Daily Grindhouse (via Badass Digest) reports that he may lend some of that same postmodern class to one of the most lurid B-movies to ever tantalize teenagers at the local video store. Writer-director Larry Cohen and producer William Lustig say that Refn is in talks to join the remake of—or as Cohen calls it, “prequel” to—Maniac Cop, their examination of the inherent human flaws in local law enforcement as embodied by a hulking »
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