12 items from 2014
Horror is really the only genre that has entries that, while “good,” may not necessarily mean “recommended.” So, how does that affect what is “definitive?” A recent conversation brought up the nightmare of a movie A Serbian Film (great review here from Justine) which, by all accounts, is a horror film. But, while everyone in film circles knows about the film (many have even seen it), I can’t imagine anyone actually recommending it. It’s made impact, sure. But at what cost? The best horror films aren’t simply there to scare and disgust viewers. They’re there to serve as metaphors for other issues, however big or small. But the best ones are those that do it in a way that, while still may scare and disgust you, will also make you think and reevaluate your situation.
40. À l’intérieur (2007)
English Title: Inside
- Joshua Gaul
Producer Antony I. Ginnane plans to be staying busy on the remake scene. He was the man behind Patrick and its remake Patrick: Evil Awakens, and now he's digging up two more of his films, The Survivor and Thirst to get the redux treatment.
The news comes via Screen Daily. “Genre – particularly thrillers, sci-fi and action – never really dates,” said Ginnane. “Sales agents and international buyers like something that has been previously tested, has cult resonance and is made for a price. In some cases we are selling to the children of the guys who bought the originals.”
Rod Hardy-directed 1979's Thirst. The descendant of Elizabeth Bathory is abducted by a cult of self-proclaimed supermen who achieve this state of superiority by drinking from the "blood cows" (read: people) kept at the "dairy farm", and they try to get her to join them.
- Steve Barton
The 1967 Cannes Grand Prix winner Blowup was prestigious director Michelangelo Antonioni’s first foray into English, thanks to a deal struck with MGM by producer Carlo Ponti, who contracted the director to do three of them: this one, Zabriskie Point, and The Passenger. While this is clearly the best of that trio (though The Passenger has some merit), in the great Antonioni’s career it feels like a tangential experiment more than a fully realized piece of art.
Based on the short story “Las babas del diablo” by Julio Cortázar, Blowup stars David Hemmings as Thomas, a London photographer who spends his days straddling models while he snaps their pictures, doing various drugs, and moving from woman to woman, enjoying the swinging lifestyle commonly practiced during the era. While walking through a London park, he snaps photos of a couple in an embrace, infuriating the woman (Vanessa Redgrave), who arrives »
- Joshua Gaul
This week's Hit Me With Your Best Shot topic is in honor of the release of the book Vanessa: The Life of Vanessa Redgrave. Imagine my surprise, given that dedication, when I watched Blow-Up for the first time since I was maybe 17 or 18 and realized that Vanessa is barely in it! Oops. Her presence looms large and plays tricks with the memory. Is it because we are constantly staring at her photograph and she takes on mythic dimension. Or is it because the actress herself is adept at playing not quite a flesh and blood woman but a projection, a prism of Mysterious Woman?
But, then, Vanessa aside. What isn't tricky about this enigmatic classic? The plot, as skeletal as it is, centers on a womanizing fashion photographer (David Hemmings) who sneakily follows a statuesque beauty (Redgrave) and her lover on their stroll through the park. He snaps away. Later »
- NATHANIEL R
Please note that the following piece contains spoilers for the final act of Blow Out.
Taken at face value Blow Out, Brian De Palma’s 1981 film, is a nifty and tightly wound little thriller. It starts to run into some trouble, however, when compared to Michelangelo Antonioni’s seminal counter culture classic Blowup (1966), the film that most inspired it; there is arguably more artistic impact to Antonioni’s film. It helps when the viewer realizes that Blow Out isn’t a full-on remake, and it would be wrong to describe it as such; rather, it is an alternative interpretation of Blowup‘s major concerns. Both films have their merits and both films have become classics in their own right.
*Editor’s note: Icons of Fright friend Derek Botelho is set to release his new novel, entitled, The Argento Syndrome, an in depth look at the career of horror master, Dario Argento. The book features many candid interviews with everyone from John Carpenter and Asia Argento, to screenwriter Sean Keller and many more. We asked Derek to contribute his five favorite films by Argento, and alas, here they are. Read on!
When the name Dario Argento is uttered to a casual horror fan, you’ll often get a blank stare, or a puzzled, “Who?” in return; replace the neophyte in this situation with a horror junkie, the reaction could be a chuckle followed by, “He hasn’t made a good movie since Opera”. It’s a common, knee jerk, and dangerously nostalgic reaction I’ve been audience to many times. While it’s true that his career has seen better days, »
- Jerry Smith
Prolific screenwriter Everett De Roche, who died in Melbourne yesterday, was one of the instigators of the Ozploitation genre movement of the 1970s and 80s.
The Us-born writer, who migrated to Australia with his wife in 1968, was 67. He had battled with cancer for three years. He started as an in-house writer for Crawfords for four years in the 1970s, penning episodes of Homicide, Division 4, Ryan and Matlock Police.
His first feature screenplay was Colin Eggleston.s Long Weekend in 1978. Among his film credits were Richard Franklin.s Patrick (1978), Simon Wincer.s Harlequin (1980), Franklin.s Roadgames (1981), David Hemmings. Race to the Yankee Zephyr (1981), Russell Mulcahy.s Razorback (1984) and Franklin.s Visitors (2003).
In 2008 he and director Jamie Blanks collaborated on a remake of Long Weekend, for which he added two characters, a baby dugong and several scenes. "The basic environmental message works as well today as it did in 1978," he said. »
- Don Groves
If you’ve seen the fabulously entertaining Ozploitation documentary Not Quite Hollywood — which tracks the rise of Down Under genre films in the ’70s and ’80s — then you will be familiar with producer and Quentin Tarantino favorite Antony I. Ginnane, the so-called “Roger Corman of Australia” whose output includes the horror movies Patrick, Dead Kids, and Thirst. “But how can I learn more about these films?” I pretend to hear you cry. Well, good news! This month, Severin Films is releasing all three terror flicks in Blu-ray/DVD combo packs (as well as the self-explanatory DVD, Ozploitation Trailer Explosion) which »
- Clark Collis
“It’s impossible to tell you what I’m going to do except to say that I expect to make the best movie ever made.” – Stanley Kubrick, Oct. 20, 1971.
There are few unrealized projects in the history of cinema more tantalizingly fascinating than Stanley Kubrick’s planned feature about Napoleon. Even in 1967, at the time of its initial pre-production (the first time around), it seemed like a potentially great idea. But now, looking back with Kubrick’s entire body of work as a reference point, it truly does stand as a project this legendary filmmaker should have been destined to make. Thanks to a mammoth and comprehensive collection of materials fashioned into Stanley Kubrick’s Napoleon: The Greatest Movie Never Made, edited by Alison Castle and published by Taschen, we can for the first time see how Kubrick prepared for the film and what he had in mind for its ultimate big-screen presentation. »
- Jeremy Carr
I'm not sure what it is about Aussie horror, but I love almost all of it. And I certainly love the three movies that Severin Films has announced to Blu-ray later this year. Those looking to junk their DVD editions of Patrick, Thirst, and Dead Kids (aka Strange Behavior) can rejoice!
From the Press Release:
In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s while films like My Brilliant Career and Breaker Morant were putting Australia’s ‘New Wave’ on the map, a depraved generation of young Aussie filmmakers was putting a very different kind of movie on screens. Three ‘Ozploitation’ horrors, Patrick, Dead Kids & Thirst, will have their Blu-ray debut from Severin Films, while their sub-label Intervision will issue the definitive compilation Ozploitation Trailer Explosion. »
- Matt Serafini
There is a kind of music in Michael Caine's voice: deceptively flat, barely inflected, emitting just the tiniest glints of detached insolence and laconic menace as it maps the area between the pre-war docklands community of Rotherhithe, his birthplace, and Elephant and Castle, where his family was rehoused in a prefab built on bomb-damaged land not far from the location of Shakespeare's theatres. Few people alive know more about the actor's craft than Caine, none is more gifted in the art of underplaying, and that voice is integral to his virtuosity.
But there is music of a more conventional kind in the films that made him famous – when the former Maurice Micklewhite rather unexpectedly became the model of a new kind of English leading man, »
- Richard Williams
The all-action, don't-mess dream team of Jason Statham and Vinnie Jones knuckle down for this remake of the Burt Reynolds jailhouse sports smash The Longest Yard. Vinnie is well cast as a convicted footy star who must assemble a team of inmates to take on guv'nor David Hemmings' talentless prison officers XI. Don't expect many fair play awards from a comedy that keeps it simple but plays shin-splinteringly hard. »
12 items from 2014
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