4 items from 2015
By rights I should hate the English. Seriously, my background is almost entirely Scots and Irish. I grew up hearing about the troubles the English gave to the Scots and Irish, both in school and from my parents.
Yet I do not, I love the English. How can I hate a country that gave us not only Monty Python but also Benny Hill and the Carry On Films? How can I bear any ill will to a country that gave us writers of the caliber of Ramsey Campbell, Brian Aldiss, Michael Moorcock and J. G Ballard? How can anyone hate a country that not only prizes eccentric behavior but encourages it? Take Mr. Kim Newman for instance, a brilliant writer whose work appears regularly in Video WatchDog and Videoscope Mr. Newman dresses himself, has his hair and mustache styled and speaks in the manner of someone from the 19th Century! »
- Sam Moffitt
There are just a handful of phrases or titles in popular culture that can instantly evoke vivid imagery – the name ‘King Kong’ can throw up a whole range of bestial grandeur, depending on what movies you’ve seen or what generation you’re from. Whether the original, magnificently malevolent anthropoid or a Japanese character actor in a monkey suit, everybody seems to have their own Kong.
The image of the lovestruck great ape and the girl he unrequitedly loved, whether doing battle for her against a t-rex in his mythical homeland or swatting biplanes on top of the Empire State Building, has found its way into cartoons, advertising, TV skits, every part of the communications media. When Kong’s original female lead, Fay Wray, died in 2003 at the age of 96, they darkened the lights at the top of the building in her honour – just as if she’d really been held captive there. »
- Paul Woods
The Most Dangerous Game. Courtesy of Rko Radio Pictures Inc./Photofest.Early in his career as a leading man, Joel McCrea was cast in two films about dangerous animals on the loose. Using the same jungle sets, the same directors (Irving Pichel and Ernest B. Schoedsack), and even the same stars (Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong) as their upcoming King Kong (1933), Rko’s production of The Most Dangerous Game (1932) submitted to economic shortcuts. Both adventure films would be made at the same time by organizing the same constituents in different roles. Even our hero McCrea would be asked to cross over to Team Kong, only to pull out thanks to thesesame frugal actions. Within this year of production McCrea’s star power had already exceeded what the studios could afford him.The Most Dangerous Game’s first reveal of McCrea’s Bob reveals him wearing a sport shirt adorned with »
- Zach Lewis
Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of director John McTiernan‘s release from jail after being convicted of lying to the FBI in a case involving wiretapping and a disgraced private investigator. He hasn’t made a film since 2003’s rough-to-watch Basic, but he has some great ones on his resume including Die Hard, The Hunt for Red October, The Thomas Crowne Affair and… 1987’s Predator. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a mercenary tasked with leading a team into the jungle on a mission only to be interrupted by an alien presence. It remains a ton of old-school action fun nearly three decades later, and while four sequels/spinoffs/reboots have come and gone the original is still the best remembered. McTiernan recorded a commentary track for a special edition DVD release several years ago, and we gave it a listen to celebrate the anniversary of his freedom from the hoosegow. Keep »
- Rob Hunter
4 items from 2015
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