2 items from 2016
Labyrinth, starring late rock icon Davie Bowie as the Goblin King, opened in theaters 30 years ago today. Though Labyrinth — a dark, wonderfully weird, glam rock semi-musical populated mostly by puppets — was never going to be a movie that won over a wide audience, it’s still wild to think about how poorly it did upon release given the film now has a secure place in pop culture history and in Bowie’s legacy. It opened at no. 8 at the U.S. box office and earned less than $13 million, barely over half of its reported budget. It was the final film directed by Jim Henson, and in the aftermath of Labyrinth’s poor reception, son Brian said of his father, “that was the closest I've seen him to turning in on himself and getting quite depressed.” Though Henson never got to witness the full fandom that would amass around the movie, »
- Emily Rome
Tim here. Today we celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the birth of producer-director-writer Irwin Allen, one of the great junk-food purveyors in Hollywood cinema. It's by no means true that Allen invented the disaster movie (a genre stretching back into the 1930s), nor even the uniquely '70s-style incarnation of the form, with an impressively well-stocked larder of overtalented, underpaid stars filling out the clichéd melodramas of addiction and marital strife that tend to form the plots of these movie (Airport got there first). But it was under Allen's hand that disaster movies became the greatest, gaudiest spectacles of the decade.
Allen was not always a high-end schlockmeister. In fact, he began his career as an Oscar-winner, taking home a Best Documentary Feature award for 1953's The Sea Around Us, based on a Rachel L. Carson book. Curiously his first taste of the effects-driven spectacle that would typify his later films came in as a way of fleshing out his documentaries. One sequence of his 1956 film The Animal World, on dinosaurs, featured effects by the great Ray Harryhausen, and his very next film was his first all-star extravaganza, the cameo-packed The Story of Mankind.
- Tim Brayton
2 items from 2016
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