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Watch This: Scream wasn’t the first slasher whodunit

One week a month, Watch This offers movie recommendations inspired by the week’s new releases or premieres. Because it’s Horror Week here at The A.V. Club, we’re highlighting some of the best unsung slasher movies.

Happy Birthday To Me (1981)

Possessing more in common with the original Friday The 13th than that classic’s Jason-centric sequels, Happy Birthday To Me is a slasher film by way of whodunit, one in which endless misdirections go hand in hand with inventively gruesome murders. Directed by Cape Fear’s J. Lee Thompson, the film concerns a group of boarding school friends (known as the “top 10”) who are methodically picked off by a mysterious assailant. Only the black-gloved hands of that fiend are seen during these killings (in a nod to the work of Dario Argento and his giallo comrades). And it’s suggested from the narrative’s focus ...
See full article at The AV Club »

Drive-In Dust Offs: Happy Birthday To Me (1981)

Aging much better than a freezer burnt, half eaten cake, Happy Birthday to Me (1981) stands out as one of the better ones from the golden era of slashers, when the major studios weren’t afraid to throw some blood soaked (Canadian) coin at a B level concept, and in the process giving it some A list icing.

The Canadian ties? Filmed in Montreal when tax credits were still flying fast and furious, Happy was one of Columbia Pictures early ‘80s ventures into the horror world. (Graduation Day, released the same year, was the breadwinner of the two.) Recruiting the Canadian producing juggernaut of Andre Link and John Dunning (David Cronenberg’s cohorts on his mid ‘70s output, Shivers and Rabid), Columbia was guaranteed a good return on their investment. Of course, the Canuck connection doesn’t stop there – the cast includes such faces of Canadiana as Lawrence Dane (Scanners), Jack Blum
See full article at DailyDead »

Oscars: Joan Rivers Left Out of In Memoriam Tribute

Oscars: Joan Rivers Left Out of In Memoriam Tribute
The Academy Awards’ “In Memoriam” segment offered an egalitarian salute to a broad range of industry figures who died during the past 12 months.

The segment presented by Meryl Streep gave equal time to Golden Age legends and below-the-line veterans. In a departure from past years, there were no clips for any of the more recognizable names but rather a series of stylized photo illustrations. Academy officials have long urged attendees to avoid giving the impression that the tribute is a popularity contest by holding applause until the end.

The segment opened with Mickey Rooney followed by director Paul Mazursky and was applause-free, as far as telecast viewers could discern, in the Dolby Theater until the final image of director Mike Nichols flashed on screen.

Joan Rivers was a notable omission from the on-air list. The comedian who died at 80 in September had a limited film resume, to be sure, but
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Review: “St. Ives” (1976) Starring Charles Bronson And Jacqueline Bisset; Warner Archive Streaming Service

  • CinemaRetro
By Don Stradley

Charles Bronson was 55 at the time of “St Ives” (1976). He was just a couple years past his star-making turn in “Death Wish”, and was enjoying a surprising run of success. I say surprising because Bronson had, after all, been little more than a craggy second banana for most of his career. Now, inexplicably, he had box office clout as a leading man. In fact, Bronson reigned unchallenged for a few years as the most popular male actor in international markets. Yes, even bigger than Eastwood, Newman, Reynolds, Redford, or any other 1970s star you can name. Many of Bronson’s movies were partly financed by foreign investors, for even if his movies didn’t score stateside, they still drew buckets of money in Prague or Madrid. Some have suggested that his popularity on foreign screens was due to how little he said in his movies (there was
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Polly Bergen obituary

Award-winning actor who starred in Cape Fear, she was also a dynamic entrepreneur

Versatility can be a curse, but in the case of Polly Bergen, who has died aged 84, it was a blessing. She was never out of work in films or on stage or television, in drama, comedy, musicals and game shows. By the mid-1960s, her elegance and beauty was so renowned that she marketed Polly Bergen Cosmetics, which she eventually sold to Fabergé, and then established Polly Bergen Jewellery and Polly Bergen Shoes. She was also the author of three fashion and beauty advice books.

As if to prove that being fashion-conscious was not incompatible with feminism, Bergen lobbied ardently for the Equal Rights amendment and for women's right to choose. She was open about having had an illegal abortion when she was a 17-year-old singer; it left her unable to have children. In 2008, Bergen campaigned for Hillary Clinton to become president.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Actress Polly Bergen Dies at 84

Actress Polly Bergen Dies at 84
New York (AP) — Emmy-winning actress and singer Polly Bergen, who in a long career played the terrorized wife in the original Cape Fear and the first woman president in Kisses for My President, died Saturday, according to her publicist. She was 84. Bergen died at her home in Southbury, Connecticut, surrounded by family and close friends, publicist Judy Katz said. She had battled emphysema and other ailments in the late 1990s, a result of 50 years of smoking. A brunette beauty with a warm, sultry singing voice, Bergen was a household name from her 20s onward. She made albums

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See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Polly Bergen Dead: Actress and Singer Dies at 84

Polly Bergen Dead: Actress and Singer Dies at 84
Polly Bergen died of natural causes at the age of 84 on Saturday, Sept. 20, the Associated Press reports. The actress and singer was surrounded by her family and close friends at her home in Southbury, Connecticut. Bergen was best known for playing terrorized wife Peggy Bowden in the original 1962 film Cape Fear, and for her role as the first woman president in 1964's Kisses for My President. She was also an established singer and made her Broadway debut in John Murray Anderson's Almanac in 1953. In [...]
See full article at Us Weekly »

Box office report: 'Apes' conquers, 'Boyhood' starts strong

Box office report: 'Apes' conquers, 'Boyhood' starts strong
If this weekend’s number one movie Dawn of the Planet of the Apes — the second entry in the rebooted Apes franchise — has a spiritual sibling in the original series of films, it is 1972′s Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. While Conquest was the fourth movie in the franchise to arrive in cinemas it is, like Dawn, the second according to the interior timeline of its series and, again like director Matt Reeves’ new film, features an apocalyptic showdown between apes and humans. Thus, it seems appropriate that this weekend Dawn of the Planet of the Apes comprehensively
See full article at EW.com - Inside Movies »

The Best and Worst Advice Laff Filmmakers Have Ever Received

The Best and Worst Advice Laff Filmmakers Have Ever Received
With the 20th La Film Festival now underway (until June 19), Indiewire sent out questionnaires to filmmakers with films screening at Laff asking them a variety of questions as part of the How I Shot That series. Many of these filmmakers were eager to disclose some of the best and worst advice they have received in their careers. Check out some of the advice below.  Best Advice: "If you reference something correctly in a documentary, you can use it for free under 'public domain.' Love that." -- Director Ravi Patel ("Meet the Patels")  "Do the big scares first, make sure you got them right, and then move on to the rest of the movie." -- Director Seth Grossman ("Inner Demons") "The best advice came from (my cinematographer) Seamus Tierney and my production design professor at AFI, Robert Boyle ("North by Northwest," "The Birds," "In Cold Blood," "Cape Fear"). He had
See full article at Indiewire »

Cinema Retro Special Report: Paul Talbot On The Making Of Charles Bronson's "The Evil That Men Do"

  • CinemaRetro
By Paul Talbot

The poster screamed: “Most criminals answer to the law. The world’s most savage executioner must answer to Bronson.” Since the late 1960s, Charles Bronson’s name on a marquee was a guarantee of unchained action. When The Evil That Men Do opened in 1984, fans were hit with the expected violence─but this time they were also assaulted with thick layers of sadism, sleaze and depravity. And they loved it.

Born in 1921, Charles Bronson (originally Bunchinsky) was a dirt-poor Pennsylvania coal miner before he was drafted and later used the GI Bill to study acting. After dozens of small roles, he became a popular supporting player in hit films like The Magnificent Seven (1960) and The Great Escape (1963)─then went overseas to star in European pictures like Farewell, Friend (1967), Once Upon a Time in the West (1967) and Rider on the Rain (1970). Although ignored in the States─where they
See full article at CinemaRetro »

'The Exorcist': 25 Things You Didn't Know About the Terrifying Horror Classic

"The Exorcist," released 40 years ago this week (on December 26, 1973), is widely regarded as the scariest movie ever made, but after four decades, two sequels, two prequels, and countless spoofs, is there anything about the tale of demon-possessed Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) and the priests who try to save her (Max von Sydow and Jason Miller) left to jolt and shock us?

Maybe there is. "Exorcist" director William Friedkin's 2013 memoir, "The Friedkin Connection," has three chapters full of dish on the making of the film, including which characters were based on famous people, how some of the famous special effects were accomplished, how he came to slap a Jesuit priest, and whether or not the production was cursed. Here are 25 things you may not know about "The Exorcist," many of them from Friedkin's recent book.

1. The real case that inspired William Peter Blatty's novel and screenplay was the 1949 exorcism of a 14-year-old boy,
See full article at Moviefone »

TCM Film Fest Begins Thursday With Barbra Streisand’s Funny Girl

Tinseltown is ready to greet film fans from around the world again for the 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival.

Beginning this Thursday, April 25 and running through Sunday, April 28 in Hollywood, the festival will open with a gala presentation of the newly restored musical classic Funny Girl (1968).

Over four big days, TCM will welcome legendary stars, award-winning filmmakers and classic movie fans for the cinematic celebration, which this year will center on the theme Cinematic Journeys: Travel in the Movies.

But first on the schedule is Funny Girl!

Legendary superstar Barbra Streisand demonstrates why she’s the greatest star in her Academy Award winning role (Best Actress, 1968) as “Fanny Brice” in the celebrated musical biography Funny Girl. Commemorating its 45th anniversary, the classic film was meticulously restored from the original negative by Sony Pictures Entertainment in 4K at Sony Pictures’ Colorworks.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release Funny Girl for the first time on Blu-ray April 30th,
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Greatest Slasher Films (1970 – 1990)

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.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

The White Buffalo – The DVD Review

In 1976 Italian movie mogul Dino De Laurentiis unleashed his heavily promoted King Kong to eager audiences. Though a modest success, the remake was trashed by critics and, especially in light of Peter Jackson’s 2005 version, has aged horribly. The next year De Laurentiis released another monster movie, The White Buffalo which critics pounced on as well and this time, even though it starred box-office champ Charles Bronson, audiences stayed away. But the years have been much kinder to The White Buffalo, a weird, offbeat western/monster hybrid that uses real historical figures for a unique riff on Moby Dick. It’s an unusual movie, ripe for rediscovery. I had written about it a couple of years ago in my Not available on DVD column and it’s now available as part of the MGM Limited Edition Collection

In the 1870′s, aging gunfighter Wild Bill Hickok (Charles Bronson) is haunted by
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Ice Cold in Alex Blu-ray Review

  • HeyUGuys
Arriving on Blu-ray courtesy of Optimum (now Studio Canal), Ice Cold in Alex is the latest in a line of HD restorations in the Optimum Classics range. Probably familiar to many for the Carlsberg advert that it spawned, even if they have not seen the film itself, this World War II thriller was originally released in the UK in 1958 following its success as the International Critics Award winner at the Berlin Film Festival that year. The film did not have an easy journey across the Atlantic though and was not released in the Us until 1961, by which point it had been retitled Desert Attack and lost over forty minutes of its two hour running time.

The film centres on Captain Anson (John Mills) and Tom Pugh (Harry Andrews), who are tasked with transporting an army ambulance and two nurses across the unforgiving Libyan desert to their final destination, Alexandria. Mills
See full article at HeyUGuys »

A Centennial Shout-Out (Shriek Out?) To Bernard Hermann

You know what was more shocking than Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963) not having a film score? That Hitch' always had Bernard Hermann at the ready and still went without one.

The internet often does a spectacularly bad job of noting important history (it's all future-future-future which an occassional "now") so you wouldn't know that today marks the 100th anniversary of one of the most important film composers who ever lived!

What would the cinema even sound like without Hermann's shrieking violins from Psycho (1960) for instance? Different surely, and lesser though perhaps it would be a relief if people stopped ripping it off and moved on. Supposedly Hitchcock didn't even want them at first.

Some other notable films include Citizen Kane (debut), The Ghost and Mrs Muir, Cape Fear, North by Northwest and Taxi Driver (1976), his last, which he just barely completed before his death on Christmas Eve of 1975.

True to
See full article at FilmExperience »

Bernard Hermann Tribute At Loew's Jersey City, June 10-11

  • CinemaRetro
Hitchcock and Hermann clowning on the set.

 

The historic Loew's Theatre in Jersey City, New Jersey will pay tribute to the legendary film composer Bernard Hermann with screenings of three films featuring his scores. The movies to be shown are the original top-notch chiller Cape Fear, Ray Harryhausen's The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and Alfred Hitchcock's 1956 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much. For more click here
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Bernard Herrmann: A Lesser Known Legend

Almost every aspect of Citizen Kane has been lauded, analysed and replicated to the point that it’s almost become a cliché of a film. At the same time the infamous War of The Worlds radio broadcast, and the (no doubt overstated) ensuing widespread panic at impending alien invasion, have become a leading urban legend.

While Orson Welles has rightly taken the glory for these projects, there seems to be little trickle down effect to the man who stood beside him during both – Bernard Herrmann; a motion picture composer who is only really rivalled by John Williams. Despite this though, he hasn’t made the leap from being known in film circles into being known more widely.

Probably the most famous homage paid to him in recent times was when Quentin Tarnatino used his piece “Twisted Nerve” in Kill Bill.

Iframe Embed for Youtube

So what’s his story? He
See full article at HeyUGuys »

R.I.P. Robert F. Boyle

R.I.P. Robert F. Boyle
Four-time Academy Award nominee for Art Direction and iconic production designer Robert F. Boyle died yesterday of natural causes after a 2-day stay in Cedars Sinai Hospital. He was 100. His work on North by Northwest, Gaily, Gaily, The Shootist, and Fiddler on the Roof and 86 other motion pictures earned him an Honorary Oscar in 2008. In 1997 Boyle was voted a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Art Directors Guild. In 2001 he was further honored with the Hollywood Production Designer of the Year Award by the Hollywood Film Festival. Recently he was given a tribute by the American Cinematheque and the Art Directors Guild with a screening at the Egyptian Theatre of two of his designed films, including The Wolf Man (1941). In 1973 he was nominated for an Emmy for The Red Pony. Among his other major motion picture credits as a production designer are The Birds, Winter Kills, The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas,
See full article at Deadline Hollywood »

Rick Florino Talks Dolor: Lila

There hasn’t been a serial horror story in quite some time. Probably John Saul’s Blackstone Chronicles is the most recent. But there is a new kid on the block now, Rick Florino’s Dolor, and this ain’t your mama’s serial horror.

Set in the mysterious town of Dolor, the ten-part series will unfold slowly, introducing the reader to Dolor’s various denizens as well as the town itself. Because from the beginning, with "Lila", the reader knows something has gone terribly wrong in Dolor; and as the ten diaries are read by an FBI agent investigating what happened in Dolor, the reader will also discover what happened and who (or what) might be responsible.

Dread Central recently had an opportunity to chat with the creator of Dolor: Lila (review here) and discovered that Rick Florino is something of an enfant terrible and an author people should take note of.
See full article at Dread Central »
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