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[Image via Every '70s Movie] Award-winning makeup artist Rick Baker, who is famous for his work in horror cinema (An American Werewolf in London, The Exorcist, Videodrome) is a frequent Tweeter. Thank goodness for that, since the FX designer recently took to the social media website to share a photo of the first gig he ever got. Octaman was unleashed on the masses back in 1971 and was met with dismal ratings. The monster movie, about a team of researchers who are terrorized by a humanoid octopus, has since developed a cult following. If you’re thinking, “Gee this all sounds awfully familiar,” you would be right, as director and screenwriter Harry Essex also wrote the famed Creature from the Black Lagoon. Octaman doesn’t pretend to be something...
- Alison Nastasi
“They came from everywhere. Millions of writhing, seething creatures, oozing out of the mire to feed on human flesh.” Known as burrowers of the ground, the electrocuted worms in 1976′s Squirm decide instead to excavate living people. Scream Factory recently announced that Squirm will be getting a high-definition upgrade just in time for Halloween, and we now have a look at the Blu-ray’s cover art.
“Check out our newly-designed artwork for the upcoming blu-ray Collector’s Edition Jeff Lieberman’s 70s cult classic Squirm which is scheduled to drop in October! Credit for this wonderful wormy vision goes to designer Paul Shipper (who just recently came through on the upcoming Halloween Complete Collection set). Fans of the original Drew Struzan theatrical one-sheet design need not worry as it will be available on the reverse side of the wrap.
Expect pre-order links to go up in the next few weeks. »
- Derek Anderson
While a loyal contingent was inclined to give “Hemlock Grove” the benefit of the doubt in a “So bad it’s good” way, watching the opening of the second go-round still tips the scales toward so bad — and boring — that it’s just plain bad. For all the kudos Netflix has garnered with its prestige series, this horror offering from Eli Roth is probably every bit as helpful in attracting and pleasing a certain elusive niche of subscribers. Nevertheless, efforts to improve the show, or just make sense out of it, have largely foundered, despite the addition of veteran showrunner Charles H. (Chic) Eglee.
At its core, “Hemlock Grove” is the latest twist on groovy monsters, situated in a small town with vampires (Ok, upir), werewolves and secrets — another supernatural soap, only with buckets of blood and the requisite nudity to differentiate it from CW fare.
For it to work, »
- Brian Lowry
Over and over again in its first season, Showtime’s gorgeous and ghastly Penny Dreadful has shocked us. With the murders of Proteus and Van Helsing. With Ethan and Dorian’s absinthe-drenched hook-up. With performances by Eva Green as Vanessa that are so preternatural, she risks being accused of sorcery. Yet the series still managed to save a few surprises for the finale. So read on, why don’t you, and savor once again the thrills, chills and battles of wills that ran through “Grand Guignol” like so much blood through a vein.
Related Cable Renewal Scorecard: What’s Cancelled? »
1981 was a heck of a year for werewolf movies. Of course, this would still be true had the only one to be released that year been John Landis’ genre-defining classic, An American Werewolf in London. But mere months earlier, another tale of lynanthropic terror hit screens, one which has sadly fallen into obscurity: Michael Wadleigh’s Wolfen.
The two films share a lot in common. Both focus on supernatural wolf creatures cutting a swath of carnage through major urban centers, both make heavy use of then-new Steadicam technology to represent the point of view of the beast as it stalks its unsuspecting prey, and both see the beast come into conflict with that most recognizable guardian of modern society: the police. But as similar as the films are, when one opens the hood and looks deeper, they’ll find that the two films are so ideologically opposed that it becomes »
- Thomas O'Connor
There’s a reason that, 33 years after its release, John Landis’ An American Werewolf in London remains a gold standard in on-camera special effects. The detailed and inventive use of makeup and animatronics by Rick Baker and his team meticulously fashioned a transformative threat to one man’s body that proved to be enduringly terrifying and enthralling, not to mention a bit cheeky. While CGI and other digital techniques age remarkably quickly, the indexical standard of animatronics and makeup create an ever-convincing case for the relative permanence of older means for producing spectacle. It’s simply a different thing when the effect was genuinely there, on set, alongside the events and people filmed. Hollywood spectacle has changed dramatically over the past thirty years, and Rick Baker’s career is evidence of that, with his role behind the scenes increasingly combined with the work of digital engineers. Yet Baker has always embraced the opportunity to collaborate with other »
- Landon Palmer
Scream Factory shows no signs of slowing down and just announced that 1976′s Squirm will be getting a high-definition upgrade just in time for Halloween. There are no specifics at this time, but Scream Factory revealed that they are planning for an October release and we expect plenty of bonus features to be included, as this will join their Collector’s Edition series. Here’s a look at the trailer and details on the movie from the UK’s recent Blu-ray release:
“One of the most original and entertaining of the revenge-of-nature films that characterised mid-1970s American horror, Squirm begins with a pylon being downed by a thunderstorm, sending millions of volts into the wet, conductive mud, which naturally gives hundreds of thousands of its wriggly inhabitants an insatiable hunger for human flesh.
And since the accident has also inconveniently cut off the electricity to Fly Creek, Georgia, its »
- Jonathan James
I have incredibly fond memories of Rik Mayall. Bottom provided my first glimpse of “adult” humour as a kid growing up and from the first moment I ever set eyes on it, I was hooked. Over the years, I’ve acquired quite a “Bottom” collection and Richie and Eddie never failed to make me laugh. It was with incredible sadness today that I found out that Rik Mayall had passed away at home in Barnes, London this morning. Even typing these few miserable words now, I find it hard to acknowledge the death of a man who has brought smiles and laughter to millions of people around the world. Countless tributes have been pouring in all day from the world of entertainment with everyone from Edgar Wright to John Landis offering their condolences through twitter. John Landis tweeted "Very very sad to learn of Rik Mayall's passing. Frank Oz »
- email@example.com (Vic Barry)
The Young Ones, Bottom and The New Statesman star Rik Mayall has died. The British comedian and actor was 56. He passed away at home in London today, although the cause of death is as-yet unknown. The BBC reports that the Metropolitan Police said it was not believed to be suspicious. The Essex-born Mayall was a pioneer of alternative comedy in Britain in the 1980s. He was best known to TV audiences for such sitcoms as The Young Ones, the classic 1982-1984 BBC series in which he starred as a would-be anarchist. He co-created that show along with Blackadder‘s Ben Elton. Mayall also starred in the series with Adrian Edmonson, his longtime collaborative partner. The pair, who met at university, formed The Comic Strip in 1982. A group of alternative British comedians, it included Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders. Together, they created spoof series The Comic Strip Presents on Channel 4. »
- NANCY TARTAGLIONE, International Editor
Rik Mayall, the beloved British comedian, writer and actor, has died at the age of 56, according to a statement from his management, Brunskill.
“We are deeply saddened to announce the death of Rik Mayall who passed away this morning,” Brunskill said in a statement acquired by the BBC. “We will be issuing a further statement in the fullness of time.”
Mayall was the co-creator and star of cult U.K. comedies “The Young Ones” and “Bottom,” which he appeared in alongside his comedy partner Adrian Edmondson. He also headlined British political satire “The New Statesman” and was a member of the comedy troupe The Comic Strip, with Edmondson and other notable British comedians such as Dawn French, Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson, Jennifer Saunders and Alexei Sayle.
- Variety Staff
Rik Mayall, the much loved star of Bottom and The Young Ones who also starred on the big screen in the likes of Drop Dead Fred, Eat The Rich, Shock Treatment and An American Werewolf In London, has died at the age of 56. The cause of death is not yet known.
Mayall, who spent five days in a coma following a quad bike accident in 1998, had sai that as his friends began to dread getting older he was really happy to be alive. After his accident he continued to work, appearing in the likes of Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone and Errors Of The Human Body. There had recently been talk of reviving the highly successful Comic Strip team.
He is survived by his wife Barbara and children Rosie, Sidney and Bonnie. »
- Jennie Kermode
British comedy legend Rik Mayall has died at just 56. A spokesman for his management company confirmed that Mayall passed away this morning. Mayall is survived by his wife and three children.
The actor and comedian is best remembered for his small screen roles such as the obnoxious poetry-writing anarchist Rick in cult sitcom "The Young Ones," the sex-crazed arrogant Lord Flashheart in several versions of "Blackadder," the sociopathic right-wing back bencher Alan Beresford B'Stard in "The New Statesman," and the perverted Richie in "Bottom". Other TV credits include "Jonathan Creek" and "Filthy Rich & Catflap"
Mayall also appeared in several films, most famously as the title character in "Drop Dead Fred". He also appeared in "Carry On Columbus," "Guest House Paradiso," "The Wind in the Willows," "Shock Treatment," "Errors of the Human Body" and even a tiny role in "An American Werewolf in London".
Mayall was left seriously ill after a »
- Garth Franklin
Rik Mayall, who played the pompous, poetry-spouting anarchist Rick on the early Eighties U.K. cult comedy The Young Ones, has died, according to a statement his manager shared with the BBC. He was 56. The cause and circumstances of Mayall's death have not yet been revealed.
Last-Laugh Tracks: The 40 Best Cult TV Comedies Ever
In addition to The Young Ones, Mayall appeared on the U.K. sitcoms Blackadder, The New Statesman and a show with his Young Ones costar Adrian Edmondson, Bottom. His best-known movie role was playing opposite »
Rik Mayall Dead At 56
Mayall’s death was confirmed by his management firm Brunskill Management. The cause of death has yet to be revealed. His death is not thought to be suspicious, reported Entertainment Weekly.
During the 80s, Mayall played anarchist poet Rick on The Young Ones, in which he costarred with his longtime pal Adrian Edmondson. In 1991, Mayall and Edmondson teamed up again for sitcom Bottom. In Bottom, the actors played friends who live off the government, and find ways to entertain themselves instead of working.
Mayall’s other TV projects included The New Stateman, Watership Down, Tales of Uplift and Moral Improvement, Shoe Box Zoo, King Arthur’s Disasters and a number of others.
On the big screen, Mayall appeared in Drop Dead Fred as the titular character. »
I first encountered Griffin Dunne, now 58, as one of the New York producers, with partner Amy Robinson, of Joan Micklin Silver's "Chilly Scenes of Winter." He went on to a strong producing ("Baby It's You," "Running on Empty") and acting career, starring in Martin Scorsese's "After Hours" and John Landis's "An American Werewolf in London," and more recently, the occasional character turn in television ("House of Lies") and such films as "Dallas Buyers Club." And this week he ably carries the new family comedy "The Discoverers" from New York politico and academic turned writer-director Justin Schwartz, who cast Dunne as a washed-up professor--natch--who drags his two reluctant teenagers ("Californication" star Madeleine Martin and "American Horror Story"'s Devon Graye) on an unexpected Lewis & Clarke Oregon road trip. Dunne gets to use his chops as a slapstick comedian in "The Discoverers," which opens in Los Angeles this Friday. »
- Anne Thompson
Intended as a sequel to Close Encounters, Night Skies began in the 1970s but later stalled. We look at how its ideas evolved into E.T...
Having scored a phenomenal hit with Jaws in 1975, director Steven Spielberg used his considerable industry clout to make Close Encounters Of The Third Kind - a science fiction fairytale for the UFO age. It was a personal project for Spielberg, conceived and partly written by the director himself (several other writers made uncredited passes on the script), and based on Firelight, the UFO film he'd shot for $500 while he was a teenager.
“I had a real, deep-rooted belief that we had been visited in this century,” the director once said of his fascination with the UFO phenomenon. “I was a real UFO devotee in the 1970s, and really into the UFO phenomenon from reading. For me, it was science.”
Like Jaws, the production »
Angelina Jolie seems to have been born to play the role of the evil queen Maleficent in Disney’s new retelling of the story. The character is so iconic with children and adults worldwide, so how does one become Maleficent?
Of course it’s not just about donning a pair of horns and having green skin. Jolie had to undergo a full prosthetic transformation to become the evil queen from Sleeping Beauty. And who best for the job but seven time Academy Award winner Rick Baker and his team. If you are unaware of Baker, there is no doubt you would’ve seen his fantastic work over the years, most notably in An American Werewolf In London, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and his specialty “ape” work in Gorillas In The Mist and Tim Burton’s Planet Of The Apes. Baker discusses some of the work that went into transforming Jolie into the evil queen:
- Lucinda Holt
Here's a little known fact for you guys... After the success of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, director Steven Spielberg had something a lot darker in mind for us. Read on for details and a look at what E.T. was originally supposed to be.
Spielberg was fascinated by an event which transpired back in August 21, 1955, which became known as The Kelly, Kentucky Alien Invasion.
On that evening Billy Ray Taylor and his wife were visiting the Sutton farm. Billy exited the house to go fetch water from the Sutton family well and while doing so saw what he described as an "immense, shining object" landing about a quarter of a mile from the house. It wasn't long before he and the Sutton family were besieged by extraterrestrial invaders who were trying to break into the Sutton home. Click the link above for more on that story.
After becoming aware of the Kentucky incident, »
- Steve Barton
I’ve long been a fan of Griffin Dunne, since the days of An American Werewolf in London, so it’s a treat to see him back in a leading role that’s worthy of his talent. The film is called The Discoverers, and it’s a low-key but satisfying comedy-drama that marks the feature debut of writer-director Justin Schwarz. Dunne’s character is a bit of a jerk, a self-absorbed academic who has been working obsessively on a massive text about the Lewis and Clark expedition. He is heading across the country for a teaching job he desperately needs, but along the way he’s obliged to pick up his alienated teenage kids (Madeleine Martin and Devon Graye) and look after them. The last thing they want...
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- Leonard Maltin
To mark the release of The Beast Within on 12th May, we’ve been given 3 copies to give away on Blu-ray.
Late one full moonlit night, a woman stands alone on the roadside waiting for her husband to return to their broken-down car. All of a sudden she’s pounced upon, dragged into the dark woods and savaged by a barely-glimpsed assailant. But this is only the beginning of the terror in The Beast Within…
Seventeen years on, and the devoted parents of teenager Michael are at their wits’ end. Their son lies in a hospital bed, his body wracked by a mysterious illness. With doctors unable to offer any diagnosis, Michael’s desperate parents are forced to seek out the answer themselves – by digging up traumatic past events and confronting the true nature of their son’s conception.
The Beast Within stands apart from other creature features due to »
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