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The Fearless Vampire Killers

Photographed by Douglas Slocombe, Roman Polanski’s serio-comic tribute to Hammer Studios is probably his most ravishing film. It stars himself and, at her most exquisite, Sharon Tate, along with Jack MacGowran as the addle-pated Professor Abronsius (a vampire hunter more batty than the vampires themselves) and Ferdy Mayne as the aristocratic blood drinker, Count von Krolock. Krzysztof Komeda (Rosemary’s Baby) contributed the eerie score.
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‘Cul-De-Sac’ Blu-ray Review (Criterion)

Stars: Donald Pleasence, Lionel Stander, Françoise Dorléac, Jack MacGowran, Iain Quarrier | Written by Roman Polanski, Gerard Brach | Directed by Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski’s taste for dark absurdist comedy is in full swing in 1966 comedy-thriller Cul-De-Sac. It’s his second English-language film, sandwiched between Repulsion and Fearless Vampire Killers. Compared with his towering classics (and there are a few) it is slight, but even minor Polanski is a joy to watch.

Especially with a setup like this. We open with Dickey (Lionel Stander, the spit of Ernest Borgnine) and Albie (Jack MacGowran), their car sputtering along the Northumberland coast. Albie is dying from a gunshot wound, so Dickey heads off for help, and finds himself on a coastal island, in a castle owned by George (Donald Pleasence) and his glamorous wife Teresa (Françoise Dorléac).

So begins a strange semi-hostage relationship between the very American gangsters and the gentle married couple.
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13 Days of Horror: Five Freaky Facts About "The Exorcist"

  • TooFab
With Halloween right around the corner, we're counting down the days by posting five fun or freaky facts about our favorite fright flicks. Today's featured film is "The Exorcist."1. The film is considered cursed. Ellen Burstyn was permanently injured during filming, stars Jack MacGowran and Vasiliki Maliaros both died before the movie was even released and a fire destroyed most of the set. A film-goer seeing the movie also broke his jaw after fainting ... and sued Warner Bros., claiming the flick made him pass out.2. While everyone knows Regan's vomit is made from pea soup, did you know it's specifically Andersen's brand? The filmmakers reportedly tried using Campbell's but didn't like how it looked.3. The flick was the first horror movie to be nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award. It lost to "The Sting," but won Best Adapted Screenplay. Since then, "Silence of the Lambs" is the only
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William Friedkin on New Technology, the 'Exorcist' Curse, and the McConnaissance

Without really trying, William Friedkin has been on the cutting edge for nearly half a century.

He won Best Picture and Best Director for "The French Connection" (1971), followed it up with the scariest movie of all time (1973's "The Exorcist"), and followed that up with "Sorcerer" (1977), a movie so far ahead of its time that only in recent years has it been acknowledged as an overlooked masterpiece. (A newly-restored print of the allegorical adventure tale, released this week on Blu-ray, should help burnish the film's reputation.)

At 78, Friedkin continues to stay ahead of the pack. In his most recent movie, "Killer Joe" (2011), he cast Matthew McConaughey in an unlikely role as a corrupt cop/hitman, thus helping launch the "McConnaissance" that changed the actor's image and led to his recent Oscar victory for "Dallas Buyers Club." For his upcoming projects, he's thrilled to be working in digital and scoffs at
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Giveaway – Win Wonderwall on Blu-ray

George Harrison created the soundtrack and Oasis cemented it in popular culture. Now Wonderwall is to be released on DVD and for the first time on Blu-Ray on April 14th with extensive hi-definition restoration. This all-new print has been the subject of extensive work by the Pinewood Studios film restoration team and features the original theatrical version of the film as well as the more recent director’s cut that features music from the original Wonderwall Abbey Road session never included in the original release. To celebrate its arrival, we’ve got 3 copies to give away courtesy of the lovely people at Fabulous Films and Fremantle Media Enterprises. Read on for a synopsis and details of how to enter

It’s London in the swinging 60s, a reclusive professor (Jack MacGowran) becomes infatuated with beautiful model Penny Lane (Jane Birkin), the girlfriend of a Svengali-like photographer (Iain Quarrier). The professor
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'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,
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Review: "The Exorcist: 40th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition"

  • CinemaRetro
By Todd Garbarini

William Friedkin's The Exorcist (1973), based upon the novel of the same name by William Peter Blatty, is one of the greatest and most powerful American motion pictures ever made. With an impressive cast that includes Ellen Burstyn, Max Von Sydow, Jason Miller, Lee J. Cobb, Jack MacGowran and newcomer Linda Blair, The Exorcist had its origins in a 1949 case involving the purported demonic possession of a young Evangelical Lutheran boy in Cottage City, MD who is still alive to this day, is retired from Nasa, and claims to have no memory of the events that he experienced. Mr. Blatty, who read about the events at the time, thought about the story for years until he wrote the book circa 1969, some 20 years later, in the house of his ex-wife in Encino, CA.

Coming on the heels of my all-time favorite film, 1971’s Oscar-winning The French Connection, Mr.
See full article at CinemaRetro »

13 Days of Horror: 5 Freaky Facts About "The Exorcist"

  • TooFab
With Halloween right around the corner, we're counting down the days by posting five fun or freaky facts about our favorite fright flicks. Today's featured film is "The Exorcist."1. The film is considered cursed. Ellen Burstyn injured her back while being thrown around the set. Actors Jack MacGowran and Vasiliki Maliaros both died before the movie was even released and a fire destroyed most of the set. A film-goer seeing the movie also broke his jaw after fainting. He sued Warner Bros., claiming the flick made him pass out.2. While everyone knows Regan's vomit is made from pea soup, did you know it's specifically Andersen's brand? The filmmakers reportedly tried using Campbell's but didn't like how it looked. When Regan pukes on Father Karras' face, actor Jason Miller's disgust is real -- he was told the soup would land on his chest. 3. To get the actor's breaths to appear during the exorcism,
See full article at TooFab »

'The Exorcist': 5 Reasons It's the Best Horror Movie Ever Made

  • Moviefone
Ask 10 people what their favorite horror movie is, and chances are over half will say "The Exorcist." Yes, that's a completely non-scientific statement based on absolutely no solid evidence, but it's totally understandable that horror fans revere the 1973 classic.

"The Exorcist" has it all, and is genuinely scary. It has the creepy religious element, the frightening possessed child, a variety of deaths, and it features just the right amount of blood, vomit, flies, and vulgarity. Forty years later, horror filmmakers are hard-pressed to match "The Exorcist," and many see it as the gold standard.

Here are my top five reasons why "The Exorcist" is the best horror film ever made -- though I could definitely come up with more.

The Alleged "Exorcist Curse"

Nothing makes a horror movie scarier than when some of the legend/story seeps into real life. When you find out that the young actress who played
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The Exorcist TV Series Is in the Works

The Exorcist TV Series Is in the Works
Morgan Creek and screenwriter Jeremy Slater are currently shopping a TV series based on The Exorcist, which is fitting since this year marks the 40th anniversary of director William Friedkin's horror classic.

No details regarding the story have been released, but the project has received interest from both broadcast and cable networks. Roy Lee (Bates Motel, The Ring) is on board to executive produce. The success of movie-to-tv adaptations such as A&E's Bates Motel and Hannibal, both of which were renewed for second seasons, may have been the springboard for a classic such as The Exorcist to move to the small screen.

Ironically enough, Morgan Creek developed a limited series based on The Exorcist last year with writer Sean Durkin (Martha Marcy May Marlene), but this version written by Jeremy Slater is said to be completely different. The Exorcist, which starred Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, and Lee J. Cobb,
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Long Before Obi-Wan There Were the Eight D'Ascoynes: Guinness Day

Alec Guinness: Before Obi-Wan Kenobi, there were the eight D’Ascoyne family members (photo: Alec Guiness, Dennis Price in ‘Kind Hearts and Coronets’) (See previous post: “Alec Guinness Movies: Pre-Star Wars Career.”) TCM won’t be showing The Bridge on the River Kwai on Alec Guinness day, though obviously not because the cable network programmers believe that one four-hour David Lean epic per day should be enough. After all, prior to Lawrence of Arabia TCM will be presenting the three-and-a-half-hour-long Doctor Zhivago (1965), a great-looking but never-ending romantic drama in which Guinness — quite poorly — plays a Kgb official. He’s slightly less miscast as a mere Englishman — one much too young for the then 32-year-old actor — in Lean’s Great Expectations (1946), a movie that fully belongs to boy-loving (in a chaste, fatherly manner) fugitive Finlay Currie. And finally, make sure to watch Robert Hamer’s dark comedy Kind Hearts and Coronets
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

The Exorcist 40th Anniversary Director's Cut Blu-ray Debuts September 8th

The Exorcist 40th Anniversary Director's Cut Blu-ray Debuts September 8th
When The Exorcist was first released in 1973, viewers were frightened out of their wits - and literally out of their seats. Now Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (Wbhe) will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Academy Award winning director William Friedkin's suspense masterpiece that haunted and intrigued the world, with a new Blu-ray release featuring the Extended Director's Cut and Theatrical Version with new special features and premiums ($49.99 Srp). Available October 8, just ahead of Halloween, this 40th Anniversary Edition will include two new featurettes: "Beyond Comprehension: William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist" and "Talk of the Devil," as well as an excerpt from Friedkin's book The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir.

A true cinema landmark, the theological thriller is one of the top ten box-office performers of all time. The Exorcist took 10 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and won two Oscars, for Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as winning for Best Sound.
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Horror Cinema's Most Cursed Productions

  • FEARnet
Horror Cinema's Most Cursed Productions
‘Cursed productions’ are not exclusive to horror pictures. But, it’s typically horror films that garner the most attention for tumultuous circumstances surrounding their filming. At one point, people seemed to like the idea of those involved with horror movies being condemned for their participation in the devil’s work. But, these days, many people would, attribute a cursed production to nothing more than bad luck, negligence, unfortunate circumstances, or a combination of the above factors. Films from The Wizard of Oz to Superman have spawned rumors of a curse associated with their production. But, a lot of people argue that there is a slightly less fantastical explanation for films that endured a particularly turbulent shoot.

Despite the fact that people try to tell us that there is no such thing as a ‘cursed production’, we thought it would be interesting to reminisce on some of the most notorious ‘cursed productions’. As a disclaimer,
See full article at FEARnet »

Exclusive: Linda Blair Talks The Exorcist 40th Anniversary Celebration

Exclusive: Linda Blair Talks The Exorcist 40th Anniversary Celebration
The Exorcist, one of the scariest movies of all-time, is turning 40 years old. To celebrate, we caught up with the original film's heart and soul, Linda Blair, to chat about this terrifying anniversary that spans five films and a lot of green vomit and head twisting. This Sunday, in honor of The Exorcist's timeless take on possession, FEARnet is running "The Complete Exorcist" special, which includes back-to-back airings of The Exorcist, Exorcist II: The Heretic, The Exorcist III, Exorcist: The Beginning, and Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist. Be sure to check it out, but first, check in with our exclusive chat, which finds Regan looking back on Exorcist II: The Heretic, her history with the franchise, and what her dogs think of the movies (to learn more about Linda's WorldHeart Foundation, were you might discover a horror movie loving dog of your own, clickHere) The Exorcist 40th Anniversary: Its
See full article at MovieWeb »

Roman Polanski BFI Retrospective - Cul-de-sac (1966)

Simon Columb attends the Roman Polanski retrospective at BFI Southbank...

Roman Polanski remains a fascinating filmmaker to this day. Alongside Andrej Wajda and Jerzy Skolimowski, Polanski came to the fore in the late 1950s in Poland. The BFI in London are screening all of Polanski’s films during January and February 2013 and throughout January, essays on separate films will be released here on Flickering Myth in the hope that you too can join us in reflecting on Polanski’s diverse and ever-expanding career. Next up is 1966's Cul-de-sac...

Cul-de-sac, 1966.

Starring Donald Pleasence, Françoise Dorléac, Lionel Stander, Jack MacGowran, Iain Quarrier, Geoffrey Sumner, Renee Houston, William Franklyn, Trevor Delaney, Marie Kean and Jacqueline Bisset.

Knife in the Water set the standard for Polanski. For his directorial debut, it was nominated for Foreign Picture at the Oscars, losing out to Fellini’s 8 ½. If you lose out to a film considered one of the greatest of all-time,
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Exclusive: The Exorcist's Linda Blair Talks Be Afraid of the Dark and Halloween Safety Tips!

Exclusive: The Exorcist's Linda Blair Talks Be Afraid of the Dark and Halloween Safety Tips!
Yesterday, we caught up with star of the iconic thriller The Exorcist, Linda Blair, who has joined forces with Reader's Digest for Be Afraid of the Dark, the must-have soundtrack to Halloween. The Playlist contains 15 seasonal classics, including the theme song from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Dreamcatcher from The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Little Fugue in G Minor, Things That Go Bump in the Night and The Exorcist theme, Tubular Bells.

Linda Blair is also the founder of the Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization devoted to the loving care and rescue of animals throughout Los Angeles, to which proceeds from this new CD will go to.

Linda Blair combines her love for rescue dogs and haunting music with this special Halloween interview, in which she offers up some helpful tips for your dogs this Halloween, along with a little bit of head-spinning and
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31 Days of Horror: ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ is one of the most aesthetically sumptuous horror comedies around

The Fearless Vampire Killers

Written by Gérard Brach and Roman Polanski

Directed by Roman Polanski

USA/UK, 1967

Roman Polanski’s comedy was his first foray into both Hollywood and colour filmmaking, and, whether intentional or not, feels like a deliberate parody of the Hammer studio’s brand of gothic horror. Polanski’s film has similarly striking castle locales, but the general aesthetic here excels beyond imitation and is among the most beautiful in both horror and comedy cinema. Taking place in a snowbound Transylvania, the lavish studio sets and location shots from the Alps combine to create a gorgeous widescreen film that feels like a winter wonderland; a snow globe environment host to production and costume designs fit for a period epic.

The production of The Fearless Vampire Killers was also where Polanski met his doomed love Sharon Tate. Though the director himself and Jack MacGowran are the stars, it
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The Exorcist Becomes Small Screen Mini-Series

The Exorcist Becomes Small Screen Mini-Series
Martha Marcy May Marlene writer-director Sean Durkin is reworking The Exorcist as a 10-episode TV series, with Roy Lee attached to produce.

Morgan Creek is backing this series, adapted from the classic William Peter Blatty novel. The show will take a different approach than the 1973 film classic, following the events that lead up to the demonic possession, and how the family turns to Father Damien Karras after doctors and psychiatrists fail to explain the bizarre behavior.

The series won't be shopped to the networks for two weeks, although executives are already scheduling meetings for this updated series.

William Friedkin directed the 1973 adaptation of The Exorcist, which centered on a priest (Max von Sydow) who tries to remove a demonic spirit from a young girl. It was the first horror movie to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.

The Exorcist was released December 26th, 1973 and stars Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow,
See full article at MovieWeb »

Barney Rosset, 1922 - 2012

  • MUBI
From John Gall, art director for Vintage and Anchor Books, comes word that legendary publisher and film distributor Barney Rosset has passed away at the age of 89. Gall points us to a lively profile by Louisa Thomas that ran in Newsweek in late 2008: "Rosset's publishing house, Grove Press, was a tiny company operating out of the ground floor of Rosset's brownstone when it published an obscure play called Waiting for Godot in 1954. By the time Beckett had won the Nobel Prize in 1969, Grove had become a force that challenged and changed literature and American culture in deep and lasting ways. Its impact is still evident — from the Che Guevara posters adorning college dorms to the canonical status of the house's once controversial authors. Rosset is less well known — but late in his life he is achieving some wider recognition. Last month, a black-tie crowd gave Rosset a standing ovation
See full article at MUBI »

Polanski Season

  • MUBI
It's been nearly two years since Swiss authorities, acting on a request from the Us, arrested Roman Polanski, jailed him for two months and then held him under house arrest for seven more. While incarcerated, Polanski managed to complete The Ghost Writer, which won him a Silver Bear at the 2010 edition of the Berlinale and then swept last year's European Film Awards. While we anxiously await Carnage — his adaptation of Yasmina Reza's play God of Carnage featuring Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz and John C Reilly; it'll see its premiere in Venice before opening the New York Film Festival — MoMA has announced a month-long retrospective (September 7 through 30) and today Criterion releases Cul-de-sac (1966) on DVD and Blu-ray.

"Cul-de-sac remains a searing reminder that Roman Polanski's idiosyncratic grasp of the human mind was once evinced theatrically, rather than through narrative ferocity," writes Joseph Jon Lanthier in Slant. "Where Chinatown,
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