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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

WTFW: The Devil’s Widow

Tam (or Tamas) Lin is the hero of a legendary ballad originating from the Scottish Borders.  The story revolves around the rescue of Tam Lin by his true love from the Queen of the Fairies.  While this ballad is specific to Scotland, the motif of capturing a person by holding him through all forms of transformation is found throughout Europe in folktales.

Most variants begin with the warning that Tam Lin collects either a possession or the virginity of any maiden who passes through the forest of Carterhaugh.  When a young girl, usually called Janet or Margaret, goes to Carterhaugh and plucks a double rose, Tam appears and asks why she has come without his leave and taken what is his.  She states that she owns Carterhaugh, because her father has given it to her.

In most variants, Janet then goes home and discovers that she is pregnant; some variants pick up the story at this point.  When taxed about her condition, she declares that her baby's father is an elf whom she will not forsake.  In some variants, she is informed of a herb that will induce abortion; in all the variants, when she returns to Carterhaugh and picks a plant, either the same roses as on her earlier visit or the herb, Tam reappears and challenges her action.

She asks him whether he was ever human, either after that reappearance, or in some variants, immediately after their first meeting resulted in her pregnancy.  He reveals that he was a mortal man, who, after falling from his horse, was rescued and captured by the Queen of Fairies.  Every seven years, the fairies give one of their people as a tithe to Hell and Tam fears he will become the tithe that night, which is Hallowe'en.  He is to ride as part of a company of knights, and Janet will recognize him by the white horse upon which he rides and by other signs.  He warns her that the fairies will attempt to make her drop him by turning him into all manner of beasts but that he will do her no harm.  When he is finally turned into a burning coal, she is to throw him into a well, whereupon he will reappear as a naked man and she must hide him.  Janet does as she is asked and wins her knight.  The Queen of Fairies is angry but acknowledges defeat.

 

The Devil's Widow (1970)

  • Original Title: The Ballad of Tam Lin
  • Genre: Horror
  • Directed: Roddy McDowall
  • Produced:
    • Jerry Gershwin 
    • Denis Holt 
    • Elliott Kastner 
    • Alan Ladd Jr. 
    • Stanley Mann 
    • Anthony B. Unger
    • Henry T. Weinstein
  • Written:
    • Robert Burns (Poem "The Ballad of Tam Lin") 
    • William Spier (Screenplay)
  • Starring: Ava Gardner, Ian McShane, Richard Wattis, Cyril Cusack, Stephanie Beacham
  • Music: Stanley Myers
  • Cinematography: Billy Williams
  • Editing: John Victor-Smith
  • Studio:
    • Commonwealth United Entertainment 
    • Winkast Film Productions
  • Distributed:
    • American International Pictures  
    • Astral Films  
    • International Film Distributors  
    • Olive Films  
    • Republic Pictures Home Video
  • Rated:
  • Release Date:
    • December 1970 (UK) 
    • September 1972 (US)
  • Running Time: 106 minutes
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Language: English

A newer release of this film (1998) (Republic Pictures Home Video) re-cut the film to be closer to Roddy McDowall's intention.  McDowall's direction of this film precluded him reprising his role as Cornelius in Beneath the Planet of the Apes, the only one of the original five Planet of the Apes films from which he is absent.

The wealthy and enchanting Mrs. Michaela Cazaret attempts to delay middle age by surrounding herself with adoring young people, who live decadently at her expense, playing silly games and having no obligations except to please her.  Micky's favorite among her followers is twenty-one-year-old Tom Lynn, whom she has taken as a lover.

Although he expresses love for her, Micky worries about how long his devotion will continue.  At Micky's whim, her entourage travels from her London abode to Carter Hall, a manor house she has bought in the border country of Scotland.  There, in the beautiful countryside, Tom becomes attracted to the vicar's daughter, Janet Ainsley, and they make love.  Their encounters do not remain secret from Micky's intuition, or the many eyes of her followers and the skulking observance of Elroy, who has been her personal secretary and accountant for almost twenty years.  Increasingly repulsed by his idle lifestyle, Tom attends a church service conducted by Janet's father Julian and afterward refuses to return home when he is sent for.  Instead, he, Janet and Lottie, a village child, go on a picnic.  When he returns to Carter Hall, Oliver, one of the followers who envies Tom's position with Micky, taunts him publicly about Janet.  Their interaction comes to blows, prompting Micky to interrupt and order Oliver to stop making trouble or leave.  After beckoning Tom to a private conversation, Elroy first reminds Tom how much he has to lose if he spurns Micky.  When Tom seems unmoved, Elroy tells him about previous young lovers who decided to leave Micky and shows Tom pictures he had taken of the gruesome fatal accidents the men encountered.  Elroy cryptically warns Tom that he is in charge of keeping "all the accounts."  Upon entering the bedroom he shares with Micky, Tom is startled when Micky appears wearing a mask and demands that she stop playing games.  She replies that games and toys are all anyone has to share.  Claiming that she is wasting his life, he declares he wants to leave, but Micky insists that he belongs to her, and then seduces him. 

On another day, when Tom meets with Janet, he is quiet and distracted, wanting to be free of Micky's companionship, yet sensing he cannot.  When Janet logically suggests that Micky cannot kill him for leaving her, Tom, upset, insists that she cannot understand his situation and returns to the house.  Later, Janet realizes she is pregnant and consults good-hearted, older Miss Gibson, who casts horoscopes and has helped other girls in similar predicaments.  Although the woman warns Janet that she will regret having an abortion, she arranges for her to visit a doctor in Edinburgh.  Meanwhile, Tom, without consulting Janet, announces to Micky that he is going away to think, begging her to free him.  Micky agrees to allow him to leave, if he will first spend a romantic evening with her.  However, after a night in the city with Micky that ends at a nightclub, Tom prepares to leave and Micky angrily tells him that he has one week before she hunts him down and kills him.

After returning to Carter Hall alone, she orders the young people away and tells Elroy to find her new people with whom to play.  Soon after, Oliver tries to replace Tom in Micky's esteem and is told that he must earn the "glittering prize."  Two days later, Janet arrives looking for Tom, and Micky manipulates her into admitting that she is pregnant and ambiguously suggests that she might help her.  Later, seeing no other option, Janet proceeds to the doctor's office to have the operation.  At the door, she is met by Tom, who has arrived prompted by an unsigned postcard, presumably from Micky, telling him about Janet's condition.  Tom takes Janet to a riverside trailer where he is now living.  One week after the day he left Micky he spots Elroy lurking nearby and realizes he is in danger.  Hastily, he decides they must go to London and tells the confused Janet that he loves her, but that she must hold on to him.  However, before they can get away, Tom is abducted by Elroy, Oliver and their cohorts and taken to Carter Hall.  Accepting his doom, Tom tells Micky she can arrange for his death but cannot control his feelings.  Promising to give him an "outside" chance of surviving, Micky convinces Tom to drink from a drugged goblet.  Oliver then announces to the group that they will play a party game, in which he will be the murderer and Tom the victim.

As the drug begins to take effect, sounds and sights become distorted for Tom.  He tries to get away, but is toyed with by the group, until he falls down the stairs.  When Oliver announces he is dead from a broken neck, Micky orders Elroy to bring him back to life and, at Elroy's touch, Tom awakens.  Given a three-minute lead to drive away before the others come after him, Tom stumbles out of the house, where Janet, who has just arrived, gets in the car with him.  Under the influence of the drugs, Tom drives wildly until he swerves off the road and abandons the car, running.  In his drug-induced state, he imagines that he is fighting with a bear, but Janet comes to his rescue.

Breaking free of her, he runs to a lake, where he hallucinates that a cobra is twisting around him, but again, Janet's arrival causes the vision to recede.  Still out of his senses, he runs off, believing that he is burning alive, despite the water around him.  Janet catches up and holds him.  Micky, Elroy and Oliver approach, but before Micky orders the group to kill Tom, Oliver intervenes.  Claiming that their plan failed and that "it is over," Oliver convinces Micky and the others to abandon their game and leave, after which Tom begins to regain his senses.  Later, as the group jets to some new destination, Oliver, who is now Micky's lover, confirms with her that she still has plenty of money.

Now if you paid attention to the summary of the legend you’ll notice that other than names the movie is nothing like the story at all, and that is why I chose it for WTF Wednesday.


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SITA: It’s For The Children

Today I did a keyword search for “horror” at IMDB and got the usual assortment of lists such as “Japanese-horror” and “eco-horror.”  The one combination that caught my attention was “children-horror.”  A quick click and refining the search to movies only and up came a list of horror movies that IMDB feels is appropriate to show to the wee ones.  I wanted to share my favorite nine from that list so take notes and you too can traumatize your children.  In no particular order other than year of release here we go!

The Watcher in the Woods (1980)

  • Genre: Horror – Mystery – Thriller
  • Directed:
    • John Hough 
    • Vincent McEveety
  • Produced:
    • Hugh Attwooll 
    • Tom Leetch 
    • Ron Miller
  • Written:
    • Florence Randall (Novel "A Watcher in the Woods") 
    • Brian Clemens (Screenplay) 
    • Gerry Day (Screenplay) 
    • Rosemary Anne Sisson (Screenplay) 
    • Harry Spalding (Screenplay)
  • Starring: Bette Davis, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Kyle Richards, Carroll Baker, David McCallum
  • Music: Stanley Myers
  • Cinematography: Alan Hume
  • Editing: Geoffrey Foot
  • Studio: Walt Disney Productions
  • Distributed:
    • Paramount Pictures Entertainment  
    • Anchor Bay Entertainment  
    • Walt Disney Home Video  
    • Buena Vista Distribution Company
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 17 October 1980
  • Running Time: 84 minutes
  • Country:
    • United States 
    • United Kingdom
  • Language: English

A Watcher in the Woods is a 1976 mystery novel by Florence Engel Randall that was published by Athenaeum Books.  It was re-released by Scholastic Book Services in 1980 a new title, The Watcher in the Woods to tie-in  with Walt Disney Studios' film adaptation with this new, slightly altered name.

An American family, headed by composer Paul Curtis (David McCallum) and his wife Helen (Carroll Baker), is renting an old mansion in England.  The mansion's owner is Mrs. Aylwood (Bette Davis), who lives in a small guest house on the property.  The mansion is surrounded by dense, forbidding woods.  The Curtis children, Jan (Lynn-Holly Johnson) and Ellie (Kyle Richards), explore the forest.  Mrs. Aylwood is continually searching the woods for her daughter -- whom she lost there 30 years ago.  Over time, the children come to be haunted by the spirit of the daughter, Karen (Katherine Levy).  The film was originally released in 1980 with an ending that included a huge alien from another planet.  The studio pulled back the film after test audiences laughed at the special effects, and re-released the movie in 1982 with a new ending that circumvented the alien.

 

Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

  • Genre: Drama – Family – Fantasy
  • Directed: Jack Clayton
  • Produced: Peter Douglas
  • Written:
    • Ray Bradbury (Novel “Something Wicked This Way Comes”)
    • John Mortimer (Screenplay)
  • Starring: Arthur Hill, Jason Robards, Jonathan Pryce, Diane Ladd, Pam Grier
  • Music: James Horner
  • Cinematography: Stephen H. Burum
  • Editing:
    • Barry Mark Gordon 
    • Art J. Nelson
  • Studio:
    • Walt Disney Productions 
    • Bryna Productions
  • Distributed:
    • Buena Vista Distribution Company  
    • Anchor Bay Entertainment
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 29 April 1983
  • Running Time: 95 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

Something Wicked This Way Comes is a 1962 novel by Ray Bradbury.  It is about two 14-year-old boys, Jim Nightshade and William Halloway, who have a harrowing experience with a nightmarish traveling carnival that comes to their Midwestern town one October.  The novel combines elements of fantasy and horror, analyzing the conflicting natures of good and evil, and on how they come into play between the characters and the carnival. Unlike many of Bradbury's other works, including the tangentially related Dandelion Wine, which is a collection of loosely related short stories, Something Wicked This Way Comes is a full-length novel.

In Greentown, Illinois, a small town enjoying the innocence of an upcoming autumn as the days grow shorter, two young boys—reserved Will Halloway and somewhat rebellious Jim Nightshade—leave from an after-school detention for "whispering in class" and hurry off for home.  When the boys hear about a strange traveling carnival, Mr. Dark's Pandemonium Carnival, from a lightning-rod salesman, they decide to see what it is all about, but Will is fearful, as most carnivals end their tours after Labor Day.  When the ominous Mr. Dark, the Illustrated Man, rides into town on a dark midnight, setting up his massive carnival in a matter of seconds, the boys are both thrilled and terrified.  It seems to be just another carnival at first, but it is not long before the forces of darkness begin to manifest from the haunting melodies of the carousel—which can change your age depending on which way you ride it—and from the glaring Mirror Maze.  With his collection of freaks and oddities, such as the Fat Man, Mr. Electro, and the blind Dust Witch, Dark intends to take control of the town and seize more innocent souls to damn. It will take all the wit and hope of the two boys to save their families and friends, with aid from an unlikely ally, Will's father, the town librarian, who understands more than anyone else that "something wicked this way comes".

 

The Monster Squad (1987)

  • Genre: Action – Comedy – Fantasy
  • Directed: Fred Dekker
  • Produced:
    • Jonathan A. Zimbert 
    • Keith Barish 
    • Rob Cohen 
    • Peter Hyams 
    • Neil A. Machlis
  • Written:
    • Shane Black 
    • Fred Dekker
  • Starring: Andre Gower, Robby Kiger, Brent Chalem, Ryan Lambert, Michael Faustino, Stephen Macht
  • Music: Bruce Broughton
  • Cinematography: Bradford May
  • Editing: James Mitchell
  • Studio:
    • Home Box Office  
    • Keith Barish Productions 
    • TAFT Entertainment Pictures
  • Distributed:
    • TriStar Pictures  
    • Image Entertainment  
    • J&M Entertainment  
    • Lions Gate Films Home Entertainment  
    • Olive Films  
    • Vestron Video  
    • Viacom
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 14 August 1987
  • Running Time: 82 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language:
    • English 
    • German

The film features the Universal Monsters (re-imagined by a team of special effects artists including Stan Winston), led by Count Dracula.  They, in turn, combat a group of savvy kids out to keep them from controlling the world.  This is also a twist on horror movies as it re-imagines classic monsters unleashed in a 1980s setting, and the film also makes a barb at incessant horror sequels when a "film within a film" is questioned as to how many times can a serial killer come back from the grave.

A group of adolescent monster movie enthusiasts form a club that meets in a tree house in this pre-teen horror feature.  When Dracula, The Mummy, Frankenstein, and The Wolfman are joined by Gill-Man in the search for a magic amulet, the boys form the Monster Squad to battle the forces of evil.  The boys get unexpected help from Frankenstein when the monster grows tired of being continually bossed around by Dracula.

 

The Willies (1990)

  • Genre: Horror – Comedy
  • Directed: Brian Peck
  • Produced:
    • Talaat Captan 
    • Gary DePew 
    • Brian Peck 
    • Brad Southwick
  • Written: Brian Peck
  • Starring: Sean Astin, Jason Horst, Joshua Miller, James Karen, Marilyn Pitzer, Evan Arnold, Dana Ashbrook, Kathy MacQuarrie
  • Music: Randy Miller
  • Cinematography: Tom Ingalls
  • Editing: James Eaton
  • Studio: Force Majeure Productions
  • Distributed:
    • Turner Home Video  
    • Prism Entertainment Corporation  
    • Echo Bridge Home Entertainment  
    • Paramount Home Video  
    • Platinum Disc
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 27 December 1990
  • Running Time: 92 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

When brothers Kyle (Jason Horst) and Josh (Joshua Miller) join their cousin Michael (Sean Astin) for a backyard camp out, the boys try to outdo one another with campfire horror stories.  But they soon discover that even made-up tales can become frighteningly real.  The goose bumps multiply as each grotesque story drags them closer to true terror.  James Karen, Kathleen Freeman and Jeremy Miller also star in this spooky thrill-fest.

 

Haunted (1993)

  • Genre: Comedy – Horror
  • Directed:
    • John Magyar 
    • Warren Chaney 
    • Darlene Staffa
  • Produced:
    • Warren Chaney 
    • Beverly Wilson 
    • David Sanders
  • Written: Warren Chaney
  • Starring: Gabe Caravello, Hunter Lee Hughes, Parrish Nelson, Quincy Starnes, Trevor Tellepsen, James Gale
  • Music: Ted Mason
  • Cinematography: Craig Bailey
  • Editing:
    • Connie Schell 
    • Herbert Craig
  • Studio:
    • Sandpiper Productions 
    • Warren Chaney Productions
  • Distributed:
    • Intercontinental Releasing Corporation  
    • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corporation
  • Rated: Adults Only (On a kids movie?)
  • Release Date: 10 October 1993
  • Running Time: 86 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

Haunted tells the story of five children playing hooky from school who become unexpectedly trapped in a haunted castle where they encounter Dracula, the Werewolf, Hunchback and Frankenstein's monster.  Other than a complete scene by scene breakdown on Wikipedia that is the closest thing to a plot synopsis I could find.

 

Frankenstein and Me (1997)

  • Genre: Comedy – Family – Fantasy
  • Directed: Robert Tinnell
  • Produced:
    • Richard Goudreau 
    • René Malo 
    • Jeffrey Tinnell
  • Written:
    • Richard Goudreau 
    • David Sherman 
    • Robert Tinnell
  • Starring: Jamieson Boulanger, Ricky Mabe, Polly Shannon, Louise Fletcher, Myriam Cyr, Burt Reynolds, Ryan Gosling, Rebecca Henderson, Jason Cavalier, Mélany Goudreau
  • Music: Normand Corbeil
  • Cinematography: Roxanne di Santo
  • Editing: Gaétan Huot
  • Studio:
    • Desert Music Pictures  
    • France Film 
    • Malofilm 
    • Melenny Productions 
    • Téléfilm Canada
  • Distributed:
    • Trimark Pictures  
    • Kaboom! Entertainment  
    • Vidmark Entertainment
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 18 March 1997
  • Running Time: 91 minutes
  • Country: Canada
  • Language: English

Earl Williams, a 12 year old boy, spends much of his time daydreaming.  His biggest fantasy is to create a monster just like Frankenstein.  One day, his father (Burt Reynolds) dies of a heart attack.  Shortly after, Earl goes to visit the House of Mysteries at a traveling fair, which is said to have the "real Frankenstein."  The next day, Earl sadly watches the caravan of fair trucks leave town.  As the last vehicle makes a turn, the crate holding the monster falls out.  Earl decides to hide the monster and try to bring it back to life.  On the fateful night, as storm clouds form above, Earl has his friends rig the monster so that it will conduct electricity produced by a lightning bolt.  Just as the lightning bolt hits, Earl's mother and the local deputy enter.  Everyone is amazed at the beauty of the electrical display, but will it be enough to bring the monster back to life...?  Featuring Ryan Gosling in his first feature film role!

 

Believe (2000)

  • Genre: Family – Horror
  • Directed: Robert Tinnell
  • Produced:
    • Jean-Marie Comeau 
    • Richard Goudreau 
    • Christian Larouche 
    • André Link
  • Written:
    • Richard Goudreau 
    • Roc LaFortune 
    • Robert Tinnell
  • Starring: Ricky Mabe, Mario Boni, Justin Bradley, Vlasta Vrana, Christopher Heyerdahl, Jayne Heitmeyer, Chip Chuipka, Elisha Cuthbert, Jan Rubes, Una Kay
  • Music: Jerry Devilliers
  • Cinematography: Pierre Jodoin
  • Editing: Gaétan Huot
  • Studio:
    • Lions Gate Films 
    • Melenny Productions
  • Distributed:
    • Avalanche Home Entertainment  
    • Imagem Filmes  
    • SBP
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 22 March 2000
  • Running Time: 96 minutes
  • Country: Canada
  • Language: English

After being continually kicked out of boarding schools, Ben is sent to live with his stern Grandfather in a small town.  While there, no one is interested in him with the exception of a girl named Katherine.  The two become fast friends despite the unexplained protests from Ben's grandfather and Katherine's uncle.  Almost as soon as he arrives, Ben begins to see the ghost of a woman around his grandfather's house.  He and Katherine want to help the ghost who holds a connection to both of their families.  As they research the past, Ben and Katherine find out that sometimes all you need to do to help someone is to believe.

 

Hangman's Curse (2003)

  • Genre: Horror – Mystery – Thriller
  • Directed: Rafal Zielinski
  • Produced:
    • Jerry Rose 
    • Rich Cowan 
    • Ralph Winter  
    • Joe Goodman  
    • Bobby Neutz  
    • Frank Peretti 
    • Steve Buhai  
    • Kelly Neutz
  • Written:
    • Frank Peretti (Novel “Hangman’s Curse) 
    • Kathy Mackel (Screenplay) 
    • Stan Foster (Screenplay)
  • Starring: David Keith, Mel Harris, Leighton Meester, Douglas Smith, Frank Peretti, Daniel Farber, William R. Moses
  • Music: David Bergeaud
  • Cinematography: Dan Heigh
  • Editing:
    • Mary Morrisey  
    • Tiffany Wallach
  • Studio:
    • Namesake Entertainment 
    • North by Northwest Entertainment
    • The Total Living Network
  • Distributed:
    • Con Dios Entertainment  
    • Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 12 September 2003
  • Running Time: 106 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

Hangman's Curse is a 2001 novel by Frank E. Peretti.  It is the first book in the Veritas Project series for teenagers.

The story centers around an apparently supernatural case taken by a family of investigators who make up the Veritas Project.  About seventy years after the suicidal hanging of Abel Frye, a student at a high school who hanged himself after being unable to cope with the pressures of bullying, Jocks from the school's football team begin to lose their sanity after seeing what they believe to be Abel's ghost, which is rumored to be under the control of a group of witches out for revenge.

The film is summarized as a family of paranormalists investigates the strange goings-on at a high school still reeling over a student's very public suicide in this teen thriller.  Hangman's Curse concerns the further exploits of the Veritas Group, a loose collective of people committed to researching supernatural mysteries.  The group's members include the Springfield family -- parents Nate (David Keith) and Sarah (Mel Harris) and Elisha (Leighton Meester) and Elijah (Douglas Smith) -- whose current assignment takes them to the aforementioned high school.  There, they find that Abel, the teen who took his life, had been long ostracized by various cliques in the school -- jocks, popular kids, and the like -- all of whom are falling prey to mysterious ailments.  As Nate and Sarah watch from the sidelines, it's up to Elisha and Elijah to pose as students to get inside the mystery.

 

The Substitute (2007)

  • Original Title: Vikaren
  • Genre: Comedy – Fantasy – Horror
  • Directed: Ole Bornedal
  • Produced: Michael Obel
  • Written:
    • Ole Bornedal 
    • Henrik Prip
  • Starring: Paprika Steen, Ulrich Thomsen, Jonas Wandschneider, Nikolaj Falkenberg-Klok, Emma Juel Justesen, Mollie Maria Gilmartin, Josephine Gents, Emma Claudia Søndergaard, Jakob Fals Nygaard, Andreas Gram Nielsen
  • Music: Marco Beltrami
  • Cinematography: Dan Laustsen
  • Editing: Thomas Krag
  • Studio:
    • Obel Film 
    • Thura Film
  • Distributed:
    • FST5  
    • Ghosthouse Underground  
    • Grindstone Entertainment Group
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 13 March 2007
  • Running Time: 93 minutes
  • Country: Denmark
  • Language: Danish

When an alien comes from another planet to learn the meaning of love on Earth, it possesses the body of Ulla Harms, who is the wife of an owner of a poultry farm in Denmark.  Meanwhile, the boy Carl grieves the loss of his mother, who died in a car crash, and is outcast in his school.  His father Jesper Osböll wrote a bestseller about the power of love and also grieves the loss of his beloved wife.  When the teacher of Carl has a health problem with salmonella, Ulla is assigned as the substitute teacher for his class.  Sooner Carl and his friends discovers that Ulla is a monster from outer space, but their parents do not trust them and believe the children are fantasizing.


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Monday, October 28, 2013

ICFIFC: Shadow of The Vampire

Shadow of the Vampire is a dark comedy horror film released in 2000 directed by E. Elias Merhige and written by Steven Katz, and starring John Malkovich, Willem Dafoe, and Udo Kier.  The film is a fictionalized account of the making of the classic vampire film Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens, directed by F. W. Murnau, in which the film crew begin to have disturbing suspicions about their lead actor.  The film borrows the techniques of silent films, including the use of intertitles to explain elided action and iris lenses.

The film received two Academy Award nominations, Best Supporting Actor and Best Makeup, but lost to Traffic and How The Grinch Stole Christmas, respectively.  Shadow of the Vampire received both critical and commercial success.  The film currently has a rating of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes.

 

Shadow of the Vampire (2000)

  • Genre: Drama – Horror
  • Directed: E. Elias Merhige
  • Produced:
    • Paul Brooks 
    • Nicolas Cage 
    • Jimmy de Brabant 
    • Norman Golightly 
    • Alan Howden 
    • Richard Johns 
    • Jeff Levine 
    • Jean-Claude Schlim 
    • Orian Williams
  • Written: Steven Katz
  • Starring: John Malkovich, Willem Dafoe, Udo Kier, Cary Elwes, Catherine McCormack, Eddie Izzard
  • Music: Dan Jones
  • Cinematography: Lou Bogue
  • Editing:
    • Royinba Onijala 
    • Chris Wyatt
  • Studio:
    • Saturn Films  
    • Long Shot Pictures  
    • BBC Films 
    • Delux Productions  
    • Luxembourg Film Fund  
    • Pilgrim Films Ltd.
  • Distributed:
    • Lions Gate Films  
    • Metrodome Distribution  
    • Universal Studios Home Video
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 26 January 2001
  • Running Time: 92 minutes
  • Country:
    • United Kingdom 
    • United States
  • Language:
    • English 
    • German 
    • Luxembourgish

In 1921, German director Frederich Wilhelm Murnau takes his cast and crew on-location in Czechoslovakia to shoot Nosferatu, an unauthorized version of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula.  Murnau keeps his team in the dark about their schedule and the actor playing the vampire Count Orlok.  It is left to the film's other main actor, Gustav von Wangenheim, to explain that the lead is an obscure German theater performer named Max Schreck, who is a character actor.  To involve himself fully in his role, Schreck will only appear among the cast and crew in make-up, and will never break character.

After filming scenes in a sound stage with leading actress Greta Schroeder, who is displeased about leaving Berlin, Murnau's team travels to the remote inn where they will be staying and shooting further scenes.  The landlady becomes distressed at Murnau removing crucifixes around the inn, and the cameraman, Wolfgang Muller, falls into a strange, hypnotic state.  Gustav discovers a bottle of blood amongst the team's food supplies, and Murnau delivers a caged ferret to a cellar in the middle of the night.

One night, Murnau rushes his team up to an old Slovak castle for the first scene with the vampire.  Schreck appears for the first time, and his appearance and behavior impress and disturb them.  The film's producer, Albin Grau, suspects that Schreck is not a German theater actor, and is confused when Murnau tells him that he found Schreck in the castle.  Soon after the completion of the scene, Wolf is found collapsed in a dark tunnel.  Upon returning to the inn, the landlady appears frightened by his pale, weak appearance, and mutters "Nosferatu" while clutching at a rosary.

Whilst filming a dinner scene between Gustav and Count Orlok, Murnau startles Gustav, making him cut his finger with a bread knife.  Schreck reacts wildly at the sight of the blood, and, urged on by Murnau, tries drinking from Gustav's wound.  Suddenly the generator powering the lights fails.  When the lights return, Schreck has pinned Wolf to the floor, apparently draining his blood.  Albin orders filming ended for the night, and the crew rushes from the castle, leaving Schreck behind.  Schreck examines the camera equipment, fascinated by footage of a sunrise.

Schreck is a vampire who Murnau has made a deal with, in order to create the most realistic vampire film possible. He has been promised Greta as a prize for completing the film, but remains difficult and uncooperative until the entire production is at his mercy.  With Wolf near death, Murnau is forced to bring in another cinematographer, Fritz Arno Wagner.  During Murnau's absence, Albin and the film's scriptwriter, Henrik Galeen, share a drink by a campfire, when Schreck approaches them.  They invite him to join them, and question Schreck, believing he is still in character.  They ask him when he became a vampire; Schreck replies that he cannot remember.  Albin and Galeen reply that Dracula would not reply so, then ask Schreck what he thought of the novel.  Schreck points out Dracula's loneliness, and the flaw of Dracula remembering how to do everyday activities that he has not performed in centuries.  Albin and Henrik suggest creating more vampires, but Schreck replies he is too old, and he seems to remembers he could not anyway.  When they ask how he became a vampire, Schreck starts to mention a tryst he had.  A bat flies by and Schreck catches it, sucking its blood ecstatically.  The others are impressed by what they assume is talented acting.

The production moves to Heligoland.  Murnau, in a laudanum-induced stupor, admits Schreck's true nature to Albin and Fritz.  The two realize that they are trapped, leaving them no choice but to complete the film and give Greta to the vampire if they wish to survive.  Greta becomes hysterical after noticing Schreck casts no reflection.  Murnau, Albin and Fritz drug her, and film the scene as Schreck feeds on Greta.  The laudanum in her blood puts Schreck to sleep.  At dawn, the remaining three attempt to open a door and let in sunlight to destroy Schreck.  However, Schreck previously cut the chain, having learned of their trickery.  Schreck kills Fritz and Albin while Murnau continues filming.  The rest of the crew arrives in time to lift up the door and flood the set with sunlight, destroying Schreck while Murnau films his death.

Murnau completes the filming and calmly states "I think we have it."


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Friday, October 25, 2013

DNDF: Horror in the Old West

Apparently not a month goes by that I don’t regale you all with the exciting stories of my youngling years watching movies on a Saturday afternoon.  Yes, once again I’m going to talk about Dr. Shock.  One of the first movies I can remember the good Doctor introducing me to was “Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter.”  Little did I know that film would start a fire that burns to this day.  So turn down the lights, snuggle up to that special someone and ease on into another installment of Date Night Double Feature.

Billy the Kid vs. Dracula (1966)

  • Genre: Action – Drama – Horror
  • Directed: William Beaudine
  • Produced: Carol Case
  • Written:
    • Carl K. Hittleman 
    • Jack Lewis
  • Starring: John Carradine, Chuck Courtney, Melinda Plowman, Virginia Christine, Harry Carey Jr., Walter Janovitz, Bing Russell, Olive Carey
  • Music: Raoul Kraushaar
  • Cinematography: Lothrop B. Worth
  • Editing: Roy V. Livingston
  • Studio: Circle Productions Inc.
  • Distributed:
    • Embassy Pictures  
    • International Film Distributors  
    • Something Weird Video  
    • Nostalgia Video  
    • Cheezy Flicks Entertainment
  • Rated: NR
  • Release Date: 10 April 1966
  • Running Time: 73 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

Billy the Kid vs. Dracula is a 1966 American low-budget horror/western film directed by William Beaudine.  It was released theatrically as part of a double bill, along with Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter.  The film revolves around the eponymous outlaw trying to save his fiancee from Dracula (John Carradine repeating his role from the low-budget Universal Studios movie sequels to the Bela Lugosi classic).

The film centers on Dracula's plot to convert Billy the Kid's fiancee, Betty Bentley, into his vampire wife.  Dracula impersonates Bentley's uncle and schemes to make her his vampiric bride.

Fortunately for Betty, a German immigrant couple come to work for her and warn Bentley that her "uncle" is a vampire.  While Bentley does not believe them, their concerns confirm Billy's suspicions that something is not quite right with Betty's uncle.

Eventually, the Count kidnaps Betty and takes her to an abandoned silver mine.  Billy confronts the Count but soon finds that bullets are no match for a vampire.  The Count subdues the notorious outlaw and sets out to transform Betty into his vampire mate.  Just then, the town sheriff and a country doctor arrive.  The doctor hands Billy a scalpel telling him he must drive it through the vampire's heart.  Billy throws his gun at the vampire and knocks him senseless, making him easy pickings for a staking.  With the count destroyed, Betty is saved and Billy takes her away, presumably to live happily ever after.

This film, and its companion piece, Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter, were the final films for William Beaudine.  This marked the end of a career that included approximately 250 (known) films beginning in the silent period.  Jack Lewis actually wrote the script but sold all rights to credited screenwriter Carl K. Hittleman for $250.  The film was shot in eight days, a fact that is hard to believe if you have seen this film.

 

Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter (1966)

  • Genre: Horror – Sci-Fi – Western
  • Directed: William Beaudine
  • Produced: Carol Case
  • Written: Carl K. Hittleman
  • Starring: John Lupton, Narda Onyx, Estelita Rodriguez, Cal Bolder, Jim Davis
  • Music: Raoul Kraushaar
  • Cinematography: Lothrop B. Worth
  • Editing: William Austin
  • Studio: Circle Productions Inc.
  • Distributed:
    • Embassy Pictures  
    • International Film Distributors  
    • Image Entertainment  
    • MGM/UA Home Entertainment  
    • Embassy Home Entertainment  
    • Nostalgia Video  
    • Something Weird Video  
    • Sultan Entertainment  
    • Cheezy Flicks Entertainment  
    • Alpha Video Distributors  
    • Elite Entertainment  
    • Mill Creek Entertainment  
    • ACME-TV
  • Rated: NR
  • Release Date: 10 April 1966
  • Running Time: 88 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter is a low-budget western/horror hybrid film filmed in 1966, in which a fictionalized version of the real-life western outlaw Jesse James encounters the fictional granddaughter (the movie's title notwithstanding) of the famous Dr. Frankenstein.

Dr Frankenstein’s grandchildren Maria and Rudolph have moved to the American West, in order to use the prairie lightning storms in their experiments on unwilling victims.  After a number of failures, Rudolph is finding it increasingly difficult to hide the trail of bodies.  Down the road, Mañuel Lopez, his wife Nina, and their daughter Estelita decide to leave town because of the frequent disappearances.

Two gunslingers come to town, Hank Tracy, a dimwitted lug, and Jesse James, the infamous outlaw.  Meeting up with the head of a local gang, they join up with the intention of stealing $100,000 from the next stagecoach. However, a gang member named Lonny decides to go to the sheriff and lets them know about the plot in exchange for becoming his deputy.  So as the robbery begins, the sheriff and his men shoot the two remaining members of his gang and seriously wound Hank.

Jesse and Hank escape and stop at the Lopez's campout to tend to Hank's wound and sleep until the morning. During the middle of the night, Estelita wakes up Jesse and Hank and leads them back to town to the Frankensteins' house to fix up Hank.  Maria agrees to help, but her plan is to use Hank as another one of her experiments.  After sending Jesse to the town pharmacist with a note, she begins operating on Hank, giving him a new brain and bringing him back to life.  Rudolph tries to poison Hank, now called Igor, and Maria orders Igor to strangle Rudolph.

Jesse gives the pharmacist the note, which actually reveals his identity and tells the pharmacist to call the sheriff. Jesse manages to escape, killing deputy Lonny in the process.  When he returns to the Frankensteins' house, Igor incapacitates him and ties him up.

Realizing Jesse is in trouble, Estelita sends the sheriff to the house, where he finds Jesse and prepares to take him for the reward.  But Maria sends Igor to crush the sheriff.  During the scuffle, Estelita frees Jesse and tries to escape.  Maria orders Igor to go kill Estelita, but Igor strangles Maria instead and goes after Jesse.  Estelita gets Jesse's gun and kills Igor.

The next morning, as Jesse buries Hank, Estelita pleads with him to stay and live with her, but Jesse, knowing that he's a fugitive, rides off with the sheriff, who wasn't killed by Igor.

The lab equipment was provided by Ken Strickfaden, who used the same gadgets in the Frankenstein films made by Universal, as well as Mel Brooks' “Young Frankenstein”.  This is one of the few times the equipment was filmed in color.


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Thursday, October 24, 2013

CC: Equinox

Are we all in agreement that the Evil Dead series is a direct descendent of the Lovecraft Mythos?  Yes?  Good, tonight’s movie is kind of the Great Uncle of the Evil Dead movies.

Equinox is a 1970 American horror film.  It was originally made in 1967 under the title The Equinox... A Journey into the Supernatural, directed by Dennis Muren and starring Edward Connell as Dave, Barbara Hewitt as Susan Turner, Frank Bonner as Jim Hudson and award-winning science fiction/horror writer Fritz Leiber as geologist Dr Arthur Waterman.  The special effects were provided by Dave Allen and Jim Danforth; the latter later worked on Flesh Gordon, in which he animated a giant monster similar to the ones in Equinox.

Due to the similarities in their plots, Equinox is believed to have inspired Evil Dead, yet this has not been confirmed.  It was seen by members of the crew of Evil Dead before production:

"I had seen Equinox at least twice in drive-ins before making Evil Dead.  I don't recall having discussed it with [Evil Dead director] Sam Raimi, but the similarities are remarkable.  I think they come from the low-budget nature of both films.  That is, a few characters, an isolated, inexpensive location, and ambitious special effects.  All in all, Equinox did inspire me to continue my goal of making movies. 'If they can do it...'" —Tom Sullivan, special effects and makeup artist for the Evil Dead movies, as quoted from the booklet included with the Criterion DVD set, "Backyard Monsters: Equinox and the Triumph of Love" by Brock Deshane.

 

Equinox (1970)

  • Genre: Horror – Adventure – Mystery
  • Directed:
    • Dennis Muren 
    • Jack Woods 
    • Mark Thomas McGee
  • Produced:
    • Jack H. Harris 
    • Dennis Muren
  • Written:
    • Mark Thomas McGee 
    • Jack Woods
  • Starring: Edward Connell, Barbara Hewitt, Frank Bonner, Robin Christopher
  • Music:
    • John Caper, Jr. 
    • Jaime Mendoza-Nava
  • Cinematography: Mike Hoover
  • Editing: John Joyce
  • Studio: Tonylyn Productions Inc.
  • Distributed:
    • Jack H. Harris Enterprises  
    • Wizard Video  
    • The Criterion Collection  
    • Cinépix Film Properties  
    • VIP Distributors  
    • Vogue Video
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: October 1970
  • Running Time: 80 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

Four young adults – Dave, Susan, Jim and Jim's girlfriend – head into the woods to look for a lost scientist, Dr. Arthur Waterman.  The friends have a picnic and glimpse a mysterious castle in the woods.  They find that Dr. Waterman's cabin seems to have been destroyed.  A forest ranger, who is Asmodeus in human form, watches over the teenagers.  When the group stumbles into a cave, a strange old man presents them with an ancient book filled with magical lore and symbols.  Asmodeus sends monsters – a giant ape-like creature and a green-skinned, fur-clad giant – to retrieve the book from them at all costs.  The ape-like creature kills the old man.  The castle seems to have disappeared, however the friends discover that it has been rendered invisible by magic.

After killing Jim, Asmodeus reveals his true form, that of a winged red demon.  Asmodeus kills Jim's girlfriend and then attacks Dave and Susan.  Dave and Susan flee to a cemetery and destroy the demon with a cross.  As it dies, the cemetery explodes, killing Susan.  Dave sees a shadowy giant who prophecies that Dave will be dead in one year and one day.  Dave loses his sanity, and is confined to a mental hospital.  One year and one day later, an evil-faced Susan arrives at the hospital to visit him.

With the end credits the film ends with "The End?" leaving the audience to wonder if the story will ever continue and if Susan is still possessed by Asmodeus.

While studying business at Pasadena City College, Dennis Muren spent $6500 to make Equinox (at that time, a short science fiction film) with friends Dave Allen and Jim Danforth.  Tonylyn Productions, a small film company, liked the film enough to distribute it.  Tonylyn hired film editor Jack Woods to direct additional footage in order to make Equinox into a feature-length movie.  When the feature-length Equinox was released in October 1970, Muren was credited as a producer in spite of having directed much of the film and creating the special effects himself.  The movie made enough money for Muren to recoup his $6500 investment.

The Equinox... A Journey into the Supernatural was picked up for distribution by producer Jack H. Harris, who shot new footage for the film with Jack Woods and released it in 1970 as Equinox.

The film includes a cameo from Fritz Leiber as Dr. Waterman, who was signed via the auspices of Forrest J. Ackerman; Ackerman's voice is heard on a tape recorder during the hospital scenes in the movie.  Leiber has no spoken lines in the film, only four scenes: one in which he is seen driving; a scene in which he grabs the book from the young people and runs away with it through the woods, a death scene in which his body mysteriously disappears; and a flashback in which we see him reading through the book and descending the stairs of his forest hideaway while a tentacled creature tears it apart.

Equinox was released on DVD in June 2006 as release 338 in The Criterion Collection.  It includes both the theatrical version and Muren's original production, the first time the latter has been released.


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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

WTFW: Mystics In Bali

“Mystics In Bali” is a 1981 Indonesian horror film directed by H. Tjut Djalil and based on the novel "Leák Ngakak" by Putra Mada.  The original Indonesian title is "Mistik" or "Leyak", but the film is also known as "Leák" in some territories and "Balinese Mystic" in Australia.

Information on the original novel is non existent as is a photo of Putra Mada, or atleast a photo of someone with that name old enough to have published a novel in 1978.

The film revolves around the Balinese mythology of the leyak (penanggalan) and was originally banned in Indonesia. Nevertheless, pirated copies found their way onto VHS first locally and then internationally.  This was first true Indonesian horror film aimed at a western audience.

 

Mystics in Bali (1981)


  • Original Title: Leák
  • Genre: Fantasy – Horror – Thriller
  • Directed: H. Tjut Djalil
  • Produced:
    • Sri Gunawan 
    • Hendry Katili 
    • Yan Senjaya 
    • Abdul Muis Sofian 
    • Harry Susanto
  • Written:
    • Putra Mada (Novel "Leák Ngakak") 
    • Jimmy Atmaja (Screenplay)
  • Starring: Ilona Agathe Bastian, Yos Santo, Sofia WD, W.D.Mochtar
  • Music: Gatot Sudarto
  • Cinematography: Kasdullah
  • Editing: Djuki Paimin
  • Studio:
    • Pusat Perusahaan Film 
    • Video Tape Corp.
  • Distributed:
    • Mondo Macabro  
    • Sony Video Software International
  • Rated: NR
  • Release Date:
    • 1981 (Indonesia)  
    • 1989 (USA)
  • Running Time: 86 minutes
  • Country: Indonesia
  • Language: Indonesian

This region-specific horror film from Indonesia is one of the most infamous genre efforts to emerge from that land. The story represents a unique combination of Western horror film structure and Eastern lore: the plot focuses on Cathy (Ilona Agathe Bastian), a young writer who travels to Bali to study the local black magic rites for a book she is writing.  Unfortunately, the witch (Sofia W.D.) who trains her transforms Cathy into a vampiric slave who dines on the villagers as a part of a plan for the witch to attain immortality.  Mahendra (Yos Santo), a local who has fallen for Cathy, enlists the help of the local holy men to stop the witch, leading to a war between the forces of good and evil magic.  Along the way, viewers are treated to a variety of bizarre sights that directly reference Indonesian legends, including a woman transforming into a pig and a severed head that flies around with its body's internal organs attached.

The film eventually gained cult status amongst horror fans worldwide; particularly after the proliferation of the internet where many reviews of it appeared prior to any DVD release.

The film received a DVD release by Mondo Macabro in 2003 but has since been deleted.  Mondo Macabro released a new edition in 2007 that featured a new HD transfer from the original negative.

The film was featured on www.slatev.com as part of an entertaining video series about strange and weird cinema - it was discussed along with the Shaw Brothers' Heaven & Hell and the Filipino film Killing Of Satan, under the title International Buffet (2008) and Cinemassacre's Monster Madness (2010).

Director H. Tjut Djalil continued to blend Eastern and Western horror elements in later, even wilder efforts like Lady Terminator and Dangerous Seductress.

Taglines attached to various releases of this film:

She sold her soul to possess the secrets of black magic... (Mondo Macabro USA DVD release)

The true Story of an AUSTRALIA girl who learn the mysticen of LEAK BALI. (Bali). The tremendous mysticen of LEAK Bali, is always feared the people of Bali ever and ever. [sic]


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WATN: Duane Jones

Duane L. Jones (February 2, 1937 – July 22, 1988) was an American actor, best known for his leading role as Ben in the 1968 horror film Night of the Living Dead.  He was director of the Maguire Theater at the State University of New York at Old Westbury.  He was the artistic director of the Richard Allen Center for Culture and Art in Manhattan.

Jones was born on February 2, 1937, and he had a sister, Marva Jones Brooks.  A graduate of the Sorbonne (The University of Paris), he studied acting in New York City.

His role in 1968 movie Night of the Living Dead marked the first time an African American actor was cast as the star of a horror film.  He was executive director of the Black Theater Alliance, a federation of theater companies, from 1976 to 1981.

He taught acting styles at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.  As executive director of the Richard Allen Center for Culture and Art, he promoted African-American theater.  After leaving the American Academy of Dramatic Arts he taught a select group of students privately in Manhattan, by invitation only.  His hand-selected students were of diverse ethnic backgrounds.

He died of cardiac arrest at Winthrop-University Hospital on July 22, 1988.

The Duane L. Jones Recital Hall at State University of New York at Old Westbury is named after him.  Up until his death, he proclaimed that he had never watched any of the other "Dead" films, nor any other George Romero picture, claiming that Night of the Living Dead was "his" time.

In the zombie graphic novel The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman one of the characters is named Duane Jones as an homage.

Other than one comedy film (Losing Ground) his entire film career was filled with horror movies, as follows:

Ganja & Hess (1973)

  • Genre: Drama – Horror
  • Directed: Bill Gunn
  • Produced:
    • Jack Jordan 
    • Quentin Kelly 
    • Chiz Schultz 
    • Joan Shikegawa
  • Written: Bill Gunn
  • Starring: Marlene Clark, Duane Jones, Bill Gunn, Sam Waymon, Leonard Jackson, Candece Tarpley, Richard Harrow, John Hoffmeister, Betty Barney, Mabel King
  • Music: Sam Waymon
  • Cinematography: James E. Hinton
  • Editing: Victory Kanefsky
  • Studio: Kelly/Jordan Enterprises
  • Distributed:
    • Kelly/Jordan Enterprises  
    • Heritage Enterprises Inc.  
    • Lettuce Entertain You  
    • Impulse Productions  
    • All-Day Entertainment  
    • MGM/UA Home Entertainment  
    • Lost Domain
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 20 April 1973
  • Running Time: 110 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

A scientist stricken with an insatiable hunger for blood dominates this strikingly atmospheric drama.  Dr. Hess Green (Duane Jones), a wealthy and respected African-American anthropologist, is assigned a new assistant, an intelligent but unstable man named George Meda (Bill Gunn).  One drunken night, George stabs Hess with a dagger from the ancient African tribe of Myrthia and then kills himself.  The Myrthians were cursed with a thirst for human blood, and, by the time George's wife, Ganja (Marlene Clark), comes looking for him, Hess has developed a similar addiction to blood.  Hess and Ganja fall in love, and they soon marry, but Hess infects his new bride with the Myrthian curse, which gives them eternal life, but at a terrible price.  Actor, playwright, and novelist Bill Gunn was hired to write and direct a low-budget black vampire movie, but instead he delivered a thoughtful, impressionistic film that uses addiction to blood as a metaphor for African-American cultural and spiritual identity (and never once uses the word "vampire").  Ganja and Hess proved too deliberately paced and self-consciously surreal for the producers, who chopped it to 83 minutes, removed Sam Waymon's superb musical score, and retitled it Blood Couple.  This mangled version was for many years the only one available, and it appeared under six different titles on home video before Bill Gunn's original version was restored for DVD release in 1998.

 

Beat Street (1984)

  • Genre: Drama – Music
  • Directed: Stan Lathan
  • Produced:
    • Harry Belafonte 
    • David V. Picker
    • Michael Holman 
    • Mel Howar
  • Written:
    • Andy Davis 
    • David Gilbert 
    • Paul Golding 
    • Steven Hager
  • Starring: Rae Dawn Chong, Guy Davis, Jon Chardiet, Leon W. Grant, Saundra Santiago
  • Music:
    • Arthur Baker 
    • Harry Belafonte 
    • Webster Lewis
  • Cinematography: Tom Priestley Jr.
  • Editing:
    • Dov Hoenig 
    • Kevin Lee 
    • Bob Brady
  • Studio: Orion Pictures Corporation
  • Distributed:
    • Orion Pictures Corporation  
    • MGM/UA Home Entertainment  
    • Vestron Video
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 8 June 1984
  • Running Time: 105 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

An upbeat, lets-put-on-a-show musical about the wonders of hip-hop music and culture that tells the story of Kenny, a young hip-hop artist living in the rough slums of the Bronx with his younger brother Lee and their mother Cora.  Kenny dreams of making it big as a disc jockey and playing in the most swank of Manhattan nightclubs, the Roxy.  Into their lives comes Tracy, a composer and assistant choreographer from the City College of New York, who inspires him to try to continue his dream while romance begins to grow between them, despite coming from different neighborhoods and worlds.  Meanwhile, Lee is part of a break-dancing crew set on dominating the scene of their street.  The rest of their friends include Ramon, a graffiti artist determined to spread his painting to every subway car in the city while dealing with his girlfriend Carmen and Chollie, a fellow disc jockey who becomes Kenny's manager after he lands him a gig at a Bronx club.  Many hip-hop groups, electro artists, break dancers, and Latin freestyle singers, who include Us Girls, the Treacherous Three, the System, the Rock Steady Crew, Afrika Bambaataa & Soul Sonic Force and Shango, the Magnificent Force, the New York City Breakers, Grand Master Melle Mel & the Furious Five, Tina B., Johnny B. Bad, and many more, make cameo appearances.

Yeah, not a horror film but you need to respect the Beat Street.

 

Vampires (1986)

  • Genre: Horror
  • Directed: Len Anthony
  • Produced: Len Anthony
  • Written:
    • Len Anthony 
    • James Harrigan
  • Starring: Orly Benyar, John Bly, Jackie James, Duane Jones, Charles Harmon, Kit Jones, Robin Michaels
  • Music: Unknown
  • Cinematography:
  • Editing: Unknown
  • Studio: Unknown
  • Distributed: Unknown
  • Rated: NR
  • Release Date: May 1988
  • Running Time: 61 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

The students at a private girls' school are unaware that the school's doctor is secretly using a machine to extract the energy from the young girls.  And that is as much of a plot as I can find.  Filming was almost complete. But when the crew was stiffed on a paycheck they walked. The footage was then used for 2 different films Negatives (1988) and Fright House (1989).

 

To Die For (1988)

  • Genre: Horror – Romance – Thriller
  • Directed: Deran Sarafian
  • Produced:
    • Lee Caplin 
    • Barin Kumar 
    • Edward Oleschak 
    • Greg H. Sims
  • Written: Leslie King
  • Starring: Brendan Hughes, Duane Jones, Philip Granger, Julie Maddalena, Amanda Wyss
  • Music: Cliff Eidelman
  • Cinematography: Jacques Haitkin
  • Editing: Dennis Dolan
  • Studio: Arrowhead Productions
  • Distributed:
    • Academy Entertainment  
    • Cineplex-Odeon Home Video  
    • MCA Home Video  
    • New City Releasing  
    • Skouras Pictures  
    • UAV Corporation  
    • Westlake Entertainment Group
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: May 1989
  • Running Time: 94 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

L.A. real estate agent Kate Wooten gets a new lease on life when she learns that her new client, a mysterious and handsome man named Vlad, is looking for a house isolated in the Hollywood Hills where he wants to live and doesn't want to be disturbed.  It doesn't take long for Kate to fall in love with her new client and to learn that he's a real vampire.

 

Negatives (1988)

  • Genre: Horror
  • Directed: Tony Smith
  • Produced: Unknown
  • Written: Unknown
  • Starring: Duane Jones, Debbie Rochon
  • Music: Unknown
  • Cinematography: Ernest R. Dickerson
  • Editing: Unknown
  • Studio: Unknown
  • Distributed: Unknown
  • Rated: Unknown
  • Release Date: Unknown
  • Running Time: Unknown
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

Negatives is a 1988 independent horror film directed by Tony Smith and starring Duane Jones and Debbie Rochon.

This film was shut down halfway through the shooting schedule due to an overwhelming amount of bounced checks from the producer.  Some footage was salvaged and integrated into another film called Fright House.

Negatives was one of the first movies in which Rochon appeared and helped launch her career as a horror film Scream Queen.

 

Fright House (1989)

  • Genre: Horror
  • Directed: Len Anthony
  • Produced:
    • Len Anthony 
    • Paul Borghese 
    • Karalee Harrigan 
    • Heather Scala 
    • Scott Shepherd
  • Written:
    • Len Anthony 
    • James Harrigan
  • Starring: Duane Jones, Jackie James, Orly Benyair, Robin Michaels, John Bly, Al Lewis, Branden Marlowe, Dennis Meyera, Jennifer Delora, Jett Julien
  • Music:
    • Tony Bongiovi 
    • Christopher Burke 
    • Marty Dunayer
  • Cinematography:
    • Ernest R. Dickerson 
    • Larry Revene
  • Editing:
    • Len Anthony 
    • Damian Begley
  • Studio: Unknown
  • Distributed: Unknown
  • Rated: NR
  • Release Date: 16 October 1989
  • Running Time: 110 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

This classy diptych of campus-based horror tales overcomes its limited budget with imaginative writing and some fairly effective supernatural set pieces.  The first installment, "Fright House," involves a devil-worshipping psychiatrist (Jennifer DeLora) performing ritual human sacrifices on a college campus, then disguising the deaths as suicides.  After losing his partner while investigating the house where many of the deaths took place, a police detective (Julien Paul Borghese) is granted supernatural aid by the house's former owner.  The second tale, "Abadon," is a stylish twist on the vampire formula about a college professor (Jackie James) who continues her late husband's experiments in immortality, unaware that she has unleashed an ageless energy-vampire who begins preying on her students.  Her work attracts the interest of a mysterious stranger (Night of the Living Dead's Duane Jones), who has some interesting theories of his own -- and who turns out to be a vampire himself. Munsters fans will be impressed by the stylings of top-billed Al Lewis as a sinister police chief in the first installment.


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