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I FOUND A BUTT-LOAD OF ALTERNATIVE MOVIE POSTERS

I was having one of those moments where I just couldn’t decide what I wanted to do on the computer. It was then that I remembered reading an article in Rue Morgue magazine about alternative movie posters. So, to make a long story short I found a butt load of alternative posters and decided to share them with you. For those of you who are uninformed an alternative movie poster is a fan-made poster. That’s it, that’s all it is. One thing I have noticed is that over 90% of the alternative posters I found look better than the garbage the studios are passing off these days.

I’ve listed each poster by artist and all are from the horror genre, go figure. Some posters are of the same film but by different artists. Some artists are featured more than once. I picked what I liked. I hope you enjoy them.

MARTIN ANSIN:

wolfmanbgmartinansin

DAN MUMFORD:

wickermanbgdanmumford

TOMASZ OPASINSKI:

thingbgtomaszpasinski

JORGE COELHO:

theylivebgjorgecoelho

RANDY ORTIZ:

thethingbgrandyortiz

armyofdarknessbgrandyortiz

JOSH ECKERT:

thethingbgjosheckert

CHRIS GAROFALO:

thethingbgchrisgarafalo

FLORIAN BERTMER:

swampthingbgflorianbertmer

DAVID MOSCATI:

suspiriabgdavidmoscati

THOMAS WALKER:

shiningbgthomaswalker

FRODESIGN:

shiningbg6frodesign

ANTHONY PETRIE:

sharknadobg.jpgnthonypetrie

STEVE MARCHAL:

reanimator3bgstevemarchal

ME, MYSELF AND I:

psychobg1memyselfandI

CRAIG DRAKE:

predatorbgcraigdrake

ASH THORP:

predatorbgashthorpe

GODMACHINE:

predatorbg1godmachine

JAY SHAW:

paranormalactivity4jayshaw

CHRIS WESTON:

nosferatubg1chrisweston

descentbgchrisweston

ALEX PARDEE:

nightmarebgalexpardee

JASON EDMISTON:

maniaccopbgjasonedmiston

ONETWENTYTHREE:

insidebgonetwentythree

FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA:

friday13bgfrancescofrancavilla

AARON HORKEY & VANI ZOURAVLOV:

draculabgaaronhorkeyvanizouravliov

DAN SHERRATT:

dawnofthedeadbgdansharratt

PETER STRAIN:

carriebgpeterstrain

auditionbgpeterstrain

KEVIN TONG:

brideoffrankensteinbgkevintong

NARCIS LUPOU:

blairwitchbgnarcislopou

JUSTIN WILL:

blackswanbgjustinwill

KEN TAYLOR:

blacklagoonbgkentaylor

aliensbgkentaylor

STEVE JENCKS:

behindthemaskbgstevejencks

SIMON HEARD:

amityvillebgsimonheard

CREATIVE SPARKS:

americanwerewolfinlondonbgcreativesparks

FERNANDO REZA:

americanwerewolfinlondonbg1fernandoreza

MATT NEEDLE:

americanhorrorbgmattneedle

 

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SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE

Sorority House Massacre-United States-74 Mins. 1986

sorority_house_massacre_poster_01

Angela O'Neill as Beth

Angela O’Neill as Beth

Wendy Martel as Linda

Wendy Martel as Linda

Pamela Ross as Sara

Pamela Ross as Sara

Nicole Rio as Tracy

Nicole Rio as Tracy

Directed and written by Carol Frank

There are over 1,000,000 levels of suck and Sorority House Massacre achieves every damn one of them. This piece of ’80′s slasher garbage is so bad that I highly recommend that every VHS, LaserDisc, Beta, DVD and Blu-ray edition be tracked down and buried in the desert alongside all those copies of E.T. the Extra-terrestrial the Video Game. It’s a stupid excuse of a slasher film that tastelessly rips off every major plot point of John Carpenter’s classic, Halloween. It also makes me ashamed as a reviewer to mention the two films in the same sentence.

The film centers on Beth (Angela O’Neill, Grandmother’s House) a young woman who has nightmares about a man stalking her with a knife. Meanwhile, Bobby (John C. Russell in his only film credit according to IMDb.com) has escaped from the mental institution (*HALLOWEEN RIP-OFF*) he has resided in after murdering his entire family except for his little sister, Laura (*ANOTHER HALLOWEEN RIP-OFF*). Bobby steals a car (*STILL ANOTHER HALLOWEEN RIP-OFF.IS THERE NO SHAME?*) and makes his way back home to finish her off. Only now home has been turned into a sorority house and he has a whole new set of victims in nubile co-eds Linda (Wendy Martel), Sara (Pamela Ross, Moonstalker) and Tracy (Nicole Rio, The Zero Boys, Gang Justice). Don’t worry; I’m not going to shout out how badly this film rips off Halloween anymore. I think I got my point across just fine. It’s no wonder the majority of the actresses in the film have little to no credits in anything else; their acting is so atrocious they couldn’t find their way out of a paper bag with both of their hands, a flashlight and a neon EXIT sign above the door. Here’s an experiment: take some shit and pile more shit on top of it. Voilà! You have just made your own copy of Sorority House Massacre. Bury it deep, please.

TRIVIA

The blonde woman in the poster artwork for this movie is actress Suzee Slater.

0 BLOOD DROPS out of 5

MASTERS OF HORROR SEASON ONE, EPISODE EIGHT: JOHN CARPENTER’S CIGARETTE BURNS

MASTERS OF HORROR SEASON ONE, EPISODE EIGHT: JOHN CARPENTER’S CIGARETTE BURNS-United States-2005

Masters_of_Horror__Cigarette_Burns_-_John_Carpenter

Norman Reedus as Kirby

Norman Reedus as Kirby

Udo Kier (R) as Bellinger

Udo Kier (R) as Bellinger

Christopher Redman as Willowy Being

Christopher Redman as Willowy Being

Directed by John Carpenter

Written by Drew McWeeny and Scott Swan

I assume that a lot of you read Written in Blood because, first and foremost, you love movies; especially horror movies. I will expand upon that assumption by saying that there are those of you out there who love movies so much that not only do you collect and watch movies, but that you also collect movie memorabilia of various degrees. Along with the hundreds of DVD’s and Blu-rays that I own, I also have some posters; as well as a Planet Terror Cherry Darling action figure still in the original package. My pride and joy is a beautiful ceramic Godzilla statue depicting the lizard king (sorry Jim Morrison, but the Big G will always be the original) from Godzilla vs. Biollante. But enough about all that; this is one of those times where I start with one story to tell you another story. John Carpenter’s Cigarette Burns is about the high price of movie collecting and I’m not talking about paying double on eBay for an authentic Iron Man helmet.

Norman Reedus (Mimic, The Walking Dead) is Kirby, a rare films dealer hired by the wealthy Bellinger (Udo Kier, Blade, Suspiria) to find a print of an ultra-rare film called “La Fin Absolue du Monde”, or “The Absolute End of the World”. Upon its premiere, the film set off a homicidal riot and was later believed to be destroyed. Bellinger is convinced that a print of the film exists and shows Kirby proof in the form of the Willowy Being, a humanoid creature that may or may not be an angel. The Being tells Kirby that if the film were truly destroyed then he would know about it. Up to his ass in debt to his late girlfriend’s father, Kirby accepts the job. The closer he gets to the truth, the more he begins to see ‘cigarette burns’ a slang term for the mark on a film that indicates that it will soon be time to change reels. The ‘burns’ are used here to indicate when there will be a shift in the tone of the film and the results of Kirby’s search for “La Fin Absolue Du Monde”. With that, seeing as how I take pride in keep my reviews as spoiler-free as possible, there’s not much else I can tell you about the plot of Cigarette Burns.

This is the second time in the past three years that I’ve watched Cigarette Burns. The first time I had yet to begin writing and therefore took a casual approach to the episode. But, even after watching it with more scrutiny the second time around; I found that I had to sit for a while to be able to collect my feelings about it. It reminds me of a friend of mine who told me that when he went to see Pulp Fiction, he sat in his car in the theater parking lot for twenty minutes pondering on whether he liked the film before finally deciding that he did like it. I understand him now; it took me twenty minutes to determine that I liked Cigarette Burns. It’s the best episode (so far) of Masters of Horror. Norman Reedus carries the film with a charm that I personally don’t think a more well-known actor could have accomplished. Those of you who only know the guy as Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead I would highly recommend to see this episode. There’s a lot more to the guy than a red neck and a crossbow.

Cigarette Burns has an identical plot to Roman Polanski’s thriller The Ninth Gate. One of the main differences being that it is a film and not a book that Kirby is hired to find. The other is that at over two hours I couldn’t wait for The Ninth Gate to end. At the end of 58 minutes, Cigarette Burns left me wanting more.

TRIVIA

The newspaper columnist lives in a secluded house in Carthage, New York. John Carpenter, who directed the movie, was born in Carthage, New York.

45px-Blood_Drop45px-Blood_Drop45px-Blood_Drop½

AFTER 10 EDITIONS OF “WHAT’S THEIR BEST FILM?”, WRITTEN IN BLOOD WEIGHS IN

Wow, I’ve done ten editions of “What’s Their Best Film?” already. In that time I have received great response from some of my regular and my non-regular commentators. I’m sure that a lot of you have voiced your opinion of not what you thought a particular filmmaker’s best movie was; but listed your favorite film from said director instead. Hey, that’s cool; because in order to accurately give an opinion of a director’s best movie you would have had to have seen every film in their catalog. I love movies, but I will not and cannot watch movies 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are more important things such as work, supporting a family and figuring out ways to get Honey Boo Boo off the air. Damn what an annoying kid and her equally annoying mother!

So why am I babbling on and on? I shall tell you. In the last ten editions of “WTBF?” it has been you, dear reader, who has voiced your humble opinion. Now it’s my turn to give you my opinion. I will list each director below and I will tell what I think is their best movie or my favorite movie; whatever you want to call it.

Let’s begin:

MARTIN SCORSESE

Is it any surprise that I’m going with Goodfellas for this one? In my opinion it’s the greatest gangster flick ever made.

Runner-up: Taxi Driver

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MICHAEL BAY

Most of what Bay puts out is complete shit; but if I had to choose a movie of his to watch I’d go with Armageddon . At least it got the Criterion Collection treatment.

Runner-up: Transformers

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Alfred Hitchcock

Psycho. It’s my favorite “Hitch” film and in my humble opinion it is also his best. The shower scene alone is worth the price of admission.

Runner-up: Rear Window

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STEVEN SPIELBERG

Schlinder’s List. Spielberg may have given us the first summer blockbuster with Jaws; but with Schindler’s List he gave us his first and finest masterpiece. Ralph Fiennes is chilling as Amon Goeth.

Runner-up: Jaws

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QUENTIN TARANTINO

Two words: Kill Bill Vols. 1 and 2, Okay, so that’s six words. That’s because these movies rock so hard they blow up two words and turn them into six!

Runner-up: Pulp Fiction

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PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON

I loved Magnolia and watch it at least three times every year. There are just so many great performances in this film from Julianne Moore to John C. Reilly. Tom Cruise was robbed of an Oscar for his role as informercial sex guru Frank ‘T.J.’ Mackey.

Runner-up: Boogie Nights

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JOHN CARPENTER

Do you honestly think I would choose anything other than The Thing?

Runner-up: Halloween

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DAVID CRONENBERG

Jeff Goldblum had the role of a lifetime in Cronenberg’s vision of the George Langelaan short story The Fly. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Runner-up: The Dead Zone

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BRIAN DE PALMA

Some might say Carrie, some might say Scarface; I’m going with Blow Out as De Palma’s best. Travolta’s performance is one of the key reasons Tarantino wanted him for Pulp Fiction.

Runner-up: Carrie or Scarface (tie)

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ROBERT ALTMAN

I loved Short Cuts the first time I saw it and every time after that. Fantastic ensemble acting.

Runner-up: M*A*S*H

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ROBERT RODRIGUEZ

Not only is Sin City Rodriguez’ best film; but it is also the single most faithful adaptation of a graphic novel from page to screen that I have ever seen in my entire life. It’s also the movie that once again made a contender out of Mickey Rourke.

Runner-up: From Dusk ’til Dawn

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CLINT EASTWOOD

Unforgiven is one of the greatest westerns ever made. It was directed by Clint Eastwood; who in turn learned a few tricks from one of the greatest filmmakers, Sergio Leone.

Runner-up: Million Dollar Baby or Mystic River (tie)

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SAM RAIMI

This is cheating, but I’m going with the entire Evil Dead trilogy for this one. Who needs Spider-man when you’ve got Ash? Bruce Campbell rocks!!

Runner-up: Spider-man 2

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DARIO ARGENTO

To be honest, I’ve only seen three Argento films: Suspiria, Mother of Tears and Opera. Of the three of those I suppose my choice for his best would be Suspiria. What a creepy and atmospheric film.

Runner-up: Opera

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DARREN ARONOFSKY

I have to go with The Wrestler on this one. I’ve been a fan of the squared circle for quite a long time and it’s the first film to take the subject matter seriously. Mickey Rourke was amazing as Randy “The Ram” Robinson.

Runner-up: Black Swan

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WES CRAVEN

I could be a complete asshole and go totally against the popular choice of A Nightmare on Elm Street as Craven’s best; but that would just be stupid. He gave us Freddy Fucking Krueger with this one, for crying out loud!

Runner-up: The Last House on the Left or Scream (tie)

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TOBE HOOPER

Just as Craven brought usFreddy Krueger with his greatest film A Nightmare on Elm Street; so did Tobe Hooper bring us The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Leatherface 10 years prior. Watch this movie and you’ll think twice about picking up hitchhikers and eating Texas Bar-B-Que.

Runner-up: Poltergeist

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ALEXANDRE AJA

It may seem like a strange choice, but I pick his remake of Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes over High Tension (aka Haute Tension aka Switchblade Romance) as Aja’s best film. It’s close though; both movies are fucking brutal.

Runner-up: High Tension 

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ROB ZOMBIE

Some people seem to love Rob Zombie’s films and other people seem to hate his films and his fucking guts. There’s no middle ground. What’s his best film? That’s easy: The Devil’s Rejects.

Runner-up: Halloween

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JOE DANTE

What have I said before? The Howling is the greatest werewolf movie ever made; so the choice here is a no-brainer.

Runner-up: Gremlins

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STUART GORDON

Re-animator, of course. Those of you who disagree can get a job in a sideshow. This film brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘giving head.’

Runner-up: From Beyond

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GUILLERMO DEL TORO

I haven’t seen everything by Del Toro, but I thoroughly enjoyed The Devil’s Backbone. It was an amazing little ghost story.

Runner-up: Hellboy

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GEORGE ROMERO

There is no question that Night of the Living Dead is Romero’s greatest film; the trouble is that Dawn of the Dead is every bit as awesome. Folks, we have a tie! Zombies everywhere have Uncle George to thank for their popularity.

Runner-up: Day of the Dead

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BRAD ANDERSON

I loved Session 9 and The Machinist on equal terms; but if I had to choose I’d have to go with the latter based simply on the strength of the performance from Christian Bale. The Machinist is a brilliant film about guilt and how it can affect us so deeply.

Runner-up: Session 9

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WILLIAM FRIEDKIN

William Friedkin

The Exorcist. Nothing else need be said.

Runner-up: The French Connection

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LUCKY MCKEE

Lucky McKee

I choose May as McKee’s best for one simple reason: the deliciously disturbing performance from Angela Bettis. She deserved an Oscar for that movie.

Runner-up: The Woman

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EDUARDO SÁNCHEZ

Eduardo Sanchez

It’s going to take Sanchez a long time before he gets out from under the shadow of The Blair Witch Project. He’s been making heavy strides with films like Altered and Lovely Molly. Still, it is the witch who holds sway over all.

Runner-up: Altered

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MARIO BAVA

I’ve only seen one Bava film and that is Black Sunday. I do want to see more.

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LUCIO FULCI

The same goes for Lucio Fulci and Zombie. I know, I know I need to watch more Fulci and Bava.

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SERGIO LEONE

The man who gave us The Man with No Name. It’s hard to pick one great Leone film. A Fistful of Dollars? The Good, the Bad and the Ugly? Once Upon a Time in the West? Once Upon a Time in America? Nope, I just can’t do it.

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There you go; my choices. Some are your choices as well and some are not. Opinions are like assholes; everybody has one and they make the world go ’round.

SCREAM QUEEN OF THE MONTH-OCTOBER 2012-DANIELLE HARRIS

SCREAM QUEEN OF THE MONTH-OCTOBER 2012-DANIELLE HARRIS

I have to be honest with you all; I really don’t know all that much about the October Scream Queen of the Month, Danielle Harris. I know that she’s beautiful; the photo above is proof of that. I know that she made her film debut as Jamie Lloyd in 1988′s Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and would return to the role the following year in Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. I also know that she stepped into the role of Annie Brackett for director Rob Zombie’s re-vision of Halloween and Halloween II in 2007 and 2009; a role was originally filled by Nancy Loomis in John Carpenter’s Halloween in 1978 and again in Halloween II in 1981.

Hmm, so what else do I know about Danielle Harris? Well, she has earned the title of modern day Scream Queen by appearing in genre films like Urban Legend (1998), Left For Dead (2007), The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond (2009), Hatchet II and Stakeland (both 2010) and Chromeskull: Laid to Rest 2 and The Victim (both 2011).

She has appeared in the non-genre films The Last Boy Scout (1991) with Bruce Willis as well as Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead and Free Willy. She recently completed Fatal Call and is in post-production with Hatchet IIIDead.tv and The Ghost of Goodnight Lane.

Last but not least, I know that it is an honor to bestow the title of Scream Queen of the Month for Halloween Month 2012 upon the beautiful and the busy Miss Danielle Harris!

HARRIS HINTS

Born Danielle Andrea Harris on June 1, 1977

5′

She appeared both as the on-screen “Roseanne” (1988)’s neighbour, Molly in the TV show, and as Roseanne’s real life daughter, Jessica in a movie autobiography of Roseanne’s life.

In the mid-1990s, she was stalked by an obsessed fan. This person wrote letters threatening to kill her, and was eventually arrested for bringing a shotgun to her house.

Kept her clown costume from Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) for years and even went trick-or-treating that year around Queens as Jamie Lloyd. Years later she sold the costume to a dedicated “Halloween” fan for his own personal collection.

THE WRITTEN IN BLOOD EDITION OF DESERT ISLAND FILMS

I was asked, by my friend Tyson at Head in a Vice, if I would submit my list of eight movies, one book and one luxury item that I would want to have with me if I were stranded on a desert island. I must say that I am glad that he finally asked as I was feeling left out and would soon resort to stalking and glaring menacingly at him while cleaning my fingernails with an ice pick. Just kidding, Tyson. Maybe.

I got to thinking about what to include on the list. I’m not a professional critic; I don’t know all about the various techniques that filmmakers and actors use to make a great film. I don’t use fancy words to describe a performance or a scene. I am just a guy from California by way of South Carolina who has watched movies since he was six and knows what he likes when he sees it.

So, here’s my list. As you can guess most are horror movies but with a few non-genre films tossed in for balance. I don’t think my choices will surprise anyone; but who knows. There is no particular order to the selections.

1. The Thing (1982)-John Carpenter

Alright, I told a little white lie. There is no way that I was not going to put this movie anywhere but Number 1. The Thing is the best film of John Carpenter’s long career and is a perfect example of how hand-made special effects are far more convincing than something a four year old could do on a fucking computer. Isolation, paranoia and a creature that can assume any form; what more could you ask for in a movie?

2. The Howling (1981)-Joe Dante

Best werewolf movie ever made! Best werewolf transformation ever! These are not your daddy’s Lon Chaney Jr. werewolves. These are werewolves whose sole purpose is to keep you, me and Little Red Riding Hood in therapy for the rest of our lives. I fell in love with Dee Wallace in this movie. There was no way I could have shot her; it would have been like shooting Ole Yeller.

3. Hostel and Hostel Part II (2005 and 2007)-Eli Roth

I’m cheating quite a bit with this selection as Hostel and Hostel Part II are two entirely different movies. But then again, how different are they? Both feature dumb Americans in foreign countries who get in way over their heads. Both feature torture and gore. Even the Bubble Gum Gang makes an appearance in both movies. Why do I love these two sicko movies so much? I have no fucking idea! Best line goes to Natalya (Barbara Nedeljakova) for “I get a lot of money for you, and that makes you MY bitch.”

4. Goodfellas (1990)-Martin Scorcese

Where do I start? I take nothing away from The Godfather; but in my humble opinion Goodfellas is the definitive gangster movie. I could, and did, write an entire post on this one movie. Give me time and I could write 10 more. There are so many great scenes in this film; Henry and Karen’s first date and that masterful tracking shot, Tommy’s death and Jimmy’s heartbreaking reaction. Last but not least there’s that great scene:

Henry Hill: You’re a pistol, you’re really funny. You’re really funny.
Tommy DeVito: What do you mean I’m funny?
Henry Hill: It’s funny, you know. It’s a good story, it’s funny, you’re a funny guy.
[laughs]
Tommy DeVito: What do you mean, you mean the way I talk? What?
Henry Hill: It’s just, you know. You’re just funny, it’s… funny, the way you tell the story and everything.
Tommy DeVito: [it becomes quiet] Funny how? What’s funny about it?
Anthony Stabile: Tommy no, You got it all wrong.
Tommy DeVito: Oh, oh, Anthony. He’s a big boy, he knows what he said. What did ya say? Funny how?
Henry Hill: Jus…
Tommy DeVito: What?
Henry Hill: Just… ya know… you’re funny.
Tommy DeVito: You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it’s me, I’m a little fucked up maybe, but I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I’m here to fuckin’ amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?
Henry Hill: Just… you know, how you tell the story, what?
Tommy DeVito: No, no, I don’t know, you said it. How do I know? You said I’m funny. How the fuck am I funny, what the fuck is so funny about me? Tell me, tell me what’s funny!
Henry Hill: [long pause] Get the fuck out of here, Tommy!
Tommy DeVito: [everyone laughs] Ya motherfucker! I almost had him, I almost had him. Ya stuttering prick ya. Frankie, was he shaking? I wonder about you sometimes, Henry. You may fold under questioning.

5. Taxi Driver (1976)-Martin Scorcese

Taxi Driver is one of the most perfect American movies ever made and by far the greatest performance of Robert De Niro’s career. It is a paranoid journey into the seedy heart of New York City. It is a film that the lonely can understand and that the rest of us can be awed by. The scene where Travis is pleading with Betsy over the phone is one of the most heart wrenching in movie history.

6. Role Models (2008)-David Wain

What? Did you seriously think I wouldn’t take a comedy with me? If I watched the other movies on the list without having something to laugh at I’d go insane. This goofy movie about two losers forced into community service at a Big Brother type program makes me LOL and ROFLMAO every time I see it. So take that, Reindeer Games. I know; you’re not Ben Affleck. You know something? You white, you Ben Affleck.

7. Inside aka À l’intérieur (2007)-Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury

I had heard that the French were making some brutal horror movies lately. I didn’t believe it at first; and then I saw Martyrs and this movie, Inside, and my eyes were opened. Brutal does not even begin to describe this movie. Beátrice Dalle is fucking terrifying in this film about a woman, her unborn child and the woman who will do anything to make it her own. Inside is intense!

8. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (2003 and 2004)-Quentin Tarantino

The Kill Bill films are my absolute favorite Tarantino films. QT pays homage to nearly every genre that he can cram into the narrative of his tale about a vengeful bride and Bill, the son of a bitch who shot her down. You’ve never met anyone quite like The Bride, Bill and the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad.

My one book would have to be Ghoul by Michael Slade. This was Slade’s second novel and the first that I read. After that I haven’t missed one since. Slade’s books are mystery, history and bloody horror all rolled into one brilliant little package. Ghoul is a masterpiece.

As for my luxury item that would be a toothbrush. If she were with me my wife would at least want me to have healthy teeth and gums.

ALIEN

ALIEN-United States/United Kingdom-1979

Tom Skerritt as Dallas

John Hurt as Kane

Ian Holm as Ash

Yaphet Kotto as Parker

Directed by Ridley Scott

Story by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett

Screenplay by Dan O’Bannon

I couldn’t believe it. I checked and double-checked and still I couldn’t believe it. I’ve reviewed everything from Halloween to The Howling to Dead Hooker in a Trunk for this blog and yet there is one glaring omission.

I’ve never reviewed Alien.

But then again maybe ‘reviewed’ is too harsh a word. To say that I have never reviewed this film would perhaps indicate that I am going to tell you not only about its strengths but also about its weaknesses. Alien has no weaknesses. It is similar to its titular creature in that it is the perfect science fiction/horror film hybrid. It is even more perfect than John Carpenter’s masterpiece of xenomorphic terror, The Thing and that is a truly bold statement as that film is my favorite of all time.

You don’t believe that Alien is the perfect sci-fi/horror film? Just ask the 17 year-old boy that sat with his fingers over his eyes in that dark movie theater in South Carolina in 1979. This young man watched in horror at the screen as this huge ship with a strange name, Nostromo, and a small crew picked up a distress signal in the far reaches of space. He watched as it began with a parasite that hugged tight the man’s face and planted its seed in his stomach. We all know what happened next; so much blood and a creature that in its infancy screamed its way across a blood-soaked table and into cinematic history. I can assure you it would not stay an infant for very long. One by one like the characters in a twisted version of an Agatha Christie novel it picks off the crew of the Nostromo until only one is left alive. Oh, and don’t think I’m telling you who. There is always that remote chance that some unlucky soul has never seen this cinematic work of art and I will not be the one to spoil it for them.

It has now been 33 years since Alien made its debut. There have been three sequels and two other films that have crossed over into the mythos of another creature, the Predator. Each film has met with varying degrees of success or notoriety. None of them, and I mean absolutely none of them will ever have the impact that this first film in the series had on me all those years ago. So, no, this is not a review as you are familiar with the word; it is merely a labor of love.

Thank you, Ridley Scott. Thank you, Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett. Finally, thank you Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm and Yaphet Kotto. As much as I have always loved the movies, you made me love them even more.

TRIVIA

Originally to be directed by Walter Hill, but he pulled out and gave the job to Ridley Scott.

The rumor that the cast, except for John Hurt, did not know what would happen during the chestburster scene is partly true. The scene had been explained for them, but they did not know specifics. For instance, Veronica Cartwright did not expect to be sprayed with blood.

H.R. Giger’s initial designs for the facehugger were held by US Customs who were alarmed at what they saw. Writer Dan O’Bannon had to go to LAX to explain to them that they were designs for a horror movie.

The screen test that bagged Sigourney Weaver the role of Ripley was her speech from her final scene.

The original title was “Star Beast”.

There is no dialog for the first 6 minutes.

ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13

ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13-United States-1976

Austin Stoker as Ethan Bishop

Darwin Joston as Napoleon Bishop

Laurie Zimmer as Leigh

Written and Directed by John Carpenter

Let’s play a game, you and I. It’s a simple game of word association. I’ll tell you a name and you tell me the first thing that comes to mind. Are you ready?

John Carpenter

Halloween

John Carpenter

Escape from New York

John Carpenter

The Thing

Now, I never said I was good at this game. But did you notice that there’s a pattern to my madness? We know John Carpenter for his horror and for his science fiction films; but do we always remember that he was also the director of one of the best low budget action films of the 1970′s, “Assault on Precinct 13?” Watching this film I began to see the thematic templates that Carpenter would follow throughout most of his career. A small group of people under siege by an unseen or alien (or both) force; an anti-hero who puts his life on the line for the greater good; a soundtrack created by Carpenter himself that throbs along with, and against the beat of the action. All of these things have been evident in Carpenter’s films for years and I truly believe that this is where they began.

After a gang member murders his young daughter, a father kills him in retaliation. When the man seeks refuge in Precinct 13, the gang lays siege to the station; shooting it up and killing anything that moves inside. After the smoke clears the only ones left standing inside the station are a cop (Austin Stoker, “Battle for the Planet of the Apes“), a secretary (Laurie Zimmer) and two convicts, Wells (Tony Burton, “Rocky”) and a death row bound Napoleon Wilson (Darwin Joston, “The Fog”). Outnumbered and outgunned, will they survive the assault on Precinct 9, District 13?

The highlight of this film would have to be Joston’s performance as Wilson. He takes a stereotypical character, the guy with nothing left to lose, and makes it completely his own. There’s a lot of Snake Plissken and R.J. MacReady in Napoleon Wilson.

“Assault on Precinct 13″ was inspired in part by Howard Hawk’s “Rio Bravo“. I’ve never seen “Rio Bravo”; but if it’s anything at all like ‘Precinct 13′ then I’m in for a treat.

Got a smoke?

TRIVIA

Following the release of his first feature, Dark Star, John Carpenter was approached by a group of investors who gave him carte blanche to make whatever kind of picture he wanted, albeit with a very limited budget. Although Carpenter wanted to make a Western, he knew he wouldn’t have the resources to make a period piece. He wrote this film as a highly stylized, modern-day western, essentially remaking Rio Bravo, which was directed by Carpenter’s hero, Howard Hawks. Carpenter acknowledges this debt to Hawks and “Rio Bravo” by using the pseudonym of John T. Chance for his film editor’s credit, which was the name of John Wayne’s character in “Rio Bravo”.

The assault takes place on Precinct 9, Division 13. Many have noted the title misnomer, since there is no “Precinct 13″ in the film. At first, Carpenter wanted to call the film “The Anderson Alamo” (the original title of his screenplay), and, at one point, he changed the working title to “The Siege.” CKK, the film’s distributor, was responsible for the misnomer; they rejected Carpenter’s titles and came up with the name “Assault on Precinct 13″ (which they felt was more ominous sounding) during post-production.

The precinct’s new address, 1977 Ellendale Place (written on a sign erected in front of the building), was director John Carpenter’s real address when he first lived in Los Angeles.

John Carpenter has acknowledged Night of the Living Dead was an influence on the marauding street gang. Like George Romero’s zombies, they’re completely dehumanized. They hardly talk and almost seem supernatural in their ongoing resilience.

What’s Their Best Film? Third Times The Charm

It’s very simple; I give you three directors and their respective filmography and you tell me what you think is their very best movie. I do list TV movies; but only if they are an original piece (“Duel”) and not an already established series (“C.S.I.”).

Without further ado, I give you:

JOHN CARPENTER

DARK STAR (1974)

ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 (1976)

HALLOWEEN (1978)

SOMEONE’S WATCHING ME! (TV Movie, 1978)

ELVIS (TV Movie,1979)

THE FOG (1980)

ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (1981)

THE THING (1982)

CHRISTINE (1983)

STARMAN (1984)

BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986)

PRINCE OF DARKNESS (1987)

THEY LIVE (1988)

MEMOIRS OF AN INVISIBLE MAN (1992)

IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS (1994)

VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED (1995)

ESCAPE FROM L.A. (1996)

VAMPIRES (1998)

GHOSTS OF MARS (2001)

THE WARD (2010)

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

DAVID CRONENBERG

STEREO (1969)

CRIMES OF THE FUTURE (1970)

JIM RITCHIE SCULPTOR (TV Movie, 1971)

LETTER FROM MICHELANGELO (TV Movie, 1971)

TOURETTES (TV Movie, 1971)

THEY CAME FROM WITHIN (1975)

RABID (1977)

FAST COMPANY (1979)

THE BROOD (1979)

SCANNERS (1981)

VIDEODROME (1983)

THE DEAD ZONE (1983)

THE FLY (1986)

DEAD RINGERS (1988)

NAKED LUNCH (1991)

M. BUTTERFLY (1993)

CRASH (1996)

eXistenZ (1999)

SPIDER (2002)

A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE (2005)

EASTERN PROMISES (2007)

A DANGEROUS METHOD (2011)

COSMOPOLIS (2012)

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

BRIAN DE PALMA

MURDER Á LA MOD (1968)

GREETINGS (1968)

THE WEDDING PARTY (1969)

DIONYSUS (1970)

HI, MOM! (1970)

GET TO KNOW YOUR RABBIT (1972)

SISTERS (1973)

PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE (1974)

OBSESSION (1976)

CARRIE (1976)

THE FURY (1978)

HOME MOVIES (1980)

DRESSED TO KILL (1980)

BLOW OUT (1981)

SCARFACE (1983)

BODY DOUBLE (1984)

WISE GUYS (1986)

THE UNTOUCHABLES (1987)

CASUALTIES OF WAR (1989)

THE BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES (1990)

RAISING CAIN (1992)

CARLITO’S WAY (1993)

MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE (1996)

SNAKE EYES (1998)

MISSION TO MARS (2000)

FEMME FATALE (2002)

THE BLACK DAHLIA (2006)

REDACTED (2007)

PASSION (2012)

I can’t wait to hear from you. Take care and stay scared!!

FEAST

FEAST-United States-2005

Balthazar Getty as Bozo

Eric Dane as Hero

Henry Rollins as Coach

Navi Rawat as Heroine

Judah Friedlander as Beer Guy

Josh Zuckerman as Hot Wheels

Jason Mewes as Edgy Cat

Jenny Wade as Honey Pie

Krista Allen as Tuffy

Clu Gulager as Bartender

Directed by John Gulager

Written by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan

If you enter into watching “Feast” with lowered expectations, then you’re not going to be disappointed. Think John Carpenter‘s “Assault on Precinct 13“; but set in a hick bar with douchebags, barflys and dumb-asses surrounded by bloodthirsty creatures that are as horny as they are hungry (they hump each other on the hood of a car and out pops baby monster). They’ve got big teeth and big Johnson’s and no one has any idea where they came from. As I re-read that last sentence it seems confusing to me. The trailer for “Feast” tells us that they were created by the military as a secret weapon and that before they could be used on the enemy they had to be field tested…on us. Now, unless I missed something somewhere or wasn’t paying attention in class there is no mention of this anywhere in the movie. What I do know is that I was hoping for half the people in the bar to become monster food. Balthazar Getty (“Ladder 49″), leads the merry assortment of idiots that include Henry Rollins (“Wrong Turn 2: Dead End“), Clu Gulager (“Return of the Living Dead”) and Judah Friedlander (“The Wrestler”). Needless to say I wouldn’t trust these losers with cap guns, much less shotguns and Molotov cocktails. It comes as no surprise that the women of this film, Krista Allen and Navi Rawat in particular, are the ones that give these bumpkins any chance of seeing the light of day. Feast is directed in a fast paced, take no prisoners style that has become the thing to do these last few years or so. One thing I found amusing for a while is the way that the characters were introduced. A short bio with their name, occupation and life expectancy is flashed across the screen. It’s funny but it wears out its welcome quickly. Like I said at the beginning; don’t expect too much and you will not be disappointed. Dig any deeper and it all falls apart.

TRIVIA

Clu Gulager, the actor playing Bartender, is the father of the film’s director, John Gulager. Also, Diane Ayala Goldner, who plays Harley Mama, is John’s wife.

The movie’s development was part of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s Project Greenlight 3 program.

The role of Hero was offered to Mark Wahlberg, but he turned it down. Josh Duhamel was also interested but forced to drop out for scheduling conflicts.

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