“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”-George Santayana
I’m sure that Traci Lords hasn’t forgotten her past. How could she forget in this day and age of the internet? If there’s a photo or a story from her past I can guarantee you that some yahoo is going to upload it as a reminder to not only all of us but to Miss Lords as well. So, I’ve decided to come up with my own quote to counteract Mister Santayana: “The past is the past and we’re not here to talk about that so let’s shut the hell up about it.” What we are here to talk about is Traci Lords career as a legitimate actress, especially of course her work in the world of horror films so let’s get on with it, shall we?
Born Nora Louise Kuzma on May 7, 1968 in Steubenville, Ohio, Traci Lords made her first dip into the world of horror with her role as Nadine Story in Jim Wynorski’s sci-fi-horror B-movie hybrid, Not of This Earth (1988). Not content to stop there, she has gone on to star in Shock’Em Dead (1991), Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers (TV-1993), Skinner (1993), Blade (1998), Deathlands (TV-2003), Crazy Eights (2006), Excision (2012) and finally (for now) Devil May Call (2013). Talk about a woman who has kept herself busy. This is not even to mention that she has been a favorite of John Waters, having appeared in Cry-Baby (1990) and Serial Mom (1994). But wait, we’re not done yet. In addition to the numerous B-movies of every conceivable genre Traci has also made appearances on MacGyver (1990), Married with Children (1989, 1991), Highlander and Tales from the Crypt (1993) Roseanne (1994, 1995), First Wave (2000, 2001), Gilmore Girls (2003) and Eastsiders (2013). This list doesn’t even scratch the surface of her achievements! Traci Lords has kept herself busy, has improved her craft every chance she gets and for that has earned my utmost respect.
Without further ado may we present to you the August, 2014 Written in Blood Scream Queen of the Month: the beautiful and talented Traci Lords!
“Traci” comes from her girlfriend’s name, “Lords” from Jack Lord (Hawaii Five-O (1968)).
Had her name legally changed to Traci Elizabeth Lords.
Has 1st KYU in Bujinkan Ninjutsu.
She contributed vocals to the Manic Street Preachers song “Little Baby Nothing,” from the Welsh group’s “Generation Terrorists” album in 1992, and released as a single in November of that year. The song is about the sexual exploitation of a woman and singer/guitarist James Dean Bradfield said that “we needed somebody, a symbol, a person that could actually symbolize the lyrics and justify them to a certain degree. Traci was more than happy to do it. She saw the lyrics, and she had an immediate affinity with them. It was definitely easy to incorporate her personality into the lyrics. We just wanted a symbol for it, and I think she was a great symbol.” Traci said that “I listened to the tape and really identified with the character in the song…this young girl who’s been exploited and abused by men all her life.”
Was almost cast as the female lead in Martin Scorsese’s Casino (1995), but lost out to Sharon Stone.
2012 Best Actress- Excision- Festival de Terror de Molins de Rei.
“My parents never got along. It was a very ugly scene to be a part of.”
“I’m successful in spite of my past, not because of it!”
DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES-United States-130 Mins. 2014
Directed by Matt Reeves
Written by Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver
Based on the novel “La Planète des Singes” by Pierre Boulle and by characters created by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver.
When I was growing up I saw the original quintet of films in the Planet of the Apes series and was able to watch and enjoy them to a certain extent of the definition of the word. Like everyone else I was blown away by the original film and I also was a big fan of the third film, Escape from the Planet of the Apes. Beneath the Planet of the Apes and Conquest of the Planet of the Apes were strong entries but by the time the final film in the series-Battle for the Planet of the Apes-came along it felt as if the filmmakers weren’t trying anymore. There was a remake of the original film directed by Tim Burton that merely left us yearning for the older films and after that we all thought that we had seen the last-or so it seemed-of the apes. Rise of the Planet of the Apes demonstrated to us that there is new life in an old franchise. That life is extended fully supported with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes-a film that takes all of the charm and action of Rise of the Planet of the Apes and amps it up to 12. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is that rare example (The Godfather Part II and Aliens must be mentioned) of a sequel not only holding its own but surpassing the original film in terms of storytelling, acting and of course box office profits. As of my writing this the film has beaten its chest on the way to a $73 million dollar opening weekend and believe me it has earned every penny.
Ten years have passed since the events of ‘Rise‘. The Simian flu hinted at in that film has had time to spread around the globe and the human race has been all but wiped out. Those who have survived live crowded in a state of dystopia. The apes, led by Caesar-now with a wife, son and newborn of his own-live peacefully in their own community in the redwoods away from the humans and they rely on them for nothing and stay far from them. Once an initial contact is made between two of the apes and a human male that separation is broken and an uneasy truce is formed between the two communities. I don’t believe that it was any accident as to the way things play out in ‘Dawn‘ as it the same as the way that countries conduct business-deals are made by one group, the humans, with conditions from the apes. The humans break those conditions and are asked to leave but then are able to make things better by offering their own conditions. Meanwhile, both camps have their people-or human-like simians-that are mistrustful of the other and cause a rift in the truce that is established. For the humans it is both Carver, who voices his disdain for the apes and is banished from their camp after smuggling in forbidden weapons; and Dreyfus, who can’t be faulted as he believes that what he is doing is best for the survival of the human race. On the other hand there is Koba, the scarred bonobo and right hand to Caesar. Koba hates humans for the torture that was inflicted upon him in the name of lab experiments. One of the strongest scenes in the film is when Caesar mentions that the humans are there to do ‘human work’ and Koba angrily spits his words back at him while pointing to the various scars from the horrors done to his own body. Unlike the human Carver, whose hatred is based on his own stupidity, Koba’s hatred drives him to betrayal and murder of his own kind to initiate war between apes and humans. If Caesar is willing to get along with humans then Koba is even more determined to imprison them or wipe them even if he has to betray his own species.
There was not one moment in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes that I found to be repetitive or even worse, boring. The action in the film is intense but never to the point of being shoved down your throat the way that certain summer blockbusters *cough cough Transformers cough cough* are known to do. My wife and I took our eleven year-old grandson and he remained quiet throughout most of the film. That in itself is the sign of a good film as it takes a lot to keep him quiet while watching anything. My wife also enjoyed the use of ASL-American Sign Language; which I myself have deemed as Ape Sign Language for this film.
If I can be serious for a moment let me say that a film like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes relies strongly on the strength of its effects, in this case which would be motion capture and CGI. The only flaw that I spotted in the effects was for a brief second during the bear attack scene early in the film. Let it also be said that motion capture relies on the strength of the performers and as with ‘Rise‘, King Kong and his role as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films that strength is never more evident than with Andy Serkis as Caesar. Serkis has said that in the first film he based his movements and expressions on those of apes and that his performance here is based more on human movement and gestures. The motion capture acting was excellent from all actors involved, especially Toby Kebbell as Koba. However, it is Serkis who raises Dawn of the Planet of the Apes from a good film to a great one. It’s a shame that the monkeys in Hollywood can’t seem to acknowledge his talent. Great acting is great acting whether it is as a human or as an ape.
The husband of Judy Greer (Cornelia) is reportedly a massive fan of Planet of the Apes(1968). Greer revealed in a interview with Vulture that that they had a chimp husband-and-wife cake topper at their wedding, while the original film and Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) played on two separate televisions in the bar area at the cocktail hour.
The first “Planet of the Apes” to be filmed and released in 3D.
Andy Serkis, Terry Notary, and Karin Konoval are the only actors that were still playing their characters from “Rise” as Caesar (Serkis), Rocket (Notary), and Maurice (Konoval). While Judy Greer was replacing stunt-woman/ dancer Devyn Dalton as Caesar’s mate, Cornelia, and Toby Kebbell is replacing stuntman/ motion capture performer Christopher Gordon as the scarred lab chimp Koba.
Andy Serkis also appears in Rise of the Planet of the Apes and The Prestige.
Jason Clarke also appears in Zero Dark Thirty and Public Enemies.
Gary Oldman also appears in The Dark Knight and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Keri Russell also appears in Dark Skies and Grimm Love.
Toby Kebbell also appears in Wrath of the Titans and War Horse.
Kodi Smit-McPhee also appears in Let Me In and The Road.
Actually, today’s quote is from a TV series. From The Walking Dead and featuring Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier and Brighton Sharbino as Lizzie Samuels:
Just look at the flowers, Lizzie.
Eric S. Brown is the author of the popular Bigfoot War series of books available in print and e-book from Amazon. The first book has been made into an upcoming movie, Bigfoot Wars, starring Judd Nelson and C. Thomas Howell. I shot Eric ten (somewhat) random questions and this what he shot back to me:
1. You’re all over the place with books about zombies, werewolves, Kaiju and of course Sasquatch. Am I missing any monsters that you’ve written about?
Eric S. Brown: Killer Squirrels, a seven foot tall green bunny anti-hero, demons, and who knows what else. Ha.
2. What planted the seed in your mind to write the Bigfoot War series?
ESB: I had been writing zombies for a long time and wanted to do something different but still apocalyptic. Growing up in the rural mountains of North Carolina, I was honestly scared of Bigfoot as a kid. I had nightmares about Bigfoot outside my house waiting to rip me apart. Sasquatch was the perfect monster to explore next and believe it or not, folks seemed to enjoy the concept of the Sasquatch Apocalypse.
3. Do you have a set plan as to how many books will be in the series?
ESB: Bigfoot War: Redneck Apocalypse launches soon from Great Old Ones Publishing. It is set in the timeframe of the first book and returns to that kind of feel. It’s also homage to southern culture in a lot of ways. If you enjoy blood, gore, fun, and things like the Dukes of Hazzard, you’ll likely enjoy it too.
4. The Bigfoot Wars book series have taken off in popularity and I hear there’s an upcoming movie. How does that make you feel?
ESB: Insanely blessed. Bigfoot War was a huge gamble for me. It was a book I wrote more for myself as a Bigfoot horror fan than anything else. I think it put me more on the map so to speak as a horror writer than even my book from Simon and Schuster did at the time. The trailer for the movie looks awesome and the studio has expressed interest in adapting more of the books should the first movie be a success.
5. I asked Lyle Blackburn this same question concerning his book The Beast of Boggy Creek: The True Story of the Fouke Monster: why Sasquatch?
ESB: Again, Sasquatch was always scary to me. My own personal fear of him made him a monster I wanted to explore in fiction and put that fear down on the written page.
6. Can you tell a little bit about what makes up your writing process from idea to published story?
ESB: I am weird. I don’t normally use outlines or anything like that. I just get an idea and run with it like the Flash. I am a big believer in letting the story tell itself.
7. One thing I have noticed about you is your expression of your Christian faith. How has this played a part in your writing?
ESB: My whole career is God given. Every break I have gotten as a writer and most of the “big” moments of my career have not been things I went after but things God just blindsided me with and left me saying “Wow” and “Thank you”. I have even written a Christian Zombie Apocalypse novel entitled World War of the Dead and you’ll notice pretty much everything I have written since 2009 has very toned down language. I don’t believe that it’s needed to tell a fun and moving story.
8. Have you met with any negativity concerning your faith or have you met with support from the people of the horror genre, both fans and peers alike?
ESB: I don’t worry about what others think. I am just me. I will say though I am far from the only Christian horror writer or fan. There are more of us out there than you might think.
9. Did you have a dream cast in your head for the Bigfoot Wars movie; or are you satisfied with the actors that were chosen for the roles?
ESB: Not really. I am very happy with how the Bigfoot Wars movie appears to have turned out so far based on what I have seen of it. I do have a dream cast for A Pack of Wolves though but that’s another matter entirely.
10. Finally, what advice do you have for up and coming writers trying to make it in the business?
ESB: Write every day, submit your work, and never give up.
WOLF CREEK 2-Australia-106 Mins. 2013
Directed by Greg Mclean
Written by Greg Mclean and Aaron Sterns
What’s different for Wolf Creek 2 over its predecessor Wolf Creek? To begin with there is more gore including two decapitations-one by high powered rifle and one by hunting knife. There are scenes that evoke nervous giggles, which is something the original didn’t have. The main difference for Wolf Creek 2 is that it’s all about the Mick-Mick Taylor. Although not in every scene his presence is felt in every frame and John Jarratt brings him to life with the same maniacal glee as the first film and serves to make Mick a multi-dimensional character as we discover that he’s a proud Australian who tortures and murders backpacking foreigners because he’s sick of them coming to his country partying and pissing and acting like they own the fucking place and then going back to where they came from.
There’s no discernible plot to Wolf Creek 2 and nor does there need to be. It’s a day in the life of Mick as he travels the outback terrorizing first a pair of troopers who pick the wrong guy to harass. From there Mick explains the rules of camping in the outback to German backpackers Rutger and Katarina and that ends bloody, to say the least. The second half of the film is about the conflict between Mick and the hapless Englishman, Paul Hammersmith-a conflict that includes a nod to Duel with a harrowing diesel-car chase segment and ends with Mick playing game show host to a captive Paul in perhaps the bloodiest homage to Who Wants to Be a Millionaire ever filmed. To be honest I had no idea that show was even popular in Australia.
Despite the gore and the presence of the scenery chewing Jarratt, Wolf Creek 2 never achieves the level of menace as the previous film. While it would seem that having Mick dominate the second film would be a good idea instead it is a double-edged sword. A little Mick went a long way in Wolf Creek-remember the chilling ‘head on a stick’ scene?In Wolf Creek 2 we become so accustomed to his presence that he begins to feel like the cranky old grandpa with the nasty hobby. “Mommy, where does grandpa get all those backpacks?” “Shut up and eat your vegemite sandwich, dear.”
Wolf Creek 2 is not a failure in that it pays (perhaps unintentional) homage to films such as Duel (the previously mentioned chase scene), The Hitcher and perhaps even the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The tone is lighter and it’s a hammier film than Wolf Creek; still, it succeeds in showing us that it’s Mick’s world and we’re lucky if he lets us live in it.
John Jarratt also appears in Django Unchained and 100 Bloody Acres.
Ryan Corr also appears in Where the Wild Things Are and Not Suitable for Children.
All it took was to see Gillian Anderson in a guest-star capacity on NBC’s Hannibal and I knew that she would be a Scream Queen of the Month. How could she not be? She’s an extremely talented and beautiful woman who has set the hearts of young men and old a-thumpin’ ever since she appeared on our televisions as Special Agent Dana Scully on The X-Files in 1996. Lately, aside from her role as psychiatrist to Hannibal Lecter, Dr. Bedelia DuMaurier, she has also appeared as Meg Fitch in the compelling and (in my opinion) unfairly canceled Crisis. Also, I refer you to the accompanying photo. It is a close-up of Gillian, with little to no make-up and the slightest hint of a smile as she looks at us with jasmine eyes. She’s older here and that’s fine-she’s still as stunning as ever.
Born Gillian Leigh Anderson on August 9, 1968 in Chicago, Illinois, she began her acting career as part of an amateur acting group while in high school. In 1987 she studied for several weeks at the National Theatre of Great Britain Summer Acting Programme at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York where she studied under such NT greats as Peter Chelsom and Michael Joyce. Her first film role was in The Turning in 1996. This was after her debut as Agent Scully and if you refer to the link to the film on IMDb.com you will see that the poster introduces her as Gillian ‘X-Files’ Anderson.
Her other film roles include the English edition of Princess Mononoke (1997), The X-Files: Fight the Future (1998), The Last King of Scotland (2006), The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008) and I’ll Follow You Down (2013). Her television credits, aside from Hannibal, Crisis and the ahead-0f-its-time X-Files, include Class of ’96 (1993), The Simpsons (1997), Frasier (1999) and The Fall (2013).
It is with great joy that we welcome Gillian Anderson as the July, 2014 Written in the Blood Scream Queen of the Month.
THE X-FACTS: ALL ABOUT GILLIAN
Chosen by “People” magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World.
Younger brother suffers from neurofibromatosis and she has done work to encourage government to increase funding for research.
Told The X-Files (1993) executives that she was 27 so that she would appear more credible as an FBI agent with a medical degree.
She has English, Irish, and German ancestry.
THE X-QUOTES: GILLIAN SAYS:
“When I think of normal, I think of mediocrity . . . and mediocrity scares the f*ck out of me!”
“It’s easier to be myself here. I can go out wearing whatever the hell I want, no matter how ridiculous it looks. If I do that in America, people look at me like I’m insane. There are aspects of the British press which are incredibly intrusive, but then you’ll go to a premiere and someone will ask permission to take a photo, and when you say, “That’s enough”, they’ll back off. In the States, you go to a restaurant and there are people lined up outside with 8x10s of you. Or they just follow you with a video camera. I had someone deliberately rear-end my car a few years ago in L.A., and there was a video camera: they were videoing my reaction. Luckily, I was in a good mood.”
“There are a lot of things I would have done differently, but Scully wouldn’t have been one of them.”