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WRITTEN IN BLOOD SCREAM QUEEN OF THE MONTH-AUGUST, 2014-TRACI LORDS

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“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 TRIVIA

“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.

LORDS LINGO

“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!”

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DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES DOESN’T MONKEY AROUND

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES-United States-130 Mins. 2014

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Andy Serkis as Caesar in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Andy Serkis as Caesar in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Jason Clarke as Malcolm in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Jason Clarke as Malcolm in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Gary Oldman as Dreyfus in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Gary Oldman as Dreyfus in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Keri Russell as Ellie in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Keri Russell as Ellie in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Toby Kebbell as Koba in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Toby Kebbell as Koba in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Kodi Smit-McPhee as Alexander in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Kodi Smit-McPhee as Alexander in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

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.

TRIVIA

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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

THE SEMI-DAILY HORROR MOVIE QUOTE OF THE DAY-JULY 13, 2014

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:

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Just look at the flowers, Lizzie.

 

THE PIT OF ULTIMATE DARK SHADOWS-EPISODE 11: PARTS 1 & 2

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Take care…and stay scared.

 

THE WOODS

THE WOODS-United States/United Kingdom/Germany-91 Mins. 2006

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Agnes Bruckner as Heather Fasulo in The Woods

Agnes Bruckner as Heather Fasulo in The Woods

Patricia Clarkson as Ms. Traverse in The Woods

Patricia Clarkson as Ms. Traverse in The Woods

Rachel Nichols as Samantha Wise in The Woods

Rachel Nichols as Samantha Wise in The Woods

Bruce Campbell as Joe Fasulo in The Woods

Bruce Campbell as Joe Fasulo in The Woods

Directed by Lucky McKee

Written by David Ross

The woods are deadly, dark and deep…

Robert Frost

“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” (paraphrased)

I find myself in a bad mood when my brain will not communicate with my fingers to put the right words onscreen for a film review. My wife, seeing this and wanting me calm, will always ask me the same series of questions.

What movie did you watch?

The movie in question this time is The Woods. It stars Agnes Bruckner, Patricia Clarkson, Rachel Nichols and Bruce Campbell.

What is the plot?

As the opening credits roll to Lesley Gore softly singing “Young and Foolish” we get our first glimpse of Heather Fasulo as she pours gasoline around the base of a tree and then sets fire to it. We later learn that she nearly set fire to her house and for that we watch as she is in the car with her parents on the way to the Falburn Academy, an all-girl boarding school nestled in the woods of New England. The year is 1965.

Heather, rebellious and hurt by her parent’s decision to send her away, meets the somewhat mysterious Ms. Traverse and the rest of her equally enigmatic staff including Ms. Mackinaw and Ms. Leland. She makes friends with the mousy Marcy Turner and finds a quick enemy in Samantha Wise, the school bully. It’s a typical school with the same ordinary rules, regulations, cliques and friendships as any other. At least that is what we would be led to believe. Heather hears voices coming from the woods and has strange visions of witches and axes and blood and gore. Then, one by one, the students begin to disappear with only a pile of leaves in the shape of their bodies being found in their beds the next morning. Are Ms. Traverse and her staff secretly witches? Are the woods alive? As for Heather, will she be the next one to be taken in the night-never to be seen again?

Did you like the movie?

Yes I did. The Woods is directed by Lucky McKee. McKee is the same director who brought us the disturbing and somewhat sad May and the unflinchingly brutal The Woman. I’ve never been dissatisfied with anything McKee has done and The Woods is no exception. The gore is dialed way down for the film-almost to the point of it feeling like a TV movie instead of a feature film and that’s fine. The Woods is a good film that left me feeling satisfied throughout and that I was pleased with as once again we hear Lesley Gore-this time as she sings “You Don’t Own Me” over the end credits.

Is there anything that stands out about the movie to you?

Not so much about the movie as for the minor controversy that the film unwittingly caused. The Woods was the film that caused director M. Night Shyamalan to change the name of his 2004 film from “The Woods” to The Village.

Why does this stand out above everything else about The Woods?

Because the Shyamalan film, despite its being horrible, is the one that received all the attention, even if most of it was negative. The Woods sat on the shelf for three years before being released and if you mention the two films in the same sentence to someone most have heard of The Village while few even knew The Woods existed. It’s a pity; The Woods is a superior film that I believe will stand the test of time. The Village is memorable only for its director and his predictable ‘twist’ endings. Send me into the woods in The Village and I’ll come out skipping and laughing; send me into the forest in The Woods and I will not come out at all and you will hear me screaming deep within them.

Anyway, that’s what she does and I am usually able to find the right words. I guess I’m just strange that way.

TRIVIA

The teachers all have names that are Northern Lower Peninsula Michigan towns – Charlevoix, Mackinac, (Glen) Arbor, Traverse.

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Agnes Bruckner also appears in Blood & Chocolate and Murder by Numbers.

Patricia Clarkson also appears in Shutter Island and The Green Mile.

Rachel Nichols also appears in Raze and Rage.

Bruce Campbell also appears in Bubba Ho-tep and Army of Darkness.

THE PIT OF ULTIMATE DARK SHADOWS-EPISODE 10

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How is everyone liking The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows? Let me know in the comments, okay?

 

10 REASONS WHY GARETH EDWARDS’ GODZILLA IS BETTER THAN ROLAND EMMERICH’S ‘ZILLA

This is my response to an article on TheWrap.com by Greg Gilman entitled ‘Godzilla: 5 Things Roland Emmerich’s 1998 Version Did Better’. Gareth Edward’s film may have its flaws-and my list of reasons may be more jocular than Mr. Gilman’s-but I stand by my belief that the Godzilla of 2014 is the superior beast.

10. Gareth Edward’s Godzilla never dry-humps the side of a building:

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For gosh sake’s will you two get a room.

9. In Edward’s Godzilla there is not an EPT test anywhere in sight.

8. When you watch Gareth Edward’s Godzilla you never get the impression that you are watching a live-action Simpson’s movie (Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer and Nancy Cartwright are all voice actors on the hit Fox animated series).

7. Three words: No Matthew Broderick.

6. My iguana Hannibal says in regard to Emmerich’s ‘Zilla: “My dad knew him when he was smaller. He says his name was Larry and that he was a dick.”

Hannibal: the iguana and part-time critic.

Hannibal: the iguana and part-time critic.

5. Edwards’ Godzilla actually gets to fight other monsters in his movie. Emmerich’s ‘Zilla played with helicopters and ate fish.

4. The final act of Gareth Edward’s Godzilla doesn’t rip off the velociraptor scenes from Jurassic Park.

3. Let’s face it: Emmerich’s ‘Zilla dies like a little bitch.

2. Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla actually looks like Godzilla:

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Finally-the Number 1 reason why Gareth Edward’s Godzilla is better than Roland Emmerich’s ‘Zilla:

Hey kids, it’s Walter White!

“This would be an excellent location for a meth lab.”

 

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NBC’S HANNIBAL IS A RECIPE FOR COMPELLING AND ORIGINAL TELEVISION

Let me begin by saying that there will be no spoilers in this article. If you watch Hannibal and wish to comment then please keep any spoilers to yourself. Thank you. Oh, and there’s more after the cast photos.

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MAIN CAST

Hugh Dancy as Will Graham in Hannibal

Hugh Dancy as Will Graham in Hannibal

Mads Mikkelsen as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal

Mads Mikkelsen as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal

Caroline Dhavernas as Dr. Alana Bloom in Hannibal

Caroline Dhavernas as Dr. Alana Bloom in Hannibal

Hettienne Park as Beverly Katz in Hannibal

Hettienne Park as Beverly Katz in Hannibal

Laurence Fishburne as Jack Crawford in Hannibal

Laurence Fishburne as Jack Crawford in Hannibal

SUPPORTING PLAYERS

Scott Thompson as Jimmy Price in Hannibal

Scott Thompson as Jimmy Price in Hannibal

Aaron Abrams as Brian Zeller in Hannibal

Aaron Abrams as Brian Zeller in Hannibal

Raúl Esparza as Dr. Frederick Chilton in Hannibal

Raúl Esparza as Dr. Frederick Chilton in Hannibal

Lara Jean Chorostecki as Freddie Lounds in Hannibal

Lara Jean Chorostecki as Freddie Lounds in Hannibal

SOME NOTABLE GUESTS

Gillian Anderson as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier in Hannibal

Gillian Anderson as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier in Hannibal

Eddie Izzard as Dr. Abel Gideon in Hannibal

Eddie Izzard as Dr. Abel Gideon in Hannibal

Anna Chlumsky as Miriam Lass in Hannibal

Anna Chlumsky as Miriam Lass in Hannibal

Hannibal - Season 2

Katharine Isabelle as Margot Verger in Hannibal

How do I begin this assessment of NBC’s Hannibal? This is not a review, nor is it a critique (Well, maybe just a little). A review recaps the events of a film or television show; while a critique finds possible faults. I’m not here to tell you every little detail of Hannibal and I can honestly say that I find no fault in the show. So what exactly am I doing?

I suppose you could call what I am doing a preventative plea. A little over a month ago I read that Hannibal was in danger of cancellation after this, its second season. I have never done this for any television show but I am begging you, dear readers, followers and yes, even those of you who print out the pages of this blog and use it as puppy training pads to please, do not let this happen.  Hannibal deserves better than that. It is one of the most compelling and original television shows that I have ever had the pleasure of viewing and yes I will say that includes both Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead.

Yes, it is about the relationship between FBI profiler Will Graham, portrayed brilliantly by Hugh Dancy, and the psychiatrist cum cannibal cum serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter, played with what can be described as sinister charm and elegance by the Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen. Yes, it is based on characters from the novels by Thomas Harris, especially “Red Dragon”. However, Hannibal creates its own path by simultaneously giving us characters that we are already familiar with, i.e. Jack Crawford, Dr. Frederick Chilton or tabloid reporter Freddie Lounds and presenting them to us in a different light. The show takes its path away from what we know about its characters from the films and novels. At first sight I was dismayed by these changes; then I grew to understand and love them as I realized that if Hannibal was going to be successful as a weekly series then it was going to have to carve its niche away from the Lecter-verse that we are already acquainted with.

Hannibal is gory, of that there is no doubt. The gore is at once harsh in its brutality and beautiful in its presentation. We have, for instance, a killer who spreads out the back flesh of his victims like angel wings; or another who uses his victims as fertilizer to grow mushrooms. As the saying goes, this is not your daddy’s safe little dramas we’re talking about here-this is Hannibal the Cannibal for heaven’s sake.

The cast, led by Laurence Fishburne and featuring Caroline Dhavernas, Hetienne Park, Scott Thompson and Aaron Abrams, do an excellent job in their roles and never once take away from the central intrigue of the series. They are complimented by guest appearances from talents such as those of Gillian Anderson, Eddie Izzard, Anna Chlumsky and Katharine Isabelle. Hannibal and its story and characters are laid out for us to enjoy like a fine dinner party with the most bizarre of main courses.

What more can I say about Hannibal? That if you watch it I’ll throw in free cooking classes from none other than Dr. Lecter himself? I can’t back that up and even if I could would you really want to eat his cooking? Then again would you want to refuse it? That would be rude and you know how Lecter feels about the rude. All I can tell you is to give this show a chance and to not let it fade away into obscurity.

TRIVIA

Hugh Dancy actually recommended Mads Mikkelsen for the role of Hannibal Lecter, as the two actors had become friends during filming of King Arthur.

Laurence Fishburne, who plays Crawford, and Gina Torres, who plays Crawford’s wife, are married in real life.

The title of every first-season episode is a French word for a meal course.

In the first episode, Will Graham says “Don’t psychoanalyze me, you wouldn’t like me when I’m psychoanalyzed.”, a reference to the comic book character, The Incredible Hulk, and his famous “Don’t make me angry…” line. The Hulk was portrayed in The Incredible Hulk (2008) by Edward Norton, the same actor who played Will Graham in Red Dragon (2002).

The name of the character played by Ellen Muth in this series, Georgia Madchen, is a reference to the character that Muth played in one of Bryan Fuller’s previous series, “Dead Like Me”: Georgia Lass. The German word “Mädchen” means “girl” or “lass.”

The episodes in season 2 are each titled after Japanese appetizers/courses.

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Hugh Dancy also appears in Adam and Martha Marcy May Marlene.

Mad Mikkelsen also appears in The Hunt and Casino Royale.

Caroline Dhavernas also appears in Devil and Wrecked.

Hetienne Park also appears in Young Adult and Bride Wars.

Laurence Fishburne also appears in The Matrix and Event Horizon.

Scott Thompson also appears in Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy and The Pacifier.

Aaron Abrams also appears in Resident Evil: Apocalypse and Cinderella Man.

Raúl Esparza also appears in My Soul to Take and Find Me Guilty.

Lara Jean Chorostecki also appears in Please Kill Mr. Know It All and Antiviral.

Gillian Anderson also appears in Princess Mononoke (voice) and The Last King of Scotland.

Eddie Izzard also appears in Valkyrie and Ocean’s Thirteen.

Anna Chlumsky also appears in My Girl and In the Loop.

Katharine Isabelle also appears in Ginger Snaps and American Mary.

 

 

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