|Posted on April 1, 2013 at 11:25 AM||comments (0)|
- 1990 Psycho IV – The Beginning (comes out)
- 1992 Psycho V (stopped filming mid shoot)
Information from the below booklet which was made by Empire Magazine.
- 1998 Psycho ’98 (is released)
- 1998 Danny Elfman and Steve Bartek record Psycho score in stereo
- 1999 ‘Psycho’ path documentary filmed by D-J
- 1992 Norman Bates Spawn Movie Maniacs Figure (Series 2) is released
- 2009 This guy, did this
- 2010 Psycho Legacy released
- 2010 Underrated commentaries outfit DVDCUK record Psycho 2 track
- 2012 Hitchcock is released which documents the making of Psycho
Who's that on the far right.........................................................................................................>
- 2012 Danny Elfman and Steve Bartek record score for Hitchcock film
- 2013 Bates Motel (new version airs on television)
- 2013 A further 8 episodes of Bates Motel to air on A&E
(Feels fitting to end with one of my favourite credit rolls of all time......
and something about Kevin Smith and Anne Heche!!!)
|Posted on February 24, 2013 at 6:25 PM||comments (0)|
Don't call it a come back!
What a time for the film V/H/S to be released to the home video market, big guns such as HMV and Blockbuster more or less finished, and plucky independents giving up the fight, if you can find a store that still sells this kind of thing you could do a lot worse than picking it up. Seems funny to me walking into Sainsbury’s and seeing VCR’s for sale in 2013 and a brand spanking new anthology (DVD) love letter to analogue horror, it truly is a something to behold.
Its five horror stories linked together, V (Roman numeral), Horror, Stories, see what they did there, and it’s in the tradition of Asylum, Cats Eye and Dead of Night, so anybody versed in horror already knows they are on familiar ground, but as much as it’s by the numbers there are some truly mind bending moments.
I don’t recommend watching it drunk on your first viewing, I did and I got really lost, not the film makers fault more that I’m a moron, and luckily I didn’t make it to the end, as I fell asleep (passed out), but it’s an exploitation film that works better (on first viewing) sober.
As with all great examples of “high concept” it truly is a simple at face value idea. A group of criminals go into a spooky house to steal a specific VHS tape, but to find it they have to go through other tapes to find the right one, but on each tape there is scary tale to be told.
So there is the conceit, and for the most part it works and then some. As a total VHS geek I was thinking it should have been filmed on “ordinary” cameras for the interlocking parts and all the tapes should have been filmed on VHS camcorders, and I’d have probably high fived myself if that would have a happened! Plus I have no idea where this comes from but I was hoping for an image of a room with thousands of VHS tapes in it, I could have sworn that would have been in the film but fuck it, it wasn’t so that’s that
But when it’s firing on all cylinders, it really does cook. It’s got flying demons, digital serial killers, aliens, and two of the most messed up “haunted” houses you’ll ever see on film what’s not to like, anybody that has any affinity for the drive in, grind house or home video days of old, I can’t see how you couldn’t get some kind of enjoyment out of this film.
Also and this of course is a quite frankly amazing aside, to promote this film they opened for “one day only” a god darn video shop in London and had copies of the film on actual honest to goodness VHS tapes now if that don’t make you happy then I don’t know what does.
You could just cry couldn't you.
So forget what I said earlier, get the beers in, get on eBay and find somebody selling the film on VHS if at all possible, and just have a lot of fun, I know most nerds or geeks still have some kind of tape collection no matter if its audio, video or both, but why anybody gave up analogue over digital completely well your guess is as good as mine.
So hopefully if it’s successful we might be on to something, heck a sequel is coming out very soon indeed, mind you its best not to count your chicken’s before they have hatched as they say, I thought this was going to happen to the film Grindhouse, and well look what happened there.
Sometimes you can’t even give it away!
|Posted on January 22, 2013 at 2:30 PM||comments (0)|
RIP Michael Winner
I've no idea why I decided to use this photo.
Try to imagine this (it's the actual place) all tidy and a Death Wish III quad where it says KTB.
Thank god for Dad's, Uncles and video shops.
|Posted on December 31, 2012 at 2:15 PM||comments (0)|
What do the years 1974 and 2013 have in common? Well if you’ve got a calendar from 1974 it matches up perfectly with one from 2013, OK it’s frugal but not that exciting, but if you're looking for something with a little more kick, well to paraphrase a very wise man “the buzz is back!"
Now brace yourself a direct sequel to the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) is being previewed this week in UK cinemas, so get yourself out to your local flea pit, and you know watch it. (Maybe treat yourself to a hotdog!).
It’s hard to explain but I’ve always had a proper soft spot for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Maybe it’s because as I said above, the film was released in 74 (the year I was born),
Maybe it’s because my Dad lent the film off a “bloke” at work while it was still banned in the UK, maybe it’s because I brought the DVD on the first day of release from a Dixons!, maybe it’s because I saw it at the local Odeon as soon as it was released after the ban.
Maybe it’s because (and I could be wrong) it was the first film Jonathon Ross reviewed on BBC's Film programme, maybe because “wacky” Tobe Hooper wanted the film to be a P.G. (that can’t be right), maybe because it was the first horror film Platinum Dunes remade and it was good! (they got John Larroquette back also).
Maybe it’s because my Dad gave me a lift and waited for me to get “The Shocking Truth” video from HMV, maybe it’s because a few weeks ago we watched the original film together on VHS while getting drunk,
Maybe it’s because I imported the score (to the remake) from HMV and it was on staff discount, maybe it’s because the landlord of a local pub looked just like Gunnar Hansen. (Nice pub shame it closed down), maybe it’s because when I wear my TCM shirt in a supermarket it scares the shoppers.
Maybe it’s because I’ve E-Mailed the guy that directed Part III and got a reply, maybe it’s because I got a thumbs up (electronically) from people connected with the new one.
Maybe just maybe I guess, so to make a long story even longer, what does this all mean?
Well can you believe we all live in a world with 2 (two) “official” sequels to the original. How the hell did that happen, and you could ask why. Any who what do I want from this new film, I would really love to see some kind of reference to Jim Siedow it would just make the film, I hope all the original cast and crew (who are involved) have cool cameos, and “that” scene from the trailer please don't let me down.
What more can you ask for it’s got a cool poster and it’s still something that freaks out the “normal” people!
... and just remember "you don’t want to be going in no old house!”
|Posted on November 13, 2012 at 12:20 AM||comments (2)|
The one about Mr Lucas
that trip to Tunisia
and the rebels!
The idea for one of these films came from a clothing store which traded for over 60 years - the other is Are You Being Served, nah just kidding
As with most of my stories it starts when I was at my dad’s playing darts and drinking. For some reason we decided to watch the Are You Being Served (AYBS) feature film, and as the tape was starting I looked at the box and noticed;
1. It was released in 1977. Now to me when I think of this year I either think of that album by Ash, or Star Wars. So then I had Star Wars on the brain throughout the whole thing. If it had been released one year either side I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought.
2. This was something I found after the fact but AYBS director Bob Kellett had previously directed Space 1999 and of course Lucas helmed THX 1138 before he made Star Wars - I thought it was pretty funny that they had both directed exactly the same amount of Sci-Fi beforehand.
3. Of course now the tape was running and what gets mentioned? - Tunisia! Now as fans of Episode IV know, that was the place that doubled for Tatooine - Luke Skywalker's home planet. I never thought for a second I would ever hear of that being mentioned in some throwaway British comedy film. I can only just about remember that era but was it really a place people mentioned that frequently in the late 70’s? (in the UK)
4. Think of Star Wars and you think of George Lucas. And who turns out to be a main character in this retail comedy but only somebody named Mr Lucas! Don’t get me wrong, it's pure coincidence but it stuck out like a sore thumb every time it was mentioned.
5. Again another 'after the fact' fact but, Jack Atcheler (DP on AYBS) worked on 633 Squadron which Lucas based the “Trench Run” sequence in Star Wars on. Bruce White (Sound on AYBS) directly worked for Lucas on Young Indy (multiple episodes) and Wally Byatt (Camera on AYBS) was part of the crew for Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade. Again who would have thought anybody from this film would have direct links to the Californian billionaire filmmaker - I only looked for a laugh, I never really thought I’d see any link.
6. The hotel manager in Are You Being Served sounds exactly like the Viceroy in Episode I. It might be total fluke, it may be that the drink had have totally taken hold by this point, but it blew my mind. I mean what are the chances really.
7. Scenes for both were filmed at Elstree Studios, Boreham Wood, Hertfordshire. This is a pretty crazy direct link, and it’s amazing to think there is a real connection between the two! Which leads me too...
8. I bet crew from both films used the same pub after work. The stories of the Star Wars crew are legendary - how they clocked off at half five, etc. I bet the AYBS people were no different. Also what's even more amazing is both films have a “fucked up” bar in them.
9. Both films have a scene where a central character(s) gets stuck in or around a lift, which is mental when you think about it. One might be a dashing space hero and the other might be a pussy obsessed middle aged woman, but still.
Luke and Leia escape from the death star!
10. The last scene in both films is ridiculously similar - all the main cast facing forwards, standing in a line. How both films can end like that, having kept Star Wars in mind while I watched it, is just so funny to me.
That three year wait between Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back was a bitch!
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s mostly just for fun and I'm sure the more intelligent of you could just as easily link it to a Pauly Shore film or The Seven Samurai, but don’t, just go outside or have a beer and live your life! Actually don’t have a beer - it’s what got us all into this place to start with.
(oh yeah and some rebels were in Are You Being Served also, but I forgot to mention it)
|Posted on August 28, 2012 at 2:45 PM||comments (3)|
CROSSOVERS, CAMEOS & TEAM UPS
The Avengers, Earth’s mightiest heroes (out on DVD this week), are now one of films biggest earners. It’s a coup that has paid off for their parent company Marvel, who took the time to establish several stand alone franchises – Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America – before bunching them all together in a kind of superhero playpen (with just as much squabbling).
Of course as any four colour geek knows, comics have been doing this kind of thing for years. The Avengers first appeared in print in September 1963 while across town rivals DC had long since debuted its Justice Society of America in All Star Comics #3 (Winter 1940) which grouped together The Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman and the Spectre et al. Even in film DC were there first, and while to date they haven’t dared put all their eggs into one basket with a full scale crossover (though a Justice League movie has been long rumoured), their films are full of cheeky references to a larger Super World.
1984s Supergirl - while paying lip service to her Kryptonian cousin – also featured an appearance from Superman: The Movie’s Jimmy Olsen, played once again with nervous irrelevance by Marc McClure (Christopher Reeve pulled out of a planned cameo at the last minute after, we assume, reading the script). In Batman & Robin the Caped Crusader also got in on the joke when, taking a good long look at his lippy sidekick, understandably realised, “why Superman works alone.”
But before we get too carried away with muscular men in tights, we should perhaps be aware that when it comes to cinema, there’s no such thing as a new idea. In the early 1940s, with its monster movies running out of steam, Universal Studios decided to stir the pot by placing all its beasties into one picture. Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man came first in 1943 and was soon followed by House of Frankenstein in 1944 and House of Dracula in 1945.
“Hordes of Horror Spawned by the Devil!” boasted the House of Frankenstein trailer. “Now all together in one horrific picture – 1. Frankenstein’s Monster! 2. The Wolf Man! 3. Dracula! 4. The Mad Scientist! 5. The Hunchback!”
This idea of famous monsters dukin it out is the stuff of playground fantasies and diabolical studio execs are quick to manipulate this kind of innocent wondering. As a result films like King Kong Vs Godzilla, Alien Vs Predator and Freddy Vs Jason spring into existence. Even worse, fearful of alienating opposing fan bases, these films usually deny us any clear winner - making them slightly frustrating for our childhood selves (and anyone SPOLIER yelling that Kong clearly handed the Tokyo Terror his ass may remember that ‘zilla was back on his feet in less than 12 months in Mothra vs. Godzilla – another Toho produced ginormous monster ruckus).
You’d be forgiven for thinking that this penchant for crossovers is for juveniles only, but the idea of notable characters wandering into other films is a popular one. In 1988 power crazed villains the Dukes from Trading Places arrived washed up and penniless is another John Landis film Coming to America (penniless until an unfortunate act of kindness puts these two racist bastards back in business).
Last Action Hero,with its Meta universe already full of injokes and playful joshing, suggested that all films take place in a kind of movie Never Never Land (an idea already used in 1988s Who Framed Roger Rabbit, only with Toons instead of cocaine fuelled megastars). So here the shouty boss from 48hrs rubs shoulders with the T100 from Terminator 2, before cross examining Basic Instinct’s Catherine Tramell.
Even films without Hollywood budgets love this kind of stuff, and often use the gag to give a scope to their worlds that the budget can’t offer. Indie guru Jim Jarmusch seemed to start the trend by having Down by Law’s Jack (aka DJ Lee ‘Baby’ Sims) pop up in his later Mystery Train doing his day job. Kevin Smith turned this idea into a career and has used the self indulgent Greek Chorus Jay & Silent Bob from Clerks in five subsequent films (and numerous cartoons, t-shirts, pencil cases).
In fact Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back took everything one stage further as, in a love letter to…himself, Smith dumped various used character into one film. This of course proved confusing for anyone not in the know, as Jason Lee from Mallrats was in the same film with Jason Lee from Chasing Amy, and I’ll be dammed if you could tell the difference (I think one of the Jason Lees had a beard – but they both liked comics and were sarcastic).
There is no one more in love with ‘in-ness’ than Quentin Tarintino and, we are told, a good number of his films take place in one universe (a universe where verbal diarrhoea is a global epidemic). So everyone smokes Red Apple cigarettes, Reservoir Dogs’ Vic Vega is the brother of Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction and Sgt. Donny Donowitz from Inglourious Basterds is somebody from True Romance’s uncle’s cousin or something. At this point it all becomes a little too inclusive and hard to care about.
To be fair to Quentin other mediums do this all the time. The majority of Stephen King’s novels take place in the fictional town of Castle Rock, meaning that Sheriff Alan Pangborn in George Romero’s The Dark Half is the same Sheriff Pangborn from Needful Things, albeit with Ed Harris replacing Michael Rooker in the role. Tarantino idol Elmore Leonard’s characters also can’t stay put so its stands to reason that when Steven Soderbergh came to adapt Leonard’s Out of Sight he cast Michael Keaton as Agent Ray Niccolette – a part he had already played for Tarantino in Jackie Brown.
If by this point these clever-clever winks at the camera have become too much, then at least The Avengers is up front in its cross-pollination. But as Thor and the Hulk pummel each other and Captain America and Iron Man duke it out over opposing world views, don’t expect any answers as to who would win. This is a film about epic scale and pop culture (and money!), not about settling playground disputes.
|Posted on August 14, 2012 at 6:45 PM||comments (3)|
How do you join a cult?
So what makes a `cult` classic VHS tape, and why am I bringing this to mind? See I was writing a review for a film for this very website and it had all the prerequisite elements you would expect - a big chunky ex-rental box, the mobile rental `shop` stickers still on the front, trailers for fondly remembered films and movies you’d never heard of, a tie-in competition (that was as fascinating as it was stupid) and a long forgotten custom logo at the start of the movie.
Then there's the film itself - VHS through and through, pan and scan, a dull picture that needed the brightness pushing up just a little maybe. Then watching it and writing notes I started to think, "Is the film right for this site?" Did it have enough ninjas in it (or any ninjas at all for that matter) and does every cult classic VHS or otherwise really have to be full of robot renegade (mall) security guards? What if the film features no nudity -- that’s bad right?
Then I got to thinking that this film was too well known. Does it have to be a film only nerds have heard off, because surely a film that’s won awards won’t do. Heck, as the saying goes, “You are only famous if my parents have heard of you,” and I’m pretty sure they have heard of this film. Hell I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it with them!
Also does it have to be a horror or science fiction film, or can it be a “nice” film or a court room drama, or one of those popular 80’s TV movies you don’t get anymore (I guess you don’t get them anymore right -- it’s not the eighties!) but I digress. Surely it could just be something that has caught your eye, just like when you used to walk around a video shop.
Surely that’s what’s good about VHS right, everything from, “They Sold a Million” blockbusters to, "its Part III nobody will know if we’ve changed the lead actor and we’ll probably get him back for the 4th entry anyway but not for the 5th because that would make too much darn sense," are eligible.
Is just being on VHS purely good enough, because heck, it’s just copper filings being magnetised (no, wait, that’s audio I think but you get the point)? Any who, if the content is good does it matter if it’s a film Channel 5 has had on (mind you as much as like that channel that might not be saying that much).
So what have I learned from this? Well, firstly, I love ninjas -- but who doesn’t (I love roller skating ninjas even better and I really must find out what film that clip on YouTube is from)? I also love films set mostly at night and if it throws in some kind of lightning activated jeopardy then count me in. And what kind of channel runs a triple bill of bearded action hero films with the last one finishing at 4am, and why did I think it might be a good idea to write this afterwards?
Most importantly, I'm sure you're wondering what film was I writing a review for and why did I get this doubt in my mind? It must have been right up our alley right - a 70’s film, or a film with a 70 year old man playing a vigilante, or a combination of the two. It must have been some spin off of something or better still a remake. Well this is just going to sound silly now so promise you won’t judge me. Three words - Driving Miss Daisy.
|Posted on August 12, 2012 at 7:55 AM||comments (0)|
VHS – If it were easy, they wouldn’t call it hardware.
So it’s been around since basically the mid 70’s and was the archive medium of choice for a (very) popular British comedian*. It's a rectangular cube (or whatever you called a rectangle version of a cube) with a few hundred metres of tape in there and some screws to keep the whole thing together.
It does everything from saving analogue broadcasts to recording high definition footage and holding computer information -- all in one little old format. During its lifetime, it has given us everything from pre-certificate video goodness, to being one of the few reasons to go in a charity shop. VHS has had a lifespan touching close to four decades and it sure has seen a lot and helped us to see it too.
Who’d have thought the VHS reign would have been around to witness the last person to be executed at the guillotine - and a world that doesn't mind standing outside to have a cigarette - and it’s still going strong...well it’s still going. Its been pronounced dead more times than Freddy, Jason and Michael (not combined because that would be mental) but it still makes some people do a double take when they realise VHS is not going down without a fight.
Hopefully these blogs won’t be some luddite diatribe because hey, I like modern format’s as much as the next person and YouTube is the best thing since well VHS as far as I’m concerned. But you just can’t beat getting that tape off the shelf, cracking open a beer, pressing play and going into that analogue world where you’re never sure what you’re going to get.
It could be anything from watching somebody teaching you how to fish, Charles Bronson shooting some muggers off a rooftop, or Jenna Rink getting that darn dream house, or maybe just watching the disintegration of the tape as the credits come on, it's just something a little more personal.
So “join us” (as the famous video horror classic says) I’m sure we will talk about everything from "why I never did manage to collect all of the CBS/FOX `All Time Greats`", "when is the sequel to Van Halen Video Hits Volume 1 ever going to be released", and "why a book released in 1991 said 'For people who are terrified and/or baffled by that modern invention known as the VCR'".
As the song says in the 2010’s VHS release House of the Devil, “One Thing Leads to Another”, so blow the dust of that video machine, put the tape in the VCR, turn the lights down and hit the play button, what’s the worst that can happen…
*its Bob Monkhouse if anyone was wondering.
|Posted on July 24, 2012 at 9:35 AM||comments (0)|
Fred Olen Ray – A 1980's Ed Wood
Fred Olen Ray - you probably don't know the name unless you're a diehard fan of 80's straight to VHS, but chances are you have seen one of the films he has written, produced or directed.
Olen Ray's story was very similar to Ed Wood's back in the 50's. Wood, a fan of Universal's Dracula, found Bela Lugosi living in near poverty (as a recluse at the end of his career) and used Lugosi's star name to try and make his own within the film industry. Several of Wood's films became cult favourites and later he strayed into being involved in soft core and X-rated pictures. Amazingly, the same thing happened to Olen Ray.
Olen Ray was a fan of horror movies and adored genre stars such as Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. During his time as a stills photographer, he managed to meet both of his idols on the set of Shockwaves in 1977 and collected their autographs.
Fred Olen Ray And Peter Cushing Fred Olen Ray With Christopher Lee
Olen Ray's first film to star an actor who's career had respectfully come to the end was Alien Dead in 1980 where he got Buster Crabbe of the 1930's serials Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers to appear.
This trend would continue throughout the 80's and big name actors who were no longer getting involved in major films were at the top of Olen Ray's list. Robert Quarry of Count Yorga fame appeared in several of Olen Ray's pictures.
David Carradine appeared in Warlords, Evil Toons and Armed Response to name a few (the latter in my opinion the most solid of Olen Ray's 80's hits, with a cast including Lee Van Cleef, David Carradine, Mako, Cary–Hiroyiki Tagawa ( A Video Star), Dick Miller and Michael Berryman). The picture, although of low to medium budget, had good action sequences, some quotable lines and managed to get a theatrical release (rare for Olen Ray's pictures).
Armed Response Poster This Looks Familiar.............
Using Michael Berryman was also the same tactic Wes Craven employed for The Hills Have Eyes, using the actor's distinct features to create a memorable poster that most people have never forgotten, Olen Ray used Berryman again in several other films, along with other named actors such as Sid Haig, Jan Michael Vincent and David Warner.
Trailer For Armed Response
What Olen Ray shows us is how much the movie world operates as a business, using these character actors and video stars to get his pictures out there on the video shelves in the 80's and 90's and offering work to actors who needed it.
Filming locations for many of Olen Ray's pictures were the desert terrains and rock formations used in the original Star Trek series, or downtown L.A warehouses and abandoned early hour or late night city streets.
The late 90's were hard for Olen Ray and during this time he delved into 20 to 30 soft-core films and erotic thrillers (such as Emanuelle 2000 and most recently Baby Dolls Behind Bars). Still he hasn't given up entirely and just a couple of years ago in 2010 he ventured back to his glory days of the 80's with American Bandits: Frank And Jesse James which starred Peter Fonda and Jeffrey Combs. Combs had worked in the late 80's with Olen Ray in motorcycle action flick Cyclone.
Fred Olen Ray On Set With Peter Fonda American Bandit
Bizarrely outside of the film world since 2001, Olen Ray has been a professional wrestler under the stage name Freddie Valentine in the ACW.
That's all for now