15 Modern Horror Movies Stephen King Has Personally Recommended

John Squires and Bloody Disgusting present 15 Modern Horror Movies Stephen King Has Personally Recommended.  Here are three of my favorites from his list…

“The ending will tear your heart out… but so will life, in the end. Frank Darabont’s vision of hell is completely uncompromising. If you want sweet, the Hollywood establishment will be pleased to serve you at the cineplex, believe me, but if you want something that feels real, come here. Darabont could have made a higher-budget film if he’d added a cheerful ‘It’s all OK, kiddies’ ending, but he refused. His integrity and courage shine in every scene.”

4) DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004)
“Genius perfected would be Zack Snyder’s Dawn remake, which begins with one of the best opening sequences of a horror film ever made. Snyder’s zombies are, it seems to me: fast moving terrorists who never quit. You can’t debate with them, you can’t parley with them, you can’t even threaten their homes and families with reprisals. All you can do is shoot them and then steer clear of the twitchers. Remember that their bite is worse than fatal.”

“The Scott B. Smith-scripted adaptation of his novel isn’t quite as creepy as the book, but the sense of dismay and disquiet grows as the viewer begins to sense that no one’s going to get away. With its cast of mostly unknowns, this would play well on a double bill with Snyder’s Dawn [of the Dead] remake.”

12 Solid Facts About “Pumping Iron”

Jake Rosen and Mental_Floss present 12 Solid Facts About Pumping Iron.  Here are three of my favorites…

When photographer George Butler was dispatched by both Life magazine and The Village Voice to cover the burgeoning bodybuilding scene in the early 1970s, he was fascinated with its abundance of charismatic participants. Feeling one of the sport’s star attractions, Arnold Schwarzenegger, could carry a full-length film, Butler decided to pursue a feature-length project with collaborator Robert Fiore that he began shooting in 1975. The problem was that Butler was focused on the mass monsters of the Mr. Olympia scene; to balance it out and offer audiences a more relatable subject, he enlisted slightly-built actor Bud Cort (Harold and Maude) and shot a lot of footage of him working out and marveling at the well-developed bodies all around him. The footage wound up being cut from the finished film.

While Butler was trying to raise funds, he shot a 10-minute test sequence of Schwarzenegger making a guest posing appearance in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Screening the footage for investors in New York, Butler was dismayed to see that they seemed more horrified than intrigued by the sight of the massive Austrian flexing his deltoids. After the footage ended, playwright Romulus Linney stood, turned to Butler, and said, “I think I speak for all of us when I say that if you make a movie about this Arnold person, we will laugh you off 42nd Street.” (Butler turned to another approach, piecemealing his budget together by petitioning more than 3000 separate financiers until he got the money he needed.)

The nature of raw footage means that hundreds of hours of film were left on the cutting room floor, but according to Butler, one sequence in particular has never left his memory. Talking to Ferrigno about his future hopes, the actor told the director that “all I want to be is the Hulk.” He got his wish just two years later, starring for five seasons on CBS’s The Incredible Hulk.

Kurt Russell: 10 Essential Films

Neil Mitchell and BFI present Kurt Russell: 10 Essential Films.  Using just their choices, here are my top three…

  • Escape from New York. Could anyone else have been Snake Plissken?  The correct answer is, “No.”
  • Tombstone.  One of the most re-watchable films of any genre.
  • Bone Tomahawk.  A cult classic.

 Kurt Russell movies that didn’t make the cut, that I through would have:  Big Trouble in Little China, Breakdown, Backdraft, 3,000 Miles to Graceland and of course, Tango & Cash.

RIP – Bernie Wrightson

It was announced today that Bernie Wrightson has passed away after a long battle with brain cancer.  Mr. Wrightson was 68.

Known best for his drawings and paintings in the horror genre, Mr. Wrightson was a humble and soft-spoken man who appreciated his fans.  Wrightson was an artist’s artist.  Not only was his work loved by fans, but professional artists were also in awe of his talent.  Best known as the co-creator (with Len Wein) of Swamp Thing, Wrightson was also known for…

  • Being one of the young upstart talents of “The Studio” (along with Barry Smith, Michael Kaluta, and Jeff Jones)
  • His horror work at Warren Publishing
  • His Frankenstein project (beautiful pen and ink illustrations for Mary Shelley’s classic tale)
  • His work with Stephen King – creating the poster for the movie Creepshow and illustrating King’s Cycle of the Werewolf novella, illustrations for The Stand (restored version), and art for the hardcover editions of From a Buick 8 and Dark Tower V.
  • His comics at Marvel (Punisher, Spider-Man), DC (Swamp Thing, Batman) and IDW (The Ghoul and Doc Macabre – both with co-creator Steve Niles)
  • His conceptual art for films such as The Faculty, Spiderman, and George Romero’s Land of the Dead, and The Mist.
  • So much more

I was fortunate enough to meet Berni Wrightson a couple of times at HeroesCon.  He was kind and humble and appreciative of the praise fans (myself included) gave him.  On the first occasion, when my wife learned that Mr. Wrightson was a guest at the con she came into the show to meet him.  She wasn’t a real comics fan, but she did love Mr. Wrightson’s art, appreciated his talent and wanted to meet him.  When she spoke to him, he seemed genuinely touched. As we were leaving his area other fans were coming over to share their appreciation.  I’m glad Bernie Wrightson was aware of how much his art positively impacted so many people.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Berni Wrightson’s family, friends and fans.


Joss Whedon on Reboots/Reunions, Binge-Watching & More!

Joss Whedon (Writer – Director – Producer – Actor) makes some interesting observations in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.   Two things that stuck out for me were Whedon’s thoughts on reboots/reunions and binge-watching tv episodes.

Whedon on reboots/reunions…

“I see a little bit of what I call monkey’s paw in these reboots. You bring something back, and even if it’s exactly as good as it was, the experience can’t be. You’ve already experienced it, and part of what was great was going through it for the first time.”

Whedon is on point.  As much as we want to bring back favorite favorites, it is so difficult.  There has to be some growth or we’re getting more of the same and we’ve seen that.  And Whedon is so right — part of what was great was experiencing it for the first time.


Whedon on binge-watching tv episodes…


“…the more it (television watching) becomes lifestyle instead of experience. It becomes ambient. It loses its power, and we lose something with it…I would not want to do it. I would want people to come back every week and have the experience of watching something at the same time… I loved event television.”


Technology has made movie and television watching less of an event.  I love the convenience of being able to record and watch what I want when I want, but when was the last time watching something became an event (not counting live broadcasts)?  When I was a kid, The Wizard of Oz was shown once a year and you’d better be in front of the tube when it was broadcast.  I can still remember the thrill of being allowed to stay up late to watch it, or Hitchcock’s The Birds.  The series finale of The Fugitive was another tv event that was huge.  So was the murder of JR, a new episode of All in the Family.


Binge-watching takes away the event feel.  Not only that, because the series is available ANY time you want, there is less of a pull to watch it.  My wife and I tuned in every week for Longmire.  When it switched to Netflix, we followed but now we could watch it whenever.  We have a full season yet to be watched.  Same with Daredevil.  I’ve yet to watch a single episode of House of Cards or Luke Cage.  What’s the rush?  They’ll be there when I’m ready.


Rocky and Mickey Limited Edition Maquettes

Have you seen these Rocky and Mickey limited edition statues coming from NECA?

These limited edition maquettes (statues) are based on a famous stopmotion commercial from the late 1990s that starred Rocky and his trainer Mickey in puppet form. Even in stylized form, those two had selling power!



Working from the actual puppets used to make the commercial, we’ve reproduced Rocky and Mickey as extra-detailed maquettes. Rocky stands approximately 12″ tall and has fabric boxing shorts. Mickey stands approximately 10″ tall and features fabric hat and clothing.


Both statues are in accurate scale to each other and have movable eyes that can be positioned in various directions.


Comes with two display bases. Limited to 1500 pieces worldwide

Any of my deep-pocket buddies wondering about an early birthday or Christmas present for me… now ya know.  ; )

18 Things We Learned from John Carpenter’s “Rio Bravo” Commentary

Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects present 18 Things We Learned from John Carpenter’s Rio Bravo Commentary.  Here are my three favorites…

2. Hawks is Carpenter’s favorite director, and this is one of his favorite films ever made. He’s long credited it with being the inspiration for his own Assault on Precinct 13.

8. Robert Mitchum’s brother, John, plays the bartender in the scene where Chance and Dude enter the bar in search of the wounded bad guy.

9. The belt buckle Wayne wears during the film was a gift from Hawks upon the completion of their first film together, Red River. It features the brand from the ranch his character owned in the film.


The Real Reason ‘Hudson Hawk’ is So Bonkers

Even Hudson Hawk‘s most devoted fans would admit that the movie goes waaaay over the top.

Guess what?  It wasn’t always meant to be like that!

During filming of Hudson Hawk, testing on Bruce Willis’ previous movie, The Bonfire of the Vanities, showed that audiences loved Willis.  They were even going to re-edit Bonfire prior to its release to make Willis’ role bigger.

Suddenly Bruce Willis had much more say on Hudson Hawk so it kept getting wilder and wilder.  I’m not complaining since I’ve always enjoyed Hudson Hawk but it is interesting to consider what it would have been like as a more conventional heist film.

Check out  The Real Reason ‘Hudson Hawk’ is So Bonkers by Fred Topel at /Film for the complete lowdown.

10 Self-Defense Tips from Boxer Jack Dempsey

Jack Dempsey, the Heavyweight Champion who many call the Greatest Heavyweight Fighter of the 20th Century wrote a book on self-defense.

Jake Rosen and Mental_Floss present 10 Self-Defense Tips from Boxer Jack Dempsey.  If you click over you can see all 10 tips as well as a pdf of Dempsey’s book.  In the mean time, here’s my top three tips…

Has a hooligan drawn you into a physical confrontation? Before you even think about raining blows upon him, consider your arena: “Let me suggest that any time you are about to be drawn into a fight, keep your head and make a split-second survey of your surroundings,” Dempsey cautions. “Decide immediately whether you have fighting-room and whether you have good footing. If you haven’t, try to force your opponent to shift to another battleground, where your knowledge of fighting will leave the percentage in your favor. Yell at him, for example: ‘Okay, wise guy! You want to fight! Let’s see if you’ve got the guts to come out into the street and fight me like a man!’”

This, Dempsey says, will allow you to avoid obstacles and crowds, “so that you’ll be able to knock his head off when you get him where you can fight without footing handicaps.”

Any pro will tell you that straight punches are the key to victory: Wild, looping punches dilute your guard and lack precision. Dempsey is no different. “Some current fighters attempt a long-range right upper-cut called the ‘bolo’ punch. They even attempt to lead with it. Let me warn you that the bolo is more showy than explosive. It’s more dangerous to the user than to his opponent. The bolo, or any long-range uppercut, is merely an underhanded swing. And you know that any type of swing, against a good straight puncher, signals to the mortician.”


The number one obstacle to victory in any altercation, Dempsey writes, is fatigue. “True, your opponent also may be getting fatigued; but you can’t be certain about his exact condition unless he’s blowing and staggering. You know for sure only that you’re nearly ‘all in,’ and that he’s still out there swinging at you. Accordingly, the longer he keeps fighting, the less chance you have of winning; but the greater chance you have of being battered, cut up, knocked down, knocked out, or injured.”

The “Manassa Mauler” has practical advice to combat this issue. “Because of the danger in a fist-fight, it is imperative that you end the brawl as quickly as possible; and the best way to do that is by a knockout. The knockout is far more important in fist-fighting than in boxing, YOU’VE GOT TO KNOCK ‘EM OUT IN FIST-FIGHTS.”

TCM’s Noir Alley!

Film Noir fans are going to love TCM’s Noir Alley.  Each week at 10am Eddie Muller will introduce a classic film noir that will then run on TCM.  Fans will live tweet as enter “a shadowy cinematic world populated by tough guys, femmes fatales and assorted thugs and slugs.”

First up is the Maltese Falcon staring Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet in the classic adapted (from Dashiell Hammet’s novel) and directed by John Huston.

Click here for the full TCM Noir Alley schedule.

15 Fun Facts About “Crocodile Dundee”

Roger Cormier and Mental_Floss present 15 Fun Facts About Crocodile Dundee.  Here are three of my favorites…

“It wasn’t funny on paper,” Shadie admitted about the line “That’s not a knife.” The quote was a collaboration between the three writers, and it became one of the movie’s most memorable scenes.

John Cornell showed the movie to a 20th Century Fox executive while he was in Hollywood trying to sell it. ”There was some idiot who sat with his feet on the desk and watched it for about 20 minutes, looked at this watch about eight times and told me that it wouldn’t work,” Cornell remembered. ”He was extremely rude. I sometimes get pleasure from thinking about what the look is like on his face at a time like this.” Paramount ended up acquiring the rights.

They wed in 1990 and had a son, Chance. Kozlowski filed for divorce in 2013.

39 Things We Learned from Bill Paxton’s “Frailty” Commentary

Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects present 39 Things We Learned from Bill Paxton’s Frailty Commentary.  Here are three of my favorites…

8. He made the film for multiple viewings. “The first time you sit through Frailty you get pulled into the story kind of subjectively, and there’s this whole kind of creep factor. But on your second viewing there’s a lot of satisfaction as there are a lot of clues laid out in front of the viewer.”

35. The script originally showed the visions — each demons sins — at the time of their abduction/murder, but James Cameron watched an early cut and suggested they shift them all to the end. “He said ‘You gotta remember film is so literal that you’re going to split the audience, and a lot of them are gonna believe that dad really is seeing all this stuff, and you don’t want that to happen because you want them to go with Fenton.’”

36. Why is the ax called Otis? One, he wanted audiences to know that the ax adult Adam uses in the end is the same one his dad used, “so I wanted to mark it some way.” And two, giving it a name anthropomorphizes it and makes it a character of sorts.

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