The Leopard Man (1943) / Z-View

The Leopard Man (1943)

Director: Jacques Tourneur

Screenplay: Ardel Wray and additional dialogue by Edward Dein based on the novel by Cornell Woolrich

Stars: Dennis O’Keefe, Margo and  Jean Brooks

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s get Jacques Tourneur to direct The Leopard Man!”

Tagline: A shriek in the night–another victim torn to pieces by claw and fang! Is it man-like beast or beast-like man that picks only beauty as prey–and why?.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

When a sideshow leopard escapes women begin turning up bitten and clawed to death… but evidence starts to suggest it might not be the leopard.

 

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Black Sabbath (1963) / Z-View

Black Sabbath (1963)

Director: Mario Bava

Screenplay: Mario Bava and Alberto Bevilacqua

Stars: Michèle Mercier, Lidia Alfonsi and Boris Karloff

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s have Mario Bava direct Boris Karloff!”

Tagline: This is the night of the nightmare…

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Boris Karloff introduces a trio of horror tales and stars in one.  In the first, a woman preparing a corpse for burial steals the dead woman’s ring… and comes to regret it.  In the second a young woman receives terrorizing phone calls from a man watching her.  In the third Boris Karloff plays an old man returning home from battle with vampire… but did he win?

 

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15 Intense Facts About “Cape Fear”

Roger Cormier and Mental_Floss present 15 Intense Facts About Cape Fear.  Here are three of my favorites…

1. STEVEN SPIELBERG TRADED THE MOVIE TO MARTIN SCORSESE FOR THE RIGHTS TO SCHINDLER’S LIST.

Martin Scorsese was apprehensive about making Schindler’s List after the controversy surrounding his previous two films, Goodfellas and The Last Temptation of Christ. Steven Spielberg, on the other hand, said he “wasn’t in the mood” to make a movie about a “maniac.” So, once Scorsese promised Spielberg that the Bowdens would survive in the end, they traded. Spielberg had Bill Murray in mind to play Max Cady. Scorsese had other ideas.

4. IT COULD HAVE STARRED HARRISON FORD AND ROBERT DE NIRO.

Scorsese asked De Niro to ask Harrison Ford to play Sam. Ford told De Niro he would only be interested in working on the film if he played Cady and De Niro played Sam. De Niro said no to that.

6. REESE WITHERSPOON BLEW HER AUDITION TO PLAY DANIELLE. SO DID DREW BARRYMORE.

“It was my second audition ever,” Witherspoon said in 1999. “My agent told me I’d be meeting Martin Scorsese. I said, ‘Who is he?’ Then he mentioned the name Robert De Niro. I said, ‘Never heard of him.’ When I walked in I did recognize De Niro, and I just lost it. My hand was shaking and I was a blubbering idiot.”

Drew Barrymore auditioned for the role, too, but believed she overacted for one of Scorsese’s assistants. In 2000, she called the audition “the biggest disaster” of her life and said that Scorsese thinks she’s “dog doo-doo” because of it.

Mark of the Vampire (1935) / Z-View

Mark of the Vampire (1935)

Director: Tod Browning

Screenplay:  Guy Endore and Bernard Schubert

Stars: Lionel Barrymore, Elizabeth Allan and Bela Lugosi

The Pitch: “Hey, Tod Browning wants to make Mark of the Vampire!”

Tagline: Undead…yet living on the Kisses of Youth!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Mark of the Vampire had the potential to be a great vampire movie.  Tod Browning directing, Bela Lugosi as the vampire with Lionel Barrymore!  Mark of the Vampire has mood, setting and starts off with great promise.

Sir Karell Borotin is found dead drained of his blood.  All evidence points to a vampire or vampires that must be found and destroyed.  The film is off and running and it’s a great experience.  There’s a scene with Lugosi changing from a bat to human form and then running down a hall to catch and kill a victim and it’s terrifying!

Then in the last act the film changes gears and becomes a murder mystery with no real vampires!  Check out this trivia from IMDB:

The actors all played their roles as though they were in a conventional horror movie, unaware of the twist-ending until the last few days of shooting.Director Tod Browning deliberately kept them in the dark because he wanted authenticity.

When director Tod Browning revealed late in the filming process that the plot dictated that the vampires were really just actors pretending to be vampires, he met with much resistance from the cast and crew. Nobody was more incensed than Bela Lugosi, who pleaded with Browning to let him play a real vampire.

Mark of the Vampire is still worth watching but sadly isn’t near the movie it could have been.

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Borderland (2007) / Z-View

Borderland (2007) / Z-View

Director: Zev Berman

Screenplay: Eric Poppen and Zev Berman

Stars: Brian Presley, Jake Muxworthy and Rider Strong

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s make a scary movie”

Tagline: Inspired by a true story.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Three college students head south of the border for a weekend of fun and end up on the wrong side of a Satanic drug-dealing cult.

 

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House on Haunted Hill (1959) / Z-View

House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Director:  William Castle

Screenplay:  Robb White

Stars:  Vincent Price, Carol Ohmart, Richard Long and Elisha Cook, Jr.

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s make a scary movie”

Tagline: First Film With the Amazing New Wonder EMERGO: The Thrills Fly Right Into The Audience!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Fredrick Loren [Price] offers five people $10,000 to stay the night in a mansion that legend has is haunted.  Despite their fears and needing the money, they group is locked in with no way out except death…

 

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The Haunting (1963) / Z-View

The Haunting (1963)

Director: Robert Wise

Screenplay:  Nelson Gidding based on Shirley Jackson‘s novel The Haunting of Hill House

Stars:  Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson and Russ Tamblyn.

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s The Haunting of Hill House!”

Tagline: You may not believe in ghosts but you cannot deny terror!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Dr. Markway [Johnson] and three companions in an effort to prove the existence of ghosts go to Hill House – a remote mansion with a long history of violent deaths.

The Haunting has beautiful cinematography and director Robert Wise builds the tension and terror.  While there are a couple of great scares the movie relies on pace and an increasing sense of doom to ramp up the fear factor.  They don’t make them like this any more.

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Horror Express (1972) / Z-View

Horror Express (1972)

Director: Eugenio Martín (as Gene Martin)

Screenplay:  Arnaud d’Usseau and Julian Zimet 

Stars: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Alberto de Mendoza and Telly Savalas.

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s remake ‘The Thing from Another World and set it on a train in 1906!”

Tagline: A nightmare of terror travelling aboard the Horror Express!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

The year is 1906.  An English scientist [Lee] is transporting a frozen prehistoric monster to England by train across the frozen Siberian wasteland.  What could possibly go wrong?

You guessed it.  The monster thaws and turns out to be an alien that can kill and take the shape of whoever it murders.  Will Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Telly Savalas be able to kill the creature before the train reaches civilization?  Stick around for the eye-popping finale and you’ll know!

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Night of the Living Dead (1990) / Z-View

Night of the Living Dead (1990)

Director: Tom Savini

Screenplay: George Romero based on The Night of the Living Dead original screenplay by John A. Russo and George Romero 

Stars: Tony Todd, Patricia Tallman, Tom Towles and Bill Cardille.

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s update (and copyright) a remake of ‘Night of the Living Dead’!”

Tagline: There IS a fate worse than death.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Tom Savini takes the helm of an updated version of Night of the Living Dead.  All the key players and set pieces are in place but it’s like watching a historic event from a slightly different timeline.  There are little changes in character but none of them are for the better.

Barbara starts off the same — overcome with shock from the realization that the dead are rising to eat the living, but partway through the movie she is ready to pick up a gun and go Rambo on zombies or humans that tick her off.  Ben is now as much of a hot head as Harry Cooper.

And the zombies aren’t like the zombies we’ve grown used to.  They’re not as scary.  Of course part of THAT problem is that when the ONOTLD was made, the zombie genre was being invented.  We’re almost 50 years from that and zombie expectations are much different. (Only a true horror aficionado would understand that!)  Also being filmed in color doesn’t help either.

The movie was still fun and I think most fans would enjoy the ride.

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The Innocents (1961) / Z-View

The Innocents (1961)

Director: Jack Clayton

Screenplay: Truman Capote and William Archibald based on the Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw

Stars: Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde and Megs Jenkins.

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s make a movie where two children in a remote mansion may be possessed by evil spirits!”

Tagline: A strange new experience in shock.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

In the late 1890’s a rich man hires a nanny, Miss Giddens [Kerr] to move to his remote, deserted mansion run by a few servants to oversee the raising of his nephew and niece.  Shortly after her arrival Miss Giddens begins to believe that the evil spirits of the former nanny and a man are trying to possess the children.

The Innocents is considered a classic by many and is an excellent film.  The black and white photography works wonderfully with the soundtrack to create a suspenseful movie full tension and a couple of legitimate scares.  They don’t make movies like this any more and it is a shame.

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Spook Chasers (1957) / Z-View

Spook Chasers (1957)

Director: George Blair

Screenplay: Elwood Ullman

Stars: Huntz Hall, Stanley Clements and Darlene Fields.

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s put the East Side Kids in a haunted house with some crooks!”

Tagline: IT’S A SCREAM!..as they g-g-go ghost-haunting…and they haven’t a g-g-ghost of a chance!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

The Bowery Boys find themselves in another creepy, old house haunted house with a mad scientist crooks!  Wha- what?

When Mike buys a rural house sight-unseen, the boys go up with him to get it cleaned up.  In the process they discover hidden cash and learn it was a gang of crook’s hideout.  Instead of laying low, they go into town and pay off the mortgage.  Word gets out and that night things start getting spooky with ghosts, monsters, crooks and mobsters all running wild!

If you feel you’ve seen this one before, it’s the same basic plot with minor tweaks that made The Bowery Boys famous.

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11 Things You Didn’t Know About “The Walking Dead”

Beirut Abu Hdaib and TGN Magazine present 11 Things You Didn’t Know About The Walking Dead.  Here are three of my favorites…

– The main logo keeps changing

The show’s credits have been changing over the years. But did you ever notice what was happening to the main logo? It has been getting darker, grimier and more worn out from one season to the next.

– Carol was supposed to die instead of T-Dog

Producers were growing tired of T-Dog showing up late to shooting and his negative attitude so they decided to axe him. Carol was supposed to be eaten alive by zombies and producers decided that T-Dog would sacrifice himself to save her.

– The show is shot on 16 mm film

The show is being shot using Kodak’s Super 16 mm rather than digitally. Why? Simply because film matches the tone of the show much more than digital does.

Zombie Diaries 2 (2011) / Z-View

Zombie Diaries 2 (2011)

Director: Michael G. Bartlett, Kevin Gates

Screenplay: Kevin Gates

Stars: Philip Brodie, Alix Wilton Regan and Rob Oldfield

The Pitch: “Zombie movies are profitable and we’ve already made one…let’s do another!”

Tagline: Humanity’s Last Stand!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

A zombie outbreak is underway.  The movie is another in the “found film” genre.  A soldier documents the outbreak with a video camera.  People make stupid decisions and are killed.  Zombies are everywhere and you can follow along with the shaky camera, jump cuts and all.  Its like watching a bad home movie with zombies.  Not my cup of joe.

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The Zombie Diaries (2006) / Z-View

The Zombie Diaries (2006) 

Director:  Michael G. Bartlett and Kevin Gates

Screenplay: Michael G. Bartlett and Kevin Gates

Stars:  Scott Ainslie, Toby Bowman and Victoria Summer.

The Pitch: “Zombie movies are cheap, let’s make one!”

Tagline: Brace yourself… This time it’s for real.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

The Zombie Diaries is one of those “found movie” films.  The idea this time out is that we’re watching video that was recorded during the start of a zombie apocalypse.  It begins and ends with a documentary crew but there are three interconnected “stories” along the way.

I’m not a fan of “found films” because it usually means jumpy, headache inducing photography and poor editing (or no editing – just jump cuts from one “scene” to the next). The Zombie Diaries is no exception and in fact is an excellent example of why lost films don’t work (at least for me).

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