The Birds (1963)

The Birds (1963)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Screenplay: Evan Hunter from a story by Daphne Du Maurier

Stars: Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Suzanne Pleshette, Jessica Tandy and Veronica Cartwright

The Pitch: “Hey, Alfred Hitchcock wants to make The Birds!”

Tagline: Suspense and shock beyond anything you have seen or imagined!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

 

Another classic from the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock.  This is one of a few movies I was always allowed to stay up and watch even on a school night as a kid.  All you need to know (and you probably already know it) is that birds are attacking and killing humans in Bodega Bay (and maybe the entire world)!

 

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Backtrack (2015)

Backtrack (2015)

Director: Michael Petroni

Screenplay: Michael Petroni

Stars: Adrien Brody, Jenni Baird and Bruce Spence

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s make a ghost movie with Adrien Brody!”

Tagline: Nothing haunts like the past.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Psychologist Peter Bower (Brody) is having a terrible time dealing with the death of his daughter.  He was teaching her to ride a bike when he became distracted and she was struck by a truck and killed.  Bower begins to have dreams of the dead and even starts to see them while awake.

As Bower sorts out the meaning of his visions, he also tries to remember what distracted him and lead to the death of his daughter.  Bower believes that they are linked.  Following the clues, he returns to his boyhood home and a secret that ties it all together.

 

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Split (2017)

Split (2017)

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Screenplay: M. Night Shyamalan

Stars: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson and Betty Buckley

The Pitch: “Hey, M. Knight Shyamalan has a cool idea for a movie!”

Tagline: Kevin has 23 distinct personalities. The 24th is about to be unleashed.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

 

Kevin Wendell has 23 different personalities.  One of them kidnapped three girls and locked them in a remote location.  All they know is that a new personality, ‘the beast’ is coming and they are considered sacred food.

M. Knight is back!  The twist ending has received a lot of buzz and is a cool reveal more than a twist.  With that said, I watched the movie thinking that one of the girls was actually one of Kevin’s personalities.  I really believe that M. Knight wanted us to lean that way… but I was wrong.  It’ll be interesting to see how M. Knight re-visits this story-line.

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The Thing from Another World (1951)

The Thing from Another World (1951)

Director: Christian Nyby, Howard Hawks (uncredited)

Screenplay: Charles Lederer based on the story Who Goes There by John W. Campbell Jr.

Stars: Kenneth Tobey, Margaret Sheridan, Robert Cornthwaite, Douglas Spencer, James Young, Dewey Martin, Robert Nichols, William Self, Eduard Franz and James Arness.

The Pitch: “Hey,let’s turn Who Goes There into a movie!”

Tagline: What do you know about it? What does science know about it? What does ANYONE know about THE THING?

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

A small band of scientists and soldiers are stationed in the Arctic.  They discover what appears to be a flying saucer buried in the ice.  They also find an alien being frozen in the ice.  When they bring back the block of ice containing the creature, they have no idea the horror that is in store.

The Thing from Another World is a Classic!

 

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15 Facts About “Silence of the Lambs” That You Didn’t Know

Cory Mahoney and the Hollywood.com present 15 Facts About Silence of the Lambs That You Didn’t Know.  Here are three of my favorites…

3. The moth cocoons Buffalo Bill placed in his victims throats were actually made from a combination of Tootsie Rolls and gummy bears, in case they were swallowed. 

7. Silence of the Lambs the only horror movie ever to win Best Picture at the Oscars.

Only two others have even been nominated: The Exorcist and Jaws.

9. Jonathan Demme always had characters speak directly into the camera for conversations with Clarice, yet he always filmed Jodie Foster looking slightly off camera.
The idea was to make audiences directly experience her point-of-view to more easily empathize with her character. We think anyone who has watched those gripping last few moments of the film can confirm the success of this technique.

The Traveler (2010)

The Traveler (2010)

Director: Michael Oblowitz

Screenplay:  Joseph C. Muscat

Stars: Val Kilmer, Dylan Neal and Paul McGillion

The Pitch: “Hey,let’s make a murder mystery with supernatural revenge overtones.”

Tagline: How do you catch a killer you’ve already caught?

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Late one evening a stranger walks into a deserted under-staffed police station and begins confessing to murders he hasn’t yet committed.

Interesting premise that falls way short in reality.  The underlying premise is that an innocent man has been killed by the officers in the station and that the stranger is there to get revenge.  What follows is a lot of stupid decisions made by characters that results in torture and gore.  Then at the end there is a reveal that makes all that we’ve seen even worse.  Bah!

 

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The Mummy’s Ghost (1944)

The Mummy’s Ghost (1944)

Director: Reginald LeBorg

Screenplay: Griffin Jay & Henry Sucher & Brenda Weisberg

Stars: John Carradine, Robert Lowery, Ramsay Ames and Lon Chaney, Jr.

The Pitch: “Hey, it’s time for another mummy movie!”

Tagline: NO CHAINS Can Hold It! NO TOMB Can Seal It!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Like all mummy movies, a mummy is brought back to life and is attracted to a modern woman who may be the reincarnation of his past love.  Terror ensues at a slow pace (mummies have a hard time walking all bandaged up and all).  This mummy movie does have at least one surprise.

 

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Re-Kill (2015)

Re-Kill (2015)

Director: Valeri Milev

Screenplay: Michael Hurst

Stars: Bruce Payne, Daniella Alonso, Roger Cross

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

Tagline: We are the endangered species.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

 

It’s five years after the zombie apocalypse and life inside gated communities with security goes on.  Watching Re-Kill is like watching a tv station that is all-zombie kills all the time.  Maybe like watching Cops but the criminals are now zombies.  There are commercials and public service ads insterspliced within the “Re-Kill” programming.

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Before killing Bogue, Chisholm reveals that Bogue and his men had raped and killed his mother and sisters years earlier.  They had even hung Chisholm and left him for dead.

While this gives additional justification for Chisholm wanting to take on Bogue and his men, it makes him a little less heroic.  Up to the point of the reveal, it appeared that Chisholm and the others recruited were going against impossible odds because it was the “right” thing to do… not because one of them wanted revenge.

 

 

Pandemic (2016)

Pandemic (2016)

Director: John Suits

Screenplay: Dustin T. Benson

Stars: Rachel Nichols, Alfie Allen, Missi Pyle and Paul Guilfoyle.

The Pitch: “Hey, let’s make a zombie movie that looks like a video game.”

Tagline: You Are Humanity’s Last Stand.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

You know the drill.  A virus has swept the world turning people into crazy fast zombies.  Survivors are either trying to live on the big city streets or worse yet the suburbs.  If you’re lucky you’re safe behind the walls of a military complex where doctors are working on a cure.

Lauren is a doctor who was separated from her family.  Not allowed to attempt to check on them, (the suburbs are way too dangerous), instead she is sent with three others (a driver, a gunner and a scientist) on a rescue mission into the city.

When things go bad, Lauren decides to head to the suburbs to check on her family.

Most Pandemic is shot as a first person shooter game.  And it feels like one at times.  Whether that is a good or bad thing depends on if you prefer watching games or movies.

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The Brides of Dracula (1960)

The Brides of Dracula (1960)

Director: Terrence Fisher

Screenplay: Jimmy Sangster & Peter Bryan & Edward Percy and Anthony Hinds (uncredited)

Stars: Peter Cushing, Martita Hunt, Yvonne Monlaur and David Peel.


The Pitch: “Hey, let’s make a Dracula movie without Dracula…”

Tagline: The most evil Dracula of all!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

If you come to this movie looking for Dracula or even a focus on the Brides of Dracula you’re in for a let down.

Instead you get…

  • A vampire who is kept chained up by his mother.  Yes, his mother.
  • A vampire hunter who always arrives right before the vampire is to rise for the evening — even though he knows vampires are powerless during the day.
  • A vampire who isn’t smart enough or cunning enough or strong enough to escape from the chain around his ankle put there by his mother.  Yes, his mother.
  • A supposedly intelligent woman who releases the vampire (not knowing he’s a vampire — Hey! But maybe he’s chained up by his mother for a reason) and falls in love with him after one meeting.
  • A vampire hunter bitten by a vampire who takes a hot metal branding iron and places it on the bites on his neck and then pours Holy water on the wound… and fully recovers! [Who knew he had that cure in his back pocket.]
  • A vampire who has blonde hair and is supposed to be good-looking and scary but isn’t much of either.
  • A vampire hunter who kills vampires with a shadow.
  • A movie that only die hard vampire or Peter Cushing fans should seek out.

 

 

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40 Things We Learned from Joe Dante’s “Gremlins” Commentary

Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects present 40 Things We Learned from Joe Dante’s Gremlins Commentary.  Here are three of my favorites…

7.    Galligan is the first to point out that the “don’t feed after midnight” rule is silly because it’s always after midnight somewhere. “Well we make fun of all that stuff in Gremlins 2 anyway,” says Dante.

10. The titles on the theater marquee are an in-joke for producer Steven Spielberg’s benefit. A Boys Life was the working title for E.T., and Watch the Skies was the one for Close Encounters of the Third Kind. “I think we did this mainly so that when Steven saw the dailies he’d be happy.”

15. Cartoonist legend Chuck Jones is the guy at the bar teaching Billy (Galligan) how to draw. There was originally more of a plot involving Billy’s hopeful career as an artist.

Weird Woman (1944)

Weird Woman (1944)

Director: Reginald Le Borg

Screenplay: W. Scott Darling and Brenda Weisberg from the Fritz Leiber novel

Stars: Lon Chaney Jr., Anne Gwynne and Evelyn Ankers


The Pitch: “Hey, let’s adapt Fritz Leiber’s novel.”

Tagline: MURDER STRIKES WITH VELVET CLAWS!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

College professor Norman Reed [Changey] returns from a trip to the jungle married to a mysterious woman [Gwynne] who believes in voodoo.  Soon enough Reed is a best-selling and popular author.  But when Reed destroys some of his wife’s protective charms, things go south and people die.  Could his wife be right and evil is out to get him?

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