Sunday, August 29, 2010

ICS - Mini Update August 29, 2010

Greetings one and all! Here's the latest ICS UPDATE!

Next Month we will have noted ICS member and Bram Stoker Award winning author Norman Prentiss doing the presentation. Here’s what Notorious Norman had to say:

I've got a pretty good idea of what I'm going to do for the my September presentation.  For the presentation portion, I'm going to do a reading--possibly "In the Porches of My Ears," possibly a new story.  Porches has a movie theater setting, so that might be most appropriate.  I'll bring the Stoker also, so people can see it.

Then for the screening, I want to do some British genre TV.  We'll start with an episode of "Garth Marenghi's DARKPLACE," which is a fictional "restored" program from the 80s about a haunted hospital.  It is a hilarious show, with much juvenille humor.  I'll bring the whole series and we'll vote for an episode.  That would be the 25 minute short subject.

For the "feature" film, we'll vote for an episode of Brian Clemens's (of THE AVENGERS fame) "Thriller" anthology series.   These were 65 minute mini-movies that were broadcast in England in the 70s, but also aired on ABC's movie of the week slot.  They have fun, suspenseful plots, highly amusing 70s fashions, and (to please the American audiences) often involve an American tourist/actor getting into som e kind of terrible trouble. Titles for voting will include:  "I'm the Girl He Wants to Kill," (a woman trapped after hours in an office building and stalked by a killer) "File it Under Fear" (crazed killer stalks a librarian) "Someone at the Top of the Stairs" (Donna Mills as an American student in a creepy English boarding house). 

Sounds like a great presentation for a Fall Evening!

The calendar idea was voted on, and down, at the last meeting.

At the last meeting Leaping Leo Dymanski brought to the floor the idea of not moving the meetings for Thanksgiving weekends. This time it passed 14 to 8 to not move the meetings.

Hard to believe it’s only 2 months out til Halloween. With that in mind, and also with it being the near the start of Football Season, John Cusack is starring in a movie about Edgar A. Poe (he never called himself Edgar Allan Poe) called THE RAVEN. Poe finds himself in 1850s Baltimore, where someone is killing people using his stories as his inspiration. Sure it’s fantasy- it has to be, since Poe died in 1849. Being a Poe aficionado, I’ll probably go see it.


John Ward pointed out to yours truly that another one of those great Titan Books is on its way. It’s entitled “The Art of Hammer”, and it showcases those wonderful Hammer posters that featured in ads and promos at theaters. Often they used full painted art and not photos for their ads, except perhaps in the one ad for “Dracula Has Risen from the Grave” with the girl with two band-aids on her neck. I never liked that one. To me, the only way to be able to enjoy Hammer was to take it seriously in its own Hammer-verse.

Well, I mentioned Hammer, so now I will mention Universal. I saw this book online (on Amazon- remember to go through the ICS Website so we get a kickback!). I’ve never heard of this anywhere in my readings on Universal. A Wolfman vs Dracula movie? Here’s the write up:

            Following Phantom of the Opera (1943), in the middle of the Silver age of Universal Studio's monster movies, a new sequel to Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman was considered for a Technicolor production: Wolfman vs Dracula!
      Lon Chaney Jr., who was the only actor to portray Universal's four  classic monster roles; Dracula, frankenstein's monster, the mummy and the wolfman. At first Chaney was to play both roles, as his father Lon Chaney Sr. had done in several of his famous silent films. But Larry Talbot in his human phase would look exactly like Count
Dracula so the role of Dracula was given to it's originator Bela Lugosi.
      A script was prepared by Bernard Shubert, who had written the screenplay for Tod Browning's London After Midnight(MGM 1927) remake Mark of the Vampire (MGM 1935). Shubert kept the settings very tight in its scenes, to keep the cost down to balance out for the extra expense of technicolor. But by 1944 Bela Lugosi was in his 60s and would have had to play part of his role as a giant bat much like in the Copolla Bram Stoker's Dracula in the 90s - and that would have been too much for him. And they couldn't have the Wolfman fighting an animated bat much like John Carradine's depiction of the Count or even Lugosi's portrayal in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. So they decided to make one of their Arabian Nights film on the Technicolor contract and all that remained of Wolfman vs Dracula are some color 8x10s of Chaney in both parts.

This volume has a short biography of screenwriter/TV producer Bernard Shubert and comments from Shubert and special effects cinematographer David Stanley Horsley.

Well, it intrigued me enough to order it. I hope it’s not a joke!
By John Ward

There is absolutely nothing in the new film Piranha 3D that could be called "socially redeeming." It doesn't have a message. It doesn't teach a lesson. It doesn't preach. It doesn't get all artsy with its camerawork. It doesn't even have much of a story, clocking in at a very brief 82 minutes.

But those 82 minutes are entertaining.

Director Alexandre Aja, who filmed one of my favorite horror movies of the last decade, Haute Tension, knew exactly what type of movie he was making, and he delivered: the most cheerfully gratuitous major studio film in a long time (maybe ever). There are scenes in this film that have no real business being in the movie other than to deliver a shock, a scare, or just to titillate. How else to describe the slow motion nude underwater ballet (I'm not kidding) between two lovely ladies? Or the chomped-off privates of a cast member, floating directly toward you in all their 3D glory? Or Eli Roth's cameo as the emcee of a wet t -shirt contest?

But wait, there's more. Any self-respecting fan of movies will grin from ear to ear at the opening scene, with a big-name actor sending up a famous role by singing several bars of a well-known song from his big-name film. (The character's name was just icing on the cake.) How can you not laugh out loud at a movie like this? And not maliciously, either.

Piranha 3D doesn't take itself seriously at all, which makes it a guilty pleasure of the highest order. The story, something about prehistoric piranha unleashed on an unsuspecting spring break crowd, is merely setup for one of the single most eye-popping displays of special effects bloodwork ever seen on screen. And now we're back to the definition of gratuitous. But I'm in full complimentary mode, folks. Really.

This will be a hard movie to defend. All I can say is, it's fast, fun, and in your face. Leave your brain at the door and you'll have a good time. Don't forget to pick it up afterward. 9 out of 10 stars.


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