Saturday, May 29, 2010


Haunting image for a dreadful movie.
It perfectly captures the defining moment of Dread, the conclusion to a truly terrifying basic idea about being forced to confront what we fear most.
But Dread suffers from several shortcomings, most notable of which is the writers open disinterest in creating characters, nobody in the movie gains any depths beyond being set-up as a victim. Add to that a painfully formulaic “boy gets traumatized by having to witness the slaughter of his parents at the hands of a maniac” opening and a story that would have made for a great short movie but got stretched to a point that makes it almost unbearable, due to the mentioned lack of real character development, and you get an idea what Dread turned into.
From brilliant concept to something short of being a study in tediousness.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Day of the Ant

In honour of those little buggers that worked their way through an outer wall into my bathroom: Ants!

I managed to thwart their attempt at taking over my living spaces, but can’t shake the feeling that those scouts that tend to still appear, single or in small groups, are supposed to divert my attention from the main force; hiding somewhere, secretly plotting away on a miniature version of D-Day, only will they call it Ant-Day.
I swear I can sense them lying in wait for the Fuhrer to sleep, so that they can invade headquarters
…should I vanish from the blogsphere, just assume that I got nibbled to death.

I probably shouldn't like that design for The Naked Jungle as much as I do, one could see a racist notion in how the people on the bottom are portrayed as ants.
Personally I think it adds to the concept, there's something "human" to the way ants organize themself.

That Them! easily counts as one of Sci-Fi's masterpieces goes without saying, the German poster (Formicula) doesn't do this awesome movie justice, still the artwork is worthwhile.

It's Dynasty's own Alexis (Joan Collins) getting eaten by giant ants. Sounds like you can't go wrong with that movie, no?
Never saw it though.

Phase IV is among my alltime faves, as a kid the movie scared me, but so did It Happened at Lakewood Manor only that I don't expect that I would still like that one, or be still as intrigued by it as I'm by Phase IV. Love the US poster for Phase IV, that particular scene creeped me out for years, I also like the more artsy (or should I say antsy?) German version, after all it is more than "just" a further animal horror movie.

The Danish(?) DVD cover for The Hive gives us a carbon copy of Phase IV, which is both true and unfairly deceptive, The Hive did glean most of its ideas from Phase IV, but it is a thoughtless piece of CGI rubbish that has nothing on its peer, apart from featuring world domination bend ants.

Glass Trap and the French DVD cover for It happened look remarkable similar and remind both strongly of Phase IV which further illustrates the importance of that movie for the genre.

I close with King of the Ants because it ties in so nicely with my last post.

Coming up when ever I can be bothered: Rats!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The eyes have it

A gallery of sorts

Polish poster for Deliverance on the left, hard to say what went through the artists mind but it is a striking image he created there even if it hasn't to do much at all with the movie at hand.
Seed of Chucky is perfect for the specific humour of the movie.

Skeleton Key, marvelous image that exactly captures what the movie turns out to be about.
Haven't seen one part of the Art of the Devil series yet, but Thai movies usually come with beautiful, often painfully violent art that promises a lot more than the movie actually shows.

The Eye, well with such a title... it's again a image that hasn't much to do with the movie, creepy image no less.
Candyman; I'm in love with that poster! I used to have a mortal fear of bees (Apiophobia), that image still scares me.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The other kind of computer movie

I like this particular teaser poster for Pandorum, didn’t think much of the others, even though it tends to remind me of Eden Log.
And even though it begs the question what exactly the design team wanted to convey?
Pandorum – a cyberpunk techno horror trip?

Anyhow, there is more than a similarity in the art department shared by Eden Log and Pandorum. Both are deeply rooted in the same basic genre: Computer Adventures.
And as such both hinge on the same many used, not to say overused, storytelling technique of using a lead character that suffers from a convenient amnesia, allowing the writer to spoon feed us the story.

But despite some rather heavy handed dialogue, and a less thrilling end than I hoped for (it felt a bit like having witnessed a overgrown episode of Outer Limits) and the quest oriented story structure it shares with Eden Log, which I personally feel to be better suited to be used in games than movies, Pandorum is a pleasure to watch. Eden Log on the other hand had a lot more promise and would have offered a quite thoughtful story, but it loses points for taking refuge in a pseudo philosophic end image when the writer had to capitulate before the complex statement he at one point doubtless intended to make, and it loses some more points for the artful but clunky directing that overly focuses on creating singular images to the point of ignoring any storytelling logic, but most massively it loses points for incorporating a completely gratuitous rape sequence.
What are we?
Still living in a seventies idea of the world in which rape is a acceptable story vehicle to spice up movies?

For shame…

Monday, May 17, 2010

“I don’t care, if the audience sees my movies..."

“I don’t care, if the audience sees my movies, given that my producer doesn’t lose money.”
-Jean-Luc Godard

Found that quote in a movie yearbook from ’66.
I love it, because it exactly mirrors my personal view regarding the (in Europe) ever popular discussion about artistic freedom versus business interest.
The quote becomes all the more interesting when reflected against several articles printed in the very same magazine where the authors essentially put forward that a successful movie can’t be an intellectual stimulating experience, i.e. it can’t be a good movie*, while at the same time constantly wailing that movie making is a dying art form.
They show the usual contempt of the intellectual masses towards the idea of making movies for commercial success, claiming that whoever puts his money down in hope of making some profit, diminishes the “artistic value” of the finalised work.

Like most itellectuals they couldn’t care less who has to pay for something, long as it isn’t them and long as he doesn’t do it to turn a buck.

It’s small wonder that the art film has gained a worse reputation among producers than cheap Italian giallos among conservatives.

*Actually later one author did make a concession to Arthur Penn’s Bonnie & Clyde when opening his review of the movie with “The movies success notwithstanding...”

Friday, May 14, 2010

What's on their wall...

That's some good taste Soul Man Thomas C. Howell shows right there!
The original The Blob is in my humble opinion one of the most underrated, unfairly treated B-Movies. Yes, like a lot of Drive-In classics The Blob would have been forgotten by now if it hadn’t had the fortune of starring a young Steve McQueen, I won’t deny that. But most critics are so blinded by this little fact that they offhandedly ignore the very real entertainment value of this little gem. We have a delightful mix of the Horror, Sci-Fi and rebelling youth genres with a surprisingly early, pre Al Gore Earth warming warning.

It is a far superior movie to the remake which substituted the original’s straight faced seriousness with off-hand, self deprecating humour and better FX, none of which really worked in favour of the story. The cheesy 50’s Sci-Fi satire had been done before and a lot more amusing and it’s been proven often enough: Expensive FX kill cheap movies.*
In the end the remake misses what keeps the original alive, the memorable performance of actors struggling to stay serious in the face of a ludicrous story.

*Upon reflection, that’s about as much of a revelation as saying: Death kills people.
But so what, I’m a blogger, not a philosopher.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

In memoriam Frank Frazetta

Frank Frazetta ... died on Monday in Fort Myers, Fla.
He was 82.

Frazetta is best known for his cover illustrations for fantasy mainstays like
E. R. Burroughs Tarzan and Carter of Mars series and his work on Warren magazines like Vampirella and Eerie.
The huge influence his work had on Fantasy artists is visible in the work of younger illustrators like Mike Hoffman, but also in the early work of such greats as Boris Vallejo.
He's certainly best known to the younger generation for his iconic Death Dealer, which appeared among other places prominently on the movie poster for Ralph Bakshi's Fire & Ice and an album cover for rock band Molly Hatchet.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Re-Imagined II

Found a few new takes on old acquaintances, enough at least for a second round.
I'm going to start with a second helping of poster-art for the TCM classic film festival:

It's an unwritten rule in this house to start when ever possible with posting a picture of a beautiful woman, here's two for your viewing pleasure.

Beautiful designs both, in the end I do slightly prefer the take on Jailhouse Rock which reminds, at the very least me, so much of the late & great Johnny Cash and his formidable prison concerts.

The next couple posters come from a Flickr stream the link to which I've forgot to scribble down, but don't worry you'll only miss some overly artistic approaches if you haven't seen it:

More comic art influenced stuff, but I like it.

This idea for Blade Runner is perfectly fitting to the movies retro noir style, and there's never anything to say against a tasteful nude.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Art comparison

High time to get some Science Fiction in here.

Back to school, you almost want to believe it wasn't half as bad as memory makes it out to have been.

Paying homage ... to the homage.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"May the 4th be with you"

"And with you, my son."

Have a happy Star Wars day!

Have a few Star Wars flyers, too:

"In movies give somebody $150 million and fifty years to make a film and the odds are good they'll make a professional movie.
The real challenge is to do it for a minimum amount of money in a reasonable amount of time."

"When I look at films I can tell one that cost $30 million, but if you can make a film that looks as good but only cost $15 million, then you've accomplished something."

"I remember George Cukor saying to me once, 'You refer to yourselves as filmmakers. I don't like the word filmmaker. I'm a director. A filmmaker is like being a toymaker.'
I replied that a director sounds like someone who runs a business. I'd rather be a toymaker."

-George Lucas

All quotes are taken from interviews held by Alan Arnold during the making of The Empire strikes back.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Picture perfect moment

Destruction of the eyes is a leading theme within Fulci’s L'aldilà (The Beyond).
The movie tells the story of a young woman that inherits a hotel build on one of the seven gates to Hell (and nomen est omen it’s named Seven Doors Hotel), the topic lends itself to use the metaphor of the spoiling of the eyes.
Eyes are gateways; gateways to the soul.

One has to wonder if the makers were aware of the acuteness the message would gain in these internet times where all the horrors ever imaginable are only a fingers tip away for us to revel in. Not the faux horrors cooked by some dim wit mind, brought to life in a dim lit effects shop, to finally be savoured in the dim lighting of our home rooms, not those horrors we shudder over, shrink back from, and then brush off with a laugh, secure in our knowledge that is was only smoke and mirrors, no, not that kind of horrors, but real ones, images of all the depravity humans are capable of, horrors we inflict on others on a daily basis, unspeakable acts of terror that no movie could ever hope to equal, images bound to poison our eyes and permanently stain our souls.
Whoever gets a glimpse of the gates to hell forfeits his life in L'aldilà, in real life we may not die, but still, what has been seen can’t be made unseen, and we should be careful about what we let enter through our eyes, what we let pass through the gateway to our soul for it just might kill this necessary last bit of innocence deep within us…