Monday, April 7, 2014

The Master of Horror Himself Mick Garris! Talks getting his start with Lucas,Working with Stephen King and More!!!


Mick Garris, most people know him for his work with Stephen King on such classics as The Stand and The Shining (97) and the creator of the wildly successful series "Masters of Horror"

 But few know that Mick was at the fore front of the new golden age of horror cinema, going behind the scenes for such classics as The Howling,Videodrome The Fog etc. The Master of horror himself has granted Gorehound Mikes an Exclusive interview to talk about his epic career and what horrific things he has in the works.


GM: What films scared you as a child?

MG: Horror films never really scared me as a kid, they filled me with a sense of excitement and joy.Of 
course, the ones they showed on television back then were not really as intense as the stuff you get 
today.It was all broadcast television, there was no uncensored pay-TV. I grew up on the Universal classics and a bunch of the 1950s cheapies that were broadcast on channels 5 and 11 in Los Angeles. But there were moments of fear: the stitched-mouth shrunken head in the FOUR SKULLS OF JONATHAN DRAKE comes to mind. But the first really scary movie experience had to be PSYCHO, which we saw as a family in the 1957 Chevy station wagon at a drive-in in the San Fernando Valley when it first came out.

GM: One of your first huge breaks was being a receptionist for STAR WARS CORP. A job a friend had suggested to you. What kind of calls did you take? Any from the stars of the film?

MG:Everything! Everybody! Charlie Lippincott was the genius behind the marketing and publicity for that film, and all the Star Wars stuff that that entailed was handled by that office. I do remember one guy coming in to speak to Charlie, a bit scruffy, jeans, work shirt, stubble, and I asked for his name. “Harrison Ford,” he told me! He was unrecognizable then. Lucas himself came in a few times when he was visiting from his office up north.

GM: While working for STAR WARS COPR. You were trained in marketing. Do you think having a prior background in this field has given you a leg up when it came to you making your own films?

MG:Not really. I don’t think I was ever really good at that part of the business, and it really did not enthrall me. Obviously it gave me some insight, and I try to put it to use whenever I can, but the networks and studios pretty much do what they want in that regard. I think my work as a music and film journalist was much more useful.

GM: Not many people know this but after working as a receptionist for STAR WARS CORP. you got into managing R2-D2. One of your gigs was operating him at the Oscars. Tell me about that night?

MG: Pretty amazing. He was a remote control robot, with a tape recording with his whistles and sounds and the like on a cassette inside the robot. I was in a rented van, taking R2 from my office to the Shrine Auditorium, where the awards were held (maybe it was the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, not sure), and it was too tall to pass under the water pipes at the top of the parking structure. So I ended up just pushing through anyway, gritting my teeth as it scraped underneath, hoping the rental company wouldn’t check the top of the van until too late.At the Oscar rehearsal dinner, I was seated next to Frank Capra, which was an amazing honor. And I was in a tuxedo with my remote control device, right off to the side of the stage during the awards, off-camera. It was a remarkable experience, and one that I will never experience again. Just a kid, really, and thrust into the highest level of the business.

GM:Get any humorous feedback that evening with the other Oscar attendees? 

Everybody was fascinated with the robot at rehearsal and at the awards. While the show was going on, I was in the Green Room with the luminaries of the time—Bette Davis, Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton. Olivia Newton-John was wearing something diaphanous and standing in front of a lamp, which make her impressive body completely visible to those who sneaked a peek. Jack Nicholson was staring, quite openly at this vision, and I asked him if he liked what he saw. He never looked away from her, and with his patented leer, replied, “You bet!”

GM: You also were involved in the now infamous STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL, any behind the sense stories you can share?

MG:Not really. It was fun being surrounded by a real production, but it was not like a movie at all. It was very bizarre, but exciting, as I was never on the STAR WARS set, but here we were on a soundstage with a giant tree and treehouse set, surrounded by Wookiees and Mark Hamill and this bizarre collection of 
out-of-place TV stars. It just seemed like a total, out-of-control culture clash. Musical numbers with Bea 
Arthur and the like? Nuts.

GM: A big turning point in your career was working on CHANNEL Z`s cable show you hosted called FANTASY FILM FESTIVLE which you interviewed many notable guests who would later shape your future such as Stephen Spielberg John Landis etc. How did you land that job?

MG: I was writing for the Z Channel magazine, and I suggested the show to the editor of the magazine, Hall Kaufman, who was also the program director for the channel, which was LA’s first pay-TV channel. I told him movies that I wanted and guests I thought I could get, and holy shit, it worked out! I get a grand total of $100 per show, and it first it was on every six weeks, but became more popular, and we started to do new shows every couple of weeks. When Hal was usurped by Jerry Harvey, who had worked under Hal and got him fired, he dropped the show. Tragically, Harvey killed his wife and himself a couple years later.

GM: With your background in marketing you went on to your next phase of your career, that of working for Avco Embassy on such films as THE FOG SCANNERS THE HOWLING ESCAPE FROM NY etc. What was it like working on such exciting genre films at what is now known as the golden age of horror cinema?

MG:Well, it was certainly being in the right place at the right time. Avco-Embassy was putting out movies by Carpenter, Cronenberg, Dante, Coscarelli, all guys who have been good friends ever since. It’s where the explosion of great, creative directors in the horror genre ended up making their movies in the early eighties. The studio was run by a guy named Bob Rehme, who had been with Corman’s New World previously, and he was smart enough to see who the up-and-comers were, and was a big genre fan, as far as the business goes. It was a great time, and I kind of invented the job of genre publicity specialist at that time. There were no others doing that job then.

GM: Another break in your career came writing a few episodes for Amazing Stories. How did that come about?

MG: I was doing a “making of” documentary for THE GOONIES. On the first day of shooting, I was setting up to interview Steven Spielberg, and we were just chatting, small talk. He had been a guest on FANTASY 
FILM FESTIVAL, and we were friendly. He said, “you must do a lot of these things,” (meaning “making ofs”, and I had, including THE FOG and THE HOWLING and GREMLINS”). I was trying to make a go of it as a writer, and told him that I was trying to phase out of publicity and work toward being a writer full time. He said, “Oh, we’re looking for writers now for this series I’m doing called AMAZING STORIES.” My agent had sent him a writing sample, and it got really good coverage. So it was just a matter of great timing. They liked the script they’d read as a sample, and Steven said, “Let’s give Mick a try,” and it was my first real job as a paid screenwriter. My own amazing story.

GM: You and Spielberg came up with “batteries not included” which came from a purposed episode of A.S 
correct?

MG: Yes, he had written the script for the series, but liked it and the ideas it offered as a feature. He asked 
me to choose from two AMAZING STORIES ideas he’d had that were going to be developed as features, 
“Gramps and Grammy and Company” (which became *BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED) and “Ghost Kid”, which became GHOST DAD with Bill Cosby. I wrote the first couple of drafts of BATTERIES, and when Matthew Robbins was signed as director, he did rewrites with the wonderful Brad Bird. I was to share story credit with Steven, but he quite generously gave it to me alone, even though the initial idea was his for AMAZING STORIES.

GM: You wrote the story for “Hocus Pocus” in your version the characters were younger and yours was scarier, tell us what some other differences between your story and the final script?

MG: Well, you hit upon the two main differences. Those issues ran throughout. That’s not to say that they were wrong and I was right. The studio made the choice, and the movie has become a perennial, hasn’t 
it? So maybe someone knew better than I did. 

GM: I heard you were not happy with the final results, why?

MG: I’ve become more sanguine with it over the years. It became much more of a broad comedy than I had intended. It always had humor, but I wanted it be be scary, too. Also, I think Halloween has much more of an impact on a 12-year-old than a 16-year old. You’re really in a state of change at 12 that seems 
more momentous, and these situations have more potency then. But that said, older teens were the target audience, and the studio felt that teenagers would not go see a movie about 12-year-olds. So in strictly commercial terms, they were probably right. When people tell me they love the movie, I have learned to just say “thank you”.

GM:Let’s talk about a favorite of mine Psycho IV:The Beginning Were you hired first or was screen writer Joseph Stefano?

Oh, Joe was first. He had written the script for Hitchcock’s original PSYCHO. I did a little bit of tweaking, but it was really Joe’s script.

GM: Did Mr.Stefano also act as sort of technical advisor as well?

MG: We shot the film in Orlando, Florida, at the same time that Joe was producing the SWAMP THING TV show there. So Joe was certainly a fount of knowledge. But remember, we had Anthony Perkins there most days. He was the greatest source of information possible. And our Executive Producer, the  wonderful Hilton Green, was Hitch’s first assistant director on the original.

GM: An important role was that of young Norman Bates. Like Oliva did you always have Henry Thomas in mind or were other actors auditioned and if so what notables tried out for the role?

MG: We did interview other actors, but loved the idea of Henry Thomas. Enough to take the trip to see him in San Antonio, Texas, where he lived at the time. Once we met him, there was no other choice. We all just thought he was perfect for the part.

GM:You stated that Tony Perkins was the most difficult actor you ever worked with; can you give me one story that pretty much sums up what he was like to work with?

MG: First, I have to say that nobody knew Norman Bates better than Tony did. Here I was, a new young director whose previous film was CRITTERS 2. He had worked with Hitchcock, Orson Welles, a ton of great Hollywood directors, and had directed the previous PSYCHO film, which had not been successful. He wanted to direct IV, but the studio wouldn’t let him. So I don’t blame him for his wariness. But it was just his character, his personality that was difficult. He liked to worry over words used, go over things repeatedly while the crew would be standing around waiting to work. He was brilliant but eccentric. It was a great experience, and a great education, but it wasn’t easy. Even though we had discussed every page of the script, it would be a daily occurrence to go over things over and over and over, in front of the crew, and put a big strain on a film with a very short schedule and tight budget.

Did you use any original props/set dressings from Psycho 1960?

We did. Almost everything in Norma Bates’s bedroom was from the original film, and was shipped from Hollywood to Orlando. The bed alone was insured for $100,000. Even the candy corn bags were made from the same printing plate as the originals were.

GM: I`m sure your fans are curious, have you seen Bates Motel series and if so what do you think of it?

MG: I enjoy it, but it took a while for me to get used to their reinvention of the Bates family history. It’s something completely new, and not really a part of the Hitchcock/Bloch/Stefano/Perkins family tree. If you see it as something completely new, it’s easier to enjoy it. But it took some time to get that much distance from it.

GM:Would you direct an episode if asked?

MG: If I were asked. But I was told that they are intentionally NOT using anyone who was involved in any of the PSYCHO movies.

GM: It was on Sleepwalkers that you first worked with Stephen King whom you would go on to work with a lot. Tell us about how you got the job and your first impressions of Mr.King?

MG: Well, the studio met with me and liked me, then hired another director! But that director started to take the film far away from what King had planned, so they came back to me, and asked me to take the script back to where King had left it, and to help address some notes that the studio had. I didn’t really meet with King until the day he shot his cameo. We would talk on the phone and he would fax me pages of ideas we discussed. We had a great phone friendship, and when we finally did meet on the set, it was the same day I had broken a tooth at breakfast, and had to rush off to get an emergency crown. Sheesh! But we discovered we had a lot in common, and had lots of fun when I screened it for him and Tabby at a room in New York. He’s a great, funny, generous guy, but we really became close friends on THE STAND afterward, which came about because he liked what we did together on SLEEPWALKERS.

Was working with the cats on Sleepwalkers a challenge? I`m assuming there was some sort of animal trainer on set. 

MG:Yes, a challenge, but the trainers were great. We never really lost any shooting time, because the cats were so great! There were 126 cats in the movie, and 9 cats just to play the various moods of Clovis. It turns out that we didn’t use the other 8, because one of them was so great, he could do it all. They were great.

GM:Was Stephen King on the set a lot for Sleepwalkers?

MG:He was on the set for a total of 2 hours while we shot his cameo with Clive Barker and Tobe Hooper.

GM:Like your previous miniseries “The Stand” “The Shining” was on done on a epic scale to match the brilliance of the source material. What was the most technically challenging aspect of that shoot? 

MG:THE SHINING was the smoothest, least problematic shoot I’ve ever had. The challenges were creative and emotional. Because there are so few characters and locations, it was about creating the building tension and isolation and its effect on the characters, particularly Jack Torrance. Snow was a technical challenge, because the Stanley Hotel was built in a “snow shadow”, where little snow falls. We shot in a disappointingly snow-free zone, but we had one really great dump, which allowed me to reshoot the scene with Danny and the topiary animals in its entirety.

GM:I applaud you for the bold casting of Steve Weber as Jack. Did Weber have fears of being in the very large shadow that Nicholson role cast?

MG:We had a TERRIBLE time casting Jack Torrance. I was na├»ve at first, and asked Gary Sinise if he wouldbe interested, and he said to me, “I’m not so sure I’d want to step into Jack Nicholson’s shoes.” I just assumed any good actor would want a great role, and that we were going back to the book. But no, everybody was gun shy about it. We met with a couple of British actors who said yes, including Colin Firth, but they fell out at the last minute. LITERALLY the last minute. Three days before shooting was to begin, when King was ready to cancel the production, we all met with Weber, who read with Rebecca DeMornay, and we were all blown away. He’s a very bold and brilliant actor, and he made the character entirely his own. He’s the greatest.

GM: When you work with Stephen on an adaption of one of his films, how hands on is he creatively? 

MG:It depends. He never tells me how something should be shot, but he always has incredible helpful and valuable input. He was around for about half of the shoot of THE STAND, and about ¾ of THE SHINING shoot, but not at all on DESPERATION or RIDING THE BULLET or BAG OF BONES.

GM: Let’s talk the wildly successful “Masters of Horror” Is it true this idea sprang from informal dinners you would have with the main ten “masters of horror”? 

MG: Yes. We still have the dinners. There were 30 horror directors at the last one about a month ago.

GM: Can I ask if any directors were offered and declined? I`d always wondered what Frank Henenlotter would have done or Roger Corman (bringing him out of retirement director wise)

MG: Roger was scheduled to do one, but he backed out, deciding he didn’t want to be out in a rainy Vancouver graveyard at 3 a.m. at the age of 80. George A. Romero was supposed to do one, but we could never get the schedule to work. We tried to get Kathryn Bigelow, but she was having health issues. We got most of the people we went for.

GM: What was your reaction to “Imprint” being banned shortly after it airing?

MG: Kind of surprised, but not shocked. It actually made it sell more on DVD! I was there in Japan when it was being made, and I was fascinated by the process. You should have seen the first cut, which was 8 minutes longer, all of it in the torture scenes!

GM: Did Stephen King ever say which his favorites were? Was King ever asked to director one himself?

MG: I asked him, but he’s not interested in directing anymore. I still keep trying to talk him into it.

GM: Are you able to say why Season three of Masters never happened?

 MG: The show was sold to Lionsgate, and it became FEAR ITSELF.

GM: Since FEAR ITSELF was on NBC did you feel restricted because of being on a more family friendly network?

MG: Yes. I knew we couldn’t offer the filmmakers the creative freedom that was the whole point of their doing MASTERS OF HORROR. And it came true. The studio and the network all had input, and there were commercials and censorship that all had a negative impact on the show. I left the show before they began shooting them.

GM: Are you currently developing any other television projects?

MG:Yes. Going to direct an episode of a TV series called WITCHES OF EAST END this summer, and creating a series for a famous actress now, writing the pilot and outlining the first series. We’ll see what happens with that one, but for now it’s a secret.

GM: What projects are you currently working on?

MG:Doing more fiction, creating two TV series, and, most high profile, I am Executive Producer on UNBROKEN, a huge movie about Lou Zamperini, based on Laura Hillenbrand’s book with a script by the Coen Brothers. Angelina Jolie is the director, and it’s coming out on Christmas Day from Universal.

GM:Finally what piece of advice would you have to aspiring film makers that may be reading this?

MG:You have more opportunities than I did. You can make professional quality films with home equipment. But the main thing, as far as I’m concerned, is writing. Hone your storytelling skills. And use the best people you can find for your cast and crew. If you can find a better cameraman than you are, use him.Don’t use your friends as actors unless they are the best ones for the part. Your work is being compared to professional feature films, not to other amateur work. You can’t run a disclaimer in the titles on how the film would have been better if you had more time or money. Make your film to fit the means you  have to tell it.

A Huge thanks goes out to Mr.Garris for his wonderful candor. He truly is a wonderful guy and a class act. Hope you enjoyed the interview and stay tuned for more great reviews interviews etc. 


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Around The World in Widescreen: By William O Donnell


Around The World in Widescreen
My good friend Gorehound Mike seems to have a lock on coverage and reviews of the US/Asutralian/English speaking countries’ wild, weird, and wonderfully wacky films, so he asked me to do a column for him about the  world-wide weird and wonderfully wacky cinema masterpieces
“For Your Height Only/Challenger of the Tiger”
Mondo Macabro. those renowned purveyors of cinematic strangeness, strike again with this double feature—
WENG WENG!
Sorry, had to get that out there right away.  Weng Weng is, of course, the star of For Your Height Only.  A Flipino/US co-production that shamelessly rips off a James Bond movie title (from the same release year!) to tell the story of a diminutive secret agent (Agent 00) and his attempt to save the world from the megalomaniacal Mr. Giant and his gang of ruthless thugs from blowing up the Earth… or something.  Of course, he has an array of trial-size gadgets (X-ray specs!  The tiniest sniper rifle ever!  A jetpack!) to aid him in his mission, which seems to consist of dick-punching every villain he comes across and seducing a woman or two, even managing to win over a woman who describes him as “cute, like a little potato.”  Love finds a way, of course, because how can the ladies resist a line like “Well, shall we get it on?”  Action sequences, and chases of some sort or another abound, and Agent 00 even has time to cut loose on the damcefoor at a disco.   It doesn’t matter that Weng Weng gets the drop on all the henchmen he encounters (after all, the dick-punch is the great equalizer), or that the wires on the jetpack can be easily visible, or that the theme is just different enough from the James Bond theme that this film’s makers don’t get sued.   What does matter, is that this is pure, unabashed, escapist fun from start to finish. 

It’s a pity Weng Weng wasn’t present in the next movie to dick-punch the bad guys into submision.  “Challenge of the Tiger” begins with scientists who have just invented a serum to sterilize every man in the world.  Bypassing the obvious question (“Why?”), these scientists fret and wring their hands over the possibility of their invention “falling into the wrong hands.”  From there, we cut to the leads:  Bruce Le, who also choreographed the martial arts/co-wrote/directed (and went for coffee, too, for all I know), and also looks for all the world like an Asian Joey Ramone, and Richard Harrison, who resembles Timothy Dalton with lighter hair.  The division of labor becomes clear pretty quickly, with Bruce Le’s character establishing himself as the ass-kicking part of the duo, and Richard Harrison’s character is the “smooth talking” ladies’ man.  This movie is at its best when it keeps to Le’s chop-socky action sequences.  Scenes in which Harrison does the fighting are sadly lackluster.  The henchmen are the sorriest looking bunch.  The skeevy thugs of “For Your Height Only” are more convincing.  If this were more quirky, or better yet, if Weng Weng were present, or even better, both, this movie would be much more entertaining.  As it is, you might want to fast forward through this to find out whether Le and Harrison succeed in preventing the world from shooting blanks.         

Friday, March 28, 2014

An Open Letter to A.Cox

Gorehound Mike Presents: An Open Letter: A.Cox or fitting name?
What it means to be a film maker and how to treat fans.
By:Gorehound Mike

To celebrate the milestone of Repo Mans 30th birthday, I thought what a awesome idea to do a cast/crew reunion to be interviewed and share there memories on this cult classic film.  I had a few cast members agree to be apart of this. So of course it was a no brainier i`d want Alex Cox its writer/director to be apart of this special event... Wasting no time I had emailed Mr.Cox and he had agree`d to be interviewed BUT only via email. I felt abit disappointed but never the less I was grateful to have the chance to least get to interview him even if it was just via email. So i labored over good insightful questions but also stuff casual fans/viewers would want to know finally i sent them - and nothing...Month went by, nothing. I sent a gentle reminder and another week later I get a email back saying he never received the document I had sent. Resent. A few weeks go by and finally I get the document back with questions written in. My excitement and happiness was swiftly smashed when reading over his answers...One or two word answers to my well thought out questions. Angry, you bet I was, but I took a deep breath, sent a nice reply asking if he could give me something longer. Waited over a week for a reply. Nothing- I was and am applaud at how thoughtless this film maker was and I would have rather him had the decency to say Sorry but i`m to busy to really focus on this (busy with what I don't know, certainly not making movies) at the moment. I had explained to him that this was to celebrate his film and had attached the banner that Lou Rusconi had done just for the event.
 I thought long and hard, if I should bite the bullet and post the interview anyways, but folks its so embarrassing on his part I`d rather not waste your time on mine dealing with it. But it goes to show you how some people let a little bit of success go to there heads and they lose sight of us the audience that goes to there movies, posts pictures on facebook and keep the magic of the celluloid alive. I`m not here to trash talk Cox because i`m above that. And thankfully this is a rare, i`ve had many wonderful guests on the blog and they`ve all been so kind to give our followers both insightful and candid interviews.

Frankly It didnt mean anything to Alex that a fan of his film (doing it for free might I add) was trying to do something neat to mark its anniversary. Clearly I had both a lot of work and energy into this.

I had asked in the interview if there would be a Repo Man 2. His reply simply. If there's any interest.

Repo Man 2? Why bother, he clearly doesn't care about you the audience.


So that is why I`m dropping the Repo Man Anniversary that was in the works. I do like to thank Sy Richardson for his interview though.
Also a Huge thanks to Lou for again providing balls out awesome artwork, even though Mr.Cox didnt seem to pay it any mind I know I sure did.



Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Other: A underrated and understated creep fest.

The Other
1972
Spoiler free-as always.

We here at Gorehound Mike`s love gory films, the messier the better. Chainsaws ripping through flesh and axes buried in brains....But I think being a good diverse horror/cult cinema means treating the genre like a wonderful buffet. So many different types of horror and today I picked a sorely over looked and I think very understated. Think of it as maybe not the yummiest looking thing on the table but given the chance a filling and satisfying little dish for any horror palate.  The film were going to look at today is called "The Other" NOT to be mistaken for "The Others" starring Nicole Kidman. I find it hard to do this review without giving to much away, as there is a nice plot twist and even if you figure it out early on, there is still a few nasty little surprises in store.

The Other is set in nineteen fifty five in a small country town, really it could be any farming community, quiet nothing special about it. There lives two young boys, one good and one pure evil. Neils the good one has a special gift that his friend Ada a older Russian lady helps him master. But nothing is what it seems and one of the boys holds a shocking secret and when Ada finds out it could be already to late!

Anyone expecting fast paced music video style horror you can stop right here. Its not that kind of film, yet for the patient viewer this film simmers then boils to a climax that while is not the showiest does leave the audience feeling unnerved. I know I did. The director perfectly captures the ugly side of the seemingly ideal Rockwell type slice of rural America.

This movie is wonderfully shot. This is due in large part to Robert Surtees who d.p`d such classic films as Ben Hur,The Sting and The Graduate, just to name a few. The beautiful farm area is captured in equal parts splendor and dread. Normally i`m not a fan of the soft focus lens used through out yet in this it works, giving it a almost dream like quality,

They say never work with animals or kids because they`ll always steal the show but Uta Hagen does a damn fine job of doing just that as the main role of Ada the Russian caregiver to Niles. Its interesting to note that John Ritter has a small cameo, in fact hes in two scenes and only a few lines.

While Other does not have the gore that say Saw does, it does however have plenty of creep factor that in my book goes a lot further. So belly up to a slice of good ol`fashion horror show that will stay with you for awhile.




Friday, March 21, 2014

Hitchcock Inspired Final Part: Dial M for "A Perfect Murder"

In the forth and final part in my Hitchcock Inspired series were going to look at a film which is a literal remake of a Hitch classic "Dial M for Murder" With of course a modern twist. But is it the perfect thriller?


New York millionaire Steven Taylor seems to have it all, a vast fortune a wonderful home and a beautiful wife. But things are not at all what they seem as his wife Emily is having a spicy affair with David a typical 90`s bad boy artist. But sly Steven quickly finds out and makes David an offer. Kill his wife. But what seems like "a perfect murder" quickly spirals out of control and soon the tables are turned on Taylor.

Unlike the horrible Psycho remake (which Mortensen was also in) this is not a shot for shot carbon copy.  Wisely this remake keeps the basic premise of the original  film yet adds new elements to make it stand on its own.


This is an interesting departure from director Andrew Davis`s normal action packed films. He seems out of depths at times with the material but overall turns in a decent thriller. Believe it or not its very sub due compared to what he`s use to doing.  I always like to see a director expend to a different genre so I give Davis credit for trying something completely out of his usual realm.

Michael Douglas plays the jilted husband Steven. As with films like Wall Street and The Game, Douglas has the icy rich guy role down to a science. Its a safe choice but the right one, as I do like his acting.
He is such a pro adding little touches that makes his character more three dimensional with out hamming it up. Its also his wordless acting that speaks volumes. He can turn on the charm, yet you know deep down he has little to no real feelings, real cold blooded creep.

Gwenth Paltrow proves that she can hold her own against the powerhouse Douglas. Their is no doubt that her acting range is broad, but still comes off as flat and unlikable, and a film like this hinges a lot of sympathy for her character. Though I dont think all the blame should go to Ms.Paltrow, as I suspect many of these issues were with the way her character was written.

While were on the subject of writing, this film is clever BUT not as clever as it would like to think it is.  All the characters are not very likable and while were suppose to feel sympathy for the Paltrow character she as stated above comes off as just a cold cheating wive.  The lead detective is basically a throw away character that doesn't actually save the day or solve the crime. Why is here there if only fill time/space. Worse yet is the typical bumbling side kick who only utters some dumb one liners, but otherwise serves no purpose to the story.  Come on, do we really need these tired cop cliques. To the films credit despite some character issues and some story padding the twists and turns are well done and it keeps you in suspense as to whose really got the upper hand.

A Perfect Murder is not a perfect film but at the end of the day it is a sexy taunt grabber that keeps your attention and leaves you guessing.

Gorehound Mike hopes you enjoying this four part series. Look at 2013s archives for the other three parts. In closing I like to day that Hitchcock has been the master of suspense for decades and even after his death other film makers have studied from the best and even though just four films were mentioned there are countless celluloid that have Hitch s bloody finger prints on them. So if your not already a fan of A.Hitchcocks films well.......what are you waiting for?





Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Film Class from Hell:Underrated Horror/Cult Cinema Part 3 What dirty little treasures you should be watching!


Blood Freak
The first and only anti-pot pro Christian killer half human half turkey gore film. The terrible acting and ultra cheesy monster and the heavy handed message makes this film great to watch after the right herbal refreshments of course. And loads of laughs from the narrator who seems like hes going for an Oscar. A must see for bad film lovers. Make it your Thanksgiving tradition!






Coffin Joe Trilogy
Hes Spanish wears a top hat and cape with long finger nails...Hes Coffin Joe! This super creepy black and white Spanish horror films featuring our titular character in his quest to find a woman to bear him a child. Folks this is the stuff of nightmares, filled with dread and creepiness.Its one of those films that the black and white makes it that much more effective. Take for example the spider scene from At Midnight I`ll take Your Soul, its a sequence that is sure to get under the most jaded horror film fans skin. Blue Underground has all three in a coffin shaped box set. Well worth finding!






Forbidden Zone
Directed by Danny Elfmans brother Richard Elfman this bizarre odyssey is something your likely not to soon forget. Daring choice to have the sets made of  of cardboard which only serves to make this world seem all the tripper insane. Its twisted and funny and its a hoot to see Danny as the devil himself. Speaking of Danny,fans of Elfmans band Onigo Boingo will enjoy the music which they did just for this film. I could go on and on but you need to just see it for yourself. P.S The alphabet song from F.Z should be taught in school, just sayin.



Street Trash
Wanna see bums melt, penis keep away vomiting and more? Of course you do! Street Trash is a cult clas-sick for a reason. Theirs really not much I can say about this film, you just have to see it and experience it for yourself.









Hardware
Richard Stanleys brilliant science fiction film set in a post apocalyptic waste land. Its a  place where Iggy Pop is your D.J (Screamin Bob) and Lemmy from Motorhead will drive you anywhere you wanna go. This is equally suspenseful visually beautiful and action packed. Its also interesting to see eastern religion blended together in this harsh cyber punk world. (btw this was cyber punk before it was cool!) I could go on and on about this but bottom line-See it!!





Return To Oz
Your thinking to yourself Gorehound Mike a Disney movie is on Film Class?! But let me explain. While yes there is no gore to be found in the land of Oz, its quiet a dark film and twisted film that would give any child a few nightmares. I felt I should add this film to the list because not only is it a imaginative film and as stated earlier it has a much darker tone then most Disney films, in fact it did not do very well at the box office because parents felt it was much to scary for them...But its now a cult classic and is even featured in Scissor Sisters song "RETURN TO OZ" <--you tube it.





For Your Height Only
Ever wanna see a 3ft midget from the Philippians play James Bond in a badly dubbed film? Well look no further. Featuring Weug Weug the pint sized secret agent! This film is a lot of fun and goes from so bad its great and then into the realm of mind numbing amazing. Not hard to find as well as Mondo Macabre has put out this film on a double bill. Totally worth checking out.


Lady Terminator
From the director of Mystics in Bali comes this film. I non stop strange bizarre action packed film. Now im not gonna lie its bad but its also supremely entertaining with enough fire power to up stage Peckinpah and John Woo. Also they shameless quote "Terminator" at one point which had myself and friend William rolling. This is just a odd film you have to see.


Thats all for this weeks Film Class... Get to watching! Lot of of these films can be rented on Netflix.




Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cat People: Stylish 80s flick but is it Purrrr fect?

Gorehound Mike here...Get out a saucer of milk cause were going to be  checking out CAT PEOPLE which was recently released by Shout Factory (Scream Factory) So since this film was even the HD treatment I felt like getting out the cat post and give it a world. This was the first time I had scene Cat People and I wasn't sure what to expect, like most films I like to read very little about it and go in totally cold.


First off, beside the name and a slight homage this has nothing to do with the original Vel Lewton film. From frame one I was totally mesmerized by the films stunning visuals and the David Bowie song (written for the film) Putting out fires only cemented that I was going on a unique journey and boy was I right. You gotta love a movie where in the first ten minutes a prostitute gets mauled to death by a giant panther. Its even better when said lady of the night is Lynn Lowey. (Not that i have any ill will toward the actress) So its safe to say that at this point the film had sunk its claws in me. As I stated earlier its visuals transports you into this world and its the films style that gives it a true edge and had it not been for it and a smart screen play by Alan Orsby Cat People could have been more silly then amazing.


 Of course even a great screen play can flounder if it doesn't have a director that can not only grasp the material but translate its vision to the screen. Paul Schrader writer of such modern day classics like Taxi Driver,Raging Bull etc (and infamously got naked on the set of his latest film The Canyons to appease screen diva Lindsey Lohan) helms Cat People and does it wonderfully. In a lesser directors hands this could have easily become a cheesy horror film devoid of the depth and symbolism.


One example is when Ed B.Jr`s character gets ripped apart by a caged panther the red blood cascades on Nastassja Kinski`s white shoes, which given the virginal theme its a wonderful symbolic moment. That is just one example of the great symbolism strung throughout. Shrader keeps things very serious with no tongue and cheek to ruin its mood. And what a mood he creates. A great cast sells this film with the lead Nastassja Kinski and Malcolm McDowell (when he was still a respected actor) and John Herd. It truly is McDowell that steals the show with his scenes, the one that comes to mind off bat is his nude scene in the bathroom after a night of feeding. More off putting then his being totally naked is when he chopped down on some left overs that was hanging off him. Bold indeed. Everything goes right in the case of Cat People, with its brilliantly written script, a great cast and a talented director blending it all together, this feline while may not be perfect will have even the most jaded horror lovers purring for me! And come on you know when Bowie does your theme song its going to be a bad ass film!


As always S.F has put together a nice dvd/blu ray with loads of extras. Totally worth buying.