As I mentioned in a previous blog I love movie posters. I love them so much that I decided a few months ago to introduce a ‘Poster Appreciation’ series on my blog and highlight a different poster every now and then. The next poster in this series is the horror classic Black Christmas. I thought this was very apt with it being the Christmas period and all.
Now let me just start by saying that James Cameron’s Aliens (1986) is one of the greatest films ever made and is easily in my top 20, if not my top 10. It’s also one of the best sequels ever made and one of the rare occasions where the sequel is superior to the original (which is saying something because Ridley Scott’s original 1979 classic Alien is also up there with the greatest movies ever made). That may be a controversial comment but it’s my opinion. Some people prefer the slow burning horror of the original, some prefer the all-out action of the second. It’s the same with Cameron’s two Terminator movies; the second is regarded as one of the greatest movies ever made but there are a lot of people out there that prefer the original.
Historically in movies the audience has always rooted for the good guys and we usually always want to see good overcome evil. This is just something ingrained in us as human beings. The villains in movies may be better characters or better acted than the hero in a lot of cases (Alan Rickman in Die Hard/Robin Hood, and Heath Ledger’s The Joker to name but a few) but in the end we usually always want the good guys to beat the bad guys and win.
After years and years of disappointing summers at the cinema we finally have one worth talking about. The summer of 2017 has been the best summer for movies for possibly the last 10 years, or at least that I can remember. Each year we look ahead in anticipation to what the next summer will hold and each year there are always around 3 to 5 movies that we think could make excellent viewing at the cinema. Then at the end of each summer we look back in disappointment. A great example that comes to mind is the summer of 2015. The Fantastic Four, Ant-Man, Avengers Age of Ultron, Poltergeist, Tomorrowland, Pixels, Hitman Agent 47, The Man from Uncle, San Andreas, Spy, Trainwreck, Pan, Ted 2, Jurassic World and Terminator Genisys – with all of these lined up it just had to be summer to remember. However, as you will know if you have seen the above movies, it was a very disappointing summer of cinema. Jurassic World was a good fun watch but it wasn’t anything special and doesn’t even come close to Spielberg’s original classic. And don’t get me started on Terminator Genisys….how do people get away with making movies so bad, especially when they already have all the groundwork laid by the first two movies which are two of the best sci-fi movies ever made. Just awful. I’m sure James Cameron wishes he had just held on to the rights for the franchise, I know everyone else does.
I don’t want my blog to become an obituary but I just have to acknowledge the sad passing of another horror legend Tobe Hooper, just as I did with Wes Craven and George A. Romero. As I mentioned in a previous blog Tobe Hooper along with Raimi, Romero, Carpenter and Craven are the reasons I wanted to become a filmmaker as a teenager. He was a huge inspiration for me to pick up the camera and make my own horror films. He was also the first director to get me interested in horror films from a very young age. Hooper gave us possibly the most famous film title in horror cinema history; In 1974 he made the notorious The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, one of the most influential horror films of all time, for less than $300,000. It became one of the most profitable independent films of the 1970s.
Every couple of months I’m going to dedicate a blog to the greatest movie scenes of all time. These are not ‘officially’ the greatest but are what I consider to be the best, and I’ll also include some of my favorites. I’ve been told (by my wife) that most of my blogs are too long and it will put people off reading them. I have to admit one of my last articles, the review of Split, was way too long but I just had a lot to say about the film and in particular M. Night Shyamalan. Therefore I will try to keep them shorter from now on.
This is a sad week for horror and movie fans with the passing of legendary filmmaker George A. Romero aka The Father of the Zombie Film. George A. Romero was basically responsible for the creation of the zombie horror sub-genre and we thank him for that. He is best known for his series of zombie movies starting back in 1968 with Night of the Living Dead, one of the most famous and important horror movies ever made. He continued his zombie series with Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead in the 1980’s. After the release of 28 Days Later in 2002 zombie movies were coming out left, right and center and most of them were awful. This awakened the King of the Zombie film from his zombie hibernation and after twenty years George A. Romero revisited the zombie genre with Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead and finished his directing career with Survival of the Dead. None of these were as good as the earlier three which are considered classics among horror fans. Not all of his films were about zombies though; he also gave us some other famous movies such as The Crazies and worked with Stephen King to make Creepshow.
Romero, along with Raimi, Carpenter, Hooper and Craven, was one of the reasons I wanted to become a filmmaker as a teenager. He was a huge inspiration for me to pick up the camera and make my own films. He made Night of the Living Dead on Sunday’s with friends at the age of 28 with no money. This is the kind of stuff that could inspire anyone, the stuff of legends. My very first film experiment was at the age of 18 with a thirty year old camera and involved me walking towards the camera as one of Romero’s zombies in black and white.
George, thank you for your films and for inspiring me to make my own. You helped me fall in love with horror movies and still give me hope that it’s possible to be a great filmmaker and make great films without giving up your day job. If in a few years time if the zombie genre has still not improved please come back as one of your zombies and show us again how it’s done.
He’s coming to get you crappy modern zombie genre!
M Night is unquestionably back!!!
In my review of M. Night’s previous movie The Visit in September 2015 I started my blog by declaring (with a large Grinch-like grin on my face) that M. Night Shyamalan was back baby. After several misfires and years of hate people had quickly written him off as being done in Hollywood and with film-making. In fact I believe people even had petitions to try to stop him from making any more movies. They just seemed to have it out for him and seemed to dislike him. It had got to the point were people in cinemas would laugh when his name appeared on screen during trailers for other films he was involved in e.g. Devil.
Predator is one of my favorite films of all time, easily in my top 10. But ever since I first watched it, many many years ago, I have always been miffed by one scene – the explosion when the Predator uses the self destruct device on his arm. Basically he was just a sore loser and couldn’t take being defeated by Arnie so he decided to kill himself and Arnie…..but Arnie being Arnie gets away and jumps to safety just in time to save himself. I have always wondered in action movies with explosions how the people running away always seem to jump or dive just at the perfect time just before the explosion occurs. I suppose it would look weird if they dove too early and were lying there for ages before the explosion occurred.
Blair Witch is a sequel to 1999’s The Blair Witch Project. Back in 1999 The Blair Witch Project changed cinema forever. The genius marketing campaign made viewers believe what they were seeing was actual found footage from these guys going missing. That made viewing the film even more terrifying. It was a phenomenon. It was made with pocket money by Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick but it made over $200 million and created a horror sub-genre – the Found Footage genre. There were more marketing tricks involved with Blair Witch last year in that Lionsgate released the trailers and posters using the fake name The Woods. Everything linking it to being a Blair Witch sequel was top secret and it was only at its premiere that it was unveiled to the audience (and thus the world) that it was actually The Blair Witch 3 (official title – Blair Witch). Now, there was a sequel in 2000 called Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 but it was largely ignored because it’s dump.