- Several years ago in an Indiana Science Fiction Sojourns column, I made a few suggestions for an October horror-related movie and other mediatmarathon.In case you didn’t see it, here’s what I suggested:
An Evening with Boris and Bela: Beginning in the 1930s, Universal Studios produced a multitude of classic horror movies with sound. The talents of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi were what in large part made those movies great.
Check out Boris in the Frankenstein movies, 1932’s “The Mummy,” and “The Body Snatcher.” These films are all tremendously enhanced by the mysterious qualities that black and white film-making provided. For a look at Boris in his later years, watch “The Terror,” a 1962 release that co-starred the-then up and coming Jack Nicholson.
Lugosi is probably best known for his starring role in “Dracula,” a role he had played on the stage. Of almost equal note are his performances in “White Zombie” and “The Body Snatcher.”
Here’s Jack (or is it Johnny?) Night: The great career of Jack Nicholson has included a few turns in horror films such as “The Terror” as mentioned above. His performance in Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” is truly memorable.Who can forget him saying to Shelly Duvall as he breaks down a bathroom door, “Here’s Johnny.” And, of course, Jack once again delighted us in “The Witches of Eastwick,” a comedy, and “Wolf.” Then there’s his visit to a dentist’s office in the original “Little Shop of Horrors.”
A Hitchcock Double Feature: Alfred Hitchcock’s mysteries are among the greatest films ever made. “The Birds” and “Psycho” make a great combo of Hitchcock films that fit the horror genre. Among other things, after viewing “The Birds” many people became anxious anytime they saw a flock of birds lined up anywhere. “Psycho” scared many people away from taking a shower.
Spielberg and Friends: A Light and Dark Experience: Director/producer Steven Spielberg and his associates have given us some of the most memorable horror experiences in film, beginning in the 1970s.
Spielberg’s TV movie “The Duel” is a tale about a character (Dennis Weaver) making his way home on winding, dangerous roads, trailed by a mysterious truck driver, seemingly with murderous intent, with a vehicle belching smoke that Weaver can’t shake. The film helped ignite Spielberg’s career.
Spielberg’s “Jaws” set box office records and created the summer blockbuster.
After that, Spielberg directed or produced films with horror elements including “Poltergeist” and “Gremlins.”
On a sweeter, more positive note, Spielberg has also given us “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “E.T.: The Extraterrestrial,” which even takes place around Halloween.
“Jurassic Park” also works in this festival beginning with a marvelous sense of wonder and evolving into horror.
The It’s What You Don’t See That Gets Ya Scareathon: The scariest moments in films are about what you can’t see, but suspect is around the corner. “Psycho,” “Jaws,” and “Duel” all benefit from that approach.
“Rosemary’s Baby,” possibly my favorite among horror films, builds the terror throughout the movie as a woman, Mia Farrow, fears there is some sort of cult operating in her apartment building (filmed in the Dakota, the hotel that years later is where John Lennon lived when he was shot) and that something very strange is going on regarding her pregnancy. Never in this Roman Polanski film until the end do we clearly see what has been happening.
“Cloverfield,” which was released this year, also benefits from that approach. This J.J. Abrams’ production, directed by Matt Reeves, only gives us partial peeks for most of the film of what is attacking New York City and that has blown off the head of the Statue of Liberty. That approach adds to the terror.
It also better uses a technique used in “The Blair Witch Project.” “Cloverfield” supposedly was found by a U.S. government agency after the attack and was shot on a camcorder by people who had started out recording a going-away party of a friend.
The one unfortunate thing about this film — and this isn’t the filmmakers’ fault — is the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on New York gave us a good idea what it would look like if skyscrapers were destroyed. The film reflects that knowledge.
A few more quick suggestions:
Misunderstood Monsters Marathon: “King Kong,” the 1930s original and the much-longer Peter Jackson version, and “Frankenstein.”
Book, Radio and Movie Night: H.G. Wells’ great “War of the Worlds” led to the amazingly scary Orson Welles’ radio version that terrified America and the classic 1953 film version. Complete versions of Welles’ broadcast are available on CD.
Horror Comic Relief Night: “Young Frankenstein,” “Ghostbusters,” Beetlejuice,” “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Ed Wood.”
The Horror Favorites That Ronald Hawkins has Avoided Celebration: The “Halloween,” “Friday the 13th,” “The Exorcist,” “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “The Omen” movies.
It is less than a month before the annual Thanksgiving weekend Starbase Indy and this year’s lineup of guests is quite impressive.
The guests scheduled to appear include actors Dominic Keating of Star Trek Enterprise, Garrett Wang of Star Trek Voyager, Chase Masterson of Star Trek Deep Space, Klingon language inventor Marc Okrand, author Larry Nemecek, intergalactic host Moxie Anne Magnus and the bands Five Year Mission and the Yavin 4.
The con is Nov. 25-27 at Wyndham Indianapolis West, 2544 Executive Drive, Indianapolis.
For more information, go to www.starbaseindy.com
The new Westworld series on HBO is an artfully done, but graphic look at a resort where the fun is about robotic shoot ‘em ups and intimate pleasures and then what happens when things start to go wrong.
This 10-part first season follows Michael Crichton’s 1973 “Westworld” and 1976 “Futureworld” movies and the short-lived 1980 “Beyond Futureworld” series.
This new incarnation is just for adults, much more graphically violent and erotic than the previous movies and TV show.
The 10-part, first season series has two big name starts in Ed Harris, who is the mysterious “Man in Black,” and Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Robert Ford, who created the fantasy resort decades ago.
The other lead roles, however, are Evan Rachel Wood as android Dolores Abernathy, Thandie Newton as an android Old West “dance hall girl,” Jeffrey Wright as a programmer, and Sidse Babett Knudsen as an executive who has a secret relationship with the programmer.
As usual, HBO’s producers and directors have done a masterful job in putting this series together. There is what we have come to expect in westerns, too, with a rowdy saloon, a dusty main drag, wanted posters and gorgeous scenery outside the town.
The show quickly introduces us to wealthy fun seekers who are either seeking the “thrill” of killing androids and intimate pleasures without facing any consequences, just a big bill. The androids include a farmer, the pure farmer’s daughter, sheriffs, gun slingers, gamblers, and bartenders. The human counterparts are the resort’s executives, programmers and android builder/repair people, and the tourists who have a variety of aspirations while on vacation including being a hero, a murderous villain, having intimate encounters and just enjoying the beautiful wild west vistas.
The twist is, however, that not everything is the way it is supposed to be. Westworld’s co-founder died years earlier, according to Ford. And the androids are behaving oddly in some cases, not the way they were programmed.
Of course, the essential truth is no imperfect creature, i.e. any human, can create a perfect being.
The series is a brilliantly done science fiction tale, but if you are turned off by lots of flood and erotic scenes this show isn’t for you. It will be interesting, however, to say what the next six episodes bring.
The fifth episode on HBO will premiere at 9 p.m. Sunday with lots of opportunities to watch it over the next few months on the various HBO channels and elsewhere.
If you think there’s a shortage of poetry about Doctor Who, author James Wylder may have created just what you want.
If you think there’s a shortage of poetry about Doctor Who, author James Wylder may have created just what you want.
Wylder is the author of “An Eloquence of Space and Time.” The book provides a poem for each episode of Doctor Who from 1963 through 2013, the 50th anniversary of the series, about the man who travels in time and space with companions in a blue box.
Wylder recently had a poetry reading and autograph session at the Who North America store in Camby, just north of the Morgan County line.
A Hanover College graduate who teaches high school English part-time in Elkhart when he isn’t writing, the 26-year-old author decided he wanted to do something special for the 50th anniversary of the BBC series, which first aired the weekend after President Kennedy was assassinated.
The poems cover the episodes of all the Doctors, from William Hartnell in 1963 to Matt Smith in 2013. Peter Capaldi became the Doctor after Smith. Although some of the episodes of the early Doctor have been lost after the BBC erased them, Wylder even has poems for the missing episodes.
“All are available on audio,” Wylder said.
It took a full-year for Wylder to complete the book. It also includes poems related to the Sarah Jane Chronicles, K-9 and Torchwood spinoffs, a short story by Wylder and essays by several authors.
Wylder began watching Doctor Who episodes when he was 3-years-old. Paul McGann, who was only featured in a single movie, became a particular favorite. He has met McGann, Matt Smith, Colin Baker and several of the Doctor’s companions.
Wylder hasn’t traveled to Great Britain to promote his book, but has traveled to Canada.
“Mostly, people are joyful that the book exists,” the author said. “When I go to more metropolitan areas, they are less surprised.”
What has drawn the most joy has been the poem about the “Vincent (van Gogh) and the Doctor.’ In that episode, the Doctor convinces the artist of the value of his work, even though he wouldn’t profit it from it in his lifetime.
“It (the episode) means a lot to me and other people,” Wylder said. “I know it kept a lot of people from killing themselves.”
In addition to the Doctor Who poetry book, Wylder has written other poetry books, a play, a novella and a science fiction novel.
Wylder’s appearance at the store was one of several activities the Who North America shop, 8901 S. Ind. 67, has scheduled for this month. A “Doctober Fest” fall festival is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 29. It will include a Doctor Who look-a-like contest, a jack-o-lantern contest, face painting, carnival games and other activities.
If you are interested in possibly meeting John Barrowman, the former star of Torchwood, you may have that opportunity Sept. 23-25 at Cincinnati Comic Expo in the Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Cincinnati.
Barrowman is one of several significant guests with SF and fantasy backgrounds scheduled to be at the three-day event. Adam Baldwin of Chuck and Firefly, Billy Dee Williams as well as Peter Mayhew,
Ray Park and David Prowse of Star Wars are on the guest list.
The headliner among the guests, however, is scheduled to be 93-year-old Stan Lee, the writer and genius behind many of Marvel’s comic creations. The event is being billed as the “Final Midwest Signing by Stan Lee.”
If you can’t make it to Cincy, I will be bringing reports back.
For more information about the expo, go to http://cincinnaticomicexpo.com/
While wondering when the next Doctor Who season will start, news about a spinoff and a revival of a spinoff has been trickling in. We know now that a new, regular series (season) won’t start until …
Source: The what about Doctor Who
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