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July 14, 2021
[horror] Eddie Munster and me: the secret lives of spooky, sinister screen children … A look at how children cope with playing horror roles on TV and film. ‘In another film Kord references in her book – 2008’s horror-thriller The Children – the actor Eva Birthistle remembers the barely contained glee of the obstreperous child actors assigned to murder her on set. “Their confidence just grew, like, in the first week, then they were sort of … delighted they were going to kill us all,” said Birthistle.’
July 9, 2021
[movies] How They Shot the Wrong-Way Car Chase in To Live and Die in L.A. … How William Friedkin and team created shot an unforgettable car chase for the 1985 movie To Live and Die in L.A. ‘In the narrative of the film, Chance and Vukovich are driving against traffic. But, in reality, the opposite was true. Petersen and Pankow drove in the correct direction. Meanwhile, “traffic” actually flowed backward on the wrong side of the road. This is possible to spot in several brief cuts. According to an interview with Hooker on Shout Factory’s Blu-ray release, one of the reasons Friedkin wanted Petersen and Pankow to drive in that particular direction was “because there were these beautiful oil refineries with all the lights, and it was a dusk shot. [Friedkin] wanted to see that in the background with the cars going and the only way he could do that was to reverse the flow of the traffic.”’
June 24, 2021
[fun] Vincent Price rides some rolly-coasters … Go watch some small clips of Vincent Price having fun riding Roller Coasters. They are taken from a documentary called America Screams about the history of amusement parks and roller coasters in the US.
March 29, 2021
[clowes] Ghost World at 20: ‘In an era of teen comedies and American Pie, this was an antidote’ … Looking back at Terry Zwigoff’s movie of the comic. ‘Those contrasting viewpoints underline Ghost World’s complexity; everyone takes something different from it. For Douglas, it is principally about nonconformity. “In the end, even Seymour conforms,” she says. “When Enid goes in and he’s wearing the blue jeans that his new girlfriend purchased for him, it is this abandoning of everything they’ve made fun of.” Others see it as a film about boredom, or about being unwilling or unable to grow up, while some respond to the characters’ nostalgia for a time they haven’t lived through. Zwigoff had intended partly to critique consumerism: “I wanted to set the story against a background of the sweeping, bland, contrived monoculture of which mindless consumerism is, of course, a part.”’
December 31, 2020
[movies] The Great Unknown: The Story Behind Jerry Goldsmith’s Score for “Alien” … An interesting look at the struggle behind the creation of Alien’s soundtrack. ‘”I always think of space as being the great unknown,” Goldsmith had said in an interview for 2004 DVD documentary “The Beast Within,” “sort of an air of romance about it. And I approached ‘Alien’ that way … I thought ‘Well, let me play the whole opening very romantically and very lyrically and then let the shock come as the story evolves.’ It didn’t go over too well.” Goldsmith’s original main title is a gorgeous cue that is indeed incredibly romantic, while still having an air of mystery, with a grand statement of his main theme, a far cry from the more obtuse and esoteric film version, which carries a more foreboding tone and uses wind and string effect influenced by Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki originally intended to be used later in the picture. “I wrote a new main title, which was the obvious thing, weird and strange, which everybody loved. The original one took me a day to write and the alternate one took me about five minutes.”‘
December 23, 2020
[xmas] Eyes Wide Shut is an anti-consumerist holiday classic … Is Eyes Wide Shut a Christmas Movie? ‘The film is bookended by two extravagant Christmas scenes: first, the luxurious holiday party thrown by Bill’s wealthy patient Victor Ziegler (Sydney Pollack); and finally, the Harfords following their daughter Helena (Madison Eginton) around an enormous toy store while she points out gifts she’d like Santa to bring her. All the while, the manufactured lustre of Christmas permeates every scene – except, that is, within the cult, where the only decorative flourishes are the claret hues of the carpeting and the cult leader’s cloak. The outside world is already swathed in the drapery of one form of zealous, ritualistic worship – what need is there to bring it in another?’
December 11, 2020
[movies] Full Metal Jacket to Rocky IV: the least festive Christmas movies ever‘At one point Gunnery Sergeant Hartman tells his troops: “Today is Christmas. There will be a magic show at zero nine thirty. Chaplain Charlie will tell you about how the free world will conquer communism with the aid of God and a few marines. God has a hard-on for marines, because we kill everything we see.” Is this the only reference to Christmas in an otherwise bleak and dread-soaked war movie? Yes.’
December 3, 2020
[movies] Misery at 30: a terrifying look at the toxicity of fandom … A look back at one of the best adaptions of a Stephen King novel. ‘Misery was different. In placing a bizarrely childish, mad spinster in the spotlight, it had more in common with the campy Grande Dame Guignol movies of the 60s and 70s than it did with the sleek, sleazy chillers popular at the time. Grandmothers aren’t supposed to be killers, yet the knife-wielding biddies of hagsploitation cinema proved otherwise. Likewise Annie, a virginal nerd who refuses to swear, shoots a bullet through a sheriff’s belly and smashes Paul’s ankles with two strokes of a hammer without ever blinking an eye. Thirty years on, Misery’s gleefully demented union of innocence and brutality still captivates…’
November 26, 2020
[movies] Every Movie Cough … A collection of coughs and sneezes captured in movies. I’m particularly fond of this one.
November 3, 2020
[heat] Live tweeting the movie Heat – One minute per day… ‘HEAT, min 079: this is it: Pacino yells GREAT ASS. iconic (dare i say historic) cinéma. here’s a theory on why it plays: it’s not only his eruption, but how he almost says BIG, switches last-second to GREAT, and nearly defaults to GREAT BIG, then catches himself short. that’s art’
October 12, 2020
[moore] Alan Moore Rare Interview: “Superhero Movies Have Blighted Culture” … A standard-issue Alan Moore interview but good to hear his updates on what he’s currently working on and how he and Melinda Gebbie are dealing with lockdown in Northampton. ‘I’ve only retired from comics. I’m finishing off a book of magic now. It’s been stalled for a while but I’m also working on an opera about John Dee with [musician] Howard Gray. I’ve got some short stories coming out. And I’ve also been thinking a lot about what we want to do after The Show feature film. We hope that it’s enjoyable as a thing in itself, but to some degree it could be seen as an incredibly elaborate pilot episode, we think there’s quite an interesting story that we could develop out of it as a TV series, which would imaginatively be called The Show.’
October 8, 2020
[moore] First Look Trailer for The Show … A trailer for the upcoming film from Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkins.

September 21, 2020
[kubrick] Stanley Kubrick Zoom Call

September 18, 2020
[movies] Airplane! at 40: the best spoof comedy ever made? … A look at why Airplane! was so good. ‘There are puns, pratfalls, provocations, foreground/background dynamics, double entendres, references to film and TV and popular commercials, random acts of silliness and absurdity, and every possible strain of what would later be categorized as a “dad joke”. Even at 40, when a handful of the references and bits have grown whiskers, Airplane! still absolutely kills. Rarely has a film so eager to please been so successful in doing so.’
September 16, 2020
[movies] ‘The stench of it stays with everybody’: inside the Super Mario Bros movie … A look at why the Super Mario Bros movie in 1993 was epic flop. ‘Toward the end of the allotted 10-week shoot, it was clear there was still a lot more work required, but money was running out. A planned finale on the Brooklyn Bridge, laden with special effects, would have to be scuppered. “We were supposed to wrap the movie, but our producers determined that we still had two and a half to three weeks of shooting to do,” says Mathis. “The directors were thanked and told: ‘You can leave now, we’re going to make the rest of the movie without you.’ At that point, it was abundantly clear things had gotten out of control.”’
September 15, 2020
[trump] Damian / Trump Mashup


September 10, 2020
[occult] Christopher Lee on the Occult … Fascinating look at Lee’s views on the occult with video of an interview from 1975. ‘In 1975, during the filming of Dennis Wheatley’s classic occult novel To the Devil a Daughter, Lee gave an interview on his thoughts about Satanism (hey kids, it’s real!), Black Magic (yep, people do practice it every day, esp. in Hollywood), and why occult beliefs were so prevalent in the 1970s (boredom and bad fashion probably….). Lee is a fine man to spend some time with.’

August 13, 2020
[movies] Brian Blessed: Flash Gordon is the Queen’s favourite film‘The Queen, it’s her favourite film, she watches it with her grandchildren every Christmas.’
June 23, 2020
[hertzog] Werner Herzog: ‘I’m fascinated by trash TV. The poet must not avert his eyes’ … Herzog interviewed during lockdown in Los Angeles. ‘The director sits bolt upright inside his book-lined study. His glasses are perched on the bridge of his nose. His fleece is zipped to his chin. “Your face has stuck,” he announces with disgust. “You will have to hang up and dial the number again.”’
June 22, 2020
[mcsweeneys] Just Because They’ve Turned Against Humanity Doesn’t Mean We Should Defund the Terminator Program‘Meanwhile, members of the Resistance are gathering support for extreme measures like disbanding the entire Terminator program and then restructuring it so that only Terminators that have been re-programmed to protect rather than harm people are brought back online. But what exactly are we supposed to do in the meantime? Who will keep our country safe if not these beefy robotic soldiers trained in killology (Cyberdyne’s patented split-second decision making murder algorithm) who, admittedly, do sometimes turn against civilians and go on unstoppable rampages of human carnage?’
June 16, 2020
[alien] The Horrifying Adventures of Xeno-Morph

June 15, 2020
[movies] My favourite film aged 12: Aliens … I think we can all agree that Aliens is a great film whatever age you are. ‘Rewatching it over the years I’ve only come to appreciate Aliens more. It remains a masterclass in building tension: we don’t actually see an alien until the hour mark, and when we finally do it’s in a bewildering frenzy of bodycam panic. The scene with Ripley and Newt (the girl Ripley finds living feral on a base long since overrun by aliens) trapped in a laboratory with a scuttling face-hugger is still a bum-clenching ordeal. Paul Reiser’s smarmy, flop-sweat-slick company man, Burke, has become ever more punchable with every passing year. And Ripley overcoming her prejudices to accept the android Bishop as a friend is more touching now than it ever was.’
June 2, 2020
[movies] How We Made: Airplane! … The Zucker Brothers and Robert Hays on making Airplane! ‘The film is not about a particular time. It’s a satire on a style of acting and that makes it timeless. Robert Stack, who played Captain Rex Kramer, used to say: “I get it – we’re the joke!”’
June 1, 2020
[movies] The Rolling Stone Interview: Stanley Kubrick in 1987 … Interviewed by Tim Cahill – a two-hour recording of the interview is on YouTube.

Cahill: People always look at directors, and you in particular, in the context of a body of work. I couldn’t help but notice some resonance with Paths of Glory at the end of Full Metal Jacket: a woman surrounded by enemy soldiers, the odd, ambiguous gesture that ties these people together…

Kubrick: That resonance is an accident. The scene comes straight out of Gustav Hasford’s book.

Cahill: So your purpose wasn’t to poke the viewer in the ribs, point out certain similarities…

Kubrick: Oh, God, no. I’m trying to be true to the material. You know, there’s another extraordinary accident. Cowboy is dying, and in the background there’s something that looks very much like the monolith in 2001. And it just happened to be there.

May 20, 2020
[movies] Michael Mann’s Quarantine Diary: What’s Next for Directors? … Director Michael Mann on his L.A. quarantine. ‘No matter how things go back together, life is not going to be the same. When was the last time the entire globe was living spontaneously? Where everybody was conscious of the circumstances affecting everybody on the planet, more or less at the same time? The answer is never. The closest you get is 1968, with the massive upheavals going on — whether they were in Prague, or Mexico City, Chicago at the Democratic Convention, Paris in May and June, London on October 27 outside the U.S. Embassy — because of global politics, the youth revolution, the anti-war movement. There was a sense of unified awareness. The difference right now is that it’s all happening in real time. It’s like a science-fiction movie, you know, where there’s a threat to the Planet Vega! You get to Planet Vega, and everybody there is all tuned in to the same channel simultaneously. Well, that’s us now; we’re all on the same channel simultaneously.’
May 4, 2020
[movies] Mother of all sci-fi: which is the best Alien movie? … There is only one answer to this question. :) ‘I’m placing Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Alien Resurrection (1997) next. It’s a flawed movie in terms of its inception (would a clone Ripley retain the personality and memories of her “parent”?) but Sigourney Weaver delivers an eye-poppingly nutty performance as the part-human, part xenomorph Ripley 8, and there are some enjoyably sickly moments to compete with anything in the previous three movies. The scene when Ripley meets earlier failed versions of herself that have been pickled for posterity, and Brad Dourif’s fondness for the murderous extra-terrestrials, even as he is about to become a vehicle for their reproduction process, particularly stick in the memory.’
May 1, 2020
[movies] I’m Taking Six Months to Rewatch ‘Heat,’ the Holy Grail of Guy Movies‘Aside from the sheer force of the marquee names, you’ve got an impressive and often surprising ensemble of committed weirdos — Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, Jon Voight and even Hank Azaria, plus cult favorites Danny Trejo, Henry Rollins and Tom Noonan. The film elevates the classic cop-and-robbers dynamic into rich and atmospheric opera, achieving the polished legitimacy of “serious” art. There’s pulse-pounding action, but also great attention paid to how men abandon or fail the women in their lives because of an obsessive approach to work and personal masculine ethic. It’s based on a real-life burglar and detective; its mood is immersive, lush, almost dreamy. Heat captures the city of Los Angeles in unforgettable frames, for an epic runtime of 170 minutes.’
April 27, 2020
[lockdown] Saint Ripley by Genevieve Kent-Bethley. ‘Listen to me, if we break quarantine, we could all die.’

Saint Ripley

March 26, 2020
[movies] I’ve never seen… The Shining … On watching the Shining the first time. ‘It was bad. Good, in a “cinematic appreciation” way, but bad in a sitting at home alone during a nationwide quarantine way. No one had mentioned the music to me before; the score undulating from fluttering strings to thundering synths and that shrill whistle tone making those long tracking shots especially heart-palpitating. In fact, Kubrick’s penchant for lengthy, silent takes makes perfect sense now, elongating observation into its own sense of anticipatory fear. And this gels so well with the evolution of Nicholson’s face throughout; morphing from smug and clean-shaven to craggy and wide-eyed, broken only by his terrifying rictus grin – a perfect foil to Shelley Duvall’s incredulity.’
February 26, 2020
[movies] How Bong Joon Ho Built the Houses in Parasite … Fascinating, spoiler filled look at the construction of the sets for Parasite. “The trash can cost like $2,300! It was German,” says Bong. “Me and my crew members were like, What the fuck? What kind of idiot would buy a trash can that’s going to smell anyway?” Still, they picked that trash can not only for its brand value, but because it was telegenic: Bong wanted one with a cinematic lid. “When you step on it to open it, it would open really smoothly, and then when you released your foot, it would quietly close like some sort of computer graphic,” he says.’
February 25, 2020
[movies] Cultural Details You Missed in “Parasite” … Interesting, but spoiler filled. ‘I’m sure most picked up on how food showed the Kims’ class progression, starting with a bag of white bread. Then the Drivers’ Cafeteria (기사식당), which I personally like. They’re cheap but good buffets. Then they’re eating proper rice, egg, and kimchi at home. Then grilling L.A. Beef Galbi at home. When the family is sitting around and drinking the first time in the film, they’re sharing a bag of chips opened like a bowl as “anju” (pub grub). They’re also drinking FiLite, which is the cheapest malt beverage on the market. It’s nasty. When we return to that same get together as the Kims are moving up in income, everyone but the mom has switched to Sapporo, which is considered an expensive import.’
February 24, 2020
[movies] 10 great Lovecraftian horror films … The Thing: ‘In Carpenter’s film, what they encounter when investigating the wreck of a Norwegian exploration base is an otherworldly creature that can assimilate and take the form of any other living organism. The effects, done by pioneer special effects artist Rob Bottin, play a huge part in getting the audience to experience the same abject horror of seeing creatures that defy natural laws, that shouldn’t exist in a physical space. The creature, although seen, is not a single thing; it mutates and adapts. It, and its intentions, are unknowable.’
February 2, 2020
[funny] The time Sky Cinema Comedy broadcast 13 showings of Groundhog Day.

January 27, 2020
[movies] Studio Notes to a Test Screening of Blade Runner, January 21, 1981‘This movie gets worse every screening.’
January 23, 2020
[movies] 10 great stressful films‘Funny Games: Sadistic in its simplicity, Michael Haneke’s razor-edged slice of cinematic brutalism follows a nice, middle-class German family out to their lakeside summer cottage, then watches with clinical detachment as they’re tied up, tortured and massacred by a pair of nice, middle-class young men. Nowhere near as violent as its reputation suggests, Haneke’s film has much loftier ideals than simple shock, asking its audience some of the very same questions posed in our intro above – why do we, as viewers, subject ourselves to this horror? What do we expect to gain from it? And are we truly passive in our response, or is the film giving us something we’re actively asking for? Filmed in agonising long takes and never shying away from the physical and emotional consequences of abuse, Funny Games is a profoundly moral, darkly comic endurance test.’
January 6, 2020
[movies] “The monster is always to blame—what a convenient stereotype. Everything’s the monster’s fault” [via] …

December 18, 2019
[movies] My Painful Quest to Find the Worst Christmas Movie Ever Made … A Gonzoesque search of terrible Christmas movies. ‘I figured this attitude would inform the rest of the movie: It would examine the materialism that’s taken over Christmas, and tell the viewer they should instead focus on doing good in the world, as God would want. But no. The rest of the movie is actually a series of monologues in which Cameron justifies the excesses of the festive season by explaining to the brother-in-law that every single aspect of Christmas is super godly, actually. This includes a theory that Christmas trees have a biblical basis because there were trees in the Garden of Eden, and the cross Jesus was crucified on was also made from a tree.’ (on viewing Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas)
November 25, 2019
[movies] Every Joke from ‘Airplane!’ Ranked‘McCroskey, on phone to wife: “I want the kids in bed by nine, the dog fed, the yard watered, and the gate locked. And get a note to the milkman… no more cheese!”’
October 28, 2019
[anime] The best 25(-ish) anime of all time … Mefi lists Glass Reflection’s Top 25-ish Recommended Anime.
October 25, 2019
[comics] Untold Constantine Tales … Steve Bissette on one of the inspirations for John Constantine. ‘We’ve always talked about the Police and Sting‘s role in Quadrophenia, the movie (1979), but it was indeed Sting‘s ominous presence and role in Richard Loncraine‘s theatrical film adaptation of Dennis Potter‘s Brimstone & Treacle (1982) that fueled those fires back in 1983-84 for us.’
October 2, 2019
[kubrick] ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’: Kubrick’s Pioneering Achievement As One of the Most Significant Films Ever Made… Huge page of digital artifacts from Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. ‘Dear Mr Clarke: It’s a very interesting coincidence that our mutual friend Caras mentioned you in a conversation we were having about a Questar telescope. I had been a great admirer of your books for quite a time and had always wanted to discuss with you the possibility of doing the proverbial “really good” science-fiction movie…’

Kubrick filming on the set of 2001

August 30, 2019
[anime] Go look: We Ranked Anime’s Top 10 Static Shots of Power Lines With Cicada Noises‘One Punch Man – That classic beautiful low angle shot of power lines on a hot summer day. The cluttered crisscross of the lines juxtaposed by the openness of the sky makes this one of the best power line shots ever.’
August 23, 2019
[king] The best Stephen King movies … ranked!‘Carrie (1976) -It didn’t take long for Hollywood to realise the prolific King was the equivalent of discovering a new oil field when it came to horror movies: his debut novel was in cinemas within two years of publication. Brian De Palma turned King’s tale of horrendous high-school bullying and psychokinetic wrath into something like a high-school heist movie, with mean girl Nancy Allen patiently plotting disproportionate revenge against Sissy Spacek’s browbeaten, willowy wallflower. Despite the 2013 remake, De Palma’s bloody blowout remains the definitive version.’
August 9, 2019
[movies] Nicolas Cage on Acting, Philosophy and Searching for the Holy Grail … Long, readable Nick Cage Interview. ‘I put this line in “Mandy”: “The psychotic drowns where the mystic swims.” You either have the proclivity to open up your imagination or you don’t. If you have that propensity and are on camera about to do a scene, what would make you believe in what you’re about to do? Say you’re playing a demon biker with an ancient spirit. What power objects could you find that might trick your imagination? Would you find an antique from an ancient pyramid? Maybe a little sarcophagus that’s a greenish color and looks like King Tut? Would you sew that into your jacket and know that it’s right next to you when the director says “action”? Could you open yourself to that power?’
July 2, 2019
[books] Occult Connections: The Strange Case of Ian Fleming, World War II, and Aleister Crowley … A fascinating conspiracy theory that reads like a chapter of Moore and O’Neill’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. ‘[Rudolf] Hess took off in an airplane at 17:45 on May 10, 1941. His intended target was the Duke of Hamilton, whom Hess incorrectly believed was opposed to British involvement in the war. Captured by a Home Guard unit near Eaglesham, Hess was soon made a prisoner of war and was interrogated for further information about his failed mission. At this point, Lieutenant Commander Fleming and the spymaster Maxwell Knight, who is reportedly the inspiration for M in Fleming’s later novels, supposedly concocted a plan that would involve Crowley as an interrogator. Fleming and Knight believed that Crowley could easily exploit Hess’s interest in the occult for Great Britain’s advantage. The plan is believed to have been scrapped by higher ups, but that doesn’t mean that Crowley and Hess did not cross paths. Rumor has it that Crowley, who was known for cooking his guests spicy curries laced with drugs, was the cook responsible for Hess’s many food complaints while under captivity in Scotland.’
June 28, 2019
[shining] Screenwriter Todd Alcott’s Analysis of the Shining Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

…this is why, I think, Jack is shown writing when he really should be murdering — because Kubrick had an idea for a great scene, one of the greatest in horror-movie history, where Wendy finds Jack’s “work” and discovers that it’s complete gibberish. Actually, it’s worse than complete gibberish, because complete gibberish could still be published. Rather, it’s the work of an obsessive-compulsive maniac. (Nicholson, who had just won an Oscar for playing crazy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, would later go on to play an OCD guy in As Good As It Gets.) This is brilliant stuff, and, again, dramatizes the essentially psychological nature of the horror in The Shining — the really scary stuff is going on in Jack’s mind, not in the corridors of the Overlook.

(One of my favorite factoids regarding the movie is that Kubrick didn’t just have a ream of “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” typed up, no — he had reams and reams typed up, in different languages, one for every major territory the movie would play in — Spanish, Italian, French, German, etc., all with a regional phrase specific to the territory. Production Assistant on a Kubrick movie must have been the worst job available in show business.)

May 23, 2019
[movies] Burning desire: John Wick and the undying appeal of the revenge thriller‘Though John Wick primarily attracts audiences for its simplicity of gun-fu action ecstasy, the film-makers clearly have more universal existential ideas on their mind. Sure, John Wick as played by Keanu Reeves is an ex-assassin left broken by his wife’s death and only capable of exorcising his pain through mass murder and vengeance. But he’s also an individual trapped in the system that created him, desperate to live freely and “retired” on his own terms, without the need to kill again.’
May 7, 2019
[alien] Alien 40th Anniversary Short Films … Six official short films celebrating Alien’s 40th anniversary.

April 3, 2019
[movies] The ultimate guide to analog control panels in sci-fi movies … A look at of the retro-tech in classic science-fiction movies. ‘Of all our control panel selections, Alien might have the most functional looking one. That’s because the production designer, Ron Cobb, constantly worked from the idea that everything should have a legitimate purpose. Cobb went as far as making legitimate real world safety signs for fixtures and airlocks.’
March 19, 2019
[alien] Ridley Scott’s Masterpiece ‘Alien’: Nothing Is as Terrifying as the Fear of the Unknown … Interesting collection of digital artefacts from the horror movie Alien including the screenplay. ‘The visuals are fascinating, but they alone would not have resulted in a brilliant horror flick had the pacing been any different. Scott deliberately let the story unfold slowly, gradually, respecting Hitchcock’s regard for the crucial importance of suspense. It is the waiting that’s killing us, it’s the feeling of being isolated and helpless that overwhelms us, it’s the silence and uneventfulness that bring about the feeling of upcoming horror, it’s this patience and restraint that makes the elements of pure terror so damn effective.’