Category Archives: Uncategorized

Supper with the Stars Cookbook

VINCENT PRICE MANIA

I received the Supper with the Stars Cookbook about a month or so ago and never posted about it. It is a beautiful little book! I was excited to hear that Peter and Jenny were working on this book last year. It includes recipes from stars Vincent worked with as well as recipes from the Master of Menace himself, along with Peter’s writings about the movies and posters.

One of my favorite parts of the book is the awesome art that went into it. I just love the style of it. Naturally, when I heard about this book and saw that Jenny had posted about needing test cooks, I had to jump at the chance to be a part of the book. I will tell you I was THRILLED to find the page with the mixed green salad so that I could see my name and review of the recipe…

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The Painted Bird | Václav Marhoul’s beautifully brutal war drama

From Eureka Entertainment, comes director Václav Marhoul’s highly praised film adaptation of Jerzy Kosinski’s controversial 1965 novel, The Painted Bird, on Blu-ray.

In a gripping central performance, Petr Kotlár plays an unnamed boy who is sent by his Jewish parents to stay with an elderly aunt (Nina Šunevič) as World War Two rages through Eastern Europe. But when she dies and her home burns to the ground, he finds himself an outcast and, moving from town to town, endures much violence and cruelty as he encounters villagers and soldiers whose own lives have also been tragically altered.

The Painted Bird is a beautifully brutal piece of cinema featuring stark monochrome cinematography, exceptional camerawork and fine performances from its international cast.

As the young protagonist, Kotlár (who had never acted before) is a revelation. Mostly mute throughout, he expresses everything with his face and eyes and what he sees is an unflinching examination of humanity at its nadir involving torture, incest, bestiality, rape and murder. And it is only his resilience that helps him survive such horrors.

Providing the stellar support are Udo Keir and Harvey Keitel whose characters are the few who treat the boy with kindness, Stellan Skarsgård as a German officer who spares his life, and Julian Sands whose sadistic paedophile gets a gruesome comeuppance.

SPECIAL FEATURES
• 1080p presentation on Blu-ray
• Optional English subtitles
11 Colours of the Bird: The Making of ‘The Painted Bird’ [125 mins] – a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, as seen through the eyes of director Marhoul and young actor Petr Kotlár 
• Booklet featuring an essay on the film by Jason Wood 

Next of Kin (1982) | Australia’s answer to The Shining on Blu-ray for the first time

‘An unsung classic…the perfect example of less-is-more, moving at a measured pace before reaching a bombastic action-packed climax’ Starburst

‘A horror movie unlike any other…it has a very, very unique tone and the closest equivalent to this tone is The Shining’ Quentin Tarantino

Lauded by Quentin Tarantino in the documentary Not Quite Hollywood, Australian creep-fest Next of Kin is set for its first UK Blu-ray release courtesy of Second Sight, and on download and on-demand, from 25 March.

Next of Kin

Directed by Tony Williams this 1982 Ozploitation classic stars Wolf Creek’s John Jarratt alongside Jackie Kerin and Robert Ratti and gets the high-def treatment complete with extensive special features including director and cast commentaries, Not Quite Hollywood extended interview and commentary from its director Mark Hartley, interviews from the documentary and two short films from Tony Williams.

Linda Stevens has just inherited Montclare, a retirement home left to her by her late mother. When she finds a diary belonging to her mother, she discovers tales of strange goings in within the old mansion – taps turning themselves on and off, candles lighting and mysterious voices in the night. When history begins to repeat itself Linda’s nightmares are just the beginning. Montclare hides a dark secret and Linda is in mortal danger, can she unlock the mystery before it’s too late?

SPECIAL FEATURES
• Audio commentary with Director Tony Williams and Producer Tim White
• Audio commentary with cast members John Jarratt, Jackie Kerin, Robert Ratti and Not Quite Hollywood 
Director, Mark Hartley
• Return to Montclare: Next of Kin Shooting locations revisited
• Extended interviews from Not Quite Hollywood
• Tony Williams shorts from 1971: Getting Together + The Day We Landed on the Most Perfect Planet in the 
Universe
• Deleted Scenes, Original Theatrical Trailer, VHS Trailer, German Trailer, German Opening Credits
• Before the Night is Out – Complete ballroom dancing footage from 1978
• Image Gallery
• Reversible sleeve art

Next of Kin

See No Evil 2’s Soska Sisters on their Rabid remake, TV ambitions and being big fans of WWE

With the Horror Channel’s UK premiere broadcast of See No Evil 2 screening on Friday 7 April, the Twisted Twins, Jan and Sylvia Soska, reveal their TV ambitions, the latest on their Rabid remake and being huge WWE fans.

It’s been while since we last chatted and apart from See No Evil 2 what have you both been up to?

S: It has been a while, but it’s really cool that we get to chat again. We hosted a reality horror game show from Matador, GSN and Blumhouse called Hellevator that was like ‘Saw the game show’. We had a blast making it. I really can’t even believe that was a job a person could have. We’re still trying to get it over to the UK – I think the audience over there will really enjoy it. We have had a lot of fun working in television, it’s something we’re interested in pursuing more of not only in front of the camera, but behind the scenes as well.

J: Oh, it’s been ages! We’ve been up to nothing but trouble. We made an action movie with the WWE and Lionsgate called Vendetta where we made everybody’s favorite Superman Dean Cain break bad fighting the Big Show in jail. It was basically a Punisher goes to jail movie for us. We got to achieve a big bucket list dream and start writing for Marvel comics! We did a ‘Night Nurse’ and a ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ story so far and are stoked to do more with them. And we’re re-making Canadian Horror King David Cronenberg’s Rabid. We keep busy.

Did the incredible, international success of Dead Hooker in a Trunk surprise you?

S: We were working very hard towards getting that kind of reaction, but considering how many films and filmmakers come out now, it’s always such an unpredictable journey. I remember we would carry screeners in our purse with these little booklets, just in case we met anyone who we could get the film in front of, but it really paid off. I’ll always be particularly grateful to the people who saw that first film and decided to support two very different filmmakers.

J: In a way, when I really think about it, yeah. It’s a weird “WTF is even happening” film and it’s really “us”. The humor, the insane plot, the passion, the violence, and that take no prisoners attitude. I was both surprised and delighted to learn there are so many fellow weirdos like us out there. I love all our fans, but the people who have been in our corner since Dead Hooker In A Trunk have a very special place in my heart.

How did your family react to how it took off?

S: My parents couldn’t have been more proud. My dad appears as the Rabbi in the flashback, we shot at our church, we had a lot of support from our church on that one, ha ha. We’re very lucky in the way that our parents have always been incredibly supportive of what we wanted to do. My mom tells me it wouldn’t have made a difference because once we got an idea in our head, even as little kids, we had to make it happen.

J: My folks are the best. They’ve always been so supportive of our paths wanting to be artists. They’re both artists themselves so they never told us to settle on “normal jobs”. I think they couldn’t believe how big it got. When people starting yelling, “Dead Hooker In A Trunk!!!!” at us in the street it was like, “wow, what is even happening to our lives??” They’re very proud. They always get to see the early cuts and my mum will let me know when the gory bits really sell. I have no idea what’s too much anymore. I don’t know if I ever did, ha ha

When American Mary showed at FrightFest a few years back it gained huge critical acclaim, what are your most vivid memories of this time?

S: I remember lying awake in my hotel room with Jen at the Soho and being extremely nervous and excited. The next day our film was going to play in front of a huge crowd and we were going to be wearing these fantastic outfits made out of surgical plastic created by Enigma Arcana that we were going to wear for it. I kept thinking about what a surreal situation that was and it’s kind of a vulnerable story, so I was feeling that. But I couldn’t have dreamed up a better audience. I remember Mike Hewitt from Universal made sure we got a bunch of people from the European body modification community in the front rows of the theatre, so seeing their faces and getting the reactions from the crowd was a beautiful experience. I’ll always be in love with the UK because of truly wonderfully they have treated us throughout the years.

J: I remember Dead Hooker fans waiting outside our hotel for autographs and photos. It was so cool, but I’m very Canadian so I was all like, “how long have you been out here? Oh no, I would’ve come out sooner! I didn’t know!” I have never received a warmer welcome anywhere in the world. The UK fans know their horror and they got American Mary at a level I didn’t expect anyone to. It meant the world to us. And FrightFest is the best. The gents there were so good to us. I’m dying to return.

Let’s chat about See No Evil 2. How were you selected to direct and how much say did you have on the incredible cast?

S: We got the script knowing it was time sensitive and were really excited about the opportunity, but we didn’t think we’d be hired. After American Mary and Dead Hooker in a Trunk, I think people kept trying to put us in this box of this is what the twins make, but we have very diverse interests and like tackling different sub genres. I hear a lot of nightmare stories about people working with a studio for the first time, but we were extremely lucky. Michael Luisi, the head of WWE Studios, hired us to bring a female perspective to the film. We got to pick our team and modify things creatively as we went along to make the sequel really special. We’re fans of the material, so we kept thinking what would be like to bring, knowing we were reintroducing this character from an original that was from so many years ago.

J: We always go to bat for our actors. We love this cast. We got Glenn “Kane” Jacobs as part of it and being huge Kane and Undertaker fans it was really the opportunity of a lifetime. I had wanted to work with Danielle Harris for ages. She’s an icon. True Horror Queen. And we had to bring Katie Isabelle with us. We wanted to give her something really fun to do. We sat in on every audition and met our boys. Kaj-Erik Eriksen is just the best. I met him and felt like I knew him for years. I knew Greyston Holt, a fellow Hungarian, for a while and had been wanting to get him in something of ours. We were fans of Chelan Simmons from the Final Destination series and Tucker and Dale Vs Evil. Lee was another gift from the auditions. And Michael Eklund? He’s the Canadian Daniel Day Lewis. We love him. We were looking for something together for a while and this was perfect.

Were you big WWE fans before this movie?

S: Yes. A lot of people don’t know that we are huge WWE fans. One of the only dreams that my Dad didn’t support was me becoming a professional wrestler and getting tattoos. I guess through working with the WWE and making American Mary, I got to experience those avenues as closely as I could. We’re still such WWE fans. I think the popularity of professional wrestling is like nothing else. You have these super hero soap operas and these brilliant coordinated fights where heroes & villains fight each week and they have such positive messages about overcoming obstacles or never giving up. Then, you see them on their off time and they are visiting the troops overseas or going to a children’s hospital to brighten someone’s day. I still dream of maybe getting an opportunity to write an episode of RAW or maybe get in the ring. With Glenn ‘Kane’ Jacobs and Paul ‘Big Show’ Wight as back up, though. Those lady Superstars are tough, I’d love to train to get in the ring with them. Maybe take on the Bellas?

J: Only the biggest. I lose my shit at the live events. I love it so much. Getting to work with and meet so many of the WWE Superstars has only increased my love for the whole organization and what those performers put themselves through. Real life super heroes, all of them! I remember an acting teacher made fun of me for loving WWE and said it was a waste of my time. Guess he can “suck it” (Degeneration X) now.

Did you change any of the script and if so (without giving too much away) was it much and why did you change it?

S: We had a completely collaborative team and that was a very supportive environment to make the film. I don’t want to give too much away, but we switched up the gender roles in this film big time. It’s very subtle, so a lot of people didn’t really notice it until the end. I sometimes think, oh I wish I had done this or did that, but the scene in the morgue with Katharine Isabelle and Lee Majdoub with Kane on the slab was very much us. That character went from being a dude to being Tamara and ended with such a sexy moment. We like playing with people’s expectations and the team was totally down for it too.

J: Ugh, I can’t say much without giving it away but we wanted to give the film that classic 80s slasher feel to it. AND we played with typical gender roles. Nuff said! Can’t say more without ruining everything!

How tough was the shoot, what did you learn from it and if you could go back and do it again what would you change?

S: The worst planned moment was that the big final fight was on the last day and then Jen, Glenn, and I had two hours sleep before we had to get on a plane to fly to New York for New York Comic Con. I was ecstatic to go and it was our first time in New York which was amazing, but the three of us were so dead after shooting non-stop for weeks, then going back into it, but these are the kind of hours you have in the WWE. You don’t really think about all that traveling that they do until you see it first-hand. But then again, sleep is something you can do when you’re dead.

J: Any 15 day shoot is ambitious. You have got to pick your battles. You have to lose some battles to win the war. If I could change anything it would be that promo NYCC trip that made our first time in NY feel like an acid trip.

What’s Kane like in real life?

S: He’s the best. He’s not Kane. I mean, if anyone is Kane, it’s Glenn and he’s such a phenomenal performer that that character is a real guy to people. He was a real guy to me too, until I got to meet the man behind the Devil’s Favourite Demon. He’s very intelligent, he’s ridiculously funny – I think it’s a shame that we don’t get to see more of that comedic genius on the show, he’s very down to earth, and he’s one of the kindest souls I have had the pleasure of meeting. You see him doing different charity events constantly, he’s always giving back to his fellow man, and he’s always visiting people in the hospital. It’s funny that everyone knows him as this monster on TV, but in real life he’s much closer to an angel. I don’t want to ruin his street cred, but Glenn is literally the best.

J: He’s the coolest. He is SUCH a nice guy. He didn’t set anything on fire or murder anyone that wasn’t meant to be murdered. Glenn is very down to Earth and terribly brilliant.

See No Evil 2 is one of those rare things, a sequel that’s stronger than the original, would you agree?

S: That’s what we set out to do. I think one of the most important aspects of a slasher is that you care for the cast so there’s a sense of wins and losses in this horrific situation you’ve placed these people in. We wanted it to be visually beautiful, we wanted to revamp Jacob Goodnight so that he would be more fear-inducing, and we wanted to have a lot of fun killing whoever it is we end up killing in the film. I’m hoping with the set up in See No Evil 2, they’ll let us have another round with a third instalment.

J: That’s what I think, but I’ve heard people say the opposite. You can’t make everyone happy, I suppose. And those people are idiots. No accounting for taste! I wanted to create this extension of Jacob Goodnight’s world that made the audience actually feel something. I feel that’s the main difference between a horror film and, say, an action film. If you care when someone dies you’re probably watching a horror film and if you don’t care someone did something wrong. We wanted to redesign the Jacob Goodnight character. The fans wanted a mask and we were totally into delivering. What’s a horror icon without a cosplayable costume, right?

Are you pleased See No Evil 2 is getting its UK TV premiere on Horror Channel?

S: Nothing makes me happier! You guys were the first ones to put us on TV and now look what’s happened. Technically, this is all your fault.

J: I am deliriously excited. I LOVE the UK Horror Channel!! You guys have been so deliciously delightful to us. You cared about us before anyone got aboard the band wagon! We Soskas don’t forget stuff like that!

If See No Evil 3 ever came about would you be up for it?

S: We have been talking to the team for years about making a third one. We nicknamed it 3 No Evil and we have a killer idea set up for it. The team is interested in coming back, maybe this UK TV premiere will be what gets them to say, why not, how bad could it be?

J: 3 No Evil? I’ve actually been dying to do a sequel to our sequel. It would be so fun to reunite with Glenn and company. We have some big plans for him in the future…

How much in the last 10 years has the movie industry changed for women? Are you now rightfully treated as equals?

S: There’s definitely more of a spotlight on the inequality in hiring female directors which has opened up this dialogue that has been going strong for years. You look at filmmakers like Ana Lily Amirpour with A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, Julia Ducournau with Raw, Agnieszka Smoczyńska with The Lure, and so many others – and you see these unique perspective films and you see that audiences are hungry for that. There’s this misconception about who the film-going audiences are and what they will pay to see in the theatres, but then you see someone try something different like Jennifer Kent did with The Babadook and its insanely successful. Yet instead of looking for more new ideas to give audiences more of a variety, they try to recreate the last success and there’s no art in that. Creating true equality is an ongoing process, but I truly don’t mind. There are no other sister directing teams that we are following in the footsteps of, every step is new ground that hopefully makes the path less unruly for those who come next.

J: We’re getting there but we’ve still got a ways to go. Female filmmakers are making a lot more noise about diverse representation and the fans are echoing that call. Ladies still have to fight hard for those opportunities and get overlooked for their male counter parts. If another male director with less experience than me gets another superhero franchise I might lose my shit. With all the attention on female filmmakers right now, particularly in the horror genre, I think we’re gonna see more of a shift in hiring (and paying equal wages). But ask me next time we chat, we’ll see how far we came.

So, what are you working on at the moment?

S: We are very honored to have been the team chosen to take on the remake of Cronenberg’s Rabid. Normally, I’m not a huge fan of remakes but that’s if they don’t have anything new to bring to the story. We have a unique perspective just because of who we are to tell the story from Rose’s eyes as well as make a commentary on the increasingly rabid world that we live in. Also, we’ve been dying to get back into body horror. Ten years into David’s filmmaking career, he remade The Fly and it brought him to this new level. This is ten years into our career and this will be our first film that gets a wide theatrical release, so it feels like a good pairing. We just have to make sure we don’t let down our country, our fanbase, and our hero. No pressure.

J: Rabid! And sadly a bunch of stuff I can’t talk too much about. I will say that one of our original scripts has now gone into production and I’m really beside myself about it. It’s a dream I’d forgotten I’d even had. We wrote this particular script at the same time as American Mary and it’s maybe my favorite thing we’ve ever written. It’s a “fuck yeah” film so get stoked for that. We have quite a few films in production and Kill-Crazy Nymphos Attack!, our (very) graphic novel that we’re doing with Daniel Way with artwork by Rob Dumo. It’s coming this summer, so grab that if you want to be horribly offended.

See No Evil 2 is broadcast on Horror Channel, 10.50pm, Friday 7 April 2017

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Possession (1981) | A look back at Andrzej Zulawski’s notorious marital horror from beyond the Berlin Wall

 

Possession (1981)

In honour of the passing this week of the 75-year-old Polish director Andrzej Zulawski, here’s a look back his shock art masterpiece Possession.

If you like your cinema dark, twisted and served with visual flair, then the 1981 German/French horror drama Possession might be just the ticket. Set in the former West Berlin, this once controversial arthouse thriller stars Aussie actor Sam Neill as a government agent called Mark and Isabelle Adjani (who would win both a César and a Cannes award for her role) as his adulterous wife Anna. Theirs is a marriage in total meltdown…

Possession (1981)

When Anna’s affair with the charismatic Heinrich (Heinz Bennent) comes to light, Anna goes into hiding, leaving Mark to look after their young son, Bobby. Alone with her guilt and self-loathing, Anna miscarries – an event that tips her over the edge into madness, resulting in self-mutilation, violent outbursts of rage and murder.

Possession is not an easy film to watch, but Adjani and Neil’s performances are mesmerising. Rich in metaphors, surrealist poetics and excessive symbolism, it has a trippy, dream-like incoherence that breaks all the rules about narrative structure. And this is all down to Żuławski who channelled his own psychological journey (over his own marital breakdown) into celluloid – making this more a visionary nightmare than a horror movie per se.

Possession (1981)

Though it does have elements of horror – especially the monstrous creature lurking in the shadows of Anna’s mind (courtesy of sfx legend Carlo Rambaldi) – the surreal inclusion of doppelgangers (Mark starts dating a teacher who looks just like Anna, while Anna’s creature becomes a clone of Mark); Kafkaesque spy intrigue (Mark is being hounded to move up in the spy agency); and the occult (Heinrich is portrayed as a black magician) makes it reminiscent of the works of Luis Buñuel and Alejandro Jodorowsky. As such, Possession is film as art.

Bewildering, hysterical and highly esoteric, this is one film you will not forget, but also the perfect introduction into the cinema of its late director. Just don’t watch this with someone you are about to break up with, and please don’t ask me to explain the final apocalyptic scene.

Possession (1981)

Possession (1981)THE SECOND SIGHT BLU-RAY
In 2013, Second Sight released a re-mastered Blu-ray of the cult horror with a host of extrass. These included the making-of featurette, The Other Side of the Wall, audio commentaries with director Zulawski and co-writer Frederic Tuten, an interview with the director, a look at the Video Nasty furore that surrounded the release of the film’s UK release in 1981, interviews with composer Andrzej Korzynski and producer Christian Ferry, a feaurette on the film’s poster artist Basha, and theatrical trailer.

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 34,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 13 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Fellini’s Casanova (1976) |The bawdy bewitching romp looks ravishing on Blu-ray

Fellini's Casanova (1976)Having seduced audiences with his brilliant Roma and beguiling Amarcord, Italian director Federico Fellini plays ringmaster once again in the delirious 1976 romp il Casanova, adapted from the memoirs of the infamous 18th-century lothario.

Donald Sutherland gives a wildly enthusiastic and totally Fellini-esque performance as the Venetian scholar reminiscing over his many erotic encounters throughout Europe after escaping the clutches of the Inquisition over a charge of black magic. An ageing necromancer, several courtesans, a seven-foot amazon, diseased harlots, a hunchback and even a clockwork doll are among the many, many women the decadent dandy plays the fandango with – but true love is always out of his reach.

The screenplay is pure poetry, much of it Casanova’s own, dwelling on man’s pursuit and understanding of women – one of Fellini’s favourite themes. Being the visual auteur that he is, Fellini’s populates Casanova’s world with voluptuous women (check out Chesty Morgan); sexual degenerates and a cavalcade of sideshow freaks. It’s exactly what you’d expect from the Italian maestro, who really goes to town with the film’s $10million budget (huge at the time), with opulent sets, fabulously photography, Oscar-winning costumes, and Nino Rota’s haunting score.

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But this is also Sutherland’s film – and he is freakishly spot on playing Casanova as a pathetic figure whose sexual conquests overshadowed his intellect.  And he is nothing like the mythical figure we have come to know. In fact, I was shocked on its original release, but now, I am starting to warm to Sutherland’s characteristic performance – though, I think approaching middle-age myself has something to do with that?

This new Blu-ray release from Mr Bongo is the fully restored director’s cut, and what a treat it is to see Fellini’s stylised, visually-daring, erotic (with clothes on) romp – apart from on the big screen of course.

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Poster art for Guy Maddin’s The Forbidden Room is unleashed!

On 11 December, Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson’s trippy cinematic opus The Forbidden Room will be unleashed in UK cinema. Here’s the poster and trailer to whet your appetite.

The Forbidden Room (2015)

 

WATCH THE TRAILER

Grand Piano (2013) | Elijah Wood is under threat in a stylish Hitchcock-styled Speed in a concert hall thrill ride

Grand Piano (2013)

The ridiculously enjoyable 2013 thriller Grand Piano debuts on Sky Premiere HD from today, Friday 5 June. Here’s my original review to whet your appetite.

Kultguy's Keep

Grand Piano (2014)PLAY OR DIE
Five years after his epic failure trying to play the impossible piece, La Cinquette, brilliant classical pianist Tom Selznik (Elijah Wood) prepares to return to the spotlight playing on his late mentor’s prized Bösendorfer piano at a packed Chicago concert hall. Already crippled with stage fright, Tom’s performance takes a sinister turn when he discovers a threatening note on his music sheet: ‘Play one wrong note and you die’. Through an earpiece, an unseen sniper (John Cusack) tells him that his wife Emma (Kerry Bishé) will be shot if he attempts to raise the alarm. Now Tom must give the performance of a lifetime just to survive!

Grand Piano (2014)

SPEED SET IN A CONCERT HALL
Drawing its inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much, this fast-paced thriller from Spanish director Eugenio Mira and the producers of Buried is a stylish 90-minute symphony of suspense. Imagine

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Dance of the Dead (2008) | This geeky zomcom is a horror hoot

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