Archive for the halloween countdown Category

Frankenstein re-made

Posted in frakenstein, halloween, halloween countdown on 10/28/2012 by vincentstark

Following their atmospheric and totally shitty version of Dracula BBC Radio 4 have just broadcast part one of a two part version of that other gothic classic, Frankenstein – you can listen to part one HERE for the next seven days.

 

A lush and haunting dramatisation of the story-within-a-story-within-a-story that does Mary Shelley proud. This is, unquestionably, the finest drama in the current Gothic Imagination season and breathes new life into the ultimate story of pride and obsession gone monstrously wrong.

About this programme

The first of a two-part dramatisation of Mary Shelley’s gothic horror tale by Lucy Catherine about a monster created in a science experiment. Sailing through the Arctic wastes, Captain Walton picks up a man who is close to death and has a disturbing story to share. Starring Jamie Parker and Alun Raglan.

Cast and crew

Cast

Frankenstein
Jamie Parker
The Monster
Shaun Dooley
Elizabeth
Susie Riddell
Walton
Alun Raglan
Father
Robert Blythe
Clerval
Sam Alexander
Mother
Christine Absalom
Waldman
Patrick Brennan
Justine
Emma Hook
Sailor
Joe Sims
Lieutenant
Don Gilet

Crew

Director
Mark Beeby
Dramatised By
Lucy Catherine
Producer
Mark Beeby
Writer
Mary Shelley
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Halloween Countdown: The Spandex wearing Undead

Posted in halloween, halloween countdown, halloween movies, marvel zombies, the dead walked, the dead weekend, the undead, the walking dead, vincent stark, walkers walkers everywhere, WALKING DEAD, zombies on 10/27/2012 by vincentstark

Imagine a world where the iconic superheroes are all zombies – it’s made possible because of the Marvel Multiverse. You see there are many different worlds in the multiverse, each of them with a different versions of Marvel’s beloved characters. I’m only a occasional comic book reader so here’s an explanation of the multiverse courtesy of the WIKI –

“Within Marvel Comics, most tales take place within the fictional Marvel Universe, which in turn is part of a larger multiverse. Starting with issues of Captain Britain, the main continuity in which most Marvel storylines take place was designated Earth-616, and the multiverse was established as being protected by Merlyn. Each universe has a Captain Britain designated to protect its version of the British Isles. These protectors are collectively known as the Captain Britain Corps. This numerical notation was continued in the series Excalibur and other titles. Each universe of the Multiverse in Marvel also appears to be defended by a Sorcerer Supreme at nearly all times, appointed by the mystic trinity of Vishanti to defend the world against threats primarily magical in nature from within and beyond and bearing the Eye of Agamotto.”
Sounds complicated but you don’t really need to know any of that to enjoy this graphic novel which collects together the five issue mini series, Marvel Zombies. An introduction gives is some of this background and also explains how the Marvel Zombies mini-series came about. When Mark Miller wrote a Fantastic Four arc set on an alternative world where Marvel heroes and villains had been turned into flesh-eating zombies, Marvel where so taken with the concept that they decided to continue it in other titles. The Walking Dead writer, Robert Kirkman was brought in and the resulting mini-series, collected in this graphic novel, is a truly gruesome horror story with some sick and twisted black humor. It’s also unpredictable and many heroes and villians are killed off in the story. This is a crazy world where Spider-Man hates himself for eating both his wife and Aunt May and Bruce Banner finds that whatever he ate as zombie Hulk quite often bursts through his stomach when he transforms back into zombie Banner.


It’s a crazy concept that works wonderfully and Kirkman brings us much of the same gore filled storytelling that made his Walking Dead title such a success, only this time in vivid full colour art by Sean Phillips. Of course we’ve had many variations of zombies – from the shuffling undead of Romero to the speeded up versions in films such as 28 Days Later, but Marvel here provides us with a new and original take on the genre – zombies with super powers who can also talk and think. It sounds absurd and I guess it is but nevertheless it works perfectly and provides a read you’ll want to chomp down on.

Marvel Zombies is available now as part of the Ultimate Graphic Novel Collection

Countdown to Halloween – Frankenstein’s Moon

Posted in frankenstein, halloween countdown on 10/19/2012 by vincentstark

Radio Four this week presented an interesting science/arts program that will be of interest to readers of this blog –

Did the Moon shining into Mary Shelley’s bedroom in June 1816 play a part in the genesis of her Frankenstein story? Forensic astronomer Don Olson has been investigating by charting the Moon’s historical path over Lake Geneva and surrounding hills.

Adam Rutherford explores the influence of astronomical and other celestial phenomena on the work of writers and artists, such as Galileo’s painter friend Ludovico Cigoli, Arthur Conan Doyle and modern Sherlock creator Mark Gatiss. Adam also talks to contemporary artists inspired by science: Semiconductor with their solar animation ‘Brilliant Noise’, and Cornelia Parker about her fascination with shooting stars. One of Cornelia’s artistic ambitions is to send a meteorite back into space.

Listen to the show HERE

Halloween Countdown: New Dracula and Frankenstein

Posted in dracula, halloween countdown on 10/16/2012 by vincentstark

The BBC audio drama department are world famous for the quality of their productions and a new series of The Gothic Nightmare will be of interest to readers of this blog. The series promises new versions of both Dracula and Frankenstein  – Dracula started this week and episode one can be listened to HERE

Credits

Author
Bram Stoker
Count Dracula
Nicky Henson
Dr Seward
Charles Edwards
Renfield
Don Gilet
Jonathan Harker
Michael Shelford
Mina Murray
Ellie Kendrick
Lucy Westenra
Scarlett Brookes
Dr Van Helsing
John Dougall
Arthur
Joe Sims
Landlord’s Wife
Christine Absalom
Driver
Robert Blythe
Simmons
Patrick Brennan
Vampiress
Sarah Thom
Vampiress
Ellie Crook
Vampiress
Stephanie Racine
Child
Harper Bone
Singer
Adriana Festeu
Director
Jessica Dromgoole
Writer
Rebecca Lenkiewicz

Countdown to Halloween – The Horror of Sherlock Holmes

Posted in halloween, halloween countdown, halloween movies, HAMMER FILMS, hammer horror, HORROR MOVIES on 10/15/2012 by vincentstark

Hammer’s Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)

So suitable for the British horror studio was Conan Doyle’s, The Hound of the Baskervilles that it could have been written with Hammer Films in mind. Indeed following their success with revamping the Dracula and Frankenstein franchises Hammer turned to the most famous fictional detective of them all, Sherlock Holmes for this movie which was intended to be the first in a new series with Peter Cushing in the title role. Alas the movie didn’t perform as well at the box office as expected and plans for the series were scrapped while Hammer concentrated on more gothic material. Pity really – I would have loved to have seen Hammer tackle The Giant Rat of Sumatra.

The film looks like a Hammer movie – the colour is excellent, garish in places with all that over saturated red and the gothic elements that the studio did so well, are brought out in Doyle’s story like never before. Of course they were always there, even in the original story but Hammer emphasise these parts of the storyline without really altering the original. There are some differences to the original story – Stapleton’s webbed hands for one thing, the tarantula attack for another but these work well within the story and indeed the  webbed hands carried by one line of the Baskerville clan is inspired and is a nice little macabre touch.

Peter Cushing here gives an excellent performance as Sherlock Holmes – the actor was a Sherlockian himself and he brings his knowledge of the character to the role. Andre Morell is a more than suitable Watson. It is also nice to see Christopher Lee playing a romantic lead role and one wonders what would have happened had he played more such roles. He is certainly convincing here. All in all this is a great Sherlock Holmes movie and under the direction of Terence Fisher the ponderous middle section so obvious in most productions of this story moves along at a great pace.

Why wasn’t it a big box office hit then? Well the blame for this lies with Hammer themselves. They promoted the movie as a big horror flick in the style of their successful Dracula and Frankenstein movies, with hardly any mention that this was in fact a Sherlock Holmes movie. The advertising posters suggested a kind of werewolf but when we see the hound on screen it is nothing more than an over sized Great Dane. Movie fans back in the day may have been disappointed – after all, they were going to see a film starring Hammer’s two biggest horror icons with a large slavering hound in the advertising posters and what they got  Sherlock Holmes adventure. A damn thrilling one nonetheless but word of mouth could have harmed the movie after its strong opening weekend.  SEE THE ORIGINAL CINEMA TRAILER EMBEDDED BELOW TO SEE HOW THE FILM WAS MARKETED.

Still the movie’s stood the test of time and this is a great version of the much filmed story – it’s also nice to see the current DVD version showing such an impressive looking cut of the movie. The colours are vibrant and the sound booming. It is only a pity that it is a full frame 4.3 version on the UK release when I believe the American market get a true widescreen version.

Peter Cushing would of course go onto play Holmes for the BBC, but his performance as the detective here is perhaps his definitive stab at the part. Christopher Lee also got a stab at playing both Watson and Holmes in future Holmes movies but the less said about them the better.

Halloween Countdown – The Cabin in the Woods

Posted in halloween, halloween countdown, horror, HORROR MOVIES, the cabin in the woods, Uncategorized on 10/15/2012 by vincentstark

This film was held in limbo due to  MGM’s financial problems – those same problems that also kept the latest James Bond movie, Red Dawn  and The Hobbit from the big screen.It was actually made way back in 2009 but only saw the inside of a cinema in 2012.

It was written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard with Goddard also taking the  directorial duties, and offers, believe it or not, a fresh take on the teens in the cabin in the wood scenario. Now there are major spoilers in this post so if you’ve not seen the film then do not read on, but the plot and that clever twist is given away elsewhere on the web and most horror fans would have seen the movie by now. We get the same kind of set up we’ve seen in countless other slasher movies – group of teens made up of the jock, the slut,the fool, the studious one and the virgin camping in a remote cabin in the woods and then they are picked off one by one in ever more inventive ways. So far so familiar but there’s something else going on here and every now and then we get a scene of a group of office workers watching our teens  on monitor screens and taking bets on how they will die and in which order. There is also an invisible force field around the woods which makes escape impossible – are we in some kind of reality TV show? Is this a slasher Big Brother?

I must admit that by the half way point I had decided that the film would reveal that we were in fact watching a reality TV show and I was going with that – you’ve got to give it up for the humour in the movie, as well as the knowing nods to countless other horror movies, but when the twist comes we discover that this is not a reality TV show but that the teens are to be sacrificed to the old Gods, and that similar sacrifices are being carried out all over the world The rules are that all of the teens, with the exception of the virgin must die otherwise the Gods will be displeased and the world will end. It’s a clever concept and seems to suggest that all those other horror movies – the Friday 13th’s, the Evil Dead and so on were actually ritualistic sacrifices to the Gods.

This time though, thanks to the survival abilities of stoner, Marty the world really is doomed and then movie ends with a sudden cut to nothing but blackness. Getting there however is great fun with some excellent entertainment – the massive monster rampage in which every monster imaginable goes berserk in mission control is absolutely awesome. You’ve got to give it up for that alone.

Nuff said – I loved this movie.

Halloween Countdown – the great directors – George A Romero

Posted in george a romero, halloween countdown, halloween movies, night of the living dead, the dead walked, the dead weekend, video nasties, vincent stark, walkers walkers everywhere, WALKING DEAD, zombies on 10/12/2012 by vincentstark

Few directors can claim that they invented a genre but George A. Romero is someone who can make such a wild boast. Sure we had zombie movies, before Romero’s low budget 1968, Night of the Living Dead but Romero completely reinvented the genre and every single zombie movie since owes much,if not all, to the ultra low budget shocker that was, Night of the Living Dead.
Romero’s style was revolutionary – he tackled very real social issues in the form of gruesome entertainment. He followed up Night of the Living Dead with There’s Always Vanilla (1971),  a romantic comedy which the director himself calls, “a total mess.” After that he gave us, The Crazies (1971) which didn’t do well at the box office but has since become a cult classic and was remade 2010. Then he delivered  Jack’s Wife (AKA Season of the Witch) which showed a bored housewife dabbling with the occult. After that we had Martin (1978) which next to the zombie flicks may be Romero’s best movie.

Romero’s has influenced just about anybody who is anybody in the horror field. Stephen King was such a fan that the writer was thrilled to work with Romero on the 1982 anthology movie, Creepshow. But it is for his zombie trilogy – Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead that Romero will be most remembered. He returned to the undead with a fourth zombie movie, Land of the Dead in 2005 and  since then he’s given us Diary of the Dead and Survival of the Dead, but it is the original living dead trilogy that displays his best and most revolutionary movie-making.