Fantasy Archives

adventures of a gnome named gnorm

A Gnome Named Gnorm (a.k.a. Upworld) is a American Adventure Fantasy film directed by Stan Winston.  The film stars Anthony Michael Hall, Jerry Orbach, Claudia Christian, and Eli Danker.  Written by Pen Densham and screen play by Pen Densham and John Watson.  Special effects created by Stan Winston.

Plot: Gnorm is just an average Gnome. But he wants to impress the lady Gnomes by doing something heroic.  A cop teams up with an underground-dwelling gnome to solve a murder.

Trivia:

Filmed in 1988, received limited release in 1990, pulled from circulation and re-released in 1992.

Clan of the Cave Bear

The Clan of the Cave Bear is a 1986 film based on the book of the same name by Jean M. Auel.

Directed by Michael Chapman, the film stars Daryl Hannah as Ayla, a young Cro-Magnon woman who was separated from her family during an earthquake and found by a group of Neanderthals.

Dialogue is conducted mostly through a form of sign language which is translated for the audience with subtitles.

Because the film cost US $15 million to produce and brought in only US $1.9 million domestically, it is considered a box office flop. There was supposedly a sequel planned which never came to fruition.

It was filmed in the Canadian Rockies, a precursor to the many Hollywood films that would film in Canada soon after. The score was composed by Alan Silvestri. The movie is also one of Bart the Bear’s earliest roles.

Trivia:

A planned back-to-back sequel never made it into production.

Make Up Department
Jocelyne Bellemare … makeup artist
Susan Boyd … head hair stylist
Michèle Burke … makeup department head
Todd McIntosh … makeup artist
Michael Mills … prosthetic makeup artist
Frank Carrisosa … prosthetic makeup artist
Michael G. Westmore … co-makeup department head
Michael G. Westmore … special makeup design and creation
Steve Johnson … assistant makeup artist (uncredited)

Special Effects Department
Michael Clifford … special effects coordinator

Dick Tracy vs Phantom Empire was also known as Dick Tracy vs. Crime, Inc.

Dick Tracy vs. Crime, Inc. (1941) is a Republic Movie serial based on the Dick Tracy comic strip. It was directed by the legendary serial team of William Witney and John English with Ralph Byrd reprising his role from the earlier serials. It was the last of the four Dick Tracy serials produced by Republic, although Ralph Byrd went on to portray the character again on television.

Tagline: DICK TRACY’S CHALLENGE! America’s greatest detective hurls defiance into the shadows of the Underworld in his search for murderous criminals who threaten New York’s destruction. The top Tracy Serial of all time.

Plot: Dick Tracy goes up against a villain known as The Ghost, who can turn himself invisible.

Cast  
  Ralph Byrd … Dick Tracy
  Michael Owen … Billy Carr
  Jan Wiley … June ‘Eve’ Chandler
  John Davidson … Lucifer
  Ralph Morgan … J.P. Morton
  Kenneth Harlan … Police Lt. Cosgrove
  John Dilson … Henry Weldon
  Howard C. Hickman … Stephen Chandler
  Robert Frazer … Daniel Brewster
  Robert Fiske … Walter Cabot
  Jack Mulhall … Jim Wilson
  Hooper Atchley … Arthur Trent
  Anthony Warde … John Corey
  Chuck Morrison … Henchman Trask

Dick Tracy vs. Crime, Inc. was budgeted at $174,539.

It was filmed between 17 September and 24 October 1941 under the working titles Dick Tracy Strikes Again and Dick Tracy’s Revenge.

The scenes of giant waves hitting New York were stock footage from the RKO Pictures film Deluge

This serial, like all the sequels to the 1937 original Dick Tracy serial, was permitted by an interpretation of the original contract, which allowed a “series or serial”. Therefore, Chester Gould was not paid again for the right to produce this serial.

Most of the cliffhangers were stock footage from previous Dick Tracy serials. However, the reuse of the highlights of the previous Dick Tracy serials actually added to this serial, making it seem like a “best of” compilation of the previous serials.

Dick Tracy vs. Crime, Inc.’s official release date is 27 December 1941, during Christmas week 1941, although this is actually the date the seventh chapter was made available to film exchanges.

The serial was re-released on 8 October 1952, under the title Dick Tracy vs. Phantom Empire, between the first runs of Zombies of the Stratosphere and Jungle Drums of Africa

7th voyage of sinbad cyclops

Cyclops from 7th Voyage of Sinbad 1958

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is a 1958 Technicolor fantasy film released by Columbia Pictures, directed by Nathan H. Juran, and was the first of three Sinbad films made by Columbia which were conceptualized and animated by Ray Harryhausen (the others being The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger).

Sinbad DVD Collection

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While similarly named, the film does not follow the plot of the tale “The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad the Sailor.”

In 2008, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

Cast:

Kerwin Mathews … Sinbad
Kathryn Grant … Princess Parisa
Richard Eyer … Barani – the Genie
Torin Thatcher … Sokurah the Magician
Alec Mango … Caliph
Danny Green … Karim
Harold Kasket … Sultan
Alfred Brown … Harufa
Nana de Herrera … Sadi
Nino Falanga … Gaunt Sailor
Luis Guedes … Crewman
Virgilio Teixeira … Ali

Trivia:

  • A soundtrack album of Bernard Herrmann’s score was released on Colpix, Columbia’s record label. In later years it would become one of the most sought-after albums by soundtrack collectors. It was finally released on CD, along with the full score, in 2009.
  • Alfred Brown is dubbed.
  • This was the first feature using stop-motion animation effects to be completely shot in color.
  • Initially, Ray Harryhausen wanted Miklós Rózsa or Max Steiner to score The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), but Charles H. Schneer persuaded Harryhausen to agree to hire Bernard Herrmann instead. Herrmann’s score was so well received, and he worked so well with Schneer and Harryhausen, he ended up scoring three more of their films: The 3 Worlds of Gulliver (1960), Mysterious Island (1961), and Jason and the Argonauts (1963). Harryhausen eventually got his wish, however, when Miklós Rózsa scored The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974).

seventh_voyage_of_sinbad

The Dark Crystal released December 17, 1982

The Dark Crystal is a 1982 fantasy film directed by puppeteers Jim Henson and Frank Oz, creators of The Muppet Show. Although still marketed as a family film, it was notably darker than previous material created by them. Characters for which they are famous do not appear, but some of the same performers are used. The animatronics used in the film were considered groundbreaking at the time. The primary concept artist was the fantasy illustrator Brian Froud, famous for his distinctive faerie and dwarf designs. Froud also collaborated with Jim Henson and Frank Oz for their next project, the 1986 film, Labyrinth which was notably more light-hearted than The Dark Crystal.

The Dark Crystal was produced by Gary Kurtz, whose list of credits includes American Graffiti, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Return to Oz, and Slipstream. The screenplay was written by David Odell, who had worked with Henson as a staff writer on The Muppet Show. Trevor Jones provided the film’s atmospheric music. The movie makes an attempt to study the nature of good and evil in terms of conscience, destiny, and the triune nature of harmony. The film was produced by ITC Entertainment, the British production company responsible for producing The Muppet Show.

 

King Kong is a 1976 American motion picture produced by Dino De Laurentiis and directed by John Guillermin. It is a remake of the 1933 classic King Kong, about how a giant ape is captured and imported to New York City for exhibition.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aanYNjjoCQo]

The remake’s screenplay was written by Lorenzo Semple Jr., based on the original movie story written by Merian C. Cooper and Edgar Wallace, which had been adapted into the 1933 screenplay by James Ashmore Creelman and Ruth Rose. It starred Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin, and Jessica Lange, in her first movie role, playing a part similar to the one made famous in the original by Fay Wray.

Jessica Lange in King Kong 1976

Directed by
  John Guillermin

Writers
  Idea
   Merian C. Cooper and
   Edgar Wallace
  1933 screenplay
   James Creelman and
   Ruth Rose
  Screenplay
   Lorenzo Semple Jr.

Producers              
  Dino De Laurentiis … producer
  Federico De Laurentiis … executive producer
  Christian Ferry … executive producer

Cast
  Jeff Bridges … Jack Prescott
  Charles Grodin … Fred Wilson
  Jessica Lange … Dwan
  John Randolph … Captain Ross
  Rene Auberjonois … Roy Bagley
  Julius Harris … Boan
  Jack O’Halloran … Joe Perko
  Dennis Fimple … Sunfish
  Ed Lauter … Carnahan
  Jorge Moreno … Garcia
  Mario Gallo … Timmons
  John Lone … Chinese Cook
  Garry Walberg … Army General
  John Agar … City Official
  Keny Long … Ape Masked Man
  Sid Conrad … Petrox Chairman
  George Whiteman … Army Helicopter Pilot
  Wayne Heffley … Air Force General
  Forrest J Ackerman … Fleeing Extra in Crowd (uncredited)

Rick Baker as King Kong

Make Up Department
  Del Acevedo … makeup artist
  Rick Baker … makeup effects
  Jo McCarthy … hair stylist
  Rob Bottin … makeup effects

Special Effects Department
  Joe Day … special effects
  Carlo Rambaldi … special effects
  Glen Robinson … special effects
  Terry W. King … special effects technician (uncredited)
  Andrew Miller … special effects (uncredited)
  Wayne Rose … special effects crew (uncredited)

Visual Effects Department
  Lou Lichtenfield … matte artist
  Barry Nolan … photographic effects assistant
  Aldo Puccini … miniature coordinator
  Frank Van der Veer … photographic effects supervisor
  Harold E. Wellman … additional photographic effects

Edward Scissorhands is a 1990 comedy-drama fantasy film directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp. The film tells the story of an artificial man named Edward, an unfinished creation, who has scissors for hands. Edward is taken in by a suburban family and falls in love with their teenage daughter Kim. Supporting roles are portrayed by Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall, Kathy Baker, Alan Arkin and Vincent Price.

Burton conceived the idea for Edward Scissorhands from his childhood upbringing in suburban Burbank, California. During pre-production of Beetlejuice, Caroline Thompson was hired to adapt Burton’s story into a screenplay, and the film began development at 20th Century Fox, after Warner Bros. passed on the project. Edward Scissorhands was then fast tracked after Burton’s success with Batman. Before Depp’s casting, the leading role of Edward had been connected to Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Robert Downey, Jr. and William Hurt, while the role of The Inventor was written specifically for Vincent Price.

The majority of filming took place in the Tampa Bay Area of Florida, which generated over $6 million for the local economy. Edward’s scissor hands were created and designed by Stan Winston. The film is also the fourth feature collaboration between Burton and film score composer Danny Elfman. Edward Scissorhands was released with positive feedback from critics, and was a financial success. The film received numerous nominations at the Academy Awards, British Academy Film Awards, Saturn Awards, as well as winning the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. Both Burton and Elfman consider Edward Scissorhands their most personal and favorite work.

Trivia:

  • The houses used in the film were a real community in Florida, completely unchanged except for their garish exterior paint.
  • This was Vincent Price’s last screen appearance and his last moment ever on screen is a death scene. He actually fainted on the set as it was filmed. Tim Burton decided the take was fine and kept it for the morbidity of it.
  • The first draft of the film was written as a musical.
  • Johnny Depp had to lose a reported 25 pounds for the role of Edward Scissorhands.
  • Johnny Depp said only 169 words in this film.
  • Director Trademark: [Tim Burton] [music] music by Danny Elfman
  • The idea for the movie was inspired by a drawing Tim Burton had done when he was a teenager.
  • For her role as the religious zealot Esmeralda, O-Lan Jones also arranged and actually played the organ music her character performs on-screen.
  • Some of the topiary that Edward makes in the movie can be seen permanently at the New York City restaurant Tavern On the Green.
  • When Edward goes to have his hands sharpened, the storefront was that of an actual hardware store called Crowder Brothers in Southgate Shopping Center. At the time of the filming, they did offer a sharpening service, and they did have a giant motorized Victorinox in the window.
  • The Southgate Shopping Center is located in Lakeland, FL while the neighborhood was filmed at the Carpenter’s Run subdivision in Lutz, FL.
  • The neighborhood is based on Burton’s hometown, Burbank.
  • Tom Cruise, Jim Carrey and Robert Downey Jr. were all considered for the role of Edward Scissorhands.
  • Composer Danny Elfman said of all the films he’s composed music for, Edward Scissorhands is his favourite.
  • Edward Scissorhands is Tim Burton’s favourite of all his films.
  • Director Trademark: [Tim Burton] [Black and white stripes] Jim’s shirt collar at dinner.
  • The restaurant that the family eats at was, at one time, a real restaurant; a national chain diner called “Sambo’s”. It was located directly across the street from Southgate Shopping Center, as appears in the movie. Due to the controversial nature of the name and interior design, the diner (and entire chain) closed sometime in the late 70′s/early 80′s. It remained an abandoned building for many years, until Tim Burton came to town to film “Edward Scissorhands”. Burton’s crew unboarded the doors and windows and redressed the interior to look like a working restaurant again.

 

House of Frankenstein is an American monster horror film produced in 1944 by Universal Studios as a sequel to Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man the previous year. This monster rally approach would continue in the following film, House of Dracula, as well as the 1948 comedy Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.

 Tagline: FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER! WOLF MAN! DRACULA! HUNCHBACK! MAD DOCTOR!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u96ogiqeTBw]

Trivia:

  • Despite the title, this is the first of the Universal Frankenstein films in which a member of the Frankenstein family does not appear.

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  • Bela Lugosi was slated for the role of Dracula, but the film was dependent upon the presence of Karloff being released from tour of “Arsenic and Old Lace.” Shooting was delayed, and John Carrdine was cast instead of Lugosi, who had a prior engagement: ironically, playing Karloff’s “Jonathan Brewster” role in another touring company of “Arsenic and Old Lace.”
  • Originally Kharis the mummy, another Universal “classic monster”, was to be in the movie but was removed because of budget restrictions.
  • Originally titled ‘The Devil’s Brood’, this was given a $354,000 budget and a relatively generous (by Universal standards) 30-day shooting schedule. Star Boris Karloff earned $20,000 and Lon Chaney Jr. received a flat $10,000 for his third appearance as the Wolf Man. John Carradine and J. Carrol Naish were both paid $7,000 each. Lionel Atwill earned $1750 and George Zucco was paid $1500. Glenn Strange was paid $500 for his role as Frankenstein’s monster.

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  • The title “House of…” could refer to the ruins/house owned by Ludwig Frankenstein, the second son of Henry Frankenstein (portrayed by Cedric Hardwicke) in The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942). It’s also the same “house” where Lawrence Talbot discovers the Monster in ice in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943); and, of course, where Neiman discovers the Wolfman and the Monster in this film. (The castle is entirely washed away in the flood at the climax of ” – Meets the Wolf Man,” but is inexplicably semi-intact here.
  • Glenn Strange was the fourth actor to play the Monster in Universal’s Frankenstein series. The actor who played the original Monster, Boris Karloff, was also present in the film, playing the role of Dr. Niemann. Being on the set, Karloff was able to personally coach Strange in the way the Monster should be played.
  • Universal employed an actress to dub actress’s screams for their horror films, but Elena Verdugo’s scream worked so well, it was retained in the final version.

 

Scrooged released November 23, 1988

Scrooged is a 1988 comedy film, a modernization of Charles Dickens’ novella, A Christmas Carol. The film was produced and directed by Richard Donner, and the cinematography was by Michael Chapman. The screenplay was written by Mitch Glazer and Michael O’Donoghue. The original music score was composed by Danny Elfman.

The cast includes: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, Bob “Bobcat” Goldthwait, John Forsythe, Carol Kane, David Johansen, John Houseman, John Glover, and Robert Mitchum. It also features cameo appearances by Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton, musicians Larry Carlton, Miles Davis, David Sanborn, and Paul Shaffer, actor/singer Robert Goulet, and actors Jamie Farr, Buddy Hackett, Lee Majors, and Pat McCormick as well as the Solid Gold Dancers. Bill Murray’s real-life brothers, Brian, John, and Joel also appear in the film.

The film was marketed with references to the film Ghostbusters which had been a great success four years earlier in 1984. In the USA, the tagline for Scrooged was, “Bill Murray is back among the ghosts, only this time, it’s three against one.” In Brazil, it’s named “Os Fantasmas Contra-Atacam” (The Ghosts Strike Back). In Spain, the film was titled “Los fantasmas atacan al jefe” (The Ghosts Attack the Boss). In Italy, the movie was released as “S.O.S. fantasmi” (“S.O.S. ghosts”).

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phantom-of-the-Paradise-The-Phantom

Phantom of the Paradise is a 1974 musical film written and directed by Brian De Palma. The story is a loosely adapted mixture of The Phantom of the Opera, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Picture of Dorian Gray and Faust and also briefly references Frankenstein and The Cabinet of Dr Caligari. Initially, it had box office failure and was panned by some critics, but it was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe and has since acquired a cult following.

Tagline:  The music made him do it!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2n5qVJEg3qA]

Trivia:

  • The character Philbin, who is the chief henchman of the villain Swan, borrows his last name from Mary Philbin, star of The Phantom of the Opera (1925).
  • The “Death Records” secretary’s card index includes files on Alice Cooper, David Geffen, Bette Midler, Peter Fonda, Dick Clark and Kris Kristofferson.
  • On Phoenix’s mirror after the concert in which she becomes a star is a magazine ad with the headline “I’m a Harper’s Freak”. Phoenix was played by ‘Jessica Harper (I)’.
  • At the airport when Beef is introduced, the “Death Records” logo on the lectern was superimposed over the original logo for “Swan Song” records to avoid conflict with Led Zeppelin’s record label, which had sued. Although the film’s producers were certain they would win due to the fact that the phrase was common long before, they decided to make the change in order to get the film finished quickly rather than go through a prolonged court fight.
  • The Death Records logo is optically printed over the originally planned “Swan Song” label at several points in the film
  • Cameo: [Rod Serling] introductory voiceover.
  • Phantom was a box office flop the year it came out. The only place in North America where the film had lasting power was in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada where it stayed on the screens for months.
  • Sissy Spacek is credited as “set dresser” for this film. As she was already an established actor when this film was made, one can assume that she took the job to assist her boyfriend, Jack Fisk, who was the film’s production designer.
  • William Finley came up with the bird motif of the Phantom costume, a collaboration with costume designer Rosanna Norton.
  • According to William Finley, the record press in which his Winslow character was disfigured was a real pressing plant (it was an injection-molding press at an Ideal Toy Co. plant). He was worried about whether the machine would be safe, and the crew assured that it was. The press was fitted with foam pads (which resemble the casting molds in the press), and there were chocks put in the center to stop it from closing completely. Unfortunately, the machine was powerful enough to crush the chocks that it gradually kept closing. It was Finley’s speed and timing that saved him from truly being hurt, as he got his head out just in time. Incidentally, his scream in the scene was real.
  • Gerrit Graham has talked about the infamous “musical chairs” casting, where William Finley almost wound up with no part to play. The studio considered casting Paul Williams as Winslow, Graham as Swan and Peter Boyle as Beef. Williams turned down the role of Winslow not only because he didn’t feel physically fit or menacing for the role, but he didn’t want to use the role of Winslow as a message against the recording industry. Somehow, Boyle was unavailable, Graham took the Beef role, and Finley ultimately took the Winslow role. In fact, director Brian De Palma actually wrote the part with his colleague Finley in mind. William Finley said in a recent interview that Jon Voight was at one time considered for the role of Swan.
  • The character of Winslow Leach (the Phantom) was named after director Brian De Palma’s mentor, Wilford Leach.
  • The single-edit, “time bomb in the car trunk” sequence is an homage to Orson Welles’ famous opening for Touch of Evil (1958).
  • Gerrit Graham’s singing voice was dubbed by Ray Kennedy.
  • When Swan (Paul Williams) is adjusting Winslow’s voice, the singer is not William Finley but Paul Williams. This makes it a little in-joke when Swan announces that the voice is “perfect”.
  • The “electronic room” in which Winslow composes his cantata (and where Swan restores his voice) is in fact the real-life recording studio, The Record Plant. Also, the walls covered with knobs are in reality a huge, custom-built Moog electronic synthesizer. Dubbed TONTO, this instrument was featured on several albums by the pioneering electronica duo T.O.N.T.O.’s Expanding Head Band, and it still exists to this day.
  • During Beef’s introductory scene at the airport, on of the gathered reporters is named “Mr Pizer”. This is probably a reference to the film’s director of photography, Larry Pizer.
  • In addition to Leroux’s “Phantom of the Opera” and Goethe’s (et al) “Faust”, the film also references Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”, Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, and Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” for a total of at least five citations of classical horror stories.
  • Gerrit Graham was so sick the day that the “Life at Last” scene was filmed that he could hardly walk.
  • Director Brian De Palma originally considered the popular group Sha-Na-Na for the roles of the Juicy Fruits, but the group was not only very big at the time, but he found them too difficult to work with.
  • Jessica Harper beat out Linda Ronstadt for the part of Phoenix.
  • Much of the movie deals with birds: The names Phoenix and Swan, the Phantom’s bird-like costume, Phoenix’s dress after her first appearance, her feather jacket, Swan’s bird vest, Beef’s bird tail during his number. Even the logo for Death Records is a bird.
  • According to Danny Peary in the book Cult Movies 2, originally this film would have had the title “The Phantom” but King Features Syndicate, producers of the Phantom comic strip, demanded that this film have a longer title.
  • This film homages the 1943 remake of the Phantom of the Opera, not the original novel; the 1943 film had the Phantom as a man disfigured by acid (similar to the 1939 origin of the Tonny Quinn, the Black Bat and the 1942 origin of Two-Face). In Leroux’s novel, the Phantom lived with his deformity from birth.
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