GoreMaster 100 Films Archives

The Evil Dead released April 15, 1983

Evil Dead Movie

The Evil Dead (also known as: Evil Dead, The Book of the Dead, Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead and The Evil Dead, the Ultimate Experience in Grueling Horror) is a 1981 U.S. horror film written and directed by Sam Raimi, starring Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss and Betsy Baker. The film is a story of five college students vacationing in an isolated cabin in a wooded area. Their vacation becomes gruesome when they find an audiotape that releases evil spirits.

The film was extremely controversial for its graphic terror, violence and gore, being initially turned down by almost all U.S. film distributors until a European company finally bought it in the Cannes Film Festival marketplace. It was finally released into theaters on October 15, 1981. Although its budget was just $375,000, the film was a moderate success at the box office, grossing a total of $2,400,000 in the U.S. upon its initial release. Despite getting mixed reviews by critics at the time, it now has a dedicated cult following. The film has spawned two sequels, Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness; work on a script for a further film has started.

When the film was re-submitted for a rating in 1994 the MPAA classified it with an NC-17 rating. When the distribution company Elite Entertainment released the film on DVD in 1999 they retained the NC-17 version. Anchor Bay Entertainment has since acquired the DVD rights to the film, and their subsequent releases have surrendered the rating to allow them to release the film unrated.

Trivia:

After completing principal photography in the winter of 1979-1980, most of the actors left the production. However, there was still much of the film to be completed. Most of the second half of the film features Bruce Campbell and various stand-ins (or “shemps”) to replace the actors who left.


Filmed in a real-life abandoned cabin.


Creamed corn dyed green was used as zombie guts.


Director Sam Raimi and star Bruce Campbell were friends from high school, where they made many super-8 films together. They would often collaborate with Sam’s brother Ted Raimi. Campbell became the “actor” of the group, as “he was the one that girls wanted to look at.”


The voice of the professor on the tape recording is that of American Movie Classics host Bob Dorian.


Director Trademark: [Sam Raimi] [3-stooges]


Director Trademark: [Sam Raimi] [chainsaw] Ash contemplates using a chainsaw to dismember his girlfriend after she is killed.


Most of the demon POVs that glide across the ground were shot by mounting the camera to a 2X4 while Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell ran along holding either side


The pieces of wood that fall from the bridge at the beginning and the log used to fight off Ash’s possessed girlfriend in the woods are made from a foam substance and were recycled props from an early Sam Raimi movie entitled It’s Murder! (1977)


Bruce Campbell twisted his ankle on a root while running down a steep hill, and Sam Raimi and Robert G. Tapert decided to tease him by poking his injury with sticks, thus causing Campbell to have an obvious limp in some scenes.


Andy Grainger, a friend of Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi, gave them the advice: “Fellas, no matter what you do, keep the blood running down the screen.” They included the scene in the finished film where the blood runs down the projector screen as a tribute to him.


As the car is driving up to the cabin at the beginning of the movie, instead of Theresa Tilly it’s Sam Raimi you see from “Shelly’s” window.


The opening sequence of the evil moving over the pond, is actually Bruce Campbell pushing Sam Raimi in a dingy whilst he films the shot.


Ash’s last name is never mentioned throughout the entire Evil Dead trilogy, though Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell did toy around with calling him “Ashley J Williams” and “Ash Holt,” the latter revealing how Sam viewed the character…


Was one of the first films to be labeled as a “Video Nasty” in the UK.


One of the sketches in the Book of the Dead comes from William Blake’s painting “The Great Red Dragon And The Woman Clothed With The Sun”.


During the scene where the possessed Linda attempts to stab Ash with the dagger, Betsy Baker actually had no idea where he was. With her heavy, white contact lenses preventing her from seeing Bruce Campbell, he was literally battling a blind actress.


Director Trademark: [Sam Raimi] [Oldsmobile Delta 88]


During the scene when Linda was possessed, the make-up artist actually first wanted to make her look like a snake-like creature, as can be seen when Ash is dragging her outside (filmed before the scene indoors with her singing the creepy song). Her make-up was dark and a little more greenish, but eventually they changed the make-up to an evil doll-face look.


Betsy Baker lost her eye lashes in the process of removing her facial mold.


The scene where Cheryl is brutally raped by the possessed weeds was banned in some countries.


The original script called for all the characters to be smoking marijuana when they are first listening to the tape. The actors decided to try this for real, and the entire scene had to be later re-shot due to their uncontrollable behavior.


In Germany the movie was released to the theaters and on video the same day to avoid problems with the censorship boards. It was banned shortly afterward but dominated the top ten in the few weeks of his release. The movie is still banned theatrically in Germany.


The blood is a combination of Karo syrup, non-dairy creamer, and red food coloring. At one point, Bruce Campbell’s shirt that he wears in the film was so saturated with the fake blood that after drying it by the fire, the shirt became solidified and broke when he tried to put it on.


The magnifying glass necklace was originally intended to be a plot point by focusing the sunlight to burn the Book of the Dead, but it was decided after shooting began that this wasn’t going to work, so its actual use in the film was a desperate attempt to keep it relevant since so much film time had been spent on it already.


During Ash’s fighting scene with the possessed Scott, after gouging out Scotts eyeballs, Ash yanks something out of the jeans and blood flows out. Many have believed that Ash was yanking out a “reproductive organ” based on it’s shape and position. However, what Ash pulled out was a small branch gouged into Scott’s leg after the fact that Scott was beaten savagely by the trees.


When Ash and Linda are admiring the necklace you can see flecks of paint brush off onto Linda’s hand this is because the original necklace was gold but spray painted silver.


Sam Raimi originally wanted to title this film “Book of the Dead,” but producer Irvin Shapiro changed the title to “The Evil Dead” for fear that kids would be turned off seeing a movie with a literary reference.


There’s a ripped poster of The Hills Have Eyes (1977) visible. Ostensibly, this was in reference to a ripped poster for Jaws (1975) that appeared in that film; Sam Raimi and the others interpreted that as Wes Craven suggesting that “Hills” was much more frightening than “Jaws”, thus they showed a ripped “Hills” poster because their film was to be even scarier yet. See also: The Hills Have Eyes Part II (1985), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).


A closet is opened and a T-shirt with the word “Tamakwa” is visible. Director Sam Raimi went to Camp Tamakwa as a child (see trivia for Indian Summer (1993)).


The cabin was located in Morristown, Tennessee. In Bruce Campbell’s biography he says that it was later burned down. No one knows for sure what happened (Sam Raimi says that he burnt it down himself after filming). Also, no one will give out complete directions because the only remaining part of the cabin is the brick chimney and everyone was stealing a piece of it.


The cabin did not actually have a cellar. Most of the cellar scenes were filmed the stone cellar of a farmhouse owned by producer Robert G. Tapert’s family in Marshall, Michigan. The last room of the cellar was actually Sam Raimi’s garage. The hanging gourds and bones are a tribute to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974). For the scene where the students descend into the cellar, a hole was cut into the floor, a shallow pit was dug and a ladder was placed into the pit.


On the tape, in which the demon resurrection passages are read aloud, some of the words spoken (which sound like genuine Latin) and that sound like “Sam and Rob, Das ist Hikers Dan dee Roadsa” actually mean “Sam and Rob are the Hikers on the road”, as it was actually Sam Raimi and Robert G. Tapert who play the fishermen that wave to the car as it passes them near the start of the film.


When Ash and Cheryl return to the cabin (after the failed attempt to drive into town due to the destroyed bridge), Scott goes to say something and then suddenly stops, throws his head back and steps out of the shot. This was due to the actor (Richard DeManincor) blowing his line.


After Scott says, “They know, they’re not gonna let us go”, he screams higher than his voice, this was actually Sam Raimi’s voice meshed in with Scott’s scream.


The white liquid that often emits from the possessed after they’re injured or maimed is 2% milk that Sam Raimi chose to use, not just to show how these aren’t normal beings but also to mix it up so the MPAA wouldn’t give it an X rating. Ultimately the film was released unrated.


The German translation of the movie’s title is “Dance of the Devils”.


In a scene where Ash drives away from the cabin, he gets out of the car and seems to walk at an angle, creating an eerie and otherworldly effect. This was accomplished by parking the car on a slight incline and tilting the camera at the same angle (so that the car appeared straight). When Bruce Campbell gets out of the car, he is walking on the flat ground, which looks crooked because the car and camera are both tilted sideways.


During the scene where Ash had the chainsaw in the shed, about to cut up his girlfriend, he actually had to use a real chainsaw, holding it up to the actress’ chest. You can see on the close-up of Linda’s neck (looking at the necklace) that her pulse is racing.


In Germany, the movie’s release was hindered by public authorities for almost 10 years. Original 1982 cinema and video releases of the movie had been seized, making the movie a hit on the black market video circuit, with pirated copies abound. A heavily edited version was first made available in 1992. Several high-profile horror enthusiasts, among them even author Stephen King, publicly criticized the German ban on the movie. In other German language markets, the movie was never restricted from distribution. The first legal uncut version of the movie entered the German market in 2001, on DVD.


The character of Scotty is named after Raimi’s long-time friend Scott Spiegel and the character of Cheryl is named after Cheryl Guttridge, the star of Raimi’s short film “Clockwork” (1978).


In 2006, The Evil Dead (1981) was turned into a Broadway musical.


The Evil Dead (1981) was release in Finland 1984 by Magnum video and was heavily (11 min 50 sec) cut. According to persistent legend it was Renny Harlin who did the cutting.


The film Mary Whitehouse showed in court to support the idea of the ‘video nasty’, although the pre-VRA video was the version the BBFC had cut and passed ‘X’. It was removed and re-added to the ‘video nasty’ list several times but was never successfully prosecuted

Cape Fear released April 12, 1962

Cape Fear 1962

Cape Fear is a 1962 film about an attorney whose family is stalked by a criminal whom he helped to send to jail. It stars Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum as Max Cady, Polly Bergen, Lori Martin, Martin Balsam, Jack Kruschen, Telly Savalas, Paul Comi and Barrie Chase. It was adapted by James R. Webb from the novel The Executioners by John D. MacDonald. It was directed by J. Lee Thompson, and released on April 12, 1962.

Cape Fear was remade in 1991. Peck, Mitchum and Balsam all appeared in the remake.

Trivia:

Polly Bergen suffered minor bruises in a scene where her character struggles with Robert Mitchum’s character. He was supposed to drag her through various doors on the set, but a crewmember mistakenly left all those doors locked, so that when Mitchum forced Bergen through the doors, she was actually being used as a ram to push them open.


J. Lee Thompson originally wanted Hayley Mills to play Nancy Bowden, but Mills couldn’t because she was contracted to Walt Disney. Thompson still wishes that he had Hayley Mills play Nancy.


According to Robert Mitchum, during the filming of the final fight scene between he and Gregory Peck, Peck once accidentally punched him for real. Mitchum, knowing that Peck didn’t mean to and ever the professional, refused to break character and continued filming the scene. However, upon entering his trailer, Mitchum said he “literally collapsed” due to the impact of the punch and said that he felt it for days after wards. According to Mitchum: “I don’t feel sorry for anyone dumb enough who picks a fight with him (Peck).”


The hotel where Mitchum takes Barrie Chase is “mother’s house” from Psycho (1960), where Martin Balsam met his demise two years earlier.


The trailer and radio spots are narrated by Universal regular, Jeff Morrow.


Director J. Lee Thompson complained at the time that UK censor John Trevelyan had ruined the film by making extensive cuts, and the number of edits suggested ranged from 60 to over 100. Trevelyan later replied that he had made only 15 cuts, totalling around 6 minutes, with edits made to threatening dialogue and assault references, Cady’s attack on Peggy, and all shots of him staring longingly at Nancy. All later UK video releases restored the cinema cuts.


Gregory Peck, who produced the film, didn’t like the original novel’s title “The Executioners”. When thinking of a new title, he decided that movies named after places tended to be very successful, so he looked at a map of the U.S. until he happened upon Cape Fear in North Carolina.


The financial failure of Cape Fear (1962) ended Gregory Peck’s company, Melville Productions.


This film contains one of the few instances of a correct depiction of what someone sees when looking through binoculars. In most films, what is shown resembles a sideways figure 8 (i.e. side by side magnified images, one for each eyepiece). But what one really sees is a single round magnified image, the same as what you see when looking into the eyepiece of a telescope.


In the scene in the police precinct, the cops listed on the duty roster are the characters from the 87th Precinct series of novels by Evan Hunter.

The Howling released April 10, 1981

The Howling

The Howling is a 1981 werewolf-themed horror film directed by Joe Dante. Based on the novel of the same name by Gary Brandner, the screenplay is written by John Sayles and Terence H. Winkless. The original music score is composed by Pino Donaggio.

Trivia:

The following characters are named after werewolf movie directors: George Waggner, Roy William Neill, Terence Fisher, Freddie Francis, Erle C. Kenton, Sam Newfield, Charles Barton, Jerry Warren, Lew Landers, and Jacinto Molina (an alternate name used by Paul Naschy).

In the scene where Terri calls Christopher from Dr. Waggner’s office, we see a picture of Lon Chaney Jr. on the wall. Chaney played the Wolf Man in five movies (The Wolf Man (1941), Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944), House of Dracula (1945) and Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948). He is the only actor that played a Universal monster in the original film and all of its sequels.

To add to the hidden puns throughout this film, there is a book placed near a phone during one scene: Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”.

This film and Howling IV: The Original Nightmare (1988) (V) are both based on the same novel by Gary Brandner. Interestingly, “Howling IV: The Original Nightmare” actually represents the more faithful adaptation of the book than this film does.

In line with other “wolf” puns in the film, the book Bill is reading in bed is “You Can’t Go Home Again” by Thomas Wolfe,

Originally Rick Baker was doing the special effects for the film, but he left the production to do An American Werewolf in London (1981). Baker left the effects job for this film in the hands of assistant Rob Bottin. Both this film and “An American Werewolf in London” were released the same year and both received praise for their makeup work.

Jack Conrad was originally set to direct and write the film, but troubles with the studio forced him to leave the project. In addition Terence H. Winkless was writing the script at one point, but when his version proved unsatisfactory, he left the production. It eventually fell into the lap of director Joe Dante who brought on writer John Sayles, with whom he had previously worked for Piranha (1978), to write the screenplay.

Shot in 28 days plus days of re-shoots.

A picture of a wolf attacking a flock of sheep can be seen above Karen and Bill’s bed.

At one point, Sam Newfield is seen eating from a can of Wolf brand chili.

Art director Robert A. Burns had previously worked on the sets for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974). In fact many of the grisly set dressings for this film were hold-overs from “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre”; most notably the corpse in the armchair seen in Walter Paisley’s bookstore.

Due to their work in this film, Joe Dante and Michael Finnell received the opportunity to make the movie Gremlins (1984).

 

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The Beyond released April 1981

The Beyond

The Beyond (Italian: E tu vivrai nel terrore! L’aldilà, also known as Seven Doors of Death) is a 1981 Italian horror movie directed by Lucio Fulci. It is considered by some horror film fans to be one of the best movies made by the Italian director. The second film in Fulci’s unofficial Gates of Hell trilogy (along with City of the Living Dead and The House by the Cemetery), The Beyond has gained a cult following over the decades, in part because of the film’s gore-filled murder sequences, which had been heavily censored when the film was originally released in the United States in 1983.

Trivia:

Director Cameo: [Lucio Fulci] the librarian who goes out to lunch, right before the Architect is attacked by the spiders.


The zombie rampage was done at the insistence of the film’s German distributors whose movie market was going through a zombie craze.


Director Lucio Fulci had his Zombie (1979) star Tisa Farrow in mind for the lead in this film, but Farrow had left the acting profession.


The role of the blind girl Emily was originally offered to Stefania Casini who declined it.


Director Cameo: [Lucio Fulci] when David Warbeck answers the phone at the Jazz saloon, the director is reflected in the mirror behind him.


The DVD commentary by actors Catriona MacColl and David Warbeck was recorded two weeks before Warbeck’s death from cancer. In the commentary he talks about his illness.


This film was never seen in America in its uncut form until 1998, when Quentin Tarantino’s Rolling Thunder Pictures, in association with Grindhouse Releasing, tracked down the original master and restored the film, playing it at midnight shows at selected cities. Bob Murawski of Grindhouse Releasing is a film editor, and used a shot from this film in the spider-bite dream sequence in Spider-Man (2002).


During the final scene in the Beyond’s abyss, the sand-covered bodies lying on the ground were actually stark naked street derelicts, who were “paid” in alcohol.


Second part of Lucio Fulci’s Death Trilogy also including The Gates of Hell (1980) and The House by the Cemetery (1981).


Swedish rock band Europe based the song Seven Doors Hotel from their first album on this film. The lyrics are a basic retelling of the plot of the film. The song became a big hit in Japan, and is still a popular track at their live shows.


The Book Of Eibon, featured prominently throughout the film, is the creation of American pulp fiction author, poet and fine artist Clark Ashton Smith and is a recurring text associated with the so-called “Cthulhu Mythos” cycle of literature. The book, which deals with various arcane subjects including the resurrection of the dead, demonic magic, parallel dimensions and other black magic subjects is alleged to have been imparted to the infamous necromancer Eibon by the ancient devil-god Tsathoggua in a remote prehistoric epoch.

Phantasm released March 28, 1979

Phantasm

Phantasm (also released as Never Dead in Australia) is a low-budget “cult classic” horror film produced in 1977 and released during 1979. The film was directed, written, photographed, co-produced and edited by Don Coscarelli. It introduced The Tall Man (who was portrayed in the film and its sequels by Angus Scrimm), a supernatural and malevolent undertaker who turns the dead into dwarf zombies to do his bidding and take over the world. This film was released as a DVD by MGM in 1999 and then re-released on DVD by Anchor Bay Entertainment on April 10, 2007.

The film was originally rated X by the MPAA because of the silver sphere sequence, and due to a scene involving a man urinating on the floor after falling down dead. After Los Angeles Times film critic Charles Champlin made a telephone call in a favor to a friend on the board, the rating was changed from the (commercially non-viable) X-rating to R. Champlin’s positive review was quoted on the film’s promotional posters.[1]

This movie was number 25 on the cable channel Bravo!’s list of the “100 Scariest Movie Moments”.

To date the film has three sequels, Phantasm II, Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead, Phantasm IV: Oblivion.

Trivia:

  • The mansion used for the exterior shots of the mausoleum was also seen in the James Bond film A View to a Kill (1985).
  • Sequels to the Phantasm films are made in comic book form.
  • Don Coscarelli’s and Reggie Bannister’s parents can all be seen as extras in the funeral scene.
  • The dwarves were played by children.
  • The “ball” scenes were simple special effects. The sphere was being guided around a corner by a fishing line. The sphere was thrown from behind the camera by a baseball pitcher and then the shot was printed in reverse. The ball attaching itself to the man’s head was filmed by sticking it on his head, then pulling it off, and printing the shot in reverse.
  • The stone-looking interior of the mausoleum was actually constructed of plywood and marble colored plastic contact paper.
  • Title was changed to “The Never Dead” for Australian audiences as not to confuse it with the popular Aussie sex comedy Fantasm (1976).
  • The coffin that Mike sees the Tall Man lift by himself and shove back into the hearse was made out of balsa wood, empty, and had a rope on the side facing away from the camera to make it easier to handle.
  • The copyright date shown during the closing credits of this film says MCMLXXVII (1977)
  • This film’s original running time was more than three hours, but writer/ director Don Coscarelli decided that that was far too long for it to hold people’s attention and made numerous cuts to the film. Some of the unused footage was located in the late 1990’s and became the framework for Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998). The rest of the footage is believed to be lost.
  • Don Coscarelli rented all of the filming equipment used to make this movie, always on Fridays so he could use it all weekend and return it on Mondays, all the while only actually having to pay one day’s rental on the equipment.
  • The film’s Turkish title, ‘MANYAK’, translates to ‘Psycho’.
  • Filmed at the same mansion location used in Little Girls Blue (1978).
  • Don Coscarelli took the title “Phantasm” from the works of Edgar Allan Poe. It is a term frequently used by Poe in his writings.
  • The genesis of the story came to Don Coscarelli in a dream. One night, being in his late teens, he dreamed of fleeing down endlessly long marble corridors, pursued by a chrome sphere intent on penetrating his skull with a wicked needle. There was also a quite futuristic “sphere dispenser” out of which the orbs would emerge and begin chase.
  • To get the inspiration needed, Don Coscarelli spent a couple of weeks in an isolated cabin at the mountains outside Los Angeles while writing the script.
  • Don Coscarelli got the idea of The Tall Man’s living severed finger while drinking from a styrofoam cup. He punched his finger through the bottom and started moving it. He loved the visual effect of it and decided to include it in the story.
  • Although being very tall, standing at 6 feet 4 inches, Angus Scrimm wore suits several sizes smaller and boots with lifts inside that added 3 inches to his height.
  • The role of Jody Pearson was originally intended for performer Gregory Harrison who played the title role in Don Coscarelli’s first feature Jim, the World’s Greatest (1976)
  • The song played on the front porch by Reggie and Jody, ‘Sittin’ Here At Midnight’, was actually composed by Bill Thornbury himself.
  • The spheres were designed by craftsman Willard Green who charged the production a little over $1,100 for his services. Sadly, he died just after production completed and never saw his work on the big screen.
  • At the scene near the end when Reggie comes out of the funeral home, the production installed a wind machine with a huge fan blowing to create the effect of a very strong wind. As a joke, A. Michael Baldwin started throwing stones in front of the fan, that went to hit Reggie Bannister and Kathy Lester several times.
  • The film was originally rated X by the MPAA because of the famous silver sphere sequence, and because of the man urinating on the floor after falling down dead. Los Angeles Times film critic Charles Champlin made a phone call in a favor to a friend on the board. Thanks to him, Phantasm was downgraded from the original dreaded X-rating to a more acceptable R. Champlin’s positive review was quoted on the film’s promotional posters.
  • Don Coscarelli’s mother, novelist Kate Coscarelli, held several titles on the production and even used two aliases, “S. Tyler” and “Shirley Mae”, for production design and make up/costume design respectively. She also wrote a novel adaptation based on the film. It was published in 2002 and only 500 copies were produced.
  • Co-Producer Paul Pepperman approached Angus Scrimm at a sneak preview of Kenny & Company (1976) and told him that Don Coscarelli had written a role for him in his next production. When informed that he would be playing an alien, Scrimm became very excited and immediately asked to know what country his character would hail from. Pepperman said: “He’s not from another country, he’s from another world.”
  • There are several references to Frank Herbert’s Dune, including a bar named “Dune” and a scene where Mike is forced to insert his hand into a black box that inflicts pain as part of a test.
  • The 1971 Plymouth Barracuda was chosen because Don Coscarelli remembered a guy in high school had one, and was a little envious of him. A Barracuda was made to look like the Hemi ‘Cuda. Though in one scene you can see the designation of 440-6 on the hood. Indicating the car had a 440, with a “six pack” (3 two-barrel carburetors).Bill Thornbury then took the car to a friend of his and had it custom striped so it felt like it was really his car. The true purpose of the car was so the brothers Mike and Jody could have a means of bonding. In fact, A. Michael Baldwin learned to drive in that car, he was only 14 at the time! After the movie was finished, the car was sold, and to this day nobody is sure what really happened to it. As a result the black Hemi ‘Cuda became just as much of a hallmark to the series as the chrome spheres.
  • The theme song is played by Death Metal band “Entombed” in the middle section of the title track of their debut album, ‘Left Hand Path’ (1990), before the solos.
  • A piece of dialogue is used at the beginning of the song “Guilty Of Being Tight” included in the “Municipal Waste” album “Hazardous Mutation” (2005).
  • The line of dialogue “The funeral is about to begin, Sir” was used by black metal band “Marduk” in their track ‘Hearse’, from the album ‘World Funeral’ (2003), and also by the death metal band “The Ravenous” in a track from their first album “Assembled in Blasphemy” (2000).
  • The theme song is also played by the Hungarian black metal/thrash band “Tormentor”, in the title track “introduction” of their album, released in August 1988.
  • In Italy, this movie is called ‘Fantasmi’ (‘Ghosts’).
  • The Spanish distributors for the movie decided, instead of translating the title, to simply add an “a” at the end, making it “Phantasma”. The word itself does not exist in the Spanish language, but sounds phonetically the same as “Fantasma” (Ghost).
  • Performers A. Michael Baldwin, Angus Scrimm, Terrie Kalbus, Mary Ellen Shaw and Kenneth V. Jones had all appeared in one of Don Coscarelli’s previous two movies, Jim, the World’s Greatest (1976) and Kenny & Company (1976). Reggie Bannister is the only actor in the cast to have appeared in both features.
  • The iconic flying sphere sequence was number 25 on the cable channel Bravo’s list of the “100 Scariest Movie Moments”.

The Birds released March 28, 1963

The Birds

The Birds (1963) is a suspense/horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock based on the 1952 novella The Birds by Daphne du Maurier. It depicts Bodega Bay, California which is, suddenly and for unexplained reasons, the subject of a series of widespread and violent bird attacks over the course of a few days.

The screenplay was written by Evan Hunter.

Trivia:

Tippi Hedren was actually cut in the face by a bird in one of the shots.


There is no musical score for the film except for the sounds created on the mixtrautonium, an early electronic musical instrument, by Oskar Sala, and the children singing in the school.


Though there is no musical score for this film, composer and Alfred Hitchcock collaborator Bernard Herrmann is credited as a “sound consultant.”


Alfred Hitchcock approached Joseph Stefano (screenwriter of Psycho (1960)) to write the script, but he wasn’t interested in the story. The final screenplay (from a Daphne Du Maurier short story) was written by Evan Hunter, best known to detective story fans under his pen name “Ed McBain”.


Alfred Hitchcock saw Tippi Hedren in a 1962 commercial aired during the “Today” (1952) show and put her under contract. In the commercial for a diet drink, she is seen walking down a street and a man whistles at her slim, attractive figure, and she turns her head with an acknowledging smile. In the opening scene of the film, the same thing happens as she walks toward the bird shop. This was an inside joke by Hitchcock.


The scene where Tippi Hedren is ravaged by birds near the end of the movie took a week to shoot. The birds were attached to her clothes by long nylon threads so they could not get away.


The film does not finish with the usual “THE END” title because Alfred Hitchcock wanted to give the impression of unending terror.


Tippi Hedren’s daughter Melanie Griffith was given a present by Alfred Hitchcock during the filming: a doll that looked exactly like Hedren, eerily so. The creepiness was compounded by the ornate wooden box it came in, which the young girl took to be a coffin.


The automobile driven by Tippi Hedren is an Aston Martin DB2/4 drop-head coupe.


Dinar, France, hosts a British Film Festival, with a Golden Hitchcock as the prize. There is also a statue of Alfred Hitchcock (standing on what appears to be a very large egg, and with birds on each shoulder) near the beach in Dinard. The statue is moved down to the beach for the actual festival.


The movie features 370 effects shots. The final shot is a composite of 32 separately filmed elements.


The production design makes much use of the color green.


This was not the first dramatization of Daphne Du Maurier’s short story. It was previously adapted for radio at least twice, once starring Herbert Marshall, and again in 1954. Furthermore, it was adapted by writer James P. Cavanagh for a half-hour episode of the TV series “Danger” (1950). Cavanaugh also wrote at least five episodes of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” (1955), including two directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and was the first writer to adapt Robert Bloch’s novel of Psycho (1960) for Hitchcock’s production. However, his script was jettisoned in favor of the Joseph Stefano adaptation.


Daphne Du Maurier’s story, “The Birds”, was originally purchased for use on Alfred Hitchcock’s television series, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” (1955).


A number of endings were being considered for this film. One that was considered would have showed the Golden Gate Bridge completely covered by birds.


In May 2001, the son of “The Birds” novelist Daphne Du Maurier reported that he and his wife were being terrorized by seagulls nesting outside their cottage in Cornwall, England.


In the film, it appears as if the schoolhouse is within the bay town limits. The frightened children are clearly shown running downhill towards the town and water. In real life, the schoolhouse used for those shots is located 5 miles southeast and inland of Bodega Bay in the separate township of Bodega, California.


The crow that sits on Alfred Hitchcock’s shoulder in all of the promo photos was not in the movie. It was purchased after the movie had wrapped. A studio staff member bought it when he spotted the tamed bird on the shoulder of a 12 year old boy walking down the street. The boy was offered about $10, but was hesitant until he discovered why it was needed.


This was the first film to carry the Universal Pictures name after dropping the Universal-International name.


Originally, a scene took place between Melanie and Mitch, after Lydia Brenner left for the Fawcett farm. This scene was shot but ultimately cut from the film. All that survive are the script pages and some production photographs. The script pages and photographs appear as a bonus feature on the DVD version the movie.


Hitchcock originally wanted Farley Granger for the role of Mitch Brenner but he was unavailable due to theatrical commitments.


Mitch Zanich, owner of The Tides Restaurant at the time of shooting, told Hitchcock he could shoot there if the lead male in the film was named after him and Hitch gave him a speaking part in the movie. Hitchcock agreed: Rod Taylor’s character was named Mitch Brenner and Mitch Zanich was given a speaking part. After Melanie is attacked by a seagull, Mitch Zanich says can be heard saying to Mitch Brenner “What happened, Mitch?”


Although it was never shot, another ending was scripted by Evan Hunter and sketched by Harold Michelson. The script and sketches appear as a bonus feature on the DVD version.


The famous poster art for the film where a woman is pictured screaming is not Tippi Hedren but is in fact Jessica Tandy taken from the scene where the birds come down the chimney.


The schoolhouse in the film is the Potter Schoolhouse, which served Bodega, California from 1873 to 1961. The building is now a private residence.


When the film was aired on NBC-TV in the USA on 6 January 1968, it became the highest rated film shown on television up to that time. The record held until Love Story (1970) overtook it on 1 October 1972.


The climactic scene, in which Tippi Hedren’s character is attacked in the bedroom, took seven days to shoot. Hedren has been quoted as saying it was “the worst week of my life”. The physical and emotional tolls of filming this scene were so strong on her, production was shut down for a week afterward.


Rod Taylor claims that the seagulls were fed a mixture of wheat and whiskey. It was the only way to get them to stand around so much.


When audiences left the film’s UK premiere at the Odeon, Leicester Square, London, they were greeted by the sound of screeching and flapping birds from loudspeakers hidden in the trees to scare them further.


Tippi Hedren’s character plays “Deux Arabesques” from Claude Debussy’s (1888) while at the Brenner house for dinner.


Alfred Hitchcock disliked filming on location, so he filmed as much as possible in the studio.


Director Cameo: [Alfred Hitchcock] at the start of the film walking two dogs past the pet shop (the dogs were actually his own).


In one of the first scenes, Tippi Hedren can be seen crossing the street to the pet shop. As she does, she disappears behind a sign for a moment and reappears on the other side. Alfred Hitchcock so hated working on location, he used this moment to seamlessly cut to a studio shot.


As Tippi Hedren walks to the pet shop, a man passes her on the street and wolf whistles. This is an inside joke because Tippi was discovered from a diet drink advert where the same thing happened.


The sound of reel-to-reel tape being run backwards and forwards was used to help create the frightening bird squawking sounds in the film


Melanie wears the same green suit throughout the movie, so Tippi Hedren was provided with six identical green suits for the shoot.


Also attending the London premiere were two flamingos, 50 red cardinals and starlings, and six penguins.


The use of standard blue screen techniques for doing matte shots of the birds proved to be unacceptable. The rapid movement of the birds, especially their wings, caused excessive blue fringing in the shots. It was determined that the sodium vapor process could be used to do the composites. The only studio in America that was equipped for this process was the Walt Disney studio. Ub Iwerks, who had become the world’s leading expert on the sodium vapor process, was assigned to this production.


A scene in the film shows a service station where a bird knocks over an attendant filling a car with gas. The gas flows across the street where a man lights his cigarette igniting the gas. The fire follows the gas stream to the pump and explodes. The service station was located across from “The Tides” restaurant and pier. In reality this service station did not exist at the time of the filming. However, several years later a service station was built and is still located at the spot shown in the film.


Before the release of the film, Tippi Hedren was featured on the cover of Look magazine with the caption “Hitchcock’s new Grace Kelly”.


Voted 7th Scariest Movie of all time by a poll carried out on the British public by Channel 5 and The Times in 2006.


Alfred Hitchcock kept a graph in his office, charting the rise and fall of the bird attacks in the film.


When Lydia discovers Dan Fawcett, on the wall behind her is a drawing of the gas station explosion by Albert Whitlock.


When the children are running down the street from the schoolhouse, extra footage was shot back on the Universal sound stages to make the scene more terrifying. A few of the children were brought back and put in front of a process screen on a treadmill. They would run in front of the screen on the treadmill with the Bodega Bay footage behind them while a combination of real and fake crows were attacking them. There were three rows of children and when the treadmill was brought up to speed it ran very fast. On a couple of occasions during the shoot, a number of the children in the front fell and caused the children in back to fall as well. It was a very difficult scene to shoot and took a number of days to get it right. The birds used were hand puppets, mechanical and a couple were trained live birds.


The classic scene in which Tippi Hedren watches birds attacking the townsfolk was filmed in the Studio from a phone-booth. When Melanie opens the phone-booth door, a bird trainer had trained gulls that were taught to fly at it. Surviving photos of the shooting of the scene were published in ‘Hitchcock At Work’ by Bill Krohn.


Hitchcock’s film and the original story by Daphne Du Maurier share no characters and in fact have only in common the bay-side town setting, the bird’s bizarre behavior and their inexplicable tendency to launch frenzied attacks, fall dormant only to attack again later. In Du Maurier’s story the main character discovers that this pattern is directly related to the rise and fall of the tides and uses this to their advantage, as opposed to the film which seems to follow the same pattern but never makes a direct connection. Also the original story takes place in Britain and centers around a man protecting his wife and two children at their isolated cottage home, as opposed to the film which centers on the spirited but troubled city dweller Melanie Daniels who travels to the California coast on a whim.


Cast member Doodles Weaver was the uncle of actress Sigourney Weaver, who worked with Veronica Cartwright in Alien (1979), and with Tippi Hedren’s daughter, Melanie Griffith, in Working Girl (1988).


Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions copyrighted The Birds twice; on 28 Mar 1963 with a running time of 119 minutes and on 20 Apr 1963 with a running time of 120 minutes. Filming March 5-July 10 1962.


According to Norman Lloyd, it was ‘Bernard Herrmann”s idea not to use music.


In the The Birds II: Land’s End (1994), Tippi Hedren does not play her character in this film of Melanie Daniels but a character named Helen.

The Changeling released March 28, 1980

The Changeling

The Changeling is a 1980 horror film directed by Peter Medak and starring George C. Scott and Trish Van Devere (Scott’s real-life wife). The story is based upon events experienced by writer Russell Hunter while he was living in the Henry Treat Rogers Mansion of Denver, Colorado.

Trivia:

Before Peter Medak was given the job, two British directors were considered; Tony Richardson declined due to creative differences.


Was the first film to win best picture in the Canadian Film Awards after its name was changed to the Genie Awards.


The movie is based on events which supposedly took place at a house in Denver, Colorado, in the 1960s. The Chessman Park neighborhood in the movie is a reference to Cheesman Park in Denver, where the original haunting transpired.


French censorship certificate: -13.


Finnish certificate # 88322 delivered on 11-6-1980.


Censorship certificate in Spain: 14.

Basic Instinct released March 20, 1992

Basic Instinct

Basic Instinct (1992) is an American erotic thriller/neo-noir film, directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Joe Eszterhas, starring Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas.

The film centers around police detective Nick Curran (Douglas), who is investigating the brutal murder of a wealthy former rock star. Beautiful, seductive and wealthy crime writer Catherine Tramell (Stone) could be involved; over the course of the investigation, Detective Curran becomes involved in a torrid and intense relationship with the mysterious woman — who turns out to be very dangerous.

Even before its release, the film generated controversy due to its overt sexuality and graphic depiction of violence. It was also strongly opposed by gay rights activists, who criticized the film’s depiction of homosexual relationships and the depiction of a bisexual woman as a psychopathic serial killer.

Basic Instinct was one of the most successful box office performers of 1992, collecting nearly $353 million worldwide and becoming an icon of the 1990s. It was also critically commended, receiving two Academy Award and two Golden Globe nominations—Jerry Goldsmith, the composer, was nominated for both awards for his original score, while Frank Urioste was nominated for an Academy Award for his editing and Sharon Stone was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Actress. In 2006, a sequel was released, which was critically panned and a commercial flop. Multiple versions of the film have been released including a director’s cut, the most recent release being in 2006.

Trivia:

  • Jennifer Beals, Jennifer Grey, Jamie Lee Curtis, Glenn Close, Ally Sheedy, Diane Keaton, Stockard Channing, Annie Potts, Robin Wright Penn, Nancy Allen, Joan Allen, Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Ellen Barkin, Patricia Clarkson, Geena Davis, Laura Dern, Linda Fiorentino, Bridget Fonda, Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Linda Hamilton, Daryl Hannah, Helen Hunt, Holly Hunter, Anjelica Huston, Amy Irving, Nicole Kidman, Diane Lane, Christine Lahti, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Heather Locklear, Andie MacDowell, Madonna, Virginia Madsen, Demi Moore, Emma Thompson, Uma Thurman, Tatum O’Neal, Annette O’Toole, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Greta Scacchi, Elisabeth Shue, Mary Steenburgen, Julia Roberts, Mimi Rogers, Isabella Rossellini, Meg Ryan, Meryl Streep, Sissy Spacek, Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver and Debra Winger were considered for the role of Catherine Tramell. Kelly Lynch was reportedly offered the role, and Mariel Hemingway, Catherine O’Hara and Kelly McGillis auditioned for it. Lena Olin reportedly wanted the role, but refused to work with Paul Verhoeven.
  • Writer Joe Eszterhas and producer Irwin Winkler walked off the picture after failing to reach agreement with director Paul Verhoeven over how the film should be tackled. Verhoeven promptly hired Total Recall (1990) writer Gary Goldman to come up with some new scenes, most of which beefed up Michael Douglas’s character and made him less wimpy. These changes were largely made at the behest of Douglas. It was during this stage that Verhoeven realized his changes weren’t going to work so he had to publicly make up with Eszterhas. Problems reoccurred later when Eszterhas wanted to make more changes to appease the gay and lesbian communities. Verhoeven point blank refused to incorporate these changes.
  • The apartment complex where Detective Nick Curran lives is located at 1158-1170 Montgomery Street at the Green Street L-Bend.
  • Michael Douglas (a former race-car driver) did most of his own stunt driving in the film.
  • To get an R-rating, Paul Verhoeven had to re-cut the movie a total of fourteen times.
  • The Johnny Boz Club was a set built inside Warner Bros Studios.
  • Writer Joe Eszterhas was paid a then-unheard-of sum of $3 million for his script.
Sharon_Stone_Basic_Instinct

Sharon Stone

  • Paul Verhoeven briefly considered Peter Weller for the role of Nick Curran.
  • Paul Verhoeven was on record when he first signed to do the film as saying that he wanted to make it the first Hollywood mainstream film with an erect penis in it. He didn’t get his wish. But he did get a limp penis on screen – on Boz’s cadaver when the police examine his body.
  • The first film of Jeanne Tripplehorn.
  • 50 San Francisco Police Department riot police had to be present at every location every day to deal with picketing gay and lesbian activists.
  • So choreographed were the sex scenes that Sharon Stone referred to herself and Michael Douglas as “the horizontal Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers of the ’90s”.
  • While appearing on “Inside the Actors Studio” (1994), Sharon Stone claimed that she had no idea that Paul Verhoeven was filming up her dress during the interrogation scene. She also claims that when she saw the rushes, she slapped the director across the face and ordered him to remove the shot. Verhoeven denies this.
  • According to Sharon Stone, director Paul Verhoeven asked her to remove her underwear for the leg-crossing scene, as he said they were too bright and reflected at the camera. Stone agreed to do so under the assumption that her genitals weren’t visible. It was only at an early preview that Stone discovered Verhoeven chose to use this specific shot. Stone was mainly cross with Verhoeven for not discussing the matter with her beforehand, but decided to let the scene go without changes, as she felt this conformed with her movie character. However, Verhoeven’s version of the conflict is that he told Stone beforehand about the leg-crossing shot, as it was important for showing Catherine Tramell’s free-spirited nature and her constant drive to toy with people. Stone was reportedly excited about the idea and shot the scene. However, during the early preview, her agents supposedly disproved of the scene, fearing it would harm her future career. According to Verhoeven, Stone radically changed her mind about the shot and demanded that he remove it, which he ultimately refused.
  • Catherine’s last name comes from Alan Trammell. Sharon Stone discovered that a trammell was a Scottish death shroud and complimented Joe Eszterhas on his subtlety with the choice, not believing the truth.
  • Nick Curran is based on an adrenaline-junkie Cleveland Police officer that Joe Eszterhas knew when he was a crime reporter with the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
  • Joe Eszterhas wrote the script in ten days while listening to The Rolling Stones non-stop. He then sold it three days later at auction.
  • Paul Verhoeven was so intent on making the sex scenes as explicitly as the censors would allow, that he showed the study executives very detailed storyboards depicting what he had in mind, as to avoid later discussions about the graphic nature of the love scenes.
  • This marks the final film appearance of Oscar winner Dorothy Malone.
  • Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone had to wear genital pads during the sex scenes due to the AIDS epidemic in the early 1990s.
  • Michael Douglas declined to go full frontal in the film, or to let his character be bisexual.
  • According to the original screenplay, the character of Gus was supposed to be 64.
  • No body doubles were used in any of the sex scenes.
  • Opening film at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival.
  • Kay Lenz reportedly wanted the role of Catherine, but Paul Verhoeven turned her down.
  • Harrison Ford, Kevin Costner, Mel Gibson, Robert De Niro, Sean Penn, John Heard, Tom Hanks, Charlie Sheen, Sylvester Stallone, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Willis, Al Pacino, Martin Sheen, Nicolas Cage, Dennis Quaid, Jeff Bridges and John Travolta were considered for the role of Nick Curran.

Blood and Black Lace

Blood and Black Lace (Italian: Sei donne per l’assassino ) is a 1964 Italian thriller film directed by Mario Bava. Bava cowrote the screenplay with Giusseppe Barilla and Marcello Fondato. The film stars Cameron Mitchell and Eva Bartok. The story concerns the stalking and brutal murders of various scantily-clad fashion models, committed by a masked killer in a desperate attempt to obtain a scandal-revealing diary.

The film is generally considered one of the earliest and most influential of all giallos, and served as a stylistic template for the “body count” slasher films of the 1980’s. Tim Lucas has noted that the film has “gone on to inspire legions of contemporary filmmakers, from Dario Argento to Martin Scorsese to Quentin Tarantino.”[1] In 2004, one of its sequences was voted #85 among the “100 Scariest Movie Moments” by the Bravo Channel.

Trivia:

The German titles for the film were ‘Bloody Silk’ and ‘The Masked Strangler’


Actress Mary Arden wrote most of the English dialog for the film, as she was the only English-speaking member of the production and the film was being shot in English for overseas marketing.


The title of the film for its release in Denmark was ‘Red Nights of the Iron Hand’, referring to the metal weapon used in Nicole’s murder.


For its original release in America the distributors disliked Bava’s opening credits that showed the cast posed around the salon in a series of creative tracking shots. The distributors had new opening credits made that showed a series of macabre animations of mannequins being shot.


Due to the film’s low budget Mario Bava mounted the camera on a child’s wagon and used it for tracking shots.


Filmed in six weeks.


A landmark film in Italian cinema, as Sei donne per l’assassino was the film that began the ‘giallo’ genre. The giallo genre remains Italy’s longest running cinematic movement.

Nosferatu released March 4, 1922

Nosferatu

Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (translated as Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror; also known as Nosferatu: A Symphony of Terror or simply Nosferatu) is a German Expressionist vampire horror film, directed by F. W. Murnau, starring Max Schreck as the vampire Count Orlok. The film, shot in 1921 and released in 1922, was in essence an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with names and other details changed because the studio could not obtain the rights to the novel (for instance, “vampire” became “Nosferatu” and “Count Dracula” became “Count Orlok”. At least one English language release features title cards with the actual names from Stoker’s novel including “Count Dracula”).

Trivia:

Count Orlok is only seen blinking one time on screen (near the end of part 1).


Max Schreck is seen on screen, even before his character Graf Orlok is presented to the audience. He appears briefly opposite Hutter at the desk at the office of Knock, looking up from writing when Knock calls on Hutter to give him the assignment of going to see the count.


Filmed between August and October 1921.


Many scenes featuring Graf Orlok were filmed during the day, and when viewed in black and white, this becomes extremely obvious. This potential blooper is corrected when the “official” versions of the movie are tinted blue to represent night.


Ruth Landshoff, the actress who played the hero’s sister once described a scene in which she fled the vampire, running along a beach. That scene is not in any version of the film.


The character of Nosferatu is only seen on screen for a bit less than nine minutes in total throughout the whole film.


All known prints and negatives were destroyed under the terms of settlement of a lawsuit by Bram Stoker’s widow. However, the film would subsequently surface in other countries.


The only complete, original copy is said to be owned by the German Max Schreck collector Jens Geutebrück.


Director F.W. Murnau found Max Schreck “strikingly ugly” in real life and decided the vampire makeup would suffice with just pointy ears and false teeth.


The creature that they say is a werewolf, during the scene at the Inn, is actually a Hyena.


Gustav von Wangenheim was not director F.W. Murnau’s first or even his second choice, but his third one.


The movie was banned in Sweden due to excessive horror. The ban was finally lifted in 1972


Still, after 85 years, virtually all of the exteriors are left intact in the cities of Wismar and Lubeck.


There have been different first names for the main characters in different English versions. In a few, Hutter is called “Thomas”, in others is “Jonathon”. Although Hutter’s wife is credited as “Ellen”, in some versions she is called “Nina”.

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