Mystery Archives

Jacob’s Ladder released November 2, 1990

jacobs_ladder

Jacob’s Ladder is a 1990 psychological thriller / horror film directed by Adrian Lyne, based on a screenplay by Bruce Joel Rubin. It stars Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Peña, Danny Aiello, and Jason Alexander. Actor Macaulay Culkin appears in an uncredited performance.

Tagline:  The most frightening thing about Jacob Singer’s nightmare is that he isn’t dreaming.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xyG3qjASLo]

Trivia:

  • All SFX were filmed live, with no post-production. For example, to achieve the famous ‘shaking head’ effect, director Adrian Lyne simply filmed the actor waving his head around (and keeping his shoulders and the rest of his body completely still) at 4fps, resulting in an incredibly fast and deeply disturbing motion when played back at the normal frame-rate of 24fps.
  • The Bergen Street station in the film was actually an abandoned, lower level portion of the station, which had to be re-tiled and fixed to look as if it was still in working condition.
  • All ads in the subway and Bergen Street station are anti-drug ads.
  • According to the original script, the subway station Jacob arrives at in the beginning of the movie was supposed to be Nostrand Avenue – not Bergen Street.
  • According to the original script, after Jacob is nearly run over by the subway train, a sequence involving a man being raped in the subway station mens bathroom was supposed to occur. It was filmed but deleted from the final cut (parts of the scene can be seen in the Making-Of featurette Building ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ (1990) (V)).
  • Writer Bruce Joel Rubin wrote the script for Jacob’s Ladder in 1980 after he had a dream of being trapped in a subway. He spent ten years trying to get it produced, but the script remained languishing in developmental limbo. During this period, Rubin’s agent told him that the film would never be made as “Hollywood doesn’t make ghost movies”. After the Rubin scripted Ghost (1990) became a smash hit, coupled with the success of Alan Parker’s Angel Heart (1987), studios became more open to the possibilities of Rubin’s script. After taking on the role of director, Adrian Lyne spent over a year refining the script with writer Rubin.
  • Adrian Lyne made sure Jacob and his visions never appear together in the same shot.
  • The hospital gurney that carries Jacob was deliberately unbalanced by Adrian Lyne. He raised one wheel slightly off the floor, causing it to rattle and spin.
  • The confrontation between Jacob and Geary originally takes place in a courtroom corridor. Lyne moved them to the stairs in order to downplay the height difference between Tim Robbins (who is 6′ 5″) and ‘Jason Alexander’ (who is 5′ 5″).
  • Some additional scenes from the original script which were changed or removed by director Adrian Lyne: – During the dance scene, ALL the dancers turn into demons. – During one of his Vietnam flashbacks, Jacob has a vision of a “celestial staircase” accompanied by heavenly music. – Jacob watches a reverend on TV who rants about the world coming to an end. – Jacob sees an image of a demon on the wall of his living room, which, when he looks closely at it, becomes a portal to Hell. – A scene following the “antidote” sequence in which the ceiling explodes and Jacob is surrounded by a vision of Heaven. – A different ending, where Jezzie turns herself inside-out and transforms into a huge demon, which Jacob has to fight before ascending to heaven.
  • The closing legend of the film mentions the testing of a drug named BZ in Vietnam. BZ is NATO code for a hallucinogen called 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate, which was rumored to have been administered to US troops during the Vietnam War in an attempt to increase their combat abilities.
  • After initial test audiences reported that the film was overwhelming, director Adrian Lyne cut out almost thirty minutes of material, almost all of which came from the last third of the film. Four major sequences were removed after Jacob (Tim Robbins) first meets Michael (Matt Craven); a scene where Michael gives him an antidote for the Ladder, a scene where Jacob thinks he is cured but turns out not to be; a scene where he goes to Michael’s apartment and finds Michael decapitated; and a scene just prior to his final meeting with Gabe (Macaulay Culkin), where he meets Jezzie (Elizabeth Peña), who shows her true form.
  • For all of the chiropractor scenes, director Adrian Lyne ensured there was a real chiropractor on-set, who would work with actor Danny Aiello so as to ensure authenticity. According to Lyne, chiropractors often approach him and thank him for going to the trouble of getting what they do exactly right.
  • According to director Adrian Lyne, most of the dialogue in the opening scene between the soldiers was improvised on set by the actors themselves, especially the conversation between George (Ving Rhames) and Jacob (Tim Robbins) about masturbation.
  • Prior to the commencement of filming, former US marine Dale Dye took actors Tim Robbins, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Eriq La Salle, Ving Rhames, Brian Tarantina, Brent Hinkley and Anthony Alessandro to a 5-day military boot camp.
  • Adrian Lyne also heavily rewrote the scene involving the biblical Jacob’s ladder at the end of the film. Writer Bruce Joel Rubin had written the scene to involve a massive staircase ascending into the clouds, with crowds of people lining it, towering columns, and huge gates at the summit. Again however, Lyne felt that such an image could come across as preposterous (he refers to Rubin’s original conception as the Liberace scene’ on the DVD commentary track). As such, Lyne rewrote the scene to involve simply the staircase in Jacob’s house, basing this on the principal that heaven is wherever you were happiest.
  • In the original screenplay, writer Bruce Joel Rubin had created a typical Biblical hell, complete with winged demons, cloven hoofed devils with horns, people with beaks and strange objects lying randomly around (director Adrian Lyne likens Rubin’s vision to the work of Hieronymus Bosch). As with Rubin’s general depiction of demons however, Lyne felt that such scenes could very easily make an audience laugh. As such, he decided to rewrite the scene of Jacob’s descent into hell; ultimately coming up with the hospital sequence where Jacob is wheeled on a gurney into a metaphorical hell which becomes more and more grotesque as he moves.
  • In Bruce Joel Rubin’s original screenplay, all of the demons who appear throughout the film were typical biblical demons with horns, wings, cloven hooves etc. Director Adrian Lyne felt that this kind of imagery could very easily come across as comic, which would destroy the film. He felt that the fact that the imagery was so far from human lessened its impact, and as such, he decided he wanted the demons to be humanesque, but not quite human. During his research into this (which was when he discovered the photography of Joel-Peter Witkin), Lyne came across the Thalidomide scandal. Thalidomide was a drug made available for purchase from 1957 to 1961. Ostensibly, it was designed to treat pregnant women; primarily as an antiemetic to combat morning sickness, and secondarily as a sleeping aid. However, prior to its release, inadequate clinical tests were carried out, leading to roughly 10,000 children in Africa and Europe being born with severe physical deformities because their mothers had taken thalidomide during their pregnancy. The most common defects were phocomelia, dysmelia, amelia and polymelia; all conditions which affect the appearance of the limbs. During his research, Lyne studied the Thalidomide case, and came to feel that the birth defects caused by the drug represented the perfect starting place for his redesign of Rubin’s demons. The Thalidomide scandal was also the inspiration for David Cronenberg’s Scanners (1981).
  • According to director Adrian Lyne, the drug aspect of the story was inspired by the Martin Lee and Bruce Shlain book, “Acid Dreams: The CIA, LSD and Sixties Rebellion”.
  • Director Adrian Lyne used the art of painters William Blake, H.R. Giger, and Francis Bacon and photographers Diane Arbus and Joel-Peter Witkin as his primary influences for the visual style of the film.
  • The film was green-lit by Paramount Pictures (with whom Adrian Lyne had made both Flashdance (1983) and Fatal Attraction (1987), and with whom writer Bruce Joel Rubin had made Ghost (1990)), but there was a change of leadership in the studio and the new executives were unsure of the film. They demanded that the end of the movie be changed, but both Lyne and Rubin refused, and so Paramount pulled the plug on the film. It appeared as if the project was going to have to be completely abandoned until Mario Kassar and Andrew G. Vajna of Carolco Pictures saved it with a budget of $25 million. They also gave Lyne complete creative control as well as final cut of the film.
  • In an ironic reversal, Adrian Lyne turned down directorial duties on The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) so he could direct Jacob’s Ladder. His first choice for the role of Jacob Singer was Tom Hanks, but Hanks turned down the film so he could make The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990).
  • According to writer Bruce Joel Rubin, the script was heavily inspired by the Bardo Thodol (The Tibetan Book of the Dead), the biblical story of Jacob’s ladder and Robert Enrico’s Oscar-winning short film La rivière du hibou (1962), based on the 1890 Ambrose Bierce short story ‘An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge’, in which much of the narrative is a man’s experience of an imagined life in the spilt second before he dies.
  • Actors who were allegedly interested in playing the leading role of Jacob Singer included Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino and Richard Gere. For the role of Jezzie, director Adrian Lyne auditioned roughly 300 women, including Julia Roberts, Andie MacDowell, Madonna and Jennifer Lopez. The role eventually went to the very first person who auditioned – Elizabeth Peña.
  • Sidney Lumet, Michael Apted and Ridley Scott all tried to get the project green-lit during its ten-year period of non-production.
  • Don Johnson and Mickey Rourke both turned down the lead role.
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the_people_under_the_stairs

The People Under the Stairs is a 1991 horror film directed by Wes Craven and starring Brandon Adams, Everett McGill, Wendy Robie, A. J. Langer, Ving Rhames and Sean Whalen.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vxqUW_o6oc]

Trivia:

  • Wes Craven was inspired to write this film after seeing a real-life news story about parents who locked their children up inside their house, never allowing them outside.
  • Wes Craven chose Wendy Robie and Everett McGill to play the parts of Mommy and Daddy after seeing them play husband and wife on the TV series, “Twin Peaks” (1990).
  • Through out the entire movie you hear the Man and Woman call each other “Mommy” and “Daddy”. You never hear their real names. But when Alice attacks the woman, you hear her yell for the Man and she calls him Eldon.
  • Although Alice was a 12 year old girl, actress A.J. Langer was almost 17 when she played the character in this movie.
A. J. Langer

A. J. Langer

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nightmare_on_elm_street_two

 

A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge is the second film in the Nightmare on Elm Street series of slasher films. It was released in 1985 by New Line Cinema. The film was directed by Jack Sholder.

Tagline:  The first name in terror returns…

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

Trivia:

  • Special-effects man Rick Lazzarini created a “demonic parakeet” puppet for the scene in which the Walsh’s pet parakeet flies around and explodes. His puppet was not used because they wanted a regular-looking bird.
  • This is the only film in the series not to use Charles Bernstein’s original theme, or a variation of it.
  • In the opening sequence, the bus driver is Robert Englund without the heavy “Freddy Krueger” make-up and his signature clothing.
  • Cameo: [Robert Shaye] the S&M bartender.
  • Brad Pitt, John Stamos and Christian Slater all auditioned for the role of Jesse.
  • The song “Touch Me,” which is being played in Jesse’s room, is an early (and slightly different) version of Cathy Dennis’s #2 hit from the early 1990s.
  • Nightmare series creator Wes Craven refused to work on this film because he never wanted or intended A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) to become an ongoing franchise (and even wanted the first film to have a happy ending), and also because he didn’t like the idea of Freddy manipulating the protagonist into committing the murders.
  • The running time for this film is 87 minutes, Freddy appears in just 13 of them.
  • JoAnn Willette is one of the girls seated in the back of the school bus driven by Freddy at the beginning of the film. She would later go on to star in the ABC sitcom “Just the Ten of Us” (1988), a program which not only featured numerous references to the “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise, but also co-starred Heather Langenkamp (from the first, third, and seventh films) and Brooke Theiss (from the fourth film).
  • The last film in the original “Nightmare” franchise in which Freddy’s house is the focal point of Freddy’s terror. In the rest of the series, Freddy’s terror revolves generally around Elm Street and the town of Springwood with the house occasionally making an appearance. In the hybrid film, “Freddy vs. Jason”, there was a reference in the film that Lori lived in Freddy’s house but the reference was cut from the theatrical release (but appears in the Deleted Scenes section of the DVD).

Cast
  Mark Patton … Jesse Walsh
  Kim Myers … Lisa Webber
  Robert Rusler … Ron Grady
  Clu Gulager … Ken Walsh
  Hope Lange … Cheryl Walsh
  Marshall Bell … Coach Schneider
  Melinda O. Fee … Mrs. Webber
  Thom McFadden … Mr. Webber
  Sydney Walsh … Kerry
  Robert Englund … Freddy Krueger

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The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado

 

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado

 

The Stanley Hotel is a 138-room Georgian hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. Located within sight of the Rocky Mountain National Park, the Stanley offers panoramic views of the Rockies. It was built by Freelan O. Stanley of Stanley Steamer fame and opened on July 4, 1909, catering to the rich and famous. The hotel and its surrounding lands are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Stanley has hosted many famous guests, including the Titanic survivor Margaret Brown, John Philip Sousa, Theodore Roosevelt, the Emperor and Empress of Japan, and a variety of Hollywood personalities. The Stanley Hotel also hosted Stephen King, inspiring him to write The Shining. Contrary to information sometimes published King was living in Boulder at the time and did not actually write the novel at the hotel. Parts of the mini-series version of The Shining were filmed there, although it was not used for Stanley Kubrick’s cinematic version.

the shining bluray 1980

The Shining on Blu-ray Disc

The Stanley Hotel shows the uncut R-rated version of Kubrick’s The Shining on a continuous loop on Channel 42 on guest room televisions.

ghost hunters shining hotel

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Many believe The Stanley Hotel is haunted, having reported a number of cases. Staff who work in the kitchen next to the ballroom after hours say they have heard a party going on when the room was empty. In one guest room people claim to have seen a man standing over the bed then running into the cupboard. It is further claimed that this same apparition is responsible for stealing jewelery, watches and luggage that has gone missing. Some others reported that they have seen ghosts in their rooms in the middle of the night, just standing in their room then disappearing. Sometimes, people in the lobby can hear the piano playing from the ballroom. When workers check to see whats going on, there would be nobody sitting in front of the piano. Workers think its Freelan O. Stanley’s wife playing it, who used to be a piano player. The television show Ghost Hunters was invited to investigate the hotel, the manager showed them the various places where these accusations occurred. Ghost Hunters discovered some reasons for the various phenomena, including wind and pipes but could not decipher the ballroom incident. Ghost Hunters also claimed to experience some occurrences such as seeing people in hallways then hiding and hearing children running and playing on the floor above them. The biggest occurrence claimed was that during changing of the film in the camera, a table jumped two feet in the air. Ghost Hunter Jason stayed the night in the room with the “ghost thief”, Jason stated that the bed moved, the cupboard doors unlocked and opened and his thick glass by the bed cracked open on the inside.

Stephen King got the idea for The Shining after staying in the almost empty hotel on the night before it closed for an extended period.

The neoclassical hotel was the inspiration for the fictional Overlook Hotel in Stephen King’s novel The Shining. While he and his wife were staying atthe shining novel the Stanley, King conceived the basic idea for the novel. The 1997 television miniseries version of The Shining was filmed at the Stanley, and it has been used as a location site for other films as well, most notably as the “Hotel Danbury” in Dumb and Dumber.

In May 2006, investigators with The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) investigated the hotel for the SciFi program Ghost Hunters. TAPS returned to the hotel on October 31, 2006 for a live, six hour follow-up investigation. In November 2008, UK channel LIVING broadcast Most Haunted’s investigation of the hotel.

The official website:
http://www.stanleyhotel.com/

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Body Double released October 26, 1984

Body Double 1984

Body Double 1984

Body Double is a 1984 film directed by Brian De Palma. Starring Craig Wasson, Melanie Griffith, and Dennis Franz. The film is a homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s films Vertigo, Rear Window, and Dial M for Murder. The original music score is composed by Pino Donaggio. The film is marketed with the tagline “You can’t believe everything you see”. The film was remade in India as the Hindi film Pehla Nasha (1993).

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_eUjR4xayo]

Trivia:

  • Porn star Annette Haven was originally cast for the role of “Holly”, but Columbia Pictures decided to turn her down when their executives saw what kind of movies she had been making. Haven later stated that she was happy because of that, because she hadn’t liked the script and hadn’t liked to be in a film with gory violence.
  • The lead character in the film, Jake Scully, plays a struggling actor. In one scene a film producer asks him what work he has doing in film, and the character mentions “I was in a Hart-to-Hart that was pretty good.” The actor playing Jake Scully, Craig Wasson, *was* in a “Hart to Hart” (1979) episode titled “Hit Jennifer Hart” in 1979.
  • Brian De Palma originally planned for this to be the first Hollywood film to boast unsimulated sex scenes. The studio thought differently.
  • Bret Easton Ellis’ book ‘American Psycho’ references this film many times, it is one of the main character, Patrick Bateman’s, favorite movies.
  • Deborah Shelton’s voice is dubbed.
  • Dennis Franz based his portrayal of Rubin the Director on Brian De Palma.
  • Tatum O’Neal, Jamie Lee Curtis and Carrie Fisher all auditioned for the role of Holly, but turned it down. Brooke Shields was offered the role, but turned it down in order to study French Literature at Princeton. Linda Hamilton turned down the role in order to prepare for her role in The Terminator (1984).

body_double

 

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Halloween III: The Season of the Witch

Halloween III: The Season of the Witch

 

Halloween III: Season of the Witch is a 1982 horror film and the third installment in the Halloween series. Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace and starring Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin and Dan O’Herlihy. The film is based on an original screenplay by Nigel Kneale and focuses on an evil scheme by the owner of a mask company to kill the children of America on Halloween night through a series of popular Halloween masks – a witch, a jack-o’-lantern, and a skull.

Season of the Witch is unrelated to the previous films featuring the character Michael Myers, and was intended to begin Halloween as an anthology series, releasing a new Halloween storyline every year. The only connection this movie has with the others in the series is a scene where the trailer for Halloween is on TV. Besides wholly abandoning the Michael Myers plotline, Halloween III departs from the slasher film genre which the original Halloween spawned in 1978. The focus on a psychopathic killer is replaced by a “mad scientist and witchcraft” theme. Moreover, the frequency of graphic violence and gore is less than that of Halloween II (1981), although scenes that depict the deaths of characters remain intense.

Produced on a budget of $2.5 million, Halloween III grossed $14.4 million at the box office in the United States, making it the poorest performing film in the Halloween series at the time. In addition to relatively weak box office returns, most critics gave the film negative reviews. Where Halloween had broken new ground and was imitated by many genre films following in its wake, this third installment seemed hackneyed to many: one critic twenty years later suggests that if Halloween III was not part of the Halloween series, then it would simply be “a fairly nondescript eighties horror flick, no worse and no better than many others.”

Trivia:

  • The original writer of the story was Nigel Kneale but he sued the producers to take his name off the movie after seeing how violent it was.
  • A milk factory was used for the setting of the Silver Shamrock factory.
  • After Michael Myers died at the end of Halloween II (1981), the plan by John Carpenter was to make a new “Halloween” movie each year, each telling a different Halloween-related story. After this movie underperformed at the box office, the film-makers decided to bring Michael back to life for future sequels.
  • The tagline “The night nobody comes home” is a play on the original Halloween movie’s tagline, “The night HE came home.”
  • Michael Myers does appear briefly in this film, on a television advertising the original Halloween (1978). It comes near the beginning when Dan Challis is drinking in a bar.
  • When Challis fills in the register at the motel office, he scans the list of names for evidence of Ellie’s father’s stay. All of the other names on the list are the names of the crew.
  • The small town of Santa Mira was also the setting for Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956).
  • The voice of the operator that Challis keeps getting when he tries to call out of Santa Mira is Jamie Lee Curtis.
  • The book that Marge Guttman is reading before her death in the motel room is “The Eagle’s Gift” by Carlos Castaneda.
  • The music playing on the radio when Marge Guttman notices the tag on the floor was also played in John Carpenter’s The Fog (1980).
  • Supposedly, part of the genesis of this film came from a comment made by film critic Rex Reed. Reed panned Halloween II (1981), saying it was so bad that, “If they make a Halloween III, I’ll turn in my press card.”
  • The voice of the announcer in the Silver Shamrock commercials and radio spots is that of the film’s writer/director Tommy Lee Wallace.
  • “Season of the Witch” was the original working title of Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets (1973). “Season Of The Witch” is also the name of a song by Donovan and an alternative name for the George A. Romero film Hungry Wives (1972). Also the name of an upcoming Nicolas Cage movie: Season of the Witch (2010).
  • A novelization of the film was published in 1982 by science-fiction writer Dennis Etchison under the pseudonym Jack Martin. Despite the film’s commercial failure, the book became a best-seller and was even reissued two years after the film’s release, in 1984.
  • Using the original molds, the skull, witch, and jack-o’-lantern masks seen in the film were mass-produced by Don Post Studios and sold in retail stores to promote the film’s release.
  • ‘John Carpenter’ revealed in an interview with Gilles Boulenger (for the book John Carpenter: The Prince of Darkness) that the original director for Halloween III: Season of the Witch was ‘Joe Dante’.
  • Dick Warlock, the stunt man who played Michael Myers in Halloween II (1981), is credited under ‘assassin’ in the credits.
  • The film’s original director, ‘Joe Dante’, approached Nigel Kneale to write the film while Kneale was temporarily living in Hollywood writing the remake of Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) for director John Landis that was never made due to budget cost. Dante wanted a new and different story than the two previous films in the series, so he suggested Kneale write a treatment around the word Halloween. The producers liked the idea, and after Joe Dante moved on to another project, producer John Carpenter’s regular collaborator, Tommy Lee Wallace, came in as the new director. Kneale initially blamed the drastic changes to his script on executive producer ‘Dino De Laurentiis’ not understanding his dialogue when it was translated to Italian. Kneale requested his writing screen credit be removed once his comical mystery screenplay was rewritten by an uncredited Carpenter, and then later Wallace (who received sole screen credit as writer), to include more gore and simplify the story.
  • Garn Stephens refused to wear the prosthetic mask during the misfire scene. So a body double was used to complete the scene.

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Night Monster released October 20, 1942

night monster (1942) poster

Night Monster is a 1942 American black-and-white horror film produced and distributed by Universal Pictures Company. It was an original story and screenplay by Clarence Upson Young, produced and directed by Ford Beebe. For publicity value, star billing was given to Bela Lugosi and Lionel Atwill, but the lead roles were played by Ralph Morgan, Irene Hervey and Don Porter, with Atwill actually in a character role as a pompous doctor who becomes a victim to the title character, and Lugosi in a small part as a butler who simply disappears from the script about halfway through the film.

Tagline:  What kind of a thing is it?

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Night Monster Bela Lugosi stars in this horrific tale filled with strange characters, secret passages, dark storms and a murderer who’s mastered the art of “mind over matter.”

 

 

 

 

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THE_BOSTON_STRANGLER_FILM

The Boston Strangler is a 1968 film based on the true story of the Boston Strangler. It was directed by Richard Fleischer, and stars Tony Curtis as Albert DeSalvo, the strangler, and Henry Fonda as John S. Bottomly, the chief detective now famed for obtaining DeSalvo’s confession.

Trivia:

  • 20th Century Fox originally hired Terence Rattigan to write the screenplay based on the book by Gerold Frank, but he wrote it as a comedy and was replaced by Edward Anhalt. In Rattigan’s version, the killer was revealed, by a computer, to be Darryl F. Zanuck.
  • Horst Buchholz was among those actors considered for the Tony Curtis part.

the boston strangler DVD

  • Tony Curtis does not appear until one hour into the film.
  • Tony Curtis broke his nose while filming a chase scene.
  • Other actors considered for the role of Albert DeSalvo were Robert Redford and Warren Beatty.
  • Lionel Newman’s original music consists of one cue (“Peter the Pole”) lasting 22 seconds.
  • Shortly before filming was set to begin the real Albert DeSalvo escaped from the mental institution where he was imprisoned. He was later captured after being on the run for 33 hours.
  • Edward Winter’s first role.
  • Stuart Whitman was considered for the lead role.
the boston strangler 1968

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The Vampire Lovers released October 4, 1970

 

24x36 Poster The Vampire Lovers (1970)

24x36 Poster The Vampire Lovers (1970)

 

The Vampire Lovers is a 1970 British Hammer Horror film directed by Roy Ward Baker and starring Peter Cushing, Polish actress Ingrid Pitt, Madeline Smith and Kate O’Mara. It is based on the J. Sheridan Le Fanu novella Carmilla and is part of the so-called Karnstein Trilogy of films. Other films in the trilogy are Lust for a Vampire (1971) and Twins of Evil (1972). The three films were somewhat daring for the time in explicitly depicting lesbian themes. In the early 1980s a punk group in tribute Vampire Lovers (Australian band) named themselves after the movie.

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Tagline: Beautiful temptress …… or Bloodthirsty monster?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StTTfl8SU5k]

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Ingrid Pitt 12x16 Photo

In The Vampire Lovers (based on J. Sheridan LeFanu’s “Carmilla”), Ingrid Pitt’s sensuous bloodsucker seduces Hammer starlets Madeleine Smith and Kate O’Mara and incurs the vengeful wrath of Peter Cushing.  The Vampire Lovers aims for comic-book thrills with plenty of nudity and violence (much of which was trimmed from the American version, but reinstated in the DVD).

Before production the script of The Vampire Lovers was sent to the chief censor John Trevelyan who warned the studio about depictions of lesbianism, pointing out that a previous lesbian film The Killing of Sister George had had five minutes excised by his office. In

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Madeline Smith 12x16 Photo

response Hammer replied that the lesbianism was not of their doing but was present in the original story by Le Fanu. Trevelyan backed down (Sinclair McKay 2007: 118). Production of The Vampire Lovers began at Elstree Studios on 19 January 1970 and used locations in the grounds of Moor Park Mansion, Hertfordshire (standing in for Styria, central Europe). It was the final Hammer film to be financed with American money — most of the later films were backed by Rank or EMI.

Kate O'Mara

Kate O'Mara

Trivia:

  • Peter Cushing was cast at a late stage.
  • The role of the Man in Black was offered to Christopher Lee but he declined the role and John Forbes-Robertson was cast instead. Forbes-Robertson would also later replace Lee in Hammer’s The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974).
  • Jon Finch’s first film role.
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    zombi2-zombie

    Zombi 2 (also known as Zombie, Island of the Living Dead, Zombie Island, Zombie Flesh Eaters and Woodoo) is a 1979 zombie horror film directed by Lucio Fulci. It is the best-known of Fulci’s films.  It made Fulci a horror icon. Despite the fact that the title alludes to the film being a sequel to Zombi (the Italian title of George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead), the films are unrelated. When the film was released in 1979, it was scorned for its extremely bloody content notably by the at the time Conservative British Parliament.

    Tagline: When the earth spits out the dead, they will rise to suck the blood of the living!

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3thbT3wq7JE]

     Strangers looking for a woman’s father arrive at a tropical island where a doctor desperately searches for the cause and cure of a recent epidemic of the undead.

    Memorable scenes :

    zombie_shark2

    The film became infamous for two scenes in particular, aided by special effects. One features a zombie (Ramon Bravo) fighting an actual tiger shark underwater. The actor scheduled to fight the shark was unable to perform the day the sequence was to be shot, so the shark’s trainer was used instead.

    zombie_shark1

    The other infamous scene is where a character has her eye gouged out on a splintered piece of wood very slowly and painfully. This scene in particular was edited from many previous releases, but is intact on all three current DVD versions.

    zombi2-eye-gouge

    The film is also remembered among fans for its creepy, synthesized opening theme, composed by Fabio Frizzi.

    Reception in Europe:

    Zombi 2′s incredible success in Europe re-ignited Fulci’s sagging career and reinvented the director as a horror maven. Fulci would go on to direct several more horror films, and Zombi 2 introduced several of his trademarks: zombies, hyper-realistic gore and blood, and the infamous “eyeball gag” (a character is impaled or otherwise stabbed through the eyeball). Contrary to what some web sites have said about Zombi 2 being written before Dawn of the Dead this is not true. In fact at least some of the dialogue is a variation of a line written for Dawn of the Dead.

    zombie DVDDespite the massive popularity of the film, Zombi 2 was banned in several countries, including Great Britain, due to the massive gore content. It was released by Vipco but with a lot of violence edited out. It was finally released uncut in 2005. Lead actor Ian McCulloch, who is British, never actually had the opportunity to watch the full film until he recorded a commentary for the Roan Group’s laserdisc release of Zombi 2 in 1998, and was shocked at the gore level.

    Zombi 2′s massive European box office take also paved the way for three more sequels, which, like their predecessor, have no relation to any of the other films in the series — they all have self-contained plots. While the Zombi series proved to be incredibly lucrative, Zombi 2 is by far the most recognizable of the European zombie films.

    The film was written before Dawn of the Dead was released in Italy, as an action/adventure thriller with no link to George A. Romero’s films. The opening and closing scenes (which take place in New York) were added to the script later when the producers wanted to cash-in on the success of Dawn.

    The infamous shark vs. zombie scene was filmed in a large salt water tank and the shark was fed horse meat and sedatives before filming.

    Reception in United States:

    Zombi 2 was released merely as Zombie in America and was considered a stand-alone film with no connection to Romero’s zombie canon. The theatrical trailers for Zombie provided the memorable tagline of “We Are Going to Eat You!” and showcased some of the make-up effects, but did nothing to indicate the plot of the picture (although the audience was indeed warned about the graphic content of the film: a humorous crawl at the end of the preview promises “barf bags” to whoever requested them upon viewing the film).

    Make Up Department
      Giannetto De Rossi … makeup artist
      Mirella Sforza … hair stylist
      Maurizio Trani … makeup artist
      Rosario Prestopino … makeup artist (uncredited)www.goremaster.com_black

    Special Effects Department
      Giovanni Corridori … special effects
      Gino De Rossi … special effects
      Roberto Pace … special effects

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