Jack the Giant Killer released June 13, 1962

Jack the Giant Killer

Jack the Giant Killer (1962) is a United Artists feature film starring Kerwin Mathews in a fairy tale story about a young man who defends a princess against a sorcerer’s giants and demons. The film was loosely based on the traditional tale “Jack the Giant Killer” and features extensive use of stop motion animation. The film was directed by Nathan H. Juran and later re-edited and re-released as a musical by producer Edward Small.

Trivia:

Producer Edward Small re-released this film as a musical. Songs were dubbed onto the soundtrack. Some of the footage was doctored to make it look like some of the original cast were singing rather than speaking their dialog.
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This was producer Edward Small’s attempt to cash in on the huge success of The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958). He even hired the same director (Nathan Juran), hero (Kerwin Mathews) and villain (Torin Thatcher).
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The film was unreleased in the UK until 1967 and then received cuts for an ‘A’ certificate to edit the witch attack on the ship, Princess Elaine being attacked by the giant, and Jack’s fight with the dragon.

 

I Vampiri

I Vampiri is a 1956 Italian horror film loosely based on the story of Elizabeth Báthory. Directed by Riccardo Freda and Mario Bava, the film stars Gianna Maria Canale as Giselle du Grand, Carlo D’Angelo as Inspector Chantal and Dario Michaelis as Pierre Lantin.

I Vampiri was the first sound era Italian horror film. Mid-way through production, director Riccardo Freda left the project, and was replaced by the films cinematographer Mario Bava.The film was released in the United States in 1963 under the title The Devil’s Commandment and has since been released under more titles including Lust of the Vampires and The Vampires.

Trivia:

  • This was the first Italian made horror film of the sound era.
  • Director Cameo: [Riccardo Freda] autopsy doctor
  • Italian censorship visa #23894, dated April 3rd 1957.

Lust for a Vampire

Lust For a Vampire (also known as Love for a Vampire or To Love a Vampire) is a 1971 British Hammer Horror film directed by Jimmy Sangster, starring Yutte Stensgaard, Michael Johnston and Barbara Jefford. It is the second film in the so-called Karnstein Trilogy loosely based on the J. Sheridan Le Fanu novella Carmilla. It was preceded by The Vampire Lovers and followed by Twins of Evil (1971). The three films do not form a chronological development, but use the Karnstein family as the source of the vampiric threat. The three films were somewhat daring for the time in explicitly depicting lesbian themes. It was given an R rating for some violence, gore, strong adult content, and nudity.

Production of Lust For a Vampire began not long after the release of The Vampire Lovers.

The film has a cult following although some Hammer Horror fans have accused it of being overly camp and silly. Its most noted scene shows Yutte Stensgaard chest drenched in blood and partially covered by blood-soaked rags.

Other notable actors in the film are Ralph Bates, Harvey Hall (who has a different role in each film of this series), David Healy and popular radio DJ Mike Raven.

Trivia:

  • Jimmy Sangster replaced Terence Fisher at very short notice.
  • Ralph Bates was cast at very short notice.
  • Ingrid Pitt turned down the lead because she thought the script was terrible.
  • Peter Cushing was originally intended to play the lead but asked to bow out so that he could continue to look after his ailing wife
  • Despite Mike Raven being a well-known radio presenter, his voice was dubbed by Valentine Dyall.
  • Yutte Stensgaard receives an “introducing” credit in the film’s theatrical trailer but not in the actual film’s credits. She had appeared in several films beforehand and this was in fact one of her very last roles before leaving the acting profession.

I Married a Witch released October 30, 1942

i married a witch

I Married a Witch is a 1942 fantasy romantic comedy film, directed by René Clair, and starring Veronica Lake as a witch whose plan for revenge goes comically awry, with Frederic March as her foil. The film also features Robert Benchley, Susan Hayward and Cecil Kellaway. The screenplay by Robert Pirosh and Marc Connelly and uncredited other writers, including Dalton Trumbo, is based on the novel The Passionate Witch by Thorne Smith, who died before he could finish it; it was completed by Norman Matson and published in 1941.Many believe that this along the later movie is a partial inspiration for the ABC TV Series Bewitched. Bewitched was a fantasy-comedy loosely based on the feature films I Married a Witch and Bell, Book, and Candle which dealt with the problems that arise when a mortal man marries a beautiful witch.

Trivia:

  • The 1960s TV show “Bewitched” (1964) was based on this movie.
  • Several cast members listed in studio records did not appear in the movie. These were (with their character names): Reed Hadley (Young Man), Jan Buckingham (Young Woman), Florence Gill (Woman Playing Chess) and Walter Soderling (Man Playing Chess).
  • Dalton Trumbo was a contributing writer, but left because his interpretation of the novel differed from producer Preston Sturges. Sturges also left the production (and declined onscreen credit) because of artistic differences with director René Clair
  • Joel McCrea was initially cast as the lead, but declined the role because he didn’t want to work again with Veronica Lake, his co-star in Sullivan’s Travels (1941).
  • Veronica Lake and Fredric March did not like one another, due in part to some disparaging remarks March made about her. During filming, Lake delighted in playing pranks on March, such as hiding a 40-pound weight under her costume when March had to carry her in his arms. In another scene in which the two were photographed only from the waist up, Lake stuck her foot in March’s groin.
  • One of several Paramount Pictures productions purchased by United Artists for theatrical release in 1942-1943 during a product surplus of the former company, and a product shortage of the latter.
  • Many scenes had to be reshot because of the behavior of Veronica Lake. Fredric March, her co-star, found her annoying and started to call the movie “I Married a Bitch”.
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The Dead Zone released October 21, 1983

dead_zone

The Dead Zone is a 1983 science fiction-thriller film based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. Directed by David Cronenberg, the film stars Christopher Walken, Tom Skerritt, Martin Sheen, Herbert Lom, Brooke Adams, Anthony Zerbe, Ken Pogue, and Colleen Dewhurst. The plot revolves around a schoolteacher, Johnny Smith (Walken), who awakens from a coma to find he has psychic powers.

Tagline:  In his mind, he has the power to see the future. In his hands, he has the power to change it.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4d1fugaW2o]

Trivia:

  • Director David Cronenberg had to re-shoot the scene in which John Smith has his first premonition. It showed a little girl’s room burning and a small E.T. doll could be seen on one of the shelves. The scene had to be re-shot when Universal Pictures threatened to sue.
  • Cronenberg fired a .357 Magnum loaded with blanks just off camera to make Smith’s flinches seem more involuntary; this was Christopher Walken’s own idea.
  • Before the accident, Johnny instructs his class to read “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. Christopher Walken would later go on to appear in Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow (1999).
  • Martin Sheen’s character says he has had a vision that he will be the President of the United States. Sheen went on to play the President of the United States in the mini series “Kennedy” (1983) and in “The West Wing” (1999).
  • Greg Stillson, played by Martin Sheen (né Ramon Estevez), has damning pictures taken of him by a photographer, played by Ramon Estevez, Sheen’s son.
  • A stuntman was severely burned around the legs and groin when a squib went off too near him during the shooting of the WWII flashback sequence.
  • The “sweat” on Christopher Walken’s face during the “burning bedroom” sequence was in fact a flame-retardant chemical that had been sprayed onto him. The resulting effect, which hadn’t been anticipated, looked surprisingly dramatic on film.
  • David Cronenberg wanted to change the name of Christopher Walken’s character: “I’d never name someone ‘Johnny Smith’”, he quipped, but in the end it was left as is.
  • One of only three David Cronenberg films that do not have a score by his friend, composer Howard Shore. This was due to studio politics in which Paramount wanted a more familiar composer to write the music for the film. Michael Kamen, who had written the music for the film Venom (1981) for the studio, was chosen instead.
  • During the time Michael Kamen was composing the music for the film in London, he would play the score on the piano in his home. He received several complaints by his neighbors who asked, “Can you please stop playing that music? I can’t sleep and it’s giving my family nightmares.”
  • This film (and Stephen King’s novel) are both loosely based upon the life of famous psychic Peter Hurkos. Hurkos claimed to have acquired his alleged powers after falling off a ladder and hitting his head.
  • The poem Johnny reads in the beginning of the film is the end of “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe.
  • There are several deleted scenes that were filmed and completed but have never been seen publicly and are thought to have been discarded prior to the films release. Among them: – A prologue showing John Smith as a boy (played by Stephen Flynn) who sustains a head injury during an ice hockey match. The scene features actor Sean Sullivan as John’s father. – An alternate scene of John Smith’s vision of the Camp David scene (featuring Martin Sheen) in which John himself appears in the vision as a helpless spectator. Photos of these scenes appeared in the December 1983 issue of Cinefantastique.
  • Hal Holbrook was Cronenberg’s original choice to play Sherrif Bannerman, but Dino De Laurentiis rejected this idea as he had never heard of Holbrook at the time.
  • In the WWII scene, civilians in the burning city are speaking Polish.
  • Three people were involved in the James Bond franchise. Anthony Zerbe (Roger Stuart) would later appear in Licence to Kill (1989), while Christopher Walken (Johnny Smith) would later appear in A View to a Kill (1985). Michael Kamen, who did the music for this film, would later do the music for Licence to Kill (1989).
  • Before his accident, Johnny Smith is an English teacher. Stephen King was also an English teacher before becoming a full-time writer.
  • The Dead Zone was the first of several Stephen King novels and short stories that took place in the small town of Castle Rock. Others include Stand by Me (1986), Cujo (1983), The Dark Half (1993), and Needful Things (1993).

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