ART :: ROGER CORMAN AND EDGAR ALLAN POE… PART IV

Welcome to Part IV of my tribute to hollywood (and hollywood horror) legend Roger Corman. I am creating an 8 poster series in tribute to Corman’s early-1960’s “Poe Cycle,” where he brought classic stories from the EA Poe cannon to film. You can read Part I here, with my actual article on Corman and view Posters I and II there as well. Part II can be found here. ANNND… Part III is here.

Again, a big THANK YOU to Mr. Corman for all he has done for film and horror-lovers everywhere.

Without further delay… Poster VII ::

corman_posters_for_post_03

With this post, I also wanted to share this amazing illustration from 1919 capturing the Poe story that the above film was based on. The artist is the great Harry Clarke. I’ll be featuring his horror work in an upcoming post. Stunning stuff. I fear posting it with my work is a huge mistake as my work pales so much in comparison. HOWEVER, it’s a nice juxtaposition.

masque_clarke

Just one poster away from completing the full tribute to Mr. Corman’s “Poe Cycle.” Look for the final installment coming up.

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FILM :: BEST OF HORROR SHORTS … “CARGO”

I continue to have internet issues, but I’m trying to get back on track here. I’ll tell you, data connectivity is a racket.

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I wanted to share another great horror short entitled “Cargo.”

Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke have done something really notable with these 7 minutes — they have created real emotional resonance in not only a short-format piece, but also with a zombie infection story. Their approach transforms the film from something that is very expected into a piece that is truly memorable with a universal message of unconditional love. AND, I love the way it’s shot. Very nice choices all the way around. Enjoy!

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ART :: THE TOP 50 HORROR POSTERS OF ALL TIME… 45 >> 41

As you may be able to tell, I love great poster art, but especially posters from the great horror movie cannon. This is the second installment of my countdown of the best of the genre.

Here’s how I selected the list. I used three main criteria to shape my decisions ::

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>> DESIGN / IMAGE — This is the baseline. As a designer by trade, I feel strongly that any great or effective poster HAS to start here. Is the poster effective as a piece of art? Is the poster is a strong representative of the art of graphic design? Did it capture a particular spirit or movement in design?

>> TITILLATION / PROMOTION — Though we tend to contextualize film and the associated collateral as “art,” it is ultimately a form of commerce. Any movie poster has to promote the film it supports either through a delicious tease or overt sales pitch. How effective is the poster at selling the film it is tied to?

>> IMPACT / LEGACY — Sometimes even mediocre films get truly great posters. Sometimes, we even remember the image of the poster far longer than the film itself. What was the lasting effect of the poster? Was it iconic or timeless in some way? Was a part of a larger context?

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Every poster on this list is a cocktail of the above elements, mixed in different ways. All successful in their own right. Let’s jump in to 45 >> 41…

numbers_45

30_days_of_night

2007

numbers_44

dr_caligari

1920

numbers_43

blacula

1972

numbers_42

american_scream

2012

numbers_41

peeping_tom

1960

Look for Part III, coming right up!

Special thanks to http://www.impawards.com for many of the images in this countdown. AWESOME site.

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FILM :: BEST OF HORROR SHORTS … “THE BACKWATER GOSPEL”

Sorry for the silence for the past days. I have just (mostly) completed a move with my family and we’re still without solid wi-fi. I’ve now figured out cellular tethering to get things back up-and-running until I get cable service set up. Enough about that… BACK TO BUSINESS…

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Today, I wanted to share a really stylish animated short called “The Backwater Gospel.” It’s got a very artistic, textural feel and it’s devilishly ghoulish. Enjoy!

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FILM :: STRANGE FAR PLACES EXCLUSIVE… INTERVIEW WITH “YOU’RE NEXT” CINEMATOGRAPHER ANDREW DROZ PALERMO

Slasher genre-bender “You’re Next” opens nationwide today. I have very much been looking forward to this film. You can read my film preview here.


In that preview, I mentioned a very talented gent helming cinematography on the film, Andrew Droz Palermo. I caught up with Andrew this week and got his thoughts on “You’re Next,” working in the horror genre and cinematography at large.

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Photo: Whitney Hayward

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STRANGE FAR PLACES (SFP) :: How was it working on “You’re Next?”

ANDREW DROZ PALERMO (ADP) :: Shooting the film was an amazing experience. I’m forever grateful to the director Adam Wingard, and the producers Simon Barrett, Keith Calder and Jess Wu for even giving me the chance. Particularly for a first-time cinematographer.

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SFP ::   I have always thought that working on a film like “You’re Next” (especially one so stylish and smart) from the horror genre would be a blast. What was the coolest thing about it?

ADP :: Shooting the kill scenes and jump scares were a blast. Adam was really specific about what he wanted and we were able to storyboard out key scenes to really make them sing. I loved seeing them edit together in my head, knowing we were getting all the pieces we wanted, and that it was going to make some really fun scenes. I also could just sit and listen to Joe Swanberg and A.J. Bowen riff for hours. Those guys are amazing actors, but also just so, so funny.

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SFP ::   What was the toughest thing aboutworking on this production?

ADP :: The toughest for me was getting everything we needed within the time scheduled. With ten characters in a scene, there are a million things you want to shoot, and I wanted to give Adam enough coverage so he could edit it together in the way he imagined. Thankfully the camera, and G&E team was really hardworking and fast and that allowed us a lot of time shooting, with very little downtime in between setups. Plus, it was like 25 nights straight of shooting from 8 PM to 8 AM.

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SFP :: You had some experience working in horror before with your work on “V/H/S.” Do you like working in the genre? Are you a horror fan at all? Will you do horror again?

ADP :: I love horror film, and have had a great time shooting it. I’m certainly not as versed in the genre as Adam and Simon, but I feel like I’m in the horror section of Netflix pretty often. I’d love to shoot some again, I’ll start reading scripts for 2014 in the next few months.

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SFP :: What films were the most influential on you as a visual thinker and storyteller?

ADP :: For “You’re Next” Adam and I looked at a lot of action films. The film has more of that pedigree than it lets on, I guess. Or maybe it was what we wanted to brush up on the most, perhaps what we were most unfamiliar with making ourselves at that point. I think our biggest visual touch point for the film was “Michael Clayton.” It’s a weird one to pick, because it doesn’t seem related, but that lighting in that film is just so beautiful and dark, and the camera is always so deliberate. The Dardenne brothers are always a big touchpoint for me. I love their stories and the manor in which they tell them.

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From Michael Clayton ::

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From the Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne ::

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SFP :: What else should we be watching out for from you?

ADP :: I’ve been co-directing a documentary for the last couple of years with my cousin Tracy Droz Tragos called “Rich Hill.” It follows three kids coming of age in rural Missouri. We’re really excited with the progress, getting ready to launch a Kickstarter, and are nearing picture lock – fingers crossed we’ll be premiering in early 2014.

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SFP :: THANK YOU!

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A VERY special thank you to Andrew for his time. SEE THIS FILM!

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ART :: ROGER CORMAN AND EDGAR ALLAN POE… PART III

Welcome to Part III of my tribute to hollywood (and hollywood horror) legend Roger Corman. I am creating an 8 poster series in tribute to Corman’s early-1960’s “Poe Cycle,” where he brought classic stories from the EA Poe cannon to film. You can read Part I here, with my actual article on Corman and view Posters I and II there as well. Part II can be found here.

Again, a big THANK YOU to Mr. Corman for all he has done for film and horror-lovers everywhere.

Without further delay… The Posters — V and VI ::

corman_posters_for_post3

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FILM :: REVIEW… VAMPIRE CIRCUS (1972)

Another review from the world of dark cinema.

With each review, I am also sharing minimalist movie posters I have created for every film after watching it. (More on my film poster project at large, here. )

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FILM :: VAMPIRE CIRCUS
YEAR :: 1972
DIRECTOR :: Robert Young

vampirecircus_horror

“Vampire Circus” is Hammer Films at the studio’s most titillating.

Plagues… Check. Vampires and hunters… Check. Buckets of blood… Check. Heaving bosoms and beau-brummel beafcake… Check. Shape-shifting hotties dancing naked in only tiger striped body paint… Check. Yes, “shape-shifting hotties dancing naked in only tiger striped body paint.” Honestly, the scene has become rather legendary…

Cartooish? Yes.

A bit bizarre? Yes.

Fun? Unquestionably.

Made after the departure of William Hinds from Hammer and in a reaction to the more “edgy” content coming out of France and Italy (See my review of “The Bloodsucker Leads the Dance.”), the declining studio icon felt a need to bring more edge to their own output to reattain relevance. This film is a great example of that push.

For all of its supposed edginess, “Vampire Circus” is not without intelligence and artistry, though. Really, I consider it one of the last great films to come out of that era of the studio. You have got to hand it to director Robert Young, here. He shows a sure-handed skill for storytelling, but also gives us nods to au courant art-film fare for the era, making artful stylistic and cinematic choices that give the film a decidedly surrealistic flair.

Looking for something with real bite and worried about a vintage film in that regard? Fret not. Even modern audiences will be surprised by the gore in this film. Made in 1972 and the film is truly imaginative in its sanguineous machinations. A bloody classic.

Films like this are just a romp and this one is a hoot. In all, “Vampire Circus” is an archetypal “mondo-horror” piece that shouldn’t be forgotten.

strangelogoforblog_4_stars

RATING ………………. 4 STARS

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ART :: THE TOP 50 HORROR POSTERS OF ALL TIME… 50 >> 46

As you may be able to tell, I love great poster art, but especially posters from the great horror movie cannon. Welcome to the first installment of my countdown of the best of the genre.

Here’s how I selected the list. I used three main criteria to shape my decisions ::

======

>> DESIGN / IMAGE — This is the baseline. As a designer by trade, I feel strongly that any great or effective poster HAS to start here. Is the poster effective as a piece of art? Is the poster is a strong representative of the art of graphic design? Did it capture a particular spirit or movement in design?

>> TITILLATION / PROMOTION — Though we tend to contextualize film and the associated collateral as “art,” it is ultimately a form of commerce. Any movie poster has to promote the film it supports either through a delicious tease or overt sales pitch. How effective is the poster at selling the film it is tied to?

>> IMPACT / LEGACY — Sometimes even mediocre films get truly great posters. Sometimes, we even remember the image of the poster far longer than the film itself. What was the lasting effect of the poster? Was it iconic or timeless in some way? Was a part of a larger context?

======

Every poster on this list is a cocktail of the above elements, mixed in different ways. All successful in their own right. Let’s jump in…

numbers_50

frankenstein_must_be_destroyed

1969

numbers_49

thestepfordwives

1975

numbers_48

americanwerewolf

1981

numbers_47

loch_ness_horror

1981

numbers_46

seven_brothers_meet_dracula

1974

Look for Part II, coming right up!

Special thanks to http://www.impawards.com for many of the images in this countdown. AWESOME site.

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ART :: ROGER CORMAN AND EDGAR ALLAN POE… PART II

Welcome to Part II of my tribute to hollywood (and hollywood horror) legend Roger Corman. I am creating an 8 poster series in tribute to Corman’s early-1960’s “Poe Cycle,” where he brought classic stories from the EA Poe cannon to film. You can read Part I here, with my actual article on Corman and view Posters I and II there as well.

Again, a big THANK YOU to Mr. Corman for all he has done for film and horror-lovers everywhere.

Without further delay… The Posters — III and IV ::

corman_posters_for_post_02

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ART :: LES EDWARDS, PART II… “RAWHEAD REX”

I recently featured a series of paintings by master horror artist Les Edwards. I wanted to follow up with another showcase of his work featuring a particular project, his adaptation of “Rawhead Rex,” from Clive Barker’s “Books of Blood.” When bringing something to life that exists only in words and mental images, I feel the best adaptations bring the artist’s imagination to bear on the project in a fundamental way. Think of the iconic hockey mask for Jason Voorhees. Many people forget that the mask doesn’t make an appearance until 2/3 through “Friday the 13th Part III.” It was director Steve Miner who saw that the hockey mask originally had potential and asked his team to bring it to life on Jason himself. It would be impossible to now think of the character any other way, the mask choice so defined the image of Voorhees in our collective consciousness. Edwards has brought his vision to bear on the Rawhead Rex character in the same way in this graphic novel.

I LOVE the look of this adaptation. It was not influenced by the look of the 1986 film and the new ground it breaks is just perfect. Apart from the apparent masterful artistry of the illustrations themselves, there is a ghoulish delight in the approach here. I have always thought the concepts in the original story were very strong, and felt that the film was a very halting realization at best. This version really brings the story to life. I would absolutely love to see a new film based on this vision for the story. If the great film gods are listening, you would make one little horror blogger a very happy man, if you would oblige.

The Art ::

rawheadrex

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ART :: ROGER CORMAN AND EDGAR ALLAN POE… PART I

I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Roger Corman, the living hollywood legend, in 2011 in a unique live opportunity as a part of “Vincentennial,” a month-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Vincent Price here in St. Louis. The Corman event I attended was part of a two-night event at the Hi-Pointe, a local art house theatre with real history. I attended a screening of “Masque of the Red Death” and Corman followed the film with live musings about his career at large with some specific focus on his genre films. His long-running relationship with Vincent Price and his reputation as a Hollywood maverick / icon brought him to the celebration as a featured speaker.

corman

It was really an amazing experience. Corman himself is the person that we all wish Hollywood was filled with — honest, talented, fun, hip and real with true talent. His stories were fascinating.

As someone who has directed over 55 films and produced more than 385, Corman’s influence is unmistakable. Many of today’s legendary directors got their start working for Corman, including Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, Peter Bogdanovich, Armondo Linus Acosta, Paul Bartel, Jonathan Demme, Donald G. Jackson, Gale Anne Hurd, Carl Colpaert, Joe Dante, James Cameron, John Sayles, Monte Hellman, George Armitage, Jonathan Kaplan, George Hickenlooper, Curtis Hanson, Jack Hill, Robert Towne, Michael Venzor and Timur Bekmambetov. So many legendary actors that we consider masters today got their break in Corman projects including Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda, Bruce Dern, Michael McDonald, Dennis Hopper, Talia Shire, Sandra Bullock, and Robert De Niro.

Most importantly for this site, he has helped make many of the horror films we most associate with the cult side of the genre. “Monster from the Ocean Floor,” “Attack of the Crab Monsters,” “The Undead,” “The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent,” “A Bucket of Blood,” “The Little Shop of Horrors,” “Tower of London,” “X,” “Dementia 13,” “The Dunwich Horror,”  “Death Race 2000,” “Piranha,” “Galaxy of Terror” and “Frankenstein Unbound” are just a few of the cult classics Corman helped to make.

As a tribute to Mr. Corman and all he has done for both lovers of film and lovers of horror, I am creating a series of new posters dedicated to the eight emblematic films of the “Poe Cycle.” For Part I, I have created the posters for the first two films in the series,  “House of Usher” (1960), “The Pit and the Pendulum” (1961). Keep watching for the remaining 6 posters.

Mr. Corman, on the VERY off-chance that you see this, THANK YOU for all you have done for film and horror-lovers everywhere.

The Posters — I and II ::

corman_posters_for_post_01

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FILM :: 3 HORROR FILMS TO WATCH FOR YET IN 2013

2013 has actually been a really interesting year for horror films. The genre is on a great trajectory.

film_preview

Here are three films yet to drop in 2013 that show a ton of promise.

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01

“YOU’RE NEXT”

RELEASE :: August 23, 2013

LIONSGATE SAYS :: “One of the smartest and most terrifying films in years, YOU’RE NEXT reinvents the genre by putting a fresh twist on home-invasion horror. When a gang of masked, ax-wielding murderers descend upon the Davison family reunion, the hapless victims seem trapped…until an unlikely guest of the family proves to be the most talented killer of all.”

MY TAKE :: For me, this is easily the genre film I am most looking forward to this year. I think it gives us so much to love — creativity, pulse-pounding carnage, Adam Wingard at the helm (“Home Sick,” “VHS,” “VHS2” and “Pop Skull”) and some really beautiful cinematography by up-and-coming new talent Andrew Droz Palermo.

The best two things to happen to the horror genre in the past 10 years are real style and true creativity. It existed in the genre, but a select few were doing it right. Filmmakers like these gents are bringing that to the forefront. Wingard’s creativity has been recognized with his previous releases. It makes a difference because as viewers exposed to a wider range of content than ever before, we’re very ready to watch really different stories told in interesting ways. From a style standpoint, take a peek at the shots in this music video shot by Palermo ::

Apart from their definite style, there’s a wonderful intimacy in the shots. That is so perfect for a horror project like this as it draws us in that much more. It creates those subtle emotional connections that make the best horror films work so well (think “Rosemary’s Baby”).

Watch for this one, all!

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02

“HORNS”

RELEASE :: October 11, 2013


horns

(Thanks to EW for the pic!)

MANDALAY PICTURES SAYS :: “A love story driven by horror, mystery and vengeance, follows edgy twenty-six-year-old Ig Perrish who awakens from a night of hard drinking to find devil horns sprouting from his own head. As the horns grow, Ig realizes that they enable him to hear the inner thoughts and darkest temptations of those around him — a nifty tool in solving and avenging his late girlfriend’s murder.”

MY TAKE :: Daniel Radcliffe continues to redefine his career after “Harry.” This may move him the furthest. With a cult-like following for the source material from Joe Hill (Stephen King’s Son), and Alexandre Aja directing (“Piranha” and High Tension”) this has a ton of potential to be really fun.

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03

“CARRIE”

RELEASE :: October 18, 2013

SONY PICTURES SAYS :: “A reimagining of the classic horror tale about Carrie White (Chloë Grace Moretz), a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother (Julianne Moore), who unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom. Based on the best-selling novel by Stephen King, Carrie is directed by Kimberly Peirce with a screenplay by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.”

MY TAKE :: Normally, this sort of project makes me want to run away screaming. Remember 2002’s “Rollerball?”… SACRILIGE! Major ugh! And there is absolutely NO question that the original was a true crossover classic. Spacek and Laurie were just amazing, creating truly memorable characters out of the Stephen King book. HOWEVER, a lot of very interesting choices have been made for this version. Chloë Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore are two of those great choices. Annnd, an interesting selection on direction for the project… Kimberly Pierce of “Boys Don’t Cry” fame. This has the promise of capturing some of that emotional resonance that we feel with the original and that’s really the point.

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