Separated at birth???

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Jason StathamDustin Pedroia

Separated at birth?

Hmm.  Take a look at these photos of action star Jason Statham (whose new movie PARKER opened in theaters this weekend, January 25, 2013) and Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia.  See a resemblance?

In our household, we’ve long thought these two look like brothers.  Take a look for yourself.  What do you think?

 Opposing teams might think twice about giving Pedroia a hard time this season.  His “big brother” Statham might take offense.  Yikes!

 

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Fairy tale movies you want to see?

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Hansel and Gretel get tough

Hansel and Gretel get tough

Tomorrow, Friday January 25, marks the release of HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS  (2013)don’t everybody groan at once.  Soon after on March 1 we’ll be treated to JACK THE GIANT SLAYER, a re-working of the Jack and the Beanstalk fairy tale.

 

Let’s see, we’ve already had RED RIDING HOOD (2011) and SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN (2012).  I don’t know about you, but enough is enough!

 

But since this new take on the fairy tale genre doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon, it’s time for the Cinema Knife Fighters to get in on the action. Coming soon at cinemaknifefight.com, it’s the latest QUICK CUTS column which asks the question: which fairy tale would you like to see turned into a movie? 

 

How about you? 

 

Which fairy tale/nursery rhyme would you like to see re-worked as a feature length movie?

 

As for me, I don’t want to see any fairy tale re-worked as a movie!  But that being said, I’ll join my fellow Cinema Knife Fight panelists and have an answer ready for the upcoming QUICK CUTS column.

 

And now that I think of it, I’d like to see WEE WILLIE WINKIE made into a horror movie where Mr. Winkie is a sinister gent who goes around terrorizing young children, whisking them away from their beds at night, taking them to some uncertain dark future, perhaps to a castle where a cannibalistic witch lives who loves children in her stews.  Rated R, with Sacha Baron Cohen as Wee Willie Winkie, Sigourney Weaver as the Witch, and Mark Wahlberg as the parent of a missing child who’s had enough and decides to step up and take justice into his own hands.

 

Hmm.  I might like to see that movie.

 

Anyway, I’ll have a new answer for the QUICK CUTS column, again Coming Soon at cinemaknifefight.com.

 

Sweet dreams, everyone!

 

—Michael Arruda

 

 

DRACULA-PRINCE OF DARKNESS Review

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dracula prince of darkness poster

As you know, IN THE SPOOKLIGHT, my collection of horror movie columns is now available as an EBook from NECON EBooks at www.neconebooks.com. Check out a sample column below, on the Christopher Lee Dracula movie DRACULA- PRINCE OF DARKNESS (1966), originally published in the HWA NEWSLETTER in February 2005.

Why this movie? 

There’s something about this one, I suppose it’s the icy exteriors of Castle Dracula that make me want to watch it each winter.

Enjoy the column! And stay warm!

—Michael

 

 DRACULA- PRINCE OF DARKNESS (1966)

 

 Christopher Lee said no when asked by Hammer Films to play Dracula again in a proposed sequel to Hammer’s mega-hit, HORROR OF DRACULA (1958).  Lee did not want to be typecast.

However, the powers that be at Hammer didn’t give up, and eventually, Lee changed his mind.  The sequel to HORROR OF DRACULA was a long time coming, but in 1966, it finally arrived in the form of DRACULA- PRINCE OF DARKNESS (1966).

 DRACULA- PRINCE OF DARKNESS proved to be another box office smash, becoming one of the top 15 commercial releases of 1966.  It was no secret now to Hammer that Dracula was their most successful franchise.  As a result, in the next seven years, Hammer would make five more Dracula movies with Christopher Lee as the Count.

            DRACULA- PRINCE OF DARKNESS tells the story of two English couples traveling through Europe who get stranded at Dracula’s castle.  There they find Dracula’s servant Klove (Philip Latham) who has been waiting for years for someone to visit the castle so he can resurrect his master.  Resurrect Dracula he does, in a very bloody scene involving a slit throat and gallons of Hammer blood, and the undead Count is unleashed once more.  This time, it’s up to the dynamic Father Sandor (Andrew Keir in a very good performance) to stop Dracula.

For years, DRACULA- PRINCE OF DARKNESS has taken hits from both critics and fans alike as an inferior sequel to HORROR OF DRACULA.  Sure, it’s not as good as its predecessor, but it is far better than some critics have given it credit for.

Director Terence Fisher, who also directed HORROR OF DRACULA, gives the scenes in Castle Dracula a real “haunted house” feel.  It’s all very creepy even before Dracula is resurrected.

And once Lee appears as Dracula, it’s HORROR OF DRACULA all over again.  Lee is hissing, snarling, bearing fangs, and genuinely showcasing a very athletic violent Dracula.  Simply put, Christopher Lee is damned frightening!

Much has been made of the fact that in DRACULA- PRINCE OF DARKNESS, Dracula speaks no lines of dialogue, but before you condemn screenwriter John Sansom, understand that Dracula did speak in the original script, but the lines were all cut by Christopher Lee himself.  Lee wrote in his autobiography, CHRISTOPHER LEE, TALL, DARK AND GRUESOME, that he thought the lines given Dracula were ridiculous.  And his suggestion to use lines from Stoker’s novel went unheeded.

Composer James Bernard once again utilizes his Dracula theme made famous in HORROR OF DRACULA, a theme as famous today as the themes from JAWS (1975) and HALLOWEEN (1978).

The sets, especially the interior of the castle, are magnificent.

DRACULA- PRINCE OF DARKNESS also has a memorable conclusion, in which the battle to destroy Dracula takes place on the ice outside Castle Dracula.

Yes, there’s ice outside the castle, some snow too, and cold winds howling through the castle walls.  DRACULA- PRINCE OF DARKNESS, a perfect film to watch on a frigid winter evening.

(February 2005)

 

He’s baaack.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator

Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator

And The Tanna Leaves Say–:

Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to the big screen in a starring role this weekend in THE LAST STAND (2013).  Sure, he was in THE EXPENDABLES (2010) and THE EXPENDABLES 2 (2012), but he just had a cameo in the first and he shared the screen with Stallone and his 1980s testosterone buddies in the second.  THE LAST STAND marks the first time Schwarzenegger is playing the lead in a movie since TERMINATOR 3:  RISE OF THE MACHINES (2003).

 So, in honor of the occasion, today’s Tanna Leaves question is, what’s your favorite Arnold role?

 For myself, I’d go with THE TERMINATOR (1984), and after that— well, there’s— there’s— no, wait.  Hmm.  After the Terminator, I can’t say there is one Arnold role that really stands out for me.  I’d hardly choose Conan, and in all his other movies that I’ve liked, there isn’t any particular role that jumps out at me.  Why not?  I guess, now that I think of it, Arnold is fun to watch because he’s playing himself.  Arnold is Arnold.

 So, perhaps my favorite Arnold role is simply— Arnold.

 But maybe you’re not so discerning.  Perhaps you enjoyed his gritty performance in PREDATOR (1987), or maybe you thought he was the best in TOTAL RECALL (1990).  Or maybe you think his most memorable role was in TRUE LIES (1994), or just maybe you were tickled by his Mr. Freeze in BATMAN AND ROBIN (1997)— yeah, right!  You might not want to admit to that one.

 Arnold Schwarzenegger is back on the big screen this weekend in THE LAST STAND.  Will it be a memorable occasion?  A film he can add to his previous hits?  We’ll find out, but in the meantime, looking back, now that you’ve had some time to think about it, what’s your favorite Arnold role?

 And The Tanna Leaves Say–:

 

 

WHAT I’M READING: LIFE RAGE By L.L. Soares

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life-rage-cover-210x300

What I’m Reading

 I recently finished the novel Life Rage by my Cinema Knife Fight partner L.L. Soares.  It’s his first novel, and I have to say here, that— and this has nothing to do with the fact that we’re friends and that we co-write a movie column together — I was really impressed.

 L.L. is known for his in-your-face hardcore fiction, and with Life Rage, he doesn’t disappoint.  But what I found more impressive is how human and caring his characters are, and he achieves this effect without sacrificing the extreme horror elements.

Sure, the language is rough and raw, as are the sexual and violent situations, but there’s also an honest tenderness among the characters in this story that comes off as authentic and refreshing.  In short, his characters really do care for each other.  As good as L.L. is at writing about horrific situations, he’s just as good at writing about realistic relationships.

 The plot is about a Jekyll & Hyde type character, a man who treats people with anger issues, yet he’s an uncontrollable monster at times and doesn’t know it.  He turns into a sort of demonic Incredible Hulk.  The book’s lead character, a woman named Colleen, somehow survives her first encounter with the monster, signifying right away that there’s something special about her.  She sees her best friend torn to pieces by the creature, and she vows revenge.

She is aided by another woman who also happens to have supernatural powers.  Viv is a sort of succubus who sucks the life force out of people while giving them the best sex of their lives- in short, they go out happy.  Viv is attracted to people who are overwhelmingly sad, and she in effect is mercy killing them, saving them from their pain.

 Colleen and Viv team up to stop the raging monster before it infects the entire world with its life rage.

 I liked Life Rage because of its compelling characters— they are fleshed out (no pun intended) and three dimensional— and because of its original plot.  The writing is also topnotch.

 If you’re looking to read a refreshing horror novel, and you don’t mind a lot of sex and violence, check out Life Rage by L.L. Soares.

 It’s all the rage. 

—Michael

 

 

 

 

And The Tanna Leaves Say—:

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al pacino michael corleoneOver at cinemaknifefight.com, we’ll be bringing you (sometime soon) a new QUICK CUTS column to tie in with the new gangster movie GANGSTER SQUAD (2012), starring Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, and Sean Penn. 

 We asked our panel of Cinema Knife Fighters the all-important question:  who’s your favorite movie gangster?

 Tonight I ask you the same question:  who’s your favorite movie gangster?

 Feel free to reply.  Looking forward to hearing your answers.

 And here’s a sneak peak at the actual QUICK CUTS column, with my answer to the panel question.

 My favorite movie gangster would be Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in THE GODFATHER movies, specifically Parts 1 & 2.  Sure, his most famous scene is the “Fredo, you broke my heart” scene, but my favorite comes in Part 1,  where he’s confronted by his wife Kay (Diane Keaton) and she wants to know if he had his brother–in-law killed, and he says he won’t discuss the family business with her.  He then stops and says, “Just this once.  You can ask me just this once.”  So she asks him again, and he says, “No, I didn’t have him killed,” and of course, he’s lying through his teeth.  Great scene.

 Not the most violent gangster on screen, but Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone is one of the coldest gangsters on screen.  Ice runs through his veins.”

 —Michael Arruda

 

 

NEWS FROM THE CASTLE

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Karloff-Frankenstein

Welcome to NEWS FROM THE CASTLE, my new column on this blog, the place for news and tidbits about movies, books, the horror genre, and about yours truly, Michael Arruda. I’ll be sharing these news items with you with a little help from my friends.

FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER:  Help, good!

ARRUDA:  Yes, it is.  So, what’s on tap today, my friend?

FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER: Tap, good!  (Lifts frothy mug).

ARRUDA:  Yes, tap is very good!  Anyway, today on NEWS FROM THE CASTLE, we’re bringing you news about my current EBook IN THE SPOOKLIGHT, available now from NECON EBooks at www.neconebooks.com.  It’s a collection of my IN THE SPOOKLIGHT horror movie columns, which I’ve been writing for the HWA since 2000.

The collection contains 115 reviews, and today’s treat—.

FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER:  Treat, good!

ARRUDA: — today’s treat is the list of movies reviewed in the book.  Basically, it’s a sneak peek at the book’s table of contents. This way you can see what movies are covered in the book, and if there are any that you want to read about feel free to go to www.neconebooks.com and order yourself a copy. Enjoy! Here’s the list:

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

ALIEN— 22

ALIEN VS. PREDATOR— 25

ALLIGATOR PEOPLE, THE— 28

AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN, THE— 31

AN AMERICAN HAUNTING— 33

AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON — 36

BATMAN VS. DRACULA, THE— 39

BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES— 42

BEAST OF HOLLOW MOUNTAIN, THE— 45

BLACK ROOM, THE— 48

BLACK SABBATH— 51

BLOB, THE (1958)— 54

BLOOD OF THE VAMPIRE— 57

BODY DOUBLE— 60

BRIDES OF DRACULA, THE— 63

CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981)— 66

COMEDY OF TERRORS, THE— 69

CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES— 72

CORRIDORS OF BLOOD— 75

COUNTESS DRACULA— 78

CREEPING FLESH, THE— 82

CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, THE— 85

CURSE OF THE MUMMY’S TOMB, THE— 90

DARK KNIGHT, THE— 94

DEADLY MANTIS, THE— 97

DRACULA (1931)— 101

DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE— 104

DRACULA – PRINCE OF DARKNESS— 107

DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN— 110

DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (1932)— 114

DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN!— 117

DR. TERROR’S HOUSE OF HORRORS— 120

EQUINOX— 123

EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN, THE— 126

EXORCIST:  THE BEGINNING— 130

4D MAN— 133

FOOD OF THE GODS, THE— 136

FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN— 139

FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN— 142

FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED— 145

FRANKENSTEIN – THE TRUE STORY— 148

FRIGHT NIGHT— 151

FURY, THE— 155

GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN, THE— 158

GHOST SHIP— 162

GHOUL, THE (1933)— 165

GODZILLA 2000— 168

GODZILLA VS. MONSTER ZERO— 171

HALLOWEEN (1978)— 174

HALLOWEEN II (1981)— 177

HELLRAISER:  INFERNO— 180

HOLLOW MAN— 183

HORROR EXPRESS— 186

HORROR OF DRACULA— 189

HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, THE (1959)— 192

HOUSE OF USHER (1960)— 195

HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD, THE— 198

HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, THE (1923)— 201

INCREDIBLE 2-HEADED TRANSPLANT, THE— 204

IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS— 207

INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956)— 210

INVISIBLE GHOST— 213

INVISIBLE MAN, THE (1933)— 216

INVISIBLE RAY, THE— 219

ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU, THE (1977)— 223

ISLAND OF TERROR— 227

ISLAND OF THE BURNING DOOMED— 230

I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE— 233

I WAS A TEENAGE FRANKENSTEIN— 236

IT!  THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE— 239

JEEPERS CREEPERS—243

KING KONG (1933)– 246

KING KONG (1976)— 250

KING KONG (2005)— 253

KING KONG ESCAPES— 256

LAND UNKNOWN, THE— 259

LEGEND OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN VAMPIRES, THE— 262

LORD OF THE RINGS – THE RETURN OF THE KING— 265

M— 268

MADHOUSE— 271

MARK OF THE VAMPIRE— 274

METROPOLIS (Giorgio Moroder version)— 277

MUMMY, THE (1932)— 281

MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE— 284

OBLONG BOX, THE— 288

OMEN, THE— 292

OTHERS, THE— 295

PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925)— 298

PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1943)— 301

PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY, THE— 304

PLANET OF THE APES (2001)— 307

PROJECTED MAN, THE— 310

PROM NIGHT (1980)— 313

PUMPKINHEAD— 316

REPTILICUS— 320

RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE, THE— 323

REVENGE OF THE ZOMBIES— 326

SEVENTH SEAL, THE— 329

7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD, THE— 332

SHAUN OF THE DEAD— 335

SKELETON KEY, THE— 338

TALES OF TERROR— 341

TARANTULA— 344

TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA— 348

THAW, THE— 351

THEM!— 354

30 DAYS OF NIGHT— 357

TOMB OF LIGEIA, THE— 360

20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH— 363

VAMPIRE BAT, THE— 367

VAMPIRE LOVERS, THE— 371

WAR OF THE WORLDS, THE (1953)— 375

WHAT LIES BENEATH— 378

WICKER MAN, THE (1973)— 381

WOLF MAN, THE (1941)— 384

ARRUDA:  Hope you find something here you like.  That’s it for now.  We’ll see you next time on NEWS FROM THE CASTLE.

FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER:  News, good!    (looks at his mug)  Mug, empty, bad.