Your guide to the reel world JUNE 2012 £3.95
The History Of Pixar
Vampires Through The Ages
Jackie Chan Vs. Bruce Lee
Ken Russell’s Devils
Alfred HitchCock The Master Of Suspense And His Forgotten Films
The Editor has a look at this month’s issue and at what has been happening in the wonderful world of film, from restoring Alfred Hitchcock’s silent films to the sad demise of Ken Russell.
12 Year in Film:
Take a look back at 1976, the year that gave us a giant ape, a boxing underdog and plenty of Eastwood.
16 Chan VS Lee:
Two of the most legendary action stars in cinema but who exactly would come out on top?
18 Ken Russell:
With the death of the controversial English director it’s time to reminisce over his career.
20 Evolution of Vampires:
The Twilight Saga finally ends this year and vampires just aren’t what they
24 Alfred Hitchcock:
The master of suspense becomes the master of our front cover as the BFI is attempts to raise the money needed to restore his silent films.
28 History of Pixar:
From Toy Story to Brave it’s a family tree of Pixar’s history...and just what does Steve Jobs have to do with it?
31 The Muppets:
It’s hard to believe The Muppets have been around for decades but with their latest movie out it highlights just how long they’ve entertained us.
A look at the news for all the latest films, conventions and retro releases.
34 Disposable Income:
For all you film and tech lovers here’s a list of must-buys.
37 Monthly Planner:
The monthly bible for all film fanatics.
38 Star Profile:
Just getting to know...
The latest cinema and DVD releases.
49 3D: Just Another Gimmick:
Can this possibly be the most pointless cinematic innovation ever?
50 Next Issue:
If you can’t wait for next month here’s a sneak peak at the next issue of RETRO FILMS.
Call Sheet Another month and another packed edition of Retro Films magazine. This issue we have something for all the family, proving that no matter what your age you can always enjoy the classics. Gracing the cover is the legendary Alfred Hitchcock, arguably one of the most influential directors of all time. You know you’ve made it when people coin phrases based on your name, with Hitchcockian used to describe themes and entire films inspired by the master of suspense. The BFI are currently raising funds to restore his early silent films, previously thought to be lost, so what better time to reflect on his oeuvre. Keeping with the dark theme we also have a look at Dracula and how he’s been represented on the silver screen. With all the fuss about Twilight, True Blood and their ilk it’s easy to forget that vampires have been haunting audiences since 1922s Nosferatu. Those looking for something a little more light hearted will want to give our feature on Pixar’s history a read. Since their first feature film Toy Story in 1995 they’ve gone from strength to strength, continuously performing at the box office with stories that resonate both with kids and adults alike. It’s something they look to continue to do with their upcoming feature Brave, due to hit screens in June. Images © Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, mur000
Foreign film fans are accounted for too, as we take a look at two exceptional martial artists. Both Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan have become synonymous with Eastern action films. We delve into their careers and explore the strange way in which their lives intertwined. Chan’s 100th film 1911 was recently released on DVD, and although Lee never reached such a landmark his influence is felt just as strongly. As if all that wasn’t enough, we also take a look at the career of the late Ken Russell and his controversial masterpiece The Devils. Truly one of the greatest English directors, it’s a tragedy that only now is his work being appreciated for its genius. As always, the best place to keep up to date on everything Retro Films is our website at www.retro-films.com. Head on over, and be sure to join the message board and let us know your thoughts. We’re always open to suggestions on topics that we should cover.
Editor Edward Bailey Deputy Editor Summer Grant Online Editor Sarah Polley Picture Editor Jake Weber Art Director Ty Burrell Designer Kevin Zegers Contributors Lindy Booth Boyd Banks Kim Poirier Matt Frewer Cover Images: Alfred Hitchcock Photo: © Library Of Congress Toy Story Photo: © Disney/Pixar Jackie Chan Photo: © SyFy Bruce Lee Photo: © SyFy The Devils Photo: © BFI Dracula Prince Of Darkness Photo: © Studio Canal All information contained in this magazine is for
knowledge, correct at the time of going to press. Retro Films Publishing Ltd cannot accept any responsibility for
Edward Bailey Editor
errors or inaccuracies that occur. Readers are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers
What We've Been Up To This Month “This month I’ve mostly been reading Kim Newman’s “Nightmare Movies”, an exhaustive guide to just about every horror film imaginable from the 60s onwards. I’ve also been watching the Nightmare On Elm Street series.”
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informational purposes only and is, to the best of our
Until next month, keep it retro.
Summer Grant “I checked out the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London and spent the day tasting butterbeer, riding the Knightbus and marvelling at the hard work and dedication the behind the scenes team put into a decade of Harry Potter.”
directly with regard to pricing. All submissions to Retro Films are made on the basis of a license to publish the submission in Retro Film, its associated websites and all worldwide licensed editions of the same, Any material submitted is sent at the owner’s risk, although every care is take, neither Retro Films Publishing Ltd nor its agents shall be liable for loss or damage. © Retro Films Publishing Ltd 2012. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used or reproduced without the written permission of the publisher.
Everything new in the world of retro
The BFI’s plight to rescue and restore the classic silent films of Alfred Hitchcock During his illustrious career Hitchcock made 10 silent films, of which nine currently survive. Recently, the BFI launched a major campaign to restore the lost classics and present them to audiences later in the year with brand new live musical scores. The campaign already has some high profile supporters, including Martin Scorsese who comments, “I’m thrilled that the BFI wants to preserve these films and make them available with the best possible prints for audiences to enjoy. Hitchcock remains an
enduring influence on world cinema and I’m proud to be giving my support.” This is a colossal task, with many of the films requiring major restoration. The BFI hope to preserve the best possible prints using the latest digital and photochemical techniques to save the films being lost to natural degradation. They are currently accepting donations to help with this expensive process. You can find a full rundown of the nine silent films in this month’s cover feature, starting on page 24.
In a recent announcement, Hammer revealed a slew of titles that will also be making their way to Blu-ray over the coming months. Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter, The Mummy, Frankenstein Created Woman, The Lost Continent, The Reptile Slave Girls and The Vengeance of She are all slated for release after they have first undergone some extensive restoration. Hammer have been urging fans to help them uncover lost footage and deleted scenes from their films in an attempt to present the most complete packages available. Already this effort has unearthed extended scenes from The Plague of the Zombies, and an extended death scene from Dracula originally deemed too gory. You can read our review of The Reptile on page 44, and we’ll be reviewing the upcoming releases in a future issue. 88 Films Launches, Plans To Release Full Moon Catalogue Fans of decency, good taste and well made films look away now. A new company named 88 Films has been launched, and plan on bringing the Full Moon catalogue to the UK on DVD and Blu-ray. For those lucky ones who haven’t encountered Full Moon before, they’re the company responsible for producing such madcap B-movies as Gingerdead Man and the Evil Bong trilogy. From the titles alone you can probably decide whether these films are for you. The company’s first releases will be The Pit and the Pendulum, followed by Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama in June.
Images © BFI, Optimum, Eureka, Disney
Save The Hitchcock Nine
More High-Def Hammer Announced
News Banned Island Of Lost Souls Makes It’s Blu-Ray Debut, Receives A PG
Slew Of Marvel Sequels Announced New installments of Iron Man, Captain America and Thor confirmed. Hulk movie also on the way? Avengers Assemble hadn’t even made it into theatres before Marvel Studios announced a selection of sequels to their superhero hits. Three of the Avengers will be receiving new instalments over the next couple of years. It isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that Hulk may also get a new film despite lukewarm response to his last big screen outing. First up will be Iron Man 3, which is currently pencilled in for a release in May 2013. Robert Downey Jr will return as Tony Stark, and a
more sizeable role will be given to Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. Later that same year, Thor 2 will be released with Alan Taylor set to direct. Taylor recently worked on the hit HBO show Game of Thrones. The sequels continue in 2014 with Captain America 2, and a rumoured sequel to Avengers Assemble expected to also be released in the same year. It would hardly be a suprise given the mammoth box office. It seems comic book fans have a lot to look forward to over the next couple of years. Justin Lin To Direct Lone Wolf & Cub A new version of Lone Wolf & Cub looks set to be produced, with Fast Five director Justin Lin attached to direct. Kamala Films acquired the rights to the popular manga series and are set to produce a new film with 1212 Entertainment.
The previously banned 1932 horror film, Island Of Lost Souls, will see its Blu-ray and DVD debut this May from Eureka. Rejected for classification by the BBFC in 1933, and then again in 1957, the film finally achieved an X rating in 1958. The exact reasons for the original rejection are unknown, as the BBFC’s records were destroyed during World War 2. However it’s thought that the themes of vivisection, animal experimentation and animal hybrids contributed to the original ruling. Eureka’s release of the film will contain a new high-definition transfer of the uncut theatrical version, as well as a whole host of special features and a packed booklet. You can find our review of this release on page 44. Carrie Remake Planned Plans have been made to bring Carrie back to the big screen, based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name. Kimberly Peirce, director of Boys Don’t Cry, is set to helm the feature while the lead role is currently being contested between Kick Ass’ Chloe Moretz and star of the upcoming film Lawless, Haley Bennett. The most famous version of Carrie to be brought to the screen is Brian De Palma’s 1976 film, starring Sissy Spacek and John Travolta. Widely regarded as one of the best films of the year, it is considered a landmark in horror films. With such a lofty reputation, Peirce has a lot to live up to. However, a female perspective on the tale could prove to be an interesting twist. No firm release date has currently been set for the project.
News Catching Fire Without a Director?
Is There a Third Film Out There? Frank Spotnitz, producer of the X-Files, has expressed a desire to see a third film hit the big screen. There has been a long running rumour that a third film was in the works, despite having the support of the stars, Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny, there have been no plans made. Yet Spotnitz remains hopeful. “There is a very active and relentless fan campaign for a last movie. I do feel like it would be a terrible shame if that didn’t happen,” he explained to sciencefiction.com. “It feels wrong not to give it an ending around the alien colonization of Earth… I have a clear idea of how it would go and I’ve been talking to [creator and executive producer] Chris Carter about it for a long time.”
Cameron to Focus on Avatar Titanic director is to set aside most of his projects. The director of the two highestgrossing films of all time, James Cameron, has said his days of developing films are over. The director, who has a fascination with the underwater world, has said that he can only see himself working on the Avatar set of films and his documentary work from now on. A couple of Avatar sequels are already in the pipeline and there are rumours that an Avatar 4 will be released too. Yet, despite it being his only project, it seems that the second Avatar film is far from finished because the software to support it is still in development. He said to New York Times; “I’m not
interested in developing anything. I’m in the “Avatar” business. Period. That’s it. I’m making “Avatar 2,” “Avatar 3,” maybe “Avatar 4,” and I’m not going to produce other people’s movies for them. “The point is I think within the “Avatar” landscape I can say everything I need to say that I think needs to be said, in terms of the state of the world and what I think we need to be doing about it. And doing it in an entertaining way.” Considering the length of time it took for Cameron to get the first film ready it’s likely to be many years before even one follow-up hits screens.
Release Date for Chbosky’s Film Stephen Chbosky’s film adaptation of his own novel has finally been given a release date. It has been completed for some time but only now has 20 September of this year been set as the date for the film to be unleashed in cinemas. The novel, published in 1999, follows socially awkward highschool freshman Charlie who finds
himself facing the new school alone in the wake of his best friend’s suicide and his brother moving away to college. As well as taking on directorial duties Chbosky is responsible for the screenplay. When it is finally released The Perks of Being a Wallflower will star Logan Lerman and Emma Watson.
Images © Getty Images, Murray Close, Warner Bros
Despite a lot of speculation Gary Ross has not stepped down from directing Catching Fire, the sequel to the chart topping Hunger Games. It had been thought that he told, Summit and Lionsgate, the production companies behind the films, that he would be leaving to focus on his own work. However it seems that there is still a chance that Ross will take up the challenge of Catching Fire because, as of yet, he not formally withdrawn from the franchise. Since the film’s release The Hunger Games has broken several box office records.
News Seth Rogen to Direct New Film
Tim Burton to Work on Beetlejuice 2? With three films set for release this year Tim Burton still has his eyes set on more work. With the release of Dark Shadows looming on the horizon, gothic director Tim Burton has been getting a lot of attention lately. Famous for Nightmare Before Christmas and his unusual adaptations of Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Burton has once again added fuel to the fire with regards to a possible sequel to his cult 1988 film Beetlejuice. He said to Collider that he would take on the project if he was pleased with Seth GrahameSmith’s writing, horror fans might recognise him as the author of Jane Austen spoof Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, he also wrote the
screenplay for upcoming release Dark Shadows. “[I’d do it] if it was interesting,” Burton said. “Although I don’t know if I would ever know a good script if it bit me in the face. But I know what I like, so we’ll see.” Grahame said last year; “It’s not a remake, it’s not a reboot, it is a true sequel with Michael Keaton as the title character Beetlejuice,” Fans of Burton might be a bit disappointed though, he has announced his intention of taking a break; “I think I should [take a break]... It’s kind of embarrassing that I have three movies [this year]. I’m sick of me already.” Dark Shadows is out this month.
Hollywood funny man Seth Rogen is set to take a look behind the camera as he directs his latest endeavour. End of the World takes a different approach to the apocalypse as it follows Rogen and Jay Baruchel playing themselves holed up in his apartment while the world ends. It will be written by Evan Goldberg. The project was inspired by a short that starred Rogen and Baruchel and followed the basic premise that can be seen in the upcoming movie. However the army of celebrities are a new element and while Rogen will be struggling in his apartment James Franco will be in Los Angeles along with comedians Jonah Hill, Danny McBride and Craig Robinson. 3D is Not a Universal Thing In a time when it seems almost every movie is being spruced up with a 3D gloss the chief of Universal, Ron Meyer, has spoken out against the latest film craze. According to Hollywood Reporter he said: “I’m not a fan of 3D as an audience member. I’m too old for it. I don’t like wearing the glasses over my glasses. “There is a place for it, an important place. I just don’t think we should kid ourselves that it is an end-all for the business.”
Year In Film
Year In Film
A look back at the year that gave us a giant ape and a boxing legend.
eemingly 1976 belonged to boxing, with Sylvester Stallone’s underdog tale Rocky fighting its way to become the highest grossing film of the year. It almost didn’t happen though, with Stallone refusing to allow the script to be made without him in the starring role. Looking back now it must be one of the wisest decisions he made in his career. Not only did Rocky top the box office, it also garnered numerous awards. Roger Ebert said of the film, “a description of it would sound like a cliché from beginning to end. But Rocky isn’t about a story, it’s about a hero. And it’s inhabited with supreme confidence by a star.” It picked up the Academy Award for Best Picture beating both Network and Taxi Driver. John G. Avildsen also picked up the Best Director award for the film. That year’s Oscars also saw the first actor to win posthumously, Peter Finch for his performance as Howard Beale in Network.
Clint Eastwood In The Outlaw Josey Wales
Sylvester Stallone In Rocky
child, making it into the top five grossing films. With only a $2.8 million budget it grossed over $60 million, as well as receiving numerous awards. Brian De Palma’s Carrie was also a huge hit, although not grossing quite as much as The Omen. Clint Eastwood had a successful year also with two big hits, despite the fact he hadn’t left his comfort zone. The first was western The Outlaw Josey Wales, familiar territory for the star of Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy. This time though rather than just taking the lead role, he was also in the director’s chair. Set during the American civil war, Eastwood stated that it was an anti-war film despite the constant violence depicted. Eastwood followed that up later in the year with The Enforcer, the third instalment in the Dirty
Images © Channel 5, Fox UK
He tragically died during the promotional tour for the film, and his widow Eletha Finch accepted the award on his behalf. The only other actor to win an award after his death was Heath Ledger for his role as Joker in The Dark Knight. It was also the year that horror hit the big time with The Omen, in which the Antichrist is a young
Year In Film
Robert De Niro In Taxi Driver
Top Grossing Films 1.
2. To Fly! $86,600,000 3.
A Star Is Born $80,000,000
All The President’s Men $70,600,000
The Omen $60,922,980
In Search Of Noah’s Ark $55,700,000
King Kong $52,614,445
Silver Streak $51,079,064
The Enforcer $46,236,000
10. Midway $43,220,000 Oscar Winners
Harry franchise. Despite reviews criticising Eastwood’s performance and the level of violence in the film it proved to be the most profitable entry in the series, until the release of Sudden Impact seven years later. It was a popular year for vigilantes,
Howard Hughes, perhaps best known for his achievements in aviation he was also an accomplished film director. He began his film career in the late 20’s, and won the Academy Award for Best Director for Two Arabian
Rocky isn’t about a story, it’s about a hero
- Roger Ebert
with Martin Scorses’s Taxi Driver. Now considered a classic, it caused controversy at the time largely due to Jodie Foster’s portrayal of an underage prostitute. Regardless the film went on to become nominated for four Academy Awards and still continues to top numerous “greatest film” lists. It’s also notable for the big screen debut of Albert Brooks, who recently earned praise for his devious role in Drive. The year also saw the passing of
Knights. Somewhat fittingly, Hughes passed away while travelling on an aircraft. The cause of his death was found to be kidney failure. With numerous classic movies released which are still revered today, 1976 was truly an important year in film. Over 30 years on and Rocky, Network, Taxi Driver and many others are still being discovered and cherished by younger generations. Edward Bailey
Best Picture Rocky - Chartoff-Winkler, United Artists Best Director: John G. Avildsen - Rocky Best Actor: Peter Finch - Network (first actor to win posthumously) Best Actress: Faye Dunaway - Network Best Supporting Actor: Jason Robards Jr - All the President’s Men Best Supporting Actress: Beatrice Straight - Network Best Foreign Language Film: Noirs et blancs en couleur (Black and White in Color), directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud,
Chan Vs Lee
JACKIE CHAN D.O.B: 7 April 1954 Birthplace: Hong Kong Height: 5’ 8.5” Weight: 150 lbs Fighting Style: Zui Quan
Selected Filmography 1973 Little Tiger of Canton 1978 Drunken Master 1983 Project A 1985 Police Story 1995 Rumble in the Bronx
Jackie Chan In Police Story
Two of the most influential martial arts film stars of all time, their early careers would often intertwine before Lee’s tragic death.
he debate has raged for years amongst devout fans of martial arts films, just who would win in a fight? Would Lee come out victorious with his lightning fast Jeet Kune Do, or would Chan’s acrobatic Zui Quan style dominate? Unfortunately we’re not in a position to play out a Deadliest Warrior style computer simulation, but what we are here to do is compare the filmic legacy of two of the most influential martial artists. Often their careers would intertwine in the Hong Kong film industry, but unfortunately Lee’s untimely death meant that he never reached his full potential. Both Chan and Lee began their on-screen careers as child actors,
Chan due to enrolling in the China Drama Academy and Lee due to his famous Cantonese opera star father. However, Lee eventually gave up on acting to concentrate on his martial arts Originally teaching Wing Chun, he developed his own martial arts style, which became known as Jeet Kune Do. However, it was martial arts that lead Lee back into acting. He was invited to audition for a show called Number One Son, and although it never aired Lee landed several roles on various TV shows. Eventually, unhappy with his supporting roles in the States, Lee returned to Hong Kong where he signed a two film contract with Golden Harvest. The first of these was The Big Boss
Images © SyFy Channel UK
Biography Chan was born in Hong Kong on the 7th April 1954 to Charles and Lee Lee Chan, refugees from the Chinese Civil War. He was enrolled in the China Drama Academy, a boarding school which specialises in Peking opera. It was there that Chan began honing his martial arts and gymnastics skills. He became part of the Seven Little Fortunes performance group where he would forge a lasting friendship with fellow students Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao, the three of them appearing together in films such as Dragons Forever and Wheels On Meals. Chan also became known for his stunt work, insisting on performing his own stunts whenever possible. He eventually found fame in Hollywood, his big break coming in 1998 with Rush Hour. Chan now has over 100 film credits to his name and still shows no signs of slowing down.
Chan Vs Lee
BRUCE LEE D.O.B: 27 November 1940 Birthplace: San Francisco Height: 5’ 7.5” Weight: 135 lbs Fighting Style: Jeet Kune Do Selected Filmography 1971 The Big Boss 1972 Fist of Fury 1972 The Way of the Dragon 1973 Enter the Dragon 1978 Game of Death
Bruce Lee In Game Of Death in 1971 which became the highest grossing film in the history of Hong Kong, that is until Lee’s second film smashed that record. Although filmed in the same year as The Big Boss, it took another two years before Chan’s debut lead role in Little Tiger of Canton made its way into cinemas. It didn’t have the
two stars careers would overlap in their early years. Wei attempted to present Chan as the new Lee, but unfamiliar with Lee’s fighting style it resulted in poor box office. The Young Master, released in 1980, broke box office records previously set by Lee and established Chan as the top draw in Hong Kong cinema.
“I never wanted to be the next Bruce Lee. I just wanted to be the first Jackie Chan.” - Jackie Chan same impact as Lee’s debut, but showed the potential Chan had. Both Chan and Lee would appear together in 1973’s Fist of Fury, although it was Lee who snagged the starring role. Chan’s function on the shoot was stuntman, a role he would again take up for Lee’s most famous film Enter The Dragon. Chan’s first real break came in 1976 with New Fist Of Fury, directed by Lo Wei who had also directed Lee. The film was a sequel to Fist of Fury, another way in which the
Sadly, on 20 July 1973 Lee would pass away at the age of just 32. He never saw the international success that Chan did, but arguably Lee had a much wider reaching influence. While Chan began churning out second rate Hollywood comedies, Lee remains a legend, continuing to inspire young martial artists. While both men are spectacular martial artists, it’s unlikely the world will see someone quite reach the legendary status of Lee again. Edward Bailey
Biography Born in San Francisco in 1940, Lee was raised in Hong Kong for much of his young life. Quite the trouble maker growing up, he would often get in fights at school and eventually was threatened with police involvement. He made the decision to emigrate back to his place of birth in 1959 and headed to the United States to live with his older sister. While living in Hong Kong, Lee had appeared as a child actor in several films. His father was a famous Cantonese opera star, so it was no surprise that he was introduced to the industry at a very young age. However, Lee gave up pursuing an acting career in favour of honing his martial art skills. As we all know he eventually found his way into films, starring in the classic Enter The Dragon as well as other cult classic martial arts pictures. Lee tragically died in 1973 at the age of just 32.
t’s unfortunate that it took his death for people to realise the true genius of Russell, never afraid of pushing boundaries or challenging taboos it’s also why he never quite broke into the mainstream. With the recent release of The Devils on DVD, still censored even after over 30 years, what better time to look back on his career? Born in Southampton, Russell spent a lot of his youth at the cinema with his mentally ill mother, where his love of film first flourished. Rather oddly though, his childhood ambition wasn’t to be a director or film star, but rather a ballet dancer. Giving up on this dream, he instead joined the Royal
Air Force and the Merchant Navy during his teenage years. After leaving the Merchant Navy Russell became a documentary photographer, a role which eventually landed him a job at the BBC. It was here that his penchant for controversy first reared its head, managing to upset the family of German composer Strauss. In Dance of the Seven Veils Russell portrayed Strauss as a Nazi, outraging the family so much that they withdrew all music rights. It’s unlikely the film will be seen again, at least not until the copyright on the music expires in 2019. Russell’s first feature film was an inauspicious start to his directing career, French Dressing (1963) was
Images © BFI
One of the UKs most innovative and controversial directors sadly passed away last November, leaving behind one of the most unique bodys of work by a British director.
both a critical and commercial failure. It is still an important addition to his filmography however, and it shows the mix of absurd comedy and love of showing flesh that became trademarks of his future features. It wasn’t until 1969 that Russell would film what many call his signature film, Women In Love, an adaptation of the D.H Lawrence novel. It was this film where Russell first broke mainstream taboos, depicting the male genitalia during an infamous nude wrestling scene. Despite this, the film proved successful and even earned him a Best Director nomination, the only one he would receive. Perhaps his most controversial film was 1971’s The Devils, an adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s The Devils of Loudun it also used material from the play The Devils by John Whiting. To this day the film is still unavailable in its uncut form, although BFI’s recent DVD release is the closest it has come. The controversy surrounding The Devils actually helped rather than hindered, the film spending a total of eight weeks at the top of the UK box office. While heavily censored in the UK the film suffered even more cuts in America, with a total of 8 minutes shorn from the running time. It was long thought the majority of excised footage had been lost or destroyed until it was uncovered in
2002. However, Warner Brothers will still not allow this footage to be included on any DVD releases, and has also blocked the film from a Blu-ray debut. One of Russell’s most loved films, and a bona fide cult classic, was Tommy. Based on The Who’s rock opera of the same name, the
cast featured such big names as Roger Daltrey, Oliver Reed and Jack Nicholson. Playing for over a year in some cinemas, the often confusing and trippy visuals may split the viewer’s opinions but isn’t easily forgotten. The beginning of the 80’s saw Russell attempt a shift in both genre and tone, with the science fiction film Altered States. While still containing his now trademark religious and sexual imagery, it
managed to convince critics that Russell was more than just a censor baiter. After having given The Devils zero stars, Roger Ebert declared Altered States “one hell of a movie!” After taking a break from feature films to indulge in his passion of opera, Russell returned in the second half of the 80’s for a prolific period which saw him direct four movies. These included Lair of the White Worm, featuring Hugh Grant at the very beginning of his career. In this period Russell left Hollywood in favour of Europe and independent distributors. Despite gaining celebrity due to his personality and notoriety, Russell would struggle to live up to the achievements of his previous films. He eventually resorted to financing films himself, but these suffered from low production values often being filmed on video around Russell’s own estate. It’s unfortunate that such a unique voice was never quite allowed to make its mark apparent on mainstream films. It’s unlikely that Britain will ever see a director the likes of Russell again. Dying of natural causes last November at the age of 84, it’s a loss that many in the film industry will feel. At least through the work of companies like BFI, a new generation of film fans will be able to discover the madcap genius of Ken Russell. Edward Bailey
Evolution of the Vampire
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy.
Dracula Prince of Darkness
he garlic-dodging monster was popularised in 1897 with Bram Stoker’s Dracula and has since made the leap in essence, if not in person, from page to screen. Now though, vampires have evolved from blood sucking, sunlight fearing, murderous fiends to box-office gold. Well, to be more precise sparkling box-office gold. 1913 saw the earliest attempt at putting the reflectionless being in pictures. It focuses on a man seduced and tossed aside by a fast-living vampire. However it was overshadowed by the release of Nosferatu nine years later. Although not strictly an adaptation of Dracula it does grapple with the basics of Stoker’s novel and created the iconic Count Orlok. Including the typical Transylvanian castle and the creepy countenance of the living dead, more of a walking
corpse than a person with fangs Orlok was the first vampire to die because of sunlight. The next great vampire instalment came in 1931 with the arrival of Dracula. Birthing one of the greatest vampire franchises it is the result of Universal finally grabbing the rights to Stoker’s book and luring the fantastic Bela Lugosi into the iconic cape and fangs. Although not as ground-breaking as Nosferatu it shares the same themes, the main one being sex. In fact this becomes a pattern throughout the first few vampire films. While Dracula was limited in what it could show it still did all it could to ramp up the sexuality. However Lugosi was almost resentful of the film’s success; “Every actor’s greatest ambition is to create his own definite and original role but I found this to be almost fatal.”
It wasn’t long before vampires swept from country to country, infecting whoever came upon them. In 1957 El Vampiro was released. Again, this Mexican film had the same themes as its predecessors but introduced a few more quirks to the long line of vampires yet to come, with Mr Duval comes the now trademark elongated fangs. If anything El Vampiro is a bit like the missing link of the vampire evolution, bridging the gap between Universal and Hammer horrors. A year later Hammer Films release their take on the creature of the night with Christopher Lee taking on the lead role. The result is the most iconic incarnation of Dracula. Perhaps the only innovative power that Hammer Films bring to the legend is the ability to regenerate himself as long as there remains a drop of his blood in existence.
Images © Optimum, E1 Entertainment, Syfy Channel
Out of all the supernatural creatures that have graced the page, splattered the screen and added colour to myths perhaps the most dangerous and alluring is the enigmatic walker of the night; the vampire.
Christopher Lee in Dracula Prince of Darkness
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in Twilight
Ever since the first vampire film there has been a bit of a tradition to focus it around Dracula and how he is overcome. Yet in 1977 a new type of vampire comes to the fore. Rabid follows a woman who develops a growth which requires her to drink blood to sustain her life. It might not strictly be considered a vampire film and the only similarities it shares with the previous films is the character’s lust for blood, but it is a crucial step forward for vampires. It takes on a Resident Evil twist as a disease that causes the blood-lust. Over the years filmmakers continued to shy away from the traditional fare until eventually they began to inject morality into each story. One of the first to battle with this was Interview with a Vampire (1994) when Louis (Brad Pitt) finds himself bitten he struggles with the need to feed off humans. However, perhaps the most popular thing to highlight the moral struggles is Buffy the vampire Slayer. Running from 1997 to 2003 (and even continuing on comic form)
Buffy was one of the most popular television shows of its time. Even Joss Whedon was surprised with the depth that was brought to the show and revealed his doubts about the actors; “The truth is, I wasn’t positive that any of them were right. I didn’t realize any of them had the depth they have when we first cast it. I just thought they were cute and funny. That was
the transformation vampires make from human to demonic when it comes to feeding from humans, not to mention the now famous dusting when they’re killed. Ninety years after the grimy, gross and fear inducing Count Orlok graced the screen the Twilight Saga sees its final instalment hitting the cinemas and to be quite honest they couldn’t be further from each other. Edward Cullen brings a softer if more pathetic side to the blood-thirsty monster. He’s handsome, sparkles, has a good heart doesn’t feed on humans and tries -Bela Lugosi to protect the innocent Bella Swan. Meanwhile Count Orlok can never good enough at the time. be mistaken for attractive, would Although not entirely about never be caught glimmering in the vampires it does introduce a few sunshine, devours the innocent new additions to the folklore such and guzzles human blood. Is this as the soul. To give a vampire back an evolution of the vampire or has its soul is to torture it, they are the myth been romanticised to the haunted by the bad deeds they point of destruction? have committed. Needless to say the once fearsome The makers of Buffy also included monster is almost unrecognisable the Master, while not Dracula and the more popular the vampire (who does make an appearance in becomes the further it gets from its series five) he does command the traditional Bram Stoker roots. ferocity. Buffy is also notable for Summer Grant
Every actor’s greatest ambition is to create his own definite and original role but I found this to be almost fatal
Alfred HITCHCOCK An extensive restoration of Hitchcock’s silent films is currently being undertaken by the BFI, giving us the chance to see these classics for the first time in decades. Hitchcock’s legacy is one that every film fan knows, having directed numerous classics and inspiring scores of imitators. No other director has crafted such a high number of masterpieces such as Lifeboat, Dial M For Murder, Psycho, The Birds and many others. However, his early career of silent films is one that is often overlooked. It was here that Hitchcock began developing the skills and trademarks that made him an iconic director. Unfortunately, many of these works have become either lost or damaged due to degradation. Not all hope is gone though, as the BFI have started a campaign to rescue the Hitchcock nine. They hope to restore the nine surviving
silent films from Hitchcock, and eventually show them to the public later in the year. The campaign has already attracted some high profile names including Martin Scorsese. “I’m thrilled that the BFI wants to preserve these films and make them available with the best possible prints for audiences to enjoy. Hitchcock remains an enduring influence on world cinema and I’m proud to be giving my support.” The first announced showings are as part of London 2012 Festival, celebrating the Olympics coming to the capital. Over the next few pages you’ll find everything you need to know about the nine silent classics.
The Pleasure Garden (1925) Hitchcock’s debut feature, based on a novel by Oliver Sandys. The story revolves around two chorus girls working in London at The Pleasure Garden Theatre. Shot in both Germany and Italy, the budget was seriously depleted when Italian customs officials fined the crew. One good thing did come of the shoot though; Alma Reville served as assistant director and would marry Hitchcock the following year. è
Images © BFI, xsweetcecix
The Lodger (1926) The film which saw Hitchcock’s trademark techniques begin to surface. The first of his suspense thrillers, it concerns a mysterious lodger who may also be a serial killer terrorising London. The captivating story and wonderful visuals made it a great success upon release, although it almost wasn’t to be. Producer Michael Balcon almost shelved the film due to disliking it so much.
Easy Virtue (1927) A fantastic example of one of Hitchcock’s favourite themes, a person forced to become an outsider because they are wrongly presumed guilty. In this film it is Larita Filton, accused of having
an affair she flees to the South of France. It features a fantastic scene showing a puppy growing into a bulldog to show the passage of time as Larita returns to England.
The Ring (1927) Hitchcock’s only original screenplay, the tale of a fairground boxer and his lover who falls for another fighter. The title is ambivalent, making reference to the boxing ring and a wedding ring as well as the bracelet given as a gift by the Australian fighter. It showcases some photography tricks that Hitchcock would use again in his later career, particularly during the climatic boxing scene.
Downhill (1927) Ivor Novello, star of The Lodger, returns to work with Hitchcock as a model school student accused of impregnating a young woman. Originally one scene was tinted green to express the mental torment and nausea experienced by Novello. It remains to be seen whether this will be kept in the restored prints of the film. Downhill was considered unusually dark for its time.
Champagne (1928) Another more humours showing from Hitchcock, but one the director disliked. Regardless, it still shows flashes of brilliance such as shots through a champagne glass. In the film the frivolous daughter of a millionaire is forced to seek out a job when her father claims he has lost all his money. It was met with largely negative reviews upon its release.
The Farmers Wife (1927) Although well known for his thrillers, Hitchcock had a humorous side to him also which was often allowed to shine through as can be seen in this tale of a widowed farmer attempting to find a new wife. Each potential wife is shown as a comic stereotype, but the film itself is shot almost like a thriller. Hitchcock himself manned the camera for some of the scenes.
Blackmail (1929) Beginning production as a silent film, the studio decided to convert the film to sound during shooting. This lead to both a silent and sound version being released at the same time, although it is the silent version the BFI will be presenting with an all new live soundtrack. The film was a success for Hitchcock, both with critics and at the box office. Edward Bailey
The Manxman (1929) Hitchcockâ€™s last silent film and the one most clearly comparable to his later works; The Manxman is a mature and confident picture. Filmed on location in Cornwall, where two boyhood friends grow up and fall in love with the same woman. Inevitably a tragedy ensues. The lead performances are brilliant, Hitchcock able to bring the best out in his actors.
The History of
oved by children and adults alike Pixar release box office hit after box office hit, which makes it all the more extraordinary to know it was not always that way. Pixar animation studios have always been inextricably linked to Disney, even at its inception in 1984 when John Lasseter left his animation job at Disney to work on George Lucas’ specialeffects computer group. However it is only a mere two years later, when Steve Jobs buys the computer graphics section of Lucasfilm, Ltd, that the company is dubbed Pixar. As with almost everything that Jobs touched throughout his phenomenal career, Pixar became a success, yet it still took a little bit of time for it to make its mark. For years the animation studio scraped a living by making commercials and extremely well received animated sorts such as Tin Toy and Knickknack and in 1991 Pixar teams up with Disney, a move which proves instrumental in their future success. Four years later the fruits of their labour explode in the box office. 1995 sees Toy Story land in cinemas, not only does it make history as the first full computer animated film but it also becomes the highest grossing film of 1995. Following this massive success Pixar begin to expand, they now employed 375 people in contrast
to the 44 it started with. However in 1997 Jobs returned to Apple but the work that his investment in Pixar started continued and the following year A Bug’s Life was released. Following the footsteps of Toy Story it broke all Thanksgiving weekend records in the U.S and in only a week achieved the coveted number one spot in international markets. Since agreeing to work with Disney it had taken less than a decade for Pixar to become a notable film studio. Over the next decade Pixar
After 11 years they decided to revisit one of the best loved stories they had created
continued to prove that they were a force to be reckoned with and upon the release of Monsters, Inc. in 2001, truly hit their stride. Naturally monsters are difficult to animate since there was nothing to base the facial expressions and body language on, however this didn’t stop the film from soaring up to box office to claim the spot of second highest grossing animated film. The studio also received several Oscar nominations for Monsters, Inc. and even picked one up for Best Original Song. This is also the film that first displays just how sneaky Pixar can be. In the scene where Boo is finally returned home she hands a lot of her toys to Sully, one of which is a cuddly clown fish toy, which is of course a reference to their next film. Finding Nemo managed to outdo the success of its predecessor. Becoming the highest ever
Toy Story- 1995
A Bug’s Life- 1998
Toy Story 2- 1999
Finding Nemo- 2003
The Incredibles- 2004
Images © Disney Pixar
With Brave, their next cinematic adventure, set for release in August it’s time to sit back, relax and read about the enchanting story of film’s beloved company.
Toy Story 3- 2010
Cars 2- 2011
grossing animated film, Finding Nemo became the number one best selling DVD and received four Oscar nominations and went on to win the award for Best Animated Film. Again, the studio set themselves a difficult challenge in making fish into believable characters, but once again they inevitably triumphed. With each release in the new millennium the Pixar port folio became stronger and more impressive until eventually Disney bought Pixar for $7.4billion. In 2008, they took a more mature turn. WALL-E, which follows the child-like robot, was a risk on behalf of the company because of its lack of dialogue. Fortunately the inquisitive nature of the main character, and the intriguing relationship between him and EVE was enough to capture the attention of the audience. With the release of Up Pixar were still gaining favourable reviews from the critics. Tim Evans said on Sky. com; “Pixar have fostered a reputation for the winningly surreal in everything from Wall.E to Ratatouille.” However, after 11 years they revisited one of the best loved and most successful stories they had created. Toy Story 3, directed by Lee Unkrich, sees not just the old faces but a huge array of newcomers as the toys struggle to survive the harsh environment of the daycare centre. While it might not have been as fortunate as the other two it became a much loved end to a much loved story. Undoubtedly, Brave has a lot to live up to but it seems as if Pixar are still capable of producing high quality films. Summer Grant
The keen eyed amongst you might have noticed a certain number popping up through Pixar’s films: A113 The license plate number on a minivan in Toy Story. On a cereal box in A Bug’s Life.
It can be heard in an announcement at the aiport in Toy Story 2. On the camera the scuba diver usses in Finding Nemo. The conference room in The Incredibles as well as the prison level Mr Incredible is kept in. It appears several times in Cars too; Mater’s license plate number, a train number and Dexter Hoover’s plate number. On the tag of a lab rat in Ratatouille.
The forbidden code in Wall.E. It can be found on a sign in Up. In a photo and on the side of spy plane Siddeley.
But what is the meaning of A113? Well, it’s the number of a classroom that many of Pixar’s staff would have worked in.
Pixar have fostered a reputation for the winningly surreal in everything from Wall.E to Ratatouille - Tim Evans Brave- 2012
Muppets For 35 years The Muppets have been ruling both the big and the small screen.
appeared together for the first showing of The Muppet Show in 1976. The show itself became known for its slapstick comedy and started the trend of celebrity special guests that would later transcend into their film outings. While the onstage and behindthe scenes antics of Kermit and his gang grew ever popular the show only ran for five series, the curtain closing for a final time in 1981. Thankfully the end was nowhere in sight for The Muppets and they leapt faultlessly from the small screen to the cinema. In fact, their first filmmaking foray happened in 1979 with The Muppet Movie. It marks their first ever live-action musical film and thanks to the sheer success of this picture The Jim Henson Company (the company that created the Muppets) was able to afford my
theatrical adventures. Kermit the Frog, who was often the irresistible green face of the films, had the distinction of being voice by Jim Henson himself. As his name suggests he founded the previously mentioned company, but he is also the creator of the Muppets and is perhaps the most renowned puppeteer to not quite grace the silver screen. Not only did he play a part in the success of Sesame Street, but he was the mind behind the peculiar puppets of Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and Fraggle Rock. Upon his death in 1990 he left behind a legacy that is still running strong over two decades later. Frank Oz, fellow muppeteer, had only kind words to say about Henson and his work; “If you look at a lot of the pieces on the Muppet Show that came from Jim, there was a tremendous sweetness about them, and that’s unique to Jim.” Although The Muppet Show soon came to an end Henson kept his creations hard at work and in 1981 directed The Great Muppet Caper. Full of the trademark silliness that Kermit and the gang are renowned for it failed to make as much of an impression as its predecessor but still impressed the audiences that went to see it. However it remains a fair assessment to say that this release was later overshadowed by the more popular and successful Muppet movies. In 1984 the third full length feature film starring the Muppets was released, The Muppets Take Manhattan enjoyed cameos by the likes of Liza Minnelli. While the plot might not have been the most original it was given that unique Muppet twist. Gradually the assorted gang were making a name for themselves in Hollywood and considering Kermit started off as an ambiguous, reptilian, collarless creature in Sam and Friends it was indeed an amazing feat to behold. There was a break of eight years before the Muppets once again returned to the big screen.
Images © Disney
here is no frog more famous than Kermit or any pig more famous than Miss Piggy it is odd, then, to realise that these two nature defying animals have been in the film industry for such a long time. While they might just be pieces of fabric stitched together the Muppets have a unique talent for capturing the imagination of children, undoubtedly contributing to their longevity. Although they make for an odd bunch the nation has taken them to their heart and as such flocked to the nearest cinemas to watch their favourite puppets face the latest trials and tribulations in what has become an illustrious career. Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Scooter, Gonzo and all the other memorable characters first
This time it was to put together a charming version of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and ever since its release The Muppets Christmas Carol, directed by Brian Henson, son of Tim Henson, has become an essential Christmas time movie. The first Muppets film to be made after the death of Jim Henson it starred Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge and, taking a step away from tradition, followed Gonzo the Great (as Charles Dickens) and Rizzo the rat as they narrated the story. It might not have achieved amazing success at the box office but it was favourably reviewed amongst critics. Due to the popularity of this adaptation Brian Henson went onto direct the 1996 Muppet Treasure Island. Since the inception of The Muppet Show celebrities have taken a keen interest in the Muppet films and this is no exception. Starring Tim Curry and Jennifer Saunders, to name but a couple, the gang recreate Robert Louis Stevenson’s
The end was nowhere in sight for The Muppets and they leapt faultlessly from the small screen to the cinema. famous story and because of Kermit and Miss Piggy their success in The Muppets duet together Christmas Carol both Gonzo and Rizzo were given the roles of Jim’s best friends, which were created especially for the pair of Muppets. On its release the film grossed higher than all other Muppet movies apart from the first, something that Muppets from Space and The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz were unable to match as they became box office flops. Yet despite two unsuccessful films in a row Disney decided to go Leading up to its release ahead and release The Muppets, journalists and presenters were a move which proved wise. As of granted interviews with the April 2012 it became the highest famous puppets, and it’s certainly grossing of all the Muppets films something when the press clamour and with the usual style and to speak to the inanimate which plethora of celebrity guests and in itself is a testament to the mark just a hint of nostalgia film goers that the Muppets have left upon were reminded of exactly why they film culture. loved the Muppets. Summer Grant
Disposable £££ === Income
The latest and greatest movie merchandise, technology and gadgets to help empty your wallet.
Images © Optoma, Arrow, Onkyo, Forbidden Planet, Hasbro
Optoma HD-20 Projector £599.99 Optoma For those wanting the true cinema experience in their homes, a projector is really the only way to go. Able to project an image almost 8 metres wide, you can fill your entire living room wall with explosive action. The HD20 is tailor made for the best possible viewing experience when watching films. With 2 HDMI inputs, fantastic brightness and it’s ability to project at 24FPS, it is the perfect option for any real cinema enthusiasts out there. As well as all that, it also boasts ANSI contrast, and whisper quiet operation making it one of the best projectors on the market. Of course, the hardest choice will be just what to watch on it first.
Demons Tshirt £14.99 Arrow Films
With the release of both Demons and Demons 2 on Blu-ray and DVD, Arrow Films have really gone all out with their promotion. Not only can you pick up the films as a limited edition steelbook or slipcase edition packed with extras, there’s also a line of merchandise available. The Demons tshirt features brand new artwork designed by Jeff Zornow, and are available in S - XL,. They’ve also made a quad poster available on their website. Fans of the spaghetti splatter classic would be foolish not to snap them up, with limited supplies it won’t be long before they become expensive collector’s items.
Disposable Income Marvel Build-A-Figure £10.99 Hasbro You’re never too old to play with toys, sorry, collect action figures. The latest line from Hasbro gives the collector’s out there a good reason to purchase every figure. Each one comes with a spare part belonging to Arnim Zola, collect them all and you can build him yourself. Although most collector’s won’t, after all, it’s worthless if it’s not mint in box. The following figures will be available in the series: Captain America, Thunderball, Madame Masque, Drax, Spider-Man, Fantomex and Daken. Another wave of figures is scheduled to be released later in the year. Confirmed for the line so far are: U.S Agent, Mystique, Blade and Hyperion.
Alien Head Ice Cube Tray £8.99 Forbidden Planet With the summer months coming up, what better way to keep your beverages cold than with an ice cube in the shape of a xenomorph’s cranium? Or if you have a sweet teeth, melt some chocolate to make a delicious Alien shaped snack. Also available is an Alien egg shape ice cube tray.
Onkyo HT-S6505 5.1 Surround Sound Package £599 Onkyo As every home cinema enthusiast will tell you, just as important as picture quality is audio quality. It’s no good watching the latest blockbuster in glorious HD with only tinny TV speakers. You want the whole room to shake with every screeching tire and explosion, and this Onkyo set-up is the perfect system for that.
With six HDMI inputs you won’t have any troubles connecting your entire entertainment system up. It isn’t all about the films though. With wireless networking, it allows you to access music from Spotify as well as your PC library. It also has a USB port on the front so you can easily connect your iPod or iPhone. While it may not be the most
advanced system on the market, the HT-S6505 packs a staggering amount of features into the box for the price. You’ll be hard pushed to find a system this good in the same price range. Once you’ve experienced the joys of surround sound you’ll never want to go back to TV speakers again. Edward Bailey
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Invasion Dublin III, Star Wars convention in Ireland.
Pillow Talk Blu-ray and Nothing But The Night DVD released.
Emilio Estevez (Repo Man, The Breakfast Club) birthday.
Black Panther Blu-ray and Nightbirds Blu-ray released.
Cannes Film Festival
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A Bronx Tale Blu-ray released.
London Comic Con
Island of Lost Souls Blu-ray and Chinatown Blu-ray released.
Antonio Banderas One of the best actors in the business, he’s made his name from roles in the Mask of Zorro to Evita but none is more well known than a feline with a soft spot for footwear.
osé Antonio Dominguez Banderas, otherwise known as Antonio Banderas, has just reprised his role as the adorably ferocious Puss in Boots for the Shrek spin-off of the same name. Yet over his long career Banderas has been doing more than studying cats coughing up fur balls to bring to life the children’s favourite. His passion has not always been acting, in fact he had always wanted to be a soccer player until an accident at the age of 14 that broke his foot and ruined any chances of a career on the field. It was around this time that he saw a production of Hair and the desire to perform gripped him in its irresistible embrace. Over the next few years Banderas started performing on stage and even found himself spending a few nights in the one star comfort of a prison cell because of the political tension and censorship that swept through Spain whilst under the rule of General Francisco Franco. Fortunately these few incidents didn’t succeed in putting him off his chosen career and after his work with Spanish film director Pedro Almodóvar and the success of 1993’s Philadelphia, directed by Jonathan Demme, in which
he starred alongside Tom Hanks, Banderas became Hollywood’s hottest asset. From Hanks he went onto work with the likes of Madonna (in the heart-wrenching Andrew Lloyd Webber musical film Evita), Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise in the adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire and of course Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta Jones in The Mask of Zorro. Until recently it was the Masked Avenger that people most associated with Banderas and he even reprised the role in 2005 for The Legend of Zorro. When he first landed the role he did all that could to prepare himself for the character. Before filming started Banderas trained with the Spanish Olympic fencing team, using real steel swords whilst practising, however when it came to the action in the film lighter aluminium swords were used instead. The Spanish actor is one of the most lauded and loved Hollywood actors and even has an impressive list of nominations and awards, including ALMA awards and three Golden Globe nominations. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him pick up other awards in the future. Summer Grant
With wife Melanie Griffin
Bandera as the iconic Zorro.
Images ÂŠ Channel 5, Los Goya
DEMONS ON BLU-RAY COURTESY OF ARROW FILMS
Crawling from the screen to eat your spleen! Demons is finally arriving on Blu-ray May 21st thanks to the cult horror hounds at Arrow Films, and we have five copies to give away. Directed by Lamberto Bava, son of the legendary Mario Bava, and produced by horror auteur extraordinaire Dario Argento, it really is a film that needs to be seen to be believed. This limited edition Blu-ray release comes packaged in a lavish slipcase, complete with poster, booklet and comic book. In addition there are a mountain of extras offering an insight into the making of the film.
These special features include... •Dario’s Demon Days: Producer Dario Argento discusses the inception of Demons
www.retro-films.co.uk and answer the following question... Which of these Italian horrors did Dario Argento not direct?
•Defining an Era in Music: Composer Claudio Simonetti on the Demons Soundtrack
A A Bay Of Blood B Tenebrae C Inferno
•Luigi Cozzi’s Top Italian Terrors: Cozzi discusses the highpoints of Spaghetti Splatter.
Terms & Conditions This prize draw is open to residents of the UK, 18 years or over. Only one entry per person. The winner(s) will be notified by email, their name and the name of the county where they live may be published.
Entering couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is head to our website at
Images © Arrow Films
Released May 21st
At home and in the cinema.
Released In Cinemas 26th April With a seemingly endless stream of comic hero films hitting screens over the last few years it would be easy to dismiss yet another one. However, this isn’t your run of the mill comic adaptation. This is the comic book film, and one that has had years of anticipation. With the line-up of talent working on it, it seems unlikely to fail. For a start the director is Joss Whedon, a man who has had years of experience creating rich and engaging worlds. He was behind the wildly popular TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which debuted in 1997 and ran for seven seasons until 2003. He has had more recent television success too, such as Dollhouse which at its peak
pulled in nearly 5 million viewers. A lifelong comic fan, Whedon has written several comics including The Astonishing X-Men, so he’s well versed in the source material. The talent in front of the camera is impressive too, pulling together the star power from previous Marvel films for one unbeatable team. Robert Downey Jr returns as Iron Man alongside Chris Evans as Captain America and Chris Hemsworth as Thor. Fans will also be treated to some new talent too such as the always entertaining Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury, along with Mark Ruffalo as Hulk. It’s not just the good guys returning though. Loki from Thor is back, and this time he’s brought an army with him. Nick Fury brings together the Avengers in an attempt to
thwart the evil and help save Earth. Revealing any more than that would spoil what is perhaps the best comic movie of the year. Well, until The Dark Knight Rises is released that is. If there is any criticism to be made of the film it’s that the bad guys the Avengers go up against never really feel like much of a threat. From the names involved alone it’s already clear that Avengers Assemble is set to be one of the biggest movie events of 2012. As previous superhero films have proved it’s not just the comic fans that are in for a treat. Everyone can get behind the heroes in the Marvel universe, especially with such an epic storyline and fantastic action set pieces. Edward Bailey
Images © Disney, Optimum
After teasing us with clips at the end of Iron Man, Thor and Captain America, The Avengers are finally ready to assemble.
The Plage Of The Zombies Blu-ray/DVD Released May 28th
While Night of the Living Dead is usually credited with birthing the modern idea of zombies The Plague of the Zombies had a helping hand too, and even hit the screen two years earlier in 1966. In a small village in Cornwall young workers are dying as a mysterious epidemic sweeps the population. Soon the dead are seen returning to life, the only explanation being the work of a voodoo ritual. While not the most famous feature in Hammer’s output, The Plague of the Zombies is a film well worth revisiting. Ok, so it’s not got the highest production values – it was shot back to back with The Reptile
reusing many of the same sets – but then what else would you expect from Hammer? It is campy fun and revels in it, and unlike many films that attempt the same feel it is done entirely without a sense of irony. Hammer fans will find plenty of extras to sink their teeth into as well such as a retrospective on the making of the film along with a documentary on the world of Hammer. Also included is a restoration comparison, so you can see what an amazing difference the new Blu-ray master presents over the older versions. Edward Bailey
Hammer Horror Wish List We’ve already been spoiled with Hammer Blu-ray releases, but here’s what we’d like to see restored over the coming years. Curse Of Frankenstein (1957) Horror Of Dracula (1958) Hound Of The Baskervilles (1959) Brides Of Dracula (1960) Curse Of The Werewolf (1961) The Devil Rides Out (1968) The Vampire Lovers (1970) Scars Of Dracula (1970) Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971)
Blu-ray/DVD Released June 18th
Blu-ray/DVD Released 28th May
money saving idea of hiring country houses to shoot in and around. While he may be stingy with money, he’s no miser when it comes to story and The Reptile stands as one of his most enthralling efforts. Once again Hammer have spoiled us with the Blu-ray release. Not only does the film receive an immaculate transfer and impeccable sound, but it also includes a handful of fascinating extras too. The making of is interesting, and the documentary on wicked women in Hammer films is highly entertaining. Edward Bailey
On a remote island run by an obsessed scientist some strange things are going on. Attempts to transform animals into human beings have gone horribly wrong, and the island’s jungles are becoming over run with the halfhuman/half-beasts. Based on the H.G Wells novel The Island of Dr. Moreau, the film adaptation brings together some wonderful actors like Bela Lugosi and Kathleen Burke to create a wonderful time. Banned on its original release, it’s hard to see why in the present day. That’s not to take anything away from it though;
it’s a great example of early horror. Rather than going for gore and jump scares, it builds up a creepy atmosphere which is rare for horror blockbusters in these times. As always, Eureka have given this release the attention and love it deserves. For a film which is eight decades old the audio and picture quality is a marvel, allowing the viewer to experience detail and depth not previously seen. As if that wasn’t enough to tempt you however, Eureka have also included some insightful extras and a booklet packed with images. Edward Bailey
Images © Optimum, Eureka
Island of Lost Souls
After his brother mysteriously dies, Harry and his wife head to their inherited cottage in a small village (the favoured location of Hammer productions). They soon stumble upon a shocking secret in the village, and the reason why the locals keep inexplicably disappearing. It’s one of the more memorable creatures crafted by Hammer, although actress Jacqualine Pearce disliked wearing the Reptile make-up. Hardly surprising as she is claustrophobic. Writer Anthony Hinds is the reason so many of these Hammer films take place in village locations, after all he came up with the
Mother’s Day Blu-ray Out Now
Originally released by Troma in 1980, the original Mother’s Day was met with largely negative reviews but is something of an underground cult classic. Hardly ripe for a remake, director Darren Bousman’s Mother’s Day is nevertheless a light improvement on the original. It even pays tribute to the makers of the original, featuring them briefly on a television set. Lead actress Rebecca De Mornay is perhaps the biggest draw here, with a mesmerising turn as the eponymous Mother. When three villainous brothers return to their childhood home to
sadistically terrorize the new home owners, things don’t quite go as planned. Mother arrived, ready to protect her son’s at any cost, and begins masterminding their escape. Having first been screened in 2010, its taken two years for the film to finally reach DVD and Blu-ray. While it wasn’t quite worth the wait, it’s good that the film wasn’t doomed to obscurity. Extras are sparse, although there is a commentary track from director Bousman. Not always the most entertaining subject, he does still reveal some interesting aspects of the production. Edward Bailey
Celebrating its 50th anniversary next year, what better time for a lavish new DVD release of Il Boom? Directed by Italian legend Vittorio De Sica (Bicycle Thieves), Il Boom has his fingerprints all over it. Although a comedy, the story is rooted in a dark premise. Giovanni lives a decadent lifestyle, well beyond his means. Factor in his wife’s appetite for luxury, and Giovanni is heavily in debt and on the verge of poverty. He decides the only way out is to end his life, until he finds out a wealthy mine is paying out for eyeballs. It sounds maudlin, but De Sica
wrings out some laughs, helped along by the skills of lead actor Alberto Sordi. Although not as great as the director’s earlier works, it’s still a worthy addition to the collection of any fans. Those unfamiliar with him however would be better off checking out Bicycle Thieves. This is the first time the film has been released on DVD in the UK. Disappointingly though, this release doesn’t offer anything in the way of extras. Not a great way to celebrate a 50th anniversary, but at least it’s finally getting a proper release. Edward Bailey
DVD Out Now
Studio Ghibli, Japan’s most famous animation studios, are renowned for their kooky and slightly absurd stories. Howl’s Moving Castle is quintessentially Ghibli, with brilliant animation, a wonderful story and some inexplicable strangeness which no Studio Ghibli film would be complete without. It has the wonderful distinction of being directed and written by Hayao Miyazaki, the man behind other Ghibli classics such as My Neighbour Totoro and Spirited Away. As any Ghibli aficionado knows, when he gets involved something
magical is imminent. Cursed by a spiteful witch 18-yearold Sophie is trapped in an old body and her only hope for release is the egotistical wizard Howl. She ends up employed in his moving castle and stumbles across Calcifer the fire demon who promises to free Sophie from the curse if she can free him from his contract with the wizard. Originally released in 2004 it will be getting an HD makeover, complete with a multitude of extras. Essential for any Ghibli fans collection. Summer Grant
Tales From Earthsea
Tales from Earthsea has the unfortunate luck of being one of the most forgettable Ghibli films. While it seems it would be a massive adventure on the scale of Princess Mononoke the potential doesn’t manage to transfer. There is something strange going on in the world, people are acting differently and starting to see dragons, mystical creatures which are not supposed to enter the human world. Wandering Wizard Ged teams up with Prince Arren to discover what is at the bottom of these unusual mysteries. Based on the novel by Ursula Le Guin it’s a shame to say that Studio Ghibli failed to do it justice. The relationship between characters,
which is usually a strength of these films, fell flat. The relationships were not explored as much as they should have been and as a result the story suffered greatly. Summer Grant
Blu-ray/DVD Released June 25th
Blu-ray/DVD Released June 25th
Images © Optimum
Howl’s Moving Castle
Twice Around The Daffodils DVD Out Now
From the people who made the Carry-On films, Twice Round the Daffodils stars Kenneth Williams as Henry Half-penny. Four men are taken to a clinic to be treated for TB and, very much in the style of the Carry-On films, all of them fall in love with a nurse Although it is hugely similar the trademarks of Carry-On never overshadow the elements of Twice Round the Daffodils. Since dealing with a serious disease it is apt that there is a spot of black humour scattered here and there. Perhaps the biggest difference is the seriousness fo the situation. It’s not just the illness that s dealt with but the consequences it has on people’s lives. For instance the Welsh miner, Donald Houston, can no longer work in the mines and with the loss of his livelihood he
contemplates suicide. Even more surprising is the sensitivity in which women are treated for this film. While Kenneth Williams’ other films often treated them as objects of amusement, Twice Round the Daffodils gives them a better role even venturing a glance at the effect a serious illness can have on a marriage. Summer Grant
3D: 3D: Just Just Another Another Gimmick Gimmick If you nip down to your local Images © Disney, sxc
cinema almost every film available for viewing will be in 3D. As if that wasn’t enough there’s bound to be a film from years ago that’s come back to haunt you, this time in the third dimension. Of course 3D isn’t a new thing, in fact it has been about for a while, but if you were to rewind five years it would have been a novelty. Gone are the days when random debris was thrown out into the audience
in a feeble attempt to make them jump and here are the times when we’re forced to sit through a film with that little extra depth. James Cameron is in part to blame
It’s been around for years, but recently it seems that every film is being given a 3D makeover. Is it a gimmick that’s worth the extra cash?
for the 3D boom thanks to his box-office topping Avatar. Full of colourful creatures, breathtaking visuals, an alright plot and a somewhat acceptable script it almost goes to show that if you shove a pair of gimmicky glasses on someone’s nose you’re guaranteed box-office success. It’s no secret that films are created simply to make money and it seems that this is the next step filmmakers are taking to ensure profit. In recent years 3D has undergone a renovation, the flimsy paper glasses with one red lens and one blue have been replaced with the sturdier plastic frames, which strike as a poor man’s set of sunglasses. The action on screen has evolved from barbaric to sophisticated and despite constant complaints that 3D just isn’t 3D enough we all get drawn back to the screen with the vague hope that maybe this time we’ll be impressed. Take The Lion King for example,
when it was released in 1994 it was an instant success, another victory for Disney, it became a firm family favourite and even now, 18 years later, it’s a hard film to beat. Yet no matter how it might please the children, or even those of us who saw the film as a child ourselves there’s no disguising just how pointless it was to convert the classic to 3D. It is after all animated and drawings are meant to be 2D so why make the mistake in the first place when there’s not even an anniversary to celebrate. Money, naturally. But if you really want to talk about huge movies getting a makeover then Titanic is an object of scrutiny too. Being the highest grossing film for so long, only to be sunk by the soaring popularity of Avatar, it is undoubtedly one of the biggest films in history. Cameron is bringing it back to the surface, restoring it and once again displaying it to the global audience. There’s nothing special about 3D, it is just another gimmick that has been employed to eke out as much money from the consumer as possible. There’s no denying that every 3D treat comes with at least an ounce of disappointment. While it is innovative it has more to do with money than the good of film making. Lets hope the fad dies out as it did in the past. Summer Grant
In The Next Retro Films
On Sale June 7th Images © Lionsgate, SyFy Channel
H o r ro r Sp e c i a l
With Cabin In The Woods unleashed in cinemas, we take a look back at some of the scariest horrors of the last 50 years. With exclusive interviews with cast and crew, gore hounds won’t want to miss out. Of course, the issue will also be full of all the regular news and reviews. Never miss an issue, delivered to your door each month check out subscription offers on page 36.
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