Written by Roger MalcolmBorn August 20, 1890, Howard Phillip Lovecraft contributed greatly to the literary world of horror fiction, which even more after his death on March 15, 1937 he has inspired generations of story-tellers to retell and borrow elements for their own tales of terror. However most film directors tend to struggle when directly adapting Lovecraft to screen as much of Lovecraft’s exquisite prose gets lost in the translation, yet others have found more success it seems when only borrowing elements to compliment their more original tales. Regardless, Lovecraft has infiltrated our modern culture to degrees only he would have believed his Cthulhu mythos to have reached in his world of literary fiction. (more…)
Dagon Spain | 98 mins | Fantasy/Horror/Mystery/Thriller | Color
A shipwrecked couple raft to a local fishing town on the Spanish coast for help, only the residents of Imboca aren’t quite what they were expecting. Based off Lovecraft’s The Shadow of Innsmouth, it is named after Lovecraft’s short story Dagon, which borrows elements for the film. Dagon is the fourth film based off Lovecraft directed by Stuart Gordon, the others being Re-Animator, From Beyond, and Castle Freak. The screenplay was written by Dennis Paoli, who also has writing credits on all three films just mentioned. Gordon and Paoli had originally intended Dagon to be filmed in 1985, yet instead it would be in some form of production for over 15 years.
The Haunted Palace (1963) USA / 87 min / Horror / Color
From the pit came a horror of unknown origins, which would lead to a curse on the New England town of Arkham. Based on Lovecraft’s ‘The Case of Charles Dexter Ward’, starring Vincent Price and Lon Chaney Jr., and directed by Roger Corman, The Haunted Palace derives its title from an Edgar Allan Poe poem. Notably the credits purposely misspell Poe’s middle name “Allan” to “Allen”. The studio American International Pictures forced Corman into changing the film’s original title “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward” to connect it to Corman’s Poe films of previous success. (more…)
After making Directing Inspiration in 2013, I’ve decided to put together another list of 10 directors that I enjoy very much. It was easy for me to pick my top 3 picks on my last list and then it became a little more time consuming narrowing down my top 10 personal favourites. My list was way over-bloated of course, so now it’s time for Part II. This time I haven’t dedicated any time to ranking the filmmakers, deciding instead to just list them in the order they came to me. Basically, this is a list who all really deserved to be on my first if only there were more spots. Since there weren’t, I felt somewhat guilty as they too inspire me a great deal. However, I have tried to rank each film from top to bottom in accordance to my preference.
Roger Malcolm’s Directing Inspiration Top 10 Part II
What is an anti-hero? Well, it seems almost everyone has an opposing opinion drifting from reluctant hero to complex villain, however neither of those are accurate. Though an anti-hero’s character might be reluctant to become involved heroically, they’re more importantly not so reluctant when it comes to achieving their goal by any means necessary. Where-in a conventional hero does no wrong, an anti-hero typically makes the audience question their allegiance to the character on-screen. An anti-heroes character is flawed, yet they still strive to rise up out of their imperfections to attempt a heroic fate. (more…)
King Kong (1933) USA / 104 min / Adventure Fantasy Horror / B/W
Written by Roger MalcolmThe greatest monster film ever, unrivaled in spectacle is the classic King Kong. The premise is based on an idea by Merian C. Cooper and Edgar Wallace. Cooper alongside Ernest B. Schoedsack would co-direct though both would be uncredited. The screenplay was written by James Ashmore Creelman and Ruth Rose. Creelman would write the screenplay for The Most Dangerous Game (1932) which was filmed simultaneously on the sets of King Kong as both would feature Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong. Rose would go on to write the screenplay for Mighty Joe Young (1949) which Schoedsack would also direct as well as directing Kong’s sequel Son of Kong (1933) released fittingly only 9 months later to capitalize on the success of it’s predecessor.
The Wolf Man (1941) USA / 70 min / Drama Horror / B/W
Written by Roger Malcolm Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright. Universal’s The Wolf Man, directed by George Waggner, starring Claude Rains as Sir John Talbot and Lon Chaney Jr. as Lawrence Stewart Talbot, was written for the screen by Curt Siodmak. It’s commonly mistaken as the first of it’s kind but Universal had released what is the first feature film depicting an anthropomorphic werewolf in Werewolf of London (1935) as well as a lost silent short film The Werewolf (1913). Originally both Werewolf of London and The Wolf Man would have utilized the same make-up effects of legendary make-up artist Jack Pierce, though his designs were rejected on Werewolf of London for a more simplified and less time-consuming approach. Pierce more famously created the make-up for Boris Karloff’s roles in both Frankenstein (1931) and The Mummy (1932). He would also do make-up for Bela Lugosi’s character in White Zombie (1932) and many other horror films of the time.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) USA / 80 min / Horror Sci-fi / B/W
Written by Roger MalcolmSet in a small California town, one doctor discovers a plot to overtake the human race in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The film is based on the novel The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney, adapted for the screen by Daniel Mainwaring and directed by Don Siegel. Filmed in beautiful black and white photography, Siegel would go on to direct A-list stars such as Steve McQueen in Hell is for Heores (1962), Clint Eastwood in Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970), Dirty Harry (1971), Escape From Alcatraz (1979) and The Shootist (1976) starring John Wayne in his last performance.
The Abominable Snowman (1957) UK / 91 min / Adventure Horror / B/W
On an adventure in the Himalayas for evidence of the Abominable Snowman, one scientist discovers the answers – albeit horrifically. Val Guest directs as he would on both The Quatermass Xperiment (1955) and Quatermass 2 (1957). The screenplay is based on a story called The Creature, both written by Nigel Kneale, known more famously for his creation of Dr. Bernard Quatermass. Quatermass, which tells the story of a highly moral British scientist that discovers a threat to humanity by alien forces, would spawn 3 television serials for the BBC in the 50’s, radio programs, a 4-part serial by Thames Television in the 70’s, a remake by BBC in 2005 of the original serial and 3 feature films from Hammer Film Productions.
Psycho (1960) USA / 109 min / Horror Mystery Thriller / B/W
The film that gave birth to the slasher, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho! The screenplay, written by Joseph Stefano, was based off the novel by Robert Bloch and stars Janet Leigh as Marion Crane, with Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates. Also, it was produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, in beautiful black and white cinematography. Psycho would be the director’s last, as he would transition to only color films for the rest of his career. In the years after Hitchcock’s death in 1980, 3 sequels featuring Anthony Perkins, a made-for-television movie spin-off, a near shot-for-shot remake and television series have been produced.
Cats Don’t Dance (1997) G | Comedy | Family | Fantasy | Musical
Released by Time Warner’s short-lived animation department Turner Feature Animation, Cats Don’t Dance is a charming tale with a lot of old Hollywood thrown into the mix. Directed by Mark Dindal, who would go on to direct and co-write the stories to The Emperor’s New Groove and Chicken Little, the tale manages to create a film for lovers of a time that once was, but is still very much loved. Composer Randy Newman (Toy Story) writes the music and lyrics to many of the songs throughout this very musical film. As an uncredited choreographic consultant, the legendary Gene Kelly contributes to his last film project, which is dedicated to him at the end.
Matinee (1993) PG | Comedy | Drama
Matinee is a tale of social satire of the early 1960’s with a touch of William Castle-esque movie promoting magic sprinkled throughout. The story is written by Jerico (Stone) and Charles S. Haas, with Haas also writing the screenplay and directed by Joe Dante – known more famously for The Howling (1981), Gremlins (1984), The ‘Burbs (1989), Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) and Small Soldiers (1998). Dante merges the science fiction films of the era with the real life horrors of the time, demonstrating the skill of a master at work educating his audience without overly preaching while keeping it light and humorous along the way. (more…)
Sometimes it’s just better if a wrestler does a small role before tackling a lead, such as Hulk Hogan did in Rocky III as Thunderlips. It is perhaps the king of all wrestler-turned-actor bit parts, so with that said I won’t be selecting it on my list, as I’m already mentioning it. However, I do believe Hogan would have been better off sticking to this approach for his film work or just having stuck with this role alone and not continued acting anymore at all. Since his roles in No Holds Barred, Suburban Commando, and Mr. Nanny were so poorly received, I don’t know how he ever climbed the ranks to land a recurring role in the Thunder in Paradise series of films and TV show. Though it’s probably a safe bet why he doesn’t still have acting roles in films. Hogan really did transcend professional wrestling and all the wrestlers turned actors surely have him to thank even if it’s just for setting the bar so low for the acting transition.
I have never taken the New Year resolution very serious. I suppose I always allowed the view of others’ failures to cheapen the overall idea. It wasn’t until 2013 when I realized I should set a New Year’s resolution for myself. I thought about what it was that I wanted to do and it wasn’t long before I realized my goal.
I’m no Christian and I certainly have only a sourness in me for the tradition of gift-giving during the time of year most refer to as Christmas. Regardless of my distaste for the big-business corporate exploitation of the pagan holiday known as Yule, I do still love and enjoy the time of year when the earth turns cold – freezing, killing off the weak. We are reminded of our fragility, and the survivors become rejuvenated with renewed spirit for the coming new year. At least this seems to be the transformation I feel I am a part of as my soul searches and spirit re-balances itself during the winter solstice.
So here are Roger Malcolm’s 10 Christmas Film Favourites…
Chris, Dave and Roger discuss Christopher Nolan’s Memento. Possible SPOILERS, of course!
Chris, Dave and Roger discuss Evan Glodell’s Bellflower. Possible SPOILERS, of course!
Chris, Dave and Roger discuss Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch. Possible SPOILERS, of course!