“I’m every nightmare you’ve ever had. I’m your worst dream come true. I’m everything you ever were afraid of.” Continue reading Pennywise the Dancing Clown: Nightmare Fuel for a Generation
This is Grizzly Bomb’s Trailer Round for April the 12th in the year of 2013…[tabgroup][tab title=”The Hangover Part III”]
When you saw the first Hangover film, did you think it would make a great trilogy? Someone did. So here it is. The triumphant conclusion to the story that doesn’t appear to have an ending. You know it will be good when it returns back to where the first film has already been. Here we go again, again.
The Wolf Pack returns to Vegas on what appears to be a mission fulfilling the wishes of deceased father in law Sid Garner. Or, at least, that is what I believe the plot to be. The only thing confirmed from the trailer is that giraffe dismemberment is hilarious.
Director: Todd Phillips
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Melissa McCarthy, Zach Galifianakis, Jamie Chung, Justin Bartha, John Goodman, Heather Graham, Ken Jeong, and Ed Helms.
Release Date: May 24, 2013
[/tab][tab title=”Welcome To The Punch”]
Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong) is an ex-criminal. But like father, like son. Go figure? His son ends up in the hospital after a heist gone wrong, and Sternwood has to get him out. So this should be the perfect opportunity for Max Lewinsky (James McAvoy) to put Sternwood behind bars for good. Wait, no. That would be too simple.They grab my interest when they attach the name Ridley Scott in the opening sequence. Does this mean it will be a great film? No. It just means they have my attention.
Director: Eran Creevy
Stars: James McAvoy, David Morrissey, Mark Strong, Andrea Riseborough, Jason Flemyng, Peter Mullan, Johnny Harris, and Elyes Gabel.
Release Date: March 15, 2013 UK[/tab][tab title=”Somebody Up There Likes Me”]
This seems to be one of those dry indie comedies that I find difficult to relate to. Though it is considered a comedy, it has evident dark tones. That being the case, I wouldn’t expect our presented “protagonist” to advance or become any better by the films end. Therefore, with no relatable characters, I would fail to have my usual cathartic experience. This is often the case with dark comedies.
Why should you see it? Well, heck. It’s got Ron Swanson in it, now doesn’t it? Not really, but Nick Offerman is in his typical form which I am sure is quite entertaining. The more screen time he gets, the better this movie will be.
Director: Bob Byington
Stars: Nick Offerman, Keith Poulson, Jess Weixler, Stephanie Hunt, Marshall Bell, Kate Lyn Sheil, and Kevin Corrigan.
Release Date: March 8, 2013[/tab][tab title=”Stuck In Love”]
This seems like an endearing little piece with a large cast that I very much enjoy. The trailer shows what appears to be a great representation of modern love in a divorced society. Selfishness motivates most of our decisions, and because of it, we let things go that we shouldn’t, and we give up on things that deserve our attention.Sometimes, it’s tragic how dependable we can be on other human beings. Love is the overpowering emotion that convinces us many times that the unreasonable is reasonable. I know this description seems complex, but it is all invoked from this trailer. So it seems like a pretty interesting movie.
Director: Josh Boone
Stars: Logan Lerman, Lily Collins, Jennifer Connelly, Kristen Bell, Stephen King, Greg Kinnear, Liana Liberato, Nat Wolff, Spencer Breslin, and Patrick Schwarzenegger.
Release Date: June 14, 2013[/tab][tab title=”White House Down”]
I feel like this movie will succeed. Hear me out. Everyone was a bit disappointed with the flat, explosion friendly Die Hard 5. They felt a little bit better when Olympus Has Fallen came out. They felt that their Die Hard void had been filled. So people will enter into the summer movie madness remembering that they enjoyed a film where the White House was under attack from foreign invaders.
So enter White House Down. It is very Red Dawn ish. Which, I love. It cannot be determined if the invaders are foreign or domestic, but judging upon the Lincoln quote, probably domestic. It’s like Red Dawn meets Die Hard 4.
Director: Roland Emmerich
Stars: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Jason Clarke, Joey King, Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Woods, Richard Jenkins, Rachelle Lefevre, and Jimmi Simpson.
Release Date: June 28, 2013[/tab][/tabgroup]
I was about twelve years old when I first read It. As a kid I did not do well with scary stories (I had to be taken out of Men In Black twice in theatres before I could sit through the whole movie) so I’m not sure why I decided a story about a child-murdering space clown would be something I’d be into, but for whatever reason, my curiosity was piqued. In the subsequent decade or so, I’ve lined my bookshelves with a substantial portion of Stephen King’s prolific work, but none of his villains are as iconic or as memorable as Pennywise the Dancing Clown.
Pennywise is probably Stephen King’s most famous monster and his visage, embodied by Tim Curry in a made-for-TV movie adaptation, is also one of the most recognizable clowns in pop culture. This probably comes down to the sheer fact that, as an entity, It really only exists to haunt and brutally murder children. As a supernatural being from another dimension, it resides below the town of Derry, Maine, and awakens every 30 years to feast. In It, a group of kids hunted by the monster spend most of their lives in a desperate fight against fear itself.
At face value, the eponymous monster is scary because it takes advantage of your deepest fears. It knows exactly what makes you shudder and it manifests itself into it, whether to control you, terrify you, drive you insane or just because it thinks kids taste better when they’re scared. Throughout the story It transforms into a werewolf, a leper and an entire reservoir of drowned corpses, in addition to a handful of other custom-tailored gruesome creatures designed specifically for each of its victims. There is a moment late in It when the reader learns that Pennywise is an evil so foreign to our world that its true appearance can’t be processed by the human brain. The characters perceive It as a hulking, spider-like creature, but that’s only the closest approximation they can understand. There’s something so perfectly Lovecraftian about that idea. It also serves as an appropriate endpoint; You constantly feel its presence below the town of Derry, just out of view. If it were to be revealed as anything tangible or concrete, it would take so much away from its ethereal oppression over the town’s residents.
But despite all this, the creepiest form of all is that of Pennywise the Dancing Clown. As Pennywise It entices children with his floating balloons. He taunts and insults the Losers’ Club when they return to Derry, flaunting his murders and flashing his teeth. And of all the scares in the entire book, to this day I still shiver when I picture one scene where he stands knee-deep in water staring and smiling at one of the kids. That is why Pennywise is the mascot of the story – he isn’t some subjective horror that can be rationalized away. Adults can see and walk right by the jaunty painted clown while he points and sneers at his next victim.
I don’t know if there ever was a time when clowns were not terrifying, but if Pennywise didn’t start it he certainly does a lot to reinforce the notion. I have read It more times than I can count now, and while I think the 1990 TV movie is so dated and corny it’s almost laughable, even it can’t quite wipe away some of the genuine creepiness of the book. But maybe scariest of this whole story? Supposedly Pennywise’s big red wig was Tim Curry’s real hair.
Check out the other characters on the Countdown HERE.
The Shining is one of those movies that most people don’t really get on their first viewing. It certainly wasn’t embraced by critics in 1980 when it first came out, but it hit a nerve with audiences, and over time has become massively appreciated for the masterpiece it is. It’s a film that to this day, is still not fully understood, yet is deceptively simple whilst still being enormously complex. So complex in fact, that I dare say it’s probably the most complex horror film ever made. The main reason I believe I can firmly say this, is because it’s directed by Stanley Kubrick, who is one of the greatest directors of all time. Every single one of his films is a bold statement about life, culture, social issues, personal expression, the universe, – everything. For a man to have made the single greatest Science Fiction film of all time, (2001: A Space Odyssey), it’s certainly fitting that he also made the most complex horror film of all time, and a strong contender for greatest horror film of all time as well. The difference between 2001 & The Shining being, that no film has ever really been able to touch 2001, but many have gotten close if not surpassed The Shining, in terms of sheer horror. But none have come close to its level of subtle complexity.
But as far as complexity and symbolism, The Shining is unparalleled. I can’t think of another horror film with as much depth and meaning behind literally every single shot in it as does The Shining. It’s a film that is riddled with subtext, visual cues, architectural anomalies, subliminal messages, and symbolic background imagery so dense, that it makes nearly every frame of the film full of things to dissect and discuss. Believe me, in researching this article, I’ve seen plenty do just so. The point of this though, is to present all of these ideas and concepts to you in a simple, relatable way, without overloading you with information like I’ve seen other articles do. Frankly, the movie is an ocean of information, but the beauty of it is that all of it works on every level. It’s a horror film about a man going mad. It’s a psychological thriller about a woman in peril. It’s a ghost story about a haunted hotel. It’s all of those and more, and every interpretation you take from it with each viewing is just as valid as anyone else’s.
Firstly, the main interpretation most folks get from the movie is pretty straight forward. Jack Torrance is an alcoholic writer who has taken a caretaker position at The Overlook Hotel. He is told murders have happened there, but decides to bring his family along anyway, and hopes to get some writing done. His son has a psychic gift, that warns him of the hotel, but he is powerless to do anything about it. Jack arrives at the hotel, and is slowly driven to madness by the evil spirits in the hotel, and he attempts to murder his family in turn. Along the way his son and wife elude him, and finally lose him in the massive hedge maze that resides outside the hotel. Jack, lost and confused, sits down to rest in the snow, and freezes to death. The film ends on a shot of a picture from the 20’s, where we see that Jack Torrance, or a man who appears just like him, is in the picture frame. It’s implied that he has been “absorbed” into the hotel, and is now just another one of the spirits who live there, restless for all time.
That’s generally how most people I’ve spoken to, see the film. And it’s a valid way to interpret the movie! By all means it’s legitimate and has merit as that was for the most part how it was in the book. My personal interpretation however, stresses the psychological aspect of the movie, and precludes the concept of there being ghosts, by the way of Jack, Danny, and Wendy all being entirely unreliable narrators. Simply put, all of them are different levels of crazy, going crazier, and whose to say that what they’re experiencing is actually, objectively true. For instance, every single time Jack speaks to a “ghost”, in the film, there’s always a mirror, or polished surface present. In the bar, a mirror. In the food locker, the polished reflective metal of the door. I believe that every spirit he speaks to, is just a visual manifestation of his psychosis, made worse and worse by the isolation of the Overlook Hotel. Coupled with the resentment he feels towards his wife for the accusation of child abuse, and his weakness for alcohol which he imbibes in at the hotel, it paints a definite picture of a man whose sanity and objectivity are in question.
If you were so inclined, and I am, you could find a bevy of reasonable explanations for everything that happens to the Torrance family. Reasonable being, non-supernatural in my opinion. Kubrick’s intention with the film seems very much skewed towards portraying any and all supernatural events relatively ambiguously, as I previously stated, all of Jack’s encounters can be explained by his deteriorating mental state. The same can be said for Danny and Wendy, who are doubtlessly being driven to their breaking point. Towards the end of the film, Wendy starts to see many terrifying visions, which at first viewing can be explained supernaturally, but also can plausibly be explained by her own burdening psychosis. Add in the fact that Danny could debatably have some form of autism, along with the incredible stress and likely abuse he receives at the hand of his father, and you’ve got a reasonable explanation for the twin girls he sees, along with the bruises he allegedly sustains in room 237. Again, all of these can be attributed to a family, basically going insane together. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an epilogue scene, discovered in a vault somewhere, where Wendy goes catatonic and is committed, and Danny is sent to a foster home, irreparably traumatized for the rest of his life. A scene like that though, would be too absolute, and would ruin much of the fun of the film, in my opinion.
The only definitively supernatural thing in the film, is ‘The Shining’ itself. The inclusion of Dick Hallorann means that Danny almost definitely does have some psychic ability. In my personal interpretation of the film, I see it a bit more straightforward than just a haunted hotel. I see it as this: Jack goes to this hotel, looking to overcome his demons and foster his writing career. Unfortunately he suffers from a severe case of cabin fever and begins drinking. His alcoholism fuels his latent anger issues, and causes him to continue abusing his child physically. As a coping mechanism, Danny creates a way to deal with his abusive father, and hallucinates ghosts and other explanations for the things around him. He eventually psychically calls Dick Hallorann for help, until Jack tragically murders him in an insane rage. As Wendy protects her child, her husband’s madness has a drastic effect on her, and she begins hallucinating terrifying things around her, no doubt inspired by the many tales and rumors they’ve heard concerning the Overlook. The film ends with her escaping, and a family unit splits in a tragic, yet thankfully fairly bloodless way. As for the picture? It’s a final visual metaphor for how the hotel overcame Jack’s psyche entirely. He’s not literally “there” in the picture, more than he has ever “always been there”, as his hallucination/ghost friend Grady says.
One final interesting note, is that a detail that many overlook (sorry), is that ‘The Shining’ is implied to be hereditary, as it’s only Jack & Danny who seem to have active experiences with the hotel’s potential spirits. Towards the end Wendy begins to see things too, but I speculate that this is a form of mental projection, brought on by the sheer force of will by Jack and/or Danny. A mindmeld of the “pictures” that ‘The Shining’ can show you, so to speak. As for what interpretation of the film you want to take, be it the first I described, which is to take the movie at face value or to infer things a bit deeper like in my own personal interpretation, is up to you. Perhaps you think it’s some combination of the two, or something else different entirely. The great thing about the movie is reasonably it could be any of those, and that’s without looking at any of the symbolic imagery in the movie to add further context for each scene in the film.
One of the more overt examples of symbolism, is the fact that the Overlook hotel was built on old Native American territory, and is in fact built on Native American burial ground. Stewart Ullman even says they had to fend off a few attacks from Native Americans while constructing the hotel. It’s generally reflected in all of the hotel, as the Native American motif is prevalent all throughout the entire building. In many rooms there’s some aspect of it in the background, hinting at the history of the hotel’s roots. Throughout the film there are subtle allusions to this more and more. Since the hotel was built on Native American burial ground, the setting of the film really becomes crucial towards understanding the nature of the “spirits” that reside there. It’s to be inferred that the hotel is a focal point to gather the would be spirits of the potentially vast amounts of Native Americans who were killed, during both the colonization of the land, and during the construction of the hotel itself.
While the spirits that are implied to be the ones doing the haunting seem to come from 1921, there is still ample evidence of the Native American influence in the film directly. Most famously, the Elevator Blood scene, which has now become so iconic it’s been parodied ad infinitum. One must ask themselves though, whose blood is it we’re seeing? In the case of a cultural genocide, as the Native American population sustained, that’s probably the amount of blood that was shed by the many Native Americans who perished defending the burial ground, or who were buried there beforehand. Another key Native American influence? What weapon does Jack decide to use to finally take down his family? An axe of course, which is just an Americanized, extended version of the same basic weapon as a Native American tomahawk. Furthermore, as Jack chases his son into the hedge maze, we see him turn from a ranting madman screaming his son’s name, into a primal man at his most basic impulse to kill. The last civilized semblance of Jack is lost, as he finally rejects all language, and shouts only instinctual, animalistic, and guttural moans in anger and agony. At this moment, he has ironically become the “savage” that so many early settlers believed the Natives to be.
Furthermore in the film, is a keen sense of visual symmetry. Both the main hall that Jack first walks into, and the hall that leads to the “Golden Room” are symmetrically similar, and emphasize the increasingly more prevalent spatial anomalies in the film. Kubrick is famously known for his attention to detail, and the resulting incongruities when plotting out the architectural layout of the Overlook Hotel is something that would absolutely have been noticed as erroneous if it wasn’t intentional. It’s theorized that Kubrick intended a sense of disorientation to the viewer, subtly adding more depth visually and psychologically to the film. A viewer could watch the movie many times and not notice it consciously, but once looking for them, they’re everywhere. Famous examples include the aforementioned hallways, which aren’t architecturally feasible, the size of Room 237 in comparison to the hallway it resides in, to the more obvious example of The Impossible Window in Stuart Ullman’s office. A window that seemingly leads to a view of the mountains behind the Hotel, despite the room being located in the center of the Hotel, and nowhere near an exterior wall for such a window to exist.
Increasing amounts of critics and fans have noticed these spatial anomalies, and have gone to great lengths to locate, study, and dissect the meaning of all of them. A particularly interesting example is a modified level for a PC game called Duke Nukem, wherein a fan modeled an entire level based on the Overlook Hotel. Because of the Hotel’s spatial anomalies, impossibilities and layout, the level had to be modified from the exact layout of the Hotel, in order to be continuously playable. One needs only to search “The Shining spatial anomalies” on the internet to quickly find the litany of posts, videos, blogs and pictures made dedicated to understanding and breaking down the Overlook Hotel.
From impossibly angled hallways, to impossible windows, to rooms that are impossibly bigger than they could be, the whole film is littered with visual cues for the subconscious to pick up on.
But in the end, what does it all mean? Why does the layout of an imaginary set matter so much if the film isn’t worth watching? The brilliance of The Shining is that as well as being symbolically and visually rich, it’s a brilliantly acted, engaging and horrifying story. Whether you want to look at it as a psychological masterpiece, detailing the breakdown of a family due to a collective loss of sanity, or a supernatural whirlwind where a man and his family are driven insane by the otherworldly forces around them. There’s one underlying fact about however you interpret the movie, and that’s that no matter the reason, the characters in the movie are driven to the edge, and watching them go through such a harrowing ordeal, regardless of personal interpretation, is as engaging as it is terrifying. In a film filled with symmetry, impossible architecture, heavy symbolism, and implied meaning in every shot, one is left to ponder just why are the Torrance family subject to such a bizarre and cruel fate? The brilliance of the film is that this is where each viewer gets to decide their own personal meaning for the film, and focus on just what exactly that last shot of Jack Torrance in the 1921 picture frame means to them. Whether it’s something left over from another world, a visual representation of Jack’s spirit being claimed by the Hotel, or a picture of another man entirely, is up for the viewer to decide. It’s one of the few examples of ambiguity in a film done right, rather than simply refusing to answer a blatant question posed by the filmmaker ala Inception or Prometheus, to use more modern examples.
To that end, I can only answer what the film’s ending, and it’s meaning as a whole are to me. It’s a movie I’ve seen probably over 60 times, because for a while I made a point to watch it nearly every day. It’s a movie I never find tiring, or get bored with, partly because of the rich background detail in the film I’ve just touched on in this article, but also because oddly enough, I find it strangely relatable. Yes, I know that sounds corny, or even borderline scary, but watching a writer try to wrestle with his demons, succumb to them, and eventually go mad because of them hits a nerve with me. I’ve had many of the similar feelings that Jack pretty rudely expresses to his wife about concentration and writing in the beginning half of the film. Now that’s not to say that I’ve also had borderline insane thoughts about chopping up my family with an axe, (although who hasn’t had those underlying angry thoughts every one in a while), but it’s more to represent my feelings on sanity, frustration, and the writing process. In a way, the film can represent the most extreme example of writers block ever had, and anyone who’s ever dealt with it knows how maddening it can be. In a way, watching The Shining is almost a meditative process for me, it’s a film that centers me, reminds me of who not to become, and entertains me at the same time.
At different times I can watch it as different movies, sometimes about a man going insane, sometimes about a haunted hotel. Sometimes that ending picture is his soul being claimed by the hotel, and sometimes I even think it’s far more complicated than that. Perhaps this old Jack from 1921 is a man out of time, an abnormality, and somehow both a different person, and yet the same person as Jack Torrance. In the same way that Delbert Grady informs Jack “You’ve always been the caretaker”, perhaps he’s meant to be taken quite literally at face value. It’s even implied that Grady himself has had a similar process thing happen to him. In the beginning of the movie we hear about a Charles Grady who went insane and killed his family, yet Jack talks to and sees a Delbert Grady, and even asks him if he was the caretaker before. It implies that perhaps what is happening to Jack, is and has been happening to people for a long time. The two Grady’s represent Old Jack from the picture, and Jack as we know him today, in a cycle long since past. Maybe Jack is and always has been the caretaker, and always will be. Other times I’ve watched it with a more reasonable mind and simply interpreted the whole thing as a case of everyone in the film being an unreliable narrator. Regardless of how many times I watch it, I always find myself being pulled back to it, over and over again. It’s unique to me because of this, and it’s by far the movie I’ve watched the most in my life because of it. It would seem that The Overlook Hotel even has powers to pull in the viewer, in this case me, in a way that I can’t explain. Or perhaps it’s just the exceptional talent of Stanley Kubrick, who in his own words set out to create the definitive horror film of all time, and frankly, I think he succeeded.
It certainly is the most complex, because even in this article I’ve just barely scratched the surface on the pages and pages of content written about the film. There’s plenty more written by people far smarter than I, who have put a lot more work into breaking every little detail of the film down. There’s so much in fact, that I find it necessary to list just a few of the sources I drew my information and facts from, just to get you started, if you were so inclined. Be careful though, it’s a long rabbit hole to go down, but a damned fascinating one at that.[toggle_box title=”SOURCES” width=”500″]
Halloween is almost here, and you know what that means. It’s movie season. There is something special about watching horror films in October. Cinefiles such as myself can’t get enough of the genre year around, but it seems even more fitting this time of year. One of my essential picks for the season is 1980’s The Shining staring Jack Nicholson and Olive Oil herself, Shelley Duvall. That brings me to #11 on the Grizzly Bomb Countdown to Halloween, Jack Torrance and The Shining.
“Here’s Johnny!” I was one of those kids that made references to pop culture, but was entirely confused on their actual origination. Though I hadn’t even seen The Shining, I was familiar with Jack Nicholson saying, “Here’s Johnny!” When I would imitate it, people assumed I knew who Johnny Carson was. Clearly they were unaware of my 9PM bedtime. I would get the same confusion when I would pretend to be Michaelangelo from the Ninja Turtles by saying, “You dirty rat. You killed my bruddah.” Everyone assumed it was my James Cagney impression. (Even though he never once says that line, but I digress.) Yeah, a five year old knows who James Cagney is. Blonde Crazy was one of my favorite films when I was five. (Sarcasm)
So this little five year old is going around saying, “Here’s Johnny!” But why? Because Jack Torrance is one of the most influential characters of pop culture, that’s why! Originally introduced in Stephen King’s 1977 bestseller, The Shining, Jack Torrance was quite simply an alcoholic that ultimately met his demise due to his addiction. Jack Torrance in his written format succumbs to this addiction, and nearly destroys his family and trusty chef Hallorran in the process. The novel is heavily themed with addiction, and the enormous sacrifice required to overcome it. One scene from the novel that was omitted in the film featured Jack’s father, who was also shown to have been an abusive, alcoholic. In the book, it was only after brutally destroying his own face with a mallet that Jack comes to his senses and resembles the caring father he once was. Through the telepathic powers of The Shining, Danny is capable of overpowering the hotel’s evil spirit and the hotel’s boiler explodes. Danny, his mother, and Hallorran escape, but Jack is destroyed along with the hotel. This novel is such a phenomenal representation of what addiction does to a family generation after generation, and the climactic sacrifice required to extinguish the blemish.
In 1997, a three part miniseries was produced by King starring Steven Weber as Jack Torrance. The television adaptation was intended to ensure a more true adaptation of King’s orignal novel. Those familiar with the book loved it. Those that had not read the novel, not so much. Though the explanation for the boiler exploding in the book is due to negligence, the boiler exploding in the miniseries is directly due to Jack sacrificing himself to save his family. The redemptive qualities are even more present in the miniseries then any other form. Also, the miniseries includes a scene not in the book in which Danny has graduated from high school. In this scene, it is revealed that Tony, Danny’s imaginary friend is actually the future self of Danny who has served as a guardian. This is explained far greater in the miniseries than in the book, and makes even more sense when it was recently revealed that King will publish a sequel to the book in September of 2013. It should also be pointed out that Anthony or “Tony” is Danny’s middle name.
So what liberties did Kubrick take with the 1980 film that were so far off the mark? In my opinion, some of the best pieces of the film, that’s what! It’s unfortunate, but in cinema, the original writer is one of the most disrespected members of the filming process. As the saying goes, they’ll take artistic suggestions from the hair stylist’s brother’s pizza guy before they listen to the writer on the set. Or at least, it goes something like that. I don’t know, I have taken my own liberties. Kubrick creates a character the audience is far less likely to sympathize with. His insanity is so pungent that it is unrecognizable. There is rarely confusion to wether Jack is the protagonist or antagonist. We find the Overlook Hotel to be his fate and his destiny rather than succumbing to his own vices. Hallorran doesn’t just get nearly beat to death with a mallet like in the book. He gets an axe buried in his chest! Not only did the audience get a shock from this scene, but the audience that had read the book would also receive a shock to find that Hallorran wasn’t going to make it out of this one.
The ending is one of the most blatant liberties in which nothing happens to the Overlook itself. Though the evil that resides within the hotel is responsible for Jack’s behavior, it is Jack that pays the ultimate consequence, not the hotel. No boiler explosions, and aside from some busted in doors, the hotel is unscathed. Jack however, is left as the creepiest frozen Jack-sicle you’d ever see in the outdoor shrub maze. The themes of addiction are not felt as strongly as in the novel. We are not given a greater explanation of what The Shining truly is, and how great of an impact Danny has. In many ways, I feel the film is successful at creating gruesome suspense and attacks the audience visually rather than displaying the theme of addiction. In true Kubrick style, the film is done incredibly well, and for that reason, it remains a favorite to many.
Keep an eye out, another character on the Countdown will be revealed at every night at 12:01 am for the rest of the month. You’ll also be able to find them HERE.
Also, for more on the Overlook: The Shining: The Most Complex Horror Film Ever Made
It’s almost Halloween, so what better time to start promoting the “updated” Carrie? This, the latest Hollywood remake (which isn’t actually scheduled for release until March of 2013) of the classic Stephen King novel adaptation stars Chloe Grace Moretz in the title role, and also features Julianne Moore as the over-bearing, crazy religious mother of Carrie White.
Chloe, who is only fifteen, already has a list of disturbing characters on her resume: Hit-Girl from Kick Ass, the vampire in Let Me In and the oversexualized werewolf child in Dark Shadows, so I guess playing the telekenetically charged, disturbed teen that is Carrie is just a natural progression for her. Personally, I would like to see Moretz get more roles like the one she had in Hugo as opposed to being typecast as “the creepy girl”, but she has proved to be a talented actress so hopefully her turn in Carrie will be just another stepping stone.
This movie still seems to be in the early stages of post-production/promotions as demonstrated by the lack of substance from their first trailer and website. The trailer is impressive in it’s scope of capturing what is essentially the pivotal scene of the first movie but you’ve got to wonder where else they are going to go with the story. One of the weaknesses of doing a remake is that you aren’t surprising anybody with the main plot points so it will be interesting to see how the films fairly inexperienced director and screenwriter keep things fresh. It’s encouraging to see Julianne Moore attached to the project as she is definitely a talented actress but no one survives forever without making bad movie choices eventually. Screenwriter Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa apparently got the job based on his work on Glee so maybe we can expect a song and dance number or two and the slushie in the face has clearly moved to the next level.
“Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. I’m not gonna hurt ya.” Who here does not appreciate the sheer cinematic creepiness of Jack Nicholson in The Shining.
Stanley Kubrick really knocked that film adaptation out of the park, but let us not forget where the genius behind the Outlook Hotel came from. Stephen King published The Shining in 1977 and it quickly became his first hardback bestseller. It was then adapted to film in 1980 and has etched more than one memorable scene into our minds. I begrudgingly carry those images with me every time I stay in a hotel. Will there, or will there not be an enormous pool of blood that spills out of this elevator?
So what if we could have more? King has recently set a date for a sequel to be released to the 1977 classic. Dr. Sleep will be published on September 24th, 2013. The novel will follow an older Daniel Torrance who now uses his “Shining” to assist the elderly. Enter plot point. A gang of psychic vampires are feeding off of people’s energy, and are targeting those with “The Shining.” This kid just can’t catch a break, now can he?
Ultimately, I have three questions for Mr. King; Should he? Would he? Could he?
The first question I would like to ask is, “Was this necessary?” 35 years after the original novel, have their been screaming fans calling for more of the Torrance family? This is one of the most eerie, suspenseful stories that I have ever seen beautifully adapted to film, but I can honestly say that I left feeling fulfilled. No further part of me had even an inkling to see what else could come out of this story. Jack, the maniac, was always destined to succumb to his vices. He belonged there, and just as the final portrait shows, he has always been there. It gives me chills just thinking about it. So with a stern, “No.” I can honestly say this book did not need to be written.
The question of would he is obvious. He has! For those of us that are still curious 36 years after the original, the book will be out next September. When it comes to writing something this long after the original there are two schools of thought. King has either spent thirty plus years crafting the perfect conclusion to a story we thought was over, or he is simply reminiscing on a past muse to find something to write about. Regardless, it’s Stephen King. The book will sell.
Here is my third and final question for Mr King. Can you do it, sir? Can you write a book 35 years after the original and still keep it fresh and exciting? For this I say, “Yes.” The reason being is that good writing is good writing. I could be listening to the dumbest story, but if the person is a good story-teller, I will still be engaged. This will always be applicable to good writers. If you captivate the audience, they will keep reading those pages. The audience sometimes fails to recognize that it is not their story! It’s King’s. He can do whatever he wants with it. You are given the option to either acknowledge, or ignore. I’ll probably chose to ignore. I am more than satisfied with where The Shining has left me. Jack is still frozen with that terrifying look on his face, and Scatman Crothers still has an ax buried in him. All work and no play makes Stephen a dull boy.
I cannot think of anything to begin this with other than this is sad news. Michael Clarke Duncan passed away Monday at the young age of 54. Duncan suffered a heart attack seven weeks ago, and never recovered. The actor was dating reality TV star Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, who according to TMZ, provided life-saving efforts when Duncan had his heart attack.
The actor had a short, but impactful career. Duncan’s first big role was in Armageddon in 1998, where he played Bear. Following that, in 1999, he played my favorite role of his, John Coffey in The Green Mile – the film adaptation of the Stephen King book. Coffey is a man accused of killing and raping two young Louisiana girls, but is innocent of the crime. While on death row, knowledge of his magic comes to light. He can literally heal with his hands. His 6’5″, 300+ pound muscular stature was perfect for the role. This movie was one of my favorites because it is one of the only book-to-film adaptations that I ever liked. I read the Green Mile books (there were 6 in the set), and the film was just as great in my opinion. As you know, that is not usual. I believe that the success of the film was a direct result of Michael Clarke Duncan’s Oscar-Nominated performance.
Michael Clarke Duncan’s talents will be greatly missed. Rest in peace.
I’ve honestly run out of Dark Tower pictures from writing articles about how many times this damned is happening and then isn’t happening and then is happening again – 4/8/11, 5/6/11, 7/20/11 – but hey, there’s more casting news to report…. recasting that is. It would appear that ‘Maximus’ himself – Russell Crowe will be taking the place of Javier Bardem as the badass gunslinger and main character ‘Roland Deschain’. Of course this is all just speculation at this point.
According to IGN, Akiva Goldsmith is ready to hand over his script to Warner Bros for approval, and a decision should be coming in the next couple weeks. I’m hoping they either definitively move on with this project, or scrap the damned thing for good because it’s been talked about for so long. Will Goldsmith’s script make the cut with Warner Bros? Goldsmith is of course the scribe behind screenplays for movies such as I am Legend, I Robot and The Da Vinci Code. He has also written for one of Dr. Kronner’s favorite movies, Batman and Robin. Take those accomplishments as you will. Even though Goldsmith has an ugly turd like Batman and Robin under his belt, he has also written numerous episodes of the much loved Sci-Fi TV show Fringe. Is that enough to wash away the bad?
Whether you enjoy Goldsmith as a writer or not, I’m sort of relieved that Bardem is now out of the picture. Not that I didn’t love his creepy hitman role in No Country for Old Men, but the guy from Eat Pray Love just didn’t have my confidence for a project of this magnitude. At least with Crowe we know he can play a bad ass and can do it well for three movies and possible a TV series. Crowe is on schedule for a bit of a comeback after serving up such mediocrity as American Gangster and Robin Hood in recent years. He’ll be all set to knock our socks off as the Gunslinger once his turn as Jor’El in Man of Steel hopefully restores him to prominence.
Is anyone else wanting this project to move forward? Personally I think it’s a huge gamble like New Line did with Lord of the Rings, and look at how that paid off for them. Warner Bros needs to grow a pair and take a chance because I’m sure even if it fails, their coffers won’t hardly take a dent. You know they’re still swimming in money like old Scrooge McDuck from the Harry Potter and Dark Knight income. Sound off below and let us know where you stand!
This is the latest of a whole series here at Grizzly Bomb. For each feature we will examine an individual genre and the quality of its films produced within a specific decade. These lists will be compiled from a point system determined by votes from each member of the staff. It’s very scientific, we used Excel.
Not much says horror like 80’s horror. A genre defining decade if ever there was one, the 80’s brought us some of the classics as well as those cult favorites that most love to hate. We saw the start of never-ending franchises and one-offs that lasted longer in our nightmares than they did in the theater. Remember that short period of time when horror movies were scary? I do. It was the 80’s.
This list was populated by 14 Grizzly Bomb staffers and 2 additional guest voters. It resulted in a whopping 63 different movies being listed, which we scientifically put together into a list of the top 25.
*Our Guest Voters this time around are friends of the site Stephen Scarlata, who is currently finishing up some work on the Documentary ‘Jodorowsky’s Dune‘, and David E. Williams who is an Executive Producer on Femme Fatales.
24. The Beyond (1981)
23. Stephen King’s Silver Bullet (1985)
22. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
21. Bad Taste (1987)
20. Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)
19. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)
18. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
17. Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
15. Return of the Living Dead (1985)
14. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
13. Day of the Dead (1985)
12. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
11. The Lost Boys (1987)
And the TOP 10….
SCOOT: Hellraiser comes to us from horror visionary Clive Barker, and was adapted from his novella The Hellbound Heart . It was wide renowned for its shocking gore and out of this world storyline, with state of the art special effects (for its time, of course). It tells the story of a man seeking the ultimate in pleasure, and finding the ultimate in pain. The movie chronicles his return from Hell after he uses the mystical Puzzle Box, and the brave heroine who sends him back to dwell with the keepers of this particular Hell, the Cenobites. Hellraiser spawned a ton of horrible and doomed to be straight-to-video sequels, but no one can deny the kind of effect Hellraiser had on them during their first viewing. An original story, and a new face of horror with Pinhead and the Cenobites. The Puzzle Box has floated through a few other Clive Barker stories, as well as cameos in other movies. A lasting tradition of horror that carries on today, as plans for a remake of the popular franchise is underway.
US Release: September 18, 1987
Director: Clive Barker
Notable Cast: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, and Ashley Laurence.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office/Adjust. for Inflation: $14,564,027/$29,165,302
Best Quote: “Explorers in the further regions of experience. Demons to some. Angels to others.”
Trivia: The concept of a cube being used as a portal to hell has basis in the urban legend of The Devil’s Toy Box, which concerns a six-sided cube constructed of inward facing mirrors. According to stories, individuals who enter the structure and then close it will undergo surreal, disturbing phenomenon that will simultaneously grant them a revelatory experience and permanently warp their mind.
9. The Fly
SCOOT: A remake of the classic 1958 horror with one of the most memorable scenes in cinematic history (“Help me…. Help me…”) this movie truly elevated the original. It tells the story of the brilliant yet eccentric Dr. Seth Brundle (played masterfully by Jeff Goldblum), who is experimenting with matter teleportation. Of course the test takes a drastic turn when he discovers that a house fly shared the pod with him when he transported himself, mixing their genetics. What follows is a frightening and disgusting transformation as Dr. Brundle mutates into a freaky human/fly hybrid.
With Jeff Goldblum at his finest, and directed by master of horror David Cronenberg, The Fly presented one of the best remakes to date. It established the horror of the first one while engaging the audience with a compelling story and nerve-wracking journey as Dr. Brundle teaches us a golden rule in life. Never try stuff on yourself… hire an assistant.
Best Quote: How does Brundlefly eat? Well, he found out the hard and painful way that he eats very much the way a fly eats. His teeth are now useless, because although he can chew up solid food, he can’t digest them. Solid food hurts. So like a fly, Brundlefly breaks down solids with a corrosive enzyme, playfully called “vomit drop”. He regurgitates on his food, it liquifies, and then he sucks it back up. Ready for a demonstration, kids? Here goes…
Trivia: The line, “I’m saying I’m an insect who dreamt he was a man and loved it, but now that dream is over and the insect is awake,” is a reference to author Franz Kafka’s 1912 story “The Metamorphosis,” in which a man wakes from a nightmare to find himself transformed into a giant insect.
8. Child’s Play
KRONNER: Charles Lee Ray – serial killer, Voodoo enthusiast, and doll. While fleeing the authorities, Mr. Ray, wounded and desperate, transferred his soul into the body of a ‘Good Guys’ doll, but a good guy, he is not. Before long the possessed doll becomes the center of a back alley deal directed at making the Christmas of a young boy named Andy.
Andy is thrilled with his new friend, cause he’s a bit of a loser, and he has no real friends. Chuck (Charles Lee Ray – Named for Charles Manson, Lee Harvey Oswald, and James Earl Ray) is willing to play along with the charade for a bit while he tries to find his way out of his plastic prison. Eventually he learns that his only way out of the doll is to inhabit the body of Andy, which means bad news for Andy. And everyone else involved.
Chucky has become an icon of 80s horror spawning 4 sequels and talk of a reboot. That little bastard just wont die…
US Release: November 9, 1988
Director: Tom Holland
Notable Cast: Alex Vincent, Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon, Ed Gale, and Brad Dourif
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office/AFI: $32,842,703/$62,568,945
Best Quote: “Hi, I’m Chucky, and I’m your friend till the end. Hidey-ho!”
Trivia: To help get into the right mood for Chucky, Brad Dourif would run around the recording studio, work himself up into a real frenzy and then deliver his lines. This would often leave Brad feeling drained after each take. In fact he nearly fainted after recording Chucky’s scream when he gets burned alive.
7. Evil Dead II
SCOOT: Ash Williams, hero of The Evil Dead returns possessed by the evil of the Necronomicon. Taking place moments after the end of the first film (sort of), Ash is slowly turning into a Deadite until he does the unthinkable. He cuts off his possessed hand, and we are given our look at one of the most badass anti-heroes in Hollywood, complete with a chainsaw for a hand and a sawed off shotgun. Not much gets better than that, and fans across the world will be quoting “Groovy” for years to come.
The opening of the movie retconned a lot of the first movie, but it really took a look at what it could be and ran with it. Not only was Ash’s battle against the evil forces of the Necronomicon better than ever, his battle with himself was a great moment in film. Raimi took the unintended humor from the first and intensified it, breaking genre boundaries and setting up a nerd love fest with Bruce Campbell and all things Deadite.
Best Quote: “Workshed.”
Trivia: One of the books on the can that traps Ash’s possessed hand is Ernest Hemingway’s “A Farewell to Arms”.
KRONNER: Poltergeist was the first movie that ever scared me. The clown under the bed at the end – terrible. I was traumatized. And to this day, maybe no quote from any horror movie in history resounds louder with me than when Carol Anne announces the arrival of their unwanted house guests.
This is about as scary as it gets short of an R rating and with Spielberg producing and Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s Tobe Hooper directing. It’s your classic tale of “We built this Subdivision on top of an Indian Burial Grounds and now they are haunting the shit out of us.” You know, just everyday sort of stuff.
This movie still stands up today as one of the best ghost movies ever made, and has had me counting seconds between thunder and lightning for years…
US Release: June 4, 1982
Director: Tobe Hooper
Notable Cast: Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, James Karen, Zelda Rubinstein, and Heather O’Rourke.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/3 (Visual Effects, Score, Sound Editing)
US Box Office/AFI: $76,606,280/$204,022,848
Best Quote: “They’re here.”
Trivia: Heather O’Rourke, who played the little girl Carol-Anne, and Dominique Dunne, who played the teenage daughter, are buried in the same cemetery: Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles. Dunne was strangled into brain-death by her boyfriend in 1982, the year of the film’s release. Six years later, O’Rourke died of intestinal stenosis.
5. Friday the 13th
SCOOT: The decade started with a ‘slasher film’ that continued the trend of awesome from 1978’s Halloween. Gruesome murders plague Crystal Lake, a camp full of fornicators and generally expendable counselors. The mystery of the killer carries through the whole movie, and creates a legend that won’t even be fully realized until the second chapter.The terrifying reveal teaches kids around the world to be nice to other people, especially if their mom is a homicidal maniac.
Horror at its finest, full of gore, spooky music, awesome kills and boobs. Friday the 13th made a ton of money, spawned a ton of sequels and a remake, and featured Kevin Bacon in one of his first roles. And then he got violently murdered, it was great. While Jason doesn’t actually appear until the end and in full killing form until the second film, his shadow looms large in this start of a decades long franchise. No surprise here that it makes the Top 5.
Best Quote: “Did you know a young boy drowned the year before those two others were killed? The counselors weren’t paying any attention… They were making love while that young boy drowned. His name was Jason. I was working the day that it happened. Preparing meals… here. I was the cook. Jason should’ve been watched. Every minute. He was… He wasn’t a very good swimmer. We can go now… dear.”
Trivia: Betsy Palmer said that if it were not for the fact that she was in desperate need of a new car, she would never have taken the part of Pamela Voorhees. In fact, after she read the script she called the film “a piece of shit”.
4. The Evil Dead
SCOOT: Five friends drive out to a secluded cabin in the woods for some sexy party times. Unfortunately, they get snoopy and prove that they’ve never ever seen a horror movie when they play a recording of someone reading from the Necronomicon, the book of the dead. Classic horror erupts with awesomely bad but still impressive special effects. The character of Ash is played perfectly by Bruce Campbell and stands out as one of his best performances ever, as well as pretty much his first.
The Evil Dead is the definition of a cult classic. Produced on a low-budget and over a year spent filming, it wowed and repulsed audiences simultaneously. With Sam Raimi’s stylized film making at its rawest and a movie that is sure of its genre The Evil Dead gave us something different. A movie that was okay to laugh at while being frightened, and a movie you needed to share with all your friends.
US Release: January 1, 1983
Director: Sam Raimi
Notable Cast: Bruce Campbell, Ted Raimi, Betsy Baker, Theresa Tilly, and Ellen Sandweiss.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office/AFI: $2,400,000/$5,965,714
Best Quote: “We’re going to get you. We’re going to get you. Not another peep. Time to go to sleep.”
Trivia: Bruce Campbell twisted his ankle on a root while running down a steep hill, and Sam Raimi and Robert G. Tapert decided to tease him by poking his injury with sticks, thus causing Campbell to have an obvious limp in some scenes.
3. A Nightmare on Elm Street
SCOOT: Another proud parent of the ‘slasher film’ with a twist. A vicious killer haunts a group of teens on Elm Street. Seems simple enough, but when dead child murderer Freddy Krueger comes after these teens in their nightmares, things get decidedly more interesting. Krueger is a terrifying, burnt and evil man with a bladed glove and tons of lethal imagination. But why this group of teens? Everything changes as they discover that Freddy Krueger is out for revenge against the people who killed him… their parents.
Nightmare on Elm Street managed to blur the line between reality and our imagination perfectly. Robert Englund created one of the most vocal and frightening slasher’s ever. This also has Johnny Depp in his first feature film. And then he got violently murdered, it was great. This movie has caused a few nightmares of its own, and spawned a decades long franchise that promises to keep scaring.
US Release: November 9, 1984
Director: Wes Craven
Notable Cast: Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, Lin Shaye, Robert Englund, and Johnny Depp.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office/AFI: $25,504,513/$59,434,624
Best Quote: “One, two, Freddy’s coming for you. / Three, four, better lock your door. / Five, six, grab your crucifix. / Seven, eight, gonna stay up late. / Nine, ten, never sleep again.”
Trivia: Johnny Depp accompanied his friend Jackie Earle Haley to auditions for the film. Instead of Haley being chosen for a role, it was Depp who was spotted by director Wes Craven, who asked him if he would like to read for a part. Depp got a part in the film, Haley didn’t, but Haley would go on to play Freddy in the remake 26 years later.
2. The Shining (1980)
SCOOT: Jack Torrance (brought to life perfectly by Jack Nicholson) accepts the job as Caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, an ominous hotel with a tragic history plagued by troubled spirits. Locked down for the winter with his family, Jack is eventually driven insane by the evil within the hotel, and the only one who can save the day might be his son Danny, who is blessed with a rare gift known as The Shining.
Even if you haven’t seen The Shiningyou’ve seen The Shining in some form or another. Whether its being parodied on The Simpsons or pretty much everything else, this movie has carried on as a true gem of horror cinema. One of Stanley Kubrick’s most loved movies, and easily one of the few great Stephen King adaptations, The Shining is a testament to true psychological horror. Whether its being swept away in a river of blood, or slowly losing your grip on reality, prepare to be afraid.
Best Quote: “Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. I’m not gonna hurt ya. You didn’t let me finish my sentence. I said, I’m not gonna hurt ya. I’m just going to bash your brains in. Gonna bash ’em right the f–k in! ha ha ha”
Trivia: Every time Jack talks to a “ghost”, there’s a mirror in the scene, except in the food locker scene. This is because in the food locker scene he only talks to Grady through the door. We never see Grady in this scene.
1. The Thing (1982)
KRONNER: This is one of those movies that seems to get better every time I see it. It’s also one of the few remakes that I feel really surpassed it’s predecessor. The cast was awesome and the real effects are to me, much preferable to the more modern CGI tactics.
The story takes place in the desolate tundras or Antarctica, which provides the perfect setting to feel utterly trapped. The hopelessness bred by the situation, stalked in close proximity by a shape shifting killer alien, draws on the mystery of who is what they say they are, and who isn’t. That is something from the original story and was left out of the 1950s film version. The mystery is what makes the movie so memorable.
Arguably Kurt Russell’s greatest performance, the sight of MacReady, beard iced over, clutching the dynamite, unsure who he can trust – classic. The paranoia and acting, combined with the ground breaking practical effects make this the best horror movie of a decade known for horror movies.
US Release: June 25, 1982
Director: John Carpenter
Notable Cast: Kurt Russell, Keith David, Richard Masur, Donald Moffat, T.K. Carter, and Wilford Brimley.
Oscar Wins/Nominations: 0/0
US Box Office/AFI: $19,629,760/$52,279,258
Best Quote: “I know you gentlemen have been through a lot, but when you find the time, I’d rather not spend the rest of this winter TIED TO THIS F–KING COUCH!”
Trivia: The opening title exactly duplicates the original Howard Hawks film. To create the effect of the title, an animation cell with “The Thing” written on it was placed behind a fish tank filled with smoke that was covered with a plastic garbage bag. The garbage bag was ignited, creating the effect of the title burning onto the screen.