Number 31. This edition is for the week of October 23--29, 2000.

Mike's Rant
The Leavenworth Leviathan speaks out on Twin Bays memories and celebrities passings.
  Howdy gang.  A few sad celeb notes, my take on Matt's top 10 horror films and a demented shout out to a buddy.  Here we go:
WHEN LAST WE MET
    Must say that I was amazed at Matthew's diverse and impressive list.  He really takes his horror films seriously.  I saw both "The Thing" and "An American Werewolf in London" with Matt at Twin Bays, and both still stick out in my mind.  Great choices!  The cool thing about seeing "Dawn of the Dead" was that if was an un-advertised sneak preview.................we must have seen it 3 or 4 months before it was released. (But, who were "we" again?---N) If I remember right, someone we knew who worked at the Hillsborough clued us in as to what the movie was.  Also cool to see you and Terence both liked "Nosferatu."  Today's trivia:  Bram Stoker sued filmmaker F.W. Murnau for obviously ripping off his novel, "Dracula."  A British court ruled for Stoker and demanded that all prints be destroyed.  Thank goodness no one heeded their ruling.  (..."Police here--we've been ordered to search these premesis and seize copies of 'Nosferatu'...if you do not comply, you will be impaled!"...---N)  There is a film due at the end of this year entitled "Shadow of the Vampire" I believe.  It stars John Malkovich as Murnau and Willem Defoe as Max Schreck ("Nosferatu's" Count Orlock)  This looks like a really good one gang............don't miss it.

FROM BADGE 714 TO ROUTE 66
     Sad to announce the passing of singer/actress Julie London, who died last Wednesday at age 74.  London was probably best known to our readers as nurse Dixie McCall on the television series, "Emergency."  She was married twice.  First was Joe Friday himself, Jack Webb.  After their divorce, she married "Route 66" song writer and fellow "Emergency" star Bobby Troupe.  Troupe died last year of heart failure.
WHATEVER LOLA WANTS.............
     Broadway legend Gwen Verdon also passed away this past Wednesday at the age of 75.  Winner of four Tony Awards, Verdon was best known for creating the roles of Lola in "Damn Yankees" and Charity in "Sweet Charity."  She married Bob Fosse in 1960.  Verdon appeared in such shows as "Redhead" and "Chicago."  She was loosely portrayed by Leland Palmer in Fosse's quasi-autobiographical "All That Jazz."
    "Combat" star Rick Jason fatally shot himself at his home last Tuesday.  Jason played Lt. Gil Hanley, who, along with Vic Murrow, lead their troops into homes each week in the 60's.  Jason was 75
     And finally, a big shout out to my friend Luke Sienkowski, best known to listener's of the Dr. Demento radio program as "Luke Ski."  Luke has finished third and second, respectfully, in the last two week's "Funny Five" with his new song 'Fanboy.'  If any of you have listened to Dr D, you'll know what a great song this is.  Feel free to visit the Doctor's web site and request "Fanboy."  What a great holiday present for Luke if he could end up in the top 25 this year. Dr. Demento

Well gang, that's it for this week.  Work obligations have kept me busy.  Have a great week................see you next time!
Here's Mike's webpage and email!
"Mike's Rant" is 2000 by Michael A. Smith
Brandon's Top 10!
Introducing Brandon Herring, also known as "Halloween Fan 2K" to his email pals. This talented teen from Kansas has had a link (the excellent Movie Review Central) on my homepage for months. I am honored he took the time to write. Also worth noting is he's a friend and co-worker of Mike Smith. (THE Mike Smith.)   Dig in:
1. Halloween
Words really can't start to describe what Halloween means to me, it is an amazing film that is brilliantly edited, scored and even written. John Carpenter became something in Hollywood in 1978 when this film hit the screens becoming a monster hit and grossing almost $50 million dollars domestically, it encountered six sequels, with only three of them being worth mentioning, and a third that had nothing to do with the original film. Michael Myers burnt his image into my mind, and even to this day I watch the film with anticipation like it is my first viewing. Jamie Lee Curtis (who was incredibly sexy in the film, and still sexy to this day) became the 'Scream Queen' when she starred as Michael Myers' poor sister, who he was after in three of the films in the series. It wasn't until 1998 when Jamie Lee finally graced the screen once again and became Laurie Strode for the last time (although a Halloween 8 is in the works). (No way! LOL!! Amazing...--N) It still scares me, and still amazes me that it has such a great following. "Halloween" is without a doubt the best horror film.
2. The Exorcist
When "The Exorcist" first premiered in 1973, it shocked, sickened, and offended people, but they all admitted that it was a brilliant horror movie. (It succeeded on its word-of-mouth advertising, pretty much...but, what advertising!---N)  Splendidly edited, eerily scored and extremely well acted, "The Exorcist" has remained a classic to this day, and even has been released in a new director's cut, with great digital sound. Watching it to this day, it still has not lost any of its punch, and I was saddened to learn that today's generation of horror fans, found the movie funny and not scary, but you have to realize that these kids now think that someone getting their heads ripped off, or guts pulled out is scary, without having to have atmosphere or tension to really scare them. "The Exorcist" has retained all of the above, and is a wonderful horror film.
3. The Blair Witch Project
I probably--no scratch that--will get a lot of hate for this, but to me, "The Blair Witch Project" was a masterpiece in the horror genre. What started out as a little Sundance horror film, blossomed into a $140 million dollar grossing wonder, which created such a buzz with people, that when 90% of the audience saw the film, they hated it. With the shaky camera, and all the "F" words uttered, it was obvious why people didn't like the film. No, not because of this, but because of the fact that the film didn't have gore, blood, bodies being ripped apart or young blondes scantily clad (not there is anything wrong with scantily clad young blonde girls though), but the movie depended on a backstory that made the audiences think, and imagine what was chasing them, what was after them, or who. When I first viewed BWP, the credits began to role and I sat in my chair, and for days after thought about the story, and thought about the movie. To me, that makes a good movie, and when your hands have cuts on them from grasping the seat so much during a horror movie, you know you've just witnessed a phenomenon.  (Or witnessed those scantily-clad young blondes---or BOTH!---N)
4. The Shining
"Here's Johnny!" is the infamous line from this extremely horrifying motion picture experience that changed my view forever of hotels. When Stanley Kubrick is on the big screen, you know you can never go wrong. Jack Nicholson's foray into madness has always stayed in my mind, and the haunting direction by Kubrick, his visuals, the score, the acting is haunting. He adds gore to the movie, but to me, its atmosphere that counts, and "The Shining" has plenty of it! (Shelley Duval still has nightmares about working with Kubrick, I'm sure!---N)
5. Night of the Living Dead/Dawn of the Dead (Originals, Tie)
Since the first time I saw "Night of the Living Dead", I was hooked. I even brought it over to my friend's house--to which his reply was, "It sucked". Despised, I told him to kiss my ass and I walked home, and watched it again. Even for a 1968 movie, it has still scared the hell out of me. It has tamed down quite a bit thirty-two years later, but it still has quite a strong impact on its fans. "Dawn Of The Dead" takes a turn into brilliance and adds comedy with gross and gory effects, and overcomes the audience with its strong characters, and witty scenes. "Dawn of the Dead" is a sequel that, in many ways, outdoes its predecessor.
6. Hellraiser
"I have seen the future of horror fiction, and his name is Clive Barker" remarks the master himself, Stephen King, on the 1987 wonder "Hellraiser", which to me is one of the most disturbing, and terrifying early gothic movies ever made. The character of Pinhead even though only seen in maybe five scenes in the film, remained in the audience's minds and even after four sequels, still remains one of the most popular horror movies of all time. Clive Barker directs his first feature film with skill and a sense of darkness and, to this day, it still remains a popular movie.
7. The Evil Dead Series (Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn, Army of Darkness)  Even though each one of the series stars the same character, it's almost as if they are each different films. The first is a hardcore horror film, that contains cheesy gory effects, and bad dialogue, but such a great story and a fantastically thick atmosphere that is has become a classic of the genre. And the second that most people thought of as a spoof of the first, with its witty funny scenes; and then the third that leaned more towards comedy and succeeded greatly.  Ash is also a popular character among horror fans, and to this day still is in the memory of horror fans. "Gimme some sugar, baby!"
8. Deep Red
When I first heard about "Deep Red", I remember seeing "Phenomena" and remembering how brilliant the movie was, so I decided to pick up "Deep Red" and I was shocked of how great of a movie it was. Dario Argento is definitely up there among some of the greatest directors ever, and "Deep Red" is no disappointment. With its graphically gory death scenes, to its climactic, shocking ending, a lot of horror films borrowed scenes and even the "Halloween" score was made with "Deep Red" in mind. A shocking, horrifying, gory expierience, "Deep Red" should be viewed by any hardcore horror fan.
9. Texas Chainsaw Massacre
What a masterpiece of horror, with the non-gory horror film, TCM inpacted the box office and wound up being a cult hit. It hit the midnight showings with a bang, and to this day still has a following. The story is quite simple, and very effective, and the directing is excellent as is the score being chilling. Leatherface is extremely scary, but never to give you nightmares scary. Without alot of gore, TCM still stands as a classic. (Re: #s 8 and 9: Terence likes you now.---Nolan.)
10. The Haunting (1963)
Actually, considering the fact that an OK remake was released in the summer of '99 and made around 92m, "The Haunting" ('63) stands as a horror masterpiece and one of the scariest films I've ever seen before. The tense atmosphere, the tight acting and the nicely written script all coincide to a finale that I will never forget. Without seeing any ghosts, violence, or anything on screen the terror winds in your mind, and I had to sleep with the lights on!
2000 by Brandon Herring. Visit Brandon's website. He welcomes emails at Halloween Fan 2K@AOL.com!

 

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