Long time PCR readers have gone with me on the incredible journey that was finding my birth family. Sadly, just after I put the Rant "to bed" last week, I received news that my oldest brother, Anthony Gammello, had passed away after a long and brave battle with cancer. Even though he had been quite ill for some time, Anthony attended my wedding six months ago and I thank God that He gave him the strength to make it. The family will be having a memorial service for him the 15th of November in Minnesota.
It's been so long since I attended a real con (the big thing here in K.C. is auto shows...whoopee) that I almost didn't know how to act at the recent Chiller Theatre show. Luckily I quickly recovered and had a great time with some great friends. A write up and photos will dominate this space next week.
SPOOKY NO LONGER
Speaking of great friends, several that we met up with in New Jersey are spending this weekend in California, attending the "30 Years of Terror" show celebrating the film "Halloween." Which brings me to Empire Magazine's latest horror list: THE HORROR FILM SERIES THAT SHOULD HAVE STOPPED WITH ONE. They are:
SCREAM - 3 films in the series and a fourth one rumored to be in the works.
PHANTASM - 4 films
THE OMEN - 5 films in the series, including a remake.
THE EXORCIST - 5 films in the series, including (2) prequels with basically the same cast but different directors (Paul Schrader and Renny Harlin).
CHILD'S PLAY - 5 films in the series with #6 being planned.
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE - 6 films in the series, including one remake.
GEORGE A. ROMERO'S DEAD SAGA - 7 films in the series, including remakes of "Night of the Living Dead" and "Dawn of the Dead." This past week USA Today had a sneak preview of film #8, due next year.
HELLRAISER - 8 films in the series.
NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET - 8 films in the series.
HALLOWEEN - 9 films in the series, including one remake.
FRIDAY THE 13th - 11 films in the series and I would think two more to go.
Not on the magazine's list, but certainly on mine, with a caveat:
SILENCE OF THE LAMBS - 5 films in the series. Having said this, I do think that Michael Mann's original "Manhunter" and the remake, "Red Dragon," are excellent stand alone horror films. But I certainly didn't need to see Hannibal Lecter as a teenager.
Caught the new 007 film "Quantum of Solace" this week and even though Daniel Craig doesn't utter his famous introduction he continues to show how the suave agent with the license to kill dealt with his early rough edges. Look for my *** review in issue #451.
SACRED NO LONGER
Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Rays, who played their young hearts out during their World Series loss to the Phillies. Jeers to the people at FOX, who traded the game's soul for the million dollar check Barack Obama handed them for his "infomercial" the other night. If you watched the series you remember that game #5, which was originally played on Monday, was postponed due to heavy rains. When major league baseball learned of the upcoming weather conditions they asked FOX if they could move up the start of the game in an attempt to beat the bad weather. FOX refused, citing fans being inconvienenced by not knowing of the time change. However, Wednesday night they had no trouble moving the start of the game to run Obama's spot. And the game wonders why the fans are heading elsewhere.
IT WORKED ON BEWITCHED
Fans looking forward to "Iron Man 2" will be in for a surprise, especially if they are Terrence Howard fans. Earlier this week the film's producers announced that Howard's role of Jim Rhodes will be taken over by fellow Academy Award nominee Don Cheadle. While no official reason was given the theory is that money played a hand in the decision. Reportedly, Howard was the first actor signed, and highest paid, for the first film. That's right. He made more money then Tony Stark did! After the success of the first film, and the realization that Howard's role was pretty secondary, the studio offered Howard half of what he made for "Iron Man." This week on NPR Howard called the decision "the surprise of a lifetime," telling the listening audience that he and Marvel Films had already agreed on a salary. "Apparently the contracts that we write and sign aren't worth the paper that they're printed on," Howard added.
NO NO NO NO I DON'T SIGN THEM NO MORE
If you haven't sent Ringo Starr a fan letter by now I'm sorry to say you're too late. The 68 year old drummer recently posted a video on his web site informing fans that after 45 years he's tired. Any mail sent to him after October 20 "is going to be tossed. I'm warning you with peace and love, I have too much to do. So no more fan mail. Thank you, thank you. And no objects to be signed. Nothing. Anyway, peace and love, peace and love."
Anybody have Pete Best's address?
Estelle Reiner, wife of comedian/filmmaker Carl Reiner and mother of director Rob Reiner, passed away this week at the age of 94. As a young girl she performed on New York City radio stations and still sang into her 90s. Though she only appeared in small roles in a few films, she also delivered one of the greatest lines in film history while appearing in son Rob's "When Harry Met Sally." After Meg Ryan fakes a loud orgasm while lunching with Billy Crystal at a local deli, Mrs. Reiner tells her waitress, "I'll have what she's having." Estelle and Carl Reiner had been married for almost 65 years.
Neil Hefti, composer of such television themes as "Batman," died 11 days short of his 86th birthday. Cause of death was listed as a heart attack. As a young musician, Hefti worked as a trumpeter and arranger for such band leaders as Harry James, Woody Herman and Charlie Spivak. Among his other television credits were the themes to "Barefoot in the Park" and "The Odd Couple." Hefti had composed the scores to the original films and did the same for the television shows.
Gerard Damiano, director of such adult features as "Deep Throat" and "The Devil in Miss Jones," passed away this week after suffering a stroke. He was 80. In 1972 he took a $22,000 investment and in six days filmed what would be one of the most talked about films of all time, mainstream or adult, "Deep Throat." The film went on to gross an estimated $600 million, though Damiano "sold" his percentage of the profits for $100,000, allegedly to the underworld, which also supposedly financed the film. As a producer, writer and director (and occasional actor) Damiano's work helped make the adult film legit, at least through the 1980s.
AND THE OSCAR FOR 1974 SHOULD HAVE GONE TO...