iheart Halloween!ūüĎĽ

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Halloween is my favorite holiday! It’s a day for self-expression. A day for fun and fantasy. A day for taking control of phobias and fears and turning your back on Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). Where’s your power now Fred? Way to shut that mess down.

It’s also a day to indulge in all your favorite classic, creepy, monster, sci-fi horror films.

Therefore, in the spirit of Halloween, let’s pay homage to the original man of horror. The “Man of a Thousand Faces”- Lon Chaney.

 Man of a Thousand Faces РLon Chaney

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Lon Chaney (April 1, 1883¬†‚Äď August 26, 1930), born Leonidas Frank Chaney

Born to deaf parents, Lon learned to express himself and communicate visually. He took his desire to become an actor and created an art form and space for himself that was revolutionary to the motion picture industry. His makeup artistry allowed him to transform and become grotesque characters in films like The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom of the Opera (1925). He’s regarded as one of the most important character actors of the silent film era. (Wikipedia)

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The original “monster maker”, he would scout out the daily call sheets for a studio finding out what types of extras were needed for that day’s shoot. He created a make-up toolbox of possibilities for him to achieve the look and characterizations needed to be chosen for a role. This talent was the impetus for his unparalleled reputation in the burgeoning film industry.

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This flick is by far my favorite Lon Chaney! 

Chaney’s alliance with Director Tod Browning was inspired! Browning was into the macabre and best known for his films Dracula (1931) and the cult classic Freaks (1932) and Lon Chaney had the acting and makeup skills to realize any twisted character¬†the director could come up with.

My favorite movie line is from their 1927 silent film The Unknown – “crack of your ass”. (okay, I can’t swear that’s what he¬†said) But, seriously, as Alonzo the Armless, he threatened his co-star Joan Crawford with bodily harm if she did not bend to his will. Remember Grandma Klump from Eddie Murphy’s The Nutty Professor(1996)? “You might walk over, but you limpin’ back! “Chaney totally went there. Check it out:

Let’s talk about the level of twisted in this movie:

A word of advice, if you’ve got a thing about someone that’s all-consuming and you’d do anything to get with that person, forget about it!

Plot: This crazy man, Alonzo the Armless (Lon Chaney) has a knife-throwing act using only his feet and is in love with Nanon (Joan Crawford) who”can’t bear to be touched.” He has arms¬†but pretends not to for his circus¬†act and so Nanon will talk to him. When it’s discovered that he indeed has arms, he blackmails a low-rent surgeon to amputate them. Sick!

Nanon and Alonzo

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After his surgery, Alonzo returns to the circus and his knife throwing act. Hoping to rekindle his relationship, he strolls over to Nanon’s circus wagon to see his rival Malabar, the circus strongman, (Norman Kerry) with his hands all over his love. Holy crap, it’s on! Alonzo schemes to get his girl back by rigging the speed of Malabar’s horses in his act which will dislocate and sever his arms during the live circus performance.

Alonzo

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Alonzo’s sick plan is working until Nanon realizes what is happening and tries to stop the performance. And then boom! The”crack of your ass” line. As you saw in the clip, things didn’t really work out the way he saw it play out in his mind.

Malabar

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This documentary, The Many Faces of Lon Cheney, is a great biography for more in-depth background information and presents a great opportunity to discover your own Lon Chaney gem.

 

 

Lon Chaney is also the father of Lon Chaney, Jr who was best known¬†for his role in Universal’s “The Wolfman” (1941). The Wolfman is part of the original Universal Monster Franchise including “Dracula” (1931), and “Frankenstein” (1931).

Lon Jr always lived in his father’s shadow and in later years he battled¬†throat cancer¬†and chronic¬†heart disease¬†among other ailments after decades of heavy drinking and smoking. In his final horror film,¬†Dracula vs. Frankenstein¬†(1971), directed by¬†Al Adamson, he played Groton,¬†Dr. Frankenstein’s mute henchman.

¬†Chaney’s career in movies and television spanned four decades, from 1931 to 1971.

Make sure to add Lon Chaney, Sr. and Jr. films to your Halloween lineup. Classics!

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Director’s Cut – The Little Shop Of Horrors (1986)ūüéÉūüĆ∑

 

IN THEATERS OCT 29th, OCT 31st

 

Warner Bros. Entertainment Presents

 

Little Shop of Horrors: The Director’s Cut

Little Shop of Horrors: The Director’s Cut

 

Business is bad at Mushnick‚Äôs Flower shop. Shy Seymour and brave Audrey will soon be unemployed. That is until Seymour pricks his finger and a sickly little exotic plant gets its first taste of human blood. The plant spurts ten feet tall. As horticultural interest in ‚ÄúAudrey II‚ÄĚ sprouts, Mushnick‚Äôs business takes off. But fresh blood must be found‚ÄĒand people start disappearing. Love and business bloom at a hilarious yet bloody cost. (Fathom Events)

I’m so excited to see one of my Halloween favorites back on the big screen. And, fascinated to see ¬†Frank Oz‚Äôs restored original dark ending, staying true to the play.

 

 

‚ÄúIt will be very interesting to see if, in this new political and cultural climate, if there will be any association with that, with the plant. Let‚Äôs just say that,‚ÄĚ says Oz. The original ending, he acknowledges, ‚Äúmay still be too dark for people, and I accept that.

It may not be as satisfying emotionally, and I accept that. But on the other hand, the reason ¬†screenwriter Howard Ashman and I wanted it was that it is the Faustian legend. Seymour does have consequences for his actions. We needed to omit those consequences to keep the audience happy, which I agreed with, by the way. I think we had to do it. But now it will be very interesting to see.‚ÄĚ (Yahoo Entertainment)

Fans will not want to miss Little Shop of Horrors: The Director’s Cut, which features the rarely-seen original ending and an exclusive introduction from Frank Oz.

Purchase Tickets here.

 

The 1986 Frank Oz film is a remake of the hit Broadway stage production which was a remake of the 1960 movie.

 

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The original 1960 film was a ¬†black comedy horror film directed by Detroit-born (my hometown) and celebrated¬†B-movie legend, Roger Corman¬†and written by Charles B. Griffith. The film is a farce about an inadequate florist’s assistant (Jonathan Haze) who cultivates a plant that feeds on human flesh and blood.

The film stars Jonathan Haze¬†(Seymour), Jackie Joseph¬†(Audrey), Mel Welles¬†(Mr. Mushnick), and Dick Miller, all of whom had worked for Corman on previous films. Produced under the title “The Passionate People Eater”.¬†It was a lot creepier and darker than either the 1986 film or Broadway production.

 

 

For a true Halloween treat, I highly recommend screening the original! Check out Jack Nicholson in one of his first film roles.

Check out this previous post for background and trivia on the Broadway stage production and the original 1960 film.

 

 

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Happy Halloween!

Turn Your Back on Evilūüėą

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I was thinking the other day, Halloween is one of my favorite¬†holidays but, with the horrors I see every day on my television, I’m not sure I want to watch my top-pick scary movies this year to celebrate.¬† Funny thing is I’ve always looked at Halloween as an exercise and opportunity to face your fears and take control of how you deal with life.

In giving in to my apprehension, I was letting the nightmare in the White House affect my joy and alter my attitude and behavior. But, then I remembered the classic film “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and the leverage that Heather Langenkamp’s character (Nancy) discovered she had against Freddy Krueger when she turned her back on him. In that moment, he disappeared and she took back her power over her attitude and commitment¬†to fighting his evil.

In my opinion, “A Nightmare on Elm Street” is an allegory for our pent-up fears which prevent us from fighting through obstacles and taking ownership of our own happiness. Dreams are supposed to be representative of our true thoughts and understanding said dreams can help us understand what makes us tick.

 

“A Nightmare on Elm Street”¬†is a 1984 American¬†slasher film¬†written and directed by¬†Wes Craven, and the first film of the¬†Nightmare on Elm Street¬†franchise. The film stars¬†Heather Langenkamp,¬†John Saxon,¬†Ronee Blakley,¬†Amanda Wyss,¬†Jsu Garcia,¬†Robert Englund, and¬†Johnny Depp¬†in his feature film debut. The plot revolves around four teenagers who are stalked and killed in their dreams (and thus killed in reality) by¬†Freddy Krueger. The teenagers are unaware of the cause of this strange phenomenon, but their parents hold a dark secret from long ago. (Wikipedia)

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Nancy confronting her mom.

Because Nancy’s mom ( Ronee Blakley) lives in a constant state of agitation over her part in the death of Freddy Krueger, she projects these feelings of anxiety on her daughter. She drinks heavily in an attempt to deal with her overwhelming sense of guilt and terror and even goes so far as to putting bars on the windows of the house to protect her daughter’s life.

When she eventually tells Nancy the truth about the legend of Freddy, Nancy understands her mom’s frenzy and Freddy’s desire to kill the children of those involved in his demise. Nancy decides to break through this paralyze¬†by trying to save her friends, learning how to defend herself and eventually discovering the means to take away Freddy’s control over her, her friends, and by extension, her mom.

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Freddy, Nancy

Nancy could have taken on her mom’s constant state of panic, but instead chose to break the cycle.

I’m taking Nancy’s lead and turning my back on the paralysis and dread that the malice in the White House has managed to wreak on our country and the world.

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So, in the spirit of Halloween, the celebration has begun with decorations and the enjoyment of my choice best of the best as I turn my back on evil and continue¬†the battle against a madness greater than any horror film I’ve ever seen.

 

 

 

 

“Is This a Kissing Book?” Princess Bride (1987)ūüĎł

TCM Big Screen Classics Presents

The Princess Bride

 

A Special 30th-Anniversary Event

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IN THEATERS OCT 15th and OCT 18th

 

One of my favorite and definitely most quotable films, “The Princess Bride”(1987) brings together all the classic elements of the damsel in distress¬†story and style of the irreverent and hilarious Monty Python franchise to the 1980’s generation.

It’s back in the theaters and even if you’ve quoted it a thousand times, there’s nothing like sharing the laughter in the theater with fellow “Princess Bride” aficionados!

 

“The Princess Bride”¬†is a 1987 American¬†romantic¬†fantasy¬†adventure¬†comedy-drama film¬†directed and co-produced by¬†Rob Reiner, and starring¬†Cary Elwes,¬†Robin Wright,¬†Mandy Patinkin,¬†Chris Sarandon,¬†Wallace Shawn,¬†Andr√© the Giant¬†and¬†Christopher Guest.

 

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The film was adapted by William Goldman from his 1973 novel of the same name and tells the story of a farmhand named Westley, accompanied by befriended companions along the way, who must rescue his true love Princess Buttercup from the odious Prince Humperdinck.

The story is presented in the film as a book being read by a grandfather (Peter Falk) to his sick grandson (Fred Savage), thus effectively preserving the novel’s narrative style. (Wikipedia)

 

Fred Savage

 

This 30th-anniversary event includes a specially produced interview with Ben Mankiewicz and Rob Reiner.

 

Awards:

*1992: Best Picture (David Brown, Rob Reiner and Andrew Scheinman, Producers), A Few Good Men. **1976: Adapted Screenplay, All the President’s Men; 1969, Original Screenplay, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

 

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Cast now: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Wallace Shawn, Carol Kane, and Billy Crystal

 

 

 

Make sure to mark your calendar, buy your ticket and get ready to enjoy this classic on the big screen. Relive this epic adventure filled with fencing, fighting, giants, monsters, Miracle Max, and true love!