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A note about topics: Some blog posts have more than one topic, in which case only one main topic can be chosen to represent that post. This means that some topics may have been discussed in posts labeled otherwise. For instance, a post that discusses both The Boston Stranglers and The Demolished Man may only be labeled one or the other. Please keep this in mind as you navigate this list.
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009
BE BLACK, BABY AS HAUNTED HOUSE?
BLOGGER SAYS HOLLYWOOD'S THEATRE 68 COMES CLOSE
Out of all the movies in Brian De Palma's oeuvre that could be turned into a haunted house idea, who would have thought someone might consider a scene from one of De Palma's early comedies might be the one that sticks out? Well, anyone who has seen the riveting "Be Black, Baby" sequence in De Palma's Hi, Mom! will surely never forget it. Steve Biodrowski at Hollywood Gothique feels that Hollywood's Theatre 68 Halloween Haunted House, which runs through October 31st on Sunset Boulevard, "is the closest anyone has ever come to realizing our dream of a haunted house attraction, which would be a Halloween version of the interactive ”Be Black, Baby” sequence from Brian De Palma’s early black comedy, Hi, Mom!" Biodrowski describes the Theatre 68 haunted house further by contrasting it with Universal's:

In a dramatic sense, Theatre 68 succeeds where Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios fails: Universal’s theme park Halloween attraction promises to make you feel as if you have entered into a horror movie, but the experience is more like walking through a living museum recreating horror hits from your favorite franchise; even without a proscenium arch, you are one step removed from the scenes that play out in front of you, and you get the feeling they would continue with or without your presence. Theatre 68, on the other hand, really makes you feel like an active participant; in fact, you are the centerpiece of the show, which cannot go on with you. There are many Halloween haunts that hurl horrors of every kind at you; Theatre 68 is the only haunted house that truly immerses you in the action every step of the way.

Posted by Geoff at 11:13 AM CDT
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009
CARRIE MUSICAL BEING REWORKED
ORIGINAL CREATORS REVISITING MATERIAL
According to Variety, the stage musical version of Carrie, a notorious flop on Broadway in 1988, is being touched up for a potential upcoming production. Producer Jeffrey Seller told Variety that the show's original creators are reworking the script. These include composer Michael Gore, lyricist Dean Pitchford, and librettist Lawrence D. Cohen, the latter having adapted Stephen King's novel for Brian De Palma's film in 1976.

Meanwhile, Clyde at Clyde's Movie Palace has written a very entertaining remembrance of seeing De Palma's film for the first time on the big screen. Clyde talks about how the crowd was completely stunned at the film's final scene, but also about his appreciation for the locker room sequence:

It was my first journey inside a fully occupied girl’s locker room. Heck, it was probably the first time a lot of guys were inside a fully occupied female locker room filled with half dressed women, completely undressed women, and a few fully dressed women that you’ll barely notice are there. So before I go any further, I want to thank the cast, the cinematographer, and of course Brian DePalma for the experience.


Posted by Geoff at 11:36 AM CDT
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009



Captain Lou Albano
1933-2009

Posted by Geoff at 7:03 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 14, 2009 7:03 PM CDT
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Tuesday, October 13, 2009
GRAVES SEEKS IMPOSSIBLE ROLE
ABRAMS CONTEMPLATES NIMOY FOR 4TH FILM
According to Sci-Fi Blast, J.J. Abrams spoke at a press conference for the DVD release of his Star Trek film last week. The blog quotes Abrams, who directed the third Mission: Impossible film, and who is currently producing a fourth installment, as being shocked to learn that the TV series' original Jim Phelps, Peter Graves, is interested in a part in the new film. "I just got a call that Peter Graves is in great shape, which would be a very bizarre bend in the space-time continuum, for obvious reasons."

Jon Voight played Phelps in the first film, which was directed by Brian De Palma. Phelps was, of course, killed in that film, so bringing Graves into the picture would/could be a tricky move in a franchise known for its tricks. As Sci-Fi Blast points out, Graves has since created a more recent comedic legacy via his role as Captain Oveur in the Airplane film series. "I almost feel like you could make him serious again and bring him back," Abrams is quoted as saying. Abrams also mentioned the possibility of bringing back Leonard Nimoy, who joined the TV show in its fourth season. Abrams, who had cast Nimoy as Spock in his Star Trek film, reportedly said, "Whether it's Nimoy, who I have an incredible affinity for, or Graves, or anyone, we'll see."

Abrams also revealed that for the third film, he had wanted to cast Martin Landau, who was the TV show's original master of disguises. "I actually tried to get Martin Landau in Mission 3, in a very small little moment just for fun, and was told that he had no interest in doing it," Abrams said, according to Sci-Fi Blast. "But then, when I met him after the movie came out, it was the greatest thing. We were at this restaurant in New York, for one of the TV up-front parties, and someone introduced me to Landau. They took me over and Martin Landau came over to me, extended his hand and [pretended to lift his face off]. That was the greatest thing I'd ever seen."


Posted by Geoff at 12:58 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 14, 2009 9:29 AM CDT
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Thursday, October 8, 2009
CARRIE FROM LONDON TO CHICAGO
EDGAR WRIGHT PRESENTS IN LONDON; MUSIC BOX MASSACRE IN CHICAGO
Edgar Wright will present a double feature Friday night at London's Prince Charles Cinema. First up will be Nicolas Roeg's classic Don't Look Now, followed by Brian De Palma's Carrie. Both films have brilliant scores by Pino Donaggio. Wright says he is excited, as he has never seen either film on the big screen. On his website, Wright wrote:

These are not simply two of my favourite horror films of all time, but two of my very favourite films of all time.

Nic Roeg’s DON’T LOOK NOW starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie is a superlative supernatural film with some of the best editing in cinematic history. It’s been an influence on many a film over the years including THE SIXTH SENSE and (yes) SHAUN OF THE DEAD. If you’ve never seen it, don’t miss a chance to see it on a big screen. It’s haunted me since I first saw it one late night on BBC2.

And Brian De Palma’s CARRIE is simply magnificent. In my opinion the best Stephen King adaptation with a simply amazing cast: Nancy Allen, Amy Irving, PJ Soles, John Travolta and two Oscar nominees Piper Laurie and Sissy Spacek. Add in De Palma’s amazing visuals with incredible continuous takes, split screen and backwards flashbacks, plus Pino Donnagio’s incredible score and you have a stone cold classic.

I will be on hand too – with maybe some little extra nuggets to show between the films.

MUSIC BOX MASSACRE
Meanwhile, Chicago's Music Box Theater begins its annual Music Box Massacre at 11:59 am Saturday-- 24 hours of horror films, ending with Carrie at 10:15am Sunday morning. Just before Carrie, the one film Stephen King has directed, Maximum Overdrive, will be screened. Stay awake and pass the popcorn.


Posted by Geoff at 12:47 PM CDT
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Wednesday, October 7, 2009
BLOW OUT TOPS POLL AGAIN
BUT CARLITO MAKES CLOSE PLAY FOR RUNNER UP
Romain has posted the poll results of fans' favorite Brian De Palma film, and Blow Out has once again come out on top. The top three films, however, are only separated by a single percentage point. Romain reports that 304 people voted in the poll, and the results are a bit different than the poll run last month for Cinema Viewfinder's De Palma Blog-A-Thon. The Blog-A-Thon poll was less concentrated on De Palma fans, with its contributors presumably being film fans who may or may not consider themselves De Palma "fans." It is also worth noting that while one could only vote for a single definite favorite in Romain's poll, each voter in the Blog-A-Thon poll offered their top three choices.

In any case, it seems safe to say that Blow Out is the collective film of choice when speaking about De Palma. In Romain's new poll, Carlito's Way came in at number two (4th place in the Blog-A-Thon), followed very closely by Phantom Of The Paradise at number three (9th place in the Blog-A-Thon). Body Double showed a surprising resurgence in both polls, tying Dressed To Kill for the fourth spot in Romain's poll, and tying Femme Fatale for the fifth spot in the Blog-A-Thon. The Blog-A-Thon's number two film, Carrie, only came in at number eight in Romain's poll. Scarface and The Untouchables hover in the bottom of the top ten on both lists. In fact, the top ten of each poll include the same nine films in the top nine. Coming in at number ten on Romain's new poll is Casualties Of War (number 13 on the Blog-A-Thon). The Blog-A-Thon's number ten film, Sisters, did not even get a single vote in Romain's poll.

Posted by Geoff at 8:23 PM CDT
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Tuesday, October 6, 2009
VOTE FOR FAVE DE PALMA FILM - LAST DAY
Today is the last day to vote for your favorite De Palma film at Romain's Virtuoso of the 7th Art. Romain will post the results tomorrow!

Posted by Geoff at 9:00 AM CDT
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009
OBSESSION PREMIERES ON TCM TONIGHT
AS PART OF BERNARD HERRMANN SERIES
Brian De Palma's Obsession makes its premiere on Turner Classic Movies tonight at midnight, eastern time. TCM has been running a series on composer Bernard Herrmann every Tuesday in September, and tonight's line-up is of particular interest to De Palma fans, as it highlights some of Herrmann's post-Hitchcock works of macabre suspense. It starts at 8pm eastern with François Truffaut's Hitchcock homage, The Bride Wore Black, followed by Alastair Reid's The Night Digger (10pm eastern), which features a screenplay by Roald Dahl. Obsession follows at midnight, and then the TCM premiere of Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver runs at 2am eastern. Then at 4am eastern, TCM is showing the 2004 documentary Scorsese On Scorsese. Time to set the DVR, or take the day off tomorrow.

Also, don't forget to check out Laurent Bouzereau's The Suspenseful World of Thrillers on TCM Friday night at 8pm eastern (repeated at 11pm eastern). The Washington Times' Gary Arnold has posted a review of the special, which features interviews with Paul Hirsch and David Koepp.

Posted by Geoff at 11:37 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 11:39 AM CDT
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009
SHEDDING LIGHT ON CARLITO
DE PALMA WANTED SCENE ILLUMINATED BY GUN FLASH


Yesterday, John Huntington at Control Geek relayed a story about how Brian De Palma had wanted a scene entirely illuminated by a gun shot for Carlito's Way. Here is what Huntington wrote about it regarding response time between audio cues and the lighting:

Years ago, when I was working at Production Arts Lighting, we got a call from Brian De Palma's people. De Palma (who I had encountered before on The Untouchables when working for Bran Ferren) was shooting Carlito's Way, and he wanted a scene entirely "illuminated" by the flash of a (blank) gun. They did some tests, and, if I remember correctly, the gun flash wasn't bright enough, and too short to be adequately exposed on the camera. They wanted to take a big 5K fresnel, and have it respond to the sound of the gunshots. We didn't have a lot of time, so we borrowed a pitch-MIDI converter, ran it through Bars and Pipes on an Amiga, and then I wrote some filters there that would generate MIDI messages for a lighting console, that would fire a dimmer which would then light up the 5K. It was very reliable, but with all that early 90's technology, very slow. We did some gun shots, and by the time everything was captured and processed, and the 5K heated up, it was like a second late. It looked pretty cool but was too slow in general to achieve the desired effect.


Posted by Geoff at 12:36 PM CDT
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Thursday, September 17, 2009
BLOG-A-THON COMES TO A CLOSE
BLOW OUT VOTED DE PALMA'S BEST YET AGAIN
The extremely fun De Palma Blog-A-Thon hosted by Tony Dayoub at Cinema Viewfinder closed yesterday with an excellent final entry from Dayoub that juxtaposed Scarface with Carlito's Way. Dayoub begins his essay with a description of his own experiences growing up as a Cuban American in an Hispanic neighborhood in Miami in the late 1970s. He then moves on to describe how Carlito's Way is a "symmetrical counterpoint" to Scarface:

De Palma is always prone to symmetry in his work, often bookending his films with similar visual or thematic concerns: the menstrual blood at the beginning of Carrie (1976) with the pig's blood in its climax; the sexually violent shower dream that opens Dressed to Kill (1980) and the one that ends it; the way an empty gun helps Carlito escape during a shootout at the start of Carlito's Way, and seals his lawyer Kleinfeld's (Sean Penn) fate as the movie wraps up. But with the release of Carlito's Way, De Palma provided not so much an apology, as some have said—for his negative depiction of a Latin gangster in Scarface—as much as he provided a doppelganger, a symmetrical counterpoint to the earlier film that gives it some unexpected depth.

I have been working on something for the Blog-A-Thon that nevertheless was not finished in time-- my piece grew after I discovered some things about the films I was writing about that I hadn't picked up on before. As a result, I had to do a little more research (i.e. watch more films), which is great, but I was not able to complete my essay before the Blog-A-Thon ended. But I do thank Tony for giving me the incentive to write this piece in the first place, and I hope to have it completed and posted by early next week.

POLL RESULTS: RANKING DE PALMA'S FILMS
The last big survey of De Palma fans' favorite De Palma films was done in 2002 by Carl Rodrigue at Le Paradis de Brian De Palma (Romain at Virtuoso of the 7th Art also has one going right now through October 4th). As the Blog-A-Thon ended, so did the Cinema Viewfinder poll, which ended up with 168 votes tallied from users voting for their three favorite De Palma films, in no particular order. Amazingly, the top four titles are the same as the 2002 poll, with the exception that Dressed To Kill was number 2 back then (at Cinema Viewfinder it switches with Carrie and takes the number 3 spot). While Femme Fatale was number 5 all on its own back when it was brand new, it remains number 5 today, although now Body Double has jumped up to tie for the position (the latter was number 9 in 2002). The top ten are further filled out by The Untouchables, Scarface, Phantom Of The Paradise, and Sisters. Here is the entire list:

1. Blow Out
2. Carrie
3. Dressed To Kill
4. Carlito’s Way
5. Femme Fatale/Body Double (Tie)
7. The Untouchables
8. Scarface
9. Phantom Of The Paradise
10. Sisters
11. The Fury/Mission: Impossible (Tie)
13. Casualties Of War
14. Raising Cain
15. The Black Dahlia
16. Obsession
17. Hi, Mom!/Snake Eyes (Tie)
19. Redacted
20. Mission To Mars
21. Dionysus In ‘69
22. Murder a la Mod/Greetings/Get To Know Your Rabbit/Home Movies/The Bonfire Of The Vanities (each received one vote)
27. The Wedding Party/Wise Guys (each received zero votes)

We will see how these votes stack up against Romain's poll in October.


Posted by Geoff at 5:52 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, September 17, 2009 5:58 PM CDT
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