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Recent Headlines
a la Mod:

Domino is
a "disarmingly
straight-forward"
work that "pushes
us to reexamine our
relationship to images
and their consumption,
not only ethically
but metaphysically"
-Collin Brinkman

De Palma on Domino
"It was not recut.
I was not involved
in the ADR, the
musical recording
sessions, the final
mix or the color
timing of the
final print."

Listen to
Donaggio's full score
for Domino online

De Palma/Lehman
rapport at work
in Snakes

De Palma/Lehman
next novel is Terry

De Palma developing
Catch And Kill,
"a horror movie
based on real things
that have happened
in the news"

Supercut video
of De Palma's films
edited by Carl Rodrigue

Washington Post
review of Keesey book

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Exclusive Passion
Interviews:

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
Leila Rozario

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AV Club Review
of Dumas book

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De Palma interviewed
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De Palma discusses
The Black Dahlia 2006


Enthusiasms...

De Palma Community

The Virtuoso
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The De Palma Touch

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Carrie...A Fan's Site

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No Harm In Charm

Paul Schrader

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The Master Of Suspense

Alfred Hitchcock Films

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and the Infield
Fly Rule

Movie Mags

Directorama

The Filmmaker Who
Came In From The Cold

Jim Emerson on
Greetings & Hi, Mom!

Scarface: Make Way
For The Bad Guy

The Big Dive
(Blow Out)

Carrie: The Movie

Deborah Shelton
Official Web Site

The Phantom Project

Welcome to the
Offices of Death Records

The Carlito's Way
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The House Next Door

Kubrick on the
Guillotine

FilmLand Empire

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italkyoubored

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Motion Pictures Comics

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De Palma a la Mod
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Entries by Topic
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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Ambrose Chapel
Are Snakes Necessary?
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Sunday, August 7, 2016
'CARRIE' & 'THE FURY' ARE SOME 'STRANGER THINGS'
ALSO 'BODY DOUBLE', AS NETFLIX HIT SERIES SAID TO PAY HOMAGE TO '70s & '80s GENRE FILMS


The juxtaposition above comes from a video assembled by Ulysse Thevenon, titled "References to 70-80’s movies in Stranger Things." Stranger Things is Netflix' latest series, which has become a hit since premiering on the streaming site last month. Several have noted an obvious nod to Brian De Palma's Carrie, as well as a thematic similarity with De Palma's The Fury. Here are some links to explore:

Brian Lowry, CNN

"Press materials describe the series as a 'love letter to '80s supernatural classics that captivated a generation.' Clearly, there are touches of Poltergeist and The Goonies baked into the idea, as well as The Fury, Brian De Palma's 1978 psychic thriller. Still, Stranger Things ultimately has to stand on its own. And too often the pacing just limps along -- spooning out story in a way that practically demands bingeing, and even then never really disgorging all its secrets."

Scott Tobias, Vulture

Every Major Film Reference in the Show, From A–Z

Body Double (1984)
Brian De Palma’s deliciously pervy riff on Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window plays with voyeurism and murder, casting Craig Wasson as a house sitter who uses a telescope to spy on a beautiful woman and witnesses a murder. In Stranger Things, Jonathan scours the woods with his camera in search of his missing brother, Will (Noah Schnapp), but pauses to catch some shots of his crush, Nancy, as she’s partying at her boyfriend’s house. The image of Jonathan peering through the blinds with telephoto lens as Nancy is about to lose her virginity recalls Body Double and its poster."

Carrie (1976)
Elle is a hybrid of two Stephen King stories about girls with telekinetic power, Carrie and Firestarter. Of the two, Stranger Things owes a little more to Carrie, if only because Elle and Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) have a broader range of skills and a similarly sheltered upbringing. Though Carrie’s age feeds into a more meaningful and excruciating story of her coming-of-age as a woman, the two characters are products of needy, controlling parents — Piper Laurie’s religious zealot in Carrie; Matthew Modine’s experimental scientist in Stranger Things — who don't allow socialization with other kids. And while Elle and Carrie are fundamentally sweet-natured, they’re capable of startling violence when provoked. (When they’re flashing trance-like stares, look out.) Stranger Things also includes a nice homage to the famous stinger that closes Carrie: Just as Carrie’s hand reaches through the soil at her gravesite — Nancy’s hand punctures through the goo when she climbs out of the Upside Down in episode six."

Vulture's Scott Tobias on Episode 6

"The Monster" makes a hard shift toward supernatural horror, with two serious jump-scares in the pre-credits sequence alone, so I'm going to make a hard shift toward talking about Stephen King, whose influence on Stranger Things I haven't mentioned to this point. The shot of Nancy's outstretched hand puncturing through the portal to the netherworld is a nod to the closing scene in Brian De Palma's adaptation of King's Carrie, one of the all-time-great stingers in movie history. And both are premised on reversing the same false assumption: Once you cross over to the Great Beyond, there's no coming back.

Yet the differences between the two are telling. In Stranger Things, the outstretched hand is a simple misdirection, shocking the viewer into thinking the creature is grabbing at Jonathan when, in fact, it's Nancy emerging from the portal. In Carrie, it's a nightmare, fueled by a teenager's guilt over her role in ostracizing one of her fellow students. One is an effective scare that dissipates; one is an effective scare that lingers. And that, in a nutshell, is the significant flaw in this otherwise entertaining series. There's nothing in the Duffer brothers' nostalgia trip that's uniquely resonant or built to last. It's a temporary endorphin rush.

Consider the biggest King connection here: Eleven, or Elle, whose telekinetic powers bring her in line with the heroines in King's Carrie and Firestarter. I haven't read Firestarter — which, given the girls' ages, may be the more appropriate comparison — but Carrie is essentially a coming-of-age scenario tweaked into a horror novel, expressing the dramatic swings of adolescent emotion as a violent flurry of psychic activity. Carrie becomes dangerous when she no longer has control of her feelings, and thus, no longer has control over her powers. It's an extreme version of the growth that confuses and torments all teenagers: Our bodies betray us at the most vulnerable time, and for Carrie, that betrayal is devastatingly complete.

There are flashes of Carrie's third-act aggression in "The Monster," which finds a distressed Elle turning her stress and anger on the manager of a grocery store and the bullies who force Mike to jump off a cliff. We've seen it before, in the flashback where Elle fatally smashes one handler into a tiled wall and snaps the neck of another like a twig. In the last episode, she knocked Lucas unconscious while trying to break up a fight, which led to a temporary rift between close friends. Elle's power is always a lingering threat, particularly when she gets upset or feels under attack.

But Elle's telekinetic abilities aren't really a metaphor for anything. They're a storytelling device — an effective one, to be sure — meant to recall the childhood stolen from her. Stranger Things doesn't register the trauma of that as much as it should, but "The Monster" does explain how she got to this point, far enough to make you marvel that she has a shred of humanity remaining. It turns out that Elle has been property of the Department of Energy since birth, when Dr. Brenner and company swiped her from her mother, then claimed the baby had died in the third trimester. The show has consistently doled out scenes from Elle's childhood under Brenner's watch, which has required a push-and-pull between emotional manipulation and ruthless weaponization. She's been built to fight the Soviets. And she has, improbably, remained an empathetic child, if not a joyful one.


Sean Hutchinson, Inverse

"Netflix’s newest hit, Stranger Things, is a treasure trove of 1980s genre references, but what separates it from a fan film that simply makes Steven Spielberg and John Carpenter references is the way it incorporates those nods into the texture of the show itself. These references go deeper than just superficial winks to some of the most iconic books and movies of the decade.

"Sure, it’s a nice visual callback, Nancy Wheeler’s outstretched hand from the Upside Down giving us a flashback to Brian De Palma’s adaptation of Stephen King’s Carrie, but more importantly, Matthew Modine's sinister government scientist in Stranger Things is in the same vein as the similarly controlling parent played by Piper Laurie in De Palma’s film. And while it’s obvious that the main characters tearing around their suburban neighborhoods on BMX bikes with a supernatural being in tow is a shout at E.T., the truly important aspect they borrow is that Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) is the same single mother trying to make ends meet as Dee Wallace’s parent in the Spielberg classic. It’s not just that a group of kids go on a huge adventure like in The Goonies, it’s that the adventure tests and strengthens their friendship in the movie and the Netflix show as well."

Ashley Hoffman, TIME

"In the movie Carrie based on the Stephen King novel, Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) has telekinetic powers that she sometimes uses for violence. Sound familiar? Carrie and Eleven are both total goody two shoes who wouldn’t harm a fly. Unless they’re provoked, in which case they would totally harm several flies, household objects and people. But it’s the sixth episode that has the most blatant Carrie callback when Nancy’s hand bursts through the portal to the Upside Down. It resembles the scene when Carrie’s hand pops out of the dirt covering her grave."


Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, August 8, 2016 12:21 AM CDT
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Thursday, August 4, 2016
RARE MAKING OF 'HI, MOM!' VIEW FROM RESIDENT
MOVED OUT FOR 24 HOURS TO ALLOW FILMING IN HIS APARTMENT
The New York Times has a "Metropolitan Diary" column in which people are encouraged to send in submissions about life in the city. Dr. Stanley Shapiro sent in the following entry, which was posted to the NY Times August 1st:
Dear Diary:

Recent news coverage regarding a documentary about the film director Brian De Palma reminded me of the day in 1970 when he and Robert De Niro came to our I.M. Pei faculty/grad student building at New York University on Bleecker Street (now called Silver Towers).

The film, called “Hi, Mom,” continued the story of the antihero in “Greetings,” who was now a peeping Tom. My apartment was the object of his obsession, since it was opposite their other site on Greene Street.

Mr. De Niro was handsome and polite and smiled at our 6-month-old. Mr. De Palma shrugged around our place checking camera angles. I think we got $100 and moved out for 24 hours.

When we came back, they were still working on a scene with the actress Jennifer Salt, who was in a flimsy robe and getting ready to reshoot a nude scene in our bathtub. She was apologizing/explaining to my young wife about how acting and real life were not necessarily the same.

Maybe we should find a DVD of this film to revisit our cheap Danish Modern furniture. I seem to remember an orange foam rubber couch.


Posted by Geoff at 2:45 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, August 4, 2016 2:48 AM CDT
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Tuesday, August 2, 2016
REFN PRESENTS 'BODY DOUBLE' IN U.K. FRIDAY
SERIES OF MOVIES THAT INSPIRED REFN INCLUDED 'CARRIE' LAST MONTH


Picturehouse cinemas in the U.K. are hosting a series called "Nicolas Winding Refn Presents…" It began July 15th with Brian De Palma's Carrie ("Nicolas Winding Refn’s verdict: ‘a visual feast.’"), and from this Friday (August 5th) will be De Palma's Body Double ("Nicolas Winding Refn’s verdict: 'They should make more movies like this nowadays.'"). The other films in the series are David Cronenberg's Videodrome, Jonathan Glazer's Under The Skin, David Lynch's Mulholland Drive, and Dario Argento's Suspiria.

Previously:

'NEON DEMON' REVIEWS OFTEN MENTION DE PALMA

CAHIERS DU CINEMA ON 'NEON DEMON'


Posted by Geoff at 11:45 PM CDT
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TWEET - HAUNTED ART OF 'THE FURY'

Posted by Geoff at 2:43 AM CDT
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Monday, August 1, 2016
CRAMPTON FLESHES OUT 'BODY DOUBLE' SCENES
"IT WAS AN HONOR TO WORK WITH ONE OF THE GREATEST FILMMAKERS OF ALL TIME"(BUT STILL WAITING FOR BRIAN TO CALL)
Back in 2012, Barbara Crampton spoke briefly about filming Body Double to Fangoria's Chris Alexander. In an article today at A.V. Club, Crampton goes into even more detail about the scenes that were cut prior to filming, and also about becoming friends with Brian De Palma, and then seeing him again years later. Here's the excerpt:
When I was first offered the role, [my character had] three scenes. There were two where Craig Wasson’s character tries to talk me into going back with him, because my character had broken up with him. And then, in the last scene, he finds me in bed with another guy. So I was quite excited, right? I went in an auditioned for this role, and I got the part. I was thrilled that I was going to be working with Brian De Palma. But then the night before I was scheduled to work, somebody called me and said, “Listen, they cut the two acting scenes. You only have the scene where you’re in bed with the guy.” That’s it. No dialogue. I said, “Really? You’re cutting all of the dialogue?” And he says, “Yeah, but they’re going to shoot it all day, and they really want to make a big deal out of it. You’re going to be on screen on a long time. They really want you for the role.” And I thought, “Well, it’s Brian De Palma. I should do it, because it will lead to other things. They always work with the same people, so I’m going to do it.”

So, I show up on the set, and I shoot my scene, and in fact, I did do that scene all day. We did it for six or seven hours. I mean, all day. And I became friendly with Brian, and I had a party at my house the following week, and he came. I even started dating his first AD for a short time. I felt all cozy with these guys. And then, years later, I still hadn’t gotten a call. Even years later, when I’d been working, and people knew my work a little bit, [I was] still trying to get a job with Brian.

Then I’m sitting in the Century City mall, which doesn’t exist anymore—this is maybe 10 or 15 years ago—with my friend Shanti. [We] were sitting there having lunch, and somebody walks up, and he says, “Hey, Barbara.” And I look up, and it’s Brian De Palma. And I look at him, and I say, “Brian!” And he goes, “How are you? What are you doing?” I was kind of amazed that he remembered me and that he came up and talked to me, because he could have been having lunch and decided he was going to pay his bill and leave. Well, he came over, and noticed me, and said hello. So, I thought, “I’m going to use this opportunity to tell him my little story about, you know, I got the part, then I lost the scene, but I did it because I want to work with you again, and maybe you’ll use me again,” and he’s like, “Oh, yes! I will, Barbara. You’re right. I’m going to call you. Yes. You’re on my mind. I’m going to think about you. I am definitely going to use you in something else.”

Well, I am still waiting for that call from Brian De Palma. I haven’t given up, but I’m still waiting. But all in all, I will say that even if that was the only time I ever got to work with him, I’m glad that I did, because it was an honor to work with one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. To be on on set with him and have him direct me. So, in whatever small capacity of a role that I had, I’m really happy that I did it. And Brian? Are you listening? Are you reading this? [Laughs.]


Posted by Geoff at 10:11 PM CDT
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Sunday, July 31, 2016
RETRO MOVIE LOVE PODCAST ON DE PALMA
IF YOU HAVE 3 HOURS TO KILL (PLUS 7 MINUTES)

Posted by Geoff at 4:53 PM CDT
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Wednesday, July 27, 2016
SHOUT'S 'RAISING CAIN' BLU TO INCLUDE RE-CUT
PEET GELDERBLOM'S RE-CUT ACCORDING TO DE PALMA'S ORIGINAL VISION; NEW INTERVIEWS, MORE
Shout! Factory yesterday finally revealed the extras that will be included on its collector's edition Blu-ray of Brian De Palma's Raising Cain, and they are fantastic. There will be a second disc, which will include a so-called "Director's Cut" of the film "Featuring Scenes Reordered As Originally Intended," which was put together by our old friend Peet Gelderblom (the same friend, by the way, who designed the "De Palma a la Mod" logo at the top of this very page). Also included will be an updated version of Peet's video essay about the Re-Cut (as it was originally called), as well as "Changing Cain: Brian De Palma's Cult Classic Restored Featurette," which you can actually watch right now at Directorama, along with a new written essay by Peet describing how it all came together. Other extras include brand new interviews with cast and Paul Hirsch-- check it out in full below. The collection will be released September 13th.

Bonus Features

DISC ONE:

-Theatrical Version Of The Film
-NEW Interviews With Actors John Lithgow, Steven Bauer, Gregg Henry, Tom Bower, Mel Harris And Editor Paul Hirsch
-Original Theatrical Trailer

DISC TWO:

-Director's Cut Of The Film Featuring Scenes Reordered As Originally Intended
-NEW Changing Cain: Brian De Palma's Cult Classic Restored Featurette
-NEW Raising Cain Re-Cut – A Video Essay By Peet Gelderblom


Posted by Geoff at 8:31 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, July 28, 2016 6:46 PM CDT
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Tuesday, July 26, 2016
A DE PALMA FILM UPON FIRST VIEWING
ZEKEFILM CRITICS EACH CHOOSE A PREVIOUSLY UNSEEN WORK TO WATCH & WRITE ABOUT
At Zekefilm, several critics chose a Brian De Palma film they had never seen previously, watched it, and then wrote about it. Their critiques are collected on one page. Here are some excerpts:

Justin Mory on Obsession:

"So, again, the Vertigo-ish aspects of Obsession are all but inescapable for those familiar with the earlier masterpiece, but like his later, overtly Psycho-influenced thriller Dressed to Kill (1980), De Palma adds problematic layers undreamt of by The Master. Indeed, the swirling camera around Courtland and his 're-found' lost love in a deliriously-lit airport lobby may be an almost exact copy of the most famous shot from Vertigo; however, the further provocative elements offered by De Palma’s Obsession make the act of 'viewing' the scene even more disturbing than Hitchcock himself intended."

Robert Hornak on Casualties Of War

"The contrast between the two [Sean Penn's Merserve and Michael J. Fox' Eriksson] has the effect of infusing everything with a certain cartoony two-dimensionality. But it works, insofar as this true story is beaten out into a morality tale about America – who it wants to be, coming face to face with who it might really be."

[Note: Contrast the above quote with the one from the other day about Blow Out, by Taylor Burns at Little White Lies: "Blow Out’s genius is to present the difference between what a country believes itself to be, and what it actually is. No matter the country. No matter who’s in charge."]

Sharon Autenrieth on Mission: Impossible

"I need someone who appreciates Brian De Palma’s style to walk me through a shot by shot study of Mission: Impossible so that I can get it."

Max Foizey on Phantom Of The Paradise

"I wholeheartedly agree with that library clerk and I’m sorry that I put off watching Phantom for as long as I did. Even being a fan of De Palma’s films, it was easy to shove Phantom off to the side. On the surface it seems so very unlike the rest of his work. When you think DePalma, you think sensuality, violence, and Hitchcock; you don’t think glam musical. But you should! Phantom of the Paradise is a De Palma film through and through, but with a mean satirical twist. It’s got horror, split screen, and voyeurism. Who else could have made this film? Nobody."

David Strugar on The Untouchables

"For me, many elements of the film have aged, not badly, but oddly. It’s a mystery to me now how Kevin Costner got famous, but his attractive dullness works here to portray the morally upright Elliot Ness. The whole storyline of a police force fighting its own corruption is suddenly timely again, as well as the ethical questions of fighting violence with violence—or of fighting a crime that doesn’t necessarily have to be a crime."


Posted by Geoff at 12:38 AM CDT
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Monday, July 25, 2016
2 ARTICLES LOOK AT TRUTH/LIES IN 'BLOW OUT'
PRESENTS "THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT A COUNTRY BELIEVES ITSELF TO BE, AND WHAT IT ACTUALLY IS"


Two separate articles were posted over the weekend about Blow Out, which was released on July 24, 1981. Little White Lies' Taylor Burns wrote an essay with the headline, "Blow Out and the politics of despair"...
Travolta’s Jack Terry does everything his constitution tells him is the right thing to do, and he is punished for it, slapped back into place for having a blue collar and empty pockets. The information he has is of value to the American people and he pays for it with his life – not literally, like his partner, Sally (Nancy Allen), but with his American life, with the things he needs to know and trust to continue living as a citizen of his country. He ends the film alive but far from well. This is the politics of despair.

The film’s tragic final scene is among the most sorrowful, albeit gorgeous, in all of cinema; the (fictional) Liberty Day parade provides a cruel and ironic backdrop to Terry’s crack-up, Travolta matching the tone of the story by twisting and turning through a Philadelphia seaport awash with red, white and blue. Thousands of everyday patriots have taken to the street while in the shadows a government fixer (John Lithgow) is killing a young woman, disavowing the basic principles on which America was founded. Blow Out’s genius is to present the difference between what a country believes itself to be, and what it actually is. No matter the country. No matter who’s in charge.

Throughout this climactic scene cymbals crash and fireworks bang. They hang in the sky, colourful bursts of unadulterated patriotism for the revellers below to gawp in awe at. These people have been sold the belief that if they work hard for their country, if they defend its constitution and serve its enforcers, they will be rewarded – in this case with a showy parade that literally reminds them of the “Liberty” they are supposed to be so grateful for. What they don’t see is the firework coming down as a damp squib; its light a mere distraction from what’s going on in the dark.


And then at Audiences Everywhere, Whit Denton posted more of a ramble about the truth buried within the film. "With Blow Out," states Denton, "De Palma is telling a gripping, obsessive thriller that reckons with the id of American consciousness. Yet, he is also making a statement about the creation of art itself, about that unending and often infuriating search for truth. De Palma is trying to blow everything up and analyze every frame and sound bite, because perhaps hidden in the white noise and pixels there is some modicum of real and honest meaning lying dormant."

Posted by Geoff at 12:37 AM CDT
Updated: Monday, July 25, 2016 12:39 AM CDT
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Friday, July 22, 2016
'DE PALMA' DOC HITS BLU-RAY SEPT. 13TH
WHICH HAPPENS TO BE THE WEEK OF DE PALMA'S BIRTHDAY
Earlier this week, it was announced that De Palma, the documentary co-directed by Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow, will be released on Blu-ray by Lionsgate on September 13th, two days after Brian De Palma's 76th birthday. According to Blu-ray.com, the running time is 107 minutes, which matches the theatrical version (curiously, the Amazon listing for the Blu-ray lists 93 minutes). No extras have been mentioned yet.

Posted by Geoff at 12:17 AM CDT
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