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Domino is
a "disarmingly
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


Exclusive Passion

Brian De Palma
Karoline Herfurth
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AV Club Review
of Dumas book


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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Matthew Chernov, Variety
The Best and Worst Stephen King Adaptations Ranked

1. Carrie (1976)
Like a fairytale passed down for countless generations, King’s deceptively simple story about a lonely, mistreated teenage girl who unleashes her inner rage during the senior prom is so elemental and universal, it feels as though it’s been part of our collective consciousness forever. Miraculously, Brian De Palma’s dazzling film version only heightened the novel’s inherent strength. In the very first Stephen King adaptation, Oscar nominees Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie capture every tragic nuance of Carrie and Margaret White, while up-and-comers like John Travolta, Amy Irving and Nancy Allen shine in colorful supporting roles. But it’s De Palma’s unsurpassed mastery of the medium that pushes “Carrie” to the top of the list. From the languidly erotic locker room title sequence to the electrifying final jolt, “Carrie” is in a class by itself.

Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com
30 Minutes on: "It" (2017)

The sense of the creature's being intimately connected to the history of Derry doesn't come through as strongly as it might, though. That tends to sever the main characters from their town, minimizing the sense that an entire community has a stake in the outcome of the tale and turning it into more of a small-scaled, personal story about individuals conquering their demons by conquering an actual demon. The film treads lightly over his role in a racially motivated incident of arson in Derry's past—the burning of The Black Spot, a club frequented by black soldiers, by The Maine Legion of White Decency—and the gang of white bullies that regularly terrorizes our heroes never uses any slurs when harassing the lone black member of the Loser's Club (Mike Hanlon, played by Chosen Jacobs), leaving racial animosity more implied than stated. The movie also fails to connect particular horrific visions to the characters that inspired them in ways that would might them truly pop, as great setpieces in the Stephen King filmography do (the only girl in the group, Sophia Lillis' Bev Marsh, gets drowned in blood a la "The Shining" elevator not long after buying tampons in a drugstore, a vision worthy of Brian De Palma's original "Carrie," but there's little sense of the incidents being symbolically connected, a conspicuous failure for a horror movie of this type). At two hours and fifteen minutes, the movie also starts to develop a monotonous rhythm, serving up regular jolts at the ends of scenes where characters have a freaky/mysterious experience, almost always ending with Pennywise getting up in their faces or chasing them out of the room, his body shimmering and spazzing like a ghost in a Japanese horror movie.

Jordan Raup, The Film Stage
Review of It

With a more ceremonious unveiling than the other Hollywood adaptation of a Stephen King property this year, It is slickly calibrated to please its spook-hungry audience. Functioning more as a roller coaster ride of frights and humor than a dread-inducing exercise in terror, Andy Muschietti’s Mama follow-up doesn’t have the inspired vision or thematic complexity to join Brian De Palma and Stanley Kubrick in the pantheon of the (very few) masterful cinematic retellings of the celebrated author. However, for a Halloween precursor, there is a respectable amount of carnivalesque mischief to be found in this cinematic equivalent of a deranged jack-in-the-box.

Henry Bevan, The Flickering Myth
Remembering Carrie, the best Stephen King adaptation

The camera glides through the girls’ locker room. The girls are in various states of undress; steam from the shower creates a dreamlike quality, shrouding the scene, fogging up the lens. The camera pushes in on Carrie (Sissy Spacek) as she rubs herself with soap. It focuses on various parts of her naked body, before settling on a close up of her thighs. It lingers for longer than is comfortable as water trickles between her legs. Then, the water turns to blood.

Pino Donaggio’s sensual score starts screeching as Brian De Palma perverts the male gaze, slashing the male fantasy of female representation by showing them something they will never fully understand: menstruation. The scene becomes horrific and is indicative of Carrie, Brian De Palma’s adaptation of Stephen King’s debut novel, a film whose horror lies in the director’s repeated attempts of rupturing film fantasy.

With It seemingly scaring up a massive opening weekend, it is an ideal time for articles on Stephen King adaptations (timeliness equals hits, normally) and Carrie remains one of the best adaptations because of how it grounds fantasy in reality. We are not scared of Carrie because of what she can do. We are scared of Carrie because we could be her. Everyone fears being picked on, being ridiculed, and everyone dreams they’d hit back at their bullies. Carrie, with her telekinetic powers, has the power to fight back, but she chooses not to. She massacres the student body only when the bullying gets too much.

At the Prom De Palma interrupts Carrie’s, and our, dreams. The soft lighting when she becomes Prom Queen turns sharp as she kills everyone in her path, even the “nice” gym teacher gets chopped in two. The murderous rampage shies away from gratuity, and, whether or not this is because of the limitations of the time, it helps makes the film feel real. The car crash looks like something you’d see on the news, it looks mundane.

While comparing films is a cheap form of criticism, Kimberly Peirce’s adequate 2013 re-imagining leans heavily into fantasy. Her car crash is a drawn out experience, captured in slow motion with more blood, and that’s saying something. It’s overt popcorn horror actually makes the film less scary, and even though 2013 Carrie’s powers are more empowering as she actively hones them and enjoys her revenge, it lacks the emotional resonance of someone exploding when they’ve been pushed too far. Peirce’s third-act horrors are how we think we would act in her situation. De Palma’s restrained third-act horrors are how we would act.

Carrie is as grounded in reality as a film featuring telekinesis can be. Carrie’s telekinetic bursts are surprising because they are not the story, they are the fantastical punctuation marks in her toxic reality. The story is concerned with bullying, sex education (lack of), and patriarchal domination; timeless themes and problems we still haven’t solved in the 41 years since the film entered cinemas. De Palma shows a filmmaking intelligence missing from most horror movies. He creates a terrifying film from skipping blood and jump scares, instead focusing on twisting fantasy moments and film language. The male gaze, a staple of most movies, is amped up to softcore porn levels before reality interrupts the fantasy with a trickle of blood.

Posted by Geoff at 8:05 AM CDT
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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Posted by Geoff at 8:01 AM CDT
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Friday, September 8, 2017

Paul Williams will appear in person for a screening of Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise October 1st at Beyond Fest 2017 in Los Angeles. The Phantom screening begins at 4pm. Later that evening, Dario Argento will be on hand for two screenings of the new 4K restoration of his Suspiria, which stars Jessica Harper, fresh off her film debut in Phantom.

Posted by Geoff at 8:11 AM CDT
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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Yesterday, Newsweek's Ryan Bort posted an article with the headline, "9 Things We Learned About Steven Spielberg from HBO's New Documentary On The Director." Included was the old anecdote about Brian De Palma suggesting the opening Star Wars crawl, retold by Spielberg for the new doc:
5. Spielberg Was the Only Other Filmmaker to Believe in Star Wars

A tight-knit unit of filmmakers formed between Spielberg, Lucas, Coppola, Scorsese and De Palma. They hung out together, challenged each other, consulted each other and together would revolutionize the film industry throughout the 1970s and beyond. When Lucas finished a rough mock-up of Star Wars, he showed it to the group.

“It was basically a children’s film,” he said. “It wasn’t what the other friends of mine would think of as something worthwhile. Steven was the one person who was really enthusiastic about it. He said it was going to be a huge smash.”

It was De Palma, however, who came up with the idea for the film’s iconic scrolling prologue. After De Palma “went off” on Lucas for the film’s lack of context, he said it needed, as Spielberg remembers, “an old-fashioned movie that starts with a forward, where words come on the screen and travel up it and tell you what the hell you’re looking at and why you’re in the theater and what the mythology is.”

Spielberg will screen at the New York Film Festival ahead of its HBO premiere October 7th.

Posted by Geoff at 7:56 AM CDT
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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Posted by Geoff at 7:11 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 5, 2017 7:15 PM CDT
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Sunday, September 3, 2017
With a new adaptation of Stephen King's It opening this Friday, there have been many articles of late discussing the many adaptations of King's works. A couple of days ago, Scott Tobias posted an article at the Washington Post with the headline, "The secrets to making great Stephen King movies"...
Some have stuck to the page, letter by letter, and others have only a casual relationship to the text — neither approach is a guaranteed winner.

But there are some connections to be made among the strongest King adaptations. The first is counterintuitive: King characters are best understood from the inside out. That goes against conventional wisdom, because the most adaptable books tend to be short on interior monologue and long on external action, which is why a sledgehammer narrative such as James M. Cain’s “The Postman Always Rings Twice” has been adapted multiple times in English, in Italian (“Obsessione”), in German (“Jerichow”) and in Chinese (“Ju Dou”), and the novel’s murderous love triangle has been resonant every single time. Finding some visual analog for a character’s thoughts is a trickier proposition.

Yet the true horror of films such as “Carrie,” “The Shining,” “The Dead Zone” and “Christine” has to do with transformation, of ordinary stresses escalating into supernatural possession. In Brian De Palma’s hands, “Carrie” turns a teenage girl’s coming of age into a tale of profound isolation and sexual repression, with her desire for womanhood thwarted by her cackling peers on one side and the shame of her fanatically religious mother on the other. Even when her extrasensory powers torch the high school and beyond on prom night, it’s as heartbreaking as it is horrific, a manifestation of pain she can no longer manage.

In Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” and John Carpenter’s “Christine,” there’s a chicken-and-the-egg quality to the relationship between the lead character and the sinister object of their obsession. Perhaps the Overlook Hotel or that snarling 1958 Plymouth Fury would wreak havoc without them, but human weakness and temptation are animating forces in both films, to the point where a symbiosis develops between those forces. We might fear the goings-on in Room 237 or the animal roar of a sentient muscle car, but the source of each fear is so deeply connected to one man’s ravaged psyche, we can’t get a distance from it. David Cronenberg’s “The Dead Zone” makes a curse out of a gift, martyring a man who can see the future at the price of his life.

The other common thread is filmmakers who refuse to act as stenographers and invent or embellish beyond the page. Despite all the misbegotten adaptations of his works, King is most famous for detesting what Kubrick did with “The Shining,” a film many would rank among the scariest of all time. But at the center of that animus is King’s perception of creative disrespect: He wrote a deeply personal horror novel about alcoholism and authorship, only to have Kubrick strip it for parts with the ruthlessness of a chop-shop mechanic. Yet it was Kubrick’s prerogative as an artist to reimagine the novel and make the film a separate entity.

Although other filmmakers haven’t been as dismissive of the source material, they’ve benefited from their own invention. Frank Darabont had to expand on novellas to turn “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Mist” into full-bodied features, but the former now trades places with “The Godfather” as the top user-rated movie on IMDb, and the latter concocts an ending of astonishing darkness. A little creativity was also necessary to turn King’s novella “The Body” into “Stand By Me,” but director Rob Reiner honors the nostalgia and ache at the heart of King’s coming-of-age story, even as it was impossible to write to the letter. When Reiner later took on King’s “Misery,” about an author held captive by his biggest fan, he favored psychological violence over the physical brutality of the novel, but he makes one thwack to the ankles count.

Carrie will be screened at midnight showings this Friday and Saturday at Gardena Cinema in California, as the first of "two of the best Stephen King feature film adaptations," according to the flyer partially seen above. The other film is Cronenberg's The Dead Zone, which will play Fri/Sat midnight the following weekend.

Posted by Geoff at 11:57 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, September 4, 2017 12:11 AM CDT
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Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Earlier this summer, HBO announced that Spielberg, a documentary on Steven Spielberg by Susan Lacy, will premiere on the channel October 7th. This week, it was announced that the film will have its world premiere at the New York Film Festival, which runs September 29 through October 15. The documentary includes new interviews with Brian De Palma, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, John Williams, Tom Hanks, Robert Zemeckis, and several others.

According to The Hollywood Reporter's Ashley Lee, "The film spans from his early love of moviemaking while growing up in all-American suburbia, through his rise to fame with Jaws, to his establishment of a film-and-TV empire with DreamWorks, and beyond." Lee states that Spielberg and Lacy will both be in attendance for the film's premiere at the festival.

Last month, Deadline's Lisa de Moraes posted some things Lacy said about the doc at a Television Critics Association session:

“He in no way tried to steer this film; he did not see it until it was finished,” Susan Lacy told TV critics of her Steven Spielberg docu for HBO, when asked what the director told her he did and did not want to see in the 2 1/2-hour project.

“We did not talk about what I was going to do and wasn’t going to do,” she bristled at Wednesday afternoon’s TCA Q&A on Spielberg, which debuts October 7.

Lacy conducted nearly 30 hours of interviews with Spielberg for the doc.

“I’m a very in-depth interviewer,” she boasted. “We were still deeply in childhood after two hours. He is very shy about interviews; he does very few. [It’s] quite an extraordinary experience to hear him really open up.”


“Every actor I interview – and I interviewed everybody – they were most impressed with how much he understands the process of filmmaking and how he sees ahead when he’s shooting,” she said. “Very few filmmakers have that skill. I did so much research.”

Lacy did not, however, interview Spielberg’s wife Kate Capshaw or any of their children for the bio. “She did not want to do an interview for the film; they are very private in terms of their family life,” Lacy explained. “I made the decision not to interview the children,” though she did interview Spielberg’s sister and parents because “they were there at the birth of him becoming a filmmaker.”

Spielberg does not delve into his personal life much, she said, though he does discuss the impact his parents’ divorce had on him and how it informed E.T., for instance.

Lacy also did not dwell on how long it took the the Motion Picture Academy to recognize Spielberg with a Best Picture Oscar. She said she felt the statement about his winning it for the first time with Schindler’s List, after having made six of the top-grossing movies of all time, made the point.

She also did not delve into Spielberg’s involvement with DreamWorks or his work in TV, focusing purely on his directing of movies.

“He is a populist and an artist,” she described. “He’s an incredibly personal filmmaker.”

Lacy added: “For the most commercial filmmaker in history, I do not think box office has ever been what has driven him. What’s driven him is what interests him and what he thinks is important to say.”

The decision to make a 3 1/2-hour black-and-white movie about the Holocaust, she said as a for instance, “did not come out of focus groups. It could have been a huge flop.”

Spielberg explores the directors’ thoughts on Jaws, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Color Purple, Schindler’s List, Jurassic Park and Saving Private Ryan. One TV critic at the session noted that the doc does not discuss at any length those of his movies that were not as successful.

“If it isn’t in the film doesn’t mean we did not talk about it,” she countered. “It means I had a 2 1/2 hours.”

Lacy previously helmed PBS’ American Masters for three decades; TV critics wondered what it was like for her to work with HBO’s documentary chief Sheila Nevins. Lacy called it “nothing but pleasure for me.”

“We kiss every morning and hug every night,” joked Nevins.

Posted by Geoff at 7:42 AM CDT
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Monday, August 28, 2017

CineVue's Martyn Conterio reviews Don Mancini's Cult Of Chucky
Cult of Chucky is by and large a gory hoot, with Jennifer Tilly stealing every scene she's in. Sprinkled with James Whale-style camp, Brian De Palma's baroque aesthetic and expressionist production design recalling William Cameron Menzies' use of exaggerated sets in Invaders from Mars, Don Mancini's new Chucky film delivers everything a Chucky fan could possibly want: corny one-liners, the carrot-haired monster being horrible to everybody, Jennifer Tilly playing a demented femme fatale and plenty of violence.

Since their rejuvenation under the auspice of creator Mancini, the once-controversial Child's Play movies have taken a rewarding tongue-in-cheek approach, with doses of postmodernist winking at the audience. Most slasher movie franchises are on the bones of their arse by the seventh episode, dog-tired and ready for the chop, but with Mancini back on board calling the the shots, Chucky has found a new lease of life, moving away from the dark origins of Child's Play and its two sequels into exclusively horror-comedy territory.


Like the best trashy psycho-thriller Brian De Palma never made, Cult of Chucky revels in giddy nonsense. Mancini deploys split-screen, split-focus, suspenseful editing and stages surprisingly icky deaths with aplomb (Nica stomping on a guy's head until its total mush being the chief highlight). And how does a wheelchair user find herself walking? That would be telling. While the plot is supremely silly, hardcore devotees will be delighted to find twists and turns along the way.

This past April, We Live Entertainment's Fred Topel attended a panel for Cult Of Chucky at Monsterpalooza in Pasadena, California. Topel posted that Tilly told the audience, "You’ll see there’s references to other movies because Don Mancini loves horror movies. He’s incorporated homages to great horror films that have come before.” After which Mancini added, "We have lots of Brian De Palma."


Posted June 11 2004
Don Mancini, who has written all four of the previous films in the Child's Play series, is making his feature directorial debut with the upcoming fifth installment, Seed Of Chucky, which he also wrote. According to Fangoria magazine's January issue (the news of which you can read at Gorezone), Mancini has hired Pino Donaggio to compose the score for the film. "A lot of Seed is a takeoff on Brian De Palma's early movies," Mancini told Fangoria, "and I thought it would be a perfect touch to have his composer do the music for our film as well." Donaggio scored many of De Palma's classic thrillers, beginning with Carrie, and continuing with Dressed To Kill, Blow Out, Body Double, and Raising Cain. He also scored De Palma's comedy, Home Movies, and told an Italian newspaper in 2002 that he would be scoring De Palma's upcoming Toyer. Seed Of Chucky is released in October, and will also feature director John Waters as an "ill-fated papparazzo," according to Mancini.
(Thanks to Space Ace!)

Posted by Geoff at 12:00 AM CDT
Updated: Monday, August 28, 2017 12:29 AM CDT
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Thursday, August 24, 2017

From the tweet above, it appears that Josep M. Civit, the second unit cinematographer on Brian De Palma's Domino, has either already begun or will begin soon to shoot in Almería. A profile piece on Civit from a week ago by Ara's Cristina Ros began with the following (translated from Catalan with help from Google)...
"I wanted to be a movie director. I thought the director was the one who looked at the camera and, when I learned that no, who does it is the director of photography, I already knew what I wanted to be." This is how Josep Maria Civit (Barcelona, 1954) tells us, to whom we find in a single week of summer rest, that Brian De Palma has given to the filming of Domino, between his work in Copenhagen and what he will do in the coming weeks in Almería. It is not the only film in which one of the Catalan directors of photography is now working with a more solid and expanded career. In early summer, we see in the photo, Civit was in London, under the orders of Agustí Villaronga, in a part of the filming of the next filmmaker of the Mallorcan filmmaker, Born a King, a Spanish, English and Spanish co-production Saudi Arabia, where they will shoot in October to avoid high current temperatures. "I do not stop this summer," Civit says: "The truth is that my summers always have me busy." In any case, he is satisfied. "I spent the summer between two privileged minds: that of Agustí Villaronga and that of Brian De Palma. I'm delighted. We move from one place to another, but to me, regarding work, what interests me is that I make a trip to the director's head in every movie. It is he who has the skin on his head."

Posted by Geoff at 11:39 PM CDT
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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Selena Gomez moderated a Q&A with co-director Josh Safdie and producer Sebastian Bear-McClard, following a screening of their movie Good Time this past Saturday at ArcLight Hollywood. Gomez began by explaining that she is a fan of the Safdie Brothers' Heaven Knows What, after which Safdie told the audience, "People might not know this, but Selena's like an avid movie devourer. She just like will devour a movie and watch like a De Palma movie four or five times in a day. [Gomez laughs] And it's very very very very cool."

Selena Gomez has "fetish" for Brian De Palma films

Posted by Geoff at 7:21 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, August 22, 2017 7:22 PM CDT
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