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Recent Headlines
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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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Interviews...

De Palma interviewed
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De Palma discusses
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Carrie...A Fan's Site

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No Harm In Charm

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Jim Emerson on
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Scarface: Make Way
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The Big Dive
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Carrie: The Movie

Deborah Shelton
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Welcome to the
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The Carlito's Way
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FilmLand Empire

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italkyoubored

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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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Monday, October 17, 2016
NY TIMES - DE PALMA, KING, COHEN TALK 'CARRIE'
PLUS MORE LINKS TO REVIEWS UPON ITS 40TH ANNIVERSARY
The New York Times ran a Sunday feature yesterday written by Gilbert Cruz, with the headline, "‘Carrie’ Is Back. Like a Bloody Hand From the Grave." The article includes quotes from Brian De Palma, Stephen King, and Lawrence D. Cohen.

"I never really approached it as a horror movie," De Palma tells Cruz. "It’s more of a character piece. She does go berserk after she gets hit with the bucket of blood, but until then, not really. What made this really good — both the book and the film — is that it capsulized everyone’s high school experience of being an outsider."

Later, De Palma is quoted about Sissy Spacek: "The studio didn’t even want me to test Sissy. It’s probably the part she’ll be best remembered for even though she won an Oscar for another role."

Here are a couple of other passages from Cruz' article:

“It’s really a simple story,” Mr. King said. “And people saw Carrie as an extreme case of what they went through in high school.” Fresh out of college when he started the book, teaching high school English by day, Mr. King said he understood “it from both sides of the desk. There was a visceral sense that I was writing about something that I understood and felt deeply at the time.”

In the mid-1970s, few had heard of Mr. King, a teacher who had mainly published short stories in men’s magazines. Lawrence D. Cohen, then working for a movie producer in New York, had certainly never heard of him when he plucked “Carrie” from a slush pile. He eventually wrote the screenplay. “I understood why critics were perplexed as to what genre ‘Carrie’ belonged to,” Mr. Cohen said. “Was it a high school movie, a sci-fi novel, a horror piece, a psychological thriller?”

...

United Artists considered marketing it as a B-movie. “They wanted to change the title to ‘Pray for Carrie,’ which is a very exploitation-movie title,” Mr. Cohen said. “And they ended up taking out an ad that was a poster of Carrie covered in blood, which was a spoiler before that word was used, but a clear way of selling the movie. I remember looking at it going, ‘They’ve lost their minds; they’re giving away the whole movie.’” In retrospect, the poster is a superb example of Alfred Hitchcock’s explanation of the difference between suspense and surprise — knowing a bomb will explode and tensing for it, versus having it blow up with no warning. Bloody Carrie is the bomb the audience saw before the movie even started.

One reason “Carrie” is considered such an effective horror movie is its final two minutes, in which Ms. Irving’s good girl, Sue Snell, visits a grave and a hand shoots from the ground, sending audiences from the theater with one more scare. It was the last thing they remembered about the movie and the first thing they told friends.

“What the ending did was establish Stephen King as a brand name for horror,” said Mr. Cohen, who also wrote a “Carrie” stage musical and the screenplay for the 2013 movie remake. The success of the original film boosted sales for the novel, and Mr. King’s next novel after the movie, “The Shining,” became his first hardcover best seller, and he was off.

But Mr. King has never lost his view of high school as a place like the island in “Lord of the Flies.” Those locker-filled hallways are the true dark corridors, and you don’t need to add too much to make it scarier than it already is. “I tell people, ‘If you look back on high school as the high point of your life,’” you’re one messed-up American, Mr. King said, using rougher language. “Most of us look at high school as something we escaped.”


MORE LINKS - REVIEWS OF 'CARRIE' ON BLU-RAY

Peter Sobczynski, RogerEbert.com

"Then there is De Palma, who conducts the proceedings with the kind of self-confidence in his artistic gifts that few filmmakers manage to achieve in their entire careers. Over the years, he has proven to be one of the most divisive of American filmmakers but this is perhaps the one film of his that everyone, regardless of where they stand on his career as a whole, seems to admire. Even though he obviously didn’t come up with the story himself, he has such a handle on what he wants to say with it and how to say it that Carrie feels just as personal as any of his self-generated projects. He effortlessly taps into our collective memories of the actual high school experience—oftentimes far removed from the version put forth in the kind of dumb movies that he definitively rebukes here—and uses them to both inform the story and help us embrace Carrie in a way that not even King was able to completely pull off in the book. At the same time, he again demonstrates his mastery of audience manipulation by first getting viewers completely on Carrie’s side and then eventually putting them in the discomfiting positions of A.) anticipating the sight of her prom night humiliation and B.) watching the person they have grown to like slaughtering all her classmates afterwards, even though many of them have themselves done nothing to deserve such retribution. (In fact, the grisliest death in the sequence is the one suffered by the gym teacher, who had done nothing except try to help Carrie out, even though her actions would play an inadvertent part in the horrors to come.) He is so much at the top of his game here that even if you have seen the film a number of times before, he still manages to suck you into the story to such a degree that you can still be caught off-guard by the proceedings. Then, just when you think that it is over, he comes up with one final shock (one not in the book) that not only supplies one of the great jump scares in film history but brilliantly subverts the hoary cliche that everything can go back to normal once the monster is defeated—here, even if you manage to survive everything, you still don’t get out of it completely unscarred."

Donald A. Guarisco, Schlockmania

"That said, an effective tale of supernatural revenge needs a master manipulator at its helm – and DePalma does a brilliant, thoroughly inspired job here. There’s a long time before the big horrors kick in so the film relies on his ability to stylize the melodrama in a way that makes it feel suspenseful and laden with atmosphere. He pulls this off, using sleek photography by Mario Tosi and a melodic, emotionally charged score from Pino Donaggio to comment on the big emotional stakes of Carrie emerging from her shell as she is plotted against. DePalma’s underrated skill for directing actors gets a great venue during this section of the film.

"Once it’s time for the prom, the director gets to dig deep into his bag of tricks and the resulting display of cinematic pyrotechnics is awe-inspiring: he gets to deploy slow motion, split-diopter shots, elaborate tracking shots and what might be the finest use of split screen in any movie. From there to the coda, he finds an ideal balance between the visceral and the stylistically graceful that few filmmakers are capable of achieving. Without giving too much away, he also summons up a shock coda for the ages.

"In short, Carrie ranks with The Dead Zone and Stand By Me as the best films to emerge from the ever-growing ranks of Stephen King adaptations. It’s also a must-see for anyone interested in DePalma’s career or great horror films from the ’70s. Commercial horror fare doesn’t get better or more artful than this."

Bruce Westbrook, Tripping the Light

"Yet Carrie was a tough sell to studios, only getting greenlit when a new female exec championed its female-focused story (and wasn’t put off by an early scene involving Carrie’s horrified first menstruation in the girl’s locker room at school, leading to abuse from her classmates).

"Cohen also notes the film’s 'illusion of fidelity' to its source. He notes the many new scenes which were written strictly for the screen — a different medium which needs different approaches — and says King was grateful for the changes."

Jeremy Carr, cutprintfilm

"Pop culture may have worn away some of Carrie’s concluding shock, but the realization of its stylized, tragic, and destructive final sequence remains effectively engaging. Once Carrie steps foot in that school, the viewer is overcome with a visceral frustration and anger, knowing what awaits this temporarily joyous young girl. Carrie is a teenager after all, so there is an appropriately glamorous depiction of the star-spangled dance, courtesy art direction by Jack Fisk (Spacek’s husband). The vivid set-piece, as with those idyllic moments mentioned earlier, has a blissful, romanticized sheen, one that will similarly get undercut by blossoming horror. Once soaked in pig’s blood, Carrie drifts through the carnage as a woman possessed, a rigid red figure moving against the fiery blaze, enacting a murderous rampage that, at this point, seems beyond her control. Choreographed like a musical number, De Palma’s virtuoso integration of elaborate camera movement, traumatic slow-motion, and piercing split-screen (a tools-of-the-trade mastery for which he is now finally lauded) results in a visually and emotionally powerful finale, culminating with the fantastically evocative death of Carrie’s mother."


Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 8:55 PM CDT
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Sunday, October 16, 2016
'BONFIRE' SERIES IN DEVELOPMENT AT WB/AMAZON
CHUCK LORRE BEHIND 8-PART "REBOOT"; TOM WOLFE JUST FOUND OUT FROM COLUMNIST
On Friday, The Hollywood Reporter's Lesley Goldberg and Kate Stanhope reported an exclusive that Chuck Lorre is developing an 8-part event mini-series adaptation of Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire Of The Vanities. Lorre is "under a rich overall deal" with Warner Bros. Television, according to Goldberg and Stanhope, where the project stems from. It had been shopped to cable and streaming outlets, and has now been picked up for development by Amazon.

According to the report, which attempts to attach the buzzword "reboot" to the project, "Margaret Nagle (Boardwalk Empire, Red Band Society) is set to pen the script and exec produce alongside Lorre. Author and political reporter David Corn will serve as a consultant. Amazon Studios, WBTV and Chuck Lorre Productions are the producers on it."

Meanwhile, according to Showbiz 411's Roger Friedman, Wolfe himself knew nothing of the new project until Friedman called him up to ask him about it. "I guess he’s calling his agents on Monday," Friedman surmises.

THE FILM STAGE: DE PALMA'S 'BONFIRE' DESERVES MORE RECOGNITION

Last month, The Film Stage's Jonah Jeng wrote an essay in defense of Brian De Palma's 1990 feature adaptation of Wolfe's book. "De Palma’s confident, hilarious polemic is a formidable achievement, hitting places that hurt in 1990 and, sadly, continue to hurt today," Jeng states. "That the film feels like it was made for the 2016 moment is a depressing testament to the state of race relations in America, but it is also precisely this continued relevancy that makes Bonfire necessary viewing."

A bit later in the essay, Jeng discusses how De Palma's style fits with the absurdity on display in the film:

"Some satire is subtle in its magnifications of reality. The Bonfire of the Vanities takes a different, more boisterous route, fitting De Palma’s florid directorial tendencies like a glove. Scenes turn to farce to convey the moral absurdity of the characters’ actions, whether in Abe’s wild gesticulations or in the way we are introduced to the Reverend via a very Spike Lee-esque, low-angle shot that imparts onto him the exaggeratedly looming presence of a cartoon villain. De Palma’s cinematographic stylizations, so generative of suspense in Sisters and operatic in Scarface, here serve a different but no less meaningful purpose. The camerawork is sometimes highly precise in its satirical function, such as when a dolly zoom is used to parody the experience of white fear. At other points, the cinematography creates the more abstract impression that the camera is emulating this film’s plot-level zaniness. Often, De Palma appears to be channeling the story’s ludicrous energy by way of his trademark visual acrobatics — weird camera angles, split diopter shots, long takes, etc. — which, in turn, intensify the energy that gave rise to them."


Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, October 17, 2016 8:05 AM CDT
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TWEET - EMPIRE VIEWING GUIDE FOR 'JAWS'

Posted by Geoff at 9:41 PM CDT
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'WRONG REEL' PODCAST - 'DISSECTING DE PALMA'

Posted by Geoff at 9:23 PM CDT
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THE CASTRO TONIGHT - VERTIGO / BODY DOUBLE

Posted by Geoff at 9:13 PM CDT
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Saturday, October 15, 2016
LIVING IN PARADISE, DE PALMA-STYLE

Posted by Geoff at 3:03 PM CDT
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Friday, October 14, 2016
THE CASTRO PAIRS 70MM VERTIGO w/DE PALMA
ALL THIS WEEKEND - 'OBSESSION'/'DRESSED TO KILL'/'BODY DOUBLE'

Posted by Geoff at 6:54 PM CDT
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Thursday, October 13, 2016
TARANTINO MASTERCLASS - CINEMA OF 1970
"WORK IN PROGRESS" STUDY PRESENTED AT LUMIERE FEST IN LYON, w/14 FILMS FROM 1970
Deadline's Nancy Tartaglione posted an informative summary yesterday of Quentin Tarantino's masterclass on the cinema of 1970, which took place Wednesday night at the Lumière Festival in Lyon. According to Tartaglione, Tarantino told the packed auditorium of about 2000 people that for four years now, he's been researching 1970 as a turning point for American and international cinema. Introducing it as a "work in progress," Tarantino said, "Am I going to write a book? Maybe. Is it going to be a six-part podcast? Maybe. A feature documentary? Maybe. I’m figuring it out."

"Now in its eighth edition," reports Tartaglione, "this is a festival close to Tarantino’s heart. It’s largely a retrospective with hundreds of restored films, thematic strands and uncovered gems. This year, the filmmaker has curated a group of 14 films from 1970 which he’s been presenting throughout the week."

A list of those 14 films can be found at Beverly Cinema. They include four intriguing double-features, and six stand-alone screenings:

Love Story by Arthur Hiller (1970, 1h39)
Deep End by Jerzy Skolimowski (1970, 1h40)

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage by Dario Argento (1970, 1h32)
The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun by Anatole Litvak (1970, 1h45)

Claire’s Knee by Eric Rohmer (1970, 1h45)
Le Boucher by Claude Chabrol (1970, 1h33)

The Kremlin Letter by John Huston (1970, 1h40)
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes by Billy Wilder (1970, 2h05)

Five Easy Pieces by Bob Rafelson (1970, 1h38)

Beyond the valley of The Dolls by Russ Meyer (1970, 1h49)

M.A.S.H. by Robert Altman (1970, 1h56)

The Liberation of L.B. Jones by William Wyler (1970, 1h42)

Drive, he said by Jack Nicholson (1970, 1h35)

Zabriskie Point by Michelangelo Antonioni (1970, 1h40)

In addition to all of that, Tarantino was also on hand to present Saturday night's opening film, George Roy Hill's Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which, at the beginning of 1970, garnered an Academy Award nomination for best picture.

Tartaglione's article includes a passage in which Tarantino discusses his love for Altman's M.A.S.H. ("it was the first movie to truly deal with the dilemma of Vietnam"), although he and Altman did not like each other.

CASUALTIES OF THE POTENTIAL "NEW CINEMA" - "GENUINE BLACK CINEMA" GAVE WAY TO BLAXPLOITATION, EROTIC CINEMA WENT BACK TO PORNO

Here's more from Tartaglione's article:

Asked why he has chosen to focus on 1970, Tarantino cited the 2009 book by Mark Harris, Pictures Of A Revolution: Five Movies And The Birth Of The New Hollywood. The book chronicles the “real emergence of the New Hollywood,” Tarantino explained, and noted that “By the end of 1967, new Hollywood had won, only they didn’t know it yet. And Old Hollywood was over by 67 even though they didn’t know it yet.” He called Pictures Of A Revolution “the best cinema book written this decade.”

By 1970, Tarantino said, “New Hollywood was the Hollywood and anything that even smacked of Old Hollywood was dead on arrival.” The filmmaker said he became interested in when the revolution was won and, “not coincidentally, I was alive in 1970 and very conscious at 7 years old when my parents were taking me to all types of movies.” Now researching that year, he said, “the more I started going to the library and looking up newspaper articles of what it was like, I realized New Hollywood had won the revolution but whether it would survive wasn’t clear. Cinema had changed so drastically that Hollywood had alienated the family audience.”

And, although they were big fans, “the hippie audience wasn’t really moviegoers. Society demanded (the Hollywood new wave) but that doesn’t mean that they supported it as a business model and it made me realize that New Hollywood cinema from 1970-76 at the very least was actually more fragile than I thought it was. That experiment could have died in 1970.” He cited films like those that he’s showing here along with Carnal Knowledge, The Godfather, The Exorcist and Chinatown. But if MASH or Five Easy Pieces hadn’t worked in 1970, “It’s doubtful there would have been a Godfather or an Exorcist.”

But, he hasn’t set out to make a Top 10 list. “Oddly enough, it was the films on the lower end of the Top 30 or 40, which, while they weren’t as good, in a weird way were more interesting to me… I’m always going to come at it from a critical or cinephile perspective but I wanted to put that in the minor and make it more as a historian or a sociologist.”

As part of his research, Tarantino says he’s been watching prints, DVDs, old videos and cable as well as reading reviews from the day. “That’s how I found the think pieces of the time. ‘What’s wrong with movies?’ ‘Movies have become scary,’ ‘Can Hollywood survive’.” It was a time “like a werewolf where the skeleton changes in An American Werewolf In London,” he said to laughter.

Patterns have emerged during the research. “There were a lot of promises made of possibilities of a new cinema. It was almost like, could Hollywood handle this kind of freedom? Could the public handle it? The freedom seemed limitless. Directors could adapt any book, could shoot anything. There were no restrictions and that was maybe untenable.”

“If you ask me, the promise was fulfilled,” he continued. But there were casualties. That included the possibility that a new “genuine black cinema” would emerge. He cited Hal Ashby’s The Landlord (written by Bill Gunn), along with Ossie Davis’ directorial debut Cotton Comes To Harlem and Melvin Van PeeblesWatermelon Man. He also pointed to films such as Paul Bogart’s Halls Of Anger and Brian De Palma’s Hi, Mom! which were making an impact.

But “Blaxploitation” ended up taking the place of this promise, said Tarantino. Despite being a fan of that genre, he said, “Now I see Blaxploitation did derail a real rising voice.”

Same goes for erotic cinema. “There was the promise that eroticism in cinema would be taken out of the raincoat crowd and would achieve mainstream success and play in nice theaters, particularly for couples. We had some wonderful artists at that time like Russ Meyer and Ken Russell. That worked for a little while but ultimately a lot of them went back to porno and sexploitation.”


Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, October 13, 2016 1:17 AM CDT
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Monday, October 10, 2016
TWEET CLAIMS DE PALMA HELPED CASSAVETES
HELPED WITH EDITING THE CAR ACCIDENT IN 'OPENING NIGHT'

Posted by Geoff at 6:30 PM CDT
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Sunday, October 9, 2016
HIGH-DEF DIGEST ON SCREAM'S NEW 'CARRIE' BLU
"A VAST IMPROVEMENT OVER ANY PREVIOUS HOME VIDEO FORMAT"
Shout!/Scream Factory officially releases its new Collector's Edition Blu-ray of Brian De Palma's Carrie this Tuesday (those who pre-ordered weeks ago should already have their copies). According to High-Def Digest's Matthew Hartman, this is the best the film has ever looked in any home video format. The comparison frames at left come from Hartman's High-Def review.

"Going into this new 40th-anniversary release of Carrie," Hartman states, "I didn't have a lot of hope for the transfer. Even with a fresh 4K scan, I just never thought the appearance of the film would ever be drastically improved. Apparently, that 4K scan went a long way! While the film still has the dream-like contrast blooms and some softness, this new scan is a vast improvement over any previous home video format. For starters, fans of the film will notice a far more stable grain field. My first worry was that it was scrubbed clean with some DNR, but closer inspection shows that the grain is alive and well, just far more subtle. Detail levels are also given an impressive boost allowing hair, makeup, and some impressive prom dresses to show their finer points. It also appears that the previous transfer's use of edge enhancement hasn't been replicated as there aren't any notable instances of banding, haloing, or other compression artifacts. Colors are also timed a bit better now, reds appear a true red without the orange-pink tinge the previous release had. Primaries are natural with plenty of pop and flesh tones have a nice healthy look to them. Black levels can still be a bit crushed here and there, but when it counts most there is an improved sense of depth to the image. Brightness also looks like it has also been pulled back allowing for some deeper blacks and more natural color saturation. Damage appears to have also been cleaned up a bit, there are a few moments of speckling and some very fine scratches that have always been apparent in virtually every previous release, but now they're not nearly as intrusive or distracting. Some may find a few things to nitpick about this presentation, but in all honesty the benefits of this new scan should outweigh any perceived negatives. This is honestly the best I've ever seen this film in any home video format, it may not seem like much of a difference from the screen captures, but it's very noticeable in motion."

Below are Hartman's notes about this edition's new bonus features:

- Writing Carrie: (HD 29:07) This is a fascinating and interesting interview with screenwriter Lawrence Cohen. He covers a lot of ground here from receiving the initial manuscript from a new unknown writer named Stephen King. It's interesting to hear his reaction to the book but then also his approach to adapting it for the screen.

- Shooting Carrie: (HD 15:22) An interview with Director of Photography Mario Tosi, this is a great interview, a little difficult to understand in places because of his limitations with English but he offers a lot of insight into the dream-like qualities of the visuals and De Palma's approach to the film.

- Cutting Carrie: (HD 25:09) Editor Paul Hirsch offers up a lot of terrific details about how the film came together in the editing room, finding the tone, pace, as well as cutting together the climax of the movie.

- Casting Carrie: (HD 16:03) Casting director Harriet B. Helberg talks about what it took to get the film cast and finding Sissy Spacek for the lead.

- More Acting Carrie: (HD 20:19) This is comprised of new, but sadly short interviews with Nancy Allen, Betty Buckley, William Katt, Piper Laurie, Edie McClurg, and P.J. Soles. While this is sadly short, it's fascinating. The best tidbit of note is George Lucas was casting 'Star Wars' and De Palma was casting 'Carrie' at the same time in the same room! So both films could have been completely different depending on what actor impressed either George or Brian at any given moment!

- Bucket of Blood: (HD 23:53) This is a very interesting interview with composer Pino Donaggio. He discusses his approach with De Palma, how they keyed in on that dreamy flute theme, as well as the four string progression that seems almost lifted from Hitchcock's 'Psycho.'

New Horror's Hallowed Grounds: (HD 11:25) Fans of Sean Clark's little segments will get a kick out of this. It's always cool to see familiar locations from movies and it's cool seeing that a lot of these places are still around.


Posted by Geoff at 7:36 PM CDT
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