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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
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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
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edited by Carl Rodrigue

Washington Post
review of Keesey book


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AV Club Review
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Scarface: Make Way
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De Palma a la Mod

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Sunday, November 6, 2016
Brannon Braga, creator of WGN's series Salem, was interviewed recently by Den Of Geek's Tony Sokol, who asked Braga, "What are your favorite devil movies?"
I'll tell you that Salem is chock-full of horror references. I'm quite a horror aficionado. I wrote science fiction most of my life, but my passion, really, has always been for horror. Everything comes out on the show, from Dario Argento to Alfred Hitchcock to the Japanese horror that could be harsh, a horror fan’s horror show. One movie that had a great influence was Roman Polanski’s Rosemary's Baby, the tone and style in which his movies were shot, or different directors, to keep the show grounded. I'm obviously a fan of Hitchcock's work.

I noticed similarities to Giallo horror films.

Oh, it’s all over the place. What a lost art. It's interesting when you looking at building things, like Brian De Palma was building on top of stuff. Everybody said he was doing Hitchcock. But no, he's not. He was doing Dario Argento. He was doing Giallo. We talk about that stuff all the time on the set. My favorite movie of all time is Notorious and we do pay homage that picture.

Which of those classic movies do you think have never lost power to scare? For me it's the scene in M when Peter Lorre breaks down in front of the criminal court.

Well, M is a masterpiece. In fact, child murder isn't exactly something that is probably ever going to be mainstream. That's a really good example of timeless horror. Some of the best modern 21st century horror has pushed the envelope and broken taboos. That's what horror does. I think one of the modern horror masterpieces of the 21st Century is the French film Martyrs. It is extreme horror, extremely frightening and extremely violent. It's a masterpiece. It was like they were taking things to the next level and I think horror has always done that. M is an excellent example of a timeless horror story. And I gotta tell you, Frankenstein is not necessarily as terrifying as it was to audiences when it first came out, but it is still the only true and truly successful horror science fiction story. That's a subgenre that you just don't see all that much.

I feel bad for the Frankenstein monster and King Kong. The witches on Salem have deep lives and we identify with them.

Oh, absolutely, I think these witches, mostly women, are oppressed, one of them is a slave, and powerless. Through witchcraft they found their power and I think the show’s feminist themes are relatable.

Posted by Geoff at 7:29 PM CDT
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Friday, November 4, 2016

Yesterday, Birth. Movies. Death.'s Chris Eggersten posted part one of a terrific "Oral History" of the prom scene in Brian De Palma's Carrie, which was released in theaters 40 years ago today. Part two of the oral history was posted today.

"On the occasion of Carrie’s 40th anniversary," Eggersten writes in the intro to part one, "I spoke with close to a dozen individuals who helped bring the sequence to life, including cinematographer Mario Tosi, art director Jack Fisk, screenwriter Lawrence D. Cohen, editor Paul Hirsch, associate producer Louis A. Stroller and stars Nancy Allen and P.J. Soles. De Palma, ever the elusive figure, was not made available for an interview despite multiple attempts, but if you care to know his thoughts on prom night, remembrances from the director are widely available elsewhere, including in the excellent Noah Baumbach/Jake Paltrow documentary De Palma released earlier this year.

"Here, I’ve pulled from a range of sources both above and below the line. Some, like stuntwoman Mary Peters and camera operator Joel King – who both risked and even sustained physical harm to fulfill De Palma’s vision – have rarely if ever been heard from before. Their participation is a direct testament to the collaborative nature of filmmaking itself, whose disparate elements rarely come together with such combustible force and synchronicity as they did in Carrie."

Posted by Geoff at 8:27 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, November 4, 2016 10:28 PM CDT
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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Nicolas Cage, who stars in Paul Schrader's new film, Dog Eat Dog, spoke on the phone recently with Moviefone's Drew Taylor, who couldn't help but ask Cage about Snake Eyes...
One of the other things that came out this year was in the "De Palma" documentary; the original ending for "Snake Eyes" was finally seen. Was that validating?

I didn't get to see it. I would love to see the "De Palma" documentary. I'm a huge fan of Brian's and I tried to get to work with him several times since we did "Snake Eyes." But I didn't get to see the documentary or the alternate ending. Could you explain it to me?

Oh sure, it was when the big wave comes over Atlantic City and you're trapped in a tunnel, drowning.

Yes, that's fascinating. I remember him talking about it but I didn't know that he shot the wave. That's fantastic.

Similarly, there was a documentary out last year about your "Superman" movie with Tim Burton. Was it nice to see that stuff finally get out there?

Yeah, it was nice that the filmmakers gave folks a chance to look at what it was really looking like, instead of that goofy picture that came out, which was a Polaroid that didn't have any real lighting. It wasn't even a real costume. It was somebody trying to start a story and created a shakedown on the Internet, but it was entirely false. You can see the way it was genuinely going with a little bit of care and understanding put upon it.

Posted by Geoff at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Friday, November 4, 2016 12:14 AM CDT
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Wednesday, November 2, 2016
David Koepp was interviewed recently by Collider's Steve "Frosty" Weintraub, who asked him about the critical reception to Carlito's Way...
I wanna jump into another project, you worked on Carlito’s Way right after Jurassic Park and you wanna talk about a back-to-back…

KOEPP: Yeah that was a pretty good year. I thought they’d all be like that.

Carlito’s Way, I don’t know what the reception was when it first came out, but it does seem like since its release the critical reception to the film has only gotten stronger and stronger. Have you noticed that?

KOEPP: Yeah there’s some that age and hold up nicely, and Carlito’s is one of them. I think that at the end of the ‘90s you got in [A La Mod note: it made the list in Cahiers du cinéma of] the best movies of the ‘90s, it was very nice. Because when it came out I think –Brian De Palma is about as savvy of a media observer that you’ll ever meet, then before it came out, before any critic had seen it, he said, “Well, I can tell you how it’s gonna go on this one. You wanna know?” I said, “Sure” and he said, “OK, Al [Pacino] sucks because he just won an Oscar and he’s played a gangster before. I suck because I did a gangster movie before, and this isn’t like it, but it’s enough like it. Sean [Penn] is fantastic because they haven’t seen him for a while and will like to have him back. That’s how it’s gonna go.” And that was exactly how it went. So it was a little disappointing that it wasn’t more warmly-received because I think it’s a really beautiful movie, but it went nicely over time.

What was it like working with De Palma on that, can you talk about that collaboration back then?

KOEPP: When he was predicting he also said, “Oh and the other thing is you suck because you’re ‘dinosaur boy’.” Brian was great, we did three movies together and it was great every time. I had a lot of laughs which and we’re close friends to this day. He’s a rather cynical man, but that’s what I love about him.

When you think back on Mission: Impossible, do you think back on it fondly or do you think back on just the arguments with all the people working on that screenplay?

KOEPP: The arguments and the conflicts fade in time, especially if the movie did well, so now I look back on it fondly, sure. If the movie had not done well, I think the memories would be less pleasant. You can look back on the arguments and the conflict now and find it all kind of confusing. But when you make a movie with people and in turns badly and it’s a flop, it’s weird, it covers your feelings about how the experience went, if it went well you start to remember it poorly, and then you run into the people you made it with and you act like you owe each other money. If it was a hit, even if you maybe had a lot of beefs while you were making it, you run into each other and it’s like, “Hey! It’s nice to see you!” So that’s superficial if that’s what it is.

I think that’s the way it is in real life with everybody. If something’s a success, you’re gonna just deal with ego. I know you’re working on Indy, but what other scripts are you currently working on, or are you just like a one-project-at-a-time person?

KOEPP: I do one at a time. What’s nice is if you –I have a couple of my own things, one or two things that I’m doodling in my down time. But I try to write on specs as much as I write adaptations or things that people ask me to do. And I think I’ve been pretty good at it, I wish it was 50-50 but it’s like 60-40 for things people ask me to do. The problem with specs is that sometimes they get in and sometimes they don’t, they vanish without a trace. But you always gotta have your own stuff going, you cannot stop, even though Hollywood has sort of turned away from original material a little bit, that’s no reason for you to stop.

Posted by Geoff at 12:03 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2016 12:22 AM CDT
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Friday, October 28, 2016

From Marc Edward Heuck's program notes for the New Bev's screenings of Phantom Of The Paradise this past week:
Recently, one of the New Beverly’s favorite working directors, Edgar Wright, hosted a screening of Brian De Palma’s Phantom of the Paradise at the Picturehouse Central cinema in Picadilly, London. Most of the audience consisted of first-time viewers, unfamiliar with the film or its star and librettist Paul Williams, drawn to the event by their appreciation of Wright and their trust in his cinematic taste. The post-show reactions yielded the kind of rapture that modern film promoters can only dream of:

It is merely serendipitous timing that Wright’s UK screening took place mere weeks before the New Beverly’s upcoming shows on October 26th and 27th, but it provides excellent preamble. Moreover, it continues the film’s reputation as possibly the single greatest cult horror rock musical that is still criminally underseen by a wide audience. Or, to apply Wright’s welcoming and positive spin, it is the single greatest cult horror rock musical that millions still have the wonderful opportunity to experience for the first time.

Later in the essay, Heuck notes, "Eagle-eyed grindhouse movie lovers should pay close attention during the scene in Swan’s boudoir. Among the beautiful groupies clamoring for Swan’s affections are Jennifer Ashley from The Centerfold Girls, Robin Mattson of Bonnie’s Kids, Janus Blythe from The Hills Have Eyes, Patrice Rohmer from Revenge of the Cheerleaders, Janit Baldwin from the would-be Carrie ripoff Ruby, and Cheryl “Rainbeaux” Smith from Lemora, Swinging Cheerleaders, Caged Heat and many more."

Posted by Geoff at 12:41 AM CDT
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Thursday, October 27, 2016
Den Of Geek's Tony Sokol interviews Lara Parker, who appeared in Brian De Palma's Hi, Mom! in 1970, along with her real-life children. At that time, Parker was in the midst of her regular job, portraying the witch Angelique on ABC-TV's serialized drama Dark Shadows. "Lara Parker created one of the strongest woman characters on TV at the same time as what was called Women’s Lib was growing," Sokol states in his introduction. Early in the interview, this leads Sokol to ask Parker if she sees characters such as Angelique and Elizabeth Montgomery's Samantha on Bewitched as historic symbols of Women's Lib...
I've been asked that so many times because the women's movement had begun. Looking back historically, Angelique was one of the earliest strong women characters portrayed on television. She was really the first “Bitch Witch” that became so popular later. But at the time I wasn't aware of being any kind of social figure. I just felt that I had a good part and I was happy to have a job and go to work and be an actress. It's a gift. But I certainly didn't see myself in the larger sense of being any kind of a social influence.

I think it's rare to pick up on that in the moment. I think only looking back I see that I was actually fortunate to be, in a small sense, one of the movers and shakers in the women's movement.

I see you as more than that. I happen to be a big Brian De Palma fan and you were also part of the New York City independent film revolution. At the time, were you aware of how different Hi Mom! was from the Hollywood machine?

Well again, no. Brian De Palma cast me and they actually put in my two children. He was doing improvised theater. We were improvising on film, without lines, without a character to play. It was a whole different thing and I actually was not very good at it. But, yeah, I was aware that there was an experimental film movement, very much so, yes. It was actually very politically focused.

Hi Mom! has some kind of show [in] it called Be Black Baby where the people were all dressed up in black face. I was very young and I wasn't really very aware of what Brian De Palma was trying to do. He was young too. He was experimenting but he went on to do some wonderful films.

Posted by Geoff at 12:58 AM CDT
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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Thanks to Alex for sending along the link to the above video, which shows the on-stage discussion that took place following the 40th anniversary screening of Carrie two weeks ago. The Q&A was moderated by Bryan Fuller, on stage with Piper Laurie, Nancy Allen, P.J. Soles, Doug Cox, Terry Bolo, and Paul Hirsch. Below are some transcripted moments from the video:


Hirsch: Honestly, Brian would bring me his storyboards that he had drawn himself. They’re not like storyboards as we know them today. So then he would show me these drawings he’d made, and I couldn’t make head or tail of them. [laughter] And I said [nodding], “That looks great, Brian. That looks great.” [more laughter] And then, I would just react to the footage. But, you know, watching the film tonight, the first time I’ve seen it in 40 years [“wow” reaction from the audience]… ‘cause, you know, when you get to the end of a film, and you’ve seen it so many times, you never want to see it again [laughter], which is the Faustian bargain that editors make. But watching it tonight, I was struck by how interestingly every scene was shot: the angles, the lighting. And nothing was done conventionally. Every choice was very interesting, with a point, and an attitude. And I thought the scenes between Nancy and John were so rich in chemistry, and you could really feel the feeling between them—the dance of the eyes, as they say. And then the scenes between Piper and Sissy were like operatic duets. They were just fabulous. I just had a great time watching the picture tonight.


Fuller: Speaking of Nancy and John Travolta, you have such a strange relationship with him in this film, as in other films, and it has this BDSM sort of quality to it. So, you were kind of John Travolta’s first cinematic dom.

Allen: And I’m proud of it. [laughter]

Fuller: Can you talk a little bit about filming that scene? Because it’s interesting to watch it with a modern audience, where he’s slapping you, you slap him, you have this very physically-abusive relationship, and on screen, then you look at your chemistry in Blow Out, which is so dynamic… What was it like, doing those two different [audience applauding] – Blow Out, people, I mean, let’s come on. [applause] Also edited by Paul Hirsch.

Allen: Well, first of all, John and I had a ball in the movie, and we really did have tremendous chemistry together. He’s a lot of fun to work with. He’s a very funny guy. But, the scene in the car, as you know, I was slapped earlier by Betty Buckley, and she was really slapping me, a lot, and John was so sweet. I mean, he would [touching her hand to her face repeatedly] barely touch me with his hands. And the fact that I was so bitchy with him—in the original storyboards, when Brian showed me, before we shot the film, he was supposed to rip my shirt off in the scene in the car. And he said, [waving her hand] “Yeah, that would not work with her. We’re not going to shoot that. She’ll kill him if he does that.” So, you know, we also thought that we were the comic relief in the movie. We had no idea everyone was going to hate us, because the crew laughed at us so much. So, we had a great time on that, and when we came together in Blow Out, it was so very different. He had had tremendous success in Saturday Night Fever and Grease, and I hadn’t seen him in a long time, and I had no idea if he had changed, or what he was going to be like. But when he walked in for rehearsals, he said, “Hey, let’s order a pizza.” We ordered pizza, we started working, and started to do some improvisation together to make the script work for us, because it was very, very different. And to me it was always magical working with him, because you never knew what he was going to do.


Fuller: Now, Mr. Hirsch, in the middle of that tuxedo shop scene, you just fast-forwarded for a while. Were you just like, “Let’s get this moving along,” or… what sort of choice was that?

Hirsch: Well, it was an interesting problem, because the scene was constructed on jump cuts, and the middle segment was too long. And I didn’t want to throw in another jump cut, because the jump cuts were… I was saving them for more significant moments.

Fuller: Like when you blow up a car…

Hirsch: No, no, no, I mean like in that scene, there were two very definite time cuts. I didn’t want to throw another one in the middle of one of the scenes. The three little scenes. So I had seen this film directed by Agnès Varda, and edited by a friend of mine, Robert Dalva. [note: Dalva also later worked on editing De Palma’s Raising Cain, as did Hirsch.] And he had done that. They had this long scene, I remember two characters on the bed, and they just sped-up—like the boring parts—they just sped-up. And I thought, well, that’s a great way to shorten the scene, so I thought I’d try it. And then, I think Pauline Kael called it “a stupid editor trick,” or something, you know. [laughter]

Fuller: Oh, Pauline.

Hirsch: You win some, you lose some. But it worked to preserve the pace of the scene, and not have to throw in a jump cut where I didn’t want one.


Later on, P.J. Soles asks Hirsch how the split screen was decided on for Carrie’s rage at the prom. Hirsch explains that split screen is “a passion of Brian’s,” and how he had used it initially for Dionysus In ’69. “And he was always fascinated by split screen,” Hirsch explains, “because he thought, well, it expands your perception of what’s going on.”

Hirsch then continues, “There are certain situations where it works very well. It’s not ideally suited for an action sequence because the fact that you’re looking at a split screen is a distancing device that keeps you from identifying with the characters the way you would when the image is full screen. It’s an intellectual fascination as opposed to an emotional connection.”

Posted by Geoff at 7:53 PM CDT
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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Another 40th anniversary screening of Brian De Palma's Carrie will take place November 9th at the Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills, California. Critic Stephen Farber will host a panel discussion after the screening, with Piper Laurie, Nancy Allen, William Katt, P.J.Soles, and Paul Hirsch.

In his review of Carrie for New West magazine, Farber wrote, "Carrie has the same diabolical power as Psycho, and the same unsettling black humor."

(Thanks to Chuck!)

Posted by Geoff at 6:43 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016 6:49 PM CDT
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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

In the video above, from last weekend's 40th anniversary screening of Brian De Palma's Carrie, hosted by Scream Factory, the enthusuastic audience applauds when the red lights are turned up to match the film, as Carrie begins to unleash her powers. According to Dread Central's Staci Layne Wilson, there was a Q&A after the screening, moderated by Bryan Fuller. On hand to talk about the film on stage afterward was Piper Laurie, Nancy Allen, P.J. Soles (who wore the exact same cap she had on in the movie), Doug Cox, Terry Bolo, and Paul Hirsch. William Katt also provided a video hello for the event.

Wilson was able to ask Laurie, Allen, and Soles some additional questions (and the picture of the three actresses also comes from the Dread Central post)-- here are some excerpted quotes:

Piper Laurie: I think I’ve been blessed. I feel fortunate I was invited to be in the movie. It’s amazing and big surprise it’s remained so popular.

Brian De Palma’s energy and imagination and the music and cinematography – the DP, Mario Tosi, made us look beautiful even when we’re not supposed to be, And it’s fun. Brian didn’t take it all that seriously, which I think that was a smart move. I did everything I could to play against everything that was in the original story, because it would have been dangerous to take my character that seriously. It works for the movie.

Nancy Allen: Brian De Palma brought a lot to the story that no other director could have. One thing he did was cast well and find really good chemistry with the actors, and he rehearsed us all – so by the time we got to set we felt like we’d known each other for years. Except Sissy – she wanted to stay apart, and that was good too. Then, on a small budget, cinematically, he shot it beautifully. He really brought out the sense of humor in the characters. It could have been humorless, which wouldn’t have been the same. And course, Sissy and Piper at the core of the film, that relationship is [great] – and they were both nominated for Oscars. Also, Brian changed the ending of the movie and that was much better.

P.J. Soles: The most obvious thing that still resonates today would be the bullying aspect, but to us then, it was more of a horror and sci-fi thing, obviously, with the telekinetic thing. In today’s climate it may be a little strange, with us picking on her like that and it being [entertaining] but back then it was a horror movie and a fantasy film. It’s a time capsule of movies from the 70s. So this is based on Stephen King’s book, this is what he wrote about – and so, without the telekinetic powers, I don’t know how the movie would have ended.

There is a loyal original fan bases, but there are new fans to Carrie. I do a lot of horror conventions and I meet them all the time. Having worked with Brian De Palma on Carrie and John Carpenter on Halloween, I’m often asked what it was like to work with two masters of horror at the time. Neither one of them was really on the map at the time, but the staying power is incredible. I have young fans, even 20-year-old guys, come and weep at my table [at conventions] saying, ‘I loved you in Carrie! You were so bad!’ So as long as people know it’s entertainment, it will live on forever. Because, it’s the performances – I mean, both Sissy and Laurie were nominated for Academy Awards. For that genre, it’s unheard of. It really speaks highly of the film.

Posted by Geoff at 1:03 AM CDT
Updated: Sunday, October 23, 2016 2:20 PM CDT
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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Below The Line's Mark London Williams reports that, at a recent Los Angeles press conference for the release of his new film The Handmaiden, Korean director Park Chan-wook was asked about the directors who had inspired him:
He mentioned Hitchcock’s Vertigo as the film that made him want to be a filmmaker. He also talked about other “visualists,” as he called them — a list ranging from Fellini to Renoir to the also Hitchcock-inspired Brian DePalma, and more — and surmised, through a translator, that among the reasons we don’t have more such “visualists” among today’s directors might be multifold: For one, “young people don’t watch a lot of classic films,” he said. Or perhaps, even if they do, “they’re watching on a small screen. I’m not sure.”

Though he was surer about his next point, which was, “to make ‘visualist’ cinema, you need money.”

Posted by Geoff at 12:46 AM CDT
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