Stephen King Properties Awaiting Adaptations: Bachman Books

Introduction

It recently occurred to me to consider the Stephen King works which are not yet  films and which may be most suited for adaptation. I will take this task on in separate posts.

The Running Man and Thinner already exist, so the books in this realm where Stephen once wrote under a pseudonym on rainy days would rank as follows in my estimation:

5. Rage

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Last year I acquired the original release of The Stand from 1978, that runs quite a few hundred pages shorter. With that I no longer have any literary white whales. The first one I had was Rage, and it took me a while. I didn’t acquire The Bachman Books when they were still readily available.

After much searching in the days before online shopping was easy, I just happened to see it on the shelf at my friend’s house. I freaked out. I needed to at least borrow it. He voluntarily gave it to me.

It remains the only King book I read in a day. Time and distance from being angered by feeling the need to pull it from print have given King a good perspective on the story independent of the controversy its caused. He discusses it in Guns, and I agree entirely with his take.

While I feel The Long Walk is just detached enough from reality to connect to modern audiences this one hits a little too close to home. It’s truly a wrenching, fascinating, and brilliant work. Sometimes we just can’t have nice things, or in this case nasty things that make you think.

4. Blaze

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This one  that would be a challenge in similar ways to Roadwork (below). However, with all the different interpretations of mental illness and voices in people’s head that exist in movies there are quite a few interesting ways to go about this one.

3. The Regulators

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My impression of The Regulators may have been affected by the fact that I read it long after I did Desperation, which was my introduction to Stephen King and had me hooked as a Constant Reader from there.

I think the best way to make this idea work would be to translate the concept of the book’s companionship to the screen, which would entail a remake of Desperation and have the same cast play very different parts in the dueling films. It would be fascinating to watch, especially if you had the same creative team behind-the-scenes.

2. Roadwork

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While I had to use some analytical chops to grin and bear it as I placed a title that was not my absolute favorite in a subset as number one I will start lobbying for my favorite by saying: a story a solitary man who loses it as he refuses to accept a buyout so his house can be bulldozed to make way for a freeway is not a high concept. It’s an insular one, with a lot of inner monologue and flashes. That’s what I love about it and the challenge of it is intoxicating. In my informal independent study during film school I took upwards of 30 pages of notes on how exactly I would translate this story to the screen.

It was in that note-taking, and practice attempts with a tales by Lovecraft, King, and Lumley that I formed an adaptation style that aided me in writing and directing a Dollar Baby of Suffer the Little Children I was fortunate enough to be given the permission to work on.

So, yes, there is a soft spot that elevates this one, but if you haven’t discovered it yet you should.

1. The Long Walk

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I place The Long Walk first not because it’s my favorite Bachman title, but despite its violence, it’s the one I’m most surprised that has not been adapted. It’s an indie film budget’s dream. The concept is a simple dystopian premise that’s far more likely to be palatable to today’s audiences than it would’ve been in the 1980s.
Postscript

richardbachman

Kirby McCauley, King’s literary agent, posed as Richard Bachman for author pictures.

When Blaze was released in 2007 it was branded by King as a “trunk novel” meaning it was an old Bachman title he unearthed and edited for release, while still using the pen name. I hope there are more.

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When recently J.K. Rowling’s pen name of Robert Galbraith was outed it was kind of like Déjà Vu. I’ve read of how pissed Stephen was when Bachman was found out, and I empathized with Rowling as well. Though clearly the revelation that Rowling was Galbraith inevitably spiked the sales of the first book in Cormorant Strike series, and all subsequent releases – it’s clear there was a reason she felt the need to write under a pen name and now that freedom from name, fame, and expectation is gone from both of them. I admire her not giving it up and I hope Steve still knows what Richard’s up to.

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The Best Films of 2015: #32-1

Due to the fact that time to write this post has been sparse I am mostly cobbling together my own quotes for this one list of my favorite films of 2016. Enjoy!

32. The Good Dinosaur

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Hi, I’m a Pixar film that’s quiet understated, not seeking to be the deepest thing of all time, but also not trying to be flimsy and broadly funny, but rather seeking simple truths, subtle beauties and humorous exploration of character types: please don’t hate me.

The above my facetious response to the massive amounts of hate this film got. Did The Good Dinosaur miss a chance to climb higher, sure, however it feels like the attacks it faced had to do with things it wasn’t and didn’t want to be. Much like The Interview was being lambasted for not being a satire, it was what I thought it would be, it seems that this film became a lightning rod because: a) It bombed at the box office b) Was a second Pixar release of 2015, and c) Had simpler aims, and thus for not aiming as high it takes a beatdown it doesn’t necessarily deserve because of what people thought it should be. Even if one dislikes it, which I could see, I couldn’t see how the film earned it on its own without outside factors contributing to the animus against it.

31. Metalhead

Metalhead (2013, Cinelicious Pics)

Capturing the unspoken truth of a subculture, of a music scene, is one of the meanest feats a film can accomplish and one the medium is uniquely suite for. As a film that hinges on music its Best Song is one of its centerpieces:

However, aside from being a great song “Svathamar” is a massive plot point in metal head and the apex of the film. Therefore, it’s an easy winner.

Yet it’s not just a musical showcase but a character- and performance driven piece that’s worth finding.

30. A Wolf at the Door

A Wolf at the Door (2014, Strand Releasing)

A Wolf at the Door is definitely not a story to be entered into lightly, and will most definitely not find universal favor. However, those believe that great art can and should be created from human immorality and depravity should give it a look.

29. Reckless

Reckless (2014, Artsploitation Films)

The film is one rife with twists each of which further elevates the stakes, intensity and suspense of the proceedings. None of them seem out of place and things resolve themselves naturally and correctly based on the momentum accumulated leading up to the climax. It’s not a case where the ending needs to be forced to satisfy audience expectations, but really feels like the only one that is just.

28. Jurassic World

Jurassic World (2015, Universal)

Clearly, allusions and fan service, whether fulfilling the desires of a majority or just one individual, are not enough to give a film legs it can stand one. In many ways it is like icing on the cake though and can make everything that much better.

The T-Rex’s entrance is great and helped by the fact that I didn’t quite grasp the “more teeth” line at first, but when I heard “Paddock 9” I knew, and it was a big part of the making-me-feel-like-a-kid-again effect. I was so psyched for the ending it was insane.

27. The Gift

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This was one of the most surprising in-theater viewing experiences. It is another triumph for Blumhouse but also the biggest one for actor/writer/director Joel Edgerton. It’s a tremendous character study of a thriller that’s suspenseful enough to earn that genre classification rightfully and frightful enough that you could call it horror if you like.

26. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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Most lists I caught a glimpse of either had Star Wars much higher than me or omitted it entirely. I found a middle ground. I really loved all the new stuff like anything Rey and Finn did, and BB-8 for that matter; I appreciated the reunion aspects but the at-times-too-literal homages to the first series held it back some. The end is a great stopping point for the next installment to pick up from though.

25. Mr. Holmes

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This is a wonderful, albeit melancholy tale, of a great mind battling dementia and a soul struggling to keep a hold of himself and find some kind of redemption in his fading days. He faces much conflict and strife, and the film looks forward and back beautifully, and deals with the legendary Holmes respectfully.

24. Aferim!

aferim-berlin-film-festival-review

Aferim! is a portrait of the Szgany people of Romania. A tale of one man taken from the accounts of many and brilliantly done

23. Futuro Beach

Praia do Futuro (2014, Strand Releasing)

Futuro Beach is, from its start, about characters losing and trying to find themselves; connecting, disconnecting and trying to reconnect; saving each other and failing to save themselves; and, ultimately, finds beauty in the discomforts created by distance and yearning and the solitary journey of finding oneself. It takes a gamble with its narrative ellipse, but like a strong story it punctuates the end of its dramatic phrase properly and memorably.

22. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

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You have to love a fifth film in a series that not only still feels vital but also is one you can walk into cold, without having seen the others previously, and still get a huge kick out of.

21. Kingsman: The Secret Service

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As I was assembling my favorites of the year, I had a few ways I could parse titles. Usually, I rank films by genre before really comparing them unscientifically. This film in the action realm jumped just ahead of Mission: Impossible due to its comedy, commentary, and breakout star Taron Egerton.

20. Dark Places

Dark-Places-Movie-2015-starring-Charlize-Theron-and-Nicholas-Hoult

Gillian Flynn became an even more well known author with the release of the film adaptation of Gone Girl, however, this is a film with more twists and turns, more creative structuring, and more intriguing characters. This is not only the kind of film that can get me to read an author’s work but is also full of some of the strongest performances by some of the actors involved in some time, like Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Tye Sheridn.

19. Sinister 2

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Much but not all of what made Sinister a success was its witty retort to the standard found footage approach. However, what the Sinister films have found it seems is a mythology that it’s exploring to its fullest based on the self-assigned parameters of each film. Sinister, like the Purge, leaves fans wanting more, but in Sinister’s case it’s not a backhanded compliment but rather the highest praise.

18. 13 Minutes

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Normally, a tale involving World War II and Hitler can be exploitative. However, Hirschbiegel has done it before with Downfall, and with this film he focuses in on Elser, the man who narrowly missed killing Hitler before he could do his worst. In this case, it’s not just a historical oddity or a defiant soul that make it compelling but the personalization of the drama.

17. T.I.M.

T.I.M. (2014, Attraction Distribution)

The irony that at times the best examinations of humanity are made when contrasting us to artificial intelligence is not lost on filmmakers. The motif still appears to be fertile ground yielding much fruit, this is just the latest in a long line of great films to prove that point. Exactingly done and precisely performed, it’s an enrapturing experience that should be sought out.

16. Cub

Cub (2014, Artsploitation Films)

The above, as well as the overall success is of course also a tribute to debutante director Jonas Govaerts. Cub is a bloody, creepy film, that has some depth and can still satisfy a seasoned viewer. It’s not one that’s for the faint of heart because it “goes there” often. Horror must be unafraid to go into deep, dark places and this is a trip to the woods the worth taking for those fans of the genre with a strong constitution.

15. Cinderella

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This is what Disney should be aiming for with its live action remakes: the heart and essence of the story with added depth and awe. It’s the anti-Maleficent in that regard, and if this trend in quality continues this habit of rehashing will not get old so soon.

14. It Follows

It Follows (2014, Radius-TWC)

Perhaps only Mad Max handled its story as visually and subtly this year. There are so many inferences that can be drawn that don’t over-impose themselves on the story, but instead add texture. As do some of the unique production design decisions made in portraying an alternate reality Detroit.

13. Cool Kids Don’t Cry

Kick It (2014, Attraction Distribution)

This film is heartfelt, sincere, moving and beautifully done regardless for the emotion the film is striving for. It’s not a wonder that the book upon which this story is based is so popular, and that it’s already yielded two film versions. This film will have you chuckle, and also pull at your heartstrings but in a way that’s wholly intrinsic to the film and not in due in large part to manipulation. A truly excellent film.

12. The Lesson

The Lesson (2014, Film Movement)

The Lesson, like any lesson, could be an experience that is didactic, drudgery or could be an experience you’ll likely hold on to and cherish for a long time. This film is far closer to the lattermost option on that list.

11. Stranger

Stranger (2015, Tursunov Film)

Even though the film may not be traditionally uplifting its a wonder to see the world through Tursunov’s eyes anew. I’m sure that some will experience these same joys for the first time. For beautifully made films about difficult subjects that deal in the highest of artistry and a minimum of didacticism are far too rare, even rarer still is the hypnotic ambience of these Kazakh film worlds.

10. Paddington

Paddington (2014, TWC)

On its Best Adapted Screenplay nomination:

Paddington does the unlikely of capturing the spirit of a piece without being a literal adaptation.

It’s a film that makes a lot of things work, creates much magic, and executes simply and flawlessly.

 

9. Slow West

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Slow West does much: it is a western, a drama, a romance, a coming-of-age tale, and an action film and it does very well with all its disparate elements.

8. Bloody Knuckles

Bloody Knuckles (2014, Artsploitation)

Bloody Knuckles has to be considered among the best of the year, and it likely to make quite a bit of noise at the annual BAM Awards. It’s a brisk rollicking good time that doesn’t play it safe and is all the more hilarious, thought-provoking, and intriguing because of it.

7. Creed

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On Best Original Song Nomination:

As good as the medley in Creed is it merely accompanies a montage. The last three are showstopping numbers that are also functions of their protagonist(s).

On Best Makeup Nomination:

Creed does great work selling you on in-fight injuries.

On its Best Cinematography Nomination:

Creed‘s single-takes alone made it worthy of inclusion but it’s in for more than that.

On its Award-nominated editing:

Creed is one of many films that dispels the erroneous notion that there’s less aptitude in editing needed when several long takes are used. It’s a job brilliantly done, and it really hums.

On the Supporting Actor Nomination:

One of the more visceral checklist items for nominations are “my god he’s incredible in this” being a thought that runs through your mind. That thought occurred to me especially in three performances: Klaßner’s (though that was more about the fact that it wasn’t just The White Ribbon), Young’s and Stallone’s.

The two most powerful were Stallone and Young.

The film also boasted a Best Actor nomination (Michael B. Jordan) and Best Supporting Actress (Phylicia Rashad), making it the only film this year with nominations in three of the four major acting categories.

6. Still

Still (2014, Omnibus Entertainment)

Still is hypnotic and most effective because of how it manages to reverse fortune in its closing act, as well as have you dole out your empathy to many of the concerned parties, leaving your jaw agape at its conclusion. This is a film I’d recommend to anyone looking for a drama with a tragic arc, and serious real world stakes.

5. Inside Out

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So, yes, there are two Pixar titles on this year’s list.  Clearly, Inside Out is a great visualization of the emotional workings of the brain and an illustration of mental illness and the subconscious. The only thing that knocks it down one peg is the fact that I didn’t react as strongly to it viscerally as I would’ve liked to but it is great stuff.

4. Human Capital

Human Capital (2014, Film Movement)

This universality latches on to the film in such a way that it enjoys the high-class problem of being easily identifiable to a wide variety of audiences yet hard to classify. Its playing of suspense tropes, combined with its palpable drama and social commentary it can correctly be identified with the catch-all of ‘thriller’ but it’s so much more than that. In a film market that seems to, at times, think we can’t have our cake and eat it too this film knows that’s nonsense, and delivers emotion, pathos, and tension while also crafting a story of sociological relevance and leaving the soapbox out of it. It clicks like a film you can maniacally eat popcorn to and just let it wash over you, but invites you dig deeper and think on it long and hard. What more can you ask for?

3. Charlie’s Country

Charlie'sCountry (2013, Entertainment One Films)

Charlie’s Country is and unorthodox and brilliant tale of an an aborigine man struggling to hold on to his land, his life and his heritage.

On David Gulilpil:

If you can hold the screen in silence, and move me to tears likewise; there’s not much more you need to do to clinch the award, but he does so much more.

2. Mad Max: Fury Road

AP FILM REVIEW-MAD MAX: FURY ROAD A ENT

Many of the reasons I love this movie are discussed in the various BAM Awards it won:

On effects:

Yes, much of it was practical. However, there were effects. It’s harder to notice because of all the practical stuff, but it is all a brilliantly strung together vision.

On Costumes:

Not only does this film paint its world nearly impeccably but it also has within it cultural icons in the making, Furiosa being among them and her costume being a big reason why.

On the cinematography:

Action doesn’t mean the camera has to do too much, the edit can work. The moves can be precise, the framing precise and balanced. The color here is blissfully deep, and in a world that bleak it’s a necessary antidote. Every single frame is glorious.

On the Sound Edit:

The silence speaks volumes, as does the ambience. The home watch can be more detail-oriented listening: the engines roar, the guitars wail and the beat doesn’t stop.

On the picture edit:

Walter Murch wrote a book called In the Blink of an Eye. It’s his treatise on editing and his theory about how unconscious things like blinking can help dictate cut-points. Were Margaret Sixel to write a book on editing it should write Joining Dreams. In British English you do not cut film, you join it . Thus, the name indicates that her editing (joining) of dream-like imagery is some of the best I’ve seen. Exemplary.

On the score:

Music is one of several intrinsic pieces to the film. When there is a guitar geek credited you know music plays an intricate role even if it’s not about music. Furthermore, it makes the music almost wholly organic, and my word, is it pulse-pounding.

On Miller’s direction:

“I’ve got vision up the butt, so just go with it,” -Jack Black, School of Rock
There’s really one director on this list that that quote adequately describes, and it’s not that it was a blowout, but it’s truest of this man.

 

1. Krampus

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Similar to the film at #2 a lot of what I enjoyed was discussed in the BAMs, including why it was the top.

On Art Direction:

There’s world-building in any film but there are glimpses of worlds here, and locations that speak and breathe, and a few surprising choices that will not be spoiled here that clinch it for this film.

On the screenplay:

There’s so much this film does it’s not a wonder to see many names attached to the script, that and that’s how screenplays often work anyway. There’s a legend to build, laughs to deliver, and horror tropes to be brilliantly inserted. None are easy all accomplished easily in timely fashion and at times simultaneously.

On the cast:

Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, Allison Tolman, Conchata Ferrell, Emjay Anthony, Stefania LaVie Owen, Krista Stadler, etc. Krampus

All these casts are great, strong and deep, but only one did I find no fault with at all. Not one.

On its winning Best Picture:

I saw each twice and liked Krampus more twice.

The two allusions I drew in seeing Krampus were to older films I now consider to be classics, in the standing the test of time way rather than in technique- Gremlins and Home Alone.

The Home Alone similarity is in Emjay Anthony’s rant about families. “I don’t want a new family. I don’t want any family. Families suck!” Kevin McAllister exclaims and his sentiments are similar and drew spontaneous applause in my second viewing.

There’s far more intangible things that it taps into, and that’s where Gremlins comes in: it’s not just the Christmas-set horror comedy aspect, Krampus is the 2015 PG-13 movie equivalent of Gremlins’ hard PG in 1984.

When you’re citing films that are 25 and 31 years old respectively, you know you’re entering rarified air.

Yet, much like Super 8 from a few years ago, it’s not just the Spielbergian-Amblin influence that makes Krampus work.

Krampus is hilarious, it’s very much the zeitgeist for the year of its release but like Dougherty’s Trick ‘r Treat may have conquered a mandatory viewing slot on a major holiday.

The Krampus is not a new or original creation. However, in the US knowledge of the Krampus and discussion of him has remained underground like he was out of the Necronomicon, or better yet has come to a heightened awareness and popularity many years after his “death” like Lovecraft.

Yet, though the Krampus has featured on quite a few TV shows, the feature film eluded it. Then as with any idea in Hollywood many raced to create a story based around a legend, a mythical figure so rife with potential especially in genre cinema.

Kevin Smith was the first name I heard associated with a Krampus-themed film, but that has yet to come to the fore as he’s developing many other thing. So, it’s a but like the victory that was Ender’s Game or other anticipated adaptations – it’s the realization of a dream except I didn’t know how this movie where this movie was going to go, just that I wanted to see where it went every step of the way.

It was the ideal major motion picture “debut” of this Icon.

It took an old mythology and made it new and vibrant, and like the film it tussled with so violently for the title it intimated of much story aside than what was on screen. Ultimately, I always try to compartmentalize; therefore, it’s not a matter of “Well, Mad Max is amazing and won all these awards therefore it has to win Best Picture.” What the equation really is is: How well did the film in question perform in all categories plus factor in the story and how that played.

Krampus got me and I got in a way no other 2015 release did, bar none. Not even close.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015 BAM Awards

Hello All,

So another year passes at the BAM Awards. Just a few quick reminders on procedure.

  1. The nominations are what I belabor more than the honorees. I will try and give each performance or film its due in my write-up.
  2. Only films I’ve personally viewed are eligible.
  3. I will be updating this list LIVE. Category-by-category as the decisions are announced one-by-one. Check back early and often. Bottom line: it’s cooler to live-blog the honorees because it’s like a real award show, and it’s also a necessary because my schedule is a bit unpredictable today.
  4. Lastly, I welcome your comments and opinions on nominees and the honorees but the decision in the end is mine alone. If my choices bother you that much WordPress is free, you can pick your own winners.

Without further ado, the awards (in reverse order of the nomination field).

First up…

Best Soundtrack

This category is back owing its resuscitation to strong soundtracks in recent years such as Warm Bodies.

Nominees

All the Wilderness
Big In Japan
Bloody Knuckles
Metalhead

Ten Thousand Saints

Big in Japan is not a feature-length ad for Tennis Pro but an interesting look at a subculture of bands more popular abroad than in their home country. Their stuff is really catchy so they end up here. Listen to it on Spotify.

Bloody Knuckles has good source music throughout but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit the first song selected has much to do with their nomination.

Metalhead being about mostly death metal and set in Iceland has much quality source music.

However, the two standouts use music to establish tone and setting for their films.

Ten Thousand Saints goes into the underground punk scene in 1980s New York, in source music and plot.

However,

the Awards goes to

All the Wilderness (2014, Screen Media Films)

All the Wilderness

Jónsi and Alex are a bulk of the sourced music and it works brilliantly and everything selected for this film seems like it was written for the film rather than hand-selected. It’s teenager like in its mixtape aptitude, which is very appropriate seeing as how this is a coming-of-age story.

Best Song

Best Song is one I track with parenthesis around the word original. It doesn’t have to be written for the movie, that’s hard to prove anyway. So here are the songs that not only stood out musically and mattered to the film. 

“Lord Knows/ Fighting Stronger” Meek Mill, Jhene Alko, Ludwig Goransson Creed
“Gruss vom Krampus/ Krampus Karol of the Bells” Bree Olinda High School Singers Krampus
“Svarthamar” Petúr Ben Metalhead
“Wrecking Ball” Seth Rogen and Miley Cyrus The Night Before
“Kiss from a Rose” Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Skyler Gisondo, Steele Stebbins Vacation

What this usually comes down to is how functional the song is in the plot of the film. As great as Krapus’ song is, it is in the credits. As good as the medley in Creed is it merely accompanies a montage. The last three are showstopping numbers that are also functions of their protagonist(s).

The award goes to…

Metalhead (2013, Cinelicious Pics)

“Svarthamar” Petúr Ben Metalhead

However, aside from being a great song “Svathamar” is a massive plot point in metal head and the apex of the film. Therefore, it’s an easy winner.

Best Visual Effects

Best Visual Effects is getting tougher to gauge because it’s not just for show anymore but about making the impossible not just possible but practical. So how do these nominees stack up?

Ex Machina
Jurassic World
Mad Max: Fury Road

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Ex Machina’s making a robot human was impressive but wasn’t something heretofore unseen and not necessarily a groundbreaking treatment of a visual motif like Gravity was.

Jurassic World wasn’t perfect, but there is some color grading to blame for that and there were practicals there too. Sometimes but not enough.

Mission ImpossibleStar Wars, and Mad Max are the best blend of effects and real elements of the three.

Mission Impossible created sets but even knowing that the feats weren’t as impressive.

It was great to see Star Wars do what Star Wars does, especially in a more old school way, but that’s still a high bar but not one they necessarily raised for themselves.

What was new was, and the Award goes to…

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Mad Max: Fury Road

Yes, much of it was practical. However, there were effects. It’s harder to notice because of all the practical stuff, but it is all a brilliantly strung together vision.

Best Makeup

I don’t always pick a horror film but I do tend to go with one for this award because: I love them and they tend to rely heavily on practical make-up. Still. For now anyway.

The nominees are…

Creed
Mad Max: Fury Road
Mr. Holmes
Sinister II
We Are Still Here

Creed does great work selling you on in-fight injuries.

Mad Max‘s madcap makeup is just another tool used in building its world.

Mr. Holmes brilliantly conveys two ages of the iconic character as well as the raves of dementia on the body.

But the award goes to…

WE-ARE-STILL-HERE_Dagmar

We Are Still Here

We Are Still Here uses its make up to be evocative and strike fear, and succeeds wonderfully.

While I think it does juggle the ball a little toward the end it still hinges on the effectiveness of make-up work.

Best Art Direction

Art Direction is clearly important as it has one of the most direct impacts on the mise-en-scène of a film. It’s usually one of my most excruciating decisions, and this year is no different; it was the last decision made. 

The nominees are…

Cinderella
Krampus
Mad Max: Fury Road
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Sinister II

In this situation it’s not about Star Wars being Star Wars. In certain ways The Force Awakens does things better in this department than an other episode, it’s just the others in this category did it better.

Sinister II and Krampus both want to achieve horror in their settings but Krampus seeks more and gets it.

Therefore, it’s a three horse race.

Krampus does some great things in fantasy terms and with a homebound setting and truly creates a world.

Cinderella uses tremendous set pieces and locations and makes opulence gorgeous to look at rather than ostentatious and offensive in a nearly Old Hollywood way.

Then Mad Max makes the Australian outback look otherworldy with real and practical effects.

There were small glimpses of: a world beyond and other houses in Krampus, poverty in Cinderella, and lushness in Mad Max.

 

Two of these films hearken back to an older era of Hollywood films, but the one that provided the most surprises is the recipient here…

krampus8

Krampus

There’s world-building in any film but there are glimpses of worlds here, and locations that speak and breathe, and a few surprising choices that will not be spoiled here that clinch it for this film.

Best Costume Design

One way in which I treat Art Direction and this category in similar fashion is that films that films that feature disparate time-periods or styles have an advantage. However, it all usually comes down not only to intangible aesthetics but also how well those costumes contribute to the story telling.

The nominees are…

Antboy 2: Revenge of the Red Fury
Crimson Peak
Jupiter Ascending
Mad Max: Fury Road
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

One thing these awards prove is that I do compartmentalize, and because just because a movie doesn’t work overall (i.e. Jupiter Ascending and Crimson Peak) doesn’t mean one can’t appreciate an aspect or performance therein.

One thing that Star Wars changed that those harping on similarities to its progenitor miss is that they did mix up the costuming a bit and bring new ideas to that universe. However, two cinematic universes proved stronger…

Better than the first film around the Antboy films are the best superhero films you’re not (probably) not watching, and if the last film is an indicator the3rd will be even better.

However, the award goes to…

charlize-theron-in-mad-max-fury-road

Mad Max: Fury Road

Not only does this film paint its world nearly impeccably but it also has within it cultural icons in the making, Furiosa being among them and her costume being a big reason why.

Best Cinematography

Pictures. Pictures that move and are moving, that don’t disorient but mesmerize, that tell a story be it beautiful or ugly compellingly and gorgeously. These are the films that told their stories best visually and looked beautiful doing it. 

The nominees are…

Maryse Alberti Creed
Nikolas Karakatsanis Cub
Adam Newport-Berra All the Wilderness
Marius Panduru Aferim!
John Seale Mad Max: Fury Road

Creed‘s single-takes alone made it worthy of inclusion but it’s in for more than that.

Cub making horror in the woods is not as easy as it sounds, making horror look this majestic.

All the Wilderness explodes in gorgeous sunlight-dappled scenes, well-saturated colored-monotone, and high contrast shots.

Aferim! is the finest example of glorious black-and-white of the year.

However…

The award goes to…

AP FILM REVIEW-MAD MAX: FURY ROAD A ENT

John Seale Mad Max: Fury Road

Action doesn’t mean the camera has to do too much, the edit can work. The moves can be precise, the framing precise and balanced. The color here is blissfully deep, and in a world that bleak it’s a necessary antidote. Every single frame is glorious.

Sound Editing/Mixing

As mentioned in the past Editing and Mixing sound are two distinct disciplines and arts. I am not trained enough to parse them out. Not only that but even the Academy Awards tend to award the same film for both, albeit they honor different artists.  So here are…

The nominees

Mad Max: Fury Road

Jurassic World
Krampus
Sinister II
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

There is much of the similar artistry in Star Wars and Jurassic World that have been evident throughout the series. The biggest difference was creating new characters like the Indominus Rex and BB-8.

Sinister II and Krampus have similar jobs at hand as the job of the soundscape is mostly to frighten, and about as pivotal as the other nominees, but it doesn’t quite reach the heights of this film.

And the Award goes to…

lead_960
Mad Max: Fury Road

 

The silence speaks volumes, as does the ambience. The home watch can be more detail-oriented listening: the engines roar, the guitars wail and the beat doesn’t stop.

Best Editing

Editing is far too often miscategorized as a technical award. It is an art. It’s an art that requires a high degree of technique and technical proficiency but an art nonetheless. It’s often referred to as the third time you make a film (the first two being writing and principal photography). It’s the last time you make the film and maybe the most important.

The nominees are..

John-Michael Powell All the Wilderness
Claudia Castelo and Michael P. Shawver Creed
Douglas Crise and Billy Fox Dark Places
Cecilia Zanuso Human Capital
Margaret Sixel Mad Max: Fury Road

Human Capital‘s elliptical structure is not just a feat of the script but also one of mise-en-scène and the edit. It should be noted and applauded.

Dark Places similarly has many flashbacks and pushes stories forward on multiple plains to a similar end.

Creed is one of many films that dispels the erroneous notion that there’s less aptitude in editing needed when several long takes are used. It’s a job brilliantly done, and it really hums.

The more lousy films you see the more you realize that running time and pace are not the same. All the Wilderness is a short film but it moves and is moving throughout and there’s hardly an ounce of fat on it.

But one film stands tall..

9e513e79-10fb-4f48-b87e-9ac67d057f0f

Margaret Sixel Mad Max: Fury Road

Walter Murch wrote a book called In the Blink of an Eye. It’s his treatise on editing and his theory about how unconscious things like blinking can help dictate cut-points. Were Margaret Sixel to write a book on editing it  should write Joining Dreams. In British English you do not cut film, you join it . Thus, the name indicates that her editing (joining) of dream-like imagery is some of the best I’ve seen. Exemplary.

Best Score

This is one of the harder ones to judge because sometimes it’s best to go on what stuck out as separating the music from the image can be a bit misleading as you are removing part of what made it work for you – the narrative synchronicity, the spotting of it.

The nominees are…

Steve Moore Cub
Hauschka Futuro Beach
Weigel and Meirmans Life According to Nino
Tom Holkenborg (Junkie XL) Mad Max: Fury Road
Tomandandy Sinister II

Cub is a great ode to Gialli and Italian Horror scores that’s worth a listen.
Hauschka’s Futuro Beach score is memorable but hard to find online. I got a trailer as my only reminder. The film should be seen anyway.

Life According to Nino and Sinister II create brilliant an appropriate ambience appropriate to their films but they’re not quite good enough…

And the Award goes to…

FURY ROAD

Tom Holkenborg (Junkie XL) Mad Max: Fury Road

Music is one of several intrinsic pieces to the film. When there is a guitar geek credited you know music plays an intricate role even if it’s not about music. Furthermore, it makes the music almost wholly organic, and my word, is it pulse-pounding.

Best Adapted Screenplay

It’s often said that adapting material into a screenplay has to be treated like an original, but that’s kind of like a way to get started. There are differences and different things to consider. Here are the Adapted Screenplay nominees who faced disparate challenges…

Radu Jude and Florin Lazarescu Aferim!
Gilles Paquette-Brenner and Gillian Flynn 
Dark Places
Paolo Virzì, Francesco Bruni, Francesco Piccolo and Stephen Amidon Human Capital
Paul King, Hamish McColl and Michael Bond Paddington
Jeffrey Hatcher, and Mitch Cullin and Arthur Conan Doyle Mr. Holmes

Paddington does the unlikely of capturing the spirit of a piece without being a literal adaptation.

Mr. Holmes is a creative spin on the unexamined life of the unexplored portion of a popular character’s life.

Human Capital’s structure and subtextual commentaries are nearly impeccable.

Dark Places does so in a similar manner.

However, there is one film that not only brings its source material brilliantly to life but also culls from myriad sources and paints not only a personal, humorous, loving albeit sardonic portrait of an individual but also one of a people, place and time…

The Awards goes to…

aferim-berlin-film-festival-review

Radu Jude and Florin Lazarescu Aferim!

Aferim! is a portrait of the Szgany people of Romania. A tale of one man taken from the accounts of many and brilliantly done.

Best Original Screenplay

One thing that’s always interesting about trying to formulate these categories is trying to parse original an adapted screenplays. I don’t wait for the Academy to rule, or necessarily go by the credits or what the WGA says. Therefore, you’ll see Mad Max below when it’ll probably be considered for Adapted at the Oscars. Anyway, without further ado…

The nominees are…

David Gulpilil and Rolf de Heer Charlie’s Country
Pete Docter, Ronnie Del Carmen, Meg Lefauve and Josh Cooley Inside Out
Todd Casey, Michael Dougherty and Zach Shields Krampus
George Miller, Brandon McCarthy and Nico Lathouris 
Mad Max: Fury Road
Simon Blake Still

Charlie’s Country is and unorthodox and brilliant tale of an an aborigine man struggling to hold on to his land, his life and his heritage.

Inside Out is simply put Pixar at its best and really intelligently down.

Still is a compelling, layered and evocative drama.

Mad Max is a futuristic parable that relies heavily on its images to build its myth.

However, the award goes to…

krampus_movie

Todd Casey, Michael Dougherty and Zach Shields Krampus

There’s so much this film does it’s not a wonder to see many names attached to the script, that and that’s how screenplays often work anyway. There’s a legend to build, laughs to deliver, and horror tropes to be brilliantly inserted. None are easy all accomplished easily in timely fashion and at times simultaneously.

Best Youth Ensemble

It was apropos to mention last year and this year that the world of television is not entirely excluded from these awards. Usually, TV movies and specials have been included in the negative categories of the awards but last year and this year it’s a good thing. A few years ago it finally occurred to me to finally give young performers all the same categories their adult counterparts get. So here goes…

The nominees are..

Oscar Dietz, Samuel Ting Graf, Astris Juncher-Benzon, Amalie Kruse Jensen, Marcus Jess Petersson, Johannes Jeffries Sørensen and Hectores Brøgger Andersen Antboy 2: Revenge of the Red Fury
Lino Facioli, Muri Grossi, Ravi Hood and Giovanna Rispoli The Boy in the Mirror (O Menino no Espelho)
Maurice Lutjien, Gill Eeckelaert, Noah Tambwe Kabati, Ricko Otto, Louis Lemmens, Tomas de Smet, Pieter de Brabandere, Jessie Tweepenninckx, Isah De Zutter, Hauke Geirnaert, Ebe Meynckens, Ymanol Perset and Nabil Missoumi Cub
Mace Coronel, Casey Simpson, Aidan Gallagher, Lizzy Greene, Jace Norman, Sean Ryan Fox, Ella Anderson, Riele Downs, Brec Bassinger, Jackie Radinsky, Coy Stewart, Buddy Handleson, Maya Leclark, Thomas Kuc, Rio Mangini, Isabella Moner, Cree Cicchino, Madisyn Shipman, Benjamin Flores, Jr., Diego Velazquez, Addison Riecke, Lilimar, Owen Joyner, Jaheem Toombs, et al. Nickelodeon’s Ho Ho Holiday Special
Robert Daniel Sloan, Dartanian Sloan, Lucas Jade Zumann, Jade Klein, Laila Haley, Caden Marshall Fritz, Olivia Rainey, Grace Holuby, Victoria Leigh Morales, Nico Cruea and Alex Ludwig Sinister II

The first time I awarded this category there was an unusual split between the Best Cast  (The White Ribbon) and Best Youth Ensemble (Nanny McPhee Returns). I explained it by using a sports analogy. The cast was a team the Youth Ensemble was a unit of the team like the defense or the bullpen. Sports analogies will work here again as I kind of compared casts and had them play-off seeing which was deepest of the two and moving on.

Is there a weak link in Antboy? No. O Menino no Espelho? Not especially but Antboy is a bigger deeper cast.

Kudos to the eliminated: The Boy in the Mirror (Portuguese title above) is really good and should have seen US distribution.Lino Facioli best known for Game of Thrones is fantastic in it.

Antboy vs. Cub. The Cub cast is big, but how many make an impact? 3 or 4; advantage Antboy.

Kudos to the eliminated: Cub is an epic horror tale and these kids make it.

Antboy vs. Sinister II. How about we consider nominations now? Tie 2-2; only All the Wilderness and Secrets of War had two but their ensembles weren’t big enough.

Antboy standouts: 6; Sinister II 4 or 5. Advantage Antboy.

Kudos to the eliminated: There are standouts and nominees in Sinister II. It’s the kids’ story, they need to be great for it to work and it did.

Antboy vs. Ho Ho Holiday Special

If Nickelodeon parades their stars out anew, I will gladly watch and I’m sure it’ll be great because they’re stable of talent right now is wonderful, the best and deepest they’ve yet had, but ultimately (last sports analogy of this explanation) a fairly deep bench will not beat a starting line-up that is just that good.

The award goes to…

Antboy 2: The Revenge of the Red Fury

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Supporting Role

It seems obligatory to say how hard these categories were but it is true especially with the young performers it seems to get more difficult every year.

The nominees are…

Toby Bisson William’s Lullaby
Joes Brauers Secrets of War
Dartanian Sloan Sinister II
Ty Simpkins Jurassic World
Steele Stebbins Vacation
Lucas Jade Zumann Sinister II

The kids from Sinister II got their notice in my review and it still holds true. They did great.

Dartanian on the other hand inhabits the role of bully and can strike fear, and causes shock in the blink of an eye.

And

Lucas Jade Zumann as Milo who delivers the most hypnotically serpentine performance by a young actor since Frank Dillane in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Steele Stebbins, as indicated by his turn in A Haunted House 2, is perfect as the bullying younger brother, and hilarious.

My review of William’s Lullaby discusses Toby Bisson’s deserving this honor despite his very young age.

Toby Bisson deals with material far more difficult than most young actors his age are asked to deal with and does so with near-prodigious ability.

Joes Brauers in Secrets of War despite being a supporting player is the standout performance.

The Award goes to…

 

Jurassic World (2015, Universal)

Ty Simpkins Jurassic World 

My massive tome on Jurassic World this summer pretty much said it all:

Gray is a character who is a necessity to the film, a kid who knows dinosaurs […] Simpkins brings out genuine enthusiasm, authoritative knowledge[…]

Following Simpkins’ last blockbuster go-around (Iron Man 3) this is a natural progression for him as an actor as he aids in bringing the wonder, joy, and fear to the audience.

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Supporting Role

While compiling the nominations here, and sadly for the leads, was a bit easier picking a winner was not.

The nominees are…

Alyvia Alyn Lind A Deadly Adoption
Isabelle Fuhrman All the Wilderness
Astris Juncher-Benzon Antboy 2: Revenge of the Red Fury
Claudia Kanne T.I.M.
Mia Xitali Max

I could waste many words defending A Deadly Adoption but Alyvia Alyn-Lind is much of why it works.

Astris Juncher-Benzon plays a great counterpart to Oscar Dietz’ Antboy.

Claudia Kanne embodies the love-hate relationship that the protagonist has with her.

Mia Xitali steals every scene in Max she’s in.

But the award goes to…

All the Wilderness (2014, Screen Media Films)

Isabelle Fuhrman All The Wilderness

The counterpart Kodi Smit-McPhee’s character needed played to tee. Consistently locked-in and troubled in a different way than Smit’s character Fuhrman is one of twin towers of this film that holds it up and makes it so strong.

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Leading Role

I may not have chosen the best way to preserve the drama of these winners, and this one will be my worst effort in that regard for the way I have to go about talking about it. 

The Nominees are…

Emjay Anthony Krampus
Ed Oxenbould The Visit
Levi Miller Pan
Kodi Smit-McPhee All the Wilderness
Rohan Timmermans Life According to Nino
Jakob Salvati Little Boy

If there was not such brilliant work by young actors in 2015 then Kodi Smit-McPhee easily could’ve had three nominations, and though he still deserved three because he’s so prodigious; I decided I had to share the wealth and there were other performances I could not ignore.

Jakob Salvati delivered perhaps the best performance I’ve seen by a child his age (seven when the film was made).

Rohan Timmermans made himself a name to keep an eye on in Dutch cinema with his commanding performance.

Levi Miller had an astonishing debut as Pan.

Ed Oxenbould is a young actor who may just be scratching the surface of his talents at the moment and is marvelous in The Visit. 

And Emjay Anthony encapsulates holiday frustrations of a child doubting his faith in Santa, Christmas, and people.

But as you guessed the award goes to…

90

Kodi-Smit McPhee All the Wilderness

Don’t worry, kids, he’s graduating from this category! Watch out everyone else because he has such mastery already.

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Leading Role 

When girls and women don’t get nearly the amount of roles boys and men do at least they can be really good, and these are. 

The nominees are…

Pippa Allen Secrets of War
Isabella Blake-Thomas Little Glory
Mia Helene Solberg Brekke Kick It (Cool Kids Don’t Cry)
Raffey Cassidy Tomorrowland
Olivia DeJonge The Visit
Amalie Kruse Jensen Antboy 2: Revenge of the Red Fury

Pippa Allen finds herself torn in Secrets of War and does very well paired with both boys.

Isabella Blake-Thomas is a revelation in Little Glory.

To use the cliché, Mia Helene Solberg Brekke is the heart and soul of her film.

And Amalie Kruse Jensen is not just a sidekick.

The award goes to…

The Visit (2015, Universal)

Olivia Dejonge The Visit

My post on The Visit tells you why:

It excels mostly because Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould are both inordinately exceptional and achieve the unique tricks of appearing natural as if the camera is just rolling, being believably awkward when the moment demands it, and also entirely inhabiting their characters.

[…]DeJonge’s interpretation of Becca is that of clearly intelligent girl without a note of falsity or petulance, heartbreaking in her embittered memories of her father. These two are really the glue that holds the film together.

Best Cast

This one is always complicated and time-consuming. It’s not only so because of the decision-making but also because I want to hunt down all the names I can find to give as many cast members credit as I can. 

The nominees are…

Fabrizio Bentivoglio, Matilde Gioli, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi Guglielmo Pinelli, Fabrizio Gifuni , Gigio Alberti, Valeria Golino , Silvia Cohen, Luigi Lo Cascio, etc. Human Capital
Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Jonno Davies, Jack Davenport, Alex Nikolov, Samantha Womack, Mark Hamill, Sofia Boutella , Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine and Taron Egerton, etc. Kingsman: The Secret Service
Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, Allison Tolman, Conchata Ferrell, Emjay Anthony, Stefania LaVie Owen, Krista Stadler, etc. Krampus
Tim Downie, Madeleine Worrall, Lottie Steer, Geoffrey Palmer, Theresa Watson, Imelda Staunton, Michael Gambon, Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Madeleine Harris, Samuel Joslin, Michael Bond, Matt Lucas, Julie Walters, Peter Capaldi, Nicole Kidman, etc. Paddington
Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Max von Sydow, Peter Mayhew, Gwendoline Christie, Simon Pegg, Warwick Davis, Iko Uwais, Judah Friedlander, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Bill Hader, Daniel Craig, Ewan McGregor, etc. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

All these casts are great, strong and deep, but only one did I find no fault with at all. Not one.

Krampus

Best Supporting Actor

This one was unusually difficult and not like I expected it to be. 

The nominees are…

Joel Edgerton The Gift
Skyler Gisondo Vacation
Burghart Klaußner 13 Minutes
Sonny Young Still
Sylvester Stallone Creed

There are two young bucks here, two veterans, and one jack-of-many-trades seemingly entering the prime of his career.

Youth ought not preclude a nomination as was evidenced last year. The parity among the youth and the veterans is great but that middle-ground of roles deserves representation also, and they get it here.

Comedy also need not be ignored as evidenced by Gisondo’s nomination.

One of the more visceral checklist items for nominations are “my god he’s incredible in this” being a thought that runs through your mind. That thought occurred to me especially in three performances: Klaßner’s (though that was more about the fact that it wasn’t just The White Ribbon), Young’s and Stallone’s.

The two most powerful were Stallone and Young.

And the award goes to…

still

Sonny Young Still

He’s such a testament to the movie and does such a 180 that it’s impossible to deny him the honor.

Best Supporting Actress

Supporting actor awards are about presence, and presence on film in this capacity is about looming larger than the part you play.

The nominees are…

Louise Bourgoin The Nun
Soufia Issami Traitors
Virginia Madsen All the Wilderness
Fabiula Nascimento A Wolf at the Door
Phylicia Rashad Creed

All these ladies are marvelous. However, there is one who looms largest.

louise-bourgoin

Louise Bourgoin The Nun

Bourgoin’s presence in this film is titanic.

Best Actor

This is perhaps the most diverse group of nominees yet and their roles were differently challenging an compelling in disparate ways. There’s little equal ground to compare them on so on to the nominees…

Christian Friedel 13 Minutes
Aiden Gillen Still
David Gulpilil Charlie’s Country
Michael B. Jordan Creed
Wagner Moura Futuro Beach

And the Award goes to…

Charlie'sCountry (2013, Entertainment One Films)

David Gulpilil Charlie’s Country

If you can hold the screen in silence, and move me to tears likewise; there’s not much more you need to do to clinch the award, but he does so much more.

Best Actress

It’s not just for equality sake that I put Best Actress closer to Best Picture on the rundown, it’s also that these winners are usually harder to pick and more memorable.

The nominees are…

Valeria Bruni Tedeschi Human Capital
Pauline Etienne The Nun
Leandra Leal A Wolf at the Door
Maika Monroe It Follows
Julianne Moore Still Alice

If all performances are equally impressive in different way then arc has to be one of the tie-breakers. In which case, Monroe goes 0 to 60 fast and stays there, Tedeschis arc is obscured in the structure of the narrative but is increasingly alienated, vulnerable with her lover and passionate; Leal shows a more duplicitous nature faux-charm, possessive, passionate, psychotic; Moore’s arc is clear and power being a linguist, and highly intellectual and loses her faculties to Alzheimer’s. Etienne plays a victim of circumstances whose faith gets smashed by a hypocritical society and Church establishment.

So it’s really down to Leal, Tedeschi and Moore.

I can’t hold that Moore was part of last year’s Oscar race against her. I, a plebian, did not get to see the film ’til January.

Leal always hid and was convincing, Tedeschi showed facets and was magnetic but the film was not a one woman show – sadly that does sometimes factor in as Charlize Theron’s two brilliant turns this year were snubbed.

However, on a visceral level Moore’s performance also moved me tremendously.

Was the film blindingly brilliant, no; was she? Absolutely.
Yes, films viewed in January can win here. The Awards goes to…

Julianne-Moore-in-Still-Alice

Julianne Moore Still Alice

Best Director

I always feel the need to discuss the possibility of a split, and what that means. I rarely have splits between Best Picture and Best Director and usually, unlike other shows, I tell you why. 

Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen Inside Out
Michael Dougherty Krampus
Rolf de Heer Charlie’s Country
George Miller Mad Max: Fury Road
Paolo Virzì Human Capital

Who the winner is reminded me of this quote:

“I’ve got vision up the butt, so just go with it,” -Jack Black, School of Rock

There’s really one director on this list that that quote adequately describes, and it’s not that it was a blowout, but it’s truest of this man.

And the award goes to.

Mad-Max-Fury-Road-Tom-Hardy-George-Miller

George Miller Mad Max: Fury Road

Most Overlooked Picture

In picking this award lately I have gravitated towards the films without US distribution, this year there is only one film that fits that bill. However, before I discuss that one allow me to give these other films their due.

The nominees are:

13 Minutes
Antboy 2: Revenge of the Red Fury
All the Wilderness
The Boy in the Mirror (O Menino no Espelho)
Charlie’s Country
Dark Places
Kick It (Cool Kids Don’t Cry)
Little Glory
Metalhead

T.I.M.

And the award goes to…

20120703gb1744.jpg

The Boy in the Mirror (O Menino no Espelho)

Best Foreign Film

Truth be told. I usually start creating my top whatever films list with this category in mind, picking that ranking shortcuts my deciding this category.

The nominees are…

13 Minutes
Aferim!
Cool Kids Don’t Cry (Kick It)
Cub
Futuro Beach
Human Capital
Metalhead
Reckless
T.I.M.
The Wolf Behind the Door

And the Award goes to…

Human Capital (2014, Film Movement)

Human Capital

In a film market that seems to, at times, think we can’t have our cake and eat it too this film knows that’s nonsense, and delivers emotion, pathos, and tension while also crafting a story of sociological relevance and leaving the soapbox out of it. It clicks like a film you can maniacally eat popcorn to and just let it wash over you, but invites you dig deeper and think on it long and hard. What more can you ask for?

Before Best Picture there are some important announcements:

  • First, the announcement of Lifetime Achievement, Entertainer of the Year, Neutron Star (if there is one), and Special Jury Award(s) will occur tomorrow January, 10th because time has run short today.
  • Second, changes to this process will be worked on for next year and decided upon ASAP. 

Without further ado…

Best Picture

The nominees…

Bloody Knuckles
Charlie’s Country
Creed
Human Capital
Inside Out
Krampus
Mad Max: Fury Road
Paddington
Slow West
Still

In this decision I’ve vacillated between two disparate pairs of films: Charlie’s Country and Human Capital; and then Krampus and Mad Max: Fury Road. I don’t recall a year where there has been this much among four films. Usually I talk about a clear delineation from the top three to the rest of the best.

So how to break this stalemate?

Mad Max caught me confusing a turning point for the end; Krampus did something similar with less time but it was clear there was going to be something else…

Human Capital never dips but may not be as strong, and does wait until the end title card to explain its title. It’s a powerful moment but unexpected.

Charlie’s Country has a true-to-life Eastern kind of pacing that does not hold it back as it much stories with less power behind it.

As I tried to pick a number one, I really alternated only two of the four titles: Mad Max and Krampus.

And the BAM goes to…..

krampus_2040.0.0

Krampus

I saw each twice and liked Krampus more twice.

The two allusions I drew in seeing Krampus were to older films I now consider to be classics, in the standing the test of time way rather than in technique- Gremlins and Home Alone.

The Home Alone similarity is in Emjay Anthony’s rant about families. “I don’t want a new family. I don’t want any family. Families suck!” Kevin McAllister exclaims and his sentiments are similar and drew spontaneous applause in my second viewing.

There’s far more intangible things that it taps into, and that’s where Gremlins comes in: it’s not just the Christmas-set horror comedy aspect, Krampus is the 2015 PG-13 movie equivalent of Gremlins’ hard PG in 1984.

When you’re citing films that are 25 and 31 years old respectively, you know you’re entering rarified air.

Yet, much like Super 8 from a few years ago, it’s not just the Spielbergian-Amblin influence that makes Krampus work.

Krampus is hilarious, it’s very much the zeitgeist for the year of its release but like Dougherty’s Trick ‘r Treat may have conquered a mandatory viewing slot on a major holiday.

The Krampus is not a new or original creation. However, in the US knowledge of the Krampus and discussion of him has remained underground like he was out of the Necronomicon, or better yet has come to a heightened awareness and popularity many years after his “death” like Lovecraft.

Yet, though the Krampus has featured on quite a few TV shows, the feature film eluded it. Then as with any idea in Hollywood many raced to create a story based around a legend, a mythical figure so rife with potential especially in genre cinema.

Kevin Smith was the first name I heard associated with a Krampus-themed film, but that has yet to come to the fore as he’s developing many other thing. So, it’s a but like the victory that was Ender’s Game or other anticipated adaptations – it’s the realization of a dream except I didn’t know how this movie where this movie was going to go, just that I wanted to see where it went every step of the way.

It was the ideal major motion picture “debut” of this Icon.

It took an old mythology and made it new and vibrant, and like the film it tussled with so violently for the title it intimated of much story aside than what was on screen. Ultimately, I always try to compartmentalize; therefore, it’s not a matter of “Well, Mad Max is amazing and won all these awards therefore it has to win Best Picture.” What the equation really is is: How well did the film in question perform in all categories plus factor in the story and how that played.

Krampus got me and I got in a way no other 2015 release did, bar none. Not even close.

See you all tomorrow for the last few trophies. Congratulations to those nominated who made 2015 a great year in film.

Mini-Review: The Whisperer in the Darkness

Introduction

This is a post that is a repurposing of an old-school Mini-Review Round-Up post. As stated here I am essentially done with running multi-film review posts. Each film deserves its own review. Therefore I will repost, and at times add to, old reviews periodically. Enjoy!

The Whisperer in the Darkness

The Whisperer in Darkness was a film I just had to see. After having seen The Call of Cthulhu, which was a short, silent version of a Lovecraft classic, I knew I’d want to see anything this company (known as the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society) did.

In their newest film, and first feature, they tackle The Whisperer in Darkness and shifted from a silent film representation to a monster film of the 1930s approach. In both cases, the style of film that is emulated perfectly suits the work being interpreted.

I firmly believe this to be the case, regardless of your familiarity with either of these very distinct niches. If you are unfamiliar with Lovecraft this is a great introduction as it very faithfully, but also intriguingly in cinematic terms, renders the narrative. Any admirer of film, regardless of what era(s) they prefer, will recognize some of the conventions on display in this film, and as details of the narrative unfold it’ll become clear the choice is an inspired one.

Much of this is a roundabout way of saying that odds are you’ll like this if you go in with the knowledge of what the film is attempting, and you could be a fan of either or neither end of the narrative equation and walk away liking it. However, if you like both it’s rather heavenly, or should I say hellacious? Either way, it’s great stuff.

10/10

Bernardo Villela, Author

Bloodmaster (David Rosenthal)

Bernardo made his debut in fiction in 2012 with the release of his novella The Isle of Helyr, which offers his unique take on the Lovecraft mythos.

That was followed up in 2014 with The Bloodmaster Trilogy, three short stories about a demon called the Bloodmaster compiled by someone trying to better document his lore.

In 2017 he released the first in a new series of short story collections Teenage Death Songs. Volume two is available for pre-order.

Bookmark Bernardo’s author page for instant notifications on future releases.

Isle Of Helyr

Teenage-Death-Songs-Kindle

Shameless Self-Promotion: The Bloodmaster Trilogy – Coming Soon!

As you may know, if you happen to have glanced at the about tab, I have in the past published a novella called The Isle of Helyr which is available for the outrageously “high” price of $0.99 USD (Free to borrow for Prime Members, equivalent prices in foreign markets). Not too many people do wander to the About and linger on the main page to see what’s new. Therefore, if you will permit me the occasional digression (hopefully the self-deprecating title of this post helps some) I will have occasion to make announcements regarding side projects here.

As a simple search will prove I am quite a fan of the Cthulhu Mythos. My first novella is in that vein.

However, this post is to announce a forthcoming release. On August 26th I will release on Kindle a three short stories referred to collectively as The Bloodmaster Trilogy.

In a child’s guise comes a demon so uncontrollable he rebelled against Satan himself… a demon for which there is yet to be a vanquisher. In this child’s form comes The Bloodmaster.

It seems we only come to learn of demons as they meet their demise. In the Bloodmaster Trilogy three seemingly disparate tales weave a tapestry of lore chronicling the rise of a demon. These tales make up but a part of this vile demon’s history, and hope to serve as a foundation of understanding of The Bloodmaster’s methods. Somewhere amidst these narratives lies the truth, which is what editor E. Puddota hopes to bring to a populous largely unaware of the terrors this demon has wrought, and might yet create.

This volume chronicles the cases of a mother and son’s vacation gone terribly awry; the Bloodmaster’s damnation of an entire Tennessee town; and the horrors a child had to endure when taken to serve as minion to The Bloodmaster.

The collection will be priced the same ($0.99 USD) and be made available at all Kindle stores worldwide. It may be available to pre-order (uncertain if that’s an option yet). I will update this post. In the meantime you can bookmark my author page.

As for the Mythos, I may return there. Many more readers and reviews may make that a reality (Nothing’s impossible).

I look forward to sharing this deliriously devilish triad of tales shortly and hope you enjoy them. Back to the movies tomorrow, I promise.

Favorite Older Films First Viewed in 2013 (Part 5 of 5)

This is a list I first saw on Rupert Pupkin Speaks. The idea is to list your favorite films from the past year that you saw for the first time, but exclude new releases. This allows much more variety and creates a lot of great suggestions if you read many of them.

Since I tracked these films much more closely this year my list grew long. I will occasionally combine selections by theme, but there is enough for five posts. These choices are in no particular order.

Enjoy!

Veronika Voss (1982)

Veronika-Voss

Yes, this is more Fassbinder and more of the BRD trilogy (two-thirds of it on this massive list). The BRD Trilogy through female protagonists tells tales of Post-War Germany and the repercussions it had for many years.

This particular tale takes place in Munich 1955 where a sports journalist meets Veronika Voss, a woman now hooked on painkillers who purportedly had an affair with Goebbles.

This film delves into quite a few aspects of the war, as well as the post war era and offers interesting commentaries on the Nazi link with the German film industry.

Mirage (2004)

mir3

Later this year, with regard to In Bloom and the other films from former Soviet states that I was watching, I came to realize that there is a wave of new postcolonial cinema that has been blossoming worldwide since the fall of the Soviet Union, and the Eastern Bloc in general. While it was those films that pointed it out to me it has been illuminated for some time, and this an early example.

This is a Macedonian film, and was an Oscar submission in its own right the year it came out. It successfully connects coming-of-age tropes with a burgeoning nationhood. A nationhood that’s not conducive to hope; one that glorifies the outside world and presents only violence and pain within its borders. The fact that this tale marries fantasy and reality is also a comment on the perception of both the local environment and the world at large, and a powerful statement.

Duma (2005)

Duma_01

If there’s one thing that always kind of bugged me about Carol Ballard’s The Black Stallion is that the portion Alec and The Black meet and bond, which is mostly silent, is far superior to the portion of the film wherein he comes home and starts to race the horse. Having bonded with a horse in the wild it just never quite jibed with me that he’d then willingly race it. Such artifice rang false. I still like the film, just not as much as I thought I would. Duma, another Ballard-directed film, based on the nature of its tale doesn’t have that issue. It’s still a tale of a boy and a wild animal bonding, helping each other becoming friends, but the nature of the animal doesn’t get altered, and furthermore, Duma helps Xan come to terms with things he couldn’t deal with in his life prior. It’s a great film that’s not as widely acknowledged as it should be.

The Merchant of Four Seasons (1971)

merchantoffourseasons1

Being the last installment of the list and the one I designated for any overflow, and in part due to luck of the draw, I had to have two Fassbinder titles here.

My reaction to this one was delayed, and the most powerful I felt after any of his films. Again I was gutted as the film comes closer to dropping than ending. It’s a simple tale, with a rather straightforward, and to an extent foreseeable, trajectory but powerful nonetheless.

Miss Annie Rooney (1942)

MissAnnieRooney

This has very basic set-up, however, when you look closer there are a few interesting things going on in this film. The basic premise is that a girl from a working-class family (Shirley Temple) meets and upper-crust boy (Dickie Moore) and needs a dress to fit in at a party she’s invited to. The class commentary, the love conquers all portions are fairly common. There’s a few interesting twists thrown into the happily-ever-after endings. More interestingly is the way a transitional vehicle for young actors is handled, they’re cast close to their actual age, and in fact, seem to be playing a bit older than they are at times and are not really dumbed down too much. More often than not now it seems that successful transitions from child star to adult employment on camera is facilitated by hiatus but this seems quite the successful transitional vehicle for both young stars.

Dead of Night (1977)

Dead of Night (1977, Dan Curtis Productions)

Here’s the second made-for-TV movie to be featured on this list and marks a return to the list for writer/director/producer Dan Curtis whom last appeared thanks to Burnt Offerings.

This is a TV movie that tells three tales, and the opening monologue does not lie, each tale works in a bit of a different milieu: the first, regarding a very odd time traveling incident is a fantasy, a work of imagination, that is not bereft of eeriness. The second is a mystery tale though also with a decidedly horror slant, as in this one Matheson is working off his own short story about vampires. The grand finale, and it is grand, is the truest horror tale of them all, titled simply “Bobby” deals with the horrific results of a grieving mother getting what she wished for: the return of her deceased son.

It is a taut tale, it runs 72 minutes for the three tales, so each is roughly the equivalent of an episode of a half-hour TV show; which is a perfect vessel for drama. There is a tenor of seriousness and an undertone of tension throughout the film, which culminates in rather narrative film fashion in the last tale, which is absolutely pitch perfect. Joan Hackett and Lee Montgomery are the only actors in the tale, barring a voice-over husband away on business, and they are frequently in singles and could not be more flawless in their commitment and delivery.

Dead of Night is a great anthology and one that really gives me an impetus to move Curtis further up my queue, as this is masterfully done.

R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour – Don’t Think About It(2007)

R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour - Don't Think About It (2007, Universal Home Entertainment)

At times, I will confess that choices do have to be representative. You can categorize, sub-categorize and pigeonhole films (or any art) in any number of ways. However, it’d be hard to represent 2013 for me without some reference to R.L. Stine. Yes, there was the huge write-up on the new series he produces, but also quite a bit of reading of his works, and then there’s also this film.

It took me a while to get around to screening this one because the last film I’d seen based on one of his works was quite a bad miss. This one, however, thankfully, mostly works.

A lot of that has to do with the practical effects work by Gregory Nicotero, one of the best in the game right now, who created an awesome creature for this film.

The film works itself into its story slowly. It does follow its protagonist (Emily Osment) and builds her character, and motivations for all the characters involved, but it does so a bit languidly. When things do get going though they’re rather freaky and things resolve themselves nicely, with the characters growing and a well-earned horror-film end.

As this film felt a bit stretched, it will be interesting to see if the planned Goosebumps film, comes to fruition if the anthology-styling suits it better, which it should.

In Love with Life (1934)

In Love with Life (1934, Invincible)

As many painfully poor titles as I had to suffer through in my Poverty Row theme it sure has made a dent on this list. Here’s my rather lengthy initial reaction to this film:

A few things come to mind when discussing this film, most are specific to Poverty Row others aren’t as much. I’ve discussed the running time and the utilization thereof on a few occasions in these posts. This is not something that stems from worries about my attention span or time management issues but is inherent to structuring. Some of these films are trying to cram a lot of film into not much time, others are at points stretching. This one, at a brisk 51 minutes seems to handle things just right.

Now one note I will include, I believe this is the TV edit. I base this conclusion on both the book by Mr. Pitts and the IMDb, which list the running time at 66 minutes, as does a supposedly remastered version available on the IMDb. Sadly, with many of these Poverty Row titles those are the only cuts that remain. If this is truly a TV edit kudos to the editors of this version, while it is brisk it never feels overly truncated. There just seem to be a few instances of dropped frames.

Things that separate this film are: that there is scoring throughout rather than just on the opening and closing title, there are moving shots which required sophisticated sound editing, elevated production values for the budget namely set design and good montage/titling work.

Not exclusive to, but more common in works of this type, are stories that pre-date and lead up to the stock market crash. It being a melodrama the moral is clear: we lost our money but have what matters. However, it doesn’t go as far over the top as it could, particularly with a mother-child separation at the beginning. It plays its tropes fairly well and quickly.

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953, Columbia)

This is kind of surprise that this list was built to highlight. There is much in this film that I usually would not connect with. However, this particular film connects in a number of ways.

The first, and most surprising thing for me, is not only is this an original screen idea by Dr. Seuss, but one I really connect with. Even as a kid I was never really into Dr. Seuss at all, quite the contrary, but on occasion I will find a tale that sneaks by and I enjoy and this is one. Next this film features Tommy Rettig pre-Lassie and he’s perfectly cast and has quite a bit to carry aside from singing he also breaks the fourth wall and narrates the tale. The villain, played by Hans Conried, struck me as familiar. As the film started, I knew I had heard that voice. Sure enough I was right, and guessed it. I heard that voice a lot as Disney’s Captain Hook. Almost immediately I pegged this film as a one nomination film and having fallen in love with the production design thought it’d be that, it was the score which is also good. It merited multiple honors in my estimation.

The Color Out of Space (aka Die Farbe) (2010)

This was a film that I initially qualified for the 2013 year, but upon further research I discovered it was on Amazon Instant Video for a while without my knowing about it. When I had a slip-up in the planning of these lists and found this list one film short it was the perfect title to slip in.

The malleability of the tale again shines through as in this rendition while the tale begins in Arkham, Massachusetts; the protagonist is in search of his father who vanished in Germany after World War II, and that is where he will spend most of his time. As he arrives in his last known whereabouts he meets a man who starts to tell him of the strange events that had occurred in that town. These events make up a bulk of the short story.

Now the film being transplanted to Germany is already a bold decision that works out quite well. The next emboldened choice is that the film is predominantly in black and white. It’s a great choice for Lovecraft’s antiquarian style, but also aids in selling a majority of the effects work that is needed to render this tale. Yet, in a tale about color it is further brave – and without putting to fine a point on it, does serve a purpose.

There is some English dialogue in the film, but a vast majority of it is in German, and due to that performances are usually spot on. Both the cinematography and the edit do tremendous things to build the atmosphere of outre and foreboding that is one of Lovecraft’s hallmarks. Things in this tale are slightly askew and on a precipitous decline leading to one earth-shattering moment and it moves there almost unerringly.

The workmanship in this tale rivals what the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society has been able to do with its films. It really is quite a work and proves that The Colour Out of Space is what I would refer to as one of the great stories, meaning that I can view many renditions of it and revel in the tweaks an modifications each brings to the table.

Shorts

Not much text is needed to discuss the shorts, but they do deserve inclusion. Especially when you consider my list of films seen I should highlight a few older shorts, some not featured on Short Film Saturday. So here are some notable ones.

Captain Eo

Captain Eo (1985, Disney)

Thankfully I went to see this wondrous relic of the ’80s before the attraction disappeared from the Walt Disney World landscape for all of eternity. In my opinion, it’s Michael Jackson’s best and most cinematic video/short film.

The Show (1922)

The Show (1922, Vitagraph)

I sought out quite a few films based on having read The Keystone Kid. This was the first and quite a humorous one at that.

The New York Hat

This is one of the shorts I saw for the Funny Ladies Blogathon wherein I wrote about Fazenda. This is most definitely a Gloria Swanson vehicle, and most definitely a D.W. Griffith title and very good.

There were also this year a few categories, be they directors or performers, that I saw many notable films from. Namely:

Georges Méliès

545px-George_Melies

For these titles I was able to find YouTube links. However, for the long Documentary about him, I recommend the box set Méliès the first Wizard of Cinema, for the Alice Guy and Louis Feuillade titles I refer you to the Gaumont Treasures vol. 1 set, For The Little Rascals I refer you to The Little Rascals The Complete Collection.

The Human Fly

The Impossible Voyage

Untamble Whiskers

A Moonlight Serenade

There was also a noteworthy film about him I saw called: Le Grand Méliès by Georges Franju

Alice Guy

544px-Alice_Guy

The Magician’s Alms
The Game Keeper’s Son
At the Photographers

Louis Feuillade

louis feuillade 3

Spring
The Trust
The Heart and Money

Little Rascals

Shivering_shakespeare_TITLE

Shivering Shakespeare

Film Activism: The Dreamlands

During this past 61 Days of Halloween I discovered a new, and great Lovecraft adaptation. It was produced in Germany and titled Die Farbe, or as it is know here The Color Out of Space. Albeit another adaptation of this oft retold tale it has its own slant and a great take.

As it turns out that same production team, including writer/director Huang Vu are embarking on a new Lovecraftian journey. This one entitled The Dreamlands purports to be the first feature-length film treatment of Lovecraft’s dream cycle.

While this other side of Lovecraft’s oeuvre has also inspired writing, most notably Brian Lumley’s Dreamlands Sequence; this would be a cinematic treatment of a very visually conducive subset of Lovecraft’s writings.

The Dreamlands has an interesting, fitting set-up:

Roland, an orphaned boy with a troubled past is led into another world by a mysterious old man. A world that has been created by the great dreamers of mankind in their sleep during the preceding thousands of years. There the old man rules as a king and he wants to educate Roland to be his successor. But Roland is unable to overcome the dark shadow that weighs on him, and he must decide whether he wants to use his abilities to further expand the Dreamlands, or to destroy what others have built.

The production team has released a teaser trailer:

I am posting about this early to spread the word ahead of the unveiling of this film’s Kickstarter campaign from March 1-31, 2014 because all too often these crowdfunding opportunities sneak up on us and don’t give us, prospective donors, time to prepare. Therefore, I wanted it known early so that the word could spread. Based on what this team did with The Colour From Out of Space they should definitely get a shot at The Dreamlands which would incorporate elements of Celephaïs, The White Ship, The Strange High House in the Mist and The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.

Be on the look out.

61 Days of Halloween: Die Farbe (The Color Out of Space) (2010)

Introduction

For an introduction to the concept of 61 Days of Halloween, and a list of previously featured titles, please go here.

Die Farbe (The Color Out of Space)

As I have discussed in two prior posts, the 61 Days of Halloween features on both The Curse and Die, Monster, Die!; H.P. Lovecraft’s The Colour Out of Space is not only a great horror story but also a tremendously malleable one. When I happened upon this title at a Second and Charles (a secondhand media retail chain) I just had to jump at the chance to see it, and I’m very glad I did.

The malleability of the tale again shines through as in this rendition while the tale begins in Arkham, Massachusetts; the protagonist is in search of his father who vanished in Germany after World War II, and that is where he will spend most of his time. As he arrives in his last known whereabouts he meets a man who starts to tell him of the strange events that had occurred in that town. These events make up a bulk of the short story.

Now the film being transplanted to Germany is already a bold decision that works out quite well. The next emboldened choice is that the film is predominantly in black and white. It’s a great choice for Lovecraft’s antiquarian style, but also aids in selling a majority of the effects work that is needed to render this tale. Yet, in a tale about color it is further brave – and without putting to fine a point on it, does serve a purpose.

There is some English dialogue in the film, but a vast majority of it is in German, and due to that performances are usually spot on. Both the cinematography and the edit do tremendous things to build the atmosphere of outre and foreboding that is one of Lovecraft’s hallmarks. Things in this tale are slightly askew and on a precipitous decline leading to one earth-shattering moment and it moves there almost unerringly.

The workmanship in this tale rivals what the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society has been able to do with its films. It really is quite a work and proves that The Colour Out of Space is what I would refer to as one of the great stories, meaning that I can view many renditions of it and revel in the tweaks an modifications each brings to the table.

What’s odd is that apparently this film was released on video in the US in August of 2012, however, I never heard of it until the day I found it, so I think I will enter it into the mix for this year’s BAM Awards. It is available to stream free for Amazon Prime members and on DVD and Blu-Ray.

In Anticipation Of: The Necroscope

NOTE: This post has been updated. New information that supersedes the production update in the body can be found at the bottom of the piece.

The first time I did a piece labeled In Anticipation Of it was regarding Mercy the adaptation of the Stephen King short story Gramma, which was produced by Blumhouse and will be released by Universal Horror. With this one I have decided to go with something that I’ve watched off an on for a long time that could probably be better described as being development purgatory rather than development hell for a long time.

My history with the Necroscope, if we are to be quite literal, goes back to just after I started reading the horror genre. I really started to embrace horror, and enjoy being scared, after I watched The Shining in a cinema class. I then proceeded to read Desperation, then Bag of Bones, and despite my not enjoying that one quite so much, I borrowed It and then I was a King devotee for life. As I went to browse bookstores for more King, or other future possibilities, I came across the Necroscope series. The only reason I delayed really was because it took me a while to look up and confirm the correct reading order.

The books that really caught my attention were the covers and stories of the Vampire World trilogy, books six thru eight. However, there was the debate about committing, at least in theory, to a series that long. Then I did. The first two books are brilliant; absolute masterpieces of the horror genre. Further on down the line there are still strokes of genius. For as good as the beginning is that section, which I did eventually get to, is very strong. And the most recent book, a short novel entitled The Möbius Murders, is by far the strongest installment in The Lost Years chronology.

Necroscope (Bob Eggleton)

Part of the issue with a film, or potential series of films, in my estimation, has been the budget that I believe a halfway decent adaptation would incur. While I was in college I immersed myself in Lovecraft for a time such that not only was I worried for my mental health for a week or so, but I also managed to turn out my take on the mythos in screenplay form. The script was what I wanted it to be: a tale that would take its time yet consistently build atmosphere and pace. However, my best guess that at is original 150 pages its budget would be at least one million dollars a minute, and that’s a problem for a Lovecraftian tale. Therefore, I decided to turn said spec script into prose. Just look at how the supposedly high-budget At the Mountains of Madness fell apart. My expectation for the budget on Necroscope is similar. Add to that the international intrigue, foreign tongues, potential for voice over, finding the correct tone and detailed mythology being built; and there are pitfalls.

Yet, that hasn’t stopped the property from being optioned numerous times. Like I said, I get why, but as Lumely’s site reports it’s now six consecutive years the option has been picked up. What prompted me to write this piece was that after hearing the words “Necroscope” and “movie” on TV, as Glenn Hetrick was introduced on an episode of FaceOff I wondered “Is it really that much closer to happening?”

As per Lumley’s site in March, it seems not, save for the most recent renewal. Maybe Hetrick was just trying to get some interest, buzz and free advertising for the possibility. Can’t say I blame him really.

geek_lumley_lg

However, this property, which is amongst the iconic properties of horror fiction, is also on a short list of big properties oft delayed, and this one likely offers a bigger tonal challenge onscreen as opposed to things like King’s Dark Tower and The Talisman, which have also been oft delayed and changed hands many times. It’s getting to a point where I do wonder if I could fight my fandom when a film came out: could I supplant my image of Harry in my mind? Could I deal with a Yulian not speaking Romanian, and so on? I’d like to think so. However, with this project so long in the offing and seemingly still so far off I honestly can’t answer as a fan if I want to see the film happen. I just know that if it does, when it does I’ll be there.

UPDATE: I recently saw a link to a Necroscope fan group on Facebook, joined, and it seems Glenn Hetrick messaged the group Admin with an update on the status of the project. It reads as follows:

Happy New Year Guys! There is nothing that I can discuss at the moment, we are honing the pitch and script and setting up meetings for early 2014 with studios, but this entire process, contracts, waiting for responses, etc. is quite drab I assure you, so the reason I have been silent is that there is nothing new to report other than we are moving forward. Not a day goes by that I do not spend time on the phone or computer trying to push this ahead, if you think you are feeling impatient I also assure you it is far worse for me. There is also the legality of the whole thing, which will compel me to remain reticent even once we have a deal, up until such time an interested STUDIO concretes a deal, picks it up and then decides to officially announce the project, which i feel will be sometime this year. During that entire period I will not legally be capable of discussing the project publicly, but just know I am throwing everything I got at this. It requires a Herculean effort to get a film produced by a major studio and near impossible to get that done right, with integrity of the source material intact, a promise I made to Brian personally. I am years into the process…we are getting close. Know that as soon as there is something to report, I will do it here. Currently working on Hunger Games sequels and will be going back to shoot Face Off again soon, during which time I am developing new designs and visuals for our pitch whilst tweaking the script, fingers crossed everyone! Ok, rob, get to liking, I want bloody fingers!