10 Shots From 10 Horror Films: 1981 — 1983


4 Or More Shots From 4 Or More Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

This October, I’m going to be doing something a little bit different with my contribution to 4 (or more) Shots From 4 (or more) Films.  I’m going to be taking a little chronological tour of the history of horror cinema, moving from decade to decade.

Today, we take a look at 1981, 1982, and 1983!

10 Shots From 10 Horror Films: 1981 — 1983

The Funhouse (1981, dir by Tobe Hooper. DP: Andrew Laszlo)

The Beyond (1981, dir by Lucio Fulci, DP: Sergio Salvati)

The House By The Cemetery (1981, dir by Lucio Fulci, DP: Sergio Salvati)

The Evil Dead (1981, dir by Sam Raimi, DP: Tim Philo)

Creepshow (1982, dir by George Romero, written by Stephen King, DP: Michael Gornick)

Tenebrae (1982, dir by Dario Argento, DP: Luciano Tovoli)

Poltergeist (1982, dir by Tobe Hooper, DP: Matthew F. Leonetti)

The Dead Zone (1983, dir by David Cronenberg, DP: Mark Irwin)

Christine (1983, dir. John Carpenter, DP: Donald M. Morgan)

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (dir by Tommy Lee Wallace, DP: Dean Cundey)

4 Shots From 4 David Cronenberg Films


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Since today is Canadian Thanksgiving, it seems like the perfect day to pay tribute to one of the great Canadian horror directors!  It’s time for….

4 Shots From 4 David Cronenberg Films

Videodrome (1983, dir by David Cronenberg, DP: Mark Irwin)

The Dead Zone (1983, dir by David Cronenberg, DP: Mark Irwin)

The Fly (1986, dir by David Cronenberg, DP: Mark Irwin)

Dead Ringers (1988, dir by David Cronenberg, DP: Peter Suschitzky)

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special David Cronenberg Edition


4 (or more) Shots From 4 (or more) Films is just what it says it is, 4 (or more) shots from 4 (or more) of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 (or more) Shots From 4 (or more) Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Today, the Shattered Lens wishes a happy birthday to one of the best and most influential directors of all time, Canada’s own David Cronenberg!  It’s time for….

4 Shots From 4 David Cronenberg Films

The Brood (1979, dir by David Cronenberg DP: Mark Irwin)

The Dead Zone (1983, dir. by David Cronenberg, DP: Mark Irwin)

The Fly (1986, dir. by David Cronenberg, DP: Mark Irwin)

Naked Lunch (1991, dir by David Cronenberg, DP:Peter Suschitzky)

4 Shots From 4 David Cronenberg Films: Scanners, The Dead Zone, The Fly, Naked Lunch


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

This October, we’ve been using 4 Shots From 4 Films to pay tribute to some of our favorite horror directors!  Today, in honor of Canadian Thanksgiving, we recognize the talents of the one and only David Cronenberg!

4 Shots From 4 Films

Scanners (1981, dir by David Cronenberg)

The Dead Zone (1983, dir. by David Cronenberg)

The Fly (1986, dir. by David Cronenberg)

Naked Lunch (1991, dir by David Cronenberg)

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special David Cronenberg Edition


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking.

This October, I am going to be using our 4 Shots From 4 Films feature to pay tribute to some of my favorite horror directors, in alphabetical order!  That’s right, we’re going from Argento to Zombie in one month!

Today’s director is the master of Canadian horror, the one and only David Cronenberg!

4 Shots from 4 Films

The Brood (1979, dir by David Cronenberg)

The Dead Zone (1983, dir. by David Cronenberg)

Videodrome (1983, dir by David Cronenberg)

Naked Lunch (1991, dir by David Cronenberg)

4 Shots From 4 Films: Stephen King Edition


With just minutes left til the end of the day I thought it was time to wish one of my favorite a happy birthday.

I pretty much spent my junior high and high school years reading everything that Stephen King had written and published up to that point. The habit followed me after high school graduation and I’ve picked up on other authors since.

While Stephen King has slowed down some when it comes to the amount of novels he has released in the last decade or so, he is still one of the few authors whose books I will buy without even knowing what it’s about.

Here are just four films adapted from his stories that I consider favorites of mine. They’re just stories about a boy’s first car, a man waking up from a long sleep, a cat named Church and a grocery store full of people.

4 SHOTS FROM 4 FILMS

Shattered Politics #49: The Dead Zone (dir by David Cronenberg)


The_Dead_Zone

So, it seems like every time that I write a review of any film based on a novel by Stephen King, I always have to start out by explaining that I think, while King’s success is undeniable, the fact that he’s overrated is also undeniable.  It’s a comment that I always make and then I have to deal with people going, “But, Lisa, everyone loves Stephen King!  He’s the most commercially successful author ever!  He’s a modern-day Charles Dickens!”

Bleh.

Make no mistake, I think that Stephen King is a talented writer.  However, I don’t think that he’s the greatest writer that has ever lived and that’s where I often come into conflict with King’s fans.  (Stephen King fans tend to be like religious fanatics when it comes to defending their belief.)  Having read both King’s earlier work and his more recent books, it’s hard for me not to feel that Stephen King has been growing steadily complacent.  There’s a certain self-importance to his prose and his plotting that, for me, is the literary equivalent of nails on chalk board.  If anyone is guilty of believing the most fawning praise of his biggest fans, it would appears to be Stephen King who, to judge from his twitter feed, appears to also believe that he’s our most important cultural critic as well.

(To be honest, I’d probably have more tolerance for King’s attempts at cultural and political criticism if he wasn’t so  predictable about it all.  Stephen King may write best sellers but that doesn’t mean he has anything interesting or unique to say about current events.)

Anyway, since I don’t feel like having to deal with all of that shit all over again, I’m not going to start this review by saying that I think Stephen King is overrated.  In fact … whoops.

Okay, so much for that plan.

Even I have to admit that The Dead Zone is one of Stephen King’s better books.  First off, it’s less than a 1,000 pages long.  Secondly, the hero isn’t a writer who spends all of his time whining about the political preferences of his neighbors.  Third, it deals with all of the “big” issues of faith, destiny, and morality but it does so in a far less heavy-handed manner than most of King’s books.

The Dead Zone is also the basis for one of the better films to be adapted from a Stephen King novel.  Directed by David Cronenberg and starring Christopher Walken, the film’s plot closely follows the novel.  Johnny Smith (Christopher Walken) is a high school teacher who, after a horrific car crash, spends five years in a coma.  When he finally wakes up, he discovers that his girlfriend, Sarah (Brooke Adams), has married another man.  His mother has become a religious fanatic.  And, perhaps most importantly, whenever Johnny touches anyone, there’s a good chance that he’ll see either the person’s past or a possible future.

Needless to say, Johnny struggles with how to deal with his new powers.  After he helps to catch a local serial killer, Johnny goes into seclusion.  However, when he discovers that Sarah is now volunteering for ambitious politician Greg Stillson (Martin Sheen), Johnny goes to a Stillson rally, shakes the man’s hand, and has a vision.  Johnny discovers that, if Stillson is elected to the senate, he’ll eventually become President and then he’ll destroy the world.

Much like The Shining, The Dead Zone benefits from being directed by a filmmaker who was both confident and strong enough to bring his own individual style to the material.  (Usually, when a King adaptation fails, it’s because it followed the source material too closely, as if the film’s producers were scared of upsetting any of King’s constant readers.)  Though the film’s plot may closely follow the novel, the movie itself is still definitely more of a product of David Cronenberg than Stephen King.  Whereas King’s novel devoted a good deal of time to Johnny and Sarah’s relationship, it’s treated as almost an afterthought in Cronenberg’s film.  Whereas King’s novel presented Johnny Smith as being an everyman sort of character, Cronenberg’s film gives us a Johnny who, from the start of the film, is a bit of an outsider even before he starts to see the future.  Whereas King put the reader straight into Johnny’s head, Cronenberg approach is a bit more detached and clinical.  Cronenberg’s Johnny is a bit more of an enigma than King’s version.

Fortunately, Cronenberg was fortunate enough to be able to cast Christopher Walken in the role of Johnny Smith.  King’s preference for the role was Bill Murray.  As odd as it may sound, you can actually imagine Bill Murray in the role when you read King’s book.  But, for Cronenberg’s more detached vision, Walken was the perfect choice.  People tend to spend so much time focusing on Christopher Walken’s quirky screen presence that there’s a tendency to forget that he’s actually a very talented actor as well.  He’s very likable and sympathetic as Johnny and brings a humanity and a sense of humor to the role, which provides a good balance to Cronenberg’s sense of detachment.

The Dead Zone is a good book and it was later turned into an occasionally good (and, just as often, not-so-good) television series.  However, the film is still the best.

Arleigh’s Top 10/Bottom 5 Stephen King Film Adaptations


StephenKingbooks

“We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.” — Stephen King

Last week we saw the release of the Carrie remake starring Chloe Grace Moretz and directed by Kimberly Peirce. This got me to thinking that of all the writers I grew up reading it was Stephen King whose novels, novellas and short stories made for easy film adaptations. His stories may be supernatural, horror scifi or dark fantasy but they all share that common denominator of having some basis in the real world.

They’re stories of how the real world and it’s seemingly normal inhabitants will react to something just beyond the norm, the pale and the real. In one story we pretty much have a Peyton Place-like setting having to deal with a arrival of a Dracula-like figure. On another we see the isolated work of hotel sitting during the winter turn into something both supernatural and a look into the mind of someone cracking under the pressure of issues both personal and professional.

With all the Stephen King film adaptations since the original Carrie I know I have seen them all and can honestly say that I’ve become an expert on the topic. So, here’s what amounts to what I think would be my top 10 best and bottom 5 worst film/tv adaptations from Stephen King stories.

Top Ten

1. Salem'sLot2. TheShining3. DeadZone4. Carrie5. Christine6. Misery7. TheMist8. PetSematary9. shawshankredemption10. standbyme

Bottom Five

1. GraveyardShift2. maximumoverdrive3. Dreamcatcher4. TheMangler5. ChildrenoftheCorn