Here at Demon’s Resume, things have been weirdly, uncharacteristically quiet this summer. That’s not great, but it’s deceptive — I’ve been incredibly busy, and surprisingly prolific. It’s just that I’ve been writing up a storm over at Daily Grindhouse, much less so here. Ideally, I’d be dilligently cross-promoting, but I’d rather get the prolific side of my writing habit down before I start getting my act together on the “hey come look at me!” side of things. More than ever I have come to understand that taking writing seriously means that the ass-in-seat doing-the-writing is everything, but it’s still only half the job. The other side is the “moichendising!” You’ve got to work to get your stuff out there so people can actually read the stuff you’re writing. That said, I’m having a blast working with Daily Grindhouse — it’s a phenomenal site with a strong stable of writers who I beg you to check out. I’m humbled by the quality of the company.
And I’m doing my best to keep up! So here is the comprehensive list of everything I’ve posted to Daily Grindhouse over the past couple months, while neglecting to mention it here so that everyone who is kind enough to follow my stuff can know where to find more of it. In the future I’d love to do smaller updates more often, but in the meantime this might make a nice little archive. Go forth, explore, and enjoy!
PITCHING THE “SHE”QUEL TO ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (1982)
This was a piece I didn’t know if anyone would bother to read, but it’s a weird idea I am fascinated by: In the modern filmmaking culture, where studios need to make calculated risks and therefore turn to remaking or “rebooting” older titles, I would propose doing the unexpected. ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK is a beloved movie that Hollywood has been threatening to remake for years now. My argument is that the fans of the original are almost never pleased with the remakes, and the new versions may make money but don’t have the same staying power in the imaginations of newer audiences, so why not try something different? ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK is such a guy-centric movie, with a cast made up almost entirely of men. What if that gender ratio were flipped? How about an all-girl remake, a “she”quel? Anyway this article was fun to write and it turned out to be enjoyable to more readers than I ever expected. Most happily of all, Debra Hill, director John Carpenter’s co-producer (and wife) got to see the piece!
A TRIBUTE: MICHAEL ANSARA (1922-2013), featuring a look at THE MANITOU (1978)
Michael Ansara died this past week. He was never a household name but he had a fascinating career, which I talked about in this piece. Then I started talking about a movie he starred in which happens to be one of the oddest movies of all time, no exaggeration, and things kind of took on a life of their own.
HAMMER DOUBLE-FEATURE: HORROR OF DRACULA & THE BRIDES OF DRACULA
Hammer, the British film studio who turned out a myriad of horror films in the middle of the past century, is maybe best known for its Dracula movies with Christopher Lee and/or Peter Cushing. I talked about two of them here.
A TRIBUTE: DENNIS FARINA (1944-2013)
This was a tough one. Dennis Farina is one of my favorite actors, the ultimate you’ll-know-him-when-you-see-him actor. Now I have to use the past tense when talking about his work, which is way too sad to talk about much more than I did here.
NEW YORK HORROR FILMS: MANIAC COP/ ZOMBIE 2/ NEW YORK RIPPER/ FRANKENHOOKER
The Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn is showing a quartet of unforgettable midnight movies every weekend this month. I’ve seen three out of four of them more than once. I did a quick rundown here.
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968)
Not a lot of movies genuinely change the world. Did this one change the world? Tough to judge. It unquestionably changed movies. It certainly reflected the world of the late 1960s, and has lasting resonance still. An absolute must-see.
THE BIG LEBOWSKI (1998)
Did my best to describe the indescribable joy that is this Los Angeles existential-comedy epic.
THE KILLERS (1963)
Lee Marvin is one of my favorite movie stars and this is one of his very best movies. And if you’re interested in such a sight, you get to see Ronald Reagan punched in the jaw in this movie.
THE NEW YORK ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL
Lincoln Center was again host to a small army of weird and wonderful films from China, Japan, Korea, and the Phillippines, and I did a rundown of the schedule for every day it took place. This is a great resource if you’re interested in finding out about a bunch of cool movies you never knew existed. Fire up the Netflix queue!
“Son, you got a panty on your head.”
You are going to want to know what comes out of that gun.
So that’s the NYAFF. In the middle of all that, one of the most important American figures in martial-arts cinema passed away. Of course, Asian cinema is hardly all about that one genre, not even a little, but it was odd synchronicity that news of this luminary’s death arrived the day before his best-known movie played at the NYAFF.
A TRIBUTE: JIM KELLY (1946-2013)
Jim Kelly will always be best remembered for his kung-fu kicking supporting role in ENTER THE DRAGON, but there’s a lot more to his story. I tried to do it justice.
I opened up with a little more information than anyone needed when I talked about the late-night movie viewing habits of myself (and probably a lot more people than may be willing to admit it) at a formative age. HARDBODIES is not a classic film by any definition, but it is a very solid example of a certain kind of movie that valued dirty jokes and fleeting glimpses of boobies over craft or storytelling or pretty much anything resembling a virtue.
David Fincher is revered by my generation for directing SEVEN, FIGHT CLUB, and THE SOCIAL NETWORK, but this movie is arguably his greatest to date.
This was a big movie for me when I was younger. I loved it. It was supremely weird, even more than Tim Burton’s first wide-release movie, PEE-WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE. This was his second. BATMAN was his third, and from then on, mostly for better and sometimes for worse, he’s been one of the biggest directors in mainstream movies.
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962)
The critical establishment agrees that this is one of the great films in the history of world cinema, which is to suggest that I, who talks often of ghosts and gorillas, may not be the best-equipped to opine on the subject. But at least I tried.
A bunch of words on a fun movie, even if I take issue with the notorious cameo scene.
TRAILER: Ken Watanabe in YURUSAREZARU MONO (a.k.a. UNFORGIVEN in Japan)
UNFORGIVEN is a top-five all-timer for me, as you probably already know from a casual glance over this site. If Hollywood tried to remake it, there’d be hell to pay. Somehow I ain’t mad at Japan for doing it though. I tried to explain why here.
SCREENING: Lost Sci-Fi Classic THE CREATION OF THE HUMANOIDS (1962)
I’ve actually never seen this movie but it looks like a trip. This was a fun research assignment I gave myself.
SCREENING: Astron-6’s FATHER’S DAY (2012)
Another one I’ve yet to see, but I absolutely loved MANBORG, from the same brilliant band of Canadian hooligans.
SCREENING ROUND-UP: ONE INSANE NIGHT IN NEW YORK CITY (GREAT WHITE, JAWS 4: THE REVENGE, THE STREET FIGHTER, TRUE ROMANCE, and more!)
This is a grab-bag of mini-essays on a bunch of random movies, including two killer-shark movies, which is two more than most other websites have to offer.
SCREENING: Franco Nero in HIGH CRIME (1973)
HIGH CRIME is one of the better-known Italian crime films of the 1970s, a cool genre you’ll probably dig if you’re not already acquainted.
SCREENING: Robert Mitchum in PURSUED (1947)
PURSUED is a genre-blender, a Western cut with a dark-hearted film noir. It’s one of Martin Scorsese’s favorite old-Hollywood movies, and one of mine too.
REVIEW REPEAT: EVIL DEAD (2013)
We reprinted my EVIL DEAD review when the Blu-Ray was released. This is one of my stronger ones, because I address the whole question of feminism and misogyny in (and not in) horror movies, an issue that every thinking horror fan eventually needs to confront.
HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER (1986)
This is one of the grisliest, most viscerally disturbing movies ever made. It’s so well-made that it’s hard to believe it isn’t a documentary — that is the one way HENRY could be any more upsetting.
One of my top-ten favorite movies and right up there with the greatest New York movies ever made, SHAFT is so very much more than the worn-out pop-culture references may have led you to believe.
THE KEEP (1983)
Michael Mann is my favorite living director, and depending on how you classify MANHUNTER, this is his only horror film. Set towards the end of World War Two, THE KEEP examines what happens when demons come for the Nazis, and the only ones the Nazis can turn to for help are the Jews.
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986)
Another top-tenner for me, this is John Carpenter’s most rollicking, straight-ahead fun flicks, a fast-moving tribute to Hong Kong martial-arts flicks starring Kurt Russell as the awesomely ugliest Ugly American in films.
TV REVIEW: UNDER THE DOME (Episode One)
I’m still following this show as I write this update, but it has not ever been as good as it was in the first episode. I’m glad I only wrote about the first one, so I could leave things in a positive space.
THIS IS THE END (2013)
In a historically lousy summer for mainstream movies, this was one of the very few bright spots. I still wish it had ended three minutes sooner than it did, but otherwise I can’t say enough good things about it.
THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS (2009)
Terry Gilliam makes movies for dreamers, which means he makes movies for people like me. This one is rarely talked about but it has Tom Waits as the Devil and Christopher Plummer as his opposite number, which if I have to spell it out for you, is something special.
THE BAYTOWN OUTLAWS (2013)
A mega-violent, intentionally-offensive low-budget action movie that hardly anyone has seen and I almost didn’t, this one surprised me by winning me over somehow.
NOW ON BLU-RAY: THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN (1976)
One of the least-known but most unusual horror movies of the 1970s got a nice new home-video release this summer and I wrote about it here.
INSANE FORGOTTEN FANTASY FLICK: CONQUEST (1983)
I’m sorry. I’m hitting you with a flood of reading material. If you’re even still reading, bookmark this one. This is one of the crazier, freakier movies I’ve seen in many years of seeing crazy freaky movies. I tried to describe it and found it more of a challenge than I expected, which is usually where I get exasperated and/or really funny.
CULT CLASSICS: ARMY OF DARKNESS (1992)
The most incongruous thing about the new EVIL DEAD remake is that Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell signed off on it, because the most obvious thing it lacks is a sense of humor, which their earlier movies, this one in particular, had in abundance. Talking skeletons with British accents. Come on!
THEATRICAL REVIEW: THE ICEMAN (2013)
Based on a true story, this biopic isn’t the best possible telling of this particular tale, but it has a ton of good points and as such, it’s by default one of the better movies of 2013.
THEATRICAL REVIEW: IRON MAN 3 (2013)
This summer has been overstuffed with huge-budget superhero adventures. If you had told me at fourteen how tired I’d be of that genre in 2013, I’d have politely asked you to get back in your time machine and come back with the truth. Sadly enough it is the truth, but I did like this movie as much as it may be possible for me to like this kind of movie at this point in time. It’s not as fun as 2012’s THE AVENGERS, but at least it is fun, which I can’t say about most of the recent competitors.
So okay! There it is! At this rate I can’t promise there won’t be another truckload of articles by the end of the week, but I thank anyone and everyone who takes time out of their day to read anything I write. I love communicating ideas and thoughts and (hopefully) entertaining people. I welcome comments and conversations anytime — clearly I don’t sleep much!
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