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The Thing – Prequel will explain what we saw in the original

Posted by LiveFor on April 27, 2010

The prequel to John Carpenter’s The Thing is underway and like many of you I am excited yet nervous about the whole thing. We’ve all seen many favourite films have prequels or sequels that are nowhere near as good or ignore what made the original great in the first place.

The new film takes place at the Norwegian Camp that we see briefly in the original when Kurt Russell visits it to see why some mad Norwegians were trying to kill a dog. While there they come across an axe in the door, a man with his throat and wrists cut, a big block of ice where the Thing originally came from and lots of death and wanton destruction. Quite a lot to cover in the prequel.

io9 spoke to screenwriter Eric Heisserer about how close they are sticking to the original and, fellow Thing fans, it sounds very promising. Very promising indeed.

You’re actually in the Norwegian camp, before all that stuff happens. You get to see how it happens — that’s the reverse engineering there. The way we approached it was by autopsy, where the director, producers and I pored over Carpenter’s film. We must have screened it two or three dozen times. And we’d freeze frames and have lengthy discussions about what evidence is there, that would lead to so much blood. It was a forensic discussion of Carpenter’s films. That’s probably where the whole “fire axe in the door” probably came from. Because we said, we have to justify that, we have to have a moment in our movie where you see that happen.

If we do this right — I just spoke on the phone today with [Producer] Eric Newman on the phone today, he’s on set up in Toronto [and] he said things are going well. But if we can pull this off, this movie will work perfectly [as] the first half of a double feature. So that the last shot of this film will be two Norwegians and a chopper chasing after a dog. And you can plug in Carpenter’s film and they will both feel and look as they have been made around the same time.

there are things that definitely called attention, [such as] dealing with the body in the chair. What we didn’t notice before was that it looked like both his throat and his wrists were slit. And there are a lot of papers scattered on the floor that Copper picks up. And the stuff that we looked at closely were the holes in the walls and on the ceiling, in various parts of the base. And this is how anal retentive we were, we wanted to justify what happened to cause all those holes, pieces and incidental damage. You just know some set guy that day [during the original filming] was like, “well it burned down, let’s put a hole here.” [Laughs].

But the one thing we’re not going to pull off well, because we realized it was just unrealistic and just one of those goofs, I guess, from Carpenter’s films, is when they get into that giant block of ice that’s been carved out. The way it’s been carved where it looks like they just dug into it like a chicken pot pie — it’s impossible to get something out of the ice like that. There are so many better ways to do it. So we deviated just a little bit from there, we tried to cover our tracks a little and justified it and showed that it can still work. But yes there are a couple of things where because we were logic cops all the way through this movie there are a handful of, “Wait a minute — how come… that doesn’t work at all?!”

How do you like them apples? He does seem to have a great love of the original and great they are looking at it so closely.

The other big problem is the creature effects. The original had superb practical effects that have yet to be beaten in my opinion. I am worried that the prequel will stick to CGI. However, it does look like they are staying faithful to what has gone before to show what has gone before.

When I came on board — like a writer has any authority to do so — but I went in like I did and I stomped my feet and banged my fist on the table and I said. I’m not going to write this if it’s going to be a CGI-fest. This has to be practical, this has to be an old school creature, as real as possible. Whatever CGI stuff it’s going to have, has to be as good as or better than that, we can’t get away with computer generated FX in this type of film.

Colour me excited but it sounds very cool.

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Blu-Ray News – Tombstone and Darkman going blu

Posted by LiveFor on March 19, 2010


“I’ll be your Huckleberry” – The classic line from Val Kilmer’s Doc Holliday. Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp. Stephen Lang as a cowardly Ike Clanton, Michael Biehn as Johnny Ringo and Powers Booth as Curly Bill and so much more plus Billy Zane. That’s all you need to know. Finally it gets on Blu-Ray and I can’t wait to watch it again.

Due out in April.
Tombstone [Blu-ray] –


The cult classic directed by Sam Raimi and starring Liam Neeson and the bloke who played the janitor from LA Law.

The film stars Liam Neeson as Peyton Westlake, a scientist who is attacked and left for dead by a ruthless mobster, Durant (played by Larry Drake) after his girlfriend, an attorney (played by Frances McDormand) runs afoul of a corrupt developer (played by Colin Friels). Westlake survives, but is left with burns over most of his body. While hospitalized as a comatose John Doe, he is unwittingly subjected to a radical treatment that destroys the nerve endings connected to his skin, neutralizing his ability to sense physical pain but increasing his brain’s emotional output to compensate. Now half-crazed, Westlake escapes the hospital and decides to get revenge on the criminals who took his life away, but now as a masked vigilante, known as Darkman.

Due out on 15 June.
Darkman [Blu-ray] –

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The Thing – Prequel gets Ramona J Flowers and Owen Lars.

Posted by LiveFor on February 8, 2010

Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton will star in “The Thing,” Universal’s prequel on the shape-shifting alien who terrorizes a group of people in a remote facility. Any news to do this film fills me with excitement and trepidation.

The 1982 John Carpenter-Kurt Russell is an all time classic and one of my favourite films. It is, of course, a remake of 1951’s “The Thing From Another World,” directed by Howard Hawks. All take inspiration from a 1938 short story, “Who Goes There?”.

Matthijs Van Heijningen is directing the latest movie, which was written by Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica) and Eric Heisserer.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead has starred in Death Proof, Live Free or Die Hard, Sky High, Final Destination 3 and is soon to be Ramona Flowers in Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs The World.

Joel Egerton played Luke Skywalker’s adoptive uncle, Owen Lars, in the Star Wars prequels. He has also been in King Arthur, Kinky Boots, Smokin’ Aces, The Square and Animal Kingdom. He is also Australian so I’m assuming Sam Worthington wasn’t available.

I posted the details of the various characters a while back (beware of spoilers to the plot if you check them out)

Winstead will play a Ph.D. candidate who joins a Norwegian research team in Antarctica after it discovers an alien ship in the ice. When a trapped organism is freed and begins a series of attacks, she is forced to team with a blue-collar mercenary helicopter pilot (Edgerton) to stop the rampage. Details of the characters below.

[KATE LLOYD] In her late 20s to early 30s, pretty, bright-eyed, intelligent, she’s a graduate of Columbia and a Ph.D. candidate in paleontology (the study of prehistoric life). On the recommendation of her friend Adam Goodman, Kate is tapped for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by Dr. Sander Halvorson to join his research team in Antarctica, where an extraordinary discovery has been made. Upon arrival, Kate soon finds herself at odds with Halvorson about how best to proceed with the discovery — an alien spaceship with a mysterious and sinister frozen THING found nearby — specifically whether to transfer the specimen undisturbed to a more appropriate facility for analysis, or, per Halvorson’s wishes, to drill into the specimen’s ice encasement for a definitive tissue sample.

[SAM CARTER] In his early 30s, rugged, handsome, blue-collar, he’s a helicopter pilot with a private charter service that transports personnel and supplies from McMurdo Station to remote research sites across Antarctica. Carter is a mercenary. He flies when he wants, where he wants, and he flies for one reason: money. But his resourcefulness, experience and get-it-done mentality make him indispensable. Arriving at Thule Station, he is the first to suspect something strange and dangerous is going on. Trapped there by faulty equipment, he becomes an unlikely ally of Kate’s — he reminds her (in temperament) of her father, now deceased, also a pilot.

There’s 10 years difference between the two so I don’t think they’ll be going for the father / daughter vibe in the film, which I think is a shame as it have made a great dynamic for the film.

Still not convinced this is going to be good, but part of me really wants it to be.

A March 15 start date in Toronto is planned. I just hope they get Kurt Russell to do a cameo by having his voice heard on a radio between the two camps and they better set it in the 80s like the original.

Source: THR

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Kurt Russell’s audition tape for Han Solo

Posted by LiveFor on November 2, 2009

What did you think of that? Would Kurt have made a good Han?

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The Thing, 1982 – Movie Review – 31 Days of Horror

Posted by LiveFor on October 13, 2009

the-thing-1982-richard-masur-donald-moffat-kurt-russell-pic-1Director: John Carpenter
Starring: Kurt Russell, Donald Moffat, Keith David, Wilford Brimley, T K Carter, David Clennon, Richard Dysart, Charles Hallahan, Peter Maloney, Richard Masur, Joel Polis, Thomas G Waites
Score: 9/10

This review by xxxnapoleansolo of the awesome SciFiLove site (well worth a look in my opinion for my 31 Days of Horror. He’s only gone and reviewed my favourite film of all time – worth getting a Blu-Ray player just to watch this film in my opinion.

Send me your horror film reviews.

THERE are many questions that can be asked about horror films, but one I always return to is whatever happened to John Carpenter?

For a time in the late 1970s and early 1980s, he was the master of all he surveyed and turned out several movies which are considered classics like Halloween, The Fog, Christine (at a push) and my favourite – The Thing.

All of those films are distinguished by Carpenter’s trademark transformation of the everyday, harmless mundanities of life into pants-wettingly awesome instruments of terror.

In The Thing, the transformation is literal as a shape-shifting alien parasite begins to kill and then replace members of a research team at an American base in the South Pole.

As paranoia grows – revealing the Cold War origins of the original Howard Hawks film – the team desperately try to find out who is real and who is likely to bite off their hands with their chest as a light appetiser before lunch.

At any level, this is masterful film-making by Carpenter, who builds tension virtually from minute one so that the viewer has no idea who is the alien until it is too late.

Just like the Jaws head in the boat scene, I still jump every time I watch this through my fingers or over the top of a cuchion with the lights on, even though I know what is coming – from the dog tentacle attack, to Blair’s hand in the face of Garry, the team leader.

My favourite – and probably the most famous scene – is where Kurt Russell’s character, MacReady, ties the rest of the surviving team members to chairs and takes blood samples to test with a hot needle, to see which person’s blood avoids the heat and so reveals them as one of The Things. It is filmed slowly, so slowly, with the camera moving from face to face as each test is clear …. until……

When the alien is revealed, it is done with blinding speed and razor fast cuts, the editing backed up with great performances by top level character actors like Donald Moffat and Keith David as well as truly shocking special effects, even today.

In my opinion, the fact they were physical effects and not computer generated adds a level of reality and gore to what we see, as poor Windows is virtually eaten alive – one of many disgustingly realised deaths.

Watching it again – indeed, watching any of Carpenter’s classic films from this era – it is sad to see some of his later works which suffer terribly by comparison. Let’s be honest, they would suffer terribly by comparison with Plan Nine from Outer Space or Dude Where’s My Car?

How is it that a once-great director can lose the things that made them great? Is it age? Money? Audience familiarity with favoured techniques and ideas? A creative block?

I think it is probably a combination of all of these things, with only a few true greats being able to sustain critical and commercial success over a longer period of time. You know, like Brett Ratner.

But despite Escape from LA, Vampires and Ghosts of Mars making me want to sandpaper my own retinas, Carpenter captured lighting in a bottle with The Thing, which is always worth coming back to and cements his place as a master of horror.

Previous 31 Days of Horror reviews: Vamp, Audition, The Fury, Blood Feast, Paranormal Activity, Braindead, Halloween, Friday the 13th Part 2, Martin, Fright Night, Zombieland

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Red Dawn remake to feature Kurt Russell – Go Wolverines!

Posted by LiveFor on July 25, 2009

Kurt Russell is always cool in my book – Escape from New York, The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China, Tombstone and many more – he is cool and knows how to kick ass. exclusively learned today at the San Diego Comic-Con that Kurt Russell is talks to star in Red Dawn, the MGM remake scheduled for a September 24, 2010 release.

To be directed by Dan Bradley, the war film’s cast includes Chris Hemsworth (Star Trek, upcoming Thor), Josh Peck and Adrianne Palicki (upcoming Legion).

The original Red Dawn was the Cold War brainchild of writer-director John Milius, who devised a World War III invasion of America by the Soviets and Cubans. The film followed the scrappy insurgency of a group of Midwestern teenagers who take on their high school mascot name — “Wolverines!” — as a rallying cry of resistance.

I wasn’t that bothered about this remake, but now that Russell may be involved it suddenly got interesting. We just have to find out what role he will be playing. I wonder if he will be leader of the bad guys?


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Classic Scene – We’re gonna draw a little bit of everybody’s blood – John Carpenter’s The Thing

Posted by LiveFor on June 7, 2009

Discuss in the forum or leave a comment below.


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Is Kurt Russell going to be in Stallone’s The Expendables?

Posted by LiveFor on March 23, 2009

Recently the news came to pass that Forest Whitaker would not be starring in The Expendables. He was replaced by 50 Cent who was replaced by Terry Crews. I still think Carl “Action Jackson” Weathers should have been the guy.

Now some word has come from the Stallone Zone about what Kurt Russell (Snake Plissken, R J MacReady, Elvis Presley, Jack Burton, Captain Ron, Elvis Presley, Cash, Wyatt Earp and Stuntman Mike) has said about the possibility of starring in the film. Will Tango and Cash be reunited?

I know that many people on the site have asked for Kurt Russell. I asked for him too. Actually, I was taken aback when asked to put the request in a letter and send it to his agent. Subsequently, I was called back by the agent several days later after refusing to send a letter and he said Kurt Russell is not interested in ‘ensemble acting’ at this time.

So, People, I came, I saw, I failed.


That will be a no then.

Leave a comment on this post below.

HOMEDiscuss in the Forum

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Hope for a Better Tomorrow T-Shirt

Posted by LiveFor on September 23, 2008

This is so cool. “Eee Wants!” as my almost two year old daughter says.

Hope For a Better tomorrow t-shirt is available on Dutch Southern. The shirt features three retro future heros, Mel Gibson from Mad Max (The Road Warrior), Charlton Heston from Planet of the Apes, and Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken from Escape From New York.


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7 Cut Moments in Cult Film

Posted by LiveFor on August 5, 2008

In Hollywoodland, that missing scene can make the difference between PG13 and R. Between classic and hysteric…

Article by Martin Anderson @ Den of Geeks.

Having reviewed the excellent new Wings Of Desire special edition yesterday, I was shocked to find that Wim Wenders’ classic and esoteric tale of angels in Berlin was at one point set to end with a pie fight. All the footage – and I mean the footage from all four cameras covering the slapstick fight between Bruno Ganz, Otto Sander and Solveig Donmartin – is included in the 30 minutes of deleted scenes, and Wenders himself is offering a prize to whoever can edit it back into the film on Final Cut Pro (or whatever) most effectively.

Thank God, he recognises it was a mad end-of-shoot idea, and constitutes more the beginning of the wrap party for Wings Of Desire than the end of principal photography, but…blimey, he was close there, for a while.

It set me thinking of the other near-misses from cult film…

7: HOURS of incomprehensible shitFire Walks With Me (1992)
As a lover of Eraserhead, The Elephant Man and Dune, and a big respecter of Wild At Heart, Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks, I have to date the release of FWwM as the point where the last of David Lynch’s very useful anti-psychotics left his system. I hear that drugs can be stored in body fat and release their effects in later years, when the fat becomes metabolised for sustenance; therefore a rigorous diet must have kept ‘Out To Lunch’ Lynch balanced enough to make the delightful The Straight Story (1999), before getting utterly lost again in Mulholland Drive (1992).

Anyway, this is a director who makes legendarily lengthy cuts of his movies (see Dune below), and FWwM/Peaks fans are still clamouring for the missing three hours of Lynch’s cinematic outing for his Twin Peaks retinue. ?yhW

Maybe it’s an Alien 3 deal, where the restoration of essential footage will suddenly make sense of the whole thing. But if it takes three hours extra for that to happen, it does suggest a certain want of narrative economy.

6: Jessica and Logan pose for ice-sculptureLogan’s Run (1976) My motives for wanting to see this, though not the purest, are mixed up with annoyance at how close this scene came to being in the movie. After Roscoe Lee Brown’s robot guardian ‘Box’ has welcomed our heroes to his ice-cave, but before he lets slip the fact that he has flash-frozen all the other ‘runners’ who came there looking for Sanctuary, the eccentric cyborg asks the stunning couple if they will pose nude for an ice-sculpture. Being good guests, they agree…

That scene was refused as too provocative for the rating that Logan’s Run was going for, but annoyingly it is rendered in the Marvel comics adaptation! Arghhh. So close.

Since I can’t really put Logan’s Run in twice, I’ll have to also mention the other legendarily missing scene, which is the bawdier original cut of Michael York and Jenny Agutter’s slightly-hilarious slow-motion escape from Rihcard Jordan through the ‘Love Shop’, which is basically a cross between Starbucks and a 70s orgy. Michael Anderson’s racier edit also fell victim to the MGM blue pencil, and the director admits on the commentary that the bowdlerised version familiar to audiences is only a shadow of it.

5: Kurt Russell gets the all-clearThe Thing (1982)
John Carpenter makes clear in the extras on The Thing (R1 release) DVD that Universal wanted coverage of a happier ending to his nihilistic cult shocker. Being a practical man and not committed to using it, Carpenter quickly threw together a set-up at the end of shooting where Kurt Russell is in a hospital, having been recovered from the arctic pyrotechnics that now close the movie, and being given a test that proves he is not infected. Russell gives a sigh of relief and that’s it.

I don’t know if the test given is the rather dramatic ‘hot metal’ one that proved a hallmark of the film, but Carpenter’s decision not to include this scene in the otherwise very comprehensive extras on the laserdisc/DVD Thing was the right one, in my opinion. This was not something I needed to see, and it was never part of the reality of the film. Apparently the scene was cut into the movie at certain test screenings; since it proved to have no discernible effect on general audience reaction, Carpenter was allowed to keep the finale bleak and bereft of comfort.

4: James Remar as HicksAliens (1986) Yup, Dexter’s dead dad shot a full two weeks on James Cameron’s sci-fi horror classic as Ripley’s squeeze before being replaced by stalwart Cameronite Michael Biehn. Reports at the time cited a family emergency, though Remar is said to have since admitted that it was due to his excessive drug-use at the time. In the same period Cameron was forced to replace an obstreperous director of photography, and was as plagued by British working practises as LV426 was by xenomorphs, legendarily having to stop work every three minutes for a round of bad sandwiches and greasy tea.

One shot of Remar’s work as Hicks remains in Aliens – as the camera pans down from the alien-encrusted walls to the marines approaching the reactor core, the Hicks walking away from shot is Remar. This was an early SFX shot using a hanging miniature that had just been trashed, and would have been prohibitively expensive to re-shoot. Luckily Remar looks away from camera as soon as it lights on him, and there’s really no telling anyway who is who with all that grungy military get-up.

3: Ripley slapped by LambertAlien (1979)
This minor deep-space cat-fight has actually surfaced in recent years, but was quite a curiosity until the Quadrilogy edition; the more so because, as with the Logan’s Run ‘box sculpture’ (see above), the scene was removed after the film had been turned into a graphic novel. So again, this was one that I got to see only in comic form.

Outraged that cool-as-ice Ripley wouldn’t let Dallas and her back on board with the infected Kane (a pretty fucking wise move foiled by the traitormatic Ash), Veronica Cartwright’s character lays into Ripley as soon as she arrives at the infirmary to see how Kane is getting on, but Parker (Yaphet Kotto) quickly intervenes.

Ridley Scott recounts on one of his several commentaries for various versions of Alien that he wasn’t getting the energy and conviction out of the conflict, and told Cartwright to really ‘go for it’ with the slap. Used to the feints, Weaver burst into tears when taking the full force of the blow and remonstrated with herself – so she recounts in Quadrilogy – because Ripley ‘would never have cried’.

Since I can’t mention Alien twice, I will also add that I would love to see more of John Finch’s takes as Kane, before John Hurt was called in to replace the very ill actor, who was subsequently diagnosed with diabetes. That said, the one shot of Finch in the role on the bridge of the Nostromo, which is available on the Quadrilogy edition, finds the actor clearly on the point of passing out. As this was one of his first shots for the film, there may be no more of Finch to see in the role.

2: The ‘star child’ blows up Earth’s nuclear arsenal2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) The evolved Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea) was originally to not merely go into orbit and gaze fawn-like at the camera but detonate the entire arsenal of Earth’s nuclear weapons. It would have been a ‘nuking from orbit’ that predated Aliens by nearly twenty years, and Kubrick is said to have avoided the idea ultimately because of its similarity to the conclusion of Doctor Strangelove. Since such an aggressive act would possibly mean the end of all life on Earth, this alternate ending paints 2001 in a shockingly different light…

Having spent millions of years growing a civilised race from a bunch of vegetarian monkeys, why punish the very war-like behaviour that you instilled in them yourself with your big black monoliths at the dawn of time? All the space-borne remnants of the human race were clearly dependent on Earth and a long way from any real colonisation, so in effect it would have been kaput for mankind. Perhaps the Star Child was intending to jettison Earth and its people like a second-stage rocket, and continue a new and better race via parthenogenesis?

Apparently special effects for the nuclear wipe-out were actually done – though not finished – by Douglas Trumbull. Again, as with Kurt’s miraculous escape in The Thing (see above), I’m not sure I ever want to really see it…

1: The ‘Little maker’Dune (1984) This was for a long time a mystery to all but those who watched the ‘Alan Smithee’ version on network TV in the 1980s, which – in a typical ‘network-cut’ deal with the devil – traded off censorious snips for extended and non-controversial footage that never made it into the cinematic version. One of those cut scenes was an elaborate ritual where the Fremen show Paul how spice is extracted from the baby worms. It’s pretty disgusting, actually, and is found or found absent in various of the five known versions of Dune, but the Smithee abomination – a bloat-out at 177 minutes – definitely has it, and that has been released on DVD after many years of curiosity by fans.

In a side-note, an early script treatment of the adaptation, by Rudolph Wurlitzer (a writer on Sam Peckinpah´s Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid) would have had the fugitive Paul Atreides and his Bene Gesserit mum, the Lady Jessica, in an incestuous tryst after the death of husband/father Duke Leto. Ridley Scott was behind the idea during his involvement on the project before David Lynch was invited to the helm, and the oedipal strand was then firmly nixed. Ten years later, Lynch would probably have done it…

Discuss in the forum.

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