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Posts Tagged ‘Roddy McDowall’

Bruce Lee’s Silent Flute to be moviefied

Posted by LiveFor on April 16, 2010

What can be said about Bruce Lee that hasn’t already been said? Probably lots, but I’m too tired to think of anything so fill that bit in, chuckle, then move on.

Before his death in 1973 (year of my birth…coincedence? Am I the reincarnation of Lee? No) Bruce had written a treatment for a martial arts film called The Silent Flute.

Now Paul Maslansky is developing the treatment into a feature. Maslansky has previously worked on Return to Oz and Police Academy so take that how you wish.

According to Variety, Maslansky produced an earlier version of the movie in 1978 called Circle of Iron with the late Sandy Howard. This version had quite a cast and centered on a martial artist rebel (Jeff Cooper) on a quest for the “Book of Enlightenment” and the various trials that educate him in Zen philosophy. Bruce Lee had written a part for himself as a reluctant mentor, which was played in the film by David Carradine; Christopher Lee, Roddy McDowall and Eli Wallach also appeared.

Maslansky’s son, Sasha Maslansky, is writing the new screenplay based on Lee’s original treatment. Bey Logan, Sasha Maslansky and Kurt Fethke will serve as producers, with David Tadman and Steve Kerridge also attached to the project as co-producers.

“‘The Silent Flute’ will be an epic martial arts adventure film that promises to honor Bruce Lee’s original artistic and philosophical conception,” said Paul Maslansky, who is exec producing. “It also promises to reach new levels of action and adventure never before seen in martial arts filmmaking.”

What do you reckon? Martial arts magic or direct to DVD? Who should star?

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Fright Night heading to remake

Posted by LiveFor on November 12, 2009

fright_night11Mad Men writer-producer Marti Noxon will script DreamWorks Studios’ remake of the 1985 horror comedy Fright Night.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, before her work on the hit AMC series, Noxon was a writer-producer on the bloodsucker series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, so fangs and stakes are in her blood.

The original Fright Night, released in 1985, was written and directed by Tom Holland and starred Chris Sarandon, Roddy McDowall and William Ragsdale. Ragsdale played a teenager who discovers his neighbors are vampires.

The new version will keep the comedy-horror tone while modernizing the effects.

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Fright Night, 1985 – Movie Review – 31 Days of Horror

Posted by LiveFor on October 2, 2009

fright_night11Director: Tom Holland
Starring: Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse, Roddy McDowall, Stephen Geoffreys
Score: 7 / 10

Another review in the 31 Days of Horror run up to Halloween. Send me your horror film reviews.

This great review by Stephen West.

For me the top vampire movie of the 80’s was ‘The Lost Boys’, but this one is up there with the best of them. The 80’s saw a deluge of vampire movies, so for these to stand out amongst them was no mean feat.

According to Tom Holland, the writer/director of this movie, he wanted to do a movie with ‘the boy who cried wolf’ as a theme. He also had an interest in vampire stories and so he combined these two elements to create a very enjoyable and original script. Although not entirely true to ‘the boy who cried wolf’ since Charley did not make up the story before it happened for real, the concept of the movie, that is, a teenager with an interest in B grade horror movies see’s a vampire claim a victim and cannot convince his friends of this, holds it’s audience throughout the movie.

Jerry Dandridge is a prime example of the type of vampire audiences saw in the 80’s. He is suave, good – looking and has an eye for beautiful women – thus captilising on the sexual allure of being at the mercy of a being more powerful than yourself who needed your lifeblood to sustain his existence. His bloodlust was satiated by attacking the victim’s neck, biting into it and sucking their blood. This also has strong sexual overtones since the neck can be an intimate area and giving or having someone take your blood is the ultimate submissive act since blood is the life. The vampire of the 80’s has is own distinct personality and is able to interact as an ordinary citizen in everyday life. This is most unlike the vampire in Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ and FW Murnau’s ‘Nosferatu’ who were more like the vampires of folklore, that is, they had repulsive features and were not much unlike scavenging rodents since they were perceived in past centuries as pests who were plague carriers. Some folklore is still evident in the 80’s vampire – a vampire cannot enter your house unless invited, it cannot be seen in mirror’s and is fearful of Christian symbols thus showing it for the malignant evil that it is. I believe that Holland has created a sound balance here by not introducing too much human personality traits into Dandridge that is so evident in today’s vampires. This may be because he was influenced by the B grade movies since these movies are a strong part of the story. Further evidence of this is the character of Peter Vincent. Chris Sarandon is perfect for the role of Jerry. He has a commanding presence which makes him a powerful adversary for the heroes.

Peter Vincent has proved to be the most endearing character and it would be hard to imagine anyone other than Roddy Mcdowall playing the role – Cushing of the 80’s. His passing will mean that another sequel will quite rightly have a gaping hole in it which only he could fill. Part of why this is so is because he makes it so believable that he is an actor passionate about his B grade vampire hunter roles. He is the vampire hunter determined to rid the world of these vermin and holds high credibility within that world. This is in stark contrast to the real Peter Vincent who is financially struggling and finds that he is petrified when faced by the real vampire. Although he manages to gather enough courage to face Dandridge, he has to be saved by Charley. He fails to truly overcome his fear, but the audience is drawn to the failed hero who gave it his best shot. He is the underdog that we cheer for.

The special effects of this movie also deserve special mention. They add to the B grade feel of the movie since the shape shifting of the vampire is overly grotesque and exaggerated. This is no criticism since this is what Holland wanted to create and thus it blends in rather than overawes.

Also of note is the variety of different characters within the movie. You have Evil Ed who is interested in the occult and being a social misfit thus making him easy to seduce for Dandridge. There is Amy who is sexually prudent which makes her a viable victim for the predatory vampire. Charley is the average American teenager who has to grow up quickly if he is to overcome his ancient foe. Finally there is Billy Cole, the ghoul or zombie wholly dedicated to serving his master.

The soundtrack is most notable within this movie since it adds to the fun we have at watching the not too serious B grade movie influenced ‘Fright Night’. Each track is suited to the scene and accentuates the emotion that Holland is trying to brew. This is particularly well done in the nightclub scene.

‘Fright Night’ is a great popcorn movie and never takes itself seriously. Part of the appeal of this movie is the fact that it has a strong 80’s feel to it – catchy soundtrack, hip teenagers, exaggerated special effects much like the exaggerated dress of the 80’s such as shoulder pads, wild hairstyles and cheesy one – liners. Having said this, although it is obvious that the cast had fun playing their characters, they acting is of a high enough quality to ensure that this movie did not fall into the B grade abyss.

Previous 31 Days of Horror review: Zombieland

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The Black Hole, 1979 – Movie Review

Posted by LiveFor on July 7, 2009

Director: Gary Nelson
Starring: Maximilian Schell, Anthony Perkins, Robert Forster, Joseph Bottoms, Yvette Mimieux, Ernest Borgnine, Roddy McDowall, Slim Pickens
Running Time: 98 minutes

Another great review by the mighty Paul S

Well, it was a quiet Sunday for me for once. All house tasks done, breakfast at 2 (full English of course) and I was reviewing the glossy TV guide. That’s where i saw it, jumping out of the page in bold News-Of-The-World-glossymag font – The Black Hole, Channel 5 (who’d of thought it eh? five channels!), 15:35. OK then I thought, washing nearly finished I can make this.

But those that have seen the film will understand when I say my first thought was Maximilian. What a scary robot that was! I went to the pictures to see this. I understand it’s a Disney production so we went as a family to watch it. I definitely fell asleep. My older brother on the other hand stayed awake, ‘cos he had Maximilian as a trading card, whereas I had Oscar.

Anyway, the plot. Well, bit intense for a kids film. It’s about a doctor that robbed a spaceship, gave out a distress signal, watched all the crew die, replaced them with robots, and hung around the edge of a black hole with a hard red robot for company. Oh, and also went a bit mad.

If I remember correctly (it was 3 wks ago man) a crew had to stop there for refueling/repairs and found the doctor. (on an aside, Im sure it’s the same fella that played Hans Zarkov in Flash Gordon, can LFF work their wonder here? – Nope it’s not that dude. In this one the mad scientist was played by Maximilian Schell and Hans Zarkov was played by Topol – LFF) with his robot staff. Oh that’s it! He converted them into cyborg people to sustain their life.

Now Disney thought they could jump on the Star Wars newly-opened genre with this, but forgot that kids like explosions and fighters, laser beams and hyperspace! all this gave us was a trippy 10 min sequence when they entered the black hole. it was like 2001 for kids!

That aside, watching it as an adult on a Sunday with a beer and nice cigarettes (ahem) it was a different matter. I understood what the doctor was on about! The tension between them, the ‘accidental’ death (still a bit graphic for a kids movie), the token hot scientist. Visually it fine, but its more of a dialogue film, really well written to be honest. Kinda like Reservoir Dogs in space!

I haven’t given it the justice it deserves here, I know. So re-watch it and post your response. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

As a kid – 4/10
Re-watch as adult – 8/10

A hidden gem
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The Black Hole’s V.I.N.CENT is 30 and heading our way

Posted by LiveFor on June 17, 2009

It is the 30th Anniversary of Disney’s The Black Hole.

The Black Hole is Disney’s 1979 science fiction film about a group of space travelers who come across a long missing spaceship teetering on the edge of a black hole, and their discoveries within the ship and beyond… the vast, empty nothingness where space and time end. Anything that crosses its border enters a universe of the complete unknown or gets smooshed to nothing in the intense gravitational field.

V.I.N.CENT (Vital Information Necessary CENTralized and voiced by Roddy McDowall) was one of the cool robots from the film – the other being the sinister Maximilian, who is one of the all time evil robots.

“The Black Hole” was the Walt Disney Company’s first PG-rated production. Directed by Gary Nelson and starred Maximilian Schell, Anthony Perkins, Robert Forster, Joseph Bottoms, Yvette Mimieux, and last but not least, Ernest Borgnine the motion picture has found a loyal fan base.

To honour the anniversary of the film MINDstyle are working on this new action figure and it looks lovely. Still early days as you can see from the concept work, but it looks like they’ve started putting them together. I can’t wait to see the finished product.

Source: ToysREvil

The ending of The Black Hole always freaked me out when I was a kid.

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