(Above) The cover to a Psycho (1960) pressbook supplement titled “The Care and Handling of Psycho,” which emphasizes the William Castle-esque gimmick that no one – “not even the manager’s brother” – will be allowed into a screening after the film has begun.
When David Cronenberg’s 1975 horror film They Came From Within hit screens – partially funded with taxpayer dollars by the Canadian Film Development Corporation – a Canadian national magazine famously featured the headline, “You Should Know How Bad This movie Is – You Paid For It.”
No such disclaimer was necessary when WolfCop howled its way into theaters last year. Canadian audiences knew exactly what kind of romp they were in for. After all, they helped get it made.
Both WolfCop’s $1 million budget and Canadian theatrical release in select Cineplex Odeon theaters came via the paradigm-disrupting CineCoup Film Accelerator, a 12-week contest in which nearly 100 potential feature films battled for fan votes and social media engagements to determine which received a greenlight.
WolfCop writer/director Lowell Dean spoke to Deep Fried Movies about that unique preproduction process, the benefits of using action figures to create storyboards and breaking every rule in the Coors Light product placement playbook. Continue Reading ›
(Top) A frame from Starry Eyes. (Bottom) The behind the scenes set-up needed to create that frame. Crew members pictured are, from left to right: Best Boy Electric Christopher Faulkner, 1st AC Charlie Panian, actress Alex Essoe, Key Grip Adam Goral, Director Dennis Widmyer and 1st AD Dave Casper.
Anyone considering relocating to Los Angeles to pursue the vagabond life of the thespian should first check out the Faustian cautionary tale Starry Eyes. The lovechild of early Cronenberg and Polanski, conceived to the sounds of John Carpenter and Goblin, Starry Eyes unfolds in an L.A. of sickly greens and despondent grays. That palette comes courtesy of cinematographer Adam Bricker, who spoke to Deep Fried Movies about his work on the film. Continue Reading ›
Running Time: 92 minutes
Who the Devil Made It: director Freddie Francis
Cast: Ralph Richardson, Joan Collins, Ian Hendry, Peter Cushing, Roy Dotrice, Nigel Patrick, Patrick Magee
Cinematographer: Norman Warwick
A woman is attacked on Christmas Eve by an escaped mental patient dressed as Santa Claus. Now imagine that same scenario, only the woman has just murdered her husband with a fire poker. That turn of the screw defined the worldview of EC Comics’ pulp horror rag Tales From the Crypt during its run in the 1950s. The victims of the macabre morality tales usually had it coming, an idea which extends to Amicus’ 1972 anthology film version. Unsurprisingly, considering this adaptation’s British roots, that comeuppance is often inflicted upon a member of the monied class. Continue Reading ›
One of the arguments in the case against director (and noted Alfred Hitchcock fetishist) Brian De Palma is that De Palma is a cold formalist who places the style of his intricate set pieces above the human beings within them. Which is why it’s so surprising that De Palma’s 1976 version of Carrie is filled with significantly more empathy than the recent remake from director Kimberly Peirce, the humanist behind Boys Don’t Cry. (continue reading) Continue Reading ›
(Note: This is the same opening spiel as Part II of the VHS cover countdown. So if you’ve already read it, get your rump on down to the images)
Technologically, there’s no reason to hold any particular fondness for the VHS era. In the age of Blu-Ray (and the quickly approaching epoch of 4K), the image and audio quality of the VHS format are the analog equivalent of the Atari. Films on VHS were either cropped with frequent indifference to proper framing or – still worse – desecrated with pan-and-scan. The portions of the VHS tape viewed most frequently would begin to deteriorate – meaning you were bound to find static all over the exploding head in Scanners or Phoebe Cates’ pool scene in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
So why is there still such an abounding affection for VHS? Because adolescents weened on the format were the first generation in a century of film consumption to be able to easily watch whatever movie they wanted in their own home, however many times they wanted to watch it. The nostalgic pull of VHS is practically gravitational to a certain generation of cinephiles. So too is the allure of the VHS box cover. (continue reading) Continue Reading ›
The horror film has always been the one genre in which a novice filmmaker with no connections to the Hollywood machine could get his or her movie distributed merely by making something marginally competent. However, filmmakers who get their foot in the door that way have often found those feet stuck.
Canadian auteur David Cronenberg – who spent the first decade of his career in horror – is one of the few filmmakers who managed to escape the genre and achieve critical acclaim. Which is quite a feat considering Cronenberg’s feature debut Shivers (1975) is a film about a parasite turning the denizens of an uber-modern high rise apartment building into sex-crazed zombies. (continue reading)