Walking the long hallway with Friday the 13th

xFinal Friday poster

When I was a kid, the distance between my Uncle Jimmy’s living room and the bathroom down the hall seemed to stretch a full mile. I spent many a Saturday night gorging on horror movies and trying to muster the courage to creep down that endless corridor to unload a bladder full of A&W Root Beer.

The Friday the 13th’s were the movies that made that hallway feel the longest and the darkest.

When I went back to visit that apartment after years away, much of it was as I remembered. The buzzer at the top of the stoop. The shelves full of dusty books. The gray cat scurrying under the bed. But the distance between my Uncle Jimmy’s living room and the bathroom down the hall was only a couple of feet.Outside of a handful of entires, the Friday the 13th movies haven’t held up particularly well. Then again, they were never really intended to. They were disposable annual rites of adolescent passage best ingested alongside a bladder’s worth of A&W Root Beer. Yet they evoke great fondness whenever I revisit them  – invariably on a day like today, a Friday the 13th. Then I’m ten years old again. And that hallway stretches a full mile.
< br > Friday the 13th 2 (#f1)
Friday the 13th (#7)
Friday the 13th
(Above) A trio of pictures featuring legendary special effects artist Tom Savini plying his trade.
Friday the 13th Makeup
(Above) A step-by-step guide to Savini’s creation of the deformed young Jason Vorhees in the original Friday the 13th. The graphic comes from Fangoria issue #6 and was scanned for posterity by Dr. Terror’s Blog of Horror.
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Behind the Scenes: Marlon Brando and One-Eyed Jacks


The 1961 western One-Eyed Jacks marks the lone directorial effort of Marlon Brando. A morally bleak yet visually lush revenge yarn, the film is now considered a classic of the genre and counts among its admirers Martin Scorsese, David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino.

But at the time of its release the movie was a costly albatross for Paramount and the beginning of a downward spiral of excess by Brando that tarnished his career to the point that Francis Ford Coppola had to jump through a myriad of hoops in order to cast Brando in The Godfather (1972).

One-Eyed Jacks‘ troubled production history includes the firing of screenwriter Sam Peckinpah and original director Stanley Kubrick. Brando took over as director following Kubrick’s departure and the film’s original 12 week shooting schedule and $1.8 million budget ultimately ballooned into a six-month shoot with a $6 million price tag.

Brando’s initial cut of the film ran nearly five hours. When Paramount requested substantial changes, Brando walked away from the movie and the studio sliced One-Eyed Jacks down to two hours and 21 minutes and altered the ending to a happier one.

Below is a collection of behind the scene stills from the film. The images come from a trio of sources – the blog Cinephilia and Beyond, the website Selvedgeyard.com and the blog Fifties Westerns. Toby Roan, the gentleman behind the blog Fifties Westerns, is also working on a book about Brando’s oater titled A Million Feet of Film: The Making of One-Eyed Jacks.
One Eyed Jacks 2 (#1)One Eyed Jacks (One Million Feet)One Eyed Jacks (Life Magazine) Continue Reading ›

The first RoboCop trailer: less violence, less satire, more Michael Keaton

Robocop 9

The first trailer for the PG-13 rated reboot of RoboCop is available here and appears to have little in common with Paul Verhoeven’s violently dystopic and profanely satirical 1987 original.

However, because the remake comes from the director of the well-regarded Brazilian crime thriller Elide Squad: The Enemy Within and features an oddball cast including Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton and Jay Baruchel, I’m going to try to stay optimistic.

And in the spirit of blind optimism, below I’ve presented an easy to play game. The goal – figure out which of the following images come from the new RoboCop trailer….and which don’t. Good luck.
Robocop 11Robocop 4Roboco Unicorn #6Robocop 6 Continue Reading ›

Faux-VHS cover art for the Ryan Gosling vehicle Drive

Drive VHS sleeve

Graphic designer James White put together this imaginary VHS cover art for director Nicolas Winding Refn’s instant cult classic Drive. Below are a few additional examples of White’s work. To see more, visit White’s website.

CORRECTION: The original Drive poster design featured above is the work of James White, however the VHS mock-up of that design was put together by Canadian artist Nicolas Girard.

No Country for Old Men (James White)

Fight Club
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Behind the Scenes: The original Star Wars trilogy

Empire Strikes Back 24 (#7)

This imugr site has culled together more than 1,200 Jar Jar-free behind the scenes pics from the original Star Wars trilogy. Below are a few of my favorites from the vast archive.

Star Wars 12 (#7)

“Just so we’re clear, Greedo, Han is going to shoot first.” (If you get that joke, you my friend are a fellow nerd.)

Empire Strikes Back #14 (#7)
Star Wars 10 (#7)
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Golden Age issues of American Cinematographer

AC 1942 (Shadow of a Doubt, Hitch) copy

(Above) Alfred Hitchcock peers through the camera’s viewfinder on the set of Shadow of a Doubt, which was shot on location in Santa Rose, California.

The Media History Digital Library boasts a database of more than 800,000 pages of digitized materials from vintage periodicals. That includes full issues of American Cinematographer ranging from 1924 to 1942. The database can be accessed here.

What’s interesting about this era of the magazine is that the cinematographers wrote the features themselves. Thus Greg Toland pens a piece in the February 1941 issue on Citizen Kane and Joseph Valentine contributes a feature in the October 1942 issue on Shadow of a Doubt.
AC 1941 (Citizen Kane) copy
(Above) A low-angle camera set-up  from Citizen Kane, a film that broke with the conventions of the era by showing the ceiling of its interiors.
AC 1926 (Ben Hur) (#2) copy
(Above) The chariot race  from the 1925 silent version of Ben-Hur. Continue Reading ›

Behind the Scenes: Star Trek: Into Darkness

Blue screen, IMAX cameras and J.J. Abrams serving as his own lens flare technician highlight this collection of stills from Abrams’ “It’s not Kahn….OK, it’s totally Kahn” sequel.

The images come from this story on Kodak’s website and fstoppers. Star Trek: Into Darkness hits DVD, on-demand, etc. on September 10th.
Star Trek 2 BTS  copy
(Above) Director J.J. Abrams pings the anamorphic lens with a flashlight to create that beloved Abrams flare effect.
Star Trek 2 (fstop)  Star Trek 3 (BTS) copy Star Trek 3 (fstop)
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Behind the Scenes: Jeff Bridges’ panoramas from the set of R.I.P. D.

RIPD 4 (#10)

Jeff Bridges first laid eyes on a Widelux 35mm panning camera when a photographer used one to snap his high school class photo. His wife bought him one of the cameras in the late 1970s and beginning with 1984’s Starman, Bridges has used the Widelux to document the production of every movie he’s been a part of.

That includes this summer’s Dark Horse Comics adaptation R.I.P.D. Click on any photo for a bigger version. Or, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing, peruse pictures from Bridges’ previous films at his website.

Here’s what Bridges has to say about the Widelux:

“The Wide-Lux is a fickle mistress; its viewfinder isn’t accurate, and there’s no manual focus, so it has an arbitrariness to it, a capricious quality. I like that. It’s something I aspire to in all my work — a lack of preciousness that makes things more human and honest, a willingness to receive what’s there in the moment, and to let go of the result. Getting out of the way seems to be one of the main tasks for me as an artist.”

RIPD 2 (#10) Continue Reading ›