Showing posts from January, 2020
πŸ’€πŸ’€The Age Of Gods And Monsters lives on in the hearts and imaginations of those that wish to keep it alive. Ghoulish Grin Films is a small entity but its heart is on fire with the ghosts of old. It is an entity that cherishes the classics and gives it a modern platform. Long Live Indie Horror! πŸ’€πŸ’€

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THEE Lex Luthor (Happy 90th Birthday Gene Hackman!)

This acclaimed actor has been described by his peers no less as one of the greatest actors of his generation. And that was the generation of actors and actresses of the second Golden Age of Hollywood...the late '60's and '70's.
He's won a Best Actor Oscar for 1971's "The French Connection" and for 1992's "Unforgiven."
He's appeared in classic films like "Bonnie And Clyde," "The Conversation," and "Mississippi Burning" among others. He's worked with legendary actors and actresses like Clint Eastwood, Denzel Washington, Warren Beatty, and Faye Dunaway.
But as a kid he was one thing and one thing only. Superman's arch nemesis...LEX LUTHOR!
A handful of actors, whether on the big or small screen or as a voice interpretation, have portrayed the great super villain. Including Hackman's "Superman IV: The Quest For Peace" costar Jon Cryer, who's done an exceptional job in the CW DC Tel…

A Case For "A Wrinkle In Time"

On Oprah Winfrey's birthday, I wanted to focus on a story that she and a group of talented individuals decided to tackle.
I always found the childrens book "A Wrinkle In Time" to be very comforting. It also opened your mind up to very interesting concepts of space and time. I love when stories have that classic feel yet also stretch the boundaries of storytelling. This book is the epitome of that.
There was an adaptation of of the book in 2003 but it wasn't all that great (I'm trying to be nice).
So The Walt Disney Company decided to make a proper adaptation of the film. When I heard the magnificent filmmaker Ava DuVerney was attached and Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, and Reese Witherspoon were on board, I was all in.
The film came out and underperformed at the box office and has a 42% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Whether any studio would tackle this property again is the question. I'm not sure.
But despite the disappointing reaction to the…

Dear Basketball...Thank You For Kobe

In 2018 I went to my local theater to watch an Oscar Nominee Short Film Showcase. Whether it's a YouTube video of a short film created by a kid on his phone or an Oscar Nominated top notch production, I truly enjoy watching short films.
After seeing the live action shorts there was a short intermission and the audience returned to finish the showcase with the animated short film nominees.
An animated short titled "Dear Basketball" appeared.
I hear the narrators voice. It's Kobe Bryant.
And immediately I'm all in.
Right away I love it because it's hand drawn animation. Something I still miss (not a knock against computer animation) having grown up with classic Disney and Looney Tunes.
And if THAT wasn't enough to earn my love, it was scored by the master himself, John Williams.
And as the short film concluded, it stirred in me my love of basketball, which had taken a back seat in recent years.
I was OBSESSED with basketball in my junior high/high school ye…

A Special Influence (Happy Birthday Tobe Hooper)

One of the greats of the horror genre, Tobe Hooper is a special influence for a lot of current and future filmmakers of the genre. His legacy has been set in stone, thanks to the classic 1974 slasher "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."
The first film I saw of Mr. Hooper's was 1982's "Poltergeist," which was produced, written, (and some say co-directed by) Steven Spielberg. I was but a child so it definitely was a feat to see something so intense. And it certainly has a Spielbergian feel to it, which gave it a strange appeal. But a fantastic Hooper film that brought me as a kid more and more into the genre HORROR.
It would be later on that I would be introduced to his signature film "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," a nightmarish look at the deep, dark places of the country. Featured in this film is the movie monster Leatherface, a throwback to the old Universal Monsters. And a deserving entry at that.
It also features what I believe to be one of the grea…

Forever In Our Memory (Happy Birthday Sharon Tate)

Sharon Tate is unfulfilled potential, manifested by us into immortality.
She will forever be remembered for a heinous event. For an evil moment in time. Art always helps us cope through an unspeakable tragedy. And sometimes, after time heals and the events become hazier we honor them by keeping their memory alive.
What I love about Quentin Tarantino's latest film "Once Upon A Time In Hollywood" (aside from the brilliant recreation of late 1960's Hollywood - widely recognized as films second 'Golden Age') is that Tate was given such treatment.
We get to watch as she rises to become a Hollywood starlet (through the magnificent performance of Margot Robbie) and we see her in happiness...and hope.
Oh, and that ending!
For those that haven't seen the film, let's just say it gives Tate the Hollywood ending she deserved.
My favorite quote from the great Stephen King is 'we make up horrors to cope with the real ones.' I've always felt this to be …

Poe Lives On...Forevermore

My first taste of the legendary literary master Edgar Allan Poe was from a 1970's Halloween record called "Famous Ghost Stories With Scary Sounds."
I'm very happy to hear that vinyl records are making a comeback in the digital age, but sadly I fear the era of Halloween records and CD's that contained stories and sound effects are now a thing of the past.
But those days were fun. And hearing this record I got to hear timeless classics like The Headless Horseman from Washington Irving's "The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow" and Charles Dickens' "The Signal-Man." Incredible stories to light up a young kids imagination.
However the one story that captivated me and stayed with me all these years was Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart."
It's hard, at least among my friends when I was younger, to tell at that age what a truly classic story was. Even these days I seem to be content with the content given to me. But I recognized …

The Breath Of Vader (Happy 89th Birthday James Earl Jones!)

A celebrated actor of the stage and screen, the great James Earl Jones was born on January 17th, 1931. A distinguished thespian who has won a Tony and Golden Globe, he is respected and admired among his peers.
He has appeared in many films, with "Conan The Barbarian" being among one of my favorite performances of his. Aside from playing ancient tyrants he can also play comedy, appearing in such classics as "Coming To America." And he can also play warm characters like the ones played in "Field Of Dreams" and "The Sandlot."
However, he is best known, and will probably be forever known, as breathing life into one of the greatest cinematic villains of all time...the Sith Lord Darth Vader.
It was his commanding, booming voice that truly brought the character to life. The character is rich, and has always looked cool with his sleek black part mechanical suit. But as those fans of Star Wars know, the man in the suit was David Prowse, who certainly ha…

Happy 72nd Birthday To John Carpenter!

A lot of the horror directors taking hold of the scene are up and coming or just newly established greats. And that's amazing to see. New blood flying the flag that is HORROR.
But to know that one of the legends is still here with us is incredibly comforting. And not only that, here and still kicking @$$.
As John Carpenter turns 72, he continues to stay active with the newly revived "Halloween" series. He composed the score for 2018's "Halloween" rebootquel and went on tour that year, celebrating his vast catalog of movie scores.
And this upcoming Halloween season, his music will again take center stage in the follow up film, "Halloween Kills," also bringing back the great Jamie Lee Curtis.
Oddly enough, I grew up on the films that had nothing to do with Michael Myers. "Big Trouble In Little China," "They Live," "Memoirs Of An Invisible Man." I loved all of the films that were fun and strange. And his music in such f…

The 10 Year Anniversary Of A Newly Appreciated "Book Of Eli"

On January 15th 2010, the Denzel Washington action film "The Book Of Eli" was released in the looked down upon 'dumping ground' period of January. Not being an Oscar bait film and looked at as more of a Washington Hollywood star vehicle, it didn't seem to create any more buzz other than 'here's your movie, check it out if you please.'
It had been almost a decade since he had won his Best Actor Oscar for his truly amazing performance in "Training Day" and though he put out some cool stuff after that, it was mostly remakes and action films. Paycheck type stuff, though Mr. Washington always seems to elevate the material he's in.
What made "The Book Of Eli" different is that ten years after it has seemed to have gained appreciation for being a clever take on the action film, with a twist that gives the entire film a richness you weren't expecting.
I remember seeing this film when it came out and I though it was a fantastic act…

Finally! Horror In The Marvel Universe!

In 2016, as the MCU was continuing to dominate all things superhero, I went to go see the origin film for "Doctor Strange." It was directed by Scott Derrickson, who had some cool horror under his belt like "The Exorcism Of Emily Rose" and "Sinister." And they had mentioned that it was going to have a darker element to the traditionally jokey and colorful Marvel Cinematic Universe.
And though it did not promise on that dark vibe, it was still and enjoyable, trippy film. Still had the Marvel DNA, but had it's own identity with the elements of magic and "Inception" like effects.
So with the announcement of "Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness" and Derrickson hyping it as a darker than it's predecessor, I was instantly hooked.
Until MCU head Kevin Feige dropped Derrickson from the project, siting 'creative differences.'
There goes my MCU horror film.
So as I felt a bit let down from this decision, the announcement …

In Honor Of Lupita

Let's not feel sorry for Lupita Nyong'o.
She's a vision of beauty who always stops people in their tracks when at award shows and fashion events. She continues to be a working actress, which alone is why you go into the industry.
And let's not forget. She's WON The Academy Award for 2013's "12 Years A Slave." She's continually relevant in the public consciousness and will probably go down as one of Hollywood's finest actresses.
But on January 13th she was noticeably absent from the list of Best Actress nominees.
The Jordan Peele horror film "Us" was released in March, so to have had this kind of buzz going into 2020 speaks volumes. The film was, much like Peele's previous film "Get Out," was critically acclaimed, with Lupita's performance as a standout.
The Academy Awards will always have to deal with snubs and omissions. Taron Egerton's star turn as Elton John in "Rocketman" was noticeably absent. As…

The Prince Of Darkness & The Rocketman...A Match Made In Rock Heaven

The two legends you never really expected to collaborate, The Prince Of Darkness himself Ozzy Osbourne, and the Rocketman Elton John, HAVE collaborated. And the result is a Beatlesque ballad worthy of the two titans.
"Ordinary Man" is as great a song as you can get from two already proven legends. And with this terrible week of losing the great Neil Peart, arguably the greatest rock drummer of all time, this album definitely soothes the broken heart.
As we lose one rock icon, let's love and appreciate that we still have these two. And that they give us gifts like this is more that we can ask for.
Thank you O Prince! Thank you Rocketman.
And rest in peace Neil Peart.
Thank you for the music.

The Vanguard Dark Queen...Vampira

The horror hostess Vampira was definitely one of a kind. Even now. But especially in the Leave It To Beaver, aw shucks era of The '50's.
Born Maila Elisabeth Syrjaniemi, the Finish American beauty knocked around Hollywood gaining minor parts before landing "The Vampira Show," running from 1954-55 on KABC.
Later she would once again appear in films, including the infamous 'Worst Movie In The World,' "Plan 9 From Outer Space," which now enjoys cult status from fans of classic horror and sci-fi.
The unfortunate period of her career was her resurrecting her Vampira show, only for the producers to cast an actress she didn't want. That actress was Cassandra Peterson, A.K.A. the legendary Elvira. It's unfortunate that both didn't recognize each other for their roles in horror and sci-fi, but will probably forevermore be linked as groundbreaker and her greatest successor.
Overall she lives on through video and pictures as a unique part of a byg…

"He Who Gets Slapped: Ghoulish Edition" Streaming On Amazon Instant Video

The 1924 silent thriller starring the great Lon Chaney Sr., "He Who Gets Slapped," is now streaming on Amazon Instant Video!
The film just recently fell into the public domain at the start of 2020 and now can be seen on Amazon for FREE with an Amazon Prime membership. You can also rent and purchase the film.
Another gem from The Man Of A Thousand Faces, Lon Chaney's legacy can be seen online for new generations of film fans.

Check out other Ghoulish Grin Films titles HERE:

Ghoulish Grin Films Presents TINSELTOWN Double Feature

The second TINSELTOWN Double Feature presented by Ghoulish Grin Films is now streaming at YouTube! Check out the video featuring "The Rise Of The Walkers," which premiered last year on Amazon Instant Video (and is still available to stream for FREE with an Amazon Prime purchase or available to rent or purchase) and the Creepypasta feature "The Amusement Of The Slender Man."
The double feature can be found at the Ghoulish Grin Films YouTube page and in the Free Horror Movies Playlist, which is on its way to 900,000 clicks!
Thank you as always for your support! Keep an eye out for this Ghoulish Grin Films double feature to be available at Vimeo On Demand as well.