In just about half a decade, David Wellington has earned a reputation as one of horror fiction’s most inventive practitioners. Part of that reputation stems from the Pittsburgh-born writer’s ability to take some of the genre’s more popular archetypes and explore them in new and imaginative ways. That includes his unique take on zombies (the 'Monster Island' trilogy), vampires (the 'Vampire Tale' series) and werewolves ('Frostbite' and 'Overwinter').
Wellington’s latest novel is '32 Fangs: A Final Vampire Tale', in which FBI agent-turned-vampire hunter Laura Caxton faces off against undead queen Justina Malvern in a final showdown. It’s the fifth and final book in a series that began with '13 Bullets', which first appeared online in serial form on Wellington’s website (www.davidwellington.net) in 2006 and continued with '99 Coffins', 'Vampire Zero' and '23 Hours'.
Ask the average movie fan to tell you anything about Godzilla and it’s likely you’ll be greeted with a smirk and some snarky comment about cheapjack monster movies featuring wildly gesticulating actors in zipper-up-the-back suits. That culturally chauvinistic attitude on the part of a large section of the Western audience has plagued the monster in question (and his city-stomping brethren in the genre) for nearly sixty years and it’s unlikely to change anytime soon. There is, however, a contingent of Western film mavens that not only holds a great fondness for the beast and his oeuvre, they also understand the roots from which the now-iconic leviathan sprang and demand for the character and the majority of its films nothing less than the respect afforded to other cinematic that seem every bit as fantastical and populist/lowbrow to the garden variety armchair movie critic. In order to change this misperception, all one has to do is sit through the first Godzilla film, 1954’s Gojira, and the just-released Criterion edition, released under the Anglicized title of Godzilla, could not be a more perfect gateway to the monster’s Ground Zero, both as the starting point of an undying franchise and as a landmark of cultural expression in the 20th century’s burgeoning atomic age.
'Charles Dickens' by Mark Redfield
When Charles Dickens visited America in 1842, one of the authors who called upon him was Edgar Allan Poe. Dickens had stopped in Philadelphia for a few days of banquets and sightseeing (including the then operational Eastern State Penitentiary—yes, in the 19th Century, visiting prisons could be part of your travel itinerary) and Poe called on the British author at the United States Hotel. The two talked of copyright issues (international copyright did not yet exist), literature and their works (oh, to be a fly on that wall). Poe had already favorably reviewed a few of Dickens’ novels (all pirated versions, of course) and was keen to impress Dickens with his ability to guess the ending of his fifth novel, Barnaby Rudge, before the second volume had even been printed.
Charles Dickens owned a pet talking raven named Grip, which he had included as a character in Barnaby Rudge. Of Grip in the novel, Poe remarked in his review:
January 16th is Hammer Star Caroline Munro's birthday. Here's an interview by Publisher Mark Redfield from 2007, where Miss Munro talks about her beginnings and her career. Happy Birthday Caroline Munro!
Caroline Munro is regarded by her most passionate fans as The First Lady of Fantasy. From her Hammer films of the 1970’s and starring roles in fantasy films such as At The Earth’s Core and The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, to the assassin Naomi in the James Bond adventure The Spy Who Loved Me, and her roles in cinema today, Caroline Munro’s beauty and talent have captured the hearts of movie-goers internationally.
One of the biggest sleepers of 2011 was Attack the Block, a modestly-budgeted British film about a group of inner city London teens who find themselves fending off an invasion by a savage pack of alien creatures. Although the film’s US release was somewhat limited, it’s now available special features-filled home video from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
On the eve of the film’s DVD/Blu-Ray release, writer/director Joe Cornish sat down to discuss the challenges of making his feature debut by working with children, animals (alien and otherwise) and special effects…
Could we start by talking about two major elements in Attack the Block, which were the creatures and the gore effects?
With the creatures, we didn’t have the budget for CGI, but at the same time, I’m a little bored with CGI in contemporary movies. I feel that creatures are all a little same-y and there’s an obsession with hyper-realistic detail. I grew up in the eighties, so I love Gremlins and Ghosbusters and Critters and ET and I love practical FX.
Hammer star Veronica Carlson has been added as a guest at the Monsterpalooza Convention in burbank, California April 13-15, 2012! Here is an interview with Veronica by Mark Redfield, conducted earlier in 2011.
Imagine Truly Scrumptious, played by Sally Anne Howes in Roald Dahl’s adaptation of Ian Fleming’s Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang (1968), trapped between the lethal black thorns of Christopher Lee’s Dracula and Peter Cushing’s Frankenstein, and you have Hammer heroine Veronica Carlson. Born in Yorkshire, England and discovered by Hammer honcho James Carreras and swiftly cast in three of the studio’s films in the late 1960s, Veronica Carlson was the embodiment of the classic English Rose for the studio and is fondly remembered for her beauty and appealing screen presence.
If you’re looking for a filmmaker that can combine scares and stunts in equal measure, David Ellis your man. The former stuntman-turned-director has created a string of films that feature spills and chills, including Final Destination 2, Cellular, Snakes on a Plane and Asylum. His latest film is Shark Night 3D, in which a group of vacationers at a Louisiana Gulf lake house become the victims of a series of fresh water shark attacks. Starring Sara Paxton, Chris Carmack, Katherine McPhee and Joel David Moore, the film aims to rethink their last-minute lakefront vacations the same way that Jaws kept beach-goers out of the water in 1975.
Ellis recently talked about the challenges of creating a virtual army of sharks while subjecting his young cast to the perils of shooting under the hot Louisiana sun…
The first thing you notice about Troy Nixey- other than his bouncy enthusiasm- is the notebook. It’s a slim Moleskin notebook that the comic book artist-turned-director keeps with him at all times. If you leaf through those pages, you’ll probably find his notes for Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, on which he makes his feature directing debut, as well as some of the creatures he helped design for the film. Nixey recently sat down to talk about his collaboration with filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (who acted as producer on the film) and the challenges of working on a high-profile genre film…
Sitting down for a conversation with Bailee Madison, the first impression one gets is a 30 year-old trapped in the body of an 11 year-old. With a wit and intelligence that belies her young age, Madison has already been acting for more than half her life and as the old saying goes, success hasn’t spoiled her yet.
After roles in Lonely Hearts, Bridge to Terabithia, Phoebe in Wonderland and Brothers, not to mention numerous TV appearances, Madison takes on the lead role in Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, directed by Troy Nixey and produced by Guillermo del Toro who also co-wrote the screenplay. She plays Sally, who is sent to live with her dad (played by Guy Pearce) and his new girlfriend (Katie Holmes) in their sprawling New England mansion, only to run afoul of the nasty creatures living in the basement.
During a recent New York visit to promote the film’s release, Madison talked about the challenges of working on her first horror film, including the difficulties of working with invisible co-stars…
In 1973, ABC aired the movie-of-the-week thriller, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. Starring Kim Darby as Sally Farnham, a young married woman who moves into a Victorian mansion with her businessman husband, only to be menaced by the tiny creatures living there, the movie left a lasting impression on a young Guillermo del Toro and his brothers, who would recite lines from it to scare each other.
Just about four decades later, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark has been remade as a high-profile feature film, produced by del Toro, who co-wrote the screenplay. This time, the role of Sally has been changed to a young girl- played by ten year-old Bailee Madison- and an additional character has been added: Sally’s father’s girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes), who finds herself unexpectedly drawn into Sally’s nightmarish fantasy world.
During a recent New York visit to promote the film, producer and actress sat down together to discuss the challenges of working with kids and creatures…