Friday, May 8, 2015

Avalon | COVER REVEAL

cover reveal

You guys! I have a new book coming out in June!

It's the book many of you have long been waiting for: the heartwarming true story of my Turkish Van cat Avalon

The book will detail how Avalon became a movie star, how he used special techniques to throw my dates out of the house, how he spoke a few words of French (I swear this is true), how he made a hobby out of vomiting on my guinea pig's head, and so much more.

But, most of all, Avalon is a love story. Because no matter how much of a star he was, what made his life truly special was the intense bond we shared together. Some cats may need nine lives to make a difference, but Avalon only needed one.

Here's a peek at the cover. The book comes out on June 4th, 2015. 

Pre-order it now!

I'll have a book tour in June and July, too, so I hope we'll get to celebrate together soon.

Let me know what you think of the cover in the comments or on Twitter using @eeriestories.

Meanwhile, follow me on Amazon to receive updates!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Best movies of BIFFF 2015

As you already know from this post, I hosted several Q&A sessions with filmmakers at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival. In between those interviews, I had the chance to see 22 films. Here are the ten best ones I've seen: 

goodnight mommy

Goodnight Mommy 

Two children don't recognize their mother when she comes home after plastic surgery. They torture her to get her to confess that she's not their real mother. However, the children, too, have a dark secret. Goodnight Mommy was the best film I saw at BIFFF 2015. I didn't think much of the 'twist' at the end, though. Luckily, I figured out this twist after five minutes so I could focus on all the brilliant things the film had to offer: an intense atmosphere, classy and inspired images, and an overall hypnotic plot. 

spring

Spring 

The BIFFF catalogue described Spring as a mix between Richard Linklater and H.P. Lovecraft. It doesn't sound like a good match, but it works perfectly. The story is about a young man who meets the girl of his dreams while vacationing in Italy. We follow them from date to date as they dine by candle light at beachfront restaurants, visit museums, and go on road trips together. However, the girl suffers from a strange 'physical condition', one that will test the genuineness of their bond. A feel good horror film with dreamy Italian locations. 

late phases

Late Phases 

This cool werewolf movie takes its cue from Silver Bullet (Daniel Attias, 1985). While it's not a horror film that will change the genre in terms of originality, it doesn't do anything wrong either. Late Phases is a very efficient classic monster movie with well-developed characters, thematic depth, a fast pace, an entertaining storyline, and a bunch of cool werewolves. 

faults

Faults 

A self-help guru tries to assist a cult victim while he is the one who needs help. Does free will really exist? Do we all have to possibility to transform? Faults is a perfect example of characterization and mood setting. Simple, but engrossing. 

lost soul the doomed journey of richard stanley's island of dr moreau

Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau 

Directed by Steven Gregory, this documentary focuses on the nightmare that became Richard Stanley's The Island of Dr. Moreau. Stanley had spent several years adapting the book and visualizing the film, but soon after the shooting started, he was replaced by John Frankenheimer. From then on, Lost Soul turns from a tragic story into a farce. Whereas Val Kilmer tarnished the atmosphere on set with his pretentiousness, Marlon Brando made it his mission to sabotage the project by making the most ludicrous demands. And Frankheimer? He just wanted to finish the damn job, so he agreed with all this silliness. The result is one of the worst movies in history. 

a hard day

A Hard Day 

Are you having a hard day? Think again. It's probably not half as bad as that of detective Go Geon-soo. In less than 24 hours, he receives a divorce notice, his mother dies, his co-workers are accused of embezzlement, he commits a fatal hit and run, he hides his victim's corpse in his mother's coffin, and he gets a call from a mysterious man who claims to have witnessed the crime. A Hard Day is a hilarious and well-made Korean thriller. 

the forgotten

The Forgotten 

Do you want to make a movie, but is money an issue? Maybe you should get married and ask for money instead of wedding presents. It's exactly how Oliver Frampton funded his first movie, The Forgotten. He tells the story of a fourteen-year-old boy who is forced to squat with his father in an empty London council estate. When he hears strange noises coming from the abandoned flat next door, he decides to enter to find out what's going on. Smart, stylish, and creepy. 

stung

Stung 

This giant-wasps-attacking-a-garden-party-movie reminded me a lot of Ticks (Tony Randel, 1993) and Rabid Grannies (Emmanuel Kervyn, 1988), but never equaled their entertainment value. Nevertheless, Stung was a fun horror flick, mainly because the wasps were giant from the start and well made. I also loved the idea that they hatched inside people and then split them open to emerge. 

from the dark

From The Dark 

A young couple embarks on a road trip through the Irish countryside. They stumble upon a monster that attacks only when it's dark. Conor McMahon from Stitches won't change the genre with From the Dark. Therefor, the plot is too basic, but McMahon knows how to entertain and keep the audience's attention. 

the cobbler

The Cobbler 

The idea for The Cobbler is original: whenever cobbler Max Simpkin (Adam Sandler) puts on his clients' shoes, he takes over their identity and appearance. It's silly at times and The Cobbler definitely stretches your boundaries of disbelief, but there there were scenes where I couldn't stop laughing.

Seen at BIFFF, but didn't make the top ten: Burying the Ex, Haemoo, III, No Tears For The Dead, Blood Moon, Greatful Dead, German Angst, Hollow, The Great Hypnotist, The House at the End of Time, Viy, and Big Game

Monday, April 6, 2015

Offscreen Film Festival 2015

offscreen film festival

The Offscreen Film Festival started on Wednesday with a screening of Roy Andersson's latest A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence. Whereas the film excels in interesting compositions, its theme of life being boring and meaningless results in a film that is as empty as the situations and people it describes. It's all about recurring locations, static actors, endless shots, and repetitive dialogue. “We just want to help people have fun,” one of the characters says. Considering the strong Monty Python-like vibe of A Pigeon..., I'm guessing this was Roy Andersson's objective as well. Unfortunately, he accomplished the opposite.

On Thursday, I spent the day with Tobe Hooper and his girlfriend Rebecca, showing them around all the cozy corners of Brussels. Tobe insisted on having a drink at Le Cerceuil, a bar in the centre of Brussels where you sit around coffins, and drink cocktails with names such as Cadaver's Urine out of skulls. Besides our mutual love of horror movies, we also shared a passion for animals. Tobe stops in the street to gawk at passing dogs, obsesses over Milou (Tintin's dog), and just tries to find as much excuses as he can to talk about his canine loves.

nova offscreen
peter strickland

On Friday, I introduced the movies The Duke Of Burgundy and Matango: Attack Of The Mushroom People at Offscreen. The Duke Of Burgundy was an absolute marvel. For the first fifteen minutes, it looked banal and wooden, but that was only because director Peter Strickland was playing his audience's strings like a puppeteer. Once you realize that you're watching a lesbian couple playing out a sexual fantasy, the story becomes really interesting. As the fantasy becomes part of the couple's daily routine, little fissures in the relationship start to show. Both women don't always react the way they want each other to, frustrations build up, and the dominant party in the RPG becomes the dominated one in real life. Despite the weirdness of the film, it's all surprisingly recognizable, a mirror to the reasons why many couples fail after a while. It's smart, multi-layered stuff, and the visual appeal is nothing less than magnetic.

tobe hooper masterclass
tobe hooper

After having attended Tobe Hooper's masterclass on Saturday, I went to see Lifeforce. I can't say I'm a fan of Tobe Hooper's adaptation of Colin Wilson's 1976 novel The Space Vampires. Therefor, the film has too many dull moments (the silly ones are rather charming). On the other hand, Lifeforce contains iconic scenes that you keep thinking about long after the film has ended (London being engulfed by zombies, the look of the victims after they've been sucked from their energy, the hypnotic presence of Mathilda May). It has too many good moments to be ignored, and too many dull ones to be recommendable.

jasper sharp tim grabham

On Sunday, Jasper Sharp and Tim Grabham introduced their documentary The Creeping Garden: Irrational Encounters With Plasmodial Slime Moulds in which they explore the frightening intelligence of slime moulds. I expected the documentary to be sensational in nature (the slime moulds' behavior reminds us of The Blob and Invasion Of The Body Snatchers), but Jasper Sharp and Tim Grabham go for a realistic, fringe scientific approach. After this documentary, you'll never look at slime moulds the same way. The Creeping Garden is now also available as a book.

Next, I introduced Tobe Hooper's Eaten Alive. It was the first movie Tobe Hooper made after The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and it's easy to spot the similarities between those two films. There's the same gritty atmosphere, the same hopelessness, the same rage. In 2000, Tobe Hooper would make a second killer crocodile film, and herein it's obvious that the director has become more moderate and commercial. Eaten Alive is definitely one of my favorite Tobe Hooper films, mainly because the set pieces are so efficient (everything has been filmed inside the studio, including the exterior scenes in the swamps).

tobe hooper texas chainsaw massacre 2

On Wednesday, we took Tobe Hooper and his girlfriend Rebecca to Bruges. For Tobe, that means spending eighty percent of the day inside the restaurant. He ate mussels for the first time in his life and enjoyed several local beers such as Brugse Zot and Brugse Straffe Hendrik. He loved the sightseeing part, though. His eyes sparkled as he discovered the cobblestone streets and walked along the fairytale-like canals.

By the way, did you know that Tobe is superstitious? Whenever we passed a lantern, he insisted we crossed it from the same side as he feared the lantern would divide the group's energy and bring bad luck.

When we passed Aalter on our way back home, I mentioned that I saw a UFO there when I was a kid. Tobe replied that he had seen two UFOs as well and that he is absolutely certain these are aliens.

cinema nova

After dinner in my favorite Thai Restaurant Villa Singha, I introduced Salem's Lot on Thursday. I stayed to watch the film for what is probably the thirtieth time in my life. A lot of people consider Salem's Lot one of the creepiest vampire movies ever made. I can only agree. It all started in 1979 with a TV mini series – the most expensive ever made at that time. Because the TV mini series was successful, the material was heavily cut in order to turn it into a film. That was the version we got to see at Offscreen. Tobe Hooper himself loathes this cut, and I can see why. The first thing to go from the TV mini series was the character development. The film feels rushed. Important information is missing so that several scenes become illogical. Ben and Susan go from “Let's have a date” to being a couple without any transition scenes. And when Ben exclaims that Susan has to go back to Boston, the viewer can only wonder why she has to go to Boston if she lives in Salem's Lot (she actually explains in a cut scene that she has to go to Boston for a job interview). And what happened to Susan after she entered the Marsten House? There are more than a few hiccups in this cut, but overall the film version works and the cuts are generally from scenes that only slowed down the TV series.


electric boogaloo mark hartley

I watched Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films again on Friday. You may remember that I had already seen this documentary at the Sitges Film Festival. The fact that I watched it again at Offscreen proves how much I love it. Electric Boogaloo is easily one of the most insightful and funny documentaries I've seen in years. It never bores for a single second. It doesn't matter whether you know Cannon films or not; if you love great documentaries then this one is not to be missed.

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films ignited my desire to watch Ninja III: The Domination (1984) later that evening. Ninja III is known as one of the worst movies the Cannon Group has ever produced and there are no words for how silly it is. The story follows a young woman (Lucinda Dickey) who gets possessed by the spirit of an evil ninja who avenges his death from beyond the grave. The audience was laughing hard as Lucinda Dickey stripped in front of the hairy police officer she just met and poured V8 over her chest, when she did aerobics when she was assaulted by the evil spirit, or when laser beams came out of the arcade game. An unmissable “so bad it's good” movie that has often been described as a mix between Enter The Ninja, The Exorcist, Poltergeist, and Flashdance. You have to see it to believe it.

mark hartley

The weekend was spent having dinner with the festival's guests at Houtsiplou and Ricotta & Parmesan. We also went to the Made In Asia convention and Mini Europe (miniature representations of Europe's famous landmarks) with Electric Boogaloo director Mark Hartley.

chuck norris double

On Saturday, I introduced the 1987 movie Street Smart at Cinematek. In this crime drama from Cannon, a journalist (Christopher Reeve) writes an article on a fictitious pimp. By coincidence, the story resembles that of an actual pimp (Morgan Freeman), now convicted of murder. The day afterwards, it was time to introduce Tobe Hooper's Invaders From Mars (1986), an alien invasion movie written by Don Jakoby and Dan O'Bannon (who also wrote the script of Lifeforce).

bozar

I watched the new remastered version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre twice in a row on the big screen on Tuesday. The first time was for the sound check of the screening in the Bozar theater and the second time together with the audience. It was a good fifteen years since I last saw the film, but my opinions have remained the same: brilliant shots, broody atmosphere, creepy sound effects that make your bones tingle, a baleful build-up, and a nightmarish scene in which a chainsaw-yielding Leatherface unexpectedly shows up in the woods at night and chases Marilyn Burns for ten long minutes without giving the viewer any second to pause or breathe. Contrary to most viewers, though, I don't like the dinner scene (it breaks the tension as it renders the villains ridiculous). Otherwise, a masterpiece.

10 to midnight

After having spent the day with Tobe Hooper and his girlfriend Rebecca again on Wednesday, I introduced the 80s action movies Avenging Force and 10 To Midnight at Offscreen. I stayed for Avenging Force which turned out to be banal for the first hour, but once Michael Dudikoff is being hunted in the swamp, the film picks up and becomes huge fun. Another good thing about Avenging Force is that the script is varied and that it features some unexpected death scenes.

julian marsh
gilles vranckx

You may remember from last year that I had the opportunity to take photos in the abandoned porn cinema ABC (you can find the pictures here ). Offscreen, Cinema Nova, and La Rétine tried to save the cinema and managed to collect 60,000 euros in crowd funding. Just when they were about to sign contracts, the owner of the ABC died. Unfortunately, his son had other plans with the place. While the ABC cinema may not have been saved, Cinema Nova did manage to salvage more than 600 films, three of which have been shown at Offscreen on Friday when Offscreen paid tribute to the ABC cinema with an evening full of movies, trailers, striptease acts, games, etc.

cannon films
nova brussels

On Saturday, I watched Matango: Attack Of The Mushroom People. The fact that it was a pristine 35mm print that had traveled the world in order to be shown at Offscreen, made the screening worthwhile. Nothing really happened during the majority of the film, though, and when the mushroom people finally arrived, they didn't do much but stand there.

I ended the day with a screening of Masters Of The Universe, long revered as one of the campiest films ever. Courtney Cox and her boyfriend find a cosmic key that can open a portal to any point in time and space, and are being hunted by an evil creature wearing a Halloween mask. Luckily, there's He-Man Dolph Lundgren and his team to save them. The costumes and dialogue in Masters Of The Universe will push your limits of bad taste.

cannon films posters

On the last day of Offscreen, I introduced Tobe Hooper's The Mangler. I'd seen this film back in 1995 when it came out and didn't like it. Twenty years later, my opinion still hasn't changed, but I had forgotten how gory and gruesome The Mangler was.

The festival closed with a screening of A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (which I had already seen at the Sitges Film Festival) and lots of themed treats.

Have you seen any of the Offscreen films? Which ones are your favorites?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

BIFFF: Chatting with Joe Dante and other filmmakers

I'll be hosting several Q&As with filmmakers at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFFF) in April. Check it out. 

burying the ex
burying the ex

Burying The Ex 

On April 7, at the openings night of BIFFF, I'll be hosting a Q&A with American director Joe Dante (Gremlins, Piranha). We'll be addressing Dante's entire career, but the focus will be on his latest horror comedy, Burying The Ex, in which a bitchy girl crawls out of the grave to stalk her ex-boyfriend. 

german angst
german angst

German Angst 

No one knows how to transgress the boundaries of gore like Germans. If you've ever seen films by Jörg Buttgereit (Nekromantik), Olaf Ittenbach (Premutos – Der gefalenne engel), Andreas Schnaas (Violent Shit), and Andreas Marshall (Tears Of Kali), you know what I mean. Three of those German filmmakers – Buttgereit, Kosakowski and Marshall – collaborated to bring us a tryptic of stomach-churning stories. After the screening of German Angst, on April 14, I'll be chatting with Michael Kosakowski and Andreas Marshall about their respective stories. 

stung horror movie
stung

Stung 

On April 18, I'll be hosting a Q&A with actor Daniele Rizzo, sound designer Tilman Hahn, and sound editor Emil Klotzsch (sound editor) on Stung, a hilarious horror comedy about wasps intruding on a chic garden party. The wasps return meaner and bigger when treated with chemicals.

goodnight mommy
goodnight mommy

Goodnight Mommy 

Later that evening, you can also go to a Q&A with directors Severin Fiala and Veronic Franz where we'll discuss their new movie Goodnight Mommy. This unsettling story about a mother who returns from hospital with her head covered in bandages and starts mistreating her identical twin kids, has created a buzz at the latest Sitges Film Festival, especially regarding the twist ending. By the way, Veronic Franz was also the screenwriter for Ulrich Seidl's Paradise Trilogy

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Reading / watching / listening to...

john cleese so anyway

Reading: 

* So, Anyway by John Cleese. I'm a big fan of John Cleese, especially of his work on Fawlty Towers, but his autobiography wasn't what I expected it to be. The main focus is on Cleese's childhood, college years, and early work in theatre. Sometimes he touches interesting parts - such as his survival techniques as a teacher, his reveries about how life could have been easier if he'd become a lawyer or a banker, and his complicated relationship with Connie Booth – but he always returns to the bare facts and most of those aren't very absorbing. He rarely mentions Fawlty Towers and his movies, and only addresses Monty Python in the last chapter as if his editor obliged him to put it in after the book was already written.

* Billson Film Database: Short Reviews Of Over 4000 Films. If you enjoy reading the capsule reviews on my blog, then there's no reason you won't enjoy Anne Billson's collection of movie reviews, all of which have been previously published in The Telegraph and other publications. It's not the kind of book to read in one go, more something to leaf through whenever you're looking for a movie to watch. The author covers every genre, every era, every taste, and does so with both knowledge and humor. It's an inspiring read that will make you want to sit down and (re-)discover films all day long. Fun fact: being a cat lover, Anne Billson makes a special mention of movies with kitties. 

* Globule: Une vie de lapin by Mamemoyashi. Since I have just welcomed a rabbit to the family, my boyfriend now buys me rabbit mangas on top of cat mangas. Globule: Une vie de lapin is the true story of author Mamemoyashi and her rabbit Globule. Books like this have to be recognizable, and Globule: Une vie de lapin definitely is. It's impossible not to recognize your rabbit's special quirks, positions, and behaviors. Gift this book to someone who owns a rabbit, and they will be eternally grateful. 


Watching: 

* The Slayer. It's funny how opinions change depending on when and where you watch a movie. The first time I saw The Slayer, I felt ripped of. Nothing happened in the story, and when the monster finally arrived, he was gone in a matter of seconds. I just saw it again after fifteen years, and I was surprised to discover several efficient murder scenes, some great beach locations, and an addictive vintage atmosphere. It's not as boring as I thought it was. Don't get me wrong. We're far from a horror masterpiece here, but if you're into the eighties slasher genre, The Slayer is actually enjoyable. Just do yourself a favor and skip the last two minutes of the film. 

* Dogs. In a sleepy American town, all the dogs band together to hunt down their former masters. This results in several memorable scenes (such as the canines at a dog show going wild), but, overall, the story is too slow, and definitely not scary or suspenseful. 

* Before I Go To Sleep. I almost forgot to add this one to the list. That's how forgettable Before I Go To Sleep is. Based on the bestselling book by S.J. Watson, Before I Go To Sleep follows a woman (Nicole Kidman) who, after a traumatic incident, can't remember her past, including her husband. Not one second of it is believable, definitely not the so-called twist ending that you can guess just by reading this review. A big miss. 

* Daughter Of Darkness. The first thing that struck me about Stuart Gordon's Daughter Of Darkness was how reminiscent its design was to Roger Corman's The Pit and the Pendulum. Then it dawned on me that Gordon actually remade The Pit and the Pendulum one year after releasing Daughter Of Darkness. It's the atmosphere, as well as the seedy Romanian locations, that make this nineties horror movie worthwhile. On the other hand, the story about the girl (Mia Sara) who goes looking for her lost father (Anthony Perkins) and encounters a clan of vampires, is wooden and silly. 

* Slaughter High. Nothing is plausible in this eighties slasher movie about a nerd who seeks revenge for a prank gone wrong. Should the viewer think it's normal that a girl takes a bath in a closed-down high school after several of her friends have been murdered? Or that the killer is able to put poison in a closed beer can? Or that there's a bed with clean sheets in an abandoned building? Or that the former school janitor is still doing rounds at night? But no matter how silly it gets, I've watched Slaughter High numerous times before and it still stands as one of the coolest slasher movies in film history. It's fast, it's fun, it's gory, and it's great. Strange fact: Simon Scuddamore, who played the nerdy Marty, committed suicide even before Slaughter High was officially released. 

* Birdman. I still think Whiplash should have won the Oscar for best movie, but I certainly enjoyed Birdman. As a writer, I could identify with the idea of being more true to yourself in your art than in real life, and that when you try to please an audience you end up being invisible. I could also go on for hours about the double meaning of the dialogue, the symbolic undertones, the technical stunts, etc. It's a smart film, the kind that has so many undertones you can discover new things with each additional viewing. 

* The Theory Of Everything. Eddie Redmayne, who won the Oscar for his performance, is convincing as Stephen Hawking in this biopic based on Jane Hawking's second memoir Travelling To Infinity. The Theory Of Everything is a cute film, but too sweet and inoffensive. Surely, Hawking accomplished great things despite his disease, but the film was oddly lacking a sense of struggle and inner torment which would have made it so much more interesting and real. 

* Still Alice. I've always mistakenly assumed that people with Alzheimer's aren't aware of their fate and therefor never really suffered. Thanks to Still Alice, I now have a more realistic understanding of the disease. Based on a novel by neuroscientist Lisa Genova, the film shows the degenerative process from the victim's p.o.v. We are confronted with her feelings of being misunderstood as her husband denies her initial diagnosis, with her shame as she realizes she is no longer the intelligent and articulate woman she once was, with her sense of being lost when she can't even find her way to her own toilet, and with her fear of what the future has in store. I shed more than a few tears with Still Alice, but, most of all, it has turned me into a more considerate person regarding those who are suffering from the disease.


Listening to: 

* It Follows (original motion picture soundtrack) by Disasterpeace. This indie game music composer, known for Fez, manages to reproduce the vintage synthesizer sound of the eighties. Just like the movie, there's a strong Carpenter vibe to it. 

* Lost Themes by John Carpenter. The title is misleading, because all the tracks are new. Made in collaboration with his son Cody, the album is in the same vein as Carpenter's earlier work.


What are you currently reading, watching, and listening to? Anything here that piques your interest? 


You can take a peek at all the other books, movies, and music I've blogged about under the "reading / watching / listening to..." tag.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Offscreen 2015: Mushroom people, Cannon films, and Tobe Hooper

During the next three weeks, I will introduce several movies at the Offscreen Film Festival in Brussels. 

Apart from a selection of premieres, Offscreen will showcase a retrospective on Tobe Hooper, a module on botanicals, and some of the most popular Cannon Films. 

I made an overview of the films I'll be talking about. I hope you'll come by if you have the chance. 

the duke of burgundy
The Duke Of Burgundy

The Duke Of Burgundy 

Those of you who saw Peter Strickland's Berberian Sound Studio at Offscreen 2013, know that they're in for a visual and auditory treat with The Duke Of Burgundy (2014). Together with director Peter Strickland, I will introduce The Duke Of Burgundy on March 6 at 8 pm in the Cinema Nova in Brussels. 

matango
matango

Matango: Attack Of The Mushroom People

After the screening of The Duke Of Burgundy, at 10 pm, I will also introduce Ishiro Honda's Japanese cult classic Matango: Attack Of The Mushroom People (1963), this time in the company of Jasper Sharp (author of the 'slime molds' book The Creeping Garden and director of the documentary by the same name). This story about castaways who turn into mushrooms after having eaten weird fungi has rarely been screened outside of Japan, so don't miss this opportunity.  

Eaten Alive
Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive 

Deep in the Louisiana bayou, travelers find shelter in the dilapidated Starlight Hotel. They never stay long, since the psychotic owner feeds them one by one to his pet alligator. Director Tobe Hooper will join me for the introduction of Eaten Alive (1977) on March 8 at 9:30 pm at Cinematek. 

Salem's Lot
Salem's Lot

Salem's Lot 

I'm proud to present one of my favorite horror movies, Salem's Lot (1979), at the Offscreen Film Festival. Based on the novel by Stephen King, Salem's Lot was first released as a TV mini series before receiving the theatrical cut that will be shown at Offscreen. Don't forget to mark your calendars: March 12 at 9:30 pm (at Cinematek). But be warned: Salem's Lot contains some of the creepiest scenes in vampire movie history. 

street smart
christopher reeve in street smart

Street Smart

On Saturday, March 13th, I'll be introducing the 1987 movie Street Smart at Cinematek. Part of Offscreen's Cannon module, Street Smart was originally an initiative from actor Christopher Reeve. After much insisting, he could convince Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus to finance the film, but he had to agree to star in Superman 4 in return. Yet it was not Christopher Reeve but Morgan Freeman who reaped the biggest success as his career got a big boost thanks to his nominations as best supporting actor for the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes. 

invaders from mars
invaders from mars

Invaders From Mars

Invaders From Mars (1986) is the second of the three movies Tobe Hooper shot back-to-back for Cannon. It's the remake from Invaders From Mars from 1953 in which a boy discovers that his parents, and possibly the entire village, has been taken by aliens. I will give an introduction to this movie on Sunday, March 15, at 10 pm at Cinematek. 

avenging force
avenging force

Avenging Force 

On Wednesday, March 18, I'll be introducing Avenging Force from director Sam Firstenberg (Ninja III: The Domination) at Cinematek. It's about a paramilitary group that organizes hunts on human prey. Yet it wasn't an original topic when the film was released. We already had The Most Dangerous Game in 1932 and Turkey Shoot (aka Escape 2000) in 1982. 

andrew stevens charles bronson
10 to midnight

10 To Midnight 

Also on March 18, I'll be introducing 10 To Midnight (1983). Charles Bronson headlines as the police detective who chases a serial killer who strips his clothes before chasing and killing his victims. In the supporting roles, you'll recognize Andrew Stevens (The Fury, The Seduction) and Geoffrey Lewis (Salem's Lot). Roger Ebert called 10 To Midnight “a scummy little sewer of a movie.” Don't say I didn't warn you. 

the mangler
the mangler

The Mangler

Tobe Hooper based The Mangler (1995) on Stephen King's short story about a demon-possessed ironing machine in an industrial laundry. It was supposed to be part of the anthology film The Machines in which King's stories Trucks, The Lawmower Man, and The Mangler would be adapted. The death of the producer made sure that didn't happen. Despite Hooper-King-Englund combination, The Mangler was a flop. Yet, two sequels were made: The Mangler 2 (2001), which had nothing more to do with a mangler but with a computer virus that kills people, and The Return Of The Mangler (2005), which re-introduced the evil ironing machine. King wrote about the film: “Tobe Hooper is a genius. But when genius goes wrong, brother, watch out...” I'll be introducing The Mangler on Sunday, March 22 at Cinematek.  

Which movies would you like to see? Anything you've seen that you'd recommend?