Posts Tagged ‘max landis’


August 9, 2010

We were somewhere around  San Diego when the geek-gasms began to take hold. I remember saying something like, ”I’m feeling a little lightheaded…” And suddenly there was a huge roar all around us and the streets were filled with Supermen, Wonder Women, Klingons, Stormtroopers, Steampunks, Zombies and millions of other costumed geeks. And a voice was screaming: “Holy Moly! Who are all these goddamned nerds?”

Hercules meets Xena/Grae!

Saturday started with a BANG! Xena/Grae and I hit the floor of Comic-Con for a second day in a row in search of one thing. Hercules. And we found the mother-fucker! He was sitting at a booth signing autographs and he leaped out of his seat when he saw her, screaming “I gave you your start!” We immediately arranged for a quick video interview where he hit on my girlfriend, Xena/Grae (flattering, but he’s lucky I was working the camera) and showed off his hairy stomach. Xena/Grae let out her most victorious war cry and we hightailed it to Hall H to get in on some panel action.

Once in Hall H, we made our way over to the press pit and bumped into none other than MR. HEAD GEEK himself, HARRY KNOWLES. He agreed to do an interview with us and he talked for quite awhile about his excitement for the new GREEN LANTERN movie. He was even sporting a GREEN LANTERN tee underneath the brightest Hawaiian shirt I’ve ever seen (which is how we spotted him in the first place). He was very cool and he loved Xena/Grae’s costume. Who doesn’t?

First up in Hall H was the Warner Brothers presentation, which started with the much anticipated GREEN LANTERN movie.


The panel included RYAN REYNOLDS, BLAKE LIVELY (yum), PETER SARSGAARD, MARK (KICK-ASS) STRONG and director MARTIN CAMPBELL. I have a great deal of excitement about this property and the panel discussion did a lot to make me feel like this could be a very cool adaption of the popular DC character. I love the GREEN LANTERN, because it’s more science-fiction than most other comic-book heros and it borrows a little from the awesome LENSMEN series of novels by the great E.E. “DOC” SMITH. That being said, they showed a long trailer of footage that looked pretty cool, but didn’t give me much of a feel for the tone. Still, I remain hopeful for this one.

Next was the HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS presentation. The little blonde kid that plays the evil archenemy in the series was there to introduce the special footage presentation, which was exclusive to the Comic-Con fans. The very long trailer was in 3-D (of course!) and I must say it was pretty damn interesting looking. I’m not a HARRY POTTER fan at all. Never read any of the books and I’ve only seen the first, second and fourth films in the series. They’ve never really done anything for me before, but I just might check out this FINAL chapter (which has been split into two films), because it looks like a HIGHLY dramatic conclusion and those are always fun to watch.

The final WB promo was for the new film from ZACH SNYDER, the wild and weird looking SUCKER PUNCH. I knew nothing about SUCKER PUNCH before this panel, except that it has been described as Alice in Wonderland with machine guns. It does look like that, but it also looks like every geek fetish you could possibly imagine all thrown into one Berserker of a movie! The footage featured hot chicks kicking ass, dark castles, mental wards, nazi-like soldiers wearing gas masks, giant robots shooting WWII planes out of the sky, lots of guns and it even has a fire-breathing Dragon! I still don’t know what it’s about and I don’t want to. I just want to see it. I think ZACH SNYDER is a really interesting genre filmmaker and I’m excited to see what kind of thing he has in store for us here.

The panel included ZACH SNYDER and a lot of really sexy actresses, starting with the gorgeous CARLA GUGINO and also featuring EMILY BROWNING, ABBIE CORNISH, VANESSA HUDGENS, JENA MALONE and JAMIE HUNG. Woof!

Sexy SUCKER PUNCH stars!

The trailer shown in Hall H for SUCKER PUNCH sent every nerd fanboy into convulsions and a few to the bathrooms. Think TIM BURTON meets PAUL VERHOEVEN with a little RUSS MEYER thrown in for fun. I can’t wait until March for this one.

LET ME IN was up next. I went into this panel skeptical. I love LET THE RIGHT ONE IN and considered it one of the best films of 2008. I was worried when I heard that it was being remade for American audiences. I didn’t think we needed one. I’m still not sure if we do, but after seeing the panel I think it could be a pretty cool English language version of the original with a few new surprises. Will it be as good? Probably not, but at least director MATT REEVES has made the right decisions in keeping the children’s age the same, having it take place in a snowy location and keeping the story set in the early eighties. It seems to have the same tone as the original too, which was slow and foreboding.

MATT (CLOVERFIELD) REEVES was joined by the cast, which included KODI SMIT-McPHEE (outstanding in THE ROAD), CLOE MORETZ (HIT GIRL from KICK-ASS) and the most brilliant character actor working today, Academy Award-nominee RICHARD JENKINS (who plays the vampire girl’s guardian).

HIT GIRL is now a vampire!

Everything RICHARD JENKINS does is awesome!

A scene was shown that features the RICHARD JENKINS character attempting to “acquire” a victim, by hiding in the back seat of their car. Unfortunately, the would-be victim brings a friend along for a lift home and complicates the situation even more by stopping to get gas. The scene’s set-up and location have been changed from the original film and it’s actually kind of an improvement in terms of suspense the way it is presented here.

I walked away from this panel with a lot of excitement for LET ME IN. MATT REEVES has made all the right decisions on the look and feel of it and I think it’s going to be an excellent new adaptation of the brilliant Swedish novel, LAT DEN RATTE KOMMA. It’s coming out in October and that’s perfect.

RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE was next and I was VERY excited! Not only am I a huge fan of the series, but I’m also a huge fan of the two SUPER-STUNNING lead actresses for the film, MILLA (I LOVE YOU) JOVOVICH and ALI (I WATCHED HEROES AFTER SEASON ONE JUST FOR YOU!) LARTER (who is the HOTTEST pregnant woman you’ve ever seen in your life)! They are BOTH two of the sexiest women on the planet. Period.





Also, on the panel was director PAUL W.S. ANDERSON and some actor guy named WENTWORTH MILLER, who I could care less about.


The footage for RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE was in 3-D and looked pretty off-the-hook amazing! There was a fight scene shown between the girls and this HUGE monster guy called THE EXECUTIONER (who wears a hood made of metal and swings an enormous hammer). It takes place in a big shower room with drops of water shooting in your face in 3-D and it was tile busting cool!

I was a fan of the RESIDENT EVIL game on PS back in the day, but the thing I love about the movie series is the way it takes the zombie genre and turns into this hyper-kinetic comic-book action sci-fi thing with a totally ROMERO/CARPENTER-style cynical commentary on corporate greed and the corruption of power. The fucking UMBRELLA corporation needs to be stopped and I hope Alice and all her sexy-ass clones can do it! BTW- What’s better than MILLA JOVOVICH in 3-D? An army of MILLA JOVOVICH clones in 3-D! Sign me up!

Immediately following this panel was the now infamous eye-gouging in Hall H. What happened was this: one nerd got mad at another nerd for stealing his seat, so he stabbed him in the face with a ball point pen. At first, we heard the nerd had been poked in the eye, but were told later that he had just received a very nasty scratch across his face. Still, his brand new exclusive HARRY POTTER Comic-Con tee shirt was speckled with blood as he was carried off and the attacker was led away in handcuffs by the San Diego police. Hall H is getting dangerous!

This was NOT the guy who got stabbed in the eye in Hall H.

After the commotion had settled, things finally got back to normal in Hall H and the PAUL panel began. Director GREG MOTTOLA and the star-studded cast came out, which included SIMON PEGG, NICK FROST, BILL HADER, JEFFREY TAMBOR, SIGOURNEY WEAVER, JASON BATEMAN, JOE LO TRUGLIO and once again, SETH ROGEN (only this time thankfully, it’s just his voice).

PEGG & FROST together again.




The plot of PAUL is about two British nerds (PEGG & FROST) who are attending the San Diego Comic-Con of all things (everyone in Hall H went nuts when they showed a shot of them walking up to the convention center) and decide to take a cross-country trip to visit Roswell, New Mexico. They pick up an actual extraterrestrial in the desert named Paul and the wackiness ensues as they’re pursued by government agents. The film looks very funny in a SHAUN OF THE DEAD meets E.T. kind of way and the Hall H reaction was extremely enthusiastic.

Next was the COWBOYS & ALIENS panel and JON (IRON MAN II SUCKED) FAVREAU came out with the cast, featuring DANIEL CRAIG, another Con appearance from super-hot OLIVIA WILDE and HAN SOLO himself, HARRISON FORD, who was escorted onto the stage by security guards with his arms cuffed behind him. It brought the house down as well as revealing the identity of the Hall H stabber. Never would have thought it was INDY.



The Hall H eye stabber was revealed.


The movie has been shooting for only a month, but a few scenes were completed (including special effects shots from ILM) just for Comic-Con. The footage shown involved CRAIG’S gunslinger character getting into some trouble with the law in the old west. He’s caught up in a feud with FORD about something and is about to be lynched when the tiny western town they’re in is attacked by a flying saucer and CRAIG saves the day by shooting it down with a wrist laser he’s wearing. Hard to say if it’ll be awesome, but it looked pretty good and I love FORD in just about anything he does.

The final and most anticipated panel of the day (and the Con for that matter) was the MARVEL presentation. It started with a tease of next year’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER, which featured director JOE JOHNSTON and actors CHRIS EVANS and HUGO WEAVING.

The film has just begun filming, but they were able to show us an unfinished scene featuring WEAVING dressed in a Nazi officer uniform (pre-RED SKULL) trying to find the whereabouts of the “cosmic cube”. Many comic nerds lost their minds in fits of geek joy over that.

JOE JOHNSTON assured us that the movie is gonna be action packed and like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (which he himself once worked on) with a super-hero.  I’m hoping it’s great, because CAPTAIN AMERICA is one of my all-time favorite Marvel heroes. Unfortunately, I’m still not completely sold on EVANS as CAP. Time will tell, but I like the direction they’re going in.




Next was THOR and it looks pretty fucking amazing! Director KENNETH BRANAGH and the cast, CHRIS HEMSWORTH (THOR), NATALIE PORTMAN, TOM HIDDLESTON (LOKI) and CLARK GREGG (AGENT PHIL COULSON), came out to show us some footage and talk about the film. The trailer was in (you guessed it) 3-D and looked really cool! The look of the characters and the costumes are perfect and the ASGARD footage is obscenely awesome looking. ANTHONY HOPKINS looks fantastic as ODIN and TOM HIDDLESTON as LOKI gave me chills at how spot-on he is. I can’t wait for this one! It looks epic!




TOM HIDDLESTON as LOKI wants to kill THOR.

CLARK GREGG wants to catch THOR.

We all thought that was it, but suddenly the familiar sounding voice of one SAMUEL L. JACKSON boomed across Hall H to introduce director JOSS WHEDON and the entire cast of THE AVENGERS! AND EVERYBODY WENT INSANE! Here they are:






CHRIS EVANS as CAPTAIN AMERICA, CHRIS HEMSWORTH as THOR, SAM JACKSON as NICK FURY, SCARLETT JOHANSSON as BLACK WIDOW, ROBERT DOWNEY JR. as IRON MAN, JEREMY RENNER as HAWKEYE, and MARK RUFFALO as THE HULK! JOSS WHEDON said that we should all expect the most mammoth super-hero film ever and with him at the helm I expect it to be significantly fantastic! This was an excellent place to conclude the Hall H experience at this year’s Comic-Con. It blew the roof off the joint.

Xena/Grae and I retired to our hotel for some much needed rest. We went out later that night to party with all our friends and share tales of nerd adventures had by all. The next day was sadly the final day of Comic-Con, but we were able to finish up some last minute purchases on the floor as we took a final look around.

The last thing we did at Comic-Con was to record a new podcast with our dear friend MAX LANDIS, who’s a very talented screenwriter (as well as the son of the great JOHN LANDIS) and his lady pal DANI MANNING. We discussed all the sights, sounds and smells we discovered at Comic-Con and the show got pretty crazy at times. If you’d like to watch the video podcast of this show, CLICK HERE! You can also go to THE POPCORN MAFIA website to check out the multitude of interviews and comedy bits we filmed there, too.

GRAE DRAKE, MAX LANDIS, DANI MANNING and MYSELF record a new all Comic-Con related podcast for THE POPCORN MAFIA.

It was a crazy-awesome four days of nerd insanity and I’m already looking forward to next year’s Comic-Con, where I plan to attack it on an even larger scale than the last. Until next time, nerd out!


The 5 Minute Game and BBQ V @ The Cinefamily

June 3, 2010

This past Memorial Day was another edition of one of my all time favorite L.A. cinematic events, THE 5 MINUTE GAME AND BBQ at The Cinefamily. I’ve attended all the previous 5 Minute Games and this one made it the fifth. What is the 5 Minute Game, you ask? It’s a game devised by a group of crazed movie-nerds whom believe that the first five minutes of every movie is all you need to see to know if you want to watch it. So they show an audience the first five minutes of 15 different movies (all of which are very rare and available only on VHS) and then the audience votes on which one they want to see the most. The votes are then tallied up while everyone adjourns to the back patio for a huge BBQ. After the break, everybody returns back into the theatre and we all watch the movie that received the most votes. It’s very democratic!

The first 5 Minute Game winner was an incredible kung fu revenge flick from the 70’s called DEATH PROMISE, that was about a karate guy going after the evil landlords that killed his father. The second 5 Minute Game winner was MAD FOXES, a crazy European action movie about a guy seeking revenge on the biker gang that raped his girlfriend. The third 5 Minute Game was an 80’s horror movie called UNINVITED, that was directed by GREYDON (JOYSTICKS) CLARK and it starred the great veteran actors, GEORGE KENNEDY and CLU GULAGER. It was about a mutant pussy cat killing people aboard a yacht and the audience ate it up. I ran into CLU GULAGER later and mentioned to him that I had just seen UNINVITED and he groaned and said, “The one about the killer pussy!” That’s classic CLU! The last 5 Minute Game winner was the 80’s fast food gross-out comedy HAMBURGER: THE MOTION PICTURE, which I blogged about back in September. I can still vividly remember the scene where an “eating club” made up of obese people, take over a fast food joint and start eating and farting uncontrollably. It was sublime!

This year’s game consisted of the first five minutes of the following entries:

1. DAREDREAMER: This had an amazing opening that featured an insanely dressed ROCK GOD waking up in his mansion and beginning his day. It included him driving a motorcycle out of his house so that he could get to his limousine parked in front, while an awesome 80’s rock tune plays featuring the chorus, “He’s awesome!”.  It looked great but got lost in the shuffle.

2. LINDA LOVELACE FOR PRESIDENT: Crazy political comedy with an overt sex theme.

3. DEADLY BUSINESS: Can’t remember this one. Left no impression.

4. THE BOY WHO CALLED BITCH: This one’s about a young mother raising a horrible son who has violent tantrums and calls his mom a “Bitch” and a “Slut” in front of prospective boyfriends. This one got my vote for second!

5. THE SQUEEZE: This actually looks like a really good movie that stars the great STACY KEACH. Unfortunately, the first five minutes weren’t exciting enough to satisfy this rowdy crowd of drunks. I must check this one out sometime soon.

6. HELP, HELP, THE GLOBOLINKS!: A German newscaster declares, “ALIENS ARE INVADING!” and suddenly the news room is taken over by weird creatures that look like giant sprouts. We watch them dance for five minutes. Zzzzzzzzzzzz.

7. THE BEAT: Can’t remember this one very well either. Break dancing may have been involved.

8. DRAGON HUNT: The first five minutes of this film were incredible and it became apparent instantly that this would be the winner!

9. PRIVATE PRACTICES: Another one I can’t remember. I was a little drunker than usual.

10. THE LAST SLUMBER PARTY: Even I wasn’t interested in seeing this slasher movie and I love slasher movies!

11. NORMAN, IS THAT YOU?: This looked pretty amazing. RED FOXX makes an unannounced visit on his son only to discover he’s GAY! “Oh, Weezie!”

12. KILL!: Didn’t.

13. MR. PEEK-A-BOO: This one got one lonely vote.

14. SCORCHERS: Can’t remember if this is the one with the old Irish guy telling the long, boring story, but if it is, it almost started a riot.

15. DEADLINE: Nothing.

I voted for DRAGON HUNT and THE BOY WHO CRIED BITCH. So did almost everyone else, so after the BBQ grilling and food consumption we all gathered back inside and DRAGON HUNT was screened before an anxious crowd.

DRAGON HUNT (1990) is a Canadian made martial arts action movie that stars the incredible McNAMARA BROTHERS. It is as cheesy and wonderfully entertaining a film as you can possibly imagine. You’ve got an organization of vicious killers that call themselves The People’s Private Army, which are led by a cartoonish madman named Jake (B. BOB) who sports a metal hand and a mohawk inspired by FLOCK OF SEAGULLS. Part of his plot for world domination includes capturing the Twin Dragons (MARTIN AND MICHAEL McNAMARA) a brother karate duo that look like a cross between CHUCK NORRIS and the SUPER MARIO BROTHERS. Pretty much everyone in this movie has a crazy haircut and a wild mustache and it’s awesome!

The Twin Dragons are set up and drugged by two foxy women that are in cahoots with the bad guys. They wake up on an island filled with vicious killers (whom have names like THE BEASTMASTER, THE FAT MAN and THE RED SKULL OF DEATH), where they are forced to be the prey in a DANGEROUS GAME styled hunt. But they don’t know who they’re fucking with! One by one, the Twin Dragons take out The People’s Private Army (including a team of the most incompetent ninjas ever seen) and punch and kick their way to the evil Jake.

Wow, this movie totally delivered on its promising first five minutes! It was a really entertaining piece of Canuxsploitation from beginning to end and it just kept delivering the goods. Silly plot, bad acting, strange dialogue, weird costumes, horribly staged action, cheesy music and not one, not two, but THREE action montages set to music! This was probably my favorite 5 Minute Game to date. Exploitation movies just seem to play the best with that crowd and the more obscure the better. After searching for a VHS copy of DRAGON HUNT, I can say that it’s definitely not available anywhere else. I don’t know how The Cinefamily got a hold of this gem, but it’s worth its weight in nerd gold. I can’t wait to see which obscure titles they’ll have in store for us at the next 5 Minute Game. I leave you with some photos from the BBQ, enjoy!


BBQ carnage.

Cinefamily chieftains Tom Fitzgerald & Hadrian Belove and screenwriter Josh Olson discuss their choices for the evening.

A rowdy drunkard crashes the BBQ and wreaks havoc! Oh wait, that's Max Landis.

That's a packed patio!

An evening with John Carpenter, The Thing and the Prince Of Darkness.

September 30, 2009


There are certain filmmakers from the 70’s and 80’s that contributed in raising me and turning me into the kind of movie nerd that I’ve become. And there were none more prolific than John Carpenter, whose films I literally grew up watching since my family first took me to see HALLOWEEN in ’79. There was a new John Carpenter movie out pretty much every single year of my early childhood and teen years in the 1980’s and I would always be there on opening day. THE FOG, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, CHRISTINE, STARMAN, BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, THEY LIVE and the two that I’m gonna talk about now, ruled that decade and have provided the creatively bankrupt movie industry of today with a whole bunch of original properties to remake and ruin.

This week the New Beverly Cinema programmed a great double feature of Carpenter’s all-time masterpiece THE THING (1982) along with the criminally underrated PRINCE OF DARKNESS (1987). I joined the rest of the “real” geek squad on Sunday night, but almost didn’t make it inside when I was attacked in line by Max Landis, who was wearing an original ROB BOTTIN mask mold from the movie!

Max Landis attempts to "assimilate" me!

Max Landis attempts to "assimilate" me!

I distracted him with my TROLL 2 shirt and ran inside to take a seat and watch one of my favorite horror films of all time…


The New Bev’s own Julia Marchese interviewed actor Joel Polis before the film and he talked about how THE THING failed at the box office when it was first released in 1982, because it was sandwhiched in between E.T. and POLTERGEIST.  I remember seeing all three of them, one after another, that summer. 1982 was definitely one of the greatest genre movie summers ever.

He also told us a few stories about the production, including an explanation of why the audience never gets to see the demise of his character Fuchs. Apparently, they actually shot an entire scene in which Fuchs is hung up on a door with an axe in his chest and all covered in blood. Carpenter decided that the Thing just wouldn’t kill someone this way and that it was way too slasher-ish, so they came up with what you see in the movie instead. I personally like that it’s ambiguous as to whether or not Fuchs burned himself up or if someone or some-THING else did.

The New Bev's Julia Marchese interviews actor Joel Polis about The Thing.

The New Bev's Julia Marchese interviews actor Joel Polis about The Thing.

Then the film started and for 2 hours you couldn’t hear a pin drop, except for the screams. THE THING is a great film with a brilliant script, cast and direction. I love so many things about it and I really enjoy watching it with an audience and people that have never seen it before. It’s a testament to how effective the film still is when they continue to jump and scream like crazy at all those classic moments. Like the dog kennel scene. Or the scene where Copper gets his arms bitten off by Norris. Or my favorite scene with the blood test where Palmer goes berserk.



Kurt Russell in another badass iconic role for John Carpenter.

Kurt Russell in another badass iconic role for John Carpenter.

I want this!

I want this!

Other things that are awesome about THE THING:

KURT RUSSELL coming off an iconic badass performance for John Carpenter as SNAKE PLISSKEN, creates another iconic badass performance with R.J. MacREADY!

ROB BOTTIN delivers a tour de force of the greatest makeup effects ever created and what he couldn’t finish, the late great STAN WINSTON contributed!

Carpenter has scored the music for every single one of his films (and a few he didn’t direct too), but didn’t have time to do it for THE THING. But that’s fine because he got the genius Italian composer ENNIO MORRICONE to do it! It’s also cool how the score is very much like Carpenter and very unlike Morricone.

The entirely male ensemble cast lends a lot to the intensity of the film with their performances. There is an increasing amount of hostility that comes out of the men as the paranoia begins to rise and it’s due to some superb acting that includes KEITH DAVID, WILFORD BRIMLEY and T.K. CARTER.

When the movie was over, there was a short break and then…


I saw PRINCE OF DARKNESS in the cineplex back in 1987. I think it is one of Carpenter’s most overlooked films and it was a great pairing with THE THING because even though they are very different in tone and pacing, they have a very similar set up and story.

PRINCE OF DARKNESS tells the tale of an old Catholic church in downtown Los Angeles that has been keeping a lid on Satan as he sleeps in a large container of swirling green energy. DONALD PLEASENCE is the priest in charge of keeping it a secret, but it has become apparent to him that the church’s unwanted guest is starting to awake and illicit others to do his bidding. He brings in a group of quantum physics students and their professor to help figure out a way to stop it, but they are slowly taken over by Satan’s will.

This is a horror movie about the coming of the Anti-Christ that has a heavier emphasis on science than religion. It is much more atmospheric than any of Carpenter’s other films and has a slower dreamlike pace that feels like it was influenced a lot by DARIO ARGENTO.

For me, one of the creepiest moments in the film is when everyone has that weird “dream” of the dark figure walking out of the church. It becomes even creepier to learn that these are actually video messages being sent back in time from the future to warn them that if they fail, the world will be taken over by the Devil. Every time we see one of them I always get goose bumps, never fail.

This image never ceases to scare the HELL out of me!

This image never ceases to scare the HELL out of me!

Alice Cooper as a homeless disciple of Satan.

Alice Cooper as a homeless disciple of Satan.

This lady got a degree in demonology.

This lady got a degree in demonology.

Before the film there was an intro and interview with script supervisor and wife of John Carpenter, Sandy King and actors, Anne Marie Howard and Peter Jason (who’s been in a lot of Carpenter and Walter Hill’s movies). The actors told us how they all had private “zombie” meetings with John Carpenter to discuss how their character would return from the dead. Actor David Warner suggested to Peter Jason to play the part like he was in constant pain and that’s what he did. Sandy King told us how the movie was made for about 3 million bucks and was a union shoot that was mostly shot in her living room. She also said that when Carpenter started writing it, he told her to go out and “get everything you can on quantum physics”, which she did. When someone asked her if POD will ever be remade she said that it was the only one that they haven’t been approached with a remake offer. Thank god! POD is it’s own unique little snow flake and nobody can provide as much fright on such a small budget as Carpenter could.

Sandy King, Anne Marie Howard and Peter Jason talk PRINCE OF DARKNESS.

Sandy King, Anne Marie Howard and Peter Jason talk PRINCE OF DARKNESS.

This was another great double bill at the New Beverly Cinema. This Saturday at midnight they are showing SHOCKER and WES CRAVEN will be introducing it! See you there! And if you see some-THING that looks like Max Landis, RUN!

An American Werewolf in Los Angeles!

September 17, 2009
Thank god there wasn't a full moon!

Thank god there wasn't a full moon!

On Monday the 14th of September, the world famous New Beverly Cinema hosted a special presentation of the 1981 John Landis horror-comedy AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON and the world premiere of its new documentary BEWARE THE MOON. There were several guests in attendance that included the makers of the doc, legendary producer George Folsey Jr. and makeup effects maestro Rick Baker plus a few members of his original team. The evening started with the screening of a beautiful 35mm print of the classic…


I saw AMERICAN WEREWOLF about 5 times in the theatre back in ’81 and dozens of times on home video. It’s easy to forget how monumental a film this was for the horror genre back then. It’s influence has been so big that it’s now become a standard to combine humor with startling violence. John Landis was not the first guy to mix horror with comedy, but he was the first one to balance it so perfectly and while the movie featured “modern” effects (at least at the time they were) it was also paying homage to the great movie monsters of the past.

This shot never ceases to scare the living crap out of me!

This shot never ceases to scare the living crap out of me!

Simply the greatest transformation sequence EVER!!

Simply the greatest transformation sequence EVER!!

Hungry like the wolf.

Hungry like the wolf.

In the documentary BEWARE THE MOON, John Landis tells of how he came up with this crazy movie. He was working on the crew of KELLEY’S HEROES in Yugoslavia, when he came across two men burying a corpse by the side of the road. The body was being covered with garlic and other strange things and when he asked why, he was told the man was a violent criminal and they didn’t want him to rise out of the grave and kill anyone. John Landis said the fact that they had just put a man on the moon and here were two guys that were still afraid of zombies was the impetus for him to write AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON.

Rick Baker’s transformation scene is still the best one ever put on film. Everything about that sequence is still so amazing to look at and at the screening that night, it received a huge applause from the New Bev audience. Listening to Rick Baker talk about it’s evolution from concept to reality was very interesting.

Makeup effects GOD, Rick Baker discusses his work on AMERICAN WEREWOLF.

Makeup effects GOD, Rick Baker discusses his work on AMERICAN WEREWOLF.

I had a question about the movie, but I waited until the documentary was over, because we were told that it pretty much covers everything about the film. My question was in regards to an old article I remember reading back in the day, when the film was first released. In an interview with John Landis, he stated that he had cut the attack of the werewolf against the three homeless guys in the junkyard because the “preview” audience’s reaction was so strong, they kept talking for 5 minutes after the scene was over. Landis was afraid that audiences would miss out on the next scene because the last one was so wild, so he cut it. In the doc he admits that he should have left it in and I was hoping to see some footage, but alas, there was none.

Lucky for me, I had the entire sequence described to me by none other than Max Landis (yes, that’s the son of John), who was also there that night. A group of us fans were discussing the movie, when Max Landis walked up and started telling us some stories about it. The description he gave me of the scene in question, sounded awesome  and made me wish I could see it even more. Also, the fact that it was described to me by Max, who looks and acts almost exactly like his dad was pretty damn amazing too. Max is a screenwriter and a really cool guy. Thanks again, Max!

If you’re a fan, I would definitely buy AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON on Blu Ray, because it also includes the fantastic documentary BEWARE THE MOON. It’s very well made and covers everything you would ever want to know about this great film. Until next time, stay off the moors and beware the moon.

One of us needs a shave!

One of us needs a shave!