The man who gave us movies about humanoids from the deep, crab monsters and wasp women is at it again. The release of Dinoshark on DVD brings legendary producer Roger Corman full circle, right back to the creature feature movies that made him famous in the 1950s.
“There have been creature features since the inception of films,” said the 85-year-old Corman in a recent phone interview. “What we’re doing now with Dinoshark and Shartopus is we’re going father and farther and it intrigues the audience. I don’t want to use the word outlandish but certainly they are the farthest out type of creature we’ve seen.”
The films—Dinoshark and Sharktopus—were made for the SyFy Channel in the US, and feature all of Corman’s trademarks—a little bit of star power (Eric Roberts stars in Sharktopus), a sense of humor and, of course, a wild hybrid creature.
“The creature comes first, then we try and figure out why the creature exists. That’s why the first picture we made of this group, was Dinocroc, which I made independently and sold to the SyFy Channel and it got a very big rating. So I then wet for Supergator and Dinoshark and the SyFy Channel called me and said, ‘Roger, you’ve come up with all the title, now we have a title, Sharktopus. Do you want to make it?’
“I said no and gave them my theory, which I still believe in, now with some modification, which is that you can go up to a certain level of insanity with these titles and the audience is with you because they want to see it. But if you go over a level, what I call the acceptable level of insanity, and the audience will say, ‘Oh you’ve got to be kidding,’ and they’ll turn against you.”
So far audiences haven’t turned against Corman and his outrageous creatures. His next feature for SyFy is Piranhaconda, a movie he says, doesn’t “up the level of insanity, but it maintains it.”
Corman, however, is a realist. He’s been in Hollywood since Eisenhower was president, so to say he understands the ups and down of the film business is an understatement akin to saying Sharktopus gets a little bitey sometimes.
“I think [the business] is cyclical. You make a certain type of picture, it’s successful, other people make them too, you may remake or continue with that cycle, then the audience gets saturated with them. They grow tired and the cycle turns down. It never goes quite away. Then after a few years someone will make a good one with a slightly different point of view and the cycle will start all over again. I think we’re near the peak of that cycle now. My theory is that we can run another year or so but then the cycle will start to turn back down.”
But when the creature cycle burns out, will he stop producing movies and take a well deserved break? After all, he has produced almost 400 films.
“I simply love the process of making films,” he says. “It is creative, interesting, fascinating and occasionally lucrative. I like the combination of all those. I never intend to retire.”
On this special Halloween edition of the Richard Crouse Show we meet Ainslie Hogarth, author of “Motherthing,” darkly comedic novel about a woman who must take drastic measures to save her husband and herself from the vengeful ghost of her mother-in-law.
Then, David Cronenberg stops by. The director of “Eastern Promises,” “A History of Violence,” “The Fly” and “Videodrome,” among many others, talks about “Crimes of the Future,” an all-star story of eroticized human evolution starring Kristen Stewart, Viggo Mortensen and Léa Seydoux and we’ll find out whether he likes the nickname for his fans!
We go to the vault to find an interview I did with Daniel Radcliffe the night after I hosted the Canadian premier of his first post Harry Potter movie, a brooding gothic horror film called “The Woman in Black.” In the film Daniel plays a recently widowed layer who is grieving the loss of his wife when he is sent to a remote village on business. Once there he discovers his client’s house is haunted by the spirit of a woman who is trying to find someone and something she lost, and that no one is safe from her terrible wrath.
We’re talking horror, and who better to talk to than John Landis. As the director of An American Werewolf in London and the groundbreaking music video for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” he knows a thing or two about how to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. In this conversation we talk about The Exorcist, The Omen, ghosts and one of th4e scariest scenes he’s ever seen in a movie. Ninety years ago Charles Laughton starred in The Island of Lost Souls as Dr. Moreau, a brilliant surgeon who performed vivisection on animals with the goal of turning animals into half human beings.
Listen to the whole thing HERE! (Link coming soon)
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Each week on the nationally syndicated Richard Crouse Show, Canada’s most recognized movie critic brings together some of the most interesting and opinionated people from the movies, television and music to put a fresh spin on news from the world of lifestyle and pop-culture. Tune into this show to hear in-depth interviews with actors and directors, to find out what’s going on behind the scenes of your favourite shows and movies and get a new take on current trends. Recent guests include Chris Pratt, Elvis Costello, Baz Luhrmann, Martin Freeman, David Cronenberg, Mayim Bialik, The Kids in the Hall and many more!
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We can all imagine the fear that comes along with being chased by a werewolf. Or waking up to find Dracula staring down at you. They are living, breathing (or in Drac’s case, dead and not so breathing, but you get the idea) embodiments of evil. But how about inanimate objects? Have you ever been terrified of a lamp? Or creeped out by a tire?
In this weekend’s The Possession, a Dybbuk Box purchased at a yard sale brings misfortune to everyone who comes in contact with it.
It’s not the first time that the movies have imbued an inert object with evil powers.
There have been loads of haunted houses in the movies. In most of them, however, the house is merely a vessel for a spirit or some unseen entity that makes its presence know by making the walls bleed or randomly slamming doors. Rarer is the house that is actually evil.
Stephen King wrote about a house that eats people in the third installment of his Dark Tower series. On screen Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg visualized the idea in the appropriately titled Monster House.
In this animated movie three teens figure out the house across the street is a man-eating monster.
By the time they got around to the fourth installment of the most famous haunted house series, the Amityville Horror, filmmakers had to figure out a new plotline apart from the tired “new owners move in to the house, get freaked out leave,” storyline. In The Amityville Horror: The Evil Escapes, a cursed lamp causes all sorts of trouble when it is shipped from the evil Long Island house to a Californian mansion.
Much weirder is Rubber, the story of a killer tire — yes, you read that right — with psychokinetic powers — think Carrie with treads — who terrorizes the American southwest. It’s an absurdist tract on how and why we watch movies, what entertainment is and the movie business, among other things. But frankly, mostly it’s about a tire rolling around the desert and while there is something kind of hypnotic about watching the tire on its murderous journey — think Natural Born Killers but round and rubbery — that doesn’t mean Rubber is a good movie.
Finally, think bed bugs are bad? How about a hungry bed? The title of this one sums it up: Death Bed: The Bed that Eats.
I appear on “CTV News at 6” with anchor Pauline Chan to talk about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week I have a look at the Cate Blanchett drama “Tár,” Jessica Chastian in “The Good Nurse” on Netflix, the Crave horror-drama “Yellowjackets” and the Netlfix competition show “Drink Masters.”
Final Destination 5 is a chronicle of carnage in which a group of good looking young people die in the most terrible ways imaginable, usually preceded by the tell tale line, “Something’s wrong!”
For example, a gymnast earns a 9.5 from the Splatterville judge and star Jacqueline MacInnes Wood succumbs to laser surgery gone horribly wrong. It’s the kind of movie which makes audiences shout, “No, you didn’t!” and “Awwwwwwwwwwwww! I can never un-see that!” usually while laughing and having a gruesome good time.
This week I asked Wood why people would pay money to go see her movie.
“We’re all twisted,” she said. “That’s the answer.”
Others have different ideas. In his excellent book Shock Value author Jason Zinoman suggests that one of the pleasures of getting scared at the movies is “that it focuses the mind.” He uses the example of a baby being born. “Try to imagine the shock of one world running into another,” he writes. “Nothing is familiar and the slightest detail registers as shockingly new. Think of the futility of trying to process what is going on. No wonder they scream.
“Overwhelming terror,” he continues, “may be the closest we ever get to the feeling of being born.”
Whether it’s as deep seeded as that or not, there is no denying that terror is a primal feeling. Its part of our DNA but, counter intuitively, it isn’t horrible when experienced at the movies. As Eduardo Andrade and Joel B. Cohen said in a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, “the most pleasant moments of a particular event may also be the most fearful.”
A Saturday matinee screening of Paranormal Activity was the first and only time I ever heard anyone actually scream in a theatre. I don’t mean a quiet whimper followed by an embarrassed laugh or a frightened little squeal. No, I mean a full-on, open throated howl of terror. But the woman didn’t run from the theatre. She stayed and enjoyed the rest of the film, so she must have liked the cathartic release of tension the scream gave her.
Alfred Hitchcock, knew how to scare the wits out of people. The shower scene in Psycho, for example, is a benchmark in cinematic fear. If he had any doubts about the effectiveness of that sequence they must have been put to bed when he received an angry letter from a father whose daughter stopped bathing after seeing the bathtub murder scene in Les Diaboliques and then, more distressingly, refused to shower after seeing Psycho. Hitch’s response to the concerned dad? “Send her to the dry cleaners.”
The director was always quick with a line, but when it got down to the business of terrifying audiences he summed up the appeal of the scary movie in one brief sentence: “People like to be scared when they feel safe.”
I join the host of NewsTalk 1010’s “The Rush” with Reshmi Nair, for a segment called “Entertainment Court.” Each week I serve as the judge, Reshmi as the juror, and we render a verdict on the week’s biggest pop culture stories.
This week we ask, Have late night talk shows stayed too long at the party? If not, what would it take to get you to watch? Is Spotify right when they say it is not up to them to remove Kanye West’s music from their playlist? Is any publicity is good publicity?
I joined CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres. Today we talk about the Cate Blanchett drama “Tár,” the dramedy “The Banshees of Inisherin” and Jessica Chastian in “The Good Nurse.”