Tuesday, December 30, 2008

1986

I know I'm sounding like a broken record, but this was another great year for sci/fan/hor. David Cronenberg remade The Fly, James Cameron remade Alien (and sneakily added an s on the end) and John Carpenter made his last great movie. We also got to meet the lovable Johnny 5, though I still don't know why Ally Sheedy thought he was an alien and not a robot. But never mind. Oh, and how could I forget the great Highlander, with a Scotsman playing a Spaniard and Frenchman playing a Scot?

Best Movie: The Fly; Runners-up: Aliens, Big Trouble in Little China, Labyrinth, Highlander, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Flight of the Navigator, Little Shop of Horrors, House, Short Circuit
Best Screenplay: Charles Edward Pogue and David Cronenberg (The Fly)
Best Director: David Cronenberg (The Fly); Runner-up: James Cameron (Aliens)
Best Actor: Jeff Goldblum (The Fly); Runners-up: Kurt Russell (Big Trouble in Little China), Steve Martin (Little Shop of Horrors), Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Best Actress: Sigourney Weaver (Aliens); Runners-up: Jennifer Connelly (Labyrinth), Geena Davis (The Fly)
Best Music: Howard Shore (The Fly); Runners-up: Aliens, Labyrinth
Best Visual Effects: Aliens
Best Makeup: The Fly
Guilty Pleasure: Howard the Duck

1985

Another classic year. The movies went into the nostalgic past and the bleak future. More importantly, this year saw the feature debut of a young filmmaker called Timmy Burton. There were some good zombie films too. Don't ya love the 80's?

Best Movie: Back to the Future; Runners-up: Return of the Living Dead, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Young Sherlock Holmes, Brazil, Fright Night, D.A.R.Y.L., Enemy Mine, Cat’s Eye, Explorers
Best Screenplay: The two Bobs (Back to the Future)
Best Director: Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future)
Best Actor: Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future); Runners-up: Paul Reubens (Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure), Louis Gossett, Jr. (Enemy Mine), Robert DeNiro (Brazil)
Best Actress: Lea Thompson (Back to the Future)
Best Music: Danny Elfman (Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure); Runners-up: Back to the Future, Young Sherlock Holmes
Best Visual Effects: Back to the Future
Best Makeup: Return of the Living Dead; Runner-up: Day of the Dead
Best Nude Vampire Movie: Lifeforce

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Day the Remakes Stood Still

I'm taking a break from my annual awards to rant about Hollywood remakes. They suck. They've sucked for a long time now, and somebody needs to step in and ban them. It used to be that people remade a movie to either improve it or put a fresh spin on it (think of great remakes like The Fly and The Thing). But that time has past. Now remakes are made to cash in on the name and for zero creative reasons. Hollywood must be stopped before it's too late!


Well, we can dream, can't we? So I finally got around to seeing the unnecessary remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still. The original is one of my favourite sci-fi movies ever and is still as relevant today as it was in 1951. If they had to remake it, all they had to do was keep the basic story and just update the effects. But no, they had to totally change the point of the story. Bad Hollywood.

The first half actually wasn't bad, with some clever nods to the original. Keanu Reeves is suitably alien and there was a nice buildup of suspense. I could even forgive that the CGI Gort looked like shit because he at least resembled the original. But once Klatuu goes on the run the film goes nowhere and the final special effects showreel had nothing we hadn't seen before and better. Then the film just ends, with no "Klatuu, Barada, Nikto" moment or warning for mankind. Add this to the long-list of dumbed-down remakes that will be forgotten long before people stop watching the classic original. Kudos to John Cleese for pulling off a serious role, though.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

1984

The eighties just keep getting better and better! This year had it all: spooky fun with Gremlins and Ghostbusters, John Carpenter's ET for grown-ups, the debut of Freddy Krueger and the groundbreaking computer FX of The Last Starfighter. Even the bad films, like Dune, had much to admire. Then there was The Terminator, an unbelievably good film from the director of Piranha II.

Best Movie: The Terminator (Runners-up: Repo Man, Ghostbusters, Gremlins, Starman, Splash, The Company of Wolves, The Last Starfighter, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom)
Best Screenplay: James Cameron (The Terminator)
Best Director: James Cameron (The Terminator)
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges (Starman); Runners-up: Bill Murray (Ghostbusters), Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator), Michael Biehn (The Terminator), Harry Dean Stanton (Repo Man), Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Best Actress: Karen Allen (Starman); Runners-up: Linda Hamilton (The Terminator), Sigourney Weaver (Ghostbusters)
Best Music: Jerry Goldsmith (Gremlins); Runners-up: The Terminator, Ghostbusters, Starman, Indiana Jones and Temple of Doom
Best Visual Effects: The Last Starfighter; Runners-up: Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 2010
Best Makeup: A Nightmare on Elm Street; Runners-up: Gremlins, The Company of Wolves
Best Production Design: The Company of Wolves
Best Costumes: Dune
Best Guilty Pleasure: Supergirl
Best Cult Movie: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

Sunday, December 28, 2008

1983

This year saw a shock upset with a Star Wars film being beaten by two David Cronenberg classics (one of which was the best of many Stephen King adaptations released that year). It also saw a plethora of 3D movies, only one of which was any good.

Best Movie: The Dead Zone; Runners-up: Videodrome, Return of the Jedi, Christine, Krull
Best Screenplay: David Cronenberg (Videodrome)
Best Director: David Cronenberg (The Dead Zone and Videodrome)
Best Actor: Christopher Walken (The Dead Zone); Runners-up: James Woods (Videodrome), Iam McDiarmid (Return of the Jedi)
Best Actress: Debbie Harry (Videodrome); Runner-up: Dee Wallace (Cujo)
Best Music: John Williams (Return of the Jedi); Runner-up: The Dead Zone
Best Visual Effects: Return of the Jedi
Best Makeup: Return of the Jedi
Best Sound Effects: Return of the Jedi
Best Costumes: Return of the Jedi
Best 3D Movie: Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone
Guilty Pleasure: Sleepaway Camp

1982

For many, this was the year of Spielberg's cuddly alien. For me, I preferred Carpenter's shape-changing murderous alien. This was a great year for sci-fi, one that has never been matched since. Even films considered failures at the time, such as Blade Runner and Tron, went on to become classics.

Best Movie: The Thing; Runners-up: Blade Runner, Tron, The Secret of NIMH, Star Trek II, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Poltergeist, The Dark Crystal, Creepshow
Best Screenplay: Bill Lancaster (The Thing)
Best Director: Ridley Scott (Blade Runner)
Best Actor: Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner); Runner-up: Kurt Russell (The Thing), Jeff Bridges (Tron)
Best Actress: Daryl Hannah (Blade Runner); Runners-up: Sean Young (Blade Runner), Nastassja Kinski (Cat People)
Best Music: John Williams (E.T.); Runners-up: John Carpenter (The Thing), Vangelis (Blade Runner), Tron, Conan the Barbarian
Best Visual Effects: Tron
Best Makeup: The Thing
Best Costumes: Blade Runner
Best Production Design: Blade Runner

Friday, December 26, 2008

1981

How do you top 1980? How about with the best werewolf movie of all time, Terry Gilliam's first solo hit movie and the birth of the "video nasties" with The Evil Dead? Oh, and that Indiana Jones guy. 1981 was a very good year.

Best Movie: Raiders of the Lost Ark; Runners-up: An American Werewolf in London, Time Bandits, Scanners, The Evil Dead, Escape From New York, The Howling, Mad Max 2, Heavy Metal
Best Screenplay: John Landis (An American Werewolf in London)
Best Director: Steven Spielberg (Raiders of the Lost Ark)
Best Actor: Harrison Ford (Raiders of the Lost Ark); Runners-up: David Warner (Time Bandits), Griffin Dunne (An American Werewolf in London), Kurt Russell (Escape From New York)
Best Actress: Karen Allen (Raiders of the Lost Ark); Runner-up: Jenny Agutter (An American Werewolf in London)
Best Music: John Williams (Raiders of the Lost Ark); Runner-up: John Carpenter (Escape From New York)
Best Visual Effects: Raiders of the Lost Ark; Runners-up: Dragonslayer, Time Bandits
Best Makeup: An American Werewolf in London; Runners-up: The Evil Dead, The Howling
Best Production Design: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Best Stunts: (TIE) Raiders of the Lost Ark and Mad Max 2

Thursday, December 25, 2008

1980

The 80's started with a bang. Kubrick did his take on Stephen King (which the author still regrets to this day), Superman returned, Flash Gordon took camp to new heights and Friday the 13th took exploitation horror to new lows. But once again the awards were swept by a Star Wars movie.

Best Movie: The Empire Strikes Back (Runners-up: The Shining, Superman II, The Fog, Altered States, Battle Beyond the Stars)
Best Screenplay: Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back)
Best Director: Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back); Runner-up: Stanley Kubrick (The Shining)
Best Actor: Jack Nicholson (The Shining); Runners-up: Harrison Ford (The Empire Strikes Back), James Earl Jones and Dave Prowse (The Empire Strikes Back), Terence Stamp (Superman II), Frank Oz (The Empire Strikes Back)
Best Actress: Carrie Fisher (The Empire Strikes Back)
Best Music: John Williams (The Empire Strikes Back); Runner-up: Queen (Flash Gordon)
Best Visual Effects: The Empire Strikes Back
Best Makeup: Friday the 13th
Best Costumes: Flash Gordon
Best Production Design: The Empire Strikes Back

Merry Christmas everybody! Even you atheists.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

1979

This was the year that the impact of Star Wars truly started to be felt. There was Ridley Scott's Alien (which was very good) and Star Trek: The Motion Picture (which was not). Then there was crazy Mel in Mad Max, proving that Aussies could do sci-fi, too.

Best Movie: Alien Runners-up: Monty Python's Life of Brian, Being There, Mad Max, Time After Time, Phantasm
Best Screenplay: Jerry Kosinski (Being There)
Best Director: Ridley Scott (Alien)
Best Actor: Peter Sellers (Being There); Runner-up: Iam Holm (Alien)
Best Actress: Sigourney Weaver (Alien)
Best Music: Jerry Goldsmith (Alien)
Best Visual Effects: Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Best Makeup: Phantasm
Best Production Design: Alien

Next up, the 80's!

1978

This year saw the first blockbuster comic book movie, George Romero's masterful follow-up to Night of the Living Dead, and a sci-fi remake that didn't suck. But my top pick is the greatest of all slasher movies.

Best Movie: Halloween (Runners-up: Dawn of the Dead, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Superman: The Movie, Piranha)
Best Screenplay: Mario Puzo, etc. (Superman)
Best Director: John Carpenter (Halloween)
Best Actor: Christopher Reeve (Superman); Runner-up: Anthony Hopkins (Magic), Jeff Goldblum (Invasion of the Body Snatchers)
Best Actress: Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween)
Best Music: John Williams (Superman); Runner-up: John Carpenter (Halloween)
Best Visual Effects: Superman
Best Production Design: Superman
Best Makeup: Dawn of the Dead

Monday, December 22, 2008

1977

If 1975 was the seed for modern Fantastic Cinema, then 1977 was when it exploded into full bloom. You had classic horror (The Hills Have Eyes) classic sci-fi (Close Encounters of the Third Kind) and classic . . . um . . . weirdness (Eraserhead). But of course, all that was topped by one beardy Californian filmmaker who set out to make the best B-movie of all time, and succeeded beyond anyone's expectations. 31 years and countless unsold Jar Jar dolls later, and Star Wars is still somehow cool. So the following winners will come as no surprise.

Best Movie: Star Wars; Runners-up: Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Eraserhead, The Hills Have Eyes, Rabid, Jabberwocky
Best Screenplay: George Lucas (Star Wars)
Best Director: George Lucas (Star Wars); Runner-up: Steven Spielberg (Close Encounters), David Lynch (Eraserhead)
Best Actor: Alec Guinness (Star Wars); Runner-up: Richard Dreyfuss (Close Encounters)
Best Actress: Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
Best Music: John Williams (Star Wars, Close Encounters)
Best Visual Effects: Star Wars; Runner-up: Close Encounters
Best Makeup: Star Wars
Best Production Design: Star Wars
Best Costumes: Star Wars

Sunday, December 21, 2008

1976

1976 was the year that saw the first Stephen King movie. It was a good one, soon to be followed by many more (most of them not so good). In fact, it was a strong year for horror, as my awards show.

Best Movie: Carrie; Runners-up: The Omen, Logan’s Run, The Man Who Fell to Earth, To the Devil a Daughter
Best Screenplay: Lawrence D. Cohen (Carrie)
Best Director: Brian DePalma (Carrie)
Best Actor: David Bowie (The Man Who Fell to Earth); Runner-up: Gregory Peck (The Omen)
Best Actress: Sissy Spacek (Carrie), Runner-up: Piper Laurie (Carrie)
Best Music: Jerry Goldsmith (The Omen)
Best Costumes: Logan’s Run

Next: 1977. The year there were Wars in the Stars. Or something . . .

Saturday, December 20, 2008

1975 was a good year . . .

So, in the run up to the 1st Annual Imaginary Cinema Awards in the new year (more on that later) I thought I'd retroactively come up with my awards for the best in horror, fantasy and sci-fi movies from each of the last 33 years, starting with the year that I was only around for the last few months of.
The categories are fairly arbitrary, based solely on whether I could think of any deserving choices that year. So here's the best from 1975. A year that saw the rise of such future legends as Steven Spielberg, Terry Gilliam and David Cronenberg. Look for more to follow soon!

Best Movie: Jaws. Runners-up: Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, A Boy and His Dog, Rollerball, Shivers
Best Screenplay: Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb (Jaws)
Best Director: Steven Spielberg (Jaws)
Best Actor: Robert Shaw (Jaws); Runner-up: Tim Curry (The Rocky Horror Picture Show)
Best Actress: Susan Sarandon (The Rocky Horror Picture Show)
Best Music: John Williams (Jaws); Runner-up: The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Best Makeup: The Devil’s Rain

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Sparkly Emo Vampires!

It's been a while since I've posted anything, since I've been so busy with work and filming The Party (which is almost complete, by the way). But I had to post a quick review of Twilight.
I honestly wasn't expecting much from the film (the book made JK Rowling seem like Shakespeare) but it was a fairly entertaining comedy. Unfortunately I don't think the filmmakers intended it to be that. From the pale, pretty and pouty vampires to the overly serious dialogue this film is ripe for parody. I'll give the screenwriter credit for putting more action in the film (all the cool stuff happened off page in the book) but it has most of the same weaknesses as the book. It may be breaking box office records now, but I predict the inevitable sequel will have a far smaller audience.