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Monday, October 29th 2012

5:45 PM

Website Down

Not that anyone reads this blog anymore, but just in case...

The new (well, it's a few years old now) Hollywood Gothique website is down. You can still access our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hollywood-Gothique/108806737475
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Tuesday, August 26th 2008

1:05 PM

New Hollywood Gothique Webstie

  • Posted by: Steve Biodrowski

We are in the process of developing a new Hollywood Gothqiue website, one that will better integrate the weblog with the static pages into one unified whole.

Although we have yet to transfer all of the old pages over, the blog function of the new website is up and running, so at this point it makes sense to post all future news updates there.

You can access the new website at the old url: www.hollywoodgothiuqe.com.

See you there! 

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Tuesday, August 26th 2008

1:03 PM

George Pal Tribute and War of the Worlds screening

  • Posted by: Steve Biodrowski
  • Event Date & Time: August 27 @ 7:30pm
  • Location: 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, California 90211. Telephone: (310) 247-3000
  • In Person: Barbara Eden, Ann Robinson, Russ Tamblyn, Alan Young
War of the Worlds (1953)George Pal produced and sometimes directed some of the great science fiction films of the 1950 and 1960s - films that defined the genre and inspired later filmmakers like George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Joe Dante. On Wednesday August 27 at 7:30pm in Samuel L. Goldwyn theatre in Beverly Hills, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will offer a tribute entitled "George Pal: Discovering the Fantastic," which will include a panel discussion featuring several people who worked with Pal, including actros Barbara Eden (THE SEVEN FACES OF DR. LAO), Ann Robinson (WAR OF THE WORLDS), Russ Tamblyn, and Alan Young (THE TIME MACHINE).

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS will be screened, along with several of Pal's short stop-motion "Puppetoons."

Tickets are $5 for general audiences, $3 for Academy members. The theatre is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, California 90211. Telephone 310) 247-3000.

The Los Angeles Times has an article about the event, including interviews from some of the people who will be involved.

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Tuesday, August 26th 2008

11:16 AM

Halloween Horror Nights news for 2008

  • Posted by: Steve Biodrowski
  • Event Date & Time: October 3-4, 10-11, 17-19, 24-26, 30-31 and November 1, starting at 7pm nightly
  • Location: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA
Freddy's back for 2008Universal Studios Hollywood has issued a press release that is showing up around the web, trumpeting the terrors that await visitors to this year's edition of Halloween Horror Nights, the annual celebration that begins on October 3.

Like last year, Horror Nights 2008 will feature mazes based on Freddy Kruger, Jason Voorhees, and Leatherface, but Universal promises that the Kruger maze will be brand new, featuring a recreation of the infamous house on Elm Street. (Last year was more like a trip through an Asylum - not surprising when you know that it located in a maze that had been called "The Asylum" the year before.)

New for this year will be a Scare Zone inspired by THE STRANGERS, the sleeper hit horror film from earlier this year. (For those unfamiliar with the terminology, Scare Zones are simply areas of the park haunted by ghouls, so you get the Halloween experience even before you stand in line for an hour to walk through a maze.)

In addition, the back lot tram tour will be significantly upgraded to double its length, for the first time incorporating mazes.

Universal's usual rides and attractions will be open, although revamped for Halloween: the Jurassic Park Ride becomes Jurassic Park in the Dark; the Waterworld show becomes Slaughterworld, etc.

Halloween Horror nights will be open on weekends, beginning October 3. Dates are October 3-4, 10-11, 17-19, 24-26, 30-31 and November 1. Doors opening nightly as 7:00pm; closing hours vary.

Tickets are available for $54 onlin at Universal Studios Hollywood's official website; they are also sold in advance at Ralph's, Food 4 Less, and Hot Topic, where you can save $20 a ticket by buying a Coke-related product.

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Monday, August 25th 2008

12:45 PM

Halloween Horror Nights contest

  • Posted by: Steve Biodrowski
  • Location: Universal Studios Florida

Halloween is just around the corner apparently. Sure, you may think it's not till the end of October - over two months away - but Halloween superstores are already setting up, and the big-name attractions like Knott's scary farms will open their tombs at the end of September.

So, it should be no surprise that Universal Studios is already sponsoring a contest to promote their 2008 Halloween Horror Nights. Follow this link to enter, for a chance to win a round-trip to Universal Studios Florida this Halloween.

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Monday, August 4th 2008

9:58 AM

New Beverly August-September Schedule

  • Posted by: Steve Biodrowski
  • Location: New Beverly Cinema - 7165 Beverly Blvd in Los Angeles (323) 938-4038

The New Beverly Cinema has finally posted its August schedule, which thanks to the miracle of RSS FEEDS you can access at the Hollywood Gothique listing for the theatre.

Mixed in with the usual revival fare are several fantasy, horror, and science-fiction titles:

  • A 007 double bill of DR. NO and FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE
  • A grindhouse double bill of MURDER SET-PIECES and CHAOS
  • A 007 double bill of GOLDFINGER and THUNDERBALL
  • STANLEY (a rip-off of WILLARD but with snakes) and IMPULSE
  • An Alan Parker double bill of ANGEL HEART and BIRDY
  • A midnight screening of DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004)
  • A midnight screening of the young-adult horror flick THE GATE
  • A Clu Gulager doulbe bill of RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD and FEAST

Moving on, the complete schedule for September is not yet available, but there will be midnight screenings of the horror-comedy IDLE HANDS and of Michael Mann's 1983 horror film THE KEEP, and in October there will be an all-night horror show on the 18th.

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Saturday, August 2nd 2008

11:40 AM

Fly to open in L.A. this September

  • Posted by: Steve Biodrowski
  • Event Date & Time: September 7-27
  • Location: Dorothy Chandler Pavilion - 135 North Grand Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 972-7211
Advertising art for Howard Shore's opera, based on the 1986 film.Howard Shore's opera The Fly, adapted from David Cronenberg's 1986 horror film (itself a remake of the 1958 film starring Vincent Price and Al Hedison) will open at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown Los Angeles on September 7. There will be six performances only, running through the 27th. The Fly made its debut on at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris. Cronenberg himself is directing the Paris stage production, with Placido Domingo conducting the orchestra. David Henry Hwang (whose M. Butterfly was turned into a film by Cronenberg) supplied the libretto. Shore, of course, scored the film version, from which he sampled a couple of themes. Other veterans from the film on board for the opera include creature effects designer Stephan Dupuis and costume designer Denise Cronenberg. Sets are by Dante Ferretti (SWEENEY TODD), lighting by A.J. Weisbard.
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Thursday, July 31st 2008

10:48 AM

Curse of the Demon screenings

  • Posted by: Steve Biodrowski
  • Event Date & Time: August 1 & 2
  • Location: New Beverly Cinema 7165 Beverly Blvd in Los Angeles

I don't know what's up with the New Beverly's August schedule. Here it is July 31, and their website has yet to post the complete listing of screenings for August; there is only a listing for Friday and Saturday of two black-and-white films from the '50s, the horror classic CURSE OF THE DEMON on a double bill with the film noir thriller THE LINE UP.

This is a slightly odd pairing but should be interesting. CURSE is considered one of the great horror films because of its serious approach, although many critics fault it for destroying the carefully wrought ambiguity by actually showing the titular demon. (Predating X-FILES by decades, the story presents a mystery that might either be supernatural or psychological in nature; how the characters interpret it depends on their point of view.)

Anyway, as long as the New Beverly keeps up doling out the screening info one block at a time, I cannot update the Calendar section. That's the bad news.

The good news is that their website offers RSS feeds of their screening info, so I have pasted that into our listing for the New Beverly on our Art House Theatres page. So you can always keep up-to-date on what's happening there.

Now, if only other theatres would start offering similar service...

You can read more about CURSE OF THE DEMON here.

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Tuesday, July 29th 2008

5:19 PM

Blade Runner on the Big Screen - The Final Cut

  • Posted by: Steve Biodrowski

You can say what you like about Los Angeles, but we have Hollywood, which means we have the movies - and lots of movie-lovers to go with it; consequently, there are actually a handful of theatres, even in this era of home video, that continue to offer repertory and revival programming. This results in wonderful opportunities to re-experience movies on the big screen, where they were meant to be seen. A recent example of this is the "Final Cut" of BLADE RUNNER, which I recently saw at the New Beverly Cinema in L.A. Of course it was interesting to note how this (presumably last) version of the film stacked up against its predecessors, but I could have done that on DVD (or even, heaven forbid, on Netflix Instant Viewing). The real joy of the experience was once again seeing the sights of 2019 Los Angeles splayed out larger than life before my eyes, filling not only the screen but also my brain with an overwhelming rush of visual input that few films ever match.

The most striking note of the experience was being overwhelmingly impressed by how much more vivid and detailed the old-fashioned miniature effects appear, compared to today's more modern digital technology. There is, quite simply a texture to the work in BLADE RUNNER that makes you feel as if you can almost reach up onto the screen and feel it. The movie is much more than a pretty light show; it is a compelling, mesmerizing vision of the future, a self-contained imaginary world that takes on a life of its own on screen and inside the mind of the viewer.

Of course, mondo credit for this goes to the special effects team supervised by Douglas Trumbull (CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND) and Richard Yuricich (RESIDENT EVIL). However, one achievement of the film that always amazed me was the way that the different elements synthesized so perfectly, for which I credit Ridley Scott. Auteur criticism aside, he directed a movie in which the contributions of the various departments are combined without any of the seams showing; the live-action footage looks exactly like the miniature special effects scenes, and you seldom if ever have the perception that you are seeing two different elements edited together.

As for the Final Cut itself, there are few surprises for fans who have seen the film in its various permutations; this is an amalgamation of bits and pieces from the 70mm preview cut, the unrated European Theatrical cut, and the 1992 "Director's Cut," with a few film flubs digitally airbrushed away. What follows is a brief rundown, noting the more obvious changes from the original theatrical version released in 1982:

FROM THE 70MM PREVIEW VERSION

  • When Holden tells Deckard about the escaped replicants he tells us that two (not one) fried on the electrical fence trying to sneak into Tyrell Industries. This corrected a flaw in the original, which told us that six replicants came to Earth but accounts for only five of them: we see four and hear of one more who died in the electric fence. (This dialogue flub was probably a vestige of the screenplay, which featured five escaped replicants; the fifth character was cast, but the scenes were dropped for budgetary reasons.)
  • When Deckard goes to Taffy Lewis's night club to see Zhora (the snake dancer who turns out to be a replicant), the sequence begins with a brief shot of masked female dancers.
  • When the replicant Roy Batty confronts his maker, Dr. Eldon Tyrell, he says, "I want more life, Father" instead of "I want more life, Fucker!"
  • When the replicant Pris squeezes Decard's head between her thighs, she puts her fingers up his nose and opens her legs, so that his head dangles for a moment before slipping to the floor.
  • There is no happy ending with Deckard and Rachel flying away to the unpolluted wilderness.
FROM THE UNRATED EUROPEAN CUT
  • When Roy Batty kills Dr. Tyrell, the scene is more explicit, holding longer as the replicant sinks his thumbs into the humans eyes, causing blood to come out.
  • The death of Pris is slightly more grizzly.
  • When Batty drives the nail through his palm (to bring back feeling after it starts to go numb), there is a shot of the nail bursting through the skin on the back of his hand.
FROM THE DIRECTOR'S CUT
  • The voice-over narration has been entirely eliminated. (It was almost entirely eliminated from the 70mm Preview Version, but there was an alternate piece of narration near the end, when Batty dies.)
  • Deckard dreams of a unicorn.
NEW TO THE FINAL CUT
  • I have not done a side-by-side comparison, but I believe that some of the longer scenes that used to feature narration have been trimmed, since they no longer have to last a certain length to accommodate a voice-over.
  • When the camera peers through a terrarium while Deckard questions a seller of artificial animals, the dialogue has been re-dubbed so that it matches the lip movements. (The preview cut had mixed the dialogue so low that the discrepancy - so obvious in the old theatrical cut - was not apparent.)
  • When Zhora is shot, crashes through a window, and falls, the footage of an obvious stunt double (her face clearly visible) has been replaced with footage of the actress playing the role (Joanna Cassidy).
  • When the "Spinner" (i.e., flying police car) flies away after questioning Deckard about his presence in a restricted zone, the clearly visible wire lifting the full-scale prop has been removed.
  • The unicorn sequence is edited differently. Instead of a dissolve to a single shot of a unicorn, the film cuts away from Decard to the unicorn twice. Also, his eyes are clearly open, so he is not dreaming, but perhaps day-dreaming.
  • When Batty dies and releases the dove, the insert shot of the bird flying away used to feature a blue sky that did not match the rest of the sequence (which is set on a rainy night). Although I had always "read" this as a deliberate, surrealist touch, the shot has been changed, to feature the bird flying over a skyline of buildings against a dark sky that match the other effects shots in the film.

Except for the bird shot, which I always liked, the Final Cut represents the "Best of Everything" version of the movie, almost rendering the prevous versions obsolete, except as they provide a fascinating glimpse at the movie's evolution through several stages. The original narration never bothered me that much, so I am glad that that version still exists in the new DVD box set that came out last year. And the brief narration in the 70mm Preview Cut is also interesting (although the fact that it suddenly appeared in only one scene was rather jarring).

Personally, I hope this latest version of BLADE RUNNER puts to rest the tiny cult of people who insist that the 70mm Preview Cut is the best version of the film. The differences between it and the old theatrical cut are certainly striking enough to make it interesting viewing for hardcore fans, but it is so obviously an unfinished version that one wonders how anyone could have considered it the "best." (To cite the most obvious example, the original Vangelis score disappears in the final reel, replaced by a temp track consisting of music from the 1968 PLANET OF THE APES.)

When it arrived on screen in 1982, BLADE RUNNER was pretty much trashed by critics, who saw nothing but visual effects and production design. Over the years, the film's reputation has grown, even while fans acknowledged flaws (most often pointing to the tagged-on happy ending and the narration, both of which were meant to lighten up the film for the multiplex audience more interested in sci-fi escapism than serious science-fiction). Each of the permutations that followed the original theatrical buffed out some of the flaws, but none of them quite got it right. On a plot level, BLADE RUNNER still may not be perfect (questions about the back story and police procedure abound), but short of remaking the movie movie, this is as good as it is ever likely to be, and that is pretty damn good.

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