We are more than halfway through the month of October, which means we’re in the home stretch to Halloween and in the thick of great content pertaining to scary movies and horror films. So, welcome to another filling recap of a week’s worth of original writings and coverage. First, though, let’s remind you of the regular goodies here at FSR, such as our reviews of new releases (Paranormal Activity 4, Alex Cross, Bestiaire, The Sessions) and interviews with Alex Cross director Rob Cohen and star Matthew Fox and The Black List creator Franklin Leonard. We also caught some new trailers for Carrie and Jack Reacher and, in addition to our regular TV column, we have begun a weekly recap for the TV series The Walking Dead.
Also this week, we saw the New York Film Festival end (stay tuned for a look at our critics’ highlights and favorites) and the Austin Film Festival begin. So rummage through our coverage of the former (including a review of Flight) and bookmark the tag for the latter — also check out some AFF recommendations below.
Check out our ten best features from the past week, plus some other recommended reading, after the break.
We are on a quest to determine THE SCARIEST MOVIE EVER, and to do so we have created a bracket-style tournament and made it a democratic competition. Participate by voting on Facebook and join Cole as he makes predictions and comments on the results. On the first round: “The most notable result was that the Steven Spielberg movie that made people afraid to go into the water lost to the Steven Spielberg-produced movie that made people afraid to build pools in their backyards (or watch TV late at night). That’s pretty incredible – you chose Tobe Hooper over Spielberg. Or, if you believe the behind-the-scenes take, you chose Spielberg over Spielberg.”
Of course, in addition to seeking out the scariest movie ever, we continue to celebrate a number of favorites that might not be the scariest but are still pretty darn scary — and just plain enjoyable. This week in our ongoing count of 31 Days of Horror, we looked at Death Spa, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, Dark Country, Pumpkinhead, Parents, Rosemary’s Baby, The Initiation and Thirst. Robin on the Polanski classic: “The dream apartment in the nightmare building is a place where evil confronts innocence and wins. There’s no blood and gore but there is a constant feeling of dread hanging over the naïve Rosemary and her baby.”
Other recommended horror film features:
Why ‘The Passion of Joan of Arc’ is the Most Highly Regarded Horror Film
‘Paranormal Activity’ Drinking Game
28 Things We Learned From the ‘Blair Witch 2′ Commentary
Following our roundup of critical reactions to how the new James Bond movie, Skyfall, fits the franchise conventions, Jack provided his own take on the 007 sequel, listing his praises rather than offering a typical review. On the action: “We knew Sam Mendes could shoot a few intense gun fights based on Road to Perdition, but who knew he had all this in him? Never has Bond ever looked so suave wielding a gun. Of course, it certainly helps that Mendes keeps placing him in more challenging and distinct settings. There’s a old fashioned siege finale, a motorcycle chase, a silhouette-styled fight scene, an extended foot chase, and more. Mendes never repeats himself.”
How ‘The Dark Knight’ Made Sam Mendes’ Take on Bond in ‘Skyfall’ Possible
Why We Haven’t Gotten a James Bond Film From Steven Spielberg
A Guide to the Key Supporting Characters of James Bond
In the first week of release for Ben Affleck‘s Oscar hopeful, Argo, we examined the issues of its inaccuracies, with Landon taking particular task with the exciting yet highly exaggerated final act of the film and how it relates to the recent terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya. “If history repeats itself, it does so with considerable variation, and the presence of cinematic bullshit during the history depicted in Argo and in the recent violence surrounding the American embassy in Libya speaks to the considerable power associated with cinematic bullshit’s wide spread of communication and influence, so powerful in fact that it can prove consequential to history and international relations even when the film in question is hardly visible or doesn’t actually exist.”
This week, Neil will be bringing us coverage of the 2012 Austin Film Festival, which began on Thursday and runs through October 25. To kick things off, he gave us a short list of necessary tickets for those of you in attendance. One of the films he recommends: “The Kitchen serves as the only film on this list for which I can personal vouch, if that’s the sort of thing that matters to you. My full review is coming shortly, but I will say that this holdover from the GenArt Film Festival is a delightful, sometimes profain, often painfully honest ensemble comedy. Think Empire Records, but with less 90s jeans and a smaller set. The comparison rings true not just in the fact that both films have great ensembles of young, talented future-stars, but that both films feature a soundtrack that rocks.”
Austin Film Festival Interview with Irene Georghiades
In his latest Boiling Point column, Robert declared himself still in the pro-Tim Burton camp following his recent box office disappointments, Frankenweenie and Dark Shadows. On part of the reason the filmmaker is often scrutinized: “Michael Bay puts out movies that are all definitely Michael Bay films, but they don’t have quite the same degree of visual similarity (especially in design) as Burton, so he gets more of a pass. Plenty of directors turn out the same types of movies but with different faces, so they get a pass as well. Burton’s faces always seem the same, as many times they literally are the same actors, or the design is the same.”
This week’s list of filmmaking advice comes from a selection of statements by John Carpenter. Related to Burton’s “problem” of sameness, Cole commented on Carpenter’s success in becoming a brand: “One of the riskiest/smartest things Carpenter did early on was to give up money in order to have “John Carpenter’s” appear before the word “Halloween.” In doing so, he ensured that he would be tied to the franchise in an inextricable way. If the movie had flopped, it would have been a fairly bad bet (even with the relatively low budget involved), but since Myers and Friends caught on, Carpenter cemented himself as the true author of the work in a serious way and had a nice bit of protection for his vision.”
Nathan reported that actor Adam Scott and his wife, Naomi, are producing an adaptation of Chuck Klosterman‘s Downtown Owl. And although they’ve hired a screenwriter already, we can still hope for a certain directorial duo to helm the project. In a reposted Print to Projector column, Neil wrote: “Chapter upon chapter, I found myself imaging this as a Coen Brothers movie. There’s something about the town of Owl that would feel so right in the universes they seem to be creating. Perhaps it is that it feels like a 1980s version of the environment in A Serious Man (only decidedly more Catholic and less Jewish). There is also a level of humor and an unironic wit to the book’s dialog that is perfect for the tone that the Coens have struck with their more suburban works. It would be a perfect fit to see them write the screenplay, possibly with a little help from Klosterman himself. They could then deliver a film that captures the town’s state of pop culture arrested development, moves incredibly well, and has an interesting aesthetic (few directors could make North Dakota look so good as the Coens). To me, this was obvious as I read the books. This book is rich with unique and interesting characters and situations that would be perfect matches for a Coen-esque romp through 1983 rural North Dakota. See — even that sounds fun.”
Jim Varney may no longer be with us, but his “Ernest” character will continue on the big screen — or, at least the character’s son will be getting his own movie. The title will, obviously, be called Son of Ernest. Commenting on the news, Nathan had an actor in mind for the spin-off: “At least all involved seem to be self-aware about what a ridiculous idea this is and how unlikely it is anyone will greet it with enthusiasm. Probably whether or not this thing is even given a shot by audiences will depend on who they get to fill Ernest’s blue boat shoes…and so far they’re being tight-lipped on who they have in mind for that task. As far as I can tell, there’s only one person who could both get audience’s attentions as well as pull the role of son of Ernest off, and that’s stoned James Franco.”
This week’s edition of Cinematic Listology had David Christopher Bell highlighting the element of surprise in horror films. Bringing back Spielberg’s name this week, he included the raptors from Jurassic Park: “They were designed by nature to withstand horns and tail lashes, to penetrate the thick scaly armor of creatures much larger than themselves – so basically, to them, human beings are delicious little jokes. We’re like bacon to them. Clown meat. They probably don’t even consider us a rite of passage to kill. Can’t stress that enough – the dumbest, smallest, and slowest raptor in these films can still probably kill your average action movie star.”