Donald Pleasance

These 20, alongside hundreds of others, redefine what it means to be a movie veteran.

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Considered lost for years, Wake in Fright is finally getting the release it is due. Anthony Buckley, the film’s editor  took it upon himself to sleuth out a negative, eventually finding paydirt in Pittsburgh nearly a decade after the search began. It was discovered in a bin labelled to be destroyed. Wake‘s tenacity to stay alive is a testament to the film’s unflinching, voyeuristic look at humanity under pressure, and the weight that can crush if it is allowed. Wake in Fright is the kind of film you watch and can’t forget, like it or not. It drags you into its uninhibited grime to drown you in a sweaty beer lather. You can see the surface, know that a fresh breath is within reach, but its grip just strengthens and pulls you in deeper. Witnessing the uncontrolled descent of a man becoming what he loathes most is a jarring spectacle. To be human is to be frail, and that is the water the movie treads in.

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For every ten unnecessary remakes that make it to the big screen it’s worth remembering that once in a while we dodge a bullet. The most recent example being the big budget reboot of John Carpenter’s Escape From New York. Carpenter’s admittedly goofy but entertaining as hell classic from 1981 has been on track for a remake for some time now. Every few months names of newly rumored directors and stars would hit the blogosphere including Brett Ratner, Len Wiseman, Gerard Butler, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hardy, and Breck Eisner. Of those only the last was really appealing in the slightest as Eisner turned in a fine horror flick with his remake of The Crazies, but this was never an endeavor to getting excited over. The original film is set in the far away future of 1997 where the island of Manhattan has been turned into a walled prison (still a great idea) that no one ever exits. Air Force One crashes inside and Snake Plissken, an ex-soldier turned convicted bank robber, is given a single shot at freedom… get in, find and rescue the US President, and get him out alive. There’s a lively supporting cast including Donald Pleasance, Isaac Hayes, Harry Dean Stanton, Ernest Borgnine, Lee Van Cleef, and Adrienne Barbeau, but the real stars of the film are Carpenter and Kurt Russell. It’s a fantastically fun ride that mixes action, cynical humor, and social/political commentary into an entertaining B-movie. Per Deadline New Amsterdam, New Line and Warner Bros. […]

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For 36 days straight, we’ll be exploring the famous 36 Dramatic Situations by examining a film that exemplifies each one. From family killing family to prisoners in need of asylum, we brush off the 19th century list in order to remember that it’s still incredibly relevant today. Whether you’re seeking a degree in Literature, love movies, or just love seeing things explode, our feature should have something for everyone. If it doesn’t, please don’t stab us numerous times with cutlery. Part 32 of the 36-part series takes a look at “Slaying of a Kin Unrecognized” with John Carpenter’s Halloween.

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