The Fog

MGM Home Entertainment

Every week is the anniversary of any number of films, and while they often turn into thinkpieces or lists of “things you didn’t know about…” for movie sites (like us), they sometimes stir more personal memories, too. These anniversaries are more than mere numbers or marks on a calendar. Movies can bring you back to the people and places of your past with memories both good and bad. Thinking of Manhunter for instance makes me recall how the theater wouldn’t let my friend and me see it because we were underage, and instead we had to sit through One Crazy Summer. I hate One Crazy Summer to this day. Most of my movie-related memories are far more pleasant, and recent events have led me to realize that more than a few of them involved my mom. She was never a big film buff or someone who, like my dad, could list off her favorite movies if asked, but she had great taste in the ones she did watch. Never one to be bound by genre or popularity she instead asked only to be entertained, and while she rarely instigated watching a movie, she could easily be lulled into an empty chair if something onscreen caught her eyes or ears regardless of how much she may have already missed. I lost her recently, but between last month’s Twitter mentions of John Carpenter’s The Fog and this past weekend’s Mother’s Day celebration my thoughts of her bounced back from the sorrow and sadness I’d been feeling […]

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thefog-commentary1

It’s Halloween, which means it’s the last day you can obsessively watch scary movies until tomorrow and the day after that. Obviously, one of the greatest Halloween films of all time is John Carpenter’s seminal slasher named after the holiday. As a follow-up, Carpenter eked together another small budget classic with co-writer and producer Debra Hill: 1980’s The Fog. While it was a horror film at its core, it was a decidedly different movie. Instead of being a simple stalker film, The Fog is a throwback feature to the older ghost story movies from the 40s and 50s that Carpenter watched as a kid. It may not hold up as well as Halloween, but The Fog is still a fun relic made during Carpenter’s heyday (which included 1981’s Escape from New York and 1982’s The Thing). Recorded shortly after Carpenter shot his 1995 stinker Village of the Damned, the commentary on the original DVD release features Carpenter and Hill reminiscing about the production that appears larger than it actually was.

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IntroObjects

There’s probably no funnier first-world fear than thinking your stuff might come alive and try to kill you. Then again, pretty much the entire horror genre is based around exploiting ridiculous irrational fears – it’s just that some fears are a little more irrational than others. Your toaster isn’t out to get you. To celebrate that, here are some of the most innocuous, completely stupid objects that horror films have found a way to demonize (successfully even!):

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discs last will

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh Leon (Aaron Poole) has returned to his estranged mother’s (Vanessa Redgrave) home for the first time in years, but it’s her death that brought him back. Charged with going through her belongings before selling off the property he discovers that before she passed away his mother had developed an odd fascination with angels. The discoveries continue as strange events begin happening that lead him to believe his mother may be trying to communicate with him from beyond. Haunted house movies, both the good ones and the bad, usually share little more than a desire to entertain and scare, but the rare ones try to do a little more than that and make audiences feel or think as well. Writer/director Rodrigo Gudiño‘s debut feature belongs in that latter category as its creepy and atmospheric tale is accompanied by an examination of love, grief, and faith lost and found. There are scares here, but they’re subtle and disarming instead of loud and jump-worthy. If you enjoyed The Conjuring and you don’t have A.D.D. be sure to give this one a chance. [DVD extras: Commentary, featurettes, photo gallery, short film]

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Scream Factory New Releases

Shout! Factory has been kicking ass on the DVD/Blu-ray front for a while now with a mix of genre and pop culture releases that appeal to the movie/TV lovers in all of us. Most specialty labels would be content with those successes, but it wasn’t enough for these folks. A few months ago they rolled out a new genre arm called Scream Factory that focuses on horror films primarily from the 1980s. They’ve already released some pretty fantastic HD transfers and Collector’s Edition Blu-ray of Halloween II, The Funhouse, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Terror Train and They Live, and now they’ve announced their first wave of titles scheduled for 2013… and they include a certain space vampire’s ample and frequently nude assets in glorious high definition. Check below for the list of upcoming awesomeness as well as a look at their exclusive new cover art for From Beyond.

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31 Days of Horror - October 2011

They said it couldn’t be done. A fifth year of 31 Days of Horror? 31 more terror, gore and shower scene-filled movies worth highlighting? But Rejects always say die and never back away from a challenge, so we’ve rounded up the horror fans among us and put together another month’s worth of genre fun. Enjoy! Synopsis: A small northern California town celebrates its centennial, but when a thick, mysterious fog envelops the town the residents discover their history may not be one worth celebrating. Elizabeth (Jamie Lee Curtis) is just passing through when the nightmare begins, but she’s quickly drawn into a fight for her life alongside the studly Nick Castle (Tom Atkins), suspiciously guilty priest (Hal Holbrook) and sexy-voiced DJ Stevie (Adrienne Barbeau). Something is in the fog, and it’s armed with sharp-edged weapons.

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For those of you new to the column, I am revisiting formative events in my life that have made me what I am today: A Special Effects Make Up Artist searching for relevance in the 21st Century. I left my home in a suburb of Gretna, Louisiana, traveled to Valencia, California where I attended the California Institute of the Arts. I am nineteen… Being in college, in California, in 1981, was like being in the front seat of an incredible roller coaster. Unlike how it was in New Orleans, where I would be lucky if I was able to get a hold of a genre magazine like Cinefantastique because it was not consistently available in news stands, now I felt like I was closer to “the hub” than ever. Magazines, trade papers, Hollywood poster stores, all were up to date with what was happening in motion pictures. There was also the benefit of being in one of the two (or three) “preview” cities for new films. Altered States, for instance, had opened in late November rather than at Christmas time when it opened wide, nationally. This, for a fan and initiate to Make Up Effects, was like being at ground zero.

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Carpenter seems untouchable these days, and he’s only getting started. See what he’s got up his sleeve inside…

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