One Simple Mistake Cost this Horror Classic Everything

If you live on Earth and you haven’t spent your life under a rock, chances are high that you’ve heard of the movie “Night of the Living Dead.” The original movie, released in 1968, was ultra successful although being extremely controversial for that time. Night of the Living Dead was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry as a film deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” however it was also greatly criticized. Variety labeled Night of the Living Dead an “unrelieved orgy of sadism” and questioned the “integrity and social responsibility of its Pittsburgh-based makers.” Now, being from Pittsburgh and knowing “Johnny” personally, reading statements like that makes me smile a little. Anyway, here is what happened this controversial classic that cost the filmmakers a fortune:

When the movie was in production it went by the working title “Night of the Flesh Eaters” which also had the copyright information. Before the movie’s release the name was changed to the infamous “Night of the Living Dead,” however the distribution company forgot ONE MAJOR DETAIL…they forgot to include the copyright information on the final release. I mean, I bet someone had to have lost their job…

You may ask yourself, so what? Just because the movie was missing the copyright doesn’t mean that it isn’t protected. Well, not in 1968. In 1968 this meant that the movie was now public domain and not protected by any copyrights. It wasn’t until almost an entire decade later that the Copyright Act of 1976 was put in place to protect instances exactly like this from happening. So now this famous movie was up for grabs! Anyone can start making unofficial sequels, selling VHS, DVD’s, merchandise….all without paying up. So, if you want to make a Night of the Living Dead sequel go for it! Think about this, the “Romero Zombie” has influenced every zombie movie that has ever been made….or any zombie book, tv show, etc. And all of these stories can do so without having to pay…INSANITY.

Speaking of sequels, here are the official sequels: Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead and Survival of the Dead. Unofficial sequels include: The Return of the Living Dead, The Return of the Living Dead 2, Return of the Living Dead 3, Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis, Return of the Living Dead: Rave from the Grave, Zombi 2, Zombi 3 and Zombi 4.

Now that is where things get a little complicated. The “Return” series are by John Russo who was the co-writer of Night of the Living Dead. Obviously he and Romero aren’t the best of friends now. When Dawn of the Dead was released it was known internationally as “Zombi.” Zombi 2 is its unofficial sequel stemming from Italy by Lucio Fulci. Zombi 2, on its own, is actually a really awesome movie and comes highly recommended. I can’t speak for the 3rd or 4th part, but Zombi 2 features a zombie vs. shark scene that is CLASSIC.

Sad story about the makers of Night of the Living Dead not being able to cash out on their instant classic, but at least the movie was made and gave us the wonderful world of zombies as we know them.

Top 5 Horrific Twist Openings We Never Saw Coming

Recently I wrote an article about 5 horrific twist ENDINGS that we never saw coming. As fun as a good twist ending is in a horror movie there are some awesomely twisted opening scenes out there as well. Here are my top 5 twist OPENINGS that we never saw coming…
 

5. Final Destination 2

The Final Destination franchise has its troubles, especially this one. But you have to admit that the opening scene in this movie is pretty bad ass, and you totally did not see all of that coming! I still to this day always change lanes when I see a truck with logs in front of me on the highway…

 

4. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Meyers
What did we learn from this opening sequence? Don’t get totally invested in any character in a Horror franchise. I did NOT expect that Jamie Loyd would be killed off in the beginning of this movie. I mean, we got to watch that sweet little girl survive the last two movies, just to be killed off in the first 15 minutes? And, she wasn’t just killed off. She was impaled right in front of our eyes in a terrifying blood-bath death scene. Sorry Jaime! I was rooting for you the whole time.


3. Halloween.
Yup, that makes two Halloween movies on this list. What can I say? They do it right! So the beginning of Halloween had two great qualities. The first one being the killer’s point of view. We see him slowly walk around the house, put on a mask, then go kill a shirtless teenage girl with a butcher knife….totally messed up and awesome. BUT then we are thrown a curve ball. The killer goes outside and we realize that he is no more than a little boy in a clown costume for Halloween! Twisted.

 

2. Scream.

The death of Casey (Drew Barrymore) was pretty shocking when this movie was released. Drew was showcased as one of the leading roles of this movie and not to mention that she was, and still is, the biggest star of the group. Wes Craven didn’t simply just throw us a curve ball by killing her off in the very beginning, he gutted her and hung her from a tree right in front of us. It was disgusting, terrifying…and awesome. The mom’s scream leading into the title is and will be one of my favorite movie scenes.

 

1. 28 Weeks Later.

As a whole this movie has its issues, but the opening sequence is almost perfect. The use of lighting, suspense, violence and shock…all in the first few minutes is perfectly choreographed. It upsets you and makes you want more all at the same time. When Don leaves his wife and the child behind, I was shocked and confused…but I also wanted more! I wanted to know the rest of the story because I had a real sinking feeling that wouldn’t be the last time Don encounters his wife.

What is your favorite twist opening?

5 Essential Foreign Films for Any Horror Fan

I have been a Horror movie fan for my entire life, however it wasn’t until about 5 years ago that I started to discover foreign horror films. I still know a lot of people that (for whatever reason) automatically write off foreign films assuming that they will not be as good as an American film. Well, its quite the opposite actually. The most terrifying, creative and grotesque horror films that I have ever seen came from over seas. Here are 5 of those films that are essential for any horror fan to see.
5. Zombi 2 – Director Lucio Fulci – Italy

We were blessed with this Italian gem in 1979. When it was originally released it was highly suggested that the movie is a direct sequel to George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (which was known as Zombi internationally). This of course brought the film a lot of attention, however this is not what captured my attention. For being in 1979 this movie has excellent makeup and special effects. I am one to truly appreciate the creativity and work that goes into using practical effects and camera angles to fool the viewers eye. There is one particular scene in this film that involves a close up of a sharp object an and eyeball that still makes me squirm. Also, without giving too much away…there may be a zombie vs. shark scene…and its awesome. Definitely recommended for my zombie movie fans out there!

4. The Devil’s Backbone – Director Guillermo del Toro – Spain

This film is set in Spain during the Spanish Civil War and is extremely moving as well as creepy. This movie is like Pan’s Labyrinth’s older…scarier brother. In a nut shell the movie is a ghost story, but like all great horror films there is so much more to the story that will give every viewer a roller coaster of emotions. This one is recommended for my horror fans that want to help solve a mystery and experience some deep emotion with our characters.

3. Dead Alive – Director Peter Jackson – New Zealand

I wrote another post about this film a few weeks ago, but couldn’t avoid putting it on this list. Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive is pure genius, and one of the goriest movies you will ever see. I honestly can’t think of any other movie in recent history that made me go AHHH! OH MY GOD! NO! EW! more than this movie. To prove my point, when the DVD was released (yes this was a while ago) it was accompanied with barf bags! Not. Kidding. This movie is all fun though. This is a horror movie for my fans that want to laugh and cringe at how over the top disgusting this movie can be. Also, you get to see what a raging zombie baby looks like!

2. Let the Right One In – Director Tomas Alfredson – Sweden

Let the Right One In is not to be confused with the American remake Let Me In. Although the remake is literally the same thing but in English, the original has something special. The performance of the bullied boy and the strange girl that he falls in love with is odd and touching at the same time. I really found myself caring for these kids and lets be honest, nothing is better than a good revenge story! This is one is perfect for my horror fans that love character development and build up.

1. The Loved Ones – Director Sean Byrne – Australia

The Loved Ones is one of my favorite foreign horror films for so many reasons. The characters are awesome, the actors are awesome, the story is awesome….the movie is just all around awesome. I laughed, screamed, cheered and cringed throughout the whole movie and loved every second of it. This is one of those films that will keep out doing itself just when you think it couldn’t get any better. Highly recommended for EVERY horror fan out there.

TEAM R.I.F.

So Moviepilot.com has a contest going and I am in the running!  That means, if you are reading it go and vote for me, you have until Friday!  Click here!

Anyway, here is the premise of the contest:  To put together a fantasy team of your favorite characters from any fandom to fight a threat that is facing our universe.  Check out the full description here.

Here is my fantasy team!

Dream Team Alice Jean Grey Dr. Manhattan Captain Janeway
Just enough, to bring chaos to order.

Team Captain: Kathryn Janeway

There is no other person in the Universe that can lead this unstoppable team other than the captain of the Star Trek Voyager herself, Kathryn Janeway. Janeway has not only proven that she can lead a team, but she can overcome any obstacle in her path. She’s cunning, determined, risky….and she can think like her enemy. Janeway will not only protect the people of Earth but she will lead our unstoppable team of misfits and give them just enough inspiration to bring chaos to order. Captain Janeway, we welcome you as our team leader!

First Round Pick: Alice Abernathy

Alice Resident Evil


Alice is my first round pick for two reasons. The first reason is that she will stop at nothing to fight evil and she has the powers to do just that. She has strength, agility and the power of the t-virus. She’s about to take down the Umbrella Corporation and she will take down any threat to humanity in the process. 

The second reason that I chose her is because she is a strong leader. She will not be afraid to stand up to Janeway if she feels that Janeway is not leading the team in the right direction. Both ladies have a trait in common…they don’t like to take orders. This trait is why Alice may be one of the only people that Janeway will accept criticism from. Together they can lead the team to beat any foe. 

Second Round Pick: Dr. Manhattan 

Doctor Manhattan

Doctor Manhattan can create force fields, alter his body size/strength and disintegrate matter. Basically, he will destroy anything and any one that stands in his way. He has one downfall though, and that downfall can weaken any team but this team. He is so powerful that he loses touch of humanity. This could be a problem however Janeway has just the right experience to handle this. While on Voyager, Janeway saved a Borg drone (Seven of Nine) and reintroduced her to humanity….not an easy task. Using these skills, Janeway can keep Doctor Manhattan in check and make sure that he is only using his immense power in her favor.  

Third Round Pick: Jean Grey 

Jean Grey

Jean Grey is beautiful and powerful. In fact, she may be just as powerful if not more than Doctor Manhattan. She has telekinesis, telepathy, astral projection, mind reading and control, memory alteration and erasure…she can kick some ass. However, like Doctor Manhattan Jean Grey can get a little….mad. If she turns into the Dark Phoenix my team would suffer. This is where Alice comes in. Alice, like Janeway to Manhattan, can help Jean hone in her powers and keep her on the right path. Alice has first hand experience with mind control and fighting to keep her sanity. Alice and Jean will work hand in hand to take down the evil forces. Also, if Doctor Manhattan stops listening Jean will put him in his place.

In summary….

Each member of my team has an exceptional strength and an exceptional weakness. BUT…the reason why they will win is that each strength counteracts the others weakness leaving the team in a powerful harmony. BRING. IT. ON!

What do you think of my team?   




Review: The Gift

I finally had the chance last night to see “The Gift.”  I didn’t exactly have an expectation because I didn’t read enough about it to have the plot spoiled for me. Here is what I knew going in: The ending is supposed to shock me.

The ending MAY have shocked me except for one small problem.  I figured out what was going to happen about half way through.  There was one MAJOR hint that I am surprised no one else caught on to.  And they even revisited this hint at one point making it even more obvious to me.   In fact, I think this was the only part of the movie that I found to be shocking…the fact that it actually fooled people!

My other problem was the acting.  Jessica Hall did a great job, however I just could not believe Jason Bateman.   When he was trying to be funny–he was funny.  But when he was trying to be angry or scared I just couldn’t buy it.  (Potential spoiler alert)  Honestly, at the end when he was in the hospital did you think that his performance was believable?  I rolled my eyes.  

So, if you are looking for a slow paced drama this is the movie for you.  If you are looking for a horror/thriller…steer clear.  2/5 stars

Beetlejuice 2…Three Key Pieces To a Successful Sequel

I never thought I would see the day where we would have a sequel to one of my favorite movies, Beetlejuice! I was convinced that if we were ever to see a new Beetlejuice movie on the big screen that it would be in the form of a remake and Tim Burton would not be involved. Thankfully I was completely wrong and not only will we get a sequel but Tim Burton is taking the reigns once again.

Say it once, say it twice, third times a charm! Three key pieces of the original that will make the sequel successful: 

Beetlejuice Cast
Go ahead, make my millennium.

1. This piece may be the most important and thankfully its looking VERY good…..The Cast! This was one of the main ingredients as to why the original worked so well. So far we know that Winona Ryder is on board to reprise her role as Lydia and Michael Keaton is back on board as the ghost with the most. Now, it is important to introduce new characters but I would LOVE to see some of the original cast return too…like Geena Davis, Catherine O’Hara and Alice Baldwin….So basically almost the entire original cast. How could we not want that?

Beetlejuice
What are my qualifications?!?

 2. A strong script and storyline. Beetlejuice has so many awesome one-liners in the original movie that this humor would have to carry through to the sequel. Dark humor is the core of the movie and a sequel couldn’t survive without it. And what are we going to see in terms of developing the story? I’m envisioning Lydia having her own family now and for some reason needing to summon Beetlejuice for help. OR Lydia has her own family and Beetlejuice summons himself because he still loves her.
Anyway, we need conversations like this:

Adam: What are your qualifications? 

Beetlejuice: Ah. Well… I attended Juilliard… I’m a graduate of the Harvard business school. I travel quite extensively. I lived through the Black Plague and had a pretty good time during that. I’ve seen the EXORCIST ABOUT A HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SEVEN TIMES, AND IT KEEPS GETTING FUNNIER EVERY SINGLE TIME I SEE IT… NOT TO MENTION THE FACT THAT YOU’RE TALKING TO A DEAD GUY… NOW WHAT DO YOU THINK? You think I’m qualified?

Beetlejuice snake
Let’s turn on the juice and see what shakes loose.

 3. I don’t think we can have this movie without CGI, but I really am hoping that the new movie is mostly practical effects. Tim Burton movies are so well done with makeup and stop motion, it would be a shame to see that creativity go out the window. 

What do you want to see in the sequel? What made the original memorable to you?

Alice vs. Selene…Who wins?

In 2016 we are going to be blessed with not only another Resident Evil but another Underworld! If we look at the two franchises there is one big similarity (which is probably why I love both)….the main character is a bad ass super-model-superhero that can’t be stopped. 

Now, lets just think for a moment about movies like Freddy vs. Jason, Batman vs. Superman….even Marvel movies like the Avengers. Our favorite heroes (and villains) are always being pitted against each other on the big screen. Just for a second lets pretend that the heavens have opened up and an Alice vs. Selene movie is in the works. I don’t even think I would see it because I would die of happiness the moment I heard the news! Anyway, enough geeking out. Who would win? 

What does Alice bring to the table?

1. She’s a top level security agent trained by Umbrella.
2. She has super human strength and agility.
3. She, occasionally, has mind powers that allow her to not only control other people but can control fire and inanimate objects.
4. She rocks the “cat suit” perfectly 

What does Selene bring to the table?

1. She’s an immortal.
2. She has super human strength.
3. She’s….immortal lol.
4. She also rocks the “cat suit” perfectly. 

Now, we know why they are so bad ass but they also have weaknesses. Alice is human, Selene can’t be in daylight, etc. How would it go down? I envision something like the Jill, Rain and Alice battle at the end of Resident Evil: Retribution…but with a storyline of how the two cross paths and why they are battling. Presumably, knowing both characters, are they battling over a guy? Did one just piss off the other? Neither are known for their good tempers, its hard to say. Maybe, just maybe, they pull a batman vs. superman and put their differences aside to fight their common foes….

Peter Jackson + Sumatran Rat Monkey = GORIEST movie of ALL TIME

Let’s talk about a Horror movie that is definitely not talked about enough. What do you get when you combine Peter Jackson and a Sumatran rat monkey?! Only the ultimate zombie movie and probably one of the goriest movies you will ever see. This 1992 outrageous movie is a must see for anyone that is in the mood for some ridiculous horror movie fun.

Now, when you first start watching this movie you have to give it at least 20-30 minutes before you start to fall in love with it. Every person that I’ve watched this movie with is VERY skeptical in the beginning. They comment on the cheesy dialogue, the cheesy acting and the very questionable effects. Little did they know what kind of a wild ride they were in for! By an hour into the movie every single one of them were going EEEK! AHHH! YESSS! NOOOO! WHAT!?? ARE YOU SERIOUS!?! NO WAY!!!? Its very entertaining to watch this with someone for the first time. So if you’re in the mood to laugh (and throw up in your mouth a little) then this is the movie for you.

Without giving too much away about the movie, but giving you enough to get you excited, check out this trivia that I was just reading about on IMDB. Its enough to get any zombie fan excited:

-300 liters of blood are used in JUST ONE SCENE
-On its release in New Zealand “Dead Alive” earned more than “Batman Returns”
-Blood was pumped out at 5 gallons per second in another particular scene (you know what scene I’m talking about)
-The rental in Sweden came with vomit bags

(Caution: Potential spoilers below)

And if that is not enough to get you excited, then I will leave you with the following:

 Zombie Baby, Zombie Sex Scene and pus pudding.

Where’s my vomit bag?

Ali Larter returns as Claire Redfield for Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

According to Deadline.com Ali Larter is returning for Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.  I don’t know about you but that was music to my ears.  I really enjoyed seeing Ali play Claire in the films and felt like her and Milla have good on screen chemistry.  
Ali Larter as Clair Redfield
 
Now we just need confirmation that Sienna Guillory will be back as Jill and Shawn Roberts as Wesker and we are golden. 
Are you as excited as I am to hear the news about Ali?