Thursday, December 31, 2015

These Films Are National Treasures

Each year the Library Of Congress Film Preservation Board selects 25 films to be deemed National Treasures and included in the National Film Registry. Here are this year's entries...

BEING THERE (1979)

BLACK AND TAN (1929)

DRACULA (SPANISH LANGUAGE VERSION) (1931)

DREAM OF A RAREBIT FIEND (1906)

EADWEARD MUYBRIDGE, ZOOPRAXOGRAPHER (1974)

EDISON KINETOSCOPIC RECORD OF A SNEEZE (1894)

A FOOL THERE WAS (1915)

GHOSTBUSTERS (1984)

HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO (1944)

HUMORESQUE (1920)

IMITATION OF LIFE (1959)

THE INNER WORLD OF APHASIA (1968)

JOHN HENRY AND THE INKY-POO (1946)

L.A. CONFIDENTIAL (1997)

THE MARK OF ZORRO (1920)

THE OLD MILL (1937)

OUR DAILY BREAD (1934)

PORTRAIT OF JASON (1967)

SECONDS (1966)

THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (1994)

SINK OR SWIM (1990)

THE STORY OF MENSTRUATION (1946)

SYMBIOPSYCHOTAXIPLASM: TAKE ONE (1968)



TOP GUN (1986)

WINCHESTER '73 (1950)

I could not find a BluRay for THE STORY OF MENSTRUATION, but maybe now Critereon will start to work on one. SECONDS is one of my favorite films, and if you haven't seen it you should check it out. I am also a huge fan of the Spanish version of DRACULA, made at the same time and on the same sets as the Lugosi version. They would shoot the English language version by day and the Spanish language version as soon as they finished the day on the English version. The Spanish version is more sexual, with Dracula as a romantic figure that no woman can say no to. Also, the women in this version show a lot more cleavage. I figure you have all seen TOP GUN and SHAWSHANK, so I focused on the others. Oh, and if you don't know who Eadweard Muybridge was - he invented movies with his experiment to see if race horses ever had all four feet off the ground at the same time (to win a bet with Leland Stanford). Muybridge began his experiment... then had to put it off for a few years when he went to prison for murder! When he was released, he finished - using a string of still cameras to photograph a series of stills of horses racing which lead to the idea of moving pictures (and persistence of vision). A fascinating character.

Hollywood Reporter Story.

- Bill

Monday, December 28, 2015

Lancelot Link: Fair Game?

Lancelot Link Monday! Is an episode of a TV series fair game to swipe the plot of and use it for your movie? While you're thinking about that, here are this week's links to some great screenwriting and film articles, plus some fun stuff that may be of interest to you. Brought to you by that suave and sophisticated secret agent...




Here are a dozen links plus this week's car chase...


1) Weekend Box Office Estimates:
1 Force Awakens.................. $153,522,000
2 Daddy's Home.................... $38,800,000
3 Joy (no almonds)................ $17,500,000
4 Sisters (no DePalma)............ $13,880,000
5 Road Chip (no Ernie)............ $12,700,000
6 Concussion...................... $11,000,000
7 Big Shorts...................... $10,520,000
8 Point Break..................... $10,220,000
9 Hunger 3,2........................ $5,300,000
10 Creed............................. $4,600,000


HATEFUL EIGHT opened out of the Top Ten, but it's still the movie everyone is talking about this weekend - because it's either that or DADDY'S HOME!

This year *has* broken Box Office records, as predicted.

2) HATEFUL Digital Or 70mm?

3) Ennio Morriconne On HATEFUL EIGHT.

4) Quentin Tarantino & Paul Thomas Anderson Discuss 70mm.

5) Walt Goggins On Working With Tarantino.

6) RIP: George Clayton Johnson - TWILIGHT ZONE, LOGAN'S RUN, more. Met him several times, kind of a weirdo... but aren't we all?

7) DEADPOOL Red Band Trailer. And Commentary From The Director.

8) RadioHead's Unusued SPECTRE Theme.

9) Disneyland To Change Name To STAR WARS LAND.

10) HATEFUL Pirate... Is Hollywood Exec!

11) BOURNE 5 News.

12) Screenwriters Roundtable Interviews.

And the Car Chase Of The Week:



Okay, not a car chase at all... the episode of Andrew Fenady's THE REBEL with Nick Adams as Johnny Yuma that QT, um, homaged. That's the word.

Bill

Buy The DVDs

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

-
Dinner:
Pages:
Bicycle:

Movie:

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Last Minute Stocking Stuffers!

Have some writer friends who need a stocking stuffer? These e-books are the answer! Amazon even has a "gift button" which will send your friend a surprise wrapped gift, that they "open" online! From TERMINATOR fans to ACTION writers to HITCHCOCK fans to generic writers who have barcodes instead of names, there is something here for everyone on your list! And don't forget to put *yourself* on your list! Amazon gift cards for the holidays? Treat yourself!


bluebook

THE BOOK THAT STARTED IT ALL!

*** THE SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING *** - For Kindle!

*** THE SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING *** - For Nook!

Why pay $510 for a used version of the 240 page 2000 version that used to retail for $21.95? (check it out!) when you can get the NEW EXPANDED VERSION - over 500 pages - for just $9.99? New chapters, New examples, New techniques!

"SECRETS OF ACTION SCREENWRITING is the best book on the practical nuts-and-bolts mechanics of writing a screenplay I've ever read." - Ted Elliott, co-writer of MASK OF ZORRO, SHREK, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN and the sequels (with Terry Rossio). (ie; 4 of the top 20 Box Office Hits Of ALL TIME.)

Only $9.99 - and no postage!


HITCHCOCK: EXPERIMENTS IN TERROR


HITCHCOCK DID IT FIRST!

We all know that Alfred Hitchcock was the Master Of Suspense, but did you know he was the most *experimental* filmmaker in history?

** HITCHCOCK: EXPERIMENTS IN TERROR **

Contained Thrillers like “Buried”? Serial Protagonists like “Place Beyond The Pines”? Multiple Connecting Stories like “Pulp Fiction”? Same Story Multiple Times like “Run, Lola, Run”? This book focuses on 18 of Hitchcock’s 53 films with wild cinema and story experiments which paved the way for modern films. Almost one hundred different experiments that you may think are recent cinema or story inventions... but some date back to Hitchcock’s *silent* films! We’ll examine these experiments and how they work. Great for film makers, screenwriters, film fans, producers and directors.

Films Examined: “Rear Window”, “Psycho”, “Family Plot”, “Topaz”, “Rope”, “The Wrong Man”, “Easy Virtue”, “Lifeboat”, “Bon Voyage”, “Aventure Malgache”, “Elstree Calling”, “Dial M for Murder”, “Stage Fright”, “Champagne”, “Spellbound”, “I Confess”, and “The Trouble with Harry”, with glances at “Vertigo” and several others. Over 77,000 words, under $5!



BRAND NEW!

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Over 240 pages!

*** THE TERMINATOR SERIES *** - For Kindle!


He's back! The release of "Terminator: Genisys" (now on BluRay) is set to begin a new trilogy in the Terminator story... 31 years after the first film was released. What draws us to these films about a cybernetic organism from the future sent back in time? Why is there a new proposed trilogy every few years? This book looks at all five Terminator movies from a story standpoint - what makes them work (or not)? What are the techniques used to keep the characters and scenes exciting and involving? How about those secret story details you may not have noticed? Containing a detailed analysis of each of the five films so far, this book delves into the way these stories work... as well as a complete list of box office and critical statistics for each film. This book is great for writers, directors, and just fans of the series.

Price goes up on January 1st!

Only $2.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

Only 418 Pages!

*** BREAKING IN BLUE BOOK *** - For Kindle!


Should really be called the BUSINESS BLUE BOOK because it covers almost everything you will need to know for your screenwriting career: from thinking like a producer and learning to speak their language, to query letters and finding a manager or agent, to making connections (at home and in Hollywood) and networking, to the different kinds of meetings you are will have at Studios, to the difference between a producer and a studio, to landing an assignment at that meeting and what is required of you when you are working under contract, to contracts and options and lawyers and... when to run from a deal! Information you can use *now* to move your career forward! It's all here in the Biggest Blue Book yet!

Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is over 400 pages!

Only $3.99 - and no postage!



BLUE BOOK SERIES

bluebook

NEW!

*** HOOK 'EM IN TEN *** - For Kindle!


Your story doesn't get a second chance to make a great first impression, and this book shows you a bunch of techniques on how to do that. From the 12 Basic Ways To Begin Your Story, to the 3 Stars Of Your First Scene (at least one must be present) to World Building, Title Crawls, Backstory, Starting Late, Teasers and Pre Title Sequences, Establishing Theme & Motifs (using GODFATHER PART 2), Five Critical Elements, Setting Up The Rest Of The Story (with GODFATHER), and much more! With hundreds of examples ranging from Oscar winners to classic films like CASABLANCA to some of my produced films (because I know exactly why I wrote the scripts that way). Biggest Blue Book yet! Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is over 100,000 words - 312 pages!

Only $3.99 - and no postage!


bluebook

SECRETS OF SCENES!

*** SCENE SECRETS BLUE BOOK *** - For Kindle! (Exclusive)


What is a scene and how many you will need? The difference between scenes and sluglines. Put your scenes on trial for their lives! Using "Jaws" we'll look at beats within a scene. Scene DNA. Creating set pieces and high concept scenes. A famous director talks about creating memorable scenes. 12 ways to create new scenes. Creating unexpected scenes. Use dramatic tension to supercharge your scenes. Plants and payoffs in scenes. Plus transitions and buttons and the all important "flow"... and more! Over 65,000 words!
Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is around 210 pages!

Only $3.99 - and no postage!



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BEST SUPPORTING ACTORS?

*** SUPPORTING CHARACTER SECRETS *** - For Kindle! (Exclusive)


Expanded version with more techniques to flesh out your Supporting Characters and make them individuals. Using the hit movie BRIDESMAIDS as well as other comedies like THE HANGOVER and TED and HIGH FIDELITY and 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN and many other examples we look at ways to make your Supporting Characters come alive on the page. Includes Story Purpose of characters and Subplots. Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is around 150 pages!

Only $3.99 - and no postage!



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STORY PROBLEMS?

*** STORY: WELL TOLD *** - For Kindle!


This book takes you step-by-step through the construction of a story... and how to tell a story well, why Story always starts with character... but ISN'T character, Breaking Your Story, Irony, Planting Information, Evolving Story, Leaving No Dramatic Stone Unturned, The Three Greek Unities, The Importance Of Stakes, The Thematic Method, and how to create personal stories with blockbuster potential. Ready to tell a story? Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is over 85,000 words - 251 pages!

Only $3.99 - and no postage!


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STUCK IN THE MIDDLE?

*** ACT TWO SECRETS *** - For Kindle!


Expanded version with more techniques to help you through the desert of Act Two! Subjects Include: What Is Act Two? Inside Moves, The 2 Ps: Purpose & Pacing, The 4Ds: Dilemma, Denial, Drama and Decision, Momentum, the Two Act Twos, Subplot Prisms, Deadlines, Drive, Levels Of Conflict, Escalation, When Act Two Begins and When Act Two Ends, Scene Order, Bite Sized Pieces, Common Act Two Issues, Plot Devices For Act Two, and dozens of others. Over 67,000 words (that’s well over 200 pages) of tools and techniques to get you through the desert of Act Two alive! Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is over 208 pages!

Only $3.99 - and no postage!


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I WRITE PICTURES!

*** VISUAL STORYTELLING *** - For Kindle! (exclusive)


Show Don't Tell - but *how* do you do that? Here are techniques to tell stories visually! Using Oscar Winning Films and Oscar Nominated Films as our primary examples: from the first Best Picture Winner "Sunrise" (1927) to the Oscar Nominated "The Artist" (which takes place in 1927) with stops along the way Pixar's "Up" and Best Original Screenplay Winner "Breaking Away" (a small indie style drama - told visually) as well as "Witness" and other Oscar Winners as examples... plus RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. Print version is 48 pages, Kindle version is over 200 pages!

Only $3.99 - and no postage!


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GOT IDEAS?

*** YOUR IDEA MACHINE *** - For Kindle!

*** YOUR IDEA MACHINE *** - For Nook!

Expanded version with more ways to find great ideas! Your screenplay is going to begin with an idea. There are good ideas and bad ideas and commercial ideas and personal ideas. But where do you find ideas in the first place? This handbook explores different methods for finding or generating ideas, and combining those ideas into concepts that sell. The Idea Bank, Fifteen Places To Find Ideas, Good Ideas And Bad Ideas, Ideas From Locations And Elements, Keeping Track Of Your Ideas, Idea Theft - What Can You Do? Weird Ways To Connect Ideas, Combing Ideas To Create Concepts, High Concepts - What Are They? Creating The Killer Concept, Substitution - Lion Tamers & Hitmen, Creating Blockbuster Concepts, Magnification And The Matrix, Conflict Within Concept, Concepts With Visual Conflict, Avoiding Episodic Concepts, much more! Print version is 48 pages, Kindle version is over 175 pages!

Only $3.99 - and no postage!


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MOVIES ARE CHARACTERS!

*** CREATING STRONG PROTAGONISTS *** - For Kindle!

*** CREATING STRONG PROTAGONISTS *** - For Nook!

Expanded version with more ways to create interesting protagonists! A step-by-step guide to creating "take charge" protagonists. Screenplays are about characters in conflict... characters in emotional turmoil... Strong three dimensional protagonists who can find solutions to their problems in 110 pages. But how do you create characters like this? How do you turn words into flesh and blood? Character issues, Knowing Who Is The Boss, Tapping into YOUR fears, The Naked Character, Pulp Friction, Man With A Plan, Character Arcs, Avoiding Cliche People, Deep Characterization, Problem Protagonists, 12 Ways To Create Likable Protagonists (even if they are criminals), Active vs. Reactive, The Third Dimension In Character, Relationships, Ensemble Scripts, and much, much morePrint version is 48 pages, Kindle version is once again around 205 pages!

Only $3.99 - and no postage!


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DIALOGUE TO DIE FOR!

*** DIALOGUE SECRETS *** - For Kindle!

*** DIALOGUE SECRETS *** - For Nook!

Expanded version with more ways to create interesting protagonists! How to remove bad dialogue (and what *is* bad dialogue), First Hand Dialogue, Awful Exposition, Realism, 41 Professional Dialogue Techniques you can use *today*, Subtext, Subtitles, Humor, Sizzling Banter, *Anti-Dialogue*, Speeches, and more. Tools you can use to make your dialogue sizzle! Special sections that use dialogue examples from movies as diverse as "Bringing Up Baby", "Psycho", "Double Indemnity", "Notorious", the Oscar nominated "You Can Count On Me", "His Girl Friday", and many more! Print version is 48 pages, Kindle version is over 160 pages!

Only $3.99 - and no postage!



FREE DECEMBER 26 - 30th!

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ADVICE FROM #2 SCREENWRITER!

*** VINTAGE #1: HOW TO WRITE PHOTOPLAYS *** - For Kindle!

***

Screenwriting books have been around as long as films have. This series reprints vintage screenwriting books with a new introduction and history, plus new articles which look at how these lessons from almost 100 years ago apply to today’s screenplays. Anita Loos book is filled with information which still applies. In addition to the full text of the original book, you get the full screenplay to Miss Loos' hit THE LOVE EXPERT, plus several new articles on the time period and women in Hollywood.

Only $2.99 - and no postage!



These links all lead to the USA store, if you are in some other country and want to write a review for your country, go to your Amazon website.

Thank you all again.

Bill

Monday, December 21, 2015

Lancelot Link: Alvin & The Chipmunks Edition

Lancelot Link Monday! All of my friends were excited about the new movie opening over the weekend, and those who saw it said they laughed and cried and it was so great they forgave the previous three crappy movies... so I went to see ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS: THE ROAD CHIP! Kind of disappointed. You stand in line for hours, you'd think it would be worth the wait, right? While you're thinking about that, here are this week's links to some great screenwriting and film articles, plus some fun stuff that may be of interest to you. Brought to you by that suave and sophisticated secret agent...




Here are a baker's dozen links plus this week's car chase...


1) Weekend Box Office Estimates:
1 Star Wars:TFA.................. $238,000,000
2 Chipmunks:TRC................... $14,400,000
3 Sisters (not DePalma)........... $13,420,000
4 Hunger Games:MJ2................. $5,650,000
5 Creed:RB6........................ $5,085,000
6 Good Dino:WTF?................... $4,232,000
7 Krampus:HHH...................... $3,780,000
8 ITHOTS........................... $3,465,000
9 Dilwale.......................... $1,875,000
10 Bajiaro.......................... $1,660,000


STAR WARS record breaking $238m opening weekend... and when you include foreign it's hit $517m so far. First weekend. People online are saying they are going to see it a couple more times... which means it will continue to make a ton of money. Also - because so many showings have been sold out, and there are lines and crowds, many people are waiting until later to see the film. This was already a great box office year *before* STAR WARS. I suspect this will end up the new record ticket sales year in the USA.

2) STAR WARS: FORCE AWAKENS Cast Photo.

3) Old STAR WARS Characters Who Didn't Get Rehired Bitch About It.

4) Carrie Fisher On The STAR WARS Red Carpet.

5) STAR WARS Secret Cameos.

6) Other STAR WARS Cameos You May Have Missed - Obi Wan?

7) The Secret Backstory Of Finn's Character & Princess Leia's Cell Number.

8) JJ, Kathleen, Cast Members, Discuss The Power Of Storytelling.

9) STAR WARS Music Sung By The Cast On Jimmy Fallon.

10) Lawrence Kasdan (writer of the next two STAR WARS movies) Talks About His career.

11) Oscar Isaacs Covers Bill Murray's STAR WARS Theme.

12) Original STAR WARS Audition Tapes.

13) They'll Be Back!

And the Car Chase Of The Week:



In keeping with this week's theme.

Bill

Buy The DVDs

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

-
Dinner:
Pages:
Bicycle:

Movie:

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Caution: Subconscious At Work

From 5 years ago...

For me, part of writing is figuring out what my damned subconscious is up to. I am a planner by nature. Part of my outline process is trying to find the parts that go together and why they go together so that I can make sure to highlight that in the screenplay. Our minds are mysterious places. They connect things that may not seem to be connected on the surface. When I'm thinking about my story before writing it, all kinds of strange elements may pop into my noggin that don't seem to be part of the story... but my subconscious is way ahead of me. Often in outline stage, I discover the connections... sometimes I can't see the connections and either leave the weird stuff out or leave it in for the first draft hoping that I will figure out where the heck that idea came from as I am writing, and make it work in the next draft.

That's kind of what happened on the spec I'm working on now. There were 3 subplots, and though all were connected to the story on the surface, I had no idea how they were connected to the story on a deeper level. One subplot had to do with the character's problems in school. One subplot had to do with the character's father's problems at work. One of the subplots had to do with a specific type of sidekick and that sidekick's background – also specific. Now, there was some reason why my subconscious selected that sidekick with that background... but I didn't know why when I began writing the screenplay. I've read many screenplays where it seemed like characters and incidents were picked blindly from a hat and just jammed into the script arbitrarily. That's what I try to avoid at the thinking-about-it stage and the outline stage – I try to find the connections. But on this script? Not a clue.

But why did my brain pick these specific elements? There is always some reason, and the trick to a good screenplay is to know the reason so that it can be communicated to the audience in the film and not just some weird thing that only makes sense to you. Screenwriting is communication – and if for some reason you just know that the character is left handed, part of the job is to figure out why they are left handed and why that is critical to the story and make sure the audience understands these things so it's not just some whim that the character is left handed.

So, a few days ago I was writing a scene... and had this flash. Suddenly, I could see what my subconscious was getting at! I knew the why for these subplots. I knew why there was only one choice for type of sidekick and background of sidekick – no other version would have worked as well. No other version would have illustrated the theme. No other version would have shown the protagonist's emotional issues as well. And that sidekick was connected to the two other subplots in ways I'd never seen before. Connections that were always there, that my subconscious could see, but I had not been able to see before. This allowed me to write a scene that was about one of the subplots but also addressed the two other subplots on the sly... so that all three subplots could make sense as part of the story to the audience. Now, those subplots made sense to me so I could write a scene so that they'd make sense to the audience. My subconscious knew these were the best subplots for this script before I did.

The trick is to listen to your subconscious, but also to find the way through that wall between right brain and left brain so that you understand what the heck your subconscious is up to and get that stuff on the page in a way that the reader and viewer can understand as well.

- Bill
IMPORTANT UPDATE:

TODAY'S SCRIPT TIP: Protagonist's Job - How your protag's job is part of the story and important to the story... using the new movie WIN WIN as an example.
Dinner: Subway sandwich.
Pages: Dang - fell off the horse! But I did get a couple of pages written.
Bicycle: Mostly short rides.
Movies: WIN WIN - great little movie by the writer-director of THE VISITOR and THE STATION AGENT.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Lancelot Link: Nobody Wants To See That Film!

Lancelot Link Monday! I can't figure out why people are surprised that Ron Howard's new film is bombing. If you had pitched me that script, I would have passed on it... How many people want to see a remake of MOBY DICK, based on a famous novel? Okay, now divide that by 100 because this isn't based on the famous novel, it's based on the true story that inspired the novel. Snooze! What *dream* of the audience does this film fulfill? And it's not even "cultural" like some movie based on MOBY DICK (which allows you to sound as if you maybe read the book, when you just skimmed the Cliff Notes in High School). How did *anyone* think this would make money? Oh, and the title SUCKS! While you're thinking about that, here are this week's links to some great screenwriting and film articles, plus some fun stuff that may be of interest to you. Brought to you by that suave and sophisticated secret agent...




Here are a dozen links plus this week's car chase...


1) Weekend Box Office Estimates:
1 Hunger Games 3 Part 2............ $11,300,000
2 Fart Of Sea...................... $11,005,000
3 Good Dino........................ $10,497,000
4 Creed............................ $10,120,000
5 Krampus........................... $8,010,000
6 Spectre........................... $4,000,000
7 Night B4.......................... $3,900,000
8 Peanuts........................... $2,650,000
9 Spotlight......................... $2,508,853
10 Brooklyn.......................... $1,975,000




2) Remember when the sequel to INDEPENDENCE DAY was going to be a remake of FANTASTIC VOYAGE?

3) Francs Ford Coppola on APOCALYPSE NOW and his recent films.

4) Golden Globe Nominations! Who Are The "Hollywood Foreign Press" Again?

5) Tarantino Talks With Nolan about HATEFUL EIGHT.

6) Adam Sandler's RIDICULOUS SIX Nominated In All Categories!

7) Brad Pitt's Company Also Making Movies For Netflix.

8) MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 breaks Kickstarter records.

9) Variety's Actors On Actors: McKellan & Blanchett.

10) Bradley Cooper directs Beyonce in STAR IS BORN remake.

11) Bill Murray On The New GHOSTBUSTERS and Wes Anderson.

12) Morricone on HATEFUL EIGHT score.

And the Car Chase Of The Week:



This is *not* a Ron Howard movie...

Bill

Buy The DVDs

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

-
Dinner:
Pages:
Bicycle:

Movie:

Monday, December 07, 2015

Lancelot Link: End Of The Year?

Lancelot Link Monday! Some of this week's links are to Best Films Of 2015 Lists... and this year isn't even over! This is worse than Christmas decorations and music before Thanksgiving! Hey, most of the big Oscar movies will be released just before Christmas, so how can you know what the best movie of the year is when a whole bunch of really good ones haven't even been released yet? Did they use a crystal ball? Did they call one of those TV psychics? What if some movie that hasn't been released yet is better? While you're thinking about that, here are this week's links to some great screenwriting and film articles, plus some fun stuff that may be of interest to you. Brought to you by that suave and sophisticated secret agent...




Here are a dozen links plus this week's car chase...


1) Weekend Box Office Estimates:
1 Hunger 3 Part 2................. $18,600,000
2 Krampus......................... $16,020,000
3 Creed........................... $15,540,000
4 Good Dino....................... $15,512,000
5 Spectre.......................... $5,425,000
6 Night Before..................... $4,920,000
7 Peanuts.......................... $3,525,000
8 Spotlight........................ $2,926,844
9 Brooklyn......................... $2,430,000
10 Secret Eyes....................... $1,950,000


Box Office has dipped below 2013 & 2014 at this point in time, but International Box Office is breaking records.

2) Lawrence Kasdan on writing STAR WARS movies.

3) Over 100 Free Legal Download Screenplays!

4) And The Best Film Of 2015 Is...

5) The BIFA Winners!

6) The Hit List - This Year's Hot Scripts!

7) Interview With Director Of HITCHCOCK/TRUFFAUT.

8) Relativity... Not Quite Dead.

9) Tarantino & Cast Talk HATEFUL 8 in 90 Min Interview.

10) HANNIBAL (TV show) Script To Screen Comparison.

11) L.A. Film Critics Awards... The Year Isn't Over Yet!

12) Last Year's Oscar Nominated Directors Talk About Their Favorite Scenes.

And the Car Chase Of The Week:



The *Next* Series In The STORIES IN ACTION Books will talk about this chase.

Bill

Buy The DVDs

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

-
Dinner:
Pages:
Bicycle:

Movie:

Monday, November 23, 2015

Lancelot Link: Women!

Lancelot Link Monday! This week's links not only have the first photo from the WONDER WOMAN movie, also a swell article on the Women In Hollywood... oh, amnd the #1 film this weekend stars one of those women we speak of. Yes, there should be more of them working in the business, so let's do something about that! While you're thinking about that, here are this week's links to some great screenwriting and film articles, plus some fun stuff that may be of interest to you. Brought to you by that suave and sophisticated secret agent...




Here are a dozen links plus this week's car chase...


1) Weekend Box Office Estimates:
1 Hunger Games #3 P2............. $101,025,000
2 Spectre......................... $14,600,000
3 Peanuts......................... $12,800,000
4 Night Before.................... $10,100,000
5 Secret Eyes...................... $6,633,000
6 Coopers (not mini)............... $3,925,000
7 Martian.......................... $3,700,000
8 Spotlight........................ $3,603,466
9 The 33........................... $2,240,000
10 Bridge Spies..................... $1,945,000


Though part 2 of MOCKINGJAY opened $20m below part 1's opening, but foreign brings it up to $247 million... and it's days before Thanksgiving and 2 weeks after SPECTRE... with STAR WARS around the corner. Some of the estimates were $100m, and it made $101m, so it's not a failure. Heck, it made a pile of money in the first 3 days! Total box office for the year is still 4% over last year... with STAR WARS on the horizon.

2) John Gregory Dunne On Screenwriting.

3) Stacy Keach On Working With John Huston On FAT CITY.

4) The Women Of Hollywood Speak Out! (unfortunately, this is probably all of them.)

5) Carter Burwell's (BLOOD SIMPLE) Score For CAROL, Based On The Patricia Highsmith (STRANGERS ON A TRAIN) Novel.

6) STAR WARS Auditions From SNL.

7) Christopher McQuarrie Returns For MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 6.

8) WONDER WOMAN Starts Filming.

9) MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS Remake. Will This Open The Door To Mystery Films?

10) LEGEND Actress Emily Browning On Working With Tom Hardy Times Two.

11) A Dozen Things You Need To Know Before Writing TV.

12) DP John Seale On Shooting MAD MAX: FURY ROAD.

And the Car Chase Of The Week:



From KILL ME THREE TIMES.

Bill

Buy The DVDs

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

-
Dinner:
Pages:
Bicycle:

Movie:

Friday, November 20, 2015

Monday, November 16, 2015

Lancelot Link: Bill's Day Off

Lancelot Link Tuesday! A day late and a dollar short... so if all of you could send me a dollar, I'd appreciate it. Sorry this is a day late - but weather in Los Angeles on Sunday (and Monday) was cold and windy, so I decided to skip work and stay home near the heating vent and drink cocoa and watch TV and relax. I actually wrote a couple of pages on my short story, but not enough to matter. Some times you just need to take a day off. By the way - what does a cat do on it's day off? The opposite of what it does every other day? While you're thinking about that, here are this week's links to some great screenwriting and film articles, plus some fun stuff that may be of interest to you. Brought to you by that suave and sophisticated secret agent...




Here are a dozen links plus this week's car chase...


1) Weekend Box Office Actuals:
1 Spectre......................... $33,681,104
2 Peanuts......................... $24,013,538
3 Love The Coopers................. $8,317,545
4 Martian.......................... $6,712,171
5 The 33........................... $5,787,266
6 Goosebumps....................... $4,633,112
7 Bridge Of Spies.................. $4,268,772
8 Prem Ratan Dhan Payo............. $2,425,585
9 Hotel Transylvania............... $2,314,063
10 Last Vin Diesel Movie............ $1,482,463


Box Office is 4.4% ahead of this time last year... and STAR WARS hasn't opened, yet. Oh, and the last HUNGER GAMES movie comes out this weekend. Looking to be a good year.

2) Screenwriter Emma Donoghue On Adapting THE ROOM.

3) Screenwriter Steve Kloves (FABULOUS BAKER BOYS) On Writing, Outlining, Moments.

4) Spec Sale News.

5) Where Nightmare Are Created.

6) Why There Are Few Women Directors In TV.

7) The Next 100 Sequels In The FAST & FURIOUS Franchise Announced.

8) 25 Best Action Flick Opening Sequences.

9) MEMENTO Reboot (or is it a prequel?)

10) Screenwriter John Sayles On Writing And Directing Indie Films.

11) WGA Picks 101 Funniest Comedies.

12) Answers To Common Questions About Los Angeles (Movie Capital Of The World). A bunch of great articles about the birth and growth of the city.

And the Car Chase Of The Week:



Okay, it's a foot chase. But with all of the screenwriter interviews this week, it kind of made sense.

Bill

Buy The DVDs

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Raindance Film Festival Awards 2015

Another thing that happened while I was doing the 13 Films Of Halloween was the Raindance Film Fest gave out their awards.

** denotes the winner in the category.



Best International Feature:
Fires On The Plain
**Alice In Marialand
Chorus
Happy 140
That’s It
Echoes of War

Best British Feature:
**Kicking Off
Love/Me/Do
Mile End
The Return
Swansong
God’s Acre

Best Debut Feature:
Le Dep
**Princess
Bob And The Trees
Racket Shelter
Out of My Hand

Best Documentary Feature:
Sila And The Gatekeepers Of The Arctic
Digital Dissidents
**Gored
The Arms Drop
Horizontes
Broken Land

Best International Short
**Home
Winter Light
Chute Fighter
Shabu Shabu Spirit
Harry & Judy
A Hole In My Heart

Best UK Short
Into The Surf
Dating Eliza
**North
The Earth Belongs To No-One
Just Desserts
Strange Weather

Best Animated Short
N0-A
**Palm Rot
The Mechanical Waltz
The Alchemist’s Letter
Nowhere Line – Notes from Manus island
Last Day Of Freedom

Best Documentary Short
I Thought I Told You To Shut Up
Transmitting Thought: The Maimonides Dream Lab
The Champion
Rattle The Hocks
Rock’n’Roll Island
**Walking Through Havana

Feature Film of the Festival
All features in the festival are eligible. It is awarded to the film that best embodies the spirit of Raindance.
**Datuna: Portrait of America

Short Film of the Festival*
All shorts in the festival are eligible. The winner of the Short Film of the Festival award will be eligible for Oscar consideration.
** Winter Light

Special Jury Prize for a Short**
All shorts in the festival are eligible. The winner of the Special Jury Prize for a Short will be invited to pitch for next year’s festival trailer.
**The House Job

Best Music Video
All music videos in the festival are eligible.
**Stealing Sheep – Not Real

Congratulation to all of the winners!

- Bill

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

BEAT THE CAT!

The new BREAKING IN Blue Book has not even gotten close to beating THE CAT on Amazon! How can that be? The previous Blue Books had all battled SAVE THE CAT for the #1 position on Amazon by this point and won... for a day or two. THE CAT always returns to the top spot!

So how about helping me BEAT THE CAT?

If you want the new Blue Book and haven't bought it yet - BUY IT FRIDAY (11/6/15). If enough people buy it on the same day, it can battle the CAT for #1!

But *why* should you buy the BREAKING IN Blue Book? It's 419 pages long! That's like *2* books worth of material! Did I charge extra? Nope - still only $3.99. (But look for all of the Blue Book prices to go up a buck sometime next year... there are $5 screenwriting "books" on Amazon that are under 50 pages...) The problem was, the old paper version of the Blue Book was (and is) only around 40 pages of material, so it could only focus on the very basics of getting your script out there... nothing about making connections and networking, nothing about assignments, nothing about meetings, nothing about options, nothing about contracts, nothing about side doors into the business, nothing about *most* of the aspects of the business. Once I typed the words:

"Though this book is titled “Breaking In” that is kind of a misnomer, because it should be called the Everything About The Business Blue Book. There will be much more involved in your screenwriting career than selling screenplays, so I covered as much as I can. It's really the BREAKING IN AND HAVING A CAREER AND STAYING IN Blue Book.

I knew I was in trouble, because now I'd have to address all of those things! I'd have to go beyond query letters and look at all of the things that happen once your career begins, and you need to know all about meetings and assignments. Things you need to know in order to make connections that get you into the business. All of the back doors and side entrances into the business... what about contests? Pitchfests? Hey, what can you expect when you do a round of meetings and where will they make you park? How do you find a manager? Do you need a lawyer? There are so many aspects of the screenwriting business that I know even at 400 pages I have left things out... but eventually you have to type Fade Out and release it into the world. So here it is...

BRAND NEW!

bluebook

405 Pages!

*** SELLING BLUE BOOK *** - For Kindle!


Should really be called the BUSINESS BLUE BOOK because it covers almost everything you will need to know for your screenwriting career: from thinking like a producer and learning to speak their language, to query letters and finding a manager or agent, to making connections (at home and in Hollywood) and networking, to the different kinds of meetings you are will have at Studios, to the difference between a producer and a studio, to landing an assignment at that meeting and what is required of you when you are working under contract, to contracts and options and lawyers and... when to run from a deal! Information you can use *now* to move your career forward! It's all here in the Biggest Blue Book yet!

Print version was 48 pages, Kindle version is over 400 pages!

Only $3.99 - and no postage!



USA Folks Click Here.



UK Folks Click Here.

German Folks Click Here.

French Folks Click Here.

Espania Folks Click Here.

Canadian Folks Click Here.

Other countries check your Amazon websites... it's there!

Seriously - TEN TIMES larger than the paper version (still on sale on my website)! That's just crazy!

The next 3 Blue Books will be DESCRIPTION, STRUCTURE, and BLOCKBUSTERs (all 3 in 2016 I hope). Everyone wants the OUTLINES Blue Book, and I've promised it for the past couple of years, but the problem is I don't have enough ideas for new chapters, yet... and I want to get it up to 200 pages. I hope that over the next year I'll come up with some new chapter ideas and get that out at the beginning of 2017.

Thank you to everyone!

Bill

Monday, November 02, 2015

Lancelot Link: Merry Christmas!

Lancelot Link Monday! Halloween candy is 50% off and every store has their Christmas stuff up. Couldn't we create homne decorations that switched from scary Halloween to fun Christmas with the flick of a switch? While you're thinking about that, here are this week's links to some great screenwriting and film articles, plus some fun stuff that may be of interest to you. Brought to you by that suave and sophisticated secret agent...




Here are a dozen links plus this week's car chase...


1) Weekend Box Office Estimates:
1 The Martian..................... $11,400,000
2 Goosebumps...................... $10,210,000
3 Bridge Of Spies.................. $8,060,000
4 Hotel Tranny 2................... $5,830,000
5 Burnt............................ $5,038,000
6 Last Vin Diesel.................. $4,750,000
7 Pair Of Normal................... $3,450,000
8 Our Brand........................ $3,430,000
9 Crimson (not Twin)............... $3,110,000
10 Jobs............................. $2,580,000


Some folks have been making a lot out of BURNT and OUR BRAND IS CRISIS - two star driven vehicles - not making piles of money this weekend. Those people are morons. Both films are not commercial vehicles, but "Oscar bait" movies - and I don't think anyone expected them to make a lot of money. They expected them to get good reviews and be remembered when the Oscar nominations are announced. Halloween is traditionally a dead weekend - people are Trick Or Treating and going to parties - not the movies. So it's the perfect time to release a film that is not expected to sell a lot of tickets. Hey, both ended up in the top ten...

2) What is "Deathwave"? Jason Blum answers.

3) Deathwave Part 2

4) Horror Comedy - Per Roger Corman.

5) Emmett-Furla (FEAST) make a big deal with Lionsgate.

6) The Stars Of FINAL GIRLS Interviewed.

7) Jar Jar Binks, and evil Jedi Master?

8) WORLD WAR Z: PART II gets new screenwriter.

9) Stan Lee's New Movie Is *NOT* With Marvel

10) Top Spec Script Agent Leaves WME!

11) The Legal Problems With True Stories: STRAIGHT OUTTA HARVARD LAW?

12) The Dramatic Return Of Steve Guttenberg To Modern Cinema.

And the Car Chase Of The Week:





Bill

Buy The DVDs

Saturday, October 31, 2015

13 Films Of Halloween:
FROM A WHISPER TO A SCREAM

FROM A WHISPER TO SCREAM (1987)
Aka THE OFFSPRING

Starring: Vincent Price, Clu Gulager, Susan Tyrell, Cameron Mitchell, Lawrence Tierney, Terry Kiser (WEEKEND AT BERNIES), Rosalin Cash (OMEGA MAN) and many others - great cast!
Written by: C. Courtney Joyner, Darin Scott, Jeff Burr.
Directed by: Jeff Burr
Produced by: Bill Burr & Darin Scott


Happy Halloween!



This brings the series to a conclusion, and I’ve had a lot of fun writing these entries. All of these great films from my childhood - watching on late night TV on Halloween night - this was reliving my childhood watching Bob Wilkens’ CREATURE FEATURES and the kids matinee movies they showed at Pleasant Hill Intermediate School on Saturday afternoons. Watching the films again has been a blast, and looking at how they delivered scares on low budgets without gore or much in the way of special effects. Those Corman movies used suspense and dread and shock moments - and I tried to point all of them out in the synopsis so that you can see how the films work. These were all films that you could show to an auditorium full of kids... and provide some “safe screams”.



But some of you are wondering, “Where was THE FLY? Where was TALES OF TERROR? Where was THE TINGLER?” Hey, there are easily 13 more Vincent Price horror films that I didn’t use this time... so maybe I’ll do those next year.

For our last film I decided to go with a film late in Vincent Price’s career, after his “retirement” from movies. When you read a biography of Price they always say he came out of retirement to do two films, WHALES OF AUGUST and EDWARD SCISSORHANDS... but they never mention this film! The actual return from retirement movie. Oh, and made by a whole bunch of people I know. Directed by my friend Jeff Burr, produced by my friend Darin Scott, written by my friend C. Courtney Joyner (plus Darin and Jeff), and even some of the cast members are people I know. Met these folks at a series of Fangoria conventions I went to when I was still living in the Bay Area... and at AFM (maybe the year they were selling the film as THE OFFSPRING - I had a long conversation with Bill Burr on one of the balconies as we looked down at the “Lobby Rats”). Since the film was 1986, and that was my first year ever at AFM, these guys may have been the first people I met in Los Angeles! I saw the film at AFM, which means I probably saw it before it was released by MGM under the new title the next year.



Katherine White (Martine Beswick) is being executed in a Tennessee prison, as the Warden (Lawrence Tierney, pre-RESEVOIR DOGS “comeback”), the death is not instantaneous nor pleasant. Reporter Beth Chandler (Susan Tyrrell) watches in horror...

Oldfield, Tennessee: a spooky old house that is a combination town Library, town bureau of records, and residence - where the White family lived. Beth knocks on the door, finds it open, ventures inside to discover Mr. Julian White (Vincent Price) in the library section. He was the uncle of the executed woman. Beth wants the full story - Katherine killed her first man at age 7 and continued her killing spree until she was caught at 32. Why? What could have caused her to kill at 7? White says his niece’s execution will not end the problem - Oldfield is serial killer central, many a killer has called this place home. A cursed town. White tells the stories of some of the residents like...



Stanley Burnside (Clu Gulager), who wakes up screaming after dreaming of his dead and bloody wife. A quiet small town man. Lonely. He watches a pretty girl, Grace (Megan McFarland), at en employee barbeque for the meat packing company he works for. That night his sister Ellen (Miriam Bird-Nethery) is suffering from a fever and he has to bathe her in ice water, washing down her naked old body. This is more horrifying than that execution - as the wrinkled old sister is digging having her brother touch her naked flesh.

At work he shyly flirts with Grace, who gives him the cold shoulder.

One night, he calls her to ask her out on a date... and she refuses at first... then relents. Sister Ellen is jealous that he’s got a date.



At some cheap family chain restaurant they have an awkward meal together... afterwards on the drive back, she pretty much shoots him down big time. He forces a kiss on her, and she insists he take her home. When she keeps shooting him down, he strangles her to death... the tail light of the car blinking as they struggle. He dumps her on the side of the road and drives away.

Next day at work the Foreman announces that a fellow employee was killed the night before. There will be a funeral in a couple of days and they will be given time off to attend. A coworker notices that Stanley has scratches on the side of his face.



Night. The funeral home. Someone breaks a basement window and crawls inside... Stanley making a late night visit. Grace is laid out in a coffin for tomorrow’s funeral, surrounded by flowers. Stanley brings champagne, tells the corpse they can’ let something like this get in the way of their romance. Oh, yeah - it’s going there. Stanley kisses her corpse, then undresses both of them and gets busy...

Nine months later...

He comes home from work to find his sister wanting a bath... and wearing a ton of make up. Um, what’s up with that? Stanley breaks up the ice with an ice pick and pours some in the tub. His sister keeps talking on and on and on... and finally Stanley just pushes her head under the water and tries to drown her. That doesn’t work, and he grabs for the ice pick., ends up getting her robe belt - that works just fine to strangle her. She ends up dead and naked in the tub of ice water.

Meanwhile, at Grace’s grave, something crawls out of the dirt! Crawls across a field to Stanley’s house.



Stanley hears noises in the house - a broken window in the kitchen. A tree branch? No, something messy on the floor - dirt and slime. And there’s something crawling around in his house - like the totem dude in TRILOGY OF TERROR. Now it’s Stanley versus this little crawling thing! He reaches under he couch for it and it bites his hand! He grabs a knife to defend himself as it terrorizes him - what the hell is it? It skitters upstairs. When he follows, he finds his sister’s naked corpse at the base of the stairs! He climbs the stairs carefully, knife ready... when that *thing* trips him at the top of the staircase. Stanley tumbles all the way down... into the arms of his dead sister. He looks up to see what that thing is... and it’s a dead baby. A dead baby that keeps saying, “Daddy!” Then the baby comes down to attack him!

Back to Mr. White who tells the next story... that happened over 30 years ago.

Jesse Hardwick (Terry Kiser) lives in a crappy trailer and has the ultimate in relationship problems - his girlfriend says she’s leaving, and that she’s tipped off the McCoy Brothers that he was cheating them... and they are on their way.

Just the, the McCoy Brothers show up - guns drawn - and Jesse blasts through the wall of the house trailer and runs. But he can’t outrun a bullet, and one of the McCoy Brothers shoots him and leaves his body on the side of the road. But Jesse isn’t quite dead, and drags himself to the river where he has his boat stashed and then passes out in the boat. The boat drifts down the river... until someone pulls it ashore.

Jesse wakes up in an old shack filled with some really weird stuff. The old man who owns the shack, Felder Evans (Harry Ceasar) comes home and tells Jesse he’s been asleep for days. Gives him some soup. That night, old man Felder is practicing voodoo on the back porch and Jesse overhears.



The next day, Jesse asks Felder some prying personal questions and can’t get any straight answers. How old is Felder? How long has he been living here? Felder just talks about carving wooden buffalo while standing in the middle of a herd. No herds of buffalo for decades. How old is this guy? When Felder leaves, Jesse ransacks the shack - looking for valuables. Finds a hidden trunk filled with “valuables” - some antique guns, a book of voodoo spells, a scrap book with clipping about Felder that go back over *two centuries*. What? How is that possible?

Felder comes home and Jesse asks him how a man gets to be 200 years old. Is it that voodoo? Jesse demands to know how it’s done. If you could live that long, you could become rich! Jesse wants to take voodoo lessons...



Three weeks later, Jesse is frustrated. He’s a guy who is looking for a get rich quick scheme and this voodoo thing is a lot of work. Jesse has seen Felder drink from a little vial - is that his secret to eternal life? He knocks out Felder, puts him on the boat, and takes him out on the swamp. Threatens to throw him overboard if Felder doesn’t tell where the vial of magic water is. Felder doesn’t tell, and Jesse screws up yet again and accidentally shoves him all the way out of the boat. Felder sinks into the swamp. Jesse can’t see his body anywhere. Crap!

At Felder’s shack, Jesse is tearing the place apart looking for the vial - can’t find it. When Felder - covered in swamp mud - blasts through the door and slams him in the head with the boat paddle!

Jesse wakes up tied to the dock. Felder tells him when he first dragged Jesse and that boat in, Jesse was already dead. Felder used that potion from the vial on him to bring him back to life - so Jesse has just been trying to steal something that he already had. “You can’t die. I gave you enough that you’ll last another 70 years or more.” Felder pours kerosine on Jesse’s chest. Then chops off one of Jesse’s arms and sets him on fire and...



Two kids find a *moving* sack on the side of the road, call the police.

Hospital: The doctor says it is impossible for this... man... to be alive in his condition. But he is. And then we see what is left of Jesse - burned torso and head and... yech! Felder’s voice echoes, “You’ll last another 70 years or more.”

Back to Mr. White and Beth, who still isn't convinced it is the *town* that is evil. All of these bad things happening in the same place is just a coincidence. Mr. White tells her the Librarian who was here 40 years ago killed two people and buried them under this very floor (what that Mr. White?) then he tells her a story from his childhood - when the carnival came to town, bringing along the sideshow. And he remember Amarrillis Caulfield....



1933: The Carnival - crowded - pretty small town girl Amarrillis (Didi Lanier) walks along the midway until she comes to the sideshows, and enters the tent for Arden The Amazing (Ron Brooks) - who eats nails and screws and broken glass and razor blades and other things not on the standard food pyramid. After the performance she waits for Arden, and kisses him. Small town girl attractive to “sophisticated” carny. As they kiss, fellow carny Leonard (Gordon Paddison) watches them. Arden tells her he has a poker game with the guys, so she’s gotta go. She doesn’t want to leave... and makes him a deal - she’ll leave tonight if he meets her for a necking party at the graveyard after tomorrow’s shows have finished. He agrees and tells her to leave, “You don’t know how dangerous it is here if she finds you.” Amarrillis wants to know “Who’s she?” but Arden tells her to just leave.



Arden plays poker with the other carnies... when SnakeWoman (Rosalind Cash) steps from the darkness and wants to know who’s the girl she saw Arden with. Arden asks *who* saw him, SnakeWoman or Leonard? Leonard sneaks up behind Arden and blows on his neck. Tiny Tinker (Angelo Rossitto) says that SnakeWoman has no control over their personal lives, and she threatens him with the police... Tinker relents. SnakeWoman says that she protects all of them from the police in exchange for their talents - maybe in the case of the freak “No Face” (Barney Burman) she gave him his talent (by removing parts of his face). “This is my carnival. I own everything in it. Even you,” she says to Arden. “I own the tears you weep and the blood you shed.” Arden splits.

Amarrillis goes to the graveyard to put flowers on Father’s grave, when Arden arrives. Arden says he can’t stay long, she needs to forget about him. She says since she first saw his act she wanted to marry him, or just be with him. He tells her he’s a freak. She puts his hand on her breast and gets her freak on. They make out on her father’s grave, and begin undressing each other. But when he puts his hands “down there” she screams and bleeds - is it supposed to hurt like that? He takes his hand out of her panties - and screws and nails that he’s eaten in the past have erupted from his finger tips. He screams and staggers back to the carnival, where SnakeWoman is there to meet him. “Welcome home, glass eater.” SnakeWoman is a voodoo priestess - whose tent is filled with snakes. She makes his bleeding stop... and tells him to forget the girl. She makes the glass and nails he has eaten poke through his insides! Tells him to love that girl and know what pain really is.



When Arden returns to his tent, Amarrillis is waiting for him - she begs him to leave with her. He decides that might not be a bad idea. But on the way to her car they are discovered by Leonard - who has a gun. When he threatens to kill Arden, Tiny Tinker comes out of the shadows and stabs Leonard in the back. As Leonard lays dying he tears open his shirt, exposing a third eye on his chest, and says “I can still see you!”

Arden and Amarrillis drive off together.

In a roadside motel, they once again try to make whoopi... then he begins screaming in pain as all of the nails and screws and glass and razors he has eaten over the years *burst* from his body! Blood sprays everywhere - drenching Amarrillis - and piercing her body again and again!



Back to the side show, where they have a new attraction: Amarrillis The Human Pincushion. She has holes in her body that you can see through!

Mr. White finishes the story, and Beth is coming around... she is starting to believe that Oldfield might just be an evil town. “Oldfield’s history is written in human blood, on pages of human skin.” All the way back to when the town was founded during the Civil War. He shows her a series of Civil War photos, and one comes to life before our eyes for the last story...

Four Confederate Soldiers, lead by Sgt. Gallen (Cameron Mitchell) have been separated from their division, and come across a group of Union Soldiers - also separated from their division. The Union soldiers haven’t seen them yet, so Gallen orders his men to fire on them. Everyone fires except Pike... whose man is getting away. Gallen grabs Pike’s rifle and kills the running survivor. Gallen has them loot the bodies. They find documents on the dead Union soldiers - the war is over, and has been for a month. Gallen thinks there’s still some raping and looting left to do. Pike says if the war is over, he’s going home... and walks away. Gallen shoots him in the back, killing him.



Gallen and the two other soldiers (Bullock and McBride) go looking for a house where they can rape and loot, when they’re fired upon... and captured. They’re taken in a wagon to an old house named Oldfield with a bunch of children in the yard. Some of the children have been mutilated in the war - missing limbs or eyes or parts of their face. A little boy in a Union Army uniform, Andrew (Tommy Nowell), comes out of the house and tells Gallen that he is their prisoner now. Gallen can’t take this little boy seriously. Bullock (Tim Wingard) tells them their just a bunch of kids... and gets stabbed in the balls with a knife. Suddenly Gallen is taking this seriously. He tries to convince the boy that the war is over... but little Andrew does not believe them. Andrew takes the three Confederate soldiers into the house and warns them that the Magistrate will decide their fate. The Magistrate taught them everything they know - how to fight.

Soldier Bullock who was stabbed in the balls? They don’t expect him to last the night, so they’ll prepare a game for him. The other soldier, McBride (Leon Edwards), is in a different room, so he won’t be able to conspire with Gallen to escape.



A little girl with only one leg and only one eye, Amanda (Ashli Bare), brings Gallen dinner. He tries to talk her into letting him go when the ball rings - the Magistrate is calling a meeting. She leaves.

Andrew tells Amanda that he has a surprise for her, and takes her into the room where they have McBride. The Confederate soldier is now strapped to a table. Andrew tells Amanda to take off her eye patch... and then he inserts one of McBride’s eyes into her socket. McBride screams - and we see that his eye has been cut out.

When Amanda brings his next meal, Gallen convinces her to untie him... he’s adopt her and be her daddy. She untie him... Then he gives her a full on kiss... which is just wrong. She fights him. And he kills her and escapes... to find the kids playing a game in the front yard.

Pinata with meat hooks and the body of dead soldier Bullock. You know, for kids!



Gallen gets the hell out of there - running through the woods at top speed. Until he runs into Pike, who wasn’t killed by Gallen’s shot in the back. Pike knocks Gallen to the ground. Gallen says - you have to help me get away, those kids are going to kill me!

And Andrew has discovered Amanda’s body and the kids *are* chasing through the woods to find Gallen. But Andrew doesn’t help Gallen... he turns him over to the kids.



Gallen wakes up in the Magistrate’s Room. Andrew tells him they don’t murder people, they take them before the Magistrate and the Magistrate passes sentence. Then Andrew pulls aside a curtain so that Gallen can see the Magistrate: a Frankenstein’s monster made of the body parts of these kid’s parents... who were murdered in the war.

And the sentence for Gallen? Barbecue. They cook him up and eat him.

And that’s where the town of Oldfield came from - those cannibal kids.



Mr. White tells Beth that Poe and Lovecraft’s monsters where inventions of their imaginations, but here in Oldfield they walk the streets. Beth asks how Mr. White managed to survive this town, and he answers: “How do you know that I did?” Beth reaches into her purse and touches the handle of her knife... Mr. White smiles and tells her that he managed to just remain an observer of the parade of violence, but his niece Katherine became part of the parade. Beth says that she reported on Katherine’s murders, then after the arrest became Katherine’s pen pall while she was in prison... and learned all about this town and how Katherine was brought up... by Mr. White. And now she’s here to deliver Katherine’s parting gift to the man who raised her - pulls out her knife and stabs Mr. White, who dies saying: “Welcome to Oldfield.”

One of the final credits on the film: “When In Tennessee Visit Oldfield”!

Happy Halloween everybody! Trick Or Treat responsibly!

Buy the pit



Friday, October 30, 2015

13 Films Of Halloween:
DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN!

PHIBES RISES AGAIN (1972)

Starring: Vincent Price, Robert Quarry, Peter Cushing, Terry Thomas, Hugh Griffith
Written by: Robert Fuest, Robert Blees.
Directed by: Robert Fuest
Produced by: Sam Arkoff and James H. Nicholson (American International Pictures)



When we last left Phibes he was dead - and embalming himself in his crypt. Obviously no one was thinking there would ever be a sequel, but here we are a year later and Phibes has returned. What’s interesting about this film is that it shows us how to engineer a sequel using “clues” to that sequel in the original film... so Dr. Phibes used the Ten Plagues Of The Pharaohs in the first film, and it was mentioned that he was an expert on Egypt... so what they hell can happen in Egypt that makes sense for a sequel? Hey, maybe Phibes was there trying to find some way to bring his dead wife back to life? Once you find that idea in the previous film, what in that previous film can be used to support that idea? You assemble more “clues” - clues that were never planted there because every intention was that Phibes was *dead* and there would never be a sequel. Hey, there were stars and planets on his crypt - what if opens when the stars and moon are in a certain position? More pieces of the puzzle can be found, and now with a bit of rewriting of the past, Phibes can Rise Again.

In Egypt.

In a story that now seems like some sort of mash up between RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and FINAL DESTINATION. Yes, RAIDERS - which would be made nine years later. This story is about the search for an ancient Egyptian treasure - and the race between two rivals - an evil archeologist and his cutthroat team and our lone protagonist who wants the treasure for (discussed at the end of the film) selfless reasons. There are secret chambers and ancient curses and all kinds of stuff shared by both RAIDERS and RISES AGAIN! The key to the search is a map... with a twist that changes what the map means, and that map is stolen. Oh, that lone protagonist *does* have a sidekick... who is much better looking that Sallah. The lone protagonist also has a romantic interest who is kidnaped by the bad guys at one point. Oh, and lead bad guy: German. Though mentor archeologist’s name Ambrose only sounds a little like mentor archeologist Abner, that seemed close enough for me to scribble down while watching the movie. There’s even a truck loaded with the treasure that gets stolen - and a chase... which is basically off screen because this is not an adventure film it’s a horror film. Instead of exciting action and great stunts we get bizarre deaths.

The FINAL DESTINATION stuff is carried over from the first film - Phibes has his crazy Rube Goldberg murder methods where no matter how hard the victim tries to escape death... they just make it worse!



We open with a recap of the first film, with a bit of a rewrite in the V.O. narration (though not on the screen) where instead of embalming fluid replacing Dr. Phibes’ blood, it is some sort of suspended animation fluid - and Phibes and his dead wife are actually alive. Hey, he *didn’t* die at the end of the first film (so that final curse of Eternal Darkness just meant he turned out the lights and he can turn them back on for the sequel).

Three years later...

The moon comes into conjunction with the other planets and shines on his crypt... waking him!

He strokes his dead (?) wife’s hair in the crypt, climbs out, goes to his organ (covered in 3 years of dust) and plays, plugging in the voice jack to his neck. “Victoria, for three years I have rested by your side. Now the moon has risen to the exact position which last occurred two thousand years ago, signaling the opening of this crypt, and the beginning of our greatest adventure. We shall embark to the land of Egypt, where years ago in a mountain overlooking the Valley Of The Pharaohs, I did prepare for us a wondrous shrine, unknown by any living man. There, my beloved, awaits the key to resurrection for you and eternal life for both of us.”



He calls once again for beautiful Vulnavia (this time played by Valli Kemp) his trusted aid, to help him bring his dead wife back to life. He has her get the map of the River Of Life, which they must find at its flood, and prepare for their journey...

But upstairs - the house has been destroyed... and the safe has been broken into and the ancient map stolen. Only one man could have done this - Biederbeck (Robert Quarry)!

Biederbeck shows Ambrose (Hugh Griffith) the ancient map. Biederbeck had one section of the map, and claims to have bought this other section from a dealer who found it in the rubble of Phibes house. Ambrose doesn’t understand Biederbeck’s *obsession* with these weird spiritual artifacts, is he not a man of science? Why deal with these superstitions? Ambrose has excavated the entire area and found nothing. Biederbeck says that Ambrose’s problem is that he looks down instead of up - the stars will show the way to the Temple Of Ibisis... if there’s treasure - gold - Ambrose can keep that, Biederbeck is looking for something legendary and possibly supernatural (the Ark Of The Covenant?). Beiderbeck’s attractive fiance Diana (Fiona Lewis) enters to remind him they are having dinner with the Princess tonight. Biederbeck puts the map in his safe and they leave.

Outside, Phibes and Vulnavia get out of their car when they see them leave and grab a basket filled with... something.

In the house, Biederback’s Bodyguard (Milton Reid) is playing pool as he guards the safe, when he hears a slithering. A golden snake under the pool table. He beats it to death with his pool cue, Then another slithering sound. Another golden snake - another death by pool cue. Except the snake keeps slithering! The bodyguard picks up the snake and sees that it is a mechanical wind up toy. Another snake slithers onto the pool table - just a toy... Not this one! It bites him! He quickly grabs a knife, slices open the bite and sucks out the venom, then goes to the phone to call for an ambulance.

Phibes waits until the Bodyguard gets the phone up to his ear and then nods to Vulnavia, who pushes a button... and a steel spike shoots from the earpiece of the phone and pierces the Bodyguard’s head - on one ear and out the other! As Phibes goes to the safe, Vulnavia picks up the snakes and hangs up the phone.

Crime scene - Inspector Trout (Peter Jeffrey returning) examines the Bodyguard’s body and questions Biederbeck... who seems to care more about his missing map than his dead Bodyguard. Trout asks who would want to steal this old map? There are a dozen living scholars who might find it of value, but they are all *scholars* not thieves. Trout thinks that this is a calculated act - not just some random burglary.

Phibes puts his dead wife in a special air-tight glass coffin, and takes it along with his assistant Vulnavia to South Hampton where they board a ship...

On the deck of the ship, Phibes and Vulnavia dance.

On the same ship, Biederbeck worries that he is down to his last vials of his Elixir Of Life - he must take 3 drops per day - if he fails to find the Temple Of Ibisis he will die.



Biederbeck tells his archeologist mentor Ambrose that mountains erode, rivers find new courses, everything on the land changes with time... but starts remain the same. That is why he will find the temple that others have been unable to find - he will use the stars! He sends Ambrose down to get the model of the mountain which is in their automobile on the cargo deck... and tell no one about this. As Ambrose leaves, he passes Diana who was listening at the door.

On the cargo deck, Ambrose searches for their car, passing a huge plywood advertisement for a Gin brand featuring cut out women and a massive glass Gin bottle... wishes the gin bottle (and the women) were real. Finally finding the car and the model of the mountain... then spotting a strange thing in the corner - another big advertisement display? A Woman in a glass case! Seemingly a *real* woman! (Mrs. Phibes). And a life size mechanical band. Ambrose presses a button and the band plays... as he watches it play, Phibes comes up behind him and grabs his neck.

The Ship’s Captain (Peter Cushing) comes to Biederbeck’s cabin to inform him that the search for Ambrose has turned up nothing - it’s as if he has vanished off the ship. Biederbeck seems unconcerned by this. He would rather they continue forward than stop and search for him in the water.

Meanwhile - off the coast of England - a giant glass gin bottle washes to shore. A message inside? Nope - Ambrose. How the hell did he get in the bottle? Trout ends up getting the case, of course.

In Egypt, Phibes and Vulnavia go into an underground Pharaoh’s Tomb, between the towering legs of a huge Anibus god statue (just like in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK’s Well Of Souls scene... and this set is its twin) where Phibes has built a secret passage to his Egyptian headquarters - which may need some minor decorating, a little touching up, but will suit his current purposes. A dance floor, an organ, and the transplanted mechanical band.



Back in England, Trout is questioning the shipping agent Lombardo (Terry Thomas) about the giant gin bottle and the dead man inside, Ambrose. He tells them that Ambrose, being and archeologist, was a regular traveler to Egypt on their ships. Trout asks if there was any passenger on the ship that might be a little... odd. Lombardo seems to think that most of the passengers are odd. Or oddish. Well, on this last trip an attractive and fashionable young woman had them install an organ in one of the cabins. Some passengers enjoy playing the piano on these long voyages, but this was the first request for an organ. Trout asks if this passenger with the organ was named... Phibes. “No, Smith... we get a lot of Smiths.” Oh, and he also had in cargo a group of mechanical musicians... Lombardo has all of the details on the ship’s manifest. Trout wants to look at the manifest. Lombardo says Mr. Smith’s ticket was one way. The Chief Inspector hopes that means that Phibes won’t be coming back to England. Trout says, “He always comes back.” (Potentially setting up further sequels which never happened, but *could have*.)

Phibes and Vulnavia touch up the new digs.

At the police station, Miss Ambrose (Beryl Reid) cousin of the dead man washed ashore in the giant bottle, and provides information as to where he was going in Egypt.



Back in Egypt, Biederbeck and his group arrive at base camp and ask where the others are. Archeologist Hackett (Gerald Sim) says they have all gone ahead to the dig site. Biederbeck tells his fiance Diana to wait here while they go to stop the others from premature digging.

At the archeological site, Stewart (Keith Buckley) goes into an ancient Egyptian tomb and pokes around the darkness with his lantern. Climbs a stone stairway into a narrow passageway. Something fluttering in the darkness. A falcon! The falcon attacks Stewart’s face, tearing it to pieces and eating parts of him!

In Phibes new digs, the falcon returns to its perch. “Did you have a good dinner?”

Phibes has found a secret chamber - invisible because this section is usually flooded with water, but the moon’s position at this time (when all of the planets align) creates a gravitational pull that recedes the water... exposing a passageway which may lead to the River Of Life! Phibes enters the passage, finding a secret doorway, and a golden sarcophagus! Inside, the remains of a mummy. But in a secret compartment inside that sarcophagus - a silver key!



Biederbeck and Hacket arrive at the dig site - the same one with the secret passage which leads to Phibes new digs. He chastises Shavers (John Thaw) and Baker (Lewis Fiander) for starting without him. The two young diggers are insolent and creep right to the edge of insulting Biederbeck (later they will watch the shadow of Diana undress on the side of his tent and make sexually suggestive comments - and we will get to see the shadows of naked boobies in a movie rated so that even a 13 year old boy could see it).

At basecamp, fiancĂ© Diana discovers something sparkly in the sand. She carefully brushes away the sand to find what seems to be a golden sarcophagus. Bushes away more sand exposing... a skull with still a little meat on it. She runs to the dig and grabs Biederbeck - she has a little discovery of her own that she thinks he ought to see. As they leave, one of the skulls littered about on the floor under the giant god statue opens its eyes - it’s Phibes without his face.

In his new digs, Vulnavia brings Phibes a tray with his face and wig, and he gets dressed. Mrs. Phibes is in a chrome and glass coffin... which moves on rails into that secret compartment where the sarcophagus was - where the River Of Life will rise when the planetary alignment comes. Phibes vows to kill everyone who gets in their way - if you haven’t been paying attention, instead of the Ten Plagues from the Bible, this time people are killed by Things Found In Hieroglyphics (for $100, Alex).

At basecamp Shavers sees a woman in veils dancing in the moonlight (Vulnavia) and follows her into the desert night to a luxurious tent. As she dances near a giant golden statue of a scorpion inside the tent, he comes closer to her... closer... then Phibes (dressed as a sheik) enters the tent and turns a key on the scorpion statue and the pincers close on Shaver’s arms, trapping him! Golden needles in the pincers pin his arms in place. Phibes puts the key in a plaster statue of a dog just out of reach of Shaver’s hands, and he and Vulnavia leave the tent. Shavers realizes he can maybe reach the plaster dog if he moves his arms... which rams the golden needles deeper into his arms. He does this - ouch - and grabs the statue. Tries to break it open. The good news is that he succeeds, the bad news is that he drops it on the floor just out of reach, the worse news is that inside that plaster dog statue were a dozen *real* scorpions! They crawl up his legs - and he can’t brush them off! He screams as the scorpions sting him all over his body - yes, even there - they crawl into his pants!

Inspector Trout and Chief Inspector Waverley have arrived in Egypt and are slightly lost in the desert. No one to ask for directions. Then they spot something on the hillside... a luxurious tent.

Phibes and Vulnavia go to the tomb... and discover that both the golden sarcophagus *and* Mrs. Phibes coffin have been stolen!



Biederbeck has the golden sarcophagus loaded up on the back of a truck, and finds the silver key...

Just as Trout and Waverley pull up at basecamp... with Shavers on the golden scorpion attached to the roof. When Biederbeck asks who would do such a crazy thing to a man, Trout asks him if he’s ever heard of a Dr. Anton Phibes?

As Biederbeck tries to patch up his relationship with Diana, Trout and the other Archeologists wonder if you need a search warrant to go through all of the tunnels and catacombs of that tomb where they found the sarcophagus to see if they can find Phibes?

Baker ends up pulling guard duty - sleeping in the sarcophagus tent. A wind is blowing through the desert, so he zips uo his sleeping bag and buries his head inside. What he doesn’t know is that Phibes has a giant theatrical wind machine that he is blowing at basecamp. While Baker is wrapped up in his mummybag, Vulnavia secretly straps him onto his cot, then slices a hole in the tent. She goes to man the wind machine as Phibes goes down to Baker’s tent and begins twisting the crank on a giant vice that compresses Baker’s cot - and his body...

As Inspector Trout and Chief Inspector Waverley sleep in a tent a few feet away, huddling together from the wind... unable to hear Baker’s screams over the wind.

Phibes and Vulnavia have retrieved Mrs. Phibes coffin and the sarcophagus and taken them back to the room... but when he pulls the lever on the sarcophagus - the silver key is gone.

Biederbeck discovers the compressed version of Baker. Trout tells Biederbeck that there is no hope of winning against Phibes - he’s just too damned clever. Biederback is going to stay, but tells everyone else to strike basecamp and go back... back to England. Trout and Waverley discuss if they should dispose of Baker’s body - or just bury his head?

Hackett drives Diana to safety when they hear bagpipes... and see a British military flag on the horizon. There’s a military regiment out here? They can help! He orders Diana to stay in the car while he climbs the hill to get help. At the top of the hill - no regiment, just a lone soldier holding the flag and three other soldiers playing the bagpipes. When he gets closer still, he discovers that they are Phibes lifesize mechanical musicians. He races back to the truck... but Diana is gone. Crap! He starts up the truck - and sand *blasts* out of the vent... sandblasting him into a skeleton!

Biederbeck realizes Phibes has Diana, races into the tombs and looks through the tunnels and catacombs until he hears the organ music... follows it to Phibes. Phibes and Biederbeck face off. Diana for the silver key. He has 3 minutes too save Diana - Phibes has her chained to a platform in a well... which is slowly filling with water!

Biederbeck tries to release her... then sees that as the platform rises, the ceiling lowers. And on the ceiling are dozens of golden serpents with spiked tongues. He wedges a board between the two - which temporarily saves her life. He runs up to confront Phibes.

Phibes and Biederbeck make a deal - the key for Diana... and there is a chance that Biederbeck can *share* in the River Of Life. He hands over the silver key... just as that board that Biederbeck wedged in there breaks! The golden serpents begin to descend again. But when Phibes uses the silver key, the water rushes into Phibes’ chamber and leaves Diana’s... so her platform moves down, away from the golden serpents. Diana will live! But has Phibes (and Mrs. Phibes coffin) floated into the River Of Life?

Trout and Waverley finally find Phibes fantastic headquarters - just in time to see Vulnavia walk into a tunnel and vanish. Where does she go between films? Is she from a temp service or something?

Biederbeck runs out, dives into the water in the chamber and swims to the open gates leading to the River Of Life... which close as he gets to them. He yells through the closed gates for Phibes to come back and let him in as well. But Phibes rows Mrs. Phibes coffin down a flooded tunnel to the River Of Life. Diana tells Biederbeck that it’s not the end of the world... but for him it *is*... he has run out of elixir and without the River Of Life begins *rapidly* aging. He goes from handsome Robert Quarry to and withered old man in seconds. The wedding with Diana is probably off!

Phibes and Mrs. Phibes head to eternal life...

Tomorrow we bring this series to an end on Halloween... with Vincent Price’s return to films after his retirement in a film made by a bunch of guys I know!

- Bill

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