Mystery Photo 1-15

After being sick pretty much all weekend, not sure if Monday is a good thing or not! But none the less, that didn’t stop me from coming up with a new Mystery Photo for you. Our photo from last week was from Mario Bava’s A Bay of Blood (1971), or Twitch of the Death Nerve, Carnage, or any of the other half dozen titles it’s known for. I gave credit to anybody that sent in the correct film, no matter the title. And those are the following: Martin Meeks, Dustin Moravich, James Schmeichel, and Troy Howarth. Well done!

Now on to this week’s photo. To some it might seem pretty easy, others might think they know right away, but you might want to re-think it. Confuse you enough? Good. Just remember not to post your answers here so others can have a chance. Good luck!

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Soundtrack Review: The Shape of Water

Shape of Water CD

The Shape of Water
Released by Decca Records, 2017
26 Tracks with a Total Running Time of 77 min.
Music Composed and Conducted by Alexandre Desplat, featuring Renée Fleming

Years ago, the only way a soundtrack could grab my attention, I mean really get a hold of it, was that it had to be creepy sounding. Something like Carpenter’s Halloween theme, or pretty much any of John Harrison’s Creepshow. Or maybe something a little more masculine like Basil Poledouris’ amazing score for Conan the Barbarian. But a score for a drama or even a love story? Seriously? Oh how things have changed. When you really love cinema, every part of it can entrance you, from the way the film looks to the sounds that emit from the speakers. And when you come across a film by a brilliant and master craftsman like Guillermo del Toro, you realize how perfect things can be.

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Mystery Photo 1-8

Greeting, fellow movie fanatics! Hopefully this Monday will be nice to you. We got a pretty good response from our last photo, which is always nice. Of course, the photo was from the 2001 masterpiece from the (now Golden Globe winning director) Guillermo del Toro, The Devil’s Backbone. Such a great piece of cinema. Kudos to the following for sending in the correct answer: Scott Bradley, Cate Cameron, Craig J. Clark, Kuba Haczek, Jinx, Bryan Martinez, Dustin Moravich, Kristin Wicks, and William Wilson.

Now on to this week’s pictorial puzzle. Take a peek and see what you can come up with. As always, please do not post your answers here so others can have a guess. Good luck!

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The Wonderful Movie Books of Guillermo del Toro

As a collector of movie themed books, nothing brings me back to my childhood than when you find a book that is not only dedicated to a single title, but one that covers it with so much detail that you literally can just fall right into the film as you’re slowly turning the pages, reading all about the making of the particular title while looking at the wonderful images therein. It’s really magical. Of course, it’s great when you can find one of these books on a movie that you absolutely adore. Or maybe it’s about a particular filmmaker. Or even better, a series of books on this same guy, who has continued to create some of the most beautiful cinematic features over the years. Of course, I’m talking about Guillermo del Toro and the amazing books that have been coming out over the last few years.

cabinetofcuriositiesOver the last five years, there have been at least a half dozen titles that have come out, either from Harper Design and/or Insight Editions, all looking very similar to each other, but are just filled to the brim with tons of information. The first volume was called Guillermo del Toro Cabinet of Curiosities: My Notebooks, Collections, and Other Obsessions, and was released by Harper Design in October of 2013. This book was a walk into the creative mind of del Toro and what a wonderful stroll it is to take. It covers the filmmakers early life, gives us a tour of Bleak House, as well as going through some of his movies. Filling the pages are images where your mind can be inspired, from the mind-blowing photos of his collection in Bleak House, to the illustrations and original sketches from the different films, all coming from his notebooks while he was developing these movies. This large hardcover was a bit pricy with the original retail at $60, but it really is a must for fans of his work. Here’s a video he made explaining what this book is all about. Better to hear it right from him, right?

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Book Review: The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema

Ultimate Guide to Strange CinemaThe Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema
Published by Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2017. 352 pages.
By Michael Vaughn

In his introduction, author Vaughn writes, “…it’s hard to reproduce the feel of a real book in your hands, and I refuse to believe printed material is dead.” Okay…so it’s kind of hard to criticize an author when he has the same feelings on books as I do. But none the less, I started to dig into this volume with the same quizzical interest that I do every I review. Will he mention the right kind of titles here, or just rehash the same old “cult” films that are so common you’ll find t-shirts of them at your local Hot Topic. It didn’t take me long to realize that Vaughn has done something special here.

Just quickly paging through this, I was enthusiastic to see so many great little titles being covered, from some more common titles to some that I haven’t thought of in decades, as well as mentioning plenty of titles that are now written down in my Need-To-See list! That is the real beauty of this volume is that it is going to bring some that are in that deserve some much needed attention, hoping to breath  a little life again to these new fans reading this book. Vaughn covers titles from around the world and in a variety of different genres. Not just the usual horror & sci-fi entries, but also dramas, comedies, crime/thrillers, and even one chapter entitled Cars, Trucks, and Choppers, but that all still fit inside the strange world of cult cineam. How cool is that?

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2017 Year in Review: Final Thoughts and Misc. Memories

Like any passage of time, there are bound to be good memories and bad ones. I would like to think that focusing on the good is the best thing to do, or for the bad ones, try and learn from it and take something positive from it. For example, all the great talent we lost in the last year, be thankful that we still can revisit them any time want by just popping in that DVD or Blu-ray.

After years of trying to get a screening of Mariano Baino’s Dark Waters in Chicago, it finally happened when it was part of the Music Box of Horrors. It had a good reception and writer/director Baino was there to experience the film’s very first screening in the Midwest! Thanks again to Will Morris getting it included in the lineup and Ryan at the Music Box for making it happen. And of course to Mariano and the wonderful Coralina for coming out, making this event even more special. It really was a highlight of my year.

Music Box Memories

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2017 Year in Review Part 6: Best Revisits!

This is a first for my little year-end round-ups and kind of surprised I didn’t about this before. With all these new Blu-rays coming out, there are times that seeing a film that we’ve seen countless times before, but now seeing in a restored, cleaned up, or whatever those crazy Blu-ray producers do, sometimes can be like watching the movie for the first time. I had more than a couple of those instances happen this year.

Phantasm bluray

The first one was seeing the new Blu-ray of Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm (1979). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this amazing film, from in the theater, at drive-ins, countless times on VHS and even DVD. But when I started watching the new Blu-ray…wow. When the part comes up with Tommy’s funeral, and Michael is watching the Tall Man put his casket in the hearse by himself, I could hear this noise coming from the back speakers. Wait…is that rain? Then I notice the beads of rain running off the casket as the Tall Man picks it up. W-T-F? That is the kind of clarity these guys did on this film. Simply amazing. If you’re going to be one of those that complains because they changed something with the spheres, in a shot that last seconds, then you are missing out on so much more. I’m not one for double-dipping, but this is a must.

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