The Celluloid Zombie Guide to Becoming a Movie Snob – Part One

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So, you enjoy movies, watch them regularly and feel ready to take the next step. That’s right, you don’t just want to be a movie buff, you want to be a movie snob. You’ve seen those shiny boys and girls, hanging outside the local multiplex, spouting on about Kurosawa or Mise-en-scène and you’ve thought to yourself, ‘I have no idea what they’re talking about but it sounds impressive. I want to be in that gang!’ My good friend, you have come to the right place. In two parts, Celluloid Zombie…

Yippee-Ki-Yay: The Die Hard Story…So Far

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By the late Eighties the action movie was beginning to die a slow death. The indestructible, mountainous and mechanical Kings of the genre, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, were finding that even they could not defeat the apathy of an audience who had grown weary of monosyllabic monoliths with big guns and bad jokes. The decade of excess was losing its grip and so were its heroes. Enter John McTiernan, fresh from his success with Predator starring, ironically, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and casting for his new movie Die Hard….

Cool Stuff: Ward Shelley’s History of Sci-Fi

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Here’s something for all you fellow geeks out there. Artist Ward Shelley has managed to incorporate three of my great loves (history, science fiction and surreal imagery) into one rather bizarre flowchart. Looking like a cross between an alien master-brain and a 40-a-day smoker’s lungs, Shelley’s diagram charts the path of science-fiction from its distant influences and origins right up to contemporary cinema and literature. You need at least an hour just to explore this impressive graphic, so God only knows how long it took Shelley to research and create…

Life Cycle: The Birth and Death of the Alien Saga

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When screenwriter Dan O’Bannon sat down to write the science-fiction monster movie he’d been itching to create since working on John Carpenter’s Dark Star, it’s fair to assume he had little inkling just how successful his idea would be. Entitled Star Beast, O’Bannon wanted to ‘pay homage’ to the space monster movies of the 50s. In his own words, “I didn’t steal Alien from anybody. I stole it from everybody!” There’s certainly no denying that the basic premise of Star Beast was far from original. Even with several rewrites from…

The Oscars: A Curmudgeon’s View

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Oscar season is upon us once more and the circus is well and truly in town. The blogs are buzzing, the free gifts and sweeteners are being sent and the usual pundits are all in a frenzy, trying to predict the outcome. Who will win Best Actor? Who will walk away with Best Director? What will Helena Bonham Carter be wearing? Who is going to fluff their lines? I know movie sites are supposed to get on the bus when it comes to these things, but I’m afraid I’ll be…