Jesse James. Billy the Kid. Calamity Jane – the Old West has a rich and iconic history that immediately conjures up the names of the cowboys and outlaws who roamed the plains of the American Frontier in the late nineteenth century. Join us as we look down the barrel of the gun at six of Hollywood’s best movies about the gunslingers of the Ol’ Wild West!
The word ‘Epic’ has recently been devalued and just used to mean something that is striking or enjoyable, but the correct meaning of the word indicated narratives in the ‘Epic’ mould – those which surpass the ordinary in scale and reach heroic proportions – this applies to films too. I’m taking a look at some of the truly Epic movies from the early 1980s that showed extraordinary ambition in their story and spectacle.
“Forged by a god. Foretold by a wizard. Found by a king.”
In 1968, George A. Romero established the modern zombie film with his raw and terrifying debut the Night of the Living Dead, one of the most well-regarded and influential horror movies of all time. Now, 50 years after it all began, there’s a new entry into the undying franchise: Day the Dead: Bloodline
“They won’t stay dead!”
With the release of Avengers: Infinity War and a packed year of comic book films to come, mainly adapted from Marvel, it’s important to note it’s not just the big two [including DC Comics] that release comic book film adaptions.
“You know the difference between you and me? I make this look good.”
It may be International Women’s Day, but there are numerous female filmmakers, writers, actresses and artists that are making history every single day.
“The light that’s leaving that star right now will take a billion years to get down here. You want to know why you’ve never met a girl like me before? Because I’ll still be here when the light from that star gets down here to Earth in a billion years.”
Grimmfest, screening the best in fantastic film, took place at Vue Printworks, Manchester, UK between 5th-8th October 2017. Overall this was a brilliant event where I enjoyed all but one film and even that was only a short, so it wasn’t too bad.
“Grimm up North.”
Explicit gore was beginning to infiltrate the grindhouses of America, and ensured that employees of the British Board of Film Censors were working hard for their salaries. Strong reactions from the public, fuelled by politicians, tabloids and critics, set in motion outrage that would result in many splatter films being outright banned; especially in the United Kingdom.
“I created what no man’s mind nor woman’s womb could ever hope to achieve.”
During the videotape format war of the late 1970s and early 1980s, JVC’s VHS would compete for market share against Sony’s Betamax. Betamax was, in theory, the superior recording format but VHS would ultimately emerge as the preeminent home video format in 1986. Consumers could not justify the extra cost of a Betamax VCR, which was often more expensive that the VHS equivalent due to the higher quality construction of Betamax recorders.
“Decadence is their fate.”
The Mission (1986): Other than the all-star cast—Jeremy Irons, Robert De Niro and Liam Neeson—the score of this historical drama by Ennio Morricone alone makes it material for a best of list, and while it’s not the only great reason to watch the film, it’s definitely one of the reasons you’ll come back for more.
“If might is right, then love has no place in the world. It may be so, it may be so. But I don’t have the strength to live in a world like that…”
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003): From its eerie opening credits – indistinct ripples ebbing over green wallpaper – to the plot twists and revelations at its climax, ‘A Tale of Two Sisters’ is worthy of admission to the ranks of the best psychological horrors with greats such as ‘The Innocents’ or ‘The Others’.
“Do you know what’s really scary? You want to forget something. Totally wipe it off your mind. But you never can. It can’t go away, you see. And it follows you around like a ghost.”
Battle Royale (2000): Enforcing the terms of the new ‘Battle Royale Act’ one class of ninth-grade students is selected annually by lottery and relocated to an isolated island, fitted with explosive collars, given random weapons and forced to participate in a 3-day survival competition in which the last student left alive is the winner.
“There’s a way out of this game. Kill yourselves together…here…now. If you can’t do that, then don’t trust anyone… just run.”
In 1971 JVC put together a team to develop a consumer-based VTR, but by early 1972 the video recording industry in Japan began to struggle financially. JVC was forced to restructure their video division, effectively shelving the VCR project. However, JVC engineers Yuma Shiraishi and Shizuo Takano continued to work on the project in secret. By 1973 the two engineers had produced a functional prototype.