Venganza Media Gazette

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John Carpenter’s “The Fog” Getting a 4K Theatrical Re-Release

As Halloween fans wait patiently for this year’s John Carpenter-endorsed sequel, word comes that a bonafide Carpenter original is coming back to the big screen with a full 4K restoration.

Rialto Pictures will showcase the director’s Halloween follow-up, 1980’s The Fog, in a limited run beginning October 26 at New York’s Metrograph theater, Landmark’s Nuart in Los Angeles, and The Music Box Theatre in Chicago.

For those who missed the film when it first screened in theaters, and for those who only know of the its much-maligned 2005 remake, The Fog stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Atkins, Hal Holbrook, and Janet Leigh as residents of a coastal California town that is besieged by the titular fog, which carries with it a crew of ghosts bent on revenge for a 100-year-old sleight.

Carpenter filmed the picture for $1.1 million, and it grossed more than $21 million in theaters.

Following its October 26 re-release, Rialto Pictures will screen The Fog in select Alamo Drafthouse and other specialty theaters.

The announcement comes on the heels of Now Playing Podcast’s planned Fall 2018 Donation Drive, which includes The Fog as part of Jamie Lee Curtis-centric “Scream Queen” retrospective.

August 7, 2018 Posted by | Movies | , , , , | Comments Off on John Carpenter’s “The Fog” Getting a 4K Theatrical Re-Release

‘Halloween’ 40th Anniversary Convention Announced

Halloween 40th Anniversary Convention

Halloween fans crossing off the days until October 19 need to circle a few more dates on their calendars.

Longtime series producer Trancas International Films announced on Monday that the 40th anniversary Halloween convention, “Forty Years of Terror,” is set for Oct. 12-14 at Pasadena Convention Center, just blocks from where John Carpenter’s original film was filmed in 1978.

The fourth official gathering of fans, cast, and crew since 2003, “Forty Years of Terror” is set to be the biggest convention in series history, coming one week before the eleventh film – a direct sequel to Halloween ‘78, and again starring Jamie Lee Curtis – bows in theaters.

Pasadena has hosted the convention – celebrated every five years – since 2003. For the 2018 show, Trancas and fan favorite con promoters HorrorHound will take over an expanded area of the Convention Center for, “more exciting vendors – including notable Halloween licensees – and a number of not-to-be missed events, such as a special Horror’s Hallowed Grounds filming location tour, special gallery offerings, cast Q&As, exclusive H40 and Halloween merchandise offerings” and professional photo ops.

Guest announcements for the 40th anniversary convention will trickle out in the coming weeks, although fans will focused on two names: Jamie Lee Curtis and John Carpenter. While neither appeared at 2013’s “35 Years of Terror,” it would not surprise anyone to see the pair on stage as part of the promotional blitz for the upcoming sequel.

The nine years between 2018’s Halloween and the last film released in the series – Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2 – is the largest gap between entries in the 40-year-old franchise. Historically, fans could always count on a new film within five years of the last.

“Forty Years of Terror” marks the first convention held during the year of a new Halloween release. Previous conventions in 2013, 2008, and 2003 occurred in “off” years, but have been well attended by stars of the series.

Ticket prices (including VIP packages) will be announced “within the month,” according to Trancas, on the Halloween 40 website.

 

June 25, 2018 Posted by | News | , , , , | Comments Off on ‘Halloween’ 40th Anniversary Convention Announced

Questions for the new ‘Halloween’ and 6 trailer Easter eggs to look for

By eschewing the nine(!) sequels separating John Carpenter’s Halloween from the 2018 follow-up, the latter group of filmmakers (which includes writer/director David Gordon Green, writer Danny McBride, producer Jason Blum, and Carpenter himself in an executive producer role) have freed themselves from four decades of the slasher series’ tangled canon.

Audiences are simply asked to forget the events of Rob Zombie’s 2007 remake (and its lesser sequel), the “Cult of Thorn” arc that link Halloween’s 4-6, and even the well-received 20th anniversary Halloween H20, itself a sequel that ignored the events of four prior films.

That’s not easy to do, though it should be noted that fans have likely erased their memories of H20’s follow-up, Halloween: Resurrection, in which series villain Michael Myers faced off with a karate-kicking Busta Rhymes.

Yet, by making the new Halloween a direct follow-up to the 1978 original, Green and company are raising questions that will deserve answers once the film bows on October 19.

Chief among them: How was Michael Myers captured following his disappearance at the end of the first film? For those who haven’t gone back recently, in the climactic moments of Carpenter’s Halloween, Myers was shot by his psychiatrist, Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasance), and fell from the second-floor balcony of a home in which he’d cornered Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode.

However, when Loomis goes to inspect the body he finds Myers gone, setting up the first sequel, which picks up at that very moment.

The 2018 Halloween trailer opens with a pair of investigative journalists visiting Myers in a prison/asylum. How he ended up there? Only the filmmakers know, for now.

On that note, how will the sequel explain Loomis’ fate? Pleasance’s character is referenced in the trailer, and if he wasn’t killed at the end of 1981’s Halloween II (again, it’s been wiped from canon), the new film should reference what became of Loomis.

Judging by the trailer’s approach to Laurie Strode – she’s armed and waiting for Myers to escape – it appears the one-time “final girl” has assumed Loomis’ role as the series’ Van Helsing, the hunter/harbinger, prepared to face her mortal enemy while warning the rest of fictional Haddonfield, Illinois of their approaching doom.

For fans who still hold the sequels (or at least, some of them) close to their hearts, they can take comfort in the fact that this new Halloween is peppered with homages and Easter eggs they’ll surely recognize, if they’re paying attention.

Here are six that stood out from the first trailer:

Courtesy: Universal Pictures

Courtesy: Universal Pictures

1. Wandering Patients

Myers’ escape in the sequel is the result of a yet-to-be explained bus accident. The trailer shows a family in their car braking suddenly when the killer and his fellow asylum patients are wandering in the road.

The scene bears resemblance to the opening of the 1978 film, in which Pleasance’s Loomis and Nancy Stephens’ Nurse Chambers come upon the escaped patients of Smith’s Grove Sanitarium.

2. Sibling Rivalry

While Laurie Strode’s connection to Michael Myers initially felt forced in the first Halloween sequel – the two are brother and sister, with Laurie put up for adoption after he committed murder as a 6-year-old – the familial bond went on to become a critical thread in chapters 4-8 and Zombie’s films.

In the new trailer, a character hints at the relation between killer and survivor, until Strode’s granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak) responds, “that’s something that people made up.”

Unless there’s a curveball coming in the finished film, this is just another way Halloween’s writers are tipping their caps to the series’ fans.

Courtesy: Universal Pictures

Courtesy: Universal Pictures

3. Restroom Horror

In the trailer, Myers is seen terrorizing one of the investigative journalists inside a gas station restroom. Fans of the series will immediately be reminded of a scene in Halloween H20 in which Myers stalks a mother and daughter in a restroom, only to steal the keys to their car.

The scene could also be a reference to Zombie’s Halloween, in which Myers acquires his familiar coveralls in a to-the-death fight with Ken Foree’s Joe Grizzly.

4. Watch Where You’re Going

Another trailer callback to the first Halloween occurs when a pair of trick-or-treaters run into Myers on the sidewalk. The scene in the trailer (at 2:00) even makes use of Carpenter’s original score, and mirrors the moment in 1978’s Halloween when young bully Ritchie Castle (Mickey Yablans) runs into Myers.

A similar scene occurs in Halloween II when a young boy carrying a boom box (Lance Warlock) accidentally crosses paths with Myers.

Courtesy: Universal Pictures

Courtesy: Universal Pictures

5. Ghosting

One of the iconic scenes in Carpenter’s Halloween sees Myers approaching his victim in the guise of her boyfriend, wearing a “ghost sheet” with two eyeholes cut out.

The trailer shows a similarly dressed shape waiting in a chair as Will Patton’s cop surveys a bedroom. We’ll have to wait until October 19 to see who’s under the sheet.

6. Silver Shamrock is Back!

The decision to abandon the Michael Myers character and go with a brand new storyline for 1982’s Halloween III: Season of the Witch is one that flummoxed critics and audiences back in the day.

Those in line to see babysitters stalked by a killer were instead treated to a somewhat incomprehensible plot to murder the children of the world using Silver Shamrock brand Halloween masks fitted with microchips and pieces of Stonehenge.

It’s a Twilight Zone-meets-Body Snatchers plot that never quite comes together and derailed the franchise just as Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street would begin to dominate the 80s slasher scene.

Decades later, Season of the Witch has found its cult audience, and fans looking closely at the just-released trailer will notice — for a split second at 2:07 — children running in fear wearing the classic Silver Shamrock masks.

What other Easter Eggs did you spot in the trailer? Let us know and revisit the series with Now Playing Podcast’s Halloween retrospective.

June 8, 2018 Posted by | Now Playing Podcast | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Now Playing Podcast to Deliver Summer of Sci-fi

Now Playing Podcast announced its Spring 2016 Donation Series last week, a lineup of film reviews bookended by two highly requested comedy franchises along with a motley crew of cult classics from the summer of 1986. The latter series, dubbed “Sci-Fi of Summer 1986” should appeal to some of the show’s longtime fans who have been lobbying for those films that they may have missed in theaters but grew up watching on USA “Saturday Nightmares” or Joe Bob Briggs’ “Monstervision.”

As is tradition, donors will get to choose between Silver, Gold, and Platinum tiers.

Silver

The Silver Level series ($10 or more) features Will Smith in his prime, headlining Now Playing Podcast reviews of the Men In Black franchise, along with Independence Day and its upcoming sequel.

Gold

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 6.21.31 PM

“Invaders from Mars” ad from 1986.

The Gold Level series ($25 or more) is where things get really interesting. For the first time, the Now Playing hosts will dissect a series of non-franchise releases with no connection to one another: Critters, Tobe Hooper’s Invaders From Mars, SpaceCamp, Labyrinth (starring Jennifer Connelly and the late, great David Bowie), John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China, and Night of the Creeps. While none were blockbusters in 1986, they still have their fans, most notably Big Trouble and Creeps, which listeners have long requested Now Playing review.

While there is no official Carpenter retrospective, the Big Trouble review will check off another title in the director’s filmography. The Now Playing hosts have previously reviewed Halloween, The Thing, Prince of Darkness, and They Live, with Christine somewhere on the show’s future calendar as part of the Stephen King retrospective. We can all cross our fingers for The Fog or Escape from New York someday, but in the meantime it’s more than a gift to have the director writing the foreword to Now Playing’s first book, “Underrated Movies We Recommend.”

Platinum

When the summer is in full swing, the donation series will focus on one of the greatest comedies of all-time, its pretty great sequel, and the controversial remake/reboot that arrives July 15. A Platinum Level donation of $35 or more will deliver all of the aforementioned reviews, and the Ghostbusters retrospective. The director of Bridesmaids and Spy helms the latest incarnation of the New York-based paranormal investigators and eliminators, and following a mixed reception to the first trailer, it will be fascinating to see if this new Ghostbusters can amass the kind of fan following the first films earned.

The Now Playing Podcast Spring Donation Drive runs from April 1 to July 31, with the first review scheduled for release on April 22.  Sign up now to get all of these bonus shows!

April 3, 2016 Posted by | Movies, News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Now Playing Podcast to Deliver Summer of Sci-fi

Horror Master John Carpenter Teams With Venganza Media

HORROR MASTER JOHN CARPENTER TEAMS WITH VENGANZA MEDIA

Iconic director will pen foreword to company’s first book

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Springfield, Ill. – Oct. 30, 2015 – John Carpenter, the visionary creator of the Halloween film franchise and director of cult classics The Thing and They Live, is teaming with the hosts of Venganza Media’s Now Playing Podcast, and adding his name to the company’s first publishing project, Underrated Movies We Recommend.

Carpenter will write the foreword to the fan-funded book, which features discussions and reviews of 125 undiscovered and underappreciated films selected by the hosts of Now Playing Podcast. The renowned “Master of Horror” will share his thoughts on films that fly under the radar, but slowly build a strong following of fans and become classics in their own right. Underrated is a celebration of filmmakers like Carpenter, the director, producer, screenwriter, and composer who is earning the respect of a new generation drawn to such memorable films as Escape From New York and The Fog.

Carpenter’s participation also adds another incredible chapter to the story behind Underrated and the fan-driven effort to bring the book to life in 2016. Launched as a 30-day Kickstarter project with a $40,000 goal, the book became an instant must-have for Now Playing Podcast listeners, who powered the campaign past its goal in the first four days, and went on to raise an astonishing $115,482 in pledges. Fans can pre-order the book now at the Now Playing Podcast website.

Underrated is being produced during one of the busiest years in Now Playing Podcast history. As the hosts write furiously behind the scenes, they continue to deliver extensive weekly reviews of 2015 biggest blockbuster franchises, including Star Wars and Jurassic Park. This fall, the show’s faithful supporters are also being treated to reviews of The Hunger Games franchise and the films of Quentin Tarantino.

Suggested tweet: Film legend @TheHorrorMaster to pen foreword to @NowPlayingPod #NowUnderrated book!

About Venganza Media Inc.

Venganza Media Inc. is an independent multimedia company and home to the Venganza Media Podcasting Network. Film fans and collectors worldwide know Venganza as the producer of Star Wars Action NewsMarvelicious Toys, and Now Playing Podcast. Since 2005 Venganza has delivered thousands of hours of entertainment to listeners, while its staff and fleet of contributors have established the company as a premier source for film reviews, celebrity interviews, and collecting news for audiences of all ages.

About Now Playing Podcast

Since its launch as a short-form, off-the-cuff movie review show, Now Playing Podcast has grown into one of the most successful and celebrated independent programs online and consistently ranks among iTunes’ Top 10 TV/Film podcasts. Its ability to stand out in a crowded field is largely attributed to Now Playing’s highly-acclaimed retrospective format, keeping listeners engaged week-after-week as its panel of critics chronicle decades of hits-and-misses while maneuvering Hollywood’s hectic release schedule.

Media Contact: Jason R. Latham JasonL@VenganzaMedia.com

October 30, 2015 Posted by | News | , , , , , | Comments Off on Horror Master John Carpenter Teams With Venganza Media

Halloween 35th Anniversary Blu-Ray: The Night HE Looks Better Than Ever!

halloween 35th anniversary bd email 2

Review copy provided courtesy of Anchor Bay

If Psycho is the granddaddy of the slasher film, Halloween is the father of modern horror.  While the 1970s had its fair share of horror films, including The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Black Christmas in ‘74, Carrie in ‘76, Dawn of the Dead in ‘78 and so many more, it was Halloween’s critical and box office success that put a new spotlight on horror cinema.

For many the Halloween season is a time to rewatch Halloween the film, and this year you can watch John Carpenter’s classic like never before.  On Tuesday, September 24th, Anchor Bay releases the 35th Anniversary Edition of Halloween on Blu-ray.

Halloween has been released to home video many times.  I personally have bought DVDs of the original cut, the longer cut with the TV footage added, the 25th Anniversary Edition DVD, and the original 2007 Blu-ray release.  Given that I’ve spent so much money on Halloween, and that I already owned it on Blu-ray, I was skeptical that another release would be worth the purchase.  It felt like another “double dip” Blu-ray release.

I quickly learned how wrong I was when I looked at the disc in person.  Bound in a gorgeous, gold embossed DVD case, the video boasts an all new commentary with Carpenter and star Jamie Lee Curtis.  There is also a new documentary following Curtis as she makes a rare appearance at a fan convention.  These are great new bonus features for fans of the film.  Additionally, as bonus features,  you get an older featurette and the extra footage shot for the TV release.

I rarely find bonus features worth the repurchase of an entire movie, so despite the quality of these new additions I was still unmoved that a new copy was worth a buy.  Special features, commentaries, these are items I watch once at most; it’s the film itself that gets played time and again in my home theater and which motivates my purchases.  So could this new release impress me enough, especially since I already own a copy of Halloween in 1080p?

The answer is an unequivocal “YES!”  With the 35th Anniversary Blu-ray you can see this horror classic at home like never before.  I have seen Halloween in theaters at conventions and in the above listed DVDs and Blu-rays.  With all of those in mind, I say without a doubt it has never looked better to me than it does on this video release.  The picture is crisp and the motion smooth, as I have come to expect from high-grade Blu-rays.  But often on even quality Blu-ray releases I’ve noticed colors that are too saturated or a picture that has had too much grain removed, giving the entire film a blurry quality.  None of those earmarks of Blu-ray audience pandering are on this disc.  This Blu-ray contains a brand new transfer of the film overseen by Dean Cundy, the movie’s original Director of Photography.  You are now, for the first time, able to see this movie the way Cundy envisioned it as it was shot, and the difference is marked.  The colors are more muted than I’ve come to expect, and the result fits both that 70s vibe as well as the film’s atmospherem.  The color timing was a point of contention for many with the original Halloween Blu-ray release, and Anchor Bay has certainly corrected it here.  Anchor Bay did this film a great service in hiring Cundy to oversee the video.

Additionally the audio is perfect, with a mono score for the purists, as well as a 7.1 TrueHD lossless soundtrack.  Carpenter’s haunting piano and synth score has never sounded as good as it does here, and the movie audio is rich and immersing.  The effects are a bit center-channel heavy, which is common for upmixes of older films, but it’s a great effort for those of us who prefer multi-channel audio.

All that said, there are a few areas where I wish this release was beefed up.  There are many bonus features that were released previously, including older commentaries and documentaries, that are not included here.  As such, for bonus feature collectors, this release is not a one-stop shop.  Additionally, the bonus made-for-TV footage is presented in an ugly DVD resolution with colors much more saturated than the actual film.  I would have liked to see the TV footage given the same treatment as the movie and a branching option available to watch both the movie’s extended cut, with those scenes reintegrated, as well as the original theatrical cut.  But while these are features that would have been nice to have, they are not requirements.  As I’m certain this is not the last time HE will come home on video, perhaps these bonuses are being held back for a future release.

But as stated, the true value of this disc, the “feature” I’ll revisit again and again, is the movie, and now owning this disc this is the only version of Halloween I will ever rewatch.  The transfer, the audio, the overall production values, are exceptions.  So Trick-or-Treat yourself to this movie, available today.

As for the movie itself, you can hear Stuart, Arnie, and Brock review Carpenter’s original Halloween as well as all the sequels, remakes, and sequels to remakes in the franchise, in the archives at NowPlayingPodcast.com

September 24, 2013 Posted by | Movies, Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Halloween 35th Anniversary Blu-Ray: The Night HE Looks Better Than Ever!