Features

World Film Geek’s Top 10 of 2017…and Some Honorable Mentions!

As we end 2017, I am proud of what we have achieved in what is only year two of the site. Taking the opportunity to see many films as well as interview some great talents both in front and behind the lens, here is hoping 2018 will be just as fun if not much more fun than 2017!

As for 2017, with the amount of films watched, it was hard at first to determine which films should be in this year’s Top Ten. However, that is exactly what I have compiled. These films that are picked as World Film Geek’s Top 10 Films of 2017 are based not only on reviews but performance and film aesthetic for certain titles.

Please be aware that the films selected are solely based on World Film Geek and do not reflect anything else.

So, without further a due, here are World Film Geek’s Top 10 Films of 2017.

bushwickposter1

#10: Bushwick (Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott): This alternate United States action-drama stars Brittany Snow as Lucy, a young woman whose life is turned upside down when her hometown of Bushwick in Brooklyn, New York is suddenly attacked by a band of soldiers from some states that have seceded from the United States. To survive, she relies on Dave Bautista’s ex-military turned building superintendent to help her get to the DMZ.

What makes this stand out from other films where an alternate history is set is the aesthetic of the film, in which the film is comprised of ten-minute long takes that bring a more visual sense in terms of both action set pieces and emotional drama, all led by powerful performances by both Snow and Bautista.

spiderman-homecoming

#9: Spider-Man: Homecoming (Jon Watts): This is the Spider-Man movie we have all yearned for. While the 2002 Sam Raimi-directed film had a great sequel in 2004, the 2007 third installment failed on all levels. Despite a re-launch in 2012 with Marc Webb directing, the 2014 sequel to that film suffered from the same issues as the 2007 film.

The reason why this makes the Top 10 List is that it is not another pointless origin story that has been done to death. Instead, we are given a look at 15-year old Peter Parker, wonderfully played by Tom Holland, struggling with being both the wall-crawling superhero and being a normal teenager. Director Watts wisely brought a John Hughes-influence in the mix in terms of teen drama effect with Michael Keaton giving great support as the villain Adrian Toombs, also known as the Vulture. Thank Heaven there is no Green Goblin in this one!

brimstone

#8: Brimstone (Martin Koolhoven): A period piece Western that is told in the present, then in flashbacks, then ends in the present, this film brings out some wonderful performances by Dakota Fanning and Guy Pearce as a young woman accused of murder and the sadistic Dutch preacher who is after her respectively.

It is always been known that a good structure is vital to keep the viewer going and Koolhoven succeeds by splitting the film in chapters by making the middle of the film the beginning of Fanning’s evolution from brothel girl to loving wife. The opening starts with her accusation of murder and ends with her revenge and redemption. There are instances of gore but it ultimately forgivable in this instance.

handsomedevil

#7: Handsome Devil (John Butler):  For fans of sports films, bromance films, and LGBTQ films, this is a well-made meshing of the trio of subgenres from Irish director John Butler.

The story of a misguided outcast, played by Fionn O’Shea, and a new star rugby player, played by Nicholas Galitzine, proves that not all LGBTQ movies have to have a romance in it. Taking more of a friendship between these two as both reveal their true natures all within a school where the faculty and students are obsessed with rugby in the same manner as Varsity Blues and Friday Night Lights when it comes to the obsession with football, O’Shea and Galitzine’s performances are truly the driving point of the film.

thegracefieldincident

#6: The Gracefield Incident (Mathieu Ratthe): Canadian-born indie filmmaker Ratthe not only directed, but both wrote and starred in the role of a birthday boy who does something interesting and discovers something even more interesting during his birthday weekend with friends.

The aesthetic here is that Ratthe’s character, after suffering a major car accident, has lost an eye and uses a camera inside his prosthetic eye to record his weekend. The addition of an alien invasion adds some nice visuals in terms of point-of-view from both Ratthe and cast. However, those excepting a typical ending of this type of film will truly be in for a surprise.

wolfwarrior2

#5: Wolf Warrior II (Wu Jing): This action-packed sequel to the 2015 Chinese military action film is a step above its predecessor thanks to its high production value and amazing Hollywood-style visuals and action scenes, and thankfully, we do not mean the shake cam and quick cuts.

Wu returns as Leng, the now former Wolf Warrior, who exiles himself to Africa only to volunteer to transport a doctor and his team through a war-ravaged land where he contends with rebels and international mercenaries, this time led by Hollywood actor Frank Grillo, who churns out a fun performance as the funnier named “Big Daddy”. The collaboration of Sam Hargrave and Jack Wong’s action set pieces are truly the highlight of the film.

theforeigner

#4: The Foreigner (Martin Campbell): It has been a long time coming and it was worth the wait. Jackie Chan has finally broken through his usual everyman shtick and churns out one of his greatest acting performances in the role of a man whose life is shattered when his daughter is killed in a bombing by a rogue IRA group.

Add to the mix Pierce Brosnan as an ex-IRA soldier turned political figure who ends up in a very deadly game of cat and mouse not only with Chan but even within his own organization. Director Campbell truly does not make this much a Jackie Chan film as expected, but a political thriller that just stars Chan. Chan does have some sparse action scenes with the highlight being a knife fight between himself and Rory Fleck Byrne that is amped up in the Chinese version of the film.

mayhem

#3: Mayhem (Joe Lynch): Have you had one of those days at work where you couldn’t stand the people you work with and just want to kill them? What if a virus allowed you to do that? That answer lies in Joe Lynch’s love letter to Troma films with a dash of Office Space.

Steven Yeun, aka Glenn from the hit series The Walking Dead, is Derek, the scapegoat in a case gone wrong which leads to his firing. However, when the entire law firm is affected with a rage virus for eight hours, Derek decides to exact revenge with the help of a former client who also wants retribution. Sarama Weaving brings out her inner-Harley Quinn in the role of the client and the film is utter chaos and we mean that in the nicest way possible…and that’s a good thing!

bladeoftheimmortal

#2: Blade of the Immortal (Takashi Miike): The 100th film from one of Japan’s most versatile and celebrated directors is a live action adaptation of a famous manga that truly brings out a phenomenal performance from lead actor Takuya Kimura.

The former SMAP member plays Manji, a samurai warrior cursed with the power of immortality when he is asked to protect a young girl who resembles his sister as well as help avenge the death of the girl’s father. The film features one action scene after another with sparse intense drama mixed in with Kimura and young actress Hana Sugisaki having good chemistry in terms of a brother-sister relationship with Sota Fukushi bringing a terrific villain to the mix. The finale is truly an epic battle royale that culminates in a final showdown.

And finally, World Film Geek’s #1 Film of 2017 is…

starwarsthelastjedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Rian Johnson): The heck with how diehard fans or critics felt. This is WFG’s second favorite installment of the entire epic. The #1 will always be The Empire Strikes Back, but this comes in second because of the developing story involving young Rey’s training with Luke Skywalker, the determination by Kylo Ren to be as much of a villain or even become more superior to his grandfather Darth Vader, and the beats of comic relief mixed in. The film would also mark the final performance of Carrie Fisher, who sadly passed away a year ago, in her iconic role of Leia Organa.

I couldn’t be more forward to the anticipation of Episode IX in 2019 when J.J. Abrams will return as the director of what could be the final Skywalker saga installment with Johnson set to take on a new trilogy down the road.

Here are some very close calls, or as we shall call them…Honorable Mentions:

Leatherface (Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury): The “official” prequel to the 1974 horror film The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is quite a mix of The Usual Suspects, Natural Born Killers, and the Chainsaw legacy.

Birth of the Dragon (George Nolfi): The story of the real-life fight between Bruce Lee and Wong Jack Man may have a very annoying subplot involving a romance, but thankfully the film is saved by the performances of Philip Ng as Lee and Xia Yu as Wong.

Spidarlings (Salem Kapsaski): This “jack-of-all trades” movies is a LGBTQ/horror/comedy/musical that features two lovers, one a lazy person and the other a hard worker, who adopt a spider that changes their lives forever and add to the mix a serial killer. This film was recently distributed by Troma and rightfully so as it is a love letter to the NY-based indie film company.

Savage Dog (Jesse V. Johnson): The always busy Scott Adkins stars as a boxer in 1950’s Indochina who fights in prison matches. However, when he decides to give it up, those in-charge make the mistake of hurting those he loves. He soon goes on a mission of vengeance and all culminates with a finale that depicts the attitude of the titular animal.

Justice League (Zack Snyder): Having heard the fans after Batman v. Superman, Zack Snyder delivers an almost perfect team up with Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg. However, with Joss Whedon taking over to finish the film and some reshoots made, the film suffers from a pretty much non-intimidating villain in Steppenwolf. The film’s saving grace is the return of another true hero as well as the beats of necessary comic relief that meshes well here.

World Film Geek will continue to strive in 2018 and wishes everyone a very Happy New Year!

Advertisements

Howl at the Moon: Werewolf Films That Still Stand the Tests of Time

werewolfintro

For over a century, there have been many films involving a mythical creature known as the werewolf. The term “werewolf” comes from the Old English word werwulf, which translates to “man-wolf”. According to legends, werewolves existed from either a curse or an affliction known as lycanthropy.

A widespread legend in European folklore, werewolf films have popped up from all over the world. To celebrate Halloween, World Film Geek takes a look at seven werewolf films that have stood the tests of time, from either gaining a cult following or having a reputation that still exists to this day. There will even be a tribute to a prolific werewolf film series from Europe and its legendary star.

The following films are truly from the opinion of World Film Geek, with many other blog sites having their own lists of great werewolf films. We will not be counting films like The Twilight Saga and the Underworld films because they have both vampires and werewolves.

Werewolf of London (Stuart Walker, 1935) – One of the first wide released films involving the werewolf, the film starred Henry Hull as Dr. Glendon, who while in Tibet researching a plant known as the mariphasa, finds himself attacked and bitten by a werewolf. Upon his return home to London, Glendon undergoes a transformation and becomes a werewolf himself. The original make-up design by Universal’s go-to guy Jack Pierce was unused because star Hull felt it would cover up too much of his face. However, on the upside, the next film on the list would use Pierce’s original concept and the result is one of the greatest classic werewolf films in history.

The Wolf Man (George Waggner, 1941) – If Phantom of the Opera became Lon Chaney Sr.’s iconic role, then it is clear that this werewolf film is Lon Chaney Jr.’s most iconic role. The son of the legendary “Man of a Thousand Faces”, Chaney Jr. plays Lawrence Talbot, who returns home after his brother’s death to reconcile with his estranged father. After being attacked and bitten, Lawrence soon undergoes his transformation into the titular creature. Chaney Jr. would reprise the role of Talbot in four films from 1943 to 1948, his last appearance in that role in the comedy Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. The film itself was remade in 2010, starring Benicio del Toro as Talbot.

I Was a Teenage Werewolf (Gene Fowler Jr., 1957) – The original “teen wolf” movie, the film will be forever known as the film debut of future TV star Michael Landon, who plays Tony Rivers, a kid with serious anger issues. However, whereas the first two films involved our werewolves being bitten, this film takes a different approach. It is when Tony is sent to a psychiatrist who uses hypnotherapy to have him revert to a regressed state, the ringing of the school bell triggers Tony’s transformation into a werewolf.

Curse of the Werewolf (Terence Fisher, 1961) – This interesting werewolf film from Hammer Films would put Oliver Reed’s name on the map. In this film, Reed plays Leon Corledo, a young man who suffers from lycanthropy as the result of his mother being assaulted by a mysterious beggar. While he falls in love, Leon’s thirst of blood amplifies and when his pleas for death are ignored, Leon turns into the werewolf and causes havoc. The werewolf make-up design would be reused in the 1975 film Legend of the Werewolf.

The Howling (Joe Dante, 1980) – A werewolf film with not only an interesting story, but some excellent special effects courtesy of Rob Bottin. A news reporter, suffering from a near fatal encounter with a serial killer, is sent to a mountain resort for rehabilitation along with her boyfriend. However, the resort’s residents, which include our serial killer, are werewolves! The film features an amazing transformation of serial killer Eddie Quist, played by Robert Picardo, into werewolf with Bottin at the helm in terms of its SFX. The film would go on to spawn seven sequels from 1985 to 2011, with the 1985 film being the only one loosely related to the original.

An American Werewolf in London (John Landis, 1981) – Considered a dark comedy horror film about two Americans in England who are attacked by a werewolf. One survives and is destined to become a werewolf. However, before this long awaited transformation, he begins to see visions of his dead friend who urges him to kill himself before the next full moon. Of course, survivor David Kessler ignores the warnings and this leads to a nearly five-minute transformation that would win the first Academy Award for Make-Up Effects for Rick Baker, whose innovations helped make the transformation one of the best in werewolf movie history. A very inferior sequel, An American Werewolf in Paris, was released in 1997 and recently, John Landis’ son Max is developing a faithful reboot of the film.

Teen Wolf (Rod Daniel, 1985) – Shot before his iconic film role of Marty McFly in the Back to the Future trilogy, Michael J. Fox shot this family werewolf film, co-written by future Marvel Television president Jeph Loeb. Fox plays Scott Howard, a teenager who seems to be going through normal issues. That is, until he learns he is a werewolf, the result of a family history in which some generations are skipped. This one takes the route of werewolf becoming the popular kid in school but learns that his fame can come at a price. The film spawned an animated series in 1986, which in turn, resulted a 1987 sequel that starred Jason Bateman as Scott’s cousin Todd, who also finds himself afflicted with lycanthropy. MTV did a darker reboot series version that lasted six seasons from 2011 to 2017.

The Waldemar Daninsky Series (Various, 1968-2004) – A series of film in Spain revolved around Waldemar Daninsky, a nobleman whose affliction with lycanthropy turned him into a murderous werewolf, put Spanish-born actor Jacinto Molina’s name on the map as one of horror film’s most famous actors. Molina would be known in the United States as Paul Naschy, and it all began with Nights of the Werewolf in 1968 and would end with Tomb of the Werewolf in 2004. There are fourteen films in the Waldemar Daninsky series with Molina/Naschy passing away in 2009 at the age of 75.

There are many werewolf films over the past hundred years, but these stand out to still hold within the tests of time and it is safe to say that these werewolves will continue to howl at the full moon!

Stranger Danger: 5 Movies That Will Make You Think Twice Before Talking to Strangers

killingground

As children, we all probably heard this line once, or twice, or a million times from our parents: never talk to strangers. But unless you live under a rock, most of us encounter a number of strangers every day; things like striking up a conversation in an elevator, asking for directions, or seeking advice from someone you don’t know may seem harmless at best. And besides, strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet, right? That’s exactly what they want you to think…

IFC Midnight will release Killing Ground in theaters and on VOD July 21st. In honor of the film’s release, here are 5 lessons we learned from five different films that show us that you might be better off listening to your folks’ advice on this one.

killingground-still
Killing Ground (Damien Power, 2017)
Lesson to Learn: Don’t ever ask a stranger for directions.

Ian and Sam decide to take a road-trip with the intent of escaping the city for a peaceful vacation. Unsure of their exact destination, the couple seeks advice and asks for directions from a local resident named German. Ian and Sam eventually make their way to nearby scenic, secluded falls. Secluded is they key word here… what happens next to Ian and Sam will undoubtedly convince you that planning ahead and knowing your own directions is the way to go. Especially if you’ll be camping in the woods…

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: A couple’s romantic camping trip becomes a desperate fight for survival in this ultra-raw, unhinged kill ride. In need of a break from the pressures of their life in the city, Sam (Harriet Dyer) and Ian (Ian Meadows) head to a remote beach for a weekend getaway. When they come across an abandoned campsite, with no trace of its occupants, they’re concerned. When they discover a lone, traumatized child nearby, they’re scared. And when they encounter two local weirdos, they’re in for a hell of a bad time. Unfolding in an innovative, time-scrambling structure, Killing Ground delivers both nerve-shredding suspense and gut-punching realism.

thestrangers-still

The Strangers (Bryan Bertino, 2008)
Lesson to Learn: Don’t ever answer a random knock on your door.

After returning from a wedding reception, Kristen and James head to an isolated vacation home for the weekend. However, their plans of peace and relaxation are cut extremely short when the couple begins receiving strange knocks on the door in the middle of the night. Their vacation quickly turns into a nightmare as three masked strangers begin terrorizing the couple. So next time you get a strange knock on your door in the mid-hours of the night, just don’t answer it. It could be a door-to-door salesman or friends dropping by for an unexpected visit—but whatever you do, don’t answer the door. Because let’s be real, real friends would call first.

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: Kristen (Liv Tyler) and James (Scott Speedman) are expecting a relaxing weekend at a family vacation home, but their stay turns out to be anything but peaceful. First, a mysterious and dangerous woman arrives at the door while James is out on an errand. When he returns, he accidentally kills his friend Mike (Glenn Howerton), mistaking him for an intruder. And then real danger does show up — in the form of three masked torturers, leaving Kristen and James struggling for survival.

room-still

Room (Lenny Abrahamson, 2015)
Lesson to Learn: Don’t ever get into a stranger’s car.

Joy was abducted from her college campus after being approached by a stranger who asked for her help in finding his lost dog. With the best of intentions, Joy agrees and gets into the strange man’s car. The situation takes a seriously dark turn when the stranger’s true motives are revealed, and results in Joy being held captive against her will for several years before finally plotting her escape. With the proliferation of rideshare services nowadays, hopping into a stranger’s car feels like no big deal. But ROOM should remind us all to be a little wary next time we get into the backseat of a stranger’s vehicle. Lead actress Brie Larson won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the film.

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: Held captive for years in an enclosed space, a woman (Brie Larson) and her young son (Jacob Tremblay) finally gain their freedom, allowing the boy to experience the outside world for the first time.

whenastrangercalls-still

When a Stranger Calls (Simon West, 2006)
Lesson to Learn: Don’t ever pick up an unknown number.

Jill Johnson, a normal teenager, is forced to take up a babysitting job in a massive three-story lake-home in order to pay off her excessive telephone bill. Although she is all alone in a big house with the children, things seem to be going smoothly once Jill gets the kids to sleep. But then the phone rings. Jill picks up the phone, and a stranger on the other end begins saying alarming things. At first, Jill brushes the stranger’s calls off as a joke. But when she finally realizes the stranger’s threats are real, it may already be too late. Point blank: don’t pick up unknown calls from strangers. This is a remake of a classic 1979 horror film with Carol Kane.

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: Far away from the site of a gruesome murder, a teenager named Jill Johnson (Camilla Belle) arrives at a luxurious home for a baby-sitting job. With the children fast asleep, she settles in for what she expects to be an ordinary evening. Soon, the ringing of a phone and the frightening words of a sadistic caller turn Jill’s routine experience into a night of terror.

thelovelybones-still.jpg

The Lovely Bones (Peter Jackson, 2009)
Lesson to Learn: People don’t have to be complete strangers to be potential threats.

On her way home from school one day, Susie decides to take a shortcut through a field, only to run into George Harvey. George happens to be her neighbor who she does not know very well at all. After making small talk, George explains to Susie he wants to show her something he just built for the entire neighborhood to enjoy. Unsurprisingly, Susie’s curiosity gets the best of her, and since George is someone who she sort of knows, she trusts that he’s telling the truth. When Harvey leads Susie down a trap door in the middle of the field, it doesn’t take long for her to realize that she should have gone straight home. The film proves that the most dangerous strangers aren’t always people you have never met before, but instead, can be someone you thought you already knew.

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: After being brutally murdered, 14-year-old Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) watches from heaven over her grief-stricken family (Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz) — and her killer (Stanley Tucci). As she observes their daily lives, she must balance her thirst for revenge with her desire for her family to heal.

So, remember next time you meet a stranger, or if someone approaches you or you get a call from an unknown number, based on these films, you may want to think twice.

And don’t miss Killing Ground in theaters on July 21st from IFC Midnight. Thank you to the crew at Katrina Wan PR for helping with this editorial.

 

 

Top 10 Martial Arts Films To Start With

top10maintro

Bruce Lee (center) in Fist of Fury (Golden Harvest)

As we celebrate the two-year anniversary of World Film Geek, we will take a look at something very special for film fans who may not have watched or would love to get a start at a specific subgenre of action film: the martial arts film. The following is WFG’s list of Top 10 Martial Arts Movies to Start Fans With.

The following list is based on the opinions of World Film Geek and do not reflect the general consensus. The list is based on various aspects such as story, actors, and even fight choreography. There are many other 10 ten lists all over the place, but this is the list WFG would recommend for people who wish to check out martial arts films and are considered a novice to the subgenre.

bestofthebeststill

Eric Roberts (left) and Phillip Rhee in Best of the Best (SVS Inc./The Movie Store)

Best of the Best (Robert Radler, 1989): The tagline says it all – “A team is not a team if you don’t give a damn about each other”. The film revolves around five members of the United States Karate Team as they endure hardships during training for a competition against Team Korea. When you have the legendary James Earl Jones as the U.S. team coach, Eric Roberts as a veteran karateka on a comeback trail, and a blistering third act with co-star Simon Rhee’s fight choreography, the piece de resistance is that this film’s finale may even make the manliest of man shed a tear. Roberts and co-star Phillip Rhee would star in a 1992 sequel with Rhee going solo and directing two more sequels in 1995 and 1998.

fistoffurystill

Bruce Lee in Fist of Fury (Golden Harvest)

Fist of Fury (Lo Wei, 1972): While many consider 1973’s Enter the Dragon (Robert Clouse, 1973) perhaps Bruce Lee’s greatest, this film is WFG’s favorite Bruce Lee film. Set in early 20th Century Shanghai, Lee’s Chen Zhen arrives home to avenge the death of his master, Huo Yuenjia. Along with The Chinese Boxer (Jimmy Wang Yu, 1970), this film would pioneer the on-screen rivalry between Chinese kung fu and Japanese martial arts in classic kung fu films. The film spawned two lesser known sequels with Bruce-alike Ho Chung-Tao as well as a “sequel” that starred a young Jackie Chan. Jet Li starred in a remake, Fist of Legend, in 1994. Donnie Yen played the character in a 1995 series for the defunct ATV channel in Hong Kong and reprised the role in a 2010 sequel, Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen.

onceuponatimeinchinastill

Jet Li in Once Upon a Time in China (Golden Harvest/Film Workshop)

Once Upon a Time in China (Tsui Hark, 1991): Jet Li starred as real-life Chinese folk hero Wong Fei-Hung (1877-1924), who uses his martial arts skills to unite the Chinese people against villainous foreigners as well as face a rival named “Iron Vest” Yim, who sees Wong as a worthy adversary. Wong and Yim’s epic fight, which is set in a room full of ladders, would be a major influence for the 2001 film The Musketeer, which Li’s double Xiong Xin-Xin, choreographed and doubled for villain Tim Roth. The film spawned five sequels, three of which starred Li as Wong and the other two, an attempt to launch future action star Vincent Zhao, who would play Wong in the fourth and fifth installments.

undisputed2still

Scott Adkins (left) and Michael Jai White in Undisputed II: Last Man Standing (New Line Cinema/Nu Image)

Undisputed II: Last Man Standing (Isaac Florentine, 2006): This is an interesting film to start with, as it is in fact a sequel to a boxing film set in a prison. When director Isaac Florentine, a martial artist, decided to use martial arts in this sequel, little did Florentine know that he would unleash not only an action franchise, but the film’s breakout star is British martial artist and actor Scott Adkins, who shines as Russian powerhouse Yuri Boyka. Michael Jai White takes over for Ving Rhames as former boxing champ “Iceman”, who is framed and sent to prison in Russia to face Boyka. Adkins proved to be the highlight with his impressive skills. So much that he would take the lead and return to the role in two sequels, one in 2010 and one coming to DVD and Blu-Ray on August 1.

bloodsportstill

Jean-Claude Van Damme unleashes his trademark “helicopter kick” in Bloodsport (Cannon Films)

Bloodsport (Newt Arnold, 1987): This is the film that turned Belgian martial artist and actor Jean-Claude Van Damme into a household name. In the film, Van Damme plays Frank Dux, who goes AWOL from military service to head to Hong Kong. There, he competes in an underground martial arts tournament known as The Kumite. The film features the likes of Donald Gibb (Ogre from the Revenge of the Nerds franchise) and Bolo Yeung, a classic kung fu star who broke out when he faced off against John Saxon in Enter the Dragon. The film spawned three sequels nearly a decade later, all starring Swiss-born martial artist Daniel Bernhardt.

snakeintheeaglesshadowstill

Jackie Chan (right) shows his comic flair while training with the late Simon Yuen in Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow (Seasonal Film Corporation

Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow (Yuen Woo-Ping, 1978): After a series of box office bombs for director Lo Wei, a young hopeful named Jackie Chan was loaned out to Seasonal Films to star in this kung fu comedy about a human punching bag who learns Snake Fist from an elderly master, played by Simon Yuen, the director’s father. When Chan faces off against an Eagle Claw master played by Korean super kicker Hwang Jung-Lee, Chan sees his cat kill a snake and meshes Snake Fist with a new technique he develops called Cat’s Claw to face off against Hwang and his men. During filming, Hwang accidentally kicked Chan’s tooth out and the result can be seen in certain parts. The film was a hit and showing that Chan was not a fluke, Yuen directed Chan in Drunken Master that same year, which helped solidify Chan as he would go on to become a prolific icon in action films.

ongbakstill

Tony Jaa prepares for action in Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior (Sahamongkol Film/Baa-Ram-Ewe)

Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior (Prachya Pinkaew, 2003): Starting out as a bit player for his late mentor, Panna Rittikrai, Thailand’s Tony Jaa broke out internationally with this film which has a basic premise. Jaa plays Ting, a villager who is forced to go to the city when a gang of thieves steal the village’s sacred statue head. What follows is Jaa showcasing his powerful skills in Muay Thai using real contact with the stunt team members and showcasing some impressive acrobatic skills in an epic chase scene midway through the film. Jaa would star in two sequels that were set centuries before the original and the film recently had a bit of homage in Kickboxer: Vengeance.

drunkenmaster2still

Jackie Chan prepares for battle in Drunken Master II (Golden Harvest)

Drunken Master II (aka The Legend of Drunken Master) (Lau Kar-Leung, 1994): Jackie Chan stars in this sequel to the 1978 hit film as Wong Fei-Hung, the legendary folk hero. When a band of Chinese plot to steal the country’s priceless artifacts to ruthless foreigners, Wong teams up with some old friends and a Chinese revolutionary to stop them all. The film features some of Chan’s best fights under the direction of the late great Lau Kar-Leung. However, a falling out would lead Chan to take over for the finale, which pits him against one of his real-life stunt team members, Ken Lo, who wows the audience with his impressive kicking skills. Lau, upset with the falling out, attempted a third installment that same year, but did not do well at the box office.

36thchamberstill

Gordon Liu strikes a pose in the intro sequence to The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (Shaw Brothers)

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (Lau Kar-Leung, 1978): This epic film from the Shaw Brothers film company would be the breakout film for its lead star, Gordon Liu of Kill Bill Liu, who was adopted by the family of director Lau Kar-Leung, stars as a young man who goes to Shaolin Temple to avenge the death of his friends, goes on a journey of self-discovery and enlightenment. This would lead him to eventually become Shaolin Temples’s famed Abbot San Te. Liu would star in two official sequels in 1980 and 1985.

ipmanstill

Donnie Yen (right) prepares to deflect a flying side kick in Ip Man (Mandarin Films)

Ip Man (Wilson Yip, 2008): Donnie Yen’s magnum opus, in which the longtime martial arts actor would play the legendary Wing Chun grandmaster famous for teaching Bruce Lee. Usually known for his kicking and MMA skills on screen, Yen truly delves into a worthy performance of epic proportions in the role of Master Ip, who goes from a respected martial arts master to a poverty-stricken man during the Sino-Japanese War. The highlight includes Ip taking on ten Japanese blackbelts for a bag of rice. The film proved to be so successful that it won the Best Picture award at the 2009 Hong Kong Film Awards. Yen reprised the role in two sequels in 2010 and 2015 with a fourth installment set to begin production in March 2018.

These are the ten films that World Film Geek would recommend for newcomers to martial arts films. So find that movie on DVD, Blu-Ray, or even if you’re nostalgic, VHS, and enjoy these along with many more martial arts films!

Iconic Music Themes in Film

To commemorate the release of Score: A Film Music Documentary, coming to select theaters on June 16 from Gravitas Venturas, World Film Geek takes a look at some of the most iconic theme music from cinema that still holds its own today. The music heard in films are a driving force in cinema.

Music can build up tension, motivates the protagonist, or even brings scares to its viewers, all depending on the genre. These themes come in no particular order, but they are perhaps the most well-known theme music scores in cinematic history. They are brought courtesy of YouTube for your listening pleasure so take a listen at some of these iconic theme songs from some of the great films in cinema today.

They can either be an opening theme, an ending theme, or one played midway. Either way, these are some of the big themes and scores that defined their films.


King Kong (1933) – composed by Max Steiner


Tara’s Theme from Gone with the Wind (1939) – composed by Max Steiner


Psycho (1960) – composed by Bernard Herrmann


The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (1966) – composed by Ennio Morricone


The Ecstasy of Gold from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1966) – composed by Ennio Morricone


La Caccia from The Big Gundown (1966) – composed by Ennio Morricone


Jaws (1975) – composed by John Williams


Gonna Fly Now from Rocky (1976) – composed by Bill Conti


Star Wars (1977) – composed by John Williams


Superman (1978) – composed by John Williams


Indiana Jones (1982) from Raiders of the Lost Ark – composed by John Williams


E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial (1983) – composed by John Williams


Scarface (1983) – composed by Giorgio Moroder


The Karate Kid (1984) – composed by Bill Conti


Axel F. from Beverly Hills Cop (1984) – composed by Harold Faltermeyer


Bastian’s Happy Flight from The NeverEnding Story (1984) – composed by Klaus Doldinger


Back to the Future (1985) – composed by Alan Silvestri


Beetlejuice (1988) – composed by Danny Elfman


Batman (1989) – composed by Danny Elfman


Jurassic Park (1992) – composed by John Williams


Forrest Gump (1994) – composed by Alan Silvestri


Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) – composed by Tan Dun


Harry’s Theme from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) – composed by John Williams


Batman Begins (2005) – composed by Hans Zimmer


The Dark Knight (2008) – composed by Hans Zimmer


The Avengers (2012) – composed by Alan Silvestri

And there you have it. Look out for the documentary Score: A Film Music Documentary in select theaters on June 16th from Gravitas Venturas.

Video Games Brought to Life

enterthewarriorsgate

On May 5, a teen video gamer enters the world in which he actually plays to save a kingdom from a cruel ruler in Matthias Hoene’s Enter the Warrior’s Gate. To commemorate the release of the film, World Film Geek unleashes video games brought to life in movies.

This is not a complete list of video game adaptations but select titles that involve games that have gained a bit of notoriety whether it was stellar or not so great:

supermariobrothers1993

Super Mario Bros. (Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton, 1993)
Whoever thought of making a live action adaptation of the Nintendo game must be regretting it as this has been panned as one of the all-time worst adaptations of a video game. The film stars the late Bob Hoskins and comedian John Leguizamo as plumbing brothers Mario and Luigi who travel to another dimension to rescue a princess, played by Samantha Mathis, against the crime lord King Koopa, played by the late Dennis Hopper. Both Hoskins and Leguizamo were none too happy making the film and the film, the first of the video game adaptations, was panned by many fans.

streetfighter1994

Street Fighter (Steven E. De Souza, 1994)
An attempt to capitalize on the success of Capcom’s hit game Street Fighter II was a mishmash adventure in which Col. William Guile, played by Jean-Claude Van Damme, enlists two hustlers, Ken and Ryu, the former miscast by Damian Chapa and the latter by Byron Mann, to help him take down the evil Bison, played by Raul Julia in what would be his final film performance as he passed away two months before the film’s release. Add a vengeance seeking reporter in Chun-Li, played by Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. co-star Ming-Na Wen and an array of the video game characters brought to life as either ally or villain.

By today’s standard despite a cult following, the result is quite laughable. However, in 2015, Britiish martial artist and filmmaker Joey Ansah resurrected the SF legacy with the renowned web series Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist with Mike Moh as Ryu and Christian Howard, who couldn’t make a more perfect Ken Masters in today’s era.

8xdv0l

On a side note, Hong Kong did two attempts to the SF legacy in 1993, first with a fight scene in the film City Hunter, in which Jackie Chan would become both sumo wrestler E. Honde (the name was changed from Honda due to Chan’s deal with Mitsubishi) and then Chun Li to take on Gary Daniels as Ken. The comedy duo of Eric Kot and Jan Lamb played Guile and Dhalsim in this hilarious fight scene.

futurecops1993

Then, CH director Wong Jing took the SF concept for Future Cops, but due to copyright, had to change the character names, but the heroes are based on Vega, Dhalsim, Ryu, Guile, Blanka, and Chun-Li while the villains composed of Bison, Ken, Sagat, and Honda. As an added bonus look for co-star Dicky Cheung, who plays the heroes’ modern-day ally, to transform into Goku from the Dragonball universe.

mortalkombat1995

Mortal Kombat (Paul W.S. Anderson, 1995)
Hailed as one of the best amongst gamers and martial arts fans, this PG-13 live-action adaptation of the video game features the likes of American-born Hong Kong action star Robin Shou in his star-making turn as Liu Kang, Christopher Lambert as Lord Raiden, and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as the villain Shang Tsung. Sadly, the sequel, 1997’s Mortal Kombat: Annihilation made the fans turn the opposite direction. However, with the minor success of the short lived prequel series Mortal Kombat: Conquest and the two-season web series Mortal Kombat: Legacy, a third official film is currently in development with last word going under the direction of Simon McQuoid.

laracrofttombraider2001

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (Simon West, 2001)
When it was announced that Eidos’ iconic game series would get the live action treatment, fans rallied in hopes of getting one actress to take the role of the adventurer Lara Croft: Angelina Jolie. That’s exactly what happened and the film was a hit at the box office. The same could not be said for the 2003 sequel, Lara Croft, Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, which was not a bad film, but not a great film either. However, a reboot is currently in production with Award-winning actress Alicia Vikander taking the role of Lara.

doom2005

Doom (Andrzej Bartkowiak, 2005)
The sci-fi film, based on the GT Interactive game, relied on the star power of former pro wrestler Dwayne Johnson and future Dr. McCoy, Karl Urban, as members of an elite soldier unit sent to a remote scientific base on Mars where they experience something very dangerous. The film features fight choreography by Hong Kong action director Dion Lam and even brings out the first person shooter aspect of the game brought to life when Karl Urban’s Reaper begins blasting away the threats.

doadeadoralive

DOA: Dead or Alive (Corey Yuen, 2006)
If you get the director of both No Retreat, No Surrender and the original Transporter to direct a live action adaptation of a video game of this caliber, then one should have expected something great. However, despite some decent action with some actually good casting (Jamie Pressly as Tina and Kevin Nash as her father Bass not to mention Kane Kosugi as Ryu Hayabusa come to mind), the problem herein lies with the script, which takes the tournament that is the basis of the Tecmo video game and mixes it with a ridiculous plot involving stealing the skills of the fighters via virtual reality.

Not to add to the mix some changes in certain characters, notably the character of Helena Douglas, played by Sarah Carter, who is seen here as an extreme sports fanatic rather than the opera singer turned heiress of the DOA tournament. Plus, there just had to be a scene involving the DOA girls playing beach volleyball to capitalize on the spinoff game involving that sport.

Despite this, this author is still hopeful that Tecmo can bounce back from this and give Kane Kosugi‘s Ryu Hayabusa the movie he is truly meant for: Ninja Gaiden and yes, bring back Kosugi to play that role.

inthenameoftheking2007

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007)
Recently retired German filmmaker Uwe Boll gained notoriety in the United States with his adaptations of various video games. Boll has tackled the likes of Alone in the Dark (2005 and 2008), House of the Dead (2003), BloodRayne (2005, 2007, and 2010) Far Cry (2009). His take on Dungeon Siege, re-titled In the Name of the King, starring Jason Statham is a pretty good adaptation from 2007 that spawned two sequels in 2011 and 2015, starring Dolph Lundgren and Dominic Purcell that added a meshing of modern day and time travel, but are still not that bad. The original film stands out with Statham as a hero who joins together with the King’s forces to take on a sadistic Magus who is plotting to take over the throne himself.

tekken2010

Tekken (Dwight H. Little, 2010)
Dwight Little, who directed the late Brandon Lee’s action piece Rapid Fire in 1992, was hired to take Namco’s beloved fighting game and bring it to life. However, there were many mistakes in terms of casting and post-production editing of the fight scenes that made this less than stellar. In the film, Jin Kazama (Jon Foo of the ill-fated Rush Hour TV series) enters the Iron Fist tournament in the hopes of avenging his mother’s death at the hands of Heihachi Mishima (veteran villain actor Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa).

Despite this failure, in which even game creator Katushiro Harada has his share of criticizing the film, a prequel/spin-off (Tekken 2: Kazuya’s Revenge) was released in 2014, focusing on the character of Kazuya Mishima, played by Kane Kosugi and did feature both Heihachi and the character of Bryan Fury, reprised from the original film by Gary Daniels. The film does feature better edited fights including a very nice two-on-one finale between Kosugi and the duo of Ron Smoorenburg and fight choreographer Brahim Achabbakhe.

pixels2015

Pixels (Chris Columbus, 2015)
A pretty decent film about video games coming to life to cause havoc, the film got panned all because it seemed like the name Adam Sandler means box office poison. However, the concept is pretty interesting. When aliens invade Earth by bringing the likes of classic games Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Galaga, Q*Bert, and Arkanoid to life, the only ones capable of stopping this threat is a group of adults who were once arcade champions when they were kids. Pretty fun concept that is not to be taken seriously.

assassinscreed2016

Assassin’s Creed (Justin Kurzel, 2016)
One of the most recent entries on the list is this adaptation of the Ubisoft video game series with Michael Fassbender both starring and producing. However, the film takes on an original story never before seen in the games and unleashes a new character in Cal Lynch, a young man who goes into the Animus as part of an experiment and enters the mind of his ancestor, Aguilar, an Assassin during the Spanish Inquisition. While the film didn’t do exactly well in theaters, it is actually not a bad film at all and has some great stunt sequences to match.

With the release of Enter the Warrior’s Gate, a meshing of video gaming and alternate dimensions, these are the top picks for video games coming to life. Some are actually good and some are not so good, but in any case, it is clear that the world of video gaming and live action adaptations are still moving full speed ahead. Let’s not forget 2018’s Rampage starring Dwayne Johnson that has just began production, a live action take on the 1980’s classic game about three giant monsters wreaking havoc in cities around the world.

In the meantime, check out Enter the Warrior’s Gate when it comes to theaters on May 5 from EuropaCorp.

Top U.F.O. and Alien Invasion Films

phoenixforgotten_poster

On April 21st, the Ridley Scott-produced found footage film Phoenix Forgotten will hit theaters from Cinelou Films. The film marks the feature film directorial debut of Justin Barber, who co-wrote the film with T.S. Nowlin.

20 years after three teenagers disappeared in the wake of mysterious lights appearing above Phoenix, Arizona, unseen footage from that night has been discovered, chronicling the final hours of their fateful expedition.

To commemorate the release of the film, World Film Geek takes a look at some of the top films to feature those good ol’ unidentified flying objects, or simply UFOs as well as alien invasions.:

war_of_the_worlds_1953.jpg

The War of the Worlds (Byron Haskin, 1953)
The classic H.G. Wells novel about a small town being invaded by Martians comes to life via director Byron Haskin. Fifteen years after the famous radio adaptation by Orson Welles, which with the announcement of the invasion (meant for storyline purposes) actually caused panic among its listeners, the film treatment starred the likes of Gene Barry, Ann Robinson, and Les Tremayne as they attempt to stop the Martians from wreaking havoc. A remake was made in 2005 starring Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning.

invaders_from_mars_1953

Invaders from Mars (William Cameron Menzies, 1953)
In this classic sci-fi film, a young boy, played by Jimmy Hunt, sees a crashed spaceship and when his father goes to check it out, he returns only to begin acting different. As the townsfolk find the crash themselves, they begin to undergo radical changes in attitudes. The boy discovers that the alien who has landed has brainwashed the people and along with an astronomer and scientist, the boy must put an end to things in his small town. The film was remade by Tobe Hooper in 1986.

invasion_of_the_body_snatchers_1956

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegel, 1956)
Chaos ensues when an alien force arrives and begins to take over the bodies of the townsfolk. A doctor, played by Kevin McCarthy, must find a way to uncover the madness and stop the alien invasion. The film was remade and copies on numerous occasions, including the 1978 Donald Sutherland-led remake and the 1993 Abel Ferrara-directed Body Snatchers.

close_encounters_of_the_third_kind_1977

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Steven Spielberg, 1977)
One of the great classic films involving aliens and humanity. Richard Dreyfuss plays a line worker who has experienced UFOs and as a result, finds himself isolated in the wilderness, where he will experience something he will never expect. This all comes while a team of scientists are investigating strange occurrences in isolated areas, led by one of the great auteurs of cinema, Francois Truffaut.

fire_in_the_sky_1993

Fire in the Sky (Robert Lieberman, 1993)
In 1975, Arizona logger Travis Walton (D.B. Sweeney) disappears after he and his friends encounter a flying saucer and is found five days later. While he has returned, he has no recollection of what had happened. However, once his memory starts to come back, he begins to claim that he has been abducted by the aliens aboard the UFO.

independence_day_1996

Independence Day (Roland Emmerich, 1996)
As America awaits for the arrival of an alien force, it is revealed that these aliens mean business. They destroy major cities and landmarks all over the world. When scientist Jeff Goldblum discovers the weak point on the aliens, he decides to use it to help the world launch an assault on the alien forces, with the likes of Will Smith and Randy Quaid joining in the fight for humanity. A sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence was released in 2016.

the_fourth_kind_2009.jpg

The Fourth Kind (Olatunde Osunsanmi, 2009)
A series of disappearances have been occurring in Alaska for over four decades. A young psychologist, played by Milla Jovovich, interviews traumatized people and unravels the mystery that these disappearances could actually be the result of an alien invasion where the fourth kind is in fact, abduction. When the details of the aliens are similar between the patients, Jovovich encounters a possibility she never imagines.

skyline_2010

Skyline (Colin and Greg Strause, 2010)
This extraterrestrial film revolves around a bright light in Los Angeles that draws a group of partygoers. When one looks at the light, he is taken away by the alien force and now the rest of the group must evade the invaders, who plan to wipe out the entire human population. A follow-up, Beyond Skyline, is geared for a release later this year with the likes of Frank Grillo and the Indonesian action duo of Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian. The follow-up was written and directed by this film’s writer, Liam O’Donnell.

This is just a sample of the some of the top films involving UFOs and alien invasions all to commemorate the release of Phoenix Forgotten, set for release in theaters nationwide on April 21 by Cinelou Films.

Terror Prefers Blondes

A24 and DirecTV will release the horror film THE BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER in theaters and On Demand March 31, 2017. In the film, the central character of Kat, played by Kiernan Shipka, slowly becomes possessed while inside of a boarding school. To commemorate the release of this film, World Film Geek takes a look at eight prime examples where Terror Prefers Blondes.

draculamina1931

Helen Chandler’s Mina is about to fall victim to Bela Lugosi’s iconic DRACULA (1931)

One of the earliest examples of horror films preferring blondes is Dracula, the 1931 Tod Browning film. In one of the pivotal scenes of the film, Count Dracula, played by the iconic Bela Lugosi, finds his latest conquest in turning young Mina Seward, played by Helen Chandler. After biting her neck, Mina has become a vampire and it is up to the hunter Van Helsing, played by Edward Van Sloan, to find a way to kill Dracula in order to bring Mina back to normal so she can reunite with her true love, John Harker.

psycho1960marion

Janet Leigh as Marion Crane in PSYCHO (1960)

Another iconic horror film that has a taste for blondes is the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock classic Psycho. In what is now one of the most famous scenes not only in the film itself, but the horror film as a whole, Janet Leigh’s Marion Crane checks into the famous Bates Motel. It is while she is showering that a mysterious figure comes up with a knife. Cue the famous music, the constant stabbing, and the shower drain shot.

thebirds1963melanie

Tippi Hedren as Melanie in THE BIRDS (1963)

Hitchcock does it again three years later with another epic horror film, The Birds. Tippi Hedren’s socialite Melanie Daniels finds herself under attack from birds in the normally quiet town of Bodega Bay. She attempts to team up with lawyer Mitch Brenner, played by Rod Taylor, to find a way to escape the menacing birds.

rosemarysbaby1968

Mia Farrow as the titular mother in ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968)

In 1968, Mia Farrow would play the titular character whose baby was believed to be the Anti-Christ. In Rosemary’s Baby, Farrow starts out as a naïve housewife who ends up pregnant. However, as the pregnancy goes on, she discovers strange happenings. This leads to Rosemary learning that her baby is not only alive, but she has been the one chose to bear the spawn of Satan.

tcmsally

Marilyn Burns as Sally Hardesty in THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974)

In 1974, in what would be a prototype for the “final girl” for the slasher genre, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre brought to life the character of Sally Hardesty, played by Marilyn Burns. Her brother and friends all fall victim to the insane Sawyer family, notably the baby brother of the bunch, the human-mask wearing chainsaw and sledgehammer wielding Leatherface, played by Gunnar Hansen. Sally would eventually escape the house of horrors and Burns would be the prototype for not only the final girl, but the scream queen.

carrie1976sissy

Sissy Spacek as the titular CARRIE (1976)

Two years later, Brian De Palma unleashed the telekinetic teen known as Carrie. The titular character, based on Stephen King’s novel, was brought to life in an epic performance by Sissy Spacek. As Carrie White, she was the victim of constant torment both in school and at home. When Sue Snell, a former bully, asks her boyfriend Tommy to take Carrie to the prom in order to actually show she is not completely bad, Carrie unknowingly becomes the victim of a vicious prank. Cue the bucket of pig’s blood and one of the most epic revenge scenes in horror film history.

barbaracramptonreanimator

Barbara Crampton as Megan in RE-ANIMATOR (1985)

In 1985, horror film audiences were treated to an insane experience known as Re-Animator. Based on H.P. Lovecraft’s story, the story tells of a scientist who discovers the secret to bringing back the dead to life, but with horrific results. In one of the most disturbing scenes of the film, Barbara Crampton’s lead female role of Megan finds herself victimized by the decapitated head of evil madman Dr. Hill, played by David Gale, in one of the most unimaginable ways ever depicted on screen.

scream1996opening

Drew Barrymore as Casey in SCREAM (1996)

Finally, in 1997, the slasher film was re-energized courtesy of Wes Craven’s Scream. In the film’s opening sequence, Drew Barrymore’s Casey Becker gets a phone call from a mysterious voice asking her what her favorite horror movie is. She soon learns that the voice is actually that of the now legendary Ghostface Killer, who first disembowels her boyfriend, then goes after her with the scene ending in her death that kickstarts the franchise of films.

THE BLACKCOAT'S DAUGHTER, Kiernan Shipka (aka FEBRUARY), 2015. ©A24/courtesy Everett Collection

THE BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER, (aka FEBRUARY), Kiernan Shipka, 2015. © A24

There are plenty more but these eight are perhaps the most well-known examples of terror preferring blondes. Look out for the latest of these films, The Blackcoat’s Daughter as A24 and DirecTV will release the film in theaters and On Demand March 31, 2017.

Famous Films Involving Haunted Houses

ghostofneworleans

On February 17, SP Releasing will unleash the Ghost of New Orleans, a horror film which stars Josh Lucas as a disgraced detective who has a supernatural encounter which leads him to the ghost of a cellist, played by Lake Bell, who needs him to unlock the mystery behind her death.

In honor of this upcoming release, World Film Geek takes a look at other haunted houses that gained fame in horror films, including a recently released thriller that was covered here.

houseonhauntedhill-1959-still

We start with the classic House on Haunted Hill, the 1959 film that starred the legendary Vincent Price as Frederick Loren, a millionaire who invited five people to a spooky house for only one night for ten thousand dollars. We all know what’s in store for these unlucky folks. The film would be remade in 1999 with Geoffrey Rush in the role based on Price and a sequel to said remake, Return to House on Haunted Hill was released in 2007.

thehaunting1963still

In 1963, West Side Story helmer Robert Wise directed an adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s novel “The Haunting of Hill House”, shortening the title to The Haunting. In the film, a scientist invites two omen to join him in a haunted mansion where one of them slowly begins to lose her mind. Julie Harris and Claire Bloom played the women with Richard Johnson as the scientist. A loose remake was released in 1999 with Liam Neeson playing a sleep specialist who invites a group of his patients to do a study inside of a haunted mansion. The film co-starred the likes of Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson, and Lili Taylor.

amityvillehorror-1977-still

Next, we take a look at The Amityville Horror, the 1977 classic that was apparently based on a true story. In the film, the Lutz family moves into a home in Amityville, New York. Believing the house may be haunted, they send in a priest to perform an exorcism, but the priest is rendered blind by the evil spirit and soon things are about to get worse for this family. The film would go on to spawn a whopping eight sequels from 1982 to 2011 and have not one, but two remakes, a 2005 remake that was criticized for its miscasting of Ryan Reynolds in the Brolin role and the upcoming Amityville: The Awakening.

theshining1980still

One will also never forget the 1980 adaptation of Stephen King’s novel The Shining, which will forever be known for Jack Nicholson’s menacing performance of Jack Torrance, a writer who takes his family to a hotel he has agreed to take care of during the winter. However, the hotel is known for being a house of horrors and Jack solely transitions into a violent man who goes to great lengths to cause chaos with his psychic son Danny, being the one who can warn everyone about the madness that ensues. An official sequel to the original novel, Doctor Sleep, was published in 2013. The film itself was re-made as a made-for-television miniseries in 1997 with Steven Weber in the Torrance role.

poltergeist1982

While most of these brand of films are set in the likes of mansions or older houses, Tobe Hooper’s 1982 film Poltergeist did something that would be considered influential and took a more suburban setting in terms of ghosts invading the home of a typical American suburban family. The most famous line of the film comes from the late Heather O’Rourke: “They’re here”. The film would go to spawn two sequels and a 2015 remake starring Sam Rockwell.

house1986still.png

In 1986, there was a film simply titled House, which starred William Katt as writer Roger Cobb, who inherits a house from his aunt. When he moves in the house, he learns that his new house is haunted. It also turns out that Roger has a past with the house when his son mysterious disappeared in the house years ago and his frantic search resulted in his losing both his family and writing career. However, Cobb must face his fears and gather the strength to put an end to the terror. The film would spawn three sequels from 1987 to 1992 (note: The Horror Show is the official third entry of the series).

paranormalactivity2007still

Of course, when it comes to the new millennium, the movie everyone can be said to be the “haunted house movie” of this generation can be summed up in two words: Paranormal Activity. Written and directed by Oren Peli, the film wisely uses found footage to tell the story of a couple who move into a new home only to be slowly disturbed by a demonic presence. Known for its shocking twist of an ending, the film went from the unknown to one of the most well-known horror films of this generation. Peli, who got the idea from an apparent experience, shot the film in his own home with the use of a digital movie camera. The film was so successful that it would spawn four official sequels, two spin-offs, and was even spoofed by none other than Marlon Wayans who starred in the film simply called A Haunted House and its sequel.

abbatoirstill

Most recently, we were introduced to the Abattoir, a haunted house like no other. In this film, the house was one being constructed by a maniacal preacher with a catch. The house consisted of rooms taken from houses where murders took place. When an investigative reporter and her detective boyfriend go to this small town, all hell truly breaks loose.

Which brings us to the upcoming film Ghost of New Orleans, set for release on February 17. The film stars Stealth’s Josh Lucas as a disgraced detective who seeks redemption when he encounters an experience with the ghost of a cellist, played by Lake Bell, who asks the detective to solve her murder. The film may just be latest in these haunted house films that will stand the test of time in terms of scaring the bejesus not just out of the house’s occupants but the viewer as well.

So here’s a little tip for moving into a new house. Make sure you don’t hear any strange voices or noises because if you do, that’s the first sign to do what the Amityville Horror warns you: Get Out!

 

These Kids Are Badass: A Look at Young Heroes in Horror and Action

In the spirit of Halloween and the upcoming horror film The Monster, which featured a headstrong youngster who must help her mother face off against a terror in the backwoods, World Film Geek will be taking a look at films where we see youngsters take on the likes of horrific threats and ultimately become the heroes.

gooniescast.jpg

Let’s start with the quintessential classic The Goonies, in which we see our teen and pre-teen heroes take on the Fratelli Gang, led by the late raspy-voiced actress Anne Ramsay, as both factions are on the hunt for the pirate treasure of One-Eyed Willy. The kids would get an ace in their sleeve when they find an ally in deformed son Sloth, played by late football player John Matuszak. The film remains a classic to this day with its now grown cast working on various television and film projects.

monstersquadcast

In 1987, a meshing of the previous film and the classic monsters of yore was released in the cult classic The Monster Squad. In the film, the titular group, fans of the horror film genre, take on the likes of Dracula, The Wolfman, The Mummy, and the Creature of the Black Lagoon (who is called Gill Man because of copyright issues). Like The Goonies, the group finds an unexpected ally in Frankenstein’s Monster, simply called Frankenstein in the film.

troll.jpg

Let’s not forget the 1986 film Troll, in which the heroes name is none other than Harry Potter Jr., played by Noah Hathaway of The Neverending Story. In the film, Harry learns his sister has been attacked by a troll, who was once a powerful wizard. When she begins going through violent changes, Harry gets help from a witch who has learned the history of the wizard turned troll and together, Harry and the witch must find a way to stop the troll.

troll2.png

This was followed in 1989 by the godawful Troll II, in which goblins turn their victims into plants for them to eat with the young hero, played by young Michael Stephenson, defeating the goblins with the most unbelievable of weapons: a double-decker Bologna sandwich?! The film was deemed so bad that a documentary about the making of the film, titled Best Worst Movie, was released in 2009 and was directed by the film’s star Stephenson.

thecraft

In the 1990’s, we weren’t really given much in terms of kids against monsters, but we were treated to kids against thugs with the kids being martial arts experts in Hollywood with films such as the 3 Ninjas series of films and Surf Ninjas to name a few, but that’s a whole other story. However, there were some exceptions, notably The Craft, in which the newest high school senior of an elite group must use her powers of a witch to take on the other three members of the group when they “abuse” their powers of witchcraft.

tomorrowwhenthewarbegan

In the new millennium, we were treated to the Australian film Tomorrow, When the War Began based on the novel by John Marsden. The film is described as a sci-fi story of invasion and eight high school students who must stand up to the new threat. The story’s strikingly similar to the 1984 film Red Dawn, which was remade itself in 2012. However, with the likes of young adult novels becoming films such as Divergent and The Maze Runner, there was a young teen girl who became a deadly assassin and her name is Hanna

hanna

In 2011, Irish-born actress Saoirse Roman played the titular Hanna, a young girl who had trained to become a killer in the wilderness of Finland by her father. A CIA operative, played by Cate Blanchett, is hired to track her and her father down and kill them both. Now a target, Hanna must use the skills she learned to protect herself and her father.

super8.jpg

That same year, we were introduced to J.J. Abrams with his science fiction film Super 8, which revolved around a group of young teens who are filming their own movie using the classic Super 8 film when a train derails and the shocking discovery of an alien presence forces the teens to eventually have no other choice but to face the threat before more innocents lives are in danger.

chronicle.jpg

In 2012, the teen superhero genre took quite a very different turn with Josh Trank’s Chronicle, in which a group of teens unexpectedly develop super powers. Some use them for good, but one teen begins to go off the deep end and begins to turn on his friends. It ultimately must take one of the quiet guys of the group to have to face his former friend in an all out war.

strangerthings

This year, we were introduced to the hit series Stranger Things on Netflix. A throwback to the 1980’s, the series revolve around a group of kids who are investigating the disappearance of their friend with the help of a telekinetic girl. The series’ influences range from Stephen King to Steven Spielberg.

themonster

Which brings us to the upcoming film The Monster, which is now available on DirectTV and is getting released in theaters and VOD on November 11 from A24 Films. The film revolves a divorced mother and strong teen daughter stranded in the backwoods en route to visit the girl’s father when they face off against a terrifying monster. Early reviews are already praising the likes of young Ella Ballantine as the headstrong Lizzy, the young girl.

Next year of course, we will have the likes of teen/kid heroes in the forms of superhero revivals of Power Rangers and Spider-Man: Homecoming on the big screen. In the meantime, the films listed here are just exceptional offerings of seeing the kids as the heroes in a variety of genres, notably horror and in some cases, action.

Many of the films listed are currently available on DVD and Blu-Ray. The Monster will be in theaters and VOD on November 11. Check your local stores or even online to buy or even rent these films where these kids prove to be totally badass!