Here’s What’s Going On 06/14/2013: Accident at TRANSFORMERS 4 Shoot

Pyro sets 100 year-old house on fire… FINAL DESTINATION creator to adapt Ty Drago’s “The Undertakers”… Brad Pitt has bad news for the combatants of WORLD WAR Z…
From the luxurious Cinefantastique Online studios in NYC, Dan Persons brings you up-to-date on what’s happening in the world of genre media.


Chevy Sonic from TRANSFORMERS 4
Chevy Sonic from TRANSFORMERS 4

Final Destination 5: Cinefantastique Spotlight Podcast 2:31.1

Sick Transit Glori-AHHHH!: Death opens a can of whoopass in FINAL DESTINATION 5.
Sick Transit Glori-AHHHH!: Death opens a can of whoopass in FINAL DESTINATION 5.

Okay, so they called the previous installment THE FINAL DESTINATION, as if that was going to be the last chapter of the franchise. So what? Like you never said, “This one’s the last French fry,” and then went on shoveling the spuds down your gullet like there was no tomorrow. Given the success of that 2009 entry, no one really should be surprised that we’re now looking at FINAL DESTINATION 5 — which may or may not be the actual, final encore/curtain call for the series — or that at this point the producers have honed to a fine… art, let’s say… the formula of twenty-somethings escaping an horrendous fate only to be subsequently stalked and dispatched by death in various, Rube Goldbergian ways. One plus: Even at this late date, a franchise that’s essentially a more morbid envisioning of Road Runner cartoons (and is once again rendered in appropriately poke-your-eye-out 3D) is still pretty amusing. Come join our special guest, Cashiers du Cinemart‘s Mike White, as he joins Cinefantastique Online’s Dan Persons in examining the delights and the demerits of one of the most formulaic, yet oddly entertaining, of film franchises.
Also in this episode: A discussion of director Rupert Wyatt’s plans for the sequel to his hit film, RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, plus what’s coming in theatrical releases and home video.

Be sure to check out Cashiers du Cinemart!

So Much For a "Final Destination"

Shantel Vananten as Lori in “The Final Destination
Shantel Vananten as Lori in “The Final Destination

That’s right folks, following the box office success of Warner Bros.’ THE FINAL DESTINATION (released last year in 3D) the studio has decided to back yet another sequel to the franchise. has revealed that while at ShoWest in Las Vegas Warner Bros. confirmed that a fifth sequel will be coming to cinema screens soon. THE FINAL DESTINATION managed to gross only $66 million domestically but made $180 million worldwide so another sequel should come as no surprise.
The first film in the series was a unique, creative and fun slasher-movie-with-a-twist but they seem to be getting worse with every sequel. Do we really need another FINAL DESTINATION movie? Besides, what are they even going to call the thing?

Brian Tyler’s Final Destination

Fourth in the franchise launched in 2000 by former X-FILES writers James Wong and Glen Morgan, THE FINAL DESTINATION (known during production as FINAL DESTINATION 4 and FINAL DESTINATION: DEATH TRIP) is the latest variation on the entertaining but formulaic story about a group of teens who seem to cheat death only to find that death has a way of collecting its due all the same.

The first three films were scored by maverick music maestro Shirley Walker, who provided their palpable musical propulsion. But Walker died in 2006 not long after FINAL DESTINATION 3. After some consideration, director David R. Ellis, who had also helmed FINAL DESTINATION 2 (2003), asked Brian Tyler to take over for the fourth outing.

“I was brought on very early in the process by New Line Cinema, Warner Brothers, and the director David Ellis,” said Tyler. “They were still filming the movie and called me from the set and asked me if I was interested. We talked about the concept even in that original conversation. We all wanted to respect the tradition of what Shirley had established but also bring its own flavor and grit to this particular film.”

Over the last dozen years, Brian Tyler has established an impressive reputation as a film composer. Emerging after a year of independent film scoring in 1998 with the quirky music to SIX STRING SAMURAI, Tyler gained acclaim for his work on Bill Paxton’s creepy psychological thriller, FRAILTY (2001) and was soon scoring increasingly notable and bigger films, many of which were squarely science fiction and horror offerings. His music to Don Coscarelli’s brilliantly comic commentary on aging and mummy attacks, BUBBA HO-TEP, embraced the almost surreal sense of humor with musical elements that were reflective of Elvis’ country-tinged pop without completely losing thenecessary dramatic edge. A similar swaggering sound was provided for Tommy Lee Wallace’s VAMPIRES: LOS MUERTOS (2002), a follow-up to JOHN CARPENTER’S VAMPIRES, enhancing its Latin locale with persuasively rhythmic accompaniment.

Tyler went on to score large-scaled science fiction productions such as CHILDREN OF DUNE for the Sci-Fi Channel, laid down some eloquence for the exploits of TV’s PAINKILLER JANE series for the same network, Michael Crichton’s TIMELINE (replacing his own icon, Jerry Goldsmith, whose score was ironically deemed unsuitable, after which Tyler provided his own variation of a Goldsmith score for the final release), and CONSTANTINE, requiring a last minute collaboration with Klaus Badelt to overlay some new material on top of Tyler’s finished score (which was, indeed, better than having it Goldsmithed out of the picture entirely). Tyler provided a spooky score for DARKNESS FALLS (2003), chilled the ominous portents of GODSEND (2004), and catapulted the horrific battles in ALIENS VS. PREDATOR: REQUIEM (2007).

In THE FINAL DESTINATION Tyler was prepared to confront death’s scythe itself while musically supporting the action, fantasy, and brutal shocks with a potent mix of ambient atmospheres and progressive, driving propulsion, from the blistering rock and roll of the main theme to the omnipresent chills provided by somber, sustained string chords and relentless, percussive chase motifs.

“I thought there were some dueling aspects of the film that needed addressing,” said Tyler of his approach to the film’s various nuances. “There was the fate aspect of the film that feels supernatural. But of course the propulsive action of these premonition sequences needed musical muscle. It was a fine balance to be sure. And yes, horror was a large part of this score but in a way, not straight up horror since there is no visible killer. In fact, the main character of the film is never seen. Death himself! So it was up to me to provide the voice of death through the music.”

Tyler incorporating Shirley Walker’s main theme from the first three films, which was integrated as Tyler developed old with new to arrive at a musical dynamic that both reflected the legacy of the series while providing something different for this excursion, much as he did with the FAST AND THE FURIOUS series and 2008’s RAMBO.

“Shirley’s theme is still the most prominent aspect of the score,” Tyler said. “There were a few other themes that I composed for this film. One was an upward death motif that only needed a small statement to recognize something was very, very wrong in a scene and about to get worse. Also there is a new danger theme for the most evil moments in the film.”

In addition, Tyler wanted to provide a more emotional and natural theme for the struggles of one of the main characters with his past.

Scoring terror is something that has come naturally to Tyler after several excursions through horror cinema. A score like this needs to drive the roller coaster of scary shocks, nudging the viewer-listeners as they anticipate those drops and curves and, in some cases, flinging them headlong over the side of the rail. Multiple layers of spooky sonorities and progressive riffs of percussion-led synth and orchestral pads generate a fatalistic drive to the characters’ rush toward their inevitable Final Destination, building the anticipation and intensifying the payoffs, while also providing a gentle, breezy melody for the film’s gentler environment.

Recognizing that horror scores, in particular among all species of film music, are by nature manipulative – intensifying emotions, anticipating events about to occur on screen, generating heightened excitement in the viewer – Tyler purposefully geared his music to operate subtly with finesse, or ferociously with propulsion, as the storyline and visual style dictated.

“It’s so tricky!” Tyler confessed. “Sometimes the music would lead you down a path of ‘something is coming’ and sometimes it would lead you down the path of ‘everything is okay’ right before the movie hits you with a hard right to the jaw. It’s all about finding the right moment for the right tone. I just go by feel and try to remember how I felt when I see a scary film that really, really got me.”


The hybrid nature of contemporary film scores – the mix of synths with symphs – have become the norm for modern action films and horror thrillers and almost dictates how a composer will proceed, especially in a franchise like this, which largely depends on following successful formulas and meeting audience expectations. At the same time, composers like Tyler cannot help creatingsomething that strives to make a new or personal musical statement.

“The hybrid style is certainly present now,” agreed Tyler. “I think it depends on the feel of the film. There are films that I score that are purely orchestral of course, and I love their purity. But I always try to make hybrid scores natural. The non-orchestral elements mostly come from instruments that I record with a microphone. The more I can record live the happier I am!”

Tyler has recently been signed to score Sylvester Stallone’s Latin American mercenary action film, THE EXPENDABLES, set for release next August. He is also set to score George Gallo’s psychological thriller, COLUMBUS CIRCLE as well as the next big science fiction invasion thriller, BATTLE: LOS ANGELES, currently filming and planned for release in February, 2011.

For more information on Brian Tyler, see:


The Final Destination – Trailer

It used to be called FINAL DESTINATION: DEATH TRIP, but now it’s the more definite-sounding THE FINAL DESTINATION. This leaves me wondering (hoping?) whether this will truly be the final destination. Somehow, I think not. Anyway, it’s the same old formula, but this time enlivened with digital 3-D photography – just imagine all the jagged debris flying off the screen and into your face!

Final Destination: Death Trip opens August 28

Final Destination: Death Trip (2009)Of course, there’s nothing final about these destinations. Another interchangeable group of young friends escape death, only to have death catch up iwth them. After Hunt’s (Zano) premonition of a deadly race-car crash helps saves the lives of his peers, Death sets out to collect those who evaded their fate. The plot is the same old, same old; the innovation is that this time, the grizzly deaths will be seen in 3-D (which makes you wonder how the producers managed to overlook doing the third FINAL DESTINATION in 3-D – a tradition that includes such diverse franchises as JAWS, THE AMITYVILLE HORROR, and FRIDAY THE 13TH). Director: David R. Ellis. Stars: Nick Zano, Krista Allen, Andrew Fiscella. Studio: New Line Cinema.

Laserblast DVD & Blu-Ray: Day the Earth Stood Still, Bedtime Stories, 2010, Final Destination

This is one of those busy weeks when th, ere seem to be more science fiction, fantasy, and horror movies released on DVD and Blu-ray than you can count. Actually, there are not that many, but when new titles come out in three iterations (e.g., single-disc, double disc, and Blu-ray), the number of releases can seem overwhelming. Below we try to perform the valuable public service of separating the cream from the crop…
The Day the Earth Stood Still(Fox DVD & Blu-Ray)
Even though this presented a rare example of Keanu Reeves casting being spot-on, not many critics  felt all warm and fuzzy about Fox’s spectacle-sized update of Robert Wise’s classic science fiction film of cold war paranoia and religious symbolism. Cinefantastique Online even went so far as to trash it twice, once in a review by Steve Biodrowski and once in a review by Dan Persons (who complained of “brainless storytelling “). Par for the course these days, DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL arrives in three versions: a two-disc widescreen DVD, a three-disc widescreen DVD, and a three-disc Blu-ray set (thank god the HD-DVD format is gone, or there would be one or two of those, as well). One thing we especially like about the Blu-ray set is Fox’s decision to include Wise’s original film (also available separately) as the third Blu-Ray disc; in other words – it’s the best extra of 2009!
Bedtime Stories (Blu-ray & DVD)
This Adam Sandler film (about an uncle telling bedtime stories that come through) was a hit in theatres last year. It arrives on home video in three different versions: a single-disc DVD, a two-disc DVD (+Disneyfile); and a three-disc Blu-ray & DVD combo (including a digital copy). DVD bonus features include a blooper reel, deleted scenes, and two featurettes. The Blu-ray ports these over, adding BD-Live asthe only exclusive Blu-ray bonus feature. (NOTE: Amazon announced this title for last week; currently, they list a release date of April 5 for the Blu-ray and April 7 for the DVDs.)
2010: The Year We Make Contact(Warner Bros Blu-Ray)
What should have been the silliest sequel ever produced actually turned into a relatively interesting Sci-Fi think-piece in the hands of cinematographer-director Peter Hyams. In 2010(“The Year We Make Contact” is just a promotional title), Roy Scheider picks up the reigns of Dr. Heywood Floyd (following William Sylvester’s turn in Kubrick’s 2001), who has been made a scapegoat of sorts after the HAL incident and the deaths of the astronauts aboard the Discovery spacecraft. Without notable career prospects and with nuclear conflict between America and the U.S.S.R. seemingly drawing closer (remember, the movie may have taken place in 2010, but it was filmed in 1984), Floyd jumps at the chance to hitch a ride aboard a Russian ship to investigate what actually happened on Discovery’s mission. He’s joined by fellow Americans John Lithgow and Bob Balaban and Russian Helen Mirren before arriving at the derelict Discovery still in orbit around Jupiter. While in orbit, Balaban, the designer of the HAL 9000, manages to reactivate the long-dead supercomputer (still voiced by Douglas Rain, without whom the producers would probably have had to junk the idea of revisiting HAL at all) and Scheiderreceives a most unexpected visitation – Dave Bowman himself (a returning Keir Dullea).
Based on a novel by Arthur C Clarke, 2010 wisely dispenses with a visual or intellectual approach that might seem to echo Kubrick’s style in 2001, and instead fashion a sturdy adventure tale of the sort that Hyams can excel at when given the right equipment (see his superior Narrow Marginfor an additional example). We’ve enjoyed the film on cable and look forward to viewing Hyams’ carefully designed photography on Blu-Ray (like the work of the great British cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth, Hyams’ smoky, filtered style can look awful when transferred to video without care). The only extras are the trailer (which is actually quite good) and a vintage featurette.
Final Destination(New Line Blu-Ray)
Forget about the 17 sequels that we’veseen birthed by the studio in the nearly 10 years since Final Destination was released, the original film is still the same effectivelittle shocker that gave us the giddy thrills that all grade ‘B’ horror films are supposed to. Even Tony Todd, who has sleepwalked through more of these movies that any 20 of you have seen, seems engaged in the material. New Line’s Blu-ray offers the same special features as the previous editions (back when seeing an “alternate ending” as an extra on a DVD was actually exciting!)
Those are the top-tier science fiction, fantasy and horror home video releases for this week, but there are many more DVDs and Blu-rays for eager fans looking for subject matter as diverse as animation or cult horror.

  • House is a new direct-to-video thriller starring Bill Mosely and Michael Madsen. The DVD is reviewed here.
  • Dog Soldiers arrives again, this time in a DVD with Steelbook Packaging. Read a review of the film here.
  • Tales of Desperaux, an animated family fantasy about a talking mouse arrives on DVD and Blu-ray.
  • The Boys from Brazil, an early cloning thriller, starring Gregory Peck and Laurence Olivier, gets another DVD release.
  • Nosferatu (1922) proves the dangers of being in the public domain, with yet another DVD release. This one includes a t-shirt with poster art, in case that’s enough to get you to purchase the film again.
  • The Giant Spider Invasion arrives in a Director’s Cut DVD (something we never expected) and a Two-disc Director’s Cut DVD (something we really never expected).
  • And also, a bunch of DTV titles you probably never heard of.

Check them out below or in the Cinefantastique Online Store.