There were no new genre films in theaters this weekend, but there was one old one in a shiny new, 3D coat: THE LION KING 3D, which just so happened to top this week’s box-office. With a prescience befitting a Cinefantastique editor, Steve Biodrowski recognized the film for the hit it was going to be, and attended a screening. In this episode of the Spotlight, he gives his impression of the newly dimensional musical fantasy, after which Dan Persons joins in for a discussion of MST3K VS. GAMERA, the new home video box set that collects all of MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000’s episodes devoted to Japan’s beloved, mammoth flying turtle.
Also in this episode: discussions of Harlan Ellison’s IN TIME lawsuit and of the impending Hannibal Lecter TV series.
Plus: Gamera is friend to all children!
Dino De Laurentiis (Agostino de Laurentiis), larger-than-life Italian film producer, passed away yesterday, November 10th, 2010 in California. He was 91.
De Laurentiis produce quite a number of science fiction, horror and fantasy-related films> His first notable one was ULYSSES (1954), adapting Homer’s tale of the indomitable leader and his travails, including encouter with mythical creature such as the Cyclops. The international production starred Kirk Douglas, Silvana Mangano (whom he would marry) and Anthony Quinn.
In 1961 he executive produced the peplum GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES, in `64 the comedy, THE FLYING SAUCER. 1968 saw the comic book-based DANGER:DIABOLIK and the lavish BARBARELLA, starring Jane Fonda and and international cast.
In 1976 he produced the controvesial remake of KING KONG, 1980 brought the campy FLASH GORDON feature, now considered by some a cult classic.
He was involved with CONAN THE BARBARIAN and CONAN THE DESTROYER with Arnold Schwarzenegger. He financed and produced David Lynch’s odd vision of the Frank Herbert epic SF novel DUNE.
Several Steven King properties included THE DEAD ZONE, CAT’S EYE, SILVER BULLET, and MAXIUM OVERDRIVE.
He let Sam Raimi bring ARMY OF DARKNESS to life.
He brought Hannibal Lecter to the screen in MANHUNTER, HANIBAL, and RED DRAGON.
I met him briefly in New York at a FLASH GORDON screening. A small statured man with a big personality and a love of filmmaking—and probably the last of the old-school movie moguls.
Over twenty years after “Hannibal the Cannibal” made his film debut in MANHUNTER (1986), the Dr. Lecter saga peters out with this misguided sequel. The absolutely insurmountable problem is that the psychiatric serial killer was most intriguing and frightening as an inexplicable enigma – a walking, talking question mark regarding the nature of evil: Why would someone do this? Answering that question is a bit like a magician revealing the trick behind his magical illusion: the explanation is never as interesting as the mystery, which is thoroughly destroyed in the process.
Building upon a flashback introduced in the novel HANNIBAL (which was abandoned in the film adaptation), HANNIBAL RISING posits that as a boy, Hannibal Lecter saw his sister eaten by soldiers in Lithuania at the end of World War II. It’s a pretty horrible thought but goes nowhere toward explaining how Lecter himself became a cannibal serial killer, so the new storyline – set mostly with Lecter (Gaspard Uliel) as a young medical student – portrays his bloody quest for revenge in the aftermath of the war. The storyline’s sick little joke is that (like HANNIBAL) it will ask you to identify with Lecter as a kind of anti-hero, because his opponents are even worse than he is. Read More