Favorite Nightmares from Elm Street: Dream Warriors

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
The convertible top - colored like Freddy's sweater - encloses the kids at the end of the original NIGHTMARE

Though not a huge fan of the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET series, I did enjoy the first film. What fascinated me was the premise: the daemon that stalked you in your dreams, leading to the fear and desperate avoidance of falling asleep. Since we must all in the end sleep or die, this encapsulates the horrifying ultimate “no-win” situation. The film also excelled at blurring the line between the real and the nightmare world.
These ideas are very good ones, and naturally had occurred before in fiction and film. The Robert Bloch scripted William Castle film THE NIGHT WALKER (1964)had touched upon the idea of the breakdown of the barrier between one’s waking life and dreams, and the madness that could cause. THE TWILIGHT ZONE’s “Perchance to Dream” and “Shadow Play” (both based on Charles Beaumont’s short stories) has touched on these very subjects, and THE NIGHT STALKER’s “The Spanish Moss Murders” (Al Friedman & David Chase)had even introduced the element of an item of the dreamlands crossing over in the physical world. All of this is potent stuff.
Wes Craven was inspired by actual events reported in newspapers (see Wes Craven on Dreaming up Nightmares) about men from Southeast Asia who had died in the middle of dreaded nightmares, and a case of a young man so fearful of the same fate that he resorted to desperate tactics to stay awake, duplicated by the character Nancy in the film. Only the real world model eventually did fall asleep… And died.
Favorite effect: Well, to be honest I’ve only really seen the original and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET PART 3: THE DREAM WARRIORS in their entirety. I consider them the best of the series.
The skeleton from Elm Street 3
The skeleton from Elm Street 3

Gore effects, no matter how inventive, don’t entrall me. There are a number of notable dream effects and distortions that are very impressive. But what immediately stands out in my mind is the convertible-top/Freddy sweater ending of the first film, and the skeletal remains of Krueger coming to life (via Doug Beswick’s animation) in the third film. Call me old-fashioned, but I just love those walking stop-motion skeletons — something right out of my own film-fueled childhood nightmares.

Norton Hears Who Fans

During Saturday April 25th’s airing of DOCTOR WHO the BBC ran a cartoon “coming next” promo for their OVER THE RAINBOW reality series, featuring an animated version of UK TV personality Graham Norton.
Unfortunately, it appeared as The Doctor (Matt Smith) was making an impassioned speech during The Time of Angels’ dramatic cliffhanger ending.
Thousands of viewers complained to the BBC, which issued an official apology as to the timing of the incident.
In this video from his BBC One talk show, Graham Norton does his humorous best to make amends to WHO fans.
The Time of Angels’ airs this coming Saturday (May 8th) at 9PM Eastern, followed by SO GRAHAM NORTON.
Now if only viewers in the U.S. could gain some respite from these animated nuisances during our own programs.

1st Thor Pic Online

Thor_CropHere’s the 1st glimpse of Chris Hemsworth (George Kirk in STAR TREK) as the titular Marvel Comics hero in THOR. See it larger at Yahoo Movies
THOR also stars Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgard, and  Tom Hiddleston (WALLANDER) as Loki.
Writers: Screenplay by Ashley Miller (ANDROMEDA) & Don Payne (RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER) and others, including Mark Protosevich (THE CELL)
Directed by Kenneth Branagh (FRANKENSTEIN)
In theaters from Marvel Studios / Paramount Pictures May 6th, 2011.
Looks like a step up from the god of Thunder’s last live-action outing

Jonah Hex Trailer

Here’s Warner Brother’s trailer (courtesy of Yahoo Movies) for JONAH HEX, the film adaptation of DC Comic’s western hero of the same name.
The trailer makes it clear that liberties have been taken with the character. Long time antagonist Quentin Trunbull (John Malkovich) appears to have replaced the Apache tribe’s role in Hex’s (Josh Brolin) origin and the protagonist’s essential nature and abilities have been pushed more firmly into the supernatural realm.
Judging from the weaponry on display, it looks like a little touch of steam-punk WILD WILD WEST aesthetic has been added to the mix as well. 
The Clint Eastwood-inspired anti-hero was created by John Albano and artist Tony DeZuniga for DC’s Weird Western Tales (first full story appearing in #10 of it’s former title, All-Star Western). Jonah Hex had his own title from 1977-85, scripted mainly by Michael Fleisher.
In more recent years, writers such as Joe R. Landsdale (BUBBA HOTEP) have given their own takes on the character, involving him in a variety of strange escapades, including sojourns into the future.
JONAH HEX also stars Megan Fox and Will Arnet.
Screenplay by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (CRANK, GAMER).
Directed by Jimmy Hayward (HORTON HEARS A WHO!).
Due out June 18, 2010 from Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Dinosaur Park – Space Opera Farce

The convoluted plot of Dinosaur Park is kicked of by a prank played by a ten-year-old Kerryl Ryson of the dinosaur planet Stohlson’s Redemption.
Egged on by his seven-year-old bride to be, he causes a dinosaur to upchuck on a visiting offworlder, the Immaculate Ultim of Aberdown. This isn’t taken as a youthful indiscretion; a soldier is killed in the ensuing melee, leading to a trial in which results his father is executed by a Tyrannosaurus, and his clan’s sacred fetish lost as they are given into slavery to the Ultim.
Kerryl’s taken by the religious Jairaben dinosaur breeders to their enclave to serve as a probationer–essentially a slave, until his final judgement/conversion on reaching maturity.  He’s nearing that stage when the arrival of the Contractionites, in their ship the Divine Providence, arrives–providentially.
He’s been honing his wiles over the years, gaining a measure of revenge against his fanatical tormentors, and after saving some of the Contractionites’ child missionaries from death, sees his chance to escape with the space-traveling evangelists and begin his plan to somehow save his kinsmen and avenge his father’s death.
His training continues as part of the military arm of the (theoretically) well-intentioned group — they’re out to try to stop the very contraction of the universe, as they encounter planets and religions every bit as crackpot as their own.
As you may have guessed, Dinosaur Park is a farce from beginning to end, taking aim at religion, bureaucracy, hypocrisy, pomposity, and arrogant (and deadly) elitism. Apparently, it’s intended as a direct parody of Jack Vance’s space operas–and I suspect it will read a lot funnier to those intimately familiar with his work (such as The Dragon Masters, The Last Castle and other awar-winners).
For the rest of us, the language and intricate descriptions of inconsequentials, and elaborate build-ups of matters that turn out to have little or no bearing on the plot get a little heavy and tiresome at times. The gallows humor is generally more risible than laugh-inducing, and often fairly predictable.
Fortunately, just about at the point where one’s patience with the style and Kerryl Ryson’s trials might well become exhausted, an actually interesting science fictional idea is presented. This, along with a new character, makes the last third of the book a real pleasure to read. This new character? A “blurg” named Yveena Soolis, who arrives just in time to become Kerryl’s love interest — twice.
Originally released in 1989, the novel was also known as The Thirteenth Majestral, a title that makes a great deal more sense within the context of the story than the very misleading Dinosaur Park.
DINOSAUR PARK, by Hayford Peirce
Wildside Press, 258 pages / trade paperback
U.S. $9.95 (trade pb), U.S. $6.99 (ebook / multiplatform availability)
Pub date: 3/31/2010
ISBN: 1-4344-1249-0
Distribution channels:
Paperback: Ingram, Baker & Taylor (all online bookstores)
Ebook: Fictionwise, Amazon Kindle, Mobipocket, DrivethruRPG, Content Reserve
Wildside Press web site: WildsidePress 
 A note to the curious: No scene remotely like the one depicted on the cover takes place in the book.

Legend of The Seeker Canceled?

LSeeker_2webAccording to EW’s The Ausiello Files ABC Studios/Ghost House Pictures’ LEGEND OF THE SEEKER has been canceled.

The New Zealand-produced syndicated fantasy show, based on Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth book series has run only two seasons.

EW attributes the series’ apparent demise on the fact the Tribune Group’s local stations had dropped the series, and that ABC Studios have been unable to find a new home for THE SEEKER.
Unless an unanticipated white knight appears to save the day, Richard Cypher and Kahlan Amnell’s quest is over.
Pictured: Stars Craig Horner and Bridget Regan.

The Phantom – NewTrailer

RHI Entertainment has posted a new trailer for their TV movie of THE PHANTOM – which looks an expanded version of last year’s advanced trailer.
Ryan Carnes (DOCTOR WHO: Evolution of the Daleks/Daleks in Manhattan) plays Chris Moore, a young man that does not know he is really Kit Walker, next in line and unprepared to become the mysterious vigilante known as as The Phantom, scourge of pirates an evil-doers for centuries.
The two-part ‘mini’ is expected to air this June on SyFy. It’s from RHI Entertainment, which has produced a number of projects for the cable station, including the one-season FLASH GORDON update — also a King Features’ comic strip character.
The TV film features, among others,  Isabella Rossellini (ALIAS) and Cas Anvar (PUNISHER: WAR ZONE).
It was written by Daniel Knauf (CARNIVÁLE) and Charles H. Knauf, and directed by Paolo Barzman (DR.JEKYLL & MR. HYDE, 2008).
THE PHANTOM has the potential to spin off into a series on SyFy. It aired in Candada on Dec. 20th, 2009, without generating much noticable comment here in the U.S.
**UPDATE** May 3. 2010–  According to The Hollywood Reporter SyFy will air both parts of the four hour PHANTOM June 20th, 2010.

Green Hornet Delayed

GHLOGO_CFQAccording to an article at Variety.com Sony Pictures is moving THE GREEN HORNET from this year’s Christmas holiday slot of December 22nd to January 14th, 2011—the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend.
Rumors had been circulating before the announcement, which might suggest studio doubts about the film’s box office viability during the competitive Christmas season. However, Sony claims the decision is due to their desire to release THE GREEN HORNET in 3-D.
The studio’s marketing department says the shift will allow time to complete the digital conversion and also that assure more 3-D equipped theaters will be available, as a number of other 3-D films will be competing for screens in December.
THE GREEN HORNET (based on the radio series created by Fran Striker & George W. Trendle that hit the airwaves in 1936 – and more directly from the 1966 20th Century Fox TV series) has been controversial with genre fans from the beginning.
Fans on websites such as Superherohype have expressed concern over Seth Rogen’s scripting the project with his SUPERBAD and PINEAPPLE EXPRESS collaborator Evan Goldberg, fearing that undue comedy would intrude on the fairly grim and semi-realistic adventures of Britt Reid and Kato.
Additionally Rogen’s casting as the traditionally dynamic and heroic young newspaper publisher, given his usual on-screen persona as an amusing but chubby and ineffective pot-head, seemed a questionable choice to many (including this writer), but the actor slimmed down dramatically.
After all, the first screen Hornet was the amiable Gordon Jones (THE GREEN HORNET, 1940), best known to most modern audiences as comic foil Mike the Cop on TV’s ABBOTT & COSTELLO—and he did a creditable job in the 13-Chapter serial.
Rogen, a professed superhero fan, assured interviewers that he intended to make a balanced action-comedy, and the selection of director Michel Gondry (ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND) soothed fears somewhat.
Production started last year with a target release of July 2010. When that date was pushed back to December, Rogen noted “We got the same date that movies like I AM LEGEND and AVATAR are getting, so we’re thrilled to be there.” Now, with the Martin Luther King weekend, GREEN HORNET will have the same date as PAUL BLART: MALL COP.
Only time will tell if THE GREEN HORNET will make a box office sting — or just create more negative buzz.
Note: The Green Hornet spawned two multiple-chapter serials from Universal Studios, the second being THE GREEN HORNET STRIKES AGAIN, as well as various comic book adaptations in the 40’s, 60’s, and late `80’s. Two “Better Little Books”  tied to the radio show were published, as were two paperbacks based on the Television version.