This video tour of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood showcases the bloody mayhem of two walk-through attractions inspired by recent horror films: Evil Dead: Book of the Dead and the eerie shudders of Insidious: Into the Further.
Even if you did not care for the films themselves, you may get a kick out of the walk-through versions. Universal Studios’s annual Halloween attraction is known for meticulously recreating sets, scenes, and characters from the films, and the live aspect allows for an in-your-face approach you simply cannot get on the big screen. Thrill to the ghostly apparition appearing from behind a mirror! Shiver at the sound of chainsaws! Gag at the geysers of blood!
October is the season of horror, with classics and cult films resurrected on the big screen, season video releases, and a myriad of haunted house events, many of them based on horror movies. Universal Studios Hollywood specializes in this kind of attraction, as you can see from this video, set in the House of Horrors. This year-round attraction on the studio tour features classic movies monsters such as Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Wolf Man, who were brought to the screen by Universal Pictures back in the 1930s and 1940s. For the Halloween season, the number of monsters is magnified, and a contemporary dance soundtrack is added.
Also on view: a trip through the Universal Studios’s back lot, which is overrun by walkers from AMC’s THE WALKING DEAD.
Full-size video below:
Universal Pictures releases the next chapter in the Riddick saga, produced by One Race Productions and Radar Pictures. Vin Diesel returns as the titular anti-hero. The supporting cast includes Karl Urban (STAR TREK), Katee Sackhoff (BATTLESTAR GALACTICA), Nolan Gerard Funk, Dave Bautista, and Noah Danby.
David Twohy is back in the director’s chair, working from a script co-written with Oliver Butcher & Stephen Cornwell, based on characters created by Jim and Ken Wheat.
Theatrical Release: September 6, 2013
Universal Pictures releases this sequel to Illumination Entertainments 2010 hit. The new 3D, computer-animated comedy follows the further adventures of reformed villain Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) as he is recruited to the anti-villain league, where his past experience will prove invaluable at stopping a new super-villain.
Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud directed from a script by Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul. Voices include Ken Jeong Kristen Wiig, Russell Brand, Miranda Cosgrove, Moises Arias, Benjamin Bratt, and Steve Coogan.
Running Time: 98 minutes
Release Date: July 3, 2013
Universal Pictures releases this speculative thriller from Blumhouse Productions, which posits that on one night every year, laws are rescinded, allowing society to “purge” its violent tendencies and then live peacefully the rest of the time. (Sounds a bit like the “Festival” time from “The Return of the Archons,” a first-season episode of STAR TREK.)
James De Monaco wrote and directed. Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey head the cast, supported by Max Burkholder, Adelaide Kane, Edwin Hodge, Rhys Wakefield, and Tony Oller. Rated R. 85 minutes.
Release Date: June 7, 2013
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Movie monsters know that more than anybody. Much of the genre is built upon the suspenseful build-up to the first full revelation of exactly what it is that we the viewers have paid to see and shiver over. Often, that revelation takes the form of a shock-cut and a scream – a shark with a mouthful of teeth lurching from beneath the waters, a masked killer with a knife lurching out of the shadows – but there are other, more subtle introductions as well, times when the monster ingratiates himself into our presence and even our good graces, maintaining the outward forms of civility, much as the satanic narrator of the Rolling Stones “Sympathy for the Devil,” who sings:
Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
I’ve been around for a long, long year
Stole many a mans soul and faith
So if you meet me
Have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste
Use all your well-learned politesse
Or I’ll lay your soul to waste
The shock-form of introduction has its benefits (jump-scares are one of the reasons we go to horror movies), but the more subtle introduction has its place as well, allowing the villain to get into our head and under our skin. Consider, for example, the courtly self-introduction made by the Count in DRACULA (1931). There have been quite a few memorable introductions in the history of horror movies, none more so than this marvelous entrance by Bela Lugosi in his most famous role, as the regal Transylvanian vampire. The early sound film has a slightly static quality that (perhaps inadvertently) captures the tempo of an ageless immortal who has learned to move at his own pace over the centuries of his undead existence – a facet of his personality that shines like a dark gem in the moonlight as he advances down the stairs, past cobwebs and spiders, and greets his guest Renfield (Dwight Frye) with three simple words, enunciating each individual syllable and pausing dramatically before delivering up his name:
“I am … Dra-cu-la.”
You can see the line reading in the embedded video (a clever, fan-made montage) or see the intact sequence by clicking here (embedding disabled, unfortunately). I think you will agree that there is something eerie and unnerving about the way that Dracula refuses to fall into a natural conversational rhythm with Renfield, while simultaneously exuding such formal charm that Renfield is forced to act as if the situation were normal. It is the first hint of the vampire’s ability to dominate mere mortals, even without a display of overt supernatural power – and also the first sign of the vampire seductive nature, presenting an attractive persona that hides the evil nature lurking beneath the skin.
There have been many other great movie monster introductions. I won’t say that none have surpassed Lugosi’s opening salvo, but as someone who saw the film on television at an impressionable age, this is the scene that set the standard by which all others must be judged.
Let’s consider this the first salvo in an on-going, on-again off-again series of memorable opening remarks from movie madmen and monsters. Shall we call it … Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself: Movie Monsters Making a First Impression.
Universal Pictures releases this science fiction film starring Tom Cruise. Joseph Kosinski (TRON: LEGACY) directed from a script co-written with Karl Gajdusek and Michael Arndt, based on the comic book by Kosinski and Arvid Nelson. Morgan Freeman co-stars, along with Zoe Bell, Olga Kurylenko, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Andrea Riseborough, and Melissa Leo. Cruise stars as a repairman fixing drones on a future Earth depopulated by war (vaguely reminiscent of WALL-E?). The plot kicks into gear when he rescues a woman in a crashed space ship, which leads to a confrontation with forces that lead him to doubt his assumptions about the war.
U.S. Theatrical Release: April 19, 2013
Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies present a double bill of black-and-white films from the Golden Age of Classic Horror: FRANKENSTEIN (1931) and THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935), both directed by James Whale and starring Boris Karloff as the monster. Though many old horror films do not hold up so well today, Whale’s work – with its shadings of humor and camp, mixed with precise craftsmanship – truly live up to their classic reputation.
The screenings will take place at various theatres nationwide on October 24 at 7pm, with some matinees at 2pm. The films will be preceded by exclusive interviews conducted at this year’s TCM Classic Film Festival, including conversations with Karloff’s daughter Sara Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Jr. (son of the classic “Dracula” star), and Academy Award®-winning make-up artist Rick Baker. All three will discuss classic horror movies, how legendary icons like Karloff and Lugosi helped define the genre, and how today’s horror films measure up to the classics.
FRANKENSTEIN and THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN are screening as part of the “TCM Event Series,” presented using new digital cinema projection systems in select movie theaters around the country. The series continues on Nov. 15 with a special 50th Anniversary screening of “To Kill A Mockingbird,” based on Harper Lee’s 1961 Pulitzer Prize winning book. Oscar® winner Gregory Peck plays Atticus Finch, a lawyer in a racially divided Alabama town in the 1930s. The event will feature a special TCM-produced introduction and historical commentary featuring Osborne.
Tickets to the series are available at presenting theater box offices and online at www.FathomEvents.com. Click here for a complete list of presenting theater locations and prices.
The press release informs us:
As part of Universal’s 100th Anniversary this year, a commemorative 50th Anniversary release of “To Kill a Mockingbird” is currently available on Blu-ray™/DVD. Coming to Blu-ray™ for the first time, “The Birds” will be released as part of the “Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection” on Sept. 25. Also premiering on Blu-ray™, “Frankenstein” and “Bride of Frankenstein” will be included in the “Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection” available Oct. 2.
Check out some of the Blu-ray bonus clips at the bottom of this post.
On Tuesday, August 14, 2012, Universal Home Entertainment releases the Blu-ray disc of JAWS (1975), the Steven Spielberg film often credited with birthing the phenomenon of the summer blockbuster. Based on Peter Benchley’s bestseller, JAWS went on to become the most successful box office winner of all time (until it was replaced by STAR WARS two years later). The film has seen several previous home video releases (VHS, laserdisc, DVD); now, as part of Universal’s 100th anniversary celebration, it arrives in a new, digitally remastered high-definition transfer, with 7.1 surround sound. The combo pack also contains a DVD, a digital copy, Ultraviolet, and over four hours of bonus featuring, including a new documentary THE SHARK IS STILL WORKING (the title is an ironic commentary on the actual facts of JAWS’s production, during which the mechanical shark was often not working).
The press release offers more details, in the usual hyperbolic Hollywood style:
One of the most influential motion pictures of all time and nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award®, JAWS stars Oscar® winner Richard Dreyfuss and Oscar® nominees Roy Scheider and Robert Shaw. Produced by legendary filmmakers Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown, the film earned an Oscar® for composer John Williams’ instantly recognizable minimalist score, as well as Oscars® for Best Editing and Best Sound. When it was first released in 1975, JAWS smashed box-office records and became the highest-grossing film of its era, earning Spielberg a reputation as a Hollywood visionary. Today, it remains one of the highest-grossing films in motion-picture history and is largely considered the film that launched the summer blockbuster.
JAWS is one of 13 classic Universal films to be digitally remastered and fully restored from 35mm original film elements as part of Universal’s ongoing 100th Anniversary celebration. The JAWS restoration began with researching and evaluating the existing film elements to determine the best means to restore the film. Over the course of several months, skilled technicians at Universal Studios Digital Services meticulously balanced color, removed dirt and scratches, and repaired any damage to the film elements shot by shot and frame by frame. Following the picture restoration, Universal Studios Sound team up-mixed the iconic JAWS soundtrack to DTS-HD Master 7.1, optimizing the sound on the Blu-rayTM for the latest home theater technology. The entire restoration process was conducted in conjunction with Steven Spielberg and Amblin Entertainment’s post-production team to ensure the integrity of Spielberg’s original vision remained intact.
“JAWS holds a unique place, not just in Universal Pictures’ history, but in global pop culture,” said Craig Kornblau, President of Universal Studios Home Entertainment. “It is only fitting that this phenomenal film should be given the extensive restoration needed to ensure that long-time fans as well as newcomers can enjoy this unforgettable cinematic achievement for generations to come.”
The JAWS Blu-ray™ Combo Pack is available in collectible Universal 100th Anniversary packaging for a limited time. The Combo Pack also contains a Digital Copy of the film for a limited time, compatible with iTunes®, iPad®, iPhone®, iPod™ touch, Android or online retail partners, as well as an UltraViolet™ copy. UltraViolet is the revolutionary new way for consumers to collect movies and TV shows in the cloud to download and stream instantly to computers, tablets and smartphones. Consumers can now truly enjoy their movies anytime, anywhere on the platform of their choice.
Blu-ray™ Bonus Features:
• The Shark is Still Working: The Impact & Legacy of JAWS: All-new feature-length documentary featuring never-before-seen footage and interviews with cast and crew including Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Scheider.
• JAWS: The Restoration: An all-new, in-depth look at the intricate process of restoring the movie.
• The Making of JAWS: A two-hour documentary featuring interviews with key cast and crew.
• From the Set: An insider’s look at life on the set of JAWS, featuring an interview with Steven Spielberg.
• Deleted Scenes & Outtakes
• JAWS Archives: Take a peek inside the JAWS archives, including storyboards, production photos and marketing materials, as well as a special segment on the JAWS phenomenon.
• Original Theatrical Trailer
• UltraViolet™: The revolutionary new way for consumers to collect movies and TV shows, store them in the cloud, and download and stream instantly to computers, tablets and smartphones. Currently available in the United States only.
• Digital Copy: Viewers can redeem a digital version of the full-length movie from a choice of retail partners to watch on an array of electronic and portable devices.
• pocket BLU™ App: The popular free pocket BLU™ app for smartphones is now even better with newly updated versions for iPad®, Android™ tablets, PC and Macintosh computers, with features made especially to take advantage of the devices’ larger screens and high resolution displays.
o Advanced Remote Control: A sleek, elegant new way to operate your Blu-ray™ player. Users can navigate through menus, playback and BD-Live™ functions with ease.
o Video Timeline: Users can easily bring up the video timeline, allowing them to instantly access any point in the film.
o Mobile-To-Go: Users can unlock a selection of bonus content with their Blu-ray™ discs to save to their device or to stream from anywhere there is a Wi-Fi network, enabling them to enjoy content on the go, anytime, anywhere.
o Browse Titles: Users will have access to a complete list of pocket BLU™-enabled titles available and coming to Blu-ray™. They can view free previews and see what additional content is available to unlock on their device.
o Keyboard: Entering data is fast and easy with your device’s intuitive keyboard.
• BD-LIVE™: Access the BD-Live™ Center through your Internet-connected player to access the latest trailers, exclusive content and more!
DVD Bonus Features:
• Spotlight on Location: The Making of JAWS: Highlights from the full-length documentary featuring interviews with key cast and crew.
Directed by Academy Award® winner Steven Spielberg, Jaws set the standard for edge-of-your-seat suspense quickly becoming a cultural phenomenon and forever changing the movie industry. When the seaside community of Amity finds itself under attack by a dangerous great white shark, the town’s chief of police (Roy Scheider), a young marine biologist (Richard Dreyfuss) and a grizzled shark hunter (Robert Shaw) embark on a desperate quest to destroy the beast before it strikes again. Featuring an unforgettable score that evokes pure terror, Jaws remains one of the most influential and gripping adventures in motion picture history.
CAST & FILMMAKERS
Cast: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Produced By: Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown
Music By: John Williams
Based on Novel By: Peter Benchley
Screenplay By: Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb
Director of Photography: Bill Butler
Production Design By: Joseph Alves Jr.
Editor: Verna Fields
Street Date: 8/14/2012
Copyright: 2012 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.
Selection Numbers: 61121167 (US); 61121267 (Canada)
Running Time: 2 Hours 4 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 2.35:1
Technical Info: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1/DTS Digital Surround 2.0 Mono and Dolby Digital 2.0, Spanish and French DTS Digital Surround 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish
Street Date: 8/14/2012
Copyright: 2012 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.
Selection Numbers: 61120918 (US); 61121268 (Canada)
Running Time: 2 Hours 4 Minutes
Layers: Dual Layer
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Screen 2.35:1
Technical Info: English Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Mono, Spanish and French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish
In honor of its Centennial anniversary, Universal Pictures proudly salutes 100 years of unforgettable films that have entertained audiences and touched the hearts of millions around the globe. In celebration of our first 100 years, Universal Studios Home Entertainment is proud to present a selection of our many beloved movies as part of an extensive year-long program that underscores the studio’s rich cinematic history and indelible cultural impact.
Check out sample clips from the bonus features below:
BATTLESHIP’s new trailer looks like it has great CGI FX (it should for what it cost), but still I have to say: What, other than having much of it’s action being set at sea on Naval ships does this alien attack film have to do with the Hasbro board game?
BATTLESHIP stars Liam Neeson (THE PHANTOM MENACE), Taylor Kitsch (JOHN CARTER), Alexander Skarsgard, Brooklyn Decker and Rihanna.
Directed by Peter Berg (HANCOCK) from a screenplay by Jon & Erich Hoeber, this $250 sci-fi actioner is due out May 18th, 2012 from Universal Pictures.
I live between hope and dread that someone will indeed say “You Sunk My BATTLESHIP!” Trailer via Joeblo’s Youtube page.