Invasion of the Body Snatchers

IotBSRegular readers will know that I’m usually one of the first to moan about the film industry’s habit of remaking old movies. I stand by most of my previous comments, in that remakes are often a lame excuse to capitalise on the goodwill an older version of a movie has garnered (case in point, pretty much every remake of 1970’s and 1980’s horror – Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, The Hills Have Eyes, Texas Chainsaw, and so on). Occasionally the original film-makers will be involved, and a remake will make sense (such as the 2013 Evil Dead… you could also argue that Evil Dead II was a remake of sorts of the 1981 original). There remains another category of remakes, and it just so happens that three of these updated versions of classic films rank in my top ten horror movies of all time. This is where new film-makers put a present day spin on horror tales which, quite often, were well made but were limited in some way – perhaps by the technology of the day, or maybe the social landscape has changed to give a story increased relevance. Two of three films I’m referring to here are David Cronenberg’s stunning The Fly, and John Carpenter’s ground-breaking The Thing.

Today’s movie recommendation, however, is a 1979 remake of a 1956 original which, although perhaps not quite scaling the heights of the Cronenberg and Carpenter movies I’ve just mentioned, is still an excellent example of a remake done right. I’m talking about Philip Kaufman’s 1978 INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS.

Continue reading

Escape from New York

Escape from New YorkI have a habit (and I can’t decide whether it’s a good or bad habit) of neglecting everything else when I start writing a new book. I’ve been neck-deep in the first novel in the SPACES BETWEEN series for the last few weeks and haven’t been posting here as often as I’d planned. I’ll try and put that right.

I’ve just re-watched a classic. A real blast from the past for this Post-Apocalyptic Movie Club selection, and for good reason. I’ll be referencing this film, and the film I’m going to talk about next, in a new ‘What Works For Me’ article, coming up shortly.

There are three directors I regularly cite as having had a huge impact on me during my formative years. In no particular order they are George Romero, David Cronenberg, and John Carpenter. Romero is self-explanatory: without him there’d be no Autumn. Cronenberg – well, he’s responsible for some of my very favourite horror movies… The Fly, Shivers, Rabid – need I go on? I was once told that he’d been passed a copy of Hater. Just the thought that Cronenberg’s held one of my books is something I still find hard to believe.

John Carpenter completes this weird holy trinity. His films are, I think, more accessible than those of Cronenberg and Romero, but not less influential. I’m a particular admirer of his golden period: from Assault on Precinct 13 in 1976, through to The Thing in 1982, and pretty much everything in between. During this time he made a series of consistently strong, often ground-breaking horror films.

Escape from New York (1981) is a cracking movie, one which I’m sure you’ve probably seen. If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat. Here’s the synopsis, followed by a trailer. Click the link below for my thoughts.

In the future (well, 1997 was the future back then!), crime in America has spiralled out of control. Surrounded by impenetrable defences, New York City is now a maximum security prison: once you go in, you don’t come out. When the President of the USA crash lands in Manhattan, Snake Plissken, a disgraced special ops soldier, is sent in. Plissken has twenty-four hours to find the president and get him out.

Continue reading

Scream Magazine Issue #4

Issue 4 of Scream - available now!The new issue of Scream Magazine dropped through my letterbox this morning. I know I seem to write here about every issue of Scream as soon as it’s released, but there’s a very good reason for that: I think it’s a superb mag. And it’s not just because this issue happens to have an excellent review of HATER on page 37 (thank you chaps!), it’s because Scream is a magazine put together by a team of people who clearly love the horror genre. As with previous issues, there are a wealth of quality features on show here – an interview with John Carpenter, a look at the evolution of Leatherface from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies, an essay focusing on some of Hammer Films’ more obscure titles, and a retrospective of 3D horror movies to name but a few. Particularly close to my heart, there’s also an article about the Bring Back Classic Horror campaign I blogged about here. Oh, and the mag also just shot up in my estimations because they almost apologised for printing a Twilight picture. How cool is that?

And on the subject of horror movies…

I’ve written before about the great and very active Facebook groupMoody’s Survivors – which was set up by Shawn Riddle. As well as working on their own anthology, raising funds to help a group member replace damaged computer equipment, and discussing the end of the world and the coming zombie apocalypse in unhealthy detail, the group also arranges interviews with authors, artists and filmmakers.

Coming soon, courtesy of group member Ryan Fleming, are interviews with Emily Booth (star of Evil Aliens, Doghouse, and well known UK horror model and presenter) and Kim Poirier (Monica in the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake). If you have any questions for either of them, head over to the group and submit them or use the contact page on this site to send them to me and I’ll forward them to Ryan.

Emily Booth