Archive for American Film Institute

Rejected Exorcist

Posted in Classic Horror, Evil with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2016 by Drinkin' & Drive-in

The Exorcist

The Exorcist (1973) ad art depicting Father Merrin arriving at the MacNeil home to perform an exorcism on a demonically possessed 12 year-old girl (she wasn’t really possessed by the Devil; all 12 year-old girls just act like they are) is one of the most iconic and enduring images in horror movie history.

Light At The End of the Tunnel

But history was almost changed with some concept art that was created to advertise what is universally regarded the scariest horror movie of all time, outside of the live feed of my colonoscopy procedure (filmed in Tunnel-Vision™).

Dirty Harry, Deliverance, A Clockwork Orange

Designed by Bill Gold (the guy behind the ad art for Deliverance, Casablanca, Dirty Harry, and A Clockwork Orange), he was neverthess given a specific mandate by Warner Bros. and Exorcist film director William Friedkin on what they didn’t want. In an interview with AFI (American Film Institute), Gold had this to say about that: “We must not use an image of the girl possessed, or show anything that had any hint of religious connotation,” he revealed. “They were very concerned about that.”

Can’t blame them. Religion gets too much attention as it is. Why give ’em free advertising?

A rare rewind back to the ‘70s, here’s a look at several rejected ad concepts for The Exorcist before settling on Father Merrin crapping his pants moments before entering the house of the Devil…

The Exorcist

The Exorcist

And God bless fans of the Devil — here’s some choice Exorcist fan art, the standout of the bunch by artist Sam Wolfe Connelly

The Exorcist

The Exorcist

Giant Bug vs. Enormous Bug

Posted in Classic Horror, Giant Monsters, Nature Gone Wild, Science Fiction, Scream Queens, TV Vixens with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2016 by Drinkin' & Drive-in

The Deadly Mantis

There is only one thing The Deadly Mantis (1957) has over the almost identical Them! (1954), a nuclear monster movie hailed by the American Film Institute as one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time: The bug looks cooler. Yeah, I said it.

The Deadly Mantis

The giant ants in Them! look like someone stuck pipe cleaners into a couple of potatoes and spray-painted ’em with Rust-oleum™. The giant mantis in The Deadly Mantis looks exactly like a mantis, all alien-esque, spindly and icky. (While we’re on the subject, The Outer Limits Zanti Misfits (1963) look more like what ants are supposed to look like minus the big bulging eyeballs, though I’ve seen a few of those things crawling around just after last call.)

The Zanti Misfits

Taking the page-by-page format of the “giant insects eat civilization” right out of the Them! playbook, the title 200 foot-long Mantidae (biology name) was de-iced after a volcano thawed it from its icy cube in the North Pole. (I didn’t know they had active volcanoes in the North Pole. Snowball fights, yes; but lava?)

The Deadly Mantis

The military stationed up there (building a massive early detection network) sustains severe preliminary damage as the mantis feeds itself on mess hall chow (servicemen). Then it flys south, theorized to be heading to South America where I here it’s warmer than the North Pole and more suitable for getting an all-around tan. (Note to self: Use that tanning salon coupon before it expires.)

The Deadly Mantis

On its way for a vacation, the mantis buzzes Washington, D.C., and takes a poop rest on the Washington Monument, totally mocking visiting hours. Jets are dispatched, but the launched missiles rarely connect with their exoskeleton target. (Note to the city down below: the air force was just trying to help, man – get over it.)

The Deadly Mantis

One heroic pilot accidentally rams his jet into the bug due to London-grade fog that seems to be covering the entire East Coast, ejecting before ka-BOOM! The mantis hits the ground and crawls into the Manhattan Tunnel, mimicking the giants ants that took up homeless camp residence in the vast Los Angeles drainage tunnels and mocking New York Port Authority’s toll charges. The bail-out pilot leads the charge into the tunnel, armed with chemical gas can bombs, and throws it right onto the face of mantis. In your face, deadly mantis!

The Deadly Mantis

But for all its plagiarized similarities to Them!, The Deadly Mantis has two very funny scenes. One is with a bunch of military guys jailhouse rockin’ each other in the rec room as there are no dames around at the North Pole, and the other where a scientist and a dame (visiting journalist covering the story) and a military dude are theorizing how big the monster is, guessing that it’s probably over six-feet tall. This while the mantis is right outside their window and rising up over three stories. I just about crapped sno-cones over that one.

In conclusion, while the sci-fi sorta classic The Deadly Mantis looks good, it isn’t as good as Them!

P.S. For more big bug fun, watch 1957’s Beginning of the End – it features REAL giant grasshoppers. Those things goon me out for some reason.

Beginning of the End

Retro Insects

Posted in Classic Horror, Giant Monsters, Nature Gone Wild, Science Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2015 by Drinkin' & Drive-in

It Came From The Desert

Not even filmed yet, It Came From the Desert, a giant ant movie based on the 1989 Atari™ video game, already has to movie one-sheets, a Facebook™ page and a logo. All this before cameras start rolling for a scheduled 2016 release. Somebody ate a big bowl of optimism for breakfast.

It Came From The Desert

No movie details yet, but if it follows the video game outline, a giant ant comes out of the desert and, like, attacks humans ’n stuff. (I never played with video games – I played with beer. And occasionally a girl who drank beer.)

It Came From The Desert

But if all of that except my personal details seem familiar to you, this was spectacularly done with 1954’s Them!, wherein giant ants come out of the desert and come looking for the sugar cube that is your head.

Them!

Stuff about Them! I copied off of Wikipedia (which I already knew BEFORE there was a factually-dodgy online encyclopedia) reveals the iconic sci-fi masterpiece was universally lauded: Them! was nominated for an Oscar for its special effects and won a Golden Reel Award for best sound editing. The film has been nominated for two American Film Institute lists, AFI’s 100 Years…100 Thrills and AFI’s 10 Top 10 (science fiction genre).

Them!

Of course, you’d know that yourself if you cared to read my February 2, 2013 blog about it. [Click HERE]. So until It Came From The Desert arrives in the future, watch Them! to see how a real giant ant movie can bug you – in a good way.