Archive for 2008

Happy New Year - R.I.P. 2008


Well, another calendar year rapidly winds down. Wow, what a year. I'm going to just talk about frivolities briefly here because if I wanted to talk about the more serious issues and stories of this year - I wouldn't be able to hit "Publish Post" for another two weeks. I'm grateful for a healthy and productive year and look forward to 2009. Last year I wrote that 2008 would hopefully promise good things in the name of:

  • Conferences - That's a Check
  • Research in Spain - That's a Check
  • The first draft of a doctoral dissertation - Nope, but the first CHAPTER is coming along.
I also wished that my family would maintain its health and that my friends prosper in the new year and "That's basically a Check" too. As for media musings, apart from my never ending quest to recapture my childhood through nostalgic television viewing. The two things that brought me the greatest pleasure this year were...

1) - The Re-launch of FUTURAMA (which technically began in late 07') which has given us three feature length movies that are superior to the majority of films (in my opinion) in your local cineplex.



2) - My other major love affair this year was with the excellent 30 Rock. And why oh why is it that the shows that I love so much are always such a tough sell to others (even with all the Emmy's it racked up)?

As of now, I am still in love with:

The Simpsons South Park Supernatural The Majority of NPR shows and some other stuff I am sure, but let's keep this post manageable.

The only major divorce this year was with:
Smallville - but who knows, maybe I'll tune in again one day...

Right then, Happy New Year to you all. May it be a damn sight better than the old one.


New Year's Aboard the S.S. Poseidon


7 Questions With Director Pete Chatmon....

Quite by accident I happened upon a movie called "Premium" while channel surfing on cable. It was described as a film in the vein of "Hollywood Shuffle". I didn't really get that, the only thing that seemed to be a commonality was that the central character was a struggling Black actor going through numerous shenanigans. What it was however, was a well made, well directed, well written, and well acted surprise of a film.

It made me investigate further, and I found out that a dude named Pete Chatmon wrote, directed, and produced it. I posted about it and called him "kind of a hottie" (which he called me out on). The truth is, he is very much a hottie. Not just because of looks, but he has the talent, drive, and ambition that makes me exhausted just reading about his activities. He is a true case study on what to do to make it, not just in film, but in life. The fact that he is an obvious cocktail lover with amazing sartorial sensibility and a true New-York-style "keeping it real" swagger is just the icing on a very delicious 7-layer cake for me. Check out his views on things; this man is gonna be huge--East Coast stand up!


Pete Chatmon: Nota Bene-I am sipping on my 4th glass of the good stuff as I type this so the levels of "real talk" are likely to be quite high. My apologies should it be "too" real. Actually, I'm not apologizing. Read on people!

Question #1

Your film "Premium" was an impressive outing; a fresh take on Black male/female relationships. I know you've been asked this ad nauseum, but how did you manage to snag such a quality cast for your first feature film?

I had to look up ad nauseum right quick to make sure I was on the right track! -- Getting cast is all about the script. Especially when there is no money or the salary doesn't drastically change the actor's lifestyle. With PREMIUM I felt that I had written something that would be unique (although "normal" experiences for black characters shouldn't be) and would entice actors interested in supporting the voice of an emerging filmmaker + the opportunity to put a spotlight on the realities of the experience that they live day in and day out. It's the same thing I've done on my non-profit or documentary work -- people get on board for a project about education or AIDS because it's the right thing to do.

Along the same lines, there are "commercial" projects, or endeavors, that strike the same chord for the right people. We all play a specific part in the machine of making art, and I've always moved with the assumption that since I'm not crazy (right?) there are folks out there who share similar sentiments and viewpoints but with different talents. The talents that will help me realize my ideas. So...I write, produce and direct this film knowing that there is an actor waiting for someone to present him or her with this opportunity to flex. It's symbiotic. The final piece is having a great casting director like Sig de Miguel who can work his magic to ensure that actors, their agents, and managers, are aware of the viability of your project.


Question #2

Your film "761st" has a barely touched subject matter (Black WWII war heroes), and details the war experience in great depth with those who were actually there. What gave you the idea to make such a film? How did you bring it to fruition?

761st was born under the decision made by my Executive Producer, Steve White. There was a September 2002 NY Times article about the 761st Tank Battalion and the fact that they had 48 straight annual reunions up until that point and were facing the possibility of having to discontinue the event due to lack of money. A battalion that once numbered over 700 men had been reduced, thanks to the unavoidable passage of time, to just 31 members.

The "barely touched" portion of your question flows directly into why they met every year. Imagine telling your grandchildren, or other people you come across in your life, that you fought in the Battle of the Bulge. That you have the 2nd longest military active duty (183 straight days and no relief) in American history. Imagine that people look at you crazy because the things you are saying are not reflected in the history books, the movies of the time, or just general public knowledge. You would surely get tired (if not pissed off) of saying "I really did that" and trying to convince people of something that should be American common knowledge, let alone "Black". Meeting with your comrades once a year they didn't have to say or prove anything because they all..just...KNEW. Lived it. They were all there and that shared experience provided comfort, relief, and affirmation of one of their major life contributions.

But, back to your question -- Steve started interviewing several of the soldiers after agreeing to help to pay for their reunions so they could continue to have this yearly solace. The NY Times articles stayed with him in his heart for quite some time and he decided to go meet with the head of their Allied Veterans society in Chicago. He teamed up with the unit historian, Wayne Robinson (also a tanker, but in the Gulf War) and they compiled about 50 hours of interview footage.

I met Steve 2 years into that process as I was raising money for PREMIUM. He supported me in that project and right after I locked picture we met in a coffee shop and he presented me with the story of the 761st. I looked at all of the tapes over the weekend and said "let's make this happen". I came up with a battalion of my own, 2 producers (Christina DeHaven and Emily Konopinski) and an editor (Adam Hark) and we proceeded to handle the jobs of probably 20 people. I mapped out a storyline, including new interviews, visual approach, and the writing of the narration, that would cement an understanding of their accomplishments for the viewer but in the later portion of the film take America to task for not honoring what they had done. The military is an honor system, where it you do "a,b,c", you become a Colonel. When you do "x, y, z" you become a general, etc etc. It's a merit system and the only reason they were not acknowledged for their exploits was racism. Not a single Black soldier received a congressional medal of honor for what they did in WWII until January of 1997 and only 9 men received it at that time. One was Ruben Rivers, of the 761st. Posthumously.

Clearly, I can keep going on and on about these guys, but to bring some conclusion to your questions, I was amazed by their story and the fact that they had fought in Europe, and many died, for freedoms that they did not enjoy in America. They were a reflection of true patriotism and I can't wait for people to see the film! We are working on getting it out on DVD in the next couple months, and I think it's some of my better work -- I became a better and more economical writer as a result of writing this narration and streamlining years of history into something palatable for a general audience. Andre Braugher narrates the film ... a lot of people don't know that because the trailer was cut while we were still editing but he did the narration wonderfully and I think part of his motivation was that he had played Jackie Robinson in a cable tv movie in the early 90s and Jackie Robinson had been a member of the 761st. The history is rich...trust me. And getting a remarkable talent like Andre Braugher to narrate this independent doc falls in line with the answer I gave to your first question about casting.


Question #3

Being an East Coast auteur, do you find it harder to make/keep contacts? Is there a support system for Black filmmakers in New York? I know that some Black filmmakers have stated to me that they believe it is more advantageous to stay in the non-Black film circles of LA.

It's all about your network, and then your location. Clearly, Des Moines isn't the place to get your film career popping (in most cases), but as far as other metropolitan centers, and NY vs. LA specifically, if your support group is in NY, then you stay there. Point blank. I couldn't do 90% of what I do any other place in the world. The money we raised for PREMIUM would never have been raised. We put together a Doritos commercial for their Crash the Superbowl competition for about $300 in just a few days.

That's relationships at work. If I were sitting in my LA apartment, motivated to do any of the above or the other projects we've put together, it would never have happened because I didn't have the ability to bring people together who were both talented, competent, and trustworthy in the sense of shared vision and mutual goals. I can do that in NY/NJ because we have a strong, deep rooted team that often surprises me with their willingness to join forces for no money in the interest of art. That said, if and when it's time to go to Hollywood, I'll go...my momma ain't raise no fool...but overwhelmingly the ideas that I generate and create as a writer tend to take place in NY anyway. And whatever money is to be made through the system through ideas that will make them money is to be used to facilitate more stories like PREMIUM and the 761st.

Question #4

You went to a very well respected film school (Tisch at NYU). There are a lot of aspiring filmmakers who read this blog. Do you feel that film school is an imperative necessity for a Black filmmaker? Or do you feel as if talent and contacts can be enough as essential tools?

It's not about film school. It's not about talent. It's not about contacts. I have friends who's parents, in my eyes, are like kings and queens and titans of business. But the children don't necessarily achieve on the same level. Now, they may "fail upward", but the dedicated pursuit of a life's goal is not there despite the available contacts. I always say that I am far from the most talented filmmaker, yet there are people I graduated from NYU with who were more talented and still haven't made a feature film. Some may not even be on a directing track anymore.

Personally, I know that I will not allow myself to be out-hustled (from IW-i noticed!), and that doesn't just mean being up late and thinking. That doesn't impress anyone because one you hit 15 years old, staying up late ain't even hard anymore. It's about WHAT you are thinking about when you're up late. Out maneuvering the competition. Pushing yourself creatively.

Mastering your craft. I've got a long way to go, and the hard thing about directing is that you can't work that muscle as often as you can the writing muscle because you need the camera, crew, money, idea, etc to flex with rather than just a computer or a pad or diary or something. Film school is great to nurture the contacts and seek guidance of working professionals, and have a certain stamp of credibility upon graduation, but it doesn't define you. To be honest, I've learned most of what I know since I graduated film school by just doing. My final point is that talent isn't going to be earned anywhere. Y'all could drop me off at Julliard today and come back in 2 years and you're not gonna hear a concerto coming out of my dorm room. But a film -- that's another thing!


Question #5

A subject that comes up here quite often is the dissatisfaction with what "The Hollywood Machine" is producing in the way of Black Cinema. What, in your opinion, can the public at large do to change things? (Everyone gets asked this question, btw)

I'm a realist. You can't blame the public. Well, you can, but then you are just continuing to make shit on the sidelines (if at all) and complaining about why "people aren't feeling me". You're the mad rapper at that point. I'm not saying you HAVE to play within the system, but don't be mad when people aren't flocking to your product. I stand behind PREMIUM with my head up and defiant eyes, happy that everyone involved with the film was able to do it. We made something that I wrote in my momma's house and got it in a few theaters and on cable and I directed actors that I watched on TV in the very same room where I wrote the script.

But I also know that the film is a break from certain expectations and the minute you do that you are going to lose a certain amount of people AND fail to reach a certain amount of people because it won't be marketed to them on the true merits that might appeal to their sensibilities. So what do you do? In a perfect world, that film would have been my "She's Gotta Have It", opening the door to industry opportunities where the suits wanted my voice to give a little flavor to their content. But since it didn't go down like that, you can keep trying to raise millions of dollars on your own (which is no joke!) or you can find a way to write something that appeals to their bottom line while never losing your integrity.

I have on my wall "You Are the Will Smith of Directing" and by that I mean I need to direct something like "iRobot", and then make "Pursuit of Happyness". I need to make "Hancock" and then make "Seven Pounds". And throw a documentary in between. Even Spielberg had to make tons of money for the system before he could make "Schindler's List". People are naturally that way. How many times have you looked at all 200 items on the chinese food menu only to get shrimp fried rice or general tso's chicken for the millionth time? It's the reality of the situation, but I personally think that Will reaches more people -- more new people -- than a small indie film that essentially ends up preaching to the choir. When I saw "Pursuit of Happyness", I looked back (I like to sit in the front) and saw that the theater was packed with mostly senior citizen white couples. Change has come, and Obama cements it in the same way. You can have black characters doing black things (so to speak ) and it can still be universal, but for mainstream America the packaging is very important. Clearly, I'm getting tangential again, so I'm going to stop here!


Question #6

What projects are you working on now? What can look forward to in the future?

2009 is gonna be crazy! We have a heist film and romantic comedy in development, a 1 hour cable drama we are presenting to networks, and our team of talented filmmakers are doing the hottest music videos, commercials, and viral content you can find. I'm proud to work with these guys -- Anthony Artis, Mike Brown, Benjamin Ahr Harrison, and Dennis Liu. We've also expanded and launched Double 7 Boutique with our Resident Creative Director, Candice Sanchez McFarlane, to customize marketing campaigns for a wide variety of clients. People spend their budgets in the traditional arenas, but more and more they are leaving a few dollars for more creative media channels and platforms. Double 7 Boutique takes those few dollars and make 'em look like millions of dollars to increase market awareness and penetration for a brand.I would say keep up with Double 7 and join our communities (listed below) because while we are doing all of this, and keeping people engaged in the process, it is also our mission to provide information and motivation to other filmmakers to achieve their goals. When we have 10 "Pete Chatmon's" then the audience is no longer to blame. They'll have no choice but to see our content.


Question #7

Are you married? Just kidding! Any thoughts or advice you would like to leave for the readers?

I will end it with one of my favorite quotes:

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible."


- T.E. Lawrence (1888 - 1935), The Seven Pillars of Wisdom
AKA Lawrence of Arabia

Thanks for the opportunity to talk to your audience. And I can't leave without a few plugs! Peep the links and join what suits you below:

http://www.double7world.com/ -- Our global community site

http://www.double7film.com/ -- Our corporate site where you can see all of our work and meet the team

http://www.doubledownfilmcommunity.ning.com/ -- The Only Community You Need to Achieve Your Filmmaking Dream

www.twitter.com/petechatmon-- Follow Pete Chatmon on Twitter

www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8871754074 -- The Double 7 Film VIPs Facebook Group


From IW: Got that? Here are a few more links for this very busy man and his projects:

FUNDRAISING PART I http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tewQhzZZdrM&eurl=http://www.youtube.com/user/Double7Film

FUNDRAISING PART II http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGD9fLwq4Zw&eurl=http://www.youtube.com/user/Double7Film

FORBES.COM PREMIUM INTERVIEW http://video.forbes.com/fvn/forbesonfilm/bp_fof113006_ab
ADDITIONAL RADIO + VIDEO INTERVIEWS (NBC, Blogtalk Radio, etc)http://double7film.com/?press&interviews

ARTICLES + FILM REVIEWS http://double7film.com/index.php?press&articles

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Top 10 Black Movies Of 2008? You Be The Judge...

Last year I put out a list of the 10 Worst Black Films Of 2007. I really wanted to do the 10 best, but couldn't think of 10. This year, sadly, is not much different, but I don't want to seem whiny about how much is so wrong and nothing is right about Black Cinema, as I am very optimistic about 2009. I've seen some things stray from the norm, "Medicine For Melancholy" and "I'm Through With White Girls" just to name two, and I believe it is the beginning of a positive trend.

So there is this guy Kam Williams that I never hear about except at the end of year where he gives his opinions on the year in Black film. Here are his views as he sees fit that I saw on The Obenson Report...what do you think?


Ten Best Black Feature Films:
1. The Secret Life of Bees
2. Cadillac Records
3. The Family That Preys
4. The Express
5. Miracle at St. Anna
6. Meet the Browns
7. Never Back Down
8. Seven Pounds
9. Soul Men
10. The Longshots


Best Independent Black Films
1. I’m Through with White Girls
2. How She Move
3. Ballast
4. All about Us
5. Blackout

Best Black Documentaries
1. The Souls of Black Girls
2. A Man Named Pearl
3. America the Beautiful
4. Meeting David Wilson
5. All of Us
6. Trouble the Water
7. One Bad Cat
8. The Dhamma Brothers
9. Very Young Girls
10. Disappearing Voices


Best Actor (Lead Role)
1. Rob Brown (The Express)
2. Evan Ross (Gardens of the Night)
3. Anthony Montgomery (I’m Through with White Girls) 4. Djimon Hounsou (Never Back Down) 5. Derek Luke (Miracle at St. Anna) 6. Bernie Mac (Soul Men) 7. Boris Kodjoe (All about Us) 8. Don Cheadle (Traitor) 9. Forest Whitaker (Ripple Effect) 10. Will Smith (Seven Pounds)


Best Actress (Supporting Role)
1. Alicia Keys (The Secret Life of Bees) 2. Taraji Henson (The Curious Life of Benjamin Button) 3. Viola Davis (Doubt & Nights in Rodanthe) 4. Beyonce’ (Cadillac Records) 5. Sharon Leal (Soul Men) 6. Tre’ Armstrong (How She Move) 7. Kellee Stewart (I’m Through with White Girls) 8. Jessica Lucas (Cloverfield) 9. Tasha Smith (The Longshots) 10. Gabrielle Union (Cadillac Records)


From IW: There is so much I could say about this, but it would make me weary. What is up with that top 10 list? Seriously, Boris Kodjoe as best actor of anything? In this lifetime? In this universe? Just wow. Best actress Beyonce? Gabrielle Union? Really, dude? I know our choices are limited, but Gawtdamn. I have a hard time taking his lists seriously, and I definitely don't want him speaking for our community. I have even spotted his same lists on a couple of YT blogs--they seem to feel as if he is speaking for all of us, and the comments are marveling in what "we" consider excellence.

Please. please, please, let me know your thoughts on these lists and let me know if I'm being too harsh.


Update: Got this in my inbox this morning...apparently Mr. Williams is one of those whom Googles himself daily. Maybe I would too, I dunno. Anyhoo, for those of you who were wondering who he is, here is the deal from the horse's mouth, as well as said horse letting me know about my very opinionated self, haha!

Dear Invisible Woman,

Thanks for posting my list on your blog.

As to who I am, here's a brief bio:

Voted Best Male Entertainment Journalist of the Decade by the Disilgold Soul Literary Review in 2006, Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications around the U.S. and Canada. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee, and Rotten Tomatoes.

In addition to a BA in Black Studies from Cornell, he has an MA in English from Brown, an MBA from The Wharton School, and a JD from Boston University. Kam lives in Princeton, NJ with his wife and son.

I see about 500 films a year, as many as the handful of top black film critics who also see a large number. I might be the only one who puts out a top list of black movies in addition to a general top 10 list. I do not presume to speak for black people anymore than a white critic presumes to be speaking for anyone besides him or herself in putting out a list.

Kam

Olivier Messiaen

Messiaen on birdsong (late 1960s?)




Composer Olivier Messiaen, whose compositions in the late 1950s and early 1960s often incorporated elements of birdsong, describes and mimes the nightingale’s song, as his second wife, pianist Yvonne Loriod, plays his own transcription on the piano.

Finally! It's door #24!



I’m making a list, I’m checking it twice... Yes, it’s the top horror of 2008, according to Anchorwoman In Peril!

10. APPARITIONS: Here’s an outsider to start with – the BBC’s recent six-part horror/drama serial about a Catholic priest turned reluctant exorcist (played by Martin Shaw). Yes, it was slow and, yes, it was sometimes silly – but how often does prime-time TV basically amount to a slasher movie with Satan as the killer?

9. DIARY OF THE DEAD: While not as epic in scope as Land of the Dead (or, really, as jaw-droppingly brilliant as any of Romero’s previous zombie outings), Diary still delivered. (Full review here.)

8. WHILE SHE WAS OUT: A classic woman-in-peril TV-movie plot is beefed up with extra (and I mean extra) gore, plus Kim Basinger and a Christmas-time setting... I’m sold! (Full review here.)

7. THE RUINS: Scott Smith’s adaptation of his own novel (which was fantastic, by the way) made Stephen King’s list of the 10 Best Movies of 2008, and who am I to argue? Truly nasty stuff.

6. DUMA KEY: And, speaking of Stephen King, his most recent novel was a fine return to form, and one of his most purely enjoyable ghost stories.

5. THE MIST: Sheesh! It’s King again! This adaptation of his open-ended novella came out in the US last year but didn’t arrive in the UK until March. It was definitely worth the wait, however, as it quickly became one of my favourite monster movies ever.

4. MOTHER OF TEARS: Yep, I’m aware that this list seems to be revealing me as a slavering fanboy but I really DID enjoy the poorly-received final part of Argento’s Suspiria trilogy – at least on the level of a wild fantasy-adventure filled with Dario’s unique imagination.

3. INSIDE: This French film is what people are talking about when they describe a horror movie as “extreme”. It’s a nightmarish scenario that just... keeps... getting... worse! Gruellingly spellbinding.

2. THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN: After being buried by its distributors in the US, I almost couldn’t believe it when this Clive Barker adaptation got a cinema release in the UK, and I’m glad I didn’t miss it. Brutally gory set pieces mix with black humour and dingy mystery to produce an unusually original horror film.

1. DEAD SET: Big Brother + zombie apocalypse = modern British horror at its best, all the more surprising (and effective) for having been made for the small screen. Definitely recommended to anyone who enjoyed Shaun of the Dead or 28 Days Later, and the year’s horror highlight for me.

blogus interuptus part quatro: a preamble of things to come

time flies. due to extreme exhaustion, i've, yet again, been neglecting my happy home here.

there is a light at the end of the tunnel (not an on-coming train, i hope): i'm on vacation starting friday afternoon. i already have a few essays planned. i've been immersing myself in the works of francis ford coppola. specifically, i've been watching "apocalypse now redux" and "the conversation" a LOT lately. and, i have things to say about them. related to this, i've been re-reading my walter murch books.

all of this is in preparation for how i plan to spend at least part of my two week vacation: editing footage.

you see, my hope is to use my vacation to recharge my batteries and refill my artistic reservoir. both of these are on EMPTY. much of this is my fault: too many video games, not enough sleep, too much time being angry about the world (economy, specifically).

so, i've been gearing up for this over the past few weeks. i've tapered my video game playing down...not completely, but definitely less than the past few months. i've also been watching films that are challenging. i started with david lynch (specifically, blue velvet and inland empire). then, without really thinking about it or questioning it, i moved on to "apocalypse now redux" and "the conversation". all of these films (with the exception of "the conversation", which is a new acquisition) have been in my personal collection for a while now. the one thing that these films have in common (besides being amazing) is that they DEMAND my attention. i cannot be a passive viewer.

with luck and a little hard work, i'll be able to start my "redux" essay tomorrow night (after budget balancing and christmas gift wrapping).

Miss Tessmacher!!!!!

Where for art thou Valerie Perrine?

Hazardous Load - Indeed


What's behind door #23?



It’s the Spanish made-for-TV horror film The Christmas Tale! I’ve not yet seen this creepy-looking festive story (which was released in America as part of a DVD box set called 6 Films to Keep You Awake) but it’s showing on UK TV tonight at 2.20am on BBC2. You can read a review of all six films in the series over at Kindertrauma.

Door #22 blows open



Today’s the day I set off on my Christmas holiday to Vegas but, thanks to the recent snow storms there, it doesn’t look like it’ll be the break from the wintry British weather I’d anticipated. At the very least, I’m hoping the plane doesn’t skid off the runway, crash into the Luxor Hotel and explode in a blazing fireball. (I mean, I’d rather it was warm, but not that warm.)

I’m afraid my departure does also mean that the final two doors of the Anchorwoman In Peril! Madvent Calendar™ will be pre-scheduled auto-posts. I’m sorry – I know they’ll seem so hollow, but at least you’ll know that, as you read them, I’ll be having a fantastic time sipping fabulous cocktails in Sin City. Or burning to death in a flaming inferno.

Have a great time over the holidays. Thanks for reading, and best wishes for 2009!

What's behind door #21?



While it might not even be Christmas Eve yet, it's worth giving some thought to what you'll be doing on New Year's Eve... Otherwise you'll just end up doing the same boring thing you do every year: murder a bunch of people in a gimmicky way. Ho hum.

A Great Moment

I am really captivated by this photograph. The still photographer for "This Property is Condemned" (I'm guessing it's Bob Willoughby, but haven't confirmed this) has captured an incredible moment, which of course is the set photographer's job, but that doesn't necessarily follow that "incredible" is what they'll come up with. I collect a lot of photography books - especially as they relate to Hollywood.

I've always been a big fan of this film. Having first seen it as a child (which, if you listen closely, you can still hear it whizzing over my head) I didn't come to appreciate its adult themes until, well, I was an adult. I love how intently Natalie is listening to whatever the late great Sydney Pollack is saying. Whether it is "You're right, craft services did a bang up job with the tuna fish" or "I think you should consider playing a beat between your last two lines in this scene" - it really doesn't matter. I would have given anything to have her look at me at all, much less so attentively. Robert Redford also has a very fixed look on his face. Natalie and Redford were very close friends - in fact he credits her with much of his early fame. He narrates a TCM piece "Robert Redford on Natalie Wood" which I include here.



But, perhaps the most interesting portion of the frame is the background. The miles of cable, the tools of the industry, the very stoic looking Charles Bronson - looking every inch a walking billboard of Neo-Marxist proletariat ideology. He is dressed in classic proletariat hammer and sickle attire and seems closer in proximity and aesthetic to the tools of labor than the foregrounded director and lead actors of the film. Yes, it's fair to say that I love this photograph. Hope you find it of interest too.

Who's behind door #20?


It’s the queen of TV movies! Yes, Tori Spelling and Christmas go together like pine trees and vacuuming. She’s starred in a festive TV movie...


...is on first-name terms with Santa...


...and her mom even has a gift-wrapping room in the Spelling family mansion!


If I get chance before I go away for Christmas, I’ll post a review of The House Sitter... No, not the Goldie Hawn comedy laugh-fest, but a surprisingly good telemovie thriller in which Tori stars alongside her husband, Dean McDermott. And, after that, I’ll be reviewing Tori’s new animals-run-amok horror flick, Wildcats

(Not really.)

Door #19 creaks open...



There's nothing better than a good ghost story on a cold Christmas night, and the 1940s/50s radio show Inner Sanctum Mysteries produced some of the best, featuring stars like Orson Welles, Boris Karloff, Mary Astor and Claude Rains. Listen to episodes online at Obscure Horror or, if you want to get spooky on your iPod, download MP3s from Old Time Radio.

Who's behind door #18?



It’s Donald Pleasence! Or, since the beloved actor sadly died in 1995, technically it’s... wait for it... the Ghost of Christmas Pleasence! (Oh my sides.)

Christmas in Britain just isn’t complete without a screening of The Great Escape on TV, meaning that I’ve come to associate old Dr Loomis as much with December 25th as I have October 31st. Like his character in this film, Donald Pleasence actually was an RAF officer during WWII, and really did spend time in a German POW camp. Also less known is the fact that there’s a 1988 TV-movie sequel called The Great Escape II: The Untold Story, in which Pleasence, the only returning cast member, played a Nazi... How’s that for acting range?

Slashing through door #17



Tell your granny you don’t want another knitted sweater this Christmas... You want a knitted Freddy Krueger!

I’ve been hanging out at The Adventures of Cakeyvoice a lot recently, where horror-loving crafter Hannah displays woolly wonders like a knitted Michael Myers, a knitted Ash from The Evil Dead and, my favourite, Dawn of the Knitted Dead. It’s like watching Romero’s masterpiece again For The Very First Time... Only plushier!

Sloshing through door #16



OMG! This could be you if you drink too much eggnog!

Top 20 Favorite Actresses & HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Firstly, Chick Young would like to wish you all a joyous, safe, and merry holiday season. Have a cup of human kindness on me! Hiiiiidy Hooo!!

Now then, there's been a meme going around to name your favorite 20 actresses. Although I haven't been tagged yet - I believe that it's only a matter of time. So, I've decided to join in and throw my two cents into the lot. This list is built from actresses whom I consider (for whatever reasons) to be my "favorite." A comprehensive, exhaustive list is neither attempted nor recommended. The following actresses are not listed by any "measurable" criteria other than my own personal tastes. The list is not in order of preference, with the exception being the number one spot, which while I am alive, will always belong to Natalie...


Natalie Wood

Audrey Hepburn

Raquel Welch

Ava Gardner

Barbara Stanwyck

Teresa Gimpera

Rita Hayworth

Edwige Fenech

Joanne Whalley

Angelina Jolie

Cyd Charisse

Sharon Tate

Joan Collins

Barbara Steele

Soledad Miranda

Emmanuelle Vaugier

Julie Newmar

Elsa Martinelli

Rita Moreno

Joan Fontaine


And in keeping with the season, why not add a few Honorable Mentions of a few actresses that I would have loved to have added - and so I did. Special thanks to Dr. Macro for many of these high quality and amazing scans.

Anne Gwynne

Christina Lindberg

Sondra Locke

Gale Sondergaard

Fran Jeffries

Chelo Alonso

Laura Elena Harring


Thanks for taking the time to stop by. Happy Holidays from:
- The Proprietor and Management of Trash Aesthetics.

Chick Young
xx-oo