Monday, November 30, 2009

Celebrating My Geek With Star Wars In Music Form

We all have our own geek thing. That one thing that really turns us into a kid with excitement and joy. If you're sitting there shaking your head saying,"I don't," then you're either not being true to yourself or you lead a very boring life.

Granted I have a few geek things in my life. My most recent would have to be participating in the Chicago 'Repo The Genetic Opera' shadowcast put on by the 90 Day Delinquents at The Music Box Theatre a few times a year. Our next show is January 23 by the way. I do the part of Luigi Largo who in the film is played by the great Bill Moseley. Now that I've gotten that plug out of the way. heh

My main geek thing in life has to be Star Wars. It was the film I saw when I was about 4 that changed me forever. I was so blown away by it that it sparked my love of the moving image. I started watching things differently. Not just movies but TV too. When I played with toys my eye became the camera. Including going in real tight for close ups and pulling away for wide shots. I was doing this before I knew what it meant. As I discovered the more technical side of filmmaking I knew that is what I wanted to do with my life.

All of the usual wonderful things about Star Wars hold true for me too but it is that specific thing that makes it very personal for me. So much so that putting down Star Wars in my presence is taken as an insult FYI. I get excited by all things Star Wars. I try not to get too excited around others but believe me that if I'm somewhere and I see something Star Wars in the corner of my eye it will grab my attention. It fills me with that sense of wonder I had as a child. Being a filmmaker this does help a lot. It keeps my imagination strong.

One of my favorite things of the movies is the music by John Williams. So perfect is it that it truly stands on its own yet perfectly sparks the memories of the movies the moment you hear the notes. This weekend I will be going to Star Wars In Concert where the music will be played live with images playing high above the orchestra. Here's the trailer:

To say I will be a pig in slop is an understatement. I cannot tell you how excited I am for this. I will be going by myself because some times we need to be alone with our geekdom. Well, alone in a stadium full of other geeks but close enough.

In celebration of this weekend here are the three music videos done for the main pieces composed for each of the prequels. Can't wait to hear these live alongside the great pieces from the original trilogy. These were done during the release of each film and are on the DVD's. Also check out the amazing musical journey DVD available with the 'Revenge of the Sith' soundtrack. It features all of the main themes from all of the films hosted by Ian McDiarmid.

Here is the Duel Of The Fates video from Episode 1. I still say this is one of the best pieces of film music composed in the last 10 years in my opinion.

Here is a compilation music video with the main part being the very underrated Across The Stars love theme from Episode II.

Here is the Battle Of The Heroes video from Episode III.

Now if you'll excuse me I will be wallowing in my own geekdom.

*Pictures courtesy of Star

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Movie Of The Day - Star Trek II The Wrath Of Khan

Star Trek II The Wrath Of Khan (1982) d: Nicholas Meyer

'Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan' to this day remains the best Star Trek film. I know everyone is going gaga over the recent J.J. Abrams version which is very entertaining and does rank among the best so far, but the mantle still lies with Wrath of Khan. It perfectly captures the best of Star Trek with the character interactions mixed with the sci-fi element and a fantastic villain portrayed by Ricardo Montalban. Ironically probably the lowest budgeted but the one that saved the franchise. The first film was a very high budget film and while successful was not a runaway blockbuster. In fact, if I am correct I believe this film was made for less than a third of the first film's budget. The studio didn't want to take the gamble on a second one unless they agreed to do it for so little money. Everything went into the story and it paid off spawning not only more films but several TV series. Most famous being 'Star Trek The Next Generation'. This film works even with people who are not overly familiar with the franchise. We will see if the current renditions will have a film on par with this one. It is a lot to ask for. It is off to a great start though but Wrath of Khan is just an entertaining film that works within the Star Trek universe so well. Plus where would so many online geeks be without their use of "Khan!!!' in their internet speak?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Upcoming Stuff To A Gory Place

Just a quick post about some upcoming things. Especially since I didn't know what else to post about.

There will be a recommendation list of Christmas movies. Many to choose from but I'll have a few favorites. I'm deciding if I want to break it up like I did with the Halloween movies.

There will be not one but TWO best of lists. I know. You're so excited you could just barf. A Best Of The Year list (which I admit will be incomplete since there is a lot I haven't seen) and a Best Of The Decade list. That one I have been working on for a while now. I keep going back and forth on some of them. Usually I would pick ten but I may have to pick 15 to have a good variety of films.

As well as the generic Movie Of The Day posts and other shenanigans.

To quote Rotti Largo from Repo The Genetic Opera,"Stay tuned folks. You don't want to move folks. 'Cause there's more excitement coming."


*NOTE: I know the above images aren't accurate. One of them even says 2007 and the other says "so far" which doesn't mean anything since the year is almost over but it was what I could find quickly in a search and I didn't want to go and change them.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone has a very Happy Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for my family and friends which includes all of you.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Please Vote For Nicki For Ms. Horror Blogosphere

The Vault Of Horror has their Ms. Horror Blogosphere 2009 contest and my friend Nicki is one of the contestants. I hope you can go over and vote for her (it's on the right hand side). While you're at it be sure to check out why she's nominated over at her blog "Hey! Look Behind You".

There are many talented horror loving bloggers listed so be sure to check out their blogs. Just be sure to vote for Nicki. Big thanks!

Paranormal Activity On Video Dec 29

The official website for 'Paranormal Activity' announced the DVD and Blu-ray release on December 29th. What a way to ring out the year. The $15,000 film that made over $100 million became a phenominon and also a bit of a controversial film among horror fans. There were those of us that were creeped out by the film (I saw it at the first free showing two weeks before it was released) and recommended it to people. Some people saw it and loved it. Some people didn't but left it at that. While others hated it and decided to go on a rampage about it. One person went as far to say that "anyone who liked it must be retarded." How nice. I guess nothing gets people rangled like politics, religion, and a little film that was made for no money and goes on to be a success.

I for one am excited for this release and can't wait to see it again at home with the lights out.

The Night Before Thanksgiving

Julia Lillis made this hilarious video for the night before Thanksgiving. If you're not familar with her you need to be. She is great! Her website is here. Plus she's on Twitter at


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Movie Of The Day - Rio Bravo

Rio Bravo (1959) d: Howard Hawkes

If you look at a lot of the filmmakers who came about in the 70's a lot of them have among their favorite films Howard Hawkes' 'Rio Bravo' and it's not hard to see why. It has drama, action, romance, comedy, and it's just fun. While Howard Hawkes made some incredible films and no doubt is one of the great filmmakers Hollywood ever had this does pop up a lot on people's list as one of his, if not the, best. Mainly because it does have so many great things to it. The funny thing is that the studio didn't want Hawkes to do it. John Wayne fought for his friend Hawkes to direct the film which the studio reluctantly did and then it on to be a big hit giving. Once again John Wayne is just so great in playing, in essence, John Wayne but I don't want it any other way. It also has a really great performance by Dean Martin as a recovering alcoholic with some really great moments between he and Wayne. There is one very understated but wonderful moment in the film when Wayne's character, John T. Chance, gives Martin's character, Dude, his guns back which he had sold off long before. The look on his face is moving and endearing. The film is filled with those little moments.

The film also stars singer Ricky Nelson. Now with both Nelson and Martin in the film, even though it is a western, you expect them to sing. Now, the thing is they could have tacked on a song at some point just to cash in on the two of them being in it. Maybe a song at the saloon or something. No. Instead at a moment in the film where the main characters have come together and have a moment of peace and solace they share a song. It doesn't seem out of place. In fact, we celebrate it.

It's one of those films that even people that claim to not like westerns (and you suck by the way) even enjoy. Plus was there anything more fetching than a young Angie Dickinson? I think not.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Testing ... testing ... testering?

Just so you guys know I am testing a few things so I apologize in advance if something is screwed up. I'm also testing different things for the comments. However, if I get bombarded by spammers I will have to resort to more drastic measures. Please don't ruin it for the rest of us penis enlargement people.

If there is anything that seems really messed up or you just hate (outside of my posts) then please let me know.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Movie Of The Day - Leon The Professional

Leon: The Professional (1994) d: Luc Besson

Every so often an action film comes along that looks at the action genre in a different way but still functions within the lines and gives you the thrills. 'Leon: The Professional' is one of those films. Written and directed by Luc Besson it is a great story of a hitman (Jean Reno) befriending a young girl (Natalie Portman in her first role) and then taking her in after her family is slain by corrupt DEA cops led by the always awesome Gary Oldman. It has a great visual sense without ever going overboard. In some ways an old fashioned style with a modern sensibility. The extended cut goes a little further in areas that I can understand why at the time were trimmed for the US cut. I remember seeing this in the theatre when it came out and was extremely impressed by it. Much like when I watched my first John Woo film a few years prior it reintroduced me to the action genre in a new light which you can't help but be grateful. I know I am.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Random Clip Because I Can

I just felt like posting this. No real reason. It's one of my favorite movies and I love this scene so ... there it is.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Lot Of Sugar

I've been fighting off some kind of cold/flu the last few days. Luckily I'm winning. I like to think that even though I'm getting older that my body is still capable of fighting off invading viruses. This clip is akin to me being sick. I sometimes don't notice it right when I get up but by the time I get to that first cup of morning coffee I know something is up.

Out of fun ... here is my body dealing with a virus.

Terror In The Aisles 3

Dishing out some info on an upcoming event here in Chicago. Movieside Film Festival is putting on Terror In The Aisles 3 at the Portage Theatre. They also put on the Music Box Massacre which is 24 hours of horror films. Terror In The Aisles is three or four films so it's not as much of the endurance test as the Massacre but it is just as fun. I was at the other two which featured John McNaughton (the director of 'Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer') and the Chicago premiere of 'Trick R' Treat' with director Michael Dougherty in person. This is the first one they're doing in December which is really cool as this time of year can be light on the horror fare so I am really excited.

This show is planning on outdoing the previous two by having three guests including 'Night of the Creeps' director Fred Dekker and a 10th anniversary celebration of 'The Blair Witch' project with director Edwardo Sanchez there. Plus the Chicago premiere of '[REC] 2'. I encourage everyone who wants to go to preorder your ticket. Not only to make sure you can get in but I know that if there are enough presales there is the possibility that one more guest could (and I stress could as it cannot be set in stone) be added. I have sworn not to say who but all I will say is that it would be totally awesome.

I hope to see everyone there!!

Here is the info:



Dec. 5, 2009 - $12 For A Night of Total Terror!

Pre-sale tickets @ now!


Portage Theater
4050 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60641

Doors open at 7pm.

Show starts at 8pm.

(Midwest Premiere of the sequel to the
modern classic REC!)

NIGHT OF THE CREEPS (director's cut)
with director FRED DEKKER in Person!

BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (10 year anniversary!)
with director EDUARDO SANCHEZ in Person!

Short films include:
TREEVENGE (A Chilling Tale of Christmas Gone Wrong!)

Also - Music by My Damn Butterfly & Modern Day Rippers,
vendor tables, vintage movie, trailers, prizes, auction for Vital Bridges
( surprises and more!!!

Co-Sponsored by

For more info go to:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Indie Zombie Flicks Feature New Talent

As an independent filmmaker (my shameless plug for my film here) I'm always interested in what other people are doing in the independent film world. Specifically people within the same bracket which my current one is very low budget filmmaker. Or as is also known as mico budget filmmaking. Very little money but a lot of ambition. I try and watch as many as I can although it can be tough. The great thing about technology is that anyone can make a film. The bad thing about technology is that anyone can make a film. I give a lot of leeway because when you don't have money there is a good chance in the microbudget world that your film will just look cheap because, well, it is. I let that slide but if it's shot well or the idea is great or even if it's bad but there are good parts to it then I give the filmmaker props. However I've sat through a lot of bad ones to see that sometimes young dreams should be squashed because ... wow. Luckily the dreams were not squashed for two young filmmakers whose films I just watched at the Zombie Outbreak Film Festival put on by the Horror Society here in Chicago last night.

A 12 year old girl out of Austin, Texas decided she was going to make a zombie film. So she set out on the long journey to do it. Emily Hagins did what few adults have the guts to do. Making a movie is hard work. At some point you become the one person that will either keep the film afloat or have it crash under your feet. With her digital camera and 50 page script she set out to make 'Pathogen' a film about contaminated water that turns people into the walking dead hungry for human flesh. A documentary called 'Zombie Girl: The Movie' is all about her making this film. To say I admire young Emily is an understatement. When I was 12 I didn't have the tools that exist today but I wished I could go out and make a movie. She did and I have a feeling that as she gets older and makes more films she will have a big career ahead of her. I'm not going to quibble over the film. It was made by a 12 year old. What struck me was how some shots and scenes were constructed. Only someone with real raw talent would do that. Two scenes in the film even drew applause from the audience. I have seen my fair share of films from people twice (and even three times) her age make unwatchable films. She is ten times away from them. She has the natural talent and determination which is evident in the documentary. Keep going kid. You got the talent. Now put it to good use and I'll line up for it.

Trailer for Emily Hagins' film 'Pathogen'. Movie and production company website - Here

Trailer for the 'Zombie Girl: The Movie' documentary. Website - Here

Venturing across the pond as they say to where the other filmmaker is. I was also lucky to see the UK sensation from director Mark Price called 'Colin'. This was supposedly made for around $70 or something. Quite frankly, even if it was made for a couple thousand I would have been impressed. The film follows Colin, a guy who during the zombie apocalypse has been bitten and turns into one of the walking dead. A zombie film from the zombie's perspective. A clever idea in and of itself. Luckily it doesn't end at the clever idea. The film is actually very well made from a director who knows how to make and construct a film. I had been curious about this film for a long time and it's nice to know that the "made for $70" tagline being used in the press is nothing more than that. The film is not about a budget. It works and that is all you need. Much like Emily I suspect Mark has a big future ahead of him. This type of talent should not go unnoticed. Considering it got a theatrical release in the UK (and I just watched it with a theatre full of people in Chicago) then I'd say this won't be the last we hear from 'Colin' or its talented director.

Here is the trailer for Mark Price's 'Colin'. The official website - Here

Keep an eye on these two filmmakers. It's great to see people with so much talent. The fact that they both made zombie films only makes me that much more a fan.

Movie Of The Day - The Return Of The Living Dead

The Return Of The Living Dead (1985) d: Dan O'Bannon

I finally got to see this on the big screen at a midnight show. Me = Happy.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Friday The 13th

To celebrate this Friday the 13th here is the totally bodacious video to the Alice Cooper song "He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask)" which is best known as the song from 'Friday The 13th Part VI Jason Lives'.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Testing Different Banners

I'm trying out different banners. Here's a new one I did. This is probably closer to the image I originally wanted. Let me know what you think.

Movie Of The Day - North By Northwest

North By Northwest (1959) d: Alfred Hitchcock

Is there a finer filmmaker than Alfred Hitchcock? For me, no. His career as a whole is one that is utterly incredible. A man that was able to combine perfectly art and entertainment. Watching one of his films is such a treat for me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veterans Day

I just want to say thank you to veterans everywhere. I offer you my honor, respect, and gratitude.

I'd like to share this commercial which I love. I think it's perfect for today.

Movie Of The Day - Heat

Heat (1995) d: Michael Mann

One of my all time favorite films. I remember seeing this in the theatre and it was around the time I made a decision in my life which led me back full speed ahead of trying to become a filmmaker. Long story but there were a few things that happened at just the right time in my life and this was one of them. I was in film school at the time but felt I had lost my way. I was becoming a film snob and not a filmmaker and a film fan. Or what we call today a film geek. I lost my geekiness that I had from when I was 4 years old. I got it back thanks to many things. One of them being this film. Not that there is anything geeky about it. It's just a classic cops versus robbers story told in a modern way and I love every minute of it. At the time people complained because Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino really only have one real scene together. I thought it was ballsy to have the film be about these two but they really only meet twice.

I've been a fan of Michael Mann's since I saw 'Manhunter' and of course from TV's 'Miami Vice'. He has a unique style and a way of storytelling that I enjoy. I think some of his films get a bad wrap like the more recent 'Miami Vice' film adaptation which I loved.

'Heat' has influenced me in many ways and some of them will be apparant in some films I make. Even in my last film 'Distortion' I had a few shots that were inspired either directly or indirectly. One shot specificaly was referred to by a friend as my Michael Mann shot. While not intended to be I so see it now.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Movie Of The Day - The Searchers

I do this thing which my friends just love. At least ... I think they do. If so they never say anything. Um ... hm ... anyhoo, I have a "Movie Of The Day" and post the trailer. Sometimes post a few words about it. It's not every single day. Just when I see something I feel like sharing. I figured I aught to start doing that here. Probably makes more sense. Sometimes it will just be the trailer and that's it. Other times I may write a few lines about it. I'm sure sometimes I will ramble on indefinitely. Either way I present to you A Gory Place's own - Movie Of The Day.

First entry:

The Searchers (1956) d: John Ford

It's no wonder why, even to this day, John Wayne is still one of the highest ranking stars even long after his death. He brings so much to the films he's in. To say he is an icon is an understatement. Some criticism has come his way that he always plays John Wayne. Perhaps. But no one plays John Wayne like John Wayne. No one has even come close. Although when people say that I always ask if they've seen 'The Quiet Man'. He is so amazing in that. Teaming he and John Ford together in any of their films was always magic. One of our greatest directors and no one knew how to capture the landscape of the west like John Ford. Want to be wowed? Check out the Blu-ray of 'The Searchers'. By the way, anything more fetching than Natalie Wood? If you said yes then you are dead to me.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New Banner

New banner and a new look.

Well, not a new look. Same look. Just the new banner. Just felt like saying that.

Too Many Pictures?

Had a few people complain that I have been posting too many pictures and video lately which makes the blog load slowly. I think I definitely went a little hog wild with them especially with the Halloween lists. I'll keep this in mind on all future posts and pick out the stills more carefully instead of posting so many.

Just to show I'm serious - no pictures in this post.