Entries by William Burns

Ten Things You Might Not Know About … The Funhouse!

10. According to actor Kevin Conway, director Tobe Hooper was a huge “Coke-head” during production of this film. Hooper allegedly consumed a minimum of 12 cans of Coca-Cola a day.
9.  The animatronic fat lady laughing at the end of the film is a reference to the phrase “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings”.
8.  Some of the props in Joey’s bedroom were owned by Shari Lewis of “Lamb Chop” fame (such as the winking ventriloquist dummy) and were obtainable because co-executive producer Mace Neufeld was a friend of hers
7.  Author Dean R. Koontz later expanded and embellished his novelization of this film into another fully-fledged novel.
6.  During production, director Tobe Hooper acquired a number of antique, clockwork and mechanical old toys which had been used as props in this movie.
5.  Director Tobe Hooper wanted Andrew Laszlo for his cinematographer on this show because he liked Laszlo’s lighting of Walter Hill’s The Warriors
4.  The original plan was to have makeup effects artist Rob Bottin play the monster, before director Tobe Hooper caught a performance by mime Wayne Doba, who subsequently landed the role
3.  The girls in the tent were local strippers from Miami, Florida.
2.  Director Tobe Hooper was bitten by a brown recluse spider during filming.
1.  Steven Spielberg asked Tobe Hooper to direct E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial  but he turned it down because he was busy on this movie. However Hooper and Spielberg would work together on Poltergeist
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Ten Things You Might Not Know About … Kolchak: The Night Stalker!

10. Producer/director Dan Curtis and screenwriter Richard Matheson were both approached by Universal to work on the series. Although they had worked on the original made-for-TV movies, they both turned down the offer.

9.  Darren McGavin and Dan Curtis both died in early 2006 just one month apart from each other.

8.  Ruth McDevitt’s character is referred to variously throughout the series on-screen by various characters and in the cast lists as Emily Fenwick, Emily Cowels, and Edith Cowels. They eventually settled on the name “Emily Cowles.” Her character’s occupation also alternates between advice columnist, riddle feature writer, and crossword puzzle editor.
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Ash vs. Evil Dead Review


Anticipation. Expectation. Disappointment. These three sensations  are the most common feelings in any form of fandom, especially as decades roll by and fans wait patiently (or impatiently) for the next installment, the next chapter, the next missive from a beloved series or artist.  When the silence is broken and the delay ends, the prodigal hype threatens to ruin the experience. Some works are able to overcome the hype, conquer the jaded, and fulfill fan’s hopes (like Brian Wilson’s legendary lost album Smile); some works are swallowed up by their own overwhelming burden of history and their fan’s projection of their own wants, desires, and nostalgia onto the phenomenon  (the Star Wars prequels).  One such long promised work has been the fourth film in the Evil Dead series (not counting Fede Alvarez’s masterful 2013 remake/re-imaging). The reuniting of director Sam Raimi, actor Bruce Campbell, and producer Rob Tapert to continue the story of Ashley William’s war against the Deadites has been promised and teased for over twenty years.  As the cult status of The Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, and Army of Darkness have grown exponentially, Raimi, Tapert, and Campbell have worked together on a variety of projects over the last two decades, but all anyone wanted to know was when Evil Dead 4 would come out.  Finally, after countless rumors and speculation seemed to doom the project from ever becoming reality, Raimi and co. threw their fans a curve ball. Instead of a film, the cable channel Starz announced that the continuing adventures of our beloved Deadite fighter would be the subject of a new TV series Ash vs. Evil Dead. The show would premiere on Halloween and the publicity machine went into overdrive. As the premiere date got closer, Evil Dead fans were cautiously optimistic but also had some apprehensions. Would the TV medium be able to do justice to the Three Stooges meets The Exorcist surrealistic anarchy of the films? Could Sam Raimi bring back his manic directing style, a style that really hasn’t been evidenced in the last twenty years? Did Bruce Campbell still have the idiotic arrogance and the ultra-cool, ultra-quotable heroics last seen in 1992? read more read more

Ten Things You Might Not Know About … It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

10. In the trick-or-treating scene during which Lucy asks for an extra piece of candy for her brother, her right hand has five fingers when she holds it up, but her left hand only has four fingers.
9. Just before Snoopy rises as the Great Pumpkin, the moon moves along with him as he crawls through the pumpkin patch.

8. When Schroeder plays “Pack up your troubles,” at the exact point where the lyrics would go “smile, smile, smile”, Snoopy gives three toothy grins.
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Ten Things You Might Not Know About … The Lords of Salem!

10. Filmed in the actual town of Salem
9.  Actors considered for some roles were Richard O’Brien (he was not available) and Hammer girl Caroline Munro. Goldie Hawn was considered for the role of Margaret Morgan.
8.  Footage was shot with Daniel Roebuck as a serial killer being interviewed on TV, but Zombie decided to go with clips from old movies featuring characters in masks instead.

7.  Rob Zombie described the film as “If Ken Russell directed “The Shining”.
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Ten Things You Might Not Know About … Disney’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow!

10. The Headless Horseman is one of the few Disney villains to “win”.

9.  It is unclear whether or not the Headless Horseman was a real ghost or was simply Brom Bones in disguise. The original short story written by Washington Irving suggests the latter more overtly than the film. The best evidence in the film to suggest that Brom pretended to be the Horseman is the similarity between the two characters horses

8. Thurl Ravenscroft was originally going to sing “The Headless Horseman”. His version of the song can be heard on the compilation CD, “Walt Disney Records Archive Collection, Vol. 1”. read more read more

Katerina: A Review


Writing a literary work in which the narrator is an unpleasant person is always a gamble. The writer needs to stay true to the character and his/her point of view and yet if the character’s thoughts and actions are too hostile and disturbing, then the reader may be alienated from the work and not become immersed in it (just ask Bret Easton Ellis and Patrick Bateman).  Author Erik Hofstatter strikes just the right balance of disgust and intrigue in his novella Katerina. The story opens with an extended self-inventory of the sexual experiences of the narrator expressed in the most crude and nasty way possible. Clearly, this character has issues with woman and these issues are explored through his initial encounter and subsequent obsession with “Ginny,” a mysterious prostitute with feral behaviors. Hofstatter’s brutally honest depiction of not only a prostitute’s life on the streets but also the borderline sociopathic world view of the narrator make for compelling but very uneasy reading. As the story unfolds, the narrator’s own insecurities and anxieties are projected onto Ginny, and she becomes not only the receptacle for his sexual desires but also for his need to exert control, power, and dominance in his life, personified by his interest in medieval weapons. The horrors in Katerina are the horrors of a dead end world that can only find excitement and meaning in anonymous sex, misogyny, and a vain preoccupation with the body. Masculinity in Katerina is only validated by traditional male tropes like working out, degrading women, scoring with a chick, and then bragging about it afterwards, while femininity is used and abused in a cynical, business-like fashion.  And yet, for all her weird tendencies and demeaning existence, “Ginny” is a much more alive and exciting character than the narrator or his dead souled buddy as her primal energies survive and adapt even in the midst of hellish conditions. Erik Hofstatter’s writing is not pretty and he certainly doesn’t pull any punches, but that’s what makes Katerina such an absorbing work. read more read more

Ten Things You Might Not Know About … Pet Sematary!

10. Stephen King plays a small role in this film as a minister.
9.  The portrait of Zelda as a child also features a gray cat at the child’s feet, an obvious foreshadowing.
8.  George A. Romero was originally set to direct but when filming was delayed, he dropped out, and Mary Lambert stepped in.
7.  During the film, the character played by Fred Gwynne mentions that he had a pet named “Spot”. “Spot” was also the name of the family pet on the TV show The Munsters, also starring Gwynne.
6.  Stephen King is a big fan of the The Ramones and referenced some of their songs in the novel Pet Sematary. In homage, The Ramones wrote and performed the theme song “Pet Sematary”, which is featured in the films closing credits.
5.  The story was inspired by actual events experienced by Stephen King that occurred while he was living in Orington, Maine with his family. King recalled that while living there his daughter’s cat was killed in the highway. Much of Ellie Creed’s emotional outburst was taken directly from King’s own grief-stricken daughter. King also remembered that once his youngest son had nearly run into the road while a truck was speeding down it, much like Gage does in film. The character of Judd Crandall was based on the elderly neighbor that lived across the road from King. Also there was an actual pet cemetery in the woods behind the King house, which became the basis for the one in the novel.
4.  The original screenplay featured the ‘wendigo’ (a Native American demon) that was mentioned in the novel, but it was ultimately cut from the film. Its presence is implied only twice: first, in the scene where Louis is walking through the woods at night and hears something large knock down a tree. Second, when Judd first takes Louis up to the Indian burial ground there is some kind of loud crash deep in the forest followed by a long, almost feminine howl. Jud says that “it’s only a loon” but it’s clear that he doesn’t entirely believe it himself.
3.  Bruce Campbell was the first choice for the role of Louis Creed.
2.  Stephen King was present on location for most of the shooting of the film. The area it was shot in was only 20 minutes away from his home in Bangor, Maine.
1.  The role of Zelda, Rachel’s dying sister, was played by a man. Director Mary Lambert wanted Zelda and her scenes to frighten the audience but did not believe that a 13-year old girl was scary so she cast Andrew Hubatsek in the role to make something be “off about Zelda”.
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Ten Things You Might Not Know About … The Mist!

10. Director Frank Darabont did not originally plan to include the giant, 6-legged behemoth which walks over the car, even though this is one of the novella’s most popular scenes. Several CafeFX special effects technicians convinced him to put it in the film.

9. Frank Darabont originally wrote an opening scene showing the military scientist referenced to by Private Jessup accidentally opening the dimension portal that allows the creatures and the mist to enter our world. Over dinner, Andre Braugher questioned Darabont whether this scene was necessary. After thinking about it for a week, Darabont was convinced to scrap the scene, leaving the nature of the mist more ambiguous. read more read more

New Dark Ambient Project “Black Angel Sigh”:

Dagon 23 presents his newest dark ambient music/video project “Black Angel Sigh.” In the malevolently foreboding style of Lustmord, Aphex Twin, Joseph Curwen, Coil, and The Haxan Cloak, “Black Angel Sigh” is suffused with the transcendental nihilism of Thomas Ligotti. Take a seat in the Teatro Grottesco and experience the shadow, the darkness of “Black Angel Sigh.”

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmXo7Uahvn8 read more