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June 29, 2010

A New Breed Joins FMWL's Hall of Fame!

Back around the end of March, in celebration of FMWL's 100th post, I inducted the first class into From Midnight, With Love's Hall of Fame. Now, just over three months and 70 posts later, I've decided it's just about time to induct a second group into that non-existent Hall. With no further ado, let's see who shall be recognized for "significant contributions to the love The Mike has for Midnight & Cult cinema."The Filmmaker's Branch
I couldn't think of a better place to start my second look at the filmmakers who've brought Midnight to Mike than with the man who made the zed word happen. He is, of course, George A. Romero.Though little needs to be said about what Romero did with his zombie films, particularly his initial low budget trilogy of Night/Dawn/Day, it's worth noting he's also offered human horrors like the vampire drama Martin and fun horrors like the anthology masterpiece Creepshow. And the contributions he's made to independent horror by proving how far a little care can go? Astounding.
If America's master of suspense is Alfred Hitchcock (Too bad, Brits, we stole the cheeky monkey!), Italy's is most certainly Dario Argento. Suspiria, Deep Red, The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, Phenomena, Tenebrae, and more. Maybe he's lost a step with age, but the fact he's still cranking out films (like Romero!), is a testament to his love for the genre.

The Actor's Branch
The toughest omission from that first class of Hall of Famers back in March was most definitely Kurt Russell. The man headlined three of my favorite films from John Carpenter, and defined anti-hero as Snake Plissken in Escape from New York. A recent return to the cult scene in Tarantino's Death Proof only proved what I already knew: Kurt Russell is a bad, bad man. (Y'know, in a good way.)
Caroline Munro.
Because from Hammer's late films to a short stint as a Bond girl to The Dr. Phibes films...she always looked really, really good. And she's a fine actress too.
If there's one woman who embodies everything I believe about how amazing women can be, it's Laurie Strode as played by Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween. She went on to fill that role in films like Terror Train and Prom Night, plus starred in other genre classics like The Fog, Roadgames, and Virus. OK, maybe not Virus, but at least she tried.
The Exorcist
stands as probably the most revered horror movie of the last 49 years. With apologies to The Silence of the Lambs, it's the last true horror film to garner an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. It also got three nominations in acting categories, two of which went to Ellen Burstyn and Linda Blair as the mother/daughter duo terrorized by the demon Pazuzu. While Oscar nominations aren't generally worth much, these ones were right on the money. The duo make the terror real, especially poor little Linda, who was clearly scarred enough to grow up and star in Savage Streets. Well played, Ms. Blair.

The Modern-Day Branch
If there's been one director who's made me believe I might see a filmmaker as awesome as John Carpenter in my adult years, it's Neil Marshall. After debuting with Dog Soldiers and graduating to The Descent, Marshall even managed to throwback to Carpenter's Escape from New York with Doomsday. Many were put off by that film, but its playful use of genre tactics left me as sure as ever that Marshall will be a force in the cult cinema field for years to come. Bring on Centurion and whatever you've got next, good sir!

The 1980s Pop Star's Branch
I don't know anything about Debbie/Deborah Gibson's musical career. I used to think that she had a song called Electro-Cute, which made me think of her as the cuter pop version of Frankenstein's monster, but 22 years later I found out she actually had an album called Electric Youth. Regardless, seeing her battle the triad of Mega Shark, Giant Octopus, and the uncontrollable urge to look directly into the camera these days is well worth a spot in the glittery wing of FMWL's Hall.

The Monster's Branch
The Phantom of the Opera
gets into FMWL's Hall of Fame based on two facts: 1) the 1925 Lon Chaney film not only taught me about silent films but helped me learn to read; and 2) It allows me to randomly sing "THE PHAAAAAAAANNNNNNNTOM of the OPPPPPERA is here...inside my blog." (Followed, of course, by a heavy DUN DUN DUN DUN DAAAAAAAA! beat on the coffee table.)
On the other side of the Monster's Branch, I have to plug Gremlins' Gizmo. Because he's so darn cute. MOGWAI!

The Joe Bob Briggs Branch
If you missed last time I inducted folks, the Joe Bob Branch is where I honor people who have inspired me in my writing, and/or in maintaining this blog and my obsession with Midnight entertainment. This time around, I thought it appropriate to focus on two writers of fiction whose work across the worlds of print, TV, and cinema, have always kept me thinking and dreaming.
I'll admit that I most surely have not read enough of Richard Matheson's work, but everything he's done that I've experienced has left me grinning. I am Legend is a book I can pick up repeatedly, and the films he's helped create - including The Legend of Hell House, The Night Stalker, Duel, The Incredible Shrinking Man, and plenty more - have always reminded me how simple storytelling can trump gimmicky tricks any day. Oh yeah, and he wrote a lot of episodes of The Twilight Zone. Speaking of....Rod freakin' Serling. The man behind The Twilight Zone. Allow me to rephrase: The man behind The Twilight Zone. Yeah. He created THE TWILIGHT ZONE. He didn't just stand there and read someone's script at the beginning of most every episode, he wrote stuff. He pitched stuff. He connected with awesome people like Richard Matheson. He pretty much created the most effective piece of genre television EVER. He's pretty much TV's Jesus.

If that's not a Hall of Fame class, I don't know what is. Until next time, my dear readers, thanks for keeping me in a state of perpetual midnight lovin'!


Morgan said...

Love the Hall of Fame! Debbie Gibson??? Yesss!!!

Jinx said...

Loved that!

Emily said...

Great choices for the Hall of Fame!

I love that Kurt Russell has been chosen- I love love love him- yeah so much that I'd marry him (if Pee Wee Herman asked). I admit that this infatuation has started relatively recently, but better late than never!

Jose Cruz said...

YES! Amazing list, Mike! Just when I thought it was impossible for you to rate higher in my book, you go and add The Phantom of the Opera (INCLUDING a reference to the musical) AND Rod Freaking Serling! That is fantastic stuff, sir! I know there are a million exclamation points here, but I can't help it!



Hey! Look Behind You! said...

Wow, Best Hall of Fame ever!

Box Office Boredom said...

I'll never forget how saddened and shocked you looked when you learned the words were not "electro-cute"