07.12.1972. Last manned Moon landing.

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Eugene Cernan aboard the Lunar Rover during the first EVA of Apollo 17.

Here’s what Wolfman from the Wolfman’s Cult Film Club says:

”Eugene Cernan was the Don. He did the whole moon landing trip in 1969 with the Apollo 10 mission before Buzz, Armstrong and Collins to test the mission. Even going through the deployed stages on the lander. I heard they purposely didn’t put enough fuel in the lander because they knew there’s no way he could resisted the pull of landing on the surface. LOL.

If you ever get the chance to watch the footage of Apollo 17 Moonwalk with Eugene Cernan and Ronald Evans mucking around on the Moon you’ll find it hysterical. The banter and the amazing way they talk to each other is incredible. You can only think they must keep talking to stop from thinking about what the fuck they are doing hehe.
Plus check out the documentary on Eugene, it’s a real coming to terms with life after something so gigantic has affected you with the passing of time. The Last Man On The Moon. It’s on Netflix and it’s very recommended. Eugene Cernan is a LEGEND.”

Top 17 Highest Grossing Horror Movies Of All Time

 

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As I mentioned yesterday…

It” (2017) is about to become the biggest horror box office success ever, as its current box office of stands at… $666.6 million. Nice number. Just $6 mln away from beating M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Sixth Sense” (1999) with $672 mln…

…and then something clicked in my mind. Wait, was “Sixth Sense” a horror? Wow! Okay. Mojo knows better. So, given this curiousity and the upcoming Halloween, I decided to examine some other highest grossing horror movies…

  • The Exorcist” (1973) casted out $400,214,478 with dark magic and that means 3rd place.

    TE8

    She floats, too.

  • A solid death grip guaranteed 4th place  Spielberg’s “Jaws” (1975) and impressive $470,653,000.
  • On 5th place we see again that M. Night Shyamalan was still showing some signs of life in 2002… with $408,247,917.
  • On 6th place “Hannibal” (2001) is chewing his $350,100,280 with a glass of Chianti (1991 “Silence of the Lambs” had $275,726,716 and that means 11th place).
  • The Conjuring” and “The Conjuring 2” were indeed good at conjuring an impressive amount of cash out of the horror-loving public – $318,000,141 and $311,270,008 respectively, so that would count as 7th and 8th.
  • Then, things get rough. Various sources cite “Se7en”, “Ghostbusters”, “Shutter Island”, “Van Helsing”, “Sex in the City” come on, guys, these aren’t really horrors. Even “Hannibal” is hard for me to consider a horror movie (but it had Anthony Hopkins whose smile is already scary by itself). But Bill Murray?
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This is a true horror film. Just look at their faces. Holy shit. That’s Bill-motherfuckin-ghostbuster-Murray! (This was a quote. I didn’t invent it. Jim Jarmusch and RZA did.)

  • Bill Murray is not scary.
  • Obviously I would love to skip all these “Resident Evil” remakes and prefer to do a Halloween costume for a hamster plus I love “Event Horizon” but…tumblr_nc0hmrFAU11tuzl74o1_500
  • …but “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” (2017) grossed $312,242,626 and “Resident Evil: Afterlife” (2010) – $300,228,084. Now I’m curious, how many years will pass till they reboot the franchise? 2? Whatever. 9th and 10th places are theirs. Resident Evil: Retribution” (2012) had $240,004,424, by the way, which guarantees 17th place.
  • Lets move on. “Annabelle: Creation” (2017) is the only horror sequel more successful than the original with astonishing $291,100,361, that is 11th place. The first film, “Annabelle, has the privelege of being the only horror movie on the list with a sweet name and $256,873,813. That counts as 13th place (don’t ask me where is the 12th, because it means you weren’t reading carefully and I’ll cancel you from the subscription lists).tenor.gif
  • Ah, almost forgot. In the old times, when Harrison Ford wasn’t only rebooting all kind of franchises (sorry, old joke) and Robert Zemeckis was an interesting director to follow, there was a film called “What Lies Beneath” (2000). It had  $291,420,351. I didn’t watch it because my parents didn’t allow me to look at Michelle Pfeiffer…

    …at the age of 11, so if anyone thinks it is a horror… that would be 10½th place.

  • The Village” is supposed to come 14th with an impressive $256,697,520 but since it’s not nice to have 3 M. Night Shyamalan movies on the list lets move on. But it was a scary film. I watched it when I was 15 years old on a big screen. So not sure how scary it would be now. But it made a long-lasting impression.P_XViOz6Fo49-I8SqW50GuystPc
  • Get Out” was creepy, but it wasn’t really a horror. A good tense thriller? Yes. As Jay said, “…Peele isn’t exactly trying to horrify you; he’s trying to unsettle you. And he’s doing that exceedingly well.” I love the film and it was a nice debut, so lets just mention it had $252,434,250 which is a lot for a film like that.ezgif-2-e893f6dbbf
  • The American remake of the classic Japanese horror “Ringu” grossed $249,348,933 in 2002 and could have taken 15th place… but that was a remake. By the way, guess which movie was the first on the list of the scariest eyes in horror?
  • I would like to admit that I deliberately skipped “Prometheus” with its impressive $403,354,469 (potential 3rd place) and “Alien: Covenant” with $238,862,031 (potential 18th place – yes, they call it a box office flop now) because I don’t think they were horror movies although some may consider them such. The 1979 “Alien” was a horror movie. The rest was just tense science fiction.
  • To end things on a positive, hm, note… “Blair Witch Project” takes 16th place with $248,639,099.
  • And the winner is… “Paranormal Activity” with its $15,000 budget and $193 mln box office.  But it’s not in the top since we weren’t discussing most profitable horror movies which is what really matters, not the box office.

End of line.

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Almost forgot. Since it’s Halloween, I must admit that I’ve always been rather indifferent to this holiday (and it’s not celebrated so much here in Europe), but seeing  many fellow bloggers dedicating the whole month to horror movies, trashy costumes, DIY-s, beautiful Halloween cupcakes and soul cakes (soul cake…beautiful name) makes me love a little bit more.

 

4 October 1957 – the start of the space age

thescienceeek.org is our space science instructor.

“The launch of Sputnik 1 caught many in America by surprise. For this reason, the period of time immediately after the Sputnik launch is often known as the “Sputnik Crisis”.”
“it was a tight squeeze to get Laika into the capsule and for the duration of the spaceflight she was barely able to move. Sadly for Laika, it was a one way ticket. Sputnik 2 could only carry enough food, water and oxygen for Laika to survive for 7 days”
“After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, however, different accounts of the Sputnik 2 mission emerged and it was suggested that she had died much earlier in the mission from lack of oxygen, or when the cabin had overheated.”

The Science Geek

Exactly sixty years ago today, on 4 October 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, into orbit around the Earth. This is considered to be the beginning of the space age. Before this date there were no man made satellites in space but on every single day since then there have been artificial satellites around the Earth. Today there are over 1000 active satellites in orbit (Union of Concerned Scientists 2017) and many times that number of defunct ones.

Image from NASA

Sputnik 1 is shown above. It consisted of a shiny metal sphere, 58.5 cm in diameter, made out of an aluminium alloy. To the sphere were attached four radio aerials. Unlike later satellites, Sputnik 1 carried no scientific instruments and wasn’t fitted with a TV camera to take pictures. It had no solar cells to generate electricity and was powered by three non-rechargeable batteries. Its…

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Silent Running / posters

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Some of you may rightfully wonder why the name of Mark Kemrode, the film critic, is floating on the poster. The answer is simple – he likes to float, too this is a cover of his book, “Silent Running“. He often said that the film is one of his all-time personal favourites, citing his preference for it over “sterile and emotionless” “2001: A Space Odyssey“.

Now I start to doubt even more in the sanity of top-notch movie critics as calling “Silent Running” the best sci-fi film is just insane – for a serious cinema critic, not fanboy like me. But that does not make the book cover any less beautiful. It was designed by Olly Moss and he did a bunch of awesome movie posters, including very original “Star Wars” posters (and it must be very difficult to make an original SW poster!). Amazing work.

…and just for the record, the other most recent time I ranted about insane movie critics was when ebert.com rated “Alien: Covenant” 4/4.

Here is another poster oldschool poster.

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And a wonderful photo from the shooting.

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I reviewed the film before, so check here my GIFs about the film and the amazing special effects of the flight through the Saturn rings here. That was something incredible.

Plus, here’s some interesting info about “Silent Running” that I didn’t cover in my review. “After the success of Easy Rider (1969), directed by Dennis Hopper, Universal Studios hit upon the idea to let young filmmakers make “semi-independent” films for low budgets in hopes of generating similar profits. The idea was to make five of these movies each for $1 million dollars or less, not interfere in the filmmaking process, and give the directors final cut, a level of control seldom allotted to even the most successful directors. The movies produced were The Hired Hand (1971) directed by Peter Fonda, The Last Movie (1971) by Dennis Hopper, Taking Off (1971) by Milos Forman, American Graffiti (1973) by a young and impressionable George Lucas, and lastly Silent Running. Released in 1972 (5 years prior to the release of the first Star Wars film), Silent Running is an environmentally themed American sci-fi film written, produced, and directed by the legendary filmmaker and visual effects pioneer, Douglas Trumbull.” Thanks to Supercult Show blog that did a very comprehensive write-up about the film.

Now… Suntory time, as Bill-motherfucking-ghostbuster-Murray once said.

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What makes science fiction so great? The answer is not so evident as you might think.

I am pretty terrified as today I came across probably the best science fiction genre descriptions ever.

“Science Fiction is a genre where the component parts are often more interesting than the whole. My blog is a prime example of this – I often post images from movies which aren’t really ‘great’ but the stylings and aesthetics often are – case in point here with the USS Cygnus from the Disney movie The Black Hole.” (Simotron)

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“I’ve re-watched the movie a few times and yeah, it’s not great but there are a lot of great things about it. The soundtrack by John Barry (of James Bond fame) is excellent, epic and ominous – check out the theme here and a personal fave ‘Durant is Dead‘ – the moment in the film where it gets really dark and urgent.

The effects – while often pretty shonky have some real stand-out elements – the backdrops star-fields are often a luminous dark blue, more like the depths of the ocean than the standard cover-up-the-wires black and the main ship – the USS Cygnus is pretty much unique in science-fiction in it’s design – like a flat, Gothic oil-rig – or sometimes described as a Cathedral.

It’s completely different from the flat-grey, battleship-style popularised by Star Wars (those built from Airfix kits) – it’s as if the ship doesn’t have a ‘surface’ at all and before it lights-up (from within) it’s completely black. If you check out the Japanese sci-fi art below you can also see that some attempt was made to reconcile the interior and exterior structure of the ship which is pretty rare. Looking at that diagram of the layout and knowing the film you can see that the crew’s movement around the ship actually makes sense.”

Simotron

black hole cygnus crop

Science-Fiction is a genre where the component parts are often more interesting than the whole. My blog is a prime example of this – I often post images from movies which aren’t really ‘great’ but the stylings and aesthetics often are – case in point here with the USS Cygnus from the Disney movie The Black Hole.

I’ve re-watched the movie a few times and yeah, it’s not great but there are a lot of great things about it. The soundtrack by John Barry (of James Bond fame) is excellent, epic and ominous – check out the theme here and a personal fave ‘Durant is Dead‘ – the moment in the film where it gets really dark and urgent.

The effects – while often pretty shonky have some real stand-out elements – the backdrops star-fields are often a luminous dark blue, more like the depths of the ocean…

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The Black Hole / posters

BlackHoleLores

Very sweet retrofuturistic poster.

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The original 1979 poster.

The Black Hole” was the the first Disney movie with a PG rating. “At $20 million, plus another $6 million for the advertising budget, it was at the time the most expensive picture ever produced by Disney. The movie earned nearly $36 million at the North American box office, making it the 21st highest-grossing film of 1979″, says Wiki.

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Another original 1979 poster.

I really loved this comment to the post by Wolfman which just says it all: “One of my favs as a kid and still love it with a passion. The effects and print still hold up today. I watched it on blu-ray a few years back. Has to be one of Disney’s darkest movies, well that and The Hunchback of Notre Dame!! “Hellfire” jeepers. Two of the best robots too. Who couldn’t love Roddy Mcdowall voicing VINCENT and Slim Pickins playing the broken southern BOB. Incidentally I’m posting a mix later of a robot music mix i’ve done featuring those two and few other robotic friends from film.”

Stephen King on Revision

A wonderful insight from Stephen King.

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“To write is human, to edit is divine.”

“When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest.”

“Your job during or just after the first draft is to decide what something or somethings yours is about. Your job in the second draft— one of them, anyway—is to make that something even more clear. This may necessitate some big changes and revisions. The benefits to you and your reader will be clearer focus and a more unified story. It hardly ever fails.”

All quotations are from

Stephen King On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft

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Top 10 Soviet Science Fiction Movies

Here is my Top 10 Soviet sci-fi movies with a dozen of modern trailers I made specially for it while studying some video editing.

†1924-1988 selection.

Beautiful new ambient, shoegaze, dreampop, synthpop and techno soundtracks included.

 

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1. ”Stalker”, 1979.

A cerebral timeless masterpiece by Andrei Tarkovsky, probably the most renowned and influential Soviet/Russian director. Loosely based on a story by important Soviet science fiction writers Strugatsky brothers (and seen by many as a prophecy for several upcoming catastrophes including Chernobyl), “Stalker” could be interpreted as a philosophical tale about destiny and choices. But there’s much more that that. It’s simply one of the most important cinema achievements ever, let alone science fiction. The story follows three men as they penetrate deeper into into a mysterious area called “The Zone”, each of them for a different purpose. A thinking sci-fi geek’s must-see. This movie is like a Universe, there are always new layers to discover. Read more here and here.

Music by Bowery Electric.

2. ”City Zero”, 1988.

Theatre of the absurd, a mysterious tragicomedy, a dark metaphor. The late 80-s, without doubt, were the most prolific period for the underground culture in Soviet Union, especially rock music but also cinema. ”City Zero” is the finest dark offspring of that epoch. The film is normally classified as sci-fi/mystery – but if you analyze every single scene separately, there’s nothing completely impossible. It’s the sum of all parts that is greater than the whole… The famous headcake scene actually happened once in Russia. But looking at the whole story makes you feel like slowly drowning in the swamp… It’s kind of ”Donnie Darko” goes on ”Mulholland Drive” in ”The Twilight Zone” atmosphere. My full review here. Watch online here.

Music by Auktyon (Аукцыон).

3. ”Dead Man’s Letters”, 1986.

Directed by K. Lopushansky, surely the most faithful of all Tarkovsky’s followers (he worked as assistant on ”Stalker” set), this film is a heavy and realistic portrayal of the end of the world. Endless piles of rusty metal, interminable yellow twilight, dirty radioactive puddles of mixed water and blood. And dead bodies. Dead bodies everywhere. Men, children, women. Everywhere. There is no hope here. It’s finished. There is no ”if”. The doomsday clock has moved. We are just witnessing the final decay of small group of survivors that will last several months, probably. There is not even a single hint about their survival. It’s a death rattle. Just a matter of time. My full review here. Watch online here.

Music by Ital Tek.

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Alien / goofs

I’ve always considered this film to be a perfect one (and still think so), just these 2 shots bother me each time I see them… The doll of Ash on the left should have been done way more carefully.