Category Archives: LBoM: In Memorandum

George A. Romero

Strangely enough, last night I was watching Night of the Living Dead when the news of the legendary George A. Romero’s passing popped up onto my news feed. And I do mean ‘legendary’, a word that is often thrown around when talking about writers/directors/actors, etc and one often misused – but what else can you call the person who invented the modern zombie?

Right here, I’d like to take a look at Romero’s amazing career in films and even games, his massive influence and how he changed the horror genre forever.

George A Romero Quote

Born George Andrew Romero on the 4th of February, 1940.  Romero was born in the New York borough of The Bronx. He started his career filming short films and commercials and in the late 1960s, he formed a production company called Image Ten Productions. In 1968 Romero wrote, produced and directed quite simply one of the most seminal and influential horror movies ever – Night of the Living Dead.

Night of the Living Dead

Originally called Night of the Flesh Eaters and even given a copyright under that title. The film’s name was later changed to Night of the Living Dead, yet the original theatrical distributor failed to include a new copyright under the new name and the film became public domain. Romero never made a single penny form the movie as it became the most popular horror film of 1968 meeting with rave reviews and high critical praise.

There are pluses and minuses to the film being in the public domain. The negatives mean anyone can do anything to the film… and they have – from colourised versions and alternate cuts with newly added scenes and music to endless remakes and reissues. As of writing, there are six different remakes/version of this movie and countless alternate cuts and variations. The major positive about this being in the public domain is that the movie can be seen completely free and legal pretty much anywhere – including right here…

Night of the Living Dead created what we consider the modern zombie. Yeah sure, there had been zombie flicks before it, but they were zombies created by mind control or curses, etc. It was George A. Romero who changed zombies into the re-animated dead corpses that eat flesh that we now know. The film’s influence can still be felt today and zombies are more popular than ever now. Big fan of the TV show The Walking Dead? You can thank George A. Romero for that, even The Walking Dead creator, Robert Kirkman has stated how much of an inspiration Romero and Night of the Living Dead was to him.

The Simon Pegg/Edgar Wright modern classic Shaun of the Dead was massively inspired by Romero’s work and chock full of hidden jokes and references for the hardcore Romero fan to find. The influence this movie has continued for decades and still remains today.

Romero may have never made any money from his first major film, but the high praise the movie did get allowed him to make more movies (this time with copyrights). He continued to make more movies including There’s Always VanillaJack’s Wife / Season of the Witch and The Crazies. None of the films really made any impact in the way Night of the Living Dead did previously. Then in 1978, Romero directed Martin.

George A Romero Martin

Martin is a vampire film with a lot of heart, a stylistic flick that modernised the vampire lore. Often overlooked and forgotten about, Martin is a film I can’t recommend enough.

It was also in 1978 when Romero released what many (including myself) consider the greatest zombie film ever made – Dawn of the Dead. Released a decade after his first foray into the zombie film, this is not a sequel to Night of the Living Dead but more so just another zombie picture that may or may not exist in the same universe. Romero then followed this up with another zombie movie – Day of the Dead in 1985 which rounded off his then ‘Dead trilogy’ of films.

It was in 1982 when the trifecta of horror royalty of the 80s came together to make what is considered one of the all time great anthology horror movies…

Creepshow

Creepshow. Three of the finest in 80s horror teamed up to bring this flick to the big screen. So you have George A. Romero directing stories written by Stephen King with the awesome Tom Savini doing the special effects/make-up work. Three of the best of the best of the best all in one fantastic movie. Creepshow is a great mix of gore, scares, macabre and very, very black humour. One of my all time favourite anthology films that any horror fan should watch.

Romero was at the top of his game through the 80s and most of the 90s too. Films like Monkey Shines, Two Evil Eyes and The Dark Half (written by Stephen King) ensured Romero kept himself busy. And in 1990 , he updated his original screen play for Night of the Living Dead to be remade by his long time friend and collaborator – Tom Savini, a remake I definitely recommend as its great. But Romero didn’t just stay behind the camera as he made a easy to miss cameo in The Silence of the Lambs in 1991 as one of Lecter’s jailers…

George A Romero Silence of the Lambs

Romero not only plied his talent to movies, but also video games too. In 1998, he directed an advert for the then new Resident Evil 2 game. A game franchise that is very heavily influenced by Romero’s ‘Dead’ series of films. He was even asked to direct a whole movie based on the game franchise but declined saying:

 “I don’t wanna make another film with zombies in it, and I couldn’t make a movie based on something that ain’t mine.”

But the time the 2000s rolled around, Romero’s film career was drying up. His influences were still felt throughout the film-making world, and his ‘Dead’ film series started to see numerous remakes as zombies became hugely popular once more. Both Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead saw remakes in the 2000s. As the zombie genre was gaining popularity, Romero decided he was not yet done with his ‘Dead’ series and directed a few more films – Land of the DeadDiary of the Dead and Survival of the Dead. 

Romero also made a cameo as a main boss in the game Call of Duty: Black Ops. He appears as a zombie version of himself in the add-on Call of the Dead zombie map.

George A Romero Call of the Dead

Romero was joined by other horror TV and movie icons, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Danny Trejo, Michael Rooker, and Robert Englund. 

On the 13th of July this year, Romero announced yet another film in his ‘Dead’ series – Road of the Dead and even released an official poster.

George A Romero Road of the Dead

He described the movie as…

“Set in a sanctuary city where this fat cat runs a haven for rich folks, and one of the things that he does is stage drag races to entertain them. There’s a scientist there doing genetic experiments, trying to make the zombies stop eating us, and he has discovered that with a little tampering, they can recall certain memory skills that enable them to drive in these races. It’s really The Fast and the Furious with zombies.”

Just three days later and he passed away. What is going to happen to the movie now is (as of writing) unknown.

George A. Romero’s influence has lasted almost fifty years, from his breakthrough classic Night of the Living Dead in 1968 right up to today. He has had a hand in creating some of the best and most recognisable writers and directors working in horror today. Romero also influenced the video game world and I’m sure he will continue to influence the horror genre in any medium for many more years to come too.

George A. Romero passed away in his sleep on the 16th of July, 2017 following a brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer.

George A Romero

“If I fail, the film industry writes me off as another statistic. If I succeed, they pay me a million bucks to fly out to Hollywood and fart.” – George A. Romero

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Moore, Roger Moore – Licensed To Thrill

I became a James Bond fan in the 80s – mainly due to one man. Sir Roger George Moore who sadly passed away recently. Right here, I’d like to take a look at the legend, his life and career as I remember Roger Moore.

Early Life

Born on 14 October 1927 in Stockwell, London – the only child to policeman George Alfred Moore and his Indian born mother, Lillian Pope. Roger Moore attended Battersea Grammar School, but as the Second World war broke out – the family was evacuated to Holsworthy, Devon where he was educated at Launceston College.

Moore had an apprenticeship at an animation studio – but was fired after making a mistake with one of the animation cells. Around the same time, his father was investigating a robbery that had been reported at the home of film director Brian Desmond Hurst – which in turn led to Moore being introduced to the director and eventually hired as an extra in the film Caesar and Cleopatra from 1945. Hurst was so impressed with the young Roger Moore’s professionalism that he offered to pay Moore’s fees at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Moore spent three terms studying at RADA where, in a strange twist of fate, he met one of his fellow classmates for the first time – Lois Maxwell, who would go on to play Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond franchise.

When he turned 18, Moore was conscripted for national service at the end of WW II. He was commissioned into the Royal Army Service Corps on 21st September 1946 as a second lieutenant. Moore was an officer in the Combined Services Entertainment Section and eventually became a captain, commanding a small depot in West Germany.

Early Career

Moore worked as a model through the early 1950s appearing in print adverts for knitwear and toothpaste.

In 1954, he singed a seven year contract with MGM and the movies he featured in were all disasters. In Moore’s own words…

“At MGM, RGM (Roger George Moore) was NBG [no bloody good].”

Roger Moore

Appearing in the movies, Interrupted Melody, The King’s Thief and Diane – Moore’s MGM contract was cancelled due to the critical and commercial failures.

Moore starting making appearances in TV shows such as, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and the TV series of The Third Man. He landed the lead role as Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe in the TV show, Ivanhoe (1958–1959). After which, he secured yet another lead TV role with The Alaskans (1959–1960) – where Moore played “Silky” Harris. But it was his casting as Beau Maverick for the TV series, Maverick (1960–1961) where Moore started to become recognised. Interestingly enough, a young Sean Connery tried out for the very same role role too.

From his role in Maverick, Moore was then cast as the lead role of the James Bond-esque Simon Templar in The Saint (1962–1969). A role that made Moore an international star on both sides of the Atlantic. Moore was then cast as Brett Sinclair alongside Tony Curtis as Danny Wilde in the TV show, The Persuaders! (1971–1972). The show was a flop in the US but successful in other territories including Europe and Australia.

Just around the corner was the pivotal role that would make Roger Moore a guaranteed superstar.

The James Bond Era

Interestingly enough, Moore had previously been considered for the role of James Bond several years earlier after his success with The Saint. It was around 1966 when Sean Connery declared he was retiring as James Bond and the producers of the successful franchise began looking at a replacement. Moore was too busy with his TV commitments – so he role went to George Lazenby in 1969 before Connery changed his mind (and his bank balance) and returned as James Bond in 1971s Diamonds Are Forever. Then when Connery stepped down for good, this was when Moore got to play James Bond for the first time in Live and Let Die… or so many people believe.

While the 1973 flick, Live and Let Die was Moore’s first cinematic outing as James Bond – he had previously played the role. In 1964, he made a guest appearance as a more humorous take on James Bond in the comedy series Mainly Millicent.

You can watch Moore’s very first James Bond performance right here.

Moore would go on to play Bond in The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy and A View to a Kill. He was the oldest actor to play the role as Moore was 45 when he starred in Live and Let Die and 58 in his final Bond film, A View to a Kill.

Post Bond Career

During the Bond years, Moore made several film appearances including playing the role of an eccentric millionaire so obsessed with Roger Moore that he had had plastic surgery to look like his hero in The Cannonball Run. Yes, Roger Moore played a character that looked and acted like Roger Moore… the casting was perfect.

Yet he didn’t act on screen for five years after retiring as James Bond. It was in 1990 when Moore returned to the screen with the TV show, My Riviera. He also appeared inThe Quest and the Spice Girls movie, Spice World. While the unfunny 2002 movie Boat Trip was critically panned – Moore’s role of an amorous homosexual was highly praised as he got to show off is more comedic talents.

In 2010, Moore voiced the bow-tie wearing, talking cat, Lazenby (get it?) in the family movie Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. Which itself contained more than a handful of James Bond references, in-jokes and parodies. Even after all those years, he could not shake that James Bond persona.

He also has several films in post production waiting to be released in 2017 and 2018 including, Summer Night, Winter Moon, Astrid Silverlock and Troll Hunters.

He was one of the best. Charming, erudite and talented.

Roger Moore died in Switzerland after a brief battle with cancer on 23rd May 2017. He was 89 years old.

Some are blessed with musical ability, others with good looks. Myself, I was blessed with modesty.

Roger Moore

Game Over Man, Game Over! Remembering Bill Paxton

Well this is a kick to the scrotum – we recently lost Bill Paxton and right here, I’d like to remember the man, his career and reveal what Bill was doing the day that JFK was assassinated.

Bill was born in Texas on the 17th May 1955. His first acting job was in a movie called Crazy Mama from 1975, where he played a small uncredited role. He directed and starred in the all too strange and surreal video to the Barnes & Barnes song Fish Heads in 1980.

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself here. You want to know about that JFK connection right? Well…

The above photo is on display At The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. Its a photo of the gathering crowd outside the hotel that JFK was staying in on the 22nd of November, 1963 and it was taken in the morning just as JFK was setting out for his what would be a fatal tour of Dallas, Texas. See that 8 year old boy being lifted above the crowd in the back? That’s Bill Paxton.

Anyway, back to Bill’s movie career. He managed to get a few small roles through the early 80s in movies including Stripes (1981), Night Warning (1982), Streets Of Fire (1984) among others. Yet it was a small role playing a spiky, blue haired street punk in some young and unknown film director’s low budget flick called The Terminator from 1984 that most movie fans remember seeing Bill for the first time.

He may have had the first line in the movie, but he learns the hard way that you just do not pull a flick-knife on a killer cyborg sent from the future. This small role kick-started a long friendship and career with director James Cameron. Bill and James collaborated several times through the years including True Lies (1994) and Titanic (1997). The duo even teamed up for a documentary on the real Titanic called Ghosts of the Abyss released in 2003. And yes, of course James gave Bill his breakthrough role as Private Hudson in the 1986 sequel – Aliens.

Yet there is one more collaboration between Bill and James that not too many people are aware of. You see, in 1982 Bill formed a musical band called; Martini Ranch. They released a song called Reach and the video was directed by none other than James Cameron. The music video is worth watching to see how many other The Terminator and Aliens alumni you can spot. But be on the look out for Lance Henriksen, Paul Reiser and Jenette Goldstein.

Bill continued to forge himself a career as an actor through the 80s and 90s in films and TV. His many, many appearances include; Commando, Back to Back, Next of Kin, Brain Dead, Trespass, Predator 2, Tombstone, Apollo 13 and Twister just to name a few.

By the mid-late 90s, Bill was getting more and more roles. With his performance in the Sam Raimi’s tense thriller A Simple Plan from 1998 being one of my personal favourites.

All through the 2000s, he was continually working in movies and TV. Frasier, Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, Thunderbirds, 2 Guns, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. all featured Bill. He even starred in a sequel TV show to the Denzel Washington movie, Training Day. And I can’t forget the Groundhog Day-esque Edge of Tomorrow where Bill acted alongside Tom Cruise from 2014.

From the morning of the JFK assassination of 1963 and his cheeky appearance to his as yet unreleased movie; The Circle where Bill will be seen acting with Tom Hanks, John Boyega and Emma Watson. Bill had an impressive, long and varied career. But I have always found it strange how he never really become the big leading man in the movies. A handful of larger roles aside, he always seemed to be a secondary character – and I’ve saved the best until last…

Even with over 90 roles in music videos, TV shows, documentaries and of course movies. There is one character in one film that I will always remember Bill Paxton for. You can keep your Private Hudson and Aliens. This is the Bill Paxton I’ll always remember.

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From the John Hughes classic Weird Science – the lovable asshole that is Chet Donnelly. I love this character so damn much even though he’s horrible, overbearing and does nothing but terrorise and bully his younger brother Wyatt throughout the film.

Chet is just so damn memorable with so many quotable lines.

But first I’d like to… butter your muffin.

That’s not a joke, that’s a severe behavioural disorder. I mean, the next thing you know, you’ll be wearing a bra on your head!

Not having a good time? Do you think they’re having a good time being catatonic in a closet?

How ’bout a nice greasy pork sandwich served in a dirty ashtray?

I’m gonna tell Mom and Dad everything. I’m even considering makin’ up some shit!

You two donkey-dicks couldn’t get laid in a morgue.

You’re stewed, buttwad!

And my all time favourite Chet Donnelly line from Weird Science

An accident? An accident? Do you realise it’s snowing in my room goddammit!

I really need to go and re-watch Weird Science for the 157th time.

Bill Paxton died on the 25th February 2017 due to complications from surgery. He was 61.

Thanks for the movie memories Bill.

Anyone who’s worked very hard on a craft or an art to get a certain precision in terms of execution and performance wants to get past all that stuff that holds you up – your ego, all the doubts.

Gene Wilder

Another great lost in 2016.

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Born Jerome Silberman on 11th June, 1933 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He would later become known professionally as Gene Wilder and over the years he became a legend not only on the stage and screen, but also as a writer and director. He took his stage of Gene Wilder name at 26.

Gene Wilder:I had always liked Gene because of Thomas Wolfe’s character Eugene Gant in Look Homeward, Angel and Of Time and the River. And I was always a great admirer of Thornton Wilder.”

Wilder’s first on screen appearance was in the classic Bonnie and Clyde (1967) where he played a hostage. But his big break in films came in the Mel Brooks directed The Producers (1968) where Wilder played Leopold Bloom and even earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. This film also sparked off a long lasting friendship between Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder that would endure for decades.

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It was in 1971 when Wilder auditioned for what would probably become his most famous role.

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He managed to land the role of Willy Wonka in Mel Stuart’s film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. You know that whole initial entrance Wonka has in that film where he walks towards the crowd with a limp and carrying a cane. Then the cane gets stuck in between the cobblestones and he falls forward, but turns it into a forward roll and bounces back up to his feet? Well that was Gene’s idea as he thought it would show a level of uncertainty about the character as to whether he was lying or not, which is something that is played upon later in the film several times. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory was not a huge critical or box office success at the time and even Roald Dahl himself disliked the adaption. But the film gained a cult following over the years and cemented Wilder as one of the all time greats.

Wilder struggled to find a big hit and pretty much every film he starred in at the time had been flops. Woody Allen offered him a role in one segment of his 1972 comedy film, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask). And the film was a success, finally putting an end to Wilder’s string of cinematic flops. It was also around this time when he began writing an little idea for a film he had called Young Frankenstein, an idea he took to Mel Brooks. Mel initially turned the film down, Wilder forgot all about the project and moved onto other things. It was when Wilder’s agent, Mike Medavoy who asked Wilder if he had any ideas for two other clients Medavoy had (Peter Boyle and Marty Feldman) that he decided to restart his little Young Frankenstein idea and again see if Mel Brooks would be interested in directing to which he finally agreed, but Brooks was too busy filming something else to commit. Brooks offered Wilder a role in his new film in the meantime until he was free to direct Young Frankenstein…

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Blazing Saddles (1974) was a moderate hit at the time but eventually became a comedy classic in its own right with Gene Wilder playing Jim, the “Waco Kid”. In 2006, Blazing Saddles was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Both Wilder and Brooks were now free to get to work on the Young Frankenstein film which eventually became a huge commercial success. Wilder and Brooks received Best Adapted Screenplay nominations at the 1975 Oscars for the film but lost out to Francis Coppola and Mario Puzo for their adaptation of The Godfather Part II. But now with Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein both being big hits for Wilder and Brooks, this opened the doors for both of them to try other projects and next up, Wilder wrote and and made his directorial debut with The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother (1975).

Sometime in 1975, Wilder’s agent sent him a script for a film titled Super Chief and he even suggested Richard Pryor for a part in the film. The title of the film was changed to Silver Streak (1976) and marked the beginning of yet another long lasting partnership.

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For the rest of the 70s, Wilder wrote, produced and directed several films including The World’s Greatest Lover (1977) and The Frisco Kid (1979) which was originally to star John Wayne, but due to ill health he couldn’t commit and sadly died in June 1979. The part was then offered to some newcomer called Harrison Ford instead.
As the new decade of the 80s rolled around, Wilder went from strength to strength first appearing alongside Richard Pryor once more in the Sidney Poitier directed film Stir Crazy (1980). Wilder also directed his third film, The Woman in Red (1984) which won an Oscar for Best Original Song for Stevie Wonder’s song “I Just Called to Say I Love You”.

The 80s were coming to a close and the idea to team up Wilder and Pryor once more came about with the film See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989).

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The 90s marked the end of an era for both Wilder and Pryor when they starred in the film, Another You (1991) which would prove to be not only the final film on which they would work together on, but also the final appearance in a starring role for both of them. Though Wilder and Pryor made other appearances in films and TV shows, neither of them ever starred in a feature film again and Pryor died in 2005. Strangely enough, while Wilder and Pryor had one of the most memorable onscreen friendships, they never got on off screen and were far from friends.
In 1994, Wilder did star in the sitcom, Something Wilder. As well as appearing in the TV movies, Alice in Wonderland, Murder in a Small Town and The Lady in Question. Wilder also guest stared in the sitcom Will & Grace and even won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor on a Comedy Series for his role.

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While no longer a star of the big screen and only making small appearances on TV. Wilder was still considered one of the all time greats and still kept himself busy through the 2000s with his writing. In 2005, he wrote and released his highly personal memoir, Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art. In 2007, Wilder also wrote his first novel, My French Whore and followed that up in 2008 with a second, The Woman Who Wouldn’t. In 2010 he then released a collection of stories called What Is This Thing Called Love? And In 2013 he wrote his third novel, Something to Remember You By: A Perilous Romance.

Gene Wilder died at the age of 83 on the 28th August, 2016, at home in Stamford, Connecticut, from complications of Alzheimer’s disease.

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Gene Wilder:I never thought of it as God. I didn’t know what to call it. I don’t believe in devils, but demons I do because everyone at one time or another has some kind of a demon, even if you call it by another name, that drives them.

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John Hughes

I think growing up in the 80s was where my love of film steamed from and when it comes to 80s cinema, John Hughes was one of the very best writer/directors of the time. It would have been his birthday today too (18/2).

JH

So this here is going to be my tribute to one of my all time favourite film-makers.
Starting with this “In Memorandum” here and with me also taking a look at some of my own favourite films of his in a retrospective.

Born John Wilden Hughes Jr on February 18 1950 in Lansing, Michigan.

Hughes dropped out of the University of Arizona and started his career by selling jokes to well known performers of the day such as Rodney Dangerfield and Joan Rivers. Hughes subsequently penned a story, inspired by his family trips as a child called; Vacation ’58, this story caught the attention of the famed comedy magazine National Lampoon magazine where he was offered a staff job.

His first credited screenplay; Class Reunion, was written while still on staff at the magazine and was eventually turned into the movie; National Lampoon’s Class Reunion (1982). This was the third film produced by National Lampoon. The first film being; Animal House (1978), which was a success. So National Lampoon wanted to repeat that success and followed it up with; National Lampoon’s Class Reunion (1982) National Lampoon’s Movie Madness (filmed in 1981 but not released until 1983). The second two films were a disaster and almost closed the movie branch of National Lampoon for good.

Yet Hughes had another film script up his sleeve, one based off his story; Vacation ’58. What we got from that was…

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National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983) was a major hit and put National Lampoon back on the map.
Shorty after, Hughes landed a three movie deal with Universal Studios.
His directorial debut; Sixteen Candles (1984) was another big hit and proved Hughes was a writer/director worth watching. John followed up this success with other big hits like The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Weird Science and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Not wanting to be pigeon-holed as a writer/director of teen comedies, he decided to go a more ‘adult’ route in 1987 with the amazing; Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

trio

John had a relatively short career as a director with only 8 films to his name between 1982 to 1991 with his last film as a director; Curly Sue (1991).
He was more known for his writing. But despite such a short directing career, he did make some of the most memorable films of that era.
In the 90s, Hughes concentrated more on his writing, with his biggest hit as a writer being; Home Alone (1990).

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Many would suggest his writing during the mid 90s got slowly worse and worse with some people claiming that Hughes became lazy and uninspired. That he just began phoning in his work around the mid 90s and was living off the success of one of his bigger hit films of that decade as a writer, Home Alone.
However, I’d like to offer my own personal reason and even explanation as to why John Hughes went ‘off the boil’ in the 90s and never truly recovered.
John Hughes was very close to and best friends with the amazing John Candy, who unexpectedly died in 1994. I quite honestly believe that Hughes lost much more than just a friend with the loss of John Candy.
I believe Hughes lost his whole drive and passion for the industry when John Candy died.

Despite the loss of his close friend, Hughes still maintained a popular writing career when he penned sequels to Home Alone, the Beethoven series, Dennis the Menace, Baby’s Day Out, the live action 101 Dalmatians, Flubber and various other screenplays.

Hughes had an amazing but short directing career in the 80s and he defined and inspired a generation, but despite being a prolific movie writer in the 90s, he would never see that level of success ever again.

John Hughes died August 6, 2009 after suffering a severe heart attack. He was 59.

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John Hughes:Many film makers portray teenagers as immoral and ignorant, with pursuits that are pretty base. But I haven’t found that to be the case, I listen to kids, I respect them. Some of them are as bright as any of the adults I’ve met.

Thanks for all your work in the 80s John, the decade just wouldn’t have been the same without you. I won’t forget about you.
Also check out my personal retrospective look at my favourite John Hughes films.

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Alan Rickman

What a shitty few days eh?
On Sunday, we lost a musical genius and true artist with David Bowie. Now one of the most amazing and talented actors to ever grace the screen or tread the boards has now gone too.

Strangely enough they have both died at the age of 69 and both from cancer too.

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Alan was born Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman on 21 February 1946.
He was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and got his first acting role in a TV movie of Romeo & Juliet in 1978 playing Tybalt. His big break came with his role as the Vicomte de Valmont in the stage production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses in 1985, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award. His stage performances include The Seagull, Romeo and Juliet, A View from the Bridge, As You Like It and The Barchester Chronicles through the 70s and 80s.

It was during the late 80s when he moved to L.A to peruse a career in movies, and what a career he had.
His film roles include parts in Truly Madly Deeply, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Sense and Sensibility. The TV movie Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny for which Alan won both a Golden Globe and an Emmy.
One of my favourite films; Dogma. He even showed his more playful and comedic talent in Galaxy Quest and even provided a voice for the animated sit-com, King Of The Hill.
Of course Alan also lent his amazing talent to the Harry Potter franchise playing Severus Snape.

Snape

As a well as featuring in the Tim Burton films; Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Alice in Wonderland as well as its upcoming sequel.

I have only touched on a few of this great actors performances over the years.

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Rickman not only had an illustrious career as an actor but also a director on both the silver screen and also theatre.
In 2005, he directed the award-winning play; My Name is Rachel Corrie. He also directed two feature films; The Winter Guest (1997) and A Little Chaos (2014).

Rickman had one of those very distinctive and claiming voices. You could just close your eyes right now and hear him in your head can’t you?

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Of his many, many roles, the one I will always remember him for is Hans Gruber from Die Hard.

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One of the best action/thrillers of the 80s. Based on the novel; Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp. The film was the first starring role for the then relatively unknown Bruce Willis. Yet it was Rickman that stole the show playing Hans Gruber, leader of a “terrorist” group taking control of a skyscraper and holding 40 odd hostages.

Hans was slick, charming, charismatic…but also ruthless, deadly and sadistic. He could make you smile and just as easily put a bullet between your eyes too. A bad guy you really enjoyed watching and could even root for. Alan played the part perfectly and the character has left a lasting impression on a generation of film fans like myself.
Bruce was good, but this film would just not have worked as well as it did without Alan Rickman as the big bad.

He also landed this iconic and career defining role only two days after moving to L.A. to pursue a film career.

Alan Rickman was to acting what Elvis was to music. Did not matter what he was doing whether it be comedy, drama, romance, action, etc. He could do it all and always impressed each and every time.
He could even make an unbearable film enjoyable to watch just by being in it.

One of the best villainous actors of all time.
When Alan was good, he was great. But when he was bad he was even better.

Alan Rickman died in London on January 14th 2016 at the age of 69 from cancer.

There is really only one way to say goodbye to the man that played Hans Gruber…

Happy trails Hans.

Alan

Alan Rickman:I do feel more myself in America. I can regress there, and they have roller-coaster parks.

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Gunnar Hansen

Its been a shitty few months for horror fans, first Wes Craven and now, I just read Gunnar Hansen died and if you don’t know who Gunnar Hansen was then you lack horror film knowledge and are in need of educating.

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Gunnar was born on March 4, 1947 in Reykjavik, Iceland. He moved to the US at the age of 5 with his family and lived in Maine until the age of 11, when the family again moved this time to Texas.
Gunnar majored in English and mathematics as an undergraduate.

He held several jobs after school including working as a computer operator, dabbled in theatre work during college. His big frame made him perfect for a football player during high school, and for a while a bar bouncer.

It was in 1973 when Gunner heard of a horror film being made in his home town of Austin, Texas that he decided to try out for a role.
That film was the infamous; The Texas Chain Saw Massacre directed by Tobe Hooper and the role he landed was Leatherface.

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Despite The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’s success, Hansen turned his back on acting only appearing in the film The Demon Lover (1977). He even turned down a role in the Wes Craven directed; The Hills Have Eyes (1977). Hansen instead moved back to Maine and started pursuing a writing career.
Hansen eventually returned to acting in 1988 with the spoof film; Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers and appeared in over 20 films since.
He even eventually returned to the franchise that made him famous with Texas Chainsaw 3D in 2013 appearing in a cameo role.

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Gunnar was also a successful writer with his; Islands at the Edge of Time, A journey to America’s Barrier Islands being published in 1993. He also wrote 2013’s; Chain Saw Confidential, which covered the making of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and its infamous reception and influence.

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Gunnar Hansen died at his home in Maine from pancreatic cancer on November 7, 2015. He was 68.

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Gunnar Hansen:I never thought I had it in me. Just before production started, I was sitting in a drugstore, had nothing at all planned for the summer, heard about the casting call, and decided to try out on a lark. I was 26 years old, just out of graduate school.

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