This is definitely a birthday worth mentioning. Director George A. Romero was born on February 4th, 1940, which makes him 72 years old today. There’s very little to say that many of you don’t already know, horror just wouldn’t be the same without him. Nor would the pop culture landscape. Even though many of the zombies we celebrate today are modernized, or faster, their DNA is very much entwined with the iteration of the creature that Romero brought to life in Night Of The Living Dead in 1968.
Romero would of course go on to expand his zombie universe in Dawn Of The Dead, Day Of The Dead, Land Of The Dead, Diary Of The Dead and Survival Of The Dead. Even though these films run the gamut from “masterpiece” to “skippable” they’re all unified by his urge to use zombies as a vehicle to discuss larger social issues. Without Romero, horror would have a lot less subtext.
Of course he hasn’t only done zombie movies! His filmography also contains Monkey Shines, Creepshow, The Dark Half, Martin, Knightriders and The Crazies (which is sort of zombie-esque I guess).
Wish George A. Romero a happy birthday and do yourself a favor and check out one of his lesser known works today!
December 26th, 1973.
William Friedkin’s horror masterpiece The Exorcist has more cojones than any mainstream horror film I’ve seen in years. It’s an amazingly brutal, profane, scary and funny film – one that simply couldn’t be made today within the studio system. Not a chance. The fact that this movie came out 39 years ago blows my mind.
According to BoxOfficeMojo, the film has taken in around $232,906,145 at the US Box Office and $208,400,000 in foreign markets for a combined worldwide total of $441,306,145. Huge numbers for a movie with a production budget of $10.5 million, a figure that by today’s studio standards seems scant. In short, the movie wasn’t just a hit – it was a global phenomenon (even though those numbers include the gross of 2000′s successful re-release).
I wasn’t even born 39 years ago and I imagine the same could be said by a large chunk of our readers. Why do you guys think we don’t see movies like The Exorcist hit that same level of mainstream awareness today? Are audiences weaker? Are the corporate-owned studios more cowardly? Is there some sort of new politically correct awareness that is actually increasing the limits on what’s deemed appropriate in the artistic marketplace? I have my own theories, but I want to here from you.
With Halloween being one of the all-time great landmark horror films, it’s hard to overestimate just how important each piece of that film is. And a fairly important component of that film, Nancy Kyes (aka Nancy Loomis, as she was originally credited in the film), was born on December 19th, 1949.
Not only did she play Annie Brackett in the Halloween she had a small appearance in Halloween II (as the same character) and played Tom Atkins’ ex-wife in Halloween III: Season Of The Witch, which I believe makes her to only performer to actually be onscreen in the first three Halloween films. She also had a great role in John Carpenter’s The Fog.
I actually included her in a post earlier this year on underrated horror performances in which I wrote, “It’s a shame that Nancy Kyes (aka Nancy Loomis) has disappeared from the film world. She was an intelligent, strong and funny screen presence whose combined attributes made her sexy. And her Annie Brackett might just be my favorite character in John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween’. Where Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode was stridently virginal and demure and P.J. Soles’ Lynda was stridently sexual and rebellious – Annie struck a good middle ground between those two extremes.“
Not THE King Kong, but the 1976 King Kong that starred Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin and Jessica Lange – yes, Lange from “American Horror Story” – opened in theaters across America.
Budgeted at $24 million, the John Guillermin-directed “remake” made $52 million at the box office. It opened to $7,023,921 on December 17 weekend in 1976. It was the 7th highest grossing film of 1977. The great Dino De Laurentiis produced this gem.
“The Big Apple is again besieged by the monstrous King Kong. Bridges and Lange star in this ambitious remake of the 1933 original, which adds a great deal of camp and good fun to the story. Again, the gargantuan ape battles attacking aircraft high above the streets of New York, this time plunging from the top of the World Trade Center to his death amidst thousands of horrified onlookers.”
King Kong won an Oscar for special effects. READ MORE
We’re starting a new series of posts where we – on occasion – will highlight something significant that occurred in the yesteryears of a specific date. It won’t always be birthdays, but today we are noting that Robert Englund was born on this date in 1947.
Without him the following films and TV shows would have been irretrievably different, and in some cases they might not have existed at all. A Nightmare On Elm Street Parts 1-6, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, Freddy Vs. Jason, The Phantom Of the Opera, C.H.U.D. 2: Bud The Chud, “Freddy’s Nightmares”, The Adventures Of Ford Fairlane, Night Terrors, Wishmaster, Urban Legend, Strangeland, Hatchet, Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon, Zombie Strippers and many, many… many more! Happy Birthday Robert!