Πέμπτη, 30 Αυγούστου 2012

Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott the master of science fiction horror cinema







Ridley Scott is an English filmmaker (film director and producer). Ridley Scott’s film are considered among the best not only in horror genre but also in science fiction, and historical genre. He is known to audience for film masterpieces like Alien (1979), Blade Runner (1982), Thelma and Louise (1991), Gladiator (2000), Black Hawk Down (2001), Matchstick Men (2003), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), American Gangster (2007), Robin Hood (2010) and Prometheus (2012).   

Ridley Scott was knightend, from Queen Elizabeth II on 8 July of 2003, he has been also nominated for three Academy Awards and two Golden Globe and two BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television).   

Early Life of Ridley Scott


Ridley Scott was born  in Northeastern England in the coastal town of South Shields on 30 November 1937, son of Elizabeth and Colonel Francis Percy Scott. Ridley Scotts father was officer of Royal Engineers and cause of his father’s duties the Scott family moved around. After Second World War the Scott family was return to their home town to North East England. Ridley Scott was enjoying watching films like Lawrence of Arabia, Citizen Cane and Seven samurai.



Ridley Scott's education and first film


Ridley Scott studied at Grangefield Grammar School also in West Hartepool College of Art then he studied at the Royal College of Art.     

The Boy and the Bicycle (1962)




Ridley Scott during his studies at the Royal College of Art shot his first black and white short film “The Boy and the Bicycle” which was shot on 16 mm film. The film is important and reflects a number of visual elements that would be Ridley Scott’s most used film techniques and and also his future film themes, images and patterns. Also, film features Scott’s younger brother Anthony David “Tonny” Scott a film director, too.  The short film “The Boy and the Bicycle” has been released as extra feature on the DVD of “The Duelists” - Ridley Scott’s first feature. After The Boy and bicycle Ridaley Scott did not direct for the next 15 years.


You can watch Ridley Scott’s  short film “The Boy and the Bicycle” on Youtube



Ridley Scott's first job

Ridley Scott after graduation started his career as a trainee set designer at BBC and he worked on the popular TV series “Z - Cars” and the science fiction series “Out of the Unknown”. Later he was assigned to create the set design for the second serial of “Doctor Who” and “The Daleks”.


The Ridley Scott Associates (RSA)


Ridley Scott in 1968, founded the film and commercial production company “Ridley Scott Associates”. During the 1970’s RSA produced a large number of commercials among them is the Hovis advert known also as “Bike Round” in 1973.


You can watch Ridley Scott’s  Hovis - TV Advert  “Bike Round” on Youtube




Ridley Scott's first feature - The Duelists (1977)





The Duelists is the first feature of Ridley Scott ands it’s a drama film with strong elements of historical epic adventure. The Duelists plot structure is based on the short story “The Duel” of Joseph Conrad. The Duelists film won the Best Debut Film award at Cannes Film Festival and open the horizons to Ridley Scott for a unique career in cinema.


The plot of Duelists is about the quarrel between two officer of Napoleonic French Army - Lieutenant Gabriel Feraurd (Harvey Keitel) - Liuetenant Armand d’Hubert (Keith Carradine). The quarrel started as a joke and turned into a deadly struggle  over a period of fifteen years. The plot structure of Duelists is developed during the Napoleonic Wars, Ridley Scott achieved to present to audience the authentic historical presentation of Napoleonic era.

The story plot of Duelists starts in 1800 in Strasbourg at the house of a local lady. Feraurd (Harvey Keitel) challanges d’ Hubert, d’ Hubert knocks Feraurd unconscious.
In 1801in Augsburg, Feraurd meets de’ Hubert and immediately challenge him to duel and he woods him very seriously.
In 1806 in Lubeck, Feraurd meets d’ Hubert, both of them have been promoted to captains, and Feraurd challange d’ Hubert to duel. The duel in Lubeck is fought on hourse - back and finally d’ Hubert wins. Feraurd is woundede on the forehead and he bleeds heavily into his eyes.
After, Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, both Feraurd and d’ Hubert have been promoted to Brigadier - generals and Feraurd challenges d’Hubert to duel with pistols. Feraurd fires his pistols but he can not wound d’ Hubert. D’Hubert is at very close rank and can easily kill Feraurd but he does not shoot and according to duel tradition he owns the life of Feraurd.

The Duelists, film was shoot in France (Sarlat - at - Caneda in Dorlonge). Both fencing techniques and the Napoleonic uniforms were accurate and presented successfully the authentic picture of the Napoleonic era.


You can see Ridley Scott's "The Duelists" videos on youtube:     

Alien (1979)






The second film of Ridley Scott is “Alien” and it’s among the best and most significant science fiction  - horror films ever. The screenplay of “Alien” was written by Dan O Bannon
. The structure plot of Alien is about the struggle of a merchant spaceships crew against a deadly alien creature. Only a woman survives and actually Alien is a final girl film in space. Alien won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects and numerous other Awards (Saturn Award, Hugo Award). On the other hand Alien was a huge commercial success in box office revenue.






You can see Ridley Scott's "Alien" videos on youtube: (you can click here)     


Blade Runner (1982)




Blade Runner is the second film of Ridley Scott. In my opinion Blade Runner is not just a film it’s a masterpiece of seventh art - cinema. Blade Runner is a science fiction film with significant elements of film noir directed by Ridley Scott and actually is a film adapted by the novel ”Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K. Dick. The screenplay of Blade Runner was written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples, among the cast of Blade Runner are Harrison Ford, Rotger Hauer etc.

The plot structure of Blade Runner is developed at Los Angeles in the future year of 2012. The Tyrell Corporation has developed the technological means to create generally engineered organic robots known as replicants. Replicants are almost indistinguishable from humans. Replicants are not allowed to operate on Earth they are used only for heavy, unhealthy and dangerous works in space colonies. Replicants who escape and return back on Earth are illegal and they special police officers known as Blade Runners are after them to “retire” (science fiction slang for the world - kill) them.
The main character of the film is a Blade Runner. The retired police officer Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is assigned to find and ”retire” several replicants (Tyrell Corporation Nexus - 6 model) who have returned on Earth and they are looking to expand their life because the Nexus 6 models are programmed to life only four years.



Rick Deckard “retires” the majority of illegal replicants bu he fells in love with  a Rachael an experimental replicant who believes that she is human. Deckard and Rachael run away from Los Angeles.

Blade Runner is one of the most significant science fiction films it’s recognized by American Film Institute (the 6th in the list of Top Science Fiction Films of all times and 97th in the list of AFI’s 100 years, …, 100 Movies”.

You can see Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" videos on youtube: (you can click here)     




Legend is the fourth film of Ridley Scott. Legend is a fantasy film with strong elements of Northern Mythology, fairy tales and Aesop's fables such as unicorns, goblins, demons even the Lord of Darkness, the story line of the film Legend is developed into a mythical forest. Legend was distributed by Universal Studios and among the cast of the film is Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennan, Alice Playten, Billy Barty and Cork Hubbert etc. The screenplay of the Legend was written by William Hjostsberg.

You can see Ridley Scott's "Legend" videos on youtube: (you can click here)     




To be continued


Τετάρτη, 29 Αυγούστου 2012

John Carpenter

John Carpenter the master of horror Cinema






John Howard Carpenter is an American filmmaker (film director, screenwriter, producer, editor) and music composer. John Carpenter has created a large number of significant films in his four decade career. Especially, John Carpenter’s films in horror and science fiction are among the bests during the period of 70’s and 80’s.


John Carpenter’s early years


John Carpenter was born in New York (Carthage) and was risen in an artistic environment, his father was Howard Ralph Carpenter was music professor. In 1953 John Carpenter’s family moved in Kentucky. During his childhood and teenage hood years John Carpenter was captivated by Howard Hawks movies and especially from low - budget horror and science fiction movies like “The Thing from Another World” (Christian Nyby - Howart Hawks, 1951) and “The forbidden planet” (Fred Wilcox, 1956). The influence of the above mentioned films is obvious in John Carpenter’s works, characteristic is the scene in Halloween film (John Carpenter, 1978) where the main character “the last girl” watches on TV “The thing from another planet” during  hers babysitting part time job. The 50s films are responsible for John Carpenters decision to follow a career in cinema. According to “I have to writte the name of the book” John Carpenter’s mother took him to watch Jack Arnold’s film “It Came from Outer Space” (Jack Arnold, 1953) and as the young boy from Carthage of New York was watching a cinematic meteor hurtled toward  him in 3 - D and exploding in his face, young John Carpenter started to dream a career as filmmaker. John Carpenter was a fan of fifties B - movies and this actually is reflected in all his works not only as director but also as film producer, writer, actor and score composer of his films, there are obvious elements of fifties films. Also, John Carpenter’s favorite theme - storyline - plot and film concept is about a group of people pulling together while they struggling against an unexplained, unstoppable and unforgettable to audience outside forces.                                     

John Carpenter began shooting his own short films before entering high school using a 8 mm camera. Initially started his studies in Western Kentucky University in 1968 and then  he moved in the School of Cinematic Arts to the University of Southern California. John Carpenter’s desire was to stop his studies and devoted himself by making his first feature.

John Carpenter's film career


Captain Voyeur is a 8 minute short film and is the first film project of John Carpenter created during his film course at University of Southern California (USC) and it was filmed in 1969. John Carpenter wrote and directed Captain Voyuer short film. According to Hollywood Reporter, Captain Voyeur short film was found at USC archives and there are cinematic elements, that are reflected in John Carpenter’s later masterpiece Halloween (1978).




In 1970, John Carpenter with John Longenecker won the Academy Award of Best Live Action Short Film. “The Resurrection of Broncho Billy” is a western short film and is about a young man who lives in a big city but he dreams the old west and western heroes. “The Ressurection of Broncho Billy” was released by Universal Studios in North America (United States and Canada).



You can see “The Ressurection of Broncho Billy” on Youtube: (You can click here)     


John Carpenter’s early films



Dark Star (John Carpenter, 1974) is the first feature of John Carpenter and is a science fiction film. John Carpenter collaborate with Dan O' Bannon in the creation of Dark Star is a low budget and it was completed because of John Carpenter’s multitasking skills (he composed the musical score, wrote the script, directed and produced the film). Dan O’ Bannon played a part in Dark Star and he did the special effects. Dark Starr was not an unnoticed film, John Carpenter’s abilites skills and talented was noticed but most of all, was his ability to complete film projects with limited resources on low budget.  I need to mention that Dan O' Bannon wrote later the film Alien and his special effects abilities were noticed by George Lucas who hired him to do special effects work for Star Wars.






You can see “Dark Star on Youtube:(you can click here )     


Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)


John Carpenter wrote, directed composed and edited the score of Assault on Precinct 13, a low budget thriller with a plot structure about a story line inner city police siege. The siege concept was inspired by Howard Hawks film Rio Bravo and by the Night of the Living Dead . John Carpenter used a nickname John T. Chance as editor. John T. Chance is a fictional character played by John Wayne in the film Rio Bravo. John Carpenter latter said that Assault on Precinct 13, was actually his first real film because he used a schedule during the production of the film.

The budget of Assault on Precinct 13 was $ 100.000 John Carpenter casted experienced actors like Austin Stoker and Dorwin Joston. Assault on Precinct 13 is the first collaboration of John Carpenter with Debra Hill, screenwriter who played an important part creating John Carpenter most significant films.

Initially, the Assault on Precinct 13 film was released in United States. The box - office results were not enthusiastic. In Europe and especially in London Film Festival (1977) started the change of Assault on Precinct 13 destiny and it became a critical and commercial success. After the European success of the film Assault on Predicint 13 it was time for a second review of the film in United States. Finally, Assault on Predicint 13 is widely recognized as one of the best exploitation films and the starting point of John Carpenter’s career.



You can see “Assault on Precinct 13” on Youtube: (you can click here)



Someone in Watching me! (known also as High Rise)

John Carpenter wrote and directed the TV movie “Someone is watching me" is a thriller about a single, working woman who is being stalked after hers arrival in Los Angeles. John Carpenter builds suspense slowly and intrigues before the final confrontation using Alfred Hitchcock techniques and tips.

Halloween (1978)


John Carpenter’s masterpiece a smash hit and the film which inspired the creation of slasher sub - genre. Halloween (1978)  plot structures is about Michael Myers a six year - old boy who kills on Halloween night her sister after she had sex with her boyfriend. Fifteen years later Michael escapes from the mental institution, he is back and it’s Halloween night and he kills a group of teenagers only a girl survives. Halloween inspired relative films related with specific dates like Friday the 13th and My Bloody Valentine and also the “final girl survives” (the first film with a last girl survives was Texas Chainsaw Massacre). Final girl films are like “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, “Scream”, “Final Destination”, “I know what you did last summer", “Hellraiser”, “Allien”, “Strangers”, “The Ring”, “The Grudge”, “Terror Train”, “The Cabin in the woods” and “Resident Evil”.

The Halloween script was written by Debra Hills and John Carpenter. Halloween is a low budget film about $ 320.000 and the box - office earnings were about $ 71 million, making Halloween one of the most successful independent films of all times.

Actually, John Carpenter in Halloween used suspense building techniques rather than gore and violence. John Carpenter said in an scifil.com interview about Halloween “true crass exploitation, I decide to make a film I would love to have seen as a kid, full of cheap tricks like a haunted house and a fair where you walk down the corridor and things jump out at you”. Also, he said that he is not making a moral statement in Halloween and that he is not making is viewed the characters as simply normal teenagers. John Carpenter also wrote the Halloween score which remains among the most significant music themes of the day.

After, Halloween, there was a large number of films that mimicked John Carpenter’s film techniques and plot structure very view achieved a such commercial and critical success as Halloween.              


You can see “Halloween tailer” on youtube: (click here)     

Elvis (1979)



John Carpenter directed the TV movie “Elvis” which it became a smash hit. The TV Film Elvis is an important film project because from this project started a long term collaboration of John Carpenter with actor Kurt Russell who was nominated for an Emmy Award for his performance in Elvis.


You can see “Elvis” on youtube: (you can click here)     

The Fog (1980)



John Carpenter directed and co- wrote with Debra Hill the revenge ghost pirate tale. Resources of inspiration for the fog film were Horror Comics such as Tales from the Crypt and a 50s movie with title “The Crawling eye ” with a plot structure about monsters hiding in clouds. John Carpenter re - shot about one third of the Fog film to achieve the desired result. Fog was a huge commercial success of John Carpenter. The budget of Fog was about $ 1.000.000 and it crossed only in United States over of $ 21.000.000.


You can watch John Carpenter's film trailer "The Fog" on youtube:(you can click here)


Escape from New York (1981)




After Fog John Carpenter directed the Science Fiction adventure “Escape from New York” with Kurt Russell playing the part of the main character. Escape from New York plot structure is based on the rescue action of a special skilled men in a very dangerous environment and within a time deadline. According to “Escape from New York” the rate of criminality in USA has risen over 400% and the Island of Manhattan (New York) was converted to a huge prison. The Air Force One airplane is hijacked and it was crashed into Manhattan. The President of United States is hostage at the hands of a criminal - terrorist gang. An expert special forces sholdier (Kurt Russell) and a team of high skilled police officers have to safe the president and to find a secrete cassette tape within 24 hours deadline. The “Escape from New York” was a major commercial success for John Carpenter earned in box - office about $ 25.446.626 in United States.


You can watch John Carpenter's film trailer "Escape from New York " on youtube:(you can click here)


The Thing (1982)



John Carpenter’s horror - science fiction film “The Thing” is based on Howard Hawks film “The thing from another world” and John W. Campbell novella “Who goes there?”. The Thing was the first film with high production values, such as expensive and innovative special effects and visual effects and stars among the film  cast (as Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David). The budget of “The Thing” was $ 15.000.000 and it was distributed by Universal Pictures .

Unfortunately, “The Thing” was a financial disaster for John Carpenter. After the initial theater release The Thing found a new life in the home video and cable distribution channels. Nowdays, “The Thing” is generally recognized among the best horror films ever made.

You can watch John Carpenter's film trailer "The Thing " on youtube:(you can click here)




Christine (1983)



John Carpenter film Christine is the adaption of the Steven King novel with the same name. The plot structure of the film is about a high - school student who acquires an old 1958 Plymouth Fury, the student restores the Old Plymouth which later turns out to be gifted with supernatural powers and the high - school student unnaturally is obsessed with his car. Christine was a huge commercial success of John Carpenter crossing $ 21.450.000 in USA box - office.

You can watch John Carpenter's film trailer "Christine " on youtube:(you can click here)



Starman (1984)



Starman was produced by Michael Douglas and John Carpenter was selected to direct Starman because of his ability to film action scenes and also convey a strong emotional impact to the audience. Starman received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Jeff Bridge’s portrayal of Starman and received a Golden Globe nominations for best musical score.

You can watch John Carpenter's film trailer "Starman" on youtube:(you can click here)



Big Trouble in Little China (1986)



John Carpenter directed Big Trouble in Little China a big - budget action martial arts comedy. The main character of the film is played by Kurt Russell. The film turn a big box office failure and after the Big Trouble in Little China it was very difficult for John Carpenter to finance his next film projects.

After Big Trouble Little China, John Carpenter returned on known and already tested profit making film business models. Low budget but innovative, clever and unforgettable horror movies.

You can watch John Carpenter's film trailer "Big Trouble in Little China " on youtube:(you can click here)



The Prince of Darkness (1987)



John Carpenter directed Prince of Darkness and according to his own statement this film with “The Thing” (John Carpenter, 1982) and “In the Mouth of Madness” (John Carpenter, 1995) are the Trilogy of Apocalypse.

The plot of Prince of Darkness is about a well kept secret by Catholic church, the incarnation of Satan as a green liquid. A group of students tries to explain the mystery behind the Green liquid. Two of the students killed the next day, one of them is murdered by a road tramp (Alice Cooper) and the other is killed by scissors. In the following days small jets of the green liquid escapes and then starts a series of attacks and supernatural events. Actually, Prince of Darkness script is based on John Carpenter’s loved story - plot structure a group of young people atr trapped into an unfriendly environment strugglibg to survive against an unexplained force. In Prince of Darkness participate Donald Pleasence, Victor Wong, Jameson Parker, Lisa Blount, Dennis Dun, Susan Blanchard etc. Prince of Darkness is a commercial success for John Carpenter and in my opinion in underestimated from the industry.

You can watch John Carpenter's film trailer "Prince of Darkness" on youtube:(you can click here)


They Live (1988)



They Live is a science fiction, horror film directed and written by John carpenter. Actually John Carpenter adapted Ray Nelson's “Eight O’ Clock in the Morning” novel under the nickname of Frank Armitage. The plot structure of They Live film is about the discovery of our world domination by humanoid aliens. They are in disguise and they can be seen only through special sunglasses and special broadcasters transmit mind control messages and hide them among us. The main character of the film is a nameless unemployed drifter who finds job in Los Angeles and he finds the special sunglasses and discovers the conspiracy of humanoid androids. The main character struggles to convince other humans and finally he destroys the broadcaster who transmits mind control messages to people before being killed by alliens. “They Live” was a commercial success for John Carpenter, it was distributed by Universal Studios and it’s Box - office revenue in United States was $ 13 million.


You can watch John Carpenter's film trailer "They Live " on youtube:(you can click here)






John Carpenter directed the Memoirs of an Invisible Man , which is based on the science fiction novel of H.F. Saint with the same name. Actually the memoirs of Invisible man film is a multi genre film combining elements of drama, science fiction, suspense and comedy. Unfortunately the film did not achieve the expected box - office revenues.

You can watch John Carpenter's film trailer "Memoirs of an Invisible Man" on youtube:(you can click here)

Village of the Damned (1995)



John Carpenter directed the Village of the Damned a science fiction horror movie and it’s based on John Wyndham novel “The Midwich Cuckoos”. Also, John Carpenter’s Village of the Damned is actually a remake of the same name film in 1960’s. Both the novel and the initially film were created in United Kingdom. John Carprenter’s remake was produced in United States and the story structure is developed in a coastal town in West Cost, California. The film Village of the Damned was not a box - office success.

You can watch John Carpenter's film trailer "Village of the Damned" on youtube:(you can click here)

Escape from LA (Los Angeles) - 1996



Escape from LA  is a science fiction action movie directed by John Carpenter and it’s being considered a sequel of Escape from New York film. Escape from L.A. was produced by Debra Hill and Kurt Russell . The screen play of the film was written by John Carpenter, Debra Hill and Kurt Russell.

You can watch John Carpenter's film trailer "Escape from LA" on youtube:(you can click here)

In the mouth of madness (1995)



The film "In the mouth of madness" is the third film of the Apocalypse Trilogy (the other films are The Thing and Price of Darkness). John Carpenter also composed the soundtrack of the film.

You can watch John Carpenter's film trailer "In the mouth of madness " on youtube:(you can click here)


Vampires (1998)




Vampires is a horror film with elements of western directed by John carpenter. The film is a about a group of mercenaries hired by Catholic church to protect a centuries - old cross from failing into the hands of a master vampire. The film is based on the Vampire$ novel by John Steakley.


You can watch John Carpenter's film trailer "Vampires" on youtube:(you can click here)

Ghosts of Mars (2001)


Ghosts of Mars is a fiction horror film directed by John Carpenter who also wrote the script and composed the soundtrack of the film. Unfortunately the Ghosts of Mars film was a financial and critical failure for John Carpenter.


You can watch John Carpenter's film trailer "Ghosts of Mars" on youtube:(you can click here)


The Ward (2010)


The Ward is the last film directed by John Carpenter and it’s a psychological horror film. The Ward screenplay was written by Michael and Shawn Rasmussen. The plot structure of Ward is developed in relation with an institutionalised woman Kristen (the main character) who believes that an unstoppable, unknown and evil power is after her and it’s going to kill her. Kristen is institutionalised at a Ward with other patients (Iris, Sarah, Emily, Zoy etc) At the end of the film it will revealed to audience that Kristen is suffering from multiple personality disorder creating and living with the personalities of Tammy, Zoey, Sarah, Emily and Iris. By the passage of time her own personality was overwhelmed by the others and now Kristen is trapped and completely lost into a labyrinth of mental disorder.  Ward was presented first time at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival and it was released in US theaters in July of2011.



You can watch John Carpenter's film trailer "The Ward" on youtube:(you can click here)
 


John Carpenter in Masters of Horror


Showtime John Carpenter directed an episode of Masters of Horror series with other 12 filmmakers. In the first season he directed the episode Cigarette Buns and at the second season the Episode “Pro Life”.    

John Carpenter's Film Techniques


Obviously John Carpenter’s films are characterised by minimalistic lighting, widescreen filming, static cameras, stedicams, and point of view shots and synthesized soundtracks. 

John Carpenter at his numerous interviews said that         
he has been influenced by Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Nigel Kneale and the Television series “The Twillight Zone”.
John Carpenter composed the scores of the majority of his film projects, among them the most famous themes are from Halloween and Assault on Precinct 13. John Carpenter’s scores are based on synthesizers and atmospheric sounds.


John carpenter is a fan of video games not only as an entertainment but also as media and art form. Especially he is interested on F.E.A.R. video games franschise, in the past he had narrated the F.E.A.R. 3 video game.

John Carpenter was married with actress Adrienne Barbeau from January 1979 to 1984 they had a son John Cody Carpenter (born in 1984). During their marriage Andrienne Barbeau played parts in “The Fog” (1980) and in “Escape from New York” (1981).

In 1990 John Carpenter married with producer Sandy King. King produced John Carpenter’s films including “They Life”, “In the mouth of Madness”, “Ghosts of Mars”, “Escape from Los Angeles”.