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Mania Terrors: Young Frankenstein

Celebrating the 40th Anniversary

By Tim Janson     August 25, 2014
Source: Mania.com


Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein
© FOX

After a Summer hiatus, Mania Terrors returns with the latest news and reviews from the world of horror including the rumors on Matthew McConaughey in The Stand? Plus our first look at Young Frankenstein 40th Anniversary Blu-ray.

Young Frankenstein 40th Anniversary Blu-ray.  The scariest comedy of all time gets resurrected as Young Frankenstein: 40th Anniversary arrives on Blu-ray September 9 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Comedy icons Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Teri Garr and Madeline Kahn star in Mel Brooks’ brilliantly outrageous riff on Mary Shelley’s classic story of Frankenstein. After inheriting his grandfather’s castle in Transylvania, young Dr. Frankenstein (Wilder) follows in his ancestor’s freaky footsteps as he sets out to reanimate a dead body in Brooks’ “funniest, most cohesive comedy to date.”

Blu-ray and DVD Special Features

Commentary by Mel Brooks

Interviews with Marty Feldman, Gene Wilder and Cloris Leachman

“Inside the Lab: Secret Formulas to the Making of Young Frankenstein” featurette

Blucher Button

“It’s Alive: Creating a Monster Classic” featurette

“Making FrankenSense of Young Frankenstein” featurette

“Transylvanian Lullaby: The Music of John Norris” featurette

Deleted Scenes and Outtakes

Production Photo Galleries and More!

House of the Witchdoctor on DVD September 16.  Breaking Glass Pictures will be releasing House of the Witch Doctor on DVD/VOD on September 16, 2014. Directed and written by Devon Mikolas, House of the Witch Doctor stars Bill Moseley, Leslie Easterbrook, and Allan Kayser.
 
Leslie Van Hooten is mourning the anniversary of her boyfriend's murder. Her father (Moseley) and mother (Easterbrook) leave her at the family's isolated estate with her fellow grad students. The weekend takes a turn for the worst when Cliff Rifton (Kayser), a recently released career criminal, and Buzz Schenk, his drug addict sidekick are hell bent on raging a torturous killing spree. The killers soon realize all is not as it seems in the house. As the body count begins to rise, it seems death is the only escape from the house.

 

Trailer for Fetish Factory.  Blanc/Biehn Productions is proud to present the first teaser trailer from its first zom-com, “Fetish Factory” written and directed by Staci Layne Wilson. The story centers on pin-up vixens vs. bloodthirsty zombies, and is set in post-apocalyptic Hollywood.  As the virtual peep show plays out in a succession of quick cuts, we soon meet the zombies and (almost) find out what’s so freaky about The Fetish Factory.

 
Matthew McConaughey to star in The Stand?  Nothing is official yet but reports are that Warner Bros. wants Matthew McConaughey to play the role of the demonic figure Randall Flagg in the feature film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand, which will be directed by Josh Boone (The Fault in our Stars).
 
Debut trailer for The Devil’s Hand.  There’s a prophecy in the small village of New Bethlehem that on the eve of every girl’s 18th birthday, the devil might inhabit her soul. Now as that day approaches, six girls, all born on the sixth day of the sixth month begin to mysteriously disappear one by one. Could this be the hands of a crazed serial killer, a village elder or the horrific prophecy come true…the work of the devil?  Due out on October 10. 

 
First trailer for Amityville: The Awakening.  Belle, her little sister, and her comatose twin brother move into a new house with their single mother Joan in order to save money to help pay for her brother’s expensive healthcare. But when strange phenomena begin to occur in the house including the miraculous recovery of her brother, Belle begins to suspect her Mother isn’t telling her everything and soon realizes they just moved into the infamous Amityville house.  Coming January 2015.

New BBC America Series “The Living and the Dead”  Somerset, England, 1888. A land and a community on the edge of monumental change, on the great hinge between ancient traditional ways and an industrial, scientific future. A land of ghosts and myths, poltergeists and demons – if there was ever a time for those ghosts to rise out of the ground, this would be that time. At the heart of this small community is Nathan Appleby, a reluctant gentleman farmer who is obsessed with proving the existence of the afterlife.

In the new original drama, this complex and compelling man will investigate hauntings, paranormal happenings, and ghostly visitations, encouraged by the Society for Psychical Research. But as these terrifying investigations become ever more frequent and ever scarier, Nathan starts to see and hear disturbing things that he simply cannot have imagined. Will Nathan’s interest in the occult begin to threaten his family, his livelihood and even his sanity?

Trailer for Devoured.  Immigrant mother works as a cleaning woman at an old New York City restaurant in order to make enough money to pay for her sick son’s operation. With no friends or family, she lives a lonely, desperate existence, saving every penny and sending it home for her son. As his condition worsens malevolent forces living within the walls of the restaurant begin to torment her. She struggles to escape, and return to her son before the evil within the dark walls drives her completely mad.  On VOD September 2.  

 
Sean Astin and Gina Gershon for Bad Kids Go to Hell 2.  Sean Astin, daughter Ali Astin, Gina Gershon, and Drake Bell have signed on to join Sammi Hanratty (WGN America’s “Salem”) in Bad Kids Go 2 Hell, the latest chapter in the cult dark comedy-horror franchise Bad Kids Go To Hell. The announcement was made today by the producers of the Bad Kids film franchise, James R. Hallam, Barry Wernick and Brad Keller. The film is based on the best-selling graphic novel and has developed a tremendous cult following.  
 
In Bad Kids Go to 2 Hell, it's four years later and a new group of students has been placed in Saturday detention at snooty Crestview Academy.  After one of the kids locks away the teacher assigned to watch them, the five of them very quickly find their ranks dwindling as each meets a gruesome fate.  They may make it out of the library, but with a new threat revealing itself around every hallway, is there enough time and resources for at least one of them to make it out alive?
 
Trailer for Sanctuary: Quite a Conundrum.  The indie film that took the festival circuit by storm, garnering both critical and audience acclaim comes home when Midnight Releasing, the leading purveyor in home entertainment horror, releases the thriller August 26th on DVD, VOD and digital download.  
 
What starts as a typical pool party soon turns violent when neighbor Mark (John Lucas) shows up unannounced – completely naked and brandishing a gun. Forcing Mimi to admit to their failed tryst, Mark turns the gun on himself and falls dead into the pool. From that flash point starts a nightmarish odyssey for everyone involved. Soon, secrets will be divulged, alliances will shift and friendships will be tested. As the evening wears on, it becomes apparent that someone within their group might have tasted blood before... 

 
Dead Within coming September 9thSet six months after a deadly outbreak that has all but ended the human race, a man and woman have survived by isolating themselves in a remote cabin and never opening the door. Now, they don't have a choice. Starved for resources, they must confront the horrors that threaten them…but what's inside may be even more toxic than what remains outside.
 
REVIEWS
 
Oculus
Released by: WWE Studios
Run time: 103 minutes
Grade: B
 
On one hand Oculus was nowhere near as terrifying as I had hoped it would be.  But at the same time it was quite different and for that I enjoyed it.  Oculus takes a different approach to the usual haunted house film, moving away from the typical old Victorian or Gothic style house to a more modern upper middle class suburban setting.  Of course it isn’t a haunted house film but rather a haunted mirror which causes its owners to revert into madness and kill either themselves or family members.
 
The narrative takes place both in the present and through flashbacks 11 years earlier, relating the horrors inflicted upon 13 year-old Kaylie Russell and her 10 year-old brother Tim.  After a decade in a psychiatric hospital Tim is discharged where he is met by his sister.  Kaylie holds Tim to the pact they made to destroy the mirror which resulted in the deaths of their parents.  Kaylie has been able to locate the mirror and take it back to their old home where she has setup a series of cameras and other electronic devices to document the mirrors effects before destroying it with an anchor she has hung from the ceiling.
 
The siblings argue with each other with Kaylie believing the mirror is possessed by a supernatural force while Tim doubts her sanity.  Soon, however, the mirror begins to take hold on the pair.  This is where the film begins its flashbacks and runs them parallel to the present day story, often having the present day children interacting with their younger selves.  Soon they are repeating events from 10 years earlier, blurring the line between reality and madness.
 
Oculus, budgeted at a mere $5 million dollars doesn’t use and doesn’t need flashy digital effects.  It relies mainly on building suspense and mystery.  The four actors who portray the younger and older Tim and Kaylie have to carry most of the film and do a fine job.  The mystery of whom or what haunts the mirror is never answered which sets itself up for future sequels.  Considering it made over $40 million at the box office a sequel seems to be a foregone conclusion.  While it won’t creep you out, Oculus is an above average supernatural horror.

 
The Quiet Ones
Released by: Lionsgate
Run time: 98 Minutes
Grade: C-
 
Quiet can have a couple of different meanings…it can pertain to the volume of noise or rather the lack of noise.  Quiet can also mean that things are slow and uneventful.  “The Quiet Ones” definitely falls into the latter meaning.  This laboriously slow film produced by the legendary Hammer Studios never managers to get out of the starting block.
 
Set at Oxford in the early 1970s, Jared Harris portrays a professor running an experiment to disprove claims of the supernatural.  With his assistants Krissi and Harry and cameraman Brian, Professor Coupland’s subject is a young woman named Jane who has been abandoned.  Coupland hopes to cure the woman by releasing her negative energy.
 
When funding for their experiment is cutoff the group retreats a house in the country to continue their work.  Jane’s negative energy takes the personification of an apparition named Evey who becomes increasingly more violent.  Coupland’s methods anger Brian who thinks that Jane is being mistreated.  He plots to try to get her out of the house while Coupland becomes more tyrannical.  The film soon descends into a confused morass of nonsense about devil worship which seems to have been tossed in at the last minute when Director John Pogue had nowhere else to go with the story.
 
Hammer Films has long been known for producing films that are heavy on atmosphere.  Even some of the Christopher Lee Dracula films that were not every good at least had a strong dose of gothic overtones.  But this isn’t the early 1970s anymore.  Film audiences demand more today and the Quiet Ones fails to deliver.

Anna
Released by: Vertical Entertainment
Run time: 95 minutes
Grade: B+

“Anna”, also known as “Mindscape”, is a Spanish produced psychological thriller starring Mark Strong and Taissa Farmiga.  Strong plays John Washington, a psychic detective with the ability to enter people’s memories in order to solve criminal cases.  After the tragic death of his wife John is left shattered and in desperate financial need.  His box Sebastian (Brian Cox) assigns him to a difficult case for a wealthy family.

John meets 16 year-old Anna who has gone on a hunger strike.  Her mother wants John’s help to find out what is troubling the girl whose background includes several incidents of violence.  Anna’s stepfather, however, wants her to be committed to a mental hospital which Anna believes is so he can get her hands on her inheritance as she is the sole heir to her family’s fortune.  

John finds Anna to be a gifted and intelligent girl, and seemingly normal.  However as he enters her memories he becomes more troubled by what he finds including the poisoning of several classmates that Anna was suspected but never accused of being involved.  As John peels back the layers of Anna’s psyche he finds himself unwittingly manipulated by the clever girl who may not be he innocent teen that she portrays. 
 
“Anna” is buoyed by the outstanding performances of Strong and Farmiga.  Farmiga in particular, brings the same sort of innocence and intelligence that has served her so well in her roles in American Horror Story.  She brilliantly blends vulnerability with a sinister edge.  Director Jorge Dorado never overreaches for unneeded fluff, allowing his two leads to carry the majority of the film.  Anna is a taut, well-paced and well-acted little film that should not be missed.
 

The Twilight Zone: The Complete 1980s Series
Release by: Image Entertainment
Run time: 35 hours
Grade: B+

The Twilight Zone was the first great TV anthology series with tales of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery, hosted by legendary creator Rod Serling.  The original series ran for five seasons from 1959 – 1964 and has gone through two modern day revivals.  The first was in the 1980s running for three seasons.  The complete 1980s series is collected in this set from Image Entertainment.

Like the original 1950s/1960s series, the 1980s series featured the talents of an incredible array of actors, writers, and directors; a testament to how influential and revered the original series was in the annals of TV history.  Writers included Harlan Ellison, Robert McCammon, Ray Bradbury, Joe Haldeman, Atchur C. Clarke, Theodore Sturgeon, Richard Matheson, Roger Zelanzy, George R.R. Martin, J. Michael Straczynski, and Stephen King.

Directors included Wes Craven, William Friedkin, Tommy Lee Wallace, Joe Dante, John Milius, and David Steinberg.  Actors included Bruce Willis, Robert Klein, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Scott Wilson, Peter Coyote, Martin Balsam, William Petersen, Frances Conroy, and more.  You can see, particularly from the roster of writers that the 1980s show could stand toe-to-toe with the original.

The show was formatted somewhat differently than the original.  The first two seasons featured two or three different stories within the hour timeframe while the third season was a half hour in length.  The series kicked off with “shatterday” based on a Harlan Ellison story about a man (Bruce Willis) who makes a phone call to his alter ego.

“Nightcrawlers” is based on a story written by horror writer Robert McCammon about a Vietnam vet who abandoned his unit and is now being hunted down by spectral soldiers.  “Button, button” was based on the story of the same name by Richard Matheson and would be turned into a 2009 big screen film called “The Box”.  One day Arthur and Norma Lewis, receive a mysterious locked box with a button on it.  Then, a smartly dressed stranger who introduces himself as Steward comes to their door.  He gives Norma the key to the box and explains that, if they press the button, two things will happen: they will receive $200,000, and someone "whom they don't know" will die.
 
The 80s series also remade several episodes from the original run including  "Dead Man’s Shoes", "Shadow Play", and "Night of the Meek".  The 1980s series could be uneven in terms of quality.  In particular the third season had fewer episodes created by some of the better writers and directors and definitely suffered from a lack of quality which would lead to its ultimate cancelation.  Still, the 1980s Twilight Zone series is quite good and underrated.
 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 6 of 6
1 
wrrlykam 8/25/2014 4:56:04 AM

Ah!, Sweet Mystery of Life, At last, I've found you.

FerretJohn 8/25/2014 2:44:59 PM

 SEDAGIVE???

Wait, where you going?  I was going to make espresso.

 

almostunbiased 8/25/2014 5:01:04 PM

I hate horror movies for many different reasons, but Young Frakenstein is no horror movie and I love that.  I like monster movies and I loev a good comedy (even a mel brooks one), so what's not to love?

monkeyfoot 8/26/2014 6:31:17 AM

Could be worse.....could be raining! (Thunderclap)

geyes11 8/26/2014 6:07:36 PM

Blucher!!!

blankczech 8/26/2014 6:44:43 PM

 Explaining why one likes a good horror movie is like trying to explain why one would pay to ride on a huge scary rollercoaster.

Unfortunately good horror movies like Rosemary's Baby (circa 1968) are few and far between.

almostunbiased is correct...Young Frankenstein is not a horror movie it is a funny homage to the classic Universal Monster Movies of the 1930's -40's (which frightened viewers back when they were first released, but don't seem particulary horrible now).

 

 

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