CHICAGO – The awesomeness of history loses any of its stuffiness with the incredibly fun, indeed educational show “Drunk History” from Comedy Central, its two seasons now released on DVD. Hosted by its creator Derek Waters, the show is a celebration of various historic figures and their under-appreciated true tales, as expressed by funny people narrating in the universal language of inebriation; their recounts are then reenacted by famous actors working with their given dialogue, dressed with the comic cheapness of a bloated biopic.
CHICAGO – “Halloween” is no mere horror movie. It is arguably the best of its genre, a film that continues to influence the form 35 years after its release. The excellent new transfer of the film on the latest Anchor Bay HD iteration is reason alone to pick it up, and the new active participation in the release on behalf of Jamie Lee Curtis, a star often silent regarding the films that made her a star, is just an amazing bonus.
CHICAGO – The long career of Jamie Lee Curtis has taken her from early “scream queen” status to pitching yogurt. But what is lesser known about the popular actress is that she is a child’s book author of note. “My Brave Year of Firsts” is her tenth collaboration with illustrator Laura Cornell, and she was at Anderson’s Bookshop (Naperville, Ill) last autumn to read excerpts and autograph the book.
CHICAGO – If one actress can represent an era of classic and cult movies, P.J. Soles is a pretty good candidate. Her string of roles in high profile and familiar films from the mid 1970s to early ‘80s including “Carrie,” “Halloween,” “Breaking Away.” “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School” “Private Benjamin” and “Stripes.”
CHICAGO – By the age of 15, actress Hanna Hall had delivered iconic lines in two of the most acclaimed films of the ’90s. After famously yelling, “Run, Forrest, run!” in Robert Zemeckis’s Oscar-winner, “Forrest Gump,” Hall nailed the unforgettable line, “Obviously, doctor, you’ve never been a 13-year-old girl,” in Sofia Coppola’s directorial debut, “The Virgin Suicides.”
CHICAGO – It’s Halloween weekend, and what better time to have Linda Blair, who portrayed the Satan-possessed child named Regan in “The Exorcist,” introduce that film at the Hollywood Palms in Naperville, Illinois, and the Hollywood Blvd Cinema in nearby Woodridge.
CHICAGO – John Carpenter’s “The Ward” would make for a satisfying episode of the now-canceled “Masters of Horror” and might therefore be an interesting rental someday but it doesn’t live up to the pedigree of its once-brilliant director and ultimately disappoints regardless of the name above the title. After a decade away from the big screen, Carpenter proves he still has his legendary skill with tension and the film features a few strong performances but the script is a generic, derivative mess.
CHICAGO – What happens when Halloween happens to land on a Sunday night and FOX is airing the World Series? The annual tradition of the “Treehouse of Horror” episode of “The Simpsons” has to air in November. Damn you, Bud Selig. At least FOX is trying to make amends by offering not just one holiday-themed episode tonight but extending the affair to all four of their “Animation Domination” programs — “The Simpsons,” “The Cleveland Show,” “Family Guy,” and “American Dad.”
CHICAGO – Our younger readers may find it hard to believe that John Carpenter was once one of the most inspiring filmmakers in the world. He’s still one of the truly influential voices of the ’70s and ’80s despite the tragedy that has been his career for the last couple decades. Save for the occasional flare-up (“Masters of Horror: Cigarette Burns,” “In the Mouth of Madness”), Carpenter’s work has barely resembled his prime. For proof, check out the still-amazing and timeless “Escape From New York,” now available on Blu-ray for the first time.
CHICAGO – Not quite as poorly paced or simply awful as Rob Zombie’s first foray into the world of Michael Myers with his abyssmal remake of John Carpenter’s timeless “Halloween,” the sequel, now available on Blu-ray and DVD, still finds a way to continue the torture.
CHICAGO – Halloween is the perfect time to revisit those horror films of youth, lost in the mall theaters or crackling through the VCR in a multiply rented copy. “The House of the Devil” reveres those roots and brings them back to light.