The King of Ballyhoo

Sorry, but so many of these efforts seem to come across as "gimmicks". And since Halloween is just around the corner, we thought this would be a fine time to introduce the uninitiated to Mr. William Castle. In Hollywood, he was known as the "Master of Gimmicks" or the "King of Ballyhoo". One might argue about the quality of his films, but as a producer he had no equal when it came to packing them in on opening night.

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The Secrets of Psycho

The movie Psycho is coming up on its 60th anniversary. And in some ways, it's the perfect film school movie. In addition to containing what is the most studied sequence in all of movie history, the release of "Psycho" created immense ripples which are still discernible in the industry to this day. It also made popular … Continue reading The Secrets of Psycho

Scarface: “Nothing Exceeds Like Excess”

Ever hear the phrase: "Nothing Exceeds Like Excess"?  We're not sure exactly what it means... But we do know where the quote came from. It's from a 1983 film which epitomizes stylistic "excess" in Hollywood. One that people either passionately love or absolutely hate. And which features the combined efforts of three of the most … Continue reading Scarface: “Nothing Exceeds Like Excess”

The Sad Story of Fatty Arbuckle

Cinema is full of fascinating tales. And this is one of the earliest. It also happens to be one of the saddest. In addition to showing the tragic consequences of playing loose with the facts, it also provides an opportunity to draw easy parallels with today's celebrity obsessed culture. And the 24 hour cable news … Continue reading The Sad Story of Fatty Arbuckle

Technology, Unintended Consequences, and Forbidden Planet

Whenever we talk about new technologies - whether it be smart phones, social software, biometrics, gene-splicing, intelligent robots, or new can openers - there seems to be a range of opinions. At one extreme are what we'll call "the Technologists." They seem to feel that anything new is automatically good and will lead to the … Continue reading Technology, Unintended Consequences, and Forbidden Planet

A Ray Harryhausen Primer (Part 2)

We haven't exactly done a poll, but we'd wager that there's more than a few individuals down there who are Ray Harryhausen fans. It just seems to come with the territory. Especially if you have any interest at all in modeling, film-making, or animation. Yesterday, as a nod to individuals who have chosen this as … Continue reading A Ray Harryhausen Primer (Part 2)

A Ray Harryhausen Primer (Part 1)

Who is Ray Harryhausen you ask? For shame. The case could easily be made that he's one of the most influential figures in cinema history. Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Peter Jackson, John Landis, Joe Dante, Tim Burton, James Cameron, and countless others have all stated they first became interested in movies because of Harryhausen's work. … Continue reading A Ray Harryhausen Primer (Part 1)