Friday, May 25, 2007

The House Between Season Two: It Begins

Well, it's about thirty minutes after midnight as I begin this post, and now I can say that the pre-production stage of The House Between Season Two is officially over. Now...we're into the actual production!!!! Yay!

In minutes (maybe hours...) I'm expecting the first round of my team to arrive. This includes stars Kim Breeding (Astrid), Jim Blanton (Arlo) and Tony Mercer (Bill Clark) as well as my special effects wizards, Rob and Phyllis Floyd. I'm excited to see all of them again. The remainder of the cast and crew will be arriving sometime during the daytime hours on Friday.

Tomorrow (Friday), I'll also be "staging" the house at the end of the universe, the central location of the series: hanging black curtains to again simulate the "null" zone around the house. My foyer is filled with props, costumes, a green screen, Arlo's tin cans and more.

We have an eight day shoot ahead of us, and it looks grueling. The scripts are more complex than they were last year, in terms of performance, storyline and special effects. We'll also be shooting some special features (like interviews and commentaries) for the impending DVD release of Season One.

So the blog will be sporadic or posted at odd hours in the next 8 days, but I do hope to get many photographs from production posted up here during that span.

After that, it's back to old-school blogging, with features on some 1970s favorites like Jason of Star Command, Korg 70,000 BC, and the animated series, Valley of the Dinosaurs.

Lots of goodness to come. Meanwhile, our production slate includes the following season two episodes: "Returned," "Separated," "Reunited," "Estranged," "Populated," "Caged" and "Ruined." I'd like to have time for another show "Distressed,' but it's an alternate, depending on fast we go, how far we fall behind, and how dang tired everybody is...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Notes on Culture Reviews Horror Films of the 1980s

Film historian, scholar and Ken Russell expert Kevin Flanagan has posted a fascinating review of my Horror Films of the 1980s on his blog, Notes on Culture. Check it out!

Here's an excerpt:

Muir is at his best when he contextualizes films and their creators. Parts I and II are the most important of the book, as they provide a substantial narrative history of the genre and show how it interacted with various historical junctures. These 300+ horror films all wrestle, in some way, with the economic, cultural, and political shifts of the age of Reagan. Ronald Reagan looms like a grim pantocrator over the proceedings in much the same way that Nixon and his scandals did over zeitgeist of the 1970s. As Muir notes throughout, Reagan's Janus-like fluidity, militarism, and leadership of a nation on the brink color the films in question.

But the cultural history presented in the remaining 700 pages weaves a subtler tale for the patient. Muir's total presentation of the horror movies of the age is, on a deeper level, a phenomenology of the historical process of the horror films of the 1980s.

Tucson Citizen Reviews Rock and Roll Film Encyclopedia

The Tucson Citizen's Chuck Graham just reviewed The Rock & Roll Film Encyclopedia. Here's an excerpt:

Trust me, "The Rock & Roll Film Encyclopedia" is no ordinary compendium of cheesy movies with really loud soundtracks. For one thing, the compiler, John Kenneth Muir, takes his inspiration from that famous line Jack Black hurled at the audience in "School of Rock," where he says with complete defiance, "One great rock show can change the world."

Of course Muir changes that to "one great rock movie" and as proof offers the 1970 documentary "Woodstock." That film did indeed prove to Hollywood that rock 'n' roll would insist on being taken seriously as a opinion-shaping social force.

...More than 200 films are catalogued and there is a handy index in the back. Garage bands everywhere will want to get a copy of this encyclopedia, to stack right alongside the fake books, guitar chord charts and restaurants delivering take-out. After all, what's better after a vigorous band practice than to kick back with your band mates, enjoying some pizza and a good ol' rock 'n' roll movie.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The American Library Association likes Horror Films of the 1980s!

Another good review for Horror Films of the 1980s just rolled in.

The ALA (American Library Association) writes:

Horror Films of the 1980s, by John Kenneth Muir (829 pages, March 2007), tackles the “dead teenager decade” of horror cinema with his characteristic comprehensiveness, insightful commentary, and trenchant wit.

A sequel to his 2002 Horror Films of the 1970s (the “disco decade”), this volume contains two introductory chapters that offer a sociopolitical context for horror (“Which towering figure dominated the ‘greed is good’ decade? Freddy Krueger or Ronald Reagan?”) and an analysis of 1980s horror conventions and subgenres. Films are arranged by year, rated on the traditional 1 to 4 star system, and accompanied by quotes from critics, cast and crew, synopsis, commentary, memorable lines, an occasional interview extract, and legacy. Muir concludes that 1970s horror films were more creative and did more with less funding and effects, but in the 1980s they reached a glut of repetition and sequels and adaptations; nonetheless, the genre saved itself by transcending the slasher paradigm and interjecting supernatural elements and rubber-reality scenarios. $59.95. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-2821-2.

Theme Song Flashback # 1: The Lost Saucer