Not long ago I wrote of meeting Susan Backlinie a.k.a “Chrissy” from JAWS. Although she couldn’t hear a darn thing I was saying (see the full story HERE) I told her how her famous scene during the film’s powerful opener was truly one of the most terrifying moments on film. Never had man’s age old fear of sharks been so successfully tapped into as was the case in the world’s first “blockbuster.”
Upon entering the mosh pit (a.k.a. the celebrity room at FRIGHT NIGHT) I was worried that there would be a long line to see Susan Backlinie. Not familiar with that name you say? Don’t worry, you have DEFINITELY seen her before. She is the woman who has the dubious distinction of being JAWS‘ first kill. That 70’s “free love” gal who, after receiving a drunken nod from a stranger, quickly sheds her clothes and invites him for a skinny dip. Running playfully down the beach, she dives headfirst into the ocean….and directly onto the dinner plate of cinema’s most famous shark!
The 70’s were a special time for me. It was a great time to be a kid for so many reasons. I still vividly remember the cool toys like Micronauts and the 8″ Mego super-hero action figures (they are not dolls). Actually, pretty much any toy made by Mego at the time was cool! During this time there was also a constant availability of horror and monster movies to be seen on television.
This was also the time period that began my interest in entomology (the study of insects). Thanks to a Christmas gift of a kit for collecting butterflies and moths, I have had this interest ever since. Instead of actually collecting them now though, I am more into photography and conservation with them.
This weekend, the city of Chicago was buzzing with the opening of their annual Auto Show taking place Feb 11-20th at The McCormick Place. This is the nation’s largest show of its kind and always attracts a loyal group of gearheads & those interested in checking out the latest models. One year I recall sitting inside a replica of the tour jeep used in 1993’s Jurassic Park. Regardless of past participation, I must confess that I’m not much of a car person; if the damned thing runs I honestly don’t care what it looks like. However, there are some vehicles on the Silver Screen that I can’t help but admire.
As 2010 winds its way down, I can’t help but notice all the great new movie titles I’ve added to my collection this past year. The future remains bright as horror films never go out of style and movie makers, both foreign and domestic, continue to present new genre films with no signs of letting up. This is not to suggest, however, that “new” necessarily means “original.”
Remakes of older titles continue to flourish with little sign of stopping. 2011 promises newer versions of DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK, STRAW DOGS, MOTHER’S DAY, and FRIGHT NIGHT. For genre fans this tends to be a mixed blessing. Remakes do generate sufficient “buzz” and may also inspire a revisit to an oldie but goodie we’ve allowed to collect dust on our video shelves. On the other hand, this also invariably leads to an outcry for Hollywood to leave well enough alone!
For those keeping score, let’s take a look at this past years entries and judge 2010’s horror remakes, the hits and misses.
Back before Al Gore began promoting global warming initiatives and the phrase “being green” simply meant that you were inexperienced, Hollywood had already tapped into the notion that the human race, for all of its arrogance, is still at the whim of nature. As pollution and environmental issues became more of a concern, some clever horror writers decided to ask a very poignant question: what would happen if nature decided to fight back? What would our chances be if the seemingly innocent creatures we take for granted during our everyday lives suddenly struck at us via an organized unit (e.g. THE BIRDS)? Thus the sub genre of “eco-horror” was born and although these films were never as much fun as the giant atomic beasts abundant in the 1950’s, normal sized animals still made for effective antagonists.