The Silver Emulsion Podcast: Ep. 143 – Darkman

This week on the Silver Emulsion Podcast, Stephen and I talk about Sam Raimi’s first foray into superhero filmmaking, 1990’s Darkman! Explode into the bay and enjoy! 🙂

Watch Darkman along with us on Blu-ray, DVD, iTunes, or Amazon Instant Video!

Also: the show is on iTunes! So if you feel like subscribing there, or rating/reviewing the show, feel free to share your thoughts!

Music Notes

Intro:

  • Buckwheat Zydeco – Buck’s Going Uptown

Outro:

  • Bruno Nicolai – Bullet for a Stranger – Sequence 1
    • Bullet for a Stranger Soundtrack (Amazon)
    • Spaghetti Westerns – Volume 4 (iTunes, Amazon)

If you’ve got feedback, throw it into the comments below or email it to me via the contact page! We’ll include it in a future show!

The podcast is embedded directly below this, or you can go directly to Podbean (or use their app) to listen. If you want to subscribe, paste http://silveremulsion.podbean.com/feed/ into whatever reader you’re using.

Evil Dead II (1987)

EvilDead2_1Evil Dead II (1987)
AKA Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn

Starring Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley DePaiva, Ted Raimi, Denise Bixler, Richard Domeier, John Peakes, Lou Hancock

Directed by Sam Raimi

Expectations: One of my favorites.

fourstar


The Evil Dead is one of the few perfect films in my eyes. Sure, it’s low-budget and it definitely shows, but the experience is second to none and it’s a total blast from start to finish. The prospect of making a sequel must have been daunting to Sam Raimi and company, but the choice to go in a completely different, yet similar direction was every bit the right one. To simply retread the same ground would be useless and boring, so why not let everyone in on how much Raimi loves The Three Stooges? It’s as inspired a horror film sequel idea as there ever was.

But by going in this direction, I do think that Evil Dead 2 isn’t as good a film as the first. Evil Dead 2 doesn’t feel quite as tight, but it more than makes up for this with laughs and a ridiculous amount of madcap energy. Even though this was always my favorite film of the series, I think age has led me to appreciate just how impressive the low-budget success of The Evil Dead was. But when it comes down to it, these petty discussions of one film being better than the other are ultimately pointless, because both of them are pure, unbridled awesome.

Continue reading Evil Dead II (1987) →

The Evil Dead (1981)

EvilDead_1Starring Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeManincor, Betsy Baker, Theresa Tilly

Directed by Sam Raimi

Expectations: One of my all-time favorites.

fourstar


The Evil Dead. It’s hard to believe that this movie is 33 years old. It still elicits scares and laughs just as much as it did the first time I saw it all those years ago. But this re-watch was something extra special: I saw it on the big screen. This was a pleasure I had never experienced before, only discovering the film on VHS in the ’90s when a friend let me borrow it. While it’s cliché to say that the big screen made the film a much better experience, that’s exactly the case here. I’ve seen this movie more times than I could ever hope to count, but the theater experience still revealed to me things I had never taken the time to notice or care about specifically.

The first of these is the sound design. While the original soundtrack is only mono — and a fairly abrasive mono with all the shrieking and such — the sound design that accompanies the coming evil of the woods is paramount to the film’s success. The wonderfully inventive camerawork that Raimi uses to realize this spirit flying through the woods is impressive enough, but coupled with the sounds of voices and brooding synths it makes for something that you’ll never forget. I’ve always loved how alive the forest around the cabin in The Evil Dead felt, and I have to credit a lot of that atmosphere and staying power to the ever-present, excellent sound design.

Continue reading The Evil Dead (1981) →

Oz: The Great and Powerful (2013)

ozgreatandpowerfulStarring James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, Zach Braff, Bill Cobbs, Joey King, Tony Cox, Stephen R. Hart, Abigail Spencer

Directed by Sam Raimi

Expectations: None. I would never willingly choose to watch this, even if Sam Raimi made it.

onestar


A Sam Raimi fan would hope that if he actually wanted to remake Army of Darkness, he’d at least do so interestingly. It’s a bit of a stretch to call Oz: The Great and Powerful an Army of Darkness remake, but there are way too many parallels between the stories to ignore. I have to wonder if these elements existed in the script prior to Raimi getting the job, or if they tailored the film to his perceived strengths; I imagine some executive yelling at a cowering assistant, “Get me Raimi! He knows fish-out-of-water stories!” Raimi’s strengths, if you were going by this movie, are first-person shots of stuff flying directly into the camera, coaxing horrible performances out of his actors, an ability to craft fun “getting stuff ready for the battle” montages, and short snap zooms (as opposed to the more prevalent long snap zoom that you might see in a Shaw Brothers movie, or more recently Django Unchained). That’s about all the Raimi directorial stamp there is on this bombastic, overstuffed mainstream offering. And yeah, I realize that this is for kids, but that doesn’t excuse it from being horrible.

Oz: The Great and Powerful is not based on any previous work, instead drawing elements and inspiration from the books of L. Frank Baum to create something of a prequel that never existed to The Wizard of Oz. We follow Oscar as he rides a tornado into Oz, finding himself smack dab in the midst of the fantastic world of Oz. Aspects of this story sort of fly in the face of what happened in the original film too, so purists will want to turn their brains off completely (or better yet, watch something else). Also, Disney doesn’t own the rights to the iconic 1939 film version of The Wizard of Oz, so they are legally forbidden from directly referencing the events of that movie or using any similar designs. This is arguably a moot point, as the designs they ended up with for the Emerald City looked close enough for me to believe that they were the same city. The rest of Oz… not so much, but when you’re making an over-the-top fantasy film in 2013, that is to be expected.

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Intruder (1989)

Intruder (1989)

Starring Elizabeth Cox, Renée Estevez, Dan Hicks, David Byrnes, Sam Raimi, Eugene Robert Glazer, Billy Marti, Burr Steers, Craig Stark, Ted Raimi, Alvy Moore, Tom Lester, Emil Sitka, Bruce Campbell, Lawrence Bender, Scott Spiegel

Directed by Scott Spiegel

Expectations: Moderate. I expect the film to be awful, but the FX to be awesome.


 

Two years after co-writing Evil Dead 2 with Sam Raimi, Scott Spiegel got his chance at his own full-length feature film. Based on an earlier short of his, Intruder is quite modest in its budget and aspirations, but achieves true terror and suspense. I’m sad that I never happened upon this film before, as it would have easily been a favorite for many years. Up front it’s important to be aware of a couple of things though. On the DVD boxart, Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi’s names are prominently displayed. Red flags should come up at this, as low-budget trash horror has a knack for playing up the small cameos of big names to trick people into buying or renting. Thankfully, I knew beforehand that Bruce Campbell was only in the final thirty seconds, as this could have been a very different experience if I went in blind.

Continue reading Intruder (1989) →

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