The daughter of a New York City policeman, Nancy Allen trained for a dancing career at the High School of Performing Arts, then attended Jose Quintano's School for Young Professionals. In dozens of TV...
British pop star Robbie Williams was desperate to enlist actor Hugh Jackman for an album of swing tunes. Former Take That star Williams experienced a resurgence in the pop charts in 2001 when he released Swing When You're Winning, featuring actress Nicole Kidman on a cover of Frank and Nancy Sinatra's classic Somethin' Stupid.
He released follow-up Swing Both Ways in 2013, featuring star turns from Lily Allen and Michael Buble, and the Angels hitmaker has now revealed he was eager to land a guest appearance from the Wolverine actor as well - but Jackman was unable to find time in his filming schedule.
Williams tells Australia's Daily Telegraph, "I love Hugh Jackman, I really want to work with Hugh Jackman and I wanted him for the Swing album, but he was between Wolverine and his next blockbuster."
After Dark Films
It seems a bit odd to take on a movie review of Courtney Solomon's Getaway, as only in the loosest terms is Getaway actually a movie. We begin without questions — other than a vague and frustrating "What the hell is going on?" — and end without answers, watching Ethan Hawke drive his car into things (and people) for the hour and a half in between. We learn very little along the way, probed to engage in the mystery of the journey. But we don't, because there's no reason to.
There's not a single reason to wonder about any of the things that happen to Hawke's former racecar driver/reformed criminal — forced to carry out a series of felonious commands by a mysterious stranger who is holding his wife hostage — because there doesn't seem to be a single ounce of thought poured into him beyond what he see. We learn, via exposition delivered by him to gun-toting computer whiz Selena Gomez, that he "did some bad things" before meeting the love of his life and deciding to put that all behind him. Then, we stop learning. We stop thinking. We start crashing into police cars and Christmas trees and power plants.
Why is Selena Gomez along for the ride? Well, the beginnings of her involvement are defensible: Hawke is carrying out his slew of vehicular crimes in a stolen car. It's her car. And she's on a rampage to get it back. But unaware of what she's getting herself into, Gomez confronts an idling Hawke with a gun, is yanked into the automobile, and forced to sit shotgun while the rest of the driver's "assignments" are carried out. But her willingness to stick by Hawke after hearing his story is ludicrous. Their immediate bickering falls closer to catty sexual tension than it does to genuine derision and fear (you know, the sort of feelings you'd have for someone who held you up or forced you into accessorizing a buffet of life-threatening crimes).
After Dark Films
The "gradual" reversal of their relationship is treated like something we should root for. But with so little meat packed into either character, the interwoven scenes of Hawke and Gomez warming up to each other and becoming a team in the quest to save the former's wife serve more than anything else as a breather from all the grotesque, impatient, deliberately unappealing scenes of city wreckage.
And as far as consolidating the mystery, the film isn't interested in that either, as evidenced by its final moments. Instead of pressing focus on the answers to whatever questions we may have, the movie's ultimate reveal is so weak, unsubstantial, and entirely disconnected to the story entirely, that it seems almost offensive to whatever semblance of a film might exist here to go out on this note. Offensive to the idea of film and story in general, as a matter of fact. But Getaway isn't concerned with these notions. Not with story, character, logic, or humanity. It just wants to show us a bunch of car crashes and explosions. So you'd think it might have at least made those look a little better.
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TV titan Oprah Winfrey is set to pull in thousands of dollars for charity by auctioning a meeting with her at the upcoming premiere of The Butler. The highest bidder in the CharityBuzz.com auction will be introduced to the talk show queen at either the film's New York City premiere on 5 August (13) or the Los Angeles debut on 12 August (13).
Winfrey, who plays the wife of presidential butler Eugene Allen in the movie, is due to attend both events with her castmates Forest Whitaker, who stars in the title role, and Robin Williams, who plays Dwight Eisenhower, as well as Alan Rickman and Jane Fonda, who portray President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy.
The lot is expected to fetch $25,000 (£16,129) for the La Jolla Playhouse theatre group in San Diego, California.
Bosses behind star-studded historical movie The Butler have been forced to change its name after it was ruled a rival studio owns the rights to the title. The film, about Eugene Allen - the butler to eight U.S. presidents and their families - features an A-list cast, including Forest Whitaker as Allen, Oprah Winfrey as his wife, Robin Williams as Dwight Eisenhower and Alan Rickman and Jane Fonda as President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy.
However, chiefs at The Weinstein Company will have to come up with a new title for the highly-anticipated movie ahead of its August (13) release after executives at Warner Bros. won an arbitration battle on Tuesday (02Jul13).
Warner Bros. bosses successfully argued they own the rights to the title because they have a 1916 comedy of the same name in their catalogue.
One of this summer's most highly anticipated movies is the Weinstein Company's The Butler. Starring Forest Whitaker, the film tells the story of Cecil Gaines, a man who works as a White House butler during eight American presidencies, from 1952 to 1986. During his tenure, he witnesses countless important events in 20th century U.S. history from a highly unique perspective. But the historical drama may be facing some turmoil. According to Deadline, Warner Bros. is attempting to prevent Harvey Weinstein from using the title The Butler, claiming that it posseses the sole rights to the title because of a 1916 silent comedy by the same name.
With The Butler's August release date fast approaching, this matter seems to have arisen oddly late in the game. There is reportedly a great deal of "outrage" at the Weinstein Company, and we aren't surprised: the only logical response to this situation is, "WTF?" Has anyone actually seen this silent comedy The Butler? Isn't this new movie supposed to be an inspiring tale about adversity and American history? Why are you trying to bring everybody down, Warner Bros.?
The Butler is based on the true story of Eugene Allen and also features such heavy-hitting stars as Oprah Winfrey (in her first major film role since Beloved in 1998), John Cusack, Jane Fonda, Robin Williams, Melissa Leo, Cuba Gooding Jr., Mariah Carey, Alan Rickman, Vanessa Redgrave, Liev Schreiber, James Marsden, Minka Kelly, and Lenny Kravitz.
With such an all-star cast and fascinating subject matter, The Butler promises to be one of the best biopics of 2013. Warner Bros' claim is fairly absurd, but it could have serious implications for the movie. Whatever its title may be, we're excited to see the film. After all, what's in a name? That which we call The Butler by any other name would be just as great.
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Movies that take place in the White House are usually focused on the President of the United States, but Lee Daniels' drama The Butler serves up a new perspective on the old location. Starring Forest Whitaker, Jane Fonda, and Oprah Winfrey (among a long list of Hollywood power players that make up the rest of the cast), the movie tells the story of Eugene Allen, the longtime White House employee who served under eight American presidents.
Allen was the White House's head butler from 1952 to 1986, and had a unique front-row seat as political and racial history was made. The Butler also stars Alex Pettyfer, John Cusack as Richard Nixon, Robin Williams as Dwight Eisenhower, James Marsden as John F. Kennedy, Melissa Leo, Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan, Liev Schreiber as Lyndon B. Johnson, Terrance Howard, Minka Kelly as Jackie Kennedy, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Vanessa Redgrave.
Watch the just-released trailer below:
The Butler hits theaters October 18, 2013.
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More:Robin Williams to Play President Dwight Eisenhower in 'The Butler'Nancy Reagan Approves of Jane Fonda's Casting in 'The Butler'
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Jane Fonda has poked fun at critics of her role as former U.S. First Lady Nancy Reagan in new movie The Butler by declaring their opposition and comments merely help to promote the Lee Daniels film. The peace-loving movie icon wasn't a popular choice to play former president Ronald Reagan's wife in the star-studded film when she was cast last year (12), but she insists that conservatives who are seeking to discredit and boycott director Daniels' movie are simply driving more people to the cinema.
She says, "It will cause more people to see the movie."
One Facebook.com page, titled Boycott Hanoi Jane Playing Nancy Reagan, is urging Republicans and fans of the Reagans not to see the film when it is released in October (13).
Targeting Navy veteran Larry Reyes, who launched the site, Fonda says, "Get a life... I might not have always agreed with Nancy Reagan, but I admire her, and I'd never try to insert my views when playing her. I tried to be who she was: a forceful, loyal, powerful first lady."
The film, about Eugene Allen - the butler to eight U.S. leaders and their families, also features John Cusack as Richard Nixon, Robin Williams as Dwight Eisenhower and Alan Rickman as Reagan. Oprah Winfrey appears as Allen's wife.
Diablo Cody recently declared that Girls star/creator Lena Dunham is this generation's "new Woody Allen" and while the statement brought divided opinions (as all things Dunham-related tend to do), after watching this week's devastating, brilliant, and very New York Woody Allen-esque episode of Girls, the Juno writer might just be on to something.
While I'd argue that Louis C.K. has actually perfected the art of New York comedian neuroticism — I hesitate slightly in calling him the new Woody Allen, though, as Louis C.K. romanticizes the city much less than he embodies its oft-unforgiving reality — last night's episode of Girls, titled "One Man's Trash," felt as much a Woody Allen homage as it did a Louie homage.
The episode started off as typical and inconspicuous as any episode of Girls. Hannah, dressed in an outfit as unflattering as any other she'd worn before, was once again letting someone know just how clever she is. This time she claimed that she'd coined the next big phrase: "sexit," which means to make a sexy exit. The only problem was that the term already existed on Urban Dictionary (there it means "to make a speedy exit during the middle of sexual intercourse). Plus, she told this all to Ray, the most humorless, joyless person in existence. (I still don't quite see what Shoshanna does.)
Mid-conversation Ray and Hannah were interrupted by the sudden presence of a tall, dark, handsome stranger (played by Patrick Wilson). He was a local neighbor who came into Grumpy's to complain that one of the employees has been dumping the coffee shop's trash into his trash cans two blocks away. Rather than try out the tactic of "customer is always right" or basic human decency, Ray immediately went on the defense, called him a "f**king pinko," and did nothing to alleviate the situation. Hannah, who had been looking guilty the minute the word "trash cans" was uttered, rightfully told Ray he was rude and quit on the spot because she no longer wanted to work in such a "toxic work environment."
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Cut to Hannah standing at the foot of the steps of a very beautiful brownstone, presumably the home of the upset neighbor, meaning she was the guilty culprit, as expected. (Quick, annoying New Yorker sidebar: Grumpy's famously resides in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Greenpoint, but this scene was filmed over the summer in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Fort Greene, which is a full three-and-a-half miles away. Moreover, both neighborhoods have noticeably different aesthetics and if you're a Brooklynite, you knew the minute she showed up at that house, she wasn't in Greenpoint anymore, Toto. A minor annoyance, maybe, but for a show that gets a lot right about New York City, this one was a pretty obvious blunder. End of annoying New Yorker sidebar.)
After knocking on the door, the handsome stranger answered and Hannah apologized for Ray's deplorable behavior and said she had something to tell him. He invited her in, to which she responded, "I could really be putting myself in a Ted Bundy situation. He also looked clean, handsome, and probably had…a brownstone." And with that, she realized this man was certainly no Ted Bundy, ducked past him and entered his home as if she'd done it a million times before. He looked equal parts confused and amused.
Hannah was stunned when she stepped inside, and understandably so. He lived in an elegant, enviable, and very-grown up home. She joked that she felt like she was "in a Nancy Meyers" movie. The two, despite their wildly different socioeconomic statuses and general disposition, already had a instant rapport with each other. He was surprised by her, in a good way, and she said things in her very unfiltered Hannah way ("You're probably a little insane, we all are") but wasn't met with snide resistance like she usually does when she talks to someone her age.
Eventually she admitted that she dumped the trash in his cans, not only because she lost the Grumpy's dumpster key and didn't want to admit it to Ray, but because putting trash in places it isn't legally supposed to go is her vice. It's a pretty rare thing to see Hannah willingly, humbly admit she was wrong, and even more rare for Hannah to be forgiven for her mistakes, which is exactly what the stranger did when she apologized. Whether she felt safe in his picturesque Brooklyn brownstone or that she could be raw and real around this man or that he's just so damn beautiful (probably a little bit of everything), Hannah bravely, impulsively kissed him…and he kissed her back.
Within moments he put her on his kitchen counter for a very sexy make-out session, and between passionate kisses they traded statistics (he was 42 to her 24) and flirtatious banter (he adorably guessed her name is Daisy). I know there will be naysayers that will argue this sort of thing doesn't happen, and some will inevitably argue for sadly shallow reasons that it wouldn't happen between these two (so wrong), but remember, this is New York, anything can and does happen at all hours of the day.
Post-weird (but not in a bad way) hookup, Hannah learned that his name is Joshua (not Josh) and he learned that she is Hannah, not Daisy. She also learned that he is recently separated from his wife, he's a doctor, and that cooking steaks and drinking wine on a glamorous back deck isn't something that only happens when planned guests come over. The two, despite having just met and having sex, were instantly comfortable with one another. Hannah looked, oddly enough, at home there, maybe even more so than Joshua, who joked that he's an "old ghost" in the hip, young neighborhood. Perhaps her comfort was because, for the first time ever, we've actually seen what Hannah can be like when she's being herself around a man, not what she wants to project to him.
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I say man because that is exactly what Joshua is: a grown-up man. He didn't play mind games or speak in riddles, when he told Hannah he wanted her to stay he meant it. When Hannah tried to make things difficult or blurry, he pus her in her place and asked her to say and do what she actually wanted. When she asked him to beg her to stay, he obliged in a moment that was hilarious ("Not like you're in Toy Story") and romantic and exhilarating. When they began to have sex again, it was authentic (boy, Patrick Wilson as good at these kind of scenes, isn't he?) and actually sexy. Girls has a lot of sex in it, but rarely is it as sexy as it is uncomfortable or depressing. Then again, Hannah has never had sex with anyone who actually knew what they were doing (he told her she's beautiful, and meant it, and he was damn good at dirty talk, too) and wasn't just there for his own pleasure. Hannah, for the first time ever, wasn't faking it, in every sense of the word.
The next morning Hannah woke to find Joshua lounging in his sun-drenched, impeccably decorated living room. He'd called out of work to spend the day with her ("What happens when a doctor calls in sick?" Hannah asked, to which Joshua, not skipping a beat, replied "Ten to twenty people die" and Hannah let out the most genuine laughter we've ever heard come from her) and demanded she do the same. They spent the day playing ping pong, making love, and genuinely enjoying each other's company.
When she later joined him on the back deck, draped in his lovely, expensive sweater, she marveled at him. Wordlessly, we saw a mixture of sheer happiness, knowing sadness, and a lifetime of realizations sweep across her face. He was everything she'd been missing, everything she was supposed to be looking for in this world. He treated her the way she was meant to be treated. He sent a calm, flirtatious glance her way and she smiled shyly. It was maybe the most romantic scene on television in a long time.
By nightfall, however, it all changed. After Hannah accidentally passed out in his shower ("I thought I was a gummy worm for like seven minutes"), either from the heat or the overwhelming emotional heft of the day (I'm guessing both), she lay her head on his lap in his bed as he stroked her hair and calmed her down. I take it back — maybe that is the most romantic scene on television in a long time. Hannah, totally immersed in the moment, began to cry. When he asked her what was wrong, she told him she'd had the life-changing realizations that she actually wants to be happy, that she was sicking of living a life of experiences for the enjoyment of other people who walk all over her, that she wanted the stability and normalcy she has fought so hard against. It's a lot to take in.
But even in a moment of clarity, Hannah was still just a 24-year-old trying to figure it out and still, as she put it, was "broken inside." She realized that, at the core, maybe she was "the crazy girl" who quotes Fiona Apple in conversation and over-shares embarrassing or downright horrific stories and turns away the genuine feelings of others because she's too wrapped up in her own. In the most excruciating five minutes of the show, Hannah made everything unravel, and despite realizing that she was "deeply lonely" did things to push away and scare off someone like Joshua for good. They wouldn't have worked, in the end, but Hannah self-sabotaged it before it even had a real chance. But that's who she is, at this age and at this moment in time, and that also makes it okay.
Despite the awkward moment, Joshua still had her stay the night, because he was a well-meaning man at the core, if not one in the middle of his own crossroads and one who did something impulsive while he was still technically married. Hannah was just as much an escape for reality for him as he was for her. He got to be young and cool and needed in the eyes of someone who was young and cool. There were no harsh realities (like his marriage) until Hannah made him remember that no one was perfect and going to make his life carefree as it once was.
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The next morning Hannah woke up alone to a quiet, empty house. The light outside was not as bright, and thus the house felt darker, sadder. In a sequence that was reminiscent and worthy of a sequence in Louie, Hannah spent the morning soaking in the last few moments of a life that was not hers….just yet. (Like Louie, this was also set to a terrific score, here set to the music of Michael Penn). She read the paper, ate toast with fancy jam, wore the shirt of the sensitive, sexy doctor whom she shared a bed with. It was wonderful and sad and lovely all at once, and Dunham deserves all the credit in the world for penning a scene that said so much with saying nothing at all.
Whenever I find it hard to love or connect to Hannah it's usually because she's too self-involved and shows no signs of caring about anyone other than herself. But in one simple gesture — taking out Joshua's trash after taking one thoughtful last look at his home —she changed my mind. There's something deep inside of her that does have the capability of caring about someone other than herself, doing something for someone that doesn't benefit her. I realized that, and perhaps she realized that, as she walked away from Joshua's place on a breezy summer afternoon. (Now that was a Woody Allen moment on the show if there ever was one).
This was, far and away, my favorite Girls episode to date. It was sexy, funny, moody, and told an important story in just thirty minutes. It showed us that we can connect with the most unexpected people in the most unexpected circumstances. That we can randomly walk into people's lives and change them forever. That we'll have experiences with some people whom we'll never see again but will leave an indelible mark on us. (I can't imagine Hannah and Joshua will ever see each other again, but I have no doubt they'll always cross each other's minds for the rest of their lives). That doesn't make Dunham the voice of a generation, that makes her a voice any generation.
[Photo credit: HBO]
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The Oscar-winning star is due to begin shooting her role as Ronald Reagan's wife in director Lee Daniels' drama, which centres around Eugene Allen, the longtime White House employee who served under eight American presidents.
Fonda, who is jetting to New Orleans, Louisiana to shoot the production, has taken to her blog to tell of her pride after learning Nancy was happy with the casting.
She writes, "I'm excited about this. I feel very ready to take her on... I know that she (Nancy) is pleased that I am playing her. I know this because a friend of mine, writer Annette Tapert, was at a party given for her... birthday. I asked Annette to tell Ms Reagan I was honoured to be playing her. And, because I have a scene walking down a White House corridor with then Secretary of State, James Baker, I wanted to know what she used to call him (Jim) and would she have linked her arm in his (no).
"I'm glad that in the brief time I have to play her, the script allows us to see how involved she was in all matters surrounding her husband... almost like a chief of staff. She took a lot of flack (sic) for the china she purchased for White House affairs, etc, but she was no fluff piece."
Filming on The Butler has been suspended in New Orleans this week (begs27Aug12) as Tropical Storm Isaac looms over the northern Gulf Coast.
The trailers for Hope Springs might lead you to believe it's a romantic comedy about a couple trying to jumpstart their sexless marriage but it causes more empathetic cringing than chuckles. Audiences will be drawn to Hope Springs by its stars Meryl Streep Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell and Streep's track record of pleasing summer movies like Julie & Julia and Mamma Mia! that offer a respite from the blockbusters flooding theaters. Despite what its marketing might have you believe Hope Springs isn't a rom-com. The film is a disarming mixture of deeply intimate confessions by a married couple in the sanctuary of a therapist's office awkwardly honest attempts by that couple to physically reconnect and incredibly sappy scenes underscored by intrusive music. Boldly addressing female desire especially in older women it's hard not to give the movie extra credit for what writer Vanessa Taylor's script is trying to convey and its rarity in mainstream film. The ebb and flow of intimacy and desire in a long-term relationship is what drives Hope Springs and while there are plenty contrived moments and unresolved issues it is frankly surprising and surprisingly frank. It's a summer release from a major studio with high caliber stars aimed squarely at the generally underserved 50+ audience addressing the even more taboo topic of that audience's sex life.
Streep plays Kay a suburban wife who's deeply unsatisfied emotionally and sexually by her marriage to Arnold. Arnold who is played by Tommy Lee Jones as his craggiest sleeps in a separate bedroom now that their kids have left the nest; he's like a stone cold robot emotionally and physically and Kay tiptoes around trying to make him happy even as he ignores her every gesture. One of the most striking scenes in the movie is at the very beginning when Kay primps and fusses over her modest sleepwear in the hopes of seducing her husband. Streep makes it obvious that this isn't an easy thing for Kay; it takes all her guts to try and wordlessly suggest sex to her husband and when she's shot down it hurts to watch. This isn't a one time disconnect between their libidos; this is an ongoing problem that leaves Kay feeling insecure and undesirable.
After a foray into the self-help section of her bookstore Kay finds a therapist who holds week-long intensive couples' therapy sessions in Good Hope Springs ME and in a seemingly unprecedented moment of decisiveness she books a trip for the couple. Arnold of course is having none of it but he eventually comes along for the ride. That doesn't mean he's up for answering any of Dr. Feld's questions though. To be fair Dr. Feld (Carell) is asking the couple deeply intimate questions so if Arnold is comfortable foisting his amorous wife off with the excuse he had pork for lunch it's not so far-fetched to believe he'd be angry when Feld asks him about his fantasy life or masturbation habits.
Although Arnold gets a pass on some of his issues Kay is forthright about why and how she's dissatisfied. When Dr. Feld asks her if she masturbates she says she doesn't because it makes her too sad. Kay offers similar revelations; she's willing to bare it all to revive her marriage while Arnold thinks the fact that they're married at all means they must be happy. Carell's Dr. Feld is soothing and kind (even a bit bland) but it's always a pleasure to see him play it straight.
It's subversive for a mega-watt star to play a character that talks about how sexually unsatisfied she is and how unsexy she feels with the man she loves most in the world. The added taboo of Kay and Arnold's age adds that much more to the conversation. Kay and Arnold's attempts at intimacy are emotionally raw and hard to watch. Even when things get funny they're mostly awkward funny not ha-ha funny.
The rest of the movie is a little uneven wrapped up tightly and happily by the end. Their time spent soul-searching alone is a little cheesy especially when Kay ends up in a local bar where she gets a little dizzy on white wine while dishing about her problems to the bartender (Elisabeth Shue). Somewhere along the line what probably started out as a character study ended up as a wobbly drama that pushes some boundaries but eventually lets everyone off the emotional hook in favor of a smoothed-over happy ending. Still its disarming moments and performances almost balance it out. Although its target audience might be dismayed to find it's not as light-hearted as it would seem Hope Springs offers up the opportunity for discussion about sexuality and aging at a time when books and films like 50 Shades of Grey and Magic Mike are perking up similar conversations. In the end that's a good thing.
The daughter of a New York City policeman, Nancy Allen trained for a dancing career at the High School of Performing Arts, then attended Jose Quintano's School for Young Professionals. In dozens of TV commercials from the age of 15, Nancy made her first film appearance (as "Nancy"-what a stretch!) in 1973's The Last Detail. Three years later, she set the standard for all future "bitch-goddess teenagers" as the beautiful but despicable high schooler Chris in Brian De Palma's Carrie. While Chris and her greaser boyfriend (John Travolta) met with a violent but well-deserved end on-screen, Nancy herself ultimately won out by claiming director De Palma as her husband. She next displayed a keen comic sense in the role of the only teenager on Earth who doesn't love the Beatles in Robert Zemeckis' I Want to Hold Your Hand (1976); thereafter, for the next seven years she appeared only in DePalma's films. She carried on a heated argument with her own hand in Home Movies (1979), was threatened by a knife-wielding psycho in Dressed to Kill (1980), and literally died for John Travolta's art in Blow-Out (1981). After her divorce from DePalma in 1984, Nancy's film opportunities narrowed, though she was memorable as take-no-guff police officer Anne Lewis in the three Robocop flicks. In 1993, Nancy Allen joined several other veteran stars in Acting on Impulse, a made-for-cable send-up of the horror films that first brought her fame.