When we sat down with horror legend Bruce Campbell at this year’s New York Comic Con to discuss the upcoming remake of Evil Dead, he had some interesting things to say about his genre. “With your first movie,” Campbell began, speaking on the cult classic that launched his career, “at least in the horror genre, you don’t need name actors.” Any established fans of cinematic fright fests will recognize this to be true — a lot of scare flicks will cast young unknowns to play the roles of innocent victims, gallant heroes, and murderous victims alike. The fun comes in a few years later, however, when these former big screen strangers venture out to start prosperous careers of their own.
A lot of today’s big stars did, in fact, kick off their careers with horror movies. For a talented young performer seeking his or her big break, the genre has proven a ready platform. Here’s a quick breakdown of a few A-listers who got where they are thanks to a well-timed (sometimes ill-fated) faceoff with some denizens of our worst nightmares.
Where It All Began: Leprechaun
Who (or What) She Fended Off: Leprechauns, as you’d likely imagine.
How It Worked Out: She made it to the end — call it luck of the Irish.
Where It Got Her: Knee-deep in a trendsetting haircut and an on-off relationship to a paleontologist.
Where It All Began: A Nightmare on Elm Street
Who (or What) He Fended Off: The first big screen Inception-er, Freddy Krueger.
How It Worked Out: That was a lot of blood….
Where It Got Him: Tim Burton must have seen something particularly haunting in this unfortunate dreamer.
Where It All Began: Children of the Corn III
Who (or What) She Fended Off: A vegetative monster and its cult of possessed rural youths
How It Worked Out: Not a kernel of her was ever seen again….
Where It Got Her: A steady climb of the Hollywood ladder has made her one of the most valued stars of today, with acclaimed features like Young Adult and Prometheus under her belt.
Where It All Began: Tales from the Darkside: The Movie
Who (or What) She Fended Off: An undead Steve Buscemi
How It Worked Out: Hell hath no fury like a Donny scorned
Where It Got Her: I guess after killing her, Buscemi put in a good word with the Coen Brothers… the pair would meet again in The Big Lebowski, and Moore has enjoyed a flourishing career ever since — she will return to the genre in the forthcoming remake of Carrie
Where It All Began: Psycho Beach Party (technically, this was her second feature, not her first… but how can you pass up mentioning Psycho Beach Party?)
Who (or What) She Fended Off: Bloodthirsty slashers (and melanoma)
How It Worked Out: Forget the dozens of horrible deaths — she is brutally humiliated by her jerk boyfriend in front of the entire psycho beach party!
Where It Got Her: Paul Thomas Anderson, David O. Russell, Jack Kerouac, Janis Joplin, Superman, Kermit the Frog… she turned out just fine.
Where It All Began: The Burning
Who (or What) He Fended Off: A camp counselor with fourth degree burns.
How It Worked Out: In order to make reparations for the mutilated caretaker, the judge decreed that Alexander become his butler. …Wait, no, that’s something else.
Where It Got Him: If you understood the above joke, then that proves how might this man’s legacy is.
Where It All Began: Critters 3
Who (or What) He Fended Off: Alien porcupines… the nation’s most pressing threat in 1991.
How It Worked Out: Well, there was no Critters 4, was there?
Where It Got Him: History’s third highest grossing picture to date, frequent collaborations with one of the most respected directors of all time, and — best of all — Growing Pains.
[Photo Credit: Trimark Pictures]
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Last night on Dancing with the Stars, the remaining couples were divided into two teams: Chelsea Kane, Romeo and Ralph Macchio vs. Kirstie Alley, Kendra Wilkinson and Hines Ward. The idea was that the groups of three couples would come out, dance a little bit and be judged on their ability to stay in unison, and then briefly dance as individual couples like they usually do.
Chelsea, Romeo and Ralph danced the Cha-Cha-Cha to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” and as a group, they did very well. No singular pair seemed ahead of the other three when they were sharing the floor, which was pretty incredible. But when they danced individually, it was really hard to see the routines as opportunities to enjoy the skills of each couple. Instead, the individual routines just seemed like breathers from the main event. The judges gave them 30 out of 40 points (because there was a fourth judge: esteemed ballroom dancer Donny Burns).
Next up was the team of Kirstie Alley, Kendra and Hines Ward. They also danced the Cha-Cha-Cha, but this time it was to Ke$ha. Again, the individual dances did not allow for time to showcase each group individually, and so it seemed like it was pointless to even ask them to do so. And even though this group’s choreography was better than the first group, they were not in sync as the first group. The judges gave them 30 points as well.
Then came the individual dances. Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas were tasked with dancing the Paso Doble and during rehearsals, Mark had a hard time convincing Chelsea not to laugh or smile because it conflicted with the dance’s seriousness. And since it was the week where the professional dances come by and offer their advice to the performers, Mark’s mom Shirley came by, who was a famous Latin ballroom dancer. And it was a little weird watching her instruct Chelsea to dance with her son more passionately and telling her to grab her son’s hair with passion. When they performed their dance for the judges, their choreography was, as usual, amazing, and it just seems like they’re improving more and more each week. Len complained their dance was too aggressive, and believed there wasn’t enough refinement in their performance. But the rest of the judges liked their moves, and Chelsea and Mark got 34 points.
Louis van Amstel told Kendra that this was week that he was going to make the choreography really hard for Kendra because they’re in week 7 of the competition, and no bad dancers are left. Luca Baricchi (a famous ballroom dancer) showed up during their rehearsals of the Tango, and he told Kendra (in a pretty unlawful way) to feel the dance with her body instead of being afraid of making a mistake. When they danced for the judges, it was arguably their best dance in the competition. Kendra seemed to finally understand what moving elegantly means, and she was rewarded with a score of 31 points from the judges.
Kirstie and Maks were assigned the Jive, and they also received a few tips from Shirley Ballas. They weren’t really shown though, because during rehearsals, Kirstie expressed sadness over how Maks chose to express his frustration by screaming and yelling at her when she missed a step. After they danced their jive, the judges complained that the entire dance was out of sync, but tried to make Kirstie feel better about her performance by complimenting her instincts and her spirit. They gave her 30 points.
Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff danced the Quickstep, and Luca Baricchi came back to tell them what he told Kendra, which was to feel the movements instead of just performing them. Ralph expressed bodily discomfort throughout all of rehearsals and once they danced their dance, it became clear that even though their choreography is pretty weak, they’re a lively pair to watch. They got 36 points from the judges.
Romeo and Chelsie Hightower danced the Samba, and they went into rehearsals on a pretty high note because they got their first 10 last week. Shirley Ballas came by the studio and showed Romeo how to properly move his hips in Latin formation. But the judges didn’t care too much for it because it didn’t represent the Samba as much as it should have. They gave the couple a 30 out of 40.
Hines Ward and Kym Johnson danced the Tango as well, and Luca came back to tell Hines that he wasn’t feeling the moves enough. As usual, their performance was perfect and the judges loved it, as evidenced by their score of 36.
I Am Number Four a sci-fi action drama from D.J. Caruso (Disturbia Eagle Eye) about a teenage alien’s earthly travails has the look and feel of a CW series – i.e. lots of attractive young people some of whom possess supernatural abilities and superhuman amounts of angst and alienation. This is not a coincidence: Two of its screenwriters Alfred Gough and Miles Millar happen to be the creators and executive producers of Smallville a series chronicling Superman’s youthful pre-Metropolis years that’s now in its tenth and final season on the CW. (The script is adapted from a novel by Pittacus Lore.)
Unlike Smallville’s solitary Kryptonian I Am Number Four’s hero is not alone. Number Four (Alex Pettyfer) is one of nine gifted residents (each branded with a number for reasons not sufficiently explained in the film) from the planet Lorien who fled to Earth after their civilization was annihilated by the Mogadorians a race of mumbly trenchcoat-clad goons with tattooed scalps hell-bent on ridding the universe of its water polo players. (Indeed Pettyfer’s hair in the film perpetually bears that fresh-out-of-the-water look common also to surfers and lifeguards.) Together with his anointed guardian Henri (Timothy Olyphant) he travels from small town to small town adopting assumed names and trying to keep a low profile so as to avoid detection by the Mogadorians who have followed the Loriens to earth to finish the job.
I Am Number Four skillfully mines much of the same emotional territory of the Twilight saga and its variants albeit from a slightly geekier less melodramatic more male-oriented angle. (Michael Bay produced the film.) Four’s itinerant lifestyle and otherworldly heritage make the adolescent struggle to fit in all the more difficult; he’s anti-social broods a lot and acts out toward Henri telekinetically. (Kudos to Caruso for the unorthodox but effective choice of Olyphant a guy who always looks to me as if he’s about to stab someone as the father-figure). This is likely because Four is in the middle of that awkward alien superhero stage: special powers like hands that glow brightly and emit beams of energy spontaneously reveal themselves at inopportune times causing him to flee from physics class mortified. Pettyfer's really got the tormented bit down; if he can master a few more expressions he's really gonna go places.
Despite these difficult public moments and despite Henri’s repeated warnings to avoid earthly relationships Four manages to strike up an inter-species romance with fellow attractive outcast Sarah (Glee's Dianna Agron) Bella Swan’s blonde equivalent a former cheerleader who has since disavowed her popular-girl past. This in turn invites the fury of Sarah’s former boyfriend and current stalker a bullying jock named Mark (Jake Abel).
Soon however Four’s rites of adolescence must take a backseat to the more pressing matter of defending his species – and his adopted planet – from the Mogadorians who’ve tracked him to his Paradise Ohio location via that advanced alien technology known as YouTube. An apocalyptic battle set at Four’s high school ensues during which he is joined by a fellow Lorien Number Six (Teresa Palmer) a hot-blooded Aussie biker chick whose powers include the ability to communicate exclusively in double entendres. Four is also aided by Sarah a UFO-obsessed sidekick (Callan McAuliffe) and a shape-shifting puppy.
I Am Number Four’s climax largely abandons its appealing Smallville ethos for something more suitable of a film bearing the name of Michael Bay but made with a fraction of the effects budget. The orgy of destruction involving CGI beasts and laser guns and explosions and tons of acrobatic stuntwork comes off a tad cheap if not a little tacky. Hopefully the filmmakers will get a bit more cash to make the sequel which I Am Number Four's ending rather blatantly labors to set up.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
G.I. Joe is a top-secret multi-national special forces unit comprised of highly-trained physically attractive military personnel from around the world. Equipped with the latest in superawesome vehicles and weaponry and guided by the tough but fair General Hawk they take on the baddest of the bad guys the kind of terrorists that scoff at conventional organizations. As the General himself so aptly states “When all else fails we don’t.”
That credo is put to the test however when a shadowy terrorist group armed with even awesomer vehicles and weaponry like crazy-ass laser guns and computer-guided zombie troopers infiltrates the Joes’ compound and makes off with a cache of four WMDs each of which is capable of leveling an entire city. Do the men and women of G.I. Joe have what it takes to defeat these menacing new adversaries before they mount their next devastating attack?
WHO’S IN IT?
It takes an elite group of actors to play an elite group of soldiers and the cast of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is stocked with an abundance of Hollywood’s most talented performers all adorned in various types of leather fetish apparel. White Chicks star Marlon Wayans plays Ripcord a flight specialist who can pilot any type of airplane even enemy crafts that respond only to voice commands uttered in Celtic. Channing Tatum star of Step Up and Step Up 2: The Streets plays his best pal Duke a badass infantryman who knows no fear. Preeminent ginger chick Rachel Nichols showcases her fiery crimson locks as Scarlett a shrewd intel expert whose stoic exterior hides a growing attraction to Ripcord. Barking out the orders as General Hawk is Enemy Mine star Dennis Quaid.
On the side of the bad guys is the Baroness played by Factory Girl star Sienna Miller in a push-up bra dirty librarian glasses and a raven-colored dye job. She’s the point woman for McMullen a shady Scottish weapons magnate played by Christopher Eccleston. But McMullen is no ordinary shady Scottish weapons magnate; he’s covertly amassed a huge terrorist empire headquartered beneath the polar ice caps. It’s there that “The Doctor ” a horribly disfigured mad scientist played by (500) Days of Summer star Joseph Gordon-Levitt concocts all sorts of diabolical new weapons and gadgets to unleash on the innocent.
Oh and there are ninjas too. Good guy Snake Eyes played by Ray Park wears sleek black body armor while the evil Storm Shadow played by Byung-hun Lee runs around in a updated version of Elvis Presley’s classic all-white jumpsuit.
Loaded with scene after scene of high-tech action-movie eye candy G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra assaults the senses with such a relentless barrage of over-the-top stunts eye-popping visual effects and stylized fight sequences that only the most coldly cynical of viewers will be able to resist submitting to its visceral charms.
As with most sugary indulgences the sweet dizzying high is followed almost immediately by a painful crash. Feelings of guilt and shame start to simmer as you kick yourself for yielding to such soulless gluttony. The next morning you awake with a throbbing headache and a heart filled with regret. The following day a doctor informs you that you have adult-onset diabetes. So in a nutshell G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is the cinematic equivalent of adult-onset diabetes.
The scene where they have the big fight with all the advanced weapons and a whole bunch of stuff blows up. Oh wait that’s EVERY scene.
For the bulk of his performance Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s face is obscured by a bulky breathing apparatus and his voice is altered to sound like the computerized movie trailer's narrator. Which makes one wonder why they bothered to hire a name actor for the role in the first place.
December 18, 2001 9:47am EST
It looks as though viewers will have to decide whether to tune in to the Super Bowl halftime show or flip to NBC to watch Playboy Playmates on a special edition of Fear Factor.
NBC's centerfold ploy is a bold attempt to lure viewers away from the Super Bowl halftime show, which will be televised on Fox to an estimated 130 million viewers in the United States on Feb. 3.
NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker told The Associated Press on Monday that the network was simply having a little fun.
"It's all a game. It's all fun," he said. "We're doing it with just as big a wink as the viewer."
In the last celebrity edition of Fear Factor, Kelly Preston, Coolio, Brooke Burns, Donny Osmond, Joanie Laurer and David Hasselhoff were asked to put their heads inside a 17-inch square Plexiglass box. Animal wranglers then dumped 40 millipedes, 20 scorpions and 1,000 worms on top of the their heads.
While Zucker would not reveal what stunts were in store for the centerfold models, a spokesperson for NBC said that water would be involved.
NBC will break its Feb. 3 lineup to air the special episode of Fear Factor when halftime begins, and will resume regular programming when halftime is over. The rest of Fear Factor will be shown when the game ends.
Zucker credited Fox, who in 1992 scheduled an abbreviated version of its comedy show In Living Color at halftime, as inspiration for the concept.
Irish rock band U2 will perform during Fox's Super Bowl halftime show.
"Between the Super Bowl and Malcom in the Middle, we offer a night of television the whole family can watch together," Fox spokesperson Sonya McNair told AP. "NBC's programming speaks for itself."
If you think that watching people eat worms or lie in a coffin filled with rats is eerie and disgusting--and entertaining--you will now have a chance to see celebrities face similar situations.
Donny Osmond, Kelly Preston (Jerry Maguire), David Hasselhoff, Brooke Burns (Baywatch), rapper Coolio, and Joanie Leurer ("Chyna" from the WWF), will be recruited for NBC's special celebrity edition of Fear, to air Nov. 27 at 8.pm.
Each celebrity contestant will donate any prize money won to charity, Reuters reported.
The network scheduled the celebrity-edition of Fear for the last Tuesday of the November ratings sweeps, and the show will run seven minutes over its usual hour-long format, lasting until after ratings competitor 24 (FOX) begins.
New episodes of Fear weren't slated to begin its 15-episode second season in January, and the celeb edition was going to serve as the second-season premiere. But when NBC executives saw a rough cut of the show, they felt it would increase the peacock network's sweeps ratings.
Some industry observers are questioning if Fear will have the same effect it had in its first season, given the daily terror alerts Americans face currently.
NBC Entertainment president Jeff Zucker isn't worried.
"What the audience has been telling us over the last few weeks is that they want to be entertained," Zucker told Reuters. "It's our job to entertain people, and this show is incredibly entertaining. I'm not going to get caught up in psychoanalyzing the American public."