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The Black Cauldron

If you are searching for a story from which to make a successful animated film, there are certain elements that you can’t go wrong with - swords and a bit of sorcery (couldn’t hurt), a battle between good and evil (now you’re talking), a brave young hero on a quest to save the world (gotta have it) and, of course, a psychic pig (Right? Right?). Put all these ingredients in a pot, give it a good stir, and the result is The Black Cauldron, an 1985 animated Disney film based on Lloyd Alexander’s fantasy book series, The Chronicles of Prydain. Continue reading...

The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth

After years of honing his skills on such characters as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, Chuck Jones decided to turn his directorial skills towards his first feature film, The Phantom Tollbooth. Based on the popular 1961 children’s book, written by Norman Juster, the 1970 film combined live-action and animation to weave this fanciful tale, the first animated feature film ever released by Warner Brothers. Continue reading...

Halloween

Halloween

Director John Carpenter always held a particular fondness for the horror/thriller genre from the time he began making films. But it was the 1978 film Halloween, a gruesome story of a murderous stalker, that truly catapulted his career - and the genre of slasher films that would follow. Featuring the film debut of a very young Jamie Lee Curtis and the internationally acclaimed actor Donald Pleasence, Halloween is an annual favorite, a must-watch every time October rolls around. Continue reading...

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Mad Monster Party

After years of creating some of the most beloved holiday specials ever, including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Little Drummer Boy and Frosty the Snowman, the production team of Rankin-Bass turned their attention (and their innovative stop-action animation techniques) to the scarier holiday of Halloween for their big screen debut, Mad Monster Party. Continue reading...

The Monster Squad

The Monster Squad

Plenty of monsters have come and gone over the years, but it’s not often you get a collection of, count em’, five classic creatures in one movie. To experience this quintuplet of creeps, one must watch The Monster Squad. Released in 1987, the all-star team of terror included Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy, the Wolfman, and Gillman (from The Creature From the Black Lagoon, in case his name draws a blank.) That’s a lotta monster bang for the buck. Throw in a special appearance by Van Helsing, a few bad vampire babes and a bunch of monster-obsessed kids and you have the makings for a pretty cool movie. Continue reading...

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Grease

Grease is the word, alright. Based on the long-running Broadway musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, this 1978 film provided an homage to the 1950’s, complete with catchy songs, impressive dance numbers, and a classic love story. Much of the movie’s success can be attributed to stars John Travolta, who was hot off his starring role in Saturday Night Fever, and Olivia Newton-John, already a pop music superstar. They were joined by talented real life 50’s icons Eve Arden, Sid Caesar, Edd Byrnes and Frankie Valli, and the result was a movie still fondly remembered by a generation of fans. Continue reading...

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The Day the Earth Stood Still

1951’s seminal The Day the Earth Stood Still had a major impact on atomic-era sci-fi and pop culture. A nuclear-age warning to the people of Earth, it was based on “Farewell to the Master,” the Harry Bates story concerning Klaatu, an alien who arrives on Earth with his robot Gort in a flying saucer from the far beyond. Continue reading...

The Towering Inferno

The Towering Inferno

Considered by many to be quite possibly the greatest disaster picture ever made, The Towering Inferno followed (and transcended) the success of The Poseidon Adventure, becoming the gold standard of the genre. For its efforts, the Irwin Allen-produced film scored an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture and become the highest-grossing film of 1974. Continue reading...