Robin Hardy talks about his return to directing with “The Wicker Tree”

Robin Hardy is probably best known for his directing of the classic 1973 film “The Wicker Man”. Robin is back directing and is set to release the second film in the Wicker series titled “The Wicker Tree”. Media Mikes was very fortunate to be able to talk with Robin recently about the film.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about your return to directed?
Robin Hardy: Over the years I have been directing everything from documentaries to television commercials. I think I have made over 1000 commercials and have been very successful with those. Directing is something that I really enjoy doing. Having been trained as an artist I am able to illustrate everything I want. As a writer I like to introduce music whenever I can. I suppose that comes from commercials. Music is such an important part for those. These things have tended to blend leading me to use them in the features I have made.

AL: What was it like returning to the Wicker series some 40 years after the first one being made?
RH: It was good. I even had some actors in the new film who were in the first one. The little girl who is watching the beetle go around and around the nail in the first film reappears as a cook in the new film. There are some others who returned as well. It was really fun returning to the genre. To revive this genre is what really drew me to this project. It was great fun working on the songs.

AL: What do you think is the biggest difference between the two films?
RH: In many ways I don’t think they differ all that much. I think the second movie brings in some relative sub-plots that were not used in the first film. The question of being able to enlarge on the idea of the Sun as an object of worship turns up in this second film. I liked doing this in the second film because it brings the whole idea of the current state of religion down to us as a more understandable present day interest or preoccupation. In the first film there were a lot of pagan clues which were ultimately leading a Christian man to his death.

AL: How do you think your book “Cowboy’s for Christ” compares to the film?
RH: I think it’s pretty faithful to it. I made a much bigger deal of the police. It seemed to me when I read the book that in order to keep the sense of disbelief in the whole story and to believe in the police man was getting quite close to understanding what was going on we had to expand on that. This had to be the tail to the film because it was too much of a red hearing and it would have spoiled the flair of the story.

AL: Can you tell us about Christopher Lee’s involvement in the film?
RH: In the case of the first film we were all Hammer film fans. We thought that the Hammer films all though tongue and cheek in their way didn’t begin to do justice to the whole pagan background. We thought it would be a wonderful idea to take someone who was an icon of those films and turn the whole story on its head by making this guy the pagan lord.

AL: Can you tell us about your work on the third film in the series “The Wrath of Gods”?
RH: I wanted to make that film in Iceland because I thought it would be sort of fun to try and make this sort of saga theme park in Iceland. I couldn’t raise the money to make the film there because of the terrible economic shape that the country is in. I chose to shoot in the Shetland Island because originally they were Scandinavian. It was perfectly logical to set this saga there. They also have a most wonderful Fire festival there which is featured in the film. I would like to think this film will be out within the next four years.

 

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DVD Review “More Brains! A Return To The Living Dead”

Directed by Bill Philputt
Starring: Cast of Return of the Living Dead
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 240 minutes

Overall score: 4 out of 5 stars

If you are horror fan then it’s simple… you love zombie movies. Everyone loves zombies. It is something about them every since George Romero brought them into the spotlight in the late 60’s. “Return of the Living Dead” one the horror gems and has become a major cult classic and legacy in the genre. The film has spawned four sequels and has one hell of a following. The feature “More Brains! A Return To The Living Dead” proposes itself as the definitive “Return of The Living Dead”. It does that in fact and more. It focuses solely on the first film and comes together as a great documentary. The team behind this film has done previous genre documentary like “His Name is Jason” and “Never Sleep Again”. This one definitely stands out as their best work.

This film gathers amazing interviews from the cast and crew of the film starting with Writer/Director Dan O’Bannon, Co-producer Graham Henderson and the cast Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa, Beverly Randolph, Thom Mathews, John Philbin, Jewel Shepard, Miguel A. Nunez Jr., Brian Peck, Linnea Quigley, Allan Trautman, as well as many of the special effects team. It presents some amazing stories from the film that I never knew as well as archive footage from the shoot. The stories are fun and it looks like the cast/crew is having a really good time. I honestly can’t wait to see what these guys are going to do next. Would love their take on a documentary about “The Exorcist” or “Halloween”.

The special features are packed and include ANOTHER two hours of footage. The first is called “A Conversation with Dan O’Bannon: The Final Interview” and it covers his experience working on the film. Great stuff. Next up, we have coverage about the 2nd and 3rd films in “They Won’t Stay Dead: A Look at Return of the Living Dead Part II” and “Love Beyond the Grave: A Look at Return of the Living Dead 3”. I think the coverage from the second film is a bit of a downer, it seems like it was a bad experience. I think about Roy Schneider talking about “Jaws 2” compares to “Jaws”. The third film has always had a special place for me and I love Brian Yunza. I am surprised but not shocked that there is no mention at all on the disc about the 4th and 5th film in the series. But like any respecting horror fan, I just ask myself…”What 4th and 5th film?” The music video for Stacey Q’s “Tonight” is cheesy but you can’t help but love that song (and think about the graveyard dance scene). “Even More Brains: Deleted Documentary Interviews” covers alternate footage cut from the film but it works really well. I am happy with the flow of the film though and think it was well cut. “Return of the Living Dead in 3 Minutes” features the cast today revisiting lines from the film during their interviews. Very funny. “Resurrected Settings: The Filming Locations Today” takes us back to the sets from the film and it is cool to see where it was shot.

Disney and Disney•Pixar Favorites Poised to Return to Theaters in 3D

DISNEY AND DISNEYPIXAR FAVORITES POISED TO RETURN TO THEATERS IN 3D

‘Beauty and the Beast,’ ‘Finding Nemo,’ ‘Monsters, Inc.’ and ‘The Little Mermaid’ Will Make 3D Theatrical Debut in 2012 and 2013 

BURBANK, Calif. – October 4, 2011 – On the heels of the phenomenal success of The Lion King 3D – which will cross the $80 million mark at the domestic box office today – The Walt Disney Studios has announced limited theatrical engagements for four of its classic films for the first time in 3D. The following titles from Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios will be released in 2012 and 2013:

  • Beauty and the Beast – January 13, 2012
  • Disney•Pixar’s Finding Nemo – September 14, 2012
  • Disney•Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. – January 18, 2013 (Monsters University, a prequel to the original film, arrives in theaters in Disney Digital 3D on June 21, 2013)
  • The Little Mermaid – September 13, 2013

“Great stories and great characters are timeless, and at Disney we’re fortunate to have a treasure trove of both,” said Alan Bergman, President, The Walt Disney Studios. “We’re thrilled to give audiences of all ages the chance to experience these beloved tales in an exciting new way with 3D – and in the case of younger generations, for the first time on the big screen.”

Originally released in 1991, Beauty and the Beast is a classic “tale as old as time” that follows the adventures of Belle, a bright young woman imprisoned in the castle of a mysterious beast and his enchanted staff, who must learn the most important lesson of all – that true beauty comes from within. Beauty and the Beast was the first animated film ever nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Picture, earning an additional five Oscar® nominations and winning two. It has grossed $380.4 million worldwide.

First released in 2003, Disney•Pixar’s Finding Nemo takes audiences into a whole new world in this undersea adventure about family, courage and challenges. When Marlin, an overly cautious clownfish living in the Great Barrier Reef, helplessly watches his son get scooped up by a diver, he must put aside his fears of the ocean and leave the safety of his coral enclave to find Nemo. Buoyed by the companionship of Dory, a forgetful but relentlessly optimistic fish, Marlin finds himself the unlikely hero in a seemingly impossible land-and-sea rescue. Finding Nemo won an Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature and was nominated for three others. With a total of $867.6 million worldwide, it was the second highest-grossing film of 2003.

In 2001, Disney•Pixar released Monsters, Inc. Lovable Sulley and his wisecracking sidekick Mike Wazowski are the top scare team at Monsters, Inc., the scream-processing factory in Monstropolis. But when a little girl named Boo wanders into their world, it’s up to Sulley and Mike to keep her out of sight and get her back home. Monsters, Inc. shattered every DVD-era home entertainment sales record when 11 million DVD/VHS copies were sold during its first week of release. It won an Academy Award® for Best Song and has grossed $526.9 million worldwide.

Released in 1989, The Little Mermaid, stars Ariel, a fun-loving and mischievous mermaid, off on the adventure of a lifetime with her best friend, the adorable Flounder, and the reggae-singing Caribbean crab Sebastian. But it will take all of her courage and determination to make her dreams come true and save her father’s beloved kingdom from the sneaky sea witch Ursula. One of the most celebrated animated films of all time, The Little Mermaid was nominated for three Academy Awards®, winning two. It has grossed $228.9 million worldwide.

ABOUT THE WALT DISNEY STUDIOS

For more than 85 years, The Walt Disney Studios has been the foundation on which The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) was built. Today, the Studio brings quality movies, music and stage plays to consumers throughout the world. Feature films are released under four banners: Walt Disney Pictures, which includes Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios; Disneynature; Marvel; and Touchstone Pictures, which includes the distribution of live-action films from DreamWorks Studios. Original music and motion picture soundtracks are produced under Walt Disney Records and Hollywood Records, while Disney Theatrical Group produces and licenses live events, including Broadway theatrical productions, Disney on Ice and Disney LIVE!.  For more information, visit www.waltdisneystudios.com.

 

“More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead” Hitting DVD

It worked in the movie!” When an army drum is breached and a mysterious chemical gas is released into a nearby cemetery, the dead return to life with only one thing on their minds…brains! The zombie menace quickly descends upon a group of misfits who must fight for survival as they are picked off one at a time by a horde of the undead. “Do you ever wonder about all the different ways of dying?” Dan O’Bannon’s outrageous splatter classic “The Return of the Living Dead” has continued to terrify and entertain horror fans for over twenty-five years with its delicious mix of blood, guts, sex and punk. Boasting off-beat humor, plenty of attitude and one of the most famous zombies ever committed to celluloid, it’s easy to see why the film’s legacy continues to grow. “It makes the pain go away…” MORE BRAINS! A RETURN TO THE LIVING DEAD is the ultimate account of the tongue-in-cheek, stylish and apocalyptic zombie movie. It features — for the first time ever! — contributions from all the main cast as well as clips, photographs, storyboards, conceptual art, publicity materials, archival documents and behind-the-scenes footage. “They’re back from the grave and ready to party!” Through this definitive retrospective fans are finally able to explore the film’s journey from the world of “Night of the Living Dead” to the mind of acclaimed writer/director Dan O’Bannon. Narrator Brian Peck (“Scuz”) guides you through the blood, sweat and tears as cast and crew look back on their experience in the graveyard creating the film that’s been called “a beauty of a cult classic!”

Bonus Features: Never-before-seen deleted, behind-the-scenes, blooper and special effects test footage that brought the Dead to life, 2-hours of incredible bonus features including “A Conversation with Dan O’Bannon: The Final Interview, They Won’t Stay Dead: A Look at Return of the Living Dead Part 2, Love Beyond the Grave: A Look at Return of the Living Dead, Stacey Q Live! Exclusive “Tonight” Music Video, Even More Brains: Deleted Documentary Interviews, Return of the Living Dead in 3 Minutes, and more! Limited edition premium collectible O-sleeve packaging featuring artwork created by original “Return of the Living Dead” poster artist Carl Ramsey!

© MMXI Michael Perez Entertainment LLC. All rights reserved. More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead is a non-fiction documentary film. It is not a sequel to or remake of The Return of the Living Dead or any of its sequels, and it is not affiliated with or sponsored by the creators, producers or owners of The Return of the Living Dead or its sequels.

More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead
DVD
Label: Michael Perez Entertainment
Pre-book: 10/11/11 Streets: 10/18/11 SRP: 19.95
UPC: 063390095667 Cat: 9566 Not Rated
Run Time: 240 Minutes In English Color
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 1.85:1 Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo Region 0
Production year: 2011
Director: Bill Philputt
Stars: James Karen, Clu Gulager, Don Calfa, Thom Mathews, Beverly Randolph