Blu-ray Review “Young Detective Dee: Rise of The Sea Dragon”

Actors: Mark Chao, William Feng, Angelababy, Carina Lau, Lin Gengxin
Directors: Tsui Hark
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Well Go USA
Release Date: February 11, 2014
Run Time: 134 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: N/A

When I see a film from Tsui Hark, I don’t care what it is I just immediately add it to my list. I did that with his 2011 film, “Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame” and was so glad that I did since it was amazing. “Young Detective Dee: Rise of The Sea Dragon” is a prequel to that film and really amps up the ante. In fact, the prequel improves not only the story but also the visual effects. I felt like huge-budget epic summer film. Epic is the word that comes to my mind. What I also liked most is that this film is well-balanced and is exciting in the beginning, the middle and ridiculously awesome in the third act. Highly recommend to watch this film (but if possible in 3D, see below)

Official Premise: From legendary action director Tsui Hark and the creators of international smash hit “Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame” comes the captivating tale of Dee Renjie s beginnings in the Imperial police force. His very first case, investigating reports of a sea monster terrorizing the town, reveals a sinister conspiracy of treachery and betrayal, leading to the highest reaches of the Imperial family.

I am really upset with not being able view this film in its intended 3D format. The film really sets up a lot of its visual effects with the added dimension and I felt like I missing a lot here. This is not the first time that Well-Go has done this either. They released terrible films like “Dino King 3D”, “Sadako 3D” and “Tormented 3D” all with 3D Blu-ray releases, so I have no idea why they have cheaped out on titles like this one, which would have been AMAZING in 3D. Bad move! To top it off there are no special features either. Great movie, terrible Blu-ray. I would try and import this release and get the 7.1 Dolby HD track with 3D Blu-ray.

 

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DVD Review “Young Cassidy”

Directed by: Jack Cardiff
Starring: Rod Taylor, Julie Christie, Edith Evans, Michael Redgrave, Flora Robson, Maggie Smith
Distributed by: Warner Archive
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 110 minutes

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

Warner Archive’s is releasing another film in Rod Taylor’s filmography following “The Liquidator”. This film is not as entertaining. It was stated that Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide’s has called this his “best role ever” for Rod Taylor. I agree that is it a very engaging and emotional role and he did nail it but the film itself is where I had issues. The running time dragged for me at almost two hours. Good supporting roles comes from Julie Christie and Maggie Smith. At least this film carried the approval from O’ Casey himself and was based on his autobiography.

Like in the past though, Warner Archive does not disappoint the the newly restored transfer of this film.  It is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and in 16X9 widescreen letterbox.  The audio in the film is nothing that the Dolby Mono track can’t handle either.  Nonetheless, if you are a fan of Taylor’s work and looking for a chance to own this piece of cinema on DVD…you know have the chance.  The only special features included on this release is just the trailer for the film.

Synopsis: Young John Cassidy is a driven man. By day, he works manual labor, secretly trains in the hills with a band of revolutionaries eager to take Ireland’s fate into their own hands, joins mates for a pint, or sometimes enjoys the company of a lovely Dublin lass. By night and into the wee hours, he puts pencil to paper and writes of working-class Irish life. He will – he must – be a writer. The coming of age of renowned Irish playwright Sean O’ Casey (Cassidy is a name O’ Casey sometimes used for himself) comes to the screen in a colorful and atmospheric biopic directed by legendary John Ford (who left the film due to illness) and Jack Cardiff. Rod Taylor plays the title character, bringing strength and earthiness to his “best role ever” (Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide). A talented cast – including Julie Christie and Maggie Smith – adds to the appeal of a film whose script was

Blu-ray Review “The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)”

Directed by: Roger Corman
Starring: Dick Miller, Jack Nicholson, Jonathan Haze, Mel Welles
Distributed by: Legend Films
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Release Date: March 6, 2012
Running Time: 70 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

Legend Films is known for colorizing classic films and they did a very notable job with 1960’s “The Little Shop of Horrors”. The color is very subtle and feels like it was beautiful hand panted on each scene. I have seen this film many times and I am big fan of Roger Corman and this film still works well for me. This is the first time that this film has been released on Blu-ray and Legend films really did a great job restoring it in both color and black-and-white.

Everyone knows the classic story of “The Little Shop of Horrors”. This 1960 film was also one of Jack Nicholson’s first roles. Seymour grows an exotic plant that has an insatiable appetite for blood and people. As the plant grows larger and larger and hungrier and hungrier, things start to get out of the control for the local flower shop and their bloodthirsty plant.

The video resolutions looks really sharp in its 1080p transfer. The only main concern is that the aspect ratio on the Blu-ray is 1.33:1 compared to the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Nothing major missed though. The audio is nothing special but includes a DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track.

The special features only included a commentary track by MST3K’s Mike Nelson, which definitely delivers some great laughs. Lastly if you prefer the classic black and white version of the film, as with all Legend releases they included the original black and white version as well, so everyone is happy.

Interview with Parker Young

Parker Young plays the role of Ryan Shay on the ABC series “Suburgatory”. Media Mikes had a chance to talk with Parker about his work on the show and what may be in store for his character.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about your role on “Suburgatory”?
Parker Young: The show is basically about a father who moves his daughter from the city to the suburbs after finding a box of condoms in her room. Little does he know that the town they moved to is completely ridiculous and filled with a bunch of insane characters. It’s not as perfect as he had imagined. My character Ryan Shay is the first boy that Tessa the daughter meets. I am the high school jock and Tessa and have a little bit of a fling. She finds out I am super dumb and realizes she was only attracted to my body. (Laughs)

AL: How did you initially get involved with the show?
PY: I went through the standard audition process after receiving the script. The role is obviously a high school jock role and there were a bunch of younger looking guyswho also had shown up to read for the part. I didn’t think I had a shot because I thought I looked just a little too old. I met with the casting director and the audition went great. I met with a few more people involved with the show and ended up getting the phone call telling me I was the guy.

 AL: What do you like most about playing the character of Ryan?
PY: It is so much fun. I enjoy the freedom of the character. Originally when I auditioned the character wasn’t so dumb and innocent. He sort of became that way. I am happy with the character and how he is so child like. Ryan gets to say what’s on his mind. It’s just a fun character to play and I think the writers have fun writing for the role.

AL: What can we expect to see from your character this season?
PY: There is an episode this season called “The Body”. I am the body. (Laughs) Ryan has been trying to prove to Tessa that he is the guy for her. You can expect to see Ryan make another attempt and winning over Tessa. There also is an episode where my character is hurt during a wrestling match which leads to Ryan being disowned by his family. George takes Ryan under his wing and teaches him a thing or two. In the future Ryan is going to use his new arsenal of good to win Tessa over.

AL: How does working on this show compare to your work on previous films and television shows?
PY: This show has been such a blessing. I have learned so much and developed some great relationships. You become part of a family. It’s a fun creative process. It’s a cool experience to watch everything unfold. I feel very close to all the actors and our crew is amazing. I think the show has hit its stride as of late.

AL: What was it like working on “Gingerdead Man 2”?
PY: (Laughs) at the time it was great. I had just moved out west and it was cool to be out there and be in a film. Looking back on that now I am not too sure what I was thinking. (Laughs)

AL: Do you have any other upcoming projects?
PY: We are just wrapping up the 22nd episode of “Suburgatory”. When that is completed I will have the time to start looking for new projects. There are some things set to air however I can’t say anything about those right now. I will be ready for pilot season and hopefully auditioning a bunch. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

For more info on Parker Young you can follow him on Twitter at @Parker_Young

Blu-ray Review “Young Adult”

Directed by: Jason Reitman
Starring: Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt, Patrick Wilson, Elizabeth Reaser
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
MPAA Rating: R
Release date: March 13, 2012
Running Time: 94 minutes

Film: 1.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

Watching this film, the only thing I could keep thinking is that I feel bad really bad for the upcoming “The Evil Dead” remake since Diablo Cody is putting her spin on the film. Didn’t anybody see “Jennifer’s Body”. “Young Adult” was barely watchable and made only possible by the cast performances. I am beginning to think that the quirky success of Diablo’s writing in “Juno” was a fluke. The Blu-ray presentation is decent overall but nothing stunning. The video looks sharp and the audio track includes an DTS-HD MA 5.1 track and works well with the music. Charlize Theron definitely does a good job in her role but Patton Oswalt continues to prove that he can do drama really well. If anyone saw his film “Big Fan”, this is another great role for him. Too bad he can’t save this film.

The film follows the most depressing woman ever, Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron), who is a divorced bitter ghost writer of a popular young adult novels. While procrastinating to finish the last book of the canceled series, she gets an idea to steal back her high school boyfriend Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson). One problem he is married and recently had a child. Mavis heads back to her hometown of Mercury, Minnesota to try and win him back and in the process realizes what a mess that her life truly is.

The special features are decent but nothing special. The audio commentary track includes Director Jason Reitman, Director of Photography Eric Steelberg, and First Assistant Director/Associate Producer Jason A. Blumenfeld, it provides basic plot and production information. The best feature is “Misery Loves Company: The Making of Young Adult”, it runs just shy of 20 minutes and really get into the film’s story with Diablo Cody and the production with Jason Reitman. “The Awful Truth: Deconstructing a Scene” is a character review with Diablo Cody. There is a 45 minute Q&A with Janet Maslin & Jason Reitman at the Jacob Burns Film Center, it is very in depth and worth checking out. Lastly there is six deleted scenes, running about seven minutes, which would have made this film even more unwatchable.

DVD Review “Young Justice: Season One, Volume Three”

Created by: Greg Weisman, Brandon Vietti
Voices of: Bruce Greenwood, Crispin Freeman, Stephanie Lemelin, Jesse McCartney
Danica McKellar, Nolan North, Khary Payton, Jason Spisak
4 episodes
Running Time: 90 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Join Robin, Miss Martian, Superboy, Aqualad and Kid Flash on their adventures to fight the bad guys. This DVD comes packed with four episodes from the first season. This release lands in the series between from episode 9 through 12.  There are 26 episodes in season one so expect at least another 4 volumes for this season. The series is really fun and exciting but these episodes have started to get a little more darker and intense. If you are a fan of shows like “Justice League” and “Teen Titans”, this is a good mix of both.

The episodes includes are “Befret”, “Targets”, “Terror”, “Home Front”. “Befret” deals with the team trying to recover their memories after their mission in Bialya. In “Targets” puts the team in between an assassinate plot against Lex Luthor. “Terror” focuses on Superboy and Miss Martian planning to infiltrate Belle Reve. Lastly, “Home Front” brings forward the attack from Red Inferno and Red Torpedo on Mount Justice. Definitely some of the best episodes in the series to date.  I will look forward to see what comes next especially with the cliffhanger it leaves off on.

Available on DVD 2/21 at http://bit.ly/xA7kld
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Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Superboy, Miss Martian and Artemis have become YOUNG JUSTICE – The Justice League’s secret weapon against the forces of evil. The teen heroes will take on under-the-radar missions that would be impossible for the Justice League to handle covertly. Red Tornado will be their supervisor; Black Canary will be in charge of their training and Batman will hand out their assignments.

Interview with Shelby Young

Shelby Young has appeared in several movies and television series. Most recently she plays the character of Leah on the FX series “American Horror Story”. Shelby was nice enough to take time out of her schedule to talk with Media Mikes about the show and some of her other work.

Adam Lawton: What initially prompted you to get into acting?
SY: When I was younger I did this pageant with my mom. There happened to be a modeling agent there who was interested in me. I started doing modeling and commercials around Florida which is where I am from originally. I must have at some point gone to my Mom and told her I wasn’t getting enough dialogue in the commercials. When we moved out to New York I started doing some theater and indie films. We moved out to Los Angeles when I was 13 and things have gone from there.

AL: Can you tell us about your character on “American Horror Story”?
SY: When you first see my character Leah she is the leader of the mean girls at Violet’s school. She and Violet have a run in and Leah automatically doesn’t like her. The two end up fighting one another and to get Leah back Violet lures her back to her house where she is attacked by a demon type character. After the attack Leah becomes a completely different person. Leah is a little freaked out and not as mean. She has also noticed her hair has begun to turn white.

AL: What was it about the role that appealed to you?
SY: I love dark and gritty projects. When I read the script for the show I had to be a part of it! When I found out I got the role I completely freaked out. The show is just so well written and there is nothing else on television like it.

AL: What was your impression from reading the first script?
SY: I love Ryan Murphy’s other work. I am a huge “Glee” fan which is completely different from “American Horror Story”. I knew in Ryan’s hands this show was going to be amazing. The script just really jumped out at me and I didn’t want to put it down.

AL: Were you a fan of the horror genre prior to working on the show?
SY: Yes definitely! Even though I say this I generally end up watching them with my eyes closed for half the movie. (Laughs) I love the feeling of being scared.

AL: How has it been working with the rest of the cast?
SY: Everyone is amazing. I have work mostly with Evan Peters and Taissa Farmiga who are both really talented. Working with them has been fantastic and I am glad I have got to know them.

AL: Will we be seeing more of your character in the coming episodes?
SY: I can’t say anything about that as I don’t want to give anything away.

AL: You also have done some film work as well as voice over work. Is there that stands out as a favorite for you?
SY: I love film a lot and I would like for my career to go in that direction but, then you have something come along like “American Horror Story” that is so fantastic. Each episode is like a mini movie. I would be very content being a lead on a show like “American Horror Story”. Voice work is something fun for me to do on the side. For me the work is a little easier. I enjoy doing the funny voices.

AL: Do you have any other upcoming projects you can tell us about?
SY: I don’t have anything I can tell you about just yet. I have a few interesting projects I am waiting to hear back on but I don’t want to jinx it by giving too much away.

 

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DVD Review “Young Justice: Season One, Volume Two”

Created by: Greg Weisman, Brandon Vietti
Voices of: Bruce Greenwood, Crispin Freeman, Stephanie Lemelin, Jesse McCartney
Danica McKellar, Nolan North, Khary Payton, Jason Spisak
4 episodes
Running Time: 90 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Anything with anything related to Batman or Superman, or DC comics in general…count me in. I loved “Teen Titans” and this show reminds me so much of it. It is a little less slapstick and instead packs some great action. This DVD comes packed with four episodes from the first season. The DVD lands in the series between from episode 5 through 8. Overall this series is really fun and exciting. Since watching these four episodes, I have setup a season pass for the rest of season one, which is currently airing on Cartoon Network.

The episodes includes are “Schooled”, “Infiltrator”, “Denial”, “Downtime”. “Schooled” is centered around Super Boy and his relationship with Superman. He goes off on his own. The team faces Professor Ivo’s Amazo. In “Infiltrator” focuses on Artemis as she prove herself to the team while protecting Dr. Roquette from the League of Shadows. “Denial” is when the team is sent by Red Tornado to the Tower of Fate to prevent the helmet of Doctor Fate from getting in the wrong hands. “Downtime” focuses on Aqualad and his travels home to Atlantis after he gets blamed for letting the rest of Young Justice get taken down in battle.

Synopsis: Animated DC Universe cartoon series for a new generation starring ROBIN, AQUALAD, KID FLASH, SUPERBOY, MISS MARTIAN and ARTEMIS . Combined these six teenage heroes are YOUNG JUSTICE the JUSTICE LEAGUE?s secret weapon against the forces of evil. Based out of THE CAVE, the teen heroes will take on under-the-radar missions that would be impossible for the League proper (with its incandescent star-power) to handle covertly. In addition, these kids are in constant training to take their place alongside the great heroes. RED TORNADO will be their supervisor; BLACK CANARY will be in charge of their training, and BATMAN will hand out their assignments. And of course, Young Justice will push their missions, often turning a simple assignment from Batman into something much larger, often discovering that what they?ve been tasked to do is just the tip of the iceberg.

Now available on DVD at http://bit.ly/oWEcyF
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Interview with Lee Thompson Young

Lee Thompson Young is currently co-starring as Barry Frost on “Rizzoli and Isles”.  The show is beginning its second season July 11th.  Lee Took some time to chat with Movie Mikes about the season two and what we can expect from his character.

Mike Smith: What do you like most about playing Barry Frost on “Rizzoli and Isles”?
Lee Thompson Young: I really enjoy portraying his technical and computer knowledge.  It’s really fun to be sitting at a computer and breaking down video footage or researching terrorists’ criminal records.  It give me something fun to play and those scenes have the energy of a mystery being solved.  It’s almost like a Sherlock Holmes moment.  To me those things are the most fun about playing Detective Frost.

MS: What can fans expect from your character this season?  Anything jaw dropping?
LTY: I certainly hope there is some jaw dropping stuff.  We definitely learn more about my character this season.  My father comes to visit us in the office.  I won’t go into detail why but it’s all geared and woven into one of the cases we’re dealing with.  We learn a lot about his family and who he is…his growing up and his relationship with his family.  There’s definitely a lot more history about Detective Frost this season.

MS: What is the most challenging aspect for you working on the show?
LTY: The most challenging thing, and it’s similar on all television shows, is that we’re doing fifteen episodes and the challenge is to come in on episode ten with the same intensity and freshness and excitement that you had in episode one.  Keeping it alive and staying 100% involved in your character over six months.  On a feature you just have that one story and you can perfect each moment and it’s done.  But we do one story every week and a half so just keeping it fresh is a challenge.

MS: You’ve got two very strong actresses (Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander) leading the cast.  How is it working with them?
LTY: What I take away most is the skill that they have and the job they do.  If they’re women or men, it doesn’t really play that much into the experience.  Everyone in the cast is a professional.  Having Angie and Sasha there is like going to a master acting class every day.  They are both very skilled and when I watch them I try to take away things…I notice the choices that they make.  The only major difference in having two girls or two guys in the lead is that sometimes hair and make up takes a little longer (laughs).

MS: How do you prepare for a role?
LTY: I love doing research for my roles.  To me it’s one of the best parts of the job.  For this role I went to Boston and spent about a week with the homicide unit.  They gave me the rundown on how they work and how they live.  It was really eye opening and probably the most valuable investment I’ve made over the past two years.  It’s given me so much fuel to play this character.

MS: How was your experience working on the film “The Hills Have Eyes II?”
LTY: That was great.  That was great!  We shot it in Morocco, which was a mind blowing experience.  I loved Morocco…I was surprised at how much I loved it….because I thought it was just in the desert, no big deal.  But the rocks..the mountains, the sky at night…everything was very beautiful.  But it was a tough shoot.  A hundred degrees plus temperatures in the day time…running around all day in a full National Guard Army uniform.  A lot of long hours doing very intense stuff…running, screaming, getting shot…shooting people.  But because it was so intense I think it was a very strong bonding experience with the cast.  But we had a lot of laughs.  We worked hard and we played hard and we had a good time.

MS: Do you have a preference between television and film?
LTY: I think that there are pros and cons to each medium.  But what it ultimately boils down to me is the quality of the story that I’m going to be involved in, be it t.v. or film.  With TV the schedule sometimes pushes you to move a little faster and you might not get as much time as you’d like to get a moment right.  But you also have a lot of time to develop the character over a series of episodes.  On a movie you sometimes can’t reach the same level of depth but…you know the script five months in advance…you can study each moment and spend the time to get it just the way you want it.  When it’s done it’s done and you can put it to rest.  Both mediums have their benefits.

MS: Besides the new season what other projects do you have coming up?
LTY: We shoot the show for six months and a lot of the time stuff that comes up in the middle of the year I’m not available for.  I don’t have anything lined up right now but I’ll try and have something lined up by the end of the season.  I’ll get with my representation and try to see what’s going on and hopefully there will be some things that come out of that.

Interview with Christopher Young

Christopher Young is an award-winning film composer, who is known for his work on horror movies such as “Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddie’s Revenge”, “Hellraiser” and his latest and my favorite “Drag Me to Hell”. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Christopher about his scores and also his upcoming work.

Click here to purchase Christopher’s scores

Mike Gencarelli: “Drag Me to Hell” was one of my favorite scores of 2009, I feel the score adds so much to the film, did you enjoy working on it?
Christopher Young: Well, of course, it was a great opportunity to return to work again with Sam Raimi. Being able to work with him again was a dream come true. Because, being a horror fan, I mean…”Evil Dead”…my God…this was an earth shattering horror film for those of us who love horror movies. And the moment I saw that movie I said to myself, “I have to work with this guy. So here I am fantasizing about working with him…I tried to contact Sam several times…but he was happy with Joe LaDuca and, of course, Danny Elfman at the time. But it happened that his editor, Bob Morowski, was a tremendous fan of mine and, when it became apparent that Danny wasn’t going to be able to work on “The Gift”…that was the first picture we did together…he said to Sam, “you’ve got to check this guy out. I think he’s the right guy for the movie.” I’m truly convinced that Sam and I would never have met if not for his editor. And I give credit to Bob for making that connection. It’s interesting because when I went to meet Sam for the first time I was a smoker. I was a chain smoker and he was too. We realized we both were smokers and he said, “let’s go have this meeting outside.” Now it’s a few years later and he calls me to do “Drag Me To Hell.” He hoped that after doing the “Spider-man” series that the film would give him a chance to return to his “Evil Dead” roots. So he dragged me on board to be a part of that. And I just really connected with the picture. I think it was a film about the Devil (laughs)…and it struck a distant chord with me. I had worked on other films before that dealt with the Devil so it’s not like it was unfamiliar territory. I think three movies before that, come to think of it. So to get the opportunity to return to that world was fantastic. And he encouraged me to take some twists and turns. As you know, the principal instrument on the score is a violin. It’s the instrument that has been historically attached to the Devil, both in music and literature. So there’s nothing I brought to that table that was unique (laughs). What I did try to do, however, that made it fun was to imagine that the violin was being played by a minimum of ten fingers. Everyone that plays the violin, one hand has to be responsible for initiating the pitch, either with a bow or their fingers. And the other hand is responsible for pressing the strings to obtain the pitch. So I said to Sam let’s take the ten fingers and not worry about what the bow is doing…imagine the player has all of these fingers that can stretch and expand and do things that normal violinists can’t do. And he loved that idea. So a lot of the violins material in the score could never be played by just one person. What it is multiple tracking of one guy playing different tracks on top of each other. Other than that, there’s a choir there. That helps. There’s an organ…a pipe organ. I’ve always wanted to use a church pipe organ on a score and this was a great opportunity to use one.

MG: “Hellraiser” has such notable music, did you think that was going to be the case when you originally worked on it?
CY: No. I don’t think any of us knew. I was really lucky to get on this movie because of the provenance of Clive Barker as an author. Of course, he had directed some short films but this was his first feature. I had just finished working on “A Nightmare On Elm Street 2” and that was great to be a part of for sure. But what made “Hellraiser” unique from a composer’s point of view is that it just wasn’t all about a lunatic on the loose, slashing and cutting up people for no real reason. Well, there is a reason behind Freddy Krueger’s attacks on people in their dreams but, let’s face it, it’s not really a reason most people connect with emotionally. But the wonderful thing about “Hellraiser” was that it was a twisted love story…a very sick, sick love story. And to that end it really gave me the opportunity to look at the whole horror genre, as it relates to music, in a different light. And that’s exactly what Clive encouraged me to do. He said, “I know you can do the scary stuff. I know what you did on “Elm Street 2.” But that’s not what I’m looking for here. I’m looking for a sick romantic haunted score. And so I did the score based on that. And I don’t think anyone…I don’t think even Clive knew…that the film was going to be as big of a hit as it was. I may be wrong. Maybe in his heart he knew. We all knew it should have been. And it became a cult classic. And the thing they learned very quickly…he always thought that Julia should be the focus of the film…he thought that audiences would connect with her. But as you know, Pinhead makes his occasional appearances in the movie and that’s what the audience adored. And that’s WHO everyone adored. So he became the star of the whole subsequent series. Even Clive learned a lesson. They loved Pinhead, you know?

MG: Do you ever have issues with distinguishing between sounds for different films?
CY: Good question. Let’s put it this way…every time I start a horror film or a thriller or a sci fi film I always hope that I’m going to be offering up something new. Any composer who isn’t trying to offer up something they’ve never tried before better get out of it. It’s the worrying that you’re going to repeat yourself that makes you anxiety ridden…that you’re not going to get it right. Even if you’d done so many of these movies. I’ve heard so many times from so many people, “Oh, ANOTHER horror movie? You should be able to knock that score out no problem.” And I tell them, “no no no no…don’t kid yourself.” Writing horror scores is no easy thing. Everyone believes that writing dramatic scores…you really have to get inside yourself…and get in touch with your inner self. But there are complications with writing a dramatic score. But when you’re writing horror scores you’re not writing a lot of melodies all of the time. You’re writing a lot of clusters. And writing a lot of clusters for this kind of music is not an easy thing to do. You can’t be random. So when I sit down to write a new score for horror film number whatever or a thriller or a suspense film. I feel the same anxiety. I have to think “what am I going to have to do on this movie to make it unique. And if I’m encouraged by the director or the producer to do something different then great. I will try to do something different. But it’s often the case that what they are really looking for is another “Hellraiser” or another “Jennifer Eight.” I had one film that I worked on that, when I tried to be different they said to me “wait a minute. What are you doing here?” It was like show and tell…the worse show and tell I ever had. And I told them “this might not be what you’re looking for based on what you’re saying” and they said “No, no , no Chris…we hired you because we want another “Jennifer Eight.” Why didn’t they tell me that in the first place. I proceeded to write something that was another take on “Jennifer Eight.” I mean, there’s a film I’m doing now…not the entire score…but the main titles were “temped” with, guess what…”Hellraiser.” That director just happens to love “Hellraiser.” It’s his favorite score. It’s his favorite movie. And I’ve had to try to work my way around that. I can try to give him that feeling but I wrote that score like twenty five years ago! That’s the big tragedy. Being constantly asked to steal from yourself. Very rarely can you out-do something that really worked well the first time. I can honestly say that anyone that works as a composer, or any other kind of art, doesn’t want to repeat themselves. Especially film composers because, as you know, we’re the most prolific music makers on this planet! (laughs) We have very little time to second guess ourselves. So what happens is that we set off with the best of intentions but if that time starts running out and you have to finish about two and a half minutes of music a day at a minimum, it gets to a point where you can’t be so “stiff” with yourself about wanting to reinvent “you.” What happens is you have to rely on instinct, and usually instinct requires that you connect with tendencies that arise from your previous work on those kinds of movies.

MG: You worked on “The Rum Diary”, what was your inspiration?
CY: Speaking of “Jennifer Eight”…the reason I got on that is because Bruce Robinson, the director, is someone I had met on “Jennifer Eight.” He was the director on “Jennifer Eight” and he was so displeased with his experience on that movie that he swore to God that he would never direct again! He’s a very successful writer and actually started out as an actor…he did a few little things and then got into writing. I believe his first Academy Award nomination was for his screenplay for “The Killing Fields.” “Jennifer Eight” is his second film, his first being “Withnail and I.” Now he writes the screenplay for “The Rum Diary,” based on the Hunter S. Thompson book, and Johnny Depp decides he wants that to be his next movie and happens to love…”Withnail and I” is one of his favorite movies. So he brought Bruce out of directorial retirement to direct and Bruce told him he wanted to bring me back to do this. So we reconnected after not having seen each other for so many years. It was a departure for me. Not in the way of style but it was a departure…it’s sort of 1950’s style jazz. It’s got that “Rat Pack” swing-thing going through it. It’s set in Puerto Rico and a lot of the music is influenced by that.

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