by Norm Nielsen
Invasion of the Body Snatchers is solidly in the social-commentary-horror-film sub-genre, a sub-genre that includes George Romero’s Living Dead series and Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later among others. On casual viewing, the plot of director Don Siegel’s 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers is basic 1950s low-budget horror film fare. Seeds flying around in outer space land on earth outside the fictional Southern California small town of Santa Mira, take root, and produce large pods that take over victim’s bodies as they sleep, assuming the victim’s exact likenesses, memory, and most mannerisms. Local physician Dr. Miles Binnell (Kevin McCarthy) gradually becomes aware that people he routinely sees and socializes with are simply “not themselves.” Miles comes to realize that previously peaceful Santa Mira is being taken over by an alien force, doppelgängers who resemble their earthly counterparts in almost every way, save for a lack of human emotion. Read More
by Brian Theiss
We’re all crushed by the death of Prince, a human embodiment of musical excellence who smashed through boundaries of race, gender and genre as he created some of the best and most original popular music of the last four decades. But since we’re Scarecrow Video we want to take a minute to acknowledge his work in film.
First and foremost, of course, is Purple Rain (1984), a semi-autobiographical story of Prince’s troubled family life and rise as a musician in Minneapolis dance clubs. Like some of the films of The Beatles and Elvis Presley it’s a perfect cinematic document of the young man right at the moment of exploding into rock god-dom. It’s easy to forget that many of his most iconic songs (“Purple Rain,” “When Doves Cry,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” etc.) were just made as a soundtrack album. He’s playing a struggling musician and he’s debuting some of the greatest songs of the ’80s in a small club. And much of the soundtrack was really recorded live in that club. Read More
by Robert Horton
I’m a Seattle native, and I think a lot about the importance of civic memory, especially in the rush-rush-rush of the booming metropolis that Seattle has become. We must hold on to the people and the places that made this town what it was. So anybody who loves film in Seattle should pause to consider the contribution of Dan Ireland, who died on April 14 in Los Angeles.
Dan and Darryl Macdonald came down from Vancouver, B.C., to open the Moore Egyptian Theatre in Seattle in 1975. But they didn’t just “open” the theater. They dolled it up, taking the Moore, a 1907-era palace long in decline, and slapping an Egyptian motif all over it. The idea was slightly cool, slightly corny, more than slightly camp—a signature blend for the duo. They started the Seattle International Film Festival in 1976, moved operations to the next incarnation of the Egyptian, on Pine Street, in 1980, and built SIFF into the gonzo party it is today. It can be argued that the festival hasn’t topped its run in the 1980s, when it became known for launching foreign titles and American indies (though nobody called them that then) and played host to a fabulous roster of visiting filmmakers. Read More
by Melanie Reed
We love them, we hate them, we fear them, we want to be like them, we want to be unlike them, we want them to love us. These thoughts about our parents shape our lives. For their part, they love us, they neglect us, they compete with us, and they retain a memory of when we were still in diapers. Why make a film about one’s parents? Documentary “tributes,” as appropriate as they may be if the parents are aging or famous, become more interesting when family connections are also explored, in ways that let a complex shape unfold. These kinds of film treatments approach a suspenseful mystery story that, in including many angles, is often only partially revealed.
by Greg Carlson
Another Record Store Day is upon is, and the vinyl business is a-booming. Recent articles from music and business websites alike have been treating 2015 vinyl sales as if they were stock from a hot e-commerce company, praising their 32% growth and over $400 million in revenue. When analyzing the surge of vinyl sales, Forbes included a list of the top 10 best-selling albums of 2015, with a decent mix of classic albums and current artists that cater to several generations of music aficionados. In at number 10 was the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack. The cinephile in me was happy to see a movie soundtrack represented among Adele and Arctic Monkeys. Seeing as the GotG soundtrack consists of popular hits from the ‘70s, listening to it on a vintage audio device is apt. If you’re a Guardians purist, and argue that the ideal way to experience this soundtrack is on cassette, you’re in luck – Disney thought of you during 2014’s Record Store Day’s Black Friday Sale. Read More