July on TCM: It’s ‘Out of This World’ for sci-fi fans

Giant ants, pod people, trips to the moon, journeys back in time and close encounters with aliens both friend and foe. It’s a dream lineup for sci-fi movie fans.

We get all of that and more during the TCM Spotlight “Out of This World: A Celebration of Sci-Fi Movies” every Tuesday in July.

The series has 34 sci-fi films broken into weekly categories.

It starts July 2 with a night of early sci-fi films including the one considered to be the first in the genre: “A Trip to the Moon” by George Méliès.

July 9 is dedicated to films of the 1950s, a highly influential film decade that gave us such classics as “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and “It Came from Outer Space” (see photo, above).

July 16 is broken into two parts. Prime time is dedicated to “moon” movies in tribute to the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Late night (or very early morning) programming screens some great creature features including a giant reptile named Ymir.

July 23 is all about the 1960s with films from directors George Pal and Stanley Kubrick.

July 30 goes into galactic travel with films from the 1970s and ‘80s that changed Hollywood – including a little movie called “Star Wars.”

Remember – it’s no fun to watch movies alone, so be sure to use  #outofthisworld and join others in live tweeting the films. Movies start at 8 p.m. each Tuesday. Here’s the lineup.

Continue reading “July on TCM: It’s ‘Out of This World’ for sci-fi fans”

‘The Gorgon’: A look at Hammer’s most underrated monster

It was an easy decision to take part in the second “Great Hammer-Amicus Blogathon,” a celebration of two studios that have given so much to fans of horror and fantasy (like me).  Once again, the blogathon is hosted by Barry P of Cinematic Catharsis and Gill Jacob of RealWeegieMidget reviews. It’s a fun idea with such an abundance of options that it’s hard to choose just one movie.

My initial thought was to write about my favorite creature: the vampire. An important member of the Hammer family, the vampire enjoyed its greatest cinematic transformation under the studio where it was made over from feared beast to a sensual killer, setting a new tone for vampire films to follow. (Thank you Christopher Lee).

But let’s be honest – the vampire, mummy and werewolf get all the horror film love (and the bulk of the movies, too). So I thought about a creature that has yet to get its due and there was only one choice for me: the snaked-haired Gorgon from Hammer’s 1964 film “The Gorgon.” (How underrated is “The Gorgon”? Even one of the in-depth books on Hammer Films brushes off the film in six paragraphs!)

Just thinking about the Gorgon freaks me out.

Many film buffs know this creature as Medusa from the inventive work of Ray Harryhausen in the 1981 film “Clash of the Titans.” In Greek mythology, the Gorgones (Gorgons) were three winged sisters– Stheno, Euryale and Medusa. They had hair of living snakes and could turn people to stone.

Continue reading “‘The Gorgon’: A look at Hammer’s most underrated monster”