timespace coordinates: “near future” (2050’s ?) commercial flight to the Moon > the ship Cepheus, bound for Mars > Norwegian biomedical research space station > underground SpaceCom base on Mars > the Lima Project (Neptune’s rings)Ad Astra is a 2019 American science fiction adventure film produced, co-written, and directed by James Gray. Starring Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Liv Tyler, and Donald Sutherland, it follows an astronaut who goes into space in search of his lost father, whose experiment threatens the Solar System. + scored by Max Richter. +
Reviews out of the Venice Film Festival compared it to well-worn sci-fi touchstones “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Solaris,” and “Apocalypse Now,” in part due to its probing adventure narrative. Gray says he went straight to the urtext that inspired them, Homer’s epic poem “The Odyssey.” (cnn)
The title means “to the stars” in Latin. It is often used as a shorthand for “Per Aspera Ad Astra” (Through the hardships to the Stars).
wiki / imdb / rt
Freaks is a 2018 American-Canadian science fiction thriller film directed, written and produced by Zach Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein. It stars Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern, Grace Park, Amanda Crew, and Lexy Kolker, who was seven years old at the time of filming.
The film tells the story of a 7-year-old girl named Chloe (Kolker) who is locked in an abandoned house by her disturbed father (Hirsch). The mysterious Mr. Snowcone (Dern) convinces her to escape for his own suspicious reasons. (wiki)
A promotional poster for the film features a street sign with a one eye logo and a phone number to call to report “abnormal activity”. The number is 1-800-517-5890 and when called, a recorded message with a woman’s voice would say, “Thank you for calling the abnormal defense hotline, provided by the Department of Homeland Security.” The recorded message at first urged others to be on the lookout for “freaks” and it said that you can leave a message to report any abnormal activity from freaks. A few days later, the recorded message was changed to warn others to stay away from an upcoming San Diego Comic Con “free underground prescreening of Freaks” on July 18, 2019.
imdb / rottentomatoes
timespace coordinates: 2000’s Pontypool, Ontario
Pontypool is a 2008 Canadian horror film directed by Bruce McDonald and written by Tony Burgess, based on his novel Pontypool Changes Everything.
“Pontypool” was produced as both a motion picture, and as a radio play. Both versions of “Pontypool” were influenced by Orson Welles‘ infamous radio production of “The War of the Worlds.” The radio play was broadcast on the BBC’s Art & Culture section of their World Service website. It is approximately 58 minutes long, as opposed to the film’s running time of 95 minutes.
Writer Tony Burgess and director Bruce McDonald are intending to include more exposition for two planned sequels.
imdb / wiki / rottentomatoes / OST
timespace coordinates: It’s July 1977, and New York City is awash with escalating violence.
June was once a known counter-culture figure, but that was a decade ago. She now lives alone in her South Bronx apartment, having all but cut herself off from the outside world. It’s the notorious “Summer of Sam” and June only has to look out of her window to see the violence escalating with the brutal summer heat. The city is on a knife’s edge, a pressure-cooker about to explode into the incendiary 1977 New York blackout riots. (imdb)The Wolf Hour is a 2019 thriller drama film written and directed by Alistair Banks Griffin. It stars Naomi Watts, Emory Cohen, Jennifer Ehle, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Jeremy Bobb and Brennan Brown.
wiki / rt
timespace coordinates: 1980’s Beverly Hills, California
Society is a 1989 American body horror film directed by Brian Yuzna, and starring Billy Warlock, Devin DeVasquez, Evan Richards, and Ben Meyerson. Its plot follows a Beverly Hills teenager who finds his wealthy parents are part of a gruesome cult for the social elite.
Though the film was completed in 1989, it was not released until 1992. It was Yuzna’s directorial debut and was written by Rick Fry and Woody Keith. Screaming Mad George was responsible for the special effects.
Scottish comic book company Rough Cut Comics acquired the comic book rights to Society in 2002, producing an official sequel. The comic book series returned in 2003 with Society: Party Animal by writer Colin Barr and artists Shelby Robertson (issue 1) and Neill Cameron (issue 2). (wiki)
timespace coordinates: 70’s Oregon – Morningside Cemetery
Phantasm is a 1979 American science fantasy horror film directed, written, photographed, and edited by Don Coscarelli. “a truly bizarre mix of outlandish horror, cheapo gore, and psychological mindgames that purposefully blur the line between waking and dreaming.” Marc Savlov
The first film in the Phantasm franchise, it introduces the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm), a supernatural and malevolent undertaker who turns the dead of Earth into dwarf zombies to be sent to his planet and used as slaves. He is opposed by a young boy, Mike (Michael Baldwin), who tries to convince his older brother Jody (Bill Thornbury) and family friend Reggie (Reggie Bannister) of the threat.
Phantasm was a locally financed independent film; the cast and crew were mostly amateurs and aspiring professionals. Though initial reviews were mixed in regards to the dream-like, surreal narrative and imagery, later reception was more positive and the film became a cult classic. (wiki)
Analysis / imdb
timespace coordinates: Victorian era Gotham City
Batman: Gotham by Gaslight is a 2018 American animated steampunk superhero film produced by Warner Bros. Animation and distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, featuring an alternate version of the DC Comics character Batman. It is the thirtieth film in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series. It is directed and produced by Sam Liu and written by James Krieg, loosely based on the one-shot graphic novel of the same name by Brian Augustyn and Mike Mignola. (wiki)
Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, originally published in 1989, is considered to be DC Comics’ first Elseworlds story. “In ELSEWORLDS, heroes are taken from their usual settings and put into strange times and places–some that have existed, and others that can’t, couldn’t or shouldn’t exist.” – DC editorial copy.
Influences / imdb