Monthly Archives: September 2011

Blade Runner (1982) VS Alien (1979)

Both Ridley Scott classics, but I have been having a bit of a debate with a friends over which is the better.

For me, it has to be Alien.  Blade Runner is a sci-fi epic – a nightmare vision of the future which is beautifully shot and brilliantly scripted.

I love Blade Runner, I really do. But it has flaws and  relies a bit too much on visuals, atmospherics and the chilling Vangelis score – despite what others say of this movie; I don’t think the characterisation is quite right (I never cared as to whether the replicants live or die) nor do I finish watching Blade Runner and think “bloody hell, that was awesome”. It’s a far too deep and complex movie to enjoy in that manner and I feel a similar way about Hitchcock’s masterpiece Vertigo.

On the other hand, Alien is a film which whacks you in the face straight-up. Now, I know the plot is a lot simpler than in Blade Runner – it’s basically Halloween (1978) in space – and I am not claiming that Alien is anywhere near as deep as Blade Runner –  in Alien, the audience is simply dragged into the bowels of a spaceship to watch a group of average-joes battle a particularly nasty E.T. But you know what? As a movie, and certainly as an experience, I would select Alien above Blade Runner every single time…..

The Shootist (1976)


A terminally-ill gunfighter (John Wayne) retires to a small town to die in peace…however things go anything but smoothly.


Wayne’s last movie is a fitting tribute to his legendary career.

It’s a moving tale of a dying man and his final wishes. For anyone who thinks Wayne was an inflexible or wooden actor suited only to testosterone filled ‘popcorn’ roles, then this picture will set you straight.

The cast behind Wayne is great. The inclusion of Jimmy Stewart as the town’s doctor is a real treat; Richard Boone positively stews as Wayne’s smutty old foe and the duo of Lauren Bacall and Ron Howard, as the mother and son who care for Wayne, seem to glide effortlessly through the whole thing in true style . But for me, the best part about this film is Siegel’s attempt, most blatant during the opening titles sequence, to say goodbye to the Western genre and specifically, those old-fashioned westerns of which Wayne – perhaps unfairly –  is the poster boy. You really get the feeling that this movie is drawing a curtain down on the old west and it is this sense of emotion which haunts every scene.

If you were to pick holes in this, you could say that it’s a predictable movie – and it is – but the same is true of so many films in this genre. So, it would seem unfair to make a meal of such a criticism. You could also say that the film was out-dated even on release in 1976 and you would be right, there is something nostalgic about the proceedings here. By the 1970s, Westerns had become both stylish (the italo/spaghetti western era drove this change) and violent (Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch set the trend). The Shootist is neither. Nor is it easy, as some critics have done, to place this movie alongside the likes of Howard Hawks’s  Rio Bravo or The Outlaw. Hawks’s films were about tales of the west – he was a storyteller above all else and eschewed the idea of directors as auteurs – whilst The Shootist is about one man and his character – that man being John Wayne; and he plays it perfectly. A film that could only have been made with Wayne and as an audience, we are lucky that it was.

In a nutshell, a must-see picture for 2 key reasons: (1) It’s Wayne’s goodbye to the silver screen and (2) it’s bloody good.

hotdog rating: 8.5/10

Halloween (1978) spin-off….christ, sounds intriguing!

Just caught wind of this. Apparently, a new movie – currently in production – is coming out detailing the events surrounding the graveyard attendant’s tale in the original Halloween movie. Fans of Halloween will no doubt remember the following piece of dialogue between Dr Loomis and the graveyard attendant as they search for the location of Judith Myers’s burial plot.

Graveyard Attendant: “Every town has something like this happen. I remember a guy over in Russellville. Charlie Bowles. About fifteen year ago he finished dinner, excused himself from the table, went out into the garage and got a hacksaw, then came back into the house, kissed his wife and two children goodbye, and then proceeded to …” (Dr Loomis cuts him off here).

It seems that “Last Supper: The Russellville Hacksaw Murders” is going to elaborate where the attendant left off. And to send fans into a complete frenzy; according to IMDB, rumours are rife that Charles Cyphers – the terrific Sheriff Brackett in Carpenter’s classic slasher movie – has a starring role.

you can see Charles Cyphers – as he is today – and uttering one of his most famous lines here:

I’ll keep you posted on this.

hotdog’s top 5 scariest movie moments

5. Hellraiser (1987).

Scene: Kirsty Cotton’s first encounter with the Cenobites and their leader, Pinhead.  The first time I saw this movie I felt sick I was so scared.

4. Alien (1979).

Scene: Everyone knows this – the epic Chestburst sequence . John Hurt is cracking as the “about-to-explode” Kane.

3. The Beyond (1981).

Scene: The whole of Fulci’s film  is aching with chronic dread but the final scenes where our heroes discover the  emptiness of hell itself are pure terror. The pre-credits sequence in which a ‘warlock’ painter is melted with quicklime by an angry mob deserves attention too.

2. Halloween (1978).

Scene: The entire movie is an exercise in fright. Warrants inclusion here  for the classic eerie score if nothing else.  however the scariest shots are those just before the closing credits – and Michael “I have just been shot six times, even in the heart” Myers is nowhere to be seen!

1. The Changeling (1981).

Scene: The attic scene, in particular, when the hand-built wheelchair starts to move in George C Scott’s direction……

I have just realised that 4 out of the 5 were all made between 1978 and 1981…..obviously the era for my kind of horror.