Today is a national Holiday as far as fans like myself are concerned, this day in 1926 the world welcomed Roger William Corman, born in good old Detroit Michigan! Roger Corman made my childhood grand with his adaptations of the great works of Poe. And who can even begin envision what horror or Hollywood would look like without him. He started or mentored some of the greatest names in the modern industry, people like Ron Howard, Jack Nicholson, and Martin Scorsese just to name a few. He has written, directed or produced more than 380 films. He has also done cameo roles in some of Hollywood's big blockbusters films like Apollo 13, Silence of the Lambs and The Manchurian Candidate. He even has teamed up with The Shout Factory to release his Roger Corman Cult Classics collection. To say hes been prolific and influential is a mass understatement. He may be known as a B King, but truth be told his impact reaches some of the highest echelons of the industry.
The Nation gives thanks for all you've done Mr Corman! Happy Birthday to the Godfather Of B Horror and so much more we wish you many more years to come sir!
Today we sing the praises of bad boy gone good Robert Downey Jr! Born April 4, 1965 in Manhattan, New York to underground film maker father Robert Downey Sr. Jr made hisfilm debut in 1970 in his fathers film Pound. 1980s saw him closely associated with the "Brat Pack". The 90s we sadly saw Downey Jrs, legal and substance abuse issues arise, but thankfully the incredibly talented Robert Downey Jr has been "clean" since 2003, and has earned the respect and admiration of his peers. He has rocked the screen and set numerous box office records with his various performances over the years in particular with his Iron Man / Avengers series, but lets not forget his fantastic Sherlock Holmes series, or his foray into horror with Gothika,and Zodiac. He already has two films that are in finishing phasie for this year and another scheduled for next, so it seems some things DO get better with age! Congratulations Robert Downey Jr, and Happy Birthday sir ,we hope your 49th is the best yet!
A nation rested easier as Theodore Kaczynski, AKA The Unabomber was arrested in 1996. Kacynski was a child prodigy, entering into Harvard at age 16 where he earned his undergraduate degree, then proceeded University of Michigan earning a Masters in Mathematics, after which he took a professorship position at the University of California at the tender age of 25, resigning just 2 years later. 1978 saw the beginning of his career as a home grown Terrorist with him planting his first bomb in a parking lot with the return address of a professor of Northwest University. The package was "returned" the professor,who called security noticing the handwriting on the package was not his own. The campus security open and thus detonated the package bomb leading to 17 years of mailed bombing terror. The Unabomber was eventually caught thanks to his own brother giving a tip to the FBI after reading the published manifesto by Kaczynski and recognizing it as his brothers. Kaczynski is currently serving Life with no possibility of parole at Florence ADX. Some groups however do believe Kaczynski to have been a scapegoat, maintaining that he is just an innocent patsy of the system.
Feline fiends once again took to the screen this day in 1982 with the release of Cat People. This erotic horror piece was very loosely based on the original story/film of the same name from 1942 by DeWitt Bodeen that is a classic. The 1982 version has a cast that reads like an "it" list of the 80s, with Nastassja Kinski, Malcolm McDowell, John Heard, Ed Begley Jr, and even John Larroquette all playing in this reimagining. The story is an erotic coming of age of sorts with our lead Nastassja realizing that her primal urges truly do release a beast of the feline sort! If you are un-familiar with the great WERECAT flick you should celebrate this the 32 anniversary with a viewing party! Oh and dont forget the catnip!!!
Born April 1, 1967 Yoshihiro Nishimura turns 47 today. Born in Japan, Yoshihiro began film making in junior high, in 1995 he wrote, directed and did the special effects for the short Anatomia Extinction. He later turned that into the feature film Tokyo Gore Police, which he once again, wrote, directed and did the special effects for as well as had a cameo in). He has been referred to as "The Tom Savini" of Japan, for his innovative work in special effects in the Japanese horror genre with "gore effect" presentation style being credited to him. He has worked on Numerous controversial films such as Suicide Club, A Larvae to Love, and Meatball Machine. He once again found his way behind the camera in 2010 when he co-directed Mutant Girls Squad but went on to solo direct Helldriver Horror fans around the world raise your Sake in a toast of Birthday wishes to one of the greats in Asian Cult Horror, and many more to you Yoshihiro!!
Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Christopher Walken, we all adore you!!! Born March 31, 1943, in Queens, New York, Mr. Walken turns 71 today. Walken has had a long and prolific career that has definitely shown him to be incredibly multi-talented! Horror fans have had numerous opportunities to enjoy his work in the genre with roles in films such as The Prophecy series, Sleepy Hollow, and and The Dead Zone. Walken has received numerous awards over the years most notably The Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1978 for his role in The Deer Hunter.
The Horror Nation wishes Christopher Walken a Fantastically Happy Birthday and many more to you sir!
Exploitation documentaries find life with the Italian premier of Mondo Cane this day in 1963. Co-Directed by Gualtiero Jacopetti, Paolo Cavara, and Franco Prosperi, the film is basically a peek into various cultural practices throughout the world. The film was intended to shock and surprise the audience, and it achieved its purpose! The film was claimed to be a documentary but there is some controversy as to whether some of the segments may have been faked or staged to achieve the desired effect. Unlike Faces of Death this films "Death Scenes" primarily focus on animals being slaughtered for various cultural reason such as feasts, revenge or rites of passage. Mondo Cane also shows some cultural traditions such as Hula dances, mourning practices and just general weirdness. The film was panned by most critics but yet went on to be nominated for several prestigious awards and won David di Donatello for best production in 1962. The success helped spawn a whole generation of shock documentaries including the Faces of Death series.