Darkman (1990)

As comic book adaptations go, Sam Raimi’s Darkman released in 1990, on the back of an inspired marketing campaign that queried the origin of the character by posing the question ‘Who Is Darkman?’ was one of the most interesting of the era. This was despite the fact it was scripted from an original story idea by The Evil Dead helmer as opposed to an actual comic book from the period it pays homage to.

Drawing on the Universal horror movies of the 1930s, in particular the celebrated oeuvre of James Whale, as well as The Shadow, The Phantom of the Opera and a veritable glut of monster and comic book staples, the film would […]

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Reality, Identity and Satire in Paul Verhoeven’s Total Recall

Prior to joining forces with Joe Eszterhas to develop subversive, erotic thriller Basic Instinct in the early 90s, Paul Verhoeven would follow up his dystopian masterclass Robocop with a similarly subversive sci-fi extravaganza.

In theory, Total Recall would be a big budget sci-fi action vehicle starring former Pumping Iron alumni and future Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger. In practice, however, Verhoeven would once again manage to create a blockbuster […]

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Redux of the Dead: 1990’s Night of the Living Dead

There was a time when “remake” wasn’t a dirty word among cinema fans.

This was before the term became synonymous with Hollywood at its most cynical and predatory. Before the mere mention of the r-word caused an outpouring of consternation, bemoaning—and, not without some merit—accusations that the big studios were all out of new ideas, or worse, had simply stopped caring, the scared and belittled remake once had its day in the sun. It was a period when the game plan wasn’t to simply target beloved and finely executed classics such as Robocop, Halloween, or A Nightmare on Elm Street just for their built-in audiences […]

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Waltz with the Devil: Goodfellas and Crime’s Whirlwind Romance

More than a quarter of a century after its release, it’s easy to underestimate the level of impact that Goodfellas had on cinema.

There had been seminal gangster movies before, but Martin Scorsese’s flamboyant lens would change the way filmmakers approached the genre, which had always been eager to stress the pitfalls above all else. Without Goodfellas there would be no Jules and Vincent, porn star Dirk Diggler would perhaps never have made it to the silver screen in any way palatable, and The Sopranos would have struggled to make it past the pitch that would ultimately change television forever […]

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