Vanessa Morgan's Blog

May 21, 2017

supernatural bad boys
This is a guest post by Amanda Jones.

I don’t know about you, but there’s something I can’t help but love about the supernatural bad boys of the celluloid world. I’m not quite sure what it is – the cockiness, the alpha possessiveness, or the complete disregard of what anyone thinks of them. They all seem to share a similar air of “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!” Call me crazy, but in a world where we’re bombarded with images of what we “should” be, I find it alluring. Whether it’s True Blood ’s Eric Northman, Buffy ’s Spike, or Klaus from The Vampire Diaries – there’s something appealing about their belief in their own infallibility (justified or not!). I guess that would be a side effect of being immortal…who really cares what anybody thinks – trends, people, and behaviors will change and die over time, and you’re going to see a lot of it if you’ll be living forever!
There are a lot of downsides to these killer hotties – most are portrayed as tortured souls who have hardened over time, but for me watching these characters is like getting immersed in a grown-up fairy tale. Maybe it’s the periodic hook we get when we see the softer side of these hard as nails characters. A little escapism never killed anyone ;-)

It’s absolutely insane to actually WANT one of these book/movie boyfriends in real life – I don’t actually want to BE dinner when I go on a dinner date. Despite all that and in honor of the many enjoyable hours I’ve spent vegging out getting immersed in their film and TV worlds, here’s a list of MY top 10 favorite supernatural bad boys!

1) Eric Northman – True Blood
eric northman true blood
2) Spike – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
spike buffy the vampire slayer
3) Aidan Waite – Being Human (American version)
aidan waite being human
4) Mitchell – Being Human (UK version)
mitchell being human
5) Alcide Herveaux – True Blood
alcide herveaux true blood
6) Dyson – Lost Girl
dyson lost girl
7) Damon Salvatore – The Vampire Diaries
damon salvatore vampire diaries
8) Klaus Mikaelson – The Vampire Diaries
klaus mikaelson vampire diaries)
9) Captain Hook – Once Upon a Time
captain hook once upon a time
10) Logan – X-Men
logan x-men
About the author
Amanda Jones lives in Toronto with her exceptionally spoiled pets. Apart from sharing her crazy imagination with others through her books, Amanda Jones enjoys traveling and frequent Netflix binges. She has worked in several fields, including sports, music, film, corporate human resources, and is a graduate of York University and Sheridan College.

Her latest book, Dark Angel: The Fallen Chronicles Book 1 , is about Katia, a talented musician who feels like an outsider looking in. Being abducted by a handsome stranger will set her on a crash course with her destiny. Luc, on the other hand, has spent an eternity keeping everyone at a distance as an unstoppable darkness consumes his soul. Will Katia be his salvation, or will they both be consumed by the ultimate evil?

Dark Angel
Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card and one out of five eBook copies of Dark Angel .

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Published on May 21, 2017 15:17 • 2 views

May 12, 2017

oceans twelve amsterdam filming locations
Where did they film Ocean's Twelve in Amsterdam?

In Ocean's Twelve , Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) locates all eleven members of Danny Ocean's gang, demanding they return the $150 million they stole from his casinos plus interest. To win back the money, Danny Ocean (George Clooney), Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) and Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon) go to Amsterdam to steal an important certificate.

Ocean's Twelve is full of stunning shots of Amsterdam. All the places you see are located in the proximity of each other, which means you can easily trace the steps of your favorite characters.

I made an itinerary for you that will help you see the filming locations of Ocean's Twelve , which are all famous places in Amsterdam.

Start your tour of the Ocean's Twelve filming locations in Kalverstraat. This is a busy shopping street in Amsterdam.


When you walk along Kalverstraat, you turn into Heiligeweg which is another shopping street. George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon walk through Kalverstraat and Heiligeweg while going to their meeting in coffee shop De Dampkring.

Coffee shop De Dampkring

Walking through Heiligeweg, you'll see Handboogstraat on your right. At number 29 sits the coffee shop De Dampkring. You'll recognize it from the wooden front and blue signpost.

The characters of Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon and Robbie Coltrane meet at this coffee shop to discuss business. They end up making a fool out of Mat Damon.

If you're a cat lover, you should definitely go inside because De Dampkring has a resident cat.


Go back to Heiligeweg. By following this street, you'll eventually arrive on Koningsplein.

The 'Golden Bend' of the Herengracht

If you walk a little further still, you'll arrive at Herengracht. You'll recognize several shots of Ocean's Twelve near the so-called “golden bend” of Herengracht.

Pulitzer Hotel

Pass Keizersgracht to arrive at Prinsengracht. Alongside this canal, at number 323, sits the huge Pulitzer Hotel. This is where the main characters stay during their trip to Amsterdam and where several key scenes take place.

You will not recognize the main entrance, though. This is because they filmed it at the back of the hotel. Though it states “Pulitzer Hotel” above the door, the main characters actually enter through the door of restaurant Jansz.

Did you know that you can book the Ocean's Twelve suite? What better way to end your day than to spend the night in the same hotel as your favorite characters.

Have you ever visited Amsterdam? Did you see sthe Ocean's Twelve filming locations?
top amsterdam oceans twelve movie locations

herengracht amsterdam
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Published on May 12, 2017 04:39 • 2 views

May 4, 2017

gourmet popcorn
This is a guest post from Katie Cross from The Health and Happiness Cookbook: Fun and Flirty Recipes Inspired by the Health and Happiness Society Series.

The Health and Happiness Cookbook was an idea that I came up with because, um, I love food! Okay, I'm obsessed. I love to skim through cookbooks and pretend like I can make everything inside. One day, I was staring at my book Bon Bons to Yoga Pants and thinking about how Lexie, the main character, loves food as much as I do. (For Lexie, it's a bit too much.) I thought . . . why not make something special?

Although I can write awesome, girl power chick lit novels, I don't have kitchen skills. So I hooked up with talented Canadian food blogger Kimberley from Prairie Winds Life. She brainstormed some recipes, and we took the project from there.

Together, we've made the Health and Happiness Cookbook . You can snag a copy on any ebook platform or in paperback across the world.

Enjoy your yummy popcorn! It's the perfect movie time snack.
Here's the recipe:

Gourmet Popcorn

8 cups of air-popped popcorn

For garnish:

Pink Himalayan sea salt
Dried dill
Shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
Olive oil infused with black truffles
Olive oil infused with butter


Take the air-popped popcorn and place it in a large bowl. Drizzle the popcorn with the two infused olive oils, and toss the popcorn to coat the kernels with the oil.

Sprinkle the popcorn with salt, cheese, and dill.

Toss the popcorn in the bowl and serve it in separate serving bowls.

health and happiness cookbook
Katie Cross is giving away an eBook of The Health and Happiness Cookbook to one lucky reader of Celluloid Diaries. To enter, have a look at the table of contents and let me know your favorite recipe in the comments. You can earn extra entries by filling in the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway is open worldwide and ends May 15th. Good luck!

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Published on May 04, 2017 23:57 • 4 views

May 2, 2017

BIFFF 2017 pictures
My first BIFFF was in 1994 when I was studying at the university in Brussels and I started hosting panel discussions for them a few years later. I can't believe it's been that long already. This year, I saw 23 films to celebrate my 23 years at BIFFF.

Here are some pictures of the festival.

The cutest visitor of the 35th Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival. 
méliès d'argent
Méliès d'argent 2017.
steven kastrissios emiljano palali freddy bozzo
Director Steven Kastrissios and actor Emiljano Palali from Bloodlands pose with BIFFF organizer Freddy Bozzo.
macarena gomez
Spanish actress Macarena Gomez (Boy Missing)
BIFFF art the bloody lovers
Art by Dimitri Pichelle at the BIFFF exhibition.
erica sainte
Actress Erica Sainte and director Eric Valette (Le Serpent Aux Mille Coupures) with BIFFF organizer Freddy Bozzo.
erica sainte
Actress Erica Sainte from Le Serpent Aux Mille Coupures
rebecca forsythe
Actress Rebecca Forsythe (Replace)
norbert keil norbert keil
Director Norbert Keil (Replace)
ross noble
Actor Ross Noble and producers Brendan McCarthy and John McDonnell from Nails sing a song on stage
park chan-wook
Director Park Chan-wook takes a selfie with his fans.
steve de roover pieter van hees jonas govaerts
Director Steve De Roover poses with Pieter Van Hees and Jonas Govaerts who were featured in his feature-length documentary Forgotten Scares: An In-Depth Look at Flemish Horror Cinema .
steve de roover aaron christensen
Two BIFFF guests, Steve de Roover (Forgotten Scares) and Aaron Christensen (BIFFF jury), wrote essays for When Animals Attack: The 70 Best Horror Movies with Killer Animals
game of thrones throne
BeTV brought the iron throne from Game of Thrones to the BIFFF and everyone wanted to take pictures.

Did you go to the BIFFF this year? What were your favorite moments?

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Published on May 02, 2017 13:16 • 2 views

April 28, 2017

twisted movie recommendations
I almost missed out on Norbert Keil's twisted movie Replace . I'd been seeing several films in a row already that day at BIFFF, and though Replace was on my list of movies to watch, I wasn't in the mood to jump into another screening without a break. I decided to give the film a try a second before it started, and it turned out to be one of my favorites of the 35th Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival.

Several days later, Norbert and I met over a game of Story Cubes, and I asked him if he wanted to share movie recommendations on Celluloid Diaries. This week, he emailed me with eight recommendations for a twisted night at the movies, some of which were undoubtedly influences for his own twisted little film (there's definitely a David Cronenberg/Herbert West vibe to it).

Replace tells the story of Kira, whose skin shrivels up due to extreme ageing. When she discovers she can replace her skin with somebody else's, the question arises whether she'll kill to remain her youthful look or if she'll let her body wither away.

The film was co-written with Richard Stanley and stars Rebecca Forsythe, Lucy Aron and Barbara Crampton.
Crash (David Cronenberg)

Possession (Andrzej Żuławski)

Mother (Bong Joon-ho)

Eraserhead (David Lynch)

Kairo (Kiyoshi Kurosawa)

Take Shelter (Jeff Nichols)

Basket Case (Frank Henenlotter)

Re-animator (Stuart Gordon)

Replace movie trailer
night at the movies basket case frank henenlotter crash david cronenberg david lynch fire walk with me kairo kyoshi kurosawa mother bong joon-ho possession zulawski pulse kyoshi kurosawa re-animator stuart gordon take shelter
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Published on April 28, 2017 08:21 • 2 views

April 22, 2017

The 35th Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFFF) took place between April 4th and April 16th. The program was an interesting mix of South African ghost stories, Albanian folklore, Turkish cat movies, Russian adventure films, French crime, Korean thrillers, and much more. Want to know which ones were the best? Here's my top 10 of BIFFF movies you'll want to watch right now.

Safe Neighborhood
It's Christmas and the kids are home alone with their babysitter when “burglars” try and enter the house. However, it won't be a normal home invasion. Entertaining and with a twist no one saw coming, Safe Neighborhood was my favorite BIFFF movie and also won the Golden Raven for best picture.

Safe NeighborhoodTunnel
Se-hyun thought he took a shortcut when going into the tunnel, but he didn't expect to be buried under a mountain of rubble after the collapse of a cement pipe. Just like with A Hard Day (BIFFF 2015), director Kim Seong-hun proves he's the Korean director with the best sense of humor while still managing to tell a gripping story and putting the media and government of his country into question. Winner of the Best Thriller Award of the 35th Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival.

Tunnel Kim Seong-hun
Le Serpent Aux Mille Coupures (1000 Cuts)
A heavily wounded terrorist takes a family hostage to hide out at their farm. Wanted by the police and hunted by a drug organization, his days are numbered. Imagine a combination of James Ellroy, Sam Peckinpah, and Korean crime and you'll come close to the multi-layered delight that is Le Serpent Aux Mille Coupures.

Le Serpent Aux Mille Coupures
Forgotten Scares
Steve de Roover pays tribute to the Flemish horror cinema in this entertaining feature-length documentary. After seeing Forgotten Scares, you'll be able to call yourself an expert on Flemish horror movies.

Jan Verheyen
When Kira's skin starts to age rapidly, she discovers she can replace her skin with somebody else's. Will she kill to remain her youth or will she watch her own body wither away? While the film suffers a little from an annoying secondary character and unnecessary explanations, there's a true cinematic vision behind Replace and a visual flair that will make many beginning directors jealous.

Bad Cat
Imagine a mix between Garfield, Ted and Braindead made à la Pixar. That's Bad Cat. Based on the popular Turkish comics by Bülent Üstün, Bad Cat tries to be as vulgar, gruesome and cute as possible, all the while showing off its stunning, exceptional animation. Warning: animated animals were harmed during the making of this movie.

Bad Cat
The Girl With All The Gifts
Many are calling this one of the best zombie movies of the decade. While the structure is similar to The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later, and many other zombie stories, The Girl With All The Gifts  innovates the genre on many other levels. Also, it's very well made and has some solid acting from Gemma Arterton and Glenn Close.

The Girl With All The Gifts
Dream Demon
This 1988 cult movie by Harley Cokeliss got a re-release after it was lost for 20 years. A young woman about to be married has terrifying dreams about her husband and some unknown little girl. When she wakes, the demons are real and start killing the people around her. Watch Dream Demon for the curiosity that it is and to revive 1980s nostalgia, but don't expect a brilliant plot and acting.

Dream Demon
The Void
Opinions are very much divided on this one. Some praise it as a future cult classic, while others hate it for its low budget and shameless copying of horror classics. The recipe is simple: take scenes from Hellraiser, The Beyond, From Beyond, and Precinct 13, add a dash of Lovecraft and Carpenter, mix well, and serve. The result is messy, but the look of the monsters and cult members is fascinating. By the way, if you like The Void , you will also like this story.

The Void
Prooi (Prey)
In the Dutch horror comedy Prey, a man-eating lion is stalking the streets of Amsterdam. While the lion could have been more convincing (due to lack of money), its imperfections don't really bother because the scenes in which the lion are featured are too fun to focus on the details (such as the lion attacking the passengers of a tram or chasing a pizza delivery boy along the canals of Amsterdam). Unfortunately, there are not enough lion scenes and the typical Dutch humor may not appeal to viewers outside of the Netherlands.

BIFFF movies that I saw that didn't make the top 10: Beyond the Gates (demons communicate through a VCR board game), From A House On Willow Street (South African demon story in the vein of Don't Breathe), Bloodlands (Albanian revenge film/family drama with a twist), Tonight She Comes (indie horror with the most stomach-churning scene of the year), Nails (a paralyzed woman has to deal with an evil ghost in her hospital room), The Icebreaker (Russian adventure film based on real events), A Dark Song (A woman who has lost her child works together with an occultist to perform a series of rituals that will eventually grant her what she wants, which is speaking to her child one last time), Another Evil (a man calls in an exorcist to help him get rid of the annoying ghost, but the exorcist turns out to be more annoying and persistent than the ghost itself), Kill Command (killer robots and sci-fi action), Eat Local (smart jokes mingle with puerile humor in this vampire movie directed by Jason Flemyng), Little Nightmares (abused children return after they went missing; when their abusers start humming a mysterious tune, they have only three days left to live), Robin (a woman claims she killed her aggressor, but the body is nowhere to be found), The Bar (a group of strangers is trapped inside a bar during a virus outbreak).

Did you see any movies at BIFFF? Any of these pique your interest?

Bad Cat Dream Demon 1988 Harley Cokeliss Replace German horror movie Safe Neighborhood Horror Christmas Movie The Girl With All The Gifts The Void Tonight She Comes Tunnel
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Published on April 22, 2017 03:24 • 2 views

April 18, 2017

1000 CutsTo celebrate the French and Belgian release of 1000 Cuts (original French title: Le Serpent Aux Mille Coupures ), I invited French director Eric Valette to talk about the movies that inspired his film.

Based on the DOA novel Le Serpent Aux Mille Coupures and starring Tomer Sisley, Terence Yin, Erica Sainte, Pascal Greggory, Carlos Cabra, and Stéphane Debac, 1000 Cuts starts when a wounded fugitive takes a young family hostage in order to hide out in their isolated farmhouse. Meanwhile, both the criminal underworld and the police are hellbent on finding and neutralizing him. The mysterious, nameless fugitive creates a wave of violence that will leave no one unscathed.
Before 1000 Cuts, Eric Valette also helmed Maléfique , One Missed Call , Super-Hybrid , The Prey, and more. Now let's delve into Eric's main inspirations for his latest film.

High Plains Drifter
"Like Pale Rider , which is its more luminous and pure version, High Plains Drifter is the incarnation of the Western archetype of the Man With No Name, as defined in George Stevens' Shane and interpreted several times by Clint Eastwood, in silence and mystery. He arrives in a place, bringing along a multitude of problems, while also taking care of others... in a dramatic way. As a cinephile, it's hard to not think about this genre figure while reading DOA's novel. When talking with Tomer Sisley, I realized he also liked Clint Eastwood's movie (which is not among his best-known) and that it was part of our common references."

Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter
Straw Dogs
"This violent drama takes place in the heart of the English countryside and was filmed by an extremely inspired (and very delocalized) Peckinpah during his golden age. This 70s film with many rough edges is very disturbing, even if it doesn't strictly belong to the genre. I discovered Straw Dogs on VHS at my dad's when I was still very young, and it haunted my adolescence - the slow pacing, the nagging rise of the tension up into the final explosion of violence, the extreme ambiguity of the characters and situations... It's probable that the structure of Straw Dogs led me, more or less consciously, to tighten the ending of 1000 Cuts and the geographical situation at the farm – which isn't the case in the novel – and to enforce its narrative structure."

Dustin Hoffman in Straw Dogs
One False Move
"Here's a rather obscure film where the late Bill Paxton shines as the sheriff of a small village who has to deal with gangsters from Los Angeles. Yet again a solid structure - a slow-paced ensemble film that leads us to an abrupt and explosive final confrontation. Also, this contemporary Western in which urban violence is linked to drug trafficking takes place in a quiet, rural, and almost idyllic place. The themes and locations are therefore not unrelated to DOA's novel. Even if I didn't rewatch One False Move  for a long time, I had certain images in mind while shooting 1000 Cuts."

Bill Paxton in One False Move
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
"I could cite many other Korean movies, but this one was originally a shock for me. With the character of Tod, which is played by Hong Kong actor Terence Yin, I saw the extremely transgressive Asian cinema inviting itself in a French film noir and the Toulouse countryside. The idea of a clash of cultures is seductive and creatively exciting. To come back to Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance , the multitude of sub-plots and the way they motivate actions with increasingly catastrophic consequences resonated with me when I read DOA's novel. The stylistic minimalism of the film is unmatched, whereas eastern genre cinema has a tendency to overdo it. This was undoubtedly inspiring when I was looking to find a formal 'clear line' myself."

Ha-kyun Shin in Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
1000 Cuts is currently playing in cinemas in France and Belgium.
Will you be watching 1000 Cuts? Do you like the stories that inspired this film?
1000 Cuts Movie Trailer

1000 Cuts Poster
le serpent aux milles coupures Hong Kong Actor Terence Yin High Plains Drifter One False Move Straw Dogs Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
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Published on April 18, 2017 00:48 • 2 views

April 14, 2017

park chan-wook
Ever since Park Chan-wook won the Grand Prix at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival for Oldboy , he put South Korea on the cinematographic map for many movie lovers. Loyal fans from all over the world praised his films for their unique aesthetic and visual poetry, excessive violence, and power to evoke strong emotions. Several of his films became international sensations, including  Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002), Lady Vengeance (2005), I'm A Cyborg, But That's OK (2006), Thirst (2009), and Stoker (2013). His latest, the period thriller  The Handmaiden (2016), is the best-selling Korean film of all time and was sold to over 100 countries before even hitting the Cannes Film Festival.

I spoke with Park Chan-wook during his stay in Brussels where he was the guest of honor of the 35th Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFFF).
You started your career during the Korean New Wave. How did this help you reach success as a filmmaker? Or, because you're one of the key players of that New Wave, do you think you boosted Korean cinema instead?

My first two movies didn't do well commercially. That's why I worked as a film critic so I could buy diapers for my child. In the year 2000, my film J.S.A.: Joint Security Area was released, and at the same time, two other filmmakers, Kim Ji-Woon and Bong Joon-Ho, emerged. We stimulated each other and we boomed to what is now called the renaissance of Korean Cinema.

Time flies, and now it's not the New Wave anymore. It has been transformed. It's the Old Wave. These days, there are a lot of talented, new filmmakers. My role today is to support this young generation of directors.

However, I think Korean contemporary history made our cinema strong. Korean people are living this hard, roller coaster life. They are dealing with both extreme happiness and bittersweet feelings. That's why the characters of Korean films have such strong emotions.

interview park chan wook
Many of your movies are international successes. Do you make films with foreign audiences in mind or do you only focus on the Korean public?

At first, I try to make a film for Korean spectators, especially the future audiences of Korea, the next generation. Only then do I wonder if foreign spectators will be enjoying my films. The only thing I don't do is Korean humor. Humor belongs to a certain culture. It can't be shared. Also, I don't think Korean humor is funny. That's why I never use it. But whatever I do, I need to be inspired. Lots of different sources influence me, such as comic strips, movies, novels, and personal experiences. It doesn't matter if I wrote the script or someone else. As long as it's my experience, there's no difference.

When you say you make your movies with a Korean audience in mind, I suppose you don't include North Koreans?

Indeed. North Korean spectators will never see my films and vice versa. But, you know, we still feel like we're brothers and sisters with North Korean people. We hope that someday we'll have a unification again. Although the South Korean people have some kind of affection toward North Korean people, we believe the government of North Korea isn't great at all. I wonder if we can have a unification in the near future.

How did your American movie Stoker do at the Korean box office compared to your other movies?

Korean film industry is very particular. They're fascinated by Korean actors, actresses, directors, and stories. Even though I'm quite famous in Korea, the result of Stoker at the box office was not great at all, maybe because I made an American story with American actors and actresses.

I learned a lot from working in America, though. All the actors and crew, including the superstar Nicole Kidman, were sacrificing to help me, and I was 100% satisfied with their help. The studios are extremely powerful and there are often conflicts and discussions, but I think Stoker is a much better film now than if I would have made that film entirely by myself, without any influence from the studio. Even though it was hard to endure, collaborating with a big studio was productive and it helped me a lot. It was a very positive experience for me.

Is it true that Josh Brolin called you to ask for your permission before starting the remake of Oldboy?

I talked to Josh Brolin several times. He asked for my blessings, so I told him good luck. It was strange to see the remade version of my own film because there are many familiar elements and sequences, but the film is made in America, with Americanized situations, and English-speaking actors and actresses. I felt contradicted. And then I must say that I must be the spectator who enjoyed the film the most.

park chan-wook film festival park chan-wook interview
Do you think that the major companies coming into Korea, such as Warner Bros. And Netflix, provide a new creative boost to the industry?

I think it's a bit too early to talk about Netflix because it's an entirely new platform and we need a little bit more time. But our experience with Warner Bros. Korea was quite positive up until now. Big companies invested a lot in The Wailing , The Age of Shadows , and Bong Joon-Ho's Okja, which were quite successful. Of course, Korean production companies invested their own budgets, but it wasn't enough. That's why American production companies invested much more. Thanks to them, we could have these good films that we wouldn't have without this big, international production companies.

I'm curious about your favorite Korean movies. Which ones do you recommend?

If I say only one, I must say film director Kim Ki-Jong, who unfortunately passed away. He has made a film which is called The Housemaiden.

Also, I'm currently participating in the remastering and the restoration an old film called The Last Witness, directed by Lee Do-Yong, who's still alive.

The visual look of your films is a huge part of their appeal. Can you explain how you work with your regular cinematographer, Chung-Hoon Chung, and how much he influences your style?

Ever since I made Oldboy , I worked with the same cinematographer. Even though we are not co-writing the script, we talk a lot about the story, and from the step of making the storyboard, we are always together. He just finished the shooting the film It, which is based on the novel by Stephen King. It must be very well made if it's him, so you can really wait for that film.

park chan-wook
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Published on April 14, 2017 03:24 • 2 views

April 10, 2017

amsterdam filming locations the fault in our stars
Based on the novel by John Green, The Fault in our Stars was a huge hit when it came out in 2014. One of the romantic highlights in the film is when the main characters visit Amsterdam in search of their favorite author, but it's also the place where they fall in love. You can visit the all the famous Amsterdam filming locations of The Fault in our Stars and trace the steps of Hazel and Augustus yourself.
The bench on Leidsegracht
As you walk along the canals in the center of Amsterdam, you will pass the famous bench where Augustus announces that cancer has spread through his body.

You can find this bench on Leidsegracht 2.

Unfortunately, the actual bench has been stolen and replaced by a new one.

Peter Van Houten's House
Peter Van Houten is Hazel's favorite author in the film. He's also the main reason why she and Augustus visit Amsterdam. You can find the house of this fictional author at Vondelstraat 162 (near the famous Vondelpark).

Hotel De Filosoof
According to the book, their hotel De Filosoof is just around the corner of Peter Van Houten's fictional house (address: Anna van den Vondelstraat 6). That is indeed the case.

However, The Fault in Our Stars wasn't made here. The real filming location is hotel Pillows Anna van den Vondel at Leidsekade 97.

In the film, you can see Hazel and Augustus walk hand in hand past a group of violin players. This was filmed in the tunnel that goes through the Dutch National Museum (Rijksmuseum).

Though the interiors of the museum are not featured in the film, they're well worth of visit as they host famous paintings by Vermeer and Rembrandt.

The museum is located on Museumstraat 1

Anne Frank House
One of the tourist attractions Hazel and Augustus visit in Amsterdam is the Anne Frank House on Prinsengracht 267. This is the place where Hazel can't catch her breath when climbing the stairs. That the Anne Frank House was featured in the story is hardly a surprise because the original Anne Frank's Diary ends just like Hazel's favorite book, An Imperial Affliction. It's a nice nod to the author's inspiration.

Originally, it's the house where Anne Frank and her family used to hide for the nazis. Here you can see videos with testimonies from people who knew her, parts of Anne Frank's notes, official documents from her dad's company, film magazines Anne Frank used to read, quotes from her diary, original photographs, etc.

Expect to be moved as you'll be confronted with all the horrible events that happened in this house.

Tip: Book your tickets online well in advance. Chances are they will be sold out during tourist season. Even on less busy days, you might have to wait in line for over an hour just to get your ticket.

Hazel and Augustus share a ride on the Amsterdam tram. Why not take this tram yourself to cross the city and thus have a view of many famous tourist attractions.

Boat tour
Several scenes in the film show the canal boats of Amsterdam. Book in advance to take a boat trip just like Hazel and Augustus.

By the way, in case you're looking for the Oranjee restaurant, this was actually built and shot in Pittsburgh.

Have you ever visited Amsterdam? Do you like The Fault in Our Stars?
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Published on April 10, 2017 09:36 • 2 views

April 4, 2017

offscreen film festival 2017
In March, I spent three weeks at the Offscreen Film Festival in Brussels, which is known for its screenings of both old and new cutting edge movies. This year, they put the focus on Czech fairy tales, Indonesian action cinema, and the films of Stephen Sayadian (Rinse Dream) and Walerian Borowczyk.

The opening night of the Offscreen film festival saw the premiere of the teenage cannibal movie Grave which I thought was too soft and on-the-nose but almost everyone else loved because of its gruesomeness and unpredictability.
grave film
On Saturday, Director Stephen Sayadian (Rinse Dream) presented his artistic adult movie Café Flesh (1982), a dystopian science fiction story set in a world where 99% of humanity is incapable of having intercourse at the risk of becoming violently ill. In the Café Flesh they force the healthy minority to perform bizarre sex acts on stage while the unhealthy ones look on with both shock and desire. My friend Kurt was bored, but Café Flesh turned out to be one of my favorites of this year's Offscreen.

stephen sayadian dr. caligari stephen sayadian
The Czech film The Cat Who Wore Sunglasses (1963) made for a charming Sunday matinee movie. I already dedicated an entire post to this cat movie here.

En toen verscheen de kat
On Wednesday, Piet and I went to see the latest Kiyoshi Kurosawa movie Creepy . With Pulse (2001), Kurosowa made one of the creepiest movies ever, but he never managed to intrigue me since. I was having high hopes for Creepy (2016), but it turned out to be forgettable, unbelievable, and not suspenseful at all. Stylish, yes. But that's about it.

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On March 17th, I was lucky to be able to do a book signing at Offscreen . I not only brought along copies of When Animals Attack: The 70 Best Horror Movies with Killer Animals but also my co-authors Maxime Stollenwerk and Sven Daems and my cover designer Gilles Vranckx, so they have been signing copies as well.

On March 23rd, director Bastian Meiresonne presented his feature-length documentary Garuda Power: The Spirit Within (2014), an informative and amusing documentary on the Indonesian action film, spanning a period from the first martial arts films in the 1930s, over the peak of the 1980s ( Lady Terminator , The Devil's Sword , The Warrior ) to the recent success of The Raid. “By watching Garuda Power, you will know more about Indonesian action cinema than 99% of the population,” Bastian says, although he adds that he doesn't know if this would ever serve us. While I did learn a lot about Indonesian action cinema, I missed the fun facts that Bastian told us during a chat after his film. Seems, for example, that Indonesian movies aren't well-preserved. While a film museum exists, problems with the electricity have caused a mold to form on the movies which are now on the point of non-repair, and no one is putting in the effort nor the money to do anything about it. During the making of Garuda Power, one of the films burnt and so the extracts in the documentary are the only ones you'll ever see. However, even that isn't guaranteed. There have been problems with the rights of Garuda Power, so chances that this will ever become wildly available are slim.

bastian meiresonne garuda power
The following day, I went to a screening of Prevenge (2016). The interesting thing about this film is that writer/director Alice Lowe (who also plays the main part) wrote the script in two weeks and filmed it immediately thereafter. The reason it all had to go so fast is that Alice got the news about the financing of her film while she was pregnant, and as Prevenge is about a pregnant woman who thinks her unborn baby is instructing her to kill bad people, it all had to be done before the real baby was born. While there are many things I didn't like about Prevenge, especially the ending that got me like “Duh. I already got that from the synopsis,” it was a ride I definitely enjoyed. Expect an entertaining mix between Evil Baby and Ms. 45.

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I started the following day with an early night screening of Safari (2016), Ulrich Seidl's feature-length documentary about safari hunters and their disturbed way of thinking. While it's “interesting” to see how these people justify killing and pose with their trophy, the film is too long as it's repeating the same type of scenes ad infinitum (the hunt, the obligatory photo shoot, the compliments, and the skinning and dismembering of animals in preparation for the head getting mounted on the wall). The most disturbing thing about this movie, however, were the audience's reactions after the film: “I have a lot of respect for people who kill their own meat,” or “This film makes me want to eat lots of non-vegetarian delicacies for my birthday.”

Next came Samurai Rauni (2016), a samurai movie from Finland. Apparently, everyone in the Offscreen team was unanimous about this movie (which is rare) and I can understand why. While the budget is low, Samurai Rauni excels in originality and style. It's unlike anything you've seen before. Imagine a mix between Japanese samurai cinema, sailor romance and Finnish dipsomania filmed like a music video with Jodorowsky-style surrealism.

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The Offscreen Film Festival ended with Mexican cocktails and a screening of La Region Salvaje (2016), a drawn-out but interesting social drama about a pleasure-giving tentacle monster and the effect it has on families.

Photos by Wim Castermans

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P.S. It's with much sadness that I heard about the passing of Radley Metzger whom I met at Offscreen in 2014. Such an adorable man. Many wonderful memories are attached to this meeting, from our urbex trip together to our visits to Brussels and Bruges. John from the Erotic Film Society sent me a few pictures from our time in Brussels, so I thought I'd share them with you.

Pain Quotidien Brussels radley metzger radley metzger
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Published on April 04, 2017 04:44 • 2 views