Directed by:Mike Marvin
Mike MarvinStarring:Charlie Sheen as Jake /The Wraith
Sherilyn Fenn as Keri
Nick Cassavetes as Packard
Randy Quaid as Sheriff Loomis
Matthew Berry as Billy
Clint Howard as Rughead
Chris Nash as Minty
Griffin O'Neal as Oggie
David Sherrill as Skank
Jamie Bozian as Gutterboy
Pre-screening memories: It’s the same old story… boy shows up on a motorcycle, runs afoul of the local toughs, gets involved with the main baddie’s girlfriend and cleans up the town. But what made The Wraith so special was the fact that the boy in question is a ghost (sort of) and the manner in which he sweeps the streets is with a cutting-edge (at the time) pace car while wearing a jumper with tubes attached. What these tubes are for, where they go… all part of the mystery and majesty of The Wraith.
The Dodge Interceptor
When I first saw the film, I was confused and bewildered by the oddity of its characters, the vague back story of a young boy cut down in his prime by the town’s marauders, and, mostly, by the appearance of Charlie Sheen as a ghost with the coolest car I’d ever seen to that point. In all honesty, it’s still a pretty sweet ride…
New memories: Far from a technically perfect film, The Wraith is proof that no one sets out to make a cult film. It’s too weird to be simply a racing movie, and too chockfull of racing to be a sci-fi thriller. It creates its own subgenre – the ghostly vengeance by car film. And, for that alone, it deserves to be seen by any cynic who claims there are no new tales to tell.
Though he originally came to Los Angeles in his teens to further his passion for music, Nash’s chiseled good looks soon landed him roles in television and, soon after, film.His big break was 1985’s underrated comedy Mischief, in which he played the new bad boy in town who struck up a friendship with his nerdy high school neighbor.He followed that film with a series of “almost was” features, including Modern Girls with Virginia Madsen and Daphne Zuniga, Satisfaction with Justine Bateman and Julia Roberts and our featured film, The Wraith, the debut film of a young Charlie Sheen.
Chris continued to work in front of the camera in various series, TV movies and films, but soon disengaged from the industry and returned to his true passion music.He has since worked behind the scenes, writing music, helping with film scores and supporting his 10-year-old son Dylan, who fronts the acclaimed band Automatic Youth.
We are very grateful to have Chris return to recall his time spent working on this film and wish him and his son much success in their future endeavors.
Written and Directed by:
Craig Sheffer as Boone/Cabal
Anne Bobby as Lori
David Cronenberg as Dr. Decker
Charles Haid as Cpt. Eigerman
Hugh Ross as Narcisse
Doug Bradley as Dirk
Simon Bamford as Ohnaka
Kim Robertson as Babette
Pre-screening memories: Like many teens, I went through a ‘horror’ phase at around age 13 (that it hasn’t ended yet isn’t the point). It was a common enough occurrence, the kind of thing where you start looking for things to define your rapidly-approaching adulthoood, and set yourself apart from the childish things you imagine you no longer have a use for.
Horror movies are an incredibly socially acceptible way of going about this. Choosing to be scared is something that seems a lot more dangerous than it actually is to a young teen, but has the benefit of being somehting that a child would never do.
I worked my way quickly through the standards of the genre, your Halloweens, Fridays, and Nightmares while remaining largely unimpressed. These are the things that caused me to cover my eyes when the trailers came on in movie theatres? It seemed so ridiculous – they weren’t all that bad. Once the first tier was done with my friends and I started getting a little more random with our choices, which is how I ended up seeing Nightbreed. And wow, was I not prepared for Nightbreed.
The ads has made it seem like just another monster movie, but it certainly wasn’t that – from the early scene of David Cronenberg’s Leather Scarecrow slaughtering a family (including a child!) to a man tearing most of the flesh off of his head with his finger knives, to a trip to a haunted graveyard full of monstrosities that ends abruptly with the main character’s death at around the 20-mintue mark, there wasn’t a moment in the first act of this movie that didn’t have me fascinated and terrified and on the edge of my seat. I’d discovered that horror really could freak you out, and I wanted more of it. This is the movie that led me to find out more about Clive Barker, and see Hellraiser in a local repetory theatres… but that’s a story for another time.
Most recent screening: You may have noticed that in the above recollections of my first viewing I didn’t mention anything after the first twenty minutes of the movie. In point of fact, I didn’t have any memories of the rest of the film, save for a slaughter in a hotel and Cronenberg getting crucified at the end. There’s a reason for that.
Nightbreed is an ungodly mess for most the running time. After the masterfully-paced opening the film bogs down with many, many scenes of lengthy exposition and random nonsense about the monster world and their Jesus-style fated savior. Cronenberg’s always a pleasure to watch, but when he hooks up with a bigoted survivalist sheriff and a group of like-minded rednecks the film goes from being a relatively effective horror film to a supremely muddled holocaust allegory that leads to an overextended war scene that teaches us a valuable lesson – that the Jews would have had a better time of it had there been a few unstoppable armoured killing machines on their side. Of course, that’s true of anything, really.
That’s not to say that the movie is a complete disaster – there’s a really interesting theme in the film about finding your true face – one character has to pull of his skin to discover what he really looks like, and Cronenberg has to put on a mask to reveal himself. And there’s so much random craziness that it’s hard not to recommend a viewing of the film – the parade of monsters that appear in Midian are impressive, featuring more unique creatures than anything this side of Labryinth. Also on the down side, though, is the film’s score, which is wildly inappropriate for the content of the movie, and borrows far too heavily from Danny Elfman’s other major film of that year, Batman.
If nothing else, seeing this film again succeeded in putting me in touch with the younger, more naïve version of myself that was actually capable of getting scared by movies. It’s also reminded me that I really should start reading Clive Barker’s books, since he seems to have quite an imagination on him, that one.
or enter the underworld to listen on our on-site player right here:
Our featured guest: Simon Bamford
Actor/writer/director Simon Bamford is quite the study in contrast. On-screen, he’s collaborated with pal Clive Barker on four occasions — the first two Hellraiser films, Nightbreed and, most recently Books of Blood.
You would hardly recognize Simon as the rather rotund Cenobite Butterball in Hellraiser, a role that he would reprise in the film’s sequel, Hellbound. And even though he would portray another otherworldly creature in Nightbreed, he did not have to endure as many hours in the makeup chair.
Most recently, Bamford was in Barker’s Books of Blood, a piece of fiction that is very personal to him, as he reveals on the podcast. He is currently working on the Nazi zombie film, The 4th Reich with makeup legend Tom Savini.
On stage, Bamford has portrayed everyone from lead Seymour Krelborn in the first UK tour of Little Shop of Horrors to Pip in the Stockholm production of Great Expectations (a role which one him an Actor of the Year award.
Simon also travels the horror festival circuit with his Cenobite buds, including Pinhead himself, Doug Bradley. We are grateful that Simon joined us from acrosss the pond to recollect his time spent on the set of Nightbreed.
Demolition Man (1993)
Peter M. Lenkov
Sylvester Stallone as John Spartan
Wesley Snipes as Simon Phoenix
Sandra Bullock as Lenina Huxley
Nigel Hawthorne as Dr. Cocteau
Benjamin Bratt as Alfredo Garcia
Glenn Shadix as Associate Bob
Denis Leary as Edgar Friendly
Pre-screening memories: The passion for Demolition Man was born out of a sense of Dredd to a young Scott. Judge Dredd, actually. The futuristic film (that was actually released after Demolition Man), co-starred a certain object of Scott’s affection — Rob Schneider. Kidding, it was Diane Lane, who Scott well documents on his blog.
The interest in that film led him to check out this misunderstood slide of cinematic cheese when he was but a young lad and he was soon taken by its addictive qualities.
Though it is hardly considered a masterpiece, it is a film that never takes itself seriously, knows what it is and what it offers and proceeds to do just that.
But it started as quite a different film and we were fortunate enough to be joined by co-star Glenn Shadix, who not only informs us about the metamorphosis, but give us plenty of backstage stories to help us all fully appreciate the film.
Demolition Man is a bit of a cheat by Natsukashi standards, in that we typically like distance between viewings of our films, but Scott could not help jump at the chance to find out more about a favorite in his film library.
Glenn returned to Natsukashi fresh from his visit from the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival to recollect on the rather colorful filming of this Sylvester Stallone comedic sci-fi flick, in which he played Nigel Hawthorne’s somewhat faithful charge, Associate Bob. As always, Glenn adds much to our understanding and appreciate of the film in general and his role in specific.
He speaks with reverence of his co-star, the late Nigel Hawthorne, the last-minute switch we provided Sandra Bullock one of her earliest on-screen roles, and what it was like to work with Stallone, Snipes and producer Joel Silver, known for such blockbuster action flicks as Lethal Weapon, The Matrix, and Die Hard.
We here at Natsukashi love sharing our memories, but sometimes it’s good to go out and create some new ones.
So, as we venture off the grid for seven days (we promise, we will be back with some great new guests, and boy do we have some good ones!), please check out our new Natsukashi Facebook page designed by our wonderful contributor Scott Knopf from HeShotCyrus.com. Sign up and become a fan, so we can get to know our base and hear what you want us to cover here at Natsukashi. Plus, we will fill it with all goodies that we could not pack into our tightly designed format and perhaps give away a T-shirt or two (not that we have any made, I was referring to the ones in our hampers).
Also, be sure to check out our contributors’ blogs, as they celebrate October, our favorite of those 12 months.
Film: Clue (1985)
John Landis and Jonathan Lynn
Tim Curry as Wadsworth
Martin Mull as Col. Mustard
Madeline Kahn as Mrs. White
Christopher Lloyd as Professor Plum
Michael McKean as Mr. Green
Eileen Brennan as Mrs. Peacock
Lesley Ann Warren as Miss Scarlet
Colleen Camp as Yvette
Pre-screeening memories: It’s not often we get to say that a movie is utterly and completely unique, is it? There was simply nothing out there at all similar to Cluewhen it was first released, and that fact (along with my love of the boardgame and Christopher ‘Reverend Jim’ Lloyd) made it something I absolutely had to track down and see. Today, in the age of special features an alternate ending isn’t shocking or unusual, in fact, coming from a Hollywood production, we now almost think of it as odd if a film’s climax doesn’t go through two or three different iterations. But in 1985, the whole concept of multiple endings was unheard-of, and impossibly enthralling – going to see a movie a second time and having the ending change? Impossible! Does science even allow for that?
Which makes it a little funny that it wasn’t until years after seeing the film that I ever actually got to see those multiple endings. Residing solidly in the lower of the middle classes, I didn’t get out to movies much, and the concept of going to see the same movie twice was on the hilarious side. Strangely I have no real memory of the lack of two extra endings ruining the film for me at all. In many ways it was a perfect film to see at a really young age, full of capering and slapstick, and wordplay just clever enough that while I didn’t understand the naughtier bits, I could tell that something risque was definitely going on, which engaged my curiosity. Even the one solution I saw, in which (SPOILER ALERT) Miss Scarlet was the killer and Wadsworth worked for the FBI was perfectly satisfying, leaving me happy enough with the result that I didn’t really question what the other endings might have been.
New memories: If there’s one thing I learned from my second viewing, however, it’s that I shouldn’t have been as complacent as a child. I should have demanded to be taken to another viewing and see the other endings, because it’s only once I’d seen all three that I could really appreciate what a masterpiece of comic construction this film is. The movie has to accomplish something almost miraculous – it has to not only work both as a comedy, keeping people laughing all the way through, and as a mystery, keeping them guessing, but it has to drop hints and leave enough clue that three separate endings all work perfectly without a plot hole in sight. The fact that it succeeds at all of these things is an amazing compliment to the writer/director Jonathan Lynn, who keeps the movie speeding along so that the audience never has a chance to do anything marvel at how entertained they are.
I could talk about one of the greatest comedic ensemble casts I’ve ever seen, or the Tim Curry performance that anchored the film and turned me into a lifelong fan of the actor, or how satisfying it was to finally see the film in its intended form, with all the endings intact – but I think my favorite thing about the film was that it entertained me exactly as much as an adult as it had on my first viewing all those years ago. And not just because I finally got all the jokes, but because it’s one of those rare movies with as much to offer adults as it does children, a comedy that anyone can enjoy, which doesn’t stop being funny on repeated viewings. I’m a little ashamed to have taken as long to get back to clue as I did, but it’s a mistake I won’t make again.
Now in his fourth decade of film, Mr. Lynn has served in almost every facet of the entertainment industry — stage, television, film, books, and shows no signs of slowing, having recently wrapped Wild Target with Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, Rupert Grint, Rupert Everett and Martin Freeman.
Early in his distinguished career, from 1977 to 1981 Lynn served as Artistic Director of The Cambridge Theatre Company, where he produced more than forty plays, twenty of which he directed. The company’s production of Macbeth featuring Brian Cox toured the United Kingdom and India and staged a special performance for then Prime Minister Mrs Ghandi. Lynn went on to direct one of the companies at the National Theatre of Great Britain, which performed his Society of West End Theatres award-winning production of Three Men on a Horse (1987).
It was during this time that Mr. Lynn created for the BBC Yes, Ministerand Yes, Prime Minister, regarded as one of the top series of all times by the British Film Institute.
And the acclaim from that series brought him to our shores to write Clue, a 1985 comedic murder-mystery based on the beloved board game, and starring a sterling comedic cast. It was his first forray into feature films, and Mr. Lynn has many a story to share about the experience.
Cheers, Mr. Lynn, and thank you for allowing us choose our weapon with which to pick your brain and solve some of the behind-the-scenes mysteries of Clue.