2014 has started off with(needless to say) yet more celebrity passings,starting with James Avery and Juanita Moore and moving on to the following two iconic cinema crusaders who were very important figures in the way we watch films today…
* Mike Vraney: Seattle,WA-based punk band manager who decided to go into the film company business by launching Something Weird Video in 1990,which became a very important film label in the restoration of many genre films that were long lost and forgotten,most of which consisted of 60s and 70s sexploitation films,as well as shorts from the 30s,40,50s,60s,and 70s. Vraney and his label also brought the likes of exploitation cinema producers Harry Novak,David Friedman,Michael and Roberta Findlay,and Barry Mahon to the mainstream,as well as shined a largely bright light on the films of the Findlays,Herschell Gordon Lewis,Joe Sarno,and Doris Wishman,and brought legendary Brazilian horror filmmaker Jose Mojica Marins(alias Coffin Joe) and his films to the U.S. and introducing him to a massive American audience(after being unknown to U.S. shores for 30 years),as well as kicked off the trailers compilations phenomenon that is still popular today. He was 56 and had a secretly hidden struggle with lung cancer,for his major contribution in widely opening the doors to exploitation and sexploitation cinema,as well as stating(and championing) the importance of film restoration(which started gaining momentum in the late 80s[courtesy of the now-dead laserdisc era]),is one that’ll never be forgotten.
* Run Run Shaw: Both Renlung Shao,Run Run and his brother were Taiwanese immigrants who started the Shaw Brothers studios in the 30s and moving onward with films(courtesy of having China’s largest film studios) before making their eventual move onto the martial arts film genre,which they practically brought to life in the mid 60s and bravely charged onward with that very genre throughout the decades,bringing forth thousands of endless martial arts films(of various film companies and of the latter Bruceploitation phase[following Bruce Lee’s death]),and enabling the careers of director Chang Cheh,actors Jimmy Wang Yu,Ti Lung,and David Chiang,and producer Raymond Chow,who moved on to start rival studio Golden Harvest,a company that enabled the careers of Bruce Lee,Jackie Chan,and Sammo Hung. Like Golden Harvest,Shaw Brother also moved on to co-producing films with English language producers/studios,such as their famous collaboration with Hammer Films(they being LEGEND OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN VAMPIRES/THE SEVEN BROTHERS MEET DRACULA and SHATTER/THEY CALL HIM SHATTER). Run Run was the ripe old age of 106,having lived for a century(!!!).
Coming Soon: my 2013 Best and Worst Films list.
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY:THE MARKED ONES(a.k.a.: LATINO GHOSTS ON THE HOOD) Only Makes It To Number Two At The Weekend Box Office(With Disney’s FROZEN Being The Week’s Number One Film),For Is That Psuedo Reality/Found Footage Ghostly Series Starting To Ware Out ?