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The Watching Hour Preview: The Burning + A Question for YOU, the Reader

HEY YOU! Yeah, you reading this post. I need your help. See, I'm thinking about making my Watching Hour coverage a monthly roundup as opposed to a weekly preview. Instead of a Watching Hour post on one movie every week, I would post one super-humongous preview for all the upcoming month's movies at the beginning of the month. The idea being that it would free up space for more guest contributions, previews of other cool movie events as we get into the summer months, etc. What do you think? Do you like the idea of getting your Watching Hour injection in one gigantic dose? Or is the weekly posting a nice reminder? Or biweekly, or whatever... Also, in general, if you think there's stuff I cover too much, stuff I should cover more, or whatever else you'd like to see from The Movie Advocate. I want to know what YOU think, so let me know in the comments section. I'm all ears.
Now for da preview:

Studio producers get a bad rap as being art-less, talentless money-grubbing hacks who prefer to make movies by committee and test screening results than by any standard of artistic merit. Fat-cat cigar-chompers who meddle in other peoples' art from behind mahogany desks because they think they can get an extra buck or two out of it. But studiomen can't all be bad right? I mean they chose movies as their profession in the first place, so there must be some art or passion deep down in their otherwise cold hearts... right?

It turns out that not all fat-cats started out as fat-cats. Case in point: 1981's The Burning, featuring writing credits by not one but two future studio bosses. The Burning, a summer camp slasher gore romp, was one of the first Mirimax pictures, written by one Bob Weinstein of the infamous Weinstein Brothers (loathed by many, loved by... Quentin Tarantino). The other writer was Brad Grey, who would go on to become CEO and chairman of Paramount Pictures. A lot of young power in the house for a second string slasher pic. The other Weinstein, Harvey, was already well on his way to his future asshole moneyman status, and gets a producer credit here.

The Burning is also notable for its extreme violence, having been drastically cut down by the MPAA before receiving approval for release in the U.S. I'm happy to report that the Watching Hour screening this weekend will be of the original, uncut, banned-in-the-U.S. Version, complete with totally ridiculous levels of gore and violence, and even more graphic gardening shearer kid killings for your buck.

The melty-faced killer, Cropsey, comes to us courtesy of special effects legend Tom Savini, makeup guru for Dawn of the Dead and Sex Machine in From Dusk til Dawn. Savini is one of those “gotta watch all his movies before I die” bucket list kinda dudes, i.e. he is awesome. Rick Wakeman, of Yes fame, provides the score. I think getting a 70s prog rocker to compose your score is a good sign for any 80s horror movie. Remember when Keith Emerson composed the score for Inferno? That was bitchin. This isn't the last we'll hear about Rick Wakeman on The Movie Advocate in the coming weeks. I'm not going to be specific, but keep your ear to the ground. It's gonna be a doosey. What? I didn't say anything...

So when the cards are on the table and its time to put their money where their mouths are, can studio bosses make compelling movies of their own? See The Burning and find out.

-Ben

p.s. The Burning has the best trailer... EVER!!!!!!!

The Watching Hour is a weekly film series at the Starz Film Center, highlighting new and old cult, genre, or otherwise bizarro movies. Quite simply, The Watching Hour is usually the best thing to do in Denver on a Friday or Saturday night. From Giallo to schlock, Blaxploitation to Aussiesploitation, zombies to martial arts to who-knows-what, and everywhere in between. This is good ol’ rock and roll cinema spectacle. Not to be missed. (See the schedule, buy tickets, get directions, etc. here.)

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