Here’s another guest post about one of the most famous superheroes on the planet. No, it’s not me, it’s….Superman! Today’s article was written by Samuel Rutherford – a TV and movie blogger. Enjoy!

*

Superman has had a long history of appearing on TV and in movies ever since he left the realm of comic books. The DC Comics superhero has been the subject of many different big and small screen adaptations, leaving an impression on popular culture over the decades. Here, we take a look at the Man of Steel’s Hollywood and televisual history, both good and bad. The hero from the planet Krypton has starred in a huge list of media, but here are some of the highlights.

The Adventures of Superman (1951-58)

George Reeves' 1950's Superman

Superman’s first television show was titled ‘The Adventures of Superman’ and first aired in America in 1951. It was based on the comic book which had first appeared in 1938, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. George Reeves played the role of Clark Kent/Superman and the show was initially filmed in black and white, although the series upgraded to colour in 1954. Episodes followed a similar plotline, whereby criminals and gangsters would cause trouble and only Superman would be able to save the day. The show started off quite gritty and violent, but eventually mellowed to become more comic fantasy. By today’s standards it seems very dated and camp.

Superman Movies (1978-87)

Christopher Reeve as Superman in the original movie quadrilogy

The first full length Superman movie debuted in 1978 and told the origin story of the famous hero on the big screen. Superman: The Movie was a box office smash and featured what would now be considered primitive special effects, but at the time it was pretty ground breaking. Christopher Reeve played Clark Kent in this adaptation. The first Superman movie was so popular with audiences that three sequels were made, also starring Reeve. Although the quality declined in the later movies, the films have had a great impact on popular culture, with many shows such as Family Guy having parodied iconic scenes and characters from them. The Superman movies were also the first superhero films to hit the cinemas, even before Batman.

Superman: The Animated Series (1996-2000)

Superman From The 90's Animated Series

Although there have been dozens of cartoon series of Superman, this late 90’s adaptation has been one of the most critically acclaimed. Following the success of Batman’s cartoon revival in Batman: The Animated Series, a Superman series soon followed, which aired for 4 seasons. The show was highly praised for its mature, adult orientated interpretation of the Superman comics that was faithful to the source material and pleased fans of all ages. Today it is still revered as one of the best Superman cartoons of all time.

Smallville (2001-2011)

Tom Welling as Clark Kent in Smallville

This spin-off TV series has come to be one of the longest running and popular adaptations of Superman, airing for 10 seasons and consisting of over 200 episodes. Based on a young Clark Kent (played by Tom Welling), before he has become Superman, it follows his time as a young man growing up in the country town of Smallville. The show’s initial premise was to focus on the teen drama of a young man growing up with extraordinary powers but in a humble setting. Over the course of the show, events led up to Kent eventually moving to Metropolis and later seasons were based around his early career at The Daily Planet before becoming Superman. Smallville was consistently popular, particularly with a teen audience, but audiences declined towards the latter seasons. Its ten year run on air meant it has become the longest running Superhero TV show ever made.

Man of Steel (2013)

Latest Superman Film, Man of Steel

With his Batman trilogy wrapped up, Christopher Nolan set his sights on Superman next for another gritty reboot of a popular superhero. Man of Steel was produced by Nolan but the director’s seat belonged to Zack Snyder, and the aim was to bring back credibility to the Superman brand after the lacklustre 2006 film, Superman Returns. Henry Cavill stars as Superman in this film, which is notably darker than previous big screen adaptations of the hero and focuses more on his alien origins. The movie has received mixed reviews from critics, however, with the expectations that Man of Steel would be as well-loved as the new Batman trilogy not quite being met. It has still been a box office smash in terms of ticket sales though.

These are just a few examples of Superman’s appearance in movies and on TV over the years, with plenty of other movies, cartoons and shows to explore. Superman has a had a mixed reception on our screens and a tougher time being loved outside of his comic book universe than Batman, but its still interesting to see how producers have interpreted his iconic tale.

As Halloween is right around the corner, here’s a guest post to get you in the mood. Today’s contribution comes from Rachael Largent who is a content creator that enjoys writing about Halloween decorations and clever crafts. Enjoy!

*

Trying to make your own Halloween decorations? Trying to decorate your house for the upcoming holiday without going over budget? It can be done and it can be done well. You can have fabulously spooky and scary Halloween decorations and stay on your budget.

Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Haunted Library Books
    Using simple colored paper, pens, markers, Sharpies, and crayons you can create haunted Halloween based library books. Write the words “Spooky,” “Scary,” “Haunted,” and “Hocus Pocus” on the spines then try to add fun little pictures of bats, pumpkins, spider webs, black cauldrons, and witches.
  • Pumpkin Flower Vase
    Use hollowed out pumpkins as Halloween vases to place orange, red, and yellow fake, or real, flowers. They work great because they serve as a vase and as a Halloween decoration.
  • Spooky Halloween Lantern Jugs Create fun Halloween lanterns using milk jugs. Simply save and clean out a couple of milk jugs, then get a black marker, a craft knife, and a string of holiday lights. Draw mouths and eyes using the black marker and on the back of the jug cut a hole to stuff the lights into. Make a strand of these fun spooky Halloween lanterns.
  • Scary Skeleton
    Scary skeletons can also be made with plastic milk jugs and pipes. These materials might seem cheap but the results are astonishing. They make a larger-than-life skeleton that can be easily positioned inside or outside. It’s ideal for those terrified trick-or-treaters at the front door and is also a fun project to do with kids. The steps are simple and the skeleton is designed to be taken apart for easy storing. It also recycles old milk jugs.

 Skeleton Instructions

Eight things you’ll need: 7 Clean and Dry Gallon Milk Jugs, Wax Pencil or Crayon, Craft Snips or Scissors, String or Fishing Line for Hanging, Approx. 40, Yards of String or Yard to Ties all the parts together, Glow in the Dark Paint, Paint Brush, and a Hole Punch.

Eight Easy Steps:

First, save seven milk jugs and make sure to clean them out thoroughly. Second, take four jugs and cut out the hands and feet, make sure to use the hole punch at the top of the feet and hand jugs; or towards the area where you know you will connect the jugs with string. Third, two jugs then need heir handles cut out to make the shoulder of the skeleton. Punch a hole at the jug side (this will connect to head) and then two more holes on the other side. (This will likely be on the side that will connect to the body). Fourth, grab one plastic jug and draw a face on it that you will be able to cut out ­later. Once that is completed punch two holes at the milk jug tip…Or otherwise the skeleton’s neck.

Fifth, take another milk jug and draw the rib cage on it. Then cut it out and punch two holes in each side of the opening. Sixth, now for the hips. This part is a little tricky. Take one well cleaned milk jug and cut out a big opening in it to look like a hip. To make the process easier use a marker to draw the outline of the hip. Seventh, have two jugs ready for cutting. Take one and cut out four long bones, this will be the arms of the skeleton. Now take the other jug and cut out four long bones for the legs. Lastly, punch a hole in each end of all the bones you cut out. Eighth, use sixteen pieces of string to tie all the pieces of the skeleton together.

  • Halloween Paper Chains Halloween Paper Chains are commonly used to count down to Halloween. Make the chain with fall/Halloween colors and then chop one off as it nears the night of frights. The only materials are art paper (colors of your choice), scissors, and tape or stapler. Simply cut the art paper into a total of thirty strips into approximately 2” strips. Round a strip into a circle and tape or staple the ends where the art paper comes together. Take another strip of construction paper and loop it through the other finished circle and repeat the process. Happy chaining!

 

*

Well there you have it – a whole heap of ideas to turn your house into a spooktacular haunted house! Why not have a go at making some of Rachael’s creations, then posting a picture of it hanging up in your house?

TIll next time,

Tom

This is the first guest post I have featured on Twisted Fish and I hope to include many more. It was written by Justin Martin, an entertainment blogger with a passion for technology and science. For more great articles like this one, Justin recommends checking out this blog.

*

Like many young people, I became fascinated with science at a very young age. My prized possessions were my rock collection, star charts, and dinosaur books. I put boogers under a little microscope whenever my mom left the room. Everything was an experiment. It all started with that baking soda and vinegar volcano in kindergarten. The world became a little more interesting that day.

I had a hard time with math in school, so my dreams of becoming a mad scientist never came to fruition. No matter how many times I watched Bill Nye , it didn’t seem like it was for me. However, at the beginning of 2008, I realized I don’t need a degree or fancy job to be a real scientist. Anyone can gain international prestige and make big bucks in the field. All you have to do is make really good meth.

This generation has forsaken Albert Einstein and Carl Sagan in favor of someone a bit more down-to-earth. Most viewers of the television show Breaking Bad have never heard of the Uncertainty Principle, but everybody knows Heisenberg. In the show, actor Bryan Cranston plays Walter White (aka Heisenberg): chemistry teacher-turned-druglord. Teaming up with a drug-dealing former student (Jesse Pinkman), Walt takes the lessons from the classroom to the streets. These two guys made history with little more than a makeshift lab, a handful of volatile chemicals, and a bit of basic knowledge. You can too!

One thing I have learned from Breaking Bad is that anyone can “do science.” It is doubtful that most makers of methamphetamine have the same type of training and experience as Walter White. It’s usually just a couple tweakers experimenting with household chemicals and allergy medicine. These guys are far from professionals, but are they not scientists? They have a searching, inquisitive spirit, and can be both resourceful and adaptive. Can’t get your hands on red phosphorus? Just crush up some match heads! No access to hydrochloric acid? Maybe mixing bleach and ammonia might work. Nope. Just killed yourself with nerve gas. Oh well. That’s science. Better luck next time!

Breaking Bad goes out of its way to get into the real science of the underworld. The producers even hired a special science adviser to maintain consistency. Professor Donna Nelson made sure every one of Walt’s chemistry rants was completely factual. The only real error on the show is the trademarked blue meth! Although the DEA censored many details of the actual synthesis process, they did help with recreating real-to-life meth labs.

I still talk occasionally with my high school chemistry teacher, and he told me that Breaking Bad has actually motivated several of his students to become more involved in class. Seeing another side of the coin was enough to break their negative opinions and open their minds to new ideas. Whether or not they plan on using this knowledge for good or evil remains to be seen. Luckily, the show does a fine job of presenting the dark side of the business. It doesn’t exactly glorify the lifestyle.

Another thing I learned is that nothing beats experience, training, and knowledge when it comes to science. You can’t just dissolve a body with hydrofluoric acid in the bathtub. You gotta think things through! Breaking Bad also shows us that it’s damn hard work to be a scientist. Either you become an under-appreciated high school teacher, or you have to get shot at, threatened, and blown up on a regular basis.

The greatest idea that Breaking Bad presents is the value of breaking boundaries. No one makes history by teaching high school science. You won’t get anywhere by following the rules. Old formulas can always be improved upon. Great risks are necessary for great rewards. We don’t condone illegal behavior, but do what you have to do to put yourself on the map. Think outside the box, and never look back. Every problem can be solved…so find your own solution.

*

I’m hoping to include more guest posts in this blog (and that’s not just because I’m too lazy to write my own material…honest!), so let me know if you want to see more of them!

Tom

Great. More creepy children.

You might have noticed something strange about October this year. That’s right: there’s been no Paranormal Activity film this year! What began as a Halloween tradition to replace the Saw franchise has apparently fizzled out of existence. Or has it?

A couple of days ago, a trailer was released online for the up-coming Paranormal Activity spinoff film entitled Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones. Give it a watch below.

The trailer shows the same ol’ story that we’ve come to expect from the franchise: there’s a party in a block of flats; a woman dies in the flat below the party; some young virile people explore (with a camcorder…*sigh*) the dead woman’s apartment; they find creepy stuff; one of them starts experiencing…wait for it…paranormal activity! And they’ve thrown in some creepy kids, a weird Latino séance and more shaky footage.

At first I thought that this is the end. The franchise has gone kaput. If you’ve seen my post ‘Paranormal Activity 5: What They Should Do Next‘ you’ll see that they’ve pretty much done the exact opposite of every single one of my points. Geez, did they not read my article?!

But, as many people on the Internet have pointed out, this could be the ‘umph’ that the franchise needs. The producers of The Marked Ones have explicitly stated that this film is NOT Paranormal Activity 5 and that we can expect that (fingers crossed) October 2014. Personally, I think it’s a good thing they’re keeping the two films separate. See, the problem I had with PA4 is that to me it seemed lazy. It seemed as though the producers were desperately trying to think of a way of advancing the ‘Katie/Hunter/Kristie’ story but through a new pair of eyes. There was no character development as the scriptwriters knew the audience were more concerned about the main story arc than what was happening to the other characters. So by the time it got to the woefully inadequate ending I just sat there thinking to myself ‘Oh no, that blonde girl might be captured…meh.’ (N.B. I genuinely had to Google the name of the blonde girl in PA4: turns out it’s Alex). By making a spinoff, they can tell a new story (about characters that we will, hopefully, care at least a little about by the end of the film) whilst weaving in the central ‘Katie/Hunter/Kristie/demons/weird women/Toby’ storyline. At least, that’s what I’m hoping for.

I really hope that each one of these VHS tapes is a potential spinoff…

In terms of relating back to the ‘main’ franchise, it seems as though The Marked Ones is doing this very well (that’s what I can gather from the trailer). There are quite a lot of references to Katie/Kristie and their shenanigans. Just look at those two creepy black-eyed girls above – they look an awful lot like Katie and Kristie from PA3. Remember Ali from PA2? The daughter that was away whilst the climax of the film took place? Well she’s back! I’m not entirely sure how the two storylines will weave into one another, but I certainly look forward to finding out!

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones will be released in cinemas January 2014.

*

Let me know what you think of the trailer, and whether or not you’re looking forward to cowering behind your hands when you go to watch this at the cinema.

Tom

Sadly, the poet Dante was never this bad-ass.

If you’ve been paying attention to the latest goings-on in Hollywood, you’ll see that things are really ‘hotting up’ (see what I did there?) for the proposed adaptation of Dante’s Inferno. If not, then I just told you.

Dante’s Inferno was a video game released in 2010 on PS3, Xbox 360 and PSP, based on the epic poem by Dante Alighieri. It follows the story of the Templar knight, Dante, making his way through the nine circles of Hell to reclaim the soul of his beloved Beatrice from the clutches of evil Lucifer (the Devil, for those people who don’t read). I loved this game when it came out – the vision of each circle of Hell (Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Anger, Heresy, Violence, Fraud and, Treachery) was unique and visceral. Sadly, whilst the artwork of the game was fantastic, the game itself turned into just another button-bashing fiasco.

Now, it transpires that Universal (who bought the game rights seven years ago) are wanting to turn this game into a film, to be helmed by Fede Alvarez (the chap behind the brilliant remake of the equally brilliant Evil Dead) and the script is to be penned by Jay Basu (who has written Monsters: Dark Continent – due to be released in 2014).

Remember when you stole a chip off someone’s plate? Well this is what awaits you in Hell…

This is not the first film adaptation of Dante’s Inferno, however. EA released Dante’s Inferno: The Animated Epic to tie-in with the game back in 2010. The film was split into several parts, with each being animated and designed by a different director. Commercially, it was not that much of a hit – but in terms of quality of film and accuracy when compared to the game, it scores very highly.

Personally, I am very excited for this film – if they do it right, then the movie will be a grotesque vision of Hell, much like the game offered. Oh, and hopefully it won’t be in 3D.

There’s no release date as of yet, but if it follows in the footsteps of all the other video game movies, we can expect it to be released…never.

*

So what do you think? If you’ve played the game, how do you feel about a potential film adaptation? If you haven’t played the game, then what are you waiting for? GO GO GO!

Tom

A few weeks ago, you’ll remember that a teaser trailer was posted online by J.J. Abrams’ company ‘Bad Robot’ – advertising Abrams’ new project. For more info, see this post. The Internet went into speculation mode: people thought it was for a new TV show, a new film, or even a trailer for Star Wars VII. Well, it has been revealed that it was a trailer for (as many suspected) Abrams’ new book simply titled S. You can watch the second trailer, released a few days ago, below:

Abrams has revealed a little more about this novel and, from first impressions, it’s looking like a good one. Co-written by Doug Dorst (who shot to fame with his novel Alive in Necropolis) it apparently is a book within a book. Confused? You should be. The official synopsis of is:

“One book. Two readers. A world of mystery, menace, and desire.

A young woman picks up a book left behind by a stranger. Inside it are his margin notes, which reveal a reader entranced by the story and by its mysterious author. She responds with notes of her own, leaving the book for the stranger, and so begins an unlikely conversation that plunges them both into the unknown.

The book: Ship of Theseus, the final novel by a prolific but enigmatic writer named V.M. Straka, in which a man with no past is shanghaied onto a strange ship with a monstrous crew and launched onto a disorienting and perilous journey.

The writer: Straka, the incendiary and secretive subject of one of the world’s greatest mysteries, a revolutionary about whom the world knows nothing apart from the words he wrote and the rumors that swirl around him.

The readers: Jennifer and Eric, a college senior and a disgraced grad student, both facing crucial decisions about who they are, who they might become, and how much they’re willing to trust another person with their passions, hurts, and fears.”

So, basically, two stories are happening at once: there’s the printed text of the novel itself; and, the handwritten notes in the margin that tells the story of this ‘young woman’ and the ‘stranger’. Colour me intrigued. Abrams says that included in the book will be postcards, photographs, maps and newspaper clippings (physical copies, not just illustrations) that enhances the story between the two readers.

So what do you think? Personally I’m very excited about this book, and as a fan of J.J. Abrams’ work, I’m hoping that doesn’t disappoint. But if it all ends in a church (or ‘purgatory’ for that matter) I’ll be coming for you, J.J!

Tom

So here we are for Part II of the list of some of my favourite tracking shots – if you haven’t already done so, check out Part I in which I cover numbers 1 – 3!

*

4. Tarantino films

Quentin Tarantino is famous for his dialogue-heavy scenes – just look at the opening of Reservoir Dogs – and the camera, although it remains running for a lengthy period of time, it stays relatively static. These aren’t technically ‘tracking shots’ just lengthier conversations, I guess. Take this scene from Pulp Fiction, where the camera follows Vincent Vega’s entrance into the theme restaurant ‘Jack Rabbit Slims’. Notice how it’s almost reminiscent of the club scene from Goodfellas.

It’s shots like this that make me pay extra attention to the extras in the background, as it’s them that make the scene more believable. There’s another little tracking shot later on in the film where Butch (played by Bruce Willis) goes back to his flat to get his father’s watch. Now this clip is nothing spectacular in terms of cinematic achievement, it’s just a nice streamlined scene. By choosing not to cut at all during his ‘walk’ it just makes it all the more interesting.

N.B. I feel as though I should put a ‘This Contains Strong Language’ warning at the top of this section, but it’s Tarantino – what did you expect?

Here’s a clip from Kill Bill: Vol. I that I like as I think it’s quite clever. Here we have Beatrix Kiddo (sorry if I spoilt the name for you) entering the House of Blue Leaves where O-Ren Ishi is. What this scene manages to do is show us all the different interlinking characters we have in play: Beatrix, the proprietors of the nightclub and Sofie Fatale. All this set to the infuriatingly catchy ‘Woo Hoo’ by The 5.6.7.8’s (as themselves) plus a whole dancefloor full of Japanese people shaking want their mammas gave them. Brilliant.

5. The Protector (Tom-Yum-Goong)

Martial arts films are awesome. I love watching kick-ass fights (see The Raid for insane fights) done by brilliant martial artists. But what dispapoints me is when films have these professional fighters but don’t make the most of them: they either have really weak fight scenes, or make the scenes so cut up that you can’t tell what’s going on. If these guys can just fight for 5 minutes uninterrupted, then why not set up a camera and let them at each other. And that is exactly what Tony Jaa (Google him, this guy is the business) was allowed to do. For this next clip, taken from the film The Protector, I don’t even know the premise. All I suppose I can say is it features Tony Jaa kicking the proverbial shit out of people in a hotel lobby. It’s beautiful.

6. Music videos

Music videos are an artform by their own right. Gone are the days when a music video used to be the band simply playing their song, perhaps interspliced with some storyline related to the lyrics. Nowadays music videos are weird, scary and are considered to be ‘mini-movies’ in themselves. Thanks, Lady Gaga.

Tracking shots have been used during dance numbers for many years now – some of the greats like Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire demanded to film some of their dances in just one take: else what would be the point?

This first music video is for the song ‘Bad Motherf***er’ by Biting Elbows. And it is freakin’ awesome. It’s first person POV of a man escaping from some people that want to kill him. Seriously, you should check this out:

The next video is a little more sedate. It is for the brilliant electroswing (again, Google it) song ‘Sing Sing Sing’ by Jazzbit. The music video itself is sort of a combination of the scenes I’ve mentioned from Goodfellas and Kill Bill: Vol. I – just one long tracking shot through a nightclub showing different people’s perspectives. Check it out below:

*

So there you have it: my little list of tracking shots that I think are list-worthy. I hope you enjoyed watching the many clips I’ve posted – if you have any more tracking shots you’ve seen that you think are good then leave a comment! And, while you’re here, why not ‘Like’ Twisted Fish on Facebook? It’s just on the left there? You see it? That’s right, just press that little ‘Like’ button. Now you may leave.

Till next time, folks!

Tom