Monday, September 21, 2015

Available Now--Jaws 2: The Making of The Hollywood Sequel by Louis R. Pisano and Michael A. Smith

Jaws fans, rejoice! BearManor Media is taking orders for Jaws 2: The Making of The Hollywood Sequel by Louis R. Pisano and Michael A. Smith. Available in both hardcover and softcover editions, this book takes readers on an in-depth journey into the troubled production of the 1978 sequel to Steven Spielberg's hit movie. Jaws 2 was the first blockbuster sequel to the film that is credited with kicking off the summer blockbuster era, thus making it the sequel (as alluded to in the book's subtitle) that proved how lucrative blockbuster movie sequels can be. In fact, Jaws 2 remained the high-grossing sequel to a summer blockbuster until the sequel of another summer blockbuster film, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, took the honor in 1980.

There have been plenty of books written about Jaws, but the same amount of detailed information about any of its sequels is almost impossible to find. So far, the only materials that focused their attention on the first sequel were The Jaws 2 Log by Ray Loynd in 1978 and The Making of Jaws 2 documentary that was included with the 2001 DVD release of the sequel. Pisano and Smith's book appears to fill in the numerous gaps in the story about how this film got made--and didn't get made--with honest interviews with many of the sequel's cast and crew.

A behind-the-scenes picture from Jaws 2.

After watching his JawsFest DVDs, I can tell you that we Jaws fans are in good hands when it comes to Lou Pisano. In fact, the unofficial "prequels" to this book include his three-part article "The Guts of Jaws 2: Appreciating an Underappreciated Sequel" for SCREAM magazine (you can read the entire article here) and his JawsFest 4: Revenge of the Finatics DVD, which included footage from a Jaws 2 cast reunion that was held in Los Angeles in March 2012. Co-author Michael A. Smith is a long-time movie buff and finatic as well--not only was he the president of the Roy Scheider fan club for eight years, but he wrote a 40th anniversary cover story about Jaws for last June's issue of Horror Hound magazine.

Between interviews with the cast and crew of Jaws 2 and over 200 rare behind-the-scenes photos, Jaws 2: The Making of The Hollywood Sequel is definitely a must-have for die-hard Jaws fans. Click here to order your copy and click here to check out the book's official Facebook page.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Monsters in the Memory Palace: Bryan Fuller's Hannibal (2013 - 2015)

After my many years of media consumption, I've come to a particular conclusion about movie and TV adaptations of books. If the adaptation is to stand on its own, its creative team should be permitted to change the source material in ways the work to the benefit of the visual mediums in which they are working. In contrast, slavish devotion to the precise replication of a book into another medium runs the very high risk of the adaptation being regarded as little more than an imitation of an original (and an inferior one at that). The opportunity to experiment with source material has allowed novel-based films such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Planet of the Apes and Jaws to be viewed as equal or superior to their points of origin.

Another example that can be added to this list is Hannibal, a TV series that just ended its three-season run on NBC. Read on for my complete review of this short-lived exercise in smart and stylish TV horror.