PRODUCTION JOURNAL: Midweek Morning Mixer - 10.30.13 (HALLOWEEN EDITION)

[Note: I couldn't get the Monday Morning Mixer out on time because of some issues with my mom's health that I had to attend to.  We're still working on it, and even though she's strong (God bless her), it's taking its toll.]  

Nevertheless, here's the midweek edition, Halloween style.

To start with, October 30 marks the day for two morbidly tragic true Hollywood tales; the suicide of Max Linder and the murder of Ramon Navarro.

October 30, 1925

The story of silent comedian Max Linder, who committed suicide this week in 1925, is a truly tragic one. Beginning his career in 1905, Frenchman Linder was the first great screen funnyman, writing, directing and starring in hundreds of shorts, in which he played the instantly recognizable Max, the dapper Frenchman with the cane, top hat and moustache. He was a huge influence on emerging stars like Charlie Chaplin, who called himself a “student” of Linder and was greatly influenced by his comic stylings. However two attempts to make it in Hollywood were unsuccessful and Linder’s career faltered. A dispatch driver seriously wounded in World War I, Linder was plagued by ill health and deep depression, and by the mid-1920s had all but retired. In 1924, he and his young wife, American heiress Jean Peters, tried to take their lives in Vienna, Austria, but were unsuccessful. A year later, they died together in a suicide pact in Paris, leaving behind a daughter, Maud, who was barely a year old. Forgotten until Maud’s 1963 documentary about him, Laugh with Max Linder, revealed his historical importance, Linder remains a criminally overlooked figure in early cinema. ~~Focus Features

October 30, 1968

Ramon Navarro came to LA in 1913 with hopes of making a new life for himself. While working at the Alexandria Hotel, he was spotted by director Rex Ingram who cast him first as an extra, and then as the lead of Prisoner of Zenda in 1923. The beautiful young man was deemed the worthy successor to Rudolph Valentino’s Latin lover role. Reportedly he shared more than a legacy with Valentino as the two were close friends and supposedly lovers at one point. Despite his success with films like Ben-Hur and The Student Prince, Navarro never really transitioned to sound. His next big headline would have nothing to do with cinema. On Halloween, 1968, the police found the naked, dead body of the famed silent film star. Following phone records, detectives found Paul and Tom Ferguson, two brothers who’d visited Navarro on October 30. Towards the end of his life, Navarro was an avid consumer of male hustlers. But the brothers were there because they falsely believed that Navarro had $5,000 buried under his floorboards. As Tom was on the phone with his girlfriend in Chicago––the call the police used to catch the brothers––Paul beat Navarro to an inch of his life to get him to tell him where the money was. In defeat, the brothers attempted to make the scene look like a rape/robbery. After stripping the star down and tying him up, they scrawled "Us girls are better than those fagits" on the bathroom mirror. Navarro soon choked to death on his own blood. During the trial, the defense attorney Richard Walton blamed Navarro’s sexuality, exclaiming "Back in the days of Valentino, this man who set female hearts aflutter, was nothing but a queer. There’s no way of calculating how many felonies this man committed over the years, for all his piety." Both brothers were sentenced to life, but paroled after only seven years. Paul was again arrested and convicted for rape. ~~Focus Features

In celebration of Halloween, the answers to today's questions are all relevant to making or enjoying a horror movie so without further ado...

WRITING: What shouldn't you forget when writing horror scripts?

PRODUCING: What are 13 steps to making a horror film? And the secrets to its low budget success. UPDATE: How do you take horror interactive?

FINANCING: How much revenue is in the horror movie business? And 5 reasons why you should stick to the supernatural when making a horror movie.

DIRECTING: Compare good and bad 11 horror movie tropes to use them effectively.

SHOOTING: What are some scary shooting techniques?

LIGHTING: Low-budget horror movie lighting tips. Plus some more tips.

SOUND:Ever wonder why the music in horror films scare us?

STUNTS & FX: How horror films have helped advance the visual FX industry.  Plus 100 of the greatest special FX make-up artists of all time.

EDITING: Horror Film Editing: A short blog that compares the 2 major ways audiences are frightened (‘jump scares’ and the ‘fear of the unknown’) to show how editors can convey fear and unease within their films.

MARKETING: What goes into making a good horror film trailer? Plus, 12 of the most effective horror-based campaigns of all time.

DISTRIBUTION: How Jason Blum made horror films that grossed more than a billion dollars at the box office. And how one filmmaker secured a distribution deal for his no-budget horror film with money upfront.

LEGAL: Real life horrors occur when scary accidents happen on the set and that's one very good reason to get insurance. So, here's a primer on production insurance.

If you happen to be stuck without a good horror feature to watch on Halloween then check out this list.  But if your prefer quickie scares, then watch these horror shorts

And just because... one of my favorite horror films of all time, Vampyr:


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