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Character Figures

Drive - The Driver

Meet The Driver.

Drive is one of those movies that just oozes coolness, sexuality, and intensity through the screen for it's entire runtime. Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn commits to screen the simple story of a stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway driver in the criminal underbelly of Los Angeles. His skills with a car are unmatched, he fears no one, and is an all around keep-to-himself loner, until one day... When the Driver meets his pretty neighbor and her young son he is instantly drawn to them. When her husband, a small time criminal, is released from jail things start to go from bad to worse. Getting in deep with a mobster the Driver must now not only fight to keep himself above ground, but the lives of his neighbor and her son as well. The Driver with his signature scorpion jacket, slicked hair, and hammer (used to great effect against villains!) is an anti-hero right our of grindhouse cinema of the 1970s. Drive, with its pulse pounding soundtrack, perfect visuals, and amazing chase sequences are enough to put this movie towards the top of my favorite films of all time list.

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Halloween - Michael Myers

Meet Mike.

The original Halloween is the scariest movie ever made, yet also the most endearing film of what would soon become the "slasher" genre. Part teenage babysitter in peril plot and part psychological thriller, Halloween succeeds in being 90 minutes of solid moody build up that is capped off with the greatest climax sequence in horror movie history. Every element works in perfect sync, from the first rapid strokes of the piano keys that make up that ever-so iconic score to the spot on casting of Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasance as the intrepid Dr. Samuel Loomis to the most iconic looking movie monster since Boris Karloff in Frankenstein. Halloween is seminal and it makes me try and guestimate the number of TV screens it must be flickering its blood soaked mayhem across every October the 31st. It reaches you deep down into your inner-ness because you feel like you know the sleepy town of Haddonfield, you remember those halcyon days of dressing in costume to go trick-or-treating, and you've been watched over by a teenage babysitter who'd rather gab with her friends on the phone than deal with your punk ass! We love the movie because we know all these elements and we can't help but wonder what we would ourselves do if suddenly we were being terrorized by a merciless psychopath hellbent on killing you and everyone you care about. Michael Myers is the embodiment of fear itself. He is the unknown evil of the abyss who knows neither remorse nor fear nor pain. And if you don't want to be skewered by a butcher knife and pinned up on the kitchen wall like a calendar then you better run son! If you are close enough to see the empty, black nothingness behind the modified William Shatner mask then it is too late and you're gonna die. Happy Halloween!

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The Big Lebowski - The Dude (aka Jeffrey Lebowski) and Walter Sobchak

Meet The Dude & Walter.

I'm pretty sure The Big Lebowski answers what the meaning of life is... but I can't be sure. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; and it is one of the finest pieces of American cinema from the last two decades (maybe ever). On pure surface level it is a Los Angeles-set comedy, crime caper centering on a slacker by the name of The Dude who gets swept up into a plot thickened by a colorful menagerie of characters who use him as a means to an eccentric end. But it is so, so much more than that surface level riff. It has enough plots, sub-plots, and sub-sub-plots, each filled to the brim with an onslaught of characters connected through various relations like a mad spiderweb, to make your head spin. Add to that the character of The Dude with all his ex-hippie, loose joint traipsing through a life that is filled with quiet moments between trips to the local bowling alley, as he is yanked lower and lower into a strange and seedy underbelly that he neither understands nor wants to be a part of. He simply exists in his present moment and all he ever wanted is a new rug because it quote/unquote "really tied the room together." The Dude's exploits through the City of Angels with his bowling buddy Walter (very much the yang to the Dude's yin) make for the rarest of the rare movies that can be fully enjoyed by either: A) laboriously studying the details and machinations of the plot from scene to scene in an effort to decode the complex labyrinthine heart at the center of the matter OR B) letting your mind off the hook and enjoying an adult beverage or two (or four) and seeing where you are when you wake up on the other side of the brightly-colored, psychedelic rainbow that is The Big Lebowski.

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Crimson Peak - Edith & Ghost Mother

Meet Edith & Ghost Mother.

"It's not a ghost story... It's a story with ghosts in it." This utterance by our heroine Edith Cushing in Guillermo Del Toro's sumptuously decadent gothic romance proves to be mostly true, though when the ghosts are in it, they are truly in it. Victorian Era set Crimson Peak delivers thrills, chills, and vibrant red spills of blood as it tells the tale of a young woman named Edith who is swept up into a romantic liaison with a industrious fellow named Thomas Sharpe who is eager to marry Edith and move her into his palatial but dilapidated manor named Allerdale Hall (referred to in ghastly premonitions as Crimson Peak). Edith is instantly strong willed, intelligent, and likable, but the longer she remains in the decaying ruins of Allerdale Hale the deeper she sinks into dread and madness. Her wispy, white nightgown and pale complexion, perfectly illuminated by the candelabrum she carries, is the perfect contrast to the darkened confines of the manor she traverses and the exquisitely appointed spirits who torment her as she comes ever closer to discovering the mystery behind Crimson Peak. 

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Evil Dead - Ash


Meet Ash. 

Why you choose them - Ash is the ultimate cinematic antihero as he lacks all the attributes that shape the classic hero mold. He is crass, often cowardly, and some may even call him downright pigheaded. But what Ash lacks in venerable heroism he more than makes up for with his sheer will to live and bloodlust when it comes to killin' Deadites! After arriving at the quintessential cabin in the woods, Ash and his friends find a mysterious book in the cellar. After reading passages from this Book of the Dead (read: Necronomicon Ex Mortis) Ash and company are soon plagued by an onslaught of demons from another dimension whose only goal is death and destruction. And though one by one his friends may become possessed by evil spirits, Ash is resolved to his self-preservation. When has to chopped off his infected hand he doesn't throw in the towel. Hell no! He builds himself a chainsaw hand and uses it to cut his way through any and all foes that stand in his way. Sam Raimi's bloody tale of men and devils has always been a formidable movie watching experience for me much the same as it was when I first saw it at age 10. 

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Haunted Mansion - Hitchhiking Ghosts


Meet the Hitchhiking Ghosts: Phineas, Ezra, & Gus. 

My first memories of going to Disneyland as a small boy include: Being terrified of the Matterhorn ride, being terrified of Splash Mountain, and being terrified of Donald Duck, yet being utterly entranced and won over the by Haunted Mansion! Wandering those eerie halls filled with bone-chilling organ music, spectral cries of terror, and all manner of objects floating as if carried by some unseen hand, I was smitten. That was 25 years ago and my love for the Mansion has only increased immensely as an adult. The layout, the aesthetic of the atmosphere, and the trickery of the imagineers to pull off the 999 happy haunts that inhabit that forlorn abode all create without a doubt the single most iconic Disney ride there is. What it lacks in the speed and death defying acrobatics of, say, Space Mountain or the Indiana Jones ride, it more than makes up for in it's elegance. I will never forget passing along through that hall of mirrors on my first ride around and seeing that hitchhiking ghost sitting right where I had been situated between my parents only mere seconds before! In building these three Heroes, I wanted to capture but a small sliver of the ghoulish good times that I felt that halcyon day so long ago and that I feel an even greater admiration for now as "grown up"!

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Trick 'r Treat - Sam

Meet Sam.

Halloween has long been my favorite, not only holiday, but all around season of the year. That's right! I consider Halloween to not only exist for the 24-hour time frame between 12:00 AM on October 31st every year and 11:59:59 PM of that same day, but for the entirety of the month preceding that venerable day on the calendar. I love everything about Halloween, from the visual iconography of ghosts, witches, black cats, skeletons, and vampires to the onset of the crisp feeling in the autumn air and the changing of the leaves to those vibrant shades of orange and red. Beyond an excuse to re-watch all my favorite horror films that time of year simply feels like some elemental shift in the physiology of every living things makeup that has been instilled in all of us since the first organisms were birthed forth onto the planet. With something so ancient a celebrated as Halloween, it inherently comes with a complex series of superstitions and traditions that have been passed down through generation to generation. Jack 'o Lanterns must remain lit, always wear a costume, and always check your candy, these are but a few of the rules that the keeper of the rules, Sam (named for Samhain, the Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter), enforces every Halloween night. Sam appears as a childlike figure donning a mud-slicked costume, burlap mask over his head, and dragging a filthy candy sack on the ground behind him, as he wanders through the celebratory events occurring across the town of Warren Valley, Ohio. He is instantly iconic, from costume to demeanor, and just the very notion of a keeper of the rules of Halloween is enough to make me giddy. Watch the movie for spooky little Sam, but stay for one of the most evocative and memorable Halloween time set film ever made!

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Sweeney Todd - Sweeney Todd

Meet Sweeney. 

Another in a long line of magical and successful collaborations between director Tim Burton and his long-time muse Johnny Depp. This Victorian musical set in the seedy underbelly of London tells the revenge tale of a man, now known as Sweeney Todd, who takes up the position of barber and uses this artifice (as well as his razor blade) to kill his victims. With the help of a pie shoppe owner (played by Helena Bonham Carter) who bakes the remains of the dead men into her pies, Sweeney comes ever-closer to ending the life of the corrupt Judge who stole everything from him long ago. This pairing of Burton and Depp once again provides a memorable, Gothic aesthetic filled to the brim with rich backdrops and colorful characters. Depp's look as Sweeney Todd is again proof that he is the best character actor working in the business today.

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Harry Potter - Harry & Voldemort

Meet Harry & Voldemort. 

Harry Potter is every bit the equivalent of the iconic modern day hero as Luke Skywalker, that young and idealistic farmboy was back in the darkened cineplexes of May 1977. Orphaned as a baby under mysterious circumstances, shipped off to a new and strange world filled with wonder, and imbued with immense power that he must learn to harness and control as he moves from childhood to become a man, Harry Potter is the mythic hero as age-old as time itself. With all the odds against him he will sacrifice everything to defend those he loves and the world they inhabit from destruction of the darkest wizard who ever lived: Lord Voldemort. Seduced by the dark arts as a young boy before assuming the identity of Voldemort, this evil sorcerer is hellbent on ascending to the throne of power within not only the Wizard World, but that of the Muggles as well. If Harry is contemporary Luke Skywalker than Voldemort is Darth Vader; twisted and evil. Their cinematic encounters over the span of an 8-film franchise and their eventual duel to the death amidst the crumbling ruins of Hogwarts Castle will go down as some of the greatest on-screen moments in history.

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