Archive for the News Category


Posted in 2013, Appreciations, LL Soares Reviews, News, Obituaries and Appreciations, Special Columns with tags on April 5, 2013 by knifefighter

An Appreciation by L.L. Soares

Roger Ebert as many of us remember him during his heydey as a popular television movie critic.

Roger Ebert as many of us remember him during his heydey as a popular television movie critic.

Roger Ebert died today in Chicago, following a long battle with cancer.  He was 70.

Ebert wasn’t just another movie critic. For his generation, he might just have been the gold standard that other critics were compared to. Most people, like me, first became aware of him around 1978, when PBS began syndicating the show he had with Gene Siskel. It was first called “Opening Soon at a Theater Near You” when it debuted in Chicago in 1974, then got its name changed to “Sneak Previews” when PBS started showing it nationally. In 1982, Tribune Entertainment began syndicating it, with a new title, “Movie Views.” And in 1986, it was syndicated by Buena Vista Television as “Siskel and Ebert at the Movies.” Doing research for this article, I had no idea the show had so many names. I thought it was always called “At the Movies,” but I was wrong. The show popularized the “thumbs up/thumbs down” rating system for movie reviews, which the duo trademarked.

Ebert was the house movie critic for the Chicago Sun-Times. In 1975, he was the first film critic to ever win the Pulitzer Prize. His partner on TV, Gene Siskel, wrote for the Chicago Tribune, and they were competitors and sort of enemies. The idea to pair them together on a movie review show was an inspired one. People didn’t think it would work, but they stuck together until 1999, when Siskel died of a brain tumor. It was said that off-screen, over the years, the two of them became very close friends, almost like brothers.

Roger Ebert continued to review movies on TV, going through a period where he had many guest co-hosts, to see who had the most chemistry with him. This rotating co-host system lasted awhile, but eventually, Richard Roeper, another critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, became Ebert’s permanent co-host in September 2000.

A high point of his career was an unusual one for a critic. Ebert wrote the screenplay for the 1970 cult movie BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, directed by grindhouse legend Russ Meyer. Unusual because it was not a high-brow movie, but a crazed smorgasbord of sex and violence, BEYOND is revered by fans of bizarre cinema. Supposedly, Meyer and Ebert were going to collaborate on another film, with the punk band the Sex Pistols, but it fell apart before filming began. The proposed title was “Who Killed Bambi?”

The Russ Meyer film BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS has gone on to become a cult classic. Roger Ebert wrote the screenplay.

The Russ Meyer film BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS has gone on to become a cult classic. Roger Ebert wrote the screenplay.

Ebert wrote lots of books about movies, and started the Roger Ebert Overlooked Film Festival, which has been held annually in Champaign, Illinois, since 1999.

Ebert’s long struggle with cancer in recent years included operations on his thyroid, salivary glands and chin. He lost the ability to eat, drink or speak. Recent appearances on television revealed a startling new appearance, due to the removal of much of his lower jaw, and he had taken to communicate using a computerized voice system. Despite these setbacks, he was still intent on returning to television with a new movie criticism show.

When he lost the ability to speak, Ebert also became an avid blogger, continuing to see and review movies regularly (and talk about more personal topics) at his blog .

For many of us, Ebert was someone we watched every week on TV for decades, fueling our own love of movies, and the Siskel and Ebert show was one of the inspirations for the original Cinema Knife Fight column by myself and Michael Arruda.

We here at Cinema Knife Fight will remember Ebert fondly.

Despite several health setbacks in recent years, Roger Ebert continued to see and review movies regularly for his blog. He will be missed by movie lovers everywhere.

Despite several health setbacks in recent years, Roger Ebert continued to see and review movies regularly for his blog. He will be missed by movie lovers everywhere.


Meet Our New Staff Writer: DANIEL I. RUSSELL

Posted in 2013, Daniel I. Russell Columns, DON'T FEED THE..., News, Staff Writers with tags , , on February 20, 2013 by knifefighter

Daniel I. Russell, author of today’s shark-infested column, will be writing his DON’T FEED THE….column quarterly for

Dan Russell Author Pic

Daniel I. Russell has been featured publications such as The Zombie Feed from Apex, Pseudopod and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. He was nominated for two Tin Duck Awards in 2011 for best novel (Samhane) and best short story. Author of Come Into Darkness, Critique, Mother’s Boys and The Collector, Daniel is also the current vice-president of the Australian Horror Writers’ Association and was special guest editor of Midnight Echo 7.

New Columnist: Barry Lee Dejasu and SCORING HORROR

Posted in 2012, Barry Dejasu Columns, News, Scoring Horror, Staff Writers with tags , , on August 22, 2012 by knifefighter

Writer: Barry Lee Dejasu
Column: Scoring Horror

Barry Lee Dejasu is a former staff writer for the (now defunct) magazine Modern Fix, where he’d interviewed such musicians as Opeth, Exodus, Sevendust, Devin Townsend, and numerous others.  A lover of all things film since he was in single digits, Barry’s infatuation with genre really began with repeated viewings of ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948), which served as a gateway to the likes of DRACULA (1931) and the TERMINATOR films.  The only thing keeping him from consistently perching before movie and TV screens, or flipping through novels, is his job as a customer service clerk at an Ivy League bookstore, where he’s keeping the availability of printed genre fiction alive and well.


Posted in 2012, Cinema Knife Fights, News with tags , on May 19, 2012 by knifefighter


New Staff Member: PAUL MCMAHON

Posted in 2012, News, Staff Writers with tags , , on February 15, 2012 by knifefighter

PAUL MCMAHON (aka “The Distracted Critic”) sits amid the clutter and chaos of four kids and struggles to remember what he’s doing from moment to moment. His love for all things scary began with being terrorized by James Earl Jones reciting the alphabet on SESAME STREET (Aaaaa… Beeeee…  Ceeeee….). From there he spent his formative years watching CREATURE DOUBLE FEATURE on Channel 56 every Saturday and begging his parents to take him to the theater to see horror movies. Everything from CARRIE to THE OMEN and THE LEGACY to THE SHINING were deemed inappropriate, so he started writing his own scary stories to relieve the boredom. Since then, his work has appeared in the anthologies THE DARKEST THIRST, DAMNED NATION, and the recent New England Horror Writers (NEHW) anthology, EPITAPHS. When his kids aren’t around he watches movies and reads books, albeit a little at a time. He remains in the middle of many projects, and has new works both forthcoming and under construction.

Meet New Staff Member: PETER DUDAR!

Posted in 2011, News, Special News, Staff Writers with tags on October 12, 2011 by knifefighter

Pete Dudar and “friend”

PETER N. DUDAR  is a massive Stephen King wannabe.  After graduating from the State University of New York at Albany, he immediately moved to Maine to begin his writing career. Dudar currently resides in the same town King where went to high school, in a home right down the block from the Worumbo Mill, where King worked in his youth, and subsequently came up with the story, “Graveyard Shift“).  Dudar’s fiction has appeared in the such anthologies as: the HWA-sponsored BELL, BOOK AND BEYOND, as well as NEW TRADITIONS IN TERROR, DIABOLIC TALES (Volume 1), TERRIBLE BEAUTY/FEARFUL SYMMETRY, and the upcoming New England Horror Writers (NEHW) anthology, EPITAPHS.  Dudar also writes the blog DEAD BY FRIDAY on Facebook, and sometimes writes and publishes erotica under a pseudonym.  But he’s no Stephen King!

Peter will be writing the monthly column, ME AND LIL’ STEVIE, for us here at Cinema Knife Fight, where he will look at movies based on the work of Stephen King.

Welcome Aboard, Pete!

New Staff Member: GARRETT COOK

Posted in 2011, Criterion After Dark, Garrett Cook Articles, News, Staff Writers with tags , , , , , on September 7, 2011 by knifefighter

Well, CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT continues to grow, and we’ve got yet another new staff writer debuting a column today. His name is Garrett Cook, and he’ll be examining the more twisted titles of the renowned CRITERION COLLECTION for this site. Here’s more about Garrett, in his own words:

GARRETT COOK’s first experiences with cult cinema began at a very young age, thanks to a multitude of bootleg videos that his grandfather kept in the basement, some very good local TV stations and a gigantic book on monster movies. Godzilla was just as much a part of his childhood as Dr. Seuss. As his passion for great literature grew, so too did his passion for horror films, art films and grindhouse trash. With these influences, he started creating some pretty unusual fiction, stories where pulp and art get blurred and virtually anything can happen.

The first of these books, MURDERLAND PART 1:h8 was published in 2008. It led to him meeting and finding kindred spirits in the “Bizarro fiction” community. His first year at BizarroCon, the annual gathering of these weird cult authors, Cook won the Ultimate Bizarro Showdown.  Bizarro fiction has been called “the literary equivalent of the cult section of the video store” so his work fit right in and Bizarro has only encouraged his curiosity when it comes to weird, dark and demented cinema, which he writes about and reviews often. Garrett, his girlfriend Leza Cantoral, and a revolving cast of Bizarro writers discuss weird, obscure and violent cinema at

His most recent book, JIMMY PLUSH, TEDDY BEAR DETECTIVE, from Eraserhead Press, combines the influences of film noir, detective serials, comics, pulp fiction and vintage horror.

He is proud to be part of Cinema Knife Fight, exploring the gritty, the sick and the off-the-wall side of The Criterion Collection, the renowned and respected company that puts out definitive versions of classic films on DVD and Blu-Ray.