Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Percy Rodrigues Files: "If You Scream, You're Dead!"

When I was linking back to past articles from this blog that covered Jaws for my 35th Anniversary post on Sunday, I forgot one that covered a very vital component concerning the marketing of Jaws in 1975 (as well as it's first sequel), this one, dedicated to one of the all-time great trailer voice-over artists, Percy Rodrigues.

As a mea culpa, let's watch and listen to Mr. Rodrigues' narration in the trailer of Fred Dekker's 1986 cult favorite, Night of the Creeps, which finally made it's debut on DVD and Blu-Ray in a wonderful, extra feature leaden set last year (I got it for my birthday from my brother, thanks Sean!).

But before we get to the trailer, let's lament the short lived career, though he's still alive and working hard to get projects off the ground, of Mr. Dekker. Creeps, his directorial debut and his follow-up The Monster Squad, came out within a year of each other, while Dekker was still in his mid-20's. While neither set the box office on fire, they became favorites discovered on VHS and cable airings in subsequent years (I remember seeing Squad theatrically a few times as a 12 year old). Both films are loving and respectful homages to horror and sci-fi perennials while being utterly their own thing, and both are truly the work of a singular vision. The humor and care for the characters coupled with Dekker's impressive visual compositions make what seemed like pleasant enough larks in the mid 80's appear to be masterful breaths of fresh airs today when compared to the tone deaf modern genre filmmakers. While Dekker may have been a tier below the likes of John Carpenter, David Cronenberg, and Joe Dante on their best days, he's several hundred tiers ahead of the likes of contemporary directors like Marcus Nispel, Rob Zombie and Eli Roth.

After Squad, he wrote and directed a few episodes of Tales From the Crypt before being offered what probably seemed at the time like a surefire hit, Robocop 3. Of course, that experience was disastrous (I still have not seen it), the original script by Frank Miller was rewritten several times, Peter Weller dropped out of the role, the film was cut for a more family friendly PG-13 rating, and the studio, Orion, went bankrupt mid-production, causing the film to sit on the shelves from it's intended summer 1992 release to a early November 1993 one, where it made no impression.

Hopefully the long wait for the excellent special editions DVD releases of Monster Squad (debuted in 2007) and Night of the Creeps which lead to renewed discussion and appreciation of Dekker's career have reignited interest in this talented writer-director and he will get another project made and out of a very long stint in director jail.

And now, here's the trailer for Night of the Creeps:


jeety said...

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that I am very impressed. Employers say they are impressed by job candidates who have excellent communication
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Mummbles said...

Ah classic Percy! Your welcome for the dvd, thanks for mine. jeety seems to think you can make a career off of this. Ps- I replied to your commnet on my blog.

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