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Jerry Goldsmith (#110 of 3)

Summer of ‘89: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

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Summer of ‘89: <em>Star Trek V: The Final Frontier</em>
Summer of ‘89: <em>Star Trek V: The Final Frontier</em>

A camera pans across a desert, its cracked ground rife with holes. A miner runs obsessively from one hole to the next. His reverie is broken by the distant sound of a horse galloping. Cut to a cloaked figure shimmering like some dark wraith as he rides toward the miner, slowly growing clearer and more substantial as he gets closer and closer.

This sequence, a visual quote of David Lean’s epic Lawrence of Arabia, is the eerie opening to Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, the ambitious failure directed by the science-fiction franchise’s star, William Shatner. Though Shatner had already directed nearly a dozen episodes of his other notable TV series, T.J. Hooker, The Final Frontier was his feature directorial debut, a contractual obligation owed him because of a clause that gave him parity with co-star Leonard Nimoy, who had just directed a pair of Star Trek’s most successful films, The Search for Spock and The Voyage Home.

Summer of ‘88: Poltergeist III

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Summer of ‘88: <em>Poltergeist III</em>
Summer of ‘88: <em>Poltergeist III</em>

Never has the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” principle played more prominent a role in my reaction to an obviously mediocre movie than it did and continues to with Poltergeist III. The enemy in this case being the notion that Poltergeist II: The Other Side isn’t a wretched, insulting cash-in that distorted and desecrated everything that entranced every kid who still can’t look at clown dolls without giving them the major side-eye. There are no arguments to be had that the third movie in the series is worth anything other than a late-night cable-TV viewing to either cure insomnia or revel in nostalgia for a highly representative entry from the height of VHS-era horror. But I’m glad it exists if only to bend the curve that much further toward the unimpeachable original.

For reasons too frustrating not to explore, there are some who have some level of affection for that damned first sequel, even though it ruptures the logic of everything that went into the original film, which couldn’t have been more simple in its cause-and-effect depiction of a paranormal event. Exhibit A: Steve Freeling (Craig T. Nelson) and his real estate development firm plowed over sacred ground, moved a giant cemetery a few miles up the hill, and let the bodies mingle with the foundations of a whole neighborhood’s worth of nearly identical suburban California abodes. Exhibit B: The restless spirits turn over in their graves, steal the Freelings’ youngest daughter, Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke), from the physical world, bringing her over to their side and holding her hostage, her presence only apparent through the audio from an orphan TV channel transmitting static, white noise…and Carol Anne’s cries for help. Exhibit C: Diminutive psychic Tangina (Zelda Rubenstein) helps Diana Freeling (JoBeth Williams, in a heroically enduring performance) rescue her daughter from the spirit world, telepathically directs the spirits toward the light that, so she explains, will absorb their souls, and declares, “This house is clean.”

A Cut Above: An Interview with Django Unchained Editor Fred Raskin

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A Cut Above: An Interview with <em>Django Unchained</em> Editor Fred Raskin
A Cut Above: An Interview with <em>Django Unchained</em> Editor Fred Raskin

By all accounts, Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained is a massive film in both scope and scale, boasting a large ensemble cast, a story that spans years, and a mix of locations and climates. The job of assembling all of this was given to film editor Fred Raskin, who, while working closely with Tarantino, cut the film to a final run time of two hours and 45 minutes, leaving almost two additional hours of footage on the cutting room floor.

A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Raskin honed his craft working as an assistant editor for Tarantino’s late editor Sally Menke, aiding her on Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. He then moved up to the position of editor with director Justin Lin, working on three Fast and the Furious films: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, and Fast Five. After Menke’s tragic death in 2010, Raskin got the call from Tarantino to take the lead on editing his new Spaghetti-Western-meets-blaxploitation flick.

After spending nearly a year assembling Django Unchained, Raskin, who is now armed with a BAFTA nomination, opens up about his work on the Oscar-nominated film, the job of a film editor, and working with one of his cinematic heroes.