A Jacob’s Ladder, in the biblical sense, is a ladder to heaven that was perceived in a dream. In the 1990 film Jacob’s Ladder, we are told the story of a man, Jacob, played by accomplished actor Tim Robbins. A soldier in Vietnam, Jacob’s unit is attacked and Jacob is injured. Back home, strange occurrences begin to happen. Jacob finds out that the military was using an experimental drug on the soldiers without their permission, named “The Ladder”. Jacob experiences disturbing visions, and the other surviving members of his unit begin succumbing to horrific deaths. The film supplies a surprise, twist ending. Director Adrian Lyne offered up stunning visuals by way of utilizing various filming techniques, including the body horror technique where an actor waves his head back and forth at a low frame rate that results in an unsettling blurry, shaking motion in real time. A subsequent special edition DVD was released in 1998 that showed the audience three deleted scenes and supplied a short documentary.
A trip to the ocean would never be the same after 1975’s shocking, industry changing film, Jaws. One great white shark and one small New England beach brought audiences in astounding numbers. Directed by Steven Spielberg, in what is now considered his career-changing pivotal movie, the production was filled with problems from the start. Due to issues with the mechanical sharks, the scenes shot involving the shark were mostly cut from the film, or reduced to merely fins or the presence of the hauntingly familiar soundtrack. This turned out to be in the film’s favor, cranking up tension, suspense and fear for the audience. Jaws had large marketing and promotion before its release, and went on to hold the title of the highest-grossing film until Star Wars bested it two years later. The film won multiple awards and was inducted into the National Film Registry in 2001.
Jurassic Park, another creation from director Steven Spielberg, based on the novel from Michael Crichton, the film is known for the amazing special effects and computer generated imagery that was cutting edge for the time it was released, 1993. A billionaire decides to invest his money in a project that would involve recombinant DNA research allowing the cloning of dinosaurs in order to open a theme park on a beautiful, tropical island. Spielberg brought the dinosaurs to life on the screen in a believable way with a combination of animatronics, go motion and computer animation. Jurassic Park earned an overall $914 million worldwide, passing up E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and eventually being surpassed by Titanic. The movie earned 3 Academy Awards, along with several others.