Posts tagged “Horror

Masters of Horror: Pelts / Dirty Secrets


Pelts  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US Release

Meat Loaf Aday stars as Jake Feldman, a short-tempered furrier struggling to build a small-time business while being tormented by his obsession for a sexy stripper.  But when a sadistic backwoods trapper (John Saxon of “Nightmare on Elm Street” and Argento’s “Tenebre”) kills a strange group of pet raccoons, Jake knows their luxurious hides could make a coat that will change his fortunes forever.  Only these are no ordinary pelts.  Everyone who comes in contact with the cursed furs is soon driven to unspeakable acts of self-mutilation and extreme violence.  Even if Jake can now possess the flesh he desperately covets, what horrific final price will he pay for the skin he’s in?

2006  –  Certificate: Not Rated  –  American TV  –  6.5 out of 10

I virtually never watch TV.  I’ve access to hundreds of channels and a hard disk recorder, plus more catch-up and subscription services than I can pronounce, but I can count on one, typical, human hand, how often I use any of these.  It’s not that I’m a TV snob either, as amongst all the dross are some really great programmes.  However, once in a while I take an arbitrary liking to something and will collect it on DVD or Blu-ray.  Whilst I like to watch films and write garbage about them here, I have a dirty, embarrassing, hidden secret that I rarely talk about to anyone; that is to say I also have one or two TV programmes I’m watching at the same time too.  (Although not literally.)  I don’t really binge-watch, so it takes me a long time to work my way through one with a lot of episodes.  Over the past few years I’ve done “Dad’s Army” (so part of my childhood), “Andromeda”, (massively underrated), “The Likely Lads” / “Whatever Became of the Likely Lads” (TV that reminds me of my father), and Red Dwarf (you can’t be a student without watching it and learning the silly Rimmer salute).  At present I’m slowly working my way through “South Park” and “Pretty Little Liars”.  Sadly, embarrassed by my indiscretions with the ‘small screen’, I rarely write much about them here.  This is strange in a way, because however good a film is you only get to spend a few hours with most of the characters, (even with a long franchise).  However, with TV you can spend weeks or months with them, years even, investing a huge amount of emotional capital in their lives.  This is something even the best film can never hope to match.  But no more…  From now on I’m going to attempt, in my usual inept way, to make more of a song and dance about them, right here.  Well don’t get too excited…

By pure coincidence, Pelts is actually a TV programme, although just to be confusing I’m treating it as a film.  Staring Meat Loaf (yes, that Meat Loaf), who spends most of the movie looking like a very disreputable version of Liam Neeson’s father and wanting to get his hands on a local stripper, when he’s not stripping the skin of the local wildlife to make coats out of.  Even without his less than vegan lifestyle his character is entirely without a redeeming feature; indeed, he really doesn’t have any positive characteristics at all.  This is not a film for which the plot is worth analysing; it’s really just there to provide an excuse for (the admittedly beautiful) Ellen Ewusie to get her top off (and scream a lot and yes, fall-over when she’s running away) and some excellent special effects.  (Except when Meat Loaf pulls most of his skin off and runs about a bit with it; not sure that worked well for me, but I guess he was just trying to out-strip his female co-star.  The face sowing is excellent though!)  However, it was good to see the purveyors of a fur coat get their come-uppance.  The wearers of real fur really are the embodiment of all that’s fucked-up in fashion.

There’s a soundtrack.  Its plays.    

The trailer is what it is.  It reminded me a bit of magnolias paint.

Movie Weather Forecast:  Eh… it’s overcast; and dark a lot.

Recommended for furriers, poachers, strippers and the fashion industry in general.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.  (Unless you count all the poor racoons that get killed and skinned; I imagine that involved all their heads being removed at some point.)

Top badass moment?  There really isn’t a single nice or worthy person or act in this film.  There’s not even evil masterminds either, just a load of shallow, mostly worthless individuals.  However, I don’t like to admit defeat and there is a brief shot of a snail (and sorry I don’t know what species it is) crawling along.  In comparison with all the humans, that’s just totally, totally, hardcore badass.

Pelts at IMDB (6.6 / 10)
Pelts at Wikipedia
Pelts trailer at YouTube


The Ordeal / Wine


The Ordeal  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK Release

Stranded somewhere in the Ardennes after his van breaks down, Marc Stevens (Laurent Lucas “Harry He’s Here To Help”), a travelling cabaret singer, is taken in by a kindly inn keeper who offers to fix his van and give him shelter for the night.  But the motivation for the innkeeper’s kind actions soon changes from altruism to a fervent desire to prevent his new guest from ever leaving.  The thing is Marc reminds the lonely inn-keeper of his long-lost wife.  Before Marc knows it, his van is sabotaged and he is stranded.  But this is only the start of his ordeal and what follows has to be seen to be believed…  “The Ordeal” (aka “Calvaire”) delivers a terrifying and darkly comic tale of obsession, kidnap, and borderline psychosis that brings to mind films such as “Deliverance”, “Straw Dogs” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, but that has a continental flavour very much its own.

2004  –  Certificate: 18  –  Rating Details: Strong bloody violence  –  Belgium Film  –  5.0 out of 10

I don’t drink a lot of wine; (except ginger wine, but I’m not sure that really counts).  I don’t know a lot about it either.  I know it comes in three colours, bottles or boxes, sometimes it’s fizzy and in France they feed babies with it, but other than that…  So imagine my surprise when I sat down on Friday evening and found myself drinking an excellent 2004, organic Merlot from the Central Valley of Chile.  (Actually I bought it from Majestic Wines in Reading a number of years ago, due to my misunderstanding its rules about having to buy at least 12 bottles at a time; but you know what I mean.)  I think I probably selected it based on four things; it was organic, it was vegan, it wasn’t from France and it was strong (14% vol).  That’s basically how I select wine; although do generally prefer rosé wine because I can put it in the fridge and drink it cold, without the wine police raiding my home; and it’s a more interesting colour than white wine.  I’m not especially a fan of red wine, but this was actually pretty nice.  I’d had it laid down in my wine cellar for nearly ten years.  (I don’t like to brag, but my personal wine cellar is a small rack I bought from Argos that sits on the bottom shelf of a bookcase in my hall.)  I actually had to wipe all the dust off the bottle before opening it.  Along with the bollocks written on the label and the lack of a hangover the next day, that pretty well demonstrates just how authentically high-quality it really was.  In fact it was nice enough for me to finish off the whole bottle on my own whilst watching this film.  With hindsight, it’s probably just as well, as this movie was a bit like the wine bottle’s label.

Well, this was all a bit rubbish.  Weirdly, it seems to have a number of fans at IMDB, but really, it’s not very good.   For a start it’s not funny.  The sleeve says it is but it isn’t, unless it’s being ironic and we’re supposed to laugh at it because it’s so bad. The continuity is dreadful.  Perhaps I’m missing something here, but to me it just looked like the weather changed from shot to shot; in one case from no snow at all to a thick layer of snow on the ground, in the middle of a chase.  I’m sure dealing with weather is a nightmare for filmmakers, but most seem to manage.  I didn’t find any of the characters the least bit sympathetic, not even the victim, although I think that was intentional; the guy was a stupid, boring wuss and his singing was crap too.   There were just too many random incidents that really don’t go anywhere or explain anything.  And at times the editing was more jarring than dropping to sub-light speed; (probably, as I’ve not actually done the latter, yet).  Maybe I’m being a bit mean.  Some of the cinematography is actually very impressive, the acting decent and the bizarre dance the guys do in the pub was nearly worth it for the wtf moment it provides.  But no, actually I’m not.  It’s entertaining in its own way, but I preferred my bottle of wine.

This movie has a very space soundtrack, very sparse.  I guess what there is of it works well.

The trailer makes the film look a lot more horrific, a lot faster and more action packed than it really is. 

Movie Weather Forecast.  Heavy rain, followed by entirely random sunny spells, snow and rain showers, with the latter sometimes settling and sometimes melting very, very quickly, before suddenly coming back again.  Cold at all times, but not so cold that a thin jumper won’t keep you warm enough.

Recommended for inn-keepers, cabaret singers and farmers.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  This is a movie with far too many arbitrary happenings in it, but credit where credit’s due.  The random dance by the guys in the village pub is completely inexplicable, creepy and downright weird.  Somehow (and I can’t really explain why), that makes it pretty badass.

The Ordeal at IMDB (6.2 / 10)
The Ordeal at Wikipedia
The Ordeal trailer at YouTube


Header / SSE


Header  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US Release

From the mind of horror author Edward Lee, comes this horrifying tale of gruelling revenge and backwoods terror!  Stewart Cummings (Jake Suffian), a government agent playing both sides of the law, finds himself in the nightmarish crossfire of a bloody family vendetta. Forced to delve deep into a series of gruesome murders, Cummings encounters the most twisted method of revenge ever conceived by man: The Header.  What’s a header?  Only redneck Travis Tuckton (Elliot V. Kotek) and his evil “grandpappy” knows for sure… and once you learn the shocking answer, you may never be the same. Get ready for the acclaimed horror film that may be the ultimate in violence and gore! “Header” is a film of unrelenting, twisted terror!

2006  –  Certificate: Not Rated  –  American Film
7.0 out of 10

There’s only 360 more days until next Christmas; how exciting!  I’ve managed to get all the way through this Christmas without putting the heating on at home.  It was my present for the planet and a middle finger to SSE (Scottish and Southern Electricity).  SSE managed to really piss me off recently.  I have (well had) an early version of a smart meter for my electricity.  I’ve had it about 2.5 years.  When I got it I had to change my tariff for a more expense one, (although to be fair it’s probably helped me save more money than the extra I spent on having it).  A couple of months ago it stopped working.  I e-mailed SSE to ask if it could be fixed or replaced.  The reply I got (that took longer to arrive that it should have) said that it was an outdated model and it couldn’t be replaced, but that I’d get a new, free smart meter in a few years’ time!  There was no suggestion that perhaps I’d like to change my electric tariff for a cheaper one again or anything.  This really annoyed me.  In fact it’s annoyed me so much that I’m going to change my electivity suppler next month.  Doing this has been on my mind for a while anyway, as SSE isn’t exactly top of the league when it comes to producing electricity from sustainable sources.  It will probably cost me a bit more, but I’m looking forward to using fair-trade, organic electricity in future, that’s produced by whole African villages of people peddling really quickly on static bikes to produce the stuff for me.  Quite why we can’t harvest the same stuff locally from all the private gyms around here I don’t know.  I guess it’s a similar situation to apples, where in the autumn I can either buy English Cox’s (the world’s best apple), or some tasteless replica with a brand name variety (like Pink Lady) grown in New Zealand.  That’s just weird.  So’s this film.

Agent Stewart Cummings is having a really, really bad day.  (I know he’s an agent as he spends most of the film running around in a t-shirt with the letters ATF on it.  (The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.)  His wife has a mystery illness for which the drugs she needs cost a fortune and his boss is less than supportive of him taking any sort of initiative when it comes to investigating crime.  And on top of that someone locally has started doing rather icky things with peoples’ heads.  Sadly for Stew it goes even further downhill from then on.  After the first ten minutes or so I thought I was going to be faced with an entirely crap film featuring poor production, acting and script.  Weirdly, as it progressed it improved.  It was like it was filmed in chronological order and everyone just got better as they went along.  That’s not to say it’s likely to worry the Oscars in any way, but it got good enough not to distract too much from the watching experience.  I’d love to tell you exactly what a header is, but that would spoil it for you.  Needless to say, it’s not got a great deal to do with aerial prowess in the penalty box, or plumbing.  If nothing else, it’s worth watching just to see Grandpappy, a brilliantly, over-the-top character who brings a level of enthusiasm to proceedings that I wish I could replicate myself when doing my budget forecasts at work.  I did have a lot of sympathy for Agent Cummings, a generally decent guy who just had a run of bad luck, really bad luck.  Sometimes you just have to lose it.  Whilst watching this movie, into my head popped the idea that American rednecks have a lot in common with the UK’s UKIP voters.  More weirdness.

There isn’t a lot of music used in the film, it’s mainly just over the credits, but it’s a decent bit of whatever sort of music it is.

The trailer isn’t exactly forthcoming with details.  (There is a better one on the DVD, but I couldn’t find a link to it anywhere to put here.)  I guess that’s what comes from having a ‘big secret’ that you don’t want to blow to quickly.

Movie Weather Forecast:  Warm and sunny through the course of the film.  Nice.

Recommended for police officers, cobblers, drug dealers and adulteresses.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  In a fit of anger that wouldn’t have been out of place in the final verse of Eminem’s “Guilty Conscience”, Agent Cummings finally gets pissed at his bad luck.  I’m not condoning his behaviour of course, but, well, you can understand it.  I’m sure when I eventually ‘lose it’ I’ll go on the rampage too, probably on the London Underground in the rush hour, or maybe in Reading’s Oracle Shopping Centre, on a Saturday afternoon just before Christmas.

Header at IMDB (4.7 / 10)
Header at Wikipedia
Official Site
Header trailer at YouTube


I Know What You Did Last Summer / Star Trek Novels


I Know What You Did Last Summer  -  Front DVD Cover  -  Uk Release

On the magic Summer’s night of high school’s end, Julie, Helen, Ray and Barry get into Barry’s new Beamer and drive out to celebrate, their lives and hopes before them. But on the road they have a terrible accident; hit and kill a man.  In the shock and panic that follows, they dump the body in the sea rather than reporting the accident.  As the body sinks, the hand of the dead man breaks the surface in a last grasp at life, then disappears into the murky depths.  The four friends realise they are now guilty of murder and swear to take their secret to their graves.  But now someone is stalking them, someone who knows who they are, knows what they did last Summer, and seeks revenge…

1997 –  Certificate: 15  –  American Film
8.0 out of 10

Recently I’ve been reading a lot of books. Not just any old book though, but Star Trek books.  (This is cue for you to both yawn and go find something else to do, or think this is the best thing, ever.  I don’t mind which you choose; after all, not everyone mentally and emotionally matures at the same speed.)  So anyway, for those of you who have matured sufficiently…  I’ll admit that in the past I’ve flirted a little with Star Trek novels and Star Trek audiobooks.  (I must confess that I especially love the minimal effort the latter take to enjoy and that I can do other things at the same time, like drive or go to sleep.  What’s not so good is the limited range of titles available, their cost and the fact that most have been greatly abridged.)   Star Trek was always as much about the relationships between the characters, as the ‘blowing things up’ stuff.  If it sometimes tries too hard to project a perfect version of America as itself, then I can forgive it that.  Most of these stories were based somewhere in the known Star Trek timeline, generally between this episode or that episode, or occasionally kind of outside it.  Following the release of “Star Trek: Nemesis” a void opened up, one as large as the universe itself.  The Star Trek reboot, whilst brilliant in its own way, can never hope to fill this space; it’s simply the wrong shape, size and timeline.  This void is empty except for one thing, a single Question; what happened to everyone?  The novels from this period are generally really entertaining and exciting, well written and treat ‘known’ Star Trek history with the appropriate level of respect and consistency.  However, they don’t answer that Question.   Then in May 2001, “Avatar” was published, a story written and set after the end of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”.  Over next few years more books came out that did a similar thing and were set after the various TV series and then finally Nemesis itself.  Suddenly we could have answers to the Question.  Of course not everyone likes how future history is working out and what’s happened or happening to all those characters we travelled with for so long, but I’m finding the experience to be wonderfully entertaining.  No longer hemmed in by ‘official’ history or the limitations of TV or film productions, the books set in the period after Nemesis are able to chart their own way forward, taking the Star Trek story further into the future.  They also do a pretty good job of maintaining their internal consistency from one to the next and between different authors.  This makes it feel like they’re all part of one, giant story arc, rather than just random tales.  I’ve just finished reading the “Destiny” trilogy.  This does fundamental things with the Star Trek universe that would have taken a whole series on TV to do justice to them, as well as a sizable special effects budget.  For anyone who hasn’t taken the plunge and started to read these books, I’d fully recommend you find the time to do so.  I wish I could write stories…  This film was the first part of a trilogy.  I think that’s about as far as I can push the comparison.

This movie initially worried me. If someone really did know what I did last summer, then it was likely to be a totally over the top erotic thriller, with elements of horror, science-fiction and comedy mixed in with it.  (Although I must admit I was curious to see who was playing me in it.)  In the end it turned out to be a teen horror with Buffy in it and some killer running around wearing a yellow pacamac and carrying a hook so bent I can’t imagine it was easy to get it to go into anything, never mind a squealing teen.  It also features the absolutely worst pretend ice cubes I’ve ever seen a movie; seriously, they don’t even sound like ice.  And it heavily features “Hush” by Kula Shaka on the soundtrack too, one of the most insipid, horrible tunes ever to be conjured into existence.  It’s awful.  I can remember walking past the video hire shop (remember them) in Colliers Wood on a number of occasions when it first came out on VHS and seeing a big, cardboard cut-out for it in the window.  (Come to think of it, it could have been for one of its two sequels, but let’s ignore that possibility for now.  N.B.  Actually I’ve thought about it some more, I think it might have been an advert for the whole trilogy.)  I can’t recall exactly what went through my mind at the time, but I think there was a level of disappointment that suggests to me now I wasn’t expecting to see it.  It’s weird how you can sometimes recall these random thoughts years later.  I guess my disappointment must have been pretty profound.  Despite all this (and more), it’s actually a really good film, but I can’t for the life of me work out why.  Pretty enigmatic, isn’t it?  I think they’re making a new version of it too…

The evil of Kula Shaker aside, the soundtrack is actually okay and includes songs by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and The Offspring.

The trailer. It’s better with the sound off.

Recommend for students and fisherman.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment? Despite being an entirely obnoxious rich-boy who seemed to exist entirely for the purpose of pissing off his friends and showing his stomach muscles off to the viewer, Ray finally does the right thing and saves The Girl from The Baddie.  As well as being a cliché of the first degree, this is (if it was real of course) a really badass thing to do.  (However, he’d probably have been killed by Ben if it was real life, so it’s just as well it’s only a movie.)

I Know What You Did Last Summer at IMDB (5.6/10)
I Know What You Did Last Summer at Wikipedia
I Know What You Did Last Summer at Roger Ebert (1.0/4)
I Know What You Did Last Summer trailer at YouTube


The New York Ripper / The Role of Alcohol in Reviews


The NewYork Ripper  -  Front DVD Cover  -  Dutch Release

A serial killer makes New York unsafe. Brutally murders he maimed his female victims.  Inspector Williams in the dark.  Meanwhile, the killer continues to make victims and the police harass with nasty phone calls.  When the girlfriend of Williams is likely to be the next victim of the frustrated police launch an intense manhunt …  The New York Ripper (Los squartatore di New York) is one of Lucio Fulci’s most controversial films: stylish and exciting, but also extremely bloody, brutal and sadistic. A horror classic of the first water!  (Thanks Google, you’ve managed a perfect translation of the Dutch overview from my DVD!)

1982 –  Certificate: 16  –  Italian Film
6.0 out of 10

I like to watch films; and TV too, although I virtually never do the latter. I enjoy the experience and often have a wee drink as an accompaniment.  I’m not 100% sure, but I suspect there’s a correlation between how much I enjoy what I watch and what I have to drink, (or more accurately, how much alcohol I have to drink).  Not being the sort of person to pass up an opportunity to carry out radial, left-field, cutting edge research when the occasion arises, I’ve decided to report this information here from now on.  I know it’s not going to provide a cure for Ebola, sort out any civil wars or grant Scotland independence, but it’s still pretty exciting stuff isn’t it?  There is one small problem though.  I can’t actually start to do this yet, as I can’t remember what I had to drink whilst I was watching this film. I guess Einstein had days like this too.

Why do I watch films like this? A serial killer (who talks like a duck for reasons explained near the end of the movie) is on the loose in New York and a burnt out cop is after him.  I’m not a fan of cop films or 70s production values.  (It was made in 1982 but it looks like it was made in 1974.)  I guess as an example of ‘that’ kind of film it’s actually pretty good and carries an uncomfortably authentic level of sleaziness.  Most of the men in it are just dreadful.  I watched the uncut version.  In the UK the film was refused a certificate when first released (effectively banned) and an instruction given that all the prints of the film should be removed from the country. It’s never been released uncut in the UK.  So I ended up watching a Dutch import of an Italian film set in America, in which most of the actors are speaking Italian that was later dubbed into English for its release.  These days, now we’re more enlightened (i.e. when we’re happy for youngsters to play video games where they can actually rip people to pieces), most of it did feel dated and clichéd, although some of its murder scenes are still pretty unpleasant.  Probably not a good first date movie.

The soundtrack is uniformly horrible. In other words, it’s an ideal fit for the movie and adds a great deal to its sleazy, dated feel.  Way too much sax.

The trailer below is the ‘nice’ one. If you want to see the ‘not nice’ one, follow the link below instead.  Either way, they’re a suitably faithful representation of the film.  I can’t help thinking they overdid the screaming though, just a little bit.

Recommended for police offices, serial killers and psychiatrists; and sleazy guys in general.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment? At the start of the film, a young woman on a bike (Rosie) manages to stupidly crash into a guy’s car and scratch it down the side.  She’s uninjured and her bike undamaged, but he’s naturally a bit pissed about it.  However, she just calls him an asshole and cycles off, leaving him with a lot of hassle and a big repair bill.  Shortly afterwards she’s murdered by a serial killer.  I know it’s wrong and everything and I’ll probably go to Hell for it, but a little bit of me was glad.  Payback is a bitch… and badass.

The New York Ripper at IMBD (6.4 / 10)
The New York Ripper at Wikipedia
The New York Ripper (red band) trailer at YouTube


Some Guy Who Kills People / Cooking ‘Chilli’


Some Guy Who Kills People  -  Front Blu-ray Cover  -  UK Release

Meet Ken Boyd: small-town loner and comic-book nerd, making ends meet by pushing a broom around the local ice-cream parlour. Fresh out of the loony bin, where he spent years recovering from the horrific torture he suffered at the hands of the high school basketball jocks, Ken (Kevin Corrigan) wants nothing more than to just be left alone.  But when the lovely Stephanie (Lucy Davis) comes into Ken’s life and he is reunited with his estranged, 11 year old daughter Amy, things finally seem to be looking up.  Even his constantly disappointed mother (Karen Black) and the town Sheriff (Barry Bostock) start to treat him with a little more respect.  That is, until those very same jocks that Ken deems responsible for his ruined life start turning up dead…

2011 –  Certificate: 15  –  American Film
Rating Details: Strong language and bloody violence
7.0 out of 10

For dinner last night I had a weird and not overly tasty concoction that was meant to be a chilli, except I didn’t have any chillies or chilli powder, so I thought I’d use paprika instead; well it’s nearly the same colour isn’t it? I also thought I’d use a whole garlic bulb in it too.  I ground the garlic up in an electric chopper, rather than cut it up into small bits with a knife, which is what I normally do.  This had the effect of spreading the taste throughout the rest of the food, instead of keeping it more concentrated in certain places.  The overall result of all this was an overpoweringly garlicky mush that didn’t go at all well with the paprika.  I ate it all, but I imagine anyone coming anywhere near me in the next 36 hours is likely to be putting in a call to National Grid soon after.  In the flats where I live, all the kitchens have a built in vent/fan system that is supposed to remove cooking smells.  It’s really not very efficient; it just makes a lot of noise.  Unfortunately and from personal experience over many years, this system also doesn’t seem to be very good at venting the smells out of the building either, preferring instead to simply pump them into all the neighbouring kitchens and bathrooms instead.  I imagine that many of my neighbours were busy last night with the Air Wick, in a desperate attempt to hide my dietary experimentation.  Still, I’m just getting my own back for all the meat and fish based meals they share with me in the same way.  This movie has a bit of a revenge theme going on too.

In common with much of life, this film is a gentle comedy with the occasional bit of slasher horror. Like far too many other films, this one features another of those young (in this case an 11-year-old) kids with impossibly high levels of emotional intelligence, empathy and stability.  They really are a cliché.  Listen Mr. Movie-Maker, they may make useful plot devices but they don’t actually exist in the real world.  You may as well have introduced a purple alien to fulfil the same role; it wouldn’t be any less believable (and could well end up actually being more believable).  Despite this and a sometimes weak storyline, the characters are actually the best things in this film; yes, even the 11-year-old with the professional life-coaching skills; (and she looks about 13 too.)  I enjoyed watching this movie more for the individual scenes to see everyone interacting, rather than the overall plot.  The ‘horror bits’ felt a bit bolted on to everything and it would have probably worked just as well without them.  So worth a watch for the fun and the acting, but it’s a disappointing horror with a wonky story.  (When was the last time you heard or saw anyone use the word “wonky” then?)  I’ve just though, this is the second American film in a row I’ve watched that has a ‘token Brit’ in it. She calls someone a “wanker” anyway; a complex term that I imagine goes over the head of many Americans.

The soundtrack does what it needs to do but is otherwise pretty anonymous.

The trailer’s entertaining, but it does sort of give away the story and has most of the best lines in it as well.

Recommended for police officers, precocious kids, bullies (and their victims), basketball fans, losers and anyone in a dead-end job.

1 decapitation, no cats or chainsaws. A clean if somewhat messy cut; off in one.

Top badass moment? As a minor plot point, this film includes issues around custody of a young girl.  Fortunately this appears to get sorted out in about 15 seconds to the satisfaction of all.  I thought these things are meant to take ages and cost a fortune?  Was this just lazy writing, or have I been brainwashed for years by the legal profession bent on maximising what it gets from the misery of others?  Regardless, the DIY result in this movie seems badass.

Some Guy Who Kills People at IMDB (6.4 / 10)
Some Guy Who Kills People at Wikipedia
Some Guy Who Kills People trailer at YouTube


The Mothman Prophecies / Decorating as a Weapon of Mass Destruction


The Mothman Prophecies  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK Release

Based on true events, “The Mothman Prophecies” is a  compelling, heart-pounding, bone-chilling thriller that will jolt you off your seat!  Driven to investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding his wife’s death, John Klein (Richard Gere – “The  Hoax”, “Chicago”) uncovers chilling secrets behind The Mothman, a timeless, nameless horror whose appearance spells doom for all those who see it.  Klein discovers a connection between the supernatural being and Point pleasant, West Virginia; a small town paralysed by fear where he meets Connie (Laura Linney – “The Exorcism of Emily Rose”, “Mystic River”) who helps shed light on the crisis.  If you see it, are you safe? If you don’t… are you next?

2002  –  Rating: 12  –  American Film
Rating Details: Moderate Horror and Infrequent Strong Language
8.0 out of 10

So where have I been for the last month?  Serving a prison sentence for inciting a popular but ultimately unsuccessful uprising?  On a world tour to promote my latest bestseller?  Locked away in a Scottish castle writing my autobiography?  In a drunken stupor in a gutter somewhere?  Nope, in fact I’ve been decorating my kitchen.  Shortly after I moved in seven or so years ago, I found myself suffering from ‘decorating burnout’.  This is a tragic ailment for which the most common symptom is knowing exactly where everything is in the local B&Q, even when they keep moving the stuff on the shelves around from week to week.  This sadly happened before I’d got around to doing the kitchen, so it’s remained ‘as was’ ever since, slowly becoming more and more embarrassing and an increasing threat to world health.  My flat isn’t exactly what you’d call huge.  It’s so small that even when a single item gets left away from its normal resting place, the whole, fragile ecosystem of my life starts to break down.  This normally includes injuring myself on some bit of furniture or other item that I’ve inadvertently walked into or on, as I’ve tried to navigate around the out of place ‘thing’.  So you may wish to consider the real-life horror I’ve been living with that results from emptying everything out of my kitchen and storing it elsewhere in my flat.  I’ve seen tidier looking places in post-holocaust movies just after the bomb’s dropped.  My favourite injury this time was from a bracket that sticks out too far as it’s too big for the shelf it’s supporting.  Normally it’s not a problem, but this time I knelt down by it at one point in an attempt to open the door of the fridge that was facing directly towards a wall.  I managed to rip two nice grooves out of my right leg.  Oh what fun it was!  I’m sure I’m going to end up with a hideous scar.  It reminded me of why I don’t do DIY very often.  The kitchen took 36 days to finish.  It’s now going to take as long to sort out the chaos it caused everywhere else.  For anyone that’s interested, here’re a few photos of the final result:

I think I’m becoming a bit of a wuse in my old age.  I think it’s because as you get older you get nearer to death, so anything that involves ghostly dead things that are still around, starts to worry you more.  This film doesn’t exactly have ghosts in it, but it’s near enough.  It’s a 12 certificate film, how scary can it be?  Well it had me looking at the open door of the lounge as I was watching it, too scared to go over and close it in case the Mothman, or something like it, suddenly flew in.  If you want to frighten a few 12 year olds but be a goody-goody and not pull out you latest 18 certificate torture porn or “Exorcist” Blu-ray, show them this film.  Don’t forget to mention that it’s based on a true story too.  It helps that it takes a while for the nature of the Mothman to be revealed, as not knowing makes it all the more scary.  It also has great sound.  I didn’t think the two main characters had that much on-screen chemistry, but it punches above its weight in terms of mood and general atmosphere.  Things feel a bit safer once you find out what’s going on, but it still has a pretty good disaster movie ending to enjoy.

The soundtrack is decent enough.  I can’t remember anything else about it now, but it was good.  Honest.  I think it even won an award or something, so it must be good.

The trailer is pretty standard stuff.  You’ll watch it and then forget it.

Recommended for reporters and police officers.  (Wow, that’s original.)

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Richard Gere goes house hunting with his wife and they decide to have sex in a wardrobe there, before being disturbed in it by the estate agent asking if they’re interested in buying the house.  I’m not sure what’s most badass, doing that at their age, or the way the estate agent closes the deal.  Well okay it’s not the latter; I just can’t make myself think of an estate agent as badass.   I don’t think I’d have space in my wardrobe to do that.

IMDB (6.5 /10)
Wikipedia
Roger Ebert (2/4)
YouTube


Phone / Living Off the Grid


Phone  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK Release

Following hot on the heels of well-known Asian chillers such as “Ring”, “Dark Water” and “Ju-on” comes a ghost story to top them all.  “Phone” tells the story of an investigative reporter, Ji-won, who has recently published a controversial article about sex-scandals and has since begun receiving a series of menacing phone calls.  In an effort to escape the phone calls she changes her number and moves house, but the calls keep coming.  When a friend’s young daughter innocently answers the ringing telephone she begins to exhibit increasingly crazed behaviour.  As she tries to unravel the mystery behind the phone calls Ji-won uncovers a secret that will change them all.  Stylish and terrifying, “Phone” follows the growing pedigree of Asian horror, that shock, scare and astonish in equal measure.

2002  –  Certificate: 15  –  South Korean Film
Rating Details: Strong psychological horror
7.0 out of 10

It’s confession time here in Cactus World.  I’ve never owned a mobile phone.  I’m one of the 10% or so of people living in the UK that doesn’t have one, a country in which there’re more mobile phones than people.  It’s not that I’m a Luddite or anything.  I got Windows 7 when it first came out, I’ve a 120Mb Internet connection, a TV service with hundreds of channels I never watch and even a landline.  I actually have a mobile for work too, (an elderly Nokia smartphone, although no data contract to go with it).  The amount of increasingly desperate marketing materials I get from Virgin Media offering me billions of texts, terabytes of data and endless free mobile calls, suggests its marketing department’s best algorithms have identified me as a dangerous, social anomaly that needs to be dealt with, by selling me a phone and mobile service contract as soon as possible.  I imagine GCHQ has probably got me on its ‘high risk’ list of people who’re attempting to live off the grid, in preparation for launching a huge, worldwide terrorist attack on the good and the great.  Unfortunately, the two things I’d actually need to make getting a phone worthwhile, namely some friends to contact and some time in which to do so, don’t seem to be included in any of Virgin Media’s offers, at least not yet…  This film hasn’t made getting a mobile any more attractive to me either.

This is a chilling movie.  At least the first half of it is.  Then the story gets a bit muddled up and it turns into more of a straightforward, supernatural thriller, before everything gets explained at the end.  The latter was pretty helpful, as by then I’d sort of lost the plot and it wasn’t as if I’d had much to drink either.  It’s worth a watch just to see the terrifying little kid in it.  I really did believe she’d been possessed by the spirit of her father’s dead, underage lover.  I was going to ring the police to report it, but by then I was too scared to use the phone.  This film makes great use sound, from the  audio design itself through to the annoying ringing of the phones.  The latter all seem to share the same cheap and nasty ringtone, although the modern option of the latest nondescript Top Ten hit by someone with little talent, played via a speaker with all the sonic range of kettle, is arguably no better.  There was some decent DIY on show too.

One of the things that makes this film work is its music.  In particular, it uses Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor Op. 27 No. 2 (aka the Moonlight Sonata) to great effect.  This is one of the best bits of classical music ever written.

The trailer is almost entirely useless, as it does nothing to make the movie interesting.  In fact if you wanted to see how not to make a trailer, this one would be a pretty good example.  It’s over melodramatic, incoherent, says nothing about the film and is too dark as well.

Recommended for journalists, wives that don’t appear to do much and schoolgirls that want to get off with older men; and pissed off spirits.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Chang-hoon is some guy.  He’s the CEO of a big company, has a beautiful wife and a schoolgirl lover, yet he’s got all the personally of a plank of wood.  I guess his money and his (I assume) ability in bed must make up for it.  (His wife was pretty boring as well if I’m honest.)  Still, he’s clearly some sort of Korean alpha male, badass dude.

Phone at IMDB (6.3 / 10)
Phone at Wikipedia
Phone trailer at YouTube


The Day After Halloween / Real Life Horror


The Day After Halloween  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US Release

Angela (Sigrid Thornton, “The Man from Snowy River”) is a young hairdresser thrown out of home by her puritanical mother after too many nights out.  She quickly falls in with the modeling crowd and does some modeling work herself, while it seems she is being stalked by a mysterious figure driving an ice-cream van!  Also known as “Snapshot” and directed by award-winning director Simon Wincer (“Lonesome Dove, “Free Willy”), now see this Ozploitation film in its original scope format – first time anywhere in the world!

1979  –  Certificate: R  –  Australian Film
5.0 out of 10

Next week I have to face one of the greatest horrors in the civilised world.  Something so frightening, that juggling with chainsaws with one arm tied behind my back, in a cage full of hungry lions, would be preferable.  I have to go to a two-day meeting at work, one that everyone who’s anyone will be at.  (I guess a typo somewhere meant I got invited by mistake too.)  However, hanging out with the good and the great doesn’t bother me; after all, I’m pretty sure I was born to meet a higher purpose than I’ve so far managed to climb to, so I may as well get used to it.  I also don’t mind the fact that some of my more ambitions colleagues may well trample me to death on their way to ‘the top’ as they attempt to impress.  Even the thought of conversing ‘professionally’ with people so important that their job titles are almost too long to fit on a business card, is of little consequence to me.  (As long as I don’t have to make ’small talk’, as that’s a skill I’ve never developed as I don’t have a life to talk about.)  No, what really terrifies me is the fact that right at the bottom of the information I was sent it says, “Dress code smart casual”.  What does that even mean?  My idea of smart is wearing a new t-shirt that doesn’t have the name of an obscure punk band on it.  This requirement has bought into sharp focus the inadequacy of my wardrobe.  It’s years since I wore a shirt and I doubt there’s a diet in existence that will prepare me for wearing any of the ones I still own by next Wednesday.  In the trouser department things are even more desperate.  Can you even iron combat trousers?  I think the last thing I ironed was a screwed-up poster of the Buzzcocks to put on my wall when I was a student.  When I turn up wearing a hoddie, everyone is going to stare at me as if I’m some sort of migrant worker at a UKIP conference.  Life is so stressful.   Life as an aspiring model is stressful too, except the smart casual issue probably isn’t much of a problem to one.

Despite what it says on the cover, this film has nothing to do with Halloween, opening doors, answering phones or looking in attics.  There’s nothing anywhere in this movie that wants you either.  It’s barely even a horror.  In fact it’s barely anything at all.  I rarely find films boring but this one I did.  Get the feeling they’re trying to hide something?  It’s competently made and acted, but the script is just so dull.  It manages to take some interesting ideas and make them as exciting as watching magnolia paint dry.  All the men in it are horrible too, they’d hardly a redeeming feature amongst them.  (Actually most of the women are as well.)  It was originally called “Snapshot”, which is a far better name for it.  About the most interesting this about it is its lead actress Sigrid Thornton, who manages to look convincing as both a model and a woman out of her comfort zone.  (Next Wednesday I’ll know how the latter feels.)

The soundtrack is competent without being especially memorable.  It’s used a lot too.  The ‘Elvis’ is quite amusing though.

In the same way as the DVD cover, I think the trailer is trying to promote an entirely different film.

Recommended for models, stalkers, ice-cream sellers, hairdressers and photographers.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Given that this is a dull film with few characters that have any redeeming features, I’m going to have to go for Madeline running down her would-be lesbian lover’s stalker in his Mr Whippy ice-cream van.  Trust me, it sounds a lot more interesting that it really is, but I guess it beats most chat-up lines.

The Day After Halloween at IMDB (4.7 / 10)
The Day After Halloween at Wikipedia
The Day After Halloween trailer at YouTube


Slaughter High / When Words Resemble Monkey Sick


Slaughter High  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US Release

There’s horror in the halls… lynching in the lunchroom…  murder in the metal shop.  Welcome to “Slaughter High”, where the students are dying to get out!  In high school, Marty was the kid all the students teased, taunted and tortured mercilessly.  One day, things went too far; one of their jokes backfired, disfiguring Marty for life.  Now, five years later, Marty has arranged a special reunion for all his high school “friends.”  The prom queen, the jock, the class clown, the rebel and a few select others have been invited… and it’s going to be a gala of gore!

1986  –  Certificate: Unrated  –  American Film
7.0 out of 10

I’m crap at everything.  However, I try very hard and surround myself with more able and talented people, which in some limited cases enables me to function in society without everyone pointing in my direction, or crossing the road when they see me coming.  Yesterday was a good case in point.  I spent all of it trying to complete a quotation (that a colleague had already done most of the work for), in response to a competitive tender document for a project to help set up a new community group, to care for the areas along the line of an old railway.   It didn’t really come with any sort of structure for what it was asking for, which means trying to do it was like trying to play a game that no one’s explained the rules to me about.  All that choice!  Vegans don’t deal with choice well; it’s typically the green salad, or chips, or nothing for us.  At about half past four I found myself staring at the words on the screen, able to read and understand them, but totally unable to work out what they meant, or how one string of them (a thing we call a sentence) related to any other.  Talk about not being able to see the wood for the trees.  Somehow I managed to complete about 98% of it, although when I proof-read it this morning most made less sense than a wall covered in a bucket full of scrabble letters and monkey sick.  There was one little bit that I had to complete by hand and I swear it looks like a six-year-old did it.  I don’t think I can write anymore; I used to have lovely handwriting too.  Sometimes I feel like life is teasing me for a laugh.  One day I’ll react like Marty in this film….

Oh dear, it’s the uncut version of a ‘forgotten classic’.  To be fair it’s probably not that obscure and it’s probably not that bad either.  It’s not boring anyway.  Here we have a group of young adults who behave in an almost entirely irrational way, an isolated location, a seriously pissed off guy harbouring a grudge… and you know the rest.  The murders are a mixed bag; I guess my favourite was the electric shock during sex, although the lawnmower one isn’t too bad either.  Did I like Marty the vengeful killer?  Well he was/is a dork, but clearly after his injury the law failed to provide him with the justice he genuinely did deserve, so in a way I can’t blame him for taking things into his own hands.  The guy had probably had a very successful and exciting career ahead of him too.  Actually, the more I think about it the more I realise that he really is the victim here.  The fact that the group that bullied him didn’t even seem to have any remorse for what they did, even though the outcome probably was an accident and unintended, just makes things worse.  What a nasty set of individuals.  Awful.  I’m glad they’re all dead now.  And another thing, the level of health & safety in the school’s science lab was woeful.  Seriously, no one would store a really large, glass bottle of nitric acid on top of a narrow, wobbly, free-standing shelf unit that itself is sitting on top of a table in the middle of a room, not even in the 80s.  And the bottle wasn’t labelled properly either.  And where were Marty’s gloves and protective goggles?  He didn’t strike me as the sort of guy who wouldn’t wear them because he didn’t look cool.  Then again, he does appear to take the time to take his Doddsville County High School jacket off in the middle of his science experiment starting to blow up all around him, so I guess his appearance did matter a lot to him, which probably explains why he got so worked up about being hideously burnt.  For that matter, why wasn’t he being supervised?  I know the school only appeared to have one teacher, who worked in the gym, but even so.  I know, I’m probably over analysing things.  Despite its intentions, the most offensive thing in the whole movie was the dreadfully racist scene involving the Black caretaker.  I image this is one of Jeremy Clarkson’s favourite movies.

Musically we’re deep into 80s low-budget territory.  Yes, very deep.

The trailer isn’t so bad, although it does manage to give away the entire plot and partly show a number of the murders too.  Then again, the plot isn’t exactly an original and you don’t get to see all of the murders.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.  Surprisingly.

Top badass moment?  No one likes a bully.  And we like groups of bullies even less.  So it’s high-fives all round for Marty, as he slowly dispatches them all one by one.  Also, given the speed at which he appears to be able to get from place to place at around the school, he’s apparently invented some sort of personal teleportation device too.  That’s seriously badass; or just dreadful editing.

Slaughter High at IMDB (5.0 / 10)
Slaughter High at Wikipedia
Slaughter High trailer at YouTube


Earth Day / The Washer Dryer Has Landed


Earth Day  -  Front VD Cover  -  US Release

Welcome to Emerald City USA, where progressive ideals are held in high esteem, and when they’re not, it’s murder! One year after the Earth Day death of their leader, Pixie, a group of eco-crusaders find themselves being systematically slaughtered by an unknown assailant. The ECPD suspect one man; Hassan, who grew up in the most extreme terrorist sect in all of Pakistan, only to be expelled for embracing the forbidden art of Women’s hair care. Together with Priscilla, Pixie’s nihilistic twin sister, they strive to prove Hassan’s innocence while avoiding the clutches of Priscilla’s insanely overprotective plastic surgeon father Dr. Peever and his plastic surgery casualty of an assistant, Lenora.

2009 – Certificate: Unrated – American Film
Rating Details: Strong Violence, Nudity and Sexual Situations
6.5 out of 10

With the UN and Red Cross poised at the borders of Cactus World, ready to instigate a huge underwear (and other clothing) relief effort for the population, my new washing machine arrived just in the nick of time this week to prevent a major cholera outbreak; or at the very least a degree of embarrassment, along with dirt and body odour becoming the ‘must wear’ fashion accessories this spring in Cactus World. It was meant to have been delivered last Monday, but the idiots from Indesit only sent one guy around with it, who wasn’t allowed to try and carry it up the stairs to my flat and also wasn’t allowed to let me help him either. (I guess 70kg is pretty heavy and as I was delivering a risk assessment training course the next day, I would have felt a bit guilty if I’d made too much of a fuss.) It was especially frustrating, as Indesit had rung me up to confirm delivery and even checked if there were any stairs. What was the point of that if the information wasn’t going to be used for anything? It’s not the most interesting subject to make small talk about. So I had to wait two more days for it to be redelivered, at great, personal inconvenience. However, I’m now the proud owner of the first washing machine (or more technically correct washer dryer) I’ve ever bought. It’s an Indesit IWDC6125. (A pretty snappy name I think you’ll agree; and isn’t that video the most exciting thing you’ve watched for years?) It was the cheapest sensible washer dryer I could find and came from, surprisingly, Tesco Direct; (£325 including delivery, although it seems to have gone up £20 since I bought it.) I didn’t want a flashy one and I’ve better things to spend my money on at the moment than washing my clothes with something that wouldn’t look out-of-place on the bridge of the Enterprise. I only use three wash settings anyway. I can’t fully understand why anyone would need loads of them, or a large, full-colour LCD display to explain what the hell’s going on inside the machine. If it’s not washing or drying, what on earth would it be doing exactly? I’m a bit pissed off with Tesco though, as it claims the machine has an A Energy Rating, whereas Indesit’s own web site says it’s B. I think that’s called false advertising, bastards. Anyway, I’ve spent the last few days washing just about everything I own; (excluding things that aren’t meant to be washed in a washing machine, I’m not that dumb obviously). It seems to work great and it’s far quieter and more efficient than the old one too. It’s been so long since I had one that worked properly that I imagine I’m now experiencing the same sort of ecstasy that people in the 1940s and 1950s felt when automatic washing machines first became widely available. Say no to drugs kids, just go to the laundrette (or use a wash board) for a few months and then get a washing machine; it’s a unique sort of high. Getting rid of the old one was a bit of a challenge. It was too heavy for me to try to get down the stairs, so instead I dismantled it all and took it in bits to the dump for recycling. So inadvertently I’ve probably now become one of country’s leading experts on washing machine deconstruction too. I’m glad I’m doing my bit to save the planet, (ignoring the 21.3kWh of power I used yesterday thanks to my new washer dryer), a topic close to my heart and highlighted in this film.

This is a horror/comedy about ‘eco warriors’ so I was fully expecting it to reflect my day-to-day work, being as I’m employed by the best environmental charity on the planet. However, there wasn’t an e-mail, meeting, financial plan, or purchase to get requisitioned and authorised in sight. These people went out into the open air to do their stuff. ?? I’m pretty sure they didn’t have a four-year business plan either, although as they seem to spend most of their time sitting around smoking dope and getting drunk, they probably didn’t feel they needed one. Actually this is a much better film than it might appear at first glance. It works because it raises itself above the B-movie sludge-line and has two, very funny and well written characters in it. Plastic surgeon Dr. Peever is obscenely overacted, yet manages to give the impression of holding onto a consistent set of beliefs; whilst Hassan gets all the best lines, mainly due to his ‘calling’ as an expert in women’s hair care. The somewhat eye-watering (and reasonably original) murders and interesting body augmentation issues aside, most of the humour works most of the time, even though I suspect it’s a bit racist. Then again, it’s make fun of pretty well everyone. Worth a watch.

The soundtrack is a bit of a mish-mash of original and existing indie music. It sort of works though. Redox’s “Happy Death” is a really good track.

The trailer seems to be advertising a different cut of the film, as the balance of characters in it really doesn’t reflect the movie itself. Then again, as the DVD comes with nearly enough outtakes to replace the whole film, it probably does.

Recommended for eco warriors, plastic surgeons, police detectives, and anyone interested in products and services relating to women’s hair.

1 cat, 1 chainsaw and 2 decapitations. I can only offer my congratulations here; this is the first film I’ve watched for some considerable time that’s managed all three. The cat is sooooooo cute too.

Top badass moment? “Perhaps this town is not ready for all natural, holistic middle-eastern hair care”; so speaks the very put upon (and recently, physically enhanced) Pakistani ‘women’s hair care specialist’ Hassan, just before he drives off. I have days like that too, but don’t have quite such a cutting-edge one-liner to go with them. That’s badass.

Earth Day at IMDB (5.7 / 10)
Earth Day trailer at YouTube


Emanuelle in America / Building My Own Sauna


Emanuelle in America  -  Front DVD Cover  -  American ReleaseThe stunning Laura Gemser stars as Emanuelle, the fearless fashion photographer and investigative photojournalist whose thirst for adventure is matched only by her insatiable erotic hunger.  But when Emanuelle uncovers shocking evidence of an international snuff film conspiracy, she is plunged into an odyssey of forbidden passion, depraved desires and unspeakable human brutality.  From the lust-filled streets of New York City to the corrupt corridors of Washington D.C. and beyond, one of the most controversial sex and gore epics in exploitation history has finally come home: This is “Emanuelle in America”!  Everything you’ve heard about this jaw-dropping cult classic is true: graphic sex, harrowing violence, a horse named Pedro and much, much more.  Directed by the notorious Joe D’Amato (“Beyond the Darkness”), “Emanuelle in America” has been newly mastered from pristine vault materials and is now presented completely uncut for the first time ever!

1976  –  Certificate: Not Rated  –  Italian Film
5.0 out of 10

Last weekend provided Cactus World with its warmest day of the year so far.  Apparently it got to nearly 70F in some parts.  The roads will be melting again at this rate…  Anyway, I was so excited by this sudden burst of warmth that I decided to wash nearly every bit of clothing that I normally wear, so even if my washing machine’s dryer failed to work (as is often the case) I’d still be able to dry things by draping them attractively all around my lounge.  I never did get to find out about the dryer, as the washing machine decided that this time it wasn’t going to bother spinning anything instead.  I was left with a big pile of soaking wet clothing that even now, some 70 hours later, has only just dried out.  I had to go to an external meeting for work on Monday morning in wet clothes.  What fun!  I spent all of Sunday converting my lounge into a DIY sauna, as my dripping clothing and heating combined to produce a pretty decent impersonation of a rain forest.  It hardly ever gets that hot here, even in the summer; Cactus World isn’t well-known for its extremes of temperature.  The only signs of happiness came from the pot plants, who all thought their Christmases and birthdays had come at once.  This film was probably viewed as ‘hot’ in the 70s, but now it just comes across as a bit creepy, old and at times unintentionally funny.

Emanuelle, the “fearless fashion photographer and investigative photojournalist” (I’d like to have seen her fit that on her passport) investigates the seedy world of decadent politicians and snuff movies.  Potentially an interesting and exciting plot for a horror-thriller, instead she seems to spend most of her time in various states of undress, or watching others in a similar position.  I’ve heard of people enjoying their jobs, but even on a good day I don’t enjoy mine quite that much; (which I sure comes as a great relief to all my colleagues).  The admittedly attractive Laura Gemser isn’t very convincing as a private investigator, although what she lacks in ability she makes up for with good fortune.  An example?  Undercover as some rich asshole’s plaything, she randomly wonders about his estate for a few minutes, where she finds a load of guns hidden in a crate under some sacks in a stable.  Yes, that’s bound to happen isn’t it?  Not that they play any other part in the movie after that of course.   Still, all journalists do these days is hack people’s mobile phones, whereas Laura most definitely had to do it the hard way.  She’s either very brave or very stupid.  Sadly, after all her clever undercover work, the newspaper she works for refuses to publish her story and she throws a bit of a wobbly at the editor.  So, instead of going to the police with all her evidence, she goes off on holiday with her boyfriend to some tropical island, which then inexplicably turns into a movie set.  (No, I didn’t fully understand that either).  The End.  I did initially get a bit excited at the beginning of the film, when what looked a lot like the view of a star field from a starship travelling at warp, popped up on the screen; but then it turned out it was just the StudioCanal logo.  After that things went a bit downhill.  To be fair, it still has a few scenes that are likely to ‘surprise’ some people and the snuff film effects are pretty horrific too; but it’s style and presentation now seem so overwhelmingly old fashioned that watching it was more akin to finding a long lost item of clothing, which, despite it’s now utterly unfashionable appearance, is still sort of comforting to wear.  A reminder of simpler times perhaps?  Did anyone really take this stuff seriously?  I’m so glad I was too young in 1976 to notice things like this.  Thank God punk came along.

Sadly, I wasn’t able to find a real trailer anywhere.  So instead here’s an entirely uneventful clip of Emanuelle in a gondola in Venice, Italy.  The film is called “Emanuelle in America” after all.

The music.  Yes, the music.  It’s a horrible cross between porn-funk, crappy early 70’s soft rock and easy listening.  It’s awful, but at the same time works really well in setting up the whole feel of the film.  Yep, it really is that bad.

Recommended for investigative journalists, corrupt politicians, swingers and guys with blonde moustaches and silly medallions, who wear white shirts with huge collars.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  A guy with a gun suddenly pops up in the back of Laura Gemser’s car as she’s driving along.  Refusing money or the car, he says all he wants is to strangle and murder her.  Personally, that would probably freak me out and make me late for something, but not so the beautiful Laura.  Keeping totally cool and using her unique abilities, (which if I’m honest I’m unlikely to be able to reproduce if I should ever find myself in a similar situation), she ‘talks’ her way out of it.  I have to admit, that’s badass.  She’s a very cool babe.

Emanuelle in America at IMDB (5.4 / 10)
Emanuelle in America at Wikipeda
Emanuelle in America Clip

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Demon Seed / What’s An Emergency?


Demon Seed  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseSusan Harris is alone in the house when, suddenly, doors lock, windows slam shut and the phone stops working.  Susan is trapped by an intruder… but this is no ordinary thug.  Instead, the intruder is a computer named Proteus, an artificial brain that has learned to reason.  And to terrorize.  In “one of her finest, most vulnerable performances” (Danny Peary, “Guide for the Film Fanatic”), Julie Christie plays Susan in this taut techno-thriller based on the Dean Koontz novel.  Packed with suspense, surprise and special effects, “Demon Seed” follows Susan’s desperate attempts to outmaneuver and outthink her captor.  Then Susan learns what Proteus wants: its own child, conceived in her womb and destined for domination.

1977  –  Certificate: 15  –  American Film
Rating Details: Moderate sex and violence
6.0 out of 10

My wisdom tooth is getting more and more painful.  :-(  I’m waiting for an ‘emergency’ admission to have it sorted out at the hospital, but it’s been over two weeks now and there’s still no sign of an appointment.  It’s lucky I’ve not been attacked by a chainsaw wielding alien and have all my insides hanging out.  I can’t open my mouth properly so eating has become a rather frustrating experience, although to put a positive spin on it I’m now an expert in flat shaped food.  I’m also losing some weight as I just can’t be bothered with all the effort of cutting things up small enough to eat them.  I feel like I’m trying to feed some poor little baby animal that’s lost its mother in an oil spill or something.  To make matters worse, I went to see the brilliant “Imperial Leisure” last Friday and now have a horrible cold too; and yes, it’s the worst cold anyone’s ever had ever.  I don’t think I’m long for this world…

This is a film about a randy computer that’s got a crush on Julie Christie.  Julie meanwhile has just been dumped by her husband Alex.  Why, for goodness sake?  He’s married to Julie Christie, animal rights campaigner and star of the 1967 version of “Far from the Madding Crowd”.  What was he thinking?  (Although to be fair, her character does come across as about as interesting as amateur golf.)  The irony in all this being, he’s more interested in developing his new computer, Proteus IV, than bothering with her anymore.  And of course it’s Proteus that turns out to have the libido issue.  Ha, what an idiot.  He actually designed and built his own competitor.  For a supposedly intelligent man, that’s an awe inspiringly stupid thing to do.  Even I’ve never managed anything on quite that level.  So leaving her alone in the house, (which in a nod to the future of home automation, Proteus seems to run), the latter tries wooing her.  Now I have a theory about things here.  I personally feel she had the hots for Proteus too.  Being a 70s mainframe computer with remote terminals, the best Proteus can do in terms of shaking his ass, is control a wheelchair with a mechanical arm attached to it.  With this he chases Julie around the house, before catching her and tying her down to a table in the lab in the basement, so he can have kinky sex with her.  (I’ll come onto that bit in a minute.)  So there’s Julie, a fit woman in her own home, a large detached house.  She really couldn’t escape?  Really?  She couldn’t outrun a remote control wheelchair?  Sadly the plot holes are gigantic; she could easily have simply climbed through one and escaped.  We never do get to see how the wheelchair manages to get up and down the stairs either, but anyway, back to the kinky sex.  So, there’s Proteus, the bondage obsessed, dirty old man computer, who’s got the mechanical arm to tie the charming Julie tied down with a few bits of cable, whispering sweet nothings to her about showing her stuff no human’s ever seen before.  (The mind boggles.)  In her defence, after all that flirting with the wheelchair, Julie does seem to realise that things have gone a bit far and perhaps taking a shower in full view of one of Proteus’s camera wasn’t the best thing to have done.  (There really wasn’t anything wrong with her ass either, so don’t tell me all the messing about with it in the bathroom was for any reason other than to access Proteus’s hard drive.)  Anyway, I don’t want to spoil the good stuff, but Julie gets pregnant, just in time for her estranged husband to return and fight what looks suspiciously like a giant D20 “Dungeons and Dragons” dice.  “Demon Seed” is a sci-fi movie, so obviously it’s also got a laser in it and a geeky guy who works in a lab too.  Shortly after this film was released “Star Wars” came along and sci-fi was never the same again.  The End.

Sounding exactly like it’s escaped from a bad, 50s B-Movie, the soundtrack is somehow everything you’d want and then some.

Pompous and faintly ridiculous, the trailer is a great example of how serious science fiction films’ trailers used to be; before “Star Wars”.

Recommended for computer scientists, home automation fanatics and anyone who ‘likes’ their PC/laptop/smartphone just a little too much.

1 decapitation, no cats or chainsaws.  The Dungeons & Dragons dice somehow manages to cut someone’s head off.  Weird.

Top badass moment?  Proteus is one sick puppy.  Nevertheless, he’s also charming, highly intelligent, virile and (I’d imagine) pretty well off too.  In many ways he wouldn’t be a bad catch for someone like Julie Christie.  So I guess the kinky sex just wasn’t for her.  Having a partner that’s not what others expect him/her (or it) to be, is definitely badass.

Demon Seed at IMDB (6.3/ 10)
Demon Seed at Wikipedia
Demon Seed Trailer


Alone in the Dark / Working for Fighter Command


Alone in the Dark  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US ReleaseEdward Carnby (Christian Slater) is a private investigator specializing in unexplainable supernatural phenomena.  His cases delve into the dark corners of the world, searching for truth in the occult remnants of ancient civilizations.  Now, the greatest mystery of his past is about to become the most dangerous case he has ever faced.  With the help of his ex-girlfriend, archaeologist Aline Cedrac (Tara Reid), and his bitter rival, government agent Richard Burke (Stephen Dorff), Edward is about to learn that just because you don’t believe in something doesn’t mean it cannot kill you!

2005  –  Certificate Not Rated  –  German/Canadian Film
4.0 out of 10

I hate this time of year.  It’s not just the fact that all the good bits of the winter are over and it’s still months until the summer; or the fact that I’ve got no money as I squandered it over the Christmas period; or even that there’s hardly ever any decent gigs to go to.  No, it’s also the time of year when everyone I care for dies and my relationships always end.  On top of all this, it’s when we write our Financial Plan at work too.  The latter is less a mathematical exercise and more a futile attempt to predict the future; (and the scale of my successes in the National Lottery over the past 20 years nicely demonstrates how well my precognitive abilities have been developed).  The process bares all the hallmarks of Fighter Command at the height of the Battle of Britain, wondering where the next plane or pilot is going to come from, as its fully committed assets are quickly depleted.  The consequences of all this is that it generally feels like we’re looking into a dark, bottomless abyss, as the world as we know it ends.  (Although on the up side, we are still here after nearly 55 years).  More to the point, I have to spend this afternoon and evening working, because I’ve been told to move loads of numbers about in mine; I’m not sure why, they won’t get any bigger however many times I move them.  This film is also about the end of the world as we know it.

Other than all the things and people I hate, despise or loathe, I like to think of myself as a pretty easy-going, laid-back, tolerant guy.  But even I have my limits and this film has just reached one.  What makes things worse is that it could have been really good.  The story’s fine (it’s based on a computer game), the effects are decent enough (the gun-shot one borders on impressive) and even I’ve heard of its three, principal actors.  Christian Slater was the Communications Officer on the Excelsior for goodness sake; it’s not the most challenging bridge job around that’s true, but it was on Captain Sulu’s ship so that must count for something.  And Tara Reid, the Choir Chick from “American Pie”, gets given some glasses to wear, so she can look intelligent and thus play the part of an archaeologist.  The chase scene, (once we’ve got over the longest “Star Wars” like preamble in cinematic history), is actually pretty good too.  Unfortunately, the characters are so poorly written that the Oxford English Dictionary is considering using them as part of its official definition of one-dimensional.  The Alpha Male rivalry between Richard Burke and Edward Carnby is a key plot element.  (Edward used to work with Richard, so consequently they scowl at one another a lot.)  It’s probably fair to say they don’t get on, aren’t each others’ friends on Facebook and don’t send one another Christmas cards, not even e-cards.  Then, in the middle of a big battle Edward shoots a ‘bad guy’ who’s coming up behind Richard.  The latter gives Edward a brief nod of gratitude.   This incident is never acknowledged or further developed, but from then on they’re instantly the best of buddies.  Is that what it takes to remove years of personal animosity?  Maybe I’ve entirely missed some sort of gay subplot, which would explain a great many things, as well as why Edward and Aline are ex-lovers. The whole film is littered with a garbage script and stereotypical characters that act in nonsensical ways.  I especially enjoyed the Abkani (they’re the bad guys) charging towards some soldiers and then basically stopping a few metres in front of them to growl and throw their limbs around a lot, thus allowing the latter to blast away at them for ages and ages; not that the sight of thousands of rounds of ammunition fired at point blank range not seeming to have much of an effect, puts them off trying.  When I see a movie like this I want to really believe the world is about to end, not keep glancing at the clock to see how long I’ve been watching it for.  So basically it’s great, except for the characters and everything they say or do…

It has a Scandinavian, heavy metal soundtrack.  Nightwish aside, this tells you a lot.  Listen up.  Heavy metal (and all its sub-genera) should never be used for any film with a budget of over $500,000, ever.  It’s just not right.

The trailer’s like the rest of the movie; it seems to promise lots but contains nothing.

Recommended for archaeologists, private investigators, ‘Government agents’ and anyone who wears glasses to look intelligent.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  At one point Steven Dorff throws a bit of a wobbly.  He picks up a few bits of paper (probably the script), scans them briefly and then pushes over a table and screams out, “My guys are dying out there for nothing; for fucking nothing!”  Seeing an actor demonstrate a high level of emotional intelligence by empathising with the audience whilst also staying in character, just has to be badass.

Alone in the Dark at IMDB (2.3 / 10)
Alone in the Dark at Wikipedia
Alone in the Dark at YouTube

No trailer I’m afraid, thanks to YouTube blocking the video.  Liongate clearly doesn’t want anyone to find out about this film!


Mum & Dad / I’m Going Travelling


Mum & Dad  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK Release“Mum & Dad”, the impressive debut by writer-director Steven Sheil, is one of the most disturbing Brit-shockers to emerge in recent years.  When Lena, a young Polish immigrant working as an office cleaner at Heathrow Airport, misses her last bus home, she accepts an offer of help from friendly co-worker Birdie, who lives nearby with her ‘adoptive’ parents.  Knocked unconscious after arriving at the house, Lena soon finds herself imprisoned in a suburban house of horrors, a living nightmare of abuse, torture and murder.  Designated a ‘Mummy’s Girl’, Lena’s only options appear to be to become part of the family – and join Mum & Dad in their insanity – or die.

2008  –  Certificate 18  –  British Film
Strong bloody violence, torture, terrorisation and sex references
7.5 out of 10

I’ve been a pretty lucky bloke over the past few months.  I’ve been to Mexico, Bavaria in Germany, the mountains of Colombia, hung out with a rock ‘n’ roll band and met the Devil, flown around Los Angeles with a superhero, gone into space and met an alien (The Alien actually), been hassled by Japanese zombies that live in a toilet; yes, life’s been pretty interesting.  Of course I’ve not left my living room either, because that would mean, well, going out, making an effort and mixing with other people.  However, I’ve enjoyed these experiences through the films I’ve watched.  A much safer, easier, cheaper and more convenient alternative I’m sure you’ll agree.  I’ve never understood the urge some people have “to travel”.  It sounds like my worst nightmare; a commute that never ends, surrounded by people who don’t speak English and will probably kill or rob you given half a chance; wildlife that will sting you to death or eat you; constantly sick from the weird, contaminated food you’ll be forced to eat; and a rate of exchange that you won’t understand and before you know it you’ll have spent all your money on a can of Coke.  Even if you manage to survive all that lot, you’ll end up in prison forever, being buggered by a half human – half religious fanatic, all because you broke some local law you never knew existed, by making what you thought was a friendly gesture to someone. That’s what “going travelling” really means.  However, not wanting to miss out on all the fun it offers and on my return the chance to entertain everyone with my stories and deep understanding of how people in other places live their lives, I’ve decided to start plotting all my travel adventures on a map.  This will hopefully provide me with a constantly evolving picture of where I’ve been, complete with the odd photo and comment.  I look forward to boring sharing this with the world!  In a kind of appropriate way, this film takes place near Heathrow Airport in London, which will be the starting point for my global trek.

This is a decent, violent, low-budget horror that has the advantage of being set in a suburban house near Heathrow Airport.  It features some pretty normal looking people with normal jobs and an assortment of syringes and basic DIY tools; very British.  It’s a refreshing alternative to the endless American versions that tend to take place in the back of beyond and involve some in-bred weirdos having endless bad hair days and an impressive collection of power tools.  “Mum & Dad” boasts plenty of realistic looking gore and a cast of suitably deranged characters.  Dad is especially freaky.  It’s particularly impressive when it subverts normal family life; (for example, instead of breakfast TV on in the background over a typical breakfast, this family has hardcore porn on the telly).  Some of the justification used for Lena’s treatment is pretty scary too.  The late addition of a couple of extra residents in the house tends to slightly dilute the story a bit, even as it ups the yukiness score.  And if I thought about things too hard I started to wonder “why didn’t she just do” this, that or the other to escape, but other than that it’s a solid horror.  The scene with the wooden mallet is particularly effective.  It’s good to see that my lottery ticket money is being put to such good use.  It’s also a film that explains where all that lost luggage at airports end up.

There a limited amount of music used in this movie, other than the big Christmas Day scene, where it rather cleverly makes the likes of “Silent Night” etc rather creepy.

The trailer’s a fair enough representation of the film.

Recommended for cleaners, airport baggage handlers and Polish immigrants.

1 decapitation, no cats or chainsaws.

Top badass moment?  Lena looks pretty miserable for most of the movie, as well she might given the circumstances.  However, she never really gives up trying to get away, despite all the unpleasantness.  That’s badass.  Having said that, she was being offered free accommodation.  A room in a decent house in the Heathrow area has got to be worth £400 / month and for all they knew, she could have been an axe murderer or something.  To be honest, it makes her seem a bit ungrateful.

Mum & Dad at IMDB (5.9 / 10)
Mum & Dad at Wikipedia
Mum & Dad at YouTube


Alien / Immigration


Alien Anthology  -  Front Blu-ray Cover  -  UK ReleaseThe massive space-tug Nostromo glides silently through space.  Back from the outer reaches of the galaxy, it’s taking its seven-member crew back to Earth.  But when the ship’s computer receives a distress signal from a nearby planetary system, it rouses the crew from their cryo-sleep.  It isn’t until after the Nostromo has landed on a barren planet named LV-426 and three crewmembers have gone out to investigate a huge derelict spacecraft that the signal is deciphered and found to be a warning.  But one crewmember has already experienced a shocking face-to-face encounter with an alien creature while inspecting an egg-shaped pod.  And so the horror begins – a horror which will end the lives of six crewmembers and alter the life of the seventh forever.

1979  –  Certificate: 15  –  American Film
Rating Details:  Contains strong language, moderate violence and horror
8.0 out of 10

So anyway, I sat through this entire film convinced I was watching a party political broadcast on behalf of the Conservative Party; one that had chosen to spotlight the Party’s views on immigration.  Why?  1.  Well, for a start it’s called “Alien”, a phrase which seems to sum up a large proportion of everyone the Daily Mail, (which is the propaganda wing of the Party), doesn’t like.  2.  It features a crew of people who are “working hard to get on in life”, before having things suddenly buggered up for them by a nasty alien.  This is obviously a reference to wholesome, law-abiding Middle England British families having to deal with the effects of uncontrolled immigration.  3.  It features a hideous, unstoppable creature that wants what we have and bleeds acid everywhere if you piss it off.  (Well, it’s 45 years since Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech, so I guess you have to up the ante these days.)  This is clearly an allusion to foreigners, especially the billions of people from Bulgaria and Romania who’re poised to ‘invade’ Britain (or more importantly the Tory heartland of the South East of England) on the 1st January 2014.  From what I’ve seen in some of the media recently, I doubt there’ll be anyone left in either of those two countries by the time everyone here goes back to work the following week.  Not that we’ll have jobs anymore, because they’ll all have been taken by them instead, whilst they’re simultaneously signing on the dole, having babies and not learning to speak English.  And Romanians in particular are all just gymnasts, orphans or vampires, so why should they be allowed into the country?  4.  Crewmember Ash turns out to be an android, in the pay of some nefarious organisation, ready to sacrifice everyone to make sure the alien gets back to Earth.  Ash just has to be Vince Cable, working for the Lib Dems.  His dark, evil plan?  To let some foreigners into Britain.  Traitor!  And what does the android turn out to be full of? Nasty, goo-spewing Cables.  Case proved I think.  5.  The movie features a lot of people desperately running and creeping about in dark corridors, with a weird device that uses technobabble to find aliens, until they finally manage to successfully track one down.  To me that sounds a lot like politicians quoting from random surveys and statistics, in an effort to concoct some evidence to support their views.  6.  When they stop worrying about the alien for a few moments, it suddenly explodes out of John Hurt’s chest.  I think that’s self explanatory; give them an inch and they’ll take a mile.  7.  When they actually manage to find the alien, they quickly throw together some sort of bizarre, home-made weapon to try and get rid of it, which is undoubtedly analogous to their hastily thrown together ideas about caps on immigration; badly thought out, probably illegal, unfair and unworkable.  8.  The alien kills everyone off one by one, which is exactly what all foreigners want to do to our way of life.  Indeed, that’s their only reason to exist.  (And let’s not forget that John Hurt was also Doctor Who).  9.  Most things in the film have an alternative,  sexual interpretation, which somehow just comes across as eww.  Ever seen British politicians trying to be cool, attractive, or in-touch?  It’s provides much the same feeling.  10.  The alien is killed, after  just about everything is destroyed, including the whole spaceship.  This is exactly what will happen to the country if the Tories deal with immigration in their way.  Babies and bathwater.  Apparently there’s a party political broadcast on behalf of UKIP somewhere too.  It’s called “Aliens”.

There can’t be much that hasn’t been said or written about this film.  So I’m just going to say it’s essential viewing for anyone interested in cinema.

Most of the music used was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, one of the best film composers ever.  It’s good.  Very good.

Isn’t this a rubbish trailer?  Slow, confusing, and sounding and looking horrible, it makes the film seems about as appealing as snogging a face hugger.

Recommended for aliens, foreigners, politicians and anyone that works on a spaceship.

1 cat, no chainsaws or decapitations.  Despite providing one of the most famous cat characters in all of film history, Jonsey doesn’t even get a mention in the credits.  It must suck sometimes being a cat.

Top badass moment?    Vince Cable giving the rest of the Government shit about its approach to immigration.  No, wait, I’m mixing this film up with a Conservative party political broadcast again.  Malevolent aliens?  Bulgarians?  Romanians?  It’s confusing.  Don’t worry, I’ll check the facts in tomorrow’s Daily Mail.  (Interesting, when I was 16 I’d have probably said the top badass moment heavily featured Sigourney Weaver’s panties.  I must be getting old.)

Alien at IMDB (8.5 / 10)  –  43rd best film ever
Alien at Wikipedia
Alien at Roger Ebert (4.5 / 5)
Alien at YouTube


Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead / Becoming a Master of Time


Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US ReleaseDealing with guilt over the suicide of her sister Ai, karate student Megumi accompanies a group of older friends on a trip into the woods.  Things start to go badly when Maki finds a parasitical worm inside a fish and wolfs it down alive, in the hope that’ll help keep her skinny!  Attacked by a crowd of undead who emerge from an outhouse toilet, the group seek refuge at the home of Dr. Tanaka and his daughter Sachi.  Unbeknownst to them, Tanaka has been conducting experiments on the parasites and the zombies!

2011  –  Certificate: Not Rated  –  Japanese Film
7.0 out of 10

In the distant future, a scientist creates a shock-wave of anti-time, which then travels backwards through history.  Four fragments of a time crystal lost in four different timezones are needed to create a second shock-wave, which will eliminate the first one.  This has nothing to do with this film, but in the last century (1997 to be exact) a game for the PC called Timeshock was released and that was the basic plot.  This was (and still is) an excellent simulation of a pinball machine.  (A lot of the music used in it was written by half of Stiff Little Fingers too.)  I must have played it 1000s of times.   But like many things, as my life moved on (or stagnated to be more accurate) I stopped doing so.  Earlier this year I found out that a new version was being released via a Kickstarter campaign.  So I paid some money and now patiently await the arrival of this update.  However, whilst waiting I thought it would be fun to play the original again.  Despite playing it so often, I’d never quite managed to get all the way through it; occasionally I’d get close, but ultimately mess things up with the result that the Universe was destroyed, which was never very good for my self-esteem.  A few weeks ago I went to see The Wedding Present.  (The fourth best band on the planet.)  I was still a bit ‘buzzy’ when I got home, so I thought I’d play a few games of Timeshock before going to bed.  Despite the darkened room, the early morning hour, my sweat soaked t-shirt and being knackered from my earlier attempts to ‘dance’, I somehow got through to the ‘last bit’, where my meddling always ends up with the destruction of the Universe.  As usual I got off to my usual, panicky, crappy start.  But with the time ticking down I entered one of those oh too rare moments of mental clarity and physical coordination.  Being told I’d saved the Universe and consequently was now a Master of Time, has had a profound effect on my inner being.  I think I now realise what all my life has been preparing me for.  However, it wasn’t this film.

This movie is everything it sounds like it’ll be and a whole lot more.  Consider this though for a moment: there’s a futility in trying to explain the point of certain things.  Wind, fog, dust, wasps, mangos, pizza delivery leaflets, bottled water, slip-covers on DVDs.  This film is another.  It has little in common with either “The Matrix” or “2001: A Space Odyssey”.  But on a very primitive level it is quite entertaining.  In many ways this is the perfect movie and manages to pull together aspects of just about every dodgy Japanese film ever made.  It does have a fair bit of action in it and some (but not all) of the effects are pretty good.  It’s well made for what it is and provides a most entertaining encounter of the most juvenile kind.  From the horrible, 60s style opening credits to the flying battle scene near the end, it manages to cram in enough clichés to make anyone feel a bit queasy.  And I guess it’s simply not possible to fill a whole film with nothing but jokes based on flatulence, (although it does try).  Not surprisingly it maxes out on the official toilet humour scale, but given its title I can’t really imagine anyone watching it would be expecting to get a “Citizen Kane” experience. However, I was struck by the though that just a couple of Rennies could have solved the whole zombie, parasite, bonkers doctor and daughter problem very easily.

Musically the film actually has a decent horror soundtrack.  Maybe the composer wasn’t told all the details?  However the trailer is clearly in on the joke.  Why does the voice over become more and more German as it goes along?

Recommended for would-be models, karate experts, mad scientists and anyone with a digestive illness.

No cats, chainsaws  or decapitations.  However, a number heads explode or get totally squashed; I’d say around a dozen.

Top badass moment?  Megumi fighting the Nekurogedoro queen (or whatever it is) is pretty badass.  Using only the power of her, em, ‘indigestion’, to fly through the air, it’s difficult to imagine anything, ever, could be literally quite as badass as that.

Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead at IMDB (5.1 / 10)      Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead at Wikipedia      Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead at YouTube


Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare / Bread Nightmare


Rock 'n' Roll Nighmare  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US ReleaseA hot new rock group… their sexy young girlfriends…  It should’ve been the best time of their lives, but it ended up being a “Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare”!  Recording some new music in an isolated farmhouse, the band gets more than they bargained for when something horrifying stirs in the darkness.  Eternal evil haunts this place and the band members start turning into demons from Hell itself!  After a day of making music – and making love – this band is starting to break up… one by one… limb by limb.  The bands lead singer, John (Jon-Mikl Thor) Triton, holds the key to defeating this horror once and for all… a secret that culminates in a battle between good and evil!  Triton versus the Devil himself!  This is it!  The hard rock cult sensation “Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare” finally explodes onto home video in this amazing Synapse Films Special Edition!  Available for the first time on DVD with rockin’ special features, a killer high-definition video transfer from the original negative and a brain-melting re-mastered 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack!  Featuring head-banging heavy-metal music by rock sensation Jon-Mikl Thor and some amazing visual and special make-up effects!

1987  –  Certificate: R  –  Canadian Film
5.5 out of 10

Bread is the spawn of the Devil.  It’s full of salt and shit calories, doesn’t fill you up one bit, tastes really nice and goes with everything.  Its one purpose is to make people fat.  I eat too much bread.  I can’t help it, I’m addicted to it.  There, I’ve said it now.  That’s the first step on the journey to recovery, so I’m regularly told at the Bread Eaters Anonymous meetings I attend.  Drugs, drink, smoking, gambling and Internet porn all pale into insignificance next to the horrors of a bread addiction.  Like cannabis, it comes it a range of different forms that can be utilised in many ways, loafs, baguettes, ciabattas, roti, French, soda, the list is endless.  Over nine million loafs are sold in the UK every day, as it invades 99% of households and infests them with its evil will, controlling minds and corrupting children in the form of sandwiches, baps and warm, crusty rolls.  That’s sick.  Like the Devil, it has a range of names, such as Allinson, Mother’s Pride, Hovis and Warburtons.  It even has a ‘good cop bad cop’ vibe, with the wholemeal vs white ‘thing’ going on.  It’s also got its own illness too, coeliac disease.  Bread will ultimately lead to the downfall of humans.  However, starting today I’m fighting back against this foul sputum of malevolence and bringer of despair.  Yes, it’s time for another one of my stupid, home-made diet plans!  From now on I’m not going to eat any bread, unless I make it myself.  Let it do its worst, I’m ready for it.  This movie is also about dealing with the Devil.

This is a film that tries to present its main characters as a kick-ass, mother of a rock band.  Indeed, Jon-Mikl Thor is such a character for real and has a bigger chest than most women.   Sadly, as everyone now knows, 80’s ‘rock bands’ were nothing but posers with big hair, who wrote uniformly crap songs.  Like monkeys on typewriters, they occasionally produced something worth listening to, but generally the results were not pretty.  This film does nothing to challenge that observation.  However, its worst offence is to have the band’s leader exhibit all the rock and roll excess of a successful estate agent.  I’m pretty sure that at one point he said everyone should get a good night’s sleep and then did some washing up.  WTF?  Very much a B-movie, this does have some good points, but a lot of it really isn’t that great.  It is a bit endearing in its own way though and I’ve got a soft spot for films about bands and music.  I don’t want to spoil the ending, but it had a twist that is even worse than, “then he woke up and found it was all just a dream”.  Really, it’s that ridiculous.  It’s like they started making the film, decided it was a bit crap, so changed the plot entirely and ended up with something even worse.  Ironically, the DVD looks really good and has a nice cover and loads of extra.  Don’t forget to watch out for the ‘rubber starfish’ too.  Rather frighteningly, it has a sequel lurking out there somewhere.

As a film that’s focused on a band, the music ought to be as important as the characters.  There is a fair amount in it, but sadly it’s firmly grounded in the worst horrors of its time and place.  Prepare to be scared, very scared.

Recommended for bad motherfuckers, rock bands, hairdressers and the Devil.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  John Triton fights and defeats the Devil.  Well I’m not sure about you, but I can’t help thinking that’s pretty badass.   Even Arnold Schwarzenegger struggled with that.

This film doesn’t seem to have a trailer, but this music video is sort of one.  But if you want to hear a really good song called “Energy“, check out this one by the Buzzcocks.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare at IMDB (3.9 / 10)

Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare  at Wikipedia

Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare at YouTube


Suck / A New Challenge


Suck  -  Front Blu-ray Cover  -  UK ReleaseThe greatest rock ‘n’ roll vampire comedy ever made, “Suck” stars rock royalty Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop and Henry Rollins, and brilliant performances from Moby and British screen legend Malcolm McDowell (“A Clockwork Orange”).   The Winners are a struggling band desperate to make it to the top and strike a record deal.  After another mediocre gig, Jennifer (Jessica Paré “Hot Tub Time Machine”) the sexy female bassist, disappears with a young vampire and returns the next morning sprouting fangs and a taste for blood.  One by one each member succumbs to the dark side and leaving a trail of lifeless groupies in their wake, they soon reach the heights of success that they could only dream of as mere mortals.

2009  –  Certificate: 15  –  Canadian Film
Rating Details: Strong language and comic gory horror
7.5 out of 10

Yesterday I walked to work at my new office for the first time.  No longer do I need to trek thousands of miles (well it felt like thousands) each day, face death as I cross the busy A4, deal with selfish pavement hogs along the Oxford Road, heroically climb ‘The Mountain’ or risk loss of sensory deprivation as I bisect the country-sized Tesco car park.  My journey now takes about 15 minutes and I don’t need to set up a series of resupply depots and emergency evac protocols to enable me to take the trip.  A number of other differences were apparent too.  For a start, I had to battle my way through two (yes two) school runs, as I passed two primary schools.  A pavement jam-packed with slow-moving mothers, toddlers in pushchairs and chaotic, hyper-active youngsters, who randomly change direction with no respect for The Rules.  I’m an experienced Pavement Warrior, but this was something else.  It’s only going to be a matter of time before I accidentally mow one of these tiny terrors down and end up in jail forever as a child killer.  Then there were the others, a mixture of students going to the Tesco Metro (I didn’t realise any got up that early) and men and women in business suits, power-walking into the centre of Reading.  On my previous journey, I’d count myself unlucky to be overtaken by even one person, but yesterday it happened twice, as I was left choking on the burning rubber left behind by the soles of two pairs of fast-moving, expensive shoes, worn by who I can only assume are relatives of Usain Bolt.  Unless I’m carrying a heavy bag, being overtaken by someone is a direct challenge to my sexuality, questions my prowess in bed and lessens my status as an Alpha Male.  Clearly more of a sprint than the marathon I’m used to, I’ll not be caught out next time.  Game on…  This film is about a group of people who make a change to how they do their job.

Sadly, this movie wasn’t so bad that I’m able to say it sucks.  Nether was it some sort of  unimaginatively named 70’s porn.  It’s actually quite a lot of fun and does feature a number of real rock stars amongst its cast.  (By the way, who originally came up with the expression “rock royalty”?  It’s an unspeakably dreadful term.)  The cast put in generally spirited performances and the whole thing is really quite endearing.  It’s got Malcolm McDowell in it as well, as vampire hunter Eddie Van Helsing; and let’s not forget that this is the guy who killed Captain Kirk!  That’s real ultra violence.  And while we’re on the Star Trek theme, it’s also got Ezri Dax in it.  Moby (who’s vegan and thus awesome), plays a character called Beef Bellows, lead singer of rock band The Secretaries of Steak.  See, even vegans have a sense of irony.  Jessica Paré, who plays bassist Jennifer, was a bit disappointing.  I’m not quite sure why, but she didn’t quite pull off the vampire diva ‘thing’ that was meant to propel the band to stardom.  Much more of a comedy than a horror, this movie’s a good excuse to while away 91 minutes of your life.

A film about a band needs to have good music, but unfortunately this one suffered a similar fate to so many others and features a lot of mediocre, bland, forgettable, indie rock.  It’s a film about a band of vampires, but the music’s about as gothic as One Direction.  The performances are pretty good though.

Recommended for rock stars, would-be rock stars and vampires (and the undead in general).

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Nicole de Boer has a part in this film.  That’s badass.

Suck at IMDB (5.9 / 10)

Suck at Wikipedia

Suck at YouTube


Godsend / Magnolia Hell


Godsend  -  Front DVDCover  -  UK ReleaseStarring screen legend Robert De Niro, “Godsend” is the story of an eight year old boy named Adam Duncan.  A kind, thoughtful and well-behaved child, he’s the apple of his parent’s eye, until one day he’s knocked down by a car and tragically killed.  With both parents totally grief-stricken, the mysterious Dr Richard Wells (De Niro) offers them another chance of happiness.  He can create a clone of Adam that will be identical to the child they lost.  Nine months later they have their child back.  Identical in every way, it’s like Adam had never left them.  He has his mother’s eyes, his father’s smile, but when he crosses the age at which he died, terrifying things begin to happen.

2004  –  Certificate: 15  –  American Film
Rating Details:  Language: once strong.  Sex/nudity: infrequent moderate.  Violence: infrequent moderate.  Other: moderate horror.
8.0 out of 10

Whilst I have a lot of sympathy for Jean-Paul Sartre’s view that “Hell is other people”, he failed to take into account their surroundings.  After this last week I now know that Hell is less to do with people, or fire and brimstone for that matter; in fact Hell is a large room painted magnolia.  In the same way as the Devil has a variety of different names, such as Satan, Beelzebub, Lucifer, etc, so magnolia disguises it’s presence amongst us as alternatives like light brown, biscuit, white with a touch of brown, beige, mushroom, wheat, taupe, fawn and harvest.  This week we moved our office at work, (or more accurately moved everything in our office to a different building to use as a new office; we didn’t actually dig up the existing one and put it elsewhere).  Moving is a stressful and spirit-sapping experience at the best of times, but when you have to paint every single surface, including the floor (about 500 square metres in all) before you leave, in three days, mostly magnolia, then you come to realise what pain is really all about.  The only respite was repainting the ceiling, doors, door frames, skirting boards and 12 radiators, white.  And painting something white on a white background in a weakly lit area isn’t exactly my idea of a fun day at Alton Towers either.  In fact the only facet of pleasure came from deciding which shade of gray to paint the floor, slate or frigate; and after magnolia, gray is the next worst colour.  I imagine there are more advanced species in the universe that have, in a similar way to smallpox, totally eradicated magnolia and grey from existence.  Magnolia is the distilled essence of evil.  However, for some reason there are many sick-minded and weak-willed individuals who appear to gain a sort of inner peace from using this colour.  Why?  What’s wrong with them?  Appearing initially to be the colour equivalent of elevator music, any close encounter with it soon dispels any pretence it has of being ‘neutral’.  It’s a vile, boring, sick, nauseating abomination, which is as attractive as having a squashed, pregnant cockroach smeared on your mouth; and then some.  And why is it always the cheapest paint you can buy?  The artificial distortion of the paint market in this way is clearly the work of some ungodly power.  If our media had any real balls, it would be investigating this bizarre and unwarranted proliferation of magnolia; it’s destroying lives.  In a similar way, this film is about something that goes against the laws of nature and scared the crap out of me too.

At its core, this is a thriller/horror about a disturbing, eight-year-old skinhead called Adam, who develops a mental illness of some sort.  The reasons for the latter are, unusual.  The rest of its runtime is spent faffing about with his parents and Robert De Niro, as they act and react to what Adam gets up to.  If you analyse the plot too much, you’ll come to the conclusion that some of it doesn’t really make a lot of sense.  Visually it’s not a very exciting film either; it looks a lot like it was ‘made for TV’ with a colour pallet that’s far too much like magnolia for my liking.  However, the acting’s pretty good and the story interesting enough.  The decision of the parents to have a clone of their recently killed son created is worthy of further study.  This part of the film could easily have been the whole story, but because it’s not it does get treated a bit superficially, which is a shame really.  What the movie does do really well is be creepy. I’m sure I aged a few years watching it, which is a somewhat alarming thought.  It’s one of the most unsettling films I’ve watched for quite a while.

The soundtrack is unmemorable, yet works well.  Job done.

Recommended for dodgy doctors, desperate parents, teachers, photographers and eight-year-olds that want to freak their parents out.  And clones of course.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  We all know that a good teacher can change someone’s life, but in this film we also learn that it can literally save your own life too.  I sometimes provide training as part of my job and like most things I suck at it.  I’ve never managed to impart a single bit of knowledge to anyone and tying to do so has never saved my life or changed anyone else’s for the better.  So I guess being a good teacher is badass.

Godsend at IMDB (4.7 / 10)

Godsend at Wikipedia

Godsend at YouTube


Meatball Machine / Epic Breakfast Fail


Meatball Machine  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US Release“Meatball Machine” is a wild, splatterific, experimental sci-fi/horror rollercoaster that will have your entire brain and body shaken and stirred.  Capable of making biomechanical weapons out of human flesh, alien parasites grotesquely invade the Earth, turning their hosts into maniacal killers who seek and destroy each other to the bloody death!  And yes, it’s also a human love story, even though the budding romantics are infested with slimy, tumour-like globules.  Co-directors Junichi Yamamoto and Yudai Yamaguchi (“Battlefield Baseball”) pull out all the stops and don’t let up until the final epic battle.  It’s a touching testament to young love, blood, and alien ooze that leaves you screaming for more!

2006  –  Certificate: Not Rated  –  Japanese Film
7.0 out of 10

I used to be quite a good cook.  Like many things, it’s an ability I seem to have lost.  Today I tried to make myself some breakfast, just some porridge and a cup of tea, not exactly rocket science.  I managed to burn the porridge to the bottom of the pan, let the tea go cold and fill my flat with the smell of ‘burnt something or other’ that even lighting an incense cone (mesquite) has failed to cover up.  It’s all a bit sad really.  I suppose it could have been worse; I could have been taken over by an alien.  Now that really does mess up your day.  By a strange coincidence…

I was very relieved to discover that this film was not about the exploitation of animals and their conversion into a disgusting, processed, flesh-food of the worst kind.  Instead, it focuses on humans infested by alien parasites, who take them over, convert them to necroborgs and then go about killing each other in very gruesome and bloody ways.  Much nicer, I think you’ll agree.  There’s blood and yukiness aplenty in this Japanese movie.  That pretty well sums the plot up, other than the inclusion of some soppy nonsense about the two main characters falling in love and ending up fighting.  Fortunately, this doesn’t really get in the way of the mess, which does look good.  By and large the effects are very nicely done; the little aliens in the tumours have an especially high ‘eew factor’.  For a film of this type it’s actually really well made.  The overall effect is kind of what would happen if the Borg went to English football matches in the 70’s but in Japan, got really pissed and then went looking for a fight with some rival team’s Borg supporters.  Despite all the gruesome action, it’s so comic book like that it doesn’t really leave much of a sickening after-taste.  The DVD I have also has good subtitles and loads of extras; a quality release.  Recommended.

The music’s there, it does it’s stuff.  That’s it really.  It works, feels accessible yet still Japanese.  Can’t think of anything else to say about it.

Recommended for factory workers, lovers and guys that like to tinker with electronic things.

No cats or chainsaws and 1 decapitation, (plus another head that blows up).

Top badass moment?   Sigh.  It’s so romantic.  The shared love of Yôji and Sachiko, helping them to overcome the power of the alien parasites infesting their bodies, before making the ultimate sacrifice.  Well, bollocks to that.  Seeing people turned into cyborgs, loads of blood, heaps of gross body parts and that unique Japanese touch that goes into films like this, is far more badass.  Give me a huge gun growing out of someone’s chest any day of the week over a candlelit dinner for two.

Meatball Machine at IMDB (5.8 / 10)

Meatball Machine at Wikipedia

Meatball Machine at YouTube


The Dark Hour / My E4300


The Dark Hour  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseThe world is teetering on the brink of the apocalypse.  A group of survivors have found themselves isolated from the remnants of society and under siege living in a subterranean bunker.  They dare not abandon the crumbling complex as it is the only security from the enemy that awaits them outside.  Living in a constant state of fear, they face the fact that food supplies and ammunitions are running out, giving them no choice but to leave the secure area.  Together they start their quest for survival, facing an enemy that is stronger than expected, with a power that can destroy all of mankind.

2006  –  Certificate: 15  –  Spanish Film
Rating Details:  Strong language, moderate violence and gore
7.5 out of 10

I’m teetering on the brink of an apocalypse too.  At work I use a Dell Latitude E4300 laptop.  This is a nice bit of kit that works well and still looks good, despite its age and the numerous scratches and marks on its minimalist, black lid.  It’s also narrow enough that I can use it on a train without a table, even when I’m having one of my ‘fat days’.  In fact it only has one fault.  Every time I go to any ‘important meetings’ where people get out their laptops to pretend they’re doing something, all those with an E4300 spend the first five minutes repairing all the bits that have fallen off it since the last time they used it.  The part around the screen is especially good at detaching itself.  As well as this, mine also has various other bits of trim that have either broken off and vanished; or are hanging off but refusing to let go, like teeth used to when you were little and losing them.  More recently, it’s decided that it would be extremely cool to allow one of its hinges to develop a more three-dimensional personal space than is generally regarded as normal for one.  For my part I don’t think a hinge that’s desperate to do a bit of twerking whilst I’m trying to work is all that helpful, or sexy.  A massive split the size of the Grand Canyon has also appeared in the case and my laptop now finds connecting to the Internet, either via a network cable or wirelessly, all a bit of a strain.  Today I wasted over an hour yanking the screen about from ‘here’ to ‘there’ in an effort to make the hinge behave and whatever inside wasn’t connected properly, connect.  I ended up pleading with it on my knees, using that well-known ‘tech support prayer’, “connect to the network you fucking bastard asshole machine!!”  (I know, I’m not the most tolerant when it come to technology.)  In the end I got it to work.  My previous laptop was a D610, a machine with all the combative prowess of the Terminator.  Sadly, the E4300 looks pretty, but is about as sturdy as a pink marshmallow.  This film is all about a group of people in a ‘no win’ scenario too.

Spain, as well as being a great place to grow oranges, has also developed a nice side-line in independent horrors.  This is one of them.  What’s interesting, is that in most apocalypse films, as soon as something goes wrong, the whole of civilisation quickly collapses and nearly everyone who’s left becomes a homicidal maniac.  In this one, we join a small group of people for a few days, who’ve banded together and are trying to live a vaguely ‘normal’ life, despite their circumstances; (for a while anyway).  I guess it’s a bit of tribute to the enduring values of humanity.  Alternatively, it’s got more to do with, “we’re a small group of people stuck in a small place without much to say, or the budget for a lot of special effects.”  In truth, there’s a lot of ambiguity in the plot and a lot of unexplained things, but as an ‘atmosphere’ film it’s great.  It also has two different groups of baddies, which makes for a change too.  The characters are mostly well written and believable; I did start to care what happened to them.  Two are called Jesús and Judas; I couldn’t decide if this was just a coincidence, or some sort of biblical reference relating to the film’s storyline that I couldn’t see.  Like I said, there’s a lot of ambiguity.  Even when we get to the inevitable ‘people running about in corridors with guns’ part, it manages to stay interesting.  This is a grimy looking, depressing film.  The ending is quite unexpected too and helps add to general air of despair.  I enjoyed it!

The soundtrack is one thing that makes this more of a horror than a sci-fi movie.  It’s also pretty good too and sounds ‘expensive’.  Like what I imagine an effective butler would be like, it turns up in all the right places, does what it’s meant to do and then leaves.  You won’t remember it but it does a great job of supporting everything else that’s going on.  Good stuff.

Recommended for apocalypse survivors.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  I suppose having to deal with an apocalypse is pretty badass.  It’s not the sort of thing you generally chat to the career counsellor at school about when you’re 16.  Nurse, IT support, train driver, police officer, teacher, celebrity maybe, but the conversation probably doesn’t go along the lines of, “I’d like to become an Armageddon survivor please.  Which A Levels do I need to study to do that?”  Dealing with unexpected changes is badass, as most of us are crap at it.

The Dark Hour at IMDB (6.0 / 10)      The Dark Hour at Wikipedia      The Dark Hour at You Tube


Ring / Party!


Ring  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseAfter the death of her cousin Tomoko, reporter Reiko hears stories of a videotape that kills everyone who sees it exactly one week after viewing.  At first she discounts the rumours, but when she learns that Tomoko’s friend (who watched the video with her) died at exactly the same time, she begins to investigate.  After viewing the tape herself, strange things start happening and so she teams up with her ex-husband to try to stop the death clock that has once again begun ticking.

1998  –  Certificate: 15  –  Japanese film
6.0 out of 10

Despite being an antisocial loser and having no friends, I recently found myself in possession of a birthday party invitation.  Stress!  For a start, how does one present one’s self for such a social gathering these days?  Formal?  Casual but smart?  Street smart?  Metrosexual urbanite?  And as for presents; that’s a total, social minefield.  Still, not wanting to waste this once-in-ten-year opportunity to ‘have-a-good-time’ and ‘meet people’, last Saturday found me sitting in the sun in a garden in west London, twerking to ska-punk and reminiscing how when I was 13 I used to know be able to identify every car on the road and every plane in the sky; (a party animal, I know).  I also learnt loads about what it’s like to control one of those massive cranes that you see on building sites; met a really famous drummer, (I think it was either Charlie Watts or Tré Cool, but I’m not sure now); knocked a can of cider on the kitchen floor and starred somewhat dumbly at the mess as someone else cleaned it up; drunk an inappropriate mixture of drinks that included cider, port, Buckfast, Midori, vodka and some Lithuanian spirit that tasted a lot like medicine; had a long conversation about Syria; ate some peanuts and samosas, (which were very nice) and talked to someone who’s getting married in six weeks.  I probably bored a lot of other people too, but I can’t actually remember much else, but I imagine I wasn’t very interesting or coherent and spoke mostly drunkanise.  Finally I left and forgetting that when I’d learnt which way to turn to take me to the train station (which was a two-minute walk away) I’d had the map upside-down, went totally the other way, took two buses and ended up wandering around the empty corridors of Heathrow Airport all night, like an extra from a zombie apocalypse film, before finally getting an entirely empty coach back to Reading at five in the morning; (well it had a driver in it, and me, obviously).  I don’t suppose I’ll get another invite to a party anytime soon, but I was glad to have this opportunity to reconfirm that I have no social skills and really shouldn’t drink more than a pint of shandy.  And it took me over two days to recover too.  Frightening stuff.

This film has a fearsome reputation for being really, really scary.  It’s not really.  Well a couple of times it was but mostly it wasn’t.  It’s more creepy than anything else.  The anticipation that something was about to be scary was often more scary than what actually happened; a bit like crossing a busy road.  I suppose if you get off on a certain kind of Japanese ghost horror then you’d be more likely to have an underwear malfunction, but not otherwise.  The plot’s got something to do with a cursed video and a woman in a well.  In many ways it’s as much a whodunit thriller as a horror.  If a similar sort of thing happened today, it would end up on YouTube and probably wipe out most of the Earth’s population.  Given its video-based story, it hasn’t aged well.  Having said all that, it’s actually quite watchable.  I guess I just found it a bit of a disappointment after all the hype.

There isn’t a great deal of music in this movie and what there is sounded like it came straight off of “Now That’s What I Call Horror Film Music, Volume 34”.  The theme tune (used at the end of the film and on the trailer) is pretty horrific, but not it a good way.

Recommended for vindictive ghosts, journalists and ex-husbands.  It’s probably a real nightmare if you’re involved in the manufacture of videos or DVDs, etc; I can imagine something like this would really take the bottom out of the market.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  I just can’t think of one.  Had too much to drink at the party.

Ring at IMDB (7.3 / 10)

Ring at Wikipedia


Bleed With Me / 454,678,567 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Royal Baby


Bleed With Me  -  Front DVD Cover  -  US ReleaseAfter a long night tending bar for a bunch of annoying drunks, Laura isn’t really feeling up to a long bus-ride home.  She hails a cab and settles into the back seat, relieved that her terrible night is over.  She doesn’t know it yet but her evening is about to get worse.  A lot worse.  Once Laura figures out what her driver has in mind, it’s too late and she must accompany him on a terrifying journey that she may not survive!  “Bleed With Me” is a horrific journey into the mind of a cold-blooded killer.

2009  –  Certificate: Not Rated  –  Danish Film
3.0 out of 10

Today was the hottest day in England for seven years, 92.3F.  (I remember the hottest day ever in 2003, when it reached 101.3F.  I stood in the roof garden of where I was living at the time and thought it was great.)  It’s also really humid and sticky too.  I feel like I’m experiencing all the fun of an evening of lovemaking, but without the lovemaking bit.  On a related topic, I briefly saw on the Internet tonight that the Duchess of Cambridge has joined the Labour Party and this has made her have a baby.  I’m not sure of the details but I expect I’m going to be sickened by the sheer weight of sycophantic and nauseating media coverage of the event over the next few weeks.  Please God, if the Earth is going to be invaded by aliens in the next few years, make it now so that we aren’t force-fed Royal baby news 24/7.  Not that I’m a killjoy; I’m celebrating by drinking a pint of the organic Dutchy beer Prince Charles brews for Waitrose.  As long as mum and baby are fine I don’t need or want to know anymore.  I really don’t care what sort of nappies they use or how much the baby’s nose resembles his grandfathers, etc, etc, etc, etc.  Like press coverage of the Royal baby, this horror is overwhelmingly sickening too, but for all the wrong reasons.

This is the worst movie I’ve watched for several years.  Before you even get to the DVD, you have to deal with the crappy cover and its dreadful photo-editing.  I don’t think the building or the woman shown on it are even in the film.  And the overview on it (and reproduced above) isn’t even factually correct.  The only accurate thing in it is the reference to Laura’s evening getting worse, which is clearly what happened when she first had to sit through a viewing of this rubbish.  And don’t even get me started on the fact that it’s an American DVD release of a Danish film, but doesn’t have any subtitles.  What’s the point of that?  Then again, given its overall quality and the fact that it’s got so little dialogue, not understanding it is probably a mercy; I don’t think they spent much time discussing anything to worry the Nobel Prize or Oscar people.  Oh, and the review on IMDB that was blatantly posted by someone to do with the movie, doesn’t exactly earn it any brownie points or sympathy.  But what of the film itself?  Well, we’re led to believe that Laura’s had a crap evening at work, although we only ever see one customer; (but to be fair the guy was a total asshole).  Then she gets a cab home with the most inept killer to grace the small screen for many a year. (Hint to all would-be serial killers out there; don’t leave your tools and weapons where the victim can reach them.  It’s stupid, okay?)  For much of the film we’re treated to endless minutes of them driving along in his taxi not speaking, at night.  He does stop a couple of times, including to kill two prostitutes who he gets the address of his ex-partner from.  I’ve no idea why they knew.  Why he decided to (presumably) purchase their time to treat him to an erotic dance (whilst he sat with a bag on his head) before killing them, I’m not sure.  But whatever, each to their own.  At one point the taxi gets randomly stopped by the police but then… nothing happens and we’re back in the taxi driving along again.  It was like they were shooting the scene and suddenly realised how awful everything was and just gave up filming it.  I can’t finish without mentioning one more thing.  Near the end Laura is running away and you’ll never guess what happens?  Go on, try.  Give up?  Okay then, she falls over, enabling the killer to catch up with her.  Dreadful.  74 minutes of purgatory.  The only emotional response it elicited out of me was boredom.

Other than that under the credits there isn’t a lot more music in this movie, other than a few ‘horror noises’.  The exception being when our friendly driver visits the prostitutes, when we’re forced to listen to several minutes of horrible euro-techno-pop as they dance.  But at least that’s in English.

Recommended for taxi drivers, bar workers and trainee killers.  (Actually I don’t recommend for anyone.)

1 cat, no chainsaws or decapitations.  With its brief on-screen appearance and a speaking role that eclipses any of the human actors for its naturalistic delivery and emotional impact, Jonesy (who was apparently named after the cat in “Alien”), is the highlight of the film.

Top badass moment?  Never mind the film, anyone careless enough to watch this garbage all the way through deserves to consider themselves badass.   I salute your bravery, tenacity and heart.  You’re a true movie-warrior who’s faced and overcome great adversity!

Bleed With Me at IMDB (3.4 / 10)