Harry Callahan is a tough, streetwise San Francisco cop whom they call Dirty Harry. In this action classic, you’ll see why – and also why Clint Eastwood’s reputation as a premier film star and moviemaker is secure. A rooftop sniper (Andy Robinson) calling himself Scorpio, has killed twice and holds the city ransom with the threat of killing again. Harry will nail him , one way or the other, no matter what the “system” prescribes. Filming on location, director Don Siegel made the City by the Bay a vital part of Dirty Harry, a practice continued in its four sequels. Forty three years after its arrival the original remains one of the most gripping police thrillers ever made.
1971 – Certificate: 18 – American Film
7.5 out of 10
This week I’ve inadvertently become a champion and role-model for the downtrodden masses, as I successfully concluded my fight for compensation as a result of the evil and corrupt banking industry misselling me Payment Protection Insurance for a credit card. As we all know now, every single person who’s ever worked for a bank is a child of the Devil. From the CEO to the office cleaners. They exist for one purpose only and that’s to rip everyone else off. Well they made one BIG mistake trying to take me on. After many letters, the MBNA has finally capitulated, agreed it made a ‘mistake’ and has paid me back, with interest. I can’t decide what to spend it on first, a yacht, a jet or an Aston Martin or two. I guess a few lines of coke and some high-class ‘escorts’ wouldn’t go amiss either. I can finally get rid of all my pathetic, stupid, so-called friends and buy myself a whole lot of new ones that better fit my improved social status. The rich and the powerful will invite me to everything. A-list celebrities will be at my beck and call. My membership of the Bilderberg Group is assured. I’m going to start voting Conservative at once, not that I really need to worry about politics now, as I could easily buy myself a whole country if I wanted to. So I guess you probably want to know how much I got? Well, the cheque I was sent is made out to me for 20p…
“Dirty Harry” is a film about a naughty policeman, which was inspired by the Lurkers’ 1999 non-hit “Go Ahead Punk”. (I’ve got this on a very limited edition 7” single in grey vinyl, number 34 of the 125 that were made.) Its main character Harry Callahan was based on James Callaghan, who was British Prime Minister from 1976-1979 and thus oversaw the invention of punk rock by the downtrodden masses that he created during the Winter of Discontent. “Winter of Discontent” was also a great track from Political Asylum’s Winter EP, a copy of which I was sold by the band on the Fulham Palace Road, on my way to a Lurkers gig at the Fulham Greyhound. (The latter was tragically renamed/relaunched earlier this year as an American theme pub called the Southern Belle. WTF?) Its historical significance aside, this film gave us the original police officer who doesn’t play by the rules but gets away with, who still haunts TV and films to this day. Scorpio is also a great psycho without a thread of remorse whatsoever and stands up well to the more modern versions that have followed in his wake. I doubt there’s anything else I could possibly say about this film that hasn’t already been said 100 times before, so won’t. But for what’s now quite an old film, it still looks good. Essential viewing.
This movie is pretty light on music, which is just as well given it was made in the early 70s.
The trailer’s very long and seems to be desperate to portray Harry as more of a victim of circumstance than a police officer who really ought to be sacked for gross misconduct at the very least. He could easily be Martin Riggs‘ father.
Recommended for police officers, psychos and school bus drivers.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Not once but twice, Harry gives us one of his two, world-famous quotes, here and here. What other character would have the audacity to do that? (Arnie’s done it but not twice in the same film I don’t think.) That’s like a DJ playing the same song back-to-back, it just doesn’t happen; (unless you’re John Peel and you’re playing the Undertones, but that’s okay). He must have been feeling lucky, punk.
Susan 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.
On a hot summer day, a bicycle is found in a wheat field, and, nearby, the body of a young girl. The killer is never found. 23 years later. Same date. Same place. Another bicycle. Another girl. This time round, an ageing detective convinced that history is repeating itself, comes out of retirement determined to track down the perpetrator with the help of his young colleague. Spanning a week in the investigation, both of them will begin a journey that will see intact worlds shatter apart. A striking debut, The Silence is based on an award-winning novel and follows European crime thrillers such as “The Killing” and “Wallander” as it delves into the psyche of detectives and criminals to deliver a chilling story of murder and betrayal.
2010 – Certificate 15 – German Film
Strong language and sexual violence
8.5 out of 10
I’ve got sore fingers. Fed up with my existing career options, I’ve decided to take advantage of the Christmas week and learn how to play the guitar. Once I’ve done this I’ll become a rock star. I’ve got plenty of social grievances and failed love affairs to write about, so it ought to be pretty easy to do once I’ve managed to learn a chord. Posters of me in seductive, semi-naked poses will soon be starring down from the walls of countless, teenage girls’ bedrooms up and down the country. Justin Bieber will just have to piss off down the dole office where he belongs. My guitar is a rather nice, left-handed Westbury Standard, a model that was made for a few years around 1980 and bought for me by one of those aforementioned failed lover affairs. Despite my cack-handed abuse of it, it rarely goes out of tune and I’ve yet to break a string, even though my playing has all the subtlety of Freddy Kruger in a maternity ward. But how hard can it be? Look at all the stupid people who seem to have managed. Sadly, I apparently have hands like a horse’s hooves when it comes to playing. Why does it need so many strings and why are they so close together? Stupid design. I thought it would only take a few hours, but apparently it takes longer than that…. I’m not a happy bunny.
This is a film with no happy characters in it; at all. No one comes out of it well. Everyone ends up more fucked up than they were to start with. No, it’s not a documentary about real life, but a German movie about two paedophiles and the police investigation to apprehend them. I’m personally not a big fan of crime films. All that Sherlock Homes, Poirot, Scooby Doo stuff, where at the end everyone’s in a room and all the details get blurted out. Yawn… Fortunately this is a lot better. What actually makes it so good is the way it gets inside everyone’s head and exposes all the guilt within; the police, the victims’ families, the perpetrators, the perpetrators’ families. It’s a real lose-lose story. I found it hard at times not to feel sorry for everyone, even the ‘baddies’ in their own, screwed up way. I was also struck by just how scruffy, undisciplined and a bit mad all the German police seemed to be. At times the feel of the film reminded me of the French horror “7 Days”, although that’s even darker. Overall this is very close to being a genuinely great film. Only it’s slightly frustrating habit of introducing ideas that it then doesn’t really do anything with, let’s it down.
The music used in this film is fine and works well.
Considering this is a trailer with no words it actually not bad. I’m not sure it tells a great deal about the film’s plot, although it does a decent job of getting the atmosphere across.
Recommended for the police, caretakers and architects.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Everyone is so miserable and wracked with guilt that it’s difficult to find anything worthy of being considered badass. I guess the weather was nice most of the time; lovely warm, sunny days. Summer is badass. Winter is just crap; short days, cold, damp and wet. Yuk.
Sean Veil (Lee Evans) is an ultra-paranoid murder suspect who films himself around the clock to provide an alibi, in case he’s ever accused of another crime. When the police come calling to investigate a new murder, the one tape that can prove his innocence has mysteriously disappeared. Past and present collide as Sean strives to prove his innocence of this and all the other crimes that have been laid at his door. But the accusations and the tension mount and just when Sean thinks it’s all over, an unexpected twist finds him fighting for his life…
2004 – Certificate: 15 – UK/Irish Film
Rating Details: Strong violence and language
8.0 out of 10
A couple of months ago I started walking into work again, rather than driving. Regularly walking the 2.4 miles each way has turned me into a hyper-fit super-being, but it’s not without its drawbacks. Today I’d like to briefly consider the concept of Pavement Wars. My journey includes a significant section along the Oxford Road in west Reading, where I find myself walking ‘against the tide’, as most people are going in the other direction and into town. I’m used to the barbaric anarchy of rush-hour on the Tube, where a fallen body is considered nothing more than an annoying trip hazard; but I thought out on the open road (well pavement) of the Home Counties, things would be a little different. I thought people would lift their hats in polite greetings as they passed one another, whilst exchanging a few words of small talk, about the weather or cricket scores perhaps? Sadly it’s more like a pedestrianised version of Carmageddon, with the sort of manoeuvring that would lose a driver his or her license in a moment. Seriously, it’s like a war zone out there and I’m not winning. I’ve lost count of the number of time I’ve been forced into walls, bollards and the road, in an effort not to get mowed down by others’ irresponsible walking. But this guy is fighting back! Last Thursday, my path was blocked by two women coming in the other direction. Any decent human being, when walking next to a friend, would make sure they got out of the way if someone was coming in the opposite direction and the two of them were totally occupying the path. But not these two. And they both saw me coming along, I’m quite sure of that. Did they expect me to step out into the road to let them pass, even though I had my back to the traffic? Was I the innocent victim of bitchy office politics, which meant nether of them wanted to walk behind the other, in case this more submissive stance might have some bearing on an inter-departmental power-struggle? Perhaps my “Do You Like Waffles?” t-shirt wasn’t scary enough? Or were they just inconsiderate, stupid, thoughtless, brain-dead bimbos? Who knows? Whatever, this time there was going to be no hanging about waiting between the bollards for them to pass. I braced myself for the inevitable impact, which happened just about here. As we passed my arm briefly collided with the tall blonde’s. I suppose with hindsight it was probably the most exciting sexual caress she’s had for ages, but to me it meant only one thing; at last, I was a true Pavement Warrior! No longer will I cower in shop entrances, between bollards, behind bins or pavement furniture. Reading take note; there’s a new kid on the block, a new kid who’s no longer gonna be pushed around by people who think the sidewalk owes them a living. I’m ready for war. Are they? Given all that, it’s a shame I’m not about to consider a viewing of “Mad Max”.
In a thriller with more twists than a shop full of Curly Wurly bars (or an avenue of Corkscrew Willow if you prefer), comedian Lee Evans convincingly portrays a paranoid and socially inept guy (Sean) who films his every waking (and sleeping) moment. Fortunately, we’re spared most of the more ‘intimate’ moments of his life, but it does make for an original and interesting, although somewhat convoluted movie. I’m a bit stupid so I’m pretty sure I didn’t manage to follow everything, but it was still a really good watch; (despite the overuse of blue filters and a tiny, non-anamorphic 2.35:1 picture). So this probably means it’ll be a good watch next time too, as I still won’t know what’s going on; being an idiot does have its advantages. I did feel sorry for Sean; putting up with dodgy TV reporters, useless and greedy psychologists, a whole population that thought he was a triple murderer and cops that ‘cross the line’, is enough to send anyone a bit round the bend. The amount of plot twists in the last ten minutes are likely to send most viewers a bit round the bend too. His ‘underground house’ was interesting though.
The soundtrack is exactly that. There’re no dumb pop records put into the film to enable some sort of “as featured in” soundtrack to be released. It’s just decent music added into scenes to make them better in that way that only music can.
Recommended for police detectives, the paranoid, the tabloid press, everyone who hates CCTV and any innocents who’ve ever been accused of murder.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitation.
Top badass moment? In a film full of twists and turns, the fact that Sean managed to keep himself together enough to do what he needed to do, qualifies as badass.
There is a buzz about Sherry McGrale’s band among those in the know. Her song “Never Knew your Name”, a song about the brutal rape of a young woman, is making an impact on the charts and Sherry is already building a reputation as a singer-songwriter. But Sherry already seems set on a self-destructive, sex and alcohol-fuelled descent, delayed only by her dedicated and devoted manager, Chuck. When Owen, a senior reporter from Hollywood music magazine ‘Vinyl Fetish’, is given the task of writing a profile on Sherry, he has a head start. As an old childhood friend, he already knows her background and even the story behind the song, an event that has cast a shadow over their whole lives. Setting off for Cocoa Beach, Florida, Owen realises this is more than an interview; it is an opportunity to confront the past and put their future in their own hands.
2001 – Certificate: 18 – American Film
Rating Details: Strong sex, language and rape theme
8.0 out of 10
Actually I wrote this on Friday last week, but anyway… I’m sitting here writing this right now, (by which as I’ve just mentioned, means last Friday and not today, Wednesday). I’m sitting here and it’s very warm, it’s 30C in my living room. (It still is actually; we’ve had such lovely, warm and sunny weather recently, not at all like an English summer.) I’m sitting here feeling stupid, because I got ready to go out to a gig, before noticing on the ticket that it’s actually tomorrow night, (which is now last Saturday night) and not this evening, (which then was last Friday night, obviously). I’m sitting here wondering why it took me 20 minutes to locate my wallet tonight (i.e. last Friday night), only to find it was laying in the middle of the floor in the living room. I’m sitting here wondering if this is the start of Alzheimer’s. Then again, I’m sitting here remembering that I’ve been a multi-tasking wizard at work this week, (by which I mean last week, although I’ve been pretty good this week too), despite my in-built gender limitations. I’m now sitting here thinking I’m suffering from some sort of hormone imbalance. I’m sitting here wondering why I read medical stuff online too. Is that all clear? I hope so, because it’s all pretty serious stuff, a bit like this movie.
It’s hard not to take a film like this seriously, especially when the rape scene was filmed in the same house where the director/writer was raped herself at around the same age as the character in the movie. I doubt that’s a technique described in many self-help books. This could have been a truly great film. It does manage to be a really good film, but it didn’t quite achieve that final leap to amazingness. Some scenes really worked well and I got a proper emotional reaction from watching them. But others were comparatively lifeless and I started thinking that they weren’t very realistic either. Unfortunately, because I need to take this movie seriously, I can’t really mention that the nearest it has to a hero, Chuck, drives a Volvo. Dear me, I’m really not in the mood to write this tonight. There’s lots of really interesting stuff I could say about this film, but I’m just too emotionally detached from it right now. I’ve got a bit of a headache too; I’ve just taken a pain-killer, which I hardly ever do. Your sympathy is appreciated. Oh, I couldn’t find a proper trailer for it anywhere either, so I’ve settled for an excerpt of one of its more interesting scenes. Well it’s got some singing, swearing and violence in it anyway.
Getting the music right in a film which relies on it as a major plot element is never an easy thing to do. In this case they’ve gone for a ‘lead song’ that sounds really like the Beau Brummels 1965 hit “Just a Little”. (Which I just happen to have an advanced pressing of, where the title etc is written by hand on the label.) This isn’t a bad choice, as it gives it an ethereal, timeless quality that works well in the context of its subject matter. The rest of the soundtrack is pretty good too. A lot was written and performed by Sonic Youth.
Recommended for musicians, band managers, journalists and Volvo drivers.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Under the circumstances, the fact that Sherry didn’t end up wanting to do something very nasty to Owen is pretty badass. In fact her whole reaction to his news seemed a bit subdued.
The streets are filled with death and destruction. Ruthless drug traffickers prey upon the poor, the lonely, the helpless. LA is a city desperate for deliverance… until now! Charles Bronson returns as Paul Kersey, the original urban vigilante and one-man demolition force in this pulse-pounding, take-no-prisoners thriller! Two rival drug gangs have a death-grip on LA’s battle-torn inner city. But their brutal reign of terror is about to come to a violent end. One man is out to avenge the cocaine-induced death of his girlfriend’s teenage daughter. His name is Paul Kersey – and he’s armed, dangerous… and mad as hell!
1987 – Certificate: R – American Film
6.0 out of 10
The unseasonal run of warm days we’ve been having recently has put an unprecedented strain on reserves of cold drinks in Cactus World. In fact I’ve run out of normal soft drinks and the things I only drink in an emergency, like bitter lemon and ginger ale, have been in the fridge so long they’ve all frozen solid. I tried opening one this afternoon, but so much pressure had built up in the bottle that the contents started to explode everywhere; in fact I read this evening that earlier today America had briefly gone to DEFCON 1, as some military satellite had mistaken my attempts to get something cold to drink as a ballistic missile launch. I think it’s all okay now though. Fortunately, I also found some old bottles of Bacardi Breezer (Pineapple) in the back of the fridge that the alcohol had stopped from freezing. It tasted okay(ish), considering it was two years past its Best Before date. I also have to report the good news that the far worse scenario of there being a shortage of cold, alcoholic drinks, is not presently a concern.
Before we had mega-budget screen superheroes and nutters like Martin Riggs cleaning up urban scum, we had Paul Kersey. The original street-level vigilante, here’s a chap who reluctantly goes off on his own and sorts out bad guys. In many ways he’s a lot like Batman, a tortured soul who’s lost the ones he cares for most; except he’s not especially fit and strong, isn’t a billionaire and doesn’t have a flash car, cave, computer, utility belt or butler. Then again, he does use guns and he hasn’t got an annoying sidekick either. Last time we saw him, he was busy helping disadvantaged communities in New York become more resilient. This time he’s back in America’s other city, Los Angeles, sorting out corrupt police and drug barons; you know, the usual stuff architects deal with. Scarcely have I recovered from seeing Lieutenant Commander Chakotay turn up in “Night of the Comet” when along comes Lieutenant Commander Tuvok in “Death Wish 4”. Clearly working under cover for Starfleet in some sort of time-travel paradox, he inadvertently gives some drugs to some dumb bimbo, who promptly kills herself with them. She just happens to be the daughter of Charles Bronson’s latest love interest too. In another interesting parallel with “Star Trek” I would say it was at least as deadly being a friend of Paul Kersey, as it is wearing a red shirt as a member of a landing party. There’ve been five Death Wish films and nearly all of his ‘nearest and dearest’ have ended up being raped and/or murdered. You do see Bronson take out Tuvok’s car with a grenade in an underground garage, but I’m pretty sure I saw him being beamed out just before it exploded. Tuvok could’ve easily stunned them all with his phaser, but he probably didn’t want to contaminate the time-line or such like. I watched the hardcore, uncut version, not the old, UK cut one with its missing 54 seconds. Because of that I’d have probably turned into a serial killer by now, if it wasn’t for the fact that it was also a pan and scan version too, so half of it was missing. I hate it when they do that. It was mono as well.
There’s not a great deal of music in this movie and what there is has a tendency to sound like a reject from The Terminator. The theme music is horrible though; some nasty saxophone-heavy garbage that sounds like it escaped from an obscure, 70s porn VHS.
Recommend for architects, vigilantes, would-be superheroes and anyone who might make friends with Paul Kersey. And a warning to the latter; DON’T DO IT!
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations. However, someone does sort of explode into nothing after having a grenade fired into him. And you thought The Terminator came up with that one first?
Top badass moment? Dumb question. Charles Bronson IS badass. And when someone asks, “who the fuck are you?” and you simply reply (after a tension building pause), “death”, that’s badass too. And keeping a M203 grenade launcher attached to a M16 assault rifle in a cupboard behind your fridge is badass too.
In a riveting performance that won him 1993’s Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actor, Anthony Wong (“Hard Boiled”) stars as the owner/chef of the Eight Immortals Restaurant, where the original owner and his family mysteriously disappear. As the police, led by Danny Lee (“The Killer”), intensify their investigation, they gradually uncover the shocking truth. Definitely not for the squeamish, “The Untold Story” is also an intelligent character study filled with dark humour touches. And remember… it actually happened!
1992 – Certificate: Not Rated – Hong Kong Film
Rating Details: Scenes of extreme violence and graphic sexual situations
6.5 out of 10
In the late 80s I stopped eating Birds Eye Potato Waffles. This is because I got really bad food poisoning from them, twice in a row. I can still remember it quite vividly. I think it’s the last time I took time off work through being physically ill. They’re the only thing that’s ever given me food poisoning, as far as I can remember. A few months ago I decided to try them again. The good news was, no sickness or diarrhea etc, a promising start. (I don’t recommend trying to microwave them though, the results aren’t especially satisfactory.) Now, these are potato waffles; they’re probably one of the Bird Eye brand’s ‘signature products’. On the side of the packaging is a marketing highlight which proudly proclaims, “Made with REAL potatoes”. What the fuck? Potato waffles and they’re actually made with potatoes; surely not? Is that really the best thing they can come up with? It doesn’t bode well for the rest of the product if that’s the highlight. This also left me wondering what exactly is an unreal potato. The packaging also goes on to say each 100g of waffles is made with 109g of potatoes. Really? I guess an understanding of particle physics is helpful if you want to enjoy Birds Eye Potato Waffles; it must be all that ‘new physics’ stuff again. Personally, I’d rather know that all the potatoes used are grown within 40 miles of the factory where they make them, which is what it says on its web site; I think that’s much more worthy. Has our food become so crap these days that the fact it contains what you’d expect it to contain has become such a big deal that it needs bragging about? (Oh, I forgot about all the horse burgers.) Birds Eye in Europe is presently owned by private equity group Primira. One of its 11 Business Principles is “Comply with both the letter and the spirit of all applicable laws, regulations and contractual obligations”. I guess that’s why it has its finance team based on Guernsey; nothing to do with its tax haven status then? This film features a restaurant and food that makes people sick; and dead.
Never released in the UK, Anthony Wong plays a restaurant owner called Wong Chi-Hang and it’s worth tracking down a copy of this film for his performance alone. The guy has some serious, anger management issues. When he’s not feeding his clientele with the ground-up remains of people he’s killed, raping his staff, beheading children or cheating at Mah Jong, he’s being beaten up by various people, generally the police or the relatives of those he’s murdered. For a pretty gruesome and dark film that’s basically about a serial killer, the police are presented as only a few steps above the Keystone Cops. The senior detective and his team investigating the case don’t seem to do a lot of work, they continually belittle the only woman in the team, they happy beat up poor old Anthony with the least provocation and the senior detective nearly always has a prostitute with him at work. It’s not often you can have any sympathy for a serial killer, but he’s clearly a product of his environment; well, sort of. Set in Macau, this film is meant to be based on a real crime too. It’s a bloody horror with the occasional bit of almost slapstick comedy; very watchable if you can deal with all that.
This film has a fair amount of background music, much of which is clearly inspired by the “Psycho” ‘shower scene’. You’ll not want to watch this film for the music.
Recommended for catering students, the police and anyone who’s crap at Mah Jong.
No cats or chainsaws and three decapitations; two of the latter were after they were dead though. It’s not often you see a child have her head cut off in a film…
Top badass moment? In the middle of cutting a load of people up, it was good to see Anthony Wong take time out to sharpen the meat cleaver he was using. (He forgot to wear safety goggles or gloves whilst using the grinder though.) No wonder he was so pissed off when the cutting edge got damaged soon after. (Maybe he sharpened the blade too finely for cutting bones; or perhaps he hit the floor with it by mistake?) Caring about your tools, even if you’re a serial killer, is good practice and therefore badass. They do say a blunt tool is more dangerous than a sharp one.
Eager for one final vacation before their lives change forever, six friends embark upon a camping trip to a remote mountainous area. By nightfall, their lives will change forever… in ways too horrific to imagine. For in the shadows awaits a pack of the most evil, vicious rejects of humanity, addicted to violence and thirsty for blood! This is “Psycho Holocaust”…
2011 – Certificate: Not Rated – USA
6 out of 10
I’m not just an uncouth, middle-aged yobbo, who only listens to angry punk music and watches slasher movies. No, I also have a cultured, respectable side, the sort that The Queen would be entirely at home with. In proof, I offer up the fact that I’ve just finished reading “The Hand of Ethelberta” by Thomas Hardy, not for the first time either. In between reading Star Trek novels I read Thomas Hardy ones. The latter is of course, the greatest writer the world has ever seen. In fact I’m a fully paid-up member of the Thomas Hardy Society. That’s how cultured I am. Unlike “The Terminator” Sara Connor’s “No fate but what we make”, Hardy’s novels generally provide more of a ‘fate will do whatever it wants with you, despite your best efforts to do otherwise, and you probably won’t like it either’ point of view. Even though it’s one of Hardy’s more light-weight stories, “The Hand of Ethelberta” once again provides us with a reminder that it’s basically pointless trying to do something about your lot in life, or dream about bettering yourself. When it comes down to it, you might win a few battles, but the war will be lost. I find Hardy an excellent counter-balance to the optimism and can-do attitude prevalent in Star Trek. Together, they help to keep me grounded! This movie is more Thomas Hardy than Star Trek.
“Six friends embark upon a camping trip to a remote mountainous area” eh? I wonder what on Earth this film could be about? Ornithology? Geology? Photography? Actually, it features three veterans of the conflict in Iraq, in a searing and damming documentary about the effects of combat on individuals and the political implications of going to war. Okay, I lied a bit. It does indeed feature three veterans (and one was a documentary film maker), but then it all sort of goes where a million low-budget horrors have gone before. In its favour, our six ‘heroes’ weren’t teenagers and even the three war veterans displayed a clear lack of fantasy indestructibleness. (Cool, a six-syllable word that Word approves of.) The latter also exhibited a genuine concern for their local environment, (an attractive woodland). It was heartening to see a couple of sick and twisted psychos busy taking two of their victims off to a location to kill them in, discussing an impending plan to turn the area into “one big fucking suburb”. A small quirk of fate and they’d have been running about, carrying out direct action in the name of Earth First instead. That’s the ‘Hardy Effect’ for you. The violence is well up to scratch and some (though not all) of the special effects are generally pretty believable. The lead baddie is suitably effective and entertaining, even though he did look a little too like Simon Pegg to be totally convincing. I kept expecting him to pick up a pile of LPs and use them as weapons. Despite the occasionally horrific bit of acting, the film works well as a B-movie and the violence scores highly on the official sick-gross-eew scale. Turning to health and safety now, a number of different tools get used in the film, including two carpenter’s saws, a claw hammer, a few hand axes, a double-headed axe and a sort of flat bladed butcher’s hatchet, as well as a chainsaw. By and large, these were used in a generally appropriate and certainly effective way, although the arm that was cut off wasn’t really secured properly and the no-handed use of one of the saws isn’t a formally recognised technique. (You may wish to give that some further though.) Unfortunately, as is often the case, the chainsaw was used with little or no attention paid to safety. I couldn’t see any PPE in use and even an idiot must surely realise that running about in a woodland carrying a running chainsaw, over uneven terrain full of trip hazards, isn’t a terribly good idea. It never fails to amaze me how few chainsaw wielding psychos use their equipment safely. Particularly in this case, considering the latter were ex-military; this was disappointing and certainly made the whole movie feel a lot less realistic. However, it did seem to start really easily, from both hot and cold, so at least it looks like it was being maintained properly, which is promising.
1 cat, 1 chainsaw and 1 decapitation. Bingo! The first film I’ve watched for ages that gets a full set. (I think the cat was just a bystander that ran onto the set though.) There’re a few other rather painful amputations too.
Recommended for would-be psychos. An excellent training film.
Top badass moment? It’s certainly a gentleman’s leg-crossing moment, but Laura’s treatment of her would-be rapist was pretty awesome; I’m just not sure how feasible it would be in real life (so says Mr. Modest-Bigboy). It wasn’t that she’d had an especially good day up to then either. A whipping, a drowning, another rape, a bashing on the head with a big rock and finding her boyfriend missing a leg, (who then promptly fell on her when she tried to help him, trapping her), do not a good day make for anyone. And let’s not forget her safe and effective use of the double-headed axe too.
This is a film about a young girl who overcomes great adversity. Whereas I’m a sad old bloke who’s got a cold right now and can’t be bothered to even try to do anything about it. Let the fiery depths of Hell take me; at least it’ll be warm there.
2008 – Certificate: R – USA
Rating Details: Disturbing sexual assault of a young girl, and brief sexuality
You know they often say that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, or that something often acts as a catalyst to help others achieve more together than apart? Well whatever the opposite of those is, applies to this drama. It looks good and the acting is great, but somehow the story and script didn’t really work for me; I guess it’s one of those films that takes too many of its cues from its setting; in this case the southern states of the US in the 50s, a time and place I can’t readily relate to. From what I saw in this film, it was pretty crap anyway and I’m glad I don’t know it. I like films that utilise music as a component in the plot and this one uses Elvis Presley and The Blues to decent effect; and there I was, thinking the Wasted and One Direction represented the pinnacle of popular music. I did enjoy seeing a dysfunctional family again too, it’s been a while since I’ve come across one in a film. Dakota Fanning, who plays Lewellen, the young girl, really does an amazing job with the role; the film is worth seeing for that alone. Her singing is pretty impressive too. I was also stuck by the number of times objects just happened to be in the right place to save someone or other’s blushes; I’ve not seen so many strategically placed house plants etc since the Austin Powers movies. The biggest letdown was the script; the characterisation was excellent, yet I felt I had to fill in too many gaps in the plot; maybe it’s my cold, but some important things just seemed to pass me by. I suppose that makes it a film for clever people, not like me. This is also a film that’s famous for one particular scene, where Lewellen is horribly raped by a milkman. It really isn’t that graphic or anything, but I suppose the idea of what’s happening and the fact that it looks very real on the screen does give it a great deal of power. The second half of the film wouldn’t really work without it either. Also, if you don’t like snakes, this is a film to give a miss; there’re a lot of them in it.
Recommended for intelligent people who aren’t going to freak out over ‘that’ scene.
No cat, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Charles, Lewellen’s unofficial mentor. Despite his slightly unhinged view of the world, which is probably a result of his hanging out with too many snakes, he does represent just about the only character in the whole film that’s able to move things forward. Anyone with that much belief in the power of music has to be badass.
My ability to remain busy doing nothing never fails to amaze me. It’s not that I’m lazy or procrastinate a lot (well not often anyway), but time seems to just vanish at far too fast a rate for my taste. They say time appears to go more quickly as you get older, which makes me feel really ancient. Take today for example. I got up quite late (okay around 10:30) and feel as if I haven’t stopped all day. Yet a glance around the room makes me realise that I’ve spent nearly 12 hours doing absolutely nothing. It’s not that I think I’ve wasted my time, it’s just that I can’t see the results of anything I’ve done, or remember doing anything that took even remotely like 12 hours to do. All I’ve done is get up, cook lunch, take a photo, buy a few DVDs, write a posting in an online forum and answer a few online questionnaires. I’ve no idea how I’ve managed to make that last 12 hours, especially as I know I didn’t spend any longer on any of those things than I actually needed to. I think at the weekend I somehow get transferred into another dimension, where time goes more quickly. (To be fair the same thing happens during the week too, when I’m at work and never have enough time to do what I want.) Maybe I’m just slow, period. How normal people with normal lives cope with everything I’ll never know. This movie features ‘something’ from another plane of existence; but I swear it’s not me.
1981 – Certificate: 18 – USA
Rating Details: Language; Infrequent, Strong. Sex/Nudity: Occasional, Strong. Violence: Occasional, Strong. Other: Horror, Sexual Assault
This is a genuinely great horror film. It was one of the first horror DVDs I bought and is probably in my Top Ten horrors of all time. And despite it going all a bit “Ghostbusters” at one point, it remains genuinely scary and horrifying. It also has one of those classic bits of horror music, which in this case is little more than the same chord played over and over again, but the ugly violence of the sound really enhances the scenes it’s used in to up their impact. The movie is based on what’s claimed to be real incidents in someone’s life, which gives it a bit of an unpleasant edge too. Barbara Hershey is great as our hero Carla Moran. She convincingly portrays a whole range of emotions really well. She also manages to vary her appearance too, from sexy and determined through to vulnerable and beaten. Sadly, time hasn’t been so kind to the special effects, which definitely look dated now; the wobbly ice-cube thing near the end really has past its sell-by date. It’s not the sort of film I can watch and then feel comfortable going into another room after, without quickly switch on the light. However, the scariest thing of all is Doctor Phil Sneiderman, the psychiatrist who Carla goes to see. He’s stalker-like attraction to Carla is pretty weasel-like; eew! You expect poltergeists’ behavior to be kind of strange, but not your doctor’s. What a weirdo. I can’t imagine this film won’t be ‘reimagined’ at some point in the near future.
Recommended for fans of high quality, scary horror.
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.
Top badass moment? Has to be Carla Moran’s “I’ve finished running” monologue. When you’ve got a supernatural being wanting to rape you, you’re trapped in a building with big containers of liquid helium suspended over your head and your bathed in stupid red lights and wailing sirens (courtesy of some dodgy scientists’ entirely superfluous “emergency mode” lighting), then calling the invisible baddie a bastard at that moment has got to be badass. I think it probably just pissed him off though.
Today I bought myself a Zyliss Swivel Peeler! It has a chunky, ergonomic handle designed to fit comfortably in the palm, whilst the hardened steel blade gives it long-lasting performance. (I’ve got the black and white version, but they make a green one too; the colours are apparently inspired by nature.) It also has a sharp steel tip for the removal of blemishes and de-eyeing; just how fucking cool is that? It comes with a 5 year guarantee as well. I tried it on a potato tonight and OMG, it was like being let loose in a Bugatti EB 16.4 Veyron Super Sport (the world’s fastest production car) on a race track, after spending years in Reading’s rush-hour traffic in a Fiat Doblo (the car with the worst acceleration that’s currently available to buy in the UK; 0-60 in 21 seconds). I was in potato heaven. That’s worth £8 of anyone’s money. Anyway, my Zyliss Swivel Peeler is a product of Swiss “precision design”, made by a German company in China; but hey, it’s distributed in the UK, so that probably means we’re at the top of the potato peeler food chain… This movie is pure Australian and isn’t at the top of anything.
2009 – Certificate: Not Rated – Australia
This film was shot entirely in an old shed, in Australia, at night. It features a group of five young ladies who’ve decided to take revenge on a guy who’s been abusing one of them for years. He’s described and shown as having absolutely no redeeming features whatsoever; (cue not very funny feminist joke about all men fitting this description). The only real bit of social commentary in the film is a brief conversation about that fact that he doesn’t realise he’s done anything very wrong, which could have led somewhere a bit more interesting; but this is quickly thrown aside in an effort to get back to the ‘action’. Unfortunately, most of the ‘action’ consists of the group moralising over what it’s doing, rather than simply just doing it. Yes I want to do it, no I don’t want to do it… in the end I didn’t really care one way or the other. The acting wasn’t going to gain itself many Oscar nominations either. I did briefly start to feel sorry for Kat when she was describing how her life had been messed up, but most of the time I couldn’t care less about any of them. Once or twice the acting became so bad that I started to feel sorry for the actors themselves, rather than the characters. I have this film on Blu-ray. I think it’s the worst looking Blu-ray disc I’ve ever watched. I’m not sure if it was just filmed badly, or the crappiness was deliberately added post-production to give it a more ‘authentic, gritty’ feel, but it’s horrible. The sleeve even manages to get the sound mix hopelessly wrong; there’s nothing Dolby Surround 7.1 about this film. (Can you even get Dolby Surround 7.1 on consumer discs? I think not. “Toy Story 3” was the first film with Dolby Surround 7.1 sound and that didn’t come out until June 2010, the year after this film was released.) At its most gruesome, this movie does make you (guys anyway) want to cross your legs, very, very tightly, but most of the time you’ll just be getting angry because of the quality of the picture, the crappy lighting and all the moralising going on. The masks that are worn at one point will also baffle even the most astute viewer. (Really, what were they for?) Australia also appears to have the world’s most ineffective police force too. Sure, they turn up, but the time it took them to get into the shed was pitiful. Don’t expect anything much in the way of special effects either; it’s really not an especially gory film, although it does have its moments, just not very many of them. I did start to feel that the person who was suffering the most was me. It could have been a good film, but it ends up lost somewhere between torture porn and thriller and not in a good place either. “What happens in the barn stays in the barn.” I wish. And finally, the scene where a knife is sharpened on a sharpening stone uses entirely the wrong technique; all what was shown would achieve is to blunt the knife and trust me, it really needed to be sharp for what it got used for.
Recommended for people who want to experience real pain when viewing a film; just not the same sort of pain that’s on-screen.
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws. It does however feature someone called Kat; and there’s an amputation too. Looks really nasty.
Top badass moment? Well I guess this has to be Crystal and her strap-on. In a film with all the lighting and colour subtlety of the inside of a metal dustbin, with the lid on it, that bright splash of pink was very welcome.
One of the things that’s always puzzled me about trees is that you chop them down and then you chop them up. What’s all that about then? This film features no scenes in which trees play a significant part, (although one does have what you might call an important ‘supporting role’ at one point); there is, nevertheless, quite a lot of chopping up going on in it.
2007 – Certificate: R – USA
Rating Details: Violence (including rape), sexual content, language and substance abuse all involving teens
When I was 17/18, I spent most of my time either trying to learn things, or talking to my best mates, Jacob and Simon, about music and stuff. It’s true, sometimes life wasn’t much fun, but I don’t recall anyone being branded the “school slut” or any murders taking place amongst the school population. I guess everything really is bigger and, eh, ‘better’ in America. Despite the sometimes weak acting, this is a generally fun horror to watch. It’s especially fun if you like to see the clever, quiet girl at school (called Michelle in this example) get abused and then branded as the “School Slut”, before she takes revenge on her tormentors by killing them off, one by one; I know I do. I have to say I could see her point, bullies are bad. Her mum was the mother-from-hell too, with the film providing us with a master-class in how to be a bad parent. If I was Michelle I’d had dealt with her at the same time; in for a penny in for a pound as they say. Angelique Hennessy (Michelle) puts in a decent performance, some of the time anyway; but in truth all she really needs to do is look foxy (which she does) and let her unfeasibly long legs do the acting for her. (Why the cover art on the DVD doesn’t even seem to feature her, I have no idea.) She’s vegan too according to IMDB (the actress not the character), so as far as I’m concerned that means Michelle was just getting rid of a few carnivores, so we should all be thankful to her for that. What this film does do well is take its time giving the main characters personalities that aren’t all a carbon copy of one another and seem more like real people with real motivations, before the inevitable blood-bath starts up. It made watching them die more enjoyable! Oh yes, the main male character Aaron, looks an awful lot like Tim Wheeler from Ash, which was decidedly weird. On a technical note, it features a Dolby Digital 5.0 soundtrack. Where’d the base channel go? It did have a distinctly scratchy sound and would probably send any dogs unfortunate enough to hear it into a rage. By the way, don’t watch this and expect it to be very realistic, it will just spoil it for you if you do.
No cats or chainsaws, but 1 decapitation. The latter a one-swipe classic with a machete, in a full Jason Voorhees outfit. Excellent!
You know what sort of characters are featured in this film; you know what they get up to; so you know exactly the sort of demographic it’s recommended for.
Top badass moment? It was good to see Michelle, even during her killing spree, was taking the time to continue with her studies. A good education is very important and therefore badass; after all, you can’t be a serial killer forever.
Yesterday I drove for two and a half hours, then spent three hours teaching three people how to drive a minibus, then spent another two and a half hours sitting in a minibus watching them drive it, then drove for another two and a half hours home. Yesterday the world seemed to be full of idiots driving cars, and I’m not referring to the learners who I was with either. At one point on the way home I was driving along a bit of dual carriageway and slowly catching a yellow car up. I don’t generally drive that fast, rarely more than 60 m.p.h., as I want to give myself the illusion that somehow I’m doing my bit to save the planet whilst simultaneously driving nearly 1,000 miles a month. Anyway, I pulled out to overtake the yellow car. As I passed it and looked in my mirror to see if I could go back into the inside lane, I noticed it had speeded up. I ended up doing over 80 with this fucking asshole still playing stupid buggers next to me. After having had to put up with so many other cretins on the roads yesterday, something snapped inside. I jerked the steering wheel to the left and hit the yellow car, forcing it off the road and down an embankment into a field, where I think it hit a tree or something and burst into flames. I’m not sure what happened to the driver and I don’t care as long as it hurt; I didn’t bother to stop and check what had happened to him. What a selfish bastard he was too, as I’ve now I’ve got a dent in my car to explain away and get fixed. It’s a jungle out there on the roads. (Just like Dennis Weaver in Steven Spielberg’s classic “Dual”, I never really got a good look at my protagonist.) Well, okay that only happened in my mind, but the intent (if not the guts) was there. In fact what did happen is that I gave up trying to overtake the yellow car and humiliatingly went back to 60 m.p.h. behind it. However, as cars, driving and men are inextricably linked to the latter’s sexual prowess and I failed to overtake the yellow car, I think I’m probably impotent now. He, on the other hand, is probably making his first porn movie even as I type this. Great! In a similar way, this film is about a young woman with intimacy issues.
2003 – Certificate: 18 – United Kingdom
I think the makers of this film started off wanting to make a serious torture porn movie but then got fed up with the idea and decided a comedy slasher/thriller would be a much better idea. Otherwise why suddenly introduce a bizarre sub-plot involving Siamese twins and then another one about a bank robbing stripper? It’s original, I’ll give it that. It suffers from some of the worst acting I’ve ever seen, yet at other times it’s really okay. Fiona Horsey (the lead character) is a bit of a babe; (am I still allowed to say stuff like that)? All the men in the film are portrayed as perverts, deviants, weirdos, rapists, sociopaths and murderers; the woman don’t do a lot better either, but the guys really do get a bit of a hammering. Ultimately it’s an entertaining movie, simply because it’s so ridiculous. I did feel a bit sorry for Helen, no one is that unlucky with men. Most of it was filmed on the Isle of Wight too.
Recommended for someone; not sure who, but someone.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations. However, plenty of men do, em, ‘disappear’ inside Helen, totally.
Top badass moment? In a film filled with characters that are simultaneously both pathetic and horrible, there’s not a terribly large choice. So I guess it has to be Helen, for simply putting up with so much shit. They say dealing with it well makes you a stronger person.
Using words like “Games”, “Two Thousand and Twelve”, “2012” or “Twenty-Twelve”, in association with the words “London”, “Medals”, Sponsors”, “Summer”, “Gold”, Silver” or ”Bronze”, is apparently illegal under the 2006 Olympic Act. So I’d just like to say that my comments here are the Official Pointless Whinging London Summer Olympics 2012 Gold Medal winning ones. I bet that will piss off McDonald’s and Visa no end. What’s with all this Official nonsense anyway? Don’t these companies care that the rest of the word is pissing itself laughing at them, as if anyone else gives a damm? I guess not, as (for example) everyone within 10,000 miles of an Olympic event will be forced to buy chips (sorry “fries” I mean) from the scary clown, because no one else is allowed to sell any portions of chips on their own. (Not that the fries McDonalds sells share any real similarities with proper chips anyway; it’s just that I hate the idea of lots of first-time visitors to England getting the wrong idea about what is actually our biggest contribution to the world’s classic foods.) I guess I now know what all those missiles and RAF jets are for, to enforce the “No Chips Unless They’re From McDonald’s Exclusion Zone” around the Olympics. You walk into that area with a bag from the local chippy and you’re likely to get targeted by a smart bomb. (I wonder who’s the supplier of the Official Dog Turd to the Olympics? Oh, I’ve just noticed, it McDonald’s again, it’s on the menu, 99p; actually that’s pretty good value when you think about it, as it comes with a side salad and a plastic toy if you’re over 4.) It’s like living in some sort of mythical, hard-line communist state, where you have no choice and ‘everything’ is provided for you, which is a bit ironic considering where McDonald’s came from in the first place. With about as much credibility and connection to the truth as Official Olympic stuff has to the amazing abilities of the athletes competing there, this film claims to be “the most brutal movie ever made”. Well, let’s peak in and find out…
2005 – Certificate: Not Rated – USA
I’d just like to start by saying that I watched this film on 13th July 2012, the day one of the actors in it, Sage Stallone, sadly died. Poor guy. So anyway, this horror pretty much follows the normal routine; two young women go off into the woods and bad stuff happens to them. If you don’t like films like this, then nothing else in it is going to make up for that fact and you’ll hate it; it’s pretty gross stuff. A lot of people seem to object to the fact that the bad guy (Chaos) gets away with it in the end, but that’s life. Baddies often get away with a lot in real life before (sometimes) getting their comeuppance. The picture quality of the DVD I watched was really good and some of the acting and the effects weren’t bad either. The script was a bit dodgy at times and the ending, while quite a lot of ‘fun’, was a bit bizarre. The police (let’s call them cops so as to differentiate them from the good old British Bobby), are portrayed as hugely racist and somewhat ineffectual. But the two young actresses in it and Kevin Gage (Chaos) put in pretty convincing performances, including the more harrowing scenes. I’d quite like to see Chaos again, he’s one sick bastard. So is it “the most brutal movie ever made”? Well how on earth should I know? Do you think I’ve watching every single film ever made? Do you think I own some sort of Official Brutal Movie measuring device? Of course not. Those are being provided by Samsung as part of the Summer Olympics, so I’m not allowed to have one. Finally, I can’t finish without commenting on the “rave” mentioned in the Overview. From what you get to see and hear of it, this has to be The most disappointing party of all time. Things really are slow in the sticks in America.
No cats, no decapitations and one chainsaw. The chainsaw was used in a somewhat unconvincing attempt by the father of one of the women to fight Chaos. I’d stick to cutting up logs in the garden mate, if I was you.
Recommended for people who want to watch a sick bastard torture and kill just about everyone else. Oh, I guess they include me then; how embarrassing. Someone on IMDB said “These movies are made for one audience – psychotic future and current serial killers, rapists, and other vile humans. I wish movies, and the audience members who enjoy this crap would all instantly combust in flames and burn for eternity.” I wonder if the writer of that saw the irony in it?
Top badass moment? Justine’s (Deborah Lacey) last stand at the end. Entirely futile, but that’s what makes it so badass. I just hope she got some small satisfaction from knowing she’d been right all along.
By the way, I really couldn’t find a trailer in English anywhere; it seems only the Germans were honoured with one, so here it is.
I seem to have developed some sort of repetitive strain injury in my left shoulder and arm. For the past five weeks they’ve been sore, but there’s no sign of any swelling and the pain tends to move about from day to day. I’ve actually lost a lot of the strength in my arm too, as a result of trying not to use it too much. In fact I’m going to go and see the doctor in the next week or two if it doesn’t improve. I always though as a conservationist, that one day I’d be shot by poachers, angry at my preventing them from harvesting elephant tusks, freeze to death whilst heroically planting one too many trees up a frozen mountain somewhere, or be poisoned by the ultra-rare and ultra-venomous bunga-woonga jungle snake that I was fighting to protect from extinction; (I made that name up by the way as a sort of plot contrivance to keep things moving here, so don’t bother Googling it). Sadly I seemed to have been ‘taken out’ by driving to too many meetings and writing too many e-mails. I guess this makes me a bit of a geek; but without the ‘clever attribute’; or the looks for that matter.
1992 – Certificate: Not Rated – Japan
This is another slightly bonkers Japanese film and the first in a loosely connected trilogy with the overall tagline “human beings are garbage”. Nice. Despite this, it’s more of a thriller than a horror, with a little comedy and romance thrown in too. The story sort of makes sense, but there’re plenty of blatant “but what about the…” moments in it too. Three young guys become friends after witnessing a random murder at a level crossing. They decide to hold a party, (well doesn’t everyone after witnessing a bloody, multiple stabbing of a schoolgirl)? They all try to find a woman to take to the party to impress the others, but only one manages to find someone; of the other two, one ends up handcuffed to fence by a prostitute (well I think she was one anyway) and the other gets so nervous that he’s sick on his would-be date, which rather puts her off going with him for some reason. Anyway, the lucky guy is on his way to the party with his date when they get attacked by a gang and of course she ends up dead. Well the new friends all get together to track down the baddies, which results in some suitably nasty shotgun action and some general all-around unpleasantness. The best/worst things to watch out for are the rather bizarre, entirely over-the-top maniacal laughter that most of the characters seemed to insist on emitting when they’re doing something particularly, em, maniacal; and the guy who plays the young geek (he’s the one that was sick on his date-to-be), who really does look and act like everyone’s idea of a Japanese geek. Great stuff. The music, when used, is surprisingly effective too. In a technical sense, my DVD of this film was pretty awful. The picture quality wasn’t very good (very over-exposed and washed out) and the sound was even worse. Not only was it mono, but the centre of the sound-stage was located somewhere near my birthday cards, rather than in the centre of the TV screen. (The cards, all three of them, which even after nearly three weeks I’ve still got displayed, are located somewhere off to the left of the telly.) It’s surely not asking too much for the sound to seem vaguely focused near the picture, rather than adjacent to a cruel reminder of how many friends I don’t have?
Recommended for would-be-geeks who want to see the real deal in action; plus anyone who collects recordings of horror-movie laugher; I guess there aren’t a lot of the latter.
No cats and no decapitations.
Top badass moment? It has to be the guy in the car at the end, complete with maniacal laughter and Proclaimers style glasses. Weedy geeks fighting back is always badass. The moral being, never push a geek, because in movies they’ll always kick your ass in the end.
I’ve probably made thousands of journeys on the London Underground in my life, a lot of them early in the morning or late at night. I think I can say that I’ve never noticed anyone famous, seen any fights, heard a gun-shot or met any homicidal maniacs. I’ve met a small number of weirdos, but that’s about it. I’m always secretly impressed by people who seemingly see a politician or film star on the Underground nearly every week, have tales of gunman or knife-wielding hoddies to share, or who regularly get trapped for hours in tunnels on broken-down trains. Maybe it has something to do with my ability to put on an iPod and fall asleep in almost any location; to me, the Underground is basically an uncomfortable, mobile bed. It’s like sleeping in a communal dormitory, where half the people look as miserable as sin, wear suits and never speak, whilst the other half talk all the time (but never in English), wear a range of strange clothing (I guess it’s all in fashion somewhere in the world) and continually look with confusion at a pocket-sized map of the Tube. However, I love the Underground, it’s a great social leveler. It’s a place where everyone can share equally in its sweltering, fetid, humid, summer ambience; enjoy having their faces pushed into other peoples’ armpits; or try desperately not to end up standing in the middle of an aisle, miles away from the doors that they’ve got zero chance of getting to when they want to get off and where whoever’s sitting adjacent to where they’re standing will have an eye-level and close-up view of their crotch, whether they want to or not; (remember kids, don’t get ‘excited’ and always go to the toilet and check your undies for the dreaded VPL, before you travel). It’s another example of a great bit of British engineering! (The Tube, not crotches.)
2004 – Certificate: 18 – United Kingdom
Rating Details: Strong bloody violence
This is a pretty good horror. The London Underground has plenty of potential to provide a creepy environment in which to trap people and it’s cool to see it used in this way in a film. It does drift off into torture porn territory towards the end, but it’s still entertaining. There’s loads of unrealistic stuff in it too, but let’s not dwell on that, as it will only spoil an otherwise pretty good movie. It also does a good job of making you have some sympathy for the ‘baddie’ too. I do hope all the survivors got checked for Weil’s Disease afterwards; it would be shame to escape from everything, only to succumb to an unpleasant disease a few weeks late; that would really suck.
Recommended for Tube fans, commuters and people who enjoy swimming in sewerage. If you fall into all three groups, then you’re in for a real treat; and you’re one sick puppy too.
No cats and no decapitations. There were a lot of rats and some decent neck cutting scenes though.
Top badass moment? It really has to be Kate throughout most of the film. She has to try to save the life of a guy who tries to rape her, deal with unhelpful London Underground staff, swim around with rats in sewerage, watch several people get killed, deal with the baddie herself and then still have to get home afterwards. Shit happens; dealing with it is badass.
It’s good to explore the cultures of places far away. Doing this can help make us a lot more understanding of the views of others, better able to celebrate what we have in common and appreciate what makes us different, rather than simply go around labelling everyone else as foreigners and you know, ‘not like us’. Looking to fully play my part in this global exploration and to help reduce my own prejudices and ignorance, I’ve been spending the past few weeks finding out all about Japan and the Japanese, through the medium of film. First I watched “Kamikaze Girls” and discovered what it’s like to be a teenage Japanese girl in modern Japan. After that I watched “The Masked Girl” and found out what’s it’s like to be a Japanese superhero. Then finally I watched this film and came to understand the difficulties of being a young man in Japan, coping with a father who lacks parenting skills, (well two fathers actually). So my conclusion? Japan is, ‘interesting’. (Insightful stuff I know.) Actually Japanese films are great, because they have a whole, different set of characteristics to just about any other. I just wish I could relate to them more, but sadly my Western brain is just too limited to comprehend most of them; I must continue my studies further…
1979 – Certificate: Unrated – Japan
On some levels, this is a great, erotic thriller, with a wide range of suitably nasty, unpleasant and disturbing scenes. On the other hand, it’s pretty distasteful for exactly the same reasons. I didn’t really enjoy it that much, but I can appreciate it for what it is. It did feel a little like the writer had a tick-list of ‘shocking things you can include in films’ and was going to get through the whole lot, regardless of the results. Murder, kidnapping, rape, character assassination, incest, torture, Nazi worship, it’s all here; and I’ve no idea what the scene with the butter and the Alsatian was all about. At times it was a bit slow, but it does have a proper plot, is nicely filmed and in a technical sense looked excellent (considering its age and small budget). Tatsuya (the film’s main protagonist) really isn’t a very nice person! He’s a psycho playboy basically. Even before he turned nasty I hated him, he was far too intelligent, talented, attractive and rich for my liking; (not that I’m jealous or anything). With all his advantages and messed up childhood, he could easily have become Batman.
Recommended for people who like to watch challenging movies and twisted movies in general; or who’re used to exploring strange new worlds and seeking out new life and new civilisations. It’s probably not worth watching if you think “Brokeback Mountain” represents the worst extremes of depraved modern cinema.
No cats and no decapitations.
Top badass moment? Jun Yashioji (the pop singer) whacking Tatsuya over the head with a stool, in an effort to escape; (and it looked really solid on the screen too). Her singing was pretty terrible, but at least she made an attempt to get away. Somewhat tragic timing in the end, talk about being unlucky; even though she was a bit of a bitch I did feel sorry for her.