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.
The Olympic Opening Ceremony in London was amazing. I wasn’t even going to bother watching it, but then I thought it might be a bit interesting to see what they were going to do with some farm animals and all that grass in the middle of the stadium. Six hours later, I realised I’d witnessed a modern-day miracle. So many things could have gone wrong; all that technology, animals, kids, mechanics and volunteers, a recipe for disaster. I ended up feeling I was watching England playing football and waiting for the inevitable failure that would leave the country ridiculed by the rest of the world for the next 1,000 years. Actually I’ve no idea what the rest of the world really thought of it, but I think it was pretty spot on; it totally worked for me. I loved the narrative that ran through it and it was great to hear three of my favourite 50 all-time songs (by OMD, the Jam and the Sex Pistols) used. The part where the teams all parade around did go on for a bit, it was a little too like the voting section in the Eurovision Song Contest, which always seems never-ending. Highlights were the team (and I forget which county it was) that came out in wellies so brightly coloured they’d not even be allowed into the Glastonbury Festival; the Queen fiddling with her nails whist the rest of the stadium went mental as the GB Team appeared, (well I guess if you’ve just jumped out of a helicopter and parachuted into the stadium with a famous fictional character, your nails might get a bit messed up); a realisation that I’ve never even heard of half of the countries in the world, (which all seem to be volcanic atolls in the Pacific somewhere, not that it’ll matter once they all disappear under the waves thanks to Global Warming, courtesy of the rest of us); David Beckman just being himself; and the countries that had woman athletes competing for the first time, (2012, has it really taken this long)? Danny Boyle is a god. The whole thing was great. Unlike this movie…
1996 – Certificate: 18 – Japan
This movie is mostly rubbish. In fact it’s possibly the worst film I’ve watched this year, (so far). It makes little sense, it’s hard to follow what’s going on and the picture quality is crap. The special effects vary from okay to laughable and the rubbish acting has made me believe I would probably have a star-studded future on the stage, should I choose this path. The characters appear to behave almost entirely randomly; (did they use a dice to select which line goes where in the script)? I was glad I read the overview on the DVD cover, or I’d have been more lost than Jeremy Clarkson working as a fund-raiser for Sustrans. Even the yucky parts are mostly rendered ineffective by the murky, dingy and colourless picture. In its favour, it does however boast quite a high body count and it marginally improves during its second half. Then again, we’re not exactly starting from the top of the entertainment mountain here; actually having your organs removed would provide a step up in quality of life from watching it being done to others in this film. Oh God, I’m sitting here realising just how bad it was. I’m sure there’s a decent film lurking in there somewhere, but sadly it remained elusive. Not Japan’s finest moment.
No cats, no decapitations and no chainsaws. But there are quite a number of missing organs and limbs.
Recommend for any guys who want a cowardly way to dump their girlfriends. Just invite her around to watch this. She will quickly come to the duel conclusion that you are both sick in the head (but not in a good way) and have no idea of what constitutes a good film for an evening of romance and passion. Problem solved.
Top badass moment? This film features a guy searching for his missing brother and having to deal with an organised crime syndicate along the way, so I imagine there’s a badass moment somewhere in it. It’s just that I didn’t manage to spot it anywhere.
I share an office with ‘a non-UK national’; she’s Irish in fact. This afternoon she was sticking some stamps on an envelope. I of course reminded her of the importance of sticking them on straight, explaining that not doing so was an insult to the Queen and, especially in her Diamond Jubilee Year, would be considered treason. Then guess what, she not only stuck the last of three stamps on an envelope out of line with the other two, (itself a serious crime as it’s considered messing about with the Royal Mail), but put it on wonky, on purpose! I’ve no idea what to do now. If I don’t report it she will probably be caught anyway; then at the very least she’ll be deported, but I’ll probably be hanged at The Tower as an accessory to the crime. :-( (They’ve apparently bought the death penalty back especially for this year, for exactly this sort of anti-social, deviant behaviour.) If I do report it I’ll feel a bit mean, but at least I’ll be doing my civic duty and helping take a dangerous criminal off our streets.
What am I saying? What’s the number? 999?
Right now I’m listening to “Girl from Mars” by Ash.