Filed under: creativity | Tags: best horror movies, cheap horror movies, hollywood, horror, paranormal activity 2
There’s a fair bit of sequel snobbery being talked about PA 2.
“The original was made for £20 – this was £2 million and what’s the difference?” That sort of stuff. When really the answer is quite simple. The original was what it was; a super-creepy, lo fi masterpiece that was low on special effects and relatively high on fear, but not that much in the way of real jumps.
PA 2 whilst it cost more (but hey, £2m? hardly a fortune in cinema terms) also has very few special effects but has a lot more in the way of jumps. But much more significantly than this PA2 is unbelievably clever in the way that it takes the storyline of PA 1 and weaves around it a story that elucidates both parts 1 AND 2.
The jumps are largely stock in trade but they are played out beautifully and the movie is paced brilliantly. Once again Katie Featherstone and Micah Sloat convince with their unHolywood looks and performances and the introduction of Katie’s sister’s family is mostly convincing.
This is turning into a really great franchise. If PA3 (in theatres in October 2011) keeps it up (a big ask) it could even challenge the Godfather for consistency because Godfather 3 was naff.
Now before any of you think I am mad I am not saying PA1 and 2 compare to Godfather 1 and 2.
But let’s be honest few horror franchises to date have delivered their first two outings as consistently as this. Fingers crossed for part 3.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, movies | Tags: alberto iglesias, almodovar, antonio banderas, creepy, elena amaya, horror, pedro Almodovar, spanish movies, tinker tailor soldier spy, twisted
I’ve long admired Almodovar and it was with interest that I went to his his latest “horror” film. To describe it thus is most certainly to misappropriate a psychological study of sexuality because it is most certainly not a horror movie. Instead we see Antonio Banderas and Elena Anaya develop the most unlikely relationship you’ll see in a very long time.
Banderas is electric as the cool and calculated surgeon using Anaya (wow) as his human guinea pig to develop a new kind of indestructible skin as he grieves the death of his wife as a consequance of a car fire.
It’s pretty hard to cover much more of the plot for fear of spoiling what is a tremendous film with perhaps the best twist I’ve ever seen in a cinema. Almodovar is at his very best hear with an excellent supporting cameraman, Jose Luis Alcaine who makes the pictures zing from the digital screening that I was at.
Interestingly I saw Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy today as well and both were sound tracked by Alberto Iglesias. This one brilliantly, Tinker, Tailor lamentably.
Filed under: creativity, movies | Tags: alien movies, Attack the block, cloverfield, comedy mvies, District 9, Film 4, horror, humour, Joe cornish, monsters, sci fi, SHaun of the dead, Studio canal, Zombieland
I love Adam and Joe’s 6 Music show on a Saturday morning. It’s wickedly funny and brilliantly inventive in its humour, audience engaging and cod songwriting skits (Song Wars) so the notion of Joe Cornish writing and directing an Alien movie was intriguing, if difficult to predict what the outcome might be. But IMDB liked it so I went for it this afternoon.
The concept is built around what might happen if an alien invasion started in a council tower block scheme in South London and the band of brothers that inevitably unite to repel the invasion are a bunch of skanky kids and trainee villians.
It’s a nice elevator pitch, particularly when you throw in the fact that the only female in the posse is adopted, much against her will, after being held up and robbed by the bro’s in the opening scene of the film.
But I’m sorry to say it’s a bit of a curate’s egg if I’m honest.
The issue is that it can’t decide whether it’s a comedy (and if so would have been a challenger to Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland – and lost), a social commentary piece or a full-on monster movie (in which case it would be comparable to low budget shockers like Monsters, District 9 or Cloverfield – and lose to all three of them too).
In the event it’s all of these and none of them. And that’s the problem.
It’s partly let down by casting with most of the performances at best workmanlike and at worst either amateur (which I suppose most of the cast is) or caricaturised.
The special effects are really quite good, albeit done on a budget, but imaginatively so. In particular the monsters with their ultra-black bodies and fluorescent green teeth (nothing else) are a bit like honey monsters gone bad which gives them an air of the humorous but at times downright creepy.
I wanted to like this movie more and I suspect it’s Joe Cornish’s winning personality that has got him the funding for it and the, mostly, kind reviews.
But the truth is, it ain’t that great.
If you stumbled upon it on the telly I think you’d be pleasantly surprised but for a full ticket cinema admission it’s pushing its luck.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 1920s, 1977, 1980, 1983, abuse, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, children, crime, david peace, granta, horror, murder, pictures, police corruption, red riding, red riding quadrilogy, the ripper, thriller, yorkshire ripper
It’s a long time since I wrote about books here and that’s because I’ve been a long time reading this remarkable bunch of books.
Collectively they amount to around 1,200 paperback pages and each of the four novels has an overlapping but always quite different pool of characters.
Over the piece there are probably in excess of 100 significant characters that one needs to come to terms with in following the plot.
Then there’s David Peace’s style.
These are crime novels and one would expect them to crack along at a pace and that the only really issue for the reader would be to unravel the clues and spot the killer.
David Peace is one of Granta’s most highly regarded writers, regardless of genre, and that’s because he writes with style and elan. Part of the pleasure of this massive book (Let’s call it one book for convenience sake) is working his writing out.
Each book is individually structured.
Each structure is a clue in itself.
Each chapter in each book has a different (anti) hero.
And then there’s the subject.
The lighter side deals with the Yorkshire Ripper murders, the heavier with child murders.
The real issue though is the polis.
The British Police PR department presumably do not have any of these novels on their reading lists. Because the police come across as double crossing, conceited, evil scum. And yet many of the main protagonosts are the polis.
That’s why his writing is nothing short of challenging. Visceral, gut wrenching, brutal, shocking, calous, taboo-less.
There. That’s seven uncompromising (that’s eight now. Ed) words to describe his way.
Sympathy is not a word that readily springs to mind in David Peace’s world. Did you sympathise with Cloughie in his big seller, The Damned United?
No, this a world of damnation, wolfs, swans, angels, demons, rats, dragons…underground terror.
It’s a book about the underworld. Full stop.
It’s a book of genius.
I can’t even confess to have fully got the plot (maybe I’ve actually lost it having invested six months of my reading life into Peace’s mind) never mind the meaning but it has been a six month reading exercise that has enthralled, terrified and utterly engaged me from start to finish.
This book (in its totality) is an epic and quite remarkable literary achievement.
Few reading experiences have or will (since reading Cancer Ward by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn as a 17 year old) affect me quite so powerfully.
Now for something lighter.
Phil Adams recommended the Death Machine to me. I’m started on it.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, movies | Tags: Chloe Moretz, cloverfield, hollywod, horror, Kodi Smit McPhee, Let me in, let the right one in, love story, matt reeves, vampire, vampires
I am ashamed to say I have not yet seen the original Swedish version of this movie although it is on my list of to do’s for the very near future especially after seeing the Holywood remake which is in one hyphenated word.; Jaw-dropping.
From the very first frames it captivates you with every cinematic tool available. The scary bits are very scary, the photography stunning and the acting beyond description for a cast starring two 12(ish) year olds. But then Kodi Smit McPhee has previous starring as “the boy” in The Road, another mature and beautiful performance. One wonders just how far he can go on the basis of these two Oscar quality performances. Abby, the vampire is played by Chloe Moretz who absolutely stunned in Kick Ass as Hit Girl.
It’s billed as a horror movie but it’s actually a love story and a very moving one at that. The quietness and intensity of the young couple’s illicit (in so many ways) relationship is at the core of the movie and their shared screen time are the real beating pulse of the movie. You will not see a better and more intimate love story this year.
Matt Reeves, as director, is surely one of the most promising Hollywood talents out there. His previous film, Cloverfield, is one of the most underrated films I’ve ever seen. Why is it not considered amongst the best aliens movie ever made? Anyway, you can be sure, that after this he will be moving onto the A list.
Filed under: Arts, bbc, creativity, movies, tv | Tags: bbc 4, history of horror, horror, horror movies, mark Gattis, slasher films
The older I get the more I savour quality horror, and I delight in my kids discovering the genre. (Oh, and they do, bit by bit.)
It takes bravery to endure good horror; and as Rudyard Kipling said;
“If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!”
Had he have been commentating on early 21st century life he’d perhaps have been saying;
“If you can stomach 90 minutes of gutwrenching horror, you’ll be a man my son.”
The fact is that recent horror franchises, I’m thinking specifically of The Saw and Hostel, are what’s increasingly called Horror Porn and those labellers are right. These films are gross, crass, lacking ideas…just plain sick.
What Mark Gattiss eloquently did in his series (available for now onBBC iPlayer I’m sure) was to identify the genre creators and talk to them and gain fabulous insights.
Latterly Romero loomed large and rightly so.
My favourite moment in the entire series was when John Carpenter was unapologetic about the fact that Halloween had spawned a generation of shite slasher movies.
“Why should I apologise for opening the door to the genre. All these people realised was that you could scare people cheap.”
Carpenter did it with utter class.
Filed under: Arts, movies, theatre | Tags: 1920s, cinema, classic horror, classic movies, Edinburgh, fear, horror, jeckyl and hyde, john barrymore, original horror, paramount moves, silent movie, usher hall
To celebrate Halloween Jeana and I went to see the 1920′s original production of Jeckyl and Hyde made by Paramount and starring John Barrymore.
It showed at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall foer one night only and was accompanied by the collosal Usher Hall organ.
To be honest it was hilarious in places and certainly bnot scary but some nice special effects, mainly achieved through double exposure. Here’s a few stills from the movie that I managed to capture on my G11. It was kinda dark as you can imagine so they could be better but you’ll get the general idea.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, humour, life, Scotland | Tags: death, Glasgow, glasgow entertainment, glasgow humour, Glasgow zombie walk, horror, undead, zombie
Zombieism is an art form.
Let’s face it. Making a zombie movie is so easy on the face of it that you’d die laughing. Until you try. Then you might DIE.
There is some utter zombie shit out there and the genre needs protection as much as it needs celebration.
So, this initiative, to live the (un)life must be applauded, albeit with hands that break up on contact.
Be there or be alive.
OK. A lot has been said about how terrifying this movie is. In truth it is a little slow and does have a number of really scary bits. But it is blown out of proportion. I would tell you more but don’t want to spoil it. I took Amy and Ria and they were both pretty freaked out and hanging onto me for dear life but it’s not half as scary as Drag Me to Hell.
The lack of ANY credits whatsoever is brilliant though. And very unnerving.
Despite the lack of truly scariness I thought it was a very interesting and original movie and brilliantly acted and cast. These were, like, real people (gasp).
I’d recommend it despite those reservation. 7/10.
Filed under: Arts, humour, tv | Tags: 6 feet under, anna paquin, david ball, deep south, HBO, horror, Sookie Stackhouse, true blood, vampires
HBO is really pushing the limits of taste.
Again. (See Eastbound and down.)
On two occasions in the last two episodes – the first watching Jason Stackhouse, the main protagonist’s brother masturbating so hard that the blisters on his palms are bigger than the hands they grew on AND his poor member is engorged to the point of elephantiasis, requiring a blood withdrawal of epic proportions; and the second when the aforementioned star Sookie Stackhouse indulges in a spot of self indulgence as she dreams of her desired vampire lover “taking her” – my youngest daughter had to politely remove herself from the room.
But, the fact remains, it’s a great piece of TV, wonderfully shot (the outside scenes of houses at night have an otherworldliness about them that is unique) and the script crackles and fizzes throughout.
It’s purty sexy too y’all.
Filed under: Arts, family, humour, life, tv, videos, Youtube | Tags: bagpuss, creeps, creepsville, creepy, fear, freaky, horror, weirdos, wicker man, yuk, yukky
With reference to the previous post; watch the first 40 seconds of this and tell me you aren’t freaked out. Even as an adult.
Filed under: humour, life, photography, Scotland | Tags: Amitville, creepy, horror, house, house of horror, scary
Originally uploaded by mark gorman.
Ref my previous blog. This a colour picture of the aforementioned house. It doesn’t matter whether you opt for mono or colour it’s still the house of the heebie geebies.
Filed under: Arts, humour, life, photography, Scotland | Tags: amityville, horror, house, house of horror, housing, scary
Originally uploaded by mark gorman.
This creepy house has been unvieled from a covering of trees in the last week. It’s been empty for years and was put up for sale last summer. I was tempted to buy it and do it up. The day I went to view it, it was surrounded by an urban forest, but over a 24 hour period the forest has been removed. I suspect the house may not be far behind and, if so, I will try to chronicle its departure. Yuk.
Filed under: movies | Tags: features, films, horror, I am legend, scare, scary movies, Will Smith, Zombies
No I am not boasting.
I am talking about the new Will Smith movie.
This kind of film is what going to the flicks is all about. I was scared witless from the first moment to the last. Admittedly I hadn’t realised it was a zombie movie (of sorts) before the titles rolled and it was a good 40 minutes before we even came across one, but Jeez, this is a film designed to make you jump. I won’t spoil it but, as they say, wear brown trousers.
I know zombie flicks are overdone of late. But that’s not a reason to overlook this freakshow.
Will Smith is in fine form, essentially carrying the movie singlehandedly with very little human intervention. That’s because we understand him to be the last man standing after a genetically treated measels virus which was intended to eradicate the world of cancer went ugly overnight.
The scenes that have most redolence in this movie are the truly stunning and really eerie street scenes of an abandoned New York populated only by escaped zoo animals who aren’t that handy with lawnmowers, the result being that, for example, Madison Avenue is well on its way to becoming a maize feild with a bunch of abandoned, rusting cars lying around. Whole buildings are wrapped in polythyene, presumably a failed attempt to contain the virus in some way.
Smith looks great, acts pretty well and builds up a strong relationship with his only companion, his three year old Alsation, Sam.
The film is lavish. The sound engineering is both deafening and a major component to most of the shocks.
The zombies, while CGI’d at times, are genuinely creepy. They cannot come out in daylight as UV burns them on the spot so they huddle, vampire like, in ‘hives’ in gloomy dilapidated buildings waiting for nightfall when they take over the streets with their ghoulish hounds.
In one set piece when we KNOW Will shouldn’t go into a darkened building the tention is unbearable and more drawn out than a Strictly Come Dancing result. You KNOW it will culminate in a massive fright and it does, but that doesn’t stop it being eye-wateringly scary.
This is a cracker and my first 8 out of 10 movie of 2008.