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The Death Of Sir Christopher Lee

June 11, 2015

Today we learned of the death of Sir Christopher Lee. These are my unprepared thoughts at the end of the day.

This isn’t an appreciation of his body of work, more a personal appraisal of how it was realised, has sunk in, and now been accepted.

There may be spelling mistakes and grammatical imperfections. Forgive me.

I’ve been both expecting and dreading hearing this news for a while now. He was the last of the classic horror icons, a very old man, and we knew it would happen sooner rather than later in the grand scheme of things. I regularly check the news throughout the day and night (while awake) and knew that at some stage either I’d have to break it to my wife (a bigger Hammer / Lee fan than me, and I’m a big fan) or she’d have to break it to me, possibly on waking up.

I was at work, mid afternoon, just finished one thing so thought I’d do a cursory check of BBC News. Damn. My boss, also an appreciator of the filmic arts, wasn’t at his desk. I knew this wouldn’t mean as much to anyone around me as it did to me, so refreshed to make sure it was real, took it in, then went to the toilets on the next floor up to have a little cry. The rest of the afternoon was coloured by the thought that I would have to tell my wife. I’d actually prepared for it mentally as I knew it would happen some time, but I knew how upset she would be.

I passed her work on the way home, and it was quiet, so I decided to go in and tell her rather than do it at home a bit later. I teared up, as I had to say it out loud and I knew we would both be sad, but it was ok. It meant that there was no breaking of sad news the moment she walked through the door, and we could plan the inevitable weekend Christopher Lee film fest 🙂

It’s a few hours later now, and we’ve watched Dracula (1958) on blu ray and also the fascinating extras, and now if I’m honest, sad as it is, it also feels like a relief. The man has left an incredible body of work, including kicking arse in the last Hobbit film so a worthy send off, so now we can appreciate it in its fullness. There were unlikely to be (m)any memorable roles in the future (I could be wrong here, and no offense to anyone who knows otherwise) and so it means we can appreciate all of his best work without wondering about what was to come.

I really hope that doesn’t sound bad, of course I didn’t want him to die, but it’s happened and we will never forget him. It’s been heart warming to see the number of people on Twitter either watching or planning to watch the great man’s films this weekend. We immediately retrieved all that we could find from the blu ray and DVD piles, and will as a result rewatch some classics – some of which I haven’t seen since I was a kid (40, as you ask)

That’s it really. RIP Sir Christopher Lee

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Now That’s What I Call Films – 2013!

December 27, 2013

Well, there goes another year. I rarely blog these days, but like to do a top ten film list at the end of the year as it’s a good way of reflecting and can be a handy reminder in the future of what I liked!

This year was a bit of a challenge if I’m honest. I keep a list going throughout the year, writing down the title when I see something I really enjoy then trimming it down at the end to make the top ten. This year, when it came to writing this post, I realised that it was a relatively sparse list.

That’s not to say I haven’t seen some crackers (see below), but a top ten would have included some filler, and that’s just not on.

So, welcome to my top seven list of 2013. In no particular order:

 

Ghost Graduation (Promocion fantasma)

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Even in death, Michael Hutchence retained a suave dress sense

I’ve been able to rely on the Abertoir festival to fill at least a couple of the slots on this list for the last four years, and once again it delivered.

This is one of those “it’s not really a horror film” horror films, in that it’s essentially a (grown up) comedy with ghosts, but rather than get into a massive debate about what constitutes horror, let’s just accept that ghosts count, and move on.

Ghost Graduation is highly entertaining from start to finish. It undoubtedly helped that I saw it with a festival crowd, as whilst I’m sure I would have liked it on my own, I expect it works better with an audience.

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Hit me baby one more time

So, if you like the lighter side of horror and don’t demand blood and guts, track this down when you get a chance and have a laugh (with Spanish ghosts).

 

The Station (Blutgletscher)

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“Did you put a red sock in the wash with that glacier?”

Everyone likes a good old fashioned monster movie, right? It is and will always be difficult to top the likes of Carpenter’s The Thing, and alarm bells rang when The Station was compared to that masterpiece in the publicity, but it’s an understandable comparison for a couple of reasons:

1)     It takes place in a snowy / icy location.

2)     It has fun mutations!

This was one of the most entertaining horror films of the year for me, with plenty of (good natured) gore and splatteryness (it’s a word!) onscreen. The cast combine well, aided by a script that delivers both emotional and humorous moments throughout. There’s even an environmental message, but don’t worry, it’s not heavy handed and dull like in the documentaries you get told to watch unless you want everyone to think you’re an evil oil baron.

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This is not a drill. Oh, wait….

I was lucky enough to see this one at a festival (Abertoir again) as I don’t think it has an official release date yet, but as with Ghost Graduation if you get the chance to see this with an audience then take it, sit back, and enjoy the mutations 🙂

 

The Conjuring

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Every house needs an Emergency Frank Sidebottom

There have been a few “big name” cinema horror releases in the last few years – Insidious, The Pact, Sinister et al – and the natural state for many horror fans is to be a bit sniffy and suspicious.

“What do these fly by night horror fans who only see big cinema release horror films know about it, how can we rely on them to tell us what’s good?”

Well, don’t be a dick. It’s like the “I was into them before they were famous, look at me, it’s all about me!!!” factor that some successful bands get, and it’s just as childish and cringeworthy.

Anyway, minor rant over – The Conjuring is one of those films. It got a wide cinema release, lots of people watched and liked it, and so did I. (of course, I watched it at home as I didn’t want to be in a cinema with loads of non-horror fans who don’t understand what horror really is)

*slaps self on wrists*

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“There were originally ten dwarves, but Disney had to cut three for timing”

It hits many familiar beats – a scary house, evil dolls, spooky noises – but it does them all well. It’s not 90 minutes of slow build followed by a 10 minute barrage of garish demons either, but instead is well paced, thoughtful, well acted, and bloody scary!

And if that’s not enough for you, then are you really a horror fan? 😉

 

Frankenstein’s Army

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“You may have been in Def Leppard, but we demand more from our drummers in Slipknot”

More monsters! Hooray! And what monsters!

Ok, so technically maybe they’re not monsters but instead “improved” humans, but damn do they look good. The thought and craft that has gone into creating the denizens of Frankenstein’s Army made this film a stand out for me. Yes it’s “found footage / shakycam”, which can be offputting to many, but I think the main reason people are pissed off with this as a medium is the raft of crappy found footage films that followed Paranormal Activity.

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“Now, if I just jam a fork in here you’ll be able to enjoy Downton Abbey”

Anyway, when done well it’s a factor but not the be all and end all of a film. I found myself wondering if it was necessary during FA i.e. I’d have equally liked to see it as a straight narrative, but don’t be put off by it. This is a highly entertaining and bloody picture, with fantastic onscreen creations. It’s clear that the (small) budget was spent well – no gimmicky cast, no flashy locations – and it pays off.

 

Spring Breakers

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Remember kids: Crime doesn’t pa….hmmmm

This took me by surprise in that I’ve never really been drawn to Harmony Korine’s films, but the concept intrigued me so I stuck it on my rental list and forgot about it until it arrived.

I can’t really pin down why it’s on this list i.e. exactly what it was that I liked so much about it, but it was undoubtedly one of my favourites of the year. I’ve given it some thought to try to enlighten myself (and you) but always end up coming back to the same thing:

“Everytime” by Britney Spears.

Even now while writing this I’ve got it in my head, which is something of a clash as I’ve got Slayer playing on my iPod, but music is a broad church. Anyway, if you’ve seen the film you’ll know where I’m coming from with the song, and if you haven’t then I recommend you give it a try. Some of you will probably hate it, hopefully some of you will really enjoy it like I did and come away pleasantly surprised.

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This image is central to the plot and essential for this post *cough*

P.S. There is violence and nudity.

 

The World’s End

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I knew Google Glass would end up going all SkyNet…

This was one of the most satisfying films of the year, in that it had a lot to “live up to” with the previous two in the Cornetto trilogy having been so good, and did just that.

I think the grammar in the above sentence may be awful, but it’s the morning after Boxing Day so excuse me for not being in “professional” mode.

Anyway, TWE confirmed to me just how good a director Edgar Wright is. Yes the cast are all excellent throughout (no surprise there) but more impressive is the way everything is brought together, with room for the visual quirks that form part of Wright’s style. The fight scenes are superbly choreographed and edited, and would put some “straight” action films to shame.

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One for Viz’s “Up The Arse Corner”

Equally importantly, it’s funny as hell, moving at times, and has some great drunken swearing.

 

Grabbers

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“Stay still, I think it just wants to play!”

This just about sneaks onto the list, in that I think it was technically a 2012 film, but only released late in the year and I saw it in 2013.

I guess it’s a horror/comedy, in that it contains slimy alien monsters and is bloody funny! If you prefer your horror straight up and hard edged then this may not be the film for you. Similarly if you like your comedy to revolve around fart gags or Hollywood scripted romance, then this probably won’t make your list.

However, if you want to laugh and occasionally go “Ewww!” then this should be right up your alley. It’s a great concept – alien beasties invade a small Irish village but are intolerant of alcohol and so best repelled by the human inhabitants getting and staying drunk – and is delivered with a lot of heart.

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Feck off, aliens!

I guess it’s in essence a feelgood movie, but one with swearing and monsters. Seek it out and watch it, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Honourable mentions go to Hitchcock, Killer Joe, Man of Steel, Dark Skies, and Stoker, all of which I liked but not enough to come up with a few paragraphs about without going back to IMDB.

…and I probably forgot to write some down, so please remember that other lists are available.

Music for lovers. Dark, twisted lovers.

January 16, 2013

So, as you may know, I’m getting married this Friday. Me and my fiancee (@mwj1971 for Twitter people) have come up with a playlist to delight us and our friends for around five and a half hours during our post wedding meal.

Some are from Megan, some are from me, some are from both of us.

And here it is, in alphabetical order by band / artist:

Abba – Lay All Your Love on Me

Adam & The Ants – Kings of the Wild Frontier

Afrika Bambaataa – Planet Rock

Anti-Nowhere League – Woman

Ash – Girl From Mars

Big Gay Al – I’m Super

Black Flag – Loose Nut

Bloc Party – Song For Clay (Disappear Here)

John Carpenter – Halloween Theme

The Chameleons – In Shreds

Chaos UK – Farmyard Boogie

Combichrist – Brain Bypass

Conflict – Mighty and Superior

Crass – Banned From The Roxy

Dead Kennedys – California Uber Alles

Depeche Mode – Personal Jesus

Die Form – Rain of Blood

Discharge – State Violence State Control

Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy – California Uber Alles

Dizzee Rascal – Bonkers

Dr Dre – Forgot About Dre

Elastica – Stutter

Eminem – Guilty Conscience

The Exploited – Rival Leaders

Fields of the Nephilim – Blue Water

Flats – Country

Fabio Frizzi – Acid Burn

GBH – Race Against Time

Gallows – The Vulture (Acts I & II)

The Gap Band – You Dropped A Bomb on Me

Gary Numan – Cars

Gene Loves Jezebel – Always A Flame

Glasvegas – It’s My own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry

Guns N’ Roses – You Could Be Mine

The Horrors – Draw Japan

Isaac Hayes – Theme From Shaft

Jane’s Addiction – Been Caught Stealing

John Williams – Star Wars Main Title Theme

Journey – Any Way You Want It

The Killers – Mr Brightside

Killing Joke – Love Like Blood

Kunt and the Gang – I Sucked off A Bloke

The La’s – There She Goes

Lady Gaga (ft. Eric Cartman) – Poker Face

Lard – The Power of Lard

Leatherface – Not Superstitious

Leftfield ft. Lydon – Open Up

McLusky – Lightsaber Cocksucking Blues

Metallica – Creeping Death

Ministry – Just One Fix

The Mission – Wasteland

Muse – New Born

NERD – Lap Dance

NWA – Fuck Tha Police

Nirvana – About A Girl

Ofra Haza – Im Nin’alu

Orbital ft. Kirk Hammett – Satan Spawn

Peaches – Fuck The Pain Away

The Prodigy – Smack My Bitch Up

Public Image Ltd – Home

Queens of the Stone Age – Feel Good Hit of the Summer

Rick James – Super Freak

Roxy Music – Both Ends Burning

Samhain – Halloween II

Sex Pistols – Holidays In The Sun

Siouxsie & The Banshees – Dazzle

Sisters of Mercy – Marian

Skinny Puppy – Tin Omen

Slayer – Raining Blood

Sneaker Pimps – How Do

Soundtrack – Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Soundtrack – Salem’s Lot

Specimen – Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Spiritualized – I Think I’m In Love

The Stone Roses – I Am The Resurrection

The Strokes – New York City Cops

Subhumans – This Year’s War

The Subways – Rock & Roll Queen

Suede – Animal Nitrate

TSOL – Wash Away

Terrance & Phillip – Uncle Fucka

Tomoyasu Hotei – Battle Without Honour or Humanity

Wumpscut – Mother (Maternal Instinct)

2 Live Crew – Me So Horny

…and there you have it.  Feel free to find and play all these tracks on shuffle this Friday, 18th Jan 2013, from around 5:30pm. It’ll be like you’re there with us.

The Ten Commandments – Rules are made to be broken

July 26, 2011

Most of us will be familiar with The Ten Commandments, either from having them rammed down our throats at school / church, or from having watched the “epic” 50s film with that bloke from Planet of the Apes. …but have you ever thought about how easy they are to break, and how many you’ve broken? I have, and here’s the rundown – though I’ve had to shorten the titles of a few of them as they get a bit long-winded…

 

1) I am the Lord Your God…You shall have no other gods before Me.

Well, this one didn’t take long to be honest. Mainly because I don’t really believe in “God”, but even taking that aside when I used to go to church in my (misspent) youth, I still preferred booze, soft drugs, and horror films to actually praying or anything like that.

I think most people have broken this one without even thinking about it.

2) You shall not make yourself a carved image, or any likeness that is of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earh beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them.

Are you fucking kidding me? If this is a sin, then carpentry teachers around the world are the emissaries of Satan and must be punished! Sorry “lord”, but I made a wooden fish when I was 8 years old, and whilst I may not have “bowed down” to it, it meant a fuck of a lot more to me than dragging my arse to a cold building once a week  did.

Again, I doubt (m)any of us can’t tick this one off the list.

3) You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

Again, seriously? Jesus Christ, let me think about this one for a minute…

Everyone three for three so far?

4) Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work.

Welcome to the modern age Jehovah! We have proper jobs now, not just fishing and making gourds. …and besides – Jesus, who was technically you, loved and hung out with the hookers of the time. Do you think they took a day off from rimming the local soldiers? Did they bollocks. Even if you never “work” on 7 days of the week, I bet you do something that old God would count as work, or labor: blogging, reviewing, driving someone somewhere, murderi…erm, maybe not the last one.

I remain quietly confident that most of you are still with me.

5) Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

Ok, this is one that I struggled with a little, as, as a rule, I was good to my folks and never caused them any “major” grief, but still – if any of you can honestly say you’ve never disobeyed your parents, you’re a damn liar. An example:

When I was a child, my mum told me not to flick cornflakes at the cat. Well, God, guess what? I fucking did it. I should also point out that my mum was pretty good to her mum, and yet you still killed her at 53 didn’t you you bastard? “that your days may be long upon the land” my arse!

So, five easy ones out of the way. Here’s where it gets a little tricky…

6) You shall not murder.

Crap. Missed one. I’m not going to get technical on this one and claim a result because I shot a rat with an air rifle when I was 14, I think we all know this means another human being. I could have done, and got away with it (there are a lot of homeless people in downtown LA, I was on holiday and leaving the next day) but I really don’t have murderous urges. This is, I feel, a good thing.

Don’t fuck with my family or my loved ones though, or I may have to revise this post.

So, first “failure”. I’m hoping you’ve also all had to circle this one as a “No”.

7) You shall not commit adultery

Hmmm….may have to call the lawyers in on this one for clarification. Does it count if she’s married but I wasn’t, and also wasn’t in a relationship, and she was sort of separated from her husband, but they still lived together and he didn’t know about it?

Technically it seems to be “sexual infidelity to one’s spouse”, so I guess not. But I’m giving myself a half mark for facilitating it. I’m guessing this one had probably split the readership down the middle…

8 ) You shall not steal

Please. I work in an office, of course I’ve nicked stuff. Nothing major (ok, a computer monitor from my last job, but it was surplus to requirements honest!)  but even that pen or those Post-Its count you know.

I’d put money on every single one of you (which admittedly will probably be around 15-20 if my blog stats are anything to go by) having nicked something, sometime, from somewhere. Unless it’s a pensioner’s life savings or something like that though, I reckon you’re still ok in my book.

Unless you steal my book.

9) You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour

It would be foolish to use “neighbour” in the sense of the person next to you, so we’ll take this as “people you know / friends”.

Example:

Teacher: “Who threw that?”

Me: “It wasn’t me, it was Pete!”

I think that covers that one.

10) You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neghbour’s

Well I can safely say that houses, male servants, female servants, oxen and donkey’s have escaped my green eyed glances, but please refer to commandment number 7 for evidence that this one is definitely in the bag.

Conclusion

So, 8 and a half points for me. Not bad, and surely puts me on one of the lower circles of hell when my time comes. How did you do? Please comment and let me know, and maybe I’ll see you there 🙂

What I Did On My Holidays – Abertoir 2010

November 18, 2010

“So”, asked my boss, “going anywhere nice for your holiday?”

“Why yes I am – I’m going to Wales for a 5 day horror festival.”

*Pause*

“Erm….sounds nice…”

Yep, inspired by some of the good folk of Twitter, I found myself travelling to Aberystwyth  last week (via Doncaster and York, never say I don’t know exotic when I see it) to attend Abertoir 2010. I was a horror festival virgin, and ready to have my cherry well and truly popped – and I wasn’t disappointed 🙂

My First Festival Pass. Awww.....

Day 1 – Mexican Cannibals and Tit Swords

After enduring the vagaries of the Welsh train system (I’m sure some of the carriages that “detached” along the way were diverted into the caves of local hillbillies) we arrived in Aberystwyth. We were delighted to find that the previous occupants of our holiday cottage had left us a welcoming present – a DVD of “Sunday Sport’s British MILFs”!

Splendid 🙂

Anyway, to the venue where we were warmly welcomed by Nia and the crew, then as we were too late for the first film (Countess Dracula) we had to find a way to kill an hour or so. Did someone say “bar”? Yes. Yes they did.  …but I digress – on to the films.

We Are What We Are” was an intriguing little film, delving into the lives of a Mexican cannibal family and utilising a slow burning sense of realism. Whilst admittedly by the end I was a little underwhelmed, it certainly drew me in and is one I will watch again when I get a chance.

This was followed by “Dream Home”, which was a real treat! If you’re looking for innovative ways to bring down the price of that flat you’ve had your eye on, and aren’t squeamish about it, this film is your guidebook. Enjoyably violent and innovative in its death scenes, this film also had a heart to it and wasn’t just gore for gore’s sake. Highly recommended, and I believe it’s getting a limited cinema release in the UK, so go see it if you get a chance.

Finally, we had “Mutant Girls Squad”. I guess if you’re a major afficionado of Asian splatter then this would have been the equivalent of a blowjob from an incredibly talented porn star, but for me it was, well, a little over the top. I have no problem with ridiculous gore and silliness, but once you’ve seen the girl with the tit-swords and the one who can produce a chainsaw from her arse, the novelty wears off a little. I’m not saying it was bad, and it had been a long day by this point, but I found it kind of washing over me after half an hour or so. Having said that, it went down well with most of the audience, and if nothing else demonstrated the diversity of the Abertoir programme from the start.

Day 2 – Unnecessary Sex Scenes and Weeing Children

It didn’t take us long to settle into a pattern of missing the first showing or two (damn my penchant for hospitality, wine and exotic cigarettes) so we arrived in time for “Iron Doors” in 3D. This was my first 3D film (seeing as I live on an island with no proper cinema…) so I was intrigued, but the 3D was minimal to be honest, though the occasional subtitles leapt out! This was one that promised a little more than it delivered, had a slightly pants ending, but did at least have the decency to crowbar in a sex scene where no sex scene should be 🙂

This was followed by “The Violent Kind”, which was really good. Batshit crazy at times, a highly enjoyable blend of bikers, blood, and “What the fuck?” moments. Another that I will definitely seek out again when possible, and a film that deserves a wider audience.

After a break to visit Marco’s World of Chips:

Mmmm....Suspicious looking sausages and chips.... *drools*

it was time for “Djinns”. I was really looking forward to this, but I fear someone slipped a sleeping draught into one of the three large glasses of wine I had in the bar beforehand, as I seemed to rest my eyes a little too much during the latter parts of the film. This shouldn’t be taken as a critique however, as I was enjoying it before the sandman popped a cap in my arse.

Finally, it was time for the Midnight Mystery Grindhouse film, which to my enormous delight turned out to be Troll 2, which I’d never seen.

Sheer fucking brilliance! This is a film I have heard so much about, and it didn’t disappoint. Hats off to the Abertoir audience for being (mostly) entertaining throughout as well – a great communal experience, I couldn’t have asked for a better time and place to see this masterpiece / piece of shit (delete as applicable) …and if you haven’t seen it, this is where the “weeing children” reference comes into play 🙂

Day 3 – Fake Skeletons, Caravan Parks, and The Lovely Wendy

So, having missed the first two films (got to stick to the pattern) we arrived for “Amer”. This has been getting massive festival buzz as a modern homage to “giallo” (despite giallo films still being made…) and, to be fair, was an adventurous and ambitious piece. Can’t deny the love that has gone into it, and the opening section meant I could forgive the nagging feeling of style over substance, but it lost its way in the middle. It came touted as a film that you’ll either love or hate, but I found it a little “meh” in the end. Worth seeing, don’t get me wrong, but not a life changer.

Next, “House on Haunted Hill” (original) with added Emergo! This was great fun, and really summed up the spirit and traditions of Abertoir. Not sure I’d actually seen it before, but if I had I can assure you I’d never seen it with a fake skeleton passing above my head at a key moment 🙂

From here, the day descended into drunkenness. Zombina and the Skeletons supported The Damned in The Great Hall, and both were excellent (particularly The Damned, who unquestionably still know how to put on a fucking great gig) but it gets hazy from here on in. I know we went to the famed “Inn on the Pier” (Aberystwyth’s only 24 hour bar and pizza house…), and I know I spent some time chatting to the aforementioned lovely Wendy as I have a text message on my phone from her consisting of the phrase “Do you fancy a shag?”, but luckily (I think) the big head was thinking more prominently than the little one, as I didn’t allow myself to be seduced by her smooth talk 🙂

Anyway, I am reliably informed that we proceeded to get lost in the caravan park that was 50 yards from our cottage, then various ne’er-do-wells joined us (as was becoming the habit) until somewhere around 5am. This is where the Abertoir Daily Programmes came in handy, as they published tweets from the previous day. At somewhere around 3am, I sent one that said “Best. Holiday. Ever. :)”

Despite all the sambuca, I didn't have sex with this little tease

Day 4 – Belgian Vampires, Spooky Theatre, and The Comedic Value of Satan

 
 
 
 

Breakfast, Part 1

 

 

Breakfast, Part 2 😉

Saturday began with a bacon sandwich, a hangover, and a determination to get stuck right back in goddammit! First up was a talk on vampires by the author Gavin Baddeley, which was very interesting and exposed the bloodthirsty sons of bitches as being British in origin – typical!

This was followed by the Belgian “documentary” “Vampires”, which was possibly my favourite film of the festival. Taking the “mockumentary” style (yes that’s a hateful term, but it gets the message across) this was a sharp,  intelligent film, with an excellent dark vein of humour running through it from the start. I really hope this gets attention beyond the festival circuit. If you get a chance to see this film, I implore you to do so.

Next, “Exorcismus”. This will undoubtedly be labelled the turkey of the festival, but I felt it got a but of a raw deal. Admittedly at times it was somewhat laughable, and the final, painfully lingering scene is an example of when editing should be used, but it wasn’t without merit. The slight twist on the standard exorcism plot was decent, and I’ve seen many, many worse performances. …oh, and a note to certain members of the audience who seemed to think it was still participation night – the secret to good comedy is timing. …and being funny.

This was followed by a live theatre performance of two M.R. James ghost stories by candlelight in the theatre, which was highly enjoyable and another example of the diversity of Abertoir. Any festival can just throw films at you until your eyes bleed, but Abertoir gives you live theatre to make you mess your trousers. Marvellous 🙂

Finally, it was the remake of “I Spit On Your Grave”. This wasn’t half bad, looked great cinematography wise (whether this is a good thing considering the original is open to debate) and with decent performances. It’s probably an unnecessary film, but had that nastiness to it that made it valid in my opinion. No classic, quite sleazy, and a little too “cheer at the kills!” by the end, but worth a look.

Day 5 – Piano Music, Goodbyes, and Elf Genitals

 The final day (sob) started with a real Abertoir experience – The Cat and the Canary (1928) with a live piano accompaniment of an original score from hugely talented pianist and composer Paul Shallcross, who also gave an entertaining introduction to the film. After a few minutes, I almost forgot he was there and playing, as the score fitted the visuals perfectly. Top stuff 🙂 …though if I had a cat who looked like the villain in this, it would probably precipitate a trip to the vets and a long, peaceful sleep. For the cat.

More chips meant I missed Robin Hardy introducing and talking about a preview of The Wicker Tree, but we were back in time for the festival closer, “Rare Exports”. This was a real crowd pleaser, and should play well in cinemas in the run up to Christmas. Very accessible, this tale of the true Santa and his minions will appeal to adults and twisted e.g. sensible children alike. It also featured a performance from a child actor who I didn’t want to kick in the face, which should really be a quote for the poster. I don’t want to give spoilers so won’t say any more, except that this is where the elf genitals came into play…

If you've been bad, he'll show you his willy

…and that was it. All over (after a closing ceremony where people won free stuff, but I didn’t so bah!) and a final trip to the Inn on the Pier. No Wendy this time, but a chance to say goodbye to the good people who gave me the best 5 days I have had for a good while. Guys and girls, I salute you like I have never saluted anyone before, and will see you all next year without a doubt.

Abertoir – you’d be a fool to miss it 🙂

 

Potential DVD Giveaway Frenzy Madness!!!

July 29, 2010

Hello you good people, and hello you bad people.

For various reasons (Forthcoming Blu-Ray upgrade, greed, occasional badly judged purchases) I find myself with a number of superfluous DVDs. All legitimate store-bought discs, mostly Region 2, mostly horror but also some comedy and other random genres.

But no musicals. Don’t like musicals. Except funny or gory ones.

Anyway, I digress. Rather than hold on to these discs or be arsed to use ebay, I thought I might start giving them away to Twitter followers in random competitions.

Many of you will already own them, so this might turn out to be a spectacular waste of time – but hey, bearing in mind that I’ll be doing it on Twitter I hardly think that will be an issue 🙂

So, keep an eye out on Twitter @dpm74 over the next few weeks for random competition questions to win free second hand DVDs that you probably already own.

…I’ll admit, marketing was never my strong point.

Trolls – the cumstains on the bedsheets of humanity

March 24, 2010

Disclaimer: Any similarities in this post to any person living, dead, or monumentally stupid, are enitrely coincidental. All scenarios are generic examples, and anyone who thinks this is aimed at them is a massive, egotistical dick.

*snigger*

Well, it’s been a while i.e. fucking ages since I posted anything, but I’m a great believer in quality over quantity *coughs*

Recently, people who I like and respect have come under “attack” (and I put that in quotes, as to attack usually requires at least an iota of actual strength, either mental or physical) from trolls.  This is clearly unacceptable, particularly if the abuse comes from someone who is a fellow horror blogger on a site that claims to be respectable. So, here are some suggested rules on dealing with trolls.

This is going to be enormous fun 🙂

2nd disclaimer: Many of these tips will only work if your troll is incredibly, George Bush level stupid – y’know the kind of person that you don’t even have to give rope to yet they will still find a way to hang themself.

1)  DON’T REPLY TO THEM, DON’T ENGAGE THEM IN CONVERSATION, DON’T MENTION THEIR (USER)NAME

This is a REALLY important one. Trolls thrive on the oxygen of publicity. If you starve them of this, they will shrivel up and die, as their puny genitals have done before them. Keep a note of all their abusive comments. For example, if you encounter a troll on Twitter, take screenshots of their abusive posts and save them to your computer.  Some of them think they are clever by posting then shortly afterwards deleting the posts, but if you have a screenshot of  it, you can later post a link to it on the public timeline to discredit and expose them.

2) GIVE ‘EM ENOUGH ROPE…

Eventually, if you follow tip number one, your grubby little troll will get frustrated and start stamping their feet. This, if you play it correctly, is when the fun starts 🙂

When they realise that you are not going to respond or mention their name, their little brains can’t cope and often they get very, very frustrated. This is understandable, as they are generally a frustrated person, sat in their mother’s basement typing away between frenzied masturbation sessions over underwear catalogues. Anyway, I digress…

The really, really stupid ones then post things that could get them in trouble. For example, if you encounter a troll on Twitter, they may post things that are in blatant breach of the terms of service e.g. a person’s personal phone number or address. If they do this, you have them. …and onto point number 3:

3) WHEN THEY FUCK UP, DON’T LOWER YOURSELF – BE THE BIGGER PERSON

There will be a moment after they fuck up and post something inappropriate where you will want to travel to their home, be it next door or 5,000 miles away, and hit them with an axe. This is an entirely reasonable mental response, but should not be acted upon. If, as most of them do as they are not intelligent or respected enough to have their own site, they write for an online site, contact that site and let them know that one of their writers is posting comments that serve only to discredit the site. If the site owner has any self-respect they will take action.

Another thing you can do is check if they have links to any other online sites, or blogger organisations / contests. If they do, contact these organisations with details and evidence of the troll’s actions. The respectable ones will take action. The irresponsible ones will ignore you. They will get their just desserts in time, as revenge is a dish best served cold 😉

Above all, write eloquently and reasonably, and don’t get drawn into abusive comments, and especially not anything libellous. Have evidence, write clearly and maturely, and state your case.

If they post something that breaches the terms and conditions of the site on which they post it, contact the complaints department of that site as soon as possible. Use the screenshots you took earlier, and let them deal with it.

4) STAY ALERT

Sometimes, even after they have been forced into an embarrassing climbdown and have apologised to you (if they do this in an e-mail keep it!) they think that they can still make light of the fact that they have been, and still are, a massive arsehole.

This is unacceptable.

If, for example, you encounter a troll on Twitter, send Direct Messages – remember rule number 1, nothing public with the troll’s (user)name – to people who may not realise what a monumental prick they are, letting them know who it is. This is where your friends and followers who you can trust come in to play. Word spreads quickly if required, and a mass unfollowing of a troll can do wonders for the soul 🙂

It is always worth keeping a few spies following them (again, using Twitter as a random example) however, as the REALLY INSECURE ones will still try to message you even after you have made it clear that you won’t mention their name or talk to them.

5) ENJOY THE FALLOUT 🙂

Remember: at the end of the day, your troll will likely die alone, sad and unloved, wanking into a sock. Don’t get bogged down with it, enjoy your attempts to bring them down, but make sure it doesn’t consume you. They are in some way obsessed with you and desperate for attention and vindication. You on the other hand, are more than likely a decent and valid person, so you have actually already won 🙂

…and that’s all folks – comments welcome, because you can’t be offended by this post. …unless you’re a troll, of course 😉

Horror Blogging: An outsider’s view

January 19, 2010

WARNING: NO PART OF THIS POST IS DIRECTED AT ANYONE PERSONALLY. IF YOU WERE HOPING FOR SPURIOUS LIBEL AND BACKSTABBING, YOU WILL BE DISAPPOINTED.  

Well, hasn’t it all kicked off recently in the world of horror blogging / reviewing / writing / thinking / whatever the hell label you choose to use-ing!

As a rank amateur looking in, and someone with a good number of horror blogs and sites in my Favourites (hey, America – it’s spelt with a “u”!) here are my thoughts. …which, as a human, are equally as valid as someone with a horror site that attracts 100,000 hits a week. It’s called democracy people, deal with it 🙂

How about everyone agrees some completely reasonable, self-respecting and grown up standards, then we can all move on? For example:

1) If you review films, write what you personally think about the film, whether it is positive or negative. This one seems like a no-brainer to me.

2) If you choose to only write positive reviews: Hey, that’s fine! Just don’t lie, and your soul will not be tarnished.

3) If you prefer to concentrate on what is wrong with a lot of films: Hey, that’s fine! Just don’t lie, and your soul will not be tarnished.

4) If you decide you will write about films whether you like or dislike them: Hey, that’s fine! Just don’t lie, and your soul will not be tarnished.

5) If your reviews are in any way influenced by promises of cash, jewellery, free passes, or oral sex from aspiring actors / actresses: Your soul is tarnished.

Wow, this seems surprisingly easy! Sometimes I wonder what all the fuss was about 🙂

Listen, I love that bloggers and reviewers are passionate about their subject – that is what I want and expect, and what gets you added to my Favourites. …but if you can’t take a contrary opinion, then maybe the internet is not the best place for you to be. It’s scary out there, some people post their honest and open opinions, and sometimes, damn them, they don’t agree with you. The bastards.

Don’t get me wrong, if someone gets personal in a comment or response, they deserve to be rectally impaled and left spinning on the barbed pitchforks of Satan’s minions for all eternity. However, if all they say is “I disagree, this is my opinion” and make a reasoned argument, then this is surely a good thing, yes?

Many more talented and experienced writers than me have posted on this subject in the last week or so, and I applaud all of them. Because I like the concept of Freedom of Speech 🙂

In conclusion, in the words of John Lennon: “Why of course I’ll sign your book Mr Chapman, to who should I make it o…”

Oops, wrong quote 😉

Feel The Love, You Freaks :)

January 13, 2010

So, despite my infrequent posting I have been given an award as a Kreativ (not my spelling, I’m British, we don’t fuck shit up like that) Blogger. This makes me smile and feel tingly, as I’d rather make one person take notice than have 1,000 say “meh”.

So, here’s what I am supposed to do as a result – and I’m feeling compliant and friendly, so here goes:

1:  Thank the person who nominated me

Well Bloofer Lady from Horror Crypt, this is a big thank you – your site and your writing has been an inspiration to me in the short time I have been familar with it. I have Twitter to thank for discovering you and so many incredibly cool people, which considering my main reason for not being on Facebook is / was “I have plenty of ways to waste my time on the internet thanks very much, I don’t need another life-consuming one” is, I admit, slightly ironic. Fuck it, I’m a man of contrasts 🙂 Anyway, I digress – Bloofer Lady, you have been a great supporter and a friend, and I wish you well with your site and everything – and no matter what some needledick twats write on your Formspring, you’re not a cunt, really 😉

2: Copy the logo and place it on your blog

Ta-dah!

3: Link to the person who nominated you for this award

Been there, done that.

4: Name 7 things about yourself that people may find interesting:

1) I have been an usher at a Broadway performance of  Twelve Angry Men, attended by a New York governor, after which I shook the hand of the man who played Sean Murphy in HBO’s Oz.

2) Despite my being an IT manager at my work, and therefore technically a geek, I know surprisingly little about the basics of computers and often rely on Google and the ability and willingess to dig around for answers. This is called bluffing, and many people you know who claim to “know about computers” use this method. Trust me.

3) I used to be a “born again Christian”, from the age of 9 to 21. I left when I realised that, when someone translated the “speaking in tongues” that I had just done despite my having made it up for effect (and could do it just as realistically on cue now, trust me) maybe, just maybe, it was bullshit.

4) I lost my virginity at a disgracefully old age (thanks, blinkered and repressive Christian upbringing!) to a married Swedish lady in a hotel room on the island of Jersey.

5) My parents let me watch Lucio Fulci’s “The Beyond” when I was 9 years old. This had something of an effect on me. I had to run away to my bedroom after 10 minutes as it was too much. It took me over 20 years to get hold of a decent copy after that (thanks, crappy British censorship laws and DVD players that weren’t multi-region) and when I did finally re-watch it, it was in daylight. This is now one of my favourite films, and I watch it on a regular basis. I love(d) my parents, they let me watch hideously inappropriate films, and it did me no harm *coughs*

6) I would kill for the people who mean the most to me in my life. I have never been in a fight, never truly lost my temper, but if you hurt one of the few who are truly special to me, I promise you that you will not get away with it. 🙂

7) When I was a child, my older brother told me that if I stood on a particular spot in the garden, lemonade would shoot up and I could drink all I want. This was a lie. It was an ant’s nest. I got covered in ants. Despite this, my brother is one of the people to whom 6) applies 🙂

Well, that was fun! …and now on to:

5: Nominate 5 Kreativ (that spelling still makes me bristle) bloggers – these people may have already been nominated, and it’s getting late so I’ll try to get to seven, but here goes nothing:

1) http://www.horror-extreme.com/blog/ Unquestionably one of the funniest and sickest people I have met on Twitter. That alone should be enough to make you click the link. This man knows his sick horror, and should be lauded for this.

2) http://horrordigest.blogspot.com/ Well written, funny and intelligent reviews – one of the first horror blogs I came across, and one that I read on a regular basis.

3) http://www.dayofwoman.blogspot.com/ Smart, intelligent and witty opinions on  all aspects of horror from a female perspective. This is one of my favourite blogs, and and it is well worth a visit – a fangirl (her words!) with something to say, highly recommended.

4) http://nice-chianti.blogspot.com/ This smart lady balances being a poor student with writing some very well observed film opinions, and organising horror events at the same time. She has other blogs as well, so click on the link for more info.

5) http://thevaultofhorror.blogspot.com/ Another truly great blog, 100% recommended – anyone who live tweets Cannibal Holocaust will always have a place in my heart 🙂

6) http://www.screamstress.com/ The Screamstress was one of the first people to reply to me on Twitter and make me think it might be worth looking into this whole horror blogs thing a little deeper. An early inspiration, and well worth checking out.

7) http://www.paradiseofhorror.com/ Like the above, one of the people I first discovered on Twitter, and as a result plundered many of my followers from 🙂 A true horror enthusiast who really knows his stuff, from old to new.

If I’ve missed you I am truly sorry, but remember this: Approximately 8 people will read this, so I don’t think it will have a major effect on your hit counter 🙂

6: Post links to the 7 blogs…blah, blah, done that above.

7: Leave a comment on the blogs you have nominated. 

Tch! More work. Well, since you’re all so worth it I guess I’ll go ahead and do that now. …or maybe in the morning.

….and that’s that! Peace, out 😉

My Thoughts on the Ms. Horror Blogosphere controversy

November 26, 2009

Fuck that, I’m not going near that subject with a 10 foot pole 😉