Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Late to the Party: 24 Series 1-4

I was never that interested in 24. When I eventually saw the first series, I was mystified: why were so many viewers so impressed? In fact, I declared that I would turn it off if Kim was kidnapped again after the 13th hour. Then she was. I admit, I did not turn it off...but nevertheless, I was quite annoyed.
However, deciding that the series was crap was really liberating. I went into series 2 with no expectations, and quite enjoyed it for the nonsense that it is. I had been told by many that they stopped watching after series 3 because the series became silly. Became silly? Perhaps the hype and the political climate blinded viewers to the fact that Jack is like some kind of rabid MacGyver.
By series 4, the writers' efforts to pad the story out reach epic proportions. For example, put yourself in this situation: you need to hinder an incognito terrorist for ten minutes at a gas station so a satellite tracker can be set up. I would puncture one of his tyres: the gas station is too public for him to kill anyone and steal their car - the terrorist could easily change the tyre and maintain his cover. Doing so would take around ten minutes. Job done. Instead, Jack dons a balaclava and holds the entire gas station at gun point. Subtle. Still, the writers milked that situation for nearly an entire episode.
I look forward to the ridiculousness of series 8.

Two asides.
  • The 24 drinking game: every time Jack shouts 'get down' or 'now', take a shot. Every time a female character makes a decision that one of the male leads knows to be "the wrong call", take a shot. Every time CTU is "compromised" by a mole, take a shot. [warning: following any one of these criteria could result in hospitalisation]  
  • The first three series begin with the statement that 'Events happen in real time'. As it transpires, there is a fine line between stating the obvious and making profound philosophical assertions.

Song of the Day: Ana Tijoux - Las Cosas por su Nombre


WC Fields: Honest John


I haven't seen this in 15 years - today, I watched it three times. Wonderful.

15 Second Review: The Harsh Light of Day (2012)

Call me naive, but I imagine that in a period of economic crisis there must be many very talented actors who cannot find work. If that is the case, I wonder why low budget films seem to so regularly attract only wooden actors? Does money always equate to talent? Like so many low budget horror films, The Harsh Light of Day is quite unengaging because the performances are so stilted. As for the plot: it is a mashup of home invasion movie and vampire film. Cashing in on two popular genres is fine (I guess), but it is hardly inspiring. The Harsh Light of Day works better as a vampire film than a home invasion movie, but that does not stop the whole affair being quite dull. The finale is anti-climactic. There is one quite striking Hellraiseresque sequence early on, but other than that, this is not worth squandering even a paltry 79 minutes on.  

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Trailer: Harmless (2012)


In the same vein as Lucky Bastard, Harmless is a film that appears to vilify porn , this time from the viewer's perspective. Perhaps evidence that we are moving towards a period of cultural conservativism?

Trailer: Lucky Bastard (2013)



This looks pretty awful as a horror movie, but it has piqued my interest as a horror movie about porn and/or a commentary on extreme porn.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Street Fighter Arcade History from 1987 to 2010


Check out this rad history of Streetfighter arcade game development. A wonderful snapshot of how computer graphics and trends in gameplay have changed over 20+ years

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Harp Cover: Animals as Leaders- On Impulse



Above is a rather lovely sounding cover version of Animals as Leaders' "On Impulse"
Below is the original for the heathens

15 Second Review: Harold's Going Stiff

With a refreshing premise, Harold's Going Stiff is of the same ilk as its low-budget British counterparts such as Colin and I, Zombie. Like those movies, Harold's Going Stiff suffers from some issues with acting (particularly in the opening sequence). It is also slightly confused.  At times it is based around mockumentary-style interviews, but mostly it plays out as a straight narrative. The filmmakers' attempts at comedy flounder. Some may also find its companionship plot too saccharine to fit with the horror elements. The cover art certainly sells the film as horror, which is unrepresentative of the film's tone. The central strength of Harold's Going Stiff is the comparison made between zombiedom and old age. Although not especially subtle, Harold's gradual mental and physical decline is not as laboured as it so easily could have been. The idea is allowed to breathe. The smartest element of the film is that zombiedom is used not only as a parallel for Harold's failing abilities, but also to manifest Harold's subsequent frustration.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

15 Second Review: Afterschool

I can see why this film would alienate some audiences. Afterschool is quiet, slow-paced, and gives little away. In that sense, it feels aimless. The characters do very little, and remain somewhat indifferent to the film's central event: the death of a school student. However, inaction is precisely the point. The characters respond with clichéd sentiments, or attempts to sanitise the horrific event with slogans such as 'never forget'. Lead protagonist Robert's ugly, clumsy memorial video is decried and replaced by a conventionalised, sickly version. The truths of the incident are replaced with "correct" official memories. Afterschool's collisions evoke not only the process of historicisation, but also self-narrativisation.  The film's clinical tone articulates the distances between reality, truth and perception. The aesthetic also reifies Robert's compassionless, voyeuristic, solipsistic outlook. Rather than being devoid of content, Afterschool could more pertinently be accused of taking on too much. Among its other themes are the damaging effects of drugs (which is compared to formal medication), and the violent fantasies represented within some forms of Internet pornography. Look out for the clear targeting of Khan Tusion's Meatholes, for example. Afterschool is likely to be remembered as a knock off of Elephant or Benny's Video, but it deserves better: there is much more going on here than might be initially apparent on the surface.   

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

15 second review: Dredd

If a film lacks plot, it had better compensate with some spectacular visuals. Luckily the makers of Dredd understand that principle. There is virtually no story to speak of. Much like The Raid, the criminal towerblock setting is used to facilitate a number of outlandish displays of violence. Those exhibitions are certainly aided by Dredd's gimmick - a drug that slows the perception of time passing. Gun fights are frequently presented in a serene, drifting fashion. Some critics have complained the technique was overused. I would have welcomed more of it. Dredd is helped along by its glossy aesthetic, which is reminiscent of a cross between the game Mirror's Edge and the film Robocop 2. I use both points of comparison in a complimentary sense. Dredd is also well paced. It never drags, despite its plotlessness.

Monday, 18 February 2013

15 second review: When the Lights Went Out


I never thought I would see a film in which the children's game "Buckaroo!" was used as an object of terror. Then I saw When the Lights Went Out. 13 minutes in, a Slinky was meant to make me scream (instead I  questioned whether it was a joke). True story.
Rather than opting for the traditional route of spooky things happening and one stubborn individual remaining sceptical (despite overwhelming paranormal evidence), by 22 minutes into When the Lights Went Out the entire family are convinced they are haunted. Once the 24th minute elapsed, the ghost has befriended the initially inconsolable daughter-protagonist. Once 30 minutes had elapsed,  the family's circumstances were reported by an entirely convinced journalist. As a bonus, the father had begun, and then foreclosed his enterprising "haunted house guided tours" scheme. After 35 minutes, I had decided that there was no hope for a decent scare. The whole film is ramped at such a pace that it leaves little room to build atmosphere or creepiness. Still, top marks for the whole "Buckaroo!" thang.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

The Oily Maniac

I've not yet seen The Oily Maniac, but after finding this poster it is certainly on my list

15 Second Review: Sinister

Sinister has one or two effective moments. The opening footage was easily the best bit for me - I found it genuinely creepy. However, the movie is otherwise encumbered its by many notable flaws. Ethan Hawke's character  - lead protagonist Ellison - is hard to empathise with: by his own standards, the character is a sell-out. Since the majority of the run-time is spent with him, the film remains emotionally unengaging. That his family all but vanish by the final reel underscores how incidental they are to the plot. Moreover, the scares are mainly limited to sudden appearances and loud noises. Lead antagonist "Mr Boogie" looks like a guy forced to go to a fancy-dress party in an improvised Brandon Lee/The Crow costume. Thankfully the "creepy" moments are predominantly centred around ghostly children, although I found them entirely unscary. For these reasons Sinister's finale is a washout. As a fair warning, the poster announces that Sinister was brought to us by the producers of Insidious, a film that suffers from almost identical shortcomings. That said, if you enjoyed Insidious, you may well respond to Sinister more positively than I did.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

MASK OF JUDAS - AXIS video


15 Second Review: Truth or Dare


Truth or Dare suffers from its unoriginal premise. Awkward teen is bullied, someone gets revenge. Truth or Dare deviates from this stock slasher formula (see: TormentedThe Bagman, They Didn't Make it, for example) by adding a torture porn inflection, emphasising entrapment, time-limited interrogation, difficult choices and so forth rather than whodunit stalking. Still, The Final has already covered similar ground on a much grander scale (even if the results were tedious). Truth or Dare has a somewhat unexpected turn in its final moments, but I found it hard to care after 80 minutes of mediocre acting and anti-climactic punishment sequences. The attitude towards sexuality is also dubious, which adds insult to injury. Another slight ion the reputation of contemporary British horror.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Chubby Checker sues HP over Penis App


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21471967
Great story. Chubby hates puns.

My 80s Gland just prolapsed

These 'Action Packs' are now available over at http://8bitzombie.bigcartel.com/


15 second review: The Darkness (XBOX360)

It took me a while to get into this. I really do not enjoy games that leave me floundering without much sense of what to do and where to go. My training as an 8-bit, 2D, Linear player lets me down in that respect. Although flawed and ultimately disappointing, F.E.A.R. 2 (for example) has a natty mechanism for gamers like me - ghosts appear fleetingly in the approximate direction one should be moving. It is a great gimmick, and helps to build the game's atmosphere. My frustration with The Darkness stems from allowing too much scope to wander around its (fairly limited) topography. Coupled with its annoying cut-away sequences that intersect every time the player moves out of a train station (which is frequently), The Darkness quickly began to annoy me. My problems were exacerbated by a bug early on: one of the cues I needed (a phone call) did not occur.
Once I got into the swing of the makers' mindset, the game became much more fun. I then started to notice how atmospheric the graphics are, especially in the war-time segments. The real strength of the game, however, does not lie with its aesthetics, its (sometimes tedious) first person shooting action, or even the quirky voice artistry of Mike Patton (who plays the eponymous Darkness). The game's real draw is character motivation. In fact, the ending is really what entirely changed my mind about the game - it is well worth playing the narrative out until its final moments.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Trailer Trash: Hentai Kamen


..when I say unbelievable, I mean I find it hard to believe that this is genuine

15 Second Review: Zombies, Zombies, Zombies

When a film opens by mocking the ludicrous conventions of zombie films (experiments into creating super-soldiers "gone wrong", say), it better be either funny or clever. Zombies Zombie Zombies is neither.  The acting is weak, the story goes nowhere. The strip club is mainly used as an incidental location (and to display some T&A) rather than being integrated into the story. Its only other use is to enable the makers to provide some fairly offensive commentary on sex-work. Hurrah. It might sound like I'm asking a lot, but when a film like Zombie Strippers can provide both better comedy, and a wittier commentary on stripping as consumption, Zombies Zombie Zombies comes across as notably weak, even by its admittedly low standards.

Valentines special: One guy single-handedly kills romance


This guy REALLY likes Slayer. The bride's parents must have been thrilled.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Ghost in the Shell: Arise trailer


Tomahawk - Oddfellows



The vibe has a hint of Helmet about it - and that is a good thing in my book

Yippie ki-yay, you boundah A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD passed 12A

BBFC:
A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD passed 12A: The BBFC gave the English language film A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD a rating of 12A on Tue, 12 Feb. This film contains STRONG LANGUAGE AND MODERATE ACTION VIOLENCE. The film is directed by John Moore. The cast includes Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Patrick Stewart.
 
In the US, the film was rated 'R'. So, either all the violence and swearing has been edited out for us Brits, or the BBFC's attitude towards violence and swearing is far more liberal than the MPAA's. Somehow, I think the former is more likely...

Sunday, 10 February 2013

'Library War' teaser



Library Wars (Toshokan sensô) is due for release in April. I Assume it will be based on Hiro Arikawa's  図書館戦争 which received an anime adaptation last year.
There is something intriguing about military conflict breaking out in a library... perhaps that is because I am a geek. I do not know if I can stand to see the books being harmed. An explosion can really foul up the Dewey decimal system.

As an aside, I did once hear tale of a fist-fight breaking out in a university library (the institution will remain nameless) - the students in question were vying for the same book. Although I do not approve of violence, I had no idea that two students would be so passionate about accessing an academic tome.  

Experience as a prelude to disaster: American philosophy and the fear of death

Experience as a prelude to disaster: American philosophy and the fear of death
from Mortality



Coffeevolution


Saturday, 9 February 2013

Halloween vs Battle Royale


I make no secret of my disdain for Halloween (the film, not the event). Overrated and dull. Evidently some filmmakers share my view and have kindly sought to improve upon the original premise...by arming the stalkees.

Battle Royale Mondo Poster

Artists Bryan Lee O’Malley and Kevin Tong make BR look cute. Eat that Hunger Games.


Battle Royale variant Tugg Battle Royale To Your Theater, Courtesy Of Mondo

American Mary Meme



US Poll: Video Games More Threatening than Guns

You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me: Results Of National Poll Name Video Games A Bigger Threat To America Than Guns:
Public Policy Polling have apparently interview 800 participants by telephone, and the results read like something from Michael Moore's TV Nation:
Vidjagamez Youve Got To Be Kidding Me: Results Of National Poll Name Video Games A Bigger Threat To America Than Guns

Thanks to Adam from Bloody Disgusting

Friday, 8 February 2013

HELLO - LCGA



The new Louis and Genvieve album will be pre-released at one of the three shows on their tour. Guess what peeps? I cannot make it to Switzerland or New York, so they had better hurry the hell up and release it online

Patient Zero: The Middle Finger

Head over to Badas Digest for the First Known Photo Of Someone Flipping The Bird: First Known Photo Of Someone Flipping The Bird

CFP 'Digital Nightmares: Wired Ghosts, CCTV Horror and the Found Footage Phenomenon', Edited Collection, CFP Deadline: 8 April 2013

'Digital Nightmares: Wired Ghosts, CCTV Horror and the Found Footage Phenomenon', Edited Collection, CFP Deadline: 8 April 2013:
Digital Nightmares: Wired Ghosts, CCTV Horror and the Found Footage Phenomenon, ed. by Linnie Blake and Xavier Aldana Reyes
The Blair Witch Project (1999) is responsible for sparking a host of handheld horrors that have led to the commercial success of big blockbusters such as [REC] (2007), Paranormal Activity (2007) or Cloverfield (2008) and to the institutionalisation of the ‘found footage’ phenomenon or pseudo-documentary. There has also been a systematic application of new digital media to the recording methods and narrative structures of the horror genre, with films such as My Little Eye (2002) shot exclusively from the point of view of closed circuit television. After the success of the televisual nightmare of Ringu (1998), post-millennial films have also registered an important influx of literal ghosts in the machine. In fact, as White Noise (2005), Pulse (2006) or One Missed Call (2008) evince, spectres now haunt every form of information technologies, from phones to computers and radios. The overwhelming virtual world opened up by widespread access to the Internet and the free broadcasting of sites like Youtube or Twitter has seamlessly combined with post-millennial fears centred on the detrimental effects of technology, the easy availability of extreme material and the dangers of surveillance culture. These particular anxieties have been foundational to more mainstream horror films such as Saw (2004) or Hostel: Part II (2007), and there is now a vast and ever-growing number of low-budget films keen on exploring the dark side of the digital zeitgeist. This edited collection seeks to appraise and track the changes experienced by the horror genre in its most recent and technological incarnations. It is particularly interested in exploring the implications of the specific fears these films present, as well as in the articulation of a post- 9/11 neo-liberal subjectivity that lies at the heart of the most notorious examples.
We welcome papers on all aspects of horror in the digital age for a volume to be presented to a major UK or international publisher. We are particularly interested in papers that cover the following topics and/or films:
  • CCTV horror: My Little Eye (2002), Look (2007), I.C.U. (2009).
  • Techno-Ghosts: The Ringu series (1998-2000) and remakes (2002-2005), Kairo (2001) and Pulse series (2006-2008), In Memorium (2005), White Noise (2005), One Missed Call (2008), Lake Mungo (2008).
  • On-line/live snuff: Snuff-Movie (2005), Vacancy (2007), Untraceable (2008), Terror Trap (2010).
  • ‘Found footage’ horror: The Last Broadcast (1998), The Blair Witch Project (1999), Grave Encounters (2011), V/H/S (2012), Reel Evil (2012), The Chernobyl Diaries (2012).
  • Monster ‘found footage’: Cloverfield (2008), Troll Hunter (2010).
  • Handheld Survival Horror: the [Rec] series (2007-2014) and American remakes (2008-2011), Diary of the Dead (2007), The Zombie Diaries series (2006-2011).
  • New Extreme Cinema: Benny’s Video (1992), Hidden (2005), The Life and Death of a Porno Gang (2009).
  • Viral and Webcam Horror: Vlog (2008), Megan is Missing (2011).
  • Mediated Exorcisms: The Last Exorcism series (2010-2013), Chronicles of an Exorcism (2008), The Devil Inside (2012).
  • Torture porn and reflectionist horror: Saw series (2004-2010), the Hostel series (2005-2011), A Serbian Film (2010), The Human Centipede II: Full Sequence (2011).
  • Video diary horror and mockumentaries: Zero Day (2003), The Last Horror Movie (2003), The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007), Re-Cut (2010), Apollo 18 (2011), The Tunnel (2011), The Bay (2012), Occult (2014).
Abstracts of between 350 and 400 words for 5500-6500 chapters should be sent to X.Aldana-Reyes@mmu.ac.uk and L.Blake@mmu.ac.uk. The submission deadline is 8 April 2013.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Mask of Judas EP teaser

Mask of Judas - EP Teaser »



A condensed teaser of the new EP recorded at Envy Studios 2012.
The band have announced that the full EP will be available in April

What Motivates the Sexual Double Standard? More Support for Male Versus Female Control Theory

What Motivates the Sexual Double Standard? More Support for Male Versus Female Control Theory:
from Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin



The present research uniquely compared male control theory (MCT) versus female control theory (FCT) to illuminate motives for the sexual double standard (SDS), whereby men gain status from engaging in casual sex or having many sexual partners, but women are stigmatized for it. Consistent with MCT, men were more likely than women to endorse the SDS and to give sexual advice in ways that reinforce it—gender differences that were mediated by hostile sexism (HS) and endorsing the SDS, respectively. The data did not support FCT’s argument that women are motivated by sexual economics to restrict female sexuality (Baumeister & Twenge, 2002). Both genders discouraged women from having casual sex to protect women from social stigma and rape myths that justify violence against sexual women. In concert, the findings support MCT more than FCT and suggest that sexism, stigma, and rape myths are primary obstacles to sexual equality.

Joker/Batman covers - animated

joker1 Super Creeptastic Animated Joker Covers
joker2 Super Creeptastic Animated Joker Covers
joker3 Super Creeptastic Animated Joker Covers

Roth screens Cannibal Holocaust to tribe in Amazon


Apparently while shooting Green Inferno, Eli Roth decided to show an Amazonian tribe Cannibal Holocaust. Take stock: Roth, filming a neo-exploitation cannibal film screens an exhibition of dubious stereotypes framed by subversive commentary on the exploitative, stereotype imposing nature of Euro-American filmmakers. According to Roth, the tribe found it funny. If that is the case, I wonder if they were laughing at the unrealistic representations or the idea that audiences would pay to see them.

Monday, 4 February 2013

15 Second Review: Osombie



Bin Laden comes back from the dead to continue his regime of terror. Sounds gratuitously offensive on paper. In practice, Osombie is focused on congratulating American intervention in the Middle East more than it is on xenophobia. It is still plenty xenophobic enough for me, but the film fails to be any more shocking than its contentious premise. Maybe we should all be thankful that this film is just plain dull - at least it is not the taboo-flouting check-list that it could have been..

Dancing Predators


You read it right... Predators doing a dance routine...
Thanks to Johnny@Freddy in Space - crazy news as always

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Charlie and the Chop-em-up Factory


 
What's the difference between the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and the Saw series? Damned if I know.


 


Both are based around 'survival' narratives - characters find themselves in an unusual factory setting. One-by-one, they are picked off. Characters are punished for their character flaws. Augustus (right) is, for example, taught a valuable life lesson about greed. His fate is to suffer in a convoluted industrial trap. Sound familiar?





The process is overseen by an enigmatic, disturbed individual who manipulates his "guests" into conformity. He is outspoken about his plainly moralistic/ideological beliefs. The sole survivor (Charlie) is indoctrinated into his system. As the new disciple, Charlie is expected to take over Wonka's legacy.




Honestly, I don't know why the Dahl estate haven't sued Lionsgate for royalties.




Next week:

Jasper Carrott's Golden Balls....
Saw meets Phantasm?