Nowt as Queer as Folk

Last year Mark Gatiss made a wonderful 3 part documentary about his love of horror films called ‘A History of Horror’. Interestingly I think it would probably be better served if it was called ‘My History…’ because it is such a personal series of programs exploring his fascination with the macabre and murderous world of the horror film. At one point Gatiss explores the theory that there is a curious sub-genre of British horror film, comprising only three films and featuring something layered deep within the British psyche. Calling this crop of films ‘folk horror’ he picked out The Wicker Man, Blood on Satan’s Claw and Witchfinder General and proceeded to explain how their engagement with the nature of paganism and a kind of earthen ancient spirituality seemed to dredge up something unique for our isles, a special kind of fear. Gatiss highlights the scarcely seen Blood on Satan’s Claw (the extract is here on YouTube) and in his exploration with director Piers Haggard he focuses on the notion of something being innate in our soil – in the land itself. The notion that buried somewhere in the earth beneath our feet is a portion of our blood-soaked history is a powerful one indeed and one that might go further than these three films and occur in certain other parts of our sparkling horror history. Continue reading “Nowt as Queer as Folk”

The Remake Manifesto: Part 2 – On foreign lands and fading memories

Welcome to part two of my needlessly lengthy attempt to tell you why you shouldn’t be so angry about the remakes.

“Well what about foreign films?” I hear you demanding like the voices in my mind that scream in the night. People always get very angry about remakes of foreign films, especially recent foreign films (and by foreign I’m referring to foreign language for the purposes of this article). During the release of Matt Reeves’ Let Me In I mounted a defence of remaking foreign films on my, sadly defunct, podcast and it prompted someone to leave the following scathing review on iTunes…

“Since the podcast where they defended Hollywood movie remakes I’ve lost respect for them. There is no reason to remake a film ever!! Learn to read and watch the original in it’s own language. Retards.” Continue reading “The Remake Manifesto: Part 2 – On foreign lands and fading memories”

The Remake Manifesto: Part 1

You know the drill, news comes in of a remake that is occurring in Hollywoodland and someone is talking about it and they start to get angry. They will undoubtedly say the something along the lines of the following…

‘Why are they doing another remake? What is the point? This will ruin the other one. Why can’t people just watch the original? Haven’t they got any original ideas?’

If it’s a foreign film you can usually tack on the classic ‘Why don’t people just learn to read subtitles? Why don’t people watch foreign films?’

What you’ll probably notice is that people get absolutely furious about remakes. I once witnessed a co-worker explode in fury when she learnt that The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three was being remade with John Travolta and Denzel Washington. It did her mood no good at all when I tried to calm her down by telling her it had already been remade before with Donnie Wahlberg.  Never mind eh? Continue reading “The Remake Manifesto: Part 1”

Southern Fried Cinema

Way back in the mists of time, August 2005 to be precise, I went to the local multiplex to catch a couple of films. An odd pair they were with very little in common between them, until I started to think about them a bit more.  Recently I have been rolling the two films over in my head and trying to make some sense of the similarities and differences I could see and what they might mean, if anything.

Continue reading “Southern Fried Cinema”

The Proposition and Fences in Australian Film

A couple of weeks ago I stayed with a friend of inestimable hospitality (@MGElliott) in the picturesque spa town (City, apparently) of Bath. He asked if I minded watching The Proposition, a film I reviewed on here some time ago.  We sat down alongside Matt’s equally generous girlfriend Kim (@nanosounds) to settle into the sweat soaked Australian outback, peopled with all manner of parched violent degenerates and desperate ex-pats (how little has changed).  It was whilst watching that I was struck by the use of fencing in the film (shut up), and the way I’d seen fences and land demarcation used in other Australian cinema before. You see, land and land ownership is a terrifically important and evocative subject in Australian life, it is in danger of becoming the very thing that defines them as a people. If you fancy finding out why then have a read up on the Mabo case and you might want to understand what ‘terra nullius’ means too. Continue reading “The Proposition and Fences in Australian Film”

Back to the Scene of the Shock

The Shock Doctrine (Mat Whitecross & Michael Winterbottom, 2009)

Last year I reviewed The Shock Doctrine, a documentary I found fascinating and moving as well as extremely saddening in parts.  It is now available legally on Youtube.  I recommend it unconditionally to anyone and everone.  Watch it with an open and critical mind, decide for yourself if you agree.  It is a brilliant thesis or a dreadful misappropriation of the truth depending on your point of view.  I may lean to the former but I implore you to look for yourself and see if you agree.

Watch it HERE.

(I can’t embed it because 4OD won’t let me)

Lunatics

24. The Crazies (Breck Eisner, 2010)

A remake of the little known George A. Romero film from the early 70s, this is a pretty entertaining slice of small-town America gone awry.  Ogden Marsh is the town in question and it is, all of a sudden, subject to some very strange goings on.  People are starting to act very in very strange, violent and dangerous ways and it is up to the town Sheriff to see if he can figure it out.  That would ordinarily be the set up and resolution for a film of this kind but credit where it is due because this film moves at breakneck speed.  There’s no bedding in period for this small town, you get all the information within five minutes and there is a simple and highly effective scene on the local baseball field which kicks off the action.  Everything proceeds with some hast from that point on and that’s what allows the film to take several turns I wasn’t expecting.  I won’t spoil it but after about half an hour the film has rattled through the story that a regular small town horror film would take for its duration.  The Crazies doesn’t do much wrong, but it doesn’t really do anything spectacular it is just a really solid piece of entertainment that is well filmed and well worth 90 minutes of your Friday night.  Special mention to English actor Joe Anderson as the deputy, upstaging his American counterparts with a damn good performance.

The Right Man

23. The short films of Jason Reitman

Someone put me on to the short films of up and coming film director and all round top chap Jason Reitman.  You might better know him as the director of Thank You for Smoking, Juno and Up in the Air – three excellent films.  But a quick dig around the internet reveals three of his early efforts are available to watch, and because I’m a diamond geezer I’ve stuck them up here for you.

First up is In God We Trust.  A cracking short film about karma and the actions of your life being totted up to see whether you get heaven or hell.  Our hero spies a chance to skew the result and goes on a last ditch mission to get to the pearly gates.  Smart, sharp, fast and funny have a watch (thanks to Leon Hurley from Official Playstation Magazine for the tip on this).

Gulp is more of a tech demo, showcasing some of the creative film-making techniques at Reitman’s disposal. There’s nothing major to it really but there are some definite hints about the style that would later emerge in his feature career.

Finally there is the extended comedy sketch of Consent. That’s all it really is but it is funny and manages to push the joke as far as it should go without overdoing it.  It’s also nice to see Reitman being loyal to his Jeff Witzke and giving him roles in all three of these short films as well as his features.

Blackalicious

22. Black Dynamite (Scott Sanders, 2009)

The first thing most people see or hear about Black Dynamite is the superb trailers that did the rounds on the internet back in 2008/2009.  So if you haven’t heard about it before I suggest you watch this trailer and get down with your bad self.

This is Michael Jai White’s passion project and he’s put together a really solid comedy.  Yes it is only really one joke, a parody of 70s blaxploitation pics, but it is a good one.  Taken to an extreme and then pushed even further this is clearly a film made with affection and some pretty sharp knowledge of the era it mimics.  Crash zooms, visible boom mics, low grade film, lionising kung fu – it’s all here.  Treat yourself and get this smooth, smooooth piece of action watched.

Small Budget and Big Ambition

21. Batman: City of Scars (Aaron Schoenke, 2010)

I had written a big piece about this Batman fan-film, including a list of the best fan films out there and the possible impact on the industry itself.  But then I thought it was pretty good and decided to shop it around a few publications to see if they were interested.  So you get the abbreviated version, for now…

Watch this Batman fan-film. I quite liked it.Roblox Robux Hack 2017