Tuesday 30 April 2013

15 Second Review: Comedown (2012)

Imagine this: Kidulthood, right, but a HORROR film. Oh but wait, hasn't that been done before? Yeah, damn, Attack the Block. Never mind, no listen right, what if the film was set in a tower block, like The Raid, or Dredd or something, but a HORROR film, and right, like Kidulthood? Oh no, that's still Attack the Block. What if we take out the cool monsters - which, as you'll remember, were the best things in Attack the Block - and instead make it an ultra-generic slasher film? Yeah bruv, and then we can  throw in some right vexin language right, that sounds suspiciously like someone in their mid-30s trying to sound "street" innit tho? Sick! [sucks teeth, becomes confused].
Most confusing of all is that the filmmakers try to palm off the killings on a rival gang (for about three minutes) when it is quite clear who the killer is from the outset...well, at least from the moment that the teens talk about the janitor that they ritually tormented. The dialogue is so unsubtle, they may as well have included the line "And then he was all like, you know, up in my bizness and ting, givvin it that 'I'll come back and kill you' shit, d'ya knaaa what I mean? And I was like 'pussyole'". With material this bad, I'll be shocked if there isn't outtake footage of the poor bastard that played Mr Carruthers the killer janitor shouting 'I'd have gotten away with it if it weren't for you pesky kids' or 'The Daily Mail was right! Britain is broken!'. Maybe that's why he doesn't get any lines.

Monday 29 April 2013

New Knower and Mask of Judas Releases Today

The good news from two ends of the musical spectrum: newreleases from two criminally unsigned acts:

Although they've drifted away from experimental retro funk-jazz towards an electro-dubstep vibe of late, Louis cole and Genevieve Artadi are continuing to push themselves into new musical terrain with every release.

Mask of Judas - Axis

UK band Mask of Judas moved away from their roots in eclectic genre-blurring metal into a firm tech-metal identity when Sam Bell joined the troupe. They've not had much luck in holding down a stable line-up, but hopwfully this release will garner some well-earned recognition. 

Sunday 28 April 2013

Godzilla Vs Charles Barkley

Remember that time when NBA All-Star Charles Barkley fronted off against Godzilla? Sure you do. Who else would be called given such a serious breach in national security? Giant green radioactive dinosaurs fear nothing more than basketball skills. Awesomeness ensues. Best 50p I ever spent..

Saturday 27 April 2013

Short Film: Perihelion (2012)

Nick Cross's animation may be under three minutes in duration, but it nevertheless manages to evoke many horrors of human atrocity in an epic fashion. Well worth watching.

Thursday 25 April 2013

Song of the Day: Deasa - Warsaw

Lead single from Dessa's forthcoming Parts of Speech album. I'm in,

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Short Film: I Live in the Woods (2009)

Bear with this one - it is a bit twee at the outset, but it quickly turns into a Nietzschean nightmare. Hurrah!

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Trailer Trash: Manborg (2013)

They don't make them like this anymore...wait a minute. They never made them like this... Shut up, retro

Monday 22 April 2013

Mario Piano Double Whammy

For anyone who hasn't seen this classic, the Blindfolded Pianst plays themes from Mario. Keep watching until the end, since he plays one of the themes from Mario 3 superfast, and then at double speed. Seriously, I can't move my arm that quickly, let alone moving it with enough accuracy to hold a tune.

For anyone wishing to test their blindfold mettle, the sheet music for various Mario themes can be found here: http://www.mariopiano.com/

Sunday 21 April 2013

15 Second Review: Room 237 (2012)

Room 237 - a documentary revolving around interpretations of The Shining - represents some of the best elements of film criticism. The commentators each have a great eye for detail and care passionately about the film. However, their fanatical discussions simultaneously risk giving film theory a bad name, not because of their interpretations, but because of the tone the contributors share. The commentators place too much weight on intentionality, presenting their personal responses to the film as objective fact. For example, opinions are couched in phrases such as ‘what is REALLY going on’, ‘so it IS a minotaur’, and ‘I wasn’t sure at first...but then I knew’. Where the commentators instead place weight on Kubrick’s intentions, they do so in a similarly overwrought fashion. For some of the contributors, Kubrick is ‘thinking about the whole of existence’ in The Shining. Elsewhere, Kubrick is presented as ‘a megabrain for the planet’. The emphasis on Kubrick’s vision is ironic given that The Shining was commonly regarded as a failure on its release precisely because of Kubrick’s reputation as an auteur.  
These notable, prevalent flaws damage Room 237 . Throughout, I cwas haunted by the dreaded phrase “reading too much into it”, which is one of my pet hates. Although it sounds like a criticsim aimed at the interpretation, the phrase "reading too much into it" is indicative not of illegitimate ideas, but rather inadequate substantiation. Indeed, there are more direct explanations for some of the interpretations offered. The Shining’s visual aesthetic is built around symmetrical compositions and shape matches. The continuity inconsistencies and geographical mismatches boasted by The Shining add to its labyrinthine qualities, which tarry with the script's references to mazes. The aesthetic has a thematic unity that does not require outlandish theorisation, then: rather, The Shining explains itself.
Consequently, some of the contributions come across as bizarre, especially where they are ill-explained. A missing chair is said to be a parody of horror conventions, but it is unclear how the two elements interconnect. One commentator asserts that only words that can be made out of ‘Room No 237’ are ‘moon’and ‘room’, leading to discussion of Room 237 as the ‘moon room’. The point falls flat, not least because the word ‘moron’ can be made out of the same letters.
On a more positive note, the film presents the more outlandish assertions in an ambivalent manner. In some cases, the readings are supported. For instance, one of the chapters is entitled “how the movie was meant to be seen”, which validates the contributors' assuredness in their responses. Furthermore, many of the clips from The Shining “confirm” and anchor the commentators' voice-overs. On other occasions, the footage is used to dispel the commentator’s propositions with visual evidence to the contrary. Even more intriguing are the moments in which clips are left hanging, goading Room 237's viewer into entering the game, searching for meaning.
None of this is to suggest that Room 237 is a dull film. In fact, the commentator’s fish stories, dashes of brilliance, and flashes of near lunacy are both intriguing and entertaining. Although it is unlikely to change one’s view of The Shining, it may encourage many to revisit Kubrick’s excursion into horror.

Saturday 20 April 2013

15 Second Review: Panic Room

If you have not seen Panic Room, play a game with me here. Have a guess what happens in the film. Write down the plot in as much detail as you like. Then pick up a copy (I got mine for 60 pence). Prepare to be shocked as to how uncannily accurate your guesses are, even if you are working from the title alone.  
There is little more to say. There is a panic room, and Jodie Foster hides in it.  The movie offers scant character development or resolution. The filmmakers manage to string nearly two hours out of its limited set-up. David Fincher's direction is competent, but hardly thrilling. The most surprising aspect of the film is that Sony managed to spin their 2004 special edition release of this film over three yawn-tastic discs.

Friday 19 April 2013

Thursday 18 April 2013

Trailer Trash: Pro-Wrestlers vs Zombies (2013)

Well, it looks better than Monster Brawl (2011), or any horror film WWE have released...

Wednesday 17 April 2013

15 Second Review: Lucky Bastard (2013)

A number of horror films are centred around the porn industry (Horno, Tumbling Doll of Flesh, and One Eyed Monster, are but three examples). As will be obvious to even the most casual horror viewers, found footage films have boomed over  the last decade. Being a found footage porn-industry based horror film, Lucky Bastard is hardly innovative. Hell, Lucky Bastard has more fundamental issues than it unoriginality: the film-makers struggle to entertain for 94 minutes.
The major flaw is that nothing depicted is anywhere near as "risky" or "dirty" as it needs to be in order to inspire fear or even shock. Lucky Bastard's central weakness is that it is nowhere near as uncomfortable to watch as the types of pornography the filmmakers overtly criticise; as the introduction caption has it, "For too long the adult entertainment industry has pushed boundaries not only of obscenity but common sense. Those who play with fire..."
The existence of Lucky Bastard is notable only for two question it triggers. First, what is the point in horror films about the porn industry if some forms of porn are closer to "horror" than the resultant horror movies are? Second, which is more exploitative: pornography, or low budget horror films that use the porn industry to inspire cheap thrills? 

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Monday 15 April 2013

15 Second Review: 300

In the beginning, Gerard Butler had some small pants. He also had a cape and a spray-on beard, but the pants are more important to the story. Gerard wore his pants, and they did show off his fabulous abs. And many were terrified of Gerard's abs. Lo, Gerard did shout and stab unto those who stood before him, and all the while, Gerard continued to wear his little pants. Men were decapitated. Other men had beards. Some bearded men were decapitated. The pants withstood all. Many men screamed, and were variously injured. Gerard looked stern and continued to wear his briefs, for ensconced in his underwear was his mighty phallus. Tedium and misogyny were rife in equal measure. Occasionally there was a voice over, to make it seem as if there was a meaningful story. Nevertheless, the central theme, nay, the meaning of existence itself continued to be Gerard's pants. Amen.

Sunday 14 April 2013

Friday 12 April 2013

Two Bollywood Versions of Elm Street

For anyone that has not seen these gems, below are two Bollywood versions of A Nightmare on Elm Street. If you have a spare four hours, this is a hell of a double bill.
Khooni Murda (1989, dir. Mohan Bhakri) 

Mahakaal (1993, dirs. Shyam Ramsay and Tulsi Ramsay)

Thursday 11 April 2013

15 Second Review: The Human Contract

The Human Contract is a film that wears its colours on its sleeve. Its boldness is evident in the title, which neatly summates its themes: the human condition is reflected as a series of contracts. Some are literal. Lead protagonist Julian is faced with divorce papers. His career hinges on an exclusive business deal. Other forms of 'contract' are figurative. Julian is devoted to his family (his sister and mother). He enters into an erotic "contract" with a woman called Michael. Michael is married, but has an "understanding" with her husband. Frequently these contracts blur: Julian's relationships  - such as the violence he enacts in defending his sister - impact on his business obligations (which require him to uphold "family values"). The latter caveat flags another set of contracts: duties to law, to morality and so forth. Julian's violence threatens to disrupt each of the contrcats that situate him socially. That is, his regular eruptions expose how fragile our various contracts are, and so how delicate sociality itself is. Moreover, each contract is a shield that masks truths. The narrative is built around secrets that force themselves to the surface, be they those hidden in Julian's locked darkroom, or those that manifest on Michael's body in acts of self-harm.
Pinkett-Smith unpicks these complex relationships with admirable control, especially for a first time director. That Pinkett-Smith starred in rom-com The Women just before releasing this film augments how intense and unexpected The Human Contract feels. Sometimes that darkness becomes a little unwieldy, but for the most part the film is restrained in tone. For example, Julian questions Michael's name within the first few minutes, and only receives the response that it is a 'long story'. Fortunately, there is no further hint of a Crying Game-style revelation: the name is a red-herring. Paz Vega (of Sex and Lucia fame) puts in a strong performance, which may leave the viewer wanting to know more about, for example, Michael's relationship with her husband. However, Pinkett-Smith wisely sticks to telling Julian's story, revealing just enough about Michael to draw the audience in. The film is certainly not perfect, but it is sumptuous, brave, and deserves a broader audience than it has received.   

Wednesday 10 April 2013

James Hetfield says: Yeah

I love doing a Hetfield style 'yea-YEAHHH' every now and then, so this mash of every single 'Yeah' in Metallica's back catalogue amused me. How life affirming. Maybe on the next album, we'll be treated to a cover of 'I'm Just a Girl Who Can't Say No'.

Tuesday 9 April 2013

Forgotten Nightmare on Elm Street PC Game

Check out http://www.i-mockery.com/minimocks/freddy-pcgame/ for a detailed synopsis of this rad Nightmare on Elm Street PC game - it includes a download link so you too can play the game. It beats the hell out of the NES Elm Street game

Monday 8 April 2013

Japanese Commercials for...

A potty training device!

Noodles (I think)!
And Pretzels. Creative advertising at its best. Nothing new to say or sell? Opt for something lively and memorable.

Sunday 7 April 2013

The Many Elm Street Porn Parodies

Recently there has been a boom in the popularity of porn parodies of horror films. The two are natural "bedfellows" insofar as porn features have an established history of drawing on popular cultural texts for plot-lines, and exploitation horror has a history of using nudity for titillation. Moreover, the crossover might make porn viewing more socially acceptable, as the parody element provides an added "excuse" for watching.

One film that has been parodied more than most is A Nightmare on Elm Street, which is surprising given the sexual connotations of the original text. Freddy attacks people in their beds, and is implied as having a history of violently molesting children. Even if just leaning on the name to sell the product, would you seriously want your porn film associated with an abusive caretaker? Furthermore, Freddy is horribly disfigured and that does not fit well with porn's conventionally attractive bodies. Regardless, porn versions of the tale abound. Below, I aim to document that adjunct to the Elm Street franchise - I will update this post if I find any more.

Nightmare on Porn Street (1988, Dir. Scotty Fox)

 A Wet Dream on Elm Street (1988, Dir. Jim Travis)

Nightmare on Dyke Street (1992, Dir. Mad Dad Dan)

Nightmare on Lesbian Street (1995, Dir. Ron Jeremy)

Nightmare on Black Street (2008, Dir. Joachim Kessef)

A Nightmare on Elmo Street (2009, Dir. Keith Kannon)

A Nightmare on Twink Street (2010, Dir. Bryan Kenny)

A Wet Dream on Elm Street (2011, Dir. Lee Roy Myers)

Brazzers Live Nightmare on Ass Street show (2012)

[Notable mentions: A Nightmare on Wang Street (also known as A Nightmare on Wank Street), and also Nightmare on Teen Street), both of which are streamed sequences.]

Saturday 6 April 2013

Video Nasties News Clippings Archive


This is an amazing resource - over 330 pages of news article scans from between 1980 - 1995 relating to the video nasties scandal (up until the Child's Play 3 incident)

A great piece of archive research, and a valuable document charting a part of our cultural history - many thanks to Rob (aka SeeNoEvil)

Friday 5 April 2013

Japanese Ninja Turtle Toy Commercials

The voiceover guy sounds almost as excited as I am about these Ninja Turtles toys

Meshuggah Animated Video

Not my favourite Meshuggah song, but a gorgeous monochrome animated video

Thursday 4 April 2013

Elm Street NES Intro Screen

Here is another awesome piece of Nintendo history - the intro sequence form the (poor) Elm Street game

Wednesday 3 April 2013

Gremlins 2 NES Advert

A wonderful piece of advertising history: a full commercial for Gremlins 2 on the NES

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Man with Two Minds Plays with Himself...

...or something like that. Mark Kroos plays both parts of duelling banjos on a twin neck guitar. See it to believe it.