Once again the super awesome The Mike over at yon From Midnight With Love has sounded the battle cry to call together his Midnight Warriors so we can answer the important questions that need answering and address the issues that lesser mortals cower before. Responding to his call, much like so many Thundercats calling ‘Ho!’, we have crawled our way out of our moldering crypts and cellars, our dark, dark woods and cobwebbed attics, our green-lit, bubbling laboratories and our sinister, abandoned amusement parks, or, in my case, from where I was lurking around the back sneaking a sly cigarette.
And so it was that we were all gathered, swathed in moonlight, an eager sweat beading our brows and our collective hearts beating a furious, cold tattoo against our chests, until The Mike strode atop his stone promontory, beheld us all and proclaimed:
"What's guaranteed to make you happy when it comes to Horror, Genre, or Cult cinema?"
And we all knew what we must do. Well, most of us knew, I hung around for a bit looking characteristically baffled and had another cigarette.
So what then does make me happy? The wannabe cool kid in me wants shrug noncommittally, arch a disdainful eyebrow and mumble something almost incoherent about the state of modern cinema. But the truth is I’m not a cool kid and I never will be, while there may be some things I’m not overly keen on that seem to make some people a lot of money in cinema today and I might rather see a few more risks being taken instead of oh so many remakes and mediocre franchises, I still love my genre and generally want to defend it more than knock it. Really I’m a happy little soul and frankly it doesn’t take a lot to make me grin with glee. (I prefer to look on this as positive and open rather than lacking the depth to discriminate, also it is another reason why I’m the best wife ever).
So, as we’ve established I lack the grown up ability to discriminate and am, in fact, something akin to an over excited puppy creating merry hell and leaving some unpleasant stains on the carpet, I shall, in answer to The Mike’s excellent question present a brief(ish) rundown of the things that have most made me come over all necessary generally and/or recently. I shall also endeavour, for the sake of decency, to keep this within the parameters of the question and also not to mention Ron Perlman.
1) Innovation, Risk Taking and Good Old Fashioned Balls
Not that long ago I posted about the British flick CUT (2010) that proudly proclaimed itself to be ‘The World's first single continuous shot Horror/Thriller Feature Film’. I kinda wish I’d saved that ‘review’ for this occasion because it would have perfectly exemplified one of the major factors that gives me serious happy face, and it would have given that post some context rather than me just rambling.
CUT had the balls to take the conventions of the slasher movie and revitalise it with the surprisingly simple concept of shooting the whole thing in one, long continuous take. I have already gone into the various reasons why I wholeheartedly admire this attempt so won’t bore you with it again, you can have a read if you fancy it, but, suffice to say, CUT is the first movie in quite a while that has given tingles for its entirety, not simply for its actual content, but rather for its scope and its potential. CUT, I salute you, you make me supremely happy, I want more people to see you.
2) Everything is Better on a Spaceship
Honestly, it is. There is absolutely no intellectual justification for this whatsoever. I just have to admit that I get base, primal thrill at seeing anything in my genre set on a spaceship. Naturally, I love Alien, and its sequels, I also more recently adored Moon, but these seem to me perfectly natural and rational examples of awesome stuff going down on a spaceship and I really need to confess a darker altogether more unsavoury love. When certain familiar franchises find themselves becoming a little spent and there’s not really anywhere left for them to go that’s when they tend to don their rocket pants and head off into space for no real logical reason, and that’s when I say ‘hell yeah!’. I will grin inanely at you, Jason X, Leprechaun 4: In Space, fear my giggling glee, and, god damn it, I’m even on board for Hellraiser IV: Bloodline. Now I know more conventionally the space misadventure is considered to be the death throes of a franchise, but to me they’re a peculiar happy place. I like spaceships. Don’t you judge me!
3) Ron Perlman
OK, I lied.
Ron Perlman’s presence in anything makes me glad. I love how he just appears in stuff when you’re not expecting him and it’s a nice surprise, like finding a fiver in the pocket of a coat you haven’t worn for ages. Now, I’ll be first to admit, some of the stuff that Big Ronnie P has cropped up in has been a bit questionable (Police Academy: Mission to Moscow??!), or a bit mediocre; The Devil’s Tomb/Outlander or frankly just plain silly The Mutant Chronicles, he always lends a certain gravity (and occasionally a silly accent) to proceedings and makes everything look better than it often really is. And he’s Hellboy. Every now and then though the Ronster leads me to something just a little bit special, most recently it was Sons of Anarchy which I probably wouldn’t have watched despite my love for tattoos, bikes and Hamlet if Ron wasn’t in it, but even more special than that was I Sell the Dead which I unreservedly and completely adored. Movies that celebrate and truly love the horror genre also make me unspeakably happy and I Sell the Dead is one of those, it loves B movies, it loves Hammer, it loves comics and as I love all of these things (and Ron Perlman). I loved I Sell the Dead and it topped last years’ Jinx’s Happy List. Ron Perlman always makes the list.
4) A Good Ole Whodunit
One of my special super hero powers is the ability to always know whodunit in any given Agatha Christie. Not the greatest power in the grand scheme of things but one I possess nonetheless. I inherited this skill from my late, much beloved Grandfather who was a huge Agatha fan and, in fact, became a pharmacist purely because of the interest in poisons instilled in him by the novels of the lady herself.
This warrants a happy mention because last year I was particularly excited by the premise of the TV show Harper’s Island (see also Innovation, Risk Taking and Good Old Fashioned Balls). Harper’s Island (essentially a slasher version of And Then There Were None) was the first horror TV show I could remember being truly excited about in a long time and that thrilled me. From time to time I like to be able to engage my little grey cells and if I can do that along with some splattery mass carnage all the better. As I far I recall it didn’t do too well here or in the US and I really think that was shame, it deserved better.
If I’m honest I also partly included this so I could show off that I totally called the Harper’s Island killer very early on (see special power) and this was solely based on my understanding of Christie’s narratives, plot devices and use of characters. I’m just like Miss Marple, if Miss Marple smoked copious cigarettes, had badly dyed hair and refused to take of the same ancient Motorhead T-shirt she’d been wearing for a fortnight. Yup, so I basically included this to point out how much I rule, albeit in a slightly pointless way. But I do genuinely adore whodunits and though I remain loyally partial to the classic old British style I would like to see more of this new gory style on my TV, especially now Midsomer is winding down. Curse you, John Nettles!
5) Terrors of the Deep
I can’t swim. You may find it surprising that I’ve managed to live for thirty-flump years without acquiring this particular basic skill, but I have, I’m a social marvel. Probably as a direct result this inability aquatic related horrors scare me a bit, but in equal measures they also make me inexplicably excited and happy (yup, I’m a social marvel). Jaws remains one of my absolute favourite films ever and I will doggedly, to the point of borderline obsession, search out any film with any one or combination of the following words; ‘shark’, ‘piranha’, ‘octopus’, ‘megalodon’ ‘alligator’ or ‘crocodile’ in the title. Oh, SyFy, or whatever you’re calling yourself these days, you selflessly indulge these whims and I love you! The day I discovered Mega-shark vs. Giant Octopus was a genuine, actual film my head nearly exploded. Seriously, if it’s got a lot of teeth and it’s in the water I’ll watch it, hell, I even watched Raging Sharks the other night and that was terrible! Though it did begin on a spaceship strangely, maybe you actually can have too much of good thing. No, that’s crazy talk, more sharks in space, that’s what I want to see!
I think we’ve learned several things about me here that none of us really wanted or needed to know: 1) I am very easily pleased 2) my taste is questionable and 3) I don’t get out very much. 4) I sink. And while these things are probably unlikely to garner me the respect of…well…anyone really, I refuse to think of unabashed enthusiasm as a negative trait, in fact, I fully intend to celebrate it. I shall continue to emit a high pitched squeal that only dogs can hear whenever any of the above (and a lot more besides) is mentioned, I will continue to trawl the internet in the hope that one day I’ll find an experimental whodunit movie set in a mutant killer sea creature facility in space starring Ron Perlman. I shall not be ashamed, I shall probably also not ever be burned as a witch, ha, take that buoyancy.
My name is Jinx, I wear my heart on my sleeve, and it’s making a bloody mess. Also all I can think about is space sharks now, god damn it.
For more coherent offerings please check out the other Midnight Warriors who have contributed so far:
Howlin’ Joe Monster from From Beyond Depraved
R.D. Penning from Dead End Drive-In c/o From Midnight With Love