Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Introducing...BeBe Gunns!

So we got a kitten.
Her name is BeBe Gunns and she's the cutest little bundle of mischief and joy.
We weren't planning on a kitten, but my sister's boyfriend's cat unexpectedly had kittens and my sister couldn’t stand the thought of loosing them to strangers so, because I’m a pushover and I can’t bear to see my baby sister cry, I said we’d take her favourite until she had a place of her own where she could keep her. This was nice of me. However, there was then one kitten left and after it rapidly became apparent that my husband was so unspeakably excited at the prospect of getting my sister’s kitten I realised that we were destined for trouble down the line when my sis eventually wanted said kitten back so as a result I agreed to take the last kitten as well to save my husband from heartbreak. Needless to say I wasn’t particularly thrilled by this arrangement at first (I’m a dog person) but the second BeBe showed up I turned into an embarrassing ball of mush and I now adore her completely. So that’s how we came to be the proud owners of BeBe Gunns and are soon to be kittysitting my sister’s little fluffy monster who may or may not be named Opie (my sister is indecisive).

If you want to know more about cats, or simply wish to view more cats, please visit: Evil Cats.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Happy Birthday to Jinx!

Today is my birthday. I'm thirty sodding five. This displeases me. However, I do share this birthday with:

Mother Theresa

Pee Wee Herman

Ed Gein

I like this odd mix of people. It suits me.
If anyone wants me I shall under the duvet crying, cursing God and clutching a bottle of whiskey.

Monday, 23 August 2010

London Voodoo (2004)

There is something a bit retro about London Voodoo, it feels like it belongs a different generation of chiller, or maybe it just errs in the direction of a 90s TV drama, either way this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it acquits itself remarkably well for a straight to DVD film, especially considering I paid a mere £1.50 for it.

Americans Lincoln (Doug Cockle) and Sarah (Sara Stewart) have recently relocated to London where Lincoln has taken a high powered new job (though judging by his rubbish office I would suspect he’s been thoroughly had) as an analyst (I don’t know what this means). This possibly made up job title and crappy new office will apparently afford Lincoln more money and more time to spend with his wife and their baby daughter, so things are looking swell for this upwardly mobile young couple.

Immediately on arrival, for some reason known only to God and presumably Lincoln’s now even less credible employers, they install a fax machine which is odd for 2004, but then who am I to judge, I don’t even know what analyst is. They also decide that there is some unutilised space in their basement that could be put to some much better yuppie purpose and builders are promptly engaged.

The 2004 pinnacle of yuppiedom, apparently
Moving the plot forward, it turns out that having a child to raise and not having to work is actually quite stressful and Lincoln insist that Sarah be furnished with perfect yuppie accessory a nanny/home help and so young, pretty Kelly (Vonda Barnes) pitches up (maybe Lincoln is so much of a mug after all) and now Sarah has all the time in the world to potter about, probably eat hummus and visit farmer’s markets and interfere with the supernatural.

When one of the bad examples of British tradesmen, despite not having actually done any visible work, manages to injure himself in a spectacular basement floor, lightbulb, dark related incident, Sarah, because she’s clearly got too much time on her hands, decides to investigate the scene of the mishap and promptly unearths a voodoo grave complete with the requisite charms and idols and the mummified remains of two voodoo dignitaries.

Marigolds and obstructing the course of justice

Sarah and Lincoln decide that, even considering that they are guests in another country, they really don’t need to bother with such trifling matters as the police and that instead the little grave will be a good project for Sarah now she doesn’t have to work or look after her child, thus proving beyond any reasonable doubt that too much money and too much time is not a good combination.

Not worth bothering the authorities about
Unfortunately for Sarah, and everyone else involved, it turns out that her self-designated pastime has some nefarious intentions. Rather than just staying dead the mummified folk would much prefer to get hold of some brand spanking new bodies to set up home in and the priestess makes a prompt play for Sarah’s warm womanly form. Soon Sarah begins to experience some unusualness. She finds herself having blackouts and memory lapses, begins hoarding her husband’s toenail clippings, attempts to seduce workmen and starts performing odd rituals with miscellaneous food products. She also finds she has drawn the attention of an unusually knowing charity worker and some members of the local voodoo community. These kindly souls, clearly in possession of the kind common sense that passed both Lincoln and Sarah by, give the partly possessed mother ample and explicit warnings of the danger that she putting herself and her family in, and she ignores them.

When voodoo goes bad
As Lincoln is far too busy brokering the kind of business deals you’d expect from a high powered executive in a crappy office he barely notices that his wife has gone all peculiar which is fine behaviour from a man who just five minutes ago promised his stupid new job would allow him much more time for his family. The young nanny meanwhile is also beginning to display signs that she too is slightly unhinged, albeit a more mundane variety of unhinged, and appears to be mainly occupying her time painting her nails, scrawling her employer’s husband’s name into her flesh with items cutlery and endeavouring to persuade her young child charge to call her mummy. Needless to say we now begin wandering into a relatively pointless Fatal Attraction type subplot that never really goes anywhere.

Saucy nanny

Naughty nanny
With Sarah swiftly on her way to achieving full possession and all offers of help thoroughly dismissed it falls to the hapless Lincoln to rescue what is left of this dysfunctional family, this is presumably particularly important to him as it transpires that Sarah’s internal priestess’ deceased male counterpart now has designs to make Lincoln’s businessman’s body his very own. He eventually decides to contact the kindly charity worker who also happens to be a voodoo aficionado and together they plan to save Sarah and foil these naughty voodoo ne’er-do-wells.

The yuppie face of voodoo
London Voodoo is strangely enjoyable despite having some script and pacing issues. The lead cast do a competent job and there are also some nice ensemble cameos from a supporting cast appearing as a voodoo sect in all their ritualistic glory that alone make it worth a watch. It is nicely shot, has an effective soundtrack provided by Steven Severin of Siouxsie and the Banshees and, although the script is little uncertain and problematic, first time writer/director Robert Pratten demonstrates some directorial capability, I was particularly taken with the juxtaposition of the primal and the domestic in the voodoo ritual scenes. The end unfortunately is a bit of an anti-climax, but there is certainly something oddly compelling about the tale of largely unpleasant yuppies in crisis that is enough to sufficiently hold your interest through this flawed but watchable chiller. The DVD also comes with a ‘making of’ feature, which I’m sure would have been interesting and I did try to watch, but it began with a progressive series of direct to camera confessionals from the writer/director in which he appeared to be building up to some kind of minor nervous breakdown and it made me uncomfortable and I had to switch it off after five minutes.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

A Bit of a Cult

Once again our glorious Midnight Warriors leader The Mike has projected The Warrior signal skywards to bring us together once more this time to tackle 70s cult films. The Mike intends to compile ‘The Midnight Warriors' Most Essential Cult Films of the 1970s’ and he needs our help with the super exciting project. Initially he would like us to create our own top five list of films of the decade. I urge you all to take part in this and you can find full details here.

So then, my list. I purposefully steered away from horror films here because, frankly, that would be too easy, I could go on about my favourite 70s horror films for days and most of them would probably qualify as cult. So instead this list will be my top five favourite non-horror cult films of the 70s. Also, I’d never ever have been able to pick only five. I love cult films, I really do, so I found this really difficult, I’m also quite changeable so am naturally disinclined to commit to favourites, and I get terribly carried with new ideas so, given the right circumstance (mood, amount of whiskey, company), almost anything can find itself proclaimed my favourite film EVER on a Friday night (this dubious honour currently belongs to Demonium). Also, while we’re on the subject, I like saying cult. It’s a fabulous word and feels good on my tongue. Cuuullllt. And it sounds a bit rude, especially if you say it in a French accent.

Sorry, enough of this rubbish, I will now stop messing about and present my Top Five Essential Cult Films of the 70s. (Still giggling at ‘cult.’).

1. Pink Flamingos (1975, John Waters)

2. Fritz the Cat (1972, Ralph Bakshi)

3. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970, Russ Meyer)

4. The Warriors (1979, Walter Hill)

5. Electra Glide in Blue (1973, James William Guercio)

Ok, some are a little predictable there, but I decided it was best not to think about it and went with my gut and that's what came spewing forth. (Not one of my nicer mental images there, sorry). I really do urge all Midnight Warriors to take part in this, and if you're not a Midnight Warrior yet, become one, it's easy, and super fun. Thanks to The Mike for being the king of all things cool and coming up with this.  Now I'm just going to say cult one more time: 'Cult!!'. Awesome. I'm like a twelve year old, a really embarrassing twelve year old.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Daddy Dearest: A Meme in Pictures

Gorgeous Howlin’ Joe Monster from the incomparable blog From Beyond Depraved has tagged me to take part in a splendid little Me Me. I love these things and this one is particularly exciting because it’s all about the pictures.

From Joe’s information, and he’s sure to be correct, this smashing project originated on the blog Checking On My Sausages and it requests the tagged participant to come up with screen grabs from films that all share a common theme. Awesome.

It took me quite a while to come up a theme, not least because every time I thought of one I found someone else had beaten me to it. Eventually I decided to go with ‘images of fathers in horror’. I didn’t have a dad. Well, obviously I did biologically; I’m not suggesting I’m the Immaculate Conception or the second coming or anything, but I didn’t have an actual present father in my life and as a result the idea of them intrigues and fascinates me and probably also explains my obsession with Ron Perlman and other gentleman of a certain age. Err...right....before I turn into a Freudian wet dream or start using this post as some kind of therapy here is a selection of the good, the bad, the misguided and the just plain scary dads of horror.

So those were the dads and hurrah for them! Most of them. Well, some of them. If you're a dad, hurrah for you! And if you've got a dad go find him or give him a call and give him a rousing hurrah too. And Ron Perlman, if you happen to be reading this, would you like to adopt me? I can provide a detailed list of the reasons why this would be a great idea. I'm also house trained, make a wicked cup of tea and come in a variety of colours to match your decor.
Now I have to pass it on. I would very much like to see what Jack over at Lavender Lair of Horror makes of this. I bet it's something great.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Award, Some Rambling and Another Award!

I have been a very lucky girl this week. I have been fortunate to have had not one but TWO awards bestowed on me. The first came from the phenomenal Dr. Blood who presides over the fantastic blog Dr. Blood’s Video Vault. The Doc has created a very special, and really super hard, meme. Doc B. noticed that the ‘Movie Compatibility’ tests that can be found all over the internet never seem to be applicable to us horror fans so he thoughtfully great one just for us.

Here’s how it goes in the words of the Doc:

“Below are twenty horror films which are universally accepted as classics listed in alphabetical order.
Just rearrange the list by cutting and pasting them into your own order based on how you would rate them. For instance, if you think that "The Hills Have Eyes" is a better movie than "Hellraiser" then cut and paste it higher up in the list. Repeat this with all the titles until you have your own personalised top twenty. Other people will then be able to see if you have the same tastes in horror as them or not.”

Alien (1979)
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
The Exorcist (1973)
Friday the 13th (1980)
Halloween (1978)
The Haunting (1963)
Hellraiser (1987)
The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
The Lost Boys (1987)
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
The Omen (1976)
Psycho (1960)
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
The Shining (1980)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
The Thing (1982)
The Wicker Man (1973)

Sounds easy, but actually it’s not, it’s super hard. I fretted over this for ages. ‘But I love all these films’ I kept saying to myself ‘how can I choose?’ This went on for a ridiculously long time and eventually I committed to an order, but now I keep having daydreams about Friday the 13th chasing me waving its arms and shouting ‘but, Jinx, you love me, how could you put me so low on list?’ It’s horrible. Anyway, here’s my list as it stands today, tomorrow it’ll probably be entirely different.

The Omen (1976)
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
The Exorcist (1973)
Psycho (1960)
Alien (1979)
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
The Wicker Man (1973)
The Haunting (1963)
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
The Thing (1982)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Friday the 13th (1980)
The Shining (1980)
Halloween (1978)
Hellraiser (1987)
The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
The Lost Boys (1987)

So now it’s all your turns to create your list and be haunted by Friday the 13th. Give it a go, it’s fun and terrifying.

And here’s the spanky award the awesome Doc presented me with:

Ooohhh, pretty. Thank you so much, Doc, you rule!

Now, I’m fairly sure I get to pass this little beauty on to someone else. Do I, Doc, is that right? Yeah, it must be, the love must be spread. So, as we’ve established that I’m rubbish at making simple decisions, I copped out and picked the first update in my reader at the time of writing which worked out wonderfully as it happened to be Tim from Post-Mortem Depression whom I adore, so well done me, or, more to the point, hurray for Tim!

Secondly, just to make me feel even more like a princess, Shaun Anderson the boy genius behind The Celluloid Highway kindly bestowed on me this honour:

The acceptance rules are easy and fun all you have to do is list ten things that make you joyous and then pass the award on to ten great blogs that bring you joy. Easy! Except for picking only ten blogs, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. So here goes, ten thinks that make me glad to be alive.

1) My glorious husband; best friend, adventurer, madman and fearless love warrior, he brings me more joy and love than I could ever deserve.

2) One small fuzzy white kitten. My family expanded by one this week when my husband and I became the custodians of a tiny cat (more on that later). I’m really more of a dog person, but this little creature has completely stolen my heart.

3) Def Leppard. Embarrassing, I know. Please don’t judge me, but I do love to jump around my house to ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ and it makes me stupidly happy. In fact, this track was my reserve choice for walking down the aisle to at my wedding. We were concerned that the registry office wouldn’t allow Kiss’ ‘God Gave Rock ‘n’ Roll to You’ because of the mention of ‘God’, they’re funny like that. So we had ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ as a standby and me and my brother were going to inappropriately sexy dance down the aisle which would have served them right. As it turned out our registrar thought Kiss was the best thing he’d ever heard and said we could definitely have it regardless of the rules. Score for us!

4) A really good book. I don’t think I need to elaborate on that, but it’s essential, like breathing or eating.

5) Friday Night Fright Fests. On Fridays my BFF Kev, his gorgeous girlfriend Lizbet come to our house for whiskey (or beer if they prefer), pizza and scary movies, and if we’re lucky Big Matty turns up, if he hasn’t got something cooler to do. I look forward to this all week and it makes me very happy to be with great mates and to laugh and have the best time. This week, however, I suspect I won’t be the main attraction as Kev is just unspeakably excited about meeting aforementioned small white fuzzy, and as yet still unnamed, kitten.

6) My brother and sister - they are completely awesome and I adore them.

7) Whiskey and cigarettes. Yeah, there are reasons I’m not role model. But it's not big and it's not clever. Stay in school, kids.

8) SyFy original movies. They make me more excitable than a puppy full of sugar. Especially if there’s shark in them.

9) Fresh tattoos. Weird I know, even on other people there’s something about a fresh, scabby tattoo that makes me insanely glad.

10) The community of horror bloggers. Seriously, we’re the best. Since I’ve been here a day hasn’t gone by when I haven’t been overjoyed by reading your fantastic blogs. You all thrill me, inspire me, make me giggle and introduce me to many great films that I can’t thank you enough. All of you rule, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

I really hate having to pick just ten blogs here, really I’d like to give it everyone because I love all my blogs and think they all deserve prizes, unfortunately I’m obliged so here’s a mixed bag of old favourites and sparking new discoveries that each make my heart leap for joy.

Carfax Abbey
From Beyond Depraved
The Lavender Lair of Horror
Porkhead’s Horror Review Hole
This Girl Digs Horror
Post-Mortem Depression
Dr. Blood’s Video Vault
Fear of Fiction
Fright Skool
The Roads of Autumn Dusk
Scream Bloody Entertainment

Ok, I know there’s eleven, but I couldn’t help myself.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Megalodon (2002)

This probably isn’t the most auspicious start but Megalodon disappointed and confused me on many levels. I love a shark movie. And Megalodons are the biggest sharks ever, they’re prehistoric mother flippin’ mega sharks, for Jeeber’s sake, so surely bigger equals better. Apparently not.

Really we should all just go home now and save ourselves a lot of time, but sadly I’ve got far too much time on my hands so I’m obliged to carry on regardless or else I’d just wander of be getting into trouble somewhere.

Evil faceless corporation Nexecon has developed and enormous and super advanced deep sea oil rig somewhere in the North Atlantic near Greenland. It’s kind of like the Terminator of oil rigs; it’s a leaner, meaner oil extracting, digging deeper and extracting more oil than any rig has ever done before. They cleverly call it ‘Colossus’ because it’s so big and awesome. Unfortunately not everyone thinks it’s big and awesome and environmentalists and geologists and other socially conscious individuals are up in arms because they suspect the monster rig has been built on fault lines and apparently that’s bad.

So, as a conciliatory measure the CEO of Nexecon invites plucky girl reporter Christen Giddings onboard the Colossus to document the workings of the rig in order to reassure the concerned masses that all is fine and dandy. But, predictably, everything is not fine and dandy and no sooner than drilling commences and they find a crap load of oil they promptly rupture one of the aforementioned fault lines that so concerned the socially conscious. Said rupture then, apparently, opens up a secret compartment in the ocean where all the prehistoric sea life hangs out. Oh yeah, and the oil is now gushing to the surface poisoning everything in the Atlantic.

Now while this may all sound exciting, what actually happens now is a lot of people spend an inordinate amount of time going up and down in a glass elevator, much like Willy Wonka’s. In case the antics of the glass elevator are just too thrilling there is also some half arsed minisub action going on in the surprisingly boring prehistoric secret compartment. This oddly small oil rig crew (6) have two minisub pilots, one of which is a lady, a resident dive chief with alarming hair, a medical officer (that guy out of The X Files that starts fires and keeps appearing in every film I watch recently, I think he may be stalking me), a chief engineer and a rig manager who is clearly doing a bang up job. These people are predominately dull, in testament to their dullness one of them got bitten by a seventy billion year old fish while unblocking a phenomenally boring pipeline and I had to have this explained to me later because I’d started painting my nails and missed it.

Stupid glass elevator

After nearly an HOUR of people doing stuff and saying stuff that wasn’t very interesting, the megalodon finally makes an appearance and I, and my nicely painted nails, perked up considerably. To the film’s credit the CGI beastie wasn’t that bad, some effort had clearly gone in here, however, my excitement was short lived as apparently it turns out supremely angry sixty feet prehistoric sharks don’t do an awful lot of damage and don’t eat that many people.

Stalker guy from X Files and man with silly hair

Eventually, after some ill-judged escape attempts and with a unfortunate storm raging that precludes mainland rescue, the survivors regroup in the control room and the stalker guy from The X Files announces to them all that they currently running on emergency back up and that now only has enough power to sustain them for a few more hours after which they probably all freeze to death, or get eaten by a presumed extinct sea creature, whatever they prefer. Fortunately the dive chief, he of the alarming hair whose ‘character development’ shows him to be some kind aquatic adrenaline junkie who probably surfs and is really old enough to know better, has some manner of ludicrous self-destructive explodey plan to destroy the fish once and for all which naturally involves more bloody minisubs. Confusing plan works, megalodon and dive chief blow up dramatically and then inexplicably no one freezes to death in the storm that precludes mainland rescue and the plucky girl reporter is now holidaying on a yacht in the middle of the ocean (which you’d think would be her last vacation destination of choice considering). In the last dying seconds we see an aerial shot of the plucky girl reporter’s boat and, believe it or not, another whacking great megalodon, bold as you like, swims right under boat. Thus endeth the tale of the oil rig and the prehistoric shark, or does it? Presumably, yes, it does, because apparently there was no sequel forthcoming, strangely.

Too little too late

So apparently bigger is not better. To be fair to Megalodon, for a low budget flick the mechanics and technicalities are really very good, the problem is that it’s slow and lumbering, populated by badly drawn characters I don’t care about and ultimately not a lot really happens, and frankly there are too many damn minisubs not enough shark. To add insult to injury the credits went on forever, seriously, they must have been about ten minutes! That’s ten extra minutes of shark I could have had!

Damn minisubs


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