That cold ain’t the weather, that’s death approaching.

Having been let down in a major way by last weekends Halloween outings, I decided to play the actual day more low key, and instead of more parties opted for the slightly less social – go see a horror movie – option.

30 days of night was being previewed in Islington, and since I’ve been excited about its release forever it seemed a perfectly apt way to spend All Hallows Eve.

Before I get started – 2 things worth noting.

The movie was awesome.

Cinema audiences should be given lessons in how to behave during a screening.

For those of you who didn’t read the comics ( and if that includes you, then you should – NOW) The basic premise is, in the northern-most town in the US, (Barrow, Alaska) there is no daylight for 30 days. Obviously this is somewhat of a vampiric dream, what with all of that food and non of the pesky undead-threatening daylight, so they move in to slaughter the towns remaining residents. Head vampire gets wind of this, and becomes annoyed – turns out the way vampires have managed to stay around all this time, is convincing us that they don’t exist – it is therefore imperative that no-one survive to tell the tale of what really happened.

It’s incredibly simple as a story, and one that’s so obvious when you hear it, you wonder why no-one had used it before. (There was a giant debate about this on AV club, apparently there may have been a similar idea in a Twilight Zone episode once) but it’s the simplicity that works so well. It fits with the bleakness of sunlight free Alaska, and the starkness of a town light on residents.

David Slade does a fantastic job directing. It looks like the comic. I haven’t seen anything look this much like the source material since Sin City. It’s a welcome relief in this day and age that it’s CGI free and relies on make-up, acting and clever framing to make the movie as barren and menacing as it is. The vampires look amazing. Ben Templesmith (The comic book artist) must be ecstatic about this, his vision is translated almost flawlessly onto the screen. There’s an incredible aerial shot as the townsfolk are being slaughtered, all GoogleEarth with gunshots and pools of browny-red blood spilling out onto the desolate snowy white canvas. There are very few clean lines here, much like the artwork it’s kind of watery and low contrast in look. Besides a few discrepancies the movie follows the comics storyline well, so fans of the graphic won’t be disappointed.

All of this being said, this probably isn’t an ideal film to watch at the cinema. It’s not a slasher, and although incredibly gruesome, doesn’t feature too many jumpy moments. It’s more of a slow,yet consistent,burner. And it’s hard to feel scared by this kind of movie while you’re in a multiplex full of people. Home alone in the dark though, would be a completely different story. Added to that you wouldn’t have any of the annoyance of an audience laughing as a knee jerk mechanism to actual horror.

I was a little worried about Josh Harnett being cast in this role, but all credit to the guy, he pulls it off. He’s pretty good at playing a somewhat understated leader though. Melissa George is nowhere near as irritating as I imagined she’d be. But it’s Ben Foster, as the stranger who really stands out. Although his role isn’t all that large, it’s definitely one of the most memorable, I understand he’s not unfamiliar with the role of deranged psycho, but it works for him.

30 Days of night is something we’ve (alright, I’ve) been waiting for, for about 2 decades now, a genuinely scary vampire movie. Watch it, but maybe wait til DVD if you want it to have the desired effect.

Just another quick mention of blink or die, which is running until next week. Enter your best death blink to win this Jason Vorhees living dead doll. And then I’ll try and shut up about vampires and Halloween for a while.

6 more days to halloween

(The headline is supposed to be sung in the same menacing kids voices used in Halloween III: Season of the Witch)

So yeah, it’s under a week ’til Halloween, and since it’s pretty much my favourite day out of the year, I figured I’d write the first (of multiple – I should probably warn you now) seasonal blog.

Our Halloween contest BLINK OR DIE will be live as of tomorrow, but more details on that later.

As is, by now tradition (anal, OCD like, tradition) I’ve compiled a list of ACTUAL SCARY HORROR MOMENTS

Yes, I know. Crazy.

They’re a lot harder to find than you’d think. As a jaded horror fan – how many films have actually left some kind of deep rooted psychological scar? This list is dedicated to the movie moments that on first viewing, fucked you up.

Bob from Twin Peaks - Without doubt the scariest entity ever seen on screen

I used to think that Bob was only scary because you just saw him in short, cleverly edited bursts. To test this theory, at around the age of 18 I printed out LOADS of pictures of Bob to help me get over it. It didn’t work. I had to put them away in a drawer, and still shudder when I think about him. And I’m not the only one. Even if you were a Twin Peaks obsessive and understood both who and what, he was. (click here if you don’t) he was still the nearest I’ve ever seen to the manifestation of evil incarnate – well – you know what I mean. BOB EST SCARY.

Sadako emerges from the TV – Ringu

Forget bad Hollywood remakes and a market over-saturated with Asia extreme, cast your mind back to 1998 and the first time you saw Ringu. Let’s not get into how Japanese cinema is scarier anyways, just based on the sense of spatial awareness. Instead, watch, and remember how you freaked out when you first rented the DVD, all alone, in the dark of your room.

The Murderous Dwarf – Don’t Look Now.

Don’t look now is genius. If you haven’t seen it. You should. It’s another one of those movies that reminds you about how cinema was actually good in the 70’s. The scary dwarf killer petrifies me. I’m sure dwarves dressed in red trigger some kind of weird brain activity, Lynch loves them too.

The Tube Scene – American Werewolf in London

Sometimes, late at night I’ll be standing at TCR waiting for a train and a shiver will run up my spine. It’s not ‘cos of death train or godforbid Creep – it’s far scarier than that. Watch it below, and then add American Werewolf to your Halloween Movie Marathon list.

Before I go, a quick note about BLINK OR DIE. You can click here for all the information you need, but the basic idea is you make us your favourite death scene blink, and send it to us at die@blinkbox.com and the winner gets a Living Dead Dolls Jason Vorhees ( you can’t get him anymore, ooooohhhh).
‘Til next time.

A post that I should have put on tumblr.

I have a new favourite thing.

THIS screensaver from digglabs has been making me happy for days.

I hope it does the same as you.

blog action day..

..is eventually upon us.

We’re wholeheartedly behind the idea – but I’m not sure you need me to tell you to print less and turn the lights off. I think everyone with a brain is trying to be carbon neutral, I’m not sure the non-recycling types spend a huge amount of time perusing blogs.

That being said – all of this is still unbelievably important. And that’s before we even start thinking about the polar bears.

If you want more information about what you can do to make a difference click here

back soon.

back in london, busy and, oh yeah, LIVE.

So, you may have noticed somewhat of a drastic redesign of the site, told you it was better. AND we’ve got loads of new stuff for your blinking pleasure. You probably also noticed that all your blinks got deleted, sorry about that, but we upgraded the picture quality, see? So it’s all worked out for the best. We’re having the proper launch really soon, so now would probably be a good time to recreate all those masterpieces you lost in the fire. (by fire, I mean upgrade, as is often the way)

Enough talk of the site though, on to matters of the fall schedule kind. I was in NY a couple of weeks ago for my birthday, and inbetween the fun and parties, I managed to watch a HUGE amount of television. Run down is as follows.

HEROES - Hmmmmmm, everyone thought it was gonna be awesome. It’s not quite there yet though. I know we’re only two episodes in, but leaving us on a somewhat weak season finale we needed something incredibly engaging in episode one. We didn’t really get it, unless (spoiler alert) you count Peter not being dead. The new Mexican twins are all a little bit x-files and that Nissan product placement is almost sickening. This being said, it’s still Heroes, it’s still better than most of the other stuff available for our viewing pleasure. Season one took a few episodes to get into, I’m hoping it’s the same with Season two. I’m excited that the Haitian is back, and Nathan has a beard, which is doubly awesome.

CHUCK – Even I am not feeling Chuck, and I’m already addicted to

GOSSIP GIRL – My guiltiest pleasure of this year. It’s not like the OC, although it is. How did Matthew Settle get old enough to be playing the (admittedly) hot Dad? He was playing the college love interest a few years back. Age is a cruel mistress. The most annoying thing about Gossip Girl is Kristen Bells XOXO voiceover. Everyone in the cast is insanely attractive and it’s set on the Upper East Side, with just a dash of the fashionable part of Brooklyn thrown in for good measure. It’s also fun trying to figure out which one is Seth. Is it Dan, is it not? It’s not the greatest show in the world, you may not question your existance after repeated viewings, but you’ll be entertained by approximately 43 minutes at a time.

TELL ME YOU LOVE ME – HBO are great at clever upper-middle class dramas. I know everyone is watching this to see if the sex is real, but once you get by that, it’s an amazing study on relationships at every stage and age. The cast is fantastic, the script is flawless and the direction is reminiscent of a good indie movie back when they still existed. It reminds me of Friends with Money, but then, I don’t think anybody watched that either.

I’ve also been watching Reaper, new Supernatural, Dirty Sexy Money and a giant long list of other stuff too, I really do <3 the fall schedule.

I’m also currently in love with the new Magma objects store, a couple of doors down from the Covent Garden Magma. It’s like wow.

I’m (hopefully) gonna be updating more often as soon as I find me an assistant, so, yeah, until then.

New address, same ranting.

halloweenWe’ve moved, but I’m guessing you know that, since you found us here.The site itself is being relaunched with a new Beta version on October 1st, and it looks oh.so.much prettier, I took this opportunity to ditch the lurid cyan blogger blog and move over here where things are slightly less garish and more controlled.

And just as a heads up, this post is essentially a rant about Hollywood remakes, with specific reference to Rob Zombies massacre of the Carpenter slasher defining masterpiece Halloween.

Oh, where to begin?

I understand that Zombie loves Carpenter and wanted to pay homage to the ultimate in genre defining 70s horror, and I really liked both House of … and The Devils Rejects. 70’s Porn inspired Gore, not a problem for me, like the look (even if it does reek of Tarantino and Rodriguez, if they listened to White Zombie for fun) but Rob, what were you thinking??

It’s not a direct remake – although much of the script remains the same – for we spend a long time at the start of the movie getting to know young, speaking, Michael Myers, this is presumably so we can understand he only turns out the way he did ‘cos his Mother is a stripper, and his (stand in) father figure is an alcoholic, and we mustn’t forget his slutty older sister who just didn’t give him the attention he needed.

McDowell is competent as Samuel Loomis, but let’s face it he’s NEVER ever going to be Donald Pleasance. His character too, seems hellbent on humanising Myers. At one stage declaring him, the nearest thing he has to a best friend. Instead of viewing Michael as an evil killing machine, a human version of Jaws if you will, we , right from the get go are shown his motivation and asked to empathise with him. Every one that Michael attacks (until he breaks out of the asylum) has literally asked for it, and not on a subtextual level either.

It’s not all terrible, it’s watchable. The main problem being, a humanised Michael Myers that you feel empathy for, just isn’t that scary. Oh look, it’s Sabre from X-men in a mask, walking to quickly, after people. I won’t ruin (haha) the ending for you, suffice to say that the last *Shape stalks Laurie* segment of the film, instead of echoing Carpenters edge-of-the-seat tension, is almost boring, to the extent that you just want it to be over already.

Just watch the original, twice.

As is by now customary, here’s a list of other terrible Hollywood remakes for you to check out. If you’re a masochist.

  • Psycho – Dear Gus Vant Sant – wasn’t this whole exercise a little pointless. Did you honestly think you could do it better than Hitchcock, really?
  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre - Hollywood in the 00’s really, really needs to get over churning out classic 70’s horror remakes, I get that there are similarities in the politics, but shouldn’t we have our own voice? It was more than gore the first time around. Think about it.
  • The Ring - I’m using this as an umbrella for all the asia extreme remakes, admittedly, the ring is not that terrible,Gore does a pretty good job of the mono no aware thing, but they ALL pale in comparison to the originals.
  • City of Angels – Is it just me that finds it unlikely Wenders would have cast Meg Ryan? And put the Goo Goo Dolls on the soundtrack? No, no, no, no, no.
  • Kingdom Hospital - the Stephen King rewrite of Lars Von Triers genuinely chilling Riget. Andrew McCarthy seems to be the last surviving member of the Brat Pack still intent on working. And Stephen King hasn’t done anything good since Stand By Me. Don’t be afraid of subtitles my friends.

I made a list on our listography which is slightly more extensive. Let me know any I’ve missed you feel super strongly about.

ouch!

It’s science fiction week.

I personally, am not so fond of science fiction, I don’t love space, well, where fiction is concerned anyway. It got me to thinking about sci-fi films for people who hate sci-fi. I decided to write a list about it, ‘cos, y’know, that’s mostly what I do.

  1. E.T – If you don’t like ET, then you’re probably not human. Christ imagery aside, it’s an amazing cinematic feat. And one Spielberg has (arguably) been trying to replicate ever since (did you see AI?) It helps if you were 5 when it came out, admittedly, and it’s possibly the most overly sentimental science fiction movie ever made, but I think that’s why I love it.
  2. Aliens - Stop your grinnin’ and drop your linen… Aliens is amazing. Although it has all the signifiers of a generic science fiction movie (it’s set in space, they’re in a spaceship, there are aliens etc..) it’s actually just an amazing monster movie that happens to be set in space. Better than any of the other movies in the quadrilogy, no matter how much you dislike space, this is infinitely watchable.
  3. Flash Gordon – Another childhood favourite, what bank holiday was complete without a family viewing of Flash? Didn’t do loads for Sam J Jones career (did anyone besides me watch The Highwayman?) but you did get to see Peter Duncan of Blue Peter fame die in some kind of blind hole face off with Timothy Dalton. And a soundtrack by Queen? come on now…
  4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – See, I wouldn’t have classified this as science-fiction either, but it was on the rotten tomatoes list, and after a brief office (when I say office, I mean I asked Poke what he thought) discourse around the matter, we’ve decided that yes, there are enough basic elements of this film to put it in that category. You’ve all seen it anyhow, most of you have probably wished for it to be true at one time or another, it deserves a place on this list.
  5. La Jetee – I can’t help it. I did a film degree… and before 12 monkeys came out too. Everyone knows about this Chris Marker short now, doesn’t mean it’s not fantastic, or merit repeated viewings, because it is, and it does.

Oh yeah, I updated the flickr with some pictures of a recent thursday night drinking session. Check it out, live vicariously through us.

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