Friday, 31 October 2008

A jovial Halloween to you all...

Everyone else has used "happy". Anyway, I'm really posting this now is to ensure I have it on the 31st. As with Brother Chris, I have no plans. Or do I. For as long as I can remember I've stayed in on Halloween. I tried dressing up a couple of times, and as much as I'd like to, I always tend to feel stupid and abandon the whole charade. So my plan is to stay in and squeeze in as many horror films as possible, even if that means going into the earlier hours of Saturday. If I don't go to sleep, it still counts as Halloween, see!

So what's on the agenda tonight. Well I've got The Lady in White in front of me at the moment which I hope to get around to. There's the final part of Dead Set. I'm also tempted by The Wolfman, or Werewolf of London for a change. I may also start playing Dead Rising, or watch the Dawn of the Dead remake. But again, I think I may have had enough of zombies by now. The Haunting is always a good choice, and still manages to scare me. I haven't seen Evil Dead II in a while. Now I'm blatantly just listing films. All I know for sure is The Lady in White and Dead Set will get a watch, the rest is up in the air. I'll let you know tomorrow probably.

As there are links on other blogs out there I feel the need to post something myself, so here are a selection of horror related films that I've made over the years.

First of all my graduate film Jonny The Pessimist: A Faustian Fable. (I just added that subtitle)

Secondly a weird music video for the song Elasto by The Western Trio.

And finally, my zombie defense instructional film. In Case of Zombies.

Happy Halloween

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Zombies, zombies everywhere and not a bite to eat...

Does that title make sense, I don't know, I don't really care. It's too easy.

I made the mistake of watching Diary of the Dead last night with my other brother, he has yet to blog. This was a mistake for two reasons. First off, as soon as it finished I had to watch the next episode of Dead Set, (which, by the way, I'm no longer ranting about, but I still think its concept is still better than the show) and second, Diary of the Dead is not good. Definitely not as good as Congo.

If you don't know, its another George Romero zombie film, this time set within a group of students making a film when the zombies attack. Cue the shaky-cam. From the start though you can tell it wouldn't be as good as Cloverfield, the most recent shaky-cam film released, especially as the guy behind the camera comes across as a bit of a dick. The problems with these films is justifying someone filming all the death as it happens, and not lifting a finger to help. But then in Diary of the Dead, you kind of don't care that he's not helping when everyone around him is quite happily shooting people. So on it goes, filming the death. It gets better when you see a reverse shot of a CCTV camera, then minutes later someone brings ins a tape saying something like, "I saw that CCTV camera and nicked the tape cause I thought it would be good for your film."

I can kind of see the point, that the nation is becoming a nation of filming people, and posting on YouTube. I know how eloquently I put it there but that's kind of the gist. We're becoming a YouTube nation I should have said. Anyway another of my favourite moments is when their professor hands the gun to another student saying the line "It's too easy.". What does this mean. A few minutes later one of the students passes her video camera to someone else, after filming another death, saying, "It's too easy. " I GET IT. Its a joke about shooting. Shooting a gun and shooting with a camera. Its easy to shoot the Zombies, and shoot them with the camera, not caring about the result. And so on...

My view of this film wasn't really helped by the fact that my brother pointed out early on how similar it was to Return To Zork. An early PC adventure which featured live-action video. After this the films couldn't really be taken seriously. But this does not mean I've missed the point. I think its the film misses the point. We're supposed to believe that we're in this "YouTube nation" but still why does no-one know what a zombie is. Even if we pretending George Romero's films don't exist in this film, what about all the early films like White Zombie, and the whole Voodoo history. This brings me back to the present. And my problem with zombies. Dead Set couldn't avoid the fact that they had to find out how to kill the zombies. OK they're like the running variety but still. If a zombie outbreak did happen I'd know you'd have to kill the brain.

Then again I'd like to think that the point of the series is that anyone who watches or takes part in Big Brother has never seen a zombie film before, or even heard the word "zombie". That's why they have to find out all this information for the first time.

It's too easy...

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

It's the actor Kevin Eldon...

So I was sitting, ready to watch new mini-series Dead Set in E4 mainly because it was written by Charlie Brooker, he of Guardian writing and of Screen Wipe presenting. So basically its a horror series where a zombie plague erupts and infects those working on a Big Brother. Therefore I thought to produce a feeling of authenticity I would see a group of unknowns shouting or something big brother related sitting in a house a la Big Brother.

But who is first on screen but The Actor Kevin Eldon, forever known as The Actor Kevin Eldon after his work on This Morning with Richard not Judy in the mid-nineties. I'm taken out of the whole fake Big Brother and watching people playing at Big Brother. This has somehow lessened my interest. If they were unknowns I guess I could root for a fictional winner, or relate more to a character or something, but with The Actor Kevin Eldon in there pretending to be a slightly quirky guy, I just think what's the point.

The problem I have is I don't like Big Brother anyway, so seeing Davina McCall being eaten by a zombie seems like a small victory rather than a knowing wink to the audience. A better idea for this show would actually have done a regular Big Brother series and then pretended a Zombie infection was going on outside. Played it for real from the beginning. Ghost Watch style. I think this would work a lot better in the long run, rather than turning into Big Brother: The Movie or something.

Maybe I'm focussing on the wrong aspect here. It's good that an original horror series has been made, and it is just about watchable. But again I think people in suits have ruined what could have been great.

I'll still watch the rest of the series though. Maybe even grow to like it.

Next time I'll talk about writing or something. This blog has slowly turned into a "What Really Grinds My Gears" blog. And I never wanted it to go that way. At least not exclusively.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Are you going to see the Kato film...

This piece of news really did annoy me. Stephen Chow of Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer fame is set to direct The Green Hornet film. Now when I read it was being written by Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg of all that Knocked Up Superbad pants (Which I would like to bring to your attention stars the man-child Jonah Hill as an adult in the former, and a child in the latter. Hence the name Man-Child. Weird). Anyway digressions aside, I thought that writing credit was bad enough, but now to be directed by Stephen Chow, and if rumours are true, will star Seth Rogan as the Green Hornet. This films seems to be collapsing in front of me.

I also can't help but feel this film is slowly going to shift focus and become the Kato film. I can see all the press now, comparing Stephen Chow to Bruce Lee and so on...

Now I admit, The Green Hornet has no special powers, and is more of a Batman style character, but with the cool toys. He does have a cool car though. But Kato is not the answer. No I like Bruce Lee, and the Kato character, but the thing is, if there was no Green Hornet, Kato would just be a guy without a job. He was Britt Reeds ward/servant after all. He's basically filling the Robin role. And everyone hated/hates Robin. So this all comes down to Bruce Lee.

Now I know I've lost the point but Bruce Lee has always been an internationally well known figure. Even people who never watch kicky films (Kung Fu) will claim Bruce Lee as their favourite (possibly Jackie Chan but then he's still alive.) Now again I have nothing against Bruce Lee, Enter the Dragon was excellent, but this should not shift focus on The Green Hornet.

I like The Green Hornet. It shouldn't be messed up. It shouldn't have stupid comedy moments like Kung Fu Hustle, which I've always said would've been good if it was straight forward. The crappy comedy ruins it.

Now I've lost my train of thought so I'll finish with the most important factor so as not to mess the whole thing up. The Green Hornet should be set in the 30's.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Microsoft bastards...

This heading seems kind of harsh now I think about it, but how can company get things so right and so wrong at the same time. All I want is what I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share.

To explain, I recently joined this hi-tech next generation of consoles, which is really the current generation, and tried signing up to Xbox Live with a guaranteed Xbox Live gold trial for all new users. Like me.

I read all the manuals, signed up online at as advised inside the Xbox Live booklet and I was away. But no gold in sight. After lots of searching, and signing up a second new account onto gold I realised that by using the advised method I have been sidelined because Xbox think I was a previous member. So no free trial for me. Well, sort of. I can get online and play games with strangers under my second profile, but what about my original profile, with all the achievements (I say all, as you can see not really that many, but that isn't the point) I don't want to be playing as jimbo getting all online credits when after the month he gets deleted. So I email. This gets replied telling me to phone. So I reluctantly phone. And what do the Microsoft bastards tell me to do, sign up another account, with another email and there you are, a free trial. WHAT THE HELL! Not here you are sir, enter this code and a free month to you, but here you are a kick in the pants.

I mean, what is the point of all the achievement crap if they wont support my predicament. Why should I even bother to achieve anything. Is that what they want. I only wanted to sample online delights, get a few achievements along the way and decide if I was willing to pay for the honour. Now I have to keep swapping, and any achievements gained I'm going to have to achieve all over again. Anyway, the lady I spoke to was quite friendly, so none of this is aimed at her. But come on Microsoft. You've got fifty billion million trillion gazillion marillion dollars. You can spare a dime for a month for me.

My ranting is over.

I saw P2 last night. It was a straight forward "girl gets chased around a car park" horror film but it plays well. And Wes Bentley was good in it.

I also watched Postal, Uwe Boll's attempt at another video game film, based on a game that I've never played but I gather you just had to shoot people in it. Listening Jeff Goldsmiths Creative Screenwriting podcast interview with the director, you kind of see where he was going with the film, but watching the trailer made this film look like a big politically incorrect mess.

But...and I can't decide if I hate myself for saying this...I kind of liked it.

It was funny. Don't get me wrong, a lot was on the borderline of incorrectness, and a lot was a bit shit, but at times I laughed. Out loud.

The film does say a lot about what we accept these days. South Park had an episode with an Elmer Fudd style Osama bin Laden in. Even Family made jokes about the videos he made. This film basically brings that mentality to life. A cartoon, but with real people. I may very well be praising it too much. It's still an Uwe Boll film and misses the mark from time to time, but after watching Dungeon Siege, Uwe Boll does manage to get things right once in a while.

Bloodrayne 2 was crap though.

I write this post posting as I just read Brother Chris' blog and realised something about mine. Please forgive the fact that I never elaborate on anything, or review anything longer than a few sentences. This is not to say eveyone else waffles on, but more that everyone else know how to do it properly. I'm just a pretender. I felt the needed to raise this point. But then again, you should know all this about me, coming form the creator of the Congo Review.

P2 and Postal aren't as as good as by the way.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

In Society...

...well, not really anymore. Tonight I went to the Theatre, something I'm getting quite a taste for. Having previously seen An Inspector Calls, and Dracula, the latter being quite terrible, and more recently Strangers on a Train and the musical Hairspray on Broadway, I'm realising I'd like to see more. It has changed a lot though. I really wish it was still a dress up affair, rather than the mash up you get of people not knowing whether to dress up, dress down ans so on. It didn't help that I turn up in jeans, my mate arrives from work in a suti an tie, making me look like some kind of retarded friend he's trying to educate, desptie it being my idea to go.

So tonight I went to see The Woman in Black, a horror story based on the novel by Susan Hill with a similar style to MR James ghost stories. I won't give anything away here, you can look for it on the internet, or even go to see it. It's highly recommended. And it's bloody scary, even in a full-ish theatre, with people laughing defensively awaiting the shocking moments, this production still had me in goosebumps. The story is only told between two characters, but this helps the whole atmosphere. There is a section when the protagonist lies asleep on the dimly lit stage, and I swear I could see the Woman in Black in the shadows. Now I'm not even sure she was there at this point, that my eyes surely played tricks on me, but this is why the play works, especially as the story reaches its climax in the second act. I'm getting chills just thinking about it now.

On a downside, the uncomfortable laughing did get a little annoying. This play would definitely work a lot better in a smaller theatre, but I can ignore those few who cannot hold in the urge to laugh. I did get images of The Tingler, but instead of screaming to kill the creature, you must laugh. I understand this makes us more relaxed, but then why come and see a scary story to begin with. Isn't that the point, to scare yourself. This is the one thing I've never understood. I'm rarely scared in horror films these days, but then I don't fall about laughing. I have to admit that even with Evil Dead, I laugh at the obvious comic moments, but I'm still a little put off by the level of gore. Its just a little creepy. Even creepier if you laugh at the gouging out of eyeballs, however fake it looks.

I've started to moan now so I'll stop. As I said before The Woman in Black is highly recommended, please try to see it whenever it runs. Now I must find some MR James to read. I've only ever seen theTV specials always shown around Christmas time. I think its about time I read some, especially with Halloween approaching.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Blogging for the sake of it...

I haven't been up to much. Not much at all. I was planning on working , as in writing, a lot this weekend but somehow found myself preoccupied with other things. Therefore I still have nothing to report. As with my brother, I'm still in a transition after coming home from New York, not to mention other crappy life stuff I've got going on, all results in my lack of creativity.

I have about 2 solid ideas and 1 work in progress floating around in my head at the moment and I feel I need to write them down, although whenever I've done this in the past the idea sort of shrivels away into nothing. The work in progress was another attempt to bring a character somewhat based on myself into yet another film. This is a character I created at college so I could basically moan about things and life in general. It only lasted a couple of comics but he's stayed with me. Now he barely resembles myself, but I still wanted to bring some life into it, but then I saw a film Interstate 60 starring James Marsden and Gary Oldman, directed by Bob gale (co-wrtier of Back to the Future) and this film was basically the idea I had. Now If I carry on with my idea, I will basically be making a very similar film to this, but then I've already been describing it kind of like Pee Wee's Big Adventure anyway so I guess it started off "borrowing" from other films. As this character so far has never featured in a live-action film, or any other film for that matter I will probably go ahead with it, but it is way down the production line. The last attempt I made to get a script out with the character it was reviewed by an unknown at Screen West Midlands as "This is visually, stylistically and narratively a mess". But to this day, that ten minute script made sense in my eyes, and a couple of others, hence why the character I created to moan through lives on today. Even more so when it gets rejections like the one mentioned.

By the way, Interstate 60 is as good as Congo, The Wizard of Gore isn't as good, and Lost Boys The Tribe isn't as good either.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

I'm nearly back...

I'm back from New York, which I've decided is both like my preconception of a movie based 1940's era city but also nothing like that at all. Good times were enjoyed by all anyhoo. Now is the time when I need ot get back into writing and the like, but I have one more, I wouldn't say complication but I can't just get back into things. Soon though, this blog will be back. Congo and all.

Speaking of Congo, last Sunday Film Four had a monkey inspired schedule with Mighty Joe Young, Dunstan Checks In, Monkey Business and Congo. Congo still only getting the one star even though Hudson Hawk seems to have increased.