Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Archive for April, 2011

Black Swan & Videodrome Posters

Two more incredible posters.

The first on the left is for Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan (2010).

On the right an amazing revised poster for David Cronenberg’s Videodrome (1983).

Click on image for full sized posters. Hope you enjoy them.


Friday the 13th NIKE

For the fashion conscious serial killer, check out the new Friday the 13th Nike SB High Dunk Jason Voorhees Horror shoes here 


Alfred Hitchcock

31 years ago today, Alfred Hitchcock died aged 80. It seems somewhat more appropriate to celebrate his death more than his birthday when you consider how many people he ‘killed’ on screen over the duration of his career. His early British work includes ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’ (1934), ‘The 39 Steps’ (1935) and ‘The Lady Vanishes’ (1938) before he accepted an offer from David O. Selznick to go to Hollywood, he never looked back.

Kicking off his Hollywood career with ‘Rebecca’ (1940), Hitchcock released in quick succession ‘Suspicion’ (1941), Saboteur’ (1942), ‘Shadow of A Doubt’ (1943) and ‘Lifeboat’ (1944) before hitting the big time with ‘Spellbound’ (1945). His CV is almost unmatchable in terms of consistency, like everyone there are films of lesser quality but in general Hitchcock’s output was incredible for the 40 years between the mid thirties to early seventies. It’s easier to just list most of them to give you an idea of just how great he was:  ‘Notorious’ (1946), ‘Rope’ (1948), ‘Strangers On A Train’ (1951), ‘Dial M For Murder’ (1954), ‘Rear Window’ (1954), ‘To Catch A Thief’ (1955), ‘The Trouble With Harry’ (1955), the American remake of his own ‘The ManWho Knew Too Much’ (1956), ‘Vertigo’ (1958), ‘North By Northwest’ (1959), ‘Psycho’ (1960), ‘The Birds’ (1963), ‘Marnie’ (1964), ‘Torn Curtain’ (1966), ‘Topaz’ (1969), ‘Frenzy’ (1972) and his final film ‘Family Plot’ (1976). In addition to his movie output Hitchcock also hosted the popular television series ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ between 1955 to 1961.

Alfred Hitchcocok never won an Academy Award despite being nominated 5 times, he was eventually presented with the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award for services to film in 1968. He was also nominated 6 times for the Directors Guild Award, again no wins but he received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1968. He was also presented with a BAFTA Academy Fellowship in 1971 and the American Film Institute Lifetime Acheivement Award in 1979. The same year as he was Knighted for Contribution to British Culture.

If you haven’t seen most of the films on the above list, well you’re really just not trying hard enough..! Hitchcock was a director, writer and producer who invented many of the set-ups that we take for granted in movies today, he was a true innovator. One of the first directors whose name appeared above the title, usually bigger than the title in the late 60’s, he was the first director to have a public persona. Vertigo was generally regarded as his greatest achievement, however Psycho is one of my all-time favourite movies and I should write a huge review about that movie alone, it’s dark, powerful, gripping, sexy and incredibly scary. Alfred Hitchcock: Legend.


Liars..!!!

Apparently 4 out of 5 people lie when asked if they’ve seen certain films to impress others. UK film and gaming rental site ‘LoveFilm.com’ polled 1,500 people and asked if they’d ever lied about not having seen certain classic films. At the top of the list, 30% of respondants lied about having seen ‘The Godfather’ (1972), followed by ‘Casablanca’ (1942), Taxi Driver (1976), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and ‘Reservoir Dogs’ (1992). Site editor Helen Cowley said: “Whether it is a small white lie about having seen a cult classic or nodding along to friends as they recount the infamous horse head scene in The Godfather, there are some films that we just do not want to admit we have not watched.”


Scream 4 ***

Scream 4 opens with a parody of a parody of a parody… of itself. It sets its store out early to leave us in no doubt as to its intentions; this movie is all about the sequels. From the opening movie within a movie shots, lampooning the ‘Stab’ movies, the movies of the events from Scream 1, 2 and 3 (try to keep up…) while constantly firing barbs at countless horror franchises, Scream 4 doesn’t let up. 

Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is back in Woodsboro for the first time in ten years. She’s back to promote her self-help book, a riposte to all the hype that has surrounded her since the killings years before. In Woodsboro, Dewey (David Arquette) is now the town Sheriff and Gale (Courtney Cox) is now retired from journalism as a result of her hugely successful books about the Woodsboro murders. However Sidney’s appearance in town seems to have brought about a copycat ‘Ghostface’ killer.

Sidney stays with her sister Kate (Mary McDonnell) and niece Jill (Emma Roberts) who is receiving calls from the killer, the calls say that Jill and her friends (Hayden Panettiere etc) will be killed next. Within minutes her next door neighbour Olivia (Marielle Jaffe) is killed before their eyes. They all receive Police protection but as expected that only leads to the Policemen’s deaths, preceded by a humorous interchange about cops on protection duty dying in movies. Cue a steady stream of killings by Ghostface.

Just in case we’re not getting it, there’s the obligatory horror geeks explaining how the rules have changed, in sequels there have to be more killings, in more inventive ways, there has to be a party for the finale, but in the sequel this is a premise to the real finale… this aspect of the movie although fun in a nerdy way becomes a little tedious and I must admit I was willing these guys to be killed next.     

After the dreadful Scream 3 this particular franchise seemed to be dead. The horror genre had moved on, ‘girls locked in basements and torture porn’ were in vogue, slasher film fare was old hat and unfortunately the awful ‘Scary movie’ series seemed to be where the kids were getting their horror laughs… although for the life of me I can’t fathom why.

The original cast members all slip back into their roles easily and the new kids are all fairly good, particularly Hayden Panettiere and Emma Roberts who is good in her best role yet.

Kevin Williamson is back as scriptwriter and does a good job throwing all the clichés in there and making them work; he and director Wes Craven are obviously having fun deconstructing the genre again.

Not great but better than Scream 3 and the slew of awful horror remakes and other franchise sequels we’ve had thrown at us by the studios over the last decade. A good laugh, this is more of a black comedy than horror movie but still contains enough decent slasher moments to keep horror fans happy.

Quality: 3 out of 5 stars

Any good: 3 out of 5 stars


Tormented **

Head girl Justine (Tuppence Middleton) delivers a eulogy at the funeral of Darren Mullet (Calvin Dean), a schoolmate who has just committed suicide, she was unaware of who he was. After the service Justine is invited to a party by Alexis (Dimitri Leonidas), one of the ‘cool crowd’ from the school. The crowd are led by sociopath Bradley (Alex Pettyfer) and his bitchy girlfriend Natasha (April Pearson). At the party each member of the group start to get text messages from Mullets mobile phone, they assume that one of the other school nerds is sending them…

Mullets only real friend, Jason (Olly Alexander) is picked on mercilessly by the group as they assume he’s behind the text messages, he’s not.

One at a time the group are killed by an unknown assailant; the first one to die is Jez (Ben Hughes) the party DJ, a try-hard faux gantsa, I was pleased to see him go. I was pleased to see most of them get killed actually as they are a horrible group of kids.

Each of the students who are killed believe that they can see Mullet in windows and mirrors prior to eventually dying. Who kills them? Is it Mullet returned from the grave, his nerdy friends or someone in the guise of Mullet..? Justine she tries to decipher who’s behind the murders; and why Mullet killed himself, is her new boyfriend Alexis partly responsible?

Some of the deaths include a stake through the heart, head impaled on an iron railing, drowning, decapitation by shovel, hands cut off by a paper guillotine and screwdriver to the hand and neck. They’re done fairly well apart from the impaling scene… bad CGI, my pet hate in horror movies.

The story starts out well enough but descends into predictability fairly quickly. There’s a ‘twist’ that’s telegraphed miles in advance which is a shame as it could have been a pretty good little horror thriller, it’s not. The acting varies with only Alex Pettyfer standing out as a potential star.

The opening titles are well designed and add a nice touch to an otherwise average movie.

SPOILER ALERT. Its obvious early on that Mullet has returned from the dead and that Justine is going to end up taking the blame. The movie tries to give a clue at the end that it may be Justine but it’s not smart enough to pull it off. After the credits start to roll there’s a nice little gag where they show the schools thuggish physical education teacher about to get his comeuppance at the hands of Mullet. 

Quality: 2 out of 5 stars (well made on a low budget)

Any good: 2 out of 5 stars (could have been better)  


Al Pacino

Al Pacino is 71 years old today. A superstar of 70’s cinema, he has been nominated for 8 Academy Awards, finally winning in 1993 for ‘Scent of a Woman’. Star of some of my favourite movies of all time: ‘Serpico’, ‘The Godfather Trilogy’, ‘Dog Day Afternoon’, ‘Scarface’, ‘Heat’ and ‘Carlitos Way’ to name a few. Happy Birthday Al.