Completely unrelated to film but the mind does wander..

  
A friend of mine linked me to a great article regarding the Paris Catacombs. I had read a lot of rumours before and seen both horror films that deal with the setting; I never thought that any of the stories would be remotely real though. It seems a lot of thought went in to hiding this hidden social spot. What the hell is the note all about?! Check out the link below to read about it all in full. 

Catacomb Discovery

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The Nightmare: Appreciation

Anyone that suffers with sleep paralysis is more than familiar with the mixture of opinions that circulate. A lucid dream, hallucination, or something of the occult; truth be told, nobody actually knows what the reasons are for the terrifying side effects and a recent documentary was a huge let down in regards to the study of this subject – I would write a review but i’m not going to waste my time. Instead, enjoy this interpretation of one of the differing opinions. Freudian or a representation of a genuine nightmare?

John_Henry_Fuseli_-_The_Nightmare

The Nightmare is a 1781 oil painting by Anglo-Swiss artist Henry Fuseli (1741–1825). Since its creation, it has remained Fuseli’s best-known work. With its first exhibition in 1782 at the Royal Academy of London, the image became famous; an engraved version was widely distributed and the painting was parodied in political satire. Due to its fame, Fuseli painted at least three other versions of the painting.

– Wikipedia.

What is Horror?

the-exorcist-reagan

These days, far too many films are categorised as horror when they are in actual fact, something completely different. Gone are the days of suspenseful scenes that have you hanging on every eerie second of silence, in are the countless takes, depicting graphic mutilation and needless gore. Take hostel for example, the only thing that it succeeded in, was making a handful of people scared to go on holiday to Eastern Europe. If the fear of the unknown is the base of all fear, what good is it to see all of the terror, up-close and personal?

I am not one to follow the current trend of shock tactics and needless to say, I am not a huge fan of Hostel. That is not to say that I hate it, I actually believe that it has a place in cinema – just not a place in the horror category. The same opinion applies to many other films that make their way on to Netflix on a regular basis; there is no longer any rigid guidelines for what horror should be. Years ago, you would know where to look for the film that you wanted to watch, now you have to do some digging, especially when it comes to foreign horror films.

Genuine horror films are stuck in the ‘World Cinema’ section where they are destined only to be found by people who actively seek them and this is not just contained to the current horror trend or just to film; music falls in to the same trap too. Taking a look at a ‘World Cinema’ section is excruciating stuff nowadays and I don’t think it will change in the foreseeable future. Romantic comedies sit side by side with sadistic torture films and apparently thats okay. There is a point to all of this rant, and it is the question that it raises; Does anybody really know what horror is? More importantly, Did anyone ever actually know?

Somewhere along the way, i was led astray. No, not the lyrics to a little known Bright Eyes song, my genuine feeling to the shift in everything cinematic. Taking a look at the thriller section on Netflix was rather interesting and very insightful in regards to my current ramblings; it seems as though nobody knows what a thriller is either. Films that should clearly be categorised as drama litter the selection, and horror films make their way in to the fold too; it all creates a mess of titles that send me in to and endless spiral of tile flicking.

It seems like the title of horror is just a broad description of everything remotely disturbing now and this is where we can actually measure the change in categorisation – Sharknado 2, according to Netflix, is a horror.

I am fully aware what the official description of horror is and technically it would be right to group everything disturbing together if we went by the actual definition:

  • an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust.

The problem that I have is that in a world of sub-genres, we no longer have to bunch everything under a generic category. If we were to carry on in this tradition then I would be well within my rights to suggest that Bambi is in actual fact a horror film – there is a disturbing scene, but it DOES NOT make it a horror film. How about another genre? Action films are packed full of gore and death; how long is it before we start to see them slip in to the same category as classics like The Exorcist?

The cinematic definition of horror is a lot more complex than that of the dictionary definition. Academics all have their own theory over the ‘World Cinema’ situation; is it a genre or not? People study these films in depth and break them down to their raw structure but there is no answer to the question and the same goes for the one I raised on horror; nobody actually knows what horror is. This is because horror relies on the fear of the watcher and every participant varies when it comes to what scares them. Despite what I have laid out to you, horror is what we make it. I get frustrated at the categorisation of my beloved genre but at the same time, I accept that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. There are no archetypes in horror, just raw and primal fear brought on by whatever you fear the most.

So did anybody ever know what horror is?

Probably not. Well, not when it comes to the world of cinema. We started off with tales of Frankenstein, Dracula and Werewolves, but somewhere along the way, we wound up with serial killers and humanised antagonists that bear no resemblance to the supernatural elements that we once knew.

The part that really drives it home for me, that belief that nobody knows what horror is, is a recent interview I read with William Friedkin about The Exorcist. In it, he states that he “thought it was a film about the mystery of faith”, and that he,”didn’t set out to make a horror film”. He believed that it was essentially a film about two servants of God battling the Devil and he could be right. Like I said, it’s all a matter of opinion.

It is absolutely incredible that, arguably, the greatest horror film of all time was not created with the intention of being a horror. Did we all just follow it’s categorisation like sheep? Never questioning what it really was and just accepting that this was horror.

Probably. But clearly it is..

Right?

Silent Hill Live: Review

  
So.. I’m going to begin by telling you that my opinion is probably not the same as the majority of people who went along to the show. I was sceptical of the venue before I even laid eyes on it – it lived up to everything I didn’t want it to be. 

  
Sure it looked the part; the concrete walls of an underground warehouse surrounding  an eager crowd, two contorted nurses who looked and acted the part that they were reprising and a 7 foot tall pyramid-head dragging his huge sword behind him as he scared the soul out of innocent attendees. That was as far as the positive aura went for me.

  
 We had arrived at 18:30 for the 19:00 showtime that was stated on the ticket only to read a sign that shared the news that the doors would not open until 19:00. We were then placed in a queue where we would stand in the freezing cold for 15 minutes. As fast as you can say *?$#, a security guard trudged over and informed us that the queue was moving to the other side of the door where we were forced to join a queue of probably 100 people who got there after us. By now i was so annoyed that I couldn’t even appreciate the fog that had enveloped London in the same manner as it does Silent Hill. F**k off fog.

  
Closer inspection of the signage made us further aware that the show would not start until 20:15 and there would be a ‘live DJ’ until then. I never saw this guy but if he was responsible for the randomly mashed up game and horror music that echoed across the shabby venue, then he can go and join the fog and cold in Hell. 

I mean, I was pretty annoyed already but then I found myself paying nearly £15 pound for half a 200ml bottle of Diet Coke and a vodka and red bull (half can too). Was I in a London strip club? I’m pretty sure it was a Hackney Basement. 

Please bear in mind that all of this was before I realised that Silent Hill live consisted of Akira and co on a stage the size of a hotel balcony. The stage was actually shoved in to an alcove that meant that nobody that wasn’t at the front could see it which added to my hatred of it all.

The venue made for poor sound quality and the woman who was singing the main vocals couldn’t sing her lines correctly anyway. Everyone was cheering around me and I was truly amazed at people’s ignorance to acknowledge this half-assed attempt at a gig; It lasted for just over an hour and cost £30 a ticket; You honestly couldn’t see the screen or the stage due to the general layout of the venue. I have yet to see any pictures online which I can only assume means that nobody else saw anything either.

I would also like to add that the t-shirts being sold for £20 were generic primark tees with tour dates printed on them. It all just seemed like a huge money making scheme and this was largely due to the venue letting it down. 

They sure as hell stayed open for two hours after the performance to maximise profit at the bar. No problem, I left before the encore and opted to stand in the cold waiting for my friend rather than stay in the venue – I was truly disappointed at everything. 

Later, I looked at the venue they had used for the extra date they had added for London on the tour. Is this actually a joke.. 

  
I’m sure that given a nicer venue and a lot more effort this could be incredible but I honestly do not see how anyone can give this show a good review unless they are lying to themselves or were blind drunk. 

I would not recommend that anybody travel to Hackney and pay the amount that I did for little over an hour of entertainment.

Poor show.

Women in Horror: A Very Good Article

  
http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/oct/29/rise-of-female-monsters-shows-horror-movies-are-not-afraid-of-big-bad-women

A very good article that makes a lot of sense. I started off sceptical of the blatant omission of past productions and assumed this was just written to plug Crimson Peak, but It is although the writer sensed my doubt and rounded it all off nicely with a very coherent piece.

 You Freudians will already have an understanding of this but everyone else should check it out. 

Bob Clark and the film that was overlooked

  
Most of you will think of The Philadelphia Flyers when you hear the name Bob Clark. Sure it has a slightly different spelling to the Bob that I mean but you could be forgiven for imaging the sportsman over the Late film director. The Bob Clark that I mean should have got a lot more credit than he did for creating a genre in film. Instead, Bob was taken from this earth in horrific circumstances that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Bob’s first Foray in to film was a horror piece released in 1972 – Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things and although it was not widely received, it did not prevent him from making, in my opinion, one of the best horror films that I have seen to date. That Film was Black Christmas and it literally started the slasher theme that has embedded itself in horror films today. 

Black Christmas, a Canadian film, done well at the box office when it was released; it netted nearly $4 million from a budget of   Little over $620,000. Despite the profit it wasn’t widely accepted and received mixed reviews from critics, some of who asked the question of what the point of this film was. Years later Black Christmas was released again under a different name to pretty much the same reception. It wasn’t until years later that it got a cult following and bumped it’s way to the top of my list of all time favourite horror films.

Everything about Black Christmas is fresh and it is easy to see where many horror films borrow their techniques from – John Carpenter’s Halloween being the most prominent. Unfortunately for Bob Clark, his vision is not given the credit of creating the genre of slasher films and this is criminal. Instead, Halloween has a right of passage to the top and it seems somewhat unfair that something made so many years earlier would be forgotten by many. 

Bob Clark later went on to make a very successful B-movie by the name of Porky’s which is also considered a cult classic, not to mention his later credit for A Christmas Story. Bob had the bad luck of making films that were not widely received by critics on release but have since gained a notorious status in the world of Cinema. It is never the case that you can say that somebody is responsible for 3 cult films within 3 separate genres. This alone deserves credit and this is why I respect Bob Clark a lot more than most film makers.

Sadly, I will never have a chance to meet this genius and this makes me sad. On April 4th 2007, Bob and his son were in a motoring accident that ended both of their lives. A twice deported, drunken, illegal immigrant that also held no driving license ploughed in to their car and ended their lives far too soon. 

Here’s to Bob and his near-perfect horror film – Black Christmas.

Post-Birthday Fun and My journey in to Silent Hill

  
Today is supposed to be the worst day of the year; the day after the birthday – I am sure that this will all change as I grow with age though. There are a whole 364 days until my birthday and ignoring Christmas, I can’t imagine feeling as great as I did yesterday when I unwrapped a custom Zelda painted Nintendo64 and the games to go with it; a lot of other awesome stuff was given to me as well so a massive thanks to my Mum too. A trip to a local retro-game store is looking likely as I prepare for the thing that will make this post-birthday better than any other.

Tonight is Silent Hill Live at the Laundry in Hackney. I’m pretty sure that I have less chance of returning alive from Hackney than I do Silent Hill so wish me luck as I make my journey in to hell. 

It should be a good one; I am sure that the talents of Akira Yamaoka and co will more than make sure of it! You can expect a nice long review on Monday because I already know that I will have a lot to say about the show.

That’s it; only a short one for now. I would stay and chat but I have my eye on a few N64 classics and will be inconsolable if somebody beats me to them.