The Purge – Election Year

purge

The first instalment of The Purge series was one that I had anticipated for a very long time. As a massive fan of The Running Man, I immediately drew similarities between the two pictures. Perhaps it was the idea of an innocent running a true gauntlet of terror, with only survival in mind; After all, I am also a huge fan of The Warriors, this could well be the attraction. The Purge gave the impression that I would get what I was expecting and more but in practice, it disappointed me greatly.

The Purge was not necessarily a bad film, I happily watched it until the end and in fact, have seen it on another occassion since. The problem was that this film with so much potential had been turned in to a gritty, home-invasion thriller. I was expecting an adventure in to dangerous territory; an adventure where the protagonist had no choice but to journey in to the unknown; an adventure where I got some sort of insight in to this alternate world where crime was legal on just one night per year. Instead, the world that was presented in The Purge seemed to be nothing more than a background story. The family could of been attacked by anyone at any time; I didn’t really feel that The Purge needed to exist for the story to progress.

Despite The Purge’s drawbacks, the second instalment gave me everything that I wanted from the original. It is like the filmmaker saw the potential that had seemingly been wasted to begin with and used it to make a great sequel. Answers began to materialise that helped us to understand the environment that was presented and all of a sudden, I cared a lot more about the whole theme. The second ended in a way that left the story open to yet another sequel, which, to my surprise, I was looking forward to. In fact, I believe that the second film in the series done such a good job that it made the first seem a lot more relevant to the whole story. When viewing the first film as the ‘set-up’, it seems a lot more plausible.

Why am I banging on about The Purge? Well, it is because the trailer for the third part dropped recently. Check it out for yourself:

THE PURGE 3 – TRAILER – WATCH

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Film of the Week

  
White Zombie

The zombie origins are not confined to the medium of film at all. There are many alleged stories, which date back to ancient times and these tales gave us an insight into re-animation long before the likes of Romero did. 

In recent times the majority of the stories we hear about outbreaks all seem to stem from Africa or Haiti; the majority share this one trait. The similarities between these ‘actual’ events and the events in a film, White Zombie, could well be the reason why The mentioned film is regarded as such a great addition to the genre. 

White Zombie is often thought of as the first ever zombie film and is also one of the best. If you haven’t seen it then I highly recommend checking it out soon.

Also, just in case you hadn’t guessed or are not inclined to listen to heavy metal music, The 1932 film is the inspiration behind Rob Zombie’s band of the same name.

Bela Lugosi’s British Nightmare

  
Bella Lugosi was an outstanding performer for his time. A true gentleman who put effort in to every area of his acting. In his later days, an effort to revive his stalling career in London’s West End did not go according to plan. In fact, Lugosi never made it to the West End in what is possibly, one of the lowest points in his entire working life.

Lugosi’s theatrical tour involved a journey around the whole of England and an expected slot at the Garrick Theatre never materialised. By the time Lugosi made it through the performances outside of London, he was so burned out that he requested the tour to end “as soon as possible”.

The veteran took a small part on a British show that gave him a quick payment and then left for the USA, almost as quickly as he had come. 

Bella Lugosi died five years later and was buried in his famous cape. A man that was the complete opposite of his on-screen character, Lugosi was respected and liked by almost everyone that he crossed paths with.

It is sad to see an absolute legend go through such a tough patch but he can rest easily, knowing that he will forever be remembered in the world of horror. 

The First Horror Film

  
With ongoing posts about Nosferatu and The Caninet of Dr Caligari it is easy to think that these two films were the beginning of what we know as ‘horror’ today. To assume this would be wrong. That is however, depending on what you define as ‘horror’.  

Below is a link to, what is believed to be, the first recorded ‘horror’ film; the movie was made in 1896. The film is called Le Manoir Du Diable and it was directed by Georges Melies. 
Watch Film Here

The film clearly intends to provoke a comedic reaction as opposed to fear from the audience; this is often why some people do not accept Melies’ 3-minute film as the first ever ‘horror’ film.

Enjoy!

A Story That You Probably Didn’t know about F. W. Murnau 

  
We are all familiar with F. W. Murnau’s work, especially the legendary Nosferatu. Recently, I shared a few facts about the film that were rather interesting. I wrote about painted rats and a short cameo from the director himself; none of those facts, however, come close to the story that I am about to share with you.

For those of you who didn’t know, Murnau died long before his time. It saddens me to think of the beautiful films he could of added to his portfolio. Murnau was being driven up to California from Los Angeles in a hired car. The driver was a young teenage servant from the Phillipines who was not much older than the age of 14. Perhaps the giant Rolls Royce was too powerful for the young servant or perhaps it was freak accident, regardless, the car plowed in to a pole which lead to Murnau suffering severe head injuries and dying in hospital the following day at the young age of 42. Murnau had been travelling to California for the premier of his film Tabu, unfortunately he never made it there. 

As sad as the story is so far, it is one that you may be thinking that you’ve heard before. However, it is the next part that some may find shocking. 

Last July (2015), Murnau’s grave was disturbed and his skull stolen. Some suggest that signs of wax indicate rituals of the occult or some kind of ceremony. Most find it incredibly unusual, mainly because this is not the first time that people have disturbed F. W. Murnau’s grave. It is currently not known what happened to the skull of this legendary director and it is looking less than likely that we will ever find out. 

  
What a world we live in. 

The Day That Fritz Lang Stuck Two Fingers Up at the Nazi Party

  
Fritz Lang is one of the greatest directors in the history of film. Even though many people did not appreciate him during his active years, which allegedly hurt him on a personal level,  he will forever be remembered for some of the most brilliant films in our history.

Lang was responsible for renowned features such as ‘Metropolis’ and ‘M’; it is said that these films, amongst his other work, were part of the reason for the directors legendary meeting with Joseph Goebbels. 
As we all know, Goebbels, minister of propaganda, was probably one of the biggest reasons that the Nazi party found success, albeit brief. Goebbels was known for his ill-feeling towards the Jewish community and famously made comments that sympathised with the use of guns to gain power. He was perhaps better known for his mindset that it was “more gratifying to win the heart of a people and keep it”. This lead Goebbels to, allegedly, set about reeling in one of the greatest directors in the history of filmmaking. 

In 1933, Goebbels allegedly invited Lang to his office in the hope of getting the director to climb aboard his propaganda train. Metropolis was one of Goebbels favourite films but his distaste of a particular Dr. Mabuse film was well-known. Goebbels had gone out of his way to ban ‘The Testament of Dr. Mabuse’, perhaps for its perception of the public not having any trust in their leaders. Lang arrived at Goebbels’ office with the idea that he may be able to convince the minister to remove the ban. 

Lang did not get the chance to discuss this however. Instead, the director claims, he was railroaded in to Signing up to make the Nazi’s their national socialist film at the request of Hitler. Lang accepted, feeling that he had no other choice. He returned to his home where he had his servant pack his bags for a last minute ‘trip to Paris’. He left that day, and did not return until the tail end of the 1950’s. For whatever reason, Lang, an apparent “fierce nationalist”, chose not to be a part of the Nazi’s plans and fled to continue his work elsewhere. 

 Fritz Lang made the right choice in his decision to bail on the Nazi party and some of his later work is definitely testament to that. Without his reluctance to be a part of the system, we would not have films like “Fury” in our collection today. It is not all cut and dry though; some doubt that this legendary meeting ever took place and insist that it was just Lang’s, overly-dramatic, penchant for storytelling. The main line of argument being that none of this was ever recorded in Joseph Goebbels insanely accurate diary. 
Whether you believe the story or not, One thing is for sure. Lang definitely left Germany in 1933 and chose not to be involved with the nazi party’s plans. A decision that was for the better when speaking of his career in later years.

Facts About Nosferatu (1922)

  
Nosferatu is a classic and I could watch it on repeat. It was not until recently that I stumbled upon this page. My personal favourite is the fact about the rats. It looks like The Men Behind The Sun was not the only film to treat them badly! Imagine PETA’s reaction today! 

Check out all the interesting facts at the link below:

Nosferatu – Things you didn’t know

How Dr. Caligari Came About

 


Films always seem that bit more interesting when you can link them back to real life events. I am sure that a film being based on true events is one of the attractions within horror; it is that bit more scary when you know that the scenes unfolding actually happened. Perhaps this is because a fear of the same happening to you is created, or perhaps it is because you have a sudden realisation that the world is more f*cked up than you choose to accept. Either way, it is a definite ‘pro’ in regards to the techniques employed in horror film.

With that in mind, it was not until recently, that I chose to do a bit of research in to the background of Robert Weine’s classic expressionism piece. Along my journey, I found out that Weine was never supposed to direct The Cabinet of Dr Caligari. Erich Pommer who purchased the original screenplay by Hanz Janowitz and Carl Mayer, originally wanted Fritz Lang to direct the production but this was not possible due to Lang’s busy schedule. Pommer crucially hired Hermann Warm to design the production, the expressionist art director made the film the greatest depiction of German expressionism ever made.

This was interesting enough to draw me in to a deeper discovery. I researched further and found out that The Cabinet of Dr Caligari was in fact based on true events and the inspiration for the film was interesting to say the least.

Late one night, Janowitz was travelling home through a seedy area of Hamburg where a fair had made a stop. He suddenly heard laughter and his attention was drawn to a woman who was disappearing in to some bushes along a path. Janowitz, trying not to draw any attention to himself, stuck around for a short while; it is then that he saw a man emerge from the same bush alone. The man walked away and that was the end of that. Well, at least until the next morning. The following morning, the newspapers were plastered with a story that told of a woman murdered in the very same area that Janowitz had been the night before. The events stayed with Janowitz for a long time and you could say that the images haunted him. Eventually, he shared the events with fellow writer, Carl Meyer; the two set about writing a screenplay based on the events that night.

So we had our somnambulist, but what about our hypnotist?

At some point throughout the writing process, Meyer shared a piece of his past that would fill in the gaps. The event from Meyer’s past involved an unsettling experience with a strange psychiatrist who wore spectacles. Sound familiar?

The two writers spliced together their past experiences and through Hermann Warm and Robert Weine’s direction, the story became what it is today. Watching the film sent chills down my spine anyway. It is a solid mix of artistic Beauty and a creepy story and seemingly a mix that was destined to disturb me to the core.

Knowing that it is loosely based on actual people and that the creepy fair actually existed disturb me further and make me appreciate this film even more.