‘Ghabash’

My penchant for foreign horror films is no secret and you probably already know that if you have been reading my blog. Saudi horror is not a thing that is banded around usually but on this occasion, it is.

‘Ghabash’ is a little different from the usual structure as it is set to be released periodically on youtube until the full story has been told.

It follows the journey of two men on a cross country travel that are harassed by a ghost; it hosts a variety of all-Saudi cast and was filmed entirely in the Kingdom.

Go check out the news story and the first instalment out here (No subtitles but not really neccessary):

http://www.albawaba.com/entertainment/saudi-arabias-first-ever-horror-film-will-make-hairs-your-body-stand-801234

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Men Behind The Sun

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As far as questionable actions on set go, this film perhaps sets the bar for ‘why the f*ck?!’

Filmed in the mid 1980’s, T. F. Mous was intent on sharing a story about torture and other messed up things. The film was set during World War II and depicted an alleged true story; perhaps the film was a little too harrowing.

One scene involving a collection of rats being set alight took realism to a whole new level when the act was actually committed for the cameras.

Feeling that his film was not ‘true’ enough, Mous’ scene involving a dead child being placed on a table was also ‘real’. The person had died days before and was used as a prop to fulfil some kind of purpose; i’m just not sure what the purpose was.

In a society where films are banned for minor infractions, it makes me wonder how this one slipped through the net.

 

H. R. Giger and His Band of Skulls

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One creepy story that I had never heard before literally sent a shiver down my spine.

Alien is perhaps one of the greatest films ever made, it was scary enough without the rumoured going on’s behind the scenes.

Dan ‘O Bannon remarked on his suspicion when discussing rumours surrounding Giger’s work. He shared that Giger was said to have bought real human skulls from India and cut them apart in order to create the xenomorph.

More weight was lent to this at a later date when news stories surfaced, explaining that Indian authorities had shut down companies that were trading skeletons; this makes it all the more possible. Could he have?

Bannon finished his piece by sharing that the teeth Giger worked with were very similar to that of children’s.

I have seen some questionable art, anything by Jake and Dinos Chapman, but this is just messed up!

Wes Craven and His Inspiration

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The late Wes Craven was a legend in the horror making business and he created some films that we will never forget; the most memorable creation of his is without a doubt ‘Nightmare On Elm Street’. The film continues to be watched today and it’s a necessity for any horror film fan’s collection. Although Wes had a great imagination, he had a helping hand when coming up with the idea for ‘Nightmare On Elm Street’.

A serious of news articles in the Los Angeles Times gave him all the inspiration he needed to create the masterpiece that we all know and love. The news articles revolved around a series of deaths involving Asian refugees.

The articles written in the Los Angeles Times would tell how the victims mysteriously passed away in their sleep. Allegedly, the victims would refuse to go to sleep because of terrifying nightmares that would potentially result in their death.

Despite the similarities in all of the cases, the events were never linked. It was a particular article that caught Craven’s attention and here is the description in his own words:

‘The third one was the son of a physician. He was about twenty-one; I’ve subsequently found out this is a phenomenon in Laos, Cambodia. Everybody in his family said almost exactly these lines: “You must sleep.” He said, “No, you don’t understand; I’ve had nightmares before—this is different.” He was given sleeping pills and told to take them and supposedly did, but he stayed up. I forget what the total days he stayed up was, but it was a phenomenal amount—something like six, seven days. Finally, he was watching television with the family, fell asleep on the couch, and everybody said, “Thank god.” They literally carried him upstairs to bed; he was completely exhausted. Everybody went to bed, thinking it was all over. In the middle of the night, they heard screams and crashing. They ran into the room, and by the time they got to him he was dead. They had an autopsy performed, and there was no heart attack; he just had died for unexplained reasons. They found in his closet a Mr. Coffee maker, full of hot coffee that he had used to keep awake, and they also found all his sleeping pills that they thought he had taken; he had spit them back out and hidden them. It struck me as such an incredibly dramatic story that I was intrigued by it for a year, at least, before I finally thought I should write something about this kind of situation.’

It is pretty amazing to see where the great filmmakers take their inspiration from and just goes to show that ideas can be found in every area of life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final Destination? 25 More Times Please

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Final Destination is one of those film series that did not really scare me when I decided to watch them. That being said, there have been many times after when I have had a paranoia of something really far-fetched happening that results in my death. Freak accidents happen all the time! Regardless of the fear-factor, the series is a lot of fun, even if you are only watching to see what unruly death is about to happen; it is a little like the feeling you have when watching any of the SAW franchise i guess.

Final Destination 3 was one of my favourites of the series and if i’m honest, I still get worried every time I ride a rollercoaster after watching it. Oh, how bad it must have been for the poor kids that acted in the film, who had to ride the rollercoaster 26 times in order to film the premonition scene at the beginning. Can you imagine your mind being filled with worst case scenarios and then having to do that? Scares me just thinking about it!

Medousa

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If you are like me, then you probably love horror films that give you something different. I enjoy watching horror films that are regarded as foreign films for one reason, that reason is the effectiveness of them.

Something about J-horror makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up and after many hours debating why this was, I came to the conclusion that it was most probably because of my novice understanding about the culture. I have touched on the fear of the unknown many times but this is far more clean cut than any of my previous ramblings.

The films appear to be more effective because I have no idea of the capabilities that the antagonists possess. For all I know, they could hold all the traits of something that would make me huddle in the corner of the room, rocking backwards and forwards, and praying to a being that I don’t really believe in. This unsure feeling urges me to go in search of obscure and lesser known films; Films like ‘Medousa’.

Similarly to the way in which J-horror uses mythology and culture to scare it’s audience in to submission, this Greek art-house film appears to be approaching from the same place. The film is reminiscent of a classic atmospheric thriller and despite winning an award back in 1998, it is only now, upon Mondo Macabro’s release of the hidden gem, that it is starting to be re-discovered.

I highly recommend checking ‘Medousa’ out, especially if you are looking for something different. It is not common for such a film to be made these days, if ever, and is due for release on April 12th 2016.

Rampage!

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There have been rumours swirling for a while now and I cannot help but be excited at the news that New Line have dropped recently. Sure, I love horror films, but I also love video games and wrestling! That’s right, I am no more mature than I was when starting high school but at least I am honest.. right?

Anyway, there is a reason for my confession and that is the news of a ‘RAMPAGE’ film based on the video game that just so happens to star Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. The money men must have loved what the combination of Rocky, Peyton and Flynn done for them with ‘San Andreas’ as they have named the actor and co-directors as the people to get this project moving.

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‘San Andreas’ managed to gross almost $500,000,000 at cinemas worldwide so here’s hoping that ‘RAMPAGE’ Goes the same way!

Vincent Price: True Class

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Just a few thoughts that I would like to share..

I watched a classic last night and realised that Vincent Price was phenomenal; it was the ’59 version of ‘House on Haunted Hill’. I think that films miss actors like this and as time goes on it is starting to become more visible.

The way that Price carries himself on screen is everything that you would expect from the time and more. It truly amazes me that his talents were not confined to one genre like many of the Hollywood stars today. In actual fact he was ever-present in television, on stage, and on radio too. Price showed that it is possible to be the star of many features; from horror to comedy, his distinct voice and personality on-screen seemed to set him aside from everyone else.

What impresses me the most about Vincent Price is that he was multi-talented and he didn’t rely on his incredible acting ability to get him through life. He was an avid art collector and consultant due to the degree he gained in art history, which lead him to write books and lecture on the subject. He even founded his own art museum in California.

A talented man, Price was open about his feelings towards racism and prejudice, he was, what seems, an all round great guy. He was also one of the first celebrities to advertise the dangers of HIV in marketing campaigns .

I’m going to be watching a lot more of Vincent Price’s films over the next month or so because I feel like I’ve missed out on a lot of great pictures already. If you are interested in checking out some of his radio work then look for ‘The Price of Fear; it was a 22-episode show produced by the BBC.

Lastly, a couple of weeks back was the 22-year anniversary of his death. Let’s not forget that these actors put so much effort in to creating the system that we base our films on today.

Silent Night, Deadly Night: Review

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So it is already November and like me you are probably already fed up with the myriad of decorations and displays that seemingly erect themselves overnight. I mean, come on! Christmas is a long way off. Halloween was less than a week away and there were already Christmas drinks at Starbucks and a full on display of all things festive in John Lewis. As annoying as it all seems, there are three things that I absoluteley love abut this time of year. The food, and sudden influx of cranberry sauce in to every chain restaurant; the presents of course; and Christmas Horror.

I think it all started many years ago when I saw the Jack Frost film but i’m not going to recommend that you watch that, what the hell, go wild.  This Christmas we are getting treated to ‘Krampus’, a horror-comedy about what happens when children are bad. It’s based on German folklore and genuinely looks like it could be a lot of fun. Naturally, I was reading up on it, only to notice a film that held similarities.

That film was ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’ and it follows a serious of events that occur when a family is butchered on their journey one Christmas. I will not lie to you, I wasn’t expecting much from the 1984 production but it ticked most of the boxes. I think it was refreshing to watch because it did not try to employ the same principles that hold back a lot of films in the genre.

The film focuses on our protagonist, Billy, who survives the families slaughter and becomes a resident at an orphanage. We watch him grow and witness deep character traits throughout the duration of the film, which does a great job of creating a sense of empathy; we actually start to sympathise towards the character.

Billy is a poor kid who has lost everything and has never really recovered from the horrors that he saw. Mother Superior, the head of the orphanage, is a great propellant when it comes to the filmmaker evoking the mentality of Billy. His fear of Santa stems from an opening scene when his grandfather tells him that naughty children will be punished; this is something that clearly stays with him.

The film moves along and Billy grows in to a young man. He seems to be liked by everyone and is portrayed as a hard working and sensitive person. The owner of the toy store that he works at dresses him up as Santa to cover for someone who is sick. At the edge of reason, Billy begins to drink and the night goes South.

I have already given a fair bit away but even so, this must be watched in order to appreciate the character that has been created. Often, horror films fail to flesh out the characters because they know that they will probably be killed off within the hour but this is a mistake that ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’ does not seem to make.

The script is passable and I never really found myself asking questions like, “why the hell would he do that?!” It seems like a lot of thought went in to this film and it is conveyed on the screen throughout. Whether you want to watch a horror film for a bit of fun or are looking for something to watch as a serious scare, this film should be a suitable candidate.

I read after that there is a multitude of sequels and it goes up to at least part 5, which seems to star the same protagonist. There was also a 2012 remake which I may check out at some point.

All in all, this was a lot of fun to watch. The runtime came in at about 80 minutes, meaning that it was a bit on the short site, but the film did not suffer from it. It is a somewhat unconventional film but one that I do not regret watching.

Christmas horror to enjoy for all.

6/10