31 October 2013

The Halloween Session!


Happy Halloween you lovely people!

I had intended on making a Halloween series, but as luck would have it, I got sick and couldn't/didn't want to do anything. So we're going have to make it a quick celebration! 

What sucks most about being sick at Halloween, is that it ruins one of my favourite time of the year. Getting to watch countless scary films and forcing everyone else to watch as well is one of my favourite hobbies, and at Halloween, that's almost socially acceptable! My poor boyfriend has been absolutely tortured and he is the biggest wimp I know. The Shining was a hard pass for him though. 

So! Onto the list. I've rounded up 10 of my favourite films to watch at Halloween. Horror is my favourite genre and I love scary films, be they good or bad. I love nothing more than watching a terrible 'scary' film. American remakes of classics (Prom Night, Black Christmas, Nightmare on Elm Street etc.) make me happy because they are so terrible. It's weird, I know. This was a hard list to whittle down, so essentially I've picked the classics that I come back to every year and made a short list because 10 is such a nice number.  Let's start!


This movie makes me feel like a teenager again haha. I'm pretty sure this was the first 18 film I ever watched, and I still remember watching it for the first time. It was glorious! Also, Skeet Ulrich is totally a doppelgänger for Johnny Depp, but that's off topic.  This film was written as a kind of antidote for the slasher films that we're being churned out. Kevin Williamson, who wrote the film, intended to give back some bite and wit back to a film-type that was now taking itself so seriously. And it is fabulous. My favourite character is Randy, I feel as fellow film nerds we share a bond. His explanation of the scary movie rules wonderfully shows the stale form that slasher movies fell into. Also, he's adorable. 


                    Nightmare on Elm Street

And this was the second 18 film that I saw! I really like to remember the momentous occasions. Freddie Kreuger is absolutely one of my favourite horror movie icons, and one of the greatest film icons of all time. He is awesome. This film is gloriously bloody, it revels in it, if that's not your thing then you may want to avoid. Having said that, there have to be very few people who haven't seen this film. The death scenes in this are fairly iconic (blood spouting bed, body dragged over ceiling) but even more importantly, this is Johnny Depp's first film! Horror icon and movie icon, fabulous. I'm not a massive fan of the sequels, they get a little (a lot) insane and sort of lose the inherent terror Freddie represented. The idea of being attacked when you're at your most vulnerable kept me awake for a while...


                                      This is a bloody great film. Michael Myers, 
much like Freddie, is one of the great horror icons. His face, or rather, his mask, absolutely terrified me. The blank, shapeless face is so effective, much more effective that some of the monster masks they create now. He becomes a kind of symbol for the epitome of pure evil. He has no background, no motivations, no face and no problem in killing everyone. The film also introduces Jamie Lee Curtis, who went on to be one of the ultimate Scream Queens, a title she inherited from her mother Janet Leigh who starred in Psycho

                             Hocus Pocus

Ohhhhh this film makes me so happy! Watching this film immediately sends me back to childhood and running around with my sisters pretending to be witches ( I was a good witch OBVIOUSLY). Whilst the film itself is not perfect, the sheer nostalgia and joy more than makes up for it. Also, the super awesome sing along helps. I might go watch this now...

                          Rosemary's Baby

This was a film I was actually not allowed to watch until I was older. I'd like to think it's because my Mum knew I'd probably cry and rock myself to sleep in the corner after watching. This film scarred me, but in a good way. Because it really is a great film. The peaceful atmosphere and the newly wed joy soon give way to an almost unbearable tension and a slow burn terror. As Rosemary starts to fear for her sanity, we as viewers start to question who and what can be trusted. 

                          The Exorcist

There's a reason this film is considered one of the greatest horror films of all time. Largely because it is terrifying. Whilst the special affects might have aged (although I feel like they're still better than a lot of the modern CGI FX are) the story itself hasn't. Said to have been based in a true story, that lingers throughout the film, the notion that this could have happened. Linda Blair is phenomenal as the child possessed and her face, contorted and scarred, will stay with you long after the film is over. 

         The Nightmare Before Christmas

This film gets whipped out on a bi-annual basis--Christmas and Halloween.  It is such a beautifully made movie, the detailing and craft in the stop-motion characters is just astounding. Each one minute of movement took a month to film. A MONTH. The painstaking skill and dedication is obvious. And the songs just make me so happy. Also, Jack shares my love of Halloween and Christmas! My kind of guy. 


This is an underrated treasure, which is a damn shame because it is a bloody brilliant film. Working with found footage, you might be tempted to ignore given how overdone that gimmick can be done now with horror films, but you really shouldn't. It is one of the best modern scary films I've seen. A news reporter and her crew following a firefighting team around go into a building that's had a complaint and all hell breaks loose. Think a hybrid of 28 Days Later and The Exorcist. And those two films are certainly nothing to be sniffed at. It is in Spanish, and I know some people put off by subtitles (madness) but it really is worth the effort. Or you could watch the distinctly average US remake, Quarantine

                            The Omen

This was one of the first DVD's I bought, because I obviously had issues as a child. This flm convinced me that young children, especially boys, we're probably the spawn of Satan. Apologies for that. It does a fantastic job of creating an intense feeling of foreboding, and the breakdown of a family unit. Gregory Peck does a great job of being the everyday man forced into a situation so out of his comfort or belief zone. And there's a scene that lingers in your mind long after it's over. "IT'S ALL FOR YOU DAMIEN!" Shudder. 

                           The Shining 

This might be one of my favourite films of all time. It is remarkable, in terms of writing, directing, just wonderful. Whilst Shelley Duvall can fall into grating territory, it's kind of understandable given the shit going down. Jack Nicholson is awesome though. Like, properly menacing. The charisma that he normally exudes is subverted and twisted into a guy losing his mind. The story might still be a little baffling and is hotly debated, there's no denying the terror this film evokes. 

So there we are, some of my most-watched Halloween films! Next year I'll be more on the ball/less ill and do a more in-depth thing. Drop me a comment and let me know any of your most-watched Halloween films :). Have a great Halloween :). And as a Halloween treat, have a song!

Peace Out. 
10 October 2013

In Cinemas: Filth


I'd had very good intentions to do lots of blogging this week. As you can see, I've done a spectacular job so far! Ahem...

I went to the cinema! How unusual, I know. So, I saw Filth and it was...I mean...I just dunno if I have the right words to describe it. Because it was great, like jaw-dropping, but at the same time it is grotesque, horrible and terrible. And I mean that in a good way. So you see where the confusion lies.

Based on Irvine Welsh's novel of the same name, I certainly knew to expect some fairly audacious material. This is the same guy who wrote the classic Trainspotting, which became one of THE great British films, and it isn't exactly a shrinking violet. It is bloody great though.
Essentially, this is a film about excess and power. Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) is on the hunt for a promotion and will do (quite literally) anything to get it. His ploys are intertwined with his investigation of a murder that occurs at the beginning of the films. It seems totally random, but when they intertwine it hits like a brick. All of these events carry on as Bruce starts to lose his grip on reality and his thin grasp on the control he so desperately seeks. 

We'll talk about the main reason I wanted to see this film (apart from it looking AMAZING) and that was James McAvoy.
He is just the best, and PHENOMENALLY talented. He's been one of my favourite actors since his stint on Shameless (back when it was good) because there is something so captivating about him. He's always been great in any film he's starred in, but he is awe-inspiring in this. He is totally fearless and is unrecognisable the moment he comes on screen. His Bruce is, by all accounts, a complete dick. There is no other word for him. He is an alcoholic, racist, sectarian, homophobic, manipulative, damaged, devious, coke-fiend, yet for some baffling reason, I still gave a shit about him. Which is entirely down to the talent of McAvoy. Even when he is being an absolute cock, some tiny, minute facial movement will all of a sudden have you wanting to give him a hug. Mad skills. 

It's almost quite easy to ignore the rest of the film in light of McAvoy's performance. Not that the rest of the film is bad, it's not, it's great. But he is so magnetic it's easy to forget the other stuff. And there is quite a lot of other stuff--a promotion, a murder, madness, an innocent best friend, his not-so-innocent wife, the affairs, drugs, prostitutes. It can get a little hectic, but the director, Jon S.Baird, juggles them quite well. It gets even more hectic as Bruce loses his loose grip on his sanity, haunted by an event from his childhood and missing his wife and child. Yet, despite all this madness, this is a funny film. Which, admittedly, sounds terribly twisted on my part, but it is so unbelievably un-PC it's hard not to laugh. The film takes a sort of glee in ripping up the standards that a modern society has established. Essentially, it works to show off the shame of Britain in the most flamboyant way possible. The satire shows the horror of his outdated views, whilst also pointing a finger back at us, reminding us that a lot of these views remain. 

This isn't a film for everyone, and it certainly isn't a film to watch with your parents. DON'T WATCH WITH YOUR PARENTS. But it is definitely worth a watch, if only to be amazed by James McAvoy. 
The film is out now in UK, and is awaiting a worldwide distributer to pick up the rights.

I have a Hallowe'en series coming up, because YAY FOR SCARY FILMS. Also, HOCUS POCUS!! So I'll be back soon. Actually this time haha.

Peace out :)
01 October 2013

Writing about the hard stuff: Mental Illness


So, I've been sitting on this idea for a post for a while. I'd been meaning to write and post it last week and be a top blogger, obviously that didn't happen. I am still a top blogger though, right?! 

It's a bit of a tough one for me to write given the personal crap that is about to explode all over the page. Not only is writing about the the topic hard, but writing about how hard it is to write about the topic is hard. It's writer inception. Writerception, if you will. Now I've gotten the obligatory Inception joke in there, let us move on. 

As you've probably gathered from the title, I'm going to splurge all the feels about Mental Illness. IT'S GOING TO BE A LAUGH RIOT. Probably not.

Mental Illness is something I've been circling around for a while as part of my screenplay (aka, the jumbled mess of notes currently scattered around my flat). I keep coming back to it because the topic itself is a highly personal one to me. I am also very aware of people I know reading this which makes it twice as hard to write about. But here goes, now comes the feels.

So, depression is something I've struggled with since I was 11, which is a delightful age most of the time, twice as delightful with depression. I was becoming a teenager and I hated everything. How unusual. Basically, I had a shitty time for the first few years of secondary school. I always had issues with feeling like I never quite fit in anywhere and always wanting to belong so badly. High school is not a helpful environment for those fears. And, without getting into the nitty gritty of it, I really struggled with the idea of existing in a place where I didn't feel like I should be. But I was a kid then, and mental illness wasn't something we talked about, so I kept it in and eventually the black cloud became more of a murky grey. And for a while things were okay. Well, as okay as I thought they could be. And then I got M.E. (or chronic fatigue if you prefer). M.E. is basically a condition where your body feels like it's dying a slow death. At least, that's what it feels like to me. At it's worst, I would spend days in bed, totally incapable of doing anything but sleep or cry, which is surprisingly exhausting. It weakened everything in my body, including my immune system which meant I was sick ALL THE TIME. It sucks balls. 

 Getting sick in your final year at school is never an ideal scenario, so imagine my joy when I got sick and then also had a crappy time with friends etc. The usual teenage girl crap really, but it can all get a bit much when you're ill. Eventually 6th year passed and, instead of taking time out like I smart human being would, I went to university. And I brought my M.E. and Depression with me- PARTAAYYYY! And then I slowly came to realise I hated my degree, and the murky grey cloud that had been growing and darkening, arrived with a vengeance looking like a great big black mindfuck of a storm. I hated everything, and I was anxious all the bloody time. Everyone would be out partying and I'd make my usual crappy excuses so I could sit in and lie in bed and panic about everything and then hate myself for panicking.

I was amazing to be around. Eventually I sorted my shit out, but depression isn't something that just goes away, it has to be managed, and a lot of the time, I am shit at managing it. I can hardly manage to update a blog on time, who's trusting me to manage my mental health?!

I'll give you a space to take all that shit in. Here, have a picture of a kitten to help:
This will make it allllll better.

Now comes my problem; how am I to write about something so personal and so important in a way that will translate to a big screen? Mental Illness is, by all accounts, not necessary a laugh riot, but it is something that needs to be spoken about. There are not a great deal of films I can think of that deal with the idea of mental illness, and deal with it well. The last I can think of is Silver Linings Playbook, which I really loved.

The problem with the film is that it was advertised as a romantic comedy, which it really isn't, leaving a lot of people totally baffled. They went expecting to see Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence hooking up, instead got a study on living with mental illness. It would be a little jarring. 

I want to write something that people can watch and enjoy, but I also want something that will encourage discussion. Film is one of the great arenas that shows everyday issues in a manner that allows for debate. Mental Illness is something that is talked about in hushed tones and then pushed aside to the corner, but given how prevalent it is in today's society, this is an essential time to start talking. There is an overwhelming need to medicate and then forget about the problem, but I know from my own experience, it doesn't necessarily work. 1 million people commit suicide every year, and yet this blog post is one of the hardest things I've ever written. If it's such a big problem, with 1 in 4 people experiencing a mental health problem in the United Kingdom alone, why do I feel weirdly ashamed to have depression? I didn't know I had it until I'd already had it for 5 years and even after that, I was too embarrassed to talk about it. Hell, I still am. And I think this is why I am so determined to write about it, I don't want to feel embarrassed or ashamed, and I sure as hell don't want anyone else to be. 

So, yeah. I'll end this rambling here and hope that you aren't emotionally scarred. Apologies if you are. But I do hope it makes you think a little, and also makes you want to watch Silver Linings Playbook. All credit for the comics goes to Buzzfeed and this great list.

Peace out :) 

Motherhood, films, beauty, and life



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