Event Horizon: Hellraiser in Space

I don’t remember my first time watching this but I do know I bought the VHS tape without having seen it. I was too young to go to the cinema when it was released in August 1997. I think I was about 12 when it came out. So I ordered it from Brittania Film Club. A postage service that would send you videos in a monthly club type set up. I saw the cover, read the little description, and instantly ordered it.

I do remember wondering at the time, having watched it, why more people weren’t talking about it. Empire magazine at the time gave it 3 out of 5 stars. The reviewer seemed to rave about it for the most part. So I thought even with a slightly above average score from one of the big boys that it would go down well in the horror and sci fi communities. But it didn’t, at the time. The cinema release came and went without much fanfare. It did pretty abysmally box office wise. But it turns out, this movie was a slow burner amongst fans.

It’s gone down as a cult classic now. People are still talking about it over 20 years later. I think it ended up doing pretty well financially in the VHS/DVD markets upon home release. I myself still own the DVD as well as the newer Bluray. I also watch it pretty regularly and don’t get bored of it. I mean, how can you when the cinematography is so beautiful. Some of the shots are mesmerising. Like the above and below shots of Sam Neill’s character Dr Weir. Also, pay attention to the opening scene. It’s beautifully shot which took them quite some time and money to get right, but it’s so worth it to see. 

It also has a great, pumping, techno soundtrack. The hard techno music, whilst there’s some eerie original compositions, isn’t out of place here. I wouldn’t normally be a fan of this kind of music in a horror, I prefer original music specific for the film like Candyman and Halloween for example, but with Event Horizon it seems to work. Of course, there were some original pieces produced for the film. The odd little atmospheric track. But, nothing compared to the enduring nature of the Halloween, Candyman or The Exorcist themes. I think it was Orbital and Michael Kamen that produced the music for Event Horizon.

Event Horizon 1

One thing about the film though is the lack of a Directors Cut. It’s pretty well known now the 131 minute cut has been lost or destroyed. The producers decided they didn’t need any of the deleted scenes, which there were many to get the rating where they wanted, so they dumped the extra footage. There’s supposedly a VHS tape with the original full length cut and Paul W. S. Anderson has stated that one of the producers, Lloyd Levin, had found a VHS copy of said cut. Also, there’s a strange twist to the tale, some deleted footage had apparently been found in a Transylvanian salt mine. But it had deteriorated too much to be of any use.  Fuck knows how it ended up there anyway. That’s probably a whole story in itself. I would love to see the unreleased full cut though. It would bring a freshness to such a classic. 

Event Horizon

I must briefly mention the cast. I mean, what a cast. Every role was performed perfectly by each actor. I mean Sam Neill and Laurence Fishburn are great in this. As are the rest of the cast. And without spoiling the ending it kind of goes against the grain with who survives as well as who are the pivotal characters throughout. Which was pretty refreshing at the time. If you haven’t seen the film, please give it a watch. It’s probably my 2nd favourite Sci-Fi/Horror after Alien. 


A New Bumpy Road

When people hear i’ve had my transplant they get excited and happy for me. It’s great to see so many happy. Be they friends, family or strangers. I never realised so many people cared. Not that I thought they didn’t, but when you see so many people elated for you it’s nice.

But what they don’t know is that although I have a shiny new set of lungs and less hospital admissions I also now have a number of new problems that transplant brings with it. For one thing the life expectancy. Yes I probably would have died within another couple of years at max without transplant. But with these new lungs there’s literally no way of knowing how long I have. It could be 1 more month. It could be 20 more years. But with my old lungs I kind of knew when was a good period and when was bad. There was a time frame of sorts and I knew exactly what each little nook and cranny of those lungs were. Now it’s a different ball game.

With the drugs i’m on they can cause many side effects. Mood changes. Not to mention a constant readjusting of doses and adding and taking away some drugs. One such side effect was the drugs threw my liver off. So I needed a week long admission to get to the bottom of it and rule out anything more sinister. Thankfully it was just the drugs and things are looking better in that regard.

I’ve also just came out of my 2nd operation since the transplant operation. The 1st was to drain a tiny bit of fluid around the lungs. The 2nd was to open up my right airway where the lung meets the windpipe. It was inflamed and I couldn’t get as much air in. I was in and out within an hour of going down to theatre but it still require a 4 day admission. I also have to fly to another country for all these appointments and admissions.

Don’t get me wrong i’m not complaining. I have to do what I have to do to keep these lungs in tip top shape. It’s mentally draining though when you don’t know what certain symptoms are and if they’re rejection. Which i’ve already had once about 5-6 weeks ago. So it was nerve wracking waiting a week to find out if it was rejection again. Which probably isn’t a good sign so soon after the 1st episode.

But now i’ve had a 2nd bout of rejection and they say it can be normal for people to reject a few times in the first year. The doctors obviously prefer not to see rejection but it’s common enough they know how to treat it for the most part. As I said before it’s mentally draining having all these problems, which can be the death of you if not caught early, but I also have the added privilege of living a better, more air filled life now. This 2nd bout is currently being treated with a changeup of medication. But they sent me home so it’s not too bad.

I’ve been doing so much walking and exercise. I’ve downloaded the Fitbit app to keep track of my steps. I try to hit 5k every day. Which is just over 2 miles. But recently i’ve been hitting 10k+. So i’m pushing myself more. Getting out more and not worrying if there’s steps, incline or long walks to get there. Now I deliberately park that bit further away so I can savour the walk. It’s incredibly freeing not having to worry how out of puff i’ll be walking 10ft from my car to an entrance. Long may it continue.


New Lungs

Well it happened. On the 29th of July at around 1:15am I got the call for lungs. This time it wasn’t a false alarm. It actually happened. I’m now nearly 4 weeks out from the operation and doing quite well considering.

There have been many speed bumps along the way. One which we’re currently dealing with now which is going to require more surgery. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little worried. The area they’re operating on has a little fluid. Normally they’d take the fluid out with a drain but because there’s such a small amount they need to operate so as not to damage the lungs by poking around trying to get the fluid. The fluid is also infected with a bug my old lungs always had in them. Which is hard to get rid of. So they’re going to get the fluid out and give the area essentially a bleach to hopefully kill any of the bugs.

I’m hoping to hear from the surgeon in the next day or two to find out if he can go ahead and do it. Then they’ll maybe start me on antibiotics to help kill anything remaining. The doctors are saying this can be fairly normal procedure after transplant but it’s still nerve wracking. I just want it to go smoothly. There was even talk of home possibly in the next week or two until this popped up.

I’m trying to think positive but the negatives keep pushing they’re way in. By the sound of everyone talking it does sound pretty straight forward and fixable. It’s just another hurdle thrown in my way which I need to jump over. I just hope these hurdles become less and less soon. It seems to be one good day then a bad day. One after the other. The actual lungs and inside of them are apparently doing great. So that’s good news too. And they seem to be clear so far. So i’m holding on to that positive most times.

In all of this I remember that someone donated these lungs to me. Someone’s family said yes to their loved ones organs being used to save other peoples lives. I will forever be grateful to both the donor and their family. None of this would be possible without them. I couldn’t have lasted much longer on my old lungs. Once I get out of here i’m going to make full use of these lungs. No more calculating how far I have to walk from the car to the shop/house/hospital/park.

This is all standard procedure for the staff, for the most part, yet it still feels alien and scary at times since it’s my first and only go at this. So everything is new. But I will try and remain positive. As the staff keep telling me it’s normal for this to happen after transplant and they’re being more cautious so things don’t progress and they catch it early. Which is obviously a good thing. I’ll just have to get on with it and let them do their thing. Whatever happens happens.


I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghostbusters Sequel

My love for Ghostbusters goes back further than I can remember. It came out the year I was born. The cartoon had already started by the time I was old enough to start watching tv of my own volition. My parents tell me I used to watch the movie before I left for school, as soon as I came home from school, rewound the VHS tape, watched it again. I’m pretty sure my whole family hate the film now. Not me. It’s still in my top 5 all time favourite films.

I was so obsessed with the film and tv show I literally begged for everything related to them. I had the soundtrack on vinyl. I had pretty much every toy, even the proton pack which took my parents weeks to track down as Argos had sold out across the country. Every birthday and xmas would be filled with lots more Ghostbusters things, along with Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles but that’s for another post. There was the Firehouse, Ecto-1, all 4 Ghostbusters, the ghost trap. My word I was in my element back then.

While i’m on the subject of Ecto-1 I have to say it’s still my favourite ever tv/movie car. I think that could very well be the reason to this day that I love 50’s/60’s American cars. Buicks, Chevys, Mustangs, Cadillacs. I absolutely adore those style cars. The lines on Ecto-1 even before it’s transformation are beautiful. I mean look at that front end and the fins at the back. Once it’s been rebuilt and restored it’s a thing of beauty. I’ve always said that if I ever win the lotto i’m buying my very own Ecto-1.

On to the cartoon. I was literally glued to the tv when The Real Ghostbusters was on. The exact same with Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles. I couldn’t think of anything else. All my toys were from these 2 shows. Even as an adult in my 30’s I have a DVD of The Real Ghostbusters in the hopes my child will enjoy it too. No such luck so far but I can still enjoy it myself. The Proton Pack I mentioned earlier was a toy from the cartoon. I had the biggest smile ever when I opened that present. I didn’t take it off the rest of the day.

As a gamer I also played the Ghostbusters game that released on the PS3 a while back, 2009 I think. This game felt like the sequel fans always wanted. The amazing thing was all the original cast returned and voiced their respective characters. You play a new Ghostbuster that’s just joined the team. The game played so well too. It wasn’t a heartless cash grab. They really took their time and put their heart and soul in it, and it shows. The game was excellent. It felt so good to revisit these characters again with a new story.

For years there had been talk of a sequel. Nothing ever came of it. Then that remake happened. Now, back when it was announced there was quite an uproar. A small minority of dickheads were against the idea of females taking on the roles. I actually thought it was a great idea. Big names were bandied about like Jennifer Lawrence, Eliza Dushku, Natalie Portman (I really wanted these 3 in particular). You get the picture. But then Paul Feig came aboard and that’s when it all went to shit.

Don’t get me wrong, I like some of his films. Bridesmaids was and is hilarious. Then he made The Heat, was ok, but Melissa McCarthy basically started to play the same role over and over, like in Spy. Yes there are slight differences but ultimately she plays the same role over and over. Then Kristen Wiig came aboard. It was looking more and more lacklustre. But if you dared criticise it you were labeled a misogynist. Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon were fine choices as they weren’t really well known. I also have no problem with Wiig or McCarthy, but for a Ghostbusters film I don’t think they or Feig were right. The resulting film was a forgettable mess. One or two little giggles in it but that was about it.

Which brings me on to the new announcement, Ghostbusters 3 is on the way and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m down about the idea that Harold Ramis isn’t around anymore to play Egon one last time. Ivan Reitman, the original director, isn’t returning but his equally successful director son Jason Reitman is taking over the reigns. He’s made some pretty good films, some even Oscar nominated, so I think the franchise is in good hands.

I’ll forever love this franchise. Films, games, cartoon, toys. I’ll continue to watch any future instalments hoping and praying (not that i’m religious) that they nail it and do the franchise justice. I’m even hoping they attempt to bring in female Ghostbusters and banish the bad blood fans feel over the remake. I have read they do intend to blood some younger Ghostbusters in the new film so our original heroes can sail off in to the sunset on their rocking chairs, a passing of the torch if you will. I think that’s the best thing to do. Although I could watch the original guys make multiple sequels endlessly.

Little side-note, i’ve even been to the original firehouse in New York. It was first on the list when I went there a few years ago. The little boy in me was squealing with joy. Suit up, and don’t cross the streams!!!!


Therapeutic Writing

In a previous post I hit upon the fact writing things down works for me mentally. Some people prefer to open up to others. Some go for walks. Some just bottle it up, I don’t suggest this one though. I like to write things down. These health/life posts may repeat themselves or I may repeat myself in the very same post but the reason for that is I don’t edit or mull over these types of post. I write it off the cuff when the mood hits me and just publish it warts and all. So apologies if I repeat something i’ve said in previous posts.

As I also mentioned in that post I lost my best friend in April last year. He was the person i’d talk to, rant and rave about things that were mentally draining in hospital, just general life crap too. He was open with me and we’d often have the same things to moan about so it was good to have someone in the same position that understood exactly what we were going through. We both helped each other immensely. I could really do with his help now. It’s times like this I really miss him when mentally things are getting on top of me.

It also would have been his 30th birthday a few months ago. I was in hospital at the time. Thinking of him. What could have been had he got his new lungs in time. I bought myself a small bottle of whiskey to raise a glass to him that night.

That was my previous admission. I’m back in now just after Christmas. Thankfully I was ok before Christmas and was able to spend the holidays at home. There’s quite a lot of changes on the ward now. Without going in to details it’s incredibly draining with the upheaval. Many patients won’t see much difference or frankly won’t care but I definitely see the changes and they aren’t for the better.

I try and be as little a burden as possible in hospital. The staff know me well. I tend to moan a lot when i’m in. The problem is I don’t like a lot of changes with my health routine. Even slight changes can set me off. Many people will think i’m being ridiculous and I probably am but I just don’t like the ever growing changes my deteriorating condition brings with it. The staff are often amazing. They do go the extra mile for us. I try to do as much of my own stuff myself so they don’t have to. I try not to cause problems that will have them doing more work. That’s where the problems come in sometimes.

My best friend and I would often be in together. We’d phone or text each other from down the hall and have a little moan and get it out of our systems. Offering each other advice or helping one of us see if that problem at that time is a battle we should be fighting or ignoring. The last few years we had a lot of phone calls that were pretty much half an hour to an hour of moaning from one or the other but we always felt much better after it. Now to not have that outlet it’s eating me up. I feel like sometimes i’m one disagreement away from a full on breakdown.

As i’m pretty sure i’ve stated before, this blog was never intended to be about my health. I thought I may have written the odd little post here and there scattered amongst the film/games posts. But then I never envisioned losing my best friend. I always hoped he’d get the call for his new lungs. Obviously death was always in the back of our minds daily.

We used to joke about whether we’d be alive to see certain films or play certain games that were yet to be released. One that sticks out in my mind is when him and I were at the cinema seeing either Avengers or Avengers: Age of Ultron. We laughed about how many more films were in the pipeline and the fact they were building up to what became Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. In a cruel twist of fate he died on the day Avengers: Infinity War was released. I went to the cinema on my own a week or 2 later as I didn’t want to see it with anyone else. I was still a patient on the ward, yes I was there when he died, and I went down the street to the cinema early one morning when I knew it wouldn’t be busy. Every time I watch that film now I think of him. Every time I see pictures or snippets from Avengers: Endgame I think of him. It’s a silly thing to think of but that memory always stuck out of us in the cinema watching one of the first 2 Avengers films. I don’t know why because we pretty much joked about dying every single day. People in our position tend to have a morbid sense of humour.

Anyway, as I was saying, this blog wasn’t intended to be such heavy reading. I never thought or still think anyone will ever read it. It’s just somewhere I like to come to write my thoughts on whatever topic i’m thinking of at the time. Partially to better my writing too. I can read a previous post months down the line and correct whatever doesn’t work grammatically. But these health posts I don’t like to re-read again. Well, I haven’t read a previous health post yet. Not sure I want to either. Also, I wanted to create this blog simply for my son. If the worst happens to me when he’s still young he can read this blog in the future and maybe get a little idea of my life and personality.

Ok, this post has gone on long enough. I seemed to go off on tangents at times I think. Maybe, maybe not. Who cares.


A Call to Lungs

A little while back I posted about the loss of my best friend due to Cystic Fibrosis and the mental struggle I was going through at the time. Well this post is related as he was waiting on his call for lungs and he had 6 calls to travel to Freemans Hospital in Newcastle. None of those calls had lungs good enough for him.

Now the reason you can get the call and not receive new lungs is because when the staff know the lungs will be available they don’t know what condition they’ll be in. It’s all very quick and frantic to get things in place. So you travel all that distance, for us we need to get an air ambulance which takes an hour, and sometimes sit around for hours to find out if you’re going to have this life saving operation. My friend had to do that 6 times. Ultimately he never got his new lungs as his CF infected ones just couldn’t hang on.

I never knew what way he felt or how it affected him properly until I went through that very same process myself recently. I’ve been on the transplant list now since early this year. Only a few months later I got my first call. There’s nothing anyone can say or do that can prepare you for this call. Everything goes through your head. If the operation goes ahead how long will I live after? What if I pick up an infection during the operation? What if I have a stroke? What if I die? All these things are very real concerns as they are risks.

A double lung transplant is the trickiest of all the transplants. It doesn’t cure the CF. Your new lungs just don’t have CF anymore. But you do. CF hits so many other parts of the body. Half of those transplanted live past 5 years. A few live to the 10 year mark. Very few make it to 20 years and beyond. Your body is constantly fighting the new lungs as they’re seen as a foreign entity in the body. This is why you take numerous anti rejection meds. They help the body sustain the new lungs.

Anyway, when I got the call I was in bed sleeping. It came at 1:43am. It was very surreal and I couldn’t wrap my head around it. Once I hung the phone up to ring the family members (you can bring 2) that were travelling with me it properly hit me. The worst part was the realisation I had to say goodbye to my son. This operation could kill me, or I may have picked up an infection after the operation which could also kill me. There is also potential of stroke which would kill me. So basically I was preparing for the worst case scenario. Looking at my little boy and how happy he was being up so late with all the grown ups (both sets of his grandparents were there as well as his mum) broke my heart. He was running around having fun and all I could do was just act natural and play with him. He’s currently too young to understand about transplant but he knows daddy goes in and out of hospital. I’m fighting this disease for him. I’m hoping transplant is successful for him.

We got to the hospital at about 6:30am. The transplant coordinator, the person that makes the call to you, came in and discussed what was happening. We were waiting on the lungs being checked to see if they were a perfect match as well as in good enough condition to use. Lungs can have various problems. They won’t be perfect. I could get a 60 year olds that used to smoke 20 a day and never worked out. Or I could get a 25 year old fitness freaks lungs that were in perfect health. You just don’t know. It’s the chance you take to get those extra years of life. But the coordinator came back shortly after 7am and explained the lungs inside were great but unfortunately outside had air pockets which suggested a lung condition like COPD or similar. So the lungs weren’t good enough to use in me. Ultimately I was happy. I needed that call and “dry run” basically to wake me up to the realities of what i’m going to go through as well as what my friend had to endure 6 times.

My friend was in a similar boat at the start. He was on the list for 6 years and the early calls he was kind of relieved the operation didn’t go ahead. But towards the end he, and all of us, were desperate for him to get new lungs. He didn’t have long left and he got a call, but he couldn’t get those lungs either. It was his last call.

It’s hard to describe but since his death I feel both closer and further away from him than ever. I realise that’s a contradiction but it’s the best way to describe it. We spoke pretty much every day. Not having him to speak to is maybe why I feel such conflicting emotions. It’s also hard knowing towards the end when he had calls how hopeful he would have been only to be told the lungs couldn’t be used. His future was slowly being ripped from him with every unsuccessful call.

If anyone at all has read this and would like more info, or to possibly sign up as a donor, then here’s the link. Just know, a donors organs can save/transform up to 9 lives. Not only that you save far, far more people than just where the donated organs go but you save family and friends from going through the anguish of losing a cherished one sooner than needed.


Addicted To Codes

Since I posted a little about my health last time it’s safe to say I spend quite some time in hospital for lengthy admissions. Ever since I was a baby i’ve been in and out constantly. Some admissions recently have lasted up to 7 weeks. So it’s essential to bring in your own entertainment.

When I was younger i’d bring in whatever gaming console or handheld I was playing at the time, which passed the hours in seconds. I would also bring in plenty of VHS tapes. Then DVD’s in later years. Then Blu Rays after that. Now it’s digital films.

I’ve never liked going digital completely but when it comes to digital codes, Ultraviolet codes, i’m addicted to buying them for my hospital stays. I have Netflix and the Sky app as well to watch along with my digital film collection. I still buy Blu Rays regularly as i’ll always love owning the physical media of something, be it games or films, but not all the films come with codes.

I still haven’t ventured in to paying full price for codes from digital retailers like iTunes or Google Play. I only buy my codes from eBay or use the ones I get with the Blu Rays I buy. I’m not against buying from iTunes or any other digital service as i’ve currently added a few films to my iTunes wishlist. It’s mostly horrors which I can’t get digital codes for and there’s a good chance they won’t ever get an Ultraviolet release either so buying from iTunes is probably my best bet if I want to watch them whilst in hospital. Yet i’m still hesitant in paying near full price to Apple or Google for the digital version of a film when I can get codes off eBay for between £1-£3 each. Sometimes the digital price on those retailers sites are more expensive than the physical Blu Ray release, which is madness to me. I don’t care about ease of use with the digital collection, it’s much cheaper for these companies to sell a digital code on their site than having to manufacture a physical release and ship them out. So the digital prices should be much lower than a physical price.

Rant aside my digital collection has grown over the last year. I have around 150 digital films. Not many compared to my 400+ Blu Rays or the 800+ DVD’s I used to own. It’s still a nice little selection to have for when i’m stuck staring at 4 walls for weeks on end. Not to mention the many thousands of films/tv shows I can access through Netflix and Sky on their apps. Now i’m off to see what new codes have been listed on eBay 😃