Movies

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.

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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. 

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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. 

Movies

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!!!!

Movies

Heaven on Elm Street

Nightmare on Elm Street is my favourite horror series. It’s also the first horror film I ever watched. As with most films I was too young to see I snuck in to the living room when everybody else was in bed and stuck on the latest film my brother bought or rented.

Most of the time it was action films starring Sly, Arnie or JCVD, who I still love to this day. But the very odd time there would be a horror waiting for me. Nightmare on Elm Street was the very first.

I was about 5-6 years old. Everybody was in bed fast asleep. I crept my way to the living room and turned on the tv, finger hovering over the volume down button to quickly reduce the volume. The VHS tape was already in so I hit rewind. I never bothered to look at what I was about to watch. So when the tape finished rewinding I hit play.

Instantly I knew this wasn’t the typical action film I was used to. It was creepy. There was sinister music playing whilst an unknown man created something with knives and a glove. Then the frightened woman appears as she is being chased. We can hear sheep bahhing. I instantly thought this was a bad idea and i’m going to be murdered if my parents caught me. Lucky for me they didn’t.

I don’t remember being scared. I do remember falling in love with this new genre. I also remember my granny knowing I liked scary films so she rented Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors for my cousin and I. I think I was about 8 at that time. The one thing that stuck with me on seeing Part 3 was Phillips death. When Freddy cut his muscles and used them as puppet strings to control Phillip. Dream Warriors is also my favourite of the series. I think most people would say it’s the best of the series too.

Wes Cravens New Nightmare was also a highlight in the series for me. I think it stands up well. Wes came up with a novel way to bring back Nancy and I think it worked personally. He also stated it wasn’t truly Freddy but a much more evil entity that took on his persona in real life. I wish Wes could have had more input with the remake. Although I think it’s better than what the critics said, it was still a forgettable attempt.

I do hope to see the character again. I think Freddy is the major icon in horror. There’s no way they can ignore the character for too long. He sells tickets. Even Freddy vs Jason deserved a sequel but it didn’t get it. Now the remake has happened Freddy is again in limbo. The mistake they made with the remake was hiring someone that had no love for the series and he rejected them multiple times. If you want to see Freddy succeed then hiring a fan is a must.

Movies

Growing up with The Lost Boys

I remember the first time I saw this classic film. I was only 7 years old. My sister and I were being babysat by a friend of the family. The setting was the upstairs of a pub (it’s where my uncle worked). Our babysitter went to the local video rental shop a few doors up and came back with The Lost Boys. My sister and I never had a choice in the film. We just sat and watched. I fell in love with the film instantly.

I know I was quite young to be watching a film like this at just 7, maybe irresponsible of the babysitter, but I was already a veteran of horror films by then it didn’t faze me. My brother who is 8 years my senior, would always rent films and I would sneak down to the living room when everyone was in bed and watch them with the volume down low. I was 5 when I saw my first horror film, but I’ll discuss that in another post.

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There were a couple of parts that stayed with me for a while after that first viewing. I don’t think I saw the film again for another few years, maybe 4-5 years later again, but I’ve watched it consistently since. The first part that instantly grabbed my attention was the bonfire scene when we first see the characters turn in to vampires. One of the unlucky victims gets scalped; it’s quite graphic, although the shot is very short. Another scene that stuck with me was the scene with the guy and the girl in the car. They hear scrapes on the roof and the roof gets ripped off whilst the victims get carried off in to the sky. I always remembered those scenes. I think this was probably the first modern vampire film I’d ever seen at that stage. I’d seen things like Dracula and Monster Squad but the vampires in those were the classic image of Dracula. The Lost Boys modernised and made vampires scary again.

The music in this movie has an 80’s vibe to it, obviously being shot in the 80’s, but it isn’t dated. Some films have extremely dated soundtracks but The Lost Boys soundtrack still sounds really good today. Especially the main song Cry Little Sister, I love that song. I know I sound like a broken record (pardon the pun) by talking about soundtracks in most of my posts but to me they are an instrumental part of making a game or film work. A good soundtrack can boost a films standing with an audience, I’m convinced of that.

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I recently watched The Lost Boys again, a couple of days ago from this post going up, and it still holds up to this day. 30 years ago this year (2017) it was released. A 30 year old film that still holds up as well today as it did back then, that instantly makes it a classic in my book.  It’s a shame we never got to see the intended sequel The Lost Girls. David (Kiefer Sutherland) was supposed to survive and regroup with some female vampires and that would have been the basis for the sequel. Unfortunately that never came to fruition and we ended up getting the straight to video sequels Lost Boys: The Tribe & Lost Boys: The Thirst. Corey Feldman starred in both films, which I’ve yet to see, but apparently they aren’t that great. I’m not sure any sequel could have lived up to the original. It was one of those lightning in a bottle films. The stars, music, setting, script, director and iconic scenes all came together to make a hit out of a seemingly ordinary film. Everything about it just works.

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