Spiral (2019)

It’s been a while boils and ghouls, but I’m back for a Samhain surprise.

Whatever you’re doing, wherever you’re going, stay safe and stay away from stupid.

Marginalisation is silent. It is invisible. It happens everywhere no matter the nationality or socioeconomic background. It is being passed over for jobs, mortgages, loans or housing. It is having your civil and criminal disputes, obstacles and rights treated as insignificant, or being gaslighted into thinking that you are overreacting to very real attacks or slights.

It is being excluded socially, educationally, financially, politically and medically. It is being disadvantaged through no fault of your own, being the subject of stigma simply for belonging to a certain race, nationality, religion, gender or sexuality. It is racism, ableism, sexism, ageism, bigotry and ignorance; and it is fluid like time. In different periods of history marginalised groups have been blamed for all the  ills and failings in society. The Jews were scapegoated for everything from the killing of Jesus, the Black Death and poverty, Muslims are blamed for terrorism and extremism, refugees and immigrants have historically been blamed for job scarcity and rising crime statistics, homosexuals have been blamed for AIDS and the breaking down of the so-called ‘’traditional family unit’’ (whatever that is), and people of colour are targeted for just about every other damn thing that you can think of.

Its clever misdirection and propaganda by the people in power, to distract you from the fact that They (Politicians, The Rothschilds, The Koch Brothers, Murdoch, Big Banks, Big Pharma, The Media..), are creating the chaos, the misery and poverty; and are sneaking through new laws and loopholes to benefit the capitalist agenda while you are turning to your neighbour, worrying what they have that you don’t.

Your neighbour claiming disability benefits, or food stamps, is not the problem; it’s the magicians in power making elephants in the room appear invisible, right under your nose.

Spiral is a surprisingly astute horror that deals with marginalisation and discrimination, and giving your horror bone a delicious tickle with the lesson.

In the nineties, a same sex couple move into a quaint little neighbourhood in a small town with their teenaged daughter, while navigating the little microaggressions directed at their unconventional little family unit. When one half of the couple begins to notice that there is a dark side to the friendly surface of their neighbours, a chilling path of paranoia and intimidation threatens to tear their family apart.

Spiral is a great film on every level. Yes, it has that Rear Window cliché, of a lone male lead, looking for evidence of what he knows , and the paranoia that sets in when you spend too much time on your own; but I liked the modern angle, and the film has an excellent lead in Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman who brought a refreshing energy to the role of Malik, and pretty much carried the film.

It’s been accused of being boring and mostly filler, but I enjoyed the meandering creep factor,  echoing those kitsch TV horror mysteries of the seventies, that I always had a soft spot for. For me, there is no greater horror than doubting your own reality, and not knowing whether the threat is imagined, or coming from inside the house.

It definitely deserves more love than it’s getting, and in these turbulent times, it’s always worth being reminded that you can’t trust always trust a friendly façade, and just because someone is different to your normal, doesn’t mean that they are anything other than human.

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The Hunt (2020)

We are at the point now where you just don’t get to opt out of political discussion. Every facet of your life is controlled by political choice, from your reproductive options, your basic civil rights and your economic standing.

Politics in 2020 is not optional, because it is a matter of morality. Do you think that every person should have equity, and be able to access the same opportunities? Or do you think that your race, your gender, your postcode, and your religion makes you better? Is your privilege something that you wield as a weapon over others, or do you use it to exact change to make everyone’s life better?

This is not a game (not that I ever thought it was), because right now we are living in a fascist dystopia. We have incels, racists, rapists, and criminals leading us, and facts are becoming a choice rather than something that is proven. Conspiracy theories, anti-vaxxers, ‘’presidential’’ prescriptions of drugs that he has financial interests in, that result in the deaths of those who take his word as law.

Police and private militia are attacking their own citizens rather than address the crimes committed, and Trump is creating his personal SS, without any intervention. A Politian is talking about moving elections and refusing to leave the White House if he loses. These are the words and actions of a dictator, and a truly deranged individual, and still his cult grows.

You don’t get to sit on the fence, when history taught us what looking the other way, can create. The holocaust happened because people turned a blind eye when it was not going to affect them. Power hungry megalomaniacs are never happy with one victory, and are always looking to conquer more, greedy for your rights, and thirsty for the blood of their opposition.

Trump is not some toddler with no concept of his destructive policies; he is clever, and has the support of people far more intelligent, and the strings of his Russian benefactor are never loose enough for him to truly slip the leash. He knows what he is doing, and however his presidency ends; it will take decades to rebuild all that he has destroyed.

Extremism exists on both sides of the penny, but if you are fighting for the rights of others, instead of your own; rather than throwing a tantrum because you have to wear a mask to do your shopping, then I know what side I am standing on.

The Hunt begins with twelve strangers coming round from a drug induced haze in the middle of nowhere, with the dawning realisation that they are going to be the prey in a human hunt. Pursued by a group of elite liberals, the only advantage is their hunter’s underestimation of their capability under pressure.

I honestly was not expecting much from this film, as the human hunting genre is predictable and done to death, but The Hunt was a pleasant surprise.

Darkly funny, political satire, the film takes aim at the spectrum of politics and conspiracy theorists and the damage that internet rumours and cancel culture can cause. Parody without farce, this is an equal opportunity roast. The star-studded cast is absolutely stellar, with Betty Gilpin’s tour de force as Crystal serving you everything you want from your final girl and more.

This is an excellent horror for the modern age, taking swipe at the nuances of the political zeitgeist with humour and plenty of gore. A Battle Royale of bastards, that makes brave observations of the current climate, with a sardonic smile, it is highly entertaining, without becoming ridiculous. If you watch one film this year to distract from the final season of earth and its shark jumping craziness, make it THIS.

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Summer of ’84 (2018

Well, another day, another person of colour brutally murdered by the police in the US.  I don’t say that lightly, I say it with disgust and disappointment at the so-called American justice system.

It took widespread riots, international outcry, and more bloodshed for the police to even arrest the perpetrators. If you have seen this horrific video, then you will have seen the police officer proudly staring into the camera, while squeezing the life from George Floyd with his knee. He was enjoying it. This person is part of an institution that is supposed to protect and serve the community, and like the epidemic of these psychopaths wielding badges; abused that power.

Charged with third degree murder, for murdering a man whose crime was allegedly using a fake $20 note. To say this is a pathetic attempt at giving justice for George Floyd’s family is a cruel joke. It is a cynical attempt to calm the unrest in the community, that is too little and far too late.

The most shocking aspect of this tragedy, is not the fact that Derek Chauvin has a history of murdering people of colour on the job, and a long list of police brutality accusations; no, it’s the fact that Chauvin KNEW George Floyd and had worked with him as a bouncer. I am no legal eagle, but I’m pretty sure that fact alone, proves premeditation and intent.

Eight to ten percent of male homicides in America are committed by a police officer. That is a shocking statistic, but sadly does not surprise me. It sickens me.

African Americans are five times more likely to be incarcerated than whites, and the disparity between the sentences that people of colour receive for similar crimes committed by Caucasian offenders is stark.

What is it about law enforcement that attracts and produces so many racists and murderers? What is it about the ‘thin blue line’ bullshit that makes them swarm around to protect the very worst of them, to spit in the face of morality? When you start the argument of ‘Not all cops’, you fall at the first hurdle. Because a good person would not stand by while their co-worker is abusing their power, targeting people based on race, and committing crimes in uniform. That makes you just as guilty in my eyes. The police should be held to a higher standard because they carry weapons that cause death, and if you can’t trust someone not to protect and serve the entire community, you cannot trust them.

It is not surprising that an organisation that has origins in the slave trade, using the creation of racially targeted laws, like Jim Crow, to control their unpaid labour, segregate them from the general Populus, disenfranchise and negate any progress that the African American community may achieve in their endeavours. The fish rots from the head, and the police in the United States are rotten from the top down. If you honestly believe that all people are equal, and consider yourself to be a good person, then you have to tear it all down and rebuild the trust that has eroded through violence and death, and begin with culpability and acknowledgement of all that has led to this.

If you put your trust in a police officer, you are placing your life in their hands, and with the current track record, you’d be a fool to let a uniform cloud your judgement.

Summer of ’84 is just the sort of film that can distract you from the satirical dystopian nightmare that currently resembles our normality.

A group of kids suspect that their friendly neighbourhood police officer is a child killer, and spend their summer trying to obtain evidence of his crimes. Everyone else treats the community cop as a hero, so it is going to be dangerous and difficult to convince the adults otherwise.

This film is a shiny gem in a world of grey, serious horror. It is the Goonies, mashed up with Stranger Things, Rear Window and Lady in White. It’s easy to dismiss kid centred horror films as cutesy coming of age movies, but Summer of ’84 may just change your mind.

Filled with 80’s nostalgia and references, with an excellent cast of young actors, it has a stellar soundtrack, and is cinematically slick, giving you a well-paced, nostalgic thriller with an excellent ending. Genuinely creepy moments, and a tongue in cheek, kitsch approach, this is definitely going in my classics list.

I really hope there is going to be a sequel as we need more fun in horror, and Summer of ’84 gives that burst of energy that has been lacking lately.

The moral of the story is don’t give your trust in someone because they flash a shiny badge, put your trust in someone when they earn it.

If you would like to help with bail and support for the protesters in the USA please donate here https://www.blackvisionsmn.org/

Posted in child murder, critique, fiction, horror, murder, opinion, psychological horror, psychotic killer, rant, thriller, Twist ending, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Retreat (2011)

Bonjour friends, it’s been a minute I know, but the ‘Rona makes mere mortals of us all, unfortunately. I hope you are all safe, and well, and most of all, being sensible; not acting like those idiots in a zombie film that put everyone else at risk!

Let us talk about the pandemic shaped elephant in the room, shall we?

I feel like if this was an episode of the Twilight Zone it would be a cautionary tale of how something like us, does not, in fact, level the playing field, but rather highlights ( in huge neon lights) the stark difference between rich and poor, and the monstrous failures of capitalism.

There is a big difference between someone who is in isolation and lockdown in a large home with a spacious garden, to a single mother on Universal Credit with three kids, stuck in a high rise council flat, who has to use lifts and stairs that a hundred other families are using. There are elderly, vulnerable and disabled, who have no way to do their shopping without help, who live too far from a well-stocked shop, because people who have more means are panic buying essential items and leaving crumbs for those who really need it.

Money gets you healthcare when people who are dying are too scared to go to a hospital, because they are terrified of the financial consequences of asking for treatment.

Worse still, there are those who are not legal citizens who fear the repercussions of medical help, which could lead to deportations, or being sent to the internment camps/detention centres of fascist governments.

There is also a feeling of powerlessness, knowing that the people in charge are acting like they auditioning for a remake of  Keystone Cops, and being damn sure that we aren’t being told the full story; and the real implications that the aftermath of this situation will have on society as a whole.

For instance, the UK media has been reporting on the total mortality rate, has only been counting hospital deaths, and until the last few days the figures have not included those in care homes and the community in general.

There are even accusations of coroners being pressured into declaring suspected Covid 19 deaths as pneumonia or the flu.

The Conservative Government have ignored offers of UK companies to supply ventilators and other PPE stock to fix the desperate shortages, and have instead given out huge contracts to the likes of Dyson and their other Tory donor cronies, who so far have provided nothing but a smile when they took the bung.

Our companies are actually exporting PPE stock to other countries because our Government is blocking them from supplying lifesaving equipment to our NHS workers, who are working themselves to the bone, and putting their own lives on the line to give critical care to others.

I have friends and family in the NHS and the care industry who are working without proper equipment and protections, while people who voted in this shower of shite, who have systematically dismantled our health service; make empty gestures of clapping for our key workers every Thursday night.

Our society must ask the difficult questions and hold the ruling class to account. Everyone deserves the right to life, and if the Coronavirus has taught us anything, it’s that the lowest paid workers are the ones who keep civilisation functioning. It is the nurses, bin men, cleaners, retail workers and farmers that the likes of Bojo, Trump and all their capitalist ilk would not survive without.

You are kept in the dark to keep you scared and docile, because once we all open our eyes to who is really in charge, they will not have anything to bargain with.

Retreat is the story of a grief-stricken couple, with a relationship at breaking point, who go to a remote island retreat to work through their issues. They are interrupted when a young stranger in military garb washes ashore, with news of a viral outbreak sweeping through Europe, and he has a gun.

Honestly, this is one of the most underrated films out there. Cillian Murphy, Thandie Newton and Jamie Bell are incredible leads. Retreat plays out like a quite storm; intense, slow, and moody, with a crescendo of an ending, that I really enjoyed.

Surprisingly apt for these strange days, this film relies on strong characters and dialogue to carry you through, and it works. It is a taut, indie, thriller that scratches that conspiracy theorist itch in me, and grips you until the end credits.

Make time for this in your lockdown binge watch and you will not be disappointed. If nothing else, it will convince you to #StayHome

Posted in brit horror, British Horror, critique, fiction, film and media, horror, opinion, psychological horror, psychotic killer, rant, thriller, Twist ending, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Belzebuth (2017)

I hear a lot of Americans, especially in the current political climate, say that they are ‘’a nation of immigrants’’, which is a rather rosy view of their history.

The ancestors of white Americans invaded and colonised the land of the First Nation people, slaughtering their tribes, introducing diseases like syphilis, cholera, small pox and typhoid, and then tried to Christianise their children by forcibly removing them and placing them in Church run schools.

The ancestors of African Americans are not ‘’immigrants’’ either; they were kidnapped, ripped from their own homes and sold as chattel. They were slaves, treated no better than animals. They were raped, beaten, tortured, and had no legal status. Mexicans, Cubans, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Iranian, Pakistani, African and any other people of colour that are being maligned and persecuted by the mentally unstable current president and his followers built the USA from the ground up – whether they wanted to or not.

You don’t get to make a fairy-tale of ‘the American dream’, especially when these so called ‘Dreamers’ are being deported, placed in concentration camps and sexually/physically abused, denied medical attention, and their children are being placed in foster care in unknown places.

All these apparently Christian bigots worship a man of Middle Eastern descent, but if he was to walk up to them in the street today, they would racially abuse him and probably call ICE on the poor Messiah. The hypocrisy of modern America is astounding. I saw people posting on social media about Holocaust Memorial Day, who are literally crowing about the babies in ‘’detention centres’’every other day of the year, without any hint of irony. You can not say never forget, when you clearly have done just that.

The reason why we are taught history, is so that we may learn from the mistakes of those who went before us. We are all just people, and there are good and bad among us all, no matter what race, religion or land we hail from, but judging someone on any of that, makes you one of the bad guys.

Just because you occupy a land does not mean you own it.

Belzebuth is about a detective on the Mexican/American border who, after suffering a terrible family tragedy, is tasked with investigating a series of massacres that seem to have a supernatural element to them. With the help of an American with an interest in the paranormal and an excommunicated priest, they find that the very fate of the world is in their hands.

Part subtitled, part English, Belzebuth is not your average religious horror film. The always fantastic Tobin Bell, is suitably creepy as the fallen Jesuit priest, and Joaquín Cosio is an excellent lead as the grizzled atheist detective and carried a lot of the film for me.

Although it has some genuinely creepy moments, and has an interesting take on the genre, it doesn’t bring anything new and there were some silly CGI choices that bordered on the ridiculous for me.

That being said, I liked the political subtext alluding to the divided countries,  the acknowledgement of the corrupt nature of the Mexican police and the fact that they are fighting a losing battle against the Narcos; but although starting a dialogue about faith and it’s many faces, it doesn’t quite realise it’s potential to tackle a lot of the issues it raises.

Belzebuth is a fun film though, creepy in places, cheesy in others, but definitely worth a watch if you like your horror with a religious twist.

 

 

 

Posted in child murder, critique, Exorcism, fiction, film and media, God, horror, murder, opinion, pop culture, rant, Religious horror, supernatural horror, thriller | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Piper (2015)

I’ve tried hard not to write about Brexit, but it’s hard to ignore a tornado that is gaining speed by the day and trying to destroy everything in its path. The Pied Pipers of this once United Kingdom, sewed seeds of division, and mistrust; the Have’s convincing the have Not’s that immigrants and foreign powers are to blame for the state of the UK economy, and why things are lacking in their lives. It obviously has nothing to do with tax evasion, racism and billionaires short betting on the Sterling tanking.

Rupert Murdoch once was quoted as saying ‘When I go into Downing Street they do what I say; when I go to Brussels they take no notice.’” Murdoch has since denied the comment, but I think we can all agree that Murdoch and his media empire have done everything in their considerable power to ensure that Brexit is the most divisive and toxic thing to happen to the UK since Thatcher was alive (may she rot in hell). The lies and half truths that his media peddle out daily are at the very least poor journalism, but most of it is racist, xenophobic, vile propaganda, and completely intended.

It feels like Brexit has emboldened fascists and closeted racists to openly air their abhorrent  views, and racist attacks have skyrocketed in the UK since the so-called ‘’People’s Vote’’, with 71% of BAME UK citizens now reporting racial discrimination, while before the 2016 vote it was 58% – still far too high, as NO ONE should be subjected to discriminatory behaviour in any form, but it is clear that the Brexit debacle has clearly exacerbated the situation. Coupled with the slashing of police numbers and public services by the Tory government, there is a very real danger to EU and BAME people in this country. You just have to look at the vile rhetoric being spouted by people on social media, who feel that they are free to share offensive statements and memes about people on the basis of skin colour or country of origin, to see that those behind Brexit have created a maelstrom of animosity, that simply wasn’t there before to this extent.

The Pied Piper is not the villain in the original story, though. It is the villagers of the town who use him for his services, and renege on their part of the deal – much like the puppeteers behind the Vote Leave campaign; therefore making the politicians and spin doctors of Brexit both the villagers who have no intention of delivering on their promise and the Pied Piper who leads the children to their deaths.

The Piper is a Korean horror reimagining of the original German folk tale, popularised by the Brothers Grimm; about a mysterious man who saves a mysterious village from a plague of rats, and when the villagers refuse to pay him, lures the children into a cave, never to be seen again.

This is a beautiful and haunting retelling of the story, about a village in the aftermath of the civil war. Slow burning and visually stunning, The Piper is a work of art. Poignant and extremely gruesome, it takes you down a path the viewer is loath to follow, but can’t walk away from.  The payoff is stunning and even the use of CGI rats couldn’t detract from the poetry of this film.  The revenge scenes are subtly brutal, and not for the squeamish. Evocative with a mesmerising soundtrack of flute music, this is a twisted supernatural drama that truly delivers on both horror and drama.

In a world of Trump, #FakeNews, Brexit and the Conservative propagandists spinning falsehoods and promising the world, while manifesting the equivalent of the Emperor’s New Clothes; it feels apt to see a victim of such false promises exact a fitting revenge.

Just saying …

Posted in Animal attack, child murder, fiction, film and media, horror, murder, opinion, pop culture, revenge, supernatural horror, torture, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ginger Snaps (2000)

Body Autonomy is the hot button topic of the minute. Women’s Rights are being rolled back to the fifties with no signs of slowing down, and, as always, religion is at the centre of the mess.

Religion is only a symptom of the real issue though, because let’s be honest it has always been about misogyny and the fact that old, white, cis men, do not want women to have control over their own sexuality. It comes down to ownership and the idea that a woman is an object, who exists solely for a man’s pleasure, and to carry on his lineage. We are chattel to these people, there to be used and abused, to be silent, and obey their will.

This isn’t a new idea, it’s as old as time; and why religion dominates the arguments for abortion rights, marriage equality and body autonomy – religion is their weapon, citing ‘’God’s Will’’ as their main reason for their sexist ideals, and their refusal to allow our personal freedoms to be equal to their own.

The second a girl begins to come into her own sexuality she is gender taxed. From the scandalous prices of sanitary products, to the price of gendered razors and deodorant, women are discriminated against for compulsory toiletries that their male counterparts get cheaper. Couple that with the gender pay gap, and women are financially worse off through no fault of their own, simply because they are born feminine. The ‘’Pink Tax’’, as it is known, begins at birth, as even nappies, clothes and toys in what are considered traditionally cis girl colours and styles, are considerably more expensive than the male versions, making it more expensive to parent a girl than a boy, from day one.

Capitalism thrives off discrimination – you only have to look at all of the cynically targeted marketing and appropriation of the LBGTQ community, with its corporate sponsorship of Pride, and rainbow product placement, such as Starbucks and their rainbow aprons, Pride cups, and #NoFilter campaign, or the arguably quite offensive (at the very least, off colour) Dr Pepper advert ‘’Top, Bottom, Vers’’.

It’s not about supporting good causes; it’s about harnessing the spending power of what these capitalist fat cats consider ‘’unknown quantities’’. They don’t understand the outrage, and what movements like Feminism, Pride or Black Lives Matter are really about, so they take buzzwords and designs from those movements and turn them into products, so that liberals can feel like they are supporting a cause, when really they are just lining the pockets of these organisations.

Now I have a love/hate relationship with the werewolf genre. When it’s done well, it is a beautiful thing, but the fact is that ninety per cent of the time it is just hackneyed and painful to watch. The werewolf genre is about sexuality and disability, and in this case, is a perfect metaphor for menstruation and the transformation from adolescence into womanhood.

Ginger Snaps is a cult favourite and it isn’t hard to see why. Following the story of the outcast Fitzgerald sisters, who must navigate the metamorphosis of puberty, sexuality, and what happens when you are bitten by a werewolf. It’s about sexuality, and the complicated bond of familial love versus the desire for independence.

Katherine Isabelle and Emily Perkins are totally mesmerising as the morbid sisters, and really carry this offbeat gem. It’s quirky, darkly funny, and very underrated. It’s not your average teen horror, and has an offbeat charm, and witty dialogue, perfectly delivered by the cast.

Independent films always seem to be more adept at creating an atmospheric horror that can seep into your subconscious and give you the genuine chills. Pitting a pure familial bond against the survival instinct, Ginger Snaps delivers on gore, snark and originality. The first, and best of the trilogy, by far. Subversive and clever, with outstanding FX, it turns the lycanthrope trope on its head.

It’s an essential watch for the feminist horror fan; unapologetically bucking the norm of the male dominated werewolf genre, with a creature feature for the modern age. A doomed (platonic) love, a monstrous coming of age, that is both beautiful and terrifying. It’s about taking back your power, embracing your own darkness, and being forced to accept the limitations of your own physicality. It’s raw, imperfect and a bloody good watch. If you were ever an outcast and a loser, then you’ll relate to this morbid, sarcastic tale of gore, and victim turned vixen.

This is one of my go to films for the past nineteen years, that I’ve watched again and again, and never fails to entertain me. Like a fine wine, time has not diminished this indie gem, with age.

Posted in 00's horror, Animal attack, Animal horror, Body Shock, creature feature, critique, feminist horror, fiction, film and media, murder, opinion, pop culture, Twist ending, Uncategorized, werewolf horror | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Cargo (2019)

The most fun thing about the zombie genre for me was always the fact that it was a dystopian version of our society, where the most caricatured versions of our humanity become the protagonists and survival depends on not caving into greed and selfishness. Unfortunately, fiction isn’t as entertaining when you see such stark evidence of dystopia in reality these days, such as White Supremacists in the White House, climate change, human rights being stripped away and the rise of propagandist media online, make the leap to apocalypse not quite so far at all.

On the 15th April, Notre Dame caught on fire, and the world watched on aghast, as such a culturally significant site, falling victim to such a devastating power. Immediately, billionaires and world leaders such as Donald Trump and Theresa May, pledged money to help, and there was even an online fund to donate to, and within twenty-four hours a staggering £1 billion in donations had been raised.

Cool, right?

There’s a lot of things wrong with this in my eyes, and I’m sure a lot of other people’s, though. For starters, the fact that on the same night a fire broke out in Islam’s third holiest mosque, which is over 2000 years old, and the world’s media was silent. There were no huge fundraisers or billionaire pledges for Solomon’s Stables and that is so sad.

There is absolutely no need for billion dollar fund raising campaigns for Notre Dame, as the catholic church is worth an estimated $15 billion worldwide, and although the Parisian landmark is technically owned by the French government and it’s upkeep the Ministry of Culture’s responsibility; a 1905 ruling stated the church should be used ‘solely for the Roman Catholic rite’, so the Vatican should definitely bear some of the financial burden of it’s restoration. After all, they save so much money by not paying their child abuse victims …

It is also galling that Theresa May and Donald Trump are pledging money, since the people of Grenfell have not been rehomed or given proper compensation (despite millions being raised for the victims), and Flint, Michigan still doesn’t have clean drinking water. But, yeah, sure, rebuilding a foreign landmark takes precedence over actual human life.

Private billionaires have proved with this that they have the resources to solve a great deal of the world’s problem’s without even making a dent in their wealth. For an idea of just how rich an actual billionaire is, sixty seconds equals one minute, while one billion seconds equals just over thirty-one years.

The stark contrast of the widely publicised protests of the gilets jaunes, and the hypocrisy of the tax deductible donations for the same landmarks the rich balked at being taxed for, moving their wealth to tax havens, and applying for residencies in other regions to avoid paying back into their own healthcare, government facilities, public services, and amenities that they freely take advantage of.

The hypocrisy of capitalism will be its downfall, and the corporate branding of social issues and events like Notre Dame to advance their public profile, while ignoring real issues, like starvation, poverty, war and the ever growing gap between the haves and have nots is a true dystopian reality, that is worthy of any horror film.

Zombies as a metaphor for the collective delusion and herd like mentality of the capitalist model, and the mindless consumerism it promotes are the reason why these kinds of irredeemable, unsavable, monsters become much more popular in these austere times.

Based on a 2013 short of the same name, Cargo is the story of a father desperate to find safety for his family before the clock runs down. Guided by Thoomi, a young and fierce Aboriginal girl, they find themselves in a race against the inevitable as they navigate their way through the unforgiving landscape to journey’s end.

Cargo is film that isn’t getting much noise but deserves a lot more recognition, a zombie flick that never uses the ‘z’ word, and that feels fresh and interesting in a sea of same old, same old. Bleak and intense, the film makers have cleverly used the undead very sparingly throughout, focusing more on the relationships and human side of the threat of losing your loved ones.

Also, serving as a beautiful allegory about the disconnection of white Australia from the land, with the  zombies draw parallels with our technology obsessed, media saturated society, while masterfully inverting the white saviour trope, Cargo is a modern day fable about racism, capitalism, and the ‘us vs them’ mentality prevailing when it comes to the indigenous people of so called ‘civilised’ societies.

Posted in australian horror, Bush Horror, critique, fiction, film and media, horror, murder, opinion, outback horror, Ozzy Horror, pop culture, survival horror, zombies | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cherry Falls (2000)

Apologies for the long break from posting in the past few months, kids,  due to ill health, it has not been possible; but fortunately, my health bar is being gradually restored and normal service can be resumed

Now the term ‘’incel’’ is a delightful addition to the modern lexicon, and we hear it bandied about quite a bit in the current media, but what does it mean? You ask.

Incel is an abbreviation of the term ‘’involuntary celibate’’ and is defined by a group of men denied sex and relationships by women who have the audacity to choose not to consider them as sexual partners. Men who identify as such  often use extremely misogynistic language, encouraging rape and sexual violence as a way of taking from women what they feel they are owed. Racism is another characteristic of the incel, and they have sometimes been described as a branch of the white supremacist community. They consider feminism and the women’s rights movement in general to be the main enemy of their sexual frustration, and often rage about how their governments should be providing them with prostitutes as a right.

Now, you could write off the incel community as creepy, pathetic wannabe rapists who just need to be ignored or ridiculed, but they should not be underestimated.  Mass shootings, and a rise of violence against women have both been attributed to the movement over recent years, notably, Elliot Rodger’s gun rampage on University of California, Santa Barbara, campus, where he left a 137 page manifesto, and numerous YouTube videos, blaming women and their rejection of him for his violent actions; also Alek Minassian, a van driver who mowed down 24 people, killing 10, in Ontario, Canada, announcing on Facebook beforehand that the ‘’Incel rebellion had begun’’.

Murderers like this are lauded by their online communities, where they refer to  pretty girls who reject them and the handsome men these women choose to have relationships as ‘’Chads and Stacys’’, ‘’Beckys’’ are the women they consider less attractive but yet still (mysteriously) do not consider them for sexual partners, and wax lyrical about a ‘’Beta Uprising’’ which will be the violent response to their perceived treatment by society.

Make no mistake, Incels are not to dismissed as men with poor social skills whining about the fact they can’t get laid. They are extremists, and dangerous extremists at that. The white, male, misogynist is a bigger terrorist threat in the West than any other extremist group, and internet communities and subreddits, allow them to embolden or incite each other and celebrate their violent fantasies, which paves the way to implement them in the real world, and pose a very real threat to any women in their lives.

The slasher film is a perfect allegory for the incel, the relentless, often violent pursuit of women, usually using a large phallic object like a knife or machete and based on a deep seated hatred for everything they represent.

Cherry Falls is about a serial killer that stalks the virgins of a small town, forcing the teenagers at the local high school to organise a mass orgy in order to take themselves off the killer’s hit list.

A teen slasher that followed in the footsteps of the overwhelming success of Scream, Urban Legend, and I Know What You Did Last Summer;  it has that glossy, tongue in cheek, chewing gum horror feel that is both terrible and fun.

From the puntastic title, to the silly, salacious humour of the whole NO SEX=DEATH story line, it feels a bit Benny Hill at times, and without the always wonderful Brittany Murphy, I don’t think it would have been half as watchable. There has always been the horror cliché that ‘’sluts get cut’’, and the more promiscuous a character is, then the more horrific their death will be; but I enjoyed the idea of the subversion of the trope, despite not being perfectly executed.

While not being the greatest example of the late nineties/early noughties horror revival, it has a certain camp charm, that makes an entertaining watch if you don’t take it too seriously, but coming from Geoffrey Wright, who directed the excellent Romper Stomper, I would have expected a certain intensity and a more brutal payoff. The twist ending however, is a great one, and something that is reminiscent of those eighties greats like Prom Night or Sleepaway Camp, which in my mind is definitely a tick in the ‘watch it’ box.

However, Cherry Falls is one that fails in a lot of ways, from the stagnant acting to the killings mostly taking place off screen, but if you’re willing to forgive a plot that flogs a dead horse for way too long and doesn’t quite hit the gore spot; it is worth a one-time watch, if only for Murphy’s captivating screen presence.

My verdict is that it is a great idea for a teen horror that just doesn’t quite work on delivery. Rather than being slick, it ends up being cheesy and a little stale.

Posted in 00's horror, critique, fiction, film and media, horror, mental illness, murder, Noughties horror, opinion, pop culture, psychotic killer, rape, rape and revenge, Slasher, thriller, Twist ending | Leave a comment

Unsane (2018)

The rise of the #MeToo movement has unearthed some of the darkest secrets of the entertainment industry over the past few years. From Weinstein to Kevin Spacey, victims of sexual assault are becoming empowered and feel like they are being given a voice. Unfortunately, it is not enough for the abused to speak up, especially when those in power are closing ranks and protecting the abusers. Kevin Spacey is still on the big screen, Bill Cosby is not behind bars, and accusers are still being treated like they are attention seekers looking for their fifteen minutes of fame or a quick payday. Let us not forget, that Bill Cosby’s accusers were only taken seriously after a MAN (Hannibal Buress) started speaking up for them in his stand up act.

Let’s be clear, no one has ever benefited from being raped or groped. Women lose work, lose friends, lose self-esteem, and sometimes lose a part of themselves. This is speaking from personal experience – from being groped, being flashed, to a group of men trying to drag me into a car when I was sixteen, I am not a special case. Every woman, and a few men I know have been victims of sexual violence or harassment, and none of us asked for it.

This week Louis CK, admitted sexual predator and comedian, did a surprise set at the Comedy Cellar club in New York. Now, it’s been around a year since the allegations about his sexual misconduct broke, and him turning up out of the blue, is problematic for several reasons. The main one being he has never really apologised for his actions, and the fact that his accusers have struggled to find work since speaking out against him. If this man has a stage, his victims do not, and the fact that he used this comeback to make a rape joke, shows that he has learned nothing, and has no regard for the feelings of those people he has abused. It is especially troubling that sexual assault allegations don’t ruin men’s lives, they ruin the lives of the women who are brave enough to call them out. And that, sadly, is the reason why so many victims do not come forward and report incidents; because the consequences for the victim can be truly devastating.

The difference between how sexual assault victims vs treatment of perpetrators are treated in society is part of a much bigger problem, as often for the victim, the attack itself is just the beginning of the ordeal. They are forced to prove to society that they are worthy of being taken seriously as a ‘’credible’’ victim, someone who has good standing, does not have drug or alcohol issues, mental health problems, are not sexually promiscuous, or have ties to the sex industry. All these factors make it hard for a judge and jury to believe that the VICTIM (I must reiterate this, because the way these people are treated is that they have done something wrong, instead of being protected and cared for by the system) , is an ‘’upstanding citizen’’ and worthy enough to be believed. The saddest part for me is that being a victim usually causes a lot of these issues, and many choose alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism. Statistically you are more likely to be a victim of sexual assault or rape, if it has already happened to you before; this is because predators can sense vulnerability and hone in on it. You can not blame another person for what an attacker does to them. If a woman walks down the street naked, drunk and covered in glitter, it does not give anyone the right to touch or abuse her. Let me be clear; it is NEVER the victim’s fault.

Steven Soderbergh’s Unsane is the perfect metaphor for the powerlessness of victims of sexual assault. The story of a young girl who is detained in a mental health unit, where she finds herself at the mercy of her stalker (or does she?). The need to be believed, the gaslighting by the people around her and the claustrophobic power her stalker has over her, makes it  an extremely relevant film for the #MeToo generation.

I enjoyed this film, for all its intensity, but admittedly it was a little unrealistic in terms of medical care and procedure. If you suspend your disbelief though, and let yourself be taken for a ride, Unsane is an enjoyable, if somewhat silly film.

The cinematography is not great, as it is shot on an iPhone camera, and unfortunately the film’s best scenes seem to have been all used in the trailers, but it is certainly not the worst film I have seen. Claire Foy’s acting is the most redeeming quality, and she does a fine job of carrying the film to it’s somewhat predictable and disappointing ending.

If you aren’t looking to be wowed, and more of a way to pass the time – Unsane is a good bet for a average night in. You may love it or hate it, but mostly it made me Meh.

C+, so I’m not quite giving it a failing grade, but needs more work to pass muster.

Posted in critique, feminist horror, fiction, horror, mental illness, opinion, pop culture, psychological horror, rant, stream of consciousness, thriller, Twist ending, Uncategorized, women's lib horror | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment