Shocking Saturday: Frenzy

Alfred Hitchcock delivers another cinematic masterpiece with this tale about a man who must clear his name after being framed as a ruthless killer.

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The film follows Richard Ian Blaney, who has just been fired from his job and is down to his last few pennies. Although Mr. Blaney would never hurt anyone, people do think that after having a few drinks down him that could change. A killer has been raping and strangling women all over London and he has become known as the ‘Necktie Murderer’. After this killer does the same thing to Mr. Blaney’s ex-wife and other people in his life the public and the police begin to put him as the prime suspect for the murders. Mr. Blaney must clear his name, and the only way to do that seems to be to find out who the real killer is.

The stand-out performances in the film have to be by the two main stars – Jon Finch and Barry Foster. Finch gives a great take on a man being blamed for crimes which he did not commit, and does well to win over the audience’s trust after he comes across as a violent drunk to begin with. However the best role has to be that of Foster as the sex-crazed killer, in a way he sort of mirrors Alex DeLarge from 1971’s A Clockwork Orange. In the way that he is such a charming and lovable man to the public’s eye, but once he gets with his victims his whole demeanour changes, and the sadistic killer comes out.

You are gripped to the story line not only because you want Mr. Blaney to prove his innocence but also because of the terror on-screen, something which Hitchcock always does well. Along with his famous camera shots – one of which takes the viewer from a front door, down two flights of stairs and out into the street in a single shot – he also gives a small bit of comedy to give the audience some comic relief every now and then. This is shown through the chief Inspector as he attempts to please his wife be eating her horrific tasting foods.

Hitchcock once again makes it clear to his audience why he has been called the ‘Master of Suspense’ with this film. Although not as suspenseful as Psycho (1960) which had us clutching our pillows at the terror of the psychotic Norman Bates, there is one scene is particular in Frenzy which screams classic Hitchcock though. As the killer has left his victim in her office it is only a matter of time before the receptionist returns to find her boss’s body. All we are given on the screen is a shot of outside the building, we see the receptionist enter but the camera stays in the same place. Not moving, just waiting – along with the audience – for her to discover the corpse and let out that blood-curdling scream. So simple, yet so effective.

Hitchcock’s films tend to generally be associated with thrillers, however many of them have classic horror aspects to them. One which is clear in Frenzy is the name which he gives to the killer. Most great horror films are remembered for the antagonist which they present, and by having a memorable name for the villain makes people remember them more. Hitchcock’s Necktie Murderer is a great example of this. Long after you have watched the film if there is one thing you recall from it, it will be that name.

Although Hitchcock claimed that Marnie (1964) was his final masterpiece, Frenzy is proof that the world-famous director had many more great pictures to offer his audience.

Tag Line: A Deadly New Twist From The Original Hitchcock.

Horror Rating: (:-O) (:-O)

Star Rating:

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The Enjoyment Of A YouTuber

Technology has never been my strong suit, and when it comes to the internet; I am probably the least internet-savvy person out of my friends. The point I am trying to get across is that I am still finding out new things about the world-wide-web, which many other people have known for a couple of years. One of which is YouTubers.

I have only recently realised that you could make a living out of it, and, I know a lot of people probably say the same, but the first YouTuber I saw was Pewdiepie (Felix Kjellberg). The world-famous Swedish internet personality has gained fame because of his warming welcome and hilarious personality. However what it was about him which first got me watching was his attitude towards horror games. Although he jumps at the slightest things, he has not let that stop him playing through games which would make Schwarzenegger crawl in to a ball.

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The way he acts does remind me a lot of myself as I am the worst for jump scares, literally a penny could drop and I’ll jump for the ceiling (it’s weird that I love horror right). Even horror games which aren’t made to have that scary of an atmosphere. I can’t remember the number of times I’ve been creeping around a corner on Left 4 Dead and have laid several bricks due to a Hunter pouncing on my face; the instant reaction is: jumping, screaming and then yelling “Zoe get off your bloody arse and kill some zombies.”

Through Pewdiepie I have found out about new and exciting horror games, whether he’s playing through the incredible game series’ such as: Amnesia: The Dark Descent, The Walking Dead, Outlast and Lucious, which offer scares but also great character development. Or if he’s playing short indie games such as: Slender, Erie, 7 Days and I See You, whose sole purpose is to make you turn from a man into a mouse in a matter of seconds. They are all enjoyable to watch, mainly because I think most of his viewers see themselves in his place; it feels as though you are playing the game too, but you have the relaxation of realising that you’re not.

I think that feeling of experiencing a game together, makes him seem closer to his fans. It is an overwhelming feeling when both you and ‘Pewds’ jump out of your skin at the same time, and what adds more to it is the laughter which is created after you see his over-the-top reactions.

Whatever the future holds for Pewdiepie, if he keeps making them…then I’ll keep watching them.

Favourite Pewdiepie indie horror games:

Slender

Pesadelo O Inicio

im scared

One Late Night

SCP: Containment Breach

Shocking Saturday: Antiviral

Antiviral really opens your eyes to show you how far people will go to be close to their beloved celebrities, with a secondary story happening throughout.

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The Brandon Cronenberg – son of David Cronenberg – directed film takes us on a journey from the point of view of protagonist Syd March, who works at an organization called Lucas Clinic; which harvests diseases from famous celebrities and sells them to desperate members of the public. The company sends people out to celebrities and obtain their infection, then inject their customers who pay a handsome price for it. March has stolen a machine from his work which changes the structure of the diseases and makes them not infectious to other people, only the voluntary host; also he has been injecting himself with some of the illnesses at work to harvest them and sell them to a third-party. His company’s most popular contributor, Hannah Geist, falls ill from an unknown disease and is then pronounced dead. But March, with the help of Dr. Abendroth played by the talented Malcolm McDowell, uncovers that her death may have been someone else’s fault. Syd is presented with the opportunity to infect himself with this disease before he realises it’s fatal, which means he must track down the culprit to cure himself and save his own life.

Although the official plot is that March is stealing diseases from his work and has now been infected with a killer infection, Antiviral also paints a picture of a future where people’s celebrity lusts have become ridiculous, and they will do anything to make themselves feel closer; whether that’s injecting the herpes virus in to their face or even buying meat to eat which has been grown from the cells of the celebrities. Like with the 2006 film Children Of Men, Antiviral came across to me as a future which could become all too real very soon.

Caleb Landry Jones gives an amazing performance as the violently diseased Syd March, and keeps the audience grasped as both you and him attempt to figure out what is going on with Hannah Geist’s death. Just like I said when reviewing Bug with Michael Shannon, here is another actor who I have witnessed casually go up in terms of roles in films throughout the years. First seeing Jones in a small role in the rather terrible The Last Exorcism, I then saw his on-screen appearance grow in 2011s X-Men: First Class as Banshee. But here he flourishes in his leading role which, along with the background story, is what makes this film so great.

Another effective aspect the film uses is a primarily white colour palette throughout, possibly to showcase its clinical story line. It could also be to accentuate the red of the blood which comes from March as he falls deeper into the illness. This is something which is portrayed expertly by Caleb Landry Jones, he shows the spiralling downfall his of health as he begins bleeds from his mouth and starts to drift in and out of consciousness; he definitely made me never want to catch whatever it was he had.

Not exactly a horror film, but quite shocking nonetheless.

Tag Line: What If You Could Feel Like They Do…

Horror Rating: (:-O) (:-O) (:-O) (:-O)

Star Rating:

The Goosebumps Books

You know how every now and then you will be sat just lounging around and then BAM, something will remind you of that which you used to love as a child; and it is such a great feeling when you experience these things again. Well this happened to me the other day, and it got me thinking about the other things which I enjoyed whilst I was growing up: the Indiana Jones trilogy, Robot Wars and Super Mario Bros to name a few. I then began to think about what really got me in to the horror genre, although talking with my uncle (he is a blooming horror nut) is the main reason I am obsessed with it, I think where it actually started is when I began to read the Goosebumps books.

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The Goosebumps book series, along with the Mr. Meddle books by Enid Blyton, was the first book series I actually read by myself. For those of you not familiar with the books, they were a series of different horror stories which were aimed at children and young teens. The original series spanned for 62 books and were written by American author R. L. Stine, who is often referred to as the ‘Stephen King of children’s literature.

The Goosebumps books were that point between children’s books and young adults ‘point horror’ novels. What was great about them was that they offered chilling stories which, when you’re a child, sent shivers up your spine, but weren’t too scary as to keep you up hiding under your bed covers until the early morning. In the short stories that generally stayed under 150 pages, we were introduced to imaginative characters which would create new nightmares for our imagination. However ‘Stine’ would also sometimes use famous horror icons such as mummies, werewolves and vampires and add a new twist to their stories.

Although the stories were the main enjoyable part about the books, what also intrigued me was the cover artwork. Along with the colourful bubbling goo which bordered around the edges, we were also treated to a centred picture which depicted what was to be expected in the novel. They were so creative, but also creepy, and along with the Goosebumps tag-line – ‘Reader, beware, you’re in for a scare!’ – it made you enjoy the books before you had even started reading them.

Here is a list of my top 5 favourite Goosebumps books from the original series:

Welcome To Dead House

The first book in the series kicked it off well, after the Benson family moves to their new house in Dark Falls strange things begin to happen, such as children appearing and disappearing throughout the house. Then the town appears to be the living dead and try to attack family. It eventually becomes apparent that the house needs new blood each year, and this year it’s the Benson’s turn. Once they realise this they must escape the house before they become part of the horrible tradition.

Tag Line: It Will Just Kill You.

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Stay Out Of The Basement

Casey and Margaret have always been curious about what their father gets up to whilst he is in the basement, apparently doing his work. So when their mother goes away and their father is out they decide to go down and have a look, and find out something quite shocking. Not only does there appear to be living and breathing plants down there, but their father also seems to be turning into one.

Tag Line: Something’s Waiting In The Dark…

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Say Cheese And Die!

This story was so enjoyable because it was so original. Four friends decide to go and check out an old spooky house and upon doing so find a camera that appears to only take pictures of people in accidents or in pain. Brushing this off, the kids still take more photos and find out that they really should have left the camera in the house as the ones they love begin to get hurt.

Tag Line: A Picture Worth A Thousand Screams

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The Girl Who Cried Monster

This is one of the first books which I had to actually stop reading because I got too scared. It is a sort of ‘boy cried wolf’ type story for the horror genre. Lucy Dark is always telling her little brother scary stories about monsters to try to frighten him, and gets a kick of his screams. But when she stays late in the library one night and witnesses the librarian doing something unspeakable she realises that her stories are all too real. However because of her story telling ways she has a hard time trying to convince people of what she saw.

Tag Line: She’s Got The Monster Of All Problems.

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The Blob That Ate Everyone

This was one of favourite stories in the Goosebumps series, mainly because I loved the cover art. Zackie is an aspiring horror writing, and after he comes across a free typewriter (and a pen) he feels that he has to write a new story with it. However the story he writes consists of a blob which devours everything in its path, and unbeknown to him, whatever he writes on the typewriter comes true.

Tag Line: He’s No Picky Eater!

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The Goosebumps series evolved into various spin-offs such as: Tales to Give You Goosebumps, which consisted of numerous stories in a single book, Goosebumps Series 2000, Goosebumps HorrorLand and Give Yourself Goosebumps in which you decide how the story will play out yourself. Due to its popularity some of the stories were turned in to a TV series in 1995, which ran until 1998. It brought the fear of the books to life, and although some were adapted quite terribly, there were a few which were very enjoyable, an example is the adaptation of The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, which was quite chilling.

Did you enjoy the Goosebumps books series, what were your favourites? Leave a comment and let me know.

Shocking Saturday: A Clockwork Orange

For this weeks Shocking Saturday I re-watched a film which is a classic in cinema, although not actually a horror film but a psychological thriller, it is rather shocking nonetheless. I am talking about the 1971 Stanley Kubrick directed ‘A Clockwork Orange’, which first caused controversy on its release, due to the main character being obsessed with ultra-violence, rape and Beethoven; but is now seen as a work of art.

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Being one of my favourite films, I was bound to review it at some point. I’m not even sure where to begin, for fans of the 1962 ‘Anthony Burgess’ novel of the same name, I’m sure you would agree that ‘Kubrick’s’ film does the book justice. Even though the film ends a chapter short of the book.

As soon as that first shot comes in and ‘Alex DeLarge’s’ charming British voice begins to narrate, the audience are in for a ride, what is to come will have you questioning what it was that you just saw. We are taken through a typical night for ‘Alex’ and his ‘Droogs’, as they beat up a drunk, homeless man and then proceed to sexually assault a woman in her home. After his gang members decide that they don’t want him as their leader any more, they create a plan to have him arrested and sent to prison. Whilst inside ‘Alex’ does his best to suck-up to the prison priest, in order for him to sign him up for a cure which is supposed to get you out of jail early and stop your violent urges – the ‘Ludovico Technique’. But once undergoing the treatment, he realises that it is nothing like he imagined, and the outside world has also changed beyond his belief.

As we are taken through the life of ‘Alex’ we see him commit violent acts with the help of his gang, mainly because it is a different way of life than following what the rest of the public do, in other words he doesn’t want to become a clockwork orange.

Malcolm McDowell plays the role of the ruthless ‘Alex’ flawlessly, starting with making the audience despise him due to that acts which he is committing, coming across as a, although educated, psychopathic teen, and we cower as we see him lure others into his seduction. However, yes he is a killer and who most would call the antagonist, but you just can’t help but notice his charismatic charm, and throughout the second half of the film, the audience are forced in to sympathising with the boy, even though it is clear that he is getting his comeuppance.

It is every aspect which is put in that makes this film excellent, from the imaginative props and setting of the ‘Moloko’ bar; where ‘Alex’ and his ‘Droogs’ hang out before going out for a night of mayhem. To ‘Alex’ being apparently cured in the ‘Ludovico centre’. Everywhere the film is taken, your eyes and ears never get bored, that could possibly be because the dialogue is in an English-influenced Russian slang called ‘Nadsat’, so you are constantly trying to work out what the characters are saying, however you do begin to pick it up as the film goes on.

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One of the best scenes, and the most famous, is that of when ‘Alex’ is strapped to a chair and forced to watch violent videos on a screen during the ‘Ludovico Technique’, even if he wants to close his eyes he can’t due to some clamps which have been applied. So he is forced to sit there and witness the scenes of fighting, rape and concentration camps; all to the score of Beethoven’s – or as he refers to him as ‘Ludwig Van’ – 9th symphony in the background. As we watch and see the effects which the videos are having on him, it is mirrored on to us as we are immersed in to his mind.

The visionary mind of Stanley Kubrick has once again given birth to an incredible psychological film. He has so many great directing credits under his belt – ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, ‘Spartacus’, ‘The Shining’, ‘Full Metal Jacket’ – but for me ‘A Clockwork Orange’ will always be his best.

A truly great film which I believe should be on everyone’s top films list.

Tag Line: Being The Adventures Of A Young Man Whose Principal Interests Are Rape, Ultra-Violence and Beethoven.

Horror Rating: (:-O) (:-O) (:-O) (:-O)

Star Rating:

We Interrupt This Programme…

Special Bulletin!

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones/Paranormal Activity 5

We all know about the ‘Paranormal Activity’ franchise, it started off so well with ‘Paranormal Activity’ in 2007, although not much really happened; the suspense and your own imagination created your worst nightmare in the form of the antagonist. The low-budget, Oren Peli directed flick, mirrored ‘The Blair Witch Project’ in so many ways, and added some originality to horror and launched the found-footage genre back in to the mainstream. So it was a real shame when the creators jumped on the money band wagon and instead of thinking out how they would create sequels to the films, they rushed in to them. Resulting in another two films which more or less just used the same aspects of the first but put them in a different order – although to be fair they do both have their moments, there just weren’t enough of them. The fourth film in series was just terrible, I can safely say the most horror fans would agree that sitting through it was a mission, and the story never amounted to anything. After the fourth you would assume that the franchise would be put to rest, nope here comes a fifth film, this one is called ‘Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones’. Rather than using the story line which carried the first four films, this is a sort of spin-off and instead of an American family, the demon is this time centred around a Latino cast. The creators are staying tight-lipped about the plot at the moment, apart from the main character being marked by the demon cult. However from the trailer it does looks as though they have finally attempted to do something different with the story line.

Estimated Release: 1st January 2014

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It doesn’t stop there though, along with this spin-off, Gregory Plotkin – the editor of all the other instalments – is directing another, so the sixth film in the franchise. It is being called ‘Paranormal Activity 5’, and is going to feature ‘Katie’ – played by Katie Featherson – who has featured in all the previous films. That is all that is known about the sixth film at the moment.

Estimated Release: 24th October 2014

Jeepers Creepers: Cathedral

‘Jeepers Creepers’ has become a favourite for cult horror fans since its release in 2001; its original plot, unnerving violent scenes and the horrifying yet oddly comedic antagonist created an incredibly enjoyable horror film. ‘Jeepers Creepers 2’ was released in 2003, although it did not create the same creepiness which the first offered, it was still a great little horror flick which related back to the first film well, and definitely set up for a third film. Well now after 10 years it seems the wait is over, as it has been announced that ‘ Jeepers Creepers: Cathedral’ is in production. I’m sure many horror fans will be happy to see the ‘Creeper’ back on the screen, slaughtering for his food for 23 days once again. Victor Slava is back in the directing chair for his third helping, at the moment the story line seems to be based 23 years after the first film. ‘Trish’ – from the first film – is living with her son ‘Darry’ who she has named after her brother who was killed by the creeper 23 years ago. She has a recurring dream where her son suffers the same fate as her brother. So she sets out to kill the ‘Creeper’ once and for all with ‘Jack Taggart Sr.’ from the second film.

Estimated Release: Not Yet Known

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From Dusk Till’ Dawn: TV Series

Another cult classic film here. In 1996 the ‘Robert Rodriguez’ directed and ‘Quentin Tarantino’ written film ‘From Dusk Till’ Dawn’ was released – and it was spectacular. As these are two of my favourite directors this film gives me everything I want. The first half is full of dialogue-driven scenes and ‘Tarantino’ style settings, along with his classic acting choices, including: Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis and Michael Parks. Then the second half is a no-holds-barred ‘Rodriguez’ style film, with over-the-top gore, incredible make-up effects on the murderous vampires and ‘Rodriguez’s’ own classic actor choice – Danny Trejo. There have since been two sequels which were both produced by ‘Tarantino’ and ‘Rodriguez’.

Now a Television show is being created called ‘From Dusk Till’ Dawn: The Series’ which includes all of the same characters – but not the same actors – and appears to follow the same plot line as the first film, but it will be spread out through the episodes and will go in to more detail as the ‘Gecko Brothers’ and the ‘Fuller’ family drive down to the ‘Titty Twister’ bar. Let’s hope that it delivers the same thrills as the first film did.

Estimated Release: 2014 –

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