Friday The 13th Part VIII – Mama, Just Killed A Man

I’ll be honest with you – I wasn’t supposed to watch this film this week. In honour of the glorious Hallmark festival where you all get given a heart shaped pizza or whatever and I get a nice text off my mum, I was going to watch My Bloody Valentine, cos I saw it when I was small by accident and threw a teddy with a heart on it away after because it stressed me out. What I ACTUALLY wanted to watch was Valentine, the wanky teen slasher starring Angel off Buffy as a handsome lunatic, stalking girls who made fun of his thick specs at school, but it came out in 2001, and that puts it largely outside of our calendar catchment area. I’ll obviously still watch that when I’m done here.

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Nobody carries the dogboy! – Salute Of The Jugger

1989 was a real kicker of a year. I was 13 years old. My brain was already a bubbling toxic soup from prolonged exposure to lethal amounts of 2000AD and undiluted Kia Ora. I was peaking hard and gobbling up everything I could get my greedy claws on to feed my developing appetites in twisted fiction, dystopian sci-fi and martial arts movies. At the cinema we finally got a ‘dark” Batman courtesy of Tim Burton and my cinematic comfort blanket The Burbs was released into the world.

What was I listening to? Guns & Roses ‘Appetite For Destruction’ exclusively. I hadn’t traded in the Grifter for a mountain bike yet either. Life was pretty good.

A little googling revealed that cinematic trend for B-Movies in ’89 was underwater alien horror. Sophie already dismantled The Abyss a couple of weeks ago much to Boardy’s chagrin, but there were at least four other ‘Aliens living at the bottom of the sea’  films doing the rounds. Leviathan, Lords Of The Deep and Deep Star Six. That’s all well and good but I’m from Margate mate, I saw horror on the regular down that sea front in the 80’s and didn’t care to revisit it in the cinema. That and I’m terrified of deep water. No friends, my attention was drawn to the other end of the environmental misery spectrum. The dusty plains of the post apocalyptic future…..

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Marked For Justice Vs Fan Films

We live in an age where a geeks life is a many splendored thing. Gone are the days of scrounging around at stale old comic marts, tracking down grainy third generation dubs of the Roger Corman Fantastic Four movie or the Star Wars Holiday Special. At the touch of a button the modern dork can access out of print games, underground music, cult movies and become an expert on their chosen field of interest in minutes. But it wasn’t always like that. No mate. I’ve said it before and I will definitely say it again but being about that nerd life before the internet was some fucking toil man. If you wanted something niche…..you had to put in the leg work.

These days fandom is accessible to all. Comic book movies dominate the multiplexes. TV shows that draw upon the established lore of once reviled cult authors are now smash hits. We are quite literally spoilt for choice. I am not ashamed to admit that there’s a big part of me that is incensed by all this acceptance. What changed? Where was all this enthusiasm and tolerance when I was getting the pipe knocked out of me because I’d rather read an X-Men comic than play football? You people are all posers. I bled for this shit. Actual blood, not fake blood from the joke shop or corn syrup or whatever you cosplay people use. Fuckers.

Anyway look, right back at the dawn of the internet, before Marvel got their shit together and turned the superhero movie into a certified money spinner, that genre was absolutely in the bin. Yeah yeah we may well be past saturation point with superhero movies these days but until you’ve suffered through the Albert Pyun Captain America or endured The Hoff as Nick Fury, and don’t even get me started on the guy from Streethawk playing Daredevil in the Trial Of The Incredible Hulk… spare me your issues with superhero cinema you mewling babies. You don’t know pain.

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The Abyss – James and The Giant Nah Cheers

Hi, hello, happy new year! We made it. Nothing exploded or melted at midnight on the 31st (unfortunately?), and we’re seemingly all here for another year of Tr*mp, vaping, beard oil, and all manner of other horror that makes it difficult for me to look at the internet in the morning. On the bright side, the Emoji Movie came out last year, so that’s at least one thing we don’t need to fear. Hopefully you used your time wisely over the festive season. By wisely I mean that you used it to consume meats, cheeses, any fake version of the aforementioned, and enjoyed repeated viewings of Die Hard, as well as ITV showings of teen movies such as the Maze Runner series, facsimile Shrek Kung Fu Panda, twee garbage The Princess Diaries, and Battleship. Despite what you’ve come to know of me, I don’t enjoy any of those things, but I definitely sat and watched them, and a load more cinematic compost, with a baked Camembert, some part baked rolls, and a posh pear M&S chutney. In fact I enjoyed Battleship so little I’m almost sad it’s out of our time frame for a review. The film was 2 and a half hours long and seemed to involve mostly the plot from Independence Day, but written by teenage drama students and located on a boat. Also Rihanna wearing a Hoods tshirt – the hardcore scandal everyone forgot because no one listens to Hoods really anymore, not even in the gym. All this is just proof of what you can get me to shut up and sit through if you offer me a nice cheese. Anyway.

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Hellbound and Down: A Hellraiser Fan Responds to the Hellraiser: Judgement Trailer

Today it is my pleasure to present a special guest post from my buddy Brendan Carrion. He’s one of the blokes behind the excellent Full Metal RPG podcast and my go to guy when it comes to the world of roleplaying games. Brendan posted an abridged version of this rant about Hellraiser on his Facebook page and I thought it to be so eloquent and informed whilst still remaining visceral and pissed off that I begged him to let me to share it here. Brendan graciously agreed so please enjoy this dose of his scorn then go check out the mighty Full Metal RPG podcast.

The Road to Hell

So the other night I get home from work and my girlfriend is sitting on the couch and she’s really anxious to show me a trailer on YouTube for the new direct to DVD Hellraiser sequel called Hellraiser: Judgement. She plays it for me, sitting there, watching my face, and when it’s over she says,

“So. What do you think?”

I think she was expecting me to fall off the couch and start rolling around on the the floor, my mouth all afroth, as I cursed the heavens for inflicting on us another goddamn subpar Hellraiser sequel that no one was asking for. I think she was expecting me to start pacing around  the apartment, flailing my hands over my head and shrieking about continuity in a high-pitched voice.

I’m a nerd about this type of shit and this is what we do.

But neither of these things happened. It was just another trailer that shows us too much of another crummy movie. It wasn’t an assault on my personal past as a human being or a cultural hate crime against the beloved legacy of a finely crafted story woven over generations.

So despite the fact that I have: A.)  the movie poster to the first Hellraiser film hanging in my living room. B.) Beloved pictures of me mugging with Doug Bradley and Ashley Lawrence at Monsterpalooza in 2014. C.) The poster for Hellraiser: Bloodline tattooed to my flesh, my reaction to the trailer was pretty blase.

Over the next couple of pages I’ll attempt to explain why.  Continue reading

80s and 90s Cartoons: The Bad Babysitter

Ahhh, cartoons. The nostalgic comfort blanket, the technicolor dreamweaver, the idiot box babysitter. I wanted to say “I miss good cartoons”, but I don’t, because I watch them all the time. I watch Transformers, I watch Thundercats, I watch Doug, and sometimes I watch Recess, although I was already too old to watch that when it came out and don’t really know why I enjoy it so much, so that doesn’t need discussing here to be honest. What I’m saying is that, in 2017, as a grown up lady, I not only care very little about what people might think of me spending my Saturday mornings watching old cartoons, but that everything I ever want is right at my fingertips.

As youngbloods likely of the 70s, 80s, and 90s, I imagine you’re more than happy to stand behind me as I turn my grizzled grey mug up to the sky, and shake my fist yelling about how “KIDS TODAY DON’T KNOW THEY’RE BORN”. At last count, there are about 300 cartoon channels available to today’s youth. Nickleodeon, 6 different incantations of Cartoon Network, Disney, endless dreck available immediately on Netflix, Amazon Video, Apple TV. You couldn’t get through it all if you paused the clock for 6 months and never slept. It’s insane. Naked bears, pokemons, yu-gi-ohs, CGI chipmunks, nu-school Manga looking My Little Pony. I could go on, but I won’t.

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Mortal Kombat & Mortal Kombat: Annihilation – The Old Switcheroo

After the abominable trip down memory lane led by the Street Fighter review, and a lot of time spent recently cranking up old consoles and listening to the Streets of Rage soundtrack whilst running on a treadmill (as well as the Kid Chameleon soundtrack, which was hard to find and is shit, but also now haunts my dreams), I thought it might be time to tackle another Blockbuster special based on a video game.

Mortal Kombat, if you know me, seems like a very obvious choice, so in the interest of repressed memories and enjoying something I couldn’t recite back to you as a one woman show, I thought I’d have a look at some other options. You can guess how that worked out for us all, since you are sitting here reading a Mortal Kombat review…

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No Retreat, No Surrender Part 2

Ok so the other week I filled you in on the back story to my first exposure of martial arts masterpiece No Retreat No Surrender. If you’ve just tipped up, get yourself informed here, then you can come back and get into the meat of it.

So after Jason gets beat up at Kelly’s birthday party he runs home and beats hell out of the stuff in his garage dojo. His dad can no longer teach Karate because JCVD snapped his leg so now he pulls pints down at some grotty local watering hole. I mean, it’s all starting to sound like one of them sad Bruce Springsteen songs isn’t it? Continue reading

Bad Boys: And some Skittles

Join me, if you will, in 1995. I’m 11. Our household is quite heavily into basketball, Fresh Prince (even though we don’t understand half the sexy jokes), and beating each other up. Still.

So what do you think happened when we found out that Will Smith and Martin Lawrence were gonna be in an action movie, with guns, bad guys, guns, swearing, fast cars, and guns? You guessed it. Meet me on the corner by the video shop, guys. Friday, 6pm, bring your Skeleton warriors glow in the dark pyjamas (so we can match, natch) and your special fried rice.

In a bizarre ritual of which I never understood the licensing loopholes, before you were able to purchase the videos for real, wrapped in cellophane, with a bunch of leaflets inside beckoning you to purchase a crappy tshirt (“IF YOU SEE THE POLICE – WARNER BROTHER!”) or some orthopaedic shoes, you were able to procur the VHS tapes as ex-rentals. Not much difference in quality, I’m not sure how many other people who lived in Abington, Northampton were renting the Ewoks cartoon, but they came in a different box. The massive, weird, heavy, and, as we discovered exercising some of our bottomless sibling-based rage, quite dangerous rental box. The questions surrounding this were endless. Where are the real boxes? Whose job is it to swap the covers out? What are they made of that doesn’t break when you throw them off the roof at your brother? None of this was ever answered, but it didn’t matter. I loved Bad Boys so much, that once again, to save herself money, my long suffering mother purchased this movie for us ex-rental, such was the cost of keeping us in bubblicious Friday nights. And once again, I watched it every Monday before school until the next big favourite came along/the tape was worn down to a macroscopically thin band, probably snapping in the machine.

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Stand on your own- No Retreat, No Surrender PART 1

 

NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Kurt McKinney, 1986

Whilst somewhat overshadowed by actual wars in which real people died, make no mistake eighties popular culture was a bloody battlefield of bitter conflict. Coke vs Pepsi, NES vs Sega, Roxanne Shante vs The Real Roxanne. All gruelling wars of attrition in their own right but they all pale in significance next to the harsh reality of my own personal Hamburger Hill….Betamax vs VHS…..

See my family didn’t have a lot of disposable cash. And whilst there was always a modest meal on the table, luxuries like video recorders were pretty far down the list of things we could afford. If I wanted to watch a movie I had to wait for it to come onto terrestrial television or hope that an invite from the kid next door  to watch a tape round there might be forthcoming. One day I will tell you all the story of how I feigned illness whilst at a classmates birthday party and weaved an intricate deception just so I could be left alone in the house to use their video player to watch Empire Strikes Back. I was eight years old.

In 1988 my dad returned home from work with a pep in his step. For a man who dug holes in the road for forty years of his life this was an unusual sight. Normally he’d drag himself through the door at the end of the day, defeated. Eat his dinner in silence then slump in the armchair and fall asleep watching the news. But today was different. He entered our home with a look of triumph upon his brow. ‘Look what I’ve got’. Out of a black bin bag he produced a bulky video recorder. My eyes flickered with delight as my Dad’s craggy features split and he smiled down at me and together, father and son hastened to the front room to set up the video recorder and commence our journey into cinematic heaven.

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