30 Days of Fright – 05: Hostel

Work sucks. Anyone who has to suffer the daily routine of heading out the door to a place of employment to go through the routine of performing tasks you don’t care about knows what I mean. The drudgery, the people you hate the sight of, the jumped up gobshites who think they’re great, not to mention the fucking customers! Even thinking about it now is a pain in the hole. Work is a terrible, terrible thing. However, as bad as it is and while it may occasionally feel like it, it’s not literally torture.

There are many things in life, like work, that feel torturous. Certain obligations we have like attending an event where you know you’ll run into that doddery old aunt you’ve been avoiding for twenty years, or certain television programmes (Glee, I’m looking at you!), and basically anything feature that little bastard Justin Bieber all feel torturous but pale in comparison to being tied to a chair and having some stranger going at you with a pliers and a blow torch.

Hostel (2005) starts off in Amsterdam where we encounter three likely lads out looking for a good time, the kind of good time only that particular city can offer. Two of the boys, Josh and Paxton, are American friends who have met up with an Icelandic geezer, Oli, as they backpacked around Europe. After a big night out the lads try to get back into the hostel they are staying in only to discover the place locked up tight as it’s mad late. Making quite the ruckus out on the street, the lads are attacked with bottles and other projectiles by local residents trying to get some kip. They flee into the hostel via a window when they’re offered sanctuary by an odd Eastern European type. He tells them that the kind of good times they’re looking for are better found in a certain part of Slovakia where the women are all keen on American’s and there’s bugger all men about. He even knows of a handy hostel they can stay in.

The three boys make tracks to Slovakia by train and along the way they encounter an odd Dutch businessman who makes an unwelcome pass at Josh. They get to their destination which turns out to be an old world Slovakian village the far side of nowhere and check into the hostel which is more like a grand old hotel. Unfortunately, they have to share a room. Fortunately, it’s with some girls who aren’t keen on keeping their clothes on and who drag the lads to the hostels spa and then out on the town.

While out, Josh runs afoul of a roaming gang of native children who are responsible for most of the crime in the area. He’s saved by the same businessman who took a fancy to him on the train and who Josh buys a drink by way of apology for his behaviour.

The next morning, Josh and Pax awake to find Oli never came home so they set out to find him. Having no luck, they return only to discover that another guest is missing, and is allegedly with Oli. The two boys decide to stay one more night and then leave, and head out with the girls for a farewell piss-up. Josh takes ill after a few pints and returns home, leaving Pax, who is also feel a bit under the weather, to pass out in a store room.

When Josh wakes up, he finds himself chained to a chair, half-naked, with the weirdo businessman standing over him with an array of nasty tools and a naughty look in his eye…

In tough economic times, Jury’s Inn room service takes a sinister turn

Hostel is held up as the current leader in the word of torture based horror (AKA: Torture Porn), due in no small part to the fact that it’s literally about torture, but in reality the torture scenes are few and far between and perhaps not as graphic as you might expect. Like the best horror, Hostel spends most of its time setting the scene and building up the sense of dread. Early on, when you see how the main characters are carrying on and how easily influenced they are, you realise that things can’t end well. When you see them get to the hostel you instantly feel that it’s all too good to be true and you’re right, the frustrating part is that the poor fools in the film don’t cop on until it’s far too late and in that it’s just like the slasher flicks of the seventies during which you shout yourself hoarse shouting at the characters to just get the hell out of there!

When things do get nasty there are one or two troubling moments but there’s nothing really extreme, or more accurately, there’s nothing that would really bother a modern audience. This is definitely desensitisation to violence taking its toll and sadly this type of material can only get more graphic or, and I think this is more likely, it’ll turn more sexual in nature in a return to films like Last House on the Left which features sexual violence and rape to horrify the viewer. That prospect saddens me, especially as there is, perhaps surprisingly, a lot to like about Hostel.

The storyline is decent, using an old urban legend/potentially true story as its basis and in an odd way it’s believable. You can easily imagine that in remote parts of the world all sorts of touristy types get lured to sticky ends for the enjoyment of others, as I’m sure anyone who’s visited Leitrim will tell you.*

The characters are likeable enough too; the two American guys seem alright, just regular blokes out for a few laughs. Mentioning that Pax plans on becoming a lawyer and that Josh intends to study for an advanced degree is a nice touch as it establishes them as being more than the usual dumb kids. The fact that Paxton can speak German, even under extreme stress, is a brilliant piece of character development. Making the third man in the group, Oli, Icelandic was also clever, as was bringing in the Japanese tourists, though how they got to the Hostel in the arse-end of nowhere deserved some explanation. There are several villains in the movie but the main one, the businessman, makes for a good baddie as his motivations are touched on and he’s human, though mental in the extreme.

The effects are excellent, though the wound the Japanese girl sustains is definitely the weakest make-up effect and the cuts Josh receives at the beginning of his ordeal seem strangely lacking in blood, which wasn’t exactly in short supply on the set of this film.

I want to hate Hostel, I really do. I like intelligent horror; the creeping dread of The Exorcist, the thoughtful approach of The Mothman Prophecies, and the alarming terror of Rosemary’s Baby, so the horror snob in me wants to look down on Hostel as another excuse of a Torture Porn movie, but I can’t help but to enjoy it. It’s grim to be sure, but there’s definite humour present and you cheer for the characters, even though you find the set-up they fall for a little obvious, as they’re for the most part well acted and, more importantly, well written. The DVD extras reveal a lot more about the film in terms of how much enjoyment the cast and crew got out of the experience and that shines through in the finished movie.

I’ve railed against films like Hostel in the past, and the sub-genre it fits into concerns me in how it influences horror films, but Hostel actually deserves some praise for being entertaining, holding onto its sense of humour, and for being a well made film.

Two Thumbs Up for Hostel.

*I have family from Leitrim so I can say what I want about the place!

Check out our fine links for ideas on where to stay when you’re backpacking across Europe:
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hostel_%28film%29
IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0450278/
Bord Failte: http://www.discoverireland.ie/Accommodation.aspx

30 Days of Fright – 04: A Nightmare On Elm St. Pt3: Dream Warriors

I’ve been kicking around an idea for a horror film. My film is set after a teen slasher-type event on St. Patricks Day and follows the only survivor as she returns home (covered in blood) and tries to rebuild the shattered pieces of her life after all her friends have been brutally murdered in surprisingly funny ways. I’m not too sure where this idea is heading which is why I haven’t sold it to Hollywood yet, or actually written it, but I’m fascinated with what must happen to those who get through the horror and come out the other side. Are they emotional wrecks, or have they turned into well-hard Vampire slayer types? How many end up in the military and how many end up in therapy?

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) kicks off with a teenage girl, Kristen, who is having scary dreams about Freddy Krueger. In the dream she is attacked and her wrists are slashed in the real world. Kristen’s ma thinks this is a suicide attempt and has her admitted to the local looney bin. On the same day as Kirsten is being committed, a new hot-shot grad student is joining the staff, Nancy Thompson – the main character from the first film who decided to make something of herself after her brush with the supernatural and went off to study psychiatry and specialised in sleep and dream related disorders, as you do.

Kristen is admitted to a ward along with a group of other teens who are all suffering from dream related problems and turn out to be the last of the Elm Street children. Kristen’s troubles with Fred continue despite the apparent safety of the hospital and during an attack she pulls Nancy into her dream, which puts the frighteners on old Freddy. Nancy and Kristen escape and Nancy, being the well-hard spook hunter she’s now become, cops on to the fact that Kirsten’s ability could be used to gather a posse into the dream world and deal with Krueger once and for all.

To sleep, perchance to dream… aye there’s the rub, for in that sleep of death, what psycho child-killers from beyond the grave may come?

A sequel to a sequel is not an easy trick to pull off but I think Nightmare 3 caught a lucky break in the way the story continued in the second film in that it didn’t feature Nancy at all, so in a way it’s as if that film never happened, which is probably just as well as while it was enjoyable it didn’t really add anything to the Freddy Krueger story. Nightmare 3 doesn’t fall into that trap and instead makes the continuation of the tale, and therefore the franchise, its primary aim.

Nightmare 3 explains a lot, particularly about Freddy’s origins and why he was predisposed to becoming a child-killing psycho who’d return from beyond the grave. In a roundabout way it touches on the how dreams operate and how people like Kirsten have their particular ability which leads to the whole Dream Warriors concept, which is something they had to explore at this point as there’s only so many children of Elm street to go around and only so many times you can watch them getting slaughtered without wondering if someone is going to do something about it. Once they’d gotten to three movies it was a safe bet that there’d be one or two more so kicking off a bit of a run on a specific theme made sense.

Nancy turning out reasonably OK and then going into psychiatry actually feels perfectly reasonable considering everything that happened, it would either be that or off to a convent with her! In fact a nun does get a look in, which is nice. Turns out to be Freddy’s mum, which I guess is also OK, she was raped and Freddy is “the bastard son of a hundred maniacs” (great line), and she’s also a ghost, so you can see where the series is heading already

As a horror, Nightmare 3 plays heavily on the fear of those in need of help not being believed; in this case as they are patients in a psychiatric hospital, so most of those around them think they’re just nutters. After that it’s down to the gory and elaborate ways in which Freddy gets his victims to provide the shocks.

Nightmare 3 is very much stuck in the 1980’s, the music, scene dressing, costume, and cultural references are all wedged firmly in place, and the film can’t age well as too many of these things feature prominently. This could have been a timeless tale if the film-makers had used a slightly lighter hand, but I doubt that was even considered as this is really just a cashing in exercise.

On the casting side some famous faces to keep an eye out for include Laurence Fishburne (billed as Larry Fishburne) and Patricia Arquette, who both turn in decent performances, Heather Langenkamp returning as Nancy is only passable now that she was no longer playing the innocent teen. Unfortunately the other remaining children of Elm street are either just too young or too bad at acting for some of the material, and more than one performance is best ignored. The direction is functional in the extreme, even for a slasher flick, and if it wasn’t for Robert Englund’s performance the whole thing would likely have fallen asunder.

Englund (as Freddy) gets all the best lines, again, though his mum muscles in on things with the bastard line. The line he gives when he kills Kirsten’s dream mother over the missing bourbon is excellent. Another excellent point about the film is the mechanical effects which are first rate and are the kind of effects you just don’t see anymore. The animation effects on the other hand are shite, thankfully you don’t see that kind of thing anymore either

Despite its failings Nightmare 3 is an enjoyable slasher. Some of the effects and certain quality members of the cast elevate it perhaps higher than it deserves, while it‘s dragged back down to earth with a bang as a result of the weaker cast and pedestrian direction. Its better then the first sequel, but not quite as good as the original.

One Thumb Up and One Thumb Down for A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3: Dream Warriors

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093629/
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Nightmare_on_Elm_Street_3:_Dream_Warriors

30 Days of Fright – 03: Sleepy Hollow

Halloween and horror go hand in hand but the majority of horror films are not Halloween orientated, with the obvious exception of the Halloween series, of course. Many horror staples have their own mythology that rarely has anything to do with the holiday at the end of October. Films about Vampires, Werewolves, Frankenstein and his monster, and the array of creatures and serial killers that bump off teens provide great costume ideas but make for entertaining viewing at any time of the year. If only there was a definitive film that featured all the elements that would make for the perfect Halloween, some sort of Gothic horror perhaps, set about two hundred years ago, during the autumn, with jack-o-lanterns, and ideally a eerie soundtrack put together by Danny Elfman…

Sleepy Hollow (1999) is based on the Washington Irving story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and stars Johnny Depp as Constable Ichabod Crane who is sent to the village of the film’s title to investigate a series of murders. The year is 1799, and our Ichabod is a thoroughly modern sort of a bloke, into science and reason and not a fan of superstition or religion or anything like that due to a rough upbringing as the son of a preacher-man and a hippy. When he arrives in Sleepy Hollow, Ichabod is rather shocked to hear that the locals believe that the killings are being caused by a Headless Horseman – the ghost of a badass mercenary who’d been killed in the woods twenty years previously.

Ichabod (I love that name) scoffs at the notion and begins a fact-based investigation, quickly discovering that there are links between the victims beyond the usual small town connections. As he investigates the locals he begins to fall for the daughter of the big-shot farmer whose house he’s staying at and he learns of her interest in the occult that had been passed onto her by her mother before her death, and before the nurse shacked up with her dad.

After another killing takes place the town magistrate, Phillips, decides that enough’s enough and makes a break for it. Ichabod follows and confronts him just as the headless horseman turns up to kill Phillips. Having witnessed the horseman firsthand, Ichabod knocks the CSI: Sleepy Hollow shit on the head and turns to the spirit world for answers. Learning that the Horseman is being controlled by some mortal who is in possession of his missing skull, Ichabod sets out to discover who’s really behind the murders and lay the Horseman to rest once and for all.

I saved £150 on horse insurance at Confused.com

Sleepy Hollow is probably the ultimate Halloween movie as it contains all the elements needed. The isolated rural setting in the woods, the dark foreboding that hangs over every scene, and the period in history all work together perfectly. Add in a Headless Horseman and a weirdo like Johnny Depp and all the elements for true greatness are in place. Actually, not quite. There are one or two little problems with Sleepy Hollow and they’re all caused by the cult of Tim Burton.

Tim Burton, the director behind the 1989 Batman movie, its sequel Batman Returns, Beatlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Sweeny Todd, and a hat full of other off the wall flicks, is well known for his distinctive gothic style of film-making and for his long running bromance with Johnny Depp. Depp features in seven of Burton’s films and the pair have another on the way. There are several others that Burton fancies enough to stick into his films regardless of whether or not they belong and this method of casting tends to lead a sameness in Burton’s work. In so many of his films Depp is the prancing oddball, mucking about to music provided by Danny Elfman, and that’s as true of Sleepy Hollow as it is of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland.

However, Sleepy Hollow works with Depp in the main role despite the sense of deja vu he invokes, as he’s more than capable of holding the story together, except for the parts that involve his relationship with Christina Ricci’s character Katrina, which just don’t gel properly and seemed forced. Ricci is perfectly cast, as are most of the others, the only real let down is Casper Van Dien who can’t act for shite and is put to shame by the little kid playing Thomas who only really has one scene and is a terrible actor, even for a little kid.

Another odd casting choice was Miranda Richardson as Lady Van Tassel (Katrina’s stepmother). American audiences probably didn’t bat an eyelid at her but every time she was on screen I couldn’t help but think of her as Queenie in Blackadder the Second or as the squirrel-hating transvestite Highwayman in Blackadder the Third.

You try taking this bitch seriously

There are some other little problems with Sleepy Hollow relating to historical accuracy but they’re so minor that they’re not worth mentioning especially as they don’t get in the way of the real star of the movie, the tale of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow itself. Burton and Depp handle it well enough, crafting a fine ghost story that should remain timeless.

Two Thumbs Up for Sleepy Hollow.

Ichabod… Ichabod… Click the links for more info Ichabod…
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleepy_Hollow_%28film%29
IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0162661/

30 Days of Fright – 02: Final Destination

I recently had the good fortune to visit the United States of America. It was a great trip, relaxing and exciting at the same time. I met some nice people and saw some interesting sights; all in all it was a good holiday. Now that some time has passed since my return it is easier to be a little more objective about the experience. There’s only one thing I really wish I could change and that would be the flight home as it turned out that a large group of teens were traveling to Ireland for some kind of field trip on the same plane as I was. Teenagers in large groups are the same the world over and the prospect of a seven or eight hour flight with this lot on board scared the shit out of me far more than any horror film ever could. I hadn’t thought about the problems with that particular plane ride until last evening when I sat down to watch Final Destination.

Final Destination (2000) focuses on a group of teenagers as they embark on a school field trip from New York to Paris, France. One of the gang, Alex, gets an uneasy feeling on the plane just before departure that develops into a vision of disaster in which the plane explodes and those on-board all die horribly. He wigs the fuck out on a grand scale and has such a spaz attack that he, and a bunch of his classmates, and one of their teachers, are removed from the plane and left at the airport to catch the next flight. As they’re cooling their heels in the departure lounge watching their flight leave, the plane explodes killing all on-board, just like in Alex’s vision. (This is what reminded me of my return flight from the U.S., as after about ten minutes in the company of those teenagers going on their field trip I was praying that the plane would explode!).

In the aftermath of the disaster Alex finds himself ostracised by the other survivors as well as pretty much everyone around him as they’re all convinced there’s something weird, and more than a little frightening, about him. Meanwhile, the FBI agents investigating the explosion follow Alex as they try to work out how he knew about the crash before it happened.

Those who got off the plane are all dealing with a large dose of survivors’ guilt, with some doing better than others. One night, Alex’s friend Tod is killed in his bathroom by an unseen force, though the manner of his death leads everyone to the conclusion that it was a suicide. Alex is unconvinced and he and his new friend Clear (which I swear they pronounced “Clare”) break into the mortuary to take a gander at Tod’s corpse. There they meet a creepy mortician who informs them that Tod was struggling at the time of his death, so it’s unlikely he died by his own hand. Alex and Clear, with a little help from the mortician, come to the conclusion that they were supposed to have died in the plane crash and that death is now stalking them and the others as it’s not possible to cheat the grim reaper.

One by one the survivors die off in bizarre circumstances as sure enough something is out to get them…

The introduction of a charge to use the toilets on Ryanair flights claims another victim

Final Destination is a fun movie on many levels. The ways in which death comes after the different kids (and their teacher) are interesting and often funny, some of them are even delightfully gory. Each of the deaths are setup in a way that allows the audience to see them coming from a long way off, which is actually great as you get to wonder who the victim is and if they’ll get out of their impending doom.

The performances are all as good as they need to be for a film of this type. In terms of casting there are two surprises, Sean William Scott (Stifler from the American Pie movies, though I prefer to think of him in Role Models as that was actually good) as Billy, and Ali Larter (the good looking chick from Heroes) as Clear. The direction, provided by James Wong, who made a name for himself directing episodes of The X-Files, is perfectly adequate, getting the shocks in the right place and not getting too hung up on things that would have been wasted in Final Destination, like a B-Plot or character development, or an explanation for what was going on.

The core idea of Final Destination of death itself as the baddie is a decent one, but it’s also the biggest failing of the film. Death is not really seen, there’s no actual reaper just a dark shape that appears before another character dies, so the villain of the piece is really a concept. But death is a concept we all live with all the time, though hopefully we don’t always have to face it too often. In making death the thing the characters in the film are facing the audience needs a really good reason not to want the characters dead. Not want the characters dead? Not want the annoying, all white, wholesome American teenagers with their cars and their clothes dead? That’s not fucking possible! Anyone watching Final Destination will be cheering for death to get the little bastards in as gruesome a manner as he can – like I said, it’s a fun little movie.

Also, the good looking chick from Heroes is in it.

Two Thumbs Up for Final Destination.

Click on the links below to find out what they never tell you on Air Crash Investigation
IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0195714/
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Final_Destination

30 Days of Fright – 01: Let The Right One In

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder (or the beer-holder, depending where you are at the time) but it’s rare that everyone can agree on what makes something beautiful, especially in movies. Beauty can stand as the be all and end all but what will suffer in that scenario will be something equally important, like the substance of the story. Getting that balance right when so much effort has been put into the visuals is such a difficult task but so worth it when it pays out. If it pays out.

Let The Right One In (2008) is set sometime during the early 1980’s in Sweden and focuses on a 12 year old boy called Oskar who is living a somewhat troubled life dealing with divorced parents, bullying in school, and increasing isolation from the world around him.

One night some new neighbours move into the flat next door, a middle aged man and his young daughter. The new neighbours keep very much to themselves and it quickly becomes apparent that all is not as it seems with them. The father goes out one night and murders a passer-by, stringing him up by his ankles from a tree and draining the blood from the body into a large container. He is disturbed before he can complete the job and flees without the blood.

Meanwhile, the daughter befriends Oskar, in the process revealing that she’s about as odd as he is. She is reluctant to let Oskar know too much about herself, not even her age, which she gives as “twelve… more or less”. Oskar and the girl, Eli, grow close and an innocent romance of sorts begins between them.

More and more strange attacks take place with Eli’s dad the main culprit until one night where he is stopped from killing a young man and disfigures himself with acid. Eli’s true nature as a vampire of advanced years is revealed and now that she has lost the services of the human (not actually her father) who was feeding her she is forced to fend for herself on the local inhabitants, all the while developing her relationship with young Oskar.

Eli found out about the dodgy lid on the blender the hard way!

Let The Right One In is a beautiful film. The quality of the cinematography is amazing with each shot meticulously laid out and presented to the audience just so. But, while most people bang on about that aspect of the film, it’s not enough to cover the fact that Let The Right One In isn’t a great film.

The pacing is incredibly slow with the first two acts of the movie dragging on far too long with little or no activity pushing the story along. The fact that it’s a foreign language film definitely doesn’t help either as there are several visual and cultural components that are impossible to pick up on if you’re not Swedish. It took me about 45 minutes to figure out it was set during the 1980’s as I unfairly assumed that maybe Sweden is part of the world that time forgot (in my defence I’ve never been there and no bugger all about Sweden… actually, that’s not so much a defence as it is a poor reflection on our education system).

The romance between Eli and Oskar is supposed to be strange, I suppose, but it’s very strange, like there’s a subtext about sexuality here that I just didn’t quite get. Vampire tales, when they’re done right, are sensual in nature, often promoting the ideals of eternal youth and how attractive that would be. But when the youth in question is stuck at age twelve there’s something off about it, it’s rightly disturbing as the vampire is much older but trapped in a young body. This was addressed well in Interview with the Vampire as it dealt with the character of Claudia, but in that instance we had the benefits of the other vampires and a narrator to point out the obvious failings of very young vampires.

Once you question this premise of the film you get into a little trouble. When a vampire is trapped in the body of a twelve year old should we assume that their mental development continues? Are these adults in everything but body? If so, does that make Eli’s attraction to Oskar something un-natural (beyond being a vampire, of course)? And if mental development does continue what does that mean for adult vampires who progress (I won’t say “live”) for hundreds of years? Do their personalities develop into a higher form due their extreme age? These are difficult questions to answer as who knows what you’d find in the mind of a vampire, and that’s probably why the makers of Let the Right One In didn’t attempt to deal with any of these issues.

The problems with sexuality continue in the film and on more than one occasion I found myself growing concerned that there was going to be a paedophile element to the story that would destroy the highbrow atmosphere that had been established. There are uncomfortable scenes where young children are exposed to the camera, again without much use to the story, and one scene of extreme nudity that makes the viewing very disturbing. As a device to put the audience on edge it works but it’s gratuitous, and unpleasant, and un-necessary.

The way the vampire element of the film is handled is truly excellent, with all the components of the myth intact – reflections missing, exposure to sunlight being very bad, and the necessity of having to be invited into a place being front and centre. The makeshift coffins Eli arranges for herself are very clever too as is the fact that she starts to smell bad when she hasn’t fed for a while. And that’s the overall problem with Let The Right One In. It’s too clever for it’s own good!

The setting in the 80’s, the way things aren’t explained through exposition, the loyalty to the vampire story, and the ages of the main characters all make for the components of a great movie but Let The Right One In feels uncaring. The film leaves a lot to the viewer to figure out and it gives you the time to do it but in no way does it ever feel like the film-makers give a shit if you figure it out or not.

One other problem that has to be addressed is that Let The Right One In isn’t one bit scary. The horror in the film is wrapped up in the horror of Oskar’s situation as a victim of bullies and a broken home, and in Eli’s situation as a teeny-tiny vampire girl. Not all horror is about making you jump to be sure, but the issues in this movie are common place (well divorce anyway, child vamps not so much) and so not even all that thought provoking, never mind horrific. Still, it looked amazing.

One Thumb Up and One Thumb Down for Let The Right One In.

You Let The Right One In, The Right One Out. In, Out, In, Out, check these if there’s any doubt:

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_the_Right_One_In_%28film%29
IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1139797/

30 Days of Fright – Prologue

I find getting out of bed in the morning to go to work extremely difficult. I always have and I suspect that I am not alone in my loathing of the alarm clock that signals the end of another too short a night of slumber. Each day I try to get motivated as I climb from my pit. A favored technique of mine (though frankly it’s bugger all use) is to tell myself that this day could be the best day ever, that it’ll be an adventure, that something amazing could happen to me on the cutting edge of Irish commerce.
Like I said, this technique is bugger all use and each morning is a terrible struggle. However, the theory is sound; each day is filled with promise though it’s the kind of promise that’s rarely fulfilled. Any period of time has that same type of potential and summers are particularly full of the stuff. I love the onset of summer with the ideas that spring to mind (if you’ll pardon the pun) as I daydream about how to fill those long evenings.
Like everyone else I know I piss away those long evenings, so when summer ends it’s more then a little bit sad, it’s a fucking tragedy. So tragic in fact that back in the day, waaaaaay back in the day, the festival of Samhain kicked off in these parts to mark the death of summer, and that festival eventually led to the holiday we know as Halloween, which in turn has led to the greatest annual horror film review series of all time: “30 Days of Fright”.
In a strange twist, once those long evenings are gone I actually get motivated to do something with my free time and so during the month of October I plant myself in front of the TV or home cinema (which sounds grander then it is) and watch a horror film each night. As I am totally incapable of keeping my opinion of a film to myself, the next day I write up a review and post it on the Internet for the entire world to see.
The usual rules of the series apply this year. I’ve gathered up a collection of DVD’s and recordings off the TV and compiled a list of films to be viewed and reviewed but should I get my grubby mitts on something I consider worth a look at the last minute then it’ll get dropped in. As in previous years, which you can check out here: 2008, and here: 2009, I hope to make you smile and maybe even make you think.

Each film is rated on it’s merits and assigned a final score based on my rather unusual scoring system:

Two Thumbs Firmly Down = One of the worst films ever, never mention this film to anyone nevermind actually watching it!

Two Thumbs Down = A crap fest

One Thumb Up, One Thumb Down = Meh, don’t go out of your way for it but don’t try to avoid it either

Two Thumbs Up = A brilliant movie, well worth a look

Two Thumbs Firmly Up = A must see, a trully excellent motion picture you should make it your business to see as soon as you can

There is another score that is only used in the most extreme of cases: No Thumbs = no rating as the film is beneath contempt due to the handling of its subject matter – when you consider that these are horror films then that’s a pretty extreme rating to get and has so far, thankfully, only been applied once.

The first film in this years series gets it’s viewing tonight so the first review will be available tomorrow – be ready, as this years series is gonna be a scream!