sareini: default (The Bound Woman)
So I bit the bullet today and made an appointment for a smeat test while I was at the doctors'. Yeah, I know it's important and stuff and I really shouldn't try to put it off, but I was just kind of hoping that they'd forget about it, like they do with all my other important medical data, like what medications I'm on and the fact that I should have been re-tested for thyroid problems over a year ago... Appointment's next Monday.

Speaking of bullets, I'm pretty sure that the new Argos catalogue can stop one. Nick asked me to pick one up while I was in town (posting a book), and it's huge. I could barely carry it home tucked under my arm, it was that thick. I kind of wanted someone to try to mug me so that I could take their head clean off their shoulders with it.

Oh, and final Blogathon amount raised? $100,753.63 (not my amount; the amount raised by all bloggers) That's... wow. Just wow.
sareini: default (Delerium)
So, if you've turned up here on the 29th or 30th of July, you've most likely come because of Blogathon 2006. This is when bloggers from all over the world and the Web stay up for 24 hours, posting every 30 minutes or so, to raise money for the charity of their choice.

I'm taking part this year, and am blogging for The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals, a British charity which provides free emergency and regular veterinary care for the pets of people who are in financial need. The vets and other workers are all volunteers, and the organisation relies entirely on public support to keep running. They receive no government or National Lottery funding whatsoever.

- £4.00 buys a thermometer
- £5.50 pays for a course of antibiotics
- £12.30 buys a tube of eye ointment
- £42.00 buys autoclave film role for sterilising operating equipment
- £800.00 buys a microscope

As a 'theme' this year I'm going to be providing (or at least trying to) short reviews of some of the cult and horror movies I own, at the rate of one every 30 minutes. This could prove to be very interesting, or go terribly, terribly wrong...

(For anyone unfamiliar with livejournal's setup, the blogathon posts are below this one)
Sponsorship link

sareini: (cat)
My last post. And yes, there was a reason I picked this one to my last review of the Blogathon. It's because I know I can sum it up - plot, why you should see it and everything else - in just one sentence.

Kung-Fu Yakuza zombies with guns.

Thank you everyone, and good morning, good afternoon and good night. I've had fun, and now I'm going to bed. See you all around.
sareini: default (American Gods - organising gods/cats)
Something that's been amusing me through this blogathon... Livejournal has provided me with so many icons that I've been able to use a different one for every single entry over the past 24 hours. I'm not sure whether that's really cool or really sad...

Damn, my secret lust for Mark Dacoscos has been revealed! He was, of course, one of the reasons I got this movie; the other was the way the plot sounded. It seemed rather like an 18th century french Hound of the Baskervilles, and so I was curious.

In the 1760s the small french town of Gevaudan is being menaced by a strange and vicious beast who attacks its victims and mangles them. The army have had no luck in tracking and killing the beast, and so the king sends one of his knights, Gregoire de Fronsac, to investigate. Fronsac arrives with his blood-brother, a Native American shaman named Mani whom Fronsac met and befriended in America, and they set out to find the beast. However, they soon find themselves caught up in political intriegue, plots and assassinations from all corners, including the Vatican...

This was another one of my films that Nick watched and discovered he liked, which shows that it of course has more of an appeal to it than just horror. In Nick's case he loved the mystery that surrounded the Beast, and the fight scenes, which were beautifully choreographed.

Admittedly, if mysteries and/or martial arts don't appeal to you though, you might have a problem sitting through this fiml as it's over two hours long - but it is a beautiful one all the same and I recommend it to those willing to try something different.
sareini: default (American gods - riding the lightning)
Would you do it again next year?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Yes, because... I actually enjoy doing this. It's something I can do to help raise money for charity that doesn't tax my poor M.E-inflicted body too much (yeah, I consider staying up and posting for 24 hours "not too much").. I like - no, I love reading the other blogs as I go along, and learning all sorts of interesting things as I go. And I've already got ideas for next year. More, even, if the boyfriend wants to joint-blog with me.
sareini: (zombie)
Right, we're entering the final hour here, and I've got some nice films to finish me off...

I got Undead for three reasons - I saw the trailer and thought it was good; I saw the gun on the cover and thought it was brilliant; the zombies.

On the same day that beauty Queen Renee plans to leave the town she grew up in, a strange meteor shower hits the town and turns people into zombies. Renee teams up with a few other survivors, including the local loony who's convinced he's been abducted by aliens, to try to find out what's happening and to try to find a way out of town. But the town's been cut off by a hige wall of metal, there's a strange burning rain falling, and strange cloaked figures are wandering round the town.

This should have been a superb zombie movie. Really. It had the potential to reach Shaun of the Dead levels. Unfortunately, the filmmakers kind of messed things up a little by trying to have too much going on at once (zombies and aliens and rain and...), leaving it too complicated to follow at some points, even with subtitles. There were also plot points left hanging, and these were kind of important plot points so it was rather annoying.

I mean, I like the film, but it could have done better.
sareini: default (reality connection)
I have stiffness in my wrists that I'm trying to shake out. After this I think it'll be time to pay a quick visit to the cat and the boyfriend.

I picked up this movie for two reasons: because it was British/European-made, and because there was a warning on it for extreme violence and gore. Yeah. Sometimes I'm really easy to please like that.

Kate leaves the London party she's at with the intent of crashing another one with a friend. When she misses her train, however, she thinks she's stuck in the Tube station overnight... until another train pulls into the station. Someone else is on the train as well, however, and soon Kate is running for her life through the London Underground, trying to escape from something that's lived its whole life down there, and needs fresh bodies...

You know what the scariest thing about this movie is? The fact that it could actually happen. Nick tells me that there are literally miles of tunnels and stuff under London, some of it connected to the Underground, where they could have conducted some of the stuff in this movie. And he wouldn't put it past the government at all to do it.

And yes, this movie is gory and violent, particularly with scenes of medical proceedures being performed without anaesthetic and with old, rusty tools and people getting mangled by various implements (including trains).

But it doesn't quite live up to its potential. It leaves too many questions unanswered, which someitmes can be good but in this case is a pain. A degree of closure is needed, and we don't get it. Which is annoying to say the least.
sareini: default (Discworld - Ibid)
Good news! This is the last of the 'bad' movies I'll be reviewing here. The final four after this are all ones which can be considered at least 'average'.

You know, I prefer the image I have in my books for this movie, which shows the male antagonist chowing down on a nice piece of entrail...

Two middle-aged prehistoric 'children', Gar and Tra, are cursed by their witch mother for being cannibals. They will age ridiculously quickly unless they ingest fresh human flesh and blood regularly (great 'curse' to stop cannibalism there) for 12,000 years, until the stars align and they can sacrifice a decendant. Nearly 12,000 years later, Gar (now going by Mark) is dividing his time between eating young boys and seducing his landlady (Linnea Quigley in an early shower scene!) so that she'll marry him and have his kid. They do, and he names their daughter Bondi. 16 years later and Bondi runs away from home, blowing up some rapists with a handy magic medallion her father gave her on the way. She ends up living with a couple of other runaway kids in a deserted, overgrown park for a while, before Mark and Tra (now known as Patty) find her and prepare to sacrifice her...

You know what's really disturbing about this film? The number of times the kids in it are portrayed in sexual situations. Nearly all the adult characters at some point seen to see the kids in a sexual way, and that's just... wrong.

What's even stranger is the 'disclaimer' at the beginning of the film: "This film is fiction, though it is based on actual occurrances which happened over the centuries." What? What in the name of Eris is that supposed to mean?

Just another film that's gotten too much attention because it was once banned, unfortunately...
sareini: ('everything is true')
(Just keeping myself occupied...)

I think that my most treasured memory would have to be the last time I saw my father. I was ten years old, and going away on a Girl Guides camp for the first time in my life. Before I left, I took a picture of my mother and father together with the camera I had been given for the occasion.

That was the last time I ever saw my father. I - and indeed, at this point no-one - knew that the reason he'd been so ill for the previous several months was because he had terminal stomach and pancreatic cancer (the abdominal area, at least). The doctors had been misdiagnosing him with gallstones for months, and he'd been in terrible pain for so long. He had lost about half his body weight on this point, and looked positively skeletal.

When I came back from camp I discovered that he had been taken into hospital that weekend while I was away, and he died there five days later. I wasn't allowed to visit him, and I wasn't told that he was dying.

So why's this my most treasured memory? Because he was smiling. I don't have the picture any more, but I can still remember it clearly, and despite the pain I now know he was in, he was still smiling and joking with me the whole time. And that's how I like to remember him.
sareini: default (Discworld - Thunder rolled)
Here's something that'll likely scare a lot of people reading this: I've gone through this entire Blogathon without caffeine of any sort. I'm severely caffeine intolerant (severe headaches, stomach cramps and vomiting - even vomiting blood on one occasion), so I don't get to have coffee or coke or any other sort of energy drink like that. I've been doing this purely under my own power.

This movie was ahead of its time. It attempted to use computers at a time when most people still had clunky Dragon32s, and the internet was not only known as the ARPERNet, but it didn't exist outside of certain government branches. I think that was one of the main reasons why it flopped - most people just couldn't comprehend that computers could be used like that...

Stanley Coopersmith is a charity case orphan at the military school he attends. Just about everyone hates him, and they all take every opportunity to take out their frustrations on him and tell him how worthless he is. One day while cleaning out the cellar underneath the school's chapel, he discovers an old grimoire that once belonged to a heretic sorcerer called Esteban. He uses a computer to translate the book, and discovers that it contains a ritual to call upon the power of Satan and gain revenge on one's enemies. Again, you can see exactly where this is going, can't you? Coopersmith manages to hold off on using the spell until the bullies break into his secret hideaway and kill his puppy - at which point I doubt any of us would blame him for a little infernal retribution - and he calls upon Estaban so that he can slaughter his tormentors with the help of a herd of demonic pigs and a really big sword. The the film ends, telling us only that Coopersmith was placed in a mental institute, but that he can return if the ritual is performed again...

Like I said, this film was ahead of its time. It also tried to be a lot of things it couldn't manage, like funny and smart and well-paced. It's supposed to be deeply gory but I didn't see anything of any real note. A disappointment, and maybe one of the rare films that might benefit from a remake?
sareini: default (Discworld - House on Fire)
We're in the home stretch now, with only three hours to go. Also, I have succeeded in making Nick interested in the Sleepaway Camp movies - one movie at a time, I'm bringing him over to the Dark Side...

We're back with the 'Banned and Bad' again, with a cheap Italian rip-off of Alien and Zombie Flesh Eaters all rolled into one... A cargo ship drifts into port, seemingly deserted. When police investigate, however, they discover several large green egg-like things, which glow just before exploding in a shower of green goo. Anyone touched by the goo also explodes - that includes bio-hazard suits, so it makes you wonder why they keep wearing them through the movie. A tough female colonel takes charge of the investigation, and she ends up interviewing a washed-up astronaut who was drummed out of the Space Programme after claiming to have seen things on the first manned mission to Mars. You can see exactly where this is going - a giant one-eyed Martian is controlling the other astronaut when was on the Mars mission, and they have a secret coffee plantation in South America where they are growing the exploding eggs. They plan to use them to take over the world (err... how? Sure, if you blow everyone up you'll rule the world, but it'll be kind of pointless), but our intrepid team manage to get there in time and kill the Martian - although not before it hugs one of their team to death. the earth is saved... or is it?

See? Alien and Zombie Flesh Eaters. Probably others too, but those are the two big ones. And they're not even competent rip-offs, as my summary shows. One of the major flaws of Italian cinema is that they seem to want to emulate the Americans as much as possible, and the end result is often something like this. I wisg they'd stick to giallos sometimes.
sareini: default (Discworld - Exclamation marks)
Cat fed. Cat happy.

Sometimes people can get all worked up about the silliest things. See the image up there? For years it was banned by the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) because they felt that the thin line of blood across the girl's throat was just too much. Instead, for years it was replaced by a red ribbon instead.

An American writer arrives in Rome to promote his new book (remember what I said about Argento films?). At the same time, though, someone is killing young women and stuffing their mouths with pages from the aforementioned book. The writer, of course, sets off to try to discover what's going on...

This movie has a twist that you really wouldn't expect, especially if you're following Argento's usual pattern of moviemaking. It also has a particular setpiece that landed it on the Video Nasties list for some time - a woman has her arm chopped off with an axe in an all-white room, and the bloodsprays across the walls and everything else for several seconds. It's gruesome and disturbing, nut also strangely beautiful...

I like Tenebrae - it's an intelligent giallo-slasher that actually has the right to take itself seriously, despite sometimes falling into stereotype with some of the secondary characters.
sareini: default (Discworld - Curse)
Got to feed the cat after this post. She's getting her impatient mew on...

I still haven't forgiven these people for getting my idea about mages, vampires and the like living side-by-side but unseen with humanity, but I guess I'll get over it eventually.

So there's the forces of darkness and the forces of light, and they fight for a very long time. Then one day they decide on a truce, with special teams to watch over the other group to make sure that neither side breaks the truce (unauthorised magic, harming humans supernaturally and the like). Night Watch is actually the first part of a trilogy of films, and deals with the 'light' side watching over the 'dark' side. The next film will be Day Watch and will be the other way around. I've got no idea what the third one will be called or what it will be about, but I'm thinking it might have something to do with a major plot point of this movie, which is the discovery and Awakening of a 'Chosen One', a powerful being who will ensure victory from whichever side he chooses, or so the prophecy goes.

The special effects in this movie are amazing. You have people turning into animals flawlessly, someone flipping a truck just by flicking his hand at it... Some people say that the movie maybe relies a little too much on special effects at the expense of the plot, but I don't think so. It might be taking a little slower to build than maybe it should (perhaps the filmmakers are thinking they have longer to tell the story since they're planning a trilogy, which isn't exactly the best way of thinking), but we've certainly gotten somewhere important by the end of the film.

I'd definately reccomend this one. Besides, where else are you going to see someone practicing premonitions by use of a games console and Virtua Fighter?
sareini: default (Discworld - Cackle)
I'm remembering why I put these movies together on the list now. It's because they're all so jaw-droppingly bad that having to think about reviewing them would wake me up. It's working.

Yes, you're reading that title correctly.

Joe, a scruffy loser, would really like to be able to pick up girls. A homeless man takes pity on him and tells him the secret of 'morphology', which involves standing on one leg, saying ome gibberish and thinking really hard of what you want to turn into. To Joe's immense surprise, it works, and he finds himself able to turn into a teenage girl. So he decides to use this new talent to befriend the local girls... and then kill them.

The tag line for this movie reads: "He chose his weapons... He selected his victims... he picked his nose... He turned into a girl..." Really, what more can you say about this film? That pretty much tells you everything you need to know...
sareini: Image of the Bursar from the Discworld universe (Bursar)
Something that's just bloody typical... When I signed up for Blogathon this year, I told the boyfriend all about it. He was interested in doing it, but didn't really know if he could stay up for the whole 24 hours so he decided not to in the end (yeah, he left it to his girlfriend who has a condition that leaves her constantly exhausted to stay up for 24 hours straight...). I was talking to him earlier about how things were going, and I mentioned group blogs.

"You can do them? I didn't know you could do them! Oh, we could have done one of them!"

...I did tell him. He's just got a really bad memory. Ah well, at least we have an idea on what we're going to do next year...

Welcome to Vipco, for all your cheap crappy-movie needs. Death Trap was Tobe Hooper's film after The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and he was obviously hoping to catch some of the momentup of that film with his new one.

Neville Brand plays an eccentric who owns a tatty guest house in the middle of a swamp which nethertheless has a steady stream of guests coming to it. He also has a giant crocodile in a pool next to the hotel, which he feeds unwanted guests and those he's killed with his scythe. He also has a wooden leg, where he got a little too close to the crocodile in the past. When a young family arrive at his hotel, he kills the father, assaults and ties up the mother and chases the little girl under the crawlspace of the hotel, intending to set the crocodile on her. You can probably guess that, by the end, he's been eaten by his own crocodile.

Another movie based vaguely on a true story (Joe Bell)... a lunatic chasing a half-dressed hysterical young woman through a forest while swinging a large sharp cutting implement... prolongued torture of Marilyn Burns (Sally from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)... Yup, hooper was trying to make a new version of the film which brought him all that notoriety. Unfortunately, because this film is so much weaker in all ways than TCM, he fails miserably at it. About the only other thing this film has that's worth mentioning is the first major role of one Robert Englund: "My name is Buck and i'm ready to fuck!"
sareini: default (Bubba Ho Tep)
Ah, here we have a neat little case of premonition, as this very film was mentioned in the comments of another entry several hours ago now (I have a list of all the films I'm reviewing, so that I don't get confused when the need for sleep overtakes me and accidentally blog something twice or something)...

It's another boring Vipco budget label, but I shouldn't really complain because my collection would be quite smaller if it weren't for Vipco and their bargain-basement stuff. Which is pretty much what Zombie Nosh is.

A bunch of teenagers go for a hayride (yes, really!) up into the country for a pre-Halloween party, but due to some deeply contrived circumstances which I can't quite remember right now, a zombie buried under a concrete slab with occult markings gets free and starts... well, noshing down on the teens. Which of course creates more zombies. Who then go and crash the town's Halloween bash, and... well, you get the picture.

Ok, I'll be fair. Zombie Nosh tries really hard. But it's not just low-budget, it's zero-budget, and that's always dangerous in the film world. Unless something stands out in your picture, it's going to just sink.

But hey, pitchfork death. That's always cool.
sareini: default (Blackadder - Perversity)
Nick's downstairs with me now, smoking and talking to the cat - oh wait, he's buggering off upstairs again. Huh.

Another Italian film here, so you know you're in for something... interesting.

An American jazz musicial living and working in Rome sees a woman being brutally murdered in her apartment. The woman was a psychic who, earlier in the day during a demonstration, had picked up on the mind of a killer, and it's this killer who later came to silence her. Racing to the woman's apartment to try to save her, the musician arrives to late but seems something unusual there that he later can't quite put his finger on. With the help of a pretty journalist with a dodgy car, he sets out to solve the mystery, while the killer continues to get rid on anyone who could expose their identity...

Dario Argento's films generally have a set theme: the protagonist is nearly always an American working in Italy, he has a glamourous girlfriend, and the killer is nearly always from the same... group (trying not to give too much away here). This can mean that if you've seen one Argento film, you've seen them all, but I disagree. The giallo films are the equivalent of the pulp novel (and are indeed named after the Italian version, where the books are all yellow), and so while it might be fun to try to work out the plot, you're really just supposed to sit back and enjoy the show.

Argento is also one of those directors who has the charge of mysogeny thrown at them, because he sometimes tends to stereotype certain types of female and lingers maybe a little too long on the torture and murder of pretty girls. Again, I think this is more of an Italian cultural thing. although I'm always open to correction on this...
sareini: default (Blackadder - Bugger)
Really running out of things to say here... "My gods, I'm tired" is just repetitive, and I don't want to be repetitive...

When this first came out I swore I wasn't going to see it. My elitist "unnecessary remake" complex kicking in. And anyway, Shaun of the Dead came out at the same time, and that was tons better.

Eventually I caved though, and got the DVD.

In this remake the basic plot is the same - zombies rise, eat people, survivors head for mall, but in this case the zombies appear almost overnight, making it much more of a standalone film than the original was (and that wasn't exactly linked too mach itself). My biggest problem with this film was the zombies themselves.

They weren't zombies. Zombies move slowly, growl - you can dodge past a few if you're sharp and daring enough. The zombies in this Dawn... remake were fast-moving little buggers though, more like the enRaged from 28 Days Later than your tradition shambling corpse and this, coupled with the fact that there were just so dammed many of them, kind of made it difficult to watch the film and have any real expectations that anyone was going to survive. The odds just seemed too stacked against the fleshies. And that's why, as pretty and theoretically sound as this movie is, I can't really get into it.

I do love the special feature of the news broadcasts with Richard Biggs (RIP) and Bruce Boxleightner though.
sareini: default (procrastinate)
You know something I've found really useful during all of this? Firefox's tabbed windows. I normally don't use them, but today I've got so many windows open (12 web windows, plus WinAmp and a Microsoft Word document) that they've just been invaluable. I'd be drowning in desktop windows otherwise.

Now I have a confession to make. I like this film. Even though it technically classes as an 'unnecessary remake' and I'm a terrible, terrible elitist when it comes to this sort of thing, I still like it. In my defense, I did see it before I saw the original Night..., but still...

The plot is, for the most part, the same as the original, but with a couple of noticable differences. Primary among those is the evolution of Barbara's character. In the original she was, I hate to say, a negatively stereotypical female - scared, useless and mostly catatonic when the going got tough. Here, she's embracing her inner bitch to the fullest and leading feminism to victory against the zombies. Or something like that, at any rate. She is played by Patricia Tallman (Lyta Alexander in Babylon 5), which certainly didn't do her any harm...

It is more gory than the original, obviously, as there's a bigger budget and Tom Savini to supervise everything, but the gore is realistic - the dead people actually look dead - wasted and withered where necessary, as well as deformed. Sometimes it's almost too real, and borders on being uncomfortable to watch, even.
sareini: default (Bub!)
Nick's awake at last. Probably won't come downstairs for ages though. Lazy bugger.

Night... was the beginning of the end. Dawn... was the collapse of everything. Day of the Dead tells us what happens after all that. It seems that all that remains of humanity are isolated pockets living in military bases and the like, and we follow one such group of scientists and soldiers, struggling to get on under increasing stress. Their new CO is a headcase with a short fuse who doesn't like the work the scientists are doing to try to understand and stop the zombies... which might not be too surprising considering that the head scientist's pet project is a 'domesticated' zombie he's called Bub. Bub can answer a phone, salute someone and knows how to use a gun... as well as not want to eat humans just because they're in the room with him. In the end, though, everything goes inevitably pear-shaped, the zombies get into the base and Bub gets his revenge on the mad CO who killed the doctor - he shoots him in the leg and leaves him for the other zombies to devour. He even manages a snappy salute before leaving.

Out of the whole Dead trilogy, Day... is the weakest. Beset by money and script problems, it's a miracle it got to our screens in the first place. THe human characters tend to revert to stereotypes too often, and it's probably not a good thing that one of the most sympathetic characters in a dead guy. But it's still an interesting way to continue/wrap up a series.

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