Category Archives: Film

Forget Die Hard, Night of the Comet is the Xmas feminist flick you should be watching

There is the same BS debate every single year: is Die Hard a Christmas movie? Do we really care?

No. And FYI, the answer is yes, it is a goddamn Christmas movie. However, there is a far superior action-packed 80’s flick you should be watching instead.

If you are like me, not only would you have noticed the distinct lack of estrogen in Die Hard, but asked yourself: where are the goddamn zombies?

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I’ve got you covered, sis. Night of the Comet is undeniably the underrated 80’s Christmas action-packed disaster flick you’ve been searching for and probably narrowly missed out on all this time.

Why, you ask? Here’s the 411.

Night of the Comet doesn’t rely on a unrealistic macho hero and a wealth of phallic symbols just to re-enforce the idea that women need to be saved and one man can somehow cut down an entire terrorist organization in one night.

In fact, it centers around a sisterly relationship.

The film starts with Earth passing through a comet, an event the whole world is excited for and conveniently forgotten about the fact that the last time it happened, the dinosaurs were wiped out.

Predictably, this event again wipes out majority of the Earth’s population. Unless, you were sleeping in a steel encased room, or perhaps ran away from your bitch of a stepmom and spent the night in a metal shed.

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Protagonist, Reggie, who avoided this comet fallout, is a competitive, independent 18 year old who is badass at computer games. She knows how to wield a gun (her dad taught her) and is having a casual fling with a guy she works with in the movie theatre (her “promiscuity” actually saved her life.

Reggie’s pretty forward thinking for an 80’s female teen character. She instantly realises there is something up after leaving the movie theatre, and fights off a zombie to boot!

 

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Sam, Reggie’s little sister, is more of a cliché silly teen, but she has some redeeming qualities, such as her spunky attitude and ability to bounce back from the constant crap thrown at the gang of survivors.

The film has everything you want from an 80’s genre flick – guns, action, violence, comedy, awesomely 80’s prosthetic make-up and special effects. And the night of the comet happens to fall at Christmas!

If I haven’t sold you, Bloody Disgusting named Night of the Comet in their Top 10 Doomsday Horror films back in 2009.

The flick is currently on Netflix so check it out if you’ve had enough of the same old Christmas films re-hashed from year to year.

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The Strain Review (Spoilers!)

Original review: http://www.snatchzine.com/blog/2014/9/19/small-screen-the-strain-review

The New Breed of Vampire Is… A Worm?

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The Strain is attempting to redefine vamps. After some rather unfortunate mishaps in the shape of Twilight, every single vampire-related form of entertainment media has been unfairly tarnished. The Strain, however, is taking more of an I Am Legend approach (not the Will Smith movie, people! The novel) and the premise is fairly interesting. Basically, you are infected due to some parasitic worms invading your body (anyone remember Animorphs?) and taking over your brain, essentially killing you and possessing you will some form of demon (like in Buffy, when they would be, like, demon, but still them, yah?).

The only thing is, well, the execution of this rather interesting re-invention of the vampire genre is pretty poor. With some sterling acts on board like Sean Austin (The Goonies) and of course, the legendary Guillermo del Toro, I must admit I had much higher hopes. Perhaps that is the problem? There is one thing for sure though, it is pretty addictive but no consolation for the end of True Blood.

The other major issue with this new series is the distinct lack of really interesting and powerful female characters. *yawn* No surprises there! The main female lead, Dr. Nora Martinez, may be a biologist and therefore highly educated P.H.D. holding woman but both lead men are still expressed as her superiors. Dr. Ephraim “Eph” Goodweather is her boss, head of her CDC team and Abraham Setrakian is a professor (arguably to doing both in intellectual terms).
As well as this, she just continues to re-enforce gender stereotypes.
Unlike the men, she cannot bear the thought of killing one of these vampiric creatures, as she still sees them as human. The two men, Eph and Abraham, have a no mess, straight-forward attitude. They try to keep it together and realise the realities in which they face – they must kill these infected humans (many of which died prior to infection anyway). Nora becomes very upset by the idea of killing and temporarily refuses to help. While Nora isn’t presented as necessarily weak for this choice, she is no doubt the more emotional and irrational party.
Nora is also madly in love with her superior, Eph, and they previously had a sexual relationship when he separated from his wife. However, her love is very much unrequited. Eph is still in love with his ex-wife and is desperate to find her and insure her safety after discovering her new boyfriend is infected and attacks their son. He makes it pretty bleedingly obvious that all Nora is to him is a sexual comfort and colleague. Although he obviously harbours more affection for her than his other colleagues, it appears she is a close friend with benefits. Nora obviously maintains hope, however, and continues to be his lapdog and take second place to his wife.

Aside from Nora, the other female characters are very underdeveloped and similarly steeped in stereotype. They are all obviously intelligent (in fact, every single character appears to be highly educated) but in one way or another cut down to size. Jim Kent’s wife is portrayed as a strong and dominant personality yet she is completely reliant on her husband due to the fact that she is dying of cancer. Nora’s opinionated mother suffers from dementia and Dutch, the British computer hacker has a mess of a personal life. Dutch is presented as being very self assured, yet she had no idea why she was hired to close down computer systems in the area. She is also very cliched, as it is implied she had some form of sexual relationship with her house mate (who then stole from her), is British (therefore liberal) and well, a computer hacker (therefore weird, alternative and offbeat).

While the men are by no means un-flawed, there are many more male characters to pick from and they are the ones who ultimately have the power. The sexual fluidity of characters and no end to the number of strong females featured in True Blood obviously makes it the better show. Sorry Del Toro, maybe stick to the movies.

Verdict: 7/10

Frankenhooker: A Feminist Reading

9 things Frankenhooker teaches us *spoiler alert*:

1. Women are more than pieces/bodyparts…

Elizabeth just couldn't digest the wine like she used to...

Elizabeth just couldn’t digest the wine like she used to…

2. You can’t control a woman

Elizabeth just couldn't contain herself.

Elizabeth just couldn’t contain herself.

3. Prostitution should be legalised for reasons of control and safety…

Lost your head?

Lost your head?

4. There is no perfect woman

her thighs were 0.5cm short of being the perfect size...

her thighs were 0.5cm short of being the perfect size…

5. …But everyone is perfect to somebody (even if you have purple nipples)

he always wanted a white faced, purple haired beauty...

he always wanted a white faced, purple haired beauty…

6. Women’s sexuality is powerful

sadly his dream girl cost him his head

sadly his dream girl cost him his head

7. …And so is their sexual appetite

Foot fetish?

Foot fetish?

8. Also, Elizabeth sufficiently gets her own back on her selfish Frankenstein boyfriend…

oh baby, you feeling a little off?

oh baby, you feeling a little off?

9. …And manages to emasculate him too! (Never mess with a scorned woman, dead or alive!)

Oh, you didn't want DD?

Oh, you didn’t want DD?

TV: Lizzie Borden Took An Axe

In 1892…

Lizzie Borden took an axe

And gave her mother forty whacks.

When she saw what she had done,

She gave her father forty-one.

Photo Taken From mylifetime.com (Credits: Chris Reardon)

Photo Taken From mylifetime.com (Credits: Chris Reardon)

Lizzie Borden was clearly not fond of her parents, and subsequently has gone down in history for her acts of brutality against them. Note: it wasn’t actually that many ‘whacks’. Borden was acquitted and the case is subject to much debate to this day, could a woman really kill her own parents? I’d like to think she did, possibly just because it’s dramatic and an axe is a pretty bloody way to slaughter your own parents. Plus it makes a far more interesting horror movie and she burnt a dress covered in ‘paint’ just a few days after the killings – cunning! (were people really that naive back then?)

Anyway, as well as public debate, Lizzie inspired non other than a rock band (go figure?), I thought here is as good a time as any to add some much needed hair metal action:

Moving on from that (FYI the band are still going, but they sadly have lost their glam metal essence…)

This year horror veteran, Christina Ricci will be taking on the role of Sunday school teacher turned hatchet-weilding killer, in Lifetime’s exclusive made for TV movie, Lizzie Borden Took An Axe.

I am super excited that we, here in the UK, are now privy to this brilliant channel – home to The Witches of East End! We have no official date for the UK Lifetime channel’s airing… but the movie will be gracing US televisions on January 25.

Thanks to Bloody Disgusting, we can finally see some video footage that is available for our region! Woop! So, here it is!

Lizzie-Borden

Spreading Christmas Ch…FEAR!

So we thought of doing a little list of horror set at Christmas… but, that is so boring and overdone… so instead we are going to tell you what we are watching and looking forward to this Christmas…

Tradition: Treevenge

This is a tradition, for approx 4 years now, we have watched this short film EVERY Christmas. If you do nothing else on this list, just check it out… you won’t be disappointed. (not for the faint hearted.. hehehe)

Watching: Black Christmas

Okay, so this is probably the epitome of Christmas horror.

It is arguably, the first slasher film, and it definitely set off the whole sorority girl massacre idea anyway. Except this doesn’t include stupid girls running around half naked, instead featuring intelligent college girls (according to the movies, they don’t exist anymore, at least not within sororities… hmm!?) and tackling a lot of real issues around sexism.

In our humble opinion, the film is actually the most frightening horror film we have ever witnessed. It sends shivers down your spine, even for a hard core horror buff. If you are looking for a real scare, sit down with a cup of hot chocolate, a nice warm fire and this is the perfect fright to snuggle up with a loved one in front of for a truly chilling watch this Christmas!

Listening to: She&Him/Steel Panther

She&Him – Baby It’s Cold Outside

If you didn’t know, Zooey Deschanel sings… and the videos for She&Him, her little duet/band? are brilliant… definitely channeling a psycho/slasher vibe here!

Yeah, we are also listening to Steel Panther, because there is a Steel Panther song for EVERY OCCASION… so if you like your mince pies mixed with a little metal, this one’s for you:

Can’t Wait For: Tusk

Okay, so we don’t know when this is gonna happen, but… Kevin Smith is currently plotting a horror film… we are super excited!

Skip to 5mins in…

Or give this a read

TV: Penny Dreadful

A teaser trailer has been released for the up and coming tv-series, Penny Dreadful, created by US channel, Showtime with Sky Atlantic co-producing.

The show will star Josh Hartnett and Eva Green and is from the mind of John Logan – you will know him from writing Skyfall, The Aviator and Star Trek:Nemesis to name but a few. American Beauty‘s Sam Mendes will also be serving as co-producer. So, with such great minds behind it, what is it going to be about?

Taken from the name of cheap, serial fiction magazines – think comic books of the 1800’s, the show will entwine the tales of all of our favourite classic literary horror characters including Dracula, Dr Frankenstein and Dorian Gray into a realistic (albeit supernatural) setting of Victorian London… Sound interesting? We think so.

Eva’s character is, according to well-trusted internet encyclopaedia, wikipedia, “a force to be reckoned with”… Ohhh, I say! Here she is in action:

Hits the small screen next year… will you be watching?

Film: Carrie (2013)

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Directed by Boys Don’t Cry‘s Kimberley Peirce, Steven King’s debut novel’s third screen adaptation finally hit the UK today.

First off, I was very skeptical about the idea of re-making Carrie – was there any need? The original was so brilliantly executed. But what I like about remakes, is that it brings in a whole new generation of fans; something simply re-releasing a film just can’t quite achieve in the same way.

I was very happy to see Kimberley Peirce at the helm, with Hollywood so engrossed by male directors, it feels natural for such a female centric horror film to have a woman’s gaze.

Kick Ass‘s Chloe Moretz was a great choice for the lead – she has the quirky, awkward good looks that lend themself to the character of Carrie. She is also hot off the set of Kick Ass 2, with a feisty role like Hit Girl behind her she can believably do some real damage and attract the viewers. She is a very likeable Carrie, probably more so than Sissy Spacek.

I was excited as soon as I heard Julienne Moore would be taking the role of Carrie’s insane devote mother, as I don’t think there is a role she couldn’t master. Give Moore any vibrant, complex and strong character to work with and she will. Even as Margaret White, she expertly grasps the paradox between loving mother and abusive evangelist, making her both a villain and yet someone to oddly empathise with all at the same time.

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The film stayed true to the book, with some changes from the original script yet plenty of satisfying homages to the 1976 feature. Overall, I felt the film really did women in horror a justice – it stood on it’s own against contemporary horror titles, giving newer viewers a good watch, while keeping Carrie fans happy.

Carrie has an appeal that somehow hits both genders: maybe it’s the name of Stephen King behind it, but to me, it proves that men can enjoy a female fronted horror that doesn’t show women running half naked from a killer, empathising and even relating to the tale of a teenage girl. And Carrie really is very female focused – all the villainous incidents are instigated by women, as well as the gestures of kindness. The males only serve as vehicles for the action, plot devices that encourage and/or instigate the women’s actions.

Carrie is a dark tale, it is horrific but not terrifying. This goes for all the incarnations, and this interpretation definitely maintains the chilling factors that make it a classic.