Tag Archives: horror

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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Film: The Babadook (2014) **SPOILERS!**

Okay, so I am a bit late on the bandwagon with this one, but let’s just say it takes a little time to digest! I had to review this female centric, female written/directed flick – yet in order to take a feminist POV I needed to get my thoughts in order and ask myself whether or not I found the film lady liberating.

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First off, I thought I was in for a classic dark fairytale, a children’s nightmare come alive. Little did I know…
The Babadook could be taken as this, on the surface, but is it? Is it the monster under the bed or is it a documented psychological breakdown of a mother and her child? One thing is for certain though, this film is harrowing and nasty – in a good sense.

Amelia is a single mother, an ex-writer who is struggling to get by working in a nursing home and functioning with very little sleep. The latter issue is caused by her overly imaginative son, Samuel, who is suffering from constant nightmares involving monsters. What is distinctly haunting about his phobia, is his worry for his mothers’ well-being. While most children would see their parent as their protector (and her constant checking for the closet gremlin does show she is in many respects) he is also acutely aware of his mothers’ own vulnerability.
One night, Sam picks up a book for his mother to read in order to sooth him back to sleep. This book is entitled, The Babadook, and it becomes increasingly aware this isn’t a nice book.
Samuel becomes convinced that the nasty monster contained within the book is now haunting himself and his mother. Amelia is shaken up by the book, just as her son and tears it up and throws it in the trash. The book, however, reappears at her door in broad daylight and now contains an extended storyline: The Babadook, a nasty monster you can’t vanquish, has made it into their home, possesses Amelia and causes her to kill her dog and Sam. The Babadook then calls her house phone, eerily groaning his own name. Amelia is terrified and burns the book, hoping it will finally put an end to the terror. But the Babadook has other ideas.

Amelia is an interesting protagonist, it is difficult to place her as feminist, yet she isn’t irritatingly weak. She is an incredibly human and relatable character. She is not a typical devoted mother – she is clearly completely disheartened by her sons mischief (not only does he suffer night terrors but also creates havoc at school, ultimately being taken out of the environment). At times, it is clear, while Amelia loves her son, she equally can’t stand him. What makes this all the more understandable is her tragic labour – while on the way to the hospital to give birth to Sam, her husband is killed (visibly beheaded right in front of her eyes) in a car crash. The mix of pregnancy hormones, labour pains and grim sight of her husbands death makes Amelia a ticking time bomb of sanity that you can’t help but feel empathy for. Imagine losing your husband in such a horrific way while giving birth to your son. I can only imagine how lonely, difficult and full of pain the months following the accident must have been. Pregnancy and Post natal depression is known to be a trigger of many other psychological conditions.

However, it is unclear whether this storybook is a figment of the imagination, shrouding Amelia’s mental illness or if it is a real supernatural creature.

Another point I noted was a joke between Amelia and her co-worker (who is clearly interested in her!) where he approaches her laughing about her being in her “rightful place” – the kitchen. While it is obviously irony, the scene made an impression (and not just because I am a raving feminist), but because Amelia, in every sense does not fit the stereotype of housewife or mother. She is cold and awkward at the best of times when it comes to the relationship with her son, and any romantic suitor. Her attempts at cooking for herself and her son are basic, and at one point she finds glass in her soup – apparently put there by the babadook, according to Sam.

While Amelia’s character isn’t a feminist one, and neither is she particularly strong – if we take the film on it’s literal meaning, she ultimately takes control and subdues the monster, saving her son. If it is a metaphor for her breakdown, perhaps it isn’t quite so powerful – but in her own head, she has defeated the babadook and survived the terror, so even if she is the evil in her own story she is not ultimately the one punished (which is mildly refreshing when regarding evil/crazy women…)

In conclusion, Babadook is a disturbing and horrifically dark story. Either one of a psychological nature or a monster hidden under the bed. It is expertly crafted by Kent and appeals to a wide audience, whether young/old, female/male. The acting is nothing less than superb and it plays more on thought provoking horror than cheap thrills – a masterpiece that will play on your mind just like any good horror should.

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

Link

Feminist Horror?

Feminist Horror?

Found this interesting article on feminist in horror… I do feel there is a growing trend of female-fronted and orientated horror, let’s hope the trend keeps growing! 🙂

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

American Horror Story: Coven – Best yet?

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Women are on top in this season of American Horror Story, and I have been dragged in headfirst by its spellbinding premise.

Every episode keeps getting better and better. I will warn you though, this is no Charmed.

Zoe loved her boyfriend, honest.

Zoe loved her boyfriend, honest.

The beauty of this show is it doesn’t gloss over the horror, it embraces it and aims to shock. These witches cover all bases: they aren’t all beautiful, young, slim (and somewhat undressed). They are a mixture of all races, all sizes and all abilities. Some have powers we’d all love to wield, others have powers that are more akin to a curse.

The show takes horror head-on tackling issues of gender and race. It takes a graphic and unapologetic look at themes of rape, slavery, incest and torture.

Heartwarming stuff, no?

American Horror Story veteran, Jessica Lange, yet again steals the show as the dreadfully brilliant queen witch, or bitch if you prefer. With the usual suspects of former AHS: Taissa Farmiga, Sarah Paulson and Lily Rabe providing first rate performances yet again. As well as some outstanding newcomers to the franchise: Kathy Bates, Emma Roberts and Angela Bassett.

If you haven’t tuned in yet, and my recommendation hasn’t yet tickled your taste buds for some frightening female fronted terror, here is a video:

So, do you agree? Is this season the best so far? Vote Now…

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