30 January 2012

On dancing

Last night, I dreamed about attending a dance. It was a ballroom dance on a wooden floor where the dancers wore woodskates and were followed by a gliding child with a brush, who removed all the wood shavings as they were created. In the dream, I was eventually asked by the assembled company to dance. When I politely demurred, they cajoled me. When I still refused, they insisted. When they physically laid hands on me and pulled me across the room, I extricated myself and left the room - making people angry, embarrassing myself and others, spoiling everyone's good time.

Woodskating aside, everything in that dream has actually happened to me on numerous occasions in real life.

I hate dancing. Or is that the right word? It might be more accurate to say that I have no interest in dancing. I don't understand it, I can't do it, I don't care that I can't do it, and I don't want to learn how to do it. I'm happy to watch other people doing it, but I won't be joining in. And this is something that seems to affront people. It's like I'm personally insulting them. The last time I danced was at a friend's wedding, after an entire room of people - friends and strangers, one of the latter group an announcer with a microphone - shamed me in unison. I was drunk, I eventually went along with it after holding out for as long as I could, but it tarnished the evening for me because I was publicly embarrassed into doing it.

The range of reactions to my reticence to dance has been wide - from concern ("Are you feeling ok?") through bewilderment ("What, do you hate music or something?") and pity ("It makes me sad that you're missing out.") to growing anger accompanied by a vicelike gripping of my wrist ("You will dance with my daughter and you will do it right now because that is the tradition and I won't have you humiliate her."). 

I don't think I've ever been peer-pressured into doing something against my will in my adult life. Except dancing. But there seems to be a social convention, and that convention is: dancing is fun, everyone dances, come on, dance. So if I feel pressured, I'll generally make my excuses and leave the room. That's how uncomfortable it makes me. Being made to feel that way is what I hate about dancing.

And now, horror of horrors, my brain has - out of nowhere - created a whole anxiety dream out of this feeling, a nightmare which has lingered and is being replayed in my head long after I woke up. I thought I'd write about it here as a form of exorcism. I'm sure it's of little interest to anyone else, like so much on this blog.

So, with apologies:

I feel fine.

I like all kinds of music.

I don't think I'm missing out on anything. Don't feel bad for me - just go and dance.

I'm sorry, but your daughter is just going to have to get over it.

14 July 2011

Street Trash

As livetweeted on 13.07.2011. I had very high hopes for this splatter film. As will become clear, it could have done with a lot more of the splat, and a lot less of the comedy. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of juvenile inanity. I just wanted more of the excellent melting/exploding scenes. Warning: spoilers follow.



'Street Trash' screenwriter, Roy Frumkes, once said: "I wrote it to democratically offend every group on the planet". Promising...

We open on a liquor store. A bum sneaks inside behind the owner. On all fours.

Instant LOLs: the owner cuts a huge fart in the guy's face. The bum steals a bottle of booze and legs it, the owner in hot pursuit.

The bum runs out in to the street, and causes a traffic pile up. There is quite clearly no one in the fast moving car. Awesome.

The bum thieves some money from another homeless guy as he rushes past him. So now there are several people chasing him.

He gets into a building via the fire escape. Unfortunately the place is on fire. He runs interrupts a couple mid-coitus!

Then all the NUDE occupants of the building run downstairs. As @injculbard just commented, this is very Benny Hill indeed.

Long story short: the bum loses his booze after some comedy involving a rubbish truck.

Cut to a different liquor store owner, who discovers a crate of old booze sealed up in the basement. It's called "Viper".

The street trash are generally played for laughs here. Apart from one big dude, who's some kind of badass boss.

His name appears to be Bronson. He drags a nerd out of a car and puts his head through the windscreen. Like I said, BADASS.

Oh, and btw the bum from the start got given a bottle of Viper while in the liquor store. But some other guy steals it off him.

So the dude who nicked the booze skulks off and finds somewhere quiet to drink. He chooses an old toilet in a wrecked building.

He takes a swig. Turns out Viper is bright blue.

Almost instantly he dissolves in garish blue and green. Some neat splatter effects. He melts down the toilet. HAHA!

Cut to a chick with a mullet (Wendy) waking up some homeless kid in a tyre yard. Her boss is an angry fat dude.

Basically she lets the street trash stay in the yard. She cares for runaways.

So it seems the liquor store guy is selling the Viper cheap to all the crazy winos, including one old mental case in particular.

He, in turn, comes across a cop investigating the nerd murder. He gives up Bronson and then retreats up a fire escape for a drink...

...at which point, he melts in dayglo yellow, dripping through the fire escape to splat onto the street.

And onto a passerby's face. He stumbles out in front of the cop from before, and then his face melts off.

So that's the cop involved. Haha, and when a woman complains to him, he accuses her of having a dick. LOL.

Cut back to Bronson, who seems to spend a lot of time molesting a homeless lady in her underwear. Seems he's a Nam vet.

He also has his eye on mulleted Wendy. Homeless lady isn't happy. She gets a punching.

Next up, we're treated to some comedic shoplifting from a black guy who sometimes wears a gas mask.

He fills his trousers up with food, then gets busted by a little old lady, who goes off to tell the manager.

He calls her an "old, wrinkled honky motherfucker". She's about 80. This has tickled me more than I can explain.

It's either the deadpan delivery or the vodka that I'm drinking.

Anyway, by now the cops have found the melted bums from before. They decide to go and have a word with Bronson the next day.

Meanwhile, Bronson is ranting about Nam to all the other street trash. He's a section 8.

I'd prefer a bit more melting and a bit less rambling at this point, if I'm being honest.

Now Bronson's having a flashback to the war. It features a lot of blue light and some Vietnamese vampires.

He wakes up and throws a hand grenade across the tyre yard. Meanwhile, our original bum, Fred, hooks up with a wrecked prostitute. [EDITORIAL NOTE: It turns out that she's not actually a prostitute. She's a drunk woman vomiting in an alleyway wearing slutty 80s clothes. She stops spewing long enough to tell Fred to stick it in her deep. So that's where that confusion arose.]

He takes her back to the tyre yard. Where disturbingly it looks like everyone else is planning to get in on the action.

The sex-crazed winos drag her outside for a really bad end to the evening. This sits very uncomfortably with the general comedy feel.

Meanwhile, the cops penalise one wino who refuses to give up Bronson by forcing him to shower and giving him clean clothes. Nice.

Cut to Wendy being sexually assaulted by her big fat boss. No one's face has melted off for ages. Then a dog licks his nuts.

The boss discovers the presumably dead body of the woman that all the bums attacked last night.

And then we get an amazing scene where Bronson cuts a dude's dick off and all the winos play catch with it. Yes, really.

Cue about 5 mins of slow motion cock flying through the air while everyone laughs and the owner tries to get it back.

Back to the cop. He has all the best lines: "Hey, come on. I read like old people fuck."

There's some awesome tough talking in the police station.

So it turns out the woman who got gang raped to death was a gangster's moll. The gangster sends a goon to kill Fred.

The main cop intervenes and there's a laughably bad fight scene involving possibly the funniest headbutt ever.

Then the cop puts the goon's head in a urinal AND MAKES HIMSELF PUKE UP ON THE GUY'S HEAD.

Hold on a sec, I need to get some more vodka.

So it looks like the cop is about to try and take on Bronson single-handed.

Btw the gangster is played by Tony Darrow, who was Sonny in 'Goodfellas'. The guy who owned the Bamboo Lounge.

He's the best actor in this by quite a long way.

Anyway, back to our cop. He's investigating the junk yard. He gets shanked up by Bronson. They have a fight.

Which the cop loses. It's unclear whether he's dead at this point. Whatever. Bronson pisses on his body.

Cut to Fred, who's back at the liquor store. "Fuck you," he says. "Gimme a bottle of booze, here's my dollar, suck my dick." Class.

To which the owner replies, "Here's your booze. Suck your own dick, you schmuck." Haha!

Fred's parting shot: "Go fuck your dog, Ed." He leaves with a bottle of Viper. Bring on the meltdown.

Fred's about to take a drink of the deadly booze, but gets distracted by a big, fat bum doing the same...

The big, fat bum swells up and explodes. It's the best effect so far. Lots of blood and guts everywhere, lots of slow motion.

So Fred now realises that Viper kills you real bad, and runs to tell Ed.

But on his way, Fred lets himself get mugged by one of his wino enemies, who steals the Viper and takes a swig of his prize...

...and then melts in bright purple and orange. Hilariously gloopy effects.

Back at the liquor store, Ed decides to take a taste. He melts in brilliant orange splatter.

Now this is what the last hour should have been like.

Anyway, back to Bronson. As the winos bury the dead cop, he has some more flashbacks about Nam.

One of the winos gives him a bottle of Viper... Looks like Bronson's going to get it!

No! His crazy homeless girlfriend snatches it and takes a drink. She melts out of her boobs in green and yellow. It's amazing.

Meanwhile, it looks like Wendy's about to give up the goods to her young homeless friend, Fred's brother.

Or she would have done if Bronson hadn't smashed in the door and gone postal.

Btw, did I mention that Bronson's weapon of choice is a knife made from the leg bone of one of his buddies in Nam?

No? Well, I should have.

Bronson chases the kid around the junk yard for what seems like ages, but is probably only a few mins.

Fred suddenly pops up and lobs a bottle of Viper into Bronsons's face. Bronson calls him - and I quote - a "fuckworm".

Must remember to use that sometime soon.

So Bronson starts strangling Fred, while Fred's brother (who I think is called Kevin) lines up a gas cylinder and knocks the end off.

The cylinder goes flying at Bronson, and SMASHES OUT HIS HEAD, NECK AND CHEST. It's surprisingly well done.

Wendy comforts Kevin. Credits.

Haha! And among the credits we get a scene of Tony Darrow menacing a doorman who called him "Nick the Dick" earlier.

His goons find a bottle of Viper in his pocket, and the gangster takes a drink.

And then, as the main credits roll, we get an awesome comedy/threatening song from the now-dead gangster in character.

What a weird, weird film.

I think it could have done with some serious trimming in the very baggy middle section, but the start and end were great.

In conclusion, I'd recommend this to... you know, I'm not really sure. It's offbeat, funny, tiresome, low budget fun. You decide.

Some good effects, some good gags. You've just got to wade through a lot of increasingly dumb japes to get to them.

12 July 2011

Hellraiser: Hellworld (aka Hellraiser VIII)

As livetweeted on 23.06.11. Surprising as it may seem, 'Hellraiser: Hellworld' was an absolute stinker. And while it turned out that I was wrong about a few things, the film receives 0% kudos due to the appallingly bad ending which eventually (after a lot of stupid bullshit) materialised. Warning: spoilers follow. Spoilers in which I get more and more enraged with this sloppy nonsense.



Full disclosure: I love the 1st and 2nd films. The 3rd was ok. The 4th was crap (despite featuring Pinhead in space). And then I gave up.

I'll tag everything with #hellwo. Beer prep almost complete. [EDITORIAL NOTE: I wasn't quite as prepared as I thought. I actually went to the shop to buy more beer about halfway through. As will become obvious, I ended up getting very drunk before the end.]

Right, so we start off with some ominous music. Some topless guy is digging in a basement. The he screams for no apparent reason.

It's like that bit at the end of 'The Rock' where Nic Cage has those green flares. But shirtless and in a cellar.

Credits. Wait a minute, Lance Henriksen's in this? And so's Henry Cavill, the new Superman. And a bunch of people I haven't heard of.

It's a funeral. There are some nuns. Lots of slow motion weeping.

Portentous shots of the inside of the church. Some extremely shonky acting from some mourners.

They're a group of young friends. The dead guy topped himself. Apparently they were all addicted to playing a game... 'Hellworld'.

Urgh, they're appalling. If only there were some way that they could all be ripped to pieces with hooks by some kind of demon.

This blonde chick from the group goes up and opens the coffin for some reason. There's something weird in there. It grabs her!

OH THANK GOD IT WAS ALL A DREAM

So she wakes up, there's a knocking at the door. She looks through the spyhole... no one's there. Then there's more knocking.

This time, instead of looking through the spyhole, she just unchains the door. She opens it to reveal...

The chattering cenobite! Oh, except it's just one of her dull friends wearing a chatterer mask.

So these jerks are all playing 'Hellworld', despite the death of their pal. I'm going on record right now - it wasn't "suicide".

They've all reached a level where you solve the puzzle box and then get invited to a secret Hellraiser party. At Leviathan House.

This is all so meta. WHY DOES EVERYONE STILL HAVE THEIR SKINS ON?

Despite the fact that they've all "given up" playing the game, they've all now individually solved the box online and got invites.

They drive to the party. It's in a big mansion. "This is soooo rad!" one of them proclaims.

Ok, shit just got real: Lance Henricksen is the host of the party.

His office is like a Hellraiser museum. But he's definitely not at all sinister, and is totally on the level.

Ok, big chunk of exposition about the mansion being a convent. Eventually the last nun "went to pieces" *trombone noise*

In the basement, there are a load of jars filled with dead babies and weird specimens. Also a giant hook. For some reason.

Lance suddenly jabs the blonde girl (Chelsea. Of course.) with a pin, and she starts hallucinating Pinhead all up in her grille.

And then everyone immediately forgets about this. Not in a plot point sort of way. Just in a poor filmmaking kind of way.

So Lance gives everyone a mask with a 4-digit number and a cell phone, so they can anonymously engage in the pleasures of the flesh.

Say what you will about this film (all the main characters are hateful, it's full of cheap jumps), but Lance adds instant class.

The English member of the group sees a sign saying "KEEP OUT" on a door. Guess what she does instead.

She finds a weird chair with hand clasps. And of course she sits down in it. Oops. Now she's trapped.

Spinning blades start whizzing at her neck while Lance hams in her face. She gets bled out, and Pinhead laughs behind her.

Chelsea thinks she sees her dead mate, Adam. She follows, but gets locked in an empty room.

I like how Lance Henriksen keeps popping up. He really is 100% awesome. Meanwhile, more "imagined" scares, which are just annoying.

Jake, the miserable one of the group, goes into a room where everyone ignores him. Truly, HELL ON EARTH

Uh oh. The asthmatic one of the group just dropped his inhaler. Noooooo! (except quieter, and more gaspy).

Chelsea's still locked in a room, and Mike's getting an anonymous blowie. This is a lot less interesting than you might think.

Hilariously, the asthma guy is having to run down about 30 flights of stairs to find his inhaler.

And when he gets there, it's behind a vent, which he has to unscrew... Phew, he got it!

He decides to have a little lie down on what looks suspiciously like a surgical table while he gets his breath back.

And then Pinhead whacks his head off with a cleaver. Ok, I'm down with that. But there's just no tension at all.

Meanwhile, Lance appears to be digging graves outside, and Jake's following some nun (DEFINITELY NOT THE DEAD ONE) around.

If it turns out that the whole mansion is one big puzzle box, this shit's getting turned off.

Now Jake's screwing some nude woman, who definitely isn't a dead nun. Then he has a dream about dead Adam.

Chelsea rings the cops. They turn up. They can't see her through the window. It's annoying.

Next up, Mike's blowjob woman takes him down to the evil basement so he can "return the favour". I really hope she has a helldick.

Oh, instead she just locks him inside and runs off. Boooooring.

Of course, he find headless asthmatic Derrick. Then... well, you all remember the big hook from earlier, right?

Yeah, the hook which Lance said to watch out for. It hooks him through the back.

Chelsea's managed to get outside, but her car won't start. Inside, Jake's somehow remembering what happened to dead Adam.

Which is that he covered himself in petrol and burned himself to death, having dug himself a grave in his basement.

Chelsea finds a cop, who's just about to radio for help when Pinhead pops up and runs a stake through his face.

"You still don't understand," he says. "There's no escape for you, Chelsea."

So she runs back inside. All the partiers have vanished. There's a lot of pointless running around.

Lance is somehow able to monkey around with the phones, so he can pretend to be other people. It's like he's some kind of demon.

"It's this house", someone says, "It's like it's playing with us." Huh. Like it's some kind of PUZZLE BOX?

So now Chelsea's being chased around by her dead mates, who are like superlame part-cenobites.

Lance calls her up and ominously drops a pretty big hint that the house is a puzzle box. It turns out I'M the one in Hellworld.

Jake's gone to Lance's creepy office. There's a chattering cenobite behind him, reflected in a window. He grabs a dagger...

Turns around... and shanks Chelsea in the neck. His phone starts ringing... it's Chelsea.

And now the body is gone from the office. "Maybe we're already dead," Chelsea opines. Sigh...

"Maybe we're in hell, where we belong, for not saving Adam from 'Hellworld'". You fucking bunch of douches.

In the attic, Chelsea finds a file with a big group photo of the douche brigade, all hugging like idiots.

Now Jake has a new theory - it's all in their heads, it's not real. Solution: don't be afraid.

Ok, and the big reveal is that Lance is dead Adam's mysterious missing dad. I really want to hurt someone.

He pops up, and Chelsea ROUNDHOUSE KICKS him off a balcony. But then, impossibly, he's in front of them outside the house.

They run off and stumble across a row of graves. "It's us," says Jake.

In an insulting twist, it turns out that they've all been buried alive, with breathing pipes, since near the start of the party.

They were all drugged with a brutal hallucinogen. The phones were in there with them so he could give them subliminal suggestion.

Their own imaginations did the rest. Or something.

And then the police rescue her. All the others actually died in their coffins - one of asthma, one of sheer fright, etc

Oh, Jake survived, too. Booo.

And THE GHOST OF DEAD ADAM CALLED THE POLICE ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

Cut to Lance, swigging vodka in a hotel room, his revenge foiled.

But what's this he's found in his suitcase? It's a puzzle box. Oops, probably shouldn't have played with it...

Pinhead et al turn up with some large blades. They chop him up.

Cut to Chelsea and Jake driving off into the sunset. But guess who's in the back seat of the car? Lance fucking Henricksen.

Cut to the police finding Lance's hotel room. It's covered in blood, and the puzzle box is on the floor.

Cut back to Jake and Chelsea. Lance grabs the wheel and tries to swerve them off the road.

They're both like "What?" As am I. I mean, it's just an insultingly bad ending.

I don't... I just can't... There are no words to express how cheated I feel by that film.

No atmosphere, totally tacked on Hellraiser theme, lame deaths, underuse of cenobites, and used every crappy horror trick...

...without ever being remotely scary. Or interesting. Or worthwhile. Seriously, fuck this film.

In conclusion, I would recommend this film to no one. And that's the first time I've had to write that at the end of a livetweet.

And I've livetweeted some truly horrible films. Still, at least I got drunk. That's something, I suppose.

Thanks for putting up with all that. I can't apologise enough. I feel like I might have ruined your night by association.

I appear to have lost 1 follower. I don't blame them, whoever they were. I thought it would be more, to be honest.