Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Great Rugby Tornado... cont.

Well there have been news hounds traipsing up and down my garden all day according to my long suffering lady wife Louise.

I also had the time to get in touch with the BBC, and this is what they put on their web page!

Just so you know, that's not my garden in the picture, but the trampoline looks familiar...

The elderly relatives weren't actually mine, they were elderly and had relatives... lost in translation I guess.

The Great Rugby Tornado

Over the years I've had various reoccurring dreams... most of them are horrific in nature, probably due to all the films and violent video games that I play. Some of them are weirder, like one where I'm at a presidential election where the person to win is the one who can sink a basketball shot from a certain distance.

But one that I've had on and off is the one where I witness a hurricane from the safety of my mum's living room. I casually watch out the window as trees and cars are flung about and I marvel in the destructive power of mother nature, all from the comfort of my home.

Well I wasn't at my mum's but I was at home when my dream came to reality. (I'd have preferred the dream where I'm rich to come true, maybe next year I'll have that one?)

I was sitting on my sofa whilst my long suffering lady wife Louise was ironing through a huge pile of wrinkled clothes. My daughter (9 months now!) was sitting on the floor playing with her toys. The TV was on and we were enjoying an episode of Community (check it out on Virgin Media, it's very good) when all of a sudden shit happened.

Something out the corner of my eye made me turn to look into the street from where I sat, it was the bush outside my house reacting to strong winds. I watched as the wind started increasing in ferocity, my wife said something I couldn't quite make out as the noise of the wind was growing. My ears popped, due to the atmospheric pressure I assume and then the fence panel from my garden was pulled up and out, which made me realise what was happening.

I picked up my daughter but was at a loss what to do next. Was I supposed to hide under the table, or was that earthquakes? Was I supposed to hide under the stairs? I had no idea. Both my wife and I stood there like rabbits in the headlights, whilst we waited for the tornado to pass.

It had gone as quick as it had come, just like a nervous client at a brothel. So I went out to assess the damage. The street was littered with roof tiles from houses across the road, my bins were knocked over, recycling trash littered the floor. A plant pot (not mine) sat on the front garden, and two fence panels were where they shouldn't be. Not too bad I thought, the car was intact and I checked my roof for missing tiles, which there weren't any.

It wasn't until I went round the side of my house to the back that I realised my garden was where the real damage had been dealt. First of all the fence panels were either damaged beyond repair or vanished. One was in a tree at the bottom of my garden. The metallic shed that my wife had recently spent a few hours tidying, was lying on my neighbours patio but the contents still stood where they had started. A trampoline from four houses down was outside my kitchen window and my neighbours garden that they looked after so well, was covered in glass from their greenhouse and various other debris

I called my mum up, as you do in these situations, as she's also local, and was upset to hear that she'd been alone when it had hit and was quite shaken up. She also told me that she'd heard a horrendous howl and seen rain going horizontally!

I couldn't quite believe what had happened, but what happened next really touched me. Our next door neighbours, the ones with the greenhouse, are an elderly pair of sisters and really nice ladies. Shortly after the tornado had hit, her family and some neighbours descended on her and cleaned up her garden. There was a real sense of community spirit around the whole area which I felt hadn't been around since world war 2 (I'd imagine)

My faith in humanity was restored... now I just have to pull some money out of my ass to fix my fences and get a new shed. Thanks for that God/Mother Nature/George Lucas.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

The Making Of...

Shortly after I finished College, I toyed around with the idea for a series based on a group of people making a movie. I'd forgotten about this idea till a bit later and then tried to improv the whole thing with some friends. (Some of which you can still see on Youtube)

We failed. It was a huge undertaking and we didn't have the time or commitment to be able to pull it off.

But as David Brent said "A good idea, is a good idea for life", so after being quite inspired recently after our filming of a script I wrote (The Sandwich) and one I co-wrote with my penpal Alex (The Dude, The Bitch and The Dead), I've decided to go back to the original idea and do something with it next year.

So if you happen to know anyone looking for a film project, fancy getting involved or would like to read some of the first drafts, then send me an e-mail. < The making Of (the subject line)

I'll update you as and when any news of this project emerges.

Ciao for niao

When is too much entertainment too much entertainment?

Not so long ago people complained that they had 80+ TV channels but there was never anything on that they wanted to watch when they wanted to watch it.

Fast forward to modern day and "On Demand" television has destroyed that previous complaint that we had. Now we can watch all those TV programs, sometimes entire seasons or series, whenever we want to watch them.

But a new complaint has arisen, just to prove that mankind is never happy. The complaint is this "There's too much to watch". Yes, we've gone from no choice to too much choice.

Now we come home after a hard days slog and there's a list as long as the full version of Free Bird, of must see TV that we have to watch before the world implodes! But there's just not enough time in the day to watch these programs and the fun of watching them is hampered by the daunting amount of time that needs to be dedicated to them, and to make matters worse these shows just keep coming.

I'm currently watching the following:
Breaking Bad Season 3, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Community, Damages and The Borgias. These are all on demand using Netflix or Virgin. However I'm also watching tv shows that are on during the week, like The Apprentice and Homeland. When am I supposed to watch all of this stuff?

Netflix is great for TV Shows, but damn their oily hides for having so much stuff on there!!
And that's just television! I also have an xbox, with a large array of games that I'm currently playing.

I'm currently playing the following:
Warriors Orochi 3, Skyrim, Gears of War 2, Kingdoms of Amalur, Metal Gear Solid HD, Silent hill HD and have just got The Witcher 2.

Skyrim, Kingdoms of Amalur and The Witcher 2 alone is over 60 hours worth of game play at the very least! I'm not even going to get into the amount of Xbox live arcade games I'm also in the middle of...

What about seeing friends? Making the movies I'm trying to make? Seeing my wife and child? It seems that I have too much entertainment to entertain me with and not enough time to be entertained.

The only possible way that you'd be able to focus on this so called entertainment would be to become a hermit. Then you could watch all those tv shows, complete all those games and die alone and miserable, like most of the characters I've made on The Sims.

So what is the solution? Sell the xbox? Focus on the one tv show? Get a clone?

I don't know, but I'm seriously considering winning the lottery, maybe then I'll have the time?

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Half Arsed Review: Evil Things

Warning, another Found Footage horror has been made, and this time it's about a group of people who go to a house and are never heard of/seen again.

Sound familiar? It should do, as this is the premise for most found footage horrors. The footage is found and the bodies aren't.

Evil Things has five friends go up to a remote cabin that belongs to one of their aunts (Gail). During their car journey we get to meet them a bit better, there's Leo the camera guy, Mark the everyman, an overly dramatic girl called Cassy, a girl who is celebrating her 21st birthday and who looks like Miranda Hart but is called Miriam and some fickle ill bitch who whines and moans for the entirety of the film named Tanya.

As they travel the snowy roads, they have a duel-esque face off with a van. The van driver acts like a real dick and puts the Willey's into the teens by beeping his horn, speeding in front of them then slowing down, and by driving really slowly past them when they're eating in a road side cafe.

They are so creeped out at one point that they drive off and are suddenly attacked by a waitress telling them they've forgotten something and hands the startled passenger the item that she had left in the restroom. I didn't see what it was but I think it was feces.

When they finally do get to the house in the middle of nowhere, there is no electricity. Not a good start when it's freezing outside and you've got some weirdo stalking you in his van. Suddenly a vehicle drives up to the house and the young friends get the fright of their life when someone begins banging on the door! OMG, is it the van driver? No, it's friendly Aunt Gail to tell us that the power is out.

She somehow magics the electric on and then she goes off back into the frosty night, leaving them to their certain deaths and probably on to another niece of hers who's staying at camp Crystal Lake.

It's then revealed that it's Miriam's birthday and she gets a cake, and she didn't expect a cake... yeah whatever. The next morning the guys try to get the girls to go for a walk in the snowy woods with them, all of the relent as it's Miriam's birthday present apparently. I say all of them, but I mean all of them except Tanya, who lays on her bed and bitches and moans about the whole thing. Why the hell did they bring this bitch!? She's the biggest Killjoy since time immemorial!

Anyway, the kids go off into the woods and before long are lost. They start panicking! How on earth can they get back to the house now they're lost? Quick thought... how about you look down to the ground and follow your FUCKING FOOTSTEPS!!! It's not even snowing and it never crosses their collective minds to just follow their footsteps back the way they came.

Then there's creepy noises in the woods, OMG is it some kind of Blair Witch? They do the only sensible thing and run off in different directions, before finally finding the house again.

When they're all home safe and sound, guess who turns up. Friendly Aunt Gail? No, the Van Driver. They get a knock on their door, they find a video tape, and play it to see they've been filmed whilst they were sleeping and that the Van man has his own camera.

The Van driver then attacks, although you never see him attack and most of them are "killed off" outright. The final bits are a homage to Silence of The Lambs as the over dramatic Cassy is filmed on night vision by the Van driver as she tries to get out. Also, the Van driver is making the same noises as the strange creatures we never saw but heard in the woods.

It ends with a figure viewing all of the found footage, before seeing the next group of victims from the killers cam.

Was it any good? Meh, it was okay. It had some good ideas but never really paid off. The threat was formulaic, although the sfx of the Van driver/creature sounded good. For me the acting was a little OTT at points and I at least wanted to see Tanya get dismembered.

It's not a bad lost footage film, there are so many that are a lot lot worse than this. (Episode 50) But it never quite reached it's full potential in my opinion.

Rent it and make your own minds up.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Half Arsed Review : YellowBrickRoad

If you're looking for a well thought out, dark and foreboding (and more importantly, scary) horror film, then this film isn't for you.

If however you are looking for a surreal mystery headf**k of a movie, that never apologises for the fact it has less knowledge about the events of the movie than the viewers, then give this a whirl.

The set-up is pretty good: The population of a small town got dressed in their finest outfits and then all left to walk on "The Trail", some of them were found later, frozen to death or succumbed to some form of brutal murder, but others are still unaccounted for. The one lone survivor's voice is played to you at the beginning of the movie where he keeps asking if the interviewers can hear the noise...

What follows is bizarre to say the least. A team of would be investigators go off to the town where it all happened, the locals aren't best pleased to see them, apart from one who is desperate to come with them. The deal is struck, she shows them where the trail starts and she gets to tag along to their certain deaths.

I hate to say it as the found footage market is over-saturated, but this is a movie that would have worked better as a found footage mockumentary. Instead it's filmed like any other horror, which works okay, but the whole mystery of what happened (and ending) would have been better being left even more obscure.

For most of the movie I wondered if the main guy was actually the same actor who played Shane from The Walking Dead... it annoyed me so much that I IMDB'D the SOB, and found out that no. It wasn't. They're not even related. But in some shots, he looks just like him. So I've saved you some frustration there.

Spot the difference?

Speaking of the actors, they're all adequate. None of them pull an Oscar performance out of their ass but none of them are dreadful.

So the first half of the movie is just them walking. Walking on the trail, stopping to have interviews with the behavioural psychologist who is tagging along to make sure he documents their deaths... I mean, mental state.

Suddenly they start hearing music and before you can say "Oh my god, this music sounds really messed up and I'm not sure we should be continuing" one of them is dead. This act of violence was signposted for me, as the increased tensions in the group and the fact that this particular pair seemed more annoyed at each other than anyone else, suggested they'd be the first to go. I even knew what would spark the fatal argument off... I didn't however expect the act of violence that occurred to happen. It was so unexpected, what was done, not when, that I just stared at the screen with my jaw slightly unhinged.

The rest of the movie, especially the end, I realised that my mouth was never fully closed, as my brain was frantically trying to process exactly what was happening on the screen. The music that was playing became worse as they progressed and the actors did a good job of portraying their reactions to certain parts of the sound collage.

Did I enjoy the film? Well, yes and no. I enjoyed the theme and surrealistic nature of the whole movie, but couldn't help feeling that they could have used some more scares.

The film Rubber was a nod to all films that had "No Reason" in it, and this movie wreaks of No Reason. So if you like your movies unexplained and messed up, then take a look at this (free on lovefilm player atm) but if not then skip this movie like it's your gcse year and you've got double science (which you haven't done your course work for) this afternoon.