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Saturday, 28 December 2013

Happy New Year... and A Quick Update!

Hi All,

Welcome back! I hope you all enjoyed a good Christmas, and had a lovely day with family, friends et al. I also hope you got lots of horrifically lovely gifts too.

This is just a quick update, to let you know that I'll be back in the New Year, with a comprehensive and detailed review of the recently-released Synapse Steelbook releases of DEMONS and DEMONS 2, that I received just before Christmas, from the USA.

These lovely little items are still available from DiabolikDVD, so if you don't live in the USA, and you have any kind of love for either of these two 80's classics, then head over to Diabolik's site, and purchase both immediately, as they are sooooo beautiful and lovely. If you live in the United States, then they can be ordered directly from Synapse themselves.

Have A Happy New Year everyone, and stay safe through the rest of the holiday season, and I'll see you all back in here in a couple-of-weeks or so.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

This Is The End, My Friend!

Welcome back, one and all.

In spite of the thread title. this is not the end of the blog! God, no! We've reached the end of another year - my third one running and writing this blog, and we're now speedily heading towards 22,300 viewers, which is great news! I am humbled by your continued support, and appreciate you all coming back week-after-week to read my ramblings.

As we come to the end of 2013, I have decided this time, to list some films that I feel you should all own. Some new, some old, some you'll know well, and some you'll probably never have heard of. Yet all are releases that should be on your shopping lists this Christmas, either for yourselves or your friends. There's nothing better than treating yourself at this time of year. After all, you deserve it!

They're in no particular order of preference, but for more info on why, just see the text next to each film. I've grouped them, under various headings, depending on your own particular preferences. All should be relatively self-explanatory, and I hope you find them all of interest. Every film has been given an official release, at some point in time, somewhere in the world, but you may need to do some hunting-around to obtain some of these titles, though major sites like Amazon and DVD Diabolik are always great starting points!

Gore-Hounds
If you are looking for gore, for extreme violence, for stuff to shock and offend, then the following titles will more than adequately do the job. Just don't gift these titles, unless you really, really know the person very well! These are the kinds of films wars break out over!

  1. SNUFF 102: This truly nasty, vicious little shocker comes from Argentinian director Mariano Peralta. Released in 2007, the film follows a female journalist interviewing an author who is also a serial killer, about snuff films, serial-killers, and the myths and legalities that surround these topics. When she uncovers the fact that the author is also a killer, she becomes his latest victim. One of the toughest and nastiest films to watch, this is really going to push most people's tolerance thresholds. It's unremittingly savage, and makes CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST feel like a gentle stroll. However, if you enjoy your gore, then this is a film you need to own. It's as close to real-snuff as I think you will ever get. I cannot express how brutal this film is. Thankfully, it's all fake, with extremely realistic special effects, but be warned, this is NOT an easy watch. If you can find a legitimate release of this, then get it. The 2-disc US release from a company called Massacre Video, includes a load of special features and behind-the-scenes material, as well as interviews with the cast and crew.
  2. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST: It's a classic, and it has a reputation that proceeds it, and that reputation has been well-earned. A bunch of film-making students head out to the Amazon in South America, to prove that cannibals and cannibalism is still alive and well, but end-up going on a violent rampage, and upsetting the locals, ending-up being cannibalised themselves. When a noted New York University rescue party are sent out to look for them, they discover some 16mm film cans. The footage is brought back to New York, and screened, with graphic results. Many people will be put-off from viewing this film, due to the all-too-real and unrepentantly sick animal killings, of which the film has many. So, if you are that way inclined, do not view this film! But if you can put-aside what happened to make this film, Deodato's movie is one of the truest, most audacious horror films ever made, and it should be on every horror film fan's shelves! The best version to get, is the Region 1 version which is a 2-Disc Limited Edition Collector's Edition version, courtesy of Grindhouse Releasing in the USA. Failing that, then the Region 2, 2-Disc Ultrabit Collector's Edition from EC Entertainment, in the Netherlands is also a worthy version. Ideally, though, you should get both.
  3. PHILOSOPHY OF A KNIFE: Need an endurance test? Want something that will really desensitise your moral compass?! This four-hour-and 40-minute extravaganza is ideally suited to do just that. During World War II, the infamous Unit 731 existed in Japan to perform secretive biological and chemical warfare weaponry. Many of the barbaric experiments included tests on human subjects that would be considered - by any means of the word - obscene and repugnant. The film is a fictionalised portrayal of the unit and those experiments, split into two parts, both running to well over two hours each! Created by notorious Russian arthouse/experimental film-maker Andrei Iskanov, it is both a documentary and a feature film, blending the two, till you won't know which parts are which. Shown from the viewpoint of a Japanese nurse who was a witness to the barbarism and a Japanese officer sympathiser. who demonstrates feelings of tenderness towards an imprisoned Russian woman, yet forced to partake in the experiments from his seniors, as human guinea pigs. This notorious film is truly horrific and insane in equal measures. Many have found the extreme duration a turn-off, but if you watch the film in two parts, over two nights, then it's less of a endurance test. However, it's no walk-in-the-park, that's for sure. Containing some of the most harrowing and brutalising scenes of violence committed to film, this film demonstrates just how far you can push yourself. Bearing in mind much of what is depicted happened in real-life, this will either help or hinder you to watch this shocking film. Just be aware, it really is very nasty!

Off-The-Beaten-Path
Want something very different? Need a film that no one else has heard of, or that most won't even be aware of its existance? These few selections will be right up your alley.
  1. ALICE: I've always liked Jan Svankmajer, the Czech surrealist animator, but this twisted version of the classic Alice In Wonderland tale, is definitely a novel film, and one quite unlike any other version of Alice In Wonderland ever made. Probably Svankmajer's most accessible work, and ideal for most audiences of 10 years of age, and over, this will suit those who want something more family-friendly, but still tick those check boxes of being very weird and wonderful. Even if you are an older viewer, this is still highly freaky stuff! Available in the UK as a Dual-Format Region B/2 Blu-Ray and DVD combination set from the British Film Institute, this is a great work, that even hardcore horror fans should enjoy. The film can be viewed in the original Czech with English Subtitles, or the popular dubbed-English version, and comes with plenty of extras too. Heartily Recommended.
  2. DEFENCELESS: A BLOOD SYMPHONY: Now, this is a very different film. A 90-minute rape-revenge thriller from Australia, filmed in colour, in almost near-silence! Suasanne Hausschmid stars as the woman who refuses to cave-in to local land-developers determined to exploit her beach-front property. Refusing to sell-up, the developers decide to take matters into their own hand, and begin a cruel and profoundly intense psychological and physical attack on her, to get her to change her mind, leading to a terrifying rape sequence. Almost entirely dialogue-free, with some striking sequences set amongst the beautiful Austalian coastalside, this is an intriguing remake/reimagining of I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE. Available from the USA on the Subversive Cinema label, and can be picked-up quite cheaply now.
  3. THE GIRL NEXT DOOR: It may have the same name as the 2004 romantic comedy with Elisha Cuthbert, but this couldn't be any more different, if it tried. Based on US horror author's Jack Ketchum's book of the same name, which in turn is based on the real-life events of Sylvia Likens in 1965, this is a real blood-chiller. A teenage girl and her younger, disabled sister, whose parents are both killed in a car accident, are taken in by a seemingly kindly neighbour, and her three sons. What the girls soon start to realise, is that the woman and her sons are as far removed from their external squeaky-clean demeanour as they could ever imagine. When the woman starts to terrorise and persecute the girls, the elder one steps-up, but soon things take a terrifying twist, when she is tied-up in the basement, and tortured over many weeks. A genuinely shocking film, that will make your skin crawl, I cannot rate this film enough. Most of the violence is unseen, but what remains is a chilling indictment of "family values" behind closed-doors and white picket fences in suburbia. Not since THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE has a film developed the theme of terrorisation so unbelievably realistically, and so utterly heart-wrenching. The ending is unremittingly bleak, but it's none the worse for it. Don't watch this, if you need an upbeat finale, because this film delivers the exact opposite. An underrated delight!

Around The Globe We Go
Some of the best extreme cinema, comes from non-English-speaking territories. If you are willing to, then there are some amazing gems to be discovered.
  1. GROTESQUE: The Japanese have always done excellent gore films, ever since the 1980's and the infamous GUINEA PIG franchise gained notoriety. This 2009 psycho-shocker is no less sickening. Famously banned in the UK in August of the same year, this short but graphically-repellant 80-minute film starts off with a young couple being kidnapped by an insane man. Taken to a warehouse in some undertermined secluded district, the couple are told that once the torture is over, if they promise to keep schtum, they will be released. Little do they realise, that the killer has other plans. Whilst not the most shocking film ever made, if the film catches you in a certain frame of mind, it'll either be brutally harrowing, or laughably awful. I've watched it twice, and had two wildly-different reactions to it. With minimal dialogue and character development, this is very much a film focussing on the torture and manipulation of two people who are the least deserving of such brutality. But despite the occasionally rubbery effects work, there's still a lot to admire here, and the finale still packs quite a shocker too, when you work-out exactly what the killer is going to do. For that reason, it's worthy of a viewing.
  2. MARTYRS: The French have been producing some of the best horror films, for the past 10 years now. LA HORDE, INSIDE (aka A L'INTERIEUR), FRONTIERES, and SWITCHBLADE ROMANCE, (aka HIGH TENSION, aka HAUTE TENSION) are all worth your time and money, but MARTYRS is the one that will get most horror fan's attention. A terrified young woman runs along a street, covered in blood, screaming at the top of her lungs. Why is this happening? Where did she come from, and more importantly, how did we get to this stage? All is soon revealed, when the film backtracks, and we meet the girl for the first time, arriving at a doctor's house, before she shotguns the doc's entire family to death, in one of the "jumpiest" moments you will ever bear witness too! What unfolds is a genuinely shocking, and really very disturbing treatise about sociological experimentation. Containing some truly brutal gore scenes, this is a film that grows on you, with repeated viewings. The final half-hour or so, will test even the most hardened of gorehounds. It really is exceedingly nasty in every aspect, and the final resolution will make your jaw drop! Is this is the future of horror, then I say Vive La Francais! Also check-out the other French horrors, and see why they are now steamrollering past the USA as producers of some of the mos innovative and original horror films in recent years!
  3. PRINCESS: Animated horrors are few and far between outside of Japan, but occasionally, you'll get a truly original and audacious piece of work, like this Danish flick from Anders Morganthaler. Mostly animated, with occasional live-action scenes, this is another film that is strictly adults-only! When a porn actress dies of drug abuse, her clergyman brother returns home from his Misssionary work and takes the woman's five-year-old daughter under his wing. Overwhelmed with grief and anger at his sister's death and discoverey of her alternate life as a porn star, he decides to set out for revenge. What follows is extremely shocking stuff. Moreso, when the clergyman starts to incorporate the five-year-old in his revenge. A dark look at the real-life lives of porn actresses, mixed in with bloody and controversial violence, the animation is very well made, and the decision to use that medium, certainly pays off. Interesting, confrontational, audacious, PRINCESS is not for the faint-of-heart, but it's a worthy film to see!

Funny Ha-Ha
Want a side-order of laughs with your gore, then these four films will more than do the job!
  1. EXCISION: A one-of-a-kind horror, destined to become a cult-classic, if ever I saw one. Richard Bates Junior writes and directs this outrageously dark and ultra pitch-black horror-comedy. A stunning blend of John Waters and THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE, in which a high-school girl desperate to become a surgeon, is forced to toe-the-line by her devoutly religious mother, whilst she watches her younger sister's illness start to debilitate her more and more. Raucous, foul-mouthed, edgy and very provocative, this is one of the best independent films ever made. Guaranteed to make you laugh, and shock you too! For a full review, clck this link  here  and you can read more about what I thought.
  2. FEMALE TROUBLE: Talking of John Waters, who I'm a very big fan, if you're looking for an anti-Christmas Christmas film, then you can do no better than this lurid piece of filth from the Baltimoreian! Cross-dressing, cult-movie icon Divine stars as Dawn Davenport, as a spoilt teenage brat, who runs away from home on Christmas morning, when she doesn't get the exact gifts she wants from her parents. (A pair of Cha-Cha Heeled shoes!) After being sexually-molested by a sleazy motorcycle thug, she heads into town to make a name for herself, and nothing and no one is going to stand in her way - not even an unwanted pregnancy.As is tradition with any John Waters film, this is rude, crude, and delightfully tacky and gross. With another great 50's and 60's bubblegum pop soundtrack to hum along too, this is a hilarious send-up and spoof of good-girl-turned-bad melodramas, that filled drive-in cinemas all those years back. If you watch this alongside Waters' hit PINK FLAMINGOS (1972), then you'll have yourself a very trashy, delightfully kitsch and utterly foul double-bill. Just be prepared to lose your lunch, whilst you simultaneously split your sides!
  3. DEAD SNOW: Another comedy-horror film, that I really rate. This low-budget Norwegian gut-muncher has nazi zombies, medical students and a hint of Edvard Grieg to boot. When some final-year medical students take one last break from their studies, before plunging head-long into the world of work, they decide to go for a little R-&-R at Øksfjord, in a log-cabin owned by one of the gang. Once there, they meet a "tourist" who warns them not to mess around and respect the local traditions, as the area they are in was once a Nazi Stronghold. Desperate to ignore him, they unwittingly unearth some treasure, but then find themselves being slowly killed-off one-by-one, until they finally take matters into their own hands, in gleefully gruesome fashion. With numerous homage's to other films, this is still a bona-fide masterpiece in my view, simply for trying to at least attempt something a little different with the zombie-movie genre. The acting is light and fun, and the grue is plentiful. A great way to spend 80 minutes, and most releases come with a great 90-minute Making Of documentary too. On top of this, a quasi-sequel has been recently announced, due out in the early part of next year!
  4. MEET THE FEEBLES: Peter Jackson, of THE LORD OF THE RINGS fame first came to many horror fans attention with two great shock movies: BAD TASTE and BRAINDEAD (aka DEAD ALIVE). However, he also filmed this delightfully sick and fucked-up shocker. An adults-only version of THE MUPPETS, MEET THE FEEBLES follows a young porcupine called Robert, trying to break into The Feebles TV Variety Show Hour. The oddball cast includes a (literal) shit-eating bluebottle, a deranged hippo, a drug-addicted rabbit, a Vietnam Vet called Wynyard, and many other, gleefully twisted puppet creations. A riotious, and extremely funny 90-minute comedy, with some very shocking moments that you won't soon forget. If you can get this on DVD, do so, as it's a cracker! As it was originally filmed in 4:3, all DVD prints are in this format. Any film that has a song-and-dance routine that is an ode to Sodomy has to be given a once-over!
Out of that baker's dozen, any of these will please the gore-met in your life, and if you want something to treat yourself this Christmas, then all are worthy of owning too.

With that all said, all that's left for me to do, is to wish you the warmest of Season's Greetings for (I hope) an enjoyable Christmas and New Year. I may post one or two minor tidbits of information between now and the end-of-the-year, but if not, then I will see you back here, at the start of January 2014. I look forward to seeing you all back here very soon.

Friday, 15 November 2013

A Blast From The Past: A Trip Down Tartan Lane!

Hi Folks,

Just a short, but slightly surreal, update for you all today.

Any of you who viewed foreign-language films, either at the cinema or on VHS tapes back in the 1990's, would probably have heard of a film distributor by the name of Metro Tartan.

They famously started-up in 1984, fouded by Hamish McAlpine, and released films under the Metro Tartan label for cinemas, and then as Tartan Films, Tartan Video and Tartan DVD on the relevant home viewing formats. They brought foreign-language films to a wider UK and US audience, including the works of Ingmar Bergman, John Woo,Werner Hezog, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Nanni Moretti, and many, many more. (Wikipedia has a list of all of their films, which you can access  here  for full information, including catalogue numbers.) They are also credited with introducing the UK to the whole Asia Extreme phenomenon, and created a DVD label with the same name, bringing the works of Takashi Miike and others to UK-shores. Alas, Tartan Films ran into financial troubles in June of 2008, and went into administration. Although resurrected as Palisades Tartan, it's not quite the same label, though it still focusses predominantly on Asian-language movies.

But my reason for bringing this subject up, was because any of you who purchased one of their films on VHS tape, will probably remember they used to start their tapes with an amazing trailer reel, accompanied with one of the best pieces of instrumental music I've ever heard. The trailer reel showcased the following films:
  • Providence (1977, Alain Resnais)
  • The Fireman's Ball (1967, Milos Forman)
  • Three Shorts By Hal Hartley (Various, Hal Hartley)
  • The Tune (1992, Bill Plympton)
  • Simple Men (1992, Hal Hartley)
  • Kwaidan (1964,Masaki Kobayashi)
  • Onibaba (1964, Kaneto Shindô)
  • The Ploughman's Lunch (1983, Richard Eyre)
  • La Scorta (1993, Ricky Tognazzi)
  • Trouble In Mind (1985, Alan Rudolph)
  • Equinox (1992, Alan Rudolph)
  • The Red Squirrel (1993, Julio Medem)
  • In The Soup (1992, Alexandre Rockwell)
  • Cinema Paradiso: The Special Edition (1988, Giuseppe Tornatore)

Later versions included scenes from John Woo's HARD-BOILED as well, but for the most part, the Reel stayed the same for many, many years. If you wanted to show people why World Cinema was not boring, this was the way to do it. Show them this, and you'd certainly peak their interest!

The trailer featured an amazingly beautiful and upbeat piece of instrumental music. For a long time, I never knew what it was, until I discovered the Trailer Reel on YouTube. Zimbabwean band The Bhundu Boys performed the piece, and it's called "My Foolish Heart / Waerera".

And this is what it looked like. (Thanks to YouTube user Stribbler for unearthing this gem!)




This is not only one of the best trailer's ever made, in my view, but I love the music. The full-version can also be found on YouTube, but I attach it here, for your enjoyment. (Thanks to YouTube user ARoseGrowingOld for the track.)




Once you've seen and heard the trailer and song, you won't forget it. This is just such a great combination of imagery and sound, and I miss seeing this on my Tartan DVD's. It was a crying shame of being ommitted, but nonetheless, everyone who loves film should see and hear this at least once. And this is why I'm sharing it with you folks, my dear blog-readers!

I'll be back, next month with an end-of-year round-up/Christmas List of unusual, offbeat, erotic or extreme titles worth purchasing or owning. For now though, it's goodbye from me. See you back here shortly!

Saturday, 9 November 2013

RE-ANIMATOR: A Blu-Ray Review

A Warm Welcome To You All,

If you were a horror film fan in the 1980's, then there was one film, that every discerning collector wanted to own. A jet-black comic remake of the classic H.P. Lovecraft short story, which became the hit film from Stuart Gordon. We bid a warm welcome to 1985's RE-ANIMATOR.

Following the exploits of a deluded young scientist called Herbert West, (played to perfection by Jeffrey Combs), he develops a serum-agent that purports to bring the dead back to life, with horrific consequences. Determined to conquer the brain-death barrier - where a human life expires but the brain can supposedly still potentially be brought back from the brink of absolute death, within a minute of expiring - West first tests his serum on a Swiss Doctor, resulting in a very bloody death before the opening credits. Exiled for his controversial scientific theories, he arrives at the Arkham Institute, and moves in with Dan Cain, a fellow Med School Doctor-in-training. But Cain soon can't keep himself from trying to find out why West is so secretive. His discovery of what he's up to is both side-splittingly funny, and genuinely creepy.

One of the finest horror films ever made, now, or in the 1980's, this is a monumentally enjoyable film, that has been released in many different versions over the years. Three versions technically exist:
- The Uncut Theatrical Edition,
- An Integral Version, or Extended Director's Cut, and
- A TV Version.

There are, of course, many censored, cut or butchered versions, but we will ignore these for the moment, as they have no real bearing on things. All three main versions have been released on different formats over the years, in one manner or another, and with varying degrees of censorship being applied to them. However, as of September 2013, Amazon Germany has been stocking this new release from German Blu-Ray company Capelight (Alive AG), and my, what a splendid release this is!

Released in the form of a Mediabook - a format much beloved by Germans for many cult and horror movies on DVD and Blu-Ray - this lovely little item is handsomely packaged as a 2-Blu-Ray, 1-DVD triple-disc Limited Collector's Edition set, for about 28 Euros / £27 / $37. (Amazon.de are currently out-of-stock, and the price has now skyrocketed to 44 Euros / £36 / $59, so keep checking back to see if more copies are back for sale!)

On the first Blu-Ray disc, you have the Original Uncut Theatrical Version of the film, here labelled as the "Unrated Version". Running to about 86 minutes, and presented in HD in full 1080p High-Definition, the film has never looked better. Although this is a German release, there are multiple audio soundtracks to select from. The main ones being: German DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, and an English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono for the original soundtrack as heard back in cinemas in 1985. Completely removable English and/or German subtitles are also available, for those who wish to have access to them.

The print is the nicest I have ever seen it look. Detail is there, in every nook and cranny, especially with a film that has lots of shots of human body parts, and close-up's of heads - living, dead and re-animated. Colours are all clearly delineated with no bleeding or other problems. Hair strands on people's heads and skin can be seen in crystal clarity. This really is a stunning image and a pristine presentation.

Accompanying the Original Uncut Theatrical Version, are two audio commentaries, a music-only audio track featuring Richard Band's memorable homage to Bernard Hoffman's PSYCHO score. There's a previously released, 65-minute documentary called "Re-Animator Resurrected", a batch of 16 deleted scenes, an extended scene, plus interviews with Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna, screenwriter Dennis Paoli, FANGORIA-editor Tony Timpone and one with Richard Band as well. On top of all of this, you also have three multi-angle storyboard sequences, a trailer and a TV advert to work your way through.

Moving onto the second Blu-Ray disc, here labelled as "Integral Cut", you get the rarely-seen Extended Director's Cut, running to almost 20 minutes longer than the Theatrical Edition, and this - for me at least - is the main reason to buy this set. The extra footage has all been re-scanned in 4k by a German film laboratory, to make sure it doesn't jar with the Theatrical Version material, and it looks mighty fine too.

Spread throughout the film's 1hr 44m running time, the film becomes a lot more dramatic and leisurely-paced, but it is certainly none the worse for it. In fact, I personally feel that this Extended Director's Cut is superior in many aspects. There are additional scenes never seen before, mostly extending Dan Cain's relationship with Megan Halsey (a memorable performance from a young Barbara Crampton), as well as more footage of the deeply demented Dr Carl Hill's antics, portrayed equally memorably by actor David Gale. Some additional gore, violence and nudity is also included too, which adds some additional "meat" to the film, but if you haven't seen the film in a long time, you may not notice where all the extra material has been inserted into the film. But that's a good thing. It's nice to just enjoy the film with fresh eyes, and not care where stuff you know well ends and material that you haven't seen begins.

Once more, the film is presented in full 1080p High-Definition, and is accompanied with multiple audio soundtracks, including German DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. And, as before, completely removable English and/or German subtitles are also available.

Now, here's the bonus: what Capelight don't tell you, is that a third version of the film is also included, as an Easter Egg. Insert the second Blu-Ray disc, select "Einstellungen" (Languages), then "Untertitel" (Subtitles), then "Aus" (Off), then - on some Blu-Ray players/drives only, you may also need to press Enter/Select - and the infamous TV Version will now start playing!

Running to just over 80 minutes, and presented here in a non-letterboxed, 4:3 full-frame version, and in Standard Definition only, this additional version of the film is really meant to be viewed as an extra for completists. The print used is not looking great, and the sound is English Stereo 2.0 only. I don't think there are subtitles either, though you may wish to double-check this, just in case. What makes the TV Version worth a look, is that aside from removing much of the gore and violence - for obvious reasons - it pads out the running time with material that, to my knowledge, is not in any other version of it. The footage only amounts to a few seconds here-and-there at most, but it's still worth a watch once, just to see what the editors had to do to make it suitable for American TV networks in the 1990's.

The third and final disc, the DVD, contains just one version of the film - the Original Uncut Theatrical Version, in German and/or English Dolby Digital 5.1 only, plus most of the extras from the Blu-Ray's. The image looks great, but when compared to the Blu-Ray, it's never going to be anywhere near as brilliant. And to be fair, this set is very much aimed at the Blu-Ray collector. The DVD is very much an after thought, purely so you can watch the film elsewhere, such as a portable DVD player, for when you are out-and-about.

Topping everything off, there is a 24-page, full-colour booklet inserted into the middle of the set, but understandably, it's in German only. Most of the writing is a discussion on the film, the differing versions included in this set, and some interviews with the main cast and crew. I'm sure it's excellent to read, but as a non-German, it's not something I can comment upon. Still, it's nice that Capelight made the effort. It's always nice to see film companies go that extra mile for their fans.

This is truly an essential purchase, and I cannot recommend it highly enough! It's a great film, given wonderful treatment, and containing something for any fan - new or old - of this bloody, and bloody funny horror classic! Simply put, you owe it to yourself to buy this, as soon as possible! I doubt that this release will be improved upon for a long time!

Just before I end this review, I should mention that there is a 5-disc Edition being released in Spain, as we speak. However, this is an inferior release, in my view. You get the Uncut Theatrical Version on Blu-Ray and DVD, a CD of the complete soundtrack, a 48-page, full-colour booklet discussing the film's creation and production, plus in-depth interviews, plus a further two DVD's of extras - most, though not all, of which are included on the German Blu-Ray release. I've not been able to ascertain exactly what is missing from the German Limited Edition release under review here, but if any of my Spanish readers wish to get in touch, I will happily post the information on this review. For me, though, the exclusion of the Extended Director's Cut is an exclusion too far! For me, the three versions of the film, beat any amount of extra interviews with cast and crew, especially with two of those versions being in full 1080p HD. With that said, some of you might like to get this release. It is in English and Spanish, but I think it's not as good value for money as the German set. Still, each to their own, and the choice may be exactly what some of you want.

I hope you enjoyed this review. I heartily recommend RE-ANIMATOR, and if you've never seen it, watch the Uncut Theatrical Version, followed by the Extended Director's Cut. The former is faster, punchier, and snappier. The latter, is more involving and extravagant. Either way, though, it's one of the best horrors given one of the best releases ever!

Be seeing you!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

THE HOUSE ON STRAW HILL (1975) - A Blu-Ray Review

Welcome Back, Folks!

Severin Films have recently released the infamous UK Video Nasty THE HOUSE ON STRAW HILL (aka EXPOSE, aka TRAUMA) (1975, James Kenelm Clarke) onto a Dual-Format set.

The film is an interesting oddity, and it's nice to see a company essentially rescue such a work from obscurity. (More on this in a moment.) The film is set in Essex, in England, and follows Udo Kier as Paul Martin, an author trying to write his second novel, plagued with hallucinations and terrifying visions.

Retiring to a remote house in the middle of nowhere, (actually Hatfield Peverel in Essex, England), he is accompanied by buxom secretary Linda (Linda Hayden), who is there to look after Mr Martin and type-up his novel. But whilst there, Linda has other plans on her mind, and nothing and no one is going to stop her. At first compliant with Martin's demands, she then starts to turn on him, and those around him. In particular, the lady who looks after the house, Mrs Aston (Patsy Smart)

The film is rather slight, and the plot isn't the most demanding, but being a British-based "nasty", I was particularly enamoured with it, for daring to be different. It's a rather chaotic blend of sex and violence, (more of the former, not too much of the latter), that doesn't always work, but it's never boring. At a scant 84-minutes, it zips along at a fair pace, and you soon forgive any possible plot issues. Things like why Martin always wears latex gloves when he's about to have sex, or why Mrs Aston is so moody looking after Martin, when she's meant to be a housekeeper.

British 70's sex-symbol Fiona Richmond stars as Martin's girlfriend Suzanne, but she is rarely on-screen, and when she is, her acting is pretty attrocious by any standards. Most of her screentime, is her undressing, pouting, and/or getting it on with Martin.

Severin Films have spent a lot of time on this release, and whilst it will never win any awards for the picture and sound, they should be thanked for rescuing this film from relative obscurity. (The Blu-Ray comes with DTS-HD MA Mono audio only.) As a note at the start of the film warns viewers, the film no longer exists in a complete version. Severin had to blend together two 35mm film prints which were very bruised and battered, and a heavily water-damaged 35mm print, from a private collector, that has also seen better days. As such, the result is visually poor by modern standards. Hovering somewhere between DVD and VHS in quality, although there are no artifacts or blocking, and the film remains reasonably sharp for most of the running time, it's not in a great state by any means. Anyone purchasing or renting this film, will need to be in a very forgiving mood. AVATAR this isn't!

Colour is fair, but often shimmers and moves. Sometimes it looks great, other times muddy and ill-defined. There is a lot of dust, dirt and scratches on the print, along with some very noticeable print damage, reel-change issues, and occasional image stuttering - noticeably in a scene where Linda and Martin go for a drive. This is not a fault of the Blu-Ray, but of the original prints utilised here, and as such, viewers have to accept, that this film will never look remotely great, no matter how many thousands of dollars is spent attempting to restore it. Simply put, this is the best THE HOUSE ON STRAW HILL will ever look.

The British censorship history is a little checkered, and even the BBFC's own website isn't entirely clear of exactly what happened and when. However, I have managed to establish the following details, as a rough guide. Under the title of EXPOSE, the film was classified with the old "X" certificate on 12th February 1976, with cuts of around 3 minutes-or-so. Most of the excised material dealt with the violence (a throat being cut, and some other assorted knife-wounds), plus the rape of Linda, and almost all of the sexual material.

In 1979, Intervision released the film on Betamax and then VHS, under the same title. Some of these releases included the BBFC's old "X" certificate logo at the start of the film, but were in fact uncut, though it is not clear how any viewer could distinguish a cut version from an uncut one. (Luck, probably!) To make matters more confusing, video releases were given under both EXPOSE and THE HOUSE ON STRAW HILL. By 1984/85, and the whole Video Nasty scandal erupting, the then Director of Public Prosecutions had added all versions of the film, onto their hit-list of 39 Nasties, effectively banning the film from cinemas or video - at least in the uncut version.

Ten years on, and Odyssey Video resubmitted the film, and the BBFC removed just 51 seconds, predominantly the entirety of the rape sequence and the murder in the bathroom. This edition came out twice: on VHS with an 18 certificate in 1995, and again on DVD, also with an 18 rating, in the middle of 2002. This same edit, was supposedly released by Village Entertainment DVD, four years later, though no one I know was ever able to locate an actual version of it to purchase.

A few UK-based TV channels have aired this cut version on TV, including Channel 5, but none of the violence and none of the sex remains, reducing the film's run time to a little over 75 minutes - meaning viewers were probably left wondering what all the fuss was about.

The Severin Blu-Ray/DVD Dual-Format release, supposedly contains the complete and uncut version. However, with that said, I don't think this is entirely accurate. From my research, many people who reviewed the film in the past, have said that the rape scene is one of the most contentious in film-history, and that it appeared to go on for a "very long time". I have also read material, that suggests the rape is much more explicit, includes full-frontal nudity, and a lot more suggestion that Linda "enjoys" the rape, before she shoots her rapist - with his shotgun - and, on top of this - his injuries are far more bloody too.

Now, whether this is actually true or not, is impossible to determine. People's memory's are suspect at the best of times. Severin's release does the best it can. And for that, I can't fault them. The rape scene doesn't appear to be as nasty as history has suggested. Yes, it's not pleasant - but then rape scenes shouldn't be. (An issue I've talked of, in previous blog entries.) But if Severin's release, is indeed completely uncut, then the rape scene is very short - certainly under 50 seconds - and it's not particularly graphic. The most contentious part, is Linda miming masturbation of the shotgun barrel, whilst she is being raped, and the look on her face. Hence, the implication that she appears to be unperplexed by her situation.

But like I say, I don't want my words to sound like I'm condoning sexual violence, or agreeing with it, even in the context of a fictional horror film.

Overall, I suspect that this film would probably pass uncut today, with an 18, maybe even scraping a 15. The violence is very limited, and not especially nasty. Yes, there is some blood on breasts and crotches, but it's so restrained, as to be dated and ever-so-slightly ridiculous-looking. That said, the film is still enjoyable and an interesting oddity in the cannon of Video Nasties. By no means is it truly worth of its acclaimed status, but it's still a very worthwhile watch, as long as you know what you're getting.

What makes Severin's release truly great, though, is that the first 3000 copies of it come bundled with a bonus DVD, containing the old Anchor Bay two-part documentary BAN THE SADIST VIDEOS. (Copies that do so, are labelled with a sticker on the front-cover.) A compelling and detailed account of the whole Video Nasty event, from those involved in it: law-makers, via law-breakers, film critics to film collector's. Part 1 is about 50 minutes, and Part 2 is about 44 minutes. Both are in 16:9 anamorphic widescreen, and it's a really informative way to spend 95-minutes of your time. This was previously released in the UK only, on the two Anchor Bay "Box Of The Banned" DVD boxed-sets, with each set containing one part of the documentary. So for non-UK fans, this is your first chance to own a proper, official release of this really, rather brilliant doc.

Alongside this, the film itself is also included on DVD, for those who wish to see it in that format. I believe both the Blu-Ray, and both of the DVD discs are Region Free, so should play on any DVD or Blu-Ray players. However, that emphasis is on the should play. It's not guaranteed. So please be aware of this.

Accompanying the film, there's an audio commentary from the film's writer/director Kenelm Clarke and the producer Brian Smedley-Aston. I didn't get time to listen to that, so can't comment upon it, but it will probably be good for those wanting to know more about the film's inception, creation, and completion.

There's a trailer - which for some odd reason, despite appearing to be meant to be in 16:9 - is played in forced 4:3. Quite why this is, I'm not sure, but it looks like there may be a faulty encode on the Blu-Ray, but it's not a major issue in my books. More a minor irritation! And then last, but not least, a 14-minute interview with Linda Hayden herself. Still looking as beautiful as she did in 1975, she talks about her career, her film choices and why she doesn't like THE HOUSE ON STRAW HILL. The interview is good, but it's too short to be really interesting. Don't get me wrong, you'll enjoy watching it, and it is informative, but I wanted to know more about why she is so dismissive of THE HOUSE ON STRAW HILL. Considering her previous films, I wonder how much of her dislike is really to do with the films she chose to be in, and how much is an issue with the films content themselves. Still, it's a worthy extra. I just desired more. Though her slightly catty and scathing comments of her fans, is a tad unfair and unwarranted, in my view. This is definitely a lady wanting her cake and eating it!

Overall, though, despite the many flaws, I still think this is a great little release, and a worthy addition to your film collection. There's certainly no other film quite like it, and as a bit of Video Nasty history, it's never less than attention-holding!

Recommended!

Later on this week, I'll be reviewing another cult classic, that is a must-own on Blu-Ray, and is out in a lovely, 3-Disc Limited Collector's Edition. Stay-tuned...

Monday, 4 November 2013

Forums: Good For Nothing?

It saddens me, that in the 21st Century, too many online film/movie forums are run by people who seem to be of a very narrow-mind. That is, they run them like fiefdoms, without rules to which members can abide by or rules that are so open to interpretation, that they may as well have no rules at all. They also seem to be run by people who have only one view: that you can be a member of their forum, as long as you agree with everything they say and do.

That's not a forum, in my books. That's a cult!

Today, I find myself having my I.P. address banned from a particular online Forum, that is supposedly very well run, but for which I have no idea as to what I did or said, that required such drastic action. I won't name the Forum concerned, but it's a US-based one, as well as being one I've never talked of before, and seems to be very much run with a lack of freedom-of-expression in mind. If you agree with what everyone else says and does, then you'll fit right in. If, like me, you don't, then it seems you aren't welcome there.

If a forum is not for debate and open discussion, then what is its intended purpose, other than a hangout?

I've never been someone to just blindly accept rules and regulations. I always question those who create them, because I personally feel that if you don't, then you will merely be a puppet, to whom anyone can do whatever they like, and you will tacitly agree to every rule or regulation they create - which, as history has demonstrated - could lead to awful circumstances, such as Naziism and Communism.

Now, I am in no way saying that the Forum I have had my I.P. address banned, is being run by Nazi's or Communists. What I am saying, is that they aren't being run, in the way public forums should be.

Firstly, a good, well-run forum should have a set of clearly defined rules to which Members sign-up to abide by. These usually include obvious things like not posting pornographic links; to not abusing other members; to not swearing or using explicitly foul language (or bypassing any swear-filters the forum may choose to operate), and/or refraining from talking on issues such as politics and religion.

Those rules are all fair and right and just. I have no problem with any of them, and even though I do use strong language in some of my blog posts, my blog is aimed at those over 18, and has an age-barrier warning on it, that you agree too, before you can access and read it.

However, some Forums have no clear rules at all.

The one I've recently had my IP address blocked from, had no clear rules. They said that swearing wasn't allowed, but it frequently was. They said that personal insults and attacking other members wasn't allowed, but such actions frequently took place, and no one did anything about it. "Unfair" criticisms and complaints of companies weren't allowed, but what and how do you define something as "unfair". This particular Forum didn't define what "unfair" meant, so members frequently ended-up posting comments that breached this unwritten, ill-defined rule, or posted comments, only to find that their comments and many others alongside, were deleted in huge swathes, with no reason being given.

If you were given a temporary ban, no explanation was given. As soon as you logged-in, a screen came-up that merely stated that you had been banned until X date, but sans reason! There were no Admin to ask questions of. Their Forum Feedback Thread was filled with questions from members, new and old, going unanswered. Questions on their Facebook page also went without any response. And there was no way of actually contacting the Moderators or people who ran the Forum.

So, you have to wonder, what are forums for, if there are being run in such an awful way, and by people who don't want to let you get in touch with them?

I accept that I've never run a forum, so I don't know how time-consuming it can be. But I can make an educated guess. And I'm sure it's not all happiness and joy either. I'm sure, that running a forum, or any website, is a massive undertaking, and a forum may well be quite a thankless task. But if that is the case, then why run it?

My blog is never going to have the latest and most up-to-date information about horror films and extreme cinema. That was never my intention. That was not the kind of blog I wanted to operate. So anyone who complained that my blog would be better if I had interviews with famous people in horrordom, or reviewed the latest films, was always going to be sorely disappointed. But as I say, I never made any promises, to my readers, that my blog would be run in that manner. Firstly, I don't have the time and energy to devote to running it in that manner. Secondly, there are better, more intelligent sites than mine, that can do exactly that, and do it very well, without me trying to muscle-in on their niche section of the Web. Thirdly, that was never what my blog was meant to be in the first place. My blog, was, (and remains as being), somewhere where I post long articles about issues to do with horror and extreme cinema. Occasionally, I'll post a review, but that's not what my blog is about. It's first and foremost an article-based site!

But that is why people like you, dear reader, come back here. Clearly, you come here to read something different, and of variety. If you wanted the kind of thing that everyone else was doing, then you wouldn't be wasting your precious time, reading my articles. There'd be little point.

However, my niche, is that I am different, and that's why my blog is carving its own little niche on the World Wide Web, in the manner that it is. That is why my most popular article, is the one that no one else has attempted - a review of the controversial German shocker THE ANGEL'S MELANCHOLY - which you can read all about at  here  should you wish too. I have no intention with ever trying to compete with sites like the Internet Movie Database, or the BBC, or any of the major and long-established film-going websites. There'd be no point. I'd fail, and fail badly. But I can do something different to them, and what I can do, I like to think I do pretty well.

So, likewise, if I were to run a forum, I'd make sure from the outset what the forum is about, what the rules are, and what the forum's aim was. And if people broke the rules, then you have to explain to them why what they've done is wrong, and punish them accordingly. What you don't do, is jump down their throats within a week of joining, ranting-and-raving, that you've broken their rules, and when said member asks where they can find those rules, gets given a week-long ban, and fails to answer said member's reasonable question.

Despite what some people think, I am not a deliberately antagonistic individual. I am not someone who's aim is to piss others off, and get a rise out of them. And, I am absolutely not, someone who is full of anger and self-loathing. (And I've been called all of those things, from critics of my blog.) I am, however, someone who doesn't take things lying down. I am someone who doesn't just blindly accept everything at face-value, simply because society or life says I'm supposed to do so.

Blindly accepting everything in life, means that people will try and take advantage of you, at some point in time. It's better to be critical and question things, than to just take things simply because someone has said you must do so. It matters not if it's a parent, another adult in your life such as a teacher or professor, or more established organisations like the police and the government. As a human being, you should question why those who make the rules, make them in the manner that they do so, if their rules seem unfair, biased, or ill-defined. Don't just let these people tell you that you must accept what they tell you to do, if you don't agree with it. Ask, question, interrogate! It is your right to do so, irrespective of your age! I'm not advocating anarchy, nor am I remotely suggesting that people start ignoring all rules and regulation, as that would be a horrifically awful concept. I am simply saying, don't just accept the status quo, just because you've been told too.

Putting that aside, if a forum is not for debate, discussion and dissecting news and views, then there seems to be no point to it in my view. A forum, by its very nature, is a space where all different kinds of people can cogitate and wrangle over the bonding of a particular subject or issue - in this case a love of films. And that debate should be encouraged, even if such a debate becomes raucous or even a little vindictive at times. Stifling such talk, stifles debate, and that's not the way to get people to experience different views and opinions, because you simply end-up with one viewpoint that everyone always agrees on. And, in my view, there's no point in being somewhere where everyone agrees with you on most things. It's anodyne and intellectually stunting!

In fact, I left a long-running British entertainment forum, for that reason: if you agreed with the moral majority, then that was fine. Dare to have a different opinion, and you'd be set upon by vultures, determined to change your opinion, because your opinion was wrong, and had to be changed. I was there for over 10 years. I had a lot of time for that site. I made some good friends there. But over the years, it became more and more cold towards dissenting views. The atmosphere became charged, into an "You're either with us, or against us" mentality. What convinced me to leave, was when the whole Jimmy Savile/paedophilia scandal erupted in the latter part of 2012. Almost everyone in the discussion was of the "Well, I always felt he was a bit weird" or "My friends and I never considered Savile to be anything other than a kiddy-fiddler"! When the ITV documentary EXPOSURE: THE OTHER SIDE OF JIMMY SAVILE was broadcast in October 2012, most of the Forum members were happy to blindly accept the views from the victims featured in it, at face-value. When I dared to question them, and suggest that the victims views were not facts, but merely opinions that needed to be tested in a court of law, or under police investigation for evidence, I got set-upon and was browbeaten into changing my view, to that of everyone else: namely, that if the victims said they'd been raped, then it must have been so.

Despite repeatedly trying to elucidate my view, by saying that no viewpoint or opinion, in and of itself, makes it a hard fact, I was told I was talking out of my backside; to "wind my neck in"; and to shut my trap, because I knew nothing.

It seemed, that people I had once thought of as intelligent, sensible, rational adults, had descended into the pack-of-Wolves mentality, and you were either with the pack, or against them.

After a few weeks, and several other similar issues, I decided to voluntarily leave the Forum, and go elsewhere. Alas, what was once a very well-run, very entertaining place for me to spend my time, had now become a cold, destructive and cynical place where you could only espouse one view - the same view that everyone else held. Dissenting views were treason, and unwarranted.

So I just upped and left! Anyone who knows me, knows I go to great strengths to explain my views. I don't do "short" explanations on anything. I've got verbal diarrhoea, as they say! (Which is both funny, and probably true!)

More than ten years of my life, now came to a huge and very abrupt end.

Arguing over a subject can often bring-up views you'd never considered before. But if the only view you are allowed to hold, is the same one everyone else holds, and no one is even willing to accept that your view may be acceptable, even if it may not be true, then that's not a good place to be. It's called tolerance. You don't have to accept something, to tolerate it, and you don't need to tolerate something to accept it.

Forums now seem to be less about worthwhile, valuable and entertaining discussions, but more about cliques, and gangs, and society's, of like-minded people all thinking alike, all sounding alike, and all being of one mind. What a shame, that a tool as powerful and wonderful as the Internet, has become a way to stifle people's way-of-thinking, rather than a way to expand their mind, in as intellectually-wide way as possible.

I leave you with some choice quotes. They're both very funny, and extremely accurate too.

The Internet is so big, so powerful and so pointless, that - for some people - it is a complete substitute for life.  Andrew Brown

The Internet is the first thing that Humanity has built, that Humanity doesn't understand. The largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had. Eric Schmidt

The Internet is a shallow and unreliable electronic repository of dirty pictures, inaccurate rumours, bad spelling, and worse grammar, inhabited largely by people with no demonstrable social skills. Anonymous
Thank You for stopping by my little neck of the Internet woods! See you shortly!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Another Horror Low - GUTTERBALLS (2008)!

Welcome Back, Everyone!

We've now eclipsed 21,000 hits, and for a change of tack, I've decided to do a review of another low-rent horror movie.

GUTTERBALLS (2008, Ryan Nicholson) was a film I was made aware of from Alan over at the  Sex, Gore, Mutants  site. So, my Thanks to him for bringing this to my attention! Go visit his site too, whilst you are at it. There's some early reviews I did a few years back, that you can read, but it's also a great site in its own right.

And just before anyone says anything, this is an alternate, longer version of a review I did for Amazon, so if you've seen it on there, I'm only using my own work. It's not plagiarism, I promise!

I bought this film, having read mixed reviews on it on several websites, and I was excited to watch it. It looked like the kind of grubby, cheesy horror, that might appeal to my Troma-loving tastes. (I still think THE TOXIC AVENGER and POULTRYGEIST are two of the best low-budget horrors ever made!) Alas, this film is a real mixed bag, and one I feel saddened by.

Unfortunately, the problems start early on, in that there are numerous "versions" of the film in existence. The five most commonly-known ones, are as follows, in order of explicitness/strength:

1) A completely, uncut version, running to about 94-minutes, complete with "hardcore" pornographic elements in the rape sequence. The "hardcore" elements may or may not have been performed by the cast, and may or may not have been taken from actual porn works (rather cheekily, as it's copyright infringement), but such scenes - if you pardon the pun - do stick out, and not in a good way. If you really need to see actual porn-scenes in your horror, then this is the version for you. (It was released in a Limited Edition, restricted to 69 - see what the director did there? - numbered copies, all signed by him, but are almost impossible to obtain now, except for ludicrous amounts of money).

2) An almost-uncut version, that retains all the violence and gore, running to about 93 minutes, but it only loses the "hardcore" porn elements, and is most commonly known as the "Balls-Out Uncut Version".

3) An "Unrated" US edition, that is almost-uncut, and very close to the "Balls-Out Uncut Version", but which makes minor trims just to the rape scene and the strongest gore elements. You only lose about a few seconds here-and-there, but nonetheless, it's still cut, though barely noticeable.

4) An R-Rated US edition, running to about 89-to-90 minutes, retaining most of the violence, but reducing the gore and shortening the extensive rape scene.

5) A heavily-cut 80-or-so-minute edition, often found in Germany, that removes almost all of the gore and violence, as well as excising the "hardcore" elements.

Any version that is listed as containing the "20+ minutes of Hardgore action", is almost certainly going to be the "Balls-Out Uncut Version", so please be aware of this, when you buy it. However, there are numerous printings of this, many of which are merely described as the "Uncut Version", which they probably aren't, as the only true uncut version is the one with the "harcore" porn elements! Also, you'll see the price vary from as cheap as £6 (about $10 US Dollars) to far, far higher sums!

I had the second version, the "Balls-Out Uncut" edition. Sadly, this is a very disappointing movie, and I really should have listened to the 1-Star and 2-Star reviews plastered all over Amazon more carefully than I did. Although this is supposedly a homage to 80's exploitation flicks, it really isn't. It's really nothing more than an ultra-low budget, sleazy, explicit and very violent serial-killer film, about a group of older-teenagers/young adults being hunted-down and killed by the notorious BBK (Bowling Ball Killer) whilst they play a late-night bowling game.

At 93-minutes, the film feels long. It drags on, in many parts, and you may find your eyes and your mind wandering, with frequent ease. The acting is pretty atrocious all-round, and the fact that most of the cast are people you've never heard of, and are unlikely to hear of again, anytime soon, should really be a warning for you. The script is awful, with every other word being a litany of expletives. In-and-of-itself, that's not problematic, but when your entire film consists of teenagers simply swearing all of the time, for the whole 93-minute duration, it wears thin extremely quickly and grates even faster! You'll pray for someone to just say something vaguely interesting, without the use of the f- or c- words, just once. (According to the IMDB, the word "fuck" or a derivative, is used over 500 times in the film's entire 93-minute duration. That amounts to more than five times a minute, or once every 12 seconds!) Tarantino's PULP FICTION released in 1994, ran to 2hrs 37 minutes and only uses "fuck" (or a derivative) 265 times, or just under once every minute. Those stats should give you an idea of just how abundant the swearing is, in this film!) It's overkill, and then some!

There's a lengthy, and horribly-tasteless gang-rape scene very early on. Considering the victim, is a woman we've just been shown as wearing no underwear, the implication that because she chooses to dress in the manner that she does means she almost deserves to be raped, is a reprehensible part of the film I cannot tolerate. The rape is unjustified! It's explicit, and it's sexualised so that the men are shown as manly kings, and the woman is shown as deserving of her attack. The woman is afforded not one piece of dignity, in the whole sequence, and you really do feel violated as a viewer, at watching this occur. Even by Trash film standards, the rape is clearly designed to titillate and excite the audience - something I really feel impacts in an extremely negative manner on the director!

Clearly, the director feels that rape is acceptable as entertainment. Actually, it isn't! If there's a real point to having any character of any gender being raped, then maybe, just maybe, I can accept it. But in the case of GUTTERBALLS, the director is clearly doing it, because he's a man (in the literal sense), and because he thinks it's sexy and cool to show it. Probably because he's aiming his film at 18-35 year old men!

As a film, it's merely okay. It's fairly cliched, and the reason for the killing is explained in the film's final few moments, but by then you really won't care that much. The characters are so reprehensible as people, that you will be glad of the few on-screen murders you see...

...And the murders, are the film's sole, saving grace. They are very, very gory and nasty! You can see why this film often gets cut around the globe. It certainly wouldn't pass the BBFC or MPAA anytime soon, but then again, the whole reason for this film, is to push your buttons. If you want taste-and-decency, go rent a Merchant Ivory film instead!

The special effects are very good, and it's obvious that most of the film's budget went on them. I won't spoil it for anyone, but they are very tough to watch at times. The "bowling-ball-cleaner" murder is particularly tasteless, though also very amusing at the same time. (I won't elaborate further, as I feel if you are going to see this movie, you should at least have one thing to look forward too, for your money.)

Alas, this one scene, and the SFX in general, aren't enough to save the film from a deserved critical drubbing. The director, Ryan Nicholson, has made a few films now, but having seen two now (GUTTERBALLS and the diabolically awful LIVE FEED from 2006), I really can't see him improving, unless he has someone to help him write a substantially better work. Screenwriting is not Nicholson's forte, at the best of times.

Which brings me to one more issue: the unnecessary homophobia that runs rampant in the film. I know I've talked about this subject in a previous article - see  Welcome To Redneck Central  from last month, but it seems US film-makers are determined to find (and keep) one section of society that they can take the mickey out of, and denigrate. As it's no longer cool to denigrate non-whites, and it's uncool to include excessive amounts of deep-rooted sexism, it seems the only school of people that are now left open to take the piss out of, are gay men and women. I'm sorry, but this is not acceptable! Regardless of your sexuality, the constant, non-stop use of derogatory homophobic terms, such as "fag" and "faggot" (by both men and women in this film), really annoyed the hell out of me.

It's really not necessary, but for some reason, US-directors especially (and that includes mainstream ones like Eli Roth and Quentin Tarantino as well) seem to delight in debasing this particular community of people, just for the sake of the fact that they can debase them. Why they've decided that rampant homophobia is okay, I don't know, but you know what? The only people it reflects badly on, are the film-makers themselves. It makes you look like infants and schoolyard bullies. Homophobia isn't cool. It's certainly not clever or smart. And it absolutely is offensive. I could tolerate one or two jibes, but in GUTTERBALLS, Nicholson has decided that constantly deriding gay people is necessary. Well, it isn't, and it makes you look really pathetic.

So, do I recommend this film? In all honesty, no, I can't. It's mediocre at best, but the expletive-riddled dialogue, combined with the unsavoury amounts of sexism and homophobia, coupled with dire acting, just don't warrant your time or money being given to this director. Yes, the effects are very gory, and very good, but watching the five or six minutes of them, and then suffering through the remaining near-hour-and-a-half, just doesn't seem like a recommendation in my books. Save your money, and your IQ level. Look elsewhere for your horror entertainment, because this film is frankly an insult to the genre and treats the viewer with extreme disdain.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Twenty Thousand Hits And Counting!

Welcome Everyone,

Just a quick update for you all, and a Thank You to everyone too, because today, we've surpassed 20,000 hits!

In June 2012, I hit just 3000, after 18 months of being online. By May 2013, I'd trebled that to 10,000. And now, in October 2013, I've doubled that figure again, to over 20,000 hits.

I started this blog on 1st Jan 2011. I didn't expect it to amount to much, but here we are almost three full years later, and I'm proud to say that my articles are being read, as well as occasionally being linked-to by other sites. I'm getting feedback and comments from readers, which I really do appreciate very much. And whilst I don't update this blog as much as I would like too, I hope that what I post, rather than when I post, makes it more worthwhile. After all, I think there's nothing worse, than internet articles that say nothing and do nothing, such as  this  article about collecting films, and why it's wrong.

It's a pointless article, that does nothing except show up the two authors who seem to think that because you do something that they dislike, they feel that it's acceptable to demean the very people who read their work. Way-to-go guys!

I may have strong views. You folks may disagree with some, any or all of what I write, but I hope that none of my articles actually demean anyone in my online audience.

For now, I bid you a short farewell. I will be back shortly, and when I return, I'll be doing a review of another cult and controversial film. Be seeing you!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Welcome To Redneck Central! or Why American Horror Has Reached New Levels Of Stupid!

Originally, I thought that the title of the film was NIGHT OF THE WOMAN, and, um, well, you know, I thought it was an interesting title considering the subject matter.
 Actor Rodney Eastman

 It's a thriller, it's a horror, it was torture, it was rape, it was a fetish film
 Actor Jeff Branson


First of all, Welcome! Thank You for returning. Apologies for the long delay in coming back here and updating my blog. As is usual, life gets in the way of everything. But I'm back, and I hope that you enjoy reading what I've written for you. I want you to remember those two quotes above, as I'll be explaining later on in this post, why I've included them at the start.

If you're a horror fan, then the chances are you will have (hopefully) seen the 1979 classic I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE from director Meir Zarchi. (If not, then go do so now, and watch it. Then come back and continue reading, as this review will assume you have seen it, and includes some major spoilers.)

It's a phenomenally powerful and ugly film, that will (and should) shock you. It deals with the premise of a young woman, called Jennifer Hills, played superbly by Camille Keaton, who retreats to a wooden cabin, to do some writing for her latest book. Whilst there, she is brutally gang-raped, by four yokels. Afterwards, she retreats, and then decides to get revenge.

If you are also a modern-horror fan, you will know the film was remade in 2010, under the same name, by director Steven R. Monroe. Unfortunately, there will be an inevitable sequel, out soon, called - unsurprisingly - I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2, directed again by Mr Monroe.

Now, as I've said in previous posts, my blog is not about having the latest news, or the most up-to-date reviews. It is a place for me to write articles of interest, in detail. It is as such, ideal for what I am now about to post, because this weekend, I finally got around to renting the 2010 remake on DVD, and it inspired me to write this very article.

I'm not a fan of remakes, in general. They're often a complete waste of time, made by people without an ounce of intelligence, and with zero respect for the original work. (In fact, out of most of the major remakes that have occurred over the past 10-15 years, I can name only a handful, that were actually significantly better than the original.) More often than not, the remake is simply made with added violence, extra gore, and stronger and more overt sexual material. (Alas, more and more classics are being remade, which annoys and saddens me immensely.)

This is essentially what happened with the I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE remake. The director clearly thought that a trend-setting, and taboo-busting film about an abominable act of violence perpetrated by four men against one woman, was ripe to be reinvigorated for a modern-day audience. What Mr Monroe failed to do, was understand why the original film works so well...

...The reason it works so well, is because the rape of Jennifer Hills is not the focus of the film! It is an integral part without doubt, but it is not the predominant feature of the plot, despite what many people seem to think. Not unlike IRREVERSIBLE (2002, Gaspar Noe), the rape tends to be the one thing most people feel is the nub. It's extreme nature, marks it out as a scene that you don't forget.

So whilst watching the remake, the hard-work had been done for the director. All Steven Monroe had to do, was reword the script, adjust the three main types of revenge that Jennifer exerts on her victims, and come-up with an alternate ending.

But no! What we get, was just a more brutal, more extreme, more desensitising version of the original, where the gang-rape has been made the focus of the film, and is the central concept of it!

What Mr Monroe did, was turn the rape into the sole focal point, on which the entire film hinges on. And what does he do? He amplifies it, extends it, focusses on the rapists pleasure that they are deriving from the rape of Jennifer, (this time, played by actress Sarah Butler, in one of many completely unconvincing cast members), and depicts and extends that focus for the audience watching it in the cinema, or at home.

Now, I rented the UK version, which was cut by the BBFC in 2010, to remove 43 seconds from the rape scene. According to the BBFC's website:
Before awarding an '18' classification to I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, the BBFC required seventeen individual cuts to its scenes of sexual violence in order to remove elements that tend to eroticise sexual assault (for example, through the use of nudity), as well as other elements that tend to endorse sexual assault (for example, by encouraging viewer complicity by the use of camcorder footage, filmed by the rapists, during the various scenes of sexual assault).
The UK DVD and Blu-Ray actually also reframes certain parts of the rape. The film will jump from the original 2.35:1 Cinemascope ratio, to a full-frame, 1.85:1 Widescreen format, sometimes for only a couple of seconds, to aid the censorship, thus hiding the detail, without actually editing the film.

Even with the cuts, I actually found the film to be an abhorrent experience, but not because I found the film disturbing, or offensive. If only... In fact, the film was making me angrier and angrier! Monroe's decision to sexualise the rape, and he does sexualise it, is the exact opposite of what Meir Zarchi does in the original. Monroe lingers on Jennifer's abuse, degradation, and torment. He appears to go out of his way to make you "enjoy" the rape. After all, this is just a bog-standard American remake, and in Monroe's view, more vulgarity, more violence, and a more salacious approach to the gang-rape was exactly what this film needed, to get punters to pay their hard-earned and sit through this in the cinema. It was rape served-up as fast-food entertainment, for the brain-dead modern film viewer!

It is this coercion of the viewer, enticing you into trying to get you to see the rape as "good", as "cool", that angered me so much! Even after the BBFC's intervention, it was clear to me, that the makers of this film, really did not understand the concept of what rape is, and of why it was such an essentail point in the original work.

In Zarchi's version, the rape is the pivotal moment, when the viewer goes from being a willing spectator of a film, to being a wholly unwilling accomplice in an act of outrageous and grotesque sexual violence. It is the defining moment when the viewer is forced into a corner, and you suddenly realise that you are being pushed down an alleyway, that you really do not want to walk along, and no one is here to make it nice, or safe, or comfortable for you. It confronts you with probably the most heinous act one human can do to another.

In the original, the rape is portrayed coldly, clinically, with some explicitness, but always with the point of view that the rape is something to be turned-off by; to revolt the audience, and to demonstrate in no uncertain terms, that rape is a vile act of retribution carried out by degenerate men with no intelligence, social skills, or other redeemable values to society. These men are animals. They are the lowest of the low, the worst that society has to offer, and in no way should you, or anyone watching this film, be under any illusion of what rape entails, and the devastation it can have on women and men.

Rape is not pleasurable, sexy, fun, enjoyable, or cool. It is the exact opposite of all of these, and if by viewing this film for the wrong reasons, then Zarchi clearly turns the film against you, in a deliberate act, so you are left as devastated as Jennifer Hills is.

It is a scene designed to shame all men. It is a scene, designed to show the ugliness of rape. It is a scene that is meant to haunt you.

And it does so, in such a fashion, that it is as gruelling to endure as a real rape might be. That's not to say that a film of a fictional rape equates to the harrowing and violent feelings that a real-life rape victim may experience, but that this is a way of signposting to the audience that rape is not just a simple act of aggravated sexual violence. It is eminently more than that.

Rape is devastating! That scene should devastate you, and if it does, then that scene will have done its job.

When Jennifer recovers, and decides to take her revenge, at no point can the viewer sympathise with any of her victims. Not Johnny, not Stanley, not Andy, and not even mentally-challenged Matthew. (The remake retains the same characters names.) So, when Matthew is hung, and Johnny is castrated, and Andy and Stanley are axed in the back and motorboarded to death respectively, the film ends on an intentional high: Jennifer has had her revenge, and those men deserved everything they got.

Just as in Delhi, today, where the four men on trial for the gang-rape (and death) of an Indian woman from last year are awaiting sentencing, many in the public are demanding the rapists are given the Death Penalty. After all, why should an innocent woman, who spent the last few hours of her life in unagonising pain and suffering, not have her rapists suffer at least equally as much? (For more on the story, click on this link  here  to read about it.) It may not be just. It may not be politically-correct. But it is human!

Of course, in real life, Jennifer would probably be prosecuted for her crimes, and almost-certainly be imprisoned. However, in the world of the movies, such retribution can be seen as acceptable. A proverbial eye-for-an-eye. Yet as Gandhi once said:

An eye-for-an-eye makes the whole world blind

Revenge and retribution are never truly the answer to any crime, but it's easy to see why revenge may seem like it, and why it still retains its appeal. Even in the legal systems in the USA, when people do receive the Death Penalty, it seems mightily hypocritical that we condemn revenge, yet we have a law that allows us to do just that, and that same law is called "Justice"!

But back to I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE! As I was saying, the original used the rape as a negative. The overriding point at which the viewer is forced to confront something that they thought they could tolerate, but in fact can't. Not in the remake. In the remake, the rape is treated rather impetuously. It's merely another plot point, that moves the story along, from point A to point B to point C. It's solely just any other part of the film.

Why? How can you, Steven R. Monroe, treat that scene so flippantly? And more importantly, why did you feel the need to eroticise and sexualise that scene as well?

Admittedly, Jennifer is never seen naked, or topless (or bottomless for that matter) in any part of the scene. But the camera (and the in-film "camcorder" footage) certainly lingers on her abuse and degradation, in any way it can. The constant need to have the film portray the "best" view, the proverbial "money-shot" of the rape, seems to be a deliberate attempt to entice the viewer in, and casually endorse the rape. In essence, you were being tempted and told "Hey, it's okay" when actually, the completely diametrically opposite is what you should have been intending. The wooden dialogue, spouted during the rape is hardly conducive to redeeming Mr Monroe's version of it. Dialogue such as...

I don't take orders from a fucking woman!

...explicitly demonstrates to me, that you wanted to create a scene that was as misogynistic as possible. You almost wanted us men to be "cheering" during the rape scene, as if it were a good thing. Not unlike the rape in Jonathan Kaplan's also controversial 1988 rape drama THE ACCUSED, in which the men are depicted as laughing, goading, jeering ignoramuses.

The men in the I SPIT... remake are no different. They are some of the most degenerate, backwards, racist, sexist, feeble-minded individuals I've ever seen cast. I know the male characters aren't meant to be glowing angels of humanity, but if you'd have added a sign saying "Dumbass, from Hickville" on each of the men, then it couldn't have been any more explicit. These are men who make the guests on TV shows like THE JERRY SPRINGER SHOW and THE JEREMY KYLE SHOW look like Mensa-graduates by comparison. And the rampant homophobia?! Good God! It seems American film directors love to still denigrate one section of society, and so whilst they won't be so demeaning to Blacks, or Hispanics, or pick on people because of their religious beliefs, the new, go-to offense is demeaning Homosexual men and women, by using the term "faggot", as a casual, throwaway derrogatory slur.


I don't expect exploitation films to be 100% P.C., but I really detest it when directors and script-writers feel the need to use such language unnecessarily in modern-day films, because they need to denigrate someone; to make one section of society feel even worse than they may already do. It used to be that non-White's were picked-on in films. Then the women were selected as the slur-of-choice. Then that became a no-go zone, so we moved on to demonising people of different faiths and religious beliefs. Now that that is no longer acceptable, we've got one last group of people to be seen as okay to have a good old name-calling session at: the gays!

I despair! I really, really do! Why, in 2013, is this still allowed? Have we reached that nadir where we have to demean someone, some section of society, so we can rub someone's face in the shit? Have we gotten to the point where there always has to be someone less-equal to you; someone beneath you on the social-pegging order? Clearly, it does. What a shame that has to be the case!

I SPIT... is an insult to all horror fans. It is an insult to every grown adult's I.Q. Level! Everyone who was remotely connected to this movie, should hang their heads in shame. Even committing hara-kiri as penance, wouldn't be enough in my view, to atone for the sins of this serpentine, slap-dash remake. Not only this, but the remake spits on the (proverbial) graves of Camille Keaton and Meir Zarchi, because the remake has turned-in on the original concept - namely that rape is not a pleasant thing, and women aren't just objects for male abuse and degradation.

I mentioned earlier that the remake made me angry. The macho-bullshit that the male characters spout in the remake made me ask myself an interesting question: are we supposed to hate these men, because of what they did to Jennifer, and thus we can say that by the end of the film, they got their just-desserts? The answer to that was simple. No! I hated these men, because they were all degenerate morons! Which was the wrong feeling to have! But that's what the remake does. It twists and subverts what you should be feeling, and makes you feel all the wrong emotions. It does the very thing it's not supposed to do. It normalises rape. It doesn't ever condone it. It never says "No, this is wrong". It never judges the characters, nor condmens them for what they did. In fact, the remake doesn't actually judge or condemn the men at all. And for me, that's what makes this remake so fucking turgid and soul-destroying. It's made (male) horror fans look like we are all knuckle-dragging simpletons, who see all women as cyphers for abuse, humiliantion, abasement, and ignominy!

And that's an insult to me, because I am a male horror fan, but I am absolutely and resolutely not an simpleton, nor a neanderthal. I treat everyone with respect, because I want to be treated with respect. More to the point, everyone deserves to be respected.

But not in the world of drivel like the I SPIT... remake!

On top of all of this, the film itself has other problems. Putting aside all of the issues I've mentioned thus far, there are other equally problematic issues:

- If Jennifer Hills is such a "city girl" as the remake suggests, would she really be willing to gut a fish, and spread its entrails over a guy, during one of her revenge scenes?

- How did Jennifer set-up all of her revenge devices, without anyone noticing? Most weren't basic tools, like a noose, or whatnot, but detailed and intensive torture implements that would have taken days to recreate and prepare. None of this is explained in the film, and even using "film-logic", it still doesn't work out.

- When dropping one of the rapists in a bath of Lye, how did she not get burnt in the process? She dunks him in quite viciously, yet she comes off without a mark on her.

- How did Jennifer magically con her way into the Sheriff's family home? Wouldn't the wife of an officer-of-the-law be a little bit more careful about letting a stranger into her home, and certainly, into letting a stranger get anywhere near her young daughter?

- And lastly, how is it that the final frame of the film shows Jennifer without a single mark, bloodstain, scratch or blemish on her or her clothing, despite having just castrated, burned-in-Lye, and brutalised five men?

All of these are substantial and rather fundamental flaws in the film, that only serve to weaken an already dangerously flawed work. I really do get the impression that no one cared for this film. The script is mediocre. The dialogue inane. The cinematography is, well, a joke in my book. The direction an embarrassement, and it's filled with a cast of people who are all equally inarticulate, whiny, difficult and imbecilic as I have ever encountered in a horror film.

Just to rub even more salt into the wound, you have the likes of Frightfest and Gorezone - two organisations who are well-known amongst horror and exploitation film fans as being pretty damn knowledgeable about these things, raving that this remake is some kind of cinematic masterpiece. Alan Jones of Frightfest said:
Outstandingly brilliant. The defining horror event of the year.
Whilst Gorezone said:
Stark, twisted, and brutally shocking
In both cases, they are wholly and utterly wrong. Even in the uncut version, I can't imagine this raising the bar beyond much of the 1980's and 90's direct-to-video drivel that was often released, when a film wasn't warranted as worthy of a cinema release. This film is insulting on so many levels, that even though I rented this on DVD, I still felt like I deserved my money back, as well as the 103 minutes of my life, that I wasted on this cretinous junk.

If you are wondering why I posted the two quotes at the beginning of this article, I did so, because clearly the cast had no clue as to what I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE is about. And in my view, that means, it should never have been remade. It also demonstrates the film-makers stupidity. Considering this film is about truly stupid people doing really stupid things, it's highly ironic that the real actors were just as thick as their character counterparts.

I really do feel that mainstream American horror has lost the plot. It constantly churns out derivative, by-the-numbers filler, that is disparaging to the congoscenti horror fan of the 21st Century. It is demeaning to men and women. In fact, it is demeaning to anyone with I.Q. Levels marginally larger than their footwear. But what really gets me angry, is that this turgid pile of crap, has been given a sequel, that is very soon to be playing in a cinema near you... possibly... in one form or other... and quite possibly censored just as badly. (In the UK, the BBFC saw the uncut version, advised the film-makers that certain scenes would not be passed at an 18 certification level, and would actually earn a ban, and so the film was revised, and resubmitted, where it was passed uncut, after some 27 cuts/edits and/or alterations had been made - predominantly as before, to scenes of sexual violence and rape that had been eroticised!)

Can horror films ever recover from this ever-lasting freefall of quality cinema? Are we now destined to constantly be bombarded with remake, after remake, after reimagining, after sequel, after threequel?! If so, then please stop the horror train, because I want off, and I want my money back! Considering that POLTERGEIST and David Cronenberg's SHIVERS (aka THEY CAME FROM WITHIN) are both now being lined-up for new "interpretations", I think it will be left to European film-makers to come-up with critically-acclaimed work, that advances the horror genre, rather than regressing it back ever further. So three cheers to France, to Spain, to Germany, to Italy, and to all the other European cousins whose work is consistantly shocking, innovative, jaw-dropping, controversial, exciting but above all original, because, by God, we need you now more than ever.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

A Quick Update For You All!

Welcome Everyone,

I've just been ridiculously busy, and with this new job on the go, I'm struggling to find time to go through and update my blog at all.

Still, I haven't forgotten you all, and I appreciate that we are now edging ever closer to 20,000 hits!

For the moment, though, there's a great article I think my readers will enjoy, from Craig Skinner over at BleedingCool.com, on the recent cuts to I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2 (2013, Steven R. Monroe).

You can read the article  here. I hope you enjoy it. I will be back soon, (I hope), and with something a tad more interesting than quickie updates like this one. Apologies once more, but Thank You all for sticking with me.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

How Did We Ever Get To This Stage In Our Lives?


You really couldn't make this stuff up, if you tried!

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you will know that in recent weeks, the Daily Mail has been running a campaign to make sure that no British adult has access to any kind of online pornography, nor any kind of access to anything the remotest bit risque. This is because, in the blinkered, backwards view of the DM, nudity is indecent, and ll men who view porn, are just perverts and paedophiles in waiting, you see! In their eyes, all sexual content should be made a hanging offence.

The thing is, that the Daily Mail, is a publication I am more than happy to expose as the hypocritical publication that it actually is. It's staff seem to be made up of people with no grounding in reality, and who don't actually know anything about the world in which we actually live in. They'll happily write a story saying one thing, and then ten seconds later, the same paper will have published an article by another DM hack, completely supporting the exact opposite view! Sometimes, in the same day's paper!

And so, we end-up with utter garbage like  this  in which  the DM thinks that it can post material online, that it itself has already demanded be banned.

Putting aside the actual issue of whether or not it matters that the BBC has censored THE WHITE QUEEN for its UK transmission, or simply felt that the extended, more explicit nudity was actually wholly unnecessary, the fact that the DM thinks that this is worthy of devoting time and energy into creating a "story" on its website for, is amazing. The fact that this isn't the first time the BBC has done this, is also not exactly shocking news to those of us who keep up-to-date with media stories! This also happens in the USA, as was recently demonstrated when the NBC TV series HANNIBAL had Episode 4, "Oeufs" dropped from mnay States, due to the graphic content and unsettling story about children committing murder. An episode, that we in the UK, saw totally uncut, I might add. So, this is hardly a trend-setter by any stretch of the imagaination. Not in the slightest!

So, not only do we get headline stories from the Daily Mail like  this  and  this  and even  this  but they then contradict themselves in one fell swoop, and post the link mentioned a couple of paragraphs up.

Of course, this being the DM, the posting of the nude and sexual imagery is merely to make a point: to inform and elucidate to its readers of the filth, that the BBC wouldn't let you see. (The DM loves to bash the BBC, so for them to publish this article, they're essentially killing two proverbial birds with one stone: attacking the BBC, and exposing readers to the filth the BBC wouldn't let you see in the first place!) It's absolutely, positively NOT to do with the fact that they are exposing their readers to 18-rated "filth" and "muck". No, the DM would never do that!

No, the nudity is merely to illustrate the "thrust" of the article. In other words, you have to see the actual imagery that was cut in order to explain that you (the DM readers) should never have been allowed to see it in the first place. Despite the fact that you wouldn't have known about the missing footage in the first place, were it not for the parasites at the Mail plastering their wrag with a tell-all expose on it!

It's the "have your cake and eat it" brand of journalism that the DM excels at in such spectacularly awful and spiteful fashion. Still, if Chris Hastings - the author of this article on alleged censorship of THE WHITE QUEEN - thinks this is what DM readers have to see, so that these same readers can then go around condemning the material, and making sure  no one else can ever see it, then that's all well and good, isn't it?

... Except it isn't! Not at all.

Either stick by your views or don't stick by them, but for the love of all that is holy, don't be a hypocrite, and please don't insult me by condemning something, and simultaneously showing me the very thing you think I should not be allowed to see, and telling me I then shouldn't be allowed to see it! Despite the fact that the Daily Mail still has its infamous Sidebar Of Shame - a sidebar on its website that depicts the very stuff that the DM says is prurient and degrading, and must be banned - (as discussed  here  ) - it still baffles me that since 1896, this is a paper that claims to be standing-up for the rights of the normal, average Middle Class Briton, and yet is anything but representative of that very group.

I know three million people read the Daily Mail each day, and that equates to a lot of wasted paper and ink, (which is damaging for the environment too), but if it didn't keep getting on its high-horse and actually took a worthwhile stance on issues that actually mattered, it might be worth something. Not just to the Middle Classes, but to all British people.

Taking a stance on issues like the destruction of the environment, the vast amounts of wasted food we in the West produce, or serious subjects such as why only 30% of the British Population now votes in elections, or why Britain and the USA seem hellbent on wanting to start a war in Syria (as if the previous and costly wars in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and the Falkland's weren't lessons enough). Those are issues worth campaigning for, not this self-manufactured bullshit that the Daily Mail insists on hawking its tired and saggy carcass with, each day!

Yes, the sexualisation of children is an issue. So is the increasing consumption of pornography, but simply demanding it gets banned outright, and thinking that if it's "out of sight, out of mind", that that will solve everything, is woefully naive. Alas, that is what has happened. (See previous articles on my blog for further details!) But worse still, is demanding such things get banned without real justification, and then rubbing people's faces in it, by then posting pictures of the very stuff that you want banned, and shouting from the rooftops "Hey everyone, come look at this disgusting filth" and when people come to look, you then shout "You disgusting, filthy pervert! How dare you look at this degrading and offensive material" in the same breath. It makes you look like a bunch of... Well, a certain four-letter expletive that DM editor Paul Dacre frequently uses around the offices!

Maybe, just maybe once the so-called "Censored Internet" Filter comes into existence, that same Filter will restrict access to the Daily Mail site, and then Paul Dacre will see that campaigning for things you know little about, is actually a very, very bad thing, and can have extremely dire consequences.

Sadly, I suspect that I'm living in cloud cuckoo land, if I hope that that will ever happen... If only...!