Got that out of the way, now onto the interesting stuff. Superbowl season is trailer season, and time for major releases to grab the attention of the biggest TV watching audience left. And while I’m not feeling well you’ll pardon me if I take this opportunity to have a quick gander over this year’s crop of attention grabbers. (more…)
The Gambler – These are a hard to predict, an often unreasonable group of people – Especially when they’re against you. When they’re on your side, you’d best consider what their actions are carefully, as one moment you could be riding around with a thousand gold, but then the next only have one piece left! Nevertheless, the gambler likes the payout – So if you’ve ever wanted to get a gambler on your side, consider who you’re hiring into your team and appreciate our Top 10 Gamblers in media.
As a fan of the Marvel Noir series that recast Marvel heroes as 1930’s noir and pulp adventurers and heroes, I was very excited to see Batman in a Victorian era tale that pitches him against the 19th century’s most infamous killer, Jack the Ripper. The short version is I was not disappointed, the long version will be tough to do without spoilers, I’ll do my best but I’ll save the biggest for last… the identity of Gotham’s own Ripper! (more…)
A kleptomaniac is someone who can’t help themselves, but to steal. Nevermind stealing your heart, these individuals will just take what they see. Really, it doesn’t matter to them – they know they need it, no matter what it is. They just have to have it. Well then, we’re going to have to tread carefully and lock all of our valuables away. Indeed, we’d better nail this Top 10 down, as this week we’re keeping an eye out for our Top 10 Kleptomaniacs.
Rangers, Marksmen, Snipers, Pistol Wagglers, Rocket People and so many more! A Ranged Weapon Wielder is a dangerous, often hard to predict fighter who can take you out before you see them. This is a list of our Top 10 Ranged Weapon Wielders; There is a bit of a range here and we feel we can extend this list in the not too distant future, into separate categories, such as Bows & Crossbows. As ever though, this is our general Ranged Weapon Wielder list! (more…)
Ah space, it’s the final frontier and all that jazz. However, what you may not really think about on a regular basis is all of the great spaceships that have graced our media. Whatever you think about space, or sci-fi as a whole, you can’t deny that the vast quantities of planets out in pop culture can only be explored with the help of our giant metal vessels. So, without further adieu, here is our Top 10 Spaceships! (more…)
In 2016 New Line Cinema released a full length feature based on a short horror video that went viral back in 2013, Lights Out. If you’re not already familiar with it I’ve included it below, the premise is brilliantly simple and it’s little wonder that the idea caught the attention of big studios. I’m a big fan of the power of small creators getting their voices heard on the internet and making it big, it gives me hope, and kudos to David F. Sandburg for achieving what some of us can only dream about, but moving on from that optimistic tidbit.
Incidentally, the feature length version as it turns out is pretty good. So far as a short review goes, I’m glad they gave the director a decent shot and a good budget, and I hope it means more work for him in future. If I may remark on a couple of missteps that most of us could see coming, he uses the time to give the monster backstory and personality that she was scarier without. Still, he plays with the concept well, gets in a few good jump scares with that simple tension building technique. Moving on to the point I was getting to…
Increasingly we are seeing a problem emerging from the internet and it is the matter of copyright ownership, following the line of money and the source of creation, especially when an idea can spread faster than fire and inject itself so deep into the social consciousness that it becomes just another part of speech and of the way we interact with one another, terms like “trolling” are common parlance, internet celebrities becoming real celebrities, we are seizing the means of entertainment. Lights Out is a great example of this done well, YouTubers and Viners making it onto TV, musicians starting with internet distribution.
But there remains one very serious lack in communication and understanding, a generational gap at times, at others an apparently wilful spreading of misinformation to discredit the new kid on the block. Either way it usually ends up as a laughable disappointment, like parents trying their hardest to be “down with the kids”. Remember the CNN report about the hacker 4chan? It’s long established the memes die when pop culture grabs hold of it.
So next we come to Slender Man.
I love the internet’s bogeyman. As a huge Lovecraft fan I find myself wondering if he were alive today how close his creations would have come to that mysterious entity* that exists on the periphery of vision, and whose malevolence is only subject to conjecture. In his most popular depictions (the video game, the marblehornets series) he is seen as the classic “faceless pursuer” of nightmares, a warped depiction of a person devoid of features that we know instinctively to fear without ever really knowing exactly why we should fear him. We’re powerless, uncomprehending, and as good as dead.
The original creepypasta was the creation of Eric Knudson, but the concept has evolved, an idea that has grown bigger and bigger as more minds contributed to it; to say that it belongs to “us” may be a little (incredibly) overzealous, but is it something that should be in the hands of a big studio, and if they bring it to the screen do they then own it? So far the trailer has demonstrated… what?
Well, so far it all seems very mysterious I suppose, but the imagery thusfar has been that of the generically creepy, nonspecific flashes of insects, blood, surgery, teenagers compulsively writing and doing dangerous things with sharp objects, a teaser of a girl presenting something to police officers. The story will centre around a group of girls under The Operator’s control a la marblehornets, which is the second part of my problem.
General suspicions of corporate media groups aside, teenage girls, images of bloody violence and death, and Slender Man? Now I believe that no subject should be sacred, not even a word, it weaponizes it, makes it dangerous in its own right. Nevertheless, this does seem to cut close to the murders committed on behalf of a fictional character in 2014, no matter how disturbed the perpetrators may have been, it feels a little too “sensational” to make a supernatural thriller that plays into the fantasies behind a real crime.
I am not accusing anyone of sensationalising a crime, and after four years then perhaps it has been long enough. The proof will be in the proverbial pudding of course, if sufficient details are changed and enough common sense used then we may have an incredible creation on our hands, the culmination of countless creative hands creating a mythology so potent that it becomes as much a part of folklore as bigfoot.
Otherwise we have Snakes On a Plane meets True Crime.
*Despite the fact that such questions are completely counter to my views on causality.
I find it alarmingly easy to say that the end of the Super-Hero film craze is getting close, but that’s not to say that the genre dies with the trend, much like any genre it must evolve, grow, and integrate itself into other genres.
A quick run down on what one might loosely define as the “super hero” genre, although really it’s just a typical family adventure film with super heroes as the subject, one might similarly define Monsters Inc. as a horror film because there are monsters; all you require is a hero and a villain, pitch them against one another in a narrative that tells us a story of hope, and of self reliance, some kind of positive take away to which the villain is usually the antithesis. Iron Man tells us stories of taking responsibility for one’s own actions; Batman is an exploration of sanity from various angles; and X-Men is about accepting diversity; you get the idea. Toy Story 3 is only a short step away from being a super hero film is what I’m trying to say here.
So who’s seen the trailer for the New Mutants?
Now that you’ve seen that, did you also watch Legion? The FX series attempted to follow the broken narrative of a mutant with incredible telepathic and telekinetic powers and one very serious mental disorder. The first episode was a masterpiece of horror when we witness what happens when an unstable mind is given incredible power, spoilers the ward the mutant in question is in is reshaped violently, and a human being is fused with a wall that was once a door end spoilers and after that it’s eight episodes of questioning the truth 12 Monkey’s style, complete with a demonic haunting.
It was well received, a refreshing take on the X-Men franchise, and an exploration into the possibilities of the mutant narrative that one can’t usually delve into in other properties, let’s not forget that mutants are born with their powers, never ask for them, and often never have anyone to show them how to properly use them* and so are often a danger to themselves as well as others. Enter “The New Mutants”.
That line about baby rattlesnakes being more dangerous is so wonderfully apt, except that in this case we have adolescent children and teenagers who contain the power to tear down nations if they put their mind to it, and the world simply does not know how to handle it, so they shove them into a holding pen turned creche. We’re left with some substantial questions about what the nature of the horror in New Mutants might be, but it looks strongly like the fear may simply be out of control mutants who are simply unable to control their abilities. Legion proved the concept, but it’s not the only intellectual property lately that proves that X-Men can cross genres.
Logan I have heard described as a modern western (I still haven’t seen it, but I look into these things thoroughly), and it makes no attempt to hide its inspirations, flaunting the film Shane throughout to remind us exactly where it has drawn its idea. It was an answer to the fatigue of the “super hero genre” and it worked, and if I weren’t so fatigued at Wolverine as a whole I might have watched it by now, but there’s a certain satisfaction in knowing that someone, somewhere in the market is listening to the consumer.
It’s not new of course, we’ve seen super heroes blending genres for a long time now, comedy, science fiction, the neo noir stylings of the Defenders and Batman, but to my memory I have not seen a super hero project marketed as anything other than just that? The trailers tend to make a big deal out of the spectacle and the drama, where the New Mutants is clearly and unapologetically playing to every horror archetype.
I love the cast. Anya Taylor-Joy has already proven her horror chops, she’ll make an excellent Magik, Maisie Williams has some experience playing a wolf-child, and Charlie Heaton is just great in Stranger Things. Let us hope that it can lay roots for comics to stay in the cinema for generations to come without fear of losing originality for some time to come.
*Which is why I’m anti-registration by the way. If a baby is born with a gun taped to it’s hand do you arrest it for illegal possession of a firearm? I like you Stark, but screw you and your Registration Act/Sokovia Accords.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is the latest (and second only) in the franchise. It’s hard to believe this is only the second time we’ve gone to Jumanji – But this time, we’re not entering the cursed board game, but rather a cursed video game. The game learned from its previous encounter that kids trends change, so when a teen called Alex is given the old board game, it turns itself into something he’s much more interested in – A video game. How does the Robin Williams classic adapt with the times and translate to a modern audience? Read on!