Jake’s 6 Underrated Horror Flicks

Hey y’all, Jake here.

For my next trick, I’ve decided to try and shine a wee light on some of the lesser known horror flicks that are floating around the filmosphere, because I feel bad for them and feel they deserve a bit of attention. Here we chuffing go, you lovely lot!

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First on the agenda is 2013’s Coherence, directed by James Ward Byrkit, this Canadian sci-fi/thriller is a hard one to describe without ruining anything. Basically, some old friends meet for a dinner party during a meteor shower and shit hits the fan in a wonderfully headfucky way. Great acting, a plot that is near impossible to pin down, and one of the best endings I can remember in recent sci-fi history, this is definitely one to add to your Halloween watch party.

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Next up, I thought I’d go contemporary with Stephen Congnetti’s 2015 found footage spooktacular Hell House LLC. It follows a team of… it’s hard to give a description of their job, they travel around the US refurbishing abandoned / spooky looking places and making them into haunted mansions or ghost train things. It’s a hard job but some poor motherfucker has to do it.

Anyway, this particular house that they decide to flip is positively crawling with ghosties and ghoulies, so much so that the majority of the crew don’t want to continue with the build, except for the project manager who for some reason cares more about the build than the safety of himself and the other crew members. If you look past that silliness it’s a remarkably effective and enjoyable found footage romp. I caught it on Shudder, and I believe it’s on Amazon Prime now as well.

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Now we’re onto Turkish gore-fest Baskin. Directed by Can Evrenol, this film is all sorts of fucked up. It follows a group of Turkish policeman as they investigate strange goings-on within an abandoned building. The true nature of these goings on, I shan’t tell you, for it would ruin the fun, but just know that this flick is not for the faint of heart. Half of the budget must have been spent on the gore effects alone, and I mean that very sincerely. This is a raw, visceral film that does not hold back one bit, and it is all the better for it.

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Penultimately, let’s talk about Creep 1 & 2, starring the incredible Mark Duplass. This tells the tale of a violently mentally ill man who may or may not have given his videographer (played brilliantly by Patrick Brice) the full low down on his “situation”. Creep 2 follows the story along almost straight after the events of the first have unfolded, so to spoil any of that would be silly of me, wouldn’t it? BAD JAKE! VERY BAD! STRAIGHT TO YOUR ROOM! WITH NO SUPPER!

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Eh, sorry. Haha. Anyway, one thing Creep 2 does masterfully is sort-of-but-not-really dissect YouTuber culture and the lengths some creators will go to just to gain more clicks. It’s really cool, superbly tense and Mark Duplass is fucking magnificent. They’re both on Netflix and they aren’t long at all so it’s really ideal for a double feature.

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Lastly, for this piece, I’d be positively overjoyed to talk about Monster House! Monster House, while not overtly “Scary” per-se, has a creepy atmosphere that lingers throughout. It’s also incredibly funny and sad and weird, AND it was written by Dan Harmon. It follows a team of three kids who are convinced that the man who lives across from them’s house is alive and is eating children, pets, toys, cars, you name it! (Sounds a bit like my mother in law! ZING! (Sorry Catherine please god don’t hurt me)). This is one you can fire on and watch with your younger siblings/ children/kids your babysitting / whatever you get up to I won’t tell the police, so it’s well worth firing up on Netflix if you’re after a wee bit of fun.

So that’s my list! Tune in next time where I put on a GoPro and jump into a piranha tank! Bye, I love you!

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Why I Love Horror

words fae jake cordiner 

Hello you beautiful bunch, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve written any solo content for the site.

This is due to a number of reasons, chief among them being my brain was, for the best part of the last 4 months, comparable to a lukewarm bowl of oat so simple. I just didn’t have the motivation or mental capacity to write anything worthwhile for the past while, so sorry? Not that I imagine anyone has missed my bollocks, but on the minuscule chance that you have, I’m back! Hopefully for good, but I’m not sure.

It’s October (for those among you who hate calendars like me), which means it’s peak time for spooks aplenty. So I thought this would be a perfect time to get back on the saddle and do Jake’s Month* (*see: fortnight) of Horror 2: Electric Boogaloo. I’m going to try and mix things up this time, I’ve got a rather ambitious idea for the end of month entry this year but we’ll see how it goes (spoiler: I might be enlisting some help). With this first part of my series of writings on horror, I decided to go all personal and try and pinpoint exactly where and when I started loving horror as a genre, so expect some anecdotes and potentially a small paragraph at the end to try and tie things together in a nice wee bow. Let’s go!

It must have been about 2003, I was at my pal Steven’s house. His big brother had Resident Evil 2 on PS1, and Steven and I went on a covert operation the likes of which the minds of the masses couldn’t come close to comprehending… We waited until his brother left then went into his room and got the game. Genius, I know, and yes Theresa May is planning on enlisting me as a military advisor, how the devil did you know? We put the game in, and before the classic PS1 splash screen even came up we were positively fucking shitting ourselves. I mean besides ourselves with fear, I think it as because we had seen the cover and it looked a bit creepy?

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Regardless, the “RESIDENT. EVIL. TWOOOO” bit occurred and the two of us ran out of the room screaming, it’s not even particularly scary in retrospect but as an 8-year-old it was a different level of frightening. So we made Steven’s mum go in and turn the game off and went back to playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, the only frightening thing about that game is how bloody good it is! I think this specific incident was the catalyst that sparked my half-lifelong obsession with all things horror, however, there was another thing that happened only a few months later that may have played a large part as well…

It was 04/05, and my dad had rented the first Saw film on DVD from a video shop in my town called Global (it’s closed now, but I owe a lot to it, namely my love of gaming. Might be an idea for another article at some point, but I digress). Father Cordiner (not a priest) was under strict instructions by my mum not to let me watch Saw, under any circumstances, and fair play to old James, he did his best. I tried to come in and was swiftly told to get out, so I obliged.

BUT LITTLE DID HE KNOW, DEAR READER, THAT I SAT ON THE STAIRS AND WATCHED A GOOD TWENTY MINUTES OF THE FILM, COMPLETELY UNDETECTED! (*Insert Skyrim “Sneak 100” meme here*). It wasn’t even a particularly gory segment of the film (it was the flashback bit where Kramer gives his alibi and then a bit onwards), but I was infatuated. The way it was shot, the grimness and grossness that pulsated through every scene, it was cool as fucking fuck, basically. And for that reason, I hold the original Saw in very high regard. For the curious among you, I closed the living room door behind me but left it slightly ajar, and our living room door is mainly glass so I saw the action PERFECTLY!

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The last example of my early love for horror would come in 2007, I had a computer in my room so that was basically how I spent all my time (WHO CAN RELATE LMAO?). I had recently gone to the cinema to see Michael Bay’s Transformers (a solid 6/10), but there was a trailer before it for a title-less film, “1-18-08”, soon to be known as Cloverfield. Now, anyone who knows me even in passing knows how much love I have in my tummy for the Cloverfield franchise, and the main reason is that of the viral marketing that surrounded it. 11 year old me was positively balls deep in that sweet, sweet ARG. I trawled numerous sites, forums and youtube videos in a near-manic attempt to devour any and all information about the film. As the release date drew near, and the pieces starting falling into place in regards to what the film actually was, my excitement reached fever pitch.

I didn’t see Cloverfield until it came out on DVD. I wasn’t old enough to see it at the cinema, so I had to wait. It was a painful 6 months, seeing the reaction to the film online, the excitement, the reviews… It was tough. On my 11th birthday, I must have watched the film maybe 6 times in a row, digesting every scene like a mother puma digesting her prey. Even though I’d kept up with the film after it’s release, I hadn’t had it spoiled for me (fucking somehow), so it still remained fresh to me, and it was, and probably still is, the single best experience I’ve ever had watching a film. It was bloody brilliant, and though I’ve seen films since that I perhaps admired or enjoyed more in some aspects, Cloverfield will always remain my favourite film.

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Now while Cloverfield may not TECHNICALLY be a horror film (I’d argue it comes under the genre’s umbrella as both found footage and a monster film), it’s just as responsible for my love of horror as the other two anecdotes. And maybe that’s the main reason I love horror so much, the primality of it all. It’s ability to make you feel so frightened so quickly. Good horror holds your every sense and sensibility hostage and makes you lose sleep for maybe one night, but great horror, horror like Saw, Cloverfield, or more recently (and less anecdotey) Hereditary, The VVitch and films of that ilk, get under your skin like a master surgeon. It consumes your thoughts for days, weeks even, it makes you want to tell EVERYONE about how it made you feel, hell, it might even make you disobey your parents and watch it from the stairs.

Cheers for reading troops, I dunno what grand point I was really trying to make with this article. I just thought it might be a nice way to ease my way back into the swing of writing more long-form stuff. I hope you liked it, I hope I haven’t wasted your time, and I hope to see you again very, very soon. See ye!

Thoughts On: R-Rated Movies

With Hollywood set to unleash a new wave of R-Rated films, I discuss why this could be detrimental for movies.

It’s seemingly impossible to look at any source of entertainment news without seeing something about Deadpool, a film that, carrying a $58 million budget and a handful of dick jokes, has become the ultimate underdog story. Grossing over $500 million since its release nearly three weeks ago, the film received praise from many (including myself which you can check here) and started a discussion about the superhero genre having new life breathed into it.

Suddenly fans were becoming less focussed on their interwoven universe and concentrating more on all these other characters who could be given the same appropriate adult treatment usually expected from a Tarantino film.

Just like any kind of success however, Hollywood have taken notice of Deadpool’s success and glazed other films with the same “no children allowed” brush. Now we’re getting a truly dark and violent Wolverine film to say goodbye to Hugh Jackman’s sharp handed mutant and an R-rated cut of Batman Vs Superman for its home release.

This immediately set off alarm bells for me as this isn’t the first time Hollywood have jumped on whatever is popular. Who could forget the countless amount of Star Wars imposters after the series came out of nowhere to become one of the best selling pieces of media ever or, and more relevant in this case, Christopher Nolan’s reboot of Batman which resulted in an onslaught of moody, dark takes on popular fictitious characters (honestly, who cares about a gritty take on Dracula again?) that still continues today.

Many others before me have pointed out a very important point about this “rise” of r-rated films and that is that branding a film with that age rating doesn’t mean that it’ll be successful: in some cases it can do the complete opposite.

Take for instance Watchmen, a great film in my eyes but one that I can’t deny underperformed when it hit the big screens. If the R-rating could not save the adaptation of one of the most critically acclaimed novels of all time, one that stands amongst other greats like 1984, then it seems pretty clear that branding a film as such will in turn not result in $$$.

What Hollywood need to realise is that the reason for Deadpool’s success is the team behind it: you had the original creators backing it, the actor who had pushed for the film to be made (so much so that he is 70% sure that he leaked the test footage online) as well as writers who knew the character and were driven to make the film they wanted without interaction from heads at FOX. Whilst people went crazy for Deadpool getting that age rating, they didn’t flock out to see it because of that. They went to see it because the trailers made them laugh, the promotional material was exactly what it should have been and it wore its fourth wall breaking humour on its sleeve.

James Gunn knows a thing or two about unconventional superhero films since, after all, he made 2014’s biggest sleeper hit Guardians Of The Galaxy and recently posted on Facebook about the comparisons between his film and Deadpool.

“The film has a self-deprecating tone that’s riotous. It’s never been done before. It’s poking fun at Marvel. That label…

Posted by James Gunn on Monday, 15 February 2016

Unlike Hollywood executives, Gunn knows that the reason for a film like GOTG and Deadpool’s success isn’t because it’s different but because it done what the original creators set out to do. Whilst the former paved way for the latter, both films are still recognised for not being afraid to be unconventional or themselves and in the same way, Hollywood shouldn’t be aimlessly marking films due to the success of one movie.

Personally, I can’t wait to see an R-Rated (I’ve wrote out this word so many times my brain is going numb) cut of Batman vs Superman as I know from seeing The Dark Knight Returns that both characters suit that treatment. Fans are already speculating that we’ll get to see the death of people close to Bruce Wayne and this is what I want to see Hollywood, films getting what they deserve because it benefits the viewer and improves their experience.

Not so you can fill your pockets yet again.

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Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens final trailer review

I feel like a spoilt child at the moment, like it’s Christmas came early. Last week there was the release of the Star Wars Battlefront Beta, which you can read my thoughts about over here (unsubtle beg), which for a lot of people had them reliving the PS2 days of fighting on Hoth with their pals until the early hours of the morning. Then 2 days ago we got this amazing poster that was meant to tantalise our sci-fi tastebuds until last night.

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“But what happened last night” you most likely won’t ask. This happened.

Released in the early hours of the morning for us over here in Britain, the trailer didn’t exactly make a Beyonce style entrance by coming out of nowhere. In fact, it was quite the opposite as the trailer itself had two teaser trailers to promote it, sort of like how Deadpool did it *cough* which you can read my thoughts about over here *cough* though what else do you expect from one of the highest grossing film series of all time. Even if you don’t like Star Wars, it’s become a staple of pop culture and many scenes and characters have been inscribed in our heads, fact this is.

Which is why I’ve unashamedly watched the trailer a total of five times already and no doubt I’ll watch it another fifty times before the film releases on December 18th. I, like many other people my age and older, have grown up with the series, watching them on loop whether it be on VHS or the countless repeats on ITV2.

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So if you couldn’t tell already, I loved the new trailer and I’m more than aboard the hype train, something I told myself I wouldn’t do due to the sour taste the prequels left in my mouth. The fact that the movie isn’t out for another two months is probably the only problem I have with it (that and the absence of Luke), even then I doubt I’ll get to see it as soon as it is out anyway with how fast tickets sold out for its first day of release.

Letting J.J Abrams take the helm of the project was probably the best decision Disney have made since greenlighting a Guardians Of The Galaxy sequel as the Star Wars universe has never looked so damn good. Even the shortest scenes like the brief dogfight featuring the millennium falcon had me amazed as well as engrossed, something that the prequels failed to do. With his success rebooting Star Trek as well his work on Mission Impossible and Lost, I’m more confident than ever that he’ll be able to balance the story and set pieces that made the original trilogy such a classic.

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One of the main problems with the prequels was how terrible the characters were, not wanting to name names but a certain Jamaican talking, rabbit looking thing lives in infamy as being one of the worst things since bubonic plague. Right maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement but with an unclear protagonist in The Phantom Menace, forced vomit inducing romance in The Clone Wars and a moody emo Anakin for Revenge Of The Sith, it was very difficult to like any of the characters.

With the glimpse we’ve had of The Force Awakens, we’ve got a set of new faces as well as old. We have Finn (John Boyega) who plays a Stormtrooper that, from what I know, witnesses something that results in him leaving The First Order, leaving him alone and confused which is something that viewers can relate to as they return to a universe that has changed since we last saw it 30 years ago. Speaking of First Order, there’s Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) who leads this new empire in order to, as he tells the decimated helmet of Darth Vader, “finish what you started”. (Bonus points to you if you spotted the symbolism!)

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Last but not least, we have Rey (Daisy Ridley), a scavenger who a lot of fans suspect has some link to Kylo Ren. Despite this, it seems like she’ll be a welcome change to the tired damsel in distress trope that both men and women are growing sick of. With Han Solo himself showing up alongside Chewie and Leia, the trailer was not only a welcome introduction to what we can expect from this new trilogy, it was a trailer made for the fans.

Will Episode VII be any good? Who knows. We all got ourselves way too excited about The Phantom Menace and look what happened there. However, from what we know and from what we’ve seen, things are looking far more positive. If the final film can evoke the same emotions the same way the trailer made me feel when Finn and Kylo Ren drew their lightsabers to fight, then The Force Awakens will be a worthy addition to the Star Wars franchise.

So what are your thoughts about the Star Wars trailer? Excited? Dissapointed? What’s your favourite moment? Leave your thoughts in the comments below since I’d love to see what you thought of it. Also don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @blinkclyro for some more fanboying.

Ant Man Review

Have you noticed the running trend of superhero movies facing massive production problems? If you catched my Deadpool trailer reaction post you’ll remember that it’s been in production for close to a decade and the journey for Ant Man has not been any smoother. Ant Man started development all the way back in 2006 with Edgar Wright, better known as the guy who created Hot Fuzz and Shaun Of The Dead (better known as those two films that are always on ITV2), taking helm of the project. He was the perfect choice as director but as script drafts were completed and test footage was taken, creative differences with Marvel resulted in Wright leaving and Peyton Reed replacing him. It’s been established since his departure that Wright’s decision to leave was due to the film having to tie in with the Marvel Cinematic Universe which no doubt limited what he was able to do.

Fans of the big (well not so big) superhero were left wondering if the film they’ve been anticipating for years was going to be any good. The fact that Wright, who had great success adapting the Scott Pilgrim vs The World books, left had some wondering if anyone would be able to do it, let alone the guy who directed Yes Man. You can’t really blame them either as to the average person, Ant Man is a guy who can turn really small and that’s about it. The trailer that was released a few months before the films release in July managed to calm some down but it was cliched (insert main villain talking sinisterly in the background and a pan shot of the city skyline) leaving some to think this would be Marvel’s first big flop (if you don’t include any of the Thor films or Iron Man 2).

They were wrong.

Marvel's Ant-Man Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) amongst his ants. Photo Credit: Film Frame © Marvel 2015

So who is Ant Man? In this film he’s Scott Lang, an ex con who was jailed for burglary and is trying to become a better person so that he can see his daughter. However he realises that the outside world doesn’t treat ex cons so nicely and he soons goes back to his old ways which leads him to Hank Pym who is *surprise* the first Ant Man. Pym is a scientist who created the shrinking technology which allows ant man to shrink down to the size of….well…an ant. However after resigning from S.H.I.E.L.D over 3 decades ago ago and being forced out by his own company by Cross, who is close to replicating Pym’s technology and renaming it the yellow suit, Pym chooses Lang to take on the role of Ant Man to stop Cross at all costs.  “My days of breaking into places and stealing stuff are over. What do you want me to do?” “I want you to break into a place and steal some stuff.”

What ensues is a heist film which is a welcome change to the “fight the big baddy” plot that most marvel films follow. The humour in Ant Man is consistently on point though what else do you expect from a screenplay that was penned by Edgar Wright. Some of the funniest moments come from Michael Pena’s character Luis whose constant ramblings about “so this guy told my cousin” stories never failed to make me or the rest of the audience laugh out loud. At the start I thought he’d be a bit of a mistreated character and used only to progress the plot but he plays the comic relief role perfectly with every word he says being comedy gold, I’d be devastated if we didn’t see him when the inevitable Ant Man 2 comes along.

Main star Paul Rudd also deserves praise for his role as Scott Lang. The actor is best known for comedic roles like in Knocked Up and Clueless and this definitely helps in delivering quips throughout the movie but he handles the sentimental moments perfectly, very similar to Chris Pratt’s Star Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s no surprise that Rudd’s performance reminded me of Pratt as GOTG was also a film that was hyped up by many as being Marvel’s first flop before it’s release. It was absurd, it was crazy and it was bloody hilarious and proved all doubters wrong, surprising everyone and was undoubtedly one of the best films of 2014.

Michael Douglas was also fantastic as Hank Pym as was Evangeline Lilly as his daughter hope and I couldn’t flaw their chemistry as even though the whole “daughter hates her dad” cliche has been overplayed, it works well in the context of the story and explaining why Hank is no longer Ant Man. Even some of the less important characters such as Luis’ buddies Dave and Kurt, played by rapper T.I and David Dastmalchian respectively, were great additions to the cast and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a few chuckles from them.

Although it may have had a rocky production and the first 30 minutes of the film feel kind of slow and sluggish, the rest of the film more than makes up for it. I’ve seen the film twice already and wouldn’t hesitate to watch it again and it’s easily the best Marvel film I’ve seen all year (sorry Age of Ultron). If you haven’t seen it already then you should change that because Ant Man is in for the running for my favourite film of 2015.

So what are your thoughts on Antman? Loved it? Hated it? What was your favourite moment? Leave your thoughts in the comments below since I’d love to see what you thought of it. Also don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @blinkclyro for some more fanboying.

Deadpool Trailer reaction

14 years.

That’s how long it’s taken for a Deadpool movie to see the light of day though when you realise that the folk at Fox had to make a film about a chimichanga loving, violence enthusiast who loves to break the fourth wall (what kind of weirdo would do that eh?) they had a bit of a challenge on their hands. Just like the humour of the titular hero (?) , the production of a Deadpool film has been all over the place with Artisan Entertainment making a deal with Marvel back in 2000 when superhero films were all but dead after the likes of Batman and Robin had made the genre a laughing stock. 4 years later and New Line Cinema, the home of the Lord of The Rings and Hobbit franchise, attempted a Deadpool spin off with Ryan Reynolds but due to director David Goyer disinterest in the film the project got called off which is a disappointment seeing as the man eventually did screenwriting for the Dark Knight trilogy which revitalised superhero films. The following year 20th Century Fox gained interested in producing a Deadpool flick but following that the only sort of thing that happened was an appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine where they sOWED HIS MOUTH SHUT? THE MERC WITH THE MOUTH HIS MOUTH SOWED SHUT CLOSED? ARE YOU SERIOUS?
And then we got this.

Talking to enemies in Spanish before beating them all up while singing Juice Newton. Showing an assault gun wielding merc a crayon drawing of Deadpool beheading him. Meta humour by the bucketload. All of that within 2 minutes and it’s no wonder why this “leaked” test footage set the internet on fire with hype. Deadpool has always been a favourite of mine, definitely ranking in the top 3, so when I heard about this I got more excited than I should have. I’m usually hesitant to do so since I want to keep neutral though if you’ve read anything about Biffy on this blog you’ll know it’s a bit difficult for me to control myself. Not only did we get this test footage with Fox telling us that a film was in production but that it would also be coming out February 2016 AND would share a cinematic universe with the amazing X-Men films.

After a period of teaser images and an April fools video that you can check out here, we got this teaser here on Monday.

The very next day, we finally got our first meaty, or Quorn yeno I ain’t judging we’re all friends here, chunk of the long awaited film.

First things first, the faithfulness to the source material is extremely relieving. Everything about this film screams Deadpool and it’s great to know that Ryan Reynolds will be reprising his role as the titular character. From start to finish the trailer was a shoutout to the fans for pretty much making this film a reality. If it hadn’t been for the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the test footage then this might have not seen the light of day and it’s good to see that director Tim Miller has recognised this. The R rating alone means we’ll get an uncensored Deadpool, not restricted like 12A superhero pals and the trailer showed just how unafraid the crew are on making this a violent film. No doubt we’ll have folk protesting against the film’s release but it’s not as if we haven’t had this a thousand times before.

I’d like to say I haven’t watched the trailer so many times that the amount is scarily near triple digits. I’d like to say I wasn’t laughing my arse off at TJ Miller’s quips about Deadpool’s appearance. I’d like to say I didn’t let out a huge smile when I saw his flatmate Blind Al (guess why she has that name). I’d like to say that I didn’t do all these things but I’d be a massive liar. I’ve jumped on the hype train. I haven’t so much jumped on the hype train as I have bought every seat on said train, put on a worker’s cap and shouted “FULL STEAM AHEAD”. I’ve bought the train. I identify as the Deadpool movie hype train. I’m in crippling debt. Send help.

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So what are your thoughts about the Deadpool trailer? Excited? Dissapointed? What’s your favourite moment? Leave your thoughts in the comments below since I’d love to see what you thought of it. Mine has to be the ” the cancer is only in my liver, lungs, prostate and brain … all things I can live without” bit, the little smirk at the end gets me laughing every time. Also don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @blinkclyro for some more fanboying.