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!

Why Adam Sandler Should Just Stop

I knew I shouldn’t have done itNo, buying those Pikachu slippers is not a regret of mine. The decision I made occurred this afternoon whilst I was recovering from a sub crawl the previous day where, like anyone, I booted up Netflix to put on in the background while I curled up into a ball in bed and slowly died.

Then I saw it. The Ridiculous 6.

I should have just avoided it completely and put on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia for the 50th time but no. I watched Adam Sandler’s latest film with the mentality that if Netflix have some involvement then it might be a half decent film. When everything else the streaming giant has crafted has been critically lauded (House of Cards, Orange Is The New Black, Daredevil), surely their magic would rub off on Sandler?

No. No it did no. I don’t know what offended me more, the blatant racism or the fact that Chris Parnell being propelled back by a donkey with its diarrhoea is considered comedy. By about an hour into the film’s stretched out running time, I switched the film off with one thought dominating my mind: why is Adam Sandler still making films?

It’s not like Sandler isn’t capable of being funny. Billy Madison, his film debut, is one of my go to films whenever I want to watch something that can get a few laughs out of me and the likes of Happy Gilmore are undeniably entertaining. We all thought his SNL career and early films showcased an actor, full of potential that was capable of dominating the genre.

How wrong we all were. What he has left is a shit stain on a hotel towel than a mark on comedy that could inspire a new generation of comedians (and god help anyone who looks up to the likes of Grown Ups as something to aspire to).

Since it’s been established that Sandler was once funny, where’s the proof that he’s a despicable comedian? Unfortunately the evidence is abundant and disheartening for anyone who enjoyed his work from the get go. The most obvious one is the critical panning his movies have received. Whilst Metacritic might not be the most reliable of review sites, its aggregate is accurate for this sort of situation and to make it more fair, we’ll use the film Superbad as a comparison.

Why? Full of young actors bursting with potential, who have since went onto have amazing careers, and gross out humour as well as plenty of laughs, it is comparable to Adam Sandler’s first couple of films on these merits alone. And if Sandler wasn’t all that bad, surely the critics would at least put it on par  or close enough to the likes of Greg Mottola’s comedy epic. SURELY?

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Yup, even when his last three films are added together, Sandler still isn’t up to scratch. He was also producer on all the films above so its not down to him doing the best of what he’s given, he actually has some impact on what happens yet thinks his stereotype reliant humour is what viewers want. Every film just follows the same trodden formula and whilst the same could be said about Billy Madison, it was at least entertaining and felt like it had some heart.

Even though fans face disappointment after disappointment, they still flock out to see if this will be the film that will turn it around, just like Sonic and Muse fans. No matter how awful they are, people will still go and with Sandler signing a four movie deal with Netflix, his pockets are going to be overflowing. He knows this and he doesn’t care.

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And that’s where the problem lies: he doesn’t care. Sandler’s films have the minimum amount of effort put into them as possible and regardless if the film fails to make back its budget, which they never do, the constant advertisements mean that Sandler and co. priorities are simple: money first, public opinion last. These films aren’t made to entertain, they’re made to promote products to you for an hour and a half, any laughs are just unintentional.

So what can we do? Nothing. We can stop seeing his films in the slight chance he’ll catch on and adapt but we know that won’t be the case. I know I can’t do anything. Sandler is hardly gonna see my pathetic site and just shut down his entire company, especially when much more prolific reviewers like Red Letter Media have called him out for what he is.

A husk. And that’s the sad truth.

Big love, Liam x

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Captain America: Civil War trailer reaction 

 

It’s been four months since the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 2 ended with an ironic big bang as Ant-Man managed to make the ridiculously named superhero somehow cool, in no small part to Paul Rudd playing the titular character. We’ve had plenty time since then to reminisce about how all the movies in this act played out with some greats (Guardians Of The Galaxy), some meh’s (Avengers: Age Of Ultron) and some that we’d much rather forget, or probably already have in the case of Thor 2.

However, the stand out film of Phase 2 was Captain America: Winter Soldier. I will admit that Cap’s first entry all those years ago was a bit of a mixed bag but it was still an enjoyable flick and was still far from being bad whereas Winter Soldier just completely blew it out the park. Full of conspiracy, amazing characters such as the eponymously named Winter Soldier and some incredible action scenes, all backed up by arguably the best MCU story I’ve seen, the Russo brothers directed film sticks out in my mind as being the best Marvel film to date.

And just when I thought Marvel had out done themselves this year by providing two of the best TV shows I’ve witnessed in quite some time, they dropped this beauty.

Before you start shaking your head and stating the obvious, yes, I know we got told about Civil War more than a year ago but this is first time (second if you count the after credit scene from Ant Man) that we’ve seen actual footage of the film which, I hate to add to the already out of control hype train, will be the most important film in the MCU so far.

The first reason for this is unsurprising if you’ve seen the trailer, posters or have read the comic that it’s loosely based on: Captain America vs Iron Man. We’ve seen fights between heroes before like Thor and Iron Man at the start of The Avengers but nothing quite as big or as divisive as this. After a disaster caused by the newly led Avengers causes collateral damage to the city, politicians want a governing body to be made so that they can decide whether or not the Avengers will be called in. This divides the heroes of the MCU into two: one camp lead by good ol’ Cap America who believe there should be no government interference and another lead by Iron Man who want there to be governmental oversight. With how cataclysmic the fight in the comic was and if the beautiful wide shot scene we saw near the end of the trailer between Iron Man, Captain America and Bucky is anything to go by, we’re in for a treat.

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Secondly, we’ve got some exciting new characters getting involved with this phase 3 entry. There’s T’Challa, best known by his hero name Black Panther, who we saw kick ass in the trailer, more specifically Bucky’s meaning he’ll be on Tony Stark’s side for this. Not surprising seeing as he’s the ruler of an African nation who will no doubt want Bucky to pay for his crimes while he was brainwashed by Hydra meaning we’ll no doubt get some confrontation between Black Panther and Captain America as well which has got me feeling light headed.

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Although we never saw him in the trailer, Spider-man will also be making his arrival into the MCU with this entry though unfortunately we never got to see him at at all during the trailer. With a new actor playing him this time round, 19 year old Tom Holland, here’s hoping it’ll be third time lucky for Spidey fans since I know all I want is Holland to provide the naturally shy and geeky Peter Parker that we saw portrayed by Toby McGuire and the witty, sarcastic Spider-man that Andrew Garfield pulled off so perfectly.

The only gripe I have with Civil War at the moment is that it feels far smaller in scale in comparison to the source material which would obviously be the case due to Fox owning the rights to certain characters as well as the justifiable worry of a Spiderman 3 scenario happening where there’s too many characters all at once. Once I’ve seen the film for myself I’m sure that the smaller cast of characters will make up for it with some crucial character development as well as setting up what we can expect to see throughout the rest of Phase 3.

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“I’m sorry, Tony. You know I wouldn’t do this if I had another choice. But he’s my friend.” “So was I.” Them chills.

Civil War could very well fall under the pressure of the films it follows. It could be as underwhelming and predictable as Age of Ultron. It could get Phase 3 off to a horrendous start. The way I see it is that it won’t succumb to any of this. Civil War, and you can hold me to it, is going to be the biggest and best MCU film yet.

It might bring the question of choosing if you’re Team Captain America or Team Iron Man but at the end of it all, the winner will hopefully be the fans.

So what are your thoughts about the Civil War trailer? Excited? Dissapointed? What’s your favourite moment? 2016 is undoubtedly going to be the biggest year for comic books ever with Batman vs Superman, Suicide Squad, Deadpool, X-Men: Apocalypse, Civil War and more so let me know what your favourite is down in the comments below and I’ll see you tomorrow for more fanboying goodness.

Big love, Liam x

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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.