Friday, September 23, 2016

here for the boos.


We've a way to go before October... but it's definitely starting to feel more like autumn than summer now, and while indulging in my first pumpkin flavoured item of the season today, I had an idea.

As well as attempting to watch and review horror every day next month, I'm also going to enjoy some fine (I hope) pumpkin beer whilst doing so, and let you know what I think about those, too!

Pumpkin is a tricky flavour to master, so every October I sample a few to see who got it right. I thought it might be fun (and to be fair, I am taking more than a little inspiration from the True Crime Garage podcast) to sip on some seasonal brews while watching seasonal films.

So again, recommendations are welcome. At this point I am probably just going to start scooping up whatever I can find to have in the 'fridge ready to go - any I should keep an eye out for...?

Monday, September 19, 2016

dive right back in.

Hi. So I've been slowly finding my way back to the genre after an extended hiatus, brought about by a combination of (too real) real life stuff and just generally being fed up with bad horror movie after bad horror movie...

It's pretty depressing in itself when you can't watch your once favourite type of film due to feeling too crappy... and when you do feel good enough to take the plunge, they almost always turn out to be stupendously disappointing.

A photo posted by Jo Finlay (@relaxcupcake) on

Apart from You're Next. That one I liked.

BUT, I miss it. And I miss writing about it! So with the spooky season upon us I wanted to set myself a little challenge. I'm going to watch at least one horror movie a day throughout October AND I'm going to write about every. single. one.

It may be a proper review... it may be a version of "live-tweeting" the movie as I watch it... it might be somewhere in between those two. Or something else. I don't want to limit myself or promise anything too lofty or specific, because this is really just an exercise in getting back into the swing of horror blogging.

I'm excited about it, which in itself is pretty thrilling!

So I've been working on the list, because I must have films in the barrel ready to go, or else I'll fall prey to the first world Netflix problem of taking longer to choose a film than watch it. So...

Does anyone have any recommendations? 

I've already filled a lot of the slots with movies I've had on my "To Watch" list for a while, so I'm excited to finally have a reason to get through those. The rest are some I've been wanting to re-watch for a while but have held off with this in mind. This leaves space for a few suggestions! (ideally something I can find on US Netflix or Showtime streaming).

This is subject to change, but here we go, so far:

October 1st - Holidays
October 2nd - The Babadook
October 3rd - Dead Set
October 4th - Housebound / Scream (if I can make a 20th anniversary screening)
October 5th - Creep
October 6th - The Dark Hours
October 7th - The Final Girls
October 8th - Creepshow
October 9th - Hatchet
October 10th - Honeymoon
October 11th - The Houses October Built
October 12th - It Follows
October 13th - Night Breed
October 14th - He Never Died
October 15th - The Blood Lands
October 16th - Troll Hunter
October 17th - Bound to Vengeance
October 18th - Starry Eyes
October 19th - Mr. Jones
October 20th - Camino
October 21st - Dawn of the Dead (2007)
October 22nd - We Are Still Here 
October 23rd - The Facility
October 24th - Hellions / Stung
October 25th - Hush
October 26th - House of Good and Evil / The Pact
October 27th - The Awakening
October 28th - 28 Days Later & 28 Weeks Later
October 29th - Tales of Halloween
October 30th - Halloween (1978) & Halloween (2007) 
October 31st! - Trick 'r Treat

Edit: And we're all filled in!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Contracted (2013).

I think now that the zombie pudding has been well over-egged, my preferred type of zed in a film is the zed who doesn't know they are one.

With a couple of hours to myself I threw this on Netflix the other night, and found it to be an impressive and tight little 1hr24min flick, mostly dealing with a slow burn of a undead transformation.

The word zombie is never used, by the way, and the only true groan-shuffle-I-want-brains action comes right at the very end. The rest of the movie is a series of escalating gross things happening to the main character's body and her and various family and friends' reaction to them. Structurally, this worked really well.

The story: Samanatha is lovesick and at a party on her own...

Her shitty girlfriend couldn't make it/is ignoring her calls, so Sam does some shots, cuts loose a little bit and before she knows what's happening, she's with some random guy in a car. We see through her POV that it pretty much plays out that way, too: the car's interior comes into view, along with a blurry, faceless male body moving on top of her. It is made very clear Sam has changed her mind. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to matter.

The scenes within the party are really my only complaint about this film.
A) It was a looooong build. I will admit the delayed title screen was effective, but the party in itself could have set up what it needed to in way less time.
And B) It transpires later that the quirky drug dealer friend of Sam's sold Rohypnol to a guy at the party. What the fuck. So Sam was definitely date-raped.
Also B(i) Netflix calls this a "one night stand" in its blurb about the movie. Not sure how I feel about that. Trigger warning, anyone?

So this assault as a plot device... I suppose I don't have a problem with it...? Yes and no. Why did it have to be rape? Why couldn't she just have got drunk and fucked the guy? This aspect does add another layer of discomfort to proceedings though, and paints "BJ" (the infected rapist in question) as a far more terrifying presence to be out there in the world doing his thing.

Maybe it's more the flippant way the entire thing is confirmed in the narrative. I know in real life people must buy and sell that drug; what made me uncomfortable was that the drug dealer was portrayed as someone pretty normal - irritating perhaps, but not unlikeable - and not an arsehole who sells date rape pills.

In any case, I respect the film more for making me think about this, rather than less. It's a good story told well, with added controversial/offensive bite that the viewer can unpack for themselves.

After the party and the sexual assault, the narrative then charts the next three days of Sam's physical degeneration. At first she thinks she feels so rough due to a massive hangover, then she thinks it's a possible sexually transmitted infection. We never see if she ever realises the full horrific extent of what she has contracted.

A touch I really liked? This one:

And fade in...

There was a moment towards the end where one can perhaps argue the film could've ended and been as good, or better. It would have been blunt, but it would have had punch. I suppose it depends how much of a blatant zombie payoff you ultimately wanted.

There's plenty of body horror - although done with some finesse, no T or A in this one - with bloody sheets ("It's just my period. I think?") and teeth and fingernails falling off.

The sex scene at the end made me laugh with its inclusion of the line "Oh my god you're so wet!" because of course she is, it's literally a bloody putrefying vagina you are dealing with there, my friend. This scene also serves as a smooth continuation of the horror, seeing as Sam herself contracted it from sex with a dude we see banging a corpse (off camera) at the very start of the movie. So the virus lives on past the end credits. Gruesome stuff.