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Showing posts from November, 2011

Abney Park Cemetery

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On a recent trip to London to visit friends I also took the opportunity to visit Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington, in the London borough of Hackney. It is one of London’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ cemeteries and a peaceful Saturday afternoon was spent exploring the place. It’s no secret I love cemeteries (the older the better) and wouldn’t think twice about spending an afternoon wandering around one and taking photos.

In 1840 Abney Park became a non-denominational garden cemetery and semi-public park arboretum, and today it is used by local residents who walk, jog, picnic, hang out and drink there.

Amongst the dark delights I discovered were an abandoned gothic chapel in the middle of the grounds and various catacombs amongst the overgrown and hauntingly beautiful walkways; themselves flanked by landscaped woodlands. Everything is wildly overgrown and atmospheric.

Amongst the dead interned in Abney Park are William and Catherine Booth, founders of The Salvation Army. Here are (but…

Audiodrome#2: Eraserhead

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Head over to Paracinema's online lair to check out my article on the soundtrack of David Lynch's “dream of dark and troubling things”, Eraserhead; a surreal and nightmarish meditation on the horror of parenthood.

"You're in very bad trouble if you won't cooperate..."

Why not pick up the latest issue of Paracinema while you’re there? Amongst its lurid delights are articles such as 'Blood Is Thicker Than Fear: Maternal Madness in Horror Cinema'; 'Dreams That You Could Never Guess: Bela Lugosi on Poverty Row, 1940-42' and 'Censoring the Centipede: How the BBFC are Sewing Our Eyes Shut.' All great stuff, written by hardcore fans of genre films for hardcore fans of genre films.

The Woman

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2011
Dir. Lucky McKee

Social satire or horror movie? Misogynistic or an attack on misogyny? Feminist tract or manipulative glorification of violence? These are the kinds of questions that The Woman has raised with audiences and critics. Whether the film is viewed as a powerful portrait of misogyny, a thinking man’s torture-porn flick or simply a brutal and nasty gore-fest - The Woman proves to be an uncompromising and memorable ordeal. More a film to be endured than enjoyed, it has left audiences divided, devastated and immersed in deep debate. Frenzied viewers were left shocked, dazed, horrified, angry and outraged in its wake as it blazed through festival screenings and cinemas. Interestingly, apathy wasn’t something experienced by most viewers – The Woman demands that you have a strong opinion one way or the other. Of course, the danger with having such a fearsome and provocative reputation so adamantly preceding it is that it will fail to live up to the hype.

Does it? Well, it …

Kaboom

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2010
Dir. Gregg Araki

Director Gregg Araki has never been one to shy away from controversial subject matter. His work usually explores the dark side of teenage life, where bad things happen ‘unexpectedly' and the lines between life and death, reality and nightmare are increasingly blurred. As a director he lingers somewhere between amateur and auteur. His 2005 film Mysterious Skin looked at sexual abuse and its aftermath through the eyes of two teenage boys – one of whom is convinced he is the victim of alien abduction. The Doom Generation was a gloomy, ultra-violent and nihilistic 'Generation X' for the soulless Nineties. His work usually features various depictions of the apocalypse as an almost mundane, matter of fact event and drugged-out characters wander through hyper-retro candy-coloured sets and broodingly dark cityscapes.

His latest film, Kaboom is a fantastical, mind-altering, sex-charged romp through the fickle world of college life that gradually morphs into …

Maniac Cop

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1988
Dir. William Lustig

Innocent New Yorkers are being brutally murdered by a uniformed police officer. As the death toll mounts, officer Jack Forrest finds himself accused of the slaughter. With few friends, powerful enemies and a psychopathic slayer still at large, Jack teams up with hardboiled Detective Frank McCrae and blonde-bombshell rookie Theresa, to prove he’s not guilty and bring down the killer.

You have the right to remain silent… Forever!

Boasting a cult-tastic cast of 80’s exploitation veterans including Tom Atkins, Richard Roundtree, Bruce Campbell and Laurene Landon, Maniac Cop has so much going for it. The script, by Larry Cohen, coupled with William Lustig’s bruising direction, ensures the film unravels as an entertaining and riveting suspenser. Cohen has made a career out of subverting normal, everyday things into objects of terror: babies (It’s Alive), ice-cream (The Stuff), paramedics (The Ambulance), and public phone boxes (Phone Booth). Maniac Cop subverts th…

The Exterminator

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1980
Dir. James Glickenhaus

After returning home to the US from fighting in Vietnam, a traumatised soldier attempting to rebuild his life turns vigilante when his best friend is paralysed by a group of thugs.

While it may unfold as a brazenly violent, exploitative and at times trashy revenge fantasy, Glickenhaus’s The Exterminator is also at times a strangely thoughtful commentary on the difficulties of Vietnam soldier reintegration, post-war trauma and government corruption. The socio-political subtext about the plight of Vietnam vets and how their own society and justice system failed them on their return home, isn’t just a front for the exploitative violence – the film does make some genuinely stark points – some of which, particularly those about the ordinary working man’s dissatisfaction with greedy, corrupt governments who make us pay for their mistakes – have never been more prevalent. John Eastland (Robert Ginty), like so many other soldiers, fought because they felt they we…

Tyrannosaur

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2011
Dir. Paddy Considine

After killing his dog in a fit of rage, violent alcoholic Joseph heads toward psychotic meltdown. Stifled by his past and his own anger with the world, Joseph thinks he finds redemption in the form of local charity shop worker Hannah. However Hannah has a dark secret of her own which threatens to shatter both their lives and plunge Joseph deeper into deadly despair.

In Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park there’s a famous moment when the audience and characters are alerted to the oncoming danger of an approaching T-Rex by water rippling in a paper cup. Paddy Considine’s assured and commanding feature directorial debut doesn’t have man-eating monsters in it, but it does feature a one-man rampage against life and the same sense of impending doom and menace ripples throughout it.

Considine is an actor who made a name for himself with his intense performances under the direction of Shane Meadows. Appearing in films such as Dead Man’s Shoes (which he co-wrote) and …