Evil Dead (2013)

evildeadThis week for the second time in recent months I went to see another horror remake, something that without extenuating circumstances would never normally happen. However in the case of Maniac, which is reviewed here, and Evil Dead I felt I would have been stupid not to. I’m a big fan of the original Evil Dead and initially when I heard it was going to be re-made I greeted the news with my usual massive sigh when I hear of another Hollywood horror re-hash. However, in the build up to its release it managed to distinguish itself from the rest of the pack. One of the biggest things that made me want to go watch it was that Sam Raimi, director of the original trilogy, was on board as a producer. On top of that I read that the film was mostly going to be taking an old-school approach to the special effects, opting for prosthetics rather than CG. So I caved eventually and when the time came round I actually got quite excited to go and see some proper gory horror at the cinema.

In terms of gore Evil Dead certainly does not disappoint. With torture porn nowadays being the biggest form of horror cinema it’s obviously a difficult challenge to give something the shock factor people have come to expect. With Evil Dead, though, they have got it perfectly right and correct, it’ll have you squeaming in your seat and flinching in disgust as the sheer level of blood and guts is so relentless that it easily sets itself apart from the pack that it could have fallen into. The fact that they held back on CG really works in favour of the gore too, it immediately makes everything more visceral and is done so well that it provides a great update from the low-budget shit Raimi must have had to use on the original. The tree rape scene however, is not done as well as the original and unfortunately that’s not the only negative about the film. The plot, largely similar to the original, is an incredibly generic one, one that only really works in the original because it’s taken with a pinch of salt, this remake, however, takes it’s plot incredibly seriously, so much so that I can’t even remember there being one joke. This is, ultimately, where the film holds it biggest flaw since the gor is so extreme it gets over-the-top so for dark sods like me it is actually quite funny but the way the plot is dealt with makes it feel like they don’t realise they’re own joke. They don’t realise quite how ridiculous this film is and therefore miss out on what it was that made this franchise great in the first place.

While I very much enjoyed the film and will almost certainly watch it again at some point, it made it impossible for me to love it as much as the original. It does just about manage to separate itself from the usual trashy Hollywood horror but lacks the humurous spark of it’s predecessors and suffers from taking its generic plot too sincerely. Still if you want some blood and guts this will always be a good shout.

 

An Unusual Murder, part 4

The following is filed as classified evidence for the Simon Falmouth case.

Official Statement

Simon Falmouth

     My name is Simon. That’s the name I was born with. Not Badman, not Chris, and not Sarah, my name is Simon. When I was 24 I was diagnosed with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) which means I have other people in my head. I can’t choose when they come and when they go but when they do come I’m not here anymore, they take full residence of me. All my other personalities are separate from me but we share the same body. Some of the others damage me and leave me to pick up the pieces.

Sarah likes to self-harm which causes me a lot of pain. Badman has had me in trouble with the police before he thinks he’s a drug dealer so he says stuff about doing hard drugs all the time. Once he did manage to do some cocaine and he got caught straight away. That’s why they assigned Mary to me, so she could stop them doing terrible things but there’s not much she can do really. I like Chris, he’s the one personality that I would like to keep, the other two I’d rather get rid of. Apparently, I created these identities as a way of coping with past trauma, but that doesn’t make sense to me because none of my other personalities deal with problems in a sensible way.

When someone else does something bad and doesn’t admit to it I write in my diary to ask whoever it was to own up. For example, the first time Sarah self-harmed I wrote in the book: ‘Who did this to me? This is not fair, please own up now.’ And then a day or two later Sarah came out and admitted: ‘I did it,’ she wrote, ‘it was to protect you from the memories. If I don’t have an outlet and if you want me to keep harbouring all these memories then you have to let me release the pain.’ Since then things have escalated really, the self-harming hasn’t stopped, Badman’s got more and more dangerous and even Charlie plays up when he’s with Mary.

Now, murder! I can’t believe even Badman would go this far though. And to think that he’s a part of me, I’m unaware of what he’s doing but he’s still a part of me that’s doing it, I can’t come to terms with it. I’ve been writing in the diary trying to make sense of it from what the others have got to say, but it still seems too unbelievable that I’ve done this, that a person of my own creation, a person in my own head is capable of this. Badman has lied about doing things before. He reads these newspaper stories and then will write confessions in the diary owning up to things he’s read about, like robberies and gang crimes. I just let him believe it, it never seemed worth fighting against. If I questioned whether he did those things then he might do something to try and prove that he is the hard man he’s claiming to be.

I’ve been told I’m in denial and now that this has happened I’m considered dangerously insane and I’m probably going to get put in a secure home. Like that’s any kind of life. I’m not insane though, the others might be but I’m not, I don’t have any control over them, I just don’t understand. No one understands this condition.

LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes

lego-batman2While still no one knows if there ever will be a Justice League movie, the LEGO game franchise have given us some kind of respite in LEGO Batman 2 which allows you to play as pretty much any DC super hero or villain and zoom round Gotham City fixing things and getting rid of the dangerous criminals. The game has full playable free-roam city with various collectables and mini-missions hidden about while the main story takes you through fifteen levels and ultimately take down The Joker and Lex Luthor.

The story play is as fresh as always in a LEGO game, taking many of the same features and styles of previous titles but still maintaining it’s own unique features. The idea of having the different suits that allow Batman and Robin to do certain things helps separate it from other games and when you begin to unlock more characters, especially Superman, they include specific things that couldn’t have been done without them. The missions are quite diverse, most of them have a few bits where you have to run around a location and figure out how you can get the right power to open the next door, then those bits are normally combined with a driving/flying/boating section in which you have to shoot a load of stuff down. It never gives you the chance to get bored and when you go back and play the missions again, because you have to to get all the collectibles, it’s not a chore but still retains it’s fun factor.

Once you unlock Superman and are allowed to fly round the City searching for gold bricks and boss fights the game gains a whole new feel which makes going back and forth finding bits and bobs actually pretty fun. Something that most games fail to do. LEGO Batman 2 is a great new addition to the franchise being perhaps the best of the titles I’ve played since the original LEGO Star Wars games. This is well worth a play.

 

Pisces Iscariot

Smashing_Pumpkins_-_Pisces_Iscariot_-_frontMy next Pumpkins review takes me to the unusual grounds of Pisces Iscariot. The album that isn’t really an album. Pisces Iscariot was actually just a mix tape of some b-sides and covers and things that was put together for the die hard fans at the time. But the record ended up earning platinum status. When listening to the album its not hard to figure out why. It was made during the bands prime, released in between their two biggest and best albums and captured more of the magic of a band who, in my opinion, are on of the greatest of all time.

The album never feels as though it’s a collection of songs, it holds its own sounds like an album that was made to be an album. It features a number of favourite tracks the Pumpkins have ever done. A Girl Named Sandoz is a cover but has become one of my favourite Pumpkins tracks, also their cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide gives the original a run for its money. In terms of original material on the record the versatility of the tracks go some way to showing you how diverse a band the Pumpkins were flowing from the calming Soothe into the distorted grunge of Frail and Bedazzled is just the beginning of an unpredictable collection none of which disappoints.

The 2012 re-release and re-master of the album has come under a bit of criticism as there apparently some sound quality issues on some of the tracks, to my untrained ears I didn’t notice anything though to be honest. And with the box set you are also treated to a DVD of the groups first ever TV performance which includes a  number of early tracks I’d never heard before and are actually awesome. Overall Pisces Iscariot is very close to being my favourite Pumpkins record there is, an amazing achievement for a mix tape.

 

CAGE RAGE: The Cotton Club

MV5BMTA5MTMyMzYxMTJeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU3MDU3MDUyMzQ@._V1._SX640_SY430_My latest stop on my Cage mission saw me stop by another Francis Ford Coppola movie with 1984’s The Cotton Club. It tells the story of he famous Harlem jazz club of the same name. Tying in with organised crime, politics and culture at a very interesting time in American history, all the while entertaining us with music and dancing.

The Cotton Club was one of the more enjoyable films I’ve watched so far for CAGE RAGE it’s well produced and has some great, tense scenes of action. However, ultimately I felt the film didn’t flow quite right. The story seemed disjointed and just as you though something good was about to happen you were shown another over-long scene of dancing that, although amazing, doesn’t progress the plot in any way and after you’ve seen a couple of these scenes they get a bit tedious and stop the film from flowing properly. Overall I found the film enjoyable but overly flawed and lacking in the bite that a number of similar films have. When it comes to Cage there wasn’t really enough of him for my liking, he did do some pretty cool stuff though he does go slightly crazy and he’s laying a mob member which you can’t really complain about.

There are a couple of good Cage bits, and some of his best scenes so far on my filmography tour but in the end there just wasn’t enough screen time to make The Cotton Club worthy of being the first 3/5 on the Rage scale. As a film it’s a worth a watch but don’t expect anything classic.

CAGE RAGE rating – 2/5

An Unusual Murder, part 3

The following is filed as classified evidence for the Simon Falmouth case.

Official Statement

Sarah

I’m not a fan of Mary, that bitch thinks she knows what’s best for me. To tell you the truth I fantasised about hurting her in the past. She always tells me though, ‘Violence solves nothing.’ She has no idea. I don’t want to solve anything. She doesn’t understand what I’ve been through. The others live their lives in blissful ignorance, I’m the one who has to take the pain. I just wish every once in a while I could get the pain out. But I can’t. Why don’t they try living with this baggage? Rather than complaining at me for acting out, why don’t they take some responsibility for once? Especially that fucking Mary.

People always tell me off for the scars I leave on my arm. They don’t understand that either. When the pain inside is so great it’s a relief to be able to concentrate on a lesser pain on the outside. I cut an artery once and almost died. That did shake me up a bit and I admitted to some of the stuff I’d been keeping in. I told people some of my memories, the really bad ones, the ones that haunt my dreams. The ones that Chris and the others have managed to forget. Do you want me to tell you those memories? Of course you fucking do everyone wants to know about my tortured past that’d make great reading material wouldn’t it? Well fuck you, fuck everyone. I deal with that by myself, why should it be anyone else’s business? Mary’s always poking that beak-like nose of hers into my business trying to find out what stuff’s happened to me so she can study and fix me. I’m already too far broken.

When I was younger, about fourteen, my brother showed me how to set ants on fire with a magnifying glass. Sometimes I just used to go down to the woods for hours with my magnifying glass and burn as many of them as I could. It used to make me feel calm, I was in control of everything in those moments. Nowadays I wish I had a giant magnifying glass that I could hold over Mary until I see her shrivel into a clump of black ash on the floor. Sometimes I wish someone would do the same to me. I do wish I was there to see Badman stab her though, I want to see the bitch die and I’m glad she’s gone now.

There are lots of people that think they can understand my problems. They are wrong. First of all no one who has a fully functioning mind can possibly cope with the things I’ve been through without ending up as fucked up as me and then they wouldn’t care to have to learn about other people’s issues. Another reason is that if people understood my problems they would know that I can take care of myself without fucking Mary following me around and making sure I’m not making the rest of the world feel uncomfortable. But the biggest thing that gets me is that if people understood my problems they wouldn’t spend their whole pathetic lives trying to get me to tell them stuff because they’d know how painful it all is, that’s why I know that no one understands because all anyone ever wants is to hear my story. They want to know why I’m like this. With Mary gone that’s one less person to poke around in my head.