Tag Archives: horror

Horrific Childhood

Growing up in the Eighties, there was no shortage of horror movies, ones that shaped and influenced me, I keenly remember watching things like Child’s Play, Nightmare on Elm Street, Carrie, Poltergeist. There was never a moment where it was suggested kids shouldn’t watch these movies, many hours of play primary school with mini Freddie’s terrorising the rest of the playground.

I remember being introduced to the Hellraiser series while being looked after by my neighbours after school. I was hooked, it was colourful, gory and the scene in the hospital has never left me. Let us also not forget movies like Gremlins, Beetlejuice, Ghostbusters – movies that were to a greater degree aimed at a younger market.

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A friend shared an article that expressed the dismay at the lack of horror for children these days. I did a quick search for horror movies for children, it threw up things like Nightmare before Christmas, Monsters Inc and Frankenweenie. Which I think really, misses the point. I even found A Neverending Story on the list. Horror? Really, are we calling challenging scenes and emotions horror? Most of the themes become scary only when you get older and the full implications of the movie and what it is actually saying. The only thing that really might upset a child, is the same thing that upsets me and that is a pony possibly drowning in quick sand. But themes of death and sadness are not things that children should be shielded from, they are a part of life and children don’t get a free pass in real life. Why hide it in their films?

But death, in and of itself isn’t horror, and subtle themes, again will be missed by children. You have to remember that when you watch something as an adult you have a different, not necessarily greater, understanding that that of a child. This means that when you watch the same movie as an adult, you are no longer viewing it as you might have done.

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Now I am going to go in a slightly different direction for a moment but please bear with me – it will all come together!

When I was a child, my mother made a friend, I was never entirely sure how this relationship started, or how it continued as she didn’t really seem to enjoy Helen’s company. Helen had a daughter a little younger than me, and we spent time together, I spent weekends with them. Not sure why, I never really enjoyed it, and since my mother had children it didn’t give her a break. Now one of the things that my mother couldn’t understand and didn’t agree with was Helen’s insistence that her daughter not wear a school uniform. Not that her daughter went to a school that didn’t have a uniform. No, that her daughter was given special privilege to not wear uniform. So instead of just being part of her class, she stood out in her entire school.

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Again this might sound like I am going on the weirdest tangent but there is a reason for this colouring in, please bear with me. It was something that Helen took from her own childhood, she hated wearing uniform. She therefore felt her own daughter shouldn’t be put through the same thing her mother forced her to go through. And another hold over i have noticed is homework. I have lost count of the amount of people how keep bringing this up. That they don’t understand the point, that their children should learn enough in their school day, that they should be able to wind down after school, that it isn’t the parents responsibility to educate their children. I won’t go on. But it illustrates a point.

People are using their own experiences to colour the experiences of the next generation. When people don’t like wearing a uniform or doing homework, instead of appreciating or understanding why these things are important. But this is something to expand on in another blog post.

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My point is that decisions on what movies to make, what to give the green light to, are made by people  remembering the ‘video nasty’ movies from the Eighties and Early Nineties. It is entirely possible that they are trying to remove the possibility  of their children being subjected to the same. When you look at what is considered as horror for children, you are looking at movies like Coraline. I really like it as a film, but horror it isn’t. The storyline will appeal to most children, who hasn’t felt that their families are being entirely unfair and wanted to start over. But again what we catch as adults watching this movie is darker than what children will be watching. We are not watching it with the gaze of innocence. We understand more because of experience. Remember the difference in tone between the songs of innocence versus songs of experience.

We don’t have technicolor gore in our movies, we have a different taste now. Most of our horror is psychological, it is the shock value, paranormal. Most gore horror is now reserved for Zombie films and series that seem to have become more popular with the rise of other horror. Instead of a class hack and slash, we are terrorised by what lies beneath, what could be, what once was. This again is a throw back to what was popular when our generation was beginning to develop conciousness. Our generation, the generation after us, we remember the cheap thrills and gratuitous violence and have segregated it. We like our horror thoughtful, we like to have our shocks in the dark. We like to have bumps in the night and now a bloody body.

Now before you point out the obvious, yes there are movies out there in the main stream that bask in the gore, but they are the exception. They are not as prevalent as they once were. So what I am trying to say, in a rather long winded, and round about way, it isn’t just that the horror aimed at children is somewhat sanitised, horror has become something different. Everything evolves.

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Fit for a night in

STOP RIGHT NOW!

STOP IT!

DO NOT READ THIS !

SPOILERS WILL BE THROWN AROUND WITH WANTON ABANDON!

I am working with Click putting on a new show, Lifestyle:MK at Secklow sounds, and as part of this, I was tasked with reviewing movies that you might watch as part of a girls night in and I wanted to watch a couple of different genres. To this end, I chose the latest re working of Cinderella, Babadook and a Walk of Shame.

I will start with Cinderella as it was the first film that I watched.

I am not sure about you, but I LOVE fairy tales, they were the subject of my thesis at University, and of course, which little girl didn’t watch the Disney classic and want their own fairy godmother? Now I watched the reviews surrounding the film on release, although all I really remember is comments on the tiny waist. So I did go into the movie with a relatively clear head (although I was distracted by the waist, I will be honest!) and was hoping for something magical. However there have been many retelling of the classic tale and is there really anything new to add…..

Well…. sorry to say… no. No there wasn’t. As you can imagine this was not a great start to my movie triptych as I really was hoping to be swept away in the romance, the fairy tale, to be moved emotionally, to engage with poor Ella’s plight, tales of misfortune, of greed, of ugly hearted step sisters. It didn’t really start well for me, elements of the classic tale were sprinkled around. But it all went downhill the moment the Stepmother and Step sisters were introduced, I couldn’t help but think of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum from the outset and this wasn’t the last Alice in Wonderland reference – there is a lot of Tim Burton in this movie. Which while I appreciate it is hard to make your own mark on a movie these days, the elements were almost lifted from other movies rather than a nod to them. Baz Luhrman’s Romeo & Juliet and Moulin Rouge. There was also a confusion of date, with the Stepmother seeming to favour a 1950’s look and everyone around her going for a more classical renaissance wardrobe.

When we finally see Elle arrive at the ball – I am hoping, this will be it, THIS WILL BE THE MOMENT…. and … although there was some beautiful shots of her dancing with her prince, the dress was …. pretty. It was poofy, it sparkles, it made her waist look tiny. It should have been a fairy tale of epic proportions… but really did fail to live up to its own story.

Next I watched Walk of Shame. I approached this with trepidation having made the mistake of watching Bridesmaids… well I lasted 15 minutes before i had to switch over (i am not a 15 year old boy, toilet humour is a turn off). But I have to say, it was a really enjoyable, female led cast to which most of us, to some degree can relate to. I don’t mean crossing a freeway, or having your car impounded, but it was more what these things represented. I have to say that the set up of the movie was good. Unlike Cinderella that seems to spend a very long time setting up her father’s remarriage and her descent to servitude, Walk of Shame tidied it up very quickly, with a job interview which set up the type of person they needed to protagonist to be. Within the first 15 mins of the film, we see her interview, have a test as a co-anchor for a news show, and go home to find that her boyfriend has moved out, and to top it off, a leak telling her she hasn’t got the job… So what does a girl do… well her friends take her out to drown her sorrows. And it is what happens after that will make you grin, wince, cry, laugh, and aww. It is funny, not always in a laugh out loud way, you really do feel for her. And honestly, the girl can run in heels so she has my utter respect.

At the end of the day, she gets the boy, kinda, her friends rescue her (Girl power) and while she managed to realise that the job as a co anchor in a conservative TV station may not be for her, she is offered another job. Which helps you realise that while things may not always go the way you think they should …. things do have a habit of working out!

Lastly, I watched Babadook, which is the horror film I felt would be perfect to round the evening off *disclaimer I did not watch all the movies in one sitting*. I didn’t really know what to expect from this movie, it was a recommendation from a friend who gave no hints. Now Babadook is an anagram of A Bad Book. And the book itself is pretty horrifying, not only in the content but that it just keeps coming back. What I found especially uncomfortable at the beginning of the film was the child. He was aggressive and wasn’t able to communicate his concerns, didn’t understand social interactions and left his mother frazzled. As the film progresses, things start to click into place, the mother in the scenario is a single parent who lost her husband when he drove her to the hospital to give birth to her son. So it makes a little more sense that the relationship at times, becomes strained. There are hints dropped that she had to give up a fulfilling career following a change in circumstances and now struggles financially. She doesn’t have many friends, feeling out of place even when with her sister because of this and her son’s behaviour. When the book entered their life – it seemingly appears on her son’s bookshelf, it is a focal point for all her frustrations and anxiety. It was an absorbing film and I dare say, a psychological horror more than anything else. It leaves a little ambiguity right up until the end of the movie – at least for me, and doesn’t tie things up too nicely 🙂

If you have watched any of these movies, and have any thoughts please drop me a line! If you haven’t, and plan to, let me know!

And any suggestions for other movies for me to try, please! I am always looking for recommendations!!

Strange…. made … up

So .. this is my first proper blog post. This is an old account for for some reason I have never posted any of the articles. I hope that this is going to become a good habit of mine and it won’t go back to gathering dust.

So with that In mind I thought this would be a little …. insight to me and my life, what makes me tick.

Since I am linking this to my make up page, let us start there. How did I get started with make up? How does anyone get started, of course I first experimented as a girl. I remember saving up and picking colours I really liked and slathering them onto my face. But I have to be honest, it was never something I felt entirely confident with.

As a teenager I fell down the Goth rabbit hole, and I remember standing in nightclub toilets, in awe of the older girls and their amazing makeup (late 90’s so there was still a crossover New Romantic vibe). This resulted in saving spare coins and running to SuperDrug to buy makeup and hope that it would work.

Over the years, my taste has changed, I went from wearing glasses, to contacts, and back again. I have been through ‘purple’ periods, the aborted ‘green’ period, I have gone for a little, a lot. Everything in between. Makeup has been something to make me feel better about the image I see reflected in the mirror.

But about 3 years ago (more or less) I found an amazing Cos Player called Roxy Lee (go find her on FB) who is first and foremost and amazing special FX makeup artist. She was really supportive and helped me, gave me advice and tips. So I started experimenting first with gore, then just any ideas that popped into my head. I soon realised that this may not be appropriate for everyone on my friends list. So I created a page dedicated to my make up experiments,

And that is how my page, Beautifully Strange Makeup was born.