Fuck the Emo Vampires.

Normal baseball... shit. Vampire baseball... shit beyond human comprehension.

Director: Catherine Hardwicke (2008)
Stars: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart.
Buy it online: NO

Hollywood continues its grand tradition of emasculating vampires with Twilight; a movie that can best be described as High School Musical with added emo and no singing. Or a really, really Disney version of Near Dark. This is a movie that makes The Rocky Horror Picture Show look like gritty fucking noir by comparison.

Twilight is based on the first in a series of books by Stephenie Meyer (an author so illiterate she can’t even spell her own name), a woman who hates vampire fiction and has never read Dracula. The movie is fairly close to the book in terms of story, and only slightly less shite. The nominal plot concerns Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) a moody young misfit who moves to a new school, and finds herself utterly alone and miserable. Not because the other students don’t like her, but because she doesn’t like anyone else. Soon enough, she meets Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a member of a local vampire clan. One thing leads to another, and the pair inevitably fall in love. There’s confrontation between Edward and a bunch of ‘bad’ vampires (see, Eddie only drinks animal blood - the ‘bad’ vampires drink the real stuff) and the whole thing ends ready for a sequel. And even that description makes the film sound better than it is. Eighty percent of the proceedings consist of the lovers exchanging either lustful glances or shitty dialogue. “You’re my own personal brand of heroin,” says Edward. Twilight made me consider taking up fucking crack cocaine. Twilight is my own personal brand of self-flagellation.

Twilight would be a pretty standard teen romance thing if it weren’t for the relentless misogyny of it all. Now, me outing a movie for being mysoginistic is pretty ironic, when you consider the movies I usually enjoy watching. But at least The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (a) isn't directed at teenage girls and (b) doesn't normalise the lady-hate and make it seem romantic. See, unlike most other chick-flick heroines, Bella doesn’t have a strong, wilful personality. She is completely beholden to Edward. He tells her what to do, and she doesn’t question him. He tells her where to go, and she goes. He treats her like shit, and she laps it up. The way he treats her might be acceptable if Bella had a strong personality, but she doesn’t. Her biggest character trait, for instance, is falling over a lot. Which, coincidentally, she shares with the lead character in Scary Movie 1-4 and Julianne Moore in Evolution. That she is so character-free makes her merely a Mary-Sue placeholder for teenage girls, allowing them to imagine themselves in her place (“OMG I can like so totally empathise with her. I let guys treat me like shit too! Ooh, look, he’s so hunky”).

Well, this standpoint might be understandable if it wasn’t for the movie’s biggest selling point: Robert Pattinson, the emo girls’ newest poster boy. Personally, I don’t get the attraction. His face looks as if a blind girl has tried to mould a sculpture of James Dean out of shit and clay, then beat the bastard thing with a bag of spanners. Then it rained, and melted it a bit. And then somebody else digitally rebuilt the thing using CGI technology from the 90s. He’s not ugly per-se, but his one facial expression (constipated) and hilariously oversized jaw make him a completely unlikely Hollywood hunk. This is the one movie role where I think even Zac Efron could have done a better job. His character has all the complexity of an underwear model. Sure, he’s immortal and stuff, but he does nothing but whinge about the fact and apologise for existing. And, judging by the way he attempts to kiss Bella, he’s probably a virgin too. An emotionally retarded, dribbling, vegetarian 100-odd year old virgin. Admittedly, that would probably make me emo too.

It’s also hilarious how the film (and Bella) ignores the fact that Edward is over 100 years old, and still loitering in high schools. “He’s seventeen” say the audience. THE FUCK HE IS. A few years ago, a paedophile was arrested for taking classes with a bunch of children. He looked like a child too. Twilight advocates paedophilia. Expect to see Eclipse or New Moon directed by Roman Polanski.

Whingeing emo vampires are hardly a new thing, but Twilight takes it to the next level. These vampires can survive daylight, but doing so makes them shimmer. Yes, shimmer, like a girl wearing glittery make up. It’s supposed to be romantic and beautiful, but it actually looks like the Funniest Thing Ever. There's only one man that's legitimately allowed to sparkle, and Robert Pattinson is no David Bowie by any means. That's what the "skin of a killer" looks like, apparently. But I don't recall ever seeing Freddy Kreuger fucking sparkle.

And talking of funny, the special effects rival Smallville in terms of all-out shittiness. Particularly, the “running” effect, cracked me up several times, as did one scene where Edward scuttles up a tree like a big gay squirrel. If only this was the worst part of Twilight. The very, very worst part of Twilight is the vampire baseball scene. Even saying it out loud sounds stupid. But on film, it is even stupider. Some might call it a victimless crime, but this bollocks manages to drag a Muse song down with it. Twilight nearly ruined Supermassive Black Hole. Fucking vampire baseball.

As far as teen romances go, Twilight represents an all new low. Sure, it’ll keep teenage girls and fans of the book happy, but it really is a lowest-common denominator piece of bullshit with all the artistic merit of a Calvin Klein advert.

To rate this like a normal movie would be to acknowledge its existence as a normal, decent movie. So it scores a record*

*Well, record as long as you've never visited CHUD.com

Comic Book Review - Freddy vs Jason vs Ash

The first few story arcs aside, Dynamite Comics’ Army of Darkness was a disappointment. And up until recently, Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the Thirteenth comics were hardly a guarantor of quality (saying that, even the recent Elm Street comics kinda suck paedo balls). Still, hopes were high when Freddy vs Jason vs Ash was first announced. A comic-book sequel to 2003’s Freddy vs Jason, it promised to be a great big fanboys’ wet dream. It was easily my most eagerly anticipated comic event of last year (save, perhaps for Garth Ennis’ final arc on The Punisher, but I digress). And then it arrived. Well, did it live up to expectations?

Well, it could hardly have gone wrong. In my eyes, Kuhoric and Craig (the writer an illustrator, respectively) could have taken a massive, sweaty dump on the page… and I’d have lapped it up like a dog. Freddy vs Jason vs Ash provides everything you’d expect from such a title… but not much more.

Taking a less fanboy-esque stance on the thing, you can see how some might say that FvJvA is a bit, well, shite. The story’s hardly imaginative; Freddy, hankering to give himself some really nasty powers, is after the Necronomicon. To accomplish this, he sends Jason to fetch it. Into the fold comes Evil Dead’s Ash who also wants the Necronomicon; presumably to ensure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Things go tits-up when Jason refuses to play ball, Ash refuses to die, and Freddy just acts like an arse about everything.

Most of the action consists of homages to the three respective franchises. So you get to see Ash lop of his hand (again) and a virtual replay of Freddy vs Jason’s climax, only with added Ash. It’s pretty fun to see set-pieces like that revisited, but too often it feels lazy and in place of any real action. And, once more, this feels more like a Nightmare on Elm Street story with added guests, rather than a combination of three mighty franchises.

Still, there’s a high bodycount, and a fair amount of gore and violence. For the most part, it’s illustrated with gusto by Jason Craig. And then it reaches issue three. Suddenly, the art takes a real dip in quality. It’s like Craig’s rushing to meet the deadline; or as if he just couldn’t be arsed with putting any more effort into things. Which is a shame, because the first issue is beautifully illustrated.

It’s hard to knock something such as this, though. Freddy vs Jason vs Ash is unlikely to ever be realized on the big screen now, so I’ll be happy with whatever I can get. At the very least, it’s better than Freddy vs Jason.

3/5 stars

Movie Review - Superhero Movie

Director: Craig Mazin (2008)
Starring: Leslie Neilsen, Drake Bell, Sara Paxton
Find it online: IMDB, Amazon UK, Amazon US

I’m not going to say that Superhero Movie is better than the latest Scary Movies (although it is). I’m not going to say that it’s better than Meet the Spartans (it is), Epic Movie or Disaster Movie (it probably is). Because any praise is both incidental and undeserving. What I will say is this: Superhero Movie is the worst superhero movie ever made. It’s less funny than Batman & Robin and the special effects, acting and characterisation is worse than can be found in any of the Fantastic Fours, X-Men, Spider-men or, indeed, any other film of similar ilk. You know you’re onto a bad thing when Jessica Alba’s acting looks good by comparison.

The plot pretty much follows that of Spider-Man throughout, only with added swearing and fart jokes. There’s the odd detour into Batman or X-Men territory, but this is foremost a Spider-Man spoof. To recap, Rick Riker (Drake Bell) is bitten by a Dragonfly and – after developing super powers – becomes Dragonfly Man. Yep, the filmmakers couldn’t even be bothered to develop a decent superhero, and just seemingly chose a random insect for Rick to transform into. There’s no joke there, and you suspect that they’d probably have stuck Bell in a spider outfit would it not be too blatant a rip-off. His foe is the similarly derivative Hourglass (Christopher McDonald), and you’ve also got the Mary-Jane figure (played by Sarah Paxton), a pointless black best friend (Kevin Hart, who seems like he’s auditioning for an idiot Chris Tucker lookalike competition) and Leslie Nielsen as Rick’s uncle.

The movie itself is every bit as bad as you’d imagine and worse. It’s less funny than every single movie it spoofs, and nowhere near as offensive or irreverent as it probably thinks it is. In fact, Superhero Movie is so predictable, dull and idiotic that I’d go so far as to label it the most depressing movie of the year. It’s more depressing than the Dark Knight or the bit in Spider-Man where Uncle Ben bites it. There’s nothing more depressing than bad comedy, and this is very bad comedy. The only vaguely funny moments come when Leslie Nielsen is onscreen, and that isn’t nearly enough. The rest of the jokes rely on (a) someone falling over/being hit in the face (b) someone farting/pissing/puking (c) Steven Hawking swearing (c) superheroes being presented in a different fashion to which we’re accustomed.

If I could recommend this film to anyone, it’d be to Marvel comics in the hope that they might sue. Superhero Movie is a terrible film, and makes other movies look bad by comparison, just by including the word ‘Movie’ in the title. In fact, Superhero Movie represents a reasonable argument for shutting down the movie industry altogether and never making another film ever again; superhero themed or otherwise.