Scary Trek: Star Trek: The Rape Episode

Warning: this article contains Star Trek.

Director: Robert Wiemer (1992)
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis,
Find it online: IMDB, Wikipedia

Two things that don't go very well together: Star Trek and real world issues. I know Captain Kirk came close once or twice (generally in evil twin mode), but it was in the 1992 Next Generation episode tellingly entitled Violations that Star Trek took a startling and uncharacteristically dark turn.

I plop you not, Violations gave me nightmares as a child. So did Kenneth Branagh's Frankenstein and The Beano, but we'll overlook that for now. It combines Freddy Krueger-esque dream antics with unpalatable brain rape to create what might be the most disturbing Star Trek episode you'll ever see. You'd think that might be a good thing, but I don't want to be disturbed by Star Trek. I watch Star Trek to oggle Marina Sirtis' boobs and Jonathan Frakes' epic beard. And I was a child at the time. Thanks for the mental trauma, Star Trek.

In a standard space envoy mission, the starship Enterprise conveys a delegation of Ullians to Calder IV. Forgive me, non Trekkers won't have understood a word of that last sentence. The Ullians are a telepathic lot who amble along helping others retrieve lost memories. One of the Ullians is a little more aggressive in his brain-reading, and sets about invading people's memories, inserting random horrible bits as he goes. His first crime sees him violate the uninteresting mind of uninteresting character Deanna Troi (Sirtis), having an otherwise nice memory turn horrible when on/0ff lover Will Riker (Frakes) gets all gropey on her. This horrible and quite literal mindfuck puts Troi in a coma. Quick to follow are Riker, the ship Doctor and Captain Picard himself (Stewart). Even scarier than the story is Patrick Stewart's fake hair in this nightmare sequence:

As the episode title suggests, far more is going on here than simple Dream Demon shenannigans. The episode writers and director are quite obviously trying to create a rapey subtext. Subtelty and sensitivity, Star Trek is not thy name. Rewatching it now as an adult, the episode isn't very scary. In fact, those once-traumatic nightmare sequences now seem a bit overserious, melodramatic and silly. But it goes to show how much of an affect it had that even now, watching Violations gives me chills. But mostly, it goes to show how stupid children are. Or, more specifically, how stupid I child I was. Am.

The theme was revisited again in Star Trek: Nemesis. Mind you, that's what happen when you let Tom Hardy near a Star Trek movie. We don't expect it from the cuddly Next Generation crew. Thankfully it's all forgotten by the next episode. By the by, you might want to clear your Internet History after this. Not because of its adult nature - but you don't want anyone to find out you've been reading up on Star Trek, do you?

The Horror Bloggers Meme

Thanks to Billy Loves Stu for putting this out there. As we all know, I can't resist an oldschool myspace-style questionnaire; even more so when it happens to be horror related. So I done thought I'd add mine to the growing legion of horror blogs who are reposting this.

1: In Ten Words or Less, Describe Your Blog:

- Badly-written reviews, sleaze, stupidity; overuse of the word 'shitty'.

2: During What Cinematic Era Where you Born?
A: The Classic Horror Era (late 30's to 40's)
B: The Atomic Monster/Nuclear Angst Era (the late 40's through 50's)
C: The Psycho Era ( Early 60's)
D: The Rosemary's Baby Era (Mid to Late 60's)
E: The Exorcism Era (Early to mid 70's)
F: The Halloween Era (Late 70's to Early 80's)
G: The Slasher Era (Mid to late 80's)
H: The Self Referential/Post Modern Era (1990 to 1999)

- The slasher era. The year of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, to be specific.

3: The Carrie Compatibility Question:
(gay men and straight women - make your choice from section A)
A: Billy Nolan or Tommy Ross, who would you take to the prom?
(straight guys and lesbians - make your choice from section B)
B: Sue Snell or Chris Hargensen, who would you take to the prom?

- Chris Hargensen. I know she's supposed to be a bit of a bitch, but I'm a sucker for blondes. And besides, the trick with the bucket and the blood was pretty funny.

4: You have been given an ungodly amount of money, and total control of a major motion picture studio - what would your dream Horror project be?

- I would remake 'Twilight' and kill all the idiots off in the opening five minutes. Sparkletits bashing aside, I'd probably adapt one of my own terrible scripts (reworked by Tarantino or something), then hire Bruce Campbell, Timothy Olyphant and Juliette Lewis. And so The Greatest Horror Movie Ever (probably a Hills Have Eyes rip-off of some sort) is born. Of course, it'd lose loads of money and I'd never work again. But at least I tried.

5: What horror film "franchise" that others have embraced, left you cold?

- Anything Saw related. The first one was overrated, the second and third were tolerable. Everything thereafter sucks massive stinky horse balls.

6: Is Michael Bay the Antichrist?

- Naaaaaah. Have you seen The Rock? Transformers 2 and The Island aside, I generally quite like a bit of Bay. There, I said it.

7: Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Frankenstein Monster - which one of these classic villains scares you, and why?

- None of them really scare me, although Kenneth Branagh's Frankenstein did make me cry when I was 10.

8: Tell me about a scene from a NON HORROR Film that scares the crap out of you:

- Again, I've not seen it since I was a kid, but I remember being totally creeped out in The Elephant Man when Merrick is chased by that mob. For shame, humanity.

9: Baby Jane Hudson invites you over to her house for lunch. What do you bring?

- Potato salad and bottles of cider.

10: So, between you and me, do you have any ulterior motives for blogging? Come, on you can tell me, it will be our little secret, I won't tell a soul.

- I just want to be liked SADFACE :-( No, I write because I enjoy it and hope one day to do it on a semi-professional basis.

11: What would you have brought to Rosemary Woodhouse's baby shower?

-Gold, frankinsence and myhrr. And a dictionary so I can learn to spell frankenscense.

12: Godzilla vs The Cloverfield Monster, who wins?

- Godzilla, but only if we're talking the proper version and not that stupid Ferris Beuller thing. I'm not sure how he'd win, but he'd blatantly would, because he's the original Cloverfield.

13: If you found out that Rob Zombie was reading your blog, what would you post in hopes that he read it?

- Reviews of every single one of his terrible, terrible movies.

14: What is your favorite NON HORROR FILM, and why?

- Too many to count. Are we calling Dead Man's Shoes non-horror? Because probably that, if we are. Otherwise, take a stand Grease and The Unforgiven. And because they're good, why not.

15: If blogging technology did not exist, what would you be doing?

- Writing movie reviews in my own faeces on the walls of pub toilets and hanging around the local HMV shouting "ROB ZOMBIE'S HALLOWEEN IS TEH SUCKS" at the top of my voice, whilst scowling furiously at anyone in a Team Edward t-shirt.

Thanks again to Billy Loves Stu. I had a blast.

The Crazies

HMV are selling The Crazies in a funky little double-pack with both versions. But not until I re-watched the 2010 remake would I fully appreciate the fact. It's like they knew that Crazies 2010 doesn't hold up well to re-evaluation, and decided to include a quality product for your money's worth. I'd never seen Romero's original up until I got this set, and am mightily grateful that it comes in the pack: so much so that I now view the remake as the 'extra' and the original as the main feature. Which is as it should be, I suppose. George Romero's Crazies has far more going on under the hood than the considerably more vacuous remake.

Now I like Breck Eisner's Crazies a lot, but it's something that needs to be experienced in the cinema with an audience to get the full effect. So much so, that it loses a Scream Queen when viewed at home. It has a lot to like, and I daresay I'll revisit it a few times in the future, but there are just too many plot holes and cheap tricks to ignore. When viewed at home, the jump scares just seem cheap and lazy - particularly one which comes late in the show: Radha Mitchell hides in a closet from a rampaging loon. For ten minutes, she cowers there. And then husband Timothy Olyphant grabs her from behind. We're to expect Olyphant was hidden in that closet all along - and never showed himself to his own wife? It's a silly shock-for-the-sake-of-a-shock, and takes the viewer right out of the film.

In Romero's original piece, the military operation is given far more emphasis. It takes up a good half of the movie, and is every bit as interesting as the civilian bit. It might be an early Romero work, but most of his familiar tropes are on show here: civil unrest, a strong black character, violence and bickering. A subplot between a father and daughter is exploited particularly well, and gives a disturbing element to the virus that is sorely missed in the remake. In Crazies 2010, the 'Crazies' are merely high-functioning zombies. Romero gives us actual crazy people. His Crazies isn't a zombie movie at all, whereas Eisner's is. Which is ironic, when you consider that Romero is pretty much the King of Zombie nowadays.

The two movies' respective plots are similar yet different enough to justify being remade. I must admit, watching Timothy Olyphant in Justified has kinda ruined his character here for me, as Sheriff Dutton is basically Raylan Givens without a stetson and crappier dialogue. The original piece uses uglier actors, but is just as well performed. 2010's Radha Mitchell is nice, but I preferred Romero's handling of the husband & wife arc, as well as the crazy best friend. The remake is all a bit predictable. With Romero, you never can tell who's gonna turn next.

Eisner's Crazies is a fine film, but doesn't rise enough above being simple popcorn entertainment. Breck Eisner's version scores:



Many won't rate Romero's version as high, but for me it stands every bit as effective and well-made as his Night, Dawn or Day of The Dead. It's plausible, chilling and disturbing. High octane action and scares is fine and well, but sometimes you want something a little more intelligent. Which is why the double-pack is a great idea. Feeling like a little stupidity and Olyphant porn? They gots you covered too. But for Mr. Romero:

The Review Hole is a Versatile Blog!


Many thanks to Fred at Full Moon Reviews, who saw fit to award the Review Hole with the 'versatile blogger' award. Full Moon Reviews is one of my favourite blogs out there, so to receive recognition from such a respected source is truly an honour. Thanks Freddie!

As with most things in life, there are rules attached to this award: (1) Thank the person who gave it to you (2) Share 7 things about yourself (3) Pass the award along to 15 who you have recently discovered and who you think fantastic for whatever reason (4) Contact the blogs you picked and let them know about the award.

7 things about myself:
1. Queen is the greatest band in the world. Not so much a fact about me; just Fact.
2. I cry every time that 'Jurassic Bark' episode of Futurama airs. EVERY TIME.
3. I love the movies Grease and Because of Winn-Dixie. Unashamedly.
4. I have an irrational fear of Cherry Drops & Frozen Prawns.
5. I named my cat Dexter. Yes, that one.
6. I sell tents, camping equipment and waterproof jackets for a living.
7. This October, I'm running a mini-marathon (10k) in honour of my late little brother. SPONSOR ME.

15 versatile blogs (some cool blogs what I like):

There are many more blogs what I like, mostly more deserving of an award than me. But I only had room for 15.

I Spit on your terrible movie poster...


You thought that the poster with the Cock-Clippers was bad? Arf arf, you ain't seen nothing yet. The latest poster thing for the 2010 I Spit on Your Grave remake has been doing the rounds. This one is a homage, recreation, rip-off or whatever you want to call it of the iconic original onesheet. This time with less Demi Moore but even more Sexy.

I Spit on Your Grave isn't supposed to be sexy though, and therein lies the problem. I'm not gonna suggest that the poster eroticises rape or makes it seem sexy (although some might argue that - and better than I ever could), but it misses the point by a mile. The most troubling thing about the poster is that it reminds me far too much of this:


Mmm, bum cleavage. See, if I didn't know what I Spit on Your Grave was actually about, I'd equate it with just another Final-Girl type slasher thing in which a sexy female battles Grotbot Nasties and comes out victorious. But I do know what I Spit on Your Grave is about, and the new poster is so far from the point that it verges on the fucking ridiculous. It gives no clue as to what the movie is about, nor why this lass should be spitting on anyone's grave. It strips the movie of what was the original piece's only redeemptive aspect. I don't personally believe that I Spit on Your Grave (either version) is a feminist movie, but can appreciate how Meir Zarchi and his proponents might think it is. And that original poster was so obviously horrible, so obviously grotty that there's no mistaking it for just another sterile kiddy slasher flick. Say what you like about that 1978 piece (and I regularly do), but it's a defiantly (if misguided) pro-woman, anti-rape movie. Meir Zarchi had a point to make, and he made it. In a pretty horrible manner, but he made it all the same. It simply didn't need saying twice. This might just be the most pointless remake I've ever seen. What more could you possibly have to say about rape? It doesn't need a Hollywood sheen. And it certainly doesn't need extra bum-cleavage or cheeky over-the-shoulder glances.

The poster's worst crime? Well apart from existing, if you look in the corner, you'll see the movie's release date. Next to that date are the words "Day of the Woman". Oh HAHAAAAA AREN'T THEY CLEVER THEY USED THE MOVIE'S ORIGINAL SUBTITLE TO ADVERTISE THE RELEASE DATE GENIUS. I've always had my problems with that stupid subtitle, even in Zarchi's original piece. Sure she's killing scummy men, but it's a day that came about as a direct result of her rape. "Day of the Woman?" This ain't something to celebrate or be proud of. The average woman lives 70-something years (Source). Women as a species have been on the Earth for over 10000 years. Meir Zarchi and the remake people would have you believe that Woman's defining Day is one in which she brutalises a bell-end in a bathtub. Ugh. Day of the Woman. Celebrate the Day of the Woman (October the 8th, for what it matters) by watching Aliens or something else in which Sigourney Weaver kicks massive ass and takes a few names in the process. Ugh.

AVP: Alien vs Predator


Director: Paul WS Anderson (2004)
Starring: Sanaa Latham, Raoul Bova, Lance Henriksen
Find it online: IMDB, Amazon

For some reason, I'll watch Paul Anderson's (no, not that one) Alien vs Predator once a year, surprise myself at how much I enjoy it, sleep/get drunk, then forget and go back to thinking of it as an abortive turd. Of course it is a bit of a turd, but only in the same way as Freddy vs Jason or Alien Resurrection (which I secretly kinda dig). But it's not as stinky a turd as one might have come to expect.

It helps if one lowers their expectations. Upon first viewing, the true Aliens/Predator fans will baulk, as 18-year-old me did at the sight of all the nonsensical underground pyramid goings on and the relatively useless Predators. No Ripley. No gore. No swearing. Teenage Predators. Sigh. It feels more like a videogame adaptation than it does a sequel to either Aliens or Predator. But look beyond that, there's gold to be found in them thar hills. Alien vs Predator is worth a look for Aztec God Predators alone. And a scene in which a lone Predator faces off against a veritable hive of Aliens.

An underground pyramid is discovered in Antartica. Mr. Weyland (the one and only Lance Henriksen) leads a team of scientists, tough guys and a mountaineer (Latham) down to investigate. What they find is an ancient coming-of-age ceremony which pits dribbly Aliens against pubescent Predators. Which is all fine and well, but how did the Predators know that there'd be any humans down in their pyramid to kick start their chain of events? It relies on massive coincidence, and without the humans, our Predator friends could've just been fighting facehuggers and a chained up Queen. Kind of a good thing for them that Weyland happened to be passing and incompetent enough to get his whole team captured. And shit, aren't they both Alien species anyway? Surely the movie shoulda been called Alien vs Different Kind of Alien? Or Two Ugly Motherfuckers?

Plot niggles aside, the movie delivers plenty of Alien vs Predator beatdowns, some surprisingly sympathetic characters and enough nods to the respective franchises to keep longtime fans amused. Sure, the Predators are kind of chumps, and their unmasked faces look a bit plastic. But you can see what's going on, which is more than you can say for Requiem. As AvP bows out, it sets itself up for a sequel. A wholly different kind of movie - simultaneously a lot better and a lot worse than this one here.

Not what it says on the tin: Funny Games

[About as funny as Family Guy: The Video Game]

A film so great that Michael Haneke made it twice. Or one would think so, judging by the obsessive attention to detail in its remake. Near enough a shot-for-shot, word-for-word remake, Funny Games '07 only avoids complete pointlessness thanks to it being slicker and directed by the same fella as the original piece. Shitty remakes have come before and shitty remakes have come after, but few will be shitty on quite the same (shitty) level as Funny Games.

Arthouse torture porn, that's how the broadsheets describe Funny Games. A bit like AntiChrist or Martyrs, but more pretentious, self-regarding and with a tabloid mentality. If you enjoy any of Funny Games' goings-on, then you're a bad person. To his credit, Haneke puts Naomi Watts in her underwear and makes it unenjoyable. For that, I think Michael Haneke is a bad person. Tim Roth and Naomi Watts are pretty much the only watchable people in the '07 version of the movie. The killers are too smug and twattish, whilst the family's kid is just a cheap gimmick.

In the '97 original piece, there's the advantage of having relative unknowns playing out the cast. It makes the movie feel a little more powerful, creepy and less Hollywood. All involved give good performances although, again; the killers are too smug and twattish, whilst the family's kid is just a cheap gimmick.

There's nothing wrong with subtexts that critique violence in movies, but Funny Games is just heavy handed, judgemental nonsense. I'm not sure who the target audience is supposed to be: it's too intense for those who don't like horror, and spends too long insulting those who do. It'd be like someone making a romcom and then having the male lead be an emotionally abusive sparkler asshole who sparkles treats the heroine like crap. Although I daresay its US cinema release may have confused the occasional gorehound looking for another cheap torture guff fix. Bollocks as Funny Games is, this thought kinda amuses me.

Both versions do have their worthwhile moments. Haneke's use of tension is exceptional, particularly during the antagonists' initial conversations with the respective couples. Likewise, his use of violence works very well. There's very little physical violence depicted onscreen, although you'll think there was. Perhaps It'd work better if Haneke had let his work speak for itself, rather than having the characters lecture us throughout. But therein's the problem with auteurs, I suppose. Technically brilliant - ego up the wazoo. In not liking Funny Games, its detractors are easily dismissed by Haneke as bloodthirsty horror idiots. The following score stands for both versions:

Inglourious Basterds (featuring a CELEB GUEST REVIEWER)


Director: Quentin Tarantino (2009)
Starring: Brad Pitt, Melanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz, Eli Roth
Find it online: IMDB, Amazon UK, Amazon US

Quentin Tarantino's feature-length remake/adaptation of Allo Allo certainly takes some liberties with the source material and even history itself. The titular Basterds are a team of Nazi-hunting Jews and allies, working like a band of old fashioned outlaws to bring down Hitler and his Nazis. You've all seen the bit in the trailer where Brad Pitt demands him some scalps. Well, there's a little less of that than one might imagine and a lot of talking. Inglourious Basterds is even talkier than the thoroughly talky Death Proof (of which I'm actually a fan). And at around 3 hours runtime, that's a helluva lot of talking. But it turns out that talking is a lot more interesting when the orator is someone worth listening to. Whiny Stuntman Mike in Death Proof? Not really interesting. Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds? Compelling. I'd listen to him read the phonebook. Over to the Review Hole's guest reviewer and resident scholar of Nazi:


Mel: Man, there's only one reason to watch Inglorious Bastards, and that sure as shit ain't for the Jews. I mean, fighting Jews? Who's gonna believe a thing like that? No, the only reason to watch Inglorious Bastards is for the Nazi Jew Hunter fella, Hans Landa. I really dug that cat and wanted to see him get all those Jews shot real dead.

Porkhead: Thanks Mel. Gotta agree to disagree though, there's plenty of fun in watching the Basterds do their stuff. My only complaint would be that they don't do it nearly enough. I particularly would've liked to see more of Michael Fassbender and Sgt. Stiglitz. In fact, one could argue that this isn't even their movie. This film truly belongs to Landa and French cinema owner Emmanuelle (Laurent)

Mel: She sure has got herself some sugar tits.

Porkhead: Indeed. Laurent is all kinds of adorable and great as Emmanuelle. It's to hers and Tarantino's credit that none of the scenes really drag as one might expect them to. Even more so when you consider that Inglourious Basterds is little more than a set of lengthy dialogues, one after the other. Stupid people will probably hate this movie, thanks to its extensive use of subtitles.

Mel: Subtitles are cool.

Porkhead: That said, the movie could definitely have done with a little trimming here and there. Get rid of Eli Roth, for example (not just in this movie - in general, please). And did we really need a cameo from Mike Myers? His scenes serve as little more than a lecture on the joys of German propaganda. Inglourious Basterds is a love-letter to both cinema and Diane Kruger's feet. Diane's feet get nearly as much screentime as her face.

Mel: Those feet look like they're gonna get raped by a pack of -

Porkhead: Not the time or place, Mel. Like much of Tarantino's recent output, Inglourious Basterds is a divisive piece. Some will think it overly talky and self-indulgent, whilst others will enjoy its well-written dialogues, fun characters and clever reworking of WWII cinema tropes. Me, I enjoyed it and I hope others did too. It's been a long time coming, but Inglourious Basterds was worth the wait. Special thanks to Mel Gibson for his insightful views. Cheers, Mel.

Mel: Heil Hitler.

The Forgotten


Director: Joseph Ruben (2004)
Starring: Julianne Moore, Christopher Kovaleski, Gary Sinise , Dominic West
Find it online: IMDB, Amazon UK, Amazon US

Stupid mundane psychothriller silliness becomes something completely different (but no less asinine) at the introduction of perhaps the most ridiculous twist this side of an M. Night Shyamalan flick. The Review Hole usually avoids spoilers, but nobody should ever want to watch The Forgotten anyway - and 90% of those who try will nevertheless have given up by the time the ending comes about.

If you haven't seen The Forgotten, go read the synopsis (woman's child apparently dies. Everyone around her claims that the kid never existed in the first place). Now think up the stupidest explanation you possibly can for said disappearance & conspiracy. All finished? Well done, The Forgotten is even stupider than that. Aside from a Tyrannosaurus Rex showing up and vomiting the brat onto Julianne Moore's grieving lap, The Forgotten delivers up the stupidest concievable ending in all of reality: it was aliens what done it.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

"The goddamn truth won't fit in your brain,", Moore is told. Which is kinda insulting to her character, because the goddamn truth is such lazy schtick that it'd fit in even Paris Hilton's brain with room to spare. Well, probably not. But nearly. Didn't you know, aliens are apparently really really interested in the bond between mother & child. I guess anal probes have gotten old hat by now. There aren't nearly enough anal probes in The Forgotten, just Julianne Moore running around with a stupid character name, looking all miserable and paranoid. Moore is a likeable actress, but The Forgotten does her no favours. She has little do but cry and run.

Even before that ridiculous twist, The Forgotten is probably a terrible movie. I say 'probably' because I can't actually remember anything that comes before the big reveal. Gary Sinise and Dominic West are involved somehow, and Julianne Moore's character name is 'Telly'. There's a decent car crash, but it's wasted somewhere amongst the stupidity and dullness of everything else. It's all just a hazy mess wrapped up in a ridiculous twist, like that dream I had after watching Star Trek, Babestation and feasting on cheese & Baileys. Well then, I suppose that the title is perfectly apt. By the way, The X Files called - they want their story back.

Hannibal


Director: Ridley Scott (2001)
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman, pigs
Find it online: IMDB, Amazon

A now-ginger and less lesbian Clarice Starling continues her hunt for the escaped cannibal Hannibal Lecter. Meanwhile, a chewed-up looking Gary Oldman trains some pigs and Hannibal saunters around Italy, taking in the artwork and scenery. Also, Ray Liotta gets the finest death scene in the whole series.

Hannibal takes place ten years after The Silence of the Lambs, and pretty much concludes the stories of Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling. Prequels Red Dragon and Hannibal Rising (*shudders*) would follow, but you'll be lucky to ever see Hannibal again following the events of this swansong. Although you never can tell with Hollywood. It wouldn't entirely surprise me to see a one-handed Lecter once more on the run, this time in space or in Da Hood perhaps.

Hannibal isn't really in the same league as its predecessor, but neither is it anywhere nearly as bad as Red Dragon or Rising (*shudders*). And, if you've ever read the book upon which it's based, you'll know that it could've been a hell of a lot worse. That said, there will always be a part of me curious to see what Hannibal and Clarice eloping would have looked like. Terrible, no doubt.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Hiding in Italy, Hannibal is living the high life. That is, until old foe Mason Verger (Oldman) has a price put on his head, and he's discovered by a local cop. Much of the cat-and-mouse stuff in Italy seems to drag, enlivened slightly by Hopkins and the all-around quality of the cast. It's nice to see a few other faces from Silence show up too, although Jodie Foster's presence is missed most of all. That said, Julianne Moore makes a fine Starling. She never comes across as being as strong as Foster's take on the character, but you still wouldn't mess. And her vulnerability makes her relationship with Hannibal that little more plausible.

For once, Dave Lamb's Come Dine with Me narration was lost for words.

Once the movie leaves Italy, Hannibal becomes noticeably more entertaining. Hannibal and Clarice get to share a bit of much-needed screentime, Verger sets his vengeance into action, and Hannibal is menaced by maneating pigs. It's to Ridley Scott's credit that he can make his movie feature MANEATING PIGS and not have the audience in peals of laughter. MANEATING PIGS are fucking stupid, but thanks to the tone and its handling, Scott manages to pull it off.

And then we have Ray Liotta hosting a dinner party with his brain as the main course. This alone justifies the movie's existence. But even with the novel's ridiculous ending excised, the finale flirts with idiocy. It has just enough class and excitement to not entirely ruin everything that's gone before. It feels a little anticlimactic and something of a non-event, but is mostly tolerable enough. Ultimately, Hannibal is a fitting farewell to arguably the finest movie psychopath since Norman Bates.

3 crap serial killers of British TV


An episode of the Review Hole that even your granny can read! The rest of the world might think itself clever with The Wire, Dexter and its Wallander and other such incredible TV, but never let it be said that us Brits can't do compelling telly drama. Whilst our soap operas are mostly content to settle for boring affairs between ugly people, every so often a telly executive will introduce a serial killer to up the ratings and kill off a few less popular characters. Here, dear reader is a list of the three most prolific. No wait, the other thing... really, really shit.

Richard Hillman (Coronation Street)

Eeeh, it's grim up north. Coronation Street details the uninteresting lives of uninteresting people in the fictional district of Weatherfield, Manchester. Aside from Red Dwarf's Dave Lister, nobody has a Mancunian accent, although it does have the Doctor from off've Empire of the Sun and Snoop Dogg lists himself as a fan. The first of our serial killers is perhaps the most famous on the list; the now-infamous Richard Hillman (well, infamous if you're 65 and read The Radio Times). Looking to cash in on a life insurance deal or something, he bludgeoned an old woman and an annoying bimbo woman to death with a crowbar and let some fella die after falling down a flight of stairs. Dastardly.


As his heinous crimes were unearthed by hamster-faced wife Gail, Richard (AKA "Norman Bates with a briefcase") went crazy and tried to kill his family, driving their car into a canal. Sadly for our inept killer, nobody died except for himself. And so ended Coronation Street's tenure of being mildly interesting. Regional dullness would follow, punctuated by the occasional affair and 'comedy' 'interlude'. Until our next offender came along, that is...

Tony Gordon (Coronation Street)

Hoping we'd all forgotten about the virtually identical Richard Hillman killings, Coronation Street brought in its next serial killer character. A one-eyed bumbling Scottish villain named Gordon? No, not that one: I'm talking about Tony Gordon, knicker-salesman cum Resevoir Dogs reject. His initial crimes started off as crappy as they always do. Bits of blackmail, mild threatenings and the menacing of an old man. Then Tony killed some bats and we knew he'd reached the next level of mundane evil. Overcome with a fit of jealousy, Tony a love rival murdered, then went and made himself some advances on the dead man's wife. His plottings were eventually uncovered by a trainspotter, and Tony was duly sent to prison for murder:


Well, for about five minutes. Following his confession, Tony had a change of heart and broke out of prison, looking for bloody vengeance. So he kidnapped his ex-wife, his one true love, and a local transsexual (not all the same person, honest) and set fire to the knicker factory with them all in it. Once more, nobody died except for Tony himself. Go ineptitude.

Lucas Johnson (Eastenders)

A serial killer so recent he's still at large. If I was black/a Christian, I'd be offended by its depiction of preacher Lucas Johnson. There are still relatively few black characters in our soaps, and even less openly Christian characters. And so Eastenders makes one of its most prominent black characters an ex-gangbanger, and then has his Christianity turn him into an actual serial killer. With black leather gloves and everything. Victim no.1 is ex-wife, sometime fuckbuddy and crackhead Trina. Technically not murder, since she steps on a rake (yes, just like in that episode of The Simpsons) and bleeds out. Although his leaving her to die is morally and legally dubious. Second victim is his current-wife's ex-husband and abuser Owen. Poor Owen gets strangled in the back of a car then buried under a tree. His next victim escaped the hangman's noose thanks to a real-life and quite prolific murder case which saw the BBC refilm scenes where Lucas murders a prostitute. Disaster averted.


Well, for about five minutes. Mere weeks later, Lucas lost it again and strangled wife Denise in the back of a car. All this whilst proclaiming himself the second coming of Christ ("I thought you were my Mary Magdeline. You're the whore of babylon")You're probably not supposed to laugh at the sight of her feet flailing against the windows, but I did and you will. He then framed her for his other crimes and went on to act all ("OMG WTF") at the "news" of his "murderous" wife's "suicide". The story hasn't yet come to a close, but expect it to finish in an explosive climax in which no-one dies but Lucas himself.

CLIFFHANGER MOMENT.
THIS HAS BEEN A SLOW NEWS DAY.
TUNE IN SOON FOR ACTUAL ITEMS OF ACTUAL RELEVANCE

The Woods


Director: Lucky McKee (2006)
Starring: Agnes Bruckner, Emma Campbell, Bruce Campbell
Find it online: IMDB, Amazon UK, Amazon US

In 1965 New England (really? I actually had no idea until the movie finished) a troubled youth (Bruckner) is shipped out to an isolated girls' boarding school. She soon encounters bullying, gingerism and odd goings' on in the surrounding woodlands. But it's okay - after all, she's Bruce Campbell's (onscreen) daughter. How could one be better equipped to deal with malevolent twigs and snobby schoolgirls?

I enjoyed The Woods. It has an intriguing central mystery, a chilly setting, some fun scares and a host of good performances. Agnes Bruckner does well as lead girl Heather. I have a thing for redheads anyway, so I'd probably have enjoyed her in anything (and it's okay, she was 21 when this movie was filmed. Totally legal, guys!) Bruce Campbell isn't in it for long, but it's always fun seeing The Chin doing his thing. There's a nice parallel with his Evil Dead too, in the later scenes, which has him battling evil trees and invasive twigs. But this isn't really his movie, The Campbell is just gravy on the meat and potatoes of an old-school mystery chiller that takes in disappearing students, creepy teachers and Mean Girl rejects.

Some might find it a tad predictable and slow, but I didn't really notice. Could've used a chainsaw or two. And the overuse of the word "firecrotch" kinda got on my nerves, as did that blonde girl. It's a fairly minor work, to be sure, but an enjoyable one all the same.

Total Eclipse of the Brain: a Twilight review

Oh-em-gee. Featuring an EXCLUSIVE interview with Twilight and Martyrs star K-Stew

Director: David Slade (really?) (2010)
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, The Moustache
Find it online: Here, this might help.

'Shout Magazine': There's been a lot of action in the other Twilight films. Do you do anything physical in this movie?
Kristen Stewart: No, I don't. I have no physical activity in this film at all. I am basically carried around by Jacob the whole time.

Totally legitimate reading material


Ah, such a positive role model. Although to be fair, I'd love a job which required me to do fuck all aside from be carried around by Taylor 'Abs' Lautner. Twilight star Kristen Stewart there, courtesey of one of my sister's magazines. And so ends the Review Hole's first exclusive interview, only it isn't and I didn't ask the questions and Kristen Stewart doesn't know who I am. Anyway.

Ragging on Twilight is starting to feel a bit like bullying the special kid at school now. But this movie is akin to the special kid wearing a great big target on his mbooby t-shirt and a 'dunce' hat atop his super-special little head. And besides, bullying is fun. In New Moan, we watched as Edward ran off to Italy, Mary-Sue jumped offa' a cliff and hunky werewolf Jacob Black upped his silly stalking campaign. To wit, she's not pregnant yet, nor a vampire, and she's still staring vacuously into distances like a gloomier Megan Fox. In Eclipse we have a very good director making the first legitimately bollocks movie of his career. How does one follow up 30 Days of Night with this? How does one go from Hard Candy (a movie about a paedophile) to Twilight (a movie about.... oh).

Nevertheless, I like and am slightly scared of David Slade so there rests my criticism of his persona. Suffice to say that my hopes of Eclipse turning out like a 30 Days/Aphex Twin video have gone firmly unrealised. Reality, you suck tits. I live in endless hope that his directing Eclipse might lead to some unsuspecting Twi-hards (sorry, the other word - fucking morons) happening across an Aphex Twin video or Hard Candy. ZOMG WHAT IS JUNO DOING TO HIS BALLS

In Eclipse, some things actually happen. None of them are in any way interesting or good, but it's a definite improvement over the uneventful navel gazing of its predecessors. Yes, eagle-eyed readers, that's almost a compliment. And Eclipse is an almost good tolerable competent movie. It's the least terrible Twilight so far. Who knows, if the franchise were to carry on indefinitely, it might become good by about the twentieth movie at this rate. Well, probably not. But it helps that more things actually, y'know happen here.

The first thing to happen and not involve sparkling or shirtless werewolves is a pre-credits sequence in which some helpless young lad is munched upon by vampires. It was such a surprise to see something actually happening that I had to go check I was watching the right movie. Thankfully for fans of bad cinema, the action soon skips back to Forks and its gaggle of pathetic vampires, self-loathing desperate women and hunky werewolves. Once again, there are but two stars of the show - Sharkboy's abdomens and Charlie's moustache. They should give that moustache and those abs their own spin-off movie. Also on the scene is a ginger vampire who I'm apparently supposed to remember from the first thing.

There's nearly the most unerotic threesome I've ever seen and a lot of sulking and stalking. Nobody even has sex, which is a missed opportunity if ever there was one. It's a peculiar beast, both promoting low-self esteem and abstinence at the same time. Bad luck horny schoolboys, you'll be expected to get ripped and act all emotionally abusive, but fuck off if you think yer getting laid.

Needless to say, Eclipse sucks massive hippo balls. Still, there's definite improvements to the proceedings this time. The dialogue seems a little more self-aware (mostly regarding Jacob's shirtlessness) and the step up in action is noticeable. It's mind-numbingly and stultifyingly idiotic, but more or less at the same level now as such blokey-orientated staples as Transformers 2 or anything else that stars Shia LeBouf or Megan Fox. Well, maybe I've just grown weary of this shit. It takes effort to hate something as much as I hate this franchise, y'know? Nevertheless, please be upstanding for the return of a Mister Johnny Cash, specially for our third Twilight review:

It's called Schadenfreude, sugartits.

MY FAVOURITE OTHER PEOPLES' MISFORTUNES

Don't worry, it becomes horror related later on. In a week in which Paris Hilton gets arrested for possession (later to get a friend to take the rap, yah boo sucks) and Mel Gibson makes another racist faux-pas, what better time to wallow in a bit of schadenfreude and celebrate the misfortunes of someone other than ourselves. Wahey, you fucked up. Starting, aptly enough with:


Paris Hilton gets dead in House of Wax: I'm not sure which is the bigger surprise - that House of Wax didn't completely suck or that Paris Hilton isn't the worst actress in the entire world (nearly, but Megan Fox is still at large). Nevertheless, the most (only) memorable moment in the movie sees an underwear-dwelling Ms. Hilton on the run from our killer. Technically I suppose she looks good in her grundies, although I'm so used to hating the socialite cum-Scream Queen that it's hard to fancy her now. And besides, she's always overshadowed in my pants mind by the delectable Elisha Cuthbert. The moment when her character is impaled in the face with a metal pole? Most applauded thing I've ever seen in a cinema.

Matthew McConaughey gets twatted with an aeroplane in The Next Generation: Okay, the moment is ruined by the rest of the movie and the bathos of it all - but I'd spent so long wishing for McConaughey's death in The Next Generation that when he gets his via aeroplane to the back of the head, I couldn't help but smile. And then scream at the screen s'more.

Cedric Diggory bites it in That Harry Potter Movie: A bit of a retrospective one, but if you just watch his death scene in The Goblet of Fire, you can kinda pretend that it's Sparkletits the pansy vampire getting his just desserts instead of the more mediocre and undeserving Cedric Diggory.

Danny Dyer gets his head kicked in for Straightheads & Outlaw; tortured in Severance & Doghouse; slapped in Hardest Men; sacked from Nuts magazine: It's a perhaps well-known theory of mine (well, if you've read this review) that any Danny Dyer movie is only watchable if his character is soundly tortured throughout the movie. The only time you'll ever see me use the phrase 'torture porn' in a review is for a Danny Dyer review. Because there's a good chance I'll be getting my rocks off by seeing the cockney wee shite's head kicked in. I could watch this video all day long:



Likewise, That episode of Lost where Sawyer beats the shit out of Jack: I love Lost and I even grew to kinda like Doc Jack by the end, but the final episode of Season 5 was paydirt for me. Jack and Sawyer finally get down to business, after four seasons of tension and possible homoeroticism. Although Jack gets a few good digs in, Sawyer obviously comes out on top. Watching him bash Doc Jack's face in is a nice bit of payback for every whinge and whine uttered by the Doc up until that point. And Doc Jack whinges & whines a lot.

Failing certain missions in GTA: San Andreas: For me, the hardest missions in San Andreas to complete were the ones in which main character CJ is accompanied by cohort 'Ryder'. Not because the missions themselves were difficult, but moreso because I was unable to restrain myself from shooting Ryder in the stupid fucking face. I failed the formative missions a multitude of times, each for a different reason: parking a taxi on Ryder's head, stomping Ryder's head into the ground, beating Ryder in the face with a baseball bat, shooting Ryder in the face with a pistol/shotgun/uzi/assault rifle. Imagine my joy when one of the later missions allowed me to assassinate stupid fucking Ryder right in his stupid fucking face. See also: Nico's cousin in GTA4. Not because I disliked the character, but he beat me at pool.


The Devil's Rejects get tortured in The Devil's Rejects: I actively hate the Devil's Rejects. I hate the characters and I hate the movie. So for me, the best bit was seeing them tied up at the mercy of Sheriff Wydell and tortured with a stapler. My only complaint is that they escaped. And that such a great piece of schadenfreude came in a movie as shitty as The Devil's Rejects.

The Mutant Chronicles


Director: Simon Hunter (2008)
Starring: Thomas Jane, Ron Perlman, John Malkovich, Devon Aoki
Find it online: IMDB, Amazon UK, Amazon US

Tuning into the Warhammer 40k audience comes The Mutant Chronicles, a dingy piece of post-apocalyptica which pits good actors against a terrible storyline and incomprehensible CGI. It's like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, except dingier and darker. It's based, apparently on a role playing game so is a bit like a videogame adaptation except not.

John Malkovich cashes in an easy cheque as a ruler of one of the 'corporations' that has turned the world to ashes. That he's not playing an evil character is possibly the only surprise this movie has in store. Everything else you can probably guess from the poster alone. During a futuristic neverending war, some silly corporations awaken an ancient machine which turns people into evil mutants. So the prophecies say, a small squad of toughies must travel deep into the centre of the Earth to blow the machine up. Ugh, plots based on prophecies are almost as bad as movies based on RPG games (see also Dungeons & Dragons).

The Mutant Chronicles is so predictable and hackneyed that it has Sean Pertwee continuing his grand tradition of dying in every movie in which he appears. There's very little tension or characterisation, and the mutants look crappy. Aside from Tom Jane, Malkovich, Ron Perlman and Devon Aoki (playing against type as a samurai-sword weilding hottie), there are apparently other people in The Mutant Chronicles. But I couldn't tell you who they are or what they contribute, because it's (a) too dingy to see who the fuck anyone is, and (b) no-one does anything other than scream a lot and shout at bad CGI mutants.

It's inoffensive, mind. And the forces of Jane & Perlman make it watchable enough, even if you'll have forgotten the whole thing ten minutes later. It's just too dull, predictable, pretentious and inconsequential to matter in any larger scheme. It's humourless, self-absorbed and full of ugly cinematics. Do yourself a favour and go play Fallout instead.

Wishmaster


Director: Robert Kurtzman (1997)
Starring: Tammy Lauren, Andrew Divoff, Robert Englund
Find it online: IMDB, Amazon UK, Amazon US

Robin Williams on a bad day, methinks. After an alkie crane-worker drops a very ancient and very dangerous artefact (on Ted Raimi's head, no less), the evil Djinn is awakened; a genie, but not as we know it. Put the big blue Aladdin bastich outta your head, this genie of the piece looks like a Buffy reject and gets his kicks in turning people's badly-worded wishes against them.

For some reason I kinda missed, the Djinn needs to own the soul of Alexandra (Lauren) before he and his fellow Djinn can inherit the Earth. In order to do this, he needs for her to ask of him three wishes. This involves him cutting a swathe through pretty much every horror icon of modern horror cinema. I only recently saw Wishmaster for the first time, and was pleasantly surprised by the amount of cameos in this movie. Although seeing the likes of Robert Englund, Kane Hodder and Tony Todd play cannon fodder is jarring to say the least, it sure is fun spotting them as they show up. Never will get that image of Robert Englund whimpering like a big girl's blouse outta my head though. And Kane Hodder's beard is hella odd.

Wishmaster is a blast, proving that not all 90s' horror is complete bull-doo-doo. Andrew Divoff makes for a great villain, and the multitude of gore scenes are done with humour, panache and a great big side-helping of sadism. Producer Wes Craven's involvement is quite evident throughout, although Kurtzman's direction is fun and snappy. Wishmaster is everything (WAIT FOR IT) one could wish for from a horror movie (GET IT. WISHMASTER... WISH FOR... AAAND HOLD FOR APPLAUSE)

Twilight: The graphic novel

[Moody-arse horror 'critic' probably-unfairly rags on popular culture item Part 3]

Saying that I don't hate Twilight the graphic novel as much as I hate Twilight the book or Twilight the movies is a bit like saying I hate breaking my arm slightly less than I hate breaking my leg. And to wit, I hate breaking my bones in general just as much as I hate the Twilight phenomenon as a whole. Start again, shall I? This paragraph is making no sense.


Twilight: The Graphic Novel will make your brain rot until it forgets how to read, write or distinguish between good and shit. I suppose it's only apt that Meyer's novels be adapted into graphic novels, since it's an entirely visual story. 90% of the book's prose consists of elaborate descriptions of Edward or Jacob (the other 10%: bad plotting and ridiculous things). The words in a Twilight book/movie/comic are as unimportant as the script of a porno. It's all wank-fodder anyway, so why bother?

Volume 1 collects the first Twilight book in picture-and-speech-bubbles form. The art, by Manga illustrator Young Kim isn't actually as bad as one might expect. It even does a better job of portraying the characters' love story than either the novel or the movie. It speaks volumes for her talents that Edward and Mary-Sue are far less annoying here than they've ever been. And you can even sort-of sense a little bit of an emotional undercurrent to things. Poor Pattinson and Stewart, outclassed by a pair of cartoons. It's not quite to my tastes, but I've seen worse artwork in a comic book. Unfortunately, it is still based on Meyer's prose and plot, so there's not a great deal Kim can do to save things. And that story and dialogue is as dull, lifeless and uneventful as ever.

Sparkling still looks stupid when rendered in comic-book form, and the dialogue is still atrocious. Furthermore, it has perhaps the worst speech-bubble placement I've ever seen in a comic book. The bubbles look as if they've been lazily photoshopped on as an afterthought and quite often sit slap-bang in the centre of a character's face. They couldn't even be fucked to draw on the lashes properly. A more literal example of Meyer's dialogue ruining her work.

Twilight: The Graphic Novel is obviously and consistently terrible, but not really in the same league as anything else of the brand. It's merely tolerable, which I suppose is an improvement.