A-Z of Netflix Horror: Thirteen Ghosts (2001)

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So what a difference 40 years can make. Although they may share a name the original 13 ghosts (reviewed in my previous post) bears very little resemblance to the modern version. True, there are 13 Ghosts in both films and the initial set up is identical of a poor family suddenly being left an expensive house by a mysterious eccentric uncle, but it is about there that all resemblance stops.

In the original film the 13 ghosts are just trapped in the house and there is no explanation other than the Uncle collected them. This time round however its a much more modern, gruesome take. The mysterious uncle has been travelling the globe collecting 12 specific ghosts all died in violent manners and have remained on the earth angry at their entrapment. However this time round he’s collecting them to open up an eye to Hell so he can see the future, but when he dies its just left to his distant family to move in.

As you can expect not all is as it seems and it turns out the entire house is giant trap and machine which is switched on as soon as the family enter the house. The rest of the film is spent with the occupants trying to survive the ghosts and escape while trying to figure out exactly what is going on. Much more of a plot than some missing money and murder of the original.

Although like many modern horror films, the plot is ignored for most of the film to allow us to have plenty of visual treats. However at a 15 certificate the effects aren’t overly gruesome. There is plenty of blood on show and the actual ghosts have had some time and care taken on the make-up with particular favourites being the Jackal and the Hammer for pure killer ghost appeal. The supposed worst of the Ghosts, the Juggernaut is a little disappointing compared to the rest but is the only ghost who actually kills someone even if its not the most gruesome death you’ll see. In fact the most gruesome death belongs to the house in a fantastic scene where a set of doors slices the lawyer in half and a good couple of minutes are spent seeing his body slide down the glass with his eyes still moving before seeing the back half collapse to the floor. Oh and as you would expect for a 15 film  made in the early part of the 2000’s there are boobs to be seen, even if they are what look to be fake boobs!

Overall the film is quite enjoyable, while not the most scariest of films (more reminiscent of a walk around scare event where people jump out at you and chase you but never touch you), it is still an enjoyable watch and is a definite kickback with a beer and watch with mates film.

Scare Factor: 5/10 (only for the Jackal ghost and the traditional jump scare)

Gore Factor : 7/10

Overall: 7/10

A perfect film for having a few mates round and putting something not too complicated but fun to watch on while chilling

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A-Z of Netflix Horror : Thirteen Ghosts (1960)

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So the 1960’s, a time of innocence and family values which time has long since forgotten. As I start this journey through Netflix’s Horror section, it seems appropriate to start with a film that was created way back before the video nasties and torture porn we are used to nowadays. Even more so as hopefully tomorrow’s film will be its remake and show the difference in films then and now.

The plot is very simple, a family who can’t afford their payments find themselves with nowhere to live and by chance a rich eccentric uncle has died and left them a house. The only catch is the ghosts that the uncle captured when he was alive and are now free to roam the house causing all sorts of mischief.

However all is not what it seems and the uncle has left a large amount of money hidden somewhere in the house and it seems there are some unscrupulous people he did his best to hide the money from before he died. The question is will anyone find the money before the ghosts start killing anyone.

To be honest to a modern viewer the plot is very familiar and you will probably have guessed many of the twists of the plot way before they occur, but it is still an enjoyable film to watch. There are few real scares on offer here and as you can imagine the effects are not too gruesome (though one particular ghost looked much gorier than many of the others).

Speaking of effects though this film does have one particular effect of note, Illusion-O vision. The director, William Castle, is famous for many gimmicks which went with his films in cinemas and this has to be one of the few gimmicks which can still be readily enjoyed even today in your own home. As explained before the film, Illusion-O allows the viewer to see ghosts or hide from them if they are too scared. As with most films of the time, the majority of the film is black and white, however at certain points a warning is flashed up to put up your viewer. Originally viewers had a device which consisted of a blue and red strip of cellophane (similar to the old 3D glasses) wide enough for each colour to cover both eyes. The screen would then go blue and the ghosts would be filmed in red. Using the blue strip eliminated the ghosts from view, while the red would make them stand out more. Thankfully due to owning a copy of My Bloody Valentine 3D I was able to experience the effect (although only through one eye) and even now it still works very well. For simple premise it is very clever how it was used and full credit to Mr Castle for a wonderful idea (for those interested in buying the film, it does seem it comes with a screening device packaged with the films).

The ghosts themselves are pretty basic, but there a few comedic scenes with the ghosts, although perhaps at the time they weren’t as comedic as we would find them now. The ghost acting is pretty poor too, if you imagine your dad dressing up as a ghost and making some silly noises you’d be spot on. A few ghosts are of note though, the spinning fire ghost is actually quite impressive and probably gives the closest to a real scare you ‘ll get through out the film and the one ghost you do get to see a close-up of does look a little gruesome especially in the red light. None, however, are going to leave you with any nightmares.

Overall a quite enjoyable film, its unlikely to scare you and the whole thing often feels like the acting is straight out of a 1960’s TV show but its a great example of how horror films began and how gimmicks were an integral part of US cinema at the time. It even has a nice Easter egg within the film as the housekeeper is regularly referred to as a witch, which is a nice touch as the actress will always be most famous for playing the Wicked With of the West in the 1939 film Wizard of Oz!

Scare factor: 1/10

Gore factor: 4/10 (for the gruesome looking ghost)

Overall: 6/10

An enjoyable watch but nothing which will stick with you for a long time apart from the Illusion-O!

Making sacrifices

So it’s Saturday morning, it’s my day off and I will be doing very little with it today at all. To be honest that is what I’m doing with pretty much all my time at the moment. However I haven’t gone off fun or decided to become a hermit. I’m trying to turn my life around so I can start doing exciting things.

Last night a lot of good friends were out, some who I haven’t seen in years, but I couldn’t go. The truth being that last year after all the events left me with some debts, not totally unreasonable debts but enough to not be easily paid off. As such I’m now determined to pay them all off. However as you can imagine this doesn’t leave me with a lot of money to spend doing things. So I have to pick and choose what I have to do every month.

This weekend I had to choose between seeing all my friends or taking my autistic son to the cinema for the first time. Not the toughest choices really but one which still bites. One of the reasons I quit Facebook is literally because it was depressing seeing everyone doing things and knowing I can’t join in the fun. Ok, people do offer to pay for my drinks but perhaps its pride or because I’ve known other friends who have taken up that offer and abused it, but I can’t do that. I think its because I know I have the money to do so but just have to prioritise it.

It’s not quite a barren life though. For instance next month I have Alt-Fest and thanks to my mate Trav I now have a ticket to see American Head Charge, Soil, and Hed-PE in October (I think, its definitely around that time.) and there is a good reason for all this debt paying. And its all down to this one song

It’s a beautiful song and one which has always touched my soul. I tried to do the whole settling down and having kids things and unfortunately it never worked out. So last year I had my life reset. No job, no home, no money and no family. It was almost like I had the last 10 years of my life erased and I was back to where I started.

Through this period music helped a lot. A band which really helped me through it all were Crystal Fighters, but this one song had inspired me beforehand and still did now. This was my chance to start living a life that I dreamt of as a kid. I could travel, see the world and have exciting stories and tales to tell. Unfortunately it didn’t start off well as I partied, got drunk a lot, hence why I’m in this situation.

But that time is now over, it’s time to clear the debts and work towards a better future for me. It’s not going to be easy, but it will allow me to find who my real friends are and which people are not worth the time. It’s going to teach me restraint and control over my finances and open up other avenues of entertainment as I find cheaper alternatives to the, to  be truthfully, rather dull and repetitive state my life was in. That old saying “Nothing in life worthwhile is easy” is definitely true, but then again so is the following saying “It’s the journey that is important, not the goal”

Why sometimes whims are the way forward!

Today has been a good day. I’ve had good laughs with my flatmates, made plans for future evenings and had an awesome dinner. The strange thing none of it was planned. This morning I woke up and thought that I need a break from my recent dinners of pasta, rice and sauce. I needed something to break the monotony of it all.

So I spent the day considering what I should get. After awhile fish seemed the best answer, and so I thought how can I cook it without frying it (I am trying to eat healthier here you see). Being a hot day it struck me let’s do it on a BBQ. We’ve been planning on having a BBQ in our very small area out our back door so a perfect time to see if we could.

Now if anyone who has had a BBQ should know, the best BBQ desert has to be baked bananas. Just look at the gloriousness below and you’ll see I’m right. So I had a plan for dinner, BBQ fish with simple mash and veg as well as baked banana and ice-cream.

Baked Bananas

Already the day was shaping up nicely and being a kind guy, I thought I’d share with my house mates I was having a BBQ and see if anyone wanted to use the BBQ after as it seemed silly to waste it.

This led to an entertaining evening of BBQ food, burnt lumps of wood(they say put the BBQ on bricks for a reason it seems!!) plenty of laughs and me learning a lot of lessons about BBQ cooking. But what is the point of all this storytelling, well all of this would not have occurred if I hadn’t just done things spontaneously I could have missed out on a fun evening.

This is why I try to remain spontaneous, I’m not one for making plans or even sticking to them, preferring to go on whims and just go with my mood. It’s a risky way to live but for me its rewarding as you are always trying new things, breaking out of your comfort zone and in my eyes I’m more alive doing that than any other way.

So occasionally, break your routine, try something different and go out on a limb and follow your guts, you may too have a good fun time doing so!!

A new beginnings and a fresh new look!

So I’ve done the unthinkable in our modern day life and broken away from the social networks. To be honest I was never a Twitter fan as I hated the character restriction (I write blogs as I like to write a lot!) and I have now finally cut off Facebook from my life. It’s a bold step in my life but one that ultimately I hope will open up my life more.

The problem with life is we are all so interconnected, between texting, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat etc. nobody actually talks anymore using our voices. Recently I’ve been going to pubs and watching people sit there and stare at their phone in groups while not actually communicating. It even happens in clubs now with people on the dancefloor reading their phone. When did we turn into this mindless zombies, living our lives through these small screens while ignoring the world around us.

Mobile Phone Zombies

Well I’ve decided enough is enough. Due to my long term plans, I have to spend a lot of time doing very cheap things while I work out of debt and start to head towards a more exciting life of travel and adventure. Until that happens, I’ve got to make the most out of small things. I don’t want to spend what social time I do have sitting with people not talking, as it is trying to get a decent conversation can be bad enough for me!!

So I’ve shut down all usage of my Facebook page. Although this blog may well post up on there automatically and I’ll still use it as a form of messenger, the days of me checking it regularly and posting are now over. Even recently I’ve literally switched on, checked notifications and come out again as there is so little of interest on there.

And as such my blogging days are back. I can start to write more regularly on here and hopefully find like-minded individuals upon here, fellow bloggers and people of interest. It also means I can start spending more time doing things rather than sitting on FAcebook using it like a midnight fridge raid, scanning it and finding nothing I want.

So this is my first new blog and as such had a spruce up of the page. Let me know what you think and whether it needs improvement. If I keep this up, I’ll spend some more time customising it but this will be the basic for now.

What do I have planned to write about? I’m not sure, but I will be treating this like a diary of sorts and letting my mind wander off while tracking my days and hopefully something interesting will come from this rambles. But for today this is all. A good start I hope and hopefully a more regular splatter of posts will begin.

Toodle pip and see you in the real world!

An introspective on my life at times

We all have our ways of relaxing in the world, some people listen to music, some draw, others go and chill with friends, myself I write. It’s my way of organising my chaotic mind and emptying it of the constant stream of knowledge which pours through it. Once it is written down its stored, whether electronically or old fashioned paper its permanent. For me its also a good way for me to express myself as I constantly worry about my thoughts.

If I publish these on blogs, then people can read them and find out about things which interest me which I would never speak about in public as a fear of being considered odd and weird. I do carry these fears with me everyday and it does bother me, stops me opening up to people and letting them in. Being a crazy fool is easy and guaranteed to entertain people but being myself is difficult. It shows a more open side of me than sometimes I’m comfortable with, people have seen it in small groups when I’ve been drinking but not often.

A lot of time I do worry about how people think of me. Do they think I’m a joke, someone to tolerate but never to want to spend too much time with people. I sometimes wonder if its my own fault I spend so much time on my own as I just figure people don’t want me around. I’ve had a lot of good friends and good times over the years and I appreciate every good memory. But I always feel slightly left out of groups as I never see people outside of clubs and pubs.

I know in the past, I’ve had to miss out on meeting with people due to work and family commitments or just lack of money. But I always feel the outsider in groups as everyone has known everyone for so long and there are few people I’ve known and been close to for long periods as Iv’e always drifted between groups.

And with the introduction of social networking, the loneliness sometimes grows. It’s the fact of knowing there are hundreds of people online but feeling it difficult to strike a conversation with people randomly. I guess that’s why I tend to dance so much as it means less conversation and more awkwardness on my part.

This may have all started at school, when I went to Southend High, I was told I was smart and then felt like an outsider at the school as I got put with the odd geek guys. All was fine then I left 6th form early and lost contact with all my friends and had to restart my social life at the age of 18, not a wise move perhaps in hindsight, but you live and learn!

But perhaps its time to change this, my life is different now. Perhaps its time to overcome this. I’ve always felt I’m outside of the norm and different to everyone else, maybe its time to realise I’m not that very different to everybody else and realise we’re all the same

The problems with being Tall

Now I’ve never considered myself as being tall. Referring to Wikipedia the average male height is 5ft 9 1/2 inches to 5ft 10, and the average female is 5 ft 4 1/2 inches. I myself am only 6ftish and therefore never felt I was overly tall, being a bit lanky probably doesn’t help though. But the one thing I have noticed is the world is not designed for tall people, even those of an average height.

The problem was highlighted today in a toilet in a bingo hall (don’t ask). I went to wash my hands and suddenly realised that I couldn’t see my head. The mirror was a large mirror but had been set so low that it missed my head off completely. Now the distance from my eyeline to the top of my neck is 5 inches and the my head is 9 inches tall, that means that mirror was aimed for people of a maximum of 5ft 8 to use. That borders on the ridiculous, but this isn’t the only incident I’ve noticed in my life.

I used to work at Mcdonalds and during my employment I worked on various areas, one being the fry station. Now I could not actually stand up straight and see what my hands were doing when in the bagging area. This strikes me as a terrible misjustice of health and safety, either I had to lean over like some overbearing school teacher lecturing a pupil in a 1940’s school, or I had to work blind with hot oil and salt (trust me from experience that is not a good mix. But there are other examples, I have never been able to stand up straight on the top floor of a double decker bus, I always have to bend slightly to wash my hands at a sink in any building. Some doorways I can’t even walk through standing straight, and I know people who are even taller than me.

I feel it is about time this prejudice to the tall is righted. If someone is short they are given stools to use ladders to climb, what equipment is given to the tall to prevent chronic back ache from constantly bending to accustom ourselves to products and units not designed with us in mind. Without us tall people, how would the elderly be able to reach the top shelves in supermarkets, how would women in heels be able to date someone without towering over them. Who would hold up castle gates and walls therefore sacrificing their own lives in every fantasy film when the hero is escaping. It is about time the tall are appreciated for the benefits we bring to society and for us to be acknowledged as a minority. I want buses to be adjusted to allow the tall to stand proud, tables to be created where we can comfortable sit our long legs without feeling cramped out. I stand for the unspoken tallness of Britain and ask for us to be treated fairly and equally and not as giant lanky fools who are there to be ridiculed when we bang our heads on low ceilings.

Let the tall unite and hold society hostage by holding things above our heads, just out of their reach so they can’t grab them!!

 

This blog is written with deep and seated sarcasm and is not to be taken seriously, before someone starts whining, but it is a genuine problem tall people live with everyday, but we just bear with it, hey at least we never have to ask someone else to grab the porn for us!