The Circle Of Disney Live-Action Remakes

Written by Megan Williams

Disney currently seems to be going through a phase of remaking their classic animated films and turning them into CGI/Live-Action features. So far, they’ve remade Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, The Jungle Book and a sequel to the 1964 film Mary Poppins is due to be released in December. And they aim to continue this phase with a remake of the 1994 film The Lion King, to be released next year.

The Lion King was essentially a retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, except it was set in Africa and featured animals. The film has so far grossed over $100 million worldwide, making it Disney’s 3rd highest grossing animated film ever, next to Zootopia and Frozen.

So, I’ve probably just answered my own question but: WHY IS THIS BEING REMADE?!

The Lion King is my favourite Disney film; I would even go so far as to say it’s a perfect film: it has the right level of emotional depth to make viewers care for the characters, a simple but brilliant story, a fantastic soundtrack and score and the hand-drawn animation is gorgeous.

The teaser made the smart move of replicating the original film’s teaser, by showing viewers the iconic opening scene. This time, the scene is recreated with CGI animation and, while the photo-realistic visuals are impressive, it looks very bland. What I loved about the animation in the 1994 film was how colourful and vibrant the setting and characters looked. By recreating the film to make it look realistic, it seems to have lost the charm that the source material had.

However, there are a couple of aspects that I do like about the remake: James Earl Jones is returning as the voice of Mufasa, and Hans Zimmer is returning as the composer. As well as this, the voice cast is impressive: John Oliver as Zazu, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, Donald Glover as adult Simba, Beyonce as adult Nala and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar. If there’s one thing that can be praised at the moment, it’s the brilliant casting choices.

Disney have also revealed the official poster:

It’s simple yet effective, and it conveys the theme of the film beautifully by not saying much at all: Simba will need to take his place in the great circle of life as King of the Pridelands.

While there are a couple of things I like about this remake, it is not enough to actually convince me to go and see it. I give the original film extremely high praise and I don’t think this should be given the remake treatment. However, given Disney’s recent box office earnings, this will still probably be successful.

Oh well: Hakuna Matata!

 

Did ‘Detective Pikachu’ Just Become My Most Anticipated Film of 2019!?

Written by Megan Williams

If you had told me a year ago that my most anticipated film of2019 was about a photo-realistic Pokemon, voiced by Ryan Reynolds, that had tosolve a crime, I would’ve laughed. A lot.

And yet…

The trailer for Warner Bros. Detective Pikachu film was released on 12th November and has currently gained over 37 million views on Youtube. Detective Pikachu is a live action/CGI animated feature, based on the Nintendo 3DS game of the same name. It follows Tim Goodman, son of well-known detective Harry Goodman, as he teams up with Pikachu to solve the disappearance of his father.

I always found the idea of Detective Pikachu very strange, as the source material also features a talking Pikachu who solves crimes. It’s a very different concept to what the original games are and, as I sat down to watch the trailer; I was completely prepared to hate it.

I can now say, with confidence, that this film looks like a lot of fun and I cannot wait to see it.

The visual effects look incredible. The Pokemon are amixture of photo-realistic and cartoonish designs, which I think is the bestroute to go down when bringing Pokemon into a real world setting. They alsolook how any Pokemon fan would expect them to look: for example, Pikachu is fluffywhile Bulbasaur is scaly.

The trailer features various Pokemon from different generations, from a ferocious looking Charizard (which was from my generation of Pokemon in the 90’s) to a realistic-looking Greninja from the 6thGeneration (2013-2014). Because it’ll feature Pokemon from different generations, it’ll definitely appeal to Pokemon fans of all ages.  

The only issue I have with this film so far is the voice for Pikachu, who is Ryan Reynolds. As weird as this sounds, the voice doesn’t fit the character; personally, I would’ve chosen a younger actor like Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things, IT: Chapter 1).

But, ultimately, I didn’t expect to love this trailer as much as I do: we now live in a world where a live-action Pokemon film exists and, from the trailer, it looks surprisingly good. Let’s hope this will be the video game-to-film adaptation that breaks the curse of the video game film genre.

Detective Pikachu is out in cinemas 10th May 2019.

The Killing Of A Sacred Deer: A Twisted Contemporary Greek Tragedy

Written by Emily Jones

Known as one of 2017’s strangest movies, The Killing Of A Sacred Deer is a psychological thriller directed by famed director Yorgos Lanthimos. Known for his stilted characters featuring robotic deliveries, Lanthomo’s latest movie, in fact, features a series of transactional relationships and conversations between characters which emphasize its peculiarity. Starring Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Barry Keoghan, Raffey Cassidy, Sunny Suljic, Alicia Silverstone and Bill Camp, The Killing Of A Sacred Deer is a surreal movie experience that effortlessly defies any rational explanations right from its beginning. Recently released, the movie is currently available for viewing on the Chili website.

The movie is based on the Greek story of Agamemnon, king of Mycenae who paid the terrible price his family must pay once it is discovered that he killed a deer, precious to the goddess Artemis. As payment for his killing, Artemis demands that Agamemnon sacrifice one of his children, either his daughter Iphigenia or son Orestes, in her honor. The Killing Of A Sacred Deer portrays this Greek tragedy in Cincinnati, where heart surgeon Steven (Colin Farrell) is confronted by Martin (Barry Keoghan) who lost his father during one of Steven’s surgeries. A few years after his father’s passing and now a teenager, Martin seeks revenge and issues a chilling ultimatum. He threatens that Steven must choose one of his family members to die so that he can amend Martin’s father’s death. If Steven refuses to do so, each of his family members will suddenly diefrom a mysterious illness. Steven must, therefore, make a decision as his family members are already falling in, and in doing so his family’s craven, self-centered and brutal cores are revealed.

While this movie features little blood, very few scenes of violence and a courteous and gentle villain, The Killing Of A Sacred Deer still manages to be completely and viscerally terrifying. The movie greatly focuses on a person’s sense of responsibility and the great lengths they may go about to try not being held accountable for their mistakes. It focuses on how a person’s actions and decisions contribute to where they find themselves in life and the cowardly sense of protecting their self and their self-image. While Steven refuses to accept Martin’s ultimatum and while his family falls ill, he continues to search for an alternate solution, denying what is happening around him. What makes the movie particularly strange and disturbing is also the interactions between Stevens family members. The Murphy family dynamics are mostly a series of transactions and exchanges. Bob and Kim have assigned chores, and almost all of their interactions with their parents have to do with whether or not they’ve done them and Kim (Nicole Kidman) learns her brother is in the hospital when she told she’ll have to now water his plants. Transactions are in fact what dominate the entire storyline, for the death of one of his family members, Martin demands the death of one of Steven’s.

With its peculiar characters, an interesting and somewhat historic storyline The Killing Of A Sacred Deer should certainly be among the list of must-see movies of the year. This psychological thriller explores the depths of family interactions and the toll the burden of responsibility can take on a person.

Dispatches from LA Comic Con 2018

Written by Fiona Underhill

I went to some really interesting panels at LA Comic Con, covering a wide range of topics, all of which were supremely geeky, so therefore right up my street. I really noticed this year (after last attending the Con in 2016), that every single panel made reference to politics and the wider society which we live in. The zombie panel talked about their function throughout history and whether we still ‘need’ them today, the Superman panel was about how he is a symbol of hope, the Harry Potter panel was about using that universe as therapy, which is something I can very much relate to. Of course, the #MeToo movement was also referenced many times as well. So, it was a surprisingly emotional weekend!

Women in Horror Esther Goodstein, Kathleen Behun, Jessica Sonneborn, Jessica Cameron, Ivet Corvea
Jason Blum has recently come under fire for stating that; “There are not a lot of female directors period, and even less who are inclined to do horror.” Of course the women of this panel were very much here to refute that.
– Sonneborn and Corvea were in Bloody Bloody Bible Camp (2012)
– Sonneborn has Holidays of Horror coming up – an anthology series, each based on a different American holiday eg. Thanksgiving, 4th of July, Hanukkah
– Behun has The Maple House coming up
– Goodstein produced The Black Room (2017, now available on Netflix)
– Cameron directed An Ending (2018) and Mania (2015)

 

I am no Man: The Women of Middle-Earth TheOneRing.net
The focus of this panel was to highlight the lesser-known women of Middle Earth, who could be a large part of the new LOTR TV show which will be coming to Amazon, which will reportedly focus on a young Aragorn, at least to begin with. The hope is that it could feature Gilraen, Aragorn’s mother who was a widow who went to great lengths to protect her son. It could also feature Arwen’s mother Celebrian, to whom Elrond had to prove his worth by becoming a ring-bearer and building Rivendell. Following in the tradition of formidable mothers, Bilbo was said to have got his sense of adventure from his mother, Belladonna Took.

Another prominent female character is Luthien, who not only subverts the ‘damsel-in-distress’ trope by being a self-rescuing ‘princess’, but she also rescues the man she loves. Lúthien forced Sauron to give ownership of the tower to her. She freed the prisoners, among them Beren. She also heals Beren and sings a song which subdues the Dark Lord Morgoth. Tolkein and his wife Edith have the words ‘Beren and Luthien’ on their joint grave, indicating that Tolkein believed his wife ‘rescued’ him. There is also Varda Elbereth who ‘kindled the stars’ (created the universe) and Yavanna The Valar – who is a ‘Mother Earth’ type figure.

 

Superman 80th Anniversary Panel Tony Kim, Jason Inman, Jace Milam and Alfred Day
This was the best panel of the weekend for me. Despite unfortunately being an all-male panel, there was a lot of emphasis on Lois and the fact that it’s her 80th Anniversary too. There was love for The New Adventures of Superman (known as Lois & Clark in the US) which is my favourite Superman property and Superman – The Animated Series, which is underrated. There was discussion of where DC has/is going wrong with Superman and where it could potentially go in the future, all of which I strongly agreed with. I even got a bit emotional when the panel was talking about what Superman should symbolise “truth, justice and the American way” and the fact that these values have lost their meaning in larger society, not just in popular culture. Superman is meant to be inspiring, is meant to be the best reflection of ourselves – he believes in us even when we don’t believe in him. Wonder Woman got it right by creating a hopeful, likeable character who still had humour and was still cool. Why can’t that happen with Supes?

 

Star Thieves – check out the trailer on insta @StarThieves
I can across this completely by accident, but I’m glad that I did. It’s a 20 minute short Sci-Fi film featuring a cast completely made up of people of colour. It is going to be turned into a feature length film – so keep an eye out for that.

 

Other panels which I attended:
Everything you wanted to know about zombies but were afraid to askClarke Wolfe etc
The Psychology of Harry Potter
The Original Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW)
Batman 80th Anniversary Panel Kyle Higgins and Chris Burnham
Wonder Women Filmmakers: Insight from Women in the World of Filmmaking – Jenn Page, Joanna Ke, Cheri Gaulke, Sonja Mereu, Emily McGregor, Allison Vanore, America Young
The Chimaera Project http://www.chimaeraproject.org

Celebrating The Twentieth Anniversary of ‘Practical Magic’

Written by Fiona Underhill

Practical Magic was released on 16th October 1998 and I could not let the 20th anniversary of something which has brought so much joy into my life sail past unacknowledged. This is one of the films I have seen the most times in my life – it is a feel-good, comfort film for me and I often return to this happy place. I love everything about it – the actors (and the acting – which I will get to later), the production design and costume design, the music (both the score and the soundtrack) – it is just all so good.

The film features two legends of the acting world – Stockard Channing and Diane Wiest as two witchy spinster Aunts who live in one of the most stunningly beautiful houses to ever appear on film, which is on an island in New England. They are descended from a long line of witches (the Owens family) and are feared, mocked and shunned by the town until they are needed for love spells and the like. There is a curse on the Owens women, which means that when they fall in love with a man, the man dies. This happens to the parents of Sally and Gilly Owens (their father dies, then their mother dies of a broken heart) and they are sent to live with the Aunts. Sally is a naturally gifted witch but does not like using her powers and she also resists falling in love because of the curse. Gilly is the opposite and seeks out love as much as possible. Sally grows into Sandra Bullock and with a little nudge from the Aunts, does find love with local man Michael, with whom she has two children. Gilly grows into Nicole Kidman and leaves the island, travels the world and moves from one disastrous love affair to another, until she lands on “Dracula Cowboy” Jimmy Angelov (Goran Visnjic).

Sally Owens is one of Sandy Bullock’s best roles, in which she does some of her best acting (and yes I absolutely am including the role for which she won the Oscar here) and I’m willing to fight anyone who disagrees. When the inevitable tragedy strikes Michael – her portrayal of grief and heartbreak still makes me sob every time I watch it (including my most recent re-watch for this essay). The film is incredibly well structured and written and this section economically conveys the grieving process more efficiently than many more critically-acclaimed arthouse indies.

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Practical Magic features my dream house and is the film location I most covet. The kitchen is absolutely huge and stunning – with its dark wooden floor, cream wooden cabinets and Bristol sink. The kitchen is the setting for some key scenes, such as when Gilly and Sally try to raise Jimmy Angelov from the dead and of course; “Midnight Margaritas!” The best part of the house is the greenhouse/conservatory/orangery which is attached to the kitchen and is filled with all of the plants and herbs which the Aunts use in their potions and spells. Two key scenes takes place here – one where child Sally wishes for an ‘impossible man’ with one green eye and one blue and later when adult Sally is gently interrogated by a man who may just fit this exact description: Officer Gary Hallet (Aidan Quinn).

Sandy’s hair and costumes – in every single scene – are to die for and have aged incredibly well, in my opinion. I would still wear pretty much everything she wears in this film, to this day (there is one instance of bad chunky shoes, but we will forgive one misstep). She even wears glasses in one scene and plaits in another. If I had to be pinned down to one favourite look, I think it would have to be the dress Sandy wears in the penultimate scene (before the Halloween finale) – it features green leaves and dark red roses. Sandy has curly hair here and the scene takes place in the garden – it is all just incredibly romantic and also Romantic (as in reminiscent of the Romantic era in art and literature).

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The music in Practical Magic is one of its main strengths. I discovered recently that my favourite composer – Michael Nyman – wrote a complete score for the film which was rejected at the last minute and replaced with one by Alan Silvestri. Nyman’s score can by found on YouTube and is beautiful of course, but it’s hard to imagine anything but Silvestri’s iconic score with the film now. The soundtrack is also immense and in my regular rotation to this day – of course, actual certified witch Stevie Nicks features heavily with ‘Crystal’ being especially fitting. The use of Nick Drake’s ‘Black Eyed Dog’ in the tragic scene involving Sally’s husband mentioned earlier is another reason why that whole section is so good. Faith Hill’s ‘This Kiss’, Joni Mitchell’s ‘Case of You’ and Michelle Lewis’ ‘Nowhere and Everywhere’ all add to the ethereal, dreamy quality which combines with the film’s cliff-top setting, overlooking crashing waves so sublimely. The last absolute banger I want to highlight is Harry Nilsson’s ‘Coconut’ which accompanies my favourite scene in the whole film – “Midnight Margaritas” (despite being factually inaccurate because margaritas do not contain coconut).

It is almost impossible to choose, but I’m now going to attempt narrow down the Five Best Scenes (or moments) from Practical Magic:

5) Gilly helps Sally get one over on the bitchy moms by rigging the phone tree. “That’s right, I’m back. Hang onto your husbands girls. Whew!”

4) Sally draws a pentagram on Jimmy Angelov’s corpse with squirty cream and can’t help having a little lick. Whom amongst us wouldn’t?

3) Jimmy’s hot ghost possesses Gilly. Gilly licks Sally’s face. “I’m feeling very into sisters right now.”

2) Gilly comes back to shake Sally out of her grief and depression; “You’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t get up, brush your goddamned teeth and take care of those little girls.”

1) MIDNIGHT MARGARITAS! (apparently these four acting legends actually got drunk in this scene)

So, there you have it. These are just some of the reasons that I love this movie and re-watch it so often. It makes me sad that we don’t make films like this anymore. Of course, it is easily dismissed as silly and light-weight (as most things about and for girls and women are). However, this film certainly does have its darker aspects – Jimmy abuses Gilly, Gilly and Sally kill Jimmy, attempt to bring him back, then bury the body. It is later discovered that Jimmy had killed a woman (and then Sally and Gary get hot and heavy on top of the crime scene photos). If anything like this film was made today, two high-profile and well respected actors would not be involved and it would dispense with the darker aspects  so it could be aimed purely at children. Modern day Hollywood would have no clue how to market this film, therefore it would not be made. I am incredibly grateful that twenty years ago, it could be made, as it has brought so much joy into my life. I’m sure that I’ll continue watching it for the next twenty.

JUMPSCARECUT: Bad Romance

October is synonymous with a few things: autumn leaves, pumpkin-spiced everything, Halloween, the return of The Walking Dead on TV, and more horror movies than you can wield a knife at. Not everyone has a stomach for gore or the mettle for scares though. If you’re wondering where all the romance goes when the monsters come out to play, fear not. It may not be the 14th February, but here are 14 love stories perfect for the spooky season.

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Crimson Peak (2015)

Guillermo del Toro’s 1880s-set ghost story charts the relationship between American aspiring-author Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) and English baron/inventor Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). After she suffers a devastating family tragedy, she marries Thomas and moves into the dilapidated Sharpe home, a grand gothic mansion built on a hill that ‘bleeds’ red when it snows. Edith must not only compete with Thomas’ conniving sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) for his attention, but she must contend with the spirits that haunt the house.

 

La Belle et la Bête (1946)

Jean Cocteau and René Clément’s surreal tale of tragic love between a beautiful girl, Belle (Josette Day), and a gentle beast (Jean Marais), was the first adaptation of the 1757 story, Beauty and the Beast. Now considered a French classic, La Belle et la Bête presents the Beast as so repellent, Belle faints at the sight of him – not quite the sumptuously animated creature Disney drew! The story unfolds like a Grimm’s fairy tale, a brooding dark fantasy, with not a singing teapot or candelabra in sight.

 

Warm Bodies (2013)

William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has been adapted to film countless times over the years. From direct adaptations, such as Franco Zeffirelli’s 1969 version and Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 modernised version, to more imaginative translations, such as West Side Story and The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride. Warm Bodies falls into the latter – a loose reworking of the classic star-crossed lovers narrative. The ‘Romeo’ of Warm Bodies is Nicholas Hoult’s zombie, known only as R, and the ‘Juliet’ is Teresa Palmer’s Julie, daughter of the U.S. Army Colonel hell-bent on eradicating the living dead once and for all. Told from the zombie’s perspective, and notably depicting the undead as retaining some human characteristics in death (un-death?), Warm Bodies will thaw even the iciest of hearts.

 

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

The ending of the Universal Pictures 1931 classic, Frankenstein, is heart-breaking, as Frankenstein’s Monster (Boris Karloff) is apparently burned to death in the windmill he hides in, to escape the vicious mob chasing him. The Monster is woefully misunderstood, a lonely beast, desperate for a mate. In Bride of Frankenstein, Dr. Frankenstein and Dr. Pretorious heed no moral lesson from past mistakes as they create the Bride (Elsa Lanchester), a true icon in the genre’s oeuvre. Raise a glass to “the new world of gods and monsters!”

 

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)

Known as “the first Iranian vampire western”, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night focuses on a lonesome vampire (Sheila Vand), who spends her eternal life listening to music on vinyl, skateboarding around Bad City, and preying on men who disrespect women. One night, she meets a drugged-up, lost, Arash (Arash Marandi), and is charmed by his vulnerability and kindness. Their tentative attraction is fascinating to watch. With a soundtrack as killer as the girl herself, and shot in exquisite black and white, Ana Lily Amirpour has created a modern gem.

 

Thirst (2009)

South Korean producer/director Park Chan-wook knows a thing or two about forbidden lust – just watch Stoker or The Handmaiden. When Catholic priest Sang-hyun (Song Kang-ho) volunteers to participate in an experiment to find a vaccine for the deadly Emmanuel Virus, the unexpected side effects include a thirst for human blood, an extreme aversion to sunlight, and insatiable lust for his friend’s wife, Tea-ju (Kim Ok-bin). The two embark on an illicit and deadly affair, as the lines between right and wrong, monster and human, are blurred.

 

A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)

Chinese folklore (as imagined by A Chinese Ghost Story) dictates that the spirit of any person buried at the foot of a tree outside the haunted Lan Ro temple will be eternally bound to the servitude of the sinister Tree Devil, whose tongue wraps around its victims to suck out their life essence. Lip Siu-sin (Joey Wong) is one of those unfortunate souls. When Ling Choi-san (Leslie Cheung) meets her ghost, it’s love at first sight, and he vows to free her from her misery. Martial arts meets phantasm meets melancholy in this supernatural tale of love and loss.

 

Spring (2014)

Romantic body horror is not a combination of words one would expect, yet perfectly describe Spring. Evan (Lou Taylor-Pucci) suffers a devastating loss that prompts him to travel to Italy, where he meets the enigmatic Louise (Nadia Hilker), a student of genetics. A creature-feature unlike any other, Louise gradually reveals her ghastly secrets to Evan, as her transformative nature is exposed.

 

The Mummy (1932)

What’s more romantic than a love that spans centuries? When British archaeologists accidentally bring Egyptian priest Imhotep (Boris Karloff) back from the dead, the last thing they expect is to sacrifice their lives in order to bring the high priest’s lover, Anck Su Namun (Zita Johann) back from the dead too. A timeless fable warning us of the perils of reading ancient runes aloud, The Mummy is oft replicated (see The Mummy of 1999, starring swashbuckling Brendan Fraser, or The Mummy of 2017, starring fearless Tom Cruise), but never bettered.

 

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Let the Right One In (2008)

Based on the novel of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist (who also wrote the screenplay), Let the Right One In centres on the sweet relationship that blossoms between 12-year-old outcast Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) and his new mysterious neighbour Eli (Lina Leandersson). The two exchange toys and Morse code messages through their neighbouring wall, and learn over time that though they are different species (she is a vampire, he is a human), their bloodlust is not so different; he wants to kill, to seek revenge on his tormenters, whereas she needs to kill to survive. Tomas Alfredson directs the children’s disturbing bond with a tenderness and empathy that is rare.

(I urge you to seek out the original Swedish version, though the American remake, Let Me In, is intriguing in its own way.)

 

The Fly (1986)

David Cronenberg’s seminal transfiguration sci-fi horror about scientist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) and his botched attempt at teleportation doesn’t exactly scream “romantic”. The make-up effects that turn Brundle into half-man-half-fly are gruesome. However, the love between Brundle and girlfriend Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) is so pure, that even as Brundlefly evolves fully into an tyrannical insectoid, she cries for him.

 

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

There’s been a lot of vampires on this list, which perhaps speaks to how romanticised the immortal bloodsuckers are. The love in Francis Ford Coppola’s bat-shit crazy adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula is not for the titular evil, but between lawyer Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves, with one of the worst English accents put to celluloid) and his fiancée, Mina (Winona Ryder). When Count Dracula (Gary Oldman) takes a fancy to Mina for her astonishing resemblances to his sweetheart from the 15th Century, Elisabeta (also Ryder), he rabidly pursues her.

 

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Arguably the birth of the “zom-com” genre, Shaun of the Dead is the first in Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy, and stars Simon Pegg as the titular Shaun, a 30-something down-on-his-luck dude who realises the importance of showing his love only when the zombie apocalypse is upon him. Arming himself with a bat, he traverses across London with best friend Ed (Nick Frost) to save his mum, Barbara (Penelope Wilton) and win back his girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield).

 

The Shape of Water (2017)

Bookending this list with another Guillermo del Toro romance seemed only natural given his proclivity for playing in the backyard of horror iconography. The Amphibian Man (played by the incomparable Doug Jones) may look scary with his big black eyes and scaly skin, but isolated mute Eliza (Sally Hawkins) sees past that to the scared creature within. The ‘Big Bad’ comes in the form fo Micheal Shannon’s villainous government agent, Strickland, a very human face of unsympathetic “just following orders” iniquity. A cinematic masterpiece, taking inspiration from classic sweep-you-off-your-feet grand romance, wrapped up in a brooding fantasy thriller, complimented by an epic score, The Shape of Water is perfect for the spooky season. Perfect for any season, really.

JUMPSCARECUT: 5 Of The Worst Decisions Made In Horror Films

Written by Megan Williams

Warning: This article contains spoilers!

One of my favourite film genres is horror. I’m not sure why I love this genre, but I do. However, the majority of them seem to share the same thing: They’ll have at least one stupid character. These characters will usually make a decision that will affect the storyline, affect themselves or another character, or set the overall film into motion. Their decisions are either unrealistic, ridiculous or just plain stupid. Therefore, I’ve decided to put together a little list of the five worst decisions made in horror films. This is not a top five list; merely a collection of awful, awful choices.

Let’s begin…

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Jeepers Creepers (2001): Going Back to the Pipeline

In this 2001 monster movie, Darry and Trisha, a brother and a sister, have just passed a cathedral where they see a stranger throwing white, blood-stained sheets down a pipe. What would you do in this situation? You’d probably get as far away as possible, or report the incident to the police, right? Well, the siblings don’t do either of these things but, instead, decide to return to the scene of the crime on the suggestion (or guilt-tripping) of the brother. I understand that this decision sets the whole film into motion, but come on. What makes this even more ridiculous is that Trisha even tells Darry that we, the audience, will hate him for making this decision.

 

Saw 2 (2005): Addison and the Box Trap

I love the Saw franchise (it’s actually my favourite horror franchise), but even I can admit that the film is filled with stupid decisions and brainless characters. However, out of all of the dumb decisions I had to place this well-known one, from Saw 2, on my list because her slow death could’ve easily been avoided.

In the red-circled area, you can just make out the key to open the box and get the antidote out. If Addison had stopped and actually looked at the whole trap then she would’ve seen this. Alas, this is not the case and she ends up putting both hands into the box and getting herself stuck.

 

Drag Me to Hell (2009): Wrong Envelope!

In this Sam Raimi film, the main character (Christine Brown) is cursed; in three days, she will literally be dragged to Hell. The cursed item, a button, is placed in an envelope, which she drops in the car after it breaks. A pile of other papers and envelopes also drop on the car floor as well. In a situation like this, where you’d be dragged to Hell in less than twelve hours time, any normal person would double, even triple-check that the envelope you picked up is the right one. However, Christine does not do this. It’s a stupid and unrealistic decision, but it leads to a sucker punch of an ending, so I can’t completely complain.

 

Blair Witch Project (1999): Mike Throws the Map in the River

So, I have a confession to make: I hate this film. None of the characters make a single sensible decision throughout the entire movie, and it was difficult to pick just one bad decision. However, I have to give this one to Mike who, for no apparent reason, decides to get rid of the trio’s map that’ll help them get out of the forest they’re lost in. Why anyone would do this is beyond me and he doesn’t seem to have a good reason for doing it, either. Instead, he laughs at his actions. Not cool, Mike, not cool.

(The reveal and reactions start at the 1:30 mark)

Jaws (1973): Mayor Vaughn keeps Amity Beach open

I know what you might be thinking: Is Jaws a horror film? I would say yes: it has the tension of a horror film (mainly thanks to the fantastic score). As well as this, it has the scares and, at times, gore that would be included in a horror film (e.g.: Quint’s death scene). And the idea of a man-eating great white shark is a pretty scary idea!

The decision I’ve chosen from this film is Mayor Vaughn’s decision to keep Amity Beach open throughout the film, despite warnings about the shark eating people. The reason for it is because the film is set near Independence Day, and the Mayor didn’t want the celebrations dampened by something as insignificant as a man-eating shark. It could be argued that, because Vaughn hasn’t seen any evidence of the shark, he would have no reason to believe them. However, by this point in the film, he’s aware of people dying at the beach and, if a policeman and a shark expert were giving him warnings, then surely precautions would be put in place, just in case they were telling the truth?

Even main characters, Chief Brody and Matt Hooper, disrespect him and dislike him as he sticks to his decision; Hooper even says “I’m not going to waste my time arguing with a man who’s lining up to be a hot lunch!”

The Terror Of ‘Halloween’ Returns in ‘The Spirit of Haddonfield’ Fan Film

Written by Michael Dean

October marks the 40th Anniversary from one of the best horror films made, John Carpenter’s Halloween.  Blumhouse will be releasing the direct sequel to theaters on October 19th however, if fans cannot wait there is a chance they can whet their beak a bit earlier with a very well done fan film, The Spirit of Haddonfield.  The 19-minute film takes place in Michael’s hometown where a young girl, Hanna (played by Hannah Owens), walks to her house on the evening of Halloween and we learn why she is really not fond of this time of year.

The Spirit of Haddonfield is a passion project from writer and director Rene Rivas who pays tribute to John Carpenters 1978 slasher. Rivas’ passion pours through the camera from the very beginning providing fans with a familiar style.  There is a very steady pace in the beginning portion of the film as Rene delivers some very crisp snapshots of various homes and Halloween decorations until that familiar Halloween music comes in as our protagonist Hannah walks along the street.  The way the camera moves with Hannah while she walks among the fallen leaves on the sidewalk is very smooth and once in a while, the viewer is treated to some nice angled shots.  Rene really knows how to move the camera and the cinematography is so well done that the whole thing has the look of a major production.

The Shape is played by Vincente Disanti, who also played the killer Jason in the Friday the 13th short film, Never Hike Alone, which he directed and co-wrote.  Vincente’s portrayal of Michael Myers is done very well and I love how he captures the presence of Michael looming in the background, quietly stalking his victim, until he makes his move.  Some of his movements appear spot on as Vincente’s body language emulates those of the famous horror icon.  Hannah Owens also does a good job in expressing her fear in some intense moments as Michael Myers comes closer and closer to claiming the life of his victim.

A Halloween film would not be the same without that famous score, and fans will be happy to know that Rene Rivas includes the scores The Shape Stalks Laurie from Tyler Bates which was used in the Rob Zombie Halloween reboot as well as John Carpenters famous Halloween tune composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.  The music is perfectly placed in the film and makes such an impact that sometimes I would forget that I was actually watching a fan film.

Overall Rene Rivas does a great job in bringing The Shape back to the screen and those who are itching for some Michael Myers until the new Halloween film is released should find The Spirit of Haddonfield to be a satisfying fix.

Batman Day 2018: JUMPCUT’s Top 5 Cinematic Batmen

Today is Batman Day 2018, an annual event where fans come together to celebrate all things Batman. DC is marking the occasion this year by launching it’s highly anticipated streaming service, which will feature shows such is Titans, Doom Patrol, The Swamp Thing, and even Harley Quinn be getting her own show.

Here at JUMPCUT we’re marking Batman Day by ranking our top five favourite cinematic Batmen. As always with our rankings, the team have voted for their personal favourites, and we use a point based system to determine the final rankings – so the rankings below don’t necessarily reflect the teams personal rankings.

 

#5 LEGO Batman (Will Arnett)

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Will Arnett’s LEGO Batman made his first appearing in the 2014 hit The LEGO Movie and he proved such a hit with viewers that Warner Bros. got big ol’ dollar signs in their eyes and made plans for a solo film. Chris McKay, who directed The LEGO Movie, signed on to direct LEGO Batman’s solo outing and he said the comedy in the film was heavily influenced by films like Airplane! and The Naked Gun – and boy does it show. This animated caper pulled no punches with its barrage of easter eggs, cameos, and its general bat-shit craziness. Arnett is returning to voice this moody vigilante in the upcoming The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, which hits cinemas next year.

 

#4 Adam West

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The late, great Adam West was cast as Batman after a producer saw him in an advert for Nestlé. West played Bruce Wayne/Batman in the Batman TV series that ran from 1966 – 1968 and had 3 seasons and one feature film. Even after the shows cancellation, West returned to the role of Batman in voice-over roles for both TV and animated films – most recently Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders and Batman vs Two-Face, which are based around the campy 60’s version of Batman and his enemies/allies.

 

#3 Michael Keaton

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Michael Keaton donned the Dark Knight’s cape in Batman (’89) and again in Batman Returns (’92), but there were a lot of names in the ring before he secured the role. Actors such as Pierce Brosnan, Tom Selleck, Billy Murray, and Willem Dafoe were all considered for the role before Keaton. His casting caused some controversy amongst comic books fans and Warner Bros received over 50,000 letters of complaint (luckily for them there was no social media platforms back then!) . Complaints aside, Batman (’89) became the fastest film to earn $100m, a feat it managed it just 11 days.  Talks of Keaton returning the the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman have been circling social media later as fans say they would like to see him as an older version of the character in a live-adaptation Batman Beyond.

 

#2 Ben Affleck

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Whilst his future as the caped crusader may be in doubt, Ben Affleck comes graciously in second place amongst our rankings of Batmen. For his first outing in the cape, Affleck went toe-to-toe with Henry Cavill’s Man of Steel in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Affleck was Zack Snyder’s first choice for the role, but it quickly became apparent that, much like Keaton, Affleck’s casting wasn’t popular amongst comic book ‘fans’. Practically minutes after news broke that Affleck would be the latest live-action Batman, people took to social media with a number of petitions calling for Warner Bros. to remove him from the role and cast someone else. Batman v Superman received what Connor4Real would call ‘mixed reviews‘, but Affleck was largely praised for his performance despite the initial backlash. The less said about Justice League the better, but we here at JUMPCUT hope to see Affleck don the batcowl at least one more time in the near future. The whole team are rooting for Ben and wish him all the best as he recently checked back into rehab for his alcohol addiction. You’ve got this, Ben!

 

#1 Christian Bale

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Our number one likely comes as no surprise to you at this point. Bale suited up for Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), and The Dark Knight Rises (2012) in what is surely one of the highest praised comic book movie trilogies to date. Bale originally had to bulk up for the role in Batman Begins as he had just finished filming The Machinist when he was cast. He gained over 100lb in muscle in just a few months, then he and Nolan agreed he was too big and so he had to lose some of that newly gained muscle to get the look of his Batman just right. Bale’s portrayal of Batman is one of the most popular comic book performances to date and the trilogy as a whole has raked in just under $2.5b at the worldwide box office.

And that’s our cinematic Batmen ranked! We’d love to hear your rankings – feel free to tell us over on Twitter, or in the comments below!