naomi_jay: (bloop)
So I've been washing my face with honey this week. I know! I would never have thought of it if Stacia Kane hadn't tweeted a link to Crunchy Betty's website. Now I'm obsessed. Seriously! My skin is already so much better than it was on Monday. I haven't had to use any mosturizer or other skin products, and my skin is all soft and healthy-looking. I've just been doing it in the mornings so far, as you're not supposed to use it on dirty/made-up skin. I don't wear much make-up, but I prefer to take it off with a cleansing wipe, so. I'm considering picking up some baking soda, as you can use that with honey as make-up remover. I'm spending way too much time on the Crunchy Betty site now. I'm getting a real interest in the whole sustainable living/natural beauty stuff, and her articles are just right for me - simple, inexpensive, and involving a minimum of effort. So yeah! I absolutely recommend washing your face with honey. I've struggled for years to find the right combination of goopy products to keep my skin looking nice and healthy, and all I had to do was slather myself in honey.

In other news, like all the best people this week, I have made myself a squid!



His name is Squamous and he just escaped a killer whale, apparently. Good for him!

In other other news, The Human Centipede 2 has had it's UK ban rescinded. It'll be classified as an 18 after 2 minutes and 37 seconds of cuts. I'm really enjoying the review that claims it's ban would have saved UK viewers from "a shockingly boring film" and that "nobody outside of a world-class psychiatrist could explain what Human Centipede 2 is." Of course, I am reserving judgement until I've seen it (our friend James is over in the UK at the end of October and we've decided since we watched the original with him last year, we should save the sequel for him too. Because we care), but based on the reviews I've read, it seems like the problems of the original are still present here: namely, all Tom Six has is his central concept and he lacks the balls to actually deliver the grossness and ick factor he purports to be presenting. We shall see.
naomi_jay: (penis)
Yeah, I was excited. So what? Ragging on the original film has become my second favourite hobby (after collecting pictures of Cthulhu) and the thought of a whole new awful film to rag on fills me with gooey chocolate joy. So!

Read more... )
naomi_jay: (water woman)

My boss is trying to make me learn about grant management and administration. I have discovered we have an allowance for rat brains and goat serum. Also that I am exactly as bad at accounting as I always suspected I'd be.

The Daily Mash has it's own take on the banning of The Human Centipede 2. Frankly I'm still finding it all baffling and hilarious. I've come to terms with the fact that I will watch this film one way or the other. I owe it to Beloved 3-Hund.

I'm having my best month so far with my self-published stuff. Twenty books sold, thirteen of which were WILD, which makes me happy*. Particularly as I've done pretty much no promotion. I organised a book tour via Book Lovin' Bitches, but other than a few mentions on Twitter and Facebook, that's it. Possibly this means I'll only sell twenty books this month, but hopefully it will be an upwards trend. I've yet to try a promotion technique that genuinely seems to work, and I really do not want to be one of those authors who's constantly all up in your face on Twitter being like FOLLOW ME! BUY MY BOOK! FOLLOW ME! because it's so annoying. So I'm leaving WILD and my other stuff to their own devices at the moment.

(I say at the moment because I'm actually planning a big ebook giveaway for the very near future, so stay tuned!)

So, in slightly-related news, I had a couple of gaslamp-esque pieces published by Static Movement recently, and now the anthologies are out, the rights are reverted to me. One's a flash piece, the other's a short story, and I thought it might be cool to bundle them together with some other gaslamp-esque pieces and put them up for sale. So I'm working on another short story and I'll do a couple more flash pieces too and that will be that. It's going to be called STEAM-POWERED DEAD AND OTHER STORIES. It sounds kinda steampunk-ish, but it's not because I don't like Steampunk. I know! I want to. I love Steampuink fashion, but the fiction just doesn't do it for me. Gaslamp (or is it gaslight?) is nicer, but these stories aren't really strictly gaslamplight either, more light-hearted alternative history with the occasional clockwork bug.

Anyway, that's another "stay tuned" notice. I suppose I should continue filing my grant reports now. Yay.

*I think putting a disclaimer about the drug use and violence in the book has surely helped. Maybe I should make up some outraged Daily Mail reader comments** for it too? "I have never read this book or even heard of it, but I am shocked that it exists." That sort of thing.

**I spent SO LONG last night reading outraged DM comments on THCII. Did you know watching horror films leaves your soul open to demonic possession? TRUFAX!!!


 


naomi_jay: (penis)
So the one good thing I can say about A Serbian Film is that it has raised my tolerance level to all-time-high. Everything I now see or hear goes through my spanking new internal ASF filter, and usually falls short, because frankly nothing I see or hear will ever be as bad as ASF.I am now totally immune to anything you can throw at me. Ha! Seriously, try it. I am now shockproof. So when I stumbled across the synopsis for The Human Centipede II, I was pretty blasé about it. I think it sounds just as crappy and ill-conceived as the original, and I'd probably think that even without the ASF filter, because ... well, come on.

The plot this time is that some guy is sexually obsessed with the original film and decides to make his own centipede so he can ... enjoy it a lot. ([livejournal.com profile] dwg  and I are lolling on Twitter about this, because we've both been like "in the next film someone will be all 'Dr Heiter just wasn't ambitious enough!'" and we're right, apparently. I think Tom Six has been reading our Tweets). Anyway, like the first film, this seems pretty thin, and I'm sure that like the first film, it will be badly scripted, acted, directed, and produced, and it won't even have Beloved 3-Hund to help.

I have to admit, I've developed a love-hate relationship with THC. I still think it's utter shite, and after ASF it looks even lamer, but it has provided me with a lot of amusement since. So in a twisted sort of way, I was quite looking forward to seeing the sequel and mocking that. Except I can't (legally) watch it. Because it's been banned in the UK.
 
I'm marvelling at this. Apparently it's been banned because there's no way to edit it in a way that won't link sex with violence (and us Brits are funny about sexualised violence but we think it's okay to give a guy who beats his girlfriend to within an inch of her life a £20 fine as punishment. True story). Reading through the synopsis, we have masturbation with sandpaper and barb-wire-on-penis rape, which "poses a real, as opposed to a fanciful, risk, that harm is likely to be caused to potential viewers." This is in contrast to ASF, which features *takes a deep breath* necrophilia, paedophilia, bestiality, rape, murder by fellatio, murder by decapitation during sex, the rape of a newborn baby, skullfucking, sodomy, and a really horrible soundtrack.
 
ASF had a limited 2010 cinema release in the UK, with four minutes and eleven seconds edited out to remove "elements of sexual violence that tend to eroticise or endorse sexual violence." Wow. I cannot imagine which four minutes and eleven seconds they removed to achieve that, because ASF is basically sexualised violence from start to finish.
 
So anyway, I know Tom Six said that he wanted THCII to be far more graphic and disturbing than the original, which would be like "My Little Pony compared to part two." And I get the idea of wanting to outdo yourself (although in this case you really wouldn't have to do much), but really? Masturbating with sandpaper was the best you could come up with? Okay...
 
Anyway, I can't help but feel that this is more of what the original THC was - crude stupidity for the sake of crude stupidity masquerading as something genre-defying and challenging. (I still refuse to accept that ASF is a commentary on wartime Serbian politics. You were not thinking about politics during the baby-rape scene, Mr Director). And like I said before, making something shocking doesn't make it intelligent or meaningful. Of course, I also don't think for a second Tom Six is trying to make intelligent, meaningful films, because, you know, I've seen his films.
 
So yeah. I think THCII sounds every bit as banal and ludicrous and stupid as the original. In fact, I'm certain it is, because a film in which a guy masturbates with sandpaper over people defecating into each other's mouths cannot be anything else. And that's ... okay. I accept that there is a market for that kind of film and that some people will think it's bold, transgressive cinema and not a bunch of poop and penis jokes strung together with a paper-thin central concept. That's fine.
 
What I cannot get my head around is that the BBFC think this film is worse than A Serbian Film. I really don't get that. It's like Tom Six has won something, somehow, and he didn't deserve to win it ... or something. Or like ASF gets a pass because of a purported political message. Masturbating with sandpaper* is terrible and we shouldn't be allowed to see it, but fellating a woman to death is just peachy? 
 
I ... I don't get it. So I'll leave you with this:

 
 
*I know I keep going on about sandpaper masturbation, but the image won't get out of my head. And now it won't get out of yours either.
naomi_jay: (where is my mind?)

I apologise in advance for bringing this film to your attention. I'm not pro-censorship, but this film had me rethinking that stance. But I need to purge myself, so I'm going to talk about it.

So two days ago, whilst trawling for something to watch after watching the amazing Insidious, Kyle and I stumbled upon a trailer for A Serbian Film.  I won't recap the plot here, because you can very easily find that for yourself and I'd rather not think about it in detail, but it looked to be a typical torture porn flick, and whilst I'm not a torture porn fan, I was in the mood for more horror, so we ... um ... "acquired" a copy of it, but decided to save it to watch with our friend Dave. So last night we watched it.

I'm not squeamish. I'm not easily offended. I'm not unaware of how vicious human beings can be. I want you to keep that all in mind, dear reader, before I go any further. I am pretty hard to shock, I'm pretty anti-PC, and I'm very much "each to their own." With that in mind, this film sickened me. Genuinely. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since. None of us have, actually. It's more or less all we've talked about today. I don't think I've ever had such a visceral, physical reaction to anything I've seen before. I went on Twitter afterwards to be like, "wow, I really wish I hadn't watched that," which of course makes people curious, but really? I would not, could not recommend this film on any level.
 
It's ultra-violent, sexually depraved, psychologically disturbing, and shot in a glossy, highly-polished way which, along with the provocative title and unpleasant soundtrack, lead me to believe it's been deliberately aimed at the American market. It's like "you wanna see something really fucked up? We've got it!" I'm not against ultra-violent, fucked-up films per se (I love A Clockwork Orange), but I can't emphasis enough how deeply disturbing this film was.
 
So, because when something affects me in a profound way, be it positive or negative, I become I obsessed with it, I spent a lot of time today looking up reactions to and commentaries on A Serbian Film. The director is quoted as saying "This is a diary of our own molestation by the Serbian government... It's about the monolithic power of leaders who hypnotize you to do things you don't want to do," and basically claiming the whole thing is an allegory for the Serbian conflict and the atrocities committed during and since. Well, I'm not going to argue with the director's interpretation of his own film, but I will say it's very easy to retroactively ascribe meaning to art that wasn't there to begin with. Night of the Living Dead, for example, is generally held up as a commentary on the Vietnam war, and whilst it does work as a metaphor for the conflict, you'll be hard-pressed to find quotes from Romero to prove that was his intent back in 1968.
 
Given the nature of A Serbian Film, the boundary pushing, the taboo breaking, the inhumanity of the characters, and the glee that seems present in the slick presentation of it all, it's hard for me to see a political or social commentary here. There are plenty of films that comment on the Serbian situation that do so without resorting to paedophilia, necrophilia, or rape. I'm very dubious of any critique of a film that thinks ascribing a high concept to scenes of intense violence somehow gives those scenes merit. I also think that if a director has to come out and tell you what his film was about, he did a poor job of directing it, in the same way that if a writer has to explain a character's actions to you, they're not writing well enough.
 
My other issue with the idea of sexual violence as a metaphor for ... anything, really stems from my deep dislike of rape as a plot device. So often in comic books, films, and novels, rape is a shortcut to another plot point. The heroine develops magical powers, for example, as a result of sexual assault. I'm sure we're supposed to view this as empowering - the victim overcoming her trauma to become something greater - but so often, whether intentionally or not, the actual assault ends up being swept under the carpet and trivialised because, well, she got her super power, right?
 
In A Serbian Film, there are numerous graphic rape scenes, one or two of which made me very glad I hadn't eaten yet, and if the director and supporters of the film are to be believed, these are allegories for the horrors of war, analogies for how Serbia has been fucked over by the West. Well you know what? War is already horrible. You don't need to turn it into baby rape to get your point across. I don't need to see women being beheaded during sex to understand that people have died in horrible ways. If the director honestly had a political message, it's lost amidst the shocking imagery. And once again, I want to stress that making something shocking does not make it intelligent or meaningful.

I'm very much of the opinion that if something - however disquieting, upsetting, or disturbing - happens in real life, it's worth discussing in fiction. I'm also of the opinion that violence for the sake of violence is unnecessary and unhelpful in such discussions. If A Serbian Film has a message, it was lost on me because all I could think about afterwards was how unrelentingly horrific the film was. I did not finish watching and immediately pause to reflect on the nature of war, or how governments across the world mistreat their citizens, because my mind just didn't make the connection between snuff films and political corruption. Maybe I'm not sophisticated enough to be analysing a film like this?
 
Whatever. The cynical part of me can't help but think the director is clapping his hands in joy at the hype surrounding this film. I also couldn't help compare it to another "shock value" movie of recent years, my old favourite, The Human Centipede. Of course, I came away from THC feeling very different. That's a film that set out to be shocking and failed because the concept was so ludicrous it was impossible to take seriously. In contrast A Serbian Film is so violently shocking that any deeper meaning it might have is absolutely lost. It's an assault on the senses, whereas THC is just an assault on common sense. Everything about ASF, from the score to the dialogue, is designed to sicken the viewer.
 
Now, one review I read noted that this is exactly the intent, and that people will either shy away from and attack the content because they can't accept this sort of thing really happens (it's worth noting the director says every act portrayed in the film actually happened during war-era Serbia, something there's just no way to verify, so let's leave that alone), or accept it with a sick resignation. I haven't figured out yet which camp I fall into because I'm still processing the emotional affect the film had on me. And I know some people will say that it had such an affect on me proves it's a film that works, but I disagree. Like I said, this film didn't leave me thinking about war or Serbia (aside from the title and the fact that it's shot in Serbian, there's nothing about ASF that screams Eastern Block, and it could as easily have taken place in ... I don't know, New York, London ... anywhere. Depravity is pretty universal, after all. It would be interesting to know how the Serbian cinema-going public feel about the film, or if renaming it would take weight away from the director's comments on it as a socio-political allegory). It left me thinking about how disgusting and disturbing it was.
 
If the director's aim was to shake people up, he succeeded. If his aim was to make them rethink their values or examine history more closely, he failed. So the film failed. If that was his intention. I'm not convinced it was; I just think it makes a nice justification for such unremitting torture. But again, making something shocking does not make it intelligent or meaningful.
 
In the end, I regret watching the film, and I regret the time I've already dedicated to thinking about it. I'll never forget it, I'll never rewatch it, and I'll never be convinced it was anything more than a brutal attempt to shock viewers. If you're thinking of watching it out of curiosity, my advice is simply "don't." There's nothing of value here. If you're going to watch it anyway, I would be interested in hearing other people's opinions/interpretations. Some people are calling this film an unflinching masterpiece for daring to delve so deeply into such dark territory. I don't buy it, but all art is subjective. You'd have to work pretty hard to convince me that this is any more a masterpiece, or any more worthy of critical analysis, than Hostel, Saw, or The Human Centipede. 
 
There's a lot more I could (and want to) say about ASF but I've already dedicated more time and energy to it than I want to on a Sunday afternoon, so I'll leave it there for now.
naomi_jay: (cubewich)
To set the scene for why me watching Cube Zero is a big deal, you should understand that I hate Cube with a violent, unreasonable passion. I think it's a ridiculous, poorly-acted, poorly-directed, poorly-concieved piece of nonsense, and the attempts to give it some kind of symbology (oh, you named all your characters after prisons, did you? How deep) just make me angry. You will never convince me this is a good film, or even a so-bad-it's-good-film, and throwing around words like "psychological exploration" and "Kafka-esque" will not help your cause because at the end of the day, it's about a giant killer Rubix cube that eats people, and that's no better a film concept than sewing people together mouth-to-anus.

With that in mind, I had long ago resolved never to watch the sequels, Hypercube or Cube Zero, because my blood pressure probably couldn't take it, and I've been assured that the sequels are even worse than the original. However, yesterday I finally caved in to Kyle's insistent nagging and watched Cube Zero. I don't know why he wanted me to watch it so much as he thinks it's absolute pap. Presumably he finds my incredulous anger amusing.

So anyway. Yeah, I watched it.

Follow me if you want to live )
naomi_jay: (humans among us)



 
Or maybe he would. I guess we'll never know.

naomi_jay: (ZP - context)
Given Hollywood's eagerness to sequalise, prequelise and 3D-inate everything in sight right now,this article is probably not so much satire as explosive revelation. That said, I am kinda cool with a new Lara Croft film. I never played the games, but I have a fondness for the films (possibly fuelled by a fondness for Angelina Jolie?) and I really like Megan Fox in a non-ironic way. But I like Oliva Wilde more, and she's actually British, so would make a fine Lara.

So anyway, I was there last night, trying to tear myself away from Alice and Kev and work on The Necromancer's Apprentice like I was supposed to and getting not even one complete paragraph written all night when I decided it was time to re-evaluate the whole pen name/romance writing thing. I really enjoy reading paranormal romance, but I realised last night that writing it is a massive effort for me because I want to be focusing on the zombie fights or the spider-demons or whatever. I don't really want the main focus to be the romantic arc when it can be, you know, zombies.

Obviously there is romance in all my books, but it's never the main point, and I'm cool with that. I know my strengths as a writer (I think), and I don't want to waste time forcing myself into a box that I don't fit into. Particularly if it's going to take time away from writing stuff I'm passionate about. I started the whole [livejournal.com profile] tessa_morelock thing as an experiment, a bit of fun, and maybe a way to make some potential pocket money. But actually my time would be better spent working on the many, many, many urban fantasy ideas I have and having my fun and earning my money that way. So the experiment is over: once The Necromancer's Apprentice is finished, so is Tessa. I really do love Morrow and Evanthe, so I want to finish the story now I've started it, and selling it would be a bonus. But if I keep putting pressure on myself to achieve masses more things with no extra time to achieve them in (especially things that I'm not really good enough at to make it worth while), I'll probably end up eating my hands.
naomi_jay: (rapper with a baby)

So, I'm guest-blogging with Su Halfwerk, another Damnation Books author, right here today. I'm talking about when side characters (like, for example, PI Ethan Banning) take over. I may also be guest-blogging with David Bridger later on a related subject if I can get my email to behave, so look out for that too!

I've arranged a blog tour for NIGHT AND CHAOS. I don't know how well these things work, but it seems like fun, so more details on that as and when it happens. I also gently nudged my cover artist yesterday and he confimed he'd started work on the new cover, so hopefully there will be that soon too. I'm pretty excited. I went to school with this guy and he really is an amazing artist, so I have unreasonably high hopes, which I've decided are the only kind of hopes you may as well have.

Okay, so I know I mentioned doing a Daily Lovecraft yesterday, but I didn't think the internet would provide so instantly. Turns out Guillermo de Toro is directing an adaptation of At the Mountains of Madness. With Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise! What. The. Hell? Why would you cast Tom Cruise in anything nowadays? It's not the 80s! It's not Top Gun. Look, fine, he may once have been a credible actor, but I think those days are long past, and you're going to have to work pretty hard to convince me he can pull off using words like gibbous and ululating (I'm assuming the script will be full of gibbous, ululating things, or why bother adapting a Lovecraft novella at all?).

I am excited, because I love the story, but I'm also wary because the casting doesn't fill me with hope (I guess Ron Perlman is always a bonus but all I can see is Tom Cruise jumping on couches screaming "I worship Cthulhu! I worship Cthulhu! Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!" and it's really annoying). The good news is that [livejournal.com profile] chaostheory  is bring her copy of Reanimator round on Sunday and we're going to watch it and laugh uproariously.

*See what I did there?

ETA: I am guest blogging with David Bridger. It's all right here.
naomi_jay: (zombie future)
So, last night we went to see The Last Exorcism, which was about five minutes away from being an awesome exorcism film (and God knows, Hollywood is sorely lacking good exorcism films). Beware, the spoilers are great with this one.

Onward to disappointment! ) 
I've decided to retcon the entire viewing experience and pretend the film ended with Cotton and the crew running into the woods towards the sound of screams. It's much better that way.
naomi_jay: (cubewich)

You all knew it would happen. I am drawn to things like this like a moth to a baffling and repulsive flame. But first, some background.

Obviously when I first stumbled across this film, I was concerned. Not only by the content, which sounded wrong and bad, but by the percieved pointlessness and hopelessness of such a film. I decided I probably wouldn't watch it because it would probably be too gross and sick for my brain to handle, and I'd implode or the world would end, or something. I discussed my concerns on Twitter and was told I couldn't possibly have an opinion on the film NOT BECAUSE I HADN'T SEEN IT BUT BECAUSE IT WAS FICTIONAL. And guys, you can't have opinions on fiction. From that second on, my fate was sealed. I was destined to watch The Human Centipede. And last night, I did. So:

 

Fetch! )
naomi_jay: (pen and paper)
Okay! So Day One of the "OMFG WHAT AM I EVEN DOING ARRGGGHHH!!!" write-a-thon went well. BLOOD HUNT is now just shy of 30k, and I'm finally, finally writing the big angry mob scene, which is my second "doorway of no return" scene of the book. Once this chapter is over, things will get darker and naster, and Ayla will be running around Paris in a frenzy similar to the one I'm experiencing myself. Huzzahs!


 
29600 / 70000 words. 42% done!

I celebrated this first day of success (I believe in celebrating minor achievements) by watching Mirrors and Teeth last night. Mirrors was just ... I don't even know. Kiefer Sutherland threatens a nun at gunpoint. He spends the whole film either whispering or shouting at the top of his lungs, which I imagine must be very unsettling for the people around him. And the ending! All I could think of was the Mirror World in The Mighty Boosh, and Mr Susan. There are over seventeen mirrors in the Mirror World!

I did like that it reinforced every horror trope ever: stay out of mental homes and hotels, avoid religion, and don't have kids because the boys will be creepy and invite evil in your home whilst telling you said evil "just wants to play," and the girls will be creepy and probably possessed by demons. Also, never show anyone a photo of your family, because you will die*

Then Teeth... Oh man. I try not to look for meanings in films that are obviously just the product of a cracked-out mind, but I just cannot help myself. And the messages I took from Teeth are thus: All men are potential rapists who simply cannot control themselves in the presence of naked (or even clothes) women, and sex is bad and you shouldn't do it. I know it's supposed to be a black comedy (and admittedly the gynocologist screaming It's true! Vagina dentata! Vagina dentata! was pretty funny), but really? Every guy who meets the protagonist wants to rape her? Really? I ... am going to leave this one alone.

*Obviously this also applies in action films, cop films, and generally any film involving guns and bad guys.
naomi_jay: (rabbit hole)

Apparently some bright sparks are remaking The Howling.

And, oh God! It sounds terrible.

On the eve of his high school graduation, unremarkable Will Kidman finally bonds with the girl he has long yearned for, reclusive Eliana Wynter. But he also discovers a dark secret from his past… that he is about to become a werewolf. Now, in an effort to fight destiny and save their love as well as their lives, they must battle not only Will’s growing blood lust but an army of fearsome beasts bent on killing them… and then, us all.

Save their love? Fight destiny? Battle bloodlust? Isn't this just Twilight with no vampires, and possibly less sparkling? Doesn't it just sound like this is going to be aimed solely at Team Jacob members? Anybody else want to take bets that the lead actor will be adorably broody and have a silly fringe?

It certainly doesn't sound like a horror film, which is what the original The Howling was. Alright, granted, it wasn't the scariest film ever and it's certainly not the best werewolf film ever, but it wasn't a watered-down joke either (please, nobody mention Howling III: The Marsupials). Every now and then I get really worried that monsters are becoming too defanged and cuddly to be taken seriously as monsters anymore, and this synopsis is not helping me.

 


naomi_jay: (zombie girl)
Guys, I'm really worried about The Human Centipede.

See, I saw this article on the BBC news website today and was all "really? People want to kill him? No way!" So I went and read the synopsis for the film and now I can't stop thinking about it. Mostly I can't stop thinking about how that sounds like a pretty flimsy premise for a film. It's like, he does his crazy experiment, it fails, everyone dies, the end. I can't see that taking more than half an hour, frankly.

But generally I am just too freaked out by the concept. It's quite nauseatingly gross and I can't imagine any enjoyment, even visceral, being derived from watching it. A good number of horror films rely on people being willing to watch horrible things happen to horrible people, but this kind of pushes it in my opinion.

I had a bit of a rant on Twitter earlier about how, for me, horror stories work best when they're also morality tales (bear with me here; my favourite horror films are the Friday 13th series, so...). Way back when, fairy tales were dark and twisted and served to impart a moral, social lessons. The original version of Red Riding Hood was a warning against predatory men in French court, for example, which can still be seen in the more well-known versions today. Even the crudest of slashy horror flicks, at their heart, generally have a cultural message to impart, even if that message is "don't smoke pot or Jason will gut you with his machete." Same with urban legends, which I see as updated fairy tales - they fall apart on close inspection, but they impart the same moral messages: "Don't go parking with your boyfriend and have premartial sex because escaped maniacs with hooks for hands* will kill him." (God, if anyone wants to hear the full version of my horror/morality/urban legend/fairy tale theory, let me know and I'll arrange a seminar, okay?)

I hate torture porn films like Saw and Hostel because they skip the morality tale and plunge straight into violence-as-sex: they're titilating, gratuituous, and sadistic, and rarely even have decent character development to make up for the lack of plot. I'm quite happy to watch Michael Myers chase his sister around and her try to escape, because I believe that (consciously or not) the filmmakers are (or are trying to) explore psychological themes in their slasher flicks, like the effect of fear on the human mind, family ties, nature v nurture, etc (please, nobody mention Cube to me**). And yes, the classic slasher flicks get progressively more ludicrous and move further and further way from that initial exploration, but we all want to pretend Jason X never happened anyway, right?

In contrast, the Saw films and films like them strike me as a nihilistic kick in the teeth, an attempt to sicken the audience and somehow make the audience complicit in the torture simply by keeping them watching. It's a way of making the audience say not "what would I do in this situation?" but "I enjoy watching these situations."***

The Human Centipede appears to fall into that last category. It's not a commentary on anything, it's not even a good old-fashioned splatter-fest that gives you a few cheap thrills before you forget it entirely. It's just ... nasty stuff for the sake of nasty stuff, and personally I don't see what enjoyment could be derived from that kind of film. And yes, I was ranting just the other day about how I disliked the AVP films because there was too much human interest, and I just wanted to see Predators kill things. I reserve the right to shout but that's different! loudly and frequently. Even Predators was an exploration of human psychology and invasion paranoia, and ultimately, it was fun. The Human Centipede just sounds like something filmed entirely to revolt and provoke reaction for the sake of being revolting and provocative. Maybe there's merit in that; I don't know. All I know is I now can't help thinking of the toilet as some kind of mouth, and it's very disturbing.

*Seriously? He's killer locked up in a mental home but they let him keep his hook? I call foul.
**Cube is a stupid film and it should feel stupid. Don't even get me started. I cannot express in polite language what I think of that film, and my dad will be upset if I use impolite language.
***I'm not saying people who enjoy torture-porn are serial killer sadists in the making, but I do believe there is a deliberate attempt to put the audience in the mind of the killer with these films, and make them cheer the killer on. I've no idea what that's supposed to prove, except that underneath the veil of civilisation we are all just brutal animals, and you can explore that far more entertainingly and thoughtfully with a good werewolf film. *ahem* Or book.

naomi_jay: (ethan)
I haven't really been blogging much lately because I've been feeling rather crap. I suspect a virus is on its way. But now I have News And Opinions! So damn the earache, here comes the blog:

1. I've been offered a contract for DEMONISED! (or Demonized, as it will be Americanised in editing). Yay! Damnation Books are looking at a March 2011 release, but more details will follow. I'm very excited (or would be if my head didn't feel like it's full of cottonwool), and hope this will be the first of many wacky adventures for Ethan.

2. This whole "I write like..." meme thing is everywhere now, and I'm bored of it. Everyone I know apparently writes like Stephen King, which is probably patently untrue (no offence, anyone, but come on), and I think we should all aspire to write like ourselves anyway.

3. We went to see the trailer for The Expendables Predators last night. OMG. I don't even know. It was vastly superior to both AVP films, but not quite as good as Predator. I have this thing about Predator films where I don't really want the puny humans to have personalities, I just want them to be walking targets. So I get annoyed when people start showing each other pictures of their kids (not least because as soon as you do that YOU ARE GOING TO DIE, QUITE FRANKLY) and having deep philosophical conversations about why they became hitmen or whatever. Look, just run around blindly, realise you're all doomed and then die, okay? Predator does not care for your backstory. And please, please don't EVER get a human and a Predator to team up together! That's not what I watch Predator films for! I hated it in AVP, and I didn't appreciate it last night either.

But it was good! Laurence Fishburne put in a great performance as a crazy-ass wild man, and I loved the sword fight between the Yakuza guy and the Predator. I was disappointed not to notice any xenomorph skulls in the Predator death camp, but they may just have been there and I didn't notice because I was all distracted by Adrian Brody's Wolverine impression. (Oh seriously, Adrian Brody as an action hero? He looks like a Toby jug!). And I totally pegged the doctor at the start. You don't drop a weedy-looking doctor on a planet designed as a game preserve with a group of black ops-serial killer-mercenary-cartel enforcer types unless he's also a Very Bad Man.

Of course, none of that matters because I saw a trailer for The Expendables, and it's like Hollywood looked into my brain, saw everything I love and made it into a film. I cannot wait for August! I need this film in my life. Also saw a trailer for Splice, which I'm convinced will be hilarious good times, and also features Adrian Brody in a more appropriate role.

Anyway. My head hurts so I'm going to hunt down some painkillers.
naomi_jay: (mamas and papas)
So we went and saw Shutter Island last week. I really liked it on the whole - nice and gothic and pulpy and, suitable mind-bending in parts. That's not important though. What's important is that we saw a trailer forPredators! YAY! And it appears to ignore the whole AVP nonsense and be a straight sequel to the original Predator films. DOUBLE YAY! I am so excited about this film. Laurence Fishburne fighting Predators! The only way this film could be cooler was if the Predators had guns that shot shurikens and lightning and were on fire.
naomi_jay: (sparta)


With thanks to this guy
 
What, you didn't see Megashark v Giant Octopus? What's wrong with you people?

naomi_jay: (squid)
So it turns out Kyle had never seen the 1960s Adam West Batman film. I know! I rectified that in a hurry, you can be sure. We'd just finished watching The Dark Knight, so it seemed a suitable time for camping it up with Adam West and Burt Ward. And frankly, I defy anyone to watch Batman beat up a plastic shark with shark repellent bat spray and not feel better about life.


 
Anyway. Once we were done having hysterical fits of laughter, we fell into the more serious discussion of the next Nolan Batman film. I've heard all sorts of horrible rumours about the casting (all denied), like Eddie Murphy as the Riddler, or Megan Fox as Catwoman (not that I don't love Megan Fox - I really do - but she'd be no match for Bale's Batman at all). I even heard they want to bring the Joker back, which would really upset me, since I genuinely don't believe they'd find anyone who'd pull it off like Heath Ledger.

I think the good thing about Nolan's version of Batman is that, largely, he steers away from the comic book-trappings and presents them as straight thrillers. He tries to convince you this stuff really could happen, and for me it works. So I'd be wary of bringing in some of the larger-than-life villains like the Penguin (and really, who could compete with Batman Returns on that score? I adore that film - it's my favourite Batman adaptation). I'd love to see Nolan's vision of Poison Ivy, but it'd have to be pretty damn good to erase the memories of Uma Thurman from my mind. Maybe they could bring back the Scarecrow? Cillian Murphy's razor sharp cheekbones and crazy eyes add panache to any film, I'm sure.

naomi_jay: (wolves in snow)
I am all about the werewolves right now. Moreso than usual. For one thing, the remake of The Wolfman is out next month and I am excited. The original version of the film either created or cemented most of the werewolf folklore that's commonplace nowadays - silver, pentagrams, wolfsbane, etc. It was also a pivotal film in terms of estabilishing the werewolf as a victim of his condition, opposing the vampire's more predatory aspect. Lon Chaney Jnr made Lawrence Talbot a sympathetic, tortured soul, a slave to his curse, and this is the image that has largely dominated werewolves in the media since. Particularly when they're up against vampires - they're frequently placed lower on the supernatural ladder, with vampires as the all-powerful chessmasters.

Anyway, before I go off on a rant, to summarise: I can't wait to see The Wolfman.

Also, I'm still hacking away at Wild, my own tale of werewolves and their hilarious hi-jinks drug addictions. I cut out 2k during my lunch break *quivers* I'll be cutting out more tonight as I need to get rid of huge swathes of writing that have become irrelevant since Lizzie's family are no longer such a big part of the plot. My outake file is now well over 20k long, lol.

And in yet more werewolfy news, I got the edits for SILVER KISS yesterday. *quivers more* Actually, I'm looking forward to going through the book again since it's been a while since I wrote it, and I need to remind myself of the characters and world in preparation for writing the sequel, Bad Dogs. I've got loads of SILVER KISS news and excitement to share closer to the release date - I really wish I could spill it all now, but I'm sworn to secrecy... In fact, I may have to kill you all anyway, just as a precaution.

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Dirty Little Whirlwind

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