Tag Archives: The Terminator

My Terminator Sequel Movie Pitch

So Terminator: Dark Fate is a flop at the box office, with some claiming it could mean the end of the franchise. Not really surprising given how awful and disrespectful it is to long time fans of the franchise. Now, I’ve been pretty vocal on the film myself, the short version is that it’s not very good at all, the much longer version can be read right here.

Now it’s all well and good sitting at my laptop yakking on about how bad the latest Terminator picture is… but it’s not very constructive is it? So after a while, I began to think how I personally would’ve pitched an idea for a new Terminator film. So here it is, my pitch for a new film in the long running and failing franchise.

Before I do get into this, I just want to clear something up. Terminator: Dark Fate had six people involved in the writing… six people, I’m only one person. The story would’ve also gone through weeks, months even years of work before filming began and finished, I’ve just come up with this after a couple of hours of thinking and even throwing in some stuff on the fly. The writers of Dark Fate would’ve been highly paid for their effort, I’m doing this for free… and fun. Then finally, Dark Fate was written by professionals working in Hollywood for years, one of them the creator of the franchise, I’m an amateur writer with a blog. Yet despite all of my short comings, lack of experience, money and talent, I’m still confident I can come up with a better Terminator film idea than Dark Fate. Oh and finally, this is a pitch just to get a story idea across not a script, so won’t be fully detailed.

The Terminator Logo

Okay, so the first thing to make clear is that Terminator: Dark Fate was a direct sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day that ignored all the other films in the franchise. For my pitch, I’ll be doing the same… but I’m going a step further by also ignoring T2. Yup, my idea will be a direct sequel to the original 1984 picture, The Terminator. No friendly T-800, no super advanced T-1000, no blowing up Cyberdyne and no stopping judgement day.

So my film picks up with the end of the first film, 1984 where pregnant Sarah stops off at a gas station and pays $4 for a picture of herself (pretty good hustle kid). The ominous and effective “there’s a storm coming” and all that as Sarah and unborn John drive off toward the Mexican sunset as the storm clouds form. A narration begins with Sarah as she explains that Kyle was right, Skynet did become self-aware at 2:14 am and launched nukes at Russia which and kick-started a war on the 29th of August, 1997. The resulting nuclear war claimed three billion human lives and The War Against the Machines began.

The Terminator End

The film then flashes forward to 2010 in the war ravaged future. Not quite as bad as shown in the first film circa 2029, but still a very rundown future. Classic Terminator future battle stuff with (early model) endoskeletons, HKs, etc all our war shenanigans against humans. Cut to a slightly quieter part on the outskirts of the battlefield where a small family, father, mother and their 6 year old son are scavenging for supplies as they struggle to stay alive. As they look for anything they could use, a terminator kills the parents while the child is distracted looking through scrap. The terminator spots the boy and raises it’s M-27 Phased Plasma Pulse Rifle, taking aim at the 6 year old right between the eyes (a quick throwback to the Tech-Noir scene in the first film). Just as it looks like the kid is going to be terminated, a small group of rebels open fire on the machine and manage to destroy it. A 25 year old, battle scarred man steps forward and picks the youngster up (come with me of you want to live reference?) and takes him away from the horrors of the war to a secure settlement full of human life. Overseeing the settlement is an older Sarah Connor and that 25 year old, battle scarred man is her son John. After a little discussion, it’s agreed they they will look after and raise the 6 year old themselves. Sarah asks the newly orphaned and terrified child his name, he replies “Kyle Reese”, Sarah has a tear running down her face.

Flashback to 1995 with a younger Sarah (de-aged CGI Linda Hamilton, it’s all the rage right now) raising her 10 year old son (doesn’t have to be Edward Furlong cos T2 didn’t happen). She is a tough but fair mother as she trains him for his inevitable future as the leader of the resistance. They are hiding out in Mexico and Sarah has made a few ‘contacts’ over the years to gain weapons, etc to help train John. The youngster never resents his upbringing because it’s all he’s ever known. Firing guns at paper targets and learning how to use grenades is normal behaviour for this 10 year old. John asks about his father, who he was, where is he now. Sarah gets a little emotional (“in the few hours we had together, we loved a lifetime’s worth.”) but decides to tell John all about Kyle as she said she would in the recording she made at the end of the first film/start of this one. She tells John how Kyle was sent back in time from 2029 to 1984. Sarah quickly recaps the original film and tells John how his father sacrificed himself to save both Sarah and the unborn John against the killer T-800. We follow Sarah and John for a couple of years as the training continues and Sarah tries to warn people about judgement day but they think she is crazy. Sarah is shown as a very loving mother with the weight of human existence on her shoulders. It’s now late evening of the 28th of August, 1997, just a few hours before Skynet becomes self-aware. Sarah and John head toward an old and disused underground bunker (with a handful of people who believed Sarah) as the nukes begin to fly, judgement day begins. Taking from T2 (that didn’t happen in this film) to show the horror of a nuclear explosion as millions upon millions of people die.

T2 Sarah

Back in 2010 and the human settlement is attacked by a terminator, Sarah sacrifices herself (just as Kyle did for her) so John, Kyle and others can escape. Throw in a vehicle chase sequence cos you know, Terminator. They go on to set up an new human settlement. It’s now 2020 (looking more like the ravaged future shown in the first film) and Kyle is 16 years old (a very de-aged Michael Biehn), a highly trained and skilled soldier too. The settlement has grown over the years and become a haven for humans looking for shelter and to train and fight. The whole place is teeming with life, it’s reputation has grown over the years along with that of John… so much so that the settlement and John has been put on Skynet’s radar, who just observes, scrutinises and learns from the humans from afar… for now. Kyle begins to ask questions about Sarah, he kind of remembers someone from when he was found as a 6 year old but as she died before he grew up, his memory is hazy. John gives Kyle a picture of Sarah… that picture. He tells Kyle how Sarah was a brave and strong leader that helped him become the man he is now, but John leaves out little details, like Kyle going back in time and being his father.

The Terminator Sarah Photo

The settlement mange to get some intel on Skynet and the battle begins to turn in the humans favour, more settlements begin to be created, more soldiers trained all lead by John. There is still a good few years of fighting to go yet but there is a ray of hope that Skynet can be defeated. 2028 and Kyle is now a grown man (still a de-aged Michael Biehn now looking like he did in the first flick) and John’s right hand man, the resistance are winning the war, many, many human lives have been lost, but they are winning. Skynet has replaced it’s “easy to spot” rubber skinned T-600 units with the much more advanced T-800s with living tissue, one of the many things Skynet has learned observing the humans over the last few years. John Connor has been away and putting a plan together to attack Skynet itself, a bit like the Death Star attack in Star Wars only a lot better. The plan takes a while to perfect as the fighting continues. While trying to enjoy some very rare downtime, Kyle returns to one of the human settlements after being on the battlefield. You know Kyle’s nightmare scene in the first film where a terminator attacks and that photo of Sarah burns? Well this is that bit only with a bit more meat on the bones. More humans die, Kyle escapes and meets up with John. This is where John reveals he has perfected his plan to attack Skynet directly and launches his attack a few months later in 2029 after asking for volunteers. Taking a group of soldiers, Kyle included, they attack Skynet and smash the defence grid, Skynet has lost.

Skynet

Skynet has nothing left, but while John was coming up with his plan, Skynet was piecing together one of it’s own. It had secretly built a time machine, unbeknown to John and his intel. and planned on sending back an army of terminators to kill young Sarah Connor, in 1984, killing John before he’s even born. But with the humans gaining the upper hand in the war and Skynet losing so much, it decides to launch it’s plan early and without an army of units. Only one T-800 is available as most have been lost on the battlefield or currently fighting. As John and his soldiers attack, Skynet sends the T-800 back to 1984. John learns of Skynet’s plan and Kyle volunteers to go back to protect Sarah, wanting to meet the legend who sacrificed herself to save humanity.

The Terminator T-800 2.

Everything is bought full circle as the events of The Terminator begin…


 

Okay so that is my Terminator sequel movie pitch. It’s rough, needs a lot of work and to be honest, I threw it together after only a couple of hours. Of course this film will never be made, this was just done for a bit of fun… and to prove to myself that I could come up with a better film than Terminator: Dark Fate and it’s six writers. If I’m allowed to say so myself, I think I did a half decent job.

Just to finish, I’d like to apologise for the lack of any curtain hanging T-800s, not killing off the most important character in the franchise and rendering Kyle’s sacrifice completely redundant. I guess I just don’t know how to create and craft a film like highly paid Hollywood writers do.

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Terminator 2: Plot Hole Day

So there’s a new Terminator film released today, here in the UK anyway, my U.S. cousins will have to wait until the 1st of November to see it… and I personally couldn’t be less interested. For me, the franchise was terminated a long time ago. I’ll watch it eventually I’m sure, but I’m in no hurry to get to the cinema to see the return of Arnie, Linda and Edward (who I guess will be killed off in the opening). The prospect of James Cameron back as producer hardly gets me excited, nor does the fact the new flick is a direct sequel to Terminator 2 that ignores the other films. Even the high praise the film is currently getting does not excite me. But a new Terminator film does give me an excuse to write an article.

T2 Thumb

Regular readers may know I enjoy looking at and attempting to cover film plot holes. I’ve done Die Hard as well as the whole Back to the Future trilogy of films. So I thought I’d do the same with T2. Now before I get into this, I need to quickly cover the rules, yes I have rules…

  1. So when looking at plot holes, I can only use the rules established in the universe in which the film(s) exist. I can’t make up my own rules/excuses to explain anything away.
  2. Novels, comic book adaptions and original shooting scripts are also out. Only what is seen on screen can be used for explanations.
  3. Deleted scenes can be a wildcard depending on why they were deleted. If a scene was removed against the director’s wishes due to producer interference (as an example), then I can consider using them. If a scene was removed for something as mundane as ‘time constraints’ then I can’t use them because if a director thinks a scene which explains plot points/character motivation is less important than time, why should I care about it? If a scene was in the original script, but not filmed… see rule 2 above.
  4. Fan theories are definitely a huge no. I’m a fan, I like to come up with my own interpretations of films as much as the next person… but I’m not involved in the making of the film.

Basically, if it’s not in the film(s), it can’t be used.

So those are the rules… and to be honest, they’ve put me in a rather tricky spot. See, when I do these plot hole articles and using my rules. The whole point is to cover the plot holes and explain why they are not plot holes… which I have done in the past. But what happens when the writing of a film is so bad, so full of errors that go against established rules that I just can’t cover them? Well, you get Terminator 2: Plot Hole Day

The TDE Problem

Nothing dead can use the Time Displacement Equipment (TDE). This is a rule explained and shown to be true in the first film, this is why both the T-800 and Kyle are sent back naked and why no future weapons can be sent either. The T-1000 in Terminator 2 is nothing but dead material, it can not use the TDE, it can not be sent to the past. None of the events of Terminator 2 can happen given established in-universe rules.

T2 T-1000 Arrival

Now some people claim that the T-1000 can mimic human flesh and that is why it can use the TDE, except it can’t. We know it can’t mimic human flesh as we are told it can’t mimic anything complex and human flesh is pretty damn complex. Plus when you see the T-1000 get shot in the film, there is no human tissue there (like the T-800) it’s pure liquid metal. So within the opening minutes of this film already contradicts the rules established in the first film. And before people jump in with the comments of a flesh sack, etc… re-read the rules.

Another Arnie?

Why is there another Arnie cyborg in the film? Yes they are mass produced in a factory (as the teaser trailer shows)… but why would Skynet even build more T-800 (the robot) Model 101 (the skin) terminators when the reason provided in the first film for the creation of the new T-800 is due to the fact the previous machine, the T-600 had rubber skin and was, as Kyle explained “easy to spot”? Surely if Skynet is aware its T-600 units are “easy to spot” leading to Skynet creating the more advanced T-800 with living tissue, bad breath, everything. It would not make multiples of that same unit that look identical as it would be “easy to spot”, in fact easier to spot than the T-600 the T-800 was built to replace, making the existence of the T-800 redundant.

Especially when you take into account the machines are used as infiltration units. Kyle’s nightmare/flashback/forward (it’s complex) in the first film shows what these things do, they get into the human bases by passing themselves off as humans and murder everyone in sight. They infiltrate. So their effectiveness is pretty pointless if they all look like Arnie. Even if Skynet sent multiple Arnie T-800s to various parts of the battlefield, even if there was only a 0.01% chance that these Arine looking machines would be spotted, why would Skynet take the chance when it could create different looking T-800s instead?

Put Some Clothes On

Why is the T-1000 naked when being sent through the TDE (which it can’t do anyway)? We know why the T-800 and Kyle had to be sent through naked as nothing dead will go, so they can’t wear clothing. But the T-1000 can mimic clothing as the film shows us. Skynet is aware clothing is important as the first thing the T-800 does in the first film when it gets sent back is acquire clothing, that is also what it does in Terminator 2. So clearly clothing is something programmed into the machines and obviously important. So why is the T-1000 naked?

‘Default appearance’ is often the excuse, but let’s look at my next point…

He’s In The Nip!

The T-1000 is supposed to be an infiltration unit. Designed and programmed to blend in with humans. It can only mimic what it touches. So if being naked is it’s default appearance… would that not stand out when it was trying to infiltrate? Picture the scene, war ravaged world where humans fight for survival against its AI oppressors. People are dying all around and through the smoke walks a completely naked male figure that is designed to blend in. Does not work does it? Why would a naked form even be part of the T-1000s programming anyway when it’s designed and programmed to kill, in case it ever had to infiltrate a porn film?

Skynet has detailed files about humans, so much so that it can recreate nipples… but not clothing? But as already covered, Skynet is obviously aware of clothing and it’s importance because the T-800 is programmed to find some as a priority.

Skynet Lost

Lets just go back to the first film and a spot of exposition for a second. As Kyle said: “Its defence grid was smashed, Skynet had already lost” and “Its just him (T-800) and me, nothing else comes through.”. Nuff said. So why is there a sequel and why are more terminators being sent if we have already been told this can not happen?

The Terminator Kyle

Perhaps the terminators from T2 were sent back before the one in the first film… maybe? But this makes no sense when you think about it… something I’m covering in a couple more points.

Killer Cyborg That Doesn’t Kill?

Why doesn’t the T-800 kill any of the bikers in the opening bar scene? We know it’s still programmed to kill as the scene with the two guys that come to help John shows later in the film…
John: “You we’re gonna kill that guy.”
T-800: “Of course, I’m a terminator.”
See, it’s programmed to kill, but only roughs up the people in the bar? Now remember that bar scene? The T-800 is attacked, it’s very mission is being hindered, it gets stabbed! That very same make and model terminator killed for much less in the first film, remember the clerk in the gun store? He was killed just for telling the terminator it couldn’t load the gun in the shop. But in Terminator 2, the same make and model kills no one despite being stabbed with a knife, attacked with a pool cue and more?

T2 T-800 Arival

So within Terminator 2 itself, if that same machine was willing to kill the guy coming the help John later in the film, why not kill anyone in the bar that were getting into the way of it’s mission? The terminator would have left a trail that could’ve been traced if it killed people in the bar… maybe. But wouldn’t roughing people up in front of dozens of witnesses, stealing clothing, a motorbike and even guns also leave a traceable trail?

Skynet Is Stupid In T2

Skynet is supposed to be this amazing, militaristic thinking piece of highly advanced AI. So why would Skynet send the more advanced T-1000 through over the lesser (by then) T-800? Why not just send multiple T-1000s. And seeing as Skynet can send multiple units through as proven in the sequel(s), which contradicts info given in the first film, why send them to different times in the past instead of just sending ALL of it’s machines to 1984 to kill the then unaware Sarah? Skynet’s very existence is at stake here, so why not throw everything it had at the problem? Just imagine Kyle having to fight off numerous T-800s, T-1000s… hell even the lesser T-600s (can’t cos they have rubber skin so cant use the TDE… like the T-1000?), throw in some HKs too, it could send an army. Kyle and Sarah wouldn’t stand a chance and Skynet would win. Terminator 2 makes no sense!

T-1000 The Cop

Why doesn’t the T-1000 fully mimic the cop in the opening? We know it can fully mimic people as the film itself shows us. But instead of fully mimicking the cop, it just mimics the uniform (more on this issue next). Wouldn’t a person walking around in a police uniform that is numbered while also driving a police car that is also numbered not be a little bit suspicious? What if a fellow cop that knew the original cop recognised the uniform/cop car number and realised the person using them was not the cop they knew?
So instead of the T-1000 just mimicking the cop and passing itself off as him, we now have a missing cop and a strange man wearing his uniform and using his car. The T-1000 is supposed to be an infiltration unit remember.

T2 T-1000 Cop

It does the same thing with the motorcycle cop later in the film too.

Equal Size My Arse!

The T-1000 can only mimic things of equal size is the rule established in the film. The cop uniform is not equal size, so it should’ve mimicked the cop fully and not just the uniform. John’s foster mother is also not equal size, nor is the guard at the hospital as you see the size difference as the T-1000 morphs between them. Speaking of the hospital, it mimics the hospital floor and you can bet your arse that is most definitely not equal size. So it can mimic things not of equal size then despite the film telling us it can’t?

Swear Why?

John asks the T-800 to swear not to kill, but why? The machine has no concept of human rules and I can prove it.

John: “You can’t just go around killing anyone.”
T-800: “Why?”
John: “You just can’t.”
T-800: “Why?”
John: “You just can’t OK?”

See, the T-800 does not understand human rules to the point it doesn’t understand why it can’t kill… so why would asking it swear not to kill mean anything to the machine? John never explains what swearing means or its importance/meaning to humans, it’s learning nothing. All the T-800 does is parrot John by holding up his hand and swearing not to kill, it’s programming remains the same and it is still programmed to kill remember. So given what we have learned through the exposition of the film, there is no reason for the T-800 not to kill from that point onward or even before it (bar scene).

T2 Swear

But just to add to the pointlessness of the ‘swearing’ scene. Just minutes earlier we, the audience and John learn that the T-800 has to follow his orders, so why didn’t John just order the machine not to kill?

John: “I order you not to kill anyone.”
T-800: “Affirmative.”

See, I just wrote T2 better than James Cameron did.

More Orders

On the subject of John’s orders having to be followed by the T-800. Let’s skip to the end of the film and when the T-800 is lowered into the molten steel. What is it that John says again? Ahhhhh yes…

John: “I order you not to go, I order you not to go.”

Well there you have it, the T-800 can’t ‘die’ as John just ordered it not to go. Not once, but twice But wait, what does the T-800 reply with?

T-800: “I’m sorry John, I can’t do that.”

Wait, what? So now it doesn’t have to follow John’s orders, since when can it do that? If it can choose to not follow his orders then why did it break mission parameters by taking John into direct danger earlier in the film risking the mission just because John orders it to? What danger am I taking about? Next point…

The Stupid Plan

Why would the more mature and future resistance leader, John who knows the entire existence of the human race is on his shoulders allow the T-800 to follow his younger, immature self’s orders? What if that immature version of himself orders the T-800 to rescue his mother, who we are told is not a mission priority and therefore breaking mission parameters and take John into direct danger putting huge risk onto the mission? Wouldn’t it make more sense for the T-800 to be programmed to follow the more knowledgeable and prepared Sarah’s orders?

Forgetful T-1000

Another thing about the ending that makes no sense. The T-1000 stabs Sarah in her shoulder and asks her (quite eloquently too) to “call to John”. Why would it do this when we and it knows it can mimic people? Even more so we are told in the film that the T-1000 typically kills whoever it mimics. So why didn’t the T-1000 just kill and mimic Sarah, get close to John and then kill him? Mission complete.

T2 Two Sarahs

“It glitches, that’s why it can’t mimic Sarah” is the usual response. Yes the T-1000 does glitch… in the extended cut, but not so much the theatrical cut and the one most familiar to everyone. But even if we go the glitch route excuse. The T-1000 still manages to mimic Sarah as the film proves later anyway. So the whole “call to John” bit is inane. Just kill and mimic Sarah, you know that thing the T-1000 had been doing since it’s first scene in the film.

Good Scene, Bad Writing

About that extended cut. There is a scene included where the T-800 has it’s chip removed so it can learn. From a filming perspective, its a great scene that features a mirror image with two T-800s, two Sarahs and two Johns. The amazing thing about this scene is the fact no mirror was used nor were any special effects either. Its a great shot done so using a very simple magic trick. Brilliantly filmed… but from a plot and character perspective is makes no sense.

T2 Chip Removal

So the T-800 allows its chip to be removed and therefore is taken offline, meaning it’s no longer capable of doing it’s mission. Why would the T-800 let the happen? What if the T-1000 turned up while it’s chip was removed? Plus it’s chip is removed so a physical switch can be flicked to allow it to learn. So Skynet built a machine with a switch that has to be manipulated physically for it to learn, meaning if Skynet ever sent one of these units out not to learn but then changed it mind later and wanted it to learn. It would have to recall that unit to manually remove the chip and change the switch? But maybe there are two ways to change the switch, one manual and one remotely. Maybe there is, but if the switch can be changed remotely then why would Skynet even bother with a manual switch to begin with? Then if this particular T-800 switch is not set to learn (hence the need to remove the chip)… then how had it been learning anything up to this point in the film. Like swearing not to kill for example? It should still be killing!

Mission Failed

The Terminator actually fails it’s mission in the end. Remember it is programmed to protect John. By the end if the film, the T-1000 is destroyed but John is still in danger and in need of protection. He and Sarah are still being hunted by the police for example.

Edit: Or the opening of Dark Fate
So effectively, the T-800 abandons it’s mission at the end as John was still in danger. Mission failed.


 

Well there you have it. As much as I tried, I just can’t explain these plot holes in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. This is not meant as a dig at the film either, I enjoy the flick as much as anyone… but it’s badly written and just seems to ignore established rules not only with the first film but also within itself.

Well, however Terminator: Dark Fate turns out. I hope it’s better written and respects the original film more than T2 did.

Dick Miller, One Of Hollywood’s Greatest Character Actors.

I don’t have time to do a full and detailed look at the life of the recently deceased Dick Miller as I’m fully immersed in writing my novel right now. But I just had to do this, a quick remembrance from me to one of my all time favourite character actors who recently died aged 90. So I apologise in advance for the lack of material in this one, Mr Miller deserves so much better.

Dick Miller Young.png

Many people may not recognise the name, but the face is a different matter. Everyone has seen a film with Dick Miller in it… everyone. He started his career back in the 1950s with low budget horror flicks like It Conquered the World, Not of This Earth and A Bucket of Blood directed by schlock master Roger Corman. Dick also appeared in the original film version of The Little Shop of Horrors as well as turning up in The Dirty Dozen in the 60s. His career has spanned from the 1950s right up to 2018. He never really made a leading man but would always pop up in smaller roles in some of my most favourite moves ever, The Terminator, Gremlins – he even turned up in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. He would often play a character called Walter Paisley or same variation of the name, which started back in the Roger Corman days.

dickmillerterminator

Outside of his move career, Dick also had a good few strong T.V. appearances. Shows like The Flash (original version not the new one), Tales From The Crypt, Eerie – Indiana, Fame and Star Trek: The Next Generation to name just a few. As well as doing voice acting in animated movies, T.V. shows and even video games. He was a very busy man.

Dick Miller was one of the most recognisable faces in movies and T.V. even if the name didn’t ring a bell. He will be sadly missed. Dick passed away on 30th of January, 2019 aged 90.

It’s funny, looking at a picture that’s 50 years old and seeing that it hasn’t lost any of the… what’s the word? Magic, they had magic. They were cheap. They were inexpensive to make, but they’ve held up for 50 years.

– Dick Miller

I Have A Strange Feeling Of Déjà Vu

Have you ever watched a film and thought you’d seen it before even though it’s your first time seeing it?

Yeah its a strange question for sure, but I have just had that feeling. I only recently watched Ready Player One and all through the film, something was niggling away at the back of my head. The overload of 80s nostalgia and video game references were not enough to distract me from the fact the overall plot was similar to another film. A film where five kids enter a world of wonder and amusement, a world that co-exists along with the real world…”a world of pure imagination” one could say.

Ready Player One.jpg

So quick synopsis for Ready Player One. A poor and underprivileged kid enters a contest to out-right win an entire multi-million dollar company. Along the way he meets four other kids all wanting the same prize. The five meet in a world called The Oasis, a world like no other crafted by an eccentric individual who is a genius video game programmer that creates tests for those who enter. Solve/survive the tests and inherit the whole company.

Does any of this sound familiar? What if instead of a computer generated world it was a chocolate factory and instead the eccentric individual being a computer genius he was a confectionery one? Well you’d have Charlie/Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Now I’m not saying the are the exact same film…but they are strikingly similar in various ways. Both films feature a poverty stricken main character, both are about escapism, both have an isolated and eccentric genius behind the company, both films revolve around testing the protagonist for them to claim their prize and so on.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

You know what, I have more too…

The Lego Movie

This film was much more fun that I thought it would be. A kids film adults can enjoy just as much if not more so.

The LEGO Movie

The plot is about a loner main character who meets a mysterious girl dressed in black. This girl introduces our hero to all sorts of surprising secrets including a whole other world our hero is not fully aware of. He gets questioned by the authorities, but the hero is rescued by the girl in black and he is then introduced to a male character who yaks on about some kind of a prophecy. As it turns out, the hero character is destined to be “The One” from the prophecy. The obligatory training begins to ready the chosen one for his unavoidable destiny. During an action scene where it turns out the hero has been tracked, the authorities turn up and take hostages. The hero comes up with a plan to save the hostages that are held in a skyscraper. The hostages are being tortured via some kind of brain thing to extract information from them. Near the end, the hero ‘dies’ only he’s not really dead and comes back stronger than before and takes on the bad guys to win fulling the prophecy after which the hero and girl in black fall in love.

The MAtrix

Cracking flick, but remove the kid friendly angle and aim it toward a more adult audience and well, you have The Matrix. Yes, The Lego Movie is a more kid friendly take on The Matrix.

The Terminator

One of the finest Sci-Fi films ever made. The right blend of action, thriller and even horror…yes horror.

The Terminator

This film tells the tale of an unaware female being stalked by a killer who is not all he appears to be. But before we get to that, the killer steals someone’s clothing before stealing a car and heading into town to find his victim. The killer stops off at a store to stock up on weapons. The female lead is helped along the way by a male character who is mainly there for exposition while wearing a trench-coat. Our female lead has a friend who suggests the lead needs to live a little and let her hair down and strangely enough this friend is killed off pretty quickly. The trench-coat wearing male tries telling the cops all about what is going on but they don’t believe his story.  Eventually, the killer discovers where the girl is and the stalking continues. It all builds to a showdown in a building where the trench-coat wearing dude seems to kill the killer…only for the killer to not really be dead.

Halloween

So lets just ignore the whole time traveling details of The Terminator for a second and you have a slasher horror film here, one we have seen before. Its Halloween isn’t it? The Terminator is a Sci-Fi spin on John Carpenter’s Halloween.

Interstellar

One of Christopher Nolan’s better pictures and shows what he can really do when he just copies another film.

Interstellar

So this one takes place in the future (from when the film was made) and is about a discovery of a big black thing in space. A board of suits get together and decide the big black thing needs investigating. So a team of astronauts are sent up into space to research and learn what this big black thing really is. The main character starts to feel homesick and tends to stay up late missing his family. The ship they are on has a super advanced A.I computer. Our main guy decides to get close to the big black thing which opens some kind of portal our hero enters. On the other side, he finds himself in a strange room looking at himself at another point in time. He eventually finds a way out that leads him to floating around in space.

2001 A Space Odyssey

So what we have here is a take on another Sci-Fi classic. A more lavish and emotional story I admit but still pretty much the same film as 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park

This sequel to the smash hit original owes quite a lot to a certain other monster movie.

Jurassic PArk 2

A team of experts head out to a mysterious island in the middle of nowhere to document the life found there. This island is inhabited by numerous vicious creatures and the experts end up trapped on said island where they soon find themselves having to fight for their lives. Numerous chases and action sequences ensue but eventually they capture one of the bigger animals found on the island which is then transported via boat to a major American city. The enraged creature manages to escape and run amok around the city causing great fear and destruction along the way.

King Kong

The only thing that is missing here is the weird love story between a giant monster and female lead, cos what you have here is King Kong (any version).

Jurassic Park

Oh I’m not done with those damn dinosaurs yet, even the original film was not that original.

Jurassic Park

So here we have the basic concept of taking a theme park to a whole new level. A hugely successful company open an all new theme park with the major attraction allowing people to experience a time long lost in history they never otherwise would get the chance to visit and live through. Only things do not go according to plan as the main attractions turn on the visitors and the very people who created them. People die as the very things created to entertain turn to murder and the humans are left fighting to survive and escape the park that has gone haywire.

Westworld

So this one kind of gets a free pass seeing as the two movies were both written by the same person, Michael Crichton. But Jurassic Park is an updated version of Westworld.

Independence Day

Yeah I know its cheesy but I really enjoy this flick…the sequel, not so much.

Independence Day

Aliens come from somewhere (maybe Mars?) and strategically place themselves all over the planet. Have they come in peace? Well no as they then destroy famous monuments and buildings along with thousands upon thousands of lives. We Earthlings put up a bit of a fight but it soon becomes clear that these aliens are far to advanced and powerful, the planet is doomed…that is until the aliens become infected with a (computer) virus. They begin to die out and Earth is saved.

The War of the Worlds

I know invading aliens is hardly an original idea but how they were taken out with a virus? H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds was clearly the inspiration behind this one.


 

Have you ever watched a film and thought you’ve seen it before even though it’s your first time seeing it?

Yeah its a strange question for sure, but I have just had that feeling. I only recently watched Ready Player One and all through the film, something was niggling away at the back of my head. The overload of 80s nostalgia and video game references were not enough to distract me from the fact the overall plot was similar to another film. A film where five kids enter a world of wonder and amusement, a world that co-exists along with the real world…”a world of pure imagination” one could say.

Ready Player One.jpg

So quick synopsis for Ready Player One. A poor and underprivileged kid enters a contest to out-right win an entire multi-million dollar company. Along the way he meets four other kids all wanting the same prize. The five meet in a world called The Oasis, a world like no other crafted by an eccentric individual who is a genius video game programmer that creates tests for those who enter. Solve/survive the tests and inherit the whole company.

Does any of this sound familiar? What if instead of a computer generated world it was a chocolate factory and instead the eccentric individual being a computer genius he was a confectionery one? Well you’d have Charlie/Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Now I’m not saying the are the exact same film…but they are strikingly similar in various ways. Both films feature a poverty stricken main character, both are about escapism, both have an isolated and eccentric genius behind the company, both films revolve around testing the protagonist for them to claim their prize and so on.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

You know what, I have more too…

The Lego Movie

This film was much more fun that I thought it would be. A kids film adults can enjoy just as much if not more so.

The LEGO Movie

The plot is about a loner main character who meets a mysterious girl dressed in black. This girl introduces our hero to all sorts of surprising secrets including a whole other world our hero is not fully aware of. He gets questioned by the authorities, but the hero is rescued by the girl in black and he is then introduced to a male character who yaks on about some kind of a prophecy. As it turns out, the hero character is destined to be “The One” from the prophecy. The obligatory training begins to ready the chosen one for his unavoidable destiny. During an action scene where it turns out the hero has been tracked, the authorities turn up and take hostages. The hero comes up with a plan to save the hostages that are held in a skyscraper. The hostages are being tortured via some kind of brain thing to extract information from them. Near the end, the hero ‘dies’ only he’s not really dead and comes back stronger than before and takes on the bad guys to win fulling the prophecy after which the hero and girl in black fall in love.

The MAtrix

Cracking flick, but remove the kid friendly angle and aim it toward a more adult audience and well, you have The Matrix. Yes, The Lego Movie is a more kid friendly take on The Matrix.

The Terminator

One of the finest Sci-Fi films ever made. The right blend of action, thriller and even horror…yes horror.

The Terminator

This film tells the tale of an unaware female being stalked by a killer who is not all he appears to be. But before we get to that, the killer steals someone’s clothing before stealing a car and heading into town to find his victim. The killer stops off at a store to stock up on weapons. The female lead is helped along the way by a male character who is mainly there for exposition while wearing a trench-coat. Our female lead has a friend who suggests the lead needs to live a little and let her hair down and strangely enough this friend is killed off pretty quickly. The trench-coat wearing male tries telling the cops all about what is going on but they don’t believe his story.  Eventually, the killer discovers where the girl is and the stalking continues. It all builds to a showdown in a building where the trench-coat wearing dude seems to kill the killer…only for the killer to not really be dead.

Halloween

So lets just ignore the whole time traveling details of The Terminator for a second and you have a slasher horror film here, one we have seen before. Its Halloween isn’t it? The Terminator is a Sci-Fi spin on John Carpenter’s Halloween.

Interstellar

One of Christopher Nolan’s better pictures and shows what he can really do when he just copies another film.

Interstellar

So this one takes place in the future (from when the film was made) and is about a discovery of a big black thing in space. A board of suits get together and decide the big black thing needs investigating. So a team of astronauts are sent up into space to research and learn what this big black thing really is. The main character starts to feel homesick and tends to stay up late missing his family. The ship they are on has a super advanced A.I computer. Our main guy decides to get close to the big black thing which opens some kind of portal our hero enters. On the other side, he finds himself in a strange room looking at himself at another point in time. He eventually finds a way out that leads him to floating around in space.

2001 A Space Odyssey

So what we have here is a take on another Sci-Fi classic. A more lavish and emotional story I admit but still pretty much the same film as 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park

This sequel to the smash hit original owes quite a lot to a certain other monster movie.

Jurassic PArk 2

A team of experts head out to a mysterious island in the middle of nowhere to document the life found there. This island is inhabited by numerous vicious creatures and the experts end up trapped on said island where they soon find themselves having to fight for their lives. Numerous chases and action sequences ensue but eventually they capture one of the bigger animals found on the island which is then transported via boat to a major American city. The enraged creature manages to escape and run amok around the city causing great fear and destruction along the way.

King Kong

The only thing that is missing here is the weird love story between a giant monster and female lead, cos what you have here is King Kong (any version).

Jurassic Park

Oh I’m not done with those damn dinosaurs yet, even the original film was not that original.

Jurassic Park

So here we have the basic concept of taking a theme park to a whole new level. A hugely successful company open an all new theme park with the major attraction allowing people to experience a time long lost in history they never otherwise would get the chance to visit and live through. Only things do not go according to plan as the main attractions turn on the visitors and the very people who created them. People die as the very things created to entertain turn to murder and the humans are left fighting to survive and escape the park that has gone haywire.

Westworld

So this one kind of gets a free pass seeing as the two movies were both written by the same person, Michael Crichton. But Jurassic Park is an updated version of Westworld.

Independence Day

Yeah I know its cheesy but I really enjoy this flick…the sequel, not so much.

Independence Day

Aliens come from somewhere (maybe Mars?) and strategically place themselves all over the planet. Have they come in peace? Well no as they then destroy famous monuments and buildings along with thousands upon thousands of lives. We Earthlings put up a bit of a fight but it soon becomes clear that these aliens are far to advanced and powerful, the planet is doomed…that is until the aliens become infected with a (computer) virus. They begin to die out and Earth is saved.

The War of the Worlds

I know invading aliens is hardly an original idea but how they were taken out with a virus? H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds was clearly the inspiration behind this one.

The Best (Or Worst) Cinematic Villains

With the major disappointment of a bad guy that was the boring CGI-fest, Steppenwolf from the recent Justice League flick. I got to thinking about some of my favourite on-screen villains over the years. From total, outright murderous killers to more subtle antagonists that have you rooting for the bad guy or feeling sorry for them despite their nefarious ways. There is one thing all the villains on my list have that Justice League‘s Steppenwolf does not… personality, character, depth, charm and screen presence – okay so that’s more than one thing – but you get the point, Steppenwolf was shit.

A film’s bad guy (or gal) can be both despised and revered at the same time if they are written/acted well enough and a good villain is required for the film to work. So here we go and in no particular order – with my top (whatever number as I’m not counting) list of cinematic antagonists. Pre-warning SPOILERS ahead for some films…

Terminator (The Terminator)

Terminator

The movie role that catapulted Arnold Schwarzenegger into Hollywood fame. A killer cyborg sent from the future to kill the leader of the resistance that will stop the machine’s rule over the humans – before he has even been born. The Terminator is a low budget sci-fi/horror flick with a lot of heart and ambition. Still one of the all time great pictures that sticks in the mind thanks to its then unknown star, Schwarzenegger playing the titular Terminator… or The Cyberdyne Systems Model 101, Series T-800 – if you prefer.

A chilling villain that is seemingly unstoppable and for me, still Schwarzenegger’s finest on screen role that packs in a hell of a lot of screen presence even though he only has only 14 lines of dialogue in the entire flick.

Terminator: “Fuck you, asshole.”

The Kurgan/Victor Kruger (Highlander)

The Kurgan

Cruel, ruthless, megalomaniacal and brutal – The Kurgan (real name unknown) is the antagonist from Highlander, played to perfection by Clancy Brown. He sees no issue with running people through with his sword or terrorising nuns in a church. Not much is known about the character other than he used to be a member of an ancient tribe of the Russian Steppes known only as ‘The Kurgan’… which is where he took the name from. When he became an immortal is also unknown and its the unknown that makes the character so damn enjoyable. All we do know about him is that he likes to kill people – especially other immortals.

Brown’s performance as The Kurgan is both terrifying and humorous at the same time. A dark charm that should be wrong, but feels so very right with just the perfect amount of fun thrown in.

Kurgan: “I have something to say! It’s better to burn out than to fade away!”

Biff/Griff/Buford Tannen (Back to the Future)

Biff-Griff-Buford

I think Marty McFly pretty much summed it up when he said “He’s an asshole!” when describing Buford Tannen. Pick any of the iterations of the character from any of the Back to the Future flicks and they are complete assholes… yes even the mild and meek post 1955 time travel version of Biff is somewhat ‘off’ despite him being transformed into a ‘good guy’. Through the Tannen family history, they have killed lawmen, bullied and beaten up countless school kids, attempted to rape Lorraine Baines… oh and murdered George McFly. Yet each and every time they meet a rather repugnant end involving manure.

With Tom Wilson playing each of the Tannen kin through the years. There has been around 130 years of sheer ‘assholery’ through the Back to the Future trilogy and every second of it has been a joy to watch.

Biff Tannen: “Since you’re new here, I’m gonna cut you a break… today. So why don’t you make like a tree and get outta here!”

Roy Batty (Blade Runner)

Roy Batty

Whenever Rutger Hauer plays a bad guy – he proves why he’s one of the best. In fact, when it came to putting this list together – I had a tough time between choosing Roy Batty or ‘John Ryder’ from The Hitcher. I settled on Batty because I have something else planed for Ryder later…

Hauer plays the role as cold as he could giving Batty a chilling persona as the replicant (android made identical to humans but with a shorter life) just trying to find his creator to ask for more life. And when he does finally find his ‘father’, he ends up killing him in a brutal manner. One of the few cinematic villains you genuinely end up feeling sorry for, thanks to the amazing performance from Hauer – especially after his short but eloquent farewell speech.

Roy Batty: “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain. Time to die.”

Tommy DeVito (Goodfellas)

Tommy DeVito.jpg

Tommy DeVito is a cruel, psychopathic sadist with ‘short man syndrome’ who’ll share a drink with you one second and then stab you in the neck with a pen the next or shoot you in the foot for not walking fast enough. With the mighty Joe Pesci playing the role, we are given a bad guy that is as fun as he is twisted.

Pesci made the character much more memorable than anyone could have guessed. Going from laughter to sheer rage on a sixpence and often without warning. DeVito really is one of cinemas all time great bad guys… or Goodfellas. Plus he also gave us one of the greatest and most tense scenes caught on film…

Tommy DeVito: “You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it’s me, I’m a little fucked up maybe. But I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I’m here to fuckin’ amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?”

Joan Crawford (Mommie Dearest)

Joan Crawford (Mommie Dearest).jpg

So this one is a little ‘different’ as its a portrayal of a real person and not just anyone – but one of Hollywood’s greatest actresses ever, Joan Crawford – played by Faye Dunaway. Mommie Dearest is a biographical dramatisation flick telling the true-ish story of Joan Crawford adopting a little girl whom she named Christina and finally became a mother after a number of miscarriages.

The film is wonderfully terrifying and that is thanks to Dunaway’s stunning performance as Hollywood royalty – Joan Crawford. The relationship between mother and daughter is disturbing as Crawford pushes and punishes Christina for pretty much nothing. The film was panned by critics when originally released, but has since found its audience today and rightfully so too.

Joan Crawford: “No wire-hangers, ever!”

Nurse Ratched (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)

Nurse Ratched

From one crazy-ass bitch to another. Enter Louise Fletcher playing Nurse Mildred Ratched, the main antagonist from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. She’s cold-hearted, vindictive and strict as the head nurse of a hospital for patients with mental illnesses. Its when a new patient, R.P. McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) enters the hospital that she is pushed to her limit and beyond.

Okay, so I have a confession to make here. I really didn’t want to include Nurse Ratched as a ‘villain’ because I quite honestly do not see her as one. Yeah she’s tough and manipulative – but I’ve always seen her as ‘just doing her job’. For me, I personally find R.P. McMurphy to be more antagonistic in the film than Nurse Ratched. But she is generally seen as the main antagonist so I’ll include her (cos she’s an awesome character) even if I don’t necessarily agree.

Nurse Ratched: “If Mr. McMurphy doesn’t want to take his medication orally, I’m sure we can arrange that he can have it some other way. But I don’t think that he would like it.”

Richard Vernon (The Breakfast Club)

Richard Vernon

Much like the previous Nurse Ratched, here was have a villain who is only considered bad because they are doing their job… except this character is a real asshole and played brilliantly by Paul Gleason. Vernon is the vice principal of Shermer High School, and one Saturday – he holds a detention for five students and tells them to write a thousand word essay on who they think they are.

The Breakfast Club is easily my favourite film from the legendary director John Hughes and I feel a big part of that enjoyment comes from the extremely controlling, devious and egotistic nature of ‘Dick’ Vernon who controls the students with an iron fist and shows no mercy or remorse either.

Richard Vernon: “But someday when you’re outta here and you’ve forgotten all about this place and they’ve forgotten all about you, and you’re wrapped up in your own pathetic life, I’m gonna be there. That’s right. And I’m gonna kick the living shit out of you. I’m gonna knock your dick in the dirt.”

Hans Landa (Inglourious Basterds)

Hans Landa

When it comes to Quentin Tarantino bad guys – we are spoilt for choice; Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson), Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson), Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson)… but I’ve gone for the Nazi officer of the SS, Col. Hans Lander and his impressive smoking-pipe. Lander, nicknamed ‘The Jew Hunter’ – a name his is extremely proud of, is ruthless in his investigations and capture (and often killing) of Jews.

Christoph Waltz (rightfully) won an Oscar for his performance as the relentless SS officer and the opening, very tense scene shows just why he fully deserved the award too. Waltz’s multilingual performance is a pure joy to watch and this is one bad guy I love to hate.

Hans Lander: “What a tremendously hostile world that a rat must endure. Yet not only does he survive, he thrives. Because our little foe has an instinct for survival and preservation second to none. And that, Monsieur, is what a Jew shares with a rat.”

John Doe (Seven)

John Doe.jpg

Real name unknown – John Doe is a clever and manipulative character who keeps diaries and notes on his crimes and victims. The film does a great job of keeping him in the shadows and we only learn who he really is in the latter part of the flick – he first ‘real’ entrance in the movie when he walks into the police station covered in blood and calmly saying “detective” over and over as he hands himself in (until he snaps and has to scream) is both twisted and revealing once you know just who’s blood he is covered in and why.

Recent allegations aside – Kevin Spacey is fucking awesome in this flick. He performance is so memorable that you’ll be talking about it for years later… as I am right now. The acting is subtle and calming. This all just adds to the performance and creates one of the best killers ever caught on film.

John Doe: “Wanting people to listen, you can’t just tap them on the shoulder anymore. You have to hit them with a sledgehammer, and then you’ll notice you’ve got their strict attention.”

‘Angel Eyes’ (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly)

Angel Eyes

Some more pipe-smoking action now from Lee Van Cleef playing ‘Angel Eyes’ (real name unknown, though he is named in the original Italian version of the film) in one of the best Westerns ever made. Also known as the titular ‘Bad’ from the film. ‘Angel Eyes’ is a ruthless and cunning killer who is not afraid to pull the trigger on anyone who gets in his way. Still, if shooting people is not enough – he’ll also have the living shit beaten out of you until you are barely alive… as Tuco discovers in the film, while just gleefully watching on.

Van Cleef’s performance of ‘Angel Eyes’ is undeniably cool but also cruel and unforgiving. He barely thinks twice about murder as he shoots his way through people just to find a man called Bill Carson.

‘Angel Eyes’: “Even a filthy beggar like that has got a protecting angel. A golden-haired angel watches over him.”

Hans Gruber (Die Hard)

Hans Gruber

Of course I had to include quite possibly THE greatest bad guy in an action film ever. Hans Gruber is cool, calm and collected – he dresses well and is a very reasonable person. But don’t let any of that fool as as he’s also ruthless and thinks nothing of shooting someone in the head at point blank range. He was once part of the Volksfrei West German terrorist group – but was expelled from the group… probably for being too damn bad-ass.

God damn it, I miss Alan Rickman and this is his best role ever. He dulcet, super smooth voice added to the character’s laid back attitude and persona. Check out any ‘top (whatever) bad guys list’ on the interwebs and you’ll find Hans Gruber pretty much always near the top if not at the top. The only reason he’s not at the top here is because I just don’t do ‘top lists’. Rickman’s performance is just memorising and makes Gruber one of those rare villains you can’t help but love and just wish he got away with it at the end.

Hans Gruber: “I wanted this to be professional, efficient, adult, cooperative. Not a lot to ask. Alas, your Mr. Takagi did not see it that way… so he won’t be joining us for the rest of his life.”

Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (Full Metal Jacket)

Sergeant Hartman.jpg

A foul-mouthed drill sergeant who bullies his recruits – especially the struggling Private Pyle (Vincent D’Onofrio) played to his shoutiest best by R. Lee Ermey. So strong and memorable was this performance that he has been held up as the template for any drill sergeant in TV and films ever since. He’s racist, obnoxious, uncaring and ruthless – his dialogue has gone down in movie history as being some of the very best from any single film character.

Ermey’s performance is shocking but he also makes it impossible to not ‘enjoy’ the character despite his sheer awfulness. The way he verbally,  physically and mentally abuses his recruits is tremendous but uncomfortable to watch and all comes to a boiling point when he pushes Private Pyle too far.

Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: “Holy dog shit! Texas? Only steers and queers come from Texas, Private Cowboy, and you don’t look much like a steer to me, so that kinda narrows it down. Do you suck dicks?”

Don Logan (Sexy Beast)

Don Logan

You remember the movie Gandhi right? The one where (Sir) Ben Kingsley plays the eponymous peace-seeking pacifist and won the best actor Oscar for it too? Well this role is the polar opposite of that and in my opinion just as worthy of an Oscar too. This is Kingsley at his foul-mouthed, frenzied, frightening finest. Logan is a recruiter for the London criminal underworld who turns up in Spain to convince retired expert safe-cracker Gary Dove (Ray Winstone) to take part in a major London bank heist. But it is when Dove turns the offer down that Logan shows his true colours.

I avoided this film at first because I thought it sounded like a crap porn flick. So when I did finally sit down to watch it – going in completely unaware of what it was about, I was blown away by Kingsley’s stunning performance. Not only is Sexy Beast a great ‘London gangster’ flick – it features a brilliant bad guy with Logan and one that’ll stick in my head forever.

Don Logan: “You’re the problem! You’re the fucking problem you fucking Dr White honkin’ jam-rag fucking spunk-bubble! I’m telling you Aitch you keep looking at me I’ll put you in the fucking ground, promise you!”

Norman Bates (Psycho)

Norman Bates

Norman Bates – the man with severe ‘mommy issues’. Probably one of the greatest villains to ever grace the cinema screen. A young, shy and retiring man who’s nervousness hides a deep, dark secret. With Anthony Perkins playing the role in a charming and enduring manner which helps to hide just exactly what is going on in his head. Psycho is one of the greatest films ever made with such iconic imagery, music and of course that ending…

If you’ve ever read the novel Psycho – then you’d know just how different the character of Norman is in the film. In the book, he’s a fat, balding alcoholic. A million miles away from Perkins. But it was director Alfred Hitchcock who wanted to make the change so the audience would sympathise with Norman, and its a change that really works well and helped by the charismatic performance of Perkins himself which makes the ending all the more shocking.

Norman Bates: “It’s not like my mother is a maniac or a raving thing. She just goes a little mad sometimes. We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven’t you?”

Harry Lime (The Third Man)

Harry Lime.jpg

Not to be confused with the burglar Harry Lime from Home Alone. This Lime is a criminal who was killed in a car accident… or was he? When one of his close friends claim to have seen Lime alive and well, his grave is opened up only to find that Lime is not the man buried. Which all leads to a cat and mouse chase to track down the criminal.

Lime is effortlessly played by Orson Welles. He is amoral, careless but also wickedly charming and charismatic too. The Third Man is a wonderful flick that is most definitely lifted several levels by Welles’ performance – his infamous wry smirk hides a thousand lies.

Harry Lime: “In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”

Vincenzo Coccotti (True Romance)

Vincenzo Coccotti.jpg

Vincenzo Coccotti is a Sicilian consigliere for local Detroit mobster ‘Blue’ Lou Boyle. Only a minor character in the film – but one you won’t forget in a hurry. Coccotti is cold and calculating played beautifully by Christopher Walken. He is hardly in the film and only appears in one scene… but what a great scene it is.

My second Tarantino bad guy on here, but he does create such awesome villains that I could probably do a list just full of them. The aforementioned scene in which Coccotti appears alongside Clifford Worley (Dennis Hopper) is a tense and wonderfully written scene that has Tarantino’s fingerprints all over it. Walken’s performance is both terrifying and engrossing at the same time.

Vincent Coccotti: “I’m the Anti-Christ. You got me in a vendetta kind of mood. You tell the angels in heaven you never seen evil so singularly personified as you did in the face of the man who killed you. My name is Vincent Coccotti.”

Amon Goeth (Schindler’s List)

Amon Goeth

This guy is one psychopathic, sadistic, brutal, abusive and emotionless Nazi. He’ll sit on his balcony and shoot Jews for no reason other than they are Jews and he is bored. He also beat the shit of his maid because she turned down his advances. And these instances are some of his more tame crimes. At the end of the film, Goeth is executed by hanging, but not before calmly patting his hair into place and uttering “Heil Hitler” – showing his total lack of remorse perfectly clear.

Played by Ralph Fiennes to chilling effect, this performance is one of the most disturbing and difficult to watch in film. Some bad guys have a redeeming quality, if not more than one. Goeth has nothing redeeming about him, he’s just pure fucking evil personified. One of the most disgustingly, despicable movie villains ever.

Amon Goeth: “Today is history and you are part of it. Six hundred years ago, when elsewhere they were footing the blame for the Black Death, Casimir the Great – so called – told the Jews they could come to Krakow. They came. They trundled their belongings into the city. They settled. They took hold. They prospered in business, science, education, the arts. They came with nothing. And they flourished. For six centuries there has been a Jewish Krakow. By this evening those six centuries will be a rumour. They never happened. Today is history.”


Well there you have it, a selection of some of my favourite on screen villains… and all of them far more impressive and memorable than Steppenwolf. To be honest, there were a tonne I left off this list with plenty more antagonists I enjoy just as much if not more. But I had to pick and choose to keep this list at a reasonable length – still, I could always do another list in the future or even feature some of my other favourites in much more detailed articles…

Game Over Man, Game Over! Remembering Bill Paxton

Well this is a kick to the scrotum – we recently lost Bill Paxton and right here, I’d like to remember the man, his career and reveal what Bill was doing the day that JFK was assassinated.

Bill was born in Texas on the 17th May 1955. His first acting job was in a movie called Crazy Mama from 1975, where he played a small uncredited role. He directed and starred in the all too strange and surreal video to the Barnes & Barnes song Fish Heads in 1980.

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself here. You want to know about that JFK connection right? Well…

The above photo is on display At The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. Its a photo of the gathering crowd outside the hotel that JFK was staying in on the 22nd of November, 1963 and it was taken in the morning just as JFK was setting out for his what would be a fatal tour of Dallas, Texas. See that 8 year old boy being lifted above the crowd in the back? That’s Bill Paxton.

Anyway, back to Bill’s movie career. He managed to get a few small roles through the early 80s in movies including Stripes (1981), Night Warning (1982), Streets Of Fire (1984) among others. Yet it was a small role playing a spiky, blue haired street punk in some young and unknown film director’s low budget flick called The Terminator from 1984 that most movie fans remember seeing Bill for the first time.

He may have had the first line in the movie, but he learns the hard way that you just do not pull a flick-knife on a killer cyborg sent from the future. This small role kick-started a long friendship and career with director James Cameron. Bill and James collaborated several times through the years including True Lies (1994) and Titanic (1997). The duo even teamed up for a documentary on the real Titanic called Ghosts of the Abyss released in 2003. And yes, of course James gave Bill his breakthrough role as Private Hudson in the 1986 sequel – Aliens.

Yet there is one more collaboration between Bill and James that not too many people are aware of. You see, in 1982 Bill formed a musical band called; Martini Ranch. They released a song called Reach and the video was directed by none other than James Cameron. The music video is worth watching to see how many other The Terminator and Aliens alumni you can spot. But be on the look out for Lance Henriksen, Paul Reiser and Jenette Goldstein.

Bill continued to forge himself a career as an actor through the 80s and 90s in films and TV. His many, many appearances include; Commando, Back to Back, Next of Kin, Brain Dead, Trespass, Predator 2, Tombstone, Apollo 13 and Twister just to name a few.

By the mid-late 90s, Bill was getting more and more roles. With his performance in the Sam Raimi’s tense thriller A Simple Plan from 1998 being one of my personal favourites.

All through the 2000s, he was continually working in movies and TV. Frasier, Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, Thunderbirds, 2 Guns, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. all featured Bill. He even starred in a sequel TV show to the Denzel Washington movie, Training Day. And I can’t forget the Groundhog Day-esque Edge of Tomorrow where Bill acted alongside Tom Cruise from 2014.

From the morning of the JFK assassination of 1963 and his cheeky appearance to his as yet unreleased movie; The Circle where Bill will be seen acting with Tom Hanks, John Boyega and Emma Watson. Bill had an impressive, long and varied career. But I have always found it strange how he never really become the big leading man in the movies. A handful of larger roles aside, he always seemed to be a secondary character – and I’ve saved the best until last…

Even with over 90 roles in music videos, TV shows, documentaries and of course movies. There is one character in one film that I will always remember Bill Paxton for. You can keep your Private Hudson and Aliens. This is the Bill Paxton I’ll always remember.

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From the John Hughes classic Weird Science – the lovable asshole that is Chet Donnelly. I love this character so damn much even though he’s horrible, overbearing and does nothing but terrorise and bully his younger brother Wyatt throughout the film.

Chet is just so damn memorable with so many quotable lines.

But first I’d like to… butter your muffin.

That’s not a joke, that’s a severe behavioural disorder. I mean, the next thing you know, you’ll be wearing a bra on your head!

Not having a good time? Do you think they’re having a good time being catatonic in a closet?

How ’bout a nice greasy pork sandwich served in a dirty ashtray?

I’m gonna tell Mom and Dad everything. I’m even considering makin’ up some shit!

You two donkey-dicks couldn’t get laid in a morgue.

You’re stewed, buttwad!

And my all time favourite Chet Donnelly line from Weird Science

An accident? An accident? Do you realise it’s snowing in my room goddammit!

I really need to go and re-watch Weird Science for the 157th time.

Bill Paxton died on the 25th February 2017 due to complications from surgery. He was 61.

Thanks for the movie memories Bill.

Anyone who’s worked very hard on a craft or an art to get a certain precision in terms of execution and performance wants to get past all that stuff that holds you up – your ego, all the doubts.

An Incomplete History of Horror Films Part V.

Its the decade of big hair and even bigger horror films. the 80s.

If the 70s was my favourite decade for horror films, then the 80s is a very, very close second. This was the era of the slasher film (and their numerous sequels), plus a few examples of modernising the classic movie monsters from the past. Some of my favourite horror movie directors cut their teeth in the 80s and it was also the decade of amateur, low budget masterpieces. The effects were bigger, better and bloodier and the films became more controversial as the boundaries of what was allowed to be seen on film were pushed to breaking point with many movies being outright banned here in the UK as the censors hit hard and the dawn of the ‘video nasty‘ was born.

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Cannibal Holocaust (1980): Well, if I’m going to show how controversial the 80s horror movie was, I may as well go straight for the jugular. Directed by Ruggero Deodato and easily one of the most infamous and controversial horror films to ever be made. A team of four documentary makers go to a South American jungle to search for cannibals. They go missing, so an anthropologist and his team is sent to find them. The documentary team are never found, but their film reels are…

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Where to start with this film, so much to cover? This is often regarded as the first of the ‘found footage’ sub-genre that became popular in the late 90s onward, as the movie’s plot is told through the film that the missing documentary team made. Onto the controversy; the director was arrested and charged with obscenity then all copies of the film were ordered to be destroyed… but why, its only a movie right? Well that is not what a magazine in France thought, they believed the film was real and that people were actually killed. This prompted charges against director; Ruggero Deodato to now include murder. It all even went to court as Ruggero Deodato had to prove his innocence by having the actors who supposedly died in the film appear in court as well as show behind the scenes photos of other actors that ‘died’ on screen still being alive as well as the effects work used. Eventually the charges against Deodato were dropped, but that was not the end. So no human was killed making this film, but something(s) were. There are actual animal killings shown in this movie, not special effects but real animals being killed. A coati is killed with a knife, a large turtle is decapitated and its limbs are then cut off before its shell and entrails are removed, a tarantula and boa constrictor are killed with a machete, a squirrel monkey is decapitated and a pig is shot in the head with a shotgun. All real and all on film. This lead to the film being heavily censored or outright banned in some countries and its still a sore issue today. There is a lot more to cover with this film, but I have plenty more pictures to talk about so need to move on. But do I recommend this one? Yes I do. There are various versions of this film to watch, there is an edited version that cuts out most of the violence and all of the animal killings. However, I have to be honest here and say its crap. If you really want to watch this movie, then you just have to watch the full, uncut version. Yes its hard to sit through and I’m an animal lover so detest the killing of animals for entertainment. But for the full impact of the film, the uncut one is the only version to watch.

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Fade to Black (1980): A very low budget psychological horror movie written and directed by Vernon Zimmerman. Eric is frequently bullied and betrayed, he hides away from his torment in his love for horror movies and often fantasies about being one of the villains. Eventually he snaps and begins a killing spree against the very people that bullied and opposed him all while being influenced by some of his favourite horror icons.

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Its a shame this picture is so low budget as its a great idea, but the lack of money really shows on screen.The plot is a little bare, some of the death scenes are just pathetic and the editing is terrible. But there is still a watchable movie here. Its great to see someone get made up and dressed in classic movie monster garb (Dracula, The Mummy, etc) and show that there is still room for the old guard in horror films. Dennis Christopher playing Eric is a joy to watch and Linda Kerridge as a Marilyn Monroe look-alike is great too. Plus be on the look out for a small appearance by Mickey Rourke. A good film, but tremendously flawed. Only worth a watch if you enjoy low budget schlock.

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Friday the 13th (1980): Just like Halloween (1978), I think its law to include this in a horror movie list. Directed by Sean S. Cunningham. It summer at Camp Crystal Lake and a group of young camp counsellors are readying the camp for a busy season. But it seems that somebody isn’t happy about all the commotion as the camp counsellors are killed off one by one.

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I think it can be said without much argument that Friday the 13th is one of the main trendsetters in terms of the ‘slasher’ sub-genre of horror film. After John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) set the standard, many, many followed and this film was one of the big hitters that went on to become a very successful franchise with about six hundred sequels (I may have over counted), spin-offs and even a remake. The franchise became so huge and popular that everyone knows the killer in Friday the 13th is Jason Voorhees… isn’t he? One of the all time classic horror films with exceptional make up/effects work by the grand-master himself, Tom Savini. The film also features an early role for Kevin Bacon.

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The Shining (1980): I said in the previous part how The Exorcist (1973) is my all time favourite horror film, and it is, but this picture is a close second. Based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King, directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring the legendary Jack Nicholson. Jack Torrance is a writer struggling to write his next book, he takes on a job offer as a caretaker at a remote hotel that closes down for the winter. Arriving with his wife and son, Danny. As Danny starts to witness strange hallucinations, Jack begins to experience cabin fever and slowly goes insane.

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One of the very best examples of a tremendous psychological horror film. This movie was detested by Stephen King, so much so that he went on to publicly slam this picture and even make his own version as a three part TV mini-series in 1997. I love King’s novel and I also love Kubrick’s version just as much (I also enjoyed the TV mini-series… but not as much), they are two very different animals from two different geniuses. Jack Nicholson gives one of the best performances of his career, if not THE best and goes down in horror history as one of the all time great villains. There is a unnerving feeling of tension right from the opening credits of the film and it never lets up until the end credits roll. The hotel backdrop is both gorgeous and foreboding and Jack’s slow decent into madness is well done throughout the picture. It all builds up to a terrifying ending with a quizzical footnote involving a photo that still has people theorising and debating today. Beautifully shot, brilliantly adapted from the novel (despite what King says) and genuinely scary… “Heeeeeere’s Johnny!” .

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An American Werewolf in London (1982):I see the bad moon arising.“, great song by CCR from an equally great film directed by John Landis. Two American backpackers go exploring the English countryside moors where they are attacked by a wolf-like creature. One of the two outright dies, while the other is mauled but lives and he slowly learns he has been given the werewolf curse.

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Oh, how I love this film. A modern twist on the classic werewolf lore. The film is a great mix of genuine scares blended with a very dark sense of humour. The make up effects are just sublime, especially on the ever decaying Jack who haunts his werewolf friend David as he is trapped in limbo. The main werewolf transformation scene is still the greatest werewolf transformation ever filmed and make up artist, Rick Baker deservedly won and Oscar for his work in this movie. Another thing that needs mention are the terrifying nightmares David has as his curse starts to take over. Some absolutely amazing visuals and scary scenes. My favourite werewolf movie by far… and the soundtrack is awesome too as each of the main songs has the word ‘moon’ in the title. Almost forgot to mention the radio adaption form 1997 which is also worth checking out if you can find it.

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Docteur Jekyll et les femmes (1981): This is a French film by director Walerian Borowczyk. A modernised take on the Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Set in the 19th century in London. A celebration for Dr Henry Jekyll and Fanny Osbourne’s engagement is being held at Dr. Jekyll’s home. Later that night, one of the female guests is brutally attacked, raped and murdered in her room and this starts a very bizarre and bloody series of events.

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This film is a strange and often difficult watch (if you can find a fully uncut version), yet its beautifully shot and directed. The movie is very surreal and often feels almost dream like. There is quite a lot of sex and nudity in this one and often mixed with violence. The film feels very sleazy, but that sleaze just works. Not a film for everyone, but if you want a Dr Jekyll yarn that dares to be different and even shocking at times, then you may enjoy this picture.

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The Evil Dead (1981): Directed by Sam Raimi and starring cult fan actor, Bruce Campbell. Five college friends shack up in a cabin in the woods. A recording is found in the cellar and played back which unleashes an evil force with the power to possess humans and turn them into demons.

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I already did a quick overview of this film. I really enjoy low budget horror movies from first time directors and The Evil Dead is pretty much the pinnacle. The plot is bare basic, the acting is horrible and the effects work is cheap… but the film is still one of the best horror films made. This is the movie that got me interested in what happens behind the camera just as much as in front of it. I love reading/watching anything about The Evil Dead and think its amazing how this film was made by a few teenagers and how it has gone on the become a successful franchise recognised around the world. It a cheap, low budget effort. But its also a bloody, scary and effective picture with some of the best camerawork and direction seen at the time.

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Possession (1981): A little known French/German horror film directed by Andrzej Żuławski and starring Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani. Mark returns home from a business trip away, he finds is wife, Anna is restless and withdrawn, Anna says she wants a divorce and she starts to act even more irrational and bizarre. Mark believes another man is involved but it seems Anna’s behaviour is related to something much more sinister.

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How best to describe this movie? An extreme assault on the senses, that sounds about right. This picture is surreal and hyperactive, its beautiful and disturbing at the same time. The acting is OTT and eccentric, yet it all fits perfectly with the tone of the film. You’ll watch this film once and think to yourself ‘what the fuck did I just watch’ but then immediately want to watch it again and it is subsequent viewings that make this film so much more enjoyable. Isabelle Adjani won the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1981 and deservedly so too. Not an easy watch, but if you can make it through, you will be rewarded with a hard edged and brutal horror film that will stick with you forever.

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Basket Case (1982): Written and directed by Frank Henenlotter. This is another one of those low budget, gore-fests that I enjoy so much. Duane is a strange young man who goes everywhere with a wicker basket which contains his surgically removed, deformed Siamese twin. The brothers set out to seek vengeance on the doctors who separated them.

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Bizarre seems such a tame word to use as a descriptive of the one, but bizarre it is. This is a trashy film, its not high art, it has no political statement to make. Its just what it is meant to be. A low budget, low brow piece of rubbish… but its great and entertaining rubbish. Its a film about a deformed Siamese twin kept is a wicker basket that wants revenge, what are you expecting? Its silly, hokey and gory. A stupid film that entertains from start to finish.

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Creepshow (1982): I love horror anthology pictures and this is one of the very best. Directed by George A. Romero, the film includes five tales (and a wrap around story); Father’s Day is about a cruel dead father who comes back to carry on his reign of terror. The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill is a tale where a country bumpkin discovers a recently crashed meteorite but after he touches it, things slowly go very wrong. Something to Tide You Over has a man who finds out his wife has been having an affair, so he buries his wife and her lover alive up to their heads on a beach as the tide comes in, only they return for revenge. The Crate is a wonderful tale about a hard done by man who finds a way to rid himself rid his overbearing wife thanks to a mysterious crate. They’re Creeping Up on You is about a ruthless businessman suffering from mysophobia and locks himself away in his germ free apartment only to be invaded by his worst nightmare.

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I could quite honesty go on about this picture for hours and hours… but I can’t here as there is so many other films to cover. What is there to like? Directed by George A. Romero, written by Stephen King and make up effects work by Tom Savini… you couldn’t get a better horror team than that in the 1980s. Each of the five stories are great and offer a varying amount of scares as well as macabre comedy. Inspired by the old horror EC comics of the 40s-50s and that inspiration shines through. This film’s tongue is firmly placed in its cheek and its a complete riot.

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Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982): The second sequel to the John Carpenter classic that isn’t really a sequel. Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace, the film departs form the story of Micheal Myers and does its own thing. A mysterious toy maker releases a new line of Halloween masks for sale which seem to have some kind of a connection to a strange series of commercials on TV that are counting down to a big event… but what?

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This film was despised at the time of release as it took a severe departure from the Halloween movie franchise (even though this was only the 3rd film). Fans hated it as did the critics, yet over the years, the movie has gained a strong a loyal following. I adore this film and always have done, I got tired of the whole Micheal Myers thing after the first film anyway, so this movie was a breath of fresh air. Originally, John Carpenter wanted this to be the start of a whole new anthology idea after he killed of Micheal Myers in the first sequel. His intention was to have a series of Halloween themed films each year all with a new story, yet they would all exist in one shared film universe. But as the fans at the time were too small minded and just wanted more Micheal Myers, more of the same tired old formula, the idea was dropped and Myers was brought back for several other terrible sequels instead. Still, this movie is a great horror picture full of scares and a few hard to watch scenes too. A massively overlooked film that deserves much more credit.

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Poltergeist (1982): A true classic in every sense of the word. Directed by Tobe Hooper, written and produced by Steven Spielberg. The Freelings are a young and loving family who move into their new home. The youngest daughter, Carol Anne, develops a strange connection to the TV and things only get stranger from that point on.

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One of the all time classics and a modern retelling of a golden age ghost story. The film is chock full of iconic and memorable imagery/scenes. That picture of the clown up there probably sparked off childhood memories you’d rather forget. What about the tree or the skeletons in the unfinished swimming pool, maybe the scene where the paranormal investigator goes to wash his face? The visual effects in this one still stand up today (for the most part) and are still some of my strongest memories of a horror film. As scary as it is tense and well made, Poltergeist has stood the test of time and can still offer plenty of chills today.

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The Thing (1982): Another one form one of the all time greats, director John Carpenter. A loose remake of The Thing from Another World (1951) and based on the novella Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell, Jr. Starring Kurt Russell and featuring music by the legendary Ennio Morricone. Set in Antarctica and a US research station is suddenly brought to attention by a Norwegian helicopter trying to kill a dog. After the helicopter crashes, the members of the US research station take the dog in as a pet, which was perhaps not the wisest idea.

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I must have been around 7/8 years old and watching this with my brothers and cousins at my Auntie Chris’ house one night. I have a very strong memory of watching THAT dog scene and if you have seen the film, then you know exactly which very specific dog scene I am talking about. I remember being both horrifically scared and yet unable to look away at the same time. I was terrified but amazed. It was that moment when I fell in love with horror films. Oh I had seen other horror films before this one, but nothing quite like The Thing. So I have John Carpenter and a dog to thank for my love of horror films. This film is amazing, the directing is spot on and the isolation you feel due to the setting is unnerving. Ennio Morricone’s score is almost minimal and fits perfectly. Then there is the small cast full of great performances of which the star, Kurt Russell is easily the best. Also of note is Rob Bottin who headed up the effects/make up department and created some of the most stunningly grotesque and yet beautiful effects work of the 80s. “You gotta be fuckin’ kidding!

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Psycho II (1983): The first sequel (there were others) to the Hitchcock classic Psycho (1960). Sitting in the director’s chair this time around is Richard Franklin and returning as Norman Bates is Anthony Perkins. After 22 years of being institutionalised following the events of the first film, Norman is released and goes back to his motel and it seems that mother is also back too.

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I love the original film, it is one of my all time favourite films ever. Is this sequel as good? No, not at ‘as good’… but its still a damn good film regardless. There are some genius moments of directing here including blending the aftermath of perhaps the most famous scene of the original film into this sequel seamlessly. There are a few scenes that I’m not a fan of (like a bloody, overflowing toilet… been done countless times before) but then there are also scenes that are also excellent. The film leaves you guessing as to whether Norman is settling back into his old ways, or is somebody attempting to give him a few gentle pushes? Maybe Norman is innocent in all of this? Anthony Perkins is just as great playing the role here as he was in 1960, also returning from the original is Vera Miles and even Hitchcock makes a cameo appearance despite dying three years earlier. An overlooked film and one of the better horror sequels made, well worth checking out as a double feature with the original.

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Gremlins (1984): Directed by Joe Dante and starring Zach Galligan & Phoebe Cates. Billy is given a Christmas gift, a small and unusual creature called a Mogwai. This Mogwai has a strict set of three rules that Billy must adhere to, but due to series of ‘accidents’ the rules are broken and the Gremlins are born.

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How do you categorise this film? Its a family friendly, Christmas themed, horror, comedy, action, satire of monster movies… movie. There is a weird cocktail of so many genres and sub-genres it just shouldn’t work, but it does. Gremlins can be genuinely scary at times, but then a few seconds later and it’ll make you smile with its humour. The very dark and macabre tale Kate tells about how she learned there is no Santa Claus is both disturbing and humorous. The Gremlins themselves are malicious but engaging and thoroughly entertaining. And of course, yes Gizmo the Mogwai is ‘cute’. This is a fun romp for all the family to enjoy regardless of age.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984): The film that made me a fan of writer/director Wes Craven. The birth of one of the all time great horror icons, Freddy Krueger and the start of the career of some unknown actor called Johnny Depp. A group of teenagers are being haunted by nightmares where a horribly scarred and burnt maniac with knives for fingernails called Freddy, who scares them so much they refuse to sleep. It soon becomes apparent that if this guy kills you in your dreams, then you die for real. But who is this Freddy and where did he come from, maybe the parents know more than they are willing to let on?

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Does Freddy Krueger (or this film) really need any kind of an introduction? This is arguably Wes Craven’s masterpiece (for some anyway, there is another film he made later that for me is his masterpiece…). Rather like Friday the 13th (1980), this film is one of those trend setters that defined the slasher sub-genre of horror films and much like ‘Friday’, it too spawned many, many sequels, spin offs and a remake. Freddy has rightfully gone down as one of the all time great horror icons and has become cemented in many a subconscious of the horror fan. The film has some overtly bloody scenes, but also a film with just as many creepy/scary images and scenes that contain really well done frights. “One, two…

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The Terminator (1984): Its another one of those low budget films from a little known director and this time its James Cameron in the hot seat. Starring the then unknowns; Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton and some guy called, Arnold Schwarzenegger. In the year 2029, a killer cyborg is sent back in time to 1984 to murder the mother of the leader of the resistance who leads the humans to defeat the self-aware Skynet super computer. If the mother is dead, then the leader can never be born. But the resistance themselves send back a lone soldier as a protector.

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I know what some people are thinking as they read this. “The Terminator isn’t a horror film.”. Yeah, I’ve heard this before numerous times, even my girlfriend said the same thing as I was writing this when she peered over my shoulder. The Terminator is a horror film and please allow me to plead my case as not only will I put forward a convincing argument, I’ll also categorise what sub-genre of horror film it falls into. Okay, so we have a weak female who by the end becomes a stronger version of herself (Sarah), a virgin who has sex and dies shortly afterwards (Kyle), a killer that is in someway masked or in disguise (Terminator), POV shots from the killer, a chase type movie where the killer keeps perusing its intended victim(s) and there is even an ending where the killer is (supposedly) stopped just to come back at during the end for more. Does any of this sound familiar? These are slasher movie tropes as The Terminator is a slasher horror film. Just remove the sci-fi element for a while and think of the film on its purest terms. A movie about a stalking killer who systematically goes through a phone book and murders women named Sarah Conner. Change the killer form a cyborg to an everyday flesh and blood human, remove the time travel and sci-fi elements, change the title to ‘The Phone-book Killer’ and you have a bog standard 80s slasher film. The Terminator is anything but bog standard though and simple because it just threw in a few sci-fi elements. Watch something like Halloween (1978) and then watch this film directly afterwards and you’ll see so many of the tropes and clichés from the classic slasher film repeated in The Terminator. This flick is a horror film, and a damn good one too.

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Dèmoni (1985): AKA, Demons is produced by Italian horror guru, Dario Argento and directed by Lamberto Bava. A group of people are invited to attend a preview screening of a new film. One of the guests tries on a prop from the movie, a silver mask of a demon and this kick-starts a gruesome series of events that get worse and worse.

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The plot is simple, the acting is sub-par and the music is typical, cheesy 80s rock. But the film is one of the most enjoyable demonic possession films made with buckets of blood thrown in too. Much like the decade it comes from, this film is a bit of a mess and a lot of things don’t make much sense… but it all just clicks and works. It almost gets a bit meta with the idea of a film about demons being shown in a film about demons, as life begins to imitate art. The dead bodies build up, both human and demon as the film progresses and what is left of the survivors escape the cinema and out onto the streets where they are saved, only for the viewer to be hit with a great stinger of an ending that still resonates with me today. Here’s an interesting tit-bit for you too, the guy in the mask handing out invites at the start of the movie is Michele Soavi. A protégé of Argento who would go on to become a horror movie director himself.

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The Return of the Living Dead (1985): From writer/director Dan O’Bannon. A pair of employees at a medical supply warehouse accidentally release a gas into the air. The gas brings back to life a cadaver which the duo cut up and then enlist the help of a local mortician to burn and hopefully end their problems, only this triggers an even bigger problem.

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Braaaaaaaaiiins!” the zombies cry out in this film as they hunt for brains to eat. This was the first film to introduce the idea of a zombie that eats brains, something that has now become common place and referenced countless times. The idea of mixing comedy and horror is not a new one, it has been around since the 1930s, but very few films manage to get the balance right. ROLTD doesn’t just get it right, it nails the blend of comedy and horror perfectly. As gory and scary as it is funny, this film is a riot and wicked fun. The scene where a zombie torso is interrogated (above image) and it is revealed that zombies need to eat brains as being dead hurts and brains ease the pain is genius, as it gives a reason for the zombie attacks and you actually start to feel a little sympathy for them too. The make up is amazing with some of the most detailed and creative zombies ever seen on film, Tarman, need I say more?

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Re-Animator (1985): Loosely based on the H. P. Lovecraft short story, Herbert West–Reanimator. Directed by Stuart Gordon and starring Jeffrey Combs. Herbert West is a scientist who creates a fluid which can bring dead tissue back to life. With the help of his medical student housemate Dan, Herbert West gains access to a morgue where he can continue he research into bringing the dead back to life.

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Part Frankenstein, part zombie movie and all topped of with a deliciously dark flow of humour. Re-Animator is a gory masterpiece of horror cinema. Jeffrey Combs as Herbert West is wonderfully over the top and a joy to watch as his passion drives him to the brink of insanity, an interesting modern take on the ‘mad scientist’ of the 50s era. Also of note is the main antagonist of the movie, Dr. Carl Hill played by David Gale who ends up tangling with Herbert West and coming off worse for wear. There are some truly gore-tastic scenes in this one as well as some rather ‘WTF’ ones too that all build up to an unforgettable ending. Its also worth checking out the other films in this franchise; Bride of Re-Animator (1990) and Beyond Re-Animator (2003).

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Entrails of a Virgin (1986): An infamous Japanese horror classic directed by Kazuo Komizu. A group involved in making porn head out to a house in the mountains where they find a mud covered demon who brutally kills the males and rapes the females with its ‘impressive’ appendage.

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Errrr, yeah. How do I cover this one? I really enjoy Japanese horror, alas not all of it is good. I find that it falls under three basic categories. 1) Damn good, 2) Damn terrible and 3) What the fuck did I just watch? Entrails of a Virgin definitely falls into category 3. There is no plot, just and excuse to show sex, nudity and gore. The sex is mostly censored/fogged out as there were some very strict rules when it came to showing sex on screen in Japan, yet strangely the gore is shown in all its glory. Never understood why something as natural and normal as sex was taboo but murder, blood and gore was perfectly fine. And the gore in this is taken to ridiculous levels. Is this a good film? No, its terrible. But it is a film that has become so infamous that I feel it deserves a mention here. Worth watching? Not really, but if you want to see some soft core censored porn alongside unbelievable gore… then this is the film for you.

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The Fly (1986): A remake of the 1958 film that was based on the short story by George Langelaan. Directed by the wonderfully weird David Cronenberg and starring Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis. Seth Brundle is a brilliant scientist who has created two pods capable of teleportation. he uses himself as a guinea pig to test his invention, but just as he prepares to teleport himself, a fly enters the pod with him and the DNA of the fly becomes part of Seth.

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This is how you do a horror remake well. The chemistry between Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis is amazing (well they did marry in 1987) and they play off each other perfectly. The make up effects as Seth slowly turns into ‘Brundlefly’ is astonishing and the slow transformation brings about some disturbing scenes. Goldblum gives a stunning performance as he manages to break through all the make up he has to endure and still make you feel something for the character. The ending is a bloody, grotesque conclusion and yet utterly heart breaking at the same time. Its a strange feeling how the film makes you feel for the monster by the time the credits roll. A simple story, but told so very well.

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The Hitcher (1986): An overlooked masterpiece of thriller/horror directed by Robert Harmon and starring the mesmerising Rutger Hauer. A young man has a job transporting a car from one state to another. While driving along a quiet desert road, he spots a hitchhiker and offers him a ride. This hitcher is not quite what he seems and a game of ‘cat & mouse’ begins between the two.

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Is this a horror film? Quite a few people I know don’t think so, but for me it most definitely is. This isn’t a picture about blood and gore, this is a movie that plays on tension and fear. Is a slow burner with a simple plot. Often massively overlooked and often forgotten about too. This film oozes atmosphere and tension, there are scenes in this movie that will stick with me forever. As every time I have a burger and fires, I always check the plate first. Rutger Hauer is simply astonishing in his role of ‘John Ryder’ (if that is his real name) and is perfect casting, Hauer is at his most ‘Rutger-ist” in this film. I could sit here and write about this film for hours, who is ‘John Ryder’, why is he doing all of this, etc? The film has a lot of subtlety and subtext that many people miss. An amazing flick the deserves a lot more credit… just avoid the terrible sequel and remake.

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Hellraiser (1987): Clive Barker is the writer/director behind this gothic classic based on Barker’s own short story; The Hellbound Heart. Larry moves into his old family home along with his wife. They soon discover that Larry’s bother, Frank has been squatting in the house but has mysteriously disappeared. While moving in, Larry cuts himself by accident and this triggers a series of events that reveal what happened to Frank and his connection to a strange puzzle box.

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What a movie, I love this film. Its a great throwback to the gothic horror films Hammer were making in their heyday, but mixed with the blood-soaked gore that became common place in the 80s. Its essentially a haunted house movie… but not. There is so much memorable imagery in this film its hard to know where to start. Well you have the poster-boy himself, Pinhead (though only known as ‘Main Cenobite’ in the movie), it strange how Pinhead became the face of Hellraiser despite the fact he actually only has a few minutes of screen-time, I think the puzzle box itself has more screen-time. There is a scene in this picture that is disgustingly disturbing and yet strangely alluring and beautiful to watch, I refer to the re-birth of Frank. A visual treat along with a compelling plot, interesting characters and of course, plenty of blood. A great movie well worth watching and if you don’t, “we’ll tear your soul apart!“.

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The Monster Squad (1987): Written by Shane Black and Fred Dekker, directed by Fred Dekker. Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Gill Man, and The Mummy try to take over the world by taking possession of a scared amulet. But a group of young kids known as ‘The Monster Squad’ team up to take on the classic monsters.

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The classic Universal movie monsters are back in this wonderful Goonies-eque style family friendly action/horror/comedy. Really not so much of a horror film (compared to other films I have listed) but more of a horror themed movie the whole family can enjoy. It just puts such a huge smile on my face to see the classic Universal monsters still being used and in such a fun way too, and that is the best way to describe this flick… fun. There are some great gags here along with plenty of (mild) scary scenes. If you have kids, then sit down with them and watch this one. While mainly aimed at a younger audience, there’s still plenty for the older horror fan to find here with jokes, references, etc that will keep you more than entertained. And remember, this is the film that taught us that “wolfman’s got nards.

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The Lost Boys (1987): From director Joel Schumacher comes this teenage take on the vampire lore. A mother and her two sons move to a small coast town in California. The youngest son, Sam meets the Frog brothers who claim the town is being taken over by vampires.

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This film just proves how shit other teenage vampire moives really are… mentioning no Twilight, I mean names. A film of its age that is somehow ageless at the same time, the word ‘classic’ does not does this movie justice. There are some great scary scenes, but all through the picture there is a fun sense of humour. A particular highlight is Barnard Hughes who plays Grandpa who rounds of a great cast including; Dianne Wiest, Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Corey Feldman and Kiefer Sutherland. The title comes form the Lost Boys of Neverland, from Peter Pan. The film is topped off with a beautiful and memorable soundtrack. Modern vampires done justice creating on the best vampire pictures ever made.

shiryonowana

Shiryô no wana (1988): AKA; Evil Dead Trap is another Japanese horror film directed by Toshiharu Ikeda. A TV station host, Nami comes across a strange video tape. The tape appears to be a real snuff film and Nami along with her TV crew decide to investigate the location where the tape was filmed only to find themselves caught in a gory nightmare.

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Yes more Japanese horror and this one is brutally, bloody, brilliant. The flick feels very Argento-esque in many ways, its not shy with the gore and its plot is as basic as it can get. Yet the whole package just works and doesn’t fail to entertain and horrify along the way. The death scenes are graphic, gory and gruesome (there is a particular ‘eye opening’ opening) as the victims are dispatched of in pretty creative ways. The film’s plot is pretty formulaic and ‘slasher’ like and you’ll be correctly second guessing where this film is going… until, the last act where things go a little ‘weird’ and even almost ‘Cronenbergian’ and accumulates into a brilliant conclusion.

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Society (1989): Brian Yuzna is sitting in the director chair for this one. Teenager Bill Whitney feels as if he doesn’t quite fit in, even among his own family. He is given a disturbing tape that may prove incest within his family that involves a weird society. Bill then decides to try to uncover the mystery of this society that seem to be in control.

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To say this film is weird is a massive understatement. Its beyond bizarre, its in a world of its own. It feels Cronenberg-esque, but even I don’t think he would go this far. The effects work is both disgusting and beautiful and with effects by a guy called; Screaming Mad George, what do you expect? I think the film is trying to make some kind of social comment on the soullessness of the upper classes but at the same time, the movie never takes itself seriously at all. There are some pretty disturbing and hard to watch scenes as the picture builds to a 20 minute climax dubbed ‘The Shunting’ that will stick in your subconscious and never leave.

Well that is the end of the 80s in my Incomplete History of Horror and what a strange and wonderful journey it has been. In part VI, I’ll take a look at the 90s as horror films try to be clever.

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