Dare to Fear

clown-doll-21397141Ridley: I love a good horror! Well, I love and hate a good horror. I enjoy being frightened after the fact, but I hate it at the time….does that even make sense? I do wonder how my brain works sometimes. For the last week, I’ve been craving a good horror. I was discussing my options with a friend, and I was all revved up to watch something, before I wimped out and decided I couldn’t do it completely alone, I’m mad but not that mad. I’d end up chucking things at random shapeless shadows and hugging my pillow until it started to beg for mercy. Even as I write this, I remember this has already happened with a movie that I would have said was at a low level in terms of scariness. I watched Paranormal Activity 2 in the living room, with all the lights off at 1am (and there were other people in the house, they were just all asleep) and I still managed to freak myself out as I crept up to bed. I managed to see things standing in the dark corner in the hall, crouching in the shadows by the sink in the bathroom and eventually hiding by my desk in my room. The main lights were all switched on to their fullest that time.

There’s only one type of horror I like to watch, it’s the creepy kind. Some of it is often quite Hammer Horror-esque. There has to be a slow build to the fear inducing moments. Moments where someone suddenly appears in the mirror, moves in a photo, flashes behind the main character in a doorway or is reflected in the blank TV screen. It’s the type of horror where you do most of the work as your imagination runs riot, making everything a hundred times worse.

One of the scariest films I’ve ever seen was the Japanese Grudge, ‘Juon’. It just sent shiver upon shiver down my spine watching it. There’s just something so creepy about the little boy in that.juon2md4

I’ve also seen the American version of ‘The Grudge’ in the cinema, which was fantastic as the atmosphere was so tense, people were screaming. It just added to the whole experience, and then on the Dublin bus home, where it was dark and rainy and windy out, I managed to scare myself when my own reflection popped up in the window. *sigh* True story.

So recommendations for a fantastically eerie scary creepy movie marathon? Well here’s a few doozies….(goes without saying, but I’ll say it, watch the Grudge too!!)

Sinisterit looks utterly brilliant, there’s creepy photo moving, evil demon guys peering at you from the bushes, a cursed house and a helpless naive family stuck in the middle of it all. I can’t wait to watch this!

Insidious…harsh voices on the baby monitor, rocking horses rocking (this is such a classic, but it works every time!!), people popping up behind them, freaked out mediums drawing fecked up pictures.

The Conjuring...laughing children (eep!!), pianos playing by themselves, the fact that it’s based on a true story, the freaky woman from The Haunting (Lili Taylor), whispering voices on their recording systems, flashes of horrific events, clocks stopping just after 3am… Personally think this one looks like the scariest of all of them, mainly as you don’t see the big bad as such, and it’s based on a true story….though Sinister is certainly vying for the top spot too!!

Clown…all you have to say to me is clown and horror in the same sentence and my eyes will widen in panic and fear. There’s just something about clowns…the evil smile perhaps? Or the fact you never quite know whose behind all the face paint, until it’s too late!! My favourite creepy line of this trailer happens as the poor boy is climbing down the stairs into the basement and whispers, “Daddy, this isn’t funny…” No kid, it’s not, it really isn’t and you need to run.

The Woman In Black….remake of an old Hammer Horror, it has a very creepy house, weird villagers, some freaky faces in the window action and the rocking horse again. While probably not the creepiest film on the list, it’s still worth the watch, Daniel Radcliff is quite good in it too. Just gotta keep the mantra ‘not Harry Potter’ in your head for the first twenty minutes, then we’re good (as you’ll start to wonder why he doesn’t just banish the ghost with his wand otherwise! haha…)

So, which one are you going to watch first? Make sure you have your cushions at the ready!!

Latimer watches… Spirited Away

I want my own Kohaku dragon... just like I wanted a Luck dragon... when will I get a dragon?!

I want my own Kohaku dragon… just like I wanted a Luck dragon… when will I get a dragon?!

Latimer: On Christmas Day, Spirited Away popped up on my television screen like the ghost of Christmas past. I paused in my chocolate-coma induced mindless channel hopping and smiled. It had been a long time since I saw Chihiro and Kohaku. Then I frowned remembering my fan-girl grudge against this movie.

It was the start of the movie and despite my grudge (which will become apparent), I decided this would be a nice movie to sit down and watch. On the first break, I went out to the kitchen to make some tea and about 30 minutes passed by – the Christmas Day time vortex appeared. It’s the weirdest day of the year where time speeds up; when even getting some tea manages to turn into twelve other things that zap all the time away.

I never got back to Spirited Away that day. But it popped up again recently, urging me to confront my grudge.

Jumping briefly into the ‘way-back machine’ of nostalgia, I remember when this movie came out (13 years ago this year). Spirited Away was the first anime I’d seen that had a proper Japanese feel to it; from the moment Chihiro and her family step into the spirit world town, you get immersed in the Japanese-ness of it all, the food, the mythology (radish spirit?! Really?! That’s cool…!)

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 Spirited Away was also the first anime I saw subbed (it was an extra on the DVD). I was a fool and turned up my nose and stuck with the English dubbed version at that point though (damn fool Latimer!).

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 I love the feel of Spirited Away, the view into Japanese culture and mythology.

Not sure what sort of spirit they are but they are kawaii ne?

Not sure what sort of spirit they are but they are kawaii ne?

The animation is wonderful too. There’s the wonderful, beauiful moment where Chihiro is crying, falling through the air with Kohaku, and her tears are breaking off the little mouse and bird.

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The story between Kohaku and Chihiro is so sweet and lovely… and well, that’s where my ‘grudge’ comes in….I always have this moment of sighing sadly at the end, when Chihiro leaves Kohaku…. I am a fan-girl, so of course I would be frowning at this!

The ending is a bit ambiguous; you can read what you like into it. Hayao Miyazaki (the creator of Spirited Away) said that Chihiro has lost her memories after leaving the spirit world.

This time, I watched it I came to my own conclusion (after, what 10 years or so? ha). When Chihiro leaves Kohaku, she asks, ‘will we meet again?’ and he promises that they will. And then she’s gone. I block out having read once that there’s one way of looking at this; Kohaku is a spirit and so, Chihiro will meet him again when she dies and becomes a spirit…

Okay, that’s too sad, so this is the way I choose to look at it! Kohaku also says in the subbed version that, ‘I’ll go back to my world’ – which means that the spirit world might not be his world after all. He saved Chihiro when she fell into the river when she was a child, so to me, it means he’s going back to being a river god – and where are the rivers – in Chihiro’s world (if he saved her before in her own world, then that’s the world he belongs in).

Got my fangirl mojo back!!

Got my fangirl mojo back!!

 As to memory loss… hmm, well she still has her magical hair tie in the end (which holds ‘everyone’s feelings’) – so I’m not worried about that 🙂 Thinking of this as the ending makes this ending nicer to me after all these years; I think I’m letting go of my grudge at last!

Ah, ambiguous endings – are they a pain or a pleasure?

London Will Rock You

london_2423609bRidley: I wandered over to London for the weekend. That’s my news. You know, I love the hustle and bustle over there, the different types of people you see, the numerous niche shops that would whither and die in Dublin, the abundant restaurants to eat tasty food in (most especially the Krispy Kreme doughnut stands)krispyand of course, the tube. I keep calling it the subway, or the underground, which marks me out as an outer towner, or so I’ve been told, but I can’t help feeling a small sense of pride that I have an Oyster card (which is just a card you top up and scan at the ticket barrier. I know how to use it though)download and I am no longer completely befuddled by their map filled with colourful lines, hoops and loops.tube_map I know how to get to Victoria station (among so many other places, but I mention here as this is where I get my Krispy Kremes 😀 ), how to make my way to Oxford street for a bit of shopping, I’ve braved the tube at rush hour, I’ve caught the last train at half twelve at night and I’ve seen what it’s like when there’s a problem with one of the lines and trains aren’t running (there was just people, people, so many people everywhere!!). I loved it all!

Now apart from some mild shopping, and numerous happy tube trips (where i people watched, I just love people watching!) I went, for the second time, to a show (the first time was when Latimer and I saw Wicked during the summer in the Apollo, so so good!). This time I went to see We Will Rock You, which is the Queen musical.images

Now, you mightn’t know this, but Queen is my favourite band. Their songs and tapes were played quite often in my house when I was younger, even at eight or nine I remember singing along to Bohemian Rhapsody and knowing all of the words, so to go to this musical was the next best thing I’ll ever get to actually seeing Queen in concert (and we know this won’t ever happen. Poor Freddie)220px-WeWillRockYouDominion

Now I’ll start this off by saying the actual storyline wasn’t great, but you just have to suspend your disbelief, turn off your brain and just let the music flow. The story is basically about an universe where the only type of music that is created now is synthetic, everything is ruled by the Globalsoft corporation. Instruments are banned and have become things of legend, everyone wears the same clothes, they act the same way and they listen to the same type of music.WWRY_RadioGaga_690x345 As it’s technically a love story, you of course then have a boy and a girl who don’t conform to society’s expectations, they’re ‘different’ and they seem to have an inherent need and love for rock and roll, which they seek out.scaramouche-01 we-will-rock-you_9 I won’t go into it any more, but saying that it was all fairly predictable means you can probably guess what happens but my god were the actors absolutely fantastic singers. They managed to fit in so many of the songs, even Fat Bottom Girls! It has to be one of the best, most fun shows I’ve ever been at. Towards the end of it we were all singing along, clapping, waving our arms in the air, and not to mention there being a small bit of long hair swinging (the more female version of head banging, of course)1279-we_will_rock_you-banner We-Will-Rock-You--001

If you get a chance you should check out this show, we got cheap enough last minute evening tickets, so it was all very reasonable. The only thing that would have made it better was if I’d had a doughnut at it. 😀

Latimer watches… Shingeki no Kyojin

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Oh holy hell!

Latimer: I’m so behind the times! Like Ridley, I recently started watching Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan).Being a newbie to the show, I thought it’d be fun to document my initial thoughts as I watched the first 2 episodes!   

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Okay let’s go-go….!!

I just imagine the massive Titan looking over the wall and saying – “Hello dere!” All the Titans have faces that suggest they are about to say; “Hello dere!” instead of eating you. But in all seriousness, hell no would I still be alive in that world – as with zombie apocalypse I’m in the ‘first wave of non-survivors’!

HELLO DERE!

HELLO DERE!

I want one of the weapon rigs! Ah they’d be great – but I know I couldn’t use it properly!

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Well, I know it would all end badly for me!!

They have such a cool opening song!

This world looks very German, style-wise – I think it would be really cool to see this anime dubbed in German!

It really is suicide being a soldier in ‘Attack on Titan’!

Eren (the main character) said living behind the wall is like; “living like livestock for the Titans” – hmm, yup, that about sums it up all right!

Okay so there’s different soldier ‘corps’, with different crests – like Hogwarts houses… err… not really… well sort of; survey corps = Gryffindor (bravery); military police = Slytherin (smart, stay inside, let the Gryffindors do the hard graft :))… and garrison = Hufflepuff (who knows what you really do – who knows?!).

So the survey corps came back after their ‘trip’ (ha, their mini-break!) beyond the wall. There’s a guy with bandages around his mouth, ekk! Lots of soldiers were eaten; oh… one of the commanding officers is handing a bundle back to a crying mother…

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Jaysus… it’s…. an arm?! What…!

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God Eren, I’ve been here in your world 5 minutes and I don’t want to leave the walls (the outside world be damned I tell you, it’s not worth it! Sand and the sea, it’s not that impressive!). Why do you want to go outside Eren, you’re crazy!

Whooh, a big Titan just appeared (looking over the wall… ‘hello dere’)

Oh noo, he destroyed the wall, other Titans are coming in and eating people….. oh it’s on! IT’S ON!

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My immediate thought to describe Titans – “leering grins and naked arses!” I know all you people looked, they are giant naked people (where do your eyes go first?)!

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I love how in animes (this used to happen in Bleach too) there’s always cool-looking baddies (the big Colossal and Armoured Titans in this case; they are the important ones), and then there are the weirdest, oddest, bubble-headed, comical-looking strange ones, that you know the artist was like; “Bored now! Bring on the weird!”

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Hello dere!!

In all seriousness, you'd initially have to laugh if you saw this guy THEN scream and cry and run....

In all seriousness, you’d initially have to laugh if you saw this guy THEN scream and cry and run….

Ah, Eren’s house was crushed by stone from the wall – his mam is stuck under the house!

She told them to run away and save themselves (a Titan is coming!). I’d have asked them to kill me before they ran away – “I’m doing you guys a solid by letting you go; the least you could do is kill me before you run away!” (I don’t want to be eaten by a giant).

I wonder will Eren eventually befriend a Titan and that’ll be the turning point… – Oh holy hell… no he won’t!

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Hannes the soldier – running away from the Titan instead of engaging – I feel you Hannes, you’re a soldier, but you’re afraid. Of course I never would have become a soldier because I’m afraid. Just sayin’

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“Hurry if you don’t want to be eaten…” I never want to hear someone screaming those words at me. Ever.

All those people living in that city are traumatized. The gate’s closed, leaving them behind to die by Titan, that’s horrible. But, well, maybe it’s for the best; like everyone in Game of Thrones… maybe it’s better to go out now, happy one day, eaten the next! I mean the soldiers are happy, then traumatized, then eaten!

Hannes, the soldier, is screaming at Eren that his mother died because he’s weak. In fairness the mother’s not gone because anyone’s weak, she’s gone because a massive man-eating monster ate her!

Eren’s having all these flashbacks of his Dad injecting him with something (he’s been acting the maggot!). I wonder… that dark-haired titan I’ve seen around on pictures and tumblr… is he a genetically engineered titan – from Eren’s DNA?

And… end 🙂

Update: I finished the series, I won’t ruin anything – only to say it’s as good as everyone says it is!

I noticed that… well, a lot of the Titans run… a little like I do…? (the fat, or short ones, not the cool ones) it’s sad, disturbing, but true… I run like a Titan… wow, wow… ah geez…

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And then, Just to say, my favourite character is Jean Kirstein… and I leave you with this epic gif of him fighting a Titan…

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Latimer watches… Death Comes to Pemberly

No, not Denny!! Please not Denny!!

No, not Denny!! Please not Denny!!

‘Death comes to Pemberly… This is the story of how I died… Who am I? I’m Denny… What do you mean ‘Denny who?’? You know… Lydia said my name once – no? Okay, so I told Elizabeth that Wickham wasn’t coming to the Netherfield ball because of a certain person…? Yeah, that Denny!’

Latimer: Okay admission time, I have a major addiction to Pride and Prejudice (P&P).

How can you not have a P&P addiction?

How can you not have a P&P addiction?

Yup…! I also have a minor addiction to Pride and Prejudice variations and sequels.. ahem, yes…

Basically these (variations really) are self-published stories where people use the P&P the storyline but tweek it; for example, say there’s a storm after Darcy proposes to Elizabeth for the first time and he gets stranded at the parsonage and the story just continues onward, with parts changing due to that incident… yup.

The reason I like them, is because I love Darcy and Elizabeth. As long as Darcy and Elizabeth fall in love, then it’s all good.

My love of all things P&P meant I was really happy to see a three-part drama, ‘Death comes to Pemberly’ advertised on BBC over Christmas. It’s a P&P sequel (not quite a variation, but someone’s take on ‘what happened next’). It’s a murder mystery story. We meet the characters six years after P&P. Darcy and Elizabeth are hosting the annual Pemberly ball and Wickham and Lydia (not actually invited) arrive in Pemberly causing all sorts of trouble.

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On the way to Pemberly, Wickham and Corporal Denny (Denny NOoo!) have a fight in the carriage as it clip-clops through Pemberly forest. Denny jumps out of the carriage and angrily storms into the forest, Wickham following after him. Denny is then found dead in the woods with Wickham as the prime suspect.

These were roughly my thoughts on watching the series…

  • Denny… Denny… who… oh yeah, Denny… *ahem, yes of course*
  • Wickham, you are a perpetual arsehole!
  • Lydia… the impossible girl, ha
The Impossible Lydia... see what I did there!

The Impossible Lydia… see what I did there!

  • Why does Elizabeth continue to call Mr Darcy… ‘Darcy’? Not even Mr Darcy, just Darcy… hmm.
  • Is their son, young Fitzwilliam (original) going to speak at all in this? (no not really)
  • Matthew Rhys is a fine Mr Darcy (and a fine Russian spy – when is The American’s starting back?!)
  • Death Comes to Pemberley4497DCEFE63EC75E2FD7BC1CFB56BEMiss Elizabeth doesn’t have very many gowns considering Darcy’s 10,000 a year, what’s going on?
  • Someone online said; “why is Elizabeth wearing a Georgian shoe buckle in her hair?”, now all I can see is a shoe buckle every time she turns around!
  • Out loud I’m saying; “Mr Darcy don’t go being an arsehole again and ruining your relationship with Elizabeth (again)!”; (in my head though: “Mwhaha, yesss, be an arsehole again, hehe… excellent…”)
  • There’s some fan-service, which would have made Austen blush *hehe*
  • Ah, it’s over, what can we watch now?

This was a fun period drama that fills the period drama void!

I love the BBC P&P with Colin Firth (its epic)… but you know *whispering for fear of being attacked by inner fan-girl*… it might now be time for the BBC to make another adaptation of P&P!

There is always room in the world for another …. always!

 

Giant Human-Gobbling Babies

biggerqRidley: I’ve been in the middle of an anime marathon, or maybe it’s an anime coma? I’m never certain which is more accurate to describe what I do. Basically when I find an anime series that is really good, I devour each episode over hours or days without pausing (it depends on how long I have free), watching until my eyes hate me and my body begs for sleep. This time the series was called Attack on Titan. It’s being hailed as the must see anime for 2013, obviously as it’s now January 2014, I didn’t get that early memo, but better late than never, eh?

Basically it’s about a world where humans have lived inside huge high walls, sealed off from the titans, which are giant creatures that devour humans, just for the fun of it.shingeki-no-kyojin-episode-10-pic6 (1)

It starts off with all the settlements within the walls having lived in relative safety and peace for 100 years, then a colossal titan smashes through the main gate of the outer most wall and all hell breaks loose.images

The outer settlement retreats behind an inner war, there’s turmoil, famine and now the threat of the titans is far more real than ever before. For us, the story centres around three friends, Eren Yeager, Mikasa Ackerman, and Armin Arlert.images (3)attack-on-titan-mikasa-punch shingeki-no-kyojin-episode-8-pic1

After they each endure horrific personal tragedy, they decide to train to become elite soldiers that will fight the Titans, using special Manoeuvre Equipment, which enables them to swing (though its more like they fly) through the air on metal harnesses that harpoon out and attach to builds. I think I’d love the ability to travel like that and to use the double swords like they do, but if given half a chance, I know I’d probably accidentally slice something off or smash into a wall at high speed within three minutes of putting the equipment on.attack-on-titan-video-game-featured

I must say the series is creepy, it’s weird, it’s quite gory, and it’s brilliant.  It doesn’t pull any punches, you really get a feeling no character, no matter how important, is safe. Titans can snatch up anyone and eat them, and you will see them being eaten.bigger

To me, the titans resembled large human-gobbling babies, and actually when they start running can be quite terrifying, (though this one running is kinda funny) but then you have to imagine this 15 meter giant barrelling down towards you is about to crush or eat you:

There’s so much in this series to keep you watching, with various ongoing mysteries, which keep you pressing play over and over, you are left questioning where the titans suddenly appeared from and why they eat humans when they don’t need food.vnIMuIA There’s also pure raw human emotions and individual reactions to the devastation wrought by the titans. The author has said that one of the main influences on the series was the inner feelings of people. This is a strong element throughout, we see characters dealing with their total terror and grief, of seeing things they never should have to witness. Some of the characters overcome their fear, and others don’t.  At one point, I did stop and think about what a world like that would really be like, how I would react, and I decided I can’t say I’d have ever had the courage to become a soldier and fight off the giants. I think I’d still like to have the uniform though…images (2)

The anime doesn’t finish as such, it’s left open ended, it’s like a long teaser to get you hooked on the world and the story, so that you’ll then start reading the manga, where hopefully all our burning questions will be answered. So…

To the manga!

Latimer watches… Indiana Jones

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Latimer:  I don’t think a Christmas holiday is complete without watching at least one of the Indiana Jones movies! They are all shown on television over the holidays.

This year I noticed that the fourth Indiana Jones movie (Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) has been added to the marathon. To me, there are only really three Indiana Jones movies.

I’ve been watching Indiana Jones since as far back as I can remember. It started my obsession about wanting to be an archaeologist. I thought being an archaeologist was being Indiana Jones. For most of my childhood that’s what I was going to be, an archaeologist/Indiana Jones.

I was definitely going to go on adventures and find artefacts stuck in booby-trapped tombs. Yet, in spite of all the ways I would definitely die adventuring through Indiana Jones style tombs, I was convinced that was the life for me! I would have needed a lifetime of parkour, self-defence and weapons training for that career path.

I’m now convinced I would have died trekking to my first tomb!

Thankfully, I’ve grown out of considering that life (for my own health and safety!), but still love Indiana Jones! Out of the three movies (yup three!), my favourite has always been Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I watch it once every Christmas. I’m always happy to see it; I know it’s Christmas and it never fails to make me smile.

I love that movie because it’s just so much fun and not serious, and so 80’s – it’s pure nostalgia!

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It has the never-ageing Sean Connery, the zeppelin, the quick detour to Berlin, tombs, the leap of faith I never would have taken, the old knight of the crusade, the face melting scene (that always scared the crap out of me)… and you learn that Indy’s named after the dog 🙂

Latimer watches!

I think everyone has a favourite Indiana Jones movie – Ridley’s is Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom! What an epic movie series it is… cue music…

Also Happy New Year to everyone! Hope you all have a great 2014! MLR 🙂