Shocking Saturday: Welcome To The Jungle

This weeks Shocking Saturday is once again a hand-held camera horror film – I really just can’t get enough of them – which very largely mirrors the 1980 controversial Cannibal Holocaust, only with a lot less gore and more developed characters.jungleWe begin by being introduced to the two leading ladies, Mandi and Bijou who eventually meet up with Mandi’s boyfriend Colby and his friend Mikey. They have come up with the idea to go on a search for Michael Rockefeller, who disappeared in 1961 in Papua New Guinea. The legend is that he is either living with a cannibal tribe or was captured and eaten by them. Wanting to know the truth, the group go on an expedition into the jungle to find answers, and along the way uncover clues which show that Rockefeller had been in that area at some point. But nerves begin to run high and the group are split. Carrying on separately, they soon find out why nobody has gone searching in these hills before.

Although there is a cannibal story line, the film does not focus primarily on the gore and violence of the film – even though it is top-notch when present, no Welcome To The Jungle gets us more in touch with the characters in the film. Making us aware of their goals and what makes them tick.

This film is another which does not need to show too much to get the fear across, although it does show a lot more than say ‘The Blair Witch Project‘. It plays more on, as many do, the suspense and creepiness of the unknown in what they will uncover. Being sort of divided into two halves; the first half developing the characters and having the feeling of isolation set into them – fighting between each other, and the second having the cannibals and gore present as the gang realise what they have got themselves in for – fighting against the enemy.

As the jungle gets to our four weary protagonists, tempers begin to flair and split the group in half. Yes the cannibals are seen as the villains of the film, but the true antagonists of the story are the characters themselves, as the plan falls apart and they are responsible for their own grisly demise.

Tag Line: Don’t Get Eaten.

Horror Rating: (:-O) (:-O) (:-O)

Star Rating:

Icon of Horror

Michael Myers

Here we have another Icon of Horror, this time it is an individual which every horror fan should have heard of, due to his film, Halloween, being an amazing landmark in horror cinema. This week I am talking about Michael Myers (played by Tony Moran). The emotionless white-mask wearing, kitchen knife wielding bogeyman who has terrified audiences since 1978.halloween-film-posterMichael Myers was first introduced to us in the late 70s by the horror film directing mastermind John Carpenter. Through Halloween, Carpenter delivered a film which gave audiences something else to fear on Halloween night rather than just ghouls and goblins, and a superb soundtrack to go with it.

Although Myers was not based on a true killer, like Leather-Face, the story, acting and camera shots are what brought this killer to life. The film starts with one of the longest opening shots in horror, we (the camera) are taken around a house, before entering it and moving up the stairs to find a young woman brushing her hair. It then becomes apparent that we are looking through the eyes of 6 year-old Myers, right before he slaughters his older sister with a kitchen knife. After realising their son is a murderer, Myers’ parents stick him in a mental hospital – because where else can you get over your murderous thoughts than in a mad house. Fast forward 15 years and Myers is escaping from the loony bin and out on a murder bender with his little sister – Laurie Strode – in mind.

What follows is a magnificent tale of imaginative murder techniques, eerie long-shots and giving a reason why babysitters should not work in Haddonfield, Illinois. Although his killing methods are on top form, it is the sheer creepy vibe which Myers gives off which really makes him stand out from all others. He is constantly popping up around every corner as Laurie walks home from school, whether it’s hiding behind bushes or somehow in the car which rolls past, he is always present and watching her every move, killing the odd person on the side of course.

His main aspect which really sends the shivers down your spine though is the fact that he is so calm about everything, even whilst killing. In the process of chasing you in his blue boiler suit he just suavely walks behind and still manages to catch up with his victims. These things are not what make him a bogeyman however, as he still seems human. It’s the fact that he just won’t stay dead, no matter what you do to him, whether you shoot him, run him over or even stab him with his own knife. The latter making for the best scene in the film, after Laurie stabs him and he falls to the floor, she kneels in the doorway catching her breath. Unknowing to her – but not the audience – that in the background Myers sits up and turns his head towards her. A beautiful Scene!myers1

Halloween and Michael Myers kick-started the Hitchcock inspired slasher genre, and after 8 films and 2 remakes, they still have the same effect on our trembling hands as they did when we first saw them.

Original Film Tag Line: The Night HE Came Home.

Film Franchise List:

Halloween – 1978

Halloween 2 – 1981

Halloween 3: Season of the Witch – 1982

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers – 1988

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers – 1989

Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers – 1995

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later – 1998

Halloween: Resurrection – 2002

Halloween – 2007

Halloween 2 – 2009

Watchmen Opening Sequence Breakdown

Alan Moore is one of the greatest writers in the graphic novel genre, so it came as no surprise when Hollywood wanted to get their hands on his work and bring it to the big screen. Films which have been adaptations from Moore’s stories include: From Hell, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and V For Vendetta. Although the films were enjoyable and got the premise across they did not measure up to the comic book originals. However one film which came rather close to being just as incredible as the graphic novel – and I know a lot of fans will disagree – is Watchmen.0600005030QAr1.qxd:0600005030QAr1Even if some fans were not impressed with the film, it has to be said that director Zack Snyder was the perfect choice to take on the film, he gave the movie the exact feel which the novel did in its pages. With the amazing camera shots, dark-atmospheric lighting and slow-paced fight scenes which mimic the comic panels exactly, even if you weren’t a fan of the graphic novel, it is hard not to be a fan of the film. Mainly because it a completely different take on the super-hero genre.

The entire film was an achievement, but the one thing that stood out was the opening credits sequence – one of the best which I have seen. The sequence – which cleverly has Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are-A-Changin’ in the background – shows a time-line of events which have occurred before the setting of the actual film, in 1985. First we are introduced to the original Minutemen of the 1940s, they were mostly police men who threw on costumes to fight crime, and then as it goes on we see their demise and the rise of the Watchmen. We also see how – in this universe – the heroes have been present in most of America’s biggest events. Towards the end, the heroes, and vigilante justice is shown to be outlawed, but when there are no more heroes on the streets, who will protect us from evil.

Here is a breakdown of the opening credits sequence, just a warning, there may be a few spoilers for those who have not seen the film.

1Nite Owl socks an armed robber in the jaw outside of a movie theatre. If you look in the background we see a couple leaving the theatre, the couple are Bruce Wayne’s parents. The wall behind Nite Owl is plastered with Batman comic posters, due to Wayne’s parents not being killed, Batman is a fictional character in this universe.

2Silk Spectre is introduced holding a newspaper which headlines her recent criminal bust.

3The Comedian is shown capturing an armed robber by the throat, with his classic grin and cigar present.

4We see a picture being taken of the original Minutemen, which included (from left to right): Silhouette, Mothman, Dollar Bill, Nite Owl, Captain Metropolis, The Comedian, Silk Spectre and Hooded Justice.

5Miss Jupiter (Silk Spectre) is shown on the side of the Enola Gay as it drops the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

6Silhouette kisses the nurse instead of the sailor on V-J Day in Times Square, in resemblance of Alfred Eisenstaedt’s famous photo.

7Dollar Bill is shot and killed after his cape became trapped in the doors of the bank which he was hired to protect.

8Sally Jupiter (Silk Spectre) retires after becoming pregnant, a party is thrown which largely mimics Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’.

9Mothman is arrested and taken to a mental asylum in Maine.

10Silhouette is murdered because of her sexual relationship with the nurse she kissed. The Comedian continues to fight crime and Nite Owl reveals his true identity as Hollis Mason.

The rise of the Watchmen.

11Rorschach is introduced as a child waiting in a corridor, whilst his mother whores herself out to various men.

12Dr. Manhattan is shown shaking hands with president John F. Kennedy.

13The Comedian is shown to be responsible for the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, he is wearing the same clothes as the ‘three tramps’, the men who were originally arrested for the crime. The smoke which was said to have been seen from behind the fence turns out to be a puff from The Comedian’s cigar.

14Rorschach is introduced through his R. R. calling card next to two unconscious criminals.

15Elliot Erwitt’s famous photograph, ‘Peacemarch’, is referenced as a female protester places a flower into a soldiers gun before they are fired upon.

16Nite Owl 2 is shown to be a vital part in Andy Warhol’s work rather than Marilyn Monroe.

17Dr. Manhattan is seen by Neil Armstrong as he first sets foot on the moon in 1969, Armstrong recites the line “Good luck, Mr. Gorsky”. This is from the myth that when Armstrong was younger he heard his neighbour Mrs. Gorsky shout “Oral sex? I’ll give you oral sex when that kid next door walks on the moon!”

18Ozymadias is introduced outside of the famous Studio 54 club in New York City, with The Village People, Mick Jagger and David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust standing behind him.

19The full Watchmen group are shown (from left to right): The Comedian, Silk Spectre 2, Dr. Manhattan, Ozymandias, Nite Owl 2 and Rorschach.

20As the final shot zooms out we see various televisions depicting different stations which bring us to the present. Bulletins like ‘Vigilantes Outlawed’, ‘Nixon Elected For Third Term’ and scientists moving the ‘Doomsday Clock’ up to 10 minutes to midnight. Before we here a civilian shout “Get out of here vigilante.” And spraying ‘Who Watches The Watchmen?”on the window, a phrase which asks the question, if the Watchmen are watching what we do, then who is watching them?

Hail To The King – Avenged Sevenfold

Avenged Sevenfold prove they are back, with their sixth studio album which packs a ferocious punch into the metal genre.

It has been three years since we have heard from the foursome – apart from the song Not Ready To Die on Call Of Duty: Black Ops in 2011 – and the anticipation has been eating away at the fans. Mainly due to them wondering how the album would turn out. It was unknown whether or not their 2010 album Nightmare would even happen, due to the death of drummer Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan in 2009. It was uncertain if the band would be able to carry on, thankfully they did and produced a brilliant album which was a great dedication to Jimmy’s memory. It took the band a long time, however they were always going to come back to the studio, but the question was – would Hail To The King live up to the expectations, and it be worth the 3 year wait?Avenged-Sevenfold-Hail-to-the-KingThe record opens with ‘Shepherd of Fire’, a song which sets the dark atmospheric tone for the rest of the album. A sort of devilish, cataclysmic end-of-the-world theme which is echoed in to each of the preceding tracks. It begins the album with something that every metal album needs – an intro which gradually gets bigger and bigger as each instrument introduces itself into the song.

The album doesn’t let up as we delve straight into the band’s most recent single ‘Hail to the King’, which begins with an electric fast-paced riff, that continues into the hard-to-not-sing-along-to chorus. Which Shadows screams out as he sings about whether or not society needs all the people at the top who are in power, and why can’t we run our lives the way we want to. Doing Time is the next track, and although the shortest on the album – at only 3:27 – it is still a powerful metal punch, which gets your blood racing as it is one of the album’s fast-paced songs. Fans of Avenged have always known how unique Shadows’ voice is, it’s gritty raw tone defines their songs and it is used almost like another instrument in the band. So it is great when Shadows uses it to its full potential, which is what we hear in this song, his voice screams and nearly drowns out the rest of the band in a sort of Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) fashion.

For those of you not familiar with the band, Avenged Sevenfold consists of M. Shadows (vocals), Synyster Gates (guitar), Zacky Vengeance (guitar) and Johnny Christ (bass). Originating from Orange County California, the band were part of the heavy metal scene in the early 2000s along with Atreyu.

The middle of the record takes us on quite a varied journey, we get a story about the war within ourselves which we constantly fight on a daily basis in ‘This Means War’, and ‘Crimson Day’ is about Shadows wanting to be there for his son during his life. We are taken all 18th/19th century with ‘Requiem’ which turns the classic beautiful music pieces on their head, as the band create a heavy metal version of one.avengedsevenfold_650As soon as ‘Coming Home’ crept through the speakers it was obvious that it was going to be an instant anthem which rolled around in your head for weeks to come. It is definitely the most powerful song on the album and presents everything which is great about the band: a huge memorable chorus, a 2 minute guitar screeching solo and verses with riffs which make you want to raise your fist and bang your head as hard as possible.

The album seems to be much more slow-paced than some of their previous records, possibly because of the pace of new drummer, Arin Iljay. M. Shadows says that it is a metal album, and he’s not wrong, it’s just not as metal as their 2005 masterpiece ‘City Of Evil’, and their earlier albums – Waking The Fallen (2003) and Sounding The Seventh Trumpet (2001). Hail To The King takes aspects from different places in their career, it offers the face-melting guitar solos of City Of Evil, the thought-provoking lyrics from Nightmare and the powerful choruses presented by Shadows’ voice from their self-titled white album (2007).

Hail To The King is concluded in much the same way as their previous three albums did, with a song – ‘Acid Rain’ – which makes you listen and learn from the lyrics, whilst pumping out your best air guitar impression. The song never really takes off like ‘A Little Piece Of heaven’ did on The White Album though, and I don’t think the band are ever going to top the conclusion of City Of Evil which had ‘M.I.A’, one of the bands best efforts. But the huge screaming chorus and lyrics still dig right into your soul like “There’s no death, no end of time, when I’m facing it with you”. The band round off their sixth album with a tale about being with the one you love when the end of the world is happening, but not caring because as long as you have that person everything will be fine.

It has been said by some that Hail To The King is to Avenged Sevenfold, what The Black Album is to Metallica, and it is fairly obvious what they mean. Shadows has even said in interviews that this album is the band growing up and moving on from their previous albums, it shows a different side of Avenged, one that – in my own opinion – will see them creating music for many years to come.

Listen to: Doing Time, Heretic and Coming Home.

The full track-listing is as follows:

Shepherd of Fire

Hail To The King

Doing Time

This Means War

Requiem

Crimson Day

Heretic

Coming Home

Planets

Acid Rain