John Carpenter’s Halloween Horror Fest

They Live (1988)

“I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass – and I’m all out of bubble gum!”

Yes, this legendary quote from Wrestling legend Rowdy Roddy Piper can be heard in They Live, another masterpiece from John Carpenter.  It’s a film I resisted watching for many years, as I labelled it just another dumb 80’s macho-man action flick.  Yet there is so much more to this film than that.

Piper plays an out of work drifter, scrabbling for employment and finding a home in a run-down shanty town.  The discovery of a special pair of sunglasses reveals to him that the world is under the control of grim looking aliens, who are using subliminal messaging to subdue the human race to their nefarious will.  So Roddy joins the underground and begins to fight back against the evil alien masters…

It might be more action/sci-fi than straight out horror, but there’s plenty in They Live to qualify it for Halloween Horror Fest.  The bad guys are pretty gruesome, and so is the nature of their plans for the human race.

But it’s the clever social commentary that makes this movie so great, and worth repeated viewings.  The evils of consumerism are revealed as methods to control the people.  Carpenter is attacking unrestrained capitalism, and the ways that media and society combine to keep us all oblivious to exploitation.

Only mildly successful on release, They Live has become a cult film and infiltrated popular culture.  Unsurprising, as the truths it exposes are still sadly prevalent today.  And that’s the scariest thing of all.

CONSUME.  CONFORM.  SUBMIT.  BUY.  NO IMAGINATION.  STAY ASLEEP.  OBEY.

9/10

Obey – Swallow the Sun Album Review

Obey – Swallow the Sun

Self-released, Enso Music Management

Release date: 05/04/2019

Running Time: 37 mins

Review by: Alun Jones

8.5/10

 

OBEY!  CONSUME!  CONFORM!  Have you seen John Carpenter’s masterpiece of paranoid sci-fi, “They Live”?  It’s out standing.  Rowdy Roddy Piper puts on some special sunglasses and is able to see the aliens living amongst us, brainwashing and controlling society.  With the constant subliminal media messages exposed, Rod and his mates attempt to destroy the conspiracy and free the human race from subjugation.

I don’t know if Obey – the band – have ever seen this awesome movie, but these guys have definitely (to paraphrase Roddy) come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass…  And they’re all out of bubblegum.

“Swallow the Sun” is the fourth album from Obey and it doesn’t disappoint.  The listener gets more thunderous, rhythmic riffing that bridges across hard rock and metal, courtesy of Steve Pickin (guitar/vocals), Dan Ryder (guitar/bass) and Ryan Gillespie (Drums).  Add in a progressive, exploratory approach that’s open to wide influences, and what we have here is an album full of ideas that constantly reveals new depths with repeated listens.

Take bombastic opening track “Back Home”: it starts out in familiar crunching guitar riff territory, but unleashes a huge chorus that’s catchier than Velcro underpants.  I wasn’t convinced on first listen, but this melody works so hard that despite being a surprise it’s a winner.

“Drive” offers more of the brutal riffing that Obey are known for, but with lush, melodic moments – not to mention a total classic rock lead.

Midway through the album is “Esmeralda and the Dam Blues”, a track that begins with a mellower, supernatural sound – giving way to a massive, chunky chorus.  These songs are extremely well constructed, taking the listener on a stellar journey that’s refreshing and far from obvious cliché.

Some of Obey’s influences appear to froth to the surface with the album’s title track, which has a feel of Mastodon about it.  Mix in some vintage Prong rifferama and the melodic tendencies of Alice in Chains and you’re a tiny step closer to understanding which star system the planet Obey revolves in.

Obey’s ability to meld face smashing heavy with unexpectedly tuneful moments gives this album it’s unique identity.  “Swallow the Sun” is the kind of album that you can rock out to (can’t wait to see these guys live again), or take your time and listen on headphones to savour the detail.

If anything, I’d like to see further experimentation from Obey as the band grows.  “Star Crusher” is an obscenely huge yet groovy COC style track, but sadly lasts less than a minute.  More experimentation with different interludes and variations of pace and intensity can only add more colour to their cosmic palate.

There’s very little to grumble about with “Swallow the Sun” though.  What we have is an intricately created collection of songs with maximum power and thoughtful embellishments.  Obey are a British band with real talent and ambition – check them out and lend them your support.

And beware of those ugly, skull faced aliens.  They want to keep you in line and be part of the system.  Get yourself some sunglasses and see what’s going on.  Open your eyes and fight!

This review appeared on the Ever Metal website and is reproduced here for your enjoyment.  Click here to visit the Ever Metal website.

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Halloween Horror Fest

Yes, it’s October – which means it’s time once again for Halloween Horror Fest!  Throughout the month on the run up to Halloween, Mrs Platinum Al and I watch some of the horror movies from our creepy collection, and I write a brief review of each for your evil entertainment.

It’s always out and out horror – so long as there’s a general spooky or paranormal element – or monsters! – then the movie is up for consideration.

This is the fifth year running we have attempted this mammoth task.  To keep everyone up to speed, here’s a list of the films that have been viewed over the last few years.

All are listed in alphabetical order.

28 Days Later
28 Weeks Later
30 Days of Night
The Addams Family
Alien
An American Werewolf in London
Big Tits Zombie
Bigfoot Wars
Blacula
Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb
Blood on Satan’s Claw
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter
Carrie
Carry on Screaming
Company of Wolves
The Corpse Bride
Countess Dracula
Creature from the Black Lagoon
Dark Shadows
Day of the Dead
Dead Snow
Dead Snow 2
The Devil Rides Out
Dracula AD 1972
Dracula Prince of Darkness
Ed Wood
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
Evil Dead
The Fog
Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman
Friday the 13th
From Dusk Till Dawn
From Hell
Ghost Ship
Ghostbusters
Halloween
The House That Dripped Blood
Lost Boys
Night Watch
Oupost
Para Norman
Paranormal Activity
Paranormal Xperience
Pet Sematary
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
The Raven
Rocky Horror Picture Show
Scream
Shadow of the Vampire
Shaun of the Dead
Silence of the Lambs
Sleepy Hollow
Taste the Blood of Dracula
Theatre of Blood
The Thing (1982)
Vampire Circus
The Vampire Lovers
The Wicker Man
The Wolfman (2010)
The Woman in Black
Zombie Strippers

Halloween Horror Fest from the Black Lagoon

Yes, you guessed it – more mini reviews of scary movies for the month of October.  As always Halloween is a big deal at the Virtual Hot Tub; we’ve started watching horror films already.  And why not?  Seeing as there’s already Christmas stuff in the shops, I want to (in the words of Alice Cooper) keep Halloween alive…

The Fog (1980)

The town of Antonio Bay is about to celebrate the one hundred year anniversary of its founding.  Yet the towns folk don’t know that their home was built with gold stolen from a ship that was deliberately wrecked.  The fog rolls in and the ghostly crew return, to seek revenge against those who conspired against them all those years ago.

John Carpenter created another horror classic with this film.  Although knocking on a bit, this movie still has some jumps, some gore and oodles of atmosphere.  The concept itself is great, and executed superbly as the fog – and the gruesome undead – take over the small town.

 fog

There’s not much character development or background, but decent performances from Jamie Lee Curtis and her mum, Janet Leigh.  Not to mention Adrienne Barbeau as honey voiced DJ Stevie; watching helplessly from a lighthouse as the mist creeps in towards her home in the distance, her young son waiting…

I hadn’t seen this film for a few years, and forgotten a lot of the detail.  It was refreshing to view it again and appreciate just how good it is.  Not quite up there with The Thing or Halloween, but definitely another cracker from Carpenter.  The Fog is worth your time.

8/10

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

Universal unleashed their last classic monster on the silver screen with this gem.  Originally filmed as a 3D feature, Creature from the Black Lagoon gives us the first appearance of the iconic Gill Man.  This genuine old school monochrome piece of art has it all – adventure, mystery, murder and mayhem.

A team of scientists in the Amazon discover some strange fossils, and explore a remote lagoon to learn more.  There they encounter the Creature of the title, a long lost evolutionary throw back – a fish man from another time.  The expedition’s encounter leads to an attempt to capture the Gill Man, who has developed a crush on the sole female in their team (Julie Adams).  The scientific interlopers are bumped off one by one, the tables are turned and the Gill Man claims his prize…

cfbl

This movie really is a blast from the past.  The story is gripping and retains the viewers attention throughout.  Some of the sequences are still very creepy, in particular when the Creature is gliding through the water, observing but unseen by the swimming girl above.  It’s these scenes where the humans are out of their natural element, and in the domain of their nemesis, that still hold the most power.

If you’re a fan of monster movies, like me, then you must see this film (if you haven’t already).  The Creature from the Black Lagoon has cool photography, is well written, and has that brilliant creature design.  It’s B-movie heaven.

8/10

Attack of Hallowe’en Horror Fest

Halloween (1978)

This film is perfect for Hallowe’en Horror Fest!  I can’t believe I’ve not reviewed it already.  Here we have the original Halloween from Director John Carpenter, and by golly it’s a beauty.

Michael Myers has been locked up in an institution since the Hallowe’en night when, as young boy, he murdered his sister.  Now Michael has escaped, and returned to his home town to wreak bloody murder on the local teens.  Dr Loomis (Donald Pleasence)  is in pursuit of the deranged killer, but will he be able to stop Myers before Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is his next victim? Halloween_cover

I’m not really a fan of slasher films, but here we have a film that bucks the trend.  Halloween is tense as hell – Carpenter manages to startle the audience time and again.  The viewer is constantly on edge waiting for the next shock.  This film created many of the cliches we are now familiar with in the slasher genre – so it’s to the credit of the Director that the frights still work.  The leads deliver believable performances, too – making this a classic standing head and shoulders over the imitators.

Carpenter also provides the spooky soundtrack, music which can give you a chill even without the visuals!

Recommended.

10/10