Archive for May, 2011

9 shitty futures from films

The future is a seemingly never ending goldmine for screenwriters to plumb ideas from. Optimists always see future Earth being a utopia, driven by handsome knowledge seeking Übermensch, whereas the pessimists see it as a constant battle of shit situation versus even shitter situation. But really…Who knows what’s going to happen in the next few years, the next few months, even? No one could predict half of the crazy stuff that’s happened this century, let alone half of the unpredictability of the human race displayed in the 20th century. But one thing’s for sure, if Microsoft could see into the future – they definitely would  have left skype on the shelf. Here’s 9 alternative timelines that could befall us as a race at any minute.

#9: Soylent Green (1973)

Mr. Plough's alternative business was booming

It’s a shame that shows like the Simpsons completely ruined the ending of Soylent Green – but it did, for better or ill, and not only is this the first Charlton Heston film on the list, it is also the 1st (of two) whose ending is known the world over by people who haven’t even seen the film. In Soylent Green, Earth’s population has hit a crisis point – there is not enough food to feed over 40 million starving people in New York City alone. Heston’s character Thorn uncovers a bizarre and grotesque secret about the brilliant new food source that seemingly comes from nowhere – it is made of human beings – a revelation that makes the above scene seem oddly reminiscent of the terror animals must feel upon their eventual harvesting. Cue gagging and disgust at meat for a few weeks afterwards.

#8: Battle Royale (2000)

Snazzy uniforms aside - Geography has always elicited such violent reactions.

Battle Royale shows a future where government officials stand up to cocky little kids who try to bully adults. This is a great future for anyone over the age of 18, and as a year 9 class of 42 students is pitted against eachother on a lonely deserted island, they are forced to stare the horrific realisation in the face – kill or you will be killed. The film shows a few sad relationships – of boyfriend and girlfriend, best friends and even enemies truly realising that only one of them survive. Worth noting is the fact that the teenagers are the same age as Alex DeLarge in ‘A Clockwork Orange’, in a way Battle Royale can serve as an alternative timeline from Kubrick’s – a government who has had enough of teenager’s running society, a truly terrifying vision for those having to accept a law they have no power voting against.

#7: Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

Just Mel showing up to set on the first day with a sawn off. Standard.

In Mad Max, we are never told the reason for the economic meltdown that has befallen the world – though by it’s status as an absolute necessity and social commodity – we can safely assume it has something to do with petrol. In an Australia that to be fair doesn’t look hugely different to pre-apocalypse Australia, Max is a police officer charged with reducing the number of road accidents and raiders who cause them. Everyone flies around like absolute nutters in super-charged muscle cars, shooting at eachother and robbing the corpses. As previously stated, a bit like Australia now. But in all seriousness, Max seems at times powerless to stop a rising force of leather clad uber-mensch who hunger for petrol, a terrifying and oddly homoerotic vision of the future.

#6: Planet of the Apes (1968)

Charlton Heston (topless) pictured achieving man's raison d'etre: CONSENSUAL MONKEY LUVIN'

As previously stated – everyone knows the twist ending. The ‘Planet’ that Charlton and his astronauts return to in question is Earth! Oh no! Some funny apes are running around like they own the place, best show them a lesson eh Charlton?! Well no, not really. The apes have risen in place of where man fell, and they’re doing a pretty OK job of it – certain species run certain factions (Gorillas are the mercs, Chimps are scientists and Orang-Utan’s are the religious elders), in an obviously very efficient system – there is no real complaints from any party. When a primitive man like Charlton Heston returns to ‘his’ home, he obviously believes it’s his entitlement. Well, how is it? Man obviously destroyed himself and the apes picked up what was left and ran with it. A shattering realisation for any human, that one day we won’t be the top dog anymore, and our own environment will reject us.

#5: A Clockwork Orange (1971)

A not at all ominous scene from an otherwise positive movie going experience

A Clockwork Orange would be a hefty enough watch were it not for the fact that our main characters are teenage rapists, murderers, and classical music fans. In a future where society is not short on technological advances and cultural exposure but completely lacking in anything close to moral fibre, teenage runaways are allowed to form gangs and commit acts of atrocious brutality. In 1971 it was shocking, but now it seems more realistic than ever with tales of knife and gun related crime amongst teenagers rife in the news.

#4: Delicatessen (1991)

As we all know, 'Delicacy' - means 'your head, on a plate', in French.

After an unknown event wiped out all semblance of civilisation, a Fallout 3 ‘wasteland’ style environment reigns supreme in Delicatessen. The lucky tenants of a high rise apartment building are catered for by the criminally insane cannibal butcher, who occasionally prepares treats for them. Treats which always coincide with the death of a tenant. Another film that forces us to look at the likelihood of cannibalism in a world where livestock don’t exist to cater for us. The ‘good’ characters in the film are vegetarians, ones who exist on lentils and grain. The terror of living in fear of being killed to be consumed, mixed with the actual terror of eating your own grandmother is not a pretty vision.

#3: 12 Monkeys (1995)

Pitt's got balls for fuckin' with Brucie

The film starts with civilisation as we know it ending. Then cuts to the ‘new’ civilisation living underground like rats. In this civilisation, government officials try weird and often inhumane methods of torture on individuals to see if they could potentially be capable of time travel. Bruce Willis finds out he is OK for this, and proceeds to go back in time, to when he was alive and actually about 5 (uh oh! shit..paradox, etc) to find a link between the virus that destroyed humanity and a symbol that has been spotted around Earth. Upon seeing the beauty of pre-apocalypse Earth, he decides to stay and become a martyr, eventually becoming the man he saw get killed as a child. Again, Uh-oh!.

#2: Wall-E (2008)

Now Playing: Kraftwerk - Computer Love

Anyone who’s seen Wall-E will testify to it’s glorious environmental message and happy ending, but I’m not so sure it has a truly positive ending. The last vestiges of humanity return to an Earth that has been cleaned up for them by the lonely Wall-E robot, who stacks blocks of crap as high as skyscrapers and makes entire mega cities full of dirty nappies and broken toys. The Earth they return to though is still full to the brim with the legacy of industry, although plants are beginning to grow again. An upbeat message it may be, but the ending is definitely questionable – live in space as slaves to machines and technology, or return to the damaged Earth that spawned them?

#1: Terminator (1984)

Ahead of the times in both fashion and firearms. Nice!

The ultimate in ‘shitty futures’, Terminator opens with a big hill of human skulls being crushed by a massive metal machine. Is there more of a shit-filled sponge cake than that? Refugees from the future constantly arriving in the past to tell everyone how shitty everything’s going to be in the future. And yes, it is shitty. A constant war between man and machine wages day and night, with the machines blatantly winning, constantly coming up with more and more believable and  indestructible androids to torment the last remaining humans who live like rats in crumbled underground buildings. If ever there was a reason to abandon technology while we have the upper hand – Terminator is it.

8 deaths I would sincerely wish to avoid in real life

The idea of death in cinema is one that has captivated filmakers since they first started making films. Shocking audiences with realistic, creative, or simply very gruesome death scenes is an idea that doesn’t seem likely to stop any time soon. Here are 8 that I would realistically like to NEVER happen to me in real life.

#8: Being eaten alive by a shark (Jaws, 1975) 

I seriously don’t think it gets said enough – it would be fucking awful to be eaten alive by a great white shark. The bastard has such huge teeth and an insatiable blood lust – plus, it is also apparently capable of eating boats. No-one is safe from it. Check out Quint attempting to deal with his ultimate fate:

Shark fin soup?

#7: Getting ambushed and shot to death by loads of people (The Godfather, 1976)

Sonny is the cocky son of Don Corleone, he is also next in line to inherit his father’s mafia empire. He is also a hot headed, violent young man. All of this seems to piss a few people off, and as such he gets shot to death by quite a few people. Most violent about this death scene is the length of time it goes on – it seems like Sonny is getting shot for a really outrageously long time.

Like a sieve!

#6: Your head being blown up unexpectedly (Scanners, 1981) 

Scanners is a weird sci-fi film about telekenis and mental bastards who use it, if it weren’t for the most famous scene in question, the film would probably have been forgotten. In a way, this is definitely the most desirable death on the list, however bizarre that sounds – yeah, there is a tense build up and the guy’s head seems to be hurting quite a bit, but when it finally explodes, his brain is completely destroyed, that suggests to me that his death would have been (relatively) quick and (probably not that) painless. Still, this would be an unforgettable death if he was your friend or relative.

The origin of the phrase “boom, headshot!”.

#5: Having a massive porcelain dildo smashed into your head (A Clockwork Orange, 1971) 

Picture the scene: you live alone with a lot of cats, when suddenly a young lad just wanders into the room you are in, he doesn’t live there, he has broken in. Of course you’d want him to leave, but he doesn’t. Instead he starts messing with stuff in your house. Picking up a massive porcelain dildo off a table, he chases you round with it. This would be horrible enough, but then when he finally smashes it into your head and kills you – you know that is an unbelievably undesirable death indeed.

Definitely a bad way to go…

#4: Having your eyes pecked out by a bird, which then pecks you to death (The Birds, 1963) 

To be fair, this is a death that you don’t see (it was 1963 to be fair, death scenes in popular cinema were hardly the norm), but as usual with Hitchcock, it’s what you don’t see that is freakiest. A man’s wife returns home to find him slouched dead on the floor, covered in peck marks and with no eyes whatsoever. The pain that man must have suffered in his final moments doesn’t even bare thinking about.

‘My eyes, the goggles do nothing’

#3: Having your eyes gouged out by a super-powerful android (Bladerunner, 1982) 

This is the kind of death that you would really want to avoid at all costs. An android, built by his own hand returns to Tyrell’s building begging for longer life.  Tyrell obviously can’t give him this, and in a state of heartbreaking existential anguish, Roy Batty (the absolute monster of a physical specimen) gouges his eyes out.

Too much pressure to be an optician.

#2: An extra-terrestrial life form bursts out of your stomach and you die instantly (Alien, 1979) 

After making the rookie mistake of ‘fucking with shit he didn’t really understand’, Kane ends up with a weird thing hanging off his face (obviously pictured above). When the thing finally lets go, everything is absolutely fine – obviously, there are no repercussions and the ship’s mission is continued uninterrupted. Oh apart from the part where the group are eating dinner and a tiny ugly alien baby bursts out of his stomach and proceeds to grow huge in a matter of a few hours, finally killing all but one of the ship’s crew.

Look who came to dinner.

#1: Being completely submerged in toxic waste – but not long enough for it to actually kill you, then being ran over at high speed (Robocop, 1987) 

Robocop (like most Paul Verhoeven films) is absolutely jam packed with creative and disgusting death scenes. Of course the actual death of officer Murphy is a really violent one, and his final revenge on all the gang members who fucked him over is too. But one scene amongst all others strikes me as so violent and over the top that it is unbeatable. Robocop calmly dives out of the way of a guy driving a massive truck, who then proceeds to drive said truck into a huge vat of ‘toxic waste’. The ‘toxic waste’ obviously is extremely corrosive and caustic, and within a matter of seconds he is burnt and mutated into melted, inhuman example of a man. He is then ran over by his boss, and is promptly splattered absolutely everywhere.

….Eew

10 overwhelmingly depressing film endings

I am not a hugely optimistic person, not out of choice, you understand, more out of some necessity I feel to downplay the importance of anything, so as not to get myself worked up you see. Life is not a hugely pretty place and moreover, it’s full of people who are ready to pour shit and hot oil on your dreams, something that 21 years has taught me. So it is a breath of fresh air to see films that don’t show life as a pushover, something that is there for the taking and to be conquered. Not everyone is a successful journalist for ‘Cosmo’, most people don’t own swanky houses on the outskirts of Hollywood, and the fact is, not a lot of people have much time or money to pursue their hobbies or enjoyments. All in all, life is a bit of a shitty uphill struggle, here are 8 films that don’t spoonfeed their audiences ready-sugared shit for their banal brains to enjoy. This goes without saying;

**~** THIS ARTICLE QUITE OBVIOUSLY WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS. IF YOU SEE A FILM YOU ARE PLANNING TO WATCH (OR JUST DON’T WANT TO KNOW THE ENDING OF) APPEAR HERE, DO NOT READ THE PARAGRAPH ON SAID FILM. **~~**

#10: Bad Lieutenant (1992)

You could be forgiven for thinking this was just Harvey Keitel relaxing at home amongst outrageous iconoclasm. Don't worry, it's actually in the film.

In what must surely be his greatest role, Harvey Keitel owns Bad Lieutenant in a way that few actors have owned a role. An hour and 20 minutes of the film is solely devoted to showing how much of a lunatic, drug addicted sex and gambling addicted pervert ‘The Lieutenant’ is, while the last 10 minutes is pure humanism. Whilst investigating the rape of a nun, he finds out the nun has forgiven her attackers, and suggests he does the same. Upon uncovering the identity of the rapists, the Lieutenant does his absolute best to not blow both their heads off, instead paying for them to leave New York for good. At odds with his decision he drives away to meet a shark he owes $120,000 to, when the shark pulls up, he blows the Lieutenant’s head off. And that’s it. It’s insane the way you feel such an anger and disgust for that act of violence, despite the seedy depths that Keitel’s character had plumbed up until that point, after discovering the power of redemption, he is killed himself for his own sins.

#9: The Fly (1986) 

Shiiiit!...Jeff Goldblum be BUFF as fuck in the Fly!...ahem.

In The Fly, we see a likeable genius (albeit completely insane) in Eric Brundle start shitting about with teleporters and what not. He’s not only quite odd, but he is completely spot on, from his construction of the machines, down to the physics and huge list of maths necessary for such a thing as teleportation to happen. Only problem is, he doesn’t seem to hear (or see) a fly zoom into the teleporter with him on his first experiment. As such, bad things start happening to the self dubbed ‘BrundleFly’ after he is genetically spliced with the insect. At first he becomes extremely active and physically fit, but then begins deteriorating to such a state that his skin flakes, his ears fall off, and his fingers merge into one ugly looking claw type thing. In short, BrundleFly is turning into a fly, a creature not known for it’s beauty, grace or diplomacy. Brundle finally warps into a disgusting human-fly mutant and as such his last conscious act is to have his love blow his head off with a revolver. Or a giant fly swatter, depending on which version you saw (note: this version doesn’t exist, only in my head).

#8: Invasion of the Bodysnatchers (1978)

Donald Sutherland needs no witty caption. Simply 'Donald Sutherland' will do.

Everybody on Earth knows the storyline to ‘Invasion’ (God knows it’s a franchise that has had it’s fare share of takes, remakes and sequels), yet perhaps the ’78 version is the best, if not only for Donald Sutherland as “that character who reminds you of what your dad would probably be like in the 1970’s” that he always seems to play so well. As the story goes, a group of San Franciscans’ discover that members of their community are being abducted and replaced by lifeless and emotionless drones. When the film starts getting heavy, you can always rely on old Donald to save the day huh? Not so, the ending shows Don’s (now famous) shriek, meaning he is now a clone, a revelation which somehow suggests all of humanity is doomed.

#7: Dead Man’s Shoes (2004) 

The gasmask: a necessity for all films shot in Derbyshire.

Dead Man’s Shoes is essentially a story of revenge. Richard, an ex-army man’s disturbed walk down memory lane, to the brutes, sickos and perverts who tortured and destroyed the crippled self esteem of his mentally handicapped brother. It’s not clear at first why we should sympathise with Richard, as his attacks and tormenting seem randomly focused on the towns undesirable lowlifes (drug dealers, addicts, layabouts etc). Indeed, the victims of his games don’t seem to understand either, but all becomes clear, they are horrendously amoral individuals who bated, tortured and eventually hung Richard’s younger mentally disabled brother. The end scene where Richard, retribution achieved, pushes himself on his last (most innocent, by default) victim’s knife is heartbreaking, if only for it’s finality. Revenge has been served, horrifically so, and Richard’s life has come to an end and his purpose has been fulfilled.

#6: Brazil (1985) 

Baby got back, or rather; 'Baby Got Captive'

Brazil is a pretty odd film and it’s not always clear what’s going on, some scenes are dense with imagery, whereas some are just pure surrealism. The core of it’s plot focuses on an admin assistant in some future government, charged with correcting a bureaucratic error involving a fly.  Main character Sam often dreams of a beautiful woman, and one day ends up meeting her through chance, the two are embroiled in an affair which sees them blamed for some terrorist attacks, living on the run, Sam and his beautiful girl escape off into the sunset. Or rather, Sam imagines this happening, as the final shot shows him strapped into a chair, catatonic, with a smile on his face while his captors shake their heads, indicating he has slipped into a coma from which he will not be able to escape. You can either see that as being ‘ignorance is bliss’, and that Sam would rather live in his fantasy lifestyle, or a disgusting invasion of his privacy, and perverse in itself. Regardless it is a powerful ending.

#5: Easy Rider (1969)

Couldn't find a Russia flag EH? Ya long haired commie rat.

Easy Rider is undoubtedly a classic of counter culture cinema, Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper star, and really, on that basis alone, it has all the ingredients to be the best thing ever . Two strung out dudes on a road trip are joined by a former square looking for enlightenment. Just them, the wind, their machines and a bag of drugs. Beneath this colourful and vibrant exterior, Easy Rider is the end of hippie culture as we know it, the moment in time where the bad times started heavily outweighing the good. After dealing across America and sampling the goods it has to offer, our gang of heroes encounter a bunch of rednecks who tell ’em to get a haircut (my answer: ‘Oh wow. Boring. C- for creativity. Must try harder next time), Hopper promptly flips them a finger, and is blown away by a shotgun. Fonda is then killed as witness to the crime, and the film ends.

#4: The Life of Brian (1979)

Biggus Dickus holding a bigish pole-us.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard The Life of Brian mentioned in ‘depressing endings’ conversations. And why the hell not? The ending is absolutely tragic. The story of a man who has been pursued as the messiah his whole life (he is NOT the messiah, in fact, he’s a VERY naughty boy), turning his back on the false religions and needless ceremonies, Brian is no-less persecuted simply because people believe he is the messiah. As stated, he absolutely is not. In the end, Brian is crucified with a whole hill full of people who are also not the messiah. An actual genocide, in a comedy film. And how did they get a way with it? By whistling and singing ‘The Bright Side of Life’. That’s juxtaposition for yuh!

#3: Oldboy (2003)

After Oldboy, D.I.Y. dentistry was literally never the same again.

Oh Dae-Su is an insignificant alcoholic who is also a gambling addict. No biggie, it was the 80’s. He is locked up for (seemingly) no reason for 15 years in a private prison and fed dumplings (which he hates) every day of his sentence. He wakes up one day at the top of a building and proceeds to get extremely angry at anyone who stands in his way of finding out who imprisoned him. Along the way he meets a beautiful young girl who he falls in love with, who is also interested in his story and helps him piece together clues as to who imprisoned him and why they did it. He finds out it was an old school mate who Dae-Su once found fondling his sister in a classroom, soon after gossiping about it, the girl proceeded to kill herself, and the event has marked his captor ever since. Then we find out that Dae-Su and his young lover are in actual fact father and daughter, an act his tormentor set up to occur through hypnosis and suggestion. Dae-Su cuts his tounge off and his captor kills himself. Later on, Dae-Su and his daughter are reunited, yet it is unclear as to whether both have either been hypnotised to forget the event, or are just carrying on regardless. For pure twist, Oldboy is one of the most insane and deeply affecting of them all, not to mention properly depressing.

#2: Vertigo (1958) 

Hangin' with my main man Jim Stewart

Vertigo is often seen as Hitchcock’s greatest artistic achievement; engrossing, well written, funny, dramatic and extremely sad, the film has it all, as well as some of the most beautiful shots ever seen in film. In it, Jimmy Stewart plays Scottie, a retired detective who is hired to trail a friend’s wife who think’s she’s mentally disturbed. She is, very, and Stewart soon falls in love with her. When she ‘dies’, he is left understandably devastated, until he meets a similar looking woman and sets about transforming her into his former love (Ala ‘Rebecca’). Scottie ain’t stupid though, and has sussed it IS in fact the woman he loves, a woman who had been involved in an insurance scam with his friend while he pushed his real wife off the top of a tower. The film culminates in Scottie and his love at the top of the tower, making peace and plans to live together, when suddenly startled, she falls out. Scottie looks out longingly, contemplating whether to jump – a fate we never discover.

#1: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) 

Pictured: R-L The Chief, The Chief

Jack Nicholson has a quality to him that is hard to pinpoint. Yes, he is obviously manic and quite unhinged in some of his films, and also quite traditional in some other aspects. But it’s another quality, mainly just how human he is, a quality which shines through in ‘Cuckoo’. He plays McMurphy, a career criminal who is also into drugs, partying and sex. Plus drink, lots and lots of drink. He deliberately subverts diagnosis to avoid manual labour and is transfered to a mental institution, a place he treats like less of a hospital, and more of a free hotel, a place he can party and occasionally get his head down. There is no question he changes everyone’s life in the institution, from his silent and basic humanist understanding of the chief and the horrors committed on his people by the white man, to his constant bating and taunting of Nurse Ratchet, for good or ill he is an unforgettable presence in the hospital. Pity is, the more McMurphy acts up, the more he is koshed and constantly sedated, his boundless energy and human spirit taken for mania or madness, such treatment leads to his actual mental deterioration. This goes on to such an extent that the hospital doctors actually have him lobotomised, a common procedure in the 1960’s which removed an important part of his brain, the part which allowed him to maintain conscious thought and expression, effectively turning McMurphy into less of a fun kinda guy, and more of a rigid dribbling vegetable. Disgusted and upset at his friend’s treatment, the Chief puts a pillow over McMurphy’s head and suffocates him, instead escaping on his own. A horrific ending which only goes to shine a light on the appalling and at times brutally inhumane treatment of mentally ill people in the ‘civilized’ mid 20th century.

12 absolutely psychotic movie characters

As this list will show, regardless of the year, movie-goers will always love to see a deranged lunatic galloping across their screen; be it the smart, well spoken 1950’s psychopath, or the hidden face and sadistic brutality of the 00’s psychopath. All psychos have their motivations, whether it’s sheer inhumanity to man, actual mental illness, revenge, or a warped childhood, they all have their own agendas, most of which are pursued with hilarious single-mindedness and zeal. You gotta give it to the movie-psychopath, there certainly has been some memorable ones.

#12: Bruno Anthony from Strangers on a Train (1951)

"I have the perfect weapon right here!...These two hands"

In Hitchcock’s early classic, Bruno Anthony is the wealthy layabout son of an industrial tycoon. He doesn’t like his dad – at all, and in fact has attempted to ‘swap murders’ with famous tennis player Guy Haines; Bruno offs Guy’s bothersome (and pregnant) ex, while Guy is forced to murder Bruno’s dad. Bruno is absolutely hilarious, insane and completely obsessed with murder, qualities which Jack Nicholson definitely picked up on for many of his latter roles. In one classic scene, Guy sneaks in to tell Bruno’s dad of his mental son’s plans, and finds Bruno in his bed, fully dressed in evening attire.

#11: Babs Johnson from Pink Flamingos (1972) 

"Kill everyone now! Condone first degree murder! Advocate cannibalism! Eat shit! Filth is my politics! Filth is my life!"

Played by the (probably actually insane) transsexual ‘Divine’, Babs Johnson is absolutely concise in her world view. Shit and filth rules, OK? Her insanity stems entirely from the fact that she is so worried about people thinking she’s not utterly disgusting, thus she ups her own (at times bafflingly untouchable) ante. Some of her escapades completely confirm that she is, in fact insane though, so all is well. The scene where her and her ‘son’ lick every item in their rivals house is so utterly confusing and weird that it is burned into my mind forever.

#10: Begbie from Trainspotting (1996)

"That lassie got GLASSED!...An' nae cunt leaves here till we find oot whitt cunt DID et."

Seen above glassing the ‘lassie’ in question, Francis Begbie is quite possibly the most simple psychopath on the list. Bizarrely surrounding himself with junkies, he constantly talks of how drugs will kill you, yet, statistically, Begbie is more likely to kill you than drugs. It’s hard to pinpoint why Begbie is such a foreboding figure, but one reason that comes to mind is the similarity between him and ‘pub nutters’: that is, any mental bastard who is pissed in a pub and doesn’t like you looking at him. Not only is he believable as that, but he’s also oddly fascinating, for all his many faults.

#9: Colonel. Walter Kurtz from Apocalypse Now (1979)

   

"I watched a snail...crawl along the edge of a straight razor. That's my dream; that's my nightmare. Crawling, slithering, along the edge of a straight razor... and surviving."

Kurtz, like many psychos, is also an extremely intellectual and influential figure, in one society anyway. For the U.S. Air Force, he was an outstanding officer, efficient in duty, and effective in his operations. For some reason though, on a trip to Vietnam, he encountered a local tribe and completely lost his mind. His philosophy is not only profound, but completely baffling in it’s complexity – he possesses a world view which only he understands. He has rose to the rank of demi God amongst the natives, and as such has allowed this to go to his head. You know that shit is about to go down when Martin Sheen is drafted in to sort him out…

#8: Patrick Bateman from American Psycho (2000) 

"You're a fucking ugly bitch. I want to stab you to death. And then play around with your blood."

Bateman is a successful, rich, smartly dressed yuppie. He is also psychotically deranged, be it for real, or in his head: make no mistake, he absolutely is. Balancing a thin line between normality and sheer madness, old Pat is as popular as you could hope to be – he has no reason for his psychosis other than exercising the power that he can get away with it. His sick mind is constantly on a tightrope of what is real and what isn’t, what is acceptable and what absolutely is not. He is also a huge fan of Phil Collins and Huey Lewis, something which somehow manages to make him even more insane.

#7: Stansfield from Leon: The Professional (1994)

"Do you like life? That's...good because I take no pleasure in taking life if it's from a person who doesn't care about it."

Stansfield is a Drug Enforcement officer. He is also a huge Beethoven fan and drug addict, and he is about as corrupt as anyone could actually believe, oozing malice and insanity in every shot. It’s probably his position as a high up officer that makes him so unflinchingly believable and terrifying, but certainly a manic performance from Gary Oldman doesn’t hurt; he is so outrageous, terrifying and totally mental that every time he is on the screen it is hard to take your eyes off him, however evil he actually is.

#6: Vic Vega (Mr. Blonde) from Reservoir Dogs (1992) 

"BOY! That was really exciting! I bet you're a big Lee Marvin fan aren't ya?...Yeah...Me too! I love that guy! My heart's beatin' so fast I'm about to have a heart attack!"

Mr. Blonde is a breed apart from even the most psychotic criminals. He is sadistic, as well as being extremely funny, disturbing, as well as being ultimately charming and good looking. But when he does get in the mood to commit extreme violence, he really puts his heart and soul into it. Only a true psychopath could make Stealer’s Wheel menacing. He does it, and for many people, ‘Stuck in the Middle With You’ would never have normal connotations again. Tarantino does his best work in making nasty characters have desirable and good qualities, and Mr. Blonde is the start of that tradition, he is a disgrace, but he is also one cool motherfucker.

#5: Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver (1976) 

"I'M square!? You're the one that's square, man! I don't go screwing fuck with a bunch of killers and junkies like you do. You call that bein' hip? What world you from?"

Bickle is a sad case in cinema, least of all because Taxi Driver is partly based on a true story of a lonely man who has seen the worst a city has to offer, attempting to make it 1% better for a girl he has developed a human emotion for. Though he is obviously quite psychologically damaged, Travis is not one for random psychotic behaviour to just anyone, he targets those, closely following them for a number of months and planning his attack. He almost kills a senator (while posing as an ex-FBI agent), and then finally succeeds in completely annihilating a seedy New York brothel (led by the equally insane Harvey Keitel as ‘Sport’), saving a young prostitute along the way. A compassionate and likeable psychopath? Now I have heard it all…

#4: The Family from Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) 

"Look what your brother did to the door! Ain't he got no pride in his home?"

It’s hard to pick one character from Texas Chainsaw Massacre who is more insane than the other. The young hitch-hiker who cuts his hand  haphazardly after bunking a lift (“Oh that gun’s no good…The old way, with a sledge! You see that way’s better. They die better that way”), Leatherface – the killer, a chainsaw wielding oaf (who is also likely mentally retarded, and shows extreme remorse at times after his killings which he sees as necessary to feed the family) who dresses as the family’s dead mother, the old man who is the father of the family as well as the owner of the gas station (“I just can’t take no pleasure in killing…”), or the half-dead, catatonic Grandfather, the man who likely introduced the disgraceful behaviour to the family? For my money, they all contribute to one absolutely sick family gathering. Lap up their sheer insanity of these twisted Texan cannibals, they won’t hurt ya none!

#3: Norman Bates from Psycho (1960)

"I think I must have one of those faces you can't help believing."

Psycho just goes to show, classic cinema never ages. Over 50 years on, Hitchcock’s Bates’ seems as terrifying and believable as ever. With an advance in modern psychology though, it’s quite likely Norman is a paranoid schizophrenic, who manifests his symptoms by actually dressing up and taking on the role of his mother. He seems genuinely a lovely young fellow, simply bullied by his mother to working at the family hotel. At night, the Bates motel becomes a twisted spot for Norm to exact his revenge against women. It becomes quite clear later on that Norman has been under his mother’s influence all his life, and as such has created two personalities to deal with that – the subservient and pleasant Norman, and the sinister and dangerous Norma.

#2: Frank Booth from Blue Velvet (1986)

"Pour it? No...I want you to fuck it. Shit, yes, pour the fuckin' beer"

As Jeffrey Beaumont says early on in the film, “Frank is a very sick and dangerous man.” Truer words have never been spoken, he is absolutely ill in many ways, be it his odd avoidance of eye contact, his unbelievable sexual habits, or his constant huffing from a portable oxygen cannister, Frank is as demented a villain as he is an interesting and funny one. Punctuating every sentence with as many ‘FUCK!’ and ‘SHITS!’ as he can possibly fit, he is a very threatening presence. In David Lynch films usually, there is a strange and quite eerie sense of evil lurking around every corner, in familiar faces and even places, yet Frank Booth is the most singularly evil entity in any Lynch films, so open and vicious in his evil and insanity that it is not open for interpretation. Every time Hopper confidently strolls on the screen to deliver his lines there is a palpable sense of danger, his unpredictability and insanity combining to provide some hilarious dialogue and truly terrifying scenes.

#1: Jack Torrance from The Shining (1980)

"Wendy...? Darling...? Light, of my life...? I'm not gonna hurt ya. You didn't let me finish my sentence! I said, I'm not gonna hurt ya. I'm just going to bash your BRAINS in...Gonna bash 'em right the FUCK in! ha ha ha!"

Writer, family man, hard worker, lunatic. Jack Torrance has it all for sure, and that’s why he’s such an interesting – if incredibly psychotic character. It’s been the subject of much debate as to whether Jack is really a ghost or a man who has lived in the hotel since the start and is reliving awful events, or as would seem, simply a man taking a job over the winter to provide for his family. The Shining is truly scary though, because we see him as a loving father and husband, then we  witness his rapid rollercoaster descent to unquestionable lunacy, trying to kill his wife and child, holding elaborate and intricate conversations with people who aren’t really there and axing a concerned guest in the chest. However enjoyable he is to watch, there is no way he is the kind of character you would ever wish to encounter in real life, each line drips with a tangible terror and madness, the kind of madness that is symptomatic of a man who has completely lost everything he ever had.

8 brilliant and unforgettable film hallucinations

Hallucinations in film are one area directors can have immense free reign of creativity. Some are life like; scarily depicting insanity and mental decay, whereas some are absolutely insane; out of this world and as unlikely and individual as the movies themselves. Here are 8 unforgettable scenes with hallucinations, all unforgettable for different reasons. Remember; it’s just a dream, fat boy!

#8: Spun – Mickey Rourke’s scene about ‘the pussy’ (2002)

Drug involved: Methamphetamine (Crystal Meth) 

Spun is an insane look into 2 weeks of a crystal meth addict’s life. It is obviously a sad film for it’s content, but it’s also incredibly funny (as the above clip perfectly demonstrates, intentionally), offering us a view of life through a tweaker’s eyes, and the desperate pace of life which consumes them. There are more intense scenes in the film (the car scene where Brittany Murphy’s character is talking about her child, which has muddled up dialogue and a backing track of Donovan’s ‘Hurdy Gurdy Man’, is so so raw), but in terms of sheer madness: Mickey Rourke banging on about pussy patriotically is truly incredible.

#7: Dumbo – Pink Elephants on Parade (1941)

Drug involved: erm…Dumbo’s sense of isolation and loneliness? 

The earliest film on this list, Dumbo also has what is arguably the most memorable hallucination of all, something that has really stuck with me (and I’d bet about 90% of other kids who watched the film) from my early years as a Disney fan. I really didn’t like this scene at all when I was a kid, and it’s pretty obvious why not, the elephants are not there and Dumbo is imagining them. For unbridled creativity and genius, the Pink Elephants in the scene must surely win out – it’s originality is still today breathtaking.

#6: Donnie Darko – Frank (2001)

Drug involved: Donnie’s boredom and depression combine to make his mind particularly fertile ground..

Donnie’s whole life throughout the film is lived under the watchful (and incredibly eerie) eye of his best friend, a giant decaying rabbit called Frank, who definitely does not exist. Donnie is a troubled lad who doesn’t really like school, so we assume he creates a massive frightening rabbit to keep him company. After taking odd events in the film, Frank convinces Donnie that he is of great importance…A revelation which ends the film. Some imaginary friend he turns out to be…

#5: Requiem for a Dream – Harry’s promenade hallucination (2000)

Drug involved: heroin and marijuana 

Requiem For A Dream is a pretty stark look at heroin addiction, and as such is a pretty bleak affair. The much celebrated editing and cinematography of (Black Swan’s) Darren Aronofsky manages to create a constant sense of agitation, movement and struggle, while the characters live out their jokes of shattered lives in search of constant atonement for their addictions and sins. In the most famous hallucination, Harry finds himself bewildered and at the edge of a promenade, and his own sanity.

#4: Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas – Arriving at the Hotel (1998)

Drug involved: LSD 

After the initial baffling roll call of drugs the pair have took on their warped trip  (“…two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a saltshaker half-full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers… Also, a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of beer, a pint of raw ether, and two dozen amyls..”), there can be little surprise as to anything Raoul Duke and his attourney get up to in Las Vegas. Still, the scene where the fiends arrive at the hotel is memorable for many reasons, least of all Duke’s insane trip with the lizards, and finding himself “right..in the middle of a fucking..reptile zoo”. Fear & Loathing is a hilarious, light hearted look into the life of one insane writer and his friend who does anything for kicks, some much needed light-heartedness on the list.

#3: Trainspotting – Baby on the Ceiling (1996)

Drug involved: Heroin (or Methadone) 

Trainspotting is a tragic look at a group of friends who has allowed heroin to engulf their lives and control their pleasures. It’s also incredibly funny, with scenes of true friendship (albeit it, friendship that is eventually shattered) and intellectual conversation. For the most part though, it is bleak and unforgiving in it’s portrayal of heroin as a completely life-ruining entity. In the scene where Renton is suffering extreme withdrawal from Heroin, the dead baby (of his friend) who haunts his dreams literally crawls across his ceiling and spins it’s head round 360°. Soon follows a scene where Renton is visited by his chums, after the ceiling scene though, it is brought into question whether any of that actually happens.

#2: Altered States – Eddie’s first Trip (1980)

Drug involved: A mystical Mexican mushroom which is obviously based on Peyote

In Ken Russel’s 1980 film, genius scientist Eddie Jessop is not only incredibly inquisitive, but stupidly ignorant to his ridiculously dangerous sensory deprivation studies. In the above clip Jessop experiences his first ‘trip’ on the mushroom, and it blows his fucking head off. In terms of shots and techniques used, this is without doubt the most profoundly beautiful, weird, crazy, frightening and life affirming trip ever filmed, with innovative editing techniques and colourful explosions and odd noises, we enter the trip with Eddie, and it is an intense and at times unpleasant experience. There are better and more colourful hallucinations in the film, but for sheer forcefulness, his first awakening is the most memorable.

#1: Eraserhead – Lady in the Radiator (1977)

Drug involved: Henry’s sheer disgust for the world he’s found himself in helps him escape from it by creating this vision..

Henry Spencer is a bit of a tragic case in film history, a poor young lad with an immovable hair cut, who finds himself with a repulsive alien baby and a wife who has lost her mind and love for him. Plus the world he lives in is an ugly, grey decrepit one with absolutely zero prospects. One day whilst contemplating all of this he stares into the radiator and conjures up a bizarre apparition of a charming (though, unsurprisingly), horribly deformed woman who sings him a song about how ‘everything is fine’. For absolute insanity, desperation and creativity, the Lady in the Radiator HAS to be #1: on this list, though it’s never actually a confirmed hallucination – the even more disturbing thought that Henry has a tiny, disfigured woman who sings for him and lives in his radiator doesn’t bare thinking about.

7 Punk Rock songs that were ‘punk rock’ before the phrase ‘punk rock’ even existed to describe what you now think of as ‘punk rock’.

One thing music lovers will always enjoy doing is discussing the origins and traces of the music they love. And while it’s obviously easy to blabber on and on in retrospect about how ‘important’ and ‘influential’ certain artists were in crafting the music we love, in reality it is a different thing to put into practice. But yes, in the late 60’s and 70’s a bunch of outsider musicians were enduring hatred, abuse, spit and physical beatings because they believed in their music and wanted to shock and disgust people. Here is my homage to they, the unappreciated.

Boots made, presumably, for walking.

#7: The Castaways – Liar, Liar (1965)

The Castaways here, looking less like actual castaways, and more like socially rigid momma's boyz. Bless'em.

To anyone who has heard the first entry on the list, it may be a puzzle. Seemingly innocuous subject matter teamed with inoffensive and somewhat ‘hip’ mid 60’s fare. Nothing new there. But not so, ‘Liar, Liar’ is a perfect example of bands less musically inclined than the Beatles, taking their ground-breaking musical formulas and producing something entirely new, twisted and raw. If nothing else, ‘Liar, Liar’ succeeds in just that – being a mashed up and warped version of popular garage, played through a cracked speaker.

#6: The Seeds – Evil Hoodoo (1966)

Sky (presumably high) Saxon, of The Seeds

‘Evil Hoodoo’ really changed the whole process of garage rock for young bands across America. Fuzzy guitar, drawled vocals, and that (to be expected) not so polished sound, all combine to produce an early garage classic, one that’s raw and primal impact has barely dented a day in well over 40 years. Revel in the hypnotic backing vocals which don’t quite fit, the mesmeric drone and riff of all instruments crashing and cascading as one. The Seeds’ are a band who, although quite still quite forgotten by punk fans at large, hold much sway over modern punk, even if you don’t realise it, and this is the best place to start.

#5: The Stooges – Not Right (1969)

There is absolutely no way I would ever drive in a car with Iggy Pop.

Fuck ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ or ‘1969’. Not Right is where the Stooges lack of technical musicianship met their over ambitious drug consumption, and it sounds all the better for it. Drums that stop start like a rave track, Iggy moaning about girls that don’t put out, and a guitar solo that sounds like it was recorded underwater (electric current still very much passing through it’s player). What more could you possibly want?

#4: Suicide – Ghost Rider (1977) 

A caption that exists solely to put across my ineffable love for Suicide.

I take considerable license with this inclusion, but seen as Suicide had been operating in some form or other from as early as 1971, I think it’s a justified one. Ghost Rider is as frantic and deranged a two and a half minutes in music you could wish to encounter, pulsing with eerie and unpleasant synth that sounds like an air raid siren, a chirpy (but nonetheless, ominous) buzz synth blazing away above all the clattering mess. And then Alan Vega, rockabilly-alien-cyber-freak-punk Alan Vega. Screaming the truth and yelping incoherently. It is seriously the most desperate and intense 2 and a half minutes committed to tape ever, you are living a lie if you don’t check it out.

#3: The Sonics – Psycho (1965)

Of note: all their hair is dark (black/brunette), not in fact blue and spiky. They are also not hedgehogs, but that IS Dr. Eggman in the background. Oh no it's a bird.

I have to still pinch myself to this day in order to accept that ‘Here Come the Sonics’ is from 1965. It is so blisteringly raw and utterly rebellious that only listening to it can begin to put across the respect I have for it’s intense battering ram music philosophy, which funnily still sounds more extreme than anything Slayer or Megadeth have ever done. Psycho though, is a neat cut, famous for it’s awesome barrell-emptying drum beat that finishes each verse, the one which is soon followed by the most insanely frenzied yelp of ‘WOWWWW psycho!’. Wow indeed.

#2: The Velvet Underground – Run Run Run (1967)

Cale, Morrison and Reed. Looking annoyingly cool effortlessly.”] You didn’t genuinely think you could get this far into a list about proto-punk without hearing of the Velvet Underground did you? Regardless of your expectations, the VU were truly pioneers, firm and thorough in their belief of ‘trying out anything once‘. Sometimes for kicks, and sometimes with devastatingly defeatist consequences; see ‘Run Run Run’ for a summation of that zenith which punk rock apparently reached at the close of the 1970’s. It’s droning guitar, battering ram drums and esoteric lyrics were all replicated less than 10 years after it’s release, a tradition which continues to this very day, there really is no run run running from this behemoth of a track.

#1: The Monks – I Hate You (1966)

There is something inherently very cool about being in a band whose gimmick is to dress as monks. Beats the shit out of 'being cool layabout heroin addicts/welsh'.

Despite a few mainstream nods of approval (Big Lebowski, covers by The Fall, et,. al), The Monks have largely remained an unearthed monolith of a different time and era. American G.I.’s living in Germany, touring and recording, the Monks were allowed to develop, unchecked, totally independent of any scene whatsoever. Their music has such a streak of genius, as well as pure insanity and carnage that it’s hard to comprehend that they were releasing music at the same time as The Beatles were in their wetback stage of ‘We Can Work it Out’, whilst Sinatra was crooning ‘Strangers in the Night’ and twee folksters Simon and Garfunkel had coughed out  ‘The Sound of Silence’. The Monks, unabashed, crafted their debut album, an album that, even now, sounds as abrasive, self destructive, and gleefully anarchic as anything released since. The band’s one and only release ‘Black Monk Time’ is really hard to get hold of, but worth it; it truly is an astounding album, one worth checking out for any serious music fan or punk.

10 funny, enjoyable, disgusting and absolutely insane ‘video nasties’.

The Daily Mail proving they can trolololol even back in 1980

The ‘video nasties’ shitstorm of the early 80’s was largely to do with the fact that perverse film directors had dared to put some of the most graphic and gory content in their films, and often released them straight to video, selling mostly to a faithful audience who enjoyed the cult films, not, as the above article would have you believe, to young children or pregnant women or whatever else it suggested. Still, the British government was sufficiently disgusted by films like ‘Evil Dead’, ‘Driller Killer’ and ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ that they drew up a list of 39 films that contained ‘excessive gore, graphic nudity, sadistic murder and brutal death’, which would “tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it”. Not my words. Though hilariously, the convenient labeling of these films as ‘shock horror’ and ‘video nasties’ only intensified the public at larges’ will to watch them, and watch they did. Some were disgusted, but the large majority lapped up the gore and filth. Here is my top 10 Video Nasties ever. God bless Mary Whitehouse!

#10: Cannibal Apocalypse (1980)

   

The first, (and absolutely not the last) ‘Cannibal’ film on the list, Cannibal Apocalypse is basically an appalling idea, executed appallingly and filmed exceptionally appallingly. But that doesn’t stop it from being absolutely hilarious, in pretty much every way possible, as well as really endearing and enjoyable. Have you ever wondered what a film would be like, if it was a cross between powerful drama ‘The Deer Hunter’, and gore-fest ‘Dawn of the Dead’ ? You haven’t? Well, oddly enough, Italian director Antonio Margheriti dared to dream what it would be like, and came up this obscure hilarious gem, about ex-POW’s with a craving for ‘forbidden meat’, probably most famous for a horrible scene of a live rat being torched with a flamethrower…Particularly nasty.

#9:  Nightmares in a Damaged Brain (1981)

‘Nightmares’  is an odd and enjoyable film with an incredibly violent and gritty undercurrent, similar to that of Taxi Driver. It’s a gory and brutal trip into an insane man’s world, full of disgusting murders, insane halucinations and violent rampages. Our protagonist, George, is a criminally insane member of a grotty asylum, a place he has lived since as long as he can remember. On his release, he embarks on a hilarious and outrageously violent rampage of sex, death and hardcore drugs. Heading back to his provincial home, Florida, George attempts to mess with a family who are mysteriously linked to him, but comes across a major hurdle along the way…

#8: Deep River Savages (1972) 

I couldn't even find an actual picture of the film that wasn't utterly disgusting. Says something huh..!

I’m not majorly up on  ‘cannibal movie history’, (though some people think I love cannibal films – I don’t massively), I am sure this has to be one of the first ‘cannibal horrors’ out there. But at number 8 is ‘Deep River Savages’ (it has so many alternative names I can’t keep up with them), a strange and gore-ridden adaptation of Richard Harris classic ‘A Man Called Horse’. In it, much like the aforementioned ‘Horse’ a man is taken prisoner by an uncivilised tribe, where he becomes accustomed to their bizarre and oddly disgusting way of life. He witnesses the cannibals munching their enemy tribe, and an absolutely abhorrent (Really, it is … unspeakably cruel, bad, poor taste and whatever else you would wish to call it) scene of animal torture. Call it what you will, but at least DRS has a storyline, one which has a cheerfully upbeat and chirpy ending; our main character joining the tribe and being accepted. Aw. 

#7: Zombi II (1979)  

I’ve said it before, and no doubt will say it again (in this blog, no less!), I love Zombie Flesh Eaters. It’s disgusting and extremely graphic take on ‘zombies take over’ is not only really well done (budget; be damned!) but weirdly believable as well. Probably best known for it’s absolutely ridiculous set-piece scene of a zombie wrestling and chowing down on a shark, the film is still revered by gore fans for it’s unbelievably sordid scene of an eyeball being slowly cut in half by a big lump of jagged wood, a scene that is still really gross to this day. Ew…

#6: The Driller Killer (1979) 

It’s odd really that I would love Driller Killer, because, seemingly, it is a pretty shitty film. As a horror film, it can be viewed as a completely nihilistic excursion into one man’s life collapsing around him, using his power drill as a sadistic item to kill his victims. On another level, like that of ‘Nightmares’, it is a pretty interesting view of late 70’s New York, featuring flagship No-Wave club “CBGB’s”, as well as a pretty rocking punk soundtrack, Driller Killer is a story of urban decay, creative block and a society whose turned it’s back on the lower class.  It’s also uh…Really violent.

#5: Island of Death (1977) 

UH OH!....No no no Bob!

A very subversive film, Island of Death sets up the classic horror pitch, a sexed-up couple on holiday, some fairly odd wrinkled locals who don’t like their behaviour, and then smashes it into pieces. The sexed-up couple are the killers, and they are as sadistic, brutal and violent as you could ever (not) hope to meet. Killers who also don’t mind shagging a sheep or two, using a ‘lynx flamethrower’ to torch a woman’s face, and feel pretty alright about committing some insane scenes of torture. ‘Island’ is clever, but only because of it’s main premise, after a while the violence becomes so excessive, so torturous, and so grim, that it’s almost a labour to trundle through it. Still though, if ever a film deserved a place on the ‘nasties’ list, this is it, being one of the most disgusting I’ve ever seen, something which doesn’t necessarily make it the best either.

 #4:  Living Dead of Manchester Morgue (1974) 

Some could see this as an example of historical interest (the only video nasty to be filmed and set IN England), but I see it as a really excellent zombie flick, with just a bit more than the usual horrific gore. Topical in it’s name check of the Manson copycats murdering and eating innocents (long haired freaks amok in Britain! Woo yeah!), who actually turn out to be sociopathic and violent zombies. It’s great, mainly for it’s hilarious DIY ethics, but also for it’s inventive storyline, which, surprisingly for a nasty, is not completely shit and contrived. 

#3: The Evil Dead (1981)

Another film I have previously stated my love of (albeit it, ‘Dead 2), Evil Dead is without doubt the most famous of the video nasties, and with good reason, it’s bloody shots of ‘sexed teens in wood cabin’ is influential to this day. Though it is without doubt my favourite film off this list in it’s own right, it is definitely not the definitive video nasty, the film that sums up the craze and sense of moral panic surrounding them, perhaps because of it’s sense of humour, it’s scenes of intense violence that are so crazed and insane they become hilarious; see ‘pencil stabbing ankle’ for reference.

#2:  Blood Feast (1963)

It’s ironic that the oldest film on this list survived nearly 20 years to make the cut for ‘video nasties’ status. But it did, and that is absolutely nothing more and nothing less than a testament to it’s skill in completely perverse violence, shockingly inventive scenes of brutality and torture, as well as the much needed element of slapstick (or is that ‘splatstick’ ?). Herschell Gordon Lewis is known as the Godfather of Gore, and it is because of this movie alone that he gained that notoriety, his genius shots of cheap blood and absolutely shocking acting coupled with awfully camp music (which he composed himself) and unbelievably convoluted plot remain to this day in circles of lo-fi DIY cinema, Blood Feast is set around a crazed chef who is preparing an ancient Egyptian feast for some snooty party guests, yet the meat he needs is far harder to gain than the average rump steak…

(NB: Recommended ‘Gore Gore Girls’, and ‘Wizard of Gore’, other Herschell flicks that need to be seen to be believed)

#1: Cannibal Holocaust (1980) 

Could there ever be another film at the top of the ‘video nasties’ list, but Cannibal Holocaust? Realistically, it is the film that sumarised the public outrage and sense of moral panic regarding the video nasties list best. It’s notoriety was passed on through word of mouth, and Holocaust really is a truly disturbing and realistic film that has scenes of absolute unrelenting violence, vile scenes of (real life) animal torture, graphic nudity, and a plot that is extremely influential to this day (giving the ‘found footage’ genre it’s name and it’s calling card film). Holocaust is still shocking to this day, and there won’t be a time in the near future where it won’t be. Dazzlingly realistic effects (which called into question the legitimacy of half the films death scenes, giving rise to it’s cult status as a true ‘snuff’ film) along with director Deodato’s singular vision for realism (allegedly, he devised a contract for actors in the film who had died to ‘disappear’ for real for over a year) cascade in one brilliantly brutal, (at times) unwatchable, violent intense and definitely  sickening film, but an undeniable classic. Cannibal Holocaust is a worthy winner, and there is little wonder it’s the most infamous Video Nasty of all time.