My Love of the Scary Movie and my Top 10!

It’s coming on Halloween, and if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll already know I’ve been sharing some of my old OLD posts on a few of my favourite scary movies. And if you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll have seen some of my random mentions of scary films as and when I watch them.

To get in the mood, a few weeks back we watched a movie called Trick ‘r Treat. I had never heard of it, but it was featuring as a scare zone at Orlando’s Universal Halloween Horror Nights, and the character Sam looked kinda cute for a scary sack headed ghoul, so we found it and watched it. For a movie that was released straight to DVD 2 years after it was finished, I was actually really impressed. It was scary enough, enjoyable and had a nice comic-book feel to it. I’d recommend it if you haven’t heard of it.

But I thought I’d share some of my favourites, whether they’ve been mentioned previously or not. And by favourites, I mean the ones that stuck with me, and I would watch more than once. Here’s my top 10 in order!

10: The Shining

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I’ve seen this film so many times, that I wouldn’t even call it a horror film now. It’s just a work of art. Scary, violent, messed up it is, but it’s visually incredible and Jack Nicholson is epic. I tried to read the book, but just like Joey, I put it in the metaphorical freezer years ago and never took it back out. Maybe I’ll go back to it one day. If you haven’t seen this, and you like scary films, this Halloween make it a must-see.

9: The Gallows

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This movie surprised me. As a big fan of found footage films, I was really surprised by how good this was. The scares were effective and there were enough twists and turns to keep me interested.

8: The Fog

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As a child growing up with a massive Hammer Horror fan (my Dad) I was exposed to some very bad, and then some very good scary films. John Carpenter’s The Fog (not the remake please) was one of them and I’m not ashamed to admit that the end brought me out in a cold sweat on more than one occasion. What I love about John Carpenter’s films was not just the ability to make a fricking fantastic horror film, but also how he composed and used the music almost as a character in itself. I just have to think about his films to hear the score in my mind. Having stood on the very shore that inspired this story, on a dark misty night not too long ago, I can honestly say this film is one that stays with you.

7: Halloween

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Another John Carpenter film, you can have Halloween films without Halloween itself, and it’s sequel (we don’t need to talk about the other sequels really) Adequately frightening and creepy, this is the paradigm of films about Halloween and is a great place to start if you’re wanting a classic scary movie fest this October 31st.

6: It Follows

This movie has such a retro feel, so much so that you’re never really sure when it’s set, but can only assume it’s present day based on some of the technology used. The music, costumes and sets are so ‘of an era’ – and this isn’t even mentioning the storyline. You can read my full review here, if you’d like to know more.

5: Ghost Watch

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Not strictly a film, but it’s made the list anyway. This BBC drama caused such a kerfuffle it was actually banned. Due to its style of filming and use of well-known presenters at the time, people actually thought this was a real event. Based on the Enfield Haunting (which was the inspiration for The Conjuring 2) Ghost Watch has inspired so many films after it (The Blair Witch Project to name one), is used as a case study in film schools and still has a cult following. I can honestly say it’s one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen, and the effects and technology used in it are so impressive for its time. Watch it, then research it to find out why it caused so much drama.

4: Grave Encounters

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I really bloody loved these films. There’s only two but I secrectly hope there’s a third. Again this is found footage, but it really pulls inspiration from other places (but not in a copycat type way) and offers scares and weirdness in a way I just liked. Read my full review here.

3: The Blair Witch Project

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You may have seen my recent review of this film and it’s sequel (I’m going to just forget that The Blair Witch Project: Book of Shadows ever happened) so you can head there for a full review. But this movie marked a change in scary films. Using found footage, which was never mainstream before, and also the brand new power of the internet, they created a cult following even before release. And the film didn’t disappoint. To this day I still get chills watching the last shot of The Blair Witch Project.

2: Paranormal Activity

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If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know I’m a fan of these films. I don’t understand why people trash them. Yes, the last one was VERY bad, but when you’ve invested in the others you kind of have to include it. The first one was epic and covered found-footage ground in a way that had never been done before. Some of the effects in the first 3 were pretty epic – gobsmacking in fact. Even the spin-off movie ‘The Marked Ones’ was REALLY good and towards the end literally made me gasp in the cinema when I realised what was happening. I guess I know the films really well, and I was pretty much the only one who realised what was going on, BUT still. I honestly think they’re worth the investment in time. And they made it to my number 2!

1: Scream

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This film was made for my generation, it was the first 18 film I ever watched and will always hold a special place in my heart. Unfortunately, parody films have pretty much ruined if for any generation afterwards, so there’s that. But I’m a staunch fan and will always be! I wrote a review of the first 3 films ahead of the 4th being released, back in 2011 which you can find here if you’d like to read it.

And that’s my top 10! Of course I have many many more I’d love to include, and I hope I find more in the years to come, which knock others off the list. But until then, if you’re looking for some scary film recommendations I’d go with this list!

Let me know if you have others in your top 10 or if you watch any of these on my recommendation, let me know what you think! Just don’t have nightmares!

 

 

Jurassic Park In Concert

A couple of weeks ago Gary and I went to The Royal Albert Hall to see Jurassic Park In Concert.

As huge fans of the film it was great to go to this venue and see John Williams’ score performed by a live orchestra.

We’d been to a few similar events previously (Back to the Future, Pixar, Brief Encounter) so knew what to expect, but I’d forgotten we’d got box tickets which was a nice surprise.

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At events like this it’s easy to forget the orchestra are playing alongside the film, and I really think that’s a compliment to the orchestra, since you totally forget that something unusual is happening and that the music is coming from people actually playing in front of you.

The music to Jurassic Park is so classic and impactful that it was really nice to sit and watch them play. Lovely to focus on parts of the music I like in particular and see the different sections making the sounds I’m so familiar with!

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I love seeing musical performances at RAH and always love having a good look at the discs on the ceiling, which I like to call smarties. They’re to aid the acoustics but I think they just look so pretty! I actually performed at the Royal Albert Hall in a choir singing Carmina Burana, as a child, so it has a special place in my heart!

It was a really lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon, and I managed to get some wear out of my Jurassic Park t-shirt from Universal Studios 😀

Secret Cinema: Dirty Dancing

 

Way way back in July, I attended my second Secret Cinema event. This time was to see Dirty Dancing, and continuing my tradition, I vowed not to post a blog about it until Secret Cinema uploaded their video.

Finally, months later they’ve done it! So first of all if you want to watch their video of the event you can see it here:

And if you can watch that all the way to the end and not feel excited and uplifted then you’re dead inside.

The first Secret Cinema experience I’d had was seeing Back to The Future, and that was massively impressive. This was slightly less so, but still awesome.

I don’t know whether it was because I had so much going on in my life, but I didn’t really involve myself in the prep for this event as much as I’d done previously. But I still rocked my costume:

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With all Secret Cinema events, phones and cameras are banned so I didn’t take photos but you can get the atmosphere from the video. Everyone was getting involved with dance classes, volley ball and the talent show. There were different booths and areas to go and visit and characters from the movie were walking around.

The movie was shown and despite the sound not being great everyone was really into it, clapping, whooping, dancing and singing.

It was a great night and I can’t wait to see what else Secret Cinema have planned!

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Bank Holiday Fun-ness!

I love Bank Holidays, but the late August bank holiday is always tinged with a little sadness since it’s the last one before Christmas. For some reason we have a load of bank holidays all shoved together meaning you really miss them when they’re gone.

Thankfully we saw the last of the summer holidays off with a packed weekend of fun stuff.

On Friday evening we packed up our camping chairs and headed off to Waddesdon Manor for an evening of open air cinema. Part of the Luna Cinema festival, they were showing Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet, with the manor house as a lovely atmospheric background.

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It was a lovely set up. Small, but cosy. They promised food suppliers but when we got there it was just one pizza stand and a bar opposite. The line for pizza was pretty long. We got our food about 20 mins before the show was due to start, and I knew the people at the end of the line at that point would still be waiting for their food as the movie started. It was lovely to see the film in that setting. The trees surrounding the grounds helped bounce the sound around us, and it made Craig Armstrong’s score all the more stunning.

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As the sun went down it got pretty chilly and we were kind of envious of all those with blankets!

It was a really lovely evening though, and I’d love to come back and have a look around the gardens again. I’ve probably missed the season by now, so maybe next year.

Saturday was relaxed. We did a little shopping we needed to do, after a nice Starbucks breakfast. Then headed home, and watched Aladdin (we’re still working through Disney films to see before we head to Florida) and Hocus Pocus. I’d never seen either of these films before and enjoyed them both!

Sunday we had a nice lie in and then headed off for Sunday lunch with my family. My sister and her family have just returned from an amazing holiday in California and Mexico. It was so exciting to hear all about Disneyland and their resort in Mexico. They also brought back some gifts. They got me a California Adventure You Are Here mug from Starbucks, and a really pretty Disney Swarovski bangle, which I pretty much never want to take off!

Then Sunday evening we headed off to MK11 to see the Hot 8 Brass Band play. We’d seen them before last year in Brighton and were so excited to hear they were playing so close to our home, so snapped up tickets right away.

As well as bumping into a friend I hadn’t seen in ages, the gig was awesome. We danced from start to end, and Hot 8 never fail to put on a show!

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That brings up to Monday. Monday was reserved for catching up on blogging, chores and having a good old relax. There may have been some more Disney films dropped in for good measure!

So despite it being the last bank holiday for a while, it was a pretty good one!

What did you get up to?

Jurassic World 4DX

Today is Musings of a So-Called Shutterbug’s 6th birthday! Thank you to all those who follow, comment and share. If you’ve been following Shutterbug for all 6 of those years then you deserve a treat today!

On Saturday evening Gary and I headed to the XScape building in Milton Keynes and to the newly refurbished Cineworld cinema.

We were off to see the eagerly anticipated Jurassic World – in 4DX. If you don’t know what 4DX is then I’ll tell you – you watch the movie in 3D where available, on special seats which move appropriately to the movie. There are lights, fog, water, smell and air to experience too. I knew this would be the perfect movie to try out 4DX for the first time, but I was a little nervous for some reason. Probably nervous excitement! Milton Keynes is home to the country’s only 4DX cinema, and we’re very lucky to live on the doorstep.

If you haven’t seen Jurassic World yet or experienced 4DX and don’t want to be spoiled, it’s probably best that you don’t read on. But do come back once you have, and let me know what you thought!

So entering the screen, you could see there were less seats than in a normal cinema screen. In rows of about 8-12 seats, but these were in blocks of 4. The seats are ergonomic and high off the ground, with foot rests. There’s enough space in front of your seat and the one in front that people can walk through your row without you having to get up or move to let them past. On your arm rest there’s a button stating ‘water on’ ‘water off’. I chose to leave water on 😀

The trailers started and I’d hoped we would experience a 4DX trailer to acclimatise us to the feel. And I wasn’t disappointed. Our trailer was for the new Terminator movie, not my cup of tea, but I loved feeling the seats tip forward, side to side, flashes to the sides of the auditorium, air from behind and in front and under the seat by the legs.

I couldn’t wait for the film to start. What surprised me from the beginning was the 4DX experience was all the way through, not just in certain action parts. When you’re introduced to the family at the start it’s snowing and there’s snow on the ground. You feel icy air all around you as if you’re there. The kids get on a boat and your seats move as if you’re on water, with a fresh sea breeze on your face. It’s incredible. Fast moving chases fling you around as if you’re being chased. The island, when you’re first introduced to it SMELLED GOOD. It was like being on the best ride, because it lasted the length of the film. Discussing with Gary, I discovered I experience more, as I was wearing a sleeveless dress so in certain parts I experienced things on my arms and legs that he didn’t. The water parts were fantastic (you don’t get soaked) and you could tell every effect had been thought through to complement the film.

I’ll stop talking 4DX now and talk about the film, but I’m so glad I saw the movie in this way. I genuinely want to experience it again, and it’s worth the extra few pounds.

So the movie; first of all fans of the original score won’t be disappointed. The important themes and phrases are in there and the new score is in keeping with the old, but new enough. During the film there are also massive references to the original movie, in a nostalgic and respectful way, which I really enjoyed.

The movie story and execution is brilliant from start to end, with nothing confusing or irrelevant. There’s masses of product placement but I guess that should be overlooked because of what the film is, you kind of have to expect it. (Starbucks, anyone?)

Most importantly, Jurassic World was in keeping with the other movies. In my opinion it’s up to the standard of the first and is no disappointment. I was fully immersed in this film, whether or not this was due to 4DX, I don’t know. All I’d say is if you don’t know whether to see it – go! See it in 3D or 4DX if you can, but if you liked the original, you’ll love this!

If you’ve seen the movie and/or experienced 4DX I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Unfriended

If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know I’m a fan of scary movies, and most recently found footage movies. I saw the trailer for Unfriended not so long ago. I think it was called something else at the time – it seems to have gone through a few title changes before its release. Either way it looked intriguing. I’m not sure whether I realised the format it would take at that time, but after seeing the final cut I was not disappointed.

If you’re yet to watch this movie, I’d suggest not reading this blog yet. Maybe come back afterwards.

Have they all gone?…. Right I’ll begin.

The whole movie is viewed from the desktop of a Mac – the whole thing. Windows, screens, tabs, apps – that’s all you see. The story focusses on a circle of friends who lost one of their group a year earlier when she took her own life. This event was spurred on by a video of her, drunk and not in control of her own body, at a party. The video brought on a lot of hateful messages from her peers and she couldn’t take it. So back at present day, this group of friends are having a Skype chat and there’s an intruder on the call – just a blue silhouette avatar. And then the girl whose computer your viewing, Blaire, starts getting messages from the dead girl’s Facebook account. Creepiness ensues.

There are some great intense and very creepy moments in this movie. There are also some gratuitously gory moments, but these are fleeting, effective and then they’re gone. At just 83 minutes, you can see how they may need to create a super intense atmosphere, but in this format it works. There are some funny bits, some sexy bits and some downright scary bits. There’s a lot of product placement but then I guess there had to be. And if you’re not familiar with the workings if a Mac then you might see this as an educational experience too! Apparently the whole film was shot in one cut – if this is true (and it’s certainly possible) then that’s very impressive. I guess all of the desktop graphics will have been tweaked in post production.

I can’t wait to watch this movie again. It fits right in with Paranormal Activity and Grave Encounters on my shelf of scary movies that work. It was bang up to date, not over the top and didn’t come over as stupid. It was as clever as it needed to be, and was enough to make the girls sat in front of me in the theatre get up and leave just as the intensity ramped up.

I went in with no preconceptions and I hope you can do that to, should you choose to watch this. It doesn’t leave you thinking about it or wondering how ‘this’ happened or why ‘that’ happened. It is what it is. And I really liked that about it.

My Week and Cool Stuff

Since my last ‘what I have been doing’ blog, I haven’t really been up to much! I worked the whole of last weekend, so I had two days off during the week. I spent it cleaning and tidying and today I had an interview. I’m job hunting again so that when my contract ends I have a job to go to!

In between the weather has picked up. It’s no longer so freezing cold you need to wear 18 layers. Yes, it’s still coat weather but it’s humid and occasionally warm. It’s rainy but I’ll take that over the cold – after all it is April!

Cool news though; Gary and I have got tickets to An Evening with Al Pacino at the London Palladium in June!! It’s an evening with the man himself talking about his career and answering questions. I’m not sure I’m ready to be in the same room as that much Cool, but I’ve got some time to prepare myself! I’m super excited.

Also, remember I mentioned one of my favourite blogs ‘Movies of Myself’, written by my friend Beckie? Well she got married recently and her wedding was featured on a blog called ‘When Geeks Wed‘. Go take a look at the amazing details she managed to put into her wedding! She even decided to fit into her theme a metal ‘Love’ sign I sent her a few years ago, which is featured in one of the photos (and I am so touched by).

I have some time off coming up and have a few things planned for it. Mostly trips with friends, but I want to get on top of organising the house and taking some photos too! And some serious me time 🙂 I’m also kinda hoping that the weather will have settled in by then so I can spend some time outside and get me some much-needed sun vitamins! We might go and see Finding Nemo in 3D at the weekend too!

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Lights and Pi

It seems that whenever I have a week off work, I get a cold. And this time was no exception. This is the kind of cold that keeps you up at night, and leaves your nose sore and crusty- nice! So I feel pretty rubbish. But I was determined to not let it ruin our planned day to London yesterday, so I sucked it up, packed lots of tissues and wrapped up warm.

We headed off fairly early because we had a full day of things we wanted to do. First we headed to Stratford Westfield shopping centre for some retail therapy. I got a few great bargains. We popped into Hobbs because I love their NW3 range and they had a sale on – I got a lovely little silk top that I’d seen before at full price but got it for half off, and also a pair of brown leather gloves which were also discounted and kept my hands warm all day! We also went into the Victoria’s Secret which has opened there. I’d never been into one before, and my impression is that it’s fairly tacky – no better than La Senza and much more expensive. Most of the stuff is made from manmade fabric. I bought a cami and pants set, but they’re made from Modal. Kept me warm last night but I had to remove the labels inside because they had stuck a very rough ‘keep away from fire’ sticker onto the care label which was scratchy. I think I’ll stick to Boux Avenue for my undies! We had lunch at a Chinese street food place and then headed off to the Southbank.

A while back we had seen a poster for Light Show at Hayward Gallery and really wanted to go. The whole show was light installations which did various things. Some sparkly, some moved and created shadows, some used lasers and mist or strobes. One in particular was called Exploded View (commuters) and was a ‘box’ of little lights on strings. It was suspended from the ceiling and we were queuing around it for about 10 mins while we waited to go into another room. At certain angles the lights just looked like they were blinking, but as you watched it, you could start to see images moving in it. I’ve found a video on YouTube but it’s not really that great (you weren’t allowed photography or video in the gallery) but here it is anyway! I think this was my favourite piece.

After the gallery we headed to Leicester Square. At this point I should probably mention that I have finished reading Life of Pi, and I found it amazing. As you know I really struggled with this book for at least the first quarter, but by the end I couldn’t put it down. So I immediately wanted to watch the film. We found that it was still showing in a few cinemas in 3D and one of them was the Empire in Leicester Square, so we headed there and booked tickets for the next showing. With some time to kill we popped into Bubbleology for a bubble tea and then went back to watch the movie. What a show it was.

First of all I’m not a great fan of 3D for the sake of 3D. I find it works for CG films like Pixar, but I don’t really like the real life ones. This film WORKED in 3D. It was visually stunning and I felt, at points, as if I could have reached out and touched the animals. The film stays fairly close to the book, it doesn’t miss anything majorly important and anything it adds is to make the story more relevent as a movie. I loved it. It makes me want to buy a 3D tv! But I know without the 3D element the movie stood up – beautiful to look at and the story was capture really well.

After the movie we popped to Ed’s Diner for a quick dinner and by then I was feeling so rough that we needed to head home. I woke this morning knowing I’d overdone it yesterday, but it was worth it. Our car is in to be fixed today anyway so I stayed in my PJs and moaned a lot. I hope I feel better tomorrow so I can carry on enjoying my holiday and get my hair cut! That should make me feel better 🙂
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Sometimes they’re bad, sometimes they’re good

I love movies, and try and watch them as much as I have time for. I don’t have enough dosh to go to the cinema as much as I’d like. When I was about 17 me and a friend used to go to the cinema every Tuesday and just watch whatever was on. (That’s how I ended up seeing Zoolander….. urgh!)

Anyway, we recently acquired some vouchers for free rentals at Blockbuster and so we decided to take advantage of those. We saw two movies last weekend and one this weekend.

Last Friday night we watched Knowing. It’s got Nicolas Cage in it. The only movie I’ve ever really liked him in was Bringing Out The Dead. That stuck with this movie too. It was a bit rubbish imo. Very loose plot lines stuck together with sticky tape. Some great special effects of disasters though. But. anyone who knows me well will know I hate movies that change genre half way through. I hate when you think you’re watching sci-fi and it changes to supernatural. I hate when it’s realistic and they change it to something so out there at the end. I felt that way about The Green Mile and White Noise too. So I felt it was all a bit strange with this movie.

Then on Saturday we watched Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. I really enjoyed this one. It had some funky music and it was filmed well. I really like the actors anyway. Although there was too much throwing up (I have a severe phobia to vomit, fake or real) which means I probably will never watch it again. But it had that nice arty independent feel to it. I would like to see Michael Cera in another kind of film though.

And so we reach last night. We rented Let The Right One In. For those who haven’t heard of it, it’s a Swedish horror movie about a young boy living in the 80’s who befriends his young female neighbour. She just so happens to be a vampire. (Now I will add here, this has nothing to do with my Twilight obsession. This movie intrigued me a long while ago.) It’s based on a book, and shot in Swedish and shown with English subtitles. It’s dark, arty and the music is beautiful. It’s more a romantic film with a bit of horror spliced into it. If you found the beauty in Pan’s Labyrinth then you’ll find it in this movie too. The young actors are incredible. It’s amazing you can look at the face of a young girl with blood pouring from her eyes and hair line, and think she’s beautiful, but you do! I think it’s a dvd I’ll be buying soon!

So what’s next? Well, as a birthday treat next weekend I shall be going to see The Time Traveler’s Wife with my husband. It’s one of my all time favourite books and I’m looking forward to seeing how it’s translated onto screen, though I won’t have my expectations too high!

I just have to work out how to wait for New Moon…….. 😀