Thursday, December 22, 2011

AMERICAN HORROR STORY'S TATE LANGDON: THE REPLACEMENT FOR EDWARD CULLEN?

This is my first and final warning. This article will contain mild spoilers about the show American Horror Story and it's intriguing character "Tate". I will do my very best not to spoil plot lines in the show, but I will be spoiling some of the despicable things that his character has committed over the course of this show. So please. If you don't want to know, don't continue reading this article. ~BJ-C
Last night wrapped up the first season of Ryan Murphy's newest addiction worthy show, American Horror Story.  A few articles ago, I spoke very highly of the new series and marked it as the show that may have saved horror themed television series.  The Golden Globe nominated series has been a thrill ride every week and deserves all of the praise it has been receiving.  The character that seems to have taken the world by storm, however, is Evan Peters' portrayal of every teenager's heartthrob ghost, Tate.  Now, I'll be honest with you when I say I was totally a Tate fan-girl at the beginning.  Evan Peters is a total babe and his character was so evil and yet remarkably charming.  He has the surfer hair with the "boy next door" looks encompassed by a sense of danger.  Although a total bad ass, he's extremely romantic and seems to know exactly what to say at all the right moments.  What girl under the age of 25 wouldn't be cast under his spell? 
 The relationship between Tate and living girl, Violet became the newest fictional couple to be "shipped" all over the internet and was given the name "Violate".  If you just type "violate" or "tate langdon" on the tumblr search bar, you'll be bombarded with hundreds of thousands of images of the two that have been created by fans of the show.  Okay, so he had a couple of selfless acts, he got her a flower, told her he loved her, and protected her a bit.  That's really endearing and I will not take that away from him.  He really did genuinely care about the girl and it was actually sort of nice to see a character trying so hard to make someone else happy. But...
 
This is a huge but here, let's be honest when I say this...he's a fucking psychopath.  To quote the character directly "In 1994 I set my mom's boyfriend on fire and then I shot fifteen kids at Westfield High. I murdered the gay couple who lived here before you and I raped your wife".  Wow.  Let's add that up to the fact he's a compulsive liar, manipulative, let the demon in the basement tear apart a girl's face, almost killed a kid who had been there for one night because Violet made eyes at him, and talks shit to his mother?  Wow.  This is marriage material right here.  Yet all it takes is for him to let the water works flow and to stammer out an "I love you" and girls everywhere are dropping their panties. 
Are you fucking kidding me?  This kid is a psychotic nut job and yet he just needs to pout his lips and suddenly all is forgiven.  I have been doing a bit of trolling on the fandom message boards just to find out what the hell these girls are thinking, and the results are quite horrifying.  "He’s twisted, he’s an imbecile for what he has done. But are we perfect? You are hiding yourself behind a grey face [this means posted anonymously]. I can easily say that you are a coward. I can say that I had my ”fucked up” boyfriends. And I haven’t said that “if treats me ok I’ll love him” No. I said that I love his way of loving Violet. There is difference."  But are we perfect?! I'm sorry. I'm not perfect in the slightest but I'm also not running around raping my girlfriend's mother or shooting up the school.  You can love someone as much as you want, but if you're a bad person...you're a bad person. No amount of compassion you show towards another person will ever change that.  Oh! Oh! But he loves her sooo much and he protects her! Yeah, so does the police department, but I'm not writing fanfics about that, now am I?
"I think you can tell Tate has changed though, because he asks Gabe not to look at him when he was about to kill him, and he wasn’t killing him to hurt anyone, he was doing it to make Violet happy. Which is sick and twisted, but so adorable and cute. Idk man, I just hope that Violet in the next series gets to see the difference in Tate, and that her Dad tells her that he accepts what he has done." Wait, what?  Does this girl realize that she's essentially saying that she would accept people like The Columbine Shooters, or The men who killed Matthew Shepard or I don't know, PEOPLE WHO RAPE THEIR GIRLFRIEND'S MOMS because "they've changed?" This is just demented. Sick. And. Demented.
I blame Edward Cullen for this.  That god damn franchise made it okay for girls to "fall in love" with complete lunatics and society made it cool for women to worship the grounds of men who deserve prison time.  At least Violet had the mind to leave his crazy ass, even in the afterlife.  
/endrant.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

THE HAMMER VAULT: MARCUS HEARN RELEASES THE THIRD HAMMER HORROR MASTERPIECE



As a self professed book nerd with a penchant for one day transforming my living quarters into the poor man's horror version of Urban Outfitters, I LOVE coffee table books.  Over the past few years, I've been privileged enough to get my carny sized hands on plenty of horror goodies, but absolutely NOTHING compares to the beauty and sophistication of Marcus Hearn's series of books centered around The Hammer Horror franchise.  The first book, Hammer Glamour acted as a bit of an encyclopedia for the ladies of Hammer Horror films. The second book, The Art of Hammer was a portfolio of all of the iconic poster art throughout the years of Hammer films.  Now we are presented with The Hammer Vault, 176 stunning pages of history surrounding the legacy of Hammer Horror films, then and now.  We are given an inside view of some of our most cherished and favored films of yesteryear, as well as some little known favorites that may have left our brains.  To say that this book is breathtaking is an understatement.  I should expect no less from this series, but my God, this book is gorgeous.  

This isn't to act as a definitive encyclopedia on Hammer Horror, but it was written by the official Hammer Films Historian, Marcus Hearn.  This book showcases hundreds of posters, props, scripts, publicity materials, never-used poster art, photographs, letters, and production images from more than 80 films.  Hearn includes historical text along with all of the images giving the reader a little insight to what the production was like on the film, and attempts to shed some light on the groundbreaking and memorable films.  While many may not particularly enjoy hearing the trials and tribulations of how the production went, I find that information to be fascinating.  We often overlook what goes on behind the camera, and having a better knowledge of the production can help us appreciate the final product so much more.  If that doesn't sell you, maybe the pages from Peter Cushing's scrapbook will do the trick...

What I find myself most impressed by is the variety of the films included in the book.  Hearn didn't focus primarily on the years of using Playboy models as their actresses, but they focused on the transgression of the company as a whole.  Let Me In is even included as well as the Daniel Radcliffe starring remake of The Woman in Black.  When I say that this book covers it all, I mean it.  The book is truly a one of a kind gem and perfect for any horror lover.  If you enjoy Hammer films, this book is a must have. 



Saturday, December 17, 2011

BLACK CHRISTMAS: KEEPING THE FEAR DURING THE CHEERIEST TIME OF THE YEAR

I'm definitely going out on a limb when I make this confession, but I didn't see the original Black Christmas until about three years ago.  In my defense, I was only eighteen years old...and not Canadian.  Black Christmas isn't exactly a film that is just sitting around suburban video rental stores screaming "WATCH ME!".  I was only able to finally experience the film that ignited the flame of the horror movie fanatic's obsession with slasher films when I was given a copy of the DVD as a gift.  As the holiday season begins to rear it's ugly, LED blinking head, Day of the Woman is going to shine a divine light on a film that often goes overlooked.

What first attracted me to the film was the simple, yet believable storyline.  In typical horror fashion, the story is centered around some drunk and horny college kids disobeying Mom & Dad.  Things are only a little strange when the kids start receiving calls from a deranged caller making graphic, sexually inappropriate statements.  Now, what we tend to forget is that this film took place in the 1970's, a time when caller ID and *67 didn't exist.  They were still using rotary phones for God's sake.  Bart Simpson would have had a field day back in the 70's.  Since there was no way for anyone to tell who was calling, it made it even more horrifying to discover the calls were coming from inside the house.  Caller ID or not, knowing someone is in the house and screwing with you...is scarier than one would think.

Maybe it was just the filming styles of the 1970's, but the coloring of the film really added to the irk of it all.  I mean that literally.  Horror films in the 1970's didn't have these bright and vibrant CGI colorings the way horror films do now.  It had a very bleak and depressing feel even when the scary moments weren't happening. Bob Clark used a hell of a lot of interesting camera angles including the "point of view" shot which allowed audiences to see the world from the view of the psychopath, and added an element of danger towards the unsuspecting victims.  This concept was relatively new for slasher films and gave a claustrophobic feel.  To put it simply, this film created some of the horror staples that are executed in all horror subgenres today.

The ballsiest move was perhaps having the film take place around the holiday season.  When we think of films like Halloween, we expect to be scared.  It's the night of monsters and ghouls, if we're not scared, we're not doing it right.  However, Christmas is intended to be the polar opposite.  We're supposed to be cheerful, and covered in snow, and opening presents, and getting drunk because our parents ridicule us over family dinners, and watching 24 hour marathons of Bob Clark's other film.  We're not supposed to be hacked off one by one.  Throwing the audience completely out of their comfort zone only added to horror the audience would sit through.  This "fish out of water" concept helped pave the way for other slasher staples.  Putting gruesome occurrences in seemingly happy environments (babysitting, summer camps, school dances etc. etc.) became the most demanded situations for slasher films, and Black Christmas is what started it all. 

The most obvious of the slasher staple, is the female power shot.  While Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street may have brought us the "final girls", Black Christmas is gushing with feminist overtones.  The film takes place in a sorority house and exposes the status struggle between sorority sisters.  Each of the characters represent a different type of woman in the 1970's and the film showcases these women that were often seen as rebellious during their time.  Olivia Hussey's portrayal of Jessica followed the VERY controversial topic of having an abortion.  Showing a woman making such a strong decision based on what was right for her body was almost unheard of at the time. The undertones of Jessica's abortion along with religious subtexts dealing with abortion vs. immaculate conception could take an entire novel's worth of analysis, but make sure the next time you watch the film, you look out for it.  Okay, okay.  Moving on.  Margot Kidder's Barbie, is the overtly sexual party girl that represented the women of the 1970's that were finally liberating themselves sexually and taking control of their sex life.  Women were actually enjoying sex and enjoying it for themselves, rather than for male satisfaction only.  Barbie was essentially one of the first "party girls" and she was one of the first female characters to be proud of her sexuality and paved the way for the horror archetype.  Clare, the "powerslut" to say the least, was the first one to admit about her sexual conquests and also the first one to bite the dust.  Thus ushering in the "sluts die first" rule that horror films have taken such a liking to.  To contrast, Andrea Martin's Phyllis was the innocent intellectual who inspired much of the characteristics of the modern "final girl".  Female archetypes in horror films are almost as prevalent as the racial archetypes and Black Christmas was one of the first films to blatantly expose them.  

This is definitely a must-see for any horror fan, and is (in my opinion) the grandmother of the slasher subgenre.  While it may get complaints for being a tad bit predictable (sans the twist ending), the film is only predictable because we've seen the format copied so many times before.  This film is the root of the basis for a good percentage of the modern horror films that we know and cherish today. Instead of sitting through 24 hours of Bob Clark's most famed Christmas film, take a trip down memory lane and dig deep into the foundations of what makes a quality horror film. 




...and if this isn't enough to convince you, John Saxon is in it. You're welcome.

Friday, December 16, 2011

100 GREATEST HORROR MOVIE QUOTES OF ALL TIME

Since I had finals week, auditions, hell week, and driving home from University, I've totally neglected you. 
BUT.
I found this and I'm giving it as a present to you.
For the purposes of the video, all intentionally funny quotes (like Bruce Campbell's Army of Darkness quips, or Chuckys various one-liners) have been left out. And yes, I know there is quite a few lines in the video that can be construed as humorous, but in my opinion all of these lines were never intended to be amusing, unlike say "Hail to the king baby". Oh, and these quotes are not ranked, nor is there any order or countdown.
-message from the creator
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