Sunday, 29 June 2014

Frightfest 2014: The Sleepy Queue

Yesterday morning my dad and I woke up at 3.45am in order to go and queue in an alley for four and a half hours. There is pretty much nothing else in the world I would do that for except for Frightfest, and it's actually a lot more fun than it sounds. It's not even as though we were being that hardcore. The people at the front of the line had been there since 6am the previous morning. I guess there's a thin line between dedication and madness.

Anyway, we'd decided that we needed to get there before people started arriving on the first tubes, because that's the big rush. Having said that, if we'd arrived a bit later we would have been around the corner in the sun and not freezing in Leicester Court, where the sun never shines. And we also wouldn't have had to stare at the poorly designed posters in the windows of the Hippodrome. I really hope they didn't pay much money for those posters, not only do they look shit, but they are written in pretty bad English.

But I'm making it sound awful. It's not. We took turns going to get coffees and chai teas, kept nice and full on croissants, and had remembered (mainly thanks to my mum) to take camping stools with us so we could have a nice sit down. We said "hello" to lots of people that we've met in the past, and chatted with the people in the queue next to us. I say this all the time, but there is such a lovely, friendly atmosphere at Frightfest and it's brilliant to meet new people to chat to in between films. We've met a lot of those people in the Sleepy Queue.

And if we hadn't got there at 5.25 in the morning, my dad and I would not currently be in possession of festival passes for seats right in the middle of the front row of Screen 7 at the Vue West End. We had put no effort into thinking what screen we wanted to be in, hadn't even looked at the spreadsheet that's someone has kindly put on the Frightfest forum. What we're interested in is leg room, and that's what we have.

So, very excited for the end of August. I love the anticipation you feel in the time between buying the tickets and the festival itself. And that all starts in the Sleepy Queue.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Romero v. Raimi

The weekend just gone I had the immense pleasure of going to the Prince Charles Cinema for Romero v. Raimi: Battle of the Undead Trilogies. Since then I've pretty much had a massive headache, but I think that's more to do with eating vast amounts of flapjacks in the middle of the night, and not anything to do with being subjected to vast amounts of blood and gore on the big screen.

I was so excited before it started. They re-released Evil Dead a while ago, so I've seen that at the cinema, and I saw Evil Dead 2 at some sort of cinema-bar type thing, but that's not the same, and I'm way too young to have caught any of them on their cinematic release. None of the films disappointed.

Still, given the title of the event, I found myself forced to consider which I preferred, Romero or Raimi? Before the evening began, I was leaning towards Romero. I mean, this is the man, and these are the films, that brought us the zombie as we know and love it today. I can't imagine what I would do with my time without him. My book and DVD shelves would certainly be a lot emptier. By the end of the night, however, I'd remembered exactly how much I love old-school Sam Raimi, and he's got to be the winner, just for having made Evil Dead 2 and bringing Bruce Campbell into my life.

I mean, it has everything. Horror? Yes. Humour? Yup. Jumps? Certainly. Big splattering bouts of blood and gore? You betcha. What more could you possibly want? Oh, a million catch-phrases you can quote along to? "Groovy." "Who's laughing now!?" Done. A gorgeous male lead you can love forever? Sorted. The scene where Ash is battling his evil hand must be some of the best physical acting of all time.

Watching Evil Dead 2 at an age that the censors would probably consider far too young is one of the films that really got me into horror, and for that it, and everyone involved in it's making, will always hold a special place in my heart.

PS: Sorry if this makes no sense. I really need some painkillers.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Return of the Paper Zombies

The Story So Far...

Back last summer I set myself the task of making eight of the paper zombies from my Make Your Own Paper Zombies Calendar. It was meant to be fun. It was meant to be easy. It was neither. It took all day, was really fiddly and left me grumpy and covered in paper-cuts. By the time 2013 ended and all the zombies were made I was looking forward to the day where I would send them to the paper-recycling hell where they so truly belong.

In fact, I was fairly certain that I had already recycled them, until I was sorting out some stuff in my room and came across this...
Yes, horror of all horrors, it's a bag of disembodied paper zombies. 
 It was as if they's crawled out from the fiery pit and made their way back to my room just to torment me! Will I never be free!?

So now, once again (or, more probably, for the first time), I have taken these undead, folded little bastards to the recycling bin, where I'm hoping they will be mushed up and turned into something less evil. I even took a picture, just in case they return to haunt me once again.
Die, paper zombies, die!

Looks a bit like he's trying to climb out in that picture. Creepy. Maybe I should have removed the head and destroyed the brain?

You'd be surprised at the weird looks you get stuffing small paper figures into a recycling bin.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

RIP Rik Mayall

About a million years ago, when I was at university, I had a trial day as a kitchen porter at a fancy vegetarian restaurant in Brighton. It was as close to hell as I ever wish to come. I washed things in scalding water in a windowless and airless room for eight hours with only a fifteen minute break and lots of people shouting at me. I went home and stood in the shower crying. All I wanted to do was curl up in bed and sleep, but my brother and future sister-in-law had come down from London to take me to see Bottom Live and so I had to pull myself together.

We got to the theatre, sat in our seats and I pretty much planned to just zone out until home time, but I couldn't because it was brilliant. Within minutes I was laughing my bum off and by the end everything from earlier had been forgotten and I was in a fantastic mood. I was lucky enough to see two other Bottom Lives (or should that be Bottoms Live?) and they were both brilliant, but that day will always hold a special place in my memory.

So, I was very sad to hear that Rik Mayall died yesterday, but pleased that I got to see him live because he was hilarious, and whenever I feel down I can just look at this picture and remember the time when Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson saved an otherwise disastrous day...

Friday, 6 June 2014

The 70th Anniversary of D-Day

The sun is shining, it's a beautiful day and I was going to post something quite frivolous, but I've just sat and watched a couple of hours of the D-Day Memorial on BBC1 and couldn't just let it pass. Instead of anything I could come up with, I thought I'd share with you the poem that was read as part of the service, written by a veteran of the Juno landing. It's not the fanciest poem in the world, but I found it moving because it's by someone who was really there

By Cyril Crain

Come and stand in memory
Of men who fought and died
They gave their lives in Normandy
Remember them with pride.

Soldiers, Airman, sailors
Airborne and marines
Who in civvy life were tailors
and men who worked machines.

British and Canadian
And men from USA
Forces from the Commonwealth
They all were there that day

To Juno, Sword and Utah
Beaches of renown
Also Gold and Omaha
That’s where the ramps went down.

The battle raged in Normandy
Many lives were lost
The war must end in victory
And this must be the cost

When my life is over
And I reach the other side
I’ll meet my friends from Normandy
And shake their hands with pride.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Romeo and Juliette: The Alternative Ending

Romeo and Juliette
The Alternative Ending

As Juliette lay in pretended death,
Poor Romeo chose death upon a knife,
But as our hero took his final breath,
He saw his love arise in undead life.
The potion Friar Laurence did prescribe,
Designed to save from being forced to wed,
When Juliette that potion did imbibe,
She was accursed to join the walking dead.
She pulled the blade from out her lover's chest
And with cold hands she tore his clothes apart;
She sunk her teeth in Romeo's pierced breast
And fed upon her dying lover's heart.
So Romeo and Juliette unite
As evil zombie creatures of the night.

This was inspired by attending an event at the Royal Festival Hall where a host of highly talented actors read all of Shakespeare's sonnets. Apologies to the bard.