Thursday, 8 June 2017

I'm Not Sleeping

I'm not even resting my eyes.

I wanted to make a conscious effort to add in a bit more writing here recently, but I know it seems I have very quickly gone quiet again. But actually, following my Get Out piece, my boss asked me did I write reviews often, and encouraged me to contribute my thoughts on our sister site, Xpose.ie. 

Now, obviously, I am horror to the bone, but that doesn't mean I don't watch all kinds of films, so Xpose.ie is my current home to my writings of the non-horror variety. In fact, don't be shocked to see the odd romcom or sappy flick show up there (though wherever I can, I will totally get the horror fix out to the world!).

I'll be trying to keep adding material on to here, but in the meantime, you can see my writings over on Xpose.ie, typically on Friday. Here's the back catalogue so far (click to read the review):

Alien: Covenant
Passengers
La La Land
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Enjoying reading what I'm writing? I make films as well. You can check out the film I produced right now at www.sodiumparty.com. Buying from here directly helps us make more films. You can also search for Sodium Party, Horses For Moths (you KNOW you want to know what that title means!) and The O'Briens on Amazon US/UK/Germany/Japan right now, and stream for free if you have Amazon Prime!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

RIP MICHAEL PARKS


Kevin Smith has broken the news that acting legend Michael Parks has passed away at the age of 77. Absolutely devastating. Parks was a heavyweight who lifted every role he filled, which included numerous collaborations with Quentin Tarantino and Smith.

We've lost a real talent. Godspeed, sir.

I hate to report that my cinematic muse #michaelparks has passed away. Michael was, and will likely forever remain, the best actor I've ever known. I wrote both #RedState and @tuskthemovie FOR Parks, I loved his acting so much. He was, hands-down, the most incredible thespian I ever had the pleasure to watch perform. And Parks brought out the absolute best in me every time he got near my set. From the moment I saw him steal the opening scene of #fromdusktildawn at an advance screening at the Sunset 5 back in the mid-90's, I said to @samosier "Could you imagine what it must be like to work with a Yoda of acting like that guy? I gotta write for him one day." It took me 15 years but my dream came true on Red State (for which Parks won Best Actor at the @sitgesfestival) and then again years later with #tusk. Only Michael Parks could have delivered the line "Is man indeed a walrus at heart?" and make it scary as fuck. My favorite memory of Michael is watching him and #johnnydepp act with and at each other, like a couple of dueling wizards, in their shared scene in Tusk. Parks was in Heaven that day, sharing the screen with another brilliant actor and creating an unforgettable performance. He elevated any flick or TV show he was in and elevated every director he ever acted for. I was so fucking blessed to have worked with this bonafide genius. But really, I was just lucky to have known him at all. My heart goes out to James (Michael's son), Oriana (Michael's wife), Quentin Tarantino (Michael's biggest fan) and any movie or music lover who was ever dazzled by the talents of Michael Parks. Farewell, old friend. I'll see you farther along... #KevinSmith #actor #genius #rip #walrusyes
A post shared by Kevin Smith (@thatkevinsmith) on


Enjoying reading what I'm writing? I make films as well. You can check out the film I produced right now at www.sodiumparty.com. Buying from here directly helps us make more films. You can also search for Sodium Party, Horses For Moths (you KNOW you want to know what that title means!) and The O'Briens on Amazon US/UK/Germany/Japan right now, and stream for free if you have Amazon Prime!

CAN ALIEN: COVENANT SHAKE OFF THE ALIEN COBWEBS?


NO SPOILERS HERE

1979's Alien is one of my favourite films, and it was a gateway into a lifelong love of the Alien franchise. Through its ups and downs, I have been there, enjoying, savouring, being engrossed in that world. In 2012, a lot of people believe the reputation of the Alien franchise was sullied by the more fanciful scifi-leaning prequel Prometheus, with its Damon Lindelof 'reworked' script making a relatively straightforward idea of humanity and creation into a confusing detour that further removed it from it's intended follow up film. The question has been could director Ridley Scott, an undoubtedly talented artist, but one who also has spent almost two decades milling out films both great and of questionable quality, bring the series back to its tonal roots and hit a home run in the scifi series.

The answer is yes.


Having returned from a preview of Alien: Covenant, all I can think of is just how different the experience was to seeing Prometheus. I know it's unfair to compare the films as such, but the common failings people has with the 2012 film (which I am actually quite a fan of) are absent here, with the new installment taking a more simplified survival horror route.

It's familiar territory plot-wise that sees the spaceship Covenant, who are shipping 2000 people and embryos to colonise a new planet, going off course to investigate a signal from a planet that harbors dark secrets that may or may not result in the familiar phallic-headed monsters creating chaos.

The simplicity is in the films favour, with points that were confusing in the previous film cleared up hear so no one is left scratching their heads as to what we are seeing. The most successful part of the film is the new additions to the Alien mythos that seamlessly connect Prometheus with the future installments in a way that is both wholly satisfying yet completely unobtrusive and unnecessary for those who don't seek it. In fact, though the film benefits from the context of the surrounding series, it works very well on its own merit for those who might not have seen any other entries.

Co-writer/co-star Danny McBride has been the subject of many words as to whether the more comically known talent would cross over. Well, not only does he cross over, but he steals every scene he is in, bringing an everyday man vibe, and hitting hard when hard hits. That is to by no means take away from the work of other stars such as Katherine Waterston or Billy Crudup, who, as part of the ensemble, successfully bring a realism to the film. The former's personal sorrow is felt throughout the entire film, while the latter brings a great counterpoint to the question of the reverence owed to a creator with his religious captain Oram. And let's not forget Michael Fassbender, the showstopper of Prometheus, who plays a different android in this installment. It's outstanding how much nuance he can bring to a role that could all too easily fall flat.


It's worth noting that this is one of the more grizzly installments in the franchise, with some scenes really pushing its 16 rating. It harks back to H. R. Giger's original designs, with some exact replicas in places, and you know if you got Giger, you got the beast. Though visceral, it doesn't toe the line with exploitative, as the Alien vs Predator films did. There is a maturity here that brings a gravitas and importance, though also undoubtedly a bit of drag in the middle of the film. And though the film never gets too full of itself, it does on a few notable occasions, underestimate the audience.

However, with that said, it is easy to consider this the best Alien film in the last 30 years (except for the oddballs like me who liked Alien 3).

There is a lot to say about the film, but probably best left until it is in wide release and everyone has had a chance to digest it. My final thought for the moment is that I groaned when Ridley Scott made a comment about how many more sequels to Prometheus he would like to do before it connects with Alien, but tonight, while watching Alien: Covenant, all I could think of was 'keep em coming!'


Enjoying reading what I'm writing? I make films as well. You can check out the film I produced right now at www.sodiumparty.com. Buying from here directly helps us make more films. You can also search for Sodium Party, Horses For Moths (you KNOW you want to know what that title means!) and The O'Briens on Amazon US/UK/Germany/Japan right now, and stream for free if you have Amazon Prime!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

WHY I WALKED OUT OF GET OUT

This is a long one, and a little opinionated. I'd love to hear anyone else's perspective once they read this essay. 


Tonight, I did something I thought I would never do; I walked out of a film in the cinema. Not only that, but I walked out of Jordan Peele's critically renowned Get Out.

But there's a story there.



I didn't leave because of anything to do with the film itself. The half hour I saw seemed about as good as everyone has been saying. No, what had me do the unthinkable was the other people in the cinema. Namely, the couples/family who brought in 3 underage kids; one about 4 or 5, and the other two about 2 years of age. And the kids did what kids do; cry, jump around, kick seats, talk loudly, try climb walls. To add to the kids, the adults had no worries about doing their best Mystery Science Theatre 3000 riffs at every line in the film, in between yelling at the kids to settle.

Though they were seated right behind me, there was no seats in this small screening room that would have separated you from the noise. However, you can't exactly blame the kids. It's a part of their nature, and maybe if the film had been a bit more age appropriate, there would have been other kids doing the same and no one batting an eyelid, but Get Out is rated 15A in Irish cinemas, and the crowd that was there was of the expected age bracket; couples on dates, Jordan Peele fans, or people who wanted to see it based on the good word (I'll tick that box). There was a noticeable tension in the room from people unable to concentrate on the film as the little 4 year old scaled seats and yelled back to her dad, or when one of the parents started waving their flashlight on their phone across the room to distract one of the criers. 

I have major sympathy to people with kids. I know it isn't easy, and sometimes you just NEED that bit of your life back, and hey, some kids can sit quietly through a film. Unfortunately, the parents didn't exactly set an example that gave me hope for the kids. I was weary of the whole situation 10 minutes in, but held out with hope for these people as long as I could, regardless of chair kicking and the conversations they carried on.

It wasn't unexpected that someone left to say something to management, nor was it a shock when management came in and had words with the folks. I couldn't hear the whole conversation, but I did catch them saying the kids had been quiet, followed by a manager insisting that people had complained. 

The manager went to make her exit and I could only hope the family would settle, but all hopes of that were dashed when one of the men yelled out 'I'll kick your fucking head in'.

I left very shortly after that, a member of staff apologising, saying the family had been warned going in that they shouldn't be bringing such young children in, and that security were on the way to eject them (presumably after the whole 'kick your head in' yell). 

I have never walked out of a film before, and it pained me to leave this one, because I have been wanting to see Get Out for months, and tonight was the first time the stars aligned for me to be able to. A big decision I had to make before leaving was the knowledge that if I walked out then, I would probably not be seeing Get Out on the big screen. It was a shit one, frankly. My hand literally shook as I got my refund, and I am now just counting the days the film comes out on Vudu (if my proxy allows me to purchase it) or failing that, Bluray/DVD in the UK and Ireland, which is late July, according to Amazon.

More people than not have their horror stories of a poor cinematic audience, and I know this isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things. But for what it is, the cinema is an important experience for a lot of people. I know for me, it is one of the very few places I can fully switch off. No phone, no messages, no work, no notes. I just sit and absorb a film. I can't do that when I watch a film at home. Sure, I can enjoy them, but I can also too easily get a call or text, or get curious about my Facebook, or want to know where I recognise that actor from and need to check it out. There's a reason people still pay for the big screen experience, and there is a sadly vocal minority who don't quite get that or care enough to give others the respect to enjoy it. 

That said, and I in no way have sympathy for that family being eject after the man threatening the manager, I do get itchy about the grey area that allowed such a situation to arise, and how there is nothing that can be done about it, technically.

Meet 15A:


This is the Irish Film Classification Office's mid-level rating. When I first saw the family arrive in the cinema, I thought to myself there was no way they could have been letting children that young into a horror film, but when the film started and the cert came up at the top, it affirmed that it was intended for people of 15 years old and over, BUT people below that age could be admitted if accompanied by an adult. So technically everything was on the up and up, though I highly doubt the intention behind that guideline was for toddlers to be seeing grizzly attacks, scare cues, or  swearing. It would be expected that the adults in the situation would only bring those underage if it was appropriate (which definitely was not the case this evening).

I am slightly divided on this. Tonight, I got the raw end of the deal because I had to walk out of a film when there was no way to be immersed (or even properly follow plot points) owing to the non-cinema appropriate activities going on. However, I don't think that means the rating in and of itself is a bad thing. When I was young, I was very able for horror films (though maybe not at 4 years old!). There are undoubtedly kids out there who would not only enjoy, but have their lives enriched by seeing certain films that might not technically be deemed age appropriate. That's freedom of choice, and a responsibility which should lie with a parent to help decide if their kid can see something like Get Out. 

I don't think the parents tonight had any thoughts of if the film was appropriate for their children. I think they wanted a night out and thought their kids were relatively well behaved. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case, they were the kind of moviegoers who can't think of the fellow patrons over their own enjoyment, and everyone tonight was left with a story to bring home from the cinema. 

Sadly, it just wasn't the story of Get Out.

Oh well.

Enjoying reading what I'm writing? I make films as well. You can check out the film I produced right now at www.sodiumparty.com. Buying from here directly helps us make more films. You can also search for Sodium Party, Horses For Moths (you KNOW you want to know what that title means!) and The O'Briens on Amazon US/UK/Germany/Japan right now, and stream for free if you have Amazon Prime!

Friday, 17 March 2017

The Greatest Haunted House Film Ever Is...

The Haunting.

Yup, the 1999 Liam Neeson/Catherine Zeta-Jones vehicle is so terrif-

No... Wait, that's not right...

 Aaaah... Much better.

Of course, I mean the 1963 classic based on Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House novel. I have just finished rewatching it again for the lord-knows-how-many-time and it continues to stand up as the prototypical benchmark of the haunted house genre.

A masterpiece in so many respects, the film was ahead of its time. It's a simple story of a researcher inviting a select group to visit and stay with him in a sprawling house with a sordid history to aid him in his paranormal investigations, and the unexplainable and terrifying events that happen therein. Nowadays some people might not give the film a chance based on being in black and white and quite old, but upon my reviewing, The Haunting stands up as a consistently strong and impressive feat in the horror oeuvre.


Interestingly, though the film has some overt paranormal instances, the point is continually hit home that we need to consider it not supernatural, but 'pre-ternatural', or something we cannot explain now but will be able to in the future. It's with this in mind that the film sets the audience off to decide if something strange is indeed going on, or if it is the psychosis of certain characters and a group hysteria. With doors that close on their own, though never while we watch, menacing statues standing over dancing children, an abundance of cherubs/busts/animal trophies that litter the house just begging to move just a little bit, Robert 'The Sound of Music (no, seriously)' Wise proves he is a master of tension. Not a moment in the house is left feeling safe. Even when we return to rooms we have been in before, they feel like completely different rooms. There is so much detail that it is difficult for the eye to get a proper grasp on exactly what it is seeing. The house itself looms as a devious character, aided by Wise having shot it on infrared. 


It's influence can be felt in cinema across the years, from the disorientating layout of the house nodded to in The Shining's Overlook Hotel to the unnervingly framed shots dripped with anticipation of something happening re-appropriated in The Woman in Black. Though a film firmly set in its time, with quite reserved social roles and a black and white palette, The Haunting is able to remain timeless. This is in no small part to the well judged characters, who bring a realism and complexity to the role, and remain relatable, even 55 years on. Watching it now, the visuals are deceptively adventurous, and characters are decidedly progressive (especially by the standards of the time coughTheocough). 

It's hard to argue the influence The Haunting has had since it was released, and it goes without question that it will remain in the DNA of the haunted house genre for a long time to come, if not forever. 


What do you think? Are you still terrified as Eleanor makes her way up the spiral staircase, or has a different dastardly dwelling taken this classic's place as top dog?


Enjoying reading what I'm writing? I make films as well. You can check out the film I produced right now at www.sodiumparty.com. Buying from here directly helps us make more films. You can also search for Sodium Party, Horses For Moths (you KNOW you want to know what that title means!) and The O'Briens on Amazon US/UK/Germany/Japan right now, and stream for free if you have Amazon Prime!

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Why Don't You Play With Me Anymore?

After getting some short film love planted in my brain by David Sandberg's recent appearance on the Shock Waves podcast (plus his recently released free audio commentary), I've been pondering some of my own short film work. 

David's short that brought him to international attention, Lights Out, was made as part of a competition for horror film group Bloody Cuts and, wouldn't you know it, I actually made and submitted a short myself. Obviously, the sucker didn't win, but there's a lot in it I still dig, a few years on. Disturbing dolls and creepy child paintings will always be classics! 

Check it out below.




Enjoying reading what I'm writing? I make films as well. You can check out the film I produced right now at www.sodiumparty.com. Buying from here directly helps us make more films. You can also search for Sodium Party, Horses For Moths (you KNOW you want to know what that title means!) and The O'Briens on Amazon US/UK/Germany/Japan right now, and stream for free if you have Amazon Prime!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

An Early Screening of LOGAN


So I got the opportunity to see a preview screening of Logan last night, and well, it is the perfect final outing for the Wolverine.

I'm going to keep this spoiler free, especially since there's a week before the film goes on general release, but it's worth sharing a few thoughts. If you've seen the trailer, you have a good sense of the tone and style of the film, and let me tell you, it's a shame it's taken so long for it to be executed like this, since the film is absolutely spot on for it. 




Moving away from the scifi aesthetic of the main series, Logan feels dusty and gritty, like the sun glaring in your eyes all the way. As for the violence? You'd better believe that is a hard R rating. This is the first X-Men film that pulls out all the stops and sheds the blood with vicious glee, drawing even me, a long-in-the-tooth gore hound, to go wide-eyed. 

Director James Mangold's last Wolverine-orientated film (though it could be argued most X-Men films are Wolverine-orientated) toed the line for a more serious style, and though it didn't quite hit with fans, I think this one will. This film is not for kids or those wanting the safe and colourful Marvel Universe films, which is one of it's strengths, bringing a lack of hand-holding. There's a lot of blanks to be filled in by the viewer in regards to the events that have passed leading up to this future setting, with more than enough satisfying clues left to fill in the harrowing details. 


The entire cast nails it, and enough cannot be said about Dafne Keen's Laura, but it is Hugh Jackman and Patrick Steward who will steal the show for the long-time fans, with Logan's caring of his old friend and mentor constantly drawing a tear to the eye. I'm not going to say more on this, but the entire film has a strong emotional core of regret, fear, and longing. What happens when the future doesn't turn out like you'd hoped, and all your work has been for nothing? Logan doesn't shy away from how emotionally crippling that can be.

There's a lot in this film to like, and it is definitely the Wolverine film fans have been clambering for all this time. There inevitably will be more X-Men films after this one, but this may be the final Wolverine one, and it acts as a perfect ending for either series. 


Enjoying reading what I'm writing? I make films as well. You can check out the film I produced right now at www.sodiumparty.com. Buying from here directly helps us make more films. You can also search for Sodium Party, Horses For Moths (you KNOW you want to know what that title means!) and The O'Briens on Amazon US/UK/Germany/Japan right now, and stream for free if you have Amazon Prime!

Friday, 17 February 2017

I May Have A Few Demons...

Well, I have been quite sick for the past few days, which is very unusual for me. Nothing too interesting to note. I slept funny. I couldn't concentrate well. I felt generally awful. The usual. 

However, the other day, my throat began making the strangest noises. No doubt, it's the usual clogging up with mucus (hello, ladies), but these noises ran through my head for a few days (including while I slept. Woo) and of course I had to record em and share em in a visual form.

What is below is an untreated recording of my breathing from the other morning. I have EQed it to remove the hiss from my phone and looped it, but the several voices you hear at once? All happened in the moment. I guess there is really only one answer here; I'm possessed.




Enjoying reading what I'm writing? I make films as well. You can check out the film I produced right now at www.sodiumparty.com. Buying from here directly helps us make more films. You can also search for Sodium Party, Horses For Moths (you KNOW you want to know what that title means!) and The O'Briens on Amazon US/UK/Germany/Japan right now, and stream for free if you have Amazon Prime!

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Shed Some Light on Lights Out

I love me a good audio commentary, and Lights Out director David F. Sandberg has not disappointed.

The filmmaker was recently asked on Twitter about if there would ever be a commentary released for his debut feature, and came back just a few hours later with this beauty, all for free.

So sit back, chillax, and get your education on with Sandberg and star Lotta Losten.




I must admit that I am not a huge fan of the feature version of Lights Out, but was massively affected by the short film version, embedded below, and have become fascinated with Sandberg and his Vimeo channel. Well worth a watch for any filmmakers, especially those of the DIY variety. If you liked Lights Out, you MUST check out Closet Space and Attic Panic, and follow it up with the making of videos, where he shows you just how important Ikea can be to an indie moviemaker.




Enjoying reading what I'm writing? Wanna help a fella out? You can check out the film I produced right now as www.sodiumparty.com. Buying from here directly helps us make more films. You can also search for Sodium Party, Horses For Moths (you KNOW you want to know what that title means!) and The O'Briens on Amazon US/UK/Germany/Japan right now!

The 5 Things Wrong With Resident Evil: The Final Chapter


Let me begin by saying I was quite the fan of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, and have been an avid follower of the entire franchise, only missing the OG RE back in the day because it wasn't in any convenient cinemas for my fragile wee brain. The latest release is a massive step up and fun cinematic experience, hitting the right note with fans of the films, to be sure.

With that said, this purported 'final' chapter in the franchise certainly left a lot to be desired (not as much as the previous Revelations chapter, but that's for another day). So, strap on in, and let's have a look at the 5 Things Wrong With Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.

Spoilers from here on.

5. Recap Editing

This may be the editor side of me talking here, but man, the editing of this film was abysmal. I mean, it told the story and things were understandable, but it was like someone looked at the two hour version of the film and decided 'Hey, we need this to go faster. Gimme back 15 minutes of screen time by taking any beats, pauses or moments out of the film'. It's like someone in charge was worried an audience wouldn't follow the film if it wasn't cut like an over-caffinated YouTube blogger. 

Pretty much the entire film lacks beats for the audience to soak in the characters or the moments, which is a problem other films like The Dark Knight Rises and X-Men: Days of Future Past suffer from (so at least it is in good company). The information to make the film is there, so technically it should all be fine, but it is most comparable to the recap you see at the beginning of a TV show. You know, the 'previously on...' bit. Case in point; Alice being tended to by Claire. The words and looks were there, but you can feel the filmmakers trying to move as quickly as they can back to the action scenes. Emotional depth? Pfwah! Gimme explosions and severed limbs, you wuss!



4. WTF Logic

Ok, a Resident Evil film has exactly been the poster child for logical actions, but this film takes the cake. Why the heck don't we get even a glimpse of what happened in Washington? The Red Queen implores Alice to get to Raccoon City quick to aid her, but doesn't provide her with a helicopter, or even disable a motorbikes security functions so her journey is a little less perilous. The shocking return of Dr. Isaacs is considerably less shocking when Alice blows off the who reveal with 'Well, I guess it was a clone I killed'. When Alice arrives at Raccoon City, why does the gang and her bother going on the offensive instead of simply heading straight for the Hive and using the time to their advantage? Why does Isaacs let Alice et all execute their defensive maneuvers, destroying a tank and nearly wrecking his plan when he could easily have fired upon them immediately? Why does the Hive have lighting in its airshafts? And random hatches that drop into caverns? And why does it so badly utilise it's space?! And why does Claire Redfield sit outside the laser room and not in any way help Alice when she is about to become shish kabab? How does Isaacs get up to the surface so quick? Why does old Alice's explosion seem to hit her last, even though she's right beside it? Ugh, there's so much more...

I mean, it's a fun dumb film, but come on. At least half of these questions could have been easily addressed!



3. No tomandandy?!

Paul Haslinger's score is absolutely fine, and will probably be some people's favourite, but come on, tomandandy!!! I mean, this:




2. But What About Everyone Else?!


Retribution had a lot of problems with it, but one thing it did do was introduce a lot of new characters who actually didn't suck; Ada, Leon, Jill Valentine and Becky. So what happened to them? Did they all die in some epic siege at the White House? Did Wesker double-cross them? Are they taking a well-earned holiday in the Bahamas? Or are they preparing to appear in sequels or side stories? That last one might sound a bit snarky, but we all left the theatre hit big by this last one...


1. The Lack of Closure

Following in the fine tradition of Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, Saw 3D: The Final Chapter, and Friday The 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (oh God, those words have no meaning anymore...) is as much the final chapter as my promises to run a marathon; completely hollow. It really doesn't shock me that though it would be a nice cap to the series to end here, the door is left wide open for another sequel that has real potential to happen since this installment seems to have reinvigorated the interest in Umbrella's undead. 

It is such a shame because the film was almost brave enough to end on an emotionally hard-hitting moment of sacrifice of our lead protagonist (though it must be said, a hit soften by the emotionally-devoid editing mention above), but pulls back at the last moment to have Alice 'saved'. I guess it was too much to expect some real finality or gravitas in the film. I know these aren't made to tug at people's emotions as I might like, but still, the film was this close to giving itself the weight and importance of being the closing installment of the series. 

Sure, I will probably watch future films should they come, but it would really have been something to have seen Alice go from confused and powerless amnesiac in a claustrophobic underground complex to superhuman sacrifice in the post-apocalypse while mass hordes of zombies as far as the eye can see strike. Her death would have meant something, not just another plot contrivance to get us to our next 'cool hero' cliché moment.



So there you have it. My nitpicking of a film I did genuinely enjoy, but by God, these things just irked me. What say you? Did these things draw your eye? What did you not like about the film? Or what about it made it the best installment in the franchise for you? Comment on!


In cinemas now.


Enjoying reading what I'm writing? Wanna help a fella out? You can check out the film I produced right now as www.sodiumparty.com. Buying from here directly helps us make more films. You can also search for Sodium Party, Horses For Moths (you KNOW you want to know what that title means!) and The O'Briens on Amazon US/UK/Germany/Japan right now!

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The Boy With The Mannequin Hand

You already know I shamelessly shill out all the things I work on (hey, I'm proud of the work and want people to see it. Sue me!), but did you know I write press releases that I send around to promo the stuff? Here's one for The Boy With The Mannequin Hand, the album I just released. The soundtrack for a film which doesn't exist. You can stream the sucker for free HERE right now.




The debut release of Irish dark ambient artist SL-88, The Boy With The Mannequin Hand, is now available.

Inspired by the work of Irish artist James Devlin (https://www.jamesdevlinnewworks.com/), the album is a unique blend of a score for an unmade film, a concept album and a twisted fairy-tale. It bears tonal similarities to the work of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Coil, and Charlie Clouser.

Hailing from Wicklow, artist SL-88 is a regular contributor to feature film scores and has a back catalog of work with short form media. This marks his first album release after 12 years of working under different monikers. 

His words on the album:

"The Boy With The Mannequin Hand is something I think is quite unique. I was inspired by James Devlin's artwork and used what I found tonally suitable to create this piece that would be the score for a film that didn't exist. I like the idea of the listener hearing the music and finding their own storyline to follow. What I had in my head as I made it may not be what they see as they listen to it. There's a lot of dynamics at play, and I can't wait to hear what story people find".

The album can be streamed in full and purchased from https://sl-88.bandcamp.com/

Tracklist:
1. Witch's Hug
2. This Is Where The Creatures Go To Die
3. Does That Give You A Reason?
4. Wasted Cat Life, Restart
5. Those Little Things I Regret
6. Just Let Me Sleep
7. All Good Things Must Come To An End
8. No Strings
9. From That Day, I Was A Monster

Two music videos have been released to tie-in with the album.

- Those Little Things I Regret

- All Good Things Must Come To An End




Enjoying reading what I'm writing? Wanna help a fella out? You can check out the film I produced right now as www.sodiumparty.com. Buying from here directly helps us make more films. You can also search for Sodium Party, Horses For Moths (you KNOW you want to know what that title means!) and The O'Briens on Amazon US/UK/Germany/Japan right now!

Horses For Moths

You already know I shamelessly shill out all the things I work on (hey, I'm proud of the work and want people to see it. Sue me!), but did you know I write press releases that I send around to promo the stuff? Here's one for Horses For Moths, which you can stream for free on Amazon Prime right now!



Horses for Moths: The Making of Sodium Party

Weird Pretty Pictures are proud to announce the VOD release of Horses for Moths: The Making of Sodium Party.

Go behind the scenes of one of the most unique films to ever come out of Ireland and discover what it takes to make a low budget film outside of Hollywood. The documentary recollects the production of the experimental thriller Sodium Party, as seen through the eyes of director Michael McCudden and producers Alison Scarff and Richard Waters. The surreal 2013 film starred Slaine Kelly (Rise of the Footsoldier 2, The Tudors) and James Corscadden (Brooklyn).

Horses for Moths exposes the harsh realities of making a non-Hollywood film on a shoestring budget, going through all the cut corners, the run-ins with the authorities, the blood and stitches, hangings, horses, the months (or in Sodium Party’s case, years) of hard work to finish the film, only to have it be rejected on its initial run, and the eventual aligning of stars for the film to premiere, hit the festival circuit, and win awards.

Writer/director Michael McCudden talks about what drove him to do the film the way he did:
“There's quite a standard way of doing things and what we set out to do was something different from that and to do something that didn't make sense but still felt like a cinema experience”.

Outlining what it was like trying to get a feature funded before and after the economic bubble burst:
“At that stage there was quite a lot of money around and everybody could afford to be quite indulgent. Maybe like, you know, a hundred thousand, and then all the money disappeared. And then you know... At least we could definitely maybe bring it in for twenty five thousand, and then that disappeared. There was one person who gave me advice; 'If you have little money, find people who are just in to the idea and that's all that will matter'. So we met (executive producer) Mick Berry (and) everything was sort of set up. And we lost a little more money”.

And the life-threatening accidents that can happen in pursuit of a film:
“Everybody watched in slow motion horror as Ally (Scarff, producer) eventually fell, and the shard of the broken cup went straight in to her artery and then she started pissing blood everywhere, but going 'I'm ok. I'm ok. I might need a little bit of hospital'”.

 “I ended up that day having to go to the Accident and Emergency because I split my wrist open quite violently”, Alison adds.

The official synopsis for the documentary:
What does it take to make a film? No, scratch that. What does it take to make one of the most inaccessible, out there films to ever come out of Ireland? And how do you do it with no money?! Well, sit back, strap in, and prepare for the near-impossible story of Sodium Party.
Horses for Moths: The Making of Sodium Party is available on Amazon VOD now. Sodium Party is available on various VOD worldwide.


L-R; Star Slaine Kelly, director Michael McCudden, producers Alison Scarff 
and Richard Waters. Photo credit: Jedrzej Niezgoda


Enjoying reading what I'm writing? Wanna help a fella out? You can check out the film I produced right now as www.sodiumparty.com. Buying from here directly helps us make more films. You can also search for Sodium Party, Horses For Moths (you KNOW you want to know what that title means!) and The O'Briens on Amazon US/UK/Germany/Japan right now!

General Update

Geddit? I'm still hilarious. (Image: Warner Bros Pictures)

Sorry, I slept in there for a bit and missed posting for a few... Eh, lemme see how long... My last post was... APRIL 2014?! What the fuck?! 

Ok, well, from now on, I will keep the updates constant and- Ah, who the heck am I kidding? I shall post intermittent at best. Sorry. I want to annoy you with constant updates, but life outside the internet demands so much time and you will probably somehow manage to survive without my nonsense.

But that doesn't mean I won't try!

I still watch horror films a lot. Like, a lot a lot. Maybe more than when I was posting most back in the heyday. I come across some films that really strike me, and I want to get back in to spreading some love where it is due. In tandem with that, I do come across some turkeys that might be entertaining to rant about, but a big part of me doesn't want to be pushing myself in any sort of critical light. 

Don't get me wrong, I shall choose my battles and go to town on something when I think I might be able to tie it in to a point, but I won't pick on a film I don't like simply because I want to write something mean. Those days are behind me. In fact, I once wrote something kinda mean about Adam Green's Hatchet, and I still feel the guilts about it every now and again, because I generally love his films, listen to his podcast, and have met and had a fucking in depth conversation with the dude, not to mention I also own TWO copies of Hatchet now. Maybe it's the Catholic guilt setting in?

To kick things off, I shall give a quick rundown of some recent-ish events that have kept me busy in life (beyond the day work that keeps me busy from the events that keep me busy from writing that yadda yadda yadda). I make films, as outlined on the blog plenty of times, and have gone to town on the releasing of said films digitally. I have worked on shorts and music vids, mainly for my sanity in the massive gap that exists while trying to get money for another feature. I make music, and have recently released my first album (hope all 2 listeners enjoyed). I write a lot, but mainly scripts that I am doing my best to get made (this will be a running trend I shall keep returning to). I work in TV and have been making bits for that aside from my editing duties (oh yeah, I'm an editor). I've also been travelling a fair bit, which has been a change of pace and a nice experience. It's funny how the working life gives with one hand and takes with the other. 

This blog was something I was very proud of once upon a time, and my passion for the topics has not waned. Here's to hoping for some sort of revival!

Oh yeah, I've only started watching Breaking Bad, so I'll see you in 3 months.