People search for the oddest things – Part 2

If you haven’t read the first part of this before you can find it right here, but in essence here’s what it was about – WordPress keeps track of the things people search for to find my site, so in the first part I listed some of the oddest things people searched for to somehow end up being directed here.

That was around three and a half months ago however, and I’ve had plenty more visitors through odd searches since then. I thought I’d use this post to list some of the newer ones.

First of all, in case you’re curious, these are the ten search results that directed most people to the site:

Someone searched for "woman being eaten by snake" to get here. Oh you guyzzzz

1. the langoliers
2. children of the corn
3. mega python vs gatoroid
4. the exorcist
5. malachai
6. dinoshark
7. that was a bit mental
8. jaws 2
9. hell comes to frogtown
10. planet of the apes 1968

What do these results tell me? Mainly that the two Stephen King films I’ve reviewed on this site are the two that far and away get the most people coming here, but also that people fucking love killer animal movies. If I was ever to review Pet Sematary I think the internet would explode… so expect that one soon.

Anyway, you’re not here to see that. You’re here to see what sort of weird shit people search for. Here, then, are just some of the searches that genuinely directed people to this site. Continue reading “People search for the oddest things – Part 2”

Real-life Mental – Popeye Village, Malta

I spent last week on holiday in Malta. As a film buff, it makes sense that I would want to visit the set of one of the most emotionally charged, poignant pieces of cinema ever released in the medium’s relatively short history. I am of course, talking about Popeye Village, the set of the 1980 movie Popeye. While I’m sure everyone’s seen this gem at least forty times, here’s the trailer to jog your memory anyway:

Getting to Popeye Village was an adventure in itself because the journey took us across Malta. At one point we got off the bus at what we thought was the right stop. We were greeted with this:

Eventually we got there, and to its credit it does fulfil its main goal very well – the original Sweethaven Village set is present and looks just like it did in the film. Even for a film that hasn’t quite stood as a classic over the years, it still gives film fans like me a little thrill wandering around and imagining where the cameras, the lighting, the crew could have been positioned for each scene.

Of course, not everyone is interested in film sets (kids certainly aren’t), and there’s obviously much more to Popeye than the film. That’s why Popeye Village has more to offer than just some funny-looking buildings. Oddly though, very little of it has anything to do with Popeye.

There’s a bar, a pool area, a Christmas village (which was closed) and a nine-hole mini-golf course with dodgy holes – I scored a par on the first then had to stop because the hole had no walls and the ball rolled underneath the actual course. Apparently there was supposed to be a plastic cup in the hole. I salvaged the situation by pretending that my golf club was a walking stick and that I had used it to climb to the top of a mountain. This acting masterclass made me completely forget I was supposed to be playing golf, and thus the disappointment disappeared.

And then there’s Santa’s Toytown. This “attraction” is the reason you’re reading about Popeye Village on a site that generally covers horror movies, because Santa’s Toytown is one of the most unintentionally terrifying things I have ever seen.

The idea is that you walk through Santa’s workshop, watching little animatronic elves working away as you hear audio of them chatting to each other. However, there are many things wrong here. Not just wrong in the sense that “hmm, that’s not supposed to be like that”, but also in the sense that “that’s a bit fucked up really”. Here’s the first room:

Doesn’t look too bad, does it? Well, it gets infinitely creepier. Here’s what struck me as I walked through this ‘attraction’:

1) The elves are terrifying. Some of them have huge beards that cover their entire face, others look like old corpses wearing baseball caps, others are fat little trolls that look like something out of an ’80s horror film like, well, Troll 2.

2) The pre-recorded dialogue is bizarre. There’s weird chat of a man who sounds like Santa (even though he’s not in any of the displays) saying “excuse me for my interruption, I am a scientist”, and then talking about his computer screen and various other random things. It makes no sense whatsoever, and the fact that it’s not synced up to the barely animated troll elf things means it’s impossible to tell what’s going on. Most importantly, however…

3) Only the first room is working. Once you push open the squeaky door leading to the second room, you are no longer in Santa’s workshop. You are in Saw. You are in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. You are in Resident Evil. You are in Silent fucking Hill. You see, in the years since Popeye Village was formed, Santa’s Toytown has seemingly deteriorated drastically.

Only the first room has all the lights working, and only the first room has that odd recorded dialogue. Every other room is chillingly silent and very dimly lit – at times it’s pitch black. A camera flash is a wonderful thing, and it was thanks to my camera that I could see what the second room looked like (it looks like this, in case you’re interested), but as you’ll see in the video below it’s far darker and creepier when there’s no light. The animatronic elves still move, but they move very slowly, as if they’re barely possessed by a weak spirit ready to snap into action and leap over the barrier, pinning you down and consuming your soul.

After looking through the first couple of rooms I decided to walk back outside, stick my phone on and film a walkthrough of the entire building. In the video below you will follow me and my girlfriend through this unintentionally terrifying Blair Witch experience and hear our reactions as we saw its wonders for the first time, including easily the most fucked-up snowman you’ll ever see and, right at the end, a cow with breasts for a nose. This, my dear friends, is truly a bit mental.

What scares you?

Yes, this was me at uni. During a Halloween party, I hasten to add.

When I was at university I was the “horror film guy”. My bedroom looked exactly how you would expect a serial killer’s room to look, with reams of horror posters and gory special effects adorning my wall and countless dinky action figures of Freddy, Chucky, Michael Myers, Jason and Leatherface proudly standing above my fireplace. Above my bed was a huge wall-sized poster for the Dawn Of The Dead remake, meaning anyone having a picnic at the nearby meadows could look up and see an evil zombie child glaring at them through my window. Safe to say, had there been a murder nearby and had the police come to my flat to enquire for witnesses, I’d have been bundled into their car without much consideration.

As the “horror film guy”, I’d often be asked for recommendations. I’d learn which of my friends liked which types of horror, and would be able to recommend films based on those tastes. Every now and then though, I’d be asked the unanswerable question: “Which film is the scariest?” Every time I was asked that I’d be unable to reply. I’d stutter and stammer, choose one then change my mind, and ultimately come up with the defeatist answer “it depends”.

One wall of my uni bedroom

It really does depend, though. Different things scare different people. Someone recently told me the remake of Friday The 13th was the scariest thing they had ever seen, while I found the ‘scares’ predictable and poorly timed. Conversely, some of the people I’ve recommended The Eye to have said it didn’t affect them that much, even though I couldn’t sleep for weeks after it.

I decided to write this article after I got feedback from my review of The Omen, in which I said that “despite any suspicions you may have The Omen actually isn’t that scary at all”. One of my good friends Ronan, who knows his horror inside-out, told me he completely disagreed, saying: “The Exorcist is probably the better film, but Omen is definitely scarier. The unease and imminent danger is more scary than a daft lassie flinging herself about.”

The other wall of my uni room

His girlfriend Becca agreed, saying: “Scenes from The Omen creep their way into my consciousness on a regular basis. That’s not an exaggeration – Ronan will vouch for me. Probably one of the scariest films I have ever seen”.

Now, there’s no way I can say I’m right and Ronan and Becca are wrong, because that’s not how horror works. We each have different fears and so horror films affect us all in different ways.

With this in mind, I asked some of my chums and Twitter followers what scares them the most in films, just out of interest to see how wide-ranging people’s fears are. The responses I got can be split into eight different categories, each specifying a different type of fear.

Note: this is a longer article than usual so I’ve inserted a rare page break. If you’re reading this on the main home page, click below to read the rest. Continue reading “What scares you?”

People search for the oddest things – Part 1

WordPress has a handy Stats screen that I can use to see how people find my site each day. I can see which sites people clicked links on to get here, which specific pages have been getting the most hits and generally what grabs most people’s attention when they get here.

From this info I’ve noticed a few things. Here are my findings.

1) Nobody clicks the pictures
I don’t know if people don’t feel the need to do it, or maybe they just don’t realise it’s possible, but hardly anyone ever clicks any of the screenshots in my reviews to see the screens bigger. Ah well, at least the option’s there.

Here's a picture of a shit Superman, just in case someone searches for it. Thanks for the hit, weirdo!

2) Most people hit it then quit it
Most people linked straight to a review on my site read the review and then leave the site without reading anything else. I think this is probably due to the design of the blog, since if you go straight to a review the little widget on the side listing all the films reviewed so far isn’t there. Did you follow a link to get to this post? Look on the right – nothing there, eh? Now click on the logo at the top of the page and hey presto, there’s a list of all my reviews on the right. It seems then that most people read a review, don’t get a glimpse of the other films reviewed and so just leave. I’d love to change this but WordPress charges money for it, money I don’t have just now. Dag nammit.

3) Facebook and Twitter work
I apologise once again to my friends, family and followers who don’t give a ninth of a shit about this site but every time I link to my latest review on my Facebook and Twitter I get a nice boost in hits that day, many of them coming straight from Facebook and Twitter and going straight to my review. By that I can only deduce that many of you click my annoying near-daily links, and for that I’m eternally grateful.

4) People search for fucking weird things
Most interesting of all, the Stats page tells me what people who found my site through a search engine were searching for. Most of these are fairly straightforward – they’re usually just the title of the film (most popular? The Langoliers by a long way, for some reason), but every now and then you get a bizarre one that makes you wonder A) how people got here by searching for that, and B) why they were searching for it in the first place.

I therefore present you with a list of the oddest searches people have made to find this site since it began.

And just for shameful hit-grabbing, here's the Paris Hilton. Sorry, perverts.

trevor moorhouse
I suppose this one isn’t too odd, but I find it amazing that people are actually searching for the killer in Scream Bloody Murder, one of the worst slasher films I have ever had the misfortune of seeing.  Each to their own, I suppose.

meg ryan younger
That’s a good call, actually. She’s a fine lady and I’m sure some people would like to see what she looked like back in the day. I’d like to take this opportunity then to apologise to the two people who searched for this and instead found my review of the horrible Amityville 3D, which starred Meg Ryan in her first role.

Believe it or not, seven people have found my site by searching this. When you look more into it, it’s not so crazy – it’s “Langoliers” in Russian – but it’s cool to think that some search engines translated it into English then found this site of all places.

robert englund penis
Now, I’ve mentioned Robert Englund a couple of times on this site, because as many know he’s the chap who plays Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare On Elm Street films. I have never, however, referred to his penis, nor would I wish to. I’m sure it’s a perfectly functioning organ, I just have no interest in discussing it. Some of you may suggest it’s because I mentioned how the snake in A Nightmare On Elm Street 3 looked like a giant penis, and that’d make sense were it not for the fact this search was logged about a month before I put that review up.

nasty bunion
Here’s what happens when you have two completely unrelated words on your site and people find it by mistake. I direct you to my review of Night Of The Bloody Apes, which is tagged as a video nasty, and the caption in it saying “I only came here for bunion surgery”. I hope the two people who found this review eventually got the advice they were looking for, and didn’t die of bunion-related infection while reading my review.

bunion surgery nasty
Same deal, slightly more specific (and odder) though.

cutting up a woman
Oh dear. Now, I’m a great believer that violent movies don’t make violent people, but if someone is genuinely searching for tips on how to cut up a woman and is finding my site then I can only apologise. That said, if they’re wasting their time reading my Gingerdead Man review instead of killing people then I suppose I’m helping. You’re welcome.

i’m a bit mental
That’s nice, dear, but you’ll get no medals here.

I don’t know if I like the search term better or the fact that it’s divided so neatly into separate categories. “They have to be big, they have to be nasty and they have to be apes, I’m not pissing around here”.

porn movie planet ape
While I do review Planet Of The Apes on this site, I’m afraid it’s not the porno version. You may be thinking of Playmate Of The Apes, or the slightly more niche Planet Of The Rapes. I hope you find the simian intercourse footage you were looking for.

ellen sandweiss getting rape
I can’t help but feel this blog already has more references to rape than it really should, which I apologise for. In case you’re curious, this refers to my review of The Evil Dead, where Ellen Sandweiss is raped by a possessed tree. Hey, it takes all sorts.

the worlds worst telescope
I have no fucking clue what this is about.

planet earth as youve never seen it before
Um… nope, no idea.

jimmy saville as it happens
Seriously, if anyone can help me here it would be appreciated. Actually, I suppose this one was triggered by my mention of the Jimmy Saville troll in Troll 2.

women instructing cpr on dummy
I really hope someone wasn’t hit by a car and was lying there bleeding to death while someone checked Google on their phone to see what to do next and ended up reading my review of Hell Comes To Frogtown. While it’s a review I’m particularly happy with, I’m not sure it gives any CPR advice. I’m not sure any of them do, in fact, which makes this result mystifying.

fuck in the locker room
I’m really sorry to have disappointed you but there’s nothing like that in here. There was that one scene in A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 2 where the teacher was killed in a locker room, but I don’t think he was “fucked” in the sense you’re thinking. And finally, speaking of A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 2

its not gay if your balls are touching
Hm. How many pages would you have to go through on Google before you went past all the more relevant searches and finally got to the Nightmare 2 review on my site? Seems like someone seriously needed some reassurance.

The new background

If you’ve visited this blog in the past you’ll probably notice that it now looks a bit different. The new background I’ve added consists of posters for movies that fit into the whole idea of “That Was A Bit Mental”.

A couple of the films featured in the background have already been reviewed on the site, the rest are all viable contenders for reviews at some point in the site’s future. If you have any other films you’d like me to review, please comment below to let me know and, as long as it fits into the “Bit Mental” definition I’ll add it to my watch list.

The background took me a while to put together, so if you want to see the full, unblurred image (I blurred it to make sure the text stands out and isn’t lost in the sea of posters) then click the image below to check it out.

A big thanks to everyone who’s been reading my reviews during these early days. I intend to keep this blog growing for years to come, and I appreciate all comments and suggestions. Over the next week I’ll be posting reviews of Rubber, A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 3, Bless The Child, Friday The 13th and Teen Wolf.

Thanks again guys. Onwards and upwards!


Video Nasties: progress update

As you can tell if you glance to the right-hand side of this blog (and if you can’t see anything, click the blog title at the top to get to the home page and see the right-hand column), I’ve conveniently listed all 72 “video nasty” films that were banned by the Director of Public Prosecutions in the UK.

This charming chap is from Zombie Flesh Eaters, which is one of the first nasties I'll be reviewing (probably next week at some point).

As I’ve said in a previous post, this blog was initially set up for two reasons: to review horror films and more off-the-wall non-horror films, and as a checklist where I can watch and review all 72 video nasties.

I’ve been gathering them for a few weeks now and I now have around 50 of the 72 films, with the aim of having them all by the end of the month. As I watch them and review them, I’ll fill in links to their reviews on the list so that, eventually, the whole list will consist of 72 orange links to reviews, at which point I’ll have done what I set out to do and all will be well with the world.

Of course, once I’ve reviewed them all the blog won’t die, I’ll continue to review non-nasty films to keep things interesting.

A little reminder

This is you if you use RSS feeds

If you’re reading this shortly after it was posted in early January 2011, it’s probably because I know you, you know me, and you’ve been sent here via a link I’ve put up on either Facebook or Twitter. If that’s the case then I’m sorry about all those links, they won’t last long, just until I feel comfortable that people are checking the blog regularly and I’m not being paranoid.

If by some stroke of madness you do actually like what you’ve read so far then there’s a little link on the right-hand side of the page (under the Video Nasties list) where you can subscribe to this blog. That basically means that every time I write a review you’ll get an email with the review in it. Handy stuff, I say. But then again, I would because I wrote the bugger.

And if you’re one of those nerdy futuristic Tomorrow’s World types of people who have a voice-controlled house and ride a Segway, you probably also have some sort of RSS reader installed. If so, you’ll find the RSS feed for this site conveniently tucked under the Subscribe section.

It’s never been easier for me to wring every last bastard page hit from your cold, dead hands. Try it out!

Why, Hello There

What is the haps my friend. This is a new blog that I hope will actually take off and won’t become abandoned after two weeks like many of my projects do when I realise I don’t have any real spare time to do them.

When I’m not playing video games for a living I’m spending as much of my free time as possible watching movies, preferably those that are a little kookier and off-the-wall than the more mainstream fare. While I’ve got a wide-ranging taste and can watch more or less any kind of film, my specialty by far is horror, and over the past ten years or so I’ve easily watched thousands of cheap and nasty horror flicks from all sub-genres, nationalities and eras.

As a result I’ve seen some bizarre things that your standard cinema blockbusters just don’t tend to show. I’ve seen a Japanese woman giving birth to a fully-grown man (Gozu), I’ve seen an Italian zombie wrestling with a shark underwater (Zombie Flesh Eaters) and I’ve seen a man having his goolies chopped off in a bath by a wronged woman (I Spit On Your Grave). These are the moments that make lesser-known films fun for me, because they go beyond what mainstream studios think the audience wants to see.

This blog, then, is a celebration of the more weird and wonderful movies I tend to watch. Any time I see a film that strikes me as offbeat, odd or unusual I’ll pop a review on here. While horror will be far and away the most covered genre (since that’s what I usually watch), I’ll still add any non-horror films I see that fit into the category (a good example being Shaolin Soccer, a Hong Kong football film in which players’ shots are so powerful they turn the ball into flame-covered tigers and one opposing team consists of female players wearing fake moustaches).

My other purpose for this blog is part of my New Year’s resolution. As I recently mentioned in my other general blog, I aim to watch all 72 ‘video nasty’ films that were banned by the UK’s Director of Public Prosections in 1984. Since all these films are notorious and certainly not mainstream, all 72 of them will (hopefully) in time be reviewed in this blog.

I hope you enjoy my reviews, and if you have any suggestions for films you want me to cover then by all means mention them in the comments and I’ll do my best to get round to nabbing them.