Given my love of all things horror I’m often asked at this time of year by numerous people – sometimes upwards of three – which scary movies are worth watching.
Rather than go through the minor inconvenience of advising this tiny handful of friends, I’ve instead decided to put myself through a significantly larger inconvenience in the hope it helps out many others with a similar quandary.
Naturally, the issue here is that there’s no catch-all “good horror movie” – everyone likes different things, and one man’s Scream is another man’s Scream 3.
Welcome to the first instalment of That Sounds A Bit Mental, a not-that-regular series of articles in which I take a look at the very best (worst) from the world of music.
If you have any albums you’d like to recommend for That Sounds A Bit Mental – and I’m talking novelty pish where every track’s a cringe here, not “Nickelback lol” – let me know in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org pronto.
WWE WrestleMania 31 kicks off in two weeks’ time, so I thought it would be a good idea to take a look back at one of the company’s oddest ideas, from back in the days when it was still the WWF.
WWF Wrestlemania: The Album was executive produced by Simon Cowell(!), with songs produced and composed by Mike Stock and Pete Waterman (of Stock, Aitken and Waterman songwriting fame)
With such musical heavyweights in charge of the album, you’d think this would have resulted in some solid pop hits based on the wrestling superstars of the time.
Instead, the resulting 12 tracks (ten if you bought the US version) were an odd combination of cheesy music and various WWF superstars talking over it. Not singing, mind: talking.
I love shit places. This should already be clear to you if you read about my previous trip to Popeye Village in Malta. So when I travelled to Canada in 2013 to visit my then-fiancée’s family and was told of the cheesiness that could be found at Niagara Falls, a trip to said Falls was arranged post-haste.
Let’s get the obvious stuff out the way first – Niagara Falls is amazing to see. Check this shit out (click the pics to embiggen):
If I’m being honest though, as impressive as that was, it was something else that I fell in love with at Niagara. On the way to the falls I saw a novelty street filled with loads of cheesy shops and attractions, including Movieland: Wax Museum Of The Stars™.
As I’d hoped, Movieland’s wax creations are of varying quality, and with all respect to them the majority of them aren’t very good.
In fairness, whoever decorated the place did a great job, because the environments the waxworks are placed in are much better than those in Madame Tussaud’s in London in my opinion, but obviously it’s the waxworks themselves that are the star attraction and it’s here where Movieland struggles.
You know, it isn’t just the actual content of movies that qualifies for That Was A Bit Mental.
There’s more to a film than watching it, you see: there’s the trailer, there’s the potential DVD special features and, of course, there’s the poster promoting it.
For the most part American and British posters are relatively dull. Get the main actors, slap photos of them all looking moody on the front, stick the name of the film at the top and print that prick.
In other countries, however, there’s a bit of thought involved. With that in mind, here’s the first of a series of features imaginatively titled ‘mental foreign film posters’, in which I show… look, we both know I don’t need to even finish that sentence.
It’s December, and that can only mean one thing. Yes, it’s Slovenian Independence Day on the 26th.
As a warm-up to that big occasion, there’s also a smaller event on the previous day called Christmas, where families come together and give each other presents and eat food and get fat and get miserable for the next eleven months until they lose the fat then they decide to lose more weight because they know they’re probably going to get fat again next Christmas. It’s good fun.
In the mid 1980s VCR technology came to Ghana, allowing entrepreneurial types to run their own film screenings.
Armed with their VCR, a TV and a portable generator, these kind chaps would travel around Ghanaian towns and set up a sort of temporary cinema, showing the locals a film then moving on to the next location.
In order to promote their screenings, they hired local artists to create movie posters for them. Sometimes these posters were little more than paintings of the actual VHS cover, but sometimes – often when the artist hadn’t actually seen the film – the results were a little more bizarre.
These days Ghana’s economy is beginning to thrive and this practice is far less common, mainly because many Ghanaians are able to afford their own televisions and DVD players. But it’s fun to take a look back at how it used to be back in the day.
Everybody’s got to start somewhere, and not every actor saunters straight into an Oscar-winning role in their debut performance.
No, most start off doing cheap or independent films: mostly just to get work and have some actual acting roles to put in their resume, but also in the hope that their performance will get them noticed by one of the big studios.
Everyone in this feature has two things in common. Firstly, they are (or were at one point) all considered major actors or actresses.
Secondly, they all starred in horror films very early in their acting careers. A rare few struck it lucky with horror movies that would become hugely successful: Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween springs to mind.
However, the vast majority instead featured in cheesy low-budget B-movie horrors, the sort of pish they’d rather forget they were ever in. You know, the sort of stuff I review on here.
Here, then, in order of surname, is my handy list of major actors and actresses who found themselves in (usually extremely low budget) horror films early in their careers. Just to make sure they won’t be able to forget them.