Trailer Tuesday: Burton’s Big Christmas

Forgive the Will-Ferrell-in-‘Elf’-like enthusiasm for Christmas that will likely takeover this blog in the next couple of weeks, but my sleigh bells are a-tinglin’ as we enter festive season. As well as turkey, trimmings, gifts and gooey family sentiment, movies are of course a staple of the holidays and so I’ll kickstart this Geek’s un-Grinchy approach to Xmas with a trailer of the new movie I’m most excited about this December.

Keep your hobbits. This Boxing Day, it’s all about Burton, Adams and Del Rey. It could only be more delish if smothered in cranberry sauce…

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Trailer Tuesday: Anne Hathaway Feels Heavy Metal – or a Bit Folky

Riding into Trailer-land straight from a Broadway showing of ‘Once’, new indie rom-non-com ‘Song One’ has a few things going for it. Sure, the trailer suggests a bit of a grim set-up and we’re all used to Anne Hathaway looking glum for an hour and a half, but the girl can sing – and the musical nature of this folk-inflected drama may give her a chance to flex those Miserables vocals alongside her co-star, none other than Brit coulda-been Johnny Flynn.

Well, I say coulda-been. After witnessing his comrades Laura Marling, Mumford and Sons and Alt-J hit it big in music, the singer-songwriter looked like he was swapping guitars for innuendo as lead in Channel 4 sitcom ‘Scrotal Recall’. However, now he’s combining acting chops with credible choons, hooking up with the dependably fantastic Jenny Lewis to provide the songs for ‘Song One’. With Christmas outta the way and post-New Year blues setting in, the movie – and its soundtrack – could very well be the cinematic warm cuddle every hipster’s after in cold, dank January. Could ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ be given a fiddly bluegrass makeover? Waiting to see is part of the fun.

Going Down to the Bayou

So, I’m officially going to New Orleans next year – EEEEEK!

the princess and the frog

‘Excited’ is a word that doesn’t really do justice to my anticipation about tripping to what is a pretty mythical place for someone who has watched too many movies and read too many books. I’m aware of the historical and cultural significance of the place, and can’t wait to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day a stone’s throw away from the Mississippi whilst sipping on some Hurricanes and listening to jazz. ARGH!

Time to re-watch ‘The Princess & the Frog’, flick through some dog-eared Anne Rice books, and start dreaming bad dreams starring Robert DeNiro as the Devil. Might order the entire boxset of ‘Treme’ too!

Anyone got any good tips for New Orleans movies, shows, books and music? I’ll devour it all!

Top 5 Bogeymen

In honour of things that go bump in the night – and the holiday that embraces them in a big bloody hug – I’ve compiled a list of the bogeymen that haven’t had their due. Sure, these creepy creatures may have spooked a fair few of us but the likes of Michael Myers, the Blair Witch, Leatherface, Pennywise (of course, frickin’ Pennywise) and even bloomin’ Jaws have stolen their thunder as the nightmarish monsters that haunt the collective dreams of a generation or two who have seen way too many movies and TV shows.

So, here they are, the scary monsters and super creeps I really hope I don’t run in to tomorrow.

(Honorary mentions: Pyramid Head, Eugene Tooms, Mrs Massey from ‘The Shining’ and, erm, the Sanderson sisters?)

5. Alley Man
Is it a man? Is it a woman? Is it a malevolent monster metaphor sent from the warped mind of David Lynch’s brain to screw with us and set the tone for the rest of his psycho-thriller puzzle pic ‘Mulholland Drive’? Definitely the latter.

alley monster

In this unforgettable early scene from the director’s 2001 masterpiece, an anxious man who has just described a troubling nightmare takes his companion into the alley behind the diner from his dream – and out pops the dark and disturbing hobo-like horror he described as being confronted with in his night terrors. The sequence can almost be appreciated as a short film that stands on its own within the framework of the epic enigma that surrounds it – and it’s definitely the freakiest five or so minutes from a fascinatingly freaky whole.

4. The Peacock Family

x files home

‘The X Files’ threw up a fair few shady characters, extra-terrestrial or otherwise, but Mulder and Scully’s most terrifying foes were a twisted take on the family unit, bringing the horrors of the Peacocks home. Receiving a viewer discretion warning for graphic content, the episode ‘Home’ centred on three severely deformed brothers living on an isolated farm who keep their mother (and lover – ick) under the bed and routinely kill anyone whose snooping threatens their existence – not to mention the barely-born babies that are a product of their maternal incest. Gross but memorably horrific, ‘Home’ freaked me the F out when I was about 11 – I stayed up too late and remember the home-invasion scene, where the boys pay the sheriff and his wife a visit, ruined my sleep for a week.

3. The Pale Man

pan's labyrinth

Grimm fairytales were never so grim! Guillermo del Toro outdid himself with ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’, a dark fable he is yet to better, but the crowning achievement was surely the intensely scary Pale Man. Referencing Goya, this awful bogeyman is an artistic achievement despite being grotesque – and the baby-eating backstory and eyes-in-hands look only add to the terror. When he wakes up… well, I was awake for a while after that.

2. Tristana Medeiros

tristana medeiros

Those last five minutes of the first ‘REC’? CRAP STEAKS! Little girls shouldn’t look like that – but little girls possessed by demons and twisted into a crazy-scary fiend lurking in the highest reaches of a forsaken hotel? I want my mommy.

1. The Gentlemen

hush

The highlight of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s ghoulish creature canon also provided, arguably, its best ever episode ‘Hush’. Tim Burton’s visual aesthetic is referenced heavily but the Gentlemen are scarier than anything offered up by ‘Sleepy Hollow’ or even the creepy stylings of ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’. Despite the influences though, the Gentlemen are a unique creation – sunken-eyed, suited, knife-wielding baldies with metallic grins – only rendered more scream-worthy thanks to the genius Whedon concept of them being fairytale monsters who steal the voices of their victims so there’s none of that pesky screaming business when they get down to the business of stealing hearts. Can’t even shout, can’t even cry… TURN THE LIGHTS ON!!!

Happy Halloween, peeps. Avoid dark alleys. :-/

The Perfect Driving Soundtrack

I thought BBC Three was up for the chop, but thank God it isn’t as this Thursday presents a rather unique concept for cult film fans.

Drive Radio 1

‘Drive’ lives up to its reputation as being the coolest movie of recent years (or ever, if you’re me) with a reboot this Thursday night at 10pm – tune in to the digital channel and you’ll witness the film with a special soundtrack curated by one of mainstream radio’s sole saviours, Zane Lowe.

Now, the original soundtrack was just as good as the film, featuring cracking tunes from Kavinsky, Desire and College, not to mention a moody neo-noir score courtesy of Cliff Martinez.

The version of the movie screened on Thursday in the UK will be rescored and feature Banks, Eric Prydz, SBTRKT, Laura Mvula and Bastille. Meanwhile, awesome electro-pop band CHVRCHES contribute a new song titled ‘Get Away’.

‘Radio 1 Rescores: Drive – Curated by Zane Lowe’ debuts on Thursday and you can check out the trailer below:

Trailer Tuesday: Scary Movie

With only a couple of weeks until Halloween, it’s time to dig out that copy of ‘Hocus Pocus’ for its annual viewing. Of course, ‘The Shining’ and ‘The Exorcist’ and all those canon-classic horrors will get a look-in too (although there will always be a slot for Thackery Binx), but wouldn’t it be nice if a terrifying new tale was waiting in the wings, ready to trick-or-treat us in time for the 31st?

Well, horror fans rejoice. Indie hit ‘The Babadook’, the Australian horror that has received rave reviews from critics, is finally set to scare UK audiences upon its cinema release this week. Set around a mother and child facing a storybook bogeyman come to life, it’s apparently the best screamer for some time. Catch it this weekend in case it changes your Halloween costume plans – or scares you enough to cancel Halloween.