Stung (Film) Review

STUNG-POSTER-RED-R1I had a harder time than necessary choosing a film this week and only because I placed so much pressure on myself.

We were going to do High School Movies Month but that didn’t work out (long boring story), so we’ve gone instead with Plan B, which actually fits our new theme rather well: B Movies.

Remember both Jill and I complaining that our choices recently have been too good? Well, we have been doing that and both welcomed the return of some signature snarking, a skill Jill certainly excels at (for films mostly, I can’t speak for the rest of life).

So enter the bad movie line-up. I was going to go with Sharknado (2013) but thought that seemed too obvious for my first choice, so you get this instead.

*Spoilers* as always.

Stung (2015)

Director: Benni Diez
Stars: Matt O’Leary, Jessica Cook, Lance Henriksen, Clifton Collins Jr.

IMDB Synopsis: A fancy garden party turns into upper class prey when a colony of killer wasps mutates into foot tall predators.

My Review:

First up, I love a Creature Feature. The zanier the better as far as I’m concerned, and this bonkers sounding movie has been on my list for ages. But was it worth the wait and did it leave a lasting impression (AKA sting) though? Let’s find out!

Julia has started her own catering business and is understandably keen for her first ‘gig’, a fancy garden party, to go off without a hitch. Nerves make her pretty snippy when it comes to her only other employee, goofy Paul. I think there’s some dialogue at the beginning about her having just lost her father which turns out not to have much bearing on anything, so I’ll assume it’s to give her some depth (uh-huh).

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This story has a sting in the tail…

Paul is super into Julia and is actually really good-looking in a sort of Daniel Radcliffey-throw-some-dirt-on-him-and-put-him-in-a-perilous-position-so-he-can-show-himself-to-be-quite-action-hero-ey way, though he’s also very annoying. The fact he likes Julia but she doesn’t like him (or does she secretly, duh) is not going to stop the guy continually trying to get in her knickers though, obvi – and it grows tiresome real quick.

Anyway. Straight off the bat Paul notices that there’s a wasp problem at Mrs. Perch’s  (Eve Slatner) sprawling home. They’re pretty huge and aggressive but not so obnoxious that anyone’s that fussed yet. The do seems to be a send off for Mrs. Perch’s dead husband. They have a creepy son too, Sydney (Collins Jr.) who has a drink problem.

During the night, which is going just great (bar the annoying buzzing buggers), Paul befriends Larry (Daniele Rizzo) and they fuck off to get stoned together. Meanwhile, we meet some of the guests, which range from some very odd old men to a highly sexed Cougar who can’t get enough of Paul (but of course). Suddenly, there’s a scream and before we know it, though pesky wasps are stinging guests willy nilly.

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I don’t want to spoil the effects for you

Alas, this isn’t like the time I stood on a bee when I was five, these wasps have a nasty affect on their victims and it’s of the chest busting variety. It seems the victims don’t so much become killer wasps as host them for a small amount of time before giving birth to them in hideous and exciting ways.

Shit kicks off real quick as the core cast get themselves back into the house where they batten down the hatches. Unfortch, this doesn’t keep them safe for long and one by one the survivors are picked off. It’s really gross which is definitely one of the best things this film has going for it. Mrs Perch goes first (old = weak, innit), then lovely Flora the housekeeper (Cecilia Pillado) leaving just Julia, Paul, old man Caruthers (Henriksen) and creepy Sydney to fight to the death.

Luckily they’re a solid unit with not even one secret between them. Are they fuck! Sydney is forced to admit that this is all his fault (dead dad’s growth hormones in the fertilizer = giant killer wasps, yo) and what’s more he conceals a sting of his own. No problem though, course that won’t come back to bite anyone on the arse later (or face).

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Catering’s a bitch

There’s not an awful lot to play with here in terms of story line but we didn’t come here for depth so it’s best just to focus on the grotesqueness of it all. Wasps make sticky nests and it takes them no time at all to turn the once beautiful mansion into a heap of shit. Plus it’s no party to have one bursting out of your mouth/eye socket/chest so the new decor is somewhat splattered. But whatya gonna do?

Once through the worst of it, all our surviving heroes have to do is find a way out into the open but who knows how they’ll fare? The answer is surprisingly better than expected until Paul is kidnapped by a fucking angry female (of course there was going to be Queen). Will Julia kick ass and go back for him, or will she hightail it out of there as fast as her little catering van can take her? I know what I’d do…

To the questions!

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Sidney and date

Questions:

What the fucking fuck is going on Sidney, you freak?

Who survives anyway? And will you even care or will you zone out a bit because you’re so disappointed that a film about giant killer wasps turned out to be so fucking dull? Asking for a friend.

I don’t even know anymore. There’s a ridiculous climax (or not) at the end and then it’s all over. No lasting effects whatsoever.

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Woman up, creep

My Thoughts:

Paul just really annoyed me trying to touch Julia all the time. If I found myself in a similar situation and someone was trying to paw me, even if it was my own husband, I would have something to say about it. No means no dude, even if the underlying (condescending) message is that she does really. FFS.

When he makes a throwaway comment to one of the men about how Julia should be more grateful I wanted to turn the film off altogether, and go and kick something. Fuck gratitude right now, dude.

It’s nice that Julia gets to save Paul in the end but that scene with the Queen and the larvae is so hideous I nearly puked. I think the gist was that she wanted to plant her babies in Paul. At least that would have made him useful for a bit.

This is supposed to be a horror/comedy FYI but I don’t think I cracked a smile the whole time. Maybe that says something about me?

Later these crazy kids fuck in an ambulance because that’s all you’d want to do, then it’s all over and everyone can go home. Or can they?

Watch if you like or don’t, I don’t mind. I think I can safely say our Too Good Curse has now been lifted, at least for this week.

My Rating: 2.5/5. Points awarded solely for the gore and special effects. May I recommend you go and watch The Fly (1986) instead?

So, what did Jillian think? Was it a B for Brilliant Movie in her book or would she rather kill it dead where it stands with a giant can of Raid? Find out here silly.

Ps. I’ve found an incredible movie for us to watch together in the flesh Jillian, it’s so good/bad a concept I’m not even going to give you a teaser! ❤

The Mistle-Tones (TV Movie) Review

the-mistle-tones-149032-posterIt’ll be Christmas in less than two weeks, man. How did that happen? I guess I’d better buy a turkey soon…

But instead of doing the chores that matter, I’m fighting off a hangover from Friday night (still) and enjoying the lead up to the big day in my pants. Which means mince pies and this Made for TV Christmas gem.

My choice this week and I deliberately went for something as cheesy as possible. I think I can safely say that I’ve delivered. This is a steaming pile of glittery poo with a sprig of holly on top.

The Mistle-Tones (2012)

Director: Paul Hoen
Stars: Tia Mowry-Hardrict, Tori Spelling

IMDB Synopsis: A talented singer forms a musical group and challenges her rivals to a competition on Christmas Eve.

My Review:

Holly (yes honestly) is a singer who dreams of being part of the local Christmas girl group, The Snow Belles. Her dead mother founded the group you see, over 30 years ago.

Unfortunately, The Belles of Holly’s generation are now run by Queen Bitch, Marci (think a cut-price Regina George played by Tori Spelling) and her band of merry minions.

They’re holding auditions that very morning and even though Holly is running late (cat flushes the toilet then ruins her dress), she makes it just in time to wow the group with her voice, which is predictably that of a wee angel.

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“This isn’t Scrapbookers Anonymous?”

Marci is no fool however and gives the last position in The Belles to the less talented Staci, so as not to be upstaged (sensible). Holly is left gutted and to top it all off, her boss is being kind of anal and dickish. (But he is hot).

Peed off, Holly is driving when she gets the idea to form her own band. Why not right? So she hot foots it into the mall and gets the boss to agree to a talent show, opening up the competition to anyone who fancies entering.

So now all our Holly has to do is put together a group so she can smash the shit out of The Snow Belles once and for all. And she has a week to do so – but where does one find secretly talented individuals at such short notice, hmmm?

Luckily she seems to work in a densely saturated talent factory and enlists Larry from Purchasing (Jason Rogel), Bernie from HR (Megan Kathleen Duffy) and AJ from I’m Not Sure Where (Andy Gala) – all of who can sing but not really dance and have no pizzazz, basically (as they say in the business).

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Missing something, but it’s not denim

How on earth will Holly get around this? While she tries to work it out she ends up in a bar she’s never been to on Karaoke Night, where she bumps into Hot Boss Nick (Jonathon Patrick Moore). Only he’s not acting like her boss, more like Jon Bon Jovi and guess what? He’s goooooooooood.

So Holly finds a (nefarious) way to get him to help the group win Deck the Mall and show The Belles who’s the best.

Questions:

Will Holly become the Ultimate Belle? Will Marci get egg(nog) on her face, as well as her well-deserved comeuppence? What’s her major malfunction anyway?

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“On Wednesdays we wear…” YES WE KNOW

Will Nick help The Mistle-Tones become more than mediocre? And is he doing all this for good reason, AKA because he lurves Holly? What about the promotion he so desperately wants?

Would Holly’s Mum be proud of Holly? And OMG did you know that Holly’s Dad is Reginald VelJohnson (Sargent Powell from Die Hard (1988), no less)?

All these neatly posed questions and more will be tackled, you know the drill.

My Thoughts:

This was terrible but enjoyable.

Sister Sister‘s Tia is likeable enough and I wonder if that’s actually her voice. Pretty sure that Tori’s singing voice isn’t her own but you never know, her dad could definitely afford singing lessons growing up.

I wish Marci had been bitchier and in the film more, a bit more sabotage wouldn’t have gone amiss. It would also have been nice to find out more about what’s made Marci  such a stone cold c—. I have a weird obsession with Tori Spelling, I don’t know why.

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“Overdressed, Moi?”

All in all, this film is what it is but exactly what I wanted on a Sunday afternoon of carb scoffing.

My Rating: 3/5. More bitchiness and general tomfoolery would have pumped the rating right up.

That’s my view, but does Jillian share it? Find out here.

The Wolfpack (Film) Review

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This film, man. It’s different to anything we’ve reviewed before as part of our collaboration and that’s a good thing I think. I have no idea where to start on this documentary but I’ll give it a damn good go anyway, because that’s just the kind of girl I am.

I think that this will be the last in our Blog Free or Die Hard series for a while, in favour of Christmas movies (yey!). Jill and I haven’t discussed this at length yet, though we’re both totes up for it, so watch this tinsel encrusted space! (Basically, I cannot bloody wait).

Also, for the first time in forever I’m going to put the tree up before mid-December, so that gives you an idea of how festive I’m starting to feel.

But to the movie. As always *spoilers* ahead!

I might add here that my enjoyment of this film came in part from not knowing much about it. I got a brief synopsis but then deliberately didn’t dig any deeper because I didn’t want to spoil it for myself. I’m not afraid to admit that I wasn’t even sure it was a documentary.

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Awkward when six of you rock up in the same outfit

The Wolfpack (2015)

Director: Crystal Moselle
Stars: The Angulo Brothers (Bhagavan, Govinda, Jagadisa, Mukunda, Narayana, Krisna), Visnu (Sister), Chloe Pecorino

IMDB Synopsis: Locked away from society in an apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Angulo brothers learn about the outside world through the films that they watch.

My Review:

The Angulo Brothers are six brothers, ranging from (at the time of filming) 11 to 18. They are Bhagavan, Govinda, Jagadisa, Mukunda, Narayana, Krisna. Confined to the four-bedroom, sixteenth floor apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan they share with their sister Visnu, and their mother and father, the boys are home schooled and rarely leave the building.

Mother Susanne educates the boys the best she can from the comfort of their own home, while they gain the rest of their life experience from the movies. Such favourites as Reservoir Dogs (1992) and The Dark Knight (2008) become their outlets, which they re-enact together and sometimes film on a shaky camcorder.

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Bat-ears and chill?

Oscar, the boys’ father guards the only front door key and strictly monitors (and more or less prohibits) unauthorised trips outside. He maintains that the streets outside are like a ‘prison’ and worries about the danger of drugs. This means that the boys have hardly set foot outside their door in all their life-times and never interact with anybody outside their family.

Things changed though, the day Mukunda (then 15) left the apartment without his father’s knowledge or permission and, in his own words, “one thing lead to another.” (Going out in a homemade Michael Myers mask can do that for you, yo). This documentary focuses on this event and how it changed things not only for Mukunda but for all the brothers.

The film is a patch work of home footage, interviews with the boys and clips of them re-enacting their favourite films. Tarantino is a regular feature, as are Christian Bale and Heath Ledger‘s Joker. The boys have the performances down, and play out each scene with painstaking detail.

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Clownin’ around

We learn more about Oscar and Susanne’s origin story, of how they met when they were young and idealistic, and how they came to be here. Susanne is loving and protective of her boys, though clearly regretful when it comes to how it all turned out.

Oscar, well I don’t understand a single word of what he says, even with subtitles. I don’t know what has driven his decision to keep his family virtual prisoners under his rule but I’m sure he believes it’s for their own protection.

He beats his wife (something the brother’s reveal) and there’s heavy implication that she’s even more controlled than her children, taking the brunt of his irrational behaviour. This isn’t really touched upon too much but there’s a lurking menace there in the background.

The boys, following their brother’s original escape, start to head out as a group and slowly but surely begin to interact with the world around them. Dad can’t stop them as they grow older and even Mum begins to reach outside their circle, by contacting her own mother who she hasn’t seen since she had her children.

I’m going to go with my opinion that the less you know about it, the more you’ll be blown away by this story and stop here. This post will be a little less waffley than usual as a result but there you go. I’ll obvs still be asking the hard-hitting questions because that’s my thing. So…

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On beach days we wear black

Questions:

How will/do the boys adapt to the outside world? Will they maintain traditional relationships, meet girls, make friends, etc?

What the fucking hell is Oscar on about in every single one of his interviews? Why did Susanne put up with all this in the first place?

And – how is it that each and every one of the Angulo brothers seems kind and lovely, and more importantly well-balanced, when they’ve lead anything but a normal life?

My Thoughts:

God. I watched this with my heart in my throat. It’s very emotional. It’s also crazy that this is a true story and that this family really exists.

The Angulo brothers are beautiful, with long, long hair but what stands out most about them is the purity of their souls (*vom* at my corny wording, but it’s true). I guess it’s their innocence we see primarily, they’re kind and gentle, and despite the fact there’s some very real anger and resentment between father and some of his sons, they never resort to bitterness.

Of course, we don’t know how things are when the cameras aren’t rolling but on the face of these interviews, they just seem lovely. I would like to hang with them, please.

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Our other car’s invisible

There are elements of this life I would like to know much more about, particularly the question of “Why?” (really how can this happen?). But also, I’d like to know more about their sister, Visnu who is described as “special” by one of the boys.

I just want more really, and could watch and listen to them for hours and hours. Their props and costumes, mostly constructed with paper, are incredible. Almost as impressive as the real thing!

Alas, I had to make do with this brief glimpse into a life less ordinary. I fear I’ve played this lovely film down but please, if you love the weird and wonderful, and the movies, this is one for you. Promise.

My Rating: 5/5 LOVED. I’m still thinking about it this morning with a mixture of awe and sadness, so that can only be a good thing.

What did Wifey think? Pop on over to see for yourselves.

NB: This Wiki page is really fascinating the and tells more about how the Director came into contact with the Angulos.

The House on Telegraph Hill (Film) Review

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Jillian’s pick this week and it’s Film Noir, one I hadn’t seen before nor, if I’m honest, even heard of. But I love love love this genre and studied it closely during my Film A-Level (100 years ago), so it’s close to my heart.

We’re still on Blog Free & Die Hard time, and I like it. So here’s to a couple more random titles before we move in a different direction. Maybe Christmas movies?

But for now, how was this one, and how does it stack up against some better known Noir, such as my fave, Mildred Pierce (1945), Double Indemnity (1944) and Laura (1944)?

Well, read on, my friends.

As usual *Beware Spoilers*!

The_House_on_Telegraph_Hill-489480248-largeThe House on Telegraph Hill (1951)

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Richard Basehart, Valentina Cortese, William Lundigan

IMDB Synopsis: Concentration camp survivor Victoria Kowelska finds herself involved in mystery, greed, and murder when she assumes the identity of a dead friend in order to gain passage to America.

My Review:

Viktoria Kowalska’s husband and home have been annihilated by the Germans and she finds herself in a Polish POW camp, just trying to survive each day.

She’s befriended a woman named Karin Dernakova (Natasha Lytess), who has sent her baby Christopher to America to live with her rich aunt. She’s distraught, not eating or sleeping, despite Viktoria’s best efforts to care for her.

The camp Mean Girls accuse Vik of buttering up Karin just because she has rich relatives. The two do have a plan to find their way to ‘merica to be with Chris but Vik loves Karin and is devvo’d when she finds her dead one night.

Devastation quickly gives way to something else though, and Viktoria dries her eyes and grabs Karin’s identification papers. The voice over, Viktoria herself, asks why not claim Karin’s identity, right? Still go to America and get the kid, live with the rich aunt (who’s unlikely to realise given the years gone by)?

You’re inclined to agree after everything she’s been through.

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“Wake up! I need your opinion on this head scarf.”

Shortly afterwards, the new Karin is interviewed by the Liberation Department about where she’ll head next and she’s very upset (guilt has already set in). A nice Major is kind and patiently explains a few things to her. She’s adamant there’s nothing left for her in Warsaw and refuses to go back.

Viktoria/Karin sends a telegram to Aunt Sophia but a few days later receives a response saying she’s passed away (but to pop into the lawyer’s office in NY if she’s ever about).

Things look shit for New Karin™ but she’s a Noir girl and Noir girls got gumption, so she sucks it up and jumps on a boat that eventually gets her to New York City. In the office the lawyer is a bit snotty, suspicious of her not being who she says she is. Also present is Alan Spender, the kid’s official guardian and also a relative of Aunt Sophia.

Basically, all Sophia’s money is due to go to Christopher (the kid) when he comes of age but until then, her big house and all her cash is Alan’s. Karin manages to convince Alan that she’s legit and he takes her to lunch.

NB: I have to say here that nothing good can possibly come of getting involved with someone called Alan. Sorry, it’s true. Run, Karin, Run! 

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It’s all fun and games until somebody’s brakes get slashed…

Karin suspects Alan has the hots for her and decides to milk it for all it’s worth. They have a brief courtship and then get married. A few days later Alan takes Karin to San Francisco, where Christopher lives in the house on Telegraph Hill.

Karin meets her ‘son’ who is being taken care of by a moody governess, Margaret (Fay Baker). Margaret clearly hates Karin at first sight but loves the boy so it’s sort of alright.

(Margaret is amazing with one of the best resting bitch faces even captured on celluloid.)

On their first night in the new house, Alan puts his lovely wife to bed and retires to the guest bedroom, claiming that he wants them to redecorate their bedroom before they share it or some bullshit.

Poster - House on Telegraph Hill, The_03Later, Karin goes for a wander and catches Margaret coming out of the parlour where Alan is kicking back. Looks like they’re up to no good. Or, do governesses always waft about on landings in sheer black negligees?

I’ll try to keep the rest of this brief because a lot goes down but let’s just say that odd things start to happen and Karin wonders if she’s being punished by Aunt Sophia, who gazes down poe-faced from a mahoosive portrait above the mantel.

Oh yes and one day a hot man called Mark rocks up (think 1950’s Greg Kinnear) – and surprise! – he’s the kind Major from Belsen (Karin’s form concentration camp home). Of all the cocktail parties in all the world…

Mark doesn’t think much of Alan and quickly makes himself available to Karin, lightly trying to get in her pants but also trying to be her friend. She soon needs one when her brakes are cut and she’s almost killed.

Lucky for her a pile of sand is strategically placed where she lands so she gets away unscathed. This prompts Karin to start doing some digging into Alan as she’s determined to prove he wants to bump her off. Mark is sympathetic but urges her not to jump to any conclusions (because women, as we all know, are prone to bouts of hysteria).

Also, Karin is completely blanked by the mechanic who fixes her car, even though it is HER CAR. This is a fifties film obviously so I shouldn’t be surprised and Karin should be confined to the kitchen, but still – some men still talk directly to other men rather than dare talk to a lowly woman and it’s seventy fucking years later! RAGE!

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Karin was a massive fan of Grand Theft Auto V

Anyway, Karin finds out that Chris was almost harmed too in an explosion and Margaret is cagey when questioned about it. The two women have a massive barney and Karin sacks Margaret, but Alan comes back and patronises Karin until she agrees to take her back.

Karin uncovers more shit, Alan tries to trick her into thinking it’s all in her head (been there) and there’s a dramatic show down between husband and wife. Who will be triumphant?

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“Nice dress…lol!”

Questions:

Will Karin’s dirty secret be uncovered? Will New Karin™’s love for the Real Karen® mean she saves Christopher from potential danger?

Will Alan the Fuckingfuckface get what’s coming? What’s Margaret’s beef?

Who does the ladies’ eyebrows?

What will become of the beautiful old house on Telegraph Hill and… Will I ever boast a wardrobe as sumptuous as Karin’s?

All these questions and more will be tackled in this tense thriller.

My Thoughts:

This was dead good. Sometimes I feel a little dubious about older films, not the tried and tested ones obviously but ones I haven’t seen. Will they be dull and dry, full of wooden acting and crap scenarios or…?

Not this one. It’s actually quite tense and had me gripped from the opening credits.

Valentina Cortese (like she was going to be anything other than an actress?) keeps you interested in New Karin™ all the way and never made me doubt she was a good woman at heart, despite the shady start to her new life.

I’d still have rooted for her if she was bad, in fact my only criticism is that I would have liked to have seen her being more of a Bad Bitch. Would one cat fight with the nanny and more red lipstick/smoking have killed you, New Karin™?

I’d also have been done with more Margaret, more female solidarity at the end (they’re allowed to despise each other initially, have a little tussle, realise all they’re fighting for is definitely not worth it and then team up) and all men being done away wit, including the kid.

alfredI mean, Mark is nice and all but he’s a bit handsy and Chris is pretty much just that kid from Mad magazine, very 2D.

Otherwise, it had a good plot, made me shout at the screen a couple of times (sorry, I just hate condescending men called Alan) and entertained me for the reasonable run time of 1 hour and 33 minutes.

My Rating: 4/5

How does Jill rate this movie? Head over to see for yourselves.

Rosemary’s Baby (Film) Review

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See Halloween Month off with a bang, I thought. Let’s watch a classic and see how it stands up in today’s modern landscape, I thought. Well, that was about all the thought I put into this week’s choice. I mean, it was this or Halloween (1978) and the latter seemed too obvious. Plus, I wouldn’t want to slag off that masterpiece, I’m sure on close examination it would be flawless (lol).

Anyway, this made the grade because I’ve only seen it once, a long ago but remember being blown away by the interiors and gripped by the unsteady hand of paranoia throughout. It reminds me of the films I fell in love with decades ago, when I got my first TV set in my bedroom. My self-education, if you will.

But, has R’s B stood the test of time? Or is it ripe for modernisation as the 2014 mini-series starring Zoe Saldana would suggest?

I’ll let you know my thoughts below.

As always *spoilers*

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon

IMDB Synopsis: A young couple move into an apartment, only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbors and occurrences. When the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins to control her life.

My Review: 

Shiny happy couple, Guy and Rosemary Woodhouse fall in love with an impossibly gorgeous apartment in downtown NYC and hastily slap their deposit down before really looking into it like most normal people would. Guy is an actor (though I’m not sure what he’s been in, Rosemary, any idea?), while Ro is a professional waif and cushion fluffer.

“What could possibly go wrong, my love?”

They’re very sweet and in love, with their whole future ahead of them – this is going to be a happy ending right? Riiiiiiight. I can promise you that someone will be happy by the time the credits roll but that’s all I’m giving you.

Just before they move in, their lovely friend Hutch (Maurice Evans) tells them the bloody history of the building, which includes witchcraft and cannibalism. This doesn’t phase the couple though and they move in. There’s even a redecorating montage which I live for, I really do.

While Guy pops off on auditions and films commercials, Rosemary makes sure the apartment is perfect. She greets her husband with a pint of beer and plate of sandwiches on his return every night (!) and they make love with good frequency. One evening Rosemary meets her neighbour, Terry (Victoria Vetri) who stays with the Castevet’s on the 7th floor (which is the same floor as the Woodhouse’s and right next door).

Terry tells Ro the story of how the Castevet’s took her in off the streets and treat her as the daughter they never had. Terry shows off a pongy lucky charm she wears around her neck, which Ro admires/turns her nose up at in equal measure. The girls never quite get to cement their new friendship however, as a few days later the Woodhouse’s return to their building to find Terry has thrown herself from the window and is pretty fucking dead.

(There’s claret everywhere and I have to say the first time in a film where I remember seeing this. Usually when someone jumps off a building all you get is a delicate pool of the red stuff by their head. In this scene it is all over the surrounding cars, sidewalk, road, in the cops hair, etc).

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“And that there is my favourite piece in the apartment: the two way mirror.”

It’s over Terry’s broken corpse that we, and the Woodhouses, first meet the Castevets, Minnie and Roman (Sidney Blackmer). They are gloriously oddball and Minnie rocks the exact aesthetic I intend to in 30 years time (20). From this evening on the Woodhouses can’t shake the Castevets despite this being the very thing they had hoped to avoid.

Guy seems more taken with the new friendship than Rosemary is, spending hours in Roman’s company talking about whatever it is they talk about, I forget. Meanwhile, Minnie is a domineering so-and-so who drops in unexpectedly all the fucking time (told you this was a HORROR), sometimes dragging her mate, Laura Louise (Patsy Kelly) with her. Minnie also gives Rosemary the exact same ‘Good Luck’ pendant that Terry wore. Oooooh!

Rosemary quickly begins to back away from her neighbours and is a little baffled by the fact Guy doesn’t feel the same. However, they don’t really have the time to discuss it as they decide to start trying for a baby. From here Guy takes control of Rosemary’s menstrual cycle and maps the prime days for baby making, keeps track of her period and basically treats her like a prize cow.

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This is the exact point I would have left

One night early into Project Baby, Rosemary passes out after dinner (moral of story: if your neighbour drops off chocolate mousse and it tastes chalky, don’t eat it, even if your husband bullies you into it). While out cold, Ro has some disturbing dreams (that are pretty much exactly the same as the ones I have most nights but with more nudity) and when she wakes up, she’s covered in scratches. Guy admits that he hadn’t wanted to miss ‘Baby Night’ so had gone right ahead without her. Presumably while Blurred Lines played softly in the background.

(I’m sorry but that’s just horrific, right there. Fuck you, Guy. FUCK YOU.)

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“Do you like my new hair?… Darling?”

This review is going to go on forever if I don’t break it down for you (the movie is over 2 hours long), but the result of Baby Night is that Rosemary falls preggo. To celebrate she visits Vidal Sassoon and has a pixie cut. Guy is very rude about her new look and one can only assume it’s because she’s asserted some independence, a big no-no in this marriage apparently.

Alarm bells are ringing even before we get a whiff of Satanism but Ro is so sick in her first stages of pregnancy that she is naturally compliant. This makes it easy for the Castevets to railroad her into seeing their doctor and drinking the herbal goodies Minnie rustles up on his recommendation.

One afternoon, Hutch pops round and is shocked to the core at how rubbish Rosemary looks (she does look bad, having lost heaps of weight from her already gazelle-like frame). By chance Hutch meets Roman Castevets and senses something fishy. He arranges to meet Rosemary in the city a day later to tell her something.

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“What? Just basking in my pregnancy glow…”

Hutch never makes it though as he falls into a sudden coma (from which he never wakens, dying shortly afterwards). Ro is devastated of course, while Guy doesn’t seem all that bothered.

Just as Rosemary is about to get a second opinion on all the pain she’s been suffering so far in her pregnancy (as advised by her female friends who tell her it is definitely not normal), the pain shifts and she starts to glow. Up to that point she’d started to throw away Minnie’s secret pregnancy milkshakes believing them to be poisoned.

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“You should read The Secret, it really worked for me…”

Let’s cut to the chase here and say at Hutch’s funeral, one of Hutch’s friends passes on a book about witchcraft with some clues underlined inside. This is what Hutch had wanted to tell Ro and she gradually works out that Roman is the son of a very evil man witch who’d resided in the building a long time before, and had a high old time doing the Devil’s work.

After this, Rosemary realises that all her paranoia has weight and she’s less pliable. She seeks assistance from a second doctor who lets her down spectacularly (fucker) and ends up being held hostage by her so-called husband and Dr. Sapirstein (Ralph Bellamy) for the remainder of her pregnancy, which tragically results in a still birth.

Or does it?

Questions:

I’m parking this up here. But not before I ask a few questions, obvs.

So… what will become of Rosemary and, of course, her wee baby? Will Guy Woodhouse come through for his wife in the end and what’s in this plot for him? Why didn’t Rosemary just tell those horrible Castevets to butt out?

Should I have a pixie cut myself? And finally, is this really just a cautionary tale about letting your neighbours get too close? *Deadlocks the front door and battens down all hatches, whatever those are*.

Rosemary wasn't crazy about the new range of Hallmark cards and their wording
Rosemary wasn’t crazy about the sentiment behind the new range of Hallmark baby cards

My Thoughts:

This is a great film, if excruciatingly long. Polanski knows how to spin a tale and he also knows how to build suspense so I can’t criticise him (for that, anyway). The whole film has an air of discomfort and paranoia builds quickly, despite Rosemary’s picture perfect lifestyle.

It helps I think that Mia Farrow is a living doll, all delicate lines and babydoll dresses, lending her a unique fragility. I just wanted her to be happy really. I also watched this movie and imagined that she got away and lived that happy life devoid of devil babies and annoying elderly companions. Alas.

There’s plenty here to take the piss out of, of course but as a classic, it’s pretty excellent. Maybe it’s not balls out scary but it takes you to a very creepy place and presents Rosemary’s situation as almost normal. For the most part the danger is very subtle and realistic. Too late does she even realise how far she’s fallen into this web of evil, and that the one person she should be able to count on has sold his soul (and their baby) for fame and fortune.

Which is a theme that would fit perfectly today, even more so perhaps in these reality TV obsessed times. I would recommend that this film needs to be seen, it’s an absolute classic up there with some of the greats, including a couple of my favourites, Don’t Look Now (1973) and The Omen (1976).

My Rating: 4.5/5

Does Jillian agree? Swing by and see what she has to say in her own words here.

Cockneys Vs. Zombies (Film) Review

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Another week, another great horror. Or, if not great, then at least great fun. Which, both Jillian and I have agreed is exactly what we needed after a few weeks of pure, unadulterated stress at both our works.

Anyone else having the shittest few weeks of their (working) lives?

Let’s see if our pick this week offers anything more than exactly what it says on the tin.

*Spoilers* 

Cockneys Vs. Zombies (2012)

Director: Matthias Hoene
Stars: Rasmus Hardiker, Harry Treadaway, Michelle Ryan

IMDB Synopsis: A gang of bank robbers fight their way out of a zombie-infested London.

My Review:

Brothers Terry and Andy are likely lads but with their hearts in the right place. Right now they’re plotting a robbery with the help of an unstable associate called Mental Mickey (Ashley Thomas). What on earth could go wrong?

Meanwhile, the East End of London is undergoing a transformation with new builds going up all over the city. During the first stages of building it looks like the developers have uncovered a 17th century burial site, as you do. This may or may not have unleashed the undead into the streets – oopsy.

The same developers FYI are threatening closure on Terry and Andy’s grandpa’s care home which might have something to do with the upcoming robbery… Incidentally, this film would not have been the film it is if it hadn’t starred the sublime Alan Ford (Brick Top of Snatch (2000) to you and I). He makes it completely.

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The gang had arrived at the Annual Mouth Gaping Wide Open Championships – but who would walk away with gold?

So, the brothers move forward with the robbery with a little help (?) from an increasingly erratic Mickey, plus friend Davey Tuppence (Jack Doolan) and cousin Katy. Things go appallingly of course when the gang end up with more than they bargained for, both fiscally and literally. The robbery brings in 2 million but they gain two hostages along the way.

Lucky for them the surrounding police officers have bigger fish to fry what with the undead devouring them all, so they get away pretty easily. I don’t really get why they take hostages at this point but they do, in the form of Emma (Georgia King) and Clive (Tony Gardner).

One by one we lose members of the squad in creative and witty ways. There’s not much I can really say about this, just that it follows a typical zompocalypse format but funnier. Things kick off when Terry and Andy head for the care home, where Brick Top and friends have been doing a decent job of fighting off zombies until now. These aren’t just any old folk after all, but cockney old folk and therefore HENCH.

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“Ask me if I’ve got my daysaver one more time…”

Our heroes stop by Mental Mickey’s lock up on the way to Brick Top’s which happens to be packed full of every sort of ammunition. It’s Willy Wonka’s factory but with grenades and bullets. They also hot wire a double decker bus to accommodate the oldies.

(This is by far my favourite bit).

To the Questions section: Will the boys make it to their grandpa’s in time? Will Brick Top’s glamorous friend Peggy (Honor Blackman/Pussy Galore) give him reason to keep living? What will become of the boys, the money and the remaining members of our gang?

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“You’ve all got red on you!”

My Thoughts:

Look, there’s not much to say. This film is amusing and it doesn’t require any brainpower. It has a wonderfully old skool English cast and it has Brick Top in an action hero role. I’m in, all the way.

All I could think throughout this Zom Com (not sure this can be classed as a Rom Zom Com given the refreshing lack of romance), was: it’s no Shaun of the Dead (2004) – but then what is? It does the best it can with what it has.

Plus the cast, particularly Katy and Brick Top, look like they’re really enjoying handling all those big weapons.

My Rating: 4/5

Did Jillian enjoy herself? Check out The Pink Panther Snipes Again to find out for yourselves!