Scream Queen Girl Gang (Modern Edition)

These are the actresses I’d most like to have a pint and share eyeliner with because they seem cool. And you know, if we ever happened to get into any trouble, then I’d be confident in their ability to help me fight to the death – which is a pretty good quality to pick in a friend. Just saying.

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Freddy Vs. Jason (2003)

Katharine Isabelle

Horror CV: Ginger Snaps, Carrie (TV Movie), Freddy vs. Jason, American Mary, Torment, Hannibal (TV Series)

I adore Miss Isabelle, not least because she’s the lead in a couple of my favourites (Ginger Snaps, American Mary). She’s Canadian (like me) and she’s lovely – and I just think we’d get along.

According to IMDB there was friction on set between her and the director of Freddy Vs. Jason because she refuses to do nudity – and I like that she’s not afraid to stick to her guns. You do you, boo. I just wish she was in way more – my favourite modern-day Scream Queen 4 lyfe.

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Don’t Breathe (2016)

Jane Levy

Horror CV: Evil Dead, Don’t Breathe, Castle Rock (TV Series)

Jane Levy first popped up in Suburgatory and was the best thing in it. Then the remake of Evil Dead came along and she was brilliant. Genuinely. The film itself took fresh liberties with the story which kept it modern and set it apart from the originals (which are amazing) – plus she was the final girl!

Jane herself has gone on to star in Don’t Breathe, a film I wish I liked more and I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore, which is a GREAT movie that also stars one of the other members of this gang (see below). They incidentally also star together in Stephen King inspired TV series, Castle Rock.

I don’t know, I just think she’s cool and hopefully as sarcastic as some of the characters she’s played. Sarcastic is good.

Brittany Snow stars in Screen Gems' thriller PROM NIGHT.
Prom Night (2008)

Brittany Snow

Horror CV: Prom Night, Would You Rather

I feel sometimes like the world needs a doe eyed Brittany to keep things on an even keel – and without Brittany Murphy (RIP), the crown fell naturally to my girl. This Brittany has done the rounds as a teen icon but she’s so much more than that. She’s so convincing in Would You Rather than I often think about that film and how I’d fare in the same situation. She can also tow the line between popcorn movies (the Pitch Perfect trilogy) and lesser appreciated indies (Bushwick).

Brittany has been quite open about her struggle with depression and self-harm in the past and in 2010 she started the Love is Louder movement to support anyone feeling mistreated, misunderstood or alone – which is awesome.

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Melanie Lynskey

Horror CV: Rose Red (TV Mini-Series), XX (segment “The Birthday Party”), Castle Rock (TV Series)

I love Mel, the Indie Sweetheart. Jill and I are such fans we enjoyed a Melanie Lynskey month on the Blog Collab in 2017 – spurred on by the aforementioned I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore. We both heavily related to her seriously pissed off character Ruth who is driven to drastic action when she’s let down by the feds following a burglary.

Imagine my delight then when she popped up as Mary in the St. Vincent directed segment of XXX called Birthday Cake. Now she’s rocking her part in Castle Rock alongside Jane Levy – and even though I’ve been quite slow on the uptake, I’m enjoying her very much in it.

Melanie is my age so she’d get my pop culture references and she looks like a laugh so I’m confident we’d be the best of all BFFs.

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American Horror Story: Cult (2017)

Sarah Paulson

Sarah Paulson would be our mate from out of town who pops up occasionally to hang out. I don’t need to go into why she’s great as I’ve been banging on a lot about American Horror Story lately, she just is.

And that, my friends is my Scream Queen Girl Gang.

Who would you choose?

Big Screen Girl Gang 

I stole this idea from last month’s Cosmopolitan, not going to lie. It was lying around in the gym last night and I take my inspiration where I can get it. Cosmo’s version has more of a single girl flavour though, choosing to celebrate the solo babes of cinema in line with the release of Bridget Jone’s Baby.

I’m just picking the 8 movie women I’d most like to hang with and why, because why wouldn’t I? It’s an awesome plan.

In no particular order:

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Who? Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
Why? Look, Lisbeth isn’t exactly warm and fluffy, I know this. Hugs might be a little light on the ground but when it comes to loyalty, there’s nobody more so. I’m all about that and appreciate it in friends. Plus, if I accidentally ever send a dodgy email to somebody, who better than Lisbeth to intercept it before it gets read?
What she’d teach me: How to actually use my laptop for more than just streaming Netflix and buying toot.

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Who? Beatrix Kiddo AKA The Bride (Uma Thurman, Kill Bill: Vol. 1 & 2)
Why? She’s just very cool and focused. I could use inspiration like that in my life. She also has the whole revenge thing down pat so I know, if anyone ever really hurt me, she’d have some tips on how to deal.
What she’d teach me: How to be handy with the Japanese steel, or failing that, a stick from the park.

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Who? Alabama Worley, née Whitman (Patricia Arquette, True Romance)
Why? Alabama is sweetness personified with, like me, a love of martial art movies and pie. She also believes in true love and girl, you got me there. Love is the only thing that really matters in life as far as I’m concerned, be it romantic, parental, whatever – there’s a reason it makes the world go round.
What she’d teach me: How to be creative and strong in a fight, whilst rocking the shit out of leopard print and candy-coloured Lycra.

My tribute to Alabama, here.

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Who? Mary Mason (Katharine Isabelle, American Mary)
Why? Mary would be the hot friend I had a bit of a thing for. She’s an academic but she’s also open to trying new and bizarre things. The desire to accompany her on these adventures would hopefully rub off on me. She’d likely be the most open-minded of the gang and ferociously feminist, which is fine by me.
What she’d teach me: To express myself better. How to be braver when I get piercings.

My review of the film, here.

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Who? Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy, Ghostbusters)
Why? She’s so fun and smart, and rocks a boiler suit like nobody’s business. She’s also not afraid to fight for what she believes in (ghosts), even when the rest of the world is rolling their eyes at her and her team. She’d probably make me look cleverer just by association.
What she’d teach me: Sciencey shit and how to wield a proton pack (like I wouldn’t ask to try it).

My review of the film, here.

Gilmore Girls TV Series starring Kelly Bishop and Edward Herrmann as Emily and Richard Gilmore - dvdbash

Who? Emily Gilmore (Kelly Bishop, Gilmore Girls)
Why? Not technically a ‘big screen’ character but Emily stays. (She was in Dirty Dancing and a load of other films, what more do you want from me?). Em might seem like a controversial choice with a few decades on the rest of us but man is she good fun. Appreciates a damn good drink, always comes through for her loved ones and is the sassiest person in the Stars Hollow area (yes I know she’s a way out of town). You’d always be drunk and/or laughing your arse off round Emily’s.
What she’d teach me: How to burn my haters with the flick of my tongue (not like that, you pervs).

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Who? Margaret (Lisa Haas, The Foxy Merkins)
Why? Why not? She’s so adorable. A bit bumbling but then so am I. She’s a hooker in the loosest sense of the word and one could argue, the worst of all time which just makes her more endearing. Margaret would most certainly be the ‘Bad Sex’ storyteller of the group. TBH I’ve just been reminded of the single best quote in cinematic history, uttered by Margaret about her plus size vagina to “The Mumbling Erotic Accessory Salesman” trying to sell her a merkin.
What she’d teach me: How to be resourceful when I’m down and out.

My review of the film, here.

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Who? Barb Holland (Shannon Purser, Stranger Things)
Why? Barb’s another small screen sensation but I was hardly going to exclude her from my dream girl gang, was I? Every squad needs a sensible type and Barb’s not a great drinker, is the designated driver and will worry about my morals for me (although p. sure that ship has sailed and circled the globe several times already). I’d keep her away from pools and beer cans though, she’s a bit of a liability.
What she’d teach me: To make the right decisions. Maybe. Probably not. But she’d try.

My tribute to Barb, here.

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Who do you choose for your Girl Gang? ❤

Happy Birthday and a Half: The Great Blog Collab

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A change from the norm this week but still very much on brand, don’t you worry.

It’s Jillian & Christa’s Great Blog Collab‘s 18 month anniversary (phew) this week and since it’s kind of a big deal to us (and hopefully a few of you), we decided we shouldn’t let the occasion pass without sticking a celebratory pin in it.

So this week we both present to you a little glance back at our top 5 favourite movies from our blogs, a couple of absolute turkeys (I feel we may overlap here) and a handful of honorary mentions because some films are just noteworthy in ways that don’t translate into ratings, you feel me?

A special thank you to Jill for thinking this one out logistically, and catching the anniversary. I’ve been feeling fried for the last few weeks and feel as though I’ve brought almost nothing to the table in terms of our collab, hence another Free for All theme this month.

I’m starting to feel brighter and more inspired than ever though, and am excited for this post and our future reviews.

To my Top 5! (5 of 10)

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American Mary (2012)

I loved this movie so much when I first saw it and although I haven’t revisited it since, I think of it often. At the time of reviewing it, I accepted that it was imperfect even though I didn’t hesitate to slap a 5/5 rating on it. The ending is disappointing, though I’m not sure Mary could have just walked off to a normal life after everything she’d seen and done, even if I wanted it for her.

I find the body modification community fascinating and wonder how close to the bone this really is. In terms of taking back control and self-expression, it’s a wonderful tale and although you could argue that, in her pursuit of vengeance, our girl becomes just as bad as the perpetrator of the crime that changes her forever, it’s a fantasy and I’m with her all the way. I love the power Mary wields and the ways in which she empowers her clients. Female-centric horror written and directed by women? More please. Ps. Katharine Isabelle, ILY!

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The Wolfpack (2015)

This documentary, that follows the bizarre lives of The Angulo Brothers; Bhagavan, Govinda, Jagadisa, Mukunda, Narayana and Krisna, is so special I feel it’s left a lasting impression on my heart. Funnily enough it came up in conversation with a friend earlier this week and our talk made me want to see it again. (BTW, I’ll reveal more soon but I have a very special project coming up and I think you’ll love it).

I often wonder what the boys are up to now, yet I can’t bring myself to look as this film has sealed them in time and left them on a high, despite their weird and wacky inner world. I need to live my life knowing that they’re all fine and happy.

If you enjoy something different, positive and heart-warming, then I can’t recommend this enough. (I’ve deliberately told you nothing here so you go in with no information. Trust me, it’s worth it).

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Wetlands (2013)

I had to choose Wetlands for it’s sheer audacity. It feels like a film designed purely to shit stir. So much of it is ripe for a disgusted reaction; that’s exactly what it wants and gets x 1000. It is refreshing that our protagonist is not bound by the usual rules of femininity though, I have to say that. She’s crazy for sex, will try anything once and doesn’t give a flying fuck about being ladylike. It must have been so fun for it’s lead Carla Juri to play this part.

I’ve just bought the book on which the film is based and I hope to pick up soon. I’m curious to see if it’s even more graphic that its movie counterpart. Here’s hoping?

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The One I Love (2014)

I really enjoyed this truly bizarre anti-romance starring Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass, about a couple working on getting
back that loving feeling, if only their alternate reality selves don’t fuck it up first. Yeah. This is one you have to follow carefully but it’s interesting film-making with great performances and a Make You Think ending, which is kind of bleak when you really consider it.

Part of the reason I love this movie is because I saw it around the same time as Coherence (2013) which is another alternative reality movie (on a smaller budget) that really messes with your mind. Don’t expect the ending to be spelt out for you in either film, both leave you genuinely wondering what the fuck has happened and how.

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Advantageous (2015)

This film is one of the saddest I’ve seen in recent years with such a powerful message. Passing comment on sexism and ageism, it paints a stark picture of the future, where women of a ‘certain age’ are no longer useful unless they’re willing to sell their eggs (in this era, healthy eggs are like gold dust, see).

Our heroine, Gwen feels forced to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to give her daughter Jules the very best shot at a future and it’s more dramatic than you can possibly imagine, with consequences that will change both their lives forever. The film is fantastic, with excellent acting and if it doesn’t send you hurtling into the arms of your loved ones by the credits, then I don’t know what will.

Pop on over to Jill‘s to check out her contribution to our Top Ten favourite movies (we each picked five). I agree with each of the ones she’s chosen.

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Shelley Duvall & Sissy Spacek in 3 Women (I don’t know why they’re smiling, you won’t be)

Now to my Worst!

A look back at some right turkeys:

Monkey’s Paw (2013)
Without question (and I know Jill will mention it too), our worst film to date. It’s a re-imagining of W.W. Jacobs’ infamous supernatural short story and believe me, spend your time re-reading that five times instead.

This movie is painful to watch, with appalling acting and shit effects. In fact, you’ll be so miserable it’ll have you longing for a paw of your own to wish the pain away. Don’t bother, please. We’ve taken the hit so you don’t have to.

3 Women (1977)
This film is odd as fuck, I won’t lie and it feels like it’s ten years long.All I really took from Robert Altman‘s 3 Women is that Shelley Duvallshould have stayed in the seventies as the aesthetic suits her so well, and vagina mosaics are timeless.

Down to You (2000)
Teen wank but of the worst kind. And here was me thinking I would never meet a highschool/college movie I didn’t like. WRONG!

Sharknado (2013)
This is abysmal but I mention it because I was expecting the best kind of bad. Not so, it’s just terrible. So many much better disaster/shark movies out there to enjoy, and we’ve watched a lot of them…Try Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark (2014), 3-Headed Shark Attack (2015) or 12 Days of Terror (2004). Alternatively, just watch Deep Blue Sea again (it’s so terribly great).

Honorary Mentions

Some of these movies just deserve a nod, for the reasons listed below.

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“Come on in, the water’s fine.”

Killer Mermaid (2014)

This gets a nod because it’s hysterical in every way. Film wise it’s horrible but oddly only when it ventures into Buffy territory. Could have been excellent, instead it’s good bad gone mad. I will always watch a mermaid movie if it’s offered to me IDGAF!

Lizzie Borden Took An Ax (2014)

It’s a shame in some respects that Lizzie Borden didn’t take an ax to the only copy of this film, thus rendering it extinct. However, we’ve not been that lucky. I’ve included Lizzie because Ricci plays her with such relish but in the end, apart from a little bit of face hacking, this tumbles into a courtroom drama and gets rather dull. Shame, as I love the Lizzie Borden story!

The Hellraiser Films – Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988) and Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996)

I love love love love love deliciously horrid Julia from the first two Hellraiser movies (played by Clare Higgins). Unfortch, the lack of evil step mum in the subsequent instalments render them not as good. Even if, in Bloodline, we get new Cenobytes, a scenario set during the French Revolution and Pinhead in Space.

Having said that, there are about 69 other Hellraiser movies in the series, so I’m sure we’re not done yet.

———-

So there we have it, 18 months of appalling, bad, horrifying, great, classy, trashy, unbelievable and downright bonkers movies! And many more to come I’m certain of it.

The Collab has opened my eyes to all the wonders of bad cinema, made me expect more from the things I watch (for real though there’s bad bad and bad great, and never forget it). It has allowed me to embrace the one thing I love the very most: cinema. And even more than that, it brought me something I didn’t know I needed (but clearly did): a great friend with similar cinematic tastes.

Happy Birthday and a Half Blog Collab, and to you my blog wife! *raises cocktail glass in manner of Gatsby*

Don’t forget to swing over to wifey’s for her view on our anniversary.

Don't worry, Christina, normal blog service will resume next week...
Don’t worry, Christina, normal blog service will resume next week…

88 (Film) Review

88_PosterI’m not going to pretend that I chose this film for any other reason other than Katharine Isabelle. I love her so very much.

That said, I’m not really sure what the fuck went on here so I think I’ll just launch into it and see where this review goes.

As always, *spoilers*.

Also, I’m wondering if January’s series of films should be entitled ‘Smoking Films’ because so far our two main protagonists have had a very strong attachment to their cigarillos. Just an idea.

88 (2014)

Director: April Mullen
Stars: Katharine Isabelle, Christopher Lloyd, Tim Doiron

IMDB Synopsis: A young woman comes to in a roadside diner with no idea where she is or how she got there. Split between two timelines, she gets taken on a violent journey as she seeks out the person responsible for her lover’s death.

My Review:

Katherine Isabelle AKA Gwen is sitting in a diner in front of a mound of pancakes. It would be fair to suggest that she’s somewhat catatonic, all wide eyes and a dazed disposition. We assume from the opening credits (which explains the phenomenon) that she’s in a fugue state. We don’t really know why at this stage but shit goes really bad when she freaks out, apparently triggered by a song on the duke box.

She shoots a waitress with a gun she’s just found in her backpack and then runs, steals a vehicle and manages to allude the po-po who just happen to be dining in the same establishment.

I better mention here that this film is a patchwork of flashbacks and hidden memories, and its all over the place so my timeline might be a little rocky. I don’t think it really matters.

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We’ve all been there, amirite?

So then we flash back to the lovely Gwen running along an open road in a red dress and then passing out. Things are looking fishy for sure.  All that’s really clear at this point is that Gwen is disturbed and really likes to drink milk. Like really loves it.

Anywhoo. Gwen doesn’t have any idea how she got to the diner, or how her hand got so damaged (it’s bandaged and on inspection, she discovers she’s missing her pinky) but she does find a motel key in her back pack, which leads her to Room 88. This is where she starts to piece together her story, of which she has no memory whatsoever. She does remember she has a boyfriend though and phones home to leave a message, asking him to come to Room 88 ASAP.

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Happier times

Inside, the room looks like a set piece left over from Memento (2000), with newspaper clippings on the walls and a body in the tub. In amongst the crime solving paraphernalia and ashtrays are some photos of Gwen with her boyfriend Aster (Kyle Schmid). I think it’s here she works out that he’s dead but I have no time to think (and nor does she) as an evil Henchman (from one of the wall clippings) bursts through the door to execute her.

In the nick of time, he is taken down by the arrival of Ty, who seems to know Gwen even if she doesn’t recognise him. He quickly scoots her away, kicking and screaming. Later he fills in a few blanks, though Gwen’s memories do not loosen up. She doesn’t know who to trust but decides to take a gamble on Ty.

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Smokin’ hot

Also, it seems as though Gwen’s known by the moniker of ‘Flamingo’ and may have taken on an uncharacteristic persona following her trauma. She swears to Ty that she’s no killer which amuses him, suggesting that she’s been something of a badass up to now.

Ty and Flamingo (let’s face it, it’s the better name) go off to visit Ty’s friend, Lemmy (played by the film’s director, April Mullen). I have to admit I had high hopes for Lemmy as she’s the only other female besides Flamingo in this male dominated movie but they don’t even communicate with one another! (A massive fail of the Bechdel test). Alas this can never be remedied as shit hits the fan at Lemmy’s place, people perish and Flamingo is arrested.

For a second it seems as though Flamingo is going to surrender to the cops, especially when Sheriff Knowles (Michael Ironside) is quite kind and really believes her when she says she has no memory of what’s happened. But Ty storms in again and Flamingo is released back into the wild.

FLY MY PRETTY!

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“Where we’re going we don’t need no clothes… why are you shuddering?!”

I can’t go on like this for the whole review as it will take forever but the crux of this film is that, slowly, Flamingo (named after a strip club is would seem, or was the strip club named after her?) starts to unravel the mystery of who killed Aster.

It all comes back to a man called Cyrus (or The Anti-Doc Brown) who seems to have been a main feature in Flamingo’s life since she was a young ‘un. This is very creepy and he’s a very jealous man. He also does Very Bad Things.

Before I close, let’s ask ourselves some questions, shall we? (The answer to this is always yes).

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“Lady in Red? I hate that fucking song.”

My Questions: 

Who killed Aster – and why? Who is Gwen/Flamingo? Will she get out of this in one piece? What’s with her obsession with milk? (It’s sort of sexual/phallic but not phallic, you know?).

And how can I convince KI to become my very best friend (who I also love)?

My Thoughts:

I’ve been reading a fucking amazing book called Life Moves Pretty Fast and it’s changing the way I look at modern films compared to films from the 80’s, especially films with female leads (of which there are not nearly enough). This post isn’t really the right place to air my gripes about that (read the book yourself, it’s magnificent!) but I went into this film with a certain mindset I suppose.

I don’t know how feminist this film is. A bit, I guess. I think the intention is there, we have a ‘strong female lead’ who isn’t all about competing with another woman for a man, that’s nice. She saves herself more times that she’s saved by a man. She ultimately gets what she wants by the end of the film, which is the ‘truth’.

The only other female roles in this film, besides Lemmy, are the strippers at Flamingos. They’re treated exactly as you’d expect them to be treated by a pig boss and his band of merry henchmen. Sadly there’s no retribution for any of the women.

Katharine is great in this, even if the story is a little convoluted. The movie poster heralds this as ‘Kill Bill meets Memento’ and I’m not convinced (KB is one of my all time favourite films, so no cigar). I’d love to see her in a Tarantino movie though. If I’m honest I just want good things for her and better roles, more like American Mary (2012), please!

My Rating: 3/5. A bit all over the place but my crush still reigns supreme. 

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What does Jillian think of my heavily biased film choice this week? Head over to see for your damn selves!