Wednesday, 24 June 2009

"Suckle at the Teat of Evil"...

So this week's SModcast (#89) brought the View Askew "SMart" thread (as found here: http://viewaskew.com/theboard/viewtopic.php?p=3729348#3729348) to my attention, and after been so entertained by Bryan Johnson & Kevin Smith's gleefully twisted (and detailed) chit-chat about a '1980s horror style' version of Smith as a monstrously obese, constantly stoned cannibal who uses Johnson as his butler of sorts, (and whom lures ladies of the night into monster-Kev's lair) in SModcast #85 ("Side Chair") has had me constantly chuckling.

So as a result, I decided to get my sketchpad out and do my first drawing in nearly two years - my creative output just gets focussed on the filmmaking these days, so I very rarely do any drawing these days, but I got all hot & bothered to do a little sketch and share it on the SMart thread on the View Askew website.

Anyway, you can view my sketch here:
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

QuickPost Quickpost this image to Myspace, Digg, Facebook, and others!

Full size version here:
http://img524.imageshack.us/img524/8297/sm85suckle001.png
(Click the image to size it up to its fullest).

I plan to flesh it out further in due course, and when I do I'll pimp up a blogpost about it.

Anyway, enjoy a twisted semi-rough sketch from me, inspired by a wonderfully freaky bit of SModcast chat between Kevin Smith and Bryan Johnson!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Doghouse...

June's double-flick cine-trip's second movie kicked the ass of the last 'second in a day' movie we saw at the cinema (which was the utterly pish Observe & Report) - plus we'd had Pizza Hut between screenings, so my gut and blood sugar was thoroughly happy after an ice-cold Pepsi and a delicious individual-size (i.e. the literally perfect portion) Meat Feast pan-pizza ... it makes me want one right now just talking about, so I'd better shut up and start blog-juicing about Doghouse!

Was it ever going to be Shaun of the Dead? No it wasn't, and neither was Lesbian Vampire Killers, but that's not the point, and when you think about it for a moment, it's not even a fair target to aspire to. Shaun of the Dead was simply too good to be beaten.

Shaun of the Dead "ish" or "like" perhaps - as in, it's a "British horror comedy".

It'd be far more worthwhile to compare LVK and Doghouse - so which one wins out of the two (both released this year) - Doghouse wins. It's got a far more consistent style than LVK, it has more gore, it's funnier, and it's better constructed.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Lesbian Vampire Killers, but it generally felt a bit inconsistent and rushed, and then it all kind of fell apart towards the end. Doghouse on the other hand sticks to its guns, and provides the viewer with a greater sense of consistency from start to finish. You're not rushed into things - you get the required set-up time - but you're not left checking your watch either.

I rather enjoyed Jake West's previous flick Evil Aliens, so I'm really glad to see he's getting to play with a bigger budget and bigger names. Doghouse (adapted from a cult comic) is a horror film for horror fans, it's for the 'nerds' in the crowd, the sort of person who relishes in the gloopy gore of The Evil Dead ... primarily at least. It plays well to those not versed in the world of Sam Raimi before Spider-Man or the 1990s, or 'pre-Rings' Peter Jackson, but it certainly helps if you're a lover of Sam Raimi's madcap horror stylings.

Doghouse has a better-than-average bucket of gore to chuck around (although a few more stand-out gore-gags like in Evil Aliens would have been welcomed by the Evil Dead lovers in the audience), Danny Dyer's 'geezer schtick' doesn't wear thin, and the general feel of utter daftness was a real pleasure to watch.

It doesn't dawdle - which was ideal for a second-screening on a double-dip trip to the cinema like we were doing at the time - and, put simply, it's a good fun slab of Grindhouse-ish exploitation horror comedy. Buckets of fun - so here's hoping that it gets a spiffing treatment on DVD for the genre fans to lap up.

The Hangover...

I was a bit neutral towards this Vegas-set comedy when I saw the trailer (and Mark Kermode's distinct disliking of it made me a bit weary), but then again it's from Todd Phillips who has given me a good few chuckles in the past with the likes of Old School (and a couple of others that slip my mind right now).

As soon as I saw it was a Vegas-set comedy, I immediately thought of Fear & Loating In Las Vegas (which is great) and Very Bad Things, which I saw a number of weeks ago for the first time (good black comedy) ... so I guess that's where a bit of my trepidation came from as well ... but regardless, the lads and I were off to have a double-film Sunday cinema jaunt, and The Hangover was first up (Doghouse would follow).

I was pleasantly entertained, I'm glad to say. The last time we went on a double-flick cine-trip, we went to see I Love You, Man (which was good fun) and Observe & Report (which was pish - and even more hard going as it was the second movie in our double bill, and my blood sugar was rock bottom).

It's not amazing by any stretch of the imagination, and I didn't guffaw uproariously, but I got plenty of solid laughs throughout and was awarded with numerous 'bits' to mimmick with the lads as we waited for our post-Hangover movie Pizza Hut pizzas.

Undoubtedly, the biggish dude with the beard ("fat Jesus" as he was mocked in the movie) stole the entire movie, but the rest of the cast did well by keeping you on side for continued chuckles also ... Heather Graham wasn't in it much though, was she? Then again, it's really about the four guys, so nevermind that observation.

I'll look forward to no doubt giving it a second viewing with the lads sometime in the future for another DVD night-in, because that's how this flick works best - watching it with the lads.

Oh, and weirdly enough, the bit where "fat Jesus" eats a slice of pizza dug out from the back of a sofa really made me crave a Meat Feast pizza ... and so, in-between showings, I went and had a Meat Feast pizza in Pizza Hut ... and it was fucking lush!

Manhunt...

I actually won this DVD via the Melon Farmers website (a site all about censorship related issues, primarily UK stuff) - a website which has inspired me in several of my DVD purchases (and indeed, in hunting down the uncut versions). Anyway, they did a competition for a copy (three actually) of this Norwegian horror flick, and I recently sat down to watch it.

Immediately you can tell where this movie's allegiances lie - The Last House on the Left (David Hess' "Wait For The Rain" opens the movie) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (bunch of kids in the middle of nowhere travelling in a camper van coming acropper of some undesirables, set in 1974), then add in a little touch of The Evil Dead (there's even a list of "fake shemps" in the credits) and you should know whereabouts you're going to be at ... except in Norwegian.

It's a low budget production, shot on digital and coloured appropriately by draining much of the greenery from the scenery (if I dare get a bit rhythmic for a moment) - it features a sparse script with nothing much to offer in the way of originality, but this is a low budget exploitational horror flick after all. You'll gradually tick off a list of genre moments as you progress through the trim, but appropriate, 75 minutes running time.

Then there's the characters - to be honest this is where I got a bit frustrated - "Roger" (who owns aforementioned camper van) is a complete and utter twat throughout, so you don't care a bugger about him. Then there's "Camilla", who is frustratingly loud whenever they need to be quiet - yelling "ROGER?!", or constantly asking filler questions like she feels she has to fill the life-saving silence with something lest she go for five seconds without hearing the sound of her own voice. I literally lost count of how many times she was told to "be quiet" and "shut up" throughout the movie, there's at least three instances in the movie when this happens, and within each instance she's told several times ... you're trying to escape from man hunters - shut up and stop giving away your position (and stop annoying me)!

Then there's a brother and sister, who I was generally neutral towards (although the brother was often the one expressing my own frustration towards Camilla's constant noise-making). Chuck in some grimey looking rednecks, a hitch-hiker (*looks at the TCM remake* nod nod, wink wink), and a gaggle of man hunters and you've pretty much got your cast.

Gore, however, is where Manhunt stands most confidently. There's not a ton of it by any means, but when you do get treated to a bit of the old claret, you'll get what you paid for so-to-speak. Aside from a couple of stand-out moments, the gore wasn't especially inventive, but it's good enough to keep you going.

Good for a watch for genre fans with a production which shows promise for future endeavours from those behind it, but it's probably not going to stick with you for especially long.

Monday, 8 June 2009

A long-winded rant about Terminator: Salvation...

The first portion of this rant is spoiler-free, but about half-way through you'll find a notice warning of spoilers ahead, so if you haven't seen it, you'll get fair warning of the spoilers which I've intentionally sectioned off away from the main, spoiler-free, rant, which follows immediately after this paragraph.

I blogged a while back about the (at the time) new trailer (the one featuring "The Day The Whole World Went Away" by Nine Inch Nails), and how it sent me into a fanboy tailspin of confusion. You can read that post here:

http://deadshed.blogspot.com/2009/03/terminator-salvation-and-fanboy.html

So, after everything - the abysmal T3, the first news of T4 (McG announced as director, the producers rambling on about how "awesome" their ad campaign was gonna be before they talked about the actual movie, and the discovery of the PG-13 rating), as well as the endless march of clips from the movie (I felt like I'd seen half of it already) - my basic, surmised opinion on T4 (or Terminator Salvation, if you really must) is "meh".

Just as I'd predicted in the aforementioned post linked to above, that third trailer elevated my opinion of T4 from "franchise rape" to "decent at best" - and I stick by that. The movie, when all is said and done, is "meh".

The main problem with the film, I feel, is the structure - this comes down to the script. There never seems to be a real flow throughout the movie. Characters are introduced, only to be relegated to bit-part status, or simply forgotten about for weirdly long periods of time before being foisted upon us again. The opening scene is god-awful, summarised by the truly dreadful line "so that's what death tastes like", and then all of a sudden we're thrown into the shit, Vietnam style - suddenly I'm enjoying myself and the pace has changed gear sharply - but I don't really know what's happening. I felt like I needed a moment to settle into 2018 before I joined them for a charge into enemy territory.

Then throughout the rest of the movie I felt like I was at-sea, it felt like a bunch of ideas and moments loosely connected - it didn't feel tight, or especially well assembled, and it certainly wasn't up to the precise standard of James Cameron's franchise-founding T-films. Some of the ideas and moments were really enjoyable, others were groan-inducingly clunky, and towards the end of the second act I found myself suffering a yawning-fit.

This reminds me - throughout the movie - even during action scenes (but mostly during "the character stuff"), there was an endless procession of the audience flocking in and out of the cinema for a piss. It got really annoying after a while; I've never seen so many bladder emergencies waltzing past the bottom of the screen before in my entire cinema-going life.

Then we have the third act - which, without spoiling it to much, is essentially the third act of either T1 or T2 lifted out and plonked onto the end of T4 ... there are many moments in the third act which are visual references to the first two movies. It looks like T1 and T2, and it feels like them too.

Characters-wise, let's see ... I don't understand anyone who has said that Anton Yelchin's Kyle Reese is anything like Michael Biehn's. I just sat there and I couldn't shake "Charlie Bartlett" or "that's the new Russian dude from Star Trek (which I've not seen yet)". I didn't recognise any Biehn in Yelchin's performance, so I've no idea what those who reckon there is, are thinking. It's not as bad as I was anticipating, but it doesn't set the world alight either.

The invincible-mute kid with the preposterously large hair was annoyingly pointless throughout.

The jet pilot chick who fancies a bit of Marcus Wright's robo-wang, is also pretty one dimensional.

Common - a one-name rapper (*groan*) isn't as teeth-grindingly annoying as I thought he might be as Barnes (or whatever his name was), and indeed he's one of the better 'rap stars playing actor' appearances I've seen lately, but still - he did practically sod-all throughout except rock a beard and bark orders or be really loyal.

Kate Connor is, again, a mostly pointless character. She just hangs around looking pregnant most of the time ... that or playing the role of "the only doctor available anywhere".

Who else? Well, I enjoyed Michael Ironside (just because he's cool as shit, and he voices Sam Fisher in the Splinter Cell videogame series), Christian Bale did a lot of grumbling, shouting and gawping but was never really challenged throughout, and Sam Worthington did a solid job as Marcus Wright ... in fact, Worthington displays the best acting in the entire movie, which is a bigger compliment than it might initially seem considering my "mostly pointless" run down of the main characters.

As for the machines - I still think the "hydro-bots" are shit. Their name smacks of Transformers-rip-off, and indeed there's an incredibly similar scene in Transformers featuring the tail of Scorpion flailing around on a table. The "moto terminators" aren't as bad as I was expecting, and don't look as production designed as they did in the sketches I saw in Total Film a few months ago. The chase scene where they were really shown off was also better than I thought it might be.

The Harvester (aka "the Transforminator", as I like to call it), is still a gigantic, walking Transformers rip-off. Plus I still think Skynet - a soul-less, creatively-and-artistically-void machine - would bother using so many resources to build and power that great big thing just to hoover up a few people before hopping on board a big plane-thing like a cowboy on a horse (indeed).

Much better (and more efficient) would it have been to send a squad-or-two of endoskeletons to capture people - Allies VS the Germans style - before marching any people in chains onto an awaiting transporter adapted from some pre-J-Day human-made vehicle. That's what I would have done, nevermind a bloody giant resource hog ... this said, the scene was relatively brief and wasn't as bad as I was expecting (but I had been expecting pure turd for months, so...)

Effects and visuals wise - fantastic - but that's not especially difficult to pull off/make look awesome. Visuals are easy enough to pull off, it's a great script that's the evasive thing (and indeed where T4 stumbles most of all - goodness knows what a mess it must have been in before Chris Nolan's brother polished it up!) The post-apocalyptic world is realised pretty much ideally (if you get past the nerdrific "surely those tyres would be flat by now" technical stuff of course), and the CGI Terminators actually work pretty damn well (not like those horrid things seen marching around briefly post-J-Day in T3).

Actually, some of the Terminators (and how they were covered by the camera and editing) were quite terrifying. They really seemed like a real foe. They felt fucking mean, fucking hard-as-nails, and looked seriously cool and seriously dangerous at the same time. The T-600s, T-700s (I didn't know they existed either) and the T-800s all looked seriously good ... although I still think it's retarded that a post-poned, T2-ending-ignoring, J-Day can somehow make Skynet produce the technology for the T-800 infiltration units faster, instead of slower/on a delayed schedule of a similar time-scale.

Speaking of coverage, some of the shots in the movie were pretty damn cool (such as the whole bit at the start where JC pilots a chopper).

Finally - before I get into spoiler mode - where the fuck were the track-based ground HKs?! Seriously, they put those crappy T-1's from T3 in a couple of scenes, but they completely forgot to include ANY ground-based HKs!!! What-the-fuck?! You know what - THAT would have been the idea used for one of those (or an adapted one rather) for the Harvester scene. Yeah - have an alternate ground HK act as a Terminator troop transport that just roams the landscape looking for people - then it unleashes the 'troops', they round up the flesh-bags, then call in the air transport for a quick meat-bag evac. That would have made more sense ... so seriously, why the fuck were there no ground HKs?!

While I'm on it - why didn't we get any marching armies or squads of Terminators?! You can do it with CGI now, so how come we didn't get many Terminators? At times I felt a bit short-changed on T-action, I have to admit ... but when we do get endoskeletons on screen, it's pretty much guaranteed coolness.

Also finally - motherfuck the 12A/PG-13 rating ... I mean goddamn arse biscuits was that lame!

...



Now - it's **SPOILER TIME** - if you haven't seen the movie, don't blame me if you ignore this warning and get a bunch of details spoiled for you.



...

I'll do this spoiler-ridden part as a list for ease.

* Why do all the Terminators/Skynet machinery sound the same? They all have that robo-fart growl going on, some louder than others. What's with that? Sometimes it's distracting and sounds a bit-too much like the filmmakers were trying to add emotion to the emotionless, and sometimes it works quite well (making the machines scarier, or in the case of earlier models, making them sound less technically advanced ... a bit rougher).

* How the fuck does nobody in that gas station hear the harvester coming from miles away? All of a sudden - boom, there it is - but the thing is a massive, weighty, loud-as-all-hell beast. Not only would you have heard it from ages away, but you would have felt it coming from miles away.

* References to T1 and T2 galore (even T4 thought T3 was bollocks) - some work, some don't ... "come with me if you want to live" and "I'll be back" are bone-crushingly, eye-rollingly, ham-fistedly crow-barred in, and I don't like their inclusion.

JC using "You Could Be Mine" (by Guns 'n' Roses, from T2) to lure a moto-terminator was cool.

1984-style CG-Arnie was surprisingly good fun. It looked 95% convincing (better than I'd hoped), and didn't out-stay its welcome.

Linda Hamilton's voice overs (in the form of those cassette tapes) mostly sounded phoned-in. It was a nice enough touch, but yeah ... phoned in pretty much.

The entire third act is pretty much that of T1 and/or T2 ... it's an odd mix of fond familiarity, and T4 mission-statement-bothering re-treading.

* The scene where Blair Williams (the jet pilot chick) teases the audience (and Marcus) a bit with her rained-on, tight-vest-bound boobies is neither here-nor-there. Then the following scene where a bunch of grubby individuals gather around her (i.e. threat of rape) just feels totally unnecessary. The movie is bleak enough without the cliched, obligatory "good looking chick has to be threatened with gang-rape so we can have another fight", which is exactly what they do - Marcus Wright kicks some arse and we're left wondering "really, was the threat of gang-rape really, truly, honestly necessary in this script?"

* The whole voice over at the end about "there's no fate but what we make" - yeah, exactly - as in the ending of T2 where they STOPPED Judgment Day from happening, for fuck sake! T3 was based upon ignoring T2's end entirely and just shrugging it off "well actually there IS fate and you can't do shit about it", the same theory that brought about T4 ... and then T4 tries to have its cake and eat it too - proclaiming that there is no fate but what we make ... well if that's the case T3 and T4 should have never happened! There's no money but what we rinse out of a franchise, more like.

* The music - didn't care for it mostly - average filler at best, and it didn't sound enough like a Terminator movie. I miss Brad Fiedel's scores so badly - especially during the opening credits where you only get the famous beats at the very end of the titles ... the titles aren't much cop either, it doesn't feel right, it doesn't feel Terminator ... it feels like Die Hard v.5 or something...

* The dude who tries to climb over the fence at Skynet, but gets rinsed by a minigun-toting T-600 ... yeah, where the fuck is the blood? Oh wait, it's a fucking PG-13/12A ... it's just stupid. You hear bullets, but you see not a single drop of blood - it's just daft.

* When the moto-terminators exited from the harvester's shins I just groaned - too complex, too fiddly - they're machines, they 'think' along the lines of the path of least resistance, as well as the path of most efficiency. These shin-shot moto-terminators feel far too much like a production designer smacked their head on a toilet bowl and thought they'd had a 'flux capacitor' moment...when, in fact, they hadn't.

* If you know there could be hydro-bots in the water, why the fuck do you hover your chopper directly above the water?!

* Helena Bonham-Skynet sucked - it should be speaking like one of those computer voice things where teenagers type swear words into a dialogue box and the computer bleepy-bloops the words out. HB-S had emotion - which is entirely wrong - it's supposed to be a computer, a machine - it should be a cold stare, bland voice, and a dead-eyed lack of any emotion. Cold, hard facts is all it should dispense.

* JC restarting Wright's heart with electricity just felt silly, and why wouldn't the T-800 crush the heart and be done with it entirely? We don't really know what it did either, because it's a PG-13!

* The bit where the T-800 gets covered in molten steel, hardens, gives JC the iconic scar, and then busts free again was pretty damn cool.

* The opening 2018-set charge into the desert-based part of Skynet was quite good ... it felt like a war movie.

That's as many points I can think of right now, and I've rambled on long enough.

...



Okay, **SPOILERS FINISHED**.



...

So yeah - all-in-all, it's "meh". Some parts work really well, some bits are really cool, while other parts are just bad, and other parts aren't at all convincing, thrilling, interesting or whatever. The script's lack of structure is the biggest problem, and the film feels royally neutered by the 12A rating. I was only occasionally gripped by the action - which at least provided me with adequate distraction - but I never really got sucked into the flick, unlike I did with say, Rambo, or The Dark Knight last year, or Drag Me To Hell last week.

Do I need a T5? Nope. I think it's best to leave it here if you're going to go back to the present day again (which is weird, considering the filmmakers kept going on about "well we've been in the present day for three movies now, so it was time for the future") - it'd be daft to ditch a whole new world for the one we already know all over again, quite frankly. Am I ever going to get my army of marching endoskeletons? Am I ever going to get that first bit of T2 stretched out to feature-length awesomeness? Probably not ... and perhaps it's best that way.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Drag Me To Hell...

Sam Raimi's return to horror - it's about time (not that I haven't loved the Spider-Man flicks, or superb films like A Simple Plan). The Evil Dead is one of my favourite all-time movies, and is one of my enduring inspirations for my own filmmaking, so I was cautiously optimistic about Drag Me To Hell.

I have to say I was a bit "dude, lame..." when I heard it was going to be a PG-13 in America, but fortunately that equated to a softer 15 here in the UK ... but I needn't have worried, because in this particular case, the film worked outside of the rating. Actually, it felt a bit hardcore for a PG-13 ... it felt ideal at a 15 I though.

As it was my birthday weekend, I managed to convince my usual troupe of cinema goers to join me in seeing this movie (one of the group is an avowed anti-horror fan - he just doesn't like it). Two of the other lads were a bit in-between about it going in, and one (plus myself) was all up-for-it.

By the time we came out, everybody had had a bloody good time - heck, the entire audience had had an absolute blast (and there was quite a number in the cinema too). Everybody jumped in unison, or went "oooh, ewwww, urrgghh!" at the right moment, and there were even a few hushes shrieks of sustained terror from some of the ladies in the audience (clearly there on a date with their boyfriends).

I've seen many horror movies in my time, and few have really left me on the edge of my seat - or necessitated me to try and soften the blow of the horror jolt by tentatively trying to anticipate the scare (like the entire audience was doing). I've also been to a lot of movies at the cinema, and until Drag Me To Hell, I've never seen an audience so worked up, so unified by their shared terror, and having so much fun before - illustrated perfectly by the trembled laughter that would jangle from the audience's bones after they'd been tricked by Raimi's skilled hands into a bloody good scare.

I've heard many filmmakers talking about how they like to scare the audience, and how they sometimes sneak into a screening and watch the audience's reaction - and finally, thanks to Drag Me To Hell, I was able to witness thost very reactions first hand - sat amongst it, and performing those reactions myself.

There's a couple of moments where I was a good leap ahead of the characters, and indeed one plot angle is a bit of a tricky sell, but I quickly got over the couple of mild script wobbles simply because the film was so charmingly entertaining (in a scary-arse way). It really is like one of those theme park horror house rides, that's exactly what it feels like.

Considering what happened to the leading lady on screen, it's no wonder that Ellen Paige sodded off after Juno caught Oscar fever ... she does what she does well, but she does come off in interviews like she's above being gummed on the chin by a slimey-gobbed witch ... yes, I am having a bit of a joke, but Paige does come off, in all seriousness, a bit egotistical. Back on track & topic though, the official line was "scheduling conflicts" - which it may very well be ... but you do wonder (and I'm not the only one to think it certainly), was there an element of "I don't have to get witch-gummed anymore"? Hmmm...anyway...

Regardless ... her sodding off felt a bit like a slap in the face ... but on the other hand Alison Lohman more than fills Paige's vacated wardrobe. She is continually impressive throughout - and she really gets dragged through the mincer throughout, making her turn even more impressive - it is a surprisingly gross-out horror movie for a PG-13.

All I need now is the film getting the proper double-disc special edition, feature-packed treatment on DVD - it deserves it. I want to see how the flick was made, I want to see the gleefully icky set pieces coming together, I want to see Raimi pratting around having fun behind the camera, and I want to enjoy the Evil Dead nods again and again.

As for Evil Dead nods, with my horror nerd cap on, the main ones were referencing 'going to a cabin in the woods', Raimi's own "classic" Oldsmobile car (looking menacingly creepy here), the 'dancing' and airborne possessed people, and the bit with the goat all provided me with plenty of fanboy love. In terms of Raimi's horror filmmaking, this feels like that scene in Spider-Man 2 (where Doc Oc's tentacles go to town on the doctors & nurses) mixed with Army of Darkness. He's got the money to make his horror stylings slick now (but in a good way), and you know what Drag Me To Hell really made me salivating for (as did My Name Is Bruce)?

Yep - Evil Dead 4 - I don't want an Evil Dead remake, no way, no how - I want Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi together again ASAP giving us a slice of awesome cake in Evil Dead 4. If DMTH is anything to go by, it would make for one hell of a wild ride (and a gory one - providing it would retain the necessary "R" rating).

My Name Is Bruce...

I'd heard some mixed things about this flick, and after being a bit let down with The Man With The Screaming Brain (it looked just a bit too cheap - even though the behind-the-scenes stories as told by Campbell are great), I was a bit apprehensive about MNIB.

But from the trailer and the more favourable reviews (compared to TMWTSB), it was looking good - and indeed it was a good movie. I rather enjoyed it in fact, and it proved to be the ideal antidote to a depressing afternoon of Pan & Scanning a series of images of animal torture and factory farms (for the educational DVD on the environment I'm currently doing, at the time of writing).

It made me laugh, Bruce Campbell rocked from start to finish, that little country ditty jingle was pleasantly catchy, and the DVD package was solid throughout - indeed, you got as much, if not more entertainment from the extras than you did from the movie (which isn't intended to be a back-handed compliment).

I enjoyed seeing the making of MNIB - indeed, the making of truly indie flicks/low budget movies/horror genre heavy weights, are the most entertaining behind-the-scenes docs in the world of DVD (30 Days In Hell, the making of The Devil's Rejects is perhaps the best Making Of out there). I was also pleasantly surprised to see a variety of easter eggs on the second disc (I'd thought they were only on the Blu-Ray - perhaps the BR has a few more though).

As a long-standing Bruce Campbell fan I really enjoyed this flick, and as a young filmmaker myself it was the source of further enjoyment (and education) to me.

I think back a few years to the summer of 2004 (when I made my rough-and-ready Hi8 horror short "my NIGHTMARE") - it was my mate Gareth and myself (as well as ECB for part of the filming - she was in 2005's "Trapped") out there in the woods with a camera and a bottle of fake blood just enjoying ourselves. Indeed, we joked that he was "my Bruce Campbell", and I was "his Sam Raimi" ... I must say I did torture him a little bit while filming - spraying him mercilessly with cheap-arse fake blood mix (unshaken washing-up liquid with red food colouring), to the point where he was drenched with the stuff.

Not only that but I had him scurrying about a rat-infested barn (which had a rotting, dead calf in the corner), but we were yomping through the woods, over gates, under trees, through stinging nettles, and so on, all the while being bitten by midgies (for me) and red ants (for him - when he was propped up against a tree, splattered with fake blood, for when his throat is 'slit').

Point being, that was a really fun experience ... now five years ago, blimey (time, and my filmmaking, has really moved on since then) ... and it's films like The Evil Dead which have inspired me, and films like My Name Is Bruce which continue to inspire me, but which also bring back my own fond filming memories.