13 Halloween-ish Songs

Chances are your favourite Halloween song is not going to appear on this list.  There are about a thousand songs that could be called Halloween-like in nature… or if it is an Iggy Pop song it could be added simply because songs are definitely more scary when sung by ghoul-like people. It is the week of the 13 though, and there is only room for 13 warm bodies on the list and since traditional Halloween songs generally make me want to slit my wrists the right way (don’t act like you don’t know what I am taking about you Monster Mashing, Time Warping, Thriller freaks), I selected songs that might enhance your repertoire of stagnant favs. Many are from movies and others are just scary or creepy in their own right. If you must, you can always add those favourites in the comments section below.  CHEERS!

13.  The Zombie Dance – The Cramps

“at the zombie dance… here’s Ben & Betty… they tap their toes…but they don’t get sweaty… they don’t give a damn… they’re dead already…”

12.  Trick ‘n’ Treats – Kid Koala

The seasonal hero Charlie Brown takes a break from scouting out the pumpkin patch for “THE GREAT PUMPKIN” to drop some beats with a gifted DJ – “I got a rock”

11.  Halloween – Siouxsie & the Banshees 

“trick or treat, trick or treat, the bitter and the sweet”

10.  Madhouse – Mono

From the soundtrack of the 1998 remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.  The movie was terrible, but the soundtrack is amazeballz.

9.  Wicked Annabelle  – The Kinks

“don’t go into the woods tonight…cause underneath the sticks and stones…are lots of little demons controlled by Annabella…waiting just to carry you home”

8.  Pet Semetary – The Ramones

“ancient goblins and warlords…come out of the ground, not making a sound…the smell of death is all around…”

7.  After Dark – Tito & Tarantula

One of the the best scenes, from one of the best vampires movies ever created.  Super, super song.

6. Experiment in Terror – Fantomas

The title says it all.

5. Sweet Dreams – Emily Browning

An eerie and brilliant cover song to the Eurythmics original.  The entire soundtrack for Sucker Punch is incredible.

4.  Bad Things – Jace Everett

The theme song for “True Blood” and HBO series about Vampires and other mystical,evil and malevolent things.

3.  Dracula’s Lament – Jason Segal

It is Dracula singing, what more could you want?  Maybe some Jason Segal? Oh ya it has that too!

2.  Cry Little Sister – Gerard McMann

From the soundtrack of the 1987 cult classic The Lost Boys.  This song has haunted me since I was a kid, whether it is the creepy children singing in the background or the almost chanting of a vampire-like version of the commandments… great song.

1.  As the World Falls Down – David Bowie

From the movie Labyrinth. David Bowie + a Masquerade Ball + Goblins = Pure Halloween Bliss!

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13 Vampire Movies

Vampires are mythological creatures, famous in folklore for their need to feed on the blood of animals and humans for survival.  While regarded as part of the horror genre, vampire films do have their own characteristic style, as many motifs have spawned from the famous 1897 Bram Stoker novel Dracula.  But Dracula himself originated from Southeast Europe and was not the first vampire myth; cultures such as Mesopotamians, Hebrews and Romans have long had tales of demons and spirits that would drink blood and feast on flesh.

Filmmakers have interpreted the cult of vampires in many ways, some emphasizing the primal and ancient instinct of the ungodly, while others using vampires as tools to introduce generic horror and gore.  For example, vampires have been portrayed as rock stars in Queen of the Damned, next doors neighbours in Fright Night, space creatures in Lifeforces, melancholic aristocrats in Interview with a Vampire and criminals in From Dusk Till Dawn. Vampire comedy is a sub-genre, which tries to make light of the vampire myth by appealing to the popular culture.  Most of these films are dismissed as B-grade trash, although some gradually develop a minor cult following and are definitely worth a view or two.

Ranking My List

My list is based purely on personal preference within the genre.  Some of my grindhouse gore and horror hound friends will, I am sure, make comment that I have left off some of the best and darkest films pertaining to blood suckers, and other popcorn eaters will cry that the Twilight series doesn’t appear (real vampires don’t sparkle or reproduce, sorry).  As always, please post your favourites that I have most definitely missed in the comments section below. Cheers!

PS.  Movies that do NOT appear on my list but I feel deserve honourable mention include: Dracula (1931), Nosferatu (1922) and Vampyres (1974).

13. Buffy the Vampire Slayer – 1992

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the story of an American cheerleader who holds the destiny of being the Slayer; the one woman who holds the duty of defending the world from vampires.  With her best friends slowly abandoning her, Buffy finds solace in the town outcast, Pike, who knows very well the terror of vampires.  Together, they combat the forces of the old and the powerful vampire, Lothos, who has his eyes set on Buffy.

Directed By: Fran Rubel Kuzui

Stars: Kristy Swanson, Donald Sutherland, Paul Reuben, Like Perry, Hilary Swank and David Arquette

On the List: Um like because like Dylan McKay is Pike…duh!  Written by Sci-Fi master Joss Whedon, this entire movie makes me laugh out loud, from the always hysterical performance of Paul Reuben, to a slayer who detects near by vampires thru menstrual cramps, this film is just plain campy, vampy fun.

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12. The Monster Squad – 1987

Young kids form a club that is devoted to monsters, but soon get more than they bargained for when Count Dracula adjourns to Earth, accompanied by Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolfman, The Mummy, and the Gillman.  The uglies are in search of a powerful amulet that will grant them the power to rule the world.  Our heroes – The Monster Squad are the only ones daring to stand in their way.

Directed By: Fred Dekker

Stars: Andre Gower, Robby Kiger and Stephen Macht

On the List: Here is a good idea for a kids movie.  Take all the Universal Monsters (Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Mummy, the Wolfman, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon) and have them face off against the Little Rascals.  It’s done 80’ style with lots of cheesy music, bad acting and language that would never be found in a kid’s movie today.

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11. Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles – 1994

In 1791, plantation owner Louis De Pointe Du Lac is unhappy with the life he has until Lestat De Lioncourt comes into his life and makes him a vampire forever.  Not until his decision is already made, does Louis realize what he has become.  He refuses to take human life and is about to leave when Lestat being the clever being that he is, turns a little orphan girl in a vampire to make Louis stay.

Directed by: Neil Jordan

Stars: Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas, Kirsten Dunst, Christian Slater and the Gay Midget Dwarf (Tom Cruise)

On the List: This one almost didn’t make the list.  I am an enormous fan of Anne Rice’s vampire series and have had a love affair with the vampire Lestat since my late teens.  He was the quintessential naïve yet malevolent creature that you couldn’t help but sympathize with despite his evil and mischievous ways.  The movie remained on my list for the simple fact that the screenplay and cinematics paint (in my mind) an accurate picture of Rice’s vampiric world.  It is as far down (up) the list as it is because the Gay Midget Dwarf should NEVER have been cast as Lestat.  If you have read the series you will understand that he does not justice to the character at all, and even if you haven’t his whining and spitting will make you cringe and then you can just believe me.  I guess on the plus side at least he doesn’t sparkle.

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10.  Fright Night – 2011

Senior Charlie Brewster finally has it all going on: he’s running with the popular crowd and dating the most coveted girl in his high school. In fact, he’s so cool he’s even dissing his best friend. But trouble arrives when Jerry moves in next door. He seems like a great guy at first, but there’s something not quite right—yet everyone, including Charlie’s mom, doesn’t seem to notice. After observing some very strange activity, Charlie comes to an unmistakable conclusion: Jerry is a vampire preying on the neighborhood. Unable to convince anyone, Charlie has to find a way to get rid of the monster himself, in this Craig Gillespie-helmed revamp of the comedy-horror classic

Directed By: Craig Gillespie

Stars: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse

On the List: A perfect balance of comedy and horror.  This film is scary without taking itself too seriously.  Colin Farrell (hubba hubba) plays evil exceedingly well and takes a beating like a champ.  Toni Collette shines with the sarcastic comedic timing she is now known and loved for, and well, any movie with McLovin (Mintz-Plasse) as a demonic, hilarious if not somewhat retarded vampire, is bound to be gold.  I actually screamed out loud in the theatre during this movie, it may be funny, but the BOO! factor will get you every time.

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9. Van Helsing – 2004

During the late 19th century, legendary vampire hunter Gabriel Van Helsing is a man cursed with a past he cannot recall and driven by a mission he cannot deny.  Van Helsing finds a land still mired in past, where legendary creatures of darkness come to life.  A place ruled over by the evil, seductive and unbeatable vampire, Count Dracula.  It is Dracula that Van Helsing has been sent to terminate.  Anna Valerious is one of the last of a powerful royal family, now nearly annihilated by Dracula. A fearless hunter in her own right, Anna is bent on avenging her ancestors and ending an ancient curse by killing the vampire.  Joined by a common foe, Van Helsing and Anna set out to destroy Dracula along with his empire of fear.  But in challenging an enemy who never dies, Van Helsing uncovers a secret he never imagined and comes face-to-face with the unresolved mysteries of his own enshrouded past.

Directed By: Stephen Sommers

Stars: Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale and Richard Roxburgh

On the List:  Van Helsing, is one of my favourite literary characters of all time, the original slayer, and the arch-enemy of Dracula.  Changed from Abraham to Gabriel by Universal so that they could copyright the character, it made Jackmans version of the hunter no less awesome than that written by Stoker, on which it is loosely based. Plus, Hugh Jackman belongs on every list.

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8. John Carpenter’s Vampires – 1998

By night, vampires rise from graves in search of human prey.  By day, vampire slayer Jack Crow led a contingent of Vatican mercenaries in a long-waged war against these enemies.  After destroying a vampire nest in rural Mexico, “Team Crow”, is savagely ambushed during the victory celebration by the unholy Valek, a vicious 600-year old vampire.  Valek is nearing the end of a long search for the Berzier Cross, the implement of ritual that can give him, and all the vampires succeeding him, omnipotent power to walk in the daylight.

Directed by: Um… John Carpenter?

Stars:  James Wood, Daniel Baldwin, and Cheryl Lee

On the list: Two of my favourite things combined.  Bad ass Mexican vampires (they are the best kind) and James Wood.  Plus this little gem was directed by the “Master of Evil” himself.

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7.  Near Dark – 1987

A young boy is seduced by the new girl in town only to find out he has been kissed by a vampire. Slowly turning into a creature of the night, he is persuaded to join up with the girl and a roaming band of ghouls.  When his own father and sister become targets of the vampires endless search for food, he is forced to choose between loyalty to the vampires, or loyalty to his own family.

Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow

Stars: Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright,     Bill Paxton and Lance Henriksen

On the List:  Bigelow’s (not Deuce… but the one who directed Point Break) created a hybrid Western-Horror film that has a distinctly 80’s feel to it but is still original.  The special effects have aged well and still pack a punch and the pulsating score from Tangerine Dream fits perfectly.

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6.  30 Days of Night – 2007

This is the story of an isolated Alaskan town that is plunged into darkness for one month each year when the sun sits below the horizon.  As the last rays of light fade, the town is attacked by a bloodthirsty gang of vampires bent on an uninterrupted orgy of destruction.  Only the small town’s husband-and-wife Sheriff team, stand between the survivors and certain destruction.

Directed by: David Slade

Stars: Josh Harnett, Melissa George and Danny Huston

On the List: This is the first American film, in a very long time to show vampires not as beautiful and “shiny” but as they were originally told of in European folklore.  These vamps are grotesque, blood hungry ghoulish-like creatures with black slanty eyes and razor-sharp, shark like teeth…. Bravo!  Slade pulls out all the stops in this movie and delivers some truly grindhouse goodies!  Unlike any before it on the list, this movie scared the hell outta me .

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5.  Underworld – 2003

For centuries, two races have evolved hidden deep within human culture, the aristocratic, sophisticated Vampires and the brutal feral Lycans.  To humanity, their existence is no more than a whisper of a myth.  But to each other, they are lifelong mortal rivals, sworn to wage a secret war until only one race is left standing.  A Vampire warrior (death dealer) Selene, discovers a secret that has terrifying repercussions for both tribes – a nefarious plan to awaken a new invincible species of predator that combines the strengths of both creatures and weaknesses of neither.

Directed by: Len Wiseman

Stars: Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman and Bill Nighy

On the List: Bill Nighy is dressed as the Kinks Ray Davies in the early 80’s.  Kate Beckinsale is a kick ass “death dealer” in a pleather get-up that can only be described as “painted on”, and oh me oh my the beautiful Scott Speedman.  Tooth & Claws vs. Guns & Knives!  Side bar: The physical transformation of the lycans from man to wolf is pretty boss and intense.

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4.  Let the Right One In

Oskar, a bullied 12 year-old, dreams of revenge.  He falls in love with Eli, a peculiar girl.  She can’t stand the sun or food and to come into a room she needs to be invited.  Eli gives Oskar the strength and courage to hit back but when he realizes that Eli needs to drink other people’s blood to live, he’s faced with a choice.  How much can love forgive?

Directed by: Tomas Alfredson

Stars: Kre Hedenbrant,     Line Leandersson and Per Ragnar

On the List:  Like all true masters in the horror genre, Alfredson recognizes that it isn’t necessarily what the audience sees, but what they don’t see that makes a film truly horrifying.  This movie hands down is the creepiest movie I have seen in a long time, let alone the bonus of it being about a blood sucking kid.  Creepy Kids = Freaky Movies. Yes, it has subtitles…. get over it.

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3.  Bram Stoker’s Dracula – 1992

This version of Dracula is closely based on Bram Stoker’s classic novel of the same name.  A young lawyer (Jonathan Harker) is assigned to a gloomy village in the mists of Eastern Europe.  He is captured and imprisoned by the undead vampire Dracula, who travels to London, inspired by a photograph of Harker’s betrothed, Mina Murray.  In Britain, Dracula beings a reign of seduction and terror, draining the life from Mina’s closest friend, Lucy Westerna.  Lucy’s friends gather together to try to drive Dracula away with the assistance of Professor Van Helsing.

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves and Sadie Frost

On the List: With dizzying cinematic tricks and astonishing performances (I mean even Keanu comes across as semi-believable), Coppola’s version of the oft-filmed Dracula story was one of the most exuberant and extravagant films of the 90’s.  There is something for everyone: gore, high-speed horseback chases, passion and intrigue.

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2. From Dusk Till Dawn – 1996

Seth Gecko and his younger brother Richard are on the run after a bloody bank robbery in Texas.  They escape across the border into Mexico and will be home-free the next morning, when they pay off the local kingpin.  They just have to survive “from dusk till dawn” at the rendezvous point, which turns out to be a strip joint infested with vampires.

Directed by: Robert Rodriguez

Stars: George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis and Selma Hayek

On the List: a) Tarantino b) as previously discussed some seriously Bad Ass Mexican vampires c) Juliette Lewis d) The Titty Twister might be the most fantabulous strip club created… EVER e) Selma and the Snake… vampire or not, this is what real women look like.

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1. The Lost Boys – 1987

Financial troubles force a recent divorcee and her teenage sons Michael and Sam to settle down with her father in the California town of Santa Carla.  At first, Sam laughs off rumors he hears about vampires who inhabit the small town.  But after Michael meets a beautiful girl at the local amusement park, he begins to exhibit the classic signs of vampirism.  Fearing for his own safety Sam recruits two young vampire hunters to save his brother by finding and destroying the head vampire.

Directed by: Joel Schumacher

Stars: Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Keifer Sutherland, Jami Gertz, Dianne West, Edward Herrman

On the List: The Lost Boys is the epitome of the 80’s.  Big hair, loud music, and layers, layers, layers.  It had a veritable cornucopia of 80’s actors that adorned many of the teen magazines of the day, with perhaps the best pairing of Corey and Corey ever on-screen.  Schumacher manages to mix the perfect amount of comedy, blood, guts and vampire horror to produce a cult classic.  The soundtrack for this film was outstanding including Gerard McMann’s eerie single “Cry Little Sister” and Echo & the Bunnymen’s remake of The Doors classic “People are Strange”.

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All movie posters and cinematic trailers are property of the movie and production companies that they are affiliated with.

Facts about direction and actors were taken from IMDb.

Ten Surprisingly Censored Books

“Censorship is telling a man that he cannot have a steak, just because a baby cannot chew it”. – Mark Twain

Throughout history, written word has always rattled the cages of censors. Whether it be themes of politics, religions, sexuality, or drugs, people the world over have stood in line to “shoot the messenger”.  In today’s “book friendly” society (thanks Steve Jobs!) we can now read about complex and controversial themes of heavy-handed governments, violence, and sex without fear of being found out or persecuted.

September 24, 2011 till October 1, 2011 marked Banned Books Week in the United States.  Launched by the American Library Association (ALA), it is an annual event designed to celebrate the freedom to read and draw attention to the harms of censorship by highlighting the actual or attempted banning of books across the United States.

After perusing through the ALA’s Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books 2000-2009, this weeks Ten List is composed of the books I am most shocked to find still sitting on it after years of controversy, or in some cases, added to the list at all.

10.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky  

The Gist:  It is with resounding accuracy that Stephen Chbosky captures the voice of a boy teetering on the brink of adulthood. Charlie is a freshman. And while’s he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. He’s a wallflower–shy and introspective, and intelligent beyond his years, if not very savvy in the social arts. We learn about Charlie through the letters he writes to someone of undisclosed name, age, and gender.  Charlie’s letters take on the intimate feel of a journal as he shares his day-to-day thoughts and feelings.

Why it was Banned or Challenged:  Banned for its frank descriptions of masturbation, sex, drugs and suicide.  Challenged for promoting a “homosexual agenda”.

In DefenceThe Perks of Being a Wallflower is a truthful portrayal of events and emotions that occur for most, if not all adolescents at some time or another.  The ideas brought forward in the book touch on many of the issues that teens struggle with over the course of their high school careers.  It is surprising that parents in today’s day in age, are still struggling to recognize that there is an absolute need for direct, open and honest conversation in regards to sexuality, peer pressure, and the experimentation that comes along with trying to find ones identity and individuality.  Teenagers of both genders can identify with the protagonist and the emotional journey he embarks on in finding himself and dealing with the consequences of life’s actions, both positive and negative. The allegations that the book has a “homosexual agenda” is concerning. The frank discussion between Charlie and his friend about the boys sexuality and preference, is one that is refreshingly honest.  We are fools to continue to believe that if something is “not talked about” it doesn’t exist. Instead society should encourage youth to be honest about who they are and how they feel so that they can find the support and acceptance they need in order to come into their own.

9.  Brave New World – Aldous Huxley 

The Gist: “Community, Identity, Stability” is the motto of Aldous Huxley’s utopian World State. Here everyone consumes daily grams of soma, to fight depression, babies are born in laboratories, and the most popular form of entertainment is a “Feelie,” a movie that stimulates the senses of sight, hearing, and touch. Though there is no violence and everyone is provided for, Bernard Marx feels something is missing and senses his relationship with a young women has the potential to be much more than the confines of their existence allow.

Why it was Banned or Challenged: Banned for showing contempt for the social “norms” of marriage, religion, family and for “making promiscuous sex look like fun”.

In Defence:  Since its publication in 1932, Brave New World and its author have been the subject of much commentary and much criticism. Many people consider this Huxley’s most important work: many others think it is his only work. This novel has been praised and condemned, vilified and glorified, a source of controversy, a subject for sermons, and required reading for many high school students and college undergraduates. Why then, in today’s day of modern technology and scientific advancements does this book still continue to attract the attention and comment of would be censors?  The language is moderate in comparison to others on the list, and in today’s day in age we can hardly be shocked or appalled by Huxley’s description of technologies and conveniences that prophetically enough have come into existence. This book is perhaps more relevant today then ever before in terms of relaying the cautionary tale of the human race becoming too reliant on technology.

8.  The Catcher and the Rye – J.D. Salinger 

The Gist:  A brilliant coming-of-age novel, Holden Caulfield, a seventeen year old prep school adolescent, relates his lonely and life-changing twenty-four hour stay in New York City as he experiences the phoniness of the adult world while attempting to deal with the death of his younger brother, an overwhelming compulsion to lie and troubling sexual experiences.

Why it was Banned or Challenged: Banned for being anit-white, obscene, for the liberal use of profanity, and the portrayal of sexuality and teenage angst. Challenged for depicting premarital sex, drug abuse and prostitution.

In Defence: Since its publication in 1951, this book has found its way year after year onto the ALA’s top censored books list.  It is actually the most censored book in public schools and high schools in the United States.  I cannot recall which grade this book was introduced into the curriculum at my Canadian high school, but it had a prolific effect on my love for literature and the protagonist Holden Caulfield has remained one of my favourite fictional characters of all time. The youth of the 60’s and 70’s were considerably more sheltered and naive in comparison to today’s standards so it is somewhat understandable that the first generations to digest Salinger’s adventure might have been shocked by his blunt descriptions, use of slang and rebellious attitude.  It is baffling however, that Holden remains on the literary censors “most wanted list”, for being obscene, especially considering some of the more recent fictional characters being viewed as role models (Bella Swan..cough..cough).

7.  Blubber – Judy Blume  

The Gist: When overweight Linda gives an oral report on whales, the cruel and power-wielding class leader, Wendy, starts calling her “Blubber.” The name-calling escalates into more intense bullying and humiliation. The novel’s narrator, Jill, is a full participant from the start. Over time, though, she comes to question everyone’s behavior, including her own. Finally, she challenges Wendy’s power and learns that there are consequences, as well as rewards, to taking a stand.

Why it was Banned or Challenged: Banned for “ambiguous use of moral issues”. Challenged for dealing with issues too difficult and not age appropriate including friendship, religion, divorce, body image, and sexuality.

In Defence:  The book is a raw and honest portrayal of bullying.  Unlike most stories written for the age group targeted, it does not have a neat and tidy, happily- ever-after ending.  Bullying situations rarely do. Judy Blume has written her own personal note on the reason behind the creation of Blubber.

“I wrote Blubber because bullying is often kept a secret by the kids who see it happening, and even by the person who’s being bullied. Being bullied feels so humiliating, it’s such a terrible and frightening experience, that kids are often afraid to tell anyone, even their parents…I hope this story will help kids, parents and teachers to start working and talking together. No more secrets. If it happens to you, talk to the people you trust most. It’s too hard to worry alone.”

In a time when humiliation, teasing and bullying amongst school age children is becoming more and more prevalent, it is hard to believe that a book which deals intensely with the subject matter isn’t being placed into mandatory grade school curriculum instead of being censored for tackling these issues with a sincere honesty and gentle humour with which youth can identify.

6.  To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee 

The Gist: A lawyer’s advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic novel—a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unswerving honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930’s. The conscious of a town steeped in prejudice, violence, and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina and quiet heroism of one man’s struggle for justice—but the weight of history will only tolerate so much.

Why it was Banned or Challenged: Banned for “psychological damage of the positive integration process”.  For containing adult themes such as sexual intercourse, rape and incest.  Challenged because the book’s use of racial slurs promotes “racial hatred, racial division, racial separation, and promotes white supremacy.”

In Defence:  Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning story of rape and racial inequality in 1930s Alabama is a veteran of the most-challenged list, due to Lee’s use of the word “nigger”. It is really quite sad that one particular word (albeit one of the most controversial in the English language) has made the classic objectionable, when the message of the story actually addresses very critical and serious issues such as racism, rape and loss of innocence.  Atticus Finch is a one of the greatest literary heros ever written, and Harper was ahead of her time in terms of writing frankly about social issues that 60 years later still remain prevalent and quite often a topic of heated debate.

5. Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie 

The Gist: A scholarly tale of good and evil, a feast of language served up by a writer at the height of his powers, and a rollicking comic fable. The book begins with two Indians, Gibreel Farishta (“for fifteen years the biggest star in the history of the Indian movies”) and Saladin Chamcha, a Bombay expatriate returning from his first visit to his homeland in 15 years, plummeting from the sky after the explosion of their jetliner, and proceeds through a series of metamorphoses, dreams and revelations. (Amazon.com)

Why it was Banned or Challenged: Banned in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Somalia, Sudan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Qatar, Indonesia, South Africa, and India because of its criticism of Islam. Burned in West Yorkshire, England (1989) and temporarily withdrawn from two bookstores on the advice of police who took threats to staff and property seriously. In Pakistan five people died in riots against the book. Another man died a day later in Kashmir. Ayatollah Khomeni issued a fatwa or religious edict, stating, “I inform the proud Muslim people of the world that the author of the Satanic Verses, which is against Islam, the prophet, and the Koran, and all those involved in its publication who were aware of its content, have been sentenced to death.”  In Venezuela, owning or reading it was declared a crime under penalty of 15 months’ imprisonment. In Japan, the sale of the English-language edition was banned under the threat of fines. The governments of Bulgaria and Poland also restricted its distribution. In 1991, in separate incidents, Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese translator, was stabbed to death and its Italian translator, Ettore Capriolo, was seriously wounded. In 1993 William Nygaard, its Norwegian publisher, was shot and seriously injured.

In Defence:  No book in modern times has matched the uproar sparked by Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, which earned its author a death sentence.  This is one book I am actually not surprised to see on the ALA list.  It has appeared on my list however, for the sheer magnitude of the efforts put forth to ban this book, not just from Islamic countries, but the world over.

4.  The Color Purple – Alice Walker   

The Gist: Celie is a poor black woman whose letters tell the story of 20 years of her life, beginning at age 14 when she is being abused and raped by her father and attempting to protect her sister from the same fate, and continuing over the course of her marriage to “Mister,” a brutal man who terrorizes her. Celie eventually learns that her abusive husband has been keeping her sister’s letters from her and the rage she feels, combined with an example of love and independence provided by her close friend Shug, pushes her finally toward an awakening of her creative and loving self.

Why it was Banned or Challenged: Banned for sexual and social explicitness. Challenged for troubling ideas about race relations, man’s relationship to God, African history, and human sexuality.

In Defence:  In a day and age where it is of the utmost importance that violence, and violence against women is allowed to continue to surface and be recognized as an ongoing issue regardless of race, age or creed, it rather troubling that this achingly truthful story would not be a must read.  Although the book does address some “race relation” themes, the overall story of the book is one of survival. Rape, violence and racial issues will always be subjects that are hard to tackle however, stories like The Color Purple that victims of such crimes can relate to and find hope in, should never be suppressed.

3.  American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis 

The Gist:  In American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis imaginatively explores the incomprehensible depths of madness and captures the insanity of violence in our time or any other. Patrick Bateman moves among the young and trendy in 1980s Manhattan. Young, handsome, and well-educated, Bateman earns his fortune on Wall Street by day while spending his nights in ways we cannot begin to fathom. Expressing his true self through torture and murder, Bateman prefigures an apocalyptic horror that no society could bear to confront. (Amazon.com)

Why it was Banned or Challenged: Banned for extreme violence towards women.  Challenged for explicit sexuality, and extensive and graphic violence.

In Defence:  Few characters have personified an era as disturbingly as Patrick Bateman.  In the same way that Frankenstein gave us a monster for its time, American Psycho gives us a monster for the late 20th Century.  The character of Patrick Bateman seems to strike a raw cultural nerve. Woven inexorably into his blood lust was his lust for things, a kind of materialistic fetishism for a well-known brand name, products and places, that seemed almost as gruesome as his crimes.  Relentlessly, he reminds us of our cultures insatiable greed during the extraordinary economic boom of the late 80’s.  By implicating us into Bateman’s nightmarish world through the very clothes we wore and the things we owned, by linking every trend we followed and every pop icon we worshipped to such a morally bankrupt murderer, American Psycho maybe strikes to close to the heart of truth?

2.  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain 

The Gist:  Mark Twain’s classic novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, tells the story of a teenaged misfit who finds himself floating on a raft down the Mississippi River with an escaping slave, Jim. In the course of their perilous journey, Huck and Jim meet adventure, danger, and a cast of characters who are sometimes menacing and often hilarious.

Why it was Banned or Challenged: Banned for the use slang that is considered as demeaning and damaging. Challenged for promoting the use of racial slander.

In Defence:  Huck Finn isn’t just one of the greatest works of literature in history, but one of the most thoughtful and clever stories of anti-slavery and anti-racism ever created.  Of course in order to understand that message you have to read the book, actually process what you are reading and then recognize that Twain’s use of the word “nigger” is specifically orchestrated to illustrate the dehumanizing awfulness of the word.  But, that word, for over a century, has been the most charged and controversial word in the English language.  Knee jerk reaction… see the word… ban the book.

1.  Harry Potter Series – J.K Rowling

The Gist: Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels that chronicle the life of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and the adventures of the students at the Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  The main storyline focuses on Harry’s quest to over throw the evil dark wizard Lord Voldemort, whose aim is to subjugate non-magical people (Muggles), conquer the wizarding world, and destroy all who oppose him.

Why it was Banned or Challenged: Challenged because the real life likeness of the characters give children the inability to differentiate between fantasy and reality, for being sexually suggestive, for having a “homosexual agenda”, and for being anti-religion.

In Defence:  Religious watchdog groups have fought aggressively to ban a book about tolerance, respect and love because the main character happens to have magical powers (like being able to levitate, or turn water into wine?). That this remarkable set of books has begun to appear on censorship lists around the world is simply ludicrous as it is the very series that has inspired a generation to put down the video games and once again read.

Sources

http://www.ala.org

http://www.amazon.com (book covers and synopsis that are listed as sourced from)


Halloween 2011

Hello peoples!

Well it is officially here, my absolute favourite time of year.  The leaves are changing, the weather is cool but not freezing, and best of all Halloween is right around the corner. I love Halloween. I am don’t have any deep emotional reason for my adoration of the celebration, but I enjoy being scared, dressing up and have a sick addiction to pumpkin seeds.  In support of my Halloween obsession, for the next week I am going to post a Top 13 list everyday along with the regular blog posts that appear here. Why 13? Well, it is my favourite number and seems like a good choice.  The first list will follow this brief post, but just in case you are a hermit I have decided to start off with a brief history of the celebration!  Enjoy!

The Name Halloween

Behind the name Halloween is Hallow E’en (Irish), which means Hallows Eve, or the night before “All Hallows”, also called “Hallowmas” but also known as Samhain, Summer’s End, All Hallow’s Eve, Witches Night, Lamswool, and Snap-Apple. With roots deep in Irish folklore, Halloween is one of the oldest celebrations. Traditionally, the festival was a time that was used by the ancient pagans to take stock of their supplies and slaughter livestock for winter storage. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundary between the living and the dead dissolved, and the dead became dangerous for the living by causing problems such as sickness (plague) or damaged crops. The celebration of Samhain would frequently involve bonfires, upon which the bones of slaughtered livestock were thrown.

Trick or Treating

Trick or treating or shelling out is a custom where children go from house to house asking for treats or coins.  Modern days trick or treating closely resembles practices in the Middle Ages of the poor to go from door to door begging for food on “Hallowmas” (November 1) in return for prayers for the dead on “All Saints Day” (November 2).  It is also similar to the more modern Irish tradition to go “guising” which is where children dress up and go from house to house to be rewarded with cakes, fruit and money.

Jack O’ Lanterns

The carving of pumpkins came from the “souling” custom of carving turnips into lanterns to remember the souls held in purgatory before “All Saints Day”.

The Witches Broomstick

When setting out for Sabbath, witches in the Middle Ages rubbed sacred ointment on their skin.  This gave them a feeling of flying, and if they had been fasting they would be even giddier.  Some witches rode horseback, but the poor witches walked on foot and would often carry a broom or a pole to help vault over obstacles. In England when new witches were initiated, they were often smeared with the ointment, blindfolded and placed on a broomstick.  The ointment would confuse the mind, speed up the senses and numb the feet.  When the young witch was told “you are flying over land and sea”, they took it literally.

The Mask

From earliest times people wore masks when droughts or other disasters struck. They believed that the demons who had brought their misfortune upon them would become frightened off by the hideous masks. Even after the festival of Samhain had merged with Halloween, Europeans felt uneasy at this time of the year. Food was stored in preparation for the winter and the house was snug and warm. The cold, envious ghosts were outside, and people who went out after dark often wore masks to keep from being recognised.

Sources:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween

http://www.halloweenishere.com

Real Steel

Movie Review : Real Steel

Synopsis: Set in the near future, where robot boxing is a top sport, a struggling promoter feels he’s found a champion in a discarded robot. During his hopeful rise to the top, he discovers he has an 11-year-old son who wants to know his father. (IMDb)

Trailer

Rating: ★★★★★ (5 outta 5)

Review: (Potential Spoilers)

This movie blew me away.  A great script, wonderful direction, perfectly casted, incredible soundtrack and amaze ballz special effects.  It is the first movie I have seen in a long time that has the “Spielburgian touch” (lights dim, musical score starts and you are completely drawn into the cinematic world created for you). The basic storyline has been done before, it is the struggle of a man to find himself and to develop a relationship with the son he has never known, but it is told in such a unique, setting that it seems as though you have stumbled onto something brand new.  The onscreen chemistry between Charlie (Hugh Jackman) and his son Max (Dakota Goyo) is 100% believable. I am already a huge Jackman fan (Wolverine, really? how could you not be?) so, although I was impressed by his performance, I was not surprised.  The big surprise came from Dakota Goyo. Who is this kid?  I cheered with him, cried with him and laughed with him.  Reminiscent of Elliot in E.T., Max had the emotional support of the entire audience from the word go.  I could rave about the CGI and robotics of this film for hours.  The robots are super cool, and nothing like Transformers.  The authenticity of the fight scenes with the robots to what currently happens in the octagon in MMA is brilliant.  Everything about the arenas, the locker rooms, the walk out and the fights mirrored a UFC bout. Between the adoration the audience develops for the characters and the adrenaline pumping soundtrack, it is no wonder people were cheering in the theatre!  Ah yes, the soundtrack. Perhaps the biggest shocker of all.  The soundtrack for this film is crazy.  From the opening strings of All of My Days by Alexi Murdoch to the amazingness that is Miss the Misery by the Foo Fighters to bass thumping and dramatic rapping of The Enforcer by 50 Cent, this soundtrack keeps in perfect tempo with the storyline. An unexpected gem this Fall, I recommend you see this film on the big screen if at all possible.  Take the wife, take the kids, take your grandparents, and go out, it is family friendly and worth the small mortgage payment it costs to go to the show anymore.

13 Historic & Scary Monsters

Every culture, race and religion around the globe has folklore and mythology (superstitious or not) which has brought to life monsters of a most frightening nature.  While some of these monsters seem less threatening in modern day, others (with the help of modern literature or Hollywood) have grown in malevolence.  This blog is going to look at 13 Monsters that have frightened people the world over.  I have ranked them as always from least to most scary (13-1).  Enjoy!  And if I have forgotten any that you feel are deemed scary enough for the list, please feel free to add them in the comments section.

13.  Ghosts

A ghost is an alleged non-corporeal manifestation of a dead person (or, rarely, an animal or vehicle). It is often thought to be a manifestation of the spirit or soul of a person which has remained on Earth after death. According to some beliefs, a ghost may be the personality of a person after his or her death, and not tied directly to the soul or spirit. Every culture in the world carries stories about ghosts, but they vary across time and place. From a feeling or a smell of an invisible presence to translucent shapes, to very life-like visions. Ghosts are generally described as solitary essences that haunt particular locations, objects or people, however, there have been stories of ghostly objects (trains, ships) and even animals.

Famous Ghosts: Bloody Mary, Jacob Marley, The Flying Dutchman (haunted ship)

12.  Harpies

Sudden and mysterious disappearances have long been blamed on the mischief of the Harpy. Described as “the hounds of Zeus” harpies are known to “snatch” up souls and carry them off to the underworld where they inflict punishment or torment.  A person who has “disappeared” with a harpy is never seen from or heard of again.  These female monsters have been described as having the face of a woman and the lower body of a bird, with steel wings and bronze talons strong enough to crush rocks.  Sometimes the harpy may appear to their prey as a beautiful woman to seduce them and then transform into their actual self before dragging said person off into the underworld.  Other stories have harpies using their gift of song to lure in their victims.  Researchers now believe that the idea of the “Harpy” can be attributed to gusts of wind on the sea, however, in some cultures even today they are still attributed to a persons or property that goes suddenly missing.

Famous Harpies: Aello, Ocypete, Celaneo

11.  Goblins

A mischievous and devious monster of German folklore, the Goblin is described as being grotesquely ugly, illiterate and a purely evil being.  Goblins in literature often appear as 2-3 feet tall, think and brown.  Most are bald, and if there are female goblins amongst the clan they are indistinguishable from the males.  They seem to exist in two realms, one physical and one spirit.  They are fiercely loyal and are sometimes allied with powerful Sorcerers for whom they often do almost slave-like work for with little or no reward.  Goblins live in dark places.  It is said that their smile curdles the blood and their laugh causes milk to sour and fruit to fall from trees and rot.  Typically Goblins only cause slight inconveniences like nightmares, but at times they can be quite dangerous.

Famous Goblins: Gringott, Redcap, Rosetti’s Goblins “The Goblin Market”

10.  Ogres

Ogres were used in literature by the Italians and the French during the 16th century, but it is believed that they can be dated back to the folklore of the Norsemen or perhaps as far back as when humanoids and neanderthals walked together on the earth.  Regardless of their origins, ogres are undeniably part of a group of folklore creatures that exist in most mystical traditions.  This group includes various types of human creatures of great size and strength who generally dislike humans, have a taste for human flesh, and have a lower than average intelligence.  Others in the “ogre” category include Norse Trolls (large, evil beings that turn to stone in the sunlight), the great Cyclopes (a race of enormous one-eyed men) and other giants.

Famous Ogres:  Ogre from Tom Thumb, Ogre from Jack & the Beanstalk, Shrek… who has made the ogre decidedly less scary.

9.  Gorgon

A terrifying feminine being of Greek mythology. Where descriptions vary across Greek literature, the term commonly refers to the three sisters who had hair of living venomous snakes, and a horrifying visage that turned those who beheld it, into stone.  The Gorgon are monstrous creatures covered with impenetrable scales, hair of living snakes, hands made of brass, sharp fangs and a beard.  They live in the ultimate west, near the ocean and are said to guard the entrance to the underworld.

Famous Gorgon: Medusa as written by Ovid.  She was once a beautiful woman with golden hair.  Athena grew jealous of her beauty and turned her locks into venomous snakes. Ultimately, Medusa was both beautiful and horrific and no one could survive a look.  

8. The Basilisk

A legendary monster with its roots in Greek Mythology, the Basilisk became feared for its ability to kill at a glance.  Though the basilisk is always described as reptilian in nature (the “king of the serpents”), its overall appearance can differ from source to source.  It has been depicted as a snake, a lizard, a cockatrice (another legendary monster that is half lizard, half rooster).  Regardless of its physical description, there is no account that lends the basilisk to being anything less than deadly.  It is said to leave a trail of poison in its path, to be able to kills with its breath, the sound of its voice, by breathing fire or by poisoning the air around it, by touching living things or by even touching something a living thing is touching.  Its only vulnerability is said to be its own reflection.

Famous Basilisk: The Basilisk in Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets

7.  Witches

The word witch can refer to a person who practices witchcraft or magic or to a Wiccan, a person who practices the religion Wicca. In colloquial use the word is now applied almost exclusively to women, though in earlier English it applied to men as well. Most people would now call male witches sorcerers, wizards, or warlocks. Wiccans continue to use the term witch for all who practice witchcraft. Warlock is considered an insult among Wiccans and Neopagans. Among Catholics, Protestants and secular leadership of the European late medieval/early modern period, fears about witchcraft rose to a fever pitch, and sometimes led to large-scale witch hunts.  Throughout this time it was increasingly believed that Christianity was engaged in an apocalyptic battle against the Devil and his secret army of witches, who had entered into a diabolical pact with him.  Witches can be identified by the most obvious characteristic which is the ability to cast a spell (a spell being a word used to signify the means employed to carry out a magical action).  A spell could consist of a set of words, a formula or verse, or a ritual action or any combination of these.  Witches have often been associated with necromancy as well which is practice of conjuring the spirits of the dead. Traditionally the witch is drawn as a hag shroud in dark clothing looking like spawn of the devil.  During Halloween the witch is often depicted with a green face and a pointed hat with a broomstick in hand.  In truth a witch can be male or female, work alone or be a part of a covenant, be haggard or beautiful which is the scary part.

Famous Witches: Morgan La Fey, Minnie Castavet, The Three Witches of Macbeth

6.  Ghouls

Ghouls have their roots in the Arabic words ghul and ghula (ghulah). They refer to a number of creatures both male and female in Muslim folklore that have an insatiable hunger and feed on human flesh. Generally nocturnal, they often inhabit wastelands, graveyards, ruins, and desolate places. They prey particularly upon lone travellers, children, those who wander away from their group, and even the corpses stolen from graves. In many cases these representations of ghouls are of people whose cannibalism has altered their mental health and physical appearance driving them insane and causing them to appear pale and malnourished. Some believe ghouls are reanimated corpses possessed by evil spirits that have very little control over the body, thus the staggering and lurching walk. Commonly described as having long arms, sinewy legs, gaunt faces, large and sometimes bulging eyes, razor-sharp teeth, and hands that are claw-like for ripping into graves and flesh.

Famous Ghouls: William Burke & William Hare

5. Mummies 

A mummy is the body of a human or animal whose skin and organs have been preserved by either intentional or incidental exposure to chemicals, extreme cold, very low humidity or lack of air so that the recovered body doesn’t decay.  Although the process of mummification was practiced around the world, the most sophisticated practice was that of the Egyptians. The process was long and tedious; however, essential for an Egyptian as it meant an existence in the afterlife.  The idea of a “mummy’s curse” and the evil mummy is relatively new in the world of monsters. It has largely been attributed to Howard Carter opening and excavating King Tut’s Tomb in 1923. The unexpected death of his sponsor, Lord Carnarvon, two weeks after the opening of the tomb immediately gave rise to the idea of a curse.  Hollywood has had some help magnifying the idea with movies such as The Mummy’s Ghost, The Mummy’s Curse and The Mummy’s Tomb.  Differing from real life accounts, rather than a mysterious curse, Hollywood’s curse of the mummy involves a staggering, unstoppable monster in hot pursuit of a victim.

Famous Mummy Rumours:  King Tut’s Tomb “Death will come on swift wings to him who disturbs the Peace of the King”, written on the tomb of the Pharaoh.  The mummy of priestess Aman-Ra was reportedly being transported on the Titanic when the ship sank.

4. Werewolf

Among our favorite monsters in art and folklore, the werewolf is only second to the vampire in terms of popularity. It seems that the belief in humans that turn into wild predatory animals exists in all major world cultures. A werewolf, also known as a lycanthrope, is a mythological or folkloric human with the ability to shape shift into a wolf or a wolf-man hybrid creature, either purposely, by being bitten by another werewolf, or after being placed under a curse. This transformation is often associated with the appearance of the full moon  Werewolves in European folklore are said to bear tell-tale physical traits even in their human form.  These include, the meeting of both eyebrows at the bridge of the nose, curved finger nails, low set ears and a swinging stride. appearance of the werewolf in its animal form varies from culture to culture, though it is most commonly described as indistinguishable from ordinary wolves save for the fact that it has no tail.  Many authors have speculated that werwolf legends may have been used to explain serial killings.  This theory is given credence by the tendency of some modern serial killers to indulge in practices commonly associated with werewolves such as cannibalism, mutilation and cyclical attacks.

Famous Werewolves: Jean & Gilles Garnier, Susanna Martin, Bourgot & Verdung

3. Demons

If one operates on the variety of definitions of a demon in the world, it would appear these malevolent spirits are having a massive identity crisis. They are often associated with the Judeo-Christian world as fallen angels from heaven that rebelled against God with Lucifer, but they have a long-standing place in many cultures and religious traditions. Ancient Greece had stories about them, Hesiod and Shakespeare included them in their stories, and Plato even referenced demons in his writings. Many religions and cultures blame addictions, metal disorders and acts of immorality on persons being possessed by demons.  The one similarity from culture to culture and religion to religion is that a demon seems to need or want a human body as a host, or vessel to torment people physically, mentally and spiritually.  The reason these buggers are so far up the list is that in doing research for this List I have to say that this is the monster that creeped me out the most in readings.  Religious extremists blame everything on demons taking no responsibility onto themselves for knowing right or wrong but instead use the excuse of possession.  CREEPED OUT.

Famous Demons: Satan, Beelzebub, Azrael

2.  Zombies

Zombie was a term (with Haitian roots) used to denote an animated corpse brought back to life by mystical means such as witchcraft.  The term is often figuratively applied to describe a hypnotized person bereft of consciousness and self-awareness, yet ambulant and able to respond to surrounding stimuli. A dead person can be revived by a joker or sorcerer and remain under the control of the boker as they have no free will of their own.  A new version of the zombie has appeared in modern culture where they are depicted as hungering for human flesh, often specifically brains.  Although this modern idea bears resemblance to the Haitian zombie of tradition, many consider George A. Romero (The Night of the Living Dead), to be the progenitor of this creature.  Zombies are now a sizable sub-genre of horror, usually describing a breakdown of civilization when most of the population becomes flesh-eating zombies.

Famous Zombie Apocalypses:  Creations of the Umbrella Corporation, The Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days Later…

1. Vampires

The notion of vampirism has existed for millennia; cultures such os the Hebrews, Ancient Greeks, and Romans had tales of demons and spirits which are considered precursors to modern vampires. Despite the occurrence of vampire-like creatures in these ancient civilizations, the folklore for the entity we know today as the vampire, originates almost exclusively from early 18th century Europe, when verbal traditions of many ethnic groups of the region were recorded and published.  In most cases vampires are reverent of evil beings, suicide victims, or witches, but they can also be created by a malevolent spirit possessing a corpse or by being bitten by a vampire. Belief in such legends became so persuasive that in some areas, it caused mass hysteria and even public executions of people believed to be vampires.  In folklore the common vampire in Europe usually appeared in ragged burial clothing or its grave shroud, the stench from the dried blood of its previous victims was so awful it instantly triggered the gag reflex. Told with glowing red eyes, long blood covered fangs and was totally grotesque.  Flash forward to 1931 and Bela Lugosi in his role of Dracula, modernized the vampire. Impeccably dressed in classy evening wear, styled hair, satin cape and long white fangs. Fast forward another 70 years and today’s vampires haven’t strayed too far from the Lugosi rendition – they have dropped the cape but they still dress like they are out of a GQ magazine. Perfect hair, perfect body, perfect face, etc.

Famous Vampires: Dracula, Vampire Bill, Vlad the Impaler, Lestat

Killer Elite

Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends and family.  The best holiday. Food, food, copious amounts of alcohol, food, naps and food.  No decorating, there is no forcing anyone to listen to redonkulous carols in the mall and shopping centres for two months before, and no religious traditions or rituals to overshadow it.  Just family, friends and a good time.

Slowly but surely this blog is developing.  Ten List Tuesdays and Wired Wednesdays so what to do with Mondays?Movie Reviews! WAH!  Like everything on this blog, I am not going to pretend to be  Ebert, Travers or Maltin. I am a girl who has a love of all things movie-ish, who likes what she likes and isn’t afraid to speak her opinion on what I don’t.

Movie Review: Killer Elite

I was so excited to go and see this movie.  I have a raging hard on for Jason Statham, think that Clive Owen is a sexy and dirty, dirty man (especially with his 80’s style porn stach), and have respect for Robert DeNiro although he isn’t on my list of favourites.  In addition, the beautiful Yvonne Strahovski was playing the love interest in the film and I was curious to see her step outside her role on Chuck.  With all of these things in mind, I went to the show with huge expectations for this film.

Synopsis:  When his mentor is taken captive, a retired member of Britain’s Elite Special Air Service is forced into action. His mission: kill three assassins dispatched by their cunning leader. (IMDb)

Trailer:  

Rating:  ★  ★  ★ ☆  ☆ (3 outta 5)

Review: (Possible Spoilers)  ‘Killer Elite’ based on a ‘factional’ book by the name of ‘The Feather Men’, written by Sir Ranulph Fiennes; is a dramatic illustration about three Special Air Service (SAS) officers assassinated by an elite hit squad to avenge the death of ‘Osama lookalike’ Sheikh Amr’s (Rodney Afif) three sons in Oman. To sum up, BORING! How can any movie with Jason Statham be boring?  Who knows!?… but the movie was a complete snore fest.   As a girl who LOVES action films, loves explosions, and loves to see blood splatter on-screen (ok that reads rather homicidal-like but you get the picture), I was disappointed.  Sure there were a few fantastic fight scenes (a particularly great one between Statham and Owens), and some great location shots in Australia, Oman and London,but they are few and far between. Labelled as an action/thriller there were no thrills, never once was I biting my nails, or did my adrenaline kick in.  There is no clear good guy/bad guy storyline (in fact there are no good guys in the film, it is more a survival of the fittest) so who do we cheer for?  The plot line was made overly complex with political jargon instead of focusing on character development (I don’t remember a single characters name) and the acting, including that of Mr. DeNiro’s, was sub par. Ms. Yvonne who is absolutely drop dead gorgeous should go back to kicking total ass in Chuck, or find a script that allows her to actually kick some ass, otherwise she is rather Aniston-like (her hair always looks good but her acting blows dead bears).

If you are a huge fan of one of the principles in this film then you might want to see it on the big screen, but otherwise, wait till it comes out on demand, satellite or on good ole Netflix and save yourself the trip out.