Horror Cuts: The Whole Trilogy (Plus Extras)

It’s the first Halloween in 4 years I haven’t released a new film – and while that fills me with a deep sadness, we can still enjoy the good times we had, right?
So, make the most of your Monday-night Halloween, put your feet up, ignore the ringing at the door, the thumping of eggs on glass, and the… unnerving feeling of being watched… and enjoy the WHOLE Horror Cuts trilogy along with the 2 “special features” I produced after. Enjoy. Or at least, try not to scream too loud. -JB

Dead Labour and Dark Shadows (2012)

Dawn of the Red (2013)

Witches and Bitches (2014)

The Nightmare Before Christmas (2014)

The Wretched of the Earth (2015)

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Black Mass: A Hot Mess

It’s been a poor year for gangster cinema – Cell Magazine‘s Laurence Langan writes for Hollywood Hegemony on why Johnny Depp’s latest vehicle, Black Mass, does little to buck that trend.

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You’re in the pub. Everyone’s talking. Politics, T.V or general gossip, it doesn’t matter. You’re having a good old gab. You jump in to the conversation with a flourish, monologuing passionately about the way the world is. Cement solid points and clever informed witticisms flow forth. Then, as you go on, you sort of lose track of what you’re saying. First you’re generalising. Now you’re quoting something out of context.  Then you’re just plain making something up. Soon, you trail off and mutter a sort of open ended, vacuous moral and quickly pretend you need to go and use the facilities. Exit stage left.

This kind of social awkwardness is what watching Black Mass is a bit like. A muddled, pointless ramble with zero self-awareness.  Continue reading

The Ordinary can be Extraordinary: A Belated Review of Minions

Let’s be frank. Despite gorgeous mixed-style animations, an inspired best-of-the-60s soundtrack, and ingenious slapstick set-pieces that would make Jack Sparrow drool; Minions is not a great film. It’s not even the strongest film in its franchise – that would be Despicable Me which, as an international Super villain adopts three orphans, takes the trope of a cold-hearted careerist warming to the initially dubious joys of parenthood to a new extreme. But while the infamous Gru and his trio of adorable orphan girls might be armed with a genuinely heart-warming story arc, their celebrity pales in comparison to the gang of “balding, jaundiced children” who accomplice their travails. The masters have been totally eclipsed by the rising star of their own servants.

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Fifty Shades of… Huh?

It’s been two weeks since the release of Fifty shades of Grey gave the topic of abusive relationships a rather troubling Valentines Day gloss. Complaints have ranged from accusations it romanticises violence against women, to the somewhat moot point that the acting, writing and direction are all to put it bluntly, “flaccid”. Weeks later, in the cold light of day, away from the saccharine veneer of it’s Valentines weekend release, Ruth Grahame outlines why Fifty shades wins Hollywood Hegemony’s “most confusing sexual politics” award.

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Trigger warnings:  Abusive relationships. Fifty shades of Grey. BDSM*. Psychological abuse. Rape culture. *warning because many individuals have damaging experiences with it, not because its inherently damaging

As a  queer, kinky feminist, I read most of the first book and got very, very angry. The Christian Grey of the books has no consideration of boundaries, constantly pushes Ana to do more when she has explicitly made her discomfort unclear (Which she shouldn’t even have to do, he can read hints, he just doesn’t care about them), and literally rapes her in more than one scene across the trilogy.  In a society where, in England and Wales 2 women are killed by their partners or ex-partners every week, only a third of convicted rapists get jail-time, and “why did she go home with him?” is a more common question than “why didn’t he stop?”, the defending of abusers because “they were in love” or “its just a book and therefore has no social context or influence” is such strong bullshit I almost cried on several occasions. Continue reading

Do Employees Dream of Electric Sheep?

“If we release the slaves, they will rob, rape and murder their former masters.” “If we allow universal suffrage, the proletariat will elect Bolsheviks and execute the monarchy.” “If we create machines without subverting them to human needs, they could supersede us and cause humanity’s extinction.” Jack Brindelli examines the ruling class fears at play in sci-fi thriller Ex Machina, and asks why exactly we should fear their liberty?

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There is something of the slave-owner’s ‘logic’ about Stephen Hawking’s recent assertion, along with many other eminent ‘scientists’ (who, we should note, are mostly experts in fields that are irrelevant to the debate on Artificial Intelligence), claiming that we should seek to ‘rein in’ research that could lead to machines thinking, feeling and creating for themselves. Because I suppose if you think about it, if you were a supremely intelligent being capable of conferring the construct of “beauty” on the world around you, you’d probably want to inexplicably wipe out all life too. Continue reading