Wednesday 7 August 2019
Sunday 30 August 2015
Wednesday 15 July 2015
"It's in-depth, elegant, focused and with a remarkable attention to detail. Rose, an obvious fan and scholar of all things Chain Saw writes with clarity and intelligence… Like any good film criticism/appreciation book, it leaves you wanting to revisit the movie as soon as possible."
Thursday 1 August 2013
Thursday 6 September 2012
The opening of the film has a stark simplicity to it: three gunfighters arrive at a railway station that appears to be under construction. There they await the arrival of a train, a train which should be carrying the man whom they have been hired to kill. For most directors this sequence would be about the gunslinger’s purpose – to murder their target – but for Leone, a director obsessed by vast and grand images, unusual soundscapes and a sly sense of both humour and genre, transforms this basic premise into an eloquent and protracted sequence concerned with only one thing: waiting. Having entered the railway station and locked the station master in the cupboard, the gunslingers position themselves along the length of the platform. The apparent leader, Snaky (Jack Elam), big, imposing and with a lazy eye, sits on the bench and is annoyed by a fly. He catches it in the barrel of his pistol and, with it held against his forehead, listens to its angry buzzing as he sleeps. The second, a tall and muscular black man, Stony (Woody Strode), stands beneath a dripping girder. The water collects in his wide brimmed hat. When it is full, he slowly takes it off and drinks the water. The third gunslinger, Knuckles (Al Mulock), sits on a water trough and repeatedly cracks his knuckles.
Sunday 12 August 2012
No-one who has ever seen the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is ever likely to forget the experience. An intense fever dream (or nightmare), it is remarkable for its sense of sustained threat and depiction of an insane but nonetheless (dys)functional family on the furthest reaches of society who have regressed to cannibalism in the face of economic hardship. As well as providing a summary of the making of the film, James Rose discusses the extraordinary censorship history of the film in the UK (essentially banned for two decades) and provides a detailed textual analysis of the film with particular reference to the concept of ‘the Uncanny’. He also situates the film in the context of horror film criticism (the ‘Final Girl’ character) and discusses its influence and subsequent sequels and remakes.
Preorder the book at Columbia Univerisity Press by following this link or at Waterstones by following this link.
Thursday 5 July 2012
From his visual appearance alone, it is clear that the Pale Man is an inhuman grotesque from the perspectives of Hurley, Bakhtin, Stallybrass and Allon: his body recalls the human form that bulges not in fat but on the excess of wasted flesh, his skin sags from his arms and face, it gathers at his neck, breast, stomach and genital region. Compounding this sense of the visually grotesque are the Pale Man’s walking movements for they direct attention to the lower regions – as he chases Ofelia in an effort to both catch her and consume her, he does not run or walk but instead stumbles, staggers, lurches and drags himself forward in his pursuit.The grotesque appearance and movements of the Pale Man are furthered by his acts of consumption. Stallybrass and White state that within the grotesque there is an emphasis upon the orifices of the human body, most notably the mouth and the nostrils. In the appearance of the Pale Man there is a prominence of the cranial, a visual strategy which stresses the lack of eyes and brings to the fore the Monster’s slack jaw, the loose, gathered flesh around the mouth, the dark and bloody opening of the mouth itself and the distorted black holes of the nostrils. This construction of the face suggests the role of the devourer, one whom Ofelia recognises through the murals in the banqueting room as the devourer of children: having looked both at the vast amount of sumptuous food laid out on the table and the Pale Man, Ofelia looks around the perimeter of the banqueting room’s ceiling. In a point-of-view shot, the camera pans across a series of circular murals as a non-diegetic sound effect of children crying is heard. The murals depict various scenes of the Pale Man chasing children, capturing them and either piercing their stomachs’ with a sword or consuming them alive.
To order a copy of the magazine, please follow this link.
Wednesday 4 July 2012
Sunday 20 May 2012
Sunday 22 April 2012
Bringing to mind rockers and royals, Buckingham Palace and the Scottish Highlands, Britain holds a special interest for international audiences who have flocked in recent years to quality British exports like Fish Tank, Trainspotting and The King’s Speech. A series of essays and articles exploring the definitive films of Great Britain, this addition to Intellect’s Directory of World Cinema series turns the focus on England together with Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
Monday 2 April 2012
As a brand, EA has released a growing number of Dead Space games across the increasing number of gaming platforms: Dead Space was initially released on the three major gaming platforms – the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. While it was expected that the next game in the series, Dead Space: Extraction, would be released onto all three platforms it wasn’t. Instead, it was released just onto the Wii. Whereas Dead Space was a Survival Horror/Third-Person Shooter, Extraction would be a Survival Horror/Rail Shooter game in order to take advantage of the controller system the Wii operates upon. Releasing Extraction just on the Wii was an interesting decision for EA to make for two reasons, primarily because the platform is not known for its mature content titles and, secondly, as a supposition, the experimental idea that the Wii’s controller system might make for a more immersive means for a Survival Horror/Shooter game.
Wednesday 7 March 2012
Saturday 14 January 2012
Here is a brief extract:
This graphic escalation of events should have been enough of an indicator to the audience that Ghostwatch was indeed fake, but such was the quality of the programme’s verisimilitude that the spectral events sustained the illusion of reality instead of breaking it. Herein lies the programme’s greatest strength: it mimics the visual language of reportage television so fluently that its fiction is, in some way, successfully incorporated into the illusion. The expected unsteady camera work, the poorly composed images as the cameraman adjusts his framing, the use of cutaways, vox pop and live calls all function to create a genuinely frightening work of fiction while simultaneously declaring it as real. It is the perfect synthesis of technical craft and concept, a true perversion of the language of television.
To read the full text, follow this link.
Sunday 11 December 2011
As can be seen from this selection of endings, The Final Girl uses her weapon to cut off body parts and/or impale the male killer. Given the nature of the sexualised murders throughout the film and the weapons used by The Final Girl, it can be suggest that the climatic death of the killer is a symbolic castration – The Final Girl not only kills the killer but ‘removes’ their masculinity before doing so by either disarming them or cutting off their limbs or heads. Because of this, it can be argued that the repressed virginal Final Girl is freed at the narrative’s conclusion because she has given vent to her (sexual) repressions and emerges from the narrative having killed the symbol of male dominance and sexual threat. Consequently, she becomes her adult herself – capable, in charge and powerful, both feminine and masculine, entering into the adult world on her terms, making her choices and succumbing to no one.
To order a copy of this edition of MediaMagazine, click here.
Sunday 27 November 2011
The Hurt Locker: War is a Drug
The Hurt Locker begins with, and is wholly contextualised by, a quote from Chris Hedges’ book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2002). ‘The rush of battle is often a potent and lethal addiction for war is a drug’. After a few moments, the majority of the text fades away leaving only the last four words, ‘war is a drug’, and remains there for a further few moments. Bigelow defines the meaning of the quote through her description of the book, explaining it as one in which Hedges
talks about that you’re looking today at a volunteer military and one of the many things he confronts is war’s dirty little secret in [that] some men love it. This isn’t everybody; it’s just a particular type of psychological state with some men. There’s a psychological allure that combat creates, some kind of attractiveness, and it does create an almost additive quality that you can’t replicate in any other way and are lost in any other context. (Axmaker, 2010)
As a context for the film, the quote becomes quite literal for it clearly defines James’ emotional and psychological relationship to his employment as a bomb disposal expert – he is addicted to all aspects of this role: disposing bombs in an increasingly dramatic (and perhaps theatrical) manner, saving lives of both his men and civilians, acting alone in order to continually push himself and, ultimately, to be good enough each time to ‘cheat’ death once more. As a consequence, the quote, quite literally, states that James’ is addicted to war but, on a more complex level, indicates that James’ is addicted to a repeated confrontation with his mortality. Each IED to be disarmed challenges him to gamble, with the highest stakes possible, his skill and ability to perform under pressure against both an incredibly violent but inanimate object and an equally threatening but unseen enemy.
This edition of Splice can be ordered from Auteur Publishing by following this link.
Saturday 29 October 2011
To read the interview at Offscreen, follow this link.
When did your interest in filmmaking begin?
It’s a difficult one to sort of pin down. I think the big thing that happened was that when I was younger I watched movies like Superman 2 and the Star Wars movies – and this is just me speculating – my dad took me to the cinema to see… I can’t remember! I kind of like that I don’t know! I don’t know whether Superman 3 or Return of the Jedi came out first? I went to see one of those movies in the cinema and there was something about seeing characters that I was familiar with on a gigantic screen with loads of people reacting to what was happening. I think maybe something kind of got me there so film was obviously the exciting medium for me. I was raised up on blockbuster and genre films specifically so it started off as entertainment but then as I got older I started to discover other films as well. I didn’t turn my back on genre; I think genre is a really important type of film with an awful lot to offer.
Did any of these films influence you when you were writing and directing Colin or was it zombie cinema in more general that influenced you?
In a way I think they are all wired in but I think when it came to Colin I think it owes a lot more to King Kong than any other zombie film specifically. It obviously references Bub from Day of the Dead – a character I am clearly attracted to. What I really liked about Kong was the connection between Kong and the audience is only said between Kong and the audience. The other characters in the film don’t accept him in quite the same way. I kind of thought, that’s a really amazing thing that an audience is so capable of making that connection. I thought that would be the way to go so the idea with Colin was to find ways to put on the audience the awareness of any danger that Colin would be in that that character wouldn’t be aware of because of the lack of cognitive thought. That was the idea really, to look at the audience’s relationship with the character and to find a way to make that work in the same way that it did for me with King Kong.
Wednesday 14 September 2011
World Film Locations: London is an exciting visually focused tour of a diverse range of films shot on location in London. This volume will contain concise but knowledgeable reviews of carefully chosen film scenes and evocative essays about key directors, themes, ideas and historical periods that explore London's relationship to cinema. This book will be illustrated throughout with scene-specific screengrabs, stills of filming locations as they appear now and city maps that include location information for those keen to investigate the cinematic landmarks of London. The individual scene reviews, theme specific essays and illustrations will collectively offer up their own wider questions relating to London itself and how cinema shapes our view of the city. Covering the periods of the Victorian era via the swinging 60s through to the post 7/7 atmosphere of modern day London and seen through the eyes of the full range of communities that have been portrayed onscreen World Film Locations: London will illuminate all corners of this richly diverse and cinematically fertile city.
Edited by Neil Mitchell and published by Intellect, my contribution examines the relationship between the London Underground and the horror film, including Quatermass and the Pit, Death Line and An American Werewolf in London.
You can buy the book online at amazon by following this link or direct from Intellect Books by following this link.
Wednesday 7 September 2011
For Miller, the slow motion functions as a representation of how he is witnessing the events for it visualises the horror of his experience - he is surrounded by a chaos of noise and movement, seeing not only death but the dreadful massacre of his men, all of which is too much for him to comprehend or bear witness to. The effect of the slow motion amplifies the horror by fragmenting its depiction into briefly frozen moments; but it also implies that Miller himself is trying to edit out the intensity of the violence by 'missing out' certain frames of action.
To order a copy of this edition of MediaMagazine, click here.