Green politics, philosophy, history, paganism and a lot of self righteous grandstanding.

Monday, 31 October 2011

My Top 5 Horror Films

I suppose I don't really like horror films.

I certainly don't like slasher movies, which rules out 99% of what usually goes into lists of best horror movies.

I also think that it's impossible for any sane adult to actually be scared in a cinema, unless you're watching Sacha Baron Cohen, but then you're scared for him.

However I admit it's possible to pretend to be frightened if you fancy the person you've gone with - although my dates have never been very impressed with this sort of behaviour.

So here's a rather eclectic mix of films that are technically 'horror' but on the whole wouldn't frighten a neurotic toddler.

Number 5: The Haunting (1963)

Four people spend the night in a haunted house and very little happens.

It may be a moot point when 'subtle' turns into 'boring', but for my money the original version of The Haunting works. It's a haunted house film by the books, but by not over-egging the pudding you do get mounting tension and something worth thinking about.

4. Night of the Demon (1957)

Okay, so who else knew this film was sampled on Kate Bush's The Hounds of Love?

The film suffered a bit in the making, including the insertion of an actual demon over the objections of the writer. However what emerged is still a pretty good and atmospheric tale of black magic - or self delusion.

The main interest though is Niall MacGinnis playing a character that is clearly based on Alistair Crowley. The moral of the story: don't mess with Ritual Magicians.

3. The Call of Cthulhu (2005)

If you've never seen this, please try and track it down.

Basically the H.P.Lovecraft society decided, on a minuscule budget, to make his classic 1928 short story as if it was a contemporary silent movie.

The result is a little strange, but very effective. The effects are cheap, but the design work is good and the lost city of Ry'leh is an Expressionist delight whilst limitations in the acting department are disguised by the format. You actually believe you are watching an eighty year old film.

2. The Wicker Man (1973)

Most pagans regard this film as a documentary with a happy ending, and we'd all move to Summerisle tomorrow even without the service offered by the landlords daughter.

This is Hammer House of Horror's finest moment and it's a British as a wet Sunday afternoon.

Apart from Christopher Lee and Edward Woodward acting their socks off, Paul Giovanni's sound track is the highlight.

1. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

More Gothic than a weekend in Whitby, Bride is James Whale's masterpiece, the best of a run of films in the thirties that include Bela Lugosi's Dracula and Boris Karloff's Frankenstein. Karloff was always the better actor, and Frankenstein's Monster the better villain.

The two were to team up for the almost as impressive Expressionist sequel, Son of Frankenstein, but Bride is the better film by a whisker.

It's camp as can be, but visually it is an absolute delight.

You can interpret it in as many ways as you like; Christian analogy, gay metaphor - or just a lot of fun.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

New Sci-Fi Blog

I've decided to create a new blog for all my Sci-Fi stuff.

It can be found here

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Liam has shot our fox

Let me be quite clear, I wish Liam Fox hadn't gone...... because it was just starting to get interesting.

Really interesting.

Not that I mind the demise of a far right minister, but by jumping before he was pushed we may never get to the bottom of what looks like a scandal designed by Central Casting.

Lets also be clear about why he went. It wasn't because he had been helping an old chum feather his nest, nor was it because he's secretly gay. Instead it seems Fox was the conduit for the loony tunes US Neoconservative movement into British politics.

The Neocons, the force behind George W Bush and the invasion of Iraq, have largely morphed into the Tea Party; a wonderfully named movement that to US patriots suggests heroic men tipping horrid English herbs into Boston harbour, but to the rest of the world summons up images of Mad Hatters and March Hares.

Behind both though stands money, lots and lots of money. That's why this is more than about bungs to flat mates - Werrity is very well paid by his US backers and doesn't need any favours from HMG.

Fox's charity, The Atlantic Bridge, was wound up on 30 September, just before the scandal broke, which is a bit of a miracle of timing. By going into voluntary liquidation it has also avoided having to answer any awkward questions from the Charity Commission.

With Thatcher as its patron and Gove, Hague, Osborne and Grayling on the board Atlantic Bridge was no more of a charity than the Monday Club. But what's perhaps more interesting are its friends on the other side of the pond.

It was funded by Lehman Brothers for one thing, and Karl Rove and many other less charismatic US right wingers, pop up to speak to it, receive awards from it or give it money.

Atlantic Bridge also worked closely with the American Legislative Exchange Council, a Koch Industries funded Climate Change denial front group.

I could go on, but I think the get the point.

The question is though, what were they after?

Money obviously, but was this just for personal gain, or where they after more serious political change, the sort of paradigm shift that would open up Britain to big US corporations. Convenient was it not that Fox, formerly Shadow Health Minister, was hanging around with the sort of Neocons who regard the NHS as the spawn of Satan just at the Tories introduce legislation that will pretty much see off the idea of universal public health care?

Which leads on to the next question; was Fox running a parallel foreign policy here, or was it merely convenient for a Prime Minister leading a coalition with the LibDems to have this stuff done at arms length? A Prime Minister who has also previously warned about the dangers of too much lobbying?

By resigning he is clearly hoping nobody will ask these questions, which must not be allowed to happen.

We are pretty cynical about our politicians in the country, and most people will probably just regard this as a scandal about personal financial gain and possible sexual high jinx.

When it comes to the Tories though, we are possibly not nearly cynical enough.

More on Atlantic Bridge and their Neocon links here.
Here's Greenpeace on ALEC and Climate Change denial.