In which I find a film so horrific that even I am a bit freaked out

I make no secret of the fact that I really, really want to find a horror movie to scare me.

I think I have succeeded.

We were asked to read over a website from the Health and Safety Executive on Slips and trips (find out more:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/slips/step/ChooseRole-Education.htm).  There are some quite horrific images on there – not least the video on the sous chef that ends up chucking boiling fat all over herself – we even see her burning skin.

Seriously.

I watched a Supernatural episode last week on cursed/haunted objects that was just as bad as this video. In the episode a woman had a cursed teapot (stay with me) that made her pour its boiling contents down her neck.

After some digging it seems that the videos are part of a series developed by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (Canada) – (search WSIB on You Tube – but be prepared).

Here is the sous chef one…

Honestly – this one is like a scene from The Omen (see image below)!

Advertisements

Fred Krueger set to slay Sally Morgan (one can hope…)

October is one of my favourite months of the year mainly because it contains Halloween.

I love the build-up to it: watching horror movies and Halloween TV specials, snuggling down with horror-themed chocolates (seriously monster mini rolls and Cadbury’s Scream Eggs – what’s not to love?).

My Saturday night consisted of two zombie-themed shows (Walking Dead and Derren Brown’s Apocalypse) and the watching of the movie: An American Haunting.

Tonight (the big event), will comprise of American Horror Story: Asylum and Horror Europa presented by Mark Gatiss (both recorded from last night). *Rubs hands in glee*

What else could possibly make tonight’s viewing any better? I think only a Celebrity Come Dine with Me Halloween Special. What’s that you say, there is one?

Look away now if easily offended…

Yes that’s right, your eyes are not deceiving you… (l-r) psychic (ahem) Sally Morgan, cross-dressing cage fighter Alex Reid, model Nicola McLean and Robert Englund.

Robert Englund.

I am praying that he chooses tonight to bring back Freddy and rid the world of this nightmarish line up.

One, two Freddy’s coming for you….

*I am assuming that most people know the story of A Nightmare on Elm Street before I begin, if not, my comments might not make sense and may contain spoilers*

I should start by saying that I have a big problem with movie remakes. I don’t really understand why any director or writer feels the need to re-engineer a perfectly good (in some cases iconic) film. I’ve heard the arguments about presenting a foreign film for the English-speaking market, showing a different slant on a story to give it appeal with a wider audience and updating the special effects because advances in film techniques allow it. But I generally don’t think these justify a remake.

So it was not with an open mind this Hallowe’en that I approached the remake (or re-imagining or rebooting or whatever other wanky phrase you want to dress it up in) of my favourite ever horror movie: A Nightmare on Elm Street.

I avoided it in the cinema as I feared I’d be made too angry by paying to see it. I planned instead to purchase it when it hit the 5 quid DVD bargain bin. As luck would have it, a fellow horror fan agreed to lend it to me so my watching of it was free. Had he known the extent of my hatred of remakes, I think he might have demanded a fee to cover the costs of the DVD in case I got too annoyed by it and stamped it into the ground.

So, the movie: I tried, I really tried.

I should have known that I would hate it as soon as I read the back of the DVD case.

“a sinister man with a disfigured face, a frightening voice and a gardener’s glove with knives for fingers”

A frightening voice? Really? Really? Since when have you heard anyone comment on the scary nature of Fred Krueger’s voice? Surely his screeching knives being dragged across red-hot boiler pipes, or his face in fedora shadow, or his penchant for gutting teenagers in their sleep is a tad more terrifying than his tone of voice?

Anyway, where to start?

The story has been altered slightly so that Fred Krueger is no longer a child killer but a child molester (and gardener at the local pre-school – hence the need for a gardener’s glove in the DVD blurb). Apparently something that Wes Craven considered in the original but dismissed. The re-imagining of Freddy in this way is in part a step to create a more sinister, lecherous character and tries to take him away from the comedy clown he became in the sequels. My problem here is that if we’re comparing like for like ie Freddy in Elm Street 1 with Freddy in remake 1 then I think we’ve ended up with a weaker demon.

In the remake he comes across as more human. This is achieved by using a deeper back story which calls the accusations of him as child molester into question. Was he wrongfully killed by the parents of Elm Street? Is Freddy actually in the right? I found this jarred with me as Fred Krueger should exist purely as a figure of evil, or what’s he doing terrorising and taking the piss out of potential victims in their sleep? New Freddy was weaker, lacking in the wicked sense of humour and personality of the original. I’m not meaning this as a criticism of Jackie Earle Haley (brilliant in Shutter Island), I had high hopes for him in this role. I just think that Robert Englund is too much a part of Krueger’s character for him to be successfully re-imagined by someone else.

Can I talk about the voice now?

Freddy’s new voice was laughable. I spent much of the movie thinking ”who does he sound like?”. Then it hit me. Fred Krueger sounds like Paul McKenna. Look out for his hypnosis DVD to help you sleep, just in time for Christmas!

I thought that yes, the new special effects were good. But they’d had 26 years of redevelopment time to come up with this and to be honest I’m not sure it was all that much better. There’s a kind of charm about the old Freddy and his Mr Tickle arms dragging across the walls in darkened alleyway. The Tina/Kris scene where she’s flung around the room by the unseen Freddy was much improved. But other key scenes from the original seemed to have been filmed just to keep them in. The result was a mismatch of storyline, as if everything had been shot, thrown together and then mixed up for the final edit. Weird.

For a balanced review I guess I should comment on other aspects of the story and to be honest I didn’t hate any of the actors in it. But at the end of the day I have a fondness for Englund’s Krueger. I grew up with him and I don’t like him being messed with.

I was so unhappy with the remake that I followed it swiftly with a rewatch of the original!

I’ll end with a comment from Tina’s mother (from the original of course) on her daughter’s torn nightdress:

“Tina, either you cut your fingernails or you stop that kind of dreaming”.

Sleep tight and don’t dream.

Happy Hallowe’en!

Okay, in my mental list of things to do on Hallowe’en, I’d probably include:

1. Watch a scary movie
2. Dress up as a spellbook*
3. Carve a a scary face into a pumpkin (or more traditionally up in the North East – a turnip – but boy do they stink when a lit candle is inside them)
4. Ignore trick or treaters by blacking out the glass in the door to look like I’m not in

The one thing that I hadn’t ever considered was doing a spin cycling class to Hallowe’en-themed music.

Yes.

Honestly.

I just spent lunchtime spinning away  to ‘The Little Shop of Horrors’, ‘Monster’, ‘Superstitious’ and wait for it…. ‘Ghostbusters!’. Surreal. We had already passed a pensioner dressed as Dracula on the way to the class, to which my spin colleague commented “you can see that too, right?” (incidentally Dracula was co-ordinating the lunchtime tea dance).

We concluded the spin class with a jumps/bob and weave combo to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ which made looking in the mirror a disturbing experience. A bunch of slightly sweaty, dishevelled and fierce looking cyclists lurching from side to side was like a scene from The Walking Dead, but without the blood.

The reason for the Vincent Price image below? Oh, aside from him being one of the most amazing/hilarious horror actors I have witnessed, I felt I should give him the credit he deserves for the spoken part in ‘Thriller’. The spin instructor referred to him as ‘that man’ – ignorant or what?

Apologies Vincent Price (May 27, 1911 – October 25, 1993) on her behalf.

*Honest, been there, done that, got the cardboard box, painted red with opening front ‘cover’, filled with spells on slightly charred paper to prove it…I’d like to say I was a kid but in reality was mid twenties and old enough to know better.