BLOG: YTC_Hollyweird: Episode N/A: What Happens At FrightFest Stays At FrightFest

Follow me on Twitter: @You_Total_Cult.

In the short term, the YTC podcast can currently be found at http://www.chrisandphilpresent.co.uk/blogs/youtotalcult/

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The blog below was under an older name of Hollyweird. I have kept the numbering the same so that I could keep track of my posts, but this is where it all begin back in the heyday of 2012…

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This entries title is a blatent lie as I am about to do a quick update on my last week.

 

I’ve now been awake nearly 30hours and I am rather hungover. Consequently I am doing this post with brevity via a mental haze of confusion. Of course, whether being up 30hours and stupidly drunk is a sign of a good festival or a problematic one is a little too close a call for me to make…

So in no particular order here are a few misc. things from helping to film Frightfest The 13th!!!

1)

“Wanna buy a peg?”

A right pair of old Cults

http://www.facebook.com/YouTotalCult is now officially cleared by Simon Pegg. Craig had a word and we were fine to rip off the Spacedhttp://www.facebook.com/YouTotalCult pun. Which is just as well since we would have kept it anyway.

Maggot- Baby, the other, OTHER white meat.

 

2) Finally saw the most complete version of Nightbreed available. At a mighty 160mins, Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut is a fascinating vision at how much was butchered from the released version- but it is also a fascinating to relaise that some of it should have been! This version is way too long and repetitive at the end, but there’s not doubt that the new first half is a vastly superior version of the film.

 

3)

Sausages

Hungry Like The Wolf

Werewolves seem to be cropping up a lot lately. Only a few weeks after my Werewolf post, and my new werewolf tattoo, I en d upfilming Sean ‘Dog Soldiers’ Pertwee and interviewing ‘Katherine ‘Ginger Snaps’ Isabelle. Both were lovely, but bonus points for Katherine because I’ve had a crush on her for years. Sadly she’s deeply in love with hey boyfriend, otherwise I think she would have pounced on me. Maybe. Possibly. Right…..?

 

4)

This would be before I massively cocked up the filming of the first interview. And the third.

 

Depsite my dubious Camerman (sorry, ‘Camera Person’) skills, that was my main duty over th week. However in a moment of madness, Jen asked me if I wanted to do the actual on-Camera interviews at the media wall. Given my general arrogance I said ‘sure’. It was only when Intewrviewed actors of American Mary that I realised I actually had no questions prepared. Whoops…………….. Cue lots of panicked flaffing as I talked crap and vaguely led them to make interesting comments without any actual questions. Still, actor John Emmet Tracy came up me at the after party and thanked me so I can confirm he is quite the classy gent.

Still, at least I’d seen their film! interviewing Jenniffer Lynch without seeing her new film, Chained, was a bit tougher. Fortunately Jenniffer was super-lovely and we got through it via me contsabntly bringing up her last film, Surveilance. Because,well, I’d seen it.

5, 6, 7 etc.)

Billy Chainsaw is still, as ever, the man.

I really need to go out for some food and fizzy pop I’m just going to put a few bits and bobs now.

– The crew were awesome. Crews usually are since you’re working long hours for buger all. Ta dude and dudettes.

– I didn’t get to see many films with the amount of work on, but I was lucky to acatch a few. Particular highlights of upcoming films are

Maniac– disturbing but unique. Elijah Wood is hitting a career-high point between this and his work on Wilfred.

Berberian Sound Studio– incredibly filmed and astounding to experience. However I’d say it makes its one point repeatedly and that took me out of it whilst I waited for it to end anfter an hour.

Sinister– A very generic haunted house/possession film, but really well crafted. Scary when it needs to be, funny when it’s supposed to be and starring total-due Ethan Hawke makes this a very solid watch.

American Mary– Body-mod horror. This stood out by a mile in a festival of rapists, ghosts and slashers depsite having two of those elements. Unique and interesting but not for eveyone.

– Big thanks to my sister Debra for putting me up despite my coming and going at 5am.

– Greg Nictoerro and Steven Barker were great guys to film. Really approachable and took their time to just chill and tell stories, oh and Steve gave signed DVD’s to the crew of Outpost II. Only guy to give us anything depsite being one of the less fmaous interviews. Top bloke!

– The Twisted Sisters story. Only those there will ever know…..

– It was pretty cool to see my name on the Empire’s massive screen when the interview segments were put on. It even cooler to note that Craig had not in fact listed me as C*ntface, as threatened.

 

 

The catering sucked.

I have no doubt that I am missing a heck of a lot of stuff here. But hell, if you want more then volunteer to help film the damn thing yourselves!

BLOG: YTC_Hollyweird: Episode N/A: Made You Look!

Follow me on Twitter: @You_Total_Cult.

In the short term, the YTC podcast can currently be found at http://www.chrisandphilpresent.co.uk/blogs/youtotalcult/

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The blog below was under an older name of Hollyweird. I have kept the numbering the same so that I could keep track of my posts, but this is where it all begin back in the heyday of 2012…

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This week I am off to help film FrightFest. Consequently there won’t be enough time for a blog reaching my usual standards. (Take that however you want).

So instead I thought that I would use a brief Frightfest inspired interlude to share a few Horror-themed moments from my life.

Halloween 2008 I think. Shop Smart, Shop S-MJ.

 

Halloween 2009. You can’t beat a bit of leather.

 

Halloween 2010; Dr Herbert Smith, MD

 

Not Halloween, just a good ol’ regular Friday 13th.

 

LEGEND. I couldn’t afford a book so I just told him he was the man.

 

One ugly motherfucker. And a Predator.

 

Clawing at Robert Englund

 

Getting ‘Bob’ to draw a Freddy on my leg….

 

… which was this. I fixed the hat, added a claw and background and then got it tattooed.

 

Meeting the Lord of Pain, Doug Bradley

 

Bob Keen was responsible for the creatures in Jedi, Nightbreed and Hellraiser- and possibly has demon-babies living in his mighty beard.

 

Tom Noonan. You may know him as Kane from Robocop2, or The Tooth Fairy from Manhunter. I know him as Frankenstein from The Monster Squad!!!

 

It must have been tough at school called Neil Gaiman/Kneel Gay-man

 

Not strictly horror, but this Two-Face costume was too awesome not to put in here

 

These two didnt know each other; this was during a Zombie March, a kid spotted Santa and got excited. One of the best things I’ve seen.

 

And finally, for true horror try experiencing an infected tattoo. Mmmm…. leaky gooy!

 

Thanks for… viewing.

-MJ

BLOG: YTC_Hollyweird: Episode XV: A Scroll Down Memory Lane

Follow me on Twitter: @You_Total_Cult.

In the short term, the YTC podcast can currently be found at http://www.chrisandphilpresent.co.uk/blogs/youtotalcult/

BLOG PIC

The blog below was under an older name of Hollyweird. I have kept the numbering the same so that I could keep track of my posts, but this is where it all begin back in the heyday of 2012…

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Wings of Honneamise is a startlingly unusual Anime, and one well deserving of some coverage. Indeed, I don’t think that I’ve ever read about it. I just taped it off of the Sci-Fi channel once and realised that it was something special. Wings of Honneamise is a unique study of the mental and spiritual effects of an aspiring astronaut. However, I hope this does not sound too intriguing to anyone reading this as I actually left my Wings of Honneamise DVD at my parents last year.

Whoops.

So instead I’m going the polar-opposite direction and focusing on the very different, purely visceral Anime called Ninja Scroll. There is nothing subtle nor intelligent about Ninja Scroll. There is, however, a whole-hell of a lot of fun.

ninja

In feudal Japan, an evil clansman is desperate to mine gold out of a secret deposit behind the Shogun’s back in a quest to become the new ruler of Japan. Tricking two of his best ninja soldiers, Gemma and Jubei, the ambitious Lord convinces them to kill one another, leaving only himself as the sole person aware that the Gold mine exists. Jubei dispatches Gemma, but quickly goes into hiding as a Ronin; a master-less Samurai. Now surviving as a wandering soldier of fortune, Jubei wanders the land doing what he can to survive within his own code of honour.

(Think of the A-Team but with less milk, aeroplanes and banter).

Five years on and Jubei stumbles upon an entire village of slaughtered people alongside a wiped out army. Of ninjas. The only survivor of which is a female ninja called Kagero. Rather unfortunately for Kagero, Japanese fantasy often tends to feature rape. So as the only captured soldier she’s about to face that rather nasty fate via a massive creature that can turn its body into stone. Yes- you read right. This is a time of Demons and magic, you see. I may have forgotten to mention that part….

Jubei’s interruption of this attempted rape of Kagero leads to a battle with the stone demon, which Jubei ends up narrowly winning via reasons I don’t want to spoil. With ‘Rocky’ dead, a strange elderly man soon appears. This is Dakuan, a somewhat nasty and manipulative Yoda-like figure.

Evil Yoda

Dakuan explains that he is a spy, sent on a special mission to stop the Eight Devils of Kimon, a group of murderous demons. With Jubei having just slaughtered one Devil, the other seven will now come for him in retaliation. Dakuan then suggests that he and Jubei team up. Jubei scoffs at getting involved but is soon poisoned by Dakuan. If Jubei can survive for a whole day and defeat all the demons, Dakuan will cure Jubei and pay him handsomely. With Kagero joining them, the three protagonists now in place.

All we need now is a powerful ring-leader for the antagonists. Enter the re-incarnated Gemma, who sure can hold a grudge against Jubei. With all these pieces slowly in place, an epic battle for ancient Japan is about to begin…..

Gemma has a splitting headache

And epic it is! This film is pretty much just one thing; eye candy.

Colour Fills The Screen

The action is frantic from start to finish, each frame beautifully composed and drawn. This was way before Flash Animation/CGI somewhat cheapened the form. The sheer hard work from all the animators is pretty obvious throughout the runtime.. Hell, go watch the sword fight between Jubei and the Blind sword smith, Mujuro. Pause the fighting it at random and you’ll see every sword movement is drawn in. Some strikes may move too fast to follow clearly at full speed, but it’s all actually in there. This level of detail is a huge part of the films remaining appeal. Released in 1993, of course Ninja Scroll’s presentation does look dated today. But the fact it still holds up as well as it does really is a testament to the all of the artists responsible.

To my mind, the lush visuals within Ninja Scroll come down to three further aspects beyond the aforementioned level of detail;

1)The colour palette

The colours in this film often ‘pop’ against one another. It’s important to note that Ninja Scroll is a very gory film. Blood flows as freely as a proud father’s open bar tab at a wedding.

Naturally then this red needs other colours to splash out against. The main contrasts are yellows, greens and and blues. Any of these are pretty evident just by watching the film. But it is the blues that really catch my eye whenever I watch this film.

Being a film about ninjas, there is a lot of night scenes. The shading of blues and blacks is really beautifully done, keeping the action clear but still setting the shady scenes wonderfully.

 

Kagero’s got the Blues

2) The backgrounds plates are are lovingly designed, varying from plague-ridden villages to bamboo forests to ancient temples to pirate ships and even more in between.

Tree Huggers

3) Finally, and probably the most key to Ninja Scrolls visual cues are the excellent character designs.

The Eight Devils of Kimon come across like Boss Fights in a video game; each is unique with their own attack and weakness. Jubei slaughters them one by one, with each fight getting progressively tougher. But like any good video game, each Boss should be memorably different from the others.

For instance, the sex-fiend Tessai is a giant made of rock, all bulging muscles and muted colours. Benisato is an attractive woman naked and covered in snake tattoos- which can then come to life. Mushizo is a dwarf with a hornets nest built into his body. Yurimaru is an effeminate, well dressed man who controls electricity through a series of thin wires- and so on. Each villain stand uniquely next to the others, which is quite a feat for a 94min film which also features 3 protagonists!

Bee here now

In fact the only character to stay largely ‘plain’ is the hero, Jubei. His classic anti-hero demeanour is enough to understand his personality its own. Yet it is worth pointing out that he is actually based on a Japanese folk hero, Yagyū Jūbei Mitsuyoshi. Perhaps his basic appearance is akin to an English version of Robin Hood where by simply putting hmm in a green hood makes him recognisable to people from the same culture. Or perhaps he simply looks even more badass to take out all these Devils and armoured Ninjas in nothing but his robes and a straw hat!

jubei_character.jpg
Feel free to buy me this Jubei statue if you like.

Writer and Director Yoshiaki Kawajiri deserves a lot of credit in the Anime world for puling off this film. It is brisk and energetic whilst being blood soaked and juvenile. Frankly he manages to fit an awful lot of plotting into a paper-thin narrative. In fact Kawajiri certainly must have dome something right as there was even a semi-sequel television show that ran for 13 episodes called, imaginatively, Ninja Scroll: The Series that he co-wrote. This is a film that lingers long after the simple fun of going ‘Cool! Swords!’. It mixes myth and design in a tantalising way that in many ways has yet to be matched by Fantasy/Action Anime two decades on.

 

Make no mistake, Ninja Scroll is dumb fun. Definitely dumb, and definitely fun. If you love action, monsters and bad dubbing then please do track it down. I did. In fact, it was the first ever DVD I bought along with a beast of a player back in 2000. I made this my first ever discs because I knew I wanted something with real flair to test out my new technology- and ‘Scroll sure as the Eight Devils of hell has a lot of flair.

 

Next time will be a look at a rather marvellous Spaghetti Western, which is also one of the bleakest films that I’ve ever enjoyed sitting through.

As for when ‘next time’ is I am not yet sure. I will be filming Frightfest in London soon, so maybe pre-Frightfest or maybe post-Frightfest.

Ooooh, the excitement of mystery!!

 

Thanks for reading,

MJ

 

P.S. I actually left my Ninja Scroll DVD at my parents house, too. I’ve just seen the film enough times to write this blog regardless!