BLOG: YTC_Hollyweird: Episode I: A New Menace

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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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Hello and welcome. This is my new blog, which is also technically my first blog. But I’ve left enough rants and insightful moments of genius on other people’s blogs to have gotten the gist of it all; Make a point, add some cool pictures and hope for a book deal.

Laugh at me, will they?!?!?

 

I have decided to call this blog Hollyweird for two reasons. Firstly I want to focus on some lesser known films and/or film-related subjects over these blogs. These will not always be ‘weird’ films. I refuse to paint myself into a corner by only going for articles on ‘out there’ films. Many ‘out there’ films are only out there because they escaped when they were taken outside to be put down for the good of film fans everywhere. Unusual or overlooked films are certainly going to be the predominant subject matter, just not the sole subject matter.

The second reason that I chose Hollyweird is simply because it was the best pun-related thing I could come up with whilst pretty damn hungover. A whole two weeks later and still I cannot decide if it a great pun or a terrible one. Either way, excessive Guinness has sealed my literary fate.

 

What with this being the first entry and all, I really weighed myself down with what would be the best opening piece. Perhaps a list of obscure Brazilian horror films? Maybe a dissection of the rare Sci-Fi soundtracks? Possibly a comparison of Samuel Fuller to Dr. Uwe Boll? Hardly. Instead, the mounting pressure of deciding on an opening topic led to over-thinking. Coffee after coffee mixed with thought after thought. Yet when the coffee ran out, my brain did not. Soon my mind was cannibalizing itself to avoid picking a topic. I became more and more self-reflective. Eventually my mind endlessly mulled over one overriding idea; How in the hell did I ever became curious enough about the silver screen to analyse films so much?!?

 

Here is a quick catch-up on what my fascination with films has led to in my life so far. For those of you unfamiliar with me (which will be none of you if only my friends end up reading this, or millions of you if that book deal ever comes through), I have a degree in film theory and practice.

I have made several short films alongside my partner Craig (er, professional partner, not my life-mate or anything). Some of these short films have been for competitions, and although we have yet to win anything other than higher debts on our credit cards, we have had some short films screened in both London and Brighton cinemas which is a coup.

Shhh! Genius’ at work

We have also made several music videos for lesser-known- but not lesser talented- bands. One of these music videos aired on MTV2 at Stupid O’clock in the morning in the UK and another was screened in France a few times which I guess makes us internationally broke film makers rather than just localised ones.

Finally, I used to work in Television. Incidentally, the best part of that is learning how to abuse an expense account. But then again that could be why I no longer work in Television.

 

So does any of this make me an expert on films? Well technically yes, but realistically no. Anyone can be if they watch enough. What it shows is that film has dominated far too much of time over the years. Time when I could have been asking girls out or learning to drive. Time with which I could now be talking to girls or learning to drive, but instead I have begun a blog about more bloonin’ films.

So it is with all of this in mind that I am dedicating the opening blog of Hollyweird to pay homage to the influences that have led me here today. In no particular order………….

 

  1. My Granddad Ricky. My Granddad had a very unusual way of keeping us kids quiet for weekend visits- he would get out his 8mm projector, a 4x4ft projection screen and run reels of cartoons for us. It was like having a private cinema every Sunday! In fact to this day, Tom & Jerry have never been the same without the sound of a projection machine, the smell of a pipe and the taste of flat cola. So thanks to Granddad for either buying or stealing that equipment after leaving the WWII entertainment division. Thanks for letting us endlessly watch the same cartoons every weekend for years and years. Thanks for letting us eat Nan’s butterfly cakes and flapjacks which probably made us even more hyper! In summary; Thanks for being a cool Granddad.
  2. My Sisters. The eldest, Debbi, is now a professional in the cinematic field. She runs a team in an effects company in London. You may have seen some of her work in small, independent films such as Inception, the Harry Potter Franchise, The Dark Knight, Iron Man, James Bond, John Carter, blah blah, blah…. Debbi went off to university (via a grant, dogdarnit! No loans for her!!) to study media when I was a wee nipper. I have a very distinct memory of her watching Predator on VHS whilst making notes on the sexuality of it. I was too young to understand what she was writing about, but she was writing about a film I loved…. you could do that?? Re-watch a film again and again and write about it??? Hot damn! So here’s to Debra for foolishly showing me that film could be studied and not just re-created with action figures. I would thank her more, but she already has access to a Bafta and an Oscar, so she’s been thanked enough.
    Going For Gold

    Meanwhile, my other sister Joanne had perhaps a more valuable lesson to teach me…. the lesson of the cult film! I can possibly blame a long running fascination with cult-dom on this lady. Far, far too often we watched The Lost Boys, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers or The Breakfast Club. In fact thinking about it, it’s quite amazing I haven’t ended up dressed like the oiled-up Saxophone dude from Lost Boys, bellowing out an instrumental version of ‘Bless My Beautiful Bride’ to a Transvestite convention. But since I live in Brighton I suppose there is still time for that. Anyhoo, thanks to Jo for showing me that the odd films could be the most fun films!

    Not Joanne- she was too busy crying over some little sister
  3. A final family one- just in case anyone is curious how I could have seen things like Predator at a really young age, I’m now going to say cheers to my parents. They had a simple rule about films; They’d tell me when to cover my eyes in really horrific moments, and if I still felt uneasy I had to leave the room. But otherwise anything and everything was game. So thanks you very much for the lenience, also and thank you that I can now officially blame my Predator and Freddy Krueger tattoo’s on childhood negligence. Oh, and ironically, now that I have baby nieces I actually hope you have tightened your reigns in. Wow, you really do get more right wing as you get older.
  4. The anime-movie, Akira. This was a revelatory moment in my life. I was about 8 and watching a copy taped off of TV. Throughout it several confused adults kept asking what was happening. I could follow it no problem, both the story and the wider implications. This was the moment that it started to dawn on me that films could have layers beneath plot and that I wanted to look for more examples of them….

    Cool bike, shame about the helmet
  5. El Mariachi. There I was, a cool, bowl-cutted 13 year old on holiday in Blackpool. My family had rented a holiday home and I was given the sofa in the lounge to sleep on. I was too excited at the thought of a TV with film channels to sleep so when a Mexican film came on 1am I just propped my eyes open and stayed up. Heck, I’d been studying Spanish for a few months at school, so it was practically educational! And it really was- albeit for very different reasons. Suddenly I saw that anyone could do it, that anyone could make films. El Mariachi looked amateurish in so many ways and but it still exploded off the screen with talent. It’s not that I hadn’t seen hundreds of good, indie-films at this point, but never something that looked so cheap- and that is no insult. It showed me captivation comes from resource. I may have never reached its heights, but who knows if I would have even tried messing around with a camera without Robert Rodriguez’s d├ębut. So thanks, Rob!

 

Phew, OK. So I know this was a bit of a long-winded ramble and that none of it was particularly weird. But hey, what do you expect for the first entry??? To appease those who feel hard done by, the next entry of Hollyweird will justify the ‘weird’ part for years to come. I feel confidant in saying that it will almost definitely not be something that anyone out there has heard of. It is a film concerning an unhygienic a man whom is given magical powers by a tramp for no particular reason, and uses them to become a girl. Oh, and it’s a grim horror film. Sort of. You’ll see……

 

 

Thanks for reading,

-MJ