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UK Weekly Top 10 Movies!

 Week ending 20th January 2013

By Kirkiechick

Hello there! This week’s chart and the progress of films have been hampered by the bad weather. Snow falling over parts of Britain last Friday caused disruption. I know where I am some of the cinemas didn’t open and some closed early. It was amazing to see people still turning up to watch films when they had been advised to not undertake unnecessary travel. I guess going to the cinema was necessary travel for some! On to the chart now, the top spot still sees the film Les Miserables sitting strong. Let us see the rest of the chart!

 les-mis-poster_hugh-jackman

1. Les Misérables, £4,406,828: Total: £17,360,303

2. Django Unchained, £2,801,312 (New)

3. Life of Pi, £1,201,163: Total: £24,147,499

4. The Impossible, £1,092,754: Total: £9,118,833

5. Gangster Squad, £791,799: Total: £3,890,342

6. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, £765,437: Total: £49,997,203

7. Monsters, Inc 3D, £681,247 (New)

8. Quartet, £335,518: Total: £5,904,503

9. Jack Reacher, £212,540: Total: £9,126,695

10. Parental Guidance, £206,060: Total: £4,224,758

At number 2 we have a new entry from the director Quentin Tarantino. Django Unchained is the new offering from him. It has a stellar cast and sees Leonardo Dicaprio as a nasty character, which is a change for him. It is the story of a slave, Django (the D is silent) who is freed and hired as a bounty hunter. He sets off to free his wife from slavery. At number 3 is Life of Pi. The film is amazing! Please everyone go see this film. Number 4 is The Impossible. Tissues at the ready for this human interest story. Gangster Squad is at number 5. I went to see this. I really enjoyed it. There were a few plot holes and I think they were a bit economical with the historic truth for the conclusion of the film. Number 6 is The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey still sitting strong. At number 7 is Monsters, Inc 3D. A re-release of the original Pixar film but in 3D. The sequel is out in the summer. There aren’t many children’s films out at the moment. At number 8 is Quartet for the older generation! Tom Cruise is still bringing the audiences in with Jack Reacher at number 9. Number 10 is Parental Guidance, which I think is doing well due to lack of other children’s films out on release.

I hope there is something for everyone in this chart this week. That is your top ten films for this week. Until next time happy cinema viewing!

(Source: The Guardian Online)

Wednesday Whismy: Autumn of Terror Special.

Introduction By Hmsbeefnuts

Blog By Caelrona

Hello, and welcome to Wednesday Whimsy, Hmsbeefnuts here. Except, this isn’t any ordinary Wednesday Whimsy. I have spent many months writing blogs for Wednesday, and even longer writing blogs on other days, almost a year in fact, however, things are changing, and change is often a good thing. In this case, the change is good. I will no longer be writing a regular Wednesday blog, I simply don’t have the time in my week now to write 3 blogs a week, so Wednesday has to go. I have changed my job, and have a vastly different social life right now, and time is at a premium, and I dont want to half arse anything. Although I am sad to see my Wednesday slot go, it isn’t all bad news. Caelrona, our semi-regular contributor is stepping up to fill the empty Wednesday slot, and at the same time becoming a full time blogger here at All Geek To Me. I believe that she wants to keep the Wednesday Whimsy title, and she has it, with my blessing, if she so wishes. So I hope you will all join me in welcoming Caelrona to her Wednesday Slot, as we look forward to her future blogs, including the one below. I’ll still be around Monday and Thursday, so you’re not getting away that easy. Enough waffle, here is Caelrona, with her particular brand of stuff.

Hmsbeefnuts

Hiya all! A few words before I begin, perhaps? You might have noticed I’ve not been posting much lately (more on that another day, perhaps?) but I’ve come back with a bit of a bang. Our dear HMS has given up his Wednesday slot here at All Geek To Me, and I’ve stepped in to fill it – we wouldn’t want you missing your Wednesday fill of geek, now would we? I’ll be doing my best to bring you my own brand of whimsy on Wednesdays from here on out, and I shan’t be keeping you reading any longer! Onto the article!

It’s October now and we are creeping steadily closer to Halloween. I know that the holiday isn’t nearly as big in some countries as it is in my home country of America, but it is my favorite holiday. Here in America people start gearing up for Halloween as early as September; and stores start getting ready for it as early as August! Not knowing much about traditions or activities of other countries myself I figured that people from other countries might not know about the huge commercialization, traditions and activities that America has for Halloween; and what better way to geek over my favorite holiday than with a blog post? So here I am, ready to tell you all about some traditional and not-so-traditional Halloween activities from America!

About Halloween

Halloween is known by many names in many places. Halloween, Hallowe’en, All Hallows Eve, and Samhain are all variants of the same holiday (although Samhain can also be considered a slightly different and separate holiday as well.) Whatever you call it, it generally elicits excitement and maybe even fear from most people. Halloween is typically associated with all sorts of supernatural and creepy things like vampires, ghosts and other monsters as well as various occults. Not to mention the various pranks often done by mischievous individuals during the holiday. While highly commercialized to the point of absolute ridiculousness now; the original holiday was for honoring the dead and celebrating the ending of the harvest season.

 

Jack o’Lantern Carving

Originally brought to America from Irish immigrants, Jack o’Lantern carving is a must-do for Halloween celebration all over America. While Jack o’Lanterns are typically carved in pumpkins or other gourds; early versions of the Jack o’Lantern were carved in turnips, beets and potatoes. This changed when Irish immigrants brought the practice to America and discovered that pumpkins make fantastic Jack o’Lanterns. Many different types of contests are held regarding pumpkins and Jack o’Lanterns; ranging from carving contests to see who can make the most scary/original/whatever face or design to pumpkin growing contests where pumpkins can reach absolutely gigantic proportions. The World Record for the largest Jack o’Lantern was carved from a pumpkin weighing in at a massive 1,469 lbs (666.33 kg); and the World Record for the most Jack o’Lanterns lit at one time is 30,919! That is a whole lot of pumpkins!

Pumpkins of all sizes and types for carving and decoration (with paint/stickers/whatever) can be found in almost any store that sells produce during the month of October. Many children grow up carving pumpkins into fanciful faces and designs; either in school or with their parents or guardians. I know I massacred more than my fair share of gourds in my lifetime, and will continue to do so as the years march on! Turning a pumpkin into a Jack o’Lantern is one Halloween tradition I will never forget. Plus when you’re done you can bake pumpkin seeds and pumpkin cookies or pie from the insides! Double win!

Costumes

Costumes being worn for Halloween are a fairly recent development and have a short history. The earliest recording of costumes being worn for the holiday are from Scotland in 1895; other countries don’t have recordings of it until 1900. Early costumes emphasized the pagan and Gothic nature of the holiday, but by the 1930’s costumes based on characters in mass media became popular. Early Halloween costumes were aimed at children, however after the mid-20th century Halloween has increasingly been celebrated by adults. Now Halloween costumes are worn just as much by adults as children, and costumes are available for nearly anything you can think up!

I’ve been dressing up for Halloween since I was a baby. While now-a-days my costumes are only worn during Halloween parties, I spent plenty of time in my earlier years romping about town in my costume collecting candy. Costumes are a huge part of Halloween here in America, and as such have turned into a huge industry. Most stores start pushing costumes early in September, and some special stores even open up just for Halloween to sell costumes. Having worked at one such store, I can tell you from experience that people will drop hundreds of dollars (USD) on costumes and accessories! Most schools even allow children to wear their Halloween costumes on Halloween and have a special parade and party complete with a costume contest! Dedicated costumers will work on handmade costumes for months before Halloween – sometimes even years for highly detailed ones!

Trick or Treating

Trick or Treating (also known as Guising) is the customary practice of children on Halloween going about in costume to ask for candy. Children in costumes travel from house to house in order to ask for treats such as candy (sometimes money or small toys are also given) with the question“Trick or Treat?” The ‘trick’ is generally an idle threat to perform mischief upon the homeowner if no treat is given, however a great many rebellious children and teenagers pull pranks on Halloween even if treats are given. In America, trick or treat has been a customary Halloween tradition since at least the 1950’s. The rule of thumb for trick or treating in America is that a porch light turned on means the homeowner has candy and is participating. If a porch light is off then the homeowner is not participating in the candy giving.

I spent many hours walking along my neighborhood from house to house, usually followed by my mother in the car, dragging a pillowcase full of loot behind me trick-or-treating on Halloween. When I got a bit older, I often grouped with friends for the going often times bringing in bags and bags of candy. That used to be how it was done (at least when I was growing up); traditionally children would either go trick or treating on their own, walking from house to house in their own neighborhoods or parents would take them around from house to house in their cars. Recently, however, people have been participating in various modified versions of trick or treating in order to protect the children. Parents will form large groups where many children all go at once in a group with several parents supervising, or they do something called ‘Trunk or Treating’ where parents from various community groups or churches will gather together in a parking lot and have children trick or treat at the trunks of their parked cars. Cities will also organize events where children (and their parents) do their trick or treating on a set day a little before Halloween.

Haunted Houses

No, not those kind of Haunted Houses; no paranormal investigation here. I’m actually referring to Haunted Attractions of any kind. There are many types of Haunted Attractions, including (but not limited to); Haunted Houses, Haunted Hayrides, Haunted Trails/Forests, Haunted Theme Parks (Screamparks), Cornfield Mazes, and Ghost Runs. All have their own unique features that make them different; but all are designed to give visitors or customers a thrill and a fright. There is no real known history of when Haunted Attractions began and no known recording of their origins; although there is one that dates from 1915. It wasn’t really until the 1960’s and 1970’s that they began cropping up in towns and cities with regularity.

Haunted Houses now open up in nearly every single town all across America during the month of October and during Halloween. Most schools, churches and large community groups typically create their own Haunted Houses for people to walk through and receive a bit of a fright. There are also numerous attraction parks that host their own Haunted Houses and similar experiences (notably Knott’s Berry Farm’s “Halloween Haunt” or Sixflags’ “FrightFest”) that people can attend for a bit of spooky Halloween fun. I’ve both walked through and participated in my own fair share of Haunted Houses. Good houses can put a right bit of spook into you, along with a great deal of fun. Helping to build and participating in the haunting of the Haunted House is (in my opinion) even more fun. Scaring the pants off of random people, and having them laugh about it and tell you good job instead of yelling at you? Heck yeah!

Anyway; those are just a few Halloween activities from my area of the world. Halloween is my favorite holiday, and I celebrate it with friends who love it just as much as I do; so you can best we always have a frightful good time! It is fantastic fun, and I hope that you now have a better understanding of why my country puts so much emphasis on the night. If not, then maybe you’ll be wanting to celebrate it a bit more yourself then!

Until next time;

Caelrona, signing off! ❤

Autumn of Terror: My Favourite Monsters Part 2

By @hmsbeefnuts

Yesterday I brought you part one of a two part blog about my favourite versions of all the classic monsters. Well guess what? Here is part two, so you know the deal, here comes some more monsters that I love, and some more honourable mentions that I love almost, but not quite, as much. Part One can be found here. Part Two starts…. Now.

ZOMBIES

Zombies really don’t have that much in the name of variety. You have your standard undead, raised by magic, meteorites or simply if Hell is full with souls, and your voodoo type slave zombies. I happen to like the undead type, and what better, more horrible zombies than the Nazi variety. Call of Duty is a great game and the zombie mode is always fun. The scary thing about zombies is that on there own, they can be quite manageable, it is only when there are a crowd that things become a problem. When that crowd comes running screaming towards you, dressed like nazis, shit has really hit the fan, all one can hope is the magic box grants you a ray gun…

HONOURABLE MENTION

Little girl rage zombies, well that is just scary as shit right?

WITCHES

Responsible for more children’s nightmares than any other monster on this list, The Wicked Witch of the West is the perfect embodiment of evilness. Green skin, perfect witchy outfit, broom stick, hatred of children and general goodness, and if that’s not enough, she has flying blue monkey soldiers, and it doesnt get more evil than that.

HONOURABLE MENTION

The head witch is very scary. That moment when she takes her face off, absolutely terrifying, and she looks grotesque. Imagine waking up to that? No thanks.

MUMMIES

I like my Mummies wrapped in bandages and the Hammer mummy looks creepiest to me. Boris Karloff may be one of my favourite horror actors, but then so is Christopher Lee, and his eyes are way creepier than the Universal Mummy.

HONOURABLE MENTION

If Karloff had stayed in the bandages all the way through the film, he would have been my ultimate choice, however, he doesn’t and is quickly portrayed as a Dracula type figure. Love that black and white picture though.

MR. HYDE

I have always loved this look for Mr. Hyde. Very simian looking, very primal, and a brilliant transformation scene. It has to be this version of Hyde, it is the greatest.

HONOURABLE MENTION

Forget the film, the comic version of this Mr  Hyde is king. The way he deals with the invisable man alone proves this.

HUNCHBACK

Lon Chaney Snr. old school make up job, say no more.

HONOURABLE MENTION

Bela Lugosi played an evil hunchback assisstant in Son of Frankenstein, almost the best.

Autumn of Terror: My Favourite Monsters Part 1

By @hmsbeefnuts

You may have noticed that around All Geek To Me, we like our monsters, we like them quite a bit in fact. As this month is our celebration of all things that go bump in the night, I thought that I couldn’t really let it pass without a look at my favourite monsters, so I wrote something about that very thing. I have picked my favourite iteration of each of these monsters, and as they have been put on screen many times, I hope this adds variety, as I could just choose the Universal or Hammer film versions, but I will try my very best not too. These choices are based on the look alone, film quality does not enter into my choices here, just this is my prefered version of the different monsters mentioned. So with that out the way, lets get on with some monsters.

WEREWOLF

I know the remake of The Wolf Man was not well received, but I liked it, I liked it a whole lot. Now yes, there is some dodgy cgi, but the main Wolf Man suit is quite simply spectacular. I loved it. It takes the look of the Lon Chaney Jnr. version and ups it to new super fearsome and crazy levels. This for me, is the finest example of The Wolf Man, all claws, jaws and ripped clothing. I will always have a soft spot for the 1941 original, but I don’t think you can argue that this design is far more awesome.

HONOURABLE MENTION

Van Helsing is another movie that everyone thought sucked. Well for all the cheese and bad acting, I still liked it. The Wolfman from Van Helsing is supersized, really huge and powerful, but once again, I really dug the design, I would definitely not like to meet this beast on a dark night.

VAMPIRES

For me Bela Lugosi owned the voice, but Christopher Lee owned the physical manifestation of Dracula, and so, as the Lord of all Vampires, he has to be my top pick for best Vampire. Hammer vampires were much scarier than Universal ones, all blood shot eyes and dripping fangs. Christopher Lee was just such a badass as Dracula, the embodiment of evil, however, Hammer did also show a talent for other types of vampires too, as we shall see below…

HONOURABLE MENTION

Hammer ruled the roost in terms of Horror sexiness, and thus any female vampire, bride or victim of Dracula, instantly becomes very appealing, especially Ingrid Pitt. I know it’s shallow and a bit sexist, but fuck it, vampire chicks are hot, and lesbian Hammer vampires are the hottest.

THE MONSTER

The Monster, not Frankenstein, has never been bettered since 1931 and Boris Karloff’s portrayal. The make up is stunning, the acting is amazing, the Universal Monster is the greatest that has ever been, and ever will be. Can’t really say any more than that.

HONOURABLE MENTION

Yes it’s Van Helsing again, but I thought this design of the Monster was unique, I liked the steam punk legs and the glowing brain. He may be a bit theatrical, but then wouldn’t you be if you had been cobbled together from a few dozen other guys?

GHOSTS

Ghost? Demon? Well it’s responsible for Paranormal Activity anyway, so I think it counts. I absolutely loved Paranormal Activity 3, and especially the bit from the picture above. I love how usually the invisible force is scary enough, but I couldn’t resist this sight gag, amazing. Paranormal Activity is so scary because it happens in normal houses to normal people. Those are my favourite kinds of spooky stories, the other being the classic Victorian ghost story.

HONOURABLE MENTION

The Woman in Black was a great return to form for the bleak and depressing Victorian Ghost Story, and is a great example of such a ghost. Vengeful, scary, and a bit of a dick.

SWAMP CREATURE

Universal’s Creature From The Black Lagoon, or Gill Man, if you prefer, is the classic beastie from the depths. It’s a great look for a sea monster, webbed feet and claws, and slimy skin. Enough to make you think twice about swimming in that lake or river.

HONOURABLE MENTION

Maybe not a typical Gill Man, however, the Fluke Man is disgustingly scary. One of the most memorable monsters from the X – Files, Fluke Man was horrendous. Just look at him. That shit is fucked up.

Autumn of Terror: Movie Monsters

By Geeky Gem

As Autumn of Terror continues here at All Geek To Me, I thought I would talk to you about some movie monsters that have either freaked me out (by that I mean they freaked me out not scared me ok.), some that have made me laugh and some the are just epic. Shall we begin?

The Gremlins – Gremlins 1984

 When this movie frist hit the big screen, as with many of favourite movies I was very young, I was 1 in this case. Meaning that I didn’t see this movie till well over a decade later, this is how much I didn’t and still don’t scare easily. The first time I saw the Gremlins like Stripe above I believe I thought well there a little freaky aren’t they. I watched this movie plenty of times with my little brother and when he first saw it I had to go and check under his bed every night for a week just so he would go to sleep. The funny thing about that now is that he loves horror movies more than I do.  The Gremlins dont sat off looking like this they come from Gizmo after water is poured on him, breaking one of the rules of caring for a Mogwai. I love the Gremlins and I think they make awesome movie monsters, if you have never seen this movie, then shame on you.

The Crawlers – The Descent 2005

When I first saw this movie I wasn’t saw how I was going to get on with it. Turns out I liked it, this was partly down to the Crawlers who after years and years of living in the caves ad adapted to the living there, with eyes that could see in the dark and stealth to hunt its prey. They didn’t scare me either but I can see why they would, with the ability to appear from any where the Crawlers are not a monster I would like to come up against.

A Critter – Critters 1986

Another 1980’s movie monster for you here, some people say Critters came about as Gremlins weren’t scary enough, well if you asked me they both make laugh. These creatures from outer space have crash landed on earth, and they are hungry. They land on a farm and the fun begins as they terrorize the family that live there. I have never laughed so much watching this movie its great if you havent seen it, check it out.

The Pale Man – Pan’s Labyrinth 2006

As many of you know I love the work of Guillermo del Toro, I got to see Pan’s Labyrinth in the cinema with some friends. The Pale Man freaked me out, he didn’t scare me one bit but I won’t lie to you he did freak me out. However he is brilliant and Doug Jones does a fantastic job as he plays the Pale Man and Fauno in this movie. If you havent seen Pan then you really must, it has such a simple story line but it is very powerful and the creatures with in it could only have come from the mind of Guillermo del Toro.

Godzilla – Gojira 1954

Now what sort of movie monster list would this be with out Godzilla, back in 1954 he bashed and crashed his away around the town wrecking ever thing in sight. Now Godzilla can’t really be blamed for this, was it not for some nuclear testing he would never have been born in the first place, can’t blame im fr being a little pissed off can you. Godzilla has been in many movies but the 1954 one is my favourite, however Godzilla is set to make a return to the big screen in 2014.

There we have it folks just some of the great movie monsters out there for you to enjoy and hide from. Now I am off to check under my bed for Gremlins and Critters, I’ll see you soon.

Autumn of Terror: How I Failed To Make A Documentary About Ghosts And Legends

By @hmsbeefnuts

You may know from recent blogs that I’m quite fond of documentaries, well one summer, about 5 years ago, or maybe more now, the exact date is lost in memory, a few close friends and I decided to film our own documentary. We are all from Barry, a large town near Welsh Capital Cardiff, in South Wales, an area that seemed to be rich in folklore, ghosts, legends, and even a few cryptids here and there. Now we had never filmed more than a few Jackass style stunts before, we were inexperienced, totally unprepared, but were enthusiastic and ready to bullshit our way around The Vale of Glamorgan, in search of myths, monsters and spooky stories. The team was set up like this, me, my Brother Ollie (camera man), our friend Matty (presenter) and another friend Clare (team complainer ‘It’s cold. It’s rainy. I’m hungry!!’. Sorry Clare, we still love you!). My role was basically handling director duties and trying to get everyone’s arse into gear.

Why would anyone attempt this type of thing for no money, in ones spare time? Well it was Summer, at the time none of us had full time jobs, we were young and bored, and it sounded like a good idea at the time. I still think it sounds like a good idea, and it was definitely fun, if I ever had a chance again, I would totally try and do something again, but life gets in the way. Anyway. I’m getting ahead of myself, things are better started at the beginning, and so, we shall start there…

A rushed ‘production meeting’ allowed us to talk about what things we wanted to cover in this exciting (for us at least) project. The local area turned out to be quite the hotbed of mysterious goings on, from winged snakes, hitch-hiking ghosts, white ladies, black dogs and big cats. We had a lot of ground to cover if we wanted to see it all. Instead, we decided to concentrate on a few of the more likely and believable stories. So winged snakes were out, they hadn’t been seen for 200 years or so, and were most likely the invention of a drunken mind. Ghosts were decided on as being the most interesting and probably the most likely too, and so, our documentary crew went off to their computers and tried to look up any information they could about ghosts in our local area.

A local pub called The Captains Wife, (after the spirit of the wife of a Sea Captain who never returned home from a voyage, the wife so distraught that she hurled herself into the sea, to join her beloved), was thought to be our first port of call, and so, with no script, very little research and a whole lot of youthful endeavor, we loaded up my car and drove to the pub. As we were very early, there were few customers, and so we quickly found the manager, and camera in hand, asked permission to film and interview a few of the staff about their experiences of a ghostly nature. We came up with a genius excuse for doing all of this. Clearly we thought that just saying we were a bit bored and fancied filming something fun for a few weeks wasn’t going to cut the mustard. Instead we invented a whole back story for our group, we had met at university, where we were all doing film studies, and that we had chosen this documentary as our final project. Clever right? Well whether they believed us or not, and they must have thought we were very disorganised film students if they did, they allowed us to film and interview the staff. We were actually doing it.

We interviewed 4 members of staff, who each had tales of ghostly happenings that they had experienced, from chairs that moved on their own, to turning around in an empty bar and coming face to face with the Captain’s Wife herself. Spooky indeed. We filmed the interviews in front of the impressive fire-place, it all looked brilliant and atmospheric, our cover story was holding up, and our first location shoot was a massive success… until we got home to edit the footage. Of course our camera wasn’t a HD expensive piece of kit, so the image wasn’t excellent, but it was passable, in any case, we had already clocked that our film wasn’t going to look as a Louis Theroux or Michael Moore, the problem was the sound. Umm, we had forgotten that microphones are a good idea, and tend to pick up sounds that people say. So excited were we to start our amazing new project, we had forgotten the one of the two most important things about a film. A whole day wasted, and worse, we now had to invest in some sort of microphone if we were going to continue. Also, could we go back to The Captain’s Wife and reinterview everyone? It would be embarrassing, and to be honest, although the stories were very good, we decided the shame of  admitting we were inept was too great. It was a dark day for our nameless production, one we never really recovered from.

We decided we would try one more trip, this time to a local country park, reputedly haunted by a White Lady, a legend that has a few stories based around it, but one that people saw every few years. The usual story went as follows; a group of teenagers go camping in the Park, near the large viaduct. During the night, they are awoken by wailing and a ghostly white figure of a woman is seen approaching the tents. The kids leave sharpish, and never camp there again. We had our interest piqued by a girl I used to work with who swore this had happened to her, the investigation was on… But there was another place we wanted to try too. Somewhere that didn’t really have a haunted reputation, but looked spooky as hell. An old abandoned mill on the outskirts of Barry, now in ruins, looked like a perfect place for ghostly goings on. We decided to investigate both. We found nothing, unless you believe that orbs are the spirits of the dead, and not like dust or insects. We spent half a night down Porthkerry Country Park, and an afternoon at the mill. Nothing happened, we went home cold and tired, and a little disappointed, but we were not bored.

Our project had ended pretty much as soon as it had started. We were unprepared and disorganised, we didn’t think it through properly and we had no chance of doing anything of any worth. However, for a few weeks during a long, boring summer, we were entertained and we did some cool research. I would love to do something like that again, giving it a much better go, if I won the lottery, I would be all over it again. Documentaries are hard work, and although ours was a blatantly pathetic attempt it did show us a little of what it takes to make one, and if nothing else, we got to hear some really awesome spooky stories, and wasn’t that worthwhile enough?

 

Autumn of Terror: There’s Something in The Woods…

By @hmsbeefnuts

Here at All Geek To Me, we love our horror, almost as much as we love Superheroes, and Batman, but not quite. However, in line with our previous month long special events, Avenging April and Summer Knights, we have decided that October, the spookiest month of the year, shall be dubbed The Autumn of Terror here at AGTM.

Why Autumn of Terror? Well it’s a reference to the late Summer and Autumn of 1888, which in London became known as The Autumn of Terror due to Jack the Ripper. I personally find the mystery of who Jack the Ripper was fascinating, and as it was now 124 years ago, we felt that using the name Autumn of Terror was perfectly fine. There will (hopefully) be an article all about Jack the Ripper up-coming, as soon as I write it, as well as a month full of horror movies, books, monsters, ghosts, and things that go bump in the night. It is only 30 days now until All Hallows Eve, when the restless spirits of the dead search the Earth for… ummm, pumpkins, or something I guess? They are definitely after something, so let’s get prepared as we dip into our first serving of the Autumn of Terror, I hope you enjoy this month…

I thought I would kick off AOT with a look at ‘real’ life monsters, things that go bump in the night, and the creatures that are said to inhabit the darkest and most remote places on Earth. Cryptozoology is the study of hidden animals, and there are genuine people who search for these creatures, known as cryptozoologists. Now I know that it is very unlikely that any of these creatures exist, yet people have seen them for hundreds of years, and in some cases, hundreds of times in one year. Who is to say that these creatures can not be real? People are seeing something, and the next time you find yourself in the woods, or on a lake, it may be worth being a little bit more cautious. You wouldn’t want to end up as a Sasquatch’s lunch…

LAKE MONSTERS

Nessie, or the Loch Ness Monster is the daddy of the lake monster class of monsters. First seen in the 6th Century AD by St. Columba, the monster didn’t really hit it’s stride until the 1930’s When a new road opened the Loch up to passing motorists. Every year tourists flock to the Loch in search of the monster, and there are sightings every year. Numerous searches have proved fruitless, but there are said to be caves under the Loch that link it to the sea, so maybe Nessie goes back and forth? Whatever the truth, I don’t think I’d like to swim across the Loch, and not just because it friggin’ massive either.

Lake Champlain also has a monster, this one dubbed Champie. First seen in 1883, there have been over 300 reported sightings of this Plesiosaur like animal, with no reported injuries to humans, but the important part of that phrase is ‘reported’.

BIG HAIRY MONSTERS

My personal favourite cryptid is Bigfoot. The picture above is taken from the Patterson/Gimlin film from 1966 the most famous piece of footage for any cryptid. Bigfoot, or Sasquatch has been seen for hundreds of years and is the best shout on this list for actually being real, along with his cousin the Yeti. Reports have stated that Bigfoots have kidnapped people, attacked people and are generally not a good a creature one should piss off. Around 8ft tall and hugely muscled, strong and fast, the Bigfoot isn’t a monster to be messed with.

The Yeti is a Bigfoot type creature found in the snows of Tibet as well as the temperate valleys. Also known as the Abominable Snowman, foot prints have been found in the snows since the 1920’s, but perhaps the best evidence comes from below the snow level, where the Yeti are said to spend most of their time in the forests and jungles. Makes sense really, I bet it damn cold up there, even if you have those big furry coats.

OTHER MONSTERS OF NOTE

In Britain we have our fair share of cryptids. There are said to be Bigfoot creatures seen on Scottish mountains, lake monsters and sea serpents aplenty, but perhaps the most common cryptid is the ABC (Alien Big Cat). Now it is quite reasonable to suggest that a population of big cats, perhaps puma or even panther do survive and prosper throughout the UK. Certainly many farmers have seen the damage that these beasts have done to their livestock. The Beast of Bodmin Moor, The Surrey Puma, and even the Essex Lion have all made headlines in recent years. Think twice before taking a walk alone in the countryside…

Many hundreds of people have also reportedly seen werewolves, yes, werewolves. Now this stretches credibility a bit far, but many rational people around America have seen a large wolf-like creature that walks on two legs. I should know, I read a book on it. Theories range from an adapted form of wolf, to a spirit animal, and everything in between, however, one man was reportedly attacked by one, so you know, maybe it was a bear or something, but maybe, just maybe it was a werewolf?

Mokele Mbembee is a surviving dinosaur said to live in the Congo jungles. A creature feared by locals, it is said to upturn boats, drowning those inside. Usually described as a long necked type dinosaur, like an Apatosaurus, which was a herbivore, perhaps the Mokele Mbembee has adapted to feast on the flesh of drowning locals?

The Jersey Devil is said to haunt the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, and woe betide any traveler who meets this horrific creature on their journey.

The Thunderbird is from Native American legend, and is a beast who is said to bring thunder and storms. Even though this creature is firmly set in myth, people do report seeing gigantic birds in the skies of remote parts of America, and there have also been reports of such birds attacking people.

People also from time to time report seeing much larger versions of regular animals. One such example are wolves. From time to time people are reporting seeing wolves of gigantic size, wolves that bear a striking resemblance to Dire Wolves, a now extinct, (or is it?) species of wolf that hunted the American forests thousands of years ago. The Dire Wolf is strong, quick and fierce and is much bigger than any known wolf today, not the kind of creature you want to meet on your way to Grandmothers house…

Re-make – Jason and the Argonauts

By @hmsbeefnuts

Hello, once again you find me pondering a film that probably should never ever be remade, but that I have decided it might be fun to recast in my head. Unlike Ghostbusters or JAWS, I would not wholeheartedly mind a remake of Jason and the Argonauts, as long as it was nothing like the awful Clash, and Wrath of the Titans. May I also suggest that although obviously Ray Harryhausen’s amazing stop motion work wouldn’t be featured, perhaps he could be part of the design team, and show the young whipper-snappers how monsters should really look and act. I think that the structure of the original movie is pretty perfect, however, perhaps we can shake up the crew of the Argo a bit, dip back into the original myth and feature a few more of the Argonauts.

I’m also going to split this into Immortals and Mortals, and The Gods get to go first…

IMMORTALS

 

ZEUS – Anthony Hopkins

You can’t really argue with Hopkins. He brings gravitas to every role. He was great as Odin in Thor, and I think it only correct that he gets to play another King of the Gods. Zeus is a little unstable, Hopkins does crazy well. Match made on Olympus?

 

POSIEDON – Brendan Gleeson

Ah Brendan Gleeson. One of my favourite older actors. Has done similar work before in Troy, but lets give him the chance to sink his teeth, or trident, into the murky depths of the wine dark sea. The God of the Ocean needs a fine beard, Gleeson fits the bill.

 

HERA – Helen Mirren

A very beautiful older lady, and a fine actress, who else could play the wife of Zeus, and Jason’s guardian angel? British actors/actresses are made to play ancient people and gods in films like this, and after playing a few Queens, why not Queen of the Gods?

 

HERMES – Kevin McKidd

Hermes is a younger God, in fact, the messenger of the Gods. I imagine this would be a smaller role, but important. I like Kevin Mckidd in everything, especially Rome. He also has previous God experience from Percy Jackson. He may see this as a demotion, play Hermes, but I would like a great actor in the role, and also, a bit of a Rome reunion with a few of our mortals would be fun to see on screen.

MORTALS

 

JASON – Christian Bale

Bale is great, in everything, but he hasn’t done a role quite like this before. One of my favourite actors, this could be his Gladiator, but with monsters and Gods. He has the right heroic look, and who s anyone to question the choice of Batman?

 

HERCULES – Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson

There is only one man who could conceivably play Hercules, The Rock. He would have to tone down his accent, but his personality could remain. Hercules is going to be a little in awe of himself, The Rock is the most awesome guy on the planet, plus he has the build for it. Forget the Scorpion King, The Rock is a more accomplished actor now.

 

MEDEA – Eva Green

The foreign temptress that falls for our hero Jason. The daughter of the King of Colchis needs to be exotic, beautiful and very very sexy. Eva Green ticks all these boxes, and is a fine actress to boot. Plus it gives me an opportunity to post a picture of her, which is never a bad thing.

 

ATALANTA – Gina Carano

In myth, Atalanta had a tough life. Her father wanted a son, and when she was born, her father left her to die in the wilderness. She was raised by a she-bear and became a fierce fighter and hunter. She pledged her virginity to the Goddess Artemis, and when two centaurs tried to rape her, she killed them. A fierce warrior, and one of the few female characters needs to hold her own against the boys club or the Argo. Carano is not only very beautiful, but is legit hard as nails. A simple choice.

 

ARGUS – Sean Bean

The builder of The Argo, Argus is Greece’s greatest shipwright. So I’ve picked one of my favourite actors for the role. Bean is great in stuff like this, and I hear he doesn’t like roles that go on for ever, so if necessary, he can bow out early, but it’s a smaller role anyway, Beano would be perfect.

 

CASTOR – James Purefoy

Along with his brother Pollux, I see Castor bringing a little comic relief. Fighting brothers striving to out do each other. Purefoy is one of my favourite actors, brilliant in Rome and Solomon Kane, and the second member of our Rome reunion, Purefoy picks himself.

 

POLLUX – Ray Stevenson

I love Ray Stevenson, he is brilliant. One of the best things in Rome, Stevenson is a force of nature, with a childish grin and a sense of fun. He can bring some comic relief, but when the shit hits the fan, he can bring the brute force.

 

ACASTUS – Michael Fassbender

Pelias’ son and the bad seed among the Argonauts. Fassbender has that look in his eye, dangerous, vengeful. Undoubtedly a brilliant actor, Fassbender would be great as the jealous rival to Bale’s Jason, and I want to see Batman and Magneto beat the shit out of each other.

 

PHINEAS – Ian Mckellen

The man who was cursed by Zeus to be blind after his arrogance, and tormented by Harpies. Ian Mckellen is just brilliant isn’t he? OK, it is a tiny role, but a memorable one, and who better to offer Jason advice than Gandalf himself?

 

KING AEETES – Liam Neeson

A villain with a point of view, Liam Neeson can bring something a little extra to the role of the king who guards The Golden Fleece. He is the third acts villain, but how would you like it if a bunch of Greeks rocked up and stole your God given gift? Majorly pissed off. Liam can bring his particular set of skills to the King of Colchis.

 

PELIAS – Brian Cox

The Man who conquered Jason’s Father’s kingdom and who now rules it. Also the man who sends Jason on the Quest for the Golden Fleece, thinking he has no chance of succeeding, and would die in the attempt. Brian Cox does evil extremely well. Previous similar roles in Troy and X-Men 2, prove Cox is a great choice as bad guy.

Unsung Geek Heroes

By Hmsbeefnuts

Now we all know who Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson and James Cameron are. Likewise, we have all heard of Christian Bale, Harrison Ford and Jason Statham. Over the years, these people have provided us geeks with hundreds of hours of quality geek entertainment, and as a result, they are rightly rewarded with being known by the general populace, and of course, huge pay cheques. However, the films they are in are usually special effect extravaganzas, or based on characters that have a long standing in the geek community.

 In many cases, the thing you most like about a film etc, has been the work of a team of people who have worked for months and years on making the film/game look as good as it does, or working on the character, or even acting in the film, but being under heavy make up or CGI. Here I will discuss my personal unsung heroes, and even as I do so, I realise that thousands of people are being left out, so next time you enjoy a film etc., stay for the credits, and look at how many people were involved in making that film, game, or TV show.

Shigeru Miyamoto

 

If I told you that one man practically saved video games at a time when people thought they would be a passing fad, and helped turn them in to a world wide phenomenon that makes more money per year than Hollywood, you would be confused that most people don’t know his name. The fact that this man invented Mario, a character more well known globally than Mickey Mouse, but not only Mario, but The Legend of Zelda, and had a hand in Metroid, Poke’mon, Star Fox, Pikmin, Pilot Wings, F-Zero, Donkey Kong and a hundred more, is testament both to his creative talent, and the shame that the world should bare for not erecting a colossal statue to the man. Miyamoto is the dictionary definition of legend. He has given more children more hours of fun than any man on this planet, and lets be honest, more than a few adults too.

 

The Super Mario games alone would be enough to secure this man legendary status, but when added to his other accomplishments, especially The Legend of Zelda, have produced what many people agree are the greatest video games ever created. My personal favourite of his games include, The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past, Super Mario Brothers, Super Mario 64, Ocarina of Time, Super Mario World, and Star Fox 64, (Lylat Wars in the UK). The figure head of Nintendo, every time Miyamato appears at a press conference or trade show fun and hijinks are sure to follow. Please people, remember the name, he may not have had anything physical to do with Call of Duty or Halo, but in his own way, it is because of the trail blazing role he played as the creator of the modern video game, that video games were such a large part of all our childhoods. I challenge you not to smile whilst playing Mario or Zelda, or when beating a friend at Mario Kart Battle Mode.

Jack Pierce

 

Universal Horror make up master, and creator of the iconic looks of many of our beloved movie monsters. Ask a child to describe Frankenstein, Dracula or the wolfman, and inevitably they will describe a creature incredibly similar to Jack Pierces’ work. This guy is such a legend that other people on this list think he is legend, yeah he’s that good. Working in the early days of film, Pierce had to use all his gifts to create these wonderful effects. The Wolfman for example must have taken hours each day to apply to actor Lon Chaney Jnr. Each yack hair glued individually and painstakingly to the actors face, it’s no wonder that the two argued frequently.

 

The Frankenstein monster make up is now the established look of the monster, in reality an eerie green, in black and white, the fearsome creature, with it’s scars, square head and electric nodes on his neck (not bolts as is commonly assumed) the creature is a marvellous combination of actor and make up. Now I understand that the technicalities of the make up technician probably do not interest the average man, or woman on the street, but in my mind, Pierces’ make up kit should be placed in a museum and treated with as high esteem as any Renaissance era scrawling.

Richard Taylor

 

I don’t know if you have watched the special features on the Lord of the Rings Extended Edition DVD’s or Blu-rays, but you should. If you have, you can’t have failed to notice the squeaky voiced bespectacled geek genius that is Richard Taylor. Creative powerhouse of the greatest effects company working today, WETA Workshop, this Kiwi man marvel has, with Peter Jackson, and hundreds of their underlings, created the impossible. LOTR was a book that most people assumed would be un-filmable, and whilst it is due to Jacksons tight direction and vision that the film was completed, it was thanks to Taylor and the fine people at WETA that the film looked so damn good, authentic and lived in, every prop, miniature, creature and weapon were created from scratch with loving care and attention to detail. It all looks so good because it all makes sense, items have a common inception and a story behind them, really watch the documentaries on the DVD’s, it’s like a few years in film school, but far more entertaining.

 

Taylor has also been heavily involved in King Kong, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Avatar, films that I think you will agree were stunning, at least visually, and in my opinion, stunning all round. Taylor is a major reason that WETA is now seen as the premier effects company in the world, and when you look at their innovations in the world of mo-cap, or their stunning work with their so called bigatures and their pioneering mass army programme MASSIVE, Taylor has helped shape the modern cinematic experience, and from humble beginnings, working in a shed on Jacksons early films Braindead, Meet The Feebles and Bad Taste. The guy deserves a haka.

Stan Lee

You might think that Stan Lee gets enough recognition for his work on Marvel comics, after all he has a cameo in basically every marvel film there has ever been, and I can understand this, but we have to remember people, we are geeks. We delight in the now standard Stan Lee cameo, whether being saved from an automotive death by a young Matt Murdoch, being confused for Hugh Heffner by Tony Stark, drinking a bottle of soft drink infused with Bruce Banners’ blood or trying to move Moljnir with a pick up truck, Stan Lee it would seem gets enough geek recognition. But I wonder, does the average person who just goes to see these films know who the hell the crazy old man is in these films? Well they should, for this man has had a hand in more modern myths than almost any other, the man deserves an Oscar for most important cameo in superhero films for a man who actually created the character, except that he would be the only nominee, and would win every year.

 

Stan the Man has had a hand in Spider-man, The X Men, Thor, Iron Man, The Hulk, The Avengers, Daredevil and many many more characters, the guy is Marvel. OK so in recent years, his creative output has been, well, not so good Stripperella anyone? But the guy deserves a break, and should get one. So the next time your in a Cinema, or at home with friends watching a Marvel movie, and Stan Lee shows up, cheer, and whisper (at the cinema) or shout (if at home) the name of the great man, and spread the word, Excelsior!!

Andy Serkis

The worlds most underrated actor in my opinion, Andy Serkis has given birth to some of modern cinemas most remarkable characters. Caesar the chimpanzee from the latest instalment of the Planet of the Apes franchise will no doubt be over looked come awards season, but the performance, mo-capped by Serkis and WETA, is outstanding. The subtlety of Serkis’ work helps create a living breathing character that holds his own with the human characters. Serkis himself has described the mo-cap process as basically digital make up, the actor is still very much acting, and emoting, but instead of make up, a CG character mirrors the actors motions and emotions. His work as Kong in King Kong was again a work of genius. Playing the character as very much a gorilla, not some monster, Kong exhibited a wide range of emotions and character traits, and it is a cold heart indeed who does not shed a tear when the big ape hits the pavement, after that horrendous fall.

 

It is however, Serkis’ work as Gollum, the evil Hobbit ring bearer in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, that will always be his master work. Quite simply CG characters could be described as living in B.G. (Before Gollum) and A.G. (Anno Gollumai). B.G. Characters, hello Jar Jar Binks, are quite simply, the Homo Erectus cousins to Gollums Homo Sapien. The performance on Serkis is infused in every asset of Gollum, not just the voice. Gollum was one of the most complicated characters put on screen in the last few years, and thanks to Serkis, was 100% believable. Deserving of numerous Oscar credits, Serkis’ work in the advancement of acting is unparalleled.

Rick Baker

 

Our second make up man on the list, and another veteran of the mighty werewolf. Baker is a master of his craft. His practical special effects and make ups are really unrivalled in the cinematic world. He has worked on Hellboy, The Howling, An American Werewolf in London and even Cursed!! But every genius has the odd misstep. His work on the werewolf transformation in An American Werewolf in London alone is worthy of his inclusion in any list of geek heroes. The scene is an amazing example of what practical effects can achieve, worth watching on its own even if you have no desire to watch the movie, you should though its really good. His work on other werewolf movies is equally as good, and this guy has worked on a fair few in his time.

 

The variety in his work shows the man’s range and depth. The werewolves of The Howling, are very different to the American werewolf, which in turn is very different to my favourite make up/effect of his, in the remake of The Wolfman. This film got a lot of hate, but I loved it, and most of all, I loved the design of The Wolfman. Big, hairy, be-fanged and be-clawed, a killing machine and a superb movie monster. I know he got stiffed during the filming as he had designed a practical transformation that by all accounts was going to outmatch the one in American Werewolf, and it is a shame that the film makers decided to go with CGI effects in the end, but never the less, his work in the movie is still outstanding. A master of a sadly slowly disappearing art, the practical effect is being steam rolled by the CGI effect, and people of Hollywood, I implore you, there is room for both!

So there we have it, a small selection of people who need more recognition for the amazing work they do, or have done, in the geek realm. Of course, I would also like the thank all the stunt men, fight choreographers, design teams, sfx teams, writers, best boys, camera operators, concept designers, weapon specialists, miniature departments, practical effects teams….

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