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Strong Women Movie Challenge #58 of 200 : Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween

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Halloween to the majority is the blueprint. A checklist of what the slasher would become as the genre exploded in the bloody 80’s and beyond.

To lovers of the genre itself, there were a number of names that came before that should take the glory for said blueprint.

It doesn’t really matter who is the chicken or who is the egg in the grander scheme of things.

Like George Romero in the zombie genre, Halloween is just "The Grandfather" 

 

 

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I’ve been watching this movie at least once a year (always ends up being more) for the past 21 years since aged 11.

It’s kind of mad that I’ve viewed this one flick over 30 times when I think about how much I rib my mum mercilessly for watching the Sound Of Music a similar amount of times. 

It’s partly down to the obvious tradition of Halloween. But it’s mainly due to the fact that even now, after many viewings, I still feel exactly the same love as I did aged 11.

For a movie that is easily one of my favourites in horror, it has, ironically, never scared me. But the feeling it still gives me will never go away. A feeling of  dread, cool, and an unexplainable adoration and love that is settled in my belly and overwhelms my every being with every watch. 

The closest I can come to describing the feeling is the one of overwhelming warmth you get when you find someone in your life that you just know is your soul mate. Halloween is my soul mate.  

 

 

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It’s crazy to think when you look back on this titan of horror that it is, essentially, an independent movie.

The fact it even got the green light makes me eternally thankful. John (God) Carpenter’s sheer enthusiasm for his vision and his pestering persistence heaped upon Moustapha Akkad would cause the Producer to partly cave. Carpenter’s insistence that he could nail his feature within $300,000 would collapse Akkad’s defences for good.

At the time, the producer was financing a movie costing that much PER DAY. It was worth a shot. Boy did that shot hit the bullseye. 


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Normally I don’t like to know how things get done to create what has been projected on screen. Preferring the illusion over the reality. But I find some of the shit these guys went through to stay in budget as fascinating and exciting as the finished product itself.

The fact that the Bowling Green Philharmonic that composed the almighty score is really just John Carpenter plinking away on a keyboard. Marvellous.

The fact that it was filmed in Summer but it needed to look like Halloween was a ridiculous task. The crew all banding together and collectively hand-painting a shit tonne of paper leaves brown. Then after every scene, gathering these leaves up in black bags and moving them on to the next location.

Call it what you will. I’m still convinced it’s Halloween after all these years. For me it’s effect has been realised.

Even the name of the movie got switched for budget. It was supposed to be set over several nights with the title The Babysitter Murders. Budget was tight, the movie was set over one, the title was changed. The rest is perfect history.

 

 

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Thank the heavens for Hitchcock. If not for him, we may never have known who Janet Leigh even is.

Thank the heavens for Janet Leigh. Her masterclass in Psycho would help pave a way for her daughters choice in profession.

Thank the heavens for John Carpenter. A man so in love with Hitchcock and his work. A man so taken by Janet Leigh and her performance. A man so intent on sending a love letter that he gave an aspiring 17 year old actress a go.

Thank the heavens for Jamie Lee Curtis.   

 

 

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There has been a recurring theme with this list. Many of these amazing women never got that break after appearing in horror movies I hold dear to my heart. It pains me.

Jamie Lee would break through in spectacular style. The style I envisioned the other icons would if there was any justice.

But Curtis WOULD break through. And all the power to her. She also paid her dues before she went. Appearing in a number of other horror movies such as Terror Train, The Fog, Prom Night, and Road Games.

It’s a perfect description of the ladies sheer talent that, whatever you think of any of these 4 movies, Curtis is by far the greatest thing about them.                 


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It’s not difficult to write a woman to root for in the slasher genre when the other characters are unlikeable kitchen knife fodder. Just make her nice.

But my love for Laurie Strode isn’t just based around nice. It’s based around Curtis. Every single scene she’s in makes me so happy because of how she embodies Laurie. She’s not your awesome but forgettable heroine. She became an instant icon the second she stepped on screen.

And this is in a movie that contains Michael "frickin’ god I love him with all my everything" Myers.

And PJ Soles.

Rue the day you forget about Soles. 

 

 

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One does not merely forget about PJ Soles. One does not merely forget such a beautiful smile.

 

 

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To watch and love this movie today, it’s difficult to remember that this was a low budget indie.

Thank the heavens for Moustapha taking a punt.

Thank the heavens for a masterclass in filmmaking from Carpenter and Debra Hill (who also wrote the women).

Thank the heavens for the perfection of Jamie Lee Curtis.

Thank the depths of hell for Michael Myers.

And never, EVERRRRR, forget about the Soles.

Thank you for your ti…….dfjadsflkqddhfqkqhfkj

(unconscious from the thought of PJ)         

Scream Queen Halloween Countdown #5 : The Soska Sisters (with family)

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American Mary is a rare breed.

A horror flick where the women ARE the movie. It is a story of THEM. And I love it with every beat of my heart. 

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This movie is a triumph for women in horror. From the makers, right across to every female character in it.

The Soska Sisters haven’t shown that there is a place for women filmmakers in Horror if you’d just give them a chance. They’re blazing their own path without anyone’s fucking consent. 

Exploding onto the genre like a pair of masochistic saviours.

The horror genre is a little stale. Jen and Sylvia are here to help.   

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I first came to notice the Soska sisters not from hype, but in a tiny ad in a UK magazine for an upcoming film called Dead Hooker In A Trunk.

Being a bit of a b-movie and grindhouse nut, I was sold on the title alone. I hunted for this movie for months and wasn’t disappointed in the slightest.

It has some rough edges that a lot of first-time filmmakers encounter. But being a grindhouse type film, this isn’t really a bad thing in the slightest. If anything, it helps the style. 

The fact that I’ve watched it again and again is testament to the potential these girls already had realised. Then along came Mary.

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I didn’t know what to expect going in, I just knew that these ladies wouldn’t disappoint. And they didn’t.

They have crafted a concoction of body-modding, dismemberment, and descents into insanity, and somehow managed to create something very beautiful.

From the classical music prevalent through all of Marys surgeries. Right through to the bond she creates with people that society on the whole regard as outsiders.

I can’t name many movies that leave this impression of beauty inside a genre that doesn’t normally go that way. Wonderful.

On to Mary :

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Katherine Isabelle nails this part hook, line, and dismembered man-parts.

She’s loveable as Mary Mason from the outset. But every time I watch it, I find myself feeling uneasy rooting for her as she slowly descends into madness. 

I can’t give Katherine a high enough complement for the way she portrays good-girl-gone-victim-gone-anti-hero-gone-villain.

It’s not very often I question my stance on a leading lady. Fucking well played Miss Isabelle. You are a true craftswoman. And Mary Mason is still a heroine to me.

I love the way she calmly and methodically goes about everything she does. She has an aura that’s impossible to look away from. Yes, she’s already a star. She’s just not a big enough one for my liking.

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Tristan Risk is a bombshell. In her creative life outside movies she is almost timeless. Like a living homage to the past that’s simultaneously ahead of her time. Her life comes across as one big art-form. And that’s just freakin’ awesome.

Having her characters body modified to look uncannily like Betty Boop, Tristan steps into the part like she IS Betty. This may not be an official live-action movie of the character, but someone should take note if they ever do it. Tristan is my one and only choice for draft.

Her mannerisms, body language, and speech patterns are off the chart. She may not be the lead-lead, but you won’t ever forget the amazing prints she leaves on this already masterful movie.

What a legend.

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Lastly I wanted to touch upon the body modification community that this movie sheds lots of light on.

I have no piercings or mods of any kind. Just a number of tattoos that would probably (read definitely) make me “vanilla” in Marys eyes ;-)

But I do have nothing but love and respect for the community. And so do the Soskas.

Most movies cast people of this community in freak roles or the roles of villains. It’s a sorry affair, and if you knew people that mod their bodies you’d realise they are anything but. Some of my friends have some crazy mods and also have very successful jobs. They’re also some of the most beautifully caring people I could thank myself lucky to be friends with.  

American Mary is many things. And one of those things is a beautiful love letter to the wonderful people of said community. I devil-horned my way through each modification shown in this film.

In fact I devil-horn all the people that played a part in this movie becoming a reality.

Thank you Team Soska for representing. And as ever, thank you everyone for taking time out of your day to read my stuff xxx

Scream Queen Halloween Countdown #6 : Deborah Foreman in April Fools Day

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This was meant to be a celebration of Deborah Foreman and Deborah Foreman alone. I wanted to showcase Amy Steel seperately in Friday the 13th Part 2 at some point. Then I watched this movie again.

And I can’t NOT write about both of these ladies. They rule my world. And having them together in one movie is like an overload of awesome. And the movie is just as great. 

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The only reason I own this movie is because of my insistence on collecting everything 80s slash and trash. However, genre fans can be in agreement that for every classic like Halloween, there were a dozen films like Terror At Tenkiller.

I love the hell out of the more serious takes on the genre like The Prowler and The Burning. But it’s safe to say my preferences lie in takes on the slasher formula like The Slumber Party Massacre series and the sequels to Sleepaway Camp and Prom Night. (except 4. 4 doesn’t exist)

Daft and bloody. Ounces of gore with a cheeky wink and a smile. Give me a serious slasher any day. Give me campy schlock all the time.

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I was kind of expecting something in between with this movie. And it nails the balance perfectly.

It throws in all the tomfoolery of assorted April Fools pranks but plays it straight when needed. It’s remarkable really that I regard this movie as one of my favourite slasher flicks, yet it doesn’t really contain any gore.

Granted, it doesn’t contain the gore-less suspense and perfection of the blueprint that is Halloween. But it ticks all the boxes of what I mentioned above for what I adore about the genre.  

I absolutely love April Fools Day.

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Even after seeing this movie many times and knowing what the payoff is, I can still easily reset my brain and take in the whodunit aspect.

It just builds so marvellously. It’s ruddy delicious I tells ye. 

Of course it helps that Amy Steel and Deborah Foreman are on screen together.

I thank the Gods of cinema when they share a scene together. Such is my love for these two ladies talents.

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I regard Deborah Foreman as one of the sweetest ladies to ever grace the screen. 

She has a smile that could heat a planet for aeons. A cheeky persona that makes you want to be her best friend. A loveable demeanor that could make you fall in love at the drop of a hat. (Or head in this case)  

It absolutely amazes me every time that I see this film. I feel this high regard for the talent of this lady. Yet I can’t help but be freaked the fuck out when she goes all crazy-crazy.

When her dress sense goes all Annie Wilkes? And her pale look and distant stares?

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Well colour me creeped. Deborah Foreman is a goddess. 

I was sold on her wayyyyy before April Fools Day. My Chauffeur and Waxwork being an introduction and seller. Valley Girl being the heart winner. I viewed Valley again last night and there are few women that melt my heart like Deborah and Cage do in that. TALENT!!!

So the fact that she can play such a scary looking lady in this doesn’t surprise me so much. And it doesn’t stop being deliciously creepy no matter how many times I view this wunderbar flick.

If having Amy and Deborah in the same movie wasn’t just a personal present from the celluloid gods, then having TWO Deborah Foremans in the same movie was the kitchen knife that cuts through the cherry and the icing on top of the awesome-cake.

God bless you Deborah Foreman.

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I’ve always had a theory that your favourite Friday the 13th movie has a lot to do with not just the inspired kills, but your favourite lead lady. It’s why I have the utmost amount of love for parts 2 and 6.

Jennifer Cooke rules the roost in Part 6. And Amy Steel is just fucking amazeballs.

Jamie Lee Curtis rightfully became a star after a series of slasher appearances. The fact that Amy isn’t at the exact same level tells me that there is no justice after all.

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Lovers of Friday the 13th Part 2 don’t need telling how epic Amy is in that role. And I love her every bit as much in this. I’ve become my own Spoiler Alert for who is also on this Scream Queen list haven’t I.

This movie is cheeky and creepy at the same time. And Amy embraces both sides masterfully. She is able to make you beam from ear to ear at the lighter parts, whilst rooting all out for her when it’s time. And it still holds up when you already know how the movie ends.

There are certain actresses that have a huge presence when on screen. Amy Steel is always that presence. She demands your adoration through her sheer talent alone. The fact that she’s so beautiful only adds to the wonderful beauty within.

I heart Amy Steel.   

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So I may be biased about April Fools Day. This much is obvious. It just has so much about it that makes me so giddy with happiness.

But I’m not biased about Deborah Foreman and Amy Steel. I adore them because they’re just THAT DAMN GOOD!!!

Thank you for your time xxx    

Strong Women Movie Challenge #57 of 200 : Jennifer Cooke in Friday the 13th Part 6

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Jason Voorhees is my man where Slashers are concerned. Becoming increasingly more unstoppable as the franchise goes on. The guy is just a hulking (sexy) beast.

And the beauty of having so many sequels in a franchise is the beauty of having so many awesome ladies to take that bitch down. I love them all, but I have one very close to my heart.

Jennifer Cooke ladies and gentlemen.

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There’s no franchise I love more than Friday the 13th. I absolutely adore every single movie from the awesomely suspenseful original, right up to the delightfully camp Freddy v’s Jason. The reboot never happened. And yes I love Part 5.

I’ve always split the first 6 movies into 2 trilogies in my head. The first trilogy beginning with a mothers fury, leading wonderfully into the faultless sequel about a son’s revenge. And ending with the birth of the pissed-off goalie look we know and love.

Each one heralding a surviving queen to see the credits. Each one an atmosphere.  

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The second trilogy is obviously the Tommy Jarvis Trilogy. Three different actors. Three awesome Tommy’s. Part 5 gets a bad wrap but it was one movie I’ve always had a fondness for.

Seen as the black sheep as Jason isn’t in it, I always view it like I do Halloween 3 : Season Of The Witch. It was a bold move that gave it’s signature icon a break for a movie.

I view the original Friday as the beginning and Part 9 as Jason finally going to hell. So the midway point is 5. When watched back-to-back, it’s nice to have that break halfway through to just chill out and watch another idea unfold. It also transitions the human Jason of 1-4 into the zombie/supernatural hulk of part 6 onwards.  

It’s only an opinion of course. Of which mine is usually wrong. ;-)

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Out of the three great actors that portrayed Tommy, Part 6 gave me my favourite take by an actor I love.

Thom Matthews is somewhat of a genre king for his role in Return of the Living Dead and it’s sequel. And he owns this too.

He’s a bit of a whining mess in the Living Dead movies and I mean that in the best possible way. That trilogy has a special place in my heart and part of that reason is because Thom rules.  

 

 

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It’s interesting that anytime I see his face, I always think of his characters in those 2 Living Dead flicks. Yet when I rewatch Friday the 13th Part 6, I only see Tommy Jarvis.

The guy is a talent to take into your heart. And by part 6, Thom’s Jarvis character aint scared of the beast anymore. I love you Thom Matthews.

Now throw the absolutely wunderbar Jennifer Cooke into the mix and you’ve got yourself a power couple.

 

 

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Man this girl is sass.

Jennifer’s Megan is quite a delight for the franchise. The staple has usually been wholesome girl survives at this point in the game. So to see a lady with such brass. Such confidence. Such joy in life. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, swoonage.

She knows what she wants. And aint no daddy, man, or supernatural-zombie-NHL-reject-nutjob gonna stop her.

And she’s hella fun too.

 

 

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This may be the end of Tommy Jarvis and Jason’s feud. But Jennifer Cooke won’t let you forget that she’s the boss.

She’s always smiling. She drives a bad ass auto. She even finishes what Tommy started for good. Well…..until Part 7 of course.

Can we really justify the existence of a higher being if Jennifer Cooke is not lead actress in EVERYTHING?

Because my god she’s marvellous. 

 

 

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There are a few interesting notes to this movie. One being that although it’s a Friday the 13th movie, the Writing and Directing combo of Tom McLoughlin makes it it’s own beast.

It’s part slasher, part action movie, all fun. McLoughlin not only makes this entry self aware without crossing the border of parody, but he also gives us a full cast of characters of which I genuinely wanted none to bite the bucket.

Another note is that none of Part 6’s inhabitants really commit any slasher sin. The only one really is a sex scene in a trailer. And it’s so delightfully silly that it’s always got one eye winking at the audience with self awareness.

"YOU’RE THE BEST!!! THE BEST!!!" 

 

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It was nice to see a bit of continuity with the mask too. Showing battle scars from his previous wars with Tommy.

Jason looks incredible here too. And C.J. Graham owns the swagger and menace that could have been hindered by the complete lack of facial expression.

I can’t really pick fault with Part 6 at all. Apart from the fact that somebody’s God didn’t catch it on it’s constant repeats on cable and instantly make Jennifer Cooke a star.

But I’m not mad. I’m just disappointed.

Thank you for your time xxx

Strong Women Movie Challenge #56 of 200 : Barbara Crampton in Re-Animator

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Many moons ago, I gave this movie to two separate friends who’d never seen it’s bonkers genius.

One friend really doesn’t see the point of horror or gore in general. Fair enough. I love him anyway. We’ll call his initiation to Re-Animator my sick experimentation ala Herbert West. He came back horrified. Completely disgusted by it’s crazy crazy.

Cue me bouncing with glee. Speedily hand-clapping at his reaction like I’d just discovered how to reanimate the dead so I can make my own personal zombie apocalypse a reality. 

The second friend reacted like the Holy Grail had finally been discovered. Bouncing with glee together.  

Cue the angelic "AHHHHHH" in collective heads.

 

 

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Re-Animator sums up the 80’s in film for me. It was a time of anything goes after the introduction of home video rental. It’s why there are so many timeless classics that make people utter the words "They just don’t make them like they used to." 

It felt like there was more free reign. And less panic about being safe to guarantee turning a profit. Ideas became a reality. No matter how out there some of them were.

Re-Animator is the "out there"

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These types of 80’s flicks based around the absurd were ten-a-penny around this time. So it’s glorious to have such a huge back catalogue of awesome to delve back into almost 35 years after the crazy 80’s began.

The budget was almost always low. The people that made films like Re-Animator couldn’t compete with the big guys with dollar. But boy did they make up for it with the base value : Ideas.

Re-Animator is an example of how, when you’re tight on cash, if you fill your movie wall-to-wall with entertaining stuff, it will find an audience. People forget that we need to be entertained sometimes.

This movie had a budget of around $900,000. Pocket change in Hollywood. I’ve since gone on to watch many 80’s b-flicks made for half that money that I prefer. But I’ve seen many, many, more movies with 300 billion times the budget that have bored me senseless.

I like to be forced to think when I’m watching movies don’t get me wrong. But when I need to be entertained off my rocker……well…..you know. Re-Animator.

 

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Jeffrey Combs is a God. Yes it’s a blog of lady celebration. But even mentioning Re-Animator without gushing over this brilliant man would be sacrilegious.

In many ways he makes this movie. There isn’t a dud in the casting, but my god Herbert West is the man.

His main goal of bringing the dead back to life in the name of science is admirable. But Combs plays it so ridiculously dark humoured, that it’s simultaneously hilarious and creepy at the same time.

 

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He’s not really the hero because he does some horrific things in the name of science. But his nemesis Dr. Hill is way more despicable. So you want, nay need Dr. West to win.

Combs lives it up with this free reign. Because no matter how dark he goes, Dr. Hill is always one step darker. In this sense, West IS our hero. And Combs plays that darkness so effortlessly that you can’t help but root.

And laugh your ass off at his one-liners. 

Allow me to remove the scalp and kiss your beautiful acting brain Senor Combs.

 

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This movie was my introduction to Queen Crampton. And by the time I’d seen her in Chopping Mall and From Beyond, she had already exploded into my life for good.

Like my discovery of Linnea Quigley before her, I had to get all of her films. Cos all the ones I had seen at that point had made me go : "Oh man, this woman is in all the crazy gems."  

She’s the stamp of quality that epitomises the greatness of the genre.

And it’s lovely that she went on to do another two genre flicks with Combs in Castle Freak and From Beyond.

 

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Barbara is one of those ladies that, if you see her name is attached, you’re watching it. And you’re rooting for her.

You’re Next was a prime example of how she wasn’t a flash in the pan 80’s starlet. At 53 she was owning the screen and looking more beautiful than ever. That name was all I needed to know that I was booking a seat.

She has been in enough B-classics to label her one of the genres greatest. Paid her dues with enthusiasm and love. Her face a poster guaranteeing the entertainment value I mentioned before.

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Re-Animator gave me Jeffrey Combs. It gave me the brilliant Bruce Abbott. But most of all, it introduced me to a Queen of a genre.

My #1 Scream Queen. Like the other 12 in the list.

Thank you for your time xxx   

Strong Women Movie Challenge #55 of 200 : Pamela Springsteen in Sleepaway Camp 2&3

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What do you do if you’re directly related to "The Boss?"

Those are some pretty big shoes to fill.

Well he would go on to sell out stadiums and millions of albums so he didn’t do too bad.

He never quite filled those boots though.

But he tried.

God loves a trier.

TEAM ANGELA!!!

 

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These sequels are the epitome of trash. The guilty pleasure called B. The kind of crap I’d  happily take over 100 serious originals any day of the week.

I’m not even mocking here. I absolutely love these types of movies unapologetically. No irony. No hipsterism. These kinds of movies keep my world a-turning. If that says my movie tastes are garbage then so be it.

Cos I’m a happy cammmmmper. I love the summer sun. I love the trees and forest. I’m always having fun.

And stuff.

 

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This is one of those circumstances where the sequels are wayyyy more fun than the original. I do love the original though. I just love the fun times of Angela more.

Everything about Unhappy Campers & Teenage Wasteland is utter camp. Cheese on toast over-acting. A beautifully hammed up performance by our heroine/murderess Springsteen. Silly killings accompanied by even sillier one-liners. God I love it.

One such death springs to mind that kills me every time. Angela is trying to get a camper into a large outhouse hole with a stick. After a wonderfully straight delivered demand of "GET IN THE TOILET", she starts prodding away at the camper like a number 2 that just won’t go down. 

It shouldn’t be funny. But it tickles me no end. Gore mixed with cheese. Yum Yum. 

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It’s a well known fact in slasher movies that you don’t party and get jiggy with it. You’re going to go. It’s just circumstance really. A plot device to make a horror movie fun. Angela takes this misconception very literally.

Dubbed the “Angel Of Death” due to her not accepting ANY bad behaviour whatsoever, it’s not just sex and drugs that get up Angela’s nose (coughs). You only have to be a back-talker to get Angela to decide you’re a bad egg. Killing for the most mundane reasons in the name of : “just be a good kid for crying out loud”

It’s all part of it’s hysterical charm. Don’t do ANYTHING. Angela will not approve. 

So you may as well do all those lines and get yer feckin’ kicks in. Cos if you’re at Camp Rolling Hills, it’s safe to say you aren’t going home.

TEAM ANGELA!!!    

 

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Pamela Springsteen is the only reason these sequels work. Playing the part so deliciously down the middle. Pure and good on the surface. Just wanting everyone to play nice. Riotously evil on the outside. A goody-bloody-camper-shoes.

She plays the two sides so lip-smackingly perfect that there is never any doubt that you’re rooting for the bad gal from the outhouse. I mean outset.

GET IN THE TOILET!!!

 

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Pamela Springsteen would walk away from acting for good to pursue her love of photography. But first she would cement her legacy as awesome slasher icon before she left. Thank the gods she did. I love the character she embodied so so much.

TEAM ANGELA!!!  

Dedicated to my American Twin @afooltocry xxx

Strong Women Movie Challenge #54 of 200 : Heather Langenkamp in A Nightmare On Elm Street

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1….2….Heather Langenkamp Rules

3….4….And an Icon is born

5….6….An awesome Scream Queen fix

7….8….She’s number 10 but don’t hate, cos 

9…10…She’s number 1 in my head

 

 

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I can’t hype up enough how perfect this movie still is after all these years. I watched it again last night for the godzillianth time and it STILL feels fresh.

Freddy Krueger, for my entire life, has always been #3 on my favourite horror killer list. Just below Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees respectively.

Only because Halloween has forever been my favourite horror movie.

And I adore every single Friday the 13th movie. (Yes. Even Part 5). Not so much the reboot though. Just typing the words ‘underground cave system’ makes me nauseous.

 

 

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But there’s two things Nightmare On Elm Street has over them for me personally :

1 - In each respective original, Halloween and Friday have never scared me. A Nightmare On Elm Street frightened the bejeezers out of me as a kid. It’s still awesomely freaky deaky today. 

2 - I adore Jamie Lee Curtis and Adrienne King’s characters deeply. But Nancy just has that thing. That pissed off attitude where you just think : "SHIT!!! That dude is going down."    

And the imagery. By god the imagery.

 

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Everything from the stretched spandex covering a hole to give the above effect.

 

 

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To the rotating room giving off the illusion that Amanda Wyss is crawling across the ceiling.

 

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To Johnny Depp’s literal explosion onto the Hollywood scene.

To the melting staircase. To the sheer ahead-of-their-time practical effects used throughout it’s entirety.

The story is brilliant enough. The eye candy of effects take it further. The lead, bad guy, and just general perfect casting choices make it cement.

It’s no wonder this movie saved New Line Cinema from going under. It’s a fucking masterpiece. 

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Heather beat over 200 actresses for the role of Nancy Thompson. Jennifer Grey, Demi Moore, Courteney Cox and Tracey Gold were some of the ladies she would be up against. But it’s impossible to imagine this great movie without this amazing actress.

I’m sure all these ladies would have done a fantastic job. But you only have to watch the movie again to realise the movie is Langenkamps.

The end result of Heather getting the role is like you picked away at a gold mine. You want to pick all the gold. But there’s only so much room. So you take the piece that glints the brightest.

Heather Langenkamp is that piece of gold. 

 

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It’s such an iconic way to begin a series. Heather v’s Englund. Nancy v’s Freddy. Both as much a part of the birthing of this franchise as each other.

Heather’s ability to go in the ring of her craft is exemplified by the fact that the nice girl turned badass isn’t on a switch.

She’s a nice girl for it’s entirety. She’s also a badass for the same length of time. Sometimes a badass can appear slightly cold. Sometimes a nice girl can be stretching the plausibility when rising up.

Heather is a badass you love. A nice girl you’d want watching your back against old pizza face. The woman has it all. 

It was a no-brainer to put her in the list.

Thank you for your time xxx

Scream Queen Halloween Countdown #11 : Sharni Vinson in You’re Next

 

 

 

"I had to kill my own brother cos you guys keep getting beat up by some girl"

I was as surprised as you sunshine. Only I was as giddy as a kid on E numbers watching Sharni kick some ass.

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You’re Next was one of those movies that I knew had been made, but seemed to disappear for an age before it’s eventual release. It was a nice surprise when it finally saw the light of day at my local cinema.

Sometimes, just a title can get you excited. You’re Next was one of those titles. It screams 80s Slasher. So when I found out that, yes, not only was it a homage to that beautiful era of film, but it also had Barbara Crampton in, It was safe to say that my brain exploded like a Bruce Campbell boomstick to the throat. 

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It could be argued that You’re Next is a formulaic home invasion movie with nods to the past. Yes, it is.

But if you love the 80’s trash like the makers obviously do, you can be as formulaic as you fucking like. Cos there’s plenty of us out there that will lap this badboy up.

It’s not trash though. Don’t say that. Sharni Vinson is always one step ahead of you.

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I had no idea that they were to take the route they did with Vinson’s character. I knew there would probably be a final girl, but I had no clue that she wouldn’t be the victim that rises up. This girl is nobodies victim.

After it all kicks off and the blood starts wonderfully gushing, seeing Sharni’s Erin just soar into action made me bound forward in my seat. Seeing her completely destroy a man twice her size with a garlic smasher to the back of the head over and over made me fall in love.

From then on, it’s not about how these animal mask nutjobs (they look awesome) will push her to the limit to survive. It’s about whether they can survive HER.

It’s poetry in sweet redemptive fucking motion. AMEN!!!

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I’d never heard of Sharni Vinson before I saw this. IMDB would tell me she was in Home and Away. I asked my sweet, sweet, mother if she remembers her as she loves that show.

She told me she was a lovely girl.

I showed her the head smashing scene.

Mum got distraught.

Asked what the hell is wrong with me.

Sharni does look sweet. She has that pretty charm that could land her a dozen love interest roles. Thank god she chose this one. Cos this is her movie.

Thank you as always for your time xxx

Strong Women Movie Challenge #53 of 200 : Daphne Zuniga in The Initiation

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We’re only halfway through September, but horror fans (myself included) have been celebrating the coming of All Hallows Eve since November 1st of last year.

Some people don’t celebrate it at all which is fine. I was in Berlin last year for it and didn’t even see the slightest inclination of what day it was.

Some people REALLY celebrate it :

In that same visit, there was just one huge dude at 2am prowling the streets of Kurfurstendamm as Jason Voorhees. Live chainsaw, blade, and all.   

Now considering how quiet and well mannered most Germans are to me, this sight was greeted with me letting out a little bit of pee. Once with excitement. And once again because I genuinely was scared out of my wits.

I wanted to high five. I walked the other way. I’m not gonna be another statistic to that Mash-Ett-Ay folks.

*regathers thoughts* 

Anyhoo….on we go with my #12 pick :

 

 

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If you’ve seen The Initiation then you know how much Daphne Zuniga rules in it.

In fact, Miss Zuniga manages to charm me whether she’s owning the show in this underappreciated slasher, or making my heart melt with John Cusack in The Sure Thing.

I love her. I’m biased. She’s #12. So raspberries. ;-)

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This is one of those slasher movies that kind of got lost in the mix amongst a sea of other slasher flicks that would flood the market at this time. Not that I’m complaining about oversaturation.  

From my youth in the 80s right through to today, I’m still finding hidden gems from this time period. I would have ran out a long time ago had it not been for said oversaturation.

Sure there are some real hummers like The Last Slumber Party and Terror At Tenkiller. But for every one of these there’s the likes of The Initiation and The Slumber Party Massacre.

I’d sit through 10 Tenkillers if I knew there was a Slumber Party at the end. 10 Last Slumbers for an Initiation.

Such is the beauty of the Slasher flick.

 

 

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What’s so memorable about The Initiation is that it tells a story well for a movie in this genre.

The first half of the movie is psychological. Focusing on Kelly (Zuniga) and the recurrent nightmares she’s having about a burning man and a little girl. With the aid of a dream analyst, she tries to piece together the symbolism of the objects in her dreams.

It’s quite an interesting plot device to use for half the runtime of a Slasher movie. But it works so damn well when it comes time for the red stuff.

 

 

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Me if I’d have high-fived German Jason 

During this first half, characters are developed into like and hateables, Kelly tries to figure out what these symbols mean, red herrings are thrown around in abundance, and the build-up for the second half of bloodshed in the mall is set. It’s a great overall package.

And the mall half is bloody fantastic. (ahem)

From then on it’s all game and Kellies time to shine.

 

 

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Daphne Zuniga is probably best known for Spaceballs, The Sure Thing, The Fly2, and Melrose Place. I love her in all these things (except Melrose. I’ve never seen it sorry).

In Initiation she plays the nice girl to root for effortlessly. The sympathetic lead with ease. The take-no-shite survivor like it runs through her blood.

I’m always surprised when I go back to her straight roles as she is so convincing and natural in this survivor role. Talent. Pure talent.

 

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A descending list to come to a #1 conclusion sometimes makes me feel like I’m saying #12 actress is better than #13 actress.

But I look at Elaine Wilkes and Daphne Zuniga and could change that order round right now. Hell, I know who my number one is already, but I could easily flip the countdown upside down and would have no problem with Zuniga as #1 and my initial top choice being 13. 

It made me realise that, although my top choice represents everything and all to me in what this genre represents in my mind, Daphne Zuniga is #1 in my brain somewhere. Just like the other 12 ladies I do so adore.

Thank you for your time xxx      

Strong Women Movie Challenge #52 of 200 : Elaine Wilkes in Killer Party

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I decided that, as Halloween is fast approaching, it would be a great time to celebrate my personal favourite Scream Queens. Top 13 countdown style. Beginning now, with the number 1 being revealed around Halloween time. 

When I sent out invitations to join in on Twitter, my rule was that the only rule was Women In Horror. It’s a celebration after all. A reason to celebrate the women that maybe don’t get enough recognition for the part they played in the ever continuing history of Horror and cinema in general.

I decided to stick to Scream Queens so I could narrow the list down a bit to make things easier for myself. But still I would have about 30 ladies when really being hard on myself. Then I started to question "Is she really a Scream Queen?"

With every choice, fun turned into unnecessary frustration.

So my picks are simple but very personal :

My list may contain a lady who has only ever been in one horror movie. It is solely based on my love for an actress and a horror movie she was in. This is not a Best Scream Queen Of All Time list. They’re just women I adore. That ruled in a genre I cherish. 

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Elaine Wilkes is an example of how you present yourself on screen and grab a viewers attention.

I’d never heard of her before I saw Killer Party. And this is the only horror movie she has ever been in.

But I was smiling from ear to ear as I watched her in this. She seemed to be having so much of what most movie makers forget horror can be :

FUN!!! 

One movie. One lifelong fan.

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What makes Elaine Wilkes even more memorable is that Killer Party is not what you would probably regard as a slasher movie classic.

There’s no real atmosphere. The kills don’t happen until about the last 15 minutes. And they’re all off-screen. For a gore-hound this is not acceptable.

Yet I still adore this flick.

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It’s the aforementioned fun that puts it amongst the greats for me.

I’m not saying it’s a titan like Halloween (my favourite horror movie). I’m not even saying it can begin to cast a shadow to Psycho.

But you say "Slasher" or "Scream Queen" and I think of this movie and Elaine Wilkes in amongst the classical rest.

When I want to smile for an hour and a half, I don’t watch Meyers or Bates. I choose Wilkes. 

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For what it lacks in gore and suspense, it makes up for in camp excess. The sorority shenanigans are awesome. The scuba diver slasher ridiculously fun. The demonic possession just the icing on the cake that’s missing it’s red filling, yet it still tastes delightful. 

This is why Elaine stands out amongst all the carnage. The movie is played out for silly kicks. And Wilkes is right at home heading the fun with a smile that just radiates warmth. A rarity in a genre such as this.

 

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We all need friends like this woman. 

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This lady? Not so much.

When viewing Killer Party, I see it as I see the original April Fools Day.

I get why genre fans don’t like the two. I would agree even if I don’t feel the same. Slasher movies are about the setup for the promised payoff of gushings of arterial spray as much as they are the badass killer.

Killer Party has a scuba dude. Badass it is not.

April Fools day doesn’t even have a killer.

And there’s not a drop of the red stuff to be found in either film really.

But I still feel it belongs. Because we all need a bit of daft in our lives. It keeps us from taking ourselves too seriously in the medium and winding up like a dick in a cravate.

I would kill for a movie like Halloween or Psycho to explode onto the scene today. An atmospheric slow-burning masterpiece to get under your skin and stay there forever. Nothing would make me happier.  

But I can’t deny I’d feel just as happy with a movie like this coming out today either. A fast paced slice of silliness to get under my skin and stay there forever. Tickling my insides while I giggle into my hand like a mischievous imp.   

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So Elaine Wilkes has only been in one horror movie. You could argue that this instantly doesn’t make her a Scream Queen as dues may not have been paid according to the law.

I agree completely that Scream Queen gets bandied about too much and it should be an honour bestowed on to you by others.

But Elaine Wilkes makes me so frackin’ happy when I watch her in this. This movie makes me so happy. And that’s what movies should do.

So she may not be a "TRUE" Scream Queen to many. But I sometimes judge this title on how much the actress makes me feel or how much she stays with me. And the happiness she brings me that will forever remain makes her a Scream Queen to me. Rules or no rules. 

Thank you for your time xxx  

Strong Women Movie Challenge #51 of 200 : Claudia Jennings in Unholy Rollers

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This 70’s exploitation fare aint your feel-good, Whip It type Roller Derby movie.

It’s also far from the modern day, non-choreographed kickass Derby you may or may not watch today.

In fact it’s not even your mommas Roller Derby the timeframe would line up to. 

It’s the Claudia Jennings Show baby. Your lead Jammer. The star on the helmet that now protects our world from above. 

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Unholy Rollers was another of Roger Corman’s exploitation quickies used to quickly cash in on a trend of the time. The trend this time, obviously, being Roller Derby.

It’s extremely low-brow. Choppy as all hell with it’s editing. Soundtrack-less due to ineptness. It shouldn’t work. Yet it still does. Big time.

Lack of budget can breed creativity. And some people can shine through any wreckage and piece the mess together by just being, well, Claudia Jennings.

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It may sound like I’m bagging on this movie but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s absolutely awesome. 

It’s brilliant DESPITE it’s inadequacies. If you’re a b-movie or exploitation fan then you know exactly what I’m talking about. I’ll take a full franchise of inadequacy over another frackin’ Transformers movie.

The action is sweet in this too. It’s a shining credit to it that whether the movie is on or off the banked track, it never let’s up with it’s need to entertain. Rollers just flies by (ahem).

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And as I said above, this is the Claudia Jennings Show.

She’s not your team-playing, loveable, heart of gold you would normally root for. In fact she’s extremely unlikeable. She’s a piece of….no sorry I can’t do it.

She’s a FUCK THIS, FUCK THAT, BEER-SWILLIN’, BANKED-TRACK-PARKING-LOT-BAR-ROOM-BRAWLING, 8-WHEEL BADASS!!!

Can I get a wrist-guard donning high five.

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Jennings has proven with this performance that you can take the qualities of an antagonist and turn that character into a completely mental anti-heroine you just can’t, no matter how hard you try, fail to love.

Her life in Unholy Rollers is a ticking time bomb. You know it’s going to unravel. And that’s what sets it apart from other sports movies. 

This isn’t a journey to stardom for a plucky hero culminating in a championship at the end. It’s actually the other way around. From ego superstar, to megalomaniac, to crashing in flames. It’s a sport movie on the surface yes. But it’s also a Rock n Roll downfall. All set in the world I love.

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The era of Derby that was famous around this time was one filled with choreographed violence and fixed results. All designed to entertain. WWE style.

The modern day version is a complete world away from this thankfully. And it’s all the better for it. But I still look back on your mommas era with a cheeky smile.       

It is, after all, what drives the action in this flick. Learning how to hit. Learning to sell a hit. Where on the track to hit so the entire crowd can see. I may not have been alive during all this. But I’m still watching that idea today whenever I watch rasslin’. 

Hell. Even the managers get involved in Rollers. Taking out a star player to get the highest of heat from the crowd trying to get at him from the sidelines. It’s bloody marvellous.  

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I adore Claudia Jennings. Not only does she drive and make this movie, she owns the track too. Speeding round the oval and taking names like a pro.

Her loud, feisty persona making her to be one of the greatest and most memorable anti-heroines. The proof of this ladies talents can be justified in another role she ruled in.

The Great Texas Dynamite Chase :

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Starting off as the complete opposite to her role in Unholy Rollers, Jennings grows throughout into another badass persona. These are two of my favourite exploitation movies and I can put that down to one ladies out and out brilliance. I can only imagine now what kind of superstar this woman may have become. 

Because Claudia Jennings was a woman not allowed to have a resume large enough to justify her talent.

Taken away from us in ‘79 to be lead jammer up in the Gods. The star on the helmet that now protects our world. 

And up there……..nobody can tell Claudia Jennings to call it off.

Thank you for your time xxx  

Strong Women Movie Challenge #50 of 200 : The Ladies of Whip It

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This movie blows my mind.

Roller Derby is by far my favourite sport.

Beautifully Directed by a woman (Smashley Simpson).

Featuring my favourite stunt extraordinaire in Bloody Holly.

One of the bestest comedic actresses in Maggie Mayhem.

The completely unhateable, even when hateable, rock goddess that is Iron Maven.

And starring an irreplaceable starlet in Babe Ruthless. 

Biased? You bet your stinky elbow pads I am.

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This All-Star fusion doesn’t just throw in the names for the sake of covering some inadequacies with the rest of the movie.

There’s a true heart around the blood and guts of the banked track portrayed in this movie. This movie isn’t just women kicking some ass and taking some kickass names.

My heart would sing, float, break, and beat like a mother effer for it’s entire duration. I simultaneously and unashamedly cry with joy, love and heartache for every single second of Babe Ruthless’s journey.

Then of course there’s the kicking some ass and the taking of kickass names. It’s a clash of emotions that works so well because the real life stars of the flat track sacrifice many things in life to pursue this greatest of loves.

And these often untold sacrifices are placed front and centre of this movie. As they should be if this sport is to be represented fully.

 

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Directed by Smashley Simpson from a novel by Shauna Cross that I now simply have to read, this A-list darling has featured in, and created, maybe the most personal thing she’ll ever do.

An 8 wheel personal announcement to all aspiring women that you are never, and will never be second best. You can reach that seemingly unobtainable gold. The glass ceiling only exists as a false projection from another mind to your own. 

The story tells this message enough. But to look at the woman behind (and in front of) the camera’s career, Smashley Simpson is a lifelong proof of this theory.

There was never even the slightest doubt about the talent of Smashley before Whip It. This tale just cements her legacy for life.

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What is most wonderful about Smashley Simpson’s part in front of the camera is that it never takes the spotlight from Babe Ruthless’s tale.

Not that she is mere background fodder. The short fused, aggressive member of the Hurl Scouts is mindblowing in her role. You don’t know what she’s going to do next. You just know it’s not going to be elegant.

The fact that this lovingly memorable character is very much a part of the Hurl Scout family whilst never taking the spotlight is a testament to the sheer class of Smashley Simpson. What a lady.

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Nobody needs to tell anyone about the ridiculous talent of Babe Ruthless. She proved with her alter ego Ellen Page that she could carry a movie with Juno. And considering the phenomenally strong lady supporting cast in Whip It, she only carries on that rightful perception.

There isn’t an actress in the support that I don’t adore for one reason for another. So the fact that Babe Ruthless’s tale hit me so damn hard is an absolute credit to her.

Her life kind of mirrors the struggle many real life Derby girls go through. A sport that pays very little, if at all. These amazing women sacrifice so much financially, physically, and at home to pursue their dream of the kind of family, sportswomanship and comradery that only Derby can offer.   

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And boy can Ruthless go on that track. Nippy, effortlessly weaving, and just a downright pocket rocket. Her preparation and work she must have put into this role is outstanding. I never doubted she wasn’t a real derby girl for a second.  

Some critics of this movie have complained that these women (Babe in particular) don’t look like real Derby girls. I officially call bullshit. I try and steer clear of negativity in this blog as I treat it as an outright celebration. But again. I call bullshit.

The argument is that the girls aren’t the size of the larger ladies of Derby reality.

Well I’ve seen tiny blockers hold their own against jammers twice their “size”. I’ve also seen “larger” jammers match speed with girls half their “size”.

Size is not an issue in Roller Derby. It’s a word that doesn’t exist in this sport. It’s an ugly presumption in a word that girls can’t do a certain thing. And for a third and final time, I call bullshit.

So it’s no surprise that Babe Ruthless is utterly convincing. If you want something and are willing to put in the graft, you’ll get it.

Boy did Babe Ruthless graft for this role. Boy did she get it. 

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Maggie Mayhem (above right), and her alter ego Kristen Wiig, can go with anyone on the comedic front. She’s no different in her delivery here either.

But what I love in this is her home life. Not being able to sacrifice herself fully to the afterparty life and fun that goes with the aftermath of a bout because she has a son.  Mayhem is a continuation of the real life juggling of a Roller Girls life.

 

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Her love for her family of Hurl Scouts is never in doubt. Neither is the love for her son. It’s one of the most beautifully touching side stories of the movie and Maggie Mayhem proves she’s not just another comedy-only actress.

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I don’t need to go into detail about Bloody Holly. I have and will again touch on her brilliance in greater detail elsewhere.

But she really brings her A-game to the physicality of the role just like she does as Zoe Bell in everything she does.

It’s also worth noting that she looks the most awesome on 8 wheels. The word Skills doesn’t do it justice. 

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WOW!!! I refuse to ever dislike Iron Maven in any form. The woman is in the thesaurus as an alternative word for Badass.

I despise her in this though. Go Maven for switching the cogs in my brain.

There is a glint at the end of her nicer side. But the way she owns her part in the grander scheme makes me really want the Scouts to kick her ass.

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Iron Maven plays for Texas family The Holy Rollers. A real life squad I adore and always keep track of.

I hate the Holy Rollers in this. Hate Iron Maven. It’s the best compliment I could pay to an actress that she played a part so well, that I hated the unhateable.  Disliked the team I love. What a woman.

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It would take me another write-up of similar length to praise the rest of the amazing cast justifiably.

Babe’s parents. Wonderful. 

Her best friend. Wouldn’t change a thing. 

Ruthless’s boss. Subtly perfect. 

Her boyfriend. Bleurgh. Loved it. 

Coach Razor. Underappreciated, delightfully played, master tactician. One of my favourites.  

Each individual is a rightful part of the weaving mesh that makes up this perfect story.

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I am not affiliated with any Roller Derby team. I can’t skate for toffee. I have no right to cover a sport I have no hands on experience with.

But I can tell you how it makes an outsider looking in feel.

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Coming from England, our main sport is men’s football (soccer). Since I was a child I had idolised the “beautiful game”. Even owning season tickets for my local crappy team.

Then money took over and the sport I had always loved had alienated a fan that isn’t driven one iota by the papery stuff.

As I gave up on football for good, a sporting void appeared. But I was ok with that.

Then came Roller Derby and I was like :

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This sport didn’t grow on me over time. My brain exploded in seconds. Within a few days I had picked my team and was rewatching every bout I could with any teams involved.

To me this isn’t just a contact sport where women get to show they kick ass. It’s a massive, worldwide, welcoming, family.

They may not be your global, rich superstars like these overpaid divas in football. But they’re MY superstars.

Nobody inspires me more than these ladies of the flat track. Smashley Simpson had a vision with Whip It. That you are never, and will never be second best. You can reach that seemingly unobtainable gold. The glass ceiling only exists as a false projection from another mind to your own.   

She may have cemented that vision with this movie. But the real life ladies of Roller Derby were showing me that from my first taste of Derby.

Thank you for your time xxx    

Strong Women Movie Challenge #49 of 200 : Pam Grier & Margaret Markov in The Arena

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Ahhhhh. Who doesn’t love a good swords and sandals movie. Well, me actually. But I’d enjoy watching Pam Grier tidy up her ‘fro for 90 minutes if it were a film. The woman rules the roost. So I was going to enjoy this too.

Throw in the awesome Margaret Markov and my wallet is open. Take whatever. They’re worth it.

 

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IMDb : "Follow the adventures of a bevy of slave girls who, upon finding themselves thrust into the gladiator ring, mount a vicious rebellion to fight their way to freedom."

This, as you can tell, is exploitation fare. Part of Roger Corman’s stable that you either love or hate. I’m personally on the side of the former. I don’t love everything he puts out, but a lot of the movies I buy just happen to be Corman affiliated. Sometimes without me knowing. The Arena is one of those movies.

Starting off with the leaders of two separate tribes (Grier & Markov) being kidnapped by the Roman’s, they are forced into slavery to cook and clean for the rich audience that come to see the male (also slave) gladiators.

Bloodthirsty Roman’s are bored of the men and want to see something new. So the idea of women in battle is born.

The rebellion would follow.

And as you can imagine, a Markov/Grier rebellion is a rebellion we can all get on board with. Cos it’s awesome and stuff.

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The Roman baddies in The Arena are quite the despicable, bloodthirsty, lusty, pieces of work. So it’s a joy to watch the ladies tear them a new one when given a chance.

The action in the gladiator pen is great too. And is a wonderful location for the final rebellion when our team of pissed off heroines take over.

This movie is filled with memorable characters to love and loathe in equal measure which leads me to have to give a shout out to whoever the actress is that plays the drunk. She just keeps popping up in random places. Off her koo-koo on Roman wine. And I love her so much.   

And then there’s the costumes. C’est Magnifique.

I’d love to dress up as Pam or Margaret for Halloween but would tire quickly of answering the question : "who are you supposed to be?" 

 

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sooooooooo awesome and stuff.

 

This may not be your big budget period piece akin to Gladiator. But sod your big budget period piece akin to Gladiator. 

I don’t need gloss. I need me some amazon women.

Budget is a luxury. Not a necessity. 

Icon’s aren’t forced. They’re Pam Grier & Margaret Markov.

Kicking ass in any period of time.  

 

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This movie was one of those purchases that I make when an actress comes into my life (after seeing Coffy) that changes that top ten list in my mind that is 'Most Amazing Women Everererer' 

Hurriedly searching what they’ve been in. Frantically buying them all like it’s a meal someone is going to take away from me if I don’t digest it all as soon as possible.   

Pam Grier is that meal. And I’ve gleefully dined on her brilliance ever since.

I get engaged by many ladies and gentlemen of the screen. But Pam just rules my world. Obviously the lady is attractive. Just look above. That’s crash your car beauty right there.

But as I always say, talent comes first ALWAYS. And Pam is THE talent.

 

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I’ve spoke countless times about my adoration and will no doubt some more in the future.

I feel eternally grateful for Pam choosing to take up the profession she did. She represents, and has given me and millions of others so much. She isn’t just a lady kicking ass. She’s OUR lady kicking ass. 

I have a religion in this little world/bubble of mine : 

Tura Satana is Goddess of said religion. Saviour amongst it’s people is Zoe Bell. Residing Queen is the lady above. Queen Grier. Lover of the people. Adored back by all. HURRAH!!! 

 

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That’s not to take away from the fact that The Arena is a team-up movie. And Markov more than holds her own just fine thank you. As she did in their previous meeting.

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Two movies with Markov and Grier teaming up? There IS a Goddess. (It’s Tura. I wrote that earlier silly).

These gals were rockin’ it dynamic duo stylee 12 months previous in a movie called Black Mama, White Mama.

Similar type of setup where they must escape the evil bastards and take revenge, Markov is the leader of a rebellion against all that is unjust. In this movie, Pam plays a regular Josephine. Albeit a no-shit-taking regular Josephine.

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There’s just something about these two titans teaming up that makes these two films work. It’s awful to watch them bicker when they long for the same goal. So when they do take charge as a team, it’s exhilarating.

You can tell they got along immensely just by looking at the screen. Yes, these are exploitation flicks. But there’s a playful side to the scenes they share that can’t be faked.  

Markov is a talent that should never be forgotten. She should have gone on to become a star like Pam did. But I’m ok with what I have I suppose.

Cos this team is badass.

Thank you for your time xxx     

Strong Women Movie Challenge #48 of 200 : The Ladies Of How To Marry A Millionaire

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These three ladies are an absolute work of art. Like a live action painting. 

A trio of sunrises that were put on to this world to make us happy whenever we take the time to stop and take them in.

And I’m not just talking about exterior beauty here. These girls had the talent of Goddesses. Commanding your attention with their chops, delivery, and just sheer presence.    

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Notable for many facts, Millionaire is probably most known for two in particular.

It was the first movie to use the CinemaScope technology. And it was also a passing of the torch from Betty Grable to Marilyn Monroe. 

Those facts alone should make this work of art a must-see. Cinemascope shaped how we see the silver screen today. And you don’t need me to tell you what a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon Monroe is.

But what makes it what it is isn’t just new technology or the passing of torches. It’s the three angels at the top of their game and bringing the clinic we call acting. 

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Ladies aside, another thing that keeps me coming back to this movie time and again is the pacing and lovely plot turns.

Not once does Millionaire plod along or lag in pace. It helps that the casting choice was perfect of course. But not a second is wasted on menial tasks like getting from one scene to the next. It’s explained. Then it happens.

Every scene is like SNAP SNAP SNAP!!! Taking it’s time on the important. Sacking the mundane. It’s a movie to relax to and cherish that is also over before you know it.

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The use of Cinemascope really benefits the leads too. Every time Bacall, Grable, or Monroe are in a scene, the set is ridiculously wide. Showing more in the shot than probably needed.

But in this case it’s a perfect thing. Because when any or all of these ladies are in this space, they command the room through sheer talent as if to say :

"All this. This entire vast space of scene. Is mine."

It’s bloody wonderful.

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The passing of Lauren Bacall was deeply saddening. And what prompted this celebration of these women.

Lauren was like no other. I remember seeing her for the first time in Key Largo on a rainy afternoon all warm and cosy by the fire. I fell in love immediately.

A talent so measured and precise, it’s not hard for me to see why, out of the three talents on show in Millionaire, she is the lead.

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Taking charge of the trio to bag themselves a rich husband, there’s a beautiful depth to her character.

Whilst Marilyn and Betty are along for the ride, you can see clearly that they just want to love and be loved. Money is just a bonus in life to them.

This makes Bacall’s character seem like the cold assassin in comparison. Underlying all this however is her tale of an ex-husband who did her wrong and took all that she had. Including her heart. Especially her heart.

This damaged leader wasn’t going to give herself up to anyone but a Mr Rich. Or so she’d have you believe.

Lauren plays the initial cold, agenda-filled woman like she does everything she did : masterfully.

I don’t like her character for a while in this movie and I adore Lauren Bacall. Testament to how perfect she was at her craft. It also makes her development throughout the movie that much more satisfying when she unravels her true feelings.

I love you Lauren Bacall xxx

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Betty Grable. 

 “The Pin-Up Girl.”

“The Girl With the Million Dollar Legs.” 

“The Queen of Technicolor.”

To me she’s just "Miss Freakin’ Awesome."

It’s impossible for me to yadda on about these women without repeating myself. Each one is as talented as the last and it’s what makes this movie the timeless juggernaut it has become.

There is a reason that Betty was the “Face of 20th Century Fox” when she was. She had a talent that transcended Hollywood’s obsession with beauty. And you only have to look at the picture above to see how beautiful this woman is. Talent personified.

Her tale is probably the sweetest of the three in their quest for gold. Set in the snowy peaks of Maine with a wonderful young Ranger. It’s so ruddy romantic I tells ya.

And Betty plays the sweet lady like she did everything : masterfully. 

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Whilst researching the passing of the torch yesterday, I was filled with an initial dread. Marilyn being the new "Face of 20th Century Fox" caused many publications to speculate that Betty and Marilyn would be at each others throats on set. My stomach sank as I just had to know the truth.

Not because I relish dirt. Completely the opposite. Nothing saddens me more.

I looked for the truth and there it was. Whilst on set at the beginning of filming, Betty would take Marilyn to one side and tell her :

"Go and get yours honey. I’ve had mine." 

See. Miss Freakin’ Awesome.

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To me, Marilyn Monroe isn’t just worthy of her eternal crown as Queen. She’s actually underrated.

As the torch was passed to this absolute idol, I feel like one thing was cemented in this film that doesn’t get touched upon enough : she’s a comedic genius.

Not only does she know how to deliver a line to get the laugh required. She tweaks it to perfection to get that little bit more. And Millionaire cements this ladies place among comedies greats.

Playing the role of a near-blind beauty who won’t wear glasses around men conjures up this movies most memorable scenes. Her constant, glassy vacancy in her eyes is simultaneously adorable and funny as hell.

DISK-BAFON    Gente… Tudo bem que vocês querem soar entendidos e ~experientes~ mas pra isso, um pouco de embasamento é mais que necessário né?? Não foi uma drag que perdeu o dedo no lendário Massivo (que aposto que nenhum de vocês ai deve ter frequentado - por falta de idade ou por falta de conhecimento mesmo); quem se acidentou lá, durante um show, foi a maravilhosa Juliana Di Primo, transex linda e talentosa. Browse her… Beijos!    Ahahahaha… ai, gente. Amamos vocês, de verdade. Quando vocês projetam essas frustrações na gente, então… nem se fala. Obrigado pelas informações extras, amor! A verdade é que quando chegamos na noitch, a lenda já existia. Mas é sempre ótimo poder contar com pessoas mais experientes e muito, muito, muito, muito, muito, muito, muito, muito mais velhas que a gente e que possam nos transmitir alguma sabedoria. Já corrigimos o texto. Nestes tempos de Carmen Carrera e tals, sempre bom poupar más interpretações. Obrigado pela aula de história, mona! Sempre que puder compartilhar seu conhecimento paleontológico, não hesite em nos escrever! Revivalismo tá super in, né?    *      não falaram nada sobre o PopPorn? vocês já foram mais espertinhos.    PopPorn? Aquele festival na TRACKERS? Pois é, vocês também já foram bem mais espertinhos.    *      Ninguém tem nada contra a Léo Áquila, desde que surgiu aquela tal de Tchaka Drag, chata pra porra! Morra, Tchaka Drag!!!!      Affe… Chega!!! Vão beber, vão amar, por favor. Vocês tão precisando. Tchaka, a gente aqui não compartilha deste sentimento! A gente te ama! <3 

When she attempts to interact with potential husbands you can see that not a single face movement or look is wasted. Each measured movement is as funny as the next and I’m not ashamed to say that it takes me up to 2 hours to watch this 90 minute movie because I’m constantly rewinding her scenes as every subtle movement she makes is such a hoot.

 

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It would take me a lifetime to try and justify why she’s not just the Queen, but underrated. There simply aren’t enough words in the English language. She’s just that damn good.

In a world where everyone is the "next big thing" or the next "this actress” or "that actress", there simply is, and will never be, another Marilyn Monroe.

Marilyn was no "next (insert any actress that ever came before)" and nobody will ever be the next Marilyn Monroe. It’s not necessarily a sad fate. It’s a reason why she should be cherished until the end of time.

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Heaven now has all these ladies to entertain them. Somewhere, up there in the ether, are some lucky people in the afterlife that are discovering what we knew all along :

These ladies are absolute perfection.

Thank you for your time xxx

 

Strong Women Movie Challenge #47 of 200 : Lori Cardille in Day of the Dead (1985)

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Lori Cardille had one of the toughest jobs in being the lead for the third of a trilogy. A zombie trilogy at that. I may adore the genre but I can clearly see it’s not one that’s lauded over by critics.

Luckily for Lori and everyone involved, they were about to become a part of the greatest zombie movie ever made. 

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Many other trilogies have shown that, you can deliver in the first, then go bigger in the second and get results. But where do you go with the third? Bigger isn’t always better and it’s why many have flopped.

Day of the Dead goes the opposite route. Stripping itself down from the previous (and awesome) OTT mall carnage of Dawn of the Dead and going underground for its duration with story as it’s main drive. And the story is magnifique.

Dripping with atmosphere. Laden with fear within the dark corridors of the underground mine. Every character remembered for life. Not one speaking part underdeveloped.

This latter is what is missing from most zombie movies and it’s just one of many reasons DotD has been standing on it’s own since 1985.

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I’d seen Night and Dawn. Loved them a lot. It wasn’t until Day that I became a bonafide George A. Romero swooner. The man was always a decade ahead of everyone else.

Take Night of the Living Dead from 1968. Casting Duane Jones as the black lead at a time when there wasn’t really any black leads. Still, to this day, we touch upon that masterpiece as a shot at the horrific racial tension at the time. George’s theory : "I just cast him cos he was the best at acting out of all my friends"

If only people would have seen colour in the same way George does. ie he doesn’t.

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Jumping back to Day. It wasn’t, even at the time, strange to feature a female lead in a horror movie.  But still to this day, there aren’t many that were birthed to stand ground from inception.

I love me a final girl, but most play the victim who rises up. As Sarah, Lori Cardille brings the fight from the opening scene.

What I feel is still ahead of it’s time today is the fact that George writes (and Lori plays) Sarah like she doesn’t need a fist or a boot to show the viewer she can handle this shit-storm. You just know. Not once does she punch a dude. Not once does she go off into a crazy fight sequence and take out a 10-zombie-circle with a jumping spin-kick. It’s all about the presence. And, horn-dog soldiers aside, nobody else in the film questions it either. Jolly good show.  

It shouldn’t still be ahead of it’s time. But I don’t need to tell you about how unlazy and genius Hollywood is at writing a strong female lead. Pft.

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I could go on for days about how perfectly this whole operation called Day of the Dead was put together.

The evil soldier Rhodes and his equally repulsive muscle named Steel. Horrid human beings that I wouldn’t change a dot about.

The amazing Bub (above). The most likeable zombie ever that manages to be loveable without tarnishing any grit of the story.

The chilled out duo that are living in relative paradise away from the others.

The crazy scientist. The broken husband. The make-up. The setting. Everything comes together so beautifully in the end. 

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Sarah is a very personal character for me. I have talked on many occasions how Tarantino’s Death Proof awoke the fire inside me I never knew was there for strong women in film. That passion is now my favourite thing in life.

I’ve since gone back through my 32 years on this earth to movies I watched and adored as a child up until Death Proof in 2007.

As a kid I, like many, idolised Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice. My favourite part has always, and will always be, Geena Davis.

As an adult, I would watch the Three Colours Trilogy and it would move aside Back to the Future as my favourite trilogy. Three women. Three different tales.

Between this timeline is Day of the Dead (I saw it after Beetlejuice). This movie has stayed with me for most of my life as my favourite zombie movie whilst other genre favourites have been breezed aside time and again by something else.

It wasn’t until Death Proof made my brain explode that everything started to make sense as I ventured back. This love was there all along.

Geena Davis wasn’t just a crush. She rules the screen in everything she does. 

Three Colours wasn’t me maturing with movie taste. Those women brought sweat and tears to every second of their screentime.

Day of the Dead was my first glimpse as a child to what a strong female lead looks like. Day wasn’t JUST the greatest zombie story ever told. It also had a strong woman to help tell it.

Thank you for your time xxx

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