By Rob Stoakes. So over at the Battleship Potemkast, the finest podcast on the seas, we’ve been doing a few retro reviews of the mainline Alien franchise in celebration of Alien: Covenant, which to be honest is a bit of a rubbish name. It’s the Matrix syndrome of taking a cool sounding word that means nothing and pairing it with alien. Alien Synthesis. Alien Carbohydrate. Alien Titillation.
Anyway, Alien is very similar to Star Wars, in that it is the absolute king of its own genre, space opera for Star Wars and sci-fi horror for Alien, and one of the most popular multimedia franchises this side of Pokemon, and the highs of the franchise are so good that it somehow makes people forget that about 90% of it is absolutely terrible.
So, of course, I am a huge Alien fan, so I get to drop the pretense of professionalism and indulge in my inner child, which normally I lock in the shed, to find out which of the mainline Alien films is actually the best. Strap in, folks; this road is bumpy. Continue reading
By Adam Brannon. Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel Prometheus wasn’t as warmly received as the veteran director had hoped for upon its release in 2012. In pitching the film for the coveted 12A market, Scott lost the majority of what made his 1979 masterpiece, rated 18, such an epic adventure.
So, five years on, Scott returns with a follow-up that aims to answer those irritating questions that Prometheus left us with. But is Alien: Covenant a return to form for the series? Or yet another damp squib? Continue reading
Get Out review: by Rob Stoakes
UK certification: 15
Social horror is a dying genre, and no it’s not how I feel when I awkwardly try to interact with other human beings. No, horror where the scary aspect comes from or inspired by a societal issue. When communism was about there were tonnes of them, like The Thing, Invasion of the Bodysnatchers and any of George Romero’s films.
Now, though, it seems like when the Berlin Wall fell it took this subgenre with it, and now all we have is that rubbish Straw Dogs remake and A Serbian Film, where the commentary on nationalism and European film culture is kind of hard to focus on when the main character puts his <censored> in the <censored> drugged while his son’s <censored> with an eye socket. Also, really cool beards. However, the genre could rise again like the undead, at least if we get some more films as good as Get Out. Continue reading
Split review: by Rob Stoakes
UK certification: 15
It would be like M. Night Shyamalan to throw an out-of-nowhere, poorly telegraphed plot twist into reality itself.
There he was. Hollywood’s very own Icarus. Once called the new Stanley Kubrick after two knockout classics and one overrated but still alright flick, now one of the most popular punchlines in cinema history, a man who has no editing process in his own head and will let any idea get to paper without consideration of its worth.
It is a cautionary tale of what happens when an artist is told so early in his career that he is untouchable, and then continues to believe it long after the rest of the world changes its mind. Continue reading
Ouija: Origin of Evil review: by Rob Stoakes
UK Certification: 15
Halloween is over, everyone, and has been for over a week as of time of writing. But now seems to be when the horror movies start to crawl out of the ground. Because of course. And since we live in a world where even xXx is getting a sequel or reboot (seriously, xXx? Really?!) almost all of them are continuations of stories that did not need continuing.
Blair Witch exists thanks to this environment, and there’s that weird sequel to The Ring that’s on the horizon, but while those two were self-contained stories that didn’t need bolting onto, Ouija didn’t need continuing because it sucked like a Dyson Black Hole. Yet another uninspired, paint-by-numbers ghost story with all of the blood and monsters and psychological trauma (you know, things that HORRIFY people) replaced with jump scares. Continue reading