Something we’re hoping to keep you up to date on here at Warped Perspective is news of the most exciting upcoming home entertainment releases – we’re talking DVDs and Blu-rays, predominantly, of the hot new genre films and the best in cult classics. There are so many great specialist labels out there now that sometimes it can be hard to keep track (and I can’t promise I’ll manage to cover everything, so give me a shout if I’ve left out anything great!).
As it’s the start of the year here are some of the highlights of January’s upcoming releases, in case any have slipped under your radar, as well as a couple of exciting recent announcements.
Texas, USA is a lot of things to a lot of people. To vacationers, it’s a land of pastures and steaks, to foreigners, it’s the crown of American civilization, and to writers, artists, and dreamers, it’s the last thundering vestige of the American southwest. But to locals, it’s simply God’s Country. A large and fantastical expanse of the spirit of the pioneers with dreams of a simple life wrought from the fruit of the land. Image Comics take that idea one step further and creates a literal representation of the states nickname. Focusing on a man who had been reborn as a god, the work goes beyond the fantasy angle and explores family, dedication, and the wretch of mental illness. Part Cormac McCarthy, part Roman mythology, God Country takes the strange and violent world of the border state and brings it to life with magic and mayhem.
If there was one thing that didn’t suck horribly about 2016 it was the year’s selection of genre films. As ever, I’ve been immensely privileged to see a whole load of upcoming films as well as general releases, and so my favourites list is populated by a mix of films that were on general release and others that will be in UK cinemas and homes during 2017. I’ve broadly here stuck to films which are ‘genre’, with an emphasis on horror, but even so it was a struggle narrowing things down.
An email was sent out recently by a well-established website who are seeking new writers to help them keep on top of the relentless flow of tidbits and news which fans might like to read. People applied to find out more, and received the following reply from the site in question – and I’m not going to play coy here, the site in question was HeyUGuys:
‘At the moment we’re looking for news writers to help us with the day to day running of the site. We don’t want to be churning out news to cover everything and anything but we are keen to get news to become a bit more prominent on the website. We don’t have huge amounts of cash to play with but we’re looking at paying around £1 per article. We hope that over the course of a month if we can do 2 or 3 per day it may add up to a tidy sum.’
Now, pick the bones out of that one. £1 per news item: two or three news items per day (probably around half an hour to an hour a pop, going on my own pace of writing) which could potentially lead to a whopping £20 or more per week. A tidy sum, indeed. Not only is the amount of money being offered here insulting and unliveable for anyone trying to sustain themselves professionally as a writer, I’m not even sure you could get away with it legally. Even if you were in the unfortunate position of having to supplement your existing wages in this way, it would hardly be worth the time and trouble. However, this email neatly encapsulates, for me, some of the issues facing fan writers in these times. Namely – should you write for free? Write for a pittance? Or hold out for better things?
Watching this movie, I felt as if I was getting glimpses of multiple alternate realities. One was a universe in which we didn’t generally regard the 1990s as a wasteland for the horror genre; another was one in which Michele Soavi became as major a Hollywood player as Peter Jackson. Watching The Sect, neither of these options seemed too implausible. The 1990s rarely comes up when discussing the great eras for horror cinema: it was the period when the trusted old hands like Carpenter, Romero, Hooper and for a time Craven hit dry spells, derivative straight-to-video bilge became the norm, and the few new directors who showed any promise seemed to hit the wall at double speed. And yet in the early 90s in particular, there were more than a couple of relative newbies who showed such promise: Clive Barker, Richard Stanley, and yes, Jackson and Soavi. We know how most of these stories turned out: Barker largely left film behind in favour of writing and painting, Stanley had his infamous meltdown on The Island of Doctor Moreau, and Jackson, to the astonishment of anyone who ever saw Bad Taste and/or Meet the Feebles, convinced some bigwigs to let him make a megabudget three-film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, netting himself many millions and a bunch of Oscars in the process. Soavi, by contrast, remains a largely anonymous figure outside of Italian horror devotees, and since the mid-90s has largely worked in Italian TV; but watching The Sect, it’s not hard to envisage him reaching far greater heights.
As most of you have heard by now, Adventure Time will be coming to an end in 2018. While that’s not until the far off future where flying cars and steam-powered monsters have taken over our everyday lives, it’s still going to leave a gap in our hearts that no amount of candy can fill. Well, thanks to the creators over at BOOM! Studio, not only are there no plans to end the comic run, but they have added a second Adventure Time series to the growing franchise. Titled Adventure Time Comics (not to be confused with the initial series Adventure Time that is currently on its 60th issue), the work features disconnected short stories focused on various characters in the series. Basically, it’s like those Short Grayble episodes of the show but in comic form. With its mini story accessibility, it’s the perfect comic for those who aren’t caught up on the longer Adventure Time run.
The so-called ‘Satanic Panic’ of the Eighties (with some fallout in the following decade) is a curious phenomenon – one born out of a collision of new media, psychiatry, pop-psychiatry and pop culture. It’s one of those things which could – and did – run and run, borne aloft by its ‘hidden’ status (how do you disprove a secret?) and of course its seductive promise of illicit sex, cult activity, crime and murder – all available for concerned parties to enjoy, whilst simultaneously fretting and disdaining it all, of course. Various theses and books on the subject have appeared piecemeal over the years, but never before has there been such an exhaustive examination of the phenomenon as offered by the recent FAB Press release Satanic Panic – a book which brings together a number of commentators and invites them to offer their expertise on the topic in their own particular styles and from their own perspectives.
By Ben Bussey
As I’ve remarked many times when looking at reissues of old horror favourites, many of them feel like they need little or no introduction, and to my mind that’s certainly the case with Fright Night. Tom Holland’s 1985 directorial debut was among the first dozen or so horror movies I saw in my youth, and it’s one that’s always stayed dear to my heart. As the volume of online outrage that greeted the 2011 remake demonstrated, I’m hardly alone in that sentiment. Now, almost 32 years on from its original release, the tale of high school nerd Charlie Brewster, washed-up actor-turned-local cable horror host Peter Vincent and their conflict with the vampire next door Jerry Dandridge remains a near-perfect hour and forty five minutes of vintage creature feature theatrics brought to life in an unmistakably 80s fashion.
By Nia Edwards-Behi
Hong Kong martial arts films have always had an evident spiritual connection to the Western – similar narratives playing out in different settings and with different weapons: fists and feet instead of Colts and Winchesters. This connection is drawn to the surface to full effect in Benny Chan’s Call of Heroes, as a mis-matched group of local heroes stand-off to protect a town from the psychopathic son of a warlord. Horse-back hero shots, sunsets, and a Morricone-lite score are notable Western icons in this otherwise blisteringly-violent and not-so-subtly political film. Add a dash of Mifune and a hefty helping of Sammo Hung’s excellent action direction and Call of Heroes is a gift for genre-lovers.
Hello, Happy New Year, and welcome to our new project, Warped Perspective…
For those of you who have followed us over from our previous site, Brutal as Hell, then you may already see how and why we’ve chosen the new site name. Truth be told, it was co-founder and co-editor Ben Bussey who came up with it very early on in the process of finding a new name which we felt encapsulated what we already do (and what we’re planning to do here). On several occasions, over the many years that our team has now been writing together, we’ve jokingly said that Brutal as Hell should rightly be re-named ‘Contrary as Fuck’ – because it’s often felt as if we’re at odds with so many consensus opinions on genre film: not through deliberately being bloody-minded, but because first and foremost we’ve always approached our writing from our point of view as fans, not in anyone’s pay or employ, not trying to shower directors with hyperbole to get their attention and certainly not being motivated by the (for some) tantalising prospect of cover quotes or bogus thumbs-ups for diluted or downright dishonest opinions. Our perspective has always been very much our own; once Ben had come up with the now-current title, we felt it was a good fit. But there’s more to it than that…