Category Archives: Film / Television / Animation

Nude with Skeleton by Marina Abramović 2005

tumblr_mdx3r1JiWV1qa95wro1_1280

Hey there, I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, although I have recently discovered the most extraordinary performance artist that I have the urge to share!

Marina Abramović is internationally recognised for her inspiring, captivating and conceptual performances that provoke a powerful and emotional response from the audience, as referenced by Sean O’Hagan.1 I’ve recently watched a documentary known as, The Artist is Present that presents Abramović most iconic and fascinating performance at the MoMA Museum of Modern Art.

According to The Marina Film Project, audiences queued to sit in front of Abramović as she sat completely still within a gallery space for six hours straight for two to three months. There was complete silence, as Abramović would continue to stare at the person right in front of her. This is one of the most remarkable performances to date and I’m completely mesmerised by the way Abramović can emotionally engage with the audience.2

The documentary presents Abramović artistic career including her relationship with Ulay, although there was one performance in particular that immediately captured my attention. Nude with Skeleton 2005 presents the artist with a skeleton that is placed over the top of her nude body, as referenced by Lima. The most fascinating aspect is the skeleton’s synchronised movements that correlate with Abramović’s slow and controlled breathing; the overall performance delivers a very interesting parallel between life and death.3

788402665

Lima explains that the performance explores death’s inevitable presence and the very notion that life itself isn’t permanent. In fact, the performance invites me to consider the presence of life and death that is profoundly emulated through Abramović’s performance including the dramatic and captivating composition with the life-sized skeleton.5

According to the MoMA audio recording, Marina Abramović explains that the skeleton exposes the frightening perceptions surrounding death and the concept of facing mortality.6 This is quite a confronting piece, as the juxtaposition between the artist’s figure and the skeleton invites me to consider my own mortality and my impermanent presence within the world that is a relatively scary thought at times. The performance delivers a powerful and emotional response that is admirable and inspiring.

I know if I had a life-sized skeleton placed over the top of me, the experience would be surreal, even frightening. The thought that we’ll have to face the inevitable at some stage is a challenging feeling that invites me to reconsider the value of life and the present moment. It’s amazing to actually realise how one single performance can trigger these profound emotions or thoughts; this is what Abramović does best! 7

The Marina Film Project mentions that the performances were recreated within the exhibition at the MoMA through a dedicated group of artists that participated in Abramović’s intensive training sessions leading to the grand opening.8

If you ever get the chance to watch The Artist is Present, I would definitely recommend it, even if you’re not into performance art, this will provide a completely different perspective in regards to art and the surrounding world. The documentary invited me to understand the importance of being present and aware of the your surroundings internally and externally. Don’t forget, rent or buy a copy of this documentary, you will seriously be amazed!

References

1., “Interview: Marina Abramović,” Sunday 3rd October 2010, The Guardian, http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2010/oct/03/interview-marina-abramovic-performance-artist
2.The Marina Film Project, Force LLC and Mudpuppy Films INC, 2012, http://marinafilm.com/
3.Lima, “Nude with Skeleton,” http://www.li-ma.nl/site/catalogue/art/marina-abramovic/nude-with-skeleton/9280#
4.Lima, “Nude with Skeleton”
5.MoNA Multimedia, “Marina Abramović. Nude with Skeleton.” http://www.moma.org/explore/multimedia/audios/190/2016

6.Lima, “Nude with Skeleton,”
7.Lima, “Nude with Skeleton,”

8.The Marina Film Project, Force LLC and Mudpuppy Films INC


Skull Implants and Body Modification Revisited: The Latest Internet Sensation


skull-implants-on-hands

Jason Traeger’s Skull Implants

Hey Everyone,

I know I’ve been away for a while, although I’m back to discuss something that has gained international recognition! Over the past few weeks, I have noticed photographs across the internet featuring extreme forms of body modification including silicone and subdermal implants. In 2012, I decided to write a blog post in regards to body modification and skull implants. I discovered a photograph through the internet featuring at least two skull implants that were inserted into the back of a person’s hand. At first, I was quite shocked and the thought of having these silicone objects inserted beneath the skin just sounds excruciating to say the least.

It has been quite difficult to find the name of the person, although there are other sources on the Internet that relate these skull implants to Jason Traeger, although there is limited information in regards to this particular image. In my previous post, I also discovered a photograph of a person with a skull implanted into the front of his chest.

skull-implant

Implants by Steve Haworth in Samppa Von Cyborg’s Chest –  Shannon Larratt, BME

I honestly find the stitches quite disturbing and the skull does appear sinister; I have noticed that this particular implant has become an area of interest and the photograph has circulated across the internet including blogs as well as other social media sites. I decided to take a closer look at the implants and to my surprise, I have realised that the skull is place inside a cross, I have never noticed this before!

According to Shannon Larratt from BME, these implants were created by Steve Haworth who has inserted them into the chest of Samppa Von Cyborg, a Finnish artist whose work specialises in body modification. In reference to Cyborg’s Facebook page, the artist currently works within within the UK as well as other countries around the world.

Larratt’s other article explores transdermal implants that were introduced by Steve Hayworth who is renowned for his extreme body modifications including the “metal mohawk.” This is pretty extreme, as Cyborg has metal studs inserted into the very top of his head, although I won’t go into too much detail for the moment.

tumblr_mr697yWDXA1s06hrso1_500

Samppa Von Cyborg – Chest Implants, BME – Tumblr 

Larratt has also displayed another skull implant on the BME Mod Blog that was inserted the back of a person’s hand, I’m not entirely sure if this particular implant belongs to Cyborg himself or whether this implant was performed on someone else. This is personally my favourite one compared to the others and the patterns do create a very interesting effect. I must admit, the implant reminds me of Edvard Munch’s Scream painting, however I have noticed that there are images displayed on the internet featuring skull implants that are placed onto the back of a person’s hands.

This appears to be quite to be quite a popular trend at the moment and I have wondered why these implants are inserted into the hand? Is this just a popular part of the body for implants? I’m not just talking about skulls either, people have  inserted crosses, love hearts, stars and even flowers. I mean these implants are inserted in various parts of the body, although I have noticed that the skull implants in particular do appear to be placed on the back of the hand.

I also discovered Cyborg’s Tumblr page with all these skull implants, however I’m not too sure whether Cyborg has inserted these implants for a client or whether these implants are inserted into Cyborg’s own body. Anyway I would recommend visiting the Tumblr page if you’re interested in skull implants or body modification.

skull2

Samppa Von Cyborg & BME – Skull Implants in Hand

Over the past couple of years, I have noticed that my article relating to body modification and skull implants has received the highest number of views compared to any of my other posts. WordPress displays the figures for each individual post by week, month and year; the statistics have provided some very useful information.

The post has received at least 7,367 views of all time, this is significantly higher compared to my previous post relating to Kermit Tereso that received 4,989 views and My Chemical Romance that received 2,680 views. I decided to investigate the statistics in further detail in order to determine whether these implants have increased in popularity. In 2013, the post relating to skull implants and body modification received 2,202 views and this has increased in 2014 to 5,164 views. This particular form of modification has become a very popular subject that has attracted attention from Internet users worldwide.

After viewing these statistics, I began to wonder why these skull implants are so popular? I’ve received comments asking why these artists have decided have these implants inserted into their bodies and it would be interesting to find out! I suppose people are interested in something that is considered as strange or unusual. I must admit, I am particularly fascinated by the skull implants, however I am slightly perturbed at the thought of having these foreign objects placed beneath the skin. I haven’t seen anything like this before, the shape and the size of the implants are disturbing yet interesting at the same time.
tumblr_mzhdrjGkgf1s06hrso1_500

Hand Implants by Samppa Von Cyborg 

After writing my first post about the skull implants back in 2012, I believe my thoughts and perspectives have changed. When I viewed these images for the first time, I was immediately horrified, even repulsed at the mere sight of these implants. I have now viewed these images several times and I’m interested to learn more about them. I wouldn’t personally get one myself, however I’m intrigued to find out whether the skull has become a popular image  in regards to body modification.

I remember watching a television program on ABC known as Bodyshockers featuring Katie Piper who interviews a range of people with tattoos, piercings and surgical operations including body modifications. Piper meets people who regret their decisions and those who can’t wait to get their latest tattoo or operation.

In the fourth episode, Piper interviews Scott who decides to get a skull implant inserted beneath his tattoo. Scott expresses his interest in skulls and his desire to provide his skull tattoo with a ‘three dimensional effect’. The episode reveals the procedure and Scott’s arm is sliced open in order to insert the implant, I must admit this section was quite hard to watch. The show definitely provides insight in regards to tattoos and extreme forms of body modification.

The skull implants have generated interest amongst the public and it would be interesting to investigate this particular area in further detail. The statistics have identified that my previous post relating to skull implants has become a popular subject over the past couple of years and the photographs has captivated audiences internationally.

So why are these implants popular and why are people interested in them? At the moment I’m still searching for an answer, as there are so many unexplained reasons as to why these implants have attracted such a a large audience.  I’m hoping this post with answer some of these questions and I’m hoping the subject will generate some discussion, please feel free to leave a comment I would love to hear your thoughts or opinions. For more information, please visit the links listed below.

References

Shannon Larratt, “More 3D Skull Implants”, Aug 31 2012, BME Mod Blog, http://news.bme.com/2012/08/31/more-3d-skull-implants/

Shannon Larratt, “The Transdermal Implants of Samppa Von Cyborg”, July 27 2012, BME Mod Blog, http://news.bme.com/2012/07/27/the-transdermal-implants-of-samppa-von-cyborg/

Shannon Larratt, “Full Ear Reshaping by Samppa”, Oct 4 2012, BME Mod blog, http://news.bme.com/tag/3d-implants/page/3/

Samppa Von Cyborg, Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Samppa-Von-Cyborg/127644570656037

Samppa Von Cyborg, Official Website, http://voncyb.org/#

Samppa Von Cyborg, Tumblr Page, Chest Implants, http://samppavoncyborg.tumblr.com/post/57625369164/samppavoncyborg-anetavoncyborg-skull-3d

Samppa Von Cyborg – Skull Implants / Hand, http://www.tattoodonkey.com/samppa-von-tattoos/2/

Scott in Katie Piper’s, Bodyshockers, “My Big Boob Hell: Episode 4”, ABC, 4/6/14

ABC, “Bodyshockers: My Big Boob Hell” 4/6/14, http://www.abc.net.au/tv/programs/bodyshockers/

Channel 4, “Bodyshockers”, http://www.channel4.com/programmes/bodyshockers/episode-guide


Breaking Bad: Season Finale is almost impossible to forget!

469-breaking-bad-final-season-premiere

Breaking Bad: Season Six starring Bryan Cranston & Aaron Paul, produced by Vince Gilligan

I’ve finally watched the season finale of Breaking Bad and the very last episode does end with an unexpected twist! As you may know by now, I am addicted to Breaking Bad and I began watching one season after another, the acting is phenomenal and the storyline is amazing, I would stay awake until one o’clock in the morning, wondering what would happen to Walter White and his family.

Almost everyone I have spoken to has raved about the season finale and I do believe that the last episode ended appropriately, although it wasn’t as violent as I was expecting. It’s quite interesting to view Walters transformation from a family man and high school chemistry teacher to this hostile drug dealer, who does make some very large sacrifices in order to maintain his position within the industry.

Walters life threatening decisions seriously affect his friends, family and associates who take a backwards spiral towards the very end of the season. The finale is absolutely astounding and I cannot help but sympathise with Walter as he hopelessly tries to pick up the pieces, although he suddenly comes to the realisation that nothing will ever be the same again, there’s no time for reconciliation.

Walter becomes a character that you learn to love and hate, at first you sympathise with Walter and his life threatening position; at the same time, you absolutely loathe his ruthless, senile attitude that completely destroys everyone around him. From a personal opinion, the season finale is quite depressing, shocking and absolutely sensational!

I have never been this fascinated with a television show and all the late night viewing all paid off in the end. What happens in the end? I honestly do not want to say anything because it’s better if you watch Breaking Bad from season one all the way to season six, you will not be disappointed and if you are then I will be utterly speechless!

So you’re properly wondering by now, I write a blog about skulls, why am I talking about Breaking Bad? Well first of all, I love this show more than anything else I have ever watched before and second of all, I have noticed skull imagery throughout the six seasons and I personally believe the skull strongly relates to the finale, where all the characters become exposed to danger and potentially life threatening situations.

I do not want to spoil the ending for you because Breaking Bad is just absolutely mind-blowing, in a good way that is. So if you are Bryan Cranston fan and you enjoy violent, yet humorous television shows, then you cannot miss breaking Bad, especially the Season Finale!

Some other interesting links

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/breaking-bad-season-5-episode-16-review–a-fitting-finale-that-rose-to-the-occasion-8848653.html

http://www.amctv.com/shows/breaking-bad

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0903747/

Image Reference

http://www.bingcrosbytheater.com/events/469/breaking-bad-final-season-premiere

 


Breaking Bad becomes seriously addictive!

BreakingBad

Breaking Bad: Produced by Vince Gilligan 2008 – 2013

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been addicted to Breaking Bad, every night I’ll sit in front of the television and I’ll watch at least three to four episodes in a row! The characters, the cinematography and the storyline is unbelievably mind-blowing, I don’t think I’ve actually met a person who has disliked this show!

Breaking Bad is produced by Vince Gilligan and the series has won numerous awards for it’s outstanding performance, as referenced by the AMC website. Once you start watching Breaking Bad, you wont be able to stop, you’ll watch every episode until the very end! I first started with three seasons and then I just could not help myself, I bought season four, five and six without question!

At the moment, I’m up to season five and I honestly cannot get enough of it! There are times where I am sitting on the edge of the seat, waiting with anticipation as each character begins to unravel another deep dark secret. So you’re properly wondering, where does this all begin?

Season One introduces Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a chemistry teacher who is struggling with lung cancer; Walter then decides to illegally produce methamphetamine with his ex student, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) in order to provide his family with a form of financial security. As the medical expenses slowly begin to increase, Walter and Jesse attempt to find a way to sell their product without getting themselves killed by members of the drug cartel.

Breaking-Bad-Heisenberg

Walter White aka Heisenberg (Bryan Cranston) from Breaking Bad

Walt’s involvement within the drug industry also strains his relationship with his wife, Skyler White who begins to suspect that Walter is hiding something. There’s also the brother-in-law, Hank Scharder, a DEA Agent who is determined to find out who is producing this blue methamphetamine.

There are times, where Hank is only inches away from capturing Walter and Jesse, although they tend to find a way to escape some very dangerous situations. Each episode reveals both Walter and Jesse climbing their way up the ladder, eventually they start earning millions of dollars from their blue methamphetamine, although the Drug Enforcement Agency are on the mission to find the culprits. Little do they know that Walter is the one they need, the one that has been lingering under their noses the whole time!

So Breaking Bad is unbelievably clever and the special effects are amazing, there are certain aspects of the show that are entertaining. I do find the death scenes slightly amusing, I know this sounds macabre, although they do remind me of something you would see in a cartoon.

I have also noticed that Breaking Bad features quite a lot of foreshadowing, this particular effect does provide links to some major parts of the show. There are certain props that are displayed at the very beginning of the show that feature some sort of connection or correspondence to the characters further down the track.

Breaking-Bad-Movie-Wallpaper-Background

Poster for Breaking Bad

This does add a level of suspense and you will begin to wonder, why is there a burnt teddy bear or a scene with a boiling kettle? Well everything starts to make sense as you continue watching the series, towards the end you do begin to realise why the props were used at the start, this is a very clever technique if you ask me.

There is one particular aspect that has captured my attention, I have realised that the skull appears throughout the television series. In a way, the skull has been used as a form of foreshadowing, I have noticed that the skull will appear before someone is about to die. So I wont go into too much detail for those who haven’t watched the series, but seriously if you haven’t wanted watched Breaking Bad, add this on your to do list!

Well I have to admit, Breaking Bad is quite violent for a television show that’s rated MA+15, there are certain characters that are burned to death with acid and then placed in barrels. On the other hand, the violence is balanced with humour, so it’s not quite as intense.

So Walter White is properly the most interesting character, who seems to be caught within a very difficult situation. At times I can almost sympathise with Walter, as he tries to earn enough money to keep a roof over his family’s head, at the same time I find Walter to be a ruthless, violent and intimidating character.

breaking-bad-all-characters
The Cast from Breaking Bad: Season 4 – 5

While the drug dealing is quite a drastic decision, what choice does Walter have? If he doesn’t find the money fast, Walter wouldn’t be able to afford his medical treatment leaving his family with a substantial amount of debt.

It’s quite a fascinating dilemma that does make an incredible storyline, Breaking Bad is the best television show I have ever seen! The show doesn’t glorify drugs and violence, Breaking Bad reveals what can actually happen in the world of drug dealing. It’s interesting to view Walter’s transformation from a timid high school teacher to ‘Heisenburg’, a drug dealer who will not stop until he gets exactly what he wants.

As I mentioned before, If you haven’t seen Breaking Bad then just buy yourself a copy, you wont be disappointed! So I haven’t watched the final season yet, although I cannot wait to see what happens next, so you will definitely hear from me soon!

Links

http://www.amctv.com/shows/breaking-bad/about

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0903747/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/10338805/Breaking-Bad-facts-30-things-you-didnt-know.html

Image Links

http://blogs.nd.edu/oblation/2013/09/30/badly-broken-a-spoiler-free-analysis-of-breaking-bad-as-a-deeply-human-drama/

http://www.wired.com/underwire/2014/01/breaking-bad-contest-winner/

http://hongkietown.com/2013/10/breaking-bad-done.html

http://moviesfilmsmotionpictures.com/2012/09/20/top-ten-breaking-bad-characters/


Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones ends with a Bizarre Twist

MV5BMjAwNDAxMjc0N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDcyNDU3MDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_

Today I decided to watch Paranormal Activity Five and I honestly do not know where to start! I have watched all five films, although I didn’t  have high expectations for the last one, as they all have a very similar storyline.

Paranormal Activity Five did cause me to jump and there were some aspects of the film that were disturbing, although the ending was slightly disappointing and I do remember feeling confused, I actually walked out of the cinemas wondering what had actually happened.

So why am I even writing about Paranormal Activity 5? I have witnessed several advertisements on television that featured skull imagery and I wondered how these particular icons relate to the actual film? The Marked One’s is based in California, where 18-year-old Jesse is possessed by an evil spirit / supernatural entity that suddenly spirals out of control.

paranormal-activity-the-marked-ones-movie-poster-8

Grandmother preying in Paranormal Activity 

The film does focus upon a small Latino community including Jesse and his best friend Hector who both begin to realise that the next door neighbour, Anna is performing a range of bizarre rituals.

On the night of her death, both Jesse and Hector enter the abandoned apartment, where they find a range of unusual ornaments, video tapes and journals that they decide to take with them.I did notice skulls within the apartment, not real ones of course, just these small sugar skull candle holders that are stored within the basement.

The Marked Ones also contains Day of the Dead imagery that appears for five to ten seconds, now that was kind of interesting! There is one specific part of the film that does feature Day of the Dead figurines and a large skeletal mural on the wall that appears similar to the grim reaper. So this is the part where Jesse’s Grandmother and his friend, Marisol seek help from a local who works at an unusual antique store, although this only seems to escalate the situation.

The skull only seems to appear when someone is about to die, in a way the skull has been used to communicate a message. The Day of the Day imagery used within the film may reflect the Mexican / Latino culture, this was properly the most interesting part of the entire film.

paranormal-activity-the-marked-ones-movie-poster-11

Grandmother performing ritual on Jesse 

There were other parts that were quite boring, I do remember spending at least three to four minutes watching a white washing basket, there’s no music, no movement, there’s just a white basket placed within the middle of the lounge room. I am about to discuss the final part of the film, so there are some major spoilers!

Ok so the ending was fairly entertaining, you have witches, gangsters with shot guns and time travelling? When Jesse is kidnapped by a group of witches, his two best friends approach an isolated house with two gangsters who decided to bring a bunch of weapons along with them. Well….one of them just decides to just kill at least two witches with a shot-gun and they’re suddenly launched right into the air.

So these witches are supposed to be possessed in order to start this weird demon army, wouldn’t you think they would be able to overpower some random gangster with a shot-gun? Obviously not, it appears that this film doesn’t really have any logic what so ever, the ending doesn’t really make much sense at all.

paranormal-activity-the-marked-ones-movie-poster-9

Grandmother and Jesse’s friend at the Antique Store

The Marked Ones did cause me to cover my eyes within certain parts of the film, although the film was very predictable. Paranormal Activity Five was very similar to the previous films, they all have the exact same formula. So Hector and Jesse somehow travel back in time to the first film, where Katie murders her boyfriend Micah, I had no idea how time travelling relates to the storyline, maybe I’m missing something?

This idea seems very farfetched, so you have witches, demons and time travelling all mixed into one. This was definitely far different from what I was expecting, I was surprised, confused and dumfounded all at the same time. I actually thought the Marked Ones was the very last film, although the ending left everything wide open, surely the whole time travelling scenario can’t progress any further?

If the film focused upon the Day of the Dead iconography / symbology, this would have been more enjoyable to watch, perhaps this would have provided context to the film.  I must admit, I was impressed with the poster designs, if only the film was as good as the advertisements.

So the poster features a skeletal figure on the very front with a symbol across the forehead, this figure does appear very similar to the Virgin Mary, this particular poster actually convinced me to watch the film. So if you’re intrigued to watch the latest Paranormal Activity, then be prepared for some shaky camera work and a very boring, yet bizarre story line!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2473682/

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/paranormal_activity_the_marked_ones/

Image Citations:

http://www.imdb.com/media/rm2765541376/tt2473682?ref_=tt_ov_i

http://screenrant.com/paranormal-activity-marked-ones-legend-hercules-clips/

http://pnatmo.photofolio.org/

http://www.apnatimepass.com/paranormal-activity-the-marked-ones-movie-poster-0.php


Sinister 2012 directed by Scott Derickson

Sinister-2012-Movie-Quad-Banner

Sinister 2012, DVD Cover

About a month ago, I decided to rent Sinister from the DVD store, the macabre cinematography and the unique storyline definitely provides quite a shocking finale. This 2012 horror flick stars Ethan Hawke who acts as a successful author who discovers a range of disturbing videos that endangers his entire family, towards the end of the film, everything spirals out of control and the true villain is revealed to all!

So why am I talking about this film anyway? While I was browsing through the local video store, the DVD cover immediately captured my attention. On the very front features a young child smearing blood onto the wall; the pattern does remind me of a skull, this particular image does becomes a significant part of the film, although I wont explain too much for those who have not watched the movie!

Sinister_05638

Sinister 2012, Ethan Hawke standing in front of the projector

The very first time I watched Sinister, I was confused, baffled and slightly disturbed, although the actual storyline was quite different to anything I have heard or seen before! The visual effects were impressive, although Sinister was not particularly horrifying, the film was creepy more than anything! The music also provides a disturbing element to the film, I was anxiously waiting for something to jump from behind the corner, although the film did provide a very unexpected twist.

I was particularly inspired by the make up, the villain does feature very disturbing characteristics that does become rather unsettling towards the end of the film. The make up appears very similar to a human skull, i’m not entirely sure if this is intentional, although this does provide the character with a dark and macabre appearance.

sinister-still3

Sinister 2012, The Boogyman

This dark, mysterious figure, known as the ‘boogyman’ is the most intriguing aspect of the film, the grey wrinkly skin and the dark eye sockets are definitely unsettling, the character doesn’t even have a dialogue, in fact the character doesn’t appear to have a mouth in general, which is rather surreal!

At first I thought Sinister would just be another clique horror film, although I was pleasantly surprised! At one particular stage, I thought I knew exactly was going to happen, although the film did take a completely different direction all together. I had to watch Sinister for the second time in order to fully appreciate all the subtle hints within the film that were actually connected to the storyline.

pressplaynews-sinister

Sinister 2012, Boogyman

While Sinister wasn’t the scariest film I have ever seen, the plot was definitely thought provoking and the ‘boogyman’ was quite an impressive character! For all those Horror fans out there, if you’re looking for a disturbing film with an interesting storyline, then I would recommend Sinister, the ending will provide quite a shocking surprise!

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinister_(film)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1922777/

Image References:

http://www.containsmoderateperil.com/sinister-2012/

http://www.welovemoviesmorethanyou.com/2013/02/14/movie-review-sinister-2012/

http://puremassacre.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/sinister-creepy-yes-groundbreaking-not-quite/

http://www.gbdh.sadiron.com/archives/12737


Emma Allen’s Ruby, an Extraordinary Animation of Incarnation

Animation from YouTube (Link attached below)

A couple of days ago, I received a very interesting video from the Black Calavera Facebook Page that was posted by Ryan Fehily. The stop motion animation was originally uploaded onto Vimeo, this particular clip was produced by Emma Allen an artist who specifically works with ‘animation, face painting and body painting’, as referenced by Allen’s official website. 1

When I first viewed Allen’s clip, I was particularly fascinated with the level of craftsmanship, the face paint featured some decorative patterns and designs that gradually changed throughout the stop motion animation. According to Allen’s Vimeo Page, the animation features the artist who has painted her own face in order to present ideas of ‘incarnation’. The artist animates herself ageing, Allen’s face slowly transforms into a skull that suddenly makes a rapid transition into a living creature.

Ruby-Reincarnation-6-600x408

Allen’s Transformation 

So I began to wonder, what is the definition of incarnation? According to the Australian Oxford Dictionary, incarnation is a psychical ‘manifestation’ from an abstract concept. In reference to Allen’s stop motion animation, the artist becomes an embodiment of life and death through the application of face paint. 2

The name of the clip, Ruby is rather intriguing, this does add a level of mystery to the animation, I have wondered whether the title has a reference or a connection to Allen’s work?

I was intrugued by the skull that Allen had painted onto her own face, for me personally the surrounding darkness becomes a reminder of death and disintegration. Allen presents the processes of ageing, the artist’s facial features gradually change throughout the clip, which is quite a unique concept!

From a personal perspective, the animation does question what actually happens after death? I’m not too sure if there is a specific answer to this question, although it is interesting to view Allen’s own interpretations of ‘incarnation’ 

ruby

Images from Allen’s Animation

Throughout the clip, the black and white skull is composed with colourful / decorative designs; Allen’s face suddenly transforms into a range of leaves, branches and flowers that also provides a unique aesthetic. There is a very interesting composition between the skull and the floral patterns / designs, from a personal perspective the face paint does question what happens to the soul when a person dies? Is there another life or entity waiting for us on the other side?

Who knows really, these are very difficult questions to answer, when I first viewed the animation I was convinced that the concept was inspired by ‘reincarnation’ as Allen depicts herself slowly decaying, the clip explores the transition from death to another physical entity or form.

The use of glitter also adds an interesting composition that significantly contrasts with the surrounding darkness. I was instantly captivated by Allen’s extraordinary designs, the glitter also disguises Allen’s features that also provides another creative approach to the animation. Towards the end of the clip, Allen’s face suddenly transforms into a wild cat and the designs appear similar to a lion or a leopard.

14

Notions of Incarnation

It is interesting to view how the designs change over time, I wasn’t quite expecting to see a lion or a leopard towards the very end, although this does reflect the idea of reincarnation. Allen’s designs are definitely creative and imaginative, it is also interesting to view the combination of face paint and stop motion animation. If you haven’t seen this clip before, I would definitely recommend visiting Allen’s Vimeo page!

Click on the link below to view Allen’s official website!

1. http://www.emmaallen.org/about/

2. Moore, Bruce (ed) The Australian Pocket Oxford Dictionary (Australia: Oxford University Press, 1996) 

3. http://vimeo.com/72670988

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07Ch4A9PnZI

Image Citations

http://www.123inspiration.com/ruby-reincarnation-in-75-seconds-by-emma-allen/

http://www.broadsheet.ie/2013/11/09/reincarnation/

http://www.slrlounge.com/ruby-life-death-reincarnation-amazing-stop-motion-video


The Evil Dead directed by Sam Raimi

nez8vceanrszdf_1_1

The other night I decided to watch the original Evil Dead that was directed by Sam Raimi in 1981, for such an old film it was far better than what I was expecting. The special effects were rather impressive for a film that was produced in the early 80’s, Evil Dead also features some claymation towards the end that also adds a humorous twist to the overall film.

So what is Evil Dead and why do I like this film so much? Well the very first Evil Dead did scare me believe it or not, although there were particular sections of the film that were just hilarious! The claymation actually provided a very interesting effect to the film, the stylised violence features a unique aesthetic that is quite imaginative for a 1980’s horror flick.

So if you haven’t watched Evil Dead I would definitely recommend visiting your local DVD store, especially if you enjoy cheesy horror films! In fact, the violence and the claymation is rather cheesy, although the visual effects are throughly entertaining. So Evil Dead features four young adults who decide to travel to a deserted cabin within the middle of woods where they discover ‘The Book of the Dead’ that welcomes evil spirits to the living world.

TheEvilDead1981Image1

The film explains that “the Book of the Dead was written in blood and bound in human flesh”, I must admit the book does feature highly detailed drawings of skulls, skeletons and other supernatural beings; whoever designed the book in the first place has impressive drawing skills thats for sure. So what really happens in Evil Dead? Well the main protagonist, Ash discovers ‘The Book of the Dead’ along with a tape recorder within the bottom of the basement, Ash’s friend Scott decides to take these new items back to the cabin where the entire group begins to listen to the unusual recordings from the tape player.

As the group continue to listen to an old man speaking in Latin, the words suddenly conjure something evil within the woods. As a result, each person is possessed by a demon that was summoned by the Book of the Dead, meanwhile Ash tries to find a way to escape from the haunted cabin that becomes rather difficult when his possessed girlfriend tries to kill him. One thing leads to another and everything turns completely pear shaped, as the holiday retreat gradually turns into a disastrous blood bath.

So I do find the visual effects rather impressive especially for a film with such a low budget, what  I do find rather unsettling are the camera angles. The film provides the perspective of the demon, evil spirits that lurk around the cabin and the fast paced motion does create a level of suspense and anticipation. Bruce Campbell does play an excellent role as Ash Williams, the main protagonist who finds himself trapped within the deserted cabin with his girlfriend, sister and best friend that are all possessed by some kind of Demon.

evil-dead-linda

According to Kate Egan, The Evil Dead is an American cult classic that was produced by a group of university students including Sam Raimi and Robert Talbert during the late 1970’s, early 80’s. Raimi throughly studied other recognisable horror films, such as The Last House of the Left and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, although the actual production of Evil Dead proved to be rather difficult due to financial circumstances.

I personally believe that Sam Raimi has produced a very successful horror film with a low budget and a very small production team, which is quite remarkable really. There were some aspects of the film that did cause me to jump, although the acting and the visual effects do provide a level of humour, that do cause me to laugh uncontrollably.

I have also noticed that the original Evil Dead has inspired the contemporary horror genre, The Cabin in the Woods for instance does feature a strong reference to Raimi’s 1980’s production. The narrative does feature a parallel to the Evil Dead, as four young college students travel to an isolate Cabin within the woods, although the director, Josh Whedon does provide a very unusual twist that would take anyone by surprise.

evil.dead_.2

So I have also realised that the skull continually reappears within Raimi’s Evil Dead, in fact I have noticed that the skull has become a very popular symbol within the horror genre. I’m not to sure why, although I would assume that the skull is used as a symbol of death, mortality, even danger. I have also noticed that the skull does appear when something dangerous or violent is about to occur, as soon as Ash opens ‘The Book of the Dead’, the cabin turns into complete chaos.

So the other day I have realised that The Evil Dead is an actual trilogy, there’s Evil Dead 2 and Evil Dead: The Army of Darkness, which are two fantastic films produced by Sam Raimi. So Evil Dead 2 is basically a parody of the original Evil Dead that is one of the most entertaining horror films I have ever watched in my life. The violence is exaggerated to the extent where it’s almost impossible not to laugh, there are amputated limbs and laughing clocks flying left right and centre, that’s right laughing clocks along with laughing lamps and a possessed dear’s head that seem to haunt Ash’s Williams who cannot find a way to escape the cabin.

The skull constantly reappears throughout Evil Dead 2, Ash finds his girlfriend’s necklace on the floor which forms the shape of the skull, in a way the skull is used as some kind of subliminal message. Evil Dead: The Army of Darkness on the other hand makes a rapid transition from a comedy horror to an action adventure, Ash somehow travels back in time in order to defeat the ‘undead’ that form an army of skeletons.

imgArmy of Darkness6

So Ash decides to steal ‘The Book of the Dead’ from the graveyard that suddenly resurrects the dead, all of a sudden there are hundreds even thousands of skulls and skeletons that begin to attack the castle in order to retrieve the book. As ridiculous as it sounds, the film is extremely entertaining, the visual effects do add a level of humour, parody and satire.

So if you are looking for something to watch then I would recommend watching The Evil Dead Trilogy, you can even watch the original Evil Dead and the Army of Darkness on Youtube! The DVD cover for Evil Dead 2 does feature some impressive advertising / marketing, the very front of the cover features a skull that significantly contrasts with the dark background, the advertisement definitely summaries the nature of the film.

It would be interesting to compare the original Evil Dead within the 2013 remake that was released a couple of months ago, due to censorship I haven’t been able to watch the film at my local cinema but it will be interesting to see how Fede Alvarez appropriates this 1980’s classic.

References:

Egan, Kate in ‘The Evil Dead’ (Columbia: Wallflower Flower, 2011), http://books.google.com.au/books?id=DuiJoSKHOdUC&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+evil+dead&hl=en&sa=X&ei=7
OfjUZLAPM6qlAW-tICoAw&ved=0CDQQ6wEwAQ

The Evil Dead, directed by Sam Raimi (USA: Renaissance Pictures, 1981), DVD

Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn, directed by Sam Raimi (USA: De Laurentiis Entertainment Group & Renaissance Pictures, 1987), DVD

Evil Dead: The Army of Darkness, directed by Sam Raimi (USA: Dino De Laurentiis Company, Renaissance Pictures & Universal Pictures, 1992) DVD

Cabin in the Woods, directed by Josh Whedon (USA: Lionsgate, 2012) DVD

Image URL Links:

1. http://www.thisishorror.co.uk/columns/the-bloodstained-balcony/evil-dead/

2. http://www.tasteofcinema.com/2013/sam-raimi-plans-to-write-evil-dead-4-this-summer/

3. http://goregirl.wordpress.com/2010/09/16/the-evil-dead-1981-evil-dead-2-dead-by-dawn-1987-the-dungeon-review/

4. http://drnorth.wordpress.com/2010/04/22/the-evil-dead-randomised/

5. http://stcatharines.cityguide.ca/army-of-darkness-is-back-on-029584.php

YouTube Links:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odtcORs7VwM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VW38E98fdBw


Death Proof by Quentin Tarantino

So where do I even begin with Quentin Tarantino’s, Death Proof? This 2007 production was completely different from what I was expecting, towards the end I began to wonder whether I was still watching the same film. Death Proof features a psychotic stunt man who deliberately kills a group of young women in a horrific and gruesome car accident; this is his main agenda really, “Stunt Man Mike” drives around in his indestructible ‘death proof’ car that is used to terrorise and mutilate young women.

Ok so, it’s really not to bad, as there is only one or two gruesome scenes throughout the entire film, in fact I was actually expecting a massacre with blood and amputated limbs flying left right and centre, after all it is a Quentin Tarantino Film! The ending featured a rather unexpected twist, as stunt man Mike finds himself in a vicious car chase with three young women who refuse to be victimized; Death Proof makes a rapid transition from an American slasher to an action, thriller. There was one stage where I was wondering whether I accidentally pressed the wrong button on the remote control, I soon realised I was still watching the same film!

death-proof

Death Proof, DVD Cover 

So why am I even talking about Death Proof in the first place? Well I was fascinated with the skull that was imprinted onto the front of Mike’s ‘Death Proof’ Car. The skull is quite a striking image, especially on top of the car and the symbol continually reappears throughout the majority of the film. I have actually wondered how the skull relates to the storyline or the narrative, in fact the film was rather disjointed and the dialogue was rather confusing, it was rather difficult to determine what was actually going on.

It was quite difficult to determine the most important aspects of the film as the three protagonists at the very start changed to three completely different characters towards the end of the film. At least the narrative wasn’t boring or predictable and the dialogue was rather entertaining to watch! The random conversations between the different characters also adds a humorous twist to the film, Kurt Russell also plays an excellent role as Stunt Man Mike, his psychotic and irrational behaviour is rather comical.

Grind House (Death Proof)

Car Crash in Death Proof

I have noticed that Tarantino’s films feature a stylised effect, especially the violence that isn’t really shocking or horrifying at all! The violence is exaggerated to the extent where the blood splatters and the amputated limbs become humorous and entertaining! The violence is extremely unrealistic, it’s almost cartoonish, although I do believe that these particular effects add a unique style to Tarantino’s films. I must admit Death Proof features the most violent car accident I have ever seen, you don’t just see two cars colliding into one another, you actually see arms, legs, torso’s cut in half with blood splattering in every direction.

The violence in Death Proof was very brief, there was only one particular scene that was gory, other than that the film was quite tame for a Tarantino film. Overall, I do find the skull on Mike’s ‘death proof’ car intriguing, I personally believe that the skull signifies danger as the symbol only reappears when something violent is about to occur. I decided to search for Death Proof through the internet and I have realised that the skull has been used for car stickers, t-shirt designs, jewellery, key rings, even coffee mugs; the symbol has become a form of visual merchandising!

Grind House

Kurt Russell and Rose McGowan

Grindhouse Cinema

Ok so I didn’t really understand the concept behind Death Proof until I decided to research ‘Grindhouse Cinema’, that was introduced in the 1970’s. According to Sarah Wharton in American Independent Cinema, the Grindhouse genre does feature exploitative films that significantly emphasise sex, gore and violence. Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Death Proof’ and Robert Rodriquez’s ‘Planet Terror’ are heavily inspired by the Grindhouse genre; the special effects feature quite an old, deteriorated appearance and the colours are over saturated, it’s as if you have been brought back in time to watch a 1970’s slasher film.

Both films feature disjointed lines that distorts the quality and the appearance, just imagine you’re watching a film at the cinema and there’s a roll of film  that is about to explode or set on fire, now just imagine the quality of the film you are watching, it’s as if the film is about to stop at any second. This is the kind of anticipation I experience when I begin to watch Death Proof or Planet Terror, the special effects do add a very distinctive and unique style. So Tarantino and Rodriquez have produced a ‘double feature’ named Grindhouse that includes Death Proof and Planet Terror, as well as other films such as Machete, Machete Kills and Hobo with a Shotgun.

grindhouse-poster

Grindhouse Poster for Death Proof and Planet Terror

So Planet Terror features a hardcore go-go dancer who is attacked by a flesh-eating zombie, Cherry Darling is immediately rushed into hospital, where her leg is amputated and replaced with a machine gun. Both Cherry and her ex – boyfriend, Wray begin to brutally kill an army of zombies that begin to take over the world along with the other survivors including a nurse, a sheriff and a crazy chef from a deserted steakhouse.

I have noticed that some of the characters in Planet Terror do make an appearance in Death Proof, some of the scenes are quite familiar and it is interesting to observe the parallel between these two particular films. Tarantino and Rodriquez’s version of Grindhouse provides a unique perspective of the genre and the story lines also features a level of humour, parody and satire that is throughly entertaining to watch.

Grindhouse-marley-shelton-545765_1600_1200

Planet Terror by Robert Rodriquez 

While Planet Terror features blood, gore and violence in every minute of the film, Death Proof focuses on the dialogue, which becomes a significant part of the narrative. According to Jay McRoy Tarantino and Rodriquez have used Grindhouse within a contemporary context, the sex, the violence, even the visual effects appear rather similar to a 1970’s B-Grade Horror Movie or an exploitative film with no budget. Ironically these two influential directors have used the visual effects in order to replicate certain elements from B-Grade, exploitative films, both Death Proof and Planet Terror feature a surreal, unconventional style that I haven’t really seen before.

Exploitative films such as Salo or I Spit on your Grave feature highly graphic depictions of sexual violence, in comparison Death Proof and Planet Terror feature a level of humour, irony as well as impressive special effects that combine contemporary Hollywood Cinema with the American Grindhouse genre. Overall Death Proof can be rather confusing and disjointed within certain aspects of the film, although it is interesting to see Tarantino’s interpretations of American Grindhouse and the B-Grade exploitation genre from the 1970’s.

If you are looking for something different to watch, then I would definitely recommend Rodriquez’s Planet Terror and Tarantino’s Death Proof, If you are patient, the dialogue will suddenly transform into a brutal, violent car chase!

References

Mcroy, Jay, in Horror Film: Creating and Marketing Fear (ed) Steffen Hantke, (USA: University of Mississippi Press,2010) http://books.google.com.au/books?id=tYiGERS4fKoC&pg=PA226&dq=grind
house+tarantino&hl=en&sa=X&ei=zKfKUbrWJIPIl

AXo74DIAQ&ved=0CDIQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=grindhouse%20tarantino&f=false

Wharton, Sarah, “Welcome to the Neo Grindhouse: Sex, Violence and the Indie Film” in American Independent Cinema,
Indie, Indewood and Beyond (eds) 
Geoff King, Claire Molloy and Yannis Tzioumakis (Oxon: Routledge, 2013) 

http://books.google.com.au/books?id=7ibUEeJMNCYC&pg=PA200&dq=
grindhouse+tarantino&hl=en&sa=X&ei=

86bKUdyhBoHFkAWzpoCgDw&ved=0CE4Q6AEw
BjgK#v=onepage&q=grindhouse%20tarantino&f=false

Cline, John and Weiner. G . Robert (eds), From the Arthouse to the Grindhouse: Highbrow and Lowbrow in Transgressive in Cinema’s 21st Century 
(Scarecrow Press, 2010) http://books.google.com.au/books?id=VKhqh3HFH8AC&printsec=frontcover&dq=grindhouse&hl=en&sa=X&ei=
GKzKUaucJoyGkQWn2IGgDQ&ved=0CDcQ6wEwAg

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1028528/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1077258/

Image Citations

1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwlAqIfuwgQ
2. http://www.last.fm/music/Grindhouse:+Quentin+Tarantino’s+Death+Proof
+Soundtrack/+images/22405301

3. http://lefthandhorror.com/2012/02/29/grindhouse-movie-review-planet-terror-death-proof/
4. http://onlyhdwallpapers.com/flower/death-proof-rose-mcgowan-grindhouse-kurt-russell-russel-desktop-hd-wallpaper-749977
5. http://collider.com/grindhouse-blu-ray-review/
6. http://www.dbcovers.com/image-of-grindhouse-planet-terror-2007-grindhouse_planet_terror_2007_1


Savages

Savages

Over the weekend, I decided to watch Savages, an American thriller directed by Oliver Stone. The film features Blake Lively who acts as the main protagonist who assists with a successful marijuana company with her two best friends, Chon (Taylor Kitsch) and Ben (Aaron Taylor Johnson) So, what were my very first impressions of the film? Towards the very beginning, the amount of violence, sex and gore was very over the top, in fact the entire film was slightly over dramatic.

There was definitely a slow build and I was more impressed with visual effects and the car explosions rather than the storyline or the dialogue. Lively did play a very unenthusiastic character and the dialogue was very boring to begin with, the actual kidnapping was the most shocking part of the film. There were several times were I started to lose interest, although it was Benicio Del Toro’s ruthless and vindictive character, Lado that convinced me to watch the rest of the film.

savages-skull-mask
Ben wearing a skull mask

Lado is apart of the drug cartel and his violent, corrupt behaviour does deliver a strong impact within Oliver Stone’s, Savages. Lado is the reason why so many characters die in one giant blood bath, wherever there is Lado, you know that you’ll be expecting blood left right and centre. Benicio Del Toro does play an excellent villain along with Salma Hyek as Elena who owns the notorious drug cartel in Mexico. Without Del Toro or Hyek, the film would seriously lack any sort of impact or shock, the storyline would be rather flat without these two particular characters.

In Savages, there is a strong reference to the Mexican sugar skulls, through the masks that are worn by Chon and Ben who begin to terrorise members of the drug cartel. This is basically the reason why I am writing about this film in the first place; the masks feature decorative patterns and designs that add an interesting effect to the overall film.

120704050505-savages-movie-still-story-top

Both Ben and Chun wearing sugar skull masks

While Savages features a strong reference to the drug trade in Mexico, the sugar skull masks may reflect both Chun and Ben’s opposition to this violent activity. In the past, the Mexican community have used skull masks as a way to protest against the drug trade, I have often wondered whether Chun and Ben use the skull as a way to retaliate against the drug cartel.

Who knows really, while there are plenty of reviews on Oliver Stone’s, Savages, there is limited information in terms of the symbology behind the sugar skull masks. Lado also wears a skeletal handkerchief during the very start of the film; in a way the skull features a strong parallel between life and death, Savages also features a strong reference to the Mexican Day of the Dead Festival through the skeletal figurines and the sugar skulls.

BenicioDelToroSavages

Lado wearing a skeletal handkerchief 

Overall, the costumes, the props and the masks were visually interesting, although the dialogue didn’t make much sense in terms of the storyline or the narrative, in fact the film would have been better if they didn’t use Blake Lively as the dialogue. While Savages featured some very violent scenes, the film was rather glamorous and superficial, even the storyline was predictable. Savages was rather tame for a film that represents the Mexican drug cartels; don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed watching the film, it was a little too dramatic for my liking.

Nevertheless, Savages is still a good film with some astounding actors and some remarkable visual effects, if you are comfortable watching violent films then Savages is perfect if you have nothing else planned on a Saturday afternoon. For more information please click on the links below.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1615065/

http://www.savagesmovie.com.au/

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/savages_2012/

URL Links:

http://www.cultureslap.com/savages-review/

http://popcultureninja.com/category/reviews/page/5/

http://darkeyesocket.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/at-cinema-savages.html

http://purefilmcreative.com/killough-chronicles/mozart-vs-bach.html