Tag Archives: Violence

Lollipop Chainsaw Part I: Violent, Outrageous and Hysterical!

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Lollipop Chainsaw produced by Suda 51, developed by Grasshopper Manufacture and published by Warner Brothers Studios

In the previous post, I discussed my infatuation with Shadows of the Damned, an artistic and eclectic video game produced by Suda 51. Last year, a friend introduced me to another game from Suda 51 also known as Lollipop Chainsaw that features comedy, satire and violence all blended into one. When I played Lollipop Chainsaw for the very first time, I wasn’t entirely sure what on earth was going on so I decided to purchase the game outright and I was instantly attracted to the outlandish storyline, the over saturated colours and the stylised visual effects.

According to IGN, Warner Brothers Studios, Interactive Entertainment and Kadokawa Games published Lollipop Chainsaw in 2012 in conjunction with Grasshopper Manufacture who developed the overall game. Evan Narcisse explains that Suda 51 collaborated with James Gunn, an American ‘Hollywood director’ who created the script for Lollipop Chainsaw. This is quite interesting, as the game appears similar to Japanese Anime, especially the main character who hunts zombies in a range of revealing outfits.

The game begins with a high school cheerleader named Juliet who must attack an army of malicious zombies and demons in order to defeat a vindictive, conniving Goth named Swan. The character brutally kills her opponents with a chainsaw along with a range of cheerleading combinations; the dance moves are used to stun the zombies and the game allows the player to upgrade the existing combinations. 

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Juliet Starling and her boyfriend Nick

Juliet is accompanied by her beloved boyfriend named Nick whose head is decapitated at the very beginning of the game when he is bitten by a zombie. Nick discovers Juliet’s hidden secrets including her ability to conduct ‘magic rituals’ on his decapitated head; this is meant to save Nick from turning into a brainless zombie. Juliet attaches her boyfriend’s ‘severed head’ onto the side of her belt and together they travel through a dark, psychedelic universe filled with sparkles, blood and delicious lollipops.

These multicoloured lollipops provide Juliet with additional health and energy that become vitally important within the last two levels. I actually realised that there are skulls throughout the game, the lollipop wrappers feature a skull at the very top and logo on the main screen features a skull with blonde hair and two pink lollipops for crossbones.

The third level also contains a boss known as Josey who flies a spaceship wearing a diaper, a pink fury jacket and a top hat filled with miniature skulls. His facial features similarities to a human skull or the Mexican Day of the Dead, I have noticed that Suda’s games refer to certain elements that explore sex, death and immortality. The skull in particular appears to be a popular symbol within Lollipop Chainsaw, as well as other games produced by Suda 51 including Shadows of the Damned.

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Josey – The Boss in the Third Level 

Throughout Lollipop Chainsaw, the narrative becomes very random and spontaneous, however this is the most entertaining aspect of the game. One minute, you’re playing zombie baseball and the next you’re character is hallucinating on magic mushrooms and you’re fighting a robotic, three headed chicken, you never really know what is about to happen next.

While the visual aesthetics are creative and highly decadent, the actual game play or the controls can be rather slow at times. This particular flaw becomes rather frustrating, as Juliet often takes a while to respond when she is knocked to the ground by another demon or zombie.

Lollipop Chainsaw also features a series of mini games including zombie basketball and zombie baseball, while the concept is imaginative, the auto focus is quite difficult to control. Trying to play this particular mini game was extremely exasperating as Juliet’s ‘chainsaw blaster’ will only focus on the closest zombie. Patience and persistence is the only way to really progress to the next level, however this is only a small section of the game. 

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Juliet at San Romero Highschool – Gameplay 

On the other hand, I don’t really understand how the zombie baseball relates to the actual narrative or the overall concept; at times I thought the mini games were unnecessary. While the baseball was incredibly annoying, this particular section didn’t ruin my overall experience of the game, as I thoroughly enjoy watching the eccentric storyline and the random interactions between the characters.

Juliet’s suggestive poses and over sexualised clothing is rather creepy at times, especially when the player is able to view up her own skirt. The demons / zombies also insult Juliet with sexist or defamatory comments, however these elements are often balanced with a strong level of humour, irony and satire. It’s almost impossible to take this game seriously, there’s Juliet Starling who has a decapitated head as a boyfriend along with a bright pink chainsaw covered in love hearts.

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Juliet Starling – Cheerleading Combinations 

Achieving a high score is another objective that allows the player to unlock a range of provocative outfits including a seashell bikini, a pink jumpsuit or a sex maid’s costume etc. There are plenty to choose from, however I was purely interested in the actual storyline, as well as the quirky dialogue between Nick and Juliet.

Lollipop Chainsaw only lasted for about six hours, although I often try to imagine what else the producers / developers could possibly squeeze into this dynamic, action packed zombie slasher game. The actual duration worked perfectly with the narrative as well as the vibrant, multicoloured landscape, anything more than six hours would become highly repetitive.

I’m quite new to video games at the moment; playing Dark Souls or the Last of Us is way out of the question right now. While Lollipop Chainsaw is rather complex at times, the game itself isn’t overly difficult to complete. If you are a beginner and you’re looking for something that is creative, visually entertaining and violent, then I would recommend Lollipop Chainsaw!

I could write about Lollipop Chainsaw for hours, there are so many different elements to explore including the audio effects, the soundtrack as well as the ‘pop culture references.’ Stay tuned for the second review for Lollipop Chainsaw!

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Juliet’s other costumes / outfits

P.S If you are interested in this particular game, I would recommend viewing Angry Joe’s review on YouTube.

References

IGN Entertainment Inc, “Lollipop Chainsaw Review,” June 13 2012, http://au.ign.com/games/lollipop-chainsaw/ps3-113691

Evan Narcisse, “Hollywood Director James Gunn chokes up because of Lollipop Chainsaw’s Zombie Killing Cheerleader,” March 27 2012, Kotaku, http://kotaku.com/5896820/hollywood-director-james-gunn-chokes-up-because-of-lollipop-chainsaws-zombie-killing-cheerleader

Angry Joe Show, “Lollipop Chainsaw Angry Review,” Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-e6XQMCeXqY

Matt Kamen, “Lollipop Chainsaw – Review,” The Guardian, http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/jun/24/lollipop-chainsaw-suda51-xbox-ps3

“Lollipop Chainsaw,” 2012, Playstation 3, Warner Brothers, Interactive Entertainment & Kadokawa. 

http://lollipopchainsaw.com/

Image References

http://www.deviantart.com/art/Lollipop-Chainsaw-Wallpaper-Edit-284898486

http://www.wallshq.com/wp-content/uploads/original/2013_02/lollipop_chainsaw_zombie_game-HD.jpg

http://www.gameskinny.com/nuzkb/juliets-approach-to-dealing-with-male-stupidity-among-gamers

http://www.g4tv.com/games/xbox-360/65682/lollipop-chainsaw/articles/77007/lollipop-chainsaw-gameplay-preview-hippie-zombies-offer-hilarious-times/

http://www.leftgamerreview.org/2012/08/10/review-lollipop-chainsaw/

http://theclassicgamer.com/lollipop-chainsaw-review/


The Evil Dead directed by Sam Raimi

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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
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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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


Django Unchained by Quentin Tarantino

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1/2/13 – The Release of Django proves to be Violent, Gory and Bloody Marvellous! 

Last week, I decided to watch Django and I was amazed by the cinematography, the visual effects and the acting; Django is by far the best film I have seen this year. As soon as I heard that Quentin Tarantino directed Django, I knew I was going to watch a decent film with lots of blood, violence and gore, although the film was far better than what I was expecting. The anticipation was so intense I have bitten all my fingernails, I actually walked out of the cinema wondering what had actually happened to my fingernails.

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Ok so I wont spill too much information about the film because Django is definitely worth seeing, especially if you are a Quentin Tarantino fan like myself. Jamie Foxx acts a the main protagonist Django, a young American American who is subjected to torture and slavery in the United States during the Civil War. Django is then set free by a German Bountry Hunter who both partake in a long and gruelling journey in order to save Django’s wife from her unscrupulous owners. The theatricality does add an artistic element to the film, even the blood splatters remind me of a Jackson Pollock painting. The violence and the gore does feature a very theatrical effect; instead of watching someone being shot in the chest, you begin to witness the blood splattering in different directions. These particular elements do add an interesting effect to the overall film.

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Leonardo DiCaprio also starred in Django as Calvin Candie, the charming yet ruthless owner of Candyland. Throughout the film, the viewer begins to discover that Candyland is a large mansion that contains most of Candie’s slaves, including Stephan who does add a humorous twist to the film. Samuel L Jackson acts as Stephan who is determined to uncover Django’s main reason for visiting the mansion.  The most powerful scene within the film, is the part where Mr.Candie begins to suspect that his two visitors have travelled to the mansion in order to save Django’s wife. Candie places the skull onto the dinner table and begins to discuss phrenology to his guests. The scene does add a level of anticipation as Candie begins to discuss certain parts of the human skull that are associated with submissiveness and creativity. The way Candie places the skull onto the table reminds me of Shakespeare’s, Hamlet; the scene was quite poetic in a way. The juxtaposition between the skull, the old fashioned furniture and the candles also reminds me of the Momento Mori, a 15th century art style that was used as a reminder of life and death.

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Of course you can’t walk out of a Tarantino film without seeing lots of blood splattering all over the place; the theatricality is what makes this film so entertaining to watch. When I had first discovered that Django was a Western film, I had my doubts, although the acting and the cinematography were spectacular! The visual effects do add a stylised effect that will have you on the edge of your seat from the very beginning right to the end of the film. If you do enjoy violent films and if you are a Tarantino fan, then you will enjoy Django.

Did you know that Django has won several awards for best picture and best director? This is a good reason to watch Tarantino’s, Django.

For more information please click on the links below.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1853728/

http://unchainedmovie.com/

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/review/tarantino-is-unrestrained-in-django-unchained/story-fn9n8gph-1226561118497

URL Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Django_Unchained_Poster.jpg

http://therumpus.net/2013/01/django-take-1-good-is-the-enemy-of-great/

http://215mag.com/whats-not-to-like-about-django-unchained/

http://watchdjangounchainedonlinefree.tumblr.com/


David Cronenburg

4/6/12 – Shivers (Aka Parasite Murders) 1975

As part of the research project, I am required to write an essay about one or two films in particular with reference to contemporary theory. I thought it would be interesting to research the body horror genre in relation to phenomenology and sensuality.  I began to question why is the audience interested in watching horror films and why are these particular films popular or appealing? How does the modern horror genre connect with human senses such as vision, touch and sound?

The research will relate to David Cronenberg’s Shivers, 1975, which depicts monstrous parasites that begin to infect the human population with a highly contagious disease, which also generates sexual behaviour or promiscuity.

What is Phenomenology?

When I first began to research this particular subject, I began to question what is Phenomenology? How does this particular theory relate to contemporary cinema? According to the Reader’s Digest: Great Illustrated Dictionary, Phenomenology is an investigation into human experience. According to Vivian Sobchack contemporary cinema evokes a ‘sensory experience’, which also uses sight, touch, sound and movement.

Dr Hobbes and his relationship with Annabelle

Shivers suggests a sense of isolation and detachment within the beginning of the film, although the infected residents within the apartment building result in complete destruction and chaos . The character’s sexual and violent behaviour also encourages the audience to laugh and cringe at the same time. Towards the beginning of the film, Dr Hobbes inflicts his violent and aggressive behaviour upon Annabelle, who has been used for his highly dysfunctional experiment.

Beard explains that the quarrel between Annabelle and Dr Hobbes occurs before the audience is able to apprehend the narrative or the structure of the film. When I viewed this particular scene for the first time, I was very confused and unfamiliar with the structure of the narrative. The scuffling footsteps, the heavy breathing and the smashed plates immediately allows the viewer to realise that something violent or shocking is about to occur.

William Beard explains that Annabelle transferred the parasites or the disease through sexual encounters with other men. According to Beard, Dr Hobbes attempted to provide others with a closer connection to their own humanity or existence. Perhaps Dr. Hobbes intentions or experimentations are phenomenological and Beard also argues that the parasites expose “human animality”. (W.Beard, 2006 p.34)

Beard also argues that Annabelle Brown’s murder is a graphic scene, which combines sex, death and violence. One could argue that Annabelle’s murder uses graphic imagery, sound and movement in order to generate a sense of shock or bewilderment from the audience. There is no dialogue between Annabelle or Dr.Hobbes, which also leaves the viewer to wait in anticipation.

Bead also mentions that Hobbes opens Annabelle’s body with a scalpel, which causes the blood to trickle down the woman’s waist. Hobbes begins to pour acid into Annabelle’s body in order to kill the parasites before slitting his own throat.

From a personal perspective, the sounds or the noises intensify the scene and the sound of the scalpel slicing the flesh and the skin does cause me to cringe. The noise is quite sharp and I begin to imagine what it would feel like to have a scalpel cutting across my own body. Would a scalpel really make loud or sharp sounds when cutting into the body?

One could argue that the noise is more horrific or disturbing than the actual image. When Dr. Hobbes is opening Annabelle’s body with the scalpel, there is only a small amount of blood that is exposed to the viewer. Both characters are stripped down to their underwear and the kitchen table becomes an operating table for unusual experiments or violent behaviour. The visuals are also disturbing, although the sound also elevates a sense of shock and horror.

Hobbes also pours acid into Annabelle’s body although the sharp, unsettling sounds of the acid burning the internal organs, invites one to visualise the remains of Annabelle’s mutilated body. For a 70’s horror film, the visual effects manage to create a sense of discomfort through sexually explicit and violent representations.

Watching Shivers has also invited me to question why is there a desire or an interest for horror films? Why do we feel the need to watch sex and violence on a cinematic screen?

Sobchack, Vivian. The Address of the Eye: A Phenomenology of Film Experience.  New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1992.

Beard, William. The Artist as Monster: The Cinema of David Cronenberg.  Toronto University of Toronto Press Incorperated 2006. p.34 – 45

Digest, Readers. Readers Digest: Great Illustrated Dictionary.  Boston: Lexical Databases 1984.

Image Citations:

http://hagiblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/21/shivers-1975-film-reel-reviews/

http://cinemaknifefight.com/2012/05/09/meals-for-monsters-shivers-1975/

http://torrentszona.com/torrent-41058/Sudorogi_/_Shivers__1975__DVDRip/

http://perramuerte.blogspot.com.au/2011/08/vinieron-de-dentro-de-shivers-1975-87.html