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My Favourite 10 Sci-Fi Villains and Monsters: Part 2 by Jamie

Jesus Fucking Christ! What a week! I‘ve spent three days of it drunk, went back to work, foiled a few criminals and then suffered from a massively annoying bout of writers block. I had to start a new blog, People Are Fucking Idiots, just to get my creative juices flowing again. Still I‘ve finally managed to finish this list, the unfinished status of which has been hanging around my next and bugging me like… some kind of bug. Anyway, let‘s get the fuck on with it, won‘t we? Oh yeah, Spoilers Ahead

5: Terminators (The Terminator Series)

An unstoppable machine sent backwards in time with one purpose, to kill! That‘s the basic premise behind the Terminator. In the first film it‘s mission was to hunt down and kill Sarah Connor in order to prevent the birth of John Connor, the future leader of the human resistance. In the second another Terminator of the same model type is sent back to protect the young boy who would grow up to be that legendary leader but that doesn‘t mean we don‘t have another Terminator as the villain. This time it‘s the T-1000, a machine with a liquid metal form that allows it to shape shift into the form of anyone it wishes and also turn it‘s body parts into various stabbing weapons. That is fucking awesome.

Then there are the next two films in the series. Yeah, they‘re not good films but the concept behind the Terminators themselves is still fairly solid although why the technology seems to take a step backwards slightly in the 3rd film from a liquid metal adversary to a more solid form is anyone’s guess. I suppose they didn‘t want to do the same thing twice. As for the fourth film, well, I really did like the design of the Terminator model that comes before the Arnold Schwarzenegger design was pretty good. It‘s just a shame that McG couldn‘t direct his way out of a wet paper bag.

The thing that makes the Terminators great screen villains is there relentlessness. They come from a distant future and are far beyond any technology of our time. They seem like they‘d be impossible to beat, though they are beaten in each film because otherwise it‘d be a pretty depressing way to end the film. Speaking of which, the one good thing about Terminator 3 is it‘s ending. Anyway, another aspect that makes the Terminators great as villains is there coldness, particularly the one in the first film. He may look like a human with his genetically-engineered skin but he‘s cold and calculating like a robot should be.

4: HAL 9000 (2001: A Space Odyssey)

From one killer machine to another. When you think of computers who have gone a bit wrong in the circuits, you think of HAL. Represented as nothing more than a glowing red camera eye (which I have a fridge magnet of. I feel the key to a healthy diet is believing your fridge will kill you if you make a mistake), HAL watches over the crew of the Discovery, controlling the ships higher functions including life support. So if something were to go wrong with HAL‘s electronic brain, things could go pretty shitty pretty quickly.

Of course things do go wrong, HAL wouldn’t be on the list if he wasn’t, when the ships crew, David and Frank feel as though the computer has made a mistake whilst reporting a malfunction in the Discovery’s communication antenna. They decide that in order to ensure the continued success of the mission they have to disconnect HAL’s cognitive circuits, essentially removing the computers sentience. They say this in a soundproof chamber, believing that HAL can‘t hear them. They‘re right but what they don‘t realise that HAL can read lips. In order to save himself and continue carrying out his programmed directives, HAL decides that the only logical course of action is to kill the crew.

HAL proceeds to kill Frank whilst he’s carrying out repairs and switches off the life support for the crew members who are in suspended animation. Dave decides enough is enough and, after overcoming HAL’s resistance to allowing him back inside the ship, he manages to shut down HAL’s brain in a scene that makes you feel genuinely sorry for the calm-toned, glowing red eyed computer. Now, HAL does reappear in the sequel, 2010 but I haven‘t seen that in some time so I‘ll leave it here. Besides, this is the film where HAL is the true, if somewhat sympathetic, villain

3: Predator (The Predator Series)

A race of creatures scours the universe, their lives devoted to one purpose, the Hunt. These are the Predators or, as they have been referred to in expanded media, the Yautja. They search for worthy prey throughout the universe in order to prove their worth as a hunter. They adorn themselves with high-tech armour and weaponry in order to aid them in their quest. The armour allows them to bend light in such a way that allows them to almost disappear completely into their surroundings and their arsenal includes a variety of different weapons such as plasma blasters and some kind of electric spear things. If things go really tits up and for some reason they become mortally wounded during their hunt they have one more trick up their sleeve to try and ensure that there existence remains a secret. They set off a nuclear device which blows the shit out of them and their surroundings. That is pretty damn sweet.

Perhaps one of the strongest aspects of the Predators is that they seem to run their hunts with a strict code of honour. They won‘t kill an unarmed enemy, unless that enemy has proven themselves proficient enough in unarmed combat for them to take them on, they won‘t kill pregnant women and they won‘t kill children. These aren‘t your single minded killers or outright evil bastards. It‘s just that they only know one way, the way of The Hunt.

To top it all off they both look and sound cool. They would probably top my list of aliens with dreadlocks, hell they‘d probably top a list of dreadlocked characters that included humans as well. Though Sanka from ‘Cool Runnings‘ might give them a run for their money… No, no he wouldn‘t. Anyway, you also can‘t help but love what the unmasked Predators look like. They‘ve got that weird mouthgina thing with bizarre crab-leg-like protusions. They are ugly sons of bitches. As for the sound, well I love that weird clicking noise they make and the fact that they can record and playback sounds their prey make in order to confuse and entrap them is also awesome. The Predator laughing in the first film whilst the nuke counts down will stick in my mind until the day that I day.

Now, I know earlier that Darth Vader lost a few places because of the dubious way his character was portrayed in the Star Wars prequels and the same could be said for the Predator in the ‘Alien Versus Predator’ films. It’s certainly true that the character of the Predators is somewhat diminished in those films, well the first one at least. I haven’t seen the second one and life is pretty good having not watched it so it’ll probably stay that way. Still in the first one they did basically become sidekicks to the human characters which sucked massive predsticles. However, I feel that these films can be ignored a little easier than the Star Wars prequels. There was no involvement from the characters originators so it’s a little less egregious. Oh, and to you people thinking “But what about Predator 2? That also sucked. Why doesn’t he complain about Predator 2?” Well, yeah, Predator 2 was weaker than the first but I still enjoyed the hell out of. C’mon, it’s got Danny Glover in it!

2: Khan Noonien Singh (Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Kahn)

Khan was a genetically engineered superman who considered himself and his people to be superior to all other men. In an episode of the original series of Star Trek, Space Seed, Khan had run afoul of Captain James T. Kirk and found himself and his people stranded on a planet where Kirk hoped they would be able to make a life for themselves.

Unfortunately shit doesn‘t always go according to plan and an interplanetary disaster left Khan‘s new home world as nothing more than a desert wasteland. Unfortunately this shift in the planets ecosystem also killed Khan’s wife. Needless to say Khan is pissed. Whilst searching for a lifeless world to test the newly developed Genesis Device, the crew of the USS Reliant accidentally come across Khan and his tribe and the genetically engineered exiles manage to take control of the Reliant.

Now Khan is seeking revenge against Kirk, planning to use the Genesis device to enact it. Khan has become very enamoured with a certain book, Moby Dick, and very much sees Kirk as his white whale and pursues him relentlessly blinded anger as to the danger he is putting himself and his crew in until it‘s too late. His last speech is even taken pretty much from the book itself.

Overall, Khan is just a fantastic villain. He’s relentless, willing to do anything to put an end to Kirk and, most importantly, he believes he is entirely in the right. Also the fact that a man of Ricardo Montalban’s age didn’t require prosthetics to look as muscular as he did is incredible. And lest we forget Kahn’s name is just damn fun to yell.

1: The Xenomorph (The Alien Series)

In space no one can hear you scream. It‘s a tagline that resonates with each and every fan of sci-fi and horror. It originated in 1979 with a little film that shocked audiences to their very core. That film was Ridley Scott‘s ‘Alien’ and it introduced the world to the ultimate killing machine. It was sleek, stealthy and with a shiny black carapace. It had elements of the organic and the mechanical, it could survive the total vacuum of space and it‘s blood was an intensely strong acid. Perhaps most disturbing of all was that in order to propagate it‘s species it would commit acts of inter-species rape, implant it‘s seed inside you and was then born violently by bursting through your chest. It was the Xenomorph

The Xenomorph has been a mainstay of the cinema world since that first film. The nature of the beast has been expanded on and added too with each additional film. The second film introduced the notion that they lived a bit like ants in nests with a queen constantly laying eggs. I love ants and the Xenomorphs are like ants times awesome so naturally I love Xenomorphs. The third film introduced the idea that the Xenomorph would take on some of the genetic traits of the host that they matured inside and the fourth film… Well, the fourth film kinda sucked. Although it did show them swimming. That was pretty nice. As for AvP and it‘s sequel, well, the same rules apply here that applied for the Predator really.

It is true that the Xenomorphs have softened slightly over the years. Their acidic blood, once so potent on the Nostromo certainly seems to have diluted somewhat and one creature certainly seemed more effective than the hordes that would follow but it doesn‘t matter to me. They are almost as perfect a monster as you could find. These aren‘t the kinds of aliens that come with ships and lasers, there‘s no chance that you can turn their own technology against them nor any chance that they can be reasoned with. They are no more than primal beasts and that makes them all the more terrifying. What? Were you expecting the top of the universal food chain to be dominated by an intelligent being? Why? Because we are intelligent? You arrogant fuck. No, it makes far more sense to me that the ultimate being would be no more than instinct, tooth and claw. None of those messy emotions getting in the way of their simple goal. To kill and survive.

There you go then. That’ll do you for now. I have no idea what’ll be coming up next. I’ve got a few more movies in the Depress-A-Thon to look at so that’ll be a barrel of laughs I’m sure. For now though, I’m out of here. Laterz.

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My Favourite 10 Sci-Fi Villains and Monsters: Part 1 by Jamie

Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve done a good list. The reason I’m doing one now is because I’m tired. I mean really tired. Right now I’m running on about 1-2 hours sleep over a 48 hour period. Also my throat hurts. So to cut a long story short, I’m not in the mood to sit and watch something and review it properly. I’d probably fall asleep to be honest. So I’ve fallen back on a list. The problem is that lists seem like they should be easy but they are actually deceptively hard if you want to write something about each item on your list. You end up writing what basically amounts to ten mini-reviews which sometimes have to encompass entire franchises in a couple of paragraphs. So keep in mind my sleep deprived brain whilst you read this list. It’s possibly going to be a bit rambling and possibly completely incoherent at times. Anyway, spoilers ahead and let’s get the fuck on with it.

Well as the title has probably given away, this list is going to be about my favourite Sci-Fi Villains and Monsters. I think it’s pretty self explanatory so let’s just get on with it, shall we?

Am I coming of as angry? My apologies, it’s this stupid lack of sleep.

10: Lord Humongous (Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior)

I realise I might already be pushing the definition of Sci-Fi right out of the gate here, but I feel the Mad Max films count as sci-fi. The third is definitely the one which fits most comfortably into this genre but the series as a whole is set in a post-apocalyptic future and I’ve always considered post-apocalyptic to be a sub-genre of sci-fi so on we march.

Lord Humungus is my absolute favourite villain from the entire Mad Max series. He’s a big fucker who wears a hockey mask. I’m sure the fact that Jason is my favourite slasher villain has some impact on my enjoyment of this character. Besides that, Humungus is a fascinating character. He actually seems quite fair for a leader of a post-apocalyptic gang of roving marauders. All he wants is some gasoline and, in this cutthroat world, the only way to get it is to steal it. There’s a chance that he could have quite easily gone in there with his gang and taken it but instead he decides to offer them an honourable compromise. Sure, he kills a few people along the way but sometimes that’s the way the cookie crumbles in post-apocalyptic Australia.

Humungus also seems to genuinely care about his gang members. He’s not your stereotypical ruthless leader who views his followers as cannon fodder and nothing more. There’s also a hint throughout the movie that it’s the loss of someone he loves that has brought him to this point in his life though it’s never adequately explored. Finally his ‘Just walk away’ speech is one of my favourite speeches in all of cinema history and one I still quote to this day, especially if someone is doing poorly on a fruit machine.

9: The Velociraptors (The Jurassic Park Series)

Sci-fi isn’t always about the future. Sometimes it deals with ravenous beasts from the past and Jurassic Park certainly delivers with one of the most terrifying, the Velociraptors. Now, I should say right up front that the Velociraptors aren’t actually Velociraptors at all. In real life, Velociraptors were about the size of chickens. The dinosaurs in Jurassic Park are actually far more like a larger animal in the same family, Deinonychus. There are a few other issues as well such as the tails being a bit more flexible than they were in real life and a distinct lack of feathers but whatever. The point is that the fictionalised version of Velociraptors in Jurassic Park are truly terrifying.

The Raptors are fast, intelligent and deadly. They stalk their prey in such a way that if you can see one of them, there’s a good chance that there are a couple more hanging around somewhere that you can’t. Then before you know it they’re on top of you, slashing you apart with their sickle-shaped claw. And possibly the best part of the Raptors in Jurassic Park is that, in true Spielberg style, you get an idea of how dangerous they are long before you actually see them. You do, however, hear them and the sound design on the Raptors is truly brilliant. I love that screeching sound mixed in with all the bird noises that they make. It hits you in the balls of your soul. And lest we forget, they managed to kill the baddest motherfucker in Hollywood, Samuel L. Jackson. After that, only one thing could stop them, the film’s true heroine, T-Rex.

8: Biff and his ancestors and descendants (The Back To The Future Series)

There aren’t many villains who have managed to alter the time stream in order to make life better for themselves. Then again, there aren’t many villains who have had their lives made drastically worse by a heroes own meddling with time. Biff is that villain. In the original time stream he was a somewhat successful man who delighted in tormenting George McFly. By the end of the first film, thanks to the interference of George’s son Marty, he was reduced to taking care of George’s car.

In the second film Biff goes one step further when a future version of himself provides a past version of himself with a sports almanac which gives him access to the results of sporting results for many, many years. This makes Biff an incredibly wealthy man, changing Sunnydale from a nice normal town to a hell on Earth, shaped by Biff himself. The film also features Griff Tannen, Biff’s grandson, who enjoys nothing more than tormenting Marty’s son. The villainous apple never falls far from the villain tree!… Or something.

The third film takes place in the Wild, Wild West and features Biff’s ancestor, Mad Dog Tannen probably the most legitimate villain in the Tannen clan. This time he’s not just a villain but he’s a proper criminal, the leader of his own posse of outlaws. He shot Doc Brown until Marty McFly once more changed history and found himself having to face of against Mad Dog instead. All in all Biff, his alternative versions, his ancestors and his descendants are just a bunch of nasty, nasty douche bags.

7: Darth Vader (The Star Wars Saga)

Ah, there was a time when Vader would have been in the top half of this list, possibly even topping it but that’s no longer justifiable taking into account his entire character arc throughout all six films. Sadly young Anakin was a massive, massive twat. Whether whining about how he was better than people gave him credit for or whining about how he loved Amidala, Anakin certainly enjoyed a good whine. He was one whiny motherfucker.

But for the sake of this list, let’s try and focus on the good times. Before the prequels all Vader was was a force-choking, light-sabre wielding, heavy breathing, father being badass with James Earl Jones’ awesome voice and David Prowse’s awesome stature. He wore black, slept in a pod and had no problem with killing off members of his crew who failed him.

And to top it all off, Vader found redemption with the help of his son. He turned on his Master, absorbed some force lighting, which allowed flashes of his skull to be seen through his helmet, and threw him to his death. Then in after a touching moment with Luke, during which we finally get to see his face and the strange harmonica he enjoyed having ready to play at any moment, he stayed aboard the Death Star ready to become one with the force. Oh and he also shares something in common with the Velociraptors because, in one of the prequels, he managed to kill the baddest motherfucker in Hollywood, Samuel L. Jackson. Hardcore.

6: The Thing (The Thing)

There are few things more terrifying than not being able to trust the people around you. One thing that is slightly more terrifying is not being able to trust the people around you whilst being completely cut off from civilisation. This is the basic premise of John Carpenter’s remake of ‘The Thing’. A group of scientists working in the Arctic Circle are suddenly attacked by a mysterious alien creature which can change it’s form to imitate any one of them.

The special effects in ‘The Thing’ still hold up to this day. The creature is disgustingly visceral and it’s transformations look incredibly painful. Some CGI effects these days wish they could look this good. The film also features on of the most unbearably tense scenes the world of cinema has ever known. The blood test sequence will literally have you sitting on the edge of your seat and have you biting your nails right down to the elbow. It should also be noted that The Thing is such a monumentally powerful creature that only one of the Earth’s greatest heroes could defeat it, Kurt Russel with a goddamn beard. Not just any beard, a goddamn beard. Fuck yeah.

Right, that’ll do for now. The sun is rising which means it’ll soon be time for me to get home to bed. Sweet, sweet bed. This list has been incredibly hard going but it’s also been fun looking back at some of my favourite bad guys from science fiction. Assuming I wake up sometime within the next 24 hours, the second part of this list should be up some time tomorrow. Laterz.



The Top 10 Post-Apocalyptic Movies: Part 2 by Jamie

Well, I keep falling in and out of a bad mood so what better way to work through that then to indulge in fantasies of the annihilation of the human race! Let‘s continue. Oh, and number three has some major spoilers. Kind of hard to avoid them really. Sorry but, to be honest it was made in the 60s. I think the spoiler statute of limitations has expired. Also, part 1 can be found here.


5. The Terminator Series

Cause of apocalypse: Nuclear destruction at the hands of technology dubbed Judgement Day.

Now this could be quite a controversial choice because most of these films don’t really take part in the post-apocalyptic future. It’s mostly about people and robots being sent back from after the apocalypse to the present in order to try and prevent or ensure the apocalyptic event occurs. Coupled with the fact that the one film which is pretty much entirely set in the future made my list of least favourite films of 2009 should probably disqualify it from my list entirely.

But fuck it, this is my goddamn list and I can do whatever I like. I could Paul Blart Mall Cop on this list without having to justify myself if I so wished. I won’t but I could… Anyway, so yeah, the first three Terminator films take place before Judgement Day and that’s what makes them interesting. Well, the first two anyway. It‘s all about trying to prevent this terrible event and the cost of failure. The fact that it becomes increasingly clear by the third one that Judgement Day is inevitable just makes the whole affair even better. (Yep, that was actually a small piece of praise for Terminator 3)

And of course it’s inevitable. After all, if Judgement Day never occurs then Kyle Reese can’t be sent back in time to become John Connor’s father, the Terminator wouldn’t have been sent back and it’s parts wouldn’t have been used to help create Skynet, Skynet wouldn’t have been able to bring about Judgement Day meaning that Kyle Reese can’t be sent back in time to become John Connor’s father… Wait a minute. I think what I’m getting at is that in order for anything to happen, Judgement Day has to have happened so in a way the films are all set in a post-apocalyptic world because none of the events would of occurred unless the apocalypse had occurred… which it did. Fuck, I’m confused.


4. The Mad Max Series

Cause of apocalypse: Nuclear War over oil.

I love the Mad Max films. Sure the first one is a little dodgy and the third is more than a little cheesy but I can overlook these trifling problems and so all three are personal classics to me. They also had a major impact on post-apocalyptic genre as a whole. How many post-apocalyptic films and games feature roving gangs of people wearing bizarre, spiked body armour? You have the Mad Max series to thank for that.

The series is set in a dystopian future Australia in which bands of people struggle for survival. In the first film Max is a man who tries to police this society which seems to be breaking down around him. When his wife and child are killed by a gang of ne‘er-do-wells he goes on a revenge mission, hunting them down and taking them out, ending in a scene which served as an inspiration for the first ‘Saw’.

The second sees Max, now a burned out, shell of a man, wandering the desert and coming across a small outpost of people who are still excavating oil. The outpost has a problem with a band of marauders who want to take their oil from them as it is now a very rare and precious commodity. Max begins to regain his humanity by working with and helping to defend the people in the outpost. It‘s probably the strongest of the trilogy and the show, in my mind, is completely stolen by the leader of the marauders, Lord Humungus. His ‘Just walk away‘ speech is still one of the things I probably quote more often than any other.

The third is where the series seems to pick up in terms of budget. For the first time you get a view of different aspects of this post-apocalyptic wasteland on a grand scale. From Bartertown to the valley of the lost children, a lot of work went into the creation of this world. It also has Tina Turner in it. Once more Max starts of as a lone wanderer, coming across Bartertown, having to fight the brilliant Master-Blaster in the Thunderdome, getting banished from Bartertown and having to take a group of lost children under his wing. It‘s all brilliant stuff and it‘s guaranteed to keep me entertained anytime I watch it. The series as a whole is one of the true stand outs in Post-Apocalyptism and if you haven‘t seen them then, well, I strongly suggest you do so.


3. Planet Of The Apes

Cause of Apocalypse: Nuclear War.

On it’s most basic level, ‘Planet Of The Apes’ is a fun film about a man who finds himself on a weird world where apes are people and people are animals. Beyond that it is so, so much more. The best sci-fi is generally an allegory for something else and that perfectly describes this film. It touches on themes like religion vs. science, race and class systems, nuclear war and the possible implications of scientific discovery for society as a whole.

I was about to write that the main theme seems to be science vs. religion but I had to stop myself when I realised that the thing that makes this film so great is that it manages to take all of these themes and hit upon them equally and practically at the same time, except for perhaps nuclear war which really kinda comes in towards the end and with Charlton Heston’s mumblings about his general displeasure with humanity throughout the film. The court scene alone manages to make observations about the controversy surrounding evolution butting up against religious dogma whilst also dealing with the topic of what it is that grants someone or something the same rights as someone else.

I think this is definitely one that I want to come back to and review later and in greater detail. Suffice it to say that I don’t include the series as a whole here because I haven’t seen the series as a whole. I’m not even sure what I have seen. I remember seeing one when I was a kid though I couldn’t tell you what it was called or what really happened. I just remember a group of apes being herded along by humans. I think it may have been a prequel or something.

I suppose I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the remake. It’s a poor, poor shade of this film. The only thing I can say I really liked about it is the ape costumes. They were pretty awesome, especially the big orang-utan with the pads on his face but the rest of the film… well, all I’ll really say is Ape-raham Lincoln? What the fuck?


2. The … Of The Dead Series

Cause of Apocalypse: The Zombie Apocalypse

Ah, zombies. Zombies, zombies, zombies. I fucking love a good zombie film and George A. Romero is the Godfather of the entire genre. Sure, Diary of the Dead is a pretty terrible film and I’ve heard bad things about his newest outing but for the most part, Romero has defined what a zombie movie is.

There is something special about the idea of The Zombie Apocalypse. It’s the one of the ultimate end-games. As soon as it’s begun to spread, the zombies have pretty much already won. After that it’s just a matter of just trying to survive knowing one of two things will happen, either you’ll end up dead or you’ll end up undead and every day you survive just brings you one day closer to one of this inescapable conclusions.

The true mastery of what Romero does is that he doesn’t make the zombie the biggest threat in his films. For the most part, the zombies are just a barrier, keeping a small group of survivors trapped somewhere. It’s the people you’re surviving with in a Romero film that you truly want to be worried about.

Who knows what’ll happen? Maybe one of them will decide that they want more supplies for themselves and try to kill off some of the other survivors. Maybe one of them will try and escape, try and make it on their own, accidentally letting the shuffling horde inside. Maybe one of them will just go batshit crazy and have to be dealt with. Or maybe it won’t even be someone from your group. Maybe another group of survivors will happen across your hiding place and decide that they want what you have for themselves, inevitably letting the zombies inside as they try and get it.

There’s also the terrible ramifications of being bitten by a zombie. The transformation of living person into zombie is not instantaneous and so you’re left with the horrible knowledge that sooner or later you’re going to become a flesh hungry corpse and once again you’re faced with question. Do you just out and out shoot yourself in the head? Do you get another survivor to kill you? Or do you hide the bite, hope no one notices and carry on with the misguided hope that maybe it just won’t affect you? There’s just so much to consider and that’s with all the social commentary that Romero layers into his zombie films notwithstanding. That’s why I love these films and why you owe it to yourself to watch them.


1. Threads

Cause Of Apocalypse: Nuclear War.

Yes, for number one I’m going a little obscure. It’s a made for TV British film that I’ve reviewed before (Threads: The Single Most Depressing Thing Mankind Has Ever Put To Film) and it’s truly fucking chilling. The acting is corny, it’s incredibly 80s, scratch that, it’s incredibly Northern England 80s and it’s a little slow to start but fuck, after the bombs drop, it’s just… Wow.

This film portrays what life would have been like if the US and Russia had decided to launch nukes at each other and what would have happened had England been completely ravaged by nuclear bombs. I’m sure that a few of the things that are described aren’t considered exactly scientifically accurate these days but I’m also sure that it’s still as close as I’ll ever see a film get to the truth.

This film essentially put me into a sort of mini-depression after watching it. It made me feel doomed, as though at any moment the world could come crashing to a halt if a small group of people wished it so. Keep in mind that the Cold War had been over for some time at this point. Seriously though, there doesn’t need to be a cold war for it to happen anyway. All it takes is a few buttons being pushed and then Boom. Life as we know it will be over. The lucky ones will die in the initial attacks. Oh, god. It’s happening again. Just thinking about this fucking film is bringing it all back. What the fuck is the point?

Still, if you feel that happiness is a commodity that you just don’t need in your life anymore, I heartily recommend ‘Threads‘. It’s incredible and horrifying. Oh god, why? Why?

Well, that’s it then. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little walk down the lane of unimaginable despair and if you’re interested in finding out more about the ways in which the world is likely to end I highly recommend the book ‘Death From The Skies’ by the brilliant Phil Plait. Laterz.



The Top 10 Post-Apocalyptic Movies: Part 1 by Jamie

Just over ten years ago we were convinced that the world was fucked. The Y2K bug would strike our computers and our technology would turn on us. Planes would fall out of the sky, nuclear missiles would launch themselves and toasters would refuse to carry out their toasting duties.

In essence the world was gripped with a weird mass technophobia. To be fair, mass hysteria is a condition which seems to plague the human race on a fairly regular basis. We seem to be determined to panic about the next big thing that will render our existence nothing more than a blip on the universal timeline. Be it the next big virus, terrorism or an asteroid strike from the cold unfeeling expanse that is outer space, there’s always something out there just waiting to kill us. Sure, these fears are justified to some extent but it is the passion with which we fear these things that makes humans something very special.

As such these fears have bled over into the world of film. There’s something exhilarating about a good post-apocalyptic movie. We just love to see a world where something’s gone terribly wrong and the way in which the survivors deal with it, wondering if we‘d be able to cope. With that, I’d like to share with you my personal top 10 post-apocalyptic films of all time.

A couple of disclaimers. I’ve tried to avoid spoilers as much as possible but sometimes I may have let the odd thing slip. You have been warned. In general series of films will occupy one spot on this list. Also, I’ve never seen Children of Men. I know that I really should and I always manage to try and catch it on TV and it’s always at the bit where they’re leaving hippy Michael Caine behind. I’m sure if I had seen it properly it’d be on here somewhere, probably somewhere quite high from what I’ve heard. Now to the list!


10. Repo: The Genetic Opera

Cause of apocalypse: Plague which caused the failure of internal organs.

Repo is a musical set in a dystopian future in which designer organ transplants have become big business. The reason being that in the past a disease ravaged the population, killing many. The disease caused the internal organs to stop working. A corporation, GeneCo, developed genetically engineered organs which helped put an end to the disease. With the end of the plague, GeneCo began to create organs for purely cosmetic reasons. GeneCo basically runs the show now and offers organs on finance which is fine if you can keep up with the payments.

If you can’t then the company will send the Repo Man after you in order to reclaim their property. Dressed in a surgical smock, he stalks his victims in the night, slicing up his victims and repossessing the organs. It’s a fairly interesting concept regarding the increasing influence corporations have on our every day lives.

The film does have one major flaw and that’s that Paris Hilton is one of it’s stars. If you’ve ever seen ‘House of Wax’ or ‘The Hottie and The Nottie’ then that’s probably enough to put you off to some degree but honestly she’s fairly inoffensive in this film and doesn’t really play a major enough part in the story to massively impact my enjoyment of it. Besides, her appearance is easily counter-balanced with the inclusion of Anthony Head as the Repo Man. He’s a great actor and a terrific singer to boot.

Overall it’s a film that I enjoy but I can certainly understand why others wouldn’t. It is, as the title suggests, an opera with very little dialogue that isn’t sung. It’s also very, very gothic in style and I understand that isn’t to every ones liking but it doesn’t really bother me. All ‘ll say is give it a chance but it certainly isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea.


9. Reign of Fire

Cause of apocalypse: Dragons.

In my opinion, Reign of Fire is a fairly overlooked film and the reason it makes it onto the list is the way that the human race is brought to the brink of extinction. Dragons. That is fucking awesome. It’s so simple a concept. Dragons are accidentally awoken by digging beneath London and arise from their slumber to scorch the Earth and become top of the food chain. I’ll be honest, I’ve always had a soft spot for dragons.

There are some interesting attempts to explain why the dragons are the way they are. They breath fire because they can only consume ash, setting anything organic ablaze in order to consume it meaning that not only are the humans at risk from the beasts but so are their crops. Does it make any scientific sense whatsoever? No, but who cares? It’s fucking dragons! The method by which they create this fire is even more interesting. They expel highly-flammable liquids from their mouth which burst into flames when they hit the air as far as I can tell. It looks sweet.

There are some pretty outstanding scenes within the film that just kick it up a notch. The Americans hunting the dragon by sky diving with a giant net is pretty goddamn awesome. And any film that includes a medieval style play of the ‘Empire Strikes Back’ deserves a special place in my heart.


8. 28 Days/Weeks Later

Cause of Apocalypse: Outbreak of the Rage virus.

Now, this is going to take some explaining. I’m sure many people would expect this film to come higher in a list like this whilst I’m sure others who know me are surprised that I’ve included it on the list at all. I’ve spent many a drunken night bitching about 28 Days Later and how it’s pretty much responsible for the current trend of running zombies. Now before you begin with the “But they’re not zombies in 28 Days Later…” save it. I’ve heard it all before. Regardless of whether or not they are zombies in the strictest sense of the word, they are certainly zombie enough to influence actual zombie films and create the running zombie as we know it today… zombie.

Anyway, recently I decided to break down and just watch 28 Weeks Later. Honestly, I thought it was a slightly superior film, particularly the latter part. In fact if you could find a way to combine the beginning of Days and the ending of Weeks then you’d probably have a practically perfect film.

Even with their flaws, both films have incredibly engaging stories and images that just stick with you. Who the hell can forget the image of Cillian Murphy walking through a completely abandoned London? Speaking of which, the fact that the films are set in Britain certainly help to soften me to them slightly more than perhaps a foreign viewer might. Also there are crazy chimps. Who doesn’t love crazy chimps? Crazy chimps are awesome. Not quite as awesome as dragons but still pretty awesome.


7. The Omega Man

Cause of Apocalypse: Biological Warfare

‘The Omega Man’ is the second film adaptation of Richard Matheson’s story ‘I Am Legend’, the first being ‘The Last Man On Earth’ which I haven’t seen and the third being ‘I Am Legend’ starring Will Smith, whose portrayal of the apparent last surviving human I enjoy more than Charlton Heston’s performance in this but which I dislike because the bizarre CGI zombie vampire things just take me completely out of the movie.

In ‘The Omega Man’ there are no CGI monsters because, well, it’s the 70s. Instead we get The Family, a group of cloaked, albino and nocturnal mutants who wish to kill the last remaining human and destroy the civilisation he represents along with all it‘s heretical technological notions.

I love The Family. They are a far, far more compelling group of villains than the rather uninspired creatures that show up in ‘I Am Legend’. They have motivation behind there actions rather than the seemingly mindless killers in the later film. And although, as previously stated, I preferred Will Smith’s slightly more unhinged take on the last human that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy Charlton Heston at all. In fact, I enjoyed his performance quite a lot. In all, I’d say that if you’ve only ever seen ‘I Am Legend’ give this a watch. Also find ‘The Last Man On Earth’ as well because I will be. It’s got Vincent Price in it so how could it be bad?


6. Wall-E

Cause Of Apocalypse: Pollution, Destruction of Environment.

I remember watching ‘Wall-E’ for the first time and being completely blown away by what I saw. The first half of the movie is completely incredible. The look of the world, completely devastated by mankind’s destruction of the environment, is an awesome sight to behold. Rivers are dried up, the land is practically devoid of vegetation and an odd fog hangs over the land.

This world was clearly abandoned by humans a long, long time ago, so long ago in fact that all the robots that have been left behind to clean the mess up have stopped working. All that is except for one, the titular Wall-E. Never before has a character managed to say so much whilst actually saying so little. Except for maybe Harry from ‘Harry and the Hendersons‘. He was awesome.

Now the second half of the film does tend towards a more traditional narrative and plays out as expected. Still, even then there are so many references to other classic sci-fi films, such as ‘2001’ and ‘Alien’ that would simply fly over the heads of children, to keep someone like me entertained. And I can’t help but laugh at the creatures that humans have become when they have robots taking care of their every whim.

So there you go. That’s the first five on my list of post-apocalyptic movies. The countdown to the end will continue tomorrow. Laterz.



Top 10 Films That Make Me Cry by Jamie
03/02/2009, 2:18 pm
Filed under: Lists | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jamie here. If there’s one thing I’ve come to realise over the years it’s that I’m a fucking pussy when it comes to even the slightest bit of emotion in a film, especially in recent years. I dunno what it is but the slightest sad thing happens and I’m blubbering like a bitch. In that spirit then is this, a list of my top 10 films guaranteed to make me cry. Warning: this list will contain spoilers and where available I’ve tried to show the scenes in question in video form.

10: Toy Story

Perhaps an odd choice but it’s one specific scene in particular. Buzz is determined to fly in order to prove to himself that he can fly and that he is not a toy whilst Randy Newman’s song “I Will Go Sailing No More” plays in the background. The mixture of determination and ultimate realisation combined with that song just tugs at my heart strings.

9: Home Alone

This may be the movie I have seen more times that any other in my entire life. At family Christmas gatherings it always seems to be on at some point plus it’s a particular favourite of certain family members so it’s just as likely to be on at any time of the year. What scene makes me cry? Well, the final one of course, when his mum comes back. If it doesn’t affect you then you’ve got a heart of fucking stone.

8: The Lives Of Others

The scene in which Christa-Maria, believing she had just stabbed her lover Georg in the back in exchange for her own safety decides to take her own life rather than live with guilt of what she has done. The saddest thing? The incriminating evidence had just been removed by the sympathetic agent who had been sent to spy on them.

7: The Lion King
Ah the Lion King. Truly one of the Disney classics and further proof that Disney hates parents. Seriously how many parents have died or are already dead within Disney films? So yes the scene here is, of course, the death of Simba’s father, Mufasa, and the fact that Simba blames himself. Heartbreaking.

6: Brokeback Mountain

Yes, the controversial film about two bisexual cowboys who fall in love. Leave your hang ups at the door and just fucking watch it. It’s an amazing film with a fantastic cast and it’s roles like thos that truly highlight what a great hole Heath Ledger’s death left us with, though his accents a tad dodgy in this. The film that gets the waterworks going? The last scene after Jake has been gay bashed to death when Ennis does up the shirt he retrieves from Jack’s house and is left to reminisce. It’s a simple, quiet and touching moment.

5: Lilo and Stitch

My penultimate animated entry on this list and my personal favourite Disney film. Not sure why exactly. Maybe because it’s quite different from many of the others, maybe it’s the Elvis soundtrack or maybe it’s just the way it touched me. There are several moments in this film that bring me to tears but the biggest one must be the scene that follows when Stitch decides to leave and everyone is feeling thoroughly sad.

4: The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King

There’s only one scene really that gets me in this film. It’s the scene where the Men of Gondor ride to almost certain death as Pippin sings a song for the seemingly uncaring steward of Gondor as he feast greedily. Wow.

3. Forrest Gump

Now I’ve made fun of this film quite a few times in my life, mainly due to the phrase “Magic Legs”. It’s just a damn funny thing to say. And while this film is indeed quite funny, it can also be quite touching and never quite so much as when Forrest is saying goodbye to Jenny.

2. Batman Begins

I don’t think I’ve ever seen the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents portrayed so poignantly. From the lead up, the murders themselves and the aftermath, everything in these scenes is perfect for really getting at the love and respect Bruce had for his parents, particularly his father and just goes to explain his clearly damaged psyche a little more. Most heartbreaking of all is when Bruce breaks into tears whilst blaming himself.

1. E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial

Really? Would anyone ever choose anything else?

Honorary Television List

Whilst making this list, I was reminded of a few things from television that had affected me over the years. Here they are in no particular order… except the best is at the end.

Extras – Big Brother Speech

I dunno what it is exactly about this scene that gets me going. Maybe it’s the fact that I was hammered having drunk an entire bottle of Baileys before watching it but I spent the night rewinding and rewatching this scene over and over again.

Futurama – The Luck Of The Fryrish

During the episode Fry is under the assumption that his brother had stolen his lucky 7 leaf clover and his name when he had gone missing. At the end of the episode it is revealed that he had actually named his son after him in one of the most moving scenes ever animated and the best use of “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds ever.

Scrubs – My Lunch

Dr. Cox orders transplants for three patients when a supply comes in. Unfortunately the organs are infected with rabies resulting in the disease being passed on to the three patients. For two of the patients, it’s not such as they would have died either way but the third could have waited another month for a transplant and Cox finally loses it. From the music to the acting, everything is perfect.

Scrubs – My Screw Up

In this episode, Dr. Cox’s best friend, and former brother in law, Ben experiences a re-emergence of his cancer. For the most of the episode it seems as though it finally went back into remission until this final scene where it becomes clear Dr. Cox has been living in denial.

Blackadder – Goodbyeee

Wow. This is it. The ultimate saddest ending of anything. Can’t help but notice that all of these have come from comedies. Strange that, maybe that’s why they are so affecting. These scenes are the opposite of what you normally expect from these programs.



The Cinepub First Annual Obligatory Xmas Season Top 10 Christmas Films That I Enjoy To Like! by Jamie
22/12/2008, 1:53 pm
Filed under: Lists | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Well, it’s that time of year again. People are roasting their nuts on open fires, toy companies a greedily stroking their chins in manners befitting their evil geniusnous and children are pissing themselves in the laps of creepy strangers wearing false beards. Merry Christmas!

It seems as though this is a blog about films and as such I am pretty much required by law to do a list containing my favourite Christmas movies of all time. I managed to resist doing a list of scary films at Halloween but I’m afraid I just can’t fight the mainstream on this. I fear that if I do, my blogging licence will be revoked and I’ll be forced to go back to not making money doing other things and I can’t have that.

So let’s begin shall we?

10) Santa Claus: The Movie

Since my first Christmas I’m fairly sure I’ve seen this Saint Nick biopic every damn year. (Though that’s impossible as it was released a year after my first Christmas but I digress) The film begins with Santa Claus gaining magical powers for he is the chosen one. The film ends up with Dudley Moore playing an elf teaming up with John Lithgow playing an evil business tycoon for some reason. Awesome!

9) Ernest Saves Christmas

Ernest P. Worrell featured quite heavily in my early life for some reason. In particular I remember two films, Ernest Scared Stupid and Ernest Saves Christmas. Since I can’t put Ernest Scared Stupid on this list I’m gonna have to put Ernest Saves Christmas on this list. The film tells the story of Ernest’s mission to find a replacement for Santa who’s getting close to retirement. In no way is it a fantastic film but it ain’t The Santa Clause and that counts for something.

8 ) Home Alone

Another one from my childhood. For some reason I may have seen this film more than any other film that has ever or will ever exist. It just always happens to be on for some reason. Either my brothers watching it, my cousins watching it or someone else is watching it and, having nothing better to do, I end up watching it too. You know the plot. Hell, you’ve probably seen it a thousand times too.

7) The Muppet Christmas Carol

A telling of the Charles Dickens’ story starring the loveable cast of the Muppets and the loveable aged cockney, Michael Caine. Particular pieces of awesome: Statler and Waldorf as the ghosts of Marley and Marley, Kermit and Piggy as Mr and Mrs Cratchit and an awesome Ghost of Christmas Future. As long as Future looks enough like Death in a Christmas Carol movie then I’m sold.

6) How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Yes, the animated TV special, not the one with Jim Carrey. Sprung forth from the surrealistic mind of Dr. Seuss and narrated by Boris Fucking Karloff. It’s the classic tale of a hairy green freak who wants to stop Whoville from enjoying Christmas only to have is heart grow three times that day. Man, I’m hungry for roast beast.

5) National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

It’s Christmas time at the Griswold’s and every body is coming to stay! Nothing goes smoothly, every little event working it’s way tirelessly and relentlessly to ruin Clark’s dream of a perfect Christmas. Every second of this film have things going from bad, to worse to uber-bad and it’s all very, very funny.

4) Scrooged

Another retelling of Dickens’ story, this time starring William Murray. This film modernizes the story as bastard television producer Francis attempts to make his own live version of the story only to have the events within it happen to him. As I said before as long as they have a good Ghost of Christmas Future I’m sold and in this film motherfucker is the Grim Reaper with a TV for a face. Awesome.

3) Lethal Weapon

It’s the greatest buddy cop movie ever made and also a damn good Christmas film. Ok so maybe it’s technically not a Christmas film but it’s set at Christmas time so it counts. Riggs is a cop with nothing to lose and Murtaugh is just getting’ too old for this shit. The film culminates with Riggs spending Christmas at the Murtaugh household so it definetly counts.

2) Die Hard

This is possibly the greatest action movie ever made and it’s a shame what the franchise has become but thankfully the knowledge that Die Hard 4.0 exists cannot take away from the awesome that is this film. I still feel tense watching certain parts of it, no matter how many times I watch it. This one also feels a lot more Christmassy than Lethal Weapon so it gets extra points for that.

1) Gremlins

Ah, what can I say about Gremlins that hasn’t already been said? Did you ever get a dog for Christmas? Then the dog got wet and more dogs sprouted out of his back? And then when the new dogs ate after midnight they turned into ravenous reptillian wolves? That’s kinda like this film but with mogwai and gremlins instead of dogs and wolves. There’s plenty of fun here as the titular characters just generally cause mayhem on Christmas night. They dress up as carolers, attack Santa Claus and kill an old woman! Ho, Ho, Ho Merry Christmas!




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