Black Swan

Originally published on Panic Dots.

Black SwanI’ll never forget the first time I saw π, Aronofsky‘s brilliant debut. A friend of mine sat me down, told me to shut up, watch, and listen, then switched the movie on without another word. It was the most intense audio-visual experience I’d ever had, and I desperately wished I could go back in time to experience it all over again, fresh, with no preconceptions.

Aronofsky has since then added to his impressive body of work – some well received, others not so much (I don’t care what you think, I thought The Fountain was a great film). All of them, without exception, feature a protagonist consumed by an internal quest: in π it’s Max‘s (Sean Gullette) search for the perfect number system, ,emRequiem For A Dream sees Harry (Jared Leto) lose himself in the pursuit of heroin, The Fountain has Tom (Hugh Jackman) desperately trying to develop a cure for his wife’s terminal brain tumour and The Wrestler, by far Aronofsky‘s most intimate and naturalistic creation, shows Randy (Mickey Rourke) trying to piece his life together after a heart attack forces him to retire from professional wrestling.

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The Last Victim

Originally published on Panic Dots.

The Last VictimI’ve sat through some truly awful serial killer biopics in my time, so I was initially reluctant to cast my eye over The Last Victim. Sure, John Wayne Gacy’s an interesting subject, but it’s all too easy to go TV MOVIE on films like these. Then I found out that William Forsythe would be playing the “killer clown”, and I just couldn’t resist. No matter how bad the movie is, I always find his performance strangely hypnotic, like he could reach out of the screen at any point to grab me by the throat and make me stare into those dead eyes. In short, he scares the living bejeezus out of me.

This film isn’t to be approached lightly – those of you expecting a gore-fest, exploitation film should look elsewhere. This isn’t a Rob Zombie movie, so you’re not expected to root for the bad guy (no matter how many families are left butchered and sexually abused in their wake). The Last Victim is set while Gacy is safely incarcerated in death row, and acts as an adaptation of Jason Moss’ infamous memoirs. In reality, Moss befriended a number of incarcerated serial killers as a means of researching his Honors Thesis (Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Henry Lee Lucas and Richard Ramirez make the list), but this film focuses purely on the strongest, and some could argue the most affecting, relationship he was able to develop.

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Enemies Of The People

Originally published on Panic Dots.

Directed by Rob Lemkin and Thet SambathEnemies of the People

The word “evil” is bandied around too readily these days. When someone resorts to using it, as abhorrent as the actions or behaviours they’re describing are, I think it’s all too neat a summary. When you dismiss something as “evil”, you stop all analysis. You don’t need to think about it anymore, it is what it is and there’s no need to try and understand it. I don’t think this is a healthy habit for a society to get into. If you don’t analyse the circumstances that lead to the so-called act or acts of evil, how do you expect to avoid them re-occurring?

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Return To Horror High

Originally published on Panic Dots.

Return To Horror High“In 1982 the town of Crippen was rocked by a series of murders at Crippen High School. The killer was never caught. Now, several years later, a production company are in town to make a movie about the murders. However, it seems the killer is still there, and the cast and crew are beginning to disappear…”

Ah, 1980s horror. There’s nothing quite like it, and god bless the Horror Channel for showing films like these, because it would probably cost an arm and a leg to get my dad’s old Betamax repaired. I may be looking at this through rose tinted glasses, but the low budget horror we have nowadays isn’t a patch on films like Return To Horror High. It suffers from the same problem pornography did when cassette loaded and digital cameras became the cheapest way to make a film on a shoestring – without the huge financial obstacle, anyone can make a film of their own. It takes dedication to raise 100k or upwards, and it was a great way to stop wannabes before they even started. That’s not to say there haven’t been a number of celluloid abominations unleashed on the unsuspecting public, but when it costs a fiver for 60 minutes of film you’re bound to see an increase in tat.

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Catfish

Originally published on Panic Dots.

CatfishIt’s proving quite a challenge to write about Catfish without completely ruining it for the audience. Bearing that in mind, I’d like to let you know that I’m going to give it 5/5. If you intend on watching the film, and don’t want the experience compromised I would suggest that you stop reading now. Don’t even watch the trailer. Just go the cinema, completely blind, and drink it all in. Don’t even read this review!

Now, I’m going to show you a still from the film and carry on my review underneath. If you’re still here after that, then be warned: there will be some mild spoilers. Not huge ones, but spoilers none the less. Continue reading