Opinions. Everybody Has 'Em.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Paranormal (in)activity, the walking dead, and bleeding houses.

Perhaps I'm just a stubborn moo, but whenever a new book or movie floats through town on a raft of hype, I deliberately avoid climbing aboard with the initial wave of eager souls and wait instead until well after the storm has died down. Disappointingly often I find that the hype was just that, the over-excited babbling of someone in the marketing department ( Witness Dan Brown's 'The DaVinci Code' ). Such has been the case with movie-of-the-moment Paranormal Activity. All I can say is, there went ninety minutes of my life that I'll never get back. Even with the best marketing in the world setting it on fire through the Internet ( that huge black-hole repository of often useless junk ) and a truly fiendish word-of-mouth campaign, surely someone other than myself must have noticed that the actual movie, well, it sucks. Why are there now two sequels? Thank God I had the far superior Zombieland to cheer me back up afterwards, otherwise there are vases in my house might have been in serious danger of being shattered against walls. Woody Harrelson was a treat in that snakeskin jacket, and Jesse Eisenberg is such an unexpected hero. Take note, Paranormal Inactivity, if you want to do something simple but striking, this is how it should be done.

So very much better also is The Walking Dead, currently approaching its finale on FXUK. Just six episodes of this zombie-plague-destroys-the-world ( well, Atlanta, GA anyway ) TV show are not enough. My world was truly made when I found out that zombies would be shambling and moaning along to join the legion of vampires and werewolves biting and howling their way across our TV screens these days, and I was hooked on the show from the moment a zombified torso started crawling towards Sheriff Rick, skeletal jaw snapping, gurgling hungrily at this man-sized Happy Meal. There is something realistic and yet comic-book about The Walking Dead that is deeply unsettling. I'm as excited as a Santa Claus-believing 5 yr-old on Christmas Eve then to learn that the show has been commissioned for a second series run of 13 episodes. Take note, Paranormal Inactivity, if you want to make something look realistic enough to make your viewers doubt the safety of their cosy world just a little, this is how it should be done!

There's a recession on, the country's being run by a clueless toff and his mannequin, it's still bloody snowing, so what else is a girl to do but treat herself to a box set of the old ITV series Hammer House of Horror. Thirteen 1-hour stand-alone episodes derived from the series of movies from the same stable which ran in several repeats during the 80's, at some point I managed to convince my mother it would be a good idea to allow me to watch them. Starting with 'The House That Bled To Death', I was suitably creeped out at the time by this episode, especially by the scene of a birthday party ruined by some burst pipes drenching the cake in something a lot worse than a little collected rainwater! Re-watching a few of the episodes now, including the abovementioned, I am still suitably creeped out, proving that sometimes an oldie is indeed a goodie, even if the decor is a little dated and Mom's flares went out with Gary Glitter. God bless the 70's & 80's when horror was King. Take note Paranormal Inactivity...