Out for the evening

Geth and I are off to a gig tonight, which I will update you about tomorrow.  As such, today has mostly involved getting everything done in time so that I can chill out and enjoy the evening!

I’m really looking forward to going out for the evening – it’s nice to get out once in a while.

OOTD 5th October 2018
OOTD: going out for the evening! Necklaces Claire’s Accessories (2003), top LK Bennett (2018), skirt Miss Selfridge (2004), tights Primark (2017), shoes Carvela (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Madonna – Into The Groove
Roxette – Listen To Your Heart
Irene Cara – Fame
The Human League – (Keep Feeling) Fascination
They Might Be Giants – Birdhouse In Your Soul
Semisonic – Closing Time
Jennifer Lopez – Louboutins

2018 Ciders #61: Magners Pear

After getting my taste for Bulmers Pear in the pub in South Shields after the GNR, I went for Magners Pear in the next pub to continue the theme!

Magners Pear
Magners Pear.

Magners Pear is a bit sweeter than Bulmers Pear, but it’s still very nice and nowhere near cloying.  Another good option for pubs where I’m not keen on the draught offering.

31 Days Of Horror: Friday the 13th

I watched Friday the 13th (1980) fairly recently, in the summer (similarly to Halloween, I usually watch it when it’s a Friday the 13th, and I realised this year that there won’t be another one until 2020!)

Friday the 13th
Everyone’s dead. Let’s put the kettle on!

It’s another film with a flashback opening sequence, which again is not-quite-period – 1958 looks very 1980 in terms of hair and makeup, though the props are done quite well.

Friday the 13th is probably the most egregious slasher film series for the ‘sex equals death’ trope – any time characters so much as think about it, the killer comes calling.

I really like the character of Annie, whose doomed journey to Camp Crystal Lake opens the contemporary narrative of the film.  She comes across as quite sweet and whimsical, and I always wish she survived long enough to interact with the others at the camp!  This is another film where the characters are written quite well and I always end up imagining the alternative universe where they didn’t get killed.

The date is given as Friday June 13th, setting the film in its release year of 1980.

Crazy Ralph shows up, who is my favourite example of ‘mad old doommonger’ in slasher horror!

The backstory to why all the locals think the camp is cursed is explained quite well by the old dude who gives Annie a lift, so the audience are nicely up to speed.

I can’t stand the daft honky redneck music that plays while Jack, Marcie and Ned are driving to Camp Crystal Lake – I can only imagine it’s meant to indicate that Ned is the comic relief character.

Jack is played by a pre-fame Kevin Bacon, which adds some interest!  It does mean that I keep being reminded of the latest EE advert whenever he’s on screen.

Alice is introduced quite unusually for a final girl, coming across as a slightly older and more sensible camp counselor at first.  It’s not clear during this early section who the main character is supposed to be.  There’s also a hint of romance between camp leader Steve and Alice that is never followed up.

There’s some backstory about Alice not really being happy working at camp, but this soon becomes unimportant.

Ned’s flirting with Brenda – constantly grabbing her from under the water during the lake swimming sequence – comes across as super creepy from a modern point of view!

Annie succumbs to the first of the classic Friday the 13th through-the-woods chases.  These become more prevalent in the sequels.

Ned crying wolf about drowning should really have been followed up later with him calling for help for real and nobody believing him – it would have made for a much better death scene!

The bit with the counselors being slightly cheeky to the police officer is hilarious – it really gives them all some character.

Marcie’s fear of thunderstorms is quite touching, and again rounds her character nicely.

Ned doesn’t even get an onscreen death!  He just investigates a strange noise and disappears.

The infamous strip Monopoly game is one of the highlights of the film – it’s very funny.  I remember when I last watched this in the summer, Geth kept getting notifications on Facebook from his favourite boardgame discussion group, who were also all watching the film (and commenting on this scene) to celebrate it being Friday the 13th!

This is the second film I’ve watched this week (after Halloween) where characters think the strange noises they hear must just be their friends pissing about to try and scare them.  I’ll be watching for this trope all month now.

In order to lure Brenda outside, the killer plays a recording of a child’s voice calling for help.  I’m not quite sure how the killer is doing this with 1980 technology in the middle of a thunderstorm!

Brenda’s death is offscreen too – offscreen deaths are quite unusual for a slasher and I don’t think it happens much again in subsequent entries in the series.

There’s a good reveal where Steve turns out to know the killer – he greets them with surprise just before getting stabbed.

For a while after realising something strange is going on, Alice and Bill do the sensible thing of sticking together…but not for long.  ‘I’ll be right back!’ says Bill, which is such a stupid thing to say in a horror film that Scream highlighted this particular phrase sixteen years later.

Bill’s death is offscreen too.  The trend in this film seems to be for people to die offscreen and then show up as corpses for scare value later on.

The sequence of Mrs Voorhees showing up, first providing relief from the tense atmosphere by appearing to be a helpful adult figure (though it shouldn’t be too much relief if you picked up the Steve clue earlier) then turning out to be the killer, makes the ending chase sequence quite interesting.

The ‘beheading’ special effect, by effects specialist Tom Savini, was lauded at the time but looks a bit hokey now!

I’ve seen the infamous lake boat ending moment so many times it doesn’t make me jump any more, but it’s still a great scare – it’s not clear if it’s just a hallucination on Alice’s part though.

The ending, with Alice suspecting Jason Voorhees is still in the lake, sets things up nicely for Part 2!

A non-slasher to discuss tomorrow.

My favourite weekday

Another nice routine Thursday, which I think is my favourite day of the week.  I lost a pound and a half at Slimming World weigh-in, so I’m heading nicely back towards the middle of my target range, and I got some more admin done before heading to Pilates, which is becoming a good weekly recovery workout the day after my Wednesday long run.

Now having a quiet evening with Geth’s YouTube videos in the background again.

OOTD 4th October 2018
OOTD: Thursday weigh-in ‘n’ Pilates uniform. T-shirt Sunderland City 10K (2016), leggings Primark (2018), trainers Reebok (2013).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Tracey Ullman – They Don’t Know
Jennifer Lopez – Louboutins
Alice Cooper – Poison
They Might Be Giants – Birdhouse In Your Soul
INXS – Need You Tonight
Zie Zie – Fine Girl
The Mamas & The Papas – California Dreaming
Crowded House – Weather With You
Duran Duran – The Chauffeur

Phone Box Thursday: Platform Road, Southampton

Today’s phone box is from a trip Geth and I took to Southampton in May 2017 so that Geth could conduct some work interviews.  It was the first time we’d been back to Southampton since we’d moved away from the city more than two years previously, and I found the whole experience pretty strange!  I did, however, take the opportunity to photograph this phone box that I remembered passing all the time when we used to walk down to the marina.

Red phone box
Red phone box, Platform Road, Southampton, 10th May 2017.

(Coordinates 50°53’49.7″N, 1°23’52.0″W.)

The park is a nice pretty setting for this phone box.  I wonder if I’ll ever have cause to go visit it again?

31 Days Of Horror: Halloween III

Halloween III (1982) would later become known as the entry in the series that’s not as good because it doesn’t have Michael Myers in.  This is quite a shame, ’cause it’s actually quite a fun (if daft) wee film, and I think things would have been different if the filmmakers had done what they originally intended to do with the series, which was to have different standalone stories with the common theme of being set on Hallowe’en.

Halloween III opening credits
Love those old computer graphics!

We get some awesomely of-the-time ’80s computer graphics in the opening credits, with a pumpkin lantern being drawn line by line on a screen.  This image plays a part in the story later on. </foreshadowing>

The story opens with some standard-looking men in black chasing a guy down; he manages some impressive car-hauling to kill one of them who’s trying to strangle him, and buys himself probably half an hour more of life so he can kick off the plot.  Good work!

There’s a lovely bit in the nearby petrol station (or gas station, I suppose, as it’s California) with a British news correspondent reporting from Stonehenge, where it’s been nine months since somebody stole one of the stones.  The whole Stonehenge stone-stealing plot point is utterly ludicrous.  As a teenager who had only seen the giant standing stones you get in the Outer Hebrides, I always used to say it would be impossible to steal a standing stone.  When I later visited Stonehenge in adulthood, the standing stones there turned out to be tiny in comparison to the Hebridean ones, but I still think they’d be pretty tough to steal and ship across the Atlantic/continental US (spoiler: it shows up in California later in the film) without anyone noticing.

The highlight of this film is the brilliantly silly advert jingle to the tune of London Bridge (‘X more days till Hallowe’en, Hallowe’en, Hallowe’en, X more days till Hallowe’en, Silver Shamrock‘) that is on every TV and radio station advertising the masks made by the sinister Silver Shamrock company.  I find myself singing it in the lead-up to Hallowe’en every year!

Nancy Loomis (who played Annie in Halloween and Halloween II), credited as Nancy Kyes this time, shows up as Linda, the ex-wife of main character Dr Dan Challis.  Nice to see these nods to the previous films – many of the same production staff are involved too.

Speaking of nods to the first film, thorazine is mentioned again!  In Halloween, Dr Loomis wants to use it to sedate Michael Myers before they realise he’s escaped, while in this film, Dr Challis is more successful in using it on poor, doomed Harry Grimbridge, the man who (temporarily) escaped the men in black.

The men in black just seem like regular creepy mooks to start off with, but when one of them crushes Harry’s head it’s pretty clear they’re robots.

Dan seems to have a history with autopsy specialist Teddy, which perhaps gives us some insight into why his marriage failed.

The first Halloween – or an advert for it – is being shown on TV, indicating that this is definitely a different universe in which the first film is just a story.

The creepy town of Santa Mira is really well done, with the locals all staring at Dan and Ellie (Harry’s daughter) when they arrive, and the curfew announcement over the tannoy.  It wouldn’t be somewhere you’d want to stay even if there was nothing sinister going on.

‘Relax, I’m older than I look,’ says Ellie when Dan finally thinks to ask her how old she is AFTER sleeping with her.  I sincerely hope so, ’cause she looks about twelve to his forty-five!  (I just looked up actor Tom Atkins to check I wasn’t being unkind about his age, but he was indeed forty-six when this film was made!  Stacey Nelkin, who played Ellie, was twenty-two.)

The other people staying in the motel/visiting the factory are shown to be pretty awful, but you still feel sorry for them when they fall victim to Conal Cochran and his murderous plans.

I love the primitive creepy old woman robot that Dan knocks the head off when he enters the factory to look for Ellie, although it’s really obvious she’s mechanical so I’m not sure why he thinks she’s human!

Hallowe’en falls on a Sunday in the film, indicating that it is indeed set in its year of release, 1982.

The Stonehenge stone turns out to be being held in the factory, which is still silly.  Apparently tiny chips of the stone have the power to transform rubber masks into death traps that turn kids’ heads into locusts and snakes!

The demonstration scene with the toy salesman and his family is gloriously grisly – a lot of horror films shy away from straight-up killing a child character, but there are no bones made about it here.  The purpose of the pumpkin graphic is also revealed here – it’s the trigger that sets off the death trap chips!

I quite like the round-the-US roundup of kids in Silver Shamrock masks, showing that the whole country is in danger.

The adverts say that the giveaway (i.e. the thing that kids in Silver Shamrock masks are supposed to tune into at nine o’clock) will be shown straight after Halloween finishes.  However, when Dan is tied up in a room in the factory with the TV on, it’s ten to eight, and the scene from Halloween being shown on TV is at completely the wrong point in the story if the giveaway’s still an hour and ten minutes away!

Dan blowing up the Stonehenge stone setup by chucking the chips around the place is a bit daft, but it’s also quite a punch-the-air moment.

It’s kind of obvious that the ‘Ellie’ Dan has rescued is not the real one, ’cause she doesn’t speak for the ten minutes between being rescued and being revealed to be a robot.

I quite like this early example of the ‘robot arm comes to life and tries to strangle character’ trope!  Doctor Who didn’t do this one until twenty-three years later!

I love that when Dan finally makes it to a phone and tries to get the authorities to shut the giveaway broadcast down, it’s the same gas station – and the same attendant – as in the opening section of the film!  ‘Don’t I know you?’

Did they manage to take the broadcast off the third channel before it was too late?  We’ll never know, because the film ends without telling us.

Another break from the Halloween films tomorrow!

Running…and sleeping

I went out for a ten-mile run this morning in preparation for York next week.  It went really well – probably better than any ten-mile run I’ve ever done – with no tiredness and hardly any aches and pains.  Of course, when I do the same distance in York I’m fully expecting all my usual problems to show up, because that’s been the pattern for races this year!

When I got home, though, I did crash a bit and was sorely tempted to go back to bed.  Instead, I just made the sofa feel like bed by getting out my mohair blanket for the first time this autumn, and have been semi-getting on with things while trying not to fall asleep.

Geth is about to put YouTube back on for the evening, so I’ll be hearing lots of fan theories about Star Wars and Final Fantasy!

OOTD 3rd October 2018
OOTD: comfy post-run outfit. T-shirt Lauren Ralph Lauren (modern but bought from Headlock Vintage 2018), skirt Calvin Klein Jeans (2004), tights Primark (2017), shoes La Redoute (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Sigala and Ella Eyre – Came Here For Love
Freya Ridings – Lost Without You
Duran Duran – Come Undone
Jennifer Lopez – Louboutins
Tracey Ullman – They Don’t Know
Brother Beyond – The Harder I Try

31 Days Of Horror: A Nightmare On Elm Street

When I was a young teenager, out of the ‘Big Three’ of slasher horror (Halloween and Friday the 13th being the other two), it was A Nightmare On Elm Street that I found really scary.  It’s clever, because if you think too much about the film, you end up having nightmares about Freddy Krueger yourself.  This happened to me for years, so I was careful not to watch it too often!

Nightmare On Elm Street boxset
This boxset contains all the films up to New Nightmare (1994), but I’ve only ever watched the first one!

Being less easily spooked nowadays, I really appreciate the innovation of this one.  It’s not always clear whether something is a dream or not, just like in real life, and the whole feel is really unsettling.

The boiler room opening sets up the atmosphere really well.  The creepy skipping rhyme (‘one, two, Freddy’s coming for you‘) is also inspired and is one of the most memorable aspects of the film.

There’s a bit of a theme of bad mothers in this one – Tina’s mother seems only to care about her boyfriend, and Nancy’s mother is an alcoholic.  I think the latter can be explained, however (unless I’m giving the script more credit than it deserves), by her trying to cope with having been part of the angry mob that killed Krueger with fire.

Johnny Depp makes his first ever film appearance, looking crazily young from today’s perspective!

I find it a bit odd that the local high school just goes on with classes as normal when one of their students has been brutally killed!

I’ve not seen most of the sequels (I plan to rectify that partly this month) but a common complaint is that Krueger’s not scary in the subsequent films due to being overexposed and having too many wisecracking lines.  That is not a problem in this film – the character is brilliantly creepy and gruesome.

‘Oh, God…I look twenty years old,’ says Nancy as she looks in the mirror after a week of avoiding sleep.  I can never work out whether this is meant to be a sly joke about the fact that the actors playing the fifteen-year-old characters ARE twenty years old, but it kind of takes you out of the story.

I like the bit with the doctors studying Nancy at the sleep disorders clinic, but Geth will probably know better than me whether it’s realistic or not.

When Freddy is on fire in the ending sequence, it’s really obviously a stuntman, ’cause he looks about five stone heavier than when he’s played by Robert Englund!

The ending scene is a bit confusing.  Is it a dream sequence?  Is Nancy dead now?  What’s going on?  Apparently the reason it makes no sense is because Wes Craven and the producer wanted different endings, so they came up with a nonsensical compromise.

And finally, here we have the very ’80s thing of having a rock song (Nightmare by 213 in this case – not to be confused with ’90s rap supergroup 213 – this was the band’s only credit as far as I’m aware) over the end credits.  Gotta provide some work for small unknown local bands from the Los Angeles area!

Back to the Halloween films tomorrow.

Still administrating

More admin, more TV-watching, more getting stuff done.

Geth is watching YouTube videos tonight, which is quite a relaxing form of background noise!

OOTD 2nd October 2018
OOTD: heels around the house, because I can. Blouse Logo (2007), skirt UK2LA (thrifted from Steff 2016), tights Primark (2017), shoes Vivienne Westwood Anglomania for Melissa (2009).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Yanomamo! – Tree Of Life
Hardy Caprio and One Acen – Best Life
China Crisis – Christian
Jennifer Lopez – Louboutins
J Geils Band – Centrefold
Abba – Happy New Year
Duran Duran – Ordinary World
Whitesnake – Is This Love?
Macklemore and Skylar Grey – Glorious
INXS – Need You Tonight
Joe South – Games People Play
The Chordettes – Mr Sandman
It Bites – Calling All The Heroes
Duran Duran – Come Undone