once

ONCE. 2006. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

once

ONCE. 2006. WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY JOHN CARNEY. STARRING GLEN HANSARD AND MARKETA IRGLOVA. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

Dubliners like myself are well used to the sight of young fellas wandering around the place with guitars strapped to their backs. Every second guy in Ireland’s capital who can string a guitar is looking for a record deal. This gorgeous film tells the story of a singer-songwriter from Dublin’s fair city who busks his own material on Grafton Street when he’s not working in his widower dad’s vacuum-cleaner repair shop.

Guitar Guy is played by bona-fide musician Glen Hansard, the frontman of the band The Frames. We don’t ever get to find out the guy’s name, or the girl’s, for that matter, which is kind of romantic and mysterious.

So, one day the guy is busking on Grafton Street- that’s only a short walk from my house!- when a young woman stops and listens to his music and gives him ten whole cents for his trouble. They get talking and, next day, she turns up on Grafton Street again with her hoover for him to fix. That’s the kind of kooky, eccentric thing this chick does, see…?

Dragging the hoover behind her, she accompanies him to Waltons’ music shop on Georges Street- again, I know where that is!- and they jam together for a bit. He plays her the Oscar-winning song, Falling Slowly, she plays the piano while he strums his guitar and, by the time the song ends, they’re each a little bit in love with each other.

She’s from the Czech Republic and she lives in a flat with her baby daughter Ivanka and her mum. She’s left a husband behind her because things haven’t really worked out between them. Having said that, though, she doesn’t want her daughter to grow up without a dad, either. She supports her small family by cleaning houses and selling flowers and copies of The Big Issue on Grafton Street. Yep folks, it’s all happening on Grafton Street…

Over the course of a few days, Guitar Guy and Crazy Hoover Lady get to know each other. They have a shared love of music and she gives him the confidence to believe in the songs he writes, many of which were written about a girl with whom he broke up because she cheated on him but on whom he’s still hung up. Obsessed might be a better word…

He decides to record some of these songs with Crazy Hoover Lady on piano and vocals and they turn out brilliantly. Now all the pair need to do is to sort out their feelings for each other and their respective exes. That’s not as straightforward as laying down a few tracks in a rented studio, however…

The songs are great and, if you’re from Dublin like me, you’ll spend the whole time you’re watching it going:

‘I know that street! I know that park! Look, it’s Temple Bar! Hey, there’s O’Connell Street! Oh my God, it’s Georges Street Arcade/the old HMV/Bruxelles/the statue of Phil Lynott/that junkie who always dances to the buskers’ music…!’

The love story between Guitar Guy and Crazy Hoover Lady is sweet and will speak to anyone who’s ever found their emotional and physical baggage dictating which way their lives will turn out. There’s at least one scene in the film that is completely unbelievable, but I’ll leave you to work out for yourself which one that is.

There’s a lot of humour in it too, like when the foreign nationals are all settled down having a good old laugh at Ireland’s longest-running soap opera, Fair City. Overall, this is a great watch. If you need the cockles of your heart warmed, as we say here in Ireland, then dig this film out. It’ll do the job, and then some.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.

Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.

She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

they-nest

THEY NEST. 2001. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

they-nest

THEY NEST. 2001. DIRECTED BY ELLORY ELKAYAM. STARRING THOMAS CALABRO, KRISTEN DALTON, DEAN STOCKWELL AND JOHN SAVAGE. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This is an utterly disgusting film. Disgusting in the sense that it’s all about killer bugs, beetles, cockroaches, whatever you want to call the revolting little beasties. I really shouldn’t have watched it so soon after viewing ARACHNOPHOBIA, the 1990 film about killer spiders starring Jeff Daniels, Julian Sands and John Goodman.

For weeks after watching ARACHNOPHOBIA, I was checking down the toilet and under the bed for killer spiders. THEY NEST may not be as well-known as ARACHNOPHOBIA, but it’s still a pretty good movie as far as killer bug movies go.

Let’s have an overview of the plot, shall we…? Thomas Calabro plays Ben Cahill, a handsome, rich divorced doctor who… Wait a minute! Handsome? Rich? Divorced? Doctor? Holy crap, where do I sign up…? Sadly, he doesn’t stay single for long, as is always the way with guys like these. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes.

Ben Cahill, a handsome, rich divorced doctor (ooooh, my ovaries are literally screaming…!) travels to his holiday home on Orrs Island off the coast of Maine to take a break from work and try to resolve his personal problems if he can. Aw, bless him…! If only I could take him to my ample bosom and give him succour. (It means help. Look it up, you filthy-minded people, you.)

On arriving at the island, he soon discovers that he has a whole new batch of problems to contend with, however. His house is in a bad way and needs some serious TLC. The locals, in particular a chap named Jack Wald and his chums, are unfriendly in the extreme because the house that Ben has bought used to belong to Wald’s parents and Wald thinks that the house is his by rights. Wald is the local electricity man and so he has the power (Power? Geddit?) to make Ben’s stay on the island a dark and uncomfortable one.

Ben’s biggest problem, of course, is that the island, unbeknownst to the stubborn and unfriendly islanders, has become infested with bugs. (‘Unbeknownst’ is still a word, right…?) Big horrible bugs accidentally brought there by an exploded African cargo vessel. Big horrible gooey squishy bugs that make their human prey into their unwilling host, by which I mean they wriggle into the human host’s mouth and lay their eggs in his/her stomach. The human host then vomits up the most horrific mixture of bug eggs and blood.  I know, it’s disgusting beyond belief. If you’re feeling sick just reading this, then I wouldn’t bother watching the actual film, haha.

There are some interesting similarities with ARACHNOPHOBIA in that, in that film, the killer spiders are accidentally brought into town in the coffin of a guy they killed. Almost overnight, the town becomes overrun with the nasty arachnids. It’s the same deal with THEY NEST. The bugs multiply like crazy and it’s down to Dr. Handsome and a local shop assistant, Nell Bartle, to stop them before they destroy the island of Orrs and everyone on it. Nell Bartle, by the way, didn’t lose any time at all in getting her claws into Dr. Handsome. She nabs him practically the second he rocks up in Orrs. Humph. Single women. Sooooo desperate. It’s such an unattractive trait in a woman…

Yes, the film is disgusting but the bug scenes are actually really well done, realistic and scary. The scene with Sheriff Hobbs in the basement is stomach-turning and terrifying. All the scenes in which the bugs have infested human beings with gruesome results are eye-poppingly effective.

The thing about bugs is that they can turn up in any of our homes unlike, say, dinosaurs or dragons. These are either extinct or mythological, but cockroaches do exist and can quite easily find their way into someone’s bathroom, kitchen or even fridge- as in THEY NEST– and that’s what makes this kind of horror movie so disturbing. It could happen to you, to me, to anyone. Think about it. Or don’t. I strongly advise the latter. If you want to keep your breakfast down, that is…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.

Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.

She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

MCDVANN FS004

THE VAN. 1996. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

MCDVANN FS004

THE VAN. 1996. BASED ON THE BOOK BY RODDY DOYLE. DIRECTED BY STEPHEN FREARS. STARRING COLM MEANEY, DONAL O’KELLY, GER RYAN, CAROLINE ROTHWELL, BRENDAN O’CARROLL, NEILI CONROY AND RUAIDHRI CONROY. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This is a great f***ing film. I recently saw it on the f***ing big screen because the f***ing book on which it’s based forms part of Irish writer Roddy Doyle’s f***ing BARRYTOWN trilogy, which is the f***ing book of choice for this year’s f***ing DUBLIN: ONE CITY, ONE BOOK festival. Oh sorry, I mean f***ing festival, of course…

Why all the swears? You might well ask. Every second word in the film is the ‘F’ word, but instead of coming across as coarse or vulgar it’s just really, really funny. The film tells the story of two unemployed friends, Larry and Bimbo, who buy a dilapidated old chip van together just in time for Italia ’90. This was the World Cup in which Ireland made it to the quarter-finals and the whole country went football-mad for four whole weeks.

The whole film is one big nostalgia-fest, but only if you’re Irish. It’s got real-life footage of the matches in which Ireland did well, and also the one in which Ireland’s hopes were cruelly dashed by an Italian fella by the name of Toto Schillaci. There’s footage of Irish sporting legends Jack Charlton and goal-keeper Packie Bonner, and even the scenes in the pub during the matches, while obviously not taken from real life, have a really authentic feel to them. Yes, that’s what it was like here during the World Cup of 1990…!

The film isn’t all about the footy, though. It’s mainly about the trials and tribulations of Larry and Bimbo as they set themselves up in a business that’s both unpredictable and tiring. Though the film is well-acted by the entire cast, Colm Meaney as Larry acts everyone else into a cocked hat, as they say. I don’t know where they say it, mind you, but they do say it.

You can keep your Liam Neesons and your Pierce Brosnans. Colm Meaney is Ireland’s best actor by miles, for me anyway. He’s funny and forthright and one hundred percent genuine as Larry, a man who is by no means perfect but who loves his family and his friends and wants to do right by them. He and Bimbo fall out when Bimbo appears to be acting like the big boss of the operation instead of letting Larry be an equal partner, but ultimately they won’t allow the titular van to come between them and ruin their friendship.

Brendan O’Carroll, aka Mrs. Brown, plays a total wide-boy or dodgy salesman in this, and I love Neili Conroy as Larry’s daughter Diane. THE SNAPPER (1993), just as a matter of interest, is the second film in the BARRYTOWN trilogy. It was also directed by Stephen Frears. The first film in the trilogy- makes it sound like LORD OF THE RINGS, doesn’t it, all this ‘trilogy’ palaver…?- is the 1991 movie, THE COMMITMENTS, directed by Alan Parker. Barrytown is a fictional area of Dublin, by the way, in case you hadn’t already worked that out.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching this funny, touching film on the big screen. You really get the full f***ing effect of it that way. Try to watch it yourselves if you can. You will not be f***ing disappointed. I can f***ing promise you that.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.

Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.

She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

piranha_1978_3

PIRANHA. 1978. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

piranha_1978_3

PIRANHA. 1978. PRODUCED BY ROGER CORMAN. DIRECTED BY JOE DANTE. STARRING BRADFORD DILLMAN, HEATHER MENZIES, KEENAN WYNN, DICK MILLER, KEVIN MCCARTHY AND BARBARA STEELE. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This is a brilliant B-movie inspired by Steven Spielberg’s 1975 blockbuster, JAWS, which is regarded by many, myself included, to be one of the greatest films of all time. This film is JAWS on a smaller scale, or at least with smaller predators.

They’re no less deadly, though, for being smaller. In fact, they are razor-teethed little blighters, if you’ll excuse my French, and if you’re unlucky enough to find yourself in their sights, you’ll be stripped down to your skeleton in no time.

This film has in it two of the dumbest teens I’ve ever come across in a horror film, and there are many, many dumb teens in the world of horror movies. Just look at those not-so-bright sparks over at Camp Crystal Lake. These two brainiacs take the biscuit, though.

They wander into an apparently abandoned military installation and decide to go for a naked swim in a darkened pool that could contain literally anything, for all they know. Sewage, acid, a flesh-eating virus, radio-active waste, anything. The bloody Loch Ness bloody Monster, for all they know. What the pool does contain is a load of piranha fish. Within minutes, all that’s left of the dopey teens is their skeletonized remains. Well, it’s hard not to think that they had that coming…

It turns out that the piranhas are leftovers from an old Vietnam War project, Operation Razorteeth. The piranhas, a particularly vicious strain, were meant to be used as a weapon against the Viet Cong. Now, however, they’re swimming freely in Lost River Lake and it’s up to just two people to stop them from attacking a summer camp full of kiddie swimmers and a water park chock-a-block with ordinary people just enjoying the sun.

Who are these two people? There’s slightly dotty insurance investigator Maggie McKeown, who’s accidentally responsible for releasing the piranha into the wild in the first place, and dishevelled, mildly dysfunctional and heavy-drinking local, Paul Grogan. They’re quite the mismatched pair, but like most mismatched pairs in these films, they work well together.

The piranha attack on the summer camp swimmers is quite shocking because you expect that the kiddies will be spared the razor-sharp gnashers of the killer fish. They’re not, though, and the results are bloody and bone-chilling. The sun-worshippers at the resort get a bit of a going-over as well and it ain’t pretty, I can tell you.

If you’re looking for blood and guts, this film isn’t too far behind its inspiration, JAWS, for gore and general yuckiness. The message of ‘Don’t go in the water’ is the same in both films and though I’ll always prefer JAWS because JAWS is the king of this type of movie, PIRANHA is a terrific watch as well.

I love the fact that stunningly beautiful scream queen and all-round horror icon Barbara Steele is in it too. That’s a real bonus for me because I love her films. She plays Operation Razorteeth scientist Dr. Mengers and at least part of her job is to pretend to the rest of the world that the piranhas are not a problem.

Ms. Steele gets the last word in the movie too. As we finish on the sound of the sea lapping against the shore and the curious whirring sound of the piranhas letting us know in no uncertain terms that they’re still out there, her posh, sexy voice assures us that ‘there’s nothing to fear…’ Yeah, right, love. ‘Course there isn’t. And I’m the Queen of bleedin’ England…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.

Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.

She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

signs

SIGNS. 2002. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

signs

SIGNS. 2002. WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN. STARRING MEL GIBSON, JOAQUIN PHOENIX AND RORY CULKIN. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

I saw this film with a friend in an almost empty cinema back in 2002 and it was a terrifically atmospheric, spine-tingling experience. We clung to each other whenever the aliens were on-screen or just approaching. We giggled out loud at all the genuinely funny lines and we swooned together over the handsome manliness of Joaquin Phoenix. Oh, happy days…! I’ve nothing but good memories of this film so be warned, I won’t be saying anything bad about it in my review. Let the love-in commence, haha…!

Mel Gibson, whom I don’t actually fancy, strangely enough, even though half the female population of the world seems to, plays Graham Hess. He’s an ex-priest who stopped believing in God when his wife Colleen was killed in a car accident. He lives in a fantastic old farmhouse surrounded by acres and acres of creepy cornfields. Just why are cornfields so gosh-darned spooky, anyway? I guess it’s because there could be literally anything hiding in their densely leafy depths.

Graham shares his home with his children Morgan and Bo and his younger brother Merrill, a disillusioned ex-baseball player who now works in a gas station. Seems like neither of the Hess brothers is doing the job he truly wants to be doing, then…

Some mighty strange s**t is going down in them thar cornfields. The Hess brothers wake up one morning to find that someone- or something- has carved enormous and perfectly symmetrical crop circles into their fields. They’re too big to have been done by local yokels. The brothers turn on the television to find that the same thing has been happening all over the world, in addition to crazy lights in the sky and bird-squashing forcefields and God knows what else.

It doesn’t take people too long to figure out what’s going on. Extra-terrestrials are coming, and they ain’t of the cute little E.T. variety, either. They’re hostile. They want to ‘harvest’ the Earth and everyone on it. The Hess family barricade themselves into their basement and await the arrival of the aliens, for whom the crop circles serve both as a means of navigation and also as a sort of prelude to an invasion. Father Mel Gibson and his flock of three wee sheep wait it out in the cellar during their long dark night of the soul, but who will be left standing when the morning comes…? Watch the film and find out, dudes…

There are plenty of great scary scenes to watch out for. Father Mel Gibson in the cornfields at night while an alien ‘stalks’ him under cover of darkness. (‘Stalks…?’ See what I did there…?) Mel Gibson chopping off the fingers of the alien trapped in M. Night Shyamalan’s pantry. That’s right, the writer/director plays a small role in the film as the man who ran over Mel Gibson’s missus. Not one of the good guys then, I see…

There’s the accidental alien footage in the birthday party video-taping. There’s the horrible alien hand snaking under the front door while the Hess family hurry down to the basement. There’s the reflection of the alien in the television after he’s snatched up poor little asthmatic Morgan Hess. There’s the way that television coverage everywhere suddenly ceases and Father Mel Gibson, knowing that the alien invasion has begun, says: ‘It’s happening…’

That part always unnerves me. It’s the knowledge that the end of the world may just be coming and no-one, not your neighbours or town council or local politicians, not your government, no-one, is coming to your aid because no-one can. There is no-one to come. That’s the kind of thing that could happen and it scares me. Does it scare you…?

There’s a good bit of humour in the film too and, ultimately, a nice warm fuzzy feeling when we see that the family that battles extra-terrestrials together stays together. This is a brilliant film. I know that I’m utterly biased because of the happy memories I have of watching it in the cinema back in 2002 after having a lovely lunch in one of my favourite restaurants with one of my favourite people, but whatever, this is still a great fun scary film and you should definitely watch it. Don’t forget to wear your tinfoil hat when you watch it, though, because if you don’t they can read your mind, and you don’t want that. Do you…?

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.

Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.

She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

Pinhead-Hellraiser

HELLRAISER. 1987. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

Pinhead-Hellraiser

HELLRAISER. 1987. WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY CLIVE BARKER. STARRING DOUG BRADLEY, ANDREW ROBINSON, CLARE HIGGINS AND ASHLEY LAURENCE. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This is the cracker of a cult British horror classic from the 1980’s that introduced us to the character Pinhead, or The Head Cenobite, as he’s known in this first instalment of the franchise. He’s the horror icon with the long dress thingy on him and the pins sticking out of his head (Pinhead… geddit…?) whom we sometimes see hanging out with other horror icons of the 1980’s in funny Facebook memes: namely, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers and Freddie Krueger. Ah, you know who I mean…!

The Cenobites are these weird, otherworldly creatures who thrive on inflicting terrible pain on the poor stupid eejits unlucky enough to fall into their evil hands. (Yes, okay, I know that people think they’re doing it of their own free will but I don’t believe they have a single solitary clue what they’re letting themselves in for.)

Frank Cotton is one such eejit. He enters their messed-up world after mucking about with a Chinese puzzle box that has the power to open up doorways, or portals- into hell. Now what in the world would you go and do a damn fool thing like that for…? Seems like a body deserves all they get, they go and do a crazy thing like that…

Initially eager to experience all the pleasure and pain the Cenobites’ world has to offer, Frank escapes first chance he gets, so it can’t have been all that pleasurable for him down there. Or over there, wherever. He’s got no flesh on his bones, however, and so he begs his sister-in-law, Julia, to help him to regenerate himself.

Julia agrees in a heartbeat, as she’s a hot, horny little slut who had a steamy affair with ‘brother Frank’ when he was alive and kicking and also handsome, in a sleazy kind of way. She’s desperate to rekindle their love, or should I say lust, so she’ll do anything, even murder…

Julia lures strange men back to her house with the promise of easy sex when her husband Larry is out and kills them so that Frank can drain the blood out of them, thereby regenerating himself bit by bit. Imhotep in THE MUMMY (1999) and THE MUMMY RETURNS (2001), the terrific action romps set in Ancient Egypt and also 1930’s Egypt and directed by Stephen Sommers, does the exact same thing.

It’s not all plain sailing, though. Larry’s beautiful daughter Kirsty is sniffing around by now, Larry himself is getting curious as to what’s going on in his own attic- that’s where freaky-looking brother Frank is hiding out- and, to cap it all, Pinhead and the Cenobites are royally pissed off that Frank has managed to escape them and they want him back, or else… Or else what…? Watch it and see, haha.

The fashions, hairstyles and make-up are so painfully ‘Eighties you’d have to see ’em to believe ’em. Julia in particular looks like she belongs on the cover of the JACKIE annual. The acting is hilariously hammy and campy, but this only adds to the fun of a film I thoroughly enjoyed but wasn’t remotely scared by.

Ashley Laurence is gorgeous and infinitely watchable as Kirsty, and she really knows how to simulate restlessness while sleeping. Her truly excellent tossing and turning deserves some sort of acting award. Her running away from ghosties and ghoulies, also, is like pure poetry in motion. She does it so unbelievably well. I’m not actually being sarcastic, you know. There’s a knack to running away from the monsters in a horror film and she, ladies and gentlemen, has got that knack.

You should definitely watch this film if you haven’t already done so. It really is terrific, campy fun. It will tear your soul apart, though, that’s the only downside, so I don’t know, you might want to have a needle and thread handy for any little repair jobs…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.

Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.

She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

jane eyre

JANE EYRE. 2011. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

jane eyre

JANE EYRE. 2011. DIRECTED BY CARY FUKUNAGA. STARRING MIA WASIKOWSKA, MICHAEL FASSBENDER AND JUDI DENCH. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This is a gorgeous, sumptuous film, with enough fantastic old gothic houses and bleak windswept and rain-lashed moors and gardens in it to satisfy even me, who’s notoriously fussy about that kind of thing.

Right, so. Do we all know the story of Charlotte Brontë‘s JANE EYRE…? For the benefit of those who have neither read the terrific gothic novel nor watched any of the many screen adaptations of same, let’s have a quick recap, shall we…?

Jane Eyre is an impoverished orphan who lives with her rich aunt and uncle Reed. When her uncle dies, however, her nasty aunt ships Jane off to the horrible Lowood school, where Jane is mistreated and grows up feeling lonely and unloved. It is only when Jane is old enough to leave the school to go and make her own way in the world that things finally start to look up for the poor wee mite.

She gets a job as governess to the ward of a rich gentleman called Mr. Rochester. This fellow, of course, ranks with Mr. Darcy and Heathcliff as one of the top fictional romantic heroes of all time. The house, Thornfield Hall, is beautiful if old and somewhat spooky, the housekeeper Mrs. Fairfax is delighted to have Jane join the isolated household and Jane’s little French charge, Adele, is sweet and charming.

Best of all, though, Mr. Rochester himself is brooding, handsome and very interested in Jane, much to her surprise. Naturally, she falls head-over-heels in love with him and he, eventually, with her, but when did the path of true love ever run smooth…? Mr. Rochester has a secret, a dark and truly terrible secret, one that will tear the pair of them apart when Jane finds out about it…

Mia Wasikowska is perfectly cast as Miss Brontë‘s plain but spirited heroine. Michael Fassbender, while not to my own personal taste, does a good enough job of playing the troubled, intensely brooding romantic lead. The scenery, as I’ve already mentioned, is utterly gorgeous, and it’s nice to see Judi Dench in the role of the welcoming, motherly Mrs. Fairfax. She plays the role to a T.

I can’t think of a bad word to say about this film. I have lovely memories of watching it on the BBC a few days before the Christmas of 2013. It wouldn’t be a great choice for a lads’ boozy night in, but we won’t hold that against it.

If you’re female like myself, you’ll enjoy watching it curled up on the sofa with a nice glass of wine and a few choccies. You’ll certainly sniffle a bit at the ending, and you might even wonder why none of the men in your life come even close to measuring up to the big romantic heroes of literary fiction… Sigh. Oh well. I never said the film was completely perfect, did I…?

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.

Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.

She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor