All Reviews A-Z

Here is a thing which I will plan to update each time I add a new review. This should make it easy for anyone who is sufficiently depraved enough to enjoy what I write and craves more. There isn’t a huge amount yet, but I do have a tonne of reviews written years ago for IMDB which I haven’t posted here yet, along with all my other Album reviews for Amazon. This list will grow. For now, click on anything you like!

Movie Reviews

11/22/63 – Bridget Carpenter

2001 Maniacs – Tim Sullivan

300: Rise Of An Empire – Noam Murro

A Dark Song – Liam Gavin

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night – Ana Lily Amirpour

A Quiet Place – John Krasinski

A Hard Day – Kim Seong Hun

A Mighty Wind – Christopher Guest

A Nightmare On Elm Street – Wes Craven

A Tale Of Two Sisters – Kim Ji Woon

Aftermath – Elliott Lester

After The Silence – Fred Gerber

Airwolf – Donald Bellisario

Akira – Katsuhiro Otomo

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa – Declan Lowney

Alien – Ridley Scott

Aliens – James Cameron

Alien 3 – David Fincher

Annihilation – Alex Garland

Arachnophobia – Frank Marshall

Assault On Precinct 13 – John Carpenter

Attack Of The Adult Babies – Dominic Brunt

August Rush – Kirsten Sheridan

AWOL – Sheldon Lettich

Bad Lieutenant – Abel Ferrara

Bait – Kimble Rendall

Bangkok Dangerous – The Pang Brothers

Baskin – Can Evrenol

Battle Royale – Kinji Fukasaku

Beavis And Butthead – Mike Judge

Beetlejuice – Tim Burton

Bedevilled – Jang Cheol-soo

Benny And Joon – Jeremiah S Chechik

Big Driver – Mikael Salomon

Big Trouble In Little China – John Carpenter

Bill And Ted’s Bogus Journey – Peter Hewitt

Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure – Stephen Herek

Birdy – Alan Parker

Black Coal, Thin Ice – Diao Yinan

Blair Witch – Adam Wingard

Blood Father – Jean Francois Richet

Bloodsport – Newt Arnold

Bodyguards And Assassins – Teddy Chan

Body Shots – Michael Christofer

Body Snatchers – Abel Ferrara

Bordello Of Blood – Gilbert Adler

Braindead – Peter Jackson

Brooklyn Rules – Michael Corrente

Brother – Takeshi Kitano

Bruiser – George A Romero

Cam – Daneil Goldhaber

Cannibal – Manuel Martin Cuenca

Captain America: The First Avenger – Joe Johnston

Carne – Gaspar Noe

Cell – Tod Williams

Chasing Amy – Kevin Smith

Chasing Sleep – Michael Walker

Children Of The Corn – Fritz Kiersch

Cockneys Vs Zombies – Matthias Hoene

Come And See – Elem Kilmov

Commando – Mark L Lester

Conan The Barbarian – John Milius

Creepshow 2 – Michael Gornick

Cronos – Guillermo Del Toro

Cursed – Wes Craven

Cyborg – Albert Pyun

Dark City – Alex Proyas

Dark Tide – John Stockwell

Dawn Of The Dead – Zack Snyder

Day of The Dead – George A Romero

Daylight – Rob Cohen

Dead Of Night (1977) – Dan Curtis

Dead Snow – Tommy Wirkola

Death Sentence – James Wan

Death Wish 2 – Michael Winner

Demons – Lamberto Bava

Desperado – Robert Rodriguez

Dial M For Murder – Alfred Hitchcock

Die Another Day – Lee Tamahori

Dirty Pretty Things – Stephen Frears

Disturbia – D.J. Caruso

Dobermann – Jan Kounen

Dogma – Kevin Smith

Donnie Brasco – Mike Newell

Don’t Blink – Travis Oates

Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead – Stephen Herek

Double Impact – Sheldon Lettich

Dr No – Terence Young

Dream Warriors – Chuck Russell

Drug War – Johnie To

Dumb And Dumber – The Farrelly Bros

Dumplin‘ – Anne Fletcher

Eaten Alive – Tobe Hooper

El Mariachi – Robert Rodriguez

Escape From Sobibor – Jack Gold

Escape Plan – Mikael Hafstrom

Embodiment Of Evil – Jose Marins

Everyone’s Hero – Christopher Reeve, Colin Brady, Daniel St. Pierre

Evil Dead – Fede Alvarez

Excision – Richard Bates Jr

Extinction – Miguel Angel Vivas

Family For Christmas – Amanda Tapping

February – Oz Perkins

Final Destination – James Wong

Final Destination 2 – David R Ellis

First Blood – Ted Kotcheff

Fist Of Fury – Bruce Lee

For Your Eyes Only – John Glen

Freddy’s Dead – Rachel Talalay

Freddy’s Revenge – Jack Sholder

Freddy Vs Jason – Ronny Yu

Frenzy – Alfred Hitchcock

Frenzy – Jose Montesinos

Friend Request – Simon Verhoeven

From Russia With Love – Terence Young

Game of Death – Bruce Lee/Robert Clouse

Game Night – John Francis Daley/Jonathan Goldstein

Girls Against Boys – Austin Chick

God Bless America – Bobcat Goldthwaite

Goldeneye – Martin Campbell

Goldfinger – Guy Hamilton

Goodnight Mommy – Veronika Franz/Severin Fiala

Grave Encounters – The Vicious Brothers

Grave Encounters 2 – John Poliquin

Gravity – Alfonso Cuaron

Halloween – John Carpenter

Halloween 2 and 3 – Rick Rosenthal/Tommy Lee Wallace

Halloween 4 – Dwight H Little

Halloween 5 – Dominique Othenin Gerard

Hard-Boiled – John Woo

Hard Target – John Woo

Hansel And Gretal – Yim Phil-Sung

Heartbreakers – David Mirkin

Heli – Amat Escalante

Hellboy – Guillermo Del Toro

Hellions – Bruce Macdonald

Home Alone – Chris Columbus

Honor And Glory – Godfrey Ho

Horrible Bosses – Seth Gordon

Ichi – Fumihiko Sori

Ichi The Killer – Takashi Miike

Inoperable – Christopher Laurence Chapman

Into The Mirror – Kim Sung Ho

I Really Hate My Job – Oliver Parker

It Comes At Night – Trey Edward Shults

It’s All About Love – Thomas Vinterberg

Jaws – Steven Spielberg

Jaws 2 – Jeannot Szwarc

Jaws 3 – Joe Alvez

Jaws 4 – Joseph Sargent

John Wick – Chad Stahelski/David Leitch

Jurassic Park – Steven Spielberg

Ju-On Black Ghost – Mari Asato

Ju-On White Ghost – Ryuta Miyake

Kickboxer – Mark DiSalle/David Worth

Kids – Larry Clark

Kill Bill Vol 1 – Quentin Tarantino

King Kong – Merian C Cooper/Ernest B Schoedsack

Kingdom Of Heaven – Ridley Scott

Knock Knock – Eli Roth

Lady Bird – Greta Gerwig

Leatherface – Maury & Bustillo

Leon – Luc Besson

Lifeboat – Alfred Hitchcock

Last Action Hero – John McTiernan

Live And Let Die – Guy Hamilton

Loaded – Alan Pao

Lost Highway – David Lynch

Love On Safari – Leif Bristow

Macbeth – Orson Welles

Manuscripts Don’t Burn – Mohammed Rousalof

Megan Is Missing – Michael Goi

Milius – Joey Figuero

Mother’s Day – Darren Lynn Bousman

Mouth To Mouth – Alison Murray

Mr And Mrs Smith – Alfred Hitchcock

My Soul To Take – Wes Craven

Never Sleep Again – Daniel Farrands/Andrew Kach

Night Of The Demons – Kevin S Tenney

Night Of The Living Dead – George A Romero

Nowhere To Run – Robert Harmon

On The Road – Walter Salles

Origin: Spirits Of The Past – Keichi Sugiyama

Outrage – Takeshi Kitano

Out Of The Furnace – Scott Cooper

P2 – Frank Khalfoun

Pandorum – Christian Alvart

Peacock – Michael Lander

Perdita Durango – Alex de la Iglesia

Perlasca – Alberto Negrin

Pieta – Kim Ki Duk

Police Academy 1-7 – Various

Pontypool – Bruce McDonald

Predator 2 – Stephen Hopkins

Priceless – Pierre Salvadori

Pride, Prejudice, And Mistletoe – Don McBrearty

Problem Child – Dennis Dugan

Project X – Nima Nourizadeh

Q: The Winged Serpent – Larry Cohen

Radius – Caroline Labreche/Steeve Leonard

Raw Deal – John Irvin

Rear Window – Alfred Hitchcock

Re:born – Yuji Shimomura

Red Heat – Walter Hill

Red Sonja – Richard Fleischer

Resident Evil – Paul WS Anderson

Resident Evil 2 – Alexander Witt

Return To Oz – Walter Murch

Rhapsody In August – Akira Kurosawa

Ring – Hideo Nakata

Ring 2 – Hideo Nakata

Ring 0 – Norio Tsuruta

Rings – F.Javier Gutierrez

Rogue – Greg McLean

Room – Lenny Abrahamson

Room 237 – Rodney Ascher

Rope – Alfred Hitchcock

Rosewood Lane – Victor Salva

Rubber – Quentin Dupeiux

Rust And Bone – Jacques Audiard

Sabotage – David Ayer

Sanctum – Alister Grierson

Scream – Wes Craven

Scream 2+ 3 – Wes Craven

Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World – Lorene Scafaria

Seul Contre Tous – Gaspar Noe

Seven Samurai – Akira Kurosawa

Shanghai Kiss – David Ren/Ken Kernwiser

Society – Brian Yuzna

Someone’s Watching Me – John Carpenter

Sophie Scholl – The Final Days – Marc Rothemond

Spiderman 2 – Sam Raimi

Staunton Hill – Cameron Romero

Still Walking – Hirokazu Koreeda

Street Trash – Jim Munro

Stripes – Ivan Reitman

Street Hawk – Virgil W Vogel

Suicide Club – Sion Sono

Sukiyaki Western Django – Takeshi Miike

Survive Style 5 + – Gen Sekiguchi

Tag – Sion Sono

Tears Of The Sun – Antoine Fuqua

Ted – Seth MacFarlane

The 39 Steps – Alfred Hitchcock

The Art Of War – Christian Deguay

Thelma And Louise – Ridley Scott

The Birds – Alfred Hitchcock

The Blair Witch Project – Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sanchez

The Boss Of It All – Lars Von Trier

The Craft – Andrew Fleming

The Crow – Alex Proyas

The Detective – Oxide Pang

The Devil’s Rain – Robert Fuest

The Divide – Xavier Gens

The Driver – Walter Hill

The Empress And The Warriors – Ching Siu Tung

The Evil Dead – Sam Raimi

The Evil Dead 2 – Sam Raimi

The Fifth Element – Luc Besson

The First Men In The Moon – Nathan Juran

The Forest Of Love – Sion Sono

The Ghost And The Darkness – Stephen Hopkins

The Gate – Tibor Takacs

The Gift – Joel Edgerton

The Girl With All The Gifts – Colm McCarthy

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time – Mamoru Hosoda

The Green Inferno – Eli Roth

The Grudge – Takashi Shimazu

The Guest – Adam Wingard

The Happiness Of The Katakuris – Takashi Miike

The Hitcher – Robert Harmon

The House Of The Devil – Ti West

The Idiots – Lars Von Trier

The Innkeepers – Ti West

The Isle – Kim Ki Duk

The Kings Of Summer – Jordan Vogt Roberts

The Last Boy Scout – Tony Scott

The Last Exorcism – Daniel Stamm

The Last Exorcism 2 – Ed Gass-Donnelly

The Last House On The Left – Wes Craven

The Lifeguard – Liz W Garcia

The Man From Earth – Richard Schenkman

The Man Who Knew Too Much – Alfred Hitchcock

The Mannsfield 12 – Craig Ross Jr

The Night Eats The World – Dominique Rocher

The Pact – Nicholas McCarthy

The Perfection – Richard Shepard

The Red Squirrel – Julio Medem

The Sand – Isaac Gabaeff

The Secret Life Of Pets – Chris Renaud

The Storm Warriors – The Pang Brothers

The Stranger – Robert Lieberman

The Stuff – Larry Cohen

The Tortured – Robert Lieberman

The Visit – M Night Shyamalan

The Wailing – Na Hong-jin

The Wisdom Of Crocodiles – Po Chih Leong

The Witch – Robert Eggers

The Windmill Massacre – Nick Jongerius

Train To Busan – Yeon Sang-ho

Triangle – Hark Tsui/Ringo Lam

Trilogy Of Terror – Dan Curtis

Troy: The Odyssey – Tekin Girgin

Twins – Ivan Reitman

Unbreakable – M Night Shyamalan

Universal Soldier – Roland Emmerich

USS Indianapolis – Mario Van Peebles

V/H/S – Various

V/H/S 2 – Various

Visitor Q – Takashi Miike

Wake In Fright – Ted Kotcheff

Wake Wood – David Keating

Way Of The Dragon – Bruce Lee

We Are What We Are – Jim Mickle

We Are Still Here – Ted Geoghagen

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare – Wes Craven

Winter Soldier – Winterfilm Collective

Wolfcop – Lowell Dean

Yellowbrickroad – Jessie Holland/Andy Mitton

You Were Never Really Here – Lynne Ramsey

Zombie Creeping Flesh – Bruno Mattei

Zombieland – Ruben Fleischer

TV Reviews

Are You Afraid Of The Dark

Back To School At 35

Breaking Bad

Friends

Game Of Thrones

Gladiators

Neighbours

Saved By The Bell

Strike It Lucky

The League Of Gentlemen

The Walking Dead

Wolf Creek

Wreslemania 34

Music Reviews

11 – Bryan Adams

18 Till I Die – Bryan Adams

3 Feet High And Rising – De La Soul

7800 Farenheit – Bon Jovi

A Hard Day’s Night – The Beatles

A Love Supreme – John Coltrane

A Night At The Opera – Queen

Abbey Road – The Beatles

Accessories – The Gathering

Aftermath – The Rolling Stones

Afterwords – The Gathering

Air – Agua De Annique

Aladdin Sane – David Bowie

Alice In Wonderland – Disney

American Life – Madonna

Atomic Jones – Tom Jones

Beaucoup Of Blues – Ringo Starr

Bedtime Stories – Madonna

Black Tie White Noise – David Bowie

Blaze Of Glory – Bon Jovi

Blood, Sweat, And Tears – Blood, Sweat, and Tears

Blue – Joni Mitchell

Blur – Blur

Bookends – Simon & Garfunkel

Bounce – Bon Jovi

Brave (Part One) – Marillion

Brave (Part Two) – Marillion

Bryan Adams – Bryan Adams

Burning Bridges – Bon Jovi

Cinderella – Disney

Closer – Joy Division

Clutching At Straws (2) – Marillion

Clutching At Straws (1) – Marillion

Conan The Barbarian Soundtrack – Basil Poledouris

Conan The Destroyer Soundtrack – Basil Poledouris

Confessions On The Dancefloor – Madonna

Crash! Boom! Bang! – Roxette

Crush – Bon Jovi

Destination Anywhere – Bon Jovi

Diamond Dogs – David Bowie

Disclosure – The Gathering

Dumb And Dumber Soundtrack – Various

Entroducing – DJ Shadow

Erotica – Madonna

Evita – Madonna

Five O’Clock World – The Vogues

For Sale – The Beatles

Fugazi (1) – Marillion

Fugazi (2) – Marillion

Fulfillingness’ First Finale – Stevie Wonder

Fun And Fancy Free – Disney

Get Up – Bryan Adams

Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter – Incredible String Band

Hard Candy – Madonna

Harvest Moon – Neil Young

Have A Nice Day – Bon Jovi

Have A Nice Day – Roxette

Heaven Or Las Vegas – Cocteau Twins

Head On – Samson

Help! – The Beatles

Heroes” – David Bowie

Hey Stoopid – Alice Cooper

High Roller – Urchin

Home – The Gathering

Holidays In Eden (1) – Marillion

Holidays In Eden (2) – Marillion

How To Measure A Planet? – The Gathering

Hunky Dory – David Bowie

I’m Breathless – Madonna

Into The Fair – Bryan Adams

Jagged Little Pill – Alanis Morissette

Joyride – Roxette

Just Like Us – Paul Revere And The Raiders

Keep The Faith – Bon jovi

Ladies Of The Canyon – Joni Mitchell

Lazer Guided Melodies – Spiritualized

Let It Be – The Beatles

Lets Dance – David Bowie

Life’s Rich Pageant – REM

Like A Prayer – Madonna

Like A Virgin – Madonna

Little Deuce Coupe – The Beach Boys

Lodger – David Bowie

Look Sharp – Roxette

Lost Highway – Bon Jovi

Low – David Bowie

Madonna – Madonna

Magical Mystery Tour – The Beatles

Mandylion – The Gathering

Manic Street Preachers Live In Belfast – Manic Street Preachers

McCartney – Paul McCartney

Melody Time – Disney

Miles Of Aisles – Joni Mitchell

Misplaced Childhood (1) – Marillion

Misplaced Childhood (2) – Marillion

Music! – Madonna

My Fair Lady Soundtrack – Various

Never Let Me Down – David Bowie

New Jersey – Bon Jovi

Nighttime Birds – The Gathering

Night On My Side – Gemma Hayes

On A Day Like Today – Bryan Adams

Out Of Our Heads – The Rolling Stones

Our Favourite Shop – The Style Council

Pearls Of Passion – Roxette

Please Please Me – The Beatles

Pin Ups – David Bowie

Pretender – Jackson Browne

Pure Air – Agua De Annique

Ray Of Light – Madonna

Restless And Wild – Accept

Revolver – The Beatles

Rolling Stones – The Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones 2 – The Rolling Stones

Room Service – Roxette

Room Service – Bryan Adams

Rubber Soul – The Beatles

Saludos Amigos – Disney

Savage – Eurythmics

Scary Monsters – David Bowie

Script For A Jester’s Tear (1) – Marillion

Script For A Jester’s Tear (2) – Marillion

Seasons End (2) – Marillion

Seasons End (1) – Marillion

Second Coming – The Stone Roses

Sentimental Journey – Ringo Starr

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles

Shut Down Vol 2: The Beach Boys

Sleepy Buildings – The Gathering

Slippery When Wet – Bon Jovi

Song To A Seagull – Joni Mitchell

Souvenirs – The Gathering

Space Oddity – David Bowie

Speaking In Tongues – Talking Heads

Spirit – Bryan Adams

Station To Station – David Bowie

Surfer Girl – The Beach Boys

Surfin Safari – The Beach Boys

Surfin USA – The Beach Boys

Tattooed Millionaire – Bruce Dickinson

The Adventures Of Ichabod & Mr Toad – Disney

The Buddha Of Suburbia – David Bowie

The Circle – Bon Jovi

These Days – Bon Jovi

The Man Who Sold The World – David Bowie

The Marshall Mathers LP – Eminem

The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust – David Bowie

The Roads Don’t Love You – Gemma Hayes

The West Pole – The Gathering

The White Album – The Beatles

Tin Machine – David Bowie/Tin Machine

Tonight – David Bowie

Tori Amos Live In Belfast – Tori Amos

Transformer – Lou Reed

Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman

True Blue – Madonna

Urban Hymns – The Verve

Van Halen – Van Halen

Waking Up The Neighbours – Bryan Adams

With The Beatles – The Beatles

What About Now – Bon Jovi

What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye

Wonderwall Music – George Harrison

Yellow Submarine – The Beatles

YHLQMDLG – Bad Bunny

You Want It You Got It – Bryan Adams

Young Americans – David Bowie

Youth Novels – Lykke Li

Book Reviews

1000 Zombies – Alex Cox

Atmospheric Disturbances – Rivka Galchen

Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins

Dinosaurs – Navigators

Fang Of The Vampire – Scream Street

Japan Day By Day – Frommers

London 2008 – Time Out

London Free And Dirt Cheap – Frommers

Paris 2009 – Time Out

Play With Colours – The Happets

The Art Of Racing In The Rain – Garth Stein

The Devouring – Simon Holt

The Gargoyle – Andrew Davidson

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

The Invention Of Everything Else – Samantha Hunt

The Mayan Prophecies – Gerald Benedict

The Maze Runner – James Dashner

Undead – Kirsty Mckay

Nightman Listens To – Charles Mingus – Black Saint And The Sinner Lady (Top 1000 Albums Series)!

Oh man. It wasn’t enough to have a Ray Charles Jazz album last time around, but now we follow it up with what I can only guess is another Jazz album. Most of my knowledge of Charles Mingus comes from his work with and influence on Joni Mitchell, an influence to my mind which turned Joni Mitchell from a unique and wonderful folk performer and writer to just another jazz noise disturbance. I don’t know much about Mingus as an artist, but I’m going to assume this is going to be highly experimental, there’s going to be trumpets, and I’m not going to like it. Open your mind, Nightman, open your mind!

The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady by Charles Mingus - Fonts In Use

What Do I Know About Charles Mingus: He was a jazz guy, experimental, and worked with Joni Mitchell and others.

What Do I Know About The Black Saint & The Sinner Lady: Nada.

Oh man, look at the album cover. Is it a dude parping on a brass? Is he merely kicking back and enjoying a pipe? Is he in prison? In which case, why is he dressed in the blue of a comfortably numb Secondary School English teacher? Is that is hair, or is it one of those Russian hats that movies have told me Russians wear? Wikipedia tells me it’s a forty minute album – so hopefully shouldn’t hurt too much, but it’s a single composition split into four tracks… interesting? Lets just get on with it.

Solo Dancer: Look, I’ll be honest. It’s going to be difficult for me to actually add anything of worth in this review. I’ve listened to the album in full a few times now, but still the best I can do to differentiate each of the four tracks is to say that one is long, one starts with piano, and the other two are a bunch of trumpet waffling. I lack the musical expertise to break down any real differences and I lack the willpower to give a shit about music which feels so empty and bland to my ears.

This is the opening trumpet waffle. Try as I might to get into it, to feel the groove, to enjoy the faffing about, to appreciate the artistry and creative fuel behind it, I just can’t. Jazz is not for me. You could play me a hundred pieces by a hundred geniuses, and they’d all sound like the amateurish ravings of a drunk you picked up a horn for the first time.

Duete Solo Dancers: It’s just so dull. I’m sure the guys playing are having an absolute fucking blast. But this music feels like a relic of another world. A dead world. A world which found newer, better forms of music and passed the fuck on leaving all this muck in the past where it belongs. There’s a wailing bit. There’s a faster bit which also wails and depresses. There’s a slow bit which is worse, and which wails and moans. There’s some amusement to be found near the end where some of the horns sound like a monster trying to speak.

Group Dancers: This one at least feels different. It’s more than just horn parps. It has piano clangs too. It has flute or something. It seems Eastern inspired. It’s the amazing sounds of orgy. It still goes round and round without saying anything. It’s still as vapid and emotion free as the others.

Medley: This one throws in some guitars too. Spanish guitars. That was a nice break from all the trumpets, but none of it is particularly interesting. It’s the sort of thing anyone can play after a few lessons and just bashes out while you’re waiting for the bass player to stop fingering his girlfriend and get back to practice. Elsewhere, it’s more horrible, chaotic, tuneless noise.

What Did I Think: It’s never good when I feel like I need a lie down after a single track. There’s four of those tracks here, and one of them is almost 20 minutes long. There’s barely a note of difference between any of them. Regardless of the inspiration behind it all and how capable the musicians actually are, it’s so empty. There’s nothing interesting, there’s not a melody to be found, and each track is as haphazard and soulless as a talentless jam session. It’s music with absolutely nothing to say and in terms of my personal enjoyment as a listener who admittedly places melody and emotion above all other things, it was a slog to get through once, never mind multiple additional times as I hoped for a revelation. If Jazz is only for cultured types, then oil me up and call me a Love Island watching, chip eating lounge lizard.

Does It Deserve Its Place In The Top 1000 Albums Of All Time: Are you insane? It didn’t even deserve to be recorded in the first place. If there was ever an album which did not deserve to be on this list, it’s this one. An abject horror show.

Well, that’s another jazz masterpiece checked off the list and I’ve already forgotten what any of it sounds like beyond the after-trace revulsion I continue to feel whenever I hear a brief snippet of trumpet coming across the airwaves once upon a night sky. I read some of the bewildering five star reviews of the album and can only conclude that everyone is insane apart from me – and I’m this craziest kid this side of camel town.

The Clovehitch Killer

Horror Movie Review: The Clovehitch Killer (2018) - Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life

Society has always had this bizarre obsession with serial killers, with murder in general. Is it some primal curiosity or survival instinct – we’re happy we were not the ones involved, or we want to get close enough to the fire without getting burned? Is it more morbid than that – do we want to understand how and why these people exist and if they live next door? Or do we want to feel sympathy for the victims and those left behind? Whatever the reason, TV, Books, Music, and Movies have shared and perpetuated this obsession from day 1 and I am not susceptible from going down this rabbit hole on occasion, especially if presented as an engaging and interesting story.

The Clovehitch Killer is viewed from the eyes of a teenager called Tyler, a typical kid in a typical Christian American town where the hierarchy of life roughly follows God>Church>Father>Family>Work>Guns>everything else. The town harbours a dark past – the mystery of the Clovehitch Killer who murdered 10 women in living memory and was never caught. In his father’s truck on a perfect innocent date, the girl Tyler is interested in finds a violent bondage photograph and accuses him of being a weirdo, a fetishist, an other who must be shamed and ignored. This quickly spreads through church and town and Tyler finds himself a pariah, with only his family to support him even as they have their own questions. Tyler has questions too, knowing the photograph isn’t his but not knowing why it was in his dad’s truck, his dad the respected community leader and All American Scout Dude.

Tyler teams up with another teen outcast called Kassi to investigate the history of the Clovehitch Killer and the fact that he may still be lurking in the town, waiting to strike again, or to prove that he never went away at all and has simply been better at covering his tracks. All evidence points towards Tyler’s dad, but could he too be an innocent victim?

The film isn’t as gory or exploitative as some, instead focusing on the teen crime-fighting elements and on the different characters of the town which may look familiar to anyone who doesn’t live in a big city. The film racks up the tension in the final act, and although it is light on twists and the truth is revealed well before the end, it’s how we tie up the loose ends (pun intended) which holds our interest. It’s always a treat for me to see Samantha Mathis in anything, and both Charlie Plummer and Madisen Beaty are good as Tyler and Kassi. But it’s Dylan McDermott’s film, giving a performance which veers between perfect dad, to creepy, to hilarious fluidly. It’s not a film with anything big to say about the nature of killers or small town society, but it’s a worthy addition to the canon of both themes and is worth anyone’s time when you fancy a taste of morbid curiosity.

Let us know in the comments what you think of The Clovehitch Killer!

The Best UK Top 10 Of The 90s Chart Poll – Groups 71 – 82

File:Totp logo 1998.svg - Wikimedia Commons

Group 71

DJ Quicksilver – Bellisima: I know the artist name, but I couldn’t have named one of their tracks. I instantly recognise this one – it was all over the charts and blasting from cars back in the day – it even made regular appearances in the clubs into the next decade once I started getting dragged to those. It follows the precise formula of dance music – short, simple melody played over and over and over with occasional differences in the beat and one or two drops and/or underwater moment where the melody gets muffled before storming back. This one isn’t as cheap or weak as most.

The Beloved – Sweet Harmony: I can’t recall what this is. The video seems to have a lot of nudity. It’s only a couple of seconds into the song before I remember it. And I remember not liking it at the time. Lets see if my opinion has changed. There’s definitely something annoying about it, but I can’t say for sure what it is. The vocals aren’t my thing and it’s longer than it should be and I assume the nudity was a significant part of the song’s success. It’s fine, nothing against it.

Metallica – Enter Sandman: An easy group winner.

Incognito Ft Jocelyn Brown -Always There: The early 90s was picked with these dance/jazz/new jack hybrids with a big gospel vocal. Can’t say they ever did anything for me. I know I’m supposed to be impressed by the vocals, but they’re so on the nose, they’re screaming ‘look what I can do with my voice’ rather than ‘look how my voice compliments this song’. The song is actually fine too, but the whole early 90s dance vibe and production rubs me in criminal ways so it’s not something I’d ever vote for.

Group 72

The Tamperer Feat Maya – Feel It: Another song sampling Michael Jackson. And the song was notable back in the day for asking the important questions – ‘what’s she gonna look like with a chimney on her’. Being a Northern Ireland lad and a fan of absurdity, this was amusing for various reasons. It’s that silliness which stops the song from getting on my tits and I did have a soft spot for it back then, even if I’d entirely forgotten it till now.

Mariah – Dream Lover: One of the bigger hits of Mariah’s early days in the UK, this one mixes gospel and pop with her trademark vocals – it’s just sad what she became when she made sweet little pop songs like this. My group winner.

Black Grape – In The Name of The Father: Black Grape was one of those periphery groups for me – there was always one friend in the group who was a fan and the rest of us knew a few songs by association. That same person was much more into Happy Mondays, but Black Grape is basically the same thing. I did have one of their albums, but can’t remember what it was. Like most of the more rock oriented Madchester songs this one sounds good the first time you listen, but you quickly realise it sounds identical to all the others.

The Urban Cookie Collective – The Key The Secret: A decent one hit wonder.

Group 73

TLC  – No Scrubs: We all know it. It’s fine. My Group winner.

Technohead – I Wanne Be A Hippy: We all know it. Arguably one of the most embarrassing pieces of music ever shat out.

Shamen – Ebanezzer Goode: We all know it. One of my most hated songs. lOoK hE sayS Es ArE goOd!

The Smurfs – Your Christmas Wish: I had no idea this existed, but on principle of the previous two songs being two of the worst songs of all time, I’ll be voting for this over them.

Group 74

Sybil – When I’m Good & Ready: Another new one as far as I’m concerned. Vocals are decent, the video has entirely too much smiling, the beepy boopy sound is somewhat annoying. Actually, the chorus has elements that I may have heard before. I don’t have too much negative to say about it, it’s fine. My group winner.

Hale & Pace & The Stonkers: The Stonk: I remember Hale & Pace. They were a duo that were a ‘bit too blue’ in my parents’ words for pre-teen me to watch, which of course made me want to watch more. They were always on late though and I never got to see a lot. Like many comedy duos, they had the odd musical skit or flirtation. I don’t remember this at all, but it’s expectedly bad. The lyrics are funny – it seems to have been a charity song for Comic Relief – and the video is interesting as it features a load of old comedians and celebs, but the music is bad.

Ace Of Base – Don’t Turn Around: We all know The Sign and the one about wanting another baby, but do we know this? Of course we don’t. It’s quite similar to the two biggies.

Baby D – I Need Your Loving: Another example of one of those slow ballad songs with an inappropriately fast beat shoved into the song for some reason, without the pace of the song actually changing. The main melody is actually decent, the beat makes a mockery of it, and then some random Jamaican shite joins in the middle and completely spoils any good feeling I had for the song.

Group 75

Eagle Eye Cherry – Save Tonight: I have a feeling this person or group had other hits and that they were bigger outside of the UK, but it feels safe to call this a One Hit Wonder. Good song though. My group winner.

Chicane Ft Moya Brennan: I didn’t realise this was so long so I must have heard a radio edit. I liked this one – had a bit of emotion behind it which is one of the main reasons I can’t enjoy most dance music.

Puff Daddy Ft Jimmy Page – Come With Me: A pretty big song for a big movie – the movie was a bit of a flop but it momentarily brought Led Zep back into the limelight.

The Orb – Toxygene: Bit of a long an unnecessary intro for a single, unless there was an edit. Nothing happens of note until the second minute mark and the song actually starts. And yet, the opening two minutes are better than the final three.

Group 76

House Of Pain – Top O The Morning To Ya: Well, at least it not fucking Jump Around. That same friend who loved Black Grape would inevitably also love House Of Pain. I could never take their Irish Wannabee shtick seriously. This song is less annoying than Jump Around, but not as bombastic.

Lionel Ritchie – My Destiny: I’m still not sure why or how the whole Lionel Ritchie being a success in the 90s thing happened, but this is maybe his best song, out of those I’ve heard. My group winner.

Bellini – Samba De Janiro: I mentioned in an earlier post how dance music with a Latin tilt will be more enjoyable to me than that with a Jamaican lilt. This is one of those examples, but it’s a low tier example because it’s so repetitive. It gets points by being under three minutes long but it could have been under 1 minute and no-one would have noticed.

Smashing Pumpkins – The End Is The Beginning Is The End: Arguably the one 90s band I should have been into at the time but I never bother listening to them. They always seemed like a poor man’s American version of the Manics, without the politics. Plus, Billy Corgan’s nasal mewling annoyed me to a similar extent to Michael Stipe’s. At least they could still make a bit of noise, but this is by the number alt rock middle of the road nothingness.

Group 77

EMF – Unbelievable: They’ve done other stuff, right? But this is the hit. Fuck it – one hit wonder. It was so big then that it’s still used today in movies and such. It’s most famous now for being lazy Ad Execs go to song to accompany some ‘shocking’ sales event. Make of that what you will.

Bombalurina Ft Timmy Mallet – Itsy Bitsy: Christ, what a terrible collection of songs this group is.

Madonna – The Power Of Goodbye: One of her best. Excellent. An easy group winner.

All Saints – Lady Marmalade: One of the most overrated and irritating songs of all time, in any of its versions.

Group 78

Madonna – Justify My Love: Not my favourite Madonna song, but it’s still Madonna.

Right Said Fred – Stick It Out: They had a few songs which weren’t I’m Too Sexy. This is one of those. It’s about as bad as the others.

Duran Duran – Ordinary World: Duran Duran’s crowning achievement. My group winner.

The Beatles – Baby It’s You: No idea why this is here.

Group 79

Steps – Tragedy: It’s a cover. It’s one of their most popular songs. It’s entirely unnecessary, but sure.

R Kelly – If I Could Turn Back The Hands Of Time: It’s another R Kelly song which isn’t I Believe I Can Fly. I don’t know any of his other songs. At least this one has an ironic title.

Sleeper – Sale Of The Century: One of the many female fronted Indie bands of the Britpop era, I quite liked them and this song, even if the accents pissed me off. My group winner.

Robbie Williams – Let Me Entertain You: Probably his biggest song outside of Angels. Also one of the few which is tolerable. It’s catchy but it’s so overplayed that you can’t get any enjoyment out of it anymore.

Group 80

RATM – Bulls On Parade: It’s RATM, so you know exactly what you’re getting. As much as I respect them, they’re one of the most predictable and repetitive rock bands in the world. If this was the only song you heard by them, you’d be right to love it. But then you hear another one, and it’s the same. It’s good too. But then you hear another one and it’s the same too. After the fourth song things begin to run a little thin. Still, my group winner.

East Side Beat – Ride Like The Wind: Another name I don’t recognise. Another early 90s dance track, but this one is actually good. I know, I’m more surprised than anyone. It’s not as cheap or repetitive as most, and crucially it has solid vocals and good melodies.

George Michael – You Have Been Loved: Say what you will about George, but he sure knew who to make dreary old rainy day sounding shite which resounded with people. It doesn’t do anything for me, but at least there’s a sense of melody, emotion, and melancholy which is so often absent from modern pop.

MN8 – Happy: Another boyband from the sounds of it and another one which those unfortunate enough to have heard it have almost certainly forgotten. I had not heard it before and have already forgotten it.

Group 81

Madonna – Nothing Really Matters: One of her best. Excellent. An easy Group winner.

A1 – Be The First To Believe: Another boy band. Everyone has forgotten they existed, including the band members.

Snap – Snap Megamix: A Megamix is what – a recorded jumble of hits mixed together to make a new thing? A compilation as a single track? These were all the rage in the early 90s for Dance acts, seems like an easy way to cash in. This of course features the couple of Snap songs I know. It is what it is.

Primal Scream – Funky Jam: I don’t know if I ever heard this – I probably have as plenty of my mates would play Primal Scream full albums and bits at house parties, but it’s not stirring anything in my memory banks. It is a funky jam, a mixture of funk, rock, jazz, dance, other stuff.

Group 82

Louise – Naked: The only song anyone remembers by Louise, post Eternal. It’s good though.

Backstreet Boys – Larger Than Life: It has that sound which marks them out from other Boy Bands. Doesn’t mean it’s any good – it just sticks to the Backstreet Boys formula and sound. The verses are junk, the chorus is fine but several steps down from their best.

Robyn S – Show Me Love: Ah ok, I know this. I thought it was going to be another new one for me, but this was a smash and is still heard frequently on TV over here. It’s okay, not something I’d go out of my way to listen to it but I can bop my head when it’s on. My group winner.

Salt N Peppa – Lets Talk About Sex: A meme when I was in primary school and didn’t really know anything about it. Didn’t stop the boys singing it at the girls though.

Which songs do you love/hate/know etc?

The Best UK Top 10 Of The 90s Chart Poll – Groups 59 – 70

File:Totp logo 1998.svg - Wikimedia Commons

Group 59

The Presidents Of The USA – Peaches: I don’t know if they had other songs, but over here it’s clear this is the only one. The one hit wonder. It’s an odd song to ever become a hit, but most one hit wonders are; they rely on a quirk which is amusing or interesting for a while, people jump on the bandwagon, suck it dry, then move on to the next thing. This is a prime example. Move in to the country and eat me a lot of peaches. That’s the quirk. That’s the meme. An okay song. My group winner.

Steps – After The Love Has Gone: It Steps, so you know what you’re going to get – bouncy, light pop designed to be (choreograph) danced to, and with overly shrieking vocals.

Spacedust – Gym & Tonic: I thought I knew this from the name, but I can safely say I had not heard this in my life. Sadly I now have heard it, and my life is worse because of it. Another complete shambles.

The Source Ft Candi Staton – You Got The Love: An okay dance track which has been done to death and suffers from overplayed classic rock syndrome – you can’t listen to it anymore. There have been so many versions, covers, and remixes of this that you don’t know which is the original.

Group 60

Bon Jovi – This Ain’t A Love Song: I know it’s cool to hate on Bon Jovi, and they have done a lot of crap. But they’ve also written any number of wonderful hits. This is one of them. Though many will also call this crap, and that’s cool. My group winner.

Alanah Miles – Black Velvet: I used to think this was interesting when it first dropped. I quickly wised up. It’s not. It’s annoying.

Luther & Mariah – Endless Love: Again, I unironically enjoy this. I love basically anything Mariah did before she went Diva.

Mr Ozio – Flat Beat: Is that it? A few electronic throbs repeated ad nauseum with little to no variation or addition? Again, I just don’t understand it or how people like this or spend their money on it. There’s just… nothing here. Absolutely nothing.

Group 61

Another Level – Freak Me: Was this yet another boy band? I think so. The ‘get freaky with you’ bit I remember, but everything else I don’t. This is the point at which they seemed to run out of attractive young men who could kind of sing, and started pulling random unattractive young men and sticking them in front of a camera and mic. I’m no looker, but one of the first rules of creating a boy/girl band is ‘pick people who other people want to fuck’. I would fail that, and surely these blokes do too. The song’s crap too.

Boyzone – Father And Son: This thing. A Cat Stevens cover. I never liked the original or this. I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something inherently off-putting about it. It’s perfectly bland boyband fodder, but that’s not why I don’t like it. There’s something else. Don’t know.

Chaka Demus & Pliers – Twist And Shout: I’ve talked about the ‘Jamaican’ thing before. Actually, I don’t mind it here – giving the Beatles song a twist (sorry). It makes the song worse, but at least it’s different.

B*witched – Hold On: I remember reading something about B*Witched once holding some sort of record – like most number 1 singles in a row or some bollocks like that. And yet, I and everyone else only remembers C’est La Vie. I haven’t heard this before and it sounds nothing like those twee Irish girls we do remember. This sounds like it could be any girl band from the 90s. Standard manufactured nothingness.

Group 62

Blur – The Universal: Have we had Blur in another post? Probably. I’d either forgotten or didn’t know this was Blur. It’s a decent song. See, even when I don’t particularly enjoy a band I can still appreciate individual songs.

Chemical Bros – Setting Sun: You can always rely on Chemical Bros to show how to do dance music well. A banger.

Group 63

Curtis Stigers – You’re All That Matters To Me: It’s cheesy as a decaying foot, but I like it. My group winner.

Basement Jaxx – Rendez-vu: I never liked these guys in the same way I liked Chemical Bros. I think it’s because these guys are crap. But I always liked this tune.

Savage Garden – I Knew You Loved Me: I mentioned having a soft spot for Savage Garden, but I don’t remember this one. It may as well be a boy band song though – it’s almost identical to the bland crap 90s boy bands were putting out, right down to the production.

Madonna – Another Suitcase In Another Hall: I believe I covered this one in my Evita post. It’s not up to her best, but it’s decent. Certainly better than the bulk of the Evita soundtrack.

Group 64

Jon Bon Jovi – Queen Of New Orleans: Not the best solo effort from Jon. Given everything else here though, it’s my group winner.

R Kelly – Gotham City: Oh dear. It’s R Kelly.

Duece – I Need You: No clue what this is. Dreadful.

Boyzone – All That I Need: Another song which I probably have heard as it sounds familiar, but could equally be because it sounds like a hundred other songs. A very poor group.

Group 65

Nirvana – Heart Shaped Box: I always considered this to be the weakest song on In Utero. But it’s still Nirvana, and it’s still Heart Shaped Box. An easy group winner.

George Michael – I Can’t Make You Love Me: No, you can’t. If you had made good music you may have made me appreciate you a little more. Still, we’ll always have Last Christmas, a legit banger. This is a cover. It’s as dull as a dentist’s waiting room.

Perez Prado – Guaguline: Beer Adverts. You could guarantee that if there was a beer in the 90s which wanted to advertise, it would slap a jaunty tune on the ad. That tune would then become a hit, no matter if was new or 50 years old. This is one of those.

Gary Clail On You Soundsystem – Human Nature: Another 80s tune masquerading as a 90s baby. At least it has some vocals. They’re not very good. Solid message though, I suppose. Pity the music is a bit balls.

Group 66

Steps – Better Best Forgotten: Indeed.

Shaggy Ft Rayvon – In The Summertime: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Shaggy has never made anything worth hearing, either on his own or as a guest.

Simple Minds – She’s A River: A band I never got into – I knew a couple of their songs from compilations, and liked them, but not enough for me to look for any other tracks. I kind of know this song but didn’t know it was by them. It’s good. Not great, but good. My group winner.

Five – When The Lights Go Out: Another boyband, this one leaned more into the US oriented R’n’B sound. The video is funny because the lads look no older than 15 years old. I’m sure they weren’t far off. Same crappy 90s production as all the other bands, the verses are tripe, the chorus is decent.

Group 67

The Family Stand – Ghetto Heaven: It’s funky and all – doubt I’ve heard it but it has the same percussive and rhythmic sounds as much of the music of this genre and era. But it has a sombre vibe which is nice and not typically found in the chart stuff. My group winner.

Boyzone – Shooting Star: Uck, it’s pure musical theatre cheese. I never liked the guy’s voice, but he really doubles down on the theatricality in this one, making it several degrees worse. The song is dreary ballad fare.

S Club 7 – You’re My Number 1: It has a Motown vibe, wiped clean of any emotion. But you can’t deny it’s fun and it’s designed to put a smile on faces. It’s funny how the chorus has no resemblance to the verse, it’s like the writers had two different songs and couldn’t do anything with them so decide to just slap the best bits together to make a new thing. The new thing isn’t great.

Texas Ft Wu Tang Clan – Say What You Want: I never enjoyed the original, this is certainly different. I don’t think anyone saw this collab coming. Unfortunately, like the track above the two parts here do not go together in the slightest. Not all songs can be smashed together.

Group 68

John Lennon – Imagine: Not sure what this is doing here. In fact, there are at least three songs which shouldn’t be here. Well, one of them is a cover at least.

Ash – Oh Yeah: Well, this was easy. One of my favourite Ash songs, one which reminds me of early Secondary school times, talking about your favourite bands with your mates. My group winner.

Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive: Not sure what this is doing here.

Nikki French – Total Eclipse Of My Heart: If you’re going to do a cover, in the words of every Reality Show Judge, ‘make it your own’. This is not that. Until the second verse this is a carbon copy of the original. Then they chuck in some lame dance beat for the second half, but it makes it sound like the music played in a speed round of a kids game show. And the vocal diction from this point on is hilarious. Hilariously bad. Like an early Text To Speech program.

Group 69

Shaggy Ft Marsha – Piece Of My Heart: See above.

Mansun – Closed For Business: I liked Mansun when they first dropped, but it was at the time I didn’t have much of my own money to spend on music and what music I did have was being spent elsewhere. So beyond the handful of songs I heard on the radio I didn’t chase the band down until years later. This song has the elements of creepiness and melody which drew me to them in the first place, but it’s a weaker copy of Wide Open Space.

Bon Jovi – Some Day I’ll Be Saturday Night: Another Bon Jovi I have a lot of fondness. My group winner.

Shola Ama – You Might Need Somebody: A decent song even if the vocals are too wobbly for anyone’s tastes. At least the vocals are somewhat unique.

Group 70

EMF/Reeves & Mortimer – I’m A Believer: Vic & Bob are two of my favourite comedians/humans. As musicians… lets say I prefer their original compositions. EMF I have no idea. Still, this is silly fun, but pretty disposable. I don’t remember them having so many songs in the 90s.

Wet Wet Wet – Julia Says: I remember the chorus, but it’s too lightweight and drifty for me. There’s a touch of The Beatles in there, the song opens in a promisingly dramatic fashion but quickly loses its steam with a drab verse. It pulls things back, but that opening verse drags the whole thing down.

Hepburn – I Quit: Ah Hepburn. Whatever happened to them. I loved this song when it came out – it was one I recorded off the radio and continued to enjoy for about a year before forgetting it. I always found it amusing that they looked almost identical to B*Witched. Plus there is a slight Buffy connection, but I already liked the song by that point. Buffy would also do the same thing with my beloved My Vitriol.

Dave Stewart – Lily Was Here: Oh man, I’d forgotten this existed and could have sworn it was an 80s song. I don’t think I ever knew who played it or what it was called, but I used to play it on my guitar. It goes on a bit, and I wasn’t aware it was entirely an instrumental, leading me to believe I never actually heard the whole thing – only bits.

Let us know your memories and favourites in the comments!

Best Foreign Film – 1982

Official Nominations: Begin The Beguine. Alsino And The Condor. Clean Slate. Flight Of The Eagle. Private Life.

Not the most thrilling line-up this year, although Spain picked up their first win with Begin The Beguine. It’s fine, you don’t need to ever see it, but it’s a story you’ve seen any number of times before following a man returning home to reconnect with his past. There’s a political background, there’s the added twist of the guy being sick, but it’s par for the course. Alsino And The Condor is the best of the bunch, a coming of age war story set in Nicuragua as the US becomes involved in the Sandanista/Contra conflict. Dean Stockwell stars as an American Military pilot while Alan Esquival is the titular Alsino, a boy who believes he can fly but who is increasingly horrified by the war and violence on all sides.

Clean Slate is a little longer than it needs to be, an adaptation of an American Hard-Boiled Crime novel, transposed to a small African town. It’s funny, violent, but ultimately bleak, emboldened by the great Philippe Noiret and Isabelle Huppert. Flight Of The Eagle similarly features a familiar face in Max Von Sydow, starring in the biographical tale of three men attempting to reach the North Pole in a hot air balloon. You can guess how that went. Finally, Private Life is your typical Soviet drama – a man forced to re-evaluate his life and position after being forced to retire.

My Winner: Alsino And The Condor

Alsino y el cóndor (1982) - Filmaffinity

My Nominations: Alsino And The Condor. Flight Of The Eagle. Gandhi. The Dark Crystal. The Wall. Passion. Tenebrae. The Year Of Living Dangerously.

I carry two over from the official list, and add a bunch of my own picks. Gandhi. It’s an English film. It won Best Picture. Of course it should be here. In fact, Great Britain makes up the bulk of my picks, with The Dark Crystal’s unique story and vision taking up a deserved spot and The Wall with its excellent music and iconic imagery grabbing another.

We hop over the Channel to France and Jean Luc Godard’s Passion, the story of a director’s struggles in creating an obscure Art film. That’s what Godard does. I’m not remotely the most qualified person to discuss Art, but I’m fairly literate when it comes to Film – while much of this was lost on me, the central themes of creation and the balancing of the love of creating versus physical human love with another person, are handled with Godard’s usual intense lens, and it’s bolstered a strong lead in Radziwilowicz and support from Isabelle Huppert. It’s pleasingly swift too.

Tenebrae is Argento’s follow up to Inferno, offering a more traditional Giallo but with plenty of his trademark artistry. It lacks the complexity of his previous couple of films, but his experiences in making those films honed his knife mystery story telling skills and could be called his best straight slasher. Of course, it’s clinical, garish, and super violent – but that’s what we expect from Argento.

Finally, Australia’s The Year Of Living Dangerously has a taste of neo-noir, a dashing of war intrigue, but is of course a taut romance. You don’t get many of those these days – it’s all Rom Coms or Tragedies. Weaver is great, Gibson is great, Hunt won the Oscar. Great film.

My Winner: The Wall

Let us know your winner in the comments!

The Best UK Top 10 Of The 90s Chart Poll – Groups 47 – 58

File:Totp logo 1998.svg - Wikimedia Commons

What do we have in store today? Lets have a gander.

Group 47

Gabrielle – Dreams: I can’t say I ever enjoyed Gabrielle’s music. Too nasal, too bland. Not that I had any illogical hate towards here like I do for UB40 and Erasure and various shitty Dance acts – I just couldn’t understand why she was a thing, why she got the spotlight over many more deserving artists. This is probably her biggest hit.

Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart, Sting – All For Love: Bryan Adams was your go to guy for a big hit song for a big hit movie. At some point in the 90s, duets and triplets became the thing if you wanted a hit movie or charity song. I think they could have picked any other three voices – these three near enough middle aged, middle of the road white boy rockers, two with a rasp and one with a shrill, don’t complement each other at all. The song is average, the movie is average, but in all honesty I don’t think it would have been improved even with there were different vocalists.

Cyndi Lauper: Hey Now Girls Just Wanna Have Fun: Lauper’s trademark song, revamped with added ‘hey now hey nows’ for the 90s. It’s a little slower, a little sexier, but a little less fun. Still, probably my favourite of the group. My group winner.

911 – The Day We Find Love: Have we covered 911 yet? Probably, though there were so many 1-2 album boy bands in the 90s that it’s easy to mix up their bland sameness. This song could have been performed by any of the other boy bands (or girl bands) and you wouldn’t notice much difference. That would be fine if the song was good, but it’s just a whisper in a class of screaming kids. I’ll give the chorus melody some credit for having some moments, but crap verse, shocking production, poor vocals.

Group 48

Lolly – Big Boys Don’t Cry: I mentioned some base familiarity with Lolly which I could nail down last time her name came around. Maybe this is the one. This doesn’t help matters. It’s actually very sweet. The melody is incredibly predictable though – it’s one of those songs you can sing the next series of notes on your first listen – before those notes come. Still, it’s sweet.

Tin Tin Out Ft Emma Bunton – What I Am: A sexy enough cover of Edie’s 80s banger. I’m not sure which I prefer – the original is the original, but Tin Tin Out add some nice twists and Bunton gives it a solid go on the mic.

Green Day – Basket Case: I mean… it’s Basket Case. The best thing Green Day ever did. The peak of pop punk or power punk or whatever you want to call it. It’s just a perfect blend of melody and offbeat fun and speed. How can you not love this? My group winner.

En Vogue – Hold On: Band name sounds kind of familiar. It opens with a riff on You Really Got A Hold On Me, which MJ perfected decades earlier. Seems to be a girl group. I don’t know if this intro was part of the single as it takes up over a minute of the run time, which is ridiculous. We then descend into fairly standard 90s chart R’n’B pop. Probably the worst song of this fairly strong group.

Group 49

Shanks & Bigfoot – Sweet Like Chocolate: One of the more annoying songs of the 90s.

Jordan Knight – Give It To You: Another name which sounds familiar, but I couldn’t tell you anything about them. Or if it’s a bloke or a woman. Or something in between. It’s a bloke. It has one of the worst introductions I’ve ever heard. Then it becomes some faux Craig David thing. Horrible lyrics – but that’s to be expected. It’s not bad – get rid of that intro and it might be tolerable.

Bone Thugs & Harmony: The Crossroads: That’s a hilarious name. BONE THUGS. I’m imagining some terrible leather and loin-clad 80s metal band, but you already know it’s going to be some shitty gangsta wannabe. At least the badly sung intro subverts my expectations, with some Gospel moaning. Then it hilariously turns into an even more badly sung verse and on to some high pitched high paced rap. There’s almost no musical accompaniment at points. It’s incredibly weak. What the hell is this? Who wrote this and thought it was good? Who put these people near a microphone and thought it was a good idea? Who recorded this and thought ‘nailed it! We definitely don’t need another take, but this time have the people sing in tune’? One of the most inept Top Ten songs I’ve ever heard.

Spice Girls – Stop: Well, by virtue of every other song here being either bad or horrendous, this is the clear winner. It’s one of their most bouncy and fun songs too, so it had a chance of being the best in the group even if the other songs weren’t curling cat turds. My group winner.

Group 50

Steven Houghton – Wind Beneath My Wings: Is this really necessary?  Get some bloke no-one’s ever heard of and make him sing one of the most famous songs of all time – and do a crap job? Win win. Look, I get it. He has a nice voice. So do millions of other people. Does it sufficiently update or improve upon the original? No. Should it have been a B-side or album track – sure. Do I care? Not particularly.

Gina G – Fresh: Gina G was a thing in the 90s, thanks to Eurovision. Hey boy – do you wanna get fresh? Is that an overly forwards/presumptuous way of asking if I need a shower. Or a breath mint? Yes, I know it means ‘lets fuck’. But pop stars didn’t have the balls to sing that in the 90s – most of them anyway. Anyhoo, I don’t remember this and it’s very very poor in all respects.

Britney Spears – Crazy: I never understood Britney. The music wasn’t very good, her image was unfortunate, and she couldn’t really sing. Then weird shit started happening. I don’t really understand the rabid hatred or support she gets now too. I understand the support, but not the frothing. She’s a woman who has seemingly been abused by everyone for much of her life, and I’d wager that many of her early fans were complicit in that abuse. With all that in mind, this song has a different ring to it than it did upon release. It’s a carbon copy of Hit Me Baby and has the same fun dance vibe. Like that song… it’s fine. Never more than a 3 out of 5 song.

Michael Jackson – Heal The World: MJ has been doing very badly in the polls so far, which I can only assume is down to the sexual allegations and not the music. There’s no getting away from the fact that this is easily the best song in the group. It’s gorgeous. Sure it’s twee, but it’s honest and sung with heart. My group winner.

Group 51

The Course – Ain’t Nobody: A cover which somehow adds a tonne more beats and content than the original but comes off sounding much weaker, musically and physically.

Will Smith – Gettin Jiggy With It: Probably missed a couple in this group, but out of these two songs this is the one I prefer. I don’t have any special memories of it or any real connection to Will Smith’s music. I loved Fresh Prince at the time and it’s still one of my favourite shows – his music is okay.

Group 52

K Ci & Jo Jo – All My Life: Another one which I would have told you I didn’t recognise from the name but which I do remember upon hearing the opening notes. It’s another song which is fairly badly performed – put a genuinely good singer against this or at the very least remove the garbage filters from the vocals, and there’s a perfectly good song here.

M People – One Night In Heaven: It’s M People again. I don’t like them. The song sounds like burps.

Eternal – I Am Blessed: Like almost every Eternal song, I have no memory of this. Seems like a sweet ballad. But also seems like it’s about religion, which is a shame. This is a crap group so far, so based on music alone (which isn’t great) this could be my group winner.

2 Unlimited – The Real Thing: Say what you will about 2 Unlimited, at least they put a bit of fire and energy into their music. This isn’t one I remember and it’s not the best thing I’ve ever heard, but it’s a damn sight better than most of the 90s dance tripe I do remember. My group winner.

Group 53

Oasis – Wonderwall: You know it. I know it. One of the hugest songs of the decade. I wasn’t the biggest fan. My group winner.

DJ Kool – Let Me Clear My Throat: It has an interesting name, I’ll give it that. Once it hits the ‘everybody jump’ part I remember it. There isn’t much to it, but it’s fine.

Pulp – Mis Shapes: I never liked Pulp. I never liked the music, the vocals or the fact that they all looked like tramps. Their lyrics were usually okay. This is the first time I’ve heard this song and musically it’s almost identical to every other Pulp song I’ve heard – incredibly dull.

Vanessa Williams – Save The Best For Last: I’m secure enough in my self and my tastes that I don’t mind saying this is a perfectly beautiful little ballad.

Group 54

Jamiroquai – Cosmic Girl: I’ve often said that if the guy didn’t have those hats, the band would not have been a success. That’s my number one top for hitting the big time in music, kids; wear a hat or have some other silly gimmick. The song is solid though – very funky, as was their way. I suppose my view on them has softened over the years, partly because I didn’t like or dislike them strongly at the time, and partly because their brand of music has not really been improved over the years. If anything, it has been diluted by everyone who has followed.

Bryan Adams – The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me: Not my favourite BA song, but it’s fine. My group winner.

Boyzone – Key To Life: Well, I’d forgotten this was a thing. Not surprising like, it’s less memorable than throwing out another holey sock.

Vanessa Paradis – Be My Baby: This doesn’t ring a bell, but it’s drenched in Motown nostalgia. Not much else to say.

Group 55

Prince & The New Power Generation – Gett Off: Is this the first Price song? I never understood the hype around Prince. His music just waft by me with zero effect. I do know this song, but I honestly didn’t know it was Prince. The lyrics are quite amusing in how openly sexual and brazen they are. I’m happy for that as most pop songs skirt around the obvious subject matter. Good tune.

Child Liners – The Gift Of Christmas: Apparently a charity song which somehow avoided my ears. I’m trying to identify the different voices, but as far as I can tell there aren’t any big hitters – it’s mostly boy/girl band types. Make no mistake, it’s an absolutely terrible song which sounds like it was produced by me, at age 7, in my bedroom in 1990. It’s about as generic a pop song as you’re likely to hear.

Baddiel & Skinner & The Lightning Seeds – 3 Lions: It’s the winner, right? Great song in any of its incarnations. My group winner.

The Outthere Brothers – Boom Boom Boom: One of the first and biggest songs which pissed me off when it came to dance music – not because it was bad, but because it was fine yet everyone else praised it like the second coming of Lennon. The fact that everyone loved this song annoyed me more than the song itself. It’s catchy and a bit naughty, but it’s just another song.

Group 56

Damage – Wonderful Tonight: We’ve had a song by these boys already, right? See, I’ve forgotten already and I only started this thing a few days ago. I never liked the original song much, and this is a quaint, smooth take on it which makes it more appealing for the modern (90s) yummy mummy wondering what the fuck went wrong with her life.

Vengaboys – We Like To Party: I’m sure you do, and that’s one of the many reasons I hate you. This song is another.

The Verve – The Drugs Don’t Work: One of the best songs of the decade. It’s a shame I don’t like The Verve more. My group winner.

Guru Josh – Infinity: I’m going to assume this is some one hit wonder dance muck. <presses play>. Yes. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to take it seriously. The main instrumental melody is fine, but everything else is bad with a capital SHIT. The absolute state of the video too.

Group 57

Cast From Casualty – Everlasting Love: I watched Casualty when it first came out. It was one of the few chances I had of seeing of blood and guts on TV without my parents telling me to leave the room. Sadly, those moments were few and far between and the waffling between Ash, Duffy, and the other one didn’t really appeal to me. Here they are, inexplicably, covering one of the greatest songs of all time. Watching the video, they do their best to ruin the song but even their lack of talent is able to finish the job. Also; I don’t remember fake Liza Minelli being in Casualty. She does her best, bless her, but as the song progresses her voice begins to collapse and she duffs or chickens out of a number of notes. Sadly, we don’t get a good look at the hot one in the white shirt.

DJ Sakin – Protect Your Mind: I didn’t know it was called Protect Your Mind. The Braveheart music is of course gorgeous. This doesn’t ruin it – it comes close – though lets be honest, it’s not that difficult to add a batch of cheap-ass beats to an already wonderful piece of music.

Take That – Love Ain’t Here Anymore: Yet another of the countless Take That ballads of the 90s, this one more turgid and forgettable than most. I’m sure it had a video with lots of hairless open-shirted boys to compensate for the lack of musical interest.

Mark Snow – The X Files: It’s The X Files theme tune, with added bits. My group winner. 

Group 58

Primal Scream – Rocks: A solid tune.

The Outthere Brothers – If You Wanna Party: It’s not Boom Boom Boom and therefore no-one cares.

Ultra Nate – Found A Cure: It’s not Sonique. I didn’t know what this was until the pre-chorus. I have wiped the verses and chorus from my mind, but the pre-chorus remains. It’s not very good, is it?

Tori Amos – Professional Widow: An easy group winner, a song with more power than almost anything else on this list and barely a guitar in sight. One of the best endings to any song, ever. I bet the remix is on the list too. My group winner. 

Share your memories and favourites in the comments!

Nightman Listens To – John Lennon – The Plastic Ono Band (Non-Beatles Series)!

Greetings, Glancers! Last time around we had the excellent All Things Must Pass by senor Harrison. Now it’s finally over to Monsieur Lennon, and his first (non experimental guff) Post-Beatles outing. The year was 1970 – so there wasn’t really any delay in output between the time The Beatles split and when this was released. Just like each of the other lads. Now, I’ve probably heard a few of these before but there’s only one I know for sure. As it seems like a fairly short album, I’m going to also listen to the two bonus tracks which were added as part of the 2000 Reissue. Will Yoko be screeching in the background? Will the songs be typical latter day Lennon rage-fests? I’ve no idea.

‘Mother’ I have heard, now that I’ve heard the opening shriek. Where have I heard it – The Simpsons? That sounds right. It has a sparse arrangement – just the odd piano clang and a repeating simple beat. A touch of bass. I’ve always said that a good song lives or dies on the strength of its melody – and that all the other musical accompaniment can be added or stripped away without truly hurting the song as long as the melody doesn’t changing. This takes the stripped down approach, and even though I can imagine swelling of strings here the core melody and the emotion behind it is what carries the song.

Hold On‘ feels vaguely familiar – but I’ll hold off until I hear the vocals. No, I don’t think I’ve heard it. He’s singing to himself and Yoko, not surprising. Parts of this are familiar. Again, it’s sparse and somewhat laid-back. Cookie? It’s nice, positive, and at under two minutes there’s not much to it. I’d say it could go on the playlist for now, but I don’t think it’s going to grow on me any further and is more likely to slip off.

I Found Out’ begins like a demented Blues demo, just dual vocals and distorted guitars. The beat comes in later, with a loose beat and more distortion. It picks up pace with a more driving bass. I’m not a fan of the effects on the vocals. It feels a lot like Come Together. Nice instrumental in the middle. It grows on me as it progresses.

Working Class Hero‘ is the one I knew already, both in its original form and in its many copies. It’s not a song I’ve ever had any great love for, but neither is it one I dislike. It’s just an average song for me.

‘Isolation’ is one I’m listening to in Quarantine. I assume when I post this, all the Cov-ID 19 guff will be done with? The slow piano led Beatles stuff is hardly ever a favourite for me. This goes the same way – I like the come out of each verse rather than the lead in. Not that it has a very generic structure. The ‘chorus’ picks up the volume then goes off for a dander into Strangeways and the song becomes more interesting. Then it circles around to another verse. It’s fine, but that single piano note approach isn’t for me.

‘Remember’ seems to be one of the longest songs on the album at four and a half minutes. It’s another piano led one, with the same static single note approach. It’s faster this time, and the drums and bass aren’t quite aligned with the piano which makes it a little more interesting. Just as I was wondering if it was going to stay like this throughout, John pre-empts my frustration and changes it up, albeit briefly. I like the gentle boundary pushing, the experimenting without just fucking about. I don’t see it ever making my playlist because the melodies aren’t so strong and because of those single notes. And of course a joke to close it.

‘Love’ fades in with a distant, more interesting piano. This feels quite lovely, don’t mess it up now. It’s very reminiscent of Radiohead’s How I Made My Millions. I think the verse changes chords too many times and would have had greater impact on me if it had sustained some of the early minor key chords longer. Still, it’s lovely, but frustratingly not as lovely as it could have been for me. I assume others love it just the way it is.

Well Well Well‘ opens with a dirty Blues riff and drums like a zombie whacking on a boarded up window, with a shoe. The vocals have an annoying set of effects in place which doesn’t make for the most pleasant listening. I’m not sure what he was going for here, clearly going for a more gritty, underground sound. Or maybe it’s because he knew the song wasn’t that interesting and it needed something shouty to spice it up. His actual shouts are very good, sounding very Cobain at times. It does go on way too long.

Look At Me‘ starts quietly. The guitar is almost identical to, what, Julia? It’s about as interesting musically as that song – it’s one of those songs which should be sweet and mellow but feels dreary to me. Vocal melodies are drifting without striking any great affection in me. It’s fine, but forgettable.

God‘ closes the album. It feels more melodic than the last couple from its opening moments – the piano isn’t so single-note based. It’s actually playing a tune. It’s a song about the self, it seems, not following some religion or God or celebrity or politician or monarch or power or cult. It is very repetitive, but the whole ‘I don’t believe in’ section has that solid melodic foundation so it works. It’s a much stronger song than the few before it.

My Mummy’s Dead‘ is the actual album closer,but it feels like a very short bonus track. It sounds like a solo 4 track recording, off the cuff. It’s nice enough, just John and a guitar, simple. Can’t see how it could have been expanded, without adding some lush chorus.

Power To The People’ opens in that lush fashion – big gospel vocals before John joins in with a manic beat and sax. There’s Beatles callbacks, shouted vocals, a catchy refrain, but like a lot of the Beatles extras it’s basically a couple of melodies and lyrics repeated in a loop. Here we get extra brass, but there isn’t a lot to it. Still, it feels celebratory if a little lazy.

Do The Oz‘ which, as Buffy fans will know, is the act of sitting stoically before delivering a well-timed and insightful quip. As a song, it’s nothing like Oz – zany sounds whizz like ghosts around a central riff while Lennon sings the title. The verses present things as if ‘the oz’ is a type of dance, with Lennon giving the instructions. Of course the instructions don’t really make sense. It’s an interesting enough bonus, but not one I’ll remember tomorrow.

Well well well, the album started out impressively but eventually began to suffer a little from the adjoining trio of experimentation which doesn’t quite work, as well as some meandering and repetition. There’s too much drifting and daydreaming for my tastes and without the melodies to back things up, and there’s too much of a focus on keeping things distorted and distant. It’s like he’s saying ‘I did all this big and popular and hug production stuff with the fellas, so now I’m going in the complete opposite direction so that people recognise this John Lennon as different from that one’. Which is fair enough, but with a few simple tweaks these songs could have been stronger. That said, there is still some great stuff – not quite on par with the best of The Beatles, but right up there with their second tier tunes.

Nightman’s Playlist Picks: Mother. Hold On. Love. God.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

The Best UK Top 10 Of The 90s Chart Poll – Groups – 41 – 46

File:Totp logo 1998.svg - Wikimedia Commons

More! Either there’s some typos going on or some other mishap, but some of the groups seem to be missing songs.

Group 41

Depeche Mode – In Your Room: When I think of Depeche Mode I think of dark synth beats, and that’s exactly how this song starts. I’ve never listened to much by them and this is new to me. I like it. I’m generally not a fan of this vocal style and that has been part of the reason I haven’t been interested in Depeche Mode before. Even though the song isn’t high on melodies, there’s something enchanting about it.

Erasure – Run To The Sun: If I haven’t said it already, Erasure rank alongside UB40 as one of my most hated bands. I always classed them as an 80s band, but they’re all over this chart. I haven’t heard this before but it has all the stuff I don’t like about the band – synth overboard, the guy’s vocals… that’s about it. The song’s not bad, solid chorus. Just not my thing.

Group 42

Halo James – Could Have Told You So: What the hell is this doing in the 80s? It sounds like early 80s Waterman shite, and they’ve clearly ripped off The Way You Make Me Feel and Leave Me Alone. Get back in the bin.

Ocean Colour Scene – The Circle: Song name doesn’t ring a bell, let’s see…ah right, this one. Yes, I quite liked this one but I remember the riff being faster. Good tune. My group winner.

Backstreet Boys – As Long As You Love Me: About as good as boy band songs get.

Sonia – Only Fools Never Fall In Love: Everyone’s favourite Scouse ginger, we all had a crush on her for a while back then, don’t deny it. I don’t remember this, but it’s fun. It’s clearly a Motown inspired song but the cheesy production spoils it.

Group 43

Ten Sharp – You: I couldn’t have told you what this was before listening, but the piano intro reminds me what it is, and the verse confirms it. It’s another song I’d forgotten about. It’s very 80s. But I like the melodies and the vocals.

Mariah Carey – Honey: A hefty slice of pop R’nB and one of Mariah’s most famous songs. I got quite a lot of enjoyment out of the video. Fin. My group winner.

Busta Rhymes & Janet Jackson – What’s It Gonna Be: It’s pretty funky and I remember the chorus. I don’t remember it making much of an impact on anyone though.

Offshore – I Can’t Take The Power: About as generic an example of early Dance music as you could get – heavy on the drum and bass, highly repetitive, cheap production, not very good.

Group 44

Olive – You’re Not Alone: I was about to type that I had never heard this, and then the chorus dropped. I know the chorus, which means I didn’t pay much attention to the song when I did hear it. Chorus is fine at best, everything else is bland and forgettable.

FPI Project – Getting Back To Me Roots: What the balls is this? I recognise the ‘woo – yeah’ screeches, but don’t those come up in a hundred different songs? On the whole an incredibly poor piece of music bereft of… anything.

Group 45

Pras Ft ODB & Mya – Ghetto Superstar: One of my favourite songs of the decade. I… don’t have much to add. A lot of nostalgia around it, sure, but it still remains a great song, somehow merging Knight Rider and Dolly Parton into something awesome.

Pras – Blue Angels: Even as much as I loved the last song, it didn’t spur me on to get into Pras. As such, I don’t know what this is. It’s cool though, and due to the references to other music I do know, it sounds familiar too.

Group 46

White Town – Your Woman: One of the last singles I bought on Cassette, I would frequently blast this in my bedroom and annoy people with it in school thanks to my Walkman. The song has had something of a renaissance in recent years too.

Mariah – Without You: I’ll say it; this is the definitive version of the song. I love this version.

Share your memories and favourites in the comments!

 

Best Writing (Adapted) – 1982

Official Nominations: Missing. Das Boot. Sophie’s Choice. The Verdict. Victor/Victoria

Das Boot is out – not a 1982 movie. That leaves us with a Legal Drama written by David Mamet, a turbulent movie with flashbacks to the Holocaust, a biography dealing with the search for a missing journalist, and a Blake Edwards musical. Victor/Victoria is a remake but also a musical coming in a post Cabaret world – it’s the same vibe as Cabaret but a more light movie. What was it with cross dressing this year? It’s fine, but forgettable for someone like me who’s not into musicals.

Biographies tend to be hit and miss for me, unless I’m interested in the subject. Missing is set in the aftermath of the Pinochet Dictator led and US backed overthrow of the Socialist Chilean government, leading to countless deaths and atrocities. Costa-Gavras adapts the book, detailing the disappearance of an American Journalist, but chooses to focus on the relationship between the journalist’s father and wife as they come from political opposites. It’s good, but doesn’t go deep enough in its pointing of fingers.

You can’t go wrong with David Mamet – he raises the quality of whatever he’s involved in, and rather than being a typical dull courtroom drama, we get the personal touches and sparkling one-liners regarding an alcoholic lawyer who develops a personal relationship with a malpractice suite involving the Catholic Church – his closing speech of the case is among the best you’ll hear in this sort of film.

Finally, Sophie’s Choice is an unflinching look at the long-lasting damage of the Holocaust on a woman who managed to survive and continue her life in the US. Everyone knows ‘that moment’, but the film is a series of such moments both in flashback and present day form which suggest that no amount of time or distance can free you from the past’s most decisive moments.

My Winner: The Verdict

David Mamet, The verdict A screenplay - AbeBooks

My Nominations: The Verdict. Conan The Barbarian. The Thing. Blade Runner. Creepshow. Fast Times At Ridgemont High. The Wall.

A world away from the serious tone of the Official Nominations, my unlikely picks are a lot more fun. Along with ET, Fast Times is one of the movies which defined what the 80s was, early in the decade. Adapted from Cameron Crowe’s book in which he famously pretended to be a high school student (he was 22) and went back to school for a year to detail the lives of the kids he saw everyday. It’s a loose coming of age movie which deals with the always/never changing problems of teens as they cross into adulthood, given that LA gloss by Amy Heckerling.

The Thing is more of an adaptation of Who Goes There? than it is of the previous movie – albeit one which John Carpenter was a massive fan of. It doubles down on the paranoia of the story, sharing just enough of the characters thoughts that we learn about them but never enough to trust them – of course it helps that there’s a few great one-liners in there. Blade Runner features some of the most famous dialogue of the 80s and does arguably the best adaptation of any Philip K Dick story while The Wall is a visual extension of both the album and live show of the same name, adding more transparent detail.

Creepshow… probably doesn’t qualify as a true adaptation, but it still features stories written for another medium rewritten for the screen. Good enough for me. The stories come thick and fast, they get straight to the pulpy point from first frame and waste no time with periphery gubbins – you have the story, the characters, then the comeuppance. In a similar vein is my winner – not only an adaptation of the character and short stories of Conan by Robert E Howard, but also a story of individual strength in overcoming as written by Oliver Stone and John Milius, and again featuring some of the best cinematic one-liners and soliloquies of the decade.

My Winner: Conan The Barbarian

Let us know your winner in the comments!

Nightman’s Least Favourite Movies Of 1985!

Legend (1985) — The Forgetful Film Critic

Ewoks: Battle For Endor

I quite enjoyed this one when I was young – Jedi was always my favourite Star Wars movie and this was another furry adventure. Watching it as an adult now, it’s pretty bad.

Friday The 13th: A New Beginning

The Friday The 13th series was never my thing growing up – I was more into Elm Street and Halloween. As part of an October marathon a few years ago, I finally went back to watch all the sequels and none of them are especially good. There’s barely a unique idea between them and each boils down to knifey knifey stab time. At least a few of the sequels went for some continuity, including this one which continues the Tommy Jarvis story – the survivor of a previous massacre now in an asylum of some sort. It’s not bad, it’s just by the numbers, cheap slasher fun – worth seeing once and instantly forgetting.

Legend

This is a bit of a cult favourite for many, presumably due to Tim Curry and that crazy make-up. But it doesn’t make a lick of sense, most of the performances are bad, and it seems to be Ridley Scott channelling Michael Mann via Michael Bay. A genuinely poor film all around.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

The weakest of the original trilogy, and of the entire series, Thunderdome feels at once too commercial and too empty. It has that same sense of barrenness as the first film, but there’s no emotional core of genuine weirdness. It’s more like a glossy approximation of weirdness. Still, it has some swinging about inside a big dome, but it’s a huge step down from The Road Warrior. 

A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge

A strange one because it’s both one of the more interesting sequels in the franchise, but also one of the worst. I like what the story tries to do, but it’s very cheap, the acting isn’t of the highest calibre, and it’s as camp as a charred sausage on a five dollar portable bbq. No scares and some of the most unintentionally hilarious scenes ever witnessed in horror.

Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

I get that this is some sort of American export or hero or whatever, but for those of us who were not weened on such shite, this is barely more than an abomination of Babylon standards. An embarrassment for all involved.

Prizzi’s Honour

A hugely talented director and an impressive cast at the top of their game – somehow come together to make one of the more dull mafia/comedy movies of the era. I’ll be in the minority on this one, but I couldn’t wait for it to be over.

Red Sonja

It’s Conan, but not really. It seems, sort of, like a brave move to make a female led sword and fantasy movie in a time when all action movies were highly masculine and muscle-bound affairs. So it’s got that going for it. Sadly, the execution is a failure and the result is on par with Conan The Destroyer as a forgettable slice of sword-swinging nonsense. Arnie and Sandahl Bergman are reunited, but they’re secondary to Brigitte Nielsen in a case of amateur acting and attempts use the English language. That’s fine – what isn’t is the lack of action and mayhem, a very watered down vision of a world where magic and might are supposed to be master.

A Room With A View

I can’t stand any of these Merchant Ivory movies – they’re all equally dreary and overwrought, with the same kinds of stories played out with the same dull tone by the same kinds of actors. Stick with the source material any time you see Merchant or Ivory attached to a film, and avoid at all costs unless you’re a fan of slowly observing your life ebbing away.

Let us know in the comments what your least favourite movies of 1985 are!