Bond Girls Extra – Should Have Beens

Greetings, Glancers! If you thought I was finished with Bond Girls after my other three posts (here, here, and there) you are double oh wroong. Today we allow our imaginations to fly by asking a question – this question – which actresses (or former Miss Worlds as the case may be) would have made a great Bond Girl? A Bond Girl has to be any number of things – beautiful, alluring, possibly dangerous, possibly exotic, and it helps if they are a decent performer (matron).

I’m going to pick ten women from each decade who I feel would have been interesting choices – actresses who it would have been cool to have seen capering around with Connery, Moore, Brosnan and co, either as a traditional Bond Girl or femme fatale. Have a gander at these actresses and let us know in the comments which choices you agree with.

1960s:

  1. Claudia Cardinale

Arguably the finest European actress on my list, she had the dark, sultry look, big eyes, and the acting chops to stand alongside anyone. Would probably have been a brothel owner working for the movie’s villain but would switch sides to Bond.

2. Audrey Hepburn

A pipe dream choice to be sure as the Bond films have never been draws for already superstar actresses but still, Hepburn’s beauty and class mean she would have fit in wonderfully to any imagine Bond movie – most likely as the high class wife of a movie villain who spends her days wandering lonely through casinos and yachts.

3. Catherine Deneuve

Another international star, Deneuve could just as likely play a villain as goodie and could have played the role of a woman who was out only to achieve her own goals, becoming embroiled in or even aiding some international nefarious plot, playing Bond and the villain off each other so that she could further her own interests.

4. Natalie Wood

Although it would happen much later, has a tragic status which is something sort of common to Bond Actresses, Wood having the sympathetic looks which would have allowed her to shine in the role of a woman out for revenge after the villain killed her parents.

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5. Jean Marsh

Clearly a femme fatale, Jean Marsh strikes me as someone who would have been a terrific villain, arguably pulling the strings for the main bad guy or even being the central antagonist herself. I can just imagine that malevolent smirk as she coldbloodedly watches someone Bond cares for die.

6. Ruby Dee

Quite possibly the best African-American actress who ever lived, Ruby Dee would have been a great catch for the Bond series in the 60s and she could have played a progressive role as a Civil Rights campaigner caught up in an assassination plot.

7. Brigitte Bardot

One of the biggest sex symbols of all time, and therefore a prime candidate for Bond. Unlike may of her peers, particularly on my list, Bardot’s films have always taken a back seat to her own notoriety – appearing in something as big as a Bond film would have been just the ticket to snatch back some of that balance.

8. Sharon Tate

Again we have the tragedy factor, Tate being cut down before she had the chance to turn into a full blown star, and I get the sense that she could have played the role of a mistress/slave or flighty fun lover who Bond runs into very well.

9. Cher

A choice many will balk at I’m sure, but Cher was hot in her younger days. She tested the movie waters in the late sixties and while she was still inexperienced could have had a duel role in a Bond movie by providing the song and having a minor role, possibly as a club singer. With secrets. Sexy secrets.

10. Raquel Welch

A choice others have probably mentioned before, and another sex symbol whose movies never quote lived up to her name. Welch could have been a strong Caroline Munro type villainess, entrapping Bond and trying to slice him up before accidentally catching a bullet.

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1970s:

  1. Nora Miao

Bruce Lee’s main go to for beauty and dignity, Miao picked up some athletic skills in her time with Golden Harvest, skills which could have been put to good use in another 70s Roger Moore romp with ninjas, deadly kung fu warriors, and even deadlier boobs.

2. Barbara Hershey

While we’re on the subject of deadly boobs, Barbara Hershey was popular in the 70s though it wasn’t until the next decade that her acting talents were accepted. A younger Hershey could have been great as a hippie under the influence of some cult leader/drug criminal baron who needed a good stabbing.

3. Julie Christie

Too high profile and too much of a critical darling to ever appear in something so lewd as a Bond movie, Christie nevertheless could have slotted in as a Stateswoman type, one of those characters Bond meets along the way but isn’t overly important to the plot. Christie likely would have wanted a bigger part though (and Bond would have obliged).

4. Adrienne Barbeau

While we’re on the subject of bigger parts, Adrienne Barbeau was, and still is a cult figure due to her 70s and 80s work and her performances in action and horror TV and cinema mean she would have been slotted in nicely to Bond’s world. I see her as a feisty type, possibly a CIA operative or a good old horse rustler in some Southern State – Bond horse chase scenes, we don’t have enough of those.

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5. Isabelle Hupert

Frequently mentioned as the finest actress working today, Hupert has been at it for years, stunning audiences in the 70s with her ability and charm. Bond usually ends up in France and other southern European regions and Hupert could have made for solid company cruising around the narrow streets in a convertible.

6. Debbie Harry

The pop punk icon was more known for her acting jobs in the following decade, but Bond could have got his hands on her first – lets stick her in the baddie camp as some sort of sexy bodyguard or administrative executive.

7. Carrie Fisher

Moonraker capitalized on Star Wars – why not go one further and have Bond seduce the finest Princess in the Galaxy? Fisher was always versatile, but I think her natural snarky way would have made her an entertaining comic and dramatic foil for Moore, trading barbs, fists, and eventually bodily fluids.

8. Isabelle Adjani

Everyone’s go to gal for a bit of foreign fluff in the 1970s, Adjani would become a two time Oscar nominated actress so her acting chops are up to scratch – most of you reading this are likely more interested in scratching her ass chops but since I have no idea what you’re talking about lets call her out as another baddie.

9. Barbara Magnolfi

While we’re on the subject of baddies, Magnolfi had that wicked vixen look in the 70s where you weren’t sure if she was a woman or a witch. Moore was all about the wacky times, so lets have Magnolfi as some dark arts purveyor, casting hexes and causing prominent politicians and businessmen to lose their minds, lives, and underwear.

10. Edwige Fenech

While we’re on the subject of witches, Fenech was popular in many Italian giallo movies of the time as well as many sex comedies. Appearing in a Bond film then probably wouldn’t have been much of a stretch for her and she could have had a minor role as someone who invites Bond into a dodgy situation only to turn the tables on him and see him captured, by the good guys or the baddies.

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1980s:

  1. Linda Hamilton

The original badass, Linda Hamilton never got the credit she deserved. Sure she was in the massive Terminator movies but appearing the Bond franchise could have given her an added boost. I’ll always see her as a motherly type, so why not have Bond assigned to help her protect her child, not necessarily from a robot from the future, but from a globe-trotting terrorist ex husband or some such nonsense.

2. Susanna Hoffs

Was there anyone hotter than The Hoffs in the 80s? Is there anyone hotter now? The answer to both questions is ‘No’, and Bond most certainly would not have said ‘No’ to her had she said ‘My my, double oh seven, would you mind helping me to unclasp my bra, my bosoms need fresh air’. It’s how people spoke in the 80s. It was the breast of times.

3. Nancy Loomis

Ah Nancy, with your smokey looks, sarcastic ways, and failure to star in enough good movies. She mostly retired from acting in the 80s, but one final hurrah in a Bond movie would have brought her to an even bigger audience – I see her as a wise-ass military type, chewing gum and showing Bond her guns. Guns to buy, borrow, use to kill baddies of course, not her other guns you dirty minded dirtbag. Oh yeah, she’s show her tits too.

4. Sharon Stone

While we’re on the subject of showing tits, Sharon Stone was just making a name for herself in this decade in various action movies and sequels. A Bond movie would have propelled her quicker, and even in this period she had the look of a femme fatale and leading lady, able to hold her own with Moore or Dalton. I see her as a gangster’s mol, someone with a shady present and shadier past, but those secrets might just be the key to Bond completing his mission.

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5. Melinda Culea

I watched a lot of TV in the 80s, so that explains my next couple of picks. I have a soft (hard) spot for actresses who appear in shows I love but who rarely go beyond. Melinda was Amy in The A-Team so would have been used to a bunch of guys, guns, and exploding things. Bond would have exploded all over her face had she appeared in a movie with him.

6. Patricia McPherson

This time it’s Bonnie from Knight Rider – both franchises could have capitalized by having her appear in a Bond movie so why not have a silly almost crossover role where she helps Q in designing some new supercar for Bond to tear about in.

7. Heather Langenkamp

I’ve always felt that Langenkamp should have been an A-lister, an unconventional beauty with a wide acting talent but for whatever reason it never happened. Appearing while she was still relatively young in the 80s meant she could have appeared in a Bond movie as a trainee agent, possibly in the cold open, suffering a mishap at the hands of a bad guy or aiding Bond in his quest for daily orgasms.

8. Jenny Agutter

We’ve had a lot of American performers on the list, but not too many Brits. I can’t honestly think of too many British stars in the 80s who were both beautiful and talented – Jenny Agutter fits the bill and had already appeared in numerous notable worldwide hits. As I type I think she would actually have made a good fit as a wife of one of Bond’s co-workers – we know Felix already got/gets married so why not have her married to another agent, perhaps one who gets killed or goes rogue – Bond doesn’t always have to do a sex on all of the women.

9. Sandahl Bergman

Continuing the loose theme of 80s badasses rather than obvious looks, Bergman is a beast, as shown in her various sword ‘n’ sorcery outings, and a damn good actress too – but again never made enough high profile films to get recognition. An accomplished dancer and stuntwoman, she could have played a good guy or a bad guy, and dancers usually appear in every Bond movies. How about a dancer who is also an assassin?

10. Beatrice Dalle

While we’re on the subject of beasts, Beatrice Dalle in Betty Blue and Inside fits the bill. We’ve got to have her as a vamp, an early prototype for Xenia Onotopp, and would have done well in the darker Dalton movies – I see some energetic sex and fight scenes between them.

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1990s:

  1. Neve Campbell

My wife in another life, I would cast Neve in anything if I was a filmmaker. Her name was hot in the 90s, so a starring role in a Bond movie wouldn’t have been out of the ordinary. Those eyes, full of sympathy and tragedy, would have been perfect for the central love interest of the film but her strength and willingness to push herself means she would have been a more action oriented 90s Bond girl.

2. Kari Wuhrer

Some may say we’re descending now to Denise Richards levels of acting and, you know, I’ve never had a problem with her as an actress. Sure she wasn’t great in The World Is Not Enough but that was more down to the part being given to her (matron). Kari Wuhrer plied her trade mostly in soft core porn thrillers, but more significantly in the action and sci-fi oriented Sliders. She could play the buxom mistress or the riot grrrl soldier, and her looks will entice many a viewer.

3. Nicole Eggert

I had to get someone from Baywatch, with Pammy being the obvious choice. I go for Nicole though, I preferred Summer to CJ and Pamela’s assets would have become too much of a hammy focus. Nicole was gorgeous in the nineties and I have no doubt could have made for a watchable lead Bond girl.

4. Sarah Michelle Gellar

It’s Buffy herself (is there a Buffy/James Bond crossover fan fiction? Get on that, weirdos). Gellar rarely gets the credit for her acting chops but in BVTS and Cruel Intentions in particular she shows a high caliber. It’s difficult for me to envision where she would actually fit in a Bond movie, pretty much because I always see her as Buffy, but at her commercial peak it would been interesting to see her as a strong women in a world of cold-hearted killers.

5. Winona Ryder

Maybe my most consistent favourite actress ever – she’s always been there in some shape or form through my life and pops up in many of my favourite films. Why not have her in one of my favourite franchises too? I see her as a more flirtatious Moneypenny type figure, and would like to have seen her in multiple films – something I’ve always said the series sorely lacks. She could work with Bond or M or Q or somebody and return in a handful of movies in a short series of scenes and I’d be happy.

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6. Sandra Bullock

The go to girl next door actress for action movies before she became the deserving Oscar bait she is now, it seems odd that Bullock never made it into a Bond movie. Sure she basically had action covered in Speed and Demolition Man, but lets not ruin a good thing – Bond hasn’t had a bumbling, innocent, all action, all American girl for a while.

7. Fairuza Balk

Where did Fairuza go? Always on the verge of greatness, or at least cult stardom, Fairuza appears to be the antithesis of the Bond girl. Balk has never been less than awesome in anything I’ve seen her in but in recent years has appeared mainly in Indie movies or has focused on artwork instead of acting. Her apparent attraction to darker roles means she could have crafted a villain of true depth and danger, a character who would stand out among femme fatales and henchmen.

8. Claire Forlani

The British born Forlani has played a wide range of characters from different cultural backgrounds, with experience in drama, action, comedy, romance and more. Although she has appeared in some high profile films and shows, she isn’t a household name, but as she was on the rise in the 90s her eye-catching beauty and acting experience mean she could have fit any mould of Bond girl.

9. Stacey Dash

Stacey Dash…. yeah, I think she could have made an entertaining bimbo character – one of those single scene Bond girls. I’m sure she could have been much more of course, but that’s the role that leaps out at me when I think of her.

10. Salma Hayek

She knows her way around a gun, a fight scene, a reel of difficult dialogue, and your eye is naturally drawn to her when she makes an appearance. I don’t think the whole Latino or South American thing has been explored too much and Hayek have made for a captivating local with ties to the bad guys or some sort of underground resistance which Bond gets involved in.

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2000s:

  1. Jennifer Love Hewitt

Another Party Of Five alumni, Jennifer Love Hewitt’s fame continued into the 2000s with a string of successful comedies, but outside of a Jackie Chan escapade and some minor efforts she never gut her teeth on big budget action or drama. Out of all the teen dramas which were born out of the late 90s, Hewitt is surely the hottest actress among them, and if there’s one thing Bond is attracted to like Blofeld is attracted to pussy, it’s hotness. Brosnan or Craig could have had some smouldering chemistry with her.

2. Kou Shibasaki

One of the many shining lights of Battle Royale, Shibasaki was all set for Western stardom after being hand-picked by Tarantino for Kill Bill. As fate would have it, she had to pull out and another BR co-star took her place. Since then she has made a tonne of movies and shows all over the world, but a Bond movie would have catapulted her into stardom. It would be easy to see her have a similar role in a Bond movie as she had in BR, but I’m sure she could have just as easily played the main love interest.

3. Emily Procter

Procter came to attention in 2000 for her superb fast-talking turn in The West Wing before moving on to one of those CSI shows I’ve never watched – presumably there is more talking in those, as well as action. Owner of arguably the best accent/voice combo you’ll ever hear, Procter would have done well as either some stereotypical Southern gal bimbo or more appropriately a smooth talkin’, gun totin’ small town cop.

4. Gigi Edgley

With so many movies being filmed in Australia to save money, why not use some Australian actresses? Edgley is best known for her energetic, unique performance as Chiana in Farscape but has shown plenty of dramatic chops over the years. I think she could channel her inner demon and make for an interesting villain or good guy and with her dance background could get herself into some contorted shapes. Plus she would be the second Farscape actress to ‘Bond it up’.

5. Brooke Satchwell

Staying in Oz, I had to get a Neighbours actress in somewhere so why not our Brooke. She’s had plenty of TV appearances since leaving Ramsey Street, but no major movies. Why not have her starring alongside Gigi, possibly as yet another daughter figure who Bond has to save from her clothes?

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6. Thandie Newton

Classy, beautiful, smoking hot, and no stranger to spy escapades, Thandie has all the obvious qualities of a Bond girl and would be a formidable lead alongside Craig. I’m running out of things to say about each actress now without repeating myself, but out of all of the picks Newton seems one of the most obvious.

7. Clemence Poesy

Foreign, exotic, gorgeous, great actor. Apparently she’s in the Harry Potter movies but I haven’t seen those. I first saw her in Gunpowder, Treason, & Plot and she has since had quite a few hits in quite a few genres. One thing she should have on her bucket list though is flying around in a parachute with a secret agent while bad guys try to shoot them out of the sky.

8. Asia Argento

Dario’s hot daughter is a goddess among horror actresses and has a highly varied screen experience. Pop her in a Bond movie and she is sure to make an immediate impact, going toe to toe with any villain or spy.

9. Megan Fox

Poor Megan Fox gets a bad rap. Sure, I haven’t seen her in too many movies but she was excellent in Jennifer’s Body and she ticks all the boxes for nudey times. This seems like an obvious fit for me as any number of US archetypes for Bond to tangle with. In the nudey.

10. Rachel Miner

Poor Rachel Miner was set for stardom after a string of impressive performances in good movies. Since those early days she hasn’t had the major success she seemed destined for – an appearance in a Bond movie would surely have helped. No stranger to harrowing or difficult subject matter she has the range to tackle anything and the looks to keep jaws open.

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Future: Just a brief look at some people I think would be a good fit in future Bond outings.

  1. Juno Temple

Another Harry Potter person, is she? Temple is easily one of the best actresses of her generation with a series of stunning performances. Get her in there.

2. Scarlet Vas

Neighbours again, because why the hell not. I’ve only known she existed for a few weeks now, but look at her. Get her in.

3. Alexandra Daddario

Making waves with her assets, she has appeared in some high profile shows and films recently. Bond would raise her game.

4. Emilia Clarke

Dragons, cyborgs, weird guys in wheelchairs. All she needs now is Bond.

5. Kate Mara

Hot. Sultry. Great actor. No excuse.

6. Caitlin Stasey

Look, it’s Neighbours again. I know you’re all going to pick Eliza Taylor as your Oz person, but I go for Stasey. If you know anything about her then you’ll agree it would be super interesting to actually see her in something so male-oriented as a Bond film.

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7. Jennifer Lawrence

Hollywood’s favourite A-lister, they don’t usually show up in Bond films. Get her in, she’d be awesome.

8. Emma Roberts

Ticks all the boxes once more and could be a perfect new femme fatale for a new generation.

9. Lucy Fry

I didn’t intend to pick so many Australians, but there you go. Gorgeous, good actor, in.

10. Peyton List

Plenty of TV shows, no big movie yet. Sort that out – get her in.

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There are many many others I could have picked from each decade, particularly the 90s onwards – I wanted Milla Jovovich and Sherilyn Fenn and Freida Pinto and others on the list but either remembered them after I’d made my choices and couldn’t be arsed changing them, or felt they were too similar to others. Additionally, I’ve sickened myself with such a bloke’s post so anymore would be too much. If you’re pick isn’t here, chances are I’d already thought of them, but stick them in the comments anyway. Let me know you think would have made a great Bond girl, or still could in the future. Don’t just throw names out there, give us a reason beyond ‘they’re hot’ or what sort of character they should be.

Don’t forget to check out all of the other great James Bond Blogathon posts courtesy of Maddylovesherclassicfilms – they will be running all weekend so should be plenty of things to read for Bond fans, and probably much better than my muck!

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I Really Hate My Job – DVD Review

*Based on a free copy provided by Amazon

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A two star review raised to three stars if you happen to like any of the actors involved. A generally unlikable cast of characters moan their way through a slightly above average day in an average job, berating each others apathy and rightly failing to care about any of the essentially worthless problems they are all facing. It is true that none of the problems they have are worth discussing, but it is these which form the bulk of the dialogue and largely replace conventional attempts at a plot. But isn’t that the crippling malaise which we all suffer from? The fact that we all feel we should be doing something more, something better, but we aren’t because of laziness, misfortune, lack of talent. Having said all that, there are a variety of plus points which will make it watchable for a select audience – and bonus points for having nice cover art which has been nailed to my wall in work. The cast are mostly good at portraying themselves as self-centered, unlikable bores, tired, stressed, empty, although at least one is grating on the eye, at least one is grating on the ear, and at least one has been playing the same character the same way for most of her career. There is some humour and there are attempts at creative dialogue which, although they feel flat for me, will likely please certain sections of the audience.

That is another bone of contention – who is the film catered to? The Bridget Jones crowd? It seems much to downbeat for that, and isn’t the sort of film to cosy up and watch to make yourself feel better, unless it works for you in a cathartic way. The art crowd? There isn’t a lot to talk about from their perspective. As pure entertainment, it’s never more than ok, and I can’t see many people either recommending it or wishing to go through it again. The director has a few moderately interesting techniques involving voice overs and transitions, but it’s again nothing we haven’t seen before. So why the three stars? I’m not sure to be honest, and as I’ve spent the last four minutes writing this I’ve wavered between two and three. I picked this up largely because I like to watch smaller, unusual, ‘indie’ films, and while this doesn’t necessarily tick all of those boxes, it’s certainly not a blockbuster, or a simple drama. I also love Neve Campbell and try to pick up everything she is involved in, the good, bad, and average. She is fine here, and there are some in-jokes with regards to her life and career. It is nice to see another film appreciating the people who have normal jobs, and which takes the time to show these people and respect their dreams and desires, but as mentioned already, the characters are too exaggeratedly unlikable and similar to be realistic. You will surely recognise a few traits of each in yourself, and in the people you see around you, but it’s all too heavily handled.

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So, if you want to try something a little different, if you want a basically all women cast (who, to the films credit, do not all define themselves in their relationships with men), or if you want to watch a bunch of people mope around and complain about nothing, then go for it. More viewers may appreciate certain actors, some may enjoy the humour and dialogue, and some may think I’ve missed the point entirely and love it. Let us know in the comments what you think.

Amazon Vine- September 2014

September, September, the most hated month in the Western world, scourge of kids forced to return to education after months of freedom, despised by everyone else who dreads the coming rain and snow. Thanks to Amazon, my month was made brighter and better by a nine-item bounty, including toys and DVDs. What more could I ever want?

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Ahem

I Really Hate My Job (DVD): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Really-Hate-My-Job-DVD/dp/B00IRYXYGS/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1427365490&sr=1-1&keywords=i+really+hate+my+job

Starring my beloved Neve, this film was pretty dreadful, with irritating characters and… that’s about it. But Neve makes everything better.

Cannibal: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cannibal-DVD-Antonio-Torre/dp/B00JXNCR8S/ref=sr_1_2?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1427365453&sr=1-2&keywords=cannibal

91uYwfjYEOL__SL1500_ A slow-burning drama dealing with a murderous tailor with a taste for human flesh. Not as exploitative or gory as it sounds, or as good.

Heli: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Heli-DVD-Armando-Espitia/dp/B00KL91CKW/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1427365179&sr=1-1&keywords=heli

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A decent Mexican film focussing on one family’s struggle with drugs, violence, and corrupt cops. Well acted and with several brutal scenes, it doesn’t make for easy watching.

WWE Superstrikers Slam N Launch Arena: http://www.amazon.co.uk/WWE-Superstrikers-Slam-Launch-Arena/dp/B00IVLIF9I/ref=sr_1_1?s=kids&ie=UTF8&qid=1427365140&sr=1-1&keywords=WWE+Superstrikers+Slam+N+Launch+Arena

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Woo hoo! The sort of ring I always wanted when I was a kid, this one has a number of features to make play all the more exciting.

Crayola Marker Maker: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Crayola-74-7054-U-000-Marker-Maker/dp/B00CI6J8KW/ref=sr_1_1?s=kids&ie=UTF8&qid=1427365074&sr=1-1&keywords=crayola+maker

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A fun tool for arty types which my kids are still a little too young to apprecitate.

LeapFrog LeapBand Activity Tracker (Orange): http://www.amazon.co.uk/LeapFrog-LeapBand-Activity-Tracker-Orange/dp/B00KNT6TEO/ref=sr_1_1?s=kids&ie=UTF8&qid=1427365035&sr=1-1&keywords=activity+tracker+leapfrog

417aXAyJiaLAgain, my eldest is a bit young to get the most out of this, but she enjoys the pseudo-Tamagochi nature and the mini-games.

LeapFrog Learning Friends Play and Discover School Set: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00JLHVWUU

819DMh5ZxKL__SL1500_A nice addition to the existing houses, figures, and playsets we already have.

Monster High Freaky Fusion Bonita Femur Hybrid Doll: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Monster-High-Freaky-Fusion-Bonita/dp/B00IVFCKEA/ref=sr_1_1?s=kids&ie=UTF8&qid=1427364843&sr=1-1&keywords=bonita+femur

91TKWa5nsoL__SL1500_Another Monster High Doll, and another hit in our house.

Kid Galaxy Morphibians Terrapin: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00KR2Q3HU

A great little remoted controlled car which zooms through water as easily as over land.

The 31 Days Of Halloween (Part 1)

Not Turnips

Aah, Halloween- the most wonderful time of the year. When even those who wouldn’t usually subject themselves to all manner of terrors decide to watch the odd scary movie or 2. Unfortunately for me, this part of the Spac Hole which I currently inhabit does not indulge in the season as seriously and joyfully as other places, so I have always felt a little deprived. Sure, we had some parties, sure we threw fireworks at Gerry’s house, and yes we would watch whatever limited choice of movies were on over the few days but compared to other places (particularly you festive folks in the US) it just didn’t seem as much damn fun. In my mind, the whole month of October should be a vessel for Halloween activities, from dressing up to trick or treating, to watching scary movies and hiding under the beds of people you don’t know with a chainsaw.

To that end I have helpfully made a few lists of classic horror movies which sould chill you to the bone, and add to the singular atmosphere of this most evil time of the year. This list of 31 movies was created so that you can split the fun over the entire month (alternatively you could wait until closer to the day and have a few marathon sessions) and let yourself tremble ever so slightly in the supposed safety of your own home. Just be sure to lock your doors and windows, close the curtains, and tuck up the kids tightly in bed (checking underneath and in closets for me) before turning off the lights. Maybe check those locks once more, you can never be too sure or too safe. Oh, what’s that? That noise from outside? I wouldn’t worry, probably just the wind. By all means go out and check, but that would mean going into the basement to find batteries for your torch. Really, just relax and watch the film, your paranoia can’t hurt you. The thing outside, yeah- it could hurt you. But you locked the doors, right?

These don’t have to be watched in any particular order, but some would suit the big day (or night) better than others. This is not meant to be a list of the best or even my favourite horror movies (though I love them all) but rather I feel these offer something of the atmosphere of Halloween. Enjoy.

An American Werewolf in London: This one has it all- gore, jump scares, atmosphere, action, humour, and a great plot with likeable characters. WereWolves, like Vampires have taken a rather glossy beating recently. This proves that you can wrap up a love story with horror without being teeny, without being sparkly, without being demeaning to viewers with brains. Classic Halloween scene: The Nazi section.

A Nightmare on Elm Street: Wes Craven, Johnny Depp, Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, and Robert Englund- lovely ingredients for a tasty Halloween Pie. This is the original and best, before the horrific character of Freddy (Here just Fred) became a snuggleable, bantering chum. What could be better for Halloween than scaring yourself so badly that you can’t sleep- knowing that something terrible may be waiting for you in your dreams. A story with more depth than it gets credit for, dealing with the Craven standard of ill-advised parenting and how the children have to cope with the mistakes of the elders, this is full of genius set pieces and bloody action. Classic Halloween Scene: Nancy gets a bloody post coital surprise- but not what you’d expect. And did they say she was 14??

Alien: Often described as Halloween in space, or a Haunted House in Space, Alien deals with our fears of isolation, of being trapped, of being in s situation way beyond our control and way above our heads. Remove the alien, remove the setting, and this could be any slasher movie from the time. However, that would be taking away the fun, the fear, the atmosphere, and the ingenuity. This is dark, claustrophobic stuff, and the perfect film for Halloween to make you look out the windows into pitch darkness and wonder if something is staring back. Classic Halloween Scene: Dallas goes hunting, but realizes too late that he is the prey.

The Blair Witch Project: Similar to Alien this deals with our fears of isolation and the un-experienced unknown, but spices things up with issues of abandonment, paranoia, and things that go bump in the woods. A classic survival tale for city folk poking their ill-prepared noses where they don’t belong, Blair Witch succeeded because of it’s innovative filming and marketing techniques. It still succeeds today amongst a rubbish tip of similar films because the plot is solid, the acting is real, the rising tension and fear played out between the characters feels exactly like how we would react, the growing dread is almost unrivalled, and the climax is absolutely chilling. Classic Halloween Scene: The search for Josh in the freakshow house at the end will get you tingling and gripping the seat every time.

Creepshow: Halloween isn’t just about traumatizing each other, it’s also about good old fashioned camp-fire tales to warm the heart and soul. This is cheesy at times, but never boring or irritating, it feels nostalgic both for children of the 80s and of the 50-60s. The tales are brief, well written and acted, the effects are still top-notch with an earthy feel, and the scares are tense and fun. Classic Halloween Scene: Trying to convince your abusive wife to enter a box where a monster lives has never looked so enjoyable.

Creepshow

Candyman: Both Cliver Barker and Tony Todd are vital ingredients in any scare-fest- put them together and you’d better have a few spare pairs of pants lying around. An intellegent, sexy, city based horror which merges old world supernatural fears with the modern world of big business, CSI policework, snooping journalists, and end of the century hairdos. Barker at his height was a fountain of invention, bringing a freshness to the genre which made everyone else’s ideas look like old creaky mummy movies. Candyman merges urban myths with ancient folklore, mysticism with science, gore and shocks with beauty and lyricism. Todd’s presence is as powerful as any of the classic monsters, while Madsen gives a refreshing twist on the final girl character. Classic Halloween Scene: Hook through the chest.

Carrie: One for the teens this, though it may have aged some due to being so authentically 70s, the scares and the themes of abuse, loneliness, bullying, and separation are no less relevant or universal today. The story is simple but pumped up by ideas of religion, extremism, and psychotic mummies (not those ones). The acting by the main players is superb, there is something bleak about the whole sordid business, and we manage both to sympathize with and be scared by Carrie. And wish we had her gift. De Palma twists the tension knobs until they break off, though some of the intrusive camera guff is laughable now. Classic Halloween Scene: Everything between the bucket dropping and the school burning.

Child’s Play: The evil doll is a well worn sub genre of horror, but one which has very few, if any, classics. Child’s Play is amongst the best, and the series is certainly the most notorious. Like many 80s horrors, the series was unfairly derided for it’s supposed impact on our youth with some people going so far as blaming it for some grisly murders. As with most of these series, the quality decreased as the sequels increased, but the original remains surprisingly effective given the silly subject matter. If you don’t know the story- multi murdering maniac transfers his soul into a popular doll moments before his death, doll is picked up by young boy, doll begins murderous rampage again until it realises that it needs to sacrifice the boy to become human again. There are sure to be some laughs, some screams of just kick him in the balls and throw hm out the window!’, but maybe a few jumps too. Classic Halloween Scene: Chucky terrorizes the baby-sitter and we all jump when the phone rings.

Dawn Of The Dead: There is something quite special which you may not know about Dawn. If you watch it at Dawn- depending on where you live etc, try to time it where the film will just be ending as the sunrises. Then go for a walk immediately. It’s likely there won’t be many people around. The ones you will see will probably be shambling. The bleak nature of the film rarely hits harder than in these moments and you will surely look around yourself and feel a stark aura fill your being. There are few things more terrifying than waking up to an otherwise beautiful day and not wanting to be any part of it. Classic Halloween Scene: So many to choose from, from funny, to scary, to bleak, but I’ll go for the truck parking section as we realize that paradise can quickly become hell, and a haven can suddenly become a tomb.

Day Of The Dead: Surely the most grim of all the DEAD films, this is perfect Halloween viewing, not only because of the exquisite gore and effects. Claustrophobia and paranoia again play a large part, and you can’t help wondering why all these psychopaths keep getting in the way of your enjoyable apocalypse. Most people would be happily looting and whiling away their days watching DVDs, playing games, reading books, getting drunk, but there always has to be a crazy doctor or maniacal military group to spoil your good times. Halloween is all about good times, stick this on to reap the benefits. Classic Scene: When the Zombies step on the lift and it begins moving downwards- you just know all hell is about to break loose.

Day Of The Dead

Dracula (30s): A classic to chill the bones of all comers, this still has the ability to… worry those who haven’t seen it before. A film that’s almost a hundred years old- how could that possibly be scary? Well, there’s a reason why this is still considered the best version. Classic Halloween Scene: When Harker first meets The Count.

The Exorcist: Now we get into the truly demanding territory. A rarity in the genre, The Exorcist was a massive financial and critical hit upon release, pampered with awards and then…uh, banned. It may not be as hard-hitting these days, but it’s still rough, creepy stuff. Plus it is played extremely coldly, and without a hint of humour. This is as bleak as horror gets, and even the supposed happy ending leaves us with a bitter, fearful taste. Excellent performances, bewildering jump scares, and freaky moments all conspire to chill the soul and ensure you cuddle up to your beloved in bed. Classic Halloween Scene: Spider walk.

The Evil Dead: This was mostly played for scares over the played for laughs sequel, and while there is humour here, the main focus is on sudden frights and wonderful, innovative camera techniques. You’ll have fun watching this one as each character gets picked off, comes back, and gets picked off again. Classic Halloween Scene: Cheryl at the window, not in the cupboard.

Friday The 13th: One of the original slashers and one of the most successful, this one has plenty of ideas and violence, and staples of the sub genre which have now become clichés. It has dated, it is silly and quite tame, but it was made with love and ambition and freshness. The ending is shocking, the performances are ok, and there isn’t a hockey mask in sight. Classic Halloween Scene: Arrow through the neck- don’t have sex kids.

Final Destination: Another rarity- an inspired modern horror film with great ideas which blends humour and genuine frights. We have a series of characters who rather than getting picked off one by one in an uncaring fashion, are shown to be real kids with real lives, fears, and concerns- and then they are picked off one by one in increasingly exciting, tense, and innovative ways. A film which deals with our fear of death, of inevitability succeeds on every level. Classic Halloween Scene: During a heated discussion in his car, one reckless character refuses to accept that his life is pre-destined or that death is stalking his every move. To prove the point he parks his car on train tracks with his friends as the train hurtles towards them. He soon realizes he was wrong.

The Fog: One of the great campfire spook stories, The Fog is still sadly underrated. Carpenter creates a wonderful atmosphere here which suits the season perfectly- even better if you’re near the sea or if there is fog around. Classic Halloween Scene: The introduction with the wizened old sailor sets the tone for the rest of the show, and should set the tone for your night.

The Fog

Hellraiser: Another British one now, offering something different from our American cousins. We have sex, violence, lots of gore, and some S&M themed fun. This is gritty in an Eastenders sort of way- you don’t really want to look or have anything to do with these characters. Classic Halloween Scene: When Kirsty first meets the Cenobites- what is the finger in the mouth about?

Halloween: What more can I say? This is the movie which should be watched every Halloween- not only is it a genuine classic of the genre and a kick-ass movie no matter which way you look at it, it drips with and evokes that special Seasonal feeling that few things do. Make this the highlight of your night. After you’ve cut some throats. Classic Halloween Scene: Young Laurie runs screaming down her street being chased by a murderous maniac. She clambers to the front door of a neighbour, knocks and begs for help. A light is turned on. Then switched off. Did they think it was just kids messing around? Were they too afraid to help? Welcome To America folks.

Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers (70s): Some us like to dress up at Halloween as ghosts, vampires, or our favourite horror movie characters. Some people go further and pretend to be the person that the costume depicts. This definitive version of Bodysnatchers takes the idea of hiding behind a costume to dramatic and terrifying extremes- what if person next to you on the bus, your neighbour, your friend, your wife, or child was no longer the person they once were? In fact, what if some alien creature had taken their body as host and was walking around as an imperfect mockery of that person’s life? What if this alien race had designs on all your friends and everyone you’ve ever known, and what if you were next? This chilling view of a world snatched away from under our noses is all about loss of identity and mistrust, and makes for unsettling Halloween viewing. Classic Halloween Scene: The final moments. I’ll say no more.

Night Of The Living Dead: A staple of midnight viewing, the surrounding darkness makes the black and white all the more stark and cold; There are no easy answers or happy endings here. If you are watching this with a group of people, ask yourself which ones you would trust in a life/death situation. If your cosy home was surrounded suddenly by thousands of undead, who amongst you would come out as leader? Would you sit back, would you make decisions, would you think only of yourself or would you think of the safety of the group? Either way, you’re bound to get a chewing. Classic Halloween Scene: They’re coming to get you, Barbara.

Night Of The Living Dead

The Omen: So far we don’t trust our neighbours and friends, but what if you thought your son was the Antichrist? The Omen is an apocalyptic film in more than one way and is filled with strong performances, gripping and bloody deaths, and a memorable, frightening score. Music is often pivotal in horror movies, and as you clamber the stairs to bed after this, with infernal monks chanting obscenities in your head, that corner of darkness you can’t quite see clearly may fill with unspeakable evil more readily. Classic Halloween Scene: Damian decides to ride his bike.

Prince Of Darkness:  I find this to be Carpenter’s most underrated film mostly because it is awesome and should be mentioned in the same breath as Halloween and The Thing. Sure the plot is messed up with it’s evil green satanic liquid taking over zombies and bums mixed with time-travelling dream messages and psych jargon, but seriously it is awesome. It has more effective jump scares than any of his other shows and there is a creeping sense of dread and atmosphere throughout. In many ways it is classic Carpenter- a group of different thrown together in a building who have to team together or fall apart and stand against an overpowering threatening external force. It is a siege movie, it is clever for the genre though at times it doesn’t know what genre it wants to be. I think that was part of the fun though- like Big Trouble In Little China it is more than just it’s labels instead transcending notions of what it should or shouldn’t be, and is well ahead of it’s time. Classic Halloween Scene: The final survivors holding up behind some furniture while one of the crazies admires himself in a mirror with a large blade.

Ring: Please please please watch the Japanese version, not the abomination that is the remake. Sure the remake has plenty of jump moments, but it also has a deer on a boat, Brian Cox in a bath, and a director who decides it would be clever to cut away from the movie’s most important scene for the sake of a car chase. The original has Nanako Matsushima and Hiroyuki Sanada and if that isn’t enough of a recommendation then please remove thine eyes from mine page post haste. Watch this deep into the night, possibly as the last film, then play the lovely game of phone your friend once they have left to terrify them. Unfortunately the ideas first seen here have been so over-used that these games have become diluted, but the film still has an unflinching power. Not a drop of blood is shed, there are no knives, guns, or people bursting in from behind doors with a loud noise- this is the best horror film of the nineties and goes against everything that decade threw at us. And it’s a damn good story with excellent performances. Classic Halloween Scene: Sadako. TV. Sleep tight.

Scream: The second best horror movie of the nineties is the stuff of parties. By know everyone should have seen it, but many of you will have forgotten it and how good it still is. Plenty of shocks, laughs, scares, and action as well as a script the quality of which horror movies rarely get. And my beloved Neve Campbell is in it. Few horror films provide this much entertainment whilst still being scary, funny, and clever. The nods to horror movies will keep the nerds amongst your bunch happy and you can shout out when you spot a reference. Classic Halloween Scene: The final house chase scene as Neve doesn’t know where to run or who to trust.

The Shining: It’s rare for most people to get snow at Halloween, even more rare to be completely snowed in and surrounded. Try replacing the notion of snow with rain or darkness- would you want to go wandering outside if it was completely dark or hammering down? Anyway, this is another film which plays on isolation, claustrophobia, and paranoia. It’s probably best not to watch this one as a cosy night in flick with your little family- you’ll start wondering what the hell is going through each other’s minds. This is a giant of the genre with heaps of atmosphere and plenty of unsettling moments which deserves to be menti0ned at any Horror Movie Marathon. Classic Halloween Scene: Danny was warned not to go in that room. Prepare to be scared when Daddy goes looking too.

Silence Of The Lambs: The critic’s choice. Don’t invite any critics to your party as they will moan, groan, bore your girlfriends, and likely drink all your wine. There should be wine. This is nasty stuff from start to end as poor Jodie Foster tries to solve a murder whilst hiding her own fears from the unlikely Terminator Anthony Hopkins. This is better suited to smaller group viewing as it isn’t exactly cheery, blood n guts fun but it does the job when you’re on your own. Classic Halloween Scene: Anything with Bill really.

The Thing: In many ways the ultimate John Carpenter film, the ultimate macho man fest, and the number 1 examination of the paranoia which creeps into people during periods of isolation. The effects here still blow me away and they are only part of a long list of quality to describe this film- look at the cast, the performances, the music, the scares, the cinematography, and the way Carpenter drags the tension out of every shot until we don’t know who has been infected and who hasn’t. Great action adds to the great scares, but the special effects and story are kings here. Classic Halloween Scene: When the survivors are tied to chairs and Mac goes through each one by one to test if any are not human. Genius.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: This one still hurts today- it’s just so damn grim, dirty, and repulsive as to make the horror timeless. Sure they scares may be cliché now and the gore is almost non-existent, but the low down atmosphere, the miniscule budget, and the amateur (but good) performances all conspire to make this uncomfortable watching. I’m sure that there are plenty of people out there who still think that there could be a family like this in their town, just as much as I’m sure that there probably are still families or people like this in the world- maybe not in your town, but possibly the next one over. And chainsaws are awfully easy to come by these days. Classic Halloween Scene: The entire dinner scene. Truly horrific, the use of sound and various camera techniques make this one of the most intense few minutes in any horror movie.

28 Days Later: A modern classic, and one of the few great British horror movies of the last few decades. Taking riffs from Romero and King this is a post apocalyptic survivalist’s wet nightmare. Empty streets, shops to loot, cars to steal- all great if it wasn’t for the hundreds of thousands of psychopaths charging towards you in search of your blood. This is the 21st century folks, and zombies ain’t got time to amble and stumble about- these are confident, successful, modern big business, stepping up to the plate, corporate bull-shitting zombies, and they won’t take closing a door in their face for an answer. If you can’t run fast, you’re screwed. And just to make things Mega Man 9 difficult- these fiends don’t even have to bite you to kill/convert you- one drop of their blood/saliva entering your body, through a gash, a scratch, a kiss, or a tear is enough it recruit you. And sheesh! They don’t even give you time to grieve for your fallen comrade- within seconds of getting exposed, your best friend will be diving for your jugular too. My advice- kill everyone you see and hide under a pile of coats till it all goes away. Classic Halloween Scene: An abandoned car sitting in the middle of an abandoned London- nothing to fear but technology.

The Wicker Man: Nothing to fear but religion. Look closely enough and all religions begin to look like cults; they all have a figurehead, the followers worship the figurehead unquestionably and offer prayers, thanks, songs, and sacrifices, there are certain rituals usually borne of centuries long since dusted, those involved are usually inviting to outsiders in person, but have a secret hatred, anger, or issue against them once backs are turned. So we have The Wicker Man, possibly the best British Horror Film of the whole sorry lot. Aah, the confusion of two worlds colliding as we watch a upstanding lawman and guardian of his own archaic faith fall victim ever so slowly to a cult even more decrepit than his own. He knows something terrible is amiss, but it isn’t until his toes turn to cinders that he realizes his fate was sealed the second his feet touched the land. Classic Halloween Scene: When we first see Mr Straw and realize our hero’s fate.

Paranormal Activity: Proof not only that horror movies still have the power to scare, entertain, and bring in the mega bucks, proof not only that a good story well executed can be more than a match for buckets of blood, but also proves that in this day and age of $200 million dollar movies that a small group with talent, an idea, and a few months worth of average salary can make a great movie. Romero did it in the 60s, Carpenter did it in the seventies, Raimi in the 80s, Myrick and Sanchez in the 90s, and now Oren Peli has continued the tradition. Using every trick in the book he has made a classic pastiche of the genre and a thrill ride akin to running naked through a field of land mines. The setting of the movie is perfect for Halloween viewing- primarily it is set in the home and most of the scares happen at night- the film invades you with a sense that you aren’t safe in your own house and makes you take a second or third glance at that cup that you swore you set on the table which now sits on the ground. Likely to lose its impact with subsequent viewings this is best served to people who haven’t seen it. The scares (while you sense them coming) are unexpected and rewarding and while the characters are painfully annoying, you’ll still soil your drawers. Classic Halloween Scene: NEVER leave your foot hanging out of bed.

Trick R Treat: Anthology movies have had their heyday- we had a succession of British hits in the 70s, then a slew of bloodier efforts in the 80s. Then for 20 years anthology fans didn’t have a lot to be excited about aside from a few cheap efforts (although Asia did produce some great ones at the turn of the century). Trick R Treat is good enough to kick start a revolution in the genre, or at least it would have been had it been released in any cinemas. Straight to DVD (yet with a decent budget and big name cast) Trick R Treat features four shorts linked by an over-arcing plot and is to Halloween what presents are to Christmas. This one is destined to be shown and loved every Halloween for years to come, possibly as a double header with Carpenter’s classic. Classic Halloween Scene: The creepy opener sets the tone for the movie and features everything we love about the season, dripping with atmosphere, and settling us in for a bumpy ride.

Trick R Treat

Please leave your comments and suggestions for films you think are best viewed at Halloween, and let us know which films terrified you when you were growing up at this time of year.

The Craft

Some reviewers seem to have the wrong idea about this film. It is cleary not supposed to be scary, not in the traditional sense anyway and nor is it supposed to be another high school comedy. The nineties brought a resurgence of teen horror and comedy movies onto our screen, 90% of which are awful, but this one was different. The Craft refuses to be labeled as horror or comedy although it has strong elements of both, and it is more akin to Heathers than any other recent film. The humour is dark, biting, hitting at modern teen society, while the horror is psychological, dealing with transformation, our deepest personal fears, exposure of our secrets, and the the question of whether we can truly know or trust our friends and peers.

The Craft

Campbell is as gorgeous as always, her performance is strong and convincing, showing a different side to her Party Of Five role. Balk is superb, taking her character by the teeth and plays with devilish relish. The rest of the cast is respectable, and both the script and effects are sharp, giving the movie a darker tone than any of its contemporaries. The clichés are there, with the outsider becoming the hero, but the result is never boring or predictable. Forget your knowledge of magic if you have any, and any preconceptions about teen movies, because this one is cool, dark, entertaining stuff.

The DVD has a few good extras, a short documentary being worthwhile. This can usually be picked up for less than a fiver, so snap it up.

As always, feel free to leave any comments- how faithful a portrayal of Wiccan lifestyle is the movie (if at all)? What else did you enjoy about the film?