Thursday, October 30, 2014

death by stereo.


Yup, it's time for the annual Arena Halloween mixes.
Three hours of spooky songs, terrifying themes and sinister samples.
Enjoy!

Death by Stereo: Download here.

Death by Stereo 2: Download here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

wong turn.

Never one to shy away from the important issues affecting us in this modern world I reckoned it was time to revisit this little gem.

In a totally non sensationalist way obviously.

Yi boh laai beng duk (AKA Ebola Syndrome 1996)
Dir: Herman Yau
Cast: Anthony Wong, Yeung Ming Wan, Fui-On Shing, Wong Tsui-ling, Miu-Ying Chan and Meng Lo.


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In the back room of a fashionable Hong Kong restaurant, Kai (king of the bad guys and HK's answer to Eric Roberts Wong), ne'er do well employee and general sleazy man spends his off work hours shagging his boss's sexy wife over the uncooked shrimp whilst sweating a fair bit and grunting loudly.

In Cantonese of course.

It's not too surprising tho' that before long his boss has caught kinky Kai red handed - well bare arsed - with his trousers round his ankles and his cock in his missis.
 In case you're wondering, her arse is in the egg noodles causing all sorts of health and safety problems.

Like any normal jealous hubbie in the same situation, big boss man administers a severe beating upon the Kai whilst angrily shouting at his unfaithful spouse.

Again in Cantonese.

However, after about the fifth kick to the nads and general pointy fingeredness, Kai goes completely mental killing his boss and his wife in a pot noodle of blood and sweat, leaving only their young (Cantonese speaking obviously) daughter alive.

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Wife Swap with Rose West went horribly wrong....

Coming to his senses (as opposed to over the corpses which we were expecting) Kai decides the best course of action would be to quickly leg it out of Hong Kong and try to start a new, quieter and corpse free life somewhere else.

Grabbing his passport and kiss me quick hat he reckons the best place to lay low would be sunny South Africa.

Ten years later and Kai has carved out (tho' not literally) a nice life for himself in South Africa, working in another restaurant, the Kurried Kaffa and filling his days off by masturbating with sides of beef whilst watching his new boss Terry and his wife shagging on the tables.

Well at least he's not killed anyone else.

Yet.

Wallace and Torode - they've got something to put in you.



All good things must come to an end tho' and after missing out on a place in the Master Chef finals and the failure of Nelson Mandelicatessen, their new take away line, the pair desperately search for a way to keep the business from going bankrupt.

Enter (but obviously not roughly from behind) local Farmer Barney Moe who, it turns out is making a roaring trade selling cheap pig meat out the back of a van in the nearby village of Spent.

Overjoyed by the prospect of saving some cash Kai and Terry decide to hit the road and head into the great outdoors for a nice picnic and the chance to buy some inexpensive meat product for use in the restaurant's best selling hamburgers safe in the knowledge that no-one will be able to tell the difference.

Unfortunately on arrival they discover that the entire village is suffering from the infamous Ebola virus.

How's yer luck?

Grabbing their hankies and quickly covering their mouths our intrepid duo complete the purchase without incident (or anal bleeding) and beat a hasty retreat back to the car.

Surprisingly given the circumstances, everything is going swimmingly until that is they happen upon a woman lying prone in the grass and having a seizure.

Either that or she's a Gregory's Girl fan.

Kai, almost hypnotized by the unfortunate woman's (admittedly bouncy) breasts stands and stares for what seems like an eternity before snapping back to reality and doing what any red blooded sexual deviant would do in that situation, namely running over to give them a bloody good squeeze with his big meaty sausage fingers before unleashing his throbbing member and sticking it in her.


The romantic devil.


And before you can say 'Jingle jangle jewellery!" Kai is pulling a truly terrifying cum face whilst the woman spews up a mixture of blood and warm milk before letting out a massive fart and dying.


"Oooh Vic...I've fallen".

As you can probably guess, the conversation on the way home was a wee bit stilted and when finally arriving back at the restaurant both Kai and Terry decide to never mention the incident again.

A kind of 'what stains in Vegas stays in Vegas' deal.

Which would probably be OK if only poor old Kai hadn't developed a fever (and an embarrassing itch) within hours of his return.

Terry persuades him to visit his local GP who immediately recognizes that Kai is showing the symptoms of Ebola.

Which isn't that much of a surprise if I'm honest.

Luckily Kai's doctor is up to date with the latest research and prescribes plenty of bed rest and weak lemon drinks for our unlucky pal.

Oh yes and absolutely no raping.

Of people or meat products for at least a fortnight.

Bizarrely enough tho' this course of action actually works and within days his fever (tho' not the itch) has all but gone and Kai begins to feel better than he has for years.

And how does our horny hero decide to celebrate his new found lease of life?

Why by raping and murdering Terry's wife of course.

But not before bludgeoning Terry to death with a leg of lamb.

And can you guess how Kai decides to dispose of the bodies?

Yup in a masterstroke of unhinged genius our mentalist mate begins to sell a new dish, African Buns, thru' the restaurant.

And (as if you hadn't guessed) African Buns are (albeit very tasty) hamburgers made out of the by now Ebola infected folk that Kai has killed.

Hmmm.....I reckon this could cause a few problems if not a spike in toilet roll sales.


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Translation: "Shite in mah mooth!"


Indeed, it's not long before a large proportion of the populace of Johannesburg are writhing about on the floor foaming at the mouth and pissing blood and it's all thanks to Kai and his tainted meat.

Understandably worried about how this could affect his business and career opportunities Kai is left with no choice but to sell up the restaurant and head back to Hong Kong on the next available flight in the hope of at least getting a part-time job in McDonalds.

You think that wee boy looks happy now? Well just wait till the fucking starts.


Kai can't believe his luck when he boards the plane to HK with absolutely no problem, enjoying a slap up meal and three whole bags of peanuts on his way back he's so relieved he doesn't even attempt to fuck any of the other passengers to death during the inflight movie, not even the ones that look like they deserve it.

But you know his run of good luck can't last and sure enough who should he bump into as he's collecting his baggage?

Why only Maisie, the daughter of the couple he killed ten years earlier.

What are the chances of that?

Being a model citizen - and having a really good memory -  she rushes to tell the local authorities but much to her dismay they send her packing thinking she's imagined it.

As if the police would ever ignore evidence of abuse?

With no alternative but to take the law into her own (very delicate) hands Maisie decides to follow Kai, making sure to write down everything she finds out in a little pink Hello Kitty diary.

This is a good plan for a variety of reasons, firstly it means she has evidence to back up her claims and secondly but more importantly it means we are treated to loads of montage shots of Kai abusing prostitutes and wanking into peoples underwear drawers.

Which, if I'm honest is what cinema is all about.


Emma Watson was beginning to regret taking a cameo role in Brucie: The Early Years.


Discovering the whereabouts of his new apartment, Maisie decides to confront Kai in the hope that he'll give himself up but this only angers the munching mentalist who then proceeds to try and cut Maisie’s tongue out with a pair of blunt nail scissors.

Which shows he's nothing if not consistent.

It wont come as too much of a shock when I say that Maisie isn't really into this and a scuffle ensues culminating in our heroine biting Kai and running away into the night leaving him to carrying on doing his thing.

Or should that be doing things with his thing?

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"Fiona! where's mah lunch?"



And as we've gathered his thing involves a few (well a lot) more killings, loads of sexual shenanigans, a couple more murders and a little bit more shagging.

Really I don't want to spoil it for you.

Sanity soon prevails tho' and the police finally decide (after much poking and prodding) that this Kai bloke is possibly a wee bit loony and that maybe, just maybe they should really bring him in for questioning.


"I'll give you five English pounds for a shot at Nick Berry's mooth!"


On paper this looks like a good idea but in reality sending the HK equivalent of Nick Berry from Heartbeat probably wasn't the best way to go.

When the officer (well wee boy) turns up to ask him a few things (just minor stuff like "Are you an Ebola infected multiple murderer with a penchant for shagging bits of meat?") Kai loses the plot even more than normal (which is a sight to behold) and escapes into the busy city streets.

But not before taking a cute wee Chinese a girl hostage and daring the police to shoot him, risking his blood infecting everyone in the surrounding area.

Which begs the question of what they were planning to shoot him with?

A rocket launcher?


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Devo and DLT always enjoyed their
weekly game of 'What's the Time Mr. Wolf?'


With the police either too scared - or too busy - to risk anything Kai is almost home free until that is the small girl ruins everything (as girls do) by starting to cry for her mum, Kai reacts as any meat obsessed murderer would and shots her in the face before running (like a big girl I must admit) thru' the busy streets spitting on passers by and hollering "I have Ebola and now so do you!" 

Which is nice.


"Ladies and gentlemen...live on stage...5ive!"


Will Kai be captured before he infects the world?

Will Maisie turn up again or has she disappeared completely from the film due to her refusing to do nudity?

And will I ever recover from seeing the great Anthony Wong slaughtering a frog in extreme close-up?



The infamous Mr. Sausage Fingers was dismayed
to discover that The Cheeky Girls would
never reveal the whereabouts of his car keys.


On paper Ebola Syndrome sounds as if it should possibly be one of the most offensive films ever conceived, from it's tragedy exploiting plot thru' to the constant on screen barrage of murder, sexual violence, swearing, more sexual violence, child murders and gore.

But bizarrely enough it isn't.

Somehow director Herman Yau has managed (by accident or design, who knows?) to give a skewered sense of quality and credibility to the whole thing, partly thanks to an amazing turn from Anthony Wong as ker-razy Kai.

The magnificent Wong, a mainstay of Hong Kong cinema for the past twenty five years has made a career playing damaged characters in films of wildly varying quality, flitting happily from such critically acclaimed fare such as Infernal Affairs to (enjoyable I'll admit) shite like Raped by An Angel IV.

Here Wong manages to makes Kai the film's most interesting (if not most sympathetic) character, the rest of the (admittedly great) cast all just fade into the background when the great man is on screen.

So you can imagine that when he's got his cock out they've no chance.


"It's Cccccchhhhrrrriiissstttmmmaaasssss!!!"


If any criticism can be leveled at the movie it has to be the completely gratuitous (and unnecessary) scenes of animal slaughter, a throwback to the worst of the 70's Italian exploitation era and, while it may only be a few frog guttings and the beheading of a couple of mangy chickens, it's still enough to taint the viewing experience somewhat.

Perhaps if Wong had just had sex with them instead?

Well it's just a thought.

But don't let that put you off experiencing such a sleaze-tastic epic that for all it's shocks is infinitely less hard going than the earlier Wong-Yau masterclass in restaurant based bad taste, the true story inspired Baat sin fan dim ji yan yuk cha siu baau.

It's still a must see tho'.


This is why your girlfriend didn't
return your calls last Saturday.

Great as a first date film and even better on a quiet Sunday afternoon with the family, Ebola Syndrome has everything you could ever want from a film about a food fucking sexual deviant with a deadly disease and until Greg Wallace decides to do the same, it'll win out over Master Chef every time.

The celebrity editions not withstanding obviously.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

crate balls of fire.

As regular readers of The Arena will know, it's not often that your humble host receives a correspondence that doesn't involve death/legal threats or just general abuse and those of you with long memories and short fuses will probably still have a warm fuzzy feeling whenever 'Megan' is mentioned.

Who knew?!!?

For those of you new here, that was the time I was blamed for the abduction (and subsequent murder) of the fictional lead character in the film Megan is Missing.

Indeed I still get scarily threatening emails to this day regarding her whereabouts.

So you can imagine my surprise when an email from the lovely Alex from the even lovelier Man Crates: Gifts for Men arrived inviting me to put together a four item horror survival crate of my own I couldn't resist.

Especially seeing as they still have the negatives from my last gig at Amanda Bynes birthday party.

More challenging than that tho' was the thought of a designing a horror crate specifically aimed at helping me survive on my home turf.

Yup, no guns and the like here, you see I'm in 'sunny' Scotland, birthplace of such terrors as the Loch Ness Monster, cannibal king Sawney Bean, John Barrowman and The Wicker Man.

And like them my kit was going to have to be durable, waterproof and look good in Tartan.

It's a crate! For a man! It's a Man Crate!


Firstly and probably most importantly is gonna be something to wear, something designed to suit the Scottish weather and terrain and with big enough pockets to leave me hands free for the inevitable scuffle cum girly fist fight I'll no doubt end up in.

Yes, I'm talking the Kilt.

But not just any old kilt, I mean the specially adapted Combat Kilt.

And in khaki of course! 

Well if it's good enough for George Lazenby...

For a second item I'm thinking sustenance, sugar and multi-usage all in one wonderful bottle.

Yup, Scotland's national tipple, Irn Bru.

Made in Scotland from girders. Allegedly.

Packed with enough secret ingredients to keep you alert for days, when empty the bottle can be refilled with water, used as a makeshift weapon or rolling pin and if the situation gets desperate you could always put an SOS in it and hope for the best.

Tho' I probably wouldn't put too much faith in the last one.


If you've got a kilt you might as well go all the way and pack a skean dhu too. For the uninitiated it's the small knife traditionally worn in the right sock with the handle showing. Usually used for cutting Haggis or wood, picking bark out of your teeth and as Dog Soldiers showed us a silver version is perfect for taking on Werewolves.

If you're still confused imagine a Swiss Army Knife but with just the sharp, stabby bit.


"Call that a knife?"

Finally you'll need a good old fashioned umbrella (the larger the better). Not only will this be useful to shield yourself from the elements (we've been known to have sunshine, rain, hail and snow within minutes of each other) but again it can double up as a walking stick - useful when testing uneven terrain - the handle can be hooked on trees to cross rivers (possibly), you can use it to prod monsters to keep them at bay and, when opened and closed quickly whilst shouting can be useful if you need to scare away any birds.

Especially undead/mutant ones.

OK, maybe not this big. Tho' it may be that the people featured are very tiny.

So remember dear readers, stay alert and keep these items to hand at all times.

You never know we your life may depend on them.

people you fancy but shouldn't (part 50).


Amanda Mealing AKA ice queen Connie Beauchamp in  Casualty
I blame the Sky Box running over after Doctor Who.






Saturday, October 11, 2014

angel eyes.

Don't Blink (2014).
Dir: Travis Oates.
Cast:  Mena Suvari, Brian Austin Green, Zack Ward, Joanne Kelly, Fiona Gubelmann, David de Latour, Leif Gantvoort, Curtiss Frisle, Emelie O’Hara and Samantha Jacober.

Don't blink. Blink and you're dead. They are fast. Faster than you can believe. Don't turn your back. Don't look away. And don't blink. Good Luck...hang on, that's Doctor Who.


A motley group of ten best buds - including such well worn characters as the loved up Jack and Tracy (Chromeskull's Green and former American Beauty Suvari), ginger rocket Alex (Resident Evil: Apocalypse's Ward), bookish Claire (Kelly) strange fish Noah (the Violet Wolf Ranger himself, de Lautour) and the laid back Sam (The Amazing Spider-Man' cash register crook himself Gantvoort) - get a wee bit of a surprise when upon arriving at a mountain resort in New Mexico they've booked for a weekend getaway discover that the entire area is totally deserted.

And by deserted I mean no people, birds or insects.

In fact the entire place is deader than a DLT's career options.

Which to our American readers is very, very dead indeed.

Paddington.


Having a quick scout around (which is more Gordon Kaye than DLT but there you go) our brave band discover definite signs of recent habitation; a cold uneaten breakfast sits on a table, there are unlock cars scattered around the hotels grounds and in one case a pair of boots left in a toilet cubicle as if their owner had simply vanished out of them.

Or was very thin and had fallen into the bowl and accidentally flushed themselves away whilst trying to climb out obviously.

The general conscientious is to leave ASAP but with the petrol pumps locked and no key available our merry band are left with the choice of a long walk in the snow or sticking around in the hope that they've inadvertently turned up in the middle of the world hide and seek  championships.

"Are you looking at my bra?"

Trying to make the most of what could be a shit scary situation (as opposed to just a pee yourself with fear kinda thing) the group decide to retire to the resort kitchen to prepare some snacks - especially some of those little cocktail sausages you get wrapped in bacon).

Then suddenly and without warning (nope not even a musical cue) one by one they start to vanish.

"And whatever you do don't get the discs mixed up when you take it back to the shop..."


Came across this recently (not in that way) and immediately had to see it....I mean it's called Don't Blink, it has folk disappearing in it and it features Mena Suvari?

This is going to be a laughable riff on the classic Doctor Who episode Blink isn't it?

At the very least it'll worth watching to take the piss out of I thought....

How wrong I was.

Who'd have thought that the man best known for voicing Piglet in Winnie The Pooh would bring us the most satisfying horror movie so far this year?


"Now hands up any of you who are Steven Moffat fans."

From it's lo-fi, old school premise via a confident believable cast to a bravely ambiguous conclusion, Don't Blink harks back to the heady days of The Twilight Zone (could this be a pattern emerging?) forgoing cheap shocks for a slow build up and some genuine surprises both in character reactions and situations.

Setting the film mainly in daylight and replacing the expected tween cast with a group of likable thirtysomethings is another stroke of greatness from writer/director Oates as is the brave choice of not over conceptualizing the films disappearances.

I was dreading some half arsed explanation for the unfolding events and was honestly taken by surprise at the movies climax.

Probably the most enjoyable 'unknown' flick since 2009's Pontypool, this little gem is a cut above the norm.

Seek it out, watch it, pass it on.

And whatever you do don't blink.

china in your han.

Various panels from the fantastic Chinese comic book adaptation of Star Wars originally published in Guangdong.








Head over here for the full strip and to marvel at the amazing Nick Stember who's attempting to translate the whole thing and for more on the history  of lianhuanhua, check out the quite marvellous Maggie Green

Who says this blog isn't educational?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

lake flaccid.


Anyone else ever wondered what Creepshow 2‘s 'The Raft' would be like if it were stretched out to feature length and populated by the cast of 'Rivers Edge: The Next Generation'?

Well thanks to writer/director Larry Fessenden we need wonder no more.


Beneath (2013).
Dir: Larry Fessenden.
Cast: Daniel Zovatto, Bonnie Dennison, Chris Conroy, Jonny Orsini, Griffin Newman, Mackenzie Rosman, Mark Margolis and a big fish.




 To celebrate finishing high school, rebel without a clue Johnny (Zovatto channelling Winona-phase Johnny Depp, well his hair at least) has arranged to spend the weekend on 'the lake' (well pond) with a group of, I'd say his friends but to be honest they all seem to hate each other so I really can't see why they'd spend any time together at all except if someone had a gun to their heads.

But we're not that lucky and anyway I digress....

Ah but Johnny's true love is going, the low-rent Renée Zellweger alike - albeit with a better arse - Kitty (Stake Land's Dennison), a girl he kissed once last summer but who is now going steady with the sad faced rentahunk Matt (Conroy).

With me so far?

Also along for the ride/paddle is Matt's sporty brother Simon (Orsini), who may or may not also have a thing for his brothers beau as well as button-nosed Deb (7th Heaven survivor Rosman) who is still silently lusting for Kitty after the pair shared a lesbian tryst at summer camp a few years previously.

Last but not least is the bespectacled rat-like ginger cinema geek Zeke (Newman) who constantly films everything on his massive wrist mounted camera.

In a surprising plot twist Zeke has absolutely no interest in Kitty.

Which is good news for him but bad news for the penicillin business.


Germs.

 Between Johnny's pining, Zeke's filming and everyone else's hormones you'd be forgiven for thinking that things couldn't get any more uncomfortable but you'd be wrong as no sooner have our pals arrived at the lake when a scary old man (screen stalwart Margolis) pops up from behind a bush to tell the group that they're all doomed.

Which is nice.

And not at all cliched.

Johnny does his best to diffuse the situation by explaining that yes, they will respect the lake and whatever is in it before attempting to give Kitty a plastic shark toothed pendant in a totally natural and absolutely non suspicious way whilst telling her that it's 'to keep her safe'.

From what pray?

Unwanted pregnancy and genital warts?

I think it may be a wee bit late for that.

"Look I'll just open a wee bit...just enough for you to shite in it."



Anyway, a wee bit of paddling, a few bitches asides and a quick swim later the whole weekend is thrown into chaos when a massive rubber carp appears from nowhere and attempts to eat the teens causing mass panic, Kitty's arse to wobble in her tiny wet denim shorts and finally everyone to look at Johnny in an accusing manner usually reserved for when your dog shits on the carpet.

Don't worry tho' Deb hasn't got that far.

Yet.

"Laugh now!"


Wet, wild and with the willies well and truly up them (no change for Kitty then) Matt - or Simon - I honestly didn't care by this point, decides that the best course of action would be to wait for the fish to reappear and throw an oar at it.

Luckily for Kitty no-one misheard him in the panic otherwise she'd be screwed.

Snigger.

Luckily the tension is broken when Deb decides to retrieve the aforementioned oar from the water only to find our fishy friend waiting to give her (but alas not the audience) a big surprise kiss.

Unfortunately his unwieldy Chipsticks teeth get in the way causing Deb not only much chafing but also a nasty salt and vinegar infection that leads to her going all wobbly before bleeding out and eventually dying on the back of the boat.




The surviving friends have but two options:

A. Quit the bitching and paddle to the shore (which, if I'm honest is no more than 30 feet away).

or

B. Break the oar by trying to kill the fish with it then bitch a bit more before eventually tossing each other off.

The boat that is.

Go on, guess which they choose.

"Fuck me it's Daryl Hannah!"



It's almost as if the director is making a subtle comparison 'tween the danger below the waters surface and the hatred and mistrust bubbling under the surface of the groups relationships.

And here was me just expecting a big fish film, I mean this has got metaphors, social commentary and stuff.

Unfortunately all this is slightly - OK totally - marred by the cack-handed way the whole thing is handled.

Oh yep, and by the big fucking plastic pike obviously.

I'll be honest and say that at times I thought that the fish was some sort of self aware joke being played on the audience that I was just too thick to get but the longer the film went on the more I began to realize that the whole thing was taking itself dead seriously.

By this point I just let the entire thing wash over me and continued watching in the vain hope that they'd manage to escape thanks to Kitty offering to have sex with the fish to distract it.

Will it spoil the movie's outcome to say that I was disappointed?

Johnny Derp.



Good old Larry Fessenden, the horror genre's equivalent to Harvey 'Two Face' Dent from Batman, a fella who when not producing top quality fayre like The Innkeepers and Stake Land or appearing in such winners as You're Next! and The Battery is happy to foist such arse numbing inanity as Wendigo and the N is for Nexus bit of ABC's of Death 2 on us.

For the love of God Larry why?

Just because you've produced and appeared in so many great movies it doesn't mean you have to personally redress the balance by churning out so many bad ones.

Surely Eli Roth can manage that on his own.

Mackenzie Rosman: What a whopper!, check the tasty catch!, can you smell fish? etc.


Larry Fessenden
In it's favour tho' and just like that video you once found of your mum and dad having sex in the garden, Beneath is, in some perverse way infinitely watchable and genuinely enjoyable.




Just possibly not in the way the director intended.

Plus it does feature that fish which in fairness is probably the greatest fresh water fearmonger to hit the big screen since 'John Old Jr.' brought us the classic Shark: Rosso nell'oceano way back in 1984.

So not all bad then?