From Ferris Bueller To The Shining To Willy Wonka, 5 Weird And Crazy Movie Fan Theories Online

You kids and your crazy ideas! If you’re not making bathtub gin you’re expounding theory after theory on whether Marsellus Wallace’s soul is in the Pulp Fiction briefcase, or Aladdin is really a futuristic apocalyptic wasteland, or War of the Worlds is really the sequel to ET which was about an alien scouting planets to invade.

So, without further ado, here are my favourites from the dark hinterland of the web.

1. Absolutely anything in Room 237. The people in this documentary of theories surrounding The Shining could certainly be described as…dysfunctional.

The ideas range from Stanley Kubrick deliberately placing messages in clouds to imagery incorporating the Minotaur’s Maze, with Jack Torrence as the angry bull in it’s centre (the second is possible, or have I just been reading too many theories?). However the biggest and most complicated are probably the ‘Native American genocide‘ theory (follow links if you don’t mind spoilers) and the ‘moon landing theory.’

2. ‘Up’ is Carl’s journey through the afterlife. OK, I don’t mind admitting I wept up-movie-1harder than a banker in a recession during the first ten minutes of Up, there’s no shame in that. However an extra poignancy could be added by suggesting the old man, Carl, died and everything from then on became a complicated metaphor for his ascendance to Heaven.

This theory speculates that the young lad accompanying him is an angel trying to earn his wings (final merit badge). He also represents Carl and his wife’s inability to have children (!). Muntz represents Hell, my favourite sentence in the theory being: “Muntz is Evil, of course, resplendent upon a story of lies at first and commanding the Hounds of Hell.”

One of the main sticking points for viewers of the film/movie is the size and amount of balloons needed to tear the house from it’s foundations. However I like the magic realism and I’m perfectly happy to just say: It’s about an old man with a bunch of balloons floating through the air.

3. Ferris Bueller exists only in Cameron’s head. Ferris-Bueller-s-Day-Off-ferris-bueller-2540917-1600-900In some sort of bizarre Fight Club twist Ferris and his girlfriend Sloane represent Cameron’s need to cast off self doubt and grow up a bit. In scenes where the three of them interact he is really alone.

Apparently supporting the idea is “There are “save Ferris” messages all over the city. This represents how Cameron wishes someone would care about him and also helps the idea that the film is merely a fantasy.”

4. The Fresh Prince Is Dead. Though not technically a movie, this one’s here because it made me laugh out loud. Here’s the entire post: 

5. The secret ingredient in Wonka Bars is children. Everyone goes nuts for the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie imagecreepy and psychopathic Willy Wonka’s chocolate bars, but what’s in them that makes them so addictive? According to one theory (and, apparently, Roald Dahl in the actual book, which renders this not so much a theory as a disturbing fact), it’s the naughty children.

Not sure? The theorist has it all worked out (and plenty more): “Wonka has some Oompa Loompas take (Violet) to the Juicing Room to get back to normal. Turning into a fruit is a pretty big effect and doesn’t seem like some kind of mistake and showing it off to a bunch of careless, candy-loving kids is not a smart idea.

“When Wonka captured children, originally, in order to make a child even more useful, he fed them these dinner gums so they can become different fruits and taken to the juicing room to get an endless supply of “natural” flavors. The Television Room’s original use may be obvious: turning kids bite-sized in order to harness all of their flavors for a candy. The shrunken kids could of also been used for manufacturing tiny aspects of small candies, like molding them.”

Bizarre Book Club 11: A Love Letter To Louise Brooks, Pulp Lovecraft And Clowns In The Attic

Today’s pretentious (and frankly quite silly) book club picture is brought to you by a poster of the London Literature Festival.madeleine-swann-bizarre-book-club

Let’s look at what lovely droplets of word wonders we have today.

1. Strange Vs Lovecraft by various. We all know the Lovecraft way: Lots of high strange-vs-lovecraft-madeleine-swann-bizarre-booksminded dialogue and description, a few masterful aliens and a lot of cowering humans, all with a dash of racism thrown in for good measure. Or is it? Lovecraft has spawned a multitude of fan fiction and this is probably the most unusual. These folks love Lovecraft but they’ve taken his ideas to a new place – a trash/pulp/bizarro type place.

Kevin Strange, the editor, says of Lovecraft in the intro: ” I love the pomposity, the snobbery, the feeling of exclusion. No other horror fiction feels like a private clubhouse as much as Lovecraftian fiction. It’s part of the genre’s charm and mystery. But I’m here to crash the party.”

And crash it they do. It’s a very entertaining collection of stories even if some do get a little juvenile (you may argue that that’s the point), and it’s definitely not for the easily offended. However Lovecraft himself could be quite offensive when he wanted to be, so go ahead, have a read and make up your own minds.

2. The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares. Partly a study in loneliness and partly the exploration of our relationship with big screen performers, who are completely clueless of our existence while we feel we know them so well, this was apparently inspired by the author’s fascination with silent siren Louise Brooks. I don’t blame him, she was a fox.

A man is stuck on a desert island with only a handful of strangers for company, however these strangers don’t acknowledge him. Who are they and why do they repeat the same actions day after day? It’s an intriguing and slightly spooky read which made me think of immersive plays where you wander from room to room watching the performance, and it’s really quite a clever idea.

3. Attic Clowns Volume Four by Jeremy C Shipp. Apparently there are other attic-clowns-four-madeleine-swann-bizarre-book-clubvolumes of clown in attics which I have not read yet, but this includes a standalone novella called The Ascension of Globcow the Foot Eater and a short story called Hobo.

An angel who takes his job far more seriously than his co-workers is asked to help a small demon called Globcow mend his ways and live among the angels, a task that turns out not to be as easy as he thought. Globcow is actually quite a cute story, albeit one that includes murder, dismemberment and a scary clown. In an attic!

Jeremy has an endearing sense of humour which I find very appealing and it was enough to make me want to search out his other stuff too. Which I will.

4. Discouraging At Best by John Lawson. This is an intriguing, sometimes confusing, sometimes funny, occasionally disturbing stream-of-consciousness story that highlights the author’s concern with the state of the world, including it’s views on violence and race.

It’s a barrage in the shape of a narrative but one I feel is worth reading rather than just a simple lecture. It’s unusual and interestingly presented, and it might just tickle your brain.

Well, that’s enough mind licking for now, toodle pip!

The oddest Asian films I’ve seen so far, plus baby shaped pears

Fancy seeing you here. No, I’m not following you, we just know the same people. Well maybe you’re following me, did you think of that?

OK so I’m going to assume you’ve seen the films of Takashi Miike, Chan-Wook Park, Tetsuo, Battle Royale and all those ‘girl with hair on face’ films.

Warning: Some of these trailers might have disturbing things in them. Others are just silly. Now let’s have a look.

1. Matango: Attack of the Mushroom People.This is a colourful and slightly campy 60s offering from Japan (and looks very much like the inside of my brain), though its not without its moments of tension. A group of holiday makers crash a ship on an island and find themselves without much food, but never fear: those mushrooms look tasty! Unfortunately they have some side effects.

2. Horrors of Malformed Men. There’s a mad scientist on an island! He’s made genetic freaks! He’s…doing Butoh on a rock?…He’s… telling a convoluted back story to someone about things I don’t quite understand…

3. The Forbidden Door. Indonesian outing which, even with a disappointing ending, was entertaining enough for me. An artist who makes sculptures of slightly too realistic pregnant women stumbles on a secret door in the house he shares with his girlfriend. Not only that but a friend introduces him to a very exclusive and very disturbing club. It’s not Fight Club.

4. Hansel and Gretel. Included because it’s so pretty (never fear, it’s more than a little odd), this is a Korean film about a man who gets lost in the woods. He stumbles on a beautiful house filled with a loving family, but the parents look worried…

5. House. 70s Japanese film about a group of friends who go on holiday (people just need to stop going on holiday) to a house in the country. A house of some seriously weird sh*t!

6. Dumplings. What’s in the dumplings that keeps everyone looking so young and beautiful? Let’s not ask…

OK that’s all I have time for but I’ll be keeping my eyes open for more weirdness. In the meantime have a look at this news story about pears in China that have been “shaped during its initial stages of growth using special molds” to resemble babies. Yum.

7 films about relationships that I actually like

Even if you hate unrealistic romantic comedies and ‘family movies,’ relationships intrigue us all because, for some reason, we keep choosing to go through them, and most people have some semblence of family even if they aquire them later.

Perhaps because the subject is so vital to our existence I not only class the following films as ones I love, but films that are amongst my favourites. Despite the surreal settings or situations in most of them, I feel they portray relationships of all kinds in a way that’s more honest than most.

Maybe surrealism allows the director to take a step back and look at things objectively. How do they differ from the ‘realistic’ films in the list? I don’t know, what do you think?

There are plenty of good ‘relationship’ films out there (such as Harold and Maude) but these are the ones I’ve chosen. Interestingly, most feature comedians and an eccentrically attired woman.

1. Annie Hall

Woody Allen has done many films that are not good, but the ones that are count as some of my favourites. Annie Hall is a truthful, funny look at all stages of a specific relationship which leaves us with the same bittersweet nostalgia from thinking on our own experiences:

2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Another film where a particular relationship is broken down and studied by the director, this has so many moments where I think ‘Oh God, I do that’ that it’s quite painful at times. It’s genuine and heartfelt. Jim Carey is having ex girlfriend Kate Winslet erased from his memory, which allows him to wander through his thoughts as an outsider:

3. Stranger Than Fiction

This one’s about deconstructing storytelling itself rather than studying the relationship between Will Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhaal, but I love her character and their interaction.

There’s something very old film, Jimmy Stewart in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life‘ about it that warms the cockles, it’s sweet and inventive in a way that’s rarely seen these days in a mainstream film and I urge all who haven’t seen it to do so. Will Ferrell is a character in Emma Thompson’s book, and has to stop her from killing him:

4. Love Me If You Dare

The game of dare between childhood friends, a boy and a girl, increasingly escalate along with their feelings for each other. This is a lovely, dark little story which is, for lack of a better description, very French:

5. Faces

I can see why some people might find this film relentlessly bleak, but I think it’s also oddly refreshing. The nosy side of me gets to watch the intimate problems between these people as well as watching how they live, it reminds me quite a lot of a stage performance. The scenes where drunken nights quickly turn unpleasant are very truthful, and I love the films of John Cassavetes in general.

6. Shortbus

Featuring real sex this is an entertaining journey through the sexual/relationship troubles of a dominatrix, a gay couple and a woman who’s never had an orgasm. Somewhere the answer lies in a late night club:

7. Pieces of April

I was quite pleasantly surprised by this one, especially since it contains Tom Cruise’s wife Katie Holmes. It’s a very simple story of a girl whose terminally ill mother is coming to visit her in New York for Thanksgiving. Her oven breaks and she has to knock on all the other apartment doors in the building.

However the mum is…kind of a bitch (well, I suppose she is dying), and April is the family black sheep. Her relationship with boyfriend Bobby appears to be central to her newfound stability. It’s just very sweet but not sickly, and sometimes you need that. Please ignore the cheesy trailer music, it is very misplaced:

5 Reasons a spooky creative brain prefers winter

It’s that time again (almost). When a headless coachman appears out of the mist to take you to the cursed castle, and charges you double time on Saturdays (“But you went the long way round those crumbling gravestones”).

Nothing like a cup of haunted tea to warm the cockles

The good thing about being a creative type is that you can do anything and claim it as research: “What do you mean you spent the day watching the Twilight Zone?” “Shut up it’s research.”

So here are a few small reasons winter is best for anyone who likes to dally in the darkened spaces of art or literature or…something else.

1. Halloween. Yes, yes, it’s all commercialised and it’s for children etc, but who cares? Just for one year try not to be a Halloween McScrooge and celebrate the Day of the Dead with everyone else. Dress up, even if its as ‘your best friend who wears the exact same clothes as you.’ I began my first proper short story at school on the day of Halloween and ever since then its had a special place in my disturbed heart. I guarantee you’ll find some kind of inspiration, even if its a story about murdering trick or treaters.

2. Staying indoors. Let’s face it, writing or doing anything work related during summer is difficult and unpleasant. Maybe I’m alone here but I like knowing that the world outside is furiously cold while I sit indoors drinking tea and working/watching The Twilight Zone. Which brings me onto my next point.

3. Spooky films get spookier. It’s a cliche certainly, but there’s really nothing like watching a spine-chiller while the wind and rain howls against your window. Sometimes for extra cosiness I like to pretend there are zombies stumbling around my driveway too. That way I can feel smug that they can’t get me. Or can they?

4. Your surroundings are inspiration. Whilst its obvious you need to be wary of writing/painting/whatever in cliches, its hard not to think of great ideas when wandering through a mist clouded field. Just remember, focusing on the idea rather than lengthy descriptions of nature might be best. Unless your main character is a lecturer of some kind. Even then, maybe not a good idea…

5. More time to think. Summer is filled with Gestapo-like orders to have fun, but time seems to slow down in winter. People tend to vegetate and grow moss which is perfect for ruminating on thoughts, or simply trying to occupy yourself. You can either spend your winter obsessing on why Cathy brought all the men cups of tea and not you or Sally, or you can send your brain to another place and make up somewhere better. Or much worse, depending on what you like to do to your main characters.

So this was my little thought bubble on winter. I wanted to include the wearing of fluffy socks and colourful coats but it didn’t seem relevant, so I’ll just mention them here. Happy winter!

Born Into Porn

This morning I stumbled across this interesting post from the blog of racey writer and columnist Violet Blue (have a look at her site if you’re not surprised by rude images, it’s genuinely informative).

Kickstarter (community type project which helps people finance their work) are currently hoping to raise money for a documentary on porn stars who are raising children, and as you can tell from some of the reactions of the people in the trailer it should be fascinating.

As mentioned in a previous post, I’m fascinated by the history of porn as well as the performer’s outlook on life. Perhaps they intrigue me because they live so much on the outside of what is viewed as ‘acceptable.’ But why isn’t it viewed as acceptable? This is the interesting thing…

Anyway, here’s the trailer (its just interviews):

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/182987748/born-into-porn-a-documentary-film/widget/video.html