Addiction & Something Extraordinary

Addiction & Something Extraordinary

By Kevin Dajee

Who would have thought that an innocuous jar of pickles could cause such destruction? He died quite swiftly; I recycled the jar and ate the pickles. I sat there, a phone in one hand with the dating app open and a pickle in the other. It’s completely a love/hate relationship and they have somewhat of an addictive game-like property. At times, looking for love and affection was also becoming more and more like online shopping where I choose my next order. I used to have a thing for origami, the control and manipulation and how a simple ordinary piece could become something extraordinary with a bit of effort and precision. That was then and so I simply substituted one addiction for another. Sure it’s completely superficial, with fickle relationships and a dead date for my efforts. He was just another that I could not control nor could I manipulate, he was like any other so far- disappointing and just very ordinary. A jar of pickles however, well, each time used never ceases to amaze, and that with concerted effort and a well-timed and placed delivery it transforms into a thing of beauty, an extraordinary tool. They say that the human skull shatters like glass after a headshot. Well, I can confirm that a glass jar of pickles can crack a human skull, sometimes the skull cracks before the jar- pretty extraordinary I would say! Maybe I have indeed found my newest addiction?

The What, Who & When of Horror Films: Cooties (A Preview)

The What, Who & When of Horror Films: Cooties (A Preview)

cooties posterWhat is the Film? Cooties

Who is in it? Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill, Jack McBrayer, Leigh Whannell, Jorge Garcia, Nasim Pedrad.

Who is the Director: Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott

Who is the Writer?  Leigh Whannell and Ian Brennan

When do we get it? September 18, 2015 

What the hell is it about? “I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.” Wise words indeed from a great philosopher. I am a big advocate of this particular quote by Socrates in my line of work and practice. As a psychologist and as a teacher I can plan for most things that would allow me to understand and nurture the young eager minds that I encounter each day, and offering both food for thought and intellectual nourishment is key to the profession.

However, what if a zombie-like apocalypse hits and I’m faced with learners who are now incapable of rational and independent thought and are no longer present on the register to be intellectually nourished but instead are now eager and hungry for my brains? That’s where the horror movie comedy ‘Cooties’ can help!

We all know what Cooties are right? No…? Well in true teacher form, here is some information before we dig a little deeper into this long overdue release of a movie.

‘Cooties’ is a pseudo-germ and fictional childhood disease used as a rejection term, typically used in the USA and Canada, and is similar to the term known as the dreaded ‘Lurgi’ as more commonly used in the UK. A child is said to “catch” cooties through close contact of an “infected” person or from a person of the opposite sex of the same age. Often the “infected” person is someone who is perceived as “different”, such as being of the opposite sex, shy, or who displays peculiar behaviours or mannerisms. The phrase is most commonly used by children. Usually it is a phrase that little boys accuse little girls of having and vice versa E.g “now you’ve got girl cooties“. It is typically used in the context of a tease or playground taunt either in a cruel or playful way. However……… it has a more ‘real and deadly’ meaning in theCTS_003765.CR2 context of the following film.

In Cooties, A band of teachers must fight for their lives when a mysterious virus hits an isolated elementary school, transforming the kids into a feral swarm of mass savages. It’s a zombie comedy movie about kids who become infected with a virus and turn into bloodthirsty monsters. It’s teachers versus students, with Wood, Wilson, and Pill fighting for their lives against cannibalistic youngsters at the educational establishment known as Fort Chicken Elementary. The film hilariously seems to demonstrate that kids can literally turn into little monsters. It may even provide some preparatory advice for teachers who may encounter such an apocalyptic scenario in their place of work!cooties-still 2

There’s a fun comedic cast and I am definitely looking forward to seeing Jorge Garcia (yes….Dude! The awesome Hurley from LOST!). The trailer seems brilliant and a lot of fun!

If the name of one of the co-writers sounds familiar, that’s because you have more than likely viewed his material before. Leigh Whannell is already known for writing films directed by his CTS_000582.CR2friend James Wan, including Saw (2004), Dead Silence (2007), Death Sentence (2007), Insidious (2011) and Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013). Whannell made his directorial debut on Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015). Whannel wrote the first installment of Saw (2004) , co-wrote the second and third installments of the franchise, and appeared as the character “Adam Stanheight” in four of the installments. In Cooties, Whannell again plays another character “Doug”, a socially inept science teacher.

The horror comedy marks the feature film directorial debut for directors Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion. Cooties had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014 but CootiesPoster_(1)_1200_1729_81_sfailed to find a 2014 general release anywhere. For some time we have been awaiting news on a proper 2015 release. Since premiering at Sundance the film has undergone reshoots and is now delivering a new ending. Cooties opened The Stanley Film Festival in April 2015. For horror enthusiasts out there, The Stanley Hotel, is the location that inspired the Overlook Hotel in the Stephen King novel The Shining. 

It now seems that the best we shall get is a limited release for Cooties, and through a video on demand service beginning on September 18, 2015, courtesy of Lionsgate’s new distribution service Lionsgate Premiere.

I do like a good horror comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and if there are zombie-like beings served with some disembowelment and brains, and teachers taking down zombie students that’s even better! Let’s hope the movie meets expectation and is as entertaining a film as it sounds and that we are treated to seeing both conclusions when the film eventually arrives on DVD and Blu-ray.

The Babadook (2014): A manifestation of grief and mental illness

The Babadook (2014): A manifestation of grief and mental illness

Please Note: Some readers may consider the below to contain spoilers. Babadook 1

I have wanted to write this up for sometime but found myself still thinking about the Australian horror film, The Babadook (2014) and the multitude of levels the film works on. I was not scared or terrified by what Jennifer Kent wrote and directed here, and that’s down to the years of watching all manner of horror and finally being de-sensitized by most things I visually see in film. But I was however fascinated about how the film put across a visually terrifying representation of the manifestation of mental illness.

The film tells the tale of a single mother, Amelia (played by Essie Davis), struggling to raise her increasingly violent and disturbed son, Samuel (played by Noah Wiseman). Samuel’s father, Oskar, was killed in a violent car accident as he was driving Amelia to the hospital to give birth to their son. The anniversary of her husband’s death coinciding with her son’s birthday has caused Amelia to avoid celebrating Samuel’s birthday on the day for years. This, among other behaviors, is a manifestation of the subconscious resentment she feels towards her son. Cue some Freudian psychology here maybe? Continue reading “The Babadook (2014): A manifestation of grief and mental illness”

Paraskevidekatriaphobia- A Phobia That Some Will Experience Today

Paraskevidekatriaphobia- A Phobia That Some Will Experience Today

The superstition surrounding Friday the 13th is actually a combination of two separate fears- the fear of the number 13, called triskaidekaphobia, and the fear of Fridays. The fear of Friday the 13th, is called paraskevidekatriaphobia and is also known as friggatriskaidekaphobia.friday-the-13th-the-final-chapter-part-4-movie-poster

When I think of today’s date, I think of one of my favourite horror film franchises (with Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter being my favourite of the series).

However, for others there is a fear of today’s date that appears ingrained in Western culture. As Stuart Vyse (A Professor of Psychology) suggests “If nobody bothered to teach us about these negative taboo superstitions like Friday the 13th, we might in fact all be better off.”

Simply put, this is just a number and just a day like most other days and any superstitious belief or fear is a cognitive thought process that is irrational. The fear here is that of expectation and so is a ‘cognitive bias’. People who have a fear of the day would be very aware of all the negative things that occurred on Friday the 13th but would be less inclined to note the positives. People pass on their belief to others and associate negative aspects to this day; superstition is further perpetuated through the media.

So don’t fret too much, the day will be like any other, bad things and good things and everything in-between will occur in the world. To pass the time maybe, you could also watch some Jason Voorhees down at Camp Crystal Lake!

Neill Blomkamp’s Aliens Sequel- The Franchise Deserves It!

Neill Blomkamp’s Aliens Sequel- The Franchise Deserves It!

Growing up I was blown away by James Cameron’s Aliens (1986). It was and still is my favourite film both visually and technically (no silly CGI effects!), and the characters and dialogue were just simply fantastic. I can watch Aliens over and over again, with constant terror and fear awaiting the characters and non-stop action throughout, it is clever, funny in places (some great memorable quotes), emotional, nostalgic and just simply entertaining!  It was a massive shame when Alien 3 failed to build upon the character development between Ripley, Hicks and Newt. As a massive fan of the Alien franchise overall, I wait in hope that someday someone with the vision and creativity will put something special out there that lives up to expectations. My wait may be over……….. In January 2015 Neill Blomkamp tweeted that he was working on a secret Alien project that included Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) reuniting with Corporal Blomkamp-Alien1Hicks (Michael Biehn), and the concept art is intriguing but also absolutely gorgeous.

It has now been announced in February 2015 that not only would Blomkamp get to make the movie, but that the sci-fi sequel would be his next project.

So it looks like someone with vision and talent who knows this genre well has stepped up. With Giger’s Freudian sexual terror imagery portrayed by Blomkamp-Alien2the Xenomorphs and in other visuals, the suspense of Alien and the high octane action of Aliens, and some familiar characters, maybe just maybe we may get the sequel we have always dreamed of. Blomkamp is a big fan and he seems to know what is at stake and what the expectations are in undertaking this massive project. Neill Blomkamp revealed that he was looking to make a new Alien sequel that would tie in more to Alien and Aliens, rather than Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection. But how exactly Mr Blomkamp will manage to bring back a much older-looking Ripley and Hicks remains to be seen, especially without retconning the events of Alien 3 and Resurrection. Maybe an alternate timeline or some mechanism of time travel and the changing of timelines may be used especially since it seems to be current practice in big budget sci-fi these days when adding to a movie franchise. It could even mean that maybe Bishop (Lance Henriksen) might get the other half of his body back somehow!

Expect more teases from Neill Blomkamp in the coming months. Whatever the situation and solution in explaining the events, please make this movie Mr Blomkamp! It is what the people want! And it is what the franchise deserves!