Posts Tagged ‘Horror’

Dead Set

November 3, 2008

Contains very mild spoilers

I enjoyed Dead Set far more than I thought I would. Being something of an obsessive gimp when it comes to all things undead, I saw the trailer and my first thought was…

…zombie’s shouldn’t be fast!

How many times do we have to tell you?!

Zombies are slow, idiotic, lurching beasts. Not hyper-aware, sprinting gut-munchers! For gawd’s sake, film-makers – you’ve tried it, now let’s get back to the shambolic, staggering undead twats we know and love. It worked in 28 Days Later and the Dawn of the Dead remake, to a point. But LET’S MOVE ON.

However, I now feast upon my own, over-critical words because it worked here.

The crucial difference between your fast and your slow zombie is margin for error. With a super-zombie, its ability to run at full pelt allows it to kill you within seconds. The virus will spread literally like wild-fire and your only hope, really, is to keep yourself at a massive distance from trouble and holed up securely.

The opportunities for fun multiply when you’re dealing with the traditional, slow zombie as they’re only really a formidable opponent when they come at you in numbers. The virus takes days to set in giving you time to find security. When they do eventually get to you, if you’re stuck in a room with three and have even the lightest of weapons, if you don’t freak out you’ve got a chance. You can outpace them if you choose to run or, if you time your hits right, you can kill them.

The classic zombie allegory, the one film-makers constantly strive to include in their work is based around the fact that zombies are essentially us. When coming at protagonists in hords, they represent the mob. Public opinion. The notion of habitual behaviour. Slow zombies, in this instance, represent the fact that people are catatonic in the face of outside pressures and only respond on the most basic of levels.

So what can we take from the faster, modern zombie? That we’re more clued up? Demand instant satisfaction? Are more aggressive?

It certainly adds up when you consider Charlie Brooker’s Dead Set and it’s none-too-subtle mockery of Big Brother viewers. From the cynical media-savvy watcher to the baying crowds who attend live evictions, thankfully nobody was spared. And, with kudos to Mr Brooker, beyond the premise, the execution of his central conceit was underplayed very well.

So, at the centre of the drama we have the fact that BB viewers are not only zombified – they’re also filled with a kind of aggressive, televisual blood-lust. But beyond that any didactic element was expertly hidden. Despite the fact that characterisation was limited in terms of backstory, we learned enough from their actions to grasp the point the writer was making.

Joplin, I feel, was key here. As a weary, supposedly uninterested contestant approaching middle age, he most represented the BB viewer I tend to know, and I suspect he was the closest Brooker came to scripting himself into the story. Through Kevin Eldon’s lines we got the distinct impression that Brooker feels the cynical observer is just as culpable as the less-informed viewer. And Joplin’s being responsible for literally opening the floodgates in the hectic conclusion was a blatant metaphor for where he feels the blame lies. Essentially, we allow this to happen.

The other characters, sadly, didn’t have quite the depth of Joplin. Jaime Winstone portrayed the standard overlooked herione and the rest of the Big Brother contestants weren’t given a chance to shine. Winstone’s boyfriend had some fantastically emotional scenes but, after five episodes I can’t remember his name, which means he can’t have made much of an impact beyond looking moody on a boat.

The producer character obviously had the best lines – despite being overwritten at some points. With one too many Brookerisms – referring to a PDA as a robot’s bollock, for example – he was in danger of reaching uber-stereotype proportions. But this was remedied by the amusing sight of him literally gutting former housemates with demented glee. And not much needs to be said of the symbolism of his shitting into a bucket in a confined space. It explains itself.

Inevitably, we had the zombie Davina – an idea I was hoping the makers would resist. But, to her credit, Davina makes a far better zombie than TV presenter and it was actually quite gratifying to see her whacking her head against a door – putting those twitching mannerisms to excellent use.

The real problem for anyone approaching zombie film-making in a world where even Romero himself is treading water is what novel amendments can be made to the format without polluting the genre. Fast zombies kind of worked, but have had their day. The first person perspective worked brilliantly in The Zombie Diaries and at the end of the Dawn remake – but faltered somewhat in Diary of the Dead. So one option is to change nothing but the location where the survivors hole up. The location itself becomes the source of tension. Romero was the first to twig this and located his first three movies at, sequentially:

  • The home – looking at how family, friendly and neighbourly relations were compromised.
  • The shopping mall – questioning our consumerist habits. 
  • The nuclear base – playing on fears of nuclear war and military aggression.

Placing the action in the BB compound replicates this structure. Also replicated were several scenes from other zombie movies. Picking zombies off whilst standing on the roof, a la Dawn of the Dead. The producer ripped to shreddies, guts hanging out and all, like the army boss in Day of the Dead. A winking nod to the brilliantly weird Living Dead at Manchester Morgue in the script here, a dash to the van sourced from Night of the Living dead over there… you have to question when homage becomes a tiresome tribute.

It’s this reliance on the genre archetypes that makes Brooker’s outing a worthy addition to what’s becoming a vast pantheon of quality zombie output rather than an outright, genre-busting classic. I’d imagine, to his mind, that’s probably the job wholly done.

Can we get back to the good old days of the stumbling, bumble-fuck undead now? Before it’s too late?

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Mirrors

October 10, 2008

When a truly bad actor wants to be seen as a good actor, they often go gruff, they often go moody and, mercilessly and all-too often, they often go unhinged. Gruff, moody and unhinged have saved the careers of several of the worst actors of our generation. By lowering their voices to a growl, grimacing a lot, smoking, going nude, going off the rails, womanising, chowing down on cock, getting punched in the gut in the rain, wearing a dirty trench coat and growing stubble, your shit actor can pretend they’re a brooding, Brando-type character tortured by inner demons; and not that arsehole you remember from that shit ‘80s teen film you used to like until you grew up and started watching proper films. The sort of films that don’t star Corey Feldman or Andrew McCarthy – those sort of films.

Several examples spring to mind. There was bumbling teen dude Keanu Reeves’s transformation from a shockingly bad actor in dross such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Parenthood, to troubled, chain-smoking misery guts in Constantine.

There was bubbly, annoying, Tom Hanks barnacle Meg Ryan, who showed us her unconvincing serious side when she opted to get her tits out and become Jim Morrison’s wasted fuck-piece in the monumentally awful The Doors.

And then there was Hanks himself: shouty, whiny and fuckwitted in Splash, Joe Vs the Volcano, The Money Pit, Volunteers, The ‘Burbs, Forrest Gump etc., then brow-beaten and squinty and terribly, terribly worthy in Saving Private Ryan and Philadelphia. Who saw that last one coming? I certainly didn’t – not on the evidence of Big.

By far and away the least convincing gruff transformation for me, however, is Kiefer Sutherland. His schtick in the ‘80s and early ‘90s was to play serious types, loners, badasses and scumbags. Not being able to act his way out of a paper bag, he did this in an incredibly unconvincing fashion in a string of forgettable films that made a lot of money thanks to teenagers, teenagers’ ability to swallow vast tranches of offal, and the invention of VHS.

There was his turn as a vampire in the appalling The Lost Boys; as a cowboy in the shittenfest that was Young Guns and Young Guns II (a bad actors’ ensemble piece spanning two truly evil movies); as a twat in Chicago Joe and the Showgirl, Flatliners, Bright Lights, Big City; and there was his ill-advised go at classic literature when he donned the cape and hat of Athos and became the second-least convincing musketeer in the history of cinema (the first was, of course, Chris O’Donnell – a man who must surely be in the running for the title of ‘Worst Actor of all Time’?).

Then, mercifully, he went away. Like acne and a disturbing crush on the fattest girl in the school, he was left behind as a part of our adolescence.

Sure, he’d pop up from time to time in successful guff such as A Few Good Men, JFK and A Time To Kill, but they weren’t Kiefer movies, they were Tom and Jack and Demi and Samuel L. movies, where Sutherland was called on to play a redneck shitkicker with an unconvincing Southern drawl and a not-particularly menacing menacing streak. For the most part, his career as the ’90s ended and a new century was born was a downward spiral into obscurity as he started punching at his real bad actor weight in direct-to-video masterpieces such as Ground Control, Desert Heat, After Alice and Cowboy Up. The shit actor had finally found his Tom Berenger-shaped niche. He was down where he belonged: with the likes of Chuck Norris and Cynthia Rothrock.

And that’s where he would have stayed – an ex-big gun member of The Brat Pack who’d fallen on high times; another Emilio Estevez; another Ally Sheedy. If fortune hadn’t favoured him, he’d now be starring in joint Russian-Iranian productions with titles such as Kung-Ho Diamond, Last Stand At Pingo-Mino II, and Green Berets Go Space IV. He would have been one of those actors that, upon the announcement of his death many years into the future, you would have said,

“Kiefer Sutherland? I’d forgotten about him. What was that cowboy film he was in? The one where’s he’s a miserable sod with long hair? Gets shot in the second one? Top Gun, was it?”

But, as we all know, Kiefer’s career didn’t turn out like this. Like Roger Moore before him, Kiefer ignored the most important rule when it comes to bad actors (get thee to DVD, Satan!), hung on in there and was rewarded with his very own TV show that went on to be a smash hit around the world.

With the success of 24, Sutherland suddenly found himself being taken seriously by Hollywood again. And they took him seriously because he’d pulled off the neat trick of being gruff, of being moody, and of being unhinged. Using the classic actors’ tricks of mumbling, eye-darting, looking dishevelled, tortured and hunted, Kiefer took a big fat leaf out of Russell Crowe’s and Colin Farrell’s books, emulated the first layer of those actors’ performances, and became one of those post-80s, post-muscle-bound, post-Reaganite everyman action-hero-with-issues types that seem to be what the paying public wants to see in its leading men nowadays.

It was Kiefer reborn, and it was only a matter of time before Hollywood once again came knocking.

And that’s why Friday sees the opening of Kiefer’s first proper, big-budget headliner since being welcomed back into the bosom of the Hollywood elite – Mirrors.

Telling the story of an off-the-rails NYPD detective who has ‘killed a man’, Mirrors sees our Kiefer taking up a job as a security guard in a creepy, fire-damaged department store whilst on suspension from duty. The store – which used to be a 1950s mental asylum, surprise, surprise – is filled to the brim with mirrors; mirrors that contain the souls of those killed by the evil that lurks within them. Once they have their hooks into Kiefer, the things in the mirrors are free to enter any mirror connected with him, and that means his estranged wife, his sister, and his two Latin American (?) children are under threat.

But why, you may ask, are the mirrors picking on Kiefer and his family?

Why, because the souls trapped within want to be set free, and for that to happen Kiefer must unravel a mystery that involves the department store’s previous life as an asylum, a possessed twelve year old, a strange name etched into one of the mirrors, a nun, and ‘something in the basement’.

That’s right, it’s a formulaic horror movie that never strays far from the well-trodden haunted house plot we’ve come to know far too well over the years. It’s as predictable as Ghost Ship, Thirteen Ghosts and House on Haunted Hill. With only a scene where a woman’s face is torn apart before our eyes, Mirrors hasn’t enough shocking moments to lift it above the norm, and isn’t, in its central performance, unhinged enough to put it into the unsettling psychological shocker category either. The thing is, with the correct actor, it could have been.

As discussed, the problem Sutherland has is he cannot act. Because of this disability, he is as unconvincing as a loose cannon shitbag detective with a dysfunctional family and a really, really crap job as he was as a cowboy, or a vampire, or a G.I. or a redneck southern shitkicker with a bad accent. This therefore wastes a potentially interesting lead character. As he frowns into those mirrors, you can’t help but remember he was peddling this inner-demons guff way back in Flatliners, and it wasn’t very convincing then, either. Whereas the modern everyman actor such as Farrell, Crowe or Norton can genuinely convince you that their lives are shit and, boy, are they feeling it, Sutherland just plays Doc from Young Guns – but with more frowning.

There’s a difference between a genuine performance of a man brought to the brink of madness by circumstance (Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro and Jack Nicholson have all done it with an aplomb that takes your breath away), and an actor who’s probably seen his dad go through hell on earth in a film such as Don’t Look Now, and has decided to give it a go.

On TV – a medium that tends to be forgiving of terrible actors – it’s fine to act all sullen and worried and gruff for forty five minutes. You can get away with it because, well, it’s only TV, isn’t it? But on the big screen, when asked to carry the film for a running time of nearly two hours, you cannot forgive so easily unless the actor is very, very good. Kiefer Sutherland is not, and never will be, very, very good.

With an actor such as the aforementioned Norton in the lead, this movie could have been lifted above the humdrum thanks to a performance that would have made you believe you were watching a down-at-heel scumbag losing his life and his marbles to a building full of satanic mirrors. With Sutherland, you just don’t buy it, and it ruins any chance this film had of rising above its interesting – if not especially original – premise.

That’s why, in my opinion, Kiefer should go back to the small screen where he belongs, and leave the cinema stuff to the big boys.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (The Beginning)

September 19, 2007

Leatherface 

I, like you, ask myself ‘why did I bother?’.

Seriously – why?

In the full knowledge that this would be a shallow retread I watched it with the faint hope in my heart that it would have something of worth in it. But as the opening credits rolled and I realised Michael Bay co-produced it, I sensed my hopes were scuppered and I’d let myself in for a dreary couple of hours.

Yep – you heard right. Michael fucking Bay – he who is responsible for the likes of The Rock, Armageddon, Bad Boys and other such rot with massive production values and stupid, dull plotlines. Having killed off clever, subtle action pictures he’s now turned his hand to the horror genre and, ultimately, played a part in ruining the whole bloody thing.

Horror films (or at least the ones I enjoy most and the original of this tired franchise) thrive on a small budget. Schlock special effects, grainy camera work, poor acting, they don’t come at a price. You can’t apply the kinds of budgets that make things like Armageddon successful and hope it does the same for horror. Where’s the money going to go? Special effects? Herein lies the problem.

TCM (TB), to abbreviate this shitflick, is simply shock after shock with absolutely nothing of any worth sandwiched between. And the shocks are so blunt and heavy handed they don’t even make you jump. They make you sigh and, from time to time, vaguely grimace at the unpleasantness of it all. There’s no subversion, no intelligence, no allegory, no nothing. It’s not even good enough to be called an exploitation movie as it hasn’t been made on a budget to ensure maximum profit. We don’t get the pleasure of a really cheap ride. Instead we get really, really expensive disappointment. This is a film without merit in any sense whatsoever. A real low point.

What’s more irritating is that this is a cash in on a complete and utter fucking masterpiece. Despite this, it makes no effort to do any justice to the original.

As has been documented a bazillion times, the original is based loosely on serial killer Ed Gein. Our buddy Ed had a serious mother fixation which induced him, alongside some serious pathological mental illnesses, to cut women who resembled his expired mother into small pieces and use their flesh around the house, for furniture and accessories. Hence the whole concept of Leatherface.

Completely ignoring this freakish beginning, the Bay product makes the father the domineering parent. The first face Leatherface decided to skin and wear is that of a teenage boy. The whole premise is pissed into a corner and the concept goes out of the window. It turns from a tale of a warped and deformed young man with a distorted Oedipus complex into an overblown pile of tat about some violent men. And it’s not good enough I tell you. NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

As for Michael Bay, I’ve heard word he’s now working on a remake of The Birds as well as the first Friday the 13th. Can’t someone cut off his cock before he pisses on any more graves?

Nigella Express

September 11, 2007

ooof 

I was a Nigella virgin before last night, in that I’d never seen any programme featuring the yummy mummy ever before in my pristine life. Like the big fat naughty nanny that she is, last night she snapped my hymen rigorously as I settled down to the outright mess of  upper class twattery that was Nigella Express. And it hurt. Oh boy, did it hurt.

I’ve heard it said that Nigella is considered sexy by quite a few fellows, clearly those who like a bit of meat on a lady (and there’s nowt wrong with that, I hasten to add). She’s also been praised for her curves, for having the gumption to avoid slimming down for the cameras. Good for her, say I, but let’s not dwell on it as I don’t see people lining up to praise me for my love handles, so the fact she’s fairly normal-looking is irrelevant. Especially when one considers that, on last night’s evidence, she’s a mad-eyed, contemptible braggart whose television muck I shall never, ever watch again.

Christ all-bloody-mighty! I’ve never seen a housewife so smug! She waddles about the place like a balloon on clown shoes, showing off about the size of her larder. She parades her indescribably awful little offspring in his nu-rave outfit (who can’t skateboard for toffee, I ought to add). Worse than all this, she grins with a terrifying, gaping grimace whenever she looks at the camera, making grating asides about portion sizes to make us think ‘hey! She’s fat which makes her great – she’s just like us!’.

No, no, no! She’s not ‘just like us!’. She is, in fact, just like any richer-than-average, self-satisfied bastard who doesn’t have to do a proper job for a living. She’s the sort of person who says ”darling’ instead of someone’s first name, for Christ’s sake. She’s a boring, overhyped ne’erdowell who earns too much money, too little of which is taxed, and she should be exterminated.

NB: The food she cooked was shit.

Hills Have Eyes 2 / 28 Weeks Later

July 17, 2007

Begbie and loads of infected freaks 

If you’re going to make a genre movie, or a sequel to a remake of a genre movie whilst going out of your way to avoid cliches, you’ve got an uphill struggle ahead of you. If you’re Wes Craven, you don’t need to avoid cliches, as you invented the cliches in the first place. If you’re a little-heard-of Director tasked with following up a zombie movie which itself avoided a few of the usual trappings then what do you do to make your new movie relevant? That’s it, you try and comment (with bloody heavy hands) on today’s political climate.

All the critics seem to disagree with me when it comes to horror films, so balls to them in their Islington and nouveau-Hackney homes, pumping out a word an hour of drivel. With these movies a viewer needs to automatically lower their expectations to the level of their stinking feet, otherwise disappointment will generally smack them headlong in the face.

The fun of a horror film is that it’s the opposite of high art. Very few horror movies can be said to be masterpieces. Maybe The Shining. Maybe Night of the Living Dead. American Werewolf In London, but in that instance we’re veering towards horror/comedy, which is a different kettle of fish. Beyond that, it’s pretty much semi-wooden acting, jumps and  gore, and thank crikey for that, says I.

So the critics savaged Hills Have Eyes 2. Hackneyed scripts they said. Expected shocks. And these things, they reckoned, combined to render it worthless. Only one or two stars. 11% on rottentomatoes.com

Well, bollocks. It’s a no-nonsense stomp through a script that’s only even present to transfer us to the next set piece. And those set pieces include a pair of mutant testicles getting flattened by a sledgehammer, a brain being finger-tweaked and an eyeball being thumbed out – which is all fantastic stuff. This is the point of the genre.  Admittedly the rape element is a bit much, but we forgave the EvilDead for that, so we can forgive this.

If an auteur (like Romero used to be) manages to squeeze in a clever analogy to a horror film, then so much the better – I take my hat off. But when the central premise is the analogy, a la Land of the Dead, the whole things fall apart and we’re left discussing how there were too few zombie maimings.

Speaking of a dearth of zombie maimings, the only memorable zombie death in 28 Weeks Later was the helicopter scene, ruined by the use of rapid editing and CGI.

Add to that the fact that the film was a complete mess, featuring an American army as aggressive as the zombies (apart from the good guys who end up the saviours of the Brits, obviously) and the presence of a ‘lead’ zombie, and you have yourself a disappointing wreck.

If I rent a horror film or spend my hard earned down the local multiplex, I expect rubbish. Please deliver.

Vacancy / Hostel Part 2

June 26, 2007

 

Does ‘torture porn’ exist? Not in mainstream cinema, if you ask me. The point of both of these recent horror movies is that you’re gunning for the victims to escape. And if there is any violence onscreen, it’s hardly protracted. Horror films work off the odd flash of a gruesome sight – the fundamental basis of the genre being the power of suggestion. Even Cannibal Holocaust, with castration and impalement on the agenda, don’t linger too long on the special effects. Ok, so it did linger on the native chick with the pole through her fanny for quite a while, but that was only because the special effect was so bloody good. And anyway, Cannibal Holocaust isn’t mainstream cinema.

Vacancy and Hostel Part 2 are two very different beasts that have been placed willy-nilly in the same ‘torture porn’ cage. ‘Torture porn’… it’s a complete misnomer. Granted, I haven’t yet seen Captivity which, from recent reviews, may well fit the tag, but I’ve recently had a gander at these two and any sadist hoping to have one off the wrist over the nastiness within will be sorely disappointed.

Understatement is key, and though many critics might lambast Hostel Part Two in particular for violence against women, it’s pretty liberal with its use of power tools and blades if you ask me. And what really surprised me is that, for the sequel, Eli Roth decided to use a plotline. In fact, two plotlines that meet in the middle. Which is a step forward from the first instalment which was an exercise in linear pedestrianism. Having said that, it doesn’t stray too far from the formula, meaning the teenagers who went to see Hostel One will get their shocks. Personally, I felt that I’d seen it before. The element of surprise – the hell the innocents were being taken to – was no longer unknown. It drained a massive part of the element of terror. The action sequences were slicker though and, most impressively, the dialogue didn’t sound like it’d been written by a frat boy with a hard on (which is essentially what Eli Roth is – and probably proud of it).

Vacancy is different to Hostel Part 2 and a world away from the visceral violence of the films it got lumped in with. In fact, it has more in common with stuff like The (original) Hitcher (except it’s much better) and also shares a bloodline with Spielberg’s Duel. It’s not even, to my mind, horror in the perceived sense. It’s a tense, taut thriller with little in the way of violence. It piles on the suspense and relies entirely on our sympathy for the main duo – and it got that sympathy from me. It’s a very old fashioned date movie that happens to have used the fear of starring in a snuff film as a very basic grounding for the shocks to float off.

Both are worth seeing, but if you’re a psychopathic misanthropist, don’t worry too much about getting the Kleenex out.

Big Brother 8

May 31, 2007

Big Brother 8

10 Week Wankathon

And that’s just Carol, the bearded Aunt Flo who hates cock.

Davina was looking nice until she started doing that crouching, gurning Davina thing, and there we were, it’s BB as we all know and pretend to despise.

With regard to my blog on yesterday’s piqued (clang) the house made more than a passing reference to surrealism, or rather Dali. Yellow Mae West lips sofa and fish rather than lobster telephone. Ironically and tellingly such forced ‘weirdness’ is negated by an otherworldly collision of style, impracticality and cruelty. I’ll even accept the chickens in resin a la Damien Hirst’s Away from the Flock was a nice touch. This is the nastiest house yet, bath in the living room, fridge in the garden, cooker in the bedroom and Catholic in the kitchen or something.

In they came, a pair of vacuous blonde twins in minis chewing on lollies, Lolita x 2, Nabokov would pissed out his testis. They’re both as sweet as pie, cute, vacuous and wholly evil.

“Let’s put the next one in!” bellows Davina as if hysterically announcing the second solid shit she’s passed in 6 months.

Lesley, bloke-faced member of the Women’s Institute, I reckon she spends a lot of time in meetings showing the ladies of Charwood how to take out the vas deferens just by hearing. She’ll get on well with the hairy whale, if she doesn’t roundhouse her face off first.

Charley, instant bonk on, fucking fabulous body but with a face that isn’t quite as pretty or lascivious as it thinks it is. Imagine the body of a younger Tyra Banks with the head of Snoop Doggy Dogg winking at you. Quids in, gold digger. She seems like trouble but will probably keep her horns in until dick walks in…

Next Tracey, fucking awful multicoloured anachronism from the awful, hideous days of early rave. Looks like Johnny Rotten – she’s definitely been abused. Thick as Mr. T with a boner. Awful.

I’m looking forward to seeing Chanelle cry. She’s the visual equivalent of downward convergence. Really fucking thick this one, dead posh, but weirdly thinks she’s a certain footballer’s wife. I’m not even lowering myself to say which one as the cunt would appreciate the recognition and she doesn’t deserve any. Fucking fantastic arse though. Freshly dead, I would.

Shalamanom, didn’t catch her name, oddly I quite liked this one, first possible contender. She’s going to be annoying, yes, but so long as she doesn’t turn into a berk, then she’s fine by me. Full of beans, I’d like to see just one of them.

By now the women are grouping. In the red corner, screeching totty, in the blue Tragic Tracey and Livid Lesley. She’s well unhappy, yeah?

In comes Emily, David Cameron with a fresh young vagina. If that chilled you as much as me, I will say no more. Apart from the fact that if she saw so much as a fibre of a quark of tissue on your lad, she’d disinfect the tyres on her range rover.

Laura I really liked, big fat Welsh girl. Sweet, likeable, funny, eating disorder, one of those fat trendy Beth Ditto types, sort of the perfect media ‘anti zero’ size. In my opinion she’s the clear winner so far, she’s marketable out the house and I can predict the rumblings of a media drive to keep her profile sweet. Despite being the size of a chest freezer she’s pretty. After 10 pints and a microdot I’d think about it.

Nicky, straight, boring, sad, has ‘issues’. She’s adopted by the way, little too much information from the producers there, are we meant to be sympathising because she has the personality of public toilet? It’s okay though because, according to Davina as she walked into the house, ‘If Nicky was an animal she’s be a cat so she can lie in the sun all day’. So that’s cleared that up then.

Lastly, Carole, the old one. She’s been on Greenham Common apparently, I think that may well have been as recently as an hour before she appeared on camera. She’s hairier than Oliver Reed and Alan Bates fighting in front of an open fire. Not sure what to make of her, she maternal but aggressive. Outside chance.

So, there you have it, all women so far, 11 of them, that’s 22 tits! One moan, the bloke that makes the ‘crowd’ signs, especially the one for the tool holding the pointy finger sign bearing the slogan ‘you ain’t seen me, right?’. Pass on your address and I’ll send someone round without a conscience.

The Apprentice, Series 3, Episode 7

May 10, 2007

Nasty girl 

Some deep-seated antipathy is manifesting itself in the Apprentice. Last night was all out war between Katie (who has gone from resembling Fido Dido to being a mirror image of a rubber chicken), Kristina and Adam. All of whom were on the same team. I’ll give you three guesses as to who lost.

Up against Simon, they really didn’t have a chance – the inevitable back-stabbing would result in one of them getting fired – and it was never going to be Kristina. They should play a burst of Foreigner’s ‘Cold as Ice’ every time she flicks onscreen, for she is this year’s Ice Queen. She will win, unless she really buggers things up or turns into snow and melts before the time is over. Speaking of personal theme tunes for contestants, Katie would have benefitted from a little incidental music this time around – Foreigner’s ‘I Wanna Know What Love Is’, perhaps, given her mood-shift since her beau Paul – or Captain Mainwaring as Sugar would have it – left in disgrace last week.

The task this week was buying. Corporate buying, obviously, not simply finding things and then buying them. They had to seek a decent discount on various items. There were penalties involved if they didn’t buy all the items on the list and penalties if they bought at cost price. For a mathematical imbecile like me, in work-shutdown mode after six o clock, the figures were quite hard to follow last night. It doesn’t take a genius to realise, however, that turning up late and incurring a fine is better than turning up on time and incurring two fines. One glance at the rules and even Frank Spencer would’ve grasped that. Buy every item at a fractionally reduced cost, maybe twist the arm of the softest couple of suckers you meet to get a big discount on the odd item and you should be quids in. Just don’t turn up with less than ten items. Seek and ye shall find.

So, Adam took the reins as the opposing Project Manager and had Katie and Kristina to manage. Foolishly, he sent them out on their own to work as a double act (they had previously demonstrated only disdain for one another) while he worked alongside the vacuous arse-on-legs that is Ghazal. Lovely to look at, but when she opens her mouth it’s akin to a neutron bomb going off. If Adam had paired off with Kristina he would have won the task. They were kindred spirits in the final three last week when they buried Paul – why didn’t Adam see that? Because he’s a salesman, and like most salesmen he has a stupefying belief in his own ability that is not only unrealistic, it’s pathologically dangerous.

Kristina and Katie, demonstrating the cold, determined will to survive that only career-women can muster, worked well together despite their myriad differences. Any shopkeeper, with two blondes approaching begging for two quid off a pot of leg-wax whilst smiling, cooing and promising to never bother you ever again, would probably let it pass, knock a couple of quid off and put it down to experience. It certainly beat Adam’s method of staring out the vendor, hand clasped to chin.

In the meantime, Simon ran around doing an excellent Basil Fawlty impression: ‘GET IN THE CAR, GET OUT THE CAR, GET BACK IN THE CAR – Tre can you move up a bit please? Honestly…’. They got all the items on the list and everything was tickety-boo. Tre provided comic relief when buying from a Brick Lane vendor by mimicking (presumably) his Dad’s accent. Jadine seemed to work well with Lohit. It was smooth-running. They even picked up the elusive Nigella Seeds, the one item that stumped Adam and Ghazal for a good six hours.

In the boardroom, the knives came out in what was probably the most sneaky and hate-filled meeting in the show’s history. Katie ‘had her head down because she’d lost her friend’ Adam claimed. While she had grown even more poisonous when speaking about Adam, she didn’t work less hard, so it wasn’t a fair thing to mention. As it was patently untrue, Alan Sugar actually had a meeting within the meeting and decided that issue should be dropped. Katie then (having slagged Adam off in the preceding vox pop for being Northern) accused Adam of being ‘a little too friendly with Mr Pinot and Mr Grigio’, implying he’s a hardened boozer. Which is bullshit. Christ she’s awful. Sorry – but as I try to relay the events, my mind wanders and I find myself focusing on quite how fucking vile Katie ‘Fido-Dido Rubber-Chicken’ is. She’s vastly hideous. If you’ve never experienced how upper-class witches speak and act, then watch the next Apprentice. But not the one after that, she’ll hopefully have gone by then.

Adam was out of his depth – sadly he had to go. But Katie’ll be next. You mark my words (and prayers).