Posts Tagged ‘Mutants’

Tesco Direct

October 12, 2007

For an industry that is supposedly meant to be ahead of the zeitgeist, advertisers have a distinctly outdated viewpoint of human beings. Women are tawdry bags of imperfections that are in need of medical and cosmetic improvements, while men are serial sleazebags in search of the next commitment free lay. From the battling hoardes of early-morning shoppers who will willingly tear the jugular out of another female in order to get the new Chanel No.9, to the AIDS carrying ‘Mickey’ from the universally detested Head and Shoulders advert, they seem hell-bent on convincing us to be impressed by our most outdated stereotypes.

Take this latest advert from Tesco Direct. It’s clearly meant to be classy and sophisticated, but it comes across as a detestable 30 second remake of Alfie. A charmless date rapist, played by a man who is apparently a famous TV actor, tries to seduce an ex-Eastender by having his house fitted with budget furnishing… and she’s impressed by him.

Not only does it present men as egocentric wannabe lotharios, but it also offers up a viewpoint of women as obtainable when presented with the right combination of material possessions. Big fridge-freezer? Check. Nice new oven? Check. Remotely controlled faux-fireplace – surely the epitome of pseudo middle-class chintz? Check. The only thing they’re missing is the Tesco own brand Rohypnol he slips into her drink when his carefully balanced check list fails to get his dick sucked.

I’m confused as to what Tesco thought they were saying by commissioning this piece of instructional sleaze. Is our main character so desperate to nail this cock-tease of a cliche that he’s prepared to give it a shot while the delivery men are still in the house? “Don’t mind the workmen, love, now about getting your tits out…?” Is she so classy that she finds his ignoring of the proletariat boiler suits around them sexy? “Ooooh, I just love the way you pretend that those dirty little men don’t exist, now crank up the fake fireplace.”

Come to think of it, what woman in this world would be impressed by a guy who’s fitted his entire house with furnishings from Tesco? Ikea may have made mass-produced designer house furniture fashionable, but at least they suggest you mix and match to create your own style… Our deluded Don Juan character has simply let the biggest supermarket chain in the country decide what his furnishings should be. Character, style, a personal touch – all have been jetisoned in favour of an atypical image of middle-class success. They can worry about what looks good in his home while he gets on with the important business of getting his leg over with some dodgy, out-of-work, easily impressed skank.

While this advert is filled with horribly sex-pesty behaviour, my favourite moment is at 21 seconds in when our consumerismly impressed couple have to do a deliberate slow walk in order to let the Tesco men roll out the rug in time. It’s a moot point, for sure, but one that I find terribly funny…

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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.