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Shock & Gore 2015, Docu-Shorts and Brum’s Evil Genius

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There is no shortage of film festivals in the town of Ann Arbor but at this time of year I always get a pang of homesickness when I see the schedule for Birmingham’s own Shock & Gore.

Though London’s FrightFest has been recommend to me by horror buffs, film critics and magazine editors over the years, I will always reserve a special love for the bloody brilliant horror fest staged by the Electric Cinema. And this year’s festival is of particular personal interest as there is a documentary on local artist (and evil genius) Tom Ellis of Curious Oddities.

Perhaps you have attended a Shock & Gore film and had the disturbing pleasure of encountering some of Tom’s work, or walked past his chilling window display at the Great Western Arcade.

Voodoo Child: Tom Ellis' mechanical demon baby.

Voodoo Child: Tom Ellis’ mechanical demon baby.

My personal favourite Curious Oddity was the monster baby in a pram left by the upstairs screening room door.  If it didn’t put me off parenthood for an extra couple of years on sight, it definitely gave me the willies when a member of staff pulled a cord on the baby’s back and it started writhing around in the pram and emitting demonic baby laughter!  I kinda want one now.

I love the way the Great Western gave over its vacant window space to artists such as Mr Ellis in the wake of the financial crisis. His collection of curious oddities, such as weird sea creatures, dirty dolls furniture and  yarn eggs – with eyes (!) made me wish the door to the shop front would open and I could go in and see just how dark things got…but then I was afraid of how dark things could get.

I wondered whether to try and interview him for this humble blog – in a public place of course, in case he took me to a cave with malevolent goblins living in the walls. His creatures seemed so lovingly made, detailed and worn-in and I was genuinely intrigued by how he made them. So I walked over to the GWA and the shop front had vanished. And I had lost his card from Shock & Gore, and was due to leave the country soon. I figured it was fate intervening and left it at that.

But now I am curious no longer; Tom’s friend, local filmmaker Andrew Rutter, has made a short documentary about the man and his craft. As I am so far away I caught it on Vimeo but think it will make a fabulous addition to the programme of shorts showing on Wednesday 22nd at 6.15pm at the Electric.

Tom’s sculptures are not the only reason that Shock & Gore continues to be such fun. The organisers think outside the box in terms of pairing films with scary activities. This year, a ghost walk around Birmingham precedes a showing of The Haunting (1963). Other creepy-cool experiences include an edible accompaniment to Shaun of the Dead, and an actual tutorial in how to kill the undead by Jonathan Ferguson who is a curator at the Royal Armory in Leeds and the definitive expert in vampire killing kits.

So if you like being scared, don’t be afraid of rocking up to some of these events laid on by the wizards of Shock & Gore.

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In which life becomes even more like The Five Year Engagement

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“Ann anbor wshg st” by Traveler100. Wiki Commons

When you are little and you think that life has all these big plans for you, that in some manner you are special or chosen (oh come on, everyone thinks this. Why do you think Buffy and Harry Potter were so successful?), little do you bargain for the slow, painful line-up of moments that prove this not to be the case. Educational moments, character-forming moments, ridiculously sucky moments.

Yet there have been a few times when my life has resembled a movie, for example:

  • Rock of Ages (2010) I was on holiday in New Orleans when some 80s rock god *cough – Tommy Lee –cough* kept tuning up wherever we went, I like to think he was stalking me. He did actually walk over to me at one point and I ran off squealing like a little girl – soooo mature.

These are pretty terrible films admittedly, but that’s OK. It’s when your life starts resembling an Oscar-worthy movie that you should be worried.

The world gives us so many challenges that are not celebrated despite the heroic way that we deal with them; death, serious illness, chronic illness, redundancy, bankruptcy. So many people take on these troubles with a strength that comes only from knowing that there is no other option. No wonder we crave celluloid escapism.

Over the past year, my married life has resembled a movie which in Michigan terms has proved divisive, The Five-Year Engagement. Overly long (like this post), moderately funny, and in our case so very true, the film sees an Anglo-American couple move to Michigan for career reasons only to see one partner succeed while the other flounders. I am the flounderer in our case. Just like Jason Segel, I have yet to find my career niche over here, find my homeland instantly preferable and retreat sulkily into my knitting. Home brewing is one Michigan step too far though.

To compound matters, we have just moved to the town where the movie is set, Ann Arbor. Home to the University of Michigan, a thriving restaurant and brewing scene, a liberal outlook and most importantly a successful infrastructure (no small thing after seeing the lack of it in Detroit and its suburbs)!

I think The Five-Year Engagement gives Ann Arbor a raw deal. Yes, Michigan is bleak and cold during the brutal Midwest winters, but the idea of a chef not being able to find work in AA is pretty laughable. Segel’s character eventually gets a job at Zingermann’s which is a deservedly lauded foodie empire (there is nothing at that deli which isn’t made from scratch and agonised over in terms of ingredients and food trends). As a chef, his character should be impressed.

Gone to seed stitch: some seriously bad knitting in The Five Year Engagement

Gone to seed stitch: some seriously bad knitting in The Five Year Engagement

He goes all back-woodsy, which doesn’t scream AA to me. He does start to brew which is definitely a Michigan pastime but in case you haven’t noticed it has become the American pastime too. Even in the UK, micro-brewing is taking off.  He starts knitting (without using a tailor’s dummy, or blocking, or apparently using anything but mohair). I haven’t seen any really great yarn shops in AA yet (maybe the Metro-D has AA beaten on that account) but am open to suggestions. Segel’s character uses all the distractions he can think of to avoid taking a long hard look at himself and what would make him happier.

I like to think that Mr Segel wrote the story about any town that isn’t San Francisco/New York/ LA and then taking advantage of the Michigan Film Initiative, had to slot Ann Arbor in to that generic non-cosmopolitan role. Does he sometimes lie awake at night, wondering briefly if he gave AA a bad rap before plumping his money-filled pillow and sleeping like a baby? OK, that’s harsh. My brother-in-law actually met him during filming and said he came across as very decent.

The point is, maybe I, like Jason Segel in The Five Year Engagement, need to alter my outlook. We shouldn’t rely on places or people to save us, but harness what stands out where we are, and use it to drive us forward to a self-made happily ever after. Here goes…

How to throw an America-proof Halloween Party

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‘You’ll have to step up your game over here. Americans have pretty much seen it all at Halloween.’

This was the response I received when I put forward the idea of throwing a Halloween party to some friends over dinner.

If you have ever read Brummed Out before, you’ll know that I’m rather giddy for Halloween, and consistently disappointed at the lack of Halloween spirit in the UK. Not so in Michigan folks.  Just on my street this week, we’ve had industrial amounts of spider webbing, entire front lawn cemeteries, headless mannequins and a 10ft Wicker Man. All of which were cruelly denied their moment of gory glory by the last minute gales, rain and even a snow flurry that kept Trick or Treaters indoors on Halloween night.

Planning a Halloween party that won’t bore Americans is another beast entirely though.  BUT, we might just have done it on Saturday.  Americans love animatronics. We had no such budget. I was just one girl armed with a roll of garbage bags and a sick imagination. Here is how we threw Little Haunted House on the Prairie…

  1. The Dollar Store/ 99p Shop is your best friend.

photo 9

Ravens, skeletons on string, spider webs, spooky holographic pictures, candles, dolls. All can be purchased here and used as the basis for kick-ass Halloween displays. I wired my raven to a twig and perched it in an old lantern, Edgar Allan Poe-style, the holographs were put in normal photo frames to form a spooky picture gallery. The dolls were painted spooky white and their eyes were painted black. Cheap, cheerful, weird wonderful.

  1. Hack your LACK                                                               photo 2                                                                                   Ouija boards are freaky, fact. I used a printable one, some white acrylic paint, and THIS program to trace and paint one onto our cheap IKEA LACK coffee table. It washed off really easily the day afterwards and made people feel all dangerous/ nostalgic (in a 13 year old’s slumber party kinda way) while they were sitting around it.
  1. Copy and Paste

Food labels, apothecary labels, vintage Halloween graphics, invitations. Ideas are all over the internet. Be inspired and print out you faves to use.

4. Get your glow on

photo 8                                                                                               We had a scary unfinished basement and not enough space for the amount of people we invited. Scary basement seemed like a good overflow space but how to get the guests to venture down there?… Aha! Beer + Blacklight. We stashed the kegs downstairs and purchased a big ole 48” blacklight from Spencer’s. We hung blacklight bats from the joists, positioned scary dolls and horror books on the shelves, and used blacklight paint to write quotes from scary movies on the walls (on paper of course – your landlord will not appreciate having to re-rent a permanent murder basement), stuff like THIS and THIS. We also put some dry ice in styofoam coolers (like ‘em? They were pretty fun to make) to seep out eerily in the glow. It didn’t work that well – maybe we’ll add a fog machine next year.

  1. A tree is not just for Christmas

photo 7Black Christmas trees are brilliant. So sophisticated at Christmas, so scary at Halloween. This is decorated purely with rings, tinsel and creatures from Birmingham’s 99p Store (Yup, even the witch at the top – she cackles too!)

  1. Include Obscure Movie References
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I made these ‘devil’s nests’ from True Detective, with twigs, thread and some florist’s moss. The husband made me lock them away because they creeped him out. Mission accomplished.

                                                                                               Chances are, you’ll have one or two movie buffs at the party. They will appreciate a few well placed references, even if the majority of your guests do not. Apart from the quotes in the basement, we displayed my Evil Dead Necronomecon, and I made a sign for the basement, based on the haunted forest from The Wizard of Oz. I included a Black Candle in the bathroom ‘only to be lit by virgins at midnight’ – who didn’t love watching Scary Jessica Parker in Hocus Pocus?

  1. ALWAYS do the bathrooms

photo 6                                                                                                As certain as the toilet getting clogged is the fact that your guests will root around in your bathroom cupboards. Give them what they want (no, not the Valium), make some apothecary bottles – a cheap one is sweetcorn and black tea in a jar labelled ‘Old People’s Teeth’. Fill them with different coloured water and there are lots of printable labels on t’internet. A scary holographic picture and lots of cobwebs help. Do clean the shitter though –that’s just good manners.

  1. Include one good scare

photo 3                                                                                                As I just wrote, people get nosy at house parties; they want to know how clean you are. You can exploit this by putting a fake body in the bathtub! If you draw the shower curtain straight across, they will suspect you are hiding something – and you are. The beauty of this is that some people will come out ready to tell everyone about it, and some will make a great effort not to – but the faces always give it away. Either way, you save hundreds on animatronics and you find out who’s a nosy parker!

  1. Make gross-looking food, offer it around –and be prepared to eat it yourself!
Split Cockroaches: dates stuffed with honey and walnuts - for that gooey but crunchy feel.

Split Cockroaches: dates stuffed with honey and walnuts – for that gooey but crunchy feel.

This year, I plumped for making Used Q-Tips, a Dirty Ashtray, Split Cockroaches and Jello Worms. The worms looked so real that people wouldn’t eat them so Mr D and myself downed a fair few just for the disgusting factor. It’s always good to circulate with these dishes as it makes people feel looked after – or victimised: tomato-tomato.

10. Don’t scrimp on the alcohol

Jello-shots turn up in the weirdest places.

Jello-shots turn up in the weirdest places.

Halloween is the perfect time to wash a latex glove, fill it with water, freeze it, then empty it into some brightly coloured spiked punch, try to make some non-alcoholic punch for the kids too – they appreciate doing what the grown-ups do. If you’ve ever wanted to try pumpkin ale, now is the time. Jelly-shots, and Bombay Bad Bears (gummies soaked in gin) are also good adult Treats. Just be prepared for the consequences. I’ve only just finished clearing up and it’s three days later…

Oh, and the garbage bags…?

Well, apart from clearing up the debris (those jelly-shots got everywhere),  they make pretty awesome decorations – and fake corpses. Thank you Martha Stewart (yikes, can’t believe that just happened).

Heads Up! Shock & Gore 2014 Schedule Released

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twin-peaks-cooper-doppelganger

Oh how I love the Shock & Gore horror festival at the Electric Cinema. And oh how gutted I am that I’m stuck on t’other side of the pond for this year’s fourth celebration of the weird and wonderful side of cinema.

To fully understand how much I love Shock & Gore, click HERE and HERE.

Yup it’s that good.

So what would I be going to see this year? Well I have never quite gotten over Twin Peaks, even though David Lynch abandoned the show in it’s second season leading to a sharp decline in quality and the damn network insisted that Laura Palmer’s killer was revealed early on when it was never meant to be a solved case at all and then it got cancelled on a reaaaallly infuriating cliffhanger…OK Breathe, it was 25 years ago dammit.

Horror meets Americana: Twin Peaks

Horror meets Americana: Twin Peaks

 

Anyway the fact remains that for a while, Twin Peaks captured our imaginations rather like Game of Thrones does these days. It remains one of the greatest TV series of all time. And in view of this, S&G are having a David Lynch night on Friday July 25th. There will be a showing of the strange and compelling Mulholland Drive, followed by some sort of Twin Peaks-related viewing. I have no idea what form this will take; could be a Log Lady riddle, could be Red Room dream sequence. The only thing for certain is that coffee and damn fine cherry pie will be available at the bar.

Cronos: Guillermo del Toro breathes new life into M.R. James' old 'enchanted object' plot.

Cronos: Guillermo del Toro breathes new life into M.R. James’ old ‘enchanted object’ plot.

 

For those of you who couldn’t care less about Twin Peaks (do I really owe you anything?) here are some other S&G offerings…

  • Classic spine-tingler in the form of The Innocents (Friday 25th – Thursday 31st)
  • Movie buff -worthy screening of Alien: The Director’s Cut (Saturday 26th)
  • Obligatory vampire quota is served by Cronos (Friday 25th) and the Lost Boys (Part of the All-nighter on Saturday 26th).
  • Morbid curiosity satiated by the intriguing sounding Death Cafe at the Victoria on Sunday 27th
  • Utter terrifying and all too real misery in Threads (Wednesday 30th) with a live score to bring the nuclear apocalypse even closer to home.
  • Queer Eye for the Dead Guy: Michael Blyth from the BFI delivers a lecture on gay presence in horror films from the 1930s to the present day. I expect this will be a lot like The Celluloid Closet stuff that Vito Russo wrote about and could be good fun.

So whatever keeps you awake at night, make sure you indulge it next month at Shock & Gore. And tell us how it went!

What happens in your mind when you watch Threads.

What happens in your mind when you watch Threads.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Peaky Blinders (but were too lazy to Google)

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Since I started a gently humorous series of posts on the Birmingham-set BBC drama Peaky Blinders, I have found all sorts of interesting search engine terms and questions cropping up on my stats. I thought it only fair to try and answer as many as I could. Here goes:

1)      What is the theme tune? Who sings it?

Oh good, an easy one to start with. It’s a song called Red Right Hand by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Being a teenager in the 90s helped here. Nick Cave is great and he also adapted a book about the prohibition to make the film Lawless that was out earlier this year. Red Right Hand was also featured in the first Scream film, back in the day.

2)      Why is the show called Peaky Blinders?

If you’ve seen it, you’ll probably know; the gang takes its name from the razor blades sewn into the peaks of members’ flat caps/ baker boy caps that can be quickly whipped off during fights to slash with or left on for head-butting to maximum effect. But it turns out this wasn’t so unusual. Fun Fact: My grandfather (an East Midlands lad) grew up in the 1920s and said that razor blades were secreted in all manner of garments for fighting purposes. During Rugby scrums, players would brutally scrape their boots down the opposition’s shins having pushed extra drawing pins or tacks through the soles. When he was in the Royal Engineers during WW2, some privates used to attach a string of razor blades to the decorative ribbon inside their regimental caps, and flick it across faces during fights. It wasn’t a major weapon but did give the unlucky recipient a decent duelling scar. Granddad once got the cane at school for attaching a pin to a stick and jabbing it up girls’ skirts – I have to add he was only six at the time and went on to be a lovely man but what a little shit he must have been as a child!

Some of the real Peaky Blinders in the book Gangs of Birmingham. Image: digbeth.org

Some of the real Peaky Blinders in the book Gangs of Birmingham. Image: digbeth.org

The best book about this place/time is The Gangs of Birmingham by Phillip Gooderson.

3)      Where is the Black Swan pub?

Difficult one this. Try as I might, I can’t find a historical record of this pub in Sparkbrook. Fact: pubs in the UK come and go like beer through a tap over the years so maybe there was once a Black Swan, maybe there wasn’t. But there is a White Swan that remains in nearby Deritend, and maybe that inspired the writer Steven Knight.  It does look like a very atmospheric place doesn’t it?

The White Swan on Bradford Street. Photo from beerintheevening.com

The White Swan on Bradford Street. Photo from beerintheevening.com

4)      Where is the art gallery?

It is not the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery I’m afraid (if you get the opportunity though, do go, because it is great). The exterior shots are Leeds Town Hall. The pink hall full of sculptures where C.I. Campbell and Grace exchange information is Newby Hall and Gardens in Ripon, Yorkshire.

5)      Where were the street scenes filmed?

According to Creative England, these were filmed in Liverpool, specifically Powis Street in Toxteth, which was transformed into the Small Heath neighbourhood, Little Italy and Watery Lane. Liverpool’s Stanley Dock doubled as Birmingham’s Garrison Lane. BBC location scouts allegedly found that not enough of pre-war Brum had survived intact to serve as viable filming locations – which I disagree with. I think they wanted the locations to be closer to the Beeb at Salford, and that with a US target audience, viewers wouldn’t notice it wasn’t the real Birmingham on film. There is a heck of a lot of pre-war Brum left, go explore. Might have to have a separate rant about this one.

Powis Street on a normal day: Powis Street is one of the Welsh Streets in Toxteth. The area is undergoing regeneration.

Powis Street on a normal day: Powis Street is one of the Welsh Streets in Toxteth. The area is undergoing regeneration.

But with some period styling and a little CGI it is transformed into 1919 Small Heath

But with some period styling and a little CGI it is transformed into 1919 Small Heath. Image: http://www.rushes.co.uk

6)      Which train station is used?

These scenes are filmed at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, which runs through the Yorkshire countryside and is used in many period shoots, most famously the 1970 version of The Railway Children.

7)      Where did the gypsies live?

Gypsies living on Black Patch. Photo: Wiki Commons

Gypsies living on Black Patch. Photo: Wiki Commons

Hmmmm, the Lees were not real. But there were undoubtedly real gypsy settlements during the time of the Peaky Blinders (which was from the 1880s onwards). Most notably, the park area known as the Black Patch in Smethwick was a gypsy camp ground until the Birmingham Corporation Parks Commission imposed a peaceful eviction on the land in 1909. Until a few years before, Esau Smith was acknowledged as the gypsy king of Black Patch, having a verbal agreement to squatters’ rights for the travellers there. Upon his death in 1901, his wife Henty became the queen. She allegedly put a curse on anyone who tried to build on the area and this curse inspired folk singer Bryn Phillips to write ‘The Ballad of Black Patch’. The squatters’ rights ended with Henty’s death in 1907 and the ritual burning of her caravan.

8)      What language do the Lee family speak?

I’m fairly sure it’s Romani. Although the Lee family are depicted with various accents (mostly Irish), they are also using Romany caravans. Irish travellers typically speak in a dialect called Shelta, which is classed as a Creole and also known as the Cant, Tinker’s Cant, Bog Latin, the Ould Thing and Gammon. But listening to the conversations in PB, words such as ‘familia’ can be isolated which appear in the Romany dialect but not in Shelta.

One day son, none of this will be yours: a toss-up precedes an inevitable fight/deal/marriage.

One day son, none of this will be yours: a toss-up precedes an inevitable fight/deal/marriage.

9)      Is Tommy Shelby a gypsy?

He doesn’t live a travelling lifestyle, but his mother came from gypsy stock, probably part of the Lee family.

10)   Why are the accents so weird?

This one has caused a lot of annoyance to Brummies and other viewers alike. Many point the finger at the producers who are aiming at the US market and don’t think viewers over the pond will be able to understand the regional dialects or accents. To be fair, I heard that subtitles were used in some US broadcasts of Downton Abbey (but don’t quote me on that) and that Laura Linney was drafted in to explain basic concepts of the British master-servant dynamic before each episode.

The most alarming accent change is that of Billy Kimber, a gangster Birmingham born and bred who has been transformed into a Cockney wide boy for some reason. If it was necessary to have an East End gangster character, wouldn’t it have been simpler to name-check a gambler from the period?

However, according to Helen McCrory (who plays Aunt Polly – Queen of Darkness): “Our accents are 20s Birmingham, you see, and I’d just like to say that now. If anyone’s listening to my accent and thinking it’s a crap Birmingham accent, it’s not, it’s spot on. And I challenge any octogenarian Brummie to contradict me in that.” (Birmingham Mail).

She also told the Daily Mail: ‘I sat and watched endless clips of Ozzy Osbourne. My character’s obviously Ozzy in a skirt.’

Aunt Polly will deck you if you mention her accent.

Aunt Polly will deck you if you mention her accent.

I don’t think Helen’s accent is that bad, although it does seem to lapse into a Scouse ‘O’ vowel, but consistently so maybe that’s part of the historical accent change, who knows. Cillian Murphy (whose Brummie accent is undoubtedly more Scouse) is said to have spent time in Birmingham’s pubs listening to the local accent. I think it’s a little strange that most of this series was filmed in Liverpool and that some of the accents have a Scouse lilt to them…However Paul Anderson (who plays Arthur) and Alfie Evans-Meese (who plays little Finn) have got the accent spot-on in my opinion. Maybe we just need more Brum-based film and TV to make people acquainted with the authentic accent.

I think that covers the main stuff, if there is anything else you want to know, I’m happy to do a spot of research. I can definitely write more on this topic. What do you think of Peaky Blinders so far? Good? Bad? Ugly? Let us know…

Heads Up!: Shock & Gore Horror Fest 2013

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Shock & Gore has been delighting horror fans in the Midlands for quite a few years now, and while we may not be able to get to every event in the festival (I for one am gutted that I’ve never been free on the evening of their legendary all-nighter), there are plenty of tales of terror coming Brum’s way from July 19th to the 25th.

Whether you prefer your horror creepy (The Spiral Staircase), visceral (Dead Ringers), kooky (Gremlins), funny (The Evil Dead), foreign (Santa Sangre) or classic (The Exorcist), the festival never disappoints and often incorporates live Q&A sessions with directors and writers and performances by comedians, magicians and musicians.

Normally centred on the Electric Cinema (but of course), this year the event has also branched out to include venues such as The Custard Factory Theatre, St Columba Church in Moseley and Stageside Restaurant.

I’ve had some great times here over the years (watching Carrie springs to mind because my husband and brother seemed to burst out laughing whenever John Travolta was on screen for some reason) and the organisers go to so much effort to set a good-naturedly creepy atmosphere. Oh, and food is usually very important here too – lots of inventiveness (see below for some of this year’s culinary concoctions).

I’ve been looking through the schedule and there is so much choice but for me, the standout events include (but certainly are not limited to):

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (with wine tasting), Tuesday 23rd July, 8pm, Electric Cinema, £26 (sofa) or £20 (standard).

I just love me some tongue.

I just love me some tongue.

OK, so this isn’t an event to go to if you are a) a recovering alcoholic, b) a militant teetotaler or c) somebody who hates it when films get paused because there will be five different (blood red) wines doled out during pauses in the movie.

But if you love a tipple and you find Keanu Reeves’ attempts at an English accent really amusing (seriously, he has an English mum, he should have this down) and find Gary Oldman weirdly sexy then this showing of Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 effort is for you. Enjoy.

The American Scream, Sat 21st July, 2pm, Custard Factory Theatre, Digbeth, £6, £4.50 concessions.

They're coming to get you Barbara

They’re coming to get you Barbara

 ‘A heart-warming documentary at a horror festival? What are they thinking?’ I hear you cry.

But this look at a Massachusetts community’s efforts to have the best haunted house at Halloween really appeals to me as a long-time Halloween fiend. I really love the way that Americans just get the kooky, spooky aspect of autumn, how important it is to childhood and just how fun it is to be scared.

I really want to spend Halloween there one day (and that might be happening sooner rather than later…) although I did once go to Hell in Michigan which celebrates it all the year round (read if you like small town Americana and accidental road trips).

Film Food Club – The Silence of the Lambs, Thursday 25th July, 19.45 (Meal at Stageside Resaurant) and 9pm (film at The Electric Cinema)

He just licked one too many icy flag poles, honest.

He just licked one too many icy flag poles, honest.

Don’t tell me you’ve never wanted to try this, of course you have. Well now is your chance to eat some liver (can’t ensure this will belong to a friend or neighbour though) with some fava beans and a niiiiice chianti sfa-sfa-sfa-sfa. Then you can throw it all up whilst watching Anthony Hopkins shrink Jodie Foster’s head while some guy collects women’s skin so he can make a lady suit.

If you take someone on a first date to this one and they don’t run off screaming, they’re a keeper!

Would You Rather, Saturday 20th July, 8.30pm, The Electric Cinema, £7.40 and £5 (concessions)

You want me to strap Tena to my head? OK

You want me to strap Tena to my head? OK

There’s usually a hot new horror flick premiering at the festival and this year’s choice plays on that gross-out childhood game that usually involved licking someone’s eyeball. I’m not promising that’s going to happen here (I wish) but with a sadist hosting a dinner party for people all desperate for money, some horrid, exploitative stuff is bound to go down.

This is probably going to be a hard one to stomach (think Hostel or the Saw series) but for all you sick puppies out there, I hope it’s what you were looking for. Personally, I might sit this one out and see Black Sabbath instead.

Scary on Brum!

Drat! Foiled by fate and Nazis…

Sorry for the break in posts. My husband finally finished his Masters thesis so we took a ‘staycation’.

I had hoped to be posting on the Juniper Cinema at Jekyll & Hyde this evening but due to our urgent need to find employment, the husband is in London on business and I am all alone… Annoying too as tonight they are showing Iron Sky, a film that keeps eluding me. It always sells out when shown at The Electric – I guess it’s the classic combination of Nazis in space (genius). I think even if it is a stinker, it’s hard not to pull for a film that was financed mainly by public donations from people who fancied seeing a film about Nazis in space. I love a good underdog story.

Hogarth’s Gin Lane: Jekyll and Hyde is on Steelhouse Lane – do not confuse.

The other news is that our lease is up at the end of next month. This may mean moving to another flat in the city, or more likely, moving to a new city (sniff). This really chaps my arse (teehee) as it means I may not be able to carry on Brummed Out (full on sob). I am so disappointed as I have so much stuff planned for this blog and I have come to love Brum. The Brummies. And our flat.

But I promise to keep on blogging right up until the moment we get out of Spaghetti Juction. Maybe even beyond that. And who knows – we might even return…

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