So bad they’re good – B-movies galore

collage of postersRecently my boyfriend and I have been watching a lot of so-called B-movies. Something just got into the both of us after watching Army of Darkness a few weeks back, and since that we decided to just continue on that path for a little while. We’ve watched a lot of old sci-fi and/or horror movies that are often referred to as b-movies, a lot of them in the category “so bad it’s good” and some “so bad it’s just bad”. And some are just plain good films.

I thought I’d make a quick list of the films we have watched so far, but I’m sure it will expand in the future. We have a lot of titles remaining to be seen! I will only post my short opinion here, and mostly won’t include a summary or description, as some of these will have their own blog-post dedicated to a full review later. If you want to find out more about the plot or information about the film, click on the title and it will lead you to the film’s IMDB-page.

I would also love some tips on what to check out next based on the things we have seen, so if you have any ideas, please leave a comment 🙂

Army of Darkness (1992) – First thoughts: Oh my god, it’s Miss Honey! That is WEIRD! Otherwise, loved it as I loved the other Evil Dead-films. They increase in silliness with each film, but in a good way. THE series to watch if you want a comedy-horror film.

Young Frankenstein (1974) – This was a really fun film! Basically, it’s about a younger family member of the original Frankenstein, tired of always being compared to his infamous relative and determined not to follow in his footsteps, but end up doing EXACTLY so. Just in a more comical and absurd way. Gene Wilder is funny as always in the title role, but this films TRUE star is Marty Feldman as Igor.

Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964) – The title of this film is just.. Well.. What can you say? I was a bit let down by this, as it’s actually a bit more serious than the title leads you to believe. I was expecting something completely stupid, goofy and laughable, but unfortunately it was mostly stupid and boring. There’s a cute monkey though, so you have that.

The War of the Worlds (1953) – Actually a bit unsure if this is considered a b-movie or not. I thought it would be before watching it, but it was a lot more high-budget and high-tech than I expected. The set and effects are quite impressive, but unfortunately the film itself is quite dull. I think it would have been more interesting had they stayed closer to the original story. Quite a forgettable film.

Barbarella (1968) – The “classic” Barbarella. I’m actually not even sure what to think of this film. It’s just SO weird. Good weird or bad weird? I can’t decide! I certainly laughed at parts, but it also felt longer than the 98 minutes it took to watch it. It is “the ultimate b-movie” for a lot of people, and certainly the sexiest. I don’t think I’ll be tempted to re-watch it any time soon though.

Dracula (1958) – Christopher Lee! Peter Cushing! I loved this, and it also surprised me a lot. It actually changes quite a lot from the original Dracula-story, but it stays true to its spirit, and Cushing is BRILLIANT as Van Helsing! One of my favourites of the films we saw! Will have to check out some of the sequels (there are A LOT)!

The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953) – This was quite forgettable I’m afraid. It’s a standard monster-movie, but what’s cool about The Beast is that it’s basically almost like Godzilla, but this came first by a year! The plot revolves around a frozen dinosaur waking up to life, he’s pissed and wants to rampage a city. Sound cool, but turned out quite boring. The last five minutes are the highlight of the whole film.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) – I.LOVE.THIS! They are clowns. They come from outer space. And they just wanna kill people! With popcorn guns, cotton candy and pies! How can you not love it? This movie embraces the “so bad it’s good”-idea to the fullest, I even think the acting is bad on purpose. Or they went out of their way to find bad actors (sorry). Anyway, IT’S THE BEST, YOU HAVE TO SEE IT!

Forbidden Planet (1956) – This turned out to be something completely different from what I expected, but I quite liked it. The plot surprised me, mostly in a good way. It’s not a goofy movie as one might think from the poster, although it has its goofy moments, it’s actually takes almost a philosophical approach to its themes. A recommended watch!

The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959) – Decided to watch this as we liked Dracula so much, and here we have the brilliant trio of Fisher (director), Lee and Cushing again. This wasn’t quite as good as Dracula, but it was an okay watch, and my first old Sherlock-movie. Big surprise in the film: Lee plays a good guy! What is this!? Nice to see for a change though, and although the film itself wasn’t that interesting, the actors are great.

Leprechaun (1993) – Watched this in hope that it would be kind of like Killer Klowns; completely ridiculous and hilarious, but our hopes were not met. The concept of an evil murderous leprechaun seeking vengeance for his stolen gold sounds cool, but it turned out too stupid and without the fun-stupid parts. And this film has 6 sequels! I don’t think I’ll be watching any of them, although the title Leprechaun 4: In Space (Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood is another good one) sound awfully tempting.

As mentioned, I’d love to hear what your favourites in the genre are, I’m always looking for what to explore next 🙂

Hamlet at the Barbican – in Oslo!

Hamlet
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Lindsey Turner
Produced by Sonia Friedman Productions

Picture of Benedict Cumberbatch as HamletYesterday (Thursday October 15th) I had the great fortune of seeing Hamlet on the Barbican in London, from Oslo! The play with Benedict Cumberbatch was being broadcast live to hundreds of cinemas all over the world, and I was lucky enough to be seated in one of them. Watching from the atmospheric and old Gimle Cinema you almost felt like you were actually sitting in a theatre. Almost.

I love the idea of live theatre being broadcast world-wide and thus gaining a wider audience. Cinema can never fully capture the magical feel of theatre, but some plays certainly look good on the big screen, and Turner’s Hamlet is absolutely one of them. The staging almost makes you think it was designed to be filmed from the start. There are some absolutely beautiful scenes using different lightning techniques, slow motion and special effects. Since you’re watching the play through a camera lens you get a lot of close-ups of the action and the actors, which works well in this piece. At the same time it’s a shame that you don’t get to take in the whole stage when you want to, or decide what part you want to focus on.Anyway, that’s just nitpicking, and does of course not ruin the experience.

Benedict Cumberbatch does a great job portraying Hamlet, he is incredibly intense, vulnerable, funny and most of all real. He delivers some incredibly touching moments, I had to admit I shed a tear during both “To be, or not to be” and “What a piece of work is man“. The entire cast does an incredible job of course, but besides Cumberbatch I especially enjoyed Kobna Holdbrook-Smith as Laertes and and Karl Johnson as the Ghost of Hamlet’s father. When taking in a play, and especially something like Shakespeare with its beautiful language, the actor’s voice, rhytmn and intonation are so important to me, to make me connect with their character, and these three in particular especially delivered on that part.

If you have the opportunity to watch one of the reruns that are being sent many places worldwide, I highly recommend it. To find out where you can still watch the production that was filmed October 15th, click here to find a list of cinemas and dates.

American Gods – Neil Gaiman

Cover of American GodsRead from October 4th to October 15th.
American Gods on Goodreads.

I finished reading American Gods last night around 1:30 AM, the last few chapters made it absolutely impossible to go to sleep. And that’s everything I’m going to say about the ending.

I feel like I’m reading this book years after everyone else, and I don’t really know what took me so long. I’d heard a lot of good things, so I bought it a few months back and finally started reading it 11 days ago. For those of you who don’t know anything about the book, I’ll try to explain in a few words: American Gods is an urban fantasy novel, and the story takes place in the modern-day United States. Living among the American people are all the gods brought to the country (through the minds, worshipping and prayers of the people coming to America) over the years, now most of them forgotten. Our protagonist, Shadow, finds himself suddenly involved in this world with the old Gods from ancient worlds and the new, representing the media, drugs and so on. The old god who calls himself Wednesday recruits Shadow to his services for the oncoming storm, the war between the old gods and the new.

However, describing what the story is about says very little about what sort of book this actually is. American Gods is quite unlike any other fantasy novel I’ve read, although I have to admit I’ve never explored the urban fantasy genre much. It is of course much more different than Percy Jackson for example, although one can draw similarities between the modern setting and the use of ancient mythology. Do not compare the two in style however, the former is a much more raw and gritty experience, and of course, probably aimed at an older audience. The themes are quite adult and the language at times explicit, describing sexual and violent scenes. And describing them well I dare say.

At times American Gods feels like reading a “great American road trip” novel, you have “the boys” riding around, some great descriptions of the country, and the sort of raw and unrefined style of that “traditional macho”(in lack of a better word) genre. You sort of forget that you’re reading what is actually a fantasy novel, but then something extraordinary happens and you’re almost violently reminded.

The story itself I found extremely well designed, and the language suits the feel of everything very well, making the characters feel real. The only negative opinion I have regarding the book, is that it just felt a bit too long at times, especially about midway some aspects were just drawn out and could have been cut completely. I did read the author’s preferred text though, which I believe is quite a bit longer than the originally published novel. I can see how Gaiman wanted to include as much as he possibly could to fully flesh out his wonderfully thought of world, but some of it felt just a bit unnecessary. Overall though, American Gods is in my opinion a very good and entertaining read, which I fully recommend.

Belated August and September Reads

At the end of each month, I’m planning to post a list and a short review of each book I’ve read the last few weeks. As I’m starting this in mid-October I’d thought I’d start off with a belated “monthly reads post” for August and September, combining the two. There are a lot of books left out as a lot of my time was spent reading Norwegian children’s books (for school) or other Norwegian books that haven’t been translated to English yet. Some of these children’s books are however quite interesting for adults as well, so I’d actually like to dedicate a whole individual blog post to the reading of children’s literature.

So, lets go ahead and look at the rather short list of my August and September reads!

The Murders in the Rue Morgue – Edgar Allan Poe

Picture of the cover of It’s not hard to grasp why this is considered the first “modern detective novel”, it’s quite obvious how this story has inspired a whole bunch of later releases in the genre, especially a certain Conan Doyle. A tribute to the science of deduction and rational thinking, it’s quite interesting, but unfortunately it felt a bit too dated for me to thoroughly enjoy it. The characters are a bit too flat, the plot and solution a little bit too ridiculous, but it’s fun to see where it all began.

The Tell-Tale Heart – Edgar Allan Poe

Picture of the cover of The Tell-Tale HeartEdgar Allan Poe at his best, a much more intense and gripping tale. I’ve read the story before (and I guess most people have heard the tale at some point in their life), but it was truly a welcome reread. The Tell-Tale Heart is a must-read for everyone, even if you have already been introduced to it by another medium such as one of the many animations or cartoons. The intensity and poetry of the language is absolutely beautiful, and creates an interesting contrast to the morbidity of the story itself. It’s only a couple of minutes long read as well, so no excuses for not picking it up 😉

A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson

Cover of A Short History Of Nearly EverythingI received this as a birthday gift from my boyfriend, and it instantly became one of my favourite books of all time! The book is pretty much exactly what the title describes, teaching the reader about the history of science, starting from the very beginning of the universe. Each chapter is dedicated to a different aspect of science, for example geology, chemistry and so on. It is no dull science book whatsoever though, Bryson is extremely witty in his writing style and sprinkles lots of interesting and often hilarious trivia throughout, there are evidently a lot of absurd situations in the competitive field of science. At the same time you don’t feel that the subjects are too dumbed-down, Bryson perfectly explains a lot of “unexplainable” things, often using quite creative metaphors, and when you’ve finished reading you’ll have learnt quite a lot about, well, everything!

The Apology of Socrates – Plato

ApologySuch an interesting little read. Apology was something I snatched up quite without thinking about it at a book sale, mostly because it was small, cheap and I like Ancient Greece. I sat down and read through it the same day, and was pleasantly surprised by how non-dated it felt reading through it. Of course, the translation I was reading was, I’m guessing, quite different than ancient Greek, but even if the language had been entirely different, the subject that was actually talked about felt like reading something from a modern day trial. A recommended read for anyone interested in history, democracy, the old philosophers or who just want to try something a little different.

After You – Jojo Moyes

Cover of After YouOne of the most anticipated books of 2015 for many, myself included. I don’t often find myself reading a lot of what is often called “chick-lit”, it’s just usually not my preferred genre. However, Jojo Moyes is truly an exception to this, I really liked Me Before You and I LOVED The One Plus One. Naturally, After You had a lot to live up to, sequels to such a beloved book are always hard. Luckily, I think Moyes found the perfect way to continue the story of Lou Clark in a way that feels natural, and I ended up adoring After You as well. It’s not AS intensely stirring as Me Before You, but it contains the same beautiful and complex characterisation, Moyes is very good at making everyone in her stories feel very real and human. After You will probably make you laugh and cry, and I particularly liked how the ending was resolved, without spoiling anything it makes the story stand out a bit more than others in the same genre.

Heddy’s Library

Hello! And welcome to Heddy’s Library, a freshly made blog, created to give me a platform to share my love for literature, but also other addictions such as films, TV-shows and whatever cultural findings I should stumble upon.

I intend to use this blog as a place to write about what books (or other things) I am currently enjoying, reviews, lists, tips, and I’d also like to incorporate some of the literary theories from my studies, as some of it can be really fascinating. I am currently in my second year of Library- and Information Science, so I’m lucky enough to study something that encourages us to always read besides our curriculum, which makes me a tiny bit less guilty about the amount of non-school related stuff I’m always reading, when I should be preparing for my exams instead. Just a tiny bit.

I also hope that blogging about my reading experiences will help me expand my literary horizon, by “forcing” me to read more different genres and types of literature, as to not always write about the same sort of books over and over in an endless loop. Here’s to hoping!