‘Tis the Season(s)

Well, summer is over. The barbecue’s are packed away, the leaves are turning crimson, there’s dew on the grass, a nip in the early-morning air and soon the hot dog legs of Instagram will be replaced with fluffy white hats and Yankee candles. Autumn is here and Winter is coming.

I’m perceived as mad by my family and fiancée because I favour these two seasons more than Spring and Summer. I still adopt the British mentality towards summer and though I’m just as much of a sun-whore as everyone else (it only needs to get past 15C for me to fire up the BBQ) there’s something about Autumn and Winter that truly makes me happy, which is odd considering I was born in June. I love food – a fact that is immediately visible when you see me – so it’s not predominately the change in cuisine that is so attractive, although I like to use the excuse that I’m padding out a bit more to keep warm. Whatever it is, I know that when I see the leaves starting to change it signals to me the best time of year with two of my favourite seasons – Halloween and Christmas.

I know we don’t ‘celebrate’ Halloween the way that American’s do, although the traditional celebration of All Hallow’s Eve has unquestionably and irrevocably been commercialised in this country as well. What I love about Halloween is the outright appreciation for horror films – TV channels show classics, studios release new ones in to the cinemas and every home media outlet stocks up on a mix of old and new. Horror is my favourite genre and I don’t need an excuse to watch it, but I certainly use the season to have marathon sessions.

Horror Ensemble

The sec0nd best thing about this time of year is Christmas. Anyone that knows me knows that I am mental for it. I can never really understand why some people hate Christmas so much. Though the incessant advertising and expectations on people can seem a little too much, you’ve gotta admit that it’s the one time of year that forces everyone to get together and spend time together, be nostalgic about years gone by, eat, drink, share and be merry. Cinnamon and spiced apple, cloves, snow, hot chocolate, Christmas jumpers, cold nights, snow globes, pigs in blankets, sprouts, scented candles, advent calendars, Christmas songs, trees, snow, lights, cookies, pudding, carols and cards – what’s not to love?

Christmas Lights

So in honour of my favourite seasons being in close succession and my love for all things film, I’m going to be writing a series of blogs in October and December that break down in detail what films and events I love in each season. Naturally I’m going to conform to stereotype – 13 blog posts for Halloween and 12 for Christmas.

Halloween – Starting 19th October 2014, there will be one blog post per day focussing on a specific topic or film, culminating on 31st October 2014.

#1 – A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE HORROR GENRE – From Nosferatu to Night of the Living Dead, from Frankenstein to found-footage horror – a journey through the horror genre from the early days of cinema to the digital age. Looking at trends, sub-genres, timeless classics and misfires, we’ll paint the ultimate picture of the crimson-soaked horror genre.

#2 – THE FOUND-FOOTAGE SUB-GENRE: FROM BLAIR WITCH TO PARANORMAL ACTIVITY – Exploring the films that have utilised the found-footage format and looking at why it works for horror films.

#3 – HORROR MASTERPIECE: HALLOWEEN – An in-depth look at Halloween and what makes it a horror masterpiece.

#4 – HORROR MASTERPIECE: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET – An in-depth look at A Nightmare On Elm Street and what makes it a horror masterpiece.

#5 – HORROR MASTERPIECE: THE EXORCIST – An in-depth look at The Exorcist and what makes it a horror masterpiece.

#6 – HORROR FRANCHISES – Studying the art of the horror franchise – why studios make them and why they always seem to fall foul of critical acclaim.

#7 – THE SAW FRANCHISE – Since the original and innovative Saw in 2004, the sequels kept coming and the body count kept rising. We’ll look at each instalment individually, mapping the jigsaw-style narrative and questioning whether this franchise is really dead.

#8 – TORTURE PORN: THE CONTROVERSIAL SUB-GENRE OF THE EARLY NOUGHTIES – Exploring the media-dubbed ‘torture porn’ genre and whether it truly deserves this title or a more worthy accolade. The sub-genre was certainly pertinent to it’s era and we’ll look at what films literally carved the way for it.

#9 – WORLD CINEMA HORROR – The wave of terror that swept across Britain, France, Spain and Japan left an indefinite mark on the horror genre, going as far as to inspire a wave of Hollywood remakes. We’ll look at what films gained international success and what different cultures impart on horror.

#10 – HORROR MASTERPIECE: MARTYRS – An in-depth look at Martyrs and what makes it a horror masterpiece.

#11 – HORROR ANTHOLOGY – What is the appeal of horror anthology, and why have recent films such as V/H/S and TV series Masters of Horror managed to produce ingenious and original content?

#12 – HORROR MASTERPIECE: SCREAM – An in-depth look at Scream and what makes it a horror masterpiece.

#13 – FROM NIGHT TO THE WALKING DEAD: THE ZOMBIE GENRE – The zombie film has become a genre of it’s own since the early noughties resurgence and the audience’s taste for flesh. We look at just why this genre has stood the test of time and why it is still – now more than ever – a deep, primal fear in our psyche.

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And then it will soon be time for Christmas – Starting Saturday 13th December 2014, one blog post per day will cover topics ranging from detailed reviews of Christmas films to sub-genres and TV specials, culminating on Wednesday 24th December 2014 with the final post before the most exciting day of the year!

#1 – A BRIEF HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS FILMS – A run-down of the Christmas genre from the first widely recognised Christmas film to all the ones that have come since then. What is their appeal, what makes some of them great and what saw the bad ones fall foul of the mark.

#2 – A CHRISTMAS CAROL – Why this timeless classic is still so appealing, with a little look at each interpretation of Dickens’ classic.

#3 – CHRISTMAS CLASSICS: FRED CLAUS – A look at Fred Claus and what makes it a Christmas classic.

#4 – CHRISTMAS CLASSICS: NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION – A look at National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and what makes it a Christmas classic.

#5 – THE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL – UK TV has produced some brilliant TV specials – we’ll chronicle the best and worst of them, showing what traditions we can all associate with.

#6 – CHRISTMAS CLASSICS: ELF – A look at Elf and what makes it a Christmas classic.

#7 – CHRISTMAS CLASSICS: THE SANTA CLAUSE – A look at The Santa Clause and what makes it a Christmas classic.

#8 – ‘TIS THE SEASON – Some classic films are set at Christmas but aren’t about the season – we’ll study these films and see why the film-makers chose to set the films at Christmas.

#9 – CHRISTMAS CLASSICS: HOME ALONE/HOME ALONE 2: LOST IN NEW YORK – A look at both Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost In New York and what makes both of them classics.

#10 – KIDS CHRISTMAS – Looking at some of the animated and children’s films set at Christmas.

#11 – TOP TUNES – Reviewing and listing some of the best Christmas songs and why they – just like the films – stand the test of time but also why it’s so difficult to create one that has all the right ingredients.

#12 – CHRISTMAS CLASSICS: IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE – A look at It’s A Wonderful Life and what makes it a Christmas classic.

Snow Globe

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