Guest Post: Five Movies To Watch This Halloween

Movies To Watch This HalloweenThe spookiest time of the year is ALMOST here, and to celebrate, I wanted to dedicate a post to one of my favourite Halloween traditions: watching scary movies! It only felt right to invite the person that shares my enthusiasm for spine-tingling tales to get involved, so today I’m handing things over to Gary for a special guest post as he shares fives movies to watch this Halloween…

Halloween is a big deal round our way. Every year, we set aside a day and night to watch as many horror movies as possible with our pals. This ranges from classics to new-school movies via hits and some MAJOR misses that we will never speak of again.

After much deliberation, we pick some films, load up on snacks and binge on both until everyone collapses. And it’s great.

To help speed up that selection process, Lynsay asked me to put together five recommendations for Halloween this year. Now, these aren’t the absolute best horror movies out there – there is no place for Halloween or The Shining on my list because it’s a given that you’ll squeeze them in at some point before the pumpkins go bad – these are some lesser known additions to your horror playlist for 2016.

I’m gonna make it easy by focusing on movies available on streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. If you are anything like me, you have a million horror DVDs and Blu-Rays but they are packed away and the horror of delving into that Monica Geller cupboard is worse than any gore-filled slasher movie.

So, in no particular order, here are my five picks for Halloween 2016…

1. The Skull

I want to kick things off with a classic and The Skull takes us right back to the Hammer Horror-era of genre legends Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.

The story centres around the skull of the Marquis De Sade which afflicts everyone who owns it with a mysterious and deadly curse. It’s stolen from Christoper Lee but he’s none too bothered because well… it’s not exactly a great addition to the mantle piece given the whole death thing…

Lee does his best to warn his pal to keep well away. But, does he heed the advice? Of course not.

2. Hush

Hush centres around a pretty straightforward home-invasion plot as author Maddie is tormented in her rural home by a masked stalker.

Seeking quiet seclusion to work on her latest novel, Maddie is first annoyed by the over-bearing good-nature of her neighbour before being pestered through iMessage and later up-close-and-personal by a mystery assailant.

Maddie suffers from an hearing impairment and the movie uses this to build a real sense of fear – the lack of dialogue meaning that there isn’t much to break the tension.

As is always the case, you’ll be really impressed by some of Maddie’s decisions and horrendously frustrated at others. Given how many times you’ve seen it go wrong, would you go back in the house??

3. Starry Eyes

Starry Eyes follows aspiring actress Sarah as she spends her days longing for success while waiting tables in a Hooters-esque burger joint.

Bubbling under the surface of Sarah’s character is a MANIC frustration that manifests in outbursts of wild self-destruction.

With strong character development and a nice occult twist, Starry Eyes is not an original tale but there is enough slow-burn tension for retro-horror aficionados and plenty blood and guts for the new-school too.

Five Movies To Watch This Halloween

4. Deathgasm

From the moment the opening credits hit on Deathgasm, it’s pretty clear my 14 year old brain has been raided of its contents and had them splattered across the screen. Skulls, crows, guitars and graffiti’d school jotters – a particular favourite among high-school goths – all explode amongst satanic symbols and a particularly heavy soundtrack.

The film quickly (mosh)pits the new metal kid in town with the dungeons and dragons geek in a war against the cool kids. Sound familiar? Not for long…

Metal fans will find laughs at the in-jokes of horrendous black metal videos while those whose brains have not been mashed by years of headbanging will find plenty satisfaction in the gore-feast of the particularly explicit fight scenes.

AND, in true metal fashion, it is rumoured that the film syncs perfectly with Iron Maiden’s Live After Death.

5. It Follows

Confused teenagers stalked by a mysterious presence, It Follows – on the face of things – doesn’t carry a particularly inventive premise but this is no simple stalk n’ slash.

The film begins with a chase of sorts… The only problem? We don’t know who is doing the chasing! The pulsating soundtrack tells us that things are going to be tough for the pursued and inevitably, before the opening credits begin, ‘It’ delivers victim number one.

Yeah, It Follows is full of allegory about promiscuous teenage behaviour but don’t get hung-up on the metaphor – at its core, It Follows is just a really ominous and creepy horror film.

And, like any effective horror, ‘It’ lingers for days after the credits roll.

With these five movies, we’ve moved from 1965 right through to 2016 and hopefully given a few new titles to haunt their way onto your screen.

Let us know what else is on your must-watch list this year. And, can think of a movie scarier than the thought of clearing out THAT cupboard?

We hope that this gets your Halloween movie night off to an awesome start! And thanks Gary for giving us the lowdown on these picks. Time to plan the rest of this year’s festivities, am I right?

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Get Ready to (Swoop, Glide and) Rumble with Cineworld 4DX

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Like many people, I am a huge film fan – and even though I spent a few years watching feature after feature daily as part of my University degree, I never tire of being swept away for a couple of hours at the cinema. To me, going to see a movie is more than just something to do on a Saturday afternoon to pass the time, it’s a deep-rooted passion that brings me a lot of joy.

So when I was recently invited along to the Scottish premiere of Cineworld 4DX in Glasgow, I couldn’t wait to sit among the first audience to try out the 4DX experience. With IMAX, Cineworld’s Superscreen (which is now open in the city centre as well as Silverburn) and 3D already available, I was keen to try out Cineworld 4DX and see if it was worth the hype.

But what IS 4DX, exactly? Well, as well as all of the visual effects of a 3D film, watching something in 4DX stimulates your other senses too. This is done through a clever combination of high-tech motion seats, wind, fog, water, lighting, bubbles (yep!) and even scents! All of these work together to totally immerse the audience in the movie as it unfolds.

On the day of the premiere, we started the night at Citizen M hotel, where Gary and I caught up with Mike Wiles and Justin Skinner from Cineworld, who were excited to bring the 4DX experience to Scotland in the newly-refurbished Cineworld Renfrew Street. We chatted dream film line-ups, dissertation topics and of course, 4DX, which is currently considered the most innovative piece of cinema technology going (fun fact: did you know that 4DX actually originates from South Korea?).

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We then moved away from the party and over to Cineworld Renfrew Street which since its makeover now has its lobby, screens and other public areas refurbished, as well as a stylish bar, a 669-seater Superscreen (!) and a Starbucks.

I couldn’t wait to find out which movie we’d be seeing in 4DX! We knew that it was likely to be a blockbuster, to really get the full impact of the special effects, but we didn’t find out which until the night (despite my best attempts to find out beforehand!).

The first thing I noticed in the screen were the seats, which were ENORMOUS and I had to practically clamber up into mine. I discovered soon after that it was just as well that the seats were so big (and comfy!) as they actually do most of the work when the film starts rolling (or whatever the digital equivalent is!).

For the premiere, we were lucky enough to see Suicide Squad before its actual release date, and it honestly seemed like it was just the type of movie that was made for 4DX (or is it the other way around?).

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We swooped, ducked, rumbled (watch out for helicopters!) and glided our way through the film, and there were so many amazing uses of 4D effects that it’s difficult to pick a favourite. I think for me the most memorable part of the event was seeing everyone react to when the seats first raised up and started tilting from side to side in synchronisation with the camera. Surprise, laughter and a lot of smiles, and if you ask me, that’s what a good night at the cinema is all about – don’t you think?

I’m not going to give you guys a review of Suicide Squad itself, but Gary has a write up over on his blog if you’re curious! What I will say is that seeing it in Cineworld 4DX was a really exciting and unique experience and I really want to go and see something else soon. It takes viewing to a whole new level, and we agreed afterwards that it was a lot of fun.

You can find out more, and book your Cineworld 4DX tickets here!

See you at the snack bar…

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Square Eyes Film Club at Blythswood Square Hotel

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Glasgow is a city that has had a long-running love affair with cinema. And with oodles of film-making talent, pop-up events, special screenings and even its own film festival (the latest of which launched today, by the way!), it’s easy to see why.

There are also several ways to catch your favourite movies in Glasgow – from the thrill of the blockbusters at the multiplex, to seeing cult classics in a more unique setting (the eagle-eyed among you might even remember the pop-up movies from Backseat Bingo that I enjoyed at The Old Hairdressers not too long ago). As a huge film fan, I’m always on the lookout for new ways to experience a trip to the movies!

So, you can imagine how excited I was to hear about Square Eyes Film Club – a new regular cinema event at Blythswood Square Hotel.

Square Eyes Film Club brings classic films to the luxurious setting of the five-star Blythswood Square Hotel in the city centre, and makes full use of the hotel’s exclusive (and often overlooked) bespoke screening room. With screenings planned right up to summertime, you can expect girl gang picks like Pretty Woman and Dirty Dancing.

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Last week, I went along to the launch night to see what Square Eyes (ahh, I love a good play on words!) has planned for its guests, with a special screening of Kristen Wiig’s 2011 comedy, Bridesmaids. Who could say no to that?

Spending time in Blythswood Square Hotel is always a wonderful experience. The team is so welcoming and I instantly feel relaxed in its beautiful, yet comfortable, surroundings. I started my evening by meeting up with Lori and Michelle in the hotel lobby and we were whisked upstairs to The Salon for nibbles, drinks and a pre-fllm catch up.

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After being treated to an amazing spread, we chatted about our favourite movies and which ones we thought would look great on Blythswood’s big screen. With its decadent design and grand staircases, the hotel instantly reminds me of Film Noir and classic Hollywood stories. Couldn’t you just see Rita Hayworth sashaying down the staircase? I think a black-and-white double bill with vintage-inspired cocktails would be perfect for Square Eyes!

We headed down to the screening room, which seats up to 40 guests in its oversized colourful chairs. The seats alone are a feast for the eyes, with each one covered in a unique and striking tweed. Choosing the right seat at the cinema is hard enough when they all look the same, but when they are this pretty, it’s even more of a challenge…

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Armed with popcorn and drinks, we settled down and watched the movie. I hadn’t seen Bridesmaids for a couple of years, and it really is an awesome film to watch with a group of girls. Dress fitting faux pas (just don’t blame the Brazilian food, okay?)! In-flight misbehaviour! Bear sandwiches (ooh-err!) and of course, the EPIC sing-along scene at the end. Square Eyes really did pick a gem to kick-start their programme of screenings.

In a typical Square Eyes package, you can expect a delicious afternoon tea, followed by tea, coffee or Prosecco in the Monte Carlo Suite before heading into the screening room for the movie (with popcorn of course!). At £38 per person, it’s a little more expensive than a trip to the mainstream cinema, but the thing to keep in mind is that Square Eyes aren’t competing with the big guns here. What they are offering is a day out filled with delicious treats, comfortable and stylish surroundings, attention to detail and classic films. To me, that’s a totally different experience, don’t you think?

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Square Eyes Film Club is ideal for a special occasion, or if you were looking to treat yourself (or someone else!) to something a little different. As part of their line-up for March, Square Eyes will be putting on two special screenings for Mother’s Day – Bridget Jones’ Diary and First Wives Club. One that I’ll be keeping a note of in my diary is Breakfast At Tiffany’s – being shown on 27th March. You can catch the full list of upcoming films and details of how to book here!

I’ll still be using my Cineworld Unlimited card to keep up-to-date with the latest releases and 3D film experiences, but I’m equally glad that Square Eyes are here, bringing their own brand of cinematic chic to the table.

Will you be getting all square-eyed at Blythswood Square Hotel? And what is your all-time favourite choice for the big screen?

Love, popcorn and Hollywood glamour,

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With thanks to Square Eyes Film Club at Blythswood Square Hotel