The Five Films that made me
So what you should know about me beforehand is that I am a huge film geek.
I probably watch more than I read – much to my eternal shame. I love horror, I love sci-fi, I love anything a little bit different and interesting. In fact I’m such a geek / nerd that I have two film related tattoos from the below selection on my right arm – but I’ll leave you to guess what they may be?
How many time have I seen Jurassic Park? Approximately 1,100,019! Its on terrestrial TV seemingly every weekend, and every time I stumble upon it I find myself quoting along, transfixed, and generally annoying my girlfriend by repeatedly imploring her to ‘look at the T-Rex!’.
I have strong memories of sitting with my family as a youngster, perhaps 11 or 12 years old, and being utterly terrified and excited by the magical monsters onscreen. It triggered a love of dinosaurs that I still hold dear today, but one that has now mutated into a more realistic love of Herpetology. Throughout my young adult life I have kept and reared numerous reptiles and snakes, and currently have a bearded dragon called Thor (see I told you I was a geek!) sitting next to me as I write.
For me Jurassic Park is by far the greatest monster movie of all time and a film I’ll never tire of watching.
A few years before I started collecting anything with a dinosaur on it, I would sit around playing with my Ghostbusters action figures whilst wearing my homemade power pack and proton gun.
Who can resist the hilarious Bill Murrey, the icky Slimer, the frightening marshmallow man, and possibly the most memorable theme tune of all time? Along with Gremlins (No.6 on this list), Ghostbusters is a nostalgic 80’s gem that I will regularly revisit with just as much joy and pleasure as I discovered all those years ago. Just this year I was on holiday in New York city, and found a commemorative Lego Ghostbusters set that I found too irresistible to pass up. Now I have a Lego Venkman on my bookshelf!
As I said, I’m a huge horror fan and I think I can trace that love back to the monsters and ghouls that creeped me out as a youngster in this, and the equally enjoyable sequel.
Did I mention I like horror films? Truth be told I could have put five horror films on this list quite easily, but declined for the sake of variety. My horror five would read something close too The Shining; Saw; Halloween; Alien and The Blair Witch Project, for the record – depending on mood.
But I include The Shining because that’s where my love of horror began. As a terrified teenager I found Jack Torrance’s adventures in the Overlook Hotel so captivating and horrific it would give me sleepless nights. From the creepy isolating, the empty corridors, the twins and the elevators of blood, too the woman in room 237, the iconic ‘all rest and no play…’ and ‘Here’s Johnny’ scenes, and the chilling finale in the snowy maze – The Shining is a timeless horror masterpiece.
Fans of good documentaries, conspiracy theory, or The Shining itself, should seek out the excellent companion piece Room 237. A crazy documentary looking into the numerous hidden meanings and theories people have attached to the Kubrick epic. Did you know the film is actually about genocide and also contains secret hints from Kubrick telling us that he did actually directed the moon landing footage?!
It’s the teenager in me that still loves The Matrix. That same teenager who still loves those ridiculous Fast and Furious moves, and the same teenager I have to fight off every time a new games console is released. See I love sci-fi films also, and the smart choice would have been to put Blade Runner, District 9, or either of the first two Terminators on this list. However I chose The Matrix because there was just something so refreshing, revolutionary and exciting about the film when it was first released. Unlike those other choices above, I was at just the right age and moment in life to really connect with the film upon it its initial cinema release. I remember leaving the screening thinking I had just seen the future and that I wanted one of those futuristic Nokia’s at the start of the film. Like the others above on this list, The Matrix is a film that will stop me dead in my tracks if I stumble across it on TV, a film that will have me quoting along and whopping every time the bullet time technique is employed.
Subsequently the dreadful sequels have tarnished its reputation somewhat, but The Matrix is still a personal favorite of mine.
Wow, Pans Labyrinth! A film so beautiful, so stunning, so magical and so terrifying, that it leaves an indelible mark upon the viewers subconscious. It’s a film I’ve only seen a handful of times but one that has never left me – such stunning imagery, terrifying monsters, and a beautifully twisted adult fairy tale. I love pretty much everything Guillermo del Toro has done, but there is something so majestically and imaginative about Pans Labyrinth, that it continually inspires me to be more creative and adventurous with my writing. Plus the monsters with eyes in his hands is perhaps the greatest monster creation since Alien.