Reviews

ZOMBIE TO RETURN TO HORROR

Rob Zombie is perhaps the only performer to successfully master both shock rock and the kindred parallel universe of horror cinema. But while he’s enjoyed fair commercial success in Hollywood, Zombie took a lot of fan flack while in the director’s chair – both for being too gratuitously brutal in films like The Devil’s Rejects, and for being too corporate by agreeing to helm two Halloween remakes. In the wake of the very mixed response to his most recent horror movie – last year’s bold and bizarre Lords of Salem – Rob very publicly announced he was done with directing horror for the foreseeable future. Until now… Continue reading

Have a Dead Sexy 2013!

If you didn’t get one for Christmas, chances are you might well be on the look out for a new calendar. If you’re looking for something saucy, yet a little different, then how about the latest tastefully erotic calendar from the Polish company Lindner? Of course, there’s nothing new about improbable businesses promoting themselves with sexy calendars, with Italian tyre company Pirelli setting the fashion with their iconic version way back in 1964. What makes Lindner’s unusual, is that they’re a coffin manufacturer.Cofanifunebri Continue reading

Things To Do in London When You’re Dead

Death IMorbid culture vultures visiting the capital over the next few weeks will be spoilt for choice, with not one but two exhibitions dedicated to the only certain thing that awaits us all. The Wellcome Collection on Euston Road offers Death: A Self Portrait which is open until February 24th, while the Museum of London (near St Paul’s Cathedral) is hosting a special exhibition dedicated to Doctors, Dissection and Resurrection Men which runs until April 14th. Continue reading

Derren Brown: Fear, Faith & Alchemy

dbPerhaps all good magicians should be controversial. The English illusionist and sceptic Derren Brown, certainly is, specialising in boggling minds with clever psychological tricks that have a habit of telling us more about how our brains are wired than is strictly comfortable. His recent two part TV special, ‘Fear and Faith’, is a good example. In the first part, Derren claimed to have developed a miracle pill that could control fear, giving it to a selection of subjects, who all agreed that it worked. It was, of course a placebo – a sugar pill with no medical effects – and any results his subjects experienced was all purely in their minds. Continue reading

‘Dark Shadows’ A Gothic Comedy Modernly Revived..

It was very sad when the Canadian actor Jonathan Frid died in April of this year, particularly as it prevented him from seeing his most famous character brought back from the grave in a lavish Hollywood production. For Frid was immortalised for a whole generation of American kids as the vampire Barnabas Collins, undead antihero of the cult Sixties TV series Dark Shadows. Among those fervent young fans were Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, and the recent Dark Shadows film was born of the duo’s youthful passion for the show, a Gothic soap opera relating the story of the ill-fated Collins family. Indeed, you might even blame the darkness that spices Burton’s film direction and Depp’s acting on countless happy afternoons the pair had both spent as kids, watching Barnabas baring his fangs on the small screen.

Critics were divided on the recent big screen Dark Shadows. While some praised the atmospheric sets and strong performances, others condemned the uneven tone in a film located deep within Depp and Burton’s Gothic comfort zone. Particularly critical were dedicated fans of the original show, who felt the heavy doses of 70s retro nostalgia and zany comedy were an insult to its inspiration, where the plots were always played out in deadly earnest, however outlandish they might be. Such adverse reactions were largely confined to American viewers. For, unlike Star Trek – a cult show that debuted in the same era – Dark Shadows wasn’t syndicated much beyond American shores. So, while ‘Trekkies’ are an international phenomenon, dedicated Dark Shadows fandom has remained largely confined to the US.

However, the recent release of a Dark Shadows DVD compilation in the UK has finally allowed curious Brit fang fans an opportunity to sample the soap for themselves. Subtitled ‘The Barnabas Collins Episodes’, the 3-DVD set offers the curious a taster via the first twenty episodes that features Frid’s popular vampire character, plus a host of background extras to help bring newbies up-to-speed on the world of the Collins family. At some ten hours, it seems odd to describe such a meaty package as a mere ‘taster’, but the original series ran to well over 1200 episodes. Indeed, Stateside, excitement has reached fever pitch among devotees with the recent release of the entire run in a coffin-shaped box. Running to 131 DVDs, plus plentiful extras, and retailing at around 500 bucks, this is clearly a serious release for serious fans. What will us foreign newcomers make of the less daunting prospect of the 3-DVD UK set?

Dark Shadows was an afternoon soap, and suffers from all of the limitations that implies – low budgets and little opportunity for such luxuries as second takes or proper rehearsal – leading to occasional fluffed lines, wobbling sets and such. You can also expect the same structure as a standard soap – complete with camp melodramatics, regular cliffhangers, and slowly revealed secrets, drawn out over several episodes. Of course, what makes Dark Shadows different is the Gothic atmosphere and supernatural elements. It’s a wildcard that adds a welcome tone of batty unpredictability to proceedings, as writers added not only the paranormal and monsters, but random time-travel and crazy dream sequences when they felt matters needed livening up. It is oddly addictive, even if it isn’t as polished or adult as modern Gothic serials like True Blood. But it’s probably fair to say that, without Dark Shadows and its reluctant vampire Barnabas Collins, maybe we wouldn’t have had such big-budget, prime-time supernatural soaps.

It might also be true that it was Dark Shadows and Barnabas Collins that ignited a passion for acting and melodrama in the young Johnny Depp, who has described the vampire as ‘a huge obsession’: ‘I wanted to be Barnabas Collins so much that I found a ring, it was probably one of my mother’s rings, and I wore it on this finger, and I tried to comb my hair like Barnabas Collins, and I was trying to figure out how I could get fangs. It really had a heavy impact on me, a heavy influence on me.’ Anyone wishing to take sartorial tips from Barnabas today will find less need for improvisation, not least courtesy of Alchemy. While we don’t do a wolf’s-head cane, anybody looking for a walking stick similar to Barnabas’s has plenty to choose from. Might we suggest the Beasts Claw walking cane (WS3) – Barnabas would adore the occult motif and find plenty of uses, within the grasp of the crystal ball.

Potential nightstalkers are even more spoiled for choice in the ring department. We think Barnabas might look most distinguished in the Mori Noir (R179 – a perfect blend of ostentation and funereal dignity…

Order Yours now by searching our approved Alchemy Dealers here:
http://www.alchemyengland.com/buy

Fifty Shades of Grey: Excites the Nation!

West London based author, E L James, a working mother of two has been breaking records with her first novel ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, followed by ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ and ‘Fifty Shades Freed’.

It has surpassed J K Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’ as the fastest selling paperback of all time in the UK, topping the best sellers lists in the US and around the world, with book rights sold in 37 countries!

The ‘Fifty Shades’ trilogy is based upon the unlikely and unconventional relationship between Anastasia Steele, an innocent, uncorrupted college graduate suffering with low self-esteem and Christian Grey, a young over controlling, enigmatic, billionaire entrepreneur who is tormented by the demons of his past.

Without giving too much away to those who haven’t read the trilogy (is there anyone left in the world?), Ana is enticed by Grey’s alternative lifestyle where there are a lot of erotic, sexually explicit scenes featuring elements of BDSM which will leave you obsessed and unable to put the books down. I’m sure most women who are currently reading or have finished the trilogy find themselves wanting to be Grey’s submissive and secretly wanting their partner, husband or whoever to use that trademark silver tie on them and be taken to the ‘red room of pain’!

With rumours of a film and merchandising rights already sold in the UK, we are sure that jewellery, underwear/nightwear and perfume etc. will be everywhere very soon! Until then why not live out your own fifty shades fantasy with our range of Alchemy ties for the men (AHTMT1,2 &3) and wear your own masks of mystery with our very own Venetian Mask pendant (P591) and Ring (R168).

You can order online by visiting our approved list of dealers at http://www.alchemyengland.com/buy

The Amazing Spider-Man

Last night, London was treated to the gala premiere of The Amazing Spider-Man – the latest movie about the Marvel Comics superhero. A few hours ago the first reviews started appearing online and so far, there’s been a great response from the critics – The Telegraph are even calling it: “Twilight in spandex”.

Described as a “reboot” of Sam Raimi’s trilogy and filmed in 3D to enhance all those edge of your seat’ vertigo-inducing shots, The Amazing Spider-Man focuses on lead character Peter Parker’s coming of age. The Social Network’s Andrew Garfield plays the webbed character that’s been modernised from comic book geek to a modern teenager and direction comes from music video auteur Marc Webb.

For those who weren’t lucky enough to get to the premiere (including us!) there’s just a few more weeks to wait until the movie is officially released in the UK on 3 July. In the meantime, you can develop your very own spidey style with Alchemy’s arachnophiliac range of jewellery.

From our subtle Black Widow studs [E.169] to the more elaborate Art Deco-inspired Incy Wincy Forme necklace [P626] that’s studded with two dozen Swarovski crystals, there’s something for all fans of the eight-legged creatures!