They Live

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“Obey”

They Live is a 1988 American science fiction film written and directed by John Carpenter (Halloween; The Fog; The Thing). The film stars Roddy Piper, Keith David, and Meg Foster. It follows a nameless drifter referred to as “Nada”, who discovers the ruling class are in fact aliens concealing their appearance and manipulating people to spend money, breed and accept the status quo with subliminal messages in mass media. Many consider it the defining film commentating on Reagan-era consumerism and corporate greed.

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Unemployed drifter, Nada (wrestling star, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Hell Comes to Frogtown) lives in 1980’s America, a place where free-thinking is discouraged and those outside the system are forced to make ends meet however they can. After taking a job as a casual labourer on a building site, he befriends the similarly disaffected Frank Armitage (Keith David; The Thing; Pitch Black

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Distant Voices, Part One – The Ouija Board

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There are essentially three things required to contact the dead; a dead person; a living person to whom they are acquainted (or would like to be); a very open mind. Of course, over the years tools have been introduced to facilitate this, allowing both highly-tuned mediums and amateur inquisitors to speak to those in the realm beyond. Perhaps the most famous of these, despite being one of the most basic, is the Ouija board.

ouija2 The ouija (/ˈwiːdʒə/ WEE-jə), also known as a spirit board or talking board, is a flat board marked with the letters of the alphabet, the numbers 0–9, the words “yes”, “no”, “hello” (occasionally), and “goodbye”, along with various symbols and graphics. It uses a planchette (a small heart-shaped piece of wood or plastic) as a movable indicator to facilitate the communication of the spirit’s message by spelling it out on the board during a séance. Participants…

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Slaughter High

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‘Where the student body is going to pieces.’

Slaughter Highis a 1986 American/British independent slasher film written and directed by George Dugdale, Mark Ezra and Peter Litten. It closely follows the tropes of many other slasher films of the period and is mostly notable for the casting of Caroline Munro in the lead female role and the distinctive jester’s mask worn by the killer.

slaughterhigh2 In an American high school populated by the usual jocks, hot girls and outcasts, Marty Rantzen (Simon Scudamore, misspelled on the credits with an extra ‘d’ – sloppy!) is most firmly the latter, the atypical, bespectacled nerd, good at complicated sums, not so good on basic human interaction. Come April Fool’s Day, Marty can’t believe his luck as he is lured by school sex siren, Carol (Munro) into the girls’ locker room for a baptism of shower-based sex. Alas, this is not the case and…

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Robert le Diable – opera

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Robert le Diable (translation: “Robert the Devil”) is an 1831 opera in five acts composed by Giacomo Meyerbeer from a libretto written by Eugène Scribe and Germain Delavigne. Robert le Diable is regarded as one of the first grand operas at the Paris Opéra. It derives some of its development from the medieval legend of Robert the Devil, a tale which was written in 13th Century France.

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The opera introduces Robert, Duke of Normandy, the son of a union between Bertha and Bertram, a disciple of Satan, perhaps even a demon himself. In Normandy, alongside several other knights, he attempts to win favour with the beautiful Princess Isabelle. A minstrel, Raimbaut, inadvertently singing a song that referred to Robert as a devil is imprisoned by the enraged Robert but is granted forgiveness when Robert realises his fiancée is his foster-sister, Alice. Under the influence of a disguised Bertram, whom…

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Dan O’Bannon – screenwriter, director, actor

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Daniel Thomas “Dan” O’Bannon (September 30, 1946 – December 17, 2009) was an American motion-picture screenwriter, director and occasional actor, usually in the science fiction and horror genres. Although his name is still unknown by many, his influence on genre films cannot be overestimated.

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O’Bannon was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Bertha (née Lowenthal) and Thomas Sidney O’Bannon, a carpenter. He attended the art school of Washington University in St. Louis, where he performed stand-up comedy routines, did make-up for campus theatre productions and provided illustrations for Student Life, the student newspaper. While there he roomed with Michael Shamberg, later the producer of Django Unchained, Skeleton Key, Pulp Fiction and many other movies, and Donald Friedman, the author, most notably of The Writer’s Brush: Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture by Writers. O’Bannon moved home briefly after his stint at Washington University and attended Florissant Valley…

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The Nightmare – painting by Henry Fuseli

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The Nightmare is a 1781 oil painting by Anglo-Swiss artist Henry Fuseli (1741–1825). Since its creation, it has remained Fuseli’s best-known work. With its first exhibition in 1782 at the Royal Academy of London, the image became famous; an engraved version was widely distributed and the painting was parodied in political satire. Due to its fame, Fuseli painted at least three other versions of the painting.

The painting depicts a sleeping woman draped over the end of a bed with her head hanging down, exposing her long neck. She is surmounted by an incubus that peers out at the viewer. The sleeper seems lifeless, and, lying on her back, she takes a position believed to encourage nightmares. Also in attendance is a horse…or at least a horse’s head, which is looming through partially parted curtains.The colour palette, applied with oil paint, consists mostly of dark colours—black, deep greys, shades of…

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Nachzehrer – folklore

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A nachzehrer is a form of vampire found in Germanic regions including Silesia and Bavaria, which also exhibits behaviour displayed by ghouls. The name translates as “after (nach) living off (zehre)” likely alluding to their living after death or living off humans after death in addition to the choice of “nach” for “after” which is similar to “nacht” (“night”). The nachzehrer was also prominent in the folklore of the northern regions of Germany and the word was also used to describe a similar creature of the Kashubes of Northern Poland; Kashubes are also referred to as Pomeranians and are descended from Slavic tribes found in Poland before what being inhabited by people referred by typically as Poles. Though officially a vampire, they are also similar to ghouls, and in many ways different from either undead; it quite clearly differs hugely from the slightly more noble…

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