If all you’ve got so far is that December is « Don’t get too drunk » and April is « Find the eggs/Hide the eggs (depending on your age) », be aware that other months have great challenges happening too. Most of them artistic, they will either leave you with a great sense of satisfaction, or a complete loss of faith in your willpower. If you were looking for something to get anxious about every day for thirty days, here’s a non-exhaustive list for you. Creative Challenges Inktober Started by Jake Parker, who had decided to improve his inking skills by producing one drawing per day for a month, it has since become huge. Every year, a new theme list is released to inspire drawers from all around the world. The best thing about it is that nothing is mandatory, neither using ink or following the themes. It’s all about getting creative, having fun and polluting people’s Facebook timelines. Health Challenges Movember Raising awareness through hipster looks? Why not. Movember encourages men to grow their beards, run and raise money for men’s health. Could you actually combine it with NaNoWriMo, happening the same month?! Maybe, if you’re lucky enough to be unemployed. Dry January A challenge from the UK, where the heavy consumption of alcohol is known to have poor consequences on its citizens’ health. Even though the benefits of a sober month are hard to measure in the long-run, it’s always good to cleanse for a few weeks. Random Challenges Fap Free February It is hard to retrace the origins of Fap Free February, a challenge that’s become both a joke and a thing on the Internet. For the pure and innocent ones, fap is Internet slang for masturbation. Encouraged by the members of No Fap, a forum for fap addicts trying to recover, the idea is to stay « clean » for a month, or more. Life can never be boring again, with all these new personal records to break. What’s nice about these challenges is that there will always be a community to understand and support you while you’re doing it. There are other monthly challenges out there, just try to find the right one for you! And please, please share the results on the social networks to make everyone else feel lazy and guilty. #acp_paging_menu, .acp_wrapper {display: none;}
We all love a blockbuster. We have all queued up for the cinema to see the latest big budget fantasy epic, or the newest addition to a super popular franchise. But what about those movies that fly under the radar for seemingly no reason? Many of them have big stars, or were directed by acclaimed directors, some have a cast of unknowns and are directed by new comers, but the one thing that every film on this list has in common is that they are all good. But not just good, really good, and they each deserve much more attention than they currently get. So have a look at our list of totally underrated movies, they will really knock your socks off, and provide you with a wonderful viewing experience. All Over Me This is a 90’s coming of age lesbian drama that boasts an impressive sound track, and embodies 90’s teen angst perfectly. It was released in 1997 and written and directed by sisters, Alex and Sylvia Sichel. The movie follows Claude (Alison Folland), a disenfranchised young girl about to graduate from high school. She is besotted by her beautiful friend Ellen (Tara Subkoff). Ellen has a troubled new boyfriend, and has less time for their previous intimacy. Claude has a part-time job at a pizza joint in her multiracial neighborhood in New York City, and makes lots of new friends there. Due to meeting a wide range of people from across the spectrum of society, Claude slowly comes to the realisation that her feelings for Ellen are lesbian in nature. Realising that Ellen does not share her affections, Claude, along with her new gay friend Luke, go to a lesbian bar. Here, she meets Lucy (Leisha Hailey), an older woman who opens her mind and her heart and completely rocks Claude’s world. The movie perfectly encapsulates the raw, emotion fueled landscape, that each young girl must traverse on the way to her burgeoning womanhood. It is far more than just a typical coming of age movie though, and is laced with a grit and realism that transcends typical ‘teen movie’ fare. Sublimely portrayed by a cast of immensely talented actors, this movie is one of the most personally affecting films anyone who has ever been a teenage girl will ever see. Ken Park As with all of Larry Clark’s movies, Ken Park is seriously good, seriously intense and seriously bleak for the most part. It was released in 2002 and was written by Harmony Korine, who based it on Larry Clark’s personal journals and stories. For starters, this movie is raw, disturbing and honestly not one for the younger members of the audience. Strictly over 18’s and with good reason. There are many depictions of graphic sex, graphic violence and even touches on the unsavoury area of incest. The sex that is featured in the movie is real and not simulated, so this is definitely one for the adults. Now, once you get past the gratuitous sex and the shocking violence, what you are left with is a bleak and unrelenting look at modern day youth culture. It follows the lives of a group of Californian teens, skaters, stoners, rockers and misfits. The title character, Ken Park, is a ginger, freckled kid, who performs an act of violence, right after the opening credits. We don’t really hear about him again until the end, when we find out what drove him to it. The rest of the movie is concerned with the kids who knew Ken: Shawn (James Bullard), who’s sleeping with his girlfriend’s mother; Peaches (Tiffany Limos), who lives with her devoutly Christian dad, a widower worshiping at the altar of his dead wife; Claude (Stephen Jasso), whose macho dad despises him; and Tate (James Ransone), a weirdo who lives with his grandparents and loudly berates them.  At it’s core, Ken Park is about people lost in a haze of contempt and despair, trying to wrest some love or relief out of their own desperate situations. Gummo Another movie written and, this time directed, by Harmony Korine, Gummo was his directorial debut and was released in 1997. It follows the lives of teen friends Tummler (Nick Sutton) and Solomon (Jacob Reynolds) as they navigate the ruins of a tiny, tornado-ravaged town in Ohio, that is populated by the deformed, disturbed and perverted. Gummo is an impressionistic portrait of a half-imaginary Midwestern suburb, and confirms Harmony Korine as a creative force to be reckoned with. The movie is often times a hugely unpleasant experience, though, but then, isn’t that just art doing it’s job? When the two teenage protagonists aren’t killing stray cats, they’re sniffing glue, paying for sex or messing with life support machines. Aside from its adolescent preoccupation with depravity, the movie is saved from freak show voyeurism by its unerring starkness in the portrayal of its characters. The movie intertwines scripted dialogue with improvisation, often within the same scene. Gummo is  breathtakingly original, and absolutely true to its time. Lilya 4-Ever Lilya 4-Ever is a 2002 Lukas Moodysson movie, and has been lauded as the bleakest, most depressing movie ever made. It depicts the harrowing tale of a young teenage girl,  abandoned by her family and left to her own devices. She slips into a downward spiral of sex and degradation.  Lilya (Oksana Akinshina) is a 16-year-old girl, coming of age in the poverty stricken streets of the former Soviet Union. Lilya’s mother (Lyubov Agapova) has told Lilya that she is to move with her to the United States with the mother’s new boyfriend. Lilya becomes obsessed with this idea, however at the last minute, she is told that she will in fact be staying behind with her aunt Anna (Liliya Shinkaryova), and she’ll be joining her mother later on.  Lilya’s aunt soon takes control of the apartment and places her in a much smaller apartment a few blocks away. Lilya is now left to her own devices, and spends most of her time with her best friend, and a 14 year old boy,  Volodya (Artiom Bogucharski), who is suicidal because of being thrown out of his home, and has a serious problem with alcohol and drugs. When Lilya’s friend meets a man in a nightclub who pays her for sex, the two friends embark on a downward spiral that culminates in a dark and tragic end. It is a stark and unyielding movie that will draw you in, and leave you devastated. A movie that will haunt you for days afterwards in a truly brilliant piece of cinema. The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things This movie was based on the book of the same name by JT Leroy, the controversial pen-name of Sarah Albert. It follows the life of a young boy called Jeremiah, (played by Jimmy Bennett, Cole Sprouse, and Dylan Sprouse), being brought up by a loving foster family. One day all of his safety and stability are ripped away from him, when his tear away, alcoholic, drug addled teenage mother, Sarah (Asia Argento), shows up, and whisks him away. The child is forced into a life of crime and debauchery, and subjected to a litany of abuse, at the hands of the string of men his mother invariably brings home. One such man is played by a hugely creepy Marilyn Manson, and another played by Jeremy Renner. Salvation comes in the form of the boy’s ultra-religious grandparents, but soon Jeremiah’s mother returns. Maternal love binds the pair together on the road, until Sarah’s desperate and depraved lifestyle finally consumes her, and threatens to do the same to the boy. There is no happy ending here, no feel good factor to ultimately take away with you at the movie’s end. It is a cheerless and despondent look at the harsh realities of the hell some children have to live, when their parents are slaves to one vice or another. The Cement Garden In this chilling adaptation of an Ian McEwan novel of the same name, director Andrew Birkin brings us on a depressing, creepy journey through the devastating ramifications of familial abandonment. The film takes place in a dreary grey house, located on the fringes of an English town. The father (Hanns Zischer) is a degenerate pervert, while the mother (Sinead Cusack), is the epitome of the angelic matriarch. After his garden is paved over with cement, the father has a heart attack and dies. Soon after, the mother wastes away and also dies. This leaves the four children to fend for themselves. The eldest sister and brother, Julie (Charlotte Gainsbourg), and Jack (Andrew Robertson), take over the responsibility of caring for the two younger children, Sue (Alice Coultard), and Tom (Ned Birkin). Without the supervision and guidance of a parental role model, each of the children gives themselves over to their secret desires and longings. Jack hides in corners, and becomes a chronic masturbater, while Julie uses her blossoming sexuality to lure Jack into an incestuous relationship. Even the younger children begin to behave in unusual ways. Sue barely speaks, and obsessively journals everything that happens to her, and Tom feels that deep inside himself, he is a girl trapped in a boy’s body. The children hide the mother’s remains in the basement, and live off her bank account. No one suspects a thing, until local sleaze ball Derek (Jochen Horst), shows up and tries to court Julie, which threatens to blow all of their secrets wide open. A darkly disturbing look at what unbridled eroticism, and unchecked sexual boundaries, can do to developing youth. It is also, at its heart, a tale of a family at odds with the world around them, and struggling to stay together as a unit. I Shot Andy Warhol Source: vintagemovieposters.com On June 3, 1968, radical feminist Valerie Solanas shot pop culture artist Andy Warhol in his Manhattan studio.This movie tells that story, but not through Andy Warhol’s version of events. Instead, the movie focuses on the extraordinarily skewed perspective of the deeply troubled Solanas. Valerie Solanas (Lili Taylor) is an aspiring young writer, in love with her craft. She moves to New York City and supports herself by entering into a life of prostitution. In her search for acceptance amoungst the New York elite,  Valerie encounters controversial artist Andy Warhol (Jared Harris), and various other colourful eccentrics of the New York art scene. Valerie becomes obsessed with the idea that Warhol should produce her play, ‘Up Your Ass’.  But when she realises she is, in fact, the butt of everyone’s joke, Valerie becomes enraged, and starts a violent feminist movement, and pens the ‘S.C.U.M Manifesto’, (S.C.U.M stands for the Society for Cutting Up Men).  Eventually, her rage reaches fever pitch. and Valerie shoots Andy Warhol. In this powerful portrayal of a snapshot of pop culture history, filmmaker/screenwriter Mary Harron attempts to shed some light on the troubled Solanas’ motivations. On record, it has been recorded that Solanas acted in retaliation, after Warhol banned her from his inner sanctum, however the real reasons for her bottomless rage soon become apparent. Solanas was sexually abused as a young girl, and turned to prostitution in  high school. She also struggled with her  sexuality as it became clear to her that she was a lesbian. By the time college rolled around, Solanas was an established man-hater. It was her dream that her Society for Cutting Up Men would become a major movement, but in the end, Solanas was the only member. An intense look at an equally intense woman, I Shot Andy Warhol is a cadenced gaze at a turbulent and chaotic crime. The Doom Generation We literally could have included all of Gregg Araki’s movies on this list, and it would have been full of just as many amazing and unknown, or underrated movies. The Doom Generation is one of our particular faves of his, though. It was originally billed as: “a heterosexual movie by Gregg Araki,” but The Doom Generation is much more than that. It is his eponymous teen movie, brought to us seeped in the stylistic bad taste that only Gregg Araki can pull off.  Amy Blue (Rose McGowan) and her boyfriend Jordan White (James Duval) are disenfranchised teens. Amy is a mean-girl, speed freak, while Jordan is a soft spoken, scene kid. Both of them claim to be virgins, however Jordan is still terrified of contracting AIDS. On a road trip, the pair happens upon the alluring Xavier Red (Johnathon Schaech). Xavier is a charming, enigmatic drifter with a penchant for murder. The three form an unlikely alliance and bond, as they embark on an endless road trip across middle America. Xavier’s worldly influence on the young couple raises issues of loyalty and sexual identity. It builds to a violent and devastating climax, and is filled with cutting, scintillating wit, and scathing cynicism. The movie is also speckled with a host of eccentric cameo appearances, including comic Margaret Cho, actress Parker Posey, musician Perry Farrell, ‘Hollywood Madame’ Heidi Fleiss, and onetime Brady Bunch star Christopher Knight. This is the middle installment in Araki’s ‘teen apocalypse trilogy’, which also includes 1993’s Totally F***ed Up and 1997’s Nowhere, and offers a bleak and nihilistic look at the disaffected youth of America. Threesome Andrew Fleming’s 1994 movie, Threesome, is a little less involved than most of the films on this list but no less enjoyable. The movie follows the story of three unlikely college roommates at a sizable public college. Eddy (Josh Charles), Stuart (Stephen Baldwin), and attractive co-ed Alex (Lara Flynn Boyle), are thrown together by happenstance. It is a modernist spin on the traditional love triangle story. Girl falls for guy, guy falls for other guy, wrong guy falls for girl. The complex situation leads to sexual experimentation and strained relationships. It is a well-constructed, hilarious, touching, and thought provoking ‘bizarre love triangle’. Each of the characters are instantly likeable and relatable, and the story is intelligently woven, and laced with idiosyncrasies, sewn together with a raw, emotional undercurrent. Eddy’s struggle with his own latent homosexuality is both edifyinga and heartwarming, but Lara Flynn Boyle steals the show as the blossoming ingenue. It’s a sweet story of love, friendship, and the struggle to find yourself in those formative college years. The Woodsman We are right back in with the heavy hitters with this one. This is a movie that should be on everyone’s ‘to watch’ list. It is an unbelievably good movie, and is honestly, one of Kevin Bacon’s absolute best performances. It follows the story of Walter (Kevin Bacon), who, after 12 years in prison for pedophilia, returns home. Very few people are aware of his conviction, and he is determined for it to stay that way. He finds an apartment where he’s regularly visited by his parole officer (Mos Def), and gets a job at a lumber mill. He meets, and starts a relationship with a coworker (Kyra Sedgwick) and forms the kind of human bond that he has been yearning for in order to normalise his existence. This relationship becomes too much for him to manage, though, and his new world begins to dissolve.  Slowly but surely, rumours begin to spread about Walter, and as his past crimes become common knowledge, he embarks on a reckless, high-risk friendship with a young girl. Also during this time, he notices a man loitering near a schoolyard, and recognises the grooming practices he himself once employed. He realises this man is a child molester, prowling for his next victim. Rather than approach the police about this, Walter decides to take matters into his own hands, and goes full vigilante on this insidious stranger. His life begins to steadily unravel, and we are led to an inevitable climax, that is brimming with poignancy and sadness. This is a lean and unapologetic tale about a particular faction of society, all too often rendered in simplistic, monochromatic, ‘right versus wrong’ colors. As you watch this movie, you will find yourself being dragged into an intense whirlwind of conflicting emotions. In equal parts disturbing, creepy, and moving, Bacon’s performance manages to pull sympathy from its reluctant viewers.  A bold and poignantly told tale, nestling into its characters to draw out raw and candidly revealing performances. The Woodsman is an amazing piece of cinema, both difficult and compelling to watch.   You could make a list of 100 underrated cinematic gems and not even scratch the surface of the library of glorious movies out there. These are just a few examples, but the next time you sit down to watch a movie, instead of going with the tried and true big blockbusters, why not take a moment and search for something  a little different? You might find something much more rewarding for your viewing pleasure.  
The 90’s gave us some of the best movies and TV shows of all time. It also gave us some of the greatest teen shows ever made. Shows that were funny and addressed the issues of the 90’s teen in a way not seen in previous decades. They also often tackled hard hitting issues such as suicide, drugs and teen pregnancy in a pragmatic, realistic way, that simply hadn’t been done before. Here, we take a look at some of the greatest teen TV shows of the 90’s. My So Called Life My So Called Life only lasted for one season but it had a huge impact. It gave us Jared Leto and Clare Danes, and dealt with some serious issues such as drug abuse, depression and struggles with coming to terms with your sexual orientation. It followed Angela, (Clare Danes), as she traversed the muddy waters of a 90’s American high school, and dealt with the dichotomy between yearning to be accepted, and wanting to be your own person and make your mark on the world. Ready Or Not Ready Or Not was a Canadian show that followed the lives of two young girls, entering into the treacherous world of puberty. Set in the suburbs of Toronto, it focused on Amanda Zimm (Laura Bertram) and Elizabeth “Busy” Ramone (Lani Billard), as they dealt with life’s struggles as well as showcasing  each girls different backgrounds.  Amanda was an only child raised by liberal former hippie parents while Busy was from a more conservative and traditional Italian Canadian Catholic household with three older brothers. Dawson’s Creek Dawson’s Creek Followed the lives of four best friends in the small coastal, Massachusetts town of Capeside. Best friends since childhood, they are about to enter that confusing time in life where nothing is the way it was and nothing is as it seems. This was everyone’s favourite obsession in the 90’s, especially the will they, won’t they romance storyline of the title character Dawson and his female best friend Joey. California Dreams California Dreams centered on the lives of the California Dreams, a teen music group trying to make the big time.  The show was part comedy, part drama, and often focused on serious social issues such as drug abuse, racism and dealing with parents after divorce. Buffy The Vampire Slayer Into every generation, a slayer is born. Every teen loved Buffy in the 90’s. It followed the story of Buffy Summers, (Sarah Michelle Gellar), as she becomes a vampire slayer, or rather the vampire slayer, since there can only be one. Buffy and her friends, her ‘scooby gang’, go week to week fighting bad guys and killing demons. But it was more than just pulpy horror TV fare. It dealt with difficult issues at the same time, and invested heavily in its characters, so we all really cared about what happened to each member of the Buffy cast. Popular This teen high school comedy drama centered around two high school girls on the opposite ends of the school hierarchy, who are forced to make nice when Brooke’s father meets Sam’s mother on a cruise and become engaged. The girls now live together and their individual peer groups are forced to co-mingle in and out of school with interesting repercussions. This was an awesome show, despite being short lived, because it had the message that not everyone is what they seem, and tackled the elitism that exists within the high school system of hierarchy. Most of its young cast also went on to become fairly big stars, including: Leslie Bibb, Carly Pope, Leslie Grossman, Tammy Lynn Michaels, Sarah Rue and Christpopher Gorham. Roswell The town of Roswell, New Mexico, is the site of a supposed crash landing by an alien space craft in 1947. This show follows the lives of the people of that town in 1999, when bizarre things start happening. We soon learn that three of the local teenage high school kids are in fact alien/human hybrids, on Earth with one mission: to follow the destiny given to them by the members of their dying race, a race that they are someday destined to save. The three teens, Max Evans (Jason Behr), Isabel Evans (Katherine Heigl), and Michael Guerin (Brendan Fehr), are endowed with extraordinary, superhuman powers. So far, they have kept their gifts and their mission a secret, until one faithful day when Max’s friend, Liz (Shiri Appleby), is shot at her workplace, and Max heals her with his alien powers. From there on, the show centres around their relationship, and trying to stay hidden from the American Government and other outside forces. Sweet Valley High This was based on the books of the same name by Fancine Pascal. The series revolveas around the lives of Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield, beautiful blonde twins who live in the fictitious Sweet Valley, California, and their gang of friends. Elizabeth is warm, friendly and sincere, while her twin sister Jessica is flirty, mischievous, and irresponsible. This was another one that often dealt with some more hard hitting issues, especially as the girls got older. It also had one of the most iconic theme tunes that we are sure lot’s of 90’s kids still remember the lyrics to. Party Of Five Party Of Five was a show that had very adult themes but was presented in very teenage accessible ways. It was intelligent and engaging and had some truly brilliant storylines over the course of its 6 seasons run. The show follows the Salinger family, in the aftermath of their parents death in a car crash. The five Salinger siblings are now forced to live on their own, and the oldest son, Charlie, is appointed as their legal guardian. Their new situation means putting aside personal goals to help make ends meet and keep the family together. The show starred Scott Wolf, Neve Campbell, Lacey Chabert, Matthew Fox and Jennifer Love–Hewitt. 7th Heaven 7th Heaven focused on the life of Eric Camden, a reverend, his wife Annie, and their five children, Matt, Mary, Lucy, Simon and Ruthie. Over the course of the show, five becomes seven when Annie becomes pregnant with twins, David and Sam.  The show follows the challenges of raising a family during permissive times.  Legendary producer Aaron Spelling served as an executive producer on the show. It ran for 11 seasons and saw all of the children grow up and become adults with some of them starting their own family. It dealt with hard hitting issues and often touched on some very touchy subject matters, like rape and domestic abuse. The show also gave Jessica Biel her big break as she played the oldest sister, Mary Camden. Some of the shows on this list probably wouldn’t get made today, at least not in the same way. The type of quality programming that existed for teens in the 90’s simply doesn’t exist anymore, which really just goes to prove that they don’t make ’em like they used to!  
While the aesthetics of Anime and Manga lends itself well to a younger audience, many TV shows and movies that are animated in that style are far from kid friendly. Many are violent, gorey, and deal with very adult themes. Many would also just fly above the head of the average youngster. Visually stunning, most anime is a joy to watch with intricately woven storylines and stunning imagery throughout. Here, we take a look at some of the best anime movies and TV shows with dark, adult themes that you should not miss. But be aware that these are not for younger viewers. TEKKONKINKREET TEKKONKINKREET is an intricate story of the bonds of brotherhood. The movie addresses the problems of living in a large city in today’s society, and deals with issues such as the loss of a true love, and the kindness that dwells within the human heart.  The story focuses on two street kids, two brothers called Black and White, as they try to prevent the evils of the Yakuza, and big city mobsters, from infiltrating the sanctity of their beloved city. The movie is based on a three-volume ‘seinen manga’ series by Taiyō Matsumoto. Elfen Lied Elfen Lied is a beautifully woven tale of acceptance, and the cruelty and fragility of the human spirit. Lucy is a new breed of human, referred to as a ‘Diclonius’. She is  born with a short pair of horns, and invisible telekinetic hands. She has become the victim of inhumane scientific experimentation by the government. However, Lucy gains freedom from her captors in a bloody and violent escape. During her escape, Lucy receives a blow to the head which leaves her with a split personality. One personality is that of Nyu, a harmless child possessing a limited speech capacity. Nyu stumbles upon a pair of young students who take her in and try to help her. Over the course of the series we learn that Lucy is not the only Diclonius, and a bloody and violent battle ensues between her, the other Diclonius’, and the laboratory that wants to recapture her. Paprika Paprika is the first on this list from the amazing mind of Satoshi Kon.The movie depicts the story of a machine that allows therapists to enter their patients’ dreams. When the machine is stolen, chaos ensues, and it is up to female therapist, Paprika, to solve the mystery and find the missing machine. Despite similarities drawn between this and Christopher Nolan’s 2010 movie Inception, Paprika actually pre-dates Nolan’s movie by four years. It is also, arguably, a far better movie. Serial Experiments Lain Serial Experiments Lain is a cyber-punk anime series from the late 90’s. It follows the story of young school girl Lain, who is obsessed with a virtual social network called ‘The Wired’. When her classmate commits suicide, Lain and other members of the peer group begin to receive e-mails from their dead friend. At first they assume it is merely a cruel prank, but Lain gets more and more curious, and slowly begins to fall deeper into the mysterious web the The Wired is weaving for her. During her investigations and research,  Lain discovers truths that potentially undermine the very fabric of existence. Cat Soup What a peculiar, surreal joy this movie is. Cat Soup is the perfect example of Anime as an art form. The story essentially follows that of a little boy and girl cat as they go on an odyssey to reclaim their souls from the land of the dead. The movie, however, is full of surreal, sexually suggestive imagery and vulgar suggestion. Paranoia Agent The second entry from Satoshi Kon to this list, Paranoia Agent, was Kon’s one and only attempt at episodic TV. This is a masterclass in suspense, paranoia, and mounting tension, that any live action director could seriously take notes from. It tells the story of ‘Little Slugger’, an urban legend about a mysterious, rollerblading kid, who can put you out of your misery if your life’s falling apart.  After a vicious attack on a young female as she makes her way home from work, two detectives are called in to investigate. They discover that Little Slugger may be more than just a rumour, and soon, more and more people fall victim to his attacks. But more than just thuggish attacks, as the detectives dig deeper, the reality they thought they knew begins to crumble around them.  Full of violence, with just a smattering of sex, Paranoia Agent takes you in the kind of paranoid, surrealist trips that only Satoshi Kon could deliver. Wicked City This absolute gem of a movie flies under the radar for some strange reason. It is a neo-noir detective drama set in a futuristic city. It tells the story of two worlds that have existed in harmony for centuries, Earth and the Black World. The Black World is a realm of supernatural beings that most humans are unaware of. A military group called the Radicals are intent to breaching the peace and returning men to their former heritage : as slaves. Two special agents, Taki, a human, and Makie, a supernatural, are called in to prevent the Radicals from seizing control. The two form the Black Guard who must protect a 200 year-old man named Giuseppi Mayart, the only man who can keep the peace from being broken by the Radicals. This smart, stylish and eerie Anime is one of the early Manga greats. Dead Man Wonderland When the sole survivor of a high school massacre, Ganta,  is framed for the crime, he is incarcerated in Deadman Wonderland, a strange and sinister private prison. This prison has a perverted and insidious take on incarceration, and what inmates must endure. During the massacre, the real killer embeded a red crystal inside Ganta. This crystal imbues him with powers, and he soon learns that all of the prisoners at Deadman Wonderland must entertain the public, by performing in dangerous games, in exchange for privileges. All of it is televised, and performed in front of a live audience. Ganta soon forms alliances within the prison and soon develops a rag-tag band of misfit friends. Together they must fight for survival, and find out what is really going on in the prison. Perfect Blue Another Satoshi Kon movie, Perfect Blue offers an intriguing look at the dangers of modern celebrity culture, and its inevitable objectification of its beloved starlets. This was Satoshi Kon’s debut movie, released in 1997, and introduced the world to a decadent, depraved genius.  The movie tells the story of Mima Kirigoe, a recently retired  pop idol and a member of the adored pop group: CHAM.  Mima has come to despise the vapid excess of her pop idol fame, and becomes determined to make it as a real, quality actress.  During the process of redefining herself, Mima’s fans begin to despise her, and a sinister stalker emerges from the shadows and seems to bare witness to every moment of Mima’s life. Chaotic fantasy becomes mingled with reality, and we are drawn to a paranoid, blistering climax. Truly a masterpiece of cinema whether you are a fan of animated movies or not.
Mankind has always pushed itself forward into realms of discovery. Our curious nature is what first separated us from beasts. Over the last two decades, there have been a number of scientific discoveries that have propelled our scientific understanding and technological advancement further than ever before. Let’s take a look at some of the greatest scientific discoveries that have happened over the last 20 years.   The Detection Of Gravitational Waves Gravitational waves were predicted over 100 years ago by Albert Einstein, when he predicted that mass had the ability to curve space-time.  It wasn’t until 2016 that scientists at LIGO, (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory), managed to detect and record them. Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space-time, that travel at the speed of light.  All major cosmic events and collisions send out gravitational waves. For example, around 3 billion years ago, a black hole 32 times the mass of our sun, collided with a black hole approximately 19 times the mass of our sun. This resulted in a cataclysmic event that created a brand new monster black hole. All time and space were warped because of this event. This is something that we can now measure and quantify thanks to LIGO. The scientists at LIGO managed to detect the ripple in space time that this caused on January 4th 2017. This was the third time that scientists at LIGO detected the collision of two black holes. This is hugely important, as not only does it prove that the 100 year old theory of Einstein’s was right, but, it allows us to detect large-scale cosmic events in a manner we never have been able to before. This lends itself to the further understanding of the nature of the universe, and the very fabric of existence. This breakthrough has enabled us to not only theorize about it, but actually visualise gravity. The Higgs Boson, Or, The God Particle The Higgs Boson is an elementary particle that had been theorized since the 60’s, but was only detected in 2012, when scientists at CERN, in Switzerland, discovered it using a Large Hadron Collider. This was a hugely important discovery, as it essentially filled in the gaps of the modern ‘Standard Model’ in physics.  This model, prior to the discovery of the Higgs Boson, had no explanation as to why some particles are massless, (ie. the photon), while others have varying degrees of mass. In theory, without the existence of the Higgs Boson, all particles should be without mass. The Higgs mechanism creates a field that interacts with particles, and basically, gives them mass. The Higgs Boson is the particle that is associated with that field, in the same way that protons are the particles associated with the electromagnetic field. Scientists had always assumed the existence of the Higgs field, but had found no experimental evidence for it, until 2012. In order to detect the Higgs Boson, they required a super-powerful particle smasher such as the Large Hadron Collider, to produce energies high enough to knock a Higgs Boson into existence, under controlled conditions.  Here’s how it worked: protons are present in the nuclei of atoms, the most basic units of matter. Protons are composed of even smaller particles, three quarks held together by gluons. In the Large Hadron Collider, protons were accelerated at 99.9999991% of the speed of light. Quarks and gluons inside the protons collided and exploded with enough energy to create the Higgs particle. The Higgs particle has 100 to 200 times the mass of a proton and will last less than a millionth of a billionth of a second before decaying into a spray of other particles. Evidence for the Higgs particle was found in the telltale spirals and streaks left in the Large Hadron Colliders detectors by the particles it created as it disintegrated. This discovery was hugely important to the scientific community, as it solved a long standing problem in the basic understanding of the quantum mechanics of atoms, and helps us better understand the nature of particle physics. The Discovery Of Water On Mars In 2015, NASA released images showing long, dark streaks on the surface of the red planet that appear and disappear throughout the seasons. This was taken to mean that liquid water exists on Mars today. It had long been hypothesized that water had existed on the planets surface in the past, however, there had never been any evidence to suggest that any remained to this day. What we see in the pictures as dark, narrow, 100 meter-long streaks are known as, ‘recurring slope lineae’, and they appear to be flowing downhill. Scientists have suggested that these may have been formed by contemporary flowing water. Recently, planetary scientists detected hydrated salts on these slopes at Hale crater, which would go towards corroborating this hypothesis.  The blueish color observed upslope of the dark streaks are thought to indicate the presence of the mineral pyroxene. Obviously, this is of great significance, as the presence of water could potentially mean the sustainability of life. Observations suggest that this water appears seasonally on the slopes of the martian surface. However, scientists have been unable to figure out where the source of the water could be, or if the chemistry of it would be right for supporting life, or at least, life as we understand it. T-Rex Tissue In 2005, T-Rex bones were discovered in a sandstone formation in Montana. Preserved within the thigh bone was actual soft tissue. It was the source of much controversy at the time, however, recent analysis of the tissue has gone a way to explaining how soft tissue could have been preserved for almost 70 million years. Initially, it was thought that the proteins that make up soft tissue should degrade in less than 1 million years in the best of conditions. It was assumed that the tissue had to be something else, perhaps the product of a later bacterial invasion, critics argued. But then, in 2007, scientists analyzed the chemistry of the T-Rex proteins. They found the proteins really did come from dinosaur soft tissue. The tissue that they found was collagen, and it shared similarities with bird collagen, which makes sense, as modern birds evolved from ‘theropod’ dinosaurs such as the T-Rex. The researchers then decided to analyse other fossils for the presence of similar soft tissue, and found that it was in fact present in about half of their samples. Some of which dated all the way back to the Jurassic Period, which lasted from 145.5 million to 199.6 million years ago.The reasoning put forward for the preservation of this soft tissue was the high levels of iron present in all of the samples. Iron forms iron nanoparticles after death, and generates free radicals. These free radicals cause proteins and cell membranes to tie in knot and basically act like formaldehyde. Formaldehyde, as many know, preserves soft tissues. This was an outstanding discovery, not just in the understandings of how bio-organics behave after a certain amount of time has passed, but also in the understanding of how Dinosaurs lived and how their bodies worked. The Existence Of Dark Matter Dark matter is an elusive and fascinating form of matter that goes toward explaining a lot of strange astronomical scenarios. It is basically the strange scaffolding that dictates how matter acts. It is thought to account for approximately 85% of all matter in the universe, and about a quarter of its total energy density. The majority of dark matter is thought to be non-baryonic in nature, possibly being composed of some as-yet undiscovered subatomic particles. Scientists began to wonder why certain things didn’t behave the way they should when adhering to the laws of physics as we understand them. For example, if you take a galaxy that contains about 1,000 planets, and you add up the mass of all of those planets, these planets should all move in a very particular way. However, this is not the case, and the way in which the planets move individually, and the galaxy moves as a whole system are different, and it doesn’t add up. The planets are moving in a manner that suggests that there is more matter contained   within the galaxy that we cannot see and cannot observe. This matter, scientists hypothesized, must be both abundant and non light reflective, hence our inability to observe it. It was called Dark Matter, and has been the basis of much scientific research for many years.  To date, all attempts to successfully or definitively record the existence of dark matter have failed, however this does not disprove it’s existence. If anything it further proves the nature of it, that it does not behave in the same way as any matter that we are familiar with. It passes through normal matter on a constant basis without ever colliding with it and it doesn’t collide or interact with itself either. It is all a part of that extremely complicated branch of science known as theoretical physics, which has been the starting point of some of the greatest scientific discoveries of mankind to date. Face Transplants  A face transplant is a medical procedure to replace all or part of a person’s face using donor tissue from a cadaver. The world’s first partial face transplant happened in 2005, in France. The first full facial transplant was completed in Spain in 2010. To date, a total of 40 facial transplants have been carried our globally.  The process of a Facial transplantation is a complex and burgeoning surgical field. Up until 2005, we simply did not have the technology available to us to carry out such a procedure, despite having the scientific medical know how, the practicality and equipment simply did not exist.  It is categorized as a subset within vascularized composite allotransplantation (VCA), which is defined as the transplantation of multiple tissue types often including bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and skin. To date, facial transplantation has been reserved for patients that have suffered devastating facial deformity, which is unable to be adequately reconstructed using traditional techniques.  There have been no elective transplants carried out. The emergence of face transplantation in the last 10 years is largely attributable to advances in reconstructive microsurgery, pharmacological advances in solid organ transplantation, and pioneering surgeons dedicated to improving their patients’ quality of life, autonomy, and ability to socially integrate back into society.  Water As Fuel German cleantech company Sunfire GmbH has unveiled a machine that converts water and carbon dioxide into synthetic petroleum-based fuels. They do this by utilising  Power-to-Liquid Technology. They convert water and carbon dioxide into liquid hydrocarbons which then take the form of synthetic diesel, petrol, and kerosene. This technology was based on Fischer-Tropsch process, and solid oxide electrolyser cells (SOECs) which convert electricity to steam. While still in its early research stages, this has massive implication for the future of the planet. Scientists all around the globe are desperately trying to come up with sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels. The ability to successfully turn water into a fuel would mean a viable source of power that we would never run out of. After all, 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. TRAPPIST-1 In February 2016, NASA announced the discovery of a previously unknown solar system with the potential to harbour life. The name of this system is TRAPPIST-1, and it is located approximately 39 light-years away from our solar system.  It was named after its main star, which is 12 times less massive than our sun, and witch has at least seven planets orbiting around it. Three of those planets lie within what is known has the ‘habitable zone’, and it is on these planets that the potential for life exists. The star TRAPPIST-1 is about the size of Jupiter, and its closest planet, TRAPPIST-1b, completes one solar orbit (what we would refer to as a year) in just 1.51 Earth days. What is particularly curious about this is that out of all the stars known to us, Trappist-1 is considered to be a small star. This means that finding not one or two, but seven planets orbiting around it, was highly unusual. Trappist-1 is only 8% the size of our Sun, so, it is not understood at this time, how a small star like that managed to form so many planets. The Trappist-1 system is a groundbreaking discovery. Never before have scientists found as many earth-like planets orbiting around a single star, in what could be referred to as a mini version of our own solar system. In terms of intergalactic travel, 39 light-years is relatively close, and the existence of three Earth-sized planets within the habitable zone is the best chance we’ve ever had for discovering life beyond Earth. It seems that each of the seven planets discovered so far have liquid-water, so potentially, all seven could contain the building blocks for life. With new advancements in exploratory science, it is conceivably possible, and even likely,  for us to be able to detect life and confirm its existence, from right here on Earth! Now that would be cool!
Bojack Horseman first emerged on Netflix in 2014 and, five seasons later, it has built up an incredible cult following. Essentially a tale about an alcoholic horse, who is a former 90’s TV star, the show is surprisingly touching, full of depth and insight, and, often times entirely heart wrenching in its existential realness. Seriously, a show about an alcoholic horse is the realest thing out there at the moment. Its no holes barred style, and unapologetic rawness, is something that has seriously touched a nerve in today’s overly saccharine society. Here we present you with some examples of that rawness, and if you aren’t already a fan of the show, these might give you a taste of exactly what you’re missing.   The Realness Of The Opening Credits   When Cuddly Whiskers Explained What It Meant To Be Responsible For Your Own Happiness   When Princess Carolyn Gave Herself A Motivational Speech   When Bojack Reflected On Being An Only Child   When All Bojack Wanted To Know Was That He Was Still A Good Person   When Bojack Remembered The Traumatising Reason His Mother Was Often So Cruel To Him   When Holly Hock Needs To Know If Her Feelings Of Not Being Good Enough Would Ever Go Away   This Crippling Break Up   When Bojack Took Sarah Lynn To The Planetarium   When Todd Comes Out As Asexual   When Todd Lays Down The Truth For Bojack, That He Just Needs To Be A Better Person   Every Single Moment Of Bojack’s Mom’s Funeral Episode   When Bojack’s Mom Levels Him With This Devastating Blow   When Bojack Indulged In Some Serious Self Deprication   When Mr. Peanutbutter And Diane Began Realising Their Relationship Issues   When Bojack Made This Stark Realisation About Himself   The Time When Bojack Helped Diane Get Through A Depressive Episode   When Diane Had To Be At A Party With Mr. Peanutbutter And His New Girlfriend   The Realisation That It Will Get Easier The Poignant Lyrics Of The End Theme Song   So, if you want to watch a subversive and emotionally intelligent cartoon show, Bojack Horseman is the one for you. It is one of the most intelligent shows out there at the moment, and will really punch you right in the feels more times than once each episode. You will also find yourself entirely relating to at least one, maybe more of the characters in a really big way. We personally can entirely get on board with Diane and everything and how she moves through the world.
There were lots of times that we went into our local video store, as kids, and marvelled at the impressive array of cover art on display. From the sublime to the ridiculous,  some were incredible works of art, some insane, some perfectly encapsulated the tone of the films, some captured that tone even better than the films themselves, and some had the most tenuous link imaginable! Here, we take a look at some of the coolest, grossest, cutest examples of VHS cover art from the 80’s and 90’s. The Mutant Kid A Nightmare On Elm Street Conan The Barbarian Neon Maniacs Silk The Wraith Star Wars The Toxic Avenger Monster Squad Tron Over The Top Honey, I Shrunk The Kids Jumanji Muppets Treasure Island The Pagemaster The Dark Crystal The Goonies The Never Ending Story An American Tail The Land Before Time Innerspace E.T Flight Of The Navigator Big Trouble In Little China   Most of these were amazing and inspiring works of art, which even today, will captivate the imagination, along with the feelings of excitement and wonder of stepping back into your local video store once again.
Hammer Films is a British film production company founded in 1934 by William Hinds and James Carreras. It was made famous in the 1950’s for reimagining the gothic horror for a modern audience. It was one of the most prolific movie production companies right up until the 1970’s, and produced some of the most famous, classic horror movies of all time. It also dabbled in psychological horror and thrillers, and to this day, many of its movies are considered to be some of the best examples of classic cinema out there. They utilised big names, plenty of gore and and top directors, to bring tired old horror tropes, such as the mummy, Dracula, and Frankenstein, into the brave new world of cinema. In this article, we will take a look at just some of the greatest Hammer Horror movies ever made. The Horror Of Dracula This was the first in a series of movies produced by Hammer and focusing on the the story of Dracula. It was released in 1958 and was originally just titled ‘Dracula’, but was later changed to ‘The Horror Of Dracula’ so as not to be confused with the 1931 Universal Studios movie starring Bela Lugosi. The film stars Christopher Lee as Dracula and Peter Chusing as Van Helsing. Both Cushing and Lee were two of Hammer Horror’s major stars and would both go on to star in a huge number of their movies throughout the next few decades. The Hammer Studios version of the story is far closer to the original source material, the novel, Dracula, by Bram Stoker. The story follows the infamous count as he journeys from Transylvania to England. There, he ensconces himself entirely into the London night scene, and he begins to rack up victim after victim. During this time, Dracula runs afoul of his arch-nemesis, Van Helsing. This signals the beginning of a battle of wills between the two. The movie was heavily censored in Britain when it was first released, with all of the goriest moments cut out. However, in 2012, there was a definitive version of the movie released, which had all of the chopped scenes reestablished and remastered. The movie really put Lee and Cushing on the map, and paved the way for many sequels starring the two, and for many non-Dracula follow-ups with these actors as well. The Plague Of Zombies Released two years before Night Of The Living Dead, would revolutionise the Zombie genre, this 1966 offering is widely accepted as being the precursor to the the George A. Romero classic. The movie is chillingly atmospheric, and shies away from the camper element, that became the archetypal fare of the Hammer movie, in later  years. This was also the studio’s only foray into the world of zombies. The plot follows the tale of an eccentric Cornish squire, who enslaves local villagers, using voodoo curses, and using them to work in his tin mines. A doctor and his daughter soon discover the unpleasant nocturnal habits of the shambling undead slaves, and they call upon a detective to investigate. The script is a subversive commentary on the rift between the British aristocracy and the exploited working class, but despite this, the film is less a political allegory than a spooky chiller. It surmounts to a well crafted, atmospheric horror opus, that ranks among Hammer Films’ finest. One Million Years B.C One Million Years B.C was Hammer’s biggest box office hit. Released in 1967, it starred the hugely famous Raquel Welch as the main female character with special effects by Ray Harryhausen, (of Disney’s Pete’s Dragon fame). The movie is essentially a tale of a prehistoric man, banished from his home, only to find love and comfort in the arms of a different, much gentler tribe. Despite the many glaring historical inaccuracies, this movie is still one of Hammer’s greatest achievements. The movie depicts many battles between man and dinosaur, which, despite the fact that approximately 64 million years separated dinosaur kind and man, still make for thrilling action sequences. If we remove our logic hats, and watch this movie as a fantasy film, we are guaranteed to have a great time. Ray Harryhausen truly outdoes himself, with brilliant stop motion dinosaurs. With the scene depicting a battling Triceratops and Ceratosaur being a particular stand out moment. The movie also features the more standard film of a real live iguana, dressed up and made to look huge, however even this scene looks better than most of its ilk. While there is no broader social commentary in this one, it makes for a hugely entertaining fantasy epic, and the outstanding special effects cement its place as one of Hammer’s most impressive cinematic spectacles. The Devil Rides Out The Devil Rides Out was released in 1968 and stars Christopher Lee as the aristocrat Duc de Richlea. This was one of the few roles where we get to see Christoper Lee play the good guy for Hammer, and it really pays off.  We are treated to a masterful performance by Lee that could be argued as his best.  The movie was directed by one of Hammer’s greatest, Terence Fisher, and it is an adaptation of the popular 1934 eponymous novel by Dennis Wheatley.  The story is concerned with not just a brief encounter with evil, but a full-fledged campaign against it. The audience is treated to depictions of séances, satanic orgies, summonings, and even car chases. A twisting, high octane tale of high-society satanism, this movie has secured itself deep within the hearts of many horror movie fans, and has proven to be a hugely popular cult classic. To The Devil A Daughter To The Devil A Daughter is another adaptation of a Dennis Wheatley novel. This time set in modern times however, and released 8 years after The Devil Rides Out. Not as critically acclaimed as the aforementioned cult classic, To The Devil A Daughter is still one of Hammer’s great satanic tales. It is also notable for being the second last movie the studio would make for over 30 years, and was the third adaptation of a Dennis Wheatley novel. The film tells the story of American expatriate, occult writer, John Verney (Richard Widmark), who is approached by Henry Beddows (Denholm Elliott), to try and rescue his teenage daughter Catherine (Nastassja Kinski). Catherine is a practicing nun from a mysterious group called the Children Of The Lord, which is presided over by Father Michael Rayner (Christopher Lee), a priest who has fallen from the true faith. Verney succeeds in intercepting Catherine at the airport, and takes her to his flat near Tower Bridge. However, Rayner has the advantage of black magic, and the ability to use it from afar on Catherine, in an effort to regain her for his own dastardly ends. The movie was a fitting end to the impressive reign of the ‘Hammer Horror‘ behemoth, and certain scenes of the movie were so shocking that Dennis Wheatley refused to allow the production company to buy the rights to any more of his novels. Not that it mattered too much to the studio. One year after filming To The Devil A Daughter, they closed down until 2007 when they reignited their creative fires to bring us Beyond The Rave which was released in 2008. The Nanny This was one of Hammer’s rare attempts at Hitchcockian suspense, and it works surprisingly well. Mostly because of the stand out performance by Bette Davis as the titular ‘Nanny’. Wendy Craig also gives a stellar performance as the mother. It follows a London family as they collect their son from a psychiatric unit he has been staying at for the last two years. In the car, with the mother and father, is Bette Davis’ Nanny.  The young son, Joey, wants nothing to do with the Nanny, and when he arrives home, he wants to do everything for himself, and seems to have a deep hatred for the seemingly caring, sweet and quaint childhood Nanny. We soon learn that the family has a tragic past, namely, the death of their young daughter a couple of years previous, for which young Joey was blamed. We also learn that Bette Davis‘ character has been the family Nanny for two generations now, and is much beloved by everyone in the household. In a creeping tour de force of psychological terror, the movie draws slowly and menacingly to its horrifying climax. It is a lesson in fear of the ordinary. Helped along massively by one of Davis’ most nuanced performances, this movie really showed that Hammer was not just a playground for schlock horror and campy monster movies. It could also house some outstanding thrills and terrifying suspense movies. Straight On Till Morning This 1972 suspense thriller follows a young girl, Brenda, as she moves to London in search of a man to father a child for her. She immerses herself in London life, getting a job at a boutique and attending parties with her co-workers. Upon fleeing one of these parties, she encounters a dog off his leash. A man is shouting for the dog, however Brenda steals it in a clever ploy to meet the man. When she eventually returns the dog, Brenda is faced with a beautiful but troubled young man named Peter, who suggests she moves in with him. What Brenda doesn’t know, however, is that Peter is, in fact, a psychotic serial killer with a deep loathing for beauty and all of its trappings. He is completely controlling of her, and the movie closely follows her descent into a torrid and disturbing love affair, and Peter’s further decline into madness. Director Peter Collinson shows these characters’ fragmented grip on reality by having his editor, Alan Pattillo, slice up the film with syncopated shots, jump cuts and pronounced discontinuities of both space and time. The result is a heady incline towards Brenda and Peter’s individual and collective derangement. The film has less of a connection to Hammer’s characteristic ‘Castle Horror’ and more to the modern suspenseful, psychotic thrills, of a Dario Argento ‘Giallo movie’. Straight On Till Morning forgoes the usual Hammer gothic motifs, and sets itself up as a contemporary classic. Fear In The Night This 1972 offering from Hammer studios is one that leans quite heavily on ‘Gialloesque’ themes, and combines them with the drab insipidness of 70’s rural Britain, and the effect is really quite chilling. The story is that of Peggy, (Judy Geeson) a young woman who,  6 months earlier, suffered a breakdown and spent some time in hospital. Now that she is healthy and out of the hospital, she is set to move with her husband to the countryside, to the boarding school he works at. Before leaving, however, Peggy is attacked in her home by a black glove wearing assailant,  (queue Giallo influence). Despite her sincerity, the people around her are more inclined to believe she’s imagining things, based on her recent brush with mental instability.  They leave for the school however, and the young couple meet with the headmaster Michael (Peter Cushing),a cold and detached character. They also meet Michael’s wife, played by none other than Joan Collins.  Things continue to go wrong, more perceived attacks on Peggy’s life leave her husband believing that she is suffering from another breakdown.  Fear in the Night does not centre around the question of Peggy’s sanity, since we are led, from the offset, to believe her, and be resolutely on her side. What it does is paint a chilling tale of intrigue, begging the questions; who is attacking Peggy, why are they doing it, and what is up with the boarding school and its very creepy headmaster? It is a subtle and measured tale of deception, and the end still delivers, despite its predictability.   As previously stated, the company stopped producing movies in 1979, after a remake of Hitchcock’s 1938 thriller The Lady Vanishes, starring Elliott Gould and Cybill Shepherd. The company went into hibernation until 2007 when they made Beyond The Rave, a contemporary vampire story which premiered for free online via MySpace. Hammer would go on to begin shooting a new horror movie in Donegal in 2008, backed by the Irish Film Board. The film is titled Wake Wood  and stars Aiden Gillen and Eva Birthhistle, and was scheduled for release in the United Kingdom in the Autumn of 2009. However, the release date was delayed, and the movie wasn’t given a theatrical release in the UK until 2011. Despite the slightly rocky start of a long awaited revival, Hammer Horror movies are now back in production, with seven movies having been made in the last 10 years, and their latest offering, The Lodge, set to premier at the Sundance Film Festival, 2019.
 Rick and Morty is the animated, high concept, Sci-Fi rigmarole that we all love. But, far from the cartoonish nonsense that it appears to be at first glance, there are plenty of real science facts and theories behind what we see in the show. While most of the show is strictly in the realms of fiction, there are some concepts that the writers utilise regularly that have their basis in established science facts. Here, we take a look at some of the real science principles that form the basis of some of the concepts in Rick and Morty. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle In the  episode, A Rickle In Time, Rick, Morty and Summer manage to mess up the whole time frame of all universes, and split time up into many different pieces. They then have to try to find a way to solidify time into one unified piece. This actually employs the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. What Einstein’s E=mc2 is to relativity theory, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle is to quantum mechanics. It states that it is impossible to know, simultaneously, the exact position and momentum of a particle. That is, the more exactly the position is determined, the less known the momentum, and vice versa. Essentially by trying to measure their exact place and speed in space and time, Rick, Morty and Summer removed themselves from time all together. The Many World Theory A cornerstone of the Rick and Morty universe is that there are an infinite number of universes, with an infinite number of Ricks, and an infinite number of Mortys. Therefore, nothing anyone says or does actually matters.  It’s ultimately the source of Rick’s extreme existentialism. But this has a basis in fact. There exists an interpretation of quantum-mechanics, (the  fundamental theory in physics which describes nature at the smallest scales of energy levels of atoms and subatomic particles), known as the Many-Worlds Interpretation. This suggests that there are many worlds which exist, occupying the same space and time, yet parallel to our own. The existence of the other worlds makes it possible to remove randomness and action, at a distance, from quantum theory, and thus, from all physics. If this were true, it would suggest that nothing anyone did mattered, and that the laws of physics are constant, and unaffected by outside forces. The theory is also referred to as MWI, the Everett interpretation, the theory of the universal wave function, many-universes interpretation, multiverse theory or just many-worlds. The original relative state formulation is due to Hugh Everett in 1957. The Simulated Universe Theory In the episode: M. Night Shaym-Aliens, Rick and Morty try to get to the bottom of a mystery, only to find themselves trapped on an alien spaceship. These aliens are trying to find the formula for concentrated dark matter, and it turns out that Rick and a completely unaware Jerry have been trapped inside a simulation, inside another simulation. While this is not a direct interpretation of it, it does have a grounding in an existing scientific theory known as the Simulated Universe Theory. This theory suggests that the universe we all currently occupy is in fact a giant simulation, by a quantum computer. It would be indistinguishable from true reality, and potentially, could contain conscious minds, which may or may not be fully aware that they are living inside a simulation. It is a theory that dates all the way back to French philosopher and mathematician, René Descartes, in the 1600’s, when he famously philosophized that the people he saw out his bedroom window could in fact be metal machines disguised as humans. More recently, though, the theory has been given some level of credence by Elon Musk, who firmly believes that reality is a simulation created by a super intelligence. Hive Mind In the episode Auto-Erotic Assimilation, we get introduced to Unity. Unity is Rick’s ex-girlfriend, but also, she is an assimilating hive-mind, and has taken control of an entire planet. Every person on the planet thinks with one unified mind. This has its basis in science fact rather than science fiction as hive minds can be found readily in nature. For example, honeybees and ants operate in colonies that function as a hive mind. Singularly they don’t get a lot done, but as a collective colony, both of these creatures do remarkable things. Their communication is based on hormones and pheromones. It also exists to a degree in humans, where people will begin to think with what is referred to as a collective consciousness. This is how social constructs develop into societal norms, and how certain practices and behaviours are deemed as either acceptable or unacceptable. There are also more sinister implications to this: a certain level of brainwashing of the mass majorities, at the hands of our self appointed systems of hierarchy, becomes normalised. This can lead to governmental control becoming less democratic and more absolute. Schrödinger’s Cat Also taken from the episode A Rickle In Time is the reference to Schrödinger’s Cat. In this episode, as time begins to rip itself apart, we see lots of cats just floating around. This is a nod to a very famous physics theory, that forms the basis of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle previously mentioned. Schrödinger’s cat is a thought experiment, sometimes described as a paradox, devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935. It illustrates what he saw as the problem with the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics when applied to everyday objects. In his theoretical experiment, a living cat is placed into a steel chamber along with a hammer, a vial of hydrocyanic acid, and a very small amount of radioactive substance. If even a single atom of the radioactive substance decays during the test period, a relay mechanism will trip the hammer, which will in turn, break the vial of poisonous gas and cause the cat to die. According to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics, which stated that, essentially, nothing is real until it is observed, and all possible states and outcomes exists simultaneously until the point of observation,  the cat would be both alive and dead at the same time. It would remain this way until someone opened the box to find what state the cat was in.  Schrödinger’s experiment counteracts that, by demonstrating that the cat was either dead or alive regardless of whether or not it was being observed. The Mechanics Of Rabies In the episode Total Rickall, the Smith family household has been infested by parasites, that feed off brainwaves and alter perception. They masquerade as various characters, but they change everyone’s perceptions, and convince them that they have been a valued member of the family forever, implanting false memories and emotions. This is a trait that is found in the Rabies disease. Rabies affects the hippocampus, amygdala and hypothalamus. These brain structures control memory, fear, and emotion. Rabies can even alter the ways in which you release serotonin. The disease essentially hijacks the brains own neurons, and then attacks it. Basically, rabies turns your own brain against you. Much like the parasites did in this episode. Nazi Experimentation On Dogs In Lawnmower Dog, Rick gives the family dog a helmet that enables him to speak. He grows super intelligent, and eventually causes a canine uprising, where dogs take over the world. While none of that is based on any real science, it could have been inspired by Nazi experiments from the 1930’s. The Hundesprechschule Asra was an institution for performing dogs that existed in Leutenberg, Thuringia, Germany, from 1930 until near the end of World War II. It contained famous dogs that appeared to be able to speak certain words. The institute was the site of Nazi experimentation and animal research. The idea behind this was to create a battalion of talking dogs. The idea, despite being completely bonkers, was to glean greater control over the hounds, and to add extra force to their military units. These experiments were taking place at the same time as Nazi experimentation on humans, in an attempt to create a super army of immeasurable force. Pregnant Robots In Raising Gazorpazorp, Morty gets an alien sex robot, who he accidentally impregnates, and winds up being the father to an alien/human hybrid baby. Probably the most outlandish piece of science fact on this list is that a pregnant robot actually exists in the real world. It is a life sized blond haired android, that simulates the pertinent vital signs and exports of a pregnant woman, including blood and urine. It has been used as a teaching tool all around the world, and has even had an emergency cesarean section performed on it. It even gives birth to a tiny little robot baby. Seriously.  
Everyone is familiar with Drag Queens and what they do. Cultural phenomenons like RuPaul’s Drag Race have seen Drag Queens go from being the side show entertainment at the local, seedy, gay dive bar, to being super stars in their own right. But what about the Drag Kings? Those androgynous beauties that butch it up with exaggerated masculinity for pomp and spectacle? Drag as a performance art form dates back as far as the 1800’s, where women dressed as men, would swagger across the boards of the London halls, performing songs and comedy routines. But it was their Drag Queen counterparts that became the more culturally acceptable norm. Maybe it was because the imitation of maleness is just not considered as entertaining as affected femininity, or because masculinity is a currency that women are typically not welcome to trade in. Whatever the reason, despite some amazing talent existing out there on the fringes of the scene, Drag Kings are not as widely known, seen, or showcased as Drag Queens. So, with that in mind, we have compiled a list of some of the most talented and noteworthy Drag Kings in operation at the moment. Be they performance artists or social media stars, all have something unique to offer and all deserve their moment in the spotlight. Ivory Onyx Ivory Onyx is an American King who performs in bars and clubs around the world. He even won Mister USofA MI in 2013 and 2017. Murray Hill Murray Hill is a well-known New York City  drag king and entertainer. He is the entertainer persona of Busby Murray Gallagher, he maintains this persona even in his private life. Jean Genie Jean Genie is a Californian drag king who specialises in David Bowie impersonation. He even has the naturally different coloured eyes. Rain Dove Rain Dove Dubilewski  is an American model, actor, and activist. They prefer gender neutral pronouns and are best known for their subversive fashion work, by posing as both male and female models.They are also currently dating Rose McGowan. Landon Cider Landon Cider is the Drag King persona of LA based artist Kristine Carr. Landon also performs on stage worldwide. Miles Long Miles Long is an up and coming drag star from America. Currently working the scene in the Southern California area, he is really one to watch out for. Buck Wylde Buck Wylde is a performance Drag King who does the burlesque club circuit. Known for his rockabilly aesthetic and swingin’ 60’s performances. Gage Gatlyn Gage has been performing since 2003, so is quite the seasoned king. Gage came out publicly as a Transman in 2003 and is an Activist/Advocate in the Transgender Community. He has co-founded The Gatlyn Dame Group, Inc. Gunner Gatlyn Gunner Gatlyn is an entertainer from Phoenix, Arizona who has been performing since June of 2006. Former Drag King turned Male Illusionist, he is an FTM entertainer with an extreme passion for the art of drag. Spikey Van Dykey Spikey Van Dykey has been a leading Male Illusionist & Drag King entertainer for 10 years. He first hit the stage making his debut in Birmingham Alabama at The Quest Club in October of 2000.   So, if these gender bending male illusionists have whet your appetite for some gender-role defying entertainment, check your local gay bars, burlesque bars, and scene venues, Go and support your local drag kings!!