Tyson Carter is a movie reviewer from the United Kingdom who created his blog, Head in a Vice, around the same time I created Rorschach Reviews about five months ago. Aside from being the first person to “follow” me on WordPress, Tyson has also made leaps and bounds in networking with other reviewers and exposing us all to the lesser known side of the horror/thriller genre.
Rorschach Reviews: Why did you start blogging about movies?
Tyson Carter: I guess I got tired of having no one to talk to about the films I was watching. Being primarily a fan of the more violent side of cinema, it tends to be a hard topic to talk about with my family and friends who believe that Goodfellas & Taxi Driver are far too violent, never mind some of the more extreme films I see. As much as I want to tell everyone to go watch Oldboy & I Saw The Devil for example, no one would listen. So, I turned to blogging, in the hope that just 1 person would read my thoughts and maybe check something out based on my recommendation. Or, more importantly, find someone who had not only seen these films but loved them as much as I did. Finding someone to talk to about them seemed like an amazing and exciting challenge.
RR: Your blog, Head in a Vice, has certainly done a great job of filling a very specific niche. I hadn’t even heard of a lot of the movies I’ve seen you review, but the ones I’ve ended up checking out have all been good picks (My favorite so far has probably been The Crazies). What are some things about violent cinema that appeal to you?
TC: Thanks buddy. I felt there were so many people reviewing the new releases (and better than I could) I felt I may as well use my love of horror and more obscure films to try and carve a little niche for myself. Otherwise I would be lost in amongst all the better sites. Not that I’m saying I stand out in the darker side of horror bloggers, just a smaller pool, and more chance of finding people with the same love for obscure cinema. Plus it gives me more of a chance to point out films to people such as yourself that you may not necessarily have heard of otherwise. Or heard of but didn’t really take much interest in. I just hope when I recommend stuff it doesn’t disappoint too much!! With regards to why I like the more violent side of cinema, I guess as I mention on my ‘about me’ page, walking in on ‘Casino‘ years ago just shaped me really. I can’t explain it very well……..really it always seemed as though films I loved came with the violence added in, so Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Godfather etc all were incredible stories that included the violence. As I got older I just never saw an issue with violence, as long as it’s done for the good of the film and with a purpose. Most stuff now is just seeing how extreme a film-maker can make a film, and whilst I have no issue watching any movie (I’m not squeamish about anything, I’ll literally watch the most extreme movie I can just to see if it has an effect, I think everyone has a limit and I want to be pushed to mine!) I would rather watch a film like I Saw The Devil which is brutal and full of visceral torture, but it’s an incredible film and story.
RR: It’s great to hear you have such a connection to your material, passion usually conveys very well into a person’s writing style and I’m willing to bet that your passion is what’s made your blog such a success over the last six months or so. As far as the whole “pushing your own limit” idea, I completely understand that, the same concept exists in comedy. What would be a good example of a film that has forced you to re-evaluate your own limits?
TC: Thanks, yeah just passed my sites 5 month birthday, and I’m amazed at how well it’s done. Very grateful & lucky. I am very passionate about it, and just want to make it the best I possibly can. Not to compete with anyone else or please anybody else as such, but if I’m happy with it then that’s all that really matters.
As for my limits, I mean, I don’t really know what mine are. I have only ever turned a film off if I’m so bored I would rather rub hot chilli in my eyes than continue watching, and they are normally romantic drivel that my wife makes me watch. Or Rec 3. Otherwise, I do try and seek out those films that people say are the worst things ever made. Stuff like A Serbian Film just has no redeeming features, nothing good exists in it and its purely pushing the extremes as far as they can. It’s not a film you can take any enjoyment away from. I don’t have an issue with violence and gore etc but it has to have a purpose. Even The Human Centipede had something……..not a lot but it was at least a different idea that medically could happen, despite all the negatives about the film. Similarly Cannibal Holocaust - an awful movie with horrible mutilation and cruelty to animals, and not a good film (in my opinion) in any way, shape or form. Yet in a way it was arguably the first (or one of) found footage style films, that paved the way years later for The Blair Witch, and then all the recent stuff like Paranormal Activity etc.
RR: I constantly see Cannibal Holocaust on the top of “Most Controversial Film” lists everywhere; I might have to give it a go to test my stomach. On a separate note, for the last several months you’ve been doing a great deal to increase your connections with other movie bloggers, from your extensive Desert Island Films segment to your new Face Off feature in which you and another blogger go head to head against another team over the quality of a specific film. Where did you get the inspiration for these segments and what do you think might be next?
TC: Not only your stomach it will test. More your mind, and specifically how angry and annoyed it might make you feel!
I always enjoy reading blogs/sites, but feel the ones I enjoy the most are the ones that ask for interaction, rather than just feeling like a site I’m reading and not really getting to know who runs it. I wanted to try and make mine more of a community, and even if that meant just 3 people ever read it, I would want to get to know those 3, and hope to get a connection. I’m in this for the long haul, and whilst people will always come and go, I really want to try and give as many people as I can a reason to stick around. A more personal touch and getting people involved with what I hoped would be fun interactive projects was my way of trying to do that. It seems to be working so far, and I love doing it and meeting so many amazing people. The inspiration comes from lots of things really. I don’t want to bore anyone more than I need to and ramble on, but basically I get an idea and just harass my friends and ask opinions until I get a formula I think I can make work. I have lots of ideas for new things, but I need to make sure I can keep up with the current ones, and not let them get out of hand or left by the wayside. I have a couple of new exciting ventures lined up, a spin-off so to speak on one of the current ones being the first one that should be up soon. Branching out and spreading my sites name is the main objective, but I always aim for the projects to involve others, as its way more fun working with people that have the same love and passion for movies.
RR: I think we can all relate to wanting the kind of connections you’re building, and I look forward to seeing that spin-off you’re talking about. Before we go, if you have Hollywood make a $200 million film about anything (book adaptation, film remake, original project, etc.), what would it be and who would direct it?
TC: Red Dead Redemption. I have thought about this a lot to be honest. I loved the game, and believe it would be an epic movie. Quite what the demand for a western these days is I’m not sure, but the game was phenomenal and the story was the best I have seen in a game. As for the film version, in my head Jared Leto plays the lead character John Marston, and it has to be directed by Scorsese :)
You can catch up with Tyson at Head in a Vice or follow him on Twitter at @Tysoncarter.