I never reread my posts and they are therefore riddled with grammar and spelling errors. Enjoy!

Monday, 25 May 2015

4 Soundtrack Favourites

So I haven't posted in a loooooong time, and I have a zillion posts on here that are, as yet, unfinished and unpublished.

But that's okay, because you're totally getting one now.

This post is dedicated to my favourite soundtracks from some less obvious films. We all know Jurassic Park (1993) and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) have great theme tunes but here are some of my person favourites. That's about the long and short of it. Without further adododo, on to the first one. 

The Woman (2011)

The Woman was an absolute gem of a horror film that I found on Netflix. Upon realising it was made by Lucky McKee, the writer and director of a horror film that I was already fond of (May, 2002), I thought I'd give it a bash. It follows a deranged family as they attend to 'domesticate' a feral woman that they found in the woods. I absolutely loved it. It manages to be emotive as well as unabashedly gory, and there's some excellent performances, particularly from the two leads; Pollyanna McIntosh as the 'Woman' and Chris Cleek as the twisted father. The soundtrack struck me immediately. It's effective in a way that not a lot of horror manages, using songs that are contextually opposing what's happening on screen, but that blend seamlessly with the action. With many songs written specifically for the film by Sean Spillane, it's almost always used in a juxtaposing manner and it so much fun to listen to. Lucky himself has even stated that it's not a horror soundtrack, it's 'just songs'.

Personal Favourite: Patient Satellite
Context?: During one of very few, well constructed on screen rape scenes that actually facilitates the storyline and character development, rather than being off putting and offensive. 

It Follows (2015) 

It Follows was a film that I had been desperate to watch for some time. Hailed as one of the best horror films in years, matched only by The Babadook (2014), I just knew I was going to like it. The 80s feel of soundtrack was compared online to that of The Guest (2014), also starring Maika Monroe, (which we'll hear about later). The story follows (larf) Jay, a young woman who has only gone and picked herself up an STI demon that follows her where'er she goes. The soundtrack evokes John Carpenter movies, such as Halloween (1978) and The Thing (1982). Probably the first soundtrack since the latter movie to actually put the fear in me. You get two songs for this one. 

Personal Favourites: Title
Context?: Title theme, and whenever shit goes down

Personal Favourites: Old Maid
Context?: A creepy as shit old lady walks down a corridor. You heard me.

The Wicker Man (1973)

The Wicker Man (ORIGINAL) has always been one of my favourite horror films, but it was only in my very early 20s that I realised how fantastic the soundtrack is. The Wicker Man is a film that follows Sergeant Howie on his trip to a remote town in Scotland to find Rowan, a missing young girl. The film is very odd in that it's almost a musical... an uneasy, a horrifying musical. There's no other film quite like it. The soundtrack is salacious and heady, and performed by actors who are clearly not singers; which gives it it's charm.

Personal Favourite: Gently Johnny
Context?: Britt Ekland sexing, whilst a pub busker sings this song downstairs

The Guest (2014)

The Guest is a relatively new addition to my favourite soundtrack family. I fell in love with it, and the film, immediately. Another 80s tribute, The Guest is one of the weirder films that I've watched. Without giving too much away, the film surround a 'guest' called David, at the house of a family who's son, 'his friend', has died. Sounds pretty run of the mill, but it's an odd one and very original. Spanning all genres (and creating a whole new one), it evokes 80s horror/action/psychological-thriller, strung along by extremely subtle, tongue-in-cheek black comedy, and an easy on the eyes lead, with whom we're always in a state of uncertainty. Terminator meets The Stepfather meets Halloween. The soundtrack need not even be discussed. Just listen to the whole. damn. thing.

Personal Favourite: Anthonio - Annie (Berlin Breakdown)
Context?: The film's wonderfully constructed climax. "You did the right thing. I don't blame you"

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Modern Alternative Horrors That I Like - Part 1

Modern Alternative Horrors That I Like - Part 1

So I decided to type this in my down time between a long old day of sorting student finance issues and writing a nice long essay for one of my uni courses. When you live in a city where you know so few people and have a limited TV signal, talking about the things you love can be quite the therapeutic hobby, regardless of who reads it. I've had a handful of blog posts planned for the last year, but having the attention span of a gnat seems to have hindered their existence somewhat. I thought I'd talk a little about my long standing romance with the horror genre. It's a genre that gets quite a bit of stick in the film world, and having little to no artistic merits unless it's one of the classic greats. And although Rosemary's Baby, and The Thing and The Wicker Man are all fantastic horrors, and yes, since the 90's, the quality of horror has nose dived somewhat, there are some little gems out there waiting to be watched. I'd like to talk about a handful of horror films that are a tad less mainstream and may have slipped under the radar, but all have some degree of merit to them and I feel all have something to offer. Now these ten are an assorted handful and I could go on forever, so I'm going to break this into parts and start with ten for now. So without further ado, trailers attached and in nor particular order...: 


I hadn't watched the trailer for Excision when I decided to watch it. I was drawn to it by the poster image on Netflix. It was the image of a woman seated on a thrown, like the Red Queen from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but the bottom of her dress was soaked in blood. I casually glanced at the cast and noticed that the lead was played by AnnaLynn McCord. McCord had played the notorious and beautiful Eden in Nip/Tuck. I'm pretty sure she's in a series called 90210 as well, not that I watch a lot of teen drama, and I could just imagine her playing a scream queen in slasher film, but the poster juxtaposed her previous roles so massively that I had to watch it. 
It was probably one of the strangest, most different and surprisingly good horror films that I'd seen in recent years. McCord plays Pauline, a strange young woman who has sexual fascination with blood, and a strong desire to become a surgeon.
Though visually stunning, It's not clearly defined as a horror outside of Pauline's fantasises, which usually involve blood, nudity and corpses, and a shock ending that will see you with your hand clapped over your mouth. Otherwise, it's just a bit gross and often pretty amusing. Pauline is an interesting and generally likeable character. I take my hat off to McCord in this role. She has really earned her acting stripes. McCord is a grand beauty in real life, just google her, and the grotesque Pauline could not be further from her real life appearance. As well as the shocking transformation, McCord plays her with a sensitivity and depth that is not often apparent in horror protagonists, and I hope she gets the opportunity to get her teeth into more roles like this. The woman can act.  If you're a fan of horror and you want to see something totally new, this is a film for you. A cautionary tale for parents who deny proper treatment of their children's mental health problems. An uneasy and shocking original.  Oh, and Malcolm McDowell.


Good news to my Bath Spa Uni friends, I've seen this one floating around in the library. Another Netflix find, and the debut film of Brandon Cronenberg. David's Cronenberg's son, no less. Though it's message isn't subtle, it doesn't stop it from being powerful. A harrowing and not altogether unbelievable portrait of a future where our obsessions with celebrities have hit an all time creepy, creepy high. Butcher's and restaurants sell the cloned meat of celebrities for fans to dine on, skin grafts cloned from the rich and famous are not uncommon, but most popularly; for a price, fans are able to purchase the sicknesses straight from celeb's veins, believing it brings them closer to their most beloved. 
We follow Syd, played by Caleb Landry Jones, who's pale and interesting appearance works perfectly here. Syd works for a company that administers the aforementioned viruses and sickness to fans who are able to cough up the cash. Syd also opperates for the viral black market, earning himself a pretty penny on the side, but for a price; Syd has to carry the virus in his body to incubate it until it needed. When Hannah Geist, the most beloved celebrity of her time, dies from an aggressive and unidentified virus, Syd has to race against time to save himself, after incubating the virus in his own body. 

It's incredibly original, you'll not have seen anything like this before. As obvious as it is, it really does hold up a mirror to society. You just know that is this sort of service was offered today, Justin Beiber and One Direction fans would flock to clinic doors. The acting is perfectly decent, and visually, it's stunning, but it's the storyline that will carry you. Well worth the watch. Oh and Malcolm McDowell again.  


May is a film I stumbled across some years ago, on one of my quarterly horror movie marathon's with a friend of mine named Hollie, who's father possesses the Sistine Chapel of horror film collections. This film has always stayed with me for being generally unsettling throughout, and then, a little like Excision, has a kick in the face ending. Now I've posted a trailer with all of my films, but I highly recommend staying away from this one, as its marketed around the twist in the last 20 minutes, and I think the fun of this film is avoiding knowing what happens until it happens, and because most of interesting parts happen outside of the twist.  The story follow's May, a socially inept young woman who's only close friend is china doll, locked in a display box.  Her obsession with perfection and fascination with anatomy extends into her love life; Adam is mechanic that May spies near her work, who she pursues a relationship with proceeding an infatuation with his 'beautiful' hands. 
May is a tragic but intensely interesting creation, and as an audience, we can never quite figure out whether she's sympathetic or just plain creepy. Angela Bettis plays her alarmingly well, I couldn't have imagined anyone else being cast in this role. Well worth a watch. It's a slow burner, but the pay off great. It's fun at first, then disturbing, then actually pretty sad. 

Dog Soldiers 

Dog Soldiers is British horror at it's greatest, and probably one of the best modern werewolf films available today. It tells the story of six army soldiers on a training mission against an SAS unit, who find themselves hunted by those infamous canine beasties. Sounds average, yes, but the delivery punches well above average throughout. 
It's very bloody but it's incredibly funny as well, and there are even some touching moments scattered around throughout. I don't think I've ever seen a werewolf film and not had to suspend my disbelief before. It's totally believable. The characters are just like any chaps you'd bump into in the pub, and although the werewolves themselves are not technically ground breaking, all the characters react believably.  Sean Pertwee as Sergeant Wells absolutely steals the show in this film with his comedic timing, along with the insanely instinctive realism in his acting. His Eddie Oswald speech is absolutely fantastic, this is a man who knows how to tell a story. I bet his kid adores him. (oh look, a picture of me and Sean, how did that get up there?). A bloody good film, this one. "So, if Little Red Riding Hood should show up with a bazooka and a bad attitude, I expect you to chin the bitch."


I've only seen this film once, and a very long time ago. It's part of the Three... Extremes horror collaboration, but also has a longer cut which stands alone. 

It's probably one of the sickest films I've ever seen, I can't, to this day remember why or how I ended up watching it, I think I was going through my Asian Horror phase and just watching everything, but this is one that stuck in my memory for being so uniquely revolting, but actually carrying an alarming message. To cut it short, it's about fetus dumplings. There, I said it.  But it's more than that. It's about women's struggle against the loss of youth, and how affecting it can be. Women's worth is measured by their beauty and in the case of a fading Mrs. Li, she'll do just about anything to feel like she has value again. 

I could write a case study on this film, and a second viewing lends itself well to film students. Thee cinematography is both clever and unique (they stick a mic in the actresse's mouth so that you can hear every disgusting squelch as she bites into her little parcels of ick) but first and foremost, you'll come away feeling sick and scarred. You'll probably not eat dumplings again either. 

Murder Party

Man, I love this one. Critically, it's not rated, but then I suppose an estimated 2 critics have seen it. It's not a very well known film, to say the least. I'm not sure if it's still there, but this was another Netflix find. The poster was styled in a kind of an 80s, Evil Dead sort of way, which intrigued me, but it turned out to be an awesome, well acted, low budget comedy horror. 
The film opens on Christopher, a lonely horror nerd on Halloween night, who finds an invite to a 'Murder Party' party floating around the streets of New York. He dons his best cardboard knight costume and makes his way to the party, which doesn't turn out to be quite what he'd expected of the evening. 
It's a slow burner, this one, but stay with it, the payoff is excellent. The characters are very funny, and the whole thing basically rips apart the pretentious artistic community. It's amusing throughout, but actually becomes pretty scary during the final third. There is one scene with SFX makeup that absolutely blows my mind, and is a fantastic tribute to old werewolf films. you'll know it when you see it! The performances are excellent and the lead actor, Chris Sharp, is just fantastic as the puzzled, frightened and hilarious bloke who gets caught up in the madness. He just wanted to party! 

Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

I could sing an aria in praise of what this film gets right. I am shocked that so few people have seen it. You could barely even call it a cult film. Leslie Vernon is a horror/comedy mockumentary, spliced with clips of the film as it would play out on screen, set in an AU where all of out most beloved slasher fiends exist; Jason, Freddy, Michael Myers and so on. Leslie is an up and coming slasher, preparing for his debut.
 What is so effective about this film, is that it's not intended to be taken with a pinch of salt, but it IS funny. 
It's not making fun of horror tropes, but rather examining them in a way that makes the process of hunting down and massacring a group of ill fated teens seem almost scientific. The humour comes from Leslie, who is genuinely likeable as the rising seriall killer, and really holds the slaughter close to his heart. He's funny and at times, even childlike. The real kicker is the last third of the film, where the cameras cut and we're no longer watching a mockumentary, but a real horror film. Leslie is someone that is very easy to warm to, and It's shocking to witness Leslie's transformation from lovable clown into  someone genuinely frightening. You almost didn't believe it could happen. Nathan Baesel takes on the roll of Leslie with gusto, and I'd like to see more of him. 

Angela Goethals is brilliant as our documentary presenter, and a genuinely fantastic actress. The chemistry between her and Baesel is perfect. It's tense but warm, and you never know quite where the two stand with each other, but none the less, their interactions are compelling to watch. Their are brilliant cameos from renowned horror actors throughout, ones that even people with very little knowledge of horror would recognise. It's a genuinely clever film, I have never showed anyone this and had a bad response. A must watch for horror fans. 

Ginger Snaps 

Now this here IS a cult horror and it's pretty easily accessible, you'll find it in any second-hand DVD shop. Ginger Snaps is a unique horror/comedy in a sense that it does what no horror had ever done before. When Ginger gets bitten by a werewolf at full moon, she mistakes her changing body for the pains of puberty.

Blood, body hair, mood swings, an insatiable lust for someone's flesh, you get the picture. Without being half as grim as it sounds, it's not only incredibly clever, but very entertaining. Katharine Isabelle is magnetic as Ginger and wonderful to watch. Her transformation is comedic, but strangely relatable to anyone who has gone through puberty, which is, hopefully, anyone who picks up the film. Emily Perkins provides pretty good foil for Isabelle's character, as the less than worldly sister, Brigitte, who sees Ginger's changing personality and body for what it really is, and makes it her mission to stop it. Ginger Snaps is a fun romp, it's no masterpiece, but it's cult horror status is deserved. A must watch. Oh and kudos to Pamela Fitzgerald as the Ginger and Brigitte's mother, she's just hilarious. 


Repo! The Genetic Opera

"A LITTLE GLASS VIAL?!" Another cult film her, but I'm not just throwing this in because I know a vast amount of people who worked on the film (oh but you know I've totally got the hookups), it's genuinely something special. Repo was originally a stage showed named The Necromerchant's Debt by Terrence Zdunich and Darren Smith, who then went on to star in the film and play a heavy part in it's production, as directed by Darren Lynn Bousman of Saw 2 - 4. 

Repo is a complex intertwining of many different character's storylines, set in the future, where there has been an organ failure epidemic. GeneCo rises from the ashes to provide transplants for people, but at a cost. If they can't make their payments, they get a visit from a Repo Man. And he's not stopping by for a cup of tea and a chin wag, I can tell you that much.

Repo is an assault on the senses, and visually, it's absolutely mindblowing. But the real heart of the film is the music. It's genred as a rock-opera, and I think that's just about a perfect description. It stars a pretty impressive cast, spanning from Anthony Head of Buffy, and the wonderful Sarah Brightman. Most of the cast have pretty great pipes, even those who have not come from a musical background. Paul Sorvino blows it out of the water as Rotti Largo, GeneCo's dying owner, and even Paris Hilton's presence doesn't muddy the water all that much. She's basically playing a futuristic version of herself, so there's little for her to get wrong. After watching this film. you'll have 'Zydrate Anatomy' in your head for the next year, I can promise you that much. Look out for the Joan Jett cameo. I've yet to watch the Devil's Carnival, by the same makers, which is along similar lines I hear, but I'll make sure to pop it in a future post, if I enjoy it! 

Wolf Creek

Loosely based on true events, Wolf Creek is a film set in the Australian out backs, and it follows two young Brit girls and an Aussie guy on their trip to visit Wolf Creek, where they encounter a mysterious bloke in the middle of nowhere when their car breaks down. Nothing new here and quite frankly it does 
sounds like your typical horror film, but what sets Wolf Creek apart is not the storyline, but the phenomenal execution. Don't listen to the critics when they tell you it's nothing more than exploitation horror. It is nothing less than a masterclass in modern horror film making, and I say that with the utmost confidence. There's no nudity, no overt gore.
 It's labelled exploitation because it's difficult to watch. It's not just the top class acting  to be praised, (which is undeniable, even if you hate the film) the direction blows it out of the water and the cinematography is off the scale, everything is so intensely thought through. There is a long shot in this film that blows my mind every time. It's such a simple story, that going into any massive detail would just give the entire plot away, but what I will say is that it's not for the faint of heart. Some lovely references to Texax Chainsaw too, you'll know them when you see them. 

Friday, 19 July 2013


I am back, as promised, with my next review. Trying to keep the ball rolling. My most recent review is horror/black comedy called 'Teeth'. 

The story really with a young, pretty blonde girl providing a speech on purity and chastity to a group of young people at a community center, and how sex should be something only engaged in after marriage. There she meets Tobey, a new boy and friend of her other 'pro-purity' pals. After this, we are introduced to Dawn's sick mother, father and older step brother, Brad, who is everything she isn't. He like's death metal, tattoos, rottweilers and questionable sex.

After spending some time with Tobey and getting to know him, she discovers his motives aren't entirely pure, and neither is his past. After Tobey's intentions become more sinister, Dawn discovers a secret of her own.

Spoilers from hereon in

So yes, this is a film about a girl with teeth in her vagina. And no, surprisingly, it's not as much of a trainwreck as it sounds. I apologize, by the way, for my second 'anti-male film' review. It's highly coincidental, I assure you. I just happened to be watching 'Teeth' and thought 'Why not review it?' 

The acting  is pretty good from the story's main actress, Jess Weixler. Brilliant in fact. I'd love to see her in some other films, I'm sure she was nominated for the a minor acting award here and there for her role as Dawn. The acting overall is okay actually. If you've seen Nip/Tuck, you'll recognise John Hensley who is pretty much just playing Matt McNamara a'la season 3, with a few added tattoos. All the other youngsters are your usual teen horror fodder, they know how to scream pretty well and can hold their own acting wise, as with the parents, who are very decent. 

Visually, the film is riddled with obvious yonic and religious imagery, as well as sexually dangerous imagery, spanning from Medusa to a sort of fanged crab... thing, from a film I can't place, that's playing on her television at one point. Metaphors pretty much punch you in the face left, right and center. Like the very pointed shots of the beautiful, rural town in which she lives, spoiled by the power plant just behind it, spilling fumes and ruining the town's picturesque purity. It's no grand cinematic experience, but it's well pieced together. The incidental music is nothing to write home about, very typical. I have no real praises or criticisms.

The script is very good, very clever and at times a little surreal. It's also sometimes surprisingly funny, especially a lot of Dawn's dialogue. I particularly enjoyed the moments where her and her friends were deciding what film they could allow themselves to watch when going to the cinema. The storyline itself is somewhat original. I guess she's a new school femme fatale, but most of the castrations happen to those who deserve it.

And by deserve it, I mean 99% percent of the men who suffer Dawn's wrath are either rapists or take serious sexual advantage in positions of trust, and that 1%?... he's warranted, trust me. Dawn's struggle is written very well, and she doesn't suddenly become a man hating, penis chomper overnight, there is genuine moral dilemma, and her pain at her treasured loss of purity is strongly evident. 

Now to the part everyone wants to know about... the castration scenes. This is the second film with a castration theme I've reviewed. Again, boys, I apologise. I'll be honest, whilst the fact it's fake blood and rubber with tubing is clear, it's pretty graphic and is enough to turn your stomach, even if you're a girl. Some are more realistic than others, but they're all pretty grusome. The film isn't riddled with them, but there are a few. A guy also loses a few fingers in both a disturbing and amusing scene. I couldn't decide which it was more, and I'm also unsure how it managed to be both.

Pretty good film that will put men off sex for life. Be prepared to spend the next few days recoiling from your girlfriend's touch. Good rewatch factor too.

Script: 6.5/10:
Cinematography: 5/10
Acting: 7.5/10
Story: 8/10
Direction: 7/10

 Overall: 7/10

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Buffy - My Best and Worst of Everything Part 1 - FAVOURITE EPISODES

10. The Wish - S3E9

The Wish is an alternative reality episode, (always fun) in which Cordelia makes a wish to a vengeance demon (our very own Anya, who thereafter took up Cordelia's mantle as the character who says whatever the hell she likes) that Buffy Summers had never come to Sunnydale. The delight of this episode is seeing characters nothing like they are now. A leather bound Xander and Willow are an item, eerily mirroring Spike and Drusilla's early relationship and when we finally do see Buffy, she emulates a small, female Rambo. Willow is undoubtedly the best part of the episode, in all her corset-clad evilness. Referring to Angel as 'the puppy' and then torturing the crap out of him wouldn't have seemed out of place coming from Drusilla and Willow's trademark "Bored now" line is first seen here, echoed later when Willow becomes the Big Bad in season 6. Fascinating episode and good fun. Dopplegangland later revisits the alternate reality seen in this episode and is rather fun too.

9. Lies My Parents Told Me - S7E17

I never found season seven particularly involving, but as the series is nearing its climax, this one just sneaks right up and smacks you in the face. I found myself on the edge of my seat the whole time. Principle Wood has been correctly told by the First that Spike killed his slayer mother when he was a child, and he sets out to end Spikes life, manipulating him with his still active trigger 'Early One Morning'. After discovering Buffy has had Spike's chip removed, Giles agrees to help and stalls Buffy. The episode itself is spliced with clips from Spike's past (which is always fascinating) and the episode has it all. Emotion, tension, edge of your seat fighting. Very involving and exciting episode.

8. Hush - S4E10

Some people might be quite shocked to see Hush so low. But, like my partner feels about Doctor Who's Blink, it's a great episode with some fantastic monsters, but I feel it has been overhyped by fans. I still very much enjoy it though, and it manages to hold a decent level of interest for the full hour. Sunnydale has been taken over by a strange case of... laryngitis? Everyone has lost their voices, and The Gentlemen, floating men with bald heads, grey skin and alarming grins are stealing everyone's hearts, and no one can hear them scream!  The Gentlemen (and their straightjacketed minions) are fantastic monsters and they are pant wettingly scary. Their elegance and demeanour, with an almost over the top grace and politeness makes them even more disturbing. Whedon interestingly once remarked: "The Gentlemen and their straitjacket-wearing minions, who clumsily flap, gyrate, and crouch as they move, are representative of class disparity and patriarchy: The Gentlemen, with their Victorian suits, move effortlessly to accomplish what they set out to do while their minions, whom Whedon called "footmen", do the "dirty work". With so many levels, and genuine scares and humour,  it's unsurprising that it was nominated for an Emmy.

7. Chosen - S7E22

This one makes it onto the list purely for being the last episode. It's not one of the best episodes of Buffy ever, there are some cliché moments, cop outs, and there's a lot they get wrong, but my love for it comes with the raw emotional impact of the fact it's the last episode. We lose many characters, including some of the key members of the Scooby Gang in quite upsetting ways and it marks the end of an era in the Whedonverse. As well as the loss, we finally get some closure in Buffy and Spikes relationship and any character that required redemption prior to this episode is redeemed. It's just incredibly emotional and it can't not be in the list.

6. Once More With Feeling - S6E7

I'm sure most people expect this one to be higher too, but again, I do think it's overrated. None the less fantastic and well composed. I'm sure most know it's a musical episode, but the joy comes in the form of the fact that none one in it claims to be a professional singer. It's just a bunch of actors giving it their all for the cause of a brilliantly fun episode. The whole thing is pure joy, if at times, a little cringe worthy, but that all adds to it. It's delightfully cheesy, and actually musically and lyrically it's pretty damn good. Catchy with great sing along factor. Joss Whedon has a bit of a gift for clever lyrics and humour (see Doctor Horrible for further proof) and as well as being very humorous, it's very important to the recent story arc, Buffy having recently been unknowingly dragged out of heaven by her friends, who brought her back from the dead. It also documents her ongoing struggle, and the end presents important moments in that arc, and marks a significant turning point in her relationship with Spike.

5. Becoming Part 2 - S2E21

Inarguably the most heartbreaking episode of  the entire Buffy series. If you don't know what happens the first time you watch it, you will your heart bleed at the end of the episode. It was a shock viewing it the first time round. I can still remember the stunned silence in my living room after it happened. As if seeing Buffy's slow breakdown over the series, as she watches her beloved Angel (now the souless Angelus) tear her world apart, isn't enough, we also discover that only Angel's blood can stop Acathla opening the hell mouth. We knew what was coming. But we didn't expect it to happen like THAT. If you haven't seen, then you'll just have to watch, (or wiki it) but I refuse to spoil that for anyone. I had to suffer. You will too. Just have a pack of tissues ready and prepare to cry.

4. The Gift - S5E22

The Gift is just a high quality episode in every way. It was television gold. It had everything, action, emotion, surprises, (Joel Grey) and it was totally edge of your seat stuff. It was the episode that answered all the questions we'd been asking ourselves. Will Buffy finally beat Glory? Will Dawn really die? Will Tara's mind be lost forever. The final battle was thrilling, and incredibly clever. It's also an important episode for Spike, as we finally begin to see the extent of his devotion to Buffy in his valiant attempt to save Dawn, and the horror on his face when he realises he may have failed and left her to the mercy of the wolves. That and his breakdown after the thrilling and upsetting climax. It's definitely the most exciting and well written climax of all the series, in my option (some would argue that title goes to Graduation Day Part 2 or Chose).

3. Restless - S4E22

I LOVED this episode when I was a child, which probably comes from my love of dreams and the intensity of my own ones. In this episode we see the gang attacked by the first Slayer whilst they sleep. The episode is riddled with metaphors and symbolic imagery, as well as humour, and they hit the nail on the head with atmosphere.
It is like watching four people's actual dreams being projected onto the television. The weird, nonsensical dialogue, the strange imagery, people acting completely unlike they would in real life, the choppiness of being one place and then suddenly another. Fantastic writing and direction. The repeat watch factor is fantastic. It might not be arc changing episode, but the insight we get into the characters minds is fascinating and important. I have a lot of love for this episode.

2. Fool for Love - S5E7

Fool for Love has been one of my favourite episodes since I first watched it back in the year 2000. I'm sure it mostly comes from my love of Spike.
He's a fantastic creation and his background is just as interesting and well constructed. In this episode, we see Spike giving Buffy a crash course of how a Slayer get's herself killed. The episode is fantastically written, and the past and present scenes glide seamlessly together, until they're almost merged, and past Spike is speaking to present Buffy.
The monologues are thought provoking and at times, unnerving, and James Marster's performance throughout is absolutely fantastic. He's manages to be a amusing, whilst maintaining a high level of uneasiness, and the sexual tension between the two leads is almost palpable. The episode has genuine emotion and the end is unexpected and telling. A fan favourite and it's easy to see why; The episode is bloody brilliant.

1. The Body - S5E16

The Body is probably one of the single finest hours of television I have ever watched. The episode is about dealing with loss, and it deals with it in a more honest and raw way than anything I've ever seen before. Buffy comes home to find her mother, Joyce, a character we've come to love and feel warmly for, dead on the sofa. It's a blunt and honest as it seems. Her mother had complications with her surgery that went undetected and died. It happens in real life. I can only describe the whole experience of watching it like having someone prod an open wound.

It really is painful, but it's also clever. It manages to replicate the stomach turning feeling of loss you may have experienced if you've ever lost someone before. Months of thought has gone into writing and even the tiniest details are important to the plot. The giant buttons on Buffy's phone appearing large as she dials for an ambulance. The babbling and saying unusual things to those who she speaks to in the initial moments after finding her mother. 

The negative space in Dawn's painting. The lack of use of incidental music works highly in favour of the realistic atmosphere here, and it was a fantastic decision on the director's part. The most moving part probably comes in the form of a monologue from Anya. A character who doesn't understand the human customs of death, and we finally see her cry for the first time when no one will explain it to her. It's also the first time we aptly see Tara and Willow, one television's earliest lesbian couples, share an intense kiss. The whole episode is painfully human and highly emotional. It is, however, not without its flaws. There are some moments with Xander I could do without and I'm not fond of the ending at all. By my love for it surpasses those things, and it is hands down my favourite episode of Buffy. (If only by a little!)

Honourable mentions:  Killed By Death - S2E18, Conversations With Dead People - S7E7 and all episodes with Willow as the big bad, S6E20,21,22