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It’s easy to gain success, but hard to keep it. It is seldom that company leaders and CEOs stand the test of time and weather all storms with their business during their journey to prosperity. Here we will look at leaders who persevered challenges and adversity to accomplish these achievements. 1. Warren Buffett Warren Buffett is well renowned for being one of the most successful investors the world has known. His impeccable business know-how and expertise in the stock market has made him one of the wealthiest people worldwide. This was due to his hard work and experience in finance throughout the years of his career. He started his career with lucrative investment partnerships and eventually worked his way to CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett exemplifies patience and determination and knows that the exact minute to invest is never the first minute. Buffett is not afraid to share his fortune and has donated a sum of over $17.3 billion in total. 3. Howard Schultz Howard Schultz has had quite the journey to CEO of Starbucks. His family did not have much money growing up but this served as motivation for Schultz to succeed in his work life. He is not afraid to work hard for what he wants and even earned a football scholarship in school. He first earned a job as head of marketing in Starbucks. After a holiday to Milan he asked his bosses to model Starbucks like the coffee bars he saw abroad, although they disagreed. He quit, but after two years bought the business from them. He has expanded the brand to 18,000 stores worldwide and Starbucks has become a household name. 4. Bill Gates For almost two decades, Microsoft founder Bill Gates was classified as the richest man in the world but has finally been knocked from the top by Jeff Bezos. Along with his partner Paul Allen, they made Microsoft a level of success that has never been seen before in the PC and software industries. Gates has moved away from Microsoft in recent years and now owns less than 1% of its shares. Instead, the philanthropist has donated money to charities, in particular the foundation he owns with his wife, the ‘Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’ which ensures clean water and sanitation for many living in poverty in the developing world. 5. Mark Zuckerberg Facebook chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is an inspiration to tech wizards and entrepreneurs alike. Zuckerberg used his prolific coding skills to create the social media platform. Facebook is arguably the most popular form of social networking that we have ever seen, and it seems as if almost everyone has an account. Zuckerberg used his keen marketing skills to attract his target market of, well, basically everyone. What started as a young, tech-savvy person’s website soon had grandmothers signing up. Turns out dropping out of Harvard wasn’t so bad for Zuckerberg after all! 7. Elon Musk This South African has been studying since he was a child to get to where he is today. At the meagre age of 12 Musk created a code for a game and sold it, such was his proficiency. This only motivated him to continue with his love for all things technology. He has several degrees and was even accepted into Stanford University for a Ph.D. programme. The polished businessman invented machinery and IT instalments alike, but is best known for being the founder of PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla Motors. His developments in automation and robotics are paving the way for the future. 9. Reed Hastings Our favourite online streaming service Netflix is the brainchild of businessman Reed Hastings. The co-founder and CEO of Netflix admitted that running a business is not easy, even for an established businessman like himself. He had trouble managing his first company, but despite this it was profitable and he used this money to develop Netflix. He took the many lessons he learnt there and made the online streaming business one of the primary ways we consumes media today.
The Special Forces are highly trained military units, and a force to be reckoned with. Only the top soldiers are chosen for these elite groups and the entry regimes are notorious for their difficulty. Few graduate from training and gain a place in these units. Special Forces take on the most difficult operations of the military and are well respected. Today we are going to look at the toughest of the tough from around the world.   British SAS The British SAS (Special Air Service) were created during World War 2 in 1941 and became one of the first prominent Special Forces in history. Most Special Forces worldwide base their groups on the SAS model. They are one of the oldest forces and their main duty is to fight terrorism. The SAS are a formidable sight when in action. They invade enemy land to gain intelligence and perform rescue missions. Lieutenant David Stirling started the group. He had an idea for a super group who were highly skilled, deadly soldiers to work together on special tasks and would take the enemy by surprise. They began as a regiment and then a corp. The entry process for the SAS is not to be taken lightly. Soldiers must undergo gruelling training regimes and if they pass they begin their specialist training. There is a fail rate of over 90%. During the 1980 Iranian Embassy siege they successfully saved many hostages. This event was televised and brought them to the attention of the world. They are often considered the best Special Forces in the world. US Navy Seals The US Navy Seals were formed during World War 2. They are a key part of the US military and constantly fight in active war zones, including the 2003 invasion of Iraq. They were the team responsible for killing Osama Bin Laden. When a task seems doomed it is passed along to the Seals to take over the operation. To join them you have to participate in a yearlong training course that puts mental and physical strength to its limits. Many American movies mention or portray the Navy Seals, such is their importance to the country and shows the respect Americans have for them. They are specially trained in unorthodox methods different to those that a regular soldier would experience. They learn to survive in many different environments, but above all the sea. ‘Seal’ stands for ‘Sea, Air and Land’. When they are not on a mission they are consistently in training. One of their most impressive skills is the timing of their operations. They invade land, kill opposition and perform rescue missions in very little time. Getting in and out quickly without being seen is something they excel at. Russian Spetsnaz The Spetsnaz is a word meaning all of Russia’s Special Forces. They are arguably the most aggressive force globally in the Special Forces. They have been involved in every major terrorist operation, notably the 2002 Moscow theatre siege. Their sniper precision is a spectacle to watch. Training includes prisoner interrogation, assassination and military drills. They are one of the best groups for withstanding torture. The group do not allow any of their plans or intelligence leak, and are willing to undergo abusive practices of torture so dangerous that they are banned in the US. Almost nothing was known of them until the 1980s, when a policy of politician Mikhail Gorbachev brought many secrets to light. They are still active today. French GIGN The French GIGN, stands for the National Gendarmerie Intervention Group, and is a special unit of the national French police. They are the most prestigious group of law enforcement. Their primary job is performing counter-terrorism missions and surveillance of threats to the country and government. They work worldwide but are based from France. The combat levels of the members are notoriously high. Many believe they are the best counter-terrorism unit globally. Their training regime spans 14 months and is infamous for its brutality. Classes include handling weapons, survival training and diving. Very few recruits complete it.
Rapid developments in robotics mean that we are looking at a reality where everything from cleaning your home to medical procedures can be performed by robots. This growth causes fear for many surrounding the eradication of jobs as robots can do some tasks more efficiently and accurately than humans. While it is true that many low-skill jobs could be taken over by machinery, it now seems that more complex procedures such as surgeries could be assigned to automation. Yet there are positives to robotics, as there so much it can assist us with and make easier in our lives. Here we will take a look at the most recent advances in the field of robotics.   The DaVinci Surgical System Brilliant minds today have used the ever expanding range of technology at our hands to develop robotics that specialise in the medical field. They have created a range of AI that can take a person’s pulse, assess their vitals, read case notes and now it is predicted that in the future robots will perform surgical procedures. They will ease the pressure and demand on doctors and nurses in the healthcare system today. Patients will be seen to quicker, and of course complex cases with high risk will be handled by a human doctor. The daVinci machine is a new instrument which is controlled by a surgeon at all times and makes incisions to the body with expert precision. This level of accuracy minimises risk of bleeding occurring and infection from happening. It is a staple in many theatres worldwide and has been in use for almost two decades. It is continually being worked on and improved. Soft Exosuit Everyday new discoveries occur and technology advances. The exosuit is one such robotic advancement. It is a suit that the user can wear to help build their muscular strength. This is aimed particularly towards elderly people and those with bodily impairments such as MS or Parkinson’s disease. The suit is light, stretchy and aids the user’s balance and bodily strength when walking or performing physical tasks. The suit is personalised to the user, so the wearer can modify it to suit their needs. It will take a while before it is in regular use and available to purchase, but is exciting to watch mature in production as it comes to fruition.   PARO Therapeutic Robot There is extensive research that cements the idea that children with mental issues respond brilliantly to animal therapy. Of course, this presents some issues when dealing with live animals such as infections or animal behavioural problems. The PARO robotics are manufactured to look like baby seals and eliminates this problem, as their cute look and sense of realism allow children to form a real connection with the robot. They can interact with it as if it was a live animal. These robots are programmed to imitate animal’s behaviour, such as blinking, recognising their name and can also express different moods and reactions based on the child’s behaviour towards them. It is truly impressive programming that is making a huge difference in many children’s lives. Companion Robots These robots may seem less advanced than other counterparts, but they are manufactured with complex and intricate internal systems to provide many functions for the user. They use cutting-edge technology to recognise speech and turn that into coding that the robot processes and then gives the correct response. They have become increasingly popular with elderly people and invalids alike to provide company, support and perform basic tasks that the owner may have trouble with. If the user has a fall or becomes ill, the robot will contact an ambulance and any emergency contacts. These robots are true lifesavers, and give a form of independence back to the user. The BUDDY companion robot recently won 2018 Best of Innovation Award, and we can expect these to become a household name in future decades.
It’s easy to gain success, but hard to keep it. It is seldom that company leaders and CEOs stand the test of time and weather all storms with their business during their journey to prosperity. Here we will look at leaders who persevered challenges and adversity to accomplish these achievements. 1. Warren Buffett Warren Buffett is well renowned for being one of the most successful investors the world has known. His impeccable business know-how and expertise in the stock market has made him one of the wealthiest people worldwide. This was due to his hard work and experience in finance throughout the years of his career. He started his career with lucrative investment partnerships and eventually worked his way to CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett exemplifies patience and determination and knows that the exact minute to invest is never the first minute. Buffett is not afraid to share his fortune and has donated a sum of over $17.3 billion in total. 2. Jeff Bezos Next we have the wealthiest man in the world, Mr Jeff Bezos. We all know Bezos as the man who started Amazon.com in his garage to sell books, and slowly expanded into selling almost everything else. When the company first went live they sold books to 45 countries in the space of a month, indicating the stellar future it had in store. He is one of the people behind the emergence and popularity of ecommerce. The company embraced the virtual world and took it by storm. Bezos also created predictive analysis, which uses AI to predict what other products an individual customer might like to buy based on their history. This is omnipresent in online shopping today, but wasn’t around until Bezos had this idea. 3. Howard Schultz Howard Schultz has had quite the journey to CEO of Starbucks. His family did not have much money growing up but this served as motivation for Schultz to succeed in his work life. He is not afraid to work hard for what he wants and even earned a football scholarship in school. He first earned a job as head of marketing in Starbucks. After a holiday to Milan he asked his bosses to model Starbucks like the coffee bars he saw abroad, although they disagreed. He quit, but after two years bought the business from them. He has expanded the brand to 18,000 stores worldwide and Starbucks has become a household name. 4. Bill Gates For almost two decades, Microsoft founder Bill Gates was classified as the richest man in the world but has finally been knocked from the top by Jeff Bezos. Along with his partner Paul Allen, they made Microsoft a level of success that has never been seen before in the PC and software industries. Gates has moved away from Microsoft in recent years and now owns less than 1% of its shares. Instead, the philanthropist has donated money to charities, in particular the foundation he owns with his wife, the ‘Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’ which ensures clean water and sanitation for many living in poverty in the developing world. 5. Mark Zuckerberg Facebook chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is an inspiration to tech wizards and entrepreneurs alike. Zuckerberg used his prolific coding skills to create the social media platform. Facebook is arguably the most popular form of social networking that we have ever seen, and it seems as if almost everyone has an account. Zuckerberg used his keen marketing skills to attract his target market of, well, basically everyone. What started as a young, tech-savvy person’s website soon had grandmothers signing up. Turns out dropping out of Harvard wasn’t so bad for Zuckerberg after all! 6. Indra Nooyi Next is Indra Nooyi, powerful businesswoman and CEO of PepsiCo. When she made the move from India to the United States her parents thought she was absurd, but Nooyi has never been one to let others make decisions for her. She has always been tenacious and unafraid, and this has translated into her professional life. Featuring on Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women list, Nooyi has led the company to an astonishing yearly revenue increase of 72 percent. She presides over 185,000 employees, a dramatic change from her college position as dorm receptionist. Ever the opportunist, she took the night shift as it paid 50 cents extra. She is loved by her staff for her kind demeanour and is known to sing karaoke at work events! 7. Elon Musk This South African has been studying since he was a child to get to where he is today. At the meagre age of 12 Musk created a code for a game and sold it, such was his proficiency. This only motivated him to continue with his love for all things technology. He has several degrees and was even accepted into Stanford University for a Ph.D. programme. The polished businessman invented machinery and IT instalments alike, but is best known for being the founder of PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla Motors. His developments in automation and robotics are paving the way for the future. 8. Larry Page Computer scientist Larry Page did not know what he had begun when he started working on Google for his dissertation. Along with partner Sergey Brin, they created the search engine we know today which is synonymous with the internet. Born to parents who were professors in computer science, Page honed his craft under their watchful gaze. His carefully planned business decisions helped his web crawling software grow rapidly into a multinational company which he continued to develop as well, as create verticals such as G Suite and Google Analytics. 9. Reed Hastings Our favourite online streaming service Netflix is the brainchild of businessman Reed Hastings. The co-founder and CEO of Netflix admitted that running a business is not easy, even for an established businessman like himself. He had trouble managing his first company, but despite this it was profitable and he used this money to develop Netflix. He took the many lessons he learnt there and made the online streaming business one of the primary ways we consumes media today. 10. Richard Branson Sir Richard Branson is a highly recognisable business leader as CEO of Virgin Group. The magnate has expanded his company into many ventures such as airlines and space exploration to name but two. His excellent mind has allowed him to make intelligent market decisions which has resulted in his ownership of over 400 companies. Throughout them all the common thread is superb customer service.
The Special Forces are highly trained military units, and a force to be reckoned with. Only the top soldiers are chosen for these elite groups and the entry regimes are notorious for their difficulty. Few graduate from training and gain a place in these units. Special Forces take on the most difficult operations of the military and are well respected. Today we are going to look at the toughest of the tough from around the world.   British SAS The British SAS (Special Air Service) were created during World War 2 in 1941 and became one of the first prominent Special Forces in history. Most Special Forces worldwide base their groups on the SAS model. They are one of the oldest forces and their main duty is to fight terrorism. The SAS are a formidable sight when in action. They invade enemy land to gain intelligence and perform rescue missions. Lieutenant David Stirling started the group. He had an idea for a super group who were highly skilled, deadly soldiers to work together on special tasks and would take the enemy by surprise. They began as a regiment and then a corp. The entry process for the SAS is not to be taken lightly. Soldiers must undergo gruelling training regimes and if they pass they begin their specialist training. There is a fail rate of over 90%. During the 1980 Iranian Embassy siege they successfully saved many hostages. This event was televised and brought them to the attention of the world. They are often considered the best Special Forces in the world. US Navy Seals The US Navy Seals were formed during World War 2. They are a key part of the US military and constantly fight in active war zones, including the 2003 invasion of Iraq. They were the team responsible for killing Osama Bin Laden. When a task seems doomed it is passed along to the Seals to take over the operation. To join them you have to participate in a yearlong training course that puts mental and physical strength to its limits. Many American movies mention or portray the Navy Seals, such is their importance to the country and shows the respect Americans have for them. They are specially trained in unorthodox methods different to those that a regular soldier would experience. They learn to survive in many different environments, but above all the sea. ‘Seal’ stands for ‘Sea, Air and Land’. When they are not on a mission they are consistently in training. One of their most impressive skills is the timing of their operations. They invade land, kill opposition and perform rescue missions in very little time. Getting in and out quickly without being seen is something they excel at.   Israeli Shayetet 13 This veteran group is instrumental in the Israel Defense Forces but is one of the most private Special Forces. They do not readily share information on their group so it is difficult to gain knowledge about them and what they are doing. Only a handful of people know about the missions they are on at any given time. They are a tough group and only the best soldiers make it in. The Krav Maga style of fighting is their area of expertise, where they use their entire body as a lethal weapon. If you join you must stay with them for at least four years. They are constantly compared to the British SAS and US Navy Seals as their missions and way of operating is so similar. They deal with maritime hostage rescues, sea-to-land incursions, reconnaissance and also counter-terrorism. Their most memorable operation is their elimination of assailants who attacked great Israeli athletes, earning them their legendary status. Canadian JTF2 This special unit force in Canada was set up after the success of the British Special Forces. Their Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2) are trained in biological, radiological, chemical and nuclear warfare, but mainly counter-terrorism. They are one of the newer Special Forces but have developed rapidly over the years and are known as one of the best Special Forces in the world. Like the Israeli Shayetet 13, the JTF2’s operations are strictly classified and very little is known about their activities. Surprisingly, their covert tasks are so confidential that the Canadian Prime Minister did not known they were working in Afghanistan. They are armed with the most sophisticated and expensive weapons and instruments in the world. Canadians can sleep well at night knowing this group are protecting them. Russian Spetsnaz The Spetsnaz is a word meaning all of Russia’s Special Forces. They are arguably the most aggressive force globally in the Special Forces. They have been involved in every major terrorist operation, notably the 2002 Moscow theatre siege. Their sniper precision is a spectacle to watch. Training includes prisoner interrogation, assassination and military drills. They are one of the best groups for withstanding torture. The group do not allow any of their plans or intelligence leak, and are willing to undergo abusive practices of torture so dangerous that they are banned in the US. Almost nothing was known of them until the 1980s, when a policy of politician Mikhail Gorbachev brought many secrets to light. They are still active today. French GIGN The French GIGN, stands for the National Gendarmerie Intervention Group, and is a special unit of the national French police. They are the most prestigious group of law enforcement. Their primary job is performing counter-terrorism missions and surveillance of threats to the country and government. They work worldwide but are based from France. The combat levels of the members are notoriously high. Many believe they are the best counter-terrorism unit globally. Their training regime spans 14 months and is infamous for its brutality. Classes include handling weapons, survival training and diving. Very few recruits complete it.
Rapid developments in robotics mean that we are looking at a reality where everything from cleaning your home to medical procedures can be performed by robots. This growth causes fear for many surrounding the eradication of jobs as robots can do some tasks more efficiently and accurately than humans. While it is true that many low-skill jobs could be taken over by machinery, it now seems that more complex procedures such as surgeries could be assigned to automation. Yet there are positives to robotics, as there so much it can assist us with and make easier in our lives. Here we will take a look at the most recent advances in the field of robotics.   The DaVinci Surgical System Brilliant minds today have used the ever expanding range of technology at our hands to develop robotics that specialise in the medical field. They have created a range of AI that can take a person’s pulse, assess their vitals, read case notes and now it is predicted that in the future robots will perform surgical procedures. They will ease the pressure and demand on doctors and nurses in the healthcare system today. Patients will be seen to quicker, and of course complex cases with high risk will be handled by a human doctor. The daVinci machine is a new instrument which is controlled by a surgeon at all times and makes incisions to the body with expert precision. This level of accuracy minimises risk of bleeding occurring and infection from happening. It is a staple in many theatres worldwide and has been in use for almost two decades. It is continually being worked on and improved. Soft Exosuit Everyday new discoveries occur and technology advances. The exosuit is one such robotic advancement. It is a suit that the user can wear to help build their muscular strength. This is aimed particularly towards elderly people and those with bodily impairments such as MS or Parkinson’s disease. The suit is light, stretchy and aids the user’s balance and bodily strength when walking or performing physical tasks. The suit is personalised to the user, so the wearer can modify it to suit their needs. It will take a while before it is in regular use and available to purchase, but is exciting to watch mature in production as it comes to fruition. Atlas Does Parkour An astonishing development that has unfolded before us is robot Atlas performing parkour in a series of videos uploaded online. Atlas belongs to Boston Dynamics, a robotics design company from Massachusetts. They continually work to programme Atlas to perform increasingly difficult physical tasks, making Atlas one of the most impressive robots to date. The robot is 75 kilograms and 1.5 metres tall, but performs these tasks with ease. In the videos we see it begins jogging and then leap over a log. What comes next is even more monumental. We watch as Atlas leaps from wooden box to wooden box, using its artificial legs to propel itself to each box which is increasingly higher than the previous box. It performs this task with relative ease and without breaking stride. Boston Dynamics have previously shown us Atlas’ other accomplishments, including its balance, its motor skills and it can even do a backflip. For a person who struggles to walk in a straight line without tripping over something, this is very impressive!   PARO Therapeutic Robot There is extensive research that cements the idea that children with mental issues respond brilliantly to animal therapy. Of course, this presents some issues when dealing with live animals such as infections or animal behavioural problems. The PARO robotics are manufactured to look like baby seals and eliminates this problem, as their cute look and sense of realism allow children to form a real connection with the robot. They can interact with it as if it was a live animal. These robots are programmed to imitate animal’s behaviour, such as blinking, recognising their name and can also express different moods and reactions based on the child’s behaviour towards them. It is truly impressive programming that is making a huge difference in many children’s lives. Companion Robots These robots may seem less advanced than other counterparts, but they are manufactured with complex and intricate internal systems to provide many functions for the user. They use cutting-edge technology to recognise speech and turn that into coding that the robot processes and then gives the correct response. They have become increasingly popular with elderly people and invalids alike to provide company, support and perform basic tasks that the owner may have trouble with. If the user has a fall or becomes ill, the robot will contact an ambulance and any emergency contacts. These robots are true lifesavers, and give a form of independence back to the user. The BUDDY companion robot recently won 2018 Best of Innovation Award, and we can expect these to become a household name in future decades. Wheelchair Assistance The Helping Hand laboratory of Northeastern University, Boston is working on a new project poised to revolutionise the lives of many – a wheelchair complete with a robotic arm. This arm is being programmed to have the ability to lift domestic items and perform simple functions and basic household tasks for the user who cannot do this themselves. This gives some freedom to those who are wheelchair bound, and can empower them to live alone without relying on others. Robert Platt, head of the Helping Hands lab, professed his intrigue with using robotics to perform physical tasks that can help with real issues that people experience every day. It will help many people upon its release!
Morbid fascination is an intrinsic part of the human condition. It could be argued that it is this curiosity that heightens our sense of suspicion and prudence, and serves to make us more vigilant in dubious situations. As a result of this proclivity, vicious evil doers, like Ted Bundy and Charles Manson, have found their way into the collective psyche, and everybody knows their names, and are familiar with their crimes. A 2014 study estimated that, at any given time, there are between 25 and 50 active serial killers in operation in the United States. Serial killers seem to be as much a part of our society as the law makers, and the peace keepers are. With this in mind, who, aside from the Bundys’ and Mansons’ are you aware of? If you are interested in whetting your macabre appetite, read on. We have compiled a list of some of the most barbarous, perverse and brutal serial killers ever caught, but who failed to achieve the infamy of the aforementioned psychos and sociopaths. Be warned, what you are about to read is both 100% true and 100% unsettling. Readers should continue on with caution, this is not for the faint of heart, and definitely not for younger readers. Robert ‘Willy’ Pickton Canadian serial killer Robert Pickton is described as being one of the worst serial killers in the world. He was a pig farmer based in Port Coquitlam, in British Columbia, and his crimes are known as The Pig Farm Murders. Outwardly quiet and introverted, Pickton was harborouing a terrible and savage secret. By the time of his arrest in 2002 he had viciously butchered 49 women on his farm, before grounding their remains into mince, at a meat rendering plant. Most of it was fed to his pigs, however, he sold some of it for human consumption. The depraved killer was arrested in 2002, after items belonging to a number of missing women were found on his farm. Officers made the discovery after a chance visit to the farm, in search of illegal firearms. Following his arrest, DNA of at least 26 women who had been reported missing were found at the property. Many of these women were thought to be prostitutes who Pickton had picked up in Vancouver’s Red Light District. It is alleged that he brought them back to his farm to have sex, before brutally murdering them. He unintentionally confessed to the murders after he was put in a cell with an undercover police officer. Irritated at being caught, he complained to his cellmate: “I made my own grave by being sloppy. Doesn’t that just kick you in the ass now. I was just gonna [expletive] do one more, make it even, I wanted one more to make the big 5-0.” Alexander Pichushkin Alexander Pichushkin is a Russian serial killer nicknamed The Chessboard Killer. He was caught in 2007, in Moscow, and convicted of killing 48 people. During the investigation, detectives found a chessboard with dates on all but two of the squares. These dates were connected to the murders Pichushkin had already committed. Pichushkin said he wanted to kill one person for each of the 64 squares on a chessboard, and crossed out a square for every kill, earning him his nickname. At the time, Russian authorities considered reinstating the death penalty, due to the gruesomeness and number of murders. Pichushkin targeted the weak, elderly and hopeless. He would lure his victims to a local park, to reportedly drink with him at his dead dog’s grave. He would then wait until his intended victim was drunk, then he would begin his attack. He would hit them repeatedly with a blunt object until they were dead or lost consciousness.  He would then, often, throw his victims into a sewer pit. On occasion, some of his tragic victims were alive when thrown in, and died from drowning, rather than from blunt force trauma. Over time, Pichushkin’s attacks grew even more savage. He began leaving a broken vodka bottle, protruding from the skulls of some of his victims. He also became more lackadaisical when it came to disposing of the bodies. He left many of them out in the open, without bothering to try to conceal them. Authorities finally caught up with Pichushkin in June 2006, after he murdered a female colleague from his job at a supermarket. She had left a note for her son to tell him that she was taking a walk with Pichushkin. Chillingly, Pichushkin’s confession was aired on Russian television. In it, he went into great detail about his need to kill, he said: “For me, a life without murder is like a life without food for you.” He also later claimed that there were in fact more than 48 murders. He said that he had in fact killed 61 or 63 people, (his story varied), On this he said: “I thought it would be unfair to forget about the other 11 people.” Donald Henry ‘Pee-Wee’ Gaskins Donald Henry Gaskins, known as Pee Wee Gaskins, has gone down in the annals of serial killer history as the most prolific killer South Carolina has ever known. He was executed in 1991 by electric chair, after being convicted of 9 murders, however it is thought that he murdered far more people than that. His own claims bring his death toll to over 100 people, and a litany of other vile and depraved crimes can also be attributed to this seemingly unassuming man. Up until 1968, Gaskins spent most of his life in and out of prison for various crimes, from theft to gang rape. In 1969 he moved to the town of Sumter in South Carolina, and it is here that he would begin his true reign of terror. His first murder in Sumter was a hitchhiker that he picked up, tortured, and murdered, then sunk her body in a local swamp.  In the book he wrote in prison, detailing his life and crimes, he wrote: “All I could think about is how I could do anything I wanted to her.” This woman was the first of many in what Gaskins referred to as his ‘coastal kills’. He would  torture and mutilate his victims, while attempting to keep them alive for as long as possible. He confessed to killing these victims using a variety of methods including stabbing, suffocation, mutilation, and even claimed to have cannibalized some of them. He would go on to confess to over 80 of these types of murders, although none of these claims have ever been corroborated.  Then, in 1970, Gaskins committed the first of his so-called ‘serious murders,  which were people  he knew and killed for personal reasons. Some of these victims included his own niece, Janice Kirby, aged 15, and her friend Patricia Ann Alsbrook, aged 17. He beat both of the girls to death, after attempting to sexually assault them. One of his most shocking murders was that of two of his neighbours, Doreen Dempsey, who was 23 and pregnant, and her two year old daughter. He drove Doreen and her little girl out to a secluded, wooded area, and violently raped, sodomized, and killed both her and her little girl. Gaskins was eventually arrested in 1975, and was found guilty in 1976, and sentenced to death. However, this was later commuted to life in prison when the South Carolina General Assembly’s 1974 ruling on capital punishment was changed to conform to the U.S. Supreme Court guidelines for the death penalty in other states. On September 2, 1982, Gaskins committed another murder. While incarcerated in the high security block at the South Carolina Correctional Institution, Gaskins killed a death row inmate named Rudolph Tyner, he was tried for the Tyner’s murder and sentenced to death. While on death row, Gaskins told his life story to a journalist named Wilton Earle. He claimed to have committed between 100 and 110 murders, however, law enforcement sources found his claims impossible to verify. Patrick Kearney, ‘The Trashbag Killer’ In Los Angeles, in the mid 70’s, Homosexual men were being murdered and dumped in trashbags along the highways between LA and the Mexican border. The investigation centered around Patrick Wayne Kearney, an electronics engineer from LA. Kearney would eventually end his murder spree, when he walked into the Redondo Beach police station, and gave himself up. He plead guilty to killing three men, and was sentenced to life in prison, however, police knew there was much more to Kearney’s story than met the eye. They offered him a no death penalty deal, in exchange for a complete list of victims. Shockingly, it was worse than they had imagined, and Kearney initially confessed to eighteen more killings. He would later admit to a further eleven murders, which would bring his total to 32 killings. Kearney’s first known murder victim was an unidentified 19-year-old man, in 1962. Kearney claimed that he took the young man to a secluded area on his motorcycle, shot him in the head, and proceeded to engage in acts of necrophilia with the man’s corpse. Kearney would mostly pick up male hitchhikers, or homosexual men from gay bars. He would almost always shoot them in the temple, above the ear, with a .22-caliber derringer.  After murdering them, he would take the bodies to a secluded place, and engage in acts of necrophilia, then take them home, where they would be sodomized with X-Acto knives. They were then mutilated, and dismembered with hacksaws. He would dispose of the bodies in various ways, including, dumping them in trash bags, earning him his nick name. He would also leave them out for wild animals to eat, throw them off cliffs into local creeks and would even drain some of the bodies of all their blood, to eliminate odors. Kearney, now 79, continues to serve his life sentence at Mule Creek State Prison, California. Danny Rolling, ‘The Gainesville Ripper’ Known as the Gainesville Ripper, Danny Rolling murdered four University of Florida students and a Santa Fe Community College student in their apartments in 1990. He is known to have decapitated one victim, posed with the bodies, and removed skin and body parts and arranged the murder scenes using props that included broken mirrors. Rolling’s reign of terror began when he broke into the apartment of 17-year-old university freshmen Sonja Larson and Christina Powell. They were found mutilated and stabbed to death. He had raped both women, one after she was dead. The next day, Rolling killed Christa Hoyt, 18. Her body was found propped up, sitting on her bed bent over at the waist. Rolling had sliced off her nipples and left them on the bed next to her, and police discovered that her torso was sliced open, from her chest to her pubic bone. Her severed head perched on a shelf across the room. Two days later, Rolling killed roommates Tracy Paules and Manuel Taboada, both 23. Rolling remained at large until September 8, when he was arrested after a botched robbery in the central Florida town of Ocala. He was later linked by DNA to three more killings in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1989. He was not charged in the Gainesville slayings until 1992, while serving a life sentence for armed robbery and other crimes. He pleaded guilty to all five murders as the jury was being selected for trial in 1994. He attributed his behavior to abuse by his father, a police officer, and to an evil alter ego. In prison, he drew disturbing pictures and wrote a graphic book, ‘The Making of a Serial Killer’, with a woman who was his fiancée for a time. Rolling was executed by lethal injection at Florida State Prison on October 25, 2006 Arthur John Shawcross Arthur John Shawcross was an American serial killer who was in operation  between 1972 and 1990 around Rochester, New York. Shawcross is known to have killed at least 14 people, as well as being a known cannibal and mutilator. He was also known as, ‘The Genesee River Killer’  and ‘The Rochester Strangler’, all due to how he would carry out his murders and where he would frequently dump the bodies of his victims. In 1967 he was drafted by the US Army at age 21. He served one tour in Vietnam, and loved to brag about the  violent, gruesome atrocities he committed, like raping and cannibalizing children and, according to a police interview: “beheading mama-sans and nailing their heads to trees as a warning to the Vietcong.” After his release and discharge from the army, Shawcross and his second wife would move to Clayton, New York, where Shawcross would terrorize the surrounding counties, until his final arrest. In the Spring of 1972, 10-year-old Jack Owen Blake disappeared after going out to play near the Cloverdale apartments, where Shawcross lived. Shawcross had gone fishing with the boy a few days earlier, but denied knowing where he was. When Jack’s body was eventually found (after Shawcross’s arrest) months later, he had been suffocated, mutilated, and molested. Shawcross would later admit to luring the boy into the woods, forcing him to strip naked and run, before murdering him, and consuming his heart and genitals. Months after Jack’s murder, 8-year-old Karen Ann Hill disappeared, while on a Labor Day vacation with her mother. Her body was found under a bridge near the Black River, and she had been raped, mutilated and strangled. After reports surfaced detailing that Shawcross had been seen with Karen before she disappeared, and he was later seen eating ice cream cones, on the bridge where the body was found, Shawcross was brought in for questioning. After being arrested for both children’s murder, Shawcross confessed, and agreed to reveal the location of Jack’s body, in order to have his charges dropped from homicide to manslaughter. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison, but would only serve 12. Unfortunately, staff and social workers made the call to grant him parole, stating he was: “no longer dangerous”, despite numerous psychiatrists warning that he was a schizoid psychopath. His parole officer would later be quoted as saying: “At the risk of being melodramatic, the writer considers this mant to be possibly the most dangerous individual to be released to this community for many years.” These words would ring tragically true when in 1988, Shawcross began a bloody, depraved murder campaign, that would claim 11 victims. Most were prostitutes and all were strangled and battered to death. They were also posthumously mutilated, and sexually assaulted.  After the last victim’s body was found in January 1990, the police decided not to remove it and instead keep surveillance on the area. Based on a psychological profile that suggested the killer would return to the scene of the crime, police figured this would be the best way to catch their killer. Sure enough, Shawcross was spotted masturbating as he sat in his car, on a bridge over the creek in which the body of his final victim was floating. He was arrested and eventually confessed in custody. In November 1990, Shawcross was tried for 10 murders in Monroe County. He was found guilty and sentenced to 250 years imprisonment. On November 10th, 2008 Shawcross complained to officers about a pain in his leg. He was taken to the Albany Medical Center where he went into cardiac arrest and died that night. Louis Garavito In 1999, Luis Alfredo Garavito Cubillos was arrested in Colombia and he confessed to murdering 140 children. He was charged with killing 172 altogether, but some of the cases are still ongoing. It’s thought he could have been responsible for hundreds more deaths, with the number potentially estimated as being higher than 400.  Better known as “La Bestia” or “The Beast”, Luis Alfredo Garavito Cubillos was one of the most ruthless serial killers of all time. Garavito’s victims were poor children, peasant children, or street children, between the ages of 6 and 16. He would  approach them on the street or countryside and offer them gifts or small amounts of money.  Once he had gained their trust, he would take them for a walk, and as soon as they began to get tired, he would pounce. He would rape them, slit their throats and dismember the corpses. As if this wasn’t bad enough, he would often mutilate the corpses, and many of the bodies found showed signs of prolonged torture and abuse.  In 1997, police uncovered a mass grave. Suddenly, a widespread investigation into the missing children began. In February 1998, the bodies of 2 naked children were discovered lying next to each other on a hill in Genoa, Colombia. The next day, another child’s naked body was found, just a few meters away. Garavito was captured on 22 April 1999. He confessed to murdering 140 children. However, he is still under investigation for the murder of 172 children in more than 59 towns in Colombia. During his imprisonment, Garavito helped police to find the bodies of his victims. This, along with his confessions, allowed him to win a reduction in sentence by 8 years, thereby making the effective sentence 22 years. Colombian law does not have life imprisonment or death penalty options, and the possibility of serial killings was completely ignored in Colombian law. However, with increased public unrest, the law was revisited, and the maximum sentence for murder was increased to 60 years of imprisonment. Joseph James DeAngelo, ‘The Golden State Killer’, and ‘The East Area Rapist’ The Golden State Killer is a serial killer, rapist, and burglar who committed at least 13 murders, more than 50 rapes, and over 100 burglaries in California from 1974 to 1986. What was initially a search for the East Area Rapist, ended up being a 40-year manhunt for a killer, rapist and home invader. The reawakening of this cold case decades later led to the April 2018 arrest of suspect Joseph James DeAngelo, now dubbed as the Golden State Killer. DeAngelo was born in New York but went to Folsom High School, in suburban Sacramento, and was a former California Police Officer.  In 2016, around the 40th anniversary of the first known attack, the search for the culprit of a suspected 12 homicides and about 50 rapes was renewed. Thanks to the advancement of DNA techniques and databases, DNA from a discarded item, and genetic information on a consumer genealogy website, guided police to the missing piece with DeAngelo as the suspect. DNA evidence linked the Golden State Killer to eight murders in Goleta, Ventura, Dana Point and Irvine; two other murders in Goleta, were lacking DNA evidence, but were linked by the killers usual modus operandi. His initial modus operandi was to stalk middle-class neighborhoods at night, in search of women who were alone in one-storey homes, usually near a school, creek, trail or other open space, that would provide a quick escape. He was seen a number of times, but always successfully fled; on one occasion, he shot and seriously wounded a young pursuer. Although he originally targeted women alone in their homes or with children, he eventually evolved to attacking couples. He would break in through a window or sliding glass door and awaken the sleeping occupants with a flashlight He would then begin threatening them with a handgun. Victims were bound with ligatures, and gagged. The male victim was beaten and left in a different room, while the female victim would be raped repeatedly for hours. In 1979, he moved on from rape, and began to murder his victims by gunshot or bludgeoning. After 1986 the case would go cold, until April 24, 2018, when the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department arrested 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo in connection with the crimes. DeAngelo, was charged with eight counts of first-degree murder. On May 10, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s office charged DeAngelo with four additional counts of first-degree murder. Unfortunately, DeAngelo cannot be charged with rapes due to the statute of limitations expiring for those offenses. Identification of DeAngelo had begun four months earlier when officials uploaded the killer’s DNA profile from a Ventura County rape kit to a personal genomics website. The website identified 10 to 20 distant relatives of the Golden State Killer, from whom a team of five investigators working with genealogist Barbara Rae-Venter, constructed a large family tree. They identified two suspects in the case (one of whom was ruled out by a relative’s DNA test), leaving DeAngelo the main suspect.  
Located about 140 miles east of San Diego, in the Imperial Valley desert, there is a place that is known as the last free place in America. There, you will find no mayor, no zoning laws, no sewer system, no police force. It’s known as Slab City. It was built on an abandoned military base and offers its residents something much more valuable than modern amenities, it offers them freedom. Slab City was created when U.S. Marine Corps abandoned a military installation near the town of Niland. Though they dismantled the buildings, they left behind the concrete slabs that served as their foundations. Hence the name Slab City. When workers from the local town found the slabs they built a temporary settlement out of them close to their job site. This initial build and the trailers they had brought with them became the beginnings of the new community.  Over time, people from all over the state were drawn to the area. Its isolation being a huge attraction for people who were looking for a way to live off the grid. In this forgotten place, there are no property taxes or utility bills, which makes it ideal for people trying to stretch their pensions or Social Security checks. Even today, Slab City’s population swells to over 4,000 during the cooler winter months. There is no formal initiation process to becoming a full time resident of Slab City. All that is required is that you simply show up. Once you have found a patch of land that no one else has a claim to, it’s yours. But to live there requires a certain degree of self-reliance. The nearest public amenities are in Niland which is a few miles away. There is just a single communal shower that is fed by a nearby hot spring.   You must be entirely self reliant, electricity will come from a collection of solar panels, generators, and batteries that you will have to set up and provide yourself. Or you can hire “Solar Mike,” a long time Slabber who has been selling and installing solar panels out of his trailer since the 1980s. Though police from Niland occasionally patrol the area and will respond to emergency calls, the community largely polices itself. Slab city is completely uncontrolled and isolated from government concern. All parking is free and unregulated. Yet, despite the drugs, freedom, isolation and heavy south-California sun, the residents reject seniority and avoid shrewdness, remaining polite and open-armed to newcomers. Hippies, free-spirits, eccentrics and adventurers, people have been living for free in Slab City since the late ’40s. What do you think? Could you live off the grid in a self made community? We think it could be an awesome experience, but maybe not forever.  
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!