Tag Archives: horror

Book Review: ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ – Wayne Simmons

21 Jun

 

If you suffered through my long and winding review of Simmons’ other apoc-shocker, Flu, then you’ll surely know that I’ve got nothing but admiration for his work. Although I loved Flu, I think it took out some delayed and uncalled for vengeance on me, halting my reading of Drop Dead Gorgeous with a case of the sniffles. But I wasn’t kept away for long! This book has been on my (unrealistic) reading list for a while now after picking up my copy at P-Con earlier this year. Like with his last offering, it was well worth the wait.

 

 

The plot of Drop Dead Gorgeous is all in the title. One fine and average Sunday morning, all but a small few of the population of Belfast, and possibly further afield, suddenly drop dead. The ‘gorgeous’ part makes more sense a little later. The book opens in a very easy going way, just some people going about their lives. A few pages later comes the crashing down of the world around those who were left standing. We see the world slowly drain of power, life and control. The fact that it’s set in Belfast helps to make it that much more real, despite the fact it’s shelved under ‘Sci-fi’. All those apocalypse and zombie movies and novels set in Anywhere USA seem so far away and very much American. Just one big city, with reference to the rest of the country, brings it a little closer. It can be open for interpretation to any readers’ city, even though the language is distinctly Northern Irish – which is fantastic, might I add. As well as the main characters’ individual stories, I enjoyed the snippets of other survivors. Simmons shows us a few shots of scenarios we may not have thought of; dependant people suddenly alone after the world comes to a stop.

DDG is a little different from your average zombie novel, in that it’s not all about the zombies. I’ve read a review – one in particular that tickled me for many a reason – that called this a major flaw. For me, I would much prefer to spend page after page getting to know and care for characters before the big bang. What’s the point, otherwise? I don’t want a book of limbs being torn off for the sake of gory goodness. That may just be me being a delicate little snowflake or something though… If you think of it more as an apocalyptic story and can patiently wait for your zombies – and they’re unlike most you’ve seen – then you’ll be pleased with this.

There is slicing and dicing a plenty that work the final chapters up into a frenzy but it’s the characters that are the heart of the story – and as a girl raised under the greatness and cruelty of one Joss Whedon, characters are important to me. Simmons knows his characters well and more importantly, they’re real. Throwing a bunch of stereotypes into a post-apocalyptic setting does not a good story make. Pooling together some developed and flawed – some heavily flawed – people and seeing how they react to a world torn asunder does. That’s one of my favourite things about reading Simmons’ books.

Among those left behind are a foul mouthed tattooist, aging radio DJ, two teens, a troubled young man, a former IRA member, an RIR soldier, an elderly acrophobic and the overzealous Preacher Man. There’s also a few others we meet along the way. Although scattered throughout Belfast, there’s a purpose to each group and things tie together to help move the story along. As I said, they are certainly not shining examples of the human race. They all respond in different ways to the crumbling of society and don’t make the best decisions. If they were all Mary Sues and Garry Stus then how exciting would that be to read? People aren’t perfect and everyone is expendable, no matter how attached you may grow.

I found that the human characters were not the only to feature in the story. In a world suddenly devoid of life, Mother Nature takes a step into centre stage. The world around them appears to be a character all on its own. The Rain makes as much a noise as the hedonistic trio in the Europa do, and The Silence is as unnerving as the survivors are unnerved. This gives the book a rich atmosphere. There’s a definite difference between reading this on a busy bus, and later in a silent room.

There’s some awful stuff that happens – which I’m going to be terribly vague about so I don’t ruin it – but it is all ultimately necessary. I’ve read people complaining that it’s something that apoc writers throw in for shock value, and though it is horrific it has its place within the story and needed for character development. There are also some laughs from characters and Simmons’ wonderfully crafted narrative alike. And lest we not forget the refreshingly muted romance from our young lovers, who at one point reminded me of the budding and brutal romance in The Hole (I swear I wasn’t just daydreaming about Desmond Harrington).

On a brighter note, one thing I can always seem to count on Simmons for is a delightful reference or two. In Flu it was Red Sonja and here I do believe I spotted a little Who. The description of one character just screamed David Tennant to me. Please say I am not wrong.

I can’t recommend Drop Dead Gorgeous enough. We see our own fast paced world come skidding to a halt and allowing you to become invested, only to gallop off full speed with all that you thought you knew. The characters grow as close to your heart as they’ll allow and the corpses that litter the streets rival the sheer amount of skeletons that come tumbling from closets. It’s dark, unrestrained, vicious, broken-hearted, dangerously beautiful, and it’s got a foul mouth.

 

You can buy Drop Dead Gorgeous, and his other apoc-shocker Flu, from amazon and Book Depository. You can also follow Wayne or like his fanpage on facebook, or go to the one stop horror shop, his site. And if you really want, check out my interview with Wayne from P-Con over on Geek Girl on the Street here and here (part 1&2).

Oh, the Horror! – Recent & Upcoming Horror Movies

9 Apr

Maybe it was the early morning viewing of Frozen, or the news of Saw creators Leigh Whannell and James Wan visiting Dublin next week, but this afternoon I’m in the mood for some thrills and chills. So, with that in mind, I googled and waded my way through trailers and misleading fan-made videos to put together a list of some new and upcoming horror films. They’re certainly not all gems, very few, in fact, but the rest are good for a chuckle – I definitely had a good laugh watching some. Then there’s also some of that old gory goodness horror folks are mighty keen on. There are plenty others that I’m excited about, like Silent Hill 2, but there’s no trailers available yet. They’re not all my cup of tea, and maybe not yours, but you might spot something good amongst the mess below.

* Warning that nastiness may abound in trailers, as well as spoilers for any that are sequels *

[REC]2
I haven’t yet seen this, or the US remake Quarantine, but it definitely looks worth the watch. I like the use of handheld cameras to tell stories like this. When it’s done well, and with good reason, it can turn out quite well. Or it will just make you a bit dizzy and queasy. Well, in fairness, this may do that with a little help from the zombie creatures though.

Continue reading

The Social History of ‘Night of the Living Dead’

26 Feb

So, in Ireland part of the Leaving Cert exam for History is a special essay topic. I decided to go against the usual subjects, as I tend to do, and chose Night of the Living Dead! My teacher took some convincing (from another teacher) but it eventually came into being. It’s about two years old and my writing’s developed since then, but anyhow, I thought I’d post it here.. seems like a fitting host for it. Spoilers are abound if you haven’t seen it. (You may have to click to read the rest at the end of the post)

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”The politics of it were striking at the time, they have a black lead…the clear anti-Communist hysteria that’s running through that film…And there was so much going on in the movie that it wasn’t your typical horror film”.  – John Landis, director of ‘An American Werewolf In London’

The 1920s saw the age of horror triumph in Hollywood with simple monster movies, like ‘The Bat’ and ‘The Monster’. During that period people enjoyed the short escape from the anxiety of World War I. Soon Hollywood took the horror further with the aim being to truly scare the audiences. It was in 1931 that the now classics ‘Dracula’ and ‘Frankenstein’ were released. Following on from their success, boundaries were pushed again. Bela Lugosi’s ‘White Zombie’ would set things in motion for a string of zombie movies to follow. It used the voodoo sorcery myth to explain the walking dead. This mythology was soon to change with the introduction of George A. Romero to the genre.

Horror movies had always been something abstract, something that didn’t occur in everyday life. The last thing Cold War America wanted was for the horror to be introduced into the mundane. People were terrified of the threat of a Communist take over and the “zombie was the perfect monster to encapsulate such anxieties”. Films at the time reflected these fears, like ‘Invasion Of The Body Snatchers’. Hitchcock‘s ‘Psycho’ internalised terror and showed that the real threat was not “in the skies” but in everyday life. That the monster “is not simply among us, but possibly is us”. This idea influenced Romero and just a few years later “Night Of The Living Dead” was made, pushing all the previous boundaries far beyond where they thought imaginable.

Night Of The Living Dead’ (NOTLD) was made on a low budget by the production company, Image Ten Inc. The film tells the story of a group of seven people who take refuge in a farm house while fending off the hoards of the walking dead that gather outside. Romero wanted to show the end of the world, but felt that “rather than opening with the fait accolpli, it might be more interesting to observe the world during its collapse”. This reflected fears at the time of America’s Capitalism crumbling at the hands of Soviet Communism.

They didn’t just set out to make a normal horror movie. They wanted to ensure it would attract attention and stand apart from the other movies at the time. Co-writer John Russo stated, “We wanted to make sure it got noticed…forcing the picture into more daring areas than other films had gone”. It’s worldwide acclaim and worship proves that they indeed achieved their goals. It influenced many budding film-makers that went on to create some of the most notorious horror movies we know today.  Among these was Tobe Hooper, director of ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’,  “It had a profound affect on my life…as a result of seeing that film…I decided to do a horror film”.

Many people in the movie industry began to realize that horror movies could be so much more, even containing an underlying political statement as this film had. NOTLD explored the anxieties of the people as the threat of Communism seemed to be forever looming overhead. The next few years saw an abundance of ‘Dracula’ and ‘Frankenstein’ sequels trying to recapture Old Hollywood horror. However, the horror movie industry was forever changed. Boundaries were continuing to be pushed. ‘The Exorcist’ (1973), ‘Jaws’ (1975) and ’The Omen’ (1976) were released in the years following NOTLD.

When the film was released it was met with much condemnation. Christian fundamentalist groups accused the film-makers of being “Satanically inspired” due to the gory scenes of feeding and the circumstances under which Marilyn Eastman’s character is killed. This film was unlike anything that preceded it. The audience, especially children who had been left in the cinema for the double feature, had “no resources they could draw upon to protect themselves from the dread and fear they felt”. Reading Roger Ebert’s review gives great insight into how utterly shocking and terrifying it was; “The movie…had become unexpectedly terrifying”. One of the most striking scenes is when Helen’s daughter becomes one of “those things” and brutally murders her mother with a trowel. As John Landis, director of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, said, “You didn’t see that stuff in movies at that time”. Click to read on

Book Review: ‘FLU’ – Wayne Simmons

21 Feb

You know that old saying: Give a man a fish he’ll eat for a day, give a borderline mysophobe a copy of Wayne Simmons’ FLU and she won’t be able to take a comfortable bus journey for a week. You’ve heard that one, right? Well, it proved true for this unsuspecting reader!

I had bought my copy from the man himself at Octocon last year but put off reading it out of a mixture of being in the middle of the first book in the Millennium Trilogy and the minor panic that accompanies reading about a mutated flu virus during winter. Well, February rolled around and I was stuck with my reading, only in the middle of the second Millennium novel at that point and getting nowhere! Deadlines were halting my reading and I needed a change. Luckily, or unluckily, I rediscovered the joy of reading on the bus some months ago. It used to make me feel ill reading in a car or bus, which majorly sucked on long journeys, but now I can while away the time while I travel.

This all seemed rather pleasant, flicking through a good book and blocking out the children and conversations around me. And it was until I decided to slip this particular book into my bag. The monotonous drone of a conversation in the background is much easier to ignore than the occasional sniffle, cough or sneeze. It just so happens that those three little guys are star players in this story.

Okay, enough back story ramblings, time to get to the books itself. I loved it.

From the get go we’re on a different playing field – Belfast. The opening line grabs you roughly and drags you through that crowd with those first two characters. The way it’s written, rather cleverly I must say, leaves it open for interpretation. Have you been plopped down into a crowd of the undead before you’ve even read a paragraph? You’re surrounded, your breathing’s heavy and everyone appears to be pissed with you.

What a lovely welcome, eh? Well, don’t expect it to let up from there.

As you’re introduced to the other survivors you gather up more of the story, of what happened to our cheery green isle. This collection of remaining souls is as varied as they come, too; two cops, a punk, a young woman, a  guy in a ski-mask, a churchgoer, an ex-IRA gunrunner and of course the army. A veritable Breakfast Club… Or so the undead think, anyway.

The characters are as real as they come. Heavily flawed, prone to erratic behaviour and some swearing enough to make a sailor blush, but at times charming. Human, essentially. It’s basically how any one of us might act if our world was suddenly void of life and overrun with the sniffling and shuffling of the recently deceased.

There’s points when you hate them or what they’re about to do and wish that your shouting into the book would actually do some good. But there’s also moments where you find yourself smiling over their actions. I found this a lot with Lark, the tattooed punk with enviable footwear. He’s also got a foul mouth and manners that leave a lot to be desired but at the same time you don’t want him to get hurt. I also liked Geri for selfish reasons. Is it so bad to hope a leggy redhead would survive a zombie outbreak? And many brownie points to Simmons for using Red Sonja in a simile, a literary rarity.

I’ve ignored it enough, time to talk mucus. The undead are just plain nasty and they get nastier. As if a lethal dose of the flu wasn’t a bad enough way to go, these guys return to unlife, hacking up vital organs and other unpleasantries as they drag themselves around town. Needless to say I gave myself plenty of time between eating and reading, just in case. Unlike most zombies, their post-life shenanigans aren’t anything to do with genetic experimentation, a satellite that’s crashed to earth or some ancient voodoo. It’s the flu. See, a little too realistic, right? This book was released just in time to play off the fears of the flu pandemic – take your pick of which animal is the source. It’s even dedicated to “the birds, the pigs, the mad cows”. Vampires have lost much of their gravity where horror is concerned, but terror grounded in such truth as this cannot be so easily pushed aside. You’re left wondering how things would play out if this actually happened. Of course, it didn’t help that a show was on television recently telling us how to act if there is a global flu outbreak… I could have done without that!

The setting definitely added to the overall anxiety and scare-factor of the story. Most zombie apocalypses seem to be focused on the heartland of America and not Northern Ireland. I’m not overly familiar with the geography and landmarks of Belfast, but Simmons so ably paints a map for you as you read that you know just where you are. The housing estates and apartment blocks are a welcome break from the usual safe houses occupied by survivors as well as creating a rather dreary atmosphere. For any readers in Ireland or England, this really brings the terror home.

It’s not only the change of scenery that adds something new to the story; it’s the history and politics that go with that scenery. The opening scene could have just as easily been on the news during the height of The Troubles. The tension between the cops and some of the other characters is well founded, as is the concern regarding the IRA and the authority of the Army.

I love to be scared or made uncomfortable by a book or film – and instantly regret it, especially later on when I’m alone in the dark – but this book hits you in a whole different way. A ghost story can be batted away with disbelief. A monstrous tale laughed off with recollections of bad make up in old movies. But something so deeply set in reality, that’s a discomfort you have to fight to shake off. I really liked that the story didn’t revolve around a group of survivors setting out for some uninfected haven, which is so often the case. It was just them. Don’t take that to mean it was a snooze-fest – it was anything but. It was real, as much as I’d like to say it wasn’t. Since we’re dropped down into these different groupings of people, we’re as much in the know as they are. There’s no real explanation given for the source of the virus or how the  final days of humanity played out. The reader has to trust in the characters and hope for the best. But the news of a coming sequel, Fever, leaves room to delve deeper into this post-apocalyptic world.

The ending was a real treat. For me it was a torturous treat though, having finished all but the final chapter before reaching college. Two hours later, I got to finish it. It was well worth the wait, and I’m talking about since October.

It may be short, but it’s a non-stop thrill ride stalling only to lull you into a false sense of uninfected security. Well written and action-packed, cruel and sentimental, FLU is a must have for all lovers of horror, zombies or those in search of something a little scary and sweet.

You can buy FLU, and his other apoc-shocker Drop Dead Gorgeous, from amazon and Book Depository. You can also follow Wayne or like his fanpage on facebook.

Just A Few Things

9 Feb

Nerdy Girls Need Love Too
No, I haven’t gone desperate and pimped out my blog for dates, bypassing online dating sites all together. This is the title of Amy Lee Radigan‘s sensational ode to geeky gals worldwide. No matter how many Doctors we wish and dream we could make an appointment with, all we really want is some nerdy love. Download the track here, and you can also like or follow her – whichever akes your fancy.

 

 

Wayne Simmons

Flu season may be coming to a close, I think – I’m just guessing here – but it’s not too late for you to get good kind of Flu. This one comes in the form of words.. Horrifying words but even so. I’m talking here about Wayne Simmons‘ books. Joining Flu in his apoc-shock collection is Drop Dead Gorgeous . Both are available, and are doing quite well I might add, on amazon.

 

 

Geek Girl Con

I am shocked I haven’t written anything about this before since I’ve been hearing about it since it’s early infancy!! There’s so much I could, should and probably will at a later date say, but for now I will bombard you with links and urges for you to check it out, get involved and , if you’re lucky enough, go!  So, there’s the mighty spiffy site, the oh so tweety twitter account, the hub’o’fun facebook and now you can even sport your geek girl pride in clothing form!! Also, this month they’re encouraging folks to donate blood for Women In Horror Month, another site you need to put your eyes to!

 

Save Publishing

Just a quick word about this project. Books are just fantastic and we need to ensure that they stay around for the future to enjoy. Not only that, but we need to cherish them more in the present. Save Publishing is asking people to read just 10 minutes a night, right before bed so you’ll be relaxed and all tuckered out. Doesn’t sound too hard now, does it? There’s a facebook too for your entertainment and some extra information.

This ties in perfectly with this next piece of really exciting news. So, the almighty Nathan Fillion’s birthday is fast approaching and to celebrate this, as well as making the world a little bit of a better place, Nathan Fillion Fans have organised one heck of a project. Donate to Kids Need To Read, the great charity Nathan co-founded, and be in with a chance of winning some fabulous prizes. As well as that, you can submit a page to add to the birthday scrapbook they’re putting together. Seriously, how shiny is that? Details can be found here.

Birdeatsbaby US Tour

Ok, anyone who knows me knows how I feel about this band. They’re a wonderful bunch of people and they’re about to hit the US in just two weeks. Go to see them play – buy an extra ticket and drag a friend! Help them out, give them a place to stay, feed them. Just look after them and make it a great experience. You won’t be disappointed!

FEB 24 — Montpelier, VT @ Charlie O’s

FEB 25 — Boston, MA @ The Lilypad

FEB 26 — New York City @ Parkside Lounge

FEB 27 — Dunellen, NJ @ Roxy and Dukes

Linkage – website, facebook, twitter, youtube.

Artist #3: Robin a.k.a. Raliel

28 Jan

Anyone interested in art and spends a lot of time online – i.e. folks like me – will surely come across many talented people. One such person I’ve come across is today’s featured artist, Robin. He’s one of those people that never fails to amaze and each piece of his I’ve seen really makes an impact. And makes you more than a little jealous. His work speaks for itself, but I will add that he creates some stunning Amanda Palmer related art and is very much on the radar of the almighty Neil Gaiman. Just putting that out there.

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What first interested you in art?

Hmmm. I think I always have been but I spent alot of time growing up around quite creative people and took an interest in galleries and exhibitions when still a child

Did you get much encouragement to continue or make a career out of it?

The only real encouragement I get is from friends and internet accquaintances…not sure if i am a pro artist yet at all even though it is my life.

Have you studied art or are you self taught? Do you have any plans to study it?

Studied art all through school and college and went on to study art at Winchester School of Art many years ago…interestingly I do not think I gained much from the experience and most of the techniques I know are self taught.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

All sorts of things, music, literature, other artists work… even random things I see in junk shop windows or on the street. My main defined influences would have to be the Pre-raphealites, AfP (of course!…she has inspired me to be creative sooo much) and the literary works of H.P.Lovecraft. Also medieval Ikon art

Who are some of your favourite artists?

Da Vinci, Blake, Rosetti, Waterhouse.. Syme..Harry Clarke, Byrne Jones, to name but a few there are also many talented new artists who I have encountered on the internet via twitter, etc.

What are your hopes for your artwork? Do you see it in your future as a career or just a hobby?

I see it as a vital part of who I am and hopefully it will eventually be a financially viable way of living too!

Which of your pieces are you most proud of?

Hmmm it changes alot… The masks I did for the AfP show were great as so many people took part in making them come alive but at the moment I think my series of china dolls is giving me alot of satisfaction.

 

How would you describe your style?

I would have to fall into the category of macabre art generally. Most of my work is somewhat odd if not downright monsterous…

 

What made you focus more on that area more than another?

It is just the way of things really. I suppose it probably says alot about me as a person.

What’s your favourite medium to work in?

I use all sorts of things all the time and love glass engraving, though I have not done any for quite a while. Latex, milliput, clay, foam, acrylic…. Oh, I do love painting on wood rather than canvas!

Are you working on anything at the moment?

Several things actually. Making a few more Marmite demons as soon as empty jars arrive, several paintings (all very medieval and lovecraftian) and I need to get on with some puppets soon.

What drew you to the themes or characters you base a lot of your work on?

I think it has to do with my obsession with the Other and outsider influences and my love of theatricality

Can you give me an idea of your creative process?

If it is a painting I will often start with just a blank bit of wood and then start sketching into it some ideas then I will reference source images for any figure or background and just get going. I do not keep a sketch book and wish that I did! Sculpture and puppet work tends to come from images or stories and then built upon….

Have You Seen…?

29 Oct

With college taking up so much of my time, and the rest stolen by sleep, or being on the verge of sleep, I’ve rarely had a chance to just watch movies. Gladly, this week I’m on midterm. Even though I’ve had – and still do have – a lot of work to catch up on, I’ve taken that time to get my movie on. I tend to work better with a film on than I do music so it worked in my favour.. well, for the most part. So, here’s a round up and snappy review of what I’ve seen this week! I plan on doing this often, possibly weekly. There won’t always be as many as there is here… most likely…

Definitely Maybe

The plot of this movie reads like How I Met Your Mother, except you get the answer after an hour and a half or so. A soon-to-be-divorced Ryan Reynolds recounts the greatest loves in his life to his daughter (Abigail Breslin) in order to tell her how he, you guessed it, met her mother. The three lovely ladies come in the form of Elizabeth Banks, Isla Fisher and, my favourite, Rachel Weisz. They’re all fairly likeable in their own ways and the onscreen relationships between them and Reynolds, as well as with him and Breslin, are well grounded and believable.

I’d almost, probably, most likely, possibly give it 3/5

 

Imagine Me & You

Ah, this is one of my favourite romantic comedies! As the tagline suggests, The path to true love isn’t always straight…, this rom-com isn’t your run of the mill chick flick. Rachel (Piper Perabo) has just married her long time boyfriend and best friend Heck (Matthew Goode). All is well, right? Well, not quite. She begins to develop feelings for the florist, Luce (Lena Heady). Things start to get all kinds of confusing, as you can imagine. I absolutely adore this film. The plot is different and the film’s actually good. I’ve watched it a few times and haven’t gotten sick of it yet. A lot of romantic comedies don’t stand up to repeated viewings, if they ever stood up at all. Plus, just look at that cast! And joining them is Anthony Stewart Head – in a wonderful role – as well as some other great comedic actors. 

5 confused brides out of 5

 

Where The Wild Things Are

This is the adaptation of the children’s book by Maurice Sendak. It centres around a disobedient and rather strange little boy, Max (Max Records), who runs away one night to his own world. He ends up in a forest with some big fuzzy creatures – said “wild things” – where he’s crowned ruler. Among these is James Gandolfini, Catherine O’ Hara, Lauren Ambrose and Forest Whitaker. A smashing cast, I must say! Gandolfini’s Carol was a vastly interesting character, very volatile, and Ambrose’s KW was touching.  But, well, I didn’t love it. It didn’t grab me in any way really. I hadn’t grown up reading the book but I didn’t think that would affect it. Maybe it did. I did enjoy parts and the visual was stunning… But it’s not one I’d watch again.

2 cuddly monsters out of 5

Blazing Saddles

Mel Brooks is a god! You know it, I know it.. It’s a plain fact and Blazing Saddles is one of his greatest creations. The plot’s a little awkward to explain, as a lot of westerns are, but it involves slavery, train tracks, the smashing of the fourth wall and racism (the scritp was co-written by Richard Pryor). Basically, it sees Bart (Cleavon Little) saved from the gallows and appointed sheriff of Rock Ridge, with the bad guys hoping this will end badly for him and the town. He teams up with ‘Waco Kid’ Jim (Gene Wilder). The two made a fantastic duo and are, of course, hilarious as is pretty much everything else. An opportunity is rarely missed for a joke or visual gag, something lacking in today’s comedies. I could go on, but then it’s wouldn’t be concise, would it? Just watch it and follow up with a ton more Brooks! 

5 Stetsons out of 5

 

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

I’m not going to say much about this movie, mostly because I’m getting tired. I had put off watching it due to my collection of negative thoughts aimed directly for Russell Brand. But it was on tv and I have some massive love for Jason Segel and Mila Kunis. They didn’t disappoint. Since they’re all in the same group of, um, funny movies (note the sarcasm), I knew who’d be popping up. Jonah Hill and shame shame shame for Paul Rudd. I used to love that man, now…nope, not so much! It’s watchable and does hold some treats, mostly Segel or Kunis shaped. The music is a great part of this movie too, notably Segel’s songs and the Hawaiian version of Nothing Compares to You in the credits.

3 stars forgetting about 5

 

Crank 2: High Voltage

There are…no words. I was expecting the same old-same old action movie, with the only fantastical aspect being Jason Statham electrocuting himself to charge up the old ticker. No. Just, no. I was wrong. It is one of the strangest movies I have seen – and that’s saying something! It would slot rather nicely into Miike Takashi’s filmography. That should give you an idea. It’s got disturbing information retrieval methods, a little too much nudity, an incredibly inappropriate sex scene, far too many cameos for a movie of it’s kind (Chester Bennington, David Carradine, Michael Weston, Corey Haim, Lauren Holly, and even  Geri Halliwell). The main cast is odd. I expect crazy ass movies from Bai Ling, and I’m not entirely shocked by Statham, but I usually like Amy Smart and the roles she takes. Again, this was just plain weird. I think that’s the most I can say for this movie…

1 electro-charged heart out of 5

 

Nightmare on Elm Street 4: Dream Master

Who doesn’t love Freddy? He’s back, as ever, in the fourth installment and his wit is still as sharp as his blades. It follows on from Dream Warriors with Kirsten (now played by Tuesday Knight – I know – instead of Rosanna Arquette) and her other surviving friends. They’re also joined by her new friends. You know there’ll be deaths-a-plenty when there’s this many characters, as apposed to the four in the original movie. No death is wasted here, the writer clearly had way too many ideas, and intriguing ones at that! As with all in the series (except maybe Freddy’s Revenge), it’s well worth the watch.

3/4 better lock your door out of 5

 

Swamp Thing

Written and directed by Wes Craven, Swamp Thing follows Dr. Alec Holland (Ray Wise) and his research team out in the murky swamp land. He was a good man, looking to develop a new species – plant and animal that could survive any conditions. After an attack on the lab by baddie (Louis Jourdan) Arcane’s men, the latest addition to the team, Alice Cable (Adrienne Barbeau) is the only person left alive. Well, not quite. The serum Holland created transformed him into Swamp Thing and allowed him to take him vengeance. I can’t not mention Jude (Reggie Batts) who is just too darn cool and the source of many laughs. There’s also some silly, mostly in the form of costumes and make-up, but it doesn’t take away from the film really. I don’t know why it had taken me this long to watch this, but I’m happy I finally did. It’s a fantastic film and pretty much has everything. Ya gotta love Craven, the man delivers! Now I just need to get my hands on the DC comics!

5 slimy creatures out of 5

 

The Three Musketeers

I only have very positive things to say about this movie! This was Disney doing good. This was brilliant casting – Kiefer Sutherland, Chris O’ Donnell, Oliver Platt, Charlie Sheen, Tim Curry, Michael Wincott, Paul McGann… need I go on? Now, Curry makes a marvellous villain, but to throw in Wincott too? Oh, we are being spoilt! It’s also refreshing to see Sheen back when I was in love with him and he had a respectable career. Plus his Aramis is a far cry from tv’s Charlie. There’s action, comedy, revenge, love, honour, swords.. everything you want in an adventure such as this!

All for one, and one for all… or 5/5

 

Man Thing

Marvel’s answer to DC’s Swamp Thing. Both characters were introduced within two months of eachother in ’71, but there’s enough differences between the two, at least where the films are concerned. Where Swamp Thing fights for revenge and to protect the swamp, Man Thing strictly kills to save the land; guilty and innocent alike. The plot revolves around Kyle Williams (Matthew LeNevez) who’s just arrived in Bywater to take the position of Sheriff, which he believes will be a relaxing job. Of course, it’s not going to be! He shows up just in time for an onslaught of murders and disappearances which are being whitewashed at ‘gator attacks. Throw in some Native American lore, yet another inappropriately placed sex scene, disturbing tree attacks reminiscent of the original Evil Dead and some Hick henchmen and you’ve got ManThing!

2/3 man thing type guys out of 5

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Wow, I’ve watched a lot of films over the last few days… and tomorrow is going to be another movie & work catch up day, so stay tuned!

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