Archive for May, 2013

Wolf Hunt

May 31, 2013 - 5:39 pm No Comments

Wolf Hunt
Author: Jeff Strand
Publisher: Dark Region Press
Page count: 252pp
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin
Meet George and Lou; thugs for hire, and dent collectors, they will happily break your bones if it comes to it, though Lou is a tad squeamish. Don’t get him wrong, Lou is great with knives but a little bit nervous when it comes to the bone breaking. George however, has no such compunction.
The novel starts with George and Lou on a job, collecting $63,000 and the odd broken bone from a shifty old guy who has stolen from a drug lord. Not the most clever of things in the world to do! Both George and Lou are literally the ‘heavies’ both standing well over 6ft tall. So, they seem like the perfect goons to transport a man in a cage across Florida. The man? Well, he’s a werewolf. It should be an easy gig, after all, there are no such things as werewolves, right?
Ivan the ‘werewolf’ is only slightly annoying at first, and the banter as he cajoles George and Lou is incredibly fun; Ivan is a real smart-arse and the dialogue between George and Lou flies thick and fast. In fact, the bickering between George and Lou is rather like that of an old married couple or siblings, and is filled with witty one-liners, almost reminiscent of Reservoir Dogs.
Delightfully funny and gory, this is a wonderful blend of comedy and horror that grabs you from the start and doesn’t let go. Jeff Strand is a name to watch. I could not put this down and read it in one sitting.

Sideshow

May 28, 2013 - 11:03 pm No Comments

Sideshow
Author: William Ollie
Publisher: Dark Region Press
Page count: 214pp
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Step right up ladies and gentlemen, and come along to . . . the Sideshow.

This quirky and enjoyable horror novel starts ‘many years ago’, when after listening to rumours, young soldier Stanley Johnson is desperate to go to the local carnival, with all of its grotesqueries, gambling and other tantalizing temptations. Much to his surprise, it is full of rednecks rather than kids and is much more like a fly by night open air casino.
Stanley watches the action with a knowing smile and enters the sideshow tent anticipating the sight of freaks and carny’s. Disgusted by what he sees, Stanley gives the tall old gentleman, the Sideshow Barker, a really big piece of his mind. But it isn’t the sideshow he’s interested in. He’s really there for the strippers. Entranced by the deformed yet delicious stripper, and drunk on whisky, Stanley yells a torrent of abuse at the poor woman; something he may regret for a very long time!
Switch to the present, and young Justin Henry and his friend Mickey Reardon are excited by the approach of Halloween in their small town of Pottsboro, Carolina. Young Mickey tells Justin about the carnival tents he literally saw grow out at Godby’s field, a place with a dark and twisted history of racial abuse relevant to its Deep South residents and the growing tale. This is Hannibal Cobb’s Kansas City Carnival, and the residents are in for one hell of a surprise.
Reminiscent of similar ‘carnival’ sub-genre horrors such as Funhouse, The Vampire’s Assistant, and The Traveling Vampire Show, ‘with touches of Stand By Me, the tension builds steadily in this fun-filled romp. Told from multiple points-of-view we get to know the varied residents of Pottsboro and for those we don’t really like, we can anticipate a truly dismal and drastic demise. This is visceral and imaginative horror at its best, the beauty of the book being that the horror happens for a real and valid reason. Justin, as the child protagonist is very well written and we become engrossed in his journey. This is a real love story to middle town America, and Ollie is now a name I would recommend to any horror fans.

Mayhem

May 23, 2013 - 1:55 pm No Comments

Mayhem
Author: Sarah Pinborough
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Page count: 343pp
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Occurring at the same time as the Jack the Ripper murders, in the heart of London, the Torso Murders were committed by a serial killer during that period of mayhem. The Torso Murders, as the name suggests, involved a number of mutilated torsos being found in the city, missing arms, legs and heads. In her novel Mayhem, Pinborough takes these factual events and weaves them into a compelling story of death and the supernatural.
The novel, told through a series of viewpoints, starts in Nov 1886 in Paris, where the torso of a woman is found on the steps of a church in Mountrouge. From the outset in Paris to the streets of London, the novel evokes atmosphere and authenticity. Pinborough uses excerpts from newspapers to create her tale. You are engaged from the off, particularly when Dr Bond starts to narrate in 1888 at the height of these murders. The narrative is gruesomely poetic and visceral as the reader discovers much of the bowel and the female internal organs have been removed. Detectives obviously wonder if it is him, Jack, committing these atrocious murders, and talk of an atmosphere of wickedness in London.
Amongst the characters we also meet dirty and weird barber Aaron Kosminski, who has dreams and visions of blood, reluctantly working with Dr Bond and a Jewish priest to find the killer. To investigate, and fuel; an addiction, Dr Bond drags us through the opium dens of the city, partaking of the drug to offset the bloody sights he has seen.
This novel is quite simply, brilliant. It immerses you into a decadent and wicked period of London’s history, tantalizing the reader and teasing us with the identity of the killer. Dr Bond is a fully formed, flawed anti-hero who returns to play some more in the sequel Murder in 2015. I cannot wait!

Saturday Night Scare 1

May 18, 2013 - 5:34 pm No Comments

Welcome to the first in a regular post where I share with you what I get up to on a Saturday night (down boys)!

As a child, Saturday night was always horror night, so I’ll try my best to watch films you will want to watch, or warn you of films you really don’t want to watch! And maybe you’ll join me one evening.
Last Saturday I started with two films; The Possession and The Bigfoot Tapes. So here, for your entertainment is . . .

The Possession
Producer: Sam Raimi
Starring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick, Natasha Calis
Running Time: 92 minutes
Release Date: 21 Jan 2013
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Clyde) and Kyra Sedgwick (Stephanie) play estranged parents to two girls. The youngest girl buys a mysterious wooden box with her Dad at a garage sale and starts to hear encouraging voices from it. And that’s when things get really interesting! Of course I did want to ask if the child had ever seen Hellraiser or Seven. Don’t open the box! Never open the box!
The tension builds slowly in this horror flick, and there are genuinely scary moments. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is always reliable and Natasha Calis as the young girl Em, with some behavioural issues (think Linda Blair) is very convincing.
The scares start small and I have to admit I jumped a few times. The soundtrack is a little OTT, and there is a famous line from an equally infamous possession film used near the finale. It was also slightly ruined with a predictable ending, however overall it was a good solid horror film and addition to the sub-genre.

The Bigfoot Tapes
Producer: Stephon Stewart
Starring: Stephon Stewart, Davee Youngblood
Running Time: 82 minutes
Release Date: 6 May 2013
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

This addition to the found footage films starts with a record of a call to 911 reporting a dog being eaten by a creature. The next scene we meet the ‘director’ of a Bigfoot ‘documentary’ as he pursues the caller of the 911 report. There are some technical errors regarding the colour of the abominable snowman mentioned, but only a geek like me would notice (having a cryptozoologist as a friend). The obligatory couple tag along with the ‘director’ played by real-life director Stephon Stewart on the search for the big hairy fella. The scenery is beautiful (a great advert for the tourist board) and the film rolls along at a reasonable pace, but it isn’t quite in the league of Troll Hunter. With the prerequisite rednecks/hill billies hanging around at Elk Creek Campground as the crew track down the oldest folklore legend in the USA. The dialogue is strangely authentic, with lines such as “the goats are tasty, so’s chicken.” Curiosity kept me watching, though a religious and poetic redneck was a little hard to buy. However the subversion of the stereotype (see Deliverance) works well. The Bigfoot visuals when they come along are slightly dodgy, but not too bad. Things get really tight for the film crew when they are abandoned in the backwoods. The question I always ask with these films is ‘would they still be filming lost as they are?’ When BF turned up on camera when their backs were turned, I really wanted him to do a dance routine like the Pandas in the Kit-Kat advert.
Overall, again I enjoyed this film, my only issue being a gratuitous scene near the end. The script and direction was good and it was kind of fun. Worth the effort.

The Omega Man

May 17, 2013 - 11:47 am No Comments

The Omega Man Returns

Ashford-born Sean T Page, author of Amazon best-sellers, The Official Zombie Handbook (UK) and War against The Walking Dead will be isolating himself from the outside world in voluntary solitary confinement in an ex-cold war bunker in the UK to recreate an Armageddon type scenario for five days from 12 May 2013 – 17 May 2013. He will be the first author of a zombie survival book in the UK to give a first-hand understanding and day-by-day account of being a gear hungry lone survivor, sealed in the bunker and totally isolated from the world.

Educated in Kent’s Norton Knatchbull School, Mr Page’s first best seller, The Official Zombie Handbook (UK) prepares survivors for a zombie apocalyptic onslaught and gives detailed survival techniques to last out the first 90-days. Mr Page will be utilising advice from his handbook in a realistic post-apocalyptic setting likened to the ‘I am Legend’ movie where a lone survivor of a viral outbreak lives out his life in a heavily fortified home. The bunker is spread across three floors of underground concrete levels and packed with Cold War equipment and even a small hospital.

His daily blog and video can be viewed on the Ministry of Zombie website www.ministryofzombies.com, Ministry of Zombies Facebook Page and on twitter @ZombiesMinistry.