Archive for August, 2014

RIP and all that depression jazz

August 12, 2014 - 11:50 am No Comments

RIP Robin Williams. The internet exploded last night and this. Morning of the untimely death of the comedian due to suicide at age 62. Williams struggled with depression and alcohol for most of his life, and often added it into his stand up routines. I used to regularly watch his stand up videos with my friend Jo, who is the Kathy Bates from Misery where it comes to Robin Williams; his number one fan. She is gutted. He touched so many lives through his honesty, his talent, his warmth, his smile, his complete insanity; a mask that covered the battle within. Why is it, we ask, the funniest people are always the saddest?
For those who don’t believe it, or know it, or understand it, depression is a disease. It is a dark pestilence that can affect anyone, yet there are sometimes those, like Williams, who are affected more than others. For them, the black dog constantly bites.
But there is help out there. We all have our ways of dealing with it. For me, I can’t face the dark. I read lighthearted stuff, supernatural chick lit, avoid horror (which is ironic given I’m a major horror fan and now a horror publisher) but when the cloud of misery pulls me under, the only way to cope is to immerse my self in fun. Perhaps that’s why Robin Williams was such a good comedian; the light is only one step away from the dark. I also like to talk (hell, anyone who knows me knows I like to talk!) but if you see a late night plea from me, or anyone on FB asking if anyone is awake, odds are they are trying to find a voice in the darkness to listen to them. So listen, let them talk, let them get it off their chest. Sometimes the need to talk is overwhelming. Perhaps there is a trauma recently experienced and the sufferer just needs to vent; to scream “why, why, why, why did this happen to me?” There are no answers. It could be chemical, it could be PTSD. There could be many reasons why a person suffers from depression. It doesn’t mean they’re ‘nutso’ or ‘weird’ or ‘miserable’. No, they’re suffering from a bloody awful illness.
So next time you hear a cry for help, answer. Even if it’s only by asking “do you want to talk?”
There are crisis lines and organisations set up to help people deal with these episodes but let’s face it, a friend on FB is easier to reach out to. As other advice goes, I’ve been recommended to read ‘The Secret’ which talks about changing the way you think about things, a little bit like CBT. I’m taking it away to Dublin for Shamrockon with me, just to see if it’s any good. You know, cats, curiosity and all that. Just remember, talking, whether you are a sufferer or a person on the other end of an internet page, could be the difference between a bad Isolde that leads to suicide or saving a life.
RIP Robin. You will be missed. And if losing you helps a few more people think about this awful disease, at least that’s something.
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Saturday Night Scare: Triple DVD

August 9, 2014 - 5:44 pm No Comments

Saturday Scare: Triple DVD Night

Welcome to my Sat night, a night of horror DVDs by Signature Entertainment, Jerk Chicken, Rice & Peas, an Popcorn. See what I Cabin Fever 3

think of what I watched.

Way of the Wicked

Release date: 1st September 14
Cast: Vinnie Jones, Christian Slater, Emily Tennant
Distributor: Signature Entertainment
Director: Kevin Carraway

“A Child will be born with the Way of the Wicked.”
Ex footballer player, now cinema heavy Vinnie Jones, stares in this horror film about a spate of inexplicable murders sweeping through an isolated community, which leads Father Henry to a local police detective with a theory on why the murders are occurring. Jones plays the gruff detective with Slater as the priest intent on stopping more murders from happening. He starts by visiting a local boy who sees two other young boys killed, being accidentally choked to death. Five years later, Jones is playing the typical ‘tortured’ cop, and lone parent of a teenage girl who meets the now grown up Robbie, witness to the deaths five years ago.
Vinnie is actually quite on form trying to raise his daughter alone after the death of her mother a year before, whilst balancing the demands of a job with the police. He is turning into a solid actor.
Robbie is the typical lone weirdo who sets his sights on Hearher, Jones’ daughter, gaining the enmity of the high school jock/bully. Bad mistake for said bully, as he starts to get a nosebleed when he attacks Robbie. Does Robbie have some supernatural ability? Is he able to hurt others on a whim?
It isn’t too long before the deaths start to happen again. And when they come, they’re nice and visceral without being too gory. Of course it is Jones who is called in to investigate. The film steps up a notch when the supernatural prophecy comes into play. Part ‘Omen’ part medieval lore, the film makes for intriguing viewing; it is very much a character driven film, with just the right amount of horror to entertain fans, good performances, solid direction and a well constructed soundtrack. Some of the effects, particularly the banging locker doors, are a little hokey but it isn’t too noticeable. The film also keeps you guessing right along to the end. And what a nice ending it is.

A Voodoo Possession
Release date: 7th July 14
Cast: Danny Trejo
Distributor: Signature Entertainment

Co-Starring the ever reliable Danny Trejo (From Dusk til Dawn, Zombie Hunter) A Voodoo Possession starts with an unknown woman diving off a ladder onto a knife after seeing a box of crayons turn into mutiliated fingers. An American doctor Cody Chase living in Haiti after founding a mental health hospital, has gone missing along with thousands of dollars in fundraising money. Five years later, his brother Aiden Chase is dragged along by a reporter to Haiti to do an investigative piece on Cody. A photo soon reveals the dead woman is their Mother. Aiden in the meantime is struggling; he’s having nightmares, on prescription drugs for depression and has lost his job and his benefits. With nothing else to help him, decides to join the hunt for his brother.
Exposition comes in the form of film excerpt posted to the American film crew by a mysterious resource. Amongst the clips Billy Cross (Trejo) presents Voodoo 101 running through the basic belief system.
The performances are solid, even if there is a little too much exposition and Trejo as usual stands out as Kross. The duplicated Voodoo ceremonies come across well and there are a couple of jumps and creepy moments, but nothing too scary. There’s a nice amount of humour laced through the script and the look of the film is grim, gritty and dark. The mythology is particularly interesting, as is the use of memories as a means to travel. There are some really intriguing dimensions to the story as it unfolds, and it makes for a very enjoyable little film.

Cabin Fever 3: Patient Zero
Starring: Sean Astin
Director: Kaare Andrews
Release date: 17 March 14
Distributor: Signature Entertainment

Sean Astin (The LOTR Trilogy, The Hobbit, The Goonies) stars in this prequel to Eli Roth’s classic viral horror tale. The film starts with Astin being dragged off to a secure bunker on an island where the flesh eating virus from the first two films is being investigated. Astin is Porter, ‘the sample’ or Patient Zero and he is held prisoner away from his family, because he is the only asymptomatic patient with the virus who could have a cure in his veins to the pandemic.
On the same island we have a wedding party and the groom Marcus and his brother and friends head off on a boat for a ‘stag’ party night away on a deserted tropical island.Think ‘The Hangover’ without the comedy and with the horror. There is of course the obligatory woman on the stag do, as ‘Pen’ is apparently practically one of the boys; cue copious amounts of sexual tension and bare female flesh.
Astin is on form as the patient zero imprisoned for experimentation, gradually losing the plot as tension and insanity takes him over. The viewer’s sympathy most definitely lies with Porter, and one of the doctors is sympathetic to him too. You can readily understand the lengths he will go to to try and escape, including risking infection to the team of doctors. After one of Porter’s failed attempts, the bunker goes into a 48hr lockdown.
The flesh eating virus is incredibly grim. It us nasty, putrid, bloody and visceral; great Sat night entertainment for horror fans. It starts slowly with mottled flesh and soon develops into the gross out visuals the first film is known for. However, when it gets to a certain death midway through the SFX is a little OTT and rather shaky. And the understatement of the day has to be a character’s conclusion that another character is sick, as they projectile vomit blood, over them. Then of course there’s the completely OTT fight between two characters at the end. This film is anything but subtle, however it’s good fun and the punchline is great.