Archive for March, 2016

Revelations

March 29, 2016 - 1:10 pm No Comments

Revelations: Cast in Blood
Author: Christine Sutton
Publisher: Devil’s Dog
Page count: 275pp
Release date: 11th August 2015
Reviewer: Yvonne Davies

What do you get when you partner a shifter, a succubus and a demon who is 2nd in command of Hell? You get a group of kick ass women.
Lenny is a shifter, her talent is to morph into any person or animal she wishes. Whilst living on the streets, she ends up at The Children of Light a cult that to the outside world is a refuge for the homeless. After finding a dead body, she realises thatsomething is not right and after meeting Polly decides to track down the djinn who have escaped from hell and to get to the truth about their leader who thinks he is the new Messiah.
Drew is a succubus who to satisfy her needs is a prostitute. After a chance meeting with a member of the cult, she gets invited to the church, using her demonic powers she knows that there is an evil aura gripping on to the majority of the members. After her pimp who was a banished demon was murdered she also joins forces with Polly.
Drew and Lenny go undercover to infiltrate the cult to get the information required for Polly. Although they start off trying to get to the bottom of how the djinn escaped, they soon realise that there is a bigger plan. Souls are not making it to Heaven or Hell and the bosses are getting weaker. They need to report their findings to Lucy, yes short for Lucifer.
Its is refreshing to read a book about three strong women and throughout the book you get to know more about the characters, the history of both their parents and their past life. This helps you understand their actions and adds depth to the story.
The book tells the story of The Children of Light in a America and once their mission is complete they travel to France, which leads into the second book.
At the moment of writing this review this book is free on Amazon

The Sign in The Moonlight

March 22, 2016 - 11:31 am No Comments

The Sign in the Moonlight
David Tallerman
Publisher: Digital Fiction
Page Count: 185 (eBook edition)
Release date: 2016
Reviewed by Chris Amies

In “The Sign in the Moonlight” David Tallerman presents us with fourteen pieces which range across a variety of genres, ghostly, fantastical and horrific. The title story is a weird tale set in the aftermath of black magician Aleister Crowley’s ill-fated 1905 attempt to climb Mount Kangchenjunga, the ‘Five Treasures of the Snows.’ Tallerman is clearly fond of late-Victorian and early 20th century weirdness: from the bizarre “A Twist too Far” with its fakirs and fakers to the Saki-esque “Algernon Whisper’s Karma,” the opening story “The Burning Room,” and “The War of the Rats” in which the horrific slaughter of WW1 reveals another, more surprising conflict. “The Untold Ghost” picks up some of the atmosphere of “The Burning Room” to give us a chill and straight-down-the-line ghost story. It is pared down to the bone in a very effective way, as are the bleakly monochrome “Prisoner of Peace” and the short but chill “The Desert Cold”: ‘like death, like the loss of love, a bleakness and a heartbreak.’

“The Untold Ghost” brings in another recurring theme and one that is at the heart of a good ghost story, the sense that something is (at first slightly) off; as the narrator of that story says, ‘its effect was simply that […] looked wrong’. This effect is common in HP Lovecraft, where it has been called a ‘wrong geometry.’ Many of the stories are Lovecraftian in the best way, echoing HPL’s fondness for odd civilisations and barbaric traditions, and never mind all the glubbling and unpronounceable names: “The Door beyond the Water” and “Caretaker in the Garden of Dreams” introduce us to the weird and shuddersome rituals of other worlds and strange cultures. As if to underline the distinction between what Lovecraft actually wrote and what people think he did, “My Friend Fishfinger by Daisy, Aged 7” indulges in playful overloading of Lovecraftian cliche with some of the names even being literally spelt out. Possibly playful but also deeply strange is “A Study in Red and White.”

Tallerman is also a writer of what is more conventionally known as Fantasy and this influences, among others, “A Stare from the Darkness” in which he once again overturns cliche in a way that makes for a better story. The final piece in the book, “The Way of the Leaves” is a tale set in a Northern English town and on the moors above, and moves from the 1970s to the present day with an elegiac sense of loss which the reader will find in other stories here as well.

The illustrations, by the very talented Duncan Kay are very much in keeping with the style of the book, spare and dark and weird by turns.

Infinity

March 17, 2016 - 11:42 am No Comments

TTg

Infinity
Author: Alliana Daniels
Published by CreateSpace Independent publishing platform 
Release date: 9th August 2015
Page count: 376pp
Reviewer: Yvonne Davies

Gabriel is a Fae who can turn into animals. He is used to living by himself, and nearing 190 years old, he did not think he would meet his soul mate.
Carmen is a strong woman, and talented animal trainer, who does not let anything get in her way. She is not afraid to speak her mind and does not care who she upsets in the process. 
With the help of her best friend Lizzy from foster care, she runs a successful animal training business. Carmen is so gifted with animals because she can talk to them. 
On a business trip to sort out an owner’s dog, Carmen’s infinity birthmark starts to hurt, at exactly the same time that Gabriel’s birthmark hurts as well. Gabriel knows that this is a sign that his soulmate has been found and he now has to find and bond with her.
From the start Gabriel has difficulties securing his mate.  Due to Carmen’s past she shuns him and will not let him get close. A bigger problem is that Carmen does not know she is Fae and that she will gain her powers on her birthday.
Slowly Gabriel gains Carmen’s trust and with the help of his family, shows her what love is and helps her overcome her problems.
Although a slow start, this soon develops into a good read. It has everything; magic intrigue, sex and humour, which kept my interest right to the end.
This is a story about love, patience and perseverance. You will easily fall in love with the characters, and with Gabriel having a large family there is scope to have many spin off stories. I for one would like to read more about Riley
This is the 1st in the series and I cannot wait to read Unbound!

The Complete Double Dead

March 10, 2016 - 3:00 pm No Comments

Author: Chuck Wendig
Publisher: Abaddon Books
Page Count: 384pp
Release date: 9th Feb 2016
Release Date: Reviewer Theresa Derwin

I will start with these words; Chuck Wendig is a God – a god of literature that is. From his informative blog terribleminds.com to his writerly advice in Kick-Ass Writer, the astounding Miriam Black series and now, The Complete Double Dead, Chuck is a master of the art of storytelling.
I first came across his work in 2012 with the Tomes of the Dead, Double Dead, and now, re-reading it, it blew me away just as it did four years ago.
Colborn is a bit of an arsehole and a vampire.  He doesn’t like people and people don’t 
like him. Five years ago he went to sleep buried under a movie theatre, now he wakes up to the smell and taste of blood, and the stench of rot. The world has gone to hell. It’s a godamned zombie apocalypse. The ‘double dead’ roam and rule. Doesn’t leave much hope for Coborn’s continuing survival with no humans to snack on. Well, Coborn isn’t timid, so he leaves the theatre, and far in the distance he smells blood; human blood.
For Carl, the apocalypse is working out quite well; doesn’t like cats, doesn’t like dogs (apart from as dinner) doesn’t like people. Interrupting Carl’s dinner, Coborn has his own dinner at Carl’s expense, then ‘rescues’ the little dog in a cage, which he promptly names Creampuff; his delicious snack for later. Or so he tells himself, as he travels the dusty roads looking for humans to feed upon. At last he finds an occupied RV, but Coborn’s known world is about to go tits up when he meets a young girl – a frail, pretty bird-like girl, who will bring meaning to his new existence. Layla could be the very answer humanity is looking for; a walking, talking cure.
Coborn is sardonic, sarcastic and downright mean to the ‘sheeples’ he has agreed to protect, but he’s damn funny with it. Wendig has a way with words, and a way of building tension without losing his sense of humour. The bit with ‘the Queen’ is particularly amusing though I won’t spoil it for you.
This is pure apocalypse gold – imagine The Road with attitude, ‘directed’ by Tarantino. 
Coborn and his weird entourage travel the dusty, desolate roads of America, like Mad Max with fangs and guns. And on a level of crazy, it’s up there with the best – Jeff Strand, Shane McKenzie and Adam Millard.
Part bizarro, part batshit crazy (think Z Nation) part journey through life, the Complete Double Dead has it all. And there is no shortage of monsters, from the rather inept Thuglow to the ‘Bitch Beast’ who is an amalgam of all sorts of creatures.  This puts the fear and the blood back into cutie-fief genres. It is simply Awe-Zom.

What The Centipede Means to Me

March 7, 2016 - 10:38 am No Comments

GUEST BLOG – ALEX DAVIS

WHAT THE CENTIPEDE MEANS TO ME
I remember quite distinctly the first Human Centipede film hitting upon its release, although of course at the time I had no idea of quite how fond I would grow to be not only of that first film but the two ‘sequels’ that would follow. There was something tantalising about First Sequence, with all the whispers and rumours of what the movie was really like really piquing my interest. I’ve always been drawn to controversy and films that have suffered censorship – quelle surprise –but there was something in particular in this movie’s set up that I found hard to resist. But I do equally remember everyone’s revulsion when I said I’d like to watch the movie.
Well, I was a younger and even shyer Alex back then, so it was actually a long time until I got to see the movie in its entirety. I managed to catch it on SyFy a bit after its release, late on Tuesday night as I remember it. And I do remember it well – it’s not the kind of movie you forget seeing for the first time. The insane Dr Heiter, the cold and clinical surgeon, the three victims in the wrong place at the wrong time, Katsuro at the head of Lindsay and Jenny for the disturbing surgery, Heiter delighting in the eating and ‘feeding’ of one to the other and an ending that I actually thought was truly heart-wrenching, one that left a real impression with me. Wow, I thought. It wasn’t something new in terms of storyline – a classic mad scientist tale really – but boy was the delivery and style fresh. This Tom Six chap would be a director to watch out for.
Not a bad prediction, because even better was to come, and when Full Sequence emerged the furore was even more noticeable. After a total of 36 cuts by the BBFC, the movie finally got a release here in the UK and I was itching to check this one out. Surely it couldn’t be as bad as the opener? Surely there was nothing up the sleeve that could really top First Sequence? Sure, the centipede would be longer, but surely that would only make a minimal difference…
Oh, how wrong can you be? HCII was a flat out Lynchian nightmare cranked up to 11, headed by the sinister Martin Lomax, his brutally abusive mother, and a meta thread following Lomax as he tries to surpass the personal obsession that is the first movie. And does this one go further? Good lord it goes. Truly shocking and disturbing, but utterly compelling watching. And what impressed me most was the bravery to go out a sequel that was so utterly different. There was no repetition of ideas, none of the laziness that can so often mark the horror sequel. This was physically brutal on a level that First Sequence never achieved.
Blown away a second time, when I heard a third was in the works I was genuinely excited. What would Tom Six, this depraved mastermind, be presenting as the epic conclusion to this trilogy? Would it be a return to the more psychological angle of HCI, or the grotesque body horror of HCII?
Well, ultimately, neither. And therein lies its brilliance. With a totally different flavour of blackest black comedy, this one is also a Centipede fan’s wet dream, with all sorts of nods to the first two movies and the biggest Human Centipede you could probably have ever imagined (and a Human Caterpillar to boot). There are cameos from loads of actors in the previous movies, and wild bits of casting including Tom Six appearing as himself, and the actors behind Dr Heiter and Martin Lomax appearing in entirely new roles. And for those with a disturbed sense of humour, this final movie is a stitch, filled with gross-out moments and one of the most over the top characters of all time in the shape of Bill Boss.
Now, what was even more exciting about this one was that I was able to get to the UK premiere, presented by the good folks at Mayhem Film Festival in Nottingham. When I heard Tom Six and Dieter Laser – the man who brought both Dr Heiter and Bill Boss to life – would be there, I couldn’t resist asking if there was any chance of an interview. Now, Film Gutter, my little review series, was still relatively new at that point, so I wasn’t holding my breath. I was just looking forward to an awesome night with a fun interview/Q+A and maybe the chance to get something signed.
However the good folks at Broadway were able to accommodate my wish, and I got an email the morning of the event saying that I could have an interview slot with Tom and Dieter that afternoon. Now, I will admit here, which I have never admitted anywhere else, I was a bag of bloody nerves for this. Dieter I had chatted to on email previously, and he came across as an absolutely great guy. But a face-to-face interview was all-new territory – in fact this one remains my only in-person interview. And with two of my heroes in extreme cinema? Yeah, fair to say I was bloody nervous.
But thankfully I’ve never been much on to let nerves stop me – we all feel them, so why not just admit you feel them and aim to do stuff anyway? I quickly typed up a handful of questions, and on the bus it occurred to me to actually download a Dictaphone to record the interview (technology to the rescue!) So at Broadway as I was ushered into a little side suite with many of the good folks from Eureka! Video and then introduced to Tom and Dieter in another side room. Tom is just every bit as chilled and cool as he comes across, and somebody with an incredible passion for film and creating a distinctive creative vision. Dieter is almost the opposite, one of the most intense speakers I’ve ever met and a man who no doubt takes his work and his roles very seriously. It struck me throughout that interview that opposites had very much attracted here – there was a common passion and a huge mutual respect professionally and personally, but in terms of character Tom and Dieter were distinctly different.
And, despite all my nerves, it was fun as hell. I still consider that one of my favourite days of 2015, if not the favourite –seeing the film among so many fellow fans, bagging so many great freebies and getting my swag signed, just awesome all around. And it really cemented The Human Centipede as something special for me on a personal level – something I care about and believe in, something I have a great affection for and would love for more people to cast aside everything they’ve heard and just sit and watch.
So thanks to Tom, and Ilona, and Dieter and Laurence, and everyone else who worked to put this trilogy together. I’ve never seen a braver set of films, and I doubt I ever will again. Roll on The Onania Club.
Alex Davis is the creator of Film Gutter, Ginger Nuts of Horror’s series of reviews and interviews on extreme horror. Film Gutter Volume 1 is out now as an ebook and gathers together more than 50 reviews and interviews plus exclusive content – check it out at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Film-Gutter-1-Alex-Davis-ebook/dp/B01AZVDM8A