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 . . .
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 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 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.
If you were granted three wishes…
If you’ve read “Between Two Thorns” you already know that the fairy-tale trope of being awarded three wishes fascinates me. As a child I spent countless hours day-dreaming about what I’d wish for, ironically enough just like all good fae-touched children are encouraged to do in the Split Worlds.
Now the launch of the second part of the Split Worlds trilogy “Any Other Name” is on the horizon and I want to do something kind of crazy to celebrate. Are you ready?
I want to make a community of people publicly making three wishes and then, where possible, granting said wishes.
“These three wishes are part of a wish-making community organised by author Emma Newman to celebrate the release of the second Split Worlds novel “Any Other Name”. Can you make any of them come true? Come and see what other people are wishing for and find out how to join in at www.splitworlds.com/split-worlds-extra/three-wishes – who knows, perhaps someone could make one of your wishes come true.”
There are two reasons: One is that it enables people to find out about the wishing community so they can join in too. The second is that if you make that link active, (hopefully) it should make a little pingback doohicky appear in my email so I know you’ve joined in. Then I’ll summarise your wishes and link to them on there, so people can find you.
My three wishes are:
1. A book deal for my novel Mercy about witches and angels
2. My weight loss to continue (lost 8.5lb so far)
3. To get a holiday flat or chalet in the UK to take my Dad 79 years and poorly on a little break this summer to cheer him up.
I can grant a wish: Emma, I’m a small publisher Fringeworks with a horror imprint KnightWatch Press, and I would love to read your wish-makers novellas/novels. Forward them to me please.
The House of Wood
Author: Anthony Price
Publisher: Crooked Cat Publishing Ltd
Page count/size: 214pp
Release Date: 4 March 2013
Reviewer: Andy Angel
Three years ago Rachel James was caught up in terrible events at the House of Wood that ended in tragedy. She survived and left for college, vowing to never return to Willows Peak.
Move to the present, and the death of Rachel’s parents changes things – she has to return for the funeral and on approach to the town she sees the last thing she expects………….someone is rebuilding the House of Wood!!
This is a cracking tale of horror and possession in the style of the books I was reading when I first discovered this genre many years ago. No vampires, no werewolves, no zombies, just a tale that creeps up on you, and once it has a hold, doesn’t let go ’til the last page is turned.
While the deaths are being investigated Rachel has to stay in town and meets ‘new guy in town’ Doctor David Cochrane, a psychologist. She agrees to talk to him about the ‘event’ over dinner and it is here that the story really picks up a couple of gears.
During the evening the whole story comes out (in flashback), the atmosphere grows tenser, and the book gets more difficult to put down.
I must say, I thought I knew where the story was going. It seemed the author was leading the story one way, but in the end he wrongfooted me, and I am glad to have been wrong.
The climax was strong and fast paced, the resolution believable and satisfying.
And then……………The Epilogue – WOW!
I was delighted and privileged to be asked along to the launch party for Sarah Pinborough’s brand new book from Jo Fletcher Books Mayhem. The novel, which is set between 1886 and 1889, takes place in the background to the Jack the Ripper murders whilst another fiend was stalking London. These were the Torso Murders, and it started with a mutilated female torso being found on the footsteps of a church. And the scariest part about this novel? It’s based on fact. Whilst Jack sought fame and notoriety, the brute behind the torso murders kept secrets to his/her identity hidden, though this creature like Jack, was said to have knowledge of human anatomy.
So it was on a rather sunny Tuesday evening that a number of us gathered at the Prospect of Whitby for drinks to celebrate this new novel by Sarah Pinborough. There we took the chance to chat to editors, publicists and like-minded bloggers or reviewers who joined Sarah to launch the book.
This was followed soon after by a jaunt across the road to the Wapping Project, an art gallery/restaurant that served up a solid supply of vino then canapés whilst we chatted, listened to Sarah introduce the origins of her book and generally mingled snapping photos.
In the midst of mingling it was great to meet horror editor Steve Jones, who favoured my Fringeworks partner Adrian Middleton and I with enthusiasm for an idea we’d been considering. On the back of the Steampunk Sherlock Holmes books we’re releasing over the coming year, discussion had arisen about Holmes vs. Zombies (as you do) to which suggestion Steve had enthused, declaring it as a ‘no brainer’ pardon the pun, even offering us a cover quote. We were ecstatic of course, so watch this space for further news. Steve was also on hand to offer artistic advice on the photos and to pour the wine, him being an ex bar person, like myself.
Amongst the guests and hosts I got to also congratulate Sarah who was bubbly and enthusiastic, as always, particularly upon telling me that this September she’ll be in Belfast interviewing some of the cast of Game of Thrones. Fantastic. I also spent time with Jo Fletcher herself, an innovative publisher who definitely has her finger on the pulse when it comes to choosing new books and writers.
The experience was amazing, Jo and Lucy from Jo Fletcher books were wonderful hosts, and the whole day (including introducing Sarah to my Sherlock Holmes rubber duckie) will remain a very fond memory.
To retain the memory on my return to dear old Brum I dived into Sarah’s Mayhem, which I’ll be reviewing in a few days.