Sunday, 16 December 2012

Night of the Creeps: Retro Review

Night of the Creeps: Retro Review


Year: 1986
Stars: Jason Lively, Tom Atkins and Steve Marshall
Directed: Fred Dekker
Running Time: 88 Mins Approx.


Hurray another retro review coming at you folks and it’s the 1986 cracker Night of the Creeps with a budget of $5million this was a lot for movie back then, unfortunately it bombed. Ah 86 I was a spritely 4 years old then I would watch this film till some mid-point in the 90’s either on bravo or sci-fi.
Only I can remember it was quite a fun and decent film back then, staring Jason lively who hasn’t been in anything since the mid-nineties but he was in a bunch of great films though ghost chase, brainstorm, and European vacation.
Oh and the one and only Tom Atkins Halloween 3 (yes the one we try to forget about) the fog and countless other shock horrors. Written and directed by Fred Dekker who wrote and directed the awesome Monster Squad film and the terrible Robocop 3, amongst other cool 80’s horrors.
So let’s get on with the film and see how it’s aged and stands up to the test of time!

So the film for a zombie film starts of quite oddly with some weird little pink aliens trying to stop another from jettisoning a failed (and deadly) experiment out of their ship. The experiment crash lands on a 50’s era earth while two love birds are canoodling in a car. Quite cool at the start in the 50’s as it’s in black and white there was definitely some thinking gone into this at least.
They go and check it out with usual teen vigour and silly eerie noises ensuing from the boy as he goes. I forgot this part that there was also a nut job escapee with an axe. So Johnny finds the crashed capsule and one of the black wiggly things inside breaks out and flies into his mouth, as his girlfriend is horribly axed in the car waiting for him, we know it’s all fun from here!

Switch to colour and it’s now 1986 on the same college campus in pledge week, strange things these college kids do! Jason’s character Chris is a typical teen who wants to sleep with the ladies though has eyes for only one lady. JC his friend shows him up trying to get her name isn’t this always the way?
The girl then heads into a BETA house where our idiot friend Jason follows, JC through some utter luck gets Jason in with the girl who we learn is called Cynthia.
To impress her they try to join the said BETA’s, they of course get sent on a stupid dog chase of a task to join the house. Which is to find a corpse for them and yes they stumble upon the corpse of the 1959’s infected guy, well they think it’s a corpse anyway!

They free the cryogenic frozen guy and when he grabs JC they freak out and run away leaving the bewildered scientist behind. Who in turn gets a mouthful of black wiggly things!
Back in their dorm JC and Jason have a little set to over how Jason’s chicken shit over this girl and how much JC has been trying to help him with her. After their little tiff they make friends we are then cut to Tom Atkins character who we learn was the cop from the 50’s scene warning about the mad axe man. He’s having a weird flash back to that night seeing the girl he knew being chopped up the axe man turns around with a weird zombie like face and he awakes on a chair.

He is detective Cameron and gets called in to the break in, in the experimental lab where we cut to a dead doctor being bagged up and no sign of the ex-frozen guy. After a bit of shouting at incompetence we join the dead guy on walkabout. We now get the usual 80’s staple of a cat scare before the main scares start. Scares we do get with Mr Icicle now looking a little worse for wear scaring Cynthia and spurting black slug creatures everywhere. The cops are called realising the body is the one missing.
Till near the end the films pretty straight forwards here people getting infected infecting others, except these things live to infect others so they can breed then they pop forth from the hosts head like a giant popper.
In amongst this Jason gets the girl they learn about the shit going on people think their nuts; you know the whole horror movie affair.
So towards the end of the film we get another 80’s movie standard the nudity! Yay so the unlikely hero saves the day not without some good old twists thrown in, which as you know I won’t spoil for you my friends in case you decide to watch, which I really think you should.

On little touch I loved in this film is the kids have all horror film people last names such as Romero Hooper and Cronenberg. Acting wise some scenes aren’t fantastic especially some of the cops they can’t seem to act. Aside from that it’s your usual 80’s affair with some decent performances here and there It’s like a lot of comedy horrors of this age it’s got a tongue firmly in its cheek and it wasn’t afraid to do what it did.
Effects well what can I say 5 mill was a good sum to be making a film back then and though some of the animatronics haven’t aged well make up and some other effects I’ve literally seen a LOT worse in even some up to date zombie films of our era. That is mainly due to them using really bad looking CGI rather going for make-up and props.
So did I love this film as much as I did back in the day? Whole heartedly yes I would recommend this to any zombie/80’s movie/horror aficionado any day.
This film is definitely worth the 4/5 star rating I’m giving it enjoy it



Peace out The Horror Nation

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Grabbers Review

Grabbers Review

Year: 2012
Stars: Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley and Russell Tovey
Directed: Jon Wright
Running Time:  90 Mins Approx.


Some would see this as a b-movie, it is basically but the good thing about British b-movies is you can get some decent actors in who’ll just like being in there for numerous reasons, there’s a certain line drawn there if you do a b-movie in America it means your failing or trying to get a break somewhere if you do one here in Britain it’s for a laugh and to have a laugh.
In this way you can get some pretty decent series actors or even more in your movie. Take this for instance Russell Tovey a British series veteran been in a lot of breakthrough TV series’ which I will mention later. There’s the lead who has been in some high profile films/series’ too. Nearly everyone in here has been in something most people would have heard of.
It’s got a relatively decent budget for a Brit flick DTV as well £4million so I’m hoping the film is at least half decent in the b-movie bracket. The film is directed by Jon Wright a relatively new Irish director with one other film and some TV things under his belt. Thanks to lottery funding and by the looks of it lots of other companies helping out from the vast array of them in the beginning credits he’s managed to make a decent bit of money for his second film.
He’s snagged some choice acting talent from good British shows and films such as Russell Tovey from Dr. Who, being human (UK) and a host of other titles. Richard Coyle, who’s in numerous TV series, was in prince of Persia film, outpost: black sun which I will do a review of soon myself and Finally Ruth Bradley. She’s not as famous as the other two but has been in a number of programs most notably Primeval and the newest Titanic mini-series this year.

So let’s get on with the film!

We start the film with a crashing blue light over the British Isles, then flick to a boat at sea. The light passes over their heads to which most them think it’s some kind of distress flare unfortunately we all know it isn’t in these films.
The crew are subsequently munched by whatever it was that’s landed we see a quick glimpse of a tentacle here but not much.
Flick to Ruth playing Lisa coming over in a boat interspersed with scenes of Richard playing his character Ciaran being a typical Irish drinker who seems to be in the same profession as Lisa. After a few meet and greets they go down on a beach to seen some weird stuff that’s happened where we meet Russell’s character a Dr Smith.
He’s taking samples of dead pilot whales, when they first come up to him for the customary hand shake. Dr Smith thinks it’s just usual beaching activity though Lisa notices lacerations on them. A lobster fisherman pulls up something strange in one of his traps.
They get a clean-up a crew to take them away while one of the crew is left alone of the beach he discovers some orbs, before he can report on his findings though he’s dragged screaming into the waves (fears about effects just being mainly hinted at and no real views of what’s doing it, even with the little thing in the cage) a friend comes searching for him to no avail.
The Lobster fisher puts his discovery in a bath full of water.

At this point I was drawing a few similarities to an Irish Sea alien/monster based Attack the Block (another British alien flick) thankfully it wasn't not that its a bad film mind! Being a quarter Irish myself I loved hearing the accents and Irish words used that I recognised from my Nan.

So a little ways into the film a couple are in their house going about their business when they get a knock at the door opening it, they see one of their friends strangely dangling there (though they seem to fail to notice him hanging) he’s then dropped to the floor where the husband goes to check on him and then he too is whisked away by whatever was holding their friend Cooney up. The woman does the usual scream into the house thing while her husband’s screams can be heard from all sides of the house like he’s being thrashed about.
Thinking its stopped she enters the living room where she notices soot falling from the fireplace trying to close the vent off she’s dragged up there screaming.
Back at the pub where Lisa is saying a slightly intoxicated Ciaran goes to her room to try it on at earlier insistence from the barmaid. Though not angered by this she doesn’t seem incredibly impressed either. He then passes out onto her door.
The fisherman intoxicated himself (got to love Irish stereotypes) goes back home to find his little prize has escaped and we get our first full on glimpse of a tentacle creature! This proceeds to try to munch the face off said fisherman who stamps the thing into oblivion.

The next morning Ciaran is woken by Lisa in a cell as she didn’t know where else to stick him, when they get a call the fisherman has taken his creature to Dr Smith. Paddy (the fisherman) calls it a grabber nice movie name drop there just in case you forgot what you were watching.
Dr Smith has no idea what it is, Paddy insists it’s a grabber, had to laugh at that especially when he thwacks it to make sure it’s dead as Dr Smith doesn’t know. We also find out here what I guessed earlier that the orbs are eggs and that this was female and pregnant.

After a few clues Ciaran and Lisa stumble upon the house and discover after some investigation a severed head in the chimney. After some more investigation they realise there must be a male somewhere to this female and that it need to move about in the water with a big storm due in that night they try to hatch a plan to find this thing. Paddy shows them a place where it could be coming in; they find a mac belonging to one of the fishermen of the boat. All this time Paddy is looking about on the beach and discovers more eggs.
Back in the cave Lisa and Ciaran are attacked by a giant grabber and they peg it out of there the grabber too big to fit out Ciaran says oh don’t worry but it shoots its tongue out and eats his hat.

They later burst in on Dr Smith who tries to tell them theories while Ciaran is just intent on burning the dead creature. Though warnings from Dr Smith Ciaran sets the creature alight making the sprinklers come on, exactly what they don’t want to happen. This leads to one of funny British people grabbing a weapon scene Dr Smith grabs a chair Lisa a small knife and Ciaran a ROLLED UP MAGAZINE, fantastic.
As the approach with caution they suspect it’s still dead as it leaps onto Ciaran face he spins around trashing the lab. They get it off with a comedy moment of them all stamping and hitting the shit out of it for a little while. After all this they realise that blood with booze in it is toxic to these creatures but they also need help to stop the other eggs hatching and going in mainland.
In another comedy moment talking about the grabbers, Dr Smith isn’t too fond of their name, he just ends up giving up and calling them it anyway, I do love Russell Tovey’s acting. Coming up with a plan to survive the night to have a lock in and get wasted in the pub until they can get the mainland to help seems like a good idea. To any Irish person (stereotype) this is a perfect idea! Strangely Ciaran opts to stay sober to be the watch out.

Lisa drunk is funny she descends into that Irish speaking that no one other than other Irish people understands. After a final snifter of Paddy’s own home brew she becomes super drunk. They then use her intoxicated blood as a test on the grabber they have and it dies a gruesome little death proving that the idea works. I could see from this moment how certain things would work out towards the end of this film. They get the rest of the islands inhabitants to the bar with the promise of a free bar.
Of course in all movies like this nothing goes according to plan little baby grabber’s start to attack and so does daddy. Dr Smith in a drunken stupor tries to make friends and is amusingly flicked away like a giant bogey. The baby grabber’s are quite cute actually a tentacle with a giant gapping mouth and all wiggly.
So the rest of the movie goes the way most films do hero or heroine saves the day, a little twist you know, I never spoil the end for my readers just in case you actually watch it whether it’s bad or not I just like to steel you against movies pitfalls.
Few little nit-picks about this film the grabbers seemed slug based so surely a good dose of salt would have helped dry them out? And don’t we have an abundance of that stuff?
The effect were good for a movie of this calibre no avatar for sure but a good effort, which brings me to something I was afraid of earlier that never panned out, the way a lot of killings and things were off screen I was scared this film was going to be one of them everything off camera affairs thankfully I was wrong.
Acting was spot on in this film and stereotypical down to a T from stupid scientists to drunk/like a drink Irish people. An enjoyable 90 minutes thankfully for a change from the bad things I’ve had the misfortune to watch lately. This movie deserves its four star rating.

Peace out The Horror Nation.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Hellraiser: Revelations, Back Review

Hellraiser: Revelations, Back Review

Year: 2011
Stars: Fred Tatasciore, Daniel Buran and Steven Brand
Directed: Víctor García
Running Time:  75 Mins Approx.


My god what the hell happened here, I know the last few instalments of Hellraiser weren’t that great but where did travesty come from? I didn’t even know this was made until a little while ago; it took me a little while to build up the courage to try a Hellraiser that didn’t even have Doug Bradley as pinhead.
I’m sure he would have done it if asked he’s not exactly going cost you a lot to get in one of his favourite roles, Unfortunately the salary was abysmal so he did say no, so that surprised me, I don’t care about it though he IS pinhead. That given the guy who takes over the pins is probably one of the people who really put an effort in.

Anyway rant over let’s get on with the film, so yes a quick cash in I’m sure and also from some sources I’ve been told and read a way to keep the licence for the film a little longer. Thrown together with a measly budget of only $300,000, this can be seen easily in not a lot of retakes and the relative short running time. Since the film was a one draft affair (another reason why Doug didn’t want to do it) you can really tell.
One thing I will say for this film for the tiny budget the effects and make up were relatively decent and that’s where this film being decent plummets into a vast black hole.
I know i usually tell you a little about the actors etc here but these people are so obscure it's not worth wasting your time
Right this movie starts with a bout of shaky cam goodness, which, and I really don’t want to say this because it isn’t thankful, it’s just I hate shaky cam more than anything ever, it’s just not a good way to tell a story, no matter how gritty and realistic it makes things look.
Anyway this THANKFULLY doesn’t persist and the movie isn’t a shaky cam affair, this introduces us to two protagonists Steven and Nico one apparently tricked the other saying they were going on a road trip to Disney land, wrong their heading to Mexico!
They have a night of drinking with the intent of getting laid. Anyway film cuts here to them opening the box which we all know and love and pinhead appearing they shit themselves, cut to proper filming with some bad acting to Steven’s mother watching the happenings on the camcorder crying because her son is missing.
They’ve been looked for by all sorts’ investigators police, Mexican police you name it they’ve looked. So the families a little distraught the daughter doesn’t really get it as she hasn’t seen the film, now I know I’m explaining this a bit all over the shop.
That’s because it is.

Anyway Steven miraculously appears at their front door gibbering and covered in, gasp! Not his own blood. I watched the rest of the film in abstract horror as it just degenerates into pinhead killing for fun. Which is something he doesn’t do really he wants you to revel in pain, worship at its altar, not just kill for the sake of it. So we also have some other cenobytes a female chatterer and Nico is turned into a weird pseudo pinhead.
It really is just to keep to the licence for the film series I’ve seen some films that do that but still make at least a little effort this shit does not.
I barely made it to the end which in my style I won’t spoil for you just in case you accidently watch this loose the function of your arms or in fact whole body and have to sit through it.

This is bad! But even though I was harsh on the puppet master series last review I do love the Hellraiser series, this does genuinely have a tiny spark of something that could have been a lot better a diamond in the heart of the coal that could have formed if metaphorically left for just a bit longer (rewritten slightly bigger budget and Doug Bradley there I said it)
Also just a shout out to the good effects/make up they managed on such a pittance budget which that coupled with the above statement gets this film it’s amazing 1 star grade, now go away and make something better please.

Peace out The Horror Nation

Monday, 10 December 2012

An Interview with James Cook Author of the Surviving the Dead Series

James Cook Interview

 I have here folks another interview for my site James Cook another author of a small Zombie apocalypse series of books hope you enjoy!

First let’s get to know you. James Cook is an author, veteran of the United States Navy, and avid world traveller who has wrote a Zombie apocalypse series called Surviving the Dead. There is at current two books in this series called No Easy Hope and This Shattered Land, following the premise of raw, gritty survival of one man reaching a goal in a land where the dead hold control.

I have here a few questions James has graciously agreed to answer for my blog.


Q. Hi James, first off how long have you been writing for?

A. I’ve only been writing since March of 2011, so not for very long. I’m actually very surprised at how far things have come along for me in so short a span of time, considering my relative inexperience.


Here I have a few questions from my co-writer on this blog Mark:


Q. when did you realise you wanted to write horror?

A. When I was twelve, right after I read ‘It’ by Stephen King. Horror has always been my favourite genre because of its endless possibilities. The only boundaries in a horror novel are the limits of the author’s imagination. Anything can happen.


Q. And one more, in an overcrowded sub-genre how do you keep things fresh?

A. It’s a confluence of two things: luck, and focusing on the characters.

I think a lot of the success I’ve had in writing in the zombie apocalypse sub-genre comes down to simple timing. When I published No Easy Hope back in November of 2011, there were not very many ZA titles available. The genre was dominated by only a few readable novels, and the rest was, with only a few exceptions, simply awful. Bad writing, bad mechanics, bad spelling and grammar, it was just terrible.

But they sold!

They sold by the proverbial truckload. I remember thinking to myself, I can do better than this. I can write better than this. That was what motivated me to try my hand at zombie fiction.

When I first sat down to do it, I knew that my story had to answer a question, and it had to be about something, or it was simply going to fall flat. The question became, “Will the character(s) survive and find a place where they can start a new life?”

As for what the series is about: It’s about human nature. The power of friendship, the importance of relationships, the forces that knit societies together, and how in bad situations, good leadership can make all the difference in the world. That last point was something that I learned first-hand during my time in the Navy; it has stuck with me ever since, and found resonance in my writing.


Back to me now:


Q. What influences if any have had an impact on your work?

A. The biggest influence would have to be Jim Butcher’s ‘Dresden Files’ series. I really like those novels, and I think the writing, while simple and straightforward, is nonetheless brilliant. I have to be careful when I read those books because Jim’s voice is powerful, and I sometimes catch myself letting that bleed over into how I write. While I certainly want to write with my own voice, I will admit that, to an extent, I seek to emulate Butcher in pacing, plot structure, and execution. He excels at these things, and that is what makes his work so enjoyable. Much like him, I’m not trying to win any literary awards, I’m just trying to entertain people. That’s it, and that’s all.


Q. What information can you give anyone who hasn’t read or is undecided on reading your series?

A. If you like action adventure with well-developed characters, fast-paced plot, and lots of zombie killing, then you will very likely enjoy my books. They are nothing fancy—the story is deliberately easy to follow—but I think you will grow to like the characters and genuinely care for what happens to them.


Q. How popular do you think literature is in the world at moment, as in popular, less popular or on the come back? In my views thanks to kindle/E-readers it’s making a come back

A. I would have to agree. I think literature has always been popular, but the traditional publishing establishment has had such a stranglehold on it that they stifled a whole universe of creativity.

Think about it for a moment: prior to the advent of ereaders, the Big Six dominated publishing (in the U.S. at least, although I’m sure the situation was similar in the U.K.), and if you wanted to sell enough books to have a shot at doing it for a living, you had to cater to their whims. This resulted in an unending march of bland, formulaic, predictable literature that followed the same tired old patterns of decades of bestsellers that had come before. To put it simply, the literature world was stagnating. There were literally millions of people out there who wanted something more, something that the traditional publishing world just wasn’t offering.

That’s where guys like me come in: Specialists. Niche market authors. We’re the literary equivalent of plus-sized lingerie boutiques and gluten-free beer. We don’t appeal to everyone, but we appeal to enough people to sell a sufficient number of books to write for a living. We probably won’t ever get rich doing it, but we’re okay with that.

Add in the simplicity and low cost of ebooks, and you have a formula that is likely to change the face of literature forever. (Barring a zombie apocalypse, of course.)


Q. Do you have a favourite book or series of books if so what is it?

A. That depends on what time of the day you ask me, but right now, I’ve been very impressed with two authors in particular: Brian Easton, and Anthony Ryan.

Easton is the author of a series of books that starts with his first novel, “Autobiography of a Werewolf Hunter’, and the sequel, ‘Heart of Scars’. The story focuses around a deeply troubled character who is, as the title implies, a werewolf hunter. He learns his trade from an old Dog Soldier while growing up in the Canadian Rockies, and sets out to begin his war against the shapeshifters against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. It is a long, dark, epic story and it is the single best werewolf hunter book I have ever read. Beyond that, it’s just a damned good read.


Anthony Ryan is the author of the Raven’s Shadow series. ‘Blood Song’ is the first novel, and it is, in a word, outstanding. I rank it right up there with Patrick Rothfuss and George R.R. Martin in the fantasy genre. It is deep, dramatic, mysterious, and loaded with plenty of action. I don’t often call books a ‘must-read’, but in this case, I’ll make an exception.


Q. I am currently trying my hand at writing I find it hard to concentrate on it for any long amount of time though, so I write it bit by bit on a blog, how do you stay focused or what are your tricks for sustained and successful writing?

A. I have the exact same problem.


There is no trick to solving it.


Self-discipline is the only solution.


Put your ass in the chair, your hands on the keyboard, and get the hell to work. When that shrill, nagging little voice tells you to screw around on the internet, or play video games, or watch porn, or whatever your vice happens to be, you tell it to shut its useless fucking mouth and get back in its cage. Then shut that cage door, lock it, zap that motherfucker with a cattle prod, tell it there’s plenty more where that came from if it opens its bitch-ass mouth again. Then get back to writing. Either that, or get used to the idea of only writing one book every couple of years.


Some fun questions now James if you would


Q. Do you have a Zombie Apocalypse plan?

A. Cry and cry and cry.


I actually do own a few firearms (most notably a Sig Sauer 556 assault rifle), so if it came down to it, I could bust some zombie heads. But honestly, I’d probably be just as screwed as everyone else.


Q. What are your favourite zombie films/or series?

A. My favourite zombie films are the old-school George Romero flicks, and my favourite series is White Flag of the Dead by Joseph Talluto. It’s pure action with not a whole lot of plot to speak of, but it’s damned entertaining.


Q. I believe out of the major horror icons or even apocalypse settings that the zombie isn’t too far off in reality with all the chemicals and other types of ways zombies can be created isn’t it just an accident waiting to happen, what’s your views?

A. If we’re talking about real life, I think that it’s much more likely that we’ll face a 28 Days Later type of scenario. Bringing dead people back to life is—let’s face it people—simply impossible. But diseases that affect the brain and the nervous system, or even powerful narcotics and other chemicals, can make people do insane things. It’s not that far of a stretch to imagine someone engineering a strain of rabies or anthrax that attacks the cerebral cortex and causes animalistic aggression in humans. Scary stuff when you think about it.


P.S.- If you like those kinds of stories, read ‘The Remaining’ by DJ Molles. Excellent stuff.


Q. On that note what is that your favourite reanimation way or do you like/prefer any of the following and what are your views, God/Supernatural, Chemical, Radiation, Voodoo or Extra-Terrestrial?

A. I like the idea of the human-engineered infectious disease. Having studied biology and genetics (briefly) in college, I think that this is the most plausible possibility and the one most likely to convince people to suspend their disbelief.




Finally James


Q. Where do see your series and writing going in the future

A. Surviving the Dead has a lot of life left in it (pun intended), and I anticipate at least a few more novels in that series. I also have plans for fantasy, science fiction, and vampire novels in the not-too-distant future, so we’ll have to wait and see.


And is there anything else you would like to say to your readers and viewers of this blog?


What are you doing still reading this? GO BUY MY BOOKS!!

Just kidding. But seriously. They’re good entertainment. You know, if you’re bored.
Thank you so much James these have been some brilliant answers here made me laugh and smile i hope readers enjoy it as much as i have, and i agree go buy his books, these niche market authors need more recognition they enjoy writing and getting their books and views read.
They do it for the shear fun and excitement they impart to each word they write in the hopes they make some reader feel just a modicum of the thrill they have writing it.
MY 2 cents!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Puppet Master X Axis Rising Review

Puppet Master X Axis Rising Review

Year: 2012
Stars: Paul Thomas Arnold, Oto Brezina and Kip Canyon
Directed: Charles Band
Running Time: 86 Mins Approx.


My god another Puppet Master film what is going on here? I mean even the older ones weren’t exactly gold, with the last offering I had watched before this one was the puppet master vs. demonic toys Which I watched a little before I started this site, all I can say is Corey Feldman WHY.

Now I know there is Axis of evil before this one, I will watch and review it for a retro review at some point in the near future.
As I said these films have been steadily spewing out anywhere from 1-6 year increments since 1989 they were never a favourite series of mine and if I remember rightly off the top of my head one of the sequels years back used footage from the original to make their film?
Not looking that up so tell me if I right or wrong there my Nation, so let’s get on with the film at hand info.
Charles Band has had some kind of involvement with this series from the get go as either writer, producer and as of late director, or any combination of them. It’s only as late he’s been director though. With numerous other films, too many to mention under his belt in many different positions as well, none of any mention.
With no budget information floating about I can’t properly compare the sets, actors or effects to anything similar. Onto the films main storyline.

After foiling a plot to blow up an American arms plant, Danny Coogan (Kip Canyon who is in nothing else other this and 2 made for TV movies) and his girlfriend, Beth (Jean Louise O'Sullivan, nothing noteworthy other than a platoon of DTV, m4tv stuff floating round her resume) quickly find that their troubles have just begun. One of Toulon's mysterious Puppets has been kidnapped by the Nazis, and under the wicked, watchful eye of the occultist Commandant Moebius, the Puppets' life-giving serum is synthesized to create a master race of unstoppable soldiers. Moebius plots to assassinate the highly-decorated General Porter to deliver a crippling blow to the American war effort.
Amongst all this some new puppets are made on the Nazis side, Nazi Puppets in the form of Blitzkrieg looks slightly like the old flamethrowing puppet with a tank body, Wehrmacht a werewolf, Bombshell an embodiment of one of the female generals and Kamikaze! a crazy exploding jap puppet.
The accents, writing, lines everything is just bad and I’m not one for really hacking on a movie. I mean I review mostly B-movies anyway so I never set the bar to high.
One thing I noticed with this too is the fact that it seems dubbed like the old Kung Fu movies as well it’s weird I looked to see if it was a sync problem I even tried programs to sync the words with the lips but then the sound ran over other things like effects.
This is just not a good experience from the get go but I persevered to get through this movie just so I could let you know Horror Nation.
The acting is just as on par with the poor writing though as such these things can usually go hand in hand, though as you know I’ve watched some good films where brilliant actors have taken something with bad writing and made it something decent to watch, unfortunately this doesn’t achieve that.
I don’t know if it’s even trying to be tongue in cheek with the bad acting or not so I suppose people who want to give it a go can try it with that in mind, I tried but I just couldn’t.

So anyway near the end of the film the puppets fight and this time the Nazi puppets are beaten. Beth holds Freuhoffer at gunpoint, but lets him explain himself. Moebius and Stone fight and just as Stone then gets the upper hand, Moebius stabs and kills him.
Moebius comes at Danny, but is shot down by Six-shooter; Moebius is still alive and pulls out a gun with plans to shoot Danny, who states "Don't screw with America". Blade then comes up from behind and stabs Moebius. Beth and Freuhoffer come out and tell Kamikaze to detonate, destroying the lab and Moebius. Danny and Beth let Freuhoffer go.
There’s a little twist at the end there which I’ll leave out just in case you decide to watch it all I’ll say is it leaves the door open for another one which I hope never comes to the light of day.
This movie series has excellent potential and although none of them have ever made me go ooh as much as say Friday the 13th or nightmare on Elm Street it was never unwatchable as it’s become lately.
Acting aside it’s always been the puppets in these movies you’ve routed for but even they can’t hold this rubbish together. I can’t decide whether to give it no stars or 1 for effort and persistence since I don’t do half measures as you know I have to be evil.

That’s right folks unfortunately this gets my lowest of the low big fat 0 stars….

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Red Lights Review

Red Lights Review


Year: 2012
Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Robert De Niro and Cillian Murphy
Directed: Rodrigo Cortés
Running Time: 113 Mins Approx.


So here we go a big name movie with actors even people living under rocks will recognise, yes we have the crème de la crème here. A horror/thriller with a big name cast and a good budget so what are we in for?
Let’s delve into this film and see how it fares VS the B-movie or even the other cinema releases that star TV personalities or actors we haven’t seen anything for a while.
Rodrigo Cortés well, well here’s a familiar name the writer of apartment 143, and director of buried (psychological war thriller starring Ryan Reynolds) so this is a big stab at Hollywood for him then I guess with a modest budget of 14million euros.
This guy is used to working with and doing some decent things with much less so let’s start with the film.

Psychologist and paranormal investigator Dr. Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver yes good old Sigourney we love you and most of people my age remember you as a kick ass Ripley in the alien franchise, a solid support role here in this film) and her assistant Dr. Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy how you have grown from flashing todger in the opening scenes of 28 days later, the underrated sunshine to scarecrow in batman begins, a good actor who plays alongside Weavers character in their scenes with ease) who  is a physicist. They both travel around debunking supposed paranormal activity from bumps in the night to stage psychics, exposing anything from their tricks, noises and stage theatrics.
Dr. Buckley wants to investigate their most challenging person to date, Simon Silver (Robert De Niro who if you don’t know his old or even more recent filmography you sir/mam have been living under a rock for almost 50 years. Though nearing 80 the workhorse seems to show no signs of slowing down movie wise with over 6 films coming out next year alone!), a renowned psychic who is making a comeback after a thirty year absence from the stage.
Dr. Matheson warns Buckley against this though after having come up against him in the 1970s and failing to prove him a fraud. With the help of student Sally Owen (Elisabeth Olsen good old Olsen the other sister! Is slowly picking up steam in the movie world too, the strange and probably one day reviewed silent house springs to mind with her) Buckley defies Matheson and begins investigating the illusive Silver.

As an atheist and sceptic the film's ideas appealed to me I enjoy it whenever someone like Colin Fry or Derrick Acorah get snubbed, unfortunately my fiancée loves shit like that. I was delighted to watch the scientists make fun of and debunk people who claim to see ghosts and be able to read minds. The script treats these people with distain and isn't afraid to mention how these people can be responsible for giving stupid people false hope and can even cost lives, which is one of the things I hate they do, they reckon their helping grief etc., NO its false hope that something is there. Now I’m open minded IF there is a god or some higher being by even a % chance and their as forgiving as they say, I’m generally a good person and I hope that’s all they’d want, well I would bow down and accept my wrong judgement.
The cast is also amongst the best of any thriller/horror film this year as I said earlier. With actors such as Sigourney Weaver, Cillian Murphy, Toby Jones, Joely Richardson, the delightful Elizabeth Olsen and one of my favourite actors Robert De Niro, anything less than a great film would be a disappointment. Unfortunately, this isn't a great film but it isn't terrible either.

The cast are all great. It's nice to see Sigourney Weaver in a more substantial role for a change and not just popping up at the end of a sci-fi film. She is believable as a psychologist and its fun to see her spa with Toby Jones. Her character also has just the tiniest bit of doubt which makes her fallible and this is conveyed well by the actress this brought about most likely by the previous encounter with De Niro’s character.
Cillian Murphy is also excellent as the physicist but is a bit more mysterious than Weaver. He gets better as his character develops as the film progresses. Elisabeth Olsen gives another good performance but after her break out roles in Mary, Martha and Silent House takes a bit of a back seat here. De Niro doesn't embarrass himself for once which unfortunately in a few recent films he has, while we don't get De Niro of the 70s or 80s he's on good form here. The supporting cast of Submarine's Craig Roberts, Joely Richardson and Toby Jones help to round out a great cast with good performances.

The plot develops at a good pace and it gets darker and scarier as it goes on. I wasn't able to get the main twist which was a satisfying if ever so slightly confusing one but De Niro's twists were ridiculously obvious and pointed to far too much. Anyone can see what is going on, you just have to watch. The camera work is far too busy for my liking. One scene featuring Murphy and Olsen having a conversation in a café used about seven different camera angles and it became a little distracting. After filming Ryan Reynolds in a box for his last feature Buried, director Rodrigo Cortes could have done with making his latest film a bit more confined.

The first hour is definitely better than the second and there was an echo of "oh, well then" as the lights went up in the cinema. The film loses its way slightly in the second half and the somewhat pedestrian script comes to the forefront. While the actors do a good job and while there is plenty to like the ending isn't brilliant and doesn't do the opening justice. Even so, it's nice to watch some great actors delivering good performances and the twists should keep most people guessing the ending really isn’t something you’d guess, I’ve said countless times on here that I’m fed up of not being surprised anymore. I was generally like oh! With this film.

 Giving this film for a mainstream film a solid 3 stars but it is definitely worth a watch over a choice of this or some of the other b-movie/cinema tripe out there.

Monday, 19 November 2012

An interview with Mark Tufo, Author of Zombie Apocalypse book series

Mark Tufo Interview
Mark Tuffo is an author, who has wrote a successful Zombie apocalypse series called Zombie Fallout there is at current seven books in this series. He recently got nominated for a good reads choice award as well. Zombie Fallout follows a premise that a defective vaccine for the swine flu epidemic we had a few years back kills and reanimated 95% of the world’s population. Michael Talbot is the main protagonist and fights his way through these books protecting friends and family. Mark also is the author of Indian Hill another book series, in the sci-fi genre.

I have here a few questions Mark has graciously agreed to answer for my blog.

Q. Hi Mark, first off how long have you been writing for?

A. Hi Daniel, first off thank you for taking the time to do an interview with me. As for how long I’ve been writing, if you’re talking professionally then three years. But I’ve always loved to write, even when I was in school and my classmates would groan about getting a creative writing assignment I would be smiling inwardly.

A few questions from my co-writer on this blog Mark,

Q. when did you realise you wanted to write horror?

A. I think sub-consciously it was the first time I read a Stephen King book back when I was maybe ten or eleven. I’m fascinated by the genre and it just seemed like a natural transition to write about it.

Q. And one more in an overcrowded sub-genre how do you keep things fresh?

A. I’ve received my fair share of criticism for NOT keeping my books going the traditional route. But I’ve always thought why would folks want to read the same thing over and over again? My books are character driven, I let them tell how the nature of the story is going to go and I think that is how I keep them fresh.

Back to me now

Q. What influences if any have had an impact on your work?

A. Some authors believe it to be a bitter pill to swallow and perhaps that they are above it, but constructive criticism has had a major impact on my work. I constantly strive to put out the best product that I can produce.

Q. What information can you give anyone who hasn’t read or is undecided on reading your series?

A. Well Zombie Fallout is a full length novel for 99 cents, you’ll know from that book if you want to go further into the series. The worst that anyone is out is an item off the value menu at McDonald’s. And I am saving them from eating that saturated fat. So read Zombie Fallout and stay healthy! I think that will be my new marketing campaign.

Q. How popular do you think literature is in the world at moment, as in popular, less popular or on the come back? In my views thanks to kindle/E-readers it’s making a come back

A. I’m with you on this one. I think before ebooks the written word was heading the way of 8 tracks and cassettes. E-readers have completely reenergized and simultaneously turned the literary community on its ear.

Q. Do you have a favourite book or series of books if so what is it?

A. I friggen love the Harry Potter books, there is also a series by John Christopher called the White Mountains, that I discovered in the 6th grade, I have been fascinated with Science Fiction since.

Q. I am currently trying my hand at writing I find it hard to concentrate on it for any long amount of time though, so I write it bit by bit on a blog, how do you stay focused or what are your tricks for sustained and successful writing?

A. Carving out time for writing in our busy lives can be difficult, there is ALWAYS other things to do. I have discovered that extremely loud music is my saving grace, it just drowns out the world around me and lets me focus on my craft.

Some fun questions now Mark if you would

Q. Do you have a Zombie Apocalypse plan?

A. Hell yeah, read Zombie Fallout 1.

Q. What is your favourite zombie film and/or series?

A. I love the Walking Dead, and I know some might groan at this but the Resident Evil franchise. But my props will always go to Mr. Romero who scared the crap out of an impressionable seven year old.

Q. I believe out of the major horror icons or even apocalypse settings that the zombie isn’t too far off in reality with all the chemicals and other types of ways zombies can be created isn’t it just an accident waiting to happen, what’s your views?

A. My hope is that the apocalypse does not happen. That’s right you read it here first. I do not think I am nearly as equipped to deal with it as my lead character Michael Talbot is. With that being said, do I believe we are heading to some sort of global disaster? Sadly I think we are.

Q. On that note you’ve used viral as your reanimate, is that your favourite reanimation way or do you like/prefer any of the following and what are your views, God/Supernatural, Chemical, Radiation, Voodoo or Extra-Terrestrial?

A. I love a good zombie story and I generally don’t get too hung up in the details of how it started, I suspend all believability anyway, as long as it’s SOMEWHAT plausible I’m cool with it.

Finally Mark

Q. Where do see your series and writing going in the future

A. As for the Zombie Fallout series, I’m not sure ZF6 just came out on October 1st and I had meant for that to be the last, but I left a few threads hanging so who knows. Currently I am writing my second paranormal book and ‘spreading’ my wings so to speak.

Thank you for the Interview Mark, is there anything you would like to add for your fans and readers of this?
Just a big hearty and sincere thank you to all of my fans and readers, without them I would just be some random guy slamming on a keyboard.

Again Daniel thank you for your time.
No problem Mark hope this gives your readers a little insight into your world and new comers a better understanding. Hope you've enjoyed the interview The Horror Nation peace out!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Spellbinder Retro Review

Spellbinder Retro Review

Year: 1988
Stars: Tim Daly, Kelly Preston and Rick Rossovich
Directed: Janet Greek
Running Time:  99 Mins Approx.


Have I got 80’s b-movie classic gold for you here today Spellbinder a brilliant late 80’s film with a nasty shock ending that when I first watched this a good few years back when I was thirteen or fourteen I was like wow.
So today we travel back in time to a land when movies were a shot in the dark and a dime a dozen, a time when anything made can become a cult icon today. Unfortunately this movie did not do amazingly well at the time of its release.
Being as the films old I also cannot find the budget for the movie, what I was able to find was conflicting reports on how much the movie made from Wikipedia only $660,000 and IMDB also a paltry just over $1million.
Even for an 80’s film this wasn’t a lot as its budget would have been anywhere from 500k to 2million that’s all the technical mumbo jumbo on with the film.

Janet Greek directs this she’s got quite a few TV series credentials under her belt, from episodes of Max Headroom to Babylon 5 episodes and a made for TV movie, River of Souls.
When Los Angeles attorney Jeff Mills, Tim Daly who does superman’s voice in a lot of animated DTV offerings not only that but a lot of series bit parts and TV movies as well he has quite an impressive list to him. His friend Derek Clayton, Rick Rossovich who stared in a hell of a lot of stuff throughout the 80’s. Film wise most notably as Matt Buchanan. Jeff and Derek seem to have a strained friendship throughout this film right from the outset. They rescue a young beautiful woman, Miranda Reed, Kelly Preston (rocking a brunette look) whose film and TV career has been non-stop since, not surprising she has a strong performance in here probably the best and she’s a real good looking woman too.
So as said they have rescued her from an apparently abusive boyfriend Derek is cut in the process. Talking Jeff realises Miranda has no home so he offers her to stay at his house.
Jeff unknowing becomes involved with Miranda and the web of intrigue that follows her which further drives a wedge into his friendship with Derek. But as the two become lovers, Jeff learns that Miranda is on the run from the witches’ coven (to which she belongs). Got to love witchcraft films there’s not enough of them around, one of my favourites from around this time as well is warlock though that’s for another time.

The coven apparently wants Miranda back as a sacrifice at the winter solstice. She must come to them of her own free will, and the coven try to force her into doing so, using sorcery to taunt and terrify the two of them. Miranda tells Jeff of her situation, but not the entire truth, and Jeff willingly helps Miranda out of her troubles, but creates his own.
Which by the end of the movie these troubles have all been a big set up as means to an end as the final gruesome, very nasty trick is pulled. As I said I really felt cheated and quite gutted by the end of this film and even though I was only 13-14 at the time it genuinely surprised me.
How does this film fair the test of time?
Well re-watching this made me realise the film is really predictable at some points, thankfully at no point until near the end would you ever get an inkling that what happens would happen even now.

Acting wise the film has some weak and some strong points it’s clear who outshines others in this film. Kelly is obviously one of the strongest followed closely by Tim, Rick is a close contender for the second spot, possibly spoilt by not being a fantastically written character. Everyone else in the movie is just b-movie fodder though. A few shine through the rest are middling to mediocre.

Effects wise you can’t expect a lot from a low budget 80’s film, 88 to be exact it would only be a few years later some ground breaking CGI would emerge. Take the t1000 in T2 only two years and a half later.
So this film relies a lot on off camera and sleight of hand with some other early film effects techniques thrown in the mix for example the initial knife fight you don’t see a cut its only implied by sound and acting, there’s not even any blood on the knife.
A lot of the effects are just implied in this movie in this way, which isn’t a bad thing as some of the crappy effects we see in other big motion films of the era detract somewhat from their likability these days.
In the 80’s or when I first watched this film I would have given it a solid four star rating. In my sage like 30’s and how the film has aged I’ll give it a understandable knocked down 3 star rating I still enjoyed it just a few things grated me this time. Hope you enjoyed our Retro review!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Dark Mirror Review

Dark Mirror Review


Year: 2007 made, 2009 DTV release

Stars: Lisa Vidal, David Chisum and Joshua Pelegrin

Directed: Pablo Proenza

Running Time:  86 Mins Approx.


Dark Mirror, initially shown to a small Latino audience in 2007, it was then debuted direct to video in 2009 for the rest of us.
Another film I cannot find a budget for despite looking high and low on the internet!
Directed by Pablo Proenza who before and since this film has very little else under his belt either writing or directing.
The plot follows a family of three; mother Deborah, Lisa Vidal she has some minor film roles and TV series parts to her credit and some good ones at that too such as southland, the Event and a bit part in American horror story.
Father Jim, David Chisum who was in zombie movie Flight of the Living Dead the same year, which I’m sure I’ll get round to reviewing one day, also some less notable TV series parts most notable recent Castle episodes.
Son Ian, Joshua Pelegrin. He has nothing past or up to date under his belt in the way of movies. This movie is one of them ones that start with the end at the beginning briefly then suddenly 3 months earlier.
They all move to L.A. from Seattle after Deb is entranced by a house with beautiful glass pane windows, where we see our first evidence of something not quite right as an apparition is seen in one window as the family walk up, though we aren’t quite sure if Deb sees it. Not surprising Joshua doesn’t have much else in his repertoire he is a young child actor we may yet see him pop up in future stuff. He is playing your typical naughty boy in this film more on that later though.

As the family settles in, Deb attempts to resume her career as a photographer which we see proof of near the beginning of the film, while simultaneously taking care of her son as Jim is usually working late. Her job searching doesn’t go to well so she gets drawn into the house as a focus more over the course of the film.
The acting in this movie is near bad to middling to me, I’ve seen worse in b-movies I’ve also seen a lot better though some of the middling is good and there’s more of it than bad.
Some poorly delivered lines which seem to be purposely there to build character in some situations make it just feel more like the actors are trying to remember lines rather than deliver a character enhancing insight.
Over all acting though isn’t too bad some good family moments at the beginning, which as usual in b-movies involving families it deteriorates throughout the film.
After having some strange experiences with the mirrors and windows in the house, first one being she takes a picture of herself in the bathroom mirror which gets reflected a number of times back and forth through a mirror at her back to. She decides to talk to her chatty neighbour, who we see first in a shot looking dead! She isn’t and looks out the window at Deb beckoning her over.
She tells her a famous artist and his family used to reside there (a fact we know from the estate agent) until they mysteriously disappeared. We also occasionally see a black mackintosh wearing man. Later her mother visits they’ve had a minor argument at some point, though nothing 30 seconds of dialogue doesn’t clean up. Debs son seems irrationally scared of his gran, but then what boy isn’t? Seemingly spiritual she tells Deb that in Feng-Shui window panes are used to trap evil spirits and stop them from harming anyone.

Deb continues to experience strange occurrences and explores the dark history of the house becoming convinced that something evil resides in the mirrors and windows. It takes so long for this film to get proper rolling which is one of its major flaws. Yes not a long film but it takes till nearly 50% of the way through to start anything significant. In an 86 minute film you don’t want a build-up of almost forty minutes thirty maybe, though this is just my tastes and the beginning being the end does help the slow build up somewhat.
Anyway when people she has photographed start dying, she is convinced that the evil spirit has infiltrated her camera lens and is killing people.
The effects in this film aren’t too bad, they are certainly low budget that doesn’t stand up to anything these days, but for a 2007 film not bad for a b-movie at all. With some clever uses of light streaming through windows just gives a good effect to some of it.
Some of the filming looks a little grainy from time to time mainly on the long shots though so nothing to serious there.

So the film comes full circle and we learn what happens to get Deb into the state she’s in at the start of the film. Which as usual I won’t spoil for you but I’ll just say it isn’t half bad just like the rest of the film.
I would definitely give this film a go if you see it on Netflix or I love film, maybe even in a cheap bin somewhere, not a bad one to spend your ninety minutes free time on for sure. This film gets a good three star rating from me.

As usual thanks and peace out The Horror Nation.