Sunday, 17 September 2017

New September Horror Film Releases

In the lead-up to Halloween, there are many new horror films being released in September. Here are two you might like to check out:


It

There's something truly terrifying about sinister clowns, and Stephen King's Pennywise is among the
scariest. This film has been touted as the most-awaited horror movie of 2017. It's getting excellent reviews and has an 85% rating in Rotten Tomatoes, which states that the film is "well-acted and fiendishly frightening with an emotionally affecting story at its core. It amplifies the horror in Stephen King's classic story without losing touch with its heart."

For the trailer, please click here.



mother!   

From the director of  Black Swan, this film has an all-star cast including Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle
Pfeiffer, and Kristen Wiig. A young woman renovates a Victorian mansion in the countryside where she lives with her husband. A stranger knocks at the door one night and becomes an unexpected guest, and soon his family joins him. Suddenly, her husband becomes friendly and accommodating with everyone but her.

For the trailer, please click here.


Stay tuned for more next week!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

September Horror Releases: Part 2

Here are some additional September releases to look for:


What are the Bamboo?

They are from China.

They look just like us.

They live by night.

They drink human lifeblood but otherwise keep their distance.

And every century, they grow white blooming flower.

A boy named Kyo is saved from the precipice of death by a Bamboo, a vampire born of the tall grasses. They start an enjoyable yet strange shared life together, Kyo and the gentle Bamboo. But for Bamboo, communication with human beings is the greatest sin.


The horror genre's greatest living practitioners drag our darkest fears kicking and screaming into the
light in this collection of nineteen brand-new stories. In "The Boggle Hole" by Alison Littlewood an ancient folk tale leads to irrevocable loss. In Josh Malerman's "The House of the Head" a dollhouse becomes the focus for an incident both violent and inexplicable. And in "Speaking Still" Ramsey Campbell suggests that beyond death there may be far worse things waiting than we can ever imagine... Numinous, surreal and gut wrenching, New Fears is a vibrant collection showcasing the very best fiction modern horror has to offer.




Nilhollow—six-hundred-plus acres of haunted woods in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens—is the stuff of
urban legend. Amid tales of tree spirits and all-powerful forest gods are frightening accounts of hikers who went insane right before taking their own lives. It is here that Julia Russo flees when her violent ex-boyfriend runs her off the road . . . here that she vanishes without a trace.

State Trooper Peter Grainger has witnessed unspeakable things that have broken other men. But he has to find Julia and can’t turn back now. Every step takes him closer to an ugliness that won’t be appeased—a centuries-old, devouring hatred rising up to eviscerate humankind. Waiting, feeding, surviving. It’s unstoppable. And its time has come.


NOTE:  All book descriptions are from Amazon.com.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

September Horror Releases: Part 1

September is shaping up to be an interesting month in terms of new horror releases. Here's a few to look for:

Written by the father-son team of Stephen and Owen King, this novel provides an ironic twist to a
classic fairy tale. In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep: they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent. And while they sleep they go to another place, a better place, where harmony prevails and conflict is rare.

One woman, the mysterious “Eve Black,” is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Eve a medical anomaly to be studied? Or is she a demon who must be slain? Abandoned, left to their increasingly primal urges, the men divide into warring factions, some wanting to kill Eve, some to save her. Others exploit the chaos to wreak their own vengeance on new enemies. All turn to violence in a suddenly all-male world.


A novel by Jeffrey Ford: All Maggie, Russell, and Henry wanted out of their last college vacation
was to get drunk and play archaeologist in an old house in the woods outside of town. When they excavate the mansion's outhouse they find way more than they bargained for: a sealed bottle filled with a red liquid, along with the bizarre skeleton of a horned child.

Disturbing the skeleton throws each of their lives into a living hell. They feel followed wherever they go, their homes are ransacked by unknown intruders, and people they care about are brutally, horribly dismembered. The three friends awakened something, a creature that will stop at nothing to retrieve its child.



A novel by Kay Howard: In New York City, magic controls everything. But the power of magic is fading. No one knows what is happening, except for Sydney—a new, rare magician with incredible
power that has been unmatched in decades, and she may be the only person who is able to stop the darkness that is weakening the magic. But Sydney doesn’t want to help the system, she wants to destroy it. Sydney comes from the House of Shadows, which controls the magic with the help of sacrifices from magicians.





NOTE: All book descriptions are taken from Amazon.com.

Please stay tuned next week to Part 2 of September releases.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

A Real-Life Man in Black



I discovered that Huffington Post has a weird news section which reports on such things as a calf that's a dead ringer for Gene Simmons. Recently the newspaper featured a unique listing from NASA for a planetary protection officer

. . .who would help thwart the spread of extraterrestrial life ― 'intentionally or unintentionally' ― on Earth and to outside solar systems.

'Planetary protection is concerned with the avoidance of organic-constituent and biological contamination in human and robotic space exploration,' the job listing states. That basically means preventing extraterrestrial life forces ― no matter their size ― from spreading during space travel.


There are only two positions like this in the world, the other being with the European Space Agency.
Among the job listing requirements are frequency of travel and proven diplomatic skills in negotiating win-win solutions.

For the job listing itself, see https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDe....

For the full text of the article, see http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/na....

(By the way, if you would like to see the calf that looks like Gene Simmons, please click here: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/ca....)

Reprinted from my Goodreads blog.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

The Dark Tower Film

Fans of Stephen King's The Dark Tower series may have mixed feelings about the new film, which has opened to generally negative reviews (Rotten Tomatoes: 18% for critical response, although the audience response is more favourable at 63%).

It is billed as a "science fantasy western" that continues the themes of the Dark Tower novels. Part of the problem may be trying to capture the essence of a series of novels that spans King's writing life. Critics have denounced the plot as incomprehensible and unfaithful to King's novels.

The film features Idris Elba (fans of The Wire will recognize him as the actor who plays Stringer Bell) as Roland, the last of the lone Gunslingers. Matthew McConaughey stars as Walter o'Dim, the Man in Black, an ageless deceiver and sorcerer.

The Dark Tower film has an interesting history. It started production in 2007 and has had three successive directors: J.J. Abrams; Ron Howard; and finally Nikolaj Arcel (with Howard in a production role). A follow-up television series is planned for 2018. (Sources: Wikipedia and Rotten Tomatoes)





Monday, 24 July 2017

A Survivor of Dunkirk Recalls the Battle



I came across a newspaper article regarding a 97-year-old man and survivor of the Battle of Dunkirk who went to the premiere of the movie Dunkirk. He was amazed by the visuals of the film, which brought back his own sad memories of the battle. Here's an excerpt from the Global News article:

Theatre goers watching the premiere of Dunkirk at Calgary’s Westhills Cinemas on Friday night got a surprise encounter with a 97-year -old man who was at the battle in 1940.
The Battle of Dunkirk took place during the Second World War between the Allies and Nazi Germany in Dunkirk, France.
Calgarian Ken Sturdy, dressed in a jacket adorned with medals, viewed the movie and was impressed by what he saw.
'I never thought I would see that again. It was just like I was there again,' Sturdy said.
'It didn’t have a lot of dialogue,' he added. 'It didn’t need any of the dialogue because it told the story visually and it was so real.'
'I was in those little boats picking them out of the water,' Sturdy said. He was a 20-year-old signal man with the Royal Navy helping evacuated soldiers reach waiting boats from the chaos on the beach.
'I had the privilege of seeing that film tonight and I am saddened by it because of what happened on that beach,' Sturdy said.

As the article points out, more than 68,000 British soldiers were captured or killed during the battle and retreat and over 300,000 were rescued over nine days.

Mr. Sturdy admonishes the younger generation to view the movie as an exploration of the moral implications of war:

'Don’t just go to the movie for entertainment. Think about it. And when you become adults, keep thinking,' Sturdy advised.
'Tonight I cried because it’s never the end. It won’t happen. We the human species are so intelligent and we do such astonishing things. We can fly to the moon but we still do stupid things. . . . So when I see the film tonight, I see it with a certain kind of sadness. Because what happened back then in 1940, it’s not the end.'

For the full text of the article and an accompanying video, please click here. 

Monday, 17 July 2017

Farewell to George Romero


It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of George Romero. Although he has been lauded as the master of the modern zombie genre, his signature film Night of the Living Dead was also an important social commentary on the racial divide in the United States, and it is for this that I will always remember him. As a Hollywood source describes it:

Night of the Living Dead arrived at a time when American idealism was starting to sour. The momentum of post-war progress and the hope of early 60s counterculture had all but evaporated in the year of the Watts riots and assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. The film was a potent piece of speculative satire: a low-budget, tightly scripted horror film that posited as its protagonist a young black professional (played by Duane Jones) who struggles to navigate the neuroses and hysteria of his white counterparts while fending off an undead horde. The film's closing moments, in which Jones is 'mistakenly' shot by the police cleanup crew, remain one of the most stinging incidences of irony in cinematic history.

In fact, Romero had been asked to write an episode for the television series The Walking Dead, but declined, saying that the show was more soap opera than social commentary.

Mr. Romero made a guest appearance at the Ottawa ComicCon this past May, much to the delight of my son Tim, who has all of his movies and admired him greatly. My son was able to meet him and because it was nearing the end of the convention and not overly busy, Mr. Romero took the time to talk to Tim and even have a picture taken (without charge) of the two of them. Tim had ordered, through eBay, foreign movie posters of the Living Dead franchise. He took them with him to ComicCon to get autographed. Mr. Romero was delighted to view the posters, which he had not seen before. He was a kind man who made an indelible impression on my son.

The light of the horror world is dimmed greatly by his passing.

RIP George Romero: 1940-2017