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since 03/11/2008


Session 9 (DVD) 07/11/2008

A study in tension and dread

Session 9 (DVD) This is an excellent dvd of an an excellent film. It is difficult to say what category this film fits into, psychological thriller or horror, perhaps it is best descibed as psychological horror. Basically the plot centres on a hazardous materials disposal team who are contracted to remove asbestos and the like from the abandoned Danvers mental institute in Maine. The leader of the crew has recently had a child and the financial strain this has brought results in him bidding low, both in terms of price and time to undertake the job. The rsult of this is that the crew are pushed almost to breaking point to complete the job and as the week progresses, the hauntingt setting of the abandoned institute begins to work its way into their minds with horrifying results. Where this film really scores is the setting, the monlithic Danvers institute is like a character all on its own and bring a sense of brooding fear and creeping dread to the film. The score is excellent too and adds to the malevolent ambience of the film. The cast is perfunctory without excelling ( I wasn't particularly enamoured with David Carusos performance). There are several chilling sequences in the film and the playback of several taped 'interviews' with a former patient suffering from multiple personnality disorder really sets the tone and chills the blood. Perhaps my favourite scene involves one characters 'lucky day' when he discovers a haul of old coins in what is revealed to be a grisly ...

Kafka on the Shore - Haruki Murakami 07/11/2008

A wonderful exploration of Japanese Mythology

Kafka on the Shore - Haruki Murakami I picked up this audio book whilst waiting for a flight at Stansted airport and was mainly attracted by the fact that it featured a cat and some fish on the front cover. I am particularly fond of cats and a keen fisherman so that sufficed to draw my interest. Boy am I glad I picked this book up! The plot of this audio book consists of two seemingly seperate narratives, that of a young runaway (the eponymous Kafka of the title) and Nakata (an ageing finder of lost cats). In essence this audio book charts the progress of these two disparate individuals until their eventual convergence. Along the way this enchanting novel encompasses Japanese mythology, the supernatural and even the suggestion of Alien intervention. Murakamis writing style is unique and refreshing and captivates the reader from the first part. Although some of the material has been covered before, it is presented in a new manner (possibly due to the cultural differences). Overall I absolutely loved this audio book and it has inspired me to read more of Murakamis works. I would highly recommend this book to all readers and it is certainly one I shall return to in the future. ...

The House of the Dead III (Xbox) 07/11/2008

Splatterfest MkIII

The House of the Dead III (Xbox) An excellent 'rail shooter' with two basic player modes (the standard survival mode and time attack). The scope of this game is broadened massively by the fact that the far superior game 'House of the dead II' is unlocked upon completion of the third installment. This is a real plus as this second incarnation of the game possesses multiple player modes and is a far more enjoyable experience than the third. Basically this is an almost entirely linear game (only broken up by several 'route choices' whithin the game). As usual you are pitted against massed hordes of the undead and some colourful and sometimes infuriating bosses. Gone are the pistols of the first two games which are replaced with the rather cumbersome shotguns. The advantage if this is the increased power - enabling more than one zombie, birde etc to be hit with one shot. The downside is the reloading time which can be a pain in the arse at times. Moving on to the gameplay and graphics, this game is pretty good although does not mark much of an improvement on the second Dreamcast installment. It is entertaining enough although one boss in particular (Fool) is infuriatingly difficult to beat and I actually had to enlist the help of a friend to beat this guy - not a big plus on my gaming CV.... I love the house of the dead franchise and this game represents a successful return and of course is perfect for post - pub fare with mates.

Troll 2 (DVD) 07/11/2008

A disease that must be spread!

Troll 2 (DVD) Blimey - now this really is an experience and half! Myself and afriend have been working our way through the IMDB bottom 100 films and this little beauty took my fancy straight away! I remember a friend telling me about this film and trying desperately to relate to me just how jaw droppingly gash but amusing it was - boy was he right. Basically a family decides that it would be a good idea to house swap with an entirely random family of sweaty oafs from hicksville (as you do). it turns out that the location chosen for this entirely nonsensical jaunt is a town called Nilbog, nothing strange there im sure you will agree. Accompanying this adventure for some reason are the homoerotic boyfriend of the families daughter and his 'gang of friends'. as far as I can see these guys are here to provide fodder and comic relief. When you add a dubious ethereal grandfather who appears at random and utters shocking dialogue to a young boy who appears perpetually constipated, shockingly poor creature effects, a total lack of trolls of any description and the worst acting you could possibly hope to endure and you have a recipe for a fine nights stoner viewing. whilst on the subject of the acting, suffice to say that if any one of the cast was on fire they would have a hard time convincing anyone that they were on fire - joyous. It really is not often that you find a film this bad, in fact a documentary is being made about making the best worst film ever - thats right Troll 2 is that ...

Phantasm 2 (1988) 06/11/2008

When you die - you come to us!!

Phantasm 2 (1988) An action sequel to the classic 70s horror - Phantasm. In keeping with the tradioton of films such as 'Alien' and 'Terminator' director Don Coscarelli has returned to his successful horror film 'Phantasm' with backing from Universal pictures, a budget increase of 1000% and only one surviving member of the cast (not including the eponymous villain - Th Tall Man') Reggie Bannister - rejoice! This sequel has a lot going for it - a vastly increased action score, higher body count and much imporved special effects. on top of this A Michael Baldwin has been replaced as Michael in this film by James Le Gros and a good job he does too. The story is gfar more linear than the dreamlike narrative of the first film and is pretty much a road movie that descends into Lovecraftian territory towards the end. I have to say that I actually prefer this film to the original as it is highly entertaining (Reggies one liners are comedy gold and his battle with a chainsaw weilding minion whilst bellowing 'come on you mutha' is particularly good). The increased action content is in part due to Universals interference in the production, much to Coscarellis annoyance but I feel it does not detract too much from the powerful and unique story of the Phantasm franchise. Another massive plus is the reappearance of the peerless Angus Scrimm as the chilling Tall man and an increased use of the 'Spheres' from the original - top notch.

Phantasm (DVD) 06/11/2008

In its own way a horror classic

Phantasm (DVD) In its own way, a true horror classic. This is one of my favourite horror films from the late 70s. This film, along with Alien, The Texas Chainsaw massacre and others represents the gensis of the modern horror film. Phantasm has a lot going for it - a truly memorable villain (the eponymous Tall man), decent characters (with the best being the king of one liners - Ice cream salesman, Reggie Bannister - as himsel), great settings ( a mausoleum) and enough gore to satisfy gore hounds). All of this, combined with a dream like narrative and frequent (sometimes highly confusing) plot twists, add up to a highly enjoyable horror outing. Of course as this film was an early effort from a young director (Don Coscarelli) and was made in the late 70s, there are some plot holes, bad acting and lame effects. In my opinion however, this adds to the enjoyment factor of the film and puts many (if not all) modern efforts to shame. All in all one of my favourite horror films from the golden era of true horror and infinitely superior to most of the sequels (except II) 8 out of 10
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