Sunday, 28 April 2013

Lake Placid The Final Chapter 2012 review

Lake Placid The Final Chapter 2012

Year: 2012
Stars: Elisabeth Röhm, Yancy Butler, Paul Nicholls
Directed: Don Michael Paul
Running Time: 86 mins

Directed by Don Michael Paul (Half Past Dead and Who’s Your Caddy, as well as lots of acting roles) on an unknown budget probably not a lot being a SyFy film. Staring Yancy Butler (remember Witchblade?) once more as Reba from the last movie. So on with the movie!

Betty White, yes that old golden girl owes a lot to the original Lake Placid. When the horror film about a large crocodile terrorizing a small town was released in 1999 Betty White was bouncing around in various forgettable television series’ that went nowhere. Then she took a role as the croc loving Delores Bickerman in 1999's Lake Placid alongside Oliver Platt and Bridget Fonda, we were then reminded just how fun and energetic also how in-on-the-joke the aging actress was.

Surprisingly that was 14 years ago doesn’t seem that long ago, though it was three sequels ago as this the fourth instalment, Lake Placid: The Final Chapter STDVD in 2013. Funded by the always high-standards of the Syfy Channel Lake Placid: The Final Chapter was a made for TV Movie starring Yancy Butler as I said reprising her role from Lake Placid 3. It also stared Elisabeth Röhm as Sheriff Giove and Poppy Lee Friar as her daughter with Nightmare on Elm Street's Robert Englund in the continuing struggles of the Lake Placid.
This one’s plot is about as in depth as a 4th instalment can make it, picking up exactly -where the classic-should-have-been-nominated for an award Lake Placid 3 left off, The Final Chapter has poacher Jim Bickerman (Englund) in rustler heaven when he arrives at the local lake that is seemingly populated by man-eating crocodiles.
In with the simple plot are plot are a female sheriff (Röhm) and her wide-eyed daughter (Friar) who both find themselves in harm's way as the large aquatic lizards munch their awful CGI way through a body count that would have Friday the 13th roll around in its grave.

The Syfy Channel’s made-for-television films have a tendency to be like microwave meals. Quick and easy, Lake Placid: The Final Chapter is both. It is short running time 80 minutes long (86 with credits etc.) and it doesn't push any envelopes on its way to a 12 rated glory.
The kills are lacklustre created with such bad CGI that you might turn away from the screen not for the brutality, but for not having to watch ridiculously fake CGI blood splash so foolishly around edited body parts.

It's hard to say that this one is the worst Lake Placid of the series. But it is also hard to imagine that the idea has spawned three sequels, where none were really needed. I guess if people still buy them and they make a profit they’ll keep churning them out.

I’m not one to say let your kids watch horror though I was introduced to it at an early age of about 8 if you do have children on the appreciating age of more graphic and engrossing horror fare, than say supernatural (brilliant series) Lake Placid: The Final Chapter might be a worthy time waster for them for 80 minutes. For us adults though it’s a waste of 80 minutes 'A New Chapter' is bound to be on the books for this series.
As usual on THN I never spoil ending but I’ll just say it’s pretty typical of this genre so for at least trying really hard I’ll give this film 2 stars out of 5

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Saturday, 27 April 2013

James Cook, Surviving the Dead book 3 release interview

Third Book Interview with James Cook

Friend and author James Cook has the third book in his Surviving the Dead series released imminently on May the 1st 2013. In this short follow up interview I ask how he’s been and how it was writing the third instalment to his exciting series.

Q1. Hey James how have you been since the last interview it’s been a little while
I’ve been doing very well. After the release of my second novel, and its subsequent success, I resigned from my job as an investment advisor and started writing full-time. That was back in August, and I spent the next seven-or-so months pounding away at my third novel, Warrior Within. It hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies, but I must admit that being a writer is the best job in the world. I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

Q2. Can you give us a quick recap on the story arc?
In the first novel, we’re introduced to the main character, Eric Riordan, and his long-time friend and former Marine Corps scout sniper, Gabriel Garrett. The story follows Eric through the Outbreak, and details his journey to a community of survivors in Alexis, North Carolina. He stays with them for a few months, has a brief romance with the leader’s daughter, and then eventually they are discovered by a roving Army patrol. The patrol informs them of the meltdown of a nearby nuclear power plant, and advises them to leave. Most of the survivors follow the Army to a safe zone at Fort Bragg, but Eric decides to strike out on his own and reunites with Gabriel.

In the second novel, Eric and Gabriel decide to journey west to Colorado where the remnant of the Federal Government and the military has established a fortified community in Colorado Springs. On the way, they encounter a family of fellow survivors, and agree to let them follow along. They get as far as Western Tennessee, where they are attacked by members of a rogue para-military group calling themselves the Free Legion. Three of the protagonists are wounded, Eric quite badly, and they barely manage to escape with their lives. A short time later, they make their way to a large survivor stronghold at Hollow Rock, Tennessee. After Eric is nursed back to health, he and Gabriel decide to help the people of Hollow Rock strike back at the Legion. The third novel is the story of that conflict.

Q3. So a third book to your series, so what can we expect character development wise?
Character development is kind of my thing. Eric discovers more of his potential, for better or worse, and we learn more about Gabriel’s shadowy, violent past. The story focuses strongly on the changes wrought on the two men by the end of the world, and the consequences of their actions in the wake of that tragedy. I can’t really say anymore without giving away the story, so I’ll leave it at that.

Q4. Being the third part in a series you probably had ideas in your head for this either from the beginning or at least into writing the second novel, so how hard was it to write?
Some of it was easy, and some of it was damned hard. There are scenes that I wrote in just a few short hours, and there are scenes that were like pulling teeth. Some of the scenes tackle harsh subject matter, and others are just damned brutal. There was one scene in particular—involving sexual abuse—that left me drained and gripped by a deep melancholy. I had to drive over to my favourite tavern and knock back a few cold ones after I wrote it. It was probably two days before I finally shook off that particular case of the blues. But that’s how writing is, if you want it to be good at it. Pain is like high-octane fuel for a writer, and some of my best writing is done when it hurts the most.

Q5. Are there any more parts on the cards or is the last one?
Definitely more. This is an on-going series, not just a trilogy.

Q6. Any other works you are working on that we may see in the future?
My next project is a stand-alone novel set in the Surviving the Dead universe, and after that I’ll start on a vampire hunter series that I have been planning for a long time. The series title will be Jeremiah Cain: Vampire Hunter,  and the first novel will be titled Burn Them All. After that, probably another Surviving the Dead novel, and then on to the first part in a fantasy trilogy that will be titled Gladiator of Corsryn.

Finally James is there anything extra you would like to say to your fans here:

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Being a writer has been a life-long dream for me, and now I am finally living it. Gratitude is a weak, petty word to express how I feel to everyone who has supported me by buying and enjoying my work. I promise that I will never take this gift for granted, and that I will continue to write fast-paced, entertaining fiction for decades to come.

(Lord willin’, and the creek don’t rise.)

Thanks for another interview for my blog James look forwards to any future projects you are working on, which sound like there are many to come too. Personally can’t wait for that Gladiator series I like a good fantasy novel lots in the future for you then.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Zombieland 2013: The Series Se1 Ep01: Pilot

Zombieland: The Series Se1 Ep01: Pilot

We get a great introduction to Tallahassee and his semi origins, in a funny scene while in the background the world goes to shit. I did feel in the first few minutes here it was trying too hard to be funny thankfully this wasn’t a constant theme.
Back too two months after the original we have a quick catch up on the characters Columbus, Wichita and Little Rock. A few seemed to be ret-conned like the relationship between Columbus and Wichita until a bit later we get a silly break up explanation to what happened, we also get no inkling of Tallahassee’s son yet in this episode.
It had some decent acting and was well written also some minor serious bits, there was also some fun culture references like terminator. One thing I noticed all the characters seemed like over the top caricatures of the original films characters, this wasn’t a down point though.
A new character is introduced Detroit she provides information to the team through what seems to be a radio in the car. She sets up the story for the series, possibly that is they decide to look for a bastion of civilisation.
The make-up and effects were typical but fine for a TV series, over all the episode was a decent one and lots of funny moments though nothing majorly side splitting.
All in all a good start to the series and something I could see myself watching

A definite 4/5 stars for the first episode

Sunday, 21 April 2013

The Revenant 2009, Back Review

The Revenant 2009, Back Review

Year: 2009
Stars: David Anders, Chris Wylde, Louise Griffiths
Directed: D. Kerry Prior
Running Time: 117 mins

Directed by D. Kerry Prior (Lots of work other than directing, like special effects etc. before and after this film) for an unknown sum of cash.
It’s a tongue in cheek undead film starring David Anders (hundreds of TV series episodes to many to list but among other heroes and Vampire Diaries) as Bart Gregory, Chris Wylde (lots of single episodes on popular TV programs) as Joey Luebner and Louise Griffiths (The Mudman and Hardflip) as Janet.
When Bart is killed in an ambush in Iraq his body is shipped back for a grieving family to bury, the fiancée taking it hard apparently. Later in a bar talking about how preachy the sermon giver was Janet goes outside followed by Joey, spilling her heart they get it on.
Back in the graveyard Bart frees him-self from the coffin confines and breaks into the graveyards mortuary and cleans him-self up, when turning on a light her realises something’s wrong and freaks out when he finds out his mouth is sewn shut.
I pissed myself laughing within the first minute of when he goes to see Joey and the dialogue between them.
After some gross stuff in the flat they go to hospital thinking it’s some condition, it is he’s dead, this film just made me laugh from one minute to the next. With people being uncomfortable around him due to his looks and smell. This film really made me reminiscent of the old style tongue in cheek horrors such as Return of the Living Dead and Reanimator.
It continues until Bart seemingly dies a second time when they get back to the flat, in the morning their wicker friend comes over to examine his corpse and suggests when they come to the conclusion he’s undead to stake him and behead him.

This film had a lot of little pop culture references like that in there and it was just fun to fish for them as I watched. Night time comes back around and Bart magically rises again asking if he slept under the watchful gaze of Joey who tells him no he was dead, then proceeds to cook him breakfast.
The film details him dealing with the condition through most of the rest of it from blood to vomiting to trying to figure out what he is either a zombie or a vampire.
When stealing blood doesn’t work out so much, in a weird twist of fate they are attacked by a thug and dealing with the morality of actually eating a guy. Suffice to say he does, the rest of movie was mostly in the same vein with his ex-girlfriend finding out and him whacking any thug that crosses their paths with him becoming a vigilante of sorts. Joey himself getting killed later in the process of trying to save Bart, yet he somehow comes back from the dead too. Of course it all starts going pear shaped towards the end, but as always here on THN that’s where I’ll leave it for you guys to find out for yourself if you so choose.
What I will say is the ending was a little bleak after such a comedic film.
The Revenant was an enjoyable watch that I would recommend to anyone to have a go, I couldn’t find any major faults with this film I will give it a maximum 5/5 THN score

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Thursday, 11 April 2013

Stitches 2013 Review

Stitches 2013 Review

Year: 2013
Stars: Ross Noble, Tommy Knight, Eoghan McQuinn
Directed: Conor McMahon
Running Time: 86 mins

Directed by Conor McMahon (Directed Dead meat and The Disturbed a few years prior to this and has done shorts/TV series) on a grant of 600,000 euros, kindly donated from the Irish film board.
This ghastly clown story stars Ross Noble (He’s a British stand-up comedian and many panel shows) as the clown Stitches, Tommy Knight (from Sarah Jayne Adventures and Dr Who cameos) as Tom and Eoghan McQuinn (Nothing, His first film) as Richie.
This film starts off as it means to go on, lewd but in a good way with Richard “stitches” Grindle bonking his girlfriend. It is very slapstick at the start but what you expect from a movie with a clown in it?
Despite the beginning it tries to be pretty light hearted even with the kids being little brats, that is until a prank goes horribly wrong and they end up murdering/accidently killing (suppose it how you take it) the poor guy who is just trying to entertain them and make a living.
From here I noticed the film does not have shitty CGI effects and tries to go the route of decent make up effects, which it does quite well. So anyway the boy who is the initial cause of the death of stitches obviously feels bad about what he’s done.
When he sneaks to the graveyard (although the funeral seems to be like the next day they don’t happen that quick especially with a case like that I’m sure) to put the clowns squirt flower on his grave he witnesses some other clowns doing some ritual.
This was great as they manage to sombrely walk along chanting hohoho, hehehe he gets caught by them and scolded then suddenly he wakes up older in bed. Was fun to see a slight nod to the nightmare on elm street series here as we see the drug hypnocil, this was the drug used in there to stop dreams so was a nice little nod.
This film deals with all the school stuff kids go through these days; well even when I was in there. From idiot kids, bullies, budding love and friendships with odd teachers thrown into the mix, awkward smoking as well not everyone has a perfect ride in school.
Tom keeps having delusions at first of seeing stitches that he just dismisses as that, it’s a good third of the way into the film that we see him again proper and things start happening.
When an impromptu party is thrown at Tom’s house when his mum is out of town, Stitches rises from his grave to exact revenge.
Unfortunately despite some decent acting and good writing the film does just degenerate into slasher territory here, all the while dealing with teenage awkwardness.
Don’t get me wrong it’s not a bad film and I enjoyed it, but it’s just a tried and tested formula that works when done right.
Thankfully Stitches does it right with amusing ways a clown could kill you and it’s a good 80+ minutes of fun with very gruesome kills and some satirical highlights thrown in. Such as historical research into clown cults and the first ones to die are the dickheads, you know the usual stuff.

So after the initial bout of non-believers and the then realisation that oh there is something wrong by the survivors the film culminates in a decent ending that as you know I never spoil here on THN I give stitches a good 4/5 stars for just being a lot of fun to watch.

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Sunday, 7 April 2013

Remains 2011, Review

Remains 2011, Review

Year: 2011
Stars: Miko Hughes, Lance Reddick, Grant Bowler
Directed: Colin Theys
Running Time: 88 mins

Directed Colin Theys (Dead souls and Banshee!) for a low little budget of $750,000 and shot in Reno where a group of survivors are hid in a casino when the world is turned into a zombie wonderland. The film stars Miko Hughes (New Nightmare and Pet Sematary) as Jensen, our fave fringite Lance Reddick (Fringe and The Wire) as Ramsey and Grant Bowler (Killer Elite) as Tom.

A reasonably enjoyable zombie Apoc film, it feels comic booky, gritty characters and all. When peace day is announced and a new nuclear oven is made to destroy all radioactive material you just know something is going to go wrong somewhere.
When some people in Las Vegas get locked away from super nuke that happens they seem to be the only ones left. A plausible explanation for the event the only problem is seems some people get infected while others don't that’s the only niggle I had with this film it's inconsistency with infection.
The beat off the dead in the casino they work in and proceed once two other survivors have joined their ranks to live off the food and supplies there in.
This gave me the first jump scare that actually made ne leap a bit, the old loud noise wake up thing caught me right off guard here I must have been distracted!
Supplies start running low but salvation seems to come in the shape of the army, who lead by Ramsey actually raid the casino for the remaining supplies. I say the infection thing was a niggle there was a little annoyance here in the scuffle they weren't going to leave them and yes some of the soldiers may have been a little ill, but I would have preferred for an amicable solution there than what happened.

Anyway Tori seems to be showing some mental cracks about here, they make a last attempt to escape which ends slightly comedic there’s only her and Tom left. Until Cindy one of the army people and Ramsey's daughter returns a little later after the army has been overrun by smarter faster zombies in the desert.
With C4 they remove the earlier obstacle of a garage door; well a truly cracked up Tori does at least and gets her attacked in the process.
When Cindy and Tom are leaving, yes I know it’s not something I do, spoil endings I’m trying not to here, so all I say we're treated to a red cowboy booted even more advance zombie. So that was that and I really enjoyed it as a decent zombie film though nothing super special happened in it good writing and some surprisingly decent actors and acting made it comfortable to watch. 
Was done on a little budget but they got some cream for what they invested in the film, this is only made obvious by the lack of locations and set pieces nothing else fails from make up to acting. 
All in all a good bit of humor and not a bad way to spend an hour and a half.
THN gives Remains a healthy 4/5 stars                   

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Thursday, 4 April 2013

Dead Girl 2008, Back Review

Dead Girl 2008, Back Review

Year: 2008
Stars: Shiloh Fernandez, Noah Segan, Candice Accola
Directed: Marcel Sarmiento, Gadi Harel
Running Time:  101 mins

Directed by Marcel Sarmiento (ABC’s of death segment D, and Heavy Petting) and Gadi Harel (operation midnight climax) on an unknown but probably small budget way back in 2008. The movie stars Shiloh Fernandez (Red Riding Hood and the upcoming Evil Dead remake) as Rickie, Noah Segan (Looper and Cabin Fever 2) as JT and Candice Accola (Juno and Vampire Diaries) as Joann.
Rickie and JT are two of the school they attend outcasts; you know the ones with no real click. This film started a little a bad the writing seemed a little sloppy and the actors gave a few poor lines of dialogue.
I was then a little weary of it but soon after this little slip up it all seemed to slot into place, so JT and Rickie decide to bunk off school and deal with some teen angst. Which at its core is what this movie is two boys, who become three, with the addition of wheeler later dealing with their lives and growing up?
Why set it under a zombie heading I don't know but it adds a distinct twist I tell you that. So exploring a disused mental asylum they come across after being chased by what looks like Satan’s puppy a pristine corpse.
Yeah a dead girl (hehehe) who suddenly starts breathing Rickie freaks out JT like most boys at the sight of an undead monstrosity wants to poke it with sticks. So when boys I can tell you from experience come across a new toy a few things go through their heads.

1. Can I fuck it?
2. Can it get me a fuck?
3. Is it any fun?

Usually in that order, Rickie just ants free her and JT gets pissed they have a fight and Rickie goes. JT seems to get obsessed with the girl and finds out she can't die. Since Rickie seems disinterested as he still has his heart set on old flame who goes out with one of the *jocks*

Yeah like I said typical teen angst with an undead girl thrown into the mix to make the film just that little bit fucked up. Especially when JT and Wheeler start fucking her, it gets a little stranger, right?
I strangely enjoyed this film which seems to have some undertones of growing up and moving on embedded in it. JT doesn't seem to be able to live in the here and now and wants everything to stay as it is. He deals with change bad.
Whereas Rickie is growing past that stage, one particular moment is funny in this when they get the jocks to come down and one gets his dick is bitten (the one Rickie's ex is with) they realise that getting bitten passes on the undeadness.
Well dead girl doesn't heal and starts going a little rotten so JT and Wheeler try to get a big woman they fancy into their car to get her bitten so they can have a new dead shag toy.
This doesn't go well and they get beaten up by her was funny.
This film just reminded how difficult it can be for some guys to accept change and do we really in the end anyway?
I didn’t have a super difficult time growing up I wasn't a jock I was a little nerdy love my games videos and reading etc., but I had size and just natural strength on my side in fact I protected a lot of the littler weaker kind from abuse.
So I felt just a little in tune with the experience, apart from the fucking a dead thing I mean come on every guy has his limitations.
So Rickie’s ex comes across the guys after their mishap asking what’s happened to her boyfriend and gets herself kidnapped. One last little titbit Rickie never fucks the dead girl and is even nice and tries to help her at times. That is where I stop THN as you know I don’t spoil endings, even if they are a little predictable if you'd watched the movie closely.
Give it a watch it's a little sick at times but it’s a well written teen angst film mixed in with the strangeness too.
3 stars out 5 but with a high recommendation to watch.

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Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter: Review

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter: Review

Year: 2012
Stars: Benjamin Walker, Rufus Sewell, Dominic Cooper
Directed: Timur Bekmambetov
Running Time: 105 mins

Abraham Lincoln the 16th president of the United States foils vampire’s plans to take over the US. Directed by Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted, Day/Night Watch) on a cool budget of $69,000,000, also staring Benjamin Walker (Nothing amazing other than Flags of our Fathers and Coach) as the Presidential vampire slayer.
So at the beginning of the film we join 9 year old Lincoln who sticking up for his black friend gets his folks into trouble. Due to this he then witness his mother being fed on by vampire Jack Barts (Marton Csokas, many films such as aeon flux, Alice in Wonderland, xXx) she then dies by the morning with Lincoln beside her.
9 years later after his father has also passed Abe tries to kill Barts with a flintlock, thinking he’s done the deed he throws the gun away and turns to see the body has vanished. Attacked by Barts he is saved by a person whom he met in a bar earlier.
Up to this point in the film I was pretty engrossed with some good story and acting and some well developing characters, even being British myself we all know about Abe Lincoln’s story so it was interesting to watch this take on his earlier life.
This I’m sure comes from a spate of books that were released within the past few years such as sense and sensibility and sea monsters, pride and prejudice and zombies taking a classic tale and putting a cool little horror spin on it.
Out of the three I have read above this one definitely works as a film more than the others it’s believable that Abe who was real at least compared to the others could have led this life prior to becoming a president.
He was saved by Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper, Devils double and captain America) who explains that vampires are quite real and are around everywhere. Abe unsuccessfully asks for his assistance in killing the vampires but Henry does after he’s agreed to some terms train him as a hunter.
Then we get a montage! Yes training and Abe doing some unbelievable feats of human strength and agility in the name of killing vampires.
Heading out into the world Abe almost instantly breaks some of the rules that a hunter should live by falling in love etc. This movie was a good one it ends as you all know Abe’s story ends. So it’s hard for me not to spoil the ending like I do at THN.
What I will do is not spoil the movie further for you suffice to say it was a good all round fun fest think matrix 1800’s style with some typical elements. IT stays pretty true to the book as close as you can come and a reasonable for a mainstream movie. This film garners a 4 out of 5 stars and a recommendation to watch from me. All I can say is I can’t wait for Queen Victoria Demon hunter peace out THN.