Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Book Review : Celebrity Chef Zombie Apocalypse


Released: 28 May 2016
Author: Jack Strange

OK so i was excited to get to read this early I was sent my review alpha copy a few days back and delved right in. I'm no fast reader, but on getting into this book it's certainly hard to put down.
An hour can go by while I read a good twenty or so pages.

Which isn't a good thing, because my go to place to read is usually on toilet!!!
So when i eventually decide to put this down there are usually two occurrences
1. My legs are dead
2. The rest of the household isn't happy
(we do have two toilets damn it!)

So we start this story with an erstwhile protagonist who works for a cheap cable TV channel. He's been tasks by his arse of a boss to reinvigorate an old cookery series from the seventies staring one Floyd Rampant.
( brilliantly ripping of Keith Floyd but in such a charmingly delightful yet tongue in cheek manner)
His uncle is a brilliant inventor, who just so happens to have created a machine that can bring the dead back to life.
Rampant has unfortunately been dead for quite a while, but to save his job and possibly secure a brighter future our protagonist comes up with the idea of using his uncles machine to bring back rampant from the dead so he can do a small introduction to each of his older shows episodes.

Skeptical that it even works they first try the Lazarus machine on his uncles next-door neighbors dead cat, Henderson. Dead due to our hero flattening him with his car earlier on. It works albeit not quite right as the cat ends up still being squashed in the middle.
This is all the proof he needs to gather a band of scalawags to help him dig up Rampant's corpse. Low and behold the machine works though it takes a longer time and seems to have better regenerative effects on Rampant, he's brought back only with a jaundiced yellow complexion.

Something happens here that completely surprised me, our protagonist is not the hero of the book!
There's a funny twist right here in more ways than one. So after some casual sodomy along with other desires quenched Rampant decides that him vs the UK, no better yet the world is a bit of uneven odds.
He then thanks to a program about an up coming chefcon gets the idea to recruit the chef elite as zombies and take over the world. We meet a few more hero types along the way now, which is a good good thing. OK that's as far as i'm going to spoil it folks, for you know i rarely give away the endings to things unless they are worryingly abysmal trash.

This book is far from worryingly abysmal trash, it does things to bring back my childhood of watching Keith Floyd reruns on BBC 1 and 2 then on food network. so thanks for that nostalgia. It even works to bring in a refreshingly new take on the zombie apocalypse genre.
It's not all laughs and giggles in this comedy horror it's positively gore filled and has some amazingly strong characters, even if some don't last as long as you'd like!
Just when you think you've read everything you possibly can read a new gem like this is mined from the rough. A Very enjoyable book. I would like to give this a four out of five for being a light in a tired genre, unfortunately I enjoyed it far to much to give it even that good score.
Meaning that Celebrity Chef Zombie Apocalypse is going the whole hog and getting itself a decent and strong 5 out of 5 THN gold stars. Thank you for reinvigorating a tired genre and giving me such a good read Jack!

Monday, 16 May 2016

House 3, The Horror Show 1989

Actors: Lance Henriksen, Brion James
Directed by: James Isaac
Budget: ?

Lucas McCarthy (Lance) has been on the case of a serial killer Meat Cleaver Max, for a long time, he finally catches the maniac near the beginning of this movie. He killed over 100 people Lucas watches as he is executed by electric chair.
He seemingly takes a hell of a lot more voltage to kill than any normal human being. The electricity has some how allowed Max to transcend his physical body. He uses his new powers to horrify Lucas family and to kill other people.
Lucas enlists the help of a parapsychologist to get rid of Max's spirit before his family are put in further danger.
There really isn't much else to say about this film other than Lance is the star role and helps this movie shine in some respects. It's supposedly not an actual house sequel either, though the fourth one is officially the 4th film on release so as to recognize this one as the third film.

Reasonable as a sequel, especially if you like watching all of a certain series.
So I give this film a strong 2 out 5 with recommend to watch if you've seen the other two and intend on watching 4 also.


Sunday, 15 May 2016

House 2, The Second Story 1987

Stars: Amy Yasbeck, Arye Gross, Jonathan Stark
Directed by: Ethan Wiley
Budget: around $3 million

OK so the second movie, the second story is quite literally a second story. With nothing to do with the last movie or Roger Cobb or even the same house. This film is a new story in a new haunted house, which is what i'm sure they were going for.
This film is even more zany and tongue in cheek than the last film, so far as to stray into total cheese-ball territory. Which in my eyes save the film from being a badly acted substandard film from a tired genre.

So we start off clearly in the past thanks to the hair styles and clothing with a mother and father seemingly protecting their baby. They are both killed by a shadowy killer cowboy who seems to be after some crystal skull. Despite them not really knowing he guns them down when they try to defend themselves.
Cut to a few years in the future now, Jesse (Ayre) has moved into the family mansion with his girlfriend. Not long after his oldest friend Charlie (Stark) gate crashes the house with his girlfriend. 
Charlies girlfriend tries to get noticed by Jesse's as she's a record producer.

Jesse later goes through all the old stuff in the basement, spying a photo of his great great dead grandpa holding some kind of ancient Mayan crystal skull. There's also his GGGpa's business partner slim razor in the photo, surmising that the skull may be buried with his GGGPa dollar signs wrack up in Jesse's eyes. Him and Charlie then proceed to go exhume the skull from his grave.
No soon as they dig gramp's (a name he goes by later) up does his corpse spring to life and try to kill the two grave robbers. Only when he realizes that Jesse's family does he stop and take off a scary Mayan mask he was wearing.

Gramps had been waiting years for one of his family to come dig him up, the crystal skull aparantly giving him eternal life. But he thinks he's totally regenerated sparking one of the best movie lines ever when he realizes he's not.
Look at me. I'm a 170-year-old fart. I'm a goddamn zombie. He says looking at his reflection in the mirror. After a few hijinks he charges the two men with guarding the skull, this leads to many crazy things happening to the house such as a portal to some prehistoric era. Changing a room into a Mayan jungle and another of my favorite scenes.
Some electrician gets called in to fix a light, he's very accident prone though and when he's pulled the wires creating a massive hole in the wall he casually explains to Jesse and Charlie is: What you have there is a bonefide portal to another world, no worries i can deal with it (acting like this is normal occurrence, which makes it funnier) 
Anyway Slim Razor eventually comes for the skull almost killing Gramp's, Jesse manages to stop him blowing his head off bit by bit. 

Thats not even the ending despite me spoiling the first ones ending this one just needs to be seen to believe it. Despite the shoddy story and somewhat bad acting on some parts the comedic and fast pace of this film, coupled with some decent scenes both funny and serious make this a reasonably decent experience, at least once.
Oh and the caterdog is by far the cutest thing ever,  thoroughly enjoyable i would have given it a 2 but a very strong 2 with a recommend to watch. Now i'd give it a good 3 after a second watching but this film deserves large gaps in between of repeated viewings i'd say.

House 1986

Staring: William Katt, Kay Lenz, Richard Moll
Directed by: Stephen Miner
Budget: $3,000,000

Roger Cobb is a troubled author, his aunt has just committed suicide in the house where he brought up in and also where his son disappeared in mysterious circumstances a few years before.
Cobb takes it upon himself to go visit the house, in doing so he decides to keep the house instead of selling it. His ex wife doesn't like the idea of this claiming it will bring back 'bad memories' not in a malicious way, you can see she still cares about him.
Cobb hasn't had a best seller in a while and sets about trying to get some solitude in the house to focus on his time in the Vietnam war and write about his accounts there. Unfortunately he is constantly badgered by strange goings on in the house and his quirky next-door neighbor. Harold is a bit nosy but just worries that Roger may be nuts and trying to off himself.

Roger starts to focus more on the house than his writing trying to prove that weird things are happening there. Through sporadic writing scenes we see Roger in Vietnam, here he has a giant size team mate called big Ben.We also see some insight into the disappearance of his son.
The house is obviously to blame but in a twist we see that the house has resurrected Big Ben in an undead state. He has a chip on his shoulder over Cobb accidentally leaving him to be slaughtered by Vietnamese soldiers (after he asked Cobb to finish him off, Cobb refuses and goes to look for help but Ben is caught) in front of his eyes.

The house through big Ben has been holding Cobb's son for the years he's been missing. Anyway as non spoiler as i can say, Cobb saves his son, finishes off Ben and seals the evil away in the house for good. His ex wife turns up at the end and they apparently live happily ever after.

This film is very tongue in cheek all the way through, an enjoyable romp along the lines of evil dead in some scenes with stuffed animals and strange demons. Giving this a very strong 3 stars out of 5

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Without Warning 1980

Stars: Jack Palance, Kevin Hall
Directed: Greydon Clark
Budget: $150,000

Right this film is one of the very few films I can honestly hold my hands up and say genuinely shit me up when i was a kid. So I'm about 11 I get cable in my room for the first time and am watching I think bravo about 1am.
This film comes on my then naïve mind doesn't fully comprehend the full plot I think these disc creatures are the main enemy of the film, despite now rewatching it and seeing they were scared of something else other than them lol.

So we join the film with a father and son hunting in the mountains, a rather older son and father situation mind like 50&30 years respectively. The father is killed in front of his son by some spinning disc like creatures, when they hit you with gnashing teeth they lock on and burrow tentacles into your skin. Why these people don't just try and pull them off I'll never know, but yes these things made me crap my pants as a kid.
Just the fear of scary little creatures like this flying at you. So like all late seventies to early nineties horror clichés we get a group of 'young' teens going to do a spot of 'camping'

They pull over for gas at a seemingly deserted gas station, the two men fill the van as the two girls look for the toilets. One of the girls meets sarge here, a mentally ill war vet.
They enter the shop to pay where they are further alienated and warned by jacks character, Joe Taylor not to go hiking. Like all good teens they ignore his warnings.
Before the teens get picked off we see a scout master killed before his cubs and they go running off. So when two of the teens don't come back later on the other two go looking for them, only to find a small shack/shed with corpses in.
They escape with one of the creatures gnashing away at their vans window. They try to get help from the bar but the townsfolk don't believe them, only sarge does.

Sandy the teen girl encounters the alien (played by KPH) responsible for the discs and runs off, she is rescued by Joe who brings her back. In the bar they try to formulate a plan but sarge accidentally kills the sheriff when he shows up only making him a more untrustworthy mess. Gregg the boy and Sandy leave with Taylor who reveals he's actually been attacked by the discs and survived. Showing them one pickled in a jar, they search for the shack but Taylor is quickly attacked by another disc.
The two youths run off leaving him for dead, at his request mind and stumble upon a police car. Thinking they are saved they quickly realise the driver is a maddened sarge. He believes the two are aliens, Gregg tells him they are and a massive invasion force is on the way giving the two a gap to escape the lunatic.

Wet after leaping into a river Gregg and Sandy find an abandoned house with a change of clothes. Sandy falls asleep only to awake not long later and goes to look for Gregg, she turns his chair around only see a disc thing sucking away at his face. She flees screaming only to be saved by Taylor again who explains how he sees comparisons with the alien and hunters, he's using humans as prey. They set up trap at the shack which is almost spoiled by sarge showing up.

So thats almost that, as you know I don't spoil endings despite this being pretty generic there's some good acting and quite a few cameos of pretty popular actors of the time. I still enjoyed this and get a few memory chills from it lol so I give this film a good 4 out of 5 stars

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Leprechaun 1993

Stars: Warwick Davis, Jennifer Aniston
Budget: less than 1million
Director: Mark Jones

When i first seen this film back in the late nineties I loved it, I watched it quite a few times and then I haven't seen it till recently. I have watched the entire series with this and the second one being my favorite of the bunch.
So we first meet the pint sized terror played by multi talented short person Warwick Davis of star wars Ewok fame. When he's followed Daniel O'Grady back from Ireland. Reason being that O'Grady has stolen the little mans pot of gold. There's 100 pieces and it's the source of the wee sprites magical and life force powers.

Tricking Dan's wife he kills her in pursuit of his gold. Dan finds out and traps the sprite in a box with the aid of a four leaf clover, apparently one of the only things that can combat and control his powers. Stupidly Dan tries burn the wee man in the box but being of advanced age the wee one uses the last of his powers to suggest that Dan has a stroke. He does then we cut to ten years on from that moment with a man and his daughter travelling to their new summer house.

The new summer place happens to be the O'Grady's place. The daughter happens to be a very young Jennifer Aniston in one of her first starring roles as Tory Redding. Also a bloody annoying one at that who just constantly moans and screams for most of her screen time.
She hates the place stating she doesn't want to stay there, she goes to leave kicking over a paint pot belonging to a young handyman Nathan. He has two people with him, Ozzie and his young brother Alex.

While tidying up the basement Ozzie accidentally frees the leprechaun when he pulls the same young kid in danger voice he used on Dan's wife. He sets about terrorizing the hapless quartet in his attempts to retrieve his gold. Alex and Ozzie find the gold a little later on Alex wants to use it to repair Ozzie's 'brain' (as Ozzie is a bit backwards) they chose not tell the others, especially when Ozzie has swallowed one by accident checking if was real.
So they keep evading the little man all around the grounds of the summer home, all the while he kills anyone who tries to come and help the kids. A little later Nathan suggests one of them go see old O'Grady who is still alive after his stroke on how to deal with the terror.
The Leprechaun finishes him off but not before he tells Tory that they need a four leaf clover to kill the little bastard. Tory whose been bitching about 'it can't be real' the whole movie has to believe that they can find one first while they are searching and magically they find one in the nick of time.

Not spoiling the ending but i guess you can tell they use the clover in some way to stop the sprite.
On more recent viewing I found this movie less coherent and a lot more annoying than i remembered, mainly Jen lol. it's still one of the best of the series by far, so just for that it deserves at least a strong three out of five

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Warlock the Armageddon 1993

Stars: Julian Sands, Chris Young, Paula Marshall
Directed: Anthony Hickox
UK Age: 15
Budget: 3 million

OK so some people pan this sequel to one of my favorite movies. Yes its not perfect but i do hold it in regard as a decent follow up. Now i know other than the main protagonist this sequel has little to nothing to do with the last movie.
(Some people say Sands warlock character is different too, i say no because he states in the first film that Satan is his father, this is just him resurrecting his son from hell)
So Sands warlock character is brought back from hell by Satan, a woman wearing a rune stone of birth allows him to be reborn through her. He quickly learns that there are other rune stones to obtain around america. Once they are all united he will be able to bring his father forth from hell.
Elsewhere a community of Druidic folk know this time is upon them, as shown at the beginning of the film Christians attack the druids in the past believing them evil this is how the stones get scattered. The remaining elders feel they are to old to take on the task they choose one of their younger children to become a new druid champion.

The only way you can become a druid champion is to die then get brought back from the brink of death by ancient druid methods. So OK its a bit far fetched even by the originals time travelling standards.
So the warlock using a map made from his 'mothers' skin goes around collecting the rest of the rune stones he need to raise his father from hell as i said. some of the ways he kills the bearers of the runes is very creative. realizing the boy is not enough the druids also turn his girlfriend into a warrior too near the end of the film they get into a big fight.
You know i don't spoil endings often here so i'll just say they win obviously.

like i said before its not perfect but i like it as a sequel and for that reason i'm giving it a standard 3 stars out of 5