The Lost World (Arthur Conan Doyle)

Published in 1912, The Lost World focuses on a story about an expedition in the South American Rainforest, leading its four protagonists on a plateau which seems to surround a world believed to be long-gone. Confronted with dinosaurs like pterodactyls, iguanodons or stegosaurus, our main characters have to solve many difficult and dramatic situations, and it’s one enjoyable short novel to read. It is written from the perspective of Edward Malone – at first as part of a recollection of the events leading up to the expedition, and later in the form of a notebook Malone wrote in order to portray the events during their expedition. [Read more…]

Grease (1978 USA)

Forget the bird, Grease is the word. Grease has to be one of the most irresistible motion pictures ever made. I generally dislike most musicals but can watch this from time to time and get sucked back into the maelstrom of that opening blast of the title track, Travolta’s facial expressions, Newton-John’s soaring vocals, ultra feel–good catchy songs, the squeaky clean vibe and colour (sorry for the un-American spelling there) of 50s high school angst. [Read more…]

Clash Of The Titans (1981 UK/USA)

If you like Mythology this is the flick you are looking for. This movie is imaginative and enthralling, made even more charming by the use of Ray Harryhausen’s stop motion effects. Fantasy films really shouldn’t look 100% real anyway. That’s why it’s myth/fantasy. The monsters are excellent, especially Medusa. I wouldn’t want to see them done with today’s special effects. The old ones make the film more resonant. The stop motion is life–like, the pinnacle of its day and more than enough to stand against the over blown CGI-fest of today. [Read more…]

Twilight Zone: The Movie (USA 1983)

This is a sorted affair dealing with four directors, script rewrites, tragedy and high expectations that nearly canceled the entire production. Starting off in the right direction with a bookend of a man picking up a hitch hiker until everything goes terribly wrong. “The Twilight Zone: The Movie” is divided into 4 different segments so you can’t really judge the film as a whole, but overall it is quite good. The pre-credits sequence involves Dan Akroyd and Albert Brooks in a truck talking about past Twilight Zone episodes. This prologue drags on a bit but the conclusion to the sequence gets the film off to a pleasing start… [Read more…]

The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch (Philip K Dick)

This book is set in a future where Earth is too hot for the inhabitants and people are having to ‘evolve’ to be trendy, to be seen as important and score business contracts. Instead of people receiving psychiatric help to make themselves better, people instead receive it to make themselves ‘unfit’, so they don’t have to go and live on Mars, where religion and hopelessness go hand in hand. Set against this backdrop, two drugs are competing and trying to win the most ‘users’ – these drugs are Can-D and Chew-Z. One is illegal and taken in a communal manner whilst the other drug appears to have UN sanction but works on an individual basis. [Read more…]

The Gate (Jason Brant)

The Gate is a standalone horror novel by thriller author Jason Brant, telling a tale of ghosts, demons, other dimensions, and TV show hosts that could be described as douchebags. Well written, and the description of the church and the surrounding area was so well pictured, it felt as if I had actually seen it myself. It was also fast paced and kept me interested right through to the surprising end. This book is also full of humour, at least in the first half.
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The Travelling Vampire Show (Richard Laymon)

It is hot, the summer of 1963, and three teenagers, Dwight, Rusty, and Slim, are anxious to see the one-night-only performance of The Traveling Vampire Show, which claims to have the only living vampire in captivity, Valeria, at the legendary Janks Field. OK, this novel sounds like a typical coming-of-age story Stephen King likes to indulge in. This is no surprise because the late Richard Laymon (like King, he was also born in 1947) could be King’s perverted twin. [Read more…]

The Lost Horizon (James Hilton)

In the early 1930s four people, two British political officials, a British missionary woman and an American financier, escape the political unrest in Baskul, China by boarding a plane, bound for Peshawar. The plane, however, has been hijacked and eventually crash lands deep in the far reaches of the Tibetan Himalayas. Seeking shelter, the group soon finds themselves in the valley of the blue moon, guests at a lamasery, a place named…Shangri-La! This classic novel clips along in eleven short chapters making it pleasingly easy to read and absorb.
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The House On The Borderland (William Hope Hodgson)

Writing as he did at the beginning of the 20th century, Hodgson’s creativity in the realm of supernatural horror is impressive given what few authors preceded him in the genre. He actually broke new ground in horror fiction. Moving beyond the ghost stories which had, for the most part, made up the genre before him, he created landscapes and creatures that are gigantic in their physical and temporal dimensions. His universe is far older and larger than human and earth-centered histories allow, and subject to forces and intelligence completely removed from human concerns or anthropomorphized deity. H P Lovecraft was an admirer and its probable that his infamous Cthulu mythos creations were based on Hodgson’s ideas.
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The Shadow Of The Cat (United Kingdom 1961)

A Hammer horror in all but name (Hammer removed its name from the credits due to legal quota reasons) which supported The Curse Of The Werewolf on a double bill. It is masterfully directed by John Gilling, who succeeds in wringing suspense and tension from a not very believable plot. If the film has any flaws it is because giggles do occasionally set in when the actors go over the top in their hysterical reaction to puss. The police inspector rather neatly sums it all up: “Things really come to pass when a cat terrorizes a house full of adults.” [Read more…]

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