RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: October 2014

Gone (2007): And Yes, Forgotten

Gone (Ryan Ledwidge, 2007)

A wide-angle shot of our three roadtrippers graces the movie poster.

The horizon: as empty as this film.
photo credit:

I continue to lack an understanding of why this film has ever been, much less continues to be, compared to Wolf Creek. The two films don’t even reside in the same genre of film, much less the same subgenre. Gone is an attempt at a cerebral thriller, far more in line with the various attempts to adapt the Ripley novels than a Wolf Creek-style gore film. The comparisons are sure to create unreasonable expectations in the minds of potential viewers; I can tell you this from personal experience. Not that I would have found the movie good had I known what I was getting into anyway; that just added an extra level of disappointment.

Read the rest of this entry

Caliban and Other Tales (2002): O Brave New World, That Has Such People In’t!

Robert Devereaux, Caliban and Other Tales (Leisure, 2002)

[originally published 13May2002]

Caliban, resentful, stares out from inside a bush on the first edition cover.

This thing of darkness I acknowledge mine.
photo credit:

Robert Devereaux is one of the modern masters of the horror novel. Here, he turns his twisted eye to shorter fiction (well, for half the book), and we have to ask ourselves the question we have to ask with all novelists working in another genre: is he as good in medium B as he is in medium A? That’s a choice each reader has to make on his own, of course, but as far as I’m concerned, he may actually be better in medium B. “Ridi Bobo” is such a stroke of pure genius that, ten years from now, it may have entered the same space in my head reserved for such once-in-a-lifetime magnum opi as Richard Christian Matheson’s “Red” or Dan Simmons’ “Summer of Monsters.” Yeah, it’s THAT good. [ed. note 2014: twelve years later, it has indeed.] Who in the name of all that’s holy would think to cross a hardboiled detective story with a bunch of clowns? Bob Devereaux, that’s who. (And for those who always say the same things in response to such a comment, the point isn’t that you could have done it; the point is that you never thought to do it. Now go away.)

Read the rest of this entry

Walking Wounded (1996): The Things They Carried

Robert Devereaux, Walking Wounded (Dell, 1996)

[originally published 23November2002]

The new cover features a hand holding a shish full of heads.

Twenty-odd years of turning sacred cows into shish kebabs.
photo credit:

To saw that Walking Wounded is Robert Devereaux’s weakest effort is rather like saying that Atom Heart Mother was the weakest Pink Floyd album; when looked at in relation to the rest of the canon, it suffers, but compared to the greater view of the horror novel (or psychedelic rock), you’re still head and shoulders above the cloud. The moon can still eclipse the sun, despite its relatively small stature.

Read the rest of this entry

Selected Poems (1957): The Cutting Room Floor

Kenneth Patchen, Selected Poems (New Directions, 1957)

[originally posted 22Nov2002]

A collection of line drawings of very strange creatures adorns the cover.

All the best freaks are here, please stop staring at me.
photo credit:

Selected by the New Directions staff after Patchen’s death, Selected Poems was meant to introduce a new generation to the poet and novelist the back cover calls “the most compelling force in American poetry since Whitman.” (One wonders what Allen Ginsberg, whose “Howl” had been published by New Directions two years previous, had to say about that.) The collection does a good job at introduction, and does an even better job at showing the inconsistency of Patchen’s poetic work.

Read the rest of this entry

Birdman (1999): I Wanna Take It As Far As We Can Get

Mo Hayder, Birdman (Dell, 1999)

[originally posted 22Nov2002]

A bird, with a shadowy figure lurking, decorates the book cover.

Alcatraz this ain’t.
photo credit: Goodreads

Another of the sheaf of new British mystery novelists who’ve been getting picked up by American presses recently, Mo Hayder offers up her debut novel, Birdman. And what a debut.

Read the rest of this entry

Non Ho Sonno (Sleepless) (2002): I’m Late, I’m Late for a Very Important Date

Non Ho Sonno (Sleepless) (Dario Argento, 2001)

[originally posted 22Nov2002]

A woman's eyes are the only visible part of her on the movie poster.

The eyes have it, as they often do on thriller posters.
photo credit:

Dario Argento moves back to giallo, which seems to have distressed a number of reviewers. He also didn’t take himself or the film too seriously, which seems to have distressed even more (one of the early gimmicks for the film was posting polls on its website asking the fans which methods of offing his characters they’d most like to see). Somewhat depressing, because they’re missing all the fun of this minor gem. To be fair, though, the fans don’t seem to be listening; this is Argento’s first film that’s been widely available in America since its video release in a number of years (possibly going back as far as 1983’s Creepers). Someone had to decide it needed to be on the new release shelf at your local vidshack. And more power to ‘em.


Well, if you felt the need to sleep tonight… that’s gone. photo credit:

Read the rest of this entry

Abenteuerliches Herz (2002): Gotos =/= Kalanda

Allerseelen, Abenteuerliches Herz (Aorta, 2002)

[originally posted 22Nov2002]

A phallic rock stands before a stone tablet on the album cover.

Where the demons dwell. Where the banshees live, and they do live well.
photo credit:

It pains me to write this…

Allerseelen first caught my attention seven years ago with the brilliant “Santa Sangre,” a contribution to the Im Blutfeuer compilation (Cthulhu, 1995). I picked up Ultra!’s comp, The Nitha Fields, based on the strength of it, and the two Allerseelen songs on it (“Alle Lust will Ewigkeit” and “Traumlied”) were similarly brilliant. So I acquired their latest album, Abenteuerlichers Herz (Adventurous Heart). And it is painful.

Read the rest of this entry

Capsule Reviews, October 2014

Better late than never, I guess… (and you may note a subtle theme in the last half of this.)

Amye Rosenberg, Lily Pig’s Book of Colors (Golden Press, 1987)

Lily Pig rejoices over her birthday cake on the cover.

I should mention that since I wrote this review almost eight months ago, the Bean’s enthusiasm has not flagged one bit.
photo credit:

The Bean has been lagging behind with colors as he sprints ahead with letters and counting, but that doesn’t stop him from being enchanted with this book. Daddy isn’t, as much, because Lily Pig is drawn, well, downright creepy. I kicked this one up half a star because the Bean asks for it on a fairly regular basis, but this is one I wouldn’t mind seeing get lost behind the bookshelf. ** ½

* * *

Read the rest of this entry

Ender’s Game (1985): Smoked Pork

Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game (Tor, 1985)

[originally posted 22Nov2002]

A generic picture of a spaceship adorns the cover.

Well, I’m not sure I would say it was major…
photo credit: Amazon

Orson Scott Card says in his preface to Ender’s Game that one of the main criticisms with the book people have is that gifted kids just don’t act and talk like Ender and his battle school mates. To which Card usually responds with something like “they’re just smart enough not to talk that way around adults.”

Been there, done that. He’s right.

Read the rest of this entry

Soul Survivors: The Killer Cut (2001): Solitary Fighter

Soul Survivors: The Killer Cut (Stephen Carpenter, 2001)

[originally posted 11Nov2002]

The four principals grace the movie's cover.

Did your movie flop at the box office? Try adding sex!
photo credit: ebay

Stephen Carpenter returns from a 15-year hiatus from directing (during which he wrote the screenplays to the muddled 1991 Dean Koontz adaptation The Servants of Twilight and the 1999 Hollywood smash Blue Streak) with Soul Survivors, released in R-rated form on video. (“The Killer Cut: More sex! More blood! More terror!”) It should probably tip you off that Carpenter’s three previous directorial efforts were The Power (1980), The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1981), and Kindred (1986). You probably never saw any of them. You’re a better person for that.

Read the rest of this entry