The Voice Of The Night (Dean Koontz)

voice-of-the-nightYou cannot rush Dean Koontz. He will take his time. He refuses to be intimidated by the competition. He hasn’t built such a long and successful career by turning out tripe. I know now that he wrote quite a few under different names (take a bow Owen West). As a best selling author would get a bad rep from the critics if he/she published more than one book a year in the 1970s – and an author couldn’t survive on one book a year. Strange but true. [Read more…]

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No One Here Gets Out Alive ( Jerry Hopkins & Danny Sugerman)

jim-morrison-no-one-here-gets-546237The Doors? If you were lucky enough to be at one of their concerts you wouldn’t know if you had been there five minutes or five days. Jim Morrison? Perhaps the most interesting drunk of the twentieth century. Saying that Morrison died of a heart attack is like saying the Captain of the Titanic had damp socks. He wanted to be remembered as a revolutionary poet who kept sticking it to The Man. And so he has. This predictably became a best-seller in 1980 and really blew life into the myths about Jim and his band. Hopkins & Sugerman were eager to make as much cash as they could off Jim’s old corpse but this is still a fun read. [Read more…]

The Killing (1956 USA)

killingThis film is not only Stanley Kubrick’s first acclaimed picture, but it is also credited with inventing the concept of non-linear story telling for the film industry. More recent flicks that have used this technique are Pulp Fiction and The Usual Suspects. A lot of noirs from the 50’s can be extremely slow and, to be frank, boring. But this didn’t bore me for a second. In Kubrick’s later films he tends to pad out the narrative, but here he keeps it economical. [Read more…]

October Country (Ray Bradbury)

bradbury-october-country-uk3His imagination and humanity made his stories reach deep inside us, made us realize who we are, and who we ought to be. Most of the stories deal with children and most of them have gothic, autumn-like settings, even if they don’t actually occur in October. Ray Bradbury writes with a sense of wonder and curiosity and belief that is palpable. Like Neil Gaiman or Anne Rice, he truly brings you into a different world with each story. Like dreaming while awake, you ease into the truth or central issue of each story without realizing it.
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Vault Of Horror (1973 UK)

vault_of_horror_03Dig Tom Baker’s painfully groovy tie. If he tried sporting that today he’d be arrested. Good old Amicus. They give you that Chinese meal sensation. Not the awful realization that you probably just ate dog, but you will probably feel hungry for another tale or two an hour after each portmanteau has ended. Anyway, I hope this effort won’t give you indigestion or heartburn. Try and get hold of the uncut version of VOH, as the cuts listed in the ‘alternate (my fanny!) version’ dvds would really hurt the final twists of one or two of the segments. [Read more…]

The Twilight Zone (1959 to 1964 USA)

nick-of-time-rod-serling2“Submitted for your approval…” A pint-sized, chain smoking man’s clenched teeth intro to a wonderfully hypnotic, thought-provoking and ‘never ceases to amaze’ total quality Drama/Sci-Fi anthology series. This certainly put the one and only Rod Serling on the bigger picture map of television writing and producing, and was done in such a way that certain trends were set through its genre. In its day it was groundbreaking, but the thing which ensures that it maintains its magic even today is that the stories still work- I’d say at least a quarter of them have been ‘borrowed’ for other stories and novels. [Read more…]

Jamaica Inn (Daphne Du Maurier)

du-maurier-bookAn atmospheric sinister tale. The main character, Mary, must confront the evil doings of her Uncle-in-Law Joss and find a way to bring him to justice while also sparing her downtrodden, nervous Aunt Patience. The story builds slowly as more and more is revealed of Jamaica Inn and Joss’s activities. When you think it can’t get worse, things definitely get worse. [Read more…]

Thunderbirds (1965- 1966 United Kingdom)

thunderbirds5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 and this review are go! Thunderbirds is perfect entertainment. Everyone can appreciate a good puppet show, & everyone can appreciate a good model; but this show took puppet shows and models to a bold new level of detailing and production complexity. It is indeed like a world of toys come to vibrant life. I have to tip my hat to the incredible creativity and imagination of the craftspeople who made those models. The results are fabulous. Even the music is motivational in that typically 60s inspiring way: impossible to forget. [Read more…]

Clifford The Big Red Dog (Norman Bridwell)

cliffordI remember reading this book as a child. The illustrations seemed almost hypnotic to me. He’s big. He’s red. He’s a dog. What more can you say? He’s been popular with children since he was born in 1963. Clifford is so popular that’s there’s a Clifford book for every season and nearly every holiday. As if that weren’t enough, there’s also a whole line of Clifford’s puppy day stories, which also cover every season and most major holidays. This dog is huge — in more ways than one! The first book is very simple and very sweet, and it goes a long way toward explaining the popularity of the series. Instead of being a story about a big red dog, it’s a story about the special friendship between a girl and her dog. Emily Elizabeth loves her dog, despite what others may see as his shortcomings. Yes, even Emily Elizabeth will admit that he has a few. For instance, when Clifford chases cars, he actually catches them and brings them home. When Clifford doesn’t win first prize at the dog show, Emily Elizabeth doesn’t mind. She’ll take Clifford over any of those other dogs any day. So would I.  🙂

Devil Doll (1964 United Kingdom)

devildollyvonneromaindanceDevil Doll, concerns a killer ventriloquist’s (yes, really) dummy. Why can’t ventriloquist’s ever be humanitarians trying to save the world? Anyway, this is most famously associated with the final segment of Dead Of Night. Dummies have also popped up in films such as Magic (reviewed on this here blog). Such films either concern the descent into madness of the ventriloquist or the demonically possessed doll. Why? Because dummies are creepy. [Read more…]

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