Thunderball (Ian Fleming)

The Bond originally conceived by the cinema was very much a creature of the 1960s. Yet the Bond of the books is a man of the 1950s. And like many men in the 1950s, eating an English breakfast 3 times daily and not only being unfit, but unable to even spell the word, seemed to be de rigueur: James is in poor shape it seems, 60 cigarettes a day (think of that in 2017….where would he even find a place to smoke that often!?) do not keep the doctor away. And he drinks like a fish. So M sends him away on a little vacation to recuperate…again. And, of course, each time James goes away to rest, someone tries to take him out. What a life huh? [Read more…]

The Veldt (read by Leonard Nimoy)

If You Could See Me Now (Peter Straub)

The blurb of my copy of the book manages to drop three spoilers in the space of two sentences, and then reiterates one of the spoilers just in case I was slow on the uptake. I shall endeavor to avoid doing something similar. Straub brings class to horror unlike anyone I’ve ever read. He has literary tricks up his sleeve that will keep sophisticated readers happy throughout. He is a master of tone. And not just with the mystery he puts forth in this novel, but with the way he sets up our narrator as this haughty know-it-all faced with a town of plebeians that plague him. This book is a wonderful ride to take for that reason. [Read more…]

The Day Of The Triffids (John Wyndham)

john-wyndham-book-coverThis is a sober book. I can imagine a dozen or so world leaders I’d hope would read it and discuss such in tandem over tea and crumpets. Or whatever Mr Trump feels like having today. Gauging our current run of apprehensions, one would be wise to explore this gem of the dystopian curve. Day of the Triffids is a meditation. There is no epic effort to capture the tooth and claw survival of the species. What occurs is both more subtle and sinister. The world as understood is over. JW was quite keen on destroying civilization in his novels. [Read more…]

It! (Stephen King)

king-book-coverKing did something special with IT, and I’m not sure exactly what it is….It might just be the sum of the entire equation which makes IT such a fantastic novel. A few times, I had to remind myself it is 2016, not 1958. (It was 2016, sorry…only 2 days into the new year and I’m already confused) If you are thinking of reading IT, it is definitely worth the investment. I’m glad I took the time to read it, savour it, and not rush through it. You got that? [Read more…]

North By Northwest (USA 1959)

nbnwestIf anyone has doubts about the power of mistaken identity and its place in fiction, look no further than here. The many takes on it through the years have diminished its real power as a storytelling device. As a comedy trick, it is cheap and dull. But as a dramatic trick… there is real force behind it. Everyone dreads being alone in a time of crisis, not having anyone believe them and feeling like they are sinking further into a pit that’s growing ever deeper. [Read more…]

War Of The Worlds (1953 USA)

the-war-of-the-worlds-1953-film-images-27b04727-755e-41e3-af8d-736bf4e1264H.G.Wells’ The War Of The Worlds remains a terrifying novel, and 2 adaptations of it have justifiably passed into popular culture, the Orson Welles 1938 radio show which convinced many Americans that creatures from Mars actually were invading Earth & Jeff Wayne’s 1978 musical album, which still holds up today. Then there’s this 1950s cinematic version which blows away Spielberg’s waste- of- time- and- money 2005 version. *Spoilers ahead* [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.
[Read more…]

I Bury The Living (1958 USA)

I Bury The Living 1958The title alone scores points for chutzpah. Through a series of macabre “coincidences”, the newly-elected director of a cemetery, Robert Kraft (Richard Boone) begins to believe that he can cause the deaths of living owners of burial plots by merely changing the push-pin colour from white (living) to black (dead) on a large wall map of the cemetery that notes those plots. So we have a nice simple story line. Not too confusing. Good. What else is here? [Read more…]

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