The Killers (1964 USA)

Hugely influential classic re-telling of Ernest Hemingway’s short story. This flick has inspired many a wannabe. Not really Film Noir as it was made after the genre had passed and is in colour and features no detectives or private eyes. And not even a “film” as it was originally intended as the very first made-for-television movie. With this version also featuring a murder-by-sniper scene, the recent assassination of John F. Kennedy by sniper ensured The Killers was temporarily on unsafe ground. With Ronald Reagan making his last appearance on film before moving into politics, the ’64 version of The Killers has a bit of history. [Read more…]

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…]

Slayground (Richard Stark)

This is the fourteenth entry in Richard Stark’s (the writer’s real name Was Donald E Westlake) excellent series about Parker, the amoral criminal whose carefully-laid plans almost always come undone because of some unforeseen accident or because of an act of carelessness by one of the other crooks involved in the plan. In this case, it’s the getaway driver who screws everything up. This is not the driver that Parker would have preferred, but it’s the driver that Parker had to settle for. And it’s Parker who will now have to pay the price. [Read more…]

A Free Short Story

KOORANGA COUNTRY

min-min-lights_queensland_australiaIn the north west of Australia, above the Simpson desert, it is said the desert heat can become so intense that it causes hallucinations as real as anything physical for the sufferer. The unfortunate victim never recovers their nervous system.

Emmanuel Vincent, real estate mogul extraordinaire, a man plagued with poor impulse control and stress, was finally doing what he had told his shocked wife and colleagues back in Gemini Bay, England.

He was on a mission into the outback. Ten thousand miles from home. [Read more…]

Don’t Look Back (Jennifer Armentrout)

dont-look-backTwo teenage girls go missing for four days…until Samantha was found wandering in the streets. Everyone wants to know what happened but Samantha has no recollection of what’s happened. And now she is in a life that she doesn’t remember and she tries to pick up the pieces and find what really happened. So she has some issues. This is a nice read on a cool Halloween night. At forty six pages you should be able to finish it in one sitting. Male readers should probably avoid, but ladies on the young side, this could be right up your Strassa. [Read more…]

The Man From U.N.C.L.E (1964–1967 USA)

uncleWhat made MFU such a hit? Maybe the male baby-boomers who thought the exciting life depicted here was how life was going to be. Women, travel, women, cool suits, women, weapons, excitement, women, etc,. Did I mention women? Sure beat the work-a-day world their Dads had to live in during the 1960s. They were in for a big surprise when they grew up. No UNCLE organization, no space travel, no huge amounts of leisure time. Meanwhile, the girlies who couldn’t get enough of Robert Vaughn just threw their knickers at the TV screen. What would it take to get his attention & make him desire them? In a word…THRUSH!  [Read more…]

Pawnbroker (Jerry Hatchett)

jerry-hatchett-bookIgnore the crappy cover. “Law. . . It was all a game, one whose outcome was usually determined not so much by right and wrong as by who had the money and who held the power.” I’ll buy that. In the case of this snappy, fast-paced novel by Jerry Hatchett, law as game and money and power is the whole point. Gray Bolton is a simple pawnbroker. He spends his days with the poor, the downtrodden, the hopeless and helpless of society. [Read more…]

Body Double (1984 USA)

body-double-1984An extremely entertaining thriller which reflects the decade in which it was released by being full of excess and completely over the top. The 1980s was a time when it was often said that “if something’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing” and on the evidence of this film, director Brian De Palma was clearly on message. The plot contains numerous enjoyable twists and involves murder, voyeurism and duplicity. It also tests the boundaries of good taste in the passages where it becomes particularly lurid and prurient. [Read more…]

Psycho 3 (USA 1986)

psycho3Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the bathroom. Norman Bates is watching you. Like God, he is watching all of us. Particularly young ladies with loose morals (or should that be bowels?) who believe they are safe just because they are sitting on the john…I love the screenplay here. As a poster flick for the tacky 80s this artful product is cheap and nasty. Like Donald Trump. The addition of sleaze bag character Duane Duke was a masterstroke. He is comedy gold: ignorant, yet as inoffensively shallow as a child’s paddling pool. [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…]

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