Monday, 13 May 2013

The Last Werewolf Book Review Author Glen Duncan

Our latest recruit Ren Zelen brings us her thoughts on Glen Duncan's novel 'The Last Werewolf' so lock your doors, pull down the shutters and pull up a chair.....IT'S WEREWOLF TIME!!

For two centuries Jacob Marlowe has wandered the world, enslaved by his lunatic appetites and tormented by the memory of his first and most monstrous crime. Now, the last of his kind, he knows he can't go on. But as Jake counts down to suicide, a violent murder and an extraordinary meeting plunge him straight back into the desperate pursuit of life.

While Vampires and Zombies have been jamming the highway to the bookshelves and multiplexes, Werewolves have largely been left to idle by the side of the literary road. With Glen Duncan’s protagonist, Jacob Marlowe, you get more than you bargain for: not just a man but a werewolf, not just a werewolf, but an existentially philosophical one. The novel is, ostensibly, a diary. The tale begins after a ‘feed’ “Two nights ago I’d eaten a 43-year-old hedge fund specialist,” Marlowe states with what will be his trademark insouciance, “I’ve been in a phase of taking the ones no-one wants.” We learn his backstory, a 19th-century costume tragedy, by means of his journal entries, composed in breaks between violent action and meaningless fornication. Two centuries of living have endowed him with a vast reserve of cultural expertise and a linguistic style that moves between the wisecracking cynicism of his noir namesake and the syntactical flourishes of the 19th century literary gentleman. Marlowe imparts the contents of his inner life and his impressions of the modern world in a series of dryly succinct verbal morsels: the topography of Wales is a “stack of vowel-starved hills: Bwlch Mawr; Gyrn Ddu; Yr Eifl, “a gold tooth is a “dental anachronism”; the point of civilization is “so that one can check in to a quality hotel”.

The first half of the book (I think it’s fair to describe this as a book of two halves) presents us with an interesting premise: If one embraces the bestial part of one’s nature, does human morality cease to be relevant? Duncan partially exonerates his (anti) hero by making this path necessary to his survival – he has to kill to live, he’s helpless in the face of his ‘animal instincts’, he must accept predatory murder and cannibalism as a fact of continued existence etc… Yet, it is when the ‘human’ element re-asserts itself that things become more morally ambivalent and more interesting. Jacob Marlowe is inured to his condition, to his bestial nature taking control once a month. He has accepted his choice to kill mercilessly in order to live, rather than commit suicide in self-disgust. So, the question is, how is one’s ‘humanity’ able to deal with the full consciousness of its ‘amorality’? The Werewolf condition becomes a vehicle for moral inquiry. How does one deal with human moral accountability when out of the wolf ‘persona’?

We might say that certain people in human history, dead and alive, seemed to have been able to overcome the niggling persistence of a moral compass. Some may have the excuse of being ‘sociopaths’ deficient in empathy and human feeling, but Jacob Marlowe can’t claim these as mitigating circumstances. Insist as he might that he has come to terms with his murderous lifestyle, he still seeks redemption – giving generously to charity out of his huge reserves of money (cunningly accumulated over an unnaturally long existence) and he makes a decision to live his long life ‘without love’ as a punishment for his first and most appalling murder.

It is that initial transgression, a horrific initiation into the bestial, that provides the next interesting question. The idea that deep attachment and passionate sexual love results in the desire to ‘know’ the deepest recesses of the beloved, to be one with them and, ultimately, to consume them into oneself. Which is literally what Jacob Marlowe does. Despite his many protestations as to his beloved Arabella’s individuality, strength of character and independence, his guilt at his crime cannot quite hide the satisfaction of having her entirely in his possession, in the most fundamental way. At the moment of decision, his ‘instinct’ is to take her, because he can - it is a capitulation to his momentary power over her that proves irresistible. Apart from being a disturbing scene in itself, it was too close a reminder, for me at least, of those suicidal fathers who insist on murdering their wives and children before they kill themselves, as though those others are ‘property’ over which they have the power of disposal – a sick exercise of dominance.

Marlowe is a jaded commentator on our mores and his own condition and a cynically witty raconteur. Lest we begin to find his ennui too intriguing, we are soon reminded of the coarse reality of being part dog. Like Marlowe's victims, we aren't spared the gruesome reality of a lupine attack; “There’s always someone’s father, someone’s mother, someone’s wife, someone’s son. This is the problem with killing and eating people” — Marlowe’s quandary boils down to a case of existential exhaustion. Sated with another kill, Marlowe receives the news that he is ‘The last Werewolf’ from his human minder, Harley, a silver-haired, old-world gentleman (think Alfred to Batman). “They killed the Berliner two nights ago,” Harley gravely intones — “they” being a shadowy group known as the World Organization for the Control of Occult Phenomena (Wocop for short) literary heirs of Van Helsing. Marlowe is pursued through Wales, London, New York, Paris, Greece and California, but tired with the drag of being a werewolf, he decides on capitulation to death. Then, a chance discovery changes everything : “Life,” Marlowe trenchantly reminds us, “like the boring drunk at the office party, keeps seeking you out.”

Which leads (in the second half of the book) to a further, rather unexpected transformation. Marlowe, the jaded cynic with a death-wish - finds love. It would be a pity to reveal too much, but I can say that I found it this section of the book perplexing. The transformation into wolf is well rendered, but seems to bestow almost supernatural powers, such as telepathy, which undermine the notion of the ‘beastly’. Also, though the giddiness and fragile joy of human love is convincingly enough portrayed I found its ‘beastly’ equivalent, which Duncan is at some pains to aggrandize, quite unaffecting. Perhaps even more strangely, one of the most benevolent and stirring of human emotions and experiences find their apotheosis while clothed in the form of the monstrous. The ‘beast’ suddenly appears to have finer and more intense feelings than the human. Who knew?

It is a novel chock full of literary allusion, to Conrad, Chandler, Shakespeare, Eliot, Nabokov, and more, almost in defence of its explicit, pulpy sex and violence. It occasionally loses its bearings in its own moral ambivalence. However, the story is twisty, tense and often blackly funny (a chapter begins: "Reader, I ate him") and, while adhering to tradition it does offer something innovative and more profound. But with all of its philosophizing, what does it mean? In an oddly bloodthirsty and kinky-sex-crazed way, ‘The Last Werewolf’ makes a case for culture and literature, and on a simpler level, it as a story about a divided persona, trying to make sense of how to live, how to accept what he is, how to keep going, because when everything else is stripped away, the Werewolf always ends up as just a naked man, lying in the dirt, bemused and blinking at the sun in his eyes.

Rating 4 out of 5 stars
Copyright R.H. Zelen – ©RenZelen 2013 All rights reserved.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Maniac (2012) Review

Horror Remake - Starring Elijah Wood, America Olivo, Nora Arnezeder. Screenplay by Alexandre Aja, Gregory Levasseur, C.A. Rosenberg. Original Story & Screenplay by Joe Spinell. Directed by Frank Khalfoun (2012)

Maniac is a remake of a notorious 1980's 'video nasty' that boasts some interesting ideas or gimmicks depending on your view. 
The original followed deranged serial killer Frank Zito as he kills and scalps young women, lovely!

The remake is shot almost entirely from the point of view (POV) of Frank, now played by a Hobbit! 
Yes, casting Elijah Wood in this on the face of it seems odd when you think of the Lord of the Rings films but he has already pulled off a believable psychopath with aplomb in Sin City, so maybe not such an unlikely choice. It is a choice which broadly pays off, as I will come to later.

The most immediately striking thing about the film is the aforementioned POV style and is the juxtaposition of the camera work and casting of a big Hollywood star that initially bothered me the most. Had the film been 100% POV we would have barely seen the killer, but Elijah Wood is in the lead role here and that leads to numerous shots of him forlornly or rather blankly looking at himself in a mirror.  I do wonder whether the director specifically wanted Wood as the lead or was there some studio pressure to a) cast a name, and then b) show the star of the film as often as possible.  Had he been able to cast a relative unknown he could maybe have been braver with the use of POV and I can't help wondering if the film may have been better had he been able to go down that route.  I also found it a little jarring that on more than one occasion the film jumps from POV to some kind of out of body footage, this only served to remind me that I had previously been watching it from Franks point of view and took me somewhat out of the moment.  Saying that, I am starting off on a deliberately critical note as as I felt the film was ambitious and genuinely nasty.

Irrespective of why we see Elijah Wood more than I would have liked he is very good and worryingly convincing, the original had Joe Spinell as Frank and he tackled the role with all the subtlety of a starving bulldog eating custard. Wood, however, plays Frank with an impassive neutrality which has the surprising effect of allowing the viewer to empathize with him despite his horrific actions. He cannot, and does not, try to justify his actions, but the more we learn about his past and his relationship with his mother the more we find our self feeling somewhat sorry for him. I think even if you took the violence and horror aspects out of the film you would be left with an interesting story about a man, desperate to be loved, struggling to overcome his terrible childhood.

This is an impressive change in tone from the original for what superficially is such a brutal and uncompromising film, which brings me quite neatly on to the gore and effects. It is one of the most visceral mainstream films for a very long time and looks very convincing throughout. Scalps are removed and blood is let at regular intervals as the film builds to it's predictably bloody climax. The fact that this is shot through Franks POV enables us the feel uncomfortably close to the action. The director, Franck Khalfoun also edits the film and you get the impression he wanted the viewer to feel a little guiltily voyeuristic watching some of the drawn out violence.

Another aspect of the film which draws the viewer in is the outstanding sound design and pitch perfect soundtrack. During much of the POV footage we hear the breathing of Frank as he goes about his business, when the stress and tension builds we get to experience Franks acute migraine/tinnitus and a blurring of his vision. It's a clever and intelligently used technique, as is the reverb on his voice in many scenes aping the way our voice sounds different to ourselves than anybody else. The soundtrack itself is all 80's synth/piano and at first I felt it was too obviously lifted from the era to allow the film to move far enough away from it's roots, thankfully as the film progressed I was proven wrong and it works with the films feeling of disconnect very well.

As impressive as Elijah Wood is, the stand out for me is Nora Arnezeder, the french actress who plays Anna, you hope throughout that she is able to get Frank off his killing spree and integrate him into the world around him.  She is on screen more than Wood and their relationship is believable due to their common interests. She plays Anna as both smart yet vulnerable and their relationship is the most surprising aspect and it really carries the film.

Maniac stands up well against any recent mainstream horror and is a more layered and thoughtful piece of work 
than the rather blunt original. Wood proves again he is now a long way from Hobbiton and Franck Khalfoun will now firmly be on my watch list. Despite my minor misgivings about Khalfouns failure to go 100% POV there is a lot to be impressed by with Maniac

Rating 4 out of 5

By Dave Wheeler 

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Odd Thomas Book Review Author Dean Koontz

Finally 'The Evil Eye' is back after our unfortunate cyber attacks, and what better way to get back to the horror than with our very own Grumbling Gargoyle......enjoy!

Meet Odd Thomas, a 20 year old grill chef from Paco Mundo in southern California. There are definitely a couple of odd things about Odd...the first being that ‘Odd’ is the name on his birth certificate and the second being that he can see dead people...but he can’t hear them...odd eh?

Odd makes it his business to try to assist the recently dead who, for whatever reason, are still clinging to this mortal coil by the remnants of life’s umbilicus. He feels it is his duty to help them move on by attempting to put right whatever wrong may be holding them back from fully exploring their state of being dead...on the other side.

Still, the recently dead and their paranormal problems are not the only concern for Odd Thomas, he can see otherwordly creatures too...Bodachs, as he calls them. These dark, shadowy entities seem to feed off suffering and violence so whenever he sees these formless shapes, which flock in packs, Odd knows...a something bad this way comes!

I loved this book so much I forgot to wash! ( I could be exaggerating there ) certainly kept my interest piqued and I really was flipping through the pages like a Gargoyle possessed! I’ll be honest, over the years I’ve tended to lean away from Koontz as I felt he’d drifted from the ‘Dead cert for a good read’ towards the ‘Dead cert to be dead boring’!!’re entitled to gnash your tooth in protest to that comment but as said I’m just being honest and I’m sure you’d prefer it that way...’cos then you’ll believe me when I tell you the good stuff, as I’m about to do reconsider sending me that hate mail!!

Koontz hit on a winner with the character Odd Thomas and its success is entirely due to Koontz skillful development of a believable and endearing personality. Whilst Odd is the main man throughout the book he isn’t some thigh thrusting he-man with pulsing biceps, superhero underwear and a libido that would make Casanova contraire! Odd Thomas is a humble, unassuming, caring and thoughtful individual whose modest and considered aspiration is no more than to be a successful tyre salesman and thus, with a secure job, be better able to support the love of his life...soul mate, Stormy Lllewellyn, when they eventually marry and start a family.

Stormy and Odd fit into each other perfectly enfolding the reader within a cuddly blanket of romantic fluffiness...but hold on!!...Before you start dry heaving in repulsion at the word ‘romantic’...this is no Mills and Boon syrupy stomach churning, lovey dovey fest...( apologies to the Mills and Boon fan...back to the hate mail I suppose!...sigh )...this is a relationship cocooned in a cloud of crazy...not necessarily of their doing!

Travelling through this book with Odd Thomas introduces the reader to a plethora of interesting characters...( Including Elvis...yep...that’s right! )...and each one has been developed in such a unique and accomplished manner as to allow them their own defined signatures. I’ll leave you to discover them for yourselves but be assured you won’t be disappointed with their company. Through Koontz’ deceptively detailed characterisation he has managed to pack so much action into this books modest 400 pages as to make it feel like a much sturdier read and whilst it’s a very fulfilling read it’s a measure of Koontz excellence when the reader is still left panting and pining for more...( I have the same problem with chocolate ).

Koontz has also adeptly and successfully fused together a blend of genres. Horror/Mystery/Thriller and Romance are present here but each hold true to their own identity complimenting the other rather than overshadowing. Humour is a delicious landscape inhabited by all of the above genres, so the entire collection of sensations this merger conjures could be considered to be the equivalent of a stimulating, literary massage...hitting the right spots and essentially most satisfying...( This is not the same as using the book as a weapon...but hey...if needs must an’all that! ).

With Odd Thomas I feel that Koontz succeeded in saving himself from disappearing into the cavernous labyrinth of ‘hasbeen writers’ where so many of yesterdays powerful authors are now piteous residents...longing to recover the fiery heat of their earlier successes but only serving to briefly illuminate the pilot light of despair!...( Cheery eh? )... Still!...Koontz isn’t amongst them...( for the time being at least ) lets relish his reprieve!

So there we have it...’Odd Thomas’ all round excellent read bulging with so much bad’s good...yet always managing to accentuate the fragility of the human condition...( it even brought a tear to this Gargoyle’s eyes...Shhh don’t tell anyone! )

Rating 5 out of 5 stars
By The Grumbling Gargoyle

Monday, 21 January 2013

The Medusa Touch Review

Psychological Thriller - Starring Richard Burton, Lee Remick, Lino Ventura. Written by Peter Van Greenaway (novel), John Briley (screenplay).  Directed by Jack Gold (1978)

In 1978 when Grease was making us “wella wella ommph” and a young Michael Myers was wondering  which mask to wear, a film directed by Jack Gold, The Medusa Touch was released staring the late but awesome Richard Burton, Lino Ventura and Lee Remick who went on to star in the Omen.

(What’s it about or the bit on the Back of the DVD case)

Richard Burton stars as successful novelist John Morlar who believes he has a “gift for disaster” the power to cause death and destruction through the unconscious telekinesis.  When Molar is viciously assaulted and left for dead, the night of the moon mission disaster and jet crash, police investigating the attack quickly turn to Molar’s mysterious therapist Zonfeld (Lee Remick) in the belief that there is a link between the assault Molars disturbing Complex.

This film is quite tame for this age of blood lust, gore and dumb teenagers flirting with serial killers on the phone and some would even state this film more of a chiller than a horror but that said I believe that the character of John Molar is far scarier than most of the TV serial killers of today, what this film lacks in special effects and big breasts (although we do get a 9-11 moment some 23 years before the World Trade Centre in 2001) it makes up in suspense and the fear of the unknown as you see Molar’s “gift” or “evileye” in action throughout various moments of his life one them being his neighbours arguing about a fish.

Lino Ventura plays a convincing role as Brunel he captures the sceptic becoming believer effortlessly and I found as he investigates the assault and Molar’s character you find yourself in his disbelief/belief.

Lee Remick’s character Dr Zonfeld however I found was quite predictable and although well played I found no sympathy with her and her end, to me her character was just a “sandwich filler” and more could have been done to flesh her character out.

I won’t spoil the ending if you haven’t seen it but it’s an excellent twist for a film of that era this film also boasts some of the best British actors to grace our screens eg  Derek Jacobi, Jeremy Brett, Michael Hordern and Gordon Jackson.

Rating 4 out of 5

By David 'Tin Man' Clark


Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Texas Chainsaw 3D Review

With 'Texas Chainsaw 3D' getting its nationwide cinema release today our newest team member 'The Horror Queen' gives us her thoughts on the latest in the long running franchise.

Horror - Starring Alexanra Daddario, Tania Raymonds, Scott Eastwood, Dan Yeager. Written by Adam Marcus, Debra Sullivan. Directed by John Luessenhop (2013)

First off, let me assure you I won’t post any spoilers in here, so you can read without learning anything you wouldn’t get from the trailer. 

This is being marketed as a ‘direct sequel’ to Tobe Hooper’s 1974 film, indeed we are treated to a couple of minutes of recap footage, in 3D of course, then it starts off just minutes after that film ends. 

The film opens with a group of vigilantes burning down the Sawyer house, then discovering a baby in the wreckage. A couple of them take the baby for their own. The cut to years later, and we are with said baby, Heather, now all grown up. She embarks on a trip to find her inheritance from a Grandmother she never knew she had.

I’ll say now; I enjoyed this movie. It was pretty well made and had a strong storyline. That is not to say, however, that it was anything like a perfect movie. It certainly wasn’t. I’ll start with what bugged me about this film. 

Firstly, it did not need 3D. It was utterly pointless and had no place in the film. It didn’t even look like it was in 3D for most of the film, except for a couple of blood splatters and a few times where an object was thrown at the screen. There were also the obligatory shots of the lead girls, which were eye-rollingly obvious and mildly exploitative, but all I got from the 3D was a headache. There’s no reason whatsoever for seeing this movie in 3D. The casting was also hit and miss; while Alexandra Daddario did particularly well in her lead role, her supporting cast of friends didn’t do as much. Apparently Tremaine Neverson is a singer, and while I’ve never heard of him, here’s a nice cliche to go with his acting - stick to the day job. There were some really nice cameos, and the older cast produced some good quality stuff.

The typical slasher side-storylines were boring and added nothing whatsoever to the overall movie, aside from a nice nod to Tobe Hooper when the gang pick up a hitchhiker along the way.

Another glaring problem for me is this; if the timings are correct, Heather should be roughly 38 years old. In real life, Alexandra Daddario is 26 and could easily pass for younger. If you’re going to go with this particular storyline, don’t just ignore the age your characters are supposed to be in order to get a more conventionally ‘attractive’ and marketable cast. That’s selling out. 

However, the film was not all bad. Yes, the points mentioned above irked me, but overall I enjoyed the film. There were some great moments that were big bonuses for fans of the original; little easter eggs that people who haven’t seen it wouldn’t get, and I won’t spoil it for you by going into detail here, just keep your eyes peeled and you’ll get a few little retro treats. 

The main storyline was good, well presented and interesting, and there were a few good jump scares in there too. 

The gore for the most part was well done, a little too CGI for my tastes maybe, but it’s  a 3D film so I wasn’t expecting anything else. It didn’t shy away from much of the gore or killings, which I appreciated, and throughout a lot of the film there was a nice sinister atmosphere and some good tension build ups. One thing that made the original scary, and made Leatherface an icon, was not just his horrendously creepy look, but also the fact that we hardly saw him in the film. In this version, we saw him a lot. There was just too much screen time for him, which made him less scary each and every time. Add to that the fact that the new incarnation of his mask is nothing like as scary as the first, and we come away with a film that does not hold the creep factor anywhere near as well as its predecessor. It does well though, for a sequel, and even forces the audience to illicit a new feeling for Leatherface; sympathy.

I really loved the ending, I think that was where the film stood out, although I hear there is a remake in the works and that is one of the worst things they could do. It ended strongly, just leave it at that and don’t try to cash in on it. Let it have some integrity, and leave knowing you made a pretty decent film.

All in all, Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a decent film. It is not perfect, and it doesn’t live up to the original in any way, but I really wasn’t expecting it to, so I’m not disappointed by that. The acting is mostly good, and the new take and twist on the storyline impressed me. I’d recommend you go and see this film, but not in 3D. It is not worth any extra money, and even if it’s the same price you won’t gain a single thing from it. My rating is a solid 6/10. You won’t miss anything if you wait for it to come out on Blu-Ray or DVD, but seeing it in theatres was a good experience.

Rating 6 ouf of 10

By Beth 'Horror Queen' Norfolk

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Zombies Zombies Zombies - Podcast Reviews

Tallahassee: [discovers Hostess truck filled with Podcasts] Podcasts? Podcasts? Podcasts? Where's the fucking Twinkies?
Columbus: I love Podcasts.
Tallahassee: I hate Pod-stuff. Not the Podcasts themselves, just the lack of consistency.
Columbus: [Turns on ‘Dead Mech’ Podcast] Fresh.
Tallahassee: Oh, this Twinkie thing, it ain't over yet!

So, If YOU happen to know where the moist podcasts are, or you have a good idea or suggestion for a Podcast you would like us to review, dig it up and we’ll nudge it with our boot-toes to see if it tries to bite us. However…if you DO know where there is a good Podcast and we find out you didn’t tell us….well, Bill Murray’s shooting was accidental…And that’s just what we’ll tell people when they ask what happened to you!

Zombies, Zombies, Zombies….Unfeeling, infectious, relentlessly hungry biting machines. What’s not to like? (Apart from when they swarm over your garden and trample on the Begonias, the little scamps!)

Yes, today we’re all about Zombies. Once upon a time they were regarded by popular culture as the lethargic, dim-witted lesser bedfellows to the Vampire and the Werewolf. Slow-thinking, slow-moving and, when they were allowed to have speech at all, slow-talking.

Of course, as every good horror fan knows, the Zombie has come a long way from it’s positively shambolic beginnings. They have grown and adapted in a way that the Vampire and the Werewolf never could. (And, thankfully, they certainly don’t EVER end up in preposterous complex romantic entanglements with members of other species or even, for that matter, their own)

Nowadays we have slow Zombies…Fast Zombies…Smart Zombies…Mutated Zombies…Comedy Zombies and, perhaps most surprisingly, Mechanised Zombies.

HUM 282 - Zombies in Contemporary Culture: (5 Episodes - 4hrs - 103MB)

It sounds so stale. It sounds so tedious. Why, when there are so many good films, books and podcasts out there, would you want to listen to a boring lecture like this? Why? Because it is a highly enjoyable, well written and fun podcast, that’s why. 

Released in five clear episodes this podcast take us through all things Zombie and why people have such a fascination for them. The first episode is only seventeen minutes long and frankly I wish it was longer. It is the philosophy behind the Zombie scenario and asks questions such as “Is killing a Zombie murder?”, “Who should I try to gather around me after an apocalypse” and “Should I treat members of my family who have turned, any different to any other Zombie?” 

The rest of the podcast takes us through Comics, Games, Romero’s effect on the genre and finally, to my joy, Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland.

Even though it has been released by iTunesU (The academic arm of iTunes) it is funny, honest and wide reaching. I advise you to pick it up if you want an extremely interesting, amusing and thought provoking four hours of fun. Rating:- 4/5

HUM 282 - Zombies in Contemporary Culture is released and is free on iTunesU.

The Zombie Chronicles - Escape: By James Melzer (27 Episodes - 8hrs 20mins - 455MB)

Within ten minutes of listening to this podcast certain things become evident about Mr James Melzer. He is a very good writer. He is an extremely good narrator. He is Canadian. He swears like a trooper and he takes a positive joy in describing extremely gory and horrific incidents.

The Chronicles start with a brief explanation as to how the current post-Zombie world has become the way it has. In this case, how, 25 years ago, an asteroid passed close to Earth trailing a tail of green mist behind it. How the first woman effected by it, went insane, clawed her own eyes out before toppling from a ledge to lie twitching on the floor far below. Three days after the mist (Dubbed Green-Goblin) has descended, one quarter of the population of the planet have gone screaming, mewling and gnashing to their respective deaths. It is then that the dead begin to rise.

These dead, unlike your average shambler, have a rudimentary intelligence and, it appears, they can be trained. So it is that 25 years later, when the dust has settled and the majority of the non-Zombie population are enclosed in great walled cities, the various governments decide upon a new course of action. They will work out how to harness the Undead and use them as a rudimentary workforce. Such a workforce would be unlike any other. They do not eat. They do not sleep. They do not stop for any reason. They do, however, need to be fed. Bring on the clones!

It is from this point on that we are catapulted into a strange new world of clones, secret societies and social manipulation, all coloured with a liberal dash of our rotting chomping friends. It shows just how well this podcast is crafted that, just like the protagonist, I found myself veering between who to believe and, at many points along the way, wondering who’s side I was actually on.

This podcast is an absolute MUST for those who like their horror with a definite tongue in cheek attitude. Rating:- 5/5

The Zombie Chronicles - Escape is part one of a projected serial of novels and podcasts. The Podcast can be downloaded from all of the usual sources ( and can be located on iTunes, Zune and most podcast downloaders.) Also available as an Audiobook from or can be located directly from source at . James Melzer has his own site containing both free and material to buy at

Sanctuary - Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse: By Joshua Jared Scott (27 Episodes - 12hrs 20mins - 695mb)

I will warn you now - Joshua Jared Scott is a very good, very vivid, extremely thoughtful writer. He is NOT, however, a good narrator. His voice is slow and rarely varies in intonation . He reads his own tale with the same (almost monotone) voice whether he is discussing his love for a fellow survivor, a desperate situation where his group is completely surrounded or the groups sharing of tins of beans. Later in this story he points out how he becomes less and less connected with the world around him and, as this story is told almost exclusively in the past tense, perhaps he is attempting to reflect this altered emotional state. If this IS the case then it may have been a mistake as I very nearly switched off this podcast after half an hour. (Mainly to protect myself from the tedium of what is, as I say, an otherwise well written tale.)

The story itself, as is usual with most Zombie horror situations, is based around the story of one man, who joins a group of people, and their battle for survival. Where this particular tale diverges from the norm is the side-steps it takes every other chapter as we discover the back-stories of the various people they meet along the way. This is done well and adds to the over-all podcast considerably - making this a very special tale indeed. However…that voice.

I have come to a strange (and perhaps very personal to me) conclusion. Listen to the first episode of this podcast. Decide if you find it interesting enough to listen to the author drone all the way through it. If you are fine with it then go ahead, it is, after all, a good story. If not? I strongly suggest you buy the book instead.

If it were not for how tediously read it is then its mark would be a lot higher. Rating:- 2/5

Sanctuary - Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse Podcast can be downloaded from all of the usual sources ( and can be located on iTunes, Zune and most podcast downloaders.) or can be located directly from source at

These audio-books are free, but each one WILL ask you if you fancy making a donation. If you can, please do so, it keeps this industry alive and, with the majority of these audio-books, at least 75% of the cash donated goes to the author or the producer of the podcast. 

Peter G Staff (Pod-Master General)

Thursday, 3 January 2013

The Last Exorcism Part 2: New Poster Art Revealed

Here is the interesting new poster for 'The Last Exorcism Part II' what do we all think?! All we can say is let's just hope they don't make a third and a fourth movie, that could be very painful for a contortionist!

The movie itself will be in cinemas from 15th March this year and stars Ashley Bell reprising her role as Nell Sweetzer, in the directors chair we have Ed Gass-Donnelly who wrote and directed the Crime/Thriller 'Small Town Murder Songs' back in 2010.

So what can we expect from this outing of the franchise, this is what we know:- 
Continuing where the first film left off, Nell Sweetzer (Ashley Bell) is found terrified and alone in rural Louisiana. Back in the relative safety of New Orleans, Nell realizes that she can't remember entire portions of the previous months only that she is the last surviving member of her family. Just as Nell begins the difficult process of starting a new life, the evil force that once possessed her is back with other, unimaginably horrific plans that mean her last exorcism was just the beginning.

I myself will be reserving judgement on the sequel as I was a big fan of the original, in particular how Director Daniel Stamm managed to give the movie a truly unique docu-horror feel which has failed many times previously in the horror genre! 

Lets hope we are all surprised when it arrives, who will be standing in line for this one?

Adam 'Evil Eye' Cutler