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Jeremy W. Newbould "Django" (Spain)

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Rhyme for Reason
Rhyme for Reason
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The punishment fits the rhyme, 6 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Rhyme for Reason (Kindle Edition)
In Trevor Dalton's fourth novel, Rhyme for Reason, a particularly nasty serial killer is on the rampage in Wales. Not only is he killing women in the most horrible ways imaginable he is also leaving sick and twisted poems at the crime scenes, earning him the nickname "The Poet".

The gruesome murder set-pieces and The Poet's modus operandi actually reminded me of some of the more extreme giallo films. For the unenlightened, "giallo", as well as being the Italian word for yellow, is the name given to a genre of violent Italian thrillers or murder-mysteries often featuring deranged, sadistic killers, inept cops, bizarre plot elements, misogyny and copious amounts of sex and nudity. Some early giallo films were based on crime novels that were published in Italy with bright yellow covers - hence the term "giallo".

Like the killers in Fernando di Leo's La bestia uccide a sangue freddo, Sergio Martino's I corpo presentano tracce di violenza carnale, Lucio Fulci's Lo squartatore di New York and countless other gialli, The Poet has a serious grudge against females and he enjoys subjecting his victims to as much psychological and physical pain and suffering as possible by stalking, attacking, murdering and then mutilating them in a brutal fashion. The poet dons a variety of disguises to avoid being indentified and caught and even indulges in a bit of gender-bending by dressing up as a woman. Was he perhaps inspired by Norman Bates in Hitchcock's Psycho or by Dr. Robert Elliott in Brian De Palma's Dressed To Kill?

The poetry element of Rhyme for Reason reminded me a little bit of Dario Argento's Nonhosonno (a.k.a. Sleepless) which features a series of gory murders based on a macabre poem called The Death Farm. I think the poems in Rhyme for Reason are a very clever and intriguing touch and are obviously vital to the story and the killer's motives. If Shakespeare was known as The Bloody Bard then The Poet is an even bloodier one who certainly knows how to put poetry in motion to devastating effect. He is a tortured soul who is haunted by disturbing and traumatic events from his past and has to battle his own inner demons and the flashback segments give the reader an insight into The Poet's own personal evolution from victim to perpetrator.

Trevor Dalton has a talent for creating fascinating plots and characters and a style of writing that keeps the reader hooked and, in my opinion, Rhyme for Reason is his best novel so far so I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is a fan of this sort of subject matter.

A Deeper Darkness (The Possession Legacy Book 2)
A Deeper Darkness (The Possession Legacy Book 2)
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Raging Thirst, 15 May 2014
Vampirism has been and continues to be a fascinating and popular subject on the page and on the screen and novels, short stories, films and television shows featuring sexy vampires have been particularly enduring. For example, in the literature world there is J. Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla (which inspired several films including Vampyr, Blood And Roses, The Blood Spattered Bride and The Vampire Lovers), Whitley Strieber's The Hunger (which inspired a film and a tv series), Trevor Dalton's The Possession Legacy and the vampire stories of Laurell K. Hamilton.

In the world of cinema we have Hammer's Karnstein trilogy (consisting of The Vampire Lovers, Lust For A Vampire and Twins Of Evil), Jesús Franco's Vampyros Lesbos and Erotikill (a.k.a. Female Vampire and a.k.a. The Bare Breasted Countess), José Ramón Larraz's Vampyres, the erotic French vampire films of Jean Rollin, Anne Goursaud's Embrace Of The Vampire and Jake West's Razor Blade Smile.

There are many, many more examples of course and in recent times we have also had The Twilight Saga and The Vampire Diaries. A common element of vampire stories, whether they are set in a traditional gothic milieu or in the present day, is the predatory vampire vixen. These female creatures of the night are alluring and seductive yet dangerous and deadly. Like succubi with fangs they seek victims both male and female and offer them the ultimate pleasures at the cost of their souls.

Trevor Dalton's excellent novel Deeper Darkness, a modern vampire tale, gives us not one but two vampire vixens on the prowl and their motivation is not just the desire for blood but also revenge. Deeper Darkness is actually a sequel to Trevor Dalton's debut novel The Possession Legacy and it does help if you have read the first book but it is not absolutely essential as Deeper Darkness is very entertaining in its own right.

In Deeper Darkness Trevor Dalton cleverly incorporates some traditional vampire lore into a modern-day story with plausible characters and situations. The set-pieces involving the female vampires first enticing their victims and then brutally attacking them in order to fulfil their blood-lust are certainly very graphic and memorable and emphasize the horrific elements extremely effectively. Deeper Darkness also features a vampire hunter - a sort of modern-day Dr. Abraham Van Helsing (or do I mean Abraham Lincoln?), who is assisted by a child with psychic abilities, which adds further depth and intrigue to the story and provides the bloodsuckers with a tough adversary. Interestingly enough, the vampire hunter's surname is Price and there is another character with the surname Lee which is possibly a reference to two famous actors who have played vampires in horror movies.

I thought Deeper Darkness was well-paced and I really enjoyed reading it. I liked the use of different locations in the UK, Thailand and Spain as the vampire girl Lynette sets out on her quest to travel and seek out more victims and I particularly enjoyed the parts set in the Costa Blanca region (it is not too difficult to believe that there could be undead creatures residing there). I certainly found it to be a lot more exciting than a certain vampire novel about a Transylvanian nobleman by an Irish author who used to go on holiday to Whitby!

With Deeper Darkness and its predecessor The Possession Legacy Mr. Dalton has proved that he is one of the modern masters of the vampire story. In the future I would like to see him write about other supernatural creatures. I am sure that he could come up with a great werewolf story....

Strange Vice Of Mrs Wardh [DVD] [1970]
Strange Vice Of Mrs Wardh [DVD] [1970]
Dvd ~ Edwige Fenech
Price: £8.73

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The vice is fright, 23 Jan. 2012
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Julie Wardh is in a bit of a pickle. She's married to Neil but her saucy past has come back to haunt her in the form of her ex-lover who she had a kinky relationship with. She also starts indulging in some extra-marital bonking with a suave lothario called George. If that wasn't enough to contend with, Julie then begins to receive strange letters and is being stalked by a razor-wielding maniac!

"The Strange Spelling Of Mrs Wardh"... sorry, I mean "The Strange Vice Of Mrs Wardh", a.k.a. "Next!", contains many of the elements that make up a good giallo. The drop-dead gorgeous Edwige Fenech, giallo film goddess and one of Tarantino's favourite actresses (the character General Ed Fenech in "Inglourious Basterds" is obviously named after her), is perfectly cast as the sexy title character and she looks absolutely stunning with or without her clothes on. The film also features giallo film regulars George Hilton, Ivan Rassimov and Bruno Corrazzari. The film was directed by one of the masters of the genre, Sergio Martino, who also directed horror movies, spaghetti westerns and Italian sex comedies and there is an atmospheric music score by Nora Orlandi. The film features generous amounts of nudity and is punctuated (or should that be punctured?) by some violent murder scenes - there is even the almost-compulsory sequence where a naked girl is murdered in the shower. By the way, one of the letters Mrs Wardh receives contains the phrase "Your vice is a locked room and only I have the key" which was later used as the title for another of Sergio Martino's giallo films.

"TSVOMW" is certainly a notch above most other gialli made around the same time but I must also say that I did not find it as interesting or as thrilling as some of Sergio Martino's other giallo films such as "All The Colours Of The Dark" (which throws in elements of the supernatural) and "Torso" (which features some very nasty murder set-pieces) but maybe it will grow on me more with future viewings.

This DVD release from Shameless, in appropriate yellow packaging, gives us a lovely quality print of the film in a 16:9 anamorphic widescreen ratio but I am not sure whether or not it is the full uncut version. The great extra features include an interview with Sergio Martino, an Edwige Fenech biography, a theatrical trailer and trailers for other Shameless releases. There are the audio options of English or Italian with or without English subtitles. So, all things considered, I will give this DVD 4 stars.

Funnyman [DVD] [1994]
Funnyman [DVD] [1994]
Dvd ~ Tim James
Offered by dvd-uncut
Price: £14.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tim Foolery, 17 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: Funnyman [DVD] [1994] (DVD)
"Funnyman" is probably the greatest film ever made (well, after "Carry On Up The Jungle" of course) and it is also one of the best DVD releases ever thanks to the brilliant extra features on this disc.

"Funnyman" is not the sort of film where you need to go into too much detail about the plot but in a nutshell, a coke-snorting record producer called Max Taylor wins the ancestral home of Callum Chance in a game of poker but what he doesn't know is that in the house there resides a mischievous and murderous jester who likes to bump people off in imaginative ways whilst also delivering a killer punchline.

Why is it so good? Well, for a start, the cast is excellent. Tim James is great as the title character - a sort of funnier version of Freddy Krueger with bells on and the film also features singer Pauline Black as a voodoo priestess with a huge afro, Scottish comedienne Rhona Cameron playing a character based on Velma from Scooby Doo and a cameo appearance by the legendary Christopher Lee. The set-pieces and one-liners are extremely memorable with plenty of quotable lines and catch-phrases. In fact this film even contains one of my all-time favourite lines - when Hard Man is sitting in the seedy nightclub and says "Bloody Hell! I feel like I've died and gone to Rotherham!" Hilarious stuff. Oh, and another thing, the music is good too.

When I first saw "Funnyman" many years ago I didn't like it very much but with each subsequent viewing it kind of grew on me and now I regard it as something of a comedy-horror classic. I will never forget buying this film on video when it first came out. I bought it from a shop in Mansfield. I took the empty video case up to the counter and as the shop assistant was looking for the cassette she shouted over to her colleague "I'm looking for the Funnyman." To which her colleague replied, "Well there's plenty of them 'round here."

This DVD version presents the film in 16:9 widescreen format and the extra features include an audio commentary with director Simon Spracking and star Tim James, trailers, a making-of documentary, a featurette about Tim James and 3 amusing (very) short films by Simon Spracking. My only quibble... What happened to the production diary 8 page booklet? As the Funnyman himself would say, "I don't know what the bloody world's coming to. I really don't!"

El Cóndor (1970) - WB Region 2 PAL, plays in English without subtitles
El Cóndor (1970) - WB Region 2 PAL, plays in English without subtitles
Dvd ~ Jim Brown
Offered by Den's DVDs
Price: £13.24

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You can't beat a bit of bullion, 11 Dec. 2011
1970 was quite a good year for westerns. We had Ralph Nelson's "Soldier Blue", Don Siegel's "Two Mules For Sister Sara", Arthur Penn's "Little Big Man", Sergio Corbucci's "Vamos A Matar, Compañeros" and Giuliano Carnimeo's "A Fistful Of Lead", to name just a few, and of course there was also John Guillermin's entertaining "El Condor".

The plot of "El Condor" is fairly simple - an escaped convict called Luke (played by Jim Brown) teams up with a man called Jaroo (Lee Van Cleef) and a tribe of Apaches in order to steal a huge stash of gold from a heavily-manned Mexican fort but a few twists and turns occur in the process.

This could have been a fairly routine western but director John Guillermin (who also directed "The Towering Inferno" and the 1976 remake of "King Kong" and many other films) throws in plenty of action, including punch-ups, gun battles and explosions, to keep everything moving along nicely and the film is well-acted by a good cast. There are two stand-out scenes - the scene where a group of the fort's soldiers are slaughtered mid-nookie session and the scene where the gorgeous Marianna Hill strips off in order to distract the fort's soldiers whilst Luke, Jaroo and the Apaches scale the fort's walls and attack the fort.

My only real criticism of "El Condor" is that the ending is a bit of a downer but, that aside, it is a still an interesting and enjoyable film. This Spanish DVD gives us the option of watching the film in English (with or without Spanish subtitles) or Spanish. The film is presented in a screen ratio of 1.85:1 but I am not convinced that this is correct because the USA DVD presents the film in a ratio of 1.77:1 and I remember seeing this film on television many years ago and I am sure I caught a glimpse of Imogen Hassall's pubic hair in the scene where she is standing fully nude in the bedroom but this appears to have been cropped out of the picture on the Spanish DVD.

Dick Barton Collection: Dick Barton: Special Agent / Dick Barton Strikes Back / Dick Barton at Bay [DVD]
Dick Barton Collection: Dick Barton: Special Agent / Dick Barton Strikes Back / Dick Barton at Bay [DVD]
Dvd ~ Don Stannard
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: £6.66

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funnier than Bond, 26 Sept. 2011
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I thoroughly enjoyed these three entertaining old films which contain a fair amount of action and humour (both intentional and unintentional) in almost equal doses with some of the funniest fight scenes you will ever see. I found myself regularly chuckling whilst sitting through these films (mainly because of some of the incredible dialogue and dodgy accents) and I was particularly fascinated by how many people smoked back in those days - some characters always seem to have a cigarette or cigar in their gob!

The running time is just over an hour for each film so everything moves along quite quickly and the films do not really have the chance to become stilted and boring. The old saying "they don't make 'em like this anymore" is certainly true when applied to these three films.

By the way, on a more serious note, there were plans for a fourth Dick Barton movie - "Dick Barton In Africa" but these were shelved after Don Stannard (who played Dick Barton in these three films) was tragically killed in a car accident shortly after "Dick Barton At Bay" was completed.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 7, 2012 4:36 PM BST

Absence of Light [DVD]
Absence of Light [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Hess
Price: £6.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An appropriate title for such a dull film, 24 Sept. 2011
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This review is from: Absence of Light [DVD] (DVD)
I watched the extra features on this DVD before I watched the film and they kind of gave me an indication (and a feeling of dread) of what the quality of the film would be like. Unfortunately, when I watched the actual film, my worst fears were fully realised.

Despite having a cast that features some famous names from the world of horror cinema, Absence Of Light turned out to be a big disappointment. Absence Of Light is a pointless and virtually plotless mess of a movie. For a start it does not even look like a proper film. It resembles a cross between a home movie shot using a camcorder and a cheap and tacky video game. There is no coherent storyline to hold everything together and different characters just seem to flit in and out of the proceedings. The biggest problem the film has though is that it is just too talky. It is the kind of film where I watched and waited with the hope that something interesting might happen at some point. I watched.... and I waited.... watched.... and waited.... then SUDDENLY.... the end credits rolled - the best bit of the whole film actually! Absence Of Light has quite a short running time but it seemed to go on for longer than Ben Hur and Gone With The Wind put together.

I am a big fan of Caroline Munro but I would have to say that Absence Of Light is the worst film I have seen her in. Yes, it is even worse than Slaughter High and Don't Open Till Christmas. Hang on a minute though, come to think of it, it is not quite as bad as Casino Royale (the 1960s' version) but Caroline only appeared very briefly in that as an uncredited extra.

If, like me, you have a desire to seek out and collect all of Caroline's movies then you will probably want this DVD in your collection but the film itself is a complete waste of time.

Breeders [DVD]
Breeders [DVD]
Dvd ~ Todd Jensen

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Breeding awful, 19 Sept. 2011
This review is from: Breeders [DVD] (DVD)
There's something unpleasant lurking in the sewers - and I'm not talking about last night's curry! An evil-looking alien has landed on Earth with the intention of reproducing and it is prepared to kill anyone who tries to stop it.

Breeders reminded me a little bit of another film with an alien in it. Now what was it called? Ah yes.... Alien, that's it. I suppose it is a bit unfair though to compare Breeders to Ridley Scott's sci-fi/horror masterpiece because Alien has an excellent ensemble cast of talented actors, a good script, impressive sets and great special effects whereas Breeders does not have any of these attributes.

The film is supposed to be set in Boston, Massachusetts, but it may as well have been set in Boston, Lincolnshire, as there seems to be a number of people trying to put on a fake American accent! The cast includes Eastenders' Samantha Janus (now Samantha Womack) as a 25 year-old schoolgirl and Oliver (The Stud) Tobias as a cop who wears a silly hat (occasionally). Sexy Sam gives us a couple of glimpses of her lovely bare bum but that's about the only exciting thing that happens in this movie. I really lost interest in it after the girls' locker room and shower scene.

I noticed a while ago that copies of this particular DVD from Digital were fetching quite high prices on the internet which suggests that the film may have achieved a certain cult status but I cannot imagine why. I think there is more chance of spotting a UFO or having a real close encounter of the third kind than finding anything of interest in this movie!

If you have a passion for tracking down daft, low-budget sci-fi films then you may just wish to check out Breeders but anyone else should probably give this one a miss.

Mad Monster Party [DVD] [1967]
Mad Monster Party [DVD] [1967]
Dvd ~ Boris Karloff
Price: £9.96

3.0 out of 5 stars Monster Bash, 19 Jun. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
To sum up "Mad Monster Party" it is a groovy 1960s' animated horror musical that will appeal to both children and adults. Most of the classic movie "monsters" are in this movie in animated form - Dr. Frankenstein, Frankenstein's creature (and his female mate), Count Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Invisible Man, The Creature from The Black Lagoon and even a King Kong-style giant ape but The Phantom of The Opera is not present - perhaps he was too busy playing with his organ!

Featuring the voices of Boris Karloff, Allen Swift, Phyllis Diller and Gale Garnett, "Mad Monster Party" is for the most part an entertaining film with great animation, superb sets, references to other classic movies and a few catchy songs chucked in for good measure. The only thing that lets the film down at times is the script. The action becomes a bit too silly in places and some of the jokes are rather corny (but not as corny as my jokes).

However, the film's greatest asset is the wonderful animated characters. I particularly liked the character Yetch who is clearly modelled on one of my favourite actors, Peter Lorre, and the Dr. Frankenstein character (voiced by Boris Karloff) physically resembles Boris himself and I must say that Francesca (voiced by Gale Garnett) is quite possibly the most attractive piece of modelling clay I have ever seen! A special mention must also be given to Allen Swift who provides the voices for lots of different characters in this film. You really cannot tell that it is the same actor doing all these voices.

This DVD version unfortunately does not contain any extras (apart from scene selection) but for anyone in their forties or older who has fond memories of watching this when they were a kid then this DVD is definitely worth buying.

Blue Water White Death [DVD]
Blue Water White Death [DVD]
Dvd ~ Peter Gimbel

4.0 out of 5 stars A documentary with plenty of bite, 30 May 2011
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This review is from: Blue Water White Death [DVD] (DVD)
There may be plenty of fish in the sea but finding the right one is not always easy as this ground-breaking documentary goes to show when a team of divers and film makers (and one folk singer) embark on a quest to track down and film Carcharodon carcharias, a.k.a. the Great White Shark.

Back in the early 1970s, when this film was made, the Great White was one of the most elusive animals on the planet and relatively little was known about this magnificent creature so finding one and then actually filming one proves to be a difficult matter for the team.

Their journey takes them to various locations where they encounter other different types of shark and other marine life but, unfortunately, no Great Whites. They eventually end up in Australian waters where at last they encounter what they have been looking for.

The star of the show does not appear until the final third of the film but when he does it is well worth the wait and the team manages to capture some stunning and exciting footage of the Great White.

"Blue Water, White Death" is a truly fascinating and inspirational film that I remember watching on television many years ago so it is good to be able to watch it again on DVD. Watching this film certainly made me want to find out more about the Great White and about sharks in general.

This DVD version presents the film in its original screen ratio of 2.35:1 and is exempt from BBFC classification which means that all of the family can watch it but, if you are a Greenpeace supporter or a bit squeamish, you may wish to skip over some of the scenes early on in the film when the team follow some whaling ships in the waters around South Africa!

Extras include an audio commentary and a featurette which features a special reunion of some of the team members. Sadly, Peter Gimbel, the team's leader and driving force behind this expedition and film, was not present at this reunion as he died in 1987, aged just 60.

There you go, I have managed to get to the end of this review without once mentioning "Jaws". Oh dear.... well, almost....

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