GRAVE MATTER (Book Review)

Written by: Juno Dawson

Illustrated by: Alex T. Smith

Published in the UK in 2018 by: Barrington Stoke

Pages: 140


REOPENING THE DOOR

“That future wasn’t meant to be and I was an arrogant fool to challenge fate.”

A brief-yet-pointedly macabre horror novella spread over just 140 occasionally-illustrated yellow-hued pages, young adult author Juno Dawson’s twisted tale of first loves lost and best left lost is a quick read perfectly suited to entice reading adverse older teens and dyslexics alike.

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Unsane (Cinema Review)

Claire Foy in Unsane (2018)

15 – 98mins – 2018


 

THE GIFT OF FEAR

Magic Mike maestro Steven Soderbergh bounces back after what was, for me, an unengaging misfire (2017’s heist dramedy Logan Lucky) with a bold and unconventional low-key experiment: psychological thriller Unsane was filmed entirely on iPhones! While the film isn’t shot as though diegetically through a mobile phone (fear not, shaky cam haterz!), Soderbergh ratchets up the paranoia and tension with many tight angles and close ups. Combine this with murky, natural lighting and a lack of cinematic sheen and Unsane certainly succeeds in evoking a dark, unsettling tone.

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The Strangers (DVD Review)

15 – 85mins – 2008


 

DOLL-FACED KILLERS

With the belated and long-teased sequel Prey At Night just opening Stateside (it was originally announced for a 2009 release date before entering development hell for the best part of a decade), I thought it was high-time I got my act together and finally watched the first Strangers film. Now TEN years old, the DVD has been lingering on my to-watch pile for far too long.

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Verónica (Netflix Review)

Carla Campra, Ángela Fabián, and Sandra Escacena in Verónica (2017)

15 – 105mins – 2017


 

GAME NIGHT FRIGHT

Based (albeit sketchily) upon a real-life case from Madrid in 1991, this haunting new horror from [REC] co-director Paco Plaza takes full advantage of its “true crime” roots by beginning and concluding with title cards establishing the unique police case which investigated this occult-dabbling nightmare. Purportedly this was the first ever case in Spanish history to be officially attributed to “paranormal phenomena”.

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Exorcist II: The Heretic (Blu-ray Review)

See the source image

18 – 117mins – 1977


 

CALL ME BY MY DEVIL NAME

Cynically made on-the-cheap by a new creative team after the two Williams (original Exorcist director Friedkin and author Peter-Blatty) flat-out refused to be involved in a follow-up, The Heretic was also beset by a mountain of production problems (its script was rewritten FIVE times DURING filming by uncredited writers; the final product scarcely resembles the first draft) and – rather predictably – it garnered near-universal derision upon release. Frankly, it’s a miracle that the franchise survived such a monumental blunder, but clearly the power of Pazuzu conquers all set-backs!

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It Comes At Night (Blu-ray Review)

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15 – 91mins – 2017


 

IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT

Having been intrigued by the stark and mysterious marketing campaign, I was devastated to miss writer/director Trey Edward Shult’s post apocalyptic horror at the cinema. Therefore, It Comes At Night was an instant blind buy on Blu-ray for me, on the strength of its critical acclaim alone. I purposefully refrained from reading up too much on the intricacies of the plot, only aware from a couple of podcast reviews I had listened to that it was ‘nothing like you expect’.

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The Exorcist (Live Review)

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18+ – The Phoenix Theatre, London – tickets from £30.00

Official WebsiteBox Office (until 10th March 2018)


 

THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT REGAN

While the easily-petrified may turn their noses up at the very prospect of seeing a theatrical adaptation of one of the most chilling books/films of all time, there is no denying that with the bulk of the action taking place in a single location (a simple bedroom), that William Peter Blatty’s horror masterpiece lends itself remarkably well to the stage.

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The Cloverfield Paradox (Netflix Review)

Image result for the cloverfield paradox

15 – 102mins – 2018


 

CREATING CHAOS

“We’re definitely not in Kentucky anymore.”

You certainly cannot accuse the burgeoning Cloverfield cinematic universe (for that undoubtedly is what it now is) of resting on its laurels. Ten years and three films in, we have been treated to three distinct and intriguing genre pictures released in three distinct and intriguing ways. For those who thought 2008’s ground-breaking viral marketing-tease and 2015’s quick-drop cinema rollout too longwinded, Paradox dropped onto streaming giant Netflix just FOUR HOURS after its trailer debuted during this year’s Super Bowl. Wow.

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The Open House (Netflix Review)

Image result for the open house netflix

15 – 94mins – 2018


 

DEATH MOVES IN

13 Reasons Why must be the sole reason why Netflix bought up this lacklustre home invasion thriller. Their acquisition team must be hoping that the presence of lead actor Dylan Don’t Breathe Minnette will persuade fans of the headline-making, smash-hit teen mystery drama series to give something else with him in a watch. Any viewers that do will no doubt be as disappointed as I was by this poor excuse of a horror from unseasoned all-rounders Matt Angel (an actor by trade) and Suzanne Coote, who wrote, produced and directed.

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THE PAN BOOK OF HORROR STORIES (Book Review)

Selected by: Herbert van Thal

First published by Pan Books in 1959 / Reprinted: 2017

296 pages


THE GHOSTS OF SENSIBILITIES PAST

Pan Book of Horror StoriesHaving released their first mass-market paperback in 1947 (Ten Stories by Rudyard Kipling), publishing giants Pan are this year celebrating their 70th anniversary with a series of reissues of their most popular and iconic titles. Piquing my interest among the twenty classics receiving a new lease of life was a reprint of the first ever volume of collected horror stories; 22 macabre tales from authors renowned (Bram Stoker, Peter Fleming, C.S. Forester) and unheard of.

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