TV Review: The Walking Dead Complete Second Season (BluRay)

The Walking Dead Complete Second Season
The Walking Dead Complete Second Season

[Editor’s note: The countdown to The Walking Dead Season Five continues! The fifth season will shamble back to AMC on October 12th. To celebrate, we will feature a weekly review of each season. We wish to thank Mark Rivera for allowing us to reprint his TWD reviews from his Genreonline site! Today we look at Season Two!]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season: 4-Disc Set

Region: A

Media: Blu-ray Disc

Stars: Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Steven Yeun, Norman Reedus, Jeffrey DeMunn, Chandler Riggs, Iron E. Singleton, Melissa McBride, Lauren Cohan, Scott Wilson, Pruitt Taylor Vince, and Michael Rooker English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Surround Sound and French Dolby Surround Sound English Subtitles For The Deaf and Hearing Impaired and Spanish Language Subtitles Bonus Features, Featurettes, Webisodes, Audio Commentaries and Deleted Scenes Home Video Distributor: Anchor Bay Entertainment MPAA Rating: Not Rated Running Time: 578 minutes

 

Season two of The Walking Dead picks up minutes after the first season finale and with a few departures of the graphic novel series, follows our survivors through the Hershel Farm story-line and all of the actors get the chance to explore and define their characters. Past infidelities leads to a fateful collision between two lawmen who were once akin to brothers toward one another and literally become mortal enemies by the end. The horrors of the world encroach not only from the threat of the walking dead, but also from the inhumanity of the living as Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) struggles with the burdens of leadership in an uncertain word. In short, The Walking Dead is the best prime time soap opera on television and it neither exploits nor under uses it’s zombie apocalypse setting because it is that setting that makes the characters come to life in a way that they may never had known had the old world not ended. Does that mean they love their new world? Absolutely not, but it does mean they don’t take being alive for granted.

Shane became a walker without being bitten by a zombie which is the biggest revelation of the series!
Shane became a walker without being bitten by a zombie which is the biggest revelation of the series!

The Walking Dead is shot on super 16mm film to maintain a certain look that the high definition Blu-ray Discs capture spot on with an AVC encoded 1080p/24fps high definition resolution. (You must have an HDTV capable of playing back 1080p to get back the full resolution) The resolution of the (1.78:1) widescreen presentation looks better than the digital cable broadcasts and i’Tunes digital downloads and it also features a terrific English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Lossless Surround Soundtrack. A French Language Dolby Surround Soundtrack and English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired as well as Spanish Language Subtitles are encoded onto all four discs containing all thirteen episodes of the second season.

Audio commentaries for the episodes What Lies Ahead featuring Executive Producer/Showrunner Glen Mazzara, Executive Producer/Writer Robert Kirkman, Executive Producer Gale Anne Hurd, Executive Producer David Alpert, Pretty Much Dead Already featuring Executive Producer/Showrunner Glen Mazzara, Producer Scott M. Gimple, Director Michelle MacLaren, Editor Julius Ramsay, Nebraska featuring Executive Producer/Showrunner Glen Mazzara, Co-Executive Producer Evan Reilly, Actor Scott Wilson, Actor Stephen Yeun, Judge, Jury, Executioner featuring Executive Producer/Showrunner Glenn Mazzara, Co-Executive Producer, Makeup Effects Master Greg Nicotero, Writer Angela Kang, Actress Laurie Holden, and Beside The Dying Fire featuring Executive Producer/Showrunner Glen Mazzara, Director Ernest Dickerson, Co-Executive Producer and Makeup Effects Master Greg Nicotero, Executive Producer/Writer Robert Kirkman, and Actor Norman Reedus are included. These are great retrospective commentaries that are very informative. I really like Glen Mazzara’s style of explaining things and interacting with the other participants and the ease at which he engages the conversation with questions that are interesting and educational. Robert Kirkman is very open about answering questions related to the second season and Gale Anne Hurd is a consummate professional.

Mr. Mazzara also provides optional audio commentary for deleted scenes presented in full HD from eight of the thirteen episodes (29:18) while Greg Nicotero provides commentary for the six part webisode series Torn Apart (19:41). Both feature a “Play All” option for viewing too. Featurettes entitled All The Guts (5:33), Live Or Let Die (6:48), The Meat Of The Music (7:53), Fire On Set (6:09), The Ink Is Alive (9:05), The Sound Of The Effects (4:30), In The Dead Water (5:05), You Could Make A Killing (6:19), She Will Fight (5:39), The Cast On Season 2 (4:49) and

Extras Wardrobe (2:47) wrap up the bonus features included within this excellent Blu-ray Disc set.

The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season: 4-Disc Set is available on Blu-ray Disc now at retailers on and offline courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment.

Article: The Séance Experience

A séance generally requires sitters and a medium
Dr. John Dee, noted occultist
Dr. John Dee, noted occultist

A séance might be the perfect way to round out your Halloween party, but it’s no modern parlor game.

References to séance communications date back to the 3rd century Greeks. The earliest known recorded séance is attributed to England’s Dr. John Dee, in the 16th century. Three centuries later, séances had gained such popularity that in 1854, Illinois senator James Shields presented a petition signed by 15,000 people asking the U.S. Congress for a scientific commission to investigate the paranormal phenomena many of them had witnessed. Unsurprisingly, Congress declined, but that didn’t stop President Abraham Lincoln himself from hosting a séance in the Crimson Room of the White House in 1863!

The traditional séance is held in a darkened or candlelit room. Ideally, no more than eight participants, often called sitters, sit around a table or in a circle on the floor in a quiet room where they will not be disturbed.  They place their hands flat on the table, fingers touching, sometimes holding hands, and are encouraged to relax by closing their eyes and taking long, deep breaths.

A séance requires sitters and a medium
A séance requires sitters and a medium

The medium (the person who contacts the other side) may pray or ask spirit guides for protection before calling on any spirits present to make themselves known. The medium will direct the other sitters, and each should get a chance to speak to at least one spirit if they so desire.

The spirits may acknowledge their presence in any number of ways:

-Table rapping: sitters hear loud knocks; the medium may ask spirits to communicate by knocking once for “yes” and twice for “no” or something to that effect.

-Table tilting: the séance table moves of its own accord, despite being held by the sitters.

-Levitation: the table or other objects in the room levitate.

-Changes in temperature: sitters feel cold breezes or drops in temperature.

-Odors: sitters smell perfume, cigars or home cooking.

-Ghostly sounds: sitters hear disembodied voices or music.

-Luminous phenomena: stars, balls of fire, strange lights or other luminous objects appear in the room.

-Apports: small portable objects, sometimes coming from miles away, appear in the room.

-Ectoplasm: this grayish, viscous psychic substance emanates from the medium’s body, occasionally forming into the shape of human limbs or even complete spirit entities.

Not all spirits can or will come when called. On the other hand, some who do may not be a sitter’s dearly departed, but an animal (generally someone’s pet), a spirit guide or even a wandering spirit who speaks a foreign language!

Some spirits are funny, and some are sad. If, however, a negative, angry, or malevolent spirit manifests, it should be told to leave, and the séance should immediately be stopped. Otherwise, the séance can be closed by kindly bidding the spirits farewell, thanking them for coming, and asking them to return to the other side.

 

Movie Review: Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014)

A terrifying scene from The marked Ones
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones promo poster
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones promo poster

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Directed by: Christopher Landon

Written By: Christopher Landon and Oren Peli

Starring: Andrew Jacobs, Jorge Diaz, Gabrielle Walsh

Produced by: Paramount Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, Solan Films, and Room 101

 

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones follows a group of friends from the city of Oxnard, California.  The film follows the same found footage formula that was debuted to us by The Blair Witch Project, back in 1999, but brings it out of the woods and into the inner city.

Jesse (Andrew Jacobs), a teenager who has just graduated from high school, buys a camera from a local pawn shop, with money he received from his graduation.  He plans to use the camera to record his neighborhood form his point of view.  The housing complex that he lives in, along with his Father and Grandmother, is host to a variety of personalities that seem to mesh rather. Well, everyone, except his downstairs neighbor, Ana (Gloria Sandoval).

Ana is the outcast of the residents.  Her secretive demeanor and nasty attitude coerce whispers of rumor throughout the complex as children fear that her witching ways may bring them harm.  The older residents tend to leave her be and the adolescents and young adults tease her.  Jesse’s bedroom is right above Ana’s apartment and he can sometimes hear strange noises coming from below. Jesse and his friends, Marisol and Hector, connect his new video camera to a television and lower it down the heating vent to her apartment below.  The shocking video shows a naked Ana performing some sort of ritual on a pregnant woman.  The situation scares them enough to raise the camera back up and fear they may have been caught.

Nothing says scary quite like demonic-looking little girls!
Nothing says scary quite like demonic-looking little girls!

The next day, Ana’s corpse is taken from her apartment on a stretcher.  Her death conjures curiosity within the trio of friends and they opt to investigate the widowed apartment.  The rooms are rather plan and empty.  However, a back room reveals stacks of VHS tapes, ritualistic items, demonic icons, and various pictures of Jesse. The situation freaks the friends out and they retreat away from the feeling of evil.

Jesse soon notices a large bite mark on his arm and he begins to develop strange abilities, such as enhanced strength, and other strange and fun abilities.  However, his fun is short lived as an apparent evil entity moves in and begins to take over Jesse’s persona, leaving Marisol and Hector to bring him back to reality and save the day, or so they hope.

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones does follow the same found footage recording that the other titles in the franchise have based their concept on.  However, the setting and mood are different than the previous entriesin the series that we have seen.  This brings a new perspective to the film that was not quite there before.  Prior releases in the franchise began to feel stale and repetitive, relying on new gimmicks to hold the viewer’s attention.  The Marked Ones draws the viewer back in and allows us to see the franchise in a different light.

A terrifying scene from The Marked Ones
A terrifying scene from The Marked Ones

What sets this film apart from the others is that it provides a bit of an explanation as to what the demon wants and how it has been passed on from one victim to the next.  It fills some gaps in the lore that was hinted at in the previous films, and brings them all together in a creative way that opens the door for many more possibilities within the franchise.

I would rate Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones as a solid 4 out of 5 stars.  There are parts that seem too ridiculous or predictable, but overall the material is fairly well-written and the actors portrayed the characters quite well.  What really brought the film up from a potential three stars is the inter-connectivity with the other plots, while still maintaining the ability to be a standalone movie.   I definitely recommend watching Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones with your favorite scary movie buddy and prepare yourself for a terrific tale of terror.

 

Check out the Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones trailer:

Scaring Kiddies the Right Way this Halloween

Zombie leaping out of a casket toward kids.

Zombie leaping out of a casket toward kids.Planning to host a spooky trick-or-treat event? Who could blame you? Every year my husband and I haul out the coffin and lots of props, and gear up to scare the heck out of the neighborhood. I’m talking lots of fog, strobe lights, bloody bodies, and a “corpse” you have to grab the candy from, praying he doesn’t jump out at you (and he will!).

And, every year, people watch the video montage and I always get some “shame on you” comments. I’m reminded of wee ones who’ll certainly suffer from nightmares, and autistic children who have no idea what they’re walking into. Yet, we’ve never received a single complaint from a parent. Not one.

We are privy to all the different conditions and fears of children and adults alike. That’s why we always give a choice. You can follow the crowd “over here” and pee your pants, or you can walk instead to the very nice lady sans costume and ask for some yummy treats. Two lines. Your choice.

I’m happy to report that about 95% of the trick-or-treaters take the scary line. In fact, the bulk of their parents and grandparents coax them into doing it, then want to take their own turn at the coffin. Yep, we’ve sent plenty of grandmothers sprinting away after Joe lets out a shriek and beats his fist on the lid of the casket. But we haven’t lost anyone—okay, that’s a lie. We did lose a teenage boy who ran down the block, and his friends came back an hour later still looking for him.

All in good fun.

Here’s some raw video of a recent Halloween night, whereas you can see that parents love to coax the kids to walk up to the casket, while a few others guide them to a different line. Rarely does anyone outright avoid the house.

 

Two lines. That’s really all it takes. Believe me, parents of children who can’t handle it know exactly how to handle the situation. They will either veer totally away from your house, or they’ll stand between their child and the scary stuff and go to the welcoming guy or gal handing out sweets by the fistful.

The rest of them, though? They’re fair game.

 

AMERICA’S MOST HAUNTED To Haunt Book Shelves 9-30-14!

America's Most Haunted book cover
America’s Most Haunted book cover

My purpose with Halloween Forevermore was to create a watering hole for different horror animals. Whatever your dark passion, I want you to be able to find it here. One demographic I am definitely interested in appeasing: lovers of the paranormal. I am a fan and a student of documented hauntings (if you have seen my Whaley House Ghost photo video or read my tale, The Giving of Things Cold & Cursed, you can see my love for ghost stories).

So I was extremely excited to see that AMERICA’S MOST HAUNTED: The Secrets of Famous Paranormal Places by Theresa Argie & Eric Olsen will be hitting the shelves on 9-30! It is being published by Berkley and it will be available in Kindle and paperback versions!

And if you haven’t visited the America’s Most Haunted site, you are missing out on quite a paranormal feast!

Here is the info I was sent by this wonderful organization:

There are some places in America you simply shouldn’t visit alone. At Waverly Hills Sanatorium, thousands of patients died at the height of the tuberculosis epidemic in the early 1900’s and their spirits never left. In the halls of Mackey’s Music World, demonic possessions were more common than musical performances. Aboard the decks of the Queen Mary in California, echoes of the cries of hundreds of lost sailors ring clear night and day. These are places that no sane person would ever truly explore – until now.

 In AMERICA’S MOST HAUNTED: The Secrets of Famous Paranormal Places (Berkley Trade Paperback Original; September 30, 2014; $16.00), “Haunted Housewife” investigator Theresa Argie and journalist Eric Olsen combine spine-tingling stories, documented evidence and interviews with some of the top names in paranormal investigation, including the stars of television’s Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, and others to take readers on a terrifying tour of our nation’s most haunted houses, hospitals and historic places.

 Experience the crawl through the death tunnel, also known as the body chute, where visitors have reported sightings of an inhuman creature that creeps along the walls and ceilings. Get to know the spirits, ghosts and other demons that wait in jails, lounge in mansions, fester in lunatic asylums, and even stay in the stately old hotel that served as inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining.

 The evidence provided with these first-hand accounts, stories and personal testimonies will have readers sleeping with the lights on. Are you brave enough to take a look?

And here is some info about the authors:

Theresa Argie is an experienced paranormal investigator who has worked with some of the field’s most respected experts. Eric Olsen is a leading journalist in the field of paranormal investigation. Together, the two host the internet radio show, America’s Most Haunted. They both live in Ohio.

I am happy to announce that I will be receiving a copy of AMERICA’S MOST HAUNTED: The Secrets of Famous Paranormal Places for review! I can’t wait to get my hands on this one! You can pre-order AMERICA’S MOST HAUNTED: The Secrets of Famous Paranormal Places right here!

 

Expect my review before Halloween!

Movie Review: The Quiet Ones (2014)

The Quiet Ones
British art for THE QUIET ONES

The Quiet Ones

Directed by John Pogue

Written by Craig Rosenberg, Oren Moverman, John Pogue and Tom de Ville

Starring  Jared Harris, Sam Claflin, Erin Richards, Rory Fleck-Byrne, Olivia Cooke and Laurie Calvert.

Produced by Exclusive Media Group, Hammer Film Productions and Traveling Picture Show Company (TPSC)

Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez really started something in 1999. Before their genre-bending debut, The Blair Witch Project, separated horror fans left and right found footage films were unheard of. Horror was about third person scares, static cameras, the occasional dolly. The fourth wall was seldom if ever broken, unless a comical antihero gave a knowing wink to the camera. However, after Blair Witch, the imitations were inevitable. Many gritty, low-budget features followed and utilized the found footage effect. Some were excellent, some not so much. One thing was clear though: The camera was no longer restricted. It could be used to make horror fresh and new. The found footage sub-genre was born.

 

Fifteen years later; found footage is old news. The horror movie, for all the critics and doubters, likes to evolve. Despite this, people are still obsessed with the found footage gimmick. A glut of these movies now exist on various DVD shelves. Some use an A-B-C layout. And some break the boundaries. The Quiet Ones is one such film that takes this gimmick and utilizes it in a way rarely seen; it intersperses it between static camera shots to create a horrific film that builds the suspense and develops the characters before…well, falling a little flat. More on that later.

 

Professor Joseph Coupland (a grizzled Jared Harris) is a university professor with an interest in the abnormal. Determined to debunk supernatural phenomena, he decides to conduct experiments on a mysterious girl, Jane (Olivia Cooke in a creepy role). Joined by his students (solid efforts by Sam Clafin, Erin Richards and Rory Fleck-Byrne), he locks Jane in a room, plays loud rock music to deny her sleep and generally treats her like a human lab rat. Within weeks, funding is pulled, they’ve moved to an isolated house in the country and weird things begin to happen. Moral code and human feelings come into play and the motivations begin to blur…which is when Jane starts to become more aggressive. It seems the professor might be hiding something…and might not be as correct as first thought.

 

The Quiet Ones is a hybrid of standard filmmaking and found footage
The Quiet Ones is a hybrid of standard filmmaking and found footage

Now, so far, so possession movie 101. The possessed and hand held cameras seem to walk hand-in-hand through modern cinema. However, The Quiet Ones has one thing that shines from below its dark, morbid exterior: character. Yes, the characters in the film – even Jane – are developed, given a little back story and mingled together. Thankfully, the directors decide to keep the cast minimal, enabling them to build a chemistry that makes the tensions and interactions between them feel realistic. When they argue, you pay attention. They characters aren’t hollow and they don’t serve as mere cannon fodder. They are real people. Even the budding love story between Jane and suffering cameraman, Brian, doesn’t feel forced. Is it manipulation on Jane’s part; a suffering, lonely girl who hates her curse? Or is it real? You’ll stick around to find out. As Coupland begins to lose control of his project, things unravel and secrets are revealed. Once the demons start to rear their ugly head via skin brandings, burning hands and creepy dolls, you’ll feel invested. At first…

 

That’s the one problem with The Quiet Ones. We’ve seen it all before. Possession is overdone in cinema, to an extent where you really do feel you’re walking a worn path. A solid horror soon segues into by-the-numbers territory. Jump scares become predictable and exhausting, the CGI is surprisingly shoddy and the twists and turns a bit predictable. By the time the finale comes along, the film decides to throw in a couple of savage scenes and cereal box scares – in an attempt to save the movie. Depending on your attention span, it may keep you hooked, but the tension is all but gone by this point. And that’s a shame because, for the first hour, suspense is slowly but consistently boiling beneath the surface. Once the film loses its drive, it slows to a halt and you’ll be hard pressed to keep watching. In all honesty, the finale is different and original in places but it’s a bit too late by this point.

 

Things get messy inThe Quiet Ones
Things get messy inThe Quiet Ones

Verdict: A solid 3 out of 5. I’ve seen a few possession films in my time and I enjoy the originality (yes, it still exists) that the found footage view possesses. REC, Blair Witch and Chernobyl Diaries are three great examples of this. The Quiet Ones uses normal camera angles, flicking to first person when the cameraman picks up his tools. Another British horror, The Borderlands, did this extremely well, too. It’s about skill and the film makers have used their creative brain here. Yes, the film fades at the end but until that point, this is a solid, effective horror. Tension, frights, the occasional legitimate jump out of your seat moment and character driven plot propel you along to a familiar, overdone ending. However, if you’re a horror fan, this won’t irk you too much. The Quiet Ones is worth a rent…just don’t expect it to possess you too deeply.

 

Check out this trailer for THE QUIET ONES:

Haunted Attraction: Netherworld Haunted House

Netherworld Haunted House
Netherworld Haunted House
Netherworld Haunted House

Netherworld Haunted House

6624 Dawson Blvd, Norcross, Georgia 30093

Phone   (404) 608-2484

Website: http://www.fearworld.com

From their Facebook page:

Netherworld is a self-guided, dark attraction known for its over-the-top special effects, intense make-up, costuming and stunt actors as well as unique monsters, unusual themes and chilling detail. Every night the attraction is open, over 100 actors are transformed into monsters to scare and entertain the guests. Some perform stunts such as bungee jumps and sliding. Many visitors enjoy the actors disguised as nightmarish creatures that stalk the parking lot before the haunted house actually begins, starting the experience the moment guests get out of their cars.

Since it began 17 years ago, Netherworld has been voted by industry peers such as USA Today, Hauntworld Magazine, Fangoria and AOL as one of the top haunts in the nation.

NETHERWORLD Haunted House 2014 Dragoncon Parade!

Halloween Article & Recipe: Candy Corn Harvest

Nothing says Halloween quite like Candy Corn
Nothing says Halloween quite like Candy Corn
Nothing says Halloween quite like Candy Corn

Halloween Season is the time of year to harvest candy corn. In fact, October 30th is National Candy Corn Day. Trick-or-Treaters and party-goers the United States over enjoy a nice handful of an iconic sweet.

In the 1880’s, George Renninger developed the confection while working for the Philadelphia, PA-based Wunderle Candy Company. It imitated dried kernels of corn, featuring a wide band of yellow at the bottom, orange center, and white tips of the slightly triangular candies. Sugar, corn syrup, carnauba wax, and water are cooked to form a slurry, then fondant, marshmallows, and coloring are added.

Before mechanization, the candy was crafted by hand, but most is now made by machines.With its iconic coloring, candy corn is used as garnish and in Halloween displays. It has become such an intrinsic part of the holiday that it features in costumes, including sweet candy corn witches. Manicures and Pedicures for fashionable hands and feet sometimes feature the candy corn color combos.

Oreo Cookies now offers a seasonal Candy Corn flavor
Oreo Cookies now offers a seasonal Candy Corn flavor

Because of the popularity of the candy, special variations of candy corn are manufactured for the celebration of  holidays other than Halloween. Brown-bottomed harvest corn and plump marshmallow pumpkins lend variety to the autumn offerings. Also advertised are “Reindeer corn” featuring Christmas colors, pastel “bunny corn” for Easter, and “Cupid Corn” for Valentine’s in pink, white, and red. The National Confectioner’s Association estimates over 25 million pounds of the candy is sold annually, though traditional candy corn remains the most popular.

Recipes featuring the flavors of candy corn abound. Fudges and mousse are layered to imitate the bountiful harvest, drinks featuring the marshmallow-like flavors, and cakes come to mind. One party favorite is the Candy Corn Jello Shot, which can be made in kid-friendly or adults-only form:

 

Family friendly version of the Candy Corn Jello Shot:

Ingredients:

Box lemon Jello

Box orange Jello

2 packets unflavored gelatin

2 Cups boiling water

Whipped topping

Clear shot glasses

Preparation:

In a small bowl, combine packet of unflavored gelatin, box of lemon Jello, and 1 Cup of boiling water. Stir until dissolved. Add to clear shot glass until 1/3 full. Chill in refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Then, in a small bowl, combine packet of unflavored gelatin, box of orange Jello, and 1 Cup of boiling water. Stir until dissolved. Spoon orange mixture into shot glasses over set, yellow gelatin. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Top with whipped topping for serving.

For the ADULTS ONLY version:

Add 1 Cup boiling water to 1 box of lemon Jello. Stir to dissolve. Add 3⁄4 Cup vodka and 1⁄4 Cup cold water, stir to combine.

Fill shot glass 1/3 of the way. Chill for 20 – 45 minutes. Repeat with orange Jello, spooning orange atop yellow to another 1/3. Refrigerate for an hour. To make cream, combine 1⁄2 cup water and 1⁄2 coconut cream in a sauce pan. Sprinkle with package of unflavored gelatin. Allow to rest for 2 minutes. Stir over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from flame. Stir in 1⁄2 cup whipped cream vodka until combined. Spoon atop the shot glasses. Chill for 3 hours or over night. Serve.

Book Review: Plebs by Jim Goforth

Plebs by Jim Goforth

 

Plebs by Jim Goforth
Plebs by Jim Goforth

Plebs by Jim Goforth

Publisher: J. Ellington Ashton Press (January 17, 2014)

Synopsis: Corey Somerset, Tim Hayworth and Lee Hunter have had one hell of a good night. And it isn’t over yet. Celebrating their friend’s birthday with drunken debauchery and intoxicated antics they’ve just stumbled through a mini-wave of mindless vandalism and though they’ve wandered far out of the realms of civilization they are keen to keep the party vibe going. When they encounter a band of mysterious fugitive women who call a bizarre encampment deep in the woods their residence it appears a strong likelihood that continuing the party is on the cards. But it won’t come without a price. The collective of unnerving lawless women are open to the suggestion but not without the threesome completing a request first, a seemingly straight forward barter proposition that will bring the boys face to face with something else that dwells in an unorthodox co-existence with the girls in the wilderness. These are the Plebs and the shocking violent encounter the trio are unwittingly pitched into with these freakish feral fiends may be their first but it won’t be the last. As the shiftless young men become inextricably entwined and involved with the agenda driven dangerous women so too do their fates, with them unravelling killer secrets, duplicity, bloodshed and brutality along the way that encompasses not just them but more of their friends, new enemies and old enemies. A simple night of bad decisions escalates and snowballs into an expedition of terror spanning all the way home and beyond with Corey and his friends engulfed in a nightmare where the lines between man and monster blur. Depravity, death and destruction reign supreme and it isn’t just the Plebs that want them all torn limb from limb.

Night of the Living Dead (1968). The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). The Hills Have Eyes (1977). Dawn of the Dead (1978). The Evil Dead (1981). All iconic horror films and inspiration for any die-hard horror fan. I was visualizing these movies while I read Plebs by Jim Goforth. This  is a strong testament to the author’s work. The whole book had that horror cult/blockbuster feel.

If the above doesn’t clue you in, I’m a massive horror fanatic, in both books and films. It’s always a welcome and refreshing experience to find a book that pays homage to the movies but stands alone as a solid, effective, gut-wrenching, bloody horror tale. There’s a very thin line between homage and rip-off and a lot of books in the past have wobbled severely whilst walking it.

Plebs is the exception to this rule.

This book is drenched in original, inspiring horror folklore and (lovingly) contains several winks to many 70’s/80’s horror movies. The author creates a palpable, visual, visceral world born out of a love for the genre itself.  Goforth’s rich descriptions, vivid detail and enjoyable (evil, sexy, mysterious, psychotic, realistic) characters make for a great horror story. This book is no rip-off but an instantly quotable and memorable title due to many horror tropes that some writers find difficult to construct; Jim Goforth manages to pull these things off perfectly.

I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to the author and I know he is a dedicated Richard Laymon fan. The late, great legend of horror carved a niche for himself with his combination of sexual violence and extreme gore. Jim Goforth pays homage to Laymon in many different ways. On every page, there is something that will delight any Laymon fan; be it gore, sex, gorgeous women, cannibalism, monsters, psychological terror and nastier things.

After all, this is horror at its boldest so why leave anything out? Laymon wouldn’t have stood for this; writing for the true fans is what he lived for and I believe Jim Goforth had this mentality when writing Plebs. Writing true horror takes balls and finesse and Plebs was constructed with plenty of both.

So five stars? Oh yes. I doubt I’ll read a more original and chaotic horror  book this year. Plebs is a massive achievement. Well done, Jim Goforth!

Movie Review: Dead Alive (aka Braindead) (1992)

Dead Alive aka BRAINDEAD movie poster
Dead Alive aka BRAINDEAD movie poster

DEAD ALIVE review

Dead Alive has to be one of the best comedy horror flicks of all time. It was directed by Peter Jackson (yes, this gory little zombie flick was filmed many moons before the Lord of the Rings film series).  This is a film you can watch more than once for its sick humor. You will find that there is something new to appreciate during each viewing.

Our hero is Lionel Cosgrove (played brilliantly by Timothy Balme). Lionel is somewhat of a village idiot and a stay at home adult mama’s boy. Elizabeth Moody plays Lionel’s mum, an over-bearing and controlling widow who refuses to let her son live his own life. But things brighten for Lionel  when he gets a date with the local gypsy beauty and exotic girl next door, Paquita Maria Sanchez (Diana Peñalver).

On Lionel and Paquita’s first and only date, Lionel’s mother follows her son to the zoo.  There the mother is bitten by a rat monkey. The bite slowly turns the elderly woman into flesh-eating zombie.

What follows after the opening is a non-stop gore ride of hellacious hilarity.   The mother’s slow rotting transformation into a zombie is nothing short of comical genius. The mother squirts puss from a festering wound into the pudding of a house guest, who exclaims, “Good pudding!”

The jokes and scares only continues from there, with Stuart Devenie as the unforgettable Father McGruder that “Kicks ass in the name of the Lord” falling victim to the rising zombie horde.

It does not take long before the whole village is transformed into zombies.  There is gore galore, but the zombie baby in the blender scene is the most unforgettable gruesome display.

The zombie baby on a rampage in Dead Alive
The zombie baby on a rampage in Dead Alive

This is a movie that will have you drawing a comparison to Evil Dead; Lionel is no Ash, but he does find the will to save the day with the lawn mower.  It’s blood and gore splattered everywhere as our hero eliminates the undead to save his sweetheart and the village.

Dead Alive is an unforgettable zombie movie which will have you gagging and grinning at the same time.

Check out the DEAD ALIVE trailer: