Showing posts from July, 2009

Hostel 2 - at last - and The Ruins

I know, I know. This film has been out for a while and I've only just got around to watching it. What can I say, I've been busy.

That and I have to admit to not being the biggest fan of the first film. Nice idea, but for me the problem was that by the time the guys started to be tortured I disliked them so much I was almost rooting for the bad guys.

The second film at least redresses this a little. The young American aren't quite as annoying, reasonably so - but not quite as bad. Problem for this as a second film is that the idea's not new. Normally in a horror sequel they address this by making it just a little gorier. Well that's not the case here. It feels a little lighter. Okay there are one or two moments of gore but not as many as I would have expected.

Tonight's selection is The Ruins. Well it's a bit different. A group of Americans holidaying in Mexico, together with a German guy they meet in the hotel, decide to go visit a nearby Mayan ruin. And yes, …

Reading Catch-Up

I haven't been neglecting my reading. I've worked my way through a few novels of late - as well as journals and various non-fiction tomes, sites etc.

I'd thought it about time I posted something about the fiction - let you know about some good reads out there - and maybe one or two not so good.

First off the pile is Jeff Strand's Pressure - a non-supernatural horror. Now this is a book I enjoyed immensely. Strand's protagonist starts as a young man in trouble, sent to a boarding school to sort him out. In one way it works, he ends up at University, but it also instroduces him to our friendly neighbourhood psychopath Darren Rust.

The book is told in segments, each some years apart from the next about times when our lead encounters Rust. This results in a series of climaxes growing in intensity as the book reaches its end. Great stuff.

Can't really say the same about Richard Satterlie's Imola. It's another non-supernatural horror - telling the tale of a menta…

Book of the Week 11 and 12 (probably very erroneous titled given my sluggishness at posting)

I visited Melton Mowbray yesterday, a pleasant market town in the East Midlands famous for pork pies and stilton cheese. Being a vegetarian I didn't try any of the former, but I have to admit to a liking for the cheese.

Whilst there I wandered into a book shop or two - as well as some of the charity shops. Book collectors should never be embarassed about going into charity shops - some of the best out-of-print books can be found in them.

In one of them yesterday I came across a copy of the fifth Far Side Gallery. Now I've been a fan of Gary Larson since the 80s and was only to happy to pick this up.

Book 12 is going to be the latest of my car books. I keep books in my car, so I can dip in and read a few pages whenever I am waiting. On Friday I finished Tony Hawks' wonderful travelog "Roudn Ireland with a Fridge", the story of him hitchhiking around the coast of Ireland towing a small refrigerator. Totally insane and wonderful. An absolute delight to read

Two new sales

OK - another couple of reviews have been sold to nossa morte. The first of these, for Jeff Strand's novel Pressure, will appear in the August issue in a week's time. The second, a film review of Dead Girls is lined up for their November issue.

Always good to get some sales. Better get back writing. I've just finished Brian Keene's Urban Gothic so I'll be sending a review out for that soon.

I'm hoping to have a reply from Gorezone at some point. I like the magazine and would like to submit some reviews to it. Fingers crossed

EU Myths

I'm fed up of hearing horror stories about the EU - tales of how the EU is ruining our lives here in the UK.

Take migration, I've heard numerous people protesting against the free movement of people across EU member states, bemoaning the fact that thousands have come from the poorer, Eastern states to sponge of the British benefits system. Well from everything I have read on this, once I've got passed the spin and to the actual facts, I can say that it is simply not true. Okay, it is true that many thousands came here - I'm not denying that. My issue is merely with the claim of freeloading.

Academics at University College London have released a report detailing this. They have analysed the impact to the British economy from the arrivals of many Eastern Europeans and found that it has been beneficial. The people who came here from the "A8 countries" (the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Hungary) are, in fact, less likely…

Polu Texni reviews article now live

In case anyone is interested my 12-book review piece, "Evil by the Dozen", is now live at Polu Texni

Book of the week 10 - an attempt at a little catching up

Book ten is a book of photographs of the most beautiful place on Earth - Venice.

Three years ago - back in the days of money being easier to get - I treated my wife (and me but extension) to a long weekend in Venice coming back three days before Christmas. Well I'd been paid for some overtime at work and couldn't think of a better way spending the money - we'd not counted on it so why not?

It was cold, it snowed and was very windy. Even flooded a couple of times whilst we were there, but it was magnificent. Walking through the city's streets when they are deserted is incredible. Standing on Rialto Bridge looking down upon a canal which had no boats on it at all. Standing at the far end of Piazza San Marco looking at the Basilica with no one else in the square at all (okay it was past midnight but it was still a first). A wonderful way of ending the year.

So when a book came out last year containing many photographs of Venice in the winter I simply had to buy it. The book …

This is going to lose me friends - my thoughts on the European Union

I've finally decided to write something here about one of my biggest passions - the European Union.

I'm English. I live in a country which has a reputation for being a little xenophobic.

I'm not though. Quite the opposite. I love different cultures, different peoples, different ideas.

I look at this continent wide institution with a mixture of passionate pride and despair. I think the EU is possible the single greatest thing mankind has done. I know that might sound a little overblown but it's true.

I've read extensively on history - or on warfare you could say, the two are pretty much synonymous. Mankind has, throughout its entire existence, dedicated a sizeable proportion of its time, energy and population to attempting to kill each other. And it's crazy.

Now I'm not going to claim that the EU is a great hope in this sense - a way of preventing war. I don't think it is. But I think it is a glowing example of nations attempting not to just fight each other.…