Review of the Year… Part 1 Books

 

Hi all. I’m not one of these people who likes to rate things based on a single year. The task is impossible and there are many diamonds out there hidden in the coal that will take years to resurface. But for those of you who are looking for a good book recommendation, or just an honest review of an old classic, here is my list of books I have read this year along with a simple summary. Enjoy!

“Live Long And…” by William Shatner.

Frankness is never something Bill Shatner has had trouble with. But I guess with age comes… experience? This biographical book is Bill’s musings on his long life and what he has learned… or not, as the case may be. With chapters as diverse as Health, Money, Death and more, Bill says it the way it is. Or has been for him. A superb storyteller, he kept me enraptured with his voice as he recounted hilarious and sad exploits and encounters that have shaped his life. I felt like I got a rare insight into what makes the man tick. Some of it was surprising, as when he reveals he has been very lonely all his life, some of it sad as he recounts the deaths of loved ones, and some of it bizarre, such as his brief flirtation with magic mushrooms. In all, a highly entertaining account from someone who has tons of life experience.

“Bulldog Drummond” by Sapper

Before James Bond there was Bulldog Drummond. Recently demobbed from the army after WWI and bored with civilian life, Bulldog (called due to his less than handsome looks) advertises his services as troubleshooter. He soon gets embroiled in a scheme to conquer Britain. I enjoyed this ripping yarn despite a surprisingly gory ending.

“Night Ride” by Charles Beaumont

A selection of stories by the man who wrote many Twilight Zone classics before his untimely death. These tales of (mainly) horror were superbly atmospheric and all contained a twist in the tale.

“Ivanhoe” by Walter Scott

I wanted to enjoy this book. I really did. But it was very, very long, and a bit melodramatic for my taste. The eponymous hero is onscreen for about 5 minutes. Most of the book is taken up with secondary characters. The bad guys were not really bad enough. I did like the Jewish characters, but everyone else, even Robin Hood and his Merry Men, felt flat and lifeless. Interesting though.

“The Unsettled Dust” by Robert Aickman

A superb collection of weird, surreal short stories by British horror writer Robert Aickman. These stories feel both very modern and timeless. Recommended.

“Summer Morning, Summer Night” by Ray Bradbury 

This collection of legendary scifi and fantasy writer Ray Bradbury’s Green Town stories has no magic in it. And yet it is full of magic. There is beautiful prose, incredible descriptions of everyday things, and very moving and poignant snapshots of small town life. I loved it. 

“The Black Dahlia” by James Ellroy

This book was looooog. But I kind of enjoyed it, even though there wasn’t much to really enjoy. A noir tale based on the notorious Los Angeles murder of a prostitute in the 1940s. Ellroy invents his own milieu and “solves” the case as we see two mismatched cops involved in a (kind of) love triangle with a damaged woman.  Ellroy tries much too hard to make this a “dark” tale. Every person has a dirty secret, a selfish motive, a dark turn. Did I mention it was dark? Thankfully real life is not like this or the human race would have annihilated itself by now. I never really cared about the characters, mostly because they were all such horrible people. The hero is himself simply unaware of what is going on most of the time. If this is what life in L.A. is like, you can keep it.

“The Name Of The Rose” by Umbeto Eco

It was only after starting this book that I saw they had made a TV show out of it. After reading it, I tried the show and found it nowhere near as good. Why an Italian American was cast as an English Benedictine monk is beyond me. The Sean Connery version was much better. This whodunnit in a Medieval monastery is astonishingly detailed, although I soon forget most of what I had learned. It was very believable and convincing. I enjoyed it. Not a life changer, but a good read.

“Nancy Wake” by Peter Fitzsimons

Somebody recommend I read this book about true life French Resistance fighter Nancy Wake. And boy what a great read. Nancy is a nobody from New Zealand who relocates to Europe, uses her amazing good looks to land a rich French husband… then the Nazis invade. After witnessing their brutal atrocities she becomes an agent for Britain and takes part in incredible and daring escapades in occupied France. Moving, entertaining and astonishing, it’s a brilliant account of “The White Mouse” as she was nicknamed by Berlin for her ability to escape traps!

“The Cricket on the Hearth” by Charles Dickens

Every Christmastime I read some Dickens. It’s good for the soul. And for the writer. This rather melodramatic Victorian tale has surprisingly little Christmas magic in it except for a cricket, which doesn’t really do anything. Still, it was enjoyable enough and written by the master of English prose, so what more could you want?

So there you have it. A short list this year because I am in the middle of three books I have started at the same time, and because one book (not listed here) I ended up adapting for a prize-winning screenplay. Since then I’ve been working almost constantly, writing a new film that I have been directing. More of that soon!

So until next year….have a great New Year’s Eve. See you in 2021!

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A spooky tale free for Halloween 2020!

 

It’s my favourite time of the year! The time when spooks and witches run wild. Also the time when horror writers love to tell ghost stories. So here for you is a free story – a macabre tale of a haunted truck that causes havoc for a married couple. Note: This story would probably have a PG-13 rating.

I call this sixteen-wheel terror, “The Minotaur!”

Enjoy!

The Minotaur by Eric Ian Steele

Best Public Domain Horror Movies for Halloween

This Halloween why not treat yourself to one of the many public domain horror movies out there? While I cannot check each and every one of these, they are all listed by the Internet Archive as being public domain, which means nobody owns the anymore and they are free to watch! Mostly this is because are simply so old the copyright has expired. But sometimes, as with Gorge A Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead, there was an error in the copyright registration which means they were never in copyright in the first place!

So if you want a classic horror movie to add a little old school charm and terror to your Halloween, check out this list of awesome movies below!

Nosferatu (1922)

The most famous silent movie ever breached copyright when it was made. Bram Stoker’s widow sued the filmmakers over this one. Instead of Count Dracula we have Graf Orlock played by the hideously made up Max Schrek (whose name means “fear” in German). Still has the power to unnerve!

The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920)

A hypnotist uses a sleepwalking zombie to commit murders. This film is noteworthy for its incredible set design, which looks like an Expressionistic nightmare. One of the most influential horror movies ever!

Haxan (1922)

This dreamlike masterpiece is a “documentary” about witchcraft but also features some amazing creature designs for the devils the witches summon.  A favourite at many midnight movie screenings.

Vampyr (1932)

Carl Theodore Dreyer’s surreal masterpiece tells the story of a young woman who is slowly becoming a vampire, while a young man imagines himself returning from death. Incredible cinematography and some astonishing imagery makes this an eerie classic. 

The Devil Bat (1940)

Bela Lugosi (Dracula) plays a scientist who sends a gigantic bat to kill his enemies. Accomplished B-movie fare that is a bit creaky but still a lot of fun.

I Bury The Living (1958)

A major influence on Stephen King, this shocker sees Richard Booone take over a cemetery only to discover that he can cause people’s deaths by switching the status of the graves from empty to occupied.

House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Vincent Price is terrific in this accomplished B-movie shocker from legendary director William Castle. A millionaire offers his guests $10,000 to stay overnight in his haunted mansion. But things are rarely what they seem!

A Bucket of Blood (1959)

A man is hailed as an artist when he covers up killing a cat by covering it with plaster. But his fame means he must go on creating ever more lifelike works… great film with Dick Miller of Gremlins fame!

The Killer Shrews (1959)

Yes, they are only dogs with fur coats on, but don’t let that put you off this nifty, atmospheric little B-movie. Proof that science, remote islands and hurricanes don’t mix!

The Bat (1959)

No actual bats this time but Vincent Price (again) who stars in this murder mystery about a psychopath called “The Bat”. Who knows when he will strike? Enjoyable hokum.

13 Ghosts (1960)

Another William Castle chiller yet again remade by Hollywood not so long ago. A family inhertis a haunted house, but gets to see the ghosts thanks to special spectacles. One of the first 3D movie sensations!

Carnival of Souls (1962)

Terrific and atmospheric supernatural thriller from Herk Harvey, a banker who decided to make films using his friends and family. This eerie masterpiece has some excellent set pieces and a famously spooky ending!

Dementia-13 (1963)

Francis Ford Coppola’s first movie is a twisty mystery that prefigures the slasher craze. A scheming widow plans to claim her husband’s inheritance, but an axe-wielding killer is on the loose!

The Last Man On Earth (1964)

Vincent Price (him again) stars in the first adaptation of Richard Matheson’s apocalyptic vampire story “I Am Legend”. Atmospheric zombie/vampire film that cannot make up its mind but is  a lot of fun to watch.

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

George A Romero’s most famous film sees the walking dead take over the Earth in this unsettling apocalyptic horror movie that spawned a million look-a-like zombie movies!

Horror Express (1972)

Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Telly Savalas star in this terrific tale of a prehistoric ape man fossil that suddenly starts to come alive while being transported on a train through Siberia. As a result of an error in copyright registration it became public domain in the USA.

The Werewolf of Washington (1973)

A DC reporter is bitten by a werewolf… the inevitable happens. Enjoyable B-movie that has a darkly satirical bite. Stars Quantum Leap’s Dean Stockwell.

Snowbeast (1977)

Legendary made for TV movie about an angry yeti attacking a Colorado skiing resort. This is pretty typical 19700s television fare, and has more than a few similarities to Jaws. But it remains cracking good fun!

So there you have it! Enough horror treats to fill anyone’s Halloween. Happy viewing, and remember, don’t have nightmares!

More good news for our horror feature film “Boy #5!

 
We’re getting the first industry responses to the film… and so far it’s good news!
 
“A great film! Good acting, realistic script, great sound and music….just everything worked out very well indeed!”
 
We’re looking forward to having our cast and crew private screening soon and will be sharing some of the pictures of that.
 
For me personally this has been a year-long journey. We’ve had to cope with some bumps and events that nobody could have foreseen, but we’re finally getting there!
 
Next up is our search for distribution. Meanwhile, we’re keeping on making films. In fact, we have another short film in the works that I’m itching to show you.
 
Here are a few more stills from our production for “Boy #5”. Hope you enjoy them!
 

Horror News – Our independent horror feature film is finished!

Yes, we made a movie! This very overdue post is to tell everyone that our new British vampire feature film, “Boy #5” has been completed and edited. We are now ready to unleash it upon the world! But what is it about, I hear you cry?

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Our first film poster!

“Boy #5” tells the story of a burned-out social worker who tries to help a boy who has been found on the streets – shy, withdrawn Nathan. But as she gets closer to him, she learns that Nathan has a very peculiar type of mutation, with a thirst for human blood!

The film features special effects and some gruesome make-up that was so believable we even fooled some of the locals! The entire movie was self-funded by ourselves. All the special effects are practical, not CGI, and the actors are all from the Manchester area. We also had some stellar crew who kept on working long after dusk. Just as well, really.

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The “Doctor’s office” scene, where things don’t go too well for our main character.

Yes, we hit a few bumps along the road what with a worldwide pandemic and all, but we’ve finally finished editing and all that jazz. Now we’re going to be moving forward and trying to get it out there so you can all see it!

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Filming the “vampire night club scene”, involving a cast of thousands (not literally).

If you like indie horror, low budget cinema, and original storytelling in horror, you’re going to like this. It’s been a long, arduous road, but we think it was worth it. And we have a brand new production company, Vamoose Productions Ltd. Remind me to tell you the story behind that name some time. 

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Our first-time screen actor Lennon plays a rather unusual boy named Nathan.

 

We shot the film entirely on location in Manchester, England. Making it was a story in itself, and you can read all about it over at the Stage32.com blog here.

And don’t forget to take a look at our Facebook page.

We are now going to be searching for distributors and entering festivals. More pictures and details will be coming very soon. So stay tuned!

A Poem for Lockdown

 

Well, it’s been quite a month, hasn’t it? But while most of us are stuck at home, this has not stopped postproduction on our British horror movie. We have lots to share with you. But first, I thought you might like this, a little poem that I have often found very comforting to get you through lockdown. The original is in Scots, so I have taken the liberty of translating it into modern English. Enjoy!

 

Making the horror movie

Sorry if my posts have been a little scarce recently. The reason, however, can now be revealed…

We’re making a horror movie!

Yes, that’s right. I’ve gone from the ceaseless self-torture of writing movies to the even worse self-torture of writing and directing movies!

The film will be the first made by our brand new production company, Vamoose Film Productions Ltd. This is a UK-based production company, making films in Britain!

Our first film started out as a “small” project and quickly exploded into a full-on feature film as everyone I told the story to wanted to hear more. “But there is no more” I would say. “Well, then go and write some more!” they said. So I did. The result is… well, I’ll save the exact title for later for now. 😉

Best of all, this will be a new British horror film. And it’s on a subject very close to my heart. To say any more would be telling, but those who know me well should be able to guess by now!

We have all been working like demons to get the shots done on time, and it’s not been without its trials and tribulations. But we’re about 85% of the film done now. It’s involved special effects makeup and even wild  animals. But we’ve saved some of the most ambitious elements for last.

Meanwhile here’s a behind-the-scenes shot from the set to whet your appetite! But who is that handsome guy in the glasses?

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Rave reviews for Nightscape!

Today I wanted to share with you some of the reviews coming in for my short story anthology, “Nightscape”, published by Parallel Universe Publications. It’s been a long haul, but people are saying how much they enjoy this book.

Here is the most recent review:

“A great collection of short stories ranging from horror to science fiction, surely not to disappoint fans of any genre. Psychotic animals, mystic horrors and Hollywood vampires are just some of the creatures to stalk its pages, I highly recommend it.”

Other readers have compared it to “The Twilight Zone”, with its blend of sci-fi and horror stories.

“Sure to be one of the greats some day!”

“A horror anthology well worth your attention.”

“Mr. Steele will not fail to delight.”

Here is a sample of the stories to be found within:

“Black Annis” – a troubled married couple inherits a cottage once owned by a legendary witch.

“The Groaner in the Glen” – a Roman legion encounters a supernatural menace deep in ancient Scotland. 

“Indian Summer” – a young woman paralyzed in a car accident hires a gardener with magical “green” fingers. But is he all he appears?

“Charlie” – a beloved pet develops disturbing new appetites when the family’s controlling patriarch dies.

And more!

You can read a FREE sample of “Nightscape” here: http://a-fwd.com/asin-uk=0957453523

Thanks for looking!

TOP 9 FILMS THAT DESERVED A SEQUEL

There are many film franchises that seem to go on forever. Many of which we could well do without.  However, once in a while a movie comes along that deserves  a sequel but for one reason or other never had another instalment made. So without further ado, here is my top pick of the best movies that deserved a sequel but never got one…

 

Magnificent poster… sort of pretty good film.

DOC SAVAGE (1975)

Old was new again in the 1970s. If Star Wars channelled the Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon serials of the 1930s, then Doc Savage channelled, well, Doc Savage! The mightiest of pulp heroes was reborn with former TV Tarzan Ron Ely stepping into the jodphurs. Also known as The Man of Bronze (he likes bronze things) we catch up with Doc meditating in the Arctic beside his own private igloo-come-secret-headquarters before he gets a message that the world is in peril. Doc assembles his team of – ahem – experts, including national stereotypes from around the world (the Brit carries an umbrella, the Irishman has red hair and carries a pig etc etc) to stop an evil cult unleashing animated green snakes on the population while they search for El Dorado. Yes, it’s that kind of a plot.

What makes Doc Savage so good, however, is the hokey sense of humour. We see Doc pull a bullet out of a wall with such force that his bulging bicep tears his own shirt apart. And the finale which features Doc employing dozens of different kinds of martial art, each with its own subtitle, will make the kid in you chortle for more.

At the end of this rip-roaring adventure, we are told Doc Savage will return in Doc Savage and The Arch Enemy of the World. Unfortunately, the producers lied. There were indeed plans for a sequel, but despite being directed by the great George Pal (War of the Worlds) the film suffered from negative reviews and a sequel was abandoned.

Will it ever be made?

Probably not. Since 1975, several attempts to make a new Doc Savage film have failed. Notably, Frank Darabont and Sam Raimi have all tried to resurrect the project, but so far none have succeeded. At the age of 80, Ron Ely is probably not a contender to reprise his earlier role. However, we do already have a “Doc Savage remake” in the form of none other than Indiana Jones. The titular hero of several films is undoubtedly closely based on Doc Savage and other pulp heroes of the time!

 

FLASH GORDON (1980)

“Flash! Flash, I Love you, but we only have 14 hours to save the Earth!”

So says Dale Arden (Melody Anderson) in what is to date the best live action version of the iconic pulp fiction character Flash Gordon. The movie sees Flash (Sam J Jones) and his compatriots Dale and Zarkov (Topol) land on the Planet Mongo to try and stop the evil alien dictator Ming the Merciless (Max von Sydow). The film sees Flash go from hero to zero to hero as he is killed (!) then resurrected, only to unite the tribes of Mongo and overthrow Ming’s rule. But Ming is not quite dead. As the closing credits roll, we see Ming re-emerge offscreen from his “magic” ring and start to cackle with evil laughter. “The End?” asks the title card.

Sadly, yes it was. Although a terrific, fun movie with a legendary Queen soundtrack, Flash Gordon was not a huge success compared to its large budget. Added to this was a reported falling out between star Jones and the producers. Hence a sequel was never made. Since then we’ve had a lacklustre TV series and a superb animated version. But so far we have yet to learn what happened when Ming returned.

Will it ever be made?

Well, the hugely successful gross-out comedy Ted (2012) saw Jones once again donning the lightning-bolt in a dream sequence where he rides his skycycle with Mark Wahlberg on the back. Jones retuned again as himself in Ted 2 (2015). But with an ageing cast who have since become successful in their own right, it seems unlikely that we’ll ever get to hear Prince Vultan’s imperious voice belting out “Gordon’s alive?” again any time soon. We’re more likely to settle for a CGI-heavy reboot.

 

I literally cannot believe that I never mentioned Hawk the Slayer before.

HAWK THE SLAYER (1980)

The early 1980s were a strange time. Take this British fantasy film starring the mighty Jack Palance as the evil Zoltan (Hmm, that name seems familiar) who murders the beloved of straight-laced Hawk, who promptly puts his eye out with a torch. Zoltan, quite understandably peeved at this, raises an army to go around and pillage stuff in the service of an evil sorcerer/demon/ the Devil (?). Our hero Hawk responds by raising a rag-tag band of mercenaries (was there ever any other kind?) including the last elf, a giant (well, a very big man anyway), a dwarf, a one-armed bloke with some kind of wicked semi-automatic crossbow-thingy, and a witch who likes letting off party streamers. Cue Armageddon.

It sounds like I’m poking fun at this film, and I am. But I still love it dearly. The score is a fantastic mixture of electronic synth-pop craziness that is more than a little like Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds, and the last elf in the world is a great character. There are also some terrific British character actors such as Patrick Magee and Roy Kinnear who ham it up to the max. And we get to see Palance at his scenery-chewing finest.

We end with Zoltan’s mentor/demon/whatever recovering his body and promising he will live again. But will he?

Will it ever happen?

Believe it or not, it almost has. As late as 2015 a sequel called Hawk the Hunter was rumoured to be in development with a budget of $5 million. However the Kickstarter campaign failed and so far attempts to make the sequel have gone quiet. But with Rebellion, the game company that owns British comic 200AD planning to release a game based on the property and a potential TV series in the works, anything is possible!

 

You may be cool, but you’ll never be Peter Strauss and Molly Ringwald on an alien desert planet cool.

SPACEHUNTER: ADVENTURES IN THE FORBIDDEN ZONE! (1983)

Ah, the Eighties. Among other things, it gave us two Hollywood icons: king of the TV movie Peter Strauss and princess of coming-of-age movies Molly Ringwald. So it was inevitable that at some point they would appear in the same sci-fi movie together!

The movie is an enjoyable-as-hell Mad Max clone set in outer space. Strauss plays an interstellar bounty-hunter (Wolff, with two “f”s ) who lands on an irradiated planet full of mutants and Road Warrior leftovers looking for three shipwrecked (or is that space-wrecked?) rich girls. Along the way he picks up Ringwald, who does her typical dishevelled-waif-who-later-turns-into-fanciable-princess thing. Add a rabid Michael Ironside into the mix as warlord Overdog (was there ever a better bad guy name?) and you have the awesomeness that is Spacehunter! Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, it was filmed in 3D!!

Will it ever be made?

No.

I love this movie. It is cheesy, but the practical effects mean that it has dated pretty well. There are a lot of very derivative ideas, but so what? It’s a hugely entertaining movie that is basically wish fulfilment. It’s also the kind of film I wish they made more of nowadays. An adventure yarn and nothing more with no pretensions of grandeur. I would love the hell out of a sequel starring Mr. Strauss, but I doubt very much whether he would pick up that mantle again, especially as he is now a successful citrus-farmer and former horse ranch owner. Animated series, anybody?

 

BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986)

Okay, at this point if I have to tell you very much about Big Trouble in Little China, the John Carpenter movie with Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall and James Hong, we are in big trouble ourselves. Briefly, the plot is an insane mash-up of martial-arts movie, 1970s exploitation film, action film, comedy and supernatural horror featuring a truck driver (Russell) who goes up against centuries-old supernatural bad guy Lo Pan to recover the girlfriend of his Chinese-American friend (Dennis Dunn) and her reporter friend (Cattrall in her best film role), along with bus-driver and warlock Egg Shen. Got it? Good.

The film ends with Russell famously leaving Cattrall (what a dope!) and heading off in his trusty rig, the Pork Chop Express, driving into the night and issuing a salutary warning to other CB radio users that there is more in heaven and earth than is dreamt of in anybody’s philosophy. Cue an oriental demon that crawls up the back of his truck, hungry for revenge!

Will it happen?

Very possibly!

Although there has been a graphic novel follow-up, Dwayne Johnson (yes, that one) was reportedly attached to develop a remake. Carpenter responded by saying he was “ambivalent” about the project.  Phew. However, as late as 2018 Seven Bucks Productions confirmed they are developing a sequel, no less, with Russell in the lead! Let’s hope it happens, as nobody can replace Russell as hard-boiled but inept actin hero Jack Burton.

 

The Goonies, making overweight kids everywhere feel terrible about their bodies.

THE GOONIES (1985)

Another film that should hopefully need no explanation, this movie about a bunch of high school losers following a treasure map was one of the best adventure films of the 1980s. With a memorable soundtrack and feel-good performances the film was a bone-fide sensation.

Will it happen?

There have been as many rumours about a Goonies sequel as there are clues to One-Eyed Willie’s treasure. Director Richard Donner and the film’s stars have said yes and no several times. Why on earth no sequel was made nearer the time is a mystery. Several of the cast such as Josh Brolin and Sean Astin have gone on to bigger and bigger roles, making a reunion unlikely. But… you never know. As recently as 2017 former stars were saying a remake would happen, although original writer Chris Columbus played down such rumours. But with a slimmed down Chunk and Brolin currently playing Thanos… well, I’m not going to say one way or the other.

 

Spooky but fun: Loose Women – I mean, Hocus Pocus.

HOCUS POCUS (1993)

This massively enjoyable film has become a Halloween favourite. A live-action Disney picture like the ones they used to make, it stars the irreplaceable Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and rubber-faced Kathy Najimy as three witch sisters who get a second chance at life one Halloween, provided they sacrifice a sweet little girl. Her brother, however has other ideas, as does a reanimated cat. The witches cause mayhem in the modern American town, but it’s all good, clean spooky fun along with some killer songs from Midler and Parker. The film ends with the witches ending up as toast while the family gets a much-deserved happy ever after, even the cat.

Will it be made?

It seems everyone wants a sequel except the studio. Stars Midler and Parker have both said they would return to reprise their roles. The film suffered from negative reviews on release but has a strong fan base on home video that has made it a family favourite. There has even been a novelisation set 25 years later. As of 2017 screenwriter Mick Garris said he was working on a sequel, but this turned out later to be a remake, which has yet to materialize. But if it’s one thing we have learned, thanks to the success of Twin Peaks and Tron Legacy, it’s that long-delayed sequels can work. Let’s hope Disney sees sense and gives us another helping of the Sanderson sisters rather than a sloppy remake.

 

    Tron Legacy. Like Tron, only more so.

TRON LEGACY (2010)

For some reason, this film is often underrated or overlooked. Yet it stands as one of the most visually stunning sci-fi films of recent years and has a phenomenal soundtrack from Daft Punk that has become the background to many a car advert.

The film is a direct sequel to ground-breaking 1982 Disney film Tron about a computer programmer, Flynn (Jeff Bridges) who is zapped into his own machine and forced to play video games for his life. The sequel follows Flynn’s son (Garett Hedlund) who is similarly zapped while searching for his dad, who has been missing for over 20 years. Turns out dad was trapped in the video world after one of his creations (also played by Jeff Bridges but digitally de-aged) seized control of the computer domain.

The film is full of stunning SFX and set-pieces, such as the all-new light-cycles, while new discovery Olivia Wilde sets the screen alight as kick-ass pixie dream girl Quora. Shot in 3D, the films used some experimental FX which perhaps do not stand up well to repeated viewings, but as a sci-fi film with a real heart and soul, which takes the original further, it is a highly satisfying and entertaining ride.

Will it happen?

Who knows? There has already been an animated cartoon series. For several years Disney has been on and off about the project. Its stars and director joseph Kosinski have repeatedly said it is or is not happening. The latest status for the project is that it is in “cryogenic freeze”. But just like Tron himself, here’s hoping that you can’t keep a good program down forever.

 

Gremlins (1984). Cuter than their CGI cousins.

GREMLINS II (1990)

The original Gremlins (1984) was a breakout summer hit that was, sadly, classified as a 15 in the UK, meaning I didn’t get to watch it in the cinema. However, this loveable tale of homicidal mutant creatures on the rampage in a small town one Christmas has become a holiday favourite. It spawned a sequel in 1990 that was, shall we say, not up to par. Despite the presence of Christopher Lee, the second tale set in a biotechnology lab lacked the charm of the original, with its ho-hum premise and its constant riffing off other Hollywood films – notably the Rambo trilogy.  It seemed like we had heard the last of the friendly little Mogwai and his rather more disturbing alter-egos.

Will it be made?

Probably.

For the past few years, Gremlins 3 has been gaining more and more traction. Its star Zach Galligan has been actively campaigning for a practical effects-based sequel. Ideas such as Gremlins in Vegas and Gremlins in the White House (God, please no) have been mooted.  Writer Chris Columbus has suggested the story go into some very dark places indeed.  It seems we may get a Gremlins sequel, but not the one we imagined. That little Mogwai is always full of surprises…

So there ends my top 9 films that deserved a sequel. Do you agree with this list? Have I left anything out? Let me know, and I may just have to write a sequel!

New Projects for 2019!

Hi all,

Well, 2019 is getting off to a good start.

The great news is that we finally got an editor for my short horror film, tentatively titled CODA. What is CODA about? Sorry, that’s a carefully kept secret, until we’re ready to spill the beans. So please bear with us. All I can say is that it features a haunted object that has never before graced the silver screen! Curious? We hope so.

I spent the first week of this year helping out on another film shoot, this time for a short drama film that I had helped to rewrite. Check out this exclusive picture of the cast and crew below. Busy bees that we are!

All-focus

As usual, I’m up to my eyes in writing projects. I was incredibly grateful to be included in the Ginger Nuts of Horror website’s series of posts about legendary horror rock icon Alice Cooper, which finally ended this month. “Super Duper Alice Cooper” details the film about Alice Cooper’s life. You can read the entire blog post here:

http://gingernutsofhorror.com/alice-in-summerland/super-duper-alice-cooper-by-eric-ian-steele

I also got invited to participate in a very cool up-and-coming online horror project . Details will be forthcoming!

Last but in no way least, I have some VERY exciting news that I am just itching to share with you! Argh! The suspense is killing me! But be patient and all shall be revealed…

See you soon!