DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

You met me at a very strange time in my life...

Read my novel: COMPLETE DARKNESS

Saturday, June 27, 2020

'You Droving Me Crazy'... The Droving (review)



The Droving (18)

Dir. George Popov (@TheGeorgePopov)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“we had planned to go to the festival together and meet there, but she never showed up… ”

When Martin (Daniel ‘Hex’ Oldroyd) returns from the military to search for his missing sister Meg (Amy Tyger), he gets caught up in a strange traditional folk festival called 'The Droving', nothing good can come of it…

Based on the actual Winter Droving event that takes place in Penrith – this newest entry into the growing Folk-em-up horror genre that includes classics like The Wicker Man and Midsommer adds some revenge motive violence to the mix.

'what will he find?'

As the second feature from indy production company Rubicon Films, this is an exciting slice of high tension that slow burns with a voodoo menace right up until the occult climax. Other reviewers have cited the excellent Dead Man’s Shoes as a reference point and I totally get that, I’d add Ben Wheatley’s Kill List too. What The Droving brings to the table is unique cinematography, some of the shots are jaw-dropping such as the lake and hill scenes – delivering moments of wonder amidst the unease and weirdness.

Oldroyd is great in the lead as the man of violence who is trying to make sense of the oddities around him. Speaking of odd things Eden Arts gave permission for footage from the actual 2018 Winter Droving to feature in the film. Project manager Bryoney Fawn Cartlidge said: “We are delighted that people are drawing inspiration for their projects from the Winter Droving. The festival really captures the imagination of Penrith and wider Eden and we are always encouraged by the way in which people join in with the myths and magic around the event.” I can imagine that the film will attract even more to check out this very eccentric custom.

'no sign of Nic Cage, fortunately'

As Martin tries to make sense of the clues about his sister – was her rambling group actually a front for satanic shenanigans? - does the crazy hill hermit know more than he’s letting on? – why are a bunch of lads wearing animal heads at night? It’s a what-the-hell-dunnit that will keep you guessing.

I was captivated for the whole mysterious journey, and if there’s anything I’d have changed it’s that I’d have liked some more time spent on the big reveal at the end. But this is a minor quibble and in many ways The Droving effectively both sticks to the folk-horror formula whilst upping the ante at the same time – nice work all round!!

'some things are better not discovered'

To paraphrase my favourite Britney Spears song ‘you droving me crazy’, this is a dark trip worth savouring and a great calling card for future horrors from Director Popov.

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:

öööö1/2

(4.5 - Folks with your head... in a good way)

Awesomeness öööö – Nice build up which sucks you in

Laughs öö – Some dark humour

Horror öööö – Some violence but lots of menace

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Paganism isn't dead

Click this image for some darkness !!



– Read what other people are saying about COMPLETE DARKNESS (here)





Sunday, June 21, 2020

Matt tans in the Hell Fire of Demonality (review)


Demonality (Book One)

Nadine Thirkell (@DemonalityBooks)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“The Olde Ones had no choice but to come in and do damage control. Otherwise the human population would be aware of the Faye living among them…”

As I said in a short story I wrote: ‘I wonder why we think demons hate us so much?’ JJ was talking to herself on her way to meet her pal H0lli for a night out. She was prone to conversations with herself as she liked to ponder the weird thoughts that troubled her brain – without upsetting or freaking out
those around her. ‘I think maybe they’re just misunderstood or victims of bad PR thanks to religious types?’

It seems that I maybe wasn’t too far from the case as the butt-kicking novel Demonality blows the doors off the inner world of demons, showing them to have feelings, issues and honour. Their loves, politics and dramas are just as deep and even more compelling than ours – some of them are enemies of humans but others are our allies and even lovers.

'welcome to hell'

In Thirkell’s Demonality we get to journey with Aurrynthea Shadow's Fire or ‘Thea’ to her pals. She’s the last best hope for dragon kind – born half demon and half dragon and the heir to the Lord of Hell ‘Shadow Lord’. Her tale is one of conflict as she battles to resolve both halves of her nature and survive in a hellfire world where many of her compatriots fear her. They should fear her too as she’s a seriously powerful entity.

The writing is sharp and paints a fun fantasy hellscape – one which is joined to our world by portals that exist for our safety but are failing which could be very bad news for both sides. A colourful cast of creatures flesh out the tale, one fav is Gath the gargoyle – a lowly minion who is given the job of serving Thea who brings some fun banter to the story and deserves his own spin-off book!

'human form of the dragoness'

With spicy language, some great incidental easter eggs – I loved the fact that the demons enjoy human music such as the classics like Fleetwood Mac and Heart – and some heartfelt romance too, Demonality blends magic, adventure, love, sex and comedy into a fun and unique fantasy story.

This being ‘book one’ means that there is more to come and I’m already excited to find out what happens next in this demonic drama that would make a great movie... If you don't take this brilliant demonically infused adventure - you have no love of fantasy in you!?

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:

ööööö

(5 - One Hell of a ride)

Buy your ticket to Hell here


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– Read what other people are saying about COMPLETE DARKNESS (here)





Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Matt feels The Vast of Night (review)


The Vast Of Night (12)

Dir. Andrew Patterson

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20)

“They’ve always liked this place...
“Who?”
“The people in the sky!?”

Here is a delicious little ‘old school’ sci-fi which takes us back to the UFO panic days of 1950s New Mexico. Heroes of the piece are Fay (Sierra McCormick) who operates the telephone switchboard and small-town radio DJ Everett (Horowitz). We get to join them on one fateful night where they pick up a strange audio frequency – which might not be of this world…

'hello - is it ET you're looking for?'

I really enjoyed The Vast Of Night - it’s a solid debut from first-time director Andrew Patterson. What it lacks in budget, it makes up with creative camera shots and a snappy plotline that doesn’t lag.
It opens with a very Twilight Zone spoof TV show: ‘Paradox Theater’ which effectively evokes a fun sci-fi 50s vibe which sets the tone beautifully. The film builds a nice eerie feel that is hard to explain and yet before you realise it you’ll be sucked in and on edge.

'That sign could be a sign'

The film packs a smooth hit of Americana too – plus some the epic tracking shots, one of which creeps through an in action basketball game, weaving between the players before carrying on out into the streets with no noticeable break.

Don’t come expecting full aliens on the loose mayhem or schlocky body horror – this is a more psychological dread spectacle. As the two leads spark off each other with real chemistry, it’s hard not to start worrying for them as it seems that they are getting caught up in something dangerous and unworldly.

'nice night for a walk'

The Vast Of Night is a welcome and recommended addition to the sci-fi film canon, I’ll be excited to see what Patterson does next.

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:

öööö

(4 - The truth is out there...)

Awesomeness öööö – Strong dialogue-driven scenes

Laughs öö – A few laughs

Horror öö – Nothing too grim

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Can friends beat the aliens?

Click this image for some darkness !!



– Read what other people are saying about COMPLETE DARKNESS (here)





Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Matt finds it's A Thousand Miles To Nowhere (review)



A Thousand Miles to Nowhere

David Curfiss (@DCurfiss)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20)

“The rapid succession of semi-automatic gunfire filled Matt’s ears as he departed his dreamworld and arrived back in reality.”

I love a hero named ‘Matt’ and here we have a dude named Matt Tanner who eats the infected / reanimated dead for breakfast (not literally) and still has time for some emotional burnout on the side…

This is a bad time for humanity – yes even worse than the Covid-19 nightmare of 2020… A man-made virus (we were looking to become immortal – when will we learn?) has turned most of the population into zombies and only a few groups of ragtag survivors find themselves left as mankind’s last best hopes.

'it's easy to make new pals - they want to get inside your head - and eat it'

Curfiss is a sick doggy (and I mean that as a compliment) bringing enough new nasty scenarios to prevent this being just another Walking Dead knock off. He’s also clued up on military hardware so expect realistic gunfights where you’ll likely learn about the weapons being used as much as the people on each end of them.

In this quality zombie-em-up, it’s not just the shuffling ‘withered’ who are the problem – angry newly ‘Ragers’ are much to be feared – especially if they were people who meant something to you…
Matt isn’t alone in this apocalyptic horror show – his fire team includes Steve and Tara, who bring some welcome banter and cover fire. The conversations in the rare moments of downtime between the violent action scenes are nice affirmations that we're travelling with folk just like us.

The plotting has nods to classics of the genre like Kirkman’s Walking Dead, Brooks’ World War Z and some of the isolation if not vampires from Matheson’s I Am Legend – I also got flavour from my fav zombie book ‘The Girl With All The Gifts’ by Mike Carey, I had the honour of being one of the ‘Hungries’ in the film version and even though we knew it was just makeup and ‘acting’, on set it was often an eerie place to be.

'these violent delights have violent ends'


Curfiss writes with a lean, readable and detailed style that evolves the relationship between characters in a way that makes the losses when they come more impactful. There is a building sense of bleakness and a well-captured sense of just how close humanity is to going out… Even a pregnancy dynamic that you’ll cling to as a possible source of reprieve can’t make this a feel-good read!?

If you’re looking for a novel that will get under your skin and leave you with lots to chew over (like a still-warm limb torn from one of the living) - this is definitely a zombie tale to consider...

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:

ööööö

(5 - A Thousand Miles to Nowhere is a bloody trip very worth taking!)

Buy your thousand miles to nowhere road trip here


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– Read what other people are saying about COMPLETE DARKNESS (here)




Sunday, May 31, 2020

Matt is given an Unauthorised Absence (review)



An Unauthorised Absence

Sian Rose (@SianRoseAuthor)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

"I'm sure you must have all heard the news, that one of our students has gone missing."

School eh? As a parent the one biggest worries was that my child wouldn't come home one day...
An Unauthorised Absence is a smart, engaging and suitably grim chiller of what happens when a girl is abducted from school - to complicate things it seems like everyone is lying and has something to hide.

Nelly might have been a bully and from a poor family but the storm caused by her disappearance sends shockwaves through the school community and beyond.



With a nicely twisted collection of suspects, the plot keeps piling on the tension, thrills, deaths and betrayals.

I asked Sian about her writing inspiration and she said:

"I LOVE creepy suspense thrillers that are filled with unpredictable twists. So my inspiration for writing An Unauthorised Absence was wanting to create one myself that would be as shocking as possible, with surprises in every chapter, so that readers would be constantly kept on their toes!

I went with the theme of a missing child because it's just about the scariest thing I can think of. I wanted my readers to be truly gripped and psychologically invested in the story.

For me, the story needed to take place in an outrageously scandalous community like Hillview. It's the ensemble of shady characters that make the book so unpredictable, and even though they're all so twisted, I found myself getting quite attached to them!"



This is highly addictive stuff which I would definitely recommend!!

It gets dark and nobody walks away without some kind of scar - if they walk away at all...

Treat yourself!

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:

ööööö

(5 - High-class thrills that will break you...)


Buy your unauthorised absence here


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– Read what other people are saying about COMPLETE DARKNESS (here)




Sunday, May 24, 2020

Matt is enthralled by The London Vampire books (review)



The London Vampire / Nuptial Flight

John Michaelson

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“I took the sword from my coat and held it out ready to use. I opened the stairwell door. It was dark but I could see a glow coming from the top of the stairs; it drew me upwards…”

The London Vampire books are an exciting glimpse into a supposedly ‘biographical’ tale of horror, a horror that intersects with everyday life. Starting with October’s Son / The London Vampire and continuing with Nuptial Flight / The London Vampire Conspiracy.

Imagine if vampirism is just an urban legend that disguises a real evil stalking the streets of the UK and beyond? What if human trafficking and more criminal activity is linked to a secret underground cult of subhuman baddies who conduct sex orgies and pull the strings of events behind the scenes?

'Michaelson has a face for radio'

The self-confessed no-longer-fully-human author John Michaelson makes for an enjoyably demented narrator, documenting his descent into the seedy dangerous underbelly of the night. He claims to have been ‘turned’ into one of the creatures that he came across, but then he goes all ‘Blade’ and becomes a hunter of their kind.

Both of these books are great reads – shocking and dark but shot through with glimpses of salvation followed by religious redemption.

I asked Rich Mayers from Burton Mayers who publish The London Vampire books (along with my own debut novel Complete Darkness) how they picked up such a freaky author and what he told me was a fascinating story in itself…

'Give generously - I don't mean blood'

He said: “We met John Michaelson early on during our publishing company began to take shape. It was about 2009 and we had been working on Spikez and building a universe around that, which included learning how to create online content. I stumbled across one of John Michaelson's business cards advertising himself as The London Vampire, a hunter. I contacted him via email and the next time I was in London for my course, we met him.

He seemed normal enough and friendly (very polite and well-spoken) but he was also very troubled and keen to let people know about the city's 'problem'. Despite our initial fears, we thought it was a great opportunity to break into the adult fiction market at Burton Mayers Books. We proposed developing the website for him in exchange for rights to his book, which he agreed to.

'Casting a shadow - a non-traditional vampire'

After we published his second book in June 2017 he seemed satisfied that we had set the record straight. He even agreed to do some writing and promo, but then in September 2017 he just vanished. We haven't had contact from him, even until this day. One of the contract stipulations he had with us is that we must, at all costs, keep his website and books in circulation as his legacy, on the off chance that the Ants should get to him, so we're committed to do that as we respect our authors and their wishes.

Also, why wouldn't we? It's a fascinating subject and his writing is so different to anything else we've read on that subject and genre. Since launching our .com website we've only just got round to transferring all his content over to the www.TheLondonVampire.com in his honour.

If you're out there, John, we miss you and hope to make you proud!”

'They walk amongst us'

So it seems that I share a publisher with a vampire-hunting nutter, maybe that's why I like Burton Mayers so much?

Anyway, what you have to ask yourself is 'are you brave enough to take this creepy, engaging and suitably grim trip?'

You might never look at things quite the same if you do…

Now available on most formats including Kindle, Kobo and Nook as well as hard copy – I’m personally hoping for more in this series – I guess it all depends on whether Michealson is still alive out there somewhere…


Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


October's Son / The London Vampire 

öööö

(4 - Descend into a fascinating nightmare ...)


Nuptial Flight / The London Vampire Conspiracy

ööööö

(5 - A rare sequel that outshines the original ...)

Get The London Vampire Books Here




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– Read what other people are saying about COMPLETE DARKNESS (here)




Thursday, May 21, 2020

Matt embraces his Northern Souls (review)


Northern Souls

James Parsons (@ParsonsFiction)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20)

“You’ll burn too… Fire and brimstone. Quite the holy man now aren’t you?”

Here’s a funky UK thrill ride that is set in the North-East of England that sees ancient supernatural forces battling for the souls of humanity.

Meet Eric – he’s a young man who has lost his true love Grace and to make matters worse, is suspected of her murder. With nothing left to live for he sets off to commit suicide but his girlfriend isn’t going to let him join her so easily and she appears to him as a ghost telling him of demonic tribes fighting to seize control within the North. Obviously, this is pretty wild, not only to get a date from this dead girlfriend but also to be drawn into a war against ungodly forces…

Northern Souls feels very much like a northern companion piece to The London Vampire books (review coming soon) as both deal with hidden literally ‘evil’ underworlds operating amongst us. The plot sees Eric team up with his pals Taylor and Emma to investigate the strange and brutal attacks taking place – and handily has the his ghostly girlfriend giving him directions and clues.
Can they successfully confront and battle the unholy forces from Tynemouth to Gateshead? Will Eric make a trade with the demons in return for saving the soul of Grace?

I really liked the motive of our unlikely hero being given unspeakable supernatural power (which is a nice alt version of what happens in my novel Complete Darkness where the hero gets ‘super’ powers to fight evil from an unlikely source)…

'Not to be confused with soul music flick Norther Soul'

There are some nice details about life in Northern England, and, at times it feels like you’re on a quick tour of the various towns and landmarks. Parsons writes with a good eye for detail and his characters feel real – if it jars a little fusing ancient blood thirsty demons the modern world it’s a good effort all the same.

I’ll certainly be looking out for more by Parsons but in the meantime – you could do much worse than check Northern Souls out.

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:

öööö

(4 - It's grim up North...)

Get Northern Souls here




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– Read what other people are saying about COMPLETE DARKNESS (here)

Monday, May 18, 2020

Matt finds A Good Woman Is Hard to Find (review)


A Good Woman Is Hard to Find (18)

Dir. Abner Pastoll

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“If you want to get somewhere in life, you have to be a bit of a bitch”

I fell in love with this film at Fright Fest 2019 – it’s the unapologetically violent tale of single mum Sarah (a star-making turn from Sarah Bolger) who is struggling to make ends meet while also trying to raise two young children – Lucy (Macie McCauley) and Ben (Rudy Doherty).

Life is tough in the rough neighbourhood where drug dealers operate in broad daylight and the local supermarket security guard is a sexist asshole. Sarah is in a bad place following her husband being murdered – witnessed by her son who stopped speaking as a result. Her experience as a female is one of being put down by almost everyone in her life, even her obnoxious mother - and yet you sense there is more to her.

'it's the filth outside'

But whilst the grind of her daily life is hard, it gets much worse when a local wideboy Tito (Andrew Simpson) breaks in to hide from the nasty local heavies – from whom he’s just stolen a huge stash of drugs. He demands Sarah hold the drugs in her house which puts her little family in harm's way…

As the film builds up the all too believable horror of her existence, there comes a point where she is pushed to breaking point and has to choose whether to crumble or fight back. Sarah chooses the latter and becomes a feminist force of nature, taking extreme action to protect her family and woe betide the very bad men threatening her – led by Leo Miller (Edward Hogg) who is a grammar Nazi as well as a drug kingpin.

'Things get out of 'hand''

A Good Woman Is Hard to Find changes gear from urban drama to full metal revenge-em-up and it’s incredible to witness. The slow build-up pays off massively as the crunchingly violent repercussions kick in.

The writing is on-point and hugely satisfying. The climax might be absurd but it’ll make you cheer out loud. Pastoll’s cinematography is strong, with a clever use of colour and a cool soundtrack adding to the vibe.

Bolger is incredible with what could have been a very one-note character. She brings nuance as well as righteous fury as it proves that a mother’s love knows few limits.

Not for the faint of heart, the film gets bloody and earns its 18 certificate with some impressively grisly scenes.

'a hero to believe in'

A Good Woman Is Hard to Find is a brilliant film that is likely to be a cult classic- experience it now!

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:

ööööö

(5 - Satisfying revenger crime tale)

Awesomeness ööööö – Cool build up and killer climax

Laughs ööö – Some dark fun in places

Horror öööö – Nasty in parts but it feels necessary

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Revenge can be righteous

Click this image for some darkness !!



– Read what other people are saying about COMPLETE DARKNESS (here)





Sunday, May 17, 2020

Matt witnessed the Screaming Metal (review)



Screaming Metal 

Made in DNA (@bzwriting)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)


"Expanding outward as if reaching for her face, several spider-legged flashes danced before her eyes before dissipating.

Priyanka blinked away the afterflashes..."

Meet Priyanka and the crew of the 'Alley Cat' - think Serenity from Firefly and you're in the same galaxy not so far, far away... The heroes here are 'junk-mercs,' a specialized kind of bounty hunter who search for Metal 'braincores' which are the 'minds' of rate alien machines (def nod to Iain M Banks) but the 'Metals' as they're known are now non-functioning chunks of alien tech.

The action cracks along as the Alley Cat crew get wind of detailed coordinates for their latest hunt. But this one is different - apparently the very machine they are after is the one sending the info from its functioning braincore!?

This job in the depths of a starship junkyard on the planet 'Shake Hands' might be more perilous than anything they've faced before - the colonists talk of the junkyard being haunted and Priyanka isn't the only one interested in the potential technological haul there...

With time running out and a heavily armed starship closing in... Well I'm not going to give any more of the plot away - just needless to say that if sci-fi is your cup-of-tea, Screaming Metal should be high on your reading list.

This tale began life as a 'Twitter novella'  which meant that the 31,000 words were written in microfiction format (25 words or less per "paragraph") on Twitter in 2015 and Vocal in 2017-2018.



Inspired by works like Makoto Kobayashi's Dragon's Heaven, Fred Saberhagen's Berserker series, and the wildly imaginative adult-level reader (but not adult content) stories within Heavy Metal Magazine among others. At its core, 'Screaming Metal' is action-adventure sci-fi set on a distant planet in the far future, featuring sentient AI mecha of a mysterious alien origin.

The writing from Made in DNA is crisp and tight, much of the narrative is explained in dialogue exchanges and as such Screaming Metal would make an excellent anime or animated short film. Slotting in alongside the recent Altered Carbon Resleeved or the classic AniMatrix.

I found myself caught up in this fascinating fusion of ideas which give a fresh new perspective on ground that many others have covered.

What else can I say but to drop a tweet-worthy and only slightly borrowed tag line:

Screaming Metal will tear your A.I. soul apart...

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:

ööööö

(5- Engage your braincore and scream for more...)

Get Screaming Metal here




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– Read what other people are saying about COMPLETE DARKNESS (here)



Sunday, May 10, 2020

The Rhythm Section sends Matt to sleep (review)


The Rhythm Section (15)

Dir. Reed Morano

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20)

“I'm here to offer you closure… Violently.”

"wigs a go go"

Stop me if you’ve heard this before but a ‘normal’ girl whose life has been wrecked is given training and funds to become a hitwoman. Yes, this is the plot of classics like La Femme Nikita, decent efforts like Atomic Blonde or Red Sparrow and some fairly forgettable flicks too.

Alas The Rhythm Section finds itself firmly in the ‘forgettable’ category. This is despite packing a great cast with lead protagonist Stephanie Patrick played by Blake ‘Savages’ Lively. She’s the civilian who is turned into a spy/assassin by Jude Law – playing her mentor Iain who is ex-MI6 and in the business of training new spies. This of course is rather than tracking down an anonymous terrorist who blew up the plane Stephanie’s family were on himself, oh no, he’d rather spend months in Scotland doing a Rocky-lite training montage with her.

"who's laughing now?"

Lively and Law do their best, bringing their extensive acting experience to the party but despite this - there is nothing redeeming about this dull franchise-wannabe. The Rhythm Section obviously wants to be a gritty action film but it fails to make you care much about any of the characters, so viewers really aren’t invested.

What we’re left with is a bit of shonky film, lots of shaky handheld footage – the cinematography isn’t great with only a frantic car chase raising the pulse for a few minutes. Even in these locked down times after an hour my wife and I mostly had enough and were yawning.

Stephanie’s switch from washed up drug addict and prostitute to weaponized bad-ass assassin isn’t very believable even as she struggles with her initial ‘hits’. The wince inducing plot crutch of relying on handy coincidental events just to survive as she struggles to get her killer instinct into gear.

"sorry - you've failed the parking test"

If you want to find a way to enjoy The Rhythm Section – I’d suggest you play action/spy film cliché bingo:
Struggle to actually kill target on first hit? Oh yes. Pretend to be sex worker to get close to high roller baddie? Yep. Shootout in close quarters with unexpected security goons? Of course. It’s not awful but it doesn’t excite like it should.

With so many great revenge-em-ups out there, this feels very unnecessary and is probably one best left for when it comes to the free to view channels rather than splashing out on a to see it now.

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:

öö1/2

(2.5 - Average spy revenge-em-up)

Awesomeness ööö – Some of the set pieces work well

Laughs ö – Not funny

Horror ööö – Some grimness

Spiritual Enlightenment ö - What does revenge get you?



Click this image for some dark sci-fi !!



– Read what other people are saying about COMPLETE DARKNESS (here)


Saturday, May 09, 2020

Matt faces evil in FOR RYE (review)




FOR RYE

Gavin Gardiner (@GGardinerHorror)

'Beta Version' reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“ ‘The mans a damned hatemonger…’ Trembling fingers tugged at his yellowed clerical collar as he spoke.”

Some truths are best left buried – reads the blurb on Gavin Gardiner’s debut chiller and for the weak of heart that’s a fair warning... FOR RYE is a heavy-duty horror that feels like vintage James Herbert (and I say that as a huge Herbert fan – Sepulchre being one of my all-time fav books).

What we have here is the unhappy tale of Renata Wakefield, a traumatised romance author with a history of abuse who is on the brink of suicide. Her life gets worse when she has to return to her unfriendly childhood hometown of Millbury Peak where the locals are about as welcoming as the League of Gentlemen and her nasty father awaits. The reason for her return is that someone has murdered her mother in a ritualistic slaughter – in the local church no less.


Renata becomes involved with the world’s leading writer of horror fiction - Quentin C. Rye – whose presence in Millbury Peak might be more sinister than anyone could imagine. As the plot creeps along with a growing sense of voodoo menace, the players' lives intertwine in despicable ways.

What is the reason for the killing? Why does Rye want to film his latest movie in Millbury Peak? Can Renata find a way to forgive her abusive father who is now ill and requires care? You’ll have to read to get the answers and I recommend that you do.

Gardiner writes with an acid wit and an impressive grip on what it takes to horrify. Be warned that there are scenes that are extreme, FOR RYE is no lightweight horror but a full-on demonic chalice overflowing with evil deeds and mind-bending situations.


I’ll be excited to see what Gardiner writes next – this is an impressive debut by the potential new king of UK horror…

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:

ööööö

(5- An excellent new horror voice has arrived...)

Visit Gavin's site here to request a read of FOR RYE




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– Read what other people are saying about COMPLETE DARKNESS (here)



Sunday, May 03, 2020

Matt rides The Storm Legacy: Broken (review)





The Storm Legacy: Broken

K.L Hart (@kerry1hart)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“GO! GO! GO! Ash shouts and we all run down the hill, pulling out guns, I kick down the front door and start shooting the assholes behind it.

Phase two of my reading books that I wouldn’t normally pick sees me dipping into the fast-paced world of a bunch of young spies who are rich brats and at least one of them is a pop star. The Storm Legacy: Broken is the second book in a series but it is easy enough to pick up and get caught up in the action.

The ‘Heirs’ as the group are known are bad-ass young agents who think nothing of going into a foreign country, shooting up the baddies and saving slaves on an hour’s notice. The fight and battle scenes are pleasing for anyone who likes action violence even if they are brief (I’d have liked more time spent in the heat of battle).

The plucky heroes spend most of their time when not saving people or taking down despots drinking coffee and shopping online. Their relationships are complicated – due to events in book one which left one of the main characters captured and being abused. Some of the scenes might need trigger warnings with sexual abuse, and a wince-inducing revenge just one of the elements.

"licence to shoot - and shop"

I asked author Kerry about her inspiration for Storm Legacy and she said:

“My inspiration was I just wanted a strong girl from the start that was equal to the boys not just being dragged along kind of thing and it went from there!! I would say this book is for late teens / twenty’s age range but also anyone who loves high school-age drama.”

Along with the youth speak and banter, there are some deeper emotional foils – like exploring whether true love survives after one of the parties is horribly broken? And even what it might take to make a life-long commitment at such a tender age.

There are also some steamy and detailed sex scenes to go along with the hedonistic lifestyle and occasional world-saving jaunts. So this probably isn’t a book for the puritanical minded.

The action cracks along at a good pace and I found myself caught up in the world of the Heirs. Can certainly imagine this becoming a fun TV show – think love island mixed with mission impossible and you’ll have some idea…


Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


öööö

(4 - High calibre young adult adventure...)

BUY YOURSELF A COPY HERE



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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Matt experiences some Misbehaviour (review)



Misbehaviour (12a)

Dir. Philippa Lowthorpe

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20)

“The only other forum in which participants are weighed, measured and publicly examined before being assigned their value is a cattle market.”

Would you believe that over 900 million people tuned in to the 2019 Miss World pageant? Whilst the appeal may have waned in the UK, it is still one of the biggest televised events worldwide – hugely popular in China and India especially.

Misbehaviour is the cinematic retelling of how in 1970 some women liberation activists took a well-publicised stand against the event which they deemed as an oppressive expression of patriarchal values.

'non-gratuitous swimsuit shot'

Director Philippa ‘Swallows and Amazons’ Lowthorpe frames the incident through the lens of two of the activists involved: Sally Alexander (Keira Knightley) and Jo Robinson (Jessie Buckley). The two leads are opposites in how they want to change the world – both strong Feminists but whilst Alexander wants academic acceptance to ‘change the system from the inside’, Robinson wants to destroy the patriarchy head-on with direct action – she spends a lot of time graffitiing billboards and waving placards.

The film suffers from some slightly cringy moments but does at least try to show the real characters with their differing attitudes as to how to fight for change. What is more regrettable is the simplistic
approach taken to a subject that really should have been taken apart with more gusto. The plotting fails to seriously reconcile how aspirations amongst women, especially women of colour, from around the world were not really aligned. It rankles a bit to see a group of white middle-class protesters in effect upstaging the quest for recognition by ethnic groups who were underrepresented.

'the plot is afoot'

Where the film works best is in exposing the vintage sexism – Bob Hope (a nicely slimy Greg Kinnear) is the perfect embodiment of all that is wrong with male attitudes. When asked if he considers the feelings of women he jokes “I consider feeling women all the time.”

So whilst the right on agenda presented to us here fails to manifest the level of rebellion required, there is a touching nod to the struggles of those women who have ‘accepted their place in the home’
through Phyllis Logan as Alex's mother Evelyn. She brings some sense of the conflict faced by older women in the career v family dilemma.

If looking for a lightweight and enjoyable dramatization of what happened back then
– Misbehaviour delivers that but not much more.

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:

ööö

(3 - Nice enough but it should have shocked more)

Awesomeness öö – Fem-em-up voices are important

Laughs öö – A few funnies

Horror ö – Some sexist material

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - created equal...



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