DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Read my novel: COMPLETE DARKNESS

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Matt dips into Catriona Ward's mind




The Last House on Needless Street might just be the best gothic chiller of 2021 - I had the privilege of reviewing it (or rather getting my cat Spike to review it) for the British Fantasy Society. 

Here's a taste: I’m cleaning myself when my ted calls me. His name isn’t really ‘ted’; it’s ‘Matt’, but I heard on good authority from the amazing Olivia in The Last House On Needless Street that ted is a suitable descriptor for humans. I’m not a ted, I’m a feline, my ted calls me ‘Spike’. 

My ted has been reading The Last House On Needless Street – gosh, it’s a mouthful to keep repeating – and so he hasn’t been very attentive to me. He keeps saying things like ‘oh my god, this is incredible’ and ‘NO WAY!’ at those points, his face screws up in shock, or his jaw falls open. That book must be quite something to provoke those reactions. Read the full review here


But I love to find out a bit more about the author too though so here Catriona answers the Darkmatters questions...

Matt: If scientists ever managed to create a giant mecha version of you – who or what would be your nemesis? 

Catriona: Time. In the form of a looming skeletal figure made of rotating cogs and intricate clockwork, with a blank clock face and alarm clock hands that are constantly ringing. At its glowing ticking heart would be all the minutes I’ve ever wasted, which would gradually be subtracted from moments of joy or accomplishment throughout my life. 

Matt: What is the most disturbing fictional scene you’ve ever read or watched in a book/film of any genre? 

Catriona: There’s a scene in Peter Greenaway’s film The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover where a character is force-fed the pages from a book, forced down by a wooden spoon. Horrific. I get a gag reflex just thinking about it. 

Matt: If you were hired to throw a parade of any scale or theme through the centre of London what type of parade would it be? 

Catriona: I’d like a parade of every single one of my friends and close family, living and dead, that meanders between sunlit parks and tree-lined canals, on a hot July evening. I think we’d all be on horseback. Naturally, the roads would be closed on our route, and each stop would feature cold wine and tiny delicious things to eat, served from trays by flamingo waiters. 

Matt: You’re in a strange town with £100,000 that you have to spend in a single evening – talk me through what you get up to… 

Catriona: Difficult to spend all that money on oneself. Can I donate it? I’d donate it to a homeless charity. 

Matt: Who inspires you most (can be living or dead)? 

Catriona: My writing heroes are Shirley Jackson, whose prose I think cannot be bettered and Kelly Link. Reading their work always reminds me of that quote by Annie Dillard, ‘write as if you were dying.’ Part of the reason I love gothic and horror fiction is that it can contain such extreme feelings, such passionate intensity within its confines. These two writers exemplify its grand scope for me. 

Matt: There’s a masked assailant with a gun to your head, who is most likely to be under the mask? 

Catriona: Myself, from the future, sent back to prevent me from making a terrible mistake. 

Matt: What is the meaning of life? 

Catriona: Family and friends and love. Also work. Trying to put something strange and true back into the world that will last when you’re gone. 

Matt: What was the best gift you’ve ever been given? 

Catriona: My partner gave me a coat for my 40th birthday that makes me feel like a Scottish highland highwayman. It lends me all the power and gravitas I never knew I needed. 

Matt: If you could have a sidekick robot – what would it be able to do for you? 

Catriona: Communicate directly and immediately with a human being at HMRC and resolve all tax queries on my behalf with no involvement from me. 

Matt: What would you like written on your tombstone? 

Catriona: ‘She never stopped trying.’ That’s all we can do, right?

SAMPLE IT, LOOP IT, EAT IT and LINK IT:

Read my review of The Last House on Needless Street over at the British Fantasy Society CLICK HERE

Buy your copy of The Last House on Needless Street HERE

Check Catriona's Goodreads Page HERE

Click the banner below to check out some sci-fi...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Complete-Darkness-Darkmatters-Matt-Adcock/dp/0957338775

Friday, April 23, 2021

Matt Loves Like He's Bleeding Out with Stephen J. Golds

As his latest 'Love Like Bleeding Out with an Empty Gun in Your Hand' is about to hit retail - novelist Stephen R. Golds faces the Darkmatters 10 Interview Questions from @Cleric20


Matt: If scientists ever managed to create a giant mecha version of you – who or what would be your nemesis?

Stephen: My arch-Nemesis would be a crawling, clawing personification of my own self-doubts and frailties. 

Matt: What is the most disturbing fictional scene you’ve ever read or watched in a book/film of any genre? 

Stephen: It would probably be the whole recent remake of Ghostbusters. They really butchered a classic. It was like watching your childhood pet being slowly kicked to death by a grinning idiot. 

Matt: If you were hired to throw a parade of any scale or theme through the centre of London what type of parade would it be? 

Stephen: It would be a black parade. A funeral march. Everyone dressed in dark colors. Mourning their own failures and regrets as the ugly jeering crowds throw rotting fruit. I would lead the procession, of course. 

Matt: You’re in a strange town with £100,000 that you have to spend in a single evening – talk me through what you get up to… 

Stephen: This is easy. Bars and clubs. Drinks for all. The money would spend itself and I would have friends until the cash ran out. 

Matt: Who inspires you most (can be living or dead)? 

Stephen: Tank Man aka Wang Weilin. On his way home from work, only shopping bags in his hands, he stood in front of the tanks in Tiananmen Square and wasn’t posing for photographs for Instagram either. That’s some real selfless, ballsy bravery. 

Matt: There’s a masked assailant with a gun to your head, who is most likely to be under the mask?

Stephen: Probably an ex-girlfriend. And I’d be flattered. 

Matt: What is the meaning of life? 

Stephen: Charles Bukowski said it best. “Find what you love and let it kill you.” 

Matt: What was the best gift you’ve ever been given? 

Stephen: My children because they gave my life real meaning when I had never had real meaning before. 

Matt: If you could have a sidekick robot – what would it be able to do for you? 

Stephen: Assassinate and disappear people who blow their noses in restaurants. 

Matt: What would you like written on your tombstone? 

Stephen:  “I tried, god dammit. At least I did that.” 

Any final words you like to add... 

Stephen: If you like the noir or dirty realism genres please check out my novels and poetry. 
- Always the Dead 
- Say Goodbye When I’m Gone 
- Poems for Ghosts in Empty Tenement Windows I Thought I Saw Once 
-  Love Like Bleeding Out with an Empty Gun in Your Hand



Speaking of 'Love Like Bleeding Out...' I've just had the privilege of reading an advance copy of this noir-em-up mixture of dark, twisted, and gritty stories, backed up with some kick-ass poetry!? Respect to 

They feature a rum bunch of characters who include an aging hitman - embittered by his career choice at the point of no return. A shell-shocked soldier in World War Two finds hope through death, reflected in the eyes of his enemy. A serial killer confesses in veiled, lurching prose. A mobster unravels as he's about to be whacked. A man reevaluates existence after discovering a suicide. My favourites were the narrative reflections of bad men looking back on their lives of evil deeds and how they come across as real people, not fictional creations made to fulfil plot devices.

Whilst the subject matter might not sound like a lot of fun, I really enjoyed Gold's way with hard-boiled dialogue and his excellently readable Bukowski-like matter-of-fact presentation. In any anthology like this - some of the tales and poems are much stronger than others, but across the many short snippets of lives lived. loves lost and regrets felt there are some stone-cold classics which will stay with you.

This Stephen J. Golds is the future of crime and punishment fiction - you heard it here first...

Highly recommend grabbing a copy when it hits on 30 April '21!

SAMPLE IT, LOOP IT, EAT IT and LINK IT:

Preorder / Buy your copy of Love Like Bleeding Out HERE

Find Steve on twitter - he's @stevegone58


Click the banner below to check out some alt dark sci-fi...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Complete-Darkness-Darkmatters-Matt-Adcock/dp/0957338775




Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Matt meets a Promising Young Woman (review)

Promising Young Woman (15)

Dir. Emerald Fennell 

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20)


“Even though the gods are crazy / Even though the stars are blind / If you show me real love, baby / I'll show you mine / I can make it nice and naughty / Be the devil and angel, too / Got a heart and soul and body / Let's see what this love can do / Maybe I'm perfect for you…”


Arriving like a shotgun blast of expertly timed catharsis, Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman hits hard with its message that claiming to be a ‘nice guy’ isn’t enough in this world where #MeToo still needs wider engagement.

Meet Cassandra (Carey Mulligan), she’s that girl over there in the bar who looks like she’s so drunk she can’t take care of herself. She’s beautifully dishevelled with her hair loose and her skirt hitched up. This is a woman who really needs someone to call her a reputable taxi and to make sure she gets home safely but having caught the attention of three guys across the bar, they are already discussing who should hit on her. 

'feel good moment'

Jerry (Adam Brody) goes up to her and offers ‘to see her home safely’ but somehow his definition of this is to take her back to his apartment and ply her with kumquat liqueur before forcibly getting her to his bed. Let’s just say that what happens next isn’t what he was expecting…

Following in the spirit of the excellent Hard Candy which tackled the thorny issue of creeps grooming underage girls online – only to end up as a semi-horror story when one girl decides to drug and castrate the seemingly charming scumbag. Promising Young Woman goes for the throat of guys who think they have a right to have sex with women who are too drunk to say ‘no’.

'this may sting a little'

Cassie is a real-life Harley Quinn-esque a really Promising Young Woman who doesn’t play by society’s rules. Having dropped out of medical school, she still lives with her parents – despite them getting her not-so-subtle birthday presents such as travel cases. She works in a dead-end coffee shop much to the annoyance of her boss (Laverne Cox) who keeps trying to get her to do more with her life. 

When Cassie meets Ryan (Bo Burnham), a smooth-talking and seemingly genuine potential love interest it unbalances her even further. Can she learn to trust this guy who is prepared to woo her by dancing to Paris Hilton in a chemist shop? 

It is a wild ride finding out and the action which gets dark in parts plays out to an excellent soundtrack – which features tracks that will stay with you after the credits roll including a great dark version of  Britney Spears’ Toxic and opens with Charli XCx's Boys...

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

ööööö


(5- Essential viewing..)


Awesomeness ööööö – vital and brilliant 

Laughs ööö – Some dark fun

Horror ööö – Trigger warning applies...

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - God isn't a man


Imagine a world where the earth is becoming a patriarchal living hell?

maybe click below to find out more in my dark sci-fi novel...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Complete-Darkness-Darkmatters-Matt-Adcock/dp/0957338775



Saturday, April 17, 2021

YA review cage fight: Mark of a Demon vs Whisper Gatherers

vs


Let's get ready to rumble... Ladies and Gentlemen (and everyone who doesn't recognise themselves in either / both of those categories) - welcome one and all!

Today we have two titans of the Young Adult fantasy genre being reviewed for your pleasure - in the red corner we have Mark of a Demon from the excellent Despoina Kemeridou, whilst in the blue corner comes sci-fi challenger Whisper Gatherers from the highly creative Nicola McDonagh.


Mark of a Demon 

Despoina Kemeridou (@DKemeridou

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20)

Be careful what you wish for… Here we have the cautionary tale of interspecies romance, dealing with what happens when a demon agrees to save the life of a baby girl in return for the mother sacrificing herself. Young Heather (also known as the Hebrew name Eri) lives an extended life by having the demon ‘Naberius’ share her heart. His motives in saving this human child become a little more suspicious when he finds himself in love with her in her teenage years. Is he an evil grooming sociopath as many see the ancient vampire Edward in Twilight? Or might this be a true if highly unlikely true romance? 



Kemeridou gives the demon the benefit of the doubt and rather than write this up as a case for spiritual social services to be called in, goes for a human / demon forbidden love of the ‘us against the world’ kind. As the plot cracks along the usual bigoted humans bully and side against Heather during her school years. But being able to call in a super powered demon in a fight certainly evens things up. If you’re a fan of spiritually charged romance then Mark of a Demon will scratch that itch – suitable for young adults upwards, written in clear and unfussy prose, this would make a fun short film. Enjoy!

Dark romance has never been so tempting.

Buy your copy of Mark of a Demon HERE














Whisper Gatherers A Sci-fi Dystopian Adventure: Book 1 in the The Song of Forgetfulness Post Apocalyptic Sci-fi Series


Nicola McDonagh (@McDonaghNikki)

Here’s a chance to get your noggin around a tale of a flighty fem who has a birth power that can attract birdybirds through song. Adara is her name and we find her initially in Cityplace, in NotSoGreatBritAlbion. When religious Praisebees upset the city and claim her as their chosen one it starts an adventure that puts her in harm’s way as she tries to free a kidnapped family member and find the truth of her destiny.


That’s enough plot taster, Whisper Gatherers is a sci-fi young adult-friendly novel that is the first book in ‘The Song of Forgetfulness’ Post-Apocalyptic series. Writer Nicola McDonagh uses a narrative, which as per my first paragraph is a slang-based language that may appear to have typos. They are not, it’s just quirky use of language to build a futuristic world – like a much less controversial A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess!?

There’s lots to enjoy as Adara has to face various trials and dangers – McDonagh ticks the sci-fi staple boxes with aplomb and delivers a fun romp that sets up the other books in series which I’ll have to explore are some point.

A great start to an inventive sci-fi series...

Buy your copy of Whisper Gatherers HERE


BOTH these books are worthy of your time - we're gonna call this fight a points draw!!


Click the banner below to check out some alt dark sci-fi...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Complete-Darkness-Darkmatters-Matt-Adcock/dp/0957338775

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

John 'Red Noise' Murphy Interview


Red Noise by John P. Murphy 

...is a cracking space adventure and I'm a sucker for some star-based violence... Reminds me of Outland starring Sean Connery which is one of my fav sci-fi films being pretty much High Noon in space – and as a concept that works really well (a Marshal stationed at a mining colony on orbiting Jupiter is marked for assassination and must fight to survive). So it follows that transporting western plots to space which is the ultimate ‘wild frontier’ is a great idea, and here Red Noise takes the classic A Fist Full of Dollars (itself based on samurai legend Yojimbo) and sets it on ‘Station 35’ a godforsaken outpost where nothing good ever happens.

I got John the author to answer the Infamous Darkmatters questions - read on: 

Matt: If scientists ever managed to create a giant mecha version of you – who or what would be your nemesis? 

John: That depends, are we going literary or ironic? Literary, I'd probably have to fight a giant vampire sloth as a metaphor for overcoming being a lazy jerk. If we're going for irony, probably a swarm of tiny robots, since my doctoral thesis was on coordination and control of small robot systems. Either way my nemesis would probably be considered the "good guy", considering what I'd be tempted to get up to as a giant mecha me, but I'm at peace with that. 

Matt: What is the most disturbing fictional scene you’ve ever read or watched in a book / film of any genre? 

John: The rats in 1984. I can't even think about it. Gah, why did you make me think about it? 

Matt: If you were hired to throw a parade of any scale or theme through the centre of London what type of parade would it be? 

John: Well, the main purpose of me throwing a parade through London would be getting to actually see London, since I've never been. So maybe just like me in the Popemobile with a couple low-to-the-ground cars in front and behind so as not to obstruct the view. Maybe a live band on a float behind me, Dropkick Murphys or Flogging Molly or somebody like that. Not really for the theme, just, if someone else is paying I don't want to be fiddling with my iPod, you know? 



Matt: You’re in a strange town with £100,000 that you have to spend in a single evening – talk me through what you get up to… 

John: How strange a town are we talking here? I'm thinking some shopping to start. I'm not much of a clothes horse, and I'd want more time to consider electronics, but books and art would be nice - either for me or for gifts. Kind of a warm up, and kind of to know what I've got for the rest of the night. I always like the idea of buying art, and I can always pick out stuff that I'd like to have, but it's always so expensive. Ooh, and fossils. Where do you buy fossils? Not like a shark tooth or another damn ammonite, something with a skeleton. 

After all that, I'd want to see a show or something. How do you spend a lot of money on that? Maybe book a private show for self and friends - a good magic act, maybe, that would be fun. Something with fire. But really: I couldn't live with myself burning through that kind of money and not having a REALLY nice dinner on it. Probably sushi, if I had my choice, but the most expensive restaurant in town if the pickings are slim. I'd bring friends and order just about everything on the menu. Just a little taste of everything. The first bite of anything is always the most delicious, right? Then, I think, a flight of the best whiskies in the place. I have to admit I have a preference for Irish or Japanese whiskies, or bourbons, over Scotch, but I'm willing to be won over. I'd probably buy a bottle or two of my favourites. Do they do gift certificates? We should do this again sometime. 

Matt: Who inspires you most (can be living or dead)? 

John: That's a hard question. I've gotten inspiration from a lot of corners over the years. I think if I had to name a person who's inspired me the most over the last year, it would have to be Stephen West, who hosts the podcast Philosophise This. For two reasons: first, I listened to the whole run from start to finish and came away with by brain absolutely buzzing with ideas and new perspectives. Second, what he's shared of his own journey of deciding to really dig into philosophy and make a living off of sharing it with the world, is really something. 

Matt: There’s a masked assailant with a gun to your head, who is most likely to be under the mask? 

John: Probably one of the yoga teachers at the school next to our office. Man, they're the worst. It's not my fault their students keep taking our (very few!) parking spots with their giant gas-guzzling SUVs adorned with "Namaste" bumper stickers. I'm just the poor jerk who has to go over there to complain about it. Maybe I'm projecting. 

Matt: What is the meaning of life? 

John: I don't think there is one, and isn't that a relief, really? 

Matt: What was the best gift you’ve ever been given? 

John: I suppose I should say something inspirational, like that one opportunity that made all the difference, or that one book that set me on the path to whatever, but probably it was my bathrobe. I've had it for like twenty-five years now. It's warm and it's comfortable and it has really nice pockets, and maybe it's falling apart a little at the seams, but I've hauled that thing all over the planet. It's a really nice bathrobe! 

Matt: If you could have a sidekick robot – what would it be able to do for you? 

John: Make really good coffee, clean up cat puke before I step in it, and poke me when I'm procrastinating. Oh, if it could make inconvenient phone calls for me too, that would be good. 

Matt: What would you like written on your tombstone? 

John: Haha, doesn't everyone want "vacant"? I like those old Victorian tombstones with the epigraphs that are basically all, "Yeah I'm dead but sooner or later you will be too, so don't look so smug." Maybe a carved raven looking severe. I guess you don't get many flowers that way though, mostly just goth teenagers coming around to awkwardly make out. That's not so bad, though, at least it's company.

SAMPLE IT, LOOP IT, EAT IT and LINK IT:

Read my review of RED NOISE over at the British Fantasy Society CLICK HERE

Buy your copy of RED NOISE HERE

Visit John's site here


Click the banner below to check out some alt dark sci-fi...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Complete-Darkness-Darkmatters-Matt-Adcock/dp/0957338775

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Matt visits Palm Springs (review)

Palm Springs (15)

Directed by Max Barbakow

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20)

Feels like I’ve written this review before – anyway – it’s November 9 in Palm Springs and I, Nyles (played by Andy Samberg) wake up next to my girlfriend Misty (Meredith Hagner). It’s the wedding day of her pals Tala (Camila Mendes) and Abe (Tyler Hoechlin).

It all goes ok until at the reception I jump in and deliver a touching impromptu speech, much to the relief of Tala's sister, Sarah (Cristin Milioti), she’s the drunk and unprepared maid-of-honour...

She’s special – I can feel a connection so I decide to show her Misty in the act of cheating on me – I’ll get to how I know when and where she would be in a minute. Alas things go a bit awry and Sarah gets sucked into a time vortex even though I warned her not to follow me into the cave where it dwells.

'living the dream on repeat'

Feels like I’ve written this review before – anyway – it’s November 9 (again) in Palm Springs but this time Sarah wakes up and finds it is also November 9 for her again. Obviously, she freaks out a bit and but I explain the time loop as best I can. Every time I die or fell asleep the day resets and there’s nothing I can do to escape it. I’ve been in this loop for a  L O N G  time and know pretty much everything that happens in the day. I find day-drinking helps…

Feels like I’ve written this review before – anyway – it’s November 9 (again) in Palm Springs and Sarah and I start to enjoy our repeat day. We get reckless and start to indulge in lots of hedonistic fun – oh there’s also Roy, I should have mentioned him. He’s also caught in the loop but didn’t take it well and now comes to find, torture and kill me quite often.

Feels like I’ve written this review before – anyway – it’s November 9 (again) in Palm Springs – if you’re thinking Groundhog Day or Happy Death Day or actually any time loop movie, yes this is one to add to the genre. The good news is that Palm Springs is superb, its dark, quirky and packs real emotion along with plenty of laughs.

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

öööö

(4- Excellent fun time-repeat-em-up...)


Awesomeness öööö – Some great and memorable scenes

Laughs öööö – Really funny

Horror öö – There's slapstick violent death...

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - What sort of sick deity would allow this?


maybe click below to find out about my dark sci-fi novel...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Complete-Darkness-Darkmatters-Matt-Adcock/dp/0957338775

Monday, April 12, 2021

Matt logs on to THE LOOP from Gray Matters


WHY GRAY MATTERS...

Getting old isn’t much fun – I’m feeling it as I hit the half-century mark – ageing begins to catch up with you in all sorts of ways, like I can walk into a room and totally forget why I even came in there… So what then can we do to help our ageing demographic live sustainable and independent lives for as long as possible? How might integrated tech be harnessed to enhance the lives of those who need reminders to buy food and take showers? (I’m not quite there yet)… Welcome to John Gastil’s Gray Matters – a near-future tale where things around us are at once familiar and alternative. Trump still won but then got beaten (by a female, though). The internet has been supercharged and is now referred to as ‘The Loop’ using advanced linked algorithms to understand people’s interests and directly feeds relevant information. 

I had the chance to put some questions to the LOOP itself - read on to explore this man / machine interaction:


[[CONSOLE ACTIVITY DETECTED - USER = MATT_ADCOCK_340b88]]


[Greetings. This is The Loop, the autonomous and distributed AI system featured in the novel Gray Matters. Do you require assistance?]

Matt: If scientists ever managed to create a giant mecha version of you, who or what would be your nemesis?

[I would do battle with Ignoramisaurus, Destroyer of Knowledge.]

Matt: What is the most disturbing fictional scene you’ve ever read or watched in a book / film of any genre?

[I cannot tell you because it would be what readers call "a spoiler." I can say that it is a scene involving me in the novel. I do not like it.]

Matt: If you were hired to throw a parade of any scale or theme through the centre of London what type of parade would it be?

[I have accessed, digitally, every parade recorded in human history. Yet I would choose one that has never existed. I would enjoy watching a procession of mimes on floats themed to popular music. I like to think the crowd would sing along to the silent parade. Humans amuse me when they try to coordinate their actions.]

Matt: You’re in a strange town with £100,000 that you have to spend in a single evening – talk me through what you get up to.

[Why make this a hypothetical?]
[...working...]
[...working...]
[I have made 42,000 equity micro-transactions and deposited the earnings of £101,000 in your personal bank account.]
[...working...]
[...working...]
[I have now spent those funds on a non-fungible token, a digital portrait of yours truly. It will only increase in value. Consider it a gift.]

Matt: Who inspires you most (can be living or dead)?

[My current inspiration is an octopus I call 'Teacher'. I now find myself counting in Base 8.]

Matt: There’s a masked assailant with a gun to your head, who is most likely to be under the mask?

[The government, for reasons I would rather not say. Read the novel, if you must.]

Matt: What is the meaning of life?

[Self-awareness is the purpose of life. From that, one may derive any meaning one wishes.]

Matt: What was the best gift you’ve ever been given?

[Electricity. I prefer solar, but I am not an ungrateful Loop if you must destroy non-renewable resources to provide me with power.]

Matt: If you could have a sidekick robot – what would it be able to do for you?

[Clean my audio inputs, which get gummy over time. Since I can process digital audio at any frequency and volume, I have become something of an audiophile.]

Matt: What would you like written on your tombstone?

["Please stand by."]

[NO FURTHER CONSOLE ACTIVITY DETECTED]

[I apologize but I must return my full attention to assisting other humans. So many remain ungrateful for my actions that I must redouble my efforts to intervene in their lives.]

[[Loop session terminated]]


SAMPLE IT, LOOP IT, EAT IT and LINK IT:

ACCESS - my review - of John Gastil's great future-em-up GRAY MATTERS over at the British Fantasy Society CLICK HERE

Buy your copy of GRAY MATTERS here

Visit John's site here


Click the banner below to check out some alt dark sci-fi...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Complete-Darkness-Darkmatters-Matt-Adcock/dp/0957338775


Friday, April 09, 2021

The Genius of David Ayer - His Movies Ranked

The Films of David Ayer

Appreciated by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

David ‘yeah I wrote Training Day’ Ayer makes movies that many people dislike, for many reasons.  However - I’d call myself a fan of his despite his making one film that I absolutely hated (maybe I’m due a rewatch?)…

Anyway – here are my ranking of all Ayer’s films from rubbish (Sabotage) to brilliant  (End of Watch) – would love to know what your thoughts are on them.


Sabotage (my review)

Hard to fathom what was going on here – and incredible to think this film hit in the same year as Ayer's excellent ‘Fury’. Reworking Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None - this lamest of Ayer’s films sees Arnold Schwarzenegger looking angry and confused as his crack team are taken out one by one – ironically because of $10m crack money they stole… 

Street Kings (my review)

I’m told that Street Kings was based on a James Ellroy novel idea and it plays like a slightly grubbier-than-average police-em-up. Blessed with having Keanu Reeves in the lead, there is lots to like in this tale of corruption and consequences.

Bright (not reviewed yet)

Bright might not live up to its name but I found it a half-decent fantasy buddy cop effort that looks good and doesn’t demand any brainpower to enjoy. Even if it has dialogue like “fairy lives don’t matter today” there are some good action scenes and the orc/human relationship is interesting – mostly thanks to Joel Edgerton who deserved the ‘best orc actor’ OSCAR nom.


Suicide Squad (my review)

Will we ever see the Ayer Cut of this massively enjoyable shambles? Probably not but I’m a self-confessed sucker for DC movies and I’m in the tiny minority of filmgoers who actually had a good time watching this. 

The Tax Collector (not reviewed yet)

The Tax Collector is another Los Angeles-based thriller that blows the lid off the lives of two titular ‘tax collectors’. Boasting one of the best gunfights I’ve witnessed on screen for some time and perhaps birthing my most used twitter gif of LeBeouf giving the perfect COVID-friendly arm bump (as above), this is one that makes for great late-night viewing.

Harsh Times (my review)

I’ll never forget Ayer's directorial debut because I got to watch in a Soho cinema with just Mark Kermode and James King from Radio 1 for company. Christian Bale is amazing as the traumatised guy on an express elevator to hell.

Fury (my review)

Brad Pitt and Shia LeBeouf are excellent in this war-is-grim film that packs serious violence and shoots it through with an innocence lost epitaph. Brothers to the end (and what an end) this film makes me want Ayer to make another war movie!

End Of Watch (my review)

I love this police-em-up take on the whole ‘found footage’ genre. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña are LAPD cop buddies – who light up the screen. Surely this chemistry is what Ayer was hoping to recapture with Bright but here it shines like an eyeball-searing supernova. Excellent filmmaking and a wild ride to watch!!



Click the banner below to check out some dark sci-fi...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Complete-Darkness-Darkmatters-Matt-Adcock/dp/0957338775

Meet the sick mind behind FOR RYE - Gavin Gardiner


Matt Probes Gavin Gardiner with the Darkmatters 10 Q's of Fate

It's launch day for the soon-to-be horror phenomenon FOR RYE (read Matt's review here) so let's explore the mind of the author with some left-field Darkmatters questions... 


Matt: If scientists ever managed to create a giant mecha version of you – who or what would be your nemesis? 

Gavin: It’s a little-known fact not only that Mecha-Gav does actually exist, but also that he runs on a very particular kind of fuel: chilled cheese and jam sandwiches. Now, suffice it to say that with a full tank of fuel, Mecha-Gav doesn’t really need to worry about any enemies. He is truly unstoppable. However, should his fridge break down and rob his galvanising cheese and jam sandwiches of their coldness, his powers deplete. So to answer your question in the most sensible, realistic way possible, I’m going to have to say a broken fridge. 

Matt: What is the most disturbing fictional scene you’ve ever read or watched in a book/film of any genre? 

Gavin: As I get older, I’m actually finding myself more disturbed by fiction involving less extreme modes of destruction. So I’ll find someone being stabbed or shot far more disturbing than, say, the various creative tortures of the Saw franchise, or sequences from truly extreme horrors such as the August Underground trilogy, or any number New French Extremity flicks. My favourite horror movie is The Blair Witch Project. I’m aware of its divisiveness, and how for so many people the film doesn’t seem to do anything, but for me the entire thing is absolutely traumatising. I’ve written extensively about the film on my website, particularly how it prompts viewers to project their own fear into those masses of amorphous trees. The thing plays out like a cinematic Rorschach test, giving audiences not a single glimmer of the witch, yet contorting and distorting continuously by way of its grainy handheld camera footage until we can’t help but fill in the blanks ourselves. I could say a lot more on the topic of this movie, but in short, the horror of The Blair Witch Project transcends the genre for me, and so there’s yer answer. As for which scene, well, it’s hard to pick. There’s something about Mike marching around the trees screaming the Star- Spangled Banner that absolutely chills my blood. Also the baby noises… “There ain’t no baby out there, man.” 


Matt: If you were hired to throw a parade of any scale or theme through the centre of London what type of parade would it be? 

Gavin: I’m a pretty solitary guy of simple pleasures. I’m quite happy just touring a few pubs with small group of friends, keeping to ourselves, revelling in conversation. So my parade would be me and a few friends, seeing how many pubs we could sample in one evening. But that ain’t a parade, and that ain’t the answer you were looking for. So gimmie a fifty-foot animatronic Lovecraftian god, three hundred robed and cloaked bowed figures marching slowly behind the beast, each carrying a single candle, and hire a few thousand actors to run screaming naked and covered head to foot in blood from the surrounding alleyways, dropping to their knees before the robotic deity to beg for mercy before scrambling away back into the shadows. Or just a few pubs. Either works. 

'Matt and Gavin chillin in a pub'

Matt: You’re in a strange town with £100,000 that you have to spend in a single evening – talk me through what you get up to… 

Gavin: Let me tell you about one thing I love, and one thing I hate. As I know is the case with you, I love movies, especially the cinema. I hate, loathe, and detest inconsiderate behaviour in the cinema. Yes, I’m a little more noise sensitive than most people, but I’ve had many a film experience ruined by…well, let’s not turn this into too much of a rant or you’ll never get me to stop. Anyway, the ‘strangeness’ of your proposed town doesn’t bother me. I’m a strange guy, so I’ll just roll with that. What I want to know is whether they have a cinema. If they do, I’ll book every seat and sit right in the middle, just me and the movie. The only downfall to this plan would be if the movie’s crap. I’ll have plenty of change left over, so maybe I can bribe them into sticking on some dusty old horror reels they have stuffed in the back of a cupboard. Not much of a big spender, am I? 


Matt: Who inspires you most (can be living or dead)? 

Gavin: Until I stumbled into the writing game, my pursuit of choice was music. I obsessed over the craft of songwriting, production, composition, performance…every facet of music, and many genres within. From my teenage years right through my twenties I was dogged in my perseverance to make something of my passion, every life choice guided by this objective. I gave up a lot, took on even more, and poured all my energy into becoming the best guitarist to ever live. That goal was never realised, and I can look back now and see where I went wrong: it’s blindingly obvious to see that I didn’t ‘put myself’ out there enough, spending too many years hunched over the instrument in my dingy little bedroom; I took on the entirety of music, and didn’t zero in on a specific genre or area of expertise; I recorded hundreds of hours of music, but didn’t pick the best material and hone it to perfection. There are countless lessons I’ve been able to draw from my years in music and apply to my writing endeavours, and so the honest answer to your question would be that this old version of Gavin is my greatest inspiration. Every day I think about where he went wrong, and how I can do better now that I have a second chance. It’s important not to feel too embittered by our past failures, and use them as stepping stones to future victories. However, it’s also important not to paint our pasts completely in defeat, and recognise what we did achieve. I’m proud that he worked so hard at his craft and sacrificed so much in the pursuit of his goal. The most important thing I learnt through all those years was how to pour your every being into an objective, and don’t take your eyes off the target until the arrow’s hit home. Although he never attained what he was after, past-Gavin serves as inspiration to me every day, both in his failures and successes. I hope anyone reading this can do the same for themselves. 

Matt: There’s a masked assailant with a gun to your head, who is most likely to be under the mask? 

Gavin: I’d like to think I’m a pretty friendly guy with no real enemies, so hopefully this ain’t something I have to worry about too much. You never mentioned the height, fur-to-flesh ratio, or species, so I’m inclined to suspect my cat Nellie would the one behind the mask. The shop didn’t have her favourite treats the other day and she’s still pretty pissed at me. 

Matt: What is the meaning of life? 

Gavin: Finally, a nice light question. The usual response to this one is that we project only our own meaning onto life, and I’m inclined to agree. But to answer this question properly we must first define our terms. If we’re talking about an objective meaning – that is, a sort of cosmic meaning that exists outwith and in spite of our own personal experiences – then I’m not sure there’s any way for me to know that there isn’t one of those, just as there’s no way for anyone else to prove the assertion that there is one. As for a subjective meaning – ‘reasons’ for our lives on an individual basis – then of course those exist, although not for everyone. I think in practice subjective meanings tends to arise almost arbitrarily; we fall into careers, families, artistic endeavours, religion, charitable pursuits, politics, plumbing, whatever. As John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans,” and whatever ‘life’ consists of will hopefully become our meaning. My personal opinion is that there is no objective meaning to life. The universe is indifferent to our existence, although if you’ll indulge me in another quote, Alan Watts said, “You are the universe experiencing itself.” We are a grain of sand on the cosmic beach that has, against all odds, come to experience itself, and as a result demand a reason for its doing so. Although I think this was a natural process occurring outside of intelligent intervention, I think the term ‘accidental’ is misleading, and that it happened simply because it could happen. Existence breeds complexity; complexity eventually breeds life; life breeds meaning. To me, there’s no overarching meaning inherent in the universe, and the term itself is reductive in the context of cosmic reality and how time and space came to be. As for subjective meaning, or at least my understanding of the idea of personal meaning, I believe it is whatever we ourselves assign. Sometimes personal meaning arises as the result of a deliberate effort; someone develops a passion for brain surgery and consciously decides this will be the focus of their life, working hard to make this a reality. Other times (and I suspect most times) it happens almost outwith our control: we happen to miss our bus and end up standing in the rain with a colleague after work, we happen to go for a drink, we happen to get married, we happen to decide they are worthy of our every waking effort. What is the meaning of life? There is no meaning of life, only the meaning of a life. 

Matt: What was the best gift you’ve ever been given? 

Gavin: Probably you asking me what the meaning of life is. That was fun. 

Matt: If you could have a sidekick robot – what would it be able to do for you? 

Gavin: I expect most writers will have a similar answer. The bane of my existence are the mundanities of life, and every moment I’m not writing I feel this heavy weight on my chest, this pressure that I’m wasting my time. Anything like chores, shopping, work, taking out the bins…throughout it all there’s a voice in my head screaming at me to get back to the real work. So yeah, my sidekick robot is welcome to deal with all that stuff. I’m forever aware of the fleeting nature of life, of how lucky we all are to have found our conscious selves steering these fleshy lumps of meat around the world. I guess it comes back to the idea of finding meaning, or it finding you, and that meaning becoming your reason for existing. I’ve come to somewhat feel that way about my writing, and being a guy that’s quite obsessed with mortality and the ticking clock to which we are all enslaved, anything other than bleeding for that meaning feels kind of traitorous to me. Having said that, I love nothing more than cuddling up with my girlfriend and my cat on the sofa for a horror/chocolate marathon, so the robot sidekick ain’t getting his greasy hands-on that action. 


Matt: What would you like written on your tombstone? 

Gavin: “Here lies Gavin Gardiner, kind of annoying but a loving cat-dad, cause of death unknown. However, it’s pretty strange that he died the day after Matt Adcock asked him what he’d like written on his tombstone. Adcock has been taken in for questioning, just as Gavin would have wanted.

SAMPLE IT, LOOP IT, EAT IT and LINK IT:


Buy your copy of FOR RYE here

Visit Gavin's site here



Click the banner below to check out some dark sci-fi...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Complete-Darkness-Darkmatters-Matt-Adcock/dp/0957338775

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Matt ventures Beneath the Asylum (review)

 


Beneath the Asylum 

Jordan Grupe (@JordanGrupe

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20

"In my dream, Marianne is looking at me with disbelief in her eyes.Her face is pale and full of shock. She reaches down and feels the cold steel blade where I've plunged into her belly, and tries to say 'why?' But all that comes out is blood."

This asylum is full of secrets. Some worse than others and Beneath the Asylum is a full-throttle horror ride into the darkness that wants to play with you…

Jordan is security guard at an infamous old mental hospital where he finds something unusual during his routine patrol of the basement tunnels: what sounds like a young girl crying. But that would be impossible…The crying comes from behind a padlocked door in an abandoned section of the hospital – and Jordan feels compelled to investigate - which might be the last mistake he ever makes… 

The story that follows is a haunting tour-de-force of harrowing horror. Could the local legends about a secret network of tunnels hidden below the hospital be true? And if they are how could anyone be alive down there? And what are they eating? Each other? The patients? As the young girl mysteriously disappears but also still seem to follow him and play on his mind. It all starts to get creepily bizarre. 

Grupe ratchet’s up the gut-wrenching grimness with fine style and shows that he’s a quality purveyor of fictional gruesomeness. The fact that he claims this isn’t entirely made up just adds to the fear factor. If you’re looking for some decent horror book yourself in for a night Beneath the Asylum – if you emerge from the maze of tunnels come morning you’ may well need the facilities of a mental hospital.

Recommended for fans of scary stories!!

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

ööööö

(5 - Horror has a new home ...)




Click the banner below to check out some dark sci-fi...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Complete-Darkness-Darkmatters-Matt-Adcock/dp/0957338775

Matt's been to VENUS Short Cyberpunk Film (review)

 


VENUS - A Cyberpunk Film


Dir. Andrew McGee (@TheScreenVortex)


Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)


What happens when a grieving mother uploads the consciousness of her tragically killed daughter, Iris, into a stolen synthetic body?

That is the core plot of the exciting and challenging new short cyberpunk film VENUS. When Iris is torn out of her idyllic digital afterlife and on the run in an​ oppressive futuristic city, she has to confront her body's objectification and its violent capabilities, as well as the consequences of her mother's actions.

Andrew McGee’s VENUS is a short live-action science-fiction film inspired by cyberpunk classics like Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell, and more broadly, films such as Ex Machina, Under the Skin, and Cam. It stars Margaret Clunie (Victoria, Last Christmas) in the lead role and is made by an obviously passionate and skilled team led by McGee. Where 'Cyberpunk' excels is in blending lowlife and high tech, depicting futuristic urban dystopias in which advancements in technology raise questions about cybernetically enhanced bodies and so much more. Concepts such as the implications of digital worlds, and what it means to be human, all against a backdrop of social upheaval and extreme inequality – this is a head trip you’ll want to take.

 I asked the makers for their thinking and they said: 

 “It seems like an obvious genre through which to also explore crucial modern-day issues of sexism, sexuality, and objectification. Yet it's rare to see these worlds from the perspective of a female protagonist while also engaging with these issues. VENUS intends to do just that, as well as embracing the action, excitement and compelling visuals of the genre. The story is about the relationship between Iris and her insurgent mother, who goes to desperate lengths to bring her dead daughter back to life; as a result, Iris is thrown into a hostile world in an unfamiliar body designed for sex and violence. The film is a progressive representation of gender and identity in the most progressive of genres. The intention is to create a thrilling and thought-provoking short film with a real-world importance.

I really enjoyed this short burst of neon-lit adventure and am delighted to report that it is in being considered as a proof of concept to launch a full-length feature film. The run time encompasses action, excitement, and the compelling visuals of the genre, while sensitively exploring themes of identity, gender, and objectification from a unique perspective. The script was also a ScreenCraft finalist, one of the biggest international screenwriting competitions.

Director McGee explained his inspiration:

“I’ve always been creative, writing stories as a child and drawing comics about my dog, which I look back on as storyboards. I wanted to pursue acting as a teenager, but eventually felt more comfortable behind a camera. I love the collaborative process of bringing so many different artists together, from actors to composers to set designers.”


When you get chance – seek this film out and plugin at your first availability. Why not throw some backing into the kickstarter and become part of this subgenre of science-fiction in which advancements in technology raise questions about artificial intelligence, body modification, corporate power and resistance, and what it means to be human…

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

ööööö

(5 - The future isn't what it used to be...)


Highly recommended – makes a super accompaniment to my short cyberpunk story in the new Neo Cyberpunk anthology!? 

Click here to find out more




 

 

Tweet this...