DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Read my novel: Complete Darkness

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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:


(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:


(5 - One Hell of a ride)

Buy your ticket to Hell here

Click this image for some more dark sci-fi !!

– 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...
“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:


(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:


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

Buy your thousand miles to nowhere road trip here

Click this image for some more dark sci-fi !!

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