Thursday, 30 April 2015

Thunder, Thunder, Thundercats, Hooooo!: Larry Kenney Talks to Patrick Scattergood



Larry Kenney, best known as the voice of Lion-O from Thundercats, has kindly popped in to COASM to talk to Patrick Scattergood about his long career, his influences and more!

PS: Thank you for taking the time to pop in to our little part of the internet for a chat.


PS: You’re best known for your radio work and your voice work on various shows.  What made you want to start a career in those fields?

LK: Like most kids, I loved cartoons and animated movies and TV series. Mel Blanc and Dawes Butler were two of my idols, and I spent many hours mimicking their work ... I was what we used to call a "class clown." When I became a radio disc jockey I incorporated cartoon voices and impressions into my show. It tuned out to be great experience for voice acting.



PS: With the voice performances being one of the most important parts of creating a character that will be long lasting and thrill fans, why do you think that side of the creation process doesn’t get as much credit as it deserves?

LK: I think we're getting more and more credit these days in part because big-name actors have entered the field and brought their name recognition to the art. There's also more focus on all aspects of the Entertainment Industry today due to the proliferation of TV networks, social media, etc.


PS: You have performed as a long list of various characters in your career ranging from Karate Kat and Count Chocula right up to Lion-O.  What would you say draws you in to wanting to perform as a certain character?

LK: I most enjoy playing characters that are multi-dimensional ... Lion-O, for example, who had to grow into the role of Lord of the ThunderCats while growing into manhood. Villains are fun to play, too; you get to over-act and "chew the scenery," as we say.



PS: Lion-O’s distinctive voice became the soundtrack to a great many of us growing up, especially with his shout of ‘Thundercats Ho’, what would you say has been the best part of being so associated with that part?


 LK: The best part of having played Lion-O is hearing from fans of all ages that ThunderCats was more than just a cartoon show to them. People from all around the world have told me how the show gave them a moral compass and taught them about loyalty, honesty justice and truth. It's a great feeling!


PS: With being involved in such a well-known show as Thundercats, you must have had some great experiences with the fans of the show itself.  What would you say was the most memorable?
 


 LK: In recent years, I've had the pleasure of meeting thousands of fans at ComiCons and other conventions. Some come in costume, some with Lion-O tattoos, and others bring their kids ... a whole new generation of ThunderCats fans. One of my most memorable interactions was with a young lady who wanted me to autograph her breast. I compromised and signed her belly.


PS: When the Thundercats show was revived, you returned as well but as the character of Claudus.  How did it feel to be a different character in the show?

LK: I was honored when Warner Brothers asked me to play Claudus in their re-boot of the show. I think it was an homage to the fans of the original series, as well as to those of us who produced it. It was a bit strange not playing Lion-O but I did get to reprise the famous line, "ThunderCats Ho!"



PS: With performers such as yourself being able to create such a long cast of characters, what would you say is the toughest part of the job?

LK: The toughest part of the job? Hmmm ... well, there's no heavy lifting so that can't be it. When you start out as an actor it's hard to get accustomed to rejection ... auditioning over and over and not getting work. I'm over that now.


PS: You’ve had a long career but what would you say has given you such longevity?

LK: I guess I owe my longevity to perseverance, tenacity, and luck. That, along with a bit of talent, can take you a long way.



PS: With the voice acting work becoming a lot better known, thanks to documentaries such as ‘I Know That Voice’, do you have any advice for anyone wanting to become a voice artist?

LK: If you want to be a voice actor, take classes! Do an internet search for Voice Acting Classes in your area and study them. You'll want a place that promises to introduce you to Casting Directors, Agents, and people from all areas of the business during the course. And make sure they help you create a demo CD of your work that you can use to get an agent.


PS: Where can your fans expect to see or hear you next?

LK: I'll be appearing at several conventions this year in Illinois, Connecticut, Long Island, and Philadelphia. You can hear me on TV commercials for Skittles, Cocoa Puffs, Campbell's Soup, and others.


PS: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us here today Mr Kenney.

LK: Thanks, Pat.



Sunday, 26 April 2015

Behind the Curtain Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written and Illustrated By
Andrzej Klimowski
Danusia Schejbal

Cover By
Andrzej Klimowski

Published By
Self Made Hero

Genre
Autobiographical, Drama, Art, Politics

Synopsis

During the 1970's, many East European citizens dreamed of going West.  Behind the Curtain is an autobiographical account of two young art students who travelled the other way.

Studying and working in Poland, they found themselves part of a vibrant community.  Producing visionary work across the arts - even as prices rocketed, trade unions drove social unrest and, finally, tanks appeared in the streets.

A unique collaboration interweaving two distinctive styles, Behind the Curtain combines life, art and politics to reveal the cultural environment that flourished despite the harsh realities of the communist state.

When toilet paper is worth its weight in gold, what price do you put on expression?

Review

As regular readers of this site will know, I am quite a big fan of the work that Self Made Hero put out.  The thing that makes them stand out to me as a publisher is the simple fact that their releases are so incredibly varied.  Behind the Curtain is one of those such releases.

Self Made Hero is a publisher that will often take work by artists and writers from various countries that we might not otherwise get to see.  With Behind the Curtain, they have continued that in a rather impressive way.

The story of the 1970's exodus of citizens going West in the hopes of finding a better life and future is a story that has been well documented.  Yet here they tell the story of the people that went the opposite way.  I personally haven't really read a lot of that journey so I was very eager to get my hands on the story behind that journey.

Here, Behind the Curtain, tells the story of two young students that travelled to Poland in order to study art and to hopefully make a name for themselves in a place that had a bustling art scene amongst all the political and social upheaval that surrounded them at the time.

The way the team of Klimowski and Schejbal combine their deeply personal stories alongside that of the political rise of the communist state as well as their hopes and dreams is so well handled that the story has so many layers to it that you will come back to it again and again.  The thing that I loved the most about Behind the Curtain is the fact that the story is hard hitting, incredibly sad in places but still comes across with a sense of hope and determination.

The historical side of the story is very well written too and perfectly captures this important period in history in such a way that you feel like you are inside the story with them and watching it all unfold in front of your very eyes.

Art wise, this book has a simple, gritty charm to it and made me think of the old style newspaper comic strips that you used to get in the daily newspapers.  That style to the art gave the story itself a bit of an old fashioned charm yet without feeling dated.  In fact, the art was treated as if it was another character in their heartfelt story and was used so effectively that it really draws your eyes to what is happening on the page.  It's there that you start to notice all the little details that they have put in to the story and that, for me, really raises it up to a much higher quality.

As a fan of autobiographical stories, especially when given a setting that stands in such an important part of political and social history as this one, Behind the Curtain is a graphic novel that, for me, feels like a very important read and one that should definitely be on a lot of shelves.

Story 8.5/10
Art 8/10
Cover 8.5/10
Recommended 9/10
Overall 34/40

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The Empress Game Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Rhonda Mason

Published By
Titan Books

Genre
Science Fiction, Fantasy

Synopsis

One seat on the intergalactic Sakien Empire’s supreme ruling body, the Council of Seven, remains unfilled, that of the Empress Apparent. The seat isn’t won by votes or marriage. It’s won in a tournament of ritualized combat in the ancient tradition. Now that tournament, the Empress Game, has been called and the women of the empire will stop at nothing to secure political domination for their homeworlds. Kayla Reunimon, a supreme fighter, is called to battle it out in the arena.

The battle for political power isn’t contained by the tournament’s ring, however. The empire’s elite gather to forge, strengthen or betray alliances in a dance that will determine the fate of the empire for a generation. With the empire wracked by a rising nanovirus plague and stretched thin by an ill-advised planet-wide occupation of Ordoch in enemy territory, everything rests on the woman who rises to the top.

Review

Visitors to this blog will most definitely have realised by now that I love a good ol' bit of science fiction.  Book, movie, television show, I'm not fussed which form of media it takes as long as it grips me.

Well The Empress Game by Rhonda Mason is a book that falls in to that genre and comes with a fair bit of talk and hype around it.  I must admit that I wasn't familiar with her work so I came in to this book with a fairly open mind.

Apparently this is going to be the first novel in a trilogy and it wastes no time in setting the scene for how and where the action is going to take place and boy is there a lot of action here.  That's both a great point of strength for the novel and also one of the weaker links in it's armour.  The action sequences here are well written and really give a sense of grandeur to the book, as do the descriptions of the settings.  You really can picture the world that Mason has created in your head and that goes a long way in gripping in enough to want to see what will leap off of the next page.  There are some moments that really felt like they would have been at home in a book from the Ray Bradbury era of science fiction writing yet retains Mason's voice very well.

Characters wise, there are some really ones here yet you also come away from the story thinking that nobody is safe.  I love that sense of surprise that Mason has running through the tale itself as it really adds to the scenes of tension.  I have to admit that there were a couple of characters that just seemed to be there as dressing yet they did what they were there to do and moved the plot along.

With a clear sense of action and adventure as well as memorable characters and set pieces, this is a science fiction / fantasy hyrbid that should hook in fans of the genre.

Story 7.5/10
Characters 7.5/10
Cover 7.5/10
Recommended 7.5/10
Overall 30/40


Monday, 20 April 2015

Sentient Zombie Space Pigs Issues 1 & 2 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Lizzie Boyle

Art and Cover By
Conor Boyle

Published By
Disconnected Press

Genre
Horror, Science Fiction, Comedy

Synopsis

Issue 1

First contact is stopped dead in its tracks by good, honest, God fearing folks.  That is, until they try to dispose of the evidence.

When old Harlan finds an intruder on his property..Well, they're intrudin' on his property.  He exercises his right to defend his family and farm, and sets off a chain of events that the local community wouldn't ever dream of.  Mostly because they're a bit stupid.

Welcome to the world of Sentient Zombie Space Pigs.

Welcome to the Aporkalypse!

Issue 2

First contact has been lost in a field.  Humanity stumbles on, slightly peckish.

Old Harlan Hipstickle was just protecting his property when he shot the alien that landed in his backyard.  No reason for a fuss, and no point in having folks know his business.

And what's wrong with the pigs getting a feed at the same time?  It's only nature.

Now Harlan's got a pitchfork through his belly, his townsfolk have transformed into slavering swine, and it seems only his nephew Carl and niece Jenny have got an idea with sense: to get one of the pigs to the vet...

With the media, the FBI and the military all starting to take notice, they need to act fast.

Welcome back to the world of Sentient Zombie Space Pigs.

Review

First things first, let's get one thing clear.  Sentient Zombie Space Pigs is one of the best comic book titles I've ever seen in my 32 years as a comic book fan.

With this in mind, I went in to this title wondering just what kind of story a comic book with that sort of title would have and the simple answer to that is, a very funny and interesting story.

One of the things I liked the most about these two issues is the simple fact that it knows it's a bit of a strange story but the team of Lizzie Boyle and Conor Boyle take the story and run with it, showing just how much fun they are having with it.  With the fast pacing and dark humour running through these two issues, I found myself wondering just what exactly was going to happen next.  You really couldn't tell where the story was going to go next and I loved that uncertain feel to the story.

The pair also take some of the cliches that you find in the fun, sometimes low budget 'b' movies that we all know and love, but they turn them around in a darkly comic way.  My favourite of these being the FBI agent that is going to retire after just 'one more case'.

I also liked the use of Whitesnake song lyrics in issue one and Iron Maiden lyrics in the second issue.  Lizzie Boyle slipped these in to the story in such a way that if you didn't know they were lyrics, you would have thought they were part of the story full stop.  They just felt so at home that it added another layer to the story for me.

The black and white act by Conor Boyle works really well with the writing and gives the movie a bit of an old movie feel to it.  That is most true with some of the angles used in the panels.  Conor Boyle doesn't ever seem to just go for the normal, bog standard views, instead using the surroundings and shadows as if they are a character themselves.  That gave the story a darker, edgier feel that really made me want to know what was around the next corner.

If these two issues are anything to go by then I definitely can't wait for the next installment.  These two issues have an interesting story, some darkly comic moments and endings that leave you wanting more as soon as you have closed the comic.What more could you want?

Issue 1

Story 8/10
Art 8/10
Cover 9/10
Recommended 8/10
Overall 33/40

Issue 2

Story 8.5/10
Art 8/10
Cover 9/10
Recommended 8.5/10
Overall 34/40

Sunday, 19 April 2015

The Birmingham Comics Festival 2015 Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Birmingham is a city that is fast becoming known for having great ties to the comic book creating world.  Thanks to that, the conventions are coming back to the city and rightfully so.

On one hand, you have the MCM convention, which to me doesn't feel all that much like a comic book convention anymore, but you also have the ICE convention too.

This year, we had a new convention to add to the growing list called The Birmingham Comics Festival.  Organised by Steve Tanner, from Time Bomb Comics, and Victor Wright, from Geeky Kid Comics, they sought to create a convention that would combine the big names to draw the punters in but to also do a good service to both the seasoned and new comers to the indie comic book scene too.

Overall, I think that they did a really good job of combining the two.  You had some really well known names involved and a whole group of indie creators.  This really helped to give the convention an excited vibe that not only came from the visitors but also from the exhibitors there as well.

You also had the cosplay element to proceedings as well.  I know that to some creators, the cosplay side of things feels like it takes away from the convention because of the fact that it can sometimes go the route of having people too busy taking pictures of the costumes or having pictures taken with the characters.  To some extent, I can sort of agree but at the same time, it adds a sense of colour and fun to the day, especially considering that more and more children have been starting to come to conventions.

As an exhibitor at the convention myself, the fact that it was quite busy was a good sign.  It seemed at times that there were more people looking than buying at that is the nature of these sorts of things.  I look at doing these conventions as a way of networking and if I can get some sales from it then that's a bonus.

Near the end of the convention, it did seem to empty pretty quickly but thanks to the wonders of having a quick google, that turned out to be because Mark Millar was doing a signing so that could have been a big part of the reason behind that.

All in all, it was a brilliant day, I made some great contacts for my own work and I had a hell of a lot of fun so I will definitely be attending next year.  Plus if this year was anything to go by then next years will be even better.

Score: 7/10

Lenore: Pink Bellies Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written and Illustrated By
Roman Dirge

Published By
Titan Books

Genre
Comedy, Horror

Synopsis

She's dead silly!

The world's cutest, most adorable and pungent living-dead girl is back with a tale one year in the making, a tale of extreme silliness, ickiness and dramatic-iness and one that will leave the universe of Lenore shaken to it's very foundations...

Lenore: Pink Bellies collects together a four-book story arc that not only reveals the secret origin of Lenore's uber-mysterious protector, Taxidermy, but also sees a much-loved member of the Lenore universe die, never to return.

Seriously, they're not coming back to life.  No sir, they're dead.  D.E.A.D. dead.

Review

The Lenore series from Roman Dirge has always been massively popular and rightfully so.  The dark humour hidden under a story that looks cute on the surface has always been something that has hooked me in whenever a new installment comes out.

The thing I have always loved about these series of books by Dirge is the simple fact that Dirge can put the most extreme things on to the page but thanks to the extremely funny moments and the absolutely gorgeous art, you find yourself falling in love with the entire, varied cast of characters that he has created.

The fact that Lenore has been going for twenty years is obviously a testament to the strength of the writing, the stories themselves as well as the love that the fans feel for the character.  The fact that Dirge can make you really get you involved and emotionally hooked in to the lives of some very strange characters like these but make it feel completely normal to feel like that, that really shows just why they have lasted twenty years.

This collection serves as a really good jumping on point for anyone that may not be all that familiar with the adventures of the cute, little dead girl.  It is true that there are some jokes and moments here that the long time fans will get a much bigger kick out of but for the most part, Pink Bellies will not only hook in new fans but will delight the older ones too.

The sheer amount of pop culture references are very well done here.  How Dirge manages to fit so many in without it getting in the way of the main story is beyond me but he drops some absolute zingers here that had me howling with laughter.

If you enjoy shows such as Family Guy, or some of the Adult Swim stuff that's doing the rounds at the moment, then you will love this charming, macabre and very funny collection.

Story 8/10
Art 8/10
Cover 8/10
Recommended 8/10
Overall 32/40

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

The Missing: Complete Series One Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Harry Williams
Jack Williams

Directed By
Tom Shankland

Genre
Thriller

Cast

James Nesbitt as Tony Hughes
Frances O'Connor as Emily Hughes
Tcheky Karyo as Julien Baptiste
Jason Flemyng as Mark Walsh
Emilie Dequenne as Laurence Relaud
Said Taghmaoui as Khalid Ziane
Titus De Voogdt as Vincent Bourg
Eric Godon as Georges Deloix

Year Released
2014

Certificate
15

Synopsis

When Tony and Emily Hughes travel to France with their 5-year-old son Oliver, their family holiday turns into a nightmare when Oliver disappears into the crowd of a busy French street.

Review

The thing that I have noticed about some recent crime thrillers is that the story sometimes seems to outstay it's welcome and drag out the story to such a degree that it feels like it's more filler than mystery.

The Missing, a British mini-series, is one of those sorts of series that starts with a bang and really hooks you in but then it ends with a bit of a whimper and that's a real shame because this series had a lot going for it.

The first four episodes are absolutely brilliant.  The pacing, the way the story jumps from past to present and the twists are all handled in such a way that you can't take your eyes from the screen.  Some of this is due to the fantastic writing that the team have done here and it really shows that they wanted the story to get under the viewers skin and stay there.  That is made possible by some absolutely brilliant performances from the cast here, especially that of James Nesbitt.  He really puts forward just terrifying it would be to be put in his shoes and he does so in such a subtle and emotional way that it feels completely realistic and heart breaking in equal measure.

But then the second set of four episodes, a lot of the hard work seems to come undone.  The flashbacks and the action set in the present day seemed to clash instead of being smooth like in the first four episodes and some of the twists that popped up seemed to telegraphed that it was almost as if they were trying to fit them all in before the end of the series.  That left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth as I had enjoyed the first episodes so much.  The performances kept up at their high level of quality yet the dialogue just seemed to be used as filler or even ended up sounding inane in places.

However, for me, the worst part was the ending.  It just seemed so flat and clumsily written that it really let the series down yet left some of the loose ends hanging there to leave you wondering if there would be a second series.  I feel that would be a mistake as a story like this would definitely work better as a solo series and probably just kept at between 4-6 episodes at the most, not the 8 here as some of the later ones just felt like filler.

All in all, this is still a series that is well worth checking out.  For me, the best part was by far the performance by James Nesbitt.  That was definitely the highlight of the series for me and made it worth watching.

Show 6/10

Monday, 6 April 2015

Jupiter: Issue One Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By and Art By
Drew Askew

Published By
Ink and Booze

Genre
Action, Supernatural, Comedy

Synopsis

Jupiter is a man with a past, a really cool, movie star, pro wrestling past. That's all behind him now though and what's ahead has pointy teeth and has kidnapped a whole bunch of scientists. It's going to take more than elbow drops and high flying footwork to solve this case!

Presented in black and white (like a proper noir) Jupiter is the first chapter in a Ghostbusters meets Raymond Chandler world full of Femme Fatales, ghosts, dropkicks and tommy guns. 
 
Review
 
When I saw the premise for this indie comic, I have to admit that it definitely grabbed my interest.  A Mexican wrestler that investigates crimes that have a paranormal / supernatural slant to them?  Definitely something that I would grab off a shelf.
 
After taking a look, Jupiter is a fast paced, random as hell comedy with some instantly quotable lines and moments.  There's a cynically sarcastic feel to the humour and it works really well with the flashy and frantic art.

Much of the quality comes from the simple fact that the first issue lets you in to a little bit of Jupiter's back story but then throws you full in to the action.  I loved that fast and funny pacing that Askew really excels at here.  You're not really given a chance to rest up or catch your breath before the next quip or the next action sequence.

Another thing that really struck me was the art.  Like I said earlier, it has a frantic sense to the art and that really shows on the more action packed sequences in this issue.  Askew's style really gives a fantastic sense of movement to the characters, which considering one of  them is a masked Mexican wrestler that's an important part of just why this comic works so well.

One of the things that this comic reminded me of was the movie Bubba Ho-Tep starring Bruce Campbell.  Yes that had a completely different setting but the humour that runs throughout the story really reminded me of that movie, mainly because of the cynical nature of some of the jokes here.  To be honest, it was quite refreshing to see a comedic indie comic that knew exactly what it was and played to it's strengths in such a successful way.

All in all, I can't wait for the next issue of this one.  Jupiter is definitely a title that I will be keeping an eye on.  It's funny, exciting and had a great ending that left me wanting the second issue.

Plus besides, who would want a comic book with a line like "And this one smelled like Houdini's butt hole" in it?

Story 7.5/10
Art 7.5/10
Cover 8/10
Recommended 8/10
Overall 31/40

The Lost World (1925) Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Marion Fairfax

Based on the Novel By
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Directed By
Harry O. Hoyt

A First National Pictures Film

Genre
Adventure, Fantasy, Silent Movie

Cast

Bessie Love as Paula White
Lewis Stone as Sir John Roxton
Wallace Beery as Professor Challenger
Lloyd Hughes as Ed Malone
Alma Bennett as Gladys Hungerford
Arthur Hoyt as Professor Summerlee
Margaret McWade as Mrs. Challenger

Year Released
1925

Certificate
U

Synopsis

The Lost World created a worldwide sensation when it opened in 1925.

When romance threw down the gauntlet to Edward Malone, not only did he realise another young woman's dreams and open the door to Professor Challenger to take a party deep into the unforgiving Brazilian jungle, he found himself in terrifying danger. in a pre-historic time, with no hope of escape.

Professor Challenger - ridiculed for his speeches on living dinosaurs and desperate to prove their existence, engineers the expedition with Malone to rescue Paula White's father (previously stranded on the plateau) and to further his research and show the mocking dis-believers that dinosaurs do still exist after all.

This amazing film, originally believed to have been destroyed or lost forever, has been stunningly restored using a mixture of reconstuction techniques.  The outcome is of a remarkable richness.

Review

One thing that strikes me the most about silent movies is the simple idea that while they are hugely influential, even today, on modern movies, they have been treated and mishandled in shockingly bad fashion.  That's no different with this all time classic.  Without this movie, there would be no Jurassic Park or King Kong, it really is that simple yet the prints were destroyed, cut / edited in massively bad fashion and even lost for decades.

With so many versions of this movie floating about, some of varying lengths and others that were such bad prints that they are nearly unwatchable, I was wondering which would I would have ended up with when I saw this one in a charity shop for next to nothing.  Well, the answer to that is I ended up with a fantastic one.

Not only is this print as full a version of the movie as you can possibly get with it running at 93 minutes long, the transfer itself is very well done.  For a movie that is 90 years old, the scratches are minimal, the picture very clear in most of the movie and really gives new life to an absolute classic of a movie.

While it is true that the silent nature and slow pacing of the movie will put off viewers that are more used to 'more bang for their buck', you really shouldn't disregard this movie at all.  It's exciting, there are some beautifully simple performances and, considering it was made in 1925, some impressive special effects.  You can actually see as  the movie goes on that the team that created the dinosaur effects were growing more confident because in the beginning of the movie their movements are quite jerky and sudden yet by the end of the movie they're smooth and look utterly incredible.  The best scene of this is near the end involving a dinosaur and the city of London!

There are some really surprising special effects here on the DVD as well.  We have the traditional music accompaniment by Robert Israel as well as an alternative one by The Alloy Orchestra, commentary with Ray Pilot and even some more.  I don't want to list them all here because they were a wonderful surprise to me when I saw them so I hope you enjoy them too.

If you are a fan of silent movies or classic movies in general, then I urge you to hunt yourself down a copy of this one and watch it.  It really has a sense of excitement, wonder and charm of it's own and like I said earlier, without a movie like this one then there would be no King Kong or Jurassic Park for the modern audiences to sink their teeth in to.  This movie really is that important!

Movie 9/10


Discopath Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written and Directed By
Renaud Gauthier

A Voyous Films, Durango Film

Genre
Horror

Cast

Jeremie Earp-Lavergne as Duane Lewis
Sandrine Bisson as Francine Leveillee
Ivan Freud as Paul Stevens
Ingrid Falaise as Sister Mirielle Gervais
Katherine Cleland as Valerie Lombardo
Mathieu Lepage as Chartrand

Year Released
2013 / 2015

Certificate
18

Synopsis

The mid-70's: a timid young New Yorker leads an uneventful life until he is fatefully exposed to the pulsating rhythms of a brand-new genre of music: disco

Unable to control his murderous impulses that stem from a traumatic childhood experience, Duane Lewis transforms into a dangerous serial killer exiled to Montreal.

Review

This movie is a confusing one if I'm being completely honest with you readers.  With a premise such as this one, you'd expect a movie to be utterly bonkers and even maybe rediculous in places yet with the movie fielded as a homage to the old school movies such as those by Brian de Palma, it takes itself quite seriously in some places and close to comedy in others.

Was the director aiming for comedy or serious homage?  I'm not really all that sure yet that said, this movie is a quite enjoyable but slightly disappointing one.

The movie itself is shot in a rather dark and almost 'grindhouse' style way in that it wants to look like it was made in the 1970's as well as being set in that period.  For the most part, that approach works and it looks grimy and authentic.  The music helps give it that feeling as well but that is hurt slightly by the smaller budget because it means that certain songs get played a lot during the movie and I actually found that a bit distracting.

When the death count starts to mount, the gore effects are pretty well done considering the budget.  It's not going to set the horror world alight but the effects reminded me of movies such as Maniac and Tenebrae so to a horror fan such as myself, I thought that was a nice touch.

Performances wise, there were some really good moments with the cast but then there were some moments where they were so wooden that it felt it was definitely on purpose and meant as a bit of an almost comedic side of the homage.  That was most true with some of the reaction shots that really seemed over the top but in a quite fun way.

All in all, this is a movie that is quite an interesting concept and is, for the most part, relatively well made and shot.  A couple of the performances hurt the movie however, as did the slightly confused personality of it due to veering from comedy to full on horror movie.  That said, while disappointing, it's still a movie that is worth checking out for an interesting premise.

Movie 6/10

Discopath is available to buy from May 4th.

For More Than Glory Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
William C. Dietz

Published By
Titan Books

Genre
Science Fiction, Action, Military

Synopsis

You're only a hero until your next battle. Legion General Bill Booly knows that peace is just a pause between wars. He's just crushed one uprising, and now a new rebellion is already brewing on a remote world light years away - spawning a web of terrorism that is close enough to catch the vulnerable Confederacy in its grasp.

Review

If you are science fiction fan then you will be very familar with the writings of William C. Dietz, an author who is capable of combining action genres with having the character development and the politics side of things  to make the story ring true.

With his Legion of the Damned series, Dietz has crafted a series of novels that give a sense of wonder and amazement yet feel gritty and hard hitting.  The fact that he uses his characters not as cannon fodder but to really put forward to consequences of what the constant cycle of battles does to the psyche of the people involved.  I love that approach to his writing because it makes the stories more than just stereotypical science fiction.

As well as having more intelligent stories in the series, For More That Glory, is an installment that takes a more personal approach to the war going on around them and the acts of terrorism that are coming with the impending uprising.  I loved how the characters were conflicted when making the decisions about what would need to be done and the consequences.that come with those decisions.  I've always found that Dietz's writing always benefits from that approach because it stops the characters and the stories from falling in to the normal trap of being all action and nothing else.

For More Than Glory is a great installment in the Legion of the Damned series in that it really furthers the ongoing storyline in a very effective way.  The twists and turns that have been used so well in the other novels are used really well here in that there were a couple of twists that really gave the novel a real 'page turner' feel to it in that I really wanted to keep going to see just where the story was going to head off next.

As far as military science fiction stories go, this one really is up there with the best of the Legion of the Damned series.  Twist and turns galore abound in this new installment.  If you are a fan of the series then this is definitely a novel that you need to get your hands on.

Story 8/10
Characters 7.5/10
Cover 7.5/10
Recommended 8/10
Overall 31/40

The Mage Winds (A Valdemar Omnibus) Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Mercedes Lackey

Published By
Titan Books

Genre
Fantasy, Adventure

Synopsis

Collecting the bestselling novels

Winds of Fate
Winds of Change
Winds of Fury

High Magic was lost to Valdemar centuries ago, when the last Herald-Mage gave his life to save the kingdom from dark sorcery.  But now the realm is at risk again, and it falls to Princess Elspeth, Herald and heir to the throne, to defend it.

Abandoning her home, Elspeth seeks a mentor who can awaken her untrained magic abilities, and soon learns that others, too, are being caught up in a war against sorcerous evil.

The Tayledras scout Darkwind is the first to stumble across the menace creeping forth from the Uncleansed Lands.  As the dark sorcery begins to take its toll, Darkwind must battle an enemy able to wreak greater devastation with spells than with swords, and is forced to call upon powers he has sworn to never use again.

The Mage Winds omnibus follows Princess Elspeth, future Queen of Valdemar, as she masters her mage gift and defends her threatened kingdom.

Review

I must admit that I have reviewed quite a few of Mercedes Lackey's novels since I started writing my own blog.  I truly believe that she is one of the best fantasy writers out there today and has been for a long time.  That said, there have been a couple of times where her recent books haven't quite hit the levels of quality that her classic ones have but that's to be expected when you are such a prolific author such as Lackey.

Here we have the Mage Wind trilogy in a collected omnibus from Titan Books and we get to see the whole tale of Elspeth unfold before our very eyes but will it hook in the fantasy fans?

Well, if you are a Lackey fan then you will know what to expect from this one.  Well thought out and planned worlds, great pacing and some action packed moments that feature well rounded characters.  That's what we have here.

The entire trilogy here runs pretty well thanks to Lackey's use of pacing.  Some moments are fast paced and will keep you on the edge of your seat but then there are also the slower moments where you get to know the characters.  Both of those sit well with each other and really do give the story time to grow and make you really feel involved in the lives of the characters.

That said, there seemed to be a couple of characters that seemed to come and go without much of a purpose and even felt like they were there merely to make up the numbers.  That took me out of the story a couple of times because they seemed to be built up like they were going to really make a difference to the story but then they were  gone without another mention.  That's always bugged me about the fantasy genre because it seems to happen the most there.  However, Lackey does such quite work on the other characters that you are soon back in to being hooked in to the action.

One of Lackey's strengths as an author is the simple fact that she is always able to make you feel like the setting for her novels is realistic to the point where the world itself could exist.  It's the same with the various characters abilities and adventures, it can feel like you are there watching it unfold in front of your very eyes.

The great scope of Lackey's writing really makes this trilogy one that is well worth picking up if you haven't grabbed a copy already.  If you are already a fan of Mercedes Lackey, then this is a trilogy that is well worth picking up.

Story 7.5/10
Characters 7.5/10
Cover 7.5/10
Recommended 7.5/10
Overall 30/40