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Join us for the latest on the best in extraordinary fictional television and film from the past, present and future, and analysis on its cultural impacts.

Find out about the amazing facts in fiction, and discover the truth about what's really going on in the World around us...

Monday, 06 August 2018

Fanged Up - on DVD and digital HD“Fanged Up” is a British horror-comedy starring Daniel O’Reilly (aka social media personality/comedian Dapper Laughs). O’Reilly plays Jimmy Ragsdale, a laddish oaf who is imprisoned after accidentally starting a mass brawl in a night club. Jimmy expects to be released in a couple of days so is not overly phased by his predicament, at least not until he realises the prison staff are nearly all vampires led by Governor Payne (Steven Berkoff – “Octopussy”, UFO).

To fend off the vamps, Jimmy teams up with Dr. Makepeace (Danielle Harold – EastEnders), who happens to be an ex-flame of his along with cons including a hulking Russian called Victor (WWE star Stu Bennett – “Dead Man Down”), Shifty (Vas Blackwood – “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”) and a strange monk (Stephen Marcus – “Ninja Assassin”). Lauren Socha (Misfits) plays the Payne’s assistant.

Monday, 09 July 2018

The Endless - out on Digital HD, Blu-ray and DVDAfter receiving a mysterious video tape invite to an ‘Ascension’, two brothers decide to drop in on a cult they abandoned ten years ago. Aaron (Aaron Moorhead) is depressed and wants to see old friends at the cult’s Camp Arcadia; Justin (Justin Benson) is much more wary and sceptical about the organisation. They plan to only stay one day and one night but are swiftly drawn in by the group’s friendly, seemingly innocent nature.

The longer the brothers stay, the weirder the happenings they witness such as impossible magic tricks, bullets bouncing off thin air and the fact that no-one in the cult appears to have aged since they left. What is the ‘Ascension’? Is it a mass suicide as Justin fears or something more benign, and what is the anticipated outcome? The lads can be sure of one thing: If they leave, they will never discover the truth.

Monday, 18 June 2018

The Defiant Ones - out now on dual format Blu-ray and DVDThis Oscar-winning drama stars Tony Curtis (The Persuaders!) and Sidney Poitier (“In the Heat of the Night”) as convicts on the run. Joker (Curtis) is a jaded white man who hates being subservient. Cullen (Poitier) is a proud black father who lashed out when his farm was being repossessed. Bitterly divided but shackled together, their common goal is to outrun their pursuers.

“The Defiant Ones” is a tense if quite predictable tale. Joker and Cullen are like opposing magnets constantly repelling each other but locked together. Simmering animosity threatens to bubble over into violence any moment, especially when their energy-sapping journey through swamps and scrubland offers nothing but constant frustration.

Monday, 04 June 2018

The Old Dark House - out now in a dual format Blu-ray and DVD packageBased on the novel ‘Benighted’ by J B Priestley, “The Old Dark House” is an early 1930s horror in the haunted house vein, directed by James Whale (“Frankenstein”, “Showboat”) and starring Boris Karloff, Melvyn Douglas and Charles Laughton. Three people are caught in a torrential storm and seek shelter in a foreboding old house. The residence belongs to the highly unusual Femm family and their lumbering, mute butler Morgan (Karloff).

As the relatively hospitable Femms are serving up a simple supper, another stranded couple arrive and things seem as calm and settled as the tempestuous weather permits. But what of hosts’ dire warning to not let the leering Morgan get drunk, or the strange cries emanating from behind closed and locked doors upstairs? Curiosity is sure to get the better of the visitors, with potentially deadly consequences.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Breakheart Pass - out now as a dual format Blu-ray and DVD combo“Breakheart Pass” crosses several genres including Western, action thriller and murder mystery. This will probably not come as a shock when the author is revealed: Alistair MacLean, known for “Where Eagles Dare”, “The Guns of Navarone” and “Ice Station Zebra”. The movie is set in the Winter of 1873 and stars Charles Bronson as a felon who is apprehended and stowed on a troop-carrying train passing through the Rocky Mountains.

Also known as “Nevada Express”, VIP passengers and army officers start disappearing or turning up dead, leading to an on-going investigation which John Deakin (Bronson – “Once Upon a Time in the West”, “Death Wish”) becomes entangled in, thanks to some medical knowhow and a keen eye for the details others seem to overlook. What is the motive and who is responsible? The race is on to solve the mystery before the train reaches the perilous Breakheart Pass.

Wednesday, 09 May 2018

The Mad Death - out now on DVD from Simply MediaNever has the hymn “All things bright and beautiful” been given such a morbid undercurrent as in the 1983 three part mini-series The Mad Death. It is used as the title music, and the way it is sung, by a young voice which is quite frail, it immediately brings visions of classic horror.  The series took two years from its 1981 production to be screened by the BBC, and for those with any fondness for dogs and cats, or foxes, it is not comfortable viewing.

Brought to us on DVD by Simply Media, BBC Scotland produced the serial, based on the book by Nigel Slater. Its trio of 50 minute episodes chronicles the quick contagion of rabies in the UK. A French aristocratic woman smuggles a Siamese cat into Scotland, hidden in a large inside pocket in her smart coat (probably a stretch on plausibility, but we’ll go with it). It had previously been in a set-to outside prior to the trip, which meant it was infected, and effectively a ticking time bomb.

Tuesday, 01 May 2018

Marty - out now on dual format Blu-ray and DVDErnest Borgnine (Airwolf, “The Poseidon Adventure”, “Escape from New York”) stars as the titular Marty, a middle-aged butcher who lives with his mother and thinks his chances of ever getting married and settling down have passed. Despite being a nice bloke, Marty’s life is stuck in a rut until he comes to the aid of a jilted woman in a ballroom and they hit it off. Marty’s family and friends are shocked and discouraging and he has a major, personal decision to make.

“Marty” won a raft of prestigious awards on its release including Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director and Best Writing, along with the Palme d’Or in Cannes. The film started life as a TV play with the same writer and director, Paddy Chayefsky (“Network”) and Delbert Mann (“Separate Tables”). Emphasising realism and toning down the comedy in favour of everyday, character-driven drama, the movie feels fresh to this day.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Cure - out now on dual format Blu-ray and DVD“Cure” is a thriller-horror film by Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa (“Pulse”). Detective Takabe (Kôji Yakusho – “13 Assassins”) and his criminal psychologist colleague Sakuma (Tsuyoshi Ujiki – “Dora-heita”) are investigating a series of bizarre, apparently motiveless murders by different perpetrators. As the case develops, the police discover the involvement of a third party, an amnesiac man found on a deserted beach.

This is a peculiar and fascinating movie that reminded me of “Se7en” in several ways. It is shot in a grainy, dark manner and features lots of distressed locations that suggest decay and neglect, thematically mirroring the personalities of some of the characters.The relationship between the stranger and Detective Takabe – a man in equal parts obsessively driven and emotionally fatigued – grows increasingly complex and psychologically charged, especially as the cop is also wrestling with problems at home.

Monday, 02 April 2018

Buck Rogers in the 25th Centiry - out now on Blu-rayAstronaut Buck Rogers is involved in a devastating accident during a mission that results in him being frozen for 500 years. Lucky to still be alive he returns to Earth in the year 2491 to find the world ravaged by a nuclear apocalypse. A fish out of water, Buck nevertheless joins the effort to protect what is left of the planet from all manner of alien forces bent on its ultimate destruction.

Developed by TV supremoes Glen A Larson and Leslie Stevens, the series is loosely based on the 1920s’ fictional character by Philip Francis Nowlan and the 1930s’ serial starring Buster Crabbe. The dashing Buck is played by Gil Gerard (“Airport ‘77”), glamorous Colonel Wilma Deering by Erin Gray (“Dreams Awake”) and cheeky, pint-sized robot sidekick Twiki by Felix Silla (“Spaceballs”), with the voice of the legendary Mel Blanc (on most episodes).

Monday, 12 March 2018

ReBorn out now on Blu-rayToshiro aka Ghost (Tak Sakaguchi – “Versus”) is a legendary, ex-special forces soldier trying to live a quiet life running a mini-mart and caring for a young girl (Yura Kondo). Ghost becomes the target of his old squad CO who hires a team of assassins, backed up by a sizeable platoon of grunts. Despite the odds, it quickly becomes plain that Ghost has lost none of his death-dealing skills; he is not going down without a fight.

The plot may be slight but the action is fierce, bloody and exciting to behold as Ghost carves a path through his enemies, sometimes taking on half a dozen men at a time. The fights are generally very close-quarters affairs, often with small blades, primarily because the hero can dodge bullets, even high-velocity sniper rounds! Ghost has a very efficient, no showboating approach that means he dispatches nearly everyone with minimal fuss.

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