Voices of the Damned (2015)

  
When I read ‘The Venus Complex’ by Barbie Wilde, I was enthralled. It was magnificent in every way, and I knew then that the literary and horror fiction world in general, truly had someone special on their hands. So you can probably imagine my glee when I was offered the chance to review Barbie Wilde’s new work, the brilliant short story collection ‘Voices of the Damned’. The opening story is erotically charged and bristling with descriptions of violence, that those who’ve read Barbie’s previous work will have come to expect. 

   

Hellraiser fans will be happy to discover that the ‘Female Cenobite’ actually has a name and a past which is given great detail in this book. It really is an experience worth having, and those of you with a love of horror, violence and the odd dash of erotica will find much to like here.

 

Dotted between each story are pieces of exquisite artwork from folks such as Clive Barker, Nick Percival, Eric Gross and Steve McGinnis, plus a few others. I found myself studying each piece before pressing on with the story and they really do capture the essence of the horrors Barbie Wilde manages to put down on paper.  ‘Voices of the Damned’ is released on October 31st 2015 and is available for preorder now via this link: 

https://www.sstpublications.co.uk/Voices-of-the-Damned.php

*Update* Barbie Wilde has informed me that there’ll be two editions available of Voices of the Damned. A standard hardback release and a deluxe edition. Both will be available via Amazon on 31st October. However, if you order directly from the link above, you will get a free book will all of the artwork inside. Now that’s great news. 
  
5/5

JM

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Lord of Illusions (1995)

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Philip Swann (Kevin J . O’Connor) is a young trainee magician under the tutorship of fanatical cult leader Nix (Daniel Von Bargen). When Nix goes to far by capturing a young girl called Dorothea, Swann and some other cult members cast Nix down into a grave and seal him away from the world. 13 years later and Swann is a successful stage illusionist who is married to Dorothea (Famke Janssen). Dorothea hires private eye Harry D’Amour (Scott Bakula) to protect Swann, as elsewhere a group of rogue cult members seek to resurrect Nix.

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When Swann and other cult members that buried Nix are killed, Harry and Dorothea must seek to find the killers and stop them from bringing Nix back as it could spell the end for all mankind. Scott Bakula is great as Harry D’Amour. I have always felt he was an under appreciated actor, and he does very well here. Folks who read Clive Barker’s literature and the fantastic Hellraiser comic series will know that there is much more to Harry D’Amour, as he has tackled some truly evil characters, even a man with pins in his head. Hmmm whomever could I mean?

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Famke Janssen is also good as Dorothea who is not quite a damsel in distress, and does learn to hold her own. Kevin J. O’Connor is great as Swann, and I always like the kooky characters he plays in films like Deep Rising and The Mummy. The house that belongs to Dorothea in this movie is actually the house of the director Clive Barker, bit of trivia there.

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This copy of Lord of Illusions was provided by the very kind folks over at http://www.101-films.com. It is available now from all good stockists. The transfer is very nice, and with this release you get the directors cut on DVD too. It’s worth noting that the blu ray version is only of the theatrical cut. I do recommend it for those fans of horror and all things strange. It is a perfect film for a rainy night.

4/5

JM

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What Monsters Do (2012)

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Well. Allow me to catch my breath, such is the speed at which these tales unfurl. I have to say my hands are still a mite clammy. With this, his first collection, Nicholas Vince as shown what a dab hand he is at wringing tension from situations that you can imagine would be scary, but not like this. From the first story (Family Tree), where blood ties are put to the test, to the last tale (The Beast In Beauty), a tale of Satanism and almost overbearing sensuality.

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Well will know Nicholas Vince from his role in Clive Barker’s Hellraiser movies as the ‘Chatterer Cenobite’. A character which cements itself in movie folklore with his scarred visage all mangled and bloody, with the teeth constantly making that sound. Another iconic role, which I’m sure many will agree, was Nicholas’ role as Kinski in Clive Barker’s ‘Nightbreed’. The crescent moon shaped face another eye catching design which stays with you.

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However, I am so glad that the talented actor Nicholas Vince, has now decided to also become the talented author and playwright Nicholas Vince. Going to show that you can never have enough splendid feathers in your cap. The collection of short stories in ‘What Monsters Do’ leave such an impression on me that I have already started devouring his second collection called ‘Other People’s Darkness’. The review of that will follow soon. I urge everyone to seek a copy of this wonderful collection out, it is the perfect reading material for bedtime, the journey to work or even just reading a short story on your tea break. Folks who read my reviews of movies and books will know I do not blow smoke up people’s arse, and that I am brutally honest. So it’s worth knowing that I truly enjoyed these macabre tales, and recommend them to everyone. I would like to thank the wonderful Nicholas Vince for graciously providing me with a copy of the book, which is now available via Amazon UK in Kindle or paperback.

5/5

JM

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Hellraiser: Inferno (2000)

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I have decided to make this my first Hellraiser review from the whole series and I’ll tell you why. This film gets a lot of shit. Even Clive Barker despises it. However I love it. The reason, or one of the reasons I love it, is because it dared to be different. Pinhead does not become the sole focus of the movie, and that’s a good thing. We’ve seen what happens when a Hellraiser movie is Pinhead-centric and the result is that fucking abomination Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth. Although I think part of the reason that movie sucked ass, was mainly down to the fact that Anthony Hickox was allowed anywhere near it. That guy is the epitome of a hack. However with Hellraiser: Inferno, Scott Derrickson did a very brave thing by putting Pinhead to the back and letting the movie be a character driven piece instead, which works very well.

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Det. Joseph Thorne (Craig Sheffer) is thrown into a world of sex and murder when he stumbles across a mysterious puzzle box at a murder scene. Det. Thorne solves the puzzle box and begins to suffer terrible and violent hallucinations, in which he is tormented by mysterious beings known as ‘Cebobites’. Det. Thorne is assigned to the case involving a mysterious killer known only as ‘The Engineer’. The Engineer tanuts Det. Thorne by leaving a childs finger at each murder. Det. Thorne realises that the child may still be alive and races against the clock to discover the identity of The Engineer before the child is killed.

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However as Det. Thorne’s hallucinations become more violent, he realises that all may not be as it seems, and that The Engineer maybe someone very close to home. Living in a hell of his own making Det. Thorne must track the killer and find redemption, whatever the cost.

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Yes Pinhead is left till the very last before making an appearance, but like I said before I liked that. I liked that the story was a twisted morality tale, focusing on the fact that you can’t shit on people and not expect repercussions and that karma can be indeed a bitch. Don’t listen to the shit thrown at this movie. This for me is on par with the first two entries in the Hellraiser saga. Dig in and enjoy!

5/5

JM

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The Midnight Meat Train (2008)

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Leon (Bradley Cooper) is a photographer working in New York. He has struggled to have his work appreciated as critics say it lacks quality. His fellow photographers also question his commitment. One night Leon is on a subway train when he notices a tall, well dressed man with a leather satchel. The man whose name is Mahogany (Vinnie Jones), is sitting in a carriage with a female. Leon falls asleep, waking up later to find that he’s alone in his carriage. He peers into the next carriage and sees Mahogany kill a woman and butcher her.

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Leon takes photos which he tries to hand to the police, however the police refuse to believe him. Even Leon’s girlfriend Maya (Leslie Bibb) refuses to believe him at first, only starting to believe him when she inspects the photos he has taken. Leon’s quest for information on Mahogany becomes an obsession, even tracking Mahogany to his place of work in a slaughterhouse.

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Leon suspects that the police are covering for Mahogany, coming to the realisation that he will have to follow Mahogany on the Midnight Meat Train and put a stop to the slaughter himself. All ending with a killer twist. This is such a great horror. How it didn’t get a cinema release is beyond me. I had already read the short story by Clive Barker so I knew what was coming, even so the movie was better than I’d hoped.

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Directed by Ryuhei Kitamura (Versus, Azumi), this is one of the best horrors I’ve seen. Packed full of great gore and some awesome scares. The cast were on top form, yes even Vinnie Jones. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Vinnie Jones actually wasn’t shit. Okay he doesn’t speak in the role as Mahogany, but his presence is menacing, he really carries himself well. Bradley Cooper is great as Leon, and you believe the changes his character takes during the course of the movie. Well worth checking out.

4/5

JM

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