Posts Tagged ‘scifi’

An expedition to Saturn’s moon Titan uncovers an alien being that stalks corporate rivals from the U.S.A and Germany.

In the vein of producer Roger Corman’s Galaxy of Terror (1981) and Forbidden World (1982) director William Malone’s
Creature arguably is better put together than the latter thanks to Bette Jane Cohen’s editing, lighting and set design. Essentially Malone’s American science fiction horror film is another rip-off of Ridley Scott’s classic Alien (1979) and is also reminiscent of Life Force which was released the same year.

As expected Klaus Kinski b-movie master walks his pompous Hans Rudy Hofner role. Nevertheless, the female actors out shine their male counterparts in terms of performances. Lead Wendy Schaal is on her game along with Twin Peaks classic styled blonde
Annette McCarthy, Diane Salinger does a V-like Jane Badler’s Diana,
however, striking Marie Laurin steals the show with screen presence, even if unnecessary naked at times.

Malone offers some smokey space atmosphere assisted by Thomas Chase and Steve Rucker’s music. The director does his best with the confines of the budget plus his and Alan Reed’s own script limitations, even borrowing some Star Wars’ sound effects.

There’s a handful of decent gore, make up and special effects work by Robert and Dennis Skotak (who incidentally went on to work on Aliens the following year). In addition the above average space costume design predates Total Recall (1990).

Overall, it’s worth watching once even if out of FX interest.

On the research station lab on the planet of Xarbia a flesh-eating mutant is loose that feeds on the dwindling scientific group who created it.

With the same vibe as Galaxy of Terror (1981), Roger Corman’s Forbidden World a.k.a Mutant is an excuse for director Allan Holzman to put some cheap icky specimen effects, jumpsuits and scantily clad actresses on screen. It also comes complete with some disco/electronica music from Susan Justin and a little robot called SAM104 who looks as if he should be in sci-fi films Silent Running or Saturn 3.

June Chadwick’s blonde Barb bloody life form encounter scene is short but impressive. Jim Wynorski fingerprints are all over this, Brunette Dawn Dunlap lights up the screen screaming with unnecessary skimpy outfits throughout taking off her clothes whenever the script calls for it. Hammy Fox Harris doctor is entertaining enough, reminiscent of, but predating Brad Dourif’s Alien Resurrection performance. There’s also an interesting desert scene which echoes an episode of Star Trek in terms of style and execution.

Forbidden World is as clunky as some of ‘Subject 20’ effects, editing and dialogue. To its credit and inconsistency aside many scenes are well lighted and a handful of the practical special effects including the cocoon and kills are not too shabby. It’s common knowledge that some sets and footage is recycled from other Corman productions, including Battle Beyond the Stars and Galaxy of Terror but it’s all seamless unless your already privileged to the knowledge as it fittingly looks as if it belongs to this low budget production.

Overall, it’s energetic and amusingly gruesome even if at times for all the wrong reasons.

Four teenagers attending a summer camp lives are changed when aliens attack.

From director of Terminator Salvation and the BabySitter McG offers a tonally awkward affair. I like much of McG’s work, I’m a fan but Rim is colour corrected to space and back, the cast are fine but the script doesn’t fit there ages making it slightly lewd and off putting.

Maybe if Zack Stentz’s dialogue had come from the camp leaders and they had led the adventure or the kids dialogue fit their ages the invasion sci-fi may have faired better as a family film.

There’s CGI aplenty as the kids journey from their camp with an important key to Pasadena, California. With with a regenerating alien, an alien dog reminiscent of Predators and spaceship attacks it echoes Independence Day from the off. The best scenes borrow from better science fictions and oddly the kitchen attack is straight out of Jurassic Park.

Overall, it could have been a family alien adventure with a Goonies/Stranger Things vibe but sadly it comes off as a crude and weird invasion flick with a touch of Porky’s (1981) and Poison Ivy (1985).

SPOILERS!

In the sleepy small town of Centerville, the dead return to life when the earth shifts on its axis.

The Dead Don’t Die has an unprecedented atmosphere of doom and gloom in a small town which captures an odd eerie feel
echoing The Night the Living Dead. However, it’s marred by hanking issues that prevent it becoming what could have been a cult classic.

Jim Jarmusch’s writing decision to break the fourth wall and have the characters talk about the script within the film steals all the novelty from the zany characters and their convincing emotional sentiments. Especially from Cloe Sevigny who gives her deputy believable touching grief. It simply sucks the life out from his solid directing offering.

Adam Driver’s Ronnie and Bill Murray’s Chief Robinson are wonderful as the smalltown law men along with the rest of the cast. Steve Buscemi as a small minded farmer, samurai swinging Tilda Swinton and Danny Glover’s Hank are notable, even if a little wasted. Iggy Pop’s coffee yearning zombie extended cameo is memorable.

As a side note, it’s reminiscent on places of the 2003 Australian film the Undead, including borrowing a wacky alien contact moment. Along with three teens who escape there’s another subplot involving Selena Gomez’s Zoe and her two friends. Neither story threads really pay off, aside from fleshing our Driver’s officer character with Zoe’s demise. This leaves the two separate groups fates slightly wasted and if not moot. That said, the knowing observational hobo in the woods played by Tom Waits strings the film all together.

The make-up effects, Frederick Elmes’ cinematography and location setting is great, even if some CGI is a little iffy. It’s rare for a film to seemingly go out of its way to spoil itself especially when it was so wonderfully setup. It takes away the multiple reward of rewatching value. The abruptness of the ending doesn’t help either.

When it’s being played straight the comedy wit presents itself like the joy of Lake Placid’s satire. But when it’s breaking the fourth wall and trying to be too clever, it stumbles, sadly pulling the carpet from under Driver and Murray’s stellar performances.

Overall, the haphazard script decisions rip the heart of what could have been a contemporary zom-com Return of the Living Dead type classic.

Possible spoilers ahead

Captain Marvel, finds herself caught in the middle of an intergalactic battle which takes her to Earth in 1995 which opens up her mind to her past.

As fan of classic Marvel comics, I must be honest and say (Thor Ragnarok aside) I haven’t been a great admirer of the arguably padded out borderline pretentious film outings. Thankfully, directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s Captain Marvel is one of the better more enjoyable instalments introducing shapeshifting aliens Skrulls and the Kree, powerful humanoid warriors.

With great acting, smouldering likeable blonde Brie Larson is fantastic as Captain Marvel which expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe and ties into a past story thread, namely the Tesseract cube and future threads, including Fury’s pager. There’s a great performance with plenty of screen time from Samuel L Jackson as de-aged Nick Fury, oozing screen presence Jude Law and mostly prosthetic makeup Ben Mendelsohn are particularly note worthy with their characters offering some story twists. There’s fantastic action, effects and music throughout – it’s one of the better stories of any MCU with an interesting 90s setting and top pacing as Fury and Marvel team up.

As expected there’s some end credit scenes The first will connects to Avengers: Endgame and the humorous second bookends the film.

Overall, a solid superhero actioner, you can’t go wrong.

Paratroopers with a mix of experience on a mission to destroy a communication point just before D-Day discover secret base carrying out Nazi experiments.

High concept super soldiers are nothing new, but don’t expect a low budget affair, director Julius Avery’s offering of a Billy Ray and Mark L. Smith screenplay is wonderfully delivered with high production values. From a parashoot drop that could easily belong in Saving Private Ryan to like a small French town setting echoing the likes of The Keep and The Piano, Overlords hooks the viewer in from the outset.

The B-film concept is executed by Avery with blockbuster gusto, high production values, excellent locations sets and costume. The cast is on form, the lead Jovan Adepo is excellent as thoughtful Private Ed Boyce who uncovers the Nazi experiments below the church and radio tower. Taking a leaf from 1982’s The Thing with surprise deaths and sacrifices the supporting cast is out standing notable are edgy Wyatt Russell as Ford, memorable Mathilde Ollivier as Chloe, John Magaro as sniper Frank, to be honest you could list them all.

With first class gross out special effects, as the gore amps up and mutations showing inhuman strength plays-out with an end baddy showdown granted it loses the realism of the WWII shooting and explosive action setups throughout. Nevertheless, it’s still an entertaining, tense at times, finely crafted film from Avery. Recommend.

The studio appears to have scrapped their version and adopted the Director’s Cut as the standard which can be streamed 0n Amazon.

Highlander Connor MacLeod must reveal the truth about the Earth’s anti-ozone shield while fighting some immortals sent from the past.

It lacks the danger and finesse of the original, but thankfully the new Highlander 2 edit with updated effects makes this troubled and poorly executed sequel at least watchable, compared to the original theatrical release.

Michael Ironside and supporting cast give distracting, larger than life theatrical performances. Sean Connery lights up the screen, and Christopher Lambert is notable especially in the aged make-up. Virginia Madsen comes off in the best light, although she is not given enough to do, going from strong feisty conservationist to love interest in a blink of an eye. Nevertheless, the script is poor and the editing is still choppy. The film has a serious pacing issue which no amount of re-jigging can correct.

It has some redeeming qualities, the sets and score are excellent and director Russell Mulcahy gives some fantastic sweeping shots. The new cut now makes sense; for example why MacLeod becomes immortal again, hinting that he has forgotten a past, prior the setting of the first film, and gone is the idea that Ramírez and Connor come from another planet.

If you must watch Highlander 2, avoid the ‘The 1991 Quickening’ version at all cost and watch the 2010 blu-ray release and the version currently streaming on Amazon . Although it’s far from a kind of magic.

Orin, an escaped slave must free his people from an underground mine but first journey across the galaxy to fulfil his destiny.

Directed and produced by Steven Hahn, and written by Jeffrey Scott Starchaser borrows from Flash Gordon, Star Wars, the King Arthur Legend, even a bit of Blade Runner and many more. It’s more young adult orientated, almost in the ballpark of Ralph Bakshi, there’s disturbing 2000 A.D-like half-human, half-machine Man-Droids, Fembots. with some above PG choice language and surprise deaths, it offers an emotional clout and punch.

While the pace is at times is a little clunky like the Battle Star Galactica carbon robots, the animation (with no use of rotoscoping) is outstanding for the time. The music Andrew Belling is fitting. The characters, especially the robot leads are quite likeable, the evil overlord Zygon is notable. The voice acting is great and there’s even a nice little twist to close of the proceedings.

Overall, refreshingly made before CGI it borrows from the best and worst of sci-fi and comes out on top. Recommend.

Hey you readers! Here’s to 2019 being full of health and happiness for you.

So I’m back after a full year break. As you know, I like to be interactive in my work and value your input. There are three amazing stories I have in mind and I am leaving it up to you to choose which novel/work you’d want to read in 2019/20. The three choices are as follows, so please comment or drop a note on my website or email me:

1. THE LONGEST NIGHT.

Scripts in book format appear to be on the rise. I suppose they’re more digestible and put you closer to the voice of the characters. It’ll be my full screenplay of my thriller film that had a fantastic talented cast. It’s about an American detective who travels to the Britain to help find a missing woman but in the process embarks on a journey of self discovery and redemption.

2. Untitled BLOOD HUNGER sequel.
Blood Hunger is my most successful novel to date but I left it on a cliffhanger reveal of sorts, even though there are clues in my other novels of what became of the players it’s void of what happened to the main characters only the underpinning sub-characters and their world. It’ll be the continuing vampire thriller about a country haunted by vampire violence and murder.

3. RIVERSIDE HOTEL. Amongst my many projects in development over the years this was one of my first and favourite. It put me in touch with legendary author James Herbert, and was touted around the film industry. (Imitated and borrowed, I never saw a penny). I’ll rework to remove some of the elements of this ghost story that have been ‘borrowed’ in the past to give it a fresh overhaul.

So over the next few weeks let me know which one or maybe there’s something else I’ve missed. I will complete/the novel with the most interest over the next year.

FAQ’s:

Q: Why not The Final Version 2 or a Darkest Moons follow up, even another Dead Pulse novel?
A: After the year that was 2018 I’m not ready to pen what would be back to back Darkest Moons books. Darkest Moons took a lot out of me and Final Version was research intensive along with the film and video work I’ve made. I am excited about writing follow ups to either one of these books but just not ready at this time. With Dead Pulse, after speaking to George Romero’s widow, for me- creatively zombies died when the genre’s legend passed away.

Q: Why are A. M. Esmonde novels no longer being sold in stores?
A: All of my novels ARE available in stores but would need to be ordered in via the store for you to collect. I don’t mention this as Amazon e-books are available and they usually do free shipping on paperbacks. Also I’d rather sell them directly to you, signed and on request via my website than fight for shelf and stock space and have you visit the store more than once.

The publishing industry has changed. Publishers are no longer offering the kind of advances necessary for authors to make a lively hood to support their families. Agents don’t have power they once did. The market is saturated. Games now rule. There are authors who pump out a new book every three months, sometimes hire ghostwriters, which is not my thing, (I was one of those ghostwriters). As you know, my novels are incredibly imaginative and can take years to complete.

Q: How are these books published?
A: There’s no easy answer. I’ve been under contract, which three of the novels were tied to. However, AM to PM is a publisher with editors, artists located in Wales and Europe. Even known publishers have moved to print on demand similar to Warner Bros. DVD production. Quality of the finished product is a given. Many pay for ISBN numbers to appear published. Many publishers do this themselves offering authors a raw deal. I found this out the hard way. Once my contract commitments were fulfilled and rights reverted back I didn’t want to be in a position to beg ‘Publishers’ and/or rely ‘Agents’. It can be detrimental and a struggle but many authors and artists in many mediums have been successful without selling out, or compromising their story/vision. Mine did well in their chart rankings more so when going solo.

Please let me know what you fancy reading. There is more coming, you got me this far and its up to you to decide what’s next.

Aaron

A. M. Esmonde

My Readers and following friends,

It’s been a hard year with personal loss and sadness, so I’ve been off the social media merry-go-round. Whatever you are going through, you will get through it. Keep the dream alive, have trust. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!

The Christmas season is upon us and we’ve got a few signed editions of Darkest Moons (contact via the website), also if you order any paperbacks you get the Kindle Free, for those who want to start reading immediately and have a keepsake paperback winging its way to you.

Darkest Moons

Darkest Moons

In 1878 a mining community came to terms with the existence of a terrifying horror.

As the moon rises the curse begins!

The Final Version

The Final VersionJourney through the history of genetics and be catapulted to a post-apocalyptic future, a conflicted dystopian utopia of cyberpunk, cryogenics and government-conspiracy.

Blood Hunger

Blood Hunger

From the fall of the vampire and the Dracul brothers in medieval Europe to their return in the present day. Prepare yourself, their first bite will be your last!

Dead Pulse

Dead PulseDeath does not discriminate…

The dead have returned to life… The world’s focus is on the city of Ravenswood and the once idyllic town of Farmore as platoons and scattered survivors fight the hordes of the dead, unbeknownst one of them holds the key to end the undead’s reign of mayhem.