Kinder Spoilery

Last night I watched the movie Splinter. This is another one from David Court’s 35 Best Horror Movies of the 2000s.

This movie tells the story of two couples; Lacey and Dennis (referred by his surname Farrell) They’re on the run from the law (played by Shea Whigham and Rachel Kerbs) and the other couple, Seth Belzer and Polly Watt, who have attempted to camp out fo their anniversary but due to a tent disaster they decide to find a motel (Paulo Costanzo and Jill Wagner). Along the way they stop as a distressed woman appears, who’s boyfriend then pulls a gun on them and kidnap them. They run over an animal and have to change a tire, but the radiator is also damaged and they have to stop at a petrol station. Then the shit hits the fan!

I liked the pace it had and the conflict between the two couples was really good, but so was the conflict within each of the couples. There is some really good gore in the film, but it’s not slapped in your face. The effects are fantastic, and really freaky! Between the practical effects, camera work, lighting and so on they make this creature scary, but you add in its behaviour then it brings it altogether very nicely.

There are moments where I literally said out loud ‘don’t do that’

The acting is pretty darn good, with each of the main actors pulling you in and making you feel for them. Even Farrell, you see what his aim is. Shea Whigham makes you dislike his character, but when you watch the film you see there’s a depth to him that I didn’t expect.

Rachel Kerbs as Lacey clicks well with Whigham and I thought she gave a moving performance, and you believed her and Farrell’s affections to each other.

One element I like in this movie is how Farrell is different to Seth. Dennis Farrell is a hardened criminal, while Seth is more academic. Pretty much the opposite of Farrell. Polly is shown to be more handy than Seth quite early on. The derision that Farrell has for Seth because of this works really well, and Costanzo shows how his jibs hit.

Costanzo’s Seth and Jill Wagner’s Polly make a believable couple, especially in the early scenes when they are at the plot of land where they’re planning to camp out. They’re relationship is tested, and there was a few times where I wasn’t sure how things between them were going to go.

I liked how the film was brought to its conclusion, it’s not really something I’ve seen recently and made a nice change of pace from other films and TV shows I’ve seen recently.

It’s well worth a watch and one I’m seriously thinking about adding to my physical movie library.

4th of April 2023

Good evening, folks! I’ve written 476 words on War Child today. First words this month. I was a little disheartened after I accidentally deleted 1200 words from the story last week. My own mistake and one I won’t be repeating.

I feel like I’ve got a decent path to travel at the moment with this story. I can see what needs to be done and hopefully I’m going to be able to get well stuck into it over the next few weeks.

I am getting into some research for War Child. Watching military science-fiction shows and films, and listening to them too. I’m focused on the Halo world at the moment. I’m also about to start a rewatch of Battlestar Galactica. Although I’m taking ideas from these it’s more a vibe I’m hoping I get from them. I feel I’ve got a decent tone for War Child building. So I want to be careful with how I proceed.

Right, I’m off for the night. Have an awesome one, folks!

Clerks III

***** Kind of Spoilery*****

Clerks III tells the story of Randall and Dante, two men in their forties as Randall deals with the effects of a heart attack, and Dante has to deal Randall as he tries to make his mark on this world.

This is a film by the one and only Kevin Smith, and it has all the trappings of a Kevin Smith movie, but it hit me in a way I’d not have expected from a Kevin Smith film. Yes there are the jokes about drugs and suspect tales of sexual adventures. But there is also a depth to it that I’ve not seen from a Kevin Smith before.

This movie clearly takes even more from Kevin Smith’s personal experiences than his other works. I feel like the Clerks films in general do that, but I felt it more in this one. It’s not that he hits you over the head with it, I don’t really think Kevin Smith does that. It’s knowing a little about his life and him as a person and you can see where that comes into this story.

I don’t know much about Kevin Smith outside of his movies and some of his social media, but it feels like both Dante and Randell are two sides of him. Maybe they’re turned up to eleven, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case.

The story focuses around Randell making a movie which he films at the convenience store that he and Randell own. (there’s some good little nods to the original Clerks film here). Randell does this in a very uniquely Randell way, and Dante has to do all the actual hard work. Around this though is the struggle that Dante is going through due to how his life has changed since the events of Clerks II. This isn’t just Dante waiting for life to hand him something like in previous movies. The struggle he is going through is portrayed by Brian O’Halloran without any filters. You see him pushed to his limits a number of times, and each one you feel. This is one thing that hasn’t really changed, Randell driving Dante up the wall! And Jeff Anderson as Randell just nails it. I’ve heard him on commentary tracks and I don’t think he is anywhere near that annoying, so he really pulls it out of the hat to show how much Randell can get under Dante’s skin.

There are twists and turns, and some very interesting editing choices that I think in lesser hands would have ruined the movie. A few call backs and a plot thread or two that give options for how the movie could end. How Smith builds up the ending is not only a work of art, it’s heartbreaking. I didn’t see it coming, I don’t think I would have figured it out in a million years.

Now, this is a Kevin Smith movie. So there are all the familiar faces. He has his stable of actors who either appear in all his films or come in for a brief scene and that’s it. Smith finds a way to get a lot of these folks in the movie nicely, and in this scene there’s a few faces that I hadn’t seen in a Smith film before. There’s fan service here, but you don’t need to be well versed in Smith’s work to appreciate it.

If you’ve not seen any of these films, I’d recommend checking them out. From a writers point of view they are great to study. There’s a lot that Smith does that I’ve learnt and tried to put into my work.

Clerks III is one of the best films I’ve seen in the last few years.

Shaun of the Dead

In my quest to watch the best 35 horror movies from the 2000s from David Court I come to Shaun of the Dead.

I don’t really need to say much about this one do I? It’s one of the most iconic films of this century, both in horror and British cinema.

In a telling of the outbreak of a zombie apocalypse we follow twenty-something Shaun, his bbf Ed, girlfriend Liz, mum and two of Liz’s friends, Dianne and David. And it’s very British!

Edgar Wright directs, and helms a movie that nails each element. From the gore, to the pain of lose the characters go through during these few days. To get the balance between horror, comedy and pulling at the viewer’s heartstrings is not easy and Shaun of the Dead does each perfectly.

For me, this is a rare perfect film. There’s no real plot holes, no characters who aren’t believable. Even the conclusion of the movie sits well. The soundtrack and score are odd and silly at times, but fit perfectly in building the tone of the movie.

Red glow for atmosphere 😈

If you haven’t seen this movie, please change that and check it out.


Next up in my watch of David Court’s top 35 horror movies of the 2000s is the movie Pontypool.

I had no idea what to expect with this movie, although for some weird reason I thought it was set in Wales. So going in, I had no preconceptions on what to expect. I had no idea it would be this though.

If you want to watch this movie, stop reading now….. seriously. Stop and watch the movie. Don’t google it, don’t look it up on IMDB. Don’t ask friends. Just please, go and watch it.

Have you watched it? No, go and watch it!

Okay, I’m guessing you’ve watched it now.

So, this is set in a radio station as a shock jock sort of DJ(Stephen McHattie) is starting his morning stint on the station he works out with a producer (Lisa Houle) and an engineer (Georgina Reilly) ( I think those are the two ladies roles), and as the morning rolls along they start getting reports of an incident that is going on.

That’s enough for the plot. The acting is beautiful, the lead actor nails the character while the two other main characters play their parts with a solid strength. The producer character sparring off with the erratic DJ is particularly interesting to see.

The script the actors are working with is beautiful, and gets a lot of depth across. The actors, in particular the fella playing the DJ, really nail their respective lines and characters. I don’t think this film would work without these actors, what they bring to the film sells the story. Their execution of the dialogue has to be spot on as I think movies where its filmed in one location need that strength to hold the viewers interest.

The story plays out well, and there are explanations to what is going on. The ending hits a little hard, and there’s an odd little scene at the end of the film, which shouldn’t work but it does.

Pontypool is a new favourite of mine. Intriguing and from a story tellers point of view, it’s fascinating.

Dawn of the Dead

This is the second film off of David Court’s 35 best movies of the 2000s.

I haven’t seen this since it came out for rental, but surprisingly I remembered a fair bit of it, and also a lot I didn’t remember.

Overall I enjoyed it, probably more than I did first time around. It gave me a big smile when there was a cover of Disturbed’s Down With The Sickness, one of my favourite songs that I wasn’t familiar back on my first viewing.

The movie is well paced, acted superbly, written with a skill to both tug at the heartstrings while also adding a little humour. Kind of what we’ve come to expect from a script by James Gunn.

There’s some good gore, some interesting kills, and one of two moments that made me roll my eyes. There’s one moment in the film when the main characters need to help another isolated person hold up during this zombie hoard, only for their initial plan to go pair shaped. There are two other ways they could have helped this fella which is demonstrated in the following moments.

Despite that, this film is well worth a watch and deserves the praise it does get.

Challenge Accepted: David Court’s Top 35 Best Horror Movies of the 2000s

David Court is not only a damn good human being, a gifted wrangler of words, but also has a good eye for movies.

I’ve had the pleasure of not only meeting David, but sharing anthology space with him. He’s someone I hold in high regard. So when he posts a list of movies, I pay attention to it. This time though, I’m going one step further. I’m going to watch each and everyone on this list by the end of this year. Here is the list:

L-R Me, Pippa Pilgrim (Bailey), Matthew Cash, and David Court at the Sparks anthology launch.

Of the list I’ve seen 18 of these movies, but I’m going to rewatch the, as I go. I’m going to try and watch them from 35 to 1, but I’m not holding to that religiously. I will also post about it as I go with just a few thoughts on each film, then I might put all those thoughts into one post.

Now I’ve just got to find them all……

Indiana Jones 4 & Zootropolis+

Howdy folks. Something a little different tonight, a few thoughts on a movie and a streaming show.

I recently watched Indiana Jones and the Kingsom of the Crystal Skull for the second time, and the first time since shortly after it came out. I had a negative impression of it and watching it again I’ve come to feel that, it’s not as bad as I’d let myself think it is. Is it as good as previous instalments? No, but that doesn’t make it a bad film. I’d have liked a different ending, honestly not sure about the wrap up of the mystery but hey ho. Overall though, it was decent. Harrison Ford was good, John Hurt was awesome. Cate Blanchett was soils as always and I love Karen Allen’s energy and her chemistry with Ford. And Shia Labeouf was good. I’ve seen a few headlines about him over the last few years, which unfortunately seem to just be negative. Which is a shame because, damn. That dude can act.

I also watched Zootropolis+ on Disney+ and I’m a little disappointed. It was a series of adjacent stories that run alongside the movie, which was okay, and a some of them were really good. Especially the Mafia boss’s backstory, but I’d love to see a series following the police in that world, not like the central precinct like in the film, but another smaller district. I think that could really open up that world where it felt like we only scratched the surface.


Good evening, folks! How are we all doing tonight?

I’ve written 200 words today, 150 yesterday. All on the zombie book. Essentially it’s going to turn out to be a mini re-write of the ending. It needs more, at the moment it’s a very weak ending and I need to ramp up the danger and the risk to the characters. I’m not sure entirely how I’m going to pull that off, but I’m working on it.

Right, I’m going to wrap this up for the night. I’ve just (finally) started a re-watch of Blade Runner 2049. I’ve been wanting to do this for a few weeks now and finally got my arse into gear.

5th of March 2022

Good evening, folks! I hope you’re all well.

I took a writing off day yesterday. A very bad nights sleep left me wiped out. I think I got about two hours all in all, but when I was sleeping it wasn’t good sleep. So I took it off and cracked on with non-writing stuff once I’d finished work.

The edit is feeling like it’s a slow process at the moment but it’s still progress. The 431 words I edited tonight are 431 words I don’t have to edit in my next sitting.

Right Folks, that’s all for now. I hope you’re having an awesome weekend! I’m going to watch Pandorum which is now on Amazon Prime here in the UK. I’m sure it’ll give me a few ideas…..