The Boy (2015) Spoilers within

Rating: 15

Length: 1Hr 37

Release: 18.3.2016

About: A young American named Greta (Lauren Cohan) takes a job as a nanny for an 8-year-old boy in a remote English village. To her surprise, Greta learns that the child of her new employers is a life-size doll. They care for the doll as if it was human, which helps the couple to cope with the death of their own son 20 years earlier. When Greta violates a list of strict rules, a series of disturbing and inexplicable events bring her worst fears to life, leading her to believe that the doll is alive.


Treat

  • It has that The Others and Woman in Black meets Annabelle vibe, if that’s your kind of thing.
  • The creepiest thing about the whole film is the parents. I actually wish we’d had more of them. I definitely want to know how an eight year old with a clear vitamin D deficiency over powered them enough to run with this fucked up charade.
  • The film does use some standard, but slightly underused camera shots to creep the fuck out of the audience. Namely the ‘under the bed’ pan. I hate it because it gives me the creeps.

Trick

  • My biggest problem is the setting and filming locations. It’s set in the UK and if you’re from any other country that might work for you, but to my tea-drinking self, it’s not filmed in the UK and it’s odd. The home doesn’t look British. At a push, maybe it’s Scottish but there’s definite American influence. Now, all of this might seem a little petty until you consider the fact that the plot has her fly all the way from America to babysit the doll. Why do the family HAVE to be British and, if they must, why can’t they live across the pond which would make some of the other plot decisions a little easier to believe. Because, boys and girls… if they lived in the UK the Super Nanny would have been on the case and naughty stepping that bastard out of his murder ways.
  • Gratuitous shower scene is eye-roll worthy as it is, but to follow it with Greta climbing up to the loft with her fanny going commando in a towel is just a step too far. (Although I did read that the original script had her wandering the house naked, so I guess the illogical exploration with a towel is the better option)

  • The reveal, certainly for me, came as no surprise so it dampened some of the fear factor for me. No, let’s be honest, the sheer stupidity of the plot had me checked out long before the reveal. I do think that perhaps owing to the fact that you’re not really going to be on side with Greta all the way through the movie having an audience reveal earlier on might have made for a better narrative.
  • I hate the fake-out ending that reveals he’s still alive and ready for a sequel. How the fuck he survived those burns without a trip to hospital, let alone Greta’s slice and dice is beyond me.

Final Thoughts

Too mind bogglingly stupid and one to many ‘what the fuck’ moments to be scary. It’s all too Scooby Doo and it’s already got a second one on the way. Unless you give me a sequel with William Zabka taking no crap and calling out Brahms for being the pussy that he is I’m not watching.

The Monster Squad (1987)

Rating: 15

Length: 1Hr 19

Release: 14.8.1987 (no UK release)

About: Five youngsters find themselves up against the combined might of Dracula, the Mummy, the Gill Man and Frankenstein’s Monster who arrive in town in search of a magic amulet.


Treat

  • It’s a great way to homage the Universal monster movies of the 40s and get them all into the one movie.
  • The film has a decent cast of kids and adults. They’re used well and have moments to stand out.
  • While on the short side, time wise, it matches up to the similar lengths of the monster movies it’s emulating.
  • Having young Phoebe be the one to do the spell that frees the town was brilliant. Not sure how I feel about it being the result of the original reader not being a virgin. Perhaps it was an original idea at the time, but it feels tropey by today’s standards. Also, when it comes to Phoebe, I love the friendship she has with Frankenstein’s monster.
  • Gillman’s face is incredible. It seems to rectify all the issues I had with the original design.

Trick

  • It’s another film that almost forgets who they want their audience to be. I always find it odd when a film centres around young teens that can’t go see the film themselves.
  • It’s lacking something. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, but not having it makes the film feel longer than it is and a bit like The Goonies’ cousin no one likes to talk about.

Final Thoughts

It checks all the boxes for a decent film, but it falls flat on the overall feel of the film.

Make A Story Tag

I was messing around with fantasy name generators trying to come up with a name for a new Guild Wars 2 character and I stumbled upon a book title generator. And then? I forgot all about creating a new character and instead  decided to create my own stories. From that, the Make A Story tag was born.
I have naturally gone a bit OTT with mine and also created a book cover, but that is definitely not necessary. If you want to be a bit extra too then the Canva is great and has ready-made templates.

MAKE A STORY TAG

Make A Story Tag

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Link back to the creator Cora at Tea Party Princess
  • Open up Book Title Generator
  • Select your preferred genre and “Get Names”
  • Pick our your favourite title from the list of 10
  • Write a brief synopsis/blurb for your imaginary story
  • Tag someone else

THE TITLES

I went for mystery mainly because my favourite films always have that suspense/thriller vibe that keeps you guessing. When I write I tend to lean towards that genre too, but with a Sci-fi edge.

  • Medic Of The Void
  • Changeling Of A Cat
  • Strangers Of The Future
  • Dogs Of The Sun
  • Boys And Descendants
  • Pilots And Enemies
  • Faith In My Garden
  • Help Of The Nether
  • Crushed By My Dreams
  • Age Of The Light

Chosen Title: Strangers of the Future

Now

Rachel was dead. She had been for 10 years. Only there she was, on a security camera selling drugs to his students. The same drug that was believed to be the cause of three recent deaths.

Cooper confronts the ghost from his past, he joins her mission to stop Cyrus Industries from distributing their computer implants and the drug required to make them work. She’s not the same Rachel he’d known and she won’t say why she let everyone think she’d died but he can’t ignore the feeling that it might be his own fault.

Then

Rachel has plans. She wants to be a surgeon and she’ll stop at nothing to make her dream come true. But sometimes you have to make a choice. Only time will tell if Rachel made the right one.


Love Han x

OtherEarth by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

Publisher Rock the Boat

Pages 304

Release 12.11.2019

About

Return to the series BuzzFeed compared to Ready Player One with the third book in the fast-paced trilogy from New York Times bestselling authors Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller that’s perfect for fans of HBO’s Westworld. 

Simon, Kat, Busara, and Elvis are on the run with the tech super-villains at the Company hot on their heels. The new VR gaming experience the Company created, OtherEarth, will change how the world experiences gaming. Paired with the hardware the Company developed, it has the potential to alter our reality forever. 

The Company is on its way to becoming the world’s newest superpower. And Simon is determined to shut them down forever. But to do that, he’ll have to survive OtherLife–the next phase of gaming, and a complete reality reboot. 


The trilogy is complete. I’ve devoured the gripping final and I’ve spent the weekend deep in thought about a series that has been close to my heart since YALC 2017 when I lost my, well everything, upon hearing the premise of Otherworld. I geeked and I geeked hard.

OtherEarth hits the ground running much like any thriller from the silver screen. There’s little time for a catch up which I, for one, am very grateful for. I’m of the binge watch generation but I’ve got a good memory: get me to the new.

As a reader, we know this has to wrap up in some shape by the final page, but what’s great about this universe crafted by Segel and Miller is that they’re not going to make this all about an ending. It’s a story and a journey in its own right and everyone gets time to shine. Even people who shouldn’t really be there.

If Otherworld is Ready Player One, Otherlife is Bond, OtherEarth is Mission Impossible through and through. You won’t know who to trust, who will make it out alive or when you’ll next get to catch your breath. The writing is faultless, the characters are hard to say goodbye to and you’ll be hitting reset and reaching back for OtherWorld the second you finish.

What I love most of all about the ending of this trilogy is that there’s no definitive ending; you know these characters and this world go on to other missions outside of the narrative. It gives readers, like myself, a chance to use our imaginations and allow them to live on.

Thank you Jason and Kristen for this wonderful and amazing ride. I can’t wait to see what your partnership brings to the reading world next.

Love Han x

Alien: Director’s Cut (1979)

Rating 18

Length 1hr 51

Release 6.9.1979

About In deep space, the crew of the commercial starship Nostromo is awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules halfway through their journey home to investigate a distress call from an alien vessel. The terror begins when the crew encounters a nest of eggs inside the alien ship. An organism from inside an egg leaps out and attaches itself to one of the crew, causing him to fall into a coma.


Treat

  • It’s visually a stunning film. There’s no question about the detail and effort that has gone on the set and alien tech.
  • There are plenty of individual scenes that are incredible. One being the famous ‘chest buster’ scene that has been mimicked so many times that I’m sure I knew about it way before I saw this film.
  • The xenomorph itself is really good. Couldn’t tell you if it’s the physical thing itself that makes it good, because the film makes clever use of close ups and lighting to hide a lot from the audience. It works, it really does.
  • The music and, to a certain extent, the set design seems like a homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey. Perhaps it lends itself as a type of foreboding when it comes to Ash, but either way it makes for an interesting and almost clinical atmosphere prior to the shit hitting the fan.

Trick

  • It’s first half feels rather boring and longwinded. As a group on a mission in deep space, there’s a big disconnect between the members. While that makes Ripley’s quarantine decision clear cut, it makes Lambert’s reaction a little odd. Unless of course she was fucking Kane, but she just seemed to be a sappy bitch.
  • In contrast to 1982’s The Thing which has no women at all and no objectification we have here two women, a wall full of naked ladies and gratuitous undersized-knicker’s pussy shot of Weaver. Which, I might add, wouldn’t seem so gratuitous had Ripley not been presented as an almost cold genderless character throughout the film. Also, what the fuck did you use the George Lucas line on Weaver when it came to her bra?
  • Did we really need to see Bilbo Baggins with a face full of Hobbit gang bang juice?! Seriously, who had the idea of spraying his face with the white stuff?!
  • What the fuck is with the damn cat and why did it pop up out of nowhere? Do you have a rat problem? At which point the dildo boxes you’re using to find the xenomorph will be a little useless, right? Other than it being used in a scare fake out, I don’t see the point in it. And I love cats.

Final Thoughts

Amazing cast (except Lambert. Lambert can go fuck herself), but on the whole a little too bland. Give me Aliens any day.

Highfire by Eoin Colfer

Publisher Quercus Books

Pages 384

Release 28.1.2020

Type Hardcover

About From the internationally bestselling author of the Artemis Fowl series: Eoin Colfer’s first adult fantasy novel is a hilarious, high-octane adventure about a vodka-drinking, Flashdance-loving dragon who’s been hiding out from the world – and potential torch-carrying mobs – in a Louisiana bayou . . . until his peaceful world’s turned upside down by a well-intentioned but wild Cajun tearaway and the crooked (and heavily armed) law officer who wants him dead.

Squib Moreau may be swamp-wild, but his intentions are (generally) good: he really wants to be a supportive son to his hard-working momma Elodie. But sometimes life gets in the way – like when Fake Daddy walked out on them leaving a ton of debt, or when crooked Constable Regence Hooke got to thinking pretty Elodie Moreau was just the gal for him . . .

An apprenticeship with the local moonshine runner, servicing the bayou, looks like the only way to pay off the family debts and maybe get Squib and his momma a place in town, far from Constable Hooke’s unwanted courtship and Fake Daddy’s reputation.

Unfortunately for Squib, Hooke has his own eye on that very same stretch of bayou – and neither of them have taken into account the fire-breathing dragon hiding out in the Louisiana swamp . . . 

For Squib Moreau, Regence Hooke and Vern, aka Lord Highfire of Highfire Eyrie, life is never going to be the same again.

Highfire is a genre-bending tour-de-force of comedy and action by the million-copy-selling master storyteller.


What a glorious read from the amazing mind of Eoin Colfer. Vern is the last living dragon and reads like a character created for David Harbour to play. He’s gruff and closed off, and that’s the way he likes it. That is, of course, until Squib comes hurtling into his life, bringing with him chaos and danger.

It’s a well written, funny book that doesn’t hold back in the slightest. You can clearly see from how this book is crafted, why Colfer wrote another instalment in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s series. It’s a book for adults, there’s no two ways about that. However, there’s many fans out there who grew up alongside Artemis and are ripe for this more adult content.

It’s a story about good and evil, and all those bits in between. I love that it’s not clear cut and there’s no one person who is clear cut good. Squib has his dodgy dealings, Vern is a grump who’d rather eat you and even Squib’s mother is able to accept certain elements of the dark side.

While the main story for me is the developing friendship between Vern and Squib there’s also the sub plot of corrupt man of the law, Hooke and his relationship with a gang outside of the town. Of course, in perfect Colfer tradition, these plot threads weave together perfectly.

It’s a wonderful stand alone story with a fulfilling, yet open ending. However, I would love to see a sequel. Actually, I’d love to see many sequels.

Love Han x

The Thing (1982)

Rating X/18

Length 1 hr 44

Release 26.8.1982

About In remote Antarctica, a group of American research scientists are disturbed at their base camp by a helicopter shooting at a sled dog. When they take in the dog, it brutally attacks both human beings and canines in the camp and they discover that the beast can assume the shape of its victims. A resourceful helicopter pilot (Kurt Russell) and the camp doctor (Richard Dysart) lead the camp crew in a desperate, gory battle against the vicious creature before it picks them all off, one by one.


Treat

  • This is a near perfect film for me. There’s a perfect and smooth introduction to the cast. It’s not clear at the beginning who is the protagonist, and even when you consider Kurt Russell’s Mac your main man, the film throws I doubt your way. Even if movie logic tells you that he can’t be the Thing, your breath still catches.
  • Speaking of Kurt Russell, he is perfectly cast and I love the initial progression of his character from the reluctance to fly to Norway’s camp to insisting they have to go a second time. Also, he has such pretty, pretty hair. While many blokes might not appreciate it, but as a woman with little else in the film designed to engage me (Other than a fucking awesome plot), I’m going to pick up on his god damn pretty hair.
  • There’s no women in this film. I’m not saying the absence of women is the treat, but the way in which its handled is. Not only are there no women cast, there’s not naked posters objectifying women. In fact, there’s no mention of women at all. The only thing that’s presented is when Palmer turns off a game show to play porn and even that is done in a tasteful way; we hear it, but at no point to we get a shot of it.
  • The music is terrifying. I’ve never found a score more effective than the rhythmic beat from this theme. It’s almost that its simplicity is what makes it so terrifying.
  • The effects of this film are still as gory and horrific As I’d imagine they were back in the day. Yes, some of the transformations make the human features look ‘fake’, but I feel that actually adds to the horror of it all, especially when it comes to THAT scene. There’s no CGI that could make that crawling head freak me out more.
  • The tension in this film is constantly evolving, but it never lets up and the key to that is how the film uses ambiguity and suspicion to tear the group apart.

Trick

  • The opening shot is very similar to the once scene in Predator. By that I mean the childlike corner drawing of the Earth and the spaceship entering the atmosphere. Something that I feel is a little pointless other than letting you know height from the get go its aliens. Plus, Earth in the corner?! No wonder we all grew up popping the sun on the corner of our page when we painted as kids.
  • I would have liked a mention of life beyond the camp. There’s no mention of having people ‘back home’ and I think that might have added emotional weight and give at least one of them something to fight for.

Final Thoughts

A film that is well made, well cast and scary as hell. Not so much the creature itself, but how easily man turns on itself and the fear of the ultimate unknown.