Irene In Time

     Written and directed by Henry Jaglom and starring Tanna Fredrick, IRENE IN TIME (2009) tells the story of Irene Jensen (Fredrick) and how her relationship with her father affects her relationships with men. Irene has idolized her father, who disappeared while out on his boat during a bad storm. She reminisces about her childhood while talking with friends and her father’s friends. Irene remembers her father always bringing her gifts back from his business trips and hiding little clues in her music box for her to find a beautiful treasure left by him. Meanwhile, Irene moves from one failed relationship to the next, always comparing the men she dates to her dead father. 
     Irene’s closest friend Jo Jo Farentino, played wonderfully by Kelly De Sarla is a lesbian who at one point tells Irene she should try dating women and has her own issues with a father who was never around. While spending a day poolside with friends, Irene has a stack of self-help books on dating and is dismayed at all of the different “rules for dating” that these books have and how contradictory they all are. Jo Jo tells Irene that everything she’s looking for in a man can be found in another woman. Later in the movie Irene even experiments with kissing another woman but it goes nowhere.  
     While attending a party her mother Elenor (Victoria Tennant) is throwing to say goodbye to her neighbors (she’s sold the house) Irene finds a clue in her music box that leads to a box of her father’s mementos. This eventually leads Irene to a woman who knew her father long ago. While talking with her mother, Irene is told the truth about her dad. He wasn’t a businessman he was a gambler who had been asked to leave by Elenor because she just couldn’t live with him anymore. Irene’s discoveries about her father have not changed her opinion of him, however. 
     Let me first say that I am not a fan of chick flicks but I kept an open mind while watching IRENE IN TIME (2009) so that I could review it honestly. In my honest opinion this movie was torture to watch. At times I felt as though I was sitting in on a group therapy session for women with daddy issues. These scenes went on far too long and the dialogue sounded stiff and insincere. I also didn’t like Irene at all. Early in the movie we see Irene with a boyfriend and she’s completely oblivious to his very obvious lack of interest. Irene is a grown woman who comes across as juvenile and far too naïve. At one point we see Irene talking to a teenage girl in a restaurant and the girl is giving Irene relationship advice. Who tells a teenage girl and a stranger no less, that she has trouble with men?! The discoveries Irene makes about her father were for the most part rather predictable and cliché. 
     There were a few good points to IRENE IN TIME. I liked Jo Jo and thought she should have had more screen time. I also enjoyed the appearance of Karen Black as Sheila, one of Irene’s father’s old friends, although there was a scene later in the movie between Irene and Sheila that was just a bit bizarre and really had no purpose that I could see. Jo Jo’s father Norm was played (briefly) by David Proval who wasn’t bad here but was much better as mobster Richie Aprile in The Sopranos. The writing and directing were terrible.  This movie may have been able to redeem itself if more had been left on the cutting room floor.   What this movie left me with was the feeling that Jaglom doesn’t like women very much because he seemed to be exaggerating and making fun of women’s natural instinct to talk about….stuff. I think even fans of chick flicks would find this movie tedious and boring. SKIP IT!!

Watching from afar
My desire burns
The time has come
Soundless I watch you sleep
Lips brush your cheek
Hands caress your warm skin
Moaning you feel my heat                                          
Hips rock together in a growing frenzy
Tongues dance together
Hands grabbing you drive deeper
I taste the sweat on your neck
An explosion of passion
Teeth break skin
Blood flows hot
You are mine forever
Lovers in eternity                                                                                            


            Season of Death is a novella collection of four great stories by Eric S. Brown. In all of his stories Eric teases the reader with hope for the characters’ survival, but they are all pretty bleak. 

           “Undead Down Under” tells the story of a world overrun by zombies as well as various animalistic demons. England has survived the apocalypse under the leadership of Kyle, a mysterious man who possesses some knowledge of magic. Kyle has made an agreement with Bug demons—they gave him the ability to use magic to protect his people but he’s paying a high price for that knowledge. Kyle has learned of a group of survivors in Australia living in an old military instillation called The Rock. They have battled zombies and Croc demons to stay alive but their time is running out. Kyle sails to Australia with a unit of SAS and convinces the survivors to help him defeat the demons. Kyle manages to kill the leader of the Croc demons but the survivors don’t fare so well. Kyle sails back to England to continue his war against the other demons of the world.

          “Kinberra Down” is a sci-fi story written by both Eric S. Brown and Jessy Marie Roberts. Earth is at war with cat-like aliens called the Darians. The Kinberra is a naval starship transporting Marines and a very special Darian prisoner to Alpha Centuri when the fleet is ambushed. The Kinberra jumps to an uncharted solar system where they crash land on an Earth-class planet. The crew sets about making repairs and scouting the frozen planet for any signs of life. The ship is attacked by giant ant-like creatures looking for food. They continue their mindless search for food even though the ship is protected (for now) by an energy shield. They are a lot like zombies. The captain decides to release Xar, the Darian prisoner to help fight off the aliens and hopefully get the crew rescued. Now the leader of the squad of Marines has decided to mutiny and the crew may not last long enough to get off the frozen planet alive.

        “How the West Went to Hell” is a religious-based tale. The town of Reaper’s Valley is about to be overrun by demons. Louis is a book editor looking to get the real story behind a manuscript about another town that was completely destroyed. O’Rourke is taking the job of sheriff of Reaper’s Valley, but has no idea of what he’s getting into. Nathan who is trying to do God’s work by destroying the demons and hoping to protect the human population from demons. All three are headed to Reaper’s Valley but only Nathan knows what’s coming. Lee (Legion) is destroying town after town in the West. No one is left alive and the dead come back inhabited by demons. Can they stop Lee in his tracks and prevent the End of Days?

        Finally “Ragnarok Island” is about the zombie apocalypse. Humans and zombies are fighting a war. The zombies can think and function as though they were still alive except they aren’t and they need food. They have set up breeding centers to expand their numbers and to maintain a steady food supply. Admiral Pressley leads a rag-tag fleet of mostly civilian ships that have picked up the sole survivor of The Queen, a large ship loaded with humans that were raiding ports and freeing people from the camps. That survivor, Scott talks them into taking an oil platform that the zombies are getting back online. Things don’t go exactly as planned and Scott takes Sarah to Ragnarok Island, an old Air Force base that has been left alone until now. Scott convinces everyone to start raiding the land and freeing people from the camps in the hopes of building an army to fight the zombies. Initially the plan works and they decide to go on another raid. Unfortunately the zombie armada has found the island.

         All of the stories are well-written and character development fits the stories perfectly. Each one ends with a nice little twist and they are all very dark and bleak. Once again Eric S. Brown proves his mettle as a storyteller and Jessy Marie Roberts holds her own with “Kinberra Down”. 

Childhood Memories

By Monstermatt Patterson
Illustrated by Kyle Kaczmarczyk


May December Publications 2010
Paperback 150 pages
ISBN 9780984537235

             The self-described BAD MONSTER JOKES VOL. 1 is chock full of bad monster jokes grouped together according to monster, movie, or theme. There is also a chapter full of song lyrics set to everything from rap to torch songs of the 1940s and 50s. With fantastic illustrations by artist Kyle Kaczmarczyk this is a must-have for anyone who grew up on horror, comedy, comic books and magazines like Famous Monsters of Filmland. If you’ve ever stayed up past your bedtime to watch an old Universal monster movie introduced by the likes of Svengoolie, Count Gore De Vol, Sal U. Lloyd, or Uncle Ted then you must have this book. I laughed, I groaned, I shook my head in disbelief. At times I began to wonder if I were reading excerpts from the scripts for Mystery Science Theater 3000! The song lyrics were my favorite part of the book and I loved Kyle’s illustration of Fred Flintstone as a zombie. MONSTERMATT’S BAD MONSTER JOKES VOL. 1 will bring a grin to the faces of adults and kids alike….although we all have a bit of a kid in us. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a good laugh.

Colleen Wanglund

Top of The Food Chain?


            Babble Creek, North Carolina is as small and rural a town as you can get. Jeff Taylor was a normal twelve-year-old boy growing up there until the night he went with his Dad to investigate what killed their livestock. That night he would witness his family’s murder at the hands of a sasquatch. Fifteen years later and now an Iraqi war vet Jeff has returned to get revenge on the creature that changed his life forever. What happens when Jeff finds and kills his monster is something he could not have foreseen. The sasquatch he killed isn’t the only one living in the deep woods around Babble Creek and now it’s their turn for revenge.

            Eric S. Brown has taken the story of Bigfoot and turned it on its head. These aren’t the peaceful human-like creatures that cryptozoologists have speculated on for years. The sasquatches in BIGFOOT WAR are the stuff of nightmares. They are bigger, stronger, and faster than any scientific documentation may suggest. They are vicious creatures and can tear a man in half the way you’d tear paper. This is a fast-paced novella that grabs you by the throat at page one. A handful of characters are used to take the reader through the obliteration of an entire town. Jeff Taylor had no idea what he was unleashing on Babble Creek when he let his hate lead him home.  The foreshadowing of Jeff not being wanted in town because of the media attention he caused all those years ago was brilliant.  If these monsters really exist then we’re in trouble because they are at the top of the food chain and they enjoy tearing flesh apart.

            BIGFOOT WAR is a bloody, gory, and fun read. This is exactly how I like my horror—messy as hell and lacking any trace of a happy ending. I highly recommend it.

Chainsaw Love
You purr in my ear
The sound mingles with the screams
You tear flesh
You crush bone
I can taste the blood in the air
I feel alive among the scattered ramians
You are an extension of me.


DIVERGENCE is a 2005 crime drama from Hong Kong.

          A government witness is killed while being transported in police custody.  A famous pop star is kidnapped.  A lawyer is trying to get his businessman-client off on an embezzlement charge.  In the middle of it all is a cop who has begun to lose his grip on reality.  
          The case against Mr. Yiu is crumbling because the state's only witness for the prosecution has just been murdered.  His lawyer Mr. To has filed to dismiss the case and have Mr. Yiu's assets unfrozen.  Detective Suen is being questioned like a suspect because he was with the witness when he died.  Mr. Yiu can't make his case go away fast enough for his boss so his son, a famous pop star is kidnapped.  To further complicate matters, Detective Suen has been looking for his fiance who's been missing for ten years, and Mr. To's wife is a dead wringer.  Did I mention there's also an assassin running around?  
          It's a bit of a complicated story, but it's worth paying attention.  The movie is well-written and directed.  Detective Suen is a tragic figure made even more tragic when he believes Mr. To's wife actually is his missing fiance.  He gets suspended from the force and while still attempting to solve the case during the day, he spends nights parked outside the To's house.  The movie's climax is great with Yiu confronting his boss and demanding his son be returned to him and Suen solves his case but I was surprised at who the antagonist is.  A nice unexpected ending to a really good movie.  What more can you ask?
I recommend it.

Can you survive the rising Dead Tide?

Dead Tide (Book)
DEAD TIDE By Stephen A. North (Library of the Living Dead Press 2009)

             In St. Petersburg and Pinellas Park, Florida the dead have begun to rise with only one goal….to feed on the living. Sitting on a small peninsula with the Gulf of Mexico on one side and Tampa Bay on the other, there are few options for evacuation in the event of an emergency. This is one emergency that no one has prepared for. There is no warning and there is no plan. Who will survive the zombie apocalypse?

            With the story taking place over twenty-four hours, we are introduced to many characters quickly, but effectively. Nick Talaski, the hard-nosed cop with his friend Matt Keller on a ride-along; James Dodd, a cop who probably got lucky when he graduated from the academy, and seems to have a bit of a mean-streak; Trish, a stripper who doesn’t like to let anyone get too close; Mills, a firefighter and the only rescue worker left alive at the Mall; Bronte and Tracks who seemed to be up to no good when it all started; and the Mayor who has organized a group of VIPs that he has deemed worthy of evacuation to the safety of a cruise ship in the Bay. Dodd turns out to have a few screws loose and hooks up with some shady people, while Mills risks his life to go into the Mall alone to look for survivors. Trish manages to find some good people while Talaski and Keller end up on the wrong side of an ambush. What I liked most about DEAD TIDE was that it focused more on the living than the dead. The zombies are driven solely by hunger, but the living, even during a life-threatening crisis, are still driven by their own selfishness and what they can potentially gain.   I also liked that the story is all local. There are one or two references to news reports from outside these two cities, but the sphere of the action is kept small. There’s also a major surprise in store when the government finally seems to get its act together and send in some troops. 

            This is a great story that any zombie fan will love. There were quite a few surprises throughout, which is always good.....who likes predictability? Stephen doesn’t give too much away because there is a sequel coming….which I am really looking forward to.  I recommend DEAD TIDE to any horror fan.


Colleen Wanglund 6/17/2010



By Dan Dillard



            Demons, vampires, and things that go bump in the night. What scares you? Is something the future may hold? Is it a murderer of innocent children? What about the old woman living alone down the street? All of these and more can be found in the short stories contained in DEMONS AND OTHER INCONVENIENCES. Dan Dillard has quite the imagination and has some great stories here.

            Some of my favorite stories in the collection include AMBER ALERT about a child that’s gone missing in a small town and the horrifying realization of who is actually responsible; UNLUCKY IN DEATH about a newly-turned vampire who faints at the sight of blood; NEVER JUDGE A BOOK about Jack who runs into some pretty scary creatures on his walk home—this is a funny one, too; and MY MIND’S EYE about what goes through the mind of a potential killer.

            Other notable stories include THE TRASH MENAGERIE which takes an interesting look at hoarding; PIG MAN about what a little girl sees in the middle of the night—quite terrifying; THE DEMON OF WALKER’S WOODS about the imaginations of a group of small-town children one summer; and ANTICIPATION about someone just waiting to die at the hands of others—and the surprise of “who” it is.

            Overall, there isn’t a bad story in the collection. I look forward to reading more from Dan Dillard in the future.

I did "Valley of the dead"

            Dante Alighieri spent seventeen years of his life in exile from his home in Italy. Scholars do not know where he was or what he did, other than spend that time writing his masterpiece THE DIVINE COMEDY. His most famous part of that epic poem is The Inferno in which Dante paints a truly frightening vision of Hell. VALLEY OF THE DEAD is the account of what Dante experienced that brought him to write Inferno. Travelling through an Eastern European valley with a woman, a soldier, and a monk, Dante eluded and battled the living dead. He was so horrified by what he witnessed and experienced that he turned it into a fantastic fictional account after his escape from the valley.

            First off, you do not have to have read The Inferno to read VALLEY OF THE DEAD. Now, to say I liked this novel would be an understatement. I loved it! Kim Paffenroth has done an amazing job translating the events of The Inferno into a novel speculating on the whereabouts of Dante. The main characters, Dante, Bogdana, Radovan, and Adam are very real without too much time having to be spent on development. The secondary characters we meet along the way are much like people you’d find in any crisis taking place. You will either be able to relate to, or at least recognize them. There is definitely a theological question here….aren’t zombies also creatures of God? At times you will feel sorry for them, wonder if they feel pain or not and almost come to understand the zombies and their actions while being repulsed at the actions of the people throughout the story. The zombies have no choice but to succumb to their appetites, but what about man? I highly recommend VALLEY OF THE DEAD and I guarantee you it will pique your interest in reading or re-reading Dante’s Inferno; I myself will be re-reading it.


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