Friday, 31 March 2017

Plague Town, The Divide and two Sherlock Holmes pastiches.

A brief roundup of this week's horror.

To beging with I saw the movies Plague Town and The Divide. Both of them are on Shudder_Uk, which I am putting my weight behind as much as I can. We need a proper horror channel. More on that later.

Plague Town is another one of those "never leave the city" movies which are so popular. Although we are forced to spend part of our time in the company of a warring family where for once I'm taking the side of the blonde cheerleader-type over that of the brunette gothy-type. Once they split up however, the hi-jinks ensue, and by hi-jinks I mean murders. The countryside is terrorized by a group of mutant children, deformed and demented, just how I like them. As we eventually find out, the lucky ones die first. You'll love it.

Secondly I saw The Divide. And all the flippancy I applied during the last mini-review disappears here. This film is gruelling. Part post-apocalyptic claustrophobia, part torture porn, part relationship movie. There are plot holes, the protagonists make stupid decisions, and frequently fail to take the bleeding obvious steps to ensure their well-being or escape their death trap. There is a brief vacation into sci-fi territory, which raises questions but doesn't answer them. And there are people being truly vile to each other. There were moments when even I could barely watch it. The acting in this is truly Oscar-worthy. It's sick, it's twisted, it's compulsive.

Now onto the books.

I have my Sherlock Holmes moments, and am frustrated by the fact that I have read the originals too many times. I have to resort to reading pastiches, and most of them are exploitative, unoriginal and unconvincing. I have even read The Sexual Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, that presents us with a Great detective so over endowed, one has to wonder where he gets his trousers made.

This week I read The House at Baker Street and The Women of Baker Street, both by Michelle Birkby. They are billed as Mrs Hudson and Mary Watson investigations, and they are damn good. In both books we have some brief appearances by Holmes and Watson themselves, but although we see a different side to Sherlock Holmes than we are used to, they definitely are in the background. Instead we have two resourceful and brave women who set out on their own.

Why am I putting these in a horror blog? Well, in the first one you have a ruthless blackmailer who's victims have a habit of comitting suicide, a hideously disfigured lady in a black veil, and a Jack the Ripper copycat. In the second you have the Pale Boys, a hospital bed with a 100% death rate, and five anonymous graves containing the black clad bodies of murdered children. Pretty grim stuff!

I am off to watch What Have You Done to Solange in a minute, being aware that I have seen very little Giallo, and should have seen a lot of it. I am also going to agonize over not having written the piece on Quatermass 2 for yet.

Happy Weekend everyone!

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