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June 10, 2010

Booze Reviews: THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (First Sequence)

Human CentipedeTHE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (First Sequence)

Release Date: April 28th, 2010

Director: Tom Six

Writer: Tom Six

Cast: Dieter Laser, Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie, Akihiro Kitamura, Andreas Leupold, and Peter Blankenstein

Icons of Fright has given Aaron Pruner and Jack Conway a very dangerous assignment: to review the infamous film “THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE”. As a dedicated team of journalists, our intrepid heroes chose the only logical solution to tackling the job – getting ridiculously drunk. These are the transcripts from their recorded 2 hour ordeal. Reader Discretion is advised.

Jack – Okay, I’ve now had enough 100 proof rum to dive into this bastard. Aaron, you appear to be drinking something from a cursed silver chalice.

Aaron– It’s whiskey. The decanter makes it classy.

Jack – Oh good, I’m glad you brought your A-game. The Centipede will accept no less.

Aaron – Okay, I’m starting it. Set sail for ass jokes!

Jack – This is going to go badly.

 

 

 

Aaron – His name is Dieter Laser!

Jack – Dieter Laser: The best actor name in…EVER!

Aaron – DIETER LASER?! Because Udo Kier wasn’t available?

Jack -That is correct. Because Udo Kier is a pussy when compared to anyone named Dieter Laser.

Aaron – Damn. Dieter Laser. Now what will my German porn name be?





 

Jack –Okay, so that’s….Laser….Monkey Fight….Tank.  What’s his name again?  I forgot it already. This rum is awesome.

Aaron – Dieter Em Effing Laser!

Jack - Look at that dude.  He’s wearing the face of someone else.

Aaron – He looks like every 50 year old you see at a Goth Club. 

Jack – All two of them.



 

Aaron – All he needs is a poet shirt and eyeliner.

Jack – Look how much face he has.  He looks like a Geiger test sketch.  I think WETA created Dieter Laser. Did a great job too!

Aaron – He looks like a Harryhausen monster.

Jack – Remember on the show “Angel” when he turned into a puppet?

Aaron – Okay so he has a shotgun AND a trenchcoat.

Jack – This is an Inspector Gadget prequel.  Christopher Nolan took it to a really dark place.

Aaron – Inspector Gadget: The E! True Hollywood Story.

Jack – Is that a deer rifle? “The Most Dangerous Pooping Game”!


Aaron – I’ve seen a lot of pornos that start like this.

Jack – Scheisse! They bought some wooden shoes? Oh, wooden shoes! Holland. I get it.

Aaron – I got some wooden shoes for you.

Jack – I don’t know what that means.  Do you know what that means?

Aaron - It means I have some shoes made of wood.

Jack – Oh.

Aaron – I’m still waiting on the graphic nudity. Is it bad to say early on that I don’t care about either of these girls?

Jack – Not at all.

 

Aaron – I’m really rooting for them to just go and get to the ATM already.

Jack – I’m hoping that when they get to the ATM and get sewn together, that they put the girl with the giant crystal necklace in the middle.  Then when they’re tromping around, her necklace will just sort of bop up and hit the dude in the front in the balls a little bit.  Just to kinda let him know she’s there, and then he gets a little extra somethin somethin.

Aaron – That’s probably a fetish that already exists.

Jack – You know, “a little bling for your thing” as they say. 

Aaron - You need to put that on a bumper sticker.

Jack - The crystal will just kinda slap him in the junkular area.

Aaron – Junkular?  So the crystals will hit him in the jewels!

Jack – I don’t get it.

Aaron – Because people call a man’s junkular area “jewels”.

Jack – Nope. Still don’t get it.

Jack – I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest these actresses will do a better job acting when they both have mouths full of ass.

Aaron – I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s a great outfit to wear to the club they’re going to, Club Bunker!

Jack – Yes!  Bunker, the Late 80’s & Early 90’s Soccer Mom-Themed Hip Hop and Adult Contemporary Dance Club! 

Aaron – Maybe they play Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga at Bunker.

Jack – Perhaps. We call that Baga.

Aaron – Jady Baga!  Sounds like a German performance artist.

Jack – THE Jady Baga. You know, this movie has some serious porn sounds. If I was your neighbor, I’d be quite excited about what Aaron’s watching right now.

Aaron – I warned my neighbor, “If you hear moans, screams, or puking…I’m sorry”

Jack – All aboard The Centipede, ladies!


Jack - Okay, who’s this guy now? Is it Dieter? I already miss him.

Aaron - No, it’s Jerry Lewis! He’s huge in Europe!

Jack – “Yes, hi, Mr. Lewis, we’re whores. What’s the German word for whore? Schloppy vugens?”

Aaron – I need to write down German Jerry Lewis’ pick up lines immediately. These will definitely work for me at Bunker!

Jack – My Super Sweet 16 People Sewed To My Rectum

Aaron – This is a lovely game of butt tourettes we’re playing.

Jack – I genuinely thought the days of making characters in horror movies just to get killed was over. Am I naïve?

Aaron – You know what I like? Everything that comes out of their mouths is exposition.

Jack – Yep. You know what’s going to be better? When everything coming out of their mouths is, “MMMMRRRRPPPPHHHHHHHHGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!”


Aaron – Dieter Laser’s back!

Jack – It sounds like a vehicle doesn’t it?

Aaron – The new stylish and sleek 2010 Dieter Laser.

Jack – The ’09 was good, but the ’10 is pretty damn amazing.

Aaron – They get 90 miles to the gallon and you control it with your mind.

Jack – You must, however, buy three at a time. It’s like The Dodge Caravan but way more literal in that it comes as an actual caravan.

Aaron – Like a covered wagon train in the 1800s.



 

 

Jack – My beloved dog, I knew that.

Aaron – I’m Jewish.  I don’t read German.

Jack -You have a vendetta against this movie. You’re coming in wrong on this one.

Aaron – Well if he has no drains in his shower, we’ll know.


 

 

 

 

 

Jack – It’s Dieter Laser time!

Aaron – Enter Dieter Laser and his German Boner.

Jack – How psyched is he right now?  “Dear Penthouse, I can’t believe it happened to me.”

Aaron – More like, “Deyuh Peyunthaus”.

Jack – Dear Pentulshuggenkragen.

Aaron – Udo Kier would’ve been alright.

Jack – F*ck Udo Kier!  They had Udo Kier’s name on a piece of paper and Dieter Laser’s name was also on that paper and his name came down and smashed Udo Kier’s name like the giant animated foot in Monty Python.  Just BAM and it said “Dieter Goddamn Laser!”

Aaron – Not even interviewing the guy… he’s hired!

Jack –Would you interview Dieter Laser?

Aaron – I’m Jewish.  Would I be in the same room with Deter Laser? No. No I would not.  My ancestors would be weeping in their graves.

Jack – What’s worse than Nazis?  Nazis with f*ckin’ lasers, that’s what.


Aaron – Wait, he slipped her a roofie?  This is a highly respected doctor and all he had to drug the girl with was a frickin roofie?

Jack – Doctor Feelgood, as it were. Wait, Germans can have British teeth?

Aaron – It’s all that meth.

Jack – Fun fact, Dieter Laser’s head is made entirely of Sculpey.

Aaron – That is a fun fact.

Jack – It takes six hours every day to make his head.

Aaron – He looks comfortable. That’s a nice looking robe.

Jack - It’s Sunday at The Centipede Lab.



Aaron – Dieter Laser, he’s like the German Fonzie.

Jack – This movie is kinda like LADY AND THE TRAMP if you think about it.

Aaron – I do want spaghetti. Except there are no dogs, it’s not animated, and Disney is definitely not involved.

Jack – You don’t know that.

Aaron – I don’t.

Aaron – Do you think once they’re all sewn together, that when the first person is fed it comes out the last person a diamond?

Jack – Only if the last girl is Superman.



Aaron – At least he had a comfortable Posturpedic in his basement for them

Jack – I’m guessing that girl’s a 6 on the Sealy chart. I’m a 4, but she probably needs a little more support in her lower lumbar, so I’d say she’s a 6.

Aaron – There are websites out there that specialize in this kind of “girl strapped to a hospital bed crying hysterically” porn. Wait, he’s going to cut out their teeth?!

Jack – So you can’t masticate.

Aaron – But you can masturbate still.  You know what I’m saying?

Jack – And you can help out your buddy.  Sometimes bling for your thing isn’t enough.

Aaron – The Dingleberry Dancearound.

Jack – I think that was a failed monster cereal. There was Count Chocula. Frankenberry..

Aaron – The Buttnugget Boogie.

Jack – Booberry. Fruit Brute.


Aaron – I bet Jenny and Lindsay are pretty sad they didn’t call Triple A.

Jack - This whole movie is a commercial for The Auto Club and its benefits.

Aaron - The Fecal Flop N’ Jig

Jack – That’s on Melrose, isn’t it?  They have really good pie there.

Aaron – Delicious pie and sensible shoes.

Jack – If George Takei was German, he’d be Dieter Laser.

Aaron – Dieter Laser is one of the founding members of Kraftwerk.

Jack – He is ALL of Kraftwerk. Like the Voltron Lions.

Aaron – Dieter Laser is The Kraftwerk Centipede.

Jack – If all of Kraftwerk merged into one great robot, it would be Dieter Laser.

Aaron – That’s why he’s so damned tall!

Jack – Oh that painting!  Symbolism!

Aaron – If this were a Rorschach test, I’d say Mom every time.

Jack – That makes a lot of sense.

Aaron – This was KFC’s first draft for advertising the Double Down.

Jack – It would have worked on me! That painting has me famished.

Aaron - I call that painting "Siamese Vagina Chicken Babies In Summer"


Jack – Aaron, with the equipment he has on them and the way they are positioned, I pose this question: “How is this different from roller derby?” Answer the question!

Aaron – Skates.

Jack – So hypothetically, if I Photoshopped skates onto their feet, you would not know this was THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE.  You would just think they were getting ready to crack the whip and fight the “Houston Hotties”.

Aaron – I like how they put the hottest girl as the caboose of this train. She’s got a bit of a caboose. Know what I’m saying? I’d like to play in her back yard.

Jack – Well, I hope you like company!

Aaron – The girl in the back just needs to stand up and give the biggest piggy back ride ever.


 

 Jack – All of their arms work.  Their hands, digits, everything but their knees work.

Aaron – So you’re saying they’re having sexual relations in the other room?

Jack – I am saying they can all bear arms and be a centipede of axes!

Aaron – That one girl just keeps crying.

Jack – The name of the sequel: Human Centipede 2 – Tears On My Butthole.





At this point, the audio becomes impossible to transcribe. Jack appears to have sat on the remote control and stopped the film. The following clip details the next minute of Jack and Aaron drunkenly attempting to start the movie again.



Following this, the audio again becomes garbled as the film reaches its climax, and Jack and Aaron become more inebriated and belligerent.

***WARNING*** SPOILER OF THE FILM’S ENDING AHEAD!







 

 

Jack – So the cops are coming, what’s the Doctor going to- OH YES! Pinkies out, bitches! That’s how you scalpel fight in Fancy Town!

Aaron – Annnnnnd now the cops are back. And there’s blood EVERYWHERE.

Jack – “Can I help you?”

Aaron – “I was, uh, painting the nursery red.”

Jack – “I was just making some salsa for you officers. Hope you brought chips!”

Aaron – “I brew ketchup downstairs?”

Jack – It’s time for the self-destruct button, Dieter. If you’re a mad doctor tampering in God’s domain and you don’t have a self-destruct button, you’re bush league and you deserve to get caught.


For the next ten minutes, the audio content is reduced to two men screaming “No, don’t go in there!” and various slurred expletives. The film ends.


Jack – I must admit. That was an even more horrific ending than I expected.

Aaron – And she’s dead.

Jack – You are now sewn to two dead people. Next?

Aaron – Like a burger between two dead buns.

Jack – Aaron, yesterday I was cleaning out my wallet and I found a punch card from a crepe place on Sawtelle Avenue. I realized that place is no longer open and I was only two punches away from getting a free crepe. That really bummed me out.

Aaron – You know what would bum me out even more?

Jack – Hm?

Aaron – If you had your mouth sewn to some guy’s ass, who’s dead, and then had your ass sewn to your best friend’s mouth who is also dead.

Jack – Slightly worse than the crepe thing, you’re right.

Aaron – Perspective, man.


Nine hours later, the morning after overview. The HangOverview, if you will:


Jack – I had the weirdest dream last night. And by weird, I mean that I won’t be able to maintain an erection again until the year 2016.

Aaron – And here I thought the Mayans were warning us the end of the world was coming in 2012. At least you’ll have a boner in purgatory, Jack.

Jack – I’ll say this for the film: At the end there, you and I totally forgot we were here to make comments for the readers and were instead yelling at the screen. Isn’t that what a good horror film is supposed to do?

Aaron –I suppose you’re right, Jack. Plus, without the epic genius that is Dieter Laser, this movie would have completely failed. Good or bad, it definitely did invoke a response.

Jack – Well, I’ll say it was certainly watchable, even if I was watching it through my fingers while screaming into my own hand. I’d also like to say I hate poop and poop jokes in movies (in other words, I don’t own a lot of Kevin Smith films) but I somehow got through this one. Plus, I made more drunken poop and ass jokes than I thought humanly possible. I think I’m growing as a journalist, Aaron. Thank you, HUMAN CENTIPEDE!

Aaron – I believe you can up the ante on your drunken poop joke quota, Jack. I can’t say I’d have enjoyed the movie sober. Hell, I’m not sure this can be described as an enjoyable movie. But if shocking imagery is your thing and a medically accurate yet ridiculous concept gets you going, then THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE is the movie for you!

Jack – Now let us never speak of this again.

Aaron – Yes, please.


FIRST LOOK: SPLICE

FIRST LOOK:  SPLICE

 

 

Splice Poster
 

 

I think it’s fair to say that most horror fans are always on the prowl for that perfect, horrific, movie-going experience: bloody, but not dumb; uncompromising, but not “artsy-fartsy”; scary, but not hokey; smart, but not slow. Well, after viewing Vincenzo Natali’s SPLICE I feel that I’ve experienced all of the above, and then some. This is a bold and daring modern-day masterpiece that still has me mulling over the many shocks and surprises it serves up as well as some of the more cerebral and controversial themes it touches upon. 
 

For the uninitiated, the main gist of the plot goes like this: Clive Nicoli (Adrien Brody) and Elsa Kast (Sarah Polley) are two young scientists who have been given the job of running a genetic laboratory at a large corporation to develop a protein using animal gene splicing from several different species. To speed up the process, they secretly take a chance and add human DNA to the experiment. What they get is a new organism which Clive wants to destroy, but Elsa convinces him to let it live a little longer.


That “little longer” is what sets in motion an ongoing series of mishaps, cover-ups and moral misgivings that get more severe as both Clive and Elsa become increasingly attached and protective of their creation that they’ve named “Dren.” Both Brody and Polley are convincing as a couple whose relationship becomes strained under all of the weirdness that comes with the territory of keeping their “discovery of the century” under close wraps while trying to meet their initial deadline of delivering a new protein to be mass produced.
 

In addition, the Dren creature is an odd and mesmerizing creation (mad props to the KNB boys for a job well done) that confounds, challenges and surprises when least expected. I’d say this is another strong attribute of SPLICE - we learn of Dren’s new and sometimes dangerous physical and emotional developments just as Clive and Elsa do. Sure, there’s typical suspense and build up present throughout SPLICE. But it is counterbalanced quite nicely by a handful of “holy s*it” moments where there’s absolutely nothing you can do but pick your jaw up off the floor.
 

I am thrilled that a shrewd producer like Joel Silver helped get SPLICE the wide release it deserves. But its box office to date, unfortunately, is less than thrilling. I read an article in Variety about a few indie flicks that made close to SPLICE's opening weekend on a quarter of the movie screens. Sad and puzzling as there was a very positive and rowdy vibe from the packed audience I saw this wicked, little gem with.
 

If you are able, catch “Splice” in theaters before it leaves. While not straight-up horror, it doesn’t pull any punches and deserves your, ahem, un-spliced attention.

 

--Tim Clark

 

June 04, 2010

First Look at Frank Darabont's THE WALKING DEAD Series For AMC!

Ever since THE WALKING DEAD comic book series first hit store shelves several years ago, fans have held out hope that the property would one day be adapted into an on-going cable series. The story of former police officer Rick Grimes waking from a coma to find a desolate world over-run by zombies & his quest to find his missing wife and son plays out like an old-school Romero flick without a definitive end. It has since become the quintessential zombie book and amassed a huge cult following amongst comic collector's and casual readers alike.

Thankfully, AMC is producing a six-episode first season based on the first story arc of the comics with  three-time Academy Award-nominee Frank Darabont writing, directing and producing! Considering how close Darabont has stuck with the source material in his adaptations of Stephen King's properties, this is cause for fan's to celebrate. KNB FX is providing the zombies and judging from the pictures AMC just released, they're sticking closely to the drawings of original WALKING DEAD artist Tony Moore. Andrew Lincoln stars as Rick Grimes with Jon Bernthal, Linds Edwards, Sarah Wayne Callies, Steven Yeun, Addy Miller and THE MIST alumni Jeffrey DeMunn and Laurie Holden rounding out the cast.

There's no official air date set yet, but you can expect THE WALKING DEAD sometime this fall. In the meantime, check out this video interview with Frank Darabont, followed by a few tasty pics of the ghouls from the series!

For more pics and info, visit AMC's website right here!



 




 

Read the Complete School Based Slasher Reviews!

Months back, Icons of Fright editor-in-chief Phil Fasso took it upon himself to review a series of school slashers.  Tonight, his task is complete.  Read all 10 of his reviews in the Fright Reviews section, or just click on the links below.  Get schooled by Phil, as he attends the prom, graduation day and visits a dorm that drips blood.  He also tackles urban legends, takes a final exam and stops by the house on sorority row, twice.  And he never cries wolf, even as he graduates from Slaughter High to Splatter University.  Whew!

SPLATTER UNIVERSITY

FINAL EXAM

SLAUGHTER HIGH

THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD (PRANKS)

URBAN LEGEND

GRADUATION DAY

CRY WOLF

PROM NIGHT (1980)

THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW

SORORITY ROW

June 03, 2010

REVIEW: A Look At THE WOLFMAN Blu-Ray!

When you look back on the cinematic exploits of lycanthropes, there is most certainly a big difference between a "werewolf" depicted on screen and "The Wolf Man".  The original Wolf Man, as portrayed by Lon Chaney Jr in the 1941 Universal monster classic is unarguably the definitive "wolf man". Yes, there are amazing versions of the beast in everything from AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON to THE HOWLING to THE MONSTER SQUAD to DOG SOLDIERS to many, many more. But if you bring up that image to the left, the first thing you think is "THAT's the Wolf Man".

As far as the theatrical version of Joe Johnston's remake, all I wanted was an old-school gothic monster movie with a kick-ass version of the monster I'd grown up loving. And sure enough, whenever Benicio Del Toro graced the screen in full make-up, literally tearing people limb from limb, I thought "Holy sh*t... THAT is the Wolf Man!"

Despite it's few plot inconsistencies most likely caused by numerous re-edits,  THE WOLFMAN is one of the better remakes of a classic property. While the story is slightly tweaked from the original version (including setting this one in the 1890's as opposed to the 40's), the basic premise is similar enough. In this version, Larry Talbot is a traveling actor who's been estranged from his family since a psychologically damaging incident from his childhood. He returns home after learning of the disappearance and murder of his brother. He's attacked by the same beast and later starts going on his own nighttime extra curricular activities.

Emily Blunt plays Gwen Conliffe, the object of Larry's affections and also widow to his recently deceased brother. Anthony Hopkins plays the senior Talbot.

Benicio Del Toro playing Larry Talbot and the Wolfman seems like perfect casting, especially considering the actor's resemblance to Lon Chaney Jr.  However, in the theatrical version, his performance (or as some reviewers have argued, his lack of one) is by far the weakest link. The director's cut however fixes that, so anyone disappointed with Talbot's lack of character development should be satisfied with his portrayal (now more in tact) in this new version.



The director's cut clocks in at a solid 2 hours. It's most notable is the first 20-30 minutes, which almost feel like a completely different movie. In this version, rather then send a letter, Gwen travels to meet with Larry backstage after a London performance of Hamlet and informs him in person of his brother's disappearance. After much debate, primarily out of fear of seeing his father again, Larry hops on a train and heads back home. On the train ride, he encounters Max von Sydow (!) who gives him the infamous wolf's head cane. While to the average movie-goer, this may seem slowly paced, it's fine for the gothic tone this film is trying to emulate. There are other little additions sprinkled all the way through out which make the director's cut a more complete movie, but be forewarned, Del Toro doesn't turn into the Wolfman for the first time until the hour mark. It's a tough call to say which version is "better". As a diehard Wolfman fan, I'm just thrilled to have both. The theatrical cut moves at a brisk pace, but if you have the patience and desire to watch a more deliberately slow paced old-school horror movie, then you'll enjoy all the extra goodies in the director's cut.

The Blu-Ray sports plenty of great special features. There are a handful of deleted scenes, the most notable is when the Wolfman invades a costume party and no one suspects the threat of this party crasher. It's a great and humorous scene to watch on it's own, but I can understand how it doesn't exactly fit in the middle of the London rooftop chase scene as it currently stands in the movie. There are also 2 alternate endings, both of which are interesting but inferior to the one that ended up in the final film.

The first featurette on the disc is Return Of The Wolfman, a basic behind the scenes and interview montage segment that covers not only the production of the film, but the history of the Universal monster movies. It's pretty straight forward stuff, but the real gold is the next two featurettes which focus on the Wolfman himself. The Beast Maker is a great, great segment with make-up FX legend Rick Baker talking about his love of the character and how he set about updating it for this new remake. Of note is the test footage (Rick Baker made himself up as the Wolfman for these clips) which shows his ideas for doing the transformation practically! Why they opted to go with CGI transformations after getting this little tease of what Baker had in store for us will forever be one of those studio mysteries. Alas, hopefully Baker will get a chance to do another werewolf movie one day and fully realize the vision he started here. Also cool are dozens of various early designs we get to see for the Wolfman. Del Toro even insisted that some of the fake body parts be made edible so he could really get down and dirty and eat some flesh while behind that mask. The next featurette Transformation Secrets focuses on the CGI FX of the movie. (Some shots surprisingly I didn't even realize were CG which is a credit to the work done here.) While I'm sure myself and other fans would've loved to have seen Baker's practical transformations, the work done here is among the best I've seen for a movie of this scale.



The Wolfman Unleashed is a great featurette that focuses on the stunt work and action set pieces from the film. It's neat to see video cam footage of stuntman Spencer Wilding in full Wolfman gear jumping from rooftops and running at incredible speeds on moving mats. Also, after watching this, it seems fairly obvious that while I'm sure Benicio is there for the majority of the close-up shots, Spencer seems to have played the Wolfman for a considerable amount of the movie.

If you missed THE WOLFMAN in theaters... shame on you!

In all seriousness, this is a great package. Not only to see two different versions of the movie, but for the features which really are excellent. The disc is worth it alone just for the Rick Baker segment. Recommended. - Robg.

Wolfman-Blu.jpg


BONUS CLIPS

THE WOLFMAN Blu-ray Bonus Clip – Creating Wolfman Speed and Movement

In this bonus feature clip from THE WOLFMAN Blu-ray, director Joe Johnston and others show how they accomplished the Wolfman’s speeds in this exclusive behind-the-scenes look.



THE WOLFMAN U-Control™ Blu-ray Bonus Clip – Transforming Man into Wolfman
In this bonus clip from THE WOLFMAN Blu-ray, VFX Producer Karen Murphy shows how hand animation was used in this exclusive behind-the-scenes look through Universal’s new U-Control™ feature that lets the viewer access bonus materials without leaving the movie.
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THE WOLFMAN Blu-ray Bonus Clip – Behind the Scenes with Rick Baker - NEW!
In this bonus clip from THE WOLFMAN Blu-ray, Creature Effects Designer Rick Baker talks about his role in the film through Universal’s new U-Control™ feature that lets the viewer access bonus materials without leaving the movie.



THE WOLFMAN Blu-ray Bonus Clip – Lighting Talbot Hall Set - NEW!
In this bonus clip from THE WOLFMAN Blu-ray, Director of Photography Shelly Johnson talks about Talbot Hall in this exclusive behind-the-scenes look through Universal’s new U-Control™ feature that lets the viewer access bonus materials without leaving the movie.

BOOK REVIEW: The Kill Crew

Book Review: The Kill Crew by Joseph D’Lacey

 The Kill Crew

 

 

Editor's note:  Let's all applaud Tim Clark on his first Icons of Fright article, a nicely written review of Joseph D'Lacey's novella The Kill Crew.  You'll be reading lots more from this talented Icons staffer in the near future.  Congratulations, Tim!  --P.F.

The post-apocalyptic thriller, for lack of a better description, always proves to be fertile ground to unleash unforgettable characters that endure hair-raising situations in order to live another day.  From I Am Legend to ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, these beloved yarns are typically weaved with a healthy dose of social commentary that forces the viewer or reader to take a long, hard look at what the world has become – or could become (gulp!). Joseph D’Lacey’s recent novella The Kill Crew stays true to these conventions while adding a few unique twists and turns. Is it worth your time and money? You betcha.

Barricaded into a city block called The Station, two hundred people have survived the apocalypse. Was it a bomb? A biological attack? Phase one of an invasion? No one really knows. What is known is that The Station is under constant threat and each day a lottery decides the seven members of The Kill Crew – a night shift of civilian soldiers with one simple mission: Extermination.

The extermination is aimed squarely at the once-human “Commuters”, who are now infected with something that has forced them to go crazy and attack the normal folk. What’s different about the Commuters compared to, say, the traditional Romero-like zombie is that this posse can emote. They long for something that has been taken from them and have no problem wailing, crying or weeping as they tear you to pieces.  And the Kill Crew, aka, the “Stoppers” have become experts at disposing of them by “popping” them in the head with some pretty impressive firepower.

The unofficial leader of the Kill Crew is Sheri Foley, a tough-as-nails, take-no-prisoners kinda gal that sports two pump action shotguns, affectionately named Kane and Abel. She also carries the Paramedic - a .38 snub nosed used on fellow Stoppers for “total anesthesia.”

The story is told primarily through Sheri’s eyes and it’s not a pretty one. Vegetation has been choked out and nearly replaced by a blackened, deathly plant life. A faint, mysterious green glow is ever present during the Kill Crew’s night time excursions, when the Commuters like to make themselves known. It’s a simple, yet very eerie backdrop for a cool story like this to unfold. 

While we get to experience what it’s like to survive a few head-popping, adrenaline-fueled excursions with the Kill Crew, (trust me on this, they are very intense) D’Lacey smartly avoids lingering on over-the-top gore and shocks to deliver a few nice twists and turns along the way. This comes to fruition about 3/4ths into the book when Sheri and fellow survivors Ike and Trixie stock up a Humvee-like ride and leave the now threatened safety of the Station.  Miles and miles away from their sanctuary, the group finds out that rest of the world is just as messed up as the one they left. While the constant threat of the Commuters isn’t as much of a concern, plenty of other things are. I won’t divulge any more details because you should experience these twisted and heartbreaking developments on your own.

If I have one problem with The Kill Crew it’s a selfish one: I want more. At 77 pages, D’Lacey has crafted one lean and mean tale sprinkled with unforgettable characters and a robust storyline that could easily continue for a few more volumes. I hope he gets the opportunity to do so. If you feel the same way after reading The Kill Crew make sure you let the publisher www.stonegarden.net know loud and clear. And don’t forget to check out Joseph D’Lacey’s other work, Meat and The Garbage Man which I also highly recommend.

-- Tim Clark