Tag-Archive for » vampires «

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve often shied away from reading book series consecutively. I tend to get burnt out a bit if I push on too soon. I read the first book in Kadrey’s series “Sandman Slim” in the middle of last year and I loved it; I was worried about getting too much James Stark at once though. Finally, I felt I had put enough distance between myself & Mr. Stark since the last time and picked up “Kill the Dead”.

James Stark, the “Sandman Slim” of the series title is a badass bundle of hoodoo and raw muscle. He has quite a bit of attitude and self deprecating humor as well as a tendency to feel sorry for himself. Considering he spent the past eleven years in hell though, it’s okay. In Book 1 of the series, we watched as Stark clawed his way out of hell and went in search of revenge on the person that sent him ‘downtown’ in the first place. With those adventures behind him, we join Stark as he hunts down a rogue vampire, on a mission from Gold Vigil also known as ‘Heaven’s Special Task Force’. At first glance, you look at the title “Kill The Dead” and this first scene with a vampire and you figure you know where this story is going to go. Author Richard Kadrey is a cagey bugger though and it certainly doesn’t pan out as one would predict which is what makes this a lot of fun.

“Kill the Dead” treads a lot of familiar genre ground. There are vampires and zombies, but they’re different; especially on the zombie front. I was worried when they first showed up as zombie novels don’t do a whole lot for me these days. Kadrey mixes it up though. He gives us zombies that are a bit harder to kill, varying strengths and powers and a whole lot more drive behind them. It’s a nice change up. They’re also not the driving force of the book either. While they are a big part, there are a whole lot of other things going on at the same time in this version of LA. Stark has to work with a lot of different people and chase down a few sub plots, so it’s not all, “watch the survivors fight to the rebuilding of America”. In, this isn’t even a ‘zombie apocalypse’ situation. There’s just a zombie problem that needs cleared up!

The highlight of the “Sandman Slim” novels is the characters. Some are one dimensional, but they’re written well so that one dimension is pretty fun. Start is full of wise cracks and his side kick, that of a schlub of a man’s severed head…., are pretty entertaining. Mix in Stark’s dealings with various angels, covert organizations from Heaven, even Lucifer himself and you see a complete and well thought out world laid out in efficient manner. Topping it off, Kadrey’s writing style flows well and seldom feels like it is bogged down. It’s full of snark and one liners, with a purpose mind you, and makes for fun engaging reading.

The beauty is, fun and engaging is all I really ask for when reading genre fiction, so “Kill the Dead” hits the spot quite nicely!

I gave “Kill the Dead” 4 stars out of 5 over on Goodreads!


Looking for a book podcast? Be sure to check out my genre fiction cast, The Dad and his Weird Friends Book Club over at Bloody Good Horror! What to compare books with me? Come add me on Goodreads! Want to discuss books? Come join us in the Dad and his Weird Friends Book Club on Facebook!

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Friday, April 15th, 2011 | Author: Casey Criswell

You know, Kraft has been selling their cheese by the slice for decades now, so why should Cinema Fromage be able to sell theirs by the slice as well? For a whopping $.99, you can now buy e-book copies of my short stories “Jack Boots for Jesus” that was originally published in the college literary magazine “The Jack” back in 2007, and “Deep Lies the Murky Floor” that appeared in last years “Dark: A Horror Anthology”!

If you click on the lovely covers above, you’ll be magically transported to Smashwords.com where the books are available in all flavors of e-book, such as the Kindle and Nook variety’s, so there’s no holding back! (There’s a nifty Kindle app for the iphone, Android phone and the PC as well, so no excuses!)

If you enjoy this handy little chunks of story, (tailored perfectly for the bathroom I happily remind you) be sure to stay tuned here at Cinema Fromage! The novella’s “A Fat Man and his Dog” and “Bloodhound” will be coming soon and depending on the response, perhaps some continuing adventures of Sister Mary Elizabeth and her undead annoyances!

So spread the word, comments are always welcome and I hope you enjoy!

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Wednesday, December 29th, 2010 | Author: Casey Criswell

With strong praise coming from my friends over at Night of the Living Podcast I jumped on the chance to take in “Suck” when it became available on Netflix. They had talked the movie up quite a bit and I have a bad habit of letting my friends high enjoyment color my expectations. This time around it didn’t burn me. Thankfully, their kind words in Episode 208 were right on the money.

The Winners are on a tour of Canada and the US, hoping to gain fans and win a contract at their showcase gig at CMJ. The fans aren’t really swarming them though. Early on into their tour, the band’s bass player Jen gets invited to a party by a swishy looking goth bloke who happens to be a vampire. Guess what…Jen gets turned into a vampire! Surprising, huh?

Luckily for the rest of the band, once Jen gets vamped out, she starts to draw attention on stage. The fans start to pay attention and life on the road to CMJ starts to look a little better. Things get even better once the rest of the band members start joining the undead ranks, but all good things must come to end. Once the legendary vampire hunter Van Helsing shows up, their rocket to the top starts to fall apart in a hurry.

The key to enjoying “Suck”? Don’t take it seriously. The cast and screen writers don’t take it seriously at all and neither should you! This results in a fun little vampire satire that makes itself stand out from the standard fanged romance fare. Now, the movie does start out a little slow. It has a gradual build that pays off in the end. The story isn’t necessarily new and ground breaking, but it plays well to the setup. It’s your typical “deal with the devil” type of story that lends itself well to the rock and roll world of “Suck”. Trade the standard Satan with a vampire god in the guise of Alice Cooper and you have yourself an entertaining bit of story!

The main cast here is nothing really to get excited about. They do a fine job, you just haven’t heard of any of them most likely. You’ve heard of the supporting cast however. How about Dave Foley. Remember him? “Kids in the Hall”? He’s the band’s manager and he’s a smarmy and hilarious jack ass. Malcolm McDowell? Yah, he’s the enigmatic and hammy Van Helsing. A perfect fit, really. Even Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper and Henry Rollins show up as stereotypical rock type icons and to be honest, they’re pretty damn funny! Iggy Pop is a nice little philosophical stand out and Henry Rollins and his mullet-ed shock jock radio DJ is pretty damned hilarious.

The biggest problem about “Suck” is that it hit the market very close to another vampire comedy by the name of “Vampires Suck”. As you can see, it’s going to be pretty easy to confuse the two when you’re barely remembering this recommendation when walking through the video store. I’m here to tell you though, “Suck” is the better film. Given a chance, “Suck” delivers a ton of good laughs and some great cameos making for a memorable flick. Since the movie showed up on Instant Watch once week after it was released on DVD? You now have no reason not to watch it!

Wednesday, July 07th, 2010 | Author: Casey Criswell

Jason Mewes and I go way back. I watched “Clerks” early on back in the day when we weren’t sure if the movie was actually in black and white or if the bootleg I had downloaded was just crap. His half of the “Jay and Silent Bob” duo was striking and left a strong memory for years to come. Of course, I was right there with him through the years as he kept coming back to play the same ADD riddled drug dealer time and time again and I still loved it all the same. Though it took awhile, Mewes finally decided to strike out from his tried and true mold and flex his acting muscles on some new character types. They started small, bit parts and guest starring roles in movies such as 2006’s “The Tripper” and then running back to the solid comfort of Kevin Smith in “Zack and Miri Make a Porno”. Still, he did all right and made for a fairly enjoyable watch that wasn’t his token spastic self.

In 2008, director Havey Glazer decided he would take the would be thespians career one step further by giving him a lead role in his vampire saga “Bitten” and for the first time, I had to give question to my blind faith in Mewes. Sure, I like the guy just fine and thought he was pretty hilarious when he was firing on all cylinders, but could he carry an entire movie? The stakes were low; “Bitten” was slated as a Syfy Channel feature and later put into heavy rotation on Chiller TV, so there would be no big screen release for him to crash and burn in front of. Thanks to the technology known as “DVD”, this month we get to take in the uncensored version of “Bitten” and see for ourselves how Mewes fares as a leading man. Come to find out, he’s not such a bad actor after all!

“Bitten” is a pretty basic vampire story, but when compared to other Syfy Channel features, it stacks up to be a fun little black comedy. Jack, played by the aforementioned Mewes, is down on his luck when it comes to love. His girlfriend dumped him after looking elsewhere for attention when his grave yard shift at the local EMT keeps him tired and lackluster in the sack. Once he’s given up hope, he comes across the lovely Erica Cox bloodied and battered in front of his apartment. Being a paramedic as well as a bit lonely, he decides to take her inside to get her cleaned up where he, and Danika, both come to realize that the attack that left her face down in a pool of blood in front of the apartment building was no ordinary mugging. Danika has a hunger that can’t be sated by mere mortal means. She needs blood and sex; and lots of it.

“Bitten” is a vampire coming of age story with a touch of humor, a dash of gore, and a pinch of T&A. The movie never takes itself too seriously and tries to squeeze in some laughs at regular intervals. The character development is actually rather solid; we learn quite a bit about Jack and his current state of affairs quickly and succinctly. It’s easy to see why he would take this gorgeous stranger into his house so quickly. She’s beautiful and he’s lonely. The details on Danika’s past are scant, but that’s the point; she’s a mystery. It all works well as we see this desperate man quickly fall in love and start to do things no normal boyfriend would for what he thinks may be the love of his life. Never mind the fact that her life is questionable at this point. Sadly, the movie does become stretched at times. Some plot points are drawn out to fill a feature length and become a touch overcooked towards the end of the film. There are quite a few laughs though to help break up the pace. Sure, the comedy is thin and not always what you would call the ‘high’ variety, but they are definitely there and worthwhile. When compared to other films that the Syfy Channel runs, “Bitten” raises fairly high. The story is solid and the jokes are occasionally well written compared to the networks typical overdone CGI antics. Stacked against something of the big budget Hollywood variety, the film would fall short. It’s okay though, you get the sense that all involved never really expected that kind of quality and are simply having some good fun with the material at hand.

Now we return to the question of the day; how does Jason Mewes stack up as a leading man? The answer is; quite well really. The man can actually act and make himself believable! Sure, his role of Jack isn’t too far of a cry from his past roles. He’s a lower class working man. Gone are the nutty scenes of hyper active nonsense that came with his titular “Jay” role which are replaced with some solid acting bits with flashes of good old fashioned snark. There are hints of what we’re familiar with which help us identify with the man on the screen and adds well to the dark humor that film is trying to maintain. He’s not going to be headlining blockbusters anytime soon, but he can spruce up the casts of direct to video flicks, no problem.

“Bitten” is not going to reinvent the vampire genre but it is good solid fun for the most part. You’ll grow a bit weary of it all by the final twenty minutes of the movie but you’ll enjoy your journey up until that point. If they would lop of around 10 minutes of the film overall, the film makers would have a bonafied B-Movie hit on their hands but as is; they’ve got a solid B-Movie entry. Good fun, a new look for Mewes and Erica Cox is rather easy on the eyes as well. As for recommendations, I strongly suggest searching out this new uncensored DVD version over then tamed network version. After all, the T&A fits into the plot here and Erica Cox? She’s awfully pretty.

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