Monthly Archives: December, 2017

Movie Review – House of Salem

Review of Brit crime/horror film is over at Flickering Myth and below…

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Writer/director James Crow (Curse of the Witching Tree) makes stylish use of genre mixing in this feature, with a blend of British crime thriller and supernatural horror keeping suspense up to the max with plenty of surprises in store. Calling to mind the 1970’s psychological thriller output of Hammer Films (films like Demons of the Mind and Fear in the Night (both 1972) or more recent examples of Brit Horror crime thrillers such as Kill List (2011) which meld different genre elements into a horror film, House of Salem delights in never really letting the audience know where it’s going. Both weird and unnerving, it succeeds in creating a disarming level of edgy terror.

Following the abduction of young Josh (Liam Kelly) by a group of big-city clown masked villains, the group soon finds out that their safe-house is not so safe. Receiving their demands for cash becomes the least of their concerns as it becomes apparent that the child is wanted for something completely different and far darker. A grim playfulness takes part in the situation and the location’s psyching out of the gang, with blood and shadows messing with their heads and disrupting the usual work-rate of a kidnapping job. All of this unsettling weirdness and well captured strange visions moves the story away from its crime thriller beginnings into strange horror.

The performances are notably good, with Jessica Arterton (the debut of the cousin of Gemma Arterton) interacting well with both Liam Kelly’s stolen kid and Leslie Mills’ bullying tough-guy boss. The sense of the gang stepping out of a Brit crime drama into something far darker adds a whole other level to the movie, and scenes of the group struggling to figure out exactly what is going on have a dreamy, surreal quality to them that works well.

The main criticism is that the film could have been edited of a few scenes just before the climactic ending – which although chilling is working with one too many ideas and a whole load of characters, some introduced without much background information or actual need. By the time that the majority of characters have been killed off and new ones have appeared, a little of the drama has been lost. However, at its best House of Salem is a creepy example of a devilish horror thriller mixed with Brit crime and home invasion genres, with a decent amount of scares and surprises thrown in.

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In Praise of Daydreaming

I am waiting for a delivery of an item of technology that will make life easier. It will adapt our home’s existing telephone output and update it into something more suitable for a modem connection, thus allowing access to the Internet, or the World Wide Web as it was once known. The telephone output adapter will be packaged in various plastic materials that will not decompose for at least thirty thousand years, and possibly never.

Right now I am in that enviable position of being in the present – the Here and Now – and not needing to do much other than simply wait. As I am – I think – a sentient creature, I ruminate and write at the same time.

Much has been made recently of the psychological practise mindfulness and how it can help keep thoughts focused and mental energy more efficient. While I believe it is helpful to not dwell on thoughts, be they positive or negative, some proponents of the technique claim that for a mind to be functioning at its optimum it needs to be in the Here and Now and not daydreaming or wandering. I feel this does a disservice to mental strolls along imaginary pathways and lanes. I think the mind is capable of being both in the present and also able to let things free-up and lose itself down different routes.

In short, I’m a big fan of daydreaming.

I believe daydreaming reveals the different aspects of the mind and personality to the I, without the codified stern warnings and rebukes of the ego. It lets forces of the imagination out into the internal world, with the option of creative interpretations finding a space in the external world. Dreams and nightmares make us what we are. Keeping hold of a route to discover and rediscover the forces beyond and behind the everyday, as well as the universal themes and designs of what we call reality can only be a good thing in my opinion.

Now back to the wait… and the daydreaming.

Like an abandoned shopping trolley in the breeze

Like an abandoned shopping trolley in the breeze

He moves back and forth on the bench

Shuffling his notes around

Waiting to speak

The time doesn’t arrive

He moves back and forth on the bench

The Mower

Under a clear azure sky

The lawn is kept in shape

Like so many other mowers up and down the land

Uniform headphones protect the ears

Cap and glasses from the orange sun

The work is set

*

I hear the whirring of activity every afternoon

There is always more grass to cut down

More growth to dominate

Our advancement shapes the earth

And challenges the natural fit

How long will the work go on for?