Saturday Night at the Movies: 5 Great British Horror Films

I  know, book blog but Halloween is fast approaching and I am a BIG fan of horror movies so I couldn’t resist doing a post on some of my favorites. This, the first of two posts (I couldn’t limit myself to one), is all about British horror films.

I’m very possibly biased but I truly think that Britain has produced some of the best ever horror films. They do tend to be a little low budget but they definitely make up for it with good story lines and brilliant dialogue. There are a lot of great films but I think these are my favorites.


5. Dog Soldiers (2002)

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What’s it about – A group of soldiers versus a pack of werewolves in the Scottish wilderness.

Why I love it – There don’t seem to be many werewolf movies so that’s a big plus and this one while being pretty low budget is really well made. There are a few twists that I didn’t expect, great acting, a decent script and I really liked the military aspects. The werewolves themselves are kind of funny looking, it is low budget after all, but still very watchable.

Fear Factor – It has it’s moments but it’s difficult to take the werewolves seriously when they are so comical looking.


4. The Descent

Image result for the descent

What’s it about – A group of friends decide to go and explore some caves, but they’re not the only ones down there.

Why I love it – It’s dark, it’s claustrophobic, the things in the cave are properly scary and it’s very, very violent. The best thing though is that it’s really a survival story and it is brilliant to watch how each of them react to the situation, firstly when they realize they’re stuck in the caves and then when they realize they’re not alone. Some are all about the team work and others mean to survive by any means possible.

Fear Factor – Pretty high although that could be just me as I’m a little bit claustrophobic and you would never catch me down in those caves in the first place. There’s a lot of shocks, sudden violence and will definitely have you watching from between your fingers.


3. 28 Days Later (2002)

Image result for 28 days later

What’s it about – Zombies!!!! Kind of like the Walking Dead, bloke wakes up in hospital in London to discover most of the population has been infected with a virus.

Why I love it – Zombies!!!! I love a zombie film, they are the absolute best movie monster because they have literally no feelings, no conscience and no sense of self preservation. Also the scene where he initially wakes and is literally the only person on the streets of London is stunning.

Fear Factor – There are quite a few shocks and scares but it’s probably more gory than terrifying.


2. Severence (2006)

Extra Large Movie Poster Image for Severance (#6 of 7)

What’s it about – A group of sales executives on a corporate retreat in Eastern Europe somehow end up at the wrong cabin, the very wrong cabin.

Why I love it – There is a lot of bad language, nudity, sexual references, drug use and over the top violence but it’s hilarious. The humor is definitely dark but it just makes me giggle. Danny Dyer is fantastic in the lead but the other characters are also perfectly cast. There are quite a few who remind me of aspects of my co workers and I love all of the little resentments between them.

Fear Factor – Yeah, there are a few bits that will make you jump and it’s a little bit creepy in places but this is much more about the humor and the violence.


1. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Image result for shaun of the dead poster

What’s it about – A man decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother, and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living.

Why I love it – Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Do I need to say anything else? OK, I love the humor and just how long it takes the pair of them to realize the world is being taken over by zombies. It definitely makes a very valid point about how we kind of sleepwalk through life not paying attention to the things going on around us. Although I would hope I would notice the end of the world. I also love just how crap their plan is. I’m fairly positive that should there ever be a zombie apocalypse I will probably be the first to go.

Fear Factor – It describes itself as a RomZomCom so pretty low. There is the odd creepy moment and quite a bit of blood and gore but it’s more funny than scary.


So that’s my five favorite British horror movies. Have you watched any of them? What did you think? Are there any you think should be included in this list or that you would recommend?

 

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WWW Wednesday: 18th October 2017

The WWW Wednesday meme is currently hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and is a great way to do a weekly update on what you’ve been reading and what you have planned.

WWW Wednesday

To take part all you have to do is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass, #6)I actually have two books on the go this week which is a big improvement compared to last week when I was in a serious slump and not reading anything new. The first of these is Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas. I bought this a few weeks ago but had been putting it off as I was disappointed by the last book in the Throne of Glass series.

It’s very early days (I’m about 120 pages in) but so far so good. This book follows Chaol and Nesryn so a lot of new characters and places which I’m just starting to get my head round. I am loving how much simpler the story is in this. The last couple of books in the series had a lot going on and were starting to feel a bit too big in scale for my tastes. This has a lot more focus, one main storyline, one setting so suits me a lot better.

Why Not Me?The second book I’m reading is Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. I was pretty much just scouting around on Overdrive looking for something to read and came across this. I’ve been a fan of The Mindy Project for a while so have been curious about Kaling’s books. This is more a collection of essays on various different topics than one story which does make it pretty easy to dip in and out of. It’s also quite funny and light so it’s perfect when I have a little bit of time.


Recently FinishedThe Scandal

Due to last weeks slump and the fact I seem to have started a huge big book in Tower of Dawn, I only managed to finish one book this week but it was definitely a good one. I’d received The Scandal by Fredrik Backman from NetGalley months ago but kept putting it off because it was different from my usual reads. Turns out that was a big mistake as this book is brilliant.

It wasn’t the easiest to get into in the beginning as there’s no real main character but rather switches between multiple perspectives from page to page but it really is an incredible story of a community where nothing matters more than Ice Hockey. You can read my full review here.


Reading Next

My Side of the DiamondI’ve decided to try and slow my reading a bit as I still don’t feel like I’m totally out of the slump so if I manage to finish my current reads I’ll be doing well. I did receive My Side of the Diamond by Sally Gardner from Readers First at the weekend so if I do manage to finish ToD I think it’ll be next.

Have you read any of the books on my list this week? Any others you’d recommend? As always please feel free to leave comments and links below.

Happy Wednesday Everyone!!!

Teaser Tuesday: 17th October 2017

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by The Purple Booker. If you want to join in grab your current read, flick to a random page, select two sentences (without spoilers) and share them in a blog post or in the comments of The Purple Booker.


This week my teaser comes from The Scandal (aka Beartown) by Fredrik Backman. I was originally planning to continue my horror themed teasers but I read this at the weekend and loved it so much I had to share something from it. The writing is just incredible and I honestly think I’ve highlighted pretty much the whole book. Definitely one I’d recommend.


My Teaser

Her little Benjamin, the fighter with whom it’s far too easy for the girls of Beartown to fall in love. The boy with the most handsome face, the saddest eyes and the wildest heart they’ve ever seen.

~ 10% The Scandal by Fredrik Backman


BlurbThe Scandal

‘Late one evening towards the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barrelled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else’s forehead and pulled the trigger. This is the story of how we got there.’ 

Beartown is a small town in a large Swedish forest.

For most of the year it is under a thick blanket of snow, experiencing the kind of cold and dark that brings people closer together – or pulls them apart.

Its isolation means that Beartown has been slowly shrinking with each passing year. But now the town is on the verge of an astonishing revival. Everyone can feel the excitement. Change is in the air and a bright new future is just around the corner.

Until the day it is all put in jeopardy by a single, brutal act. It divides the town into those who think it should be hushed up and forgotten, and those who’ll risk the future to see justice done. At last, it falls to one young man to find the courage to speak the truth that it seems no one else wants to hear.

No one can stand by or stay silent. You’re on one side or another.

Which side will you find yourself on?

 

The Scandal by Fredrik Backman

The ScandalThe Scandal by Fredrik Backman

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Wow… This book was not at all what I was expecting, I actually put off reading it because I didn’t think it’d be my thing but…. wow.

Brilliant, powerful, atmospheric, frustrating, emotional, hopeful, beautiful and cold. The writing in this book is incredible, I think I ended up highlighting most of the book.


The Blurb

‘Late one evening towards the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barrelled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else’s forehead and pulled the trigger. This is the story of how we got there.’ 

Beartown is a small town in a large Swedish forest.

For most of the year it is under a thick blanket of snow, experiencing the kind of cold and dark that brings people closer together – or pulls them apart.

Its isolation means that Beartown has been slowly shrinking with each passing year. But now the town is on the verge of an astonishing revival. Everyone can feel the excitement. Change is in the air and a bright new future is just around the corner.

Until the day it is all put in jeopardy by a single, brutal act. It divides the town into those who think it should be hushed up and forgotten, and those who’ll risk the future to see justice done. At last, it falls to one young man to find the courage to speak the truth that it seems no one else wants to hear.

No one can stand by or stay silent. You’re on one side or another.

Which side will you find yourself on?


My Review

I have to admit I kind of wish they’d kept the title of this book as Beartown rather than The Scandal for the UK market as this story is about so much more than one event, it’s the story of a town, of a community. Yes there is a scandal (although I personally think that’s the wrong word to describe what happens) but really it’s about the environment that allowed such a thing to happen and the reaction of the residents and neighbours when it does.

It’s about a community that’s slowly being destroyed and has one final hope, one last chance, one thing they can be proud of and how they’ll go to any lengths to protect it. It’s about belief, faith, determination, hope and bravery but also about divisions in class and status, despair, grudges and inequality. It’s also about ice hockey, which may be only a game, but for the residents of Beartown hockey is everything. It both unites them and divides them. It’s their one final hope to save a town in the middle of nowhere which is slowly disappearing.

It’s only a game. It only resolves tiny, insignificant things. Such as who gets validation. Who gets listened to. It allocates power and draws boundaries and turns some people into stars and others into spectators. That’s all.

I have to confess I know very little about hockey but for this story you could just as easily substitute in any sport as it’s more about the relationship between the sport and the town, although I suspect hockey was picked because it’s such a hard and violent sport (much like Beartown). Everyone has their hopes pinned on the junior team winning but they all have very different reasons for it. Some see it as a business opportunity, some a chance to escape and move up in the world and some just see it as proof that their town can still win at something.

It’s a very insular community. Small, isolated and fiercely proud of who they are. They have their own hierarchy, rules and beliefs all based around hockey. The more you can do for the team, the more power you have and the more you can get away with. The town is pretty much run by the best players and the sponsors but it’s unwise to ignore the hardcore working class fans either who feel the team belongs to them. Incomers, who don’t know the rules or have the same beliefs aren’t welcome. It’s very old fashioned, with only men allowed to play or even like hockey and the women expected to stay at home and support them. Everything is cold and hard and at times the whole story feels very claustrophobic, particularly when you see how everyone can turn on whoever falls out of line.

There aren’t really any main characters in this story but rather it’s told from multiple perspectives all of the time, jumping from one person to the next every page or two or sometimes every few paragraphs. These multiple view points and swift changes between them make it feel very episodic. I will admit I found it a little confusing in the beginning but it is brilliantly done and really gives you a feel for every aspect of the story. You’re very much in each and every moment and with every character and every single thing that happens feels completely real.

As you would expect there are some characters that are more likeable than others but as with all great stories I found my feelings towards them changing throughout as they developed and we found out more about them. A character I felt sorry for in the beginning turned out to be not very nice and one who didn’t really register, I kind of fell in love with by the end.

The story is slow, particularly in the beginning, but it’s captivating. The writing is beautiful and I found myself taking my time just to enjoy it. The author has such a wonderful way of capturing thoughts and beliefs. I always highlight sentences I like or that speak to me in some way as I read but had to stop myself from just highlighting everything it’s soo good.

I will say that I did find it frustrating in places, there are so many hints of what’s to come it began to drive me crazy, but it was literally impossible to put down. I read the majority of it in a day and this was while I was in the midst of a reading slump. I do think there was a little bit of the emotion missing, it didn’t stay in one place long enough, but it is a truly brilliant book.

I do feel like I have to add that there are a few events which may be triggers (I won’t put details here but happy to discuss in comments) but they are all handled with real sensitivity by the author.

Overall, this is definitely a book I’d recommend even if like me you’ve been put off by the idea of a book about hockey.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book. As always all thoughts are my own.


 

ARC Review: The Treatment by C.L. Taylor

The TreatmentThe Treatment by C.L. Taylor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fast paced and gripping read that’s extremely difficult to put down. I loved the premise of a reform school with a special treatment program that transforms wayward and rebellious teens into model citizens. I kind of wish the author had gone a step further into invasion of the bodysnatcher territory but I found this very enjoyable and engaging.

Despite hearing a lot of great things about Taylor’s adult thrillers this, her first venture into YA, was actually the first book by her I’ve read. I had been meaning to pick up her other stories but it was the usual case of too many books too little time. When I spotted this one on NetGalley however I just couldn’t resist. A book about a reform school that’s brainwashing troublesome teens, count me in. It’s just such a fascinating premise and I love all things about brains, memory and behaviour.

The story follows 16 year old Drew Taylor whose younger brother Mason is sent to the residential reform academy by his mum and stepfather after he’s expelled from school for the third time. Initially she’s a little relieved her brother isn’t causing trouble and she can get some peace and quiet but then one day she’s followed home from school by someone claiming to work at the school. Dr Cobey has a note for Drew from her brother which says that all is not as it seems, the treatment is changing people and he’s scared.

When no one listens to her concerns, Drew is forced to take matters into her own hands and investigate. What she finds leads her to believe her only option is to infiltrate the school to get her brother out, but can she reach him before it’s too late.

It’s a really fast paced and enjoyable read and I found myself flying through the pages, so much so in fact, that I finished the whole book in a few hours. The author definitely knows how to tell a gripping story and despite it being a little predictable in places it held my attention through a couple of long and noisy train journeys.

I loved the idea of this slightly sinister reform school which takes wild and uncontrollable teens and somehow transforms them into perfectly turned out, mindless drones who want to serve society and look down on their former friends. There is something inherently creepy about someone who loses their personality and is completely single minded and almost fanatical, with no sense of humor or mind of their own. It kind of reminded me a bit of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and in a way I do wish the author had taken it further down this path and made it that little bit more creepy and sinister but I suppose it’s supposed to be a thriller rather than out and out sci fi / horror.

In terms of the characters I have to admit that I wasn’t entirely convinced by Drew. She begins the story as this shy and quiet goody two shoes who doesn’t have any friends in real life and is bullied at school then all of a sudden seems to transform into a completely different person when she finds out her brother could be in trouble. I suppose it is possible but it didn’t quite ring true to me which is a shame because I thought the other characters were incredibly well crafted. The staff at the school were particularly well done, superficially nice but with something harder lurking underneath.

There were a few other things that niggled at me a bit as well. I felt like certain aspects were resolved a little too easily, passed over too quickly or just too coincidental to be entirely convincing. I do understand why the author does it but personally I prefer things to be a little less clear cut with a few more twists and turns.

Despite these niggles however I would still recommend you read this book. It’s rare to find a really good YA thriller and this is definitely a good YA thriller. If I hadn’t been travelling to events I probably would have devoured the whole thing in one go.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC. As always all views are my own.

The Treatment is released on 19th October.

WWW Wednesday: 11th October 2017

The WWW Wednesday meme is currently hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and is a great way to do a weekly update on what you’ve been reading and what you have planned.

WWW Wednesday

To take part all you have to do is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

Ummm…. I’m not really reading any one specific book at the moment. After reading a lot last week I felt like I needed a day off and one day turned into two, then three. I may be in a slump. I’m doing what I usually do when this happens, re reading bits of old favorites and watching movies, until I feel ready to start something new.


Recently Finished

The Rules of Magic

I was on holiday from work last week and the weather wasn’t great (plus my kitty cat wasn’t well) so spent quite a bit of time in the house reading which was sooo good. It’s been far too long since I’ve just spent whole days with a book. As a result I managed to finish 4 books. The first of these was The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman which I’d received from NetGalley. This is a prequel to Practical Magic and tells the story of the Aunts, Franny and Jet and their younger brother Vincent.

It’s probably more family saga rather than a book about magic and witchcraft and it’s a bit of a slow burner. I really struggled with the first half and was pretty close to DNFing but decided to stick with and I’m glad I did as it really picks up after around the 55% mark and turned into a very emotional read. You can read my full review here.

Undercover Princess (The Rosewood Chronicles, #1)

As Rules of Magic left me feeling pretty depressed I decided  Undercover Princess by Connie Glynn would be a nice, light read to cheer me up. I knew very little about the book or the author going in. I requested it based purely on the mention of a character obsessed with fairytales, a boarding school setting and some identity switching. Unfortunately I probably should have investigated further as this wasn’t great. It’s supposed to be YA but reads younger than that. The premise is good and I think it does have potential (and it’s really easy reading) but there’s something that’s just not working at the moment. It’s not published till November so will wait to post a full review.

36 Questions That Changed My Mind About YouOn Friday I received bookmail (yay!!!) as the copy of 36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You I’d won in a Readers First giveaway winged it’s way through my door. I’d read the first few chapters of this and just couldn’t resist starting it immediately. It’s probably not a book everyone will enjoy (there are a shockingly high number of people who DNFed it on Goodreads) but honestly I loved it. It’s got a very odd format which is almost like a script for about 70-80% of the story. Literally pure dialogue (or IMs or text messages) with no descriptions, actions or thoughts. Dialogue is usually my favorite part of any story so this just worked for me and it’s so funny. I still teeheehee just thinking about it. You can read my full review here.

The Lifeguard (Point Horror, #3)The fourth and final book read over the weekend was The Lifeguard by Richie Tankersley Cusick. This is part of the Point Horror series and was one of my favorite books when I was younger. I’d actually completely forgotten about it until I was doing a Top Ten Tuesday a few weeks ago about childhood favorites. When I then spotted it on Kindle Unlimited I couldn’t resist. I’m not sure I would still say it’s a favorite but considering it’s almost 30 years old it’s held up pretty well and it was fun to revisit a book I read a lot.


Reading Next

Probably depends what I’m in the mood for but I have many, many choices including the following:

The Boy on the BridgeThe BreakWonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, #1)They Both Die at the EndCopycat

Have you read any of the books on my list this week? Any others you’d recommend? As always please feel free to leave comments and links below.

Happy Wednesday Everyone!!!

8 Books with Seriously Scary Covers

The theme for this weeks Top Ten Tuesday over at The Broke and the Bookish is ten books with fall/autumn covers but having had a futile search through my books and feeling all Halloweeny I’ve decided to do spooky covers instead. Whether they’re just a little bit creepy, kinda gross or down right terrifying, these are the covers that either draw you in or send you running for the hills.

Read on if you dare.


1 The Ghost Files by Apryl Baker

The Ghost Files (The Ghost Files, #1)The Ghost Files 2 (The Ghost Files, #2)The Ghost Files 3 (The Ghost Files, #3)

I think every cover in this series has been creepier than the last, I mean look at them. I know a few people who out and out refuse to even attempt this series about a girl who sees dead people purely because of the covers but they are totally missing out. Yes, it’s kinda creepy with ghosts popping up all over the place but it’s pretty good. I’ve just discovered book 4 is out so I’ve already downloaded.

2 Love You To Death by Caroline Mitchell

Love You To Death (Detective Ruby Preston, #1)

This is a serial killer thriller rather than a horror but definitely wins an award for one of the creepiest, most horrible covers I’ve come across. The story is a bit less scary than the cover but still pretty disturbing.

3 The Beast of Barcroft by Bill Schweigart

The Beast of Barcroft

This series has been one of my recent favorite horror reads. You have to love a good monster in the woods story and this is a good (or really evil) monster in the woods story.

4 The Rats by James Herbert

The Rats

As the owner of a cat who is an expert hunter and someone who spends a lot of the time in barns and stables, I am for the most part ok with mice but rats…. Sorry, I know some people keep them as pets but no, no, no. I read this book a long time ago and despite being horrified for most of it really enjoyed it. I’ve been very tempted to do a re read but those beady little eyes are putting me off.

5 The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone

The HatchingSkitter (The Hatching #2)

Bleugh!!! I hate spiders, I don’t mind the odd little tiny one but when there’s as many as there are on these covers (or in my shed) expect much running and screaming. I haven’t read either of these books because of the covers which suggest there might be more than the odd spider in the story.

6 Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1)

Another book I haven’t read but based on that cover I really, really want to. Creepy mist, creepy house, creepy sky, lots of blood, looks good to me.

7 Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Graham-Smith

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, #1)

The word that springs to mind with this one is yuck. Again haven’t read but I’ve seen the film. I didn’t really like it and that actually put me off picking up the book despite liking the sound of it. Maybe at some point.

8 I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

I Am Legend and Other Stories

I think this cover pretty much speaks for itself. This has been on my TBR forever and I really should read it soon. I loved the film although I only managed to watch it once because it’s just too sad.


So that’s my top eight (or should that be eleven) books with seriously scary covers. I’m pretty sure I’m missing a few good ones.  Have you read any of these or want to read any? Do you know a book with an even creepier cover? I’m always on the hunt for a good creepy story so any recommendations gratefully received.

Feel free to leave comments below and links to your own top ten’s.