Tuesday 31 October 2023

Something is draining their souls


23nd October: THE LAST VOYAGE OF THE DEMETER is a Dracula prequel, or rather it takes place during the sea voyage that happens a third of the way into Bram Stoker's novel, so it's an interquel?  Autocorrect doesn't seem to think that's a real word but Heck with it, we're reinventing the language every day on social media, I can call this an interquel and people will know I mean it's like that one Saw movie where the twist is that it's happening during another Saw movie for some reason - Mr Saw was dead by then or something, I dunno.  Haven't seen them, I hate horror movies.
Anyway, this doesn't take any chances that you don't know its central premise, opening with a bit of text telling the audience "this is the voyage of the Demeter, based on the captain's log from the novel Dracula", which I think is kind of hitting you over the head with it, and besides, it probably ruined some people's immersion to know they weren't watching a documentary.  You know what, I don't know why I'm being sarky, this was fine.  There's just no such thing as a bad Dracula adaptation once you've seen Stephen Moffat's version.
It might feel overly familiar if you've already seen The Terror, but if you liked that just fine and dandy and fancy 90-odd minutes of period horror on a boat, this is a well-staged and performed outing and I got along with it just swell.

24th October: SCREAM OF THE WOLF - a cheapo comedy horror about a werewolf stalking the production crew of a vampire movie through and around a lonely English mansion, its short of outright laughs and doesn't try much in terms of direction, but I gather this is even cheaper than usual and fair play to them, they got it made.  If cheapness isn't something that bothers you, you could do a lot worse - and over the course of the last few weeks, I know I certainly have.  Let us not discuss the quality of the werewolf makeup.

25th October: NIGHT FEEDER - "night feeder night feedah-ah" is the obvious dad joke to make here, but frivolity is not allowed because this is a dreadful film, and even though I have never seen Basket Case or any of its sequels, I know this is a knock-off and I can only assume that Basket Case is better.  It might be a mild spoiler to mention Basket Case, but don't worry, if you need to watch this awful film for yourself, what passes for a twist is more or less out of nowhere in the final minute or so, the cheap-ass 80 minutes of screeching and fuzzy 1980s glam punk that precede it being an arguably seperate entity.  I guess I got what I paid for when I watched a movie on Youtube.

26th October: TALE OF A VAMPIRE - another Youtube find, this time starring the recently-departed Julian Sands, a man who never seemed to stop working while he was with us, appearing in A and Z-list projects alike, oozing smarmy charisma as anything from Arachnophobia's foolhardy spider scientist to Passenger 57's hissable terrorist leader to... well, zero-budget dreck like this, where he was the only good thing on offer.  This was a poor choice of viewing material on my part, and I'd hate for it to be my final encounter with Sands' work, but I will give them credit that if it's 1992 and you just read a casting call that contained the phrase "mopey English vampire", you absolutely check if Julian Sands is available.  The writer and director may have been asleep on the job for this one, but the casting people were 100% on point.

27th October: STAR TREK: CATSPAW - NERDS will know this to be the episode that forms the basis of the current Star Trek Online seasonal event, though it's not one of the more fondly-remembered offerings from the classic 1960s sci-fi series, being mostly known for its neon gothic aesthetic and some dubious marionette aliens.  It's pretty goofy and quite brief, so no complaints here.

Also WILLY'S WONDERLAND - Nicolas Cage beats up some animatronic amnimuls after being hired to clean up an abandoned theme restaurant.  I have never played Five Nights At Freddy's, but even I know this is totally a rip-off and likely made to snipe the official movie adaptation that recently came out and seems to be playing at my local cinema... agh... you know what, maybe I will check that out.

Hi, FUTURE BRIGONOS HERE, having seen Five Nights At Freddy's - I'll review it when I get to the relevant date further down the page - and yup, this is absolutely a rip-off of Five Nights, to the point I am amazed there hasn't been some sort of lawsuit.

This Nic Cage joint was amusing, but lacked any real characters or plot.  If you can't see the Five Nights movie, I guess it'd do as a substitute, because apart from Willy's Wonderland having less interesting characters, there's not a lot of clear water between the two.

28th October: THE EUROPA REPORT - ah no, a found footage film?  I should have put found footage on the No Fly List of things that mean an automatic pass from me alongside "anything with zombies", but here we are, and... it's not bad.  Telling the story of a doomed privately-funded space mission to Jupiter's moon That Goes Horribly Wrong™, it could have done with stronger themes and characters, but I gather these are boilerplate complaints about found footage movies, and I will say in favor of the found footage genre that at least there's no shakycam here, which is a stylistic technique that I find incredibly annoying.  I like having an upbeat ending to a horror movie, too.

29th October: THE EXORCIST BELIEVER - haha oh dear God I hate modern horror movies so much, and this is a prime example of why.  Not scary, just annoying, employing as it does a semingly neverending series of musical stings, loud noises and screeching characters to entice its target audience to look away from their phones for five seconds so that a goth can go "wuuurgh!" at them and say rude words.  Utter dogshit.

My brother insists that I am simply watching the wrong horror movies.  Hmm.

30th October: FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY'S - this is something to do with some videogame I've never played, but I thought it was okay.  It's meat-and-potatoes stuff in terms of horror movies, not very gory and short on scares, but I liked it.  It likely helped that apart from the above mentioned Willy's Wonderland, I saw the recent Banana Splits movie that tried to do more or less the same thing with its tongue jammed just far enough into its cheek to appear to want it both ways and work as both a silly comedy and a scary horror and in the end succeeding at being neither, so when this goes for horror and sticks to its lane, it comes off as the more confident of the two films.  Telling the story of a haunted young man who takes the only job he can get at a long-abandoned theme restaurant built around animatronic animals, it's no spoiler to tell you that the animals are murderous as the trailer for this spoils a great deal of the film ahead of time, but also the robot animals' nature is revealed quite early in proceedings and part of the film then becomes the main character having to go on living in a world where robot animals just walk around animated by the souls of murdered children  Yes, a ridiculous premise, but then most horror movies are powered by ridiculous premises and it's nice to see someone finding his workplace is stalked in the early hours by murder ghost animal robots and yet he still has to go into work anyway not because this act of wilful stupidity is how the rest of the movie gets to happen, but because this is his job and if he wants to pay the rent, he has to go into work with the murder robots.  This is hashtag relatable content to anyone living in our current capitalist hellscape, and it's made all the more hashtag relatable by the expressly-stated information that the cops totally know about the murder robots and just don't do anything.
In my heart I know it's just a stupid videogame film that clears the lowest bars by playing the cards it's been dealt with a straight face, but still I liked it.

31st October: BUCK ROGERS SPACE VAMPIRE - When AI and drones replace you in the workplace, you will look back on your life and you will not regret filling out that report on time or improving the efficiency of the office by 5.7% per annum and getting your asshole boss a pat on the back from some faceless ghoul in upper management who would be strung up by his heels and left for the crows in a more just world, you will instead regret not learning to write and draw in your youth so that you could express or interpret your thoughts and feelings now, as the days behind vastly outnumber the days ahead and you find yourself without purpose, a collection of sad memories piloting a failing meat puppet.  You will regret never taking that weekend off to walk on a beach or maybe you'll suddenly remember an interaction with a loved one, now gone, where you could have touched or held them for just a moment but didn't, prevented by some sense of impropriety or an idea of social norms or mores that were somehow more important to you than a moment of connection with another living being.  Machines will supposedly remember things forever, but the tiny moments of joy and connection that we hold in our minds will go with us into whatever comes next - if anything comes next after our temporary moment on this Earth - and in time even those who knew us will pass, and we will not exist even as a memory.
All life is meaningless and no-one and nothing matters or endures.  Even the pyramids are disappearing bit by bit through the simple blowing of the wind that erodes them one grain of sand at a time until one day, those mountains of stone will be gone forever, eventually not even remembered by pictures or images on a hard drive because even data fades over time.  One day the sun will explode, and as it goes, it will swallow whatever form of Earth might still remain, but even the memory of the world we currently know will have disappeared by then.  No matter how hard we try, we will never matter to or be remembered by the wider universe.
That's why it's important to be nice while we're visiting.  Humans are a blip on an otherwise tidy universe, naturally inclined to do the monkey things our baser instincts would have demanded of our ancestors - you think 10000bc man would have pushed his kid around in a wheelchair if his kid was born with a curved spine?  No, he would have eaten that kid, but nowadays we... don't, and sometimes those kids grow up to be rocket scientists or whatever and you know what we need to take our descendants away from here and to other places so there exists at least a tiny chance that our species might actually survive the day our sun finally goes tits up?  Yeah that's right - rockets.  I'm not saying every person in a wheelchair is a Stephen Hawking or something here, I'm just making a broader point about how those people we refuse to abandon ultimately enrich our own communities and experiences and so arguably these acts of kindness to each other will have been the thing that gets us to the stars, and even if nothing else will have survived of us by then, the untold billions of human lives lived and lost forever to an unwritten history of our race that played out across countless mental landscapes of small joys and happy memories will live on, and kindness will be our legacy.
That's why I like to be kind to myself and watch Buck Rogers: Space Vampire every Halloween, as it really is one of the few joys left to my decaying form that I can enjoy without having to worry about what it's doing to my blood pressure, colon, liver, kidneys, heart or spine.  Even if I am struck deaf and blind in the coming months and years, I will still have the memory of this, the greatest horror story comitted to film in the year 1979 and yes I am fully aware when Alien was made.

If you don't know the plot to Buck Rogers: Space Vampire, then I will recount it for y-actually, it is called Buck Rogers: Space Vampire, I'm not sure what blanks you need me to fill in here: It is an episode of Buck Rogers called Space Vampire, and it features the titular Buck Rogers having an encounter with a space vampire, a vampire, in space, whom Buck Rogers encounters in space.  Rocket science this is not.  It is very cheesey and the older I get, the more I cling to it as a shield against the increasing horrors of old age and the dwindling number of acquaintences I have around me.  Oblivion may stalk my shrinking number of days on this dying planet, but I will have Buck Rogers: Space Vampire with me until my passing moments.

Monday 23 October 2023

How dare you suggest I have made mistakes


October 16th: WEREWOLVES WITHIN - a mumblecore comedy about a group of disparate characters trapped in a remote location slowly turning upon each other, one of whom may be a werewolf - if werewolves exist, that is.  It's not bad, maybe a little too pleased with itself here and there and some of the acting choices are... choices that were made, but I enjoyed it.  I had never heard of this thing but apparently it's the highest critically-rated movie based on a videogame ever made - even more critically-lauded than the first Mortal Kombat movie - and made a billion dollars at the box office in 2021 so I'm just late to the party again.

October 17th: LOCKWOOD & CO - I binged Joe Cornish's adaptation of... a YA book series? Or one-off novel or something?  I dunno.  It was pretty enjoyable, but it's a Netflix original so I will assume it's already been cancelled and say that I certainly enjoyed it while it lasted, it had a good run, etc.  The series is set in an alternate reality where ghosts are real and young people can see them and so are pressed into service with corporate ghostbusters, blah blah blah - it's just Rentaghost with extra steps, really.  There's no point harping on about old wine in a new bottle in this day and age where everything has to be based on something from other media or a remake, this is a well-made show with some decent characters and it commendably commits to its world and premise.  Not the worst way I could have wasted a day in bed.

October 18th: WORLD'S END - oh dear God I'm late to the party again by 13 years, and this was already a film about the main cast getting old and looking it.  Stars the detestable landlord Eddie Marsan, who has latterly made a career of making people on Twitter hate his guts for his shitty political takes and - oh yeah, his hanging about with confirmed antisemite Mel Gibson, so hating this tosser was my only strong genuine emotional feeling about this film.  I was confused about some of the messaging, like "if Nick and the wife are doing good why is he sitting around a hobo fire talking to homeless people at the end?" and "is Gary going backwards or not, because he's hanging out with robot doubles of his old school mates, but he's also teetotal now, so what's the takeaway here?"  I think I left it too late to watch this, as it might have hit home when I was more lost in the weeds of Pegg/Frost/Wright fandom, whereas watching it far removed from even the memory of Shaun Of The Dead or Hot Fuzz, I'm not feeling it at all.  It's certainly well-made, and some of the bar fights are amusing, but it feels like it maybe needed another pass at the script to add some more jokes and maybe tie a bow on the motivations of the aliens.

October 19th: BAD MOON is a werewolf movie where the dog is the hero and we view events from his perspective.  Sweet Jesus - WHY WAS I NOT INFORMED THIS EXISTS?
Everyone in this film is an utter dumbass, except perhaps the werewolf when he expressly says "listen to that dog, Janet, he's just trying to protect you", but nobody listens to the dog, who is framed for a crime and comes to the rescue of those who betrayed him anyway - what a mensch!  When Janet Didntcatchername's sketchy brother gets in touch and it turns out he's living in an area that has seen a spate of grisly killings that started around the time he moved into the area, and then he moves his caravan next to her house because of the curfew that stops him going out at night anymore IN THE AREA WHERE THE GRISLY MURDERS HAPPENED, and then a con artist is torn to pieces on the road outside her house in a manner similar to the killings where the brother used to live, AND he has loads of photographs of his ex-girlfriend's torn-to-pieces corpse laying about while insisting she's alive and well in Seattle, Janet naturally assumes her dog did one or more of the killings and has him taken to the pound to be destroyed - at which point I declared "well the Heck with this stupid disloyal bitch" and I only watched the rest of the film in the hope of seeing her dumb head get torn off.  Clearly the film got me emotionally invested, and I really enjoyed it in all its thick-eared mid-90s po-faced seriousness.  The werewolf is an impressive practical effect and if it had been shot a bit better I could have seen it being terrifying, but all the night shots in this are brightly lit to the point they may as well be broad daylight, and the camera lingers just a little too long on the werewolf model and dispels a lot of the potential terror it might induce - as a Husky parent, it's natural for me to find something that looks like a wolf completely adorable, but I'm pretty sure the film should not be instilling the feeling in me to adopt one of these murder cannibals - the axiom doesn't go "There are no bad werewolves."

A solid werewolf flick that doesn't even pretend to be any kind of mystery, it even opens with a werewolf attack on the male lead, just in case there is ever even the tiniest sliver of doubt in your brain who the werewolf is, he even sits down and watches a werewolf movie at one point with a kid and explains how you can kill werewolves, which definately exist because he encountered one.  I loved this stupid movie.

October 20th: SHROOMS - putting Americans in the lead roles of your low-budget domestically-produced movies has long been seen as a means of improving something's overseas box office potential, but in recent years, with the influx of Chinese money to Western movies and those Chinese producers insisting they get some "bankable" Chinese stars on the cast (who can forget the star turns of "that one lady in that Kong movie" or "that lady in the background in some shots of that Godzilla film"?) so that they can sell the movie in their native China, it's led to the rather embarrassing sight of those movies failing miserably in China as its domestic audience not only stays away from these films, but actively derides them on social media as patronising and embarrassing.  I don't know if this is in any way relevant to Shrooms, but a lengthy intro helps hide that I have nothing of substance to say about this film, which has a premise that if I describe it to you, will probably have you guessing the twist ending pretty quickly, so spoiler warning for Shrooms I guess: Shrooms is the story of some American kids who visit Ireland and take some hallucinogenic mushrooms, and then they start being killed off one by one every time the female lead blacks out, a condition that afflicts her because she took a particularly potent type of mushroom which has been known to make people black out and do murders.  She also sees the murders happening as they happen so I dunno what to tell you, it feels like when you have a twist this telegraphed, you're kind of wasting the audience's time the longer you hold off showing it.  I didn't really like the movie, is what I am saying.

October 21st: CRY OF THE BANSHEE  - did someone copyright the word "werewolf" circa 1970?  Because this is quite clearly a werewolf film.
Vincint Price hamming it up as a cackling witch-hunting bastard in panto robes does not automatically mean the movie is good, but I think we can all agree that it always helps.  Vincent Price, a werewolf banshee - I think you already know I enjoyed this garish slice of period melodrama, but it's not one of his best.

October 22nd: HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET is a teen slasher, only without much slashing.  Yeah, so basically I couldn't be bothered getting up from my seat and it was the first thing that came up on the Netflix  ticker, soooooo...
It passed the time, I guess.  There doesn't seem to be any indication of the better things Jennifer Lawrence would go on to do, a lot of the dialogue is clunky and embarrassing, and this really seems like something that should have sank without trace, so I'm guessing Lawrence's stardom gave it a boost it really doesn't deserve.

Sunday 15 October 2023

It is unacceptable for me to be on the defensive - you will moderate your tone immediately.


October 8th: THE MOON OF THE WOLF - a 1972 tv movie billed as a "mystery" but it's nothing of the sort: a young woman is murdered in a Louisiana town in the early 1970s, the Sherriff uncovers secrets and lies as he tries to track down the killer, an old guy on his death bed keeps screaming "loup garou!" and then someone is revealed to have a mysterious condition that makes him black out when murders happen and then when his hands start getting really hairy I'm starting to think they won't need to draft in Columbo to solve this one.  Maybe the novel made more a whodunnit of the material so at least the treatment was interesting if not the story, but this is pretty straightforward, real meat and potatoes werewolf fodder and not noteworthy for much except a perpetually-underused David Jannsen, and that guy who's always in Clint Eastwood movies whose name escapes me and who I never had much of an opinion about except that maybe he was a better actor than this outing would suggest.  Although there are some effective first-person shots of the werewolf stalking its prey, they're wasted the moment it actually appears onscreen and it feels like you fell asleep and Youtube cued up a Supergrass music video from the 1990s, the 4:3 ratio and fuzzy resolution really helping with that impression because holy geez they really just put big sideburns on a guy and called it werewolf makeup huh?  Okay.
My hopes weren't high, but it had "wolf" in the title and I rolled the dice.  This time: snake eyes.

October 9th: THE MEG 2: THE TRENCH - is less a movie and more two money laundering schemes inside a trenchcoat, bankrolled as it is by a combination of the usual "Hollywood accounting" and "Chinese new money", a class of entrepeneur that likes to invest big in Western media projects because they love Western culture... and for no other reasons.

Jason Statham's roles all boil down to one thing: a character who is there for a paycheck, and I've always felt that this blatant metacommentary on the reason he's onscreen is his revenge on the world for that time Kelly Brook dumped him for Billy Zane.  Obviously, Kelly Brook remains a smokeshow to this day, but this is mid-20s Kelly Brook we're talking about here and it's not like Statham is ugly or anything, it's just that he's Jason Statham and she was always going to dump him and he knew it, and I believe he had accepted it and was just along for the metaphorical ride because like I said, mid-20s Kelly Brook yes please, and then she dumps him for Billy Zane and like the rest of us, Jason Statham has to unpack this turn of events now.  He can't just go on with his life, he's been dumped for Billy fucking Zane.  Seriously, what the Hell?  So he takes on the roles of mercenary, gangster, getaway driver - any and all roles in which the audience knows as they watch him onscreen that he is just there to get paid.  Bruce Willis can show up in a zero-budget thriller that is only technically a film and people who know full well that they're watching complete dogshit will still say "why is he acting so badly in this?  He can do better than this.", but that will never be said of Jason Statham.  Jason Statham drifts from one gig to the next, never changing, a constant in an unstable world because Jason Statham is not an actor, Jason Statham is the role.  His troubled mind may be occupying another, more important plane of being dedicated to unpacking The Great Mystery, but his toned, muscular frame is back on Earth, fighting sharks, communist juntas, or fellow inmates on a... a post-apocalyptic Earth or whatever he does in other movies - I dunno, I haven't seen them and this metaphor has gotten away from me, but he's not very good in this is what I'm saying, and that's okay, because the material demands nothing more than he brings to it, and you know, leave the little guy alone, he's got stuff to figure out.  The Meg 2 was a silly monster movie matinee and I enjoyed it just fine, but it often felt like it might have been quicker if they just burned the money in a furnace.

October 10th: THE CURSED - a fun gothic werewolf romp from writer/director Sean Ellis, maker of that weird sex perv drama about the bloke who develops the power to stop time and uses it to disrobe female customers in the shop where he works so he can take pictures, which, like most sex crimes, is a very French premise for a film.  Ellis goes the French route yet again in plundering 2001's Brotherhood Of The Wolf for ideas, which was a period film about an 18th century detective investigating deaths in a remote village but who is also a secret agent because the crimes were done by a werewolf controlled by a tribe of anarchist cavemen death cultists who can only be defeated by the secret agent and his Native American sidekick's superior kung fu skills - it's all very French, and Sean Ellis clearly looked at it and decided "more films should be like this", and whatever else I might think of The Cursed, I certainly can't fault the director's reasons for making it.
The Cursed chooses to make its story more overtly supernatural, instead of the perfectly logical explanations for the strange goings-on offered up in Brotherhood Of The Wolf - like the "werewolf" eventually revealed not to be some ludicrous supernatural killing machine at all, instead turning out to be a regular old armored cyborg lion programmed to assassinate the king of France - while the "monster" behind the series of gory deaths in The Cursed is unambiguously supernatural long before appearing onscreen as a CGI goblin werewolf thing created through a combination of gypsy curse and a slightly underpowered graphics card.  I assume it's not technically a 'proper' werewolf because hairy creatures are more difficult - by which I mean expensive - to animate than something smooth-skinned and perpetually sweating, but this hair-splitting doesn't get in the way of this being a werewolf movie and I will not be entertaining arguments to the contrary because we have so few good werewolf movies I am not prepared to let this one slip away.  Although I really must ask if every modern horror movie is shot inside a coalshed, as I had to turn the contrast and brightness way up on this one.
It was neat.  I liked.

October 11th: TRANSFORMATIONS - is a 1988 werewolf-in-space movie, so you just know it has recycled SFX footage from Battle Beyond The Stars in it.  I remember seeing some making-of video about Battle Beyond The Stars, and apparently the SFX guy they hired was fresh out of college and loaded with debt and really, really needed the gig if he wanted to eat that month, so he designed and built a bunch of stuff specifically to appeal to (Battle Beyond The Stars producer) Roger Corman's sensibilities, which is why - Corman at this time being a prolific producer of sexploitation movies - the design for the hero's starship in Battle Beyond The Stars has a massive pair of tits.  Sadly, despite pulling extensively from Roger Corman's library of stock SFX footage, we do not get to see the slug-tidday starship in this one, but it is a movie about a werewolf in space, so on balance things work out okay.
Transformations tells the story of intrepid space smuggler Captain Wolf, who has a dream in which he does a sex with a hot lady who turns into a space monster just as he's finishing up, and now lawks o lordy he's got a space STD that's turning him into a killing machine!  It's daft as a hat stuff, featuring Patrick McNee as a space monk and some surprisingly large physical sets - not good sets, I have to stress, but really big, even the corridors and rooms.  Such productions were not meant to be viewed in such high resolution as is available to us here in the space year of 2023, however, so you can really see the joins where they just sellotaped stuff like consoles and airlocks together, these films really only finding a natural home in a combination of 4:3 cathode ray televisions and fuzzy VHS, rather than the crisp blu-ray transfer and HDTV combo most will experience.
Having said that, it's a space werewolf movie made by schlockmeister Charles Band in the late 1980s, if you have expectations of high culture going in, that's your baggage.  I knew what to expect of a movie about a sexually transmitted infection that turns you into a space lizard (but we know it's still a werewolf movie, the main character's name is literally WOLF), and I had a hoot watching it.

October 12th: ALIEN: THE NOVELISATION, BY ALAN DEAN FOSTER - more like ALIEN DEAN FOSTER am I right?  That's the cleanest joke that will ever appear on this blog.
I tried to read this last Halloween as part of the Aliens multimedia blow-out which comprised of the movies and the dreadful, dreadful Colonial Marines videogame, but sadly couldn't find the time, however, Long Covid and a bout of the flu have cnspired to give me a lot more free time to spend in bed and sooner or later the charge on my phone and tablet runs out and I'm reduced to reading things with my eyes, things on paper, like some medieval peasant from the 1970s or something.
This was, for some reason, a triple-threat along with the Aliens VS Predator videogame (some rough edges, but a solid shooter with a decent story) and Foster's adaptation of OUTLAND, one of my favorite sci-fi movies despite - or possibly because of - its incredibly dated FX and persistent fanboy speculations about it being set in the Aliens cinematic universe through a mix of a similar design aesthetic and a line in anti-corporate critique that increasingly seems odd to see in 1980s productions given that half the world was aligned against socialism at the time.  I wonder if it's merely my looking back at them from 2023 and feeling such things are just incomplete without a legion of wailing man-babies complaining about wokeness and communism.  Truly a simpler time.
Anyway, one thing that strikes me about Foster's prose across both novels is that he's great at setting the scene - by which I mean setting the scene from the movies he's adapting.  Passages describing characters and settings feel like he's describing stills from the film, but with an economy that allows him to toss in the odd distraction or aside, like the now-legendary "coccoon scene", and I was half-expecting Ripley being a mother to come up at some point before realising I was getting my missing scenes mixed up.  In retrospect, those Alien movies were always a fucking mess, huh?  At least half the book seems to be dedicated to the Nostromo and crew getting to the planet and finding the Alien, which I liked as it helps lean into the stuff I find interesting about the setting, and if I was a better writer I could probably take this and run with the Outland comparisons further, but all I can do is point out that the stuff with the xenomorph (which doesn't read like it physically resembles its movie counterpart very much) happens relatively quickly, and there's a bit that I'm not sure if I'm reading right, but it basically seems to suggest that Ripley first seems to think there's something off about Ash when she realises that he hasn't fucked any of the women on board, which is uhhhhh... yeah, not sure about that tbh.
All in all, though, an enjoyable read.

October 13th: BLOOD MOON - as I said futher up the page, we have so few good werewolf movies, and despite its cheapness this is damn near one of them before some terrible acting and writing choices derail things - but it has a bloke in a suit playing the werewolf (just don't ask me if it's a convincing suit) and a bunch of British actors pretending to be cowboys on a Western set that is clearly located somewhere in England, and you know, I am not made of stone over here.  It is a very enjoyable romp and that is all I want in a werewolf movie so I shall keep my gripes to myself on this one.
What was the point of the B-plot about the Native American witch?  Who knows.  Enjoyable film.  Filled time.

October 14th: M3GAN - "what if Chucky, but girl?" is one of those horror concepts that must have really kept the writers up all night dreaming it up yes I know staying awake to dream something is a bad metaphor but it's that or my usual tiresome cynicism about how "stuff like this is why writers are suddenly worried about being replaced by AI" and you know, I'm almost as tired of hating everything as people are of hearing me do it.  I actually enjoyed this, it's a lot of fun, and clearly aimed at taking advantage of the growth in teenage girls attending horror movie showings, as the amount of gore is lower than one would expect and no-one asks if they can have sex with the doll - which seems like the first thing that would come up at a shareholders' meeting if my understanding of capitalism is correct.

October 15th - POLLEN - A young woman is sexually assaulted by a co-worker and begins coddling the potted plant he gives her like it was a child, meanwhile the woman is stalked by a tree man thing that no-one else can see except her young niece.  The tree is a metaphor for rape, the plant is a metaphor for a baby, okay, I get it, and I choose not to dwell on how the child character can also see the rape tree man, but in another time this would be seen as a sexploitation movie and come with lots of shots of bare asses, whereas now we get tasteful tree metaphors and some toxic work environment drama - yet it still feels a bit exploitative to me.  I don't think it really comes off like the makers hoped it would, but maybe someone else would get something out of it that I can't.