Just finished watching the first spooky season of Evil. It stars Mike Colter (of Marvel’s Luke Cage fame) as a priest-in-training tasked by the Catholic Church with examining possible cases of demonic possession. He is ably assisted by a sceptical psychologist played by the feisty Katja Herbers. Think in terms of Mulder and Scully from the legendary X-Files and you won’t go far wrong. Certainly, there’s plenty of chemistry between the leads in the style of Duchovny and Anderson. Things get decidedly hot under the (priestly) collar, that’s for sure, especially when a dastardly demon (played quite deliciously by Michael Emerson) decides that our two investigators either need to be morally corrupted or removed from the game-board entirely. It’s just the fate of all humanity at stake, after all. I’m happy to say the series is far from formulaic, however: some episodes really are quite disturbing. It scores a nearly divine 8.5 out of 10 from me. And if it sounds like your sort of thing, you might also want to check out my new title, The Book of Demons, which provides you with a history of demonology and considers why the number of exorcisms being conducted today is on the increase: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Book-Demons-J-Dalton/dp/1913562247/ref=sr_1_1?crid=AIITVR4LEM4R&dchild=1&keywords=book+of+demons+dalton+kristell+ink&qid=1628844655&sprefix=book+of+demons+dalton%2Caps%2C165&sr=8-1.
Like witches and want to read the latest research and stories about them? Check out my new title, The Book of Witches, on Amazon?
- Learn how the tradition of witchcraft is still alive and well in the UK’s south-west, find out the truth behind the Pendle Witch Trials, discover just why Henry VIII was the first to outlaw witchcraft, and shake your head as you come to understand what drove the maniacal Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins!
- “Dedicated to every woman or person who has suffered persecution or demonization for who they are.”
- A group of researchers from Middlesex University, working with prize-winning creative writers from the north-west, have produced this exciting new book that explores the history of witches in the UK, and what it is to be part of marginalised groups in today’s world.
- ‘The Witch of Endor in the Bible is very far from being a negative figure, so why then have women and others been persecuted for witchcraft in the UK for centuries?’ Dr Adam Dalton-West provides us with answers in a gripping introduction.
- With contributions from authors Adam Lively (Granta Best Young Novelist), A J Dalton (www.ajdalton.eu), and others, this collection remembers the innocent women and individuals who were cruelly sacrificed, examines how particular groups in society are still persecuted, and shows how society and relationships might still be magically transformed!
- Available from Amazon and other book outlets from 7 August 2020. Order your copy today. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Book-Witches-J-Dalton-ebook/dp/B08F5K8FM8/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=book+of+witches+dalton&qid=1598516130&sr=8-1
No wonder Bird Box has been one of the most viewed movies in the world during lockdown! This scif-fi/horror film sees humankind struggling to survive when sight of the ‘monster’ outside causes insanity and a suicide pandemic. You can only get about with your eyes covered, and you must never open the front door when someone or something knocks! Don’t let it in! It’ll infect you! A pregnant Sandra Bullock(!) works with a groups of desperate strangers (including John Malkovich), and she gets to raise two young children in ‘the new normal’. But her group dies one by one, until she has to go outside with her kids to try and get them to some sort of safety. They have to deal with all manner of hazard and marauder!
Honestly, it’s a great great movie that plays with your mind. It’s utterly relatable. And the ending is a triumph. I flaming loved it. 9.5 out of 10. My missis doesn’t tend to like horror, but even she enjoyed it.
Six undying soldiers-of-fortune fight in one conflict after another, always trying to be on the side of right, so as to make the world a better place. After thousands of years of dying and resurrecting, it seems that all their effort has been for naught. Sucks, right? Pretty much. Their leader (Charlize Theron) wonders if they should call it a day. Worse, an ex-CIA operative has begun to track them down on behalf of an obsessed geneticist who wants to cage them and ‘harvest’ their DNA/immortality (not for the good of humanity, obviously, but to make plenty of money instead). The Old Guard are now on the run from dozens of baddies. The days of fighting for what’s right are ending.
The Old Guard is a good movie. Yes, there are the sorts of grisly battle scenes you might expect, but the plot is definitely not throw-away. There are strong contemplative character-development scenes. There’s philosophical rumination. It is not a mono-tempo movie by any means. It has dimensions. There are complex and moving relationships. There’s even a very poetic speech about the nature of love. Not what you might expect from your regular Netflix action movie? Well, that’ll be because the movie’s based on the Image comic book series, so there’s plenty of content. Well played, Netflix! It scores an admiring 8 out of 10 from me.
Started watching the new metaphysical fantasy series on Netflix: Warrior Nun. I want to hate it, but I can’t… cos the plotting is pretty tight (based on a Canadian combic book, init), the tempo is high, it understands its genre ‘beats’, there are moral dilemmas and problems to solve, and there’s just enough character development for us to care. Plus: it’s got some freshly original ideas in it. Oh and it’s easy on the eye! That’s a pretty good set of ingredients, all told.
Basically, there’s a Catholic order of female templar knights whose job it is to retrieve holy artefacts so that they don’t fall into the hands of demons and unleash hell. But the lead knight dies in an ambush and her power (her ‘halo’) has to be hidden, in a desperate moment, in the body of an incidental dead girl. Unexpectedly, the halo resurrects the girl and she goes out to enjoy her newfound life… with the forces of both good and evil out to claim her as their own. Neat, eh? It works philosophically and politically.
Watch the first episode and think ‘hmm, alright’. Watch the second and think ‘heh, this is getting quite good’. It scores a respectable 8 out of 10 from me.
So, I’ve written a chapter in the newly published collection from Luna Press: Love in Fantasy and Science Fiction. It’s a cool piece about the ‘bromance’, Kirk and Spock, Frodo and Sam, Han Solo and Luke, etc. Check it out maybe!
So, there was a nuclear war and a new ice age wipes out humanity… except for three thousand of us who managed to get on a train/arc powered by a perpetual-motion engine. The poorest of the three thousand end up in cattle class (called ‘The Tail’ of the train), then there’s third class, second class and first class. Segregation of the classes is brutally policed. Resources are scarce in The Tail, where it’s dog-eat-dog. Meanwhile, the decadent elites are drinking champagne at the head of the train. That is the way of things: the order and balance of things. Until there’s a murder in first class! Yikes. There’s only one murder detective on the train (played by the very cool Daveed Diggs, of Hamilton fame), and he’s stuck in The Tail. He’s taken out of there by Jennifer Connelly (who runs the train) and ordered to track down the killer. But our detective has some demands he wants met first!
This new Netflix show is great, great fun. If you’ve ever read (or seen) J.G. Ballard’s High-Rise (or A J Dalton’s Gateway of the Saviours), it’s sort of like that laid sideways and sent hurtling along rails. At the same time, there was a (rather superior) movie version back in 2013, apparently. Aaaanyway, there are neat ideas, great visuals, a decent mystery and interesting social commentary. What more could you want during lockdown? (Okay, okay, many things, but it’s a start.) Check it out. It scores 8 out of 10 from me.
Like the Amazon Prime show Alex Rider, Hanna tells the tale of a super-teen who has been abused and/or experimented upon by society (i.e. mean adults, the older generation, etc). The Hanna series is based upon the 2011 cult movie of the same name, so has tight plotting, just like Alex Rider (based on the Horowitz novels). Why is there a proliferation of series like this? Well, it’s the state of the world today, isn’t it? Who’d wanna be a teen in the modern era? Not me. It’s either a) become an unfeeling monster to survive or b) end up exploited and collateral damage. Bleak?
You bet. Bleak. But it makes these shows relevant, insightful and important. It exposes the brutalisation of youth (the key theme of the dystopian YA genre)… and there is still a dash of hope to be found. Our young protagonists, by hook or by crook, manage to survive while still holding on to their humanity. So it’s not all doom and gloom. Thank goodness for that. Hanna has great action sequences, touching humour, heart and… deep, deep understanding. Definitely worth a watch. 8.5 out of 10.