Saturday is Horror Day #89 – No Good Deed

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 No Good Deed


Colin (Idris Elba) is a convicted criminal who is serving a lesser sentence than he should have received due to circumstances. Up for parole after only five years, he is turned down because the decision has to be unanimous and one member of the parole board is determined he stay behind bars. On the way back from the parole hearing, Colin catches a lucky break and manages to escape. After visiting his ex-fiancé and dealing with her, he steals her car and drives away. But luck deserts him as he flees in the midst of a storm and is unexpectedly run off the road, crashing the car.

Terry (Taraji P Henson) has her hands full with a young daughter and an infant son. Her husband Jeffrey (Hemry Simmons) is a busy man, but he has promised her he’ll come home early so she can get some things done. Only it turns out he has no time because he’s heading out to take his father on a golf holiday for his birthday. Terry is unhappy, but what can she do, so she battens down for the approaching storm. An unexpected knock at her door turns out to be a man in distress, who wants to call a tow for his vehicle. Reluctant, she allows him to use her phone outside and doesn’t admit him into her house. But after finding out it might be a while for the tow truck to arrive, she admits him, against her better judgement.

 

Her guest, whose name is Colin, turns out to be charming, and Terry begins to relax. Her friend Meg 


(Leslie Bibb) soon arrives for what was to be a girls night, but she doesn’t mind the stranger in their midst and offers him wine as well. She flirts with him outrageously. But when she gets him alone in the garage, where he has gone to smoke, and he tries to convince her that he and Terry have been having an affair that Meg is unaware of, the shit hits the fan, and the situation goes from uneasy to dangerous…

I really enjoyed this movie.  I am a huge fan of Idris Elba, and much as I like him, I wasn’t exactly rooting for him here lol He is quite charming… until he isn’t. While Terry starts out as somewhat weak, or tired, and maybe too nice for her own good, by the end of the movie, there is quite the change and I was rooting for her all the way. I’ve liked her ever since Person of Interest and was glad to see her again. Nothing is cut and dried, and while you may assume how the ending will go, it’s the journey to get there that will hold you spellbound. I give this film 4.5 Stars

Book Review: Assassination Classroom, Vol 2

Assassination Classroom, Vol 2   

Author: Yusei Matsui

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date:  February 3, 2015

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Action Adventure Manga/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

A new teacher arrives at Kunugigaoka Junior High, a rather buxom young woman named Irina Jelevich. For some reason, she is hanging all over Koro Sensei, to the confusion of his students. Nagisa continues to document the teacher’s weaknesses so that they can use them against him and assassinate him, which will prevent him from blowing up the earth. But Irina is not really a teacher. She’s been brought in as a professional assassin! Karasuma insists she maintain her cover and teach the students, but Irina is sure she’ll be able to achieve her goal of assassination on her first day with the class.

The students dislike her from the get-go and deliberately mispronounce her last name as Hellabitch. When her teaching skills are found to be lacking, they yell at her to get out, they need to study for their college entrance exams.

All the students, including Class 3E, must attend student assembly. Koro Sensei even attends, in “disguise”. But the rest of the school is determined to humiliate Class 3E, even to the point of withholding vital information. But they haven’t counted on the ingenuity and speed of Koro Sensei, who saves the day! The treatment of Class 3E is all due to the machinations of the school’s principal, Asano. He believes that by holding the class up as examples of what not to be, and treating them badly, he will scare the other students into doing well for fear of ending up like them. He is one of the few who know the truth about Koro Sensei, and refuses to listen to arguments that he should treat Class 3E better, claiming that if the world isn’t going to be destroyed, he has the future to consider.

Exam time arrives, and Koro Sensei announces he wants his entire class to score in the top 50! Even if the principal is giving the other students unfair advantages. Can they do it, even with his accelerated teaching techniques?

It’s time for a school trip – three days and two nights in Kyoto! Koro Sensei makes an enormous travel guide for his students that should cover anything that comes up during their trip! However, some of the girls in his class have been targeted by some unsavory characters and find themselves in a peck of trouble!

In this volume, we are introduced to the charming yet obnoxious principal of the Junior High. His disdain for Class 3E is incredible and his treatment of them is beyond abhorrent! Also, we meet Irina Jelevich, who doesn’t exactly endear herself to the students, and who uses her two biggest assets to lure her targets to their doom. There’s also a bonus story about Koro Sensei and a particular bun!

Great volume, look forward to the next one!

Wednesday Briefs: November 23, 2022

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Bad Karma and the Family Plan #50 (10.4) by Julie Lynn Hayes

Ethan turned toward me, his shoulders slumping a little. I felt his sigh and I ached for him and what his brother was putting him through. I pulled him to me and hugged him and we stood there without moving for a couple of minutes. Realizing we had places to go, things to do, we reluctantly pulled apart.

“You know what they say,” I said, in an attempt to lighten his mood.

“What’s that, Vin?”

“Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.” I winked at Ethan and he laughed.

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Saturday is Horror Day #88 – A Quiet Place Part II

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

A Quiet Place Part II


Following the death of Lee Abbott (John Krasinski) the family decides to move on, seeking to find safety or a solution to their problems. Now Evelyn (Emily Blunt) finds herself with two terrified teens and a newborn. But it’s possible they might have the answer to the question of how to defeat the sound-sensitive creatures…assuming they get the chance to implement the solution.

The second film in the franchise is a little slow but still contains the horror of the first. In this entry, the daughter and son (Regan Abbott and Noah Jupe) are actually key players who step up to do what is necessary even when others tell them not to. They are both strong and resilient, and resemble their late father in that respect. I can’t even imagine how I would begin to cope with this situation, especially having to give birth alone and then deal with a newborn. Face it, babies cry, and any sound could doom them all.

 

At the same time, I find myself not as interested in this film, not sure why. The Abbotts do encounter other people and discover that the creatures are not the only things they need to fear. Also in this film we see the first day and what happened then, even if we still aren’t sure why it did. I understand there will be a third film. I’ll probably watch it. I’ll give this one 3 Stars.

Wednesday Briefs: November 16, 2022

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Bad Karma and the Family Plan #49 (10.3) by Julie Lynn Hayes

Ethan and I both jumped up, weapons already drawn, looking for the source of the disturbance. Expecting to see a bullet hole of some kind in the step, I was surprised to find a rock lying there instead. Ethan saw it as well. His face flushed with anger as he holstered his gun and called out into the darkness, “Okay Joey. You can stop that shit right now and come on out where we can see you.”

Joey? Was he kidding? The next moment, Ethan’s brother slouched into view, wearing a smirk. That was the happiest I’d seen him since we’d arrived.

“Did I scare you two great big secret agents?” he taunted us.

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Book Review: Skip Beat! Vol 14 by Yoshiki Nakamura

Skip Beat! Vol 14 

Author: Yoshiki Nakamura

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 2, 2008

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Shojo Manga/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Kyoko joins Director Ogata for lunch. He seems happy to see her, which is more than can be said for her co-stars. Naturally, the conversation turns to Ren and how he’s doing. The director is doing better as well, and has a new-found confidence he was lacking before. That is largely due to something Ren said to him. Meanwhile, Ren and Mr. Yashiro are headed to his next job. The agent is working on Ren to talk to Kyoko about how he feels, and Ren doesn’t even bother to deny his feelings anymore. Not to him, anyway. What Mr. Yashiro doesn’t know, though, is Ren’s past with Kyoko. Perhaps if he knew that, he’d drop hints to Kyoko in order to get these two lovebirds together! Ren believes that there is someone who could possibly sway Kyoko’s heart by the mere mention of his name, and that disturbs him.

Kyoko is scheduled for an interview on Japonet Scope, thanks to her rising star. But on her arrival, she notices a door marked with Sho Fuwa’s name! What, can he really be here also? But the guy she runs into is not Sho, and yet he knows who she is… and seems to look down on her? Kyoko is surprised to learn that a new group named Vie Ghoul has not only climbed the charts but they have a song that has surpassed Sho’s! But she is indignant to discover that they are imitators of Sho! An angry Kyoko marches to Sho’s dressing room and tells him she needs to talk to him!

Mr. Yashiro tries to get Ren to watch the music video clip that Kyoko is in, but because it’s Sho’s clip, Ren is less than inclined to do so. His agent is trying to make him jealous so he’ll do something about his feelings, but Ren is resisting.  Kyoko is being sent on location for a few days for the film. She doesn’t realize until she’s there that a well-known music studio is nearby. And oh dear, it looks as though both Sho and Vie Ghoul are going to be there! What else could happen? Maybe Ren could show up too?

Kyoko has definitely grown and matured since we first met her. And while she still plans to get her revenge on Sho, she is not afraid to tell him about his shortcomings. The rose-colored glasses she once wore are gone… even if she can’t see how much she likes Ren. Still, it’s a start. But what’s going on with these Vie Ghoul guys? Are they going to throw some oil on this fire or start a conflagration of their own?

Great volume, look forward to more!

Saturday is Horror Day #87 – The Banana Splits Movie

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

The Banana Splits Movie

Harley (Finlay Wojtak-Hissong) loves the Banana Splits more than anything. So when his mother presents him with tickets to attend a live taping of the show as a birthday present, he is over the moon happy. He requests a classmate go with him. Zoe (Maria Nash) wouldn’t call herself a friend of Harley’s, thinks he is weird, but her mother says she has to go, so she has no choice. Harley’s mother goes also, as well as Harley’s father Mitch (Steve Lund) and his half-brother Austin (Romeo Carere). Also in the audience are a couple of would-be influencers, and a stage father who is intent on getting his daughter into show business via the Banana Splits. At the show, it’s announced that people with special tickets will be allowed private time with the Splits after the taping. Harley’s family don’t have the right tickets. But after Austin starts flirting with one of the members of the staff, Paige (Naledi Majola), she adds them to the list.

But all is not as it appears to be. For one thing, the new network exec, Andy (Daniel Fox) has decided to cancel the show, making this the last episode. But that only triggers a reprisal on the part of his cast, who are all animatronics, other than sidekick Stevie (Richard White), who spends most of his time being drunk. The Banana Splits have their own agenda, and it isn’t gonna be pretty.

I was skeptical when I saw the trailer for this film, wondering how a preview for a kids movie got onto a horror movie disk. But this is not kid’s movie, make no mistake about that. It’s a virtual gore fest. However, saying that, unless you just want to watch some assholes get what’s coming to them (and some innocents who don’t deserve it), there is little to commend this film. I am really surprised that Hanna Barbara allowed them to make this film, but they probably figured it was their last chance to make money off the franchise. Watch it for the blood and gore, watch it for the revenge, but don’t go looking for a good movie. I’ll give it 1.5 Stars.

Wednesday Briefs: November 9, 2022

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Ancalagon: Chapter One Hundred Fifteen by Cia Nordwell
 

“The building that’s on fire,” Garjah broke in and said dryly. He wiped his face. “We didn’t see your mech, though.”  

“Oh.” Ases cleared his throat, paling. “Well, you got out so others probably did too, right? The damage probably isn’t that bad. My mech caught it on camera, so I sent him in, just in case, to make sure no one needed help.”  

I snorted. “And the Kardoval want to make you and me the bad guys.”  

“What?” Ases put on an outraged face and staggered back a few steps. His hand landed on his chest as he straightened.

 
 

 

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Book Review: Assassination Classroom, Vol 1: Time for Assassination

Assassination Classroom, Vol 1: Time for Assassination

Author: Yusei Matsui

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: December 2, 2014

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Shonen Manga/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Class 3E at Kunugigaoka Junior High find themselves in a rather unique situation. Besides being considered to be the dregs of the entire school, looked down upon, belittled, used as warnings to other students to do well or end up like them, forced to attend class in a rundown classroom on top of a mountain…they have also been assigned the task of assassinating their teacher!

Their teacher is like no other in that he resembles a tentacle monster, can move at Mach 20 speed, and is impervious to most everything. Oh, and he is responsible for the destruction of two-thirds of the moon, which hangs in the sky as a silent reminder of what has occurred. He has threatened to destroy the entire earth in one year unless his demands are met. And what he demands… is to teach Class 3E at Kunugigaoka Junior High.

Why does he want to do this? No one knows, but they are in no position to resist, so he is given the assignment. The government tells the students of his class that they are to kill him, but also no one else is to know about what is going on outside of their class. Well, it’s not like they are even allowed to enter the other part of the school. But the real incentive is the reward of 10 billion that is being offered for the teacher’s death! So, game on… time to kill teacher!

This first volume is a perfect introduction to this unusual manga. The students of class 3E have a hard time, used by the principal as examples of what not to be. But this teacher, whom they have named Koro Sensei as a play on can’t be killed, sees them for who they are. While encouraging them in their assassination attempts, he also teaches them and raises their self-esteem. This book is both humorous and touching. I love the artwork. Koro Sensei is awesome! There is also a fantastic anime of this series which I highly recommend.

Saturday is Horror Day #86 – Hellraiser (1987), Hellbound: Hellraiser II, The Collector (1965)

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Hellraiser (1987)

Frank (Sean Chapman) is on a quest for pleasure at any price. But he gets more than he bargained for when he purchases a puzzle box from a mysterious shop owner. In solving the mystery of the puzzle, he opens himself to the Cenobites, whose idea of pleasure might be considered pain to some. They tear him apart.

Larry (Andrew Robinson) and his second wife Julia (Clare Higgins) move into Larry’s childhood home, while his daughter Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) takes a room nearby. Little does Larry knows that disembodies Frank is in the house. Or that his wife has carnal knowledge of his brother. Due to a freak accident, Larry’s blood feeds the hidden Frank, who begins to regenerate. He calls upon Julia to help him regain his full being. She is still enthralled by the memory of their time spent together and, although repulsed by his current looks, agrees to provide him with fresh blood.

Kirsty is protective of her father, and doesn’t have the best of relationships with his wife. She is

appalled to discover that Julia is taking men to their home when her father is away. But it’s worse than that, as she learns when she encounters the hideous form of her Uncle Frank, who tells her “Come to Daddy”. Kirsty isn’t sure what it means but she takes the puzzle box. Now she and her boyfriend have to figure out what’s going on, before it’s too late.

The original Hellraiser stands the rest of time, thanks to the imagination of Clive Barker. I like Andrew Robinson as the hapless Larry, who doesn’t realize what a viper he has married, and I liked him as the tailor Garak in Star Trek Deep Space Nine. Frank and Julia make quite the evil couple, while poor Kristy is at her wit’s end trying to save her dad. Creepy, definitely, and the Cenobites are unique, especially Pinhead. I’ll give this 4 Stars.

Hellbound: Hellraiser II

Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) finds herself in an institution after the events of the first film, with no idea of why she is there and her boyfriend nowhere in sight. A young doctor named Kyle (William Hope) tries to keep Kirsty calm, but she wants to leave. But she doesn’t seem to have much choice. The institute is run by Dr. Channard (Kenneth Cranham), and he seems very interested in what Kirsty has to say, although he dismissed her story out of hand. Afterward, he has the mattress from Kirsty’s father’s home brought to his office and “persuades” one of his patients to bleed on it, thereby reviving Julia (Clare Higgins). When Kyle, who believes Kirsty, takes her to Channard’s home, tragedy ensues.

Kirsty meets another patient, a young girl named Tiffany (Imogen Boorman) who doesn’t speak. She is very good at puzzles though. Channard and Julia kidnap her and force her to open the box. The Cenobites comes, but Pinhead persuades them not to kill Tiffany, as she did not summon them, Desire did.

The Cenobites allow Kirsty to explore the Labyrinth, and she runs into Frank (Sean Chapman) again, up to no good as always. But Julia gets her revenge on him, and Dr Channard doesn’t fare very well either.

Much as I like the first Hellraiser, I think I like the second one a little bit more, especially Pinhead. We see his origins in this one, although we are far from knowing what the Cenobites are all about. Kirsty is plucky as ever, and now she has an ally in the silent Tiffany. And of course we have our old friends Frank and Julia, with their new friend Dr. Channard. Look for more good times with this sequel! I’ll say right now the third movie isn’t very good, and I’ve been advised to avoid numbers four through ten, so I will. I’ll give this one 4.5 Stars

The Collector (1965)

Freddie (Terence Stamp) is a quiet young man, a loner who collects butterflies. When he sees art student Miranda (Samantha Eggar), he decides he must have her, so he kidnaps her and holds her hostage. He doesn’t mistreat her in any way, makes no demands, physical or otherwise. He only wants to have her near, so she can fall in love with him and they can be together as man and wife. But Miranda only sees that she has to escape at all costs.

This movie is a little known underrated gem. Director William Wyler gives us a very subtle but powerful story in the interplay between hostage and captor. Terence Stamp is especially brilliant as Freddie, the naive sociopath who believes that if she gets to know him, Miranda will love him and all will be right with the world. Even so, he will do whatever it takes to keep her with him forever.

Sometimes you can’t help but hope that Freddie wins her heart, but at the same time you root for

Miranda to make her escape and reclaim her life. The tension is subtle but palpable, and the wonderful score only serves to emphasize what is going on. Nothing explicit, nothing overt, but powerful all the time.   I’ll give this film 4.5 Stars.