Thursday, October 29, 2009

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Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant: An Unhappy Review

I saw the Vampire's Assistant last night for the first time. The only reason I left it until this morning to write my review of it is because I was so upset after seeing it that I wanted to let myself ooff overnight. Unfortunately I am still pissed off about what I saw.

The movie started out really well, giving the illusion that it was going to follow the original storyline in a decent manner, making a few differences for screen writing etc. Then suddenly the entire storyline changes. Gavner Purl is introduced, his character is portrayed completely inaccurately, Mr Tiny makes an appearance from the very beginning, only new he is no longer the strange little man in green wellington boots. That I can forgive, aesthetically (and for film purposes) I could be persuaded that a purple tinged existence in a pin-stripe suit would suit him better, but then Murlough made his entrance.
When i read Tunnels Of Blood I loved Murlough; he was completely insane, and nothing spices up a story like the insane - they have no boundaries, look at Batman's Joker for example. Insanity is the spice of life.
In this film however, Murlough seemed somewhat sane, and nothing more than a bodyguard/ puppet for Mr Tiny. In fact, now that I think about it the entire opening credits of the movie was basically just puppets being pulled around - an obvious reference to Mr Tiny's involvement, which completely ruins any future films in the series because the major shock in the books themselves is the fact that Mr had puppeteered everything the entire time and no one had any idea until the very end.
Another thing that also pissed me off greatly was the fact that they introduced a new, and completely unnecessary character named Rebecca, who spent all of fifteen seconds being Darren's love interest in the movie, which didn't fit in with the plot and was just wholly unnecessary. The plot would have made much more sense without her, and they could have easily had Darren drunk from a more important member of the cast (Sam Grest anyone?) and kept that ridiculous side-plot in the gravyard where it belongs (and I'm not being punny).
Mr Crepsly also had the misfortune of suffering another totally unnecessary love interest, with the introduction of him dating the Truska, the Bearded Lady, who can conveniently see the future too which was just stupid, seeing as no one took any notice of her predictions. This totally undermined the original Mr Crepsley's personality as he is supposedly into being a lone wolf, who is now regrettably stuck with a child, but the film made them seem more like a happy family.

Also even though the movie only had the rights to the first three books, they went ahead anyway and had a huge face-off between Darren and Steve (while Darren's family hung from the ceiling, even though they thought he was dead till now). Oh, and the Vampaneze announce Steve to be their next Lord and Murlough becomes his mentor (? so much for being insane, the real Murlough would have killed and eaten him). The last half hour of the movie is an absolute train-wreck, and it looks to me as though they were three-quarters through the movie and then realised 'oh shit, we forgot to put in all this other crap' so they stuffed as much of the storyline in there as possible.

The storyline was also so badly explained and the characters were so badly introduced that anyone who hasn't read the books will find this extremely hard to follow (just ask my boyfriend - he had no idea what was going on).

The best thing about the movie was John C. Reilly. He was the only on that could act in the entire movie. Well done man, you saved it from suffering my full hatred.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Darren Shan: The Vampire's Assistant (#2 In The Darren Shan Saga)

I picked The Vampire's Assistant to review for two reasons; firstly it's one of my favourite of all of the Darren Shan series, and secondly the majority of the upcoming Darren Shan movie is based on this book so I felt it made for a fitting review.
When I first started reading the Darren Shan series all those years ago I thoroughly enjoyed it, but the storyline from The Vampire's Assistant is one of the ones I remember the best, and after rereading it today I am still satisfied that it stays in my pile of favourites.
One of the main reasons I enjoyed this book so much is because of the sheer imagination Shan puts into creating his characters. Each of the member of the Cirque Du Freak have amazingly unique talents that ofter range on being inhuman. Evra is the main character in the Cirque that Darren befriends; he's a snake-boy with the ability to fluidly charm any snake. Darren also befriends a local boy named Sam, who decides his new dream is to join the Cirque.

As I said before this book is only the second in the series which means Darren has only been a vampire for a few months. Since he has departed from home in the previous book Darren refuses to drink human blood, fearing that it will mean the loss of his last strands of humanity. As each event unfurls is the book Darren is also finding himself weaker, and eventually on the brink of death due to his refusal of human blood. Each chapter builds suspense to the final shocking act.

This is a book for young adults but I think any adult with a speck of imagination will certainly enjoy this as much as I did.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

5 Of The Best Vampire Books

5. Hellsing Volume 1 - Kouta Hirano
Even though Hellsing is a graphic novel I'm still putting it in my Top 5 due to its sheer genius in terms of plot line. The Hellsing series is loosely based around the original Dracula by Bram Stoker. It makes a lot of references to Stoker's novel but also has a modern twist on it. The character's are all part of the Hellsing Organisation which tracks down vampires and kills them. the organisation is Protestant and working on behalf of the Queen Of England who believes vampires are unholy creatures that should be sent to hell. The twist is that Alucard that vampire is helping them to execute these creatures. If you read farther into the series you will start to uncover hints about Alucard's past and some Nazi involvement in the sudden surge of Vampirism.

4. Guilty Pleasures - Laurell K. Hamilton
Guilty Pleasures is the first book in the Anita Black Vampire Hunter Series. The series itself is excellent but there is something about Guilty Pleasures that allows me to reread it again and agin and still find meself completely absorbed by it. The book is action-paked with fighting and a mysterious crime that Anita is helping the police solve. Like most other vampire stories these days werewolves are a huge part in Guilty Pleasures but so are zomies, a rarity nowadays. Anita is constantly being harassed by guys and feels a need to constsntly confirm her own power in each situation she's in, so expect a lot of shooting and one-liners.

3.The Darren Shan Series - Darren Shan

I couldn't pick just one of the books from this series as each book is just an extension of the storyline - so they don't actually make sense when they are read separately. The series has been written for a young teen audience but many adults read it (mostly in secret). The Darren Shan Series is one if the most original I have ever read, with some of the most intriguing characters I have ever encountered. The series begins around a freak show; The Crique Du Freak, but Darren eventually ends up reigniting a 200 year old vampire war and finds himself on a quest to end it once and for all.

2. Interview With The Vampire - Anne Rice

This is a modern classic, although it is a little to mature for the new generation of Twilight fanatics. This book is perfect for anyone who wants the vampire genre to mix with a sprinkle of action and some romance. Romantic is actually the perfect adjective for Rice's style of writing. All of her books portray New Orleans in a sensuous and reminiscent manner, drawing the reader into the story and making you feel a part of it. The book literally is an interview with a vampire - Louis, who describes LeStat recklessly turning him into a vampire ina n attemp to become part of Louis' expensive lifestyle.

1. Dracula - Bram Stoker

Often claimed to be the definitive novel that began the vampire genre. Nearly every vampire writer cites Stoker's infamous classic as being their biggest influence. The book is written in diary-form by various characters in the story. The plot line is original and so ahead of its time, several movies have been based on its characters and it has seen Van Hellsing become one of the most famous vampire hunters in history.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Laurell K Hamilton: Guilty Pleasures Review

I have to admit, I was somewhat skeptical all those months ago as I stood in my local comic book store and the clerk (a friend of mine) forced the first book of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series into my hands. He claimed the series was 'great' especially the first book. "Once you read it you'll just have to read the rest of 'em". (Thinking back on it I suspect he was hoping my future addiction would make him a lot of profit.)

So I bought Guilty Pleasures and my curiosity forced me to begin reading it as soon as I got home.
Within reading the first few pages I felt myself becoming glued to the book. From the very first sentence it was interesting. Hamilton is a genius, writing so that she only gives out partial facts about the storyline and making the reader yearn to recover the rest of those facts. The story also delves directly into Anita's job - raising zombies. How could I not read a book about that? It also becomes apparent quiet quickly that the author is writing from an alternative history point of view; vampires are legal citizens of the United States and Anita Blake is the state's legal vampire executioner.
But aside from Anita's amazing career roles she also finds herself being wooed by the owner of the local vampire strip club, all the while being dragged in to solve a mysterious murder case by the local police.

Guilty Pleasures ticked every single one of my boxes; it has vampires, zombies, werewolves, mystery, suspense, action and a great alternative history storyline. Every part of the story has been though through completely which makes it even more convincing and interesting.

If you want a new series of books to read that are alternative and engaging or just a great book then Guilty Pleasures has it all.

WARNING: You will almost definitely be compelled to read the entire series after reading Guilty Pleasures.

NOTE: Guilty pleasures has now also been published as a graphic novel in two parts by Marvel Comics; if you want to experience this amazing story accompanied with amazingly detailed art and beautifully accurate characters it is definitely worth buying.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Darren Shan Movie Trailer

Over six years ago I won a competition. The answer to it was simple; who wrote Dracula? (that's Bram Stoker, shame on you if you didn't already know that). The prize for said competition was the Darren Shan Saga (only about six or seven of the books had been written at the time). When I received the books I hadn't ever heard of them before, but I liked the idea of reading a series without getting half-way through and running out of money. I instantly fell in love with the saga and since then I have read the entire series (all twelve books) five times.

Then about three years ago Darren Shan did a reading in my hometown of Kilkenny. I was gutted that I couldn't go; I had already promised to babysit and couldn't get out of it. Luckily an awesome friend of mine offered to bring one of my Darren Shan books and try get him to sign it. I was really touched by this but didn't expect to actually get my book signed.
Incredibly, the next day I found myself holding my beloved, and well-thumbed book signed by the man himself; reading "To Lynda, sorry you couldn't come along!! Maybe our paths will cross some other time!!". I was ecstatic. I was sure at that moment that I would never outgrow the series.

Now as I sit here a newly made adult I still love the books, and I am currently undertaking my sixth reading of them. I have finally seen the trailer for the first Darren Shan Movie; Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, and unlike so many of the stories I grew to love while I was younger, it didn't disappoint me. The movie will be released on 23rd Of October and you will be sure to see me queuing alongside many other fans.
The Darren Shan Saga is a brilliantly written series and I hope that the movies will get the fame they deserve and in turn give the books the recognition they deserve. I think that this movie will be huge anyway because of the vampire phenomenon that the Twilight Series has already started. Even though I know a lot of Twilight fans are going to jump onto the vampire bandwagon and 'love' the Darren Shan movie I don't care because I love it so much myself and I think that more fans means more readers and Darren Shan needs to be read.

Summary Of Plot line
I don't want to give too much away so I will just give some brief outlines. Also it seems that some of the movie plot differs from the actual books and certain parts have been omitted.

Darren Shan is still in school when he and his friend Steve decide to sneak out and visit the Cirque Du Freak. Entranced by the tarantula in one of the performing acts Darren decides to steal her for himself. He then decided to introduce his new pet to Steve who she bites and sends into a near-death state. The spider's owner, the vampire Mr Crepsley, offers to save Steve in return for Darren becoming a vampire. With the aid of Mr Crepsley, Darren fakes his death and joins the Cirque as the vampire's assistant. The cirque is full of some...interesting characters, and Darren happens to restart a 200 year old vampire feud along his journey.

This is not a movie to be missed, it's funny, interesting and downright original.
God I love vampires.


When I did finally get to see the movie I ended up writing this not so great review. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I'm Thinking Of Branching Out... (Oh, And Modern Warefare 2)

As much as I love zombies I have other interests too. I'm thinking of generalizing this blog a bit more. And no I'm not doing it for money - I don't think I'll ever make money from this (and I'm not trying to). The reason I'm thinking about this is so I will have more topics that I can post about, thus more regular posting.
I know I have a few regular readers out there and I don't know if this idea will make you foam at the mouth with rage or smile with delight; either way I'd love to hear from you.
Oh and by the way, if I do end up branching out I'll still include some zombie-related posts!

New upcoming CoD has Zombie Mode without the zombies?!
I don't completely know the facts so I'm just going to relay what I have heard to all you other CoD lovers out there (even though if you're a fan you will probably already know). Modern Warefare 2 is supposed not going to feature a Zombie Mode as CoD 5 did. Instead a new mode is supposedly going to be introduced. this new mode will allow you to kill hoards of terrorists in place of zombies. This does sound awesome, but I will miss the zombies.