Reviews header Selected from Shivers #77

The Latest in Horror Entertainment
In this bumper issue: ten pages of reviews, covering:

Video / DVD Reviews • Include John Carpenter's Vampires and Crash, plus a full DVD round-up

Book Reviews • Graham Masterton's latest novel Snowman, a Dark Detective collection edited by Stephen Jones, Len Vinchi's Dog Soul, and Jonathan Rigby's English Gothic, reviewed by very impressed Royston Vasey resident Mark Gatiss

The Peter Cushing Compannion by David MillerPlus: the launch of The Peter Cushing Companion by David Miller, editor of Shivers. Come to the signing on Sat June 3 at The Conservatory, St. Giles' High St, London WC2 (Tottenham Ct Rd tube), starting 2pm, and meet your editor. See more details of the book here, or in the next issue of Shivers!

TV Reviews •
Five recent episodes from The X-Files, more instalments of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel, plus a round-up of The League of Gentlemen Series 2

DVD Review
John Carpenter's Vampires
Director: John Carpenter
Starring: James Woods, Daniel Baldwin, Sheryl Lee
Region 2 (PAL) DVD • Order it from Black Star today!
John Carpenter's Vampires - available at BlackStar
Reviewed by Stephen Foster
selected and edited from Shivers #77

Video companies hate it when we expose the shortcomings of their DVDs compared to the versions enjoyed by our American brethren, so it’s nice to report that sometimes – just sometimes – it works the other way around!

We’ve waited a long time for a domestic version of Vampires, which marks something of a return to form for one of the genre’s most talented directors. The film was released in the US in 1998, but took forever to reach the UK, and UK consumers can hardly be blamed for importing the American disc, which was released a year ago.

But Columbia’s Region 2 DVD offers the film in widescreen ratio, enhanced for 16:9 sets. The sound is 5.1 Dolby Digital, which adds considerably to the atmosphere. The disc features a commentary track by Carpenter that is often enlightening, and fans of the director will definitely want to check it out. The UK disc features a six-minute behind-the-scenes featurette, featuring location footage and interviews, which didn’t appear on the American version.

DVD Review
Crash
Director:
David Cronenberg
Starring: James Spader, Holly Hunter,
Deborah Kara Unger

Region 2 (PAL) DVD
Order it from Black Star today!
Cronenberg's Crash - available on DVD from BlackStar

Cronenberg’s intimate study about a group of burnt-out souls who get their jollies by observing and participating in car crashes is a difficult film to like, but admirable nevertheless. Even Cronenberg’s most ardent fans seem split on the film’s merits, despite it bearing close relation to some of the director’s best work (Videodrome, for example).

Columbia’s new disc presents the film in its theatrical 1.85:1 ratio, enhanced for 16:9 playback. The transfer is very nice, perfectly capturing Peter Suschitzky’s steely cinematography. Like the US disc the sound is Dolby Surround only. Oddly the disc does carry a terrific 5.1 mix, but it’s in Spanish! The disc also contains a theatrical trailer.

Book Review
Snowman
by Graham Masterton
Published by Severn House, 218pp, hardback

Order it from amazon.co.uk today!

Graham Masterton's Snowman
Reviewed by David Howe
selected and edited from Shivers #77

Graham Masterton is the best-selling author of The Manitou and a great many other novels. His next adult Horror novel, The Doorkeepers, is due to be published by Simon and Schuster.

Snowman is the latest in Graham Masterton’s Rook series about a teacher, Jim Rook, blessed with certain psychic powers who works with a remedial class for educationally challenged youngsters.

As with the other books in the series, the plot revolves around one of his students, this time Jack Hubbard, a halfcaste Inuit from Alaska. Something seems to be stalking Jack. Something that can freeze a toilet solid in moments, that can turn a handrail into a deadly frozen trap, and which can freeze students into an outside swimming pool during the height of summer.

Jim Rook investigates and finds a link with Jack’s explorer father, and the legend of the Snowman: a shadowy Inuit figure who helps lost travellers. Jim must unravel the mystery before he loses all his students to the icy touch of the vengeful Snowman. Masterton treads a fine line between young adult fiction (which this series is intended to be) and adult Horror fiction. There are some scenes in here – particularly where a student becomes frozen to a handrail and has to have both his arms amputated in graphic detail in order to save his life – which I found quite harrowing to read, and I’m not sure they sit well with the overall theme of the series.

Rook’s ‘powers’ are hardly mentioned, and the addition of a returned-from-the-dead cat only serves to confuse matters. The book is full of some great characterization and action, and the Inuit legend he is working with is convincing and well realized. It’s a cracking read, but be prepared for some stomach-wrenching Horror along the way.

Reviews © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000.
Images © Fox TV, Columbia, Anchor books. Not for reproduction