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selected from Shivers #93

In this issue: eight pages of reviews, including:

Video / DVD Reviews •
Ravenous, plus Peter Sasdy’s The Stone Tape, Robert Zemeckis’ What Lies Beneath and Sam Raimi’s The Gift. Plus various strains of The Fly, including the 1958 original with Vincent Price and the Jeff Goldblum remake

Book Reviews • Clive Barker returns to his roots with Coldheart Canyon , we examine some Scottish Scary Tales and Vol.1 of Darkness Rising...

Film Reviews • The Forsaken, Scary Movie 2, Jeepers Creepers, The Bunker and Brotherhood of the Wolf

DVD Review • Ravenous
Director: Antonia Bird
• Starring:
Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle, Jeffrey Jones

Order Ravenous from Blackstar today!
Region 2 (PAL) Retail DVD Ratio: 2.35:1
(Anamorphic) • Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 (384kbps)

Ravenous on DVD

Review by Stephen Foster
selected and edited from Shivers #93

Ravenous is an archly black American Civil War comedy, about a soldier (Pearce) who is sent to a remote outpost, where he encounters a dishevelled stranger (Carlyle) who recounts a startling story about escaping from a group of travellers who have taken to cannibalism. It’s a quirky film, rich in texture and atmosphere: not intense enough for seasoned gore hounds, but might be perfect for someone looking for something a bit unusual.

Although the film was obviously not graced with a very large budget, the transfer is generally clean and sharp, and it scores over the American disc with a much-improved anamorphic transfer. The audio mix is unusually aggressive, heavily pushing the film’s odd score (by Michael Nyman and Blur’s Damon Albarn). The disc has three separate commentary tracks, including one by Bird and another with the film’s writer, a selection of deleted scenes with optional commentary (12m), and galleries of stills, set and costume designs.

Book Review
Coldheart Canyon

By Clive Barker • Published by Harper Collins
August 2001, 606pp
Order it from Amazon UK

Clive Barker's Coldheart Canyon
Reviewed by David Howe:
selected and edited from Shivers #93

One of Clive Barker’s touchstones is that of hidden worlds – Fantasy realms which can be opened up to ordinary mortals if they can only find the key. Now to the macabre puzzle box of The Hellbound Heart, the carpet of Weaveworld, Cabal’s hidden city of Midian and the house of The Thief of Always we can add Coldheart Canyon’s Devil’s Country, as realized in a tiled room transported to Hollywood by a movie starlet with too much money.

To suggest that Coldheart Canyon is a repeat of earlier works is unfair. It is an immensely enjoyable and clever novel which compares and contrasts the unreal world of painting and trompe l’oeil with that of the Hollywood lifestyle itself. To discover that they are very similar is no real surprise, however the book’s strength is in the telling.

Todd Pickett is part of the Hollywood dream machine, an actor who has reached his peak and passed it. Someone desperate to regain his looks and status amongst the Hollwood ‘A’ list. Todd turns, as do so many others, to plastic surgery, but things do not go well, and to recuperate from his paid-for injuries, his aide takes him to an old house in the Hollywood hills, a place of magic and isolation, which can only be found if it wants to be found. There he meets Katya, a Hollwood star from the twenties who has retained her looks through visits to a mysterious tiled room in the basement, a room full of frescoes and paintings which draw unwary visitors into the land, which lives and breaths around them. The paintings hide an eternal hunt: a cursed group of soldiers forever searching for the Devil’s child to settle an ages old score with his mother, Lilith.

Things get complicated when Maxine, Todd’s agent and Tammy, the self-appointed head of his ‘International’ fan club come looking for him, and discover far more than they bargained for in the form of vengeful ghosts and spectres which haunt the grounds of the mansion, and in Katya herself, determined to once again join the fêted Hollywood elite.

Coldheart Canyon is a masterful novel. Barker’s talent for magical characters are combined with visionary scenes of Horror making this a triumphant return to form for the writer. The book is full of superb description and evocative characters – it plunges the reader into magic and horror in equal proportions, and exposes Hollywood life as the shallow and unfulfilling masquerade that it is, where looks and supposed status mean more than love and honour.

Reviews © Visual Imagination Ltd 2001. Not for reproduction
Images © Harper Collins books, Metro Tartan films, Tartan Terrors video