Thursday, September 30, 2021

The Gladiator 3: City of Fire by Andrew Quiller

The Gladiator (aka The Eagles) 3
City of Fire
by Andrew Quiller (Kenneth Bulmer and/or Laurence James)
1976 Pinnacle

Marcus Brittanicus is a Roman soldier seeking vengeance on those who raped and killed his mother. Here he travels from Britain to Pompeii, occasionally murdering, occasionally fending off assassination attempts, but mostly hanging out in taverns and getting laid.

Some OK sequences, such a drowning in a vomitorium and an extended death by lava scene, but the whole thing seemed a bit restrained for depraved Rome, or 70s British exploitation writers for that matter.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Book of the Undead 3: Worst Nightmare by Ric Meyers

Book of the Undead 3
Worst Nightmare
by Ric Meyers 
1992, Dell

An interdimensional being called The Imp floats around, injecting glass Gem Worms into people's brains, causing them to make poor, impulsive choices that ruins their lives and those around them. After inspiring drug dealing video store clerks to run amok, it possesses the corpse of a recently killed pedophile cop.

Meanwhile, a man who was blown up in the last book comes back to life and is driven to destroy evil. His widow is hunted by a South American cartel assassin, and as it happens she's the nanny for a teenager who babysits a kid the pedophile cop is stalking, so it all comes together.

Starts of interesting, slight Great and Secret Show vibes, but almost nothing happens in the middle and the scale and stakes keep getting lower as we move along. There are recurring Freddy jokes that have no place, and I could have done without the semi-graphic ghost child molesting.

I don't know if I'd have enjoyed it more by reading from the beginning, but more likely I'd have been let down even more after 700 plus pages. Surprisingly scarce and expensive.

Paperback from Amazon

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Night Hunter 1: The Stalking by Robert Faulcon

Night Hunter 1
The Stalking
by Robert Faulcon (Robert Holdstock)
1987 Diamond Books

Suburban England Evil Dead as if written by Nigel Kneale. Paranormal researcher Dan Brady is left for dead after his house is invaded, his wife violated with a golden scepter, and his family kidnapped. Once out of his coma he returns to the house and finds another researcher whose family met the same fate. The two build up the psychic defenses of the house against attacks by astral elementals.

Shades of Quatermass and Stone Tape with the combination of psychical research mixed with ancient folk horror, with the violence ramped up as bodies are ripped apart by unseen forces. Dan Brady is a bit harder edged than your average occult detective type, placing his path of vengeance ahead of uncovering the plot using supernatural forces.

Paperback from Amazon.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Series Showdown: Alien Nation vs Highlander

The Alien Nation installment was true to the characters and added depth to their background, while Highlander was less deep than a standard TV episode. The motherhummers behead the immortals - there can be only one!

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Cap Kennedy 9: Earth Enslaved by Gregory Kern

Cap Kennedy 9
Earth Enslaved
by Gregory Kern (E.C. Tubb)
1974 DAW

Cap Kennedy is a space opera series similar to Perry Rhodan. Kennedy is our square jaw leader who leads a crew through space in his ship, the Mordain, investigating and facing dangers to Earth. In this installment, Kennedy and his crew pass through an artificial asteroid called the Torus into an alternate timeline where women rule Earth on the ground and aliens controlled the skies, using cyborg space forts run by the brains of male human slaves.  Kennedy has to repair his ship, find a way around the alien defenses, and destroy the Torus before it destroys both Earths.

This could have stood to be longer, as there are some interesting concepts but not much room to play around. Cap mainly runs around shooting people unconscious with his sedative needler gun. Not much in the way of description; we have no idea what the aliens look like, and in future alternate Earth you can hitch a ride in a truck or steal clothes from a line of laundry. The end is resolved way to quick by hacking the alien defenses in a more believable manner than Independence Day.

Paperback from AbeBooks

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Series Showdown: Black Berets vs The Killers

MIA stories are amongst my least favorite action subgenres, and the closer to an actual war a story is the more my interest dwindles. Despite this, both of these entries come in strong. I'll likely give the Black Berets another read in the future, but for this round the Killers force the Black Berets to lick the mud off it's boots.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Heavies: Gene Hackman

 Gene Hackman chewing the scenery as a religious zealot serial killer in Hawk.

And as an angry beat cop on Brenner