Tag Archives: werewolves

‘Gil’s All Night Fright Diner’ by A. Lee Martinez (Book Review)

Gil’s All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez is a fun, quick read I recommend for those of us that enjoy fantasy stories that don’t take themselves too seriously. It begins with the unlikely (in other universes) pairing of a vampire and a werewolf.

While passing through the town of Rockwood, rough werewolf Duke and self-doubting vampire Earl end up in an out-of-the-way diner. They find out that this is no ordinary diner- it has a recurring zombie attack problem. Earl and Duke help the diner’s owner Loretta work together to fend off an attack and stay on as workers to help solve the undead issue. The zombies, however, are only a symptom of the real problem; local teenager Tammy is hell-bent on bringing the old gods back to this dimension and ruin things for everyone.

Gil’s All Fright Diner is a simple story written with plenty of humor. I really enjoyed the character development of Duke and Earl, but was a bit disappointed in the female characters. For example, I was left trying to figure out why Tammy felt the need to destroy the world besides the fact that she’s a teenager. I suppose evil doesn’t need an excuse, but I felt it needed more. Also, the constant reference to Tammy’s hotness (and her using sex to get anything) and Loretta’s ugliness (she was fat and therefore, undesirable) was over the top.

Thankfully, to balance out Tammy, there is a ghost called Cathy who I at first thought was there to be rescued but ended up being a strong character in the fight against evil. Also, “ugly” Loretta is a strong woman that takes no bullshit from zombies or any other creature even with her limited human body. While Duke and Earl can heal themselves, Loretta can not, so her bravery kicked ass.

I have a few A. Lee Martinez books I’ll review here; he’s a fun fantasy author to read.

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The Wolfman (Movie Review)

More of this next time, Benicio

[Minor plot points in this review]

The Wolfman finally premiered.  I haven’t seen the 1941 original but from what I’ve read many of the elements are the same, including character names. Set in 1891, Lawrence Talbot (Benicio del Toro) is a Shakespearian actor with a traumatic childhood who got sent to America to live with his aunt where he presumably lost all traces of a British accent. He returns as a brooding adult to his childhood home after his brother Ben is savagely killed and Ben’s fiancée calls Lawrence back.

Lawrence’s father, Sir John Talbot (Anthony Hopkins), lives on an isolated estate in Blackmoor, England with only one servant, Singh. If you know nothing about Blackmoor, it is where all the fog goes to die. There is a nearby village full of superstitious folk and a gypsy camp nearby. People live in terror of the beast that killed Ben Talbot. The movie follows Lawrence as he tries to discover who or what killed his brother, how he gets mauled for his efforts by the beast and becomes one himself. Hugo Weaving adds to the cast as a Scotland Yard Inspector trying to serve justice in Foggyland.

The story is good, but if you expect to be scared, you will be disappointed. There is very little to be scared about, unless blood and gore scare you. Personally I didn’t expect to be scared but I did expect to feel some tension and intrigue. I also expected to care about Lawrence Talbot, as the innocent that gets turned into a monster and is persecuted by those around him. Just like for Frankenstein or King Kong, I wanted to root for the beast. Unfortunately in this movie the plight of the werewolf didn’t connect with me. Perhaps if we’d seen his story through the eyes of a caring brother or the long-suffering manservant Singh, the movie would have been more interesting. There are no solid female characters either- Ben’s fiancée Gwen (Emily Blunt) does very little. I understand she was in the original- and that’s the only reason I can see for her character being there. Mostly she looked pretty in her Victorian garb- she wasn’t given much else to do.  There is zero romantic chemistry between her and Benicio’s character, even though the script tried to force it.

None of the main characters had a great performance; even Benicio (gasp) didn’t do it for me. I think he was going for depressed, and just came out as disinterested. Anthony Hopkins was all over the place- he couldn’t figure out if he was campy, or tragic, or evil. If he was going for insane, he didn’t quite make it. Very disappointing performances from two actors I adore. Hugo Weaving and Art Malik (Singh) performed well but their characters were sadly underused.

There are some good things about this movie. For example, Lawrence’s creepy nightmares/hallucinations were a good way to establish his mental state throughout the film.  I liked the werewolf transformation and makeup.  I was never much a fan of too much wolf snout, so this less wolfy version was good for me. I also like that the wolf kept his clothes on, signifying the humanity left inside. (Although now that I think about it, if he had lost his clothes then we would’ve had naked Benicio shots in the morning… hmm.) The beastly attacks were good, especially the one at the gypsy camp and the asylum medical theater. Nice use of gore. There could have been more, actually. I mean, they already had the R rating, right?

All in all, The Wolfman is watchable but a bit dull. I expected a more exciting version of the classic.

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