måndag 19 oktober 2009

The Ruins of Characterization! -- Sarah Pinborough's FEEDING GROUND

To my utter surprise, I recently found out the title of Ms Sarah Pinborough's latest novel: Feeding Ground (2009); and 'let there be light' how I'd love to read yet another Pinborough paperback. Why is that? Haven't I already told you that she's going downhill? Yes, but you see: Feeding Ground is supposed to be, as it were, a sequel to the ultra entertaining second book of hers: Breeding Ground (2006) -- an apocalyptic story about how monster spiders incubate in all women to later feed on all what's remaining... Yes, I assume you got that little gender angle right there too, if you're interested... Anyhow, it's plain entertainment, gore and not-so-fun creepy white arachnids also, and that's all that matters to me.

So, I grabbed Feeding Ground with great anticipation that it would be another tight horror thriller filled with chills and gore galore... But alas, poor Yorrick! Though I have a few chapters left (for a final exploding showdown, dare I hope?) I find that the highly promising composition with a bunch of young drug lords with their prostitutes turning into failed, drug addicted spider junkies has come seriously to a standstill, due to too much dialogue and failed characterization attempts. What was supposed to be an entertaining romp has become quite a bore, in fact, except for an occasional spider attack and a few cocoonings and such. But this is not enough! Get yourself together now Ms Pinborough. Consider what made you such a big time player with your first couple of novels -- The Hidden, Breeding Ground and, why not, The Taken -- and forget about trying to weave complex but forgettable characters in plots that're supposed to be fast paced, horrific and entertaining. Enough said!

onsdag 7 oktober 2009


Late in the year of 2000 I turned my eyes towards a feller by the name of Bentley Little; it was, as usual, in manner the manner of "you want to read similar things by other writers?". And so I got stuck on this guy that, beside computers and modern technology, hates everything to do with religious fanaticism, large-scale corporations, gated communities ... and mailmen!

The book I read (a novel from the latter part of the 90s when, unfortunately, ha started going downhill) was not that great, but it incorporated one of the most nasty, absurd and hilarious horror elements I've ever encountered -- a woman giving birth to a humanoid cactus! Now how can I go wrong from here, I thought, and began persuing every little work of his...

So, a few months later, I got hold of this author's debut: The Revelation (1989). By far, this is not the greatest achievement of this man. However, it's quite a forceful first novel that does not yield at all in the ways of the absurd, macabre and grotesque. The most disturbing scene of the entire book would pehaps be where a demented and geriatric old woman of almost 100 gives birth to a dead and deformed, humanlike creature... To sum it up, though, it's a fast paced read and tells the story of the small town of Randall, California: A strange preacher has come to fight the Devil, as always since the beginning of time, in this very place. He has to have the unfailing help of a few townies whose ancesters fought by his side the last time, ages ago.

The Dark Forces has gathered the lost souls and corpses of all the aborted and miscarried, abandonned and buried fetuses of the town, now and through endless time... And with this army Satan will wreak havoc on earth. The only once able to stop Him from defeating God and mocking the whole Creation is four men with pitchforks, fresh blood and a dried up fetus (you know about Communion, don't you...)

The Revelation is well recommended should you decide to try this Arizona born gentleman on for real. It is quite an easy read and it's basically only focusing on the die hard repulsive and offensive material, and not concerned with the more apparent social commentary that Little later on began to mix with his more or less strange atrocities.

måndag 5 oktober 2009

"Here is Denmark, excreted from limestone. There is Sweden, chiselled from granite. Danish scum!" -- Lars von Trier's The Kingdom

Then: Once, right on the spot where the bleachers used to work, they built "Rigshospitalet" (more known as "Kingdom Hospital" to English speakers, I assume...) to the praise and enforcement of knowledge...

Now: For the gazillionth time old Mrs. Drusse has been taken in to the great hospital for observation. But she's not sick; she only wants to get in tune with the spiritual denizens of the old crumbling building... And she has come into contact with the manifestation of a small girl with a restless soul. Thus, the old woman wants the girl to get into the light, so to speak...

The Swedish doctor, Stig Helmer, disinherited surgeon cast away from his own country, has been hired by "Riget" and though he hates all that Denmark stands for the grudgy and cynical Dr. Helmer has to put up with the strange people and their unscientific methods. Above all, he has to cope with that woman accusing him of making her little daughter a vegetable through a failed brain surgery...

The walls of "Riget" are beginning to crumble with the forces of the supernatural. More and more frequently strange things are happening within the hospital and among its staff -- the girl child is roaming the elevator shaft; an ambulance without patients or drivers appears and disappears; there is a peculiar freemason lodge among the executives, and two Down syndrome dishwashers predicting the future; the son of the hospital director cuts of the head of a corpse to impress on a lady colleague he fancies... and many more strange and uncanny events will follow...

Finally, I've started watching Riget and Riget II (aka. The Kingdom: Denmark, 1994; 1997). I have a faint memory of it from my youth, but I wasn't able to follow it through (even less understand it). However, a few years ago a found these "zentropa kollektion"-discs for a bargain at the local videostore (incidentally, the first case with carried the Swedish title Riket while the other stated the original Danish title Riget II; an irregularity that I just have to deal with I suppose...)

Until now I've only watched the first two one hour episodes, but cannot see how it will be hard continuing to follow this series... and finding out, finally, what the fuss was about. I cannot say that I'm familiar and/or a follower of Lars von Triers work, but only to be able to see the acting and genious presens of the enormously talented and uniquely wayward Swedish actor Ernst-Huge Järegård (rest his soul!) is enough for me. For those of you who haven't seen it I more than highly recommend studying his performance on the rooftop of the hospital when he is watching the neighbouring Swedish nuclear power plants (always hated by this time by Danes and especially the Copenhagens), praising Sweden and cursing Denmark: "DANSKJÄVLAR!!!"