Book (Novella) Review – The Grendel’s Shadow

Off World Hunter Meets the Monster of Legend

Sci-fi horror novel that retells a version of Beowulf. Raw Book Review

The way to determine if you might enjoy this novella is to ask you the following questions:

1) Did you enjoy the story of Beowulf?

2) Did you enjoy the movie The Ghost in the Darkness?

3) Are you fan of genre mashing, specifically Sci-fi and Pulp Adventure?

4) Is an entertaining story more important than complex literary talent?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above then you may be interested in checking out The Grendel’s Shadow by Andrew Mayne.

As with previous novels we’ve reviews, this book was stumbled upon by chance and purchased based on the sale price of $0.99. Its a novella at 126 pages long, but to our surprise we were treated to a well written adventure story that kept us entertained from beginning to end.

The story follows a professional hunter who is hired by the government of a colonized planet to rid them of a wild beast that is attacking and killing families along an undomesticated frontier region.

Sounds like science fiction right? Yes, but only for the initial worldbuilding in which the story is set. What Andrew Mayne does well is take a 1920s style pulp adventure story, one that could easily be set around the turn of the century (late 1800s) and place it in a far future.

The story hits the ground running and never lets up. It’s a short read but it doesn’t disappoint.

Is it just a new version of Beowulf?

No. We asked the Beowulf question because this novel is certainly inspired by Beowulf, but it’s unique enough to be a good read.

I’m not a fan of guns and violent stories, will I like this?

We think so. It’s almost a period piece. Almost.

Where can I get it?

We bought it on Kindle.

Book (Novella) Review – The Grendel’s Shadow

Off World Hunter Meets the Monster of Legend

Sci-fi horror novel that retells a version of Beowulf. Raw Book Review

The way to determine if you might enjoy this novella is to ask you the following questions:

1) Did you enjoy the story of Beowulf?

2) Did you enjoy the movie The Ghost in the Darkness?

3) Are you fan of genre mashing, specifically Sci-fi and Pulp Adventure?

4) Is an entertaining story more important than complex literary talent?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above then you may be interested in checking out The Grendel’s Shadow by Andrew Mayne.

As with previous novels we’ve reviews, this book was stumbled upon by chance and purchased based on the sale price of $0.99. Its a novella at 126 pages long, but to our surprise we were treated to a well written adventure story that kept us entertained from beginning to end.

The story follows a professional hunter who is hired by the government of a colonized planet to rid them of a wild beast that is attacking and killing families along an undomesticated frontier region.

Sounds like science fiction right? Yes, but only for the initial worldbuilding in which the story is set. What Andrew Mayne does well is take a 1920s style pulp adventure story, one that could easily be set around the turn of the century (late 1800s) and place it in a far future.

The story hits the ground running and never lets up. It’s a short read but it doesn’t disappoint.

Is it just a new version of Beowulf?

No. We asked the Beowulf question because this novel is certainly inspired by Beowulf, but it’s unique enough to be a good read.

I’m not a fan of guns and violent stories, will I like this?

We think so. It’s almost a period piece. Almost.

Where can I get it?

We bought it on Kindle.

Movie Review (Sort of) – Guardians of the Galaxy

Yet another review of Guardians of the Galaxy?


Naw. There are a million and one reviews out there already and all but four of them say the same thing – Guardians is fantastic. An interstellar thrill ride that will leave you wanting more of Star Lord, Rocket, Drax, the deadly beautiful Gamora, and the giving tree Groot.


This could be another carbon copy review but it isn’t. Full disclosure, we are fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Huge fans. The few trip-ups aside (Iron Man 2 comes to mind) Marvel has created the most amazing series of films, and TV show, ever in the history of the history of storytelling. Seriously, Sheherezad has got nothing on Kevin Feige and she knows it.


So all this post is going to say is – GO SEE THE MOVIE.


You don’t need to be a fan of the MCU, or a comic book geek, or a sci-fi nerd to enjoy this film. James Gunn’s screenplay is so well written it will keep you laughing from beginning to end. The chemistry between the actors is so palpable we wouldn’t be surprised if all of them turn up pregnant in the next few weeks with each others love children.


Finally, the two CGI characters are the best part of the movie. Rocket is a complete fabrication, created in a computer, but he has a soul and an identity and a personality that is as infectious as herpes. Groot, also a fully CGI character is the most interesting and complex personality seen in a film in…possibly forever. If you are not completely in love with him by the end of the film you are not human.


Stop reading now and go see the film. You won’t be disappointed.


P.S. – To everyone bitching and complaining about the stinger at the end of the credits, calm the blank-blank-blankety-blank down. The stinger is brilliant and fun and completely unexpected. If you didn’t get it then read a freakin book you illiterate bastard. Or google it, either way.

Have fun!




Fan made posters courtesy of XombieDirge. Check them all out, they are da shizzle.

Movie Review (Sort of) – Guardians of the Galaxy

Yet another review of Guardians of the Galaxy?


Naw. There are a million and one reviews out there already and all but four of them say the same thing – Guardians is fantastic. An interstellar thrill ride that will leave you wanting more of Star Lord, Rocket, Drax, the deadly beautiful Gamora, and the giving tree Groot.


This could be another carbon copy review but it isn’t. Full disclosure, we are fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Huge fans. The few trip-ups aside (Iron Man 2 comes to mind) Marvel has created the most amazing series of films, and TV show, ever in the history of the history of storytelling. Seriously, Sheherezad has got nothing on Kevin Feige and she knows it.


So all this post is going to say is – GO SEE THE MOVIE.


You don’t need to be a fan of the MCU, or a comic book geek, or a sci-fi nerd to enjoy this film. James Gunn’s screenplay is so well written it will keep you laughing from beginning to end. The chemistry between the actors is so palpable we wouldn’t be surprised if all of them turn up pregnant in the next few weeks with each others love children.


Finally, the two CGI characters are the best part of the movie. Rocket is a complete fabrication, created in a computer, but he has a soul and an identity and a personality that is as infectious as herpes. Groot, also a fully CGI character is the most interesting and complex personality seen in a film in…possibly forever. If you are not completely in love with him by the end of the film you are not human.


Stop reading now and go see the film. You won’t be disappointed.


P.S. – To everyone bitching and complaining about the stinger at the end of the credits, calm the blank-blank-blankety-blank down. The stinger is brilliant and fun and completely unexpected. If you didn’t get it then read a freakin book you illiterate bastard. Or google it, either way.

Have fun!




Fan made posters courtesy of XombieDirge. Check them all out, they are da shizzle.

Raw Review – Splinter (2008)

You Don’t Want To Get This Splinter Under Your Skin


Gas Station restrooms are usually horrific is real life. Why else do they require a potential patron to pick up a key from the front counter. A key usually attacked to some random object, often a broken baseball bat, or the handle to a window squeegee, or a cinder block. A wise man once said something to the effect of, “Once is coincidence, twice if happenstance, third time is enemy action.”


See, cinder block =  enemy action. Makes perfect sense, and it’s logic like this that makes the inciting event in the 2008 monster movie Splinter so damn scary.


So group of people, whom are together not out of choice (for some of them anyway), arrive at a gas station late in the evening. Car needs fixing, gas, what have you. Then all hell breaks loose.


Splinter follows the stripped down scary monster siege plotline. Monster traps people, people must escape. Doesn’t sound too interesting, has been done a million times before, why do you care? You care because Splinter works, and it works well. The formula is simple. Collect good actors, write a script that is smart but not over the top, hire a good FX team and viola! Simple monster movie turns into an hour and thirty-seven minutes of intense action dripping with blood and guts.


The film stars Paulo Costanzo, Jill Wagner and Shea Whigham.


Constanzo you’ll probably remember from Road Trip and  40 Days and 40 Nights. He’s currently imprisoned on the USA channel where he is doing hard time on the TV crapfest Royal Pains.


Wagner was in several things before and after Splinter, although spending the time to list them would be depressing so we won’t. She’s currently on the show Teen Wolf. Meh. Too bad really because she is very good in Splinter.


Whigham is the jewel of the film. He shines far above the rest of the cast (all 6 of them) but makes sure to temper his performance so as not to run away with the movie. He’s got chops and it shows in his filmography – Tigerland, Fast and Furious, Blood Creek (review coming soon), Silver Linings Playbook, The Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle, Non-Stop, on and on and on…


Q: So is the movie worth watching?
A: Definately. A tigh, simple plot is complemented by some excellent special effects and good chemistry between the cast members. A bonus is the script. Not going to win an award but it doesn’t make any of the silly over the top mistakes so many low budget horror films do. Granted this could be the director, but I like to credit the writers. So here writers, have some credit!


Q: So whats the monster?
A: No spoilers! It’s cool, you’ll like it.


Q: Is this a good date movie?
A: Yeah. Not too long, no nudity and/or excessive vocabulary.


Q: Is it graphic? Ok for my kids?

A: It actually isn’t too graphic in general, although there is one scene that gets a bit, um…nasty. Otherwise it’s fine, so long as your kids handle blood and guts and body horror.


Raw Review – Splinter (2008)

You Don’t Want To Get This Splinter Under Your Skin


Gas Station restrooms are usually horrific is real life. Why else do they require a potential patron to pick up a key from the front counter. A key usually attacked to some random object, often a broken baseball bat, or the handle to a window squeegee, or a cinder block. A wise man once said something to the effect of, “Once is coincidence, twice if happenstance, third time is enemy action.”


See, cinder block =  enemy action. Makes perfect sense, and it’s logic like this that makes the inciting event in the 2008 monster movie Splinter so damn scary.


So group of people, whom are together not out of choice (for some of them anyway), arrive at a gas station late in the evening. Car needs fixing, gas, what have you. Then all hell breaks loose.


Splinter follows the stripped down scary monster siege plotline. Monster traps people, people must escape. Doesn’t sound too interesting, has been done a million times before, why do you care? You care because Splinter works, and it works well. The formula is simple. Collect good actors, write a script that is smart but not over the top, hire a good FX team and viola! Simple monster movie turns into an hour and thirty-seven minutes of intense action dripping with blood and guts.


The film stars Paulo Costanzo, Jill Wagner and Shea Whigham.


Constanzo you’ll probably remember from Road Trip and  40 Days and 40 Nights. He’s currently imprisoned on the USA channel where he is doing hard time on the TV crapfest Royal Pains.


Wagner was in several things before and after Splinter, although spending the time to list them would be depressing so we won’t. She’s currently on the show Teen Wolf. Meh. Too bad really because she is very good in Splinter.


Whigham is the jewel of the film. He shines far above the rest of the cast (all 6 of them) but makes sure to temper his performance so as not to run away with the movie. He’s got chops and it shows in his filmography – Tigerland, Fast and Furious, Blood Creek (review coming soon), Silver Linings Playbook, The Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle, Non-Stop, on and on and on…


Q: So is the movie worth watching?
A: Definately. A tigh, simple plot is complemented by some excellent special effects and good chemistry between the cast members. A bonus is the script. Not going to win an award but it doesn’t make any of the silly over the top mistakes so many low budget horror films do. Granted this could be the director, but I like to credit the writers. So here writers, have some credit!


Q: So whats the monster?
A: No spoilers! It’s cool, you’ll like it.


Q: Is this a good date movie?
A: Yeah. Not too long, no nudity and/or excessive vocabulary.


Q: Is it graphic? Ok for my kids?

A: It actually isn’t too graphic in general, although there is one scene that gets a bit, um…nasty. Otherwise it’s fine, so long as your kids handle blood and guts and body horror.


Short Film – Black Sugar

In this short film by Hank Friedman, doing drugs isn’t just bad… it’s fucking horrifying. In a Lovecraftian sort of way.


Black Sugar from Hank Friedmann on Vimeo.


Winner of Best Short Film at the 2013 New York City Horror Film Festival, Black Sugar shows what can happen to suburban teens when they decide to buy drug from a shady internet site. 

Kids these days. 

Checkout out Blacksugar.com for more info.

Short Film – Black Sugar

In this short film by Hank Friedman, doing drugs isn’t just bad… it’s fucking horrifying. In a Lovecraftian sort of way.



Black Sugar from Hank Friedmann on Vimeo.


Winner of Best Short Film at the 2013 New York City Horror Film Festival, Black Sugar shows what can happen to suburban teens when they decide to buy drug from a shady internet site. 

Kids these days. 

Checkout out Blacksugar.com for more info.

Book Review – Southern Gods by John Horner Jacobs

Southern Gods is the kind of book that swims through your brain at night – after you’ve put it down and resolved to go to sleep. 

Horror Book with The King in Yellow, Hastur, Cthulhu Mythos, Southern mystery, radio, blues, awesome writing style. It swims around, kicking thoughts and ideas, poking tender bits a tissue, causally dragging it’s long cold greasy appendages across the soul. 


Many will say noir crime with Lovecraftian overtones. Many will be right, in a way, yet overly conservative in their description.
Southern Gods is a fascinating journey through the deep south in the early years after World War II. Following the investigation of a less than reputable private detective, the reader is lured into a world that is almost trapped in time. 

Fans of True Detective, which is everyone whose seen the show, will be left wondering if Jacobs isn’t in fact a time traveler playing a stories that predate the show. The common element being The King in Yellow. 

In the original stories by Chambers The King in Yellow is a stage play that corrupts the mind and drives people insane before they reach the second act. Usually this occurs when they read the play, let alone act it out on stage. 

In Southern Gods, the man of mystery, Ramblin’ John Hastur, moves about the state seeking out small single operator radio stations to play his signature southern blues music. As the song goes out on the airwaves, the fun begins. 

Q: Hastur? That’s Lovecraft right?
A: Yes, although Robert Chambers wrote the original King in Yellow collection just prior to 1900. Lovecraft co-opted some of his concepts, it wasn’t until August Derleth was bequeathed control over Lovecraft’s legacy that Hastur became properly associated with it all.

Q: What if I’m not a fan of noir crime, or blues music?
A: Jacobs is a formidable writer and this novel is a great read. If you enjoy intelligent supernatural horror you will enjoy this book.

Q: Has Jacobs written anything else of note?
A: Yes, yes, and yes. I plan on writing reviews of his other works, so read Southern Gods and by the time you’re done my next reviews of:

Zombie horror that is grittier and darker and more interesting than The Walking Dead or The Rising Horde.     and    might be done.

Update: It’s been seven months and no new reviews. I don’t read that slow, I finished the books a couple months ago. Thank you for your patience, review of This Dark Earth will be up shortly.  

Reviews where the corpse is still kicking.