FROM FICTION TO REALITY. A YEAR SPENT WITH A PARANORMAL INVESTIGATION TEAM

I’ve been writing now since 2012. Just to think about that passage of time is pretty scary. Since then I’ve turned out lots of books, one of which has been adapted into a film for which I also co-wrote the screenplay. Other titles have since been translated into multiple languages all over the world which gave me the ability to write full time for the last four years. Writing, it’s fair to say, has been kind to me.

Today, I want to talk a little about…..

Ghosts.

Spirits.

The paranormal.

Not, as you might expect, in the realm of fiction where I have built my career, but in the real world. It is, after all, the great unanswered question. Do we carry on after death in some way? Is there something after when our mortal bodies fail?

The irony of both of those questions is that one day, we will all find out the answer. In the meantime, as our human-machine ticks on, wouldn’t it be good to know the answers to those questions before our time, however long it may be, is up?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a deep interest in the paranormal. My father was the same way, and I remember when I was a boy picking through his countless books on the subject and finding my interest grew more and more. Remember, this was a time before the internet and google, so books were the best way to learn. My dad encouraged this interest. We talked about ghosts, Cryptids, UFO’s. I remember a discussion we had about a new series of books covering the unexplained. As a child they were mesmerising. Huge black covered titles covering all manner of weird and wonderful mysteries. My dad, ever supportive said he would buy them for me as long as I looked after them. They were on a mail order type system and once a month, a new book would arrive about a different subject. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on those books. Every new volume was devoured, the contents inside committed to memory. Because he knew I loved them, my dad bought the whole series, something like 30 plus books. I still have a few of them here, and they are amongst my most treasured possessions. My sister has the rest of the series at her house. When I visit, I look at them on the bookshelf and I’m filled with great memories of waiting for each to arrive. One day, I’m going to visit and look through them again just for nostalgia’s sake.

I mention this because it ties into a new project I started in February 2018 and is still ongoing which I’d like to talk a little about. As you can see from the above post, the paranormal world has always been one I have been hugely interested in. It shaped my writing career and many of the books with a supernatural twist have their roots in those early years. Still, there was a desire within me, an itch that had been there in some way since I first started writing. Fiction was all well and good, but I was interested in exploring the truth about the phenomena.

As 2017 neared its end, this idea of doing some kind of nonfiction title about the paranormal world grew and wouldn’t leave me alone. The idea was, in principle, simple. What if I, as a sceptic (just because I’m interested in the subject doesn’t make me a believer) was able to shadow a real paranormal investigation team for a full year as they travelled the country visiting various locations. I would independently log each investigation and gather my own evidence which would be presented without any preconceptions. It would be a book about the truth, even if that meant saying there was little to no activity to write about or, on the opposite side of the scale, showing as much potential evidence as possible that a location actually is the source of real paranormal activity.

Even at this stage, I didn’t think it would be possible. Most paranormal investigation teams are fiercely guarded and would likely not be interested in having an independent person watching their every move and forming their worn conclusions, which, for me, was key for this project if I was to do it. Unless it was with complete honesty and without interference, I just wouldn’t go ahead.

Fortunately, my brother in law had been dabbling in paranormal investigation over the years and had recently co-founded a new group called Gatekeepers Paranormal (www.gatekeepersparanormal.com) and they were about to embark on a tour of the UK to some of the world’s most notorious paranormal hot spots in order to raise money for charity. This was potentially perfect as long as I could get over the stumbling block of needed complete and independent access to essentially conduct my own investigation. I knew this was a professional outfit and even though it was co-owned by a family member, I knew I was asking a lot of them. To my surprise, they loved the idea and agreed that not only could I shadow them, but I would have the complete and unrestricted freedom and access to draw my own conclusions from every event attended. I told them I would be doing this straight down the middle with no bias to either the believer camp or the sceptical view (which as I mentioned was where I personally sit).

With everything agreed, it was done, and starting in February 2018 I would attend the first of 11 investigations with GKP, culminating in February 2019 after which I would draw my own conclusions on the world of the paranormal and, hopefully, have a compelling book to show at the end of it.

Fast forward to August 2018, and I write this on the eve of investigation nine of eleven that I have attended and the journey has definitely been crazy! They even responded in kind to a further request a couple of investigations in when, after a particularly memorable event, I approached them with the idea of doing an accompanying web series alongside the books o curious readers could go and actually see and hear the evidence captured. I assured them I would assume full responsibility for this as far as production and editing goes, and again, GKP agreed which I remain incredibly grateful for.

Close to 300 pages written, the book is shaping up to be pretty special, with lots of incredibly strange events which even challenge my sceptical viewpoint. Along the way, I have followed the team into locations which have a rich history of activity such as the home of Europe’s most violent poltergeist, 30 East Drive for a two-night sleepover, to the foreboding Bodmin Jail and everywhere in-between as the team and I cover the entire country to investigate these locations. True to their word, GKP have allowed me the complete unrestricted access I needed to make this book work the way I wanted it to, and to boot, they have raised a significant amount of money for various worthwhile charities, giving all proceeds from their events to whichever charity has been chosen taking none for themselves. GKP also have a very active Facebook page where members can attend the investigations themselves with the team and discover first hand the world of paranormal investigation.

As for how the project is shaping up eight months in?  It’s going well, much better than I could have imagined. There has even been a lot of strong interest from a few leading literary agencies in potentially representing the project which is incredibly exciting.

As far as if my sceptical point of view has been changed by what I’ve seen to date?

Well, for that, you’ll have to wait for the book to release some time in 2019. All I can say is it’s been a rollercoaster of a journey and one which is still going. Currently, the book is under consideration from a few leading literary agencies which is all very exciting. Hopefully, you will enjoy the little look behind the curtain at the paranormal world and I hope what you find there might just surprise you.

To keep up to date on all news relating to this and other projects, you can sign up to my monthly newsletter on my official website and claim a free 4 book kindle box set at the same time: https://www.michaelbrayauthor.com/

You can also check out GKP at their website linked above or on their Facebook group where they share evidence, upcoming events and chat about the paranormal: www.facebook.com/groups/gkparanormalgroup/

Finally, you can view the accompanying GKP web series which will form a companion piece for the book on the GKP YouTube channel here: www.youtube.com/channel/UC8a2fsnurJgGLM6sy0Qo-7A/

THE MEG: Movie Review

I still have my first ever copy of Steve Alten’s novel, Meg.

Meg Book
My original copy of Steve Alten’s novel, MEG

I also own all the subsequent sequels and the limited special edition re-release of the original book. Ever since I first read that now grubby, well-thumbed paperback back in 2001, I always thought it would make an amazing film, and hoped one day, the people with the cash in Hollywood would see fit to make it happen. Hell, the Meg books even influenced my own giant monster novels FEED and the From the Deep trilogy. Fast forward to 2018, and that long-term hope has become a reality and the film (re titled as The Meg) has just hit cinemas worldwide. Finally, I thought, I get to see it, the film adaptation of one of my favourite books. Sure enough, the trailers had made me wary. Jason Statham, for me, appeared badly miscast as Jonas Taylor, but my love for the books compelled me to set these worries aside and give it a fair chance to impress. After all, the book was great, surely they couldn’t possibly mess it up….

A couple of hours later I sat for a moment in quiet reflection at what I had just watched and realised two things.

1: Jaws is still the greatest shark film of all time.

2: They completely screwed this up.

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JAWS: Still the greatest shark movie of all time. Seriously, just buy this instead. You’ll thank me later!

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There were so many scenes in the book I had been looking forward to seeing on the big screen. Scenes that, even from that first read through, played on the big screen in my imagination. The opening prologue set in prehistoric times when a T-Rex, chasing prey, rushes into the ocean and gets stuck, itself becoming food for the Megalodon.

There was the superb dynamic between Jonas and his estranged wife, Maggie. Hell, even Jonas himself was a deep and troubled character, displaying an intelligence and superior knowledge about the Megalodon he was so sure he had seen and had cost the lives of his work colleagues, leaving the man in the opening chapters of the book broken and filled with doubt.

I also couldn’t wait to see the spectacular Tanaka Lagoon, a key location and plot device for both the first book and the subsequent sequels. And who wouldn’t want to see an eighty-foot Megalodon leap out of the water towards a hovering helicopter where our lead and his friend, Mac (another deep and interesting character) narrowly avoid death.

I mention these scenes because the film I just watched has none of this. In fact, aside from character names and the fact it features a Megalodon, you could be mistaken for thinking the two have nothing in common whatsoever. Watching Jason Statham ‘act’ his way through the film as a one-dimensional emotionless action hero is painful. Still, even the likes of De Caprio would struggle to make the writing for this sound good or even remotely entertaining. As I watched, I knew which lines of dialogue would be coming next as it was just so predictable.

scene from THE MEG
Even the CGI shark seems embarrassed to be involved in this car crash of a film.

In fact, the entire cast seemed to just be going through the motions on autopilot and at times appeared embarrassed to be involved.

What follows is nothing more than a badly acted, cheesy, predictable dumbed down action film which is probably about as far away from the book and what made it good as it is possible to get. Also, people fall off boats A LOT.  When you come out of the film and your favourite character is a dog who is a potential victim of the Meg, then you know it hasn’t been an entertaining watch. If you enjoyed the book and are yet to see this, my advice is to give it a miss and just watch Jaws again. It is still the perfect shark film and puts dumbed down dross like The Meg to shame.

This is no better than Sharknado with a budget, but at least Sharknado knows what it is and plays it with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

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Left: Sharknado. a dumbed down shark film done right and still more entertaining than The Meg.

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If you are yet to watch and unsure if you should, consider buying the book instead and make sure the author, Steve Alten gets paid instead of the film studio who were willing to turn out such utter drivel and expect people to enjoy it.

This was a huge opportunity to make an intelligent giant shark film which has been badly missed in favour of dumbed down Hollywood action.

My score: 3 / 10:  Awful and predictable. Huge missed opportunity which neglects all the best points of the book it was adapted from. 

 

 

Back with news

It’s been a while since i posted on this blog, but that’s not to say i haven’t been busy. Since January i have been working on a new non fiction book about  the world of Paranormal Investigation in which i shadow a team all over the UK on their investigations and report on their findings.

As a self confessed sceptic, this has proved to be incredibly interesting and some eight months later, i have seen some strange and unusual things. This project is at the stage now where i feel comfortable shopping it around to various leading literary agencies and there has already been some interest shown. Of course, this is no guarantee it will be picked up, but i really think this would be a unique product on the market. I’ll keep you posted on developments as always.

On the fiction side, my new psychological crime thriller, titled THE SINNER is progressing really well. Told across three distinct timelines, i’m really excited for how this one is coming together and, again, i hope to shop this one to agents as soon as it is complete.

More regular posts will be coming here soon, i just wanted to break the ice after a while away and say hello!

Dark Corners Redux – How it all connects

I recently re released my first book – Dark Corners.  The book is a non chronological collection of stories each interconnected and linked. Since release, people have been asking for a guide as to how each story is linked to the next to make sure they found all the connections. Finally, i have put together a little article about each story and how it connects to the others in the book. Obviously, there are spoilers here so don’t read this if you haven’t already read the book and don’t want to have it spoiled for you! The article picks up after the cover art image so you have been warned. 🙂

If you haven’t read the book yet and want to do so, you can click the cover image below and be whisked away to amazon to purchase it. 🙂

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Still here? Alright! Here we go!

 

OBSERVATION ROOM 5:

 James is the broker from ‘THE LAST MAN’ and is a colleague of Mark Fife from ‘A STRANGE AFFAIR’ & ‘THE BOX’ Also the old man on the train later appears in THE BOX.

 

NO REST FOR THE WICKED:

Roberts becomes Monde, who later appears in TINA. Roberts is also pen-pal to Freddy from ‘YURPLE’S LAST DAY.’ Detective Petrov is responsible for catching Maggie in ‘A STRANGE AFFAIR.’

 

THE PRANK:

The Narrator is the older brother of TINA.

 

YURPLE’S LAST DAY:

Freddy is pen-pal to Roberts from ‘NO REST FOR THE WICKED’.

 

TINA:

 Monde is what becomes of Roberts in ‘NO REST FOR THE WICKED’. Tina is also the younger sister of the un-named Narrator in ‘THE PRANK’

 

THAT GNAWING FEELING:

Zombie serum purchased from ‘VICTOR’. Danny is also in Rio during the events of ‘A STRANGE AFFAIR’

 

NO. 5 SYCAMORE STREET:

Alex appears in VICTOR. Mrs Bendtner is neighbours with Steve & Frank from ‘EVERY LITTLE HELPS’.

 

THE BOX:

Terri’s Ex-Boyfriend mark is Mark fife who appears in both ‘A STRANGE AFFAIR’ & ‘THE LAST MAN’. The old man from ‘OBSERVATION ROOM 5’ also appears. Terri presses the button at the exact same that Rick’s illusion goes wrong in ‘THE LAST MAN’. Who is responsible for the events that follow?

 

EVERY LITTLE HELPS:

The story takes place on Sycamore Street, and Steve by living at no 7, is neighbours with Mrs Bendtner from ‘NO 5. SYCAMORE STREET.

 

A STRANGE AFFAIR:

Fife is Mark Fife who also appears in both ‘ THE LAST MAN’ & ‘ THE BOX’. Maggie will later be caught by Detective Petrov from ‘ NO REST FOR THE WICKED’

 

VICTOR:

 Former boss to Alex, and killer of Mrs Bendtners son from ‘ NO. 5 SYCAMORE STREET.’ Also sells the Zombie Serum to Jim & Sarah in ‘ THAT GNAWING FEELING’.

 

THE LAST MAN:

Rick chronicles his story from Monde’s penthouse from ‘ TINA’. The deal to allow the illusion to take place in China is brokered by Fife ( THE BOX / A STRANGE AFFAIR) & Robinson ( OBSERVATION ROOM 5). The illusion that causes the world to end is performed simultaneously with Terri pressing the button in ‘ THE BOX’.

New Free to download anthology released.

Happy to announce that Burger Van, the free to download anthology in support of International Animal Rescue is available now. The idea is that if you download it, you donate the money you would have paid directly to the charity via the just giving page instead. I just wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone who donated their work to this project and hope it raises a ton of cash for a much needed charity. Download and donation links are below. Enjoy and spread the word!

Download at Smashwords (EPUB, MOBI, PDF): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/678390

Other Retailers: (Barnes & Noble, Nook, Scribd etc): https://books2read.com/u/bw819O

And most importantly, the link to the fundraising page. Let’s see how much we can raise!

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/read-then-donate

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My top 10 films to watch this Halloween

Summer is gone, and that means the beast called winter is fast approaching. First though, Halloween is thrust upon us. Although here in the U.K it’s not as huge as it stateside, we still embrace it, and so i decided to put together a list of my favourite movies to watch this Halloween ranked in reverse order from 10 to 1. This is a list of my personal choices and the reasons why i love them. Disagree or want to list your own top 10? Leave a comment and let me know! So, Let’s kick things off with no 10 on my list of Halloween movies:

 

10: PARANORMAL ACTIVITY

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Say what you like about the so so sequels, but for me the first in this franchise was surprisingly effective at using the whole found footage idea. Tense and filled with suspense, it came at a time when found footage films were relatively new and, dare i say, original. If you haven’t seen it already, there was also an alternate ending shot for the film which i think is better than the one used in the theatrical cut, but even now a few years on, this is still well worthy of a watch this Halloween.

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9: SHAUN OF THE DEAD

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Cornetto! Shaun of the Dead is still one of my favourite ever movies. If i happen to catch it on TV, I’ll still watch it. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost steal the show as a couple of hapless working class people caught up in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. This is a funny film, and in my opinion the best of the Pegg/Frost Cornetto trilogy of movies (the others being HOT FUZZ and THE WORLD’S END). A great supporting cast help drive the film along as Pegg and Frost go from one blunder to another. It has comedy, zombies, blood and a couple of surprisingly touching moments. If you want something a bit lighter amid the horror this Halloween, this one is for you.

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8: CABIN IN THE WOODS

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Another one which has more laughs than scares. This film takes every cliché in horror and puts a clever twist on it that makes it an incredibly fun watch. This is mindless fun but fun nonetheless. Another one to disengage the brain and watch without taking it too seriously.

 

 

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7: JAWS

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Still one my favourite movies of all time, Jaws in a masterclass in building drama and tension. Showing how sometimes less is more, the film still stands up well today, particularly the recent Blu Ray restoration which looks stunning. I’m sure you’ve all seen this one multiple times, and Halloween is as good a time as any to dust off the DVD (or aforementioned Blu Ray) and give it another watch.  Also consider checking out the book. there are some key differences between the two versions which give a very different experience.

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6: POLTERGEIST

poltergeistForget the recent awful remake. I’m talking about the original film which scared me to death as a kid. There is one particular scene with a toy clown which, after seeing as a child scarred me for life and made me afraid of them ever since. If you’ve only seen the recent remake, you NEED to check out this original version. It succeeds everywhere the new one fails and still delivers a creepy experience years later. Perfect Halloween viewing.

 

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5: 28 DAYS LATER

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Halfway through the list and we come to one of my favourite zombie films. 28 Days Later was a bit of a sleeper hit when it was released, and with its fast moving zombies and stellar british cast, you won’t go far wrong with this one. not only is this the story of the apocalypse, but also has a lot to say about the brutality of man and how even in the face of disaster there are worse things out there than the undead.

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4: THE SHINING

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Number four on the list is Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. This is another film that i remember watching when i was younger and it scaring me. I recently watched it again when it was remastered for Blu Ray (like Jaws, with breathtaking results) and found it to be just as creepy now as it was then. The sense of foreboding and isolation is captured perfectly as the overlook hotel slowly begins to change Jack Torrance from loving husband and father to something much worse. another perfect Halloween watch.

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3: CREEPSHOW

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Anyone who knows me knows i LOVE a good horror anthology, both in written form or visual, and Creepshow is one of my favourites. it was a close call between this and the Twilight Zone movie, but i still have a soft spot for this one so it got the nod (just). I remember having a grainy VHS copy of this back in the day and having no clue that Stephen King not only wrote it, but starred in it too. (check out his super hammy performance in The lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill). Every story in this is a hit for fans of the genre.

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2: TRICK R TREAT

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I couldn’t decide for a long time between the number one and two spot. In the end, i placed Trick R Treat at number two. Another anthology of individual stories told non chronologically (Cheap plug: much like the coming reissue of my story collection, Dark Corners available on Halloween and available now to pre order HERE). Each story is brilliantly clever in their own right. You will see scenes from other tales from different perspectives and angles as we jump around the timeline of Halloween night revealing horror after horror. GO BUY IT!

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1: HALLOWEEN

halloween

What else could top the list but the john Carpenter classic? Shot on a miniscule budget, Halloween is a masterclass in horror. The fact that our monster (the iconic Michael Myers) stalks around in daylight instead of solely jumping out of the shadows like many other films of the era gives it an edge. Then of course there is the musical score. Everyone gets goosebumps at that, surely? The sign of a good film is in how well it ages and Halloween is just as frightening today no matter how many times you may have already seen it.

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And so that’s my list. Not strictly the best films, but my favourites. Think something is wrong or have a different opinion? Leave a comment and let me know. List your favourites and why, I’d love to see what you recommend.

 

Graphic novel review: Sick B*stards issue #1

Sick B*stards was the first black cover Matt Shaw book I ever read and I always thought it would translate well to other mediums. Now, a couple of years and a ton of success later, we have the graphic novel adaptation just about ready to release and I am excited to say I have read it and want to share my review of it here. As you know, Matt and I have worked together on and off over the years and chat daily about mostly pointless things, I and I know trying to get this off the ground has been both stressful and expensive, so I want to say how happy I am for him that not only has he done it, the results are spectacularly good. So, to the (Spoiler free) review.

First up, as a word of warning, the black cover range of books carry a warning on the front and, as readers of Matt’s work will know, he pushes beyond the boundaries of taste and makes no apologies for it here. The opening pages of Sick B*stards  follow that theme and are both graphic and shocking, setting the scene for what is to come.  The book has a certain tone. It is dark, claustrophobic, the story essentially a post-apocalyptic tale of survival but grounded in reality a world away from the bigger scale books and movies. Issue one introduces us to a family learning to survive in the aftermath of some global catastrophe, yet there are no wastelands here which helps sell the immersion. Instead, we focus on the family who, as the story progresses reveal that dysfunctional would be too kind a word, especially when we learn how they have learned to exist in a savage new world.

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The artwork in this graphic novel is phenomenal, and embodies the bleak nature of the story and is reminiscent of Alan Moore’s sublime From Hell but with use of colour, the world is shown to us in shades of green and brown, the details in the linework subtle and yet intricate at the same time. Long story short, this is a gorgeous looking product and all involved should be incredibly proud of the end result.

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As with a lot of Matt Shaw’s works, the story told here jumps to different time periods, giving is a deeper look at the characters before the events set in the modern day. There is a certain sympathy, particularly for the son of the family, as we see his struggles to adapt to the new world and find his place within it amid the backdrop of depravity and horror that is never far away. The fact that we manage to feel sympathy for characters who should disgust us is a real strength of the story and one which I hope carries through into future issues.

All in all, Issue one of Sick B*stards is a triumph. The introduction to the story is paced just so that we learn enough to want to move forward and see what comes next. Matt and his team are currently raising funds to produce issue two, which I sincerely hope happens as it would be a shame to see this project die. If you want to support their efforts, you can do so by clicking HERE.

If you haven’t read the original book, you can pick it up via Amazon by clicking on the links below. Get it. Read it. And revel in the slightly dirty feeling it gives you.We all know you’ll enjoy it.

A rock solid 9/10 score for this one.

GET THE NOVEL THAT STARTED IT ALL, SICK B’STARDS BY MATT SHAW AT THE FOLLOWING LINKS:

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AMAZON UK CUSTOMERS CLICK HERE

AMAZON US CUSTOMERS CLICK HERE

Movie review: Suicide Squad 

After a ton of unfavourable reviews from the critics I was curious to see just how this would play out and if I agreed with the general consensus that this was a ‘bad’ or ‘mess’ of a film. 

I didn’t. In fact, I enjoyed watching this for what it was. A fun popcorn film which fit nicely after the also slammed by critics Batman vs Superman (which incidentally I also quite enjoyed). A few minor niggles stopped this from being a must see for me, but there was still plenty to enjoy. 

Make no mistake, this is the DC version of the Avengers. The first half hour of the film introduces us to our core characters and sets the scene for what is to come. This is a great way to get to know about each character especially for those who may be unfamiliar with the comics or only vaguely aware of the history of the DC universe. When I first watched the trailer there were certain casting choices that I had doubts about, primarily Will Smith as Deadshot & Jared Leto  as The Joker. To my surprise, both played their roles well. It was good to see Smith play the villain, although he still manages to pull off the hero vibe with ease as his character is easy to like. 

Leto’s Joker was a similar story, his spin on the character wildly different from Heath Ledger’s take in the iconic The Dark Knight and all in a good way. Leto’s incarnation is a snarling beast, a dangerous yet mesmerising psychopath who pushes the crazy button harder than any other screen version of the character before. With his Tattoos, gold rings, flashy cars and garish suits, The Joker steals every scene he features in which in part is one of my niggles with the film. There just isn’t enough of him. Apart from the occasional brief appearance, most of the Joker storyline are small flashback scenes about his relationship with Harley Quinn (played superbly by Margot Robbie) and have little impact on the main storyline which itself is another thing I’m going to have a little moan about. 

The plot is thin to say the least, a basic setup to get the squad working together for the greater good to stop the evil Enchantress from destroying earth by making some kind of superweapon which is never seen or fully explained. Our heroes (or are they still villains?) dutifully go on a world saving mission and learn along the way that even bad guys have morals. 

Does any of that matter as far as enjoying the film goes? Not one bit. This is a fun, loud, action packed,  switch off the brain and enjoy kind of film which is clearly designed to set up more movies in the franchise (speaking of which, it’s advisable to watch Batman vs Superman before seeing this as there is a little plot crossover. I’ve added a link at the bottom of this review). If you are looking for a fun summer film that dosen’t require too much thinking, give this a go. Seen it already?  Leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it. 

Final score: 8/10

Definitely better than the poor reviews give it credit for. Go give it a watch. 

Get Batman vs Superman:Dawn of Justice from Amazon now

Amazon US customers click HERE 

Amazon UK customers click HERE 

Project Apex audiobook released! 

As some may know, I recently signed a deal with Beacon Audiobooks to distribute my titles going forward. I’m excited to announce that the first release, Project Apex is out now from all digital audiobook stockists. You can read the press release here:

https://www.prlog.org/12577454-beacon-audiobooks-releases-project-apex-by-author-michael-bray.html
If you happen to pick it up or have read the book, let me know what you think of it. I’d love to hear some feedback. 

TV REVIEW: The Walking Dead Season 6

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Please note there are Season 5 spoilers in this review and minor spoilers for season 6. please don’t read on if you haven’t seen the 5th series or don’t want to know the storyline for season 6. you have been warned! 🙂

 

The sixth season of the AMC hit show carried on it’s bleak journey as our survivors struggle to come to terms with living in the nearest thing to safety any of them have ever experienced. Rick and his people struggle to adapt from the savage lifestyle they had been forced to live, which came to a head in the season 5 finale when under instruction from Dianne, Rick kills habitual drunk, Pete.

The fallout from Rick’s actions and the cold brutality in which he went about them causes mistrust against the Alexandria community who are conflicted as to if Rick and his people belong there or on the other side of the wall. This struggle between Rick and his people trying to convince the people of Alexandria that such brutality is needed in the world as it is now and their lack of understanding due to being sheltered from the zombie apocalypse is a prevailing theme throughout the series.

Season six also introduces us to some new villains in the shape of a certain barbed wire wrapped baseball bat wielding maniac who will be familiar to those who have read the comics and we’ll get to shortly, and another group called the wolves. The wolves are essentially everything the people of Alexandria are not. They have lived in the conflict, desperate and clawing to survive, resorting to inhumane tactics in order to survive.

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The people of Alexandria find out first hand when the Wolves attack the town, army of walkers in tow and cause chaos, almost destroying everything the people had worked to build. These scenes are particularly brutal, and test Rick and his group in ways they had started to forget,  causing them to revert back to their savage nature from their time on the road. It is around this time, with the group once again split and in disarray that Daryl, Abraham and Sascha encounter a group in the road who call themselves the Saviors. The saviors tell the group that everything they own now belongs to Negan. Reluctant to hand over their possessions, Daryl and co dispatch the threat and return to Alexandria just in time to help.

The second half of the season picks up in the aftermath of the Alexandria attack as the town (now under the leadership of Rick) trying to repair the damage done by the wolves. During a supply run, rick and Daryl encounter a man called Jesus, who initially seems friendly then steals their supplies. Daryl and Rick track him down and learn that the man comes form a community called the Hilltop. he claims they have supplies and food, both of which are running low in the Alexandria community. Rick agrees to go with Jesus to  the Hilltop to negotiate a trade deal.

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When they arrive at the hilltop, Rick and co find out that Jesus was telling the truth, and the Hilltop is well stocked with food and provisions. Rick learns that the Hilltop community are being extorted for food and supplies by the saviours, who threaten to attack if their demands are not met. Rick and his group agree to eliminate the saviours in exchange for a trade deal with the hilltop where they will share supplies going forward. This leads to an assault on a saviour compound, where Rick and his group brutally kill several people, sure that they have eliminated the threat until they learn that two of their own have been captured. This in turn leads towards the grand finale, where the saviours lead rick and his people towards a face to face confrontation with Negan himself (along with aforementioned barbed wire wrapped baseball bat) who tells them someone has to be punished for what they have done in what has to go down as one of the greatest and most intense end scenes for this show to date.

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There is a lot to like about this season of The Walking Dead. We get to see Carl coming of age after surviving a horrific and life threatening injury. We also get a superb episode dedicated to Morgan’s backstory titled ‘Here’s not Here,’ Which fills in the gap between what happened when Rick first met Morgan in series one to finding him delirious and insane back in the third season. Carol decides that she has seen enough of death and goes off alone, isolating herself from the group as she gives in to the chaos of the world around her. By far the most interesting aspect of season 6 is the start of the upcoming Negan story arc. In a series where Rick and his group have been the alpha, to see him at the end of season six broken, afraid and in tears shows that things have definitely changed. And then of course there is that final scene of the last episode which will no doubt infuriate as much as it captivates.

FINAL SCORE: 9 out of 10: Everything changes in this season and I can’t recommend it enough. go buy it!

The Walking Dead season 6 comes to DVD /  Blu ray on September 26th. You can pre order it now from Amazon below:

Amazon U.K: Pre order season 6 now (UK CUSTOMERS)

Amazon U.S: Pre order season 6 now (U.S Customers)

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