Tag Archives: 2016

Retview #48 – Siren (2016)

Title: Siren

Year of Release: 2016

Director: Gregg Bishop

Length: 82 mins

Starring: Chase Williamson, Justin Welborn, Michael Aaron Milligan, Mayes Mercure, Randy McDowell, Hannah Fierman

As a rule, the RetView series focuses on movies a decade or more old, though I do break that rule from time to time for exceptional offerings. Siren (not to be confused with 2019’s THE Siren), a feature-length interpretation of Amateur Night, David Bruckner’s segment from the first V/H/S film (2012), is definitely that. You know the bit I’m talking about, where the three hopeless misogynists take a couple of chicks back to a hotel room for sex and shenanigans, not realising one of them is a scary AF supernatural entity which then proceeds to chase them down and rip them limb from limb. Coincidentally, Siren’s director Gregg Bishop made a splash in 2014 when he wrote and directed the Dante the Great section in V/H/S: Viral. Here, he takes the basic concept from the first V/H/S film and extrapolates it. There was always a danger that there might not be enough material to do this successfully, but I’m happy to report that isn’t the case. Reminiscent of the Species series, despite some indifferent reviews, Siren is one of the best films I’ve seen in recent years. Happily, I wasn’t the only one to think so, with the LA Times dubbing it a, “Clever and confident expansion of a terrific short.”

A week before he marries his childhood sweetheart, Jonah (Chase Williamson from Beyond the Gates) and his bros go on a last drink and ‘shroom-fuelled bender. They end up in a dodgy strip joint, where they meet a stranger who tells them about a secret underground club, where they will be able to indulge their wildest fantasies. There, they find a waif-like beauty called Lily (aka ‘the Lilith’) who they assume is an innocent girl who has been unwillingly trafficked into the sex trade, thereby proving that even misogynists on drugs have hearts. Sometimes. The well-meaning dopes free her, only to realize she is, in fact, a succubus. And not a very nice one at that. In fact, she’s pretty fucking terrifying. The tag line, “No man can resist her. All men should,” is scarily apt.

The first poor Jonah sees of her angry succubus status is when Lily sprouts a massive tail and brutally slaughters one the guards where she’s being held captive. He and his boys wisely make a swift exit, but then find themselves pursued by both Lily and the bad guys. Bummer, dude. However, the twist is that Lily doesn’t really want to kill Jonah. She just wants to kill his friends because she feels they are standing in her way. She is attracted to Jonah because he showed her kindness, and even tells him so. Right before she does some unspeakable things to him with that massive tail of hers. Of course, being a stand-up guy about to marry the love of his life, Jonah isn’t interested in a romantic hook-up with a succubus. However, he might not have a choice.

A nice touch is the retaining of Lily’s character (again played by Hanna Fierman) which makes this film both a continuation and a spin-off of the original short. Despite her propensity for disembowelling people and eating their insides, you can’t help but root for her. She’s the archetypal damaged heroine. Actually, it’s quite hard to judge who the good guys and bad guys are throughout this film, something else that makes it more interesting than the usual horror-by-numbers. That and the sad fact that there just aren’t enough movies about succubuses (or succubi?). None of the bachelor party are what you might call likeable characters, and the club owners come across as a particularly cruel bunch, but in reality are doing a public service by keeping Lily away from the general populace. This, I feel, is a deliberate ploy designed to toy with the viewer’s emotions. Another example comes half-way through when some cops, who as we all know are supposed to protect and serve, turn out to be interested in doing anything but protect and serve. So yeah, Lily is the real star of Siren, which is why I feel we should have been treated to more of her mythology and back story. I bet she has a few tales (sic) to tell. An origin film would be brilliant. Maybe next time, eh?

Trivia Corner:

For the parts where Lily sings, the plan was to have Hannah Fierman lip sync to a guide track. But she impressed the producers so much they opted to stick with her vocals.


The Bookshelf 2016

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Every year I keep a list of all the books I read, and post it here. Yep, that’s how anal I am about books. If you’re interested, you can find last year’s riveting instalment HERE. The weird thing is, these posts are usually among my most popular, which suggests that either my other posts are even more boring or perhaps I’m not the only one obsessed with books and lists.

As you can see, I tend to lean toward contemporary horror fiction, for obvious reasons, but I try to read widely. Promise. I love a good autobiography, the odd debauched rock tale, and the occasional peak into history. The only rule is I have to actually finish the book in order for it to qualify. So without further a-do, here is a complete list of the books I read in 2016.

The Mannequin by Darcy Coates (2014)

Welsh Murders Volume I (1770 – 1918) by Peter Fuller & Brian Knapp (1986)

Bazar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King (2015)

The Haunting of Blackwood house by Darcy Coates (2015)

Community by Graham Masterton (2012)

Death’s Sweet Echo by Maynard Sims (2015)

The Wind-up Toy by David Owain Hughes (2016)

Alfred Hitchcock & The Three Investigators: The Secret of Terror Castle by Robert Arthur, Jnr (1964)

Nails by Fiona Dodwell (2015)

Tales From the Lake 2 by various authors (2016)

The Supernatural Murders: Classic True Crime Stories, edited by Jonathan Goodman (1992)

Dead Harvest: A Collection of Dark Tales Vol I by Various (2013)

War Letters 1914-18, Vol I by Mark Tanner (2014)

Mind Fuck by Renee Miller (2016)

Rayhven House by Frank E. Bittinger (2016)

The Mothman Prophecies by John Keel (1975)

Pictures of You by T.J Alexian (2014)

Last Words by Jackson Lear (2016)

The Hidden by Fiona Dodwell (2016)

Auto-Rewind by Jason Arnopp (2015)

Bruce by Peter Ames Carlin (2012)

I Can Taste the Blood by Various Authors (2016)

The Scariest Reddit Stories by Hannah J Tidy (2016)

Mistrel Bed and Breakfast by Darcy Coates (2016)

The Films of Danny Dyer by Jonathan Sothcott & James Mullinger (2013)

Revival by Stephen King (2014)

Surviving the Evacuation, Book 1: London by Frank Tayell (2013)

The Christmas Spirit by Brian James Freeman (2016)


2016 – The year of the Reboot

It makes me a little sad that the big Hollywood studios are so reluctant to at least try to break any new ground, and would much rather spend their resources tapping into a pre-existing market. That said, I’m pretty excited about some of the movies being served up this year. Here’s my top five. Just don’t judge me on the last one.

Cabin Fever

Who could be so bold as to remake Eli Roth’s 2002 classic? Eli Roth, obviously. For the reboot he’s using the same script, with different characters and presumably a bigger budget. The first one cost just $1.5 million, and went on to gross over twenty times that amount. It also made Roth a star. This time he’s moving upstairs to executive producer while Travis Zariwny takes over directing duties. Nope, I don’t know who he is, either. You have to wonder why it’s being made with the same script, when this could be the perfect opportunity to expand on certain elements a little. But this is Eli Roth, and I’m sure as fuck not going to argue with him.

roth

Ghostbusters

This is one film that isn’t staying true to the original. In fact, it seems to be doing everything it can to distance itself from the original by employing an all-female (including Melissa McCarthy) cast in place of Bill Murray and company, who are all too old to get in those jump suits anyway. He and Dan Ackroyd do get cameo’s, though. It’s being marketed as a reboot of the franchise, rather than the film, which either means there’s going to be a slew of sequels or we aren’t going to see a giant marshmallow man this time around. It’d be a shame if that’s the case.

StayPuftbio

Point Break 3D

How can you make a remake sound new and exciting? Stick ‘3D’ in the title, that’s how. But this is Point Break, ya’ll! The original was one of the defining films of the 90’s and made Patrick Swayze’s career what it was. Well, that and Roadhouse. We don’t talk about Dirty Dancing. The 2016 version stars Edgar Ramirez and Ray Winstone, and will probably be one for adrenaline junkies everywhere. Being a joint American and Chinese production, expect more than a passing nod to our friends in the far East.

The Magnificient Seven

As far as ‘man’ films go, the original 1960 shoot-em-up starring Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, and just about everybody else who could point a gun, is right up there with Rambo and Jaws. Well, the truth is, it wasn’t original even then, but a remake of the legendary Japanese flick Seven Samurai. Still, of all the reboots and remakes planned for 2016, this is the one I’m most wary of, even if the Daily Mirror reports are right and it does have Vinnie Jones in it (doubtful).

Dad’s Army

I warned you about the last entry on this list. Yes, if you’re British Dad’s Army is something you probably remember from your childhood, or those endless Sunday afternoon repeats, but 2016 sees the wartime comedy about a group of disparate individuals given a momentous overhaul, and it’s set to be one of the biggest Bricoms of the year. Let’s face it, how can anything with Catherine Zeta Jones in possibly not be worth a watch? She’s magnificent.

Catherine-Zeta-Jones


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