All Posts Author: Ron Miles

Stake Land

The past two weeks I have watched some truly awful movies, so I am not going to bury the lede on on this week's movie: If you haven't seen it, you should absolutely check out Stake Land, a unique gem of a Vampire Apocalypse movie that features not only strong action but also surprisingly good writing, acting and filmography. Part coming-of-age story, part Hero's Journey, Stake Land manages to be an engagingly fresh take on both apocalyptic fiction in general and vampires in particular.

FilmUnspecified Apocalypse

Badlanders (A.K.A. Prison Planet)

Last week, after suffering through the train wreck that was Post Impact, I swore that for my next blog I would watch something decent. I imagined I would sit down to some highbrow apocalyptic movie like Lunopolis or Melencholia. Instead, I kind of went the other direction. As soon as I saw the cover for Badlanders on Netflix I knew that I just had to watch it. Sure, I knew that it would be a train wreck as well. But I was confident that at least this time it would be a derailment of pure, cheesy but sincere incompetence. The people who made Post Impact should have known better - they had a real budget, name actors, and experienced professionals behind the scenes. Badlanders, on the other hand, is the perfect kind of bad movie filmed with no budget, terrible actors, and a director who should never have been allowed anywhere near a camera. Yeah, it's bad, but it's aawesomely bad.


Post Impact

Some weeks I write about some book or movie you should really check out. Some weeks I post about something I watched with reasonably high hopes and was disappointed. This week, I'm posting about a crap movie called Post Impact that no human being should ever have to sit through. Normally I link to whatever I am writing about so you can go out and buy a copy, but honestly why bother this week? It's not like anyone would intentionally purchase this crap.


Ok, let's get on with the pain.

FilmGlobal Warming


Although the post-apocalyptic genre has been popular for decades, most of the stories tend to fall into a small handful of categories: nuclear/atomic war, virus/pandemic, zombies (which is really just a sub-category of a kind of pandemic), or else a meteor strike. It is always a treat to find a post-apocalyptic story that does something different, and for that reason alone the award-winning 2011 German film Hell is worth watching. Set in the very near future, this is the first movie I recall seeing that uses global climate change as driving force for the collapse of society. By 2016 the Earth's average temperature has risen by 10° Celsius, leaving the land blighted and fresh water in short supply. The story focuses on Marie and her younger sister Leonie as they attempt to reach the mountains where they hope to find water supplies and cooler temperatures. Needless to say, their journey is not a peaceful one.


Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Last summer a doomsday romantic comedy flew through the theaters so quickly that if you blinked you missed it. Starring Steve Carell and Keira Knigntly, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World was written and directed by Lorene Scararia - best known for writing the screenplay for Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist. Being a fan of Steve Carell, I had really wanted to catch this one in the theater but it came and went so fast I never had the chance. Last week I finally caught up with it on video, and on the whole I would have to say that if it's the kind of thing you think you would like then you'll probably like it. Read on for a bit more expansion on that lukewarm recommendation...

Alien InvasionStage Production

War of the Worlds: Alive on Stage!

It is no great secret that I am a fan of Jeff Wayne's musical interpretation of War of the Worlds. I stumbled across it when I was in high school and fell immediately in love with the concept album, which fell somewhere between a prog rock concept album and a radio adaptation. With its vividly painted storytelling (by far the truest to Wells' original novel than any other adaptation I have ever encountered) and pop song masterpieces like "Forever Autumn" and "Brave New World", it captured my imagination right away. A few years ago I discovered that Wayne had resurrected the album and turned it into a touring arena concert production, and I was hypnotized by the youtube videos I found online. Unfortunately it was a show that seemed destined to never cross the Atlantic, and so the odds of my ever getting to experience it firsthand were remote at best.

 This past month, however, I had the very good fortune to be able to spend nearly two weeks in Great Britain on vacation with my wife. It is not entirely coincidental that I chose a tour itinerary that had us in London with a free evening on Saturday, December 15th -- the same day that London's O2 Arena hosted the not-very-succinctly-titled Jeff Wayne's Musical  Version of the War of the Worlds: The New Generation - Alive on Stage!. I eagerly purchased our tickets and began counting the days.  Holographic Liam Neeson! A 35-foot-tall Martian war machine that shoots fire! The Black Smoke Band plus a full string section with vocal performances by Marti Pellow (lead singer of Wet Wet Wet), Ricky Wilson (lead singer of the Kaiser Chiefs), and a host of other performers. This was going to be a night to remember.

Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds: The New Generation

One of my favorite albums growing up was Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of War of the Worlds. Originally released in 1978, the concept album used the format of progressive rock plus a string orchestra in the retelling of H.G. Wells' science fiction classic. With narration by the always-amazing Richard Burton and featuring vocals by Justin Hayward (of the Moody Blues), Chris Thompson (of Manfred Mann), Phil Lynott (of Thin Lizzy), and stage actress Julie Covington, the album for me is truly a touchstone of the 70's. It didn't make quite as big a splash here in the US, but in the UK the song "Forever Autumn" was a Top 5 single and the album spent nearly six years on the charts -- reaching #1 in 11 countries, and in the top 10 in 11 others. About six years ago the album was turned into a touring arena show conducted by Jeff Wayne himself, had has made several very successful European tours since then. This year Wayne returned to the material again and decided to create a brand new album with updated material, expanding the dialog from the Journalist who narrates the story as well as adding additional focus to the love story. And so, last week, this brand new album was released. I was very eager to pick it up and see how it measures up to the original.

Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of War of the Worlds: The New Generation


A few years ago I remember seeing a trailer for the movie Bug and thinking I should check it out. Two people stuck in a Motel room in the middle of an insect infestation, a horror movie directed by William Friedkin (The Exorcist, The French Connection), it should be pretty interesting. Well, I mean, obviously I wasn't too interested since it took me six years to get around to watching it. But hey, it showed up in my Netlfix queue the other night, so I decided to check it out.


Permanent Damage

A few months back I blogged about the short story collection Slices by Michael Montoure. Well, he has a brand new collection out and it really is quite good. Permanent Damage collects ten new stories of horror and dark urban fantasy, taking the reader down the murky paths of the darkest human emotions. Montoure specialized in the intensely personal, each story representing an individual's own private apocalypse. Some emerge empowered, while most find themselves consumed by the flames of a personal conflagration. Each story is solid, and one in particular is easily the best short story I have read in years. Read on for more details.

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DEATHLANDS, OUTLANDERS, EARTH BLOOD, ROGUE ANGEL, ALEX ARCHER, and JAMES AXLER are all the property of GOLD EAGLE/Graphic Audio LLC, a division of RBmedia, and are used strictly under Fair use guidelines.