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Live for Films – 2009 A Year in Film

Posted by LiveFor on December 16, 2009

What a year it has been for film.

Neill Blomkamp and Duncan Jones had great debuts with District 9 and Moon. Sam Rockwell acted his socks off in the latter. There was animated loveliness with Up, Ponyo, Fantastic Mr Fox and Coraline, but ugliness with Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Planet 51 and Monsters vs Aliens.

J J Abrams beamed new life into the excellent Star Trek.

There was old school horror in the shape of Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell and brilliant horror comedy in the wonderful Zombieland (it had the best cameo of the year). Dario Argento’s Giallo wasn’t sure if it was a horror or a comedy.

Comic book movies didn’t quite so well this year. X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Zack Snyder’s Watchmen – I enjoyed them both though despite their flaws.

War movies hit the big time again. Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker gave us an intense take on the war in Iraq and Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds changed history for the better. That’s a bingo!

There were toy and book adaption disappointments in the shape of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra and Twilight: New Moon raked in the cash despite not being very good. Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones had mixed reviews.

Joaquin Phoenix lost the plot or is playing the long con when he quit acting to become a rap star and James Franco started an artistic endeavour by appearing on General Hospital.

Both Dragonball Evolution and Streetfighter adaptions had poor finishing moves at the box office. Terminator Salvation brought us our first proper glimpse at Sam Worthington, but left many cold and Ben Foster chased through the darkness in Pandorum. The Stath did it again in Crank: High Voltage and blaxsploitation returned with Black Dynamite fighting The Man.

The Perfect Getaway had a few twists and turns from the norm and The Cove opened my eyes to the slaughter of dolphins.

Chaos reigned in Lars Von Triers’ Antichrist. Bruce Willis went plastic in Surrogates. Gerard Butler was a Gamer and a Law Abiding Citizen. George Clooney was Up in the Air after The Men Who Stare At Goats. The Coen Brothers’ A Serious Man and Colin Firth as A Single Man confused a few while Carey Mulligan had An Education that many adored, but left me disappointed. Johnny Depp and Christian Bale were Public Enemies and Viggo Mortenson began a long walk down The Road. Audrey Tautou showed us Coco avant Chanel.

Spike Jonze sailed to Where the Wild Things Are, Richard Kelly opened The Box and The Hangover gave a headache to no-one. Clint Eastwood made Invictus. Jeff Bridges had a Crazy Heart while Terry Gilliam and Heath Ledger took us to The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Nicolas Cage began a slow climb to redemption with the aid of his lucky crack pipe in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince brought us ever closer to the end.

An Orphan scared us, In the Loop made us laugh at the political shenanigans, Paranormal Activity scared us, (500) Days of Summer and Adventureland made us happy in a sad way, World’s Greatest Dad reminded us how good Robin Williams could be while Old Dogs reminded us how bad Robin Williams could be. sin Nombre and Thirst were two of the many excellent foreign language films released and Jim Jarmusch showed us The Limits of Control.

Behind all of these other films has been the rumbling spectre of James Cameron’s Avatar. All year it has been waiting and watching and only now are we about to see whether it was all worth it (current reviews seem to say this is a great big hell yes!)

So many films watched but so many more missed. The way it has always been and always will.

That does mean that there are still many wonderful moments to be watched or to take us by surprise when we turn the channel late one night and an unexpected film has just begun – often films you would never normally watch but you end up thoroughly enjoying….and I don’t mean a bit of blue for the Dads!

I suppose that is one of the great things about movies. You will never be able to watch them all and you wouldn’t want to. We don’t all watch the same ones yet that means we all have fresh takes on each others favourite films. They can bring us together or lead to intense arguments. Did Han did shoot first?

Most of all, for the 90 minutes or more they are on, a movie takes us away to another place. Not always a nice place, but it is a break from the real world no matter what. Bad, good or wonderful they are all groovy and bring us all together.

As for me I have had some wonderful moments related to film – I got to speak to Marion Cotillard, Johnny Depp, Duncan Jones and David Sullivan. The site moved over to WordPress and has been going from strength to strength since then – thanks to everyone for taking the time to stop by and have a look.

The Live for Films Movie Club began and is still going to help share cool movies you may have missed (thanks to those on the Forum for sorting all that out).

Live for Films researcher and reporter Pamela Fruendt went along to Tim Burton’s art exhibition at New Yorks Museum of Modern Art. Many people contributed reviews for favourite horror films during Halloween including author Michael Marshall Smith (he reviewed Halloween) and director Andrew Barker (he reviewed Blood Feast).

My Wife enjoyed getting parcels full of DVDs and Posters addressed to Live for Films and I just had a ball doing what I do and have been constantly surprised that so many people seem to dig what I dig, you dig?

For what it is worth my top 10 films of 2009 in no particular order and considering the fact I have yet to see such films as Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Up, The Road and many more are:

  • Moon
  • Zombieland
  • Star Trek
  • Watchmen
  • District 9
  • The Cove
  • Coraline
  • Drag Me to Hell
  • Public Enemies
  • Inglourious Basterds

What have been your highs and lows in films for 2009? What great films have I forgotten and what should I have watched? What films do you wish you have not watched and what film did you see many time? What surprised you? What made you laugh, cry or hurl?

Now we have 2010 to look forward to. Apparantly, according to Dave Bowman, it will be full of stars.

Posted in Action, Animated, Biopic, Comedy, Documentary, Fantasy, Horror, Kids, news, Review, Sci-Fi, Short Film, Thriller, War, Western | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Halloween – Cool poster for John Carpenter’s classic at the Alamo Drafthouse

Posted by LiveFor on October 27, 2009

I really want one of these as it is a really cool poster. I love the fact it shows the two masks.

If you haven’t already check out the review of Halloween that Michael Marshall Smith sent me.

Source: /Film

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Halloween, 1978 – Movie Review by Michael Marshall Smith – 31 Days of Horror

Posted by LiveFor on October 6, 2009

halloweenI recently got in touch with Michael Marshall Smith (author of Spares, Only Forward, Straw Men and more – check out my interview with the man himself) to see if he wanted to contribute to the 31 Days of Horror. He was more than happy to so passed me along this wonderful review he did for the classic John Carpenter film, Halloween. Before you ask MMS has not seen the Rob Zombie remake.

Director: John Carpenter
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Tony Moran

“Is the theme from Halloween inherently scary, or is all music that sounds like it now scary just because it reminds us of Halloween?” Discuss.
Da da-da da da-da da-da da-da…

There’s just something about those American horror movies of the 1970s, something warped and implacable and insane. They’re stained with a nervy cultural nihilism neatly captured in Adam Simon’s subtle documentary American Nightmare: a sense that the dream is over and all bets are off. You realise you are in the hands of storytellers who do not have your best interests at heart, who — like a drunk driver or rogue cancer cell — have no idea of what a happy ending is, never mind how to safely guide you there. Films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Last House On The Left and George Romero’s zombie trilogy share something else (as did the work of literary running mates Ira Levin and Stephen King) – the eschewing of horror’s traditionally gothic trappings for the unsettlingly domestic and mundane. They brought hell to the doorsteps of people like us, to where we lived in both physical and emotional terms: they showed us that horror happens to people who wear jeans. The greatest of all these films, and the platonic ideal of horror movies, is John Carpenter’s Halloween.

Released in 1978 and co-written with Debra Hill, Halloween was Carpenter’s third feature-length film, following the stoner sf spoof Dark Star (co-written with film school buddy Dan O’Bannon, who went on to script Alien) and the seminal urban paranoia-fest Assault on Precinct 13. Though Carpenter has produced other classic horror — his remake of The Thing (a snatch of the original features in the background in Halloween), The Fog and Prince of Darkness — Halloween knocks the nail most firmly on the head.

The story is brutally simple. The script that became Halloween was titled ‘The Babysitter Murders’, and that’s what it’s about. Weird kid kills, is locked away for years, and escapes to kill again. He murders babysitters.

That’s all s/he wrote. There’s no big mystery, no interlocking set of puppet suspects. There’s just a sociopath who kills, and kills again.

You never quite know why he does this, thank god: over-explanation kills horror stone dead. You don’t know why some people get fatally mugged, either, or slip off the curb in front of a oncoming car. Death isn’t plotted or rationalised in real life — it just comes and gets you, and then goes and gets someone else. Horror movies succeed best when they reflect the negligent whims of our trickster gods, rather than playing faux-intellectual games with audience expectation. Whenever I watch a new horror movie, I’m hoping it will be something like Halloween. I’m hoping it will not start with yet another slow pan down the front of a high school, and feature only the kind of teenagers to whom you hope something very nasty will happen, and soon. I’m hoping the chills will be real, rather than ironic, and that the director will not substitute gore for visceral resonance.

I’m hoping most of all that it will make use of silence, rather than filling every minute with thrash metal in the hope the soundtrack will push the budget into the black. Which brings me back to my original question:

Da da-da da da-da da-da da-da…

When is the world at its most scary? When it’s dark. Since the forerunner of our species hoisted itself out of the oceans and decided to have a crack at surviving on this new-fangled dry land, we’ve been locked into a fundamentally diurnal existence. Day is our time, not night. At night we can’t see stuff, and this freaks us out. When deprived of the effective use of vision, we are forced to fall back on hearing. Our ability to interpret noises. Sound is key to effective horror, and in Halloween Carpenter demonstrates a genius in using the natural textures and sounds of real life. He doesn’t resort to hectic cutting or self-conscious dolly shots, trying to bludgeon or wheedle a response out of his audience. When Carpenter’s soundtrack is silent, it’s not the sign-posted tension of a-boo-is-coming: it’s just quiet, like the world often is. Movies in the 1970s were often more spacious in their soundscapes — watch Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid again sometime, and notice how eerily and effectively quiet it is – and so Carpenter can’t claim sole credit for use of aural white space.

But he does get the credit for this:

Da da-da da da-da da-da da-da…

Personally, I think you could have played that music to a caveman thirty thousand years ago, and he’d have decided now might be a good time to go back to the cave. I have it as the ringtone on my mobile phone. Always have, from as soon as I could dictate how the bloody thing rang. When people hear it, they always look up. Sometimes with a smile, sometimes with a sideways frown that is not quite one of irritation. It could be simple recognition, of course. It must be, after all, the most memorable spooky soundtrack of all time: only The Exorcist can compete, and it shares a very similar structure — though Tubular Bells’ fugue-like roll is more like something you’d hear from a gothic music box, and less redolent of pure anxiety. Maybe I’m being fanciful — chances are onlookers are just wishing the fucker with the bleating mobile would hurry up and answer it — but I believe they look up because they understand that this sound, that music, means that they should beware.

Inherently scary too, I believe, are Carpenter’s camera and editing choices in Halloween: the blank long shots and the eerie medium long shots, a point of view which seems laced with lack of affect.
Someone is watching this town but not comprehending it on anything more than a visual level.

He sees stuff, but just does not get it.
These are streets.
That is a house.
That girl is a thing I could kill.
More than this I do not understand.

The timings of these ponderous slices of incomprehension correlate exactly to the theme music’s structure, which progresses in marching measures rooted by a stately climbing bass, and is yet lent a persistent off-kilterness by the inner clusters of triplets, with their uneven and yet oddly compelling emphasis. The shrill hammering of the three basic pitches is unsettling in itself: it is also unsettlingly relentless in the way it is used. (This is something you’ve got to be careful with, however. Whoever scored Eyes Wide Shut evidently thought that merely repeating a piano motif confers a mesmeric quality. It doesn’t. It can also make you want to go round and slam the piano lid down on the composer’s fingers. More than once.)

When the Halloween theme kicks in again, you hear it with a kind of anticipatory dread, an arrhythmic dread.

Oh Christ. Here we go again, you think. That thing I was scared of earlier?

It’s back.

This is the essence of horror, of life and death. Show the audience something bad. Let it appear to go away. Bring it back. Don’t promise them it will go away again. Ever.

And then fade that scary music up.

Review first published in CINEMA MACABRE, ed. Mark Morris, PS Publishing 2006.

Previous 31 Days of Horror reviews: Friday the 13th Part 2, Martin, Fright Night, Zombieland

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Exclusive Interview – Michael Marshall Smith. He would like everyone to be cool.

Posted by LiveFor on February 11, 2009

A favourite author of mine is Michael Marshall Smith (sometimes he goes by Michael Marshall). I still remember the first time I came across one of his books. I was heading on a train journey and was looking around a book shop for something to read. I picked up Only Forward and on the back it said “May we introduce you to Stark. Oh and by the way – good luck…” I bought it and devoured it on the train. It had lashings of science-fiction, thrills, horror, action and Jeamland. There was also an awful lot of cats in there doing weird cat like things.

His second novel, Spares, followed Jack who went on the run with clones bred for spare body parts for celebrities. The rights of this were sold to Dreamworks who basically did nothing with it. When the rights lapsed a film called The Island appeared. That was the film that was all about clones that were bred for spare body parts for celebrities. Hmmm.

As mentioned above he also has work as Michael Marshall and this started with The Straw Men and The Lonely Dead which are the first parts of a thriller series set in todays world that deals with serial killers, ex-CIA types and possibly Bigfoot. The Straw men has also been adapted into a comic book series by Zenoscope Entertainment (Newsarama have a review of the first issue)

He has written many other things and I highly recommend you check them out. His official site has a full bibliography. He is also on Twitter.

Recently I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to interview Michael Marshall Smith and without further ado here it is.

You have written stories in the world of science-fiction and the world of thrillers with some overlap between the two. Are there any other genres you would like to write? Would you ever write a comedy for example?

Well, in some ways I already *have* written comedy – the first three novels (though science fiction) had parts and ideas that were hopefully amusing, and even in the more overtly serious recent crime and thriller novels I try to maintain a lightness of tone.

Comedy’s a tricky thing, however. I believe *every* novel should have some emotional and metaphysical light and shade – just as there’s always a laugh or at least a smile just around the corner in real life. Humans makes jokes at *funerals* – it’s what we do, the nearest to magic we have, and novels should reflect that. Comedy always needs something to work against, however – darkness to shine light upon. Straightforwardly ‘comic’ novels rarely work for me. I prefer bringing together different genres and approaches – thriller, horror, sf, literary, noir, a touch of comedy – and seeing what happens, rather than trying to force ideas to one genre alone. Sadly the publishing industry generally feels differently about the whole thing… But hey, they’re my books 😉

An underlying theme in many of your books is of another world just outside of ours. That and cats of course. When you were a child did you play with imaginary friends in any of those imaginary worlds?

I never had an imaginary friend that I’m aware of. I made things up from a very early age, however, and moved around the world a lot – living in America, South Africa and Australia before my family came back to the UK – and so I was pretty used to my own company. I can remember telling myself stories and willfully misinterpreting reality from early childhood, so perhaps I was functioning as my own imaginary friend. Just as well – no-one else would have me.

The first issue of The Straw Men comic book has just come out. Would you ever consider writing a comic for DC, Dark Horse or Marvel? If so what character would you like to take control of or do you have

Actually, they’re three issues into it now – I just received copies of the most recent one.

Writing directly for comics is not something I’ve considered yet. Comics weren’t a part of my childhood, and so aren’t rooted in my adult life either – though I’m well aware that a lot of very interesting stuff is being done there at the moment, and that in fact a great many readers are turning to that medium first when looking for a certain kind of freshness of ideas. I guess because I’m accustomed to thinking in terms of prose or screenplay, most of my notions get pre-pointed in those directions before they even make it out of my head. Plus there’s the fact that to start working in comics I’d need an illustrator, whereas with prose I’m my own boss… Having said which, I’m working with an artist on a children’s book at the moment, and enjoying it enormously. Seeing the images he can come up with apparently at the drop of a hat really enlivens the working experience…

I have no interest in taking over someone else’s character, really. I get frustrated enough at myself for not making something of many of the ideas I already have. Something I *would* like to do is investigate adapting one of my first three novels to graphic format – probably either SPARES or ONLY FORWARD: dramatizing the original story first, then establishing the world as a starting-point for further adventures. It’s just a matter of finding the time, as always… If any comic publishers out there are interested, let me know!

Could you possibly let me know a little more about the illustrated children’s book you mentioned?

It’s basically a rather silly and zany story I wrote a while back and didn’t really do anything with, but have finally started developing with Uli Meyer, the animation director with whom Stephen Ones and I are writing an animated monster movie for kids. It’s early days on the book yet, but looking great so far…

In your books you have referred to alien Greys, Big Foot and other secrets of the world. What is your favourite cryptozoological entity? Which real world conspiracy theory makes your nervous?

No conspiracy theory makes me nervous, because I actually know the Whole and Utter Truth About Everything. I joined the conspiracy. It wasn’t so painful.

I’m fascinated by the Fortean – the unexplained, the anomalous, the stuff that makes Science twitchy. I actually don’t even care if any of it’s true – a sense of wonder is *far* more important to me (and to humankind in general, I believe) than the so-called ‘truth’, which is a moveable feast at the best of times. That’s why the *unbelievably* annoying and insufferably smug Richard Dawkins had better enjoy his time in the sun, because people will be happily believing in the nebulous and unprovable long after God-Is-Dead Boy is dead himself…

The one Fortean subject I really can’t get excited about is UFOs. Surely it’s time for those guys to shit or get off the pot? Either stop buzzing the planet – freaking out precisely the kind of people that no-one’s going to believe – or make your presence properly known, for god’s sake. And then start handing over all the cool futuristic stuff you presumably have. Like power sources that don’t screw up the planet. And cigarettes that aren’t bad for you. If you don’t actually *have* this stuff, then don’t even bother coming, as far as I’m concerned. The world’s odd enough as it is, and also we’re short on parking.

I believe that Jim Thompson is one of your favourite authors. Recently it has been announced that Kate Hudson, Elias Koteas, Bill Pullman and Ned Beatty are going to star in the film adaption of The Killer Inside Me. Does the thought of a favourite novel being turned into a film fill you full of dread or do you look forward to the film?

It fills me with dread. I love film, and good films can *of course* be made of great books, but they’re in a minority — and they’re never the visual version I created in my head while I was reading it. Jim Thompson’s work in particular has an utterly of-itself quality, a sense of unfolding in some terribly fractured, noir universe that’s just half a step to the side of ours – and no-one’s ever going to capture that for me. And even if they *could*, I’d still rather read the book. Words-on-a-page can do things that film never can; just as film can do stuff a book can’t. My favourite films are almost without exception those that were written as films, rather than adaptations – though adapts of short stories can work well. Film is a grown-up medium now, and as such works best when it’s being itself.

Thanks for the heads-up, by the way: now I have to avoid not only the film, but all posters for it… I’m even going to have to unread that last question, so none of the actors’ faces seep into my recollection of the book… Yep, I’m pretty hardcore about this kind of thing 😉

What was the first film you ever watched? Do you think this had any influence on any of your stories?

The very first? I’m not sure. But I have early memories of seeing Pinocchio, which kind of makes sense… The darknesses of childhood, the struggle to be real, parallel worlds of the imagination, people’s varying interpretations of the universe and how to act positively within it… Those remain the big and permanent stories so far as I’m concerned.

How close is The Straw Men to the big screen? After what happened with Spares do you have all your fingers crossed on this one?

STRAW MEN is very much at the toddler steps stage. Benderspink have certain rights to the series of books, and are starting to develop those rights. That’s all I actually know right now – I’m waiting for an update.

The situation with SPARES merely confirmed what I’d already learned through experiences in the film industry as a screenwriter: no-one can be trusted, and every single person in the greater Hollywood area would sell their mother to make a deal. I say that with a wry smile rather than any rancor. My heart’s in prose, and so I can go to LA and enjoy the fizz and fun and sense of possibility without taking any of it too personally. I *would* like to get paid this time, though…

Hell Hath Enlarged Herself has been in development for a while can you tell us a little more about that? When can we expect to see it?

When hell freezes over 😉 More seriously, it’s going to be a while. It’s been in development for about three years now – and it took the first year of that to just get the contracts thrashed out. The wheels of the film industry grind exceeding slow, at times. But it’s in development with the UK Film Council (a co-production between Cuba Productions and Lightstorm), and there’s – finally, after a number of drafts – the beginnings of a script we all like, so hopefully the path leads forward from here… I’m a producer on the project, and co-scriptwriter, though his draft has been primarily shaped by the two other writers, Marcelo Anciano and Toby Tobias.

What was the last thing you read or watched that had you saying to yourself, “I wish I’d thought of that?”

I tend not to get that feeling with stories or ideas, as stories and ideas all feel quite personal to me, and so – for better or worse – I’d rather be dealing with mine than anyone else’s, no matter how cool or intelligent or wildly commercial other people’s ideas might be.

I get prose envy far more often: Martin Amis can always make me shake my head with baffled admiration, for example. So many times I’ve read some random sentence of his and thought: “Not only did I not realise that idea could be said that well – I didn’t even know the idea was there to be articulated in the first place…”

What was the last book you read and would you read it again?

The last book I read was a slim novel called In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan, and I’m sure I’ll read it again. It’s a strange, melancholy, beautiful book. All his stuff’s great. The last novel of size I read was THE LAY OF THE LAND by Richard Ford, which was stunning. So many of the Great American Writers seem to get away with just going on and on and on and on… Ford is no slouch in terms of generating words in quantity, but pretty much every one counts. And there’s that lightness of touch again, too – a style that evokes the real texture of reality.

In a perfect world who would you love to see playing Stark, Hap Thompson or Ward Hopkins and the Upright Man?

Whoever can get the project green-lit at a major studio without over-balancing the script or annoying me too much on the screen. Sorry, but I’m a stone cold pragmatist when it comes to that kind of thing…

Though I always liked the idea of Jeff Bridges for Hap Thompson 🙂

What was your favourite film of 2008?

2008 was a very quiet year for me, film-wise – in the sense I simply didn’t get around to seeing many movies. Most of my spare watching time was spent devouring THE WIRE from first to last episode … I loved that show. It represents an interesting new sub-medium, too. It wasn’t really television: no-one actually watched it on TV, everyone bought the box sets and watched it in film-length chunks, at their own pace. It was kind of a TV/film/prose hybrid… Which may be the way of the future.

What are your thoughts on the future of the World now that Barack Obama is in the White House?

I think he’s a smart, interesting man who’s on the side of right – and I do feel more positive about the world stage than I did before. Having spent a lot of formative time in the United States, and having a huge amount of affection for the place, I hope the change in administration will stop people in the UK and the rest of the world from making moronically knee-jerk reactions to everyone and everything that comes out of America.

I just also really, *really* hope that everyone is remembering that the guy doesn’t have any magic spells, and remain realistic in their expectations. The downside of being a celebrity president is that you are subject to celebrity rules – like having your adoring fans suddenly turning against you, all at once, with the viciousness of a psychotic mob.

And the only celebrities who truly get raised to godhead are the ones who die young, remember.

If you were Supreme Overlord of the Earth what would your first decree be?

That, you know, everyone just be cool, okay? And also I wouldn’t mind a cup of coffee.

Your top 5 films of all time?

I have two major parts of my brain missing. One is the ability to remember names. The second is the ability to make lists. I *always* forget crucial books, films, songs…

And how do you rank movies like ALIEN or THE ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND or REAR WINDOW or ANNIE HALL or LA STORY or HALLOWEEN against each other? Then there are the films I have huge affection for – like AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, which I used to put on the in the background whenever I was unpacking into a new apartment – but which wouldn’t be in the top five if I was being serious about it. Plus there are the movies which have a few hair-raising (in a good way) moments, but which don’t stand up overall… Or absolute gut-punchers like REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, which represent outstanding film-making but which I probably won’t make myself sit through again.

I can’t make lists. Don’t try to make me. Lists involve making choices, and if I could do that, do you think I would have three different writing names and have written in five different genres??? I want it all. All ways. Always.

What is your favourite piece of science fiction technology from TV, film or literature?

Those doors that go shiwsh-thuk and open and close automatically. Utterly bloody pointless, but I guess I watched Star Trek at a sufficiently formative age that it stuck. Yeah, sure there are lots of other cool gadgets in film and literature, but you just *know* that half of them won’t work properly, will fail days after going out of warranty, and will be replaced by something better and cooler and cheaper. I just want the doors that go shiwsh-thuk. Then I’ll know the future’s here, and that it’s time to go down the (virtual) store and see what else has rolled in.

What will we be reading of yours next?

The UK paperback of THE SERVANTS is out round about now, but the next big release will be the UK paperback and US hardcover of BAD THINGS, the new novel – out in April and May respectively…

Michael Marshall Smith thank you.


Discuss in the Forum

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The Straw Men – Watch out, watch out the Straw Men are about

Posted by LiveFor on December 1, 2008

It looks like one of Michael Marshall (who is also Michael Marshall Smith, author of Only Forward, Spares, One of Us) is to have one of his books adapted for the big screen – Spares was optioned years ago, but was probably plundered for the not very good The Island.

Benderspink has acquired the rights to The Straw Men, Michael Marshall’s first part of a trilogy concerning a secret organisation of serial killers. It’s an excellent book and I recommend you pick it up.

“In Palmerston, Pennsylvania, two men in long coats walk calmly into a crowded fast food restaurant-then, slowly and methodically, gun down sixty-eight people. They take time to reload. On the Promenade of Santa Monica, California, a teenaged girl gives sightseeing tips to a distinguished English tourist. She won’t be going home tonight. In Dyersburg, Montana, a grief-stricken son tries to make sense of the accident that killed his parents-then finds a note stuffed in his father’s favorite chair. It says, “We’re not dead.” Three seemingly unrelated events, these are the first signs of an unimaginable network of fear that will lead one unlikely hero to a chilling confrontation with The Straw Men. No one knows who they are-or why they kill. But they must be stopped. Michael Marshall’s electrifying debut novel is an instant masterpiece of modern suspense. An epic thriller for anyone who has feared that someone is watching us.”

Are you a fan of Michael Marshall (Smith)? Do you feel The Straw Men would make a good film? Who should play the leads?
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