I love a good film about the gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece and Rome, and this is as good as it gets in this particular genre, at least partially, if not mostly, due to the magnificent special effects by the King of Special Effects, the late great Ray Harryhausen.

Todd Armstrong plays the titular Jason, whose family is murdered by the evil King Pelias of Thessaly when Jason is a nipper. Twenty years later, a handsome and fearless Jason, now grown to manhood, is anxious to claim his rightful place on the throne of Thessaly, a position which has been denied to him by the sneaky King Pelias.

Jason, under the protection of the goddess Hera, sets off for the end of the world to find a commodity known as The Golden Fleece. This wild goose chase is the brainchild of the crafty King Pelias, who feels pretty confident that Jason will never survive such a perilous journey.

The Golden Fleece brings luck and good fortune to any land in which it dwells. Jason thinks it’ll be just the job for cheering up the people of Thessaly, who’ve endured twenty years of oppression and suffering under the rule of King Pelias. That’s his story, anyway, and he’s sticking to it.

Jason gets together a crew of the finest athletes in Greece, including the hairy, legendary strong-man Hercules and his book-smart buddy Hylas, and sets sail for Colchis at the end of the world. Their purpose-built boat is called the Argo. Geddit? Lol. Before Jason reaches his destination, he has great crack altogether overcoming the various obstacles in his path.

Jason and his men are chased and terrorised by Talos, a 100-foot bronze giant, my personal favourite obstacle, on the creepily atmospheric Isle Of Bronze, previously inhabited by the god Hephaestus. He once used it as his ‘Earth’ workshop-slash-foundry for getting his massive sculptures of the gods done in peace and quiet; how cool is that???

Then they- the Argonauts- trick a couple of devilish harpies into leaving an old blind man’s din-dins alone. Patrick Troughton (SCARS OF DRACULA) plays Phineas, the old man anxious to turn the (dinner) tables on the two voracious hags.

The crew managed to survive the infamous Clashing Rocks with the help of the super-cool Poseidon, the god of the sea, and Jason himself kills the Hydra, the huge monster with the heads of seven snakes who just happens to be the guardian of the Golden Fleece.

Their last shenanigans involves the army of truly fantastic skeleton warriors who spring from the teeth of the dead Hydra. The bags-of-bones are ordered to fight Jason and his remaining crew members by the pissed-off King of Colchis, who’s not at all happy about the removal of the Golden Fleece from his homeland. Well, he wouldn’t be, would he? He sees the source of his city’s wealth and prosperity slipping between his fingers. Who wouldn’t be pissed-off?

I still to this day get chills when the skeleton warriors emerge from the stony earth and crouch forward to focus on slaughtering Jason and his terrified followers. These and the aforementioned Talos are my favourite Ray Harryhausen creations, although he has so many other fantastic animated creatures to his name as well.

I forgot to mention, Jason also finds time in the film to meet and (probably) bed a beautiful woman, Medea, a priestess of the goddess Hecate. She’s a dancer, too, and there’s some seriously sexy dancing on display when Jason and the lads first hit Colchis. Those chicks from the land at the end of the world sure can spread their pins good and wide…!

The gorgeous Honor Blackman is pure class as Hera, the wife of Zeus, ditto Niall MacGinnis (NIGHT OF THE DEMON) as Zeus himself, the head honcho. The gods of Mount Olympus are great fun and the special effects by the maestro himself, Ray Harryhausen, are utterly superb throughout the film.

The only thing that’s ever bothered me about this film is the ending. Strangely enough, Jason never actually returns to Thessaly with his Golden Fleece tucked under his hot little oxter to oust King Pelias. The ending comes suddenly and too soon every time. Who knows, maybe there was a sequel planned that never got made.

 It’s just a small point, in any case, and not enough of a problem to deter the viewer. It’s a top-notch Greek mythology film. Watch it, and then watch CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981), another of Ray Harryhausen’s fabulous films. They always go well together, to my mind. Hopefully, they’ll do the same for you.





I love this film. Charley Boorman, son of director John Boorman who made DELIVERANCE, is phenomenally good as Tommy/Tomme, the white boy who is kidnapped by a native tribe of the Brazilian Rainforest and brought up by them as a member of their tribe, the Invisible People.

Why was little Tommy in Brazil in the first place? Well, because his dad Bill Markham, played by the sexy and gorgeous Powers Boothe, is the engineer building a massive dam there that involves the gradual erosion of the Rainforest; the gradual erosion, by extension, of the homes of the one or two indigenous tribes that still live there.

The edge of the world used to be so far away when we were young, comments the chief of the Invisible People at one point. But so-called ‘progress’ brings the ‘edge of the world’ closer to them year by year. Eventually, even the land on which their homes are built will have been eroded. What then? It’s a grim prospect indeed.

Ten years pass and the dam is nearing completion. Tommy’s dad never gives up hope of finding his son. It finally happens at a crucial moment. Bill is at a waterfall, fleeing from the Fierce people who, you can tell from their name, are a lot less pleasant than the nice, quiet self-effacing Invisible People who stole Tommy.

Tomme (pronounced Tommay), now seventeen and a man, is at the same waterfall, searching for sacred stones to bring to his marriage to the lovely Kachiri. Tomme’s and Bill’s eyes meet through the falling water and they know each other immediately, mouthing ‘Dadde?’ and ‘Tommy?’ to each other across the river. It’s a breath-taking moment.

Tomme saves Daddee (pronounced Dadday) from the savage, cannabilistic Fierce People, then Dadde recovers from his injuries at the home of the Invisible People. Tomme marries Kachiri after an elaborate ceremony which involves his bonking her on the head with a huge stick and carrying her unconscious to their new home, where the marriage is consummated in the usual way. I wonder what happens if the bride gets a concussion from the pre-marital bonk on the noggin with a stick the size of a bleedin’ bedpost. Nookie interruptus, perhaps…? Girlfriend in a coma, even…?

The rascally rogue Chief Wanadi, leader of the Invisible People, invites Dadde to stay with them forever, smoking the pipe of oblivion and availing himself of the delicious nudie totty. Cor blimey! What a way to live, eh? But Dadde has a wife and daughter to get back to and a dam to build. He won’t be the cause of his wife suffering any more anguish. Reluctantly, he takes his leave of his son.

Very soon after this, however, the terrifying Fierce People’s greed for money and guns sees the near-destruction of the Invisible People. Charley begs for Daddee’s help to save the women of his tribe, including his beloved bride, Kachiri, who are all in mortal peril. They’ve been abducted and are being forced to work as prostitutes in a filthy brothel run by white men in conjunction with the Fierce People.

Dadde plays a blinder, but then it turns out that there’s something else he can do for Tomme and his tribe that might guarantee their future safety, if not outright survival. Has Dadde got it in him? Has Dadde got the balls?

Well, Dadde Bill is very well put together, which we know from the scenes in which he appears in a loincloth, so I reckon he’s got the balls all right. But more than balls; he’s got the heart, a big huge warm heart full of love for his beautiful son, who has clearly grown up with the loyalty and devotion to family his father managed to instill in him in his early years. ‘Give me the boy till he is seven,’ say the religious order, the Jesuits (I think?), ‘and I will show you the man.’

Quick round-up, now. All the Invisible People are in the nip; no willies, though, just boobies and nudie posteriors. Powers Boothe is a truly handsome and masculine man. I would have liked to know him. And finally, something really random now. Would you like to hear something MAD I learned this year about cannibalism? Not that cannibalism isn’t completely bonkers in and of itself, of course! But get this! Gather round now, children…

Back in the 1950s, doctors and scientists became aware that a tribe in Papua New Guinea known as the Fore (pronounced Four-Ay) weren’t having a lot of luck with their women and children, vast numbers of whom were dying of a horrible disease they’d christened ‘kuru,’ which means trembling.

The symptoms were this all-over-body trembling and an increasing inability to manage their own limbs, movements and emotions. Kuru is often called ‘the laughing disease’ because of the bouts of uncontrollable emotion evinced by the sufferers. Isn’t that horrible and creepy? One of the most famous books on the subject is called ‘LAUGHING TO DEATH’ for this exact reason.

Anyhow, how come the women and children were the only sufferers, and not the men? Wait till you hear this. The Fore tribe were cannibals, as you might have guessed. They eat their dead so as to always keep a bit of the deceased about them, but the guys ate the ‘good’ fleshy meat bits and this left the women and children to chow down on… guess what? The brains…

Don’t, I beg of you, ever knowingly eat the brains of another human being, cooked or uncooked. They may contain bad, abnormally folded proteins called Prions which can transfer to the eater and cause big spongy holes to appear in their own brain. Big spongy holes in your brain is A TERRIBLE THING TO HAPPEN. A fatal degenerative brain disorder is the only outcome.

The Fore people were eventually persuaded to give up eating their dead in the 1960s, but, because of kuru’s long incubation period, their people still died of the disease as late as 2009/2010. Right into the modern age. What a grim thought. Want to hear grimmer?

If sheep are fed the brains of their own kind in their feed, as a way of skimping on the food bills, the poor little critters can develop the form of kuru known as ‘scrapie.’ It’s a Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy akin to kuru and caused by bad prions. The poor baa-baas itch so badly with the disease that they end up ‘scraping’ their fleeces off by rubbing them off any surface they think might help them to alleviate their itching.

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE or Mad Cow Disease, is another dreadful Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy or TSE caused by bad prions or proteins. Cattle become infected after being fed grub that contained the remains of other cattle who developed the disease spontaneously, or of scrapie-infected sheep.

The human form of BSE is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. If you catch this fatal degenerative brain disorder from infected meat, here’s what can happen to you: dementia, involuntary movements, blindness, weakness, coma, death.

It’s a very good argument for going vegetarian, isn’t it? Alzheimer’s Disease is another one of those diseases associated with the build-up of bad proteins in and around the brain. The brain with Alzheimer’s doesn’t look dissimilar to the brain with kuru. In both cases, pockets of nerve cells will have been decimated to leave holes in the brain.

I’m sorry for bringing up all this depressing, horrible medical stuff over the festive season, but, A, I’ve been down a lot of weird Internet rabbit holes this year, and, B, I remember myself and a boyfriend laughing ourselves stupid in the late ‘90s or early 2000s about the very notion of Mad Cow Disease.

We literally didn’t have a clue about the hideousness and pain and suffering associated with this disease and we thought the idea of a Mad Cow was hilarious. Now I know different. (I don’t know what happened to him.)

To sum up, THE EMERALD FOREST; good. Cannibalism; bad. Very, very bad.

Happy New Year, y’all…  



I only watched this movie on Friday night, this being Sunday afternoon, but I can barely remember any of it, it was so bad, so flat and so one-dimensional. I love Tom Cruise, and would marry him and have his babies in a heartbeat if he asked me to, but this action-adventure-fantasy film is so bad it’s even worse than THE MUMMY: THE TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR (2008), and that movie sucked so hard. Sucked and blew.

It- the 2017 movie- belongs to the same THE MUMMY franchise that contains the two superb MUMMY films by Stephen Sommers (THE MUMMY- 1999 and THE MUMMY RETURNS- 2001), but it completely lacks their warmth, richness of colour- all gorgeous reds and golds- fabulous spectacle and characters both lovable, like Brendan Fraser’s adventurer, Rick O’Connell, and sneeringly sexy, like Arnold Vosloo’s handsome but evil Mummy and Patricia Velasquez as the poisonous Anck-Su-Namun.

And who could forget Patricia V. and the luminous Rachel Weisz cat-fighting with each other in the skimpy garb of Ancient Egypt? Also, the dialogue was hilarious at times.

Ardeth Bay to the kid: You’ve set in motion a train of events that could bring about the next Apocalypse!
Rick O’Connell to Ardeth Bay: You, lighten up! And to the kid: You, get in the car! Well, it’s funny when you’re watching it…

These two Stephen Sommers films are unforgettably brilliant. And you can forget the awful threequel, THE TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR, if you try really, really hard, lol. And there’s no point comparing the 2017 Mummy film to even earlier films in the MUMMY franchise, because these include Boris Karloff’s 1932 masterpiece and the fantastic Hammer Horror Mummy films, and these just can’t be beaten, even if Tom Cruise had stomped Oprah’s couch into a bazillion couchy pieces.

But what the hell is this 2017 Mummy film even about, anyway? Wait till I have a quick look at Wikipedia. And the reviews. Wow, the reviews are absolutely awful. The film won a slew of ‘bad movie’ awards, including a ‘Worst Actor’ one for Tom Cruise.

Even the film’s director said he regretted making this film. There’s no fun in it, no atmosphere, no real romance, even though TC as U.S. Sergeant Nick Morton is throwing himself about the place like there’s no tomorrow. (TC is Tom Cruise, by the way, not Top Cat.)

Nick and his friend Corporal Chris Vail accidentally discover the tomb of Egyptian Princess Ahmanet while doing a tour of Iraq. Why is her tomb in Iraq? I forget. Anyway, Nick, Chris and a random archaeologist called Jenny Halsey unintentionally bring her back to life on the journey back to Britain. Why Britain? No idea. The plot is a bit of an old shambles.

Russell Crowe is there, acting weird, but again, I’m not sure why he’s in it except that he intends to let Set, the Egyptian god of death, possess Nick for some reason. There’s a dagger with a ruby on it, a sandstorm in London and- now this bit’s genuinely cool- there’s a massive ancient graveyard of Crusader knights found buried in the London Underground and the knights wake up at some point as zombies and start fighting everybody.

I’d watch a movie about that, now. There’s something very eerie about ancient knights. I’ve found them fascinating ever since watching whichever Indiana Jones fillum had an old knight at the end of it. The thought that they might live for hundreds of years, guarding whatever tomb or jewel or structure they’d been set to guarding by a higher power, is extremely interesting to me.

I do believe that that’s the end of the movie, folks, except that they may- groan- have left the door open for a sequel. God Almighty. Like I said earlier, I do love Tom Cruise and fancy the sculpted muscular arse off him, but this film should probably be quietly burned in a bonfire on the moors somewhere and never mentioned again. Even the special effects, which I presume cost, like, millions of U.S. dollars, are only ‘meh’ at best, for all the effect they have on one. (Did you like that ‘on one’ bit? ‘S dead posh, innit?)

Those of you who read my reviews regularly know that I like to take a positive view of most films, and there are some bits to like about this one, namely, the ancient knights, but Tom Cruise doesn’t even get his kit off in it, so I’ll literally never watch this movie again. And, if a sequel does ever come out, I’m going to hide under a pile of coats and hope to Christ that it’ll all be over soon.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
Her new book, THIRTEEN STOPS EARLIER, is out now from Poolbeg Books:
Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:
The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:





This is Christopher Lee’s last film outing as super-villainous arch-criminal mastermind, Fu Manchu, and his last time to don the moustaches, rubber-soled shoes, little silk caps and regal Oriental robes of said villain.

This time around, Fu Manchu has the mad idea of controlling the world by freezing the oceans. Indeed, the start of the film is like TITANIC. He’s holed up in the governor’s castle in Istanbul (he’s taken over the castle) with a view to controlling the biggest opium port in Anatolia.

Now, while it’s no surprise to hear that Fu Manchu has his finger in the drugs pie, this time he actually needs the opium to fuel his ocean-freezing machine. Yes, reader, this is possibly the most far-fetched of all his zany schemes for world domination thus far, but who are we to judge, we who haven’t spent years studying and planning for world domination as Fu Manchu has done?

He needs the help of Dr. Heracles, an ailing scientist with a dicky ticker, to carry out his zany scheme. It’s this doctor’s magic crystals which will freeze the world’s oceans, see? But Dr. Heracles may not live long enough to carry out this mad plan of Fu Manchu’s. What to do, what to do?

Fu Manchu sends his men to kidnap a Dr. Kessler from England and his sexy colleague, a Dr. Ingrid, to perform heart surgery on Dr. Heracles. What would happen if they too got sick?

I suppose he’d just keep kidnapping more and more doctors until he eventually got the job done. But each quack has to be disposed of when he or she has outlived their usefulness, so the blood must flow before long…

English toff Nayland Smith, Fu Manchu’s Interpol/Scotland Yard nemesis, and his tea-drinking companion Dr. Petrie, are back once more to annoy the evil genius Fu Manchu, foil his plans and put the wind up him with their British doggedness and non-giving-up-ness.

Lin Tang, Fu Manchu’s beautiful, cruel daughter, is also here again, to say things like: ‘Father, they’re getting away!’ To which her unruffled Pops invariably answers: ‘They won’t get far.’ He keeps a cool head in a crisis, does Fu Manchu. Either that, or he has a lot of faith in his army of dacoits (bandits) to stop people from absconding.

I love the Fu Manchu Broadcasting System. It’s a lot like the Voice of Terror in the 1942 film SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE VOICE OF TERROR, in which a stern German voice announces catastrophes the Nazis are planning to inflict on the British nation just before they happen. Fu Manchu has great fun threatening the world on his little toy. ‘The world shall hear from me again…!’

I’m sure it will, Fu Manchu, ya crazy loon. I’m sure it will.


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books.





‘The world shall hear of me again…!’

Nowadays we’d probably be making all kinds of noises about cultural appropriation and how white English males should under no circumstances be permitted to play Asian characters in film, but 1968 was a simpler, more politically incorrect, time, lol.

Horror icon Christopher Lee looks surprisingly authentic here as the magnificentally moustached Oriental villain Fu Manchu. Holed up in his Amazonian jungle hideaway with a number of beautiful female slaves suspended from hooks in the ceiling, you’d think he’d have enough to do, recreationally speaking, without wanting to be bothered about world domination as well, but bothered he most definitely is.

Having discovered a novel method of killing known as ‘the Kiss of Death,’ where women bitten by a kind of venomous snake carry the poison in their mouths and can kill chosen males by kissing them on the lips, Fu Manchu is in his gleefully evil element.

He duly dispatches ten beautiful, venom-infected female slaves to go do that voodoo that you do so well, or, in other words, to murder his ten biggest enemies all over the world, including his nemesis, Nayland Smith, in London.

But Nayland Smith is British, you see, and is made of sterner stuff than to curl up his toes and die when kissed by a hot chick. Accompanied by his even more British chum, Dr. Petrie, he pursues Fu Manchu to his jungle hideaway, much to the chagrin of the murderous Asian mastermind.

You simply wouldn’t believe how chagrined Fu Manchu is, lol. He and his drop-dead-sexy Oriental daughter Lin Tang, who’s even crueller than her cold, cruel father, are both apoplectic with rage at the unsporting unwillingness of Nayland Smith to politely succumb to the Kiss of Death like a good fellow.

Have their plans for world domination, using mass-produced vials of the deadly snake venom to kill thousands of human beings, foiled by a couple of tea-drinking, public school botty-whackers? The very idea. Their vengeance will be swift and deadly. Unless of course it’s foiled first, as I said…

My favourite character is the super-English, tea-swilling Dr. Petrie, whom you can totally imagine using expressions like ‘top-hole,’ ‘jolly good,’ ‘old boy’ and ‘what-ho, old chap!’ I love when he says ‘Cold tea and no horses? I wonder why I go abroad!’ Quaite raight, old chap. Quaite raight.

I also love the boozy, rapacious character of Sancho Lopez, the outsized, larger-than-life, lust-and-dust-begrimed bandit, who ends up captured by Fu Manchu and reluctantly working for the splendidly moustached villain.

Ditto the character of attractive archaeologist Carl Jansen, who’s poking about the jungly area looking for the ‘lost city’ that Fu Manchu has already discovered and made his own.

Maria Rohm plays sexy nursie Ursula Wagner, daughter of the archaeological professor who is killed while working with Carl, and she seems warm for Carl’s steaming, sweaty form. Bond Girl and Carry On beauty Shirley Eaton brings sex and evil to the role of one of Fu Manchu’s deadly priestesses.

A few boobies can be seen bouncing around this Boys’ Own-style action-adventure film with a hint of espionage and a soupcon of derring-do, but I would definitely have put in more sex myself.

Fu Manchu lives surrounded by beautiful female slaves who are utterly in thrall and bondage to him. Surely he could have bestirred himself to slip the odd slave girl the benefit of his honourable Oriental boner? Ah well. We can but dream.


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books.


duel dennis weaver



This fantastic little thriller is every bit as much a horror movie as the famous director’s later blockbuster film, JAWS, in which a monstrous killer shark is literally stalking the waters off the island of Amity, a popular tourist destination, and its destruction is left to one man.

If you’ve seen photos of a ridiculously young and handsome Steven Spielberg during the making of DUEL, you’ll have seen that he looks like a moody director of French New Wave movies in which marriages fail and complex relationships become ever more entwined, lol. So moody, so handsome, and all before he’d filmed so much as a single reel of film featuring a velociraptor with a mind of its own. (‘Clever girl…!’)

DUEL, Steven Spielberg’s debut film, is the deceptively simple story of an ordinary man, anonymously called Dave Mann, a salesman who is travelling down the highway in his car one sunny day to meet with a prospective client before the client jumps in a plane and flies away out of reach.

We see Mann driving out of his garage, we hear the mindless chatter of the chat shows on the car radio as he drives along and we see the city traffic thinning out as Mann reaches those long stretches of isolated out-of-town American highway where the long arm of the law seems conspicuous by its absence, and where, therefore, all kinds of lawlessness can be tolerated.

It happens slowly at first. A monster truck, like one of the trucks from Stephen King’s MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE, gradually intrudes itself on Mann’s consciousness. First it’s behind him, tailgating him to the point of being uncomfortable, then it’s ahead of him but moving aggravatingly slowly. ‘I’ve given you the highway, Jack, why don’t you take it…?’

Mann eventually realises that the anonymous truck driver, of whom we only see glimpses- an arm out the window, usually, or a sighting of a pair of cowboy boots- has actual harmful intentions towards him. The driver waves him on ahead at one point, to Mann’s relief, and Mann takes him up on his offer, only to drive straight out into the path of an oncoming vehicle. From this point onwards, a state of war exists between Mann and the truck driver.

Mann’s emotions range from triumphant elation when he wins a schoolboyish victory over the truck driver to absolute blind terror when he sees that the truck driver wants him dead, and seemingly has no problem with destroying other people’s property or maybe even lives in order to do it.

The psychological tension is ramped ever upwards as Mann desperately tries to explain his predicament to the few people he meets on the highway, but no-one believes him. They all think he’s the crazy one; for example, when the truck driver actually helps the broken-down school bus, whereas Mann just comes across to the school bus driver as someone who has a bit of a screw loose. It’s so unfair, but poor Mann just can’t seem to catch a break.

I love the scene at the diner, where we’re absolutely convinced that we’ve met the real truck driver having his lunch, but then it turns out not to be him. The scene at the roadside petrol station and snake farm after the truck driver has cut a murderous swathe through it all is chaotically spellbinding. Poor Mr. Mann with a tarantula on his trouser leg…! Talk about things can always get worse…

The viewers know by now that they are witnessing a fight to the death. Even Mann probably knows this by now, just like Chief Brody in JAWS is more than likely aware too that either he’s going to kill that massive, man-eating shark or the shark is going to kill him. There can be no other in-betweeny endings. Kill or be killed, that’s how primeval and elemental these two life-or-death struggles are. Mann is Brody and Brody is Mann. God help that truck-driving shark, that’s all I can say…


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


You can contact Sandra at:








moby dick bones



‘From Hell’s heart I stab at thee…’

Written sometime in 1850 and including factual details picked up by the author whilst on a whaling voyage he undertook in 1841, MOBY DICK or THE WHALE is considered to be one of the greatest novels of all time, never mind just the greatest American one.

I have the book here beside me as I write this, although I must confess that I haven’t yet read it. This, despite the fact that the inscription on the fly-leaf reminds me that I bought it in 2009, lol. The problem is that the technical detail on the physical practice of whaling takes up a large part of the book and it’s probably that alone which has prevented me from reading it thus far.

I’d find such endless detail tiresome and even gruesome, given that it deals with the slaughter of the beautiful whales themselves. It’s upsetting even in the film to see the sailors harpooning these majestic beasts of the sea, but back then, I suppose they had no other way of acquiring the lamp oil to light up their homes and businesses. Where do they get it from nowadays? I haven’t got a Blue’s Clues…

The film, a cracking adventure movie the quality of which you’d be hard pushed to find the likes of today, tells the story of a personable young seafaring man called Ishmael. Ishmael has a longing to go on another sea voyage but, not only that, this time around he wants to learn the trade of whaling as well.

He fetches up in an American sea-port called New Bedford, where he asks Peter Coffin, the landlord of the local tavern, to put him up for the night. Oh sure, says the landlord genially, it’s no problem so long as you don’t mind sharing a bed. No bother, says Ishmael. Clearly this kind of thing wasn’t unusual back then. Nowadays, you’d be a bit put out, I daresay.

His bed-fellow is the most unusual person Ishmael has ever met. A so-called ‘cannibal’ from one of the islands where ‘savages’ live, Quee-queg, a chief in his own tribe, is six foot seven inches in height and tattooed all over his stern face and manly chest, kind of like the way a Maori might be but not exactly. Quee-queg has only limited English but it’s enough to get by, and he enjoys looking at sea-faring pictures in books.

After initially being scared half to death by the gigantic ‘cannibal’ with the harpoon and the shrunken heads in his luggage, Ishmael takes an immediate liking to the pipe-smoking, heathenish Quee-queg. ‘Better a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.’ The liking is mutual and the pair resolve to go whaling together on the same ship. Off they go down to the docks together for a look-see to suss out what’s on offer in the whaling line.

They end up on the PEQUOD, a whaling ship that has as its crew the same jolly lads with whom Ishmael danced and drank on his first night at Peter Coffin’s inn. Ishmael and Quee-queg sign up and go aboard, but not before an odd-looking fellow loitering on the docks tells them that their ship, in fact their entire voyage, is doomed. Just what you want to hear when you’re about to set sail, right? Right.

One day while they’re at sea, he tells the pair, they’ll smell land where there is no land. On that day, he continues ominously, the ship’s captain, Captain Ahab, will go to his watery grave but then he’ll rise again and beckon, and the entire crew, save one only, will follow him unto death. It’s enough to give you the shivers.

Cheerio then, he says, or as good as, and saunters off, leaving the two lads flummoxed. They don’t know what to make of this mad fella and his zany predictions at all at all. And what was the fella’s name, anyway? You might well ask. Elijah ring any bells with you guys…?

The mysterious Captain Ahab, who doesn’t show himself to his curious crew until the PEQUOD is well out to sea, is brilliantly played by Gregory Peck (TO KILL A MOCKING-BIRD, etc.). A huge white whale- Moby Dick- once upon a time tore off his left leg, for which he now has an ivory substitute, and scarred his face for life.

A normal person would just thank their lucky stars that they’re still alive, and try to adjust to their prosthetic limb as best they could. Captain Ahab is not a normal person, however. He’s as mad as a box of frogs. He’s on the hunt for the white whale, so that he can kill it and avenge himself for the lost leg and ruined face.

He’ll give a Spanish gold doubloon to the man who first spots Moby Dick. What’s more, he gets the crew all hyped up on grog and menacing threats of ‘Death to Moby Dick! Death to Moby Dick!’ He’s determined to infect the crew with his own afflictions. The very thought of Moby Dick is like a cancer in his soul. He’s really got it bad, this guy.

Out there on the ocean, in the blazing heat of the noonday sun, the men get all caught up in the Captain’s madness, much to the alarm of Mr. Starbuck. This is Captain Ahab’s second-in-command and the only sane person on board the PEQUOD. I don’t know what he’s so worried about. He can always fall back on the money from his family’s legendary chain of coffee shops if he loses his job on the ship.

Some of the scenes that follow are really gripping. There’s the lookout falling into the sea and the men not being able to find a trace of him. ‘It’s as if the sea just swallowed him up,’ says Laughing Stubb, Carefree Stubb, but Stubb (played by Harry Andrews from ICE COLD IN ALEX) ain’t laughing nor carefree no more. Not over this. It’s too eerie, too disturbing.

There’s Quee-queg seeing his own death in the bones that he throws, then giving away to Ishmael all his worldly possessions- ‘Money yours, harpoon yours.’- and commissioning the ship’s carpenter, played by Irish actor Noel Purcell, to build him a durable coffin. ‘No water get in.’ Little Pip chanting ‘Quee-queg gon’ away,’ little knowing who’s going to be accompanying Quee-queg on his journey into the unknown.

There’s Captain Ahab ‘catching St. Elmo’s Fire by the tail’ and Mr. Starbuck trying to interest some of the crew in a mutiny, as the ship is no longer being used for its original purpose of whaling, but solely to pursue Ahab’s crazy vendetta against Moby Dick. Sorry mate, that’s the Bounty you’ll be wanting, is what they should have answered Mr. Starbuck with…!

Have you ever seen that episode of THE SIMPSONS where Homer tries to avenge himself against the bear that humiliated him in front of the whole town and got him featured on the KENT’S COWARDS slot of the local Channel 6 News?

‘Dad,’ Lisa Simpson sagely comments, ‘if MOBY DICK has taught us anything, it’s that you can’t get revenge against an animal!’ Does Homer listen to his know-it-all daughter? Not so much. Well, on his own head be it, then, if he goes ahead with his bonkers scheme to bring Tubby Bear to a grisly/grizzly end. See what I did there?

The scenes of Moby Dick himself are simply magnificent. The white whale is enormous, the kind of thing you might see in your nightmares, a veritable ‘mountain of snow.’ (Good news for cocaine users, lol, a mountain of ‘snow’ that no-one can legally lay claim to and which is therefore there for the taking!) 

The film’s ending is one of the most memorable in cinema history, so I won’t spoil it for you. I think Elijah the Big Fat Blabbermouth so-called Prophet might have taken care of that already, lol. Nice one, Lije…

Orson Welles has an important four-minute cameo- yes, I timed it!- in the film as Father Mapple, the minister who gives a sermon  from the pulpit of his little church to all those heading out to sea. It’s a handy way of calling down God’s blessing on your little nautical endeavours. The pulpit is composed of the front bit of a ship, the bit where you have the masthead, and the minister has a rope ladder to get up and down by, just like in a ship. It’s beyond cool.

All over the church are memorials to the local men who lost their lives whaling. So many memorials. So many lost men. You’d wonder at Ishmael and his pals, rushing blithely off to do a job that’s so damned dangerous. They can’t all be trying to evade paying their child support. Or can they? You know what, 1850 or 2050, I wouldn’t be at all surprised.


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger, poet and book-and-movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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