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The Teardrop Method Review – Another Stunning Novella from an Esteemed Publisher

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The Teardrop Method by Simon Avery, TTA Press

The Teardrop Method by Simon Avery, cover artWritten by Simon Avery

Published by TTA Press


Singer/songwriter Krisztina Ligetti, stuck in a creative and professional rut in Budapest, uncovers a fantastical resurrection for her musical career following the death of the love of her life, Alice, in Simon Avery’s The Teardrop Method. At the bedside of her critically injured beloved, Krisztina discovers that she can hear songs of the soul – musical representations of the lives of those who are about to die, rendered manifest in her ears with increasing clarity as death closes in.

Resolving to complete a new album – partly as a way of cementing the memory of Alice – Krisztina spends her days trudging through the snow-laden Budapest streets, following the notes on the air and ensuring she’s nearby when the unwitting producers of these melodies meet their various ends.

From suicide, to assassination, old age, and accidental death, it is in these final moments that the songs fully reveal themselves to Krisztina, who quickly heads back to her home to translate and record what is sure to form another breakout album. But when Krisztina’s usually passive observation – or channelling, if you will – of the machinations of life and death is interrupted by the unforeseen murder of one of her subjects, she finds herself placed in the sights of someone with a similar ‘gift’.

Yet while Krisztina is meek, passivity is not an option for her mysterious – and insane – counterpart. For them, cold-blooded murder is the only way to extract creative energy from others… and Krisztina’s story is one that has been calling to them on the wind.

The Teardrop Method is a novella that swims in both the melancholy and the elation shared by many things – life, love, artistry, personal wounds, forgiveness, repentance, and reparation – all coated with the glittering sheen of Hungarian snow, and the ever-present scent of European cafés. Avery’s prose is remarkably absorbing, quickly easing the reader into Krisztina’s shoes as she channels her way through the creation of her latest album – a work that feels more reverent of those whose demises have fuelled it than it is exploitative of their tragedies.

There’s a sense of pureness there that’s superbly offset against the corrupt and insane nature of the work of Krisztina’s counterpart – a series of writings metaphorically soaked with the blood from slit throats, punctured hearts, and lives cut short in a greedy, self-serving artistic fervour. The connection to a horribly disfigured man who was once a beautiful, sought-after model but now hides behind a porcelain mask following a tragic road accident adds an extra layer of metaphor to dissect – not to mention more than a few astute nods to European genre cinema.

A quote from Nicholas Royle, printed on the rear cover of The Teardrop Method, delivers his opinion that the story could very well be the novelisation of a lost Argento movie, and a more apt description would be difficult to conjure. Majestic and compelling throughout, The Teardrop Method is an exemplary specimen of a standout novella. It’s beautifully written, excellently produced, and a sign of Black Static publisher TTA Press at the top of their game.

Speaking of Black Static, The Teardrop Method also contains Avery’s complete short story, Going Back to the World. Originally published in issue 44 of TTA Press’s aforementioned regular publication, Going Back to the World shares a few pieces of connective tissue with the novella being reviewed and makes for a nice extra.

  • The Teardrop Method
5.0

Summary

An exquisitely-drawn tale of creative strife and human emotion, awash with European ambience… and blood.

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7 GUARDIANS OF THE TOMB Review – Rest Easy, Indiana Jones, There’s Not Much To See Here

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Starring Kellan Lutz, Bingbing Li, Kelsey Grammar

Directed by Kimble Rendall


If it only weren’t for those friggin’ spiders. Kimble Rendall’s adventurous flick, 7 Guardians Of The Tomb is one of those “wanted to be, yet couldn’t quite hit the mark” action-films that will probably entertain those looking for some cave-dwelling escapades caught on celluloid, but for the more picky aficionado of said slam-bang pics, this one might be viewed as a bit stagnant. Let’s strap on our mining helmets and pick around this one, shall we?

Acting as a bit of a search-and-rescue formation, the movie tails alongside Dr. Jia Lee (Li) as she hunts down the whereabouts of her missing brother after losing contact with him while he was on expedition in Western China. Apparently he was looking for a secretive Emperor’s tomb that supposedly holds a potion that can reanimate, or re-invigorate…or rehabilitate – anyway you slice it, the juice has got some pretty potent powers. So a search team is assembled, led by Mason (Grammar – glad someone got Frasier off of the barstool), and he’s latched onto all-American fella Jack (Lutz) to assist this operation. As it turns out, the initial journey is cut off fairly quick when a violent electrical storm forces the group to head underground, and that’s when things get creepy and crawly…like 8-legged style. The film is ripe with some feverish action and a few decent performances, but it’s the overall framework that acts as the big bully, tauntingly kicking sand in the little guy’s face at the beach.

We’ve got love interests, a flurry of backstories, and oh my lord, those spiders! Yep, even the heartiest of CGI can effectively ruin a good case of the willies when it comes to arachnids and their powers of sucking humans and animals dry of their lifeforce. It’s an intently goofy movie, and even the dialogue seems a bit showy at times, leaving plausibility and intelligence at the entrance to the caves. Lutz is fun to watch as the burly rescuer, and he looks as the type who is just waiting for his cinematic moment to step into the spotlight. What pains me is that this movie really could have been something much bigger, and apparently it looks as if the majority of the film’s budget was wasted on those hokey-looking computerized spiders.

All in all, 7 Guardians Of The Tomb is spotty entertainment, even if you despise those little skittering aphids racing towards you, programmed or not. Give it a peek if Raiders Of The Lost Ark isn’t readily available at your disposal…even that crappy Crystal Skull one.

  • Film
2.5

Summary

A film that could have been so much more adventure-wise instead comes off looking like a lesson in how not to waste too much time on computer imagery.

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Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 160 – A QUIET PLACE

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Lately, it seems as though comedy actors are cutting their teeth as horror directors and absolutely killing it! This year’s indie horror darling comes in the form of John Krasinki’s A Quiet Place. Chris has been sick as a dog, so the haomie Christine from Horrible Imaginings Film Fest is filling in to discuss whether A Quiet Place is 2018’s horror heavyweight, or just a lot of noise.

What Bruno took was what changed me; it only amplifies your essence. It simply makes you more of what you already are. It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 160!

If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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THE DEVIL AND FATHER AMORTH Review: Friedkin Goes Mondo Catholic

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Starring Father Gabriele Amorth

Directed by William Friedkin


Hitting theaters this weekend in NYC and LA is William Friedkin’s new documentary, The Devil and Father Amorth. And right away I am asked: “Is it ‘good’?” You don’t watch a documentary like this with that in mind. Faces of Death, Traces of Death, Mondo Cane. They are not here to be “good”—they are beyond words like that. Beyond good and bad.

It is more like the sideshow—Behold! See what has not been seen before! The Horror! The Forbidden! And you hand the man your ticket — you see The Arabian Giantess at the flea market in New Jersey, and maybe it is a sleight of hand and made of papier-mâché, but it was worth that dollar, and now you have a story. You have bought your way into the unknown.

The Devil and Father Amorth is light on science (and length – it runs just 68 minutes) and heavy on faith. If you have been exposed to Friedkin’s — or more specifically, William Peter Blatty’s — work, there is the struggle with belief in the Roman Catholic faith, and also in the search for evidence of the miracle. You could also prove the Force of Divine Good if you could face the opposite side of the coin—the Force of Evil, in the vernacular of Catholicism—the Devil himself. Paradoxical, yes—faith exists without proof; and so what is the drive to tell the world God exists, the Devil exists?

In the documentary we learn Rome is filled with the possessed. Hundreds of people are contacting the Church about their own possession or the possession of their loved ones. The Most Holy Father Amorth is the person the Vatican has tapped to perform exorcisms—thousands of them. And sometimes he has repeat business. Christina is one such woman, exorcised nine times and still susceptible to the Force of Evil. Those of us who are non-believers look at this woman as someone who is troubled—but “through the eyes of faith,” obviously it is a demon.

Surrounded by her family, the rite begins, and you see… an actual exorcism. There is no enhancement, no Dick Smith make-up; it is not as dramatic as we want it to be. Should we get her help that is not in the form of a witch doctor? What about doctors? And so we meet them.

Friedkin brings the footage to top hospitals in NYC. Psychologists give their point of view. Then neurosurgeons. They don’t know what’s going on—the exorcism seems to help, but they do see that it might be a cultural remnant. There is a medical diagnosis for it, as it can affect anyone of any faith. But the doc never digs too deep. I am disappointed: I needed to know more. I don’t believe it.

Are they hurting Christina? Is she just another female the Church is suppressing, as they did with witches—the control, the stigma, of the female body and identity? None of this is explored because it’s just a 1-dollar ticket under the striped tent, just left of the dancing girls and the strong man—Actual! Exorcist! Footage! Hurry up and see!

As Friedkin mentioned himself, when someone asks you to film an exorcism, you say yes. So see it for the freak show. Expect nothing else. And either you believe or you don’t, based on how you were raised — mythology, religion, or superstition.

  • The Devil and Father Amorth
2.0

Summary

See it for the freak show. Expect nothing else.

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