Category Archives: Ogmios/David Ward

David Ward On… Hellblazer

My column on all things Hellblazer is going to start in the middle. Why? Because beginnings reek of convention, something that strikes me as anathema to John Constantine. So I’m going to skip over scores of brilliant writers and artists, some of whom are my favourite in the field, and go straight for Mike Carey, who took the reins of Hellblazer from Brian Azzarello in 2002. He starts with a dead man. Read the rest of this entry

31 Days of Horror: Through the Woods – Emily Carroll


Through the Woods
Emily Carroll
McElderry Books

As a child, I remember being terrified when I first heard the story of Bluebeard (“Be bold, be bold…” still runs a shiver down my spine). It may have been the first time I ever heard a truly scary fairy tale—something that toed the line between a fairy story and gruesome horror. Not much later, I was introduced to the original Grimms’ Fairy Tales, which, as lovers of fairy tales and myths we all discover, are absolutely nothing like the sanitized versions we know from Disney and the children’s section of most bookstores. Some prefer the gruesome ones; some prefer the nicer ones; some prefer a balance. Fairy tales, like most fictions, are totally subjective, but I definitely fell for the darker, bloodier stuff. “What do you mean, they cut her toes off to fit in that slipper?” More after the jump.

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Doctor Who S08 E10: In the Forest of the Night


“The forest is mankind’s nightmare.”

… says the Doctor, looking around a newly forested Trafalgar Square. Over the course of one night a massive forest has grown up everywhere. Not just London, not just the United Kingdom, not just Europe – everywhere. The Earth is covered in forest, from top to bottom.

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31 Days of Horror 2014 – Byzantium


When I sat down to watch Neil Jordan’s masterful 2012 vampire film, Byzantium, I was filled with more than a little apprehension. I gave up on the “beautiful” vampire some time in the late 1990s when Lestat, protagonist of Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles, was busy entertaining self-indulgent and mediocre conversations with God and the Devil in Memnoch the Devil (a largely forgettable novel). “That’s it!” I thought, and throwing the book to the ground, I vowed to never again indulge in the onanistic drivel of most teen goths. Don’t even get me started on the Twilight franchise.  More on Byzantium after the jump.

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H.R. Giger – 1940-2014

One of my earliest memories is staring, with abject horror, at an image of a large, slick worm with razor-sharp teeth thrusting out from the page through a man’s burst and bleeding chest. My father owned an illustrated version of the Alien script, and it was full of photographs from the film. I knew I shouldn’t have been looking at that book; it was a taboo. This was my introduction to the creations of Hans Rudolf Giger, the Swiss surrealist painter who died yesterday, tragically, in hospital after falling down a stairwell.

Giger AlienGiger spent most of his life bringing nightmares to life with intensely disturbing subjects and landscapes that gave pleasure through their utter wrongness. You’d find landscapes of dead babies, flesh-like deserts, gateways to terror, and creatures of unknowable horror made even more disturbing by their all-too recognizable genitalia. His paintings, particularly those framed in his biomechanoid phase, reminded me of industrial music: layers and layers of strangeness that could be viewed on macro- and microcosmic levels. There was also a very dark sense of humour in a lot of his work; through the twisted and brutalized forms were comical faces and situations – from Timothy Leary’s open, laughing mouth and brilliant, maelstrom-wrought eyes to a porcine, lascivious Aleistar Crowley wearing a dunce cap. Every time I look at one of my Giger books, I spend a lot of time looking at every painting. I discover something new each and every time.
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Happy Thorsday! David Ward on Thor and Loki

Thor is a twit.

He’s boastful, arrogant, temperamental, and downright stupid. His half-brother, Loki, got the advantage on him more times than not, and Thor’s ususal response was to hit him with a hammer or come crying back (well, ok, screaming and yelling – that’s more manly, after all) to the Allfather, Odin. I can’t blame Loki for playing games with the Asgardian; he kept falling for them. He was quite possibly the easiest Mark in Norse myth, and for the trickster Loki, a source of endless entertainment.
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Return To Torrance: David Ward on Doctor Sleep


Perhaps it’s due to my early reading life furnished in horror, but for as long as I can remember, I have been intensely aware of my inner conversations and thoughts, because I never know who might be listening. I don’t believe in psychic phenomena, and I’ve never seen or experienced anything to dissuade me from this opinion, but I also don’t claim to have an in-depth knowledge of the inner workings of the mind or the brain’s physiology. I suppose I remain both open- and closed-minded on the prospect.

I blame Stephen King for this – some of the first novels I ever read were by him and surrounded the nature of psychic power: Carrie, Firestarter, and, of course, The Shining. In fact, I think it may be The Shining that made me really consider the idea that someone could actually hear my thoughts. While hardly a visceral terror, I find the notion of someone impinging on my mind to be a horrifying concept. I’ve always loved King’s approach to psychic power; instead of a godlike power akin to something you’d find in the pages of X-Men, King’s psychics run a whole spectrum. Some have next to none; some just have a glimmer; some shine.
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Saturday At The Movies: The World’s End – We Want to Get Loaded . . . and have a good time


After a hiatus of over two years, I decided to go to the movies last Saturday. While I both adore watching and going to the movies, for some reason over the past twenty-four months, I was plagued with apathy when it came to the silver screen. The last film I saw in the theatre was X-Men: First Class, and while there have been plenty of films that have come out in the past two years that I’ve been more than a little interested in, I simply wasn’t able to kick myself in the ass and get to them. Well, apathy be damned – last Saturday I went to see the amazing The World’s End.

Andy recently gave this a good, though not rave, review on Biff Bam Pop, and I was a little surprised about how lacklustre he found the film. Of the three films in the self-styled Cornetto Trilogy (coined by writer-director Edgar Wright and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost – they comprise Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End), I’m starting to think that The World’s End is my favourite of the three. Given my love for Shaun of the Dead, I do not say this lightly.
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Saturday At The Movies: Johnny Mnemonic

In 1984, an unassuming technophobic geek from Vancouver named William Gibson penned one of, if not the, seminal works of what would later be called cyberpunk. The book, Neuromancer, was a tale of computers, espionage, and artificial intelligences that took the science-fiction world by storm, winning both the Hugo and Nebula awards. He had also written a number of other short stories, which were later collected in the book Burning Chrome, and one of these stories, Johnny Mnemonic, was later made into a film of the same name in 1995.

I saw Johnny Mnemonic around its release, and it was bloody awful. Barring a few interesting bits of music, the film is one catastrophe after another, and it makes one’s teeth itch regularly throughout. The other day, for some masochistic reason, I decided to re-watch the film for the first time in almost twenty years to see if it was quite as bad as I remembered. It did not disappoint.
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Saturday At The Movies: They’re All Going to Laugh At You – David Ward Revisits Carrie

In October, we will see the release of the remade Carrie, this time starring Chloë Grace Moretz in the titular role and Julianne Moore as her religious-zealot, overbearing, and abusive mother. I am cautiously optimistic about this upcoming film, as I feel both Moretz and Moore are singularly gifted actors who will likely bring something very interesting to the roles, never mind the special effects, which will almost certainly eclipse those in the last twenty to thirty minutes of the 1976 original.


Given the new film is coming out in the next few months, I decided, for the first time in many years, to re-watch Brian DePalma’s take on Stephen King’s first (well, first published) novel. I wasn’t disappointed. Despite the feathered hair and, in terms of today’s displays, rather lacklustre effects (even for the time, the effects are pretty cringe-worthy in places), it still holds up as a terrific supernatural thriller encased in a horrific tale of adolescent abuse, both at the hands of Carrie’s peers and her mother.

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