The Invitation (2015)

Self-assured and very conscious of its pacing in every sense, “The Invitation” is a sombre, tense take on the “dinner party from hell” mystery/thriller/horror subgenre. The film does an excellent job of building up its tension and layering its character relationships so when the ugliness of the third act begins, it feels as much catharsis…

Venom (2018)

From the poster to the tone to the tie-in song, “Venom” feels like it could have come out fourteen years ago. The utter edgy shlock of it all, the poster riffing off Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man 2”, the Eminem title track, even the utter lunacy of Tom Hardy’s deranged, Jim Carry-esque performance. What a complete delight.…

Torchwood: Hidden (2008) by Steven Savile

“Hidden” is an odd story in an odd range, a series of ten audiobooks not based on any actual books. That is, these stories were never released in print, they exist only as read-aloud-audiobooks, even though the actual writing is entirely prose and in every sense a novel. This enlivens the actual stories being told…

Torchwood: Border Princes (2007) by Dan Abnett

It’s interesting that the first novel in this Torchwood tie-in range precipitated something the actual series would later cover (a relationship of Owen’s in around 2004 factoring into why he joined Torchwood, in “Fragments”), because this novel much more directly does something a later episode (”Adam”) would do, in introducing a new member of the…

Searching (2018)

A first-person Internet thriller, told entirely from the vantage point of a computer screen (the film commits impressively to this, never abandoning the conceit at all, even if it means the trope of “watching news footage on a website” is overused at times), and told with unusual detail and care. As a kind of cousin…

Mandy (2018)

A glorious, facemelting psychedelic rock and roll descent into horror. As much crazy dream as unforgettable trip. Gonzo and surreal, and made with awe-inspiring amounts of style. A screed against the might of cosmic destructive forces (the film opens with deforestation but it’s a memorable monologue about Jupiter, as well as space landscapes, that make…

Torchwood: Another Life (2007) by Peter Anghelides

Peter Anghelides writes what you’d expect from this range, at the time three novels published a week after the first series finale of Torchwood, set between the third and fourth episodes of that series. As the raunchier, gorier, ostensibly darker and more mature post-watershed spin-off of Doctor Who, perhaps one could reasonably assume its tie-in…