He Never Died (2015) The Secret Is in the Sauce (Review)

Written and directed by Jason Krawczyk He Never Died stars Henry Rollins (Sons of Anarchy, Con Man) and while it is publicized as a dramedy/thriller, it feels more like a supernatural drama without the thriller and the comedy is of the blackest sort. The film is dark and odd and one of those features that is impossible to stop watching.

Henry Rollins and Jordan Todosey

Written and directed by Jason Krawczyk  He Never Died stars Henry Rollins (Sons of Anarchy, Con Man) and while it is publicized as a dramedy/thriller, it feels more like a supernatural drama without the thriller and the comedy is of the blackest sort. The film is dark and odd and one of those features that is impossible to stop watching.

Rollins, whom I’d never seen before a couple of episodes of Stitchers and Alan Tudyk‘s Con Manplays “Jack” and this quiet man, who never leaves his apartment except for food, hides a mysterious past and has a penchant for doing violence to people who vex him. 

Jack’s daughter Andrea (Jordan Todosey) stops by but does not stay and Jack has his supply interrupted when his deliveryman is kidnapped. Andrea’s mother asks that he pick her up from a bar and the two attempt to bond. 

There is a sort of “love interest” in the waitress Cara (Kate Greenhouse) and the local villain is played by Steven Ogg. As the film progresses we learn that Jack is a morose and incredibly bored chap.  Hints to his past crop up here and there and it appears that the man has been around a very long time. 

Andrea: So… the civil war, what was that like?

Jack: I don’t know, I was in china…

Jack has been around so long in fact that he is beyond jaded and last had sex when Andrea was conceived. His daughter is around 19 and not a poster child for sobriety or polite conversation:

Andrea: I, uh, don’t have money, so…

Jack: Then, how did you end up inebriated?

Andrea: Vaginas are like coupon books for alcohol.

He Never Died is amusing and Rollins is picture perfect as the character who has been on the earth practically since it’s birth and is patently bored out of his mind. Nothing motivates him until his blood supply is stopped, he also does not get overly excited about Andrea being kidnapped and threatened with death.

Perhaps the most comic bits have to do with Rollins’ deadpan delivery, only broken a few times, and his equally monotonous reaction to the violence perpetrated against his character.  Despite being an immortal Jack bleeds and bullets damage him.  He is immensely strong and the only thing to drop him in his tracks is poison, although that is not fatal.

Todosey make an interesting double act for some of the film and the “romance” between Greenhouse’s character and Jack is amusingly unrequited.  The film shows that Jack is just not interested in people, sex, or relationships.

While we learn that Jack is pretty much indestructible (although he can be hurt) and immortal, it is not until the last reel of the film that the revelation is made of who he  actually is. That information is only made really clear after Jack rants at the Goatee Man (Don Francks) in Alex’s (Ogg) bar. 

The film consists of long slow and oblique scenes which are intercut with violence.  Jack drinks human blood because he is cursed to roam the land forever since his murdered his brother.  Oddly, while Jack is meant to be Cain, there are signs that he once had wings that have been removed.

He Never Died is not a five star film. Krawczyk delivers an odd, quirky black comedy about the world’s first murderer and his eternal punishment.  The film offers food for thought, if one looks for it, in that it seems to imply that Earth really is Hell.

It also feels as though the secret of Jack is in the sauce (blood) that he drinks to keep from munching on his neighbors. There are a few times that he does eat “meat” but only the odd individual is chomped up and this seems to be the bored and angry man’s attempt at  atonement.

This is a 3.5  out of 5  stars, losing 1.5 for the storyline being so oblique that it looks ages for the backstory of Jack to sink in. Rollins kills it as the bored monster doomed to consume his fellow man and the rest of the cast perform  well.

He Never Died is streaming on Netflix at the moment and worth a look. If for no other reason to se Rollins as a monster.

‘Grimm’ Season Four: Alexis Denisof Back in TV World of the Supernatural

‘Grimm’ Season Four: Alexis Denisof Back in TV World of the Supernatural

TV audience members who have only just discovered the splendid supernatural world of Grimm, season four, will have noticed that a somewhat heavier, and older, Alexis Denisof is back in the land of fantasy and horror, this time on NBC. This modern day version of Grimm’s fairy tales has been around since 2011 and viewers who tuned in back then will notice that a lot has changed since a bald and dying Kate Burton (Daughter of the Welsh icon that was Richard Burton.) drove into Portland, Oregon and her nephew Nick Burkhardt’s life. Burton’s character departs the show by the end of the second episode of season one leaving her nephew the next in line of Grimm’s who can see creatures who inhabit human bodies and who must now “take care” of the ones who misbehave

Philip Seymour Hoffman Cory Monteith Connection Through Addiction

Philip Seymour Hoffman Cory Monteith Connection Through Addiction

Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his Greenwich Village apartment with a needle still in his arm and surrounded by bags of heroin on Sunday February 2; the second actor to die from this drug, Cory Monteith died last year on July 13 both men are connected through a singular problem; addiction. There was 15 years between them, Monteith was 31 years-old when he died and Hoffman 46. One was on his way up and Hoffman was well established as a masterful actor on stage and screen. The common theme that both shared was their addictive craving for drugs and their solitary deaths.

Burning the Middle Ground by L Andrew Cooper A Battle for Control

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Written by L Andrew Cooper and published by Blackwyrm Publishing, Burning Middle Ground is a supernatural cum horror cum occult novel. Featuring a religious zealot that will make you think immediately of that Westboro bunch, the book disturbs as much as it scares.

The book’s prologue deals with the murder/suicide of and entire family sans one, Brian. After the events on this tragic and horrible day, Brian doesn’t speak for an entire year. When he is released out into the community and he decides to move into his old house, feelings are mixed in the tiny burg.

The story is about small town USA and it’s a town split by two very different Christian factors. Investigative internet reporter Ronald Glassner goes to the small town of Kenning, Georgia to cover Brian’s return and besides fall for one of the local sheriff’s deputies, he gets caught up in a battle of wills between two churches. One of which is practising a religion older than Christianity and it’s very powerful.

Once Ronald arrives in the small town, strange things begin to happen. Animals run wild, impossible events become common place and people are acting very weird.

All the characters in Cooper’s book are likeable. I felt like I could identify with each and every one and they did a brilliant job of not just representing the denizens of the southern hemisphere of America, but they also had enough quirks and foibles to seem real.

Ronald has the acerbic wit and a sort of radar that helps him to sense when things are not right. He also tends to joke too much when he is stressed. As the third person narrator of the story he is charming, funny, scared and sensible.

The books main “bogey-man” Deacon Jake Warren is an outsider who has made Kenning his home and base of operation. He soon enlists the aid of Reverend Michael Cox a local “fire and brimstone, eye for an eye” man of the cloth. Soon Cox’s wife and the local sheriff are part of his plans for Kenning as well.

In the opposite camp you have Jeanne Harper who runs a church that practices a more peaceful and loving religion she counts, among her flock, Brian and his girl friend Melanie and a small handful of locals who don’t like what Rev Cox preaches. Especially as it was one of his sermons that appeared to have set off the stream of events at the beginning of the book.

With imagery that would not look out of place in a Stephen King or Peter Straub book, Cooper has created a world that, despite its nightmarish aspect, is very cinematic and easy to picture in your mind as you encounter it. I became quite attached to all the main characters and as they struggle to the conclusion of this story, I felt bad when bad things happened to them.

This is obviously the beginning of what promises to be a brilliant series and I cannot wait to see what Mr Cooper has in store for the survivors of Kenning.

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Repeaters (2010): Groundhog Day Hell

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What would you do if you had a chance to relive just one day over and over? Try to change your destiny? Change the world? Change your life? In a 24 hour rewind you wouldn’t think that there would be a huge opportunity to change very much. Three “twenty-somethings” find out just how life changing a repeated second chance is in this brilliant little film from Canada.

Written by Arne Olsen (Relic Hunter, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie)  and directed by Carl Bessai (Severed, Normal) Repeaters is the story of three inmates of a drug rehabilitation centre in Mission City. Kyle Halstead (Dustin Milligan), Sonia Logan (Amanda Crew) and Michael Weeks (Richard De Clerk) all hang out together and one event filled day they become caught in a time warp that results in them re-living that day repeatedly.

The combination of great story-line and great performances by the lead actors made this spontaneous purchase of an 8 pound DVD turn into a real gem of a film.

Richard De Clert, Amanda Crew and
Richard De Clert, Amanda Crew and Dustin Milligan.

The publicity/marketing for the film states that the film is like Taken meets Groundhog Day. Now that sounds good, but in my humble opinion the film is more like Groundhog Day meets Flatliners.

My only real problem with the film was the lead actors resemblance’s to other actors and (in one case) to one of my first cousins. The most obvious one was Amanda Crew who looked so much like Jennifer Love Hewitt that I kept wondering how she’d managed to look so young. Obviously the film makers saw this resemblance as they never lost an opportunity to put a knit hat on her head that enhanced the likeness.

Still, resemblances aside, the actors did a magnificent job in the film. The three of them interacted with each other and other characters in the film, brilliantly.

The best thing about the film, was their evolving feelings about the repetitious day. Denial, acceptance, enjoyment, disillusionment. and realisation. Unfortunately, the two male characters had more of a story arch than the female lead, but despite the slight annoyance of this fact the film still delivered a pretty impressive punch.

There is not a whole lot of information available on this 2010 Canadian independent film, but they do still have a website: Repeaters.

If you get a chance, check this film out. This is the third Canadian film to completely blow me away and it’s left me with a growing admiration for my “first cousins” and their creative ability.

A real 5 star film about a supernatural event that will blow you away.

Watch this film.

Director Carl Bessai.
Director Carl Bessai.