Review: A Vampire’s Passion (A Romance In Central City, Book 3) by Jordan K. Rose

a vampire's passionReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Brandt is aware of homeless going missing and an evil army vowing to take control of the city, but if he has anything to do with it, they won’t get the chance. Brandt has enough trouble on a reconnaissance mission to find out more on Menhadens, a restaurant in Central City. There he meets Rachel a waitress working there who takes his fancy almost in an instant with her amazing blue eyes.

Review: We first meet Brandt when he’s busy scoping Menhadens for the kind of people who enter the establishment. Brandt doesn’t like having a sidekick, and certainly not one he labels as the world’s most irritating vampire, Garrison. After being on Earth for a hundred years, he still can’t get on with people the way he hopes. He always gets ribbed about being anti-social by his sidekick and anyone else who knows him. When he meets Rachel she’s the most stubborn woman he has ever met, but there is something about her he can’t resist, even being a vampire.

He and Garrison are looking into the dangerous and cruel experiments that Panthera Laboratories are getting up to, and he is afraid that Rachel might also be getting caught up in them. Raymond Tyrone is the kingpin and things could get bad if anyone finds out. Rachel might have an attitude that offends the ones who eat at Menhadens, yet out of work she’s a caring person who feeds a street guy affectionately called “Hank.” She remembers growing up poor as a kid, and doesn’t mind sneaking food out of the work’s kitchens if it means saving someone from starving. Brandt begins to question his standing as a vampire when she has the ability to resist him, even though he is more than interested in her being the one for him. Rachel compliments Brandt’s lack of human warmth toward the men he works with, as she is compassionate even if she is stubborn.

Good Bits:

  • The humour that runs through the whole novel.
  • Brandt is a very well thought out character and proves it.
  • A place called Crap Alley and who coined the name.

Summary: This is a vampire cop mystery that will interest those interested in supernatural romance, and though it might seem that Brandt and Rachel aren’t made for each other, it could be said readers might change their minds half way through.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: A Vampire’s Passion: A Romance In Central City, Novella Three

Review: Romancing the Dead by Tate Halloway

romancing the deadReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Garnet is planning a wedding with a vampire, but when he goes missing, she is left with Sebastian’s half-vampire / all attitude son, Matyas giving her grief and having to explain what happened.

Review: Garnet can’t believe she was going to marry Sebastian Von Traum – yet she’s going to have all she desires even if she has her reservations as she suspects he has a roving eye for other ghouls, I mean girls, and his apparent attraction to Blythe causes her to think that he might not be taking their marriage seriously enough. It’s not easy running her own shop, Mercury Crossing, and covers where Sebastian helps her out – even though none of them gel with him being an undead blood-sucker.

Good bits:

  • Her friend, William’s reference to the 80’s movie Highlander, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore – ’nuff said.
  • Marge lying to Garnet about the Anubis pendant around her neck – bad idea.

Bad bits:

  • None

Summary: I would say this one would be on my keeper shelf as it’s got several good characters in it, it’s funny and I do like reading comedy vampire novels, stories etc. What gripped me about this one was the other characters reaction to Sebastian’s being a vampire, the one-liners and jokes that came out of the dialogue kept me in hysterics. I would like to read a lot more from this writer as I enjoyed this one.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Romancing the Dead (Garnet Lacey)

Review: Bloodmoon Cove Spirits (Bound Spirits, Book 1) by Karen Wiesner

Karen Wiesner bound spiritsReviewed by Sandra Scholes

The cover of this book is quite a spooky one, as it contains all the hurt, anger, and fear that one woman had in her past, and still has later on in her life as Esme Dumas. Esme is a woman who has escaped being imprisoned in a basement without heat and light which are normal, everyday things most people take for granted. In those days she only had books to keep her occupied, and since her escape, she never thought she would find someone who was like her.

Esme comes to Bloodmoon Cove to shed her past, and find work. She sees it as peaceful and picturesque, and if she can get rid of the troubles her past had given her, she feels she can make a new start for herself. John Kotter, the Park Ranger of Bloodmoon Cove takes an interest in her and senses she has a terrible secret past in the same way he has.

Like a lot of Karen’s novels, this one contains the aspects of human cruelty, such as murder, bullying, and hatred. Esme has been a victim of kidnapping when she was young and her isolation had made it difficult for her to make friends with others and trust people in general. John is a lot like her and understands what she has been going through as his parents past wasn’t exactly a good one either. John feels like a failure, and had once decided to move away from Bloodmoon Cove to start a new life away from it all, hoping to forget his old life. The problem is, the people in Bloodmoon Cove have their own ideas about what residents should do, and how they should live, which doesn’t exactly make John want to stay, yet he doesn’t want to abandon the work his father and grandfathers did for the Cove.

The way John discovers Esme is quite touching, and as she is a mix of scared and relieved at the sight of John, he can only bring himself to help her rather than tell her to leave – he has been brought up to be a better man than to tell a frightened young woman to leave. They both see in each other a need, and their love arises from that.

Likes:

  • The urban legend of Harrity Skaritty and his Demon Dog.
  • The love between Esme and John starts out slow but their love is true and precious.
  • Readers will like the paranormal element that runs through the story as it’s scary enough.
  • John discovers Esme in the most unusual of circumstances, and instantly wants to give her a chance at a new life.

Dislikes:

  • Its a bit slow moving, but overall a good read.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Bound Spirits, Book 1 of the Bloodmoon Cove Spirits Series (Volume 1)

Get into Bed with Aria Kane (Author Interview)

Blog Tour ButtonKeira: In a zombie apocalypse, what three items do you grab and what’s the first thing you do after grabbing them?

Aria Kane: 1 – Water filter. In an apocalypse, even a zombie one, lack of potable water is going to kill more city folk than just about anything else. I have one designed for hiking, that’s light weight and will filter out most danger organisms.

2 – A crowbar, baseball bat, whatever you have that’s good for decapitation. If I’m at my parents, I’m going straight for the gun cabinet.

3 – My dog. No, seriously. Watch I Am Legend. A dog will save your ass more times than you can possibly count. My booboo’s not normally fierce, but he is protective of me.

Keira: Your new release, Once Upon a Darkness, features zombies. What do we, the readers, need to know? Do we bring along our zombie survival kit?

Aria: I will say that hardcore zombie fans might be a little disappointed. Once Upon a Darkness reads more like an action adventure than a horror and the zombies are only up close a few times. But if you have guys like Clint, Hank, and Erik backing you up, you’re golden.

Keira: In your opinion, what is more dangerous: zombies attacking or humans attacking and why?

Aria: On the one hand, zombies are incapable of reasoning. On the other hand, humans are capable of reasoning. Zombies are relentless, but they’re not very smart. Humans are effing smart – and cruel. You only have to look at things like the atom bomb to answer this question: zombies just want to find dinner, humans want to watch the world burn.

Keira: Do you plan to go see World War Z? And if you are, is it for the zombies or Brad Pitt?

Aria: Heck yes! As soon as I can convince someone to spend the night with me afterward – funny enough, I’m a HUGE scaredy-cat when it comes to zombies.

Keira: What’s next on your plate? More zombies? (Brains!)

Aria: I’m currently working on something new for me – a contemporary romance. I’m working on a sexy continuity with a few author friends of mine and – I think that’s all I’m allowed to tell you about it right now!

OnceUponADarkness_v2Blurb:

Gretchen and her twin brother, Hank, were abandoned to a zombie horde when they were five years old. Intended to be a sacrifice by their zealot parents, they were instead rescued by The Company. Raised to become soldiers in the war against zombies, they now provide safe passage through danger zones, one contract at a time.

Clint’s only skill is war, but he’s weary of killing other men. When his contract with the Marines runs out, he takes a job on Gretchen’s team, hoping that the search-and-rescue life will suit him better.

On Clint’s second day, their four-man team is attacked, drugged, and taken to a prison full of frightened civilians. The only way in or out is by helicopter and, here, their enemies are human. One by one, the captives are culled from the holding area. Rumors say the facility director uses the prisoners as experimental subjects for the testing of a zombie cure.

When Hank is culled, Clint and Gretchen must put aside their personal feelings and find a way out of the prison, surrounded by thousands of starving zombies, before Hank becomes just one more disposable guinea pig in the hands of a twisted mad woman.

Buy: Once Upon a Darkness

Excerpt:

“Can we try something else?” Clint swung the practice sword in a wide sweep. “I think I got this motion down.”

“When you’re facing a crowd of zombies, there’s no time to think,” a woman’s voice said behind him.

He spun, sword in hand. She lunged at him. He had enough time to register pale skin and straight white-blonde hair atop a lithe frame before her arms crashed into his shoulders with shocking force. Air rushed painfully from his lungs as his back hit the ground. His sword rattled out of reach. She crouched on top of him, somehow holding him down with not much more than a hundred pounds to her. Eyes the color of ice on an Alaskan glacier stared back at him.

“If I were a zombie, you’d be a three-course meal right now.” The woman, who was maybe a few years younger than him, snapped her jaw and laughed.

“Or a new zombie, yourself,” another male voice said. Clint looked over her shoulder to find the male version of his attacker standing about twenty feet back from the scene. Next to him, a mountain of a man smirked with amusement. All three of them were nuts.

She shaped her hand like a gun and pressed it to his forehead. “No, I’d kill you before I let that happen.” She said it casually, like telling someone lunch was ready.

“Thanks?” Was this some sort of weird initiation?

The woman leapt to her feet and yanked him up after her. She tapped the back of his skull. “When you’re attacked, your lizard brain takes over. You have to do something like a sword swing or a roundhouse kick thousands of times so that it becomes instinctual. Hesitation is fatal.” She punctuated her words with practiced movements; the swinging of an imaginary sword and a roundhouse kick aimed at the practice target.

“Right.” He had known this, of course, but had forgotten it in the absolute boredom of swinging the sword the same way for hours.

The woman stood there with her hands on her hips as if she were waiting for some kind of applause. He didn’t know what else to say that would keep her from jumping him again. Though, now that he got a good look at her, maybe he wouldn’t mind another roll in the dirt. She was tall, with long legs bared by khaki shorts. A tiny white tank top stretched over a black sports bra that definitely earned its keep. Lean muscle stretched along the full length of her arms, torso, and legs. Strapped to her legs and waist were weapon holsters of all varieties that – in his mind, at least – only made her sexier.

“What are you, Zombie Slayer Barbie?”

Buy: Once Upon a Darkness

Giveaway: To celebrate the release of Once Upon a Darkness, Aria Kane is giving away a Kobo Vox (Android) eReader with a red leather case to one winner (US residents only), and a choice of any Entranced ebook to another winner (international entries welcome).

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AriaKaneAbout the Author:

Aria Kane is a recovering mechanical engineer and romance writer. She lives in sunny Florida with a 60 lb mutt who thinks he’s a Chihuahua.

Author Social Media Links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Aria_Kane

Website: http://www.ariakane.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ariakaneauthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ariakane/

Review: Red Velvet and Absinthe by Mitzi Szereto

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

There is nothing like 15 stories of paranormal erotic romance to thrill a reader into each of them, all are different, yet all will leave them with the distinct taste of absinthe on the tongue from the sheer pleasure they bring.

A Foreword and Introduction create enough of a background to the Gothic horror story to set the scene for the stories that the reader will immerse themselves in. Kelley Armstrong goes into all the elements that make up the Gothic story, the darkness, the innocent woman, mysterious man who is interested in her, and the haunting madness that is so often the bread and butter of this genre. They don’t always work out that way, though, there are the stories that bend the rules a little, some are different in they use gay or lesbian characters instead of the usual ones everyone knows about.

Well, everyone doesn’t know about these stories – they vary from each one, and all have the distinct elements of the Gothic horror within them. They can surprise, shock, and amaze-all with the intensity of the Gothic drama and feel of the age. These stories bring out an atmosphere of intrigue, full of dark and twisted emotions we can all feel in the right light…in this case it is candle light that will inspire us.

Here are a few of the stories available and my reviews of them:

Snowlight, Moonlight by Rose De Fer

A woman on a journey is attacked and left for dead on a snowy path. The coachman did not survive and the coach itself would not be useable again. Lucky for her she has someone who can help her, a man who encounters her body one night and takes her all the way back to his mansion house. There she wakes up and wonders where she is. The kind gentleman tells her where he found her, yet she has no memory of it. Everything is a blur to her mind until he mentions one thing, the things that attacked her days ago. That is what startles her.

Of particular interest to the reader will be what the man has been studying for a while, and what she really is after the accident. It interested me when a perfect gentleman could be so out of character to tie the lady to his bed – but then again, the reader will find out why. I enjoyed the atmosphere this story conjured for me, and I found it the sort of story that I could read again and again.

Cover Him with Darkness by Janine Ashbless

A young girl remembers seeing a young man tied to a slab of limestone. She sees how handsome he is, and how strong he looks, yet also how vulnerable and unhappy he is too. As she is so young, she doesn’t know what the man has done to make her father have him bound so cruelly, but he doesn’t tell her anything – just decides to keep her in the dark as far as explanations go. She is persistent though, and soon she will discover who and what he is. When she is older, her father’s dying words are that someone has to watch over the man as he had many years ago, and it sounds like she will have to do her duty to the family.

Strangely enough, the reader might not ever find out what he is, they will have to make their own mind up as to whether he is a titan or some kind of Prometheus as Janine makes him out to be. All the reader will know is that he is a muscular and handsome man who has been imprisoned for what seems like generations.

A Rose in the Willow Garden by Elizabeth Daniels

Bierce is wandering around for that special person, but he hasn’t found her yet, and being a hunter of a man he does keep on trying until he gets to her, but it isn’t easy when he is trawling the bars and inns along the town in search of her. He always finds loose women there who want him as he is a seductive devil, but one eludes him, and whoever she is he can’t get her out of his mind.

Readers will soon find out that he is not the sort of man she should mess with even if she does think she loves him. She does have a boyfriend already which annoys him a great deal, but he understands that she will have lovers being a handsome woman. There are things she needs to know about his past and what he has done with other women before she takes the plunge and gets with him, but it’s up to her. This is an unusual story with a nice ending.

The Blood Moon Kiss by Mitzi Szereto

The Blood Moon Kiss is a vampire soap opera directed by Mark Gaitzburger and the heroine is the beautiful Christine, while the anti hero is Talen played by Kyle. He is a method actor and everyone knows how good he is at playing his part to the fullest. Christine thinks there is something wrong with him, something the other actors have missed, but she also finds him intriguing to her in a way no other man would, and that, for her…could be dangerous.

Kyle’s accent could give him away as she notices it is slightly European, and has a certain twang about it. He does get ill occasionally and tends to shut himself away from the sight of others, and it bothers her that he does this. The Blood Moon Kiss reminded me of Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula, a man who finds the love of his life in the future and can’t be without her. This is the perfect Gothic romance story set in the present day in this volume.

Painted by Anna Meadows

You would never think a painting could cause jealousy, but in one woman’s wife, it does. She hates the very sight of it, but the husband likes it a great deal, and after winning it in a bet, he finds her dislike of the woman annoying for him. She mentions that the woman looks like a tart, hoping he will remove it some day. The woman in the painting has a certain something that Benjamin likes, and it entices him to keep looking at it even though it sends goose bumps on his skin.

Benjamin feels as though no one is taking his feelings into account about the painting, as he sees the woman in it as almost alive. He is the only one who has a connection with her, and one night when he is alone, he notices that the woman is gone. The rest of his family think Ben should get married, but he isn’t interested in anyone other than the woman in the painting and he wonders who she really is. I enjoyed the setting of this story, and the presence it evoked for me.

La Belle Mort by Zander Vyne

Elizabeth Morton is due to be executed, and she is with child too. She has been tried for a crime she did not commit, she did not steal a diamond necklace from the estate where she lived, and worked but she knows who has. This is a journey back in time again to when a woman could be tricked into anything, and the gentleman would get away with it. Taken to prison before this can happen, she is made open to a life of nothingness, and doesn’t expect the sorrow and pain life in jail can cause. She does have a visitor though, and he could be the answer to her dreams. When another man arrives she listens to what he has to say, mentioning that if she tells them where she has hid the necklace, they will pardon her. Unfortunately, she hasn’t stolen it, and doesn’t know where it is.

Elizabeth is the sort of woman from period dramas who was used in those days by rich lords who had affairs with nursemaids and servants when the wife was otherwise indisposed. Tales are numerous about what happens when these women are pregnant and can only do one thing – leave where they are or risk being kicked out anyway. In those days, servants were used and cast out, and this story tells the reality of what happened.

These are only a few of the stories in this book, and I picked my favourites out, but there will be the readers own favourites too and not all of the characters are so obviously monsters either – this is much more than a compilation of the unusual and the monstrous…it is deliciously Gothic.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Red Velvet and Absinthe: Paranormal Erotic Romance

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Review: Girls Who Bite: Lesbian Vampire Erotica by Delilah Devlin

by Sandra Scholes, guest reviewer

Judging from the cover photo, the reader will think they are in for a really stunning book – they would be right! If the sensual eye make-up and slick lipsticked women are anything to go by it will be a riot.

With such famous names in Cleis Press circles as Delilah Devlin, Christine D’Abo, and Adele Dubois among many, these are some of the most interesting and engaging lesbian fiction out there right now. Don’t you just want to go out and get it as soon as possible? Well, it’s due out in September of this year, so you can wait just a little longer…

These vampires are as different as anything readers have ever seen, and they are from all walks of life and all world myths, so this adds a nice twist to what could have just been another series of random, everyday vampire stories. There is nothing random about these 15 delightful insights into the different kinds of vampire, the ones we aren’t likely to meet on the street or at the bar, no these are original, sometimes devastating, and at other times unusual and brilliant.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Night at the Wax Museum Delilah Devlin

Krista Pike is having a difficult time with some nasty invaders at the wax museum she is looking after. Rats aren’t her favorite thing, not at all, but with everyone else out, there is only her who can track them down and get rid. On her way around the place, she is still trying to find the rat when she is mesmerized by one of the exhibits – a female vampire trying to resist the end of her life at the hands of a vampire hunter hell bent on exterminating her life. She exudes all the elements of femininity that make her instantly attractive; she just can’t take her eyes off of her for a second, even though she has to.

Several months out of Afghanistan after serving there, she has to undergo therapy, and is on tablets for what she saw there for her depression. She knows it doesn’t ease her mind any when she is on them, but they do help her perk up a little, though even with her training in being a part of security at the museum, she starts to feel on edge about not being alone in there. She thinks someone is playing tricks on her – but when she discovers it’s someone she has seen before who is alive and well and even talking to her, she thinks she must be losing her mind – or needs more tablets!

There is an excellent humor value in this story, and one many will notice straight away, the Night at the Museum references to the movie starring Ben Stiller will make the reader remember the layout of the museum, and how its many exhibits came to life. In this case, only one exhibit gets to come to life, and that’s a rather sexy vampire rendered in wax, and craving the blood of anyone it can get its hands on – mainly security guards.

She is afraid at first, but as she gets to know the vampire, she finds out she can be the woman she wants, and feel alive again. Humorous parts of this are the fact Mina sees her as a boy when she first comes in contact with her, and when she groped her as she fed.

Beloved by Shayla Kersten

Get your books on Egyptology out, this one is a really in depth tale of one Goddess who isn’t like the others, she has changed over the years, or at least that is what she wants you to think. She is Sekhmet, an aspect of the gentle goddess Hathor, but that is what she might call rumor, and for her it doesn’t hold true. She knows her full nature, her calling and what she once was – a ravening beast of a woman, one who was meant to fight, to drink the blood of others, her enemies; and she secretly misses the hands on experiences she once had. Yet Sekhmet and Hathor are two different people, they are sensual and seductive, and lovers.

Sekhmet loves her most of all, yet she is unwilling to totally surrender to her as she might be there one minute, then gone the next. She wants a woman for eternity, not a woman who lives for right now, and doesn’t realize the consequences of her actions. She will always be unsure as to whether she will stay with her, and that kind of life is not for her. She needs a sense of permanence, she has lived to long a life to be alone most of the time with only Hathor to comfort her when she wants some company.

In the story there is a good amount of sensuality, as Sekhmet has needs that are to be fulfilled, yet if that happens she will go on the rampage wanting blood from everyone – and Hathor would have to try and sedate her in some way. There is a great amount of passion and eroticism that runs through it, and gives the reader enough of a sexual performance between the two of them to satisfy.

Bound Love by Christine D’Abo

Depressed at her circumstances, Maili hits out at the one thing that can’t hit back, the wall of her hotel room in the darkness – no one can see her, yet that isn’t the issue, she is a vampire with an increasing bloodlust that she must seek to control, rather than letting it control her. She is an old vampire and needs to feed – now, but her use of her control is having too much of an impact on her. Her wants and needs are many, and yet she doesn’t know anyone at all.

She has to have a grasp of her human side or she will leave it behind and the evil monster in her will seek to come out and destroy whatever humanity she has left. She knows it would-be so easy to let it happen, and easier still to feed as she hears two humans outside fucking and it instils the desire within her, fueling her bloodlust even more.

She is the sort of vampire who doesn’t want to lose her humanity, and would hate herself if she degraded to become a hopeless, ravening monster. She thinks she is alone with her fate waiting for her to lapse into oblivion, but she isn’t, not i n the night. Someone is out there, and she thinks they might want to kill her. Boy, could she ever be wrong….

The Crystal Altar by Adele Dubois

Morgan and Rosa spend some quality time together in a cave in Pennsylvania, but it’s a little creepier than they had imagined. Still they have each other, and all the time in the world to enjoy it. The real motive for them being there is that they are waiting for a tour of the cave, and using it as an excuse to have fun while the others are away. Morgan tells her the caves are historical, and people come from far and wide to work their way around them. The rumor is they are very old, a millennia possibly. The story changes from history and caves to her sister, Angela who went on a tour of Europe with a woman called Lilith and with her help came back not only a Goth girl, but with night vision too. She couldn’t believe the transformation in her, but there is something else that she hadn’t taken into consideration – but while they wait for the other sight seers to come, they have at least an hour to burn so they do what any self respecting girls would, they make love.

Readers will find this story a welcome addition to the rest, as it plays on popular culture of Goths and how they like to emulate the vampire lifestyle and general look. Angela might be just play acting the part, but as her other friends look like they have had laser eye surgery too, she wonders if she is the real deal – a true vampire.

You could say that there is something for every reader with this compendium of short stories. There are many for every taste, from Egyptian mythical tales about goddesses who actually live on earth and mull around with humankind, Gothic girls who can see perfectly well in the night, a shape shifting vampire who has a chance encounter with the woman she has always wanted, a Mexican salt-eater, a witch who uses her spell on another – then it backfires, and other such brilliant stories and numerous erotic scenarios. There is more than enough for the reader to sink their teeth into, and what better stories can they be but lesbian ones where the fairer sex gets what she wants, and makes the other pay for it with their love.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Girls Who Bite: Lesbian Vampire Erotica, Girls Who Bite (UK)

Review: The Master of Seacliff by Max Pierce

by Sandra Scholes, guest reviewer

Andrew Wyndham gets the offer of a lifetime to tutor an unruly child at a huge mansion where its master, Duncan Stewart starts out as an imposing and brooding man of means who shows Andrew what life at Seacliff is like.

Duncan slowly warms to Andrew, his new tutor who just happens to be a virgin, and gay, tries to hide his sexual leanings from the others even though he gets plenty of attention from Duncan, Leo and other men he meets both in and out of the mansion. Duncan is extremely possessive of his new employee, and becomes jealous of the attention Leo gives to Andrew but Andrew is resisting this thinking he might be the murderer of his father, Gordon as all the clues he finds in the house seem to lead to him.

Andrew does not want his thoughts of him being the killer to be true as he has formed a bond with Duncan even the likes of the amorous Leo can’t break.

For the most part sex scenes do not feature in this novel; love-making is left for the end, is touching and guaranteed to leave the reader with a warm fuzzy feeling. There is plenty of seductive dialogue, clues as to the real murderer, and comic moment’s readers will enjoy.

The novel’s author manages to capture the atmosphere of a turn of the century Gothic romance novel with its depths, its dark remote setting, and the brooding character of Duncan and the lovable Andrew.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Buy: The Master of Seacliff

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Movie Review: Red Riding Hood starring Gary Oldman, Julie Christie and Virginia Madsen

by Sandra Scholes, guest reviewer

Remember the fairy tale? We all do, this movie is loosely based on it, and starts with two friends Valerie and Peter in the depths of a forest. They find a rabbit thinking it will feed them well over the winter months; but neither of them can kill it. Ten years later, the two of them have grown up, and Valerie is unhappy about the prospect of being married off to Henry, some rich kid she doesn’t know. The problem is, she has already fallen deeply in love with the boy she knew from years ago, Peter, and her feelings as well as his have never changed. Her parents aren’t too fond of her relationship with Peter, though, as he is only a poor woodcutter’s son, and in their eyes not a good match. Henry, her husband to be holds no interest for her as she feels as though she is being forced into wedlock with a complete stranger.

Back at the village there is a wolf on the prowl which has killed already, and the villagers have been plagued by its presence for years with no way of ridding themselves of its influence. Their first mistake was to think it was an ordinary wolf, but they soon find out from the local wolf finder general that it is actually a werewolf, one who is human until the full moon looms over them, and then it changes into a huge, ravening beast. The villagers are fools thinking that after a wolf hunt around their general area, they have found it, the source of their problems, and brought its head back on a spike as a warning to other would be wolves out there. What they don’t know is that the real werewolf is still out there, and wanting blood.

So…the real question is who is the werewolf?

On first looking, you expect it to be a retelling of the old fairy tale, but this film is certainly not for children, and it is not just an old rehash of what we already know. The story starts with a difference, and though the main characters are there, there is a lot more going on in the village than you would think. This is pretty much where the fairy tale ends and the real story starts.

Valerie acts as the red riding hood character, who lives with her mother and grandmother. Her father is in the shadows where he seems to stay throughout the movie acting as though he doesn’t really belong in the village. Viewers will be constantly wondering who the werewolf is, and there are many possibilities to choose from; the wolf hunter general Solomon who comes into the village and tells them what they need to know, even though he is suspicious himself, and owns a nasty set of nails that look like animal talons, Henry and Peter are perfect suspects too, as they are the love interests of Valerie, and she could lose out if either of them are the wolf. The grandmother or the mother could be the wolf too, as it doesn’t seem to specify a gender, even if the voice of the werewolf is deep and male. You think it could be throwing you a red herring through the entire movie. One other thing that makes the movie much more interesting is after the villagers have been trying to placate the wolf with animal sacrifices, the werewolf under a blood moon is now on the lookout to find a human to bite in order to leave its legacy before it dies, so assume the werewolf is rather old as a human.

The deaths mount up, but you can’t seem to get away from the romance element of this horror story. And who would want to? It is a nice change from the norm, a horror story that just has blood and gore in it. The relationship between Valerie and Peter is a strong one, and in her eyes, no amount of outside interference from her mum and gran, or her father can change how she feels. You kind of get the impression that if she was forced to marry Henry, she would, but she wouldn’t love him in the way she does Peter, and would go and see Peter anyway. Theirs is a love that will never die, even if he turned out to be the wolf.

Red Riding Hood is a movie worth watching, even if it’s just for seeing Gary Oldman in a change of horror role from being Dracula to playing a wolf hunter.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Red Riding Hood, Red Riding Hood (UK)

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