War of the Worlds

Whenever I’ve been asked to list the books that have most influenced me as a writer, WAR OF THE WORLDS by HG WELLS is up there. I’ve always been fascinated by the impact Wells’s tale must have had on readers in the late nineteenth century, who’d never before come across the idea of Earth being invaded by creatures from another planet. It’s rightly regarded as a classic of the genre, but it’s a strange book because, in terms of action, it’s quite top-heavy. What I mean by that is, the most visceral and memorable scenes are to do with the initial arrival of the aliens and their first attacks. I’m sure if you’re reading this you already know how the original novel ends: the invaders are undone by bacteria. The story starts with a bang but ends with a cough.

This unusual structure has presented problems for many filmmakers over the years, because in retelling the story, it’s almost as if you’re working backwards from the climax. Many adaptations have been unsatisfying (the less said about the recent BBC adaptation, the better… what were they thinking?).

STEVEN SPIELBERG‘s version of WAR OF THE WORLDS was released in 2005. A new 4k Blu ray edition has just hit the shelves, and I thought now would be a good time to reappraise the movie. Having just watched it again for the first time in a decade or so, I think this is just about the best film adaptation of the novel there is (having grown up with JEFF WAYNE’s musical adaptation though – which terrified me and a whole generation of kids in the late seventies with its prog rock soundtrack and iconic artwork – I have to say that’s still my favourite adaptation of all; it shouldn’t work, but it does!).

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SCREAM issue 30

11251912_1138578559501470_5951843107686018385_nThis month’s SCREAM MAGAZINE had me sold before I’d even got past the front cover with the promise of interviews with Angus Scrimm (the Tall Man from Don Coscarelli‘s magnificently bonkers PHANTASM movies) and Joe Alves, the man who designed Spielberg’s JAWS. Add to that the first part of a feature on lost 21 century horror movies, a look back at the Hammer classic THE DEVIL RIDES OUT, an interview with Sid Haig and loads more, and you’ve got yourself another cracking issue of my favourite horror mag. I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again now – I make no apologies for promoting SCREAM every time a new issue hits the shelves. This is the kind of magazine which fed my adolescent horror addiction in those dark pre-Internet, pre-DVD days. Long may it continue!

Visit www.screamhorrormag.com, or pick up the magazine from any branch of HMV, Forbidden Planet, or any of the newsagents listed here. SCREAM is also available digitally as iSCREAM!