Category Archives: Words and Sound

Times Fool – Alys Earl Interview

Today on the Words & Sound blog post I am pleased to interview, writer, poet, theatrical sword wielding traveller (have a look at their twitter bio), and I am honoured to say friend; Alys Earl. I caught up with Alys recently to discuss their latest novel; Time’s Fool.

[CS] Hi Alys, thank you for taking the time to talk to me. So first things first, tell about Time’s fool.

[AE] Time’s Fool is a contemporary supernatural Gothic. That means it’s set in the recent past – specifically, the winter of 2006-7 – and is an atmospheric, slow burn kind of horror, which features supernatural elements, in this case, vampires. It’s about two bright students who befriend a mysterious stranger, while, around them a series of increasingly brutal murders take place in the city around them. And it’s about what happens when the stuff that we try to conceal starts to come out in to the light.

[CS] I am hooked already! Is it a stand alone or could you see more being done with these characters? You must get quite attached sharing a mind with them?

[AE] I am quite attached to all three of them, but as the story is a kind of coming of age to some extent, there is a huge difference between being attached to a character at the beginning of the novel, and to the same character at the end of it. The problem with being a writer is that you can’t be your characters’ friend, because otherwise there would never be a story.

As to sequels, it was always intended to be a standalone tale, although I will admit to having planned a short sequel involving one of the main characters and their life some time after the events of the novel – but to go into too much detail would be very heavy with spoilers. There is also a prequel, Some Chequered Affection which deals with an episode from Julian’s past and is available to read for free on the Unbound site, and can be bought for £5 in a limited edition chapbook – funds going towards Time’s Fool.

[CS] This may be a silly question, but who is Time’s Fool aimed at?

[AE] Obviously it’s aimed at an adult audience – it’s a little bit sexy, maybe a bit edgy and, it’s quite disturbing in places. But it isn’t gory horror, really, it’s for people who like your mist and manners kind of story – things like Sheridan le Fanu, Bram Stoker, M R James – but with a bit of a modern edge.

[CS] Names I know very well. I’m going to put you on the spot – who is your favourite?

[AE] It’s got to M R James. His were the first traditional ghost stories I got in to and he’s a huge influence on me and my work. But, also, he was just a master of the form. I’ve read his collected stories dozens of times, but if I’m in the house alone at night, they still have me jumping at shadows.

[CS] You are publishing through Unbound. How does the process work?

[AE] So, the Unbound process starts when you pitch to them, just as you would with any other publisher, and if they like what you’ve written, they help you set up your campaign and video on their site. After that, it runs like a crowdfunding campaign, raising the production costs through pre-orders and people pledging for extras. Everyone who supports it get their name printed in the back of every edition of the book as a sort of thank you, and I’ve done a lot of giveaways, rewards and silly videos to get interest from people who might support it. Then, when it’s fully funded, it goes in to production.

[CS] What happens once the book is fully funded, will we be able to buy Times Fool in the shops?

[AE] YES! Once it’s funded, Time’s Fool goes through a editorial process, we get the cover design and ultimately it is printed. At that point, everyone who supported the campaign gets their copy, but it also become commercially available – like any other book.

[CS] What advice would you give first time authors?

[AE] Just keep going, really. Whatever stage you’re at, just keep working at it – it worth it. So, write that novel, hone your craft, submit to that competition. Writing is a really long learning curve and we all started in a very similar place. Every novel starts as a blank page that seems to be judging you. Every publishing contract was preceded by goodness knows how many rejections.

The other, most important thing I’d say, is to find your voice. I wouldn’t say ignore all writing advice, but not all of it will be relevant to what you’re trying to do, or the kind of story you want to tell – and that may change, but its not worth losing that. It’s why you’re writing in the first place, isn’t it?

[CS] That is really great advice! How did you get into writing?

[AE] I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t writing, and it wasn’t my grand plan. I’ve always written stories, poems, novels. But I was really fortunate to live in place with a vibrant arts scene when I was a teenager, so I cut my teeth as a performance poet, really – it gave me a lot of confidence in the power of words, and has paid in to my storytelling and reading style. After that, I went to the UEA (University of East Anglia) and studied creative writing along with literature, and that’s when I moved in to prose more seriously.

[CS] UEA is quite prestigious in terms of creative writing isn’t it? Did you enjoy your time there?

[AE] I really did! It was an incredible experience and I think to an extent, it made me as a writer. In some ways, it is quite an insular place, and there is definitely a writing culture there which perhaps not one in to which I fit easily, but it was really good to be taken out of my comfort zone and pushed to improve myself. I’m a much better editor of my own work since then – and, also, it was great fun being around other writers in a similar place to me.

[CS] What does a normal day for Alys look like?

[AE] Far too much of it goes in to housework and a lot of childcare! I write articles and stuff from home, so normally once I’ve got the kids to school and tidied down a bit, I’ll try to get my admin, crowdfunding and blog posts out of the way, so that – hopefully – I can move on to some original writing, whether that’s articles, or fiction. Fiction is my favourite, of course. Some days, I admit, I skip the grown-up stuff and plunge straight in to a story. I try to get about 2000 words done of whatever I’m working on before I have to pick the kids up from school.

[CS] Where do you write?

[AE] At a desk in the spare room, which I grandiosely call ‘my study’. I can write elsewhere, and often do, but the discipline of sitting down at a desk and getting on with it helps.

[CS] What kind of books do you like to read? Do you have any favourite authors?

[AE] I read very widely and eclectically. I love horror, obviously, as well as mysteries, thrillers, fantasy, science fiction, historical – whatever there is, really. If it’s well written and the characters are engaging, I’m really not fussy – if it’s creepy or unsettling that is bonus. I especially love things centred around folklore, and unconventional people and relationships. My favourite trope at the moment is what I call ‘found families in space’ which is basically where a bunch misfits and damaged individuals come to rely on and look after each other against a background of space opera and intergalactic politics. Becky Chambers – who is one of my favourite writers is amazing at this. But I am also very much about the dark and the morally challenging – so gothic writers like Angela Carter and Poppy Z Brite are huge favourites.

[CS] What do you do beyond writing?

[AE] Does storytelling count? On a small scale, I’m a folklorist and medievalist – and I occasionally do talks on that side of things. I practice a martial art – Kuk Sool Won – which a Korean discipline that combines both hard and soft forms, and I’m currently working towards my black belt in that. I’m also a bit of a tree-hugger, which surprises people sometimes who only know me through my fiction, so I have an allotment and home-brew country wines – which is a very rewarding hobby…

[CS] Thank you very much Alys. Last question… Where can people find you and find out more. Are people able to contact you if they want to say hi?

[AE] If you want to say hi, the best place is always Twitter, where I am @alysdragon. But if that’s not your thing, I also have a Facebook page as AlysEarl1. I also have a website,, which has links to my blogs as well as more general information, and obviously, on the Unbound site, where I run a blog about the crowdfunding campaign.



Things to do before leaving The Great Plateau

Breath of the Wild is incredible. Hours of game play that has broken the mold and expectations of what a Zelda game is, while setting a new benchmark in open world experience for other games to try and achieve. I have been playing for many hours now and have purposely restarted the game on the Great Plateau 3 times. I have come too far to do it again, but I do sometimes consider it! The World of Hyrule is vast and dangerous, and there are several things you should do before venturing out into the wild. Here then are 5 things you must do before leaving the Great Plateau.

Let’s wind back a little, what is the Great Plateau? Well, essential it is the tutorial area. As tutorial areas go it is huge. The Temple of Time is there. Arguably the remains of Ocarina of Times Castle Town are there. There are a selection of different enemies for you to cut your teeth against. There are mountains, fields and ruins. There are ponds and lakes. Forests, snow capped peaks and shrines. In this tutorial area you are relatively safe, but you will be astounded at how much you can do here. You can probably whiz through the great plateau in under an hour… however I recommend spending a bit longer there. Rush through and you will be unprepared for the feeling of vulnerability when you first para glide down to the wider Hyrule. I highly recommend you do these things first. By the way I will leave some things for you to figure out but there will be… SPOILERS:

Defeat the mini boss. Tucked away in the forest just below the Shrine of Resurrection, lies Stone Talos. He is a great boss to tangle with to fight something a bit more dangerous. And make no mistake he is dangerous. Erupting out of the ground he is a giant rock monster. However defeat him and you are rewarded with all sorts of precious stones. Why take him on? Practice and for the stones. This is not like other Zelda games. You are unlikely to slash grass and find much in the way of currency. Instead you have to sell what you find and precious stones will fetch you a great price. I recommend taking on Stone Talos after you have completed the 4 shrines. One of the items you find in one of them, will make this fight much easier.

Get the warm doublet. Poor link isn’t very well kitted out at the beginning of Breath of the Wild. Don’t worry thought the array of outfits he gets throughout the game would bring tears of joy to Zoolander. There is one very special item you should get early on and that is the warm doublet. Link can’t withstand the cold (or heat) in this game. To get through freezing areas you have to eat something that gives you cold protection or hold a flame or wear warm clothing. Enter the warm doublet. there are 3 ways to get this on the great plateau. Climb to the top of mount Hylia and the Old Man will give it to you (make sure you have plenty of cold resistant food as it is a long climb). Or complete the Keh Nanut shrine and it will be waiting for you in the Old Man’s cabin. Both of those ways require some other cold protection method. Instead there is a third option. Read the diary in the OId Man’s cabin. He will talk of a special dish he longs to remember. Figure out the ingredients (its not difficult) then cook it up and find him in the forest at night. Give him the food and the clothing is yours.

Practice with the bow. It doesn’t take long before you realise being good with the bow is essential in Breath of the Wild, more so than any other Zelda game. Practice, practice and practice some more. Practice long range attacks on enemies. Practice precision in cutting ropes with the arrows. Practice sneak attack head shots on wildlife. Once you are confident with all of that, try your bow in combat. Try a jump attack and bring your bow out and watch time slow for that perfect head shot.

Pray. I don’t want to give too much away here but once you have completed the 4 shrines, find the Goddess statue on the great plateau. Think back to other games and you will know where it is. Whenever you collect 4 spirit orbs from shrines, praying to a Goddess Statue will allow you to increase your heart container or increase your stamina. It is important to note that you can’t find heart containers in breath of the wild, so if you needed an incentive to complete the shrines, well there it is! You are not going to defeat Ganon with only 3 hearts!

Practice weapon and rune switching. You do not have to go the the inventory to equip your shields, bows or weapons in Breath of the Wild. Using the d-pad buttons you can cycle through them as well as the rune power’s (which are obviously awesome). It is really good practice to be able to to switch around without looking. In fact practice with all the buttons… I have lost count how many times I have tried to get my bow out and I have thrown my prized sword into a river! Not that many… but it could happen!

Once you have done all of those things you are ready to venture off into the big wide World. The question is which way will you go!?…




W&S Scares – The London Dungeon

I have been to The London Dungeon twice in the last year. Earlier in the year it was terrible, last week it was excellent! This review is going to be based on last Saturday. When I went earlier last year it was at a peak time over the summer. it was incredibly crowded, the queues were ridiculous and the actors were not exactly enthusiastic. When I wen’t last week it was much quieter and much better. So a word of warning, plan your visit for a less busy time if you can!

The London Dungeon takes you on essentially a history tour of London’s darker side. Think a little more grown up than Horrible Histories. There is nothing in here that will really scare you. It was entertaining, interesting and had a very dark and authentic feel. It made you feel like you were moving through the sludge of London’s dark past. I would not recommend this attraction for anyone younger than 8 and even then I think it depends on the child. 12 up is probably a safe bet.

As you go through the dungeon you are taking through many different rooms each focusing on a different point in history. Each room has an actor in to tell the tale and explain the story behind the room you are in. My favourites were The Plague Doctor, Seance and Jack The Ripper Spoiler alert here are the different rooms and rides:

The Descent

The Tyrant Boat Ride

The City Gates

Gunpowder Plot

Torture Chamber

The Plague Doctor

The Great Fire of London


Mrs Lovetts Pie Shop

Sweeny Todd

Mitre Square

Whitechapel Labyrinth

Jack The Ripper

The Court Room

A Great escape

Drop Dead Ride

The Tavern

The rooms are all really enjoyable, but it depends which actor you get on the day as to which you will prefer. When I went through all of the actors were really good and convincing. Once of my favourite rooms was Seance a brand new room for this half term, which hopefully they could keep as a permanent fixture. they are still trialing it at the moment, but what they have done so far is very good.

Of course we cannot forget the Tavern at the end where you can sit and rest in a Victorian theme bar and rink your ale. much needed after the preceding 90 minutes on foot.

The London Dungeon is a great way to spend a couple of hours on the Southbank, but been warned, it’s not for smaller children and stay away at peak times!

7/10 stars



Review Rope Queens Theatre

This week I was lucky enough to see Rope at the Queens Theatre Hornchurch. I have always enjoyed the Hitchcock film based on the play by Patrick Hamilton, but I have never seen a theatre production of it before. I had high hopes for this one and was not disappointed.

Rope tells the story of two 1920’s upper-middle class friends; Wyndham Brandon and Charles Granillo, who murder an acquaintance for no other reason than to see if they can get away with it. So confident are they in their criminal intelligence, that they invite an assortment of friends over, including the deceased’s mother, for an evening party, all the while having his body hidden in the middle of the room.

The entire play is set in the living room of a high end London flat. The set design and lighting are worthy of particular applaud here. For the first 10 minutes at least the lightening is very low lit by candle and cigarette light, before almost unnoticeable, it increases in luminosity until you realise that you can see a little more. The brilliant lighting also contributes heavily to the illusion of other rooms, with the sound design and lighting hinting at the activities in the realms beyond what we could see. At times I pined to be able to catch a glimpse of the dancing around the grammar phone in the imaginary room next door.

The cast were contradictory and brilliant. Fred Lancaster and Phoebe Sparrow, were wonderfully annoying as the young, naive and energetic society darlings; Kenneth Raglan and Leila Arden. Nico Pimpare as Sabot was not on stage nearly enough for my liking. The stars of the show however were George Kemp, whose egotistical, brash and ice cold portrayal of Wyndham Brandon was excellent, as was James Sutton’s much more subtle portrayal of Charles Granillo, who was fascinating to watch as his guilt and anxiety took him over. The run away star for me though, was Sam Jenkins-Shaw as Rupert Cadell. At the beginning of the play I had no idea how integral to the story he would become. His portrayal was a masterclass in character development, timing and delivery. We see him progress from intellectual, sneering and bitter war veteran, to voice of reason and suspicion before culminating in a desperate longing for the first time in his life to be wrong. Simply outstanding.

Do not miss this production of Rope it comes highly recommended from me. Go for the achingly tense pauses, the atmospheric lighting, the superb acting and the funny and emotive story, where by the end of the show you will question just who you are rooting for.

4/5 Stars



All photos used with permission of The Queens Theatre Hornchurch credit Mark Sepple.

Rope is running at the Queens Theatre until the 3rd March


Coco Review

Coco is the latest offering from Pixar Animation Studios, a company who rarely put a foot wrong with the quality of their output (except maybe Cars 2… meh!) Coco follows the story of 12 year old Miguel, as he desperately shuns his family’s show making business, in the hope of following his dreams of becoming a musician. His adventures see him cross over to the land of the dead, where he can only get home once he has his families blessing to do so. But not content with going back to a life of shoes, Miguel seeks out the one relative he knows can help him.

As you would expect, Coco is visually spectacular, but because of the Mexican influences their is a particular riot of colour in this film, which at times is breathtaking. One of the best features of the film though is it’s music. These are not Disney sing a long songs, rather they are genuinely good tracks. That’s not to say i don’t enjoy listening to Prince Ali, or In Summer, but here the music is that which you could expect to hear in a square in mexico being played by a Mariachi band. the song “Remember Me” is particularly poignant.

Where Coco really triumphs though is in it’s grown up themes. Much like in the vein of Up or Wall-E, Coco deals with family and death beautifully and in a way children can understand. It is touching and very carefully done, and I defy you to get to the end with a dry eye. I became more than a little teary in the lats 10 minutes or so!

There is nothing I can criticise Coco for. I think it was just the right length and had the perfect balance of characters and story. It’s one I would love to watch again and on a first viewing it has made it into my Pixar top 5 with ease. With time and further digestion I suspect it will move further up the ranks. Coco learns from some of the minor mistakes of UP to create a beautifully engaging world, that teaches children the value of family.

4 1/2 / 5 Stars



Queens Theatre Spring Season

Casting has been announced for the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch and New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich production of Patrick Hamilton’s gripping thriller, Rope.

James Sutton, who is best-known for playing John Paul McQueen in Hollyoaks and Ryan Lamb in Emmerdale, has been cast as Charles Granillo in this chilling play. He will be joined by Janet Amsden, Cara Chase, Sam Jenkins-Shaw, George Kemp, Fred Lancaster, Nico Pimparé and Phoebe Sparrow.

Rope runs in Hornchurch from 15 February – 3 March and from 7 – 17 March at New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich.

First presented by The Repertory Players at the Strand Theatre, London on 3 March 1929 and based on a 1920’s real-life case, this dark classic was filmed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1948 and remains to this day one of the most tightly coiled of thrillers. It will be directed by the Queen’s Theatre’s Artistic Director Douglas Rintoul, who directed James Sutton in As You Like It at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama.

The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is also delighted to announce that due to phenomenal demand, it is extending its run of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert by a week. This regional professional premiere of the glamorously feel-good musical by Stephan Elliot and Allan Scott will now play at the Queen’s Theatre from 27 April – 26 May. Booking for these additional dates is now on sale.

The Theatre’s spring season also includes the deeply moving and timely modern classic, Kindertransport by Diane Samuels. This heart-warming play is co-produced by the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg in association with Selladoor Productions (the producers of last year’s acclaimed revival of The Crucible). This production marks the 80th anniversary of the Kindertransport, which saw thousands of Jewish children ferried from Austria and Germany to safety in the UK, and 25 years since the play was written. It runs in Hornchurch from 8 – 24 March, at Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg from 27 – 31 March and then tours across the UK to New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich (17 – 21 April), Richmond Theatre (24 – 28 April) and Manchester Opera House (1 – 5 May).

For more information about the forthcoming season at the Queen’s Theatre visit

5 things you didn’t know about The Undertaker

With a near 30 year WWE career, there are all sorts of stories and facts flying around about the greatest of all time, The Undertaker. And you know them all right? We’ll see!… Here are 5 things you didn’t know about The Undertaker (probably).

5. The Undertaker comes from a wrestling family. To the Undertaker, kayfabe is king. ‘Taker never breaks character, and he is very quiet on matters of his family. However 3 of his cousins are also successful wrestlers. Brian Lee and Don & Ron Harris were at the tail end of the 90s, in a biker themed gang in WWE of all places, called The Disciples of Apocalypse. Check out the family resemblance…

4. Brian Lee was Fake Undertaker. Remember when ‘Taker had that feud with the other Undertaker? Ever wonder why they looked so alike? I mean there were times when it was really difficult to tell them apart. That’s because ‘Takers cousin Brian Lee was fake Undertaker. Ok it wasn’t the greatest story line in his career, but I did Love seeing them face to face. Now… which one’s which…?

3. The Undertaker was a biker in 1999. 2000 The Undertaker made a glorious come back at Judgement Day, after a year out with injury. But this was a different ‘Taker. Gone were the black hair and make up. Instead this was a biker coming in to Kid Rock’s music. Did you know though that this transition started in 1999? After the Ministry of Darkness came to an end, The Undertaker started wearing baseball caps, sunglasses and bandannas!

2. His name is Kane. Well since, his ‘brother’ Kane joined the WWE, then obviously that part of the story is quietly brushed aside. But when he first debuted, The Undertaker was actually introduced as Kane The Undertaker. I’m glad it was dropped!

1. The Undertaker is a ‘Paul Hayman Guy.’ Now technically this isn’t The Undertaker, this is the man behind the mask, Mark Calaway. But the genius and sometimes anti-WWE Paul Hayman, actually managed him in his early career as Mean Mark Callous. It is no wonder that one of the greatest managers and one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, once worked so closely. Apparently they remain close friends to this day… awwwww.




Are WWE Listening?

Now, I’m not saying that I’m a wrestling genius… that’s for history to decide. But i will say this (spoiler alert). Last week I predicted that Shinsuke Nakamura would win the 2018 Royal Rumble. And win it he did. Now I need to clarify a point. I did say that I thought Nakamura would win the Rumble, but i never actually believed he would. I like everyone else was convinced that Roman Reigns was going to be the winner. But then the unthinkable happened and Nakamura through Roman Reigns over the top and will now go on to challenge A J Styles.

And here is the point… Vince McMahon is the Worlds biggest Roman Reigns fan. The fans for the most part can’t stand him, and although this is another story – I think that is unwarranted and that Reigns is a talented wrestler. Despite that Reigns is loathed and Vince (to this point) has ignored that fact. Reigns has been pushed and pushed and pushed, despite the boo’s from the crowd.

So when the Rumble came down to the final two of Reigns and Nakamura, everyone (myself included) thought Reigns had done it again. But the fact that WWE put Reigns into the final two and then had him lose, seems to imply they are starting to listen to the fans. Now yes, it is of course entirely possible that Reigns will come out of The Elimination chamber victorious to challenge Lesnar for the title, and s he remains at the top of the pile. But because he was there in the last two, and then to lose, screams to me that WWE is in part saying ‘we hear you.’

I’m not saying for a second that this is a new leaf for WWE as they are a fan of throwing curve balls no and again. But who knows… maybe a compromise between WWE and the fans is what should now be on the cards. WWE has shown that they will not have Reigns win everything all the time, if only the fans now will listen too.



WWE Royal Rumble 2018 Predicitons

We all know what’s going to happen Sunday night at The Royal Rumble don’t we? Roman reigns will win the rumble and Brock Lesnar will retain the championship in the triple threat, by pinning Kane while Strowman is out of the picture. Roman Reigns will then go on to Wrestlemania and face the Beast Incarnate for the the championship and heck, he may even be the guy to win it from him. And what of the Undertaker? After he had ‘retired’ he gave a very confused Raw 25th anniversary appearance that probably, maybe will see him take on John Cena at Wrestlemania? We all know that all of this is likely to happen…

but what if…

Here is another idea. Roman reigns will not win The Royal Rumble. Reigns has won it before and IT DID NOT GO DOWN WELL WITH THE FANS. And if WWE are anything, they are a company that listens to their fans (insert further sdarcasm here). Instead I propose Shinsuke Nakamura will emerge victorious. Since joining the WWE from New Japan, Nakamura had a fairly good push in NXT even becoming NXT Champion. However like so many others, once he crossed to the main brand, the recognition of his greatness has floundered, and WWE really haven’t done much with him over the last year. Now is his time to shine and I would very much like to see him win and perhaps feud with the incoming Ricochet (if he goes straight to Smackdown of course). But who will the Universal Champion be?…

Braun Strowman! I propose that Strowman will win his fight against Kane and Lesnar, and I see him pining Lesnar (A Kane pin fall won’t be a strong enough statement). We waited for so long to see Strowman / Lesnar… it should have been amazing. Instead it was just ok. And that’s not good enough. WWE (for once) have done exactly the right thing with Strowman. They paired him with a good mentor in Luke Harper, then when he was ready, moved him to Raw with an altered gimmick. They slowly built him up over the course of the year, where he has decimated everyone in his path… except Lesnar. Strowman is a star who commands the biggest pop and now is his time to take the title from him. There are rumours of Lesnar’s departure and who better for him to drop the title to? It is likely that Vince McMahon will want one more Wrestlmania fight from Lesnar, which brings me to…

The main event at Wrestlemania will be a triple threat; Lesnar Vs Reigns Vs… The Undertaker. Think about it. Undertaker is done. He has maybe one more match left in him for the WWE. The Wrestlemania streak was broken by Brock Lesnar, and then he was defeated again by Roman reigns. NO! Not good enough! The Undertaker deserves more. Mark Calaway deserves more to recognise his legendary status and commitment to Vince and the WWE. We know he is coming back for something, we just don’t know what or when. But what would be a more fitting send off, than to see him get retribution and get the pin against Reigns and Lesnar at Wrestlemania, for his final WWE match. Chokeslam and Hell’s gate submission to reigns followed by a last Ride and Tomb Stone Piledriver to Lesnar for the win… It would be perfect.

Rest. In. Peace



IT (2017) review

Wow wow wow wow wow!! I LOVED IT! So good I watched it again the next night.

Ok, let’s slow things down and go back a step. When a remake was announced for IT, it was met with much trepidation, from me included. After all the 90s version is one of the most beloved adaptations in the Stepehen King pantheon. Who else could play Pennywise other than Tim Curry? But then after much speculation shots started to appear of what the new Pennywise would look like, and it became very clear that this was a different kind of clown.

Played by Bill Skarsgard, there is no humour to this 2017 Pennywise. Where as Tim Curry’s portrayal had moments of laughter that led you to believe (falsely) that he was like any other clown, there is nothing here but pure malice and creepiness. Whenever Pennywise is on screen, you are waiting for the next horrific thing to happen.

And horrific it is, as one by one this interdimensional being picks off the children of Derry, Maine in increasingly gruesome fashion. Isolating the children and making them see what scares them most, Pennywise savors their fear before he goes in for the kill. In fact, so important is the terror that if you are not afraid, Pennywise loses his power over you.

This really is an incredible film, and there is little I can say in criticism. It is well paced and the special effects are excellent. Pennywise is on the screen just enough, and plenty of time is given over to character development. So good is this film that Mrs S (who hates horror) watched the whole thing because she was invested in the characters and wanted to see what happens. A glowing endorsement indeed!

My favourite bits were Pennywise in the projector slides and the iconic scene with Georgie and the storm drain. Genuinely scary and easily 8/10 stars from me. Go and watch this film and ‘you’ll float too…..”