Strange Practice

Greta Helsing inherited the family’s highly specialized, and highly peculiar, medical practice. In her consulting rooms, Dr Helsing treats the undead for a host of ills – vocal strain in banshees, arthritis in barrow-wights, and entropy in mummies. Although barely making ends meet, this is just the quiet, supernatural-adjacent life Greta’s been groomed for since childhood.

Can you feel a BUT coming?

BUT, when Greta is called in by her friend, the vampire Edward Ruthven, to tend to another famous vampire, Sir Francis Varney, who has been attacked in his home with a combination of garlic and a cross-shaped dagger coated with something nasty, it becomes clear that there is a concerted effort to destroy the “monstrous” and the humans who work with them.

Of course, this means Greta herself is in danger along with the motley crew of vampires, ghouls, a demon and a researcher from the British Museum from a rampaging group of monks with a mission. But what’s motivating them and how can they be stopped?

Strange Practice is a really enjoyable urban fantasy which manages to mix traditional mythology (garlic, crosses and os on) with a different approach (alliances between human and undead), particularly the concept that such creatures would need medical support.

It works because not only is the conceit well-thought-out, but the characters, especially Greta, are complex, engaging and likeable. There’s even a glorious cameo from the Devil, and the use of my new favourite phrase “inferno-celestial politics”

I loved this and am looking forward to reading the remaining books in the series.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

The crypto-zoological agency Monarch faces off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah.

I enjoyed both the original Godzilla (as in the 2014 version, not the original original Godzilla from the 1950s) and Kong: Skull Island and was very keen to see the next stage in this universe (as we have to call these things now). Main takeaway for me is that if you are looking for a big dumb movie with the emphasis on dumb (at least where the humans are concerned) then you have come to the right place.

Things have moved on and the impact of the events from the previous two films has been felt around the world, so much so that the US government, as is its wont, is keen to seize control of the research into the Titans from Monarch. It’s clear that there are many more of these creatures than was originally thought, and nefarious plans are afoot to deploy them to rid the world of humans, courtesy of Charles Dance’s eco-terrorist. Cue the action.

Without going into spoiler territory there are several things that stuck with me after the film ended. Apologies for the brain dump to follow 🙂

  • I still like the chunky Godzilla design, don’t care what anyone says
  • why did that character have to die?
  • why did that other character have to die?
  • how come Bradley Whitford (for it is he) got all the best lines – not that I’m complaining, I love Mr Whitford and believe in fact that there was not enough of him in the the movie, but still
  • I like the design of Mothra even though I loathe moths, to an extent that is just short of a phobia
  • there was SO MUCH destruction, I kept on wondering just how many people in this film died, and think there should be a John Wick scale to measure such things
  • talking about dying, that character simply had to die because of what they had done; can you imagine family gatherings if they had survived?

However, the thing I found most silly was the recurring tendency for characters to yell the at/for other characters who could not possibly hear them due to a combination of at least two of the following taking place at any one time – (1) hurricane-level storms, (2) exploding volcanoes, (3) roaring monsters in general and (4) bashing each other vigorously. How did they think anyone was going to hear them?

Having said all of the above I actually enjoyed Godzilla: King of the Monsters, even though most of the people were annoying and the plot was also a bit silly, and (heresy I know) I think there may have been too many monsters. But it was a Tuesday evening and it made for a fun date night. A film not to be taken too seriously I think.

Dazzling details: G:KotM was direeted by Michael Dougherty, was 2h 11m long and rated 12A for moderate threat, violence and infrequent strong language.