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Samurai (a poem)

His turbulent life,
A dance with death
Performed before the Rising Sun.
High-born artistry,
Sculpted through his blade
On a battleground canvas
Painted in blood.
Warrior, poet and scholar,
Student of tradition
Ancestral pride envelops him.

Tranquil blossom stirs,
Experience shapes life.
His roots are strong,
His spirit stronger yet.
Honour guides the noble,
Skill anoints weakness,
Flexibility maintains.
The sword his soul becomes,
To serve the master,
His only wish.

Author:  Iain Peter Morrison
Copyright:  Iain Peter Morrison

Course character sketch exercise

Worry gnawed at Vera’s mind, tripping her thoughts, and threatening to cloud her judgement. The trip from the hospital to her small flat seemed to take an eternity, as she sat in the passenger seat of her husband’s car.

An operation? She still couldn’t quite come to terms with it in her head. A nervous flutter began to grip her before innate stoicism interjected. No fear. No distress. Vera’s husband had enough on his plate, without having to deal with her concerns.

Vera clenched her hand into a fist, and steeled herself. She was going to go through with this, and would not let a storm of emotion dissuade her. A life of challenges and disappointments had hardened her; perhaps more than she would have liked. As much as the worry was present, it seemed much easier to be brave than it used to be. But at what cost?

She knew that no matter what she was going through, her husband would never really get it. How could he understand? The clash of emotion proved a heady cocktail and Vera swallowed, suppressing her tears. It had been ten years since she had been diagnosed, and now a possible end to that battle was in sight.

The surgeon had calmed her fears, and talked her through the procedure. He was a kind man, with a warm but professional demeanour. Vera had walked into his office with her usual brisk stride, and looked him in the eye as they shook hands. His smile and manner put her at ease.

She found herself speaking in her usual matter-of-fact way about being cut open, and it honestly shocked her. Vera had expected to be a mess, yet found herself face-to-face with her own inner strength. It was clad in rusty iron armour, but it was there…and it held.

Author: Iain Peter Morrison
Copyright: Iain Peter Morrison

Heroes… (a poem)

(Dedicated to the rescue workers who gave their lives on September 11th)

Proud titans fall,
Salvation heralds loss,
The Eagle weeps.

Deliverance
Beckons through
Night’s choking shroud.

Seeking their own
Beside the unsung.
Hope survives.

Families wait,
Prayers are spoken,
Realisation unfolds.

Emerging with dawn,
Remembered forever,
Heroes all…

Author:  Iain Peter Morrison
Copyright:  Iain Peter Morrison

Film Review: Mad Max: Fury Road

Imagine watching a cage fight, in the middle of an Iron Maiden concert, while a NASCAR race takes place on the surrounding track: That should give you a pretty clear impression of whether, or not, you are going to enjoy Mad Max: Fury Road. This long-awaited speedway rock opera is as loud, explosive, and demented as it sounds!

The film opens with Max (Tom Hardy, replacing the iconic Mel Gibson) staring out over the stark wastelands of post-apocalyptic Australia. His deep voice rumbles through the cinema speakers, as he gives his opening monologue; setting the scene for the unforgiving world he inhabits.

Climbing into his iconic V8 Interceptor (after chowing down on a convincingly CGI’d mutant lizard!), he immediately gets involved in a high speed chase; pursued by a group of fanatical ‘War Boys’. This sets the tone for the action to follow.

George Miller has managed to create the ultimate chase scene, and turn it into a feature length movie; the kinetic nature of the proceedings rarely giving the audience pause for thought (or breath). This is by no means a criticism, as it has led to what may be the best action spectacle of the Summer!

Max is accompanied through most of the film, by Charlize Theron’s ‘Imperator Furiosa’; a shaven-headed, oil-painted warrior, with a mechanical arm, and a no-nonsense attitude. Furiosa escapes her overlord, Immortan Joe (the original Mad Max’s ‘Toecutter’, Hugh Keays-Byrne), and rockets into the wilderness, accompanied by Joe’s favourite “breeders” (enslaved “wives”, intended to give birth to a post-apocalyptic dynasty).

Joe’s “War Boys” set off in pursuit, with Max in tow (a “blood bag” for the sickly ‘Nux’: X-Men: Days of Future Past’s Nicholas Hoult.). Max’s escape from the clutches of these demented road warriors, and his developing relationship with Furiosa (who requires his assistance to escort her female charges to ‘The Green Place’ of her birth), forms the driving force for the bulk of the story.

What follows is a masterclass in stuntwork, VFX, and demented characterisation. These are some of the most spectacularly inventive action scenes I’ve seen in the past decade; pumped-up vehicles crashing, exploding, launching into the air, and screaming with unbridled fury. Warboys (white-painted fanatics, screaming about their desire to go to “Valhalla”) launch themselves from one machine to another, swinging on poles, or leaping like baying wolves.

Furiosa holds her own against Max, being portrayed as an equal, rather than a sidekick. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a spin-off picture at some point, featuring Theron kicking ass in this desolate world. Her strong portrayal had led to some people seeing Fury Road as some kind of feminist power-fantasy. I disagree, but I can understand why the rumours are there.

Immortan Joe is a patriarchal monster, enslaving women for sex, and dominating his society with his masculine army. He is faced by Furiosa and Joe’s harem of brides, who overcome the hordes, and win the day. Of course, Max is central to this; which is often forgotten.

Whatever your thoughts on these theories, I thoroughly recommend dedicating your time to at least one viewing of this film. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a brave, inventive, spectacular achievement. Even the haters can’t deny that.

Welcome back, Road Warrior.

Verdict: George Miller has done it again! It has been 30 years since Beyond Thunderdome, and the time clearly hasn’t been wasted! This is a lean, mean, V8-powered machine of a movie: Miss it at your peril!

Author:  Iain Peter Morrison
Copyright:  Iain Peter Morrison

The Hotelier (story assignment for my OU course)

Henry blew the ancient dust from his fingers, as the heavy door swung shut behind him.  The heavy, musty air threatened to suffocate, as blades of light cut through into the darkened lobby.  Shadows danced across decrepit corners, and the floorboards groaned under weighty footfall.

It had been over a decade since he had set foot in the old hotel; yet it had always remained a stain on his heart.  These walls remembered many stories, and few of them were pleasant.

Removing his bowler hat, Henry ran his fingers through his lank, greying hair, and waited for his eyes to become accustomed to the encroaching gloom. 

Reaching for a nearby switch, he bathed the room in a dim light, and moved towards the forboding staircase; the ornate banister, decaying under the weight of decades, guiding him up the uneven path.

Finding himself on the landing, he was suddenly taken aback by a stern visage, watching his every movement from within a heavy golden frame.  The painting swam with dark, rich oils, and the vastness seemed to draw in the little light available.  A shudder swept down Henry’s spine, as he edged towards one of the formerly-plush guest rooms.

Easing open the creaking door, a chill emanated from within the inky blackness.
This wasn’t any breeze, or touch of ice, but an unnatural breath from the grave.  The stench of centuries overwhelmed Henry’s feeble body; shaking him to his very core.  Hairs raised, and goose pimples mottled his pale skin.

Feeling his legs buckle, Henry fell.  His head struck the floorboards, and ricocheted off the hard wood.  The eerie visage of a hellish spectre, the last thing he saw before he lost
consciousness.

Author:  Iain Peter Morrison
Copyright:  Iain Peter Morrison

Undying Love (a poem)

Undying Love

The cold night air blows across her pale skin.
The blood of innocents on her lips.
I taste and am immortal.

The plush coffin contrasts against her raven hair.
The unending darkness in her eyes,
Stare into mine own.

I cherish the way that she stalks,
The delicate cold hands caressing her prey.
She is the blackest of roses.

Together we are the aristocracy of the night.
No mortal will ever destroy our love,
It shall last for all eternity.

Author: Iain Peter Morrison
Copyright: Iain Peter Morrison

The Win Machine (a short story)

The Win Machine:

Toby stepped through the gaping doorway of his home; echoes of summer rain still trapped in his hair. He relieved his tall frame of a cheap, blue waterproof, and strode into the living room; cursing as he acknowledged his sopping trainers.

Removing the irrigated footwear, Toby stretched his aching toes, and crashed heavily onto the brown leather settee. The soft cushions welcomed his weariness, and it was not long before the urge to sleep overcame him.

Sleep soothed his battered body; hiding the day’s stresses within a blanket of darkness. Awareness slipped into the aether, and Toby began to dream. Subconscious desires assaulted his senses, drawing him into a twisted cavalcade of expectations.

With a start, his eyes flashed into awareness, light streaming into his gaping pupils, and shattering his retinas. Focusing, they came to rest on a large, black object, sat a mere foot from his resting place. The boxy intruder stood about four feet in height, and glistened like a polished grand piano.

‘How the hell?’ His mind rapidly caught up with his eyes; accutely aware of the frightening absurdity. There was no logic, and no obvious indication of how, or why, this inanimate visitor would be sat in the middle of Toby’s living room.

‘Greetings Mr Hitchins!’ whirred a surprising, and unnaturally cheerful, voice. ‘I am a Win Machine, and I am here to give you The Prize!’

Prize? Toby didn’t understand. He hadn’t entered any competitions or lotteries, and he wasn’t a betting man. Uneasiness dawned on him, dancing in the pit of his stomach.

He had no idea where this thing came from, how it got into his house, or why it could possibly want to give anything to him! He didn’t want a “prize”, and certainly shouldn’t be in any position to get one. It must’ve all been some kind of crazy universal error; a bizarre mix-up, intended to grace the life of another.

‘I am here to give you The Prize!’ echoed the voice. ‘Please place your right hand in the slot, to accept your winnings!’

Toby felt an immense urge surging through his body; begging him to move his hand towards the eerily glowing orrifice. The action was irresistible; as if he was being called by God himself. Time seemed to slow down to an unbearable crawl, and Toby found himself succumbing to terrifying inevitability.

His fingertips trembled, as they were bathed in a cool blue light, which rose to envelop his entire hand. The machine whirred and hummed with a ferocious intensity, drawing Toby into it’s dark interior; his extremity now out of view entirely.

A searing pain gripped Toby’s hand, burned it’s way up his right arm, and blazed into his nerve endings. He screamed with a mighty intensity…then blackness, accompanied by a strange, rhythmic pulsing.

His eyes opened slowly. It was evening, and shadows crept across the sparsely-furnished room. The strange contraption was nowhere to be seen. Had it been a dream? The horrifying images had etched themselves onto his soul.

The rhythmic pulsing returned: Someone calling his phone.

Toby reached instinctively for the coffee table; his cauterised stump knocking the smart phone to the floor with a reverberating clatter…

– Author: Iain Peter Morrison
– Copyright: Iain Peter Morrison

The sorcery of writing

Greetings!  Welcome to my humble blog.  My name’s Iain, and I am an amateur writer, poet, and film reviewer.

I’m hoping to share a range of my work with you all, as well as giving you glimpses into my life, and the unique way I see things!  I’m hoping that it will be an exciting journey for you all, as well as a fulfilling one for myself!

I am happy to receive your feedback, and constructive criticism (with an emphasis on ‘constructive’!).  Let me know what you’d like to read, and which films you’d like to see reviewed.  I will do my best to accommodate requests (time permitting).

Welcome to my world.

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