House of Halloween Horror Fest 2022

It’s now November, and while Halloween is a distant memory for some, here it still lingers. Halloween Horror Fest was a blast, but it’s not quite dead and buried yet. There are a couple of spooky movies still to review for you lucky people. Gather round, ghouls – it’s time for…

House of Frankenstein (1944)

You just can’t beat the old Universal monster movies – I love ’em! Ideal easy viewing for Halloween – or any time, really!

In this picture, legendary horror master Boris Karloff plays Dr Niemann, a Mad Scientist if ever there was one, who escapes from prison with his hunchback accomplice. Together, they join a travelling horror side show curated by Professor Lampini, before eventually knocking him off. The remains of Count Dracula (John Carradine) are part of the show, and Niemann revives the vampire to help him wreak revenge on those responsible for his incarceration.

Revenge complete, the nefarious doctor abandons Dracula and makes his way to locate the records of Frankenstein. There, Niemann stumbles across both the Frankenstein Monster (Glenn Strange) and the Wolfman (Lon Chaney Jr), frozen in ice from their previous encounter in Frankenstein meets the Wolfman. With the Wolfman revived and his human counterpart, Larry Talbot, eager to receive aid from Dr Niemann, a rivalry between Talbot and the hunchback for the affection of a gypsy girl threatens to thwart all their plans.

It wouldn’t be Halloween without the monochrome delights of Universal monster movies, and this one is great fun. The only way to improve a monster movie is to cram in as many more monsters as possible, and House of Frankenstein does exactly that. Karloff and Chaney are wonderful, and though Carradine is no Lugosi, he has a charm of his own. It’s just a shame Drac isn’t utilised more fully here. That’s really my only complaint, other than the short running time.

The shared universe of the Marvel superheroes is a huge accomplishment nowadays; though it could be argued that Universal did it first: combining a bunch of their main horror characters into one movie. House of Frankenstein was certainly entertaining, a film I’ll revisit many times.

9/10

1408 (2007)

Based on a Stephen King short story I’ve never read, 1408 stars John Cusack as Mike Enslin, a professional paranormal investigator and writer. Enslin is somewhat jaded and definitely sceptical concerning his investigations of allegedly haunted houses.

When Enslin decides to investigate the infamous Room 1408 in a New York City hotel, he expects the usual non event – despite the manager (Samuel L Jackson) attempting to dissuade him from entering the room altogether. No one, the writer is warned, lasts longer than an hour in Room 1408.

Enslin enters the room, and slowly things start to happen. From witnessing ghosts of the room’s previous occupants to facing his own guilt and loss, Mike is increasingly trapped and tormented inside the hotel room.

It’s largely a one man show for Cusack, who does a solid job in his role as cynical writer turned haunted prisoner. The film has plenty of creepy, jumpy moments and unexpected twists. I’ve said enough, I don’t want to give anymore away – but I will say I was more impressed by 1408 than I expected to be.

7/10

There we go folks, Halloween Horror Fest is all over for another year. See you next time. Unpleasant dreams!

Quay Hotel & Spa, Deganwy

A break at the Quay Hotel & Spa, Deganwy, North Wales

A few weeks back, Mrs Platinum Al and I were lucky enough to visit the Quay Hotel in Deganwy, North Wales.  It had been a present for Mrs Platinum Al’s birthday, an we were looking forward to nice relaxing break away.  Here’s a brief over view of our time there.

Deganwy is close to Llandudno on the North Wales coast, just far away enough to feel like we were removed from the every day.  The Quay hotel is a modern, yet stylish building situated (as you would expect) right by a small harbour on the Conwy Estuary.  The setting is picturesque and the hotel impressive and welcoming. _MG_3030

We were a little early to check in, so left out bags with the extremely helpful reception staff and checked out the leisure facilities.  The gym was compact but well equipped; I spent a good half an hour here getting my break off to a positive start!  I then joined Mrs Platinum Al in the swimming pool.  The pool was a fair size at 15 metres and not too busy.  We also experienced the hydrotherapy spa pool, steam room and sauna.

After this, our room was ready.  Our luggage had already been taken up for us.  The room itself was a large room with both bed and chairs, not to mention the added bonus of a balcony with view over the harbour.  The bathroom was enormous! IMG_3069

Next on our agenda was lunch.  We ate on site in the Grill Bar.  Mrs Platinum Al opted for a Club sandwich.  I chose a very fine wrap with poached chicken, bacon, cheese and barbecue sauce.  This was served with fries and was exceptional.

Later that  afternoon, it was time for our spa treament.  We were both booked in for an hour long, deep tissue full body massage.  I had never had a massage before, and found this to be a relaxing and enjoyable experience.  The spa environment was calm and luxurious, and the expert staff friendly and hospitable.  All in all a fantastic treat that I would recommend. _MG_3052

In the evening, we chilled out in our room and enjoyed a drink on the balcony.  It was very easy to lounge in comfort and watch TV – with full satellite channels there was plenty to watch!  However we decided to head into nearby Llandudno for a meal.  There are several restaurants in the town to fulfill this need, and it’s not far away in a taxi.

Our stay at the Quay Hotel was fabulous – I have no complaints what so ever.  The setting and the premises were really top notch and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay.  We hope to make a return journey soon!

The Quay Hotel and Spa, Deganwy Quay, Deganwy, Conwy, North Wales LL31 9DJ

Tel: 01492 564100

The Quay Hotel website is here.