Posts Tagged ‘Brett Kelly’

Bonhomme Sept-Heures – Evan May (2016)

November 15, 2019

My initial intrigue in reading Evan May’s Bonhomme Sept-Heures was my familiarity with the legend based on the horror movies The Bonesetter (2003) and The Bonesetter Returns (2005)  by Brett Kelly. After attending the premiere of the first film I thought that the character and story were original until I did a little more digging. It turns out that the legend of a stovepipe hatted entity who snatches children when they stay outdoors beyond seven o’clock at night is steeped in Quebec lore. Variations on the legend have this character going from town to town as travelling medical practitioner, hence “bone-setter”, which is phonetically close to “Bonhomme Sept-Heures” in French which, as a whole, loosely translates to “The seven o’clock man”.

That being said, what I expected here was a horror story, pure and simple, much like the movie presentations. However this novel ended up being more of a paranormal fantasy playing out largely as police/detective procedural rather than any real horror narrative.

Our story begins (well more on that later) with a convicted murderer, Adam Godwinson, who is not only a priest but an ex-bookseller. The background to his current incarceration is vaguely explained as an encounter with members of some secretive foundation under the influence of an evil entity – coined “The Infection” – which Adam and crew of youths managed to repress but at the cost of his own freedom. Suddenly out of nowhere David Prentiss, an official of some indeterminate (yet powerful) law enforcement agency visits Adam in prison and offers him immediate limited freedom if he joins the agent to help solve a case of a serial child killer currently on a killing spree in a remote Quebec town.

When Prentiss, Adam, and Jack – a chaperon of sorts to keep an eye out on Adam – arrive in Lac de Thé they are met with a reluctant Sûreté du Québec (provincial police force), distraught citizens, an oddly inquisitive school teacher, a local bigot drunkard, and a skeptical clergyman among others. Later joined by one of Adams former students, now a reporter, the team have to disseminate what little evidence they have to determine if they are dealing with a serial killer or if some mystic force is in play. And as time ticks away they dread that yet another young body may show up.

My one problem with the novel is that almost from the very beginning with the explanation of Adam’s incarceration flashback I sensed that what I was reading was in fact a sequel to a previous story. Sure enough when I checked I learned that May wrote King in Darkness which was published a year prior which described those events completely. Unfortunate as a number of the characters and events are fleetingly reference here which often left me confused without the proper context while adding little, if anything, to this story.  Nowhere in this book is the prequel even mentioned. Neither front or back covers, acknowledgements, or even the author bio make any mention of it which is a shame as I would have read that book first.

I do heartily recommend this book but do yourself a favour and get King in Darkness first to get the most out of this one.

Movie Reviews 125 – [DVG] The Bonesetter (2003)

June 18, 2013

Continuing with the reviews of the Demons, Vampires and Ghouls DVD set:

The Bonesetter (2003)

The BonesetterThe reason I bought this DVD pack in the first place was to get a copy of The Bonesetter. This movie was kind of a milestone for me and was a great influence on my discovery of low budget indie horror films and later becoming a frenetic fan of and lowbrow critic of the genre.

I chanced upon director Brett Kelly’s promotion booth at a local comic and card show and was intrigued by his pitch and brochure for the then upcoming The Bonesetter premiere. I had recently been invited to another local short film premiere (Brian Singleton’s Zombie Cop vs the Alien Terror) but for that latter premiere I was more entertained by the director’s enthusiastic tales and adventures in renegade movie making that he presented onstage after the viewing than the movie itself. But the Zombie Cop experience combined with Brett’s description of the movie was enough for me to plan on attending The Bonesetter premiere.

At first, I wasn’t too sure what to expect for this feature length film.  What few ‘low budget’ movies I had seen prior were more what studios consider low budget, namely those that still had budgets in the tens or even hundred of thousands of dollars. This was my first ‘pizza and beers’ budget sized movie and to say I was impressed with the results is an understatement.

The story of The Bonesetter turns out to be an authentic Quebec legend.  In the nineteenth century, rural farmers were dependent on traveling healers or “bone setters”. The name developed as a garbled “bonhomme sept-heures” which, translated literally from the french, is the “seven o’clock man”. The legend of The Bonesetter goes that if the children stayed out beyond their seven o’clock curfew, the Bonesetter will get them.

The movie extrapolates the legend as a cyclical returning evil entity and contemporary small town Munster is in the midst of such a cycle where kids are disappearing.  Madeline (Sherry Thurig) is one such distraught mother seeking answers regarding her recently disappeared child at the local library where she meets librarian Kyle Addison (Brett Kelly). Much to the dismay of fellow librarian Mindy (Anne-Marie Frigon) who’s ever dropping hints, Kyle, a single parent himself, takes an immediate shine to Madeline and offers to help her out.

Other kids disappear in the next few days until Kyle’s own daughter becomes the Bonesetter’s next victim. By now the frantic parent’s and their own Scooby Gang have determined that they are upon the seventh and last day of the Bonesetter’s spree and he must be stopped before the midnight toll lest history repeats itself and their children disappear forever.

My one disappointment with the movie was the limited screen time of the Bonesetter himself, (Jody Haucke). Garbed in a top hat and cloak with penetrating eyes inspired by Lon Chaney’s London After Midnight, the Bonesetter presents a simple yet terrifying character and understandably to a greater extent, fear inducing in the kids he targets.

A sequel, The Bonesetter Returns, was made in 2005, but better news is that Kelly, now with nearly two dozen additional movies under his belt since this early production has recently decided to remake The Bonesetter with greater production values and a bigger budget.

Oh, and that librarian? Well in real life Brett got the hints and he and Anne-Marie are now happily married and have two kids of their own.  I assume they’ll make sure the kiddies are all snug in the house at seven o’clock each and every night.

For more info on the Bonesetter legend: http://www.billcasselman.com/halloween_gallery/bonhomme_sept_heures.htm

You can also join in and ensure that the new Bonesetter project is a success by contributing (and getting a perk or two) at: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-bonesetter