Saturday, May 9, 2009

Double Whammy: The Bunker & Torn to Pieces

Review by The Bone Breaker

Joseph M. Monks - remember this name, and when he becomes a household name, you can say that you remember reading about his first movie and his first book, here! :-)

Not only will you remember his name, after you have watched The Bunker or read Torn to Pieces, but those who have yet to find out about Joe Monks will most likely be surprised by the fact that he is blind - yes, a blind man who has overcome his loss of sight and gone on to direct a film!

The Bunker tells the story of Julia Jennings, a 16-year-old teenager who runs away from home on the night her father, Congressman Robert Jennings, announces his bid for re-election.

Julia soon discovers that she is merely trading one nightmare for another when, a sadistic kidnapper with a taste for young victims, snatches her off the streets and locks her away in a hidden, underground cell.

With her father doing everything in his power to keep the scandal from hitting the media - including hiring some questionable private investigators to assist in the search for his daughter - Julia discovers that time is already running out. Knowing that the date of her death is rapidly approaching, the teen forms a desperate, all-or-nothing plan to escape - or die trying.

The copy of The Bunker that I received included a "wrap-around" sequence that was shot specifically for a television show in Europe - it dealt with an S&M dominatrix torturing a client, however the director decided to drop out of that project, and has since been dropped the wrap-around in favor of a different framing sequence that is more integrated with the main story. 
[since this wrap-around has been removed, since I've received my copy of the film, I will not go into it any further]

The Bunker starts off with a group of hookers standing outside of a restaurant - the film then cuts to a creepy looking guy lurking in a corner, watching a lone hooker, who we soon realize is Julia - the main female character of the film. As Julia walks off, a blind guy comes walking down the sidewalk [I can only assume this to be the director's cameo appearance] :-)

As Julia walks along the sidewalk [keep in mind that it is night-time] we see that she is not very bright, as she walks right alongside a suspicious looking van, with it's side-door wide open. Not only does she walk alongside it, but she stops to look in. . . this is where Julia gets abducted by none other than another independent film director - Terry M. West [I reviewed his film, Blood of the Muse here:] We soon find out that Terry is not a fan of "junkie whores" [remember, Julia is a Congressman's daughter] so this little mix up does not sit very well, especially once Terry starts the mental & physical torture.

My favorite line in the film - Terry calls Julia his 'little piggy' and after a brief talk with Julia, he states, "Back to work - little piggy isn't going to torture herself"

Terry West was excellent in this film! [it's not too often that you get good directors who can actually act as well] He was extremely menacing in this film, and you cringed every time he interacted with his captive, Julia [played by Saskia Gonzalez] She was great as well - she played her part very realistically!

Still, as good as Terry & Saskia were, the best part of the film was the writing, which was fantastic - I do not want to give anything away, but just wait until you see how this film ends - your jaw will hit the floor!

Also, for further information, you can visit the film's website at

Now, onto Joseph M. Monk's upcoming debut novel:

Whenever I read a book, that I know I am going to write a review for, I generally use an index card as a bookmark, so that I can jot down notes, etc. Well, I just so happened to have the index card that I used for Torn to Pieces [I love this title, and it is very appropriate, I must say!] in my pant's pocket - the pants that I just threw in the wash. . . Grrrrrrrrrr

Monks' used tons of little 'one-liners' in this book - quite a few that I  wrote down on that index card - the one that I remember most though was in regards to a low-life scumbag - "He couldn't plan a successful nose picking if his nostrils weren't attached to his face" HA! [this was said between two homicide detectives, over a possible suspect]

Torn to Pieces is about a serial killer who literally tears his victims limb from limb [well, perhaps not literally tears, more like saws] The catch is that the killer dismembers his victims, while they are still alive - he has a special technique that he uses, so that his victims are aware, until the very end - they are still alive, even as the killer is decapitating them!

What I love most about Torn to Pieces is that Monks' writes as if he were an actual observer to the ongoing investigation. The characters are superbly written [I loved the character of Gramps - grandfather to one of the Homicide Detectives on the case] 

Monks' writes this book very realistically, with political redtape and all included. 
If you are a fan of Michael Slade or John Sanford or even if you enjoy watching CSI or Criminal Minds, then you have got to read this book when it gets published!
Even if you are not a big horror fan, I would recommend this book, as the gruesomeness of it all is primarily after the affect.

This book is definitely a contender for Best Book of the Year!

For further information on Joseph Monks, visit his websites at or 


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