Monthly Archives: October 2011


I don’t feel like writing much right now. There’s too much going on and I just…can’t. But, here’s a re-post of a blog entry I wrote a long while ago that is apropos in more than one way.

Since I write horror, I often feel the need to defend it. It’s the creepy, inbred cousin in the writing family, the one that you just know is going to pull an Ed Gein and live in a house decorated with body part furniture he got from a satanic Ikea.

For me horror, in most of its forms, functions as a way for people to deal with the horrors of everyday life. We all have little fears and worries that crop up; cancer, heart disease, car accidents, choking, Alzheimers, robbery, exploding suns, etc. And there’s really not much we can do about these things. Bad shit happens, sometimes there’s nothing you can do to avoid it and that’s just a fact.

But horror in fiction is our way of dealing with these mundane monsters. In the beginning of the story, we’re given something to be scared of. Our fears are crystallized into a palpable form, crammed into gruesome figures wearing hockey masks and waving machetes.

And then it’s dispatched. Sometimes with a magical talisman (silver bullets, crosses and holy water), sometimes the heroes just beat the crap out of it. The movie or book conjures up a boogeyman and then dismisses it by the time you hit the last page or the end credits.

And even if the monster’s end is ambiguous, his tale ending with a question mark rather than a full stop, you can tell yourself that it was only a story.

That’s something you can’t do in the real world. There are no silver bullets, holy water wouldn’t even chase off a goth kid and garlic is only good at being delicious.

Horror, at its best, lets you forget the real monsters, the terrible things that can happen in the every day, and, instead, gives you a fear that can actually be dealt with and vanquished.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Horror: Movies, Books, Stories and More

Clothes Make the Monster

I take my Halloween costumes very seriously. It takes a lot of prep-time to make sure that everything is perfect. It’s important that you never break character once in costume. If you do, the illusion is broken and Halloween loses all of its magic.

For instance, this year I’m going as a private eye. So, for the last two months, I’ve been reading detective novels in order to learn the lingo. Because of the intensive nature of this training, the speech patterns have become writ into my brain and I’ll be able to make wry, cynical comments laced with slang like, “frail” and “moll” and “dame” at the drop of a hat. Consider it a kind of voluntary brainwashing!

I’m also going to need the right clothes. So I’ve spent my time in the Goodwill and thriftshops. Not only are the clothes cheaper there, but they’re more likely to be authentic than something that you’d find in a normal retail setting. If you can’t find a pair of suspenders that would be found on a real 1940’s private detective, then you’ll need to start from scratch.

I’m also shaving off the goatee, plucking my eyebrows, cutting my hair and engaging in some light cosmetic surgery to better fit the model of a guy in the 1940’s.

Once I get my firearms license and buy a Luger from the rather shady, elderly German gentleman that lives over in JP, my costume will be all set.

Just remember: It’s no fun if you don’t take your Halloween costume deadly serious. Spend that extra time to research the fabrics that would be used in your mad scientist costume. A lab coat made of 100% polyester wouldn’t be safe around an errant Bunsen burner! Be sure to read up on original Vlad the Impaler so that you know whether or not your accent truly depicts how Count Dracula would speak, were he alive today.

Because when it’s time to be scary, authenticity is what truly counts.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Halloween: Rock and Shock, 31 Days of Spooktacular, Spoooky Beer Reviews and More

A Break from the Fear

I’ve been staring at this story for about twenty minutes now and so far I have nothing. I know exactly where this story is going to go. I know what’s supposed to happen and when things are going to happen. A will follow B which will lead to C and then comes D.

I know exactly what I need to write. I’m just not so sure how to write it. I don’t know the proper words. I don’t know the pace. Nothing is really coming that easily.

Truth be told, that’s how the blog has been feeling lately. Probably as a result of my attempts at constantly feeling the Halloween spirit all the time. There’s only so much good-natured horror cheer a person can make themselves feel before they burn out and start swinging a machete like a Jason Voorhees knock-off.

So I need a break from scary is what I’m saying. I need to get out there and watch a movie that’s not filled with blood splatter. I need to smell flowers that aren’t growing on graves. I need to frolic with pets that haven’t been buried in the pet sematary.

Just for a little bit.

Then back to trying to track down a theater that’s showing Human Centipede 2.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Writing: Novels, Stories, Blogs and Comics


The Rock and Shock horror convention is fast approaching and my anticipation levels are near manic levels. There’s only one more week left and it’s entirely possible that I might explode before then.

I’ve never been to any kind of convention before. I have only a very loose idea of what to expect. I don’t know what the fans are going to be like. Are there going to be costumes? Will the guests reveal that they haven’t been acting at all and go on a murder spree through the convention hall? Will they stop for pictures in the middle of aforementioned murder sprees?

Anyone out there ever been to one of these? How should I prepare? Should I bring my Elysium Configuration?

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Horror: Movies, Books, Stories and More


I have this blog entry to write. I also have a story to write. And a review. I should also be editing my second book.


Instead I ended up watching X-Men: First Class. And looking at cute cat pictures on CuteOverload. And playing tower defense games.

I’ve never been good at avoiding distractions. Instead, I run toward them, my arms outstretched, ready and willing to avoid any work that I might have to do.

If it’s productive, then I want nothing to do with it. It doesn’t matter if I enjoy doing it. If I should be doing it, then I run in the opposite direction.

It’s a frustrating problem to have. It requires a great deal of willpower to beat it and since the rewards are so often long term, there’s not that short-term burst of joy that I get from, say, completing a particularly difficult level of Bloons.

There’s no real point to this entry. I just wanted the whole lot of you to know how hard it was to write this entry tonight. Especially when I could be playing Bloons.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Day-to-Day: What's Going On, Events, Releases and New Things

The Search

I’m always searching for what I think might be the worst movie ever made. It has to fulfill a number of criteria to qualify.

1. It has to be offensive. It can’t just be poorly made, with bad lighting and bad acting. It needs to offend me on some level. If I’m not angry by the end, then it doesn’t count.

2. It needs to be poorly made. As bad as say, Battlefield Earth is, it’s not badly made. It’s got some visuals to it, by golly. If it’s going to qualify as the worst movie ever, it needs to have booms in frame. It needs to be so poorly lit that I can’t see what’s going on. There needs to be a definite lack of quality present.

3. It has to have no redeeming value. There should be no chance that I learn anything from this morning. There should be no point where I say, “Well, at least it looks like they had fun while they were making this.” From every aspect, the worst movie ever needs to be a waste of everyone’s time. If I see that Alan Smithee is the director, I know I’m on the right track.

Those are a few of the basic criteria needed. I watched a movie yesterday that almost qualifies. It certainly comes close. I was angry, sad and a little sick when it finished, but it was missing something. If it was just a little bit worse…I’m still looking.

And I will find it.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Pop Culturing: Movies, Books, Comic Books and Other Arts

Quitting Quitting is for Quitters

There are times when it’s difficult for me to stay away from cigarettes. Any stress, like from closing down a chain of bookstores, can trigger the desire to smoke. It’s like having an itch I can’t scratch, right between my shoulder blades, that just won’t go away. It’s an ever present tickle and though I can get close to scratching it, I always manage to miss the one spot that would really satisfy it.

It’s at times like those that I need to remember why I’m glad I quit as opposed to really, really wanting just to light up and breathe out smoke like a totally kick-ass dragon. So here are my reasons why I’m glad I quit (90% of the time).

1. My clothes don’t smell like the floor of an especially dingy bar anymore, a bar from before the smoking ban in bars I mean.

2. Likewise, my breath doesn’t smell like the floor of an especially dingy bar.

3. People who quit before the age of 30 reduce the risk of dying prematurely from tobacco related illnesses by 90% (from the NCI).

4. I no longer count the minutes until my next cigarette. More than anything, breaking my dependence on it is what makes me happy. Being bound to something, being made to need to have something, was extremely maddening. I hated the loss of control and now, to a large degree, I have that back.

5. I’m extremely proud of myself every time I want a cigarette, really need to have a cigarette, and I manage to keep from giving in. I have gone 407 days without a cigarette and 90% of the time, I’m damn glad of it.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Day-to-Day: What's Going On, Events, Releases and New Things

The Process

In order to get myself hyped about writing reviews again, I’m going to let ya’ll in on a behind-the-scenes look at the process I use when writing reviews. It’s also a good way to get two blog entries out of one movie.

1. First, I pick the movie. This involves going through the collection of horror movies available on Netflix. I flip through the list until I read a plot synopsis that makes me wince. This week’s selection is Hanger, a movie about an abortion gone wrong. Quality!

2. Next, I watch the movie. This can take anywhere from the running time of the movie to a full week, depending on how good the movie is. As I watch, I make notes to help me when I actually start to write the review. Usually the notes are far from helpful since they’re usually things like: “Dialog bad. What write movie?” “Jesus Crickets, this sucks.”

3. After a substantial recovery period, I start to write the review. Since I need a screencap for the review and since I always forget to take the screencap while I’m watching the movie, this means starting up Hanger again. A second substantial recovery period is needed.

4. I then write the review a full month after picking the movie. Generally, I’ve forgotten a great number of details, so I end up rewatching most of the movie to make sure I get my facts right.

5. By this point, I’m now the foremost expert on this movie and it’s time to pick the next movie.

Elapsed time: 2 months

This is assuming that everything goes well. Sometimes I’ll watch an entire movie and there’s nothing interesting to say about it, so I’ll move on to something else. Hanger looks promising though.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Writing: Novels, Stories, Blogs and Comics

In the Spirit

So far I haven’t really been feeling Halloween so much.

I’ve watched an obscene number of horror movies. I’ve consumed a large amount of pumpkin flavored beer. I’ve contemplated costumes. I’ve read articles online reviewing Halloween goodies. I’ve listened to Halloween music. Emily even got me a mess of rubbery stretchy spiders.

And nothing.

Partly, it’s trying to sustain Halloween cheer for three months straight, which is getting to be more and more difficult. Partly, it’s because it does’t feel at all like Fall. There are no schizophrenically colored leaves and there’s no chill in the air yet. It’s killing my Halloween-buzz, goddamn it.

All I can do is rededicate myself to the cause. More horror movies, more costumes, more bad, Halloween novelty songs.

It’s gonna be Halloween up in here, even if it means covering myself in fake blood and running through the streets with a Jack-o’-Lantern on my head.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Halloween: Rock and Shock, 31 Days of Spooktacular, Spoooky Beer Reviews and More

Human Centipede: Why?

I’m going to talk about horror movies (again), but this will be the last time for a day or two (promise {maybe}). This Friday, The Human Centipede 2 will be on limited release. So, if you’re very, very lucky, it’ll be playing somewhere in your city.

For years, if a critic wanted to point out the depravity of horror, they’d gesture wildly at the Saw series. Saw‘s position as King of Disgusting Horror has been soundly usurped by The Human Centipede. It’s a movie so shocking that the director, Tom Six, has apparently received numerous death threats and travels with a  body guard in public.

The Human Centipede 2 was made as a direct reaction to these threats and criticisms. The movie’s plot revolves around a character who is so obsessed with The Human Centipede that he decides to make his own. It’s a movie that’s (supposedly) more depraved and more violent than the original. So much so, that it’s been banned in the UK.

I’m most likely going to go see it. Maybe not in theaters, since I don’t even know if it’s playing here, but I’ll go. And really, I can’t even tell you why. It’s not going to be good. I’ll feel bad afterward. There’s nothing to be gained.

But my dedication to Horror (with a capital H) is such that I have to see it, grump about it and sulk off.

There’s something wrong with me.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Halloween: Rock and Shock, 31 Days of Spooktacular, Spoooky Beer Reviews and More