Tag Archives: horror movies

31 Days of Spoooktacular: Happy Halloween

I’m drinking a beer called Vampire Slayer (brewed by Clown Shoes). This isn’t a review, I’m just letting you know that I have a dark, flavor rich beer and you should get some yourself.

No, really I’m just here to say, Happy Halloween. We’ve spent a lot of time together, you and I and it’s been a hell of a ride. There were conventions and philosophizing on fear and beer and apple picking and more philosophizing. And, now, it’s drawing to a close. Soon, people will be slapping pictures of hand-turkeys on the walls and throwing cornucopias everywhere and eating way too much food. The time of reveling in horror and monsters and goblins and scary things is drawing to a close.

I’m a little sad, but mostly relieved. I can talk about other things now. I can review beers that don’t taste like pumpkins. I can watch movies that aren’t just boobs, blood and bad guys. I can pontificate on politics or work or Sprint’s terrible service.

But, just one more time, I’m going to watch a horror movie, drink a Halloween themed-beer  and relax for the last night before….

 

 

NANOWRIMO.

 

See you tomorrow.

And have a Happy Halloween!

-D-

 

PS If you need some spooky fun, check this out. It’s an audio dramatization of my story, The Song and Dance Man. Thumbs up.

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: The Remade

Between 2007 and 2010, all three of the major slasher icons were featured in reboots of the old movies. Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers stalked the silver screen again in “fresh” “re-imaginings” of the old movies. Halloween came first, followed shortly by Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. The idea that this was even a profitable idea probably came from the success of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, which grossed over $107 million dollars worldwide. And that’s in 2003 dollars!

Of the three remakes, Halloween is the only one that can be even remotely be called “good”, and I use that term loosely. It’s still a slasher movie; it’s extremely violent, has a fairly simple plot and the character development of water-logged cardboard. BUT, even though it’s the one remake that most closely followed the plot of its predecessor, it still brought a lot of new material and ideas to the table that helped to enhance, rather than detract, from the story of the character (the childhood of Michael Myers being the most notable addition). It has a lot of nice touches sprinkled throughout and has some of the best kid actors I’ve seen in a movie in a long time. In fact, the acting across the board is good, which is something you learn not to expect in a slasher movie. And, this is important here, it has some truly creepy moments.

Which cannot really be said of Friday the 13th or A Nightmare on Elm Street. They were boring, did nothing to add anything new or original to the characters, except for stuff you really didn’t want added (Jason the pot farmer! Freddy the goofy man-child pedophile gardener!). They could never have been made and the world would never have noticed the difference. And it’s telling that while Halloween managed to do well enough to warrant a (truly terrible) sequel, the same cannot be said of the other two, though it’s only a matter of time. 

The problem with any remake or sequel, and this is more true for the horror genre than others, is that you will never be surprised or shocked. You will never be scared. You’ve seen this monster’s moves and you know what can kill it and you know how things will proceed. They never change a franchise enough to make it interesting, because if they do they risk losing money and fan ire (see Halloween III: Season of the Witch or Friday the 13th: A New Beginning).

They remake and sequel until the money runs out, but long before then, the scares have dried up. It’s detrimental to the genre and just drives away the fans in droves to try new things like Japanese horror and giallo.

Let them die, so we can be scared again.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Rock and Shock (The Event)

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I keep trying to condense all of this into one picture or thought that encompasses the entire event, but it’s just not possible.

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There are the celebrities. The few we actually talked to were absurdly nice and patient with our mumbling and limp handshakes.

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All around me, I see adulation for a genre that gets very little love outside of a small subset of fans. From modern horror to the old classics: everyone is here to share in their love of being scared.

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It’s the feeling of being with a bunch of people who love what I love, who work to create what I love. It’s bring surrounded by creators and artists and fans. It’s invigorating and energizing and l plan on coming back next year.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Rock and Shock (The Prequel)

I know I’ve already talked about this once already, but I cannot stress enough how excited I am about Rock and Shock. Pinhead and Michael Myers and Jason and Candyman are all going to be in the same room together at the same time. And I will do my best not to call them that to their faces.

It’ll also be interesting to be in a place where I’m not the biggest horror freak. There be hundreds of other people there, all of them either on my level or more so. I will blend in and fit in with the crowd and that will be nice.

Horror, both in movies and in books, has been a driving force in my writing. It’s what helped me decide that I want to be a writer. It helped me decide what I want to write about. It gave me focus for something that needs to be focused in order to be useful.

It’s important to me in a way that other genres, that I also love, are not. It fuels my creative drive and that is a vital, important thing and Rock and Shock is a way to actually meet the people who make that genre possible.

There will be giddy squealing, is what I’m saying.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Fear Desensitized

I haven’t been scared by a fictional book or movie in year. I’ve been lightly creeped out. I’ve been unnerved. I’ve been put slightly on edge. But I haven’t been out and out scared.

I have to work to even reach that level of fear. I have to set the mood. I lower the lights and make sure I’m alone. I focus everything on the movie and try not to shift my attention to anything else.

If I don’t do any of that, if I wander away from the movie to make a snack, if Emily is home with me, if it’s just too light out, then the fear never comes and I just watch the movie with a critical eye, quietly and calmly picking apart everything they’re doing wrong.

I have seen things, movies so terrible and wretched and graphic and disturbing that it has wrenched my ability to find your everyday horror flick frightening askew. I think, at this point, that there is nothing that I could see, cinematically, that could shock me. I have seen things, movies that should not have been made and should not have been released.

It has become a quest, a game. I go looking for something worse, hoping to be provoked and horrified, and, each time, I am rebuffed.

My one dream is that I will go to the horror convention this Sunday and find a vendor, tucked away in some back corner of the convention. He sells DVDs, obviously homemade copies, things he has burned himself. None of them have covers or titles. He will hand me a movie and it will be as the Lament Configuration is to Cotton and I will finally, finally, be scared by a movie again.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Portrait of a Slasher Movie

The slasher movie is, by far, one of the subgenres of horror that most sticks to a formula. And here is the formula:

Pre-Credits Kill+Character Introduction+Cat Scare*+Minor Character Killed Off+Pointless Drama/Comedic Scene+Secondary Character Killed+Hero(ine) and Killer Meet-Up+Hero(ine) Triumphs+One Last Scare=Slasher Movie

This is, for the most part, how every slasher movie plays out. You have the pre-credit sequence kill, which is either part of the back story or is set in modern day and sets off the chain of events. This is where you’ll see characters defiling graves or having sex when they should have been paying attention or telling stories around a campfire about the killer. If this is a sequel, this is where you’ll most likely see a character from the previous movie get killed off (see Friday the 13th Part 2 or Scream 3).

Then comes the cast introduction. During this point you’ll see a barrage of cliches come at you. Don’t worry! Most will be dead in 90 minutes. This is also the point where you’ll meet an ancillary character. Now, the ancillary character can fulfill numerous roles. They’re the Red Herring: “Who’s that?” “Oh that’s crazy Bob, he lives in the woods where we’ll be camping!” The Red Herring will show up lurking, here and there, through-out the movie and then will end up dead at the three-quarter mark.

There’s the Small Town Sheriff. He will say, in one form or another, “Those damn kids!” before the movie is over. Though he’s going to be an asshole throughout the entire movie, he’ll most likely show up toward the middle or end and seem like he’s going to do something to affect the outcome and give the audience false hope. He’s actually going to be murder fodder and everyone’s hopes are dashed.

There’s the Doomsayer. He (or she) is an old and crusty oldtimer who knows more than everyone else, but will be completely dismissed as being either old, crazy or both. The Doomsayer can also play the part of The Red Herring. It’s a toss-up to whether the Doomsayer will show up beyond the Introduction.

Then there’s the Cat Scare. The Cat Scare is when a character hears a noise, goes to investigate and finds a cat. It is almost ALWAYS a cat. And it’s always a cat that has somehow ended up in a cupboard. I have owned numerous cats, but they rarely ended up in cupboards.

Right after the cat scare, Minor Character death. The Doomsayer is a good choice for this, but sometimes it’s the gas station attendant or the lonely hitchhiker or any person who is not one of the fresh young teens.

Then you have the pointless drama and light-hearted comedy to trick you into thinking that that this movie is more than nubile young people being offed with chainsaws.

This is when the secondary characters start dying, one by one and, depending on how many characters there are, depends on how long this process will take.

After all the non-essential personnel are removed, the hero or, more frequently, the heroine meets up with the monster. If the monster is masked, this is where he’ll be de-masked. If the killer is actually the boyfriend, long lost-brother or the mother of a deformed little boy who drowned in the lake, this is where the shocking twist is revealed.

After the Killer is dispatched, the Hero(ine) and her/his Boyfriend/Girlfriend walk away from the body. Then the body moves, or the little boy comes out of the lake or the second killer steps out of the shadows or the Hero(ine) turns around with a crazy look in her eyes and you know SHE’S the killer now. This is the Final Scare. It can be either followed with a re-assuring shot of the Hero(ine) waking up or a freeze-frame of the Final Scare.

Bam. You don’t ever need to watch a slasher movie ever again. Because you just did. All of them.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: The Anticipation

Halloween, a long time ago, stopped being about Halloween. I don’t go out and Trick ‘r’ Treat. I don’t wear costumes. I don’t have kids and take them Trick ‘r’ Treating. Generally, I hang out and watch a movie.

But all the days and weeks leading up have become a celebration of their own. I watch horror movies and drink beer with goblins on the front and talk about scary movies endlessly with my few friends who don’t run away when they see me coming between August and November. It’s about celebrating scary things in a pretty damn silly way. I am going to a convention that borderline deifies the man who played a character called Pinhead. That doesn’t mean I won’t do my damnedest to get his autograph, but I think it’s a good idea to occasionally step back and realize what we’re doing here.

Halloween is the time of year when we pants the Boogeyman, knock him on his ass into a mud puddle and point and laugh. We take a good, hard look at those things that live in the dark, turn a flashlight on in their eyes and laugh as they stumble away. To hell with the darkness and let’s have some fun.

-D-

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