Thursday, October 28, 2010

Just Watched: The Thing

The Thing...what an appropriate name for this movie.

Actually, I'm not really sure what to say in this post, because the movie has left me a little bit speechless. From the beginning of the movie, about a million questions were running through my fact, I wrote them all down and tried to find answers for them throughout the movie.  Some were answered...others were not --which isn't always a bad thing, considering leaving certain things open for the imagination can make plots more terrifying a times. 

I liked the overall setting of the story -- to me, snow storms are a perfect environment to breed chaos because you have that constant feeling of isolation, entrapment, loneliness, and my personal favorite, cabin fever.  This appeals to me because of the psychological trials and tribulations that come with it -- in other words, I love to watch the human mind break down. That's probably why I liked The Shining so much.  Seeing Jack Torence go back and forth between the forces that were penetrating his mind was fascinating to me, so in this case, watching the breakdown of the group was what roped me into the movie.

I always thought an invisible creature, and/or attack strategy would be the worst because you would never know what was going to happen at any given time, thus making the concept of of protecting yourself rather difficult.  However, this movie showed me that a monster that could imitate humans to perfection is without a doubt worse.  Everyone ends up being accused, no one can be trusted, and the group is in a constant state of panic.  Imagine shooting your friend on sight, because they make, what you think to be, an different twitch than normal. It's mind-blowing to me, and when McGrady shot Carter because he snuck up behind him... my mouth dropped.  This leads me to a major issue that I had with the movie though: the character's emotional detchment.

To me, it seemed like none of the characters showed any emotions throughout the entire movie...including fear at some points.  For instance, in the beginning when they first encounter the creature, they just respond like it's no big deal.  Something that they see everyday. Also, in the very beginning scene where the guy gets shot in the leg...he just shakes it off, and drinks a beer. It's like it was a feather rubbing against him or something. This continued to some level throughout the rest of the movie, and it really irritated me.  I was glad at the end, when McGrady  went nuts and threatened to blow the place up because it finally showed some hint of reality to me.

Now for some of the questions that are still left unanswered to me:
Plus, some of the overall problems with the movie:
  1. Where did Blair get all of these stats and information from?  It just seemed like he figured everything out to easily to me.  Also, in regards to the computers, why do they always have a female voice? Same thing happens in Resident Evil.  Sexist?
  2. Lets talk about how this is the weirdest physical compilation of a monster I have ever seen. What was this thing in its original form?  It looked like a hybrid from every monster even invented. and I hated it. It was cool when it would imitate people and then take on that level of fear, but the entire essence of it before it did so was really strange to me. Also, the creature grew entirely too fast in the scene with the dogs.  It just kept sprouting tendrils, and legs, and then ejected this flower like head from its torso...I don't know, it just seemed like bad monster making to me.
  3. But while we are on the topic of the dogs, let's have a serious conversation.  I firmly believe that it is a serious mistake to kill/torture dogs in the horror genre, because it really upsets and turns a lot of people off from your book/poem/script etc.  No matter what movie I have watched, I have always been really tempted to quit watching it if a dog was brutalized.  Secret Window really rubbed me the wrong way, when the dog was killed via a screwdriver to the head.  I just don't think its a wise move for horror writers because it's going to kill a big chunk of your audience
Overall, I think that I probably won't be watching this movie over again, because it had too many cliches and issues for me.  I feel like the creature was too easily killed...the fire method just didn't work for me here folks.  Then the predictability factor really bothered me..for instance, how one knew as soon as you were left alone with it that it was going to attack you....or that a body would move when the person had their back turned.  Also, a huge snow storm just happened to blow on through at the exact moment things started getting out of control.  Basically, it goes back to what I feel like I have  been saying a lot this semester: If you're going to create a monster, and I'm going to believe that it is actually real...keep convincing me throughout the story that its real.  I don't want to have to put the book down/ turn the movie off because it's predictable, or because the monster has powers and serious growth spurts that it shouldn't have.

I will say this though...while the blood looked horrifically fake, I LOVED the opening scene where they found the guy with his throat slit, and the dripping blood had turned into icicles. Very artistic!

The Annoyances of Writing Erotica

This semester I have been dabbling in writing erotica... or what I like to call Horrotica. My works have been primarily grotesque with sexual elements and frankly, I have developed a real passion for combining the two genres together. To me, it's like throwing the vulnerable against a blood splattered window- it's just makes everything more uncomfortable, which I'm always a fan of.  However, I've gotten a lot of mixed reviews about my writings, and to me, as a writer, I can't help but to laugh at what some of the people are saying to me.

For instance, I have recently been published on Horror, Sleaze, and Trash and this has caused quite an uproar to the people in my life.  The blog operates on explicit language and adult material, but I love that they aren't afraid to publish poetry and fiction that isn't your normal heterosexual plots over and over again. For example, I have three poems on there titled "Loving a Prostitute," "His First Time," and "Think of Me."  The first one is about a woman who falls in love with a female prostitute only to find herself played, and now she ends up in the trade herself having sex with countless male partners that she hates, only to feel some connection to the woman that she fell for.  So naturally, because I wrote about a homosexual relationship, everyone is automatically assuming that I'm either hiding gay tendencies or am bi-sexual.  Seriously?  While I have no problem at all with the idea of being homosexual (in fact, some of my best friends are gay), I'm personally not, and I have been in a 6.5 year relationship with my boyfriend, Zachery who is very much male all the way.   So, no... just because I wrote about two women falling in does not mean that I have a girlfriend on the side folks.

"His First Time" was an interesting write for me, because I was dabbling in point of view, and wrote it through the voice of the boy's mother who was instructing him on how to rape his first victim, all while violently brutalizing her.  Yeah, that's some pretty intense stuff...but once again, I would like to reiterate, that hello, I'm a horror writer.  My stuff isn't going to be all sunshine and rainbows folks...especially because I like to write about stuff that a lot of people can't even talk about.  So if it bothers you, maybe horrotica isn't your genre, although I can't see why, haha.  I guess my only advice to my family and friends is just imagine it's not me writing it if the sexual and violent material bothers you.  In this case, you might just have to eliminate my voice from the pieces. 

"Think of Me" was just a fun piece to write because I like to include strong female characters in my pieces, more often than not. Growing up as a horror addict, the fact that females were always victimized, or  in a sexual stereotype really pissed me off. So when I write, guess who is getting butchered, raped, or tortured.  That's right folks. It's ladies night in my world, and they are coming at you with a vengeance. This poem particularly talks about a women scorned by her cheating boyfriend and her choices to deal with the situation -- she just so happens to choose to deal with a lot of sex, and a lot of death.  Nothing wrong with that right? Well apparently, some people look at me now and only label me as that goth chick the SandM, or the horror girl-- my response...hell what do I care?  It pumps up my reputation for being a horror writer, and will probably make people curious about my writing.  So keep talking me up :)

Then there is this wonderful dilemma:
People keep asking me why I would associate myself with a website that promotes porn, and erotic photography and my answer is, and shall remain, "If I'm not ashamed of it, why are you?"

Now I am a HUGE feminist and while the idea of porn really bothers me, I am also fascinated by the comfort levels of the people within them.  If you're ok with your body, then why should anyone else care or matter to you if you're doing what you love, because let's face it people...SEX is out there. Everyone does it.  Everyone reads it, and probably 90% of the population watches it on their computer.  Why? Because its pleasureful.  That simple.  And while pleasure can be sinful...hmmmm you think that's why horror writers use it?  BINGO!

I'm personally writing straight erotica now in order to do scene studies for the novel I'm writing, and will hopefully be sending off to editors in 2014 (because I'm applying to the Writing Popular Fiction Program at Seton Hill University). It fuses the world of Horror and Erotica together as a woman indulges in a secret fetish. Now I'm only going to give you the elevator pitch because I'm still ironing out some details....but what I want to remind everyone is simply that I'm a creator.  I'm an artist of fiction.  This stuff all comes out of my dark, creepy imagination, and that's it. I'm not running around like some maniac doing all of this masochistic stuff and playing murder mystery on the side.  I live to scare people and please them at the same time with my writing, and  it's just what I do, and if it bothers you, I'm sorry, but that's not going to stop me from doing what I love. But honestly, who doesn't like to read stories of people keeping their dead lover in their closet in case they get bored?  Or crime victims speaking out while a chalk outline is drawn around them?

Wait.. not everyone likes reading about necrophilia?? Hmm...clearly, they need to live a little more!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Reading: Writers Workshop of Horror

Chapter 16- Brian Keen
Chapter 17-Deborah LeBlanc

Keen's chapter in this book made me laugh because I completely understand what he is talking about on a personal level.  I have wanted to be a writer since I was 8 years old, but I had a really nasty habiti (and still suffer from it a little) of starting projects and not finishing them.  Plus, my other problem was I'm a serious book worm, so part of me always wanted to read rather than write.  Viscious cycle...I know.

But since I've been in college, and am now a very, happy senior, I can honestly say that I have developed positive writings habits and have made time to write, almost every day (if not a least 5 days a week).  Poetry has been my forte for a long time, and after taking Publications Workshop at SHU, I have been submitting work out constantly over the past 9 months.  In fact, I counted my submission list yesterday and totalled 154 submissions! Plus, getting those acceptance letters every now and then really gives me confidence, haha.
But what I'm trying to get at, is that I have noticed at SUBSTANTIAL change in my writing just over this short time period because I have been writing everyday, and surprise, surprise....I'm not getting writer's block as much as I used too. 

Thanks to some wonderful editors and the insight of my professors, I have successfully finished two short stories this semester, and have been published numerous times, all while holding down 17 credits.  Ironically though, I would much rather be writing now then heading to my classes....I guess that means I finally got the drive... :)
LeBlanc's chapter also struck some familiarities with me, because people ask me if I use them in my writings all the time.  I guess now I'll divulge a little secret.  There is one person that I constantly use in my pieces...but it might not always been in a physical sense.  Happy digging though folks, because that's all you're getting out of me.  However, my muse is a variety of people, and I write based on my dreams more often than not, so I keep a dream journal and write notes/make sketches whenever I wake up to use as my references. I like to let my subconscious talk to me rather than try to invent something out of the blue.

Also, like her, I have a little folder of clippings and things that made me laugh, or cry, or scream (haha) and I use them when I get stuck, or can't think of where to go next. I use a lot of artwork to give me an extra boost, and since I'm also an art history major, I read a lot of biographys and manifestos...and sometimes by reading different theories or criticisms, I get new ideas that way.  I do really like her idea with developing a first and last name folder -- because a lot of the time, I feel like the name that I have assigned to a certain character just isn't in that sense, I think Deborah is on to something.  I'll have to give it a try!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Reading: Writers Workshop of Horror

Chapter 15: Joe R. Lansdale

This chapter really opened my eyes to a lot of things that I hadn't really thought about before.  For instance, my reading habits: the authors I read, the genres I pick, my writing style, etc. I'm without a doubt dedicated to Horror with all of my heart, so when it comes time for me to watch or read something, it's normally going to involve some type of dark element, whether literal or psychological.  I've been reading the classics in Monster Fiction this semester, and have been studying demented settings and psychos for the past year.  However, I also have a guilty pleasure of science-fiction and fantasy, but that's more of a visual stimulation rather than a critical reading one.  Yet despite my habits, Lansdale makes a great point: "Reading and writing in the same genre is all right, but sometimes, if you're too familiar with the ropes and approaches to a certain type of fiction, your brain not only becomes comfortable, it becomes bored.  And so does the reader (139)."

Reading that was equivalent to the light bulb turning on above my head. At times horror does bother me, because I'm getting rather good at predicting certain happenings....especially in movies.  Books may have similar plot lines, but movies are really starting to irritate me. So Lansdale's solution is to get outside of the genre.  And even to someone who is a horror addict, that's kind of scary.

I do have interests in a lot of other genres, and have a few authors that I will read no matter what the book is about, as long as their name is attached to it.  For instance, I adore Nicholas Sparks, and have read every book that he has ever written (except for his newest one, because of school work), and James Patterson owns my heart...and I refuse to read everything that he was written because I never want to finish his books, haha.  I have almost all of them, and have read a TON of them...but I only read him sparingly because I just can't handle the possibility of there not being a Patterson book to read at my will.  So right there, we have Romance and Crime...and ironically, I'm also very intrigued in young adult fiction.  Ellen Hopkin's book have changed my life based on how they are written, their honesty and pain...I have read and re-read all of her books because of the differing effect that they have on me each and every time I read them.   But those are just some examples in genres...I also have been developing a liking for Augusten Burroughs (Running with Scissors, The Wolf at the Table, etc).  So there is that biographical element that I'm interested in too.  I love a true story, especially one that deals with a type of emotional climb...

So yes, while I'm married to Horror, I do have other affairs outside of the genre.  And truth be told, I think this is why I decided to major in English Literature rather than Creative Writing -- I wanted to read the masters, and learn the techniques rather than surrounding myself in genre fiction.  I think one needs to learn where everything came from in order to understand contemporary literature. 

That's why I think Lansdale said it best when he talked about people picking up a book just because it has your name on it.  I don't want to be labeled and confined to only writing one type of story.  I want to cross breed genres such as paranormal romance, or sci-fi and crime.  I want to be able to create worlds, and then break them down only to reconstruct them again.  I want people to look on the shelves and say.. "There is a Wytovich book.." and not even look at the summary, but buy it anyways.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Just Read: The Wolfman

I’ll admit that I saw the movie on opening night, and I was really impressed with it because I like how they incorporated the gothic elements into the setting and tone of the film.  Plus, I thought that they did a great job with keeping the Wolfman to its original form (back in the Bela Lugosi days), and the fact that the lighting was really dreary and dark throughout the entire film really added to the old school feeling  of horror to me. Plus, for those of you that don’t know me, I’m in love with Anthony Hopkins so that says enough.  But when it all comes down to it I realized three very important things when I read the novelization of the movie: (1) Werewolves are starting to take the number one spot in my favorite monster categories, (2) Lawrence Talbot is one of my favorite characters that we have encountered thus far in the semester, and (3) the novelization is always better than the movie.

Jonathan Maberry won me over in the prologue alone with his description of the Goddess of the Hunt.  It was so poetic and visual, that I actually went back and re-read it several times throughout the novel.  To further that note, Maberry’s descriptions of the moon throughout the entire novel were amazing.  I loved how he personified the moon, gave it female characteristics, and then heavily focused on the power that we had over her children.  His writing style alone inspired me a lot this week, and I ended up churning out some great poetry because of his technique.

Now I’m sure the most heated argument is going to be: Who exactly is the monster in this book?  And are you a monster even if you do not want to be one?  I personally not know where I would place myself in these arguments because Lawrence Talbot could fall into several areas depending on how you answer it.  Now there is no doubt that his father is without a doubt the true monster of the story, seeing that he locked Lawrence out of safety (causing him to willfully kill), slaughtered Lawrence’s mother and brother, and is responsible for the deaths of several others.

(My only question is whether or not it was Lawrence’s father that was responsible for the bite or not?)

But when it comes down to it, Lawrence doesn’t end up taking his life in order to prevent the killings of other innocent people.  Sure he has an agenda, but does that still make him a monster because he didn’t technically stop himself from it?  If I had to pick a side, I would probably agree with Gwen and say that this was all out of Lawrence’s control, and that he wasn’t truly a monster – it was what was happening inside him, and when the change took over, he didn’t know what he was doing.  Plus, the strongest argument for this would be the scene in the asylum when he begging the doctors to kill him or at least lock him up; at least he tried to protect others…they just chose not to listen.

However, I can’t write this blog and not mention Lawrence’s and Gwen’s relationship with one another.  Talk about your steamy romance huh?  In the movie, their lust for each other didn’t seem so, ah… intense?  But wow, with the book… sheesh. I’m surprised Gwen was even able to pull herself away from Lawrence when the Inspector A. was knocking at the Apothecary’s door! It had to be painfully obvious that she was getting in on with someone… no wonder they thought Lawrence was in there!  But what really confuses me is their love for each other in the first place.  I mean Ben had just died, and Gwen is already moving on to the next Talbot brother….I would think she would need some time to mourn, but I’ve heard that sometimes grieving turns the sex drive on…so maybe this was some sick way of being closer to Ben by going through Lawrence….but even then, at the end it seemed like she really did have feelings for him, so I’m not sure where I stand in that argument either.

I also liked that they focused a great deal on the exotic other in the movie/book with the ostracized American coming back to Blackmoor, and especially the characterizations of the gypsies. I think that by including gypsy myth and lore, it really allowed the movie/book to open up to the idea of the occult and mysticism on an entire different level rather than just solely focusing on the story of the Werewolf.  What I particularly liked about this, was the notion of secrecy that they held throughout the entire piece.  They knew what was going on, but they protected themselves by keeping it too themselves and away from those that treated them badly…kind of like a sense of karma.


One more point… I have to admit that I have a weird interest in abnormal psychology, and I really thought it was neat how they described the different treatments that the doctors put Lawrence through as a way to cure him of his delusions.  The water treatment has always seemed especially inhumane to me, but when they did the shock treatment in the movie….I def. got chills.  There is just something about that form of therapy that literally puts Goosebumps all over me (i.e. have you ever seen the movie Changeling?? Ahhh).

Overall, I was very impressed with the book, and I’m probably going to re-watch the movie tonight! I’m really glad that I got to pick up something by Maberry that was assigned for class, so I could read him without feeling guilty, haha! His style was def. a huge inspiration to be as a writer, and because of him…every time that I look at the moon, I’m going to be wondering what the Goddess is thinking as she looks down over me.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Review: Case 39

"They like to cast me for scary roles. I think it's because they want you to be scared, but also to like the little girl,” states Jodelle Ferland, who plays Lilith Sullivan in one of the most anticipated horror movies of the season, Case 39.
            Emily Jenkins (played by Renee Zellweger) is social worker who has just been assigned her 39th case regarding the 10 year old child, Lilith Sullivan.  After meeting with Lilith’s unresponsive parents, it is obvious that she is undergoing emotional abuse, if not physical abuse as well.  Emily begins to develop a strong connection with the child, stemming from her own dysfunctional relationship with her mother, and ends up giving Lilith her number in case of emergencies.  When Emily receives a call one night, with Lilith whispering that her parents are going to kill her, both Dective Barron (played by Ian McShane) and her quickly arrive at the house, break down the door, and are shocked to see that Lilith’s parents have shoved her into the oven, trying to burn her alive. Now take a moment and put yourself in Emily Jenkins’s position.  You have a scorned child who is suffering from the effects of an abusive childhood, and is in need of an understanding foster family who can appreciate and treat her needs properly.  Who better to take her in than a woman with years of social work experience under her belt?  Emily and Lilith soon begin their own journey as mother and daughter – but will they both make it out alive? 
Directed by Christian Alvart, and written by Ray Wright, Case 39 didn’t disappoint viewers with its uncanny plot and spirals of tension driven scenes. As viewers, we are introduced to a little girl with extraordinarily dangerous powers, and a conflict in which the people that are close to her suddenly end up dying.  With her biological parents in prison, and her new foster mother, Emily, terrified of the child that she has brought home, Lilith decides that it is time to show her true self and bring her powers to the table to convince the people around her exactly what she is capable of.  For instance, take Doug, her child psychiatrist (played by Bradley Cooper). During one of their sessions, he confronted Lilith about why she marked on the standardized evaluation test that she wasn’t afraid of anything. When no answer that she gave satisfied him, she responded with, ‘I’ll tell you what scares me, if you tell me what scares you.’ Unfortunately for Doug, after reliving a childhood nightmare of hornets to her, he was met with a violent infestation upon returning home that night, which ultimately resulted in his death.
Case 39 is a movie that will have your jaw on the ground as you witness Lilith’s seemingly innocent transformation into her demonic self.   With horrifying tricks for amusements, she is determined to keep Emily locked within the grasp of her claws, as both her mother and servant. Battling with her sanity, Emily begins to understand Lilith’s parents’ struggle with their daughter, and is met with one of the hardest decisions that she has ever had to make.  Can she murder a child?  But the main question remaining is, if you kill a demon, where exactly does it go?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Just Watched: ALIEN

Ash is a robo-douche.
(Glad I got that out of my system).

When I started watching Alien, I wasn't really all to thrilled about it.  In fact, I watched the first twenty minutes of so before I called it a night and went to sleep.  But, today...I realized that I misjudged the movie, and it was actually pretty good (and this is coming from someone who isn't a big alien person, although The Fourth Kind ruined my life for a little bit). However, before I started watched the movie, I wrote down what I thought was going to be the gist of the movie: 
  1. Crew initially gets along well, although there is one out of the group that is suspicious
  2. Operation is going well, until they make some type of contact
  3. Try to engage contact, accidentally bringing alien on board the ship
  4. Alien starts taking out people one by one
  5. Shady character in the beginning gets in the way
  6. Alien is supposedly killed, but in the end, comes back for revenge
Now for the most part, I hit it spot on, give or few a little hoops that I didn't jump through, and frankly this kind of pissed me off.  I hate that alien movies in general are so predictable, but the more I thought about it, so is a regular horror plot:
  1. Group of people are introduced: the slutty blond, the geeky brunette, the jock, the token black guy, and a few other random people
  2. A legend, or ghost story, or murder, or something gory happens to which sets off the plot, and all of the above people, or a least one of them is involved (or the killer) to which puts the rest of the group in danger
  3. The 'threat' starts taking them out one by one, always barely getting away
  4. After a few people die, they think up an elaborate plan and eventually think that they killed the bastard...but hello?  He/she ALWAYS comes back!
Ok, so that's a VERY generalized understatement for the genre, but you see my drift?  What makes the genres interesting though is naturally all the stuff in between that we don't expect.  For instance, when Cain was bent over looking at that egg, I knew that someone was going to attack him, but I certainly didn't think it was going to look like that, nor did I think that it was going to have that effect on Cain.  For instance, I was surprised that it latched on to his face, and stayed latched on all while giving him an constant air supply while it put him in a coma.  I thought the fact that the creature's blood was acid was a pretty neat touch because that made it all the harder to kill it because it put everyone else in danger.  Another thing that I thought was pretty cool was that this was all happening on the ship while they were soaring through space because I atomically assumed that they were going to be stuck on the planet -- leaving the atmosphere to be an unknown setting, thus making things harder.

But let me tell you, when that little creature jumped out of Cain's chest, I almost peed my pants from laughter.  Not because I thought the scene itself was funny, but rather because it reminded me of a spoof that they did on Star Wars, called Space Balls: check it out, you won't regret it

Needless to say, I was also pretty surprised when Ash ended up being a robot, because I wanted him to just be the classic know it all on the ship, so for me, that aspect didn't really work, however the graphics that they used to do it (the white slime down his face, how his head snapped back, and then how they put him back together on that table) that redeemed it for me.  But I'll be honest with you guys, I thought for SURE that something was up with that cat, haha.  I don't know why, but I just assumed that it was infected and when the girl ended up on the shuttle at the end, I thought the cat was going to carry the trait and turn into the alien -- I didn't really expect that huge creature to end up on the shuttle pod with her... I mean I did see it coming, but I wanted to be wrong. 

Now, from a feminist perspective, I was really excited to see a strong, female character take the ropes in this movie.  More often than not, it's normally taken over by a man, but this chick had some balls.  She wasn't afraid to express her opinions and flat out tell ash that she didn't trust him...and unlike the other girl in the movie, she didn't cry and automatically want to abandon ship....she was ready to go kill the alien.  Plus, she ended up being the only survivor which is pretty impressive...even though she  mainly stayed in the control room throughout the entire movie, until the end (but hey, give her some credit...she WAS running the operation!).  My only gripe with the portrayal of the female character was that she just HAD to take off her clothes in the very ending of the movie.  Now, somebody please explain to me why she had to fight the alien in her bra and underwear... ya ya ya I know sex sells, but she couldn't find that big, gooey, had while she still had her battle clothes on?  I mean I guess you argue that it puts her in an even more vulnerable position, but come on.  In this case, I'm not buying the nudity.

The other question that I wanted to explore was: who was the real monster?  Naturally the unknown, alien that goes on a killing spree seems like the logical answer, but when you think about it... it was the humans that landed on its land, disturbed its birth, and then willingly brought it on board knowing nothing about it, breaking protocol in the process.  Is it really the creatures fault for going along with its feeding habits?  I mean technically, it's not doing anything wrong, and if the crew hadn't brought it on board, none of this would have ever happened. So I'm going to back up the alien on this one, and say that it was the crew that was the monsters, and not it.

I am still curious about the creatures living conditions though.  Was it hiding out in the cooling ducts because it couldn't survive a hot and humid temperature?  Is that why it was curled into that little compartment at the end of the movie, and when it reached its hand out it immediately recoiled and cried out? Hmmm... if so, I wonder why know one thought to just turn up the heat on the ship, haha!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Just Read: World War Z

Now while I don’t want to admit this, I actually haven’t read the Zombie Survival Guide (ducks from punches from classmates and evil overlord).  I also wasn’t really ever that into zombies, other than watching the oldest version of Night of the Living Dead. But recently this semester, I have been trying to explore and develop more of a monster history and decided to pick up some zombie movies to learn more: Resident Evil Trilogy, The Land of the Dead, 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later, etc.  The more that I started exploring these creatures… the more I realized how creepy they really are: they never stop, run in a pack, don’t have any fear, and simply respond only to the primal instinct of hunger. Also, I have to admit that the gross out feature with zombies is repulsively wonderful, and I found myself gagging every time they would spew the black liquid, or start throwing up blood.  Ewe.

World War Z took me some time to get into thought (ducks once again out of fear).  I loved the structure of it, and thought it was really interesting how I could listen to various accounts of people’s survival plans.  The only thing that gave me some trouble was the technological aspect of the book, but I both know and appreciate why It’s there….just had to re-read stuff a couple of times to understand stuff properly.

Now, whether this is the pain medicines talking or the fact that they might have implanted something weird in me while I was knocked out… the part that sticks out the most to me after reading everything was the chapter where all the rich people were boarded up in that massive mansion, with film crews taping them and showing how they were doing all over the world.  When I read this, I actually laughed out loud because these people were so stupid and they couldn’t even realize it.  Why in God’s name were they just hanging out, thinking that everything was going to be ok just because they had money?  I mean how many of them actually have ever shot a gun before?  Wouldn’t their time have been better spent if they had target practice areas, watchmen, etc.?  At least they would have seen the attack coming then! Oh, and at that point, when we found out that the zombies could run….I literally got chills.  A full fledge running zombie is quite terrifying…at least in my book.

Oh, and how about the fact that some people started acting like zombies?  Now, I don’t know about you, but when I was little, I always thought that the best defense against monsters was trying to act like them so that they couldn’t tell you were different, and therefore spare you when it came to their killing spree. Apparently, that doesn’t work so well.  Poor saps, they were mulled by the same creatures that they were trying to be like.

*Sorry for the short entry… I wanted to at least post something asap…I’ll write more in a little because the pain meds are starting to knock me out, haha.  Hopefully it's not that Phalanx crap.  I would be pissed if they slipped me some weak placebo! Ha


·         The past couple days, I have been thinking a lot about the concept of they in horror novels.  We first witnessed it with the Breeding Ground when the characters talked about when they were going to come, and what they were.  Here, we are going through the same thing again.  Who are they and when are they going to step in and eliminate the problem? I kind of liked in the very beginning when the author was talking about how we have this theory that the CIA is involved in everything and how they have this tendency to always fix anything –when in reality, how can that possibly be true?

·         Also, in my pain medicine induced dream state today, I ended up having a dream about zombies (since I apparently can’t get enough of them when I’m conscious) and I was with the group that headed up North to get away from the Great Panic.  When we had the survival prompt, I didn’t really think of heading north, because for some reason I just assumed that the cold wouldn’t have any effect on them, but I have to admit that the book did a good job of describing this escape plan.  However, it was when I was reading this part that I started to notice they effect that the panic was having on the human population in general: they went from battling the zombies, to killing each other for supplies.  Ouch.  It sucks that even when the world is at battle with the undead, that the living STILL can’t get along.  But how about how the zombies were moving even when they were half frozen! That’s pretty cool….I have to admit. 


Friday, October 8, 2010

Under Construction

Temporarily out of service due to the fact that Repomen have harvested my organs and am in recovery...Literally, just got out of surgery.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How I would deal with the Undead.

Scenario 1:
Ok, so I’m sitting at home and a loud siren (Silent hill style, at least in my imagination) goes off signaling the zombie apocalypse…what do I do? I’m hoping I wouldn’t take the pansy way out and kill myself, but if the situation got back enough, I think I would rather take myself out than have my brains eaten my zombies…just saying.
But, since I’m going to choose survival this would be my plan of action. I would grab my loved ones and zombie-proof the house as best as possible (board up windows, push furniture in front of doors, etc.). I’m assuming my bad ass of a father would have collected all of his hunting supplies (knifes, guns, crossbows, etc.) by now, and that my little mischievous of a brother would have taken to turning anything possible in the house into a weapon. My mom would be in charge of sheets, clothes, food  and other provisions…and I would be focused on getting matches, lighters, and pretty much anything flammable (but have our fire extinguisher just in case). I’m thinking that we would probably choose to migrate and live upstairs…but it’s totally important to DESTROY the stairs, and since zombies don’t really have a thought process, just a driving hunger, that should keep us safe for a while, until we can figure out something clever to do.
Unfortunately, if my family decided to go on a suicide mission and try to save us, or if one of them got bitten, I honestly believe that I would have to abide to the kill asap rule. I couldn’t chance a member infecting the rest of the group, and at that point, they aren’t your family anymore anyways. Would I stay with them until they turned? Def. not! You saw what happened in the first Resident Evil – that’s just a problem waiting to happen. Frankly, I think that in the event that this happened, that I would just turn into a terrible person, and protect my family at all costs. No one goes out and no one comes in. At least I say that hypothetically… because let’s say an event happens and a family member ends up outside…naturally I’m going to want to let them back in at all costs….so I’d probably die…
Truth be told, I don’t think I’d live long, haha.

Scenario 2:
 If I didn’t find out through a mass attack on my house and had some time to make an intelligent decision… I’m thinking the best situation would be to pile as much crap into our Blazer/perhaps our Jeep as well, and road trip it out to an extremely remote and isolated location…because let’s face it. If you’re in the city…you’re going to die. Providing that goes well…and taking some of the tactics from above…we would all sleep in shifts and Zombie hunt! My entire family was brought up hunting, so we all have a pretty decent shot and frankly I think some serious adrenaline rush mixed with fear of dying would employ me to be decent with a knife and anything flammable as well. If we had time and a good location… there is no sense in waiting around for a mass attack. Go out in the day in numbers, and kill as many as possible. Plus, everything can be turned into a weapon somehow, so if worse comes to worse, think creatively!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Just Read: The Yattering and Jack by Clive Barker

"I did write, or rather I adapted, one story of mine - the Yattering and Jack - which is a kind of comedic short story, which came out very so-so as far as I was concerned; I was not happy with it... The problem with network television, the thing you're faced with all the time - [with] horror on network TV - is that it has to be so mild and my horror fiction is not mild, so we're always dealing with the problem of, again, censorship, I'm afraid." – Clive Barker, The Larry King Show

Oh, how I adored The Yattering and Jack! In fact, I read both the short story, and the graphic novel version, and I just kept falling in love with the characters (especially when I saw how awkwardly cute the Yattering was!) haha.

While Barker wasn’t too pleased with this piece, I think it completely succeeded as a darkly comic short story.  I found myself laughing at the Yattering’s struggle, and at the same time secretly chuckling to myself about how Jack decided to handle things; while I felt for Jack at the same time, because it was obvious that the Yattering was (slightly) destroying his life, good ol’ jack would just mutter che sera, sera and get on with his day. 

II think my favorite ploy that the Yattering used was when he would mess with Polo’s cats…especially when he got so frustrated that he just blew the one up!   Plus, I loved that Barker described it by stating, “The effect was spectacular.  The results were gross.”  Short, sweet, and very effective to the setting.  Even when he wrote that, “Polo just cleaned up the cat,” it shows us that Barker doesn’t need to go into a whole lot of detail to explain what is going on, yet still manage to have an effect on the reader. 

However, I’ll admit that I was a little confused where he was going to place his notable sexual images at.  But he didn’t disappoint me; he included a scene when the Yattering had the house all to himself that involved him staring out the window at a naked woman across the street.  He talks about how hard it was knowing that he couldn’t leave the house to go to her, no matter how much he wanted it.  Then, there were also several places that he added some crude sexual humor for comedy… such as: “The Yattering, invisible, sat on the window seat and made obscene gestures at the women, tying knots in its genitalia,” and “For its part, the Yattering was enjoying this orgy of destruction.”  I must admit, I didn’t think he was going to pull it off in this piece, but my man didn’t let me down!  Even the part where Amanda finds a work curling up in the middle of one of the Brussels sprouts, could be looked at as a phallic symbol…


Oh, and did anyone notice that there is a line in the story that says “Let there be blood?”  Do you think the writers from the SAW series ripped Barker off when they made SAW 2 –its catch line being..Oh yes, there will be blood…hmmmmm…. Ok ok, I know it’s not the exact same, but it’s pretty damn close.