Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

31 Days = 31 Horror Reviews

October 1, 2012 3 comments

Last year, I spent the month of October updating my “writingcentric” Tumblr blog with various horror short stories (read them here). This year, I thought I’d do something different.

First, let me preface this by saying that Halloween is my favorite holiday and it has been since I was a child. Don’t get me wrong, here. I love Christmas. The family togetherness, the exchange of gifts, the sights and smells of winter filling the air. It’s great. However, Halloween offers some things that Christmas does not: The colors of the leaves, both the ones that litter the ground and the ones that cling to their trees with hopes of miraculously making it through winter, the look on the faces of children as you dump handfuls of cavity inducing goodies into their bags or buckets.

And of course, horror movies.

I’ve had a passion for horror movies ever since I was a kid. My father would sit me down with him and we’d watch all of the old Universal Monster classics. Those movies taught me a lot. I gained an appreciation for the delicate process of bringing a hodge podge of dead body parts back to life in Frankenstien, I learned how to kill a vampire in Dracula, The Mummy taught me never to read the contents of an ancient scroll out loud, and The Wolfman taught me that even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night may become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright. All of this was merely the groundwork being set up to a lifelong love of scary movies. As I grew, so did my taste in horror, and I became introduced to the works of George A. Romero and John Carpenter, Wes Craven and Brian De Palma, Clive Barker and David Cronenberg. My list of horrible creatures of which I had some knowledge grew to include zombies and ghosts, demons and twisted alien creatures.

The great thing about the month of October is that you would be hard pressed to find more than a few channels that aren’t showing horror movies all the time. Truly, it is the most wonderful time of the year.

And so this year, I’ve decided to review thirty-one horror movies over thirty-one days.

Here are some facts about that:

1: Due to work, I might end up doubling up on reviews (meaning I might have two reviews in one day every once in a while), but I’m committed to thirty-one reviews.

2: I have a lot planned, most of which are DVDs that I own, but I’m probably going to throw a few in as the month progresses on a whim. If I see something on cable or after scanning my Netflix queue that piques my interest, I might add it into the rotation.

3: Not all of these movies will be good and the reviews will most certainly touch on that.

4: I’m going to be incredibly biased as far as what movies are included in the list (as the first movie of the month will indicate) because there are a lot that I consider to be favorites.

5: If you can’t wait to read movie reviews written by me, you could always visit BadSequels.Com and visit my author profile. I mean, no one will hold it against you if you do. Also, note that almost all of the movies I’ve reviewed over there are horror movies except one: Alvin & The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. That might still count as horror, depending on who you ask.

6: I won’t be “rereviewing” or reposting reviews from BadSequels here.

Stay tuned for the first review coming sometime later this evening.

Edit: And we’re off! List of movies below will be updated as I go:

October 1st: An American Werewolf in London
October 2nd: An American Werewolf in Paris
October 3rd: Fright Night (1985)
October 4th: Dawn of the Dead (2004)
October 5th: Ginger Snaps
October 6th: The Descent
October 7th: Trick ‘r Treat
October 8th: The Lost Boys
October 9th: House on Haunted Hill (1959)
October 10th: Dog Soldiers
October 11th: From Dusk Till Dawn
October 12th: 1408
October 13th: Bram Stoker’s Dracula
October 14th: The Howling
October 15th: The Thing (1982)
October 16th: Alien
October 17th: 30 Days of Night
October 18th: The Wolfman (1941)
October 19th: The Wolfman (2010)
October 20th: Evil Dead
October 21st: Near Dark
October 22nd: Cursed
October 23rd: Bad Moon
October 24th: Wolfen
October 25th: Frailty
October 26th: Silver Bullet
October 27th: Creepshow
October 28th: Night of the Living Dead
October 29th: Friday the 13th (1980)
October 30th: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
October 31st: Halloween (1978)

50 Years of Spider-Man

August 6, 2012 Leave a comment

Fifty years ago this month, Marvel Comics published Amazing Fantasy #15, featuring a Stan Lee/Steve Ditko story about mild mannered teen Peter Parker. Parker was just an ordinary teenager juggling ordinary teenager problems, except he also had to juggle being a superhero: Spider-Man. After an ongoing argument with Lee, during which publisher Martin Goodman allegedly said “People hate spiders, you can’t call a hero Spider-Man! And a hero can’t be a teenager! Teenagers are sidekicks!”, Goodman finally caved and allowed Lee to move forward but only as a one-off story to be printed in the final issue of the failed title Amazing Adult Fantasy, then renamed Amazing Fantasy.

Amazing Fantasy #15 went on to become one of Marvel’s best selling issues to date and nearly a year after its printing The Amazing Spider-Man #1 was launched and Peter Parker was well on his way to becoming a cultural icon.

Spider-Man has survived a 1970s live-action television show, countless animated versions, four feature length theatrical films, and his closest call of all: The Clone Saga.

Fuck you, man.

We now live in a time when being called a “geek” or “nerd” is no longer an insult or something said before you’re treated to an involuntary lunch consisting of a knuckle sandwich. Geek and Nerd are badges of honor now, as comic books and science fiction are the “in” thing. When this moment in history passes, as it almost certainly will, Spider-Man will be one of the comic book heroes whose street cred won’t falter.

Fifty years in and Spider-Man is listed in the pantheon of superhero gods, with Batman and Superman and the rest, as he is not only a teenager in tights stopping crime by way of sticky webs and funny quips, but a part of our popular culture forever.

All I can say is thank you to Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and Jack Kirby for the genesis of this memorable character and to Martin Goodman for giving in.

Happy Anniversary, Peter Parker.

Ray Bradbury 1920 – 2012

June 6, 2012 2 comments

I logged into Twitter this morning, much like any other morning, with a yawn and a sip of coffee and a certain sort of sleepy curiosity as to what funny or horrible or tragic things I would learn, 140 characters at a time. It was soon thereafter that I read “RIP Ray Bradbury”. I gasped. “Oh no.” I said aloud and I raced to find a more viable source of information, preferably from a website that is not known to unceremoniously kill a different celebrity each week, only to find that said celebrity is in fact alive and well.

This is what I found.

I am deeply saddened by the passing of Mr. Bradbury. I’ve read quite a few tweets and tumblr posts from people and they all say pretty much the same sort of thing: “I met Ray Bradbury once and he was lovely and I’m so sad that we’ve lost him, but so glad that we had him, and so happy that his work has touched so many of us so deeply.”

I have not met Mr. Bradbury and while that upsets me, it does my heart good to know that there are people who have met him, and who have shared with him their stories of how they first came to read and enjoy his work, and who have walked away from the experience feeling as though they’ve accomplished something. That they had their opportunity to thank him. That warms my heart. It makes me feel happy for those who had that chance and it makes me feel glad that Bradbury knew how loved he was as a member of the writing community.

The first work of Mr. Bradbury’s that I ever read was Something Wicked This Way Comes (buy it here). It moved me in many ways. It was spooky and at times funny, it was dark and menacing, but still had enough heart to make you care about it.

Ray Bradbury is on my list of favorite science fiction writers, along with Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Heinlein, Harlan Ellison and Isaac Asimov, and countless others. Sadly, his name is also now on the list of favorite authors who have left us, and in doing so, have also left a gaping and irreparable hole in the world of fiction itself. No one will ever replace Ray Bradbury.

If you’re a fan of Bradbury, but do not yet own any of his work, I’d suggest Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Martian Chronicles, the classic Fahrenheit 451, or this collection of some of his shorter works.

If you’ve never read the work of Bradbury, please visit your local library and look him up. They’re sure to have something with his name on it and you’d be doing yourself a service.

Links and Things: April 23rd 2012

April 23, 2012 Leave a comment

(Photo: Steve Niles, care of William Forsche)

The above is one of many, many incredible photos that writer Steve Niles was lucky enough to obtain. Turns out he’s had a correspondence with special effects guru William Forsche who sent him a disc containing an obscene amount of truly amazing (and super RARE) behind the scenes shots from a bunch of old movies, including an ass load of horror movies. Niles, who is a life-long horror fan (ONE OF US, ONE OF US) got permission to share them via his Tumblr blog, and there are a LOT of them. If you care at all about classic horror or practical effects makeup, you should really go peruse for a while.

You should also go to his store and support creator owned comics, while you’re at it. Some great stuff available, and he signs everything.

If you’re anything like me, you love books. You love to hold them in your hands, you love walking into large rooms filled with them (libraries and book shops are considered sacred ground to me and mine), and you also love the smell of them. But have you ever wondered what that “old book smell” really is? Wonder no more:

Is it sad that I want my own inflatable Stonehenge in my back yard?

Anyone able to provide me with a solid (or digital) copy of this would be my best friend for life.

Need another reason to love ravens? Here:

When you go outside, do the birds sound happy or angry when they see you? New research has found that at least one group of birds, ravens, remembers prior interactions with people and varies calls based on those earlier experiences.

Some find that creepy, but I love it. Birds are much smarter than people give them credit for.

Actor Tom Hiddleston, who will be reprising his role as the villainous Loki in Marvel Studios’ superhero-filled, nerdgasm-inducing tentpole blockbuster, The Avengers (opening May 4th), wrote an article for UK news site, The Guardian, in defense of superhero movies as a sub-genre. It’s a brief piece, but a fun read. It’s really more of a love letter to superhero films in general:

I grew up watching Superman. As a child, when I first learned to dive into a swimming pool, I wasn’t diving, I was flying, like Superman. I used to dream of rescuing a girl I had a crush on (my Lois Lane) from a playground bully (General Zod). Reeve, to my mind, was the first real superhero.

Read the rest here.

Here’s the trailer for The Avengers, just for good measure:

And in case you haven’t heard, it seems we’ll be getting a brand spanking new trailer for Warner Bros. The Dark Knight Rises (you know, the OTHER superhero movie coming out this year everyone is looking forward to) along with it. Brilliant strategy, really. The folks at WB realize that most of the people looking forward to seeing The Avengers, including those who will be there on opening day, will also be willing to throw their hard earned money at the final chapter in Christopher Nolan’s Bat-Saga. Well played, Warner Bros. Well played.

That’s all I’ve got. Not as interesting a post as I was hoping, but it’s a post nonetheless. Maybe something better next time.

Edit: Oh wait, I completely forgot to post a bit of self promotion! How the hell did THAT happen?

I’ve written a new –and short– bit of fiction that I’ve posted here. It’s called Coincidences, and I hope you enjoy it.

Categories: Uncategorized

Links And Things: April 13th 2012

April 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Very brief one this time around, I’m afraid.

Do you have a Tumblr blog? If so, you should be following TextFromDog. Even if you don’t have a Tumblr, you should still head over and check it out. It’s a very simple concept –guy gets text messages from his dog– but it’s some of the funniest stuff I’ve seen in a long, long time. I highly recommend it.

The latest “Walkthrough” to be featured over at AVClub.Com, is all about one of my favorite short-lived television series: Freaks & Geeks. They sit down with the hilarious Paul Feig, who talks about every single episode of the show. It’s a long read, but well worth it if you’re a fan of the show. It’s separated into five parts:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five

This is amazing:

“The Global Pursuit of Happiness, or: The Army of Luck” is an art installation of 520 Japanese Maneki Neko cat figurines (the waving cats found at many Asian businesses). Their waving arms are equipped with servomotors and wired together, creating a 40 by 13 cat matrix display that can show patterns or even scrolling text (video). The installation was created by German artist Boris Petrovsky and debuted last month at the Art Karlsruhe festival in Germany.

The great Alan Moore in an gave a sit down interview to BBC’s Hard Talk.

Part One:

Part Two:

Much more interesting post next time. I hope.

Categories: Uncategorized

Five Dollar Comedy

April 11, 2012 Leave a comment

So, a while back Louis C.K. thought “What if I filmed a comedy special on my own dime, then instead of submitting it to a group of producers who will edit it to shit and get a bunch of money from it, I cut out that middleman and post it online for five bucks, thus making it affordable enough for a wide audience to buy it and thus giving me a bigger share of what is rightfully my own god damn money?”

At least I assume that’s what he thought.

Anyway, the result was Louis C.K.: Live at the Beacon Theater. You can go to that site and download it RIGHT NOW for only five bucks. It’s worth it, trust me. What the hell else are you going to spend that five dollars on? A sandwich? FUCK THE SANDWICH, SUSTAIN YOURSELF ON LAUGHTER.

By the way, did you know that Louis has made over a million dollars on that special? Check it out:

 hi. So it’s been about 12 days since the thing started and yesterday we hit the crazy number. One million dollars. That’s a lot of money. Really too much money. I’ve never had a million dollars all of a sudden. and since we’re all sharing this experience and since it’s really your money, I wanted to let you know what I’m doing with it. People are paying attention to what’s going on with this thing. So I guess I want to set an example of what you can do if you all of a sudden have a million dollars that people just gave to you directly because you told jokes.

So I’m breaking the million into four pieces.

the first 250k is going to pay back what the special cost to produce and the website to build.

The second 250k is going back to my staff and the people who work for me on the special and on my show. I’m giving them a big fat bonus.

The third 280k is going to a few different charities. They are listed below in case you’d like to donate to them also. Some of these i learned about through friends, some were reccomended through twitter.

The Fistula Foundation
The Pablove Foundation
charity: water
Green Chimneys

That leaves me with 220k for myself. Some of that will pay my rent and will care for my childen. The rest I will do terrible, horrible things with and none of that is any of your business. In any case, to me, 220k is enough out of a million.

I never viewed money as being “my money” I always saw it as “The money” It’s a resource. if it pools up around me then it needs to be flushed back out into the system.

The thing is still on sale. I hope folks keep buying it. If I make another million, I’ll give more of it away. I’ll let you know when that happens because I like you getting to know what happened to your 5 dollars and bringing awareness to the bla bla bla.

Okay I really gotta go now. Thank you again. I will now stop bugging you. I really hate being in the news this much so I’m gonna just disappear for a while.

Happy hollidays.
Louis C.K.

Good guy, right? If you read that and would still rather spend that five bucks on a sandwich, then you are a horrible human being. Or maybe you’re just really hungry, I don’t know.

Anyway, now other comedians are looking at that business model and going “OH! That makes so much more sense then doing it the other, less profitable, less fun way!” and now they’re doing it too. 

Aziz Ansari  Dangerously Delicious

Jim Gaffigan – Mr. Universe

Also only five bucks a piece. So you spend fifteen dollars and get roughly three hours of great comedy, plus your money goes toward ensuring that not only will THESE comedians keep working in this business model, but other comedians will take notice and do the same. Everyone wins with this, guys. We get hour-long chunks of solid comedy at a reasonable price, the comedians get to have complete creative control over their own comedy for a change, plus they make a tidy profit, which allows them to KEEP making comedy for a long, long time. 

Categories: Uncategorized

On The Subject of Companionship In British Science Fiction Television Shows Involving Time Lords

March 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Well, by now, it will be no spoiler that Steven Moffet and crew over at BBC’s Doctor Who have cast the new companion to make her appearance during the special Christmas episode during season seven.

Jenna-Louise Coleman, seen here in a still from the upcoming BBC series “Titanic”, is a very popular young lady right now. (photo: HuffPo)

It seems I can’t go anywhere online today without seeing the name Jenna-Louise Coleman. Across Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook, it seems like every Whovian has their own take on whether or not Coleman is right for the job. I’m reserving judgment for when we actually meet the mysterious companion she’s set to portray. But if you’re dying for information on the young actress, RadioTimes.Com has done up a decently extensive list of information about her entitled “Everything You Need to Know About Jenna-Louise Coleman. It’s important for me to add that there are no spoilers in the article about Coleman’s involvement with Doctor Who, but rather a list of her previous credits as well as a couple of YouTube videos to give you a sense of her acting ability and personality.

Speaking of YouTube videos, here is a brief interview with Coleman about the role:

Just a few more words on Coleman. This is a link to the Anglophenia blog post on Steven Moffat’s announcement. WARNING: There are spoilers in their post, as they list off all of Moffat’s announcements from this morning, some of which do spoil some things. Sort of. I wish I hadn’t read most of it, and if I had more of a warning that the announcements would be as spoilerish as they were, I probably wouldn’t have read it at all. Keep that in mind.

There’s also this HuffPo piece about the new companion, which also contains some spoilers, so read at your own risk.

And now, because absolutely no one asked, here is a list of my top ten favorite Doctor Who Companions, in order:

10: Martha Jones (Tenth Doctor)

Martha barely makes it on my list because, quite frankly, I often found her more annoying than entertaining. Granted, she has part in some of my favorite “New Who” episodes, but even given that, I can hardly stand her character.

9: Harry Sullivan (Fourth Doctor)

Oh, Harry. Some of the earliest memories I have of watching Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor are of Harry being along for the ride. Uptight and very British, he always provided a counterpoint to Baker’s sometimes over the top silliness as The Doctor.

8: Leela (Fourth Doctor)

Because why must everyone in a science fiction program be ultra-futuristic or super-modern? Why not introduce a savage into the mix? Leela may have been from a primitive background, but that didn’t stop her from also being very smart and helpful to the Doctor on many occasions.

7: Tegan Jovanka (Fourth Doctor, Fifth Doctor)

Come on, look at her. So 80s, so “new wave”. She was the first post-Sarah Jane Smith companion that I harbored a crush on. Though she’s not just good looking, she’s also strong willed.

6: Rose Tyler (Ninth Doctor, Tenth Doctor)

This is the one I feel I’m going to get the most shit about. I love Rose, I do, but she’s highly overrated and I often found her almost as annoying as Martha. But she is the first of the “New Who” companions, which does make her special.

5: K-9 (Fourth Doctor, Fifth Doctor, Sixth Doctor, Seventh Doctor, Eighth Doctor, Tenth Doctor)

Yes, the robot dog is rated higher than Rose Tyler. Is it a nostalgia thing? Most likely. But I don’t care. I’ve wanted a real K-9 for years. He’s also the Doctor’s longest running companion to date.

4: Captain Jack Harkness (Ninth Doctor, Tenth Doctor)

New school badass. Captain Jack Harkness won me over in his very first appearance and I’ve been a fan ever since. I was happy when they made him lead character on Torchwood, a good show by it’s own right, though I don’t enjoy Torchwood as much as Doctor Who. That said, Torchwood: Miracle Day, was phenomenal television.

3: Amy Pond(/Williams) and Rory Williams (Eleventh Doctor)

I list them both as one, because they really work better as a duo. I have a lot of love for the episodes where it’s Amy and The Doctor together, as well as the episodes where Rory flies solo with The Doctor, but the episodes where they play off each other are often the best. I’m really going to miss these characters when they’re gone.

2: Donna Noble (Tenth Doctor)

Also a controversial listing, depending on who you ask. When Donna Noble first appeared in the episode entitled The Runaway Bride, I found her terribly annoying, almost as annoying as Martha Jones, and I was utterly relieved when it looked like she wasn’t going to be the new companion. So imagine my surprise when, in the next season, she returned to be just that. I was angry at first, thinking “Her? Come on!” but after only a handful of episodes with her as the companion, I grew to love Donna Noble. She’s one of the companions I miss the most and I hope there’s room for her to make an appearance during the 50th Anniversary season.

1: Sarah Jane Smith (Third Doctor, Fourth Doctor, Tenth Doctor)

Sarah Jane Smith, the companion by which all other companions are judged. Sarah Jane was one of the first companions I became familiar with when I first started watching Doctor Who and has stuck in my mind since as the gold standard of companions. She made an appearance, along with K-9, in an episode of “New Who” entitled “School Reunion” during the Tenth Doctor’s run and the noises I made when she appeared on screen were the same noises I imagine a teenage girl would make if she should meet a Jonas brother. The fact that I had a crush on her growing up certainly didn’t hurt Sarah Jane’s chances of being my number one companion. Sadly, Elisabeth Sladen passed away last year. When I read the news, it was as though a friend of mine had died. It saddens me to know she won’t be a part of the upcoming 50th Anniversary special. Who will care for K-9 now?

Some of you may notice that I left River Song off the list. There’s a good reason for this. It’s not that I hate the character of River Song, in fact you could say I dislike Martha Jones even more, but there’s definitely something about her character that bugs me. I often find during episodes she’s in that I don’t so much mind the things she does or says, but maybe the way she does or says them? I’m not sure, I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I know I dislike her just enough that I end up not enjoying the episodes she’s in as much as I would if she were not in them. There are a few exceptions, one of which being the episode entitled “Let’s Kill Hitler”, which is considered a “River episode” in as much as it features her heavily and the main plot centers around her. I loved this episode and feel it would be less enjoyable had she not been a part of it.

So, I can’t really explain it. It doesn’t make sense to me, either, but I felt I should leave her off the list entirely because of it.

Nearly thirteen hundred words on the subject of Doctor Who. I’m sort of a nerd, guys.