Posts Tagged ‘comedy’

So back in the beginning of the year, I took a number of steps to improve visibility on my blog, maybe grow my audience, and  become a better writer in general (jury’s still out on whether or not that’s working). One of those was to get a special email account through WordPress, one exclusively for this site and for use as an author. Studies show that professional looking email addresses are taken much more seriously than ones that look like awesomesoccerdude83 [at] website [dot] com. And while I love my personal email account, it’s not exactly the kind of email address that’s conducive for looking professional. And if I’m going to try and get an agent or publisher, might as well look a bit more professional. Even if my idea of high fashion involves a Sailor Moon-themed sweatshirt (don’t ask for photos. I just got that sweatshirt, and I’m waiting for the right weather to wear it).

For some reason though, I have to log out of my Google Mail account (which I only use to make sure I have access to a YouTube account. Priorities!) and then log into the other account. I can’t access both at the same time. And sometime after I got the account, I forgot the password. And then I didn’t pursue getting a new password for a while. Mainly because to get it back, Google wanted the last password I could remember. Which I couldn’t remember.

There’s a GIF for this situation. Which should I use?

That’s it. Thank you Hermione. I should’ve written the password down in the first place. You’re always and forever awesome.

But two months ago, I tried to get a new password. And that started the email equivalent of broken telephone. One person would answer my email to the WordPress help team asking for an explanation. I’d explain and send the email back. A second person would answer back and ask more questions. I’d answer those questions. A third person answered and gave me the exact wrong thing for my problem. Yeah, after a while of this, I just gave up and stopped.

And then two weeks ago, I decided to give it another try. No reason, I just thought if I got the email account, I might as well use it. I sent WordPress another message, this time wording it so that even a chipmunk would understand what I wanted. A week later, I got the link to change my password. And I wrote down the password, hiding the note in a secret location.

So finally, I have my author email account back! And I’ve set a reminder on my phone so I can check the account at least once a week. And I plan to be using it as much as possible for all author-y things. For submitting stories, querying agents and publishers, and even communicating with fans (I’m sure some of you exist) and friends.

So what’s this mysterious email address? Glad you asked. Here it is:

ramiungar@ramiungarthewriter.com

Simple and easy to remember, right? I’ll be posting it on my About Me page, so if you can’t find this particular post or your memory is as bad as mine, you’ll still be able to contact me.

So if you’re a friend or Follower of Fear, I look forward to emailing you from this new address.

If you’re an agent or publisher, I’m always willing to talk to you about business propositions.

If you’re a stalker and imagine showing up at my home, possibly with a knife, please seek professional help for that. You can live a happy life without being in close proximity to me and/or my corpse 24/7!

If you’re planning on sending me nude photos, please don’t. Those can ruin lives when uploaded to the Internet. And depending on your age, sending and/or receiving them can send us both to prison.

If you’re a troll or con artist looking to use me for your own sick purposes, please refrain from doing so. And if you still insist on sending me emails meant to make me angry or take my money, then…YOUR MOTHER IS A ***** ***** ****ING **** **** LORUM IPSUM ****** AGMINTUM VEVEUM ****** **** ***** ***** TRUGULA ***** **** ***** *** HIPPOPOTAMUS ***** ***** REPUBLICAN ***** ***** **** ***** AND DANIEL RADCLIFFE *** **** **** ***** WITH A BUCKET OF ***** **** **** **** AND A CASTLE FAR AWAY WHERE NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU *** **** **** **** SOUP ***** **** **** WITH A BUCKET OF **** *** ***** MICKEY MOUSE **** *** AND A STICK OF DYNAMITE *** ***** *** MAGICAL *** **** ***** *** ***** ALAKAZAM!!!!

Points to whoever can correctly guess what the hell I’m referencing with that long profanity.

Well, that’s all, my Followers of Fear. I’ll check the email account next week, and maybe even see an email from you guys. Until then or the next blog post, pleasant nightmares!

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If you’ve been following this blog for a while, if you know me in real life, or you read the things I post on my personal Facebook page, you know that I can be a funny guy. I love a good pun, a funny story, or a well-done prank. Or all three, if it can be done. And I try to insert humor into many facets of my life, much to the enjoyment of some and the exasperation of most others. Where do I get this reverence for humor? I’ll tell you: when a mommy and a daddy really like each other, they–

I’m sorry, but my lawyers tell me I’m not supposed to go into that. Let’s just say it might be a family trait, and leave it at that.

But guess what aspect of my life doesn’t see that many laughs? Surprisingly, not my writing. I actually don’t tell a lot of jokes in my stories. Yeah, imagine that! I don’t put jokes in my horror stories. In fact, my funniest story so far may be Video Rage: it’s got protagonist Zahara making a jab at male lead Rip’s manhood, and at a later point, main cast member Kevlar makes some bondage jokes when speaking to a Native American healer. That’s it.

Okay, now some of you non-horror fans may be reading this and be like, “Isn’t that par for the course? It’s horror.” But that’s the thing: just like how not all horror authors are dark, pessimistic creeps, neither are all horror stories devoid of humor. Stephen King, one of my biggest influences, often finds way to insert humor into his work. Ever read his novel Needful Things? That book is chock-full of comedy! There’s even a plot thread where two housewives buy objects from the antagonist that they believe are connected to Elvis Presley, and they start having hallucinations that the objects let them have a sexual/romantic relationship with Elvis! It’s freaking hilarious! And that’s just one example out of many.

But not just King: a lot of other horror stories make use of humor. One of my favorite Dean Koontz novels makes use of witty observations and funny turns of dialogue to great effect, adding a bit of levity to a very dark thriller. Buffy the Vampire Slayer often has tons of jokes and funny lines. Many slasher films from the 80’s and 90’s have funny moments (hell, Nightmare on Elm Street is often as funny as it is dark). And there are so many more examples of horror stories which sprinkle comedy in to alleviate tension and fear for a few seconds before starting it up again.

So why doesn’t my work have more laughs? Well, there may be a couple of reasons for that. One, in almost Freudian fashion, may stem from a childhood incident. And by childhood, I mean high school, but at this point in my life, the only difference to me is height and hormones. Back before Twilight poisoned the vampire genre, I tried my hands at several vampire stories. One of them was an epic, multidimensional vampire story, which for a while I was getting help with from an English grad at OSU my dad put me in contact with. During one email session, he noted that the story had a lot of humor in it. Every other line was a joke, and he said as a wishful horror writer, it should be more serious. I took that to mean no jokes, and cut the humor from that story in a snap. You may be thinking, “That doesn’t sound like that big a deal!” But to me, it may have been a huge deal. In fact, that memory is what I keep coming to when I think of where humor stopped showing up so much in my writing. You could say it forever scarred me (cue dramatic music!).

Another reason why I might not write that much humor into my stories is because of the type of humor I excel at. You see, my humor tends to be at its best when it’s situational. It’s like I’m living in a sitcom, and every word spoken has the opportunity for a funny line if I know where to look. That’s my mindset. My favorite jokes to pull on people usually reflect that. You’d be surprised how many times people have asked me how I’m doing, and I tell them, “I’m pregnant.” The reactions! They look something like this:

“YOU’RE PREGNANT?!!”

That being said, being a situational humor guy doesn’t always translate well to my fiction. I’m a plotter, which means I plan out the entire story from beginning to end. Keeping such dark stories in mind, from beginning to end, you don’t have much room to think of funny moments to add. You’re more likely thinking of the sad past of the protagonist and the arc they’re going through with this horrifying story.

Or it could just be the old adage, “Tragedy is easy, comedy is hard,” and all the stuff in the last couple paragraphs is a bunch of bullshit. That’s always possible.

Whatever the reason, it’s not that big a deal. Every author is comfortable with different amounts of humor in their work, and I’m comfortable with minimal amounts in mine (though if I ever write for Doctor Who, that might change). Besides, there’s a good chance if I tried to force more humor into my work, it would suck. In fact, I’m sure it would suck. Last night, I tried writing a horror-comedy short story about a tour of hell. The first paragraph was kind of funny, and then everything after that…not so much. Hence why I’m writing this post.

In any case, I think I’ll stick to what I’m good at. That’s what people like, and that’s what I like, so no problem. I’m sure I can fulfill all my writing dreams by not forcing jokes into my serial killer stories.

Or I could just stay at my job for the rest of my life and never make a thousand bucks off my work, but I don’t like to think like that.

If you write, how much humor do you put in your stories? What do you even think of humor in non-comedy fiction, anyway?

Before I start this review, I’m going to lay some ground rules. I don’t tolerate sexism, angry nostalgia, or anything of that sort. So if you read this review and want to comment something about the actresses in this films, or you want to tell me that the new film is ruining your childhood (what sort of childhood did you have if Ghostbusters was the most important thing in it and a new film is enough to ruin everything?), then save your breath. I don’t care, and I don’t want to hear it. And if you think it’s such a bad film, then don’t go see it! Honestly, leave it alone and let it flop on its own, like the JEM film did. Either that, or watch this video, which I feel will leave you feeling vindicated.

All good? Great! Let’s begin.

So my sister and I went to see this film today, and we have to say, we thoroughly enjoyed it. We were actually worried about how it would do, but it was funny, it had great action sequences, and it even had its scary moments (mostly my sister got scared though, because my sister has a lower scare threshold than I do).

So what’s the plot? The movie follows Erin Gilbert (played by Kristen Wiig), a physics professor up for tenure who finds out a book on ghosts she co-wrote with her old friend Dr. Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), who manages to get her to come with her and Dr. Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) to a haunting. The result reignites Erin’s interest in ghosts, and, after some other stuff, forms the titular team above a Chinese restaurant. They are soon joined by the dreamy but dumb Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) and MTA worker/amateur historian* Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), and find themselves following the trail of an inventor whose devices are causing paranormal activity throughout Manhattan, with a very dark end goal in mind.

And it’s just good fun! The story is very well-written, managing to sneak in references to the original film and to the haters on the net without feeling forced or weird or cheap, but actually add to the humor. The actors are all awesome, it goes without saying. I especially love Kate McKinnon’s character, Jill Holtzmann, who is like “I’m-insane-but-adorably-harmless-and-life-is-just-so-much-fun.” I bet life in her head is just a blast. Hemsworth as a hunky buffoon was never dull. And the supporting cast is wonderful, especially Karan Soni (the taxi driver from Deadpool), who I was delighted to see in the film. And five of the cast members of the original film show up for some hilarious cameos, including Bill Murray as a supernatural skeptic and Dan Aykroyd as a taxi driver. And the special effects…well, yeah, the ghosts look CGI, but it’s a good CGI. It works for these ghosts, makes them look strange and somewhat otherworldly. And they’re much more believable than the effects from the movies in the 1980’s.

I only have a few critiques of this film. One is that the villain, played by Neil Casey, is pretty bare-bones. His motivation and background were explained in a monologue, and it’s not much. But for this movie, it works well. Another is that the last fight scene feels like the filmmakers were going for an Avengers movie getting mixed with Godzilla and adding in a moment from Big Hero 6. I would’ve preferred more humor than was already in there, but it was still very fun. And finally…well, there’s a very funny scene in the credits that looks like something out of a Michael Jackson music video. I feel that scene would’ve been better placed right before the big battle, but I guess the studio thought it detracted from the mood they were going for with the climax. Don’t get it, but whatever. I think it would’ve worked in the main movie, it would’ve gone well as part of what Ghostbusters is about.

I'm excited for some ghosts! Photo courtesy of Adi Ungar

I’m excited for some ghosts! Photo courtesy of Adi Ungar

All in all, though, I enjoyed this film. It was funny, well-written, full of great actors, and I would say it’s on par with the original film. Not better, not worse. Just about equal, a 4.4 out of 5. Definitely go see it and have yourself a few laughs. Also, stick around for an after-credits scene. Trust me, you don’t want to miss it. It has a nice reference to the original film.

*Now, before you lay into Jones’s character, let me mention that yes, she doesn’t have a doctorate, but she might as well. Remember that historians as we know them didn’t appear until the nineteenth century in Germany. Prior to that, historians were basically anyone with enough education to read, write, and interview people in order to best record historical events. Her character’s not inferior to the others, she’s a throwback to tradition. And it becomes important to the story, believe me.

It’s Friday again, so you know what that means. It’s #FirstLineFriday! One of the highlights of my week. I’m not sure what that says about my life, but there you go.

So if you’re new here and don’t know what the heck this is, here are the rules of #FirstLineFriday:

  1. On Fridays, write a post on your own blog titled #FirstLineFriday, hashtag and all.
  2. Explain the rules like I’m doing now.
  3. Post the first one or two lines of a potential story, story-in-progress, or completed or published story.
  4. Ask your readers for feedback and encourage them to try it on their own blogs.

This week’s lines come from an idea I had earlier this week. Interesting story behind this idea: I was out to dinner with my folks, and my mind started to wander. I started to think about the new episode of Family Guy that was going to air that night, and then I thought of an episode of that show that aired back in October, where the guys tried to come up with their own horror movie (men after my own heart!). The episode only showed ideas for horror films from two out of the four guys, so I started thinking about what the other two, Joe and Quagmire, would come up with for a horror movie. This idea sprang from what the character Joe would probably base his horror movie came from. So if you have any idea who Joe is, you can probably guess what sort of story this is about.

Yeah, this is a weird, twisting origin for an idea. When I told my dad the idea and how I got it, he had this look on his face like, “Interesting idea, but that is such a strange way to come up with a story.” Would you expect anything less from me, Abba?

Anyway, here are the lines for the story. Enjoy:

Becca’s blood still stained the stall door. Sophie sat down on the toilet and tried to look anywhere but at the large, red splash in front of her.

Thoughts? Errors? Guesses about what Joe is probably afraid? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

And if you liked this week’s #FirstLineFriday, why not try it on your own blog? It’s fun and easy to do, and quickly becomes a habit. I’ve been doing it for a little over nine months, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

That’s all for now. I’ve got a crazy weekend ahead of me, but if anything worth writing about comes up, you can expect to hear about it here. Have a good one, my Followers of Fear!

If you are as big a nerd as I am (and if continuing trends are accurate, you probably are, because the meek are inheriting the Earth and all that), you’ve probably heard a bunch of news about Doctor Who over the past week or so that has made fans of the show and just people in general who are friends of those fans freak out. These pieces of news boil down to three main points:

  1. Steven Moffat, showrunner for the show since Series 5 and writer since Series 1, will be stepping down from his position at the end of Series 10. The showrunner position will be taken over by Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall.
  2. Because of the Olympics and everything else happening in 2016 this year, we won’t get any new episodes of Doctor Who till the Christmas Special at the end of the year. Series 10 will start up in the Spring of 2017.
  3. Peter Capaldi, who play’s the Doctor’s 12th incarnation, may also be leaving the show at the end of Series 10, so as to let Chibnall start fresh with a new Doctor.

Okay, the first piece of news isn’t that big a shock. Moffat’s retirement has been rumored for a while now, and we can see that he’s leaving the show in good hands, seeing as Chibnall has written some pretty well-known episodes of both DW and its spin-off Torchwood. The second piece…annoying, to say the least, but considering that this year is going to be pretty crazy, perhaps a good call by the BBC.

As for Capaldi leaving…I know that the average Doctor stays around three series. That’s how it’s been since DW came back in 2005. But oh my God, doesn’t it feel a little too soon?! Even my dad is a little amazed that Capaldi’s leaving, and he only knows the show as that thing his kids are obsessed with and that he’ll have to check out if he ever has the time for Netflix. And yeah, it’s been too soon, and Capaldi’s Doctor has only had so much time! And let’s face it, while I liked Jenna Coleman’s Clara, she did at times overshadow the Doctor. I was really looking forward to seeing the Doctor grow and have adventures without having an appendage that took up so much of the story (there, I said it, are you happy?!).

But I’ve had time to calm down, and I have to say that if Capaldi does want to leave, then so be it. I’m not going to be too happy about it, but I’ll accept it if I have to. I just hope that Capaldi decides to stick around for two more series instead of one, or at the very least Series 10 is just the most awesome thing ever.

And now I’m thinking, “Who’s going to replace Capaldi?” Trust me, you’re all probably thinking it by this point as well. And I know that they won’t be announcing it until probably a few months before we see this new Doctor. Still, I thought I’d jump the gun and give my predictions for who would make a great 13th Doctor (technically 14th, but let’s not get crazy here). Heck, my Predictions post for Batman vs. Superman actually hit the mark a little, so maybe I could actually get this right.

And let me just say before I start that I will not be putting Benedict Cumberbatch on this list. Yeah I know, lots of his fans would love him as the Doctor, but seriously, the guy’s already playing a Doctor and Sherlock Holmes! He’s got enough iconic roles to fill up an IMDb page!

So here it is. The actors and actresses who I think would not only make great Doctors, but maybe take Doctor Who in an interesting new direction for a whole new era.

Hayley Atwell

Hayley Atwell

Not just my top choice, but the top choice of a lot of people. Her name’s come up several times already as a possible successor for Capaldi. Not surprising, considering she’s got quite the resume, most notably as bad-ass, takes-no-shit 1940’s secret agent Peggy Carter in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. Atwell’s also done two DW radio dramas, so she’s definitely familiar with the franchise already. She would have no trouble taking the TARDIS key in hand, and Atwell’s already expressed interest in playing the Doctor, so why not?

Plus if the BBC decides to listen to the fans and give us our first female Doctor, Atwell would be a great actress to set the bar with.

Chiwetel Ejiofor

Chiwetel Ejiofor

12 Years A Slave‘s star was a name brought up back in 2013 when speculation about who Matt Smith’s replacement would be was at its height. Not surprising, considering the depth and strength he gave in that movie and in many other roles. Eijiofor would make a very great Doctor. And not only does he do dramatic roles very well, he can do funny and quirky (he played Lola in the movie Kinky Boots, if you need proof of that), so he could probably do some fun one-liners every now and then.

And in a show where the lead has always been a white actor, this could also be a very interesting and welcome change.

Rebecca Hall

Rebecca Hall

In 2011 the BBC made a horror movie called The Awakening, which I thought was a weird little flick that tried to get into our heads and failed miserably. However, I thought the lead actress in that film, Rebecca Hall, did absolutely great. And Rebecca Hall has a great list of films to back her up: Frost/Nixon, The Town, Iron Man 3, Transcendence. She can do a lot of different roles, and I think a versatile actor is important for anyone who wants to play the Doctor.

And if she’s the only part I really enjoyed in a horror film, then you know she should be seriously considered.

Ace Bhatti

If that name sounds at all familiar to you, that’s because he played Principal Haresh Chandra in the DW spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures, being both comic and serious at the same time in many different episodes of the series. Honestly, he was one of my favorite characters from that show (which I’m surprised that more DW fans haven’t seen). And apparently he’s got a very long resume outside of SJA, including a very big role on the show EastEnders (which I haven’t seen but I’ve heard good things about). He could make a very good Doctor, and considering that plenty of actors who had smaller roles in Doctor Who later went on to play bigger roles (including Capaldi and Sixth Doctor Colin Baker), this would be only continuing a well-known tradition.

Naomie Harris

Naomie Harris

Plenty of people know her as “oh, the actress who plays Moneypenny in James Bond, right?” but she’s done a lot more roles than that. In addition to Skyfall and Spectre, Harris has done 28 Days Later, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom as Winnie Mandela, for which the actual Winnie Mandela basically said that it was the best portrayal on film of her person.

With that sort of resume and endorsements, Harris might make a very good Doctor. I sort of imagine a warm and kind Doctor, who really hates getting violent but if she gets angry even Daleks will run away from her. Kind of like the Tenth Doctor with a mix of Third’s mentor-like charms.

Jon Oliver

Jon Oliver

Enough said. I know he probably won’t leave making fun of society while at the same time improving it on HBO, but the guy’s great. I’d love to see him as the Doctor.

And my final choice:

Mads Mikkelsen

Mads Mikkelsen

I know, I know. He’s not British. He’s not even Irish! He’s Danish! He’s practically not allowed to play the Doctor! But come on! Have you seen his resume? He was amazing as Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal, as Le Chiffre in Casino Royale, and he’ll be in Doctor Strange and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story later this year. And he actually does a pretty good British accent. Can you imagine him in some fancy 19th-century garb with a side of futuristic tech? He’d make a great Doctor, and I would love to see him in the role.

And I’m not afraid to say it!

 

So those are my choices for who should be the 13th Doctor. But tell me, who do you think would be a good fit for everybody’s favorite Time Lord? Do you think I’m on to something? Do you think I’m totally off? Is there a name I missed? Do you hope Peter Capaldi will stay a bit longer as well? Let’s discuss, my fellow Whovians.

And Steven Moffat and/or Chris Chibnall: if you happen to read this and you’re looking for some new blood to help you write kick-ass episodes of Doctor Who, give me a call. I’ve been keeping a long list of ideas for stories with the Doctor and I would love to write them for you. And these ideas could also work as novels, which I’ve plenty of experience writing, so I could do my stories that way as well if you want.

Like I said, give me a call. I’d be more than happy to head over to Wales to discuss the matter further.

As many of you know, this isn’t the only blog I write for. Another, Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors, is another blog I’ve been contributing to for a little over two years now. And there’s a third blog that I set up over the summer, The Voice of Common Sense.

That’s the blog I’m here to talk about. I started that blog over the summer because I was tired of the amount of stupid I was seeing from the US government and the people in it, the things they said and did and how so many people ate it up. I was tired, and a little angry (especially whenever Trump opened his mouth). So I started The Voice of Common Sense, where I pretended to be the actual personification of Common Sense and reamed out in hilarious fashion all the stupidity I saw on the news every day.

And for a while, I stuck with it. I got out about fifty posts, most of them Donald Trump-related. I managed to snag a few followers. And I think I got people thinking a little bit, which was the point. I wanted people to think, to really wonder if they were perhaps getting too upset over the renaming of Mount McKinley or if Kim Davis was actually someone to call a hero (and of course I took several swipes at Donald Trump).

But after a while I started posting less and then I completely stopped somewhere in September, even though I meant to get back into it. And now I don’t post there at all. In fact, I don’t plan to post there ever again. Why? Because I got so busy. Let’s face it, I was in Germany doing a full-time job, I was working on editing two different books and producing an audio book, and I was searching for a job (still am on that last one). I had no time for another blog that, let’s face it, is basically a full-time job that I don’t get paid for.

And I got tired of that blog as well. The Voice of Common Sense was fun, but it was exhausting. You had so many idiots saying so much stuff (especially Donald Trump). I couldn’t keep up. Heck, there are three late-night comedy shows on two different channels whose sole purpose is to do just what I was trying to do, and even between the three of them they can’t keep up. How could I be expected to? After a while you get sick of just trying to keep up.

So while I really wanted to make The Voice of Common Sense something special, in the end time and the amount of work that goes into such a blog made it impossible to do so. I accept that, although a part of me wishes I could’ve still done more with that blog, especially after I got home and I had some time on my hands. Not much, but some.

Still, I think it’s time I shut down The Voice of Common Sense. Like I said, I just can’t keep up, so I’ll take it down and devote my time to the projects I know I have time for and that I can make a success of. Like this blog, for instance. I’ve been doing Rami Ungar the Writer for over four years now, and it’s grown immensely. In fact, these past couple of days I’ve seen an increase in new followers (thank you for joining up, I really appreciate that), as well as people checking out my books. That’s hard work paying off right there, and that’s where I’ll continue to devote my energies: my fiction and this blog.

Not to say I won’t post the occasional politically-themed post. I definitely will when the mood and the energy for it hits me, though that isn’t often. But for the most part I’ll devote my time and energy to writing about horror and the craft and just all the crazy stuff that can happen in one’s life. That’s what I like to write about on this blog, and that’s what you come here to read.

Still, I do feel I need to get out a few things involving our crazy, mixed-up world, so I think I’ll take the time to do that now:

  • Donald Trump, your fascist and prejudice-filled rhetoric is sickening, and I wish you would stop making remarks that remind me of Adolf Hitler, because they’re scaring me. The fact that so many of the GOP base like you still and the fact that so few of your opponents in your party take the time to thoroughly condemn you just makes me worry more. Here’s hoping you get visited by three ghosts tomorrow night!
  • Why do so many people think it’s a good idea to increase the number of guns after so many shootings? If we were having a series of stabbings or missile attacks, would we call for more knives or rocket launchers? And how do we know who’s a good guy with a gun, especially in a crowded room? It’s not like a video game, where the bad guy is marked out in red or something. In fact, it’s often more complicated than that.
  • Turning away Syrian refugees because of their religion is no different than turning away the St. Louis in the 1930’s. As a nation founded by religious refugees, we shouldn’t turn away others in dire straits because of a few bad apples who interpret a religion practiced worldwide in a violent away. Either that, or all Christians should be treated like they belong to Westboro Baptist, and all Buddhists should be treated like the radicals in Myanmar who advocate killing Muslims. And I know nobody wants that.
  • Ted Cruz, stop trying to deny climate change or warp the data for your own ends. It’s going to be an unusually warm Christmas this year, that should set off alarm bells in your head.
  • Ben Carson…open your eyes, I guess? Nap time was over a long time ago.

Well, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I’ve got editing and a few other things to do today, so I’ll get on them. Unless something blog-worthy happens soon, I’ll see you all on Friday (you know why that is). Have a good day, my Followers of Fear. I know I will.

I’ve been wanting to see this movie for months, and this evening I got the chance. Let me tell you, it was everything I’d hoped it would be.

Now, if you’re unfamiliar with the Krampus story, let me do some background: Krampus is a being whose origin dates back to ancient pagan beliefs, and he’s particularly well-known in central and northern Europe. While St. Nicholas is supposed to reward good children, Krampus would punish the bad children. Normally portrayed as a big, hairy demon with horns, he would leave coal, hit the bad kids with birch twigs, and/or drag the kids to wherever Krampus hangs out the rest of the year, depending on who you ask. On December 6th each year, plenty of cities and towns have Krampus Night, where people dress up as Krampus and have a parade chasing people around the town (sounds like fun).

In this movie, Krampus is summoned when a family loses the Christmas spirit, and proceeds to abduct each one of them to take them to the underworld. And let me tell you, from the very beginning, when you see an entire superstore torn apart by shoppers desperate for Christmas gifts, to the twist ending, Krampus is just excellent. It’s so well-written, with the writers (one of whom is the director and also directed the Halloween cult classic Trick ‘r Treat) taking us through a comedy film that manages to do all the horror tropes but remain funny throughout without being too obvious or self-referential. There’s never a dull moment, keeping your attention glued to the screen no matter what’s happening. The actors are also great, with most of them seeming like they’re either being themselves or playing around rather than doing any real acting, and just adds to the fun of the movie.

My favorite part of the film is the visuals, Krampus goes all out to make this the most visually interesting film ever. Except for the CGI gingerbread monsters (yes, there’s that in this movie), the monsters are all done with make-up and animatronics and actors. To say the least, they are terrifying, but what’s really interesting is that so many of them look like they’re pretending to be people in costumes instead of actual monsters. I’m not sure if that’s part of the humor or if that’s some sort of commentary on the Christmas season, but I like it. And I still would probably hide from these monsters if they showed up at my door on Christmas (thank God I’m Jewish).

Another thing I loved about Krampus is how it finds so many ways to make fun of the Christmas season. From the opening sequence’s critique of the commercialization of the holiday to the family’s interaction’s with each other to showcase how little time we actually devote to being nice and generous around these holidays, this movie finds all sorts of way to point out what’s wrong with the Christmas season. And maybe it’s because as a Jew I find the Christmas hype a little annoying at times, but I just love every second of it. And if you’ve ever been annoyed with how people treat Christmas or act around this time of year, you will love it too.

The one critique I would give this film is that when we finally get a good look at Krampus, he’s actually not that intimidating. He looks like someone took a Father Christmas costume, stuck on horns, lots of fur and chains, and added really bad teeth to the mask, looking more like that old rat Nicodemus from The Secret of NIMH than an actual demon. And maybe that’s because the other monsters are just so scary that the filmmakers decided to make Krampus look a little comical, but I would’ve preferred it they actually made him a bit more terrifying.

Overall though, this is a very fun movie. Is it something that’ll become a staple at Christmastime? Maybe not, but I think that the film has enough going for it that we’ll find good reason to revisit it every December. Especially if we want to remind ourselves how not to act around Christmas, or if we want to imagine certain politicians we dislike getting a visit from Krampus (I can think of about three or four right now).

On a scale of 1 to 5, I’m giving Krampus a 4.6. It’s funny, memorable, and reminds you what this season is really all about. Go check it out and have a good laugh.