Posts Tagged ‘comedy’

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.

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.

I’m telling you, I have been wanting to see this movie since I first heard of it, and it was killing me inside that I couldn’t see it when I was in Germany…or right after I got home. I was a fan of the books when I was a kid, and some of them even scared me so bad that I needed to take breaks from them. They were my King before I got into King. It really hurt me physically not to indulge in my childhood nostalgia and go see this film. But tonight my dad had some free time, and he was like, “Want to go see a movie?” So I said yes. And suffice to say, I was not at all disappointed (and neither was my dad, thankfully).

Based on the beloved series of children’s horror books by R.L. Stine (who by the way is Jewish, from the neighborhood I grew up in, and went to Ohio State. Coincidence? Probably), Goosebumps stars Jack Black as the author himself, living a reclusive lifestyle in the small town of Madison, Delaware with his teenager daughter Hannah. When Zach Cooper moves next door and becomes attracted to Hannah, he starts investigating the mysterious family next door and accidentally causes the monsters from the Goosebumps books–who are very real–to be released from their manuscripts and go on a rampage. Now Zach, Hannah, and R.L. Stine have to get the monsters back in their books before they tear Madison apart.

Let me just say, this was a movie with a lot of love and hard work put into it (unlike some other films taking advantage of people’s childhood nostalgia I could name). The story is very well written, and even has some twists in it that I didn’t see coming, and I pride myself on usually being able to see the twists in scary movies. The humor is also very good, keeping the mood of the movie light without getting too ridiculous or stupid. And the actors are just great. Jack Black plays Stine as a misanthrope who finds some way to steal every scene he’s in, while Dylan Mimette (who I’ve always liked whenever I’ve seen him in other works like Scandal or Agents of SHIELD) as Zach is funny and sarcastic and likeable, the kind of guy I’d like to hang out with.

The only characters I really had problems with are Champ, Zach’s friend, and Hannah, R.L. Stine’s daughter. Champ is comic relief, and while he’s funny as an awkward teen who just inserts himself into Zach’s life because…maybe he’s lonely and hopes the new kid is too slow to learn to avoid him? I don’t know, but the moments where the humor is a little much do come from him mostly, and he doesn’t contribute much to the story otherwise. As for Hannah…she’s just really there to be a love interest. And unlike River Song from Doctor Who, who was created for that very purpose, there’s not much to her beyond that role she plays. Her actress, Israeli Odeya Rush, is fun and gives off a snarky teen vibe, but that only does so much for the character.

Of course, I can’t forget the monsters. That’s the main attraction, the reason people who grew up with the books came to see the movies, because that’s what they remember most. Now obviously, in a movie that’s an hour and forty-five minutes and has to spend time developing characters and getting to the main conflict of the story, you can only spend so much time on each and every monster, which means a lot of them only appear in big group shots, but even in those you see a lot of work went into them. And for the monsters they focus on, they are great. Yeah, a lot of them are CGI, but even then they’re fun to watch. They make you believe they’re there and that we should be scared of them.  And Slappy the dummy, who leads the monsters, is like a little mini-Joker. He’s not the best villain I’ve seen on film, but as a talking dummy who enjoys causing chaos for chaos’s sake and to get back at Stine, he does the job well.

I could go over some other thoughts I had about the film, but I’ll leave that for the YouTube critics who around next Halloween will be putting out videos going over this movie with a fine-tooth comb. I think instead I’ll just wrap up by saying that this is a fun and wacky horror-comedy, earning a 4.1 out of 5. It may not get kids to read the Goosebumps books if they haven’t read them before, but it’s fun for the whole family and if you know the Goosebumps books already, you’ll enjoy seeing them on screen.

By the way, having the characters from my stories come to life is something of a dream of mine. I always feel like a parent to my stories and the characters within though, so I think if they did come to life I’d have a very different experience than R.L. Stine in the movie did. In fact, if I were to write a story about what that experience would be like, it might start something like this (#ExcerptSunday, anyone?):

The author heard his alarm go off and opened his eyes reluctantly. He wanted to go back to sleep, but today he really couldn’t afford to sleep in, even if he had the day off. So still feeling sleepy, he rolled out of bed, turned off his alarm, and headed to the bathroom. A few minutes later, teeth brushed and freshly shaved, he stepped into the hall, thinking about what he was going to wear and all the errands he was going to run today…when he noticed a tiger in the hallway.

The author froze. Even with his glasses still in his room, he knew what he was seeing. Tawny coat, black stripes, big face with whiskers and yellow eyes. There was no mistaking it. There was a tiger in his house. Am I dreaming? he thought. Am I still in bed?

The tiger padded towards him, its breathing heavy. Before the author could think how best to react, it stood up on its hind legs, placed both paws on either side of his head against the wall, and licked his face. The author, dumbfounded and amazed, could only laugh as the rough tongue scratched gently at his cheek. What is going on? he wondered, pinching himself to see if he was dreaming.

The tiger stepped down and rubbed its head against his stomach. And suddenly the author realized that this wasn’t a tiger, but a tigress. And even stranger, he knew this tigress. He knew her very well. After all, he was her father.

“Lizzy?” he said, hardly daring to believe. The tigress regarded him with intelligent eyes before turning around and padding down the stairs. The author wanted to call after her, but then something black streaked out of his room and past his face. He jumped as the black thing briefly stopped and formed a familiar body in the air before rushing down the stairs. Confused, the author went to his room, and saw someone had laid his clothes out for him.

For a moment, the author did nothing. Then he whispered, “Is this really happening?” Then, “Do I dare believe it?” Quickly the author threw his clothes and glasses on and rushed downstairs, where the biggest surprise of all awaited him:

The black shadow he’d seen earlier and the tigress were there. So was a wolf and a leopard. And scores of children, children he knew to be much more than they appeared. And a masked man dressed all in black, talking to a woman with green skin and pink hair. And a man with a gas mask, and a Grim Reaper, and a raven-like creature, and a hairless cat who sidled up to him and said, “Surprised?”

The author picked up the hairless cat, feeling like he’d ingested some amazing drug without realizing it, and said, “Very. How is this possible?”

The cat didn’t answer, but instead purred loudly and climbed onto the author’s shoulder. Moving through the sea of people and creatures, who all greeted the author with smiles and warm words, he made it to the kitchen, where a teenage girl in a witch’s costume made a plate with a Belgian waffle on it and a mug full of black tea float from the counter to his normal seat at the table. Sitting down, the author thanked the witch and dug in. It was delicious.

“So,” said a man in the doorway, whose face and body were half-transformed into a familiar-looking demon. “Today’s your day off, and we’re all yours till tomorrow morning. How about you blow off the errands and do something fun? Huh?”

The author thought about it as he took a sip of tea. He was aware of so many eyes on him, hopeful and expectant. And then a devilish smile came to his face. He knew just what they were going to do today.

I really think they could’ve worded this cover caption a little better.

Lately I’ve seen a lot of people attacking the Millennial generation. There were even two sketches on two different comedy shows making fun of Millennials  as technology-addicted, overly entitled misanthropes who drink a lot and prefer interacting with a computer than a real person. Apparently we also whine a lot when we don’t get our way and expect things to go our way easily, or we get super offended and feel oppressed.

Now, I’m not writing this post out of some sort of feeling of offense or oppression. More out of annoyance than anything else. And I know using a blog is kind of playing into the stereotype a little, but I’ve reached more people through a digital format with some of my posts than if I sent a letter to a print publication, so why not?

Anyway, I just need to clear the air. Some Millennials may be like I described above. There’s always going to be someone who seems like a perfect example of some stereotype or another. However, that doesn’t mean that all people in a particular group fit the stereotype of that group. I certainly am not a technology-addicted, overly entitled misanthrope who drinks and gets easily offended when life doesn’t prove simple. I actually resisted getting on Facebook and Twitter until my college years, precisely because I thought they were unnecessary and I didn’t want people to think I was addicted to those sites! I only got on them finally because I wanted to stay in contact with friends I’d fallen out of touch with and because I thought they might help my writing career (and to some degree, the latter has happened, though not as much as the former).

I didn’t even get a smartphone until this past year, and that was because I was graduating, possibly doing an internship overseas, and I thought it might be handy to have some more advanced tech to stay in contact with family, friends, and coworkers.

I also don’t expect life to be easy for me, and neither did a lot of the people who went to school with me. Yeah, a lot of us loved to goof around, have a drink every now and then, and just relax, but that was between intense studying and going to work. Yeah, a lot of us either had jobs or were looking for them. Don’t know if those disparaging my generation has noticed, but higher education is expensive! We’re taking on more debt than previous generations, and all in the hope that we’re going to get jobs that’ll pay for all that debt. Of course we have to make sure to keep our grades up! Otherwise we may lose scholarships, have to stay in school longer, or even get kicked out of school, among other things.

Yeah, we work hard to get what some of the previous generations think we feel we’re entitled to. Trust me, if I thought the way my generation is supposed to think, I would have twice as many books out now, all of them with very little editing (if any), and be very surprised that I wasn’t living off my writing in some big mansion, lunching with Stephen King and going to movie premieres with some hot actress or singer on my arm. Maybe I’d even throw a tantrum about it.

Reality is, it’s just not true. Most of my generation is hard-working, trying to get the most out of life despite humongous obstacles in our way. We’re aware of what’s happening in the world and want to change it, even if we don’t always think the polls are the best way to do that (or our time is so constrained we can’t go to the polls). And yeah, we’re on our phones a lot. But I think people were once saying Baby Boomers were addicted to TV and dancing to soul-corrupting rock music, and for the most part that generation and the one after it turned out okay.

Though those generations are also the ones who helped spur climate change along and are sometimes denying it exists. And they’re also the generations leading the companies that are putting out the technology that we’re supposedly addicted to. And…I’m going to stop there.

So instead of lamenting the current generation and making fun of us, how about you try to get to know us a bit better? Maybe you’ll see we’re not that bad, and have great potential. Heck, you might even come up with a way for us to use that potential to the max and make some positive change in the world. Plenty of companies like Change.org have done so, as well as corporations and charities who are sponsoring folks like this guy who’s working on a smart gun to save lives, and more than I can name here.

Unless of course you like, can’t even. You like, totally can’t even imagine, like, changing your opinions ’cause you like, so totally stuck in your ways. Then, like, whatever. Nobody cares.

As soon as I heard about this film, I knew I had to check it out, even if I was in Germany. Why? Because  the companies distributing it, Nerdist Industries, has for a long time been providing me and millions of other nerds with the latest in everything geeky and cool (which at this point are basically the same thing), all while being freaking hilarious at it. If the folks at Nerdist thought highly enough of the film to distribute it, I wanted to check it out.

The Hive follows Adam Goldstein (played by Gabriel Basso), a young man who wakes up covered in blood and sores and with no memory of who he is or what happened to him (sounds like my morning this past Thursday). Using clues around him, Adam starts to remember not only who he is, but the events that caused a very powerful and dangerous virus to spread around a summer camp and beyond and what happened to his friends (played by Jacob Zachar, Kathryn Prescott, and Gabrielle Walsh).

The first thing I have to say about The Hive is that it feels like the most recent Evil Dead film, if that film had been made to be serious rather than humorous, the villains less supernatural but much more threatening, and with a heavier psychological aspect. And I feel that works in the film’s favor. It’s very creepy and definitely a psychological mind-bendy, with plenty of mystery to keep you interested in the slower parts of the movie. The effects are done with minimal CGI (which I love), and a lot of time is spent on getting to know these characters so that they’re a bit more than just cut-out characters there to fulfill a role. Plus the actors manage to make you forget that they’re acting and believe in them in their roles, which is definitely a plus.

What I didn’t like about the film was that there’s more blood and gore than I feel there need be, as well as way too much sexual stuff and swearing, which I feel take away from the film and almost give it a comedic feel at times. For example, there’s one moment where Adam realizes something he did that he shouldn’t have done with one of his friends, and that could’ve been a very powerful moment…if not for the fact that it’s ruined by Adam freaking out about something he experienced in that flashback. Talk about a mood killer! And what was with that shower shot? What did that add, exactly?

But overall, it’s a pretty good psychological-horror apocalypse film. It keeps your attention, the mystery of the film is very well set up, and you want to root for the characters while you watch it. And it even has pretty good commentary on our social media addictions, which I enjoyed seeing. Overall, I’d give The Hive a 3.5 out of 5. It’s not my favorite kind of horror film, but it’s definitely worth a watch if you’re looking for something to creep you out and screw with your mind a bit. And I’d definitely like to see more from the production company behind the movie, Midnight Road Entertainment, which is still relatively new and has plenty of room to expand their repertoire. Heck, if they ever wanted to adapt one of my stories for the screen, I’d definitely be interested if they could bring the same passion and quality to an adaptation as they did to The Hive.*

Oh, before I forget, currently The Hive is only available from iTunes as far as I know. Might be available from other places, I’m not sure, but it’s definitely available from iTunes. And if you want to check it out, I think it’d be a good investment of your time and cash, and maybe a great start to your Halloween season.

*Oh, wouldn’t that be nice if it were to actually happen!

I’ve mentioned it before, but being a fan of horror (let alone a writer of horror) can be very difficult sometimes. We’re not even in the Top 10 Most Popular Genres. We might be in the Top 20…I think. Such is the fate of a group that likes to be scared, when most people would rather avoid the feeling of having something evil and murderous lurking over your shoulders. Because of that, I thought I’d make a list of problems that is mostly unique to the horror genre. Here it is for your humor edification.

1. You’re not dangerous or creepy, you’re actually well adjusted. For some reason the popular image of horror fans is that we’re a dark, moody bunch who got bullied a lot as kids and we’re just looking for the opportunity to get our revenge on the world in the most depraved of ways. Why does anyone think that? Is it because we like movies where serial killers find half-naked girls in the woods, throw them against trees, and then cut them in half?

I don’t know. But if I’m anything to go by, I’m not that image. True, I was bullied a bit when I was younger, but it definitely didn’t affect me that badly! People tell me I’m a funny and really nice kind of guy whom they generally like. And most other fans I know are good people, we just like a good ghost story or slasher flick on the weekends rather than the latest Sandra Bullock comedy or have a fantasy football league. I mean, some of us do those things as well, but we also like to shout “Redrum” when we’re angry or go see Slipknot when we’re in concert. It’s just how we roll.

2. It’s hard to get people to go to the movies with you. Is there a new Avengers flick out? You’ll probably find someone to go with you by simply sending a text message. Comedy or romance film? If no one in your immediate social circle is available, chances are someone at the office will go with you. Horror movie? Yeah, unless your date or your friend is super brave or tolerant of scary stuff, you’ll be sitting in that theater alone for the most part. I speak from experience.

And speaking of which…

3. You can’t make people see why Cary Fukunaga’s departure from the new adaptation of IT is such a disaster. In case you didn’t know, Fukunaga, who’s directed True Detective among other things, was set to direct a two-part adaptation of the Stephen King classic. Sadly he split after he and New Line couldn’t see eye-to-eye over certain aspects. To which many say, “NOOOO! Why?” Most people just assume we’re being drama queens, especially since there’s already an adaptation of IT out there that scared them as children.

Really not scary.

Really not scary.

Yeah, as children. Truth be told, you watch it again, it’s a crappy adaptation, sanitized for TV audiences and with so much changed from the original story fans of the novel are left with a bad taste in their mouths. And Tim Curry as Pennywise the Clown isn’t even that terrifying. Mostly he just laughs at a distance and talks about making corpses float. The kids are never shown in real danger. I’ve seen scarier things in a college final (for more reasons why the IT TV miniseries sucks, watch this review by the Nostalgia Critic and laugh yourself silly at how you ever thought this could be scary).

So naturally, we were hoping that we would get the adaptation IT deserves. Without Fukunaga, it’s about as dead as a corpse floating in a sewer, and we’re all disappointed.

Hey, maybe I did make you see why Fukunaga’s leaving is such a disaster. Go me!

4. You can’t wear your horror fan badge with pride on first dates. Horror fans do date, and a lot of us have great relationships and families. However, declaring you’re a horror fan on the first date and several subsequent dates is like romantic suicide. People assume that, if you’re male, you’re some wannabe serial killer creep who spends too much time peeping on girls, looking at graphic porn, and practicing killing in a dark and moldy basement. If you’re female, they think you were one of those goth girls in high school whom nobody got along with and who has anger and break-up issues.

Like I pointed out above, we’re not. Most of us stay out of those basements, get along with plenty of different people, and would never dream of hurting anyone. Not as if we can point that out on the first date though. Maybe pull out a Stephen King novel when you start staying over at one another’s places, and that’ll signal that you like to dip into terror every now and then. After a few more sleepovers or whatever and the books consistently stay scary, they’ll realize that yes, you like horror, but you’re not going to hobble them with an axe or mallet and chain them to a bed in your house.

As you can see, Halloween's a big deal for me.

As you can see, Halloween’s a big deal for me.

5. Halloween is more than just a single day of the year for you. No, it’s an entire freaking month, and a lot goes into it. You want the perfect scary costume, the perfect creepy decorations. You have to decide what scary movies coming out you’re going to see, what scary movies you’re going to revisit on DVD, what books you’re going to read. You’re going to want to discuss how the new season of American Horror Story is doing leading up to the two Halloween episodes. And you’re going to want to find the perfect party to show off your Halloween love.

You see, Halloween for us is kind of like how moms treat their daughters when they enter beauty pageants for children. We want to show the world how good we are, we want it done right, and you all better cooperate with us and with our zeal for this or there will be plenty of hell to pay! Happy Halloween, bitches! You just try and beat me at my own game!

6. Our love of metal is probably much healthier than being a fan of Justin Bieber. Again, we’re back on that negative image. Most horror fans have a pretty wide-ranging taste for music. Stephen King’s a rock fan, and I have an eclectic mix of J-Pop to classical on my iPod. Yes, I like metal too and so do a lot of other people, but it’s all just fun. We’re not actually looking to submit to Satan or in danger of turning into gunmen. Most metal artists are apparently pretty decent people when you meet them too. They have normal lives like you or me, they just are good at reaching our inner angst through music. It’s much better than listening to an overgrown toddler still going through puberty and acting like a total idiot when he’s not on tour, anyway.

7. It’s hard to discuss serial killers, fictional or real, in the company of others. I learned this the hard way, and to this day I still wish I’d shut my mouth before it made people give me stares. Sorry if I’m a little passionate about explaining how Ed Gein helped inspire Hannibal Lecter, Norman Bates, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. You’re the one who asked if that last one really was based on anything real.

 

8. Most importantly, we go to great lengths to find gold in a pile of shit. I mean that metaphorically, of course. But it applies so well. There’s a lot of horrible horror novels and films out there, and horror fans will go to great lengths to find a film if they think it’ll be interesting to watch, much more than fans of other genres. Fear for us is like a drug, and we’ll try the gamut of bad films if it’ll give us the high we’re looking for. And even if we get a couple of bad ones, it’s well worth it when we find a really awesome one that scares us to our core.

Like Fukunaga’s IT would’ve been. And now I’m sad.

~~~

If anything, this post is meant to show you that horror fans are normal people, just like you or bronies. Are we perfect? No. Are some of our interests very macabre? Yes. Have I been to a morgue? Once or twice, but in the long run, does it really prove anything? Not really. It just shows, like everyone else, we’re all a little different and have our own special quirks.

So the next time you meet a horror fan, do us all a favor. Don’t discuss serial killers with us until we know you better. Instead, talk about the IT adaptation we wish we had and about how hard it is to get a good scare these days. Or the economy, that works just as well.

Was there any particular problems about being a horror fan that I missed?

Do any of these items stand out to you at all?

I am Sheldon Cooper.

I’m great in my field, or perhaps I’m narcissistic enough to think that I’m great. I can talk on and on about writing and horror until I realize it’s too late, I’ve made the person or persons I’m talking to feel uncomfortable. Sometimes I don’t even realize it. But then I find myself talking about how much I hate the Friday the 13th remake and I forget I’m supposed to be having a conversation.

I have odd habits that make no sense to others. I laugh at jokes only I find funny. Sometimes they don’t even leave my head and I’m in hysterics. I talk to myself, I trace shapes in the air with my mind. I hold imaginary conversations with my characters and with other people’s characters. Whatever leads to an idea, right?

Social situations can confuse me. I’ll say something that seems totally innocent in my head, and not realize most people will find a second, possibly offensive or disgusting meaning to it. If I’m lucky, I’ll realize within the next couple of hours this faux pas and never repeat it. Occasionally I never notice though, and I worry about those times, because I’m not sure when or where or why they happened. I only know that they probably have.

If someone says I shouldn’t do or say something, I will ask why if the answer isn’t immediately obvious to me (which is usually sixty percent of the time). If you only say “Just because” or “It’s bad”, I won’t believe you or listen to you. If asked why, I will reply “Once some nasty peers of mine asked me if I was gay before I knew what that meant and they wouldn’t tell me. I said yes just to see what would happen and was the laughingstock for the rest of the day.” So you either tell me what’s so wrong and you walk me through it to make the point, or I’ll just assume that it’s not so big a deal because you don’t want to spell it out.*

Sometimes I’m resistant to changes or new things that seem great but I just don’t feel comfortable with yet. I was horribly opposed to social media like Facebook for years because I just didn’t want to have to try it, an to a certain extent it just wasn’t necessary. I’m only now considering a smartphone. A sudden change in schedule can also annoy me to no end every once in a while. And if I can’t watch my shows? Oh, it’s going to bug me. And don’t make me try that thing I have preconceived notions of. I’m sure I’m going to hate it until I try it and I form new opinions.

I like fun, but sometimes I’m happiest in front of the TV with a drink and a show, writing during the commercial breaks or slow parts of the show. If there’s a cat on my lap, even better. I don’t date much, if at all. I sometimes feel that the whole dating/mating/courting process is such a waste of energy and an unnecessary cause of stress. And why go out? The indoors of the world are so friendly, comfortable and familiar.

Oh, and I’m very pale. Can’t forget that.

But I do have my differences from Dr. Cooper. I write fiction and tell stories. I like touching and hugs and I like to be social, though sometimes I prefer it on my own terms. And my roommate and I don’t banter about in such a way that audiences would laugh if they heard us. Plus I definitely believe in God and ghosts, so that’s another important difference.

But yeah, very much like Sheldon Cooper. It’s not always a bad thing–some people say my eccentricities are part of my charm–but it does have its pitfalls. Still, I wouldn’t change me for the world**, because then I wouldn’t be able to do what I love and do the things I’m able to do. It just would be too different.

*I remember when I was eleven or twelve I learned from a camp friend there was an N-word. Being that age and in an environment where swearing was as plentiful as breathing, I wanted to know what it was, but no one would tell me and they wouldn’t tell me why they wouldn’t tell me, which upset me to no end. I didn’t find out until a year later and read Stephen King’s IT why that word was so bad. So way to go, camp kids, you let a horror writer explain to a kid why he shouldn’t use the N-word. And if that doesn’t take the cake, years later some of those same campers would use the N-word casually, calling each other that when we were the whitest Jewish kids you’d ever seen. By that time I was the one trying to keep them from saying it, but up until the end of summer they never stopped, even when a black man nearly heard them say it. I tell you, talk about ironic reversals!

**Unless of course it’s for the suave spy/bad boy personality that’s at ease in almost any situation and draws people together for a common cause, usually defeating some awful evil. I might go for that.

saturation [n]: the act or result of supplying so much of something that no more is wanted.

–courtesy of Merriam Webster Online

Lately Hollywood is all about the franchises. Disney announced recently that they are making a Frozen 2, that they’ve set release dates for a Star Wars spin-off and Episode VIII, and for some reason they’re doing a live-action Dumbo remake. Sony recently announced that alongside the new female-led Ghostbusters reboot they’re making a male led one as well to even things out (because three male-led films vs. one female-led one is true equality), plus a production company to come up with all sorts of Ghostbusters-related stuff, and a Zoolander 2 is on its way as well.

Look, I’m looking forward to some of these sequels and prequels and remakes and reboots and spin-offs and franchises. Try and keep me away from the Poltergeist remake, the new Star Wars episode, and a few other upcoming films. However, I think that all this emphasis on creating major film series and franchises is actually working against Hollywood rather than helping it. I know that place is run by money primarily, with the idea of making memories and memorable films being a far second, and all these mega-franchises has everyone wanting to have their own moneymaker. But to pursue all that without investing in new material, to me anyway, is not smart business practice.

Not that there haven’t been original films this year. Seventh Son, Jupiter Ascending, and Chappie all are original films (one’s based on a novel, but whatever), so studios aren’t totally ignoring original ideas. However, the former two were panned and didn’t do well at the box office, while the latter…well, it did well at the box office, but the critics don’t seem to like it. I didn’t either. And that isn’t good, because it might make movie studios more wary about greenlighting new projects.

Does this seem a little excessive to you?

This means more superhero movies, more film series and franchise, more reboots and remakes and God only knows what else. And that’s likely to continue. The question is, how long will it continue? Marvel and DC have films scheduled through 2019 and 2020 respectively, but will we feel like watching them by that time? Will we feel like we’ve seen these films so many times that it takes something rare to make us enjoy the film, like it is for so many horror fans today? Are we going to reach saturation point soon? And when it does, what will the film industry do?

Luckily, there’s the indie scene, which is producing original and wonderful stories all the time (particularly horror: I Am A Ghost, The Babadook, and the upcoming It Follows, though I haven’t seen that last one yet). And the comedy genre keeps churning out with originals, probably because they know that pulling off sequels are difficult in that genre. There’s a growing number of biopics coming out each year (not exactly original, but not exactly overly done either), and most of the movies nominated for the Oscars each year are meant to be stand-alone films. Maybe we won’t reach saturation too soon.

But if we do, I think we might have enough filmmakers out there who aren’t so concerned with money and sequels, and want just to tell good stories. Heck, I might even join in then: I’ve got a few idea for screenplays, so I might write one too one of these days. We’ll see.

Do you like the way Hollywood is these days? Why or why not?

Do you think we’ll reach saturation point soon? What’ll happen when we do?