Posts Tagged ‘music’

It’s here! It’s today! It’s the day I celebrate every damn day of the year, even during the High Holidays, but which I celebrate twice as hard in October, because everybody is celebrating it too. It’s Halloween!

I’ve always loved Halloween and the month of October.* In fact, I consider it the most wonderful time of the year. And before you say December and Christmas is the most wonderful time of year, think about this: during this month, you start worrying about a fat old man who watches and stalks you for three-hundred sixty-four days out of the year, and then one night breaks into your home via the chimney. And depending on whatever his judgment of your behavior is, he’s either going to leave behind awful fossil fuels or consumer goods that violate so many patent, copyright and trademark laws, you could be pulled into a class action lawsuit just by association. Prove me wrong!

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of problems I have with calling December the most wonderful time of the year.

But back to Halloween. You know what makes it really special? It’s a holiday both for the mainstream of society and outcast. For one day, you’re allowed to be someone else and revel in that. No one’s allowed to break that spell, and those who do are cursed to be jerks.

No one’s ever accused me of being mainstream. There were times where I didn’t have many friends, and when I did, I was always a little bit different from them. Call it being neuroatypical, call it being half-human and half-entity from another universe, call it justĀ being different. There was always this barrier between me and other people.

But on Halloween, all that changed. Kids and adults changed into costumes, became other beings and we were all equals. We all had a simple goal of showing off our costumes, getting candy, and having a spooky delightful time. It was magic for me. And as I got older, that magic has still been part of my love for the holiday. That, and more people actually get my obsession with things dark and creepy and horrifying and get into it, too.

But also this strange equalizing. For one night, we’re as different as can be from ourselves and from others, but we’re all equal and having a fun time. In a world where the wrong kind of scary is all too common, that’s something special.

I’m pretty sure if there’s a Heaven that I’ll be allowed into, and if that Heaven individualizes itself for each person in it, it’s going to be a forever Halloween. Lots of people in costumes, and my costume changes at my whim. Plus real monsters to fly around and terrify with. Lots of candy that never tastes bad and never upsets your stomach. There are endless horror themed rides and mazes, as well as libraries and theaters with an endless supply of horror movies, TV shows, books, manga and anime, music and art. All to digest at your leisure. The sun is never a problem (which is good, because even outside of sunscreen season, I have to worry about sun damage to my skin and even to my eyes!), and it’s just cool enough for sweatshirts. And everyone’s as friendly and chummy as the Addams Family, even after you scare them silly. And no one ever feels left out.

Like Hell Fest, but much better.

Seems like a nice dream, doesn’t it? And if it’s one I can someday achieve (though hopefully not too soon), I’ll be happy.

Wishing you a Happy Halloween this year!

In the meantime, I’ll work on making a Heaven on Earth. By that I mean, becoming a successful horror author who can afford to host an awesome Halloween party every October and get a bunch of people into a room to celebrate being scary together.

Wow, I really went on a ramble, didn’t I? Anyway, I think you get what Halloween means to me, don’t you? And I hope it means something special to you too.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ll have another post out by the end of the day, a review of a new scary movie. Until then, Happy Halloween and pleasant nightmares!

*Even if, in Central Ohio, this is the month when summer heat and humidity changes to winter chill. Yeah, there’s no autumn here. It just switches from one extreme to the other. I’m pretty sure God’s punishing us for something, but I can’t figure out what.

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I wanted to see this when it came out, but it came out after I moved, which means if I wanted to see it, I had to ride a bus about an hour one way to the nearest movie theater (and that’s just the start of the trip). Sucks, but on the bright side, the DVD came out only a couple of months after it came out in theaters, so I still get to see it relatively soon after it’s release.

So how did The Conjuring 2 stack up, both as a sequel to The Conjuring (which I gave a very good review) and as a horror film in general? I’m pleased to say, it stacks up pretty well on both counts. The film continues the story of real life ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren (played again by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, the latter of whom I’ve yet to see in a bad role), giving another one of their famous cases the Hollywood treatment (because real life hauntings are never resolved this easily). This time they’re dealing with the Enfield haunting, a case in which a family living in public housing, particularly the daughters, are oppressed by some sort of demonic entity, as well as Lorraine dealing with a vision that supposedly shows her husband’s death.

Like its predecessor, The Conjuring 2 knows how to tell a scary story. Both jump scares and just creepy atmosphere-building moments are written and filmed wonderfully (there’s a scene where they’re interviewing the ghost without looking at it, and it’s just so freaky), there isn’t a lot of CGI, which I like in a horror film, and the acting feels real enough to make me believe in all of these characters. Of course, the story probably breaks quite a bit from the actual events of the Enfield haunting, but that’s to be expected in a movie version of events. They do give some film time to claims that the girls faked the hauntings (rather obviously too), but as it’s a horror film, they do explain why the girls tried to fake an obviously real haunting (in the movie, anyway). And there’s a fun reference to the Amityville haunting (how did they make that without paying copyright fees?) that I liked. There’s a lot to like in this film.

My favorite part, personally, is the villain, the Masked Nun. God, she/it is creepy. I can see why a spin-off is in the works based on that one creepy character!

Sadly, of course, there’s a few things that I didn’t care for. There’s a moment where Ed sings to the kids in the style of Elvis Presley that felt somewhat unnecessary and possibly shoehorned in, and there’s a joke not too long afterwards involving how far cameras have come in 1977 that, while funny, could’ve been cut out without any problems. Oh, and what’s with that musical montage near the beginning of the film involving footage from England in the 70s? We know this film takes place in London in the 1970s! We don’t need a montage with annoying English 70s music to hammer that home to us!

All in all though, I liked the film. It’s a good follow-up to The Conjuring, and I enjoyed every minute of it. On a scale of 1 to 5, I give it a 4.5 out of 5. Definitely go see it, and get yourself scared.

And this is probably my last post until next month. See you then!

It goes without saying, I love villains. They’re often the most memorable part of a story or among the most memorable parts. Everyone recognizes the killer clown from Stephen King’s IT or Dr. Lecter tied up and wearing a mask in Silence of the Lambs. And in certain musicals, when they have a song about the villain, it can become the best part of the entire show. In fact, in some cases it’s the only good part of some musicals.

I guess I’m a little obsessed with villain songs, particularly “In the Dark of the Night” from the movie Anastasia (perhaps the only good part of an expensive Disney rip-off) and “Be Prepared” from The Lion King. I’ve even written my own villain song about me as a horror writer called “Eater of Fear” (boy, would I love to get that thing produced into an actual musical track) and I came up with an idea for a short story involving a villain song. And I’m not the only one. You’ll find plenty of people who like villain songs and even create lists for them (you can find examples of other people’s lists here, here, and here).

What’s with the love of villain songs? Well, I can think of several reasons. One is that everyone likes a catchy song. It’s part of the reason why we can’t get some of Taylor Swift or Carly Rae Jepsen’s songs out of our heads sometimes (I’ve been there more than once). Villain songs are among the catchiest because they are often used to explain the plans or motivations of the villains, so a lot of thought is put into making the lyrics and tune exciting while explaining these plans/motivations. It’s a lot more fun than you’re average monologue about the villain’s plans or beliefs, right? Nobody downloads those on their iPods!

Tell me you weren’t wiggling a little in your seat when Dr. Facilier started doing this fun little song and dance.

 

Another reason is that–and this is my own opinion, but I think it has merit–most people want to indulge in their dark side every now and then, they want to have a little fun being evil. How many times have we wished we could get revenge on our bosses or on that nasty kid on the playground? Probably a lot, but we don’t because most of us are good people who would never do something so horrid or we’re afraid of the consequences. A villain song is a sort of trip to the dark side. You get to indulge in being bad and have fun singing about it. And when the song is over, what’s the worst that comes back to haunt you? Maybe someone sees you singing and goes to warn somebody else, but that might be it. Usually, the song ends and we move onto the next part of the story.

In addition, villain songs are packed with dark visuals. Even non-fans of horror like the dark and the creepy every now and then, they just don’t like being assaulted with it in the books or movies or shows they read or watch. No, they prefer to dip their toes, and a villain song is a perfect way to do it. If you’ve ever watched “Hellfire” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame or “Be Prepared”, you know they’ve got some arresting visuals. The former has some freaky Gothic and hellish imagery, the latter has freaking Nazi hyenas marching in front of Fuhrer Scar. It’s kind of creepy, it stays with you, and it’s a lotĀ of fun to watch.

Anyone who didn’t find this scene a little chilling is either lying or possibly has ties to dangerous organizations or groups.

 

These and a bunch of other reasons could be why villain songs resonate with us so much as an audience. Whether it’s because we love a villain, indulging safely in our dark side, or we just like a catchy tune, villain songs are just a ton of fun and as long as people are writing musicals, they’re bound to show up again and again in our shows and, if they’re good, in our consciousnesses.

Do you have a thing for villain songs? Which are your favorite? And why do you think they tend to stick in people’s minds so much?

Oh, just a reminder that my Big Birthday Sale is in 2 days. From June 10th to June 14th, all my titles–The Quiet Game, Reborn City, and Snake–will be marked down or, in the case of the e-books, free to download from Amazon and Smashwords. So if you’re looking for something new to read and want to get it at a good price, this might be the opportunity for you. Get excited, because it’s coming soon!

That’ll be all for now, Followers of Fear. I’ve got to go and sing some “Eater of Fear” in my head. Have a good one.

All done with the first draft.

All done with the first draft.

Well tonight’s a great night for me! I’ve finished the first draft of Rose, the novel that has doubled as my thesis. I’ve already blasted “Voodoo Child” by Rogue Traders throughout the apartment, did my own choreographed dance to the song, and then had a drink with my roommate. And now I’m working on this blog post, feeling high as a kite about this achievement.

I was hoping to get this chapter started earlier today, but events didn’t allow for it. Still, I’m happy to get it done tonight, nearly six months after starting work on Rose. It’s great to know that it’s finished. Now all I’ve got to do some editing and I’ll be ready for thesis arguments in April.

The total amount of pages for Rose (8.5″ x 11″, double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman) is 174 pages, an average of about 8.3 pages per chapter, and 50,994 words total, about 2428 words per chapter on average. That’s the length of a mid-sized novella according to the definitions I use. Not a full-length novel, but I’m good with this length. I had a feeling that it’d be around the size of a novella anyway.

Well, I’m going to go to sleep. This is a great night for me, but I’m dead tired and I need to sleep if I’m going to be able to spread the good news tomorrow. I think I’ll take a break in the next week or two from working on Rose before getting started on the second draft. Might edit a short story or two. God knows I’ve got a couple to edit still, and one for a contest soon. Plus some blog posts that I’ve been meaning to write. Boy, I’m going to be busy.

But for now, bed. Goodnight my Followers of Fear (or if you’re reading this in the morning, Good morning). Pleasant nightmares. And wish me luck with this project as it goes into its next phase. It’s going to be interesting where this ends up.

Also, scroll up. There’s a new page I’ve just set up, Stand Alones & Other Works. Rose is a stand alone novel, so it’ll need its own page. And I think Daisy and Strange Portals should be listed somewhere, so I’ll make sure they’re listed on that page. Please check it out if you get the chance. Especially if you have no idea what Rose is about and would like a basic summary to get an idea behind it (summary subject to change over time).

Once again, good night my Followers of Fear. And thanks for your support. I’m always glad you’re there to have my back. See you in the morning!