Friday, June 30, 2006

Quentin Tarantino

I respect what the guy does and the passion he puts into his movies, and I am always at least interested to hear about whatever his new project might be.

That said, something about Tarantino really annoys me. I don't know if it's the forced "coolness" in all of his movies, that really annoying faux-badassness that all his characters have. Maybe it's that I can't get the name "O-Ren-Ish-ii," over-pronounciation and all, out of my head. It could be that Pulp Fiction was wildly overrated (it's an okay movie, but let's not get carried away: the garbled story-telling is only a clever way to mask the improbable coincidences that would look ridiculous if the story was told in the right order. It's not as manipulative as that bastard Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which I hate passionately the more I think about it, but it's close. End run-on parenthetical).

I'm sure all of these things help, but really annoys me is his glee in the new Entertainment Weekly, paper version, about how the new direction of horror movies is toward ever more explicit violence. He's probably right, but I hate him for being happy about it. One of the best horror movies over the last couple of years was The Exorcism of Emily Rose, but Saw, which I did like, is being used as a teaching tool for horror-illiterate movie executives. It's shame.

Still, I'm kind of looking forward to Grind House.

PS -- Don't throw The Devil's Rejects in my face. That movie had far superior characters to almost any major studio-released horror flick.

2005 Stoker Awards

The list of winners is here. Embarrassingly, I've read almost none of the winners or losers (Hey, isn't everybody a winner?). Some horror guru, huh? I did find and enjoy Deep in the Darkness by Michael Laimo from last year's list, so maybe I'll try something here. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Darkness, Tell Us

Shortly after my hiking trip, I finished this, my first Richard Laymon book (The pictorial link is below). I had heard things about the amount of sex in his books, and Darkness certainly did not disappoint. For about the first half, that was about all that kept it going. In fact, there was so much sex, talk about sex, thinking about sex, and innuendo alluding to sex that I felt like I was reading a romance novel instead of a horror one. That was uncomfortable.

I kept at it, though. Mainly I perservered because of the writing and characters. Both were well done, and that was nice. I have found a lot of characters annoying in the books I've read lately, which is frustrating. Darkness avoided that, and it has a passable plot too. It was not really a scary book, but it had a few creepy moments. The real killer was the end.

I won't give it away here, but suffice it to say that if you get that far -- and I'm talking to the last twenty pages here -- you will enjoy one of the most jarring sequences of violence you'll read this year. As I've said before, I'm not into violence for violence's sake, but the dying that happens here is quite satisfying.

I don't know that I would whole-heartedly recommend the book, but know that if you stick with it you'll be rewarded. And the ride there ain't too bad. I'm sure I'll be picking up so more Laymon in the future.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Harry Potter News

According to this article, two characters die in the final Harry Potter novel. The article notes that Ms. Rowling was careful not to mention who the characters were. Not pointed out in the article is that she also does not say these are "main" characters were talking about. After all the deaths of Cho Chang and Dean Thomas wouldn't be quite as traumatic as Ron and Hermione taking the proverbial dirt nap, now would they?

In casing you're dying for it, you can sign up to be notified of when the seventh book is available for pre-order -- here. There's also some pre-reviews up by some serious Harry diehards.

Beyond the Wall of Sleep

I like H. P. Lovecraft. I don't believe that I've read Beyond the Wall of Sleep, but it has an interesting premise. At an insane asylum in 1908, some warped doctors examine a mountain man (hillbilly, really) with a strange growth protruding from his back. Seems promising, eh?

Well, the movie stunk. I guess that shouldn't be surprising, given that it was a straight to video release. Still, it failed to meet even my meager expectations. So, take the word of the lady at the video store and avoid it heartily. I may dig up the short story, though.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I'm back

It's been a month-long hiatus, but I've returned from two vacations and am ready to post. There's a lot to comment on right now, so stay tuned for new posts.

One thing I've done in the past month or so is watch the entire first two seasons of Lost. Great show. Watching it feels a lot like watching a horror movie, especially in the flashbacks. There's always a sense that something bad is going to happen. The genius of the show is that you usually can't predict what it is. Plus, Desmond is awesome.