Somebody’s talking……

July 14, 2010

I completed the nonfiction update today by going back through and adding links to all the recent interviews I’ve done at Dark Scribe Magazine, as well as on my spec fiction blog for Examiner.com. Lots of good stuff there from Kim Paffenroth, Ellen Datlow, Maurice Broaddus and many more. Head on up to the nonfiction tab at the top of this page to check ’em out.

Speaking of interviews, I’ve got a biggie on the horizon – a sprawling chat with one of my new favorites that’s so big it’s going to take five days to run it all. It will appear on the Examiner blog, but stay tuned here for an announcement of when…and who.

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Read any good books lately?

July 13, 2010

I have, and I’ve reviewed a fair number of them over at Dark Scribe Magazine. I’ve finally updated the nonfiction portion of the site with all the links, so cruise on over if you’d like to know what I thought of Tim Lebbon’s brilliant collection Last Exit For the Lost, or Stephen King’s Under the Dome and Blockade Billy, or Norm Partridge’s amazing Lesser Demons, or…well, you get the idea.


Here’s to swimmin’ with bowlegged women….

June 25, 2010

….and here’s to Jaws, which recently turned 35 years old. If there’s a better adventure film out there, I haven’t seen it. It’s amazing how the choices that Steven Spielberg and company were forced to make to contend with unpredictable weather and a malfunctioning shark actually worked for them instead of against them. Reams have been written about the troubled production, but whatever they had to go through to get the film finished was certainly worth it.

To celebrate, I chose a clip that is one of my favorite moments of the movie – the point at which Quint, Hooper and Brody finally bond – just as an ominous barrel appears alongside their boat.


Freddy’s New Nightmare

May 4, 2010

*SPOILER WARNING*

Caught the Nightmare on Elm Street remake today and, much like the remakes that have come before it, I find myself liking some things and not caring for others. When Nightmare 2010 was trying to be its own thing, it did pretty well. When it was trying to walk in its forefather’s footsteps, however, it tripped.

Robert Englund as old school Krueger circa 1984.

If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen some of the iconic moments the new version tries to recreate from the original, such as Freddy’s gloved hand emerging from Nancy’s bathtub…while Nancy is also in the tub. That’s a straight lift from the original, as is the scene where a ghostly Krueger bends a wall to his will. Neither of these is executed as well as they were in the original, and were really unnecessary to begin with – there are some clever nods to such scenes later in the film (remember Freddy’s tongue licking Nancy through the phone? This time he does it in person, and it’s even ickier than the first time) that work better because they aren’t exact duplicates.

The movie does play with Freddy’s backstory a little more, and while I like what they were going for – hinting that Krueger may not have been guilty of everything his killers believed – it was brought down by ham-handed execution. The kids quickly jump to the conclusion that the accusations they made against Freddy when they were little were made up, and then just as quickly discover that, no, the parents were right and Fred was a perv. That could have been drawn out a little longer and been more effective.

Jackie Early Haley as Freddy 2.0.

Those things aside, though, let’s talk about Freddy. I was worried about anyone other than Robert Englund wielding the glove…until they hired Jackie Earl Haley. Haley brings a sick, twisted sense of sleeze to the character that Englund was just too charming to manage. Don’t get me wrong, Englund still owns the part, but Jackie has brought us a new version that I hope to see a lot more of.

That’s right. I liked this enough to want more. While it was, like all the Platinum Dune remakes thus far, maybe a little too slick and polished to really capture the spirit of the original, I think this one has come closest so far. The nightmares could be a little more surreal, the characters a little more fleshed out, and there could be less reliance on the jump scares, but all in all this new Nightmare holds its own against a pretty tough standard.

*EVEN BIGGER SPOILER ALERT*
(For the record, the movie geek in me really got all fired up when a character named Quentin used a needle full of adrenaline straight to the heart to wake up another character – just like John Travolta did in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. Nice.)


Norman Prentiss talks INVISIBLE FENCES

April 7, 2010

Just a quick note to point you in the direction of my new interview with Norman Prentiss, centered mainly on his upcoming Cemetery Dance release Invisible Fences. This is a break-out work for the author, in my humble opinion. Check it out.


Looking back, looking ahead

April 2, 2010

Been a busy couple of months – not busy updating this website, obviously, but busy nonetheless. I’ve been itching to get back here and write about some of the stuff coming up that I’m looking forward to, but haven’t had the time. I don’t really have the time today, but I couldn’t stay away another minute longer.

So, indulge me if you will as I give you a whirlwind tour of what I’ve been doing, what’s coming up, and a couple of things I’m anticipating.

I’ve been slowly building the content over at my Spec Fiction blog for Examiner.com – some cools interviews recently with guys like Jonathan Maberry, who recently adapted the remake of The Wolfman in novel form. I’ll be adding those links to the nonfiction page over the next couple of days. Also, I’ve joined the staff of Horrorworld as the site’s interviewer. I’ll be talking with a new author each month, beginning in April with Roger Ma, author of The Zombie Combat Manual. I’ll make a not here as soon as that one goes live.

As always, new reviews are going up regularly at Dark Scribe, including a belated look at Stephen King’s Under the Dome. I’ve got several in the pipeline there – and will have a look at King’s just-announced surprise novella, Blockade Billy, appearing there as soon as my review copy arrives.

Movie-wise, I finally saw Black Dynamite after months of anticipation, and had a ball with it. I’m looking forward to the upcoming remake of A Nightmare On Elm Street, although not as much as I’m looking forward to the Blu-ray edition of the original, which comes out April 6. If the HD format does for Nightmare what it did for the original Halloween and Friday the 13th, then I’ll be a happy horror fan.

Here’s the trailer for the new Nightmare, just to whet our appetites:

From everything I’ve read, the people behind this remake are looking to take Freddy back the real (and surreal) horror of the first film, and away from the wisecracking anti-hero he eventually became. I hope they get it right, and I hope that the actual movie isn’t simply the exact replica of Wes Craven’s original that the trailers suggest it might be. Jackie Earl Haley seems the perfect choice to fill Robert Englund’s shoes, though.

Okay, that’s it for now. Hopefully it won’t be two months before I’m back again.


Dracula’s Soul Brother

February 2, 2010

I just finished my first viewing of Blacula, and I had to share the love. This is one of those great ’70s flicks that provides both unintentional laughs and a few effective scares, all wrapped up in one great, camp-filled package. William Marshall owns the screen as Mamuwalde, an African prince from the 1800s who seeks out the original Count Dracula’s help in ending the slave trade. Instead, he discovers that the Count is all but a card-carrying member of the KKK. Dracula offers to buy Mamuwalde’s wife, then turns his minions loose on the prince and his bride. Just before sealing them into a vault, Dracula bites Mamuwalde and curses him with both an eternal lust for blood and the nickname “Blacula” in a scene you can see in the trailer below:

Naturally, Mamuwalde is resurrected years later, and pursues a woman who appears to be his reincarnated wife. With a name like Blacula  you might expect a heaping helping of crude stereotypes, but with the exception of a couple of gay antique dealers, that’s mostly held in check. What you will find is a movie that’s surprisingly effective in places. Marshall is an intense, intimidating presence on screen, and when he goes into full vampire mode his eyebrows rival those of fellow ’70s stud Dean Stockwell. All in all I had a great time with this flick, and can’t wait to hunt down the sequel, Scream Blacula Scream.

Now, from a bonafide ’70s success to one that appears to capture the look and feel of what is rapidly becoming one of my favorite film decades. I’m posting a trailer for a movie that I’ve just recently heard about, The House of the Devil. Set in the ’80s, the film apparently uses film techniques and technology from the late ’70s/early ’80s, and is played as straight-up horror. It’s out on DVD this week, and I can’t wait to see it. Here’s a taste: