Saturday, 8 February 2014

Women In Horror Month: The From Beyond the Grave Edition

I'm still here, lurking. I'm watching you. I might be behind you right now......or under your bed...........or probably more likely I'm on the couch drinking tea, covered in cats thinking about how awesome horror is and how awesome women are and how awesome those things together are. But that still could be your couch. What time are you coming home anyway? I'm hungry bring pizza.
























Friday, 5 October 2012

Guest Post: Anthony J. Rapino


Hey, everyone, remember me?! I’m still alive! Though I do have the worst flu in the history of mankind ever so it could go either way at this point. Ok, I’m sorry, that was massive exaggeration, I have a bit of a cold and I’m feeling very sorry for myself., I can’t see properly and my head feels like it’s full of cotton wool soaked in pain. However, what has cheered me up today is receiving this wonderful guest post from the lovely Anthony J. Rapino. Thanks to Mr. Rapino I am now considerably happier and totally in the mood for Halloween, if only he could cure my cold and persuade one of my cats to come and cuddle me then things would be perfect.

I do hope that you enjoy Anthony’s post as much as I did, I will leave you in his capable hands and I promise to be back soon, probably with something shark related (I’m so predictable).


 

I Love October

Anthony J. Rapino

 

October is here, and I am happy.  When I tell people that I love October, autumn, and Halloween, they invariably say, “Well that makes sense.  You are a horror writer.”  The thing is they have it backwards.  I don’t love this time of year because I’m a horror writer; I’m a horror writer because I love this time of year.

And that makes sense, doesn’t it?  I want to feel--all year long--that lovely warm tingle that October brings.  What better way to do that than attempt to recreate the imagery, scents, and atmosphere of autumn? 

Some of my fondest childhood memories take place in October.  I remember my elementary school used to (and maybe still does) bring a truckload of pumpkins to the cafeteria so the students could buy them on their way home from school.  I used to live in Brooklyn, so this collection of gourds on cafeteria tables was the closest thing to a pumpkin patch I was likely to see.  As memories often do, multiple years are all stuck together into one day of perusing pumpkins, choosing the biggest one I could carry, and heading home.

It’s not an exciting story.  I wasn’t chased by bullies and forced to drop my pumpkin.  I wasn’t abducted by a creepy interloper with a pocket full of candy corn.  And yet this almost mundane memory has stayed with me all my life, because all it takes is a pumpkin and colored leaves for me to fall absolutely in love with life. 

I have a 500 pound jack o’ lantern filled to the brim with these memories: the year my friends and I decided to have a horror movie marathon instead of going trick or treating (no easy decision as a kid), the year I nearly got creamed by a thrown egg, the year it rained and my mom held an umbrella over me so I could get to at least a few houses, the year I went to a party at the elementary school.  These memories go on and on, forever coloring my adult Halloween experiences, because what I do year after year is try to recapture those same feelings I had when I was a kid.

When I ask a woman out to go pumpkin picking, or accompany me on a haunted hayride complete with hot apple cider, I’m hoping for a glimmer of those old feelings, and maybe a glint of the same in the woman’s eyes when she looks back at me.  A moment of shared experience, a moment of understanding.  Unfortunately, I’m more often met with a stare of incomprehension. A look that says, “Why not just go to the bar for a drink?” 

I shrug these moments off because I know there are others like me out there.  People who wake on October first with a burst of glee, and an ever growing pumpkin patch in their bodies, threatening to pull them apart with an uncontrollable love.  People who have to eat pumpkin-flavored everything, and fill bowls with candy over a month in advance, and carve jack o’ lanterns, and watch horror movies, and simply soak it all in.

They do it for the same reason I do.  And really, it’s no big secret.

They love October.

And I do too.

Author bio

Join Anthony on his blog tour page to help celebrate the release of his debut novel, Soundtrack to the End of the World. 

 

 

 Anthony J. Rapino resides in Northeastern Pennsylvania, somewhere between the concrete of the city and the trees of the forest.  On occasion, you’ll find him moderating the feverish battles between the creatures of these two arenas.  Whose side he’s on is anyone’s guess.

His newest fiction can be found in Black Ink Horror, On Spec, Arcane Anthology, Electric Spec, A cappella Zoo, Space Squid, TQR Stories, and carved inside a variety of autumn gourds.  His short story collection, Welcome to Moon Hill, is currently available, as is his first novel Soundtrack to the End of the World.  Proof of his psychosis can be found on his website: http://www.anthonyjrapino.com

 

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Super Shark (2011)

Well. It’s that time of year again when the weather starts warming up*, the nights get longer and my mind inevitably turns to one thing and one thing only. Sharks!



For various sciency, environmental disastery reasons an evil oil corporation accidently unleashes a Megalodon from its prehistoric slumber to terrorise a small beach community, on the 4th of July no less. Enter marine biologist Cat Carmichael from the Oceanic Investigation Bureau (??!!) to sort things out, if only she had a very poor man’s Quint to help her. Wait a minute.......

The Oceanic Investigation Bureau arrive
Not Quint
Super Shark brings a new level of insanity to the shark movie genre. As a connoisseur of this genre I know I’m enjoying myself when I can’t decide whether a film is actually complete and utter crap or absolute genius, so with that in mind I can only come to one conclusion - Super Shark could possibly be one of the best bad movie ever. My first clue to this came when it had its own theme song over the opening titles, ‘Super Shark’ clearly heavily influenced by the theme from Shaft- Genius.

From the outset we get what we pay for, people get eaten , corrupt oil barons are corrupt, marine biologists take their tops off and lounge on boats whilst still maintaining their professionalism by keeping their business trousers on, and Megalodons demonstrate their enormous mass by eating increasingly massive things. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years of research on the subject it’s that a Megalodon’s staple diet is predominantly made up of boats, oil rigs and submarines and my research doesn’t let me down here as it eats all of these things in the first twenty minutes and later on it also chows down on an in flight fighter plane to bring some variety into its diet. Now this may all sound pretty standard to you, you may be wondering how Super Shark challenges expected conventions, well I shall tell you: Super Shark is not merely content to just stay within the established parameters of the genre, oh no, Super Shark is intent on pushing boundaries and taking the shark movie into a new and innovative direction and it accomplishes this with a shocking plot development. It turns out the Super Shark, is not just satisfied with being not extinct or even with being the last of its species, Super Shark can also fly, walk and is bulletproof. Evolution in action there, ladies and gentleman, evolution in action.

 It is also important to mention that Super Shark also does its bit for championing the cause of women in horror by using in abundance the post modern feminist polemic of ladies in bikinis. It challenges us to question our perception of female identity by presenting us with a deconstructed representation of the feminine and juxtaposing it with the primal, chaotic savagery of a creature that predates man. I think we can all see the phenomenological implications of the construction of gender through specific corporeal acts and the possibilities which exist for the cultural transformation of gender through such acts. This is never more apparent than when one of the bikini clad ladies fends off a Megalodon attack using a beach umbrella.



 Ah me! If there’s a genre of film that you’d think didn’t need to invent excuses to show girls in bikinis you’d think it would be the shark movie. The very nature of the shark movie dictates that it be set in or around water so right there you have ample legitimate opportunity for bountiful boobies bouncing mightily in the sand and surf. Apparently, though, Super Shark couldn’t quite manage that despite three of its characters actually being lifeguards in the Baywatch sense and it had to make up its booby quota by sandwiching in a spurious bar bikini competition which largely consisted of ladies bouncing up and down on a small stage in bikinis for a good three minutes whilst being referred to as ‘it’ by the host. Nice. Naturally this plot device then needed to be followed up and a further three minutes was dedicated to the bikini winners claiming their photoshoot prize and bouncing about on the beach whilst a photographer took not very good pictures of them. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely nothing against ladies in bikinis, I’m all for ladies in bikinis, ladies look great in bikinis, my issue here is that if in a shark movie of all things you have to fabricate reasons to show ladies in bikinis then somebody somewhere really isn’t doing their job properly and that’s inexcusable. For God’s sake, sitting here right now I can think of six ways to seamlessly work bikinis and boobies into the script and I’m not even trying.**


Essential plot progression


 However, all this pales by comparison when the American military role up and their plan to defeat the Super Shark comes to light. The American military with all its highly trained personnel and its unlimited resources decides the best course of action in order to defeat the prehistoric monster is to deploy its secret weapon a tank with legs. A tank with legs. The tank, it transpires, had been previously tested in Iraq, but I think I can be fairly certain with the assertion that those tests probably did not take into account in the possibility of giant land sharks.



 Now why a tank with legs is any better at fighting a walking, flying Megalodon than a tank without legs I am not sure. It did use its legs to kick the Megalodon at one point but as far as I could tell that didn’t really help the situation. Eventually it’s left to Cat and comedy Quint to save the day. The military could have saved a lot time effort, money and lives if they’d just left them to it. Why bring your combat trained professionals and expensive weaponry into the fray when you’ve got the Oceanic Investigation Bureau with a ghettoblaster?

*By ‘warming up’ I mean it hasn’t rained for the last two days.

**I have since discovered that director Fred Olen Ray’s previous films have titles like Bikini Jones and the Temple of Eros, Bikini Royale and Bikini Royale 2, Bikini Pirates, The Girl From B.I.K.I.N.I, Bikini a Go Go and Bikini Chain Gang. I rescind back my previous comments and am off to locate these titles immediately.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

The Further Adventures of Musicians in Horror


Now, you may be asking, the Further Adventures, Jinx? Where are the initial adventures of these musicians in horror? And you'd be right to ask. They're here: Caliban's Revenge, in an utterly marvellous guest post I did a little while ago. It's marvellous, really top notch, you should check it out. Say hi to gorgeous Prospero while you're there 'cos he's great.


Henry Rollins, Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007)



Henry Rollins is awesome. I don’t even particularly feel like I have to justify this, you just need to look at any given Rollins biography to get a sense of his awesomeness: Singer-songwriter, spoken word artist, writer, activist, comedian, publisher, actor, and radio DJ. He’s awesome. He’s also kindly contributed to the horror genre which makes me very happy.

Wrong Turn 2 takes the format of a post-apocalyptic Survivor type reality show, with added inbred hillbilly cannibals.

Henry Rollins stars as Col. Dale Murphy, host of the show and in a somewhat surprising turn of events he is captured by the hungry hillbillies early on in the film. However, once released into the wild, which, from the evidence presented, I can only assume to be his natural habitat, Rollins proceeds to go all Rambo on some killer hillbilly arse. He plays them at their own game using all his military skills, in fine style he stalks them, traps them brutally kills them and yells a lot. I genuinely believe that the movie’s ultimate showdown is exactly WRWD (What Rollins Would Do).

It’s my personal hypothesis that Henry went into this movie believing it to be a documentary, they just let him go a pointed a camera at him. He is that badass.



Tiffany, Necrosis (2009)



Flame haired temptress Tiffany ruled the charts and America’s malls during the 80s. She is most notable for her smash hit cover "I Think We're Alone Now" which became an anthem for misunderstood teens everywhere. Although I would personally argue that its more notable for becoming an anthem to people old enough to know better who found a twelve inch extended version in a charity shop during the summer of 2002 and consequently spent much of the rest of that summer dancing a grubby flat to it, a persistent hobby only interrupted briefly when it became imperative that we learn the entirety of Torvill and Dean’s BolĂ©ro via the medium of YouTube. It was a long boring summer.

Tiffany blessed us with music, but recently she has also blessed us with her contributions to horror. Tiffany’s horror debut was in the 2009 film Necrosis. It’s not great.

Six friends, one of them Tiffany, arrive at an isolated cabin to enjoy a long weekend of fun and frolics in the snow. An epic snowstorm interrupts their mini break, trapping them on the mountain and somehow resurrecting the angry ghosts of the Donner Party.

Necrosis is distasteful on many levels not least for its appalling interpretation of what happened to the tragic Donner Party, but it does contain one of my favourite bad moments in film history: people sat at table by a window discussing how terrible and savage the storm is and how they’ll never get off the mountain all to a backdrop of perfect blue untroubled sky. Genius. I watched it three times.

Tiffany also starred in MegaPiranha which helpfully warned us of the previously undocumented explosive nature of leaping piranhas.



LL Cool J, Deep Blue Sea (1999)



LL Cool J is not just a man with a massively optimistic and conceitedly self-assured stage name he is also not a man to limit himself. LL Cool J has had many lives; rapper, actor, entrepreneur, NCIS Special Agent and shark killer. He also, apparently, has many names; James Todd Smith, L.L. Cool J, Ladies Love Cool James, Luv, Cool J, LL, The G.O.A.T., Jack the Ripper, Mr. Smith, Uncle LL. This seems excessive, I shall call him LL. But really he will always be known to me as Sherman "Preacher" Dudley.

 I have a problem with Deep Blue Sea, that problem is I can’t not watch it, if it’s on I can’t go past it or turn it off. This became particularly problematic lately when ITV apparently bought it and it was on one of their many channels almost constantly, my husband had to stage an intervention.

On a remote research facility in the middle of the ocean scientists try to cure Alzheimer’s by experimenting on the brain make up of Mako sharks. Unsurprisingly this ends in tears before bedtime.

LL Cool J plays Sherman "Preacher" Dudley the facility’s chef, he cooks, cracks wise, bickers with his buddy the parrot and struggles valiantly to remain in God’s good graces. He is also responsible for the majority of the shark killing.



Honourable Mentions

Busta Rhymes, Halloween Resurrection, (2002) – takes on Michael Myers and Tyra Banks

Kiss, Kiss Meet the Phantom of the Park (1978) – Genius.

David Bowie, The Hunger (1983) – he’s Bowie, nothing more needs to be said.


Dishonourable Mention

 Jon Bon Jovi, Cry_Wolf, (2005) – I’ve an irrational dislike for JBJ and all he stands for. He seems, in later years, to have developed a curious and unrelenting talent for making everything MOR which probably explains my distaste.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

80s Teenagers Rock!

The 80s were a pivotal decade for me, a lot of things happened to me in the 80s; I went to Big School, got a baby brother, briefly became obsessed with Norway, accidentally had my hair cut like Paul Young (it was supposed to be a Bowie, ok), the unholy mess of puberty happened and boys were invented, hurray! (I also invented kissing about this point, you can thank me for that later. Best invention of the decade, if I do say so myself, the frozen pea ice lolly which I also invented somewhere around 1985 whilst watching The Incredible Hulk coming in a close second).

Yes the 80s were a good time to be young and there is nothing more awesome or awe inspiring than the 80s teenager, they were a beautiful, bright, crazy and profligate breed who were quite often in their thirties. The 80s teenager was a rare and exotic creature with fantastical plumage that was high and proud and bright of hue and gleamed in the midday sun as they shook manes to Whitesnake.

 Yes, the 80s teenager was tremendous and beyond compare, we shall never see the like again. God damn kids today think they invented teenagers, well, I’ve got news for them, they didn’t, the 80s did and there ain’t no teenagers like 80s teenagers.



























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