Monthly Archives: September 2008

Popular Movies I Don’t Like

I’ve been trying to figure out how to ease my way back into blogging and generally behaving like a functioning person after a month of family tragedy, career doubts, and general lameness.  I decided to do something lighthearted and fun, but with the potential for great venom.

So I settled on this.

See, I’m a little weird when it comes to movies I enjoy (and no, I’m not pretentious enough to call them “films”).  My brother believes, since I studied screenwriting in college, I only enjoy “artsy” movies.  I’m not sure how this explains my love for April Fool’s Day, but there you go.  Truth is, I like what I like, but any movie has the potential for crossing into that area of annoying me.  From there it’s just a hop, skip, and jump to a movie getting on my shit list.  This sometimes happens to movies everybody else loves.

Let’s see what some of them are, shall we?

POPULAR MOVIES I DON’T LIKE

Star Wars

Yeah, there goes the geek cred. Problem is, while laser swords might have distracted a three-year-old me from the fact that nothing happens until the last twenty minutes of this flick, it doesn’t now.  Boring with a whiny lead.

The Matrix

And there goes the rest of my geek cred.  Another action movie with surprisingly little action in it.  Lots of jumping and posing, but no action until the final fight.  Blah.  And let’s not forget the bullshit philosophy.  “There is no spoon.”  “Really?  Well, I guess it’s a good thing there is no soup, you creepy, know-it-all fuck.”

Seasbiscuit

One of my girlfriend’s favorite movies.  She thinks it’s a heart-warming tale of a man and his horse overcoming the odds to become champions.  I think it’s a tale of a rich prick who whips his horse for profit and fame.  Funny how they never show the trainers giving Seabiscuit injections to curb his internal bleeding.

Taxi Driver

At least I think I don’t like this movie.  I always fall asleep about thirty minutes in.

Kill Bill

Quentin Tarantino was once a very talented and original writer and director.  Then he made Kill Bill.  There’s so much pretentious bullshit in this movie he had to split it into two volumes.  Painful dialogue, worthless characters, and enough winks and back-slaps to churn my stomach.  Dollars to donuts says Tarantino watches this and jerks off, probably into a pile of hundreds and fifties.

Superman Returns

Look!  Up in the sky!  Superman’s a jealous douchebag!  “Does he take you flying like this?” should have just been written as, “Is his dick bigger than mine?”  And let’s just gloss over how nobody notices that Superman returns the same day Clark Kent comes back to work.  Forget that it’s a superhero movie.  This flick only works if all of Metropolis is retarded.

Spider-Man

Actually, other than the train sequence in Spider-Man 2, there’s nothing worth liking in the entire trilogy.  Nope, not a damn thing.  Except maybe that knife that makes Shing! noises whenever somebody touches it in Spider-Man 2.

I realize I have probably raised the ire of a lot of folks by now, so I will sign off with some embarrassing facts about me and my viewing habits…

April Fool’s Day is my favorite horror movie of all time.  I believe it is a masterpiece.
I cry at the end of American Pie 2.  Every goddamn time.
I only started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer because I saw a picture of Sarah Michelle Gellar in leather pants.
I was too scared to watch the “Thriller” video until I was thirteen.

Thank you.  Have a nice Monday.

The Management Apologizes

Things have been a little quiet here, lately.  I’m aware of it, and I apologize.  I had truly planned to be back into the swing of things by now, but a new round of crushing family drama has come storming along to make things nice and terrible again.

Sooner or later, things shouldn’t suck quite so hard.  Then, I’ll get back on track.

Thank you.

The Worst Day of My Life

And I say that without a shred of doubt.  Let me tell you about what happened last Thursday.

So last Thursday, the 11th, was my girlfriend’s birthday.  Shawna and I had great dinner plans, and all was looking to be right with the world.

Then 11AM rolls around, and my brother Matt calls me at work.

“Nate, I’m downstairs.  I need you to come see me.”

“What?”

“Just get down here.  It’s important.”

So I run downstairs, where I find Matt looking like somebody has kicked his puppy to death.  I figure it might be something with our father.  The guy’s had health problems lately, so maybe he took another turn.

So I ask Matt what’s wrong.

“It’s Mark,” he says.   Mark’s our older brother, by the way.

“Yeah?”

“He’s been diagnosed with rabies.  He has a week to live.”

I stare at my brother a moment.  I contemplate punching him in the throat and telling him he’s not funny.  Instead I say, “Huh?”

“Three weeks ago he killed a bat that got in his house.  He got some of its blood in his eye.  Now he’s showing all the symptoms.  He’s been given the vaccine, but once symptoms show up it’s too late.  The doctors gave him two to ten days.  We’re driving up to Indiana tonight to say goodbye.”

I stand there staring at the ground for a full minute, trying to make some sense out of what I’ve just been told.  I should probably say something deep and heartfelt here, but I’m just in a trance.  The first thing I can say is, “It’s Shawna’s birthday.”

“She’ll have another one.”

“I fucking know that.”

So I tell Matt I’ll be ready to go.  I head back inside and tell Shawna I can’t celebrate her birthday because my brother might be dead in a few days and there’s nothing to do but head north and be by his side.  She takes this surprisingly well and drives me home so I can start packing.

I’m still in a trance at this point, though I’ve noticed I can’t seem to talk without waving my hands around and gaining volume with every word.  It’s like a bad Kelli Dunlap impersonation.

I get home, and the first thing I do is decide I don’t want to drive.  If Mark’s maybe got as little as two days left in him, I don’t want to spend one of them driving.  I call my sister, Sheryl, to find out where he’s located.  She tells me he’s in a hospital in Indianapolis.  I buy a one-way ticket on Southwest because I can’t afford roundtrip.  I’ll figure out how to get back later.  Matt and Sheryl buy tickets of their own based on my actions.

Of course, now I’m out of cash, and I’ll still need a hotel room once I reach Indiana.  I pack up a box of DVD box sets, CDs, and books and take them to Half Price to sell.  I walk out with $71, maybe enough to get me a single night.
I start to pack.  I throw shirts, jeans, shorts, socks, undies, and toiletries in a bag.  Then I make a call to Matt.

“Should I pack funeral clothes?”

He doesn’t know.  I call Sheryl’s husband Joe (no reason to bother her) and ask the same question.  He doesn’t know.  He also tells me that it turns out Mark is in Cincinnati.

I call Southwest and ask to switch my ticket.  They don’t fly to Cincy.  I cancel the ticket and am told the refund will take three to five business days.

So it looks like I’m driving.  I look up the price of a rental car and realize I can’t afford one.  My ’99 Escort with no air conditioning will have to do the job. I can use part of the $71 to get an oil change and maybe use the rest to buy enough caffeine to get me to Cincy in one piece.

Then Matt and Sheryl cancel their own tickets so they can drive up with me.  I realize how much I love the two of them.  Then I start packing my black suit.

And that makes me realize how much I love Mark.  I’m cleaning lint off the suit I figure I’ll be wearing to my brother’s funeral, and I realize I decided to become a writer because of this man’s own prose.  My brother Mark a gifted writer, and he’s been writing since I was a kid without really submitting stories anywhere.  He writes for himself, and he’s really good at it.

And in ten days he’ll be dead before reaching his 50th birthday because of a bat that got in his house.

I drop to my knees and just stare at the floor. Tears come, but I don’t do anything about them.  I’m not really aware of anything but the floor and my brother and what’s going to happen in the next week or so.

And then my cell phone rings.  It’s Joe.

“Unpack.”

“What?”

“You don’t have to go up.”

“What?  Why?”

“Mark doesn’t have rabies.  The doctors changed their diagnosis.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.”

I think my next breath was probably the sweetest I’ve ever had.

And that was the worst day of my life.  Being sure I would lose somebody, being told it was certain.  Seeing how it affected my loved ones.  Feeling the panic and the sadness and the black hole that is knowing the end is going to come and there’s not a goddamn thing you can do to stop it.  That’s horror.  Nobody should have to go through that.

But there’s happy news.  My brother’s going to be okay.  I can’t wait to see Mark again.  I can’t wait to hug him and tell him how much I love him.  I’ll take that over the alternative any day.

I’ll see you soon, bro.  Sleep tight.

New Anthology Appearance Available

LEGENDS OF THE MOUNTAIN STATE 2

Even though the 2008 Halloween season is just beginning to commence, a new book of spooky tales is already getting enormous attention from readers of suspense, horror, and the macabre.This book portrays more of the mysterious, bizarre and spine-tingling Mountain State tales and legends that have been passed down over the centuries. The title is Legends Of The Mountain State 2: More Ghostly Tales From The State Of West Virginia, with a foreword written by Gov. Joe Manchin, III.But don’t be misled by the title of this anthology . . . although all stories are based on known ghosts and legends of West Virginia, every fan of horror, ghost stories, and dark fiction will love this project.

In fact, legendary horror writer Joe R. Lansdale had this to say:

“Hardboiled, Southern Gothic. I loved it. It’s lean and mean and it doesn’t care if you like it, which is what makes me like it all the better. Written with a razor on the back of a dead bloated redneck cracker down by the river side, the mountains in view, this is one excellent read.”

Like its predecessor—Legends of the Mountain State [which was released on Halloween 2007]—this unique anthology offers thirteen additional accounts of ghostly manifestations, mythology and mayhem, based on legends from West Virginia. Rural ghost sightings and stories of the macabre take center stage with this release by Woodland Press, LLC, an independent book-publishing firm located in Chapmanville, WV.

Noted horror writer/editor Michael Knost, a native of Logan, WV, returns as the anthology’s editor, and writers for this volume are an amalgamation of nationally respected authors in the horror, science fiction and fantasy fields, including Gary A. Braunbeck, Mark Justice, Bob Freeman, Lucy A. Snyder, Nate Kenyon, Steven L. Shrewsbury, Michael Laimo, Maurice Broaddus, Brian J. Hatcher, Mary SanGiovanni, Jonathan Maberry, Rob Darnell and Nate Southard.

“This is a book that uniquely promotes the rich folklore and storytelling tradition of our Mountain State,” says Keith Davis, CEO of Woodland Press. “Readers went crazy over the first installment. Actually, Legends of the Mountain State remains the number one ghost tale book in the Mountain State. This fresh, new release builds upon its predecessor’s monumental success. We believe Legends of the Mountain State 2 will also appeal to readers outside the state’s borders. West Virginia has more than its share of ghost stories, legends and peculiar oddities.”

The Legends Of The Mountain State series is available at www.woodlandpress.com

or at the Horror-Mall at:

http://www.horror-mall.com/LEGENDS-OF-THE-MOUNTAIN-STATE-2-edited-by-Michael-Knost-p-18463.html

Two Weeks Later…

Just Like Hell remains on Horror Mall’s bestseller list!

1.   PASSENGER by Ronald Damien Malfi
2.   BOOK OF SOULS by Jack Ketchum
3.   JUST LIKE HELL by Nate Southard
4.   MOTHER PUNCHER by Gina Ranalli (Signed)
5.   CHEMICAL GARDENS by Gina Ranalli (Signed)
6.   SUICIDE GIRLS IN THE AFTERLIFE by Gina Ranalli (Signed)
7.   13 THORNS by Gus Fink & Gina Ranalli (Signed)
8.   WALL OF KISS by Gina Ranalli (Signed)
9.   SLOPPY SECONDS by Wrath James White
10. MAMA’S BOY AND OTHER DARK TALES by Fran Friel

If I may say so…

BOOM!

Fantastic Fest Preview

In just over two weeks I’ll be attending Fantastic Fest at the Alamo Drafthouse.  I’ve been looking forward to this ever since I found out how many cool movies I missed last year.  Now, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to go a year without attending this week-long festival of horror, crime, sci-fi, and the generally weird.

As a form of preparation (and a round of blog fodder), I thought I’d run through which movies I’m really looking forward to.  Surely, this will make for nearly a week with no updates.

Right?

Oh, well.  Bite me.

Cargo 200 (2007, Russia, director: Aleksei Balabanov)
Acclaimed Russian director Balabanov’s tale interweaves stories of cowardice, corruption and horror set against the backdrop of the birth of perestroika in the Soviet Union.

Doctor Infierno (2008, Spain, director: Paco Limon)
A demented gynecologist discovers a cure for all the world’s illnesses and uses it as leverage to become sole dictator of the earth. Jam-packed with monsters, kung fu, battling robots and deviant sexual practices, DR. INFIERNO doesn’t let budget get in the way of executing a mountain of crazy ideas. Director Paco Limon live in person!

Donkey Punch (2008, United Kingdom, director: Oliver Blackburn)
Seven sexy young Brits are hanging out on a “borrowed” yacht for a day of drugs, debauchery, and ultimately donkey punching. It’s the last activity that causes everything to unravel.

Ex Drummer (2007, Belgium, director: Koen Mortier)
Three low-life handicapped losers recruit an arrogant and abusive author to play drums in their punk band. Layered with brutality, surrealism and bloody violence, EX DRUMMER is like no music film you’ve ever seen.

How to Get Rid of the Others (2007, Denmark, director: Anders Rønnow Klarlund)
When it is discovered that the least productive 5% of Danish society consumes 60% of government spending, the conservative politicians decide to quietly eradicate the problem.

I Think We’re Alone Now (2007, USA, director: Sean Donnelly)
This fascinating and severely disturbing documentary takes you deep into the worlds and obsessions of Kelly McCormick and Jeffery Deane Turner, who have been separately stalking 80s pop icon Tiffany for nearly 20 years.

Let the Right One In (2008, Sweden, director: Tomas Alfredson)
An awkward, introverted boy (Oskar) befriends a new neighbor girl (Eli) who helps him to confront the bullies at school. Eli, however, has a dark secret, and there are bodies piling up at the local morgue.

South of Heaven (2007, USA, director: J.L. Vara)
Two brothers on the wrong side of everyone must face an endless array of torture, terrors and indignities in this darkly comic and visually striking noir. Director J.L. Vara live in person!

The Tingler (1959, USA, director: William Castle)
William Castle’s masterpiece, an electrifying celebration of tactile horror that culminates in a shocking climax which audience members may never recover from. For this special presentation, the theater at the Alamo will be wired to recreate Castle’s greatest gimmick: “Percepto!”

Tokyo Gore Police (2008, Japan, director: Yoshihiro Nishimura)
The privatized Tokyo police force led by Audition‘s Eihi Shiina is authorized to execute judgment on the spot. They are threatened, however, by a breed of “engineers,” genetically modified super-villains who grow mutant weapons from their injuries and amputations.

ACOLYTES
US Premiere / dir. Jon Hewitt / Australia / 2008 / 91 min.
Three teens blackmail a killer into taking down the violent bully who has been making their lives hell. An explosive first feature from Australian Jon Hewitt who will be in attendance to present the film.

DEADGIRL
US Premiere / dir. Gadi Harel and Marcel Sarmiento / USA / 2008 / 99 min.
Exploring an abandoned sanatorium while ditching school, two high school burnouts discover a girl strapped to a gurney in a secluded chamber. Debut directors Gadi Harel and Marcel Sarmiento craft a new breed of teen angst drama set against a backdrop of humor black enough to make John Hughes retreat to a fetal state. Both directors will be in attendance to present the film.

FEAR(S) OF THE DARK
Austin Premiere / dir. Various / France / 2007 / 85 min.
An animated anthology of films by six of the world’s hottest graphic artists and cartoonists. All films are rendered in black and white, and all are based on their creators’ own nightmares and fears.

NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD
US Premiere / dir. Mark Hartley / Australia / 2008 / 102 min.
Probably the biggest concentration of explosions, nudity and blood at Fantastic Fest this year. A documentary that traces the secret and not so secret history of Ozploitation, Australian exploitation cinema.

SURVEILLANCE
North American Premiere / dir. Jennifer Lynch / USA / 2008 / 98 min.
Jennifer Lynch (BOXING HELENA) helms a crime thriller with overtones of RASHOMON. None of the eyewitness accounts in a roadside serial killer massacre seem to match up. The FBI is called in to cut through the confusion before the killer can strike again.

The Burrowers
US Premiere / Dir. J.T. Petty / USA / 2008 / 97 min
Director J.T. Petty live in person!
A cross-country manhunt searches for an abducted woman and a marauding Indian tribe, but the real villains don’t ride horses… they burrow from beneath the ground.

The Chaser
North American Premiere / Dir. Hong-jin Na / South Korea / 2008 / 123 min
A serial killer is preying on call-girls from various escort agencies. In the midst of police indifference and incompetence, Jung-Ho (Yun-Seok Kim), an ex-cop-turned-pimp must dust off his old flatfoot skills to find the killer and save the life of one of his girls who has gone missing.

Fanboys
Special Advance Screening / Dir. Kyle Newman / USA / 2008 / 90 min
Director Kyle Newman, producer Matt Perniciaro, screenwriter Ernie Cline and star Jaime King live in person!
Desperate to see STAR WARS EPISODE 1: THE PHANTOM MENACE, five high school friends break into Skywalker Ranch to steal an early cut of the film.

Sauna
US Premiere / Dir. Antti-Jussi Annila / Finland / 2007 / 93 min
While mapping the new border between Russia and Finland after the war, the joint task force stumbles upon a mysterious sauna in a remote swamp, a sauna that allegedly has the power to wash away all sins.

The Wild Man of the Navidad
Regional Premiere / Dir. Duane Graves and Justin Meeks / USA / 2008 / 86 min
Directors Duane Graves and Justin Meeks live in person!
Purportedly based on actual events, THE WILDMAN OF THE NAVIDAD tells the story of a small Texas community along the banks of the Navidad river who were terrorized for years by a mysterious creature.

The Wreck
World Premiere / Dir James Koya Jones / USA / 2008 / 79 min
Director James Koya Jones live in person!
A very pregnant woman and her husband are trapped in the woods in a demolished sedan and her water has just broken. They are in a really bad situation, and it gets a LOT worse.