Saturday, October 22, 2016

31 Horror Films 31 Days, Part 1

In my last post, I explained my poor familiarity with culturally significant movies. Last October, in order to address this, I started participating the the 31 Horror Films 31 Days Challenge. I don’t use any formal rules, but I stick to films I have not previously seen. The movie choices are somewhat eclectic: prequels, sequels, and reboots in no particular order. Last year I watched the first three Scream movies in order, but only the first Friday the 13th. In the next few posts I’ll list the movies I watch this month and give just a few sentences on my opinion.

#1 The Re-Animator
Bloody and campy- a great place to start.  Definitely a “so bad it's good” kind of movie, from the decapitated body holding its own head that looked like a costume that would show up on your porch asking for candy to the villain's mind control powers that appear out of nowhere.

#2 The Amityville Horror (2005)
So much beige. We get it. It was the 70s. This was Chosen for three reasons: it was on Netflix, I’d heard of it before, shirtless Ryan Reynolds.

#3 Cell
This movie represents a rare occurrence. I actually read the book before watching the movie. I finished the book off last year so that I’d be ready to watch the movie when it came out... and that was the last word I heard on the subject until I started scouting Redbox for horror films to watch this month. Apparently the movie was released straight to DVD- surprising since it has several big names and was a King novel. I get it though, he final product was not great.

#4 The Legend of Boggy Creek
I picked this one because it was recommended by the hosts of the Monster Talk podcast. I was fascinated by the idea of a horror docudrama. The film was obviously made on a small budget, but doesn’t suffer for it. It's a seemingly honest depiction of a small town gripped with fear of something lurking in the shadows.

#5 The Mist
Stephen King often alludes to another realm full of monsters. Last October I read his short story N, the only short story that has legitimately scared me. In it, a man loses his sanity as he tries desperately to keep the barrier between our world and the monster realm in place. The Mist shows us what the characters in King’s other works were trying to avoid. The monster realm leaks into our own universe in the form of a thick mist. The ending left me a bit shaken, and I’m still unsure how I feel about it.

That's 5 of 31. Stay tuned for more...

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Writing Group and Movie Ignorance

Friends in my writing group have recently taken me to task for my poor familiarity with popular movies. This is not a new revelation. I’ve always unconsciously thought of movies as a social thing and usually only watch them with another person. If I’m alone, I’ll opt for a TV series. I’m frequently met with shock when I confess to having not seen someone’s favorite movie.

The subject of this particular meeting was the “plot twist”. I outed myself because I had to keep asking people not to spoil the twists for me. My friend, Becky of, took it upon herself to compile a list of movies with plot twists that I needed to see forthwith:

The Shining
Six Sense
Fight Club
Primal Fear
The Village
The Exorcist
Rear Window
Fright Night
Silence of the Lambs
The Leprechaun
Pan’s Labyrinth

She then set about publicly shaming me in a scathing blog post about my movie ignorance. That post can be found here: Anthony Does Not Watch Movies

She was quite right to do so. I fully acknowledge this is no small sin for someone who wishes to make a living by writing fiction. Some of these movies are integral to modern popular culture.

And yet, there is hope. I not have a job with a lot of downtime so I am able to remedy this situation. I’ll discuss one step I’ve taken in my next post. If you have any movie suggestions that I can’t get away with not seeing, please comment below.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Flash! Friday for 9/4/15: The Tired Omen

For the week of September 4th, our hosts took inspiration from The Iliad .  The given conflict was man vs man.  We had a list of optional characters.  I chose to write about a soothsayer.  We were then given a few options for a theme.  I selected "fate vs. free will".  The designated setting was "a besieged city".

Then, we were provided this image as optional inspiration:

I wanted to use the image, but wasn't sure how to place it in an "Iliad"-like setting.  It occurred to me, that if a soothsayer can read the future is animal entrails, then maybe she could also read it in male anatomy.  The following story was the result of this line of thinking.

The Tired Omen

“The Omen says, the day will be bloody, but when the dust has settles, our city’s flag will fly.” The old woman said hoarsely.

“You’re certain?” The General asked.

She glared. “Quite. I prepared the potion with your hair and fed it to the Omen before inducing a trance state. This always produces readable futures in men of his line.”

They looked to the naked man on the pedestal. Every muscle was engaged, straining, holding a statuesque pose. Still, his face betrayed no discomfort.

“The most prominent vein, tendons that twitch, flow of perspiration- all quite revealing. Well, that’s my reading. Off with you. Defend our city.”

Once he left the tent the woman clapped her hands. Trance broken, the man’s body loosened and collapsed.

“Sometimes I think army service would be better than this.” He said, gasping

“I know dear, but remember your reading. It’s Omen or cannon fodder.”

Monday, May 11, 2015

Flash! Friday for 3/8/15: Taking the Fall

For 3/8/15 we were given this photo as our inspiration:

Our Dragony Host also decreed that we must incorporate a lawyer as a character in our story.  The thought of a lawyer and a historical photograph immediately made me think of a modern lawyer looking at the photo thinking how they could cash out on a historic crash. This led to me imagining a lawyer in the far future with access to time travel wanting to turn this event into a case. So I landed on a future attorney taking a client on who is being charged with a historic crime.  This is the story I wrote:

Taking the Fall

“Sorry, what?” The Lieutenant asked the stranger.

“You have been charged with Historic Genocidal Negligence.” The man in the silver suit repeated. “I was sent to inform you and to offer my services as a defense attorney.”

“Sent from…”

“The future.” The Suited-Man answered. “Very far in the future.”

The Lieutenant was tempted to pinch himself. He had just returned to his quarters following a double shift. There was still plenty of cleanup to do following the crash landing. It was very possible he was overworked and seeing things. That was the logical explanation for the Suited-Man’s sudden appearance.

“Okay,” He indulged the hallucination, “and I’m being charged… in the future… with Historic…”

“…Genocidal Negligence. Yes.” The Man finished. “You were the officer on duty when the crash occurred. The event has been found to be a focal point of causality leading to the creation and implementation of the atom bomb.”

“The what?” He started, but dismissed the question with a wave of his hand. “Why am I being charged for historical crimes? Shouldn't you charge Hitler or Churchill or FDR?”

The Man laughed. “Oh they’re far too high-profile. We couldn't pluck them out of history and try them. We need someone that history won’t miss.”

“Lucky me.”

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Flash! Friday for 3/20/15: The Encounter

On March 20th, we were presented with this prompt for out Flash! Friday writing:

This week, I had an opportunity to meet up with my NaNoWriMo Co-Municipal Liaison at a cafe and we worked on our Flash stories.  Thanks, once again, mtdecker, for the motivation! The original post is posted here: 3/20/15 Flash! Fiction

The image made me think of a character in a video game.  I wanted my character to be be mobile though, to incorporate the parking lot.  So the game became an augmented reality cell phone app.

The Encounter

Stanley walked south across the blacktop, eye’s on his smartphone. The Level 62 saw Stanley by now, but couldn’t attack until they were within 200 yards. Stanley was Level 58. The 62 hungered for the XP that Stanley was worth.
300 yards. His character was in a wooded area. A figure in the distance stepped onto the blacktop. He couldn’t discern the player’s features, but the real person was not important. His avatar entered dueling range.
He started to tap the attack button, but the 62 was faster. Stanley’s avatar pulled out his bow and arrow. The 62 was a melee player. He would run through the barrage of arrows and hit Stanley full force.
The 62 began running. He got as many arrows in the air as he could before…Crunch! He rebounded quickly, with only 10 HP. One hit left. His opponent was also recovering. Stanley equipped a dagger and thrust at a gap in the 62’s armor.
The 62 didn't realize the woods gave Stanley’s attack double damage. Stepping onto the blacktop sealed his fate.
“Dammit.” Came a female voice. “That was cheap” Before him was petite girl holding a smartphone and glaring.
“Hi…” He muttered awkwardly. Her fist met his abdomen with surprising strength.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Flash! Friday for 2/27/15: Escape

On February 27, I was visiting a friend in New York City.  For this trip, I had attempted to pack light and did not have my computer with me for the duration of the Flash! Friday Competition.  I was hell-bent on earning a Hall of Flame Badge, however, so I used my phone and my Google Doc app to write my flash for that week.  I fear that the frustration of trying to type and edit this way and my lack of time during the trip led to a number of grammatical errors in my original post to the contest blog.  My Flash still managed to garner some praise.

stephellis2013: "Nice twist to the escape theory."
Aria Glazki: "I like how you made everyone else’s nightmare landscape into your character’s dreamy escape :)"

Thank you for the comments!  The original contest post can be found here:2/27/15 Flash! Friday

We were provided these images as our prompt:

This was the result:


Michael shifted his toes sifting hot sand between them.  The sand retained the heat, even though the ship's shadow had been over this spot for some time. Whether that was a glitch or accurate physics, Michael could not say. He ran his hand along the red and grey of the structure's aging hull. Flecks of rust broke away and trickled down the vertical surface until they joined with the sand. 

This was, by far, Michael's favorite environment. It made the most satisfying contrast to the world he was here to escape. Even after he'd explored every dark corner of the ship... Even though updates had ceased coming months ago. He could still lay in the heat of the sun for hours. 

It was time for Michael to return. He had to go through his daily routine. He had to keep his body fit and his home in order. The sandy environment dissolved as he removed the sensory immersion band from his head. He stood up and began his exercise routine. All the while, he took great care not to focus on the window and it's unwelcome vision of gathering ice. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Flash! Friday for 12/12/14

Okay, NaNoWriMo 2014 has come to an end. Time to recommit to flash fiction and otehr writing projects.  To that end, I am going to try to update this blog each time I write a flash for the contest over at the Flash!Friday blog. Head over there to check out their amazing weekly contest: Flash! Friday Blog

This week we were given this picture to work with:

The division of land in the background brought to mind the Schism War I had touched on in my 8/1/14 Flash! Friday entry.  If you like, you can find that story here: 8/1/14 Flash! Friday.  I will archive that story on this blog at a later date.  I decided to revisit that world.  The story is actually set the day before the one I wrote in August.

This is the flash story I wrote:

The Northern Border

Sara was sleeping uncomfortably on the dusty floor of the house.  She could not use the house’s pillows, as they might trigger her allergies.  We had run out of antibiotics months ago, so I could not risk the young girl getting bronchitis again.

The abandoned house offered no antibiotics.  The essentials had gone with it’s original residents when they split.  Presumably, they had fled across the river.

What they had left, was a cheap bottle of chardonnay and the contents of their wine glass cupboard.  A water-spotted glass in one hand and the bottle in the other, I stepped onto the house’s back porch.

The river stretched out parallel to the horizon.  I could see the brown brush of the opposite riverbank.  For now, that was freedom, but it may not be for long.  We had to get across tomorrow and get as far into the north territory as we could before the Schism War redrew the borders once again.