“Excuse me, sir, but your stupid is showing”

2/9/2015

Ah, Mr. King, you’ve done it again. I have been waiting to get my hands on some of your most recent novels, but, poor as I am, have had to be content with staring longingly at the book section of Walmart. Last week, I finally got my copy of Mr. Mercedes. As usual, I find in your writing a refreshing blend of humor, uniqueness, and, of course, captivating plot and characters. Some people might call you strictly a pop fiction writer, but I would wager they hadn’t read enough of your works, especially the later ones, to be able to discern your true talent. For instance, the tying together of a meta- plot arc spanning basically the whole of your writing career in the Dark Tower series took epic writing chops, so sayeth this humble writer. Some reviews have no doubt referred to your writing in “literary” terms, and I think this is more accurate, because you don’t just write stories, you write characters…real people. Yes, I am fully aware I sound like a gushy fangirl, but, believe me, I am coming to a point (I think.) I read and love your writing so much I know it has influenced my own, from the “artistic liberties” I take with sentence structure to the very tone of my writing. Your stories make me think.

Mr. Mercedes is no different. I am still in the thick of the novel, but the villain in Mr. Mercedes has gotten me thinking, and… I think, therefore I BLOG. Although I have some educational background in criminal justice, and have done quite a bit of reading on sociopathic killer-types, I really can’t say for sure what your “typical” villain might be like. Brady Hartsfield seems to fit a lot of the established characteristics (and maybe some stereotypes?) for sociopaths. He’s arrogant, narcissistic, seems socially underdeveloped yet is great at faking proper social interactions. His moral compass is completely off kilter (he still thinks he knows right and wrong, but his morals definitely don’t conform to social norms.) He’s also fairly intelligent…and perhaps also predictably, he does consider himself smarter than the rest of us sheeple.

And yet, like most criminal/villain types in pop culture, he is stupid. Not in the intellectual sense, so much as the moral sense, I suppose. As if we didn’t have enough reason to dislike Hartsfield for committing mass vehicular homicide (and then writing a letter to brag gleefully about it,) you wrote him as a casually unapologetic racist. While he doesn’t overtly go out of his way, at least not that I have read yet, to commit acts specifically for a racial agenda, throughout the narrative of his internal thoughts, he displays his tasteless views on everything from inter-racial dating to black people with “white names,” and peppered in there, in case you need more convincing, is his flagrant use of the N-word.

Now while all of this of course did achieve the likely purpose of causing me to dislike him even more, I found also that it put me off of his “character” as well. What I mean, I guess, is that many readers may dislike a villain for his actions, but like the function he serves in the story. Let’s face it; some characters make good villains (Hannibal Lector immediately springs to mind as an iconic good villain.) They have flare, charisma. They’re clever. Some of them even start out with sort of sympathetic reasons behind their villainous actions.

This douchebag, Hartsfield, while admittedly “clever” in the sense of planning and execution of his crimes, has sort of lost any credibility (with me, at least) as a good villain. As intelligent as he may be in some ways, the fact that he displays such racist ideals just proves his ignorance and selective use of intellectual and logical thinking, and thus causes him to go down in my estimation, even as a villain. While this may seem like an obvious statement (uh, duh, racism is stupid) what was more curious to me was how this changed my dislike for him, from simply thinking of him as a nut-job with a murderous agenda to thinking of him as a narcissistic, weak-minded brat.

So, if there is a point to this whole excursion into mental diarrhea, I suppose it’s that (in my book at least), If you’re a villain, it’s okay to be a psychopathic killer… as long as you’re not a fucking idiot too.

Thanks for coming along, readers.

Related:  https://alienredqueen.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/tunnel-vision-more-on-the-predictable-pathology-of-bad-guys/

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Horrorcon Brainstorm

Alright, guys.  I need some help here.  You all know how much I  love my horror– movies, video games, TV shows…  And this year I have the opportunity to go to Horrorcon in Louisville this summer with one of my buddies that I haven’t seen since high school.

And all sorts of awesome people associated with horror and sci-fi are slated to be there.  From The Walking Dead,  Michael Rooker (Merle Dixon) and possibly Norman Reedus (who I’ve been panting over ever since I saw Boondock Saints in college.)  Gillian Anderson (Dana Sculley from The X-Files) and Adrian Paul (Duncan MacLeod on The Highlander.)  Stan Lee.  Stan- fuckin’-Lee, people!  

Stan Lee of Marvel

Stan Lee of Marvel

Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead, Boondock Saints, Blade 2, Sand...and a bunch of other crap.

Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead, Boondock Saints, Blade 2, Sand...and a bunch of other crap.

 

I doubt I’ll be able to afford the Stan Lee meet and greet, but I think I ought to dress to impress, don’t you?  I mean, maybe I can follow Norman Reedus around and pick up his used chewing gum or something.  Besides, it’s like the Renaissance Festival for me, in that I wouldn’t feel right not going in costume.

I plan to come up with a bangin’ costume, but I need some ideas, something fairly original.  I mean, I love Resident Evil, but I don’t want to be walking around the convention center and see ten other Jill Valentines.  I thought of Ellen Ripley, since the Alien movies are some of my favorites, but there’s really not much to being Ripley, unless I want to walk around in a white tank top and a pair of tiny panties.  Nah…

So, I need a little help from my friends.  The convention is in July, and even though it’s likely mostly indoors, I probably won’t want to wear anything too horribly hot.  I like sexy, but don’t wanna look like a slag either.  So… any original ideas or novel ways to give old ideas my own original flair would be appreciated.

 

Run, Rabbit, Run!

Leporiphobia-  fear of rabbits.  Who would be afraid of rabbits? you may ask.

House of 1000 Corpses- for victims, these two sure are creepy

House of 1000 Corpses- for victims, these two sure are creepy

For your entertainment, I present, some of the scariest bunnies of all time.

The Killer Rabbit of CaerbannogMonty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Need I say more?

"Run away! Run away!"

“Run away! Run away!”

The rabbit from the hatTwilight Zone: the Movie (1983)

oh.my.word. Put it back! Put it back!

oh.my.word. Put it back! Put it back!

Frank the Bunny RabbitDonnie Darko (2001)

The mysterious vision that appears to Donnie to warn him of the end of the world…

"Why are you wearing that human suit?"

“Why are you wearing that human suit?”

Mysterious Rabbit Family– Inland Empire (2006)

Original Footage from Rabbits a 2002 David Lynch project

Original Footage from Rabbits a 2002 David Lynch project

Creepy Not-White rabbit– Starfish Hotel (2006)

The rabbit is a reference to Lewis Carroll‘s “White Rabbit,” and leads the character to an underground brothel called Wonderland.

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The Acid Rabbit- Misfits (2012)

Born of a freak lightening storm and a bad acid trip, the rabbit stalks people with a golf club.  The most frightening aspect of him is his dynamic and reflective eyes.

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So, in conclusion… Who would be afraid of rabbits?  Me. I would.

 

Edit (2/11-2014): I don’t remember where this one came from but it definitely belongs on this list:

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Resident Evil: Retribution– Please, no more!

*This article is a discussion and overview of the film series, and while plot points are not discussed in detail there may be a few small spoilers, so reader beware.

I think the moment the Resident Evil film franchise went downhill was the beginning of the third film.  As soon as Milla launched into that tired monologue about Umbrella, it should have been a clue that it was the beginning of the end for the film series.  When will filmmakers learn that just because something has worked well before does not mean it should be repeated, ad nauseam?

When the third film opened on a desolate post-apocalyptic world, devoid of not only most human life, but much plant-life an water too I think I knew we were in trouble.  When the writers of Resident Evil: Extinction dumped Alice (whose character has no origins in the game series, other then supposedly being modeled “after the strong women in the Resident Evil games”) into that barren, desert-like wasteland, they erased much of the human element from the series.  Still, they attempted to hold viewers’ interest by dropping Hollywood heavyweights like Ali Larter, Oded Fehr, and Iain Glen into roles that corresponded with more popular characters creatures from the video games series.  (I say “more” because Resident Evil: Apocalypse did include a few game characters/creatures, notably Jill Valentine and the bio-weapon, Nemesis.)  The refugees that banded together for survival under the guidance of Claire Redfield and Carlos Olivera were still enough of a “human” touch to hold the film together, but by the time the fourth live action film, Afterlife, came out, the series was slowly circling the drain.

All of the clones that Alice had rescued at the end of Extinction seemed destined for some great rising up, only to be killed off rather unceremoniously in the first ten minutes or so of Afterlife.  It seemed (to me anyway) like the writer Paul W. S. Anderson, set up a scenario at the end of the third film that he was not prepared to see through.  Ali Larter reprised her role as Claire Redfield and Wentworth Miller came on board as Chris Redfield.  Albert Wesker and an “evil” Jill Valentine also made an appearance, however even the star power and in-game references couldn’t totally stave off the film’s inevitable descent into ridiculousness.

Resident  Evil: Retribution, the series fifth film, was… well, it was a bomb.  Stale  references to previous films and seemingly hastily re-introduced (and almost equally hastily killed off) characters from previous films only seemed to highlight the faults of this film.  The human element, the one that is fairly important if you want your viewers to actually care about the characters or their fates, was too sorely lacking.  To further support my point, I’d have to say the most interesting part of this movie for me was the very beginning where the family wakes up to a seemingly normal, pre-apocalypse day and are suddenly besieged by zombies.  (The family is comprised of Milla, Oded, and a little girl, who are all later revealed to be clones created for simulations in the giant recreated cities.) And I won’t even go into the spurious insertion of the Las Plagas element from the fourth RE game.  They might as well have left it out completely out for the handling it received.

The only thing that made these last few films even worthwhile were the outstanding creatures, like the bad-ass executioner inspired by the one in the Resident Evil 5 game, and the Lickers, which have always been a personal favorite of mine.  The giant Licker in Retribution was delightfully scary and gross.

Someone please execute this movie and put it out of its misery...

Someone please execute this movie and put it out of its misery…

Super Licker ...will lick u to deff?

Super Licker …will lick u to deff?

As to the rest of the film… maybe they should have bombed this film with Raccoon City.  At any rate, me thinks it’s time to bury this series and let it stay dead.  And considering what a RE fan I have revealed myself to be in past posts, that’s saying something!

"Anderson's gonna write a new Resident Evil film??? Quick, nuke the script!"

“Anderson’s gonna write a new Resident Evil film??? Quick, nuke the script!”

Decompose (part 1)

I love getting requests for posts. It makes me feel special because it lets me know there are some people out there who like my writing enough to ask for something. The idea for this story was based on another post I wrote about The Walking Dead.  There in the comments section, I got a request from my friend Dianda, over at Cats & Co. So here goes the first installment of my serial on what I think a zombie apocalypse would really be like once the zombies get…gooey.  

Fair warning, people, it’s gonna get nasty. 

 

When it actually happened, it was nothing like the movies. Sure, the first week or so was crazy. Zombies everywhere. Yeah, I know how it sounds, but dead people were up and walking around, so what would you call them? People were dying all over the place…and then getting back up again. And chasing people. They could move as fast as you or me too. None of that George Romero shambling shit. These guys were aggressive– like they were pissed off about being dead and all. They weren’t hungry, they were just angry… or crazy, like a rabid animal, something reduced to its basest instincts. On the second day, when shit really started to go south, I saw my neighbor tear apart her own dog like it was made of cheesecloth. He was a Corgi named Farley.

Whatever happened, it happened fast. Saturday night I was heading home from my shift at the store, feeling pleased with myself for scoring a phone number from the hot girl at the pizza shop next door. I should have known it wouldn’t last. Nothing good ever happens to me. I stayed inside playing Halo and eating day old pizza all day Sunday, and Monday morning I woke up to Ms. Russo giving Farley a close shave with her teeth. Once I realized what was happening out there, I did what any self-respecting convenience store clerk would do; I holed up in my apartment.

I don’t mean to be glib. Well, maybe just a little, but only so I don’t go completely nuts.  I wasn’t gonna try to be brave.  My initial plan was to stay put until whoever was in charge of fixing really major league fuck ups… The National Guard.  The CIA.  I don’t fucking know.

After a few days, it became apparent that no one was coming to rescue me.  After days of witnessing the chaos from the safety of my second story window, I closed the drapes and just stopped looking… like I could ignore it all away if I just tried hard enough. The random screams that pierced the days and nights came less and less frequently.  A couple more days after that, I even stopped hearing the sounds of people, living or dead, in the other rooms and on the other floors of the apartment building. I stayed put though, barricaded in my apartment, with my heavy oak dresser against the door and my sofa in front of that, for good measure. I’ve seen enough horror movies to know that when you finally think it’s safe, that’s when you get your ass handed to you by a guy wearing someone else’s face. By then I was starting to run out of food…and toilet paper.

Now you’d think at that point that things couldn’t get any worse, but you’d be wrong, and this is where the movie guys got it wrong too. Because no matter what you’ve seen in the movies, zombies can not walk around indefinitely. It’s not physically possible. It was the following Monday when the smell started to seep into the apartment, and what should have been obvious snuck up on me and sucker punched me in the back of the head.

I grabbed my SmartPhone. I don’t know why I even have one. I don’t call anyone. I don’t really have anyone to call. There’s maybe six or seven numbers total in directory, and two of them are for work. That first Monday, I tried to call the cops, an ambulance, anyone. After getting a busy signal four different times, I gave up. I put the phone on the charger and didn’t touch it again until that smell, that stench… There’s really no way to describe a smell like that. And it was still mild. I knew it would get worse. It was October. Temperatures pogoed up and down almost daily, and there was no telling who had their AC off or their heat on, or whatever. Do you see where I’m going with this?

I could still get a WiFi signal with my mostly useless phone, so I hopped online to confirm what I already knew, and I learned more about dead bodies than I ever wanted to know.

What’s your “magic number”?

Well, the tallying is done, the numbers have been added, the results you’ve been waiting for (ha) are here…

But before I tell you my magic number– and I hope by now you realize I’m not talking about sex partners–  there are just a few points and “disclaimers” I want to mention.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I used Wikipedia as my main source for lists  of horror films.

1) these lists are, like all of Wikipedia, peer edited, and by their very nature, not a complete list of every horror title in existence.  They are arranged by decades, and in my own observation and tallying, I noticed that even in a given movie series, not necessarily all films were represented (For instance, Cube Zero was on the 2004 list, but the original Cube movie was not in evidence on the 1997 list.)

“Where are we? And who the hell are you?”… That must have been one hell of a party…

2) My final total is likely to be an underestimation rather an overestimation.  While I may have falsely counted a film or two, thinking that I saw it, and sometimes I even got the feeling a given film was listed under two different decades, the were probably more instances of films I did not count as “seen”, having not recognized the title, or having forgotten that I’d seen said film.

3) Again, in regards to film series, I counted one hash mark for each film of a given series if I knew without a doubt that I had see them (like all of the Alien films, for instance.)  On the other hand, films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th have so many sequels and remakes, that I had trouble remembering which ones I had seen and which ones I hadn’t (and the older the films, the less accurate my memory is.)  For this reason, I counted only the ones I was relatively certain I had seen.

Friday the 13th “part 137…”

4) Some films were included in these lists that some might consider “questionable” in terms of their qualifications as “true” horror films.   For instance, so-called “horror-comedies,” like Shawn of the Dead and Zombieland were listed (I counted these, ) and even Michael Jackson’s Thriller video was listed, considered a “short film (I did not count this.) To a certain extent, the definition of what constitutes a horror film may vary from person to person.

oh, yes… and 5)  As I really doubt I’d recognize any of the films or titles beyond this point anyway, I only counted from present to the 1930’s.  As to films I may have started to watch but never finished (if you’ve ever seen The Item you’ll know what I mean; I have a high tolerance for stupidity in the name of entertainment, but even I have my limits…), there weren’t that many of them so it probably doesn’t matter either way, given the margin of error for this little experiment.

And so here it is: the number (roughly) of horror films I have seen in my 31 years…

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The Girl Who Loved Horror Movies

Once upon a time…

there was a girl who loved horror movies.  She was never really into romantic comedies like a lot of other girls, although if she got interested in a movie, she’d watch it even if it wasn’t “horror.”  She loved to write too.  Can you guess what she might have liked to write?

Eventually, she grew up to become a young woman who loved horror films.  Once time she wanted to figure out how many horror movies she had seen in her life, so she found up a fairly comprehensive list on Wikipedia and went through each decade, year by year, tallying the films she knew or remembered having seen.  Of course the list was not 100% accurate, but it gave her a good idea.  At the time, she had seen over 300 horror films.

But then, tragedy struck…  she lost her tally sheet, and stopped keeping track of the new films she saw.

Now…

 this young woman is a wife and mother who loves horror films…  and she has decided to take another stab at this list.

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion and findings of the experiment (I know you can hardly contain your excitement.)

Poltergeist