In my movie, should anybody ever let me make one:

  • if anybody’s carrying a bag of groceries, it won’t have French bread in it
  • nobody will flick playing cards into and around a trashcan or hat
  • if the characters need to hack into somebody’s computer, the password will be unguessable
  • if there’s some big and final showdown on a boat, then it won’t be finally decided with a flare gun
  • if somebody cuts their wrists in the bathtub, there won’t be a lit candle there
  • if there’s a detective of any kind in my story, then he won’t keep a bottle of bourbon in his drawer
  • nobody will say “in English, please”
  • if someone throws up then the amount they throw up will be more than a mouthful
  • if there’s a slam-dunk, it’ll be one continuous shot rather than cutting to above the rim
  • if voice-over is used, then we’ll get to ‘see’ that voice-overer at the end
  • if there are aliens, then they’ll be neither bipedal nor bilaterally symmetrical
  • the news broadcast won’t immediately deliver exactly what my characters need
  • the gun won’t slide away. it’ll just land there, stay there
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    The Glass Teat

    Benson: only the good die young
    Cheers: have a good life
    “You oughtta know”: grammies
    bball–23 sick and scoring 55 or whatever
    challenger (jfk/towers)
    rockford: 50 people tell you you’re drink, maybe you oughtta lie down
    uncle jesse: only one way to go down a hill. STRAIGHT down.
    tasha yar: going back
    chrissy to jack: save air in elevator, one nostril

    pop-up video: bob seger, Screentime
    seeing myself on tv: scott, rabies

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    Everytime I search Amazon, I always end up falling into this maze of lists, each opening to more and more. And I find some cool stuff in there, thought I’d take a stab at a couple myself.

    And yeah, that Slasher 101 one really should be a ‘guide,’ but I clicked on making one of those and, man, they’re set up to let somebody write a real and true article. Which, for someone addicted to lists, isn’t nearly as fun. Granted, you don’t get as many characters/words to play with in Listmania, but that kind of keeps me from burning too much time on them too, time which I specifically, right now, need (started another novel yesterday, kind of).

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    So a while back a friend i was borrowing DVDs from asked what horror he might need to have a somewhat complete collection. I told him I’d pen him a list sooner or later. Only just now remembering this. And, yeah, two disclaimers before I even start here: 1) I’m surely forgetting as many as I’m remembering, and 2) my tastes of course kind of dictate what I remember, what I don’t. And I love slashers. Too, I started out trying to have just ten movies per decade, but, really, any deeper than 1970 and my record gets more than spotty (again, taste: Nosferatu and The Golem and Caligari and White Zombie and all those were neat and important and pretty much shaped everything to come, but still, I’d rather watch all the stuff they influenced). So I lumped the fifties and sixties together, still barely made ten there. But then the seventies and eighties, I was having to leave so much out. Anyway, no, I haven’t checked all these dates. Just kind of dartboarding them where looks good. And yeah, I’d guess I’ll go back in, edit this a bit. But of course post any obvious misses as comments; I’ll try to float them up into the main thing. And, yeah, I could make this complete just by cracking DEMON THEORY open, but I’m trying hard not to even look at it until it’s real–until it shows up leaning against my storm door. Anyway, what I came up with during what few commercials THE COLBERT REPORT had:

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    Ludovico Treatment, Demon Theory style

    Been trying to figure out what scenes/images from horror movies have become so indelibly imprinted on pop-culture that even people who don’t watch horror kind of have to know them, or at least of them. Which is to say I can’t just pick the coolest or best horror clips–the ones that imprinted me once upon a time. I mean, that’d be Freddy’s long arms from A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, kid-Jason at the end of FRIDAY THE 13th, Gage cutting grandpa’s Achille’s in PET SEMETERY, John Carpenter’s spider-head thing in THE THING, how Michael was just suddenly gone at the end of HALLOWEEN, the girl in SIXTH SENSE’s tent, the floating nurse-nun in EXORCIST III, the scuttler in THE GRUDGE’s attic, the kill scene in IRREVERSIBLE, the end of DARKNESS, etc. But the whole movie audience isn’t cued into those so much, I don’t think. And no, I’m not doing best kill-scenes here either, or best gore or fight scenes or a top horror list (here, here and everywhere). Just the stuff that changed us. Or that I think might have:

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    A Sense of an Ending in THE DESCENT

    First, as this is just all about the end of THE DESCENT, then, yep, it’s just chock full of spoilers. So stop here if:

    • you’ve not seen it
    • you’re going to see it
    • and you don’t like to know how a thing’s going to end

    Not meaning to say THE DESCENT has a gimmick-ending or anything — we don’t change perspective and slowly become aware that these are just action figures in a toy bin. But the two endings it does have, in being at odds with each other, are also kind of polarizing the horror audience one way or the other, it seems.

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    Best of the Cineplex, 2006

    And I think I can say ‘cineplex’ there — none of these are really indie, or at least didn’t end up that way. And, before I even list them, the caveats: I’ve yet to catch BORAT or PAN’S LABYRINTH or APOCALYPTO or INLAND EMPIRE or CHILDREN OF MEN or THE FOUNTAIN or the BLACK CHRISTMAS remake, all of which’d be likely contenders, I suspect (and I generally duck all the snoozers, like PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION, etc (‘etc’ here meaning I don’t even know how many of these there were — I mean, I’m sure they’re good, but I’m more of the summer-movie type)). And, when I thumbnailed this list, going just on memory instead of digging around for what actually came out in 2006, man, it was a good list: BRICK, HARD CANDY, KONTROLL, KISS KISS BANG BANG. Which is to say, thankfully, happily, no CAPOTE stuff, no BROKEBACK stuff. Too, V IS FOR VENDETTA was (and is) on there, even though, like THE DESCENT and HOSTEL, IMDb has it as 2005. But it’s the USA wide-release dates that matter out here in west Texas. Too, I know, where’s THE DEPARTED, where’s BABEL, where’s THE PRESTIGE? On everybody’s else’s lists, I suppose . . .

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    One Character in Search of a Novelist

    as always, spoilers abound.1

    Man, mix even parts Adaptation and The Wonder Boys, let Will Ferrell shake it, and you’ve got something a lot like Stranger than Fiction. And of course, as all movies about writers of whatever kind have to end, Stranger than Fiction pulls the same trick those two do. Or, that Get Shorty does. So that, when Ebert says that the ending is a compromise, I don’t know: I’m kind of inclined to disagree. Or disinclined to agree, whichever works better for you. But yeah, I mean I agree with him that it’s a very compromised ending — the novelist sacrifices her art for a person (in writer-speak: because she got too attached to her character). And that’s not satisfying. But, too, we have to understand that what we’re watching, it’s nearly got to be that rewritten version the novelist promises to do at the end (thus the Wonder Boys end . . .).

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    I don’t have nearly enough time to devote to this now — I’m in the early stages of a study that hopes to finally conclude whether the Bulletboy’s old “Smooth Up In Ya'” song1 (1989) really had hidden sexual overtones or not (next up: Warrant’s “Cherry Pie”) — but I feel I’ve got to say something anyway. And, I’d meant to frame this in some “Open Letter to Hollywood” or something, along the lines of that other thing I did, but then, no matter how I twisterized my brain, I just couldn’t figure out who’s consistently responsible for the poor quality of today’s trailers: “Hollywood” would seem to be the catch-all, I suppose, and I could always break it down to distributors or production companies, nevermind those few directors (I think) who insist on not farming out the trailer making, but the more I thought about it . . . I don’t know. Are we to blame — the audience? I mean, Hollywood’s a puppetmaster, sure, telling us what we like, what we don’t, but, too, we’ve got the real strings in our pockets, in the form of money. So, I guess I just don’t know. And like I said: with “Smooth Up In Ya'” cycling through my head, I don’t really have the brainpower right now to track it down.

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    The Good, The Bad, and Demon Theory

    toxic universe

    Looks like, in pre-celebration for TURISTAS1, Demon Theory pulled two reviews this week:


    [ click em to hit the rvws ]

    Cool places each, though the reviews are kind of opposites of each other.

    Anyway, it’s none other than Mike Bracken on the Toxic Universe one. Which, I mean — for my first novel, I remember telling somebody that it would only be complete when I knew that Gerald Vizenor had read it. And then, bam, it was suddenly complete before it was even published: FC2 had somehow got Vizenor to blurb it. About the coolest thing in the world.

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