Joe R. Lansdale: the experience

Was lucky enough to host Joe Lansdale around town the last couple of days. Great guy, amazing writer, living legend, walking icon, Texas institution, bonified stuperstar, and all around nice guy. Anyway, below, four pics of his reading. Click on that little flash/arrow button-player thingamawhatever, too, and bam, listen to him read and discuss and just generally entertain. There may be thirty or so seconds of cluttered silence up front, but that’s just because I have no clue how to edit an audio file. This was also my first time to ever try to navigate an iPod. And this one even had an “iTalk” latched onto it like some kind of parasite. But it all seemed to work. Oh, and yeah, that foolish guy umming his way through the intro, don’t know who he could be. Just somebody who wondered into the auditorium probably, hijacked the mike for a minute or two then stumbled off into the night, trying to intro everything else he bumped into, in hopes he would someday learn how.

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Z is for Xombie / Zombie Bake-Off

That novel I started all the way back in . . . was it August? Finally tapped out those final words on it. According to my handy-dandy Word stats, it took me some 30133 minutes to do it, too. If I knew what to divide that by, or how to divide, I could figure something out. Revision number ‘525’ too. Not sure what counts as a ‘revision,’ though. Anyway, it started out as Zombie Bake-Off, and who knows, may go back there. Tonight I’m liking Z IS FOR XOMBIE, though (Xombie’s a main character — it’s a soccer mom vs WWF story, with some zombies in the mix, and set here in Lubbock too). Anyway, the epigraph, taken, like ninety percent of everything else in the world, I suspect, from Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.:

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severance poster

Movies like this just make me break out my lists, look for a place to wedge this movie, so it can be that much closer to my heart. Which, I know it’s got to be an almost-empty statement by now, but, using Feast as my touchstone, and acknowledging that Leslie Vernon was the best since, and Save the Green Planet the best since Leslie Vernon, then, Severance, it’s the best since Green Planet, for me. Just did every last single thing right, I think. I mean, no, it’s not a true slasher (there’s no real red herring), but it’s pure horror-comedy fun, anyway. Nothing but good. In the extra features, the director says how the difficult thing with horror-comedy is getting the tone right — a balance, I think, of gore and whether or not the characters kind of know or act like they’re in a comedy. Severance hits that balance perfectly: funny stuff happens (the bear trap scene is about the best thing I’ve seen ever), but the characters just keep screaming and running. Unlike, say, in Decampitated, very fun its own right, but operating at a different level, with a different tone.

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Conditional Axe

Jeff Stolarcyk over at Conditional Axe has some bad news: Trick R’ Treat, much like All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, has been bumped to some indefinite time later. Very sad. Now Saw 4‘ll have to do. But I trust it will, too. A very tight series so far, I think. And, just back from Resident Evil: Extinction,* and same for it: excellent; high marks for the whole . . . I guess trilogy so far, though ‘series’ might work too. I suspect ‘trilogy,’ though, just because the way RE3 ends, it’s that old slasher way of escalating to some ridiculous height all at once, story-wise, and thus making the audience just really sure that this time there’s no way the story can go on. But then of course by next season we’re ready for just any contrivance at all to please please please give us that next installment. You say an electrified bat dropped out of the sky, bit the slashed slasher on the eyeball and injected him with mutant zombie rabies just right after the credits, when we were all walking out of the theatre? Cool. Excellent. Now roll it.

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Darkscribe Magazine

darkscribe logo

Darkscribe. You’ve got to say it with that perfect pause, like in CSNY’s “Dark Star.” And this place is just as cool. Just all kinds of goodness, and, as well as the site’s put together, I’d guess it’s going to be around a while. Anyway, today’s the drop date for it. Too, I’ve got a piece in it, here. “Dark Genre Roundtable,” the topic being remakes. And, just to go the main page, click below:

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The Empire Never Died

What I scribbled down in my trusty notebook*, moments after finishing all of INLAND EMPIRE when I really only meant to watch thirty minutes or so:

A girl’s gotten pregnant and not by the guy she’s with. She’s haunted by ‘Krimp’ — a ‘crimp’ in the umbilical cord — and by a screwdriver to the stomach, both images of losing the baby, possibly to the violence of her jealous husband, boyfriend, whatever he is. So she, the initial, sad viewer of that television set the film dives into, escapes into her star-blonde hair, the actress persona, and, this time, instead of that second act in some way mirroring or inverting the first act, which is the usual Lynch trick, the second act provides the exposition we’ve been missing, more or less, in that it’s an embodiment (again) of all the originating character’s whims and fears &etc. Until finally that persona fades away, taking with it the serial memory of the drawing room bunnies (see: ‘fertile,’ ‘non-monogamous’) and everything else, and the girl steps into the life she now has, where, surprise, the baby unexpectedly lived, and her husband loves her, and it’s either a happy, happy ending, or it’s an especially sad ending, as it’s all a projected fantasy of that star blonde actress, who can have none of this. All punctuated by a lighthearted musical number of a dream at the end — ‘dream’ indicated of course by the one non-sequitor in the room: the lumberjack, ‘sawing logs.’ But whose dream? Lynch’s, I’d guess, he who should really be disallowed from making movies about making movies, as the indeterminancy there has no end. And evidently there were more cameos than I picked up. And what of that director’s assistant (Stanton) mentioning rabbits? That play into the bunny room somehow, making the assistant the dungeonmaster here? And the new neighbor who seems to be somehow ‘above’ all this, in that she can see through it, speak about it? No clue; another blue box. Anyway, in the end, no, not nearly as bookended as LOST HIGHWAY and not as fun to tease apart as MULHOLLAND DRIVE, but still, you can’t look away. For three hours, you can’t look away. One thing I’m very glad of: that Lynch doesn’t do horror. Because this, whatever it is, it terrifies just about all I need, thanks.

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Pubs update, etc

That Grasslimb with my “Code” in it is out now. Too, just got a story picked up by Doorways. Very cool place. And a couple of really short pieces, “‘Tis the Season” and “Animals I’ve Known” are up soon in Passages North, and “The Mourners” should be in Fourth River any moment here. And, while I’m just recklessly listing: still excited about “do(this)” in Asimov’s soon and “Hell on the Homefront Too” (old BJ Thomas title I nabbed) in the next Cemetery Dance and “Pistil, Stamen, Bloom” in Kaleidotrope just any second now, I hope. Also, “The Sadness of Two People Meeting in a Bar,” it’s either already in or in the next issue of Red Rock Review. As for that “The Fatherland is Rich and Varied,” I haven’t talked to Liquid Ohio (link?) in a while, so not sure what’s up. Could be the story caused them to close up shop or something. It’s happened before.

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