Posts Tagged ‘horror’
Sometimes when I’m struggling to find something to write about I find some absolute gems and today is no exception. I decided to look at the list of birthdays I have for authors, this didn’t look very promising so I started googling the names I didn’t know and up popped some gems. There were some names I knew of but decided not to go any further with authors such as Sue Grafton, Elizabeth Goudge or Anthony Trollope and a good thing too.
First up is Eric Kripke. Who? I said to myself and I’m so glad I googled him as up popped his IMDB page and I discovered he’s the creator of Supernatural. Supernatural is one of those really great programmes, not as good as Firefly but still good and it stars Jensen Ackles who also played a couple of different roles in Dark Angel.
Next on the list was Damon Lindelof, the most prolific writer of Lost, he only wrote 44 episodes. He’s also been a producer of Star Trek and Crossing Jordan.
Somewhere in the list was David Morrell, the original author of First Blood the book that was done to death in the Rambo films. He also wrote the Captain America comic book miniseries The Chosen.
Last but not least is Doris Burn. The author of Andrew Henry’s Meadow, Zach Braff is trying to make this book into a movie, Barry Sonnenfeld has signed on as a director.
You know those days when you open your mouth (or put fingers to keyboard) and step right into it getting yourself thoroughly embedded? I had one of those days last week with Dexter. You can read what I wrote and then if you still choose can come back for a little grovelling and some further thoughts.
I think it was sheer stubbornness that kept me reading this omnibus. Normally when I don’t like a book I don’t go and read more of the series but this one I just kept on plugging away and found myself involved about half way through the third book, anytime before then I could have put it down and been mildly annoyed at not finishing. Am I glad I finished? Sort of, it feels good to have made it through and to have found the hook in the third book, one which might come back to revisit us in a future book, but my brain does feel dirty with reading so much of Dexter. Lindsay doesn’t paint Dexter as a nice man and my brain feels very strange to have read about him through his own eyes.
In the last article I talked about Dexter having an alter ego just like Tara but having finally gotten to the middle of the third book I find it’s rather more involved than that and my alter ego idea has to be squashed well and truly. I’m going to put in a bit of a spoiler here so if you haven’t read Dexter in the Dark then go away now.
Dexter encounters the God Moloch and discovers his Dark Passenger or Inside Shadow is nothing more than a reproduction of Moloch and he is capable of moving from one person to another. Moloch apparently doesn’t like having reproductions of himself hanging around without him being in control, he also doesn’t like Dexter as he feels he is an aberration, so he tries to kill Dexter using his human hosts. He uses music and hypnotics to bring Dexter to him and tries to force him through the fire.
Things I have trouble with here. The Hebrew letters of Mem Lamed Final Chaf are transliterated as MLK whereas my small amount of Hebrew would transliterate them as MLcH where the cH is the gutteral sound in the back of the throat, in linguistics it would be written as an H with a little dot underneath rather than cH so I’m stretching a point here. Lindsay says MLK could be translated as Melek or King but the last letter is not generally transliterated as a ‘K’ sound but a ‘cH’ sound.
Lindsay indicates there are several possible words that could come from the letters MLK, I have no trouble with that both Aramaic and Hebrew were originally written without vowels these useful marks only being added when the Romans expelled the Jews from Israel, but when it actually sounds like MLcH with the cH sounding more like the ‘ch’ from the Scottish word ‘loch’ I have a problem.
In the book Moloch apparently wants people to be burned to death for him, the reason is never very clear. This could be okay, my research shows two possible reasons for the fire: the first being sacrificial and; the second probably as a cleansing agent but not necessarily to kill. It’s a little confusing as translations change over the years as the languages shift and change.
Dexter talks about not being human and having had to watch and learn how to act. He has apparently created his life from the ground up. This is not dissimilar to people in the Autism Spectrum as they don’t necessarily know how to interact with people automatically and can’t learn like ‘normal’ people can but need to be shown and examine every interaction in detail. Am I saying he’s autistic? Not necessarily, but very possibly.
Will I read another Dexter? Probably not, I did spend a lot of the book wondering how they dealt with it in the TV series and one day I do intend to watch it so I can find out. It is an incredibly dark series and there is only so much I can take. One thing I’m enjoying is seeing a large hole in my To Be Read Pile. I’m cleansing my brain by reading The Google Story, it’s nice and light and could have done with a good proofreader but that’s a rant for another day.
I picked this omnibus up from an op shop a while ago and as it creates a nice hole in my To Be Read Pile I thought I’d give it a go, having read two of the three books without a break I’m now asking myself why.
Dexter is not normal and we’re told this so many, many times that we have to believe he actually knows himself. His father created a really bad childhood for him so Dexter was warped by the age of three and his foster father, Harry, instead of helping him become normal counselled him to channel his darkness into killing the right people for the right reasons. When we arrive at the first book Dexter is a blood spatter analyst and uses his job to help him find pedophiles and other people who ‘deserve’ death. His evidence is good but won’t get through a court of law, but that’s okay as Dexter abides by the Code of Harry to make sure he’s killing the right person for the right reasons.
This is really dark stuff, well written although I am getting rather annoyed with being reminded so often about how bad and warped and totally not normal Dexter is. The constant reminders remind me of Fifty Shades of Grey and how we were constantly reminded how the two people were drawn to one another, the big difference here is that Dexter is well written.
Each book stands alone except we do find out a little more about his childhood trauma in Darkly Dreaming Dexter. Lindsay seems to be drawing a long bow here and telling us how really bad childhoods can cause trauma and lead the child (then adult) to become twisted and not normal and I’m not sure I totally agree with him. Yes, it does give some formation of the person’s character but there are other things that intervene and it couldn’t possibly twist a person as much as Lindsay is saying.
Because of this childhood trauma Dexter appears to have an alter ego, much like in The United States of Tara, the difference being that Dexter has conversation with his Dark Passenger and relies on him for some of his detective work. Dexter then lets the Dark Passenger take over during those times when he is taking some deserving person to their final end.
I’m going to struggle to finish the last book in this omnibus and then I’m going to read something totally different to cleanse my brain of the gore, maybe a business book or two.
Edit: Finished the book and found I had to eat my words. You can see the follow up here.
I know today is the 1st of November here in Australia but as I write there are other countries in the northern hemisphere who are currently celebrating or commemorating halloween so I choose to write about it today especially as today is now All Saints Day. You can read more than I want to tell you in Wikipedia as I’m going to focus on other things I’ve found out.
Halloween has been something celebrated in America with kids dressing up and going door to door doing trick or treat but is moving to other countries. I recall it was something never done in Australia, last year it was talked about and some areas did trick or treat, this year I noticed the discussions on Twitter and Facebook have doubled and the incidences of people celebrating it are far more than in previous years. For the first time in some years we actually had children coming to our door, we happened to have some chocolate so gave them one each and they’d obviously had successful journeys to other houses as they had small buckets with goodies. They were young and beautifully behaved but there were no adults in obvious attendance, many of us on social media wonder about the appropriateness of the level of supervision, some children actually going into the houses; whatever happened to stranger danger? Halloween is no different to any other day in this respect.
A quick search of Halloween using google reveals a plethora of results. I was specifically looking for books and movies and didn’t even skim the surface of the available results. Going to Fantastic Fiction gave me 212 hits with books running the gauntlet from little kids books to very scarey adult books.
Two movies stood out. Halloween directed by John Carpenter released in 1978 and a remake directed by Rob Zombie in 2007 with a sequel also directed by Zombie in 2009, he declined to direct Halloween III. I have no idea of when and why he changed his name to Zombie, should you be that way inclined you can visit his website and join the Zombie Head Community. I found it interesting how he married his leading lady who added his name to part of her nickname to become Sheri Moon Zombie. I’m sure someone will tell me why it’s appropriate to have horror movies directed by a Zombie!
Anyway, I’m going to finish this with a little mention and link to OzHorrorCon, a convention dedicated to horror. 27th October was their last convention and the next is 19th and 20th January 2013. I can’t tell you where in Melbourne it is as that’s not mentioned on the website. I will be investigating the idea of having a stall there but can’t guarantee that as I’ve heard the prices are above my budget. They’ve got Ramsey Campbell as a special guest and it looks to be organised a little like Armageddon in that you can get autographs and photos but you have to pay for them. If you’re into horror then it looks great fun!
Yes, I need that many, and more, exclamation marks. I’ve been waiting most of my life for movies that don’t follow the norm. You know what norm is in horror or thriller movies where the hero/heroine survives and often saves someone else while everyone else dies. The hero/heroine is generally an athlete and a scholar and blitzes everyone else’s skills. Joss Whedon looks at this and thumbs his nose at it, he puts together a movie that actually works and makes sense, he turns these conventions around and creates a truly wonderful experience.
Cabin in the Woods is his latest masterpiece, I saw it last night as a fundraiser for Nullus Anxietas 4. The movie was going to go straight to DVD but they screened it last night at the Cinema Nova in Carlton and thank goodness there are a few more screenings over the next week. I believe you can see it at The Astor in Windsor and possibly one or two other places around the country.
As you’ll know from watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel or Firefly, Whedon doesn’t do straight horror he puts in the comedic element and makes it feel as if it could really be happening. This movie is no different, it’s about five teenagers who go away to a cabin situated in the woods for a relaxing time and the events that enfold them. There are hints of the other story surrounding it but it takes a little while before we find out they are related and that every move made by these five people is being watched and celebrated.
They buy fuel on the way to the cabin and the man is less then forthcoming with both his fuel and his information. Some time later we hear him on the phone to the people behind the cameras, he’s ranting and raving and suddenly his tone changes as he asks if he’s on speaker phone, he’s told he isn’t so he continues ranting, he’s supposedly taken off speaker phone and continues his ranting until he realises he’s been conned and is still on speaker phone. Just one gem of a scene in this movie.
I can’t write too much more about the movie without giving too many spoilers so I won’t. I can’t tell you if there is a hero or a heroine as that’s spoilers and I can’t tell you who this could possibly be. I will tell you it was well worth the price I paid and I now can’t wait for the DVD as I really need to see it again to get the full impact of the music and sound effects and I’m also intrigued to see what extras Whedon has put on. There’s the opportunity for so many side stories and it’d be lovely to see them and see how he turns things on their heads.
by Chris Perridas
In Horror tales, one of the most desolate of tales is sheer hopelessness. The condition of loneliness drives people to acts of insanity and desperation. “Why did he commit suicide”, we shake our heads in wonder. “Why does she put up with that abuse,” we wag our tongues. The ultimate imprisonment is solitary confinement. Loneliness. When loneliness joins isolation and hopelessness, terror ensues. Tim Lebbon claims one of the best recent expositions of this with his story White.
A reasonably kind man, Lebbon has nevertheless imagined a tale in which snow brings isolation – and something ominous and deadly comes on its winds. His ability to describe around the monsters and their fiendish results without being explicit chills the reader’s imagination.
A classic tale is John W. Campbell, Jr.’s magnum opus, Who Goes There (1938). IT has been filmed by masters John Carpenter (1982) and Howard Hawks (1951). By sheer coincidence, the story might appear to be the third of a trilogy of Antarctic horrors starting with Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym (circa 1838), continuing to H. P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness (written late Winter 1931) and culminating with Campbell’s work. All of these speak of miscellaneous and mysterious horrors in the bleakest part of our world – the Antarctic.
This story extracted from an 1855 New York Times newspaper sounds like a Jack London tragedy.
The story tells of a party trapped in a freezing blizzard, the only hope to chop up the wagons and burn them for heat. In a last desperate measure they killed the oxen, and stuffed a mother and her baby into the steaming innards. Alas, even that final hope failed, and death ensued. The human will is powerful, but ultimately a miscalculation, a brief moment of bad luck, and life snuffs out like a candle in the wind.
From this come trembling horror stories.
Previously published on the Miskatonic Books Blog on 5th October 2011. With thanks for letting me republish. Don’t forget to click through and read there as well.
This book was originally published in 1954 and is a scary thought of what could happen given the technology available to us now.
Robert Neville may well be the only survivor of an incurable plague that has mutated every other man, woman and child into bloodthirsty, nocturnal creature who are determined to destroy him.
The premise of this book is very scary, it’s a brilliant fusion of horror and science fiction. A plague has hit, very much like the black plague, and no-one can work out how to deal with it. It reminds me very much of the advent of the AIDS virus, how it spread so quickly and how there were so many people worried about getting it and the misinformation that surrounded it at the time. With this virus they didn’t appear to have time to figure out how to combat it and they certainly have little idea of how it spreads. This plague turns people into vampires and Robert Neville is currently the last man who hasn’t succumbed, the reason is unknown as his wife died from it some time before the book is set.
The writing in this book is superb, you don’t get much better than this. Matheson has fused the two genres of horror and science fiction very nicely. There is just the right amount of each and a good story line as well.
The things I had trouble with are Neville trying to figure out the plague by himself and how the infrastructure kept going despite having no-one to run it. It was not sufficiently explained how Neville had the background to be able to figure out all the science type stuff in order to figure out how to treat the disease. I don’t know why it worries me about the infrastructure, but I’d like to know how it kept going. Many of the systems would have stopped, in fact, Neville did install a generator so he could generate his own electricity, but there was also the water and the sewerage which just seemed to keep going despite the lack of personnel.
I’d still recommend this book. Whether you like horror or science fiction I feel it has enough of both to satisfy most people. Now I have to see the movie of the same name with Will Smith in the lead role, awesome!
Squid Ink is reading Australian authors at the moment and the first in this series is The Ragwitch by Garth Nix. It’s young adult horror/fantasy. It is told from two different points of view, Julia and her brother Paul. They both end up in another world fighting The Ragwitch.
This is the book that caused so much consternation when I used it for Teaser Tuesday. It’s an anthology of Australian fantasy, science fiction and horror. This is the final issue and if it’s anything to go by the rest of them must have been absolutely fantastic.
It is a selection of top notch short stories interspersed with excellent essays. Some of the stories I had to take a break and do something else in order to stretch them out a bit. They were written so nicely and had such great ideas in them that I wanted them to last longer and the only way to do that was to stop part way through.
I’ve just pinched the following from the Borderlands website:
* “Shadows of Our Gods” by Cat Sparks
* “Red Earth” by Helen Lowe
* “In the Boo” by Stephen Studach
* “The Parent Licensing Commission” by Donetta Ditton
* “A Thousand Natural Shocks” by Simon Brown
* “As We Know It” by Lyn Battersby
* “The Man Who Murdered Love” by Shane Dix
* “Bad Film Diaries – Sometimes the Brand Burns: Tim Burton and the Planet of the Apes” by Grant Watson
* “Three Views of Mount Solaris” by Chris Lawson
Illustrations by Minouk Duin, Fiona Roberts and Sarah Xu
Cover by Sarah Xu
Red Earth by Helen Lowe was one that I had to stop in the middle. It’s post apocalyptic and is about a lady who wanders Australia giving out books, teaching people to read and write and telling stories. It is one of those awesome stories that just sucks you in and then keeps you there forever and it’s only three pages.
Bad Film Diaries by Grant Watson was an interesting essay on the power of the “Brand” and how film studios use it to make money. He talked about The Planet of the Apes and it’s remake and how the “Brand” helped it to make money.
I’m not going to say anything more about the rest of the stories and essays. You can buy most of the back issues from the Borderlands website, they’re only $AUD10 a copy, and worth much more than that.