Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Must Love Black

Philippa's father has just remarried. To avoid her father's and his new wife's sickening honeymoon, Phillipa takes a summer job as a nanny with an odd specification: must love black (which she totally does). When she gets to the client's residence, it turns out to be a very fancy spa called Chrysalis Cliff. Her charges are two 10 year old twins (named Rienne and Triste) who are intelligent, overly sensible, and share Phillipa's love for black. At the spa, Phillipa and the girls have very little area to roam around in and the girls' father is a workaholic. Will Phillipa get the girls to have a little fun and reconnect with their father? Is there a point at all to this book? No.

Phillipa immediately struck me as an ungrateful, whiny teenager. I'm willing to concede that it's because I can't really relate to her or because I'm not a teenager anymore. (I ran into the same problem with Shilo, the supposed protagonist of Repo! the Genetic Opera.) However, leaving in the middle of your father's wedding reception without saying goodbye before being away for an entire summer is just plain rude in my book. Her behavior was more tolerable when she started working (mostly because she wanted to keep her job), but I don't think she changed her attitude significantly. I really liked the quirky little twins, Triste and Rienne, with their solemn natures and sensible ways. They reminded me of little Edward Gorey type characters. They were the most enjoyable part of the book for me.

I felt that this book was incredibly incomplete. There were huge chunks of plot missing. Since the spa was called Chrysalis Cliff, I figured Phillipa would have some sort of change: a mental or emotional or physical change of some sort. I was wrong. There was a a couple incidences with a possible ghost following and interacting with Phillipa, but again, there was no follow through. It really didn't need to be there at all and just made the book kind of confusing. The end was missing at least a chapter. Very few of the problems were solved: Phillipa still has to return to her "evil" stepmother with the same mentality she had at the beginning of the novel. Lady BV, the father's partner who doesn't seem to like the children very much, remains unchanged and still works against the children, although her influence is a bit diminished. The romantic plot line was resolved in about a sentence. How hard is it to ask a guy if he's dating someone? Not that hard! This is what the problem with relationship between Phillipa and Geoff boiled down to. The writing just didn't flow very well.

The concept of the novel was interesting and had a lot of potential, but turned out to fall flat. I liked some of the story, but the holes and failed expectations overpowered the aspects that I liked. I only took about a day to read this, but I would recommend using that time to read something a little more coherent.

My rating: 2/5 fishmuffins

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Holiday Break Reading Challenge #9

The assignment is to write about ZOMBIES or Christopher Moore. I like both, so I think I'll talk a little about both. If you follow my blog, you probably know what a huge zombie fan I am. I wrote many posts in August and September about various zombie books, movies and music. Here are my favorites from then, plus my brand new review of You Are So Undead to Me.

* Zombie Songs - Voltaire, Kirby Krackle, and Lee Press-on and the Nails
* The Zen of Zombie by Scott Kenemore
* Grace - a zombie baby film
* Dead Snow - a Nazi zombie film from Norway
* You Are So Undead to Me by Stacey Jay
* Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
* Zombieland - a heartwarming zombie movie

Zombie media I wish to experience in the future include: Undead Much by Stacey Jay, George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead, The Living Dead- an anthology, and The Art of Zombie Warfare by Scott Kenemore.


Christopher Moore is a hilarious author. If you haven't read anything by him, go out to the nearest library or bookstore and get his books now! I've read almost all of his books, including Island of the Sequined Love Nun, Practical Demonkeeping, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, and The Stupidest Angel. My favorite book was the first that I read: A Dirty Job. It's about Charlie Asher, death merchant, and his crazy adventures. I'm going to reread it sometime soon and post a review. Please, do yourself a favor and check out Christopher Moore.

I can't wait to read the sequel to Bloodsucking Fiends and You Suck, Bite Me! Christopher Moore has already posted his March and April 2010 Book Tour, so see if he's going to be near you! I saw him when Fool came out earlier this year and it was one of the most hilarious experiences of my life. You will not be disappointed. I'm definitely going to the appearance at Vroman's bookstore on April 9.

You Are So Undead to Me

Megan Berry is just an average, normal teenager, except for the fact that she is a zombie settler. Normal zombies are not the Night of the Living Dead, flesh eating variety. They are merely dead kids with unresolved issues who then go to settlers to get those issues of their chest and to be laid to rest. Megan just wants to be a normal teenager who goes on dates not interrupted by the undead and join the pom squad at school. However, someone else has other plans for her. Zombies of the flesh eating variety are only raised by black magic and are called reanimated corpses. When these creatures start attacking people around Megan, she has to find out who is doing and stop them before someone dies. Is it Monica, the vindictive popular girl who has it in for Megan? Or someone else entirely? And will Megan's social life stay intact through it all?

Stacey Jay has created a fresh, new take on zombies that I have never seen before. It's such an over-flooded genre right now, so this is like a breath of fresh air for me. The secret society of settlers was intriguing and also ominous at times. The story was a great mix of suspense, horror, romance, action, and mystery punctuated with moments of humor. The book was similar to Buffy the Vampire Slayer in that there is a girl who has a supernatural calling and tries to balance that job and her normal life. However, the narrative still held its own as a unique story by the strength and individuality of Megan.

I related to Megan, the narrator and main character. She was a teenager with crushes on boys and freakouts about what people at school will think about her. It's expected, but it didn't overpower the novel (which would have been annoying). There were no temper tantrums or super dramatic teen angst. She was very sensible and intelligent. She had depth and a traumatic past involving reanimated corpses. She also knew when to let go of the superficial in order to save people when the situation became really dangerous. She had depth and a traumatic past involving reanimated corpses. I was also enamored and intrigued with the ever changing relationship between Megan and Ethan. I could completely understand her confusion with his behavior and his feelings for her. I was completely emotionally invested in these characters.

You Are So Undead to Me was a great read. I had a lot of fun trying to figure out the mystery before Megan, but ended up being totally blindsided. Stacey Jay's writing flowed well and really sucked me in. If you like supernatural fiction, this book is the one for you. I'm really looking forward to the sequel, Undead Much that comes out next month.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Break Reading Challenge Activity #7

I need to choose the best and worst book to movie adaptation. So here are mine.

My best pick: Fight Club

My worst pick: Queen of the Damned

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Break Reading Challenge Activity #5

I'm reading You Are So Undead to Me by Stacey Jay. The challenge is to post the 22nd line on the 22nd page with the book cover.

"He'd evidently been talking for a while, but I'd been too freaked out to hear."

To join the challenge, click here.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Reading Challenge Activity #4

This is the Holiday Reading Challenge Activity #4, which deals with finding pictures that reflect or remind you of the book you are reading. I'm currently reading Stacey Jay's You Are So Undead to Me.

Megan Berry is a Zombie Settler. She lays to rest the undead, but not this kind of undead. These are called reanimated corpses that are raised by black magic.

She wants to got to the homecoming in this dress...

with Josh, the quarterback of the football team.
BUT, when she is with Ethan, a boy she has feelings for but doesn't seem to reciprocate these feelings, a reanimated corpse shows up on fire at her house and attacks Ethan!! Plus, it's wearing her homecoming dress!

I'm really enjoying this book. I can't wait to see what happens next! If you want to get in on the Holiday Reading Challenge fun, enter here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Lots O' Stuff!

Well, I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. This is the last week of school and then I can relax and actually read the things I enjoy reading. So, I am joining a couple of challenges starting after finals:

I'm doing the Speculative Fiction Challenge 2010 hosted by Book Chick City! I'm aiming for obsessed, with 24 speculative fiction novels. These books don't just include science fiction, but also fantasy and horror. Check out the possibilities on Book Chick City's page!

1) Evolution's Darling by Scott Westerfeld
2) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
3) Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi
4) Soulless by Christopher Golden
5) Chew by John Layman
6) Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford
7) The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had to by DC Pierson
8) Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith
9) Sleepless by Thomas Fahy
10) Need by Carrie Jones
11) Still Sucks to Be Me by Kimberly Pauley
12) The Curse Workers: White Cat by Holly Black
13) Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
14) Changeless by Gail Carriger
15) Captivate by Carrie Jones
16) The Host by Stephenie Meyer
17) My Name Is Memory by Anne Brashares
18) Rampant by Diana Peterfruend
19) Night of the Living Trekkies by Kevin Anderson and Sam Stall
20) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
21) Frankenstein's Bride by Hilary Bailey
22) Frankenstein's Monster by Susan Heyboer O'Keefe
23) Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
24) Happy Hour of the Undead by Mark Henry
25) My Zombie Valentine Part 1 and Part 2 by various authors
26) The Loving Dead by Amelia Beamer
27) Passing Strange by Daniel Waters
28) Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist
29) The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell

My second challenge is the Holiday Break Reading Challenge hosted by Karin's Book Nook! I've been suffering all semester reading books forced upon me. I really need a break and can't wait to get back into reading and reviewing for fun. My goal as of now is 20 books, but I may change it later.

I am also joining the Save Amanda Feral bandwagon. This series was recommended to me by Kat Richardson, author of the awesome Greywalker series, when I saw her on her last book tour. The first in the series is Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry. Here's the description from the back cover:

Donuts are deadly. One minute you’re getting your binge on, the next, you’re slipping on the box, cracking your skull, and in the weirdest turn of events, rising as a zombie. That’s just for starters. Now, the recently deceased Amanda Feral is trying to make her way through Seattle’s undead scene with style (mortuary-grade makeup, six inch stilettos, bangin’ Balenciaga handbag) while satisfying a craving for decent vodkatinis and the occasional human flesh—Don’t judge. And no, not like chicken.

Navigating a dangerous world of cloud-doped bloodsuckers, reapers, horny and horned devils, celebrity blood donors, and PR-obsessed shapeshifters—not to mention an extremely hot bartender named Ricardo—isn’t easy. And the minute one of Amanda’s undead friends disappears after texting for “help” (the undead—so dramatic!) she knows the afterlife is about to get really ugly.

Something sinister is at hand. Someone or something is hellbent on turning Seattle’s supernatural underworld into a place of true terror. And this time, Amanda may meet a fate a lot worse than donuts…

This book looks awesome! It's reviewed to be hilarious and disgusting AND it's coming out in mass market paperback in February. I'm totally buying it!

*Special thanks to Zombie Girrl for telling me about the Save Amanda project and reminding me that I should go buy this series. :)
So, that's all. I hope the rest of you are having a great holiday season. :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Nina Parker is a recovering alcoholic fresh out of rehab. The rehab was court ordered after she was arrested because of a drunken display in front of her ex-husband's house. She hit rock bottom, losing both her husband and her children. She moves back to her home town to start fresh, taking her teenage daughter with her for a short time. Nina is really trying to reconnect with her daughter and make amends for her past mistakes, but Meagan is an obstinate teenager who doesn't forgive easily. Meanwhile in the town, there have been a rash of ritualistic killings of animals, and later a human, that are gruesome and shocking to the small town. Do these murders have to do with Nina's attractive neighbor Markus, who seems to follow her around? Or is it the work of something else more sinister?

I liked this book, but it did have some problems. The story flowed very well and compelled me to read on. I stayed up way later than I expected to some days because I just got sucked into the story. Nina is a great flawed character, whose life and journey was the most interesting part of the novel. Her childhood dealing with an alcoholic parent to her adult life as an alcoholic (very much like her father) was interesting and heart wrenching. I was very emotionally invested in her life, her family, and what happened to her.

On the other hand, I love vampire novels and I don't really consider this one. The main focus is on Nina and her personal journey. The vampires serve as a means progressing in that journey and act as a reflection to her alcoholism. The vampires weren't as fleshed out as the human characters and seemed to just be props in the story. It also bothered me that Markus was just viewed by author as pure evil even though he did good things and struggled against his nature as a vampire. The ending was conveniently wrapped up perfectly. With the rest of the novel being so vivid, I felt it was contrived. Also, I didn't realize it was a Christian novel when I started reading it, which didn't bother me at first. However, near the end, the Christian message became very heavy handed, which didn't match the fluidity of rest of the novel.

Thirsty is an interesting novel about a woman and her addiction. If you are a fan of supernatural fiction, you might be disappointed. The novel has some flaws, but as a whole was a good, easy read.

**My rating: 3/5**

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ginger Snaps

Ginger and Brigitte Fitzgerald are sisters, incredibly close and fascinated with death. They are also complete outcasts at their school because of their weird attitudes and photo projects of their mock deaths. There have been a rash of neighborhood dogs being killed, so Brigitte decides to play a joke on a bitchy classmate (who shoved her into a dead dog). The plan goes awry when the creature killing the dogs attacks Ginger seconds after getting her first period. Ginger survives the attack. Her wounds immediately start to heal at a rapid pace. After the attack, Ginger's behavior changes drastically: she shows interest in boys, smokes pot, exhibits extreme mood swings, and starts to physically change. Brigitte watches her sister in disbelief and is convinced she's turning into a werewolf. Can she convince her sister and find a cure before it's too late?

Anyone who knows me well knows that I go through obsessions with books and movies. I will reread or -watch things I really enjoy repeatedly over a period of months sometimes. This is one of my obsessions. This film has just enough camp/cheese, suspense, and good story to be the perfect movie. I love the fresh take on werewolves. I usually seriously hate werewolves because it reduces good characters to competing in pissing contests in the pack and being extremely moody and annoying (see the Anita Blake series and the Twilight Saga). Women are generally not in positions of power in the pack and are treated as inferior or as property, which really makes me angry. This film, thankfully, has no werewolf pack and has a fresh interpretation of werewolves. The Hollywood vision of werewolves transforming at the full moon and being defeated by silver bullets is abandoned. The focus is on the transformation of a teenage girl into a werewolf in the span of a month, as an allegory for womanhood and growing up. The animalistic behavior represents the bodily urges of a young woman. She becomes a different person, as one should in a transition from childhood to adulthood. This is shown physically through her slow transformation into a wolf. Brigitte, since she is still a child, is completely terrified by the transformation. She tries everything she can to stop it, but the advancement in the cycle of life is inevitable.

The acting is great. The sisters are completely believable and creepily close at the outset of the film. I personally related to the girls. Who didn't feel isolated or misunderstood in high school? Katharine Isabelle, as Ginger, carries the film well in her change in mood and demeanor as the film progresses. The effects are surprisingly well done, despite being an indie film. There is a lot of blood and gore, plus the deaths of about 4 dogs. The director opted to use prosthetics and makeup to achieve Ginger's transformation which I think worked wonderfully. CGI would have looked way too fake and dated the film. The changes are at first understated not even recognized by the characters. It's not until later in the film that the viewer realizes that the small changes have added up and drastically changed her appearance. I liked that she looked oddly beautiful even in the late stages of her change.

The main musical theme is so hauntingly beautiful, featuring a cello in the melody. Similar themes in the movie are nice, but there are some laughably cheesy moments because of other musical motifs. I think the cheesier moments were intentionally poking fun at the teen horror genre. The climactic face-off at the end of the film between Brigitte and werewolf Ginger was so suspenseful. The first time I watched it, I couldn't look away and I was on the edge of my seat.

There really isn't anything I didn' t like about Ginger Snaps. One can definitely see its effect in recent cinema, especially in Teeth and (unfortunately) Jennifer's Body. I think Ginger Snaps is what Jennifer's Body really wanted to be, but failed miserably. I hope the tradition of gynocentric horror films continues.
**My rating: 10/10**

***You can download the Ginger Snaps theme from the composer's site. Right click on the Ginger Snaps banner on the bottom of the page and select "save link as."***
***Visit the film's official site here.***

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Z.E.O.: A Zombie's Guide to Getting A(Head) in Business

Do you hate your job? Are you stuck in a teeny tiny cubicle with little to no possibility of advancement? Have you read every business self help book and still haven't experienced a fraction of the success of the disgustingly rich authors? Well, this is your lucky day! Throw away all of your other business self help books; this is the only one you will need! Scott Kenemore again draws on the wisdom of his previous self help book, The Zen of Zombie, and specifically applies to business. Learn how to work up the ranks of your workplace with the unrelenting drive of the zombie. The first half of the book focuses on the characteristics of zombies and how they could be applied towards business endeavors. The second half provides a quarter by quarter guide from your current position to Z.E.O. in only one year.

With this wonderful book, I realized just how inefficient human workers are. They waste tons of time every day with things like unnecessary meetings and small talk. A zombie cuts all of that excess out of its day and works at a slow and steady pace, doing all work to the best of its ability. You don't see zombies stopping to chat with people while they go after brains. When in doubt, simply ask how a zombie would do it. It is also proved that other self help business books are really about becoming more like a zombie. For example, Robert Greene's 48 Laws of Power and Sun Tzu's Art of War are both obviously inspired by zombies.

Scott Kenemore does it again in the latest installment of the zombie self help series. It's another great book that shows how zombies are awesome and we should be more like them. I was laughing through the entire book. I loved that other similar books were compared to this one and they were proved to be inferior. My favorite parts were the inspirational posters, like this one. It's cute/creepy and has a great message.

So if you want to improve your work ethic, move up in your company, or have a nice laugh, you need to read this book. I can't wait for his next book, The Art of Zombie Warfare.


Visit Scott Kenemore's blog here.
You can read my review of Scott Kenemore's first book, The Zen of Zombie, here.

***If I were to interview him, what questions would you like to ask?***

Here is the official (and hilarious) trailer for Z.E.O.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cthulhu C'Loves You!

The Great Cute One has come to give humanity tentacle hugs and maw kisses! For those of you unfamiliar with the almighty Cthulhu, it is a betentacled Lovecraftian horror that first made its appearance in the short story, Call of Cthulhu. If you would like to read the story, click here. Here is a cute little video about Cthulhu and his origins! This is the description from the video's creator, TheZebu:

Want a child-friendly way to introduce your little one to the traditions of the Old Cult? Meet little Cthulhu, who lives in the magic city of R'lyeh with all his friends, as you and your child embark on a fun and educational journey through the world of the Great Old Ones, meeting all kinds of new buddies from the Necronomicon along the way, from Azathoth to Yog-Sothoth! This series has won multiple awards and has been enthusiastically approved by the department of child-developmental psychology at Miskatonic University.

Story and animation by me. Voice acting by Erika Fontana. Music taken from the Shaman King OST. Original characters by HP Lovecraft.

This is not the only instance of Cutie Cthulhus! There is the My Little Cthulhu action figure with an abnormally large and cute head. I am a proud owner of one, complete with little victims he can hold in his chibi claws. On this site, you can purchase T-shirts or make your own My Little Cthulhu out of paper. Here are the directions on how to assemble it, straight from the creator Jerom.

There is the little crochet version of it from the Creepy Cute Crochet Book. I first saw this on Velvet's blog and realized that I owned one! I bought one from a Cthulhu booth at San Diego Comic Con. It was so cute, I just couldn't resist! I wish I knew how to crochet so I could make some of these awesome creations for other people.

There is also the Chibithulhu from the Munchkin Cthulhu game. When it is in the room during game play, it actually helps the owner of the plushy. Plus, it's just adorable! I bought my sister one at Dark Delicacies. I didn't even know it came in different colors and three different sizes: deceptively tiny, insanely medium, and mind-crushingly huge! Click here for more info if you want to give one a nice home.

The last cutie Cthulhu that I have found is the CthulhuPony, the melding of a Cthulhu and a My Little Pony. Finnish artist Mari Kasurinen makes these and many more different types of ponies, including aliens, Harley Quinn, Spock, and Edward Scissorhands. I found out about these on the wonderful site, io9.com which is also where I got this photo.

I hope I haven't overloaded you all with Cthulhu cuteness! This post was inspired by Velvet from vvb32 reads and her cool post about the awesome Cthulhu.

Friday, November 6, 2009

My Vegas Weekend

Hello! I swear I'm not dead, just buried under a pile of school work. I've been very sad that I don't have to time to read anything except for books for school. I wanted to fit in at least a couple more Halloween themed posts, but I guess they can wait until my pile of homework is lower.

Here the very first pumpkin I have ever carved all by myself. I bought it on Halloween, so it was a misfit pumpkin that was practically triangular. But it's my triangular, misfit pumpkin. The mouth looks crazy because I kept cutting to far, but I think it gives it a special charm.

So, as you guys know, I went to Las Vegas last Sunday for Fangoria's Trinity of Terrors convention with a few of my friends. It was a lot smaller than I thought it would be, but it might have been because it was the very last day. A couple of awesome things did happen: I met Malcolm McDowell, which was amazing since he's in some of my favorite shows and movies. Plus he was a sweetheart.

I met Bill Moseley, from House of 1000 Corpses and Repo the Genetic Opera. And I bought this beautiful and macabre tile from a very talented artist, Calyn Williams, who sat and talked with my best friend Brett and me for a while. If you like this tile, you might like some of her other works. You can visit her here.

After that, we went to the Bellagio, the Venetian, and Paris. The hotels were beautiful and the replications of monuments were so detailed and grandiose. I gambled a bit and didn't really win anything. Mostly we just walked around, took pictures, and gawked. My favorite sight was the gardens and the fountains at the Bellagio. Pictures!!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!!!!!

Happy Halloween everyone!!!! I hope everyone has a very scary holiday. I am going to my brother's house for a spooky dinner and won't be dressed up. Boo. :(

But, on Monday, I shall share the first pumpkin I have ever carved (it's a misfit, deformed pumpkin) and my experience in Las Vegas (the first time I'll be leaving California!!!) at the Trinity of Terrors Conventions at the Palms Casino. I hope it'll be awesome!!!!
***The above picture is from Roman Dirge's comic Lenore, which is darkly comic and just awesome. You need to check it out!! Here is Roman Dirge's official site.***

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Entries for Princess Bookie's Big Box Challenge

I have chosen to do two entries: one book cover recreation with my own photos and an original book cover based on the title of the book.

This is my own version of Fallen by Lauren Kate.

This is my recreation of I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It by Adam Selzer. This is a picture of my boyfriend DJ and I that was taken at E's Zombie Fest.

If you would like to enter this contest or look at everyone else's entries, please go here.

E. Van Lowe's Zombie Fest!!

I had the wonderful opportunity to take part in an amazingly fun event this past Saturday: E. Van Lowe's Zombie Fest!! I went as Margot, the main character of Never Slow Dance with a Zombie and I brought my zombie boyfriend DJ (as Dirk from the novel). We arrived early so DJ could be made up by Cat Elrod, a very talented Hollywood makeup artist. Here she is, getting attacked by her own creations!

The event started with a grand opening of zombies in a mini dance to introduce E. Van Lowe. First, he did a reading from Never Slow Dance with a Zombie, starting from the part where Margot is fighting with her best friend, Sybil, and they discover that all of their classmates have turned into zombies. Then, there was a Q&A, where we learned a lot about E's writing process, his music selections, and his inner girl.

He also unveiled his next project: I Want You Back, a paranormal YA novella. This funny and thrilling and FREE eBook will become available to subscribers of E's website through e-mail every time a new chapter is available. This book will also be illustrated by E's friend, Tatiana, who I got to meet at the party. Meet Emy, the 16 year old protagonist
of the story:

To begin with, I’m not a nice girl. Don’t get me wrong, I used to be a nice girl. I used to be kind, and helpful, considerate and thoughtful. The kind of girl who went to all of her boyfriend’s games, even though she hates basketball; the kind of girl who helped her boyfriend study for his English final while she should have been studying for her own calculus final—and maybe she would have done better than that C; the kind of girl the boys at school lovingly call, oh, what’s that cute little name they have for us again? Oh, yes—Doormat.

I Want You Back is the story of 16 year-old, Emy Grant, who uses magic to ensnare the boy of her dreams.

It sounds great and I can't wait to read it!

After that, E signed books and there was a reception with yummy food and great people. Here are some other pictures I took:

DJ/Dirk is enjoying the brain/watermelon.

Some other zombies join in on the fun!

Margot looks terrified and E looks thoughtful as the zombie horde closes in on them...
DJ and I had a blast at this awesome party. I would like to congratulate E on the success of Never Slow Dance with a Zombie!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Saw VI: A Rant

First of all, I watched the first three Saw movies in the theater. The first one was really scary and was ALMOST good. The ending really killed it for me. It was laughable and just seemed as it needed to be hastily ended because they ran out of money or something. I went to the next two films in hopes that they would be better. They were not. They were boring, predictable, and unimaginative. Some of the traps are interesting: the backwards bear trap in the first film was amazing and the needle pit from the thrid film made me squirm. But these were a couple of shining moments in a generally mediocre series. I made a conscious effort not to see the other Saw movies because I don't want to reward mediocrity and give them enough money to make another installment. Normally, I'll pretty much go see any movie, even if it looks awful, because it's a fun experience to enjoy or tear apart a movie with my friends and family.

Now, all I see everywhere is Saw. On every horror movie site, on (badly done) TV commercials, in the newspaper, in magazines...What other horror movie has this much advertising? None that I know of. It upsets me that it's not even good horror that is getting this much exposure. In a few years, it will be viewed just like every other overdone horror franchise: the first one was ok, but the other ones really sucked. Really good, original, edgy horror movies, such as Grace, Trick 'r Treat, Let the Right One In, Deadgirl, Otis, and countless others have to struggle just to get a LIMITED theatrical release, let alone any TV spots. The only exception to this has been Paranormal Activity, which went from a couple of free screenings to a wide release based on fan interest. (I haven't seen this film yet, but plan to this Sunday.)

What really set me off to write this rant was Scott Sigler's article, Move Over Michael...Jigsaw is Horror's New King of the Kill. The Saw movies are going to be the biggest horror movie franchise in America when the new movie comes out (not taking into account inflation, so I refuse to acknowledge it as such). I hate the "Halloween is now synonymous not with a movie from the Halloween franchise (which would seem a no-brainer), but with Saw..." Thank you, Lionsgate, for making me suffer on my favorite holiday with your incessant, badly executed advertising.

I just have to shake my head at the fact that big studios will pretty much only make sequels and remakes instead of taking a chance on any type of horror film. I will go on looking for overlooked gems and going to see them at little theaters or conventions.

The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks

Max Brook's newest installment of his zombie journalism series is a book of short stories in comic book form. This report is very enlightening, detailing the presence and outbreaks of the zombie virus throughout time. The narratives are arranged in chronological order, from 60,000 BC to AD 1992. The places of each incident are as diverse as the time periods, starting from Central Africa and ending in California. The important part of this text is how other cultures in different time periods reacted to and survived the zombie outbreak so we can learn from others' experiences when zombies attack our own cities.

I read this book in about a half an hour. This graphic novel is very fast read, but it packs a punch. It is indeed very graphic and not for the faint of heart. I don't think I've ever seen zombies drawn with such care and attention. Every sinew, bite, and bone is very detailed. The art is simply amazing. In my opinion, it might have been more powerful if it had been in color, but it's still enjoyable in black and white.

There is very light dialog and narrative, but the art shows you a lot of the story. A lot of narration isn't really necessary. It's a great way to utilize the form of a graphic novel. Each story has the same basic plot in that zombies attack and they must learn how to defeat them swiftly or face the same fate as their attackers. However, each had different characters and ways of dealing with them. I was impressed that so much can be told in a very short story. Each of the scenes were unique and evoked a different emotion. A couple made me laugh, but a some gave me a sick, sinking feeling in my stomach. (I love when I get that feeling from something I'm reading.) Most of those moments were because of the derangement and cruelty of man in events in history more than the zombies. My favorite story is the one about Ancient Egypt and the possible reason behind their traditional treatment of the dead.

I would recommend reading The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z first, because this is a more of a supplementary text (and those two books are awesome), but I think it can still be enjoyed all by itself. I would recommend this to zombie fans with a high tolerance for gore.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Edgar Allan Poe

How could I post about Halloween and horror without mentioning Edgar Allan Poe? His stories and poems were my first introduction into the horror genre. My dad would read his works to me before I went to bed at night when I was little. He would read to me with such furvor, using different voices. I think he's part of the reason I love to read so much. This is my favorite poem by Edgar Allan Poe. The ending always gives me chills no matter how many times I read it.

Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;--
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
She was a child and I was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love--
I and my Annabel Lee--
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud by night
Chilling my Annabel Lee;
So that her high-born kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me:--
Yes! that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of a cloud, chilling
And killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we--
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in Heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:--

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea--
In her tomb by the side of the sea.

*The beautiful painting above is from dustfae on Deviantart.com.*

Edgar Allan Poe Part 2

Edgar Allan Poe also inspired other artists to create works of art.

Voltaire wrote a song about visiting Edgar Allan Poe's grave (which I totally want to do even if it is weird!!!), called Graveyard Picnic. It's full of references to Annabel, the Conqueror Worm, and so many other of Poe's works.

Many artists have captured the poem Annabel Lee in paintings and photomanipulations.

* The beautiful acrylic painting of Annabel Lee came from dustfae.

* The above photomanipulation was created by RavenxCorpse.

* Another awesome photomanipulation was created by miss-ninja.

* You can see other works at the gallery at PoeStories.com.

*All of these artists have accounts on DeviantArt.com. If you like these works, please check out the rest of their galleries.*

There was even a Living Dead Doll made of Edgar Allan Poe and Annabel Lee (of which I am a proud owner). The Poe doll just looks so cute and sad. Aww.

There have been countless parodies and reimaginings of Poe's work for television. My favorite has to be the Raven from The Simpson's from the first Treehouse of Horror. Unfortunately, I could only find the audio of the clip. I actually first saw this in an English class in middle school.