Friday, August 16, 2019

New Logo

The Friday Night Frights series is probably my favorite thing to work on. However, one of the things I feel the series has been lacking is a logo. So I came up with one. It is going to be making its debut on the the new novel and then I'll be redesigning the others to utilize it as well. That should keep me busy.

Fun fact: this picture is actually from the cover of the new book. I'll be revealing it in the future and it is my favorite of the ones I've had done so far.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Friday Night Frights 6: In Progress

I'm happy to report that last night I finished the outline for All-Night Horror Show (Friday Night Frights Book 6). Then, thanks to traffic coopering, I managed to get into work early enough to start work on it. No idea when it will be done just yet as I'm only a 1000 words in but it should be on track for release in 2020.

In addition to writing, I'm sending out The Last Giant Killer and John and Deety Save Christmas to agents and publishers to see if I can get some nibbles on them. I was close on J&DSC but things fell apart at the end but I'm hopeful that one will find a home somewhere.

Sorry I've been slacking on reviews but I honestly haven't been watching that many movies lately. I'm hoping to catch a few this weekend so I should have something to post.

Until next time.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

How I'm Spending My Summer Vacation

'Nuff said.

Ok, I can say a little more. I've officially begun work on the outline for Friday Night Frights Book 6, tentatively titled ALL-NIGHT HORROR SHOW. I've done considerably more than just the title page and I'm sitting around 20k words so far on the outline alone. That's a hell of a lot more than usual but this one is going to have a lot going on as big changes are afoot in the world of David Gale and friends. It'll also be a great jumping on point for newer readers who may not want to dive into the first five books just yet so I'm trying to make it rewarding for readers new and old. There's no release date as of yet but I'm looking at early 2020 if all goes well.

I even have a cover for it already. Want to see it? Well, you're going to have to wait but I'll be doing a cover reveal sometime in the near future, so stay tuned.

Before I go, I wanted to thank everyone who purchased a copy of SHE-WOLF, TAKE A BOW. I'm glad you are enjoying my labors of love and I hope you are looking forward to the next one as much as I am.

Until next time.

Friday, June 28, 2019

FNF 5: She-Wolf Take a Bow is Out Now!

Hey there, Friday Night Frights fans. The newest novel in the ongoing horror series, She-Wolf, Take a Bow, is now available both in paperback and for the Kindle. To get your copy, head on over to Amazon and order today.

Happy reading!

Monday, June 03, 2019

Review: Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

If you’ve been following my blog even a little, you know I’m a pretty big Godzilla fan. It’s been that way since I was a wee lad watching movies on rainy Saturday afternoons on WPIX and the Thanksgiving marathons on WWOR. There was just something so powerful about the imagery used as this gigantic monster blazed a trail of destruction through the city. The giant battles against colorful foes didn’t hurt either.

While the first American attempt at a Godzilla movie didn’t go over well, the second one in 2014 was a masterful kaiju movie that really brought home the size and scale of the creatures involved and featured some great designs. Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the sequel to that second film and builds upon a world that has discovered monsters and is honestly a blast.

Five years after the events of the first film, Godzilla is nowhere to be seen and humanity is still recovering from discovering that they now live in a world where they are the ants. Monarch, a secret scientific organization, has been searching for and cataloguing the locations of more of these monsters, which they have called Titans. One scientist in particular, Dr. Emma Russell (played by Vera Farmiga) is working on a device that uses the bioacoustics of the monsters to tame them or enrage them. She and her daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown), witness the device’s effectiveness first-hand when the Titan egg they are studying hatches a giant caterpillar named Mothra and manages to placate it when after it attacks the soldiers around her in self-defense.

 Just as they are celebrating that the device, ORCA, works, a group of eco-terrorists breaks into the lab and kidnaps Emma and Madison. Monarch, looking to find them and recover their missing employee and the ORCA, brings in Mark, Emma’s ex-husband and co-creator of the ORCA to track them down before the terrorists can fulfill their plan of waking up all of the Titans around the world and ushering in an age of monsters. Unfortunately for all, one of the monsters they awaken isn’t from Earth, and it is going to take the combined powers of humanity and Godzilla to defeat it.

Whereas the first movie limited the amount of exposure we got to Godzilla and the battles he has with the monsters in that film, G: KOTM jumps right in with the kaiju combat as we see Godzilla, the firebird Rodan and even Mothra  as they try to fight the invading Monster Zero, aka King Ghidorah, a golden three-headed hydra from space. These fights are all-out brawls, harkening back to those we saw on Saturday mornings with the Showa era films, but this time it isn’t men is rubber suits but gorgeously rendered 3d models that claw and bite and blast their way across the screen. Each action set piece is bigger and better than the last, culminating in a multiple monster fight unlike any ever seen in the series.

In between the moments of spectacle, we follow the human portion of the cast as they try to stop terrorist and monster alike. Whereas in the first film this portion seemed reactionary more than anything, in the sequel, they are much more proactive in dealing with the monster threat and are constantly working to try and stay ahead of their foes. The cast is great and bring a lot of heart to the film and their story is entertaining and draws you in so you aren’t just marking time until the next bout of kaiju fighting. The score is top notch too, with Bear McCreary doing some of his best work in crafting new themes and mixing in the old that originated with Akira Ifakube.

I feel like a monster brawl like this was a long time coming and it was well worth the wait. The designs are awesome, the story is good and the action scenes will melt your face like a blast from Godzilla’s atomic fire. Long live the King…of the Monsters.

Check it out.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Attention all Friday Night Frights fans! Just wanted to let you know that the fifth book in the series, She-Wolf Take a Bow, is now available for pre-order for the Kindle. Both this version and the paperback version come out on June 21.

Pre-Order Here

Thanks for being a fan and I hope you enjoy it!

Review: Suspiria (2018)

How does one remake a horror classic? For those adapted from a novel or story, like with The Thing (1982), you hew closer to the source material instead of the original Hawks film or like with The Fly (1986), you keep elements but go off in your own direction. When the movie you are remaking is from an original script and a beloved film, as is the case with Suspiria, there is a fear that you are either going to tread too closely ala Halloween (2007) or end up being so inferior that people will wonder why you just didn't make a different movie in the first place. So when the Suspiria remake was announced, it was understandable that there was some concern about how it might turn out. After all, that film is highly regarded by horror fans and started off Argento's Three Mothers trilogy that consists of Suspiria, Inferno and The Mother of Tears. The Three Mothers include Mater Lachrymarum (Our Lady of Tears), Mater Suspiriorum (Our Lady of Sighs), and Mater Tenebrarum (Our Lady of Darkness), for those unfamiliar with his work.

I'm a little late to the party on this one, but I have to say that it was bloody brilliant.

The film, directed by Luca Guadagnino from a script by David Kajganich, keeps some elements of the original but diverges enough and fleshes out the world around it enough to wholly separate it from yet build upon the mythology of the Dario Argento original. It also subverts some of your expectations, much like Night of the Living Dead (1990), so you have no way to expect what might exactly come next.

The plot focuses on the arrival of Susie Bannion at the Helena Markos Tanzgruppe in Germany in 1977, and Dr. Josef Klemperer, a psychotherapist who in investigating the disappearance of one of the dancers in the group who had been a patient of his. As Susie rises the ranks in the dance group and is plagued by nightmares and odd happenings, Dr. Klemperer discovers that the matrons in the dance group may actually be a coven of witches.

That's all I can really say without delving into too many spoilers, and this is the type of movie you want to watch without knowing much in advance so you can absorb the atmosphere and get taken along for the ride the same as the characters on screen are. It's a re-imagining of the Argento original that takes some cues and adds new ones as the tale is woven to its climax.

As Susie, Dakota Johnson display a great physicality that mesmerizes you with her dance and an emotional distance of a stranger in a strange land, of which a Berlin torn by the efforts of the RAF, as well as the intimate need to find a new mother after losing hers. In the role of Madame Blanc, the famed instructor that Susie has come to study under and also the role of Dr. Klemperer is Tilda Swinton, whose ethereal mutability throws her into the two different parts and two different genders. Swinton is one of the finest actors working today and it shows as Blanc where she can turn from severe when instructing her students to almost motherly when helping Susie along on her quest.

The lurid colors of Argento's original have been eschewed for a muted palette that mirrors the bleakness of the world outside the dance studio. It's a bold choice and one that works, as trying to imitate Argento or outdo him would be too easy a decision. This pays off in the few moments where color is allowed to come out and cover the frame and results in some stunning imagery. Equally few are the moments of grisly murder, allowing the ones we see to stand out and shock us with some rather spectacular special effects. Instead, we are allowed to bask in the escalating tension that pervades each scene as we wonder what will become of Susie in her dealings with the coven.

All-in-all, this is a worth addition to the world of horror remakes that builds upon, rather than supplants the original. At nearly three hours (six acts and an epilogue) it does feel a little long at times, but there weren't many points where I was sitting and hoping they would get to the next scene as there is world-building going on and few run longer than they have to, so there is a conscious effort to keep things moving. I was impressed enough to wonder how Guadagnino would handle the other films in the Three Mother's Trilogy and hope we get them in the future.

Suspiria is available on Amazon Prime now and is a great way to spend a night.

Check it out.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Review: Detective Pikachu

Once upon a time in college, I was pretty heavily into Pokemon. The first game had just come out and I picked up the Red version and my buddy got the Blue one and we'd battle and trade and had a blast. Hell, we even watched the cartoon. As much as I enjoyed the game, I never really got into the followups to it and I moved on to other things. I still loved those OG Pokemon though and their designs.

Going into Detective Pikachu, I wondered if nostalgia would carry me through the movie or if there would be enough substance to entertain me as well as my family. I am thankful to say that in addition to the joy of seeing those Pokemon favorites rendered in lifelike CG, the story and acting carried the movie and kept us all enthralled.

In the world of Detective Pikachu, most people have a Pokemon of their own. Some are trainers that battle with them while others just keep them as pets or friends with potentially deadly abilities, such as people do. Tim Goodman, however, is not one of those people. He used to want to be a Pokemon trainer but gave up that dream and never got a Pokemon of his own, even when friends try to help him capture one. When he gets the call that his father has died in an accident, Tim travels to Ryme City, where Pokemon and people live as equals. When he stumbles upon his father's Pikachu that he can somehow understand and that his father may not be dead after all, Tim is drawn into a plot that may bring Ryme City crashing to the ground.

While the Pokemon are admittedly the draw of the movie, Justice Smith and Ryan Reynolds provide the heart of the movie as Tim and Detective Pikachu, respectively. Smith is great as Tim, a boy from a broken home who is trying to find his place in the world and regretting some of the decisions he's made in the past in terms of his father. I never though Ryan Reynolds as a wise-cracking pikachu was just what I needed the world but it turns out it hit the spot with humor that edges close to being a Deadpool-lite but never really crossing that line but still providing the laughs.

There are few bumps here and there but all in all it was a solid film that will be sure to delight Pokemon fans young and old.

Check it out.