Friday, December 11, 2015

We Are Still Here

This post title works both as identifying the movie I just watched and to let you know that I still update. I originally purchased this Blu-Ray with the intent of watching it during Halloween. Things intervened and I was unable to complete that goal. I am glad I waited however as the movie is set during the winter and a chill in the air and snow on the ground while you watch it help set the mood even more.

Of course it's 65 here and sunny but I digress.

The Sachetti's are moving into a new house in a new town in the year 1979. Their son died on the way back home from college and they think that a change of venue will do them a world of good.

They may have miscalculated that last bit.

From the moment them move in, things don't seem right around the house. Anne (played wonderfully by the talented Barbara Crampton), thinks that Bobby, their son, has moved into the house with them in spirit and that explains the strange goings on. Paul, her husband, just thinks that it's an old house with accompanying old house problems, like a furnace that turns the basement into a sweltering hellhole whenever it is on and power that flickers regularly.

It doesn't help things that the townsfolk are rather put off by the newcomers to the town and are giving them the cold shoulder, save for a man named Dave and his quiet wife Cat, who are friendly but still a little off.

Enter Larry Fessenden and Lisa Marie as Jacob and May, who have a way of communing with spirits and will help reveal what exactly the presence in the house is trying to do and what dark secret the townsfolk don't want them to know.

This is a beautiful little film from first time director Ted Geoghegan. Even thought it's a period piece, it could play in any time with it's rural New England setting that I've seen many times in my trips up and down the coast. You can see the pedigree of 70s horror that runs in its veins, with a heavy nod towards the films of Lucio Fulci (House by the Cemetery in particular), though I don't think it gets as weird as some of those. It shares that dreamy quality that I recall from Let's Scare Jessica to Death but still has grounded scenes like the bar scene that bring to mind The Wicker Man, among others.

There is a slow burn to it, ramping up with the happening until all hell breaks loose in the third act, that keeps you on the edge of your seat, wondering what is going to happen to the couple and if they'll be able to make it out of the house before the previous occupants force them to stay--permanently. Of course I would be remiss if I did not mention the copious gore in the film. I should have expected it in a movie that people had described as "Fulci as fuck" but it surprised me as to how much there were. The majority of it is set in the last act but it was well worth the wait.

We Are Still Here is beautifully shot and acted and well worth seeking out if you are a fan of haunted houses and horror movies. It's nice to see a homage to the movies that I grew up with that, while steeped in the, works as its own movie and doesn't rely too heavily on your love for the past to win you over. I'm looking forward to see what else Mr. Geoghegan comes out with in the future, as this movie has definitely put him on my radar as a talent to watch.

Check it out.


Tuesday, December 01, 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015

I tried. I struggled valiantly. I was diligent as I could be, could beyond the call of duty at times and others barely squeaking out the words for the day.

But I failed.

The Thanksgiving weekend, where I would usually make up for tons of slacking earlier, proved to be my downfall as I wrote barely anything as I met the commitments of family and building a train table for my wife's Christmas village. This put me into a deficit that I vainly clawed at the sides to get out of, but in the end, I slid down the sides to my inevitable doom.

Mark my word count at the time of demise at 47,070.

It is a goodly amount of words, but it is not enough to win.

I'm sorry novel, I have failed you.

Or have I? You see, despite being about 3,000 words shy (2, 930 to be precise), the novel is complete. It has a beginning, a middle and a hell of an end. I even tacked on an epilogue I didn't think I'd need but it managed to wrap things up nicely.

Now all that is left to do is flesh it out. The skeleton is there and you can see the connective tissue, but I will have to go about fattening it up and stringing the flesh onto it so it goes from looking like a gaunt, emaciated hell creature and into something a little more fetching.

So in failure, I did manage to get a small taste of victory. And for that, I am happy.

Now to get back to Friday Night Frights 2 and finish my editing on that once and for all.

Then maybe, The Girl at the Bottom of the Bottle can finally get out as well.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Ant-Man

I don't get out to the movies much anymore. It's a lot harder when you have a kid who is still too young to watch all of the horror movies I want to see. Fortunately, I did get out to see Ant-Man while the rest of the family was occupied. I'm glad I did. It was a wonderful film with smaller stakes than a lot of the superhero movies lately but easily the biggest heart.

No pun intended.

The movie follows Scott Lang, a thief who is fresh out of prison and trying to start life over so he can do right by his little girl. Unfortunately, that's kind of tough when you have a prison record and most honest jobs don't want anything to do with him. Enter Hank Pym.

Hank has a problem too. His protege, Darren Cross, is about to recreate Pym's research into Pym particles which allow you to shrink and grow objects at will. Cross wants to sell this to the military and have the whole concept of war revamped. Seeing how this could be devastating, Pym recruits Lang to help steal the prototype suit that Cross would use to show off his work. As you might imagine, Lang is in a bit over his head. Fortunately, Pym's daughter Hope is around to show him the ropes and help train him in becoming Ant-Man.

What results from all of this is a fun and action-filled heist film that is grounded in the Marvel Universe and loaded with great characters you can't wait to see more of. The fights when Lang is shrunk down are particularly great, as something as simple as a bathroom can become a massively new terrain with hazards and dangers to navigate.  The effect is dizzying and dazzling and looks really great in 3d, which I'm usually not a fan of.

The smaller stakes in the film also help it feel like an issue of a comic book. There's not a massive threat bearing down on the city or the world that has to be handled. Instead, it's about taking down one man and solving a problem that the Avengers would be too busy to handle. Speaking of which, there's a great cameo from an Avenger that is one of the highlights of the film. I don't want to spoil though the trailers on TV did that for me.

The cast is great and have a great chemistry together. Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly as Scott and Hope are terrific and I'm looking forward to a sequel where they can be the dynamic duo that the movie hints at. It's just a shame that with all the movies on Marvel's slate, we'll most likely have to wait awhile to see them in their own film. Here's hoping they have spots in Captain America: Civil War and the Infinity Gauntlet.

Check it out

Monday, July 13, 2015

Friday Night Frights 2

Work on the sequel to The Dead Next Door is coming along swimmingly. I finished the rough draft of it a few weeks ago but then decided to knock out a chapter book before my summer vacation. Now that is done so I'm back to work on the second draft. In this one, Dave and his friends are off to camp where there is a slasher on the loose and they'll have to put their movie knowledge to good use or end up another victim of a ghastly madman.

More to come in the next few weeks, including the title of the new book, so stay tuned!

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Dead Next Door is Live!

Hi there everyone! I just wanted to drop in and let you know that my new book The Dead Next Door: Friday Night Frights Book One is now available on Amazon. You can pick it up in either paperback or Kindle formats.

This novel is about a group of friends who find out that there are some supernatural happenings going on in their town and unfortunately for them, they may be the only ones who can stop them.

It's geared more towards the young adult crowd but it is enjoyable by anyone with a love for vampire killing and light horror shenanigans.

I hope you enjoy it and if you do, please leave a review on Amazon.com.

Thank you and remember to beware of things that go bump in the night.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Giant Monster Rampage

I've been interested in monster themed war games for awhile now. I have a Monsterpocalypse set that I've played a bit with and have the Godzilla: Kaiju World War board game but I was looking for something with a little more customizability. I finally think I've found it.

Giant Monster Rampage is essentially a rule book for playing with your toys. Everything from the figures to the terrain is either a figure you already have or a repurposed bit like a book covered with a piece of felt to be a mountain. Buildings can be LEGO bricks or another compatible style of blocks. The only thing you might not have around is the ten-sided die to use for your rolls.

With the character creation toolset of powers and abilities, you can make just about any monster you have a figure for. Most of the powers are vague enough so you can just rename it and have it be the one you are trying to recreate.

The game is easy enough to pick up for a standard game. I played it with my daughter for a few games and after a bit we didn't need the rulebook for the basics and only referenced it when we had a question we didn't know the answer to. We did a  one-on-one battle first to get the hang of it and then branched out into city destruction and a "destroy all monsters" scenario and then went rather well.

My only complaint is that after a few games with makeshift terrain I started looking online for Heroscape terrain and Monsterpocalypse buildings to use to give the maps a bit more character and I have a feeling that it might be an expensive game in the long run because of that. Otherwise, it has a low investment ceiling for someone who already has 3" or 6" figures like I do, which is nice as buying more toys isn't something that I really need to do.

It's a fun game for a decent price and even if you only play it a few times with your toys, the book isn't going to take up an extreme amount of space like some boardgames might. Definitely worth a look if you are a giant monster aficionado like myself.