Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dream House -- Horror or Psych-Thriller?

Just got back from my one and only public movie theater experience for this year, which just so happened to be the viewing of the film "Dream House".  Not because I've been desperately looking forward to this film, but because my wife and I have had four free movie tickets for over a year now and decided to use two of them.  I'm not a big fan of seeing movies in the movie theater, but that's a subject for another post.  Tonight wasn't such a bad movie viewing experience, but I have to wonder why people don't just shut the fuck up and watch the damn film!

As far as the movie goes, quite simply put: I liked it.  I don't recall the commercials, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but it wasn't quite as much a horror film as I had hoped.  That being said, it does have plenty of horrific elements, thought I would better classify this film as a psychological thriller.

The movie pulled me in pretty quickly with some suspenseful techniques that have perhaps been overused, which is the biggest flaw this film has.  One of the major plot twists is something that, though I will not give it away here, I have seen enough times to have caused a mental sigh as it played out on screen.  But, it was more of a minor note rather than the big finale most other films would make of such a twist, and for that it served its purpose to drive the film forward, after which it flowed very nicely to the end, allowing the viewer's mind to try and figure out what really happened.

Being a thriller, I thought I had it figured out halfway through, but I was wrong.  Once again falling victim to what the film sets the viewer up to think, which causes the real twist more of a desired effect. 

I give "Dream House" 4/5 stars, and that's a weak four.  The movie was done well, but it could have benefited from more creativity and less cliche.  I can't help but feel like the big twist in the middle (if you've seen the film you know what I'm speaking of, I'm sure) has become overused, and that alone haunts me in the wrong ways.  Maybe it's a 3.5 and I'm being too generous.  Not sure.

Cheers!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Current WIP, the Future of Through the Eyes 2, What's Up with People of the Ethereal Realm, and More.

How's that for a title?

So, as most if not all of you have heard, Twisted Library Press has cancelled all of their anthologies with the exception of the three that are completed and ready for publication.  The decision was due to economic strife and was necessary for the Library to remain.  A smart decision if you ask me, but the most difficult for Dr. Pus to make since he began publishing books.  This means Through the Eyes of the Undead 2 has been cancelled.  I have already notified the authors.  The good news in all this is that there were three new releases from the Twisted Library Press this month and more to come in the future.  The focus, for now at least, will be the three remaining anthologies and full length novels.  The Twisted Library is not dead, just scaling back and taking on a more sensible business plan.  Though so many of us were affected in one way or the other, I know it was the right thing for Doc to do.

As far as People of the Ethereal Realm goes (a future Twisted Library release), I was just emailed the final edits to go over, and then my editor will give the book one more read through for typos and to make sure it's nice and clean before being submitted to Mr. Tucker to be formatted.  The cover art is finished.  Has been for a few months, but I have elected not to share it yet.  I will, but I thought I would wait until the book was closer to release.  It's one kick ass cover.

And the current WIP... This is one hell of a nasty ride.  Cruelty, violence, madness, and clinging to the most tender of memories to keep one's self together.  This one is writing itself.  I was averaging about 2K words a day on it, but I had to slow it down due to the enormous amount of paperwork and time the process of buying a house eats up.  My wife and I have been jumping through hoops laced with dripping acid and ablaze with fire.  But it will be well worth it once we get into the house...just so long as there are no problems with inspections...

Anyway, the new story has had a title change.  It began as "That Sinking Feeling" and now, after listening to Sepultura on my ipod at work lately, it is called "Stronger Than Hate".  This is a far superior title for this nasty tale, and I think it represents all six of my primary characters in one way or the other.

Well, I'm going to hit the keys and try for 2K today.  So, what happened to all the business about not looking at word counts that I had been touting the entire time I wrote my last book?  Not sure.  I like to write them in whatever way they want to be written, and this one insists that I keep a keen eye on my word count.  Go figure.

Cheers!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Brief Rant

I was going to post this on facebook, but then I realized that I don't go to facebook to read rants like this.  Sure, there are plenty of them on there, and sometimes I take a moment to read them, but I decided that it isn't what I go there for, and so, rather than be a hypocrite, I decided to post it here.  I wrote this because of so many posts I read day in and day out (well, a few times a week.  I don't go to facebook daily).  Some people are just so adamant that they are right, but are they?  This isn't directed toward anyone in particular, in fact it's directed toward myself as much as anyone else.  And really, it's just a rant and nothing more. 

~

It's interesting to see how passionate people get about political issues.  On either side of the fence so many people think they are absolutely correct in their convictions to the point, in my opinion, of default.  Sure, I am passionate about my opinions, but I always leave room to hear the opposing views.  Cutting out the opposing views and labeling them negatively without even hearing them out is foolish; it's a monologue.  Justified "change" can only come from passionate dialogue, where all views are mulled over and discussed.  A fight may break out.  So be it.  That's life.  But in the end, a weaving of thoughts and ideas may create one cohesive agreement amongst those involved in the dialogue...and still there will be those outside of the dialogue who disagree.  That's life.  We will never agree with one another 100% of the time.  That's impossible unless people are brainwashed or terrified for their lives.  Accept it and move on.  Agree to disagree.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A New WIP: That Sinking Feeling

"The Dude abides."
                     --The Dude


My new work in progress is called "That Sinking Feeling".  I began this story back in February or March after hearing a news story about a woman in Florida falling into a sinkhole in her garden.  The hole was something like seven feet deep and she was in there for a few hours before someone discovered her.  That got me thinking about the disastrous possibilities of someone evil making the discovery of an older woman in such a precarious situation.

I had written the beginning of what was supposed to be a short story up to the point where Francine, my protagonist, is discovered in the sinkhole by her neighbor, but I was also working on my second novel and reading for Through the Eyes of the Undead 2, and so I filed the makings of "That Sinking Feeling" into the Works in Progress folder.

I looked at it once or twice, but didn't get shocked with inspiration.  Not until I finished my second novel, edited several TtEotU 2 stories and saw some of the degradation of the Wall Street protesters.  Defecating on a police car, public sex, lost fools wandering in for the cheap drugs and free food in a particularly unsavory New York park.  People making ridiculous and unreasonable demands.  I found the people who were to come across Francine.  I've seen their faces on the TV and heard their screwy blather on the radio.

What was supposed to be a short story is turning into something that will likely become novella sized.  This wasn't the next long story I had planned to work on, but when the muse strikes, it is wise to abide.

Cheers!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Scarecrow and The Madness contest

Win a free copy of Scarecrow and The Madness, one of Blood Bound Books' latest releases featuring two novellas from Craig Saunders and Robert Essig.

It costs nothing to enter and is open to anyone anywhere around the globe.

Here's the skinny:

To enter, all you have to do is place one of the banners listed below on your website or blog.  This can be your personal blog, your publishing company's website, whatever.  That doesn't matter to me.  If you do not have a blog or website, then you can post a link to the amazon listing for S and the M on facebook, twitter, or whatever social network you prefer. Here is the amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Scarecrow-Madness-Craig-Saunders/dp/0984540873/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1318258851&sr=8-1. (For those of you who post the banner, I would appreciate it if you could link it to the amazon listing, thought this is not a requirement for the contest.)  After posting the banner or amazon link you will have to email me a link to your website, facebook, etc. HERE, for me to verify and enter you into the contest.  Please include your name, pen name, or forum pseudonym.

The contest will end on Sunday Nov. 13th.  I will write the names of those who enter on pieces of paper and have my son choose one from a hat, after which the winner will be announced and contacted for an address to ship the book to.

Here are the banners:



For the above banner, copy and paste this HTML:

<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Scarecrow-Madness-Craig-Saunders/dp/0984540873/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1318298465&sr=1-1"><iframe src="http://files.bannersnack.com/iframe/embed.html?hash=6257b6827a8f1ec70f80513fb3287408&bgcolor=%233D3D3D&alt=screenshot&wmode=window&t=1317574496" width="435" height="75" frameborder="0"></iframe></a>





For the above banner copy and paste the HTML below, or right click it to save in your pictures and post it that way.

<a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Bu-lqI4Ft8I/TpS7jkzemDI/AAAAAAAAAF4/CWrZ_SXl66w/s1600/Scarecrow-amp-the-madness-2.gif" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="51" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Bu-lqI4Ft8I/TpS7jkzemDI/AAAAAAAAAF4/CWrZ_SXl66w/s400/Scarecrow-amp-the-madness-2.gif" width="400" /></a>


If you have any questions feel free to ask.

Thanks in advance for your support.  Good luck!

Friday, October 7, 2011

1st Draft of my Second Novel -- FINISHED!

That's right!  I finally finished the first draft of my second novel tentatively titled Through the In Between, Hell Awaits.  It's such a great feeling to type that single word concluding months of work: 'end', though it is far from over.  I'll sit on it for a month or two while I finish editing Through the Eyes of the Undead 2 and write some short stories and two novellas I have been outlining.  I have to be sure this novel is the furthest thing from my mind before I begin the re-writes.  I like to have fresh eyes when I begin editing novel length work.

I did two new things this time that I have never done before with my first novel or the four novellas I have written.  For one, I didn't look at the word count once.  I was so eager to see how many words the book ended up as, that I checked the word count about .000001 seconds after typing 'end'.  88K words.  400 double spaced pages.  Not too bad considering my debut novel was about 70K words.  I was shooting for about 90K, so I am very pleased with the way things turned out.  The other method I tried that contradicts the way I write large works was that I didn't take any notes.  Not one.  Let me tell you, that's something I will never do again.  Notes are such a great reference while writing a novella or novel.  At times I had to scroll through the pages looking for a name or description, something that would have been included in my notes and easy to find had I been taking notes.  Now, when I do the re-writes, I will have to take the notes I should have been taking as I wrote the book.  I'll always take notes from her on out, but I think I will continue ignore the word count.  I truly find the obsession with word counts to be distracting.  I don't base my progress on word counts like so many writers do.  I find working without keeping track of the word count is far more beneficial. 

Cheers!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hot Air and Strange Odors Part 3 (The Conclusion)



Erin walked through the door as she did every night, following the man in the black tattered clothes she had seen repair themselves right before her eyes.  He stood slightly hunched and looked worse than Boris Karloff in The Mummy.

He had stopped talking to her from his lips three days ago opting for telepathy.  She knew what he was going to ask of her.  She could tell by the sick smile playing upon his cracked lips and the fullness of his gray cataract eyes.

I need another soul.  Go get me one-a woman.  Try and be quick.

"No." Erin said simply.

His smile faltered.

"What did you say?" He hissed.

She thought he was too weak to speak aloud.

"I'm done with you...whatever you are.  I will not get you another victim, and I will not stay in that Godforsaken room any longer."

She was trying to be tough and aggressive, finding it hard to deal with the arctic chill in the house.  There must have been an air conditioner in every room to make it that cold.

"You will do as I say.  You will go out and bring someone back here to me.  Do you understand?"

"No."

Erin reached for the knife block on the kitchen table selecting the largest one.  She ran toward her captor with rage in her eyes and fury in her heart.

"You're weak!  You're old and rotting and I'm going to kill you!"

Holding the knife above her head she rushed him.  He cackled a bustling laugh as the blade, right along with her hand, went through his body as if he were nothing more than a projected image.

"You stupid bitch!  You can't kill me."

"But you're dying.  Your body is deteriorating."

"I'm already dead, my dear, I'm just surviving.  You see, I don't want to meet my maker."

"Your a..."

His relentless eyes stared at her like a cognizant zombie.  He tried to intimidate her, but his powers and spiritual guile had become useless.

"You need them, you need them to survive," she mused more to herself than the ghoul.

"If you want to live than you had better go and bring someone back here.  If you don't, I will kill you and take your soul."

"I wont.  I'm just going to leave and return with the police."

"The police," he laughed.  "What are they going to do?"

Erin just shook her head, turned, and headed for the front door.  As she reached for the handle, she saw and heard the deadbolt lock.

"You're not going anywhere," his voice rang out from behind her.

She attempted to unlock the door but was unable to.

"Shit!"

"I guess I will have to kill you and take your soul.  I can find another as weak minded as you have been to serve me, I can even use your house after you're dead."

Erin darted down the hallway toward the master bedroom, but before she could get there, the hall runner rug was pulled from beneath her feet bringing her flat on her back.

"Don't think you can get away.  After all, you've been trapped in your own house for over a year."

But he can't use his spells anymore, you broke free of that, and now you have to break free of this house.

He stood in the living room next to the kitchen, staring down at her on the floor of the hallway.  He was decrepit and rotting more by the minute, hunched over and palsied, hair white, lips cracking, the skin on his face drooping.  To die is the way of all flesh and this roaming soul was rapidly losing his consistency.  He needs a soul to refresh his own dying soul to save himself another week from Hell.

"How much do you have left in you?" Erin asked.

"More than you might think."

The door to the master bedroom suddenly slammed shut.  The sconces on either side of the hallway detached from the walls and flung themselves toward Erin.  She moved just in time to avoid being hit.

She walked back into the living room never taking her eyes off her captor.  Above, the chain holding the chandelier to the ceiling snapped dropping the large light fixture to the ground.  Erin jumped out of the way just in time.  She should have expected that.

Despite sweating from the action of fighting off light fixtures, the house was sub-arctic.  The sweat running down her face and under her armpits felt sticky and unnatural in the cold.

Maybe the cool air acted as a preservative and just as vital as the souls.

There was only one way to find out.

Erin calmly walked across the room toward the front door.

"You don't think I would let you get out that easy, do you?"

"No," she said quietly as she turned the other air conditioner off, the one that her husband had put in the living room four years ago.

It switched back on.

She turned it off.

Back on.

Next to the front door leaned a baseball bat, a half-assed burglar deterrent.  She grabbed the bat with finesse, turned, and let her rage out.  After five or six good whacks, the air conditioner gave a sigh and shut down.

Bitch! he screamed in her mind.  He hobbled a few steps forward then stopped, realizing that his once human emotion was getting the better of him.  He was angry but he had wiles.

Like bullets, the set of knives in the wooden block on the kitchen counter unsheathed themselves and flew through the air toward Erin.  Screaming, she hit the floor.  One knife pinned her arm to the front door; the rest embedded themselves in a series of thuds.

Gritting her teeth, she wiggled the knife freeing her arm.  Wasting no time, she ran toward the ghost with the bat above her head.  She knew she couldn't harm his image, but what could harm him was in the wall behind him.  Erin swung the bat down like a sledgehammer right through his ghostly form making contact with the air conditioner.  The bat broke in half and the air conditioner kept blowing cold air.

In the front door, the knives were shaking and trying to free themselves from their embedment in the wood.  His power was weakening.

I need your soul, he whispered into her mind.

He looked into her eyes, and for a moment she was frightened.  It was difficult for her to think of him as inanimate, but if he could grab her, he would have killed her by now.

From the kitchen, a broom swatted her across the head.  Miscellaneous items of food and dishes were throwing themselves at her but his power had weakened and the items were small and nearly useless.  Drawers opened and flung themselves onto the linoleum floor and that's when she saw the scissors.

But he saw them first.

Risen from the mess on the floor, the scissors flew toward Erin's face.  She swatted them away with her hand just as the scissors snipped taking one of her fingers off.  She screamed and swatted as the scissors came after her again.  All but leaping to the floor, pinning the animated scissors to the ground, she stifled their movement.

Items of equal danger began to swat her body-steak knives, butter knives, a pizza cutter-all inflicting minute slices and slashes.

Now in control of the scissors, Erin wasted no time defending herself from the onslaught of kitchenware before cutting the chord to the air conditioner.

"Noooo!  Stop it!" yelled the weakening ghost.  She could feel the weight of the knives and spoons decrease as his power weakened from the loss of his deathly preservative.

"You don't stand a fucking chance."  She spat the words in his face, then went from room to room cutting the wires of any other air conditioners she saw, three more in all.

It was in the last room, the den, when she saw him lurching in the doorway, a mere waste of rotten flesh hanging from his skeleton.  He was an alarming image that seemed too real to be of spiritual origin.

"Do you remember this room?" he asked her.

"No," she said calmly.  For the first time she felt under control.

"You don't remember what's in the closet?"

She looked at the closet door.  It was an old house so the closets still had regular doors rather than sliders.  She looked at the door trying to elicit any memories, but nothing was there.  Even memories from her life before her slavery were defunct in this room.

"You've sent me to Hell.  I should have been more cautious."  His words were a low guttural growl.

The knob on the closet door turned; the door began to creek as it opened.

"But I won't let you win."  He smiled, his body falling to the ground as to reserve the last vestiges of his spiritual powers.  He had one last haunt.  One that he hoped would completely twist her mind.

Erin's attention was diverted from the failed ghost wasted and rotting on the floor to a delicate voice in the closet.  She shook her head from side to side.  What she was seeing couldn't be there, but it was.  She closed her eyes and opened them several times to banish the sight to no avail.

Jade and Christopher were in there; they were mutilated and staring at her.

"Why, mommy," her daughter said placidly.  "Why did you kill us?"

As the fiendish ghoul's body became a pool of ectoplasmic matter, he laughed as he was sent to Hell.  Erin broke down as she realized that he had used their souls to prolong his miserable existence.

She screamed and yelled until her voice was hoarse and raspy, wondering one thing as the image of her murdered husband and daughter faded:

Did he make me eat them?



<end>


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Check Out My New Banner

I made this banner for Scarecrow and The Madness with a free on-line generator and I don't think it turned out too bad.  I'm working on one that's a little bigger and I may mess around with the imagery a bit more.  I'm also trying to make one that doesn't cut the bottom off without paying money to hide the add for Banner Snack (though I would urge you to use them if you don't know what you're doing, 'cause I'm clueless and I really like what I made).


What do you think?

Once I have a few different banners I am going to have a contest for a free copy of Scarecrow and The Madness.  Look for details in the next week or so.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Why Re-Make My Favorite Horror Films, Damn You?

Last week my wife and I watched the re-make of A Nightmare on Elm Street.  We were getting all the pay movie channels for free and it came on, so we thought "what the hell" and watched.  It was beyond terrible, as most re-makes are and have been for quite some time, which makes me wonder just why people find it in their best interest to re-make classic horror films.

Here is a list of films I think never should have been re-made.  This is very self indulgent and I know a lot of people disagree with me, especially those who are younger than me.  I grew up in the VHS generation where all the old horror films were just a video store away.  I watched the originals, even if it was filmed before my parents had even gotten together much less had the glimmer of a thought to create me.  Thing is, some films are great they way they are, even if they were filmed as far back as the thirties (though I would have to agree that most films before the 50s could use some updating). Here's the list of films that should never have been re-made:

Halloween
Psycho
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
A Nightmare on Elm Street
The Haunting
Friday the 13th
The House of Wax
Dawn of the Dead
Night of the Living Dead
Day of the Dead
The Hitcher
The Amityville Horror
Carnival of Souls
House on Haunted Hill
The Omen
The Shining
Carrie
Fright Night
13 Ghosts
The Hills Have Eyes
The Lost Boys

Those are off the top of my head, and with a little help from a website with a list of re-makes.  Of course, I only list movies I'm familiar with.  For instance, I saw the re-make of My Bloody Valentine, but had never seen the original.  Not a big slasher film fan, and they were a dime a dozen in the 80s.

Those films are great the way they are.  Some of them may be a little dated, but not enough to constitute a re-make.  Not in my eyes at least.  Some would argue that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was filmed on such a low budget with such poor film stock and sound that it's too hard for young people to watch.  I say bullshit.  It's that documentary-like film quality and sound that creates the atmosphere in that film and makes it so scary.  Some would argue that 13 Ghosts and House on Haunted Hill are too schticky and should be made into more serious films.  I suppose that's in the eye of the Beholder.  But the re-makes were terrible, as most re-makes are. 

But there are anomalies.  Here's a list of films that were justifiably to be re-made, in my opinion:

The Fly
The Thing
Last House on the Left
The Crazies
Dracula
The Mummy
The Wolfman
Nosferatu
Phantom of the Opera
The Wicker Man

I like the originals of most if not all of these films, however I can see good reason for either updating or re-making them better, though most often the re-makes are terrible.  I think The Fly is the greatest re-make ever.  David Cronenberg knew what he was doing, and he did it right.  I also like the Crazies re-make because the original was such tripe.  Now, when it comes to The Last House on the Left and The Wicker Man, I am a huge fan of both the originals and couldn't care less about the re-makes, but I can see how the films were do for some renovations.  Both of them have rather terrible scores, and LHotL has some very poor acting.  I also think The Wicker Man could have been truly frightening, but some of the ritualistic behavior in the original was laughable at best.

So, what's next?  What gem will be re-made to take advantage of the 3D boom we're living through?(Don't get me started there.  This new 3D is crap if you ask me.)  I don't know, but I can tell you that for the most part I'll be disappointed.  Filmmakers should stopcashing out re-making a film due to its popularity and dig into some of the great plots from the 50s and beyond that are outdated.  Start with Bowery After Midnight.  It's a Lugosi classic, but it's outdated and would make for a frightening film set in the the present day.  Sure, people will think it's an original because the name isn't well known like, say, Jaws or The Exorcist, or, I don't know, A Nightmare on Elm Street!  But someone should give that train of thought a chance and see where it goes.  May be a goldmine there not only for profits, but good horror films as well.

But God forbid, don't touch Freaks!  That film is old but perfect the way it is.