Saturday, August 30, 2003
FREDDY VS. JASON
I've been hearing a lot of opinions about this one. Some people absolutey hate it, and other people think it's a lot of fun. Well, I gotta go with the latter group. I had a good time at this one.
We pretty much had a private screening. Laura and I went to our local theater on a Thursday night, at the late show, and the movie had already been out for two weeks. So we were the only people in the theater (everyone else must have been home watching the MTV Music Awards - lol). They showed some horror-related trailers beforehand, including The Order (anyone else see this? I dunno - I tend to hate religious horror movies, except for The Exorcist of course, and this one about a priest hunting down supernatural enemies or whatever just looks like a total snooze to me. And what's up with Heath Ledger? Why is this guy a star now? Why must we be subjected to another vacant pretty boy with the acting talent of a slug? The guy's like a low-rent Brad Pitt or something.). Also saw the trailer for the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake - and at the risk of total blamsphemy here, I've got to admit, the trailer didn't look that bad. Of course you can't tell shit from a trailer, the movie might still blow. But the trailer was well done and looked like a serious remake, even down to the snapshot effect cribbed from the original. Of course, no matter how good it is, that's all this movie will ever be - a snapshot of the original. Because Chainsaw is the daddy of all ball-busting no-holds-barred horror flicks. And no Hollywood product is going to come close to capturing the pure magic of the original. But after the trailer, I feel like I might check the new one out out of curiosity at least. We'll see. It's got to be a hundred times better than that abomination, Texas Chainsaw: The Next Generation, which still pops up on cable now and then and which is the equivalent of Matthew McConehay (wrong spelling? who gives a fuck!) jerking off on the back of your head in a movie theater. That is one fucking stinker of a movie (and even has a young Renee Zellwegger in it - but despite the big names it still totally sucks ass).
Okay, enough about trailers. Then the movie started. The very beginning seemed promising enough, as it sets up the reasons why and how Freddy is able to hook up with Jason and get the world's biggest goalie to do his dirty work in the world of the awake. It's a lot of shit about how if people forget Freddy he loses his power and can't invade dreams, and he uses Jason to go to Elm Street and scare the shit out of people again - so they think Freddy is doing the murders and they start thinking about him again.....I know, it's convoluted and a little dumb, but what the hell. It sets the story up.
Then the movie goes through a long draggy stretch where we meet the kids who live on Elm Street. (Rant begins) Man, do the teenagers in these movies suck! No wonder so many of the sequels are unwatchable. The kids are fucking brainless idiots who you don't care about, and whose lives onscreen are meaningless. Whatever happened to fucking character development, anyway? If you're going to have Freddy and Jason kill a bunch of these idiots off, why not at least make them seem human first so we fucking care!! (end of rant). And we get a lot of shots of Monica Keena's new breasts. She used to be on shows like 90210 and Dawson's Creek and is usually better than most of the idiots on these shows, but she's still no great actress. This is her first starring role and I noticed right away that something was different about her. Well, I noticed two things. Her implants. The sucky part is she doesn't even get a chance to show them off. Except for a few flashbacks to the previous movies - this movie has just about no nudity! A Freddy and Jason movie without breasts! Gimme a fuckin break! And I'm sorry, cleavage just doesn't cut it, Monica! The rest of the cast is pretty heinous too, from Kelly Rowland from Destiny's Child (I guess she thought she could be an actress because Beyonce was in Austin Powers. But they both shouldn't quit their day jobs), to some retard who looks and acts just like Jason Mewes from Jay & Silent Bob in Kevin Smith's movies. Does Jay know someone is fuckin ripping him off?? He must. But it's a pretty bad imitation - although blatant as hell.
So the teenagers suck and you sit there, slowly turning into a vegetable, and then, finally, something happens and Freddy and Jason are finally fighting! All of a sudden this shitty movie turns into something worth watching. I won't give away the end of this - but let's just say when Jason enters Freddy's world of dreams, Freddy has the advantage and when Freddy enters Jason's (real) world, Jason has the advantage. Which makes plenty of sense. But man, these two going at it is a lot of fun - or at least I thought so. It was like an old issue of Marvel Team-Up gone bad. I know a lot of people hated this flick, but if you grew up watching Godzilla movies and old-time wrestling (with guys like Chief Jay Strongbow and Andre the Giant), like I did, you might just understand the appeal of this movie.
The ending is pretty satisfying, although not that surprising. You pretty much have an idea of what will happen even before the movie starts. But it was a helluva lot of fun getting to the end. If you can somehow avoid the first half - which stinks.
I went in as a Freddy fan, btw, and as it went on, I started to like Jason more and more. Pretty neat trick for a character who doesn't talk and has the personality of an oyster on the half shell. One scene I dug that relates to this is when Freddy gets into Jason's dreams and sees what scares him - we see flashbacks of some mutant-looking kid getting tormented and crying out in vain for help as he drowns, and you actually feel sorry for the dude. For once, he actually seems human and not just some faceless killing machine. For that alone, I dug the movie.
So here's my review: Teenagers - thumbs down, Freddy & Jason - thumbs up. Depending on how much you like Freddy and Jason will determine how much you like this movie. As for me, I like the characters a lot more than I like their actual movies (about 98% of all the Freddy and Jason sequels up to to this point have totally sucked ass. A recent example that comes to mind that was actually tolerable was Jason X. I still dig the cyborg Jason!).
Now when are they going to let Leatherface kick Mike Myer's ass?!!
GLENN CHADBOURNE TO ILLUSTRATE "MERMAIDS"
I found out that Glenn Chadbourne will be illustrating the story, "Mermaids," that I co-wrote with Daniel G. Keohane. The issue of Cemetery Dance we're in should be coming out in October. I was overjoyed to hear this - Glenn is one of my favorite artists and I have an original drawing of his framed (it's from his illustrations for the original edition of Rick Hautala's Bedbugs). This just makes my first sale to CD all the sweeter!
Here's an excerpt from Dan Keohane's newsletter: "...got talking with Glenn Chadbourne, a tremendous guy and one of the leading illustrators and cover artists in the industry. Come to find out, he is the artist for the illustration of "Mermaids", L.L. Soares' and my story appearing in the October Cemetery Dance. I haven't seen it yet, but this is wicked cool news. This is one thrill a writer doesn't experience often enough - seeing an artist's interpretation of something the author has seen ONLY in their head until that moment. It's like seeing into someone else's mind for a moment.... and if you know Glenn, that's a scary thought. (Just kidding, sir... Very cool news, to put it lightly! I have more movie reviews up on the Weird Times webzine. This time it's reviews of House of 1,000 Corpses and May. Right now I have three reviews on the site (these and Wrong Turn). Not bad. Check out the site - it's run by Tim Emswiler, a helluva nice guy.
MORE REVIEWS ON WEIRD TIMES
Very cool news, to put it lightly!
I have more movie reviews up on the Weird Times webzine. This time it's reviews of House of 1,000 Corpses and May. Right now I have three reviews on the site (these and Wrong Turn). Not bad. Check out the site - it's run by Tim Emswiler, a helluva nice guy.
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
THE EBAY CRAPSHOOT
I'm starting to think that almost nobody who puts comics up for sale on Ebay has any fucking idea how to grade them. Despite a few rare cases where the product was better than I expected, a bunch of recent comics I've ordered have been a letdown. The big problem seems to be what FINE condition is. When I was a kid ordering comics from J&S Comics down in Red Bank, New Jersey (what a great company! whatever happened to these guys??), when you ordered an old comic in Fine condition, it was in a pretty decent shape. You could rely on it. Glossy cover, no signs of wear on the spine. There was obviously a bit of aging - no way around that unless they'd been in mylar bags since the 60's. But Fine meant something back then. Nowadays, Fine can mean just about everything from Good (a much inferior condition) to Very Fine. Usually the crappier end of the spectrum. Which goes to prove one thing. It's not worth buying comics from Ebay - unless it's someone you've bought from before and you know they have quality goods. Or if you can afford one of those comics that has a CGC rating, which means that it's been professionally graded (and usually has the price tag to prove it). But your average Joe Shmoe sitting in his living room, trying to get a good price on his crappy copies of old Amazing Spider-Man doesn't know jack shit about grading comics. And he doesn't deserve your hard-earned money.
And you don't deserve the headaches of wondering if you're going to get your money's worth.
Just a thought.
Wednesday, August 20, 2003
Well, Horrorfind Weekend was a complete success. First off, I finally got a chance to meet a lot of cool people, including Mike Oliveri, Mikey Huyck, Ed Lee, Gary Braunbeck, Geoff Cooper, Paul Melniczek, and Kealan Patrick-Burke. And Laura and I finally got to meet Brian Keene's lovely wife, Cassi, one of the nicest ladies on the planet.
Lots of very cool familiar faces too. Everyone from Jack Haringa (and his wife Tomomi) to Nick Kaufmann, to Meghan Fatras and her husband Fran, Mary SanGiovanni and Kev, to Linda Addison and Gerard Houarner, and Matt Warner and his fiance Deena. Oh yeah, and Jack Haringa read a killer story at his reading Sunday morning!
My first book signing (as part of BEST OF HORRORFIND 2) went really well. There were tons of people in line and we were signing for over an hour and a half. It seemed to just zoom by, though. I was the first one in line at the table. The people who wanted books signed were pretty cool, and I almost felt like I was somebody. HA HA. Lots of really cool people in this book, so if you want a solid collection, check it out at Shocklines. There should still be plenty of copies available.
My first reading was cool, too. I got to read with author Cullen Bunn who was very cool. I read my story, "Head Games" with some introductory jungle drums (thanks for the boombox, Brian!) and I even found a stuffed monkey that screeched when you squeezed him, for even more atmosphere. Since the story is about killer monkeys, I thought the props worked nicely. I even got a rubber monkey mask in the dealer's room, but figured that just might be overkill. There were between 7 and 10 people in the audience, including Mary Moore and Jenny Orosel. Thanks for coming! We were up against the tail end of the "anti-reading" by Geoff Cooper and J.F. Gonzales (I saw most of it- and Coop was a riot!) and a big Q&A of some of the big name writers in attendence, so it's amazing anyone came to our reading at all. I think I did okay, except I looked at the pages way too much as I read. I should have interacted with the audience more, but that kinda stuff doesn't come too naturally and I was nervous. I think I'll do better next time. But it was nice to finally do a reading. And Cullen was a great guy to do a reading with. It's funny because Cullen has a shaved head and a beard too, so we almost looked like twins. Great reading with you, man! And the final reader for the session was Robert Walker.
Spent way too much at the dealer room. I added a few more fake skulls to my collection, finally got the unaired pilot of Buffy on VHS, and a Bloodsucking Freaks t-shirt (!!!). Not bad.
It was a great time, but we were exhausted by the time it was over. And our plane was delayed 2 hours on the way back (ugh!).
Thanks to everyone who made it such a great weekend! It's kind of depressing now that another summer of conventions has come to an end. Now we gotta pay off all the charge bills and start saving up for next year!
Wednesday, August 13, 2003
AMONG THE YEAR'S BEST!
Got a surprise this week that really psyched me up a bit. I found a copy of the brand-new sixteenth annual YEAR'S BEST FANTASY & HORROR, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, and what should I see at the back of the book, under "Honorable Mentions"?
Well, first off, my wife, Laura Cooney, got an Honorable Mention for her story, "Wasps" which first appeared on the Horrorfind website last year. This is one of my favorite stories of hers, and I was really psyched to see that it got a mention in Year's Best.
Secondly, I saw that I'd gotten a Honorable Mention as well, for my story, "Second Chances" which first appeared on Gothic.net last December. I have to admit, this came as quite a surprise!
This is the first time either Laura or I have been mentioned in Year's Best, and hopefully it won't be the last!
I also have a few more firsts awaiting me in Baltimore this weekend at the Horrorfind convention. My first book signing (for BEST OF HORRORFIND 2), and my first public reading on Saturday night. I can't wait. I just know it's going to be a terrific weekend. To anyone who's going to the convention - hope to see you there!
Friday, August 08, 2003
COUNTING THE DAYS TIL HORRORFIND
I know. Not much in the way of new posts lately. I don't know why, but I've just been exhausted all the time the last couple of weeks. After work I just feel totally drained, which sucks.
But some upcoming news is Horrorfind is a little more than a week away, and I can't wait. Not only will I finally be meeting a lot of great people I've never met in person before, but I'll be doing my first book signing (for the anthology BEST OF HORRORFIND 2, which includes my story, "Beyond the Haze"), and I'll be doing my first reading on Saturday night. So I'm psyched. Horrorfind should be a great time and a nice break from everyday life.