Let's Talk About Horror Fiction and Film

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Spaceman Spiff, Oct 10, 2007.

  1. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    I'm not sure this is the same thing you'd get at theflytheopera.com, because I haven't been able to get that to work yet. This clip is the only thing I could find on YouTube which looked as if it might be it.
     
  2. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    I think it's only running for a month. I don't know how well it'll do, but if I lived closer to LA, I'd go. I couldn't not.

    It's interesting that the story takes place in the '50s. I like his version of the movie well enough, but setting it in the '50s would have been great. I wonder if Cronenberg had to do the film over again, if he'd go that route.

    On a totally different note, I was just poking around Amazon and saw the next film to get the Universal Legacy treatment! :eek: Into the cart it goes for pre-order. :D
     
  3. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    Hmm. If it's the Legacy Edition, shouldn't all the Psycho movies be in there? :p

    I already have the Psycho DVD, of course, but this one has a lot more extras; including one of the best episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Too bad Norman Bates never got to cross over with the Wolf Man and Mummy et al. :D House Of Norman! And he actually has one, too. :rommie:
     
  4. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    I've never seen any of the Psycho sequels. Are they any good?

    Between the last post and this I've read Covenant by John Everson. I got it as part of my final shipment from the Leisure Horror book club (they're releasing them on Kindle now, so no more reason for them to take up space on my shelf).

    I'm still a little torn on recommending it. It's pretty well-written, more so than the usual Leisure fare, which makes sense, since it got Everson a Stoker for Best New Novel.

    From the description:

    It starts out fairly run-of-the-mill, but it's a mill that I like: A stranger moves to a New England town during the crisp Autumn months and slowly discovers its dark secrets. It should be its own sub-genre at this point, but I like those kinds of stories.

    It's a pretty good story, but there's a point in the middle where it shifts to some pretty dark sexual territory. Everson does a good job of keeping it horrifying without skewing towards titillation, and it's certainly disturbing, so in that respect, he's wholly successful. In other words, there's some rape in this book, and it's upsetting each time it happens. I think that's why I'm on the fence about recommending it; I tend to prefer a bit more fun in my horror, and once you introduce rape, well, it gets much more serious. And since the plot of the novel centers on a demon living in a cliff, you expect it to be a little silly instead of treading such dark waters.

    Then again, you could argue that if such creatures are real, those are just the sorts of waters they'd wade in; corruption of the flesh and whatnot.

    On the whole, I'd say it's more thumbs-up than thumbs-down. It all depends on your squeamishness level. There's no question that the book is crafted well, and that the author achieves what he sets out to do. And he manages to take that oft-used setting and do something so drastically different with it, so that's a credit, too.

    Since then, I've been plugging at a story at a time in Stephen King's Night Shift, and I've also just started on the sequel to Ghost Road Blues, Jonathan Maberry's Dead Man's Song. The great thing about a sequel like this is when you so enjoyed the characters in the last outing that it's fun just to see them again.

    It also takes place right where Ghost Road Blues left off, so it's still early October, which is fitting as we get closer to Hallowe'en and this thread comes full circle. :D
     
  5. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    Some of my favorite King. There are some nice, creepy stories in there, including some which may not have been improved in the process of being made into movies.
     
  6. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    ^^ Indeed. I think it's his best short-story collection, representing his work when he was in his absolute prime. And I've always thought he was better at short stories than novels.

    They are a mixed bag, but all worth watching. Personally, I think Psycho II is the best of them all, including the original. While the original is brilliant and iconic and influential, it's also got a few of those "Look at me, I'm Alfred Hitchcock" moments that detract from it. Also, Norman Bates, the character that makes the movie iconic, is almost in a supporting role and is almost a gimmick. But Psycho II is all about Norman; it's a tightly plotted, character-driven sequel that touches all the bases that a good sequel should, and it comes with a bunch of nifty plot twists.

    Psycho III is... interesting. It was directed by Anthony Perkins and looks great, very well done. The plot, however, is weak (I especially think so since I had my own plot that would have brought the whole story full circle). It certainly has its moments and Perkins does a great job with Norman, but it's ultimately unsatisfying. That bearded helicopter guy from Lost, whose name escapes me at the moment, is great in the co-starring role.

    Psycho IV is the worst of the bunch, but still worth watching, if only on an academic level. It was written by Joe Stefano, who wrote the screenplay for the original (and is most famous for his work on the original Outer Limits), so it's fascinating to see him revisit that world. It's both a sequel and a prequel, as Perkins plays an aging Norman who revisits his youth (with Mother) in flashbacks. Stefano kind of had to fudge the timeline a bit. For me, the most interesting part was the "present day" framing sequence; I won't give it away, but I'll just say there's a character who's even creepier than Norman, if you think about it. :D

    Me, too (no surprise :D). It's also the perfect kind of book for this time of year. :cool:

    Yeah, it's certainly not the first time a writer has gone that route; it's really not uncommon, actually.

    I just got Mad Monster Party in the mail. I didn't realize it was two hours long-- I expected a one-hour TV special kind of thing. I don't know if I have the will power to wait until Halloween to watch it.... :rommie:
     
  7. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    Jeff Fahey, looks like. (You may remember him also from the clip _dane posted a while back of this really awful movie from early in his career.)

    Pfft, watch it now. You can just watch it again at Halloween. Classic stuff. :techman:

    94 minutes is the run time, though, according to the IMDb entry, and Amazon has it at 95, both of which would fit my recollection of it running about two hours with commercial breaks.
     
  8. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    ^^ Exactly. My Baby Boomer Brain automatically fit that into a two-hour TV time slot. :rommie:

    One reason that I might watch it now is that I might want to loan it to my niece and nephew if it's really good; it would be a good way to spark their interest in the Universal characters.

    That's the guy, and I do remember that. In my experience, he completely disappeared between Psycho III and Lost, but you guys proved that he continued to exist. :D He is excellent in both roles, though hardly recognizable as the same guy....
     
  9. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    So. Mad Monster Party. All these guys were stoned during the entire production, right? :wtf:

    I'm sorry I watched it alone. It's one of those things where you need to frequently glance at your companion to confirm that you really saw what you thought you saw. :rommie:

    It was great, though. But then, I love surrealism and psychedelia. :D
     
  10. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    I was just thinking of this thread. I'm going to bring back a take on its original name for October. :)
     
  11. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Re: Hallowe'en Reading and Viewing, 2008!

    ^^ Did you watch Mad Monster Party yet? :D

    It's definitely time to start with the Halloween reading. The skies are gloomy, the wind is chill and brisk and the orange leaves are blowing around. I got out my Halloween Reader to have on hand. :cool:

    Right now I'm reading the Kolchak novel novel A Black And Evil Truth, and, sadly, I'm disappointed so far. The short stories in the two anthologies are pretty good, so I was expecting something on that level. This reads like a first draft, or something written by a teenager. There are typos and grammatical errors on just about every page. There are even obvious inconsistencies; on one page there are unidentifiable tracks, on the very next page there are no tracks and the page after that unknown tracks again-- and two chapters later, there is "no forensic evidence." I'd recommend the two anthologies, but I can't recommend this; and I'm only up to chapter five or so. :(

    In the next couple of days I will dig through my stuff and decide on my list of Halloween reading. :cool:
     
  12. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

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    Re: Hallowe'en Reading and Viewing, 2008!

    Not yet, but now I'm itching to. Not only does it sound crazy and fun, but I'm betting it's a goldmine for avatars. :D

    The other day I picked up The Many Faces of Van Helsing, which I almost put down again until I saw some of the names on the cover. From the reviews, it looks like I made the right choice. It's an anthology of stories about ol' Abe and some of the other Dracula characters.

    Let's think of some movies and books that are specific to the season. For books, you already mentioned A Halloween Reader (I think you mean this same one, anyway, since it's mentioned waaaaay upthread). I might also re-read Dark Harvest, since it's so short and fast-paced.

    This year I'm going to make sure I watch Something Wicked This Way Comes, which has a lot of October/Hallowe'en imagery in both the movie and the book.

    Speaking of Bradbury, I might try to fit in From the Dust Returned, which sounds like it contains some of that same imagery.

    Someone's going to mention the Halloween movies, but that's a cheat. :p
     
  13. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Re: Hallowe'en Reading and Viewing, 2008!

    ^^ Not me. I was never into the Halloween movies; generally speaking, slasher flicks are not my thing. I go for the Creature Feature. :D

    That is indeed the same Halloween Reader that I have. That Van Helsing book looks very interesting; it's similar to the approach I would have taken to sequelizing the Universal Monsters (as opposed to the Dark Horse approach); an anthology of the various characters, major and minor. That Bradbury book is on my list, too; it's based on work he did some decades ago, but I'm not sure if it's new or a patch-up.

    For my Halloween reading list, I'm looking at the anthologies Four Octobers and Destinations Unknown, and the novel Summer Of Night. But I want to work something Lovecraftian in there, too.

    I'm about two thirds through with the Kolchak novel and it continues to suck. :(
     
  14. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

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    Re: Hallowe'en Reading and Viewing, 2008!

    Same here, generally, though I can appreciate some slasher flicks. I enjoy the original Halloween well enough, though it's gotten harder to appreciate in light of its imitators. And if there's a major problem with it, it's the fact that it spawned so many. The Friday the 13th films are almost all garbage across the board, as with the Freddy Krueger movies after the original.

    Yet because a generation grew up with those two franchises, whenever you mention horror to many people of a certain age, those movies are what they draw upon. They don't care for those two series of films (as well they shouldn't), so they think they don't like horror. Which is too bad. Now modern horror is dominated by all the Saw crap.

    Sorry to go on the mini-rant, there. Bit of a pet peeve. :p

    That'd be interesting to see. I'd like to see little stories about characters like Lugosi's Ygor, etc. I'd be a little bit afraid of gimmicky stories, though. ("Here's a story where Fritz meets Karl from Bride of Frankenstein, for no other reason than the fact that they were played by the same actor! Let's slip in a joke or plot point about how they look similar! Or say they're brothers!" Bleh.) If you ever get to edit such an anthology, please don't allow that sort of thing. ;)

    I just looked this one up on Cemetery Dance. I don't have that one, but I see it's got "Miss Henry's Bottles" in it, which was also in Trick or Treat, which I read last year. I liked it a lot, and I've been meaning to look into more of Rick Hautala's stuff. Gotta get on that. The Gary A. Braunbeck story was good, too, so I might have to check out Destinations Unknown.

    :D I think you'll like it, if for nothing other than the nostalgia factor. It helps that there's some creature feature in there, too.

    Which Lovecraft or (-ian) story would you say is the "Hallowe'eniest?"

    That does suck. Especially since it's got the three rave reviews on Amazon. I wonder if they're all the author's friends. :lol:
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2008
  15. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Re: Hallowe'en Reading and Viewing, 2008!

    I loved the original Nightmare. The Friday the 13th films at least had the decency to descend into self-parody, although they still don't appeal to me. The only movies I can think of that I like that can be described as the slasher genre are the Psycho movies.

    Ick. Saw. Torture porn. Definitely a sad sign of the times.

    I can dig it. :D

    Heh. No, I wouldn't go for something like that unless there was a really good reason. It would be more like direct sequels and House Of-style crossovers; as if they had continued to make movies, but with a bit more continuity and character recurrence.

    Yeah, those were the first couple of books I got from Cemetery Dance; it's about time I read them. :D

    These are a few of my fay-vor-ite things. :D

    Oh, I don't know. Anything with that Autumn-y, New England-y feel is Halloween-y to me, and that covers a lot of Mythos ground. It's just that I get into that mood this time of year and I've got a bunch of HPL pastiche anthologies that I haven't finished (or started); I've got Derleth's Quest For Cthulhu, for one thing, but that's too long. I want to maximize the story quantity between now and Halloween (which is why I'm leaning mostly toward anthologies).

    Maybe. I'll have to read what they say, because, despite this guy's alleged thirty-year writing career, the book reads like it was written by a teenager; awkward sentences, odd vocabulary, naive references, turns of phrase that are off enough to sound like Radar O'Reilly. It certainly isn't a book that sounds like it was written by any kind of reporter (except maybe a restaurant critic :D). The main character is certainly nowhere near the Kolchak we know and love. And the book is full of simple errors, like to/too, compliment/complement, et cetera. Not that we don't all make them, but there are so many and they should have been caught by an editor in a professional publication. And there's plenty of stuff that should have been caught by spellcheck, too (Spellcheck-- The Typo Stalker!). I recommend giving this one a pass, but if you like Kolchak, you'll probably like the anthologies (despite the fact that they bring him into the present).
     
  16. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

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    Re: Hallowe'en Reading and Viewing, 2008!

    Oh, speaking of Bradbury, I recently watched the original much-better-without-Raymond-Burr Gojira, and in one of the special features, it's mentioned that the idea was inspired by The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, which was based on the Bradbury short story that wound up being known as The Fog Horn. That story was written after Bradbury took a walk on the beach and spotted a demolished roller coaster, thinking they looked like dinosaur bones.

    It's crazy to think that that one afternoon where Ray took a stroll would end up leaving a legacy like that.

    Okay, not really all that much to do with Hallowe'en, but I wanted to mention it here. :lol:
     
  17. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Re: Hallowe'en Reading and Viewing, 2008!

    Bradbury was one of those giants, like Clarke, Asimov et al, who shed brilliant ideas like other people shed dandruff. :rommie:

    I remember reading about how Beast From 20,000 Fathoms was inspired, but I don't think I knew about the Gojira connection. I need to track down a Bradbury anthology with "Fog Horn" in it.

    I started Four Octobers last night. I don't know about "Creature Feature," but it sure has the "nostalgia" factor. The first story is set in 1957 and involves kids of late Elementary School/Junior High School age. Slightly before my time, but close enough that it's very familiar. And nicely creepy so far. :cool:
     
  18. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

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    Re: Hallowe'en Reading and Viewing, 2008!

    I'll have to check, but I think "The Fog Horn" is in The October Country. I'm pretty sure, anyway. That book's great reading for this time of year, either way.

    I think Mad Monster Party is definitely going to get a viewing this weekend. As is the recent collector's edition of Pumpkinhead, which was the only movie to be directed by the late Stan Winston. I saw the old, crappily printed DVD about six or seven months ago, and I was surprised at how well it held up. Since they were putting the DVD together when he died, they've got a little tribute to him on there, too.

    For classic stuff, I can't believe I forgot to mention this to you of all people before, but I picked up the Inner Sanctum Mysteries collection. I'll actually be kind of surprised if you don't have this one already, since it's just a nice collection of hour-long movies starring Lon Chaney, Jr., all based on the radio show of the same name.

    It might as well just have your name written on the front. ;)
     
  19. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Re: Hallowe'en Reading and Viewing, 2008!

    It looks like it's in The Golden Apples Of The Sun, which means I have read it. I'll dig it out today, if it's not packed away.

    I just saw Pumpkinhead on Fear.Net not long ago; it was pretty good-- very atmospheric production.

    That looks great, and is now added to my Shopping Cart. Nice batch of guest stars working with Chaney on those. :)
     
  20. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

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    Re: Hallowe'en Reading and Viewing, 2008!

    I wish I'd gotten it for that Amazon price, now that I see it. I spotted it at the store and snatched it up right away at almost $30. :lol:

    I keep trying to think of movies that take place at this time of year or have Hallowe'en window dressing. It occurred to me last night that Ginger Snaps qualifies. I talked about it a bit in the werewolf thread, but it's a solid enough little movie; a small, low-budget Canadian flick. There are a few moments where the nihilism of the teenage sisters is a little over-the-top, but I still enjoyed it.
     

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