Let's Talk About Horror Fiction and Film

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

  1. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    I plan to read them all. The ones I've read so far all have merit, although they were not what I expected or hoped for. If I were assigned the task of sequelizing the Universal Monsters, I would have taken a very different approach. :cool:
     
  2. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    The Bride of Frankenstein one kind of annoys me, just by being so short after over a year of delays. It's probably next on my reading list (I'm still savoring A Winter Haunting; Dan Simmons may be a new favorite), so we'll see how it goes.

    I had to check and have a laugh at the two "Chapter 3"s. I think authors and editors are relying a bit too heavily on spell check these days. :p

    I plan to read all of these Universal Monsters books, but the results have been fairly mixed. So far, I've read the Frankenstein, Dracula and Wolf Man novels.

    As I said earlier in the thread, the Wolf Man one is a bit dull; not much happens in it. I'd only recommend it if you're a pretty die-hard Wolf Man fan. I couldn't not read it, but I won't be re-reading it at any point.

    The Dracula one is well-written, but it's an odd little book. I won't get too into it, as I don't want to spoil anything for Robotpo, but it's almost more a sequel to Stoker's novel than to the film, even though some of the names and such ("Lucy Weston") imply otherwise.

    The Shadow of Frankenstein is the first one I read, and I enjoyed it the most, so far. Stefan Petrucha gets the voices of the characters right; you can easily imagine Colin Clive delivering his lines, for example. It also features Jack the Ripper coming out of retirement and encountering the characters, which is fun. It's got some surprisingly dark and brutal moments, which might take you out of the "Universal-verse" here and there, but it's a good read. It's also got the best ending of these three books. ;)
     
  3. Robotpo

    Robotpo Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    Thanks for the info. I'm gonna check the series out.

    Also, I've heard good things about Simmons. He wrote "The Terror," didn't he?
     
  4. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    Yep. It's getting a lot of praise. I got it for Christmas, but I'm going to hold off on it for a while.

    I really, really recommend Summer of Night, in case that's not coming across clearly enough. :lol:
     
  5. Brendan Moody

    Brendan Moody Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    Most of my recent horror reading is authors I've already mentioned upthread- more Ramsey Cambell (including The Overnight, a menacingly enjoyable if somewhat repetitive novel about a haunted bookstore), more T.E.D. Klein, more Thomas Ligotti. I did read the latest Year's Best Fantasy and Horror. As usual most of the entries, though technically well-done, weren't to my taste, but I did quite enjoy a few of the subtler stories, especially Christopher Harman's "The Last to be Found," Stephen Graham Jones's "Raphael," and Glen Hirshberg's "The Muldoon." Based on that last story I picked up Hirshberg's two ghost story collections (The Two Sams and American Morons) from the library. Both are excellent and earn my highest recommendation. Hirshberg's stories are modern and unusual in their settings and characterizations, but achieve traditional terror in the best style of M.R. James and other classic writers.

    Today I bought Inferno, a new horror anthology by Ellen Datlow. Datlow usually does theme anthologies, which I steer clear of because I think they're a bit cute, but her only requirement for this volume was that the stories be so terrifying as to be physically unsettling for the reader. A rough task for even the best writer, but I have high hopes. There's a new Hirshberg story too, which is something to look forward to.
     
  6. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    Well, I won't spoil anything. I want to see what you think. :) And, actually, I'm not sure if it is shorter than the others; but the typeface is tiny. My poor aging eyes. :(

    Or not relying on it, as the case may be. Flip through Marv Wolfman's novelization of Crisis On Infinite Earths sometime. There has to be a typo, sometimes multiple typos, on every page. Not to mention chapter "Froty Three." :wtf:

    It's true (although, I think at the end too much happened :rommie:), but I enjoyed it; The Wolf Man is my favorite of the old Universals. And I think the writer really did a good job of capturing Larry Talbot's character. :)
     
  7. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    My eyes aren't the only things that are aging; I double checked on this and it's actually chapter "Thrity Nine."
     
  8. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    I've been meaning to ask if you get Cinema Insomnia with Mr. Lobo. I record it every week, and while some of the movies will test your stamina, the bits between segments are fun.

    Since it airs on PBS, the commercials are usually old ones from the '50s-'80s, with random bits of pop culture junk here and there.

    Plus, c'mon, how many horror hosts do we have these days?

    This weekend's offering is Japan's Monster from a Prehistoric Planet, but next week is Frankenstein vs. the Creature from Blood Cove, which I know you like.

    I'm looking forward to it, just to see the between bits, and to see if I like the movie better without the stripping scenes. ;)
     
  9. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    I'll have to check. I hope so. That looks fantastic! :cool:

    Funny you should ask. That's kind of a nostalgic interest of mine. We used to have the Ghoul here in Boston when I was a kid. But there are still a few out there. Check out these links:

    E-Gor

    Horror Hosts

    And an on-line Horror Host:

    Count Gore de Vol

    Is that even possible? :confused: :rommie:
     
  10. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    Well, I finished Pandora's Bride. There's a rather remarkable plot development about halfway through the book that I can pretty much guarantee that nobody will see coming. :rommie:

    And I wonder what people will think about the ending....
     
  11. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    ^ Did you like it?

    Also, have you found Cinema Insomnia? This week's was pretty entertaining. The film was a cheap Godzilla knock-off, and when the protagonists head to the exotic island which is home to the titular monster, the "natives" are Japanese actors in blackface.

    As a result, Mr. Lobo made a running joke of it, begging people not to write in, etc. "And now we return to Japan's answer to Bamboozled, Monster from a Prehistoric Planet!" :lol:
     
  12. Starbreaker

    Starbreaker Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Hallowe'en Reading 2007!

    Oh, last year I read The Descent and Deeper by Jeff Long, some really interesting novels where Hell is a physical place on Earth and there is a race of demons in the subterranean. If you're interested in creepy books, I definitely recommend these.
     
  13. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    ^ I have The Descent (also on the "to read" pile). It gets pretty good reviews, but fans are complaining about Deeper. How'd you feel about it? I mean, you obviously liked it, but what do you think of the criticism?
     
  14. nx1701g

    nx1701g Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Hallowe'en Reading 2007!

    I recently read the zombie duology "The Rising" and "City of the Dead" and found them to be pretty horror filled.
     
  15. Starbreaker

    Starbreaker Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Hallowe'en Reading 2007!

    I think they're about on the same level. I can understand why some people don't like Deeper, but I think all the hate is unfounded. I mean there are actually some things I like about Deeper more than the Descent. The Descent takes place mostly below ground, but there is a very irritating subplot that takes place on the surface. Deeper takes place mostly underground as well, and I think there are some very interesting characters.

    Deeper is probably disappointing to people because it takes the main characters from the Descent and makes things much more depressing for them. I'm not always up for a happy ending though.
     
  16. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    I did, as a stand-alone entity (some of the moments of TV sitcom feminism made me roll my eyes, but it's not too bad). It doesn't really capture the feel of the Universals; the first half reminds me more of the Doug Moench-Val Mayerik series in Monsters Unleashed back in the 70s (which I loved) and the second half is off the wall. Also, it's totally inconsistent with Shadow of Frankenstein, so obviously they're not interested in expanding the Universal universe. I'm not happy about all that, but it doesn't effect the quality of the novel, which is pretty high. And I did like the ending, but I'm interested in hearing your opinion when you read it. :D

    Unfortunately, it's not syndicated in my area. :( But that site looks like a treasure trove. I just need a block of time to dive into it, which will probably happen this weekend. :)
     
  17. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    The Cinema Insomnia version of Frankenstein vs. the Creature from Blood Cove was a mixed bag. It didn't have the stripping scenes that (in my opinion) bring the film to a screeching halt every time. It also cut out most of the gay make-up artist's lines, which I didn't expect, though I guess I should have. Since these were the two annoying aspects of the film for me, it was interesting to watch this "edited" version.

    That said, this version would be kind of confusing to someone who hasn't seen the original, because it seems like the make-up artist had a few key lines of exposition. It makes some of the events in the movie seem pretty random. But at least I didn't have to watch him lisp about how much he loveth a good thucker. :lol:

    I like the spirit of the movie, and most of it is a lot of fun, but I wish Winckler didn't assume that his audience needs the stripping, and that his humor where gays are concerned wasn't stuck in an '80s B-comedy. :p

    On of the fun parts of Cinema Insomnia's treatment was that they played it like it was an election pitting Frankenstein's monster against the Creature. They had attack ads, and even had actors in cheap costumes performing a debate. ("Military gooooood...!")

    That was a lot of fun. :)

    Bride of Frankenstein: Pandora's Bride was not fun. I think it was the most disappointing of the Dark Horse/Universal Monsters books for me so far. But more on that later.
     
  18. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    Well, I guess I won't bother recommending Don Glut's movies. :D

    I like that election gimmick. I wish I got Cinema Insomnia around here. You'd think the Boston area would get everything, but we don't....

    Ah, Pandora's Bride then. After a few mood swings, I came to like it; it's like I crossed some threshold of ridiculousness and said what the hell. :rommie: How'd you like the "Special Guest Star?" And the ending? :D
     
  19. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Abuse of Power Administrator

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    Well, the problem for me wasn't the nudity, it's the fact that the story would just stop for five minutes while the girls stripped. Heck, they even used the "strip for a photoshoot on the beach" device twice.

    They put a lot of their shows up for downloading, since most of them are public domain movies, anyway. I doubt they've put that particular episode up, though, since Winckler owns the copyright, and pretty much allowed the movie to play so he could get free advertising.

    But yeah, the attack ads were great. You know the outtake on the DVD that shows the monster getting a lapdance? They inserted a bit of it into one of the ads, with the voice-over saying "Do you really want to elect someone who patronizes such establishments?" Funny stuff.

    Which of the many guest stars do you mean? :lol: I guess that was kind of a problem for me, the way it crossed over with so many films. It gave it a bit of a fanfic feel.

    And as I mentioned in the PM, I just don't understand how (or why) she transformed Dr. Pretorius from the most evil character in the Universal Horrors to a kindly old man. I kept waiting for a twist at the end. I kind of get that she was trying to make the point that everyone's a good guy to someone, but it kind of seemed like a waste.

    But now that you mention it, it did kind of read like a so-bad-it's-good movie. (Yeah, the ending was totally off-the-wall. Next time I watch Bride, I'm going to have to try to imagine that ending again.) I'll have to think on that. Most of the prose was still pretty annoying, though. Like I said in that PM, I don't expect Shakespeare but, "[He] looked at myself and the monster." Come on. How do you have a twenty-year writing career and then type that out?

    Anyway, have you read the Mummy one yet? I only have the Mummy and Creature ones to go, and I'm kind of worried about the latter after reading some things about it.

    Right now I'm reading World War Z, by Max Brooks. It's pretty entertaining, not to mention awfully thought-provoking for a zombie story. :lol:
     
  20. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Re: Let's Talk About Horror Fiction

    Hmm. All I remember at this point is a "building suspense while the monster watches the photoshoot" scene. Anyway, it was that kind of a movie. I especially liked the pointless digression into a werewolf encounter, just so Eddie Munster could have a cameo. :D

    Hah! That's inspired. :D

    True. I was talking about the robot. That was just hilarious. Come to think of it, perhaps Mr Winckler should produce the movie adaptation. :rommie:

    I just couldn't picture it as a Universal movie. The Children of Caine and the weird giant horse would have been impossible to achieve. Like I think I said, I was totally visualizing it as a Val Mayerik story in the old Monsters Unleashed. And I just loved the warm-and-fuzzy TV show aspect of the ending. Only the extras die. Our people are kidnapped and just about to be experimented on, but the villains miraculously don't have time. And the forest kids show up out of the blue with super-horse for a last-minute rescue. And then when the plot is over, everybody talks for five minutes and then gets in a cab, as if walking patchwork corpses are perfectly normal and everybody hasn't just had the most traumatic experience of their freaking lives. Whatshername goes off to the club for her dance shift after just being rescued from brain surgery. :rommie: Very surreal. :wtf: :D

    Did I mention Crisis On Infinite Earths? :rommie: I've also noticed that in a couple of Peter David novels I've seen, and elsewhere. It really does seem that standards are falling in a disturbing way. I blame the editorial side, though, because these are obviously good writers; I just think that companies seem more willing to publish a rough draft rather than spending the time and money to polish and finish something.

    I actually just read the first chapter, or prologue, of The Mummy. Too soon to make a judgment, although it was a bit confusing about whether it takes place in the present or the early 20th century. I suppose it will become clear soon enough. As for The Creature, yeah, it seems to be going too far afield in concept-- even moreso than Bride.

    I just wish they had really gone for the Universal feel and made these books consistent sequels; one of the most disappointing aspects of this project is that they are mutually exclusive and contradictory. It's not the way I would have done it.