Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Perhaps one of the greatest influences on my first novel Hunting the Moon Tribe Was found on local TV in Indiana. We had Independent TV station WTTV channel 4. They ran sitcom re-runs(watched a lot of Different strokes on 4), IU basketball games and most important was on Friday nights.
Every Friday night at 11:30 Sammy Terry hosted horror movies on Channel four. He showed tons of hammer films like Dracula has risen from the grave and Twins of evil being the first two that come to mind. I used to take naps on Friday afternoons after school so I could stay awake and watch Sammy Terry.
It is so rad that Sammy videos are online, I think having him as a friend on myspace is about the best reason to be on myspace. Check out Sammy and have a Horrible evening…
More importantly was when I realized no matter how cool the movie was I was falling asleep I decided to start taping the shows on our BetaMax. When I started watching the end on Saturday mornings I discovered Black belt Theater came on channel 4 after ST. BBT was often old Shaw Brothers movies.
Master killer, five fingers of Death, Chinese super ninjas and the list goes on. So when My first novel comes out later this year from Afterbirth books you’ll understand the influences deep in my childhood.
Read Hunting the Moon Tribe and You’ll also find…
Vampires, Kung Fu masters, Red Guard Chinese agents, a sect of ancient Chinese vampire hunters, knife-throwing Chinese acrobats, giant winged mastodons, dragons, vampire wraiths, a two-headed sex slave who lives with the shape-shifting were-tiger warrior at Madme Yu’s house of freaks, headless giants, mountain spirits, demon- possessed swords and trees, Kung Fu zombie vampire warriors starved over a thousand years, and battles between the goddess of water and an ancient Chinese god of war under the command of the vampire master, Huwan-tun.
Monday, March 16, 2009
One of my favorite writers, ahhh heck I ain’t gonna lie one of my favorite human beings is Gina Ranalli. A Seattle based vegan feminist Bizarro horror writer is a new rising star in the horror fiction market place. That didn’t happen over night Gina’s work is often too strange to find home with traditional publishers so she was one of the early flag bearers of the growing Bizarro fiction movement.
Most of Gina’s work can be found from Afterbirth Books (the publisher of my two upcoming books) but she is starting to publish with some other presses as well. Including her latest Swarm of Flying Eye balls which is being released by novello’s.
Mother Puncher is a novella, short 100 page tale of Ed Means a government licensed official who works punching mothers(and fathers if they are not hiding) to punish them for being so selfish to breed in the dystopic future of the novel. Ed had been a champ when he was a boxer and now down on his luck he has turned his fists towards the overpopulation issue.
MP is like The Wrestler meets Soylent Green. Ed doesn’t like his life, and he generally doesn’t like his job punching women. The characters are rich and Gina is able to establish them quickly and thoroughly. This novella doesn’t suffer from the too many pages problems a lot of novels have these days. Infact if there is any major problem with this book and that it could have had another hundred pages to breathe.
I had expected this book with it’s middle finger in the air provocative subject matter to be absurdist. It is not at times it is dark, brooding and effectively tense. I mean Gina is an excellent absurdist as best displayed in her novella Wall of Kiss. Mother Puncher despite the admittedly outlandish concept starts off much bleaker than I had expected. Sure it’s funny and has it’s laugh out loud moments.
To me this is an important subject for people to be considering. The world is too overpopulated, it’s not just people breeding, but living longer, and taking more resources with the life they have. Gina has produced a fun little book that helps us to remember what is at stake. Great book for starting thoughtful discussions.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Che movie Roadshow in Portland
What a crazy awesome weekend to be a geek in Portland. Friday night the second to last episode of Battlestar Galattica played at the Baghdad theater. They have shown all 10 of the last episodes but this time Starbuck herself (Katie Sackoff) attended and did a Q and A. It was strange because she sat in the next row over from where Randall, Megan and I sat. Strange watching and like “oh shit there is fracking Starbuck.”
Saturday I had an old friend come into town who is a PHD student in Latin American history. Dude knows his shit about Radicalism everywhere but especially in Latin America. So when I read in the paper that Director Steven Soderberg (Traffic, Ocean’s 11 movies) was personally screening his new Che Bio pic I knew we had to go.
Mind you this is a 4 and half hour movie. Now that I have seen the movie, I can say that it is really two separate movies. Just like Kill Bill the tone of the two parts are so different. The first two hours were an off hook amazing treatment of Che’s struggle in jungles of Cuba and his stunning political show downs at the United Nations in New York.
The first film has some of the most brutal and realistic revolutionary battles scenes seen in a film since the Battle of Algeries. The non linear story structure was done perfectly to explain the man and his motivations at the time.
There was a short intermission and the second film skipped Che’s failed revolutions in Venezuela and Congo and focused his struggle in Bolivia. During the intermission we discussed Che’s crucial error was thinking what worked in Cuba could work everywhere.
In Bolivia his attempt at a Mao style peasant uprising failed to even get off the ground. Coming on the heals of a movie about the Cuba revolution it made a much less exciting of a movie that we all knew was going to end with Che being executed. I am not sure how Soderberg would have felt about this but I am personally glad that the Motorcycle Dairies had already told the story of his young life.
I couldn’t help thinking of that film as he stood at the firing squad. In the Q and A Soderberg said they had been working on the film since Traffic and intended at first just tell the story of Bolivia. That was odd to me since that was the most boring part. What the fuck do I know but everyone I talked to after the film agreed that the first film was perfect and the Boliva stuff while important could have been done in a half hour.
None the less a lot was left out, Che’s role in the post revolution Cuba most glaringly obvious. That is just too bad, the man had a lot of life to tell. Think of it this way the first film was Che’s greatest achievement and the second was his greatest failure.
Here is the real point. Between awesome Battlestar geekery, Che roadshow and our usual amazing vegan food I was reminded what I love about Portland. Even if I rode to the store on bike through hail and super strong gorge wind blowing crazy gales in my face. I feel lucky to be a nerd in this city.
* Note when I went to post the trailer I saw most places are seeing this released as two separate films. I still stand my belief that one three hour film would have been better.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Jake’s Wake by John Skipp and Cody Goodfellow.
The novel is about a whack job TV preacher who returns from the dead at his own funeral and it is fast paced wild ride. Tons of cringe worthy moments of gross-outs and equal amounts of hilarious prose.
This book is a warning shot across the bow. It’s a warning that massive destruction and absolute terror is on the way. It’s not to say that Jake’s wake is not a powerful book, it’s fantastic horror read. I just feel Skipp and Goodfellow are warming up for a big show.
I admit I am coming from position of privilege, a few years back I sat next to Cody while Skipp read the opening chapters of a book (Freak) he was working on at the World Sci-Fi con. It was a very powerful reading, without a doubt the strongest piece I can think of related to Skipp. That is no small feat since The Bridge, the Clean-Up and the Long Last Call are all amazing works of dark fiction. I gotta say I knew Skipp was a smart man but he confirmed to me that he was a genius when he picked his partner for this project.
Cody for his part is the horror fiction world’s most underrated talent. An amazing word smith he can make you laugh out loud and disgust you more times per page than just about anyone. So imagine my delight when I hear that Cody has jumped in on Freak. That is the rumor I hear.
Lets also not forget that the two have rumored to have completed or started or a post nuclear novel which is one of my favorite genre of novels. Oh yeah I hope that rumor is true as well.
So what do we get first? Jake’s wake. Skipp has been developing this project as a low budget grindhouse style gore film for a while. He even shot a short film to sell his project, it includes the debut acting performance of one Cody Goodfellow in the role of the villain Grey.
This provides a funny moment when Grey is described in the book as looking like a young Lee Marvin. Look at Cody’s photo - he does.
Jake’s wake is a great gore fest horror movie set to print. There are few authors who have made a career of writing ultra misogynist gore fest horror novels that I usually am not a fan of. In the Long Last Call Skipp was able to bringing a deeper feeling to this type of story by exploring the deep fears and motivations of the women and men at the strip club where it took place.
In Jake’s Wake the novel is able to quietly explore religion and the hypocritical wing nuts it attracts. It would be a mistake to think of Jake’s wake as a blood path pure and simple. If you feel that a lot of the gore novels put by leisure are hollow exercises than Jake’s Wake is a great alternative. This is the kinda brains the gore novel has been lacking.
Check out Skipp and Goodfellow on Pod of Horror it’s a great interview.
Next Review: Mother Puncher by Gina Ranalli!