Freaky Friday: No ghost..busters??

DR. PETER VENKMAN
Egon, this reminds me of the time you tried to drill a hole through your head. Remember that?
DR. EGON SPENGLER
That would have worked if you hadn’t stopped me.

Dr. Egon Spengler and his crew introduced ghost hunting to a wider audience and made it cool. (And I know the films are responsible for the ghosts in my stories, and at least one scene in Drawing Down the Shades was written in homage to it. ;)) Unfortunately he is now in the Otherworld. Damn…..I always hoped there’d be a Ghostbusters 3. I guess not now.

egon

However we will never forget—not to cross the streams. And I’m pretty sure, he’s going to have a hell of a time hanging out with all those ghosts! ;)

Harold Ramis, for this, and all your great, and funny films, man…you will be missed.

RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman–Movie Monday

Longtime readers know I’ve tried to do a movie review every once in a while. This week I’d planned to review Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day. (because, you know, it’s traditional ;)) But yesterday news came in that an actor we’ve come to love has passed away. Many people may know of Philip Seymour Hoffman from the Hunger Games series, but we here at the tribal grounds first encountered him as pain in the butt reporter Freddy Lounds in the 2002 adaptation of Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon. It was after that, with his role as Reverend Veasey in 2003′s Cold Mountain that we really fell in love with him. If you’ve never seen the movie, Veasey’s … a little less than what you’d come to expect from a preacher, but the character was the comic relief.

He was loveable, though, and made what could’ve been a very dark movie that much more endearing. He was also quite good in Capote I loved how he pulled off Capote’s squeaky voice.

Heck, he was good in every  role. Hoffman passed away yesterday, sadly. The news is all over the place but I just wanted to say here, as a fan, Mr. Hoffman, you will be missed!

Falling for a Monster with Geoff Wakeling

afternoonteatag

Minion Juli: What are you doing?

 

*Night Mistress draws sigil on door* Letting our next guest in. He has a long journey to join us.

 

Juli: Yes I realize that, but… You don’t have to be opening gateways. (In fact, I’d much rather she didn’t!)

 

Night Mistress: No, not him. *Mistress shakes head* His friend. Do you really think you can just say hello to raise the dead?

 

Juli shrugs. I think I’m regretting ever raising you.

 

*Mistress glares* Do the words “tasty dinner” mean anything to you? *Mistress raises arms* Okay, ready now? I think this should work.

 

*Juli ducks Light flashes* Did it work? *Peeks through fingers. Sees two gentlemen by the door*

 

Night Mistress: See now, I told you it would work. *Mistress holds out hand* Welcome, my dear. Thank you for coming,

 

Juli:  Geoff! Thank god. Thanks for coming. *Whispers* I hope you brought help. She’s being really weird this year.

 

Night Mistress: Don’t you just love this time of year all the handsome monsters hanging about? Who is your friend?

 

*Juli clears throat* Come to think of it, that’s the topic of your discussion today, isn’t it?

Falling for a Monster

By

Geoff Wakeling

Halloween is the perfect time for some spooky shenanigans and a little bit of a scare fest. We all love some horror in our lives – well at least, I do – and I don’t tend to stick to October 31st. I like my scares around the year. We all know that famed horror creatures; zombies, vampires, ghosts, ghouls and demons. And we love them for what they are. But what happens if you fall in love with one of these monsters.

Despite menacing creatures of the dark traditionally being those who just tear humans apart and bring nothing but death,

Night Mistress: Ah, for the good ole days!

*Juli frowns* My lady, stop interrupting the guests.  Geoff was brave—er, kind enough to accept your invitation, kindly let him speak. I’m sorry, Geoff, you were telling us about the difference between new and older paranormal stories?

*Geoff clears throat*. Yes, well. As I was saying, more recent literary works have seen these ghouls find a way into our hearts. Charlaine Harris had Sookie falling in love with vampire Bill, Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies see ‘R’ develop an emotional connection with Julie, which subsequently helps him find humanity. Even shows like Supernatural have found the means to bring Sam and Dean closer to the demons they hunt. Sometimes, despite their very nature, the brothers even end up empathising for those they seek to destroy.

This is something that I wanted to explore myself, and it gave birth to Pacifier 6, The Shadows Within. Here, the zombie apocalypse is mostly over, with those who’ve survived fleeing to safe zones as a few rogue monsters still lurk. But some, such as Carl and his mother, have decided to stay in their London suburb and try to rebuild their community. Zombies have been pacified with a new drug, making them manual labourers, and it’s commonplace to have zombie slaves building, gardening and even cooking. However, seeing these monsters in close quarters, Carl realises there’s something more and begins a strange attraction to the new male pastry chef slave his mother’s allocated. He knows it’s wrong, but the emotional tie is there regardless of what society thinks.

Falling for a monster is now a common storyline in fiction. Done well, it allows a strange mix of repulsion and compassion to occur. I suppose it’s the next step on from loving the bad boy – I mean, that’s taking rebelling against your parents to a whole new layer. The tattooed, smoking punks of the past are pussycats when compared to the new boyfriends that’ll sink their teeth into you at any disagreement.

*Mistress chuckles* Ain’t that the truth!

Geoff: And whether you like it or not, I think these inter-creature love affairs are here to stay.

Mistress claps* Well said! I do hope your prediction comes to pass, Geoff my dear friend. It’s a about time we monsters receive the respect we deserve, don’t you think?

*Juli grumbles* *Mistress clenches fist* What do you mean, no?

*Geoff raises cup and takes a small sip*

“Ahem, Night Mistress. I do hope you haven’t slipped love potion into this.”

*Night Mistress places hand on heart* Me??? Now why would I do that?

*Juli nudged Geoff* Thanks for the diversion. I’m sorry for the way she’s acting. I don’t know what’s gotten into my Lady recently but I wouldn’t believe a word she says, Geoff. She’s been threatening to add to the staff lately. I think I’d put that tea down and head on home sooner rather than later, if I were you.

Night Mistress: Why do you keep speaking when you’re not spoken to, minion! Do you want me to think you’re plotting against me?

Juli: Nope. Not I. Just thanking Geoff for stopping by on this fine Halloween eve. If you’d like to check out Geoff’s new novella Pacifier 6, here’s the synopsis:

Pacifier 6 by G. Wakeling

cover art by Keith Draws

But what happens when you realise that familiar faces still have feelings?

Carl’s pulling himself back together, attempting to cope with the losses that life has dealt him. Amidst the horror of the past few months, he begins to realise that death isn’t necessarily the end; it can be the start of something new, something that has never been seen before. With everyone around him battling to keep society intact, Carl manages to see beyond the ravaged faces of those he once knew. There’s a new creature in the darkness, a consciousness that most have overlooked, and it’s waiting to reveal itself.

****
This is the first book in the Pacifier 6 series, and is about 30,000 words in length.

Links:

Amazon.com - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B8SJM2U/

Amazon.co.uk - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00B8SJM2U/

Smashwords - https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/280851

Kobo - http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/Books/pacifier-6-the-shadows-within

Author Geoff Wakeling

author Geoff Wakeling

Author Bio:

Geoff Wakeling lives in London and escapes the smog of the city through his writing. The Inside Evil, even though being dark and mysterious, was a way to escape the drudgery of every day life and indulge in something a little more fantastical.

With a degree in Zoology, Wakeling is animal mad and has a dog (Beetle), three cats, fish and five chickens in his London home. He is a keen gardener and conservationist. He is also still awaiting the arrival of his Hogwart’s Owl!

Learn more about Geoff and his works at his fine website: http://geoffreywakeling.com/

Movie Monday–Where the Wild Things Are

WherethewildthingsareWhere the Wild Things Are (2009)

Starring Max Records, Catherine Keener, Catherine O’Hara, Forest Whitaker, James Gandolfini and more…

Max is a young boy with an attitude problem, plagued by an older sister and mother (Catherine Keener) who don’t seem to have enough time for him. His fits of rage serve as a way to get their attention but end up landing him in trouble. Fed up, he runs off into the night and sails away to a seemingly deserted island.
But as Max soon finds out, this land isn’t so deserted. He finds a group of strange creatures destroying little grass huts. He’s good at that kind of thing so he lends a hand. When the creatures start to question him, he says he’s a king, who conquered Vikings, with magic and that he can help him. The creatures have apparently never seen a human before and so believe him and make him their king.

They build a friendship and a fort and things go well for a while. The group comes to love and trust Max and he feels a particular kinship for the creature Carol (James Gandolfini), whom the viewer can see a lot of Max in. They have fun, Max teaches them…
And that’s where the trouble begins. He tells Carol the sun will die one day and decides to fight a mock war, splitting the group in two. When the losers lose, well you can guess how that goes. They (especially KW–played by Lauren Ambrose) throw a fit and things go downhill.
It was a sweet story and the creatures are interesting, but … a lot of the story as filled out here, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. For instance ….

One: We don’t know where this world is, is it in his head? If so, where did Max land for the night?

Two: It seems as if there are only ten or less creatures on this entire island. So it seems like the huts they’re destroying in the beginning might be their own homes. If so, why destroy them? Why do the others not step in and stop it? (ah, see this is part of the lesson of this whole little trip, isn’t it?)

Three: The creatures say they ate their last king. If that’s the case, why do they put up with KW’s nonsense? Why not just eat her and be done with it?

Fourth: These are violent creatures to begin with but they blame all their troubles on Max. I don’t see that as being the case, really. So poor Max is a bit of a scapegoat. He’s lucky they didn’t eat him.

On the whole it was an interesting movie, and I love the creatures—but what do you expect from Jim Henson’s crew? It’s very nice to see them use actual puppets for the movie rather than to just fall back on CGI.

Poor Spike Jonze, he had to take a basically less than 500 word story and turn it into a plausible two hour movie and there just isn’t enough there to pull it off. Instead, Jonze fell back on what he did best and proves he’s still a video jock by making more than half the movie into a music video. Every other scene, it seems, is taken up with music-over a shaky scene. And while I suppose it was meant to add action, it really just served to make the movie drag. He could’ve done better to delve more into Max’s realizations and—oh, I know, resolving the story. It was nice to see the character Max learn something and grow, but as with all stories that end like this, I felt a little let down. The ending left much to be desired in that Max says nothing to his mother when he returns. No, “sorry mom”, no explanation of the previous hours. But Sendak signed off on the changes so for that, I guess it’s okay. For what it is, if you like this kind of fantasy story, I’d definitely recommend Where the Wild Things Are.

It’s available in streaming video via Amazon.com, to rent and own at Netflix and Amazon.com

For more on Where the Wild Things Are see:

the book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

For more on Maurice Sendak see his page at Harper Collins here and here.

The official movie site.

Where the Wild Things Are at IMDb

Movie Monday–Repo Men

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted one of these but…I’ve been a little busy. I have been watching movies from time to time though, so there are some in the queue. Like this one….

Repo_men_09Repo Men is a near future thriller. Medical procedures have become so expensive, the sick and dying having to take out loans to pay from them. If you can’t keep up with your bills, then you’re in trouble.

Remy (played by Jude Law) is the fella you don’t want to come knocking on your door. He plays a “repo man” and it’s his job to cut you open and repossess the organs with which the medical establishment saved your life. He’s cocky and loves doing his job, despite the grief it causes. His wife Carol (played by Carice van Houten), however wishes he’d move up in the ranks, from “repossessing” to selling for the company. Things come to a head at a cook out, when Remy’s pal Jake (played by Forest Whitaker) does a job in their front yard. She insists he get out of the business. Jake loves her, but he enjoys what he does too, and can’t see himself as a salesman.

Read more behind the cut

Movie review: Beowulf

Caveat: I’m sure someone somewhere will disagree with me on this. This is just *my* feelings on this story/movie. It’s not meant to offend anyone.

***

ImageThis is the 2007 animated version. You all remember the story from high school: a king awakens a monster who wreaks havoc on his mead hall. The king sends for a hero and Beowulf comes and saves the day. Kills the monster only to anger his mother who then attacks. And they all drink a lot of mead and boast.

Despite the fact that this is the best known and in some circles beloved story of all time (right up there with the Bible), strangely enough, it is possible to at once make it easier to swallow this Medieval fish tale—and ruin it.

Okay so the story goes as above. Grendel comes, destroys the mead hall, kills a bunch of people but oddly, won’t touch the king. Ashamed, when the word gets out of this strange occurrence the king calls for a hero.  Beowulf comes, screaming and full of himself from across the sea, eyes the queen with more than a little lust, drinks a lot, tells a lot of cockamamie stories (most of)  his listeners believe, and thrusts his sword (and damn near everything else) at the camera (did I mention the directors decided to buy into the 3-D gimmick?) and screams: “I am BEOWULF! I’ll kill your monster!” a lot, like that alone means victory. :p

Then he does just that to end up ticking off Grendel’s mother (whose grief is played way over the top). Turns out, maybe sorta kinda the king left one itty bitty detail out: He’s Grendel’s father and the mother? She’s an evil harpie. The king slaps Beowulf on the shoulder with a “good luck, my boy!” and sends him off to Grendel’s cave to face the mother, be raped by her (depending on your point of view) so she can later give birth to their next foe: a dragon. (The king gets a deformed wretch, Beowulf gets a beautiful dragon—do you see where the favor lies here?) Meanwhile, in a complete wtf moment I didn’t remember, the king throws himself from the battlements.

So, Beowulf takes over the kingdom, gets the queen he’s been lusting for and all the goodies that go with being a king, except he still can’t die, which apparently he wants to. Meanwhile somewhere out there the baby dragon grows up, and finally comes after the humans. Beowulf and he do battle, Beowulf rips out his heart, and falls to his death.

It’s an heroic story for sure, but… I’ve always wondered if the Medieval audience it was intended for even dismissed it as a little over the top. Because let’s face it, Beowulf talks a good game, but I always thought he was the kind of fella who was all talk, with nothing honorable about him (he steals the king’s wife, after all).

I was never a huge fan of the story and I had an instructor that flat out ruined any chance I might ever have to love it. But my hubby’s reading it right now so we gave the movie a shot. Storyline-wise the movie lives up more or less to its namesake, from what I recall.

Here comes where the whole thing, that could’ve been done well, utterly failed. Well, two bits. They could’ve done the whole thing by putting the, arguably otherwise great cast (Anthony Hopkins, Brendon Gleeson, Angelina Jolie, Ray Winstone, Robin Wright Penn) in period costume and shot it live action and only leave the CGI for Grendel and Mama’s harpie suit. But no. They decided to do the whole thing in 3-D. *headdesk repeatedly* Doing so caused it to feel like a video game, made all the characters look like creepy dolls, and let’s not forget the added touch of thrusting everything at the camera to play on the hot shit 3-D gimmick.

Listen, Hollyweird, 3-D died out a long time ago because it was so corny. Time and “upgrades” hasn’t made a difference. It’s still corny, and worse, like I said above, you still fail to get it right. All you end up with is a piece that feels and looks  like a video game, creepy dolls included—whose graphics will be passé and old fashioned in about two–five years. Sadly for them,Beowulf (the movie)’s  fame didn’t last that long.

And don’t get me started on Grendel. Personally, and my husband being the bigger fan of Beowulf right now said it first, Grendel is the big, fat FAIL of this movie, in our opinion (though friends of mine were more ticked by Grendel’s mother). Don’t get me wrong, Crispin Glover is good, he pulled off the motion cap as well as the other actors, (if you can call motion cap pulling off acting), but the decision—whoever’s it was, Gaiman’s or the director’s? Shame on you guys! Yes, the story was written 1200-nearly 1500 years ago (Crossely-Holland says we’re not sure which) for a barely literate audience who spoke a Middle English dialect.

But fellas, this ain’t 1300-1500 years ago!!!

I’d venture to guess that only maybe 1-5% of your audience (and I may be being generous saying that many) don’t understand Middle English. Don’t you think maybe it would’ve been a good idea, if you had to insist on making Glover wrap his tongue around the language, you could do him–and your viewers–the favor of, oh, I don’t know, captioning his speeches? For gods sake, man! He’s the most important character in the first half of the story, and no one can understand a word the poor thing mushmouths—er, grunts—er, says.

If the 2001-era movie lost an audience (and they got slew of  huge glaring FAIL reviews on this thing) that might’ve been the culprit. Yeesh! I don’t know how many ways to say this: it’s one of the things that drives me absolutely bonkers in literature and it didn’t fail to do so here, if your character needs to be understood DON’T PUT DIALECT IN HIS MOUTH!! It just doesn’t work!!!!

*puts hammer down*

Anyway, yeah. Love the actors and gods know they tried, and while  it sticks to the story from what I recall and I applaud them for that, it gets a big thumbs down for animation and gimmickery.

But I never cared for the loudmouth that is Beowulf. As Kevin Crossely-Holland says in his introduction to the translation of the poem:  “It is rude and rough… singularly cheap in construction… thin and cheap…’ And, yep, the movie isn’t much better. If you’re in the mood for creepy dolls, go for it. Otherwise you’re better off with the book.

Beowulf in print. Gutenberg Project.

Beowulf translated by Kevin Crossley-Holland.

Beowulf translated by Francis Barton Gunmere

Beowulf on Wikipedia

Beowulf on IMDB