Heroes or Antiheroes, here is a sketch of Kyton, Captain Sera and Azzi for your viewing pleasure.
A little late in coming, but since we’re supposed to turn our clocks back an hour…oh, well, nevermind. Late is late. But maybe some horror fans out there are stretching their celebrations throughout the entire weekend. If so, this list is for you.
Here’s an update on the [mostly horror] films and television series I’ve seen over the course of the latter half of the month. The numbers should start at 22 and go to 31, but until I can figure out how to get this blog to format, just imagine it listed as such. Here’s the link to the first part of the list: Part One.
- Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)– 3 out of 5 Forsaken Stars — has a score that scares and unnerves. I think it’s based on the sounds of a dying mare and purposefully and squeakily letting the air out of a balloon.
- A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014) – 4 out of 5 Forsaken Stars — A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is Black and White Beautiful and a perfect Vampire film. Four out of Five Forsaken Stars mostly because I wanted more, so much more!
- Tremors 5: Bloodlines (2015) — 3 and a half out of 5 Forsaken Stars — It’s really good! Better than the whole first season of Zoo. Michael Gross and Jaime Kennedy give the fifth installment in the tunnel monster frachise their honest best and the campiness takes a backseat to some decent scares, character building and solid cgi! There were some callbacks to the original, some new evolutuonary wrinkles and more than a couple homages to Jurassic Park. Yeah, I miss Reba and Fred Ward, but Kennedy and the new cast deliver, and Gross deserves some kind of horror flick lifetime achievement award.
- Tales from the Darkside the Movie (1990) – 3 and a half out of 5 Forsaken Stars – An oldie but a goodie, this one boasts a cast comprised of Debbie Harry, Christian Slater, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore, Matthew Lawrence and David Johansen in three tales of terror. Tons of crazy practical effects! But hey, it was 1990!
- The Walking Dead – 3 to 4 out of 5 Forsaken Stars, depending on the episode – Okay, so I finally caught up on Season 5 and I have to admit they had some great, thought-provoking episodes balanced with episodes of intense, edge of your seat action. And I can understand why people will riot in the streets if they kill off Daryl Dixon.
- Extinction – 3 and a half out of 5 Forsaken Stars – Always good to see Matthew Fox onscreen. I also love thrillers set in colder climes, the stakes always seem higher somehow, more severe. This film probably has to err more on the side of atmosphere than plot due to budgetary constraints, but the “zombies” are pretty cool, and remind me of the vamps in the similarly located 30 Days of Night, a recent fave of mine. The ending isn’t as harsh, but it’s still harsh.
- Cop Car – 3 and a half out of 5 Forsaken Stars – While technically more of a thriller than a horror flick, this one is fun and has Kevin Bacon as a Bad Sheriff trying to get his car back from a couple of crazy stupid runaway kids. Rides the line between funny and dark, kinda like The Goonies meets Death Proof, only with a much smaller cast and plot.
- The Circle – 4 out of 5 Forsaken Stars – A taut, sci-fi horror thriller that sets fifty people in a room with the power to kill themselves. Is there any escape? Not much room for character development, and yet, it’s all about character!
- Carrie 2: The Rage (1999) – 3 out of 5 Forsaken Stars – Surprised at how many stars of the time were in this – Home Improvement‘s Zachary Ty Bryan, Jason London, Mena Suvari, and the actual connection to the original Carrie, Amy Irving, who played Sue Snell. Look out for the Eddie Kaye Thomas “cameo.”
- All Cheerleaders Die (2013) – 3 and a half out of 5 Forsaken Stars – Hybrid/homage film heavy on The Craft and Lost Boys. I praise it for its character building for the first forty minutes or so, but I think it also weighed the movie down. I almost forgot I was watching a horror film and thought I was watching the next Bring It On or She’s All That and then suddenly it turned all Idle Hands on me. The girls are as drop dead sexy as they are drop dead deadly, but all the characters, girls and guys alike, suffer from severe lack of judgement fails and missed potential. Hopefully the rumored promised sequel has some characters and screenwriters that learn from their mistakes.
There are plenty of lists out there for the very best Horror Films of All Time, many of which we’ve seen over and over and so many of which already have remakes. So the following is a list of some good to great horror films of the last few years. Most of these are on Netflix, Amazon Instant, Google Play or Redbox. It’s a work in progress, so I hope to have Part Two up by mid-month. Also, these are in no particular order. Happy, er, Scary October!
- Odd Thomas (2014) – 4 out of 5 Forsaken Stars – Based on the Dean Koontz novel and starring Star Trek’s Anton Yelchin and Californication’s Addison Timlin, they give this fright fest a romance seldom seen in the horror genre.
- Hellraiser Revelations (2011) – 3 and a half out of 5 Forsaken Stars – I’m a big fan of the original Pinhead, so it takes a little getting used to seeing someone else wear the pins.
- Scary Movie V (2013) – 3 and a half out of 5 Forsaken Stars – I love Ashley Tisdale, and I enjoyed the interweaving of parodies of Paranormal Activity, Mama, Evil Dead, Black Swan (?? Yes, Black Swan), Inception, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
- Late Phases (2014) – 2 and a half out of 5 Forsaken Stars — Low budget, low key, but has some good performances and a few solid werewolf transformation sequences. A good midnite movie.
- The Curse of Chucky (2013) – See my review at the Forsaken Stars facebook page!
- V/H/S (2012) – Five stories between 3 and 4 and a half Forsaken Stars each — Curl up under a blanket, get your popcorn and cola of choice and get ready to clench, this one grabs you and doesn’t let go!
- Stake Land (2011) – 4 out of 5 Forsaken Stars – Not gonna lie, this one is bleak, but it’s well done.
- Area 51 (2015) – 3 out of 5 Forsaken Stars – Part heist film (breaking into Area 51) and part found footage, the horror comes mostly in the last twenty minutes of the film.
- Spring (2014) – 4 out of 5 Forsaken Stars — A really beautiful, well-shot film set in Italy following the love story of a man trying to escape his past and a woman who is much more than her beauty would suggest.
- Wolfcop (2014) – 4 out of 5 Forsaken Stars – A cop that becomes a werewolf. Just cool.
- The Babadook (2014) – 5 out of 5 Forsaken Stars — It’s as terrifying and terrific as everyone says it is. If you haven’t seen it, see it!
- From Dusk Till Dawn the TV Series (2014) – 4 out of 5 Forsaken Stars — A gritty, gruesome, exciting episodic re-telling of the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez classic horror film.
- Horns (2014) – 4 out of 5 Forsaken Stars — Daniel Radcliff’s turn as a young man fighting his inner demon to solve the murder of his girlfriend/fiancée is a twisty, winding gut-wrencher that has a slow build and some terrific surprises that are well worth the watch!
- Scream the TV Series (2015) 4 and a half out of 5 Forsaken Stars – Much like From Dusk Till Dawn, an intelligent re-telling of the film franchise, with callbacks to some of Wes Craven’s films, homages to the other great horror franchises (again like in the original Scream) Halloween and Friday the Thirteenth, and some stunning new moments of horror brilliance. A great cast too!
- Oculus (2014) – 3 out of 5 Forsaken Stars — Karen Gillan and Horror. This is an intimate, unsettling flick. Watch it and be altered forever.
- Ex Machina – 4 and a half out of 5 Forsaken Stars — Yes, it’s scifi. But it’s scifi Sublime, sexy, brilliant and disturbing.
- Under the Skin – 4 out of 5 Forsaken Stars — ScarJo as an alien serial killer. Also scifi horror. ‘Nuff said.
- Zombeavers (2015) – C’mon, you know you want to.
- Dark Skies (2013) – 3 and a half out of 5 Forsaken Stars. A suburban family is taunted by ever-worsening events.
- Haunter (2013) – 3 and a half out of 5 Forsaken Stars. A creepy, more intense version of Ground Hog Day.
- American Horror Story TV Series– Whether it be Murder House (4 Stars), Asylum (3 Stars), Coven (3 Stars) or Freakshow (3 Stars), each are creepy, unsettling seasons, hard to watch and hard to look away from.
- Annabelle (2014) — Because if you’ve already seen the Conjuring (and if you haven’t, go see it), you have to see Annabelle. It’s a slow creep.
That’s it, the end of Part One. Here is the list of movies I plan to add to the list. I’ll try to watch as many as possible!
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
The House of the Devil
It should go without saying, but I would like to hear your recommendations in the comments below too!
Here is the promo video for Kaci Hansen’s upcoming horror themed cooking show.
“Where Home Economics Meets Horror!”
Written and produced by Kaci Hansen
Produced by Neptune Cinema
Kaci is the founder of the Central Valley Horror Club, an actress (Lamb Feed), writer, director and producer (Friday Night Frights tv series), and of course a home economics horrormaker. If you’ve got a strong stomach, or a craving for the macabre, I highly suggest visiting her site and checking out her gruesomely fun and tasty recipes! She also hosts a helluva party, so be sure to like the CVHCs fb page to receive updates on the next meeting! It’s sure to be a ghoulishly great time! (Yeah, I know, I’m corny.)
I love each and every one of the pieces that are a part of the REBIRTH Blogfest and I can’t wait to bring them together for the digital collection! However, for fun, there was a competitive aspect to the proceedings. Over the last week, I assembled the thoughts and reviews of Fresno Scifi and Fantasy Writer members’ and blogfest participants to choose the “Best” Piece and “Fan Favorite” Piece and I employed a sophisticated online random number generator to select the “Lucky” award.
REBIRTH Blogfest “Best” Piece – Wishmaker by Danielle E. Shipley
REBIRTH Blogfest “Fan Favorite” Piece – Water Drops by Nichole L. McGhie
REBIRTH Blogfest “Lucky” Piece – Waking Up Again/Untitled by fazbear/Mikki
Thank you to all the FSFW judges, including Ed Smith of Conservative Prepper, Jim Geiser, Doug Bloomer of cinemacircus.net, and Alisha Lopez. Thank you to our blogfest sponsors Kyle Aisteach of aisteach.com, Christopher Wood of fsfw.net and Nichole McGhie of Simply McGhie and the participants Danielle E. Shipley of Ever on Word, Tirzah Duncan of the inkcaster, Collin Shaw at horrorshorts, Nichole McGie at Random Outbursts of an Excited Writer, Jim D. Geiser and fazbear at reddit.
Congratulations to all the winners and I will be in touch with your prizes! ALL Blogfest participants will receive one of my digital works from my amazon author page. Thank you all for writing and please keep up the great work!
REBIRTH Blogfest Link List
Who do we think we are? Besides the usual, I asked the writers what scares them most or who or what has influenced them most. These are our answers [editor’s note: as of this moment, not all writers and sponsors have had the chance to respond to the questions posed, so some entries are briefer than others. So check back for updates!]…
The REBIRTH Writers
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Nichole writes: I am a wife and mother of four beautiful and energetic kids. I am a writer and a small business owner. [simplymcghie.etsy.com] I am a great advocate of literacy programs. As a young student, I struggled with school because I didn’t know how to read. It took a very loving reading specialist to open up my world and I have been an avid reader and writer ever since. Since that time I have gone on to be a reading tutor myself as well as graduate with a BA in English from Fresno State.
The story I am most proud of is probably To Kiss a Storm (Elina). It’s still a work in progress. I’m most proud of this story because it’s the first novel that I’ve written and it gave me a great confidence boost when it comes to my writing. As a mom of four kids and having to go through “pregnancy brain,” as well as the ever present “mommy brain,” to be able to finish something of that magnitude, was a huge thing for me. When I finished it, it was the first time I thought to myself, “yes, I can do this.”
There isn’t a lot that scares me. I’ve faced so many different things in my life and have somehow conquered them. However, the secret fear that I do have is being considered insignificant. This is probably one of the things that inspires my writing the most. I want everyone to know that they truly matter in this world. A lot of my stories are about people realizing that they are worth something and that they are capable of truly amazing things. It’s my belief that if more people realize their own individual worth, they can be the hands that lift others, helping to make this world a better place.
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New Earth is an excerpt of the sequel for The Decisions, a story that will be included in a short story collection he is currently working on. Jim is a fellow member of the Fresno Science-fiction and Fantasy Writers and is one of the authors of the FSFW Anthology I Dreamed A Crooked Dream. Other published works include the Return of Satan and Cloud Sculptures.
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Danielle E. Shipley’s first novelettes told the everyday misadventures of wacky kids like herself. …Or so she thought. Unbeknownst to them all, half of her characters were actually closeted elves, dwarves, fairies, or some combination thereof. When it all came to light, Danielle did the sensible thing: Packed up and moved to Fantasy Land, where daily rent is the low, low price of her heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears, firstborn child, sanity, and words; lots of them. She’s also been known to spend short bursts of time in the real-life Chicago area with the parents who home schooled her and the two little sisters who keep her humble. When she’s not living the highs and lows of writing, publishing, and all that authorial jazz, she’s probably blogging about it at EverOnWord.wordpress.com.
Her debut novel, INSPIRED, is the story of orphaned fictional characters looking for a new author home and she looks forward to sharing further adventures in that world of layer upon layer of imagination for years to come! Danielle also invites you to check out her new project, from the world of her reader-acclaimed fairytale mash-up retelling novellas The Wilderhark Tales, it’s “The Wilderhark Talettes”, one of many series available on Channillo.com. The next Talette releases on Monday, May 25th. Consider a subscription!
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Collin writes: I’ve only recently started to write seriously but I’ve been inventing stories and characters my entire life. Right now I’m only going for short story’s to find my own style of writing, but later there might be a book or two in the works. I love writing horror because I love thinking of new ways on how to scare or unnerve the reader. With the Rebirth blog fest I wanted to try my hand at a small sci-fi horror story.
The story I’m most proud of right now is Smoke. I’ve heard about erotic horror and wanted to give it a go too. Out came this story about a detective that is having the night of his life. I had a lot of fun writing it and, even though it’s far from perfect, it’s definitely my favorite work to date.
The greatest influence on my writing is definitely the world around me. It’s always something small that people have gotten to know for a while. I like to look at that and turn it into something creepy or scary. For Rebirth it was blogging, for Smoke it was sex and for The Confession a stranger. That’s always my seed and from there I go out and try to make a story out of it. At this point it’s largely experimenting until I’ve found my writing style. Of course my girlfriend and my family are very supportive of my hobby and I’m very happy to have them.
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On the REBIRTH entry by reddit user fazbear: I go by the nickname Mikki and I really enjoy science fiction stories, and I was inspired by the game Halo and [the film] The Fountain to write this short story. It did just start out as a random short story, I might expand on it and write more.
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Rob Lopez recently married Alisha Vargas. He is the creator of Forsaken Stars and Spiral Legion. Recent works include The Dark Lady: A Forsaken Stars Tale and Prelude to Spiral Legion. He is a member of the Fresno Scifi and Fantasy Writers. His influences include Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, Stan Lee, Chris Claremont and artists Arthur Rackham, Arthur Adams, John Romita Sr. and Jr., and Neal Adams. What terrifies him most? That he won’t be able to get all the stories out of his head and onto the page before he forgets them. In more general terms, not finishing the things he has started.
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Established at their first meeting April, 19th 2008, Fresno Sci-Fi & Fantasy Writers is a group for local writers that meet face-to-face and discuss their work. They published their first anthology, I Dreamed A Crooked Dream, November 11, 2010.
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Kyle Aisteach lives with his husband in Fresno, Calif. Kyle earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California with a degree in Classics and Theatre and his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno. He has at various times worked as an actor, a stage manager, a journalist, a video producer, a short-order chef, a marketer, a grocery store cashier, a science outreach professional, and a newspaper carrier. Some of these jobs he would go back to more readily than others. He currently teaches college writing part-time.
Kyle has three cats, a dog, and a tank full of tropical fish. Allergies — to animal hair and changing tank water, respectively — prevent him from having more pets.
In his spare time, Kyle enjoys bicycling, weightlifting, rock climbing, scuba diving, and harassing people with different political views.