So we saw Independence Day: Resurgence. Some spoilery thoughts follow.
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Nature's Fury_Jaws

If Moby-Dick is the biggest literary influence on Stephen Spielberg’s Jaws (apart from the novel on which it was based), its primary cinematic touchstone is Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954). Jaws references Creature by recreating a number of shots from the underwater ballet sequence in the opening scene, and by strongly echoing the earlier film’s score in its own. All this being said, Jaws also has points in common with 1957’s The Monster That Challenged the World. I’m hesitant to posit a direct influence (though as we’ll see, there is at least one moment that is pretty strikingly similar). Rather, I’ll say that Monster taps into the same primal fear as Jaws and Creature, and does so quite effectively. Read the rest of this entry »

I was 19 when the first issue of The Dark Knight Returns appeared. That same year, Watchmen also began its run. My 19-year-old self, then at the height of his comic-collecting years, devoured those series, and waited breathlessly for each subsequent (and increasingly delayed) issue. These were thunderbolt stories for me (along with Alan Moore’s still-ongoing run of Swamp Thing). All this is by way of saying that 19-year-old me would have been rendered over-the-moon ecstatic by Batman V. Superman. He would have grooved like hell over all the direct Frank Miller quotations (the death of Bruce’s parents, many of Alfred’s mutterings, big chunks of the fight itself, and so on). Yeah, past-me would have love this.
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So, just for the hell of it, in the wake of a conversation on Twitter, I’m putting this up for your amusement: my very first paid publication. From Amazing Heroes 165 (May 15, 1989): “Urban Renewal: A Hero History of Godzilla.” So yes, my obsession was already of long-standing 27 years ago.Urban Renewal – A Hero History of Godzilla

The Academy Awards are upon us! And I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “My goodness, if only there was someone out there who would tell me what to watch on this most momentous of weekends!” Fear not, unwashed masses, for I am That Someone. I have heard your cry and am hear To Help (TM)!
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The Demonic Ecstasy of The Witch

Posted: February 26, 2016 in Uncategorized
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“Thou hast conquered, O pale Galilean; the world has grown grey from thy breath” — so wrote Algernon Swinburne in “Hymn to Proserpine” (1866), and the faith-imbued world of the unfortunate family in The Witch is grey and pale indeed. The force they encounter is unequivocally evil, but one of the remarkable things about the movie is that even as we fear this force, we feel its seductive power as well. It is anything but grey.

The Witch is fine new entry in the annals of Satanic cinema. Its closest cousin is probably Blood on Satan’s Claw (1970), a period piece in which the children of a rural village in England become demon-possessed. In its rhythms, though, it has more in common with The Wicker Man and Don’t Look Now (both 1973) — horror films that are not constructed around a series of terrifying set pieces, but choose instead to keep their powder dry, building dread and preparing the way for their devastating conclusions. (Though The Witch has a major piece of nastiness early on, alerting us to the fact that all bets are off. Anything can happen here.)

Spoiler warning now for the rest of this entry. Don’t read any further if you’re planning on seeing the film.

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Who comes up with these titles?

This is anything but that.

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The Sorrows of Hope

Posted: December 28, 2015 in Uncategorized
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This is a bit of a follow-up to my post on repetition in Star Wars (so the spoiler warning applies again). This article in Salon touches on some related ideas, again emphasizing the thematic purpose of repetition in the saga. I was struck by the author’s grim reading of the nature of the Star Wars universe. I think there are excellent points here, ones worth grappling with, and so herewith just a few rough, preliminary thoughts.

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So I finally saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens, only a few days after most of the sentient life in the solar system (or so it seemed). I had a great time, sometimes feeling not unlike I had at the age of 10 in 1977. At other times, I was rather uncomfortably conscious of the echoes of ’77, and so here are some musings as I try to sort out my thoughts on the subject.

Spoilers follow. If you haven’t seen the film, I really wouldn’t read any further. Read the rest of this entry »

Cryptid Clash!

Posted: December 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

So here’s a project I’ve been really looking forward to talking about. Last summer, Joshua Reynolds came up with the brilliant idea of a series of novellas featuring monster mashes between cryptids (you know — Sasquatch, Nessie and the like). Within days of this brainstorm, he had 18thWall Productions on board as a publisher, and a roster of authors lined up. I consider myself very fortunate to be included in that roster. Well, the pitches are all in, and we’ll be working away at the stories over the coming year. There will be a more formal announcement soon, and I’ll be teasing and tweeting about this a fair bit. But for now, from my end, I’m can promise you monsters, mad science, and a travelling carnival. And that’s just the start.

This is going to be so much fun.

Edit: Here’s Joshua’s blog post about the series, complete with the full roster of authors!