Friday, April 28, 2006

Emerging from the Dark Past

I am done with the vintage Killing Time - Horror E-Rag™ articles. You've seen them all. The third year of the publication I was suffering article burnout with writing three of them for each and every issue. In that positions' place was my first series of horror poetry. This isn't the kind of blog for them, so you're stuck with my personal ramblings again. As I promised before embarking on the article reprints I am going to try to keep the blog shorter. I will try to keep each to one particular topic. Maybe even in a bit I will pick up the pace a touch on how often I post. So...

I guess it's about time for an update on everything. I have two short stories out to publishers in the US, and one flash fiction story out to a publisher in Australia. I have one more short story looking for a home for it, but as yet have not found a place for it. This last one has been out once and left bereft of print; it's a matter of being a little more focused audience-wise. I still have not found a proper place to send my horror poetry to. I've been told to target the higher-end publications that will appreciate the layers and complexity of the full breadth of the poems' imagery and themes. This coming from someone who should know.

On the writing front... I stopped work on one story because I was drawn to the continuation of the Sun Cycle story-line. I set that aside because I was distracted yet again--this time by ideas for the book about the paranormal investigators. As far as it goes, I completed one investigation/chapter, and jumped head long into another one, not the following one, but the one after that. I just hope I don't have to do too much editing when I finish the previous one later. I never know when I'm going to have to do something in the story that will change something later on.

I also have a huge urge, building itself up to some level of panic, to work on what was supposed to be my second novel. Until next time...

Mood: bittersweet.
Music: Rockin' the Paradise by Styx and Belly of the Beast by Anthrax.

Styx: Paradise Theatre
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Anthrax: Persistence of Time

Monday, April 24, 2006

An Urgent Message to all RPG Gamers

Terrible news has come out from the wonderful company of Palladium Books, makers of Palladium Fantasy®, Rifts®, Heroes Unlimited®, and for all you horror fans, Beyond the Supernatural®. Previously they also released RPG books for both Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles® (based on the gritty comics not the bubblegum 80s cartoon) and of course they also did the Robotech® RPG (including Macross II®). Aside from the usual ups and downs of business Palladium has been hit by the worst tragedy, BETRAYAL!

A while back Palladium founder/owner/all-around-excellent-guy Kevin Siembieda announced that the Palladium offices had been robbed. Both work items and pieces of his own personal collection of animation art, comics, etc., had been stolen and he was looking to retrieve anything that had been sold already. What was glossed over, or perhaps even neglected to be mentioned (I honestly don't remember hearing it, for what little my memory is worth) was that a lot of funds had also been embezzled from the company. Palladium is now seriously in debt and they need our help.

Kevin Siembieda has come forward asking for the fan base to come out and show it's support. To that end he will personal draw a special pencil drawing, titled “A Megaverse United” that will be sold as a signed numbered print. For the longest time I have been a great fan of Kevin's artwork throughout the books.

To buy the print directly go to the “A Megaverse United” sales page, which also describes the product.

For more information on what has happened, in Kevin's own words go to the Please Help Save Palladium from Going Under forum discussion page.

Palladium maintains a website, discussion forums, an online store, and even a Java based chat all based out of The RPG Megaverse of Palladium Books.

Please, even if you can't contribute by buying the print, or otherwise spending money, please pass on the word to anyone and everyone you know who is interested in role playing games. Thank you.

Mood: nostalgic.
Music: Innuendo by Queen and Wilderness by Brian May.

Queen: Innuendo
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Brian May: Another World

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Horror Stars?

Horror certainly has never had a lack of actors with which to use in its films. It has drawn everyone from no-name actors and actresses to really big-name actors and actresses. It has even turned many from the former into the latter. Amongst them all are some names that many people would never have expected to have seen involved with a horror movie. People who are critical of horror films often deride them as not worthy of their viewing times let alone the time of good and "regular" actors and actresses. This list would blow their mind.

Certainly the strangest names to be attached to horror movies have to be those of dance legends Fred Astaire and Grace Kelly (separately). Second runners up would be Cary Grant, and Leslie Neilson. Below is the list of people one might never have expected to have been in a horror film. Some are broken up into TV series, others movies and such, just to illustrate where they came from and how many came from the same places. Then there is a loose list of names in no particular order.

Early Start in Horror: John Travolta, Jack Nicholson, Johnny Depp, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kathy Bates, Billy Zane, Sissy Spacek, Keifer Sutherland, Natasha Henstridge, Drew Barrymore

Star Trek(s): William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Picardo (Doctor on ST:Voyager), Amerin Shimmerin (Quark of DS9), Alice Krige (the borg Queen from STNG:First Contact and the finale of ST:Voyager), Scott Bakula

Cheers/Fraiser: Ted Danson, Shelley Long, Kelsey Grammer, Rhea Perlman, Bebe Neuwirth, George Wendt, John Ratzenberger (whom I might add was in Star Wars: A New Hope), Woody Harrelson, Kirstie Alley, David Hyde Pierce, Tom Skerrit

Ally McBeal: Portia DeRossi, Taye Diggs, Gregg Germann, Jane Krakowski, Peter MacNicol, James LeGros, Gil Bellows

Night Court: Harry Anderson, John Larroquette, Richard Moll

Star Wars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Billy Dee Williams

West Wing: Martin Sheen, Robe Lowe

Happy Days: Henry Winkler, Heather O'Rourke

Party of Five: Neve Campbell, Jennifer Love Hewitt

Judging Amy: Amy Brenneman, Richard T. Jones (Bruce)

Dawson's Creek: Katie Holmes, Joshua Jackson

Roseanne: Laurie Metcalf, John Goodman

Family Ties: Michael Gross, Michael J Fox (also directed for Tales from the Crypt)

Tales from the Crypt (Directed and Acted): Arnold Schwartzenneger, Tom Hanks, Bob Hoskins

Music: Brandy (Norwood), David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Blackie Lawless (Lucy Lawless's brother), Lisa Loeb, Cher, Jennifer Lopez

Random Names: Dee Wallace Stone, John Carradine, David Carradine, Craig T Nelson, Cristopher Walken, Sigourney Weaver, Richard Gere, Will Patton, Michael Ironside, Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, Julia Roberts, Pierce Brosnan, Jeff Fahey, Alec Baldwin, Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, Jerry O'Connell, Richard Dreyfus, Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Corin Nemec, Matt Frewar, Cristopher Lloyd (Back to the Future), George C. Scott, Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Ellen Burstyn, Max Von Sydow, Sam Neill, Laurence Fishburne, Donald Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, Ed Harris, Bette Davis, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Rebecca DeMornay, Steven Webber, Mario Van Peebles, Elliot Gould, Shelly Duvall, Scatman Crothers, David Arquette, Courtney Cox, Dennis Miller, George Clooney, Cheech Marin, Robert Patrick (T1000), Jack Palance, Anne Heche, Denzel Washington, Bruce Willis, Wilford Brimley, Faye Dunaway, Clint Eastwood, Mia Farrow, Jane Fonda, Elliot Gould, Rosie O'Donnell (horror spoof really), Michael Douglas, Glen Close, Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, John Ritter, Tom Cruise, Antonio Banderas, Kirsten Dunst, Bill Mahr, James Brolin, Liam Neeason, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bill Pullman, Paul Winfield, Kurt Russell, James Woods, Christopher Reeve, Roddy Piper, Erin Gray, Annette O'Toole, Peter O'Toole, Tim Reid, Bronson Pinchot, Jimmy Smits, Heather Locklear, Emilio Estevez, Tim Matheson, Linda Hamilton, Timothy Hutton, Michael Moriarty, Christian Slater, Gary Busey, Robert DeNiro, John Cleese, Keanu Reeves, Cuba Gooding Jr, Nicolas Cage, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer, Lucy Lawless, Linda Hunt, Brendan Fraser, Robin Williams, Nicole Kidman, Val Kilmer, Marlon Brando, John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd, Ed Begley Jr, Meshac Taylor, Slim Pickens, Louise Fletcher, Heather Locklear, and no doubt many more.

(There are 180 names to these lists above.)

While they are names synonymous with horror it is only fair to mention such names as Bruce Campbell (Autolycus/Jack of All Trades), Ted Raimi (Joxer the Might/Pilot of the Seaquest DSV), and of course Robert Englund (the series V) as well. They have certainly done other things than horror and been just as successful.

© 2003 Robert G. Male

Mood: down.
Music: Primal Scream by Motely Crue and Trouble by Quiet Riot.

Motely Crue: Supersonic and Demonic Relics
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Quiet Riot: The Randy Rhoads Years

Monday, April 10, 2006

Mr. Madman, Bring Me a Dream

Dream a little dream, don't ask what it means. There is tonnes of debate over the real truth behind dreams in the real world. In fiction it is an entirely different matter. In fiction, dreams represent one more layer to the story. In horror, dreams represent one more scare. Dreams, or perhaps more precisely nightmares, are chaotic things. This chaotic nature prevents some of the functions that a dream may provide to a story from being used in non-horror fiction. Chaos is unpredictable, unpredictable is scary. Chaos can be surreal, surreal is different, and like it or not, all too often different can be scary. So, as such dreams are more useful to the horror creator. Quick changes, improbable vistas, impossible creatures, and general bizarreness is the stuff of horror.

Entire horror stories can revolve around dreams, either depicting them or just looking at the resulting affect they have on the characters of the story. Of course horror film has an amazing testament to the power of dreams in the world-famous figure of the man with a dirty red and green sweater and a battered brown fedora. Freddy of course is just the tip of the horrific iceberg that is dreams in horror. Also, as with A Nightmare on Elm Street, dreams can become reality in horror. People and creatures can cross the line from dream to reality or things that can only truly be fathomed as waking dreams can be used. These are the three major styles of using dreams in horror.

In the Exorcist, discussed later in the E-rag, there is a dream sequence. The entire scene plays out in silence except for a single disquieting noise. The surreality of the scene is felt immediately. The purpose of the dream comes immediately upon its conclusion. The dream segues into the next scene and aids in distancing it in time from the scene previous to the dream. A dream in the first Hellraiser is used to exhibit that there is something special about the character having the dream. Kirsty Cotton dreams a bizarre little nightmare with fluffy white down falling like snow in a room with a bed bearing someone bleeding. She has keyed into the danger at her father's new home and the dream is bringing it to the front so that she can deal with it.

Dealing with dreams is brought to the front as well for Karen White in the Howling. After her frightening meeting with a serial killer Karen has completely blanked out what happened. Her dreams are a different matter. She relives the scene in nightmares and it has a profound effect on her life. The state it throws her into is worse than the nightmares. Meanwhile in Halloween H20 Keri Tate is plagued by dreams of the return of her brother Michael Myers, but yet they are never shown in the film. These nightmares are so disturbing to her that they have forced her to become a "functional" alcoholic. The dreams grow to such a fevered pitch around Halloween that she begins to even see Michael different places that he isn't while she is awake. The dreams affect her reality.

Nelson Wright in Flatliners finds out the hard way that dreams can be all too real. After his near death experience his dreams become so vivid that they merge with reality. Facing off against his living nightmare Nelson practically goes through the wringer. Freddy Kreuger would be proud. In the Night Warriors trilogy by Graham Masterton dreams can be just as real as the real world. Unnatural things live in dreams like they were their own personal dimensions. They affect not only the people whose dreams they inhabit but also make the jump into the real world. The greatest danger is of course facing them in the dreams, there the metaphor that dreams usual represent are a great distraction, wonderful set dressing to hide behind, or props to be used as weapons. It is the epitome of the dream as a horror creator's tool.

Dreams are just such a powerful thing to be used in our horror fiction and films. They bring many purposes to the table and are a variety of exotic fare into which we can sink our teeth. Whether they are the focus of the story or just some window dressing, dreams add new dimension to the finished product. They can add to the horror or they can act as a balance against it, sometimes even doing both as evinced by Wes Craven's Shocker. They are powerful on the reactionary level and sublime on the literary level. Any way one cuts it dreams are good horror. So dream those little dreams, we know what they mean.

© 2003 Robert G. Male

Mood: anxious.
Music: Soul of a Vagabond by Stratovarius and On With the Show by Motley Crue

Stratovarius: Elements Pt.1
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Motely Crue: Too Fast For Love

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Special Interruption

We interrupt your daily schedules vintage article for the following announcement...

“Cast What You Will, Get What You Deserve“ is generating a dark buzz. Heavy duty horror for the people who can handle it and especially the people who don't know if they can stand the terrors afterward.

The stories are making the readers turn the pages faster and faster, unable to let their fear get away from them. There's something to frighten everyone and something to answer any dark craving. It's not too late to scar and scare yourself with the experience.

Cast What You Will, Get What You Deserve
Available at R.M.T.P. Co. Books.
Dare to face the terror!

Mood: elated.
Music: Pressure Drop by Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds and Guilty Pleasures by Quiet Riot.

Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds
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Quiet Riot: Guilty Pleasures