So, I’m off to North Carolina tomorrow morning. I decided a couple of weeks ago to take whatever money I would need in gas ($106 according to gasbuddy.com) and visit my old roommate, Aaron. Haven’t seen the fella since last May when he graduated and moved away, so I figure, what the hell. I’ve decided to leave at 4AM to arrive near noon in Charlotte, NC. My nifty google maps printout is above…fancy paper, only because I ran out of normal paper, so the 24lb blue parchment will have to do. I downloaded AMERICAN PSYCHO in audiobook…apparently a full ten hours of material. The drive is a little less than 8…or a little more than 7 depending on whom you ask- google or others. I also downloaded CLIVE BARKER’S BOOKS OF BLOOD series. I know how my brain works- excited at first, then bored about halfway through. I’ve been to Charlotte before on a trip when I was…I dunno about 20 or so, with my mom and my brother when he moved out there for about a six month stint, only to hate the living situation and move back.
I have no idea why I’m writing this, as I highly doubt anyone even reads this blog anymore. I barely ever remember it exists, so doubtful anyone else does. I might try to update a couple of times. I might even take my camera if that’s not too lame. I hate being that guy taking pics…I’d totally use my phone, which had a decent camera, until the other day when inexplicably the lens of the camera got scratched all to hell when I slept. I still can’t figure out how that happened…it still takes pics, but it looks as if every pic was taken from a foggy sauna from the eyes of a person with terrible blurred vision.
I figure I’m out for now. I screwed up my schedule due to the hours I worked today, so I’m off to sleep soon, set my alarm for 320AM. I’ll either be pleased or hate my life. Guess we’ll see soon enough…
It’s written from the point of view of high school sophomore Jeremy, a kid who, like many kids, is still sort of trying to figure himself out and his place in the world. He plays soccer but isn’t really a jock, and he doesn’t hang out with a lot of people…until he meets up with a group of kids most would call “outcasts” in some manner. They cuss, they smoke, the girls wear lipstick and black stockings (and have pointy breasts), and he finds that he feels like he belongs. I’m around halfway through so far, and it’s, well- it’s rather delightful to be honest. The writing style is unique (is that even truly possible?) in that it’s written as if Jeremy is telling you the story himself…so lots of grammar errors, run-on sentences, and very few commas to be found. Weisberg goes a fantastic job of capturing the teen voice, so far as I can remember what the teen voice sounds like all those many years ago, but it feels genuine. Maybe it feels genuine in an adult way looking back to the teenaged years, and maybe that’s okay. You can’t help but like Jeremy, and though his circumstances are quite different than mine, I can’t help but live through him, hoping I get the girl in the end, hoping also not to make too much of a fool of myself with these new friends and our new journeys.
The book is genuinely funny. I have laughed out loud several times while reading, and most of it comes from Jeremy’s inner dialogue when he comes up with some crazy view on some issue (like Shakespeare- see below) or how he would save the hot girl if a gunman came into the mall where he was stuck in The Limited, oddly looking at girl’s sweaters when she happened to walk in and stand next to him.
Here’s what Jeremy has to say about how absurd the plot is to Romeo and Juliet:
Unless we take a wrong turn somewhere down the road, I’m pretty sure this is going in the “highly recommend” category. Hope to find more books in the same vein, because like the book Fat Kid Rules the World (which I read earlier this year and loved), it feels like I could completely turn this into a film one day. Maybe…
Let me just start off by saying that All Hallow’s Eve is, as you might guess, horrendous. It’s not scary, it’s unnecessarily brutal, and it serves little purpose even existing at all.
The movie features a babysitter and two young kids…brother and sister, who just returned from a night of trick or treating on Halloween. In his treat bag, the boy finds a VHS tape. He’s 11, but somehow knows exactly what it is as soon as he sees it. Now, first off you’re thinking, wow- the writer has blatantly ripped off the entire premise of the also terrible horror anthology, V/H/S and it’s sequel V/H/S 2. The kid begs the babysitter to play the video, she argues they’re too young, he says they see worse on the internet (probably true), so she plays it. The kids watch the first of three frame stories on the tape with the babysitter…they are put to bed after story 1, and the babysitter finishes the last two alone while waiting for the kids’ parents to return home.
There are bits of homage to past horror films, especially Night of the Living Dead, which is playing on the TV before they start the VHS. You have to wonder what family today even has a VCR, let alone one that’s still hooked up and ready to be used. Silly things like this don’t matter when you can’t write a story to begin with. To be fair, the wrap around story with the kids is the best part of it all. The main actress, despite the scowl she wears the entire movie, is decent enough, and the two kids are both adorable and probably the best actors of the entire movie. They have nice chemistry as bickering siblings and the dialogue here is pretty spot on. The rest of the dialogue, however, is stilted and badly written for the most part, even in the wrap around story.
There are three segments/short films in this “anthology” (tho all were written and directed by the same guy)the first one features the clown character in what seems like a bus stop. A woman is kidnapped…and well, not a lot happens. There’s too much brutal violence and zero scares, and the violence serves no greater purpose than simply being there. The second story is even worse and includes what I assume are aliens and a terrible actress who screams a lot and falls down every ten seconds. The third and final story is the best, though it’s still pretty terrible. Again, terrible acting, bad dialogue, and no scares to be had here. All ending with a ridiculous special effects scene that should have never been included in any film, not only because it’s unnecessarily violent and semi-sexist (it’s weird stuff), but because it looks so insanely fake and dumb.
The wrap around story has a nice twist ending, but I won’t spoil what little fun might be had here. Thank God this movie was less than $10, because it’s not even worth that. I suspect writer and director Damien Leone has a future career of poorly written direct to video DVD releases, but then again, there’s really only one direction he could go from here, and that’s up. I will say one thing, the clown character is well done, the actor gives him nice movement, and his mannerisms are truly very creepy. If given better material to work with, even some of the really violent stuff would have made sense, given a few scares. There’s just nothing here to work with.
So, I was one of those youtube videos where someone had posted the full movie…forget which movie it was, but on the sidebar, I saw the movie “The Quiet Earth.” The info. said it was a New Zealand film from 1985 about a couple of survivors in a post-apocalyptic earth. Sounded interesting enough, so I downloaded it, added it to my Plex watchfolder to stream to my TV later on. Last night, I finally watched it, and let’s just say it was well worth it. An underrated film, no doubt, one that I’d wager few people have even heard of. Perhaps it’s because it’s from New Zealand, or maybe people just hated it back in the day? Who knows.
Our main character wakes up in bed, at home, and something is weird. He knows it, but he can’t quite place it. He gets ready for work, starts to make his commute, and he notices there are no people around at all, cars and trucks are left abandoned in the streets, he comes to a house and tries to get someone to answer, the water is spraying from the faucet, the bed has been used, but the inhabitants are nowhere to be found. A very effective setup to the film, eerie and lonely; we’re likely to see some weird stuff soon. We discover that he works at some sort of secret base, technology everywhere you look, 80′s era computer screens, old printers, doors that go swoosh as the open, a futuristic looking place, maybe military in nature, but definitely a place where secret work is taking place. We find out that what has happened was probably part of some program they were working on with the Americans called Project Flashlight- he doesn’t really explain fully what it is, outside of it being an energy grid set up around the planet, part of it allowing planes to refuel via electrons in the air (at least that’s what I gathered from his various explanations). An interesting idea, very thought provoking, very well done execution.
He realizes he’s the only one left, so he does the regular crazy stuff- drives a car through the mall, loads up on goodies, takes residence in a mansion, records a message played on the radio station to others, “My name is Zach…you can reach me at…” hoping others left alive will reach out to him. He slowly goes mad, decides he’s either President of the world or God, or both. I won’t say much else about the plot, but to mention that it’s all very well done. The locations are great, the empty streets all over make it truly feel post-apocalyptic, the acting is pretty spot on, and the story constantly makes you think about all sorts of issues.
It made me think a lot about these sorts of situations in general. How would we react if we thought we were the only ones alive on earth? And furthermore, if we chose to live our full lives, what would be the best, safest route to doing so? Most of these films seem to imagine a world where buildings aren’t soon falling into the city streets, and that electricity stays on for weeks, perhaps months or longer? But, that can’t be true, right? It kept popping into my head- the electricity would turn off in fairly short order, I’d think, right? Somewhere electricity is produced and harnessed and sent out over powerlines. Someone has to keep the power stations open and working, someone has to ensure the generators keep turning, that they stay oiled, that things don’t overheat, etc. So, how long would power stay on? Our main character solves the power issue early in the film by driving around a truck-based generator. All well and good, but what about food? Surely, there are tons of junk food items and canned foods that would last for a couple years, and then you can easily garden your way to food…I kept trying to throw up roadblocks in my mind. I guess you could easily find gardening books at any book store, right?
So, you’d have food easy enough, and with generators and tons of gas stored in gas stations around the country, you’d be able to power it all well until your death and beyond…but wouldn’t nuclear power plants, no longer being taken care of, overheat and explode, throwing radiation into every part of the planet? Wouldn’t normal power plants explode too? Cities would be pretty deadly, as gas lines would eventually break and explode, skyscrapers would eventually fall over (that can’t be safe!), and all sorts of animals and disease would, no doubt, run rampant through the streets. So, it seems small towns or the country would be safest, but steer clear or places with lots of animals, I’d assume? So many questions, so many things few of us would ever know, having little expertise in a range of topics…but always a cool thought experiment. These movies are always fun in that you imagine yourself in the guy’s shoes, wondering how awesome it’d be to take over a city for a day, able to do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted, no matter how insane. Like a real life version of Grand Theft Auto to the nth degree. It almost makes up for the fact that you’d never see another person again. Almost.
First off, I’m not the target audience. I’m 34, will soon be 35. I read RL Stine (fear street and the standalones) in Jr. high and high school religiously. I even kept reading them after school was finished. From time to time, I come back to the old classic, and I’ve picked up a few of the newer books as well (this trio of books started in 2005). I think some of them hold up well, the stories are truly written well enough for the target audience, and the suspense is there, likable characters exist to keep you interested, etc. I just reread THE CHEATER (fear street) a few months go, and I enjoyed it, there were sufficient twists, and I liked the main characters enough to care what happened to them.
This book was a bit different. First, what I did like. I liked the idea of a group of teens sneaking out at night to hang out, have the city to themselves, whatever. It’s a fun concept, something I can imagine I’d love doing if I were a senior in high school, but the execution here is pretty poor. We start off with Jamie and her boyfriend Lewis. They sneak out at night alone, spending time near the old Fear mansion on what is now a desolate Fear Street, most of the houses gone, a shopping complex is being built on the site, the Fear mansion itself will be gone too soon enough, parts of the house already torn down. An accident occurs, and we’re suddenly sent a year into the future where a new all night bar called Nights has opened, and the group of kids who hang out at night has grown, most of them meet at the bar, sometimes heading out to other places to hang as well.
We get used to Jamie and Lewis, then they are suddenly pushed to secondary status as others become central to the plot, mostly Nate who is friends with the two, a night person himself. I had trouble buying most of the dialogue between the teens. No way kids today talk like they do in the book, and I’d argue that even when I was in high school in the late 1990′s, no one really talked the way they do in this particular book. Too many embarrassingly bad lines thrown back and forth, and none of the teen stuff felt true to life, so it definitely takes you out of it, and you’re reminded you’re reading a book that might be popular, but few would argue it’s truly great writing. Stine knows his bread and butter, the elements that made him wealthy beyond imagination, and he’s sticking with it, even if it all does feel a bit outdated.
What sounds like a whodunnit sort of mystery novel turns out to be supernatural in nature. I won’t spoil much by saying that, but the supernatural element takes hold and it’s pretty much what you get through to the end, it leaves off nicely for the sequel and the third book.
Let me quickly add the whole of the Nights bar- it’s all just plain bizarre. We’re supposed to believe that a popular new bar in the new shopping complex in a city the size of Shadyside is so desolate every night of the week that the bar tender, who is often asleep at the bar, would be able to allow teens into the bar, drinking whatever they want, coming and going all hours of the night, without anyone noticing. Without the authorities saying- hey, why is this bar always filled with kids, and bar tender, how about a trip to jail? None of this is executed well, and it just seems silly, and again takes away from any realism the book might have had. Add that to the poorly done teen dialogue, and the book suffers immensely. Besides- if this whole night people group is so secret, and they fear being caught by adults, why not meet somewhere away from people, instead of smashing car windows downtown Shadyside, yelling and hollering, etc all night long?
Stine was always one of the tamer YA horror authors, never getting too serious or too grown up (you want that, you go to Christopher Pike), so he has a formula, and it’s one that has worked well for him, and he keeps it alive here. Not a great book, not a terrible book, but hopefully the rest of the series redeems some of the lesser qualities of this first entry.
So, in high school I discovered books. I was a freshman, and one of the new kids I started hanging out with was a big reader. He got me into a summer program before my freshman year, and I started reading all the time. I started off with novelizations of movies (License To Drive was the first book I read that summer), and I moved my way into YA (young adult) horror…mostly RL Stine’s Fear Street, Christopher Pike, a bunch of the Point Horror series books, etc. It was 1993, so this was the prime time for all of these series.
I haven’t ever lost my love of YA horror, even at the age of 34. Recently, I picked up the Fear Street Nights trio of books from Amazon sellers ($4 per book including shipping? Not too bad if you ask me.) I’ve finished book one, Moonlight Secrets. I have moved onto book two now. They’re fairly quick reads, not all that exciting, too filled with supernatural stuff to entertain too much, but the whole Fear Street allure is there, keeping me reading.
A few things about the first book, and there might be some slight spoilers here:
First off- these teens meet at an all night bar called Nights? Seriously? One, I can’t imagine a city like Shadyside wouldn’t have some sensible 2AM cutoff times for alcohol consumption in the ol’ taverns. Two- some slacker dude runs the place and has no problem facing definite jail time for serving seemingly nothing but minors all night every night? I’m supposed to believe that this brand new bar, built atop where the old Fear Mansion once stood, nestled into the new shopping complex, at the end of what was considered the most infamous street in the entire town is a place where teens can hide at 4AM, not afraid, ya know, adults might see them coming and going, making as much noise as possible, throwing bottles at cars speeding away from the place (as happens in the story)? These kids constantly talk about how scared they are to go to the police if something bad happens (and a lot of bad happens), because their parents will discover the bar and the fact that they all stay out all night, week in and week out?
I get it’s poorly written teenaged stuff, but come on!
I like the idea of being a teenager, having the run of the small city at night, but too much of it took place at this bar that made no sense, and the other aspects of the story took on too much of a supernatural vibe to be taken too seriously. Bring back the good ol’ murders of the earlier Fear Street books, and I’m game.
It must also be mentioned that Stine clearly does not know how teenagers talk. Remembering back, I honestly don’t recall if he ever did that very well, but the lines here are often atrocious. Pike does a much better job at getting into the vernacular of young people. It could be the fact that Stine has to be near 70 now (the book was written in 2005), so perhaps he shouldn’t have any idea how teens talk these days. There were a number of sections that were pretty laughable in the way the kids acted, the situations they were in, etc.
Despite the less than stellar start to the series, I will continue to the end of book 3. I will probably end up posting a longer format write up on the entire series. I have a few of the old Point Horror series books coming this week from various amazon sellers (Spring Break and Christopher Pike’s Weekend). I will post some stuff on those two as well. I downloaded a couple Fear Street books to my kindle, and I picked up a double book of Pike’s Chain Letter 1 and 2. All to come soon.
It turns out, the media has painted a false picture of what happened in the Rose Garden press conference…apparently the marine, pictured here, wasn’t shielding Obama from the rain, but rather was giving the president a thumbs up on the great job he’s been doing the last couple of weeks. I checked Marine protocol, and apparently a thumbs up in uniform is perfectly acceptable.
Greatest photo bomb ever. Nothing more to see here.
NOTE: This review contains some spoilers.
I’ve been looking forward to this for, I guess, about two years now.
The very idea of a new TCM just excites me. A massive fan of the
original, I liked most of what came after, minus the terrible New
Generation sequel which stunk. I even liked TCM2 and Leatherface a lot.
I just like the series, and the character of leatherface is creepy as
heck in general.
I personally loved this one. 10 mins or so in, I wasn’t sure how I
felt. The girl’s family was too over the top redneck, some of the
dialogue was a bit silly, but it felt like a true homage to the
original, a loving tribute made by people who I suspect truly adored
the first film. The introduction to leatherface is brilliant, the house
itself is super creepy, the stairs, the door so very much like the door
in the original, the kills were inventive enough, and there was a good
deal of atmosphere. When that chainsaw starts and it overpowers every
other sound- it’s scary as hell.
I had issues with the timeline, of course (wouldn’t she be in her 40′s
in the present day? How on earth did the police chief look younger
today than in 1974? etc), and I had issues with some of the stuff the
characters did (SPOILER!!!- If Heather’s friends were just butchered,
why is she calmly reading through documents in the police station, okay
to be left alone- if I had a run-in with leatherface, I’d demand never
to be alone again in my life, including trips to the bathroom and
shower! That just didn’t ring true at all- she seemed way too composed
and way too easy with being left alone to browse newspaper
clippings…speaking of which, that scene went on WAY too long, and
what was with the constant camera pans over various parts of the
documents? It hurt my eyes…just have the character read the info. out
loud for heaven’s sake).
So, yeah, not a perfect movie, but it was so much fun, it was scary
enough, it had enough inventive kills that I looked past those
problems. This, for me, might be equal to the original. In some ways, I
might even go as far to say it’s superior. The house, for example, is
way more creepy…that long stairway down and the metal door beyond it,
I loved every minute of it. 9/10 for sure.