Archive for April, 2018

Did I mention last post, about Le Grand Méchant Renard, that the one sane character in the entire barnyard is a pig?  So, speaking of pigs, in my visit to family (cf. April 24) we spent our first night together with Netflix on the TV with the feature selected (“Let’s do ‘Creatures,'” I suggested as we explored the menu) a Korean horror movie called CHAW.  Of which this on Amazon:  Chaw is the name for a man-eating wild boar with a body length of 2m and approximate weight of 410kg.  Sameri is a quiet village on the foot of Mt. Jiri in South Korea where no incidents have occurred in 10 years.  One day a mangled human wrist is found and the village of Sameri is placed in fear and severe anxiety.  Shortly later another body part is found and then footprints are discovered with bloodstains.  Former hunter Il-man Cheon (Hang-Seon Jang) lost his granddaughter and he now suspects her disappearance is tied to the man eating boar.  Il-man then gathers some residents to find the boar including Sun-kyeong Kim (Tae-woong Eom), professional animal hunter Baek (Je-mun Yun), and Hyeong-sa Shin (Hyeok-kwon Park).  Animal ecosystem researcher Su-ryeon (Yu-mi Jeong) is also enlisted in their hunt.

CHAW or CHAWS?  That is, one niece suggested the film unfolds much like a land-based version of JAWS, with an oversized porker instead of the fish.  And she was right if you think about it — a story unfolding, horror by horror escalating, until there’s finally an all-out attempt to destroy the critter.  But also an ending suggesting such horrors might still exist.  Perhaps it’s not all that unique a plot-line but the success is in how it’s carried out, with (in this version) a fair bit of humor as well.  Or to quote viewer “Adamo’s” review on Amazon:  Jung Yu-Mi is so adorably cute in her role as the eager college student trying to research large boars.  ‘Chaw’ (pronounced ciao, means trap in South Korean) is some sort of mutant boar terrorising a local village.  It goes for about 2 hours and I watched it over the course of two nights and really it doesn’t seem to drag too much, it’s witty and tongue in cheek without being ridiculous and pays respect to the creature feature genre.  These movies are Chawnotorious for horrendously dodgy looking creatures but even the boar looks and moves realistically, for the most part.

I laughed out loud when right at the end when the camera pans away the serious straight cop pulls his jacket up so you can see the outline of his ass in skin tight brown leggings.  A perfect example of the spirit CHAW was made in.

I honestly don’t remember that little touch at the end, but it seems likely enough and in general I think the review is a fair one.  And, even though he only gave it three stars, I enjoyed the film enough myself that I’ve ordered a copy for future (re)viewing.

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Whoever thinks that the countryside is calm and peaceful is mistaken.  In it we find especially agitated animals, a Fox that thinks it’s a chicken, a Rabbit that acts like a stork, and a Duck who wants to replace Father Christmas.  If you want to take a vacation, keep driving past this place.  So says IMDb and the place is France, or at least in the 2017 cartoon, based in turn on a series of Franch graphic novels, LE GRAND MÉCHANT RENARD ET AUTRES CONTES in a U.S. sneak preview this afternoon at the Indiana University Cinema.  And the fox (le renard) no relation to those we met in the comments in the post just below (April 24), the would-be harassers of beleagured cat Arlo, but funny and just a little bit scary (violent, at least, enough to for one father to have to leave with his upset child) as he attempts, under the tutelage of the big bad wolf, to steal if not chickens, three freshly laid eggs which, when they hatch, might provide them both lunch.  The only trouble, when they do hatch, the first thing the chicks see being the fox they immediately bond with him as their “mother” — and hence, of course, he bonds back.

So which are they, prey or predators, foxes or chickens, in what unfolds as an examination of identity and the meaning of family (restored to the farmyard, the chicks get in trouble in school, e.g., for trying to bite their fellow pupils)?  Combine with this two other tales, “Baby Delivery” and “The Perfect Christmas,” under the frame of the “Honeysuckle Farm Players” (of whom our fox is a principal actor) presenting a play for our enjoyment — in French, to be sure, but with English subtitles.  Its distribution in the U.S. has been delayed for a month or two, however, according to the IU Cinema docent, to the point where they almost didn’t want us to see it this early, but it isn’t silly (despite its premises) and it is funny as well as in some places just a bit touching, a lovely Saturday matinee should you get a chance when the time comes to see it.

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig.  Yes, the writer has come back from a visit to family, nieces and sister, in the Washington DC area to a computer cave much as it had been before.  No exciting new news, no exciting bad news, one rejection when the time came to check email, another story advanced to a publisher’s second round, but not yet (if ever to be) accepted.  And one comes home late:  It seems a thing, this current year of traveling adventures, that there will be a delay of some kind connected with airplanes.  Stokercon in Providence last month (see March 6) involved a flight cancellation, finding a new flight out of Boston, a $60-plus ride via Uber (still cheaper than an extra hotel night) and finally home only three hours late.  This time the plane left the gate on time, but an “issue” came up regarding equipment and back to the gate to replace a part.  But they did feed us snacks.  And then a new takeoff and home again, home again only two hours late.

So life in the computer cave resumes, a happy and healthy Triana welcoming me last night (now resting behind the couch, enjoying a little alone time).  This night’s supper cooking, and so it goes.

Yes, the Goth cat Triana will be in charge of the computer cave by herself for a few days.  It hasn’t been an overly exciting week newswise for writing in any event; editors, publishers, all may be getting a second wind for a possibly finally coming spring.  Things go like that sometimes.  So I may be away from the computer cave for a day or so, leaving Triana to take care of things here, albeit helped by a friend who’ll be stopping in now and then to make sure she gets her suppers on time.  You know how it is.  If something comes up I may be able to get in a post or two anyway, but possibly not (I’m getting my second wind as well).

So, if not before, see everyone next week.

This is one that can’t really be classified — is the story horror, romance, fantasy?  It doesn’t even have a title, though its protagonist’s name is Emily so probably that will have to do.  After all it was only allowed to be one sentence long.

So Emily (we’ll say) was published today as the “Winner of April 6th Story Prompt Challenge” on Carrie Ann Golden’s blog, A WRITER & HER SENTIMENTAL MUSE.  Full disclosure:  Emily may have had an advantage since she seems to have been the only entrant.  But technicalities, technicalities, what’s important was the story had to be based on the picture to the right, and be only a sentence long.  Or, from the official rules (in fact, the only official rule):  “Since this is a one-line story, there is no limit on the word count; however, be creative and use your words and punctuation wisely.”

To read it for yourself, press here.  And as for the competition, since she was an early entrant perhaps Emily (or her circumstances) frightened potential rival contestants away.

So let’s give Haleigh Foutch the introduction in “9 Psychological Horror Movies That Will Seriously Mess with Your Head” on COLLIDER.COM via THISISHORROR.CO.UK:  . . .  you won’t see titles like SILENCE OF THE LAMBS or LES DIABOLIQUES — they’re some of the best movies ever made in the psychological horror genre, but their effect is different.  What you will find here are a whole bunch of mentally taxing freakout films that will prod at your psyche and put you through the ringer.  It’s . . . obviously nowhere near a comprehensive list, it’s an assortment of my favorite (or perhaps most dreaded) movies that mangled my mind.  Along the same train of thought as my list of visually stunning movies, sometimes I just like to celebrate a few of my favorites without getting into qualifiers and rankings.  Think of this as a starting ground, a conversation starter, and a few of my personal favorites, and be sure to keep that conversation going sound off in the comments with the movies that messed you up the most.

So which movies are they?  Well, starting with JACOB’S LADDER, and ending with THE VANISHING (the original foreign language version, NOT the 1993 remake in English), highlights include some I’ve seen like the two just mentioned, but several I haven’t as well, so I know how I may be spending my evening.  It is, after all, Friday the 13th.  So, for those who would like to share the misery — or at least enjoy some of it for oneself — for the rest of the list press here.

It’s skinny and long (it’s a lot of poems) but here it is, the contents list for the current STAR*LINE (see March 29) with four, count ’em FOUR, poems by me.  Well, they’re very short poems (on a very long list) and spaced out through the issue, but see if you can find them all!  Hint:  The final two have VERY long titles, the fourth perhaps the longest of all (but the first two are shorter).

Departments

Dragons & Rayguns • Vince Gotera
President’s Message • Bryan Thao Worra
From the Small Press • Herb Kauderer
Stealth SF * Flying Blind * Denise Dumars
XenoPoetry: Japanese Scifaiku and Tanka • Shouko Izuo (translated by Natsumi Ando)

Poetry

[spewing] • Roxanne Barbour
[spray of rocks] • Roxanne Barbour
Workshop Exercise 21/08/2337: My Earliest Memories • David Jalajel
UFO • David Barber
[multiple moons] • David J Kelly
[life sentence] • David C. Kopaska-Merkel
[their drone ship came to Earth] • Lauren McBride
The Fallen Angel’s Ace of Wands • Mindy Watson
Why aliens shun India • Arjun Rajendran
[huckster moon] • Greer Woodward
Never Trust a Vampiress • James Dorr
[that] • David C. Kopaska-Merkel
It’s Universal • Marsheila Rockwell
Transported by Song • Herb Kauderer
[easy mole removal?] • F. J. Bergmann
A Cinephile Steps On-Screen • Alberto Sveum
Symbiosis • Chris Galford
[Striped gaiters, breather] • Denise Dumars
Stone Clutched to Chest • Laura Madeline Wiseman & Andrea Blythe
The Holy Firmament of Venus • Mary Soon Lee
Measure • Banks Miller
[alien worm—] • Susan Burch
Widening Gyroscope • F. J. Bergmann
[rising] • Roxanne Barbour
Cost-Benefits Analysis of Being a Zombie • James Reinebold
Till Death Do Us Part • Kathleen A. Lawrence
[a GoFundMe account] • Beth Cato
If Only I Could Sleep • G. O. Clark
Hermes • Jonel Abellanosa
Friends of Traitors • Matthew Wilson
[bottle trees on Mars] • Sandra J. Lindow
When Semi-Benevolent Aliens Conquer Earth • R. Mac Jones
Cosmic Roshambo • John Richard Trtek
[we’re leaving] • Robin Wyatt Dunn
Oh No She Didn’t? • James Dorr
[revealing] • Roxanne Barbour
Archaeopteryx • Robert Borski
[Terrans scooping gravel] • Lauren McBride
Wolf Moon • Susan McLean
[FTL propulsion achieved] • Lauren McBride & Jacob McBride
[cosmology] • Katrina Archer
Flight of Fantasy • crystalwizard
[no need] • Susan Burch
[we buried] • ayaz daryl nielsen
alien sea beams • David J Kelly
A Leaf Fairy Feels Under-Appreciated • Sharon Cote
The Return • Ken Poyner
The Cold Spot • Kimberly Nugent
From the Zombie Hunters Field Guide: Tracking the Zombie • James Dorr
[summer waits for him] • Holly Lyn Walrath
[vampire job fair] • William Landis
Data Value • Patricia Gomes
[close encounter] • Susan Burch
[Irresistible panhandling] • F. J. Bergmann
From Antartican Vibranium Tankas • Eileen R. Tabios
Ghazal • Joshua Gage
Elixir Stores Open for Business! • Ronald A. Busse
[the sound of black holes] • Alzo David-West
Lost in the House of Hair • John W. Sexton
[end of the road] • Greg Schwartz
The Music of the Spheres • Mikal Trimm
Come Embrace Space • Lauren McBride
E pur si muove • Deborah L. Davitt
[nothing’s so beautiful] • Alzo David-West
[red shift] • David J Kelly
[alien pool shark] • F. J. Bergmann
Second Life • Davian Aw
[eruption] • Roxanne Barbour
[for sale: sweet cottage] • F. J. Bergmann
Illiteracy • Scott E. Green & Herb Kauderer
[outside the greenhouse] • Greg Schwartz
The Young Transylvanian’s Guide to Dating: Taking Your Date Home • James Dorr
[alien teenagers] • Susan Burch
[prohibited] • Roxanne Barbour
The Ghost Diet • Robert Borski
Everything started with the Big Bang, they say • Juanjo Bazán
[held to my ear] • F. J. Bergmann
Red in the Morning • James B. Nicola
[the prospect recedes] • David C. Kopaska-Merkel
[heat death of a universe] • F. J. Bergmann
Missouri City, Texas, in a Far Tomorrow • José Chapa
Intruders • Cindy O’Quinn
[Looking at each star] • William Landis
The Plague • Matthew Wilson
Mermaid Warrior • Darrell Lindsey
[star party] • Lauren McBride
[Stiff with chill] • Denise Dumars
Exfil • WC Roberts
[class four body dies] • Holly Lyn Walrath
[guys on a float trip] • William Landis
Shapeshifter Taxonomy • A. C. Spahn

Illustrations

Low Rounders • Denny E. Marshall
First Time on a Swing • Christina Sng
Squirm • Denny E. Marshall

And then a second very short item, the Goth cat Triana had her annual checkup yesterday at an all new vet’s, a bit closer than the one she went to last year, and (the triaba2b4001question local people who know her all asked) she conducted herself like a perfect, if apprehensive, lady.  Or more to the point, she didn’t bite either the vet or his assistant!  GOOD Triana.  (There had been some discussion when I had first gotten her of giving her a name with vampiric connotations, but the decision had been that that might be too much of a red flag — cf. February 12 2017.)  And, pending test results on certain, er, organic samples, her health is good.

Well, with one possible exception to the last, something I’d sort of noted myself as I took her in her carrier to the vet.  She may be getting a tiny bit chubby.

Or, in the words of Jamie Bogert in “The Disturbing Origins of 9 Beloved Fairy Tales,” on THE-LINE-UP.COM:  Bedtime is often sweetened by stories of handsome princes and beautiful princesses, comical witches and lovable forest dwellers.  But what happens when we follow the breadcrumb trail to a fairy tale’s gloomy origin?  From the Little Mermaid to Little Red Riding Hood, the sugarcoated renditions we know and love come from much darker places.  If a Disney-themed wedding is in your future, beware:  The disturbing origins of these classic stories are anything but sweet.

And so it goes, in some cases only that the Disney versions we may know and love often leave out the, um, interesting parts; in others perhaps that dark actual events may underlie what we read as children. In addation to the two already noted, the fairy tales discussed are Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, The Frog Prince, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Snow White, and the neat thing is that I’ve written my own versions of, or inspired by, every one of these (disclaimer: that doesn’t necessarily mean every one of these has sold), though Cinderella and Snow White are probably my favorites.  E.g., did you notice Sleeping Beauty in TOMBS?  But in any event, for a quick update on the lore of our youth, one need but press here.

Dracula does retain his name in the Turkish version of his movie (see March 26, including a link to the film itself), although spelled at least three different ways in the subtitles.  The other characters, however, are Turkish and the Mina Harker equivalent works as a showgirl (for convenience, let’s call her “Alt-Mina,” who’s also already married to Alt-Jonathan), allowing for two dance sequences which, among other things, neatly divide the 1953-made 94-minute film into three approximately half-hour segments.  And otherwise, while also set in the 1950s, it follows Lugosi’s 19-year earlier classic (and the novel) better than, say, the Hammer Films versions.  Also as it happens the dance sequences served as convenient markers for watching it on a library computer in three separate not-overly-lengthy segments.  And even if “Dracula” is balding and a little bit boorish, the movie is fun.

In brief, the first half hour takes us through Alt-Jonathan’s meeting in Dracula’s castle, ending with him shooting Dracula (or so he thinks) in one of several coffins being readied for shipping to Istanbul.  Then fast forward to Istanbul and Alt-Mina’s club with a reasonably sexy dance sequence, after which she receives a message in her dressing room that Alt-Jonathan’s doing fine (one of the fake letters that Drac had made him write in advance), followed by a phone call that her “sister” Alt-Lucy is ailing and she should pay her a visit.  Thus segment two gives us Dracula’s attacks on Alt-Lucy, her getting “sicker” (one symptom being sleepwalking into the garden where . . . well, you know), doctors being called for, one opining that while surely she’ll get better soon there is this specialist he knows. . . .  And Alt-Mina gets a phone call that there’s a charity show in town that night and could she, maybe, do a dance number for it?

Thus another “Bollywood” moment, after which she receives a message in her dressing room that Alt-Jonathan was discovered having escaped from Drac’s castle and is now in a hospital on the Hungarian(?) border.  This leads to a series of short scenes in which (1) she drives to join hubby who must remain in the hospital three more days, (2) the “specialist,” Alt-Van Helsing, receives a message requesting he consult on the Alt-Lucy case, (3) he does, prescribes transfusions and garlic but she dies anyway with Alt-Mina and hubby arriving back just in time to say goodbye, (4) newspaper articles highlight a strange woman luring children into the cemetery and leaving them with neck-scars whereupon Alt-Van H. drafts Alt-Lucy’s erstwhile fiance plus Alt-Jonathan on a staking (or as the subtitles have it, “poking”) expedition, (5) Alt-Mina’s charity gig is continuing and, while having been talked into always wearing a garlic neclace, she has to take it off when she’s in costume, leading to (6) a visit from Dracula in her dressing room after, moments before hubby arrives to pick her up (while the others await in the last of Dracula’s lairs — real estate agent Alt-Jonathan having pass keys, you see [the subtitles use the term “kiosk” for these properties, a word derived from Turkish, but I assume with more a British than American meaning]), a chase ensues, and (7) a final fight scene and subsequent happy reunion.

Well, you knew how it would end anyway, but go ahead and give DRACULA IN ISTANBUL a look, if only for its curiosity value (remember? March 26th’s post has a link — way, way down at the very very end [and the reason the desk clerk crosses herself is she’s Romanian]).  And as I say, it holds up well enough as a movie (despite sometimes injudicious subtitles) as well as being fun.

I can probably say now with some assuredness that DIGITAL SCIENCE FICTION ANTHOLOGY (cf . April 2, March 27; July 29 2017) has not yet been published.  However, Managing Editor Michael A. Wills has released a preview of the cover so more should be ready for announcement soon.  Also today’s email adds that there will now be a total of 25 stories by 25 authors, the book will contain about 125,000 words and 400 pages, and be available in e-book, paperback, and “eventually” hardcover formats.

Then one more small item (in more ways than one), today brought the first royalty check for spring quarter.  As is my custom, neither amount nor publisher will be revealed, but I can say that this time the check was greater than the postage that sent it!




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