The Thing: I just love it. I regret nothing.

I had the most awesome opportunity the other day. I have this really cool husband, I like him a lot. However, he wasn’t exactly a horror fan until we started dating. In fact, he had only seen (and was subsequently traumatized) by “The Exorcist” as a lad. As a horror-holic this has actually worked in my favor. I get to watch a ton of classic horror movies with him and vicariously remember how amazing they were the first time I saw them when I was younger. Not to put him on blast, but I was a little surprised that he had never seen John Carpenter’s “The Thing” since he is a legit Sci Fi fan. So, we watched it the other day and no shock here, he loved it. I was pleasantly surprised that I loved it as much  more than I had the first time I had seen it.

“The Thing” was made in 1982 and directed by horror master John Carpenter. I am not referring to 1951’s “The Thing From Another World”, just to be clear. The Carpenter version stars the always sickeningly cool Kurt Russel, Wilford Brimely, and Keith David to name a few. The film takes place at a remote research center in the Antarctic where a group of scientists (and the hard working crew who keeps the place running) discover that there was something sinister and alien living frozen under the snow until some Norwegians sprung it loose. Specifically, this alien crawls up into a living organism and takes it over. I should mention that the hijacking process is not a pleasant one. However, those around “the thing” don’t really have a way of knowing that their former friend or coworker is being ridden by this parasite.

I admit that as someone who really hearts horror movies, I have a slight tendency to applaud and call many films I love “classic”. However, this one really is classic. I dare say, a masterpiece. Here is what I find truly inspiring about this movie: it was made 30+ years ago, and it still REALLY holds up. There is only a tiny, tiny bit of cheeziness to the special effects. And I do mean tiny. Think like, the size of one of those slivers of almonds you put on a salad sort of tiny. Remember kids, this is before the time of fancy CGI! And it really still looks great. The alien/thing itself is just so gross. It’s gooey, bloody, pus-filed, and I just feel like it probably smells weird. Oh, and that horrid screeching sound it makes?!! That is just good. Not to mention the whole story is just this tension building, and building upon itself. The Thing is desperate to survive, and it could be in anyone. The suspicion, the paranoia, it just escalates! And then like the characters themselves, we in the audience don’t know who to trust anymore either. Well done!

Oh, I want to talk about the ending. So, just scroll down for spoilers. In case you’re jumping off here though, let me just close by saying please go watch “The Thing.” If you don’t like it, you suck and have no taste. Haha-kidding….kinda. 😉 In all seriousness, my love for this film was just rekindled and I was so overwhelmingly impressed by that. I hope you feel the same.

Oh Jay-sus take the wheel-I can't even handle this picture right now...

Oh Jay-sus take the wheel-I can’t even handle this picture right now…

 

 

 

 

That Spoiler Part: The ending. I know there is much to be said (and has been said) about it. I adore the ambiguous ending. It’s how Carpenter wanted it to be, open to interpretation. My own personal opinion: Childs is the thing, not MacReady/Kurt Russel. My main evidence to support my theory is the fact that you can’t see Child’s breathe out there in the frozen cold…but you can see MacReady’s. And there is such attention paid to the fact that you can only see one of them breathing. Regardless of who you feel is the thing, you can’t deny the power of those two actors in that final scene. Such subtext and knowing in the lines they speak to each other. One of them is determined to save the world if he can, the other is bringing the apocalypse to Earth. Well played sirs; well played indeed.

Books!!

So  when I started this blog, I had every intention of whenever I finished a book I think the horror community might enjoy, to do a blog post on it. However, I read a lot. And I feel unfulfilled if I don’t have something to read immediately after. So I tend to jump into books one after another. Then I have lost track of time and didn’t write a post about the novel. I am also in a badass ladies book club and we read some really good shiz. So, I decided to browse through my Kindle a little and just toss out a fee ideas of books you may like if you read this blog. Most of them are not actually “horror” genre books. But, I think they have that fun little X Factor us horror fanatics crave.  Obviously there are SO many amazing books out there, I don’t claim that these are the only things out there worth reading. I hope some of these titles bring your dark heart joy! (Aww books…how I love thee. I even have a book themed tattoo ya know. Because I’m legit like that.

What the Night Knows- Dean Koontz

I am a big Kootz fan and he rarely disappoints. This is a funky little book about a serial killer who targets families. His name is Alton Turner Blackwood. His rampage is ended when a boy of 14 survives an attack and kills the twisted bastard. Twenty years later that boy is a grown man,a  father and a homicide detective. Someone is recreating the crimes of Blackwood. It’s not a spoiler to tell you that it is in fact the ghostly spirit of Blackwood returned. It says as much on the back cover. I loved some of the groovy flash back stuff of young Blackwood’s decent into madness and murder. Check it out! Or check out a number of other Koontz books. He’s been writing for a million years, you should find plenty.

Warm Bodies- Isaac Marion

Now, I have not seen the movie adaptation. But I loved the book. Lead zombie R is struggling through an existential crisis. Apparently, it’s difficult to be a sentient undead. Especially when the rulers of your species are pressuring you to stop being an individual and just conform and let them rule you. Eventually he falls for a living girl and the story takes off from there. Of course I love zombies, And I loved this new take on the genre. Eventually I will have to see the film. But I enjoyed this re-imagined Romeo and Juliet story so much I have been waiting. I am generally a big advocate for reading the book before seeing the movie, ‘natch. I know many in the horror community hated this movie. But, since I haven’t seen it I am optimistic since I liked the novel so much.

A Song of Fire and Ice/Game of Thrones Series- George R.R. Martin

Yes, I love the show. It’s fantastic. The books are also fan-freaking-tactic. Some sex, lots of violence, gore, political intrigue, murders most foul, magic, zombie like creatures and other mythical critters. Yes, the books are lengthy investments. And I highly encourage both reading them and viewing the show. I can’t say enough good things about what Mr. Martin has crafted. Just drink the kool aide and dive in over your head. I haven’t looked back since.

The Neighbors- Ania Ahlborn

This is a quick little thriller about a young man who moves in with an old stoner friend of his and right next door to a seemingly perfect middle aged couple. The couple, ( especially the fascinating character of the wife, Harlow) are harboring some dark, unseemly and lethal secrets. I love a female villain. And she’s a good one. I just wish it was longer.

Gone Girl- Gillian Flynn

The first but sure to be not the last book I read by this author. Flynn knows how to craft suspense at a master level. The plot centers around the “Golden” married couple of Nick and Amy. Well, Amy goes missing. As per usual, the authorities focus in on the husband, Nick as a person of interest. Like a delicious little onion, layers upon layers are peeled back to reveal more details about who this couple really is and what was going on behind the scenes in their marriage.  Believe the hype,  this book was incredible.

Breed- Chase Novak

I am anti child. As in, I don’t really like them. Well, I am partially kidding. I shan’t be having any kids and I’m not a huge fan of them. Not that I want them to die or anything. I want them to be happy and healthy with parents who aren’t me. *End of Disclaimer*. We have established my love for the creepy kid genre. Basically kids and pregnancy aren’t my thing. So, I loved this story of birth going terribly awry. Alex and Leslie Twisden are a wealthy New York couple who can’t make a decent baby. So, they go to a shady eastern European establishment for some new, experimental fertility treatments. Guess what? They’re gonna get more than they bargained for. This Novak guy has a style that I really like. It’s…blunt. I can’t really think of another word for it. I will be reading more from him soon I hope.

20th Century Ghosts, Nos4A2, Horns and Heart Shaped Box- all by Joe Hill.

I can’t stress enough how any one who’s a fan of books, horror, or horror books need to read what Joe Hill writes. He’s one of my favorites. I even got to go to a reading/signing of his recently and he did not disappoint. I have a weakness for  Heart Shaped  Box as my favorite of his works. I happen to have a literary crush on its lead character, Rockstar turned Ghost-tormented Judas Coyne. Regardless, this dude can write and if you aren’t reading his books you should be! Including his graphic novel series, Locke and Key. Joe comes from a literary family. Both his parents write. His dad happens to be one of my biggest heroes, Stephen King. Luckily, Joe has his own groovy thing going on and it rocks.

American Gods- Neil Gaiman

This was the only remaining book by Neil I hadn’t read it. One of us chose it for the book club and it ended up sweeping our awards ceremony in multiple categories. Actually, that and Gone Girl were the big guns for us this year. Anyway, it’s a delightfully fun and at times quite a graphic and disturbing book. Needless to say, I loved it. We also get a lot of fun stuff involving Gods, Goddesses and Mythology. And lest we forget, humor. It’s been out for a while, and hopefully you’re well versed in this and all else Gaiman has to offer. But, if not, please start. Like today, start reading his books right now.

That is all for now my fiendy friends!! Go read!! 😉

thebook-wins

It’s my Purge Party-And You’re Invited!

Being the sick and twisted individual I am, I loved the opening sequence of this movie. Over the sweet, melodic sounds of Debussy’s Clare de Lune, the audience is shown a gritty montage via surveillance and home video cameras of people shooting, and beating the bejesus out of one another. Apparently, this is what happens in 2022 when one Purges. The Purge is a 12 hour period one day a year when all crime is legal. Police, hospitals, etc are on hold. Doing so is keeping the violence, unemployment and other social issues that suck in American down to an almost nonexistent level.

Before we talk more about the nuts and bolt of how one Purges, lets talk about the Sandin family. I was so happy to see Ethan Hawke back for another scary movie! And this time he never put on the douche bag sweater and drank too much whisky ala Sinister. He plays James Sandin the most successful patriarch in his charming suburb. James sells  expensive state of the art security systems. This is extremely useful when you’ve got weirdos running around killing and maiming for one wacky night in March. James is kind of annoying, but we can tell he really cares about his family. So, that’s nice. His wife is Mary Sandin played by one of my favorite actresses, Lena Headey. We don’t know much about Mary to begin with except that she makes tasty dinners with no carbs and drinks Gnarly Head wine. (Yo, I’m from the Nor Cal Wine Country, I notice that kinda stuff).

Mother and Father have two kids. Teenage daughter Zooey and tween son Charlie. Charlie is a little tech guru who makes this amazing contraption featuring a burned doll,  camera and wheels. Zooey is a typical sullen teen glued to her phone and ear buds.  Anyway, Charlie is a tender heart and sensitive kid who doesn’t really get why people Purge. He ends up seeing a man on their video surveillance system injured and seeking help from some people pursuing him. Charlie decides to help him and let’s him in. The homeless man he helps  is being pursued by a particularly gruesome group of people wearing these delightfully unsettling big, grinning masks. And they just aren’t keen on the fact that the Sandin’s are harboring this guy. Their charismatic leader puts it simply. Either give up the homeless man or the masked crew are going to kill the whole Sandin family. This is where shit gets real.

This sort of dystopian story is the type of thing that makes me super gleeful. Maybe this is Spoiler-ish so, just consider yourself warned. In this America of the future, church and state have merged. The Purge allows people a release for the hate and sin they build up inside of them. And because the rich can afford fancy security systems for their stately homes,  virtually its only the poor, the sick, and the weak are actually out there killing each other. Thus making them less of a burden on society because they’re now dead. So there is some really interesting social, political and religious things going on. Not to mention the notion of kill or be killed when thrust in that situation. I wish there had been even more of these “bigger picture” themes going on. It’s really a disturbing concept that for that 12 hour period no one can help you and that this violence and murder is actually encouraged to take place. Side note- I’ve heard complaints that this entire concept it far fetched. I hate that argument! If we are going to start down that rabbit hole then get ready to rule out tons of our favorite and beloved horror movies for being “unrealistic ” portrayals of things that couldn’t really happen. Not to mention I think a creepily large percentage of people would be totally on board with purging. Not to mention I think it’s a thought provoking cautionary tale. And, lastly, this is a fairly original concept for a horror movie, so enjoy that.

The ladies all wear simple white cotton gowns-perfect for ritual sacrifices and so easy to clean!

The ladies all wear simple white cotton gowns-perfect for ritual sacrifices and so easy to clean!

*Real Time Spoilers*

There were some really cool things that went down in this movie that I really liked. I loved the scene where Zooey’s boyfriend comes down the stairs and tries to kill her papa!! I didn’t see that coming. I thought the bf was actually in on the whole crime gang thing, so that was kind of cool. I really didn’t like Zooey. Well until the part where she totally offs the creepy group leader. But otherwise I was annoyed and confused with how she kept wandering away from the group to go listen to her pink ear buds while there is a gang of murders outside, a stranger in your house, and your bf had decided to kill you father thus getting himself shot. Ugh. Teens.

What I did like is when James and Mary were torturing the homeless guy to get him in the chair and the whole struggle to decide if they’re going go send him out to die even though he’s done nothing wrong, but doing so will save the family. But the kids would have hated their parents and thought they were monsters for doing that. This leads us to the badass moment where James and Mary decide to defend the home and not throw the homeless guy out there. I would have liked it more if they had immediately armed the homeless guy and had him help, but whatever. I also would have liked more killings. Always more killings and blood! I guess they needed a bigger cast of characters to pull that off.

At the end of the film after James is dead (insert sad face) Mary doesn’t adopt the homeless man. He just kinda goes on his ways after saving their lives. I dig that. I didn’t want there to be anything too showy and emo. Oh! And how could I forget to mention the creepy ass neighbors who popped over to whack the Sandin’s whilst they were having a “purge party”?! Yes, there was some heavy handed foreshadowing that the one blonde neighbor lady. But I still liked that whole little subplot and twist.

In closing: Liked it? Yes, I absolutely liked it. Is it love? Maybe not. But worth seeing especially if you’re at all intrigued  by these fun dystopian concepts.