Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Worms Crawl In, the Worms Crawl Out

I write every single day. However, not everything written is salvageable. Oh, at the time the idea seems good enough, but upon revisit it is more than obvious that it wasn’t and therefore, the words become nothing more than a hard drive space taker.
But sometimes, and this is more often than not, those ideas grow and transform into something more and it is those pieces that make it all worthwhile. Although, there is a dark side, which usually manifests into my being unable to concentrate on anything else until the piece is completed. Considering my work schedule constraining writing limitations, this typically causes pieces to take longer to finish and thus, creates limited output.
Regardless, there is no denying that constant compulsion (believe me, I’ve tried) and I simply go with it and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Only when the piece is done and submitted am I able to move forward and focus on the next project. I refer to this vicious circle as the worms crawling in and out. Sometimes this is a little discouraging since my output is nil, but then again, as long as the writing continues, that’s all that really matters.

Divergent comes out this week and while there is no doubt I will see it at some point, the film hasn’t generated the internal fire The Hunger Games had. The latter trilogy I had read at a feverous pace and became an immediate fan. Divergent hasn’t gripped the same way and while I have no doubt the tale is enticing enough, the excitement just isn’t there.

A review by Wee Willie Wicked
In The Returned, the world has survived a zombie outbreak by finding a virus controlling “return protein” medication and zombies now live among. However, feeling like a pariah, many of the afflicted hide their dark secret from the general public for fear of retaliation. As long as the daily injection is maintained, transforming into a raving, flesh craving lunatic can be avoided. However, this medication, derived from the spinal fluid of those infected and transformed, does not cure and only keeps the virus at bay…and supplies are beginning to run dangerously low.
Haunted by a gloomy past, Kate (Emily Hampshire), a doctor specializing in “returned” cases is in love with Alex (Kris Holden-Ried), an afflicted musician who teaches at a renowned school. Through shady dealings with hospital pharmacist Eve (Melina Matthews), Kate is able to maintain ample supply to keep Alex normal. But, the threat of running out has become very real.
Over dinner, Alex confesses how he contracted to best friend Jacob (Shawn Doyle) and bestselling author wife Amber (Claudia Bassols). Obviously shocked, both are understanding and even appear to compassionately embrace their dear friend’s condition. But, all is not as it seems.
The military makes ready for ultimate control of the chaos starting to fill the streets and this is when the movie begins to move at breakneck speed; following Kate, scrambling to find enough doses and Alex trying to avoid the authorities.
Will they survive and/or will a solution be found in time?
For those seeking a gruesome Romero-type zombie flick, this is not the one. However, if you seek a thrilling zombie flick with a premise never told before (think Outbreak with the compassion of a vague and considerably less gory 28 Days Later) this is it. Minimal on gore, well directed by Manuel Carballo and written by Hatem Khraiche, The Returned is basically a dark love story that avoids mushiness, choosing instead to depict original and often suspenseful plot lines that will keep the viewer on the edge of their seat and pondering all the way to the satisfying end.

Thought provoking, innovative and intense, Staying Scared gives The Returned 3.5 creepy peeking clowns.

A review by Wee Willie Wicked
In basically a rip off of Stephen King’s The Long Walk premise, The Human Race is literally that, a foot race where stepping on the grass, not following the arrows and getting lapped twice will cost the ultimate price.
Beginning with the back stories of five people (one of which had quickly established viewer compassion, but for some reason was immediately killed off), the tale hones in and surrounds the remaining four in their lackluster quest to survive.
While not too terribly bad and certainly not the worst horror movie ever, The Human Race is neither innovative nor original (the exploding heads we’ve all have seen before in Scanners), and the ending, while enticing and having potential for impact, was far too abrupt, nearly predictable and oddly sporting.
Regardless, let’s give credit where credit is due. For an indie flick, my complements go out to writer / director Paul Hough; the attempt was commendable and we’ll probably see better from him in the future. However, the jerky and fast camera shots compiled with bland and often confusing dialogue from characters the audience never fully gets to grasp makes the overall experience a letdown. On a more positive note, don’t be surprised in a desire to watch the opening credits, the design is quite compelling.
While the interesting enough premise was there, the movie lacks feeling and leaves the viewer wanting more and therefore, Staying Scared is giving it 1.5 creepy peeking clowns.

Now, let's talk The Walking Dead...With 2 weeks left, fans can most likely expect at least two jaw dropping moments (one this week and one in the season's final episode). This fan is wondering whether Bob's injury is actually infected and how the series is going to utilize the kidnapping and subsequent cannibalism from the comic series. Beth was the kidnapped one, but it's rather obvious that the television series is tweaking the storyline to great success. Just look at last week with sister killing sister. In the comic series this occurred with twin brothers and as the gang debated whether the killer needed put down, an unfazed Carl took care of business. Carol took Carl's stance in the TV series and both were tremendous similar events. Well played in this fan's opinion. Thanks WD writers for keeping us on our toes and wondering.

By the way, yours truly added to the horror collection this week. Meet Dolly...
Life-sized animated Teddy Bear Zombie Girl from The Walking Dead
Possessed Regan w/spinning head

Nighty Nightmare is a regular contributor to Staying Scared dot com and this time she has invited some author friends from the Chupa Cabra House Temporary Skeletons anthology. Click Here to creep by and see what they have to say. 

Next time we'll review an issue of Shroud Magazine


So fellow Creepsters and Ghouls, until next time...
Stay Scared,

Monday, March 10, 2014

Back to the dark and warmly welcomed with grasping bony fingers

Hello Ghouls;
As most of you have probably noticed, I took a hiatus from Staying Scared. This was due to a personal issue, not one associated with yours truly, but one close enough that required my dedication. Nonetheless, the issue is now concluded and things are returning back to normal very quickly. While the break was needed and probably a good thing, I was never fully able to stray too far from fear and therefore, besides watching a few flicks which I'll be discussing in future postings (coincidentally you can see the trailer for the first at the end of this post), I did read and write.

 So Kiddies, without further adieu, lets begin with the reading...shall we...  

Off the beaten path, Juniper, Arizona, a quaint and quiet, close knit town has numerous mom and pop stores. Although most needs are met, not everything is available and, on occasion, shopping excursions to distant metropolises are essential.

Built on what was once the most scenic location in town, bland and windowless, The Store, due to its ability to offer nearly everything including jobs, is welcomed by most everyone, except Bill Davis, who views the venture as a despicable invasion.

On an evening jogging excursion past The Store, Bill peers in through the glass double door entrance and spies the almost robot-like evening stockers busy going about with the chore. However, these workers, with their black robes and pale white faces are anything but normal. Convinced of wickedness and to no avail, he addresses the city council, who, on every front, side with The Store.

At his rebuke, his two teenage daughters obtain jobs at The Store anyway and before long, his eldest has deeply fallen under the influence of Mr. Lamb, The Store’s sadistic manager.

Unable to compete, the smaller shops begin closing as The Store indigently streamlines products and offers buyouts to those remaining. Those who oppose mysteriously disappear and before long, The Store is the only merchant in town.

However, The Store has no intentions of stopping there and soon begins to employ the public servants, the city workers and the council too. At wits end, Bill takes drastic measures and embarks on a letter writing campaign aimed at the chain’s owner Newman King.

When King personally invites Bill to corporate headquarters, all expenses paid, Bill, intent on change, accepts. However, Bill is in for a demented and horrifying surprise. For The Store’s influence is strong; change is in order; and The Store is seeking a new manager.
Next Up
And this book, 100 hair-raising little horror stories (selected by Al Sarrantonio & Martin H. Greenberg), is my go to book when I want something quick. Chock full of eerie little ditties, the latest was by William F. Nolan entitled Dead Call, a creepy little tale surrounding a most convincing telephone call from the other side.
And...typically I found myself gnawing into both recent and past issues of some of my favorite magazines.
Of course I took time away from the written word and did some planting too.

Well, there is 3 episodes of The Walking Dead left and its probably about time for someone important to die. I really thought it was going to happen this week with Bob, and as usual, I was wrong. Regardless, I still think that shoulder injury is something more, maybe a bite small enough to be infected, but petite enough to be a slow process.

SPOILER ALERT Did you know that in the comic series (issue 64), Dale was the one with the missing leg and he was kidnapped by a band of cannibals who ate his other leg. However, the joke is on them because Dale had been secretly bitten and was therefore tainted. heh heh what a plot twist. Maybe the concept will include Bob. Who knows?

Did you happen to catch Daryl introducing himself as Joe to Negan. He's definitely up to something. God forbid it is Negan's gang who have Beth and have harmed her. They won't have a hope in hell.

Which brings us to the writing...

First off, I've worked on A Lawnly Existence (my first full-length novel) and even started preliminaries on the next, Future Past. Actually, it's a little more than preliminaries (chapter 3). However, that work thing keeps getting in the way and since food and shelter come first, the process is slow. I did, however, complete a couple of pieces. One, a 5k ditty called 2084 is my ode to George Orwell and is now in the hands of a well known horror magazine. We'll see and when I do, we'll both know. The other is called And No Grits Either and is at Suspense Magazine.

So, just when I thought I'd get back to the novels, as usual, another creepy tale came to mind and I was compelled to jot down the basics. And, since that the basics are down, that compulsion has become ruthless and now wants to finish it. Damn, if this keeps up, I'll never get the novels written.

On the other hand, since writer's block has never been an issue, maybe I should simply count my gruesome blessings and just keep chopping away. Hee Hee, Ho Ho, Ha Ha

What I'll be discussing next

So, until next time Ghoulies and Creepsters, watch horror, read terrifying tales, think gruesome thoughts, write scary stories and Stay Scared.