Paper Cuts: Option This! Vol. 2

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Paper (n): material manufactured in thin sheets from the pulp of wood or other fibrous substances, used for writing, drawing, or printing on
 
Cut (v): make (a movie) into a coherent whole by removing parts or placing them in a different order.

Option This! Vol. 2

Hey y’all. Happy New Year!

Back in August I posted up a list of three literary works (two novels and a short story) that I think are ripe for film or television adaptation. You can click over to that article and check it out, along with a quick rationale behind why I like adaptations, for the most part.

This month’s article was originally going to be about something different, but that idea has now become so research intensive that it’s threatening to become a two-parter.

I was reminded to run another “Option This!” column last week when I saw a post on author Jeremy Robert Johnson’s Facebook page: Skullcrack City, one of the books I recommended that Hollywood jump on last time, is inching closer to actually becoming a movie.Continue Reading

Horror Drive-In: Why I Dislike 'Star Wars'

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Why I Dislike Star Wars

SWPosterI was sixteen years old when Star Wars came out. Sure I saw it. Who didn’t? But allow me to go even farther back in time than that.

Science Fiction was always important to me. I had the advantage of having older siblings. Three brothers, and they all read SF. I was introduced to the genre very early on, and in fact the very first real book I read was Robert A. Heinlein’s Have Space Suit – Will Travel. Despite its unsophisticated title, it is a smart novel that is at once a satire, a rousing adventure story, and a sober look at the mechanics of human life in low or zero gravity.

From Heinlein I went on to others, like Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. These guys, and maybe a few others, were about the extent that my brothers delved into the genre. Me, I went on to read it voraciously.Continue Reading

What I Learned from Stephen King: 'Cujo' and Other Grown-Up Monsters

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Cujo and Other Grown-Up Monsters

cujocoverConsidered to be one of his darkest works, Stephen King’s Cujo is not for the cowardly. It is relentless in its forward motion, coming at you “like a brick heaved through a window,” as King himself once described.

It’s frightening. It’s gruesome. It’s savage. It’s violent.

It’s also incredibly depressing. Continue Reading

Paper Cuts: The Paper Cuts 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

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The Paper Cuts 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

I’ve made no secret about using this column to bridge the gap between the sometimes-at-odds and sometimes-overlapping horror fiction and horror film fandoms.

But if there’s one thing that unifies all varieties of horror obsessives, it’s our love of crass consumerism and physical media.

In that spirit, I thought I’d make this month’s installment of Paper Cuts a kind of public service. You can email this article to family and loved ones, make the subject heading “I found this interesting” and BOOM! you’ve got some sweet gifts coming to you this holiday season.Continue Reading

Horror Drive-In: The Book is Usually Better

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The Book is Usually Better

You hear it all the time: The book is always better than the movie adaptation. Oddly, I mostly hear it from non-readers. They wearily repeat the mantra they’ve heard from tiresome readers like us. “I know, I know, the book is always better.”

But is it? The source novel of any adaptation is certainly much, much, better in most instances. Nearly all of them, in fact.Continue Reading

What I Learned from Stephen King: 'The Long Walk' of Life

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The Long Walk of Life

longwalkart1BEFORE THE WALK

I was having brunch with a friend of mine on a recent Sunday, a horror film actress in fact, who asked: Do you really think there’s anything spiritual about Stephen King’s books?

The question was served cold with a heaping side of skepticism, and it took me slightly off guard. It’s not the first time I have been asked the question since starting this column three short months ago, and I’m always somewhat alarmed by it.

When asked, the first thing that springs to my mind is self-doubt: What if I’m wrong? What if there really is nothing spiritual about Stephen King’s stories and I’m just grasping at straws here? What if I’ve doomed myself to write a monthly column about… nothing? The writer’s worst nightmare.  Continue Reading

Antics on the Web: Dick Cavett's Horror Roundtable

Antics on the Web: Dick Cavett’s Horror Roundtable
by Robert Brouhard

Cavett_RoundtableAn interview with Stephen King is always a must read, an interview with George A. Romero can be a ton of fun, an Ira Levin interview is always interesting, and a Peter Straub interview is always eye-opening. Now, an interview with ALL FOUR at the same time… scratch that… a full-on hour-long discussion between the four of them, WOW. Mind-blowing. As soon as I heard that Shout Factory TV was hosting a two-part Dick Cavett discussion with these four amazing people, I started clicking my way to see it. Continue Reading

Paper Cuts: Hustling at Horror Cons 101 or: Dispelling the Myth of the Non-Reading Horror Fan

PaperCuts-web

Paper (n): material manufactured in thin sheets from the pulp of wood or other fibrous substances, used for writing, drawing, or printing on.
 

Cut (v): make (a movie) into a coherent whole by removing parts or placing them in a different order.

Hustling at Horror Cons 101 or: Dispelling the Myth of the Non-Reading Horror Fan

“This is a tough convention,” he says, eyeing our books, picking one up and testing the spine like he’s squeezing an avocado, going to make a little word guac. “It’s especially tough for books. Nobody here reads.”

I don’t know this guy.

Don’t even know him in the sense that I know what it is he does. He could be an indie film actor, a fellow writer, a grey-market DVD vendor. He could be anything that would allow him to be in Worcester, Massachusetts’s DCU Center a half hour before this year’s Rock and Shock convention opens.

Looking back on this interaction now, it’s hard to tell if he was trying to psych us out or if he actually believed that no one who attended the convention read books.Continue Reading

Horror Drive-In: The Greatest Reading Experience of My Life

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The Greatest Reading Experience of My Life

Reading has always been one of my greatest pleasures, and recently I began to wonder about something: What has been the most pleasurable reading experience of my life?Continue Reading

Antics on the Web: Free (Official!) Full-Length Horror Movies on YouTube? Yes Please!

Antics on the Web: Free (Official!) Full-Length
Horror Movies on YouTube? Yes Please!
by Robert Brouhard

TexasChainsawMassacrePart2(onesheet)1.jpgWhat do The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, The Loved Ones, The Sender, The Colossus of New York, Circle of Eight, Beneath, The Deadly Bees, I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, In Dreams, Shanks, Ghost Team One, and Rumpelstiltskin all have in common? They are all available free on YouTube thanks to Paramount Pictures Corporation starting their own channel there called The Paramount Vault.

Many of these were on Netflix and other pay services before, but now anyone can watch them online (if it’s rated R, like Bound, you’ll have to have a YouTube account).Continue Reading

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #183 (Haven part 5a)

Haven is set to return on October 8th for its final season. You may not have time to catch up on the 13 episodes that make up Season 5A, so this is a synopsis of events that I hope you’ll find helpful. If you want to read my posts about the characters and previous seasons, you can start here and work your way back. I’ll be updating the Who’s Who with info from Season 5A in due course, and I’ll have a sneak peak of Season 5B for you soon: I’ve already seen the first two episodes. Stay tuned. The game is changing in many different ways.Continue Reading

Paper Cuts: You Can’t Argue with Our Definitive List of Cinema’s Best Monsters

PaperCuts-web

Paper (n): material manufactured in thin sheets from the pulp of wood or other fibrous substances, used for writing, drawing, or printing on.
 

Cut (v): make (a movie) into a coherent whole by removing parts or placing them in a different order.

You Can’t Argue with Our Definitive List of Cinema’s Best Monsters

Special Guest: Orrin Grey

The title story in Orrin Grey’s upcoming collection, Painted Monsters, is prefaced by maybe my favorite epigraph of all time:

“For you, the living, this mash was meant too…”
— Bobby “Boris” Pickett

And then I realize that title of the story and collection — which sounded so familiar on first hearing — is actually a reference to one of Boris Karloff’s lines in Peter Bogdanovich’s Targets, one of the best horror films of all time, in my opinion.

Continue Reading

What I Learned from Stephen King: The Hero in 'The Dead Zone'

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The Hero in The Dead Zone

deadzonepicWhen we think of the great many characters conjured by the imagination of Stephen King, we most likely think of Carrie White, Annie Wilkes, Jack Torrance or Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Few authors in history have known how to construct such a vast array of multidimensional villains and villainesses. As a result, what gets lost in King’s sea of personalities are his heroes — the most interesting of whom is arguably one Johnny Smith, the main man of The Dead Zone who awakens from a four-and-a-half year coma with a startling new mental capacity to see both people’s past and their future. It’s a power he doesn’t know quite how to control, and one that isn’t without its flaws. Continue Reading

Horror Drive-In: Learning to NOT Act My Age

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Learning to NOT Act My Age

I’m really not that old. Older than many readers, sure, but, hell, fifty-four is not too old these days. Anyone with at least a few years over me can roar out an accusing, “You’re just a KID!”

Fifty-four isn’t that young either. I’ve been around the block more than a few times, and I’ve been an enthusiastic genre fan for as long as I can remember. I’ve seen the trends: Indian Burial Grounds, Evil Children, Vampires, Serial Killers, Vampires, Transgressive Fiction, Zombies, Gross-out shenanigans. I’ve enjoyed all of these tropes to varying degrees. At least until they became tired cliches. And sooner or later (usually sooner) they all do.Continue Reading

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #182

Next week will be busy for Stephen King. On September 9, he will be appearing in Cambridge, MA in conversation with Lee Child to promote the new Jack Reacher novel, Make Me. The next day, he will be among the eleven individuals receiving the National Medal of Arts from President Obama in the East Wing of the White House. The citation says, “One of the most popular and prolific writers of our time, Mr. King combines his remarkable storytelling with his sharp analysis of human nature. ” Then, on the following day, September 11, he will be a guest on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show during its inaugural week.Continue Reading