Hey everyone, just got back home from Connooga. It was a great show. I was on some incredible panels, got to meet some great people, and had a fun time. Because the show went so well, and I want to welcome the newcomers to the site and give something to my tried and true viewers, I will be offering Friends Don’t Let Friends be Undead on the Kindle for free. This will run from Monday, February 22 until the end of day on Tuesday, February 23. Just click the cover below to go to the page and pick up your free copy of this e-short. Thanks for stopping by and keep coming back to see what I’m up to.
Good evening, the time is drawing close for you to make your viewing selections for Halloween, so let me offer you what I consider to be an essentials list of classic films for the season. These are the films I recommend everyone watch.
5) Evil Dead (original) – This low budget masterpiece introduced the world to Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert. A trio that has since gone onto bigger things. The effects in the film are good, especially when you consider the budget and how some of the effects were pulled off. The later films take a more comedic turn (becoming splatstick), but this first one is still disturbing. Be it the tree rape, the possessed gnawing through her own wrist, or the creepy girl that won’t quit giggling. This film is still one of the best examples of the “Cabin in the Woods” genre.
4) Nosferatu (1922, silent) – This was the first screen vampire and is technically a film that we shouldn’t have today. After it’s initial release the estate of Bram Stoker sued Murnau for copyright infringement and won. All prints of the film were ordered destroyed, however, because the film had already been distributed internationally this was not successful. Thankfully. Schreck’s performance is wonderful and Murnau really does a wonderful job of creating a creepy horror opus that still holds up today. Also impressive is the fact that Schreck did his own makeup.
3) The Creature from the Black Lagoon – This is my personal favorite from the Universal Classics. It has great sequences underwater that are shot beautifully but still create the sense of dread because just below the surface is the Creature watching, waiting, until the time is right. It also has a great gillman suit that still holds up. And it has a good story, scientists are looking for fossil remains and find a living specimen. During their attempts to capture the creature, they become trapped at the lagoon and are forced to fight for their lives. This movie has just always been a great watch and always will be.
2) Night of the Living Dead (1968) – Welcome to the birth of the modern zombie. Before Night, you did not have the flesh eating zombies that you have in modern cinema. Previously, they were all voodoo zombies. Something that Night also did was give a grander scale of the problem. While our main cast is trapped inside a farmhouse, they are exposed to the plague around the world via the television. If there’s anything else that Romero’s zombies taught us is that deadliest threat is not the undead. From it’s opening where we learn that :”They’re coming to get you, Barbara!” (which is one of the most memorable lines from horror movie history, and was also parodied in Shaun of the Dead) to it’s end, which does not leave us happy with a warm fuzzy feeling, this film is a milestone of independent filmmaking and using a device to discuss social woes (though this is more notable in the other films in the series, it all started with this one). And please don’t believe the satellite brought the dead back to life theory that most people use as the explanation for the zombies. I heard Romero speak and he explained that there were going to be several different theories given via the news during the night, but they had to cut the film for time’s sake and left in that one because they had went to Washington D.C. to shoot it, and they felt it added production value to the film. So why are the dead wandering? We just don’t know for sure.
1) John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) – I am a massive John Carpenter fan and this film series. This was the film that started it all for the masked slasher. It also introduced us to Jamie Lee Curtis. Halloween was a true vision of terror and is still disturbing today. For some unknown reason (at least until the sequel), Michael Myers murdered his sister 15 years before and ,now, has escaped the maximum security hospital to stalk babysitter Laurie Strode, killing off her friends before attacking her. What adds to this film is the ever present Michael Myers as he stalks her and her friends. You can almost feel him watching plotting to plan his perfect moment. He was thought of as the boogeyman by some, and he proved himself an indestructible killing machine in this film. Although it’s the ending that will leave you wondering, where’s the boogeyman. This film also turns in excellent performances by Curtis, but also Donald Pleasance as Dr. Sam Loomis (named for Janet Leigh’s boyfriend in Psycho) Michael’s psychiatrist who knows just how deep the evil runs within Michael.
Well there you have it. If you haven’t finalized your Halloween viewing for the weekend, these are your essentials. If you’ve already seen these then please read some of my other posts to get ideas on what you might find out there that you’ll like. Sleep tight, and just tell yourself it’s only a movie.
One of the more interesting aspects of vampire fiction is the animosity found between vampires and doctors. Twenty-five years before Dracula was printed, Le Fanu’s story Carmilla featured a doctor attempting to stop a vampire. Then, of course, there is the ever famous Dracula with Doctors Van Helsing and Seward crusading against the Count. From there, it seems that most vampires who appeared on film were foiled by some sort of Professor or Doctor. It wasn’t until the late 50’s and Hammer that the Doctor was intermittently replaced by priests, monks, and young lovers; even then only in every other film. Peter Cushing portrayed Dr. Van Helsing for Hammer in one of my favorite Van Helsing portrayals.
Even into the 60’s and 70’s do we see doctors and vampires matching wits. Count Yorga, The Return of Count Yorga, and Blacula (he’s Dracula’s soul brother) had the title bloodsucker facing off against doctors. The 80’s saw the doctor further and further removed from vampire films (unless of course it was a Dracula film). Lost Boys had the dynamic duo of vamp slayage: the Frog Brothers. Near Dark’s features a doctor in a prominent role against the bloodsuckers.
Most likely, this harkens to a subconscious point, where plagues swept across the lands, and vampires were blamed for the deaths that were ever present in the middle ages. In its modern incarnation, doctors are fighters of disease, protectors of man against viral evils. While vampires were thought to spread disease (interesting sidebar: at the time of Dracula’s publication, a syphilis epidemic was plaguing Britain, syphilis being a blood disease was associated with vampirism, it’s also speculated that Bram Stoker the author of Dracula died of syphilis), doctors would be the natural adversary to them. Van Helsing is called upon because Lucy has shown symptoms of a strange blood disease, which is his area of expertise.
Of course, it’s almost comical to think that only a century and half before, when bloody rags formed the red stripes on the barber shop pole. The barber may have faced the vampire just as easily as a doctor. I can’t imagine Floyd Lawson from the Andy Griffith Show taking on a vampire (although it is kind of funny to think about). However, Sweeney Todd vs. Dracula would be an interesting fight to see. But I digress, if you are a doctor and I ever stumble upon vampires, rest assured that I will be knocking on your door. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but doctors keep vampires away, so trade in your apple for a clove of garlic.
I’ll be back again this week with some great films for your Halloween celebrations.
I’ll be back again this week with some great films for your Halloween celebrations. Click below to pick up copies of Carmilla or Dracula.
As I am always happy to tell people, Salem’s Lot is my favorite Stephen King book. It is just a magnificent read that perfectly captures the feel of the old EC comics and Stoker’s Dracula, all at the same time. One of my favorite King adaptations for the screen is the 1979 TV miniseries Salem’s Lot. This film is a great watch and captures the ideal small town with secrets buried deep beneath the surface that King wrote about; it does condense down the story, but that is expected from a film adaptation. Three things that the film got right that I still praise it for are:
1) the vampires – these are not sympathetic beings looking for love. Barlow is an undead fiend who has come to a small town where he can feed relatively unnoticed. Not only are there motives depicted perfectly, they are genuinely creepy. Just check out these clips to see what I mean.
It’s like Peter Pan from Hell, and check out this scene for more of the creepy goodness.
2) the fear – Imagine if you just found out vampires were real, how would you react? This movie captures a range of emotions and feelings, starting with Jason Burke in the clip above and watch the clip below to see the fearless vampire hunting hero and how he handles himself. To set the scene, Ben Mears and Doctor Norton are waiting in the mortuary in a neighboring city to see if a recent victim rises, enjoy.
Did you notice that Ben Mears actually looks scared? When she raises up, he looks like he wants to cry. This is wonderful acting from David Soul and good direction from Tobe Hooper (of Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame).
3) the town – The town of Salem’s Lot is an unassuming town where everyone knows everyone else, but many secrets are hidden within the walls of each home, the film did a good job of showing that the town was far from perfect without spending unnecessary time exposing each of these secrets, but from the moment Ben Mears drives through the quiet streets, you get the feeling that there is more than meets the eye to this small town. There is not really a clip I can show to emphasize this, so I’ve just posted the original trailer for the film.
So there you have it, if you are looking for something that is a more subtle chill-inducing watch, I would highly recommend this movie. If you want a good read, then pick up King’s book. You can click on the cover below to go to the Amazon page and pick up a great October read, and I’m sure you can find the 1979 Salem’s Lot on Netflix or Hulu, so go find it, enjoy, and I’ll be back with more good chilling watches and reads for this month.
Recently, I spent a Saturday afternoon in Oakland Cemetery, located in Atlanta. Not just because I’m weird and morbid, shut up! I’m basing a decent section of an upcoming novel in Oakland. So this counts as research. Also you should try visiting the necropolis in the heart of the metropolis.
Oakland Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Atlanta and is the home of Margaret Mitchell, former mayors, governors, and senators. The six acres that were set aside in 1850 for the Atlanta Cemetery have indeed blossomed. Not only is it a large plot of land, some of the monuments and tombstones are absolutely beautiful. A lot of amazing architecture can be found within the brick walls. While strolling through the grounds, one will also find landscaping that is not traditional for a cemetery. For Doctor Who fans believe you will find plenty of reason to not Blink.
Another reason that I visited Oakland is that I like cemeteries. The Ancient Egyptians believed that in order to have an afterlife your name had to be remembered. So they built great monuments to themselves. In some cases, they scratched out names and put their names over their predecessors. The first great female Pharaoh Hatsheput’s proceeding pharaohs tried to remove her name from all the great monuments that she erected, thus ensuring she would not receive an afterlife. So by visiting and reading these names, we remember those who we would have never known otherwise.
Finally, as a closing statement let me add that burying the dead and providing a marker for a body is the last dignity that we show to a person. It is a sign that someone cared and respected a person enough to want them remembered. By reading these monuments, I am continuing that show of respect. So yes, I’m weird and morbid, but don’t the dead deserve a little respect for they have solved the mystery that we have yet to face.
Thanks for reading and keep checking back to find out what I’m currently working on.
Hello all. Back from Connooga where Caralyn and I had a blast. We got to meet a lot of awesome people and hang out. I had the honor of being a part of a Ghost Story panel, where authors and attendees alike got to tell their true encounters with strange phenomenon. I will be posting the story that I told, recorded for your enjoyment. So for all of you wonderful people from Connooga, welcome to radioactiverabbitink.com. To show our appreciation for stopping by and because you guys were so awesome, I am running a free book promotion on Amazon for Monday (3/2/2015). You can get my most recent e-short “Friends Don’t Let Friends be Undead” for your kindle free! Click on the cover below to go to the page.
For more information on the other books and shorts I have available, please check out my current fiction page. Thanks for checking in and for all of our new readers, thanks for coming by and keep checking back to see what I’ve got going on.
Hello all and Happy New Year! I hope you all had good seasonal festivities. Now I know some of you are most likely still cradling a few gift cards looking for the perfect purchase to make with them or have received Kindles and are looking for the perfect book to start your paperless existence. Good news, I have some ideas that just might prove to be what you are looking for.
I just so happen to have books available, on Kindle and in paperback. Go on click the link and see if this isn’t what you are looking for Author’s Page.
If you are more of an epic fantasy reader, guess what I have just the authors for you. JK Barber is a husband and wife author team with their first fantasy series complete and the first book of their second series out. Why don’t you take a walk through Aronshoe or Mervidia here: JK Barber’s Author Page.
Maybe you aren’t a genre specific reader, maybe you like short stories. If this sounds like you, then check out my friend A.J. Scott’s stories and see if he doesn’t have at least one to interest you. With his wide range of themes, he should be able to at least give you a quick, enjoyable read. For more information visit: A.J. Scott: Man, Myth, Frawg.
Hopefully, this will help with your gift card/Kindle dilemma. For those of you near Chattanooga, Caralyn (my cover artist: www.mysticreflections.com) and I will be attending this year’s Connooga running from February 27 through March 1. Look forward to seeing you there, until next time.