Classic Shit: Kuso (2017)

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Kuso (2017) Dir. Steven (aka “Flying Lotus”) Ellison

“I have said this before and will repeat it again as long as I am able to talk: if we do not develop adequate images we will die out like dinosaurs.” –Werner Herzog

If you were to reimagine a debut feature as a bodily function, then you’d likely end up with something like Kuso.

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Classic Shit: Survival of the Dead (2009)

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Survival of the Dead (2009) Dir. George A. Romero

George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead is a film that I like (non-ironically) more than you do. I say that with confidence, while also realizing that there are those very few who likewise enjoy the film. However, its absolute critical drubbing and almost non-existent box office cannot be ignored. Survival was no Dawn or Day … hell, it wasn’t even Land (another entry that was thrashed upon release that I also enjoyed), though it was a helluva step up from Diary.

But—and here’s the rub—it was never meant to be any of those films, so criticism by comparison is kind of pointless and becomes more a critique of the viewer’s own baggage, not the movie. Additionally, I don’t think Survival (or Diary) is technically in the same narrative universe. The only carryovers were the undead and the relentless pessimism towards human nature, which I seem to recall critics and fans bemoaning with regards to Survival’s story. Too “on the nose” was levied at the film back in 2008. I’d argue, however, that the message was right on the money.

Hell, I’d say Survival of the Dead was damn near prescient in regards to the political shithouse we now find ourselves in. Here’s a choice quote, if you don’t believe me:

“In an us-versus-them world, someone puts up a flag; another person tears it down and puts up his own. Pretty soon no one remembers what started the war in the first place and the fighting becomes all about those stupid flags.”

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Classic Shit: Splinter (2008)

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Splinter (2008) Dir. Toby Wilkins

Splinter has a fairly innovative monster, something that exists adjacent to creatures like those found in The Thing and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. You’ve seen this kind of monster before but never quite like this, and what it does to your body is very, very unpleasant. The film’s story, however, is never as innovative as the antagonist creature: A handful of people are trapped within an enclosed space, fighting to survive. The narrative’s a perfect example of formula storytelling, but it works because 1) in a movie like this the story should service the monster, and 2) all of the performers deliver in the acting department, which goes a long way in patching over obvious budgetary shortcomings.

Dispense with the trappings of a laborious backstory (ala Evil Dead 2) and let’s get down to the mayhem.

Splinter has mayhem to spare.

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Classic Shit: Through The Looking Glass (1976)

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Through The Looking Glass (1976) Dir. Jonas (aka Joseph) Middleton

Remember in Boogie Nights how all those people were swearing up and down that they were making honest-to-god movies and not just cheap nudie pictures? This is one of those little gems. No kidding.

Knowing that, let me assure you that this movie will definitely NOT be everyone’s cup o’ tea. This is very much an “art house” horror film but it is also pornographic in its depiction of sex, though sex therein is treated as an extension of the psychological horror as opposed to the regular “wank” material associated with the genre. Also, the sex, albeit explicit, does not feel as unwarranted as, say, the insert scenes included in Caligula.

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Detail from original theatrical one-sheet from my personal collection

 

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Stephen King’s “The Boogeyman” was my gateway drug

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It’s Stephen King’s birthday. Now, I’m not going to blow smoke and proclaim “HE’S MY FAVORITE EVER” but I’d be bullshitting you if I said he hasn’t made an impact on me.

Because I was born in 1980, I never knew a world of horror that DIDN’T include Stephen King. And I was a pretty early reader. I was probably five or six when I took my parent’s mass market paperback of Night Shift to the storage room in our basement. It was as secluded as you could get in a tiny 1950’s ranch-style house. And I read. And those stories were creepy, for sure.

But holy shit did “The Boogeyman” totally wreck me.

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A look at some WIPs, a bit about interviews, and assorted rambling…

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Me, watching an isolated snowfall, somewhere in Northern Nevada. Pic by Kevin L. Donihe (2016)

 

Cutting time between different short stories before I get back to finishing my novella and full-length novel. These will probably be the last of 2017’s short fiction, as I expect the longer manuscripts to eat up the rest of the year. For kicks, I thought I’d post a few excerpts.

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Free Flash: How Old Is A Shadow

“How Old Is A Shadow”

Tom’s nipples had bled right through his shirt. Embarrassment is why he now insisted on running before dawn and why he placed Band-Aids over his areolas. Vanity brought him to the man who ran in the shadows.

The men met before dawn, sharing darkness, running along the same path. The man claimed to have found a trick which lent him life everlasting. His tenor bordered desperate, yet vanity gilded his claim and Tom approached without breaking stride.

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