Sunday, October 31, 2010



From Wikipedia

“The most deaths in a single crocodile attack incident may have occurred during the Battle of Ramree Island, on February 19, 1945, in Burma. Nine hundred soldiers of an Imperial Japanese Army unit, in an attempt to retreat from the Royal Navy and rejoin a larger battalion of the Japanese infantry, crossed through 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) of mangrove swamps which contained Saltwater Crocodiles. Twenty Japanese soldiers were captured alive by the British, and almost five hundred are known to have escaped Ramree. Many of the remainder may have been eaten by the crocodiles, although gunfire from the British troops was undoubtedly a contributory factor.”


I am happy to end this month with the worst possible horror I can imagine. Thanks for reading.

Have a happy Halloween, blessed Samhain, or Sunday night.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 30 of Horror Month: Frankenstein, Illustrated by Bernie Wrightson

Sometimes works happen that are a result of being inspired by other works. This is one of them.

Wrightson was already considered a master of horror illustration, but his work on creating this is masterful and beyond description.

Honestly I haven't the words needed to praise this work. It is sublime.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Day 29 of Horror Month: Silent Hill, the video game

Killing monsters, solving a mystery of a cult trying to awaken a strange God, murder, intrigue, and monsters, and more monsters... Silent Hill has a number of volumes out and for a scary thrill ride, is pretty effective.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day 28 of Horror Month: SLIPKNOT the band

A band composed of anonymous performers, wearing masks and bearing names that evoke something other than normal.

No need for me to describe more, their music will attest to the tone, sound and depth of the horror...

Click Here

Find The Band Website @

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 27 of Horror Month: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

The worst of humans kill other humans. The worst of their number also rape and abuse their victims. Ed Gein was a person abused by his mother, and trained for the acts he was about to commit by the world view she educated him to believe. He was a cannibal, a sexual deviant, and a murderer. And more...

A family of strange cannibals ambush and kill, and eat, lost travelers and others who come near their home. THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE is sold as a true story. It isn't but the lead character, affectionately called Leatherface, is based upon someone real. Ed Gein. Ed Gein made human clothing and wore it. Leatherface wears the face of a victim. This work is amazingly frightening, and the source it draws from is even worse.

It is too intense for me to have watched more than once, but it is worthwhile if you wish to be afraid.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 26 of Horror Month: Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield

This is a fact: The music TUBULAR BELLS by Mike Oldfield played at insanely loud volumes drives college students insane.*

It was also the music for the Exorcist.

Find out for yourself CLICK HERE
Buy it maybe HERE

* Bill Arachtingi in 1984 accomplished this at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

By Your Command -- Part 11

"Things We Lock Away" (112)

The entire narrative conceit of Battlestar Galactica was divine intervention in the form of a race of incorporeal beings called “angels.” A sparse number of strategically important individuals stretched throughout a good chunk of humanity’s millennia of evolution were consistently visited – and, in some cases, haunted – by these enigmatic apparitions, who goaded, prodded, and sweet-talked their subjects into doing the Creator’s bidding (which usually consisted of procreating, both biologically and technologically, and which would seed the same base desires for and start the same endless cycles of violence and death anew). To say that it was a chord that was struck again and again throughout the show’s six-year run is an understatement: Gaius Baltar in the miniseries; Caprica Six in season two; Kara Thrace in season three; Sam Anders and Tory Foster in season four.

And now there’s another echo to add to the cacophony. That Zoe Graystone saw an “angel” periodically throughout her life is, obviously, not a new thematic development; that her angelic messenger is a version of herself (Baltar saw himself just once in BSG [“Six of One,” 402]) and that she appears to the digital Zoe just as easily and readily as to the flesh-and-bone one (Starbuck, even when herself a disembodied entity, was blessed with visions and visitations [“Someone to Watch over Me,” 417]) are also retreads. And just what the angel Zoe has her corporeal counterpart do is similarly expected: creating artificial life in a game of brinkmanship with her too-smart-for-his-own-good father, which is to be housed in a chassis that she has – of course – been drawing and designing since an early age (there are even more reverberations here – Starbuck had been obsessively sketching celestially relevant material since childhood, as well [“Rapture,” 312]).

All of this (really) familiar territory is, on the one hand, to be expected. If there truly is some sort of deity that really is directing its grand experiment called life, and if it played a (very) heavy hand in at least two other time periods, then of course it is going to do the same at this critically important epoch, as well. On the other hand, however, there is a certain amount of skepticism that is summoned in the face of such a big turn of events. After four seasons with the previous series, and with one character already who might be the anchor of yet another guardian angel (“The Imperfections of Memory,” 107), are the writers really going to play up this particular story thread again? They had run out of directions to take and gags to play with the Baltar-Six runner halfway through the last show, and they still conceivably have three more years, Nielson willing, for this one.

And, of course, there is one final question that not only begs, but demands to be asked: if this angel Zoe is so important to the big picture and Zoe’s personal life both, then why haven’t we seen – or even heard of – her before?

* * * * *

Philomon (109), Keon and Barnabas (111), and now Tomas Vergis (112) – Caprica is on quite the roll.

That the writers are so willing to kill off so many recurring characters so early in the series’s run is intriguing, to say the least. It may alternately be a sign of strength – the tale that they are cooking up is so solid, so compelling, that they can easily afford to dispense with those elements that have already been invested with a certain degree of narrative or audience energy – or a sign of weakness, of overcompensating for a general lack of direction or drama or purpose. The jury, of course and obviously, is still out.

There is a third possibility, however, one that seems particularly promising, given Ronald D. Moore’s penchant for seat-of-his-pants scripting: the Caprica writing staff simply wants to pepper its episodes with as many surprises as possible. Amanda Graystone very publicly proclaiming her daughter’s secret life of terrorism (“Rebirth,” 102) is one such example, as is Daniel disavowing the profits of his most lucrative product, the holoband (“Gravedancing,” 104), in front of a live studio audience. But there are few surprises as impactful as death, and, indeed, both Philomon’s and Vergis’s sudden exits served to shock the other characters and awe the audience.

If this is, indeed, true, then the writers have their work cut out for them. A similar improvisation in Battlestar Galactica resulted in the sudden killing off of Boomer (“Resistance,” 204), which, while ultimately still providing an involved and complete character arc for the wayward Cylon, resulted in an entire season’s worth of missteps with the character, most notably in the form of insufficient motivation or explanation (which was partially the fault of another perennial BSG condition, long dry times). It is a slippery slope, albeit an enjoyable one, and it can easily lead to a messy death.

All of this has happened before…

Monday, October 25, 2010


Sibling rivalry, jealous, violence, anger over unforgiven events... all conspire to bring the world of two sisters into the realm of horror. You can watch this as horror, it works as such being brutal. But, from a simple film making, this work is amazing as an example of getting two rivals and film stars to absorb and reflect their emotions, and aim them towards the other, on screen.

I am not a "fan" of this, it is too intense and mean for my tastes, but I think it is an absolutely amazing film.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


As you’ve read or seen here I have committed to delivering to you 31 Days of Horror through the month of October. I am doing a similar effort by trying to write a review a day for the month of November. This will be offering products for consideration as presents at Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanze, Solstice and/or all of the above.

I am not reviewing product from every company out there, and some of the works are older than others on the shelf or new for the season. I am to blame for that. When I was still writing over at CBG/Trouble with comics I assumed life would cooperate. During the last year I have dealt with two terrible losses, and much more work on my own creative work than ever before. I apologize here, publicly to the publishers who had faith in me to produce reviews in a timely manner, and hope by doing this monthly series, I will pay my debt back to them.

Expect reviews and product discussions from Archaia, Top Shelf, various smaller publishers, and a number of single issues from creative talents. Depending on how well it goes, perhaps I will write a small number of profiles of creators to consider as well.

Stick with me, I promise to do my best.

Here is a first review, consider it an early opportunity to seek it out as a gift, to give or receive.

Rogue Trooper: Tales of Nu-earth v. 1
Gerry Finley-Day and Chris Weston
From Rebellion UK

Nu-Earth was a beautiful world. Until the wars came, unlimited war, war without concern for toll or civilian lives, much less the world itself. Nu-Earth was a place that could have been called perfect, but it was ruined by chemical warfare. There isn’t much left to fight over, and this earth has been divided between two groups, Norts who appear far more malicious, and Southers who seem at least, in look more like the good guys. This story is an analogue for various real earth events and the Southers and Norts are code words for the American Civil war, but, there is so much more than straight analogues and allegorical content.

Rogue Troopers are GIs (Genetic Infantrymen) and fight for the Souther Confederacy. They are soldiers who by science were created by the state to fight, and are immune to various poisons and acids, and harmful actions and issues that would harm normal humans on the battlefield. They are a higher form of human with programed intelligence and skills. The Rogue Trooper who’s eyes you see the world through, is the lone survivor of a massive slaughter of the Rogues, and he is seeking the Souther General thought to have betrayed them.

What a wonderful work this is... Rebellion UK which is putting out 2000 AD product score a massive victory with this book. It is perfectly put together, very beautiful to look at, and the stories are greatly told gems, deserving of being collected.

For its commercial value alone the work is worth the money, by far. But this is an example of something being really good, worth having, and wonderful for sharing with others.

Day 24 of Horror Month: FRANKENSTEIN featuring the work of Boris Karloff

Boris Karloff made the work FRANKENSTEIN both horror, and tragedy. His acting skills went beyond acting in all of his movies, he was a presence, a figure that required your attention. And so when you watch the Frankenstein movies from Universal, you should soak in the mastery of an actor... because the story itself is great, but what you are watching is a man turning a character into a symbol of fear, revulsion and strangely, pity.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Day 23 of October Horror Month: John Carpenter's The Fog

Ghosts that haunt, beings coming out of the fog to kill! John Carpenter's work, THE FOG was imperfect, but at that same time, far beyond similar films in quality that had come out at the same time. The victims of a shipwreck at a point along the coast awaken 100 years to the day to wreak havok amongst the present and the living.

Brilliantly done I say.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Day 22 of October Horror Month: Dracula, the novel by Bram Stoker

Whilst I believe this book to be great, I think people assume much about it due to the movie adaptations. As such I am suggesting people read it, because, amongst other things, I think it is better than the movies, and better than most assumptions about it. Every thing I could suggest about style or pace, or plot, we know it all from the various derivative works. But there is mastery of the language here that moves me, far beyond all the attempts to bring it to life on screen. The characters are perhaps cut from a more iconic cloth than modern works, but, I like that. I think in horror to make it horrific you have to set some boundaries and benchmarks so the reader can see where you are going.

I recommend this book especially to lovers of vampire stories. It is the source, the wellspring of all later works, even if the later authors haven't read it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 21 of October Horror Month: Joe Monks, Horror Writer

Asked why I am a friend of Joe Monks, I'd tell you that he is bright, funny, and has a personal manner about him that is forthright and straight to the point. But that isn't why I am offering up this recommendation to you. It isn't because I am impressed with his directing a film, though blind although I am impressed. It isn't because of anything personal.

It is because he writes horror very well. And his works might not be as popular as Stephen King or Anne Rice, but there is something that I cannot exactly explain about his work that is both similar to both King and Rice, but totally unique. I will try though, I think the word is verisimilitude, and I think that like King and Rice he makes horror work because it isn't all splatter and screams, it is brutal, but there is so much more there if you do more than just read. The unique aspect is found in the work with his own personal touch and additions of his personal style. When you go through his stories there is a foreboding and reality that might make you not want to read it again. But you will.

About his writing @
About his movie work @

Elvira's Not a Witch

I've always loved Elvira, even before I got to hear her as Cascandra Peterson (her real name) on the Stephanie Miller Show, promoting various progressive/liberal causes. It makes her even more awesome as far as I'm concerned.

Just enjoy the video and a few minutes with the lovely Mistress of the Dark.

Day 20 of October Horror Month: The Works of Stephen King

Stephen Edwin King (born September 21, 1947) is an American author of contemporary horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy fiction. His works have sold over 500 million units, they’ve been adapted in every creative medium, and as of 2010 he has written and published 49 novels and various works.

Little needs to be said to recommend the works of Stephen King. If he wrote in any genre save Horror I believe he’d be worshipped as a pop culture God, even more than he is right now. When his work Salem’s Lot was adapted to be shown on television, a family hour medium, I ended up scared enough to sleep with a light on in my room. Without splatter, without vulgarity, without excess violence or nudity, his story was still scary.

The Author Site @
Stephen King Book list @

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

By Your Command -- Part 10

"Retribution" (111)

There is a specific type of story centered upon a particular type of character arc that, while certainly not new, has seen a growing traction in recent years. From Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars to, at a far lesser – and significantly different – extent, Tony Soprano in The Sopranos, this is the story of Faust, of making a pact with the devil and living with its often disquieting ramifications. The best of these tales make these consequences very much palpable, felt by the audience and realized, on a gut level, by the protagonist (thereby kick-starting the process all over again). These are never easy moments; they are excoriating to watch and torturous to experience. They are, in essence, the character’s actions reverberated back to himself, a reflection in the mirror without the distortions of self-justification. That these moments also tend to be some of the best-conceived, if not also the best-written, scenes in cinematic history is by no means a coincidence.

Such is the case with Daniel Graystone’s dance with the devil by the pale moonlight. Daniel’s descent into the Ha’la’tha’s shadowy domain is not handled glibly, as was demonstrated last week by Joseph Adama’s magic button attached to an illusory bomb, and neither is it jingoistic, as “Retribution” clearly shows: the attempted seduction/blackmailing of the current board member and Daniel's former friend is messy and painful and not at all easy, and his suicide the following day exponentially compounds the situation. Graystone is selling his soul to regain his company and his life, to retain his pride and his ego, and it is an acutely, manifestly costly process.

It is a character arc rendered all the more potent by the simple fact of its repetition. This is by no means the first time Daniel has resorted to extra-legal and amoral methods to satiate his emotional demands, whether that be setting the mechanical chassis of his digital daughter on fire or (once again) employing the Ha’la’tha to steal and murder. And then there’s the greater echo to consider: Graystone coming face-to-face with the life-and-blood victims of his shrewd political calculations is very much reminiscent of newly inaugurated President Laura Roslin making the decision to abandon a goodly portion of the ragtag fleet, including little Cami, behind to be slaughtered by the quickly approaching Cylons. The latter scene, of course, was predicated upon the existence and continuation of the greater good, whereas the former is very much a self-serving and -pleasing motive, but there is an ultimate commonality in personality and corruption; Roslin, after all, ended up being an executive contorted by as many utilitarian justifications and unconstitutional maneuverings as George W. Bush. That level of ethical violation is no easy feat, and it is territory that Daniel is already well acquainted with. If Ron Moore and Dave Eick wanted to establish from the very beginning the motives and ontological, pathological characteristics that would ultimately result in the Fall of the Twelve Colonies, they have certainly succeeded.

The only question is: where does Daniel – and the two exec producers – go from here? Does he continue his rocketing plummet into the valley of evil, fearing no shadow of death due to his technological prowess? Or is there an eventual, albeit fruitless, attempt at climbing up the valley’s far side to reach salvation and attain redemption? It will be an interesting path to watch as Caprica inches more and more closely to the two Cylon Wars.

* * * * *

What. A. Damn. Shame.

As mentioned previously, Barnabas Greeley is – was – one of the series’s single most interesting characters, not only for his zeal in an universe filled with (usually displaced and misappropriated) passions, but also for his lack of definition. He was, in fact, more a force of nature than a personality, more a caricature than a character, and now that he is dead, the odds are that he will remain that way, a (intriguing and alluring) stereotype, Caprica’s equivalent of Babylon 5’s raiders: convenient, one-dimensional baddies that act more as plot filler than narrative building block.

But he may not necessarily stay permanently damned. There are a plethora of opportunities to resurrect – and, thereby, reconstitute – him, most namely by literally resurrecting him via Zoe’s “apotheosis” program (how ironic would it be to see Barnabas become the living embodiment [no pun intended] of Sister Clarice’s all-consuming theological vision?). There is also the disembodied route, one of BSG’s most well entrenched, whether it be an apparition-like haunting, such as Amanda Graystone’s brother, or a divine “angel,” variations of which have visited the likes of Gaius Baltar, Caprica Six, Kara Thrace, and two of the Final Five Cylons.

There are, of course, other options, as well. The writers can decide to revisit Barnabas in subsequent episodes or story arcs, exhuming his figurative remains in a metaphorical excavation; or, more remote yet, there is the old melodramatic-plot-twist trap door, in which – surprise! – the dissident terrorist managed to escape his impending death at the last minute to wreak his wrathful revenge a different day. (There is actually a fair amount of evidence to support this particular hypothesis: not only was Barnabas not shown at the moment of detonation, the writing staff has shown at least an inclination in pursuing the more soap opera-esque spin – Amanda’s ghostly brother, after all, was originally to have been an elaborate, not to mention contrived, staging by give-‘em-hell Tomas Vergis.)

Of course, it just simply could be that Moore and Eick have absolutely no intention of revisiting or deepening Barnabas’s character at all. Given similar missteps throughout Battlestar’s tenure, this is a very sad – and very likely – outcome.

Day 19 of October Horror Month: The Works of H.P. Lovecraft

“Bunch together a group of people deliberately chosen for strong religious feelings, and you have a practical guarantee of dark morbidities expressed in crime, perversion, and insanity.” H. P. Lovecraft

Howard Phillips "H. P." Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) was an American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction. Before Lovecraft and since, there have been many authors of the genres he wrote in. But, of them, few reached into the cold, unfathomed logic of evil and the response of the human mind to that evil, like Lovecraft. As such, his work in this horror month is perfectly apt. No author but Lovecraft has ever scared me like his words were able.

“I am writing this under an appreciable mental strain, since by tonight I shall be no more. Penniless, and at the end of my supply of the drug which alone makes life endurable, I can bear the torture no longer; and shall cast myself from this garret window into the squalid street below. “ H.P. Lovecraft "Dagon" - Written Jul 1917; First published in The Vagrant, No. 11 (November 1919)

About H.P. Lovecraft @
About his work @

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 18 of October Horror Month: CRIMINAL MACABRE by Steve Niles

I think Criminal Macabre is brilliant. Not so much the comic, which is forced as the medium is to rely upon the artist, but the novels by Steve Niles featuring Cal McDonald, who investigates and responds to horror events. Niles clearly knows his character here, writing stories that are vulgar, dark, funny and violent. The power of the story presented by Niles isn’t altogether that you like Cal McDonald, although I do, but rather, that he is faced with unspeakably horrible things, and you are with him for the spooky ride.

The Author Site @
The Book Site @
The Publisher Site @

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day 17 of October Horror Month: FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND

I grew up with the magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland, written and edited by Forrest J. Ackerman. It was funny, campy, sexy to a 12 year old boy, and filled with awesome pics from the monster movies I had to be damn lucky to be able to catch on television. As tastes changed, so did the audience for the magazine, falling out of favor and going into extended hiatus more than once. But now, IDW has stepped up and made me glad. Famous Monsters of Filmland returns, if only a wee bit different than the original. I recommend it.

Find more about this magazine @

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day 16 of October Horror Month: Michael Whelan's covers for H.P. Lovecraft

H.P. Lovecraft's works are brilliant. Filled with horror, madness, gore, and unimaginably terrible things. I recommend all his works to you. But what made my introduction to them special, were the covers of 6 Lovecraft books, done by Michael Whelan.

If you've ever seen a better collection of images that accompany madness, fear and more, I don't know what they'd be.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

California to Let Voters Decide on Marijuana Legalization

LOL! Does she actually refer to 'hippies'? Damn, dirty bastards! It's been all downhill here since they moved in.

Seriously, I personally haven't seen a single ad pro or con, nor heard anything on the radio. I don't think the majority of Californians are worked up about this.

How will I vote? It's a secret. :-)

Day 15 of October Horror Month: Robert Wilson Dark Poet

I linked earlier to the work of Thom Olausson a Swedish poet who revels in the darkness. I know another poet just as dark but with less mysticism and less mythic content within his work. The work of Robert Wilson is as dark and hopeless as poetry can possibly be with making the reader go out and slit a wrist or slap an elderly person. The writer himself is not evil, he is bright and with a big heart, but, he writes about the world he sees before him.

And he does it well.


Day 14 of October Horror Month: Call of Cthulhu The Card Game

I had the opportunity to play Call of Cthulhu The Card Game and I was impressed. I had played the original by Chaosium and was not impressed, but still enjoyed aspects of it. But in this game, wholly new and different from the first, the game is wonderfully made, with reasons to appreciate it for the seasoned reader of H.P. Lovecraft, to those who've never turned a page. Fantasy Flight Games made sure that I'd be coming back to play this...


Ancient, nameless horrors dwell in the darkness, writhing in the night sky and under the earth, just beyond our senses. In Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game, players take the roles of investigators, villains, and unspeakable horrors inspired by the dark mythos of H.P. Lovecraft. Agency detectives , Miskatonic University students and faculty, and the members of the mysterious Syndicate all join the fight against otherworldly beings including Cthluhu, Hastur, Yog-Sothoth, and Shub Niggurath.

Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game is 2-player, customizable card duel game in which players command both human and monster factions. As a Living Card Game, hundreds of additional Cards are available for all seven factions, allowing players to customize the contents of this set, or create their own original decks. Lovecraft's horrors live, in Call of Cthulhu: The Card game!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day 13 of October Horror Month: NOSFERATU the silent film SCORE

To hear a portion of the brilliantly done recent scoring of NOSFERATU

It's the Great X-file, Charlie Brown

If another day brings another dollar, then another Halloween begets yet another X-Files marathon.

For the seventh year running, I will screen, for selected friends and family, nine episodes from nine seasons across nine nights, starting tonight at 9:30 pm sharp. By the time October 21st comes to a spooky close, this will mark 61 specially chosen episodes (why not 63? The first marathon pre-dated the release of the final two seasons on DVD, making that first year a truncated one. Consider the case on this particular X-file solved), a small figure compared to the series’s 202 installments, but one that is nonetheless a large tally, all things considered, and which grows not only larger with each passing year but also increasingly difficult to constitute.

The reason for such exponential challenge resides in the television show’s narrative composition. Creator/showrunner Chris Carter and his writing staff – along, undoubtedly, with some cajoling from Twentieth Century Fox – made the cardinal decision to split all episodes into one of two camps: mythology and standalone. Each week would deliver unto audiences either a new chapter of the series’s ongoing and overriding story arc, detailing the government’s conspiracy of silence in regards to the presence of extraterrestrial colonists on our planet, or a self-contained, monster-of-the-week tale that would focus more on scares than on continuing any particular plot thread. The two were never meant to intersect one another, which was good for the studio executives and their all-ruling Neilson ratings but bad for the narrative cohesion or the overall quality of the show; to have, say, Agent Scully’s newly located and previously unknown daughter suddenly and tragically die in one ep and not be mentioned – an incredibly traumatic, even debilitating, event such as this – in the next tends to violently jar one out of his suspension of disbelief. The poor woman wouldn’t be able to return to work for months, let alone go about as if nothing had happened just 24 hours later.

But, as is often the case in war and art, theory never survives reality. Many of the series’s so-called standalone installments do, indeed, feature a certain amount of bearing upon and extension to the overarching narrative (“Leonard Betts” [episode 4x12], for example, contains the little bombshell that Scully has cancer, a development which proves to be something of a major throughline for the remainder of the show). And to further slim down the selection pool, the question of just what, exactly, comprises a (substantial) continuity reference can make the black-and-white distinction between mythology and monster-of-the-week an amorphous gray zone – does any reference to or inclusion of aliens, for instance, automatically designate an entry part of the mythological canon? That continuity can very easily become anathema to enjoyable casual television watching, as mentioned previously, is a no-brainer, even for a series that went off the air eight years ago, but not at the expense of undermining the marathon’s existence.

The answer, it turns out, is to take a page from Carter’s showrunning book and do what he and his staff did week after week for nearly a decade. Starting in 2007, after three years of standalone-only collections, the marathon began to alternate with mythology lineups, simultaneously extending the event’s lifespan while increasing its potentiality. And what potential potentiality has – this year, proving The X-Files’s elasticity in its death as well as in its life, a new wrinkle in the form of themed episodes is being introduced; instead of nine traditional installments being selected by their horror content or creepy atmospherics, comedy is the name of the game, starting with Scully’s eating of insects and ending with Burt Reynolds’s memorable performance as a music-loving, checkers-playing God.

Happy Halloween – even if it’s one filled with laughs as opposed to thrills.

Wednesday, October 13th – “Humbug” (season two)

Thursday, October 14th – “War of the Coprophages” (season three)

Friday, October 15th – “Small Potatoes” (season four)

Saturday, October 16th – “Bad Blood” (season five)

Sunday, October 17th – “Dreamland” (season six)*

Monday, October 18th – “Dreamland II” (season six)*

Tuesday, October 19th – “Arcadia” (season six)

Wednesday, October 20th – “Hollywood AD” (season seven)

Thursday, October 21st – “Improbable” (season nine)

Note: since neither season one nor eight contains any comedy episodes, the amazingly clever "Dreamland" two-parter is being shown – chronologically, of course – in their place.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day 12 of October Horror Month: NOSFERATU the silent film

I am unaware of people who prefer the silent film Nosferatu to Dracula (with Bela Lugosi) but I mostly find myself in that lone number. The silent film aspect of this makes some of the scenes move more creepily, the story seems darker, the movements and frames are so odd and other worldly that the sounds I add to the film are pretty much those of fear.

The term Nosferatu seems to derive from the Greek Nosophoros which means disease bringer. And, that, to me also seems more apt. As you will note when you read future entries here, I am not sold into one version of a character or story, it doesn't matter to me, which one is my favorite, all that matters is the one that made me scared or whatever the reaction I was supposed to have.

I hope you enjoy this silent and dark film. It is a scary one.

By Your Command -- Part 9

“Unvanquished” (110)

After a nearly seven-month hiatus, Caprica is back.

And what luggage did it return with from its long vacation? Inner- and inter-personal dynamism, theological development, and martial arts fisticuffs – all fine presents met with a thankful “about time.”

And we still have nine more episodes to go.

* * * * *

“Unvanquished” marks the first time we get to see Sister Clarice Willow emerge from the shadows of secondary character status to take the spotlight as a leading and, indeed, formidable persona. And while her character is certainly the more interesting and dynamic for it, she still has a long way to go before attaining the nuance and shading that Daniel Graystone has had since day one and Lacy Rand is quickly attaining scene by scene, week by week.

Willow’s transformation is accomplished in no small part by the change of scenery, both literal and figurative. The monotheistic church is an infinitely more sophisticated structure than one would have originally thought, continuing to play up Battlestar Galactica’s penchant for drawing upon and reflecting back modern-day society through the prism that is Colonial life: the Church, with its conspiring leaders and religiously ordained Holy Crusades and the wavering grey line between its liturgical and militant members, bares more than a passing resemble to several European variations of Christianity throughout the past nine hundred years. (Perhaps the most striking – and compelling – element of the monotheists’ ecclesiastical composition is the inclusion of, ostensibly, a female pope, hitting chords of resonance with BSG’s gender equality and those of dissonance with the audience’s connotations of “Holy Mothers,” such as the venerable Mother Teresa.) And seeing Gemenon, even if just the slice that is the Caprican version of the Vatican, is an arresting and refreshing change of pace, playing up the theatrical melodrama that is too often evident in the inner circles of religious capitals and providing a vivid contrast to the all-too-familiar urban landscapes of Caprica.

Ultimately, however, the aspect of Willow’s character arc in this episode that packs the most potentiality is in its foreshadowing: an ascendant Sister Clarice, employing her sexuality and deploying back-room negotiations equally to serve her needs, is a thing to behold. The tipping of the balance of power on Gemenon is one (absorbing and dramatic) thing; its arrangement and alignment on Caprica is another, and this is where, one imagines, the bulk of Willow’s throughline will play out for the remainder of the season. While the particular theological interpretation of her general religious worldview may become dominant on Gemenon by virtue of the threat of force and its allure to outsiders, both within and without the Church, its assimilation amongst the various terrorist cells on Caprica – not to mention, quite possibly, mainstream Caprican society, in general – will only be had by the application of violence and terror in equal measures, something which Barnabus, proving to be something more of a Darth Maul than Clarice’s Darth Sidious, has excelled at. That there is to be a knock-down, drag-out slugfest is not to be in doubt; how long the character of Barnabus will stick around, whether in flesh-and-blood or Living Avatar status, is.

“Lord save me from the Capricans, indeed.”

* * * * *

The duet continues.

Caprica is, at its heart, a continual and continually adjusted pivot between the two axes of Daniel Graystone, on the one hand, and Joseph Adama, on the other. Continuing to find new and fresh ways to make one fall into the orbit of the other has already proven to occupy a major part of the series’s narrative focus, and it will continue to do so at an exponential rate the further the characters find themselves hurtling down fate’s path.

And falling into orbit is something these two characters certainly have done – but, surprisingly enough, it is Graystone who comes under the gravitational sway of Adama, instead of the other way around. This constitutes much more than a longer, louder echo of the pilot’s events, in which a grief-stricken Daniel comes looking for an industrial espionage favor from the Ha’la’tha that Joseph represents (in more ways than one); it is a reversal of major proportions, not the least of which because it signals – or, rather, [i]may[/i] signal – a fundamental shift in the character of Joseph. Long gone is the broken, addiction-riddled individual who never changed out of his boxers and bathrobe or, indeed, got up off of his couch, replaced by a man fully back in the groove of “professional” life. The reversal is made all the more striking due to its progressive rather than regressive nature: in the pilot, Joseph is attempting to break out of the Ha’la’tha’s sway, shrugging off the guatrau’s favors and angling towards something of a more normal, naturalized life; in “Unvanquished,” he is getting a “bump up,” climbing the gangster totem pole in terms of influence as well as privilege.

That his ascent is at the expense of Daniel’s descent is only to be expected. These two characters’ relationship, after all, is a thematic as well as a symbolic representation and condensation of Colonial-Cylon relations… only, if the past ten episodes (not to mention the previous 73 installments of Battlestar) are anything to go by, without the redemptive or restorative denouement of the latter.

* * * * *

Amongst all these complications and implications, there is one final element that has, finally, bubbled up to the surface: the show’s main theme. It originally appeared to be loss or any number of its variations – grief, nihilism, obsession – but it is something much more fundamental and, indeed, primal, something which loss or obsession is merely indicative of. Extremism is the name of the game on Caprica, and it dictates the pitch and course of each character’s actions, making Graystone come crawling back to the Ha’la’tha or Sister Willow seduce one man in order to assassinate another. And it is also the quality, of course, that will pit man versus machine and holocaust for holocaust until all that is left is a primitive, inchoate society on a far-flung planet that makes all and sundry jump to the extreme conclusion that they need to cast aside all of their technology and all their societal advancements in order to start anew.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Day 11 of October Horror Month: Werewolf: The Forsaken the RPG

If you dig howling at the moon, hunting lesser beings, and being a member of a bestial tribe, this game is for you. Filled with ways to become the leader of the wolf pack, White Wolf games creates stories and role playing game mechanics that allow for the most original stories, ones that the players and game master cooperatively tell.

Learn more @