Sunday, 31 October 2010

Michael and Freddy and Chucky, Oh My!

Since this is the second part of my Halloween themed blog posts, I thought I would dedicate it to something other than what I usually blog about, usually being about writing or books lol. This blog post is about my other obsession - movies! Horror movies to be more accurate.

When we were younger, me and my friends used to stay up all night on Halloween watching the scariest movies we could get our hands on. As we got older, we tended to go out to bars wearing stupid costumes rather than stay home, but I personally have always tried to spend at least part of Halloween watching a fright-fest!

Over the years horror movies are getting mixed reactions from me. Usually annoyance, since modern scary movies just don't cut it. If the nude scenes outnumber the scary scenes, then something ain't working. A horror genius shouldn't need to rely on sex to sell their movie. 

Thing that really gets me these days, is horror movies were far more cutting edge years ago than they are today. In the seventies and eighties there saw a change in how we liked to be scared. Before the scariest movies had monsters in them, then the movie makers got smart. They figured out what scares people most is something that could actually happen to them in their own home. 

Of course, there was nothing wrong with the odd movie monster. Even in the far-fetched cases of Nightmare on Elm Street, they still managed to strike fear into our hearts by sticking close to the reality factor, and that is no one likes scary dreams. They scare us. Freddy terrified an entire generation, and built up hype for their kids. And as a child of someone who was terrified of Freddy, let me just say it wasn't false advertising. 

Anyone remember the first time they saw this little critter :- 

I do! Not likely to forget in a hurry, either. 

But my point of this post is this - horror movies just aren't what they used to be. Even in the cases where the movie maker decided to go for a monster of an axe wielding maniac, they still managed to scare us more than film makers can today. Why? Maybe they like the sex and blood too much. Maybe it's a generation thing.   Maybe the just need to go back to basics.

Who was Michael Myers? Michael was just a kid when he stabbed his big sister, Judith. He came from a relatively normal home (if you believe the original back story of Michael, and not the stupid one released a few years ago) yet there was something dark inside him. But underneath it all, he was still a man.

Mrs Voorhees was a grieving mother, angry at the children who neglected her son and caused him to die. Okay, fair enough, it wasn't the people she actually murdered who were at fault, but the reasons are still the same.

Even Freddy, when you look at his history, was just a man. A terrifying and disgusting paedophile,  but still just a man. Who gave him power? The people who tried to restore justice. 

The scariest thing I've ever seen, is The Hitcher. Why? Because it could happen. Really, really, happen. Why was C. Thomas Howell the unfortunate man chosen to die at the hands of a maniac? Bad luck. He picked him up, and that's that. No motive, no back story. Just plain old bad luck. It could have happened to anyone. 

Having said that, last decade saw the return of non-movie monster horror movies. Drew Barrymore set the tone for Scream in her ten minute intro for the movie, and paid her due in blood, as does everyone who opens a horror movie. We saw the return of the axe wielding maniac who managed to scare us, and not by going over the top. Of course, there's the typical girls running in the wrong direction and the obvious one's who are going to die, but when Scream was released I sighed a sigh of relief. I thought horror was coming back, real horror, real honest to goodness fear. 

Unfortunately, it turned out more to be a three-trick-pony, and after a few decent efforts, the horror died down again. The beginning of the noughties introduced another new brand of scary, this time in the form of Saw. And whilst it was enjoyable (the first few times), and damn hard to puzzle out what was going to happen, the over the top blood and guts ruined what could have been a terrifying piece of cinema.  

And now onto my biggest horror-hate...the dreaded remake!!!!!  

I beg of you, film makers everywhere, stop remaking all the best horror movies! You degraded Michael, plain forgot the original killer in Friday the 13th and tamed Freddy. The worst part of all the remakes is they forgot what made these movies scary in the first place, and instead of trying to achieve that level of fear again, went with flashing a pair of boobs instead. 


So that is that, my horror-movie-freak lovelies. Happy Halloween!

P.s....what's your favourite scary movie?


Saturday, 30 October 2010

A Few of my Scariest Things

This is the first of a two part Halloween special here on my little old blog. Tomorrow's post, centred around the best part of Halloween - the movies. Today it's a little different. It's a little personal.

Given the tradition on Halloween to try and scare everybody senseless, I thought I'd share a few unorthodox things that actually, seriously, terrify me.

First up... food processors! I hate them. Always scared I'm gonna get my fingers trapped in them.

Next...tomatoes. Stupid and totally irrational, I know, but I can't stand them. Not the taste or anything stupid like that, but looking at them makes me feel all faint and weird, like I'm watching live surgery or something. Ick.

And the very, very worst... Daddy Long Legs. It's actually freaking me out just having that picture there...*shudder*. I don't know what it is about them, but they terrify me. Did you know they are poisonous to humans? Yup. Evil gits. It's just their teeth or something isn't sharp enough to penetrate the skin. Ick. Double ick.

So there you have my scariest things! Weird, all of them, but please don't judge me!


Thursday, 28 October 2010

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo

So...I've decided to try NaNo this year. I know, shocking, given the title! But that sentence has rung in my mind over and over the last few weeks as it has dawned on me just what I've let myself in for.

For those who have been living under a rock, or are just not familiar with someone in the writing community, the month of November is set aside for those crazy people called writers who aim to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I know, sounds nuts, right? Well, this year I'm joining them, so that shows what it says about me!

When I'm writing, it's pretty much all I can think about. Like when you read an awesome book that lingers or a movie that strikes a chord with you, or a new person in your life, it invades my every waking thought. And my non-waking thoughts pretty often, too. And now that I have a goal, or deadline, whatever way you look at it, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be more scatter brained than normal!

As I've said in previous posts, I'm not a writer who does a lot of prep work before I begin a new project. But I've had to this time. I'm not confident enough starting something like NaNo without at least a hint of a game plan. It isn't much, and it's by no means detailed, but I have a vague plan and my job over the next few days is to do as much character profiling as is possible before NaNo starts this coming Monday. Because at the end of the day, stories can be altered and fixed and primed and pampered, but your characters carry it. If you don't do a good job with them, then forget it. Every writer will tell you the fabulous moments when the characters break free from their moulds and write the stories themselves.

I don't think of myself as a seasoned writer or a pro or whatever. I've finished four books, have three unfinished partials and a few drafts needing polished. That said, I don't think the skill of learning to write is ever finished. No matter how many books you write, or even if you get published or not. Because there is always research to do, and for those that say they don't are lying - no two characters are the same and each is individual and need their own prep and research.

I didn't sign up to NaNo to prove anything. I don't think that's the point. I don't think those lucky enough to 'win' can sneer at those who don't and say, well you didn't finish therefore you aren't a writer. NaNo, to me, is a fantastic chance to join a wonderful community of people. And like characters, no two writers are the same. Everyone has their own way of doing things and it's interesting to see how others work and progress.

Would I like to achieve the goal and reach 50k in 30 days? Of course I would, I'd be lying if I said no. But I don't think the word count is the be all and end all of NaNo. It might be cliched, but it's the taking part that counts.

And I can't wait to meet my fellow contestants.


Sunday, 10 October 2010

Playing It Safe?

The first book I ever wrote is a monster. Sitting currently at 500+ pages, it feels like a mountain to try and edit. It's a historical romance set during the second World War. I haven't made it easy for myself, having to do so much research for this time in history. But despite all the work it needs and all the other books I have written since this one, I'm still completely besotted with it. I love it above all my other books. Maybe because it is my first...who knows. 

A year and a half after finishing the book, I'm only now going back to it. It needs a major face lift and many plot developments tweaked, but it doesn't put me off. A lot more research needs to be done and more references to the time period. 

During a particularly long editing session earlier today, I fleetingly wished my story was easier. Wished it was something I knew absolutely everything about and therefore was an absolute dodle to write. It made me wonder how many other writers feel like this at some point? Wish they had taken an easier road with their manuscripts.

I have a few more other historical novel ideas and the idea to start the research needed is daunting, but not off-putting.

So let me ask you this - when you get a killer idea for a book, how many of you are put off by the scale of the project? 

A part of me, probably the masochistic part, likes the challenge. The more hard work you put in, the bigger the achievement when you finish. 

There is a huge difference between having a moan at how much work is involved and actually deserting an idea because it might be difficult. Does anyone actually take the easy way out? How many of us play it safe rather than accept the challenge?

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