Thursday, January 27, 2022

My Somewhat Longer Short Story THE YELLOW BUG Now Available for Kindle


Nothing new but a reminder: my longer short story THE YELLOW BUG is now available on Amazon for Kindle.  

Side note: some people ask me why I keep saying available on Amazon for Kindle?  That's called SEO, baby.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

FACES Now Available on Kindle


Another day, another short story available on Amazon for Kindle.  This time, it's my short story FACES.  Don't let the cover fool you.  Oh, it's funny.  And sad.  So sad, you've got to kind of laugh to get over the pain.

Bet you can't wait to read it now, right?

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

CLOSING TIME Now Available for Kindle


My short story CLOSING TIME is now available on Amazon for Kindle as it's own e-book.

Are you seeing a trend here?

Yes, $0.99.  It's been out before but not sure how many people have checked it out.  I reformatted it and made a new cover.

Anyway, here it is.  Again.


My short story GENERAL GORDO'S STRANGE REQUEST is now available on Amazon for Kindle.  Yes, that's another short story that is it's own e-book.  And yes, it is also only $0.99.

Unlike my other stories, this one is funny.  Yes, there may be severed head talk, but still funny.

RINGS Now Available on Kindle


In case you missed it, my short story RINGS is now available as a solo e-book on Amazon for Kindle.  Yes, short story can be it's own e-book.  Yes, it's short.  But hey, got to make a buck where I can.

And guess what?

RINGS is only $0.99.

Less than a buck.  How 'bout that?

Sunday, December 26, 2021

THE LONG BRIGHT DESCENT now available on Kindle

Back in 2016, I sold this really cool story to Grey Matter Press for their anthology PEEL BACK THE SKIN.  The anthology went on to get some great reviews and my story, THE LONG BRIGHT DESCENT, ended up as an Honorable Mention on Ellen Datlow's 2016's Best Horror of the Year list.  If you know who Ellen Datlow is, you know how big of a deal that is to writers and horror fans.

Anyway, it's now available as a e-book single if you want to check it out.  Of course, if you already have PEEL BACK THE SKIN or want to check it out, you can find this same story there, too.  Either way, it's all gravy.

 Hit the cover above or smash this link to find it on Amazon.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sharknado? Wait until you see...


What you are about to read is my proposal for the next series (yes, series!) of awesome shark B-movies for SyFy.  If you wish to make one or all, please contact me and we can discuss options.


Most things start as good intentions.  That's all NOAA was doing.  Tagging and tracking endangered sharks with their ultra-advanced Super Trackers.  The problem is, the technology was too advanced...

On a NOAA vessel off the coast California, sarcastic-but-super smart NOAA scientist Russ Brackens is teaching attractive but way out of his league newbie Lindsey Cuddles the ropes, especially the Super Tracking system.  As he points out the different locations around the world where they're tracking sharks, he uncovers something disturbing.  Many of the sharks off the coast of California aren't hunting independently. They're working together.

An 8.0 earthquake occurs in the area where the sharks were working.  A tsunami is unleashed.  But's that's not the only thing racing for the coast line.  Riding the giant killer wave are a bunch of giant hungry killer sharks!  What the wave doesn't destroy, the sharks do.  And when the water recedes, so do the sharks.

In the aftermath, several other (as of now, unnamed) characters start to put the pieces together.  A Tough Admiral who just wants to retire gets ordered to take over the investigation.  Why?  Because he's spent his career working with Navy marine mammals, training them to find mines, etc.  He knows the water and the beasts within!

Tough Admiral flies out to the NOAA vessel and starts working with Russ and Lindsey.  After examining the data, he figures out the sharks not only rode the tsunami, they caused it.  How?  No idea.  But the shit soon hits the fan because another school of sharks are circling off South America...

The second wave is worse than the first.  Somehow, sharks have figured out how to work together and unleash tsunamis any damn place they want!  Tough Admiral goes back to the tape.  Russ joins him.  Lindsey sees the shark totals and realizes that that is the total number of sharks they're tracking.  All of the tracked sharks are working together.

Russ slaps his forehead.  It's the Super Trackers.  Somehow, the technology has made the sharks smarter and able to communicate.

But how are they causing tsunamis?

We don't know yet, damn it?  What's important is severing the link.  But how to sever the link...

Meanwhile, a giant merchant ship is crossing the Pacific.  A giant merchant ship full of more Super Trackers!

The sharks realize they're being tracked so change strategies.  Rather than sink the merchant ship themselves, they kill one of their own, take the Super Tracker, and plant it on a super giant squid.  The giant squid attacks, pulling the merchant vessel to pieces and freeing the Super Trackers.  The sharks collect them in their mouths and proceed around the world, planting Super Trackers on every predatory marine animal they can find.

Meanwhile, Tough Admiral, Russ, and Lindsey get word about the merchant ship.  Tough Admiral doesn't care because the sharks behavior has changed.  They're no longer working as a group. Instead, they're spreading out across the world.  He thinks the link has broken itself somehow.

Until they notice thousands and thousands of new Super Trackers going active.  Tough Admiral demands to know what was the cargo of the merchant ship.  Russ goes pale - Super Trackers!

A montage follows-sharks attacks!  Crocodile attacks!  Squid attacks!  All around the world, marine predators consume human flesh.  Tsunamis flood every inch of shoreline.  Submarines are destroyed underwater.  It's biblical.

Tough Admiral, Russ, and Lindsey don't have time to worry.  The NOAA vessel comes under attack by the giant squid.  Tentacles punch through bulkheads.  One impales Russ.  He tells Lindsey he loves her before dying.  Tough Admiral pulls her away, telling her time mourn later.  They make it to the helo pad and manage to jump on an escaping helicopter as the vessel is pulled below the surface.

Lindsey wonders aloud what do they do now?  Tough Admiral says they move inland, regroup with other survivors, and figure out how to take the world back from those bastard sharks!

We see the helicopter flying over land into the distance.  Then we pan down on what seems to be a partially eaten dead young man.

Then he opens his eyes.

Sharknami 2: Rise of the Zombies

In the aftermath of the world wide attack by the marine predators, the dead begin to rise.  You see, the Super Trackers have changed the DNA of the predators.  And when they bite, they transmit a toxin that infects the human.  That's right, the bite of these predators cause anyone they don't completely eat and digest to become zombies.

And as we all know, zombies are mortal enemies of sharks because sharks like to eat living things not dead things.  And zombies hate sharks because the sharks made them zombies and all.

Meanwhile, in the MidWest, survivors have rallied and started to plan their counterattack, led by Tough Admiral and a tough-talking martial arts expert named Alexa Ivanovich, a Russian spy who has shed her cover in the US to help.  The initial plans include air bombardments in the shallow waters along coastlines, filling Chesapeake Bay with millions of cattle as bait and then nuking the sharks once they're all in Chesapeake Bay, and setting off Electromagnetic Pulses underwater to disable the Super Trackers.  As they do, zombies attack their headquarters.

Lots of blood and carnage at this point: zombies, sharks, humans.  Lots of running and screaming and escaping narrowly.

By the end, what's left of the humans are hold-up at the top of the Sears Tower.  Below, sharks and zombies battle.  Tough Admiral kisses Alexa, swearing they're going to find a way to reclaim the earth.  That they can't give up hope.

Cut to the San Andreas fault.  A giant earthquake hits, opening a huge deep rift.  When the dust settles, several super big bird eggs are exposed.  When the sunlight hits them, they warm and crack-

Only they're not cracking.  Something's hatching.  And out break baby pterodactyls.

Sharknami 3: Revenge of the Pterodactyls!

Tough Admiral was right.  They couldn't give up hope.  Because hope has just arrived.

As we all know, pterodactyls and sharks are ancient enemies.  Back in way back dinosaur days, pterodactyls ate megalodon sharks like pelicans eat fish today.  And now they're back, breeding like crazy, and frigging hungry.

Problem is, they don't understand the scope of the situation.  They just want to eat sharks.  Tough Admiral knows that to save the day, he needs to point the pterodactyls in the right direction.  With help from Lindsey, they reverse engineer a Super Tracker and start to make new ones.  Only modified.  They capture a couple zombies, plant the trackers on them, and figure out how to control the zombies like drones.

Why?  Well, we all know pterodactyls are very prideful and would never allow a living creature ride them.  But nothing says they won't let a dead thing ride them.

Tough Admiral, Alexa, and Lindsey manage to get their drone zombies onto the back of a couple pterodactyls and pilot them, sending the ancient flying beasts first to San Diego where they clear out the harbor of all predators.

With this new success, it's game on.  More zombies are captured and converted into drones.  More pterodactyls are ridden.  By the climax, the sky is full of them, diving bombing oceans everywhere.

At the end, Tough Admiral, new love Alexa, and loyal friend Lindsey stand on the beach, looking at the calm waves, smoking cigars.

Then Lindsey goes pale.  She asks what are the pterodactyls going to eat once all the sharks are gone.  At that moment, a pterodactyl swoops in low over the water toward them, a smiling zombie on its back.  And both are hungry for humans!

Again, if you wish to make one or all, please contact me and we can discuss options.  These exist purely in synopsis mode above.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Revised Repost: The Wolfman Still Sucks

So I wrote a review of this movie about a year and a half ago.  Figured I'd revise it and expand a bit in areas to get it in line with my new review policy.  Without further delay:


Here’s the new news: this movie still sucks.

That about sums it up. The movie looks great. Good cast. Pretty good score. But the plot points are…dumb.

And this is where the movie utterly fails.  Remember I’ve said a map is all possible stories.  A story is the route chosen from point A to B.  And plot is what happens along the way.

So what the story?  A man discovers his family has a dark secret.  One that’ll soon change him both mentally and physically.  He needs to deal with that shit before a ton of people die (i.e., eaten).  

The plot – fuck if I know.  I mean there is one.  We get from Point A (the beginning) to Point B (the end) but the route taken is like some mish-mash of freeways and dirt roads and collapsed bridges.

In other words, the plotter sucked at his job.

 "Has someone seen a plot around here?"

Remember the original The Wolf Man with Lon Chaney? The main character, Larry Talbot, gets bit by a werewolf and then becomes the Wolf Man. Mayhem follows. In the end, Larry gets killed by good old dad.  Kind of sad.  A sad story about a father and son and how one needs to kill the other to protect the rest of the human race. That’s conflict, man. The plot is all the stuff that happens along the way.

This one? Well, now he’s Lawrence Talbot. His brother gets killed by a werewolf. He goes home and we learn his past: mother killed herself; Lawrence spent time in an asylum before becoming a great actor; Dad is a big hunter with a man-servant named Singh. Lawrence is determined to find who or what killed his brother. He determines the gypsies passing through town might know something. But then the werewolf attacks the caravan and Lawrence gets bit. There’s a lot of talk about the family being cursed. Singh seems to know “something” cuz he’s got silver bullets. Dad seems to know “something” cuz he’s got a secret chamber with a special chair with straps and clamps.


From this, I deduced that Papa was a werewolf and his lovely wife used to help him every full moon by strapping him in the chair. But after years of the stress of knowing she’s married to a literal monster, she finally broke down and killed herself. Papa carried on her task, cuz he loved her so much, by locking himself in the chamber. That would make sense cuz love has a way of making people restrain their darker selves. Get it?

"You see, Son, your mother and brother questioned my story logic...
so I fucking ate them. Best keep your mouth shut."

Of course, the movie went in a completely fucking different direction. Papa was a werewolf but instead of his wife helping him he actually ate her and it was Singh strapping him down every full moon. Which begs the questions:

1. Why the fuck didn’t Singh kill Papa, I don’t know, right after the first full moon when he saw the bastard turn into a werewolf? Or hey, how about after Papa decided he wanted to start munching on people again? That would have been a good time to kill him, right Singh, you dumb bastard.

2. Why the fuck didn’t Singh tell Lawrence, “Hey, you’re hosed. Dad’s a werewolf and so are you. I’m checking out.” And shoot both of their asses then and there. Then he could have fled back to India and hunted Bengal tigers.

3. If Papa loved his wife so much, why did he eat her? And where was Singh. Would you keep a man-servant around whose sole job was to restrain you once a month, failed, and let you eat your own wife? Neither would I.  When Lawrence is in the asylum, Papa comes and visits and tells him he picked up the curse in India after a kid bit him.  Singh restrained him every full moon.  But fucked up one night and mom got herself ate.  He managed to restrain himself up until he got into a fight with other son (who died at the beginning).  He ate him.  Liked it.  Decided to stop restraining himself.  To which I ask: so you felt bad about killing your wife but not your son?  Shit, father of the year material.

4. What exactly was the point of the gypsies? They played no significant part other than to say, “He is cursed” and “It’s his fate”. Way to go, useless gypsies.  (For further information on the gypsies and why they’re important and how they’re actually appropriately used for both plot and story, see the original flick).

5. Oh, the love interest was the reason Papa decided to kill his own son. Cuz she reminded him of his wife and he didn’t want to lose her to his son. Uh, he ate his wife. And he really didn’t show much remorse so did he really mean he didn’t want her to go cuz he wanted to eat her too? In which case, why the hell didn’t he eat her instead of his son?

6. The love interest, who sells antiques, decides to take it on her shoulders and figure out how to cure werewolfism. Uh, the girl who SELLS ANTIQUES is going to figure out a way to cure fucking werewolfism?  Really? Sure, why not.

7. What the fuck does the silver cane have to do with anything?  It’s never used yet it seems important.  And why is it given to him by a strange old dude who seems to know something’s up?  And why wasn’t it part of the antique store?  Shouldn’t it have been given to Lawrence there?  Makes more sense that he gets a cool cane at an antique store than some strange dude on a train that never plays a part (dude or cane) in the rest of the movie.  (For further information on the cane and why it’s important and how it’s actually appropriately used for both plot and story, see the original flick).

8. The love interest decides to save Lawrence by going to Papa’s house, both of them being werewolves and her knowing it, on the night of a full moon. ON THE NIGHT OF A FULL FUCKING MOON! Couldn’t have waited until the next morning, huh?

9. And why is everyone meeting on a full moon?  Lawrence just wrecked havoc in London on a full moon.  Then gets to his house at the next full moon?  It took him a month to get home?  Yet it took the antiques girl a few days?  And she just happened to figure out that Lawrence wouldn’t be there until the full moon?  Why wasn’t she already there?  Why wasn’t she waiting for him, saying, Hey, let me tie you up until tomorrow and we can settle this shit when Papa is an old man again and you’re your logical actor self?

I’ve got a headache. 

Anyway, if you’re going to go to such extremes to talk about curses and have gypsies, why not make it a blood curse on the family? That could have been cool. Father passes it on to the eldest son. Eldest son refuses to bear the burden and decides he’s got to end it because of some gypsy rule like “the bearer must be killed by a loved one and only while in wolf mode.” Son tries to kill him in the chamber of doom but Papa breaks free and kills his own son. When he comes around, he’s guilt ridden. But he can’t kill himself because he would then pass it on to Lawrence. Singh, though, realizes what’s happened and kills Papa while he’s sleeping and flees to India. Lawrence now has the curse passed on to him and turns during the next full moon while he’s performing on stage in London. Singh hears about what happens while traveling and reading a paper. He realizes he must return and finish what he effectively caused. During the following full moon, Singh hunts the Wolfman down and kills him. See, that would have been a hell of a lot better.

In fact, I like my version so much more I might write it myself, set it in modern times, and change the man-servant to…well I can’t tell you all my ideas. But I’m calling dibs on this.

Anyway, it was a dumb movie. Too bad. Go watch the original. Don’t waste your time on this piece of shit.

Oh, and I hated the CGI change. Rick Baker did the make-up and his work on American Werewolf in London still looks better than CGI. Should have let him do the changes.

 "Give me the fucking keys you fucking cocksucker."

Friday, December 16, 2011

TV Movie Review??? Stephen King's Bag of Shit

Whooops!  I meant SK's Bag of Bones mini-series.  Based on the novel of the same name.

Christ this sucked.  I mean I can do a detailed review and point out all the ways but what's the point really?  It sucks, plain and simple.  But here's a few reasons why in which I also throw in comparison's to Big Trouble in Little China.  Let's begin.

1. The acting is terrible.  Pierce Brosnan phones it in.  Apparently, he thinks he's Sean Connery in that he can take any role and never shed his accent.  Which doesn't work here because he's supposed to be an American, even has a brother who sounds American, yet there's Pierce being Pierce.  The rest of the cast is forgettably awful.  And I mean all of them.  Maybe it's the script but everyone sounds off.  You know when you walk into a public bathroom to take a leak and hear someone dropping a nasty deuce? That's the way the cast sounds.  What they needed was Kurt Russell.  And not Jack Burton Kurt Russell although that would have helped.  No, they just needed plain old Kurt to play the writer.  A guy who can be tough but also pull off depressed and drunk.  A guy who looks like a working-class type who decided to take up writing.  Not a pretty boy.  A reasonable guy who experiences pretty unreasonable things.  A guy who knows what to do when the earth quakes, and the poison arrows fall from the sky, and the pillars of Heaven shake. Yeah, Kurt would just look that big ol' storm right square in the eye and he says, "Give me your best shot, pal. I can take it." In this case, he'd say it to a ghost.

2. The bad guy.  Ties into reason one but gets his own number because he's that much more shittier.  Cartoonish.  Mustache twirling.  TIMES A BILLION!  Where's Lo-Pan when you need him?  Little old basket case on wheels would have fit better in the storyline than this clown.  I know, I know.  Chinese girls don't have green eyes and supernatural Chinese villains don't belong in Maine.  Indeed!

3. The directing.  Mick Garris sucks.  Can we just get that out of the way?  All of his King adaptation are terrible.  This one is no different.  Actually, it might be his worst yet.  Because it tries to be a real movie.  There's the sloppy opening title sequence: fade in, fade out, fade in, fade out.  I want to sleep already.  Then there's the silly scares.  The convenient set-ups like Pierce driving by the villain's house and the villain just happens to be at the window looking at him like he's been waiting eons just for Pierce to drive by (aren't we all?!?).  Then like a day later, Pierce drives by again and sure enough, there's the villain only this time with a devilish grin.  Ooooh!  I sense conflict!  And convenient.  But not as conveniently fun as driving into a Chinese stand-off in an alley in San Francisco's China Town where the Hang-Sengs and the Wing-Kong just happen to be getting ready to throw down to the death and Lo-Pan in ten-foot tall roadblock guise just happens to be there, the same Lo-Pan who recently kidnapped Wang Chi's girlfriend, a Chinese girl with green eyes.  I mean, that would just be crazy.  BUT FUN!  Unlike Bag of Bones, which sucked.

4. The script.  Bad dialogue.  Bad timing.  Nothing memorable.  Nothing sharp.  But lots of yelling about curses and needing to break the curse and you don't know what you're dealing with and there are forces at work here and curses and custody and power and white people are bad and women have it coming and the sins of the father and...what, I trailed off I guess.  Pretty much if it's a cliche related to curses and bloodlines, it's here.  Lots of self-important talk about having to break said curse by, go figure, sacrificing children to appease the angry woman that was raped and killed along with her daughter.  Maybe I missed something but it all felt really trite and familiar.  Or maybe I didn't get it.  Then again, I was not brought upon this world to get it!  I tell you, it's nothing like sacrificing a girl to Ching Dai, having the curse lifted, and going on to rule the world from beyond the grave.  Nothing like it at all.

5. The ending.  Hmmm.  Bad.  The silly "I got to put you to rest even though you're dead by dissolving your earthly remains with lye."  What?  What the fuck?  How about fire?  That burns up remains, too.  And how did we get to lye.  And what's this say about our victim?  Excuse me, I know you were raped and murdered as was your daughter and then buried in an unmarked grave but we disagree with the scope of your vengeance so we're going to dig up your bodies and dissolve them into goo so you can finally be at rest.  Uhh...what if that's not what she wants.  What if...and this is crazy...but what if she just wants to keep killing girls in the bloodline for, I don't know, ever?  Then you're not really putting her at rest, are you?  You're fucking re-killing her.  I think.  Whatever it is you do to dead people.  Or ghosts.  Point is, when you decide to dissolve a ghost's remains to stop said ghost from inflicting death, you do so with extreme prejudice.  You do so because you want to stop her, not because you care about her rest.  It's combat.  And that angry ghost should be doing whatever it needs to to stop you, not just let you dig them up and dump lye on them.  Wow, that's exciting!  No you need a ghost that comes out of thin air in the middle of a goddamn alley while her buddies are flying around on wires cutting everybody to shreds.  And you don't fight a ghost with a shovel and lye.  You fight it with a six demon bag until it becomes flesh.  Then you throw a fucking knife into it's head!

How did I end up slipping Big Trouble in Little China in here, you ask?  Why, the wheelchair of course.  Crabby old guy in wheel chair caused instant memory recall of Lo-Pan.  Both are up to no good.  Both need to sacrifice a female to end their curse.  Both have weird henchmen.  Both are evil.  And both scare everyone around them except our hero.

So, that about sums it up.  It was terrible.  Rather than watch it, watch Big Trouble in Little China.  It's good and fun and everything this movie isn't. I give Bag of Bones this:

Friday, October 1, 2010

Movie Review - Clash of the Titans

I understand the desire to want to remake a movie. Especially a movie that had great potential but just didn't live up to it's promise or a move that lived up to it's potential but do to the passage of time and the advances in technology, the film just feels dated and "silly". I get it.

The original Clash of the Titans was a fun movie with a cool concept. Plus, it had a great cast and it was playing with Greek Mythology. I'm no pagan but Greek Mythology is cool. But it had that Ray Harryhausen stop-motion animation that, sadly, dated the film as soon as it was released. And it had that annoying owl. Yes, I hated the owl. Why? Cuz it was the filmmaker's way of inserting the C-3PO/R2-D2 of Greek "maybe" mythology into the film. F--- that bird.

Anyway, I liked it but felt like if there was any movie that could do with an update, it was CotT. You know, stick to the general story and characters but update the special effects and action. I mean, the story was pretty solid. You had romance, you had the call to adventure, you had the giving of gifts, you had honor and sacrifice, you had heroism and redemption and humbleness. All those things that make a great heroic epic...great.

Oh, but no. These assholes had to make their own "version" of CotT. Instead of it being about a heroism, it turns to that old saw of revenge. And anger. And rebellion. Damn the gods! What have they ever done for us Greeks?

Except give us life. A place to live. Animals and plants to eat. Free will to do what we choose. Even who we worship (there's a whole pantheon after all). And a whole lot more.

The General Plot

You see, in this version, Zeus has created humans to glorify the gods. That's it. He loves mankind and their prayers keep the gods alive.

Wait a minute. If that's true, how in Zeus's name did they live before Zeus created man? I mean, if they need mankind to live, how did they live before mankind? How did the gods, already living, know they needed to make man to keep them alive even though they were already alive?

Ah, the first stupid point of the movie. And it's at about the fifteen second point.

You see, they clearly explain in the opening introduction that Zeus and his siblings defeated his father Cronus and the Titans for control of the heavens and earth. They took ownership of Mount Olympus and earth and the oceans and the underworld. Zeus became lord overall. Poseidon owned the seas. And Hades got shafted in the underworld.

Somewhere in there they say Hades created the Kraken and it defeated the Titans. Not Zeus and his mighty thunderbolts or the cyclopes or the other children of Cronus. Nope, just the Kraken. Which Hades made. Ah, revisionist mythology.


Somewhere after defeating the Titans, humans were made and quickly became little bitches who hated the gods. We're told that it's because they felt like they were slaves to the gods. So man wants to throw the yoke of the gods off. Want to do things THEIR WAY!

Granted, the gods did some crazy shit to mankind in the myths. But in this film they don't show any of that. They don't show the gods actually treating the people as slaves. They don't show any mistreatment of mankind at all, ever, throughout the entire film, by the gods. Even Hades kind of has a reason to lay some ass whup on the humans.

Actually, what they show kind of makes man look like, well, a bunch of self-righteous assholes.

Example: King Acrisius, Perseus's true father, has declared war on the gods. Why, I have no idea. But he's done it. So, Zeus, being a little pissed off at the rebellion, swoops down and impersonates Acrisius and does his wife and impregnates her with the soon to be Perseus. Acrisius, even more angry that the god he's declared war on for reasons WE DON'T KNOW has done this than the original reason for the war apparently, decides to murder his wife and throw the newborn baby with her in a casket into the sea. Did Zeus act like a dick? Sure. But no where in there are we told why Acrisius is a flaming asshole fighting the gods and then murdering his wife for thinking Zeus was him. Later on, when Acrisius becomes Calibos (a significant change from the original) he's a mad idiot with power given from Hades to hunt down Perseus, his own son, and kill him. Again, we don't know why he's doing this other than he hates the gods. When in reality, this idiot has created his own living hell through his own stupid actions (based on the information we've been given). Later, he fights Perseus (who doesn't know who the hell he is; lost father/son drama moment there) and loses. Before he dies, he tells Perseus not to become one of them (the gods). Huh? How about don't do what I did and be a short-tempered, rash asshole who kills his own wife and tried to kill you several times, my son, cuz I hate your god-infused blood. Yeah, don't be like me. Instead, he says, don't be like them. Ah, whatever.

Anyway, Perseus learns he's a demi-god at the same time Hades threatens to destroy Argos with the Kraken. They've got until the next eclipse to sacrifice the princess or else DOOM! This, of course, is the suggested strategy to get people praying to the gods again. Nothing motivates like some good old fashion terror and fear. Yee-haw!

Perseus has a choice. Do nothing or do something. Well, once he learns his bloodline, he's offended because he hates the gods, too. Everyone we see hates the gods, even the demi-gods. Cuz the gods are assholes or something. He blames them for the death of his adopted father (more on that idiot later). So what's he decide to do? Yeah, he decides he's going to kill the Kraken and kill Hades and spit in Zeus's eyes. Cuz he's angry. Angry I tell you! Great.

Hades's Plot for Revenge

This is another line of logic that fails to make sense. Hades tells Zeus that the prayers they need to live can only be encouraged through fear. So that means releasing the Kraken and scaring the holy shit out of the people. But then Hades demands a sacrifice from Argos. Naturally, those who want to LIVE form a cult of Hades and demand the sacrifice of the princess to save their own skins. These new found prayers to Hades give him enough strength to overthrow Zeus apparently.

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And he's just doing this now? And Zeus never thought that some other gods could be strengthened by individual devotions? After all, he allowed pantheistic worship. Stupid pagans.

Look, Hades created the Kraken. Created it. Why does he need Zeus to release it? Why doesn't he just MAKE ANOTHER ONE? Why doesn't he unleash his harpies on mankind and scare them to prayers? Why doesn't he release the dead? Also, are there no Cults of Hades anywhere before this threat? Bullshit. There are death worshipers everywhere. Hello! Kali! I saw Temple of Doom.

This was a silly way to make the gods more central to the story. What they should have done was portray Hades as the hater of mankind. He could have conspired to convince Zeus the humans weren't worth keeping. Then there would have been a test. Perseus would redeem mankind and prove their worth. Kind of like Job. There would have been internal conflict and external conflict. Gods who love and hate humans and humans who love and hate the gods. See, there are two sides to every coin. Not just one. Do it this way and there would be an arc for all of the characters.

Oh, wait. They need prayers to live. Right.

Perseus' Stupid Adopted Dad

Spyros finds the coffin baby Perseus and momma were tossed into the sea in. Saves the kid. Mom is already tits-up. Too bad.

Fast forward a dozen years. Spyros is a struggling fisherman. Perseus is a brooding kid.

Fast forward another so many years. Spyros is a shitty fisherman. Perseus tells him he pretty much sucks and is old and laughs. Spyros laughs back.

Then Spyros does something completely stupid and makes no sense to the advancement of his character or plot other than to serve as fuel to Perseus’s later hatred for the gods. Spyros hauls in an empty net and wonders when Zeus or Poseidon are going to give him bounty. He says he prays and gets nothing. Then he whines. And bitches. And moans. His wife tells him to shut up. But no, this old pussy keeps complaining. Says the gods have denied man too long. Says someday, someone is going to take a stand against them.

Stand against what? Is there a god embargo on fish? Is Poseidon secretly cutting your nets opens?

All of this originates from an empty fishing net. Huh?

Hey asshole, how about you realize YOU SUCK AS A FISHERMAN! Hey asshole, how about you LEARN A DIFFERENT TRADE SINCE YOU SUCK AS A FISHERMAN! Hey asshole, how about you fish WHERE THE FISH ARE!

Nope. Just whines. In front of his kids. Die already.

Basically Spyros is bitching because he wants a welfare state and the gods aren't complying. Why even fish then? Why not just stand on the beach and shake your fists at the sky and say, "Yo, where my fishes at, bitch!"

Lame. Lazy. Horrible writing. It would have been more convincing if Spyros was a pious man who loses his wife to a god and then questions his faith. That makes sense. It's called internal conflict. Like the white guy who hates racism and then his wife gets raped by some gang-bangers and he turns, you know, a bit racist. Internal conflict. The heart goes through dark phases. Light, dark, light. Instead, we get a whiny asshole who just keeps whining and then dies. Bad farts are better.

Perseus continues his adopted father's tradition. Angry. Angry. Rageful. Spiteful. Whiny. Will this asshole please die. Damn. Angry. Spiteful.


The Greeks in this film are portrayed as pretty much secular assholes who want nothing more than to be selfish narcissists and turn themselves into gods. There, I said it. Oh, wait, so did the Queen of Argos right before Hades turns her into an old woman. She says, Yo why do we need the gods. Screw them. We are the gods.

Oh, Lucifer?

Anyway, you'd think this would serve as a wake up call to her fellow citizens. Damn, maybe we went the wrong way. Yeah, the gods do messed up shit but just maybe we're kind of, you know, pissing them off. If they love us so much, like the narrator KEEPS TELLING US, maybe we should be HUMBLE and they'll realize they've treated us a bit harshly. Or something like that.


The moment the King realizes there's a demi-god in his court, he saddles up and begs Perseus to go find a way to kill the Kraken. No repentence. No, hey Zeus, sorry. Could you call your brother off? Nope, just go kill and serve mankind.


Perseus's Revenge Doesn't Make Any Sense

Perseus wants revenge on the gods for killing Spyros and his adopted brood. But here's the dirty little secret: something provoked Hades's little tirade. You see, Argos, once again, declared war on the gods. This is illustrated by a bunch of Argos soldiers toppling a statue of Zeus on a cliff. It falls into the sea and nearly capsizes Spyros's fishing boat. Then Hades unleashes his harpies and they fuck up them Argos bitches. Then Hades appears, surveys his destruction, notices the boat, and destroys it, too.

Yes, Perseus can be pissed at Hades. But really, he should be pissed at the Argos bitches for provoking, you know, the God of Death. Don't poke the bear, right?

Doesn't even enter his mind. Even when he's in the Argos Court, surrounded by the survivors who knocked that statue down. Shit, if it was me and I just found out I was a demi-god, I'd be raining a little hate and discontent on Argos's arrogant little king whose actions, uh, led to my family's death. Just a suggestion.

Draco Doesn’t Make Any Sense

There’s this guy Draco who is the King of Argos’s security head or something. He turns into the main escort for Perseus as they head out to find the way to kill the Kraken. He’s a stoic brooding character. But you get the sense there’s a lot of wisdom in him. This comes into play when Draco tells Perseus, who he knows is a demi-god, to pray to his father Zeus and end this. Perseus refuses because he doesn’t need the gods to end this. Draco reacts the way most of us would and considers Perseus’s actions selfish but presses on because time is a factor.

So, we finally have the character who understands that this isn’t just about man. This is about man and the gods living peacefully together. This is further reinforced when he tells Perseus to use the magic sword. He’s the only one who can. It is a gift from the gods. Again, Perseus spits and says, “Hell to the no”. Draco huffs and keeps the sword for when Perseus comes to his senses.

Thus far, we have Draco still acting rationally. He wants Perseus to kind of bridge the gap between man and the gods. He doesn’t say this outright but you get the impression he see Perseus as a way of healing the wounds on both sides since he is part god and part man.

Then we get to a scene where Perseus asks Draco why he never smiles. What does Draco say? He’ll smile when he spits in a god’s eye.

What? Wait, the whole movie, Draco has been the voice of reason. He wants Perseus to acknowledge he isn’t a man, he’s both. He wants him to pray and to use the sword and now, all of the sudden, he wants to spit in a god’s eye.

You see, this is nothing more than a throw away line to set up Draco’s later death. He helps kill Medusa. As he is turned to stone, he smiles. See, that’s lazy foreshadowing because it doesn’t fit the character that has been developed at all. The one character that had demonstrated a bit of internal conflict is reduced to another angry Greek who wants to give the gods the finger.


Where are the Rest of the Gods?

Mankind declares war on the gods. And Hades is the one who is out kicking human butt? Why? Shouldn’t someone else be doing this? You know, ARIES, the f-ing GOD OF WAR?

The Kraken is imprisoned in the sea. Shouldn’t Poseidon play a role somewhere in here?

The cult of Hades is sacrificing the princess to what is a sea monster. So, wouldn’t this be a sacrifice to Poseidon?

Where the hell is Poseidon?

Anyway, the movie had some cool special effects and a couple of good actors but overall, it sucked. Oh, and one other thing: there are no titans in this movie. As is the case for the original film, there are no clashes of any titans. None. Remember, the titans are gone. Clash of the Gods is a more appropriate title. But considering how screwed up everything else in this movie was, who really cares about getting the title right?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Movie Evisceration - The Lovely Bones

It’s very rare that a movie pisses me off. Yes, I find movies I hate. Movies that annoy. But for a movie to piss me off, it has to do one thing: betray me.

The Lovely Bones betrayed me therefore it pissed me off.

I actually enjoyed part of the movie. As it neared the halfway point, I started to transition to annoyance. As it rolled toward the climax, I found myself hating it. But then it reached the ending and boy howdy, was I pissed.

Before I explain, SPOILER ALERT. I’m going to ruin this movie. I mean ruin it. Stomp on it. Take it out in my front yard and drop a deuce on it. If you haven’t seen it and don’t want it ruined, please stop reading. Because here we go.

The Plot

The Lovely Bones is about a teenage girl named Susie Salmon. Yes, Salmon. In the movie, she introduces herself as such, “My name is Salmon. Like the fish. First name: Susie.” Now that should sound vaguely familiar. Like maybe they ripped it off.

There was a movie called The Green Mile in which there was a character named Jon Coffey. This movie was, of course, based on a book of the same name by Stephen King. King is well known for creating character with memorable names. He has a way of tying memory devices to names. So, in this case, the character in the movie says, “My name is John Coffey. Like the drink only not spelled the same.” Now we have a memorable name. Not one easily forgotten.

I contest the writers (both book and screenplay) did the same thing here. Only with a dumb name. We remember it, no problem. And it’s kind of cute. Susie Salmon. All rolls together. In and of itself, no big deal. But as soon as I heard her introduce herself I thought, Green Mile. So, I call rip-off.

Anyway, I digress. Susie is dead. No big alert there. She says it right off the bat. She’s dead. Murdered. Looking down on it from somewhere above. Okay, got it. We get the back story, how she was murdered, the impact on the family, the determination of the father to catch the killer, the family falling apart, Susie playing with other victims in heaven, CGI effects, a cliché serial killer, yadda yadda yadda.

In reality, there is no plot. There’s no murder mystery. There’s no intense chase. There’s no resolution. There’s no redemption. There’s no revenge. There’s no sacrifice. This is a story about a family hit by tragedy, ripped apart and sewn back together. That is it. Wow.

The First 1/3 of the Movie

After Susie tells us she’s dead, we get the backstory. She likes a boy. She likes taking photos. We also meet George Harvey, the creepy guy who lives alone and makes doll houses. He designs a bunker. Builds it himself in a cornfield. Then lures Susie into it and kills her, cuts her up, and puts her body in a safe.

We also learn there’s this chick who can like sense dead people or something so that when Susie’s spirit passes her, she senses it. This character has no real purpose in the movie other than to be a convenient device. More on this later.

So the family eventually looks for Susie and the cops look for Susie and George is questioned but there’s no evidence and people are sad and the dad is obsessed and Susie is in this in-between place that isn’t Heaven or Hell but no one calls it Limbo. And she watches all this crap unfold from above while hanging out with the other dead victims of George.

Not the best beginning but not terrible. There’s potential for suspense as dad digs up evidence and starts to suspect George. Meanwhile, we watch the family start to suffer under strain and loss. Then we enter the shitty parts of the movie.

The Second 1/3 of the Movie

At this point, the cops have demonstrated a complete lack of intelligence in deducing who the killer is. The dad suspects but is still digging. Let’s examine the facts:

George is creepy. He has shifty eyes. A comb over. A pornstar moustache. He’s creepy. He makes doll houses. He lives alone. He’s creepy. He mumbles. He has nervous ticks. He’s creepy. He lives in a family neighborhood all by himself. He’s ritualistic. He’s creepy.

The cops talk to him but deduce there’s nothing to go on.

Really? People have been arrested and interrogated on less circumstantial evidence. What’s more they didn’t have to arrest him. A simple search warrant would suffice. Call him a suspect, and get a fucking warrant. I do believe that a search warrant allows the police to search the entire house and contents within. Which includes the blueprints to the bunker and, uh, a safe in the basement containing the human remains of our girl Susie. Even if George plays dumb and can’t remember the combo, the police can call in a safe cracker. Done.

But that wouldn’t be convenient, would it?

Hey asshole, why not keep the safe in your super secret bunker no one can seem to find? Maybe the blueprints, too. Then we could have had smart cops execute a warrant, not find anything and then dismiss you as a creepy suspect. Why, if that happened, then, we wouldn’t have the intense seen of Susie’s sister breaking into your house and finding evidence. Nope, can’t have that. So in the basement it goes. More on that later.

Meanwhile, back at Wayne Manor, dad’s obsessive drive has ruined his marriage. Mom, being the chickenshit she is, leaves the ENTIRE family for California. Dad confronts George but accidentally interrupts some teens making nookie in the cornfield and promptly gets the shit kicked out of him. Another convenient event that keeps the heat off George while dad recovers.

In the afterlife, Susie does some shit and there’s CGI.

The Last 1/3 of the Movie

Okay, we’ve moved from not too bad a movie to bad movie over the first 2/3 of the film. Now we descend into true pain. The end. And we learn what pissed me off.

Again, up to this point the only mystery in the film is whether the family will pin the murder on George or will he get away with it. Enter Lindsey, Susie’s sister. She takes it upon herself to find the proof no one else has managed to find. So, she breaks into George’s house. Finds a loose floor board, lifts it up, and discovers the blueprint to the bunker, a lock of Susie’s hair, and several news articles about the murder. All right, the proof. This fucker is going down.

George comes home while Lindsey is still in the house. He hears her. A short but intense chase scene occurs and Lindsey narrowly escapes. George freaks, packs, and hauls ass out of town. First, though, he dumps the safe in a sinkhole on the way out.

While the safe is being dumped, Susie watches and at this moment decides to descend to earth and enter the body of the chick who could sense dead people. And here we have the convenience of all conveniences. This character has served no other purpose in the film other than to act as a vehicle for Susie to make contact with a boy she had a crush on. Not to stop or kill George. Not to tell anyone, “Hey my body is in that safe.” Nope, to say hi to the boy and get a kiss. Her last wish. Gosh.

The boy realizes it’s her and is cool with it. Not freaked out. Not jumping up and down screaming, “What the fuck?! What the fuck?!” He’s all like, “Susie, it’s been too long.” And she’s like, “Yeah, kiss me you brooding fucker.”

You have to remember, these two literally shared a minute of time together at the beginning of the film before Susie was killed and dismembered. They flirted. They had an interest in each other. There’s was no bond of love established. No eternal tie. This scene made no sense other than to give Susie’s earthly life a bit of closure. Even then, though, it would have made more sense for her to go back and say bye to her dad. You know, the guy who’s been hunting down proof of your murder. Yeah, Susie, you selfish bitch, how about saying bye to your loved ones instead of getting your groove on?

Now I haven’t read the book but understand it took this scene one step further. They didn’t just kiss. Susie and boy-toy go off and shag. What the fuck? Now you have to remember that Susie is in another chick’s body. So, was the chick cool with letting Susie bang her current boyfriend with her body? If not, does this count as rape? Does this count at necrophilia? Is Susie still fourteen mentally? Is this pedophilia? Why would she wait until that moment to descend and screw? Why hasn’t she been doing it all along? Why, why, why?

Lindsey returns home, ready to show the proof. But wait, mom’s back. The selfish bitch Susie so clearly takes after. She’s back because dad has had a heart attack. Guess she wants to make up. Or maybe she realized she’s a selfish bitch and that she should be raising her kids, not her alcoholic mother. So, no big reveal of evidence. Instead, we get a reunion. Super.

As a result of the reunion, Lindsey gives the evidence to grandma while everyone else stands and looks at mom. What does grandma do? Nothing. Nothing at all that we know of. The movie never shows. No cops in a room asking about the status of an APB or a manhunt or anything. Instead, the movie shifts to George sometime later, somewhere cold, trying to coax a young girl into his car. She tells him no and walks off. As he watches her go, an icicle drops off a tree branch and knocks him into a ravine where he dies.

Yes, he is killed by a convenient icicle and no one knows he dies.

Fuck you Peter Jackson and whoever wrote the book.

Back at Wayne Manor, the family has moved on and is rebuilding relationships. Swell. Susie is in the afterlife watching everyone move on with their lives and healing and overcoming the loss of Susie. She refers to these as lovely bones growing around her absence. Yeah, whatever.

The movie thus ends.

Why I Feel Betrayed

The movie pissed me off because it ends with no real resolution. All the story arcs close separately from each other and one does not depend on the other. It doesn’t come full circle. George dies but no one knows it, thus the family is robbed of justice and closure on that front. The family moves on knowing George did it and he may still be out there doing it to other kids. Susie moves on happy knowing the family has healed but with her final resting spot still a mystery to everyone but her and George. The ending is like a shoulder shrug. Ah, well. It doesn’t always end with a nice-neat bow.

Well, screw that. You’ve gone through the trouble of creating this world where a girl is brutally raped and murdered only to have her killer offed by a Deus Ex Machina? You’ve given none of your characters, not one, any sense of sacrifice or vindication or redemption or justice. You’ve fucking betrayed your audience.

Bad Afterlife Logic

When Susie dies, she goes to an afterlife place called “the in-between”, aka Limbo. She is there alone at first. Then meets another little girl. Then more. Come to find out, they are all victims of George.

What’s wrong with this picture?

You see, in the book, it’s referred to as Susie’s personal heaven.

Okay, if it’s personal how do other people get in there? People she’s never ever met. Ever. It isn’t like the end of LOST where all the characters meet up in Purgatory before moving on. After all, those characters had deep-rooted connections. They knew each other. It made sense (even if you hated it).

But here, not so much. Susie is dead and if she’s in a personal heaven, people she knows and loves should be there. Which means she’d be alone cuz everyone else is still alive.

That’s a small point. A larger one is the incredible selfish nature a personal heaven is. Oh, I get it. It’s godless. Only the individual matters so it can be whatever that person wants. Awesome. More selfishness from selfish Susie.

The biggest point, though, is that if all of George’s victims are in this personal heaven doesn’t that mean it’s not really their personal heaven. I mean, let’s look at this. If George has killed these girls and they end up in the same place and no one else is there, does that not mean they are in George’s personal heaven.? Which would be more like hell to them. Which would mean Susie and the girls would be more actively trying to get George caught and killed to free them from this hell.

Yeah, that’d be cool. We’d have the family trying to find the evidence and the victims trying to contact the family to tell them what’s what. There’d be tension while George starts to feel haunted by his victims (cuz they’re trying to off him. Maybe drive him crazy so he kills himself). He’d be questioning his sanity and constantly moving and hiding evidence. Maybe almost get caught a few times. It’d be like a real ghost story/suspense thriller. Then we’d actually have a reason for a character who senses ghosts. And for the ghost to figure out how to enter her. Then we’d have a resolution where George gets his and the family gets justice and Susie and others are vindicated and the audience doesn’t feel cheated or betrayed…

Oh, wait…that didn’t happen.