August 29, 2011

Looking The Devil In The Eye or why you should get my latest horror ebook

I just published the third of my short horror ebooks to Amazon's Kindle store this weekend.  This one is called "The Monster That Ate My Summer Vacation", and it's the end result of a story idea that had been rattling around in my brain for sometime.  It's about a family driving home from a vacation through the high desert.  They make the wrong turn.  They make the wrong stop.  And then, it finds them....

In a weird way, this is kind of a story for my dad because it sort of combines his two favorite genres: horror movies and westerns.  Because law enforcement in a western was a job that was much more naked (and, for those of you who've already read it, you'll have to excuse the pun).  And, as a result, MUCH more frightening.

Anyway, I don't want to get too much into the sausage-making on this.   Please just download and enjoy the steadily increasing insanity.

August 27, 2011

Version 3.0 or Why you should take a look at my new blog design for Macroscope

I first started this blog way back in 2002 and, since then, this is only the third time I've changed the overall look and feel of the site.  But, conceptually, I felt that it was time to get a bird's eye view on the so-called "blazing world", which, ultimately, is what this blog is all about.  Clearly, what we call the real world intrudes quite a bit, because it influences what we create, but I want to refocus on the things that matter most to me: art, culture, soul, and the creative things we all love.

With that in mind, take a look at  It's a lot less anonymous, and features much more of my own original work, especially my ebook short stories.  It also integrates a lot more with all of the nifty social networking stuff.  So, if you read a post you like, click the Facebook or Twitter or Google+ buttons near the top and share with your buds.

Oh, and I got rid of all the ads, too.  I think the Goldline banners were the last straw.  :-)  Sorry, AdSense.

I want to thank you all for continuing to read.  I think this is going to be a much more fun place.

August 20, 2011

At The End of the World, or why I love Apocalypse Now

People often ask me what's my favorite movie.  I used to say "Vertigo", Hitchcock's hypnotic masterpiece on unrequited love, obsession, and madness.  Makes sense for a teenager still trying to navigate his way through the the maze of frustrated romance while focused on unattainable, unrealistic female idols.

And then I saw Apocalypse Now.

I don't think it's any exaggeration to say that this movie literally changed my life.

But, to understand that, you have to understand who I was before that.  I joke with my friends that, if I'd been born bigger, I'd have probably been a bully.  A judgmental, moralistic, holier-than-thou bully.  The world was quite black and white to me at that age.  But, of course, how else could it be?  I didn't know anything.

I know young people get really frustrated when they hear older people talk about how much more they know than them and how far behind they are.  They think that the older folks have forgotten what it's like to be young.  The truth of the matter is, we remember it, quite vividly.  We relive those moments every day, looking into the mirror and wondering why what's staring back at us doesn't match what we imagine.

My mother jokes that she believes that time is actually moving faster now because, in her words, "these rascals have messed with the universe."  But the fact of the matter is, a year seems much more fleeting when you've had nearly 70 of them like Mom has.  When you've only had 16 of them, a year seems like a precious eternity.

But I digress.  I thought I knew it all.

What Apocalypse Now showed me was that, out in the jungle, away from the catered safety of a general's trailer where you can issue edicts without mud on your boots, the world is not binary.

It's very, very, messily analogue, where the difference between right and wrong isn't a cliff, but a sloping continuum.

It's funny, because the emotional journey of that movie mirrored my intellectual journey during college and much of my life thereafter.  I was sent off to learn and do extraordinary things, and suddenly turned around and realized that I had far less in common with the people in my home than the folks out here in the jungle with me.

Tree of Knowledge, maybe?

Like Capt. Willard says towards the end of the film: "They're going to give me a medal for this, and I wasn't even in their f'n army anymore."

My eyes opened.  And for that, I am eternally grateful.  It took some old parts of me, but brought back so much more.

Thank you Francis, and John, and Martin, and Marlon.

August 19, 2011

Scream and Scream Again or Why I'm going to see the new "Fright Night"

There was a time when "Love At First Bite" was too much for me to handle as a horror movie.

For those of you who don't remember, that was the comedy where George Hamilton (who made being orange kewl way before anybody had ever heard of John Boehner) plays a bumbling, comedic Dracula in the modern world.  And, if my memory is correct, that movie largely came about in response to the success of John Badham's "Dracula", starring Frank Langella as the count and Laurence Olivier as Van Helsing.  Which, of course, comes well before Coppola's early 90's remake with Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins, and well after the long line of Hammer Films' Dracula movies with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.  And let's not even get into Bela Lugosi and the classic Universal "Dracula", or Max Schrek and "Nosferatu".

In short, for as long as we've had movies, particularly horror movies, we've had remakes.

Now, it's pretty fashionable to cry and moan about how remakes suck and the filmmakers have no respect for the original films.  But, let's be real about this:

John Carpenter's "The Thing"
David Croenberg's "The Fly"
Philip Kaufman's "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"
Zack Synder's "Dawn of the Dead"
(yes, I'm going to go there) Rob Zombie's "Halloween"

Those are just some movies that I can tick off from memory that are all remakes of great movies that are actually great movies in their own right.  Heck, even the original Fright Night, which I absolutely adore, is a very self-referential nod to those old Hammer vampire movies ("Peter Vincent"?  Come ON! :-)).

Yes, there are plenty of remakes that suck (I'm looking at you, Vince Vaughn "Psycho").  But even Hitchcock did a remake of one of his own movies, namely "The Man Who Knew Too Much".  And, frankly, there are plenty of original movies that suck, too.  I think, in the end, we have to evaluate all of these movies on their own merits.

I LOVE that Carpenter "Thing" movie.  But, after seeing this trailer, I am all over the prequel:

I remember someone once asked Alan Moore how did he feel about Hollywood ruining his books like From Hell and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Moore simply pointed to the books on his shelf and said "see, my books are just fine."

Those old movies will always be there, and these remakes may just give them new life.

I'll never forget Chris Sarandon as Jerry Dandridge.

But I'm going to give Colin Farrell a chance.