White Zombie (1932) – Old Fashioned Love and Death Sprinkled with Haitian Magic

White Zombie (1932) is a classic Pre-Code film starring Bela Lugosi. Though it was roundly panned at its release it has, over the intervening decades, become a seminal horror film as regards subject matter, direction, and artistic photography. To be sure the acting is a heavy handed and creaky, not to mention the squeaky musical …

The Long Red Light of the West

One of the things you learn when you research the Old West is how utterly violent it was. It is this long red light, the murderous plain of humanity if you will, that I want to talk about today. From genocide to rape to murder to shotgun blasts from an alleyway into someone's back to …

A Conversation with Story: Advancement of Plot through Conflict

Story: What's up? Me: I'm writing a love scene. Story: I see that. Where's the conflict? Me: What conflict? It's a love scene. They're in love. Story: You delight in making my life difficult, don't you? Me: Of course not...oh, I see what you did there. You advanced our dialog through conflict. Story: Exactly. All …

Pride and Prejudice: If People Were Ants We Wouldn’t Need Stories

About three years ago I read the first 100 pages of Pride and Prejudice and then I bailed. I was taking some very heavy damage from several hardened missile silos down below me. I had lost all aileron control and the self-sealing fuel tanks, well, were no longer self-sealing. I had to eject fast or …

Conversation with Story: Trusting the Reader to Trust You

Story: What are you doing? Me: Writing. Story: No, what are you doing? Me: I thought I was writing. Story: You don't see what you did back there, did you? Me: Back where? Story: Five pages back. I'll wait. Me: Oh. Yeah. Well, you see, I wanted to make sure the reader understood what was …

I remember when every SF book I read the story was new. And now….

I've read a lot of science fiction in my lifetime.  Maybe I've read too much. It seems I've reached a point of diminishing returns.  The science fiction field isn't that large. You can pretty much exhaust it if you read voraciously.  Then you move on to the magazines, but after a while you realize you're …

“Never Turn Your Back on a Clown”

The Devil's Rejects (2005) is the sequel to Rob Zombie's excellent horror film House of 1000 Corpses which I reviewed earlier.  Except it's less of a sequel than an entirely different film altogether.  All the old gang is reprised: Sid Haig as the clown head of the psychotic Firefly family, Sherri Moon Zombie as his …