Musical Genrerama: Inspiration while I write…

Okay, just observing the albums playing in my background while I scrawl down my next few creepy, fantastical short tales of various styles. Right now I am mostly listening to the new MINISTRY album-RELAPSE, the latest EVANESCENCE album-took awhile to return but good comeback, a lot of the very underrated rock band KING’S X, some old ICE T, the BOB DYLAN AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL covers album.

I am now also thinking about the links between films, novels, and music in various ways. Obviously there are movie soundtracks, some of which have tunes that barely feature on the film, but then there a small number of highly affecting radical soundtrack albums that really attempted to connect film and music experience as one, such as:

NATURAL BORN KILLERS soundtrack-so many varied musicians and samples from the movie, mixed by Nine Inch Nails TRENT REZNOR

LOST HIGHWAY-The bizarre psychodrama thriller DAVID LYNCH film, again crafted by TRENT REZNOR, though much more dark, artistic and moody

THE CROW soundtrack-Many of the tunes are in the film, and helped the dark, cool goth rock feel

THE SPAWN soundtrack-The movie might have been hit and miss, but the album was a very cool, hip mixing of big rock/metal bands with dance and hip hop artists

PULP FICTION-Nuff said really

THE MATRIX soundtrack-The first one is best, great huge rock/industrial and dance tunes

The JUDGEMENT NIGHT Soundtrack-Forgotten dud movie, greatly influential cross-over album, hip hop, rap artists with rock/metal bands-Ice T, Slayer, Faith No More, De La Soul, Pearl Jam.

There are quite a few really, but many, many more terrible soundtracks out there which eclipse these great ones.

Right, back to the day’s work load…

 

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STILL TODDALLY AWESOME: TODD AND THE BOOK OF PURE EVIL

Well I am continuing to watch the cheeky little horror slacker comedy of the moment on SyFy, TODD AND THE BOOK OF PURE EVIL. What might have initially seemed so predictable, derivative and not worth much attention has actually proven to so far to be a regularly highly enjoyable guilty pleasure of splatter, teen humour and knowing horror genre jokes, with a great reliable often bizarre script building on the mayhem caused each episode by the nefarious book of pure evil.

These are some great fun characters, with their own dirty, potty mouthed stoner high school humour, and the horror effects are a pleasing balance of old school and contemporary level scare fodder.

For a weekly dose of crazed goofy wild high school shlock splatter horror fun, check this great Canadian import right now. And JASON MEWES rocks as usual. Awesome stuff.

GRIMM UP NORTH: DARK MOVIES, NORTHERN GORE

Okay then, so here I am going to do a little promotion to a very awesome film festival local to myself right now which has been going for a couple of years now, around the time of Halloween  in Manchester, north east England. But more recently the good folk involved have started to put in screenings of cult movies as individual occassions with specific themes, recognising historical periods in the history of horror movies. They have had so far-

Seventies Sci-fi Special, Samurai Splatter Double Bill, Arthouse Horror double, very recently a ROGER CORMAN double bill and now this week I am very pleased to see the classic splatter gore horror LAMBERTO BAVA directed and DARIO ARGENTO produced DEMONS double bill evening.

Son of hugely influential director of classic Italian controvertial horror MARIO BAVA, LAMBERTO took the skills of his father and moved right with the wave of eighties graphic splatter gore with the DEMONS movies, with the help of his father’s friend and the most famous auteur director of Italy, DARIO ARGENTO producing.

I came to the films late, a few years back, but they certainly have their own style, intensity and disturbing macabre gore shocks in abundance. For fans of the biggest chills, scares and bloody terror, go see this special event if you can.

I applaud the fine folk at GRIMM UP NORTH, and hope that this mighty dark festival and regular events continue on for a long, long time.

ARTHUR C CLARKE SHORTLIST:2012 AWARDS OF GENRE FICTION

So in recent days, the list of books nominated for the hugely respected ARTHUR C CLARKE award have been announced, apparently fairly mixed in selection as usual.

As reported on SFX magazine site, there are a fine and varied collection of very talented authors of the science fiction genre to be chosen.

The list includes GREG BEAR, DREW MAGARY, CHINA MIEVILLE, JANE ROGERS, CHARLES STROSS, SHERI S TEPPER.

Judging on very recent history, CHINA is a writer who is probably the most currently acclaimed and admired, his work having grown hugely in success over the last decade, his unique reliable quality urban dark fantasy tales. The bets on him taking the award are of course a very good chance. But then, the other choices are of similar high quality and distinctive work individually. GREG BEAR  has written many large sci-fi works now viewed as classics, though he is probably seen as a more straight sci-fi author.

CHARLES STROSS though, is to my view, always a facinating and very interesting writer, often I would argue underrated or misunderstood in the sci-fi world. He does continue to put out strange, unique and entertaining tales of his special kind.

TEPPER, though I am not too familiar with her work, seems to have a strong home grown fan base, and seems to me a very interesting author whom I would like to read, but perhaps she is not well known enough here right now.

Then DREW MAGARY has put out a book which seems very unusual, brave but perhaps too strange and bizarre or just not ‘sci-fi’ enough for this particular award, which might be a shame for him.

We will all wait until 1-7 May SCI-FI LONDON festival for the results to be heard. As ever, so difficult to predict from the impressive books chosen.

DEATH VALLEY: SLAPSICK HORROR?

Alright, in the last few weeks I have come to view a few episodes of this new unexpected but really pretty funny half hour series on MTV of monster attacks, spoof docu police drama reality show and laughs galore.

In the sub-genre of many movies after SHAUN OF THE DEAD, and recently ZOMBIELAND and an almost unnoticed vampire rock band gem SUCK, here is a television series that holds similar chuckles and terror in great entertaining measure.

I did ignore it for a couple of episodes in, but now find it to be a fair good watch, like THE OFFICE with gore and monsters. Not only does it have expected possibly predictable but enjoyable visual gags with the vampire, zombie and werewolf fighting, but the police officer characters actually do have a decent level of their own lives and individual quirks. So far, a good fun ride, which might last for a while to come. This from a guy who did not really think ZOMBIELAND was fantastic, but I did, like many others, love SHAUN OF THE DEAD. This along with the also new series TODD AND THE BOOK OF PURE EVIL have come to add some stupid, needed chuckles to the terror and scares creeping up our screens right now.

It really is strange that they produced this new BATTLESTAR spin-off, which seems very mainstream and populist, then now decide not too follow with a full series. Not that I am personally too disapointed about it…

NIGHTBREED ALERT!-DIRECTOR’S CUT NEWS…

Alright, calm down. I am getting really very excited by the news shared over facebook. Across at www.rue-morgue.com, there is news about the potential for actual new dvd director’s cut, as MARK MILLER tells them.

It will be the very extended version to be screened at THE MAD MONSTER PARTY CONVENTION, North Carolina, dubbed the ‘CABAL CUT’. The long and ardous journey for the much rumoured many missing or lost footage scenes and bits over the years has now finally been a success for MILLER.

Apparently more monsters, more action, even…a musical number. Yes, you read right.

It seems to be two extended versions, spliced together, now coming in at around two and a half hours. Wonderful. This verison, the ‘CABAL CUT’ is screening at the stated location in America, this saturday 24th March. And…both lead actors of the movie, Craig Scheffer and Anne Bobby will be signing and meeting fans as well. Wish I could be there, and if you can do so.

The NIGHTBREED will return from Midian it seems….

 

 

My Fiction in 2012…

Well personally I am at the stage of submitting out sample chapters and more to agents then publishers for both of my completed novel manuscripts-the first a bloody horror, the other a contemporary science fiction novel. The rest of this year ahead as far as writing goes, will now be plenty of short fiction stories-mostly horror first, then SF, possibly some literary modern urban drama tales also, then later in the year work on a third novel, which will be some kind of different mainstream lit novel involving politics, satire, the modern world and the problems and joys in and aorund our lives. Or something similar.

I am also now trying to get back to reading more short fiction, as it has been a while really. I will be studing the form, much different to the longer novel format, and as many respected authors often claim, possibly much harder to successfully write and craft really well.

I am feeling free and released in a way, after writing two novel almost at the same time over two years. The itch and buzz to write is still there though, always there, never leaving.

 

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA/ BLOOD AND CHROME:TOO FRAKING MUCH?

Alright then, so we now have this trailer for the new BLOOD AND CHROME prequel series to the recent reimagined BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. Right from the start, it seems perhaps very wisely they have seen the eventual problems that came and finished off the other prequel series CAPRICA. That was a very different and very challenging series, that was possibly doom from the begining, but still definately worth viewing.

This trailer for BLOOD AND CHROME reminds me a lot visually of the MASS EFFECT games series, especially the latest third and final game with the ultra realistic graphics and space opera hugeness.

Thinking back to the main modern BATTLESTAR GALACTICA series and the massive success which it gained eventually, watched by not just sci-fi geeks but entering the cynical and reluctant mainstream, everyone interested and curious, all finding something facinating in the series.

Some people have argued that the series possible lasted too long, went on further than it really should have or needed to from the begining. Then there was the troublesome writer’s strike around the last couple of series. This almost finished it there and then, but it pushed on, tying up the plot points and drawing together the by then epic spiritual and action packed storylines, in some ways to predictable ends.

So with this new series, will the makers simply be producing something much simpler, full of big explosions, sex and smoldering young space pilots, without much in the area of facinating and well written scripts and characters. Will there be such good actors as those from the main series? Such engaging characters as the reimagined Starbuck, Commander Adama, Gaius Baltar, Laura Roslin, Apollo and the super sultry Number Six Cylon?

There is going to be a much more dependable audience for a straight ahead space opera/military space shoot em’ up sci-fi series, rather than the fairly big risk that was taken with CAPRICA. It could be that CAPRICA was a strong enough indicator of what viewers just do not want in their television sci-fi series. Or is that just the male viewers, or did all viewers, either gender just not care about CAPRICA? That is for another time to discuss, right now we wait for the explosion that is BATTLESTAR GALACTICA-BLOOD AND CHROME.

A repeat of space action seem before, dumbed down and youth focused or something worth watching with an entirely new and exciting vision of the BATTLESTAR world?