Lights Out

31 Days of Horror, Day 11

I would like to propose 10 alternate titles for Lights Out, a 2016 horror film about some weird shadow thing that torments a family when – wait for it – the lights go out.

  1. Depression is a Shadow Monster: The Movie
  2. Ninety Minutes of a Shadow Monster Scratching Wood Flooring
  3. A Really Heavy-Handed Metaphor for the Fact That Your Depression Affects Loved Ones
  4. But the Metaphor Doesn’t Work Because Some Random Woman Saw the Monster
  5. Also Shadow Monster Kills a Cop
  6. And the More I Think About it, Suicide Also Has a Ripple Effect
  7. So Ultimately That Should Not Have Killed the Monster
  8. But I’m Just Some Guy – I Didn’t Write the Script for Lights Out
  9. I Only Had to Watch and Analyze It
  10. The Babbadook: Kidz Bop Edition

Trash Fire

31 Days of Horror, Day 10

Single white male with a penchant for nihilism, booze and bulimia seeks woman who will put up with his crap. Must be cool with the whole “alcoholism affecting libido” thing. Pro-choice is a plus, but not a dealbreaker. Must come into relationship expecting a real horror show, but be okay with occasional laughs.

Turnoffs include talking about my excessive drinking and any mention of my family members, many of whom perished in a house fire.

Call me – the journey’s a blast, but expect things to get messy in the end. They usually do.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe

31 Days of Horror, Day 9

[Scene: A meeting room somewhere in the headquarters of Impostor Pictures]

Pitch Man: So this great script came across my desk.

Studio Exec: I’m listening.

Pitch Man: It’s an ontological horror film…

Studio Exec: [checking watch] Whoa. Got an important lunch meeting. Just came up.

Pitch Man: Like Saw. You know, a bunch of people trapped in a room with no idea how they got there?

Studio Exec: Lunches can be rescheduled… Continue reading

Working the numbers

Or “How I learned to stop worrying and love logic puzzles”

Sudoku consumes —
my world a nine-by-nine grid,
waiting to be filled.

Retro (board) gaming


It doesn’t get more old school than chess

When Kathleen and I signed up our daughter Nadia for chess club, I don’t think either of us imagined that we’d have to learn the game. I mean, it’s not my name on the registration form. But, really, how else was she going to practice at home?

So I downloaded what is supposedly the best chess app for iOS, And it made me realize that this was where the seeds of my love for board games were planted: me in my pajamas, playing Chessmaster 2000 on the family PC and having absolutely no idea what I was doing. I knew how the pieces moved but couldn’t grasp planning one, two or even three moves ahead. It broke my young brain.

While I eventually gave up trying to learn chess, I did move on to childhood staples like Monopoly, Risk and Stratego. The latter bares a striking similarity to chess, albeit with simplified gameplay and a theme that makes the whole thing easier to digest.

Not much has changed since my first attempt to learn chess. It still breaks my brain, but at least there’s an incentive to push through any hurdles: ensuring all that money I threw down to get Nadia into after school chess club doesn’t go to waste. Well, that and the added bonus of being able to play another board game with my daughter. That’s cool, too.

Every day is war

In the figurative sense, obviously

Sometimes – okay, let’s be real, most of the time – I need a proverbial kick in the plums to remind me that it’s not okay to settle for mediocrity. Yeah, the ol’ noggin has ideas, and these fingers are capable of getting them down in a hundred different ways. But hammering the keyboard like a drunken monkey is only half the battle.

There’s the other side, the tedious side, that I struggle with: editing. in my caffeinated stupor, I don’t slow down enough to make sure that each of my totally sick sentences is free of errors.

Editing is part and parcel to writing. And I have to start living like every single day is a battle for flawless prose. Because right now I’m sitting on the fence – unwilling to stop at the straightforward line but uncaring about whether a mistake makes it into the hundred or so directions in which I take that line. Even one error is too many.

It’s time to hop off the fence, accept that I can’t be both a bomb-ass writer and lazy proofreader and move toward my destiny, bros. Because, shockingly, there are people out there who see potential in me, and I can’t let them, or myself, down.

Movie hiatus

Because any film I watched probably would have sucked anyway

Kathleen’s out of town.
Time to eat some McDonald’s,
and play retro games.

Closer to God

31 Days of Horror, Day 4

I had very meager expectations for this movie. The bar was set so low it was practically a limbo. Still, Closer to God managed to let me down. Luckily, I live-Tweeted the entire movie, so I wouldn’t have to articulate why I disliked this film in paragraphs of prose.

They really mined the C-list for this one:

Continue reading

Black Water

Black Water

31 Days of Horror, Day 3

Three young Australians go out into the swamp in search of some primo fishing and instead find themselves getting preyed upon by a giant crocodile. That’s the premise of Black Water, a film that robbed me of 90 minutes of my life. Just to give you an idea of the tedium to which I was subjected, the three protagonists spend the majority of the film’s running time hiding in a tree.

Take my life. I’m obviously not using it to the fullest of its potential.

In lieu of a proper review, allow me to regale you with 10 ways the film could have pivoted to distinguish itself from the hundreds of other (read: better) films in the creature horror subgenre: Continue reading