A Horror Movie Worth the Money

This may be a niche post to begin with, but I find that it deserves a written shout out as it were.

 

When was the last time you saw a good horror movie?

 

That’s what I thought.

 

I went to the theater the other day, because I was tired of not going to the movies. I am a horror buff for those who read the blog, I’m sure you’ve deduced that by now. Though I stick to my ideals through thick and thin, and I will be the first to tell you that 97% of horror movies are terrible. Just terrible.

 

These days it seems like Hollywood is trying to keep the companies that make fake blood in business, instead of making a good horror movie.

 

That being said, I’d like to direct your attention to a movie call “The Cabin in the Woods”  I will tell you that the movie itself is not scary, but the horror philosophies it deals with make it very enjoyable for anyone who has watched horror throughout their life.   The movie deals with the roots of our nightmares and has an ingenious plot. The writing is what makes this movie the one to see. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but what it does give you is a peek into what good horror writing can do for a movie. You will find the same kinds of plot lines as you would in other horror movies, there are zombies and werewolves, but I’m not here to spoil it for you, I’m merely making a suggestion. If you have some time and a little money to kill, I believe you’ll be pleased by this horror pleasantry.

The movie deals with horror in a very clinical yet extraordinarily real way. You’re able to view the movie from more than one perspective thanks to the plot and that makes you nostalgic to the days when horror, as a genre, was an allegory for the human condition. It has the right amount of humor and darkness, but at the same time has the philosophy that so much horror lacks today. Today it’s horror for horrors sake (how many gallons of blood can we put in this movie?)  “The Cabin in the Woods” seeks to answer some more primal questions it seeks to answer one of the questions we all have which is are monsters real, or does it just take some time to find the zipper in the back of the costume.

 

I will leave you with this, if you like horror, you’ll like this. It gives hat tips to some of the classic films in the genre (Hellraiser for instance) and for all of you Lovecraft fans out there, this may be as close as we’re going to get to a Cthulhu movie for a while.

“As a small child, I felt in my heart two contradictory feelings, the horror of life and the ecstasy of life.”

~ Charles Baudelaire

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My Love for You Will Still Be Strong, after the Books of Summer are Gone

With summertime just around the corner it’s time for literally everyone to break out their summer reading lists. There are so many recommendations from so many different sources that it’s like looking on at the legions of hordes of Orcs at Helms Deep. It can get crazy pretty fast, doing an internet search brings up thousands of pages of what you need to read this summer, let alone the big hitters like Oprah, NPR or Barnes & Noble. What makes a good recommendation and what should you read this summer?  Who should you trust and where do you need to go for the best type of summer book?

Here you won’t find another list, and you won’t find a list of the lists you should choose from. I’m here to help you find the books that are full of meaning, and will help make your summer that much better.

Always remember, that you should never trust reviews. There are those books that everyone will like and have universal truths. But, there are also books that speak to you and another select group instead of everyone. Those who don’t see themselves in the book they’ve read will put it lower on this list (if at all). This is why you should only look to all those summer lists for inspiration, not guidance. Another reason everything becomes muddled is that everyone has different criteria for what a good “summer read” is. Most of Barnes & Noble’s books are the classics. There is nothing wrong with the classics, but just because they’re the classics doesn’t make them good summer reading. Do you want to sit down on the beach with War and Peace?

What makes a good summer book?  Is it that it takes place during summer?  The characters and the plot revolve around sun drenched islands, and mild nights of July and August? Just because the characters in the book are getting a tan, doesn’t make it a good, “summer read”.  You could argue that summer reading is a perfect time to read books that take place in winter. They will keep you intellectually “cool”.

Here is what I believe a “summer read” is:  A book that makes you think about the warmth of life and those you share it with –  the memories of the times when you grew up and the feeling of bare feet on a grassy lawn or the chilling fun of jumping into the pool for the first time that summer. Books that remind you about the passion that comes from good deeds, great loves and the best of circumstances winning out.  I challenge you to look beyond the veil of summer and find books that speak to the inner summer in you. Read books that remind you of your first crush, the first time you saw the ocean or any of your warmest memories. The book can take place in the dead of winter, but whatever warms your heart is the true telling of a good summer story.

Go into the bookstore and look. Open your senses to the books that speak to you. Find the books that spark warmth in your heart. Find books that remind you of the warmest and most splendid times in your life, even if they were brief moments. Summer is a time to celebrate what’s alive, good and pure. Summer is a time to remember all of that which made you who you are and the good you’ve glimpsed in this life. A summer read may teach you something new, but the best of summer reading comes from the books that remind you about how you are now and the amazing things that have happened to you. Whether its memories that are bittersweet or books that remind you of the magic that once was, a true summer is one where the characters and plot warm your heart, not walk on a beach.

“Ideally a book would have no order to it, and the reader would have to discover his own”

~ Mark Twain

Are You Among the very Young at Heart?

Do you remember what it was like to be a kid?  I’m not saying a young kid; I’m talking about the magic age.

The magic age actually encompasses a very short time period of your life. This is what makes it so magical. You’re old enough to appreciate the world around you. You’ve spent years cultivating your imagination and now it bears fruit in that small time period right before middle or high school. There is a time where you’re too young, whether you haven’t picked up on hobbies, or you haven’t explored the world through books. Then there is a time when you’re too old. You move up in school, join school sports instead of parks and rec baseball. Maybe you get a part time job. The moment I’m talking about lies in the middle of these two areas.

This is the sweet spot. It’s the spot where we all believed magic existed. Our bikes were transports that could take us across the neighborhood or across the world. Our friends were part of our platoon. We did everything with them, thick and thin, and we grew into such friendships that adults forget they ever had. During this magic time a forest was place where wizards or trolls may lay, movies were things that were plausible instead of fiction, the decrepit house down the street wasn’t an eyesore, it was haunted, and unseen monsters roamed its halls.  Do you remember how the summer wind felt on your face then?  Do you remember how the last ring of the bell for summer break meant absolute, undaunted freedom?  The world was a place to be explored. We knew it was scary then, but when you’re in the magic moment it’s not tragic scary it’s wondrous scary.  How about the pool or the lake that was near you?  Not only was it an oasis of relaxation and a sanctuary of bliss, it was the possibilities it held. What was underneath the surface? Perhaps dinosaurs still swam beneath its depths. In the end that didn’t matter, our world was magic. It’s that time where you start to notice girls or boys. Not in any prurient way. It is innocent, you just realize that they no longer have cuddies and maybe they would be fun to hang out with.  We knew then that we were in a wondrous place where triumph and tragedy held themselves as standards for what is and what could be.

I often tell myself I will never forget what it means to be that age, in that magical state. It becomes harder and harder the further you go along. Your own parents or at least those in roles of responsibility tried to get you on the narrow path. They saw the scraped knee as an infection waiting to happen. They saw the house in disrepair as a testament to the lack of city funds. They watched the news and picked sides. We didn’t. We felt they were looking only at a small part of a gigantic map. But, little by little, we grow up. We get part time jobs. We get steady boyfriends or girlfriends. Then it’s off to college. Little by little we forget the magic that was. We forget the magic that could have been.

Don’t let this happen to you. I encourage you to use this spring and summer to look back on the magic that was. Whether you get it from a book, or by walking and thinking, or by just sitting in your favorite chair and closing your eyes, please don’t forget. The magic may have been fleeting but the memories of who we once were can help us become better at who we are now. The world is still wondrous; we just forgot how to look at it that way. The world still contains monsters. The world still contains wonders. Don’t ever think that you were “just a kid” though you were young you can argue that you at that age had the right outlook on life.

It’s something to think about. Please remember what once was. When bikes where transports and your summer was a wondrous and glorious thing.

It’s magic – never forget that.

“All of us have moments in our childhood where we come alive for the first time. And we go back to those moments and think, this is when I became myself.”

~ Rita Dove