The official blog of author Jean Marie Bauhaus

Category: Movies

Any day that involves a sonic screwdriver is a good day.

Today I added 486 words to Radium Town — 182 this afternoon plus another 304 just now. That brings the grand total so far to 6,919. I’m frustrated that it’s going so slowly, but considering that up until this time last week I hadn’t written anything on it in over a year, nor had I written any fiction whatsoever in several weeks, I guess I’ll cut myself some slack. I’m still figuring out this world and these characters. I’m confident that I’ll pick up the pace once it’s all more familiar to me and the plot gets rolling along.

Here’s the rough, non-spoilery snapshot of today’s output:

Betty shifted in her seat. She wasn’t accustomed to being the center of conversation. That was uncomfortable enough without having attention called to Will’s regard for her. She could sense Will fidgeting uncomfortably in his seat, as well. She braced herself for the joke he was certain to make, but to her surprised he simply said, “Nope. Not surprised at all.” She turned toward him in time to catch him looking at her, a mixture of pride and wonder on his face. Betty quickly looked down at her plate and took a bite of her roast quail.

Matt and I both felt better today, and a mix of cabin fever and spring fever made us antsy to get out of the house for a while. We went to Gardner’s Used Books, where we scored a beautiful set of second edition Lord of the Rings trade paperbacks in really good condition.

I also nabbed the next Dark Tower book (Wolves of Calla; I’m currently making my way through Wizard and Glass) and the latest Rizzoli and Isles novel (spellcheck wants to change Rizzoli to grizzly; considering what a scary mama-bear book Rizzoli can be that seems appropos). And being that I’ve been reading all this dark stuff lately (House of Leaves, scads of Stephen King, The Ocean at the End of the Lane which is lovely but not exactly the happiest of Neil Gaiman’s books), I also grabbed Maybe Baby by Lani Diane Rich, because I’m starting to crave something light and fluffy to cleanse my palate, and also because Lani is awesome.

And speaking of LDR, I’ve also finally begun listening to the Story Wonk podcast she does with her husband, Alastair Stephens. You should listen to it, too.

The first 182 words today were added from a booth at the coffee shop at Gardner’s, where I dorked out when Matt showed me the LotR set he’d found, and then dorked out again when I got up to the coffee counter and saw a replica of Eleven’s sonic screwdriver sitting next to the cash register. The barista (who might actually be the shop’s owner) let me hold it. It was shiny. I want one.

Came home, fed the dog, apologized profusely for leaving him and the kitties so long, took him and the turtle out in the back yard to soak up the sun, came back in and fed the turtle, wrote some freelance website copy, fed myself (well, Matt fed me) and watched Wolf Creek 2 before Matt turned in and I got busy writing.

Not at all what I’d call a bad day. And now I’m going to go dork out over Supernatural and SHIELD before I turn in.

Friday Five: Top Five Zombie Flicks

It’s the last day of the Holiday Bog Hop, which means it’s the last day to visit all of the blogs and enter to win some amazing prizes! If you haven’t already, be sure to check my main giveaway page for your chances to win my book and an amigurumi zombie hand-crocheted by yours truly. And keep reading to see how you can grab another chance to win a free e-book copy of Dominion of the Damned!

I’m a fan of zombie movies, which you might notice if you read my latest novel. I’ll pretty much watch anything with zombies in it, and I’ll be the first to admit, there’s a lot of bad out there in zombie-land. But there’s some greatness, too. Here are my five favorite zombie movies, in no particular order:

1. Shaun of the Dead – Billed as “a romantic comedy, with zombies,” there’s  really not a better way to describe this movie, except to add that it’s British. And if you’re a fan of British comedy, then I don’t need to tell you that Shaun of the Dead is freaking hilarious. One of the best things about it is how straight it plays the zombie apocalypse — it’s not really a parody of the genre as much as it’s a genre-mashup. The zombies are quite frightening. It’s the “You can’t really be serious about this” attitudes of the protagonists toward everything that makes this probably the funniest zombie horror movie you’ll ever see.

2. Return of the Living Dead – This 1980s classic actually is a parody of Romero-style zombie movies, and it’s pretty brilliant. Although hilarious, it also has some genuinely frightening moments, along with a significant amount of gore.  It also gets credit for adding zombies’ unyielding hunger for “braaaaains” to the genre.

3. Dawn of the Dead (2004) – Here’s where I have to confess that I still haven’t seen the original, so I don’t know how it compares, but this is a pretty frightening flick. There’s not a lot of humor to be found in this one, but it is a fascinating study of human nature in a dire situation, when it all comes down to survival. And the zombies in this are of the fast-moving variety, which makes them all the more frightening.

4. Night of the Living Dead (1968) – The movie that started it all is a classic, and for good reason. Its low budget only adds to the realism and feelings of claustrophobia and paranoia, and although some of the performances are pretty far from Oscar-worthy, there’s also some stand-out acting from some of the unknown actors in the film. It’s the film that set the standard for all modern zombie movies, and I still never get tired of watching it.

5. Pontypool – This is kind of a controversial choice. I debated giving this slot to either Zombieland or Fido, both of which I liked better overall than Pontypool, but I realized that I have more to say about the latter. It’s kind of an obscure movie, about a morning radio shock-jock and his producer who are locked in their basement radio station when an apparent zombie-like outbreak occurs in their small Canadian town. It’s one of the more creative approaches to the genre that I’ve seen, and it’s almost like listening to a radio play, as most of the action is heard rather than seen, leaving a lot to the audience’s imagination. I do have to say, though, that the ending almost ruined it for me, which I found to be almost insulting in its pretentiousness. But up until then, it was a pretty entertaining and original take on the zombie genre that had me on the edge of my seat.

Do you have a favorite zombie movie, or do you steer clear of the genre altogether? Tell us about it in the comments — and for this last day of the Holiday Hop, I’ll randomly select one winner from among today’s comments on this post to receive an e-copy of my zombies vs. humans vs. vampires novel, Dominion of the Damned!

Friday Five: Five Scariest Film Monsters (Blog Hop)

I’m combining the introduction of a new regular feature with the advent of Halloween and the upcoming Blog Hop I’ll be joining in next week.  Introducing my Friday Five — which I know is not a new concept, but instead of five random things from the week, I’ll be posting my top (or, occasionally, bottom) five list for a given category.

This week’s category? In the spirit of Halloween, I give you my Top Five Scariest Film* Monsters:

*I’m using the term “film” loosely to include both movies and television, and even YouTube. Why? Because Marble Hornets.

Five: The Gentlemen (Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode “Hush”) – They have faces like grinning skulls, they float along with their creepy, straight-jacketed henchmen who look like something out of Silent Hill, they steal everyone’s voices, and oh, did I mention that they come into your room and hold you down and cut out your heart and you can’t scream because of the whole stolen voices thing? Easily the scariest demons from all seven seasons of Buffy.

Cabin In the Woods

This will be short, because there’s not really a whole lot you can say about this movie without spoiling it. But Husband and I celebrated Independence Day by finally catching this movie at the second-run theater before we missed our chance to see it on the big screen, and I’m glad we did. It’s gotten a lot of hype, both from Whedon fans and non, and it did not disappoint. Y’all, this movie is awesome.

Is it scary? Yes. Well, if you’re like me and you grew up on a steady diet of slasher flicks and are pretty much inured to the genre, then it’s more fun than scary. But if scary movies actually scare you, then there’s a good bet that this one will, because it plays the horror parts straight. I went in expecting over the top jokey horror a la Evil Dead 2, and although there is some of that, I was delightfully surprised at the parts of it that were straight up horror movie. If you are the sort who is bothered by that type of gorey slasher horror, then I’m hesitant to recommend this movie to you — although I’m also tempted to say that if you can at all stand it, then it’s completely worth it, because the last act takes a turn that is purely Whedonesque and fifty shades of awesome.

Of course, I can’t tell you what that is without ruining the whole premise of the movie. And so, naturally, I will do it behind a cut.

Pin of the Day

Source: via Jean on Pinterest

Fright Night

Today we went out to the movies for my husband’s birthday. I’m pretty sure this was the first time we’ve actually gone to the theater to see a movie since Avatar (together, anyway — I have seen a a few movies with other people since then). We’ve been talking all summer long about wanting to see Captain America and Cowboys & Aliens and Super 8, so I was a little surprised when he told me the other day that he wanted to see Fright Night, although
he’s a bit of a Colin Farrell fan, so I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me that much.

I had pretty much written it off as yet another unnecessary remake of a beloved movie from my youth from the moment I heard that they were making it, so I didn’t bother to watch trailers or keep up with the development or anything. I knew David Tennant was going to be in it, so I figured at least I’d get to see my Doctor. Otherwise, I had pretty low expectations going in.

I liked it. It was much better than I expected. Of course, I had no idea it was written by Marti Noxon. I still have mixed feelings about her work on Buffy, but regardless, you could definitely detect a Buffy-esque sense of humor running through the movie, which made it fun. I liked Colin Farrell’s blue collar version of Jerry. At first I was irritated that they turned Peter Vincent into, basically, Chris Angel, but he turned out to be pretty funny, and also hot, and David Tennant really does need to be in all the movies from now on. Especially if he’s going to wear leather pants. Rawr.

So did I like it better than the original? No. Is that because the original was a better movie, or because I’m an old fogey looking at it through nostalgia-colored glasses? I really can’t say for sure. But the new Fright Night is respectful of the original and pays it homage in fun ways, while updating it and adding enough original material that it doesn’t feel like a retread of the same old story. As far as remakes of ’80s horror movies go, this is by far the best one I’ve seen.

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