There are some Christmas gifts that are just so personal, clever, and awesome it’s unlikely they’ll ever be forgotten. I came home from a particularly rough one and received just that—and so did my friends Eric and Phil.
Most of you know that I’m a part-time co-host on a horror film podcast called Dark Discussions. The five of us—Phil, Mike, Eric, Abe, and me—tend to be irreverent and do a lot of laughing. A year or so before I joined them, they discussed an unsettling 2015 indie gem called Creep. Much joviality surrounded one of the movie’s more outlandish moments which was a little on the dirty side, if you get my drift.
The Creep franchise focuses on a serial killer; but, much like a narcissist, he likes to toy with and manipulate his victims first in a series of bizarre emotional ploys. He first cons his victim—in both movies, an aspiring filmmaker—with the lure of cash to film him for one day, evoking sympathy with one sob story after another as things get more complicated. What’s key to my anecdote, though, is that at one moment in the original film, he dons a wolf mask he calls “Peachfuzz.” That dirty moment I referenced? He touches himself while murmuring Peachfuzz’ name, later explaining to his victim that he thinks of himself as a wolf—tough on the outside, tender and loving on the inside.
After the victim leaves to go back to his life, our serial killer regresses to mailing strange packages before doing him in. The contents of at least one of the packages always contains a stuffed wolf.
As far as my scary little package, we’re still not sure which co-host did it; nobody’s owned it yet. Or even better if we never know. Because the brilliance of this isn’t only the reference to all the fun we have on the show, it’s got that creep factor: I could, indeed, be this guy’s next victim. Oh, Peachfuzz…
I won’t reveal too much about what we thought about the film (you’ll just have to listen to our episode on Stitcher, iTunes or right here: http://www.darkdiscussions.com/Pages/podcast_279.html), but there are some interesting articles about the movie’s realism floating around, one of which is here in Geekwire: https://www.geekwire.com/2017/alien-horror-movie-life-biology-space/
Life is now available on VOD and on Amazon here http://a.co/b7vDnJE and probably on other platforms.
Dark Discussions gets into some Monkey Shines (according to our listeners, this particular episode is hilarious). This Romero film from 1988 really surprised me personally–I actually thought it was going to be good! Silly me.
One thing that’s really interesting is the original poster, which features a well-known cymbal-clapping monkey toy, has absolutely nothing to do with the film. Personally, I wonder if it was because of the success of Stephen King’s Read the rest of this entry
In Dark Discussions Episode 265 (hard to believe that I think this year we’ll break 300 episodes!), we had the opportunity to talk with Australian actor Aston Elliot, most recently known for his role in Chocolate, Strawberry, Vanilla (catch our episode on that film here). Then, we take the plunge into our Bucket Lists–each of us had to watch a horror film (mostly classic or quintessential to the genre) that somehow we’d never seen. Listen on I-Tunes, Stitcher, download from the website here: http://www.darkdiscussions.com/Pages/podcast_265.html or listen directly here: Dark Discussions – Episode 265 – New Year’s Resolution Bucket List
Dark Discussions takes the plunge and dives deep into six films of aquatic terror in our Killer Fish Fest!
We are not going to tell you which films we’re going to cover; you’ll have to find out as we go, but all of our episodes released in August will have to do with some kind of scary aquatic horror movie.
New episodes of Dark Discussions are released every Thursday on I-Tunes, Stitcher, and at http://www.darkdiscussions.com/. To get release announcements and to talk all things horror film with other DD fans (quite a knowledgeable, busy, and fun bunch), join the Facebook Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/DarkDiscussionsPodcast/
Get out those bathing suits and take a dip with us!
Cons! They are so much fun, but there are so many of them. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to have a choice on the same weekend—like this year; fortunately, it wasn’t hard (and it would have been), because circumstances beyond my control made the choice for me. I’ll be at Ro-Con 2 in Mystic, CT; my Dark Discussions co-hosts will be at Scares that Care in Williamsburg, VA…but at both, we’ll be discussing Frankenstein.
Ro-Con 2 “showcases all that the geeky and creative communities of Southeastern Connecticut have to offer.” The weekend is packed with panels on everything from self-defense and research to costuming and geek dating. The con also includes a writing track.
My schedule (subject to change – this is according to what’s available now) is as follows:
Saturday, Noon: Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading: I’ll be reading something from (probably) my most recently completed soon-to-be-published-in-Dark Passages 2 story “Mujina.” I’m not sure how many of us will be reading, but I know I’m joining the very awesome D.L. Carter!
Saturday, 3 p.m.: Submissions Workshop: Everything you need to know about the right way to submit your short stories to magazines or anthologies. Plenty of hand-outs! (Solo)
Saturday, 5 p.m.: Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Television in the ‘70s and ‘80s: Everything from the Bionic Man’s Bigfoot Episode to Wizards and Warriors and the original Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark! (with Mario DiGiacomo and Ari Alpert)
Sunday, Noon: Stuff Your Stories: Metaphor, simile, theme, motif…all the basics to enrich your story. (Solo)
The weekend will kick off for me when I’m on the “Lake Geneva, 200 Years Later” panel—a discussion of Frankenstein and that summer night during “The Year Without a Summer”—with Mario DiGiacomo and Keith R.A. DeCandido at 10 p.m. on Friday, July 22.
For more information on Ro-Con 2 and to get tickets, visit here: http://ro-con-2.blogspot.com/
Meanwhile, approximately eight hours south at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Williamsburg, VA, the Dark Discussions Team will be paneling “Discussing Frankenstein” at Scares That Care. This third annual 501(c)(3) event is completely for the benefit of families with ill children or women with breast cancer; according to their website, to date they’ve donated over $100,000 to various organizations.
The Scares That Care Weekend has something for everyone: a 5K race, celebrity appearances, writer readings, film showings, zombie hunts, panels, seminars…you name it, they’ve got it. The Dark Discussions crew will have a table and raffle off items to help raise money for the cause, and co-hosts Eric, Mike, Phil, and Patrick Lacey’s “Discussing Frankenstein” panel will take place from 11 a.m. – Noon on Saturday, July 23. Philip and Patrick will also be reading from their work at some point during the weekend.
Find out more about Scares That Care—and get the weekend’s complete schedule of offerings—here: http://scaresthatcareweekend.com/
If you’re in or near either of these events, stop in and say hello. And if not? I hope you have one happy Frankenstein of a weekend!
Pomegranates, narcissism, Greek mythology and what-would-you-do-if-your-dead-girlfriend-literally-showed-up-in-your-bed-every-time-you-had-sex-scenarios (boy did the guys have fun with that one) ruled on last week’s Nina Forever episode of Dark Discussions, a (mostly horror) genre podcast (What’s also fun to mention is that Read the rest of this entry
The recent film The Forest may not have gotten such great reviews, but the crew at Dark Discussions took time out to discuss its good points, its bad ones, and its setting: the fascinating Aokigahara Jukai Forest (Japan’s Suicide Forest).
Below, links to the episode, as well as a list of resources for those who might be interested in learning more about this macabre environment—a real place where, on average, 100 people take their lives per year—that the film (although shot in Serbia; permission to work in the forest is almost never granted) depicted well.
Note: For a place so mysterious and strange, Read the rest of this entry
First off, this summer’s surprise hit The Conjuring was released on DVD/Blu-Ray four days ago. If you haven’t seen it yet, now’s your chance…and if you have or you’re not planning to, here are some interviews Nathan and I did that are worth checking out:
In today’s world, being a writer is, I believe, much more difficult than it used to be; there are so many opportunities, so many things to do in terms of marketing and promotion, and, quite frankly, a lot of push to be busy, busy, busy to advance—and if I’m not “advancing” by my own standards, it gets depressing. Read the rest of this entry