Horror Movies, How I Miss You…

Posted in Horror on April 14, 2011 by bryanhallfiction

I grew up with horror movies.  I remember watching zombies pull Captain Rhodes apart in ‘Day of the Dead’ way back when I was a wee lad of nine or ten (nothing stands out in your memories like rotting intestines, trust me).  I recall Mike Myers stealing that old lady’s knife at the beginning of “Halloween 2” when I was even younger.  Jason taking the weed-whacker to the good doctor in “Friday the 13th Part 7”?  Saw that in the theater when I was eight.  Caught the 3D “Freddy’s Dead” three years later.  And yep, I remember the infamous ‘head’ scene in Re-Animator way back when I was…six?  Seven, maybe?

In short, I had a childhood blessedly free of censorship.  It actually explains a LOT, from my continuing love of horror right down to my foul little mouth.

But despite my unabashed love for horror movies, I honestly haven’t watched one in a really long time (long time = two or three months).  I’m too busy, and I really haven’t seen too many come out that were worth my time over the past few months.

I’m no hater of remakes.  I loved a lot of the recent ones, in fact.  “The Hills Have Eyes”, the first “TCM” remake, Snyder’s “Dawn” remake, “Piranha 3D”, the new “Friday” – they were great.  Hell, my favorite movie of all time (The Thing) was a remake.  Got no problem with ’em.  Remake every fucking movie out there if you want.  It will either be good, or make the original look better.  (Rob Zombie’s Halloween remains a fucking worthless abomination that stole almost two hours of my life away, however).

That said, the “Nightmare” remake?  Haven’t bothered with it yet.  I’ve got a copy, I just can’t muster up the urge to pop it in.  I fell asleep during “Paranormal Activity”.  Hell, I didn’t even know there was a “Hatchet 2” until a couple of days ago.

“Black Swan” was the closest thing to a horror flick I’ve watched lately, and despite what the reviews say, that ain’t a horror movie.  I’ve heard good stuff about “Insidious”,  and I’m actually excited about John Carpenter’s new one “The Ward”, but both are a long ways off from my Blu Ray player.

Dead Space and Dead Space 2?  THOSE bad boys have been scaring the hell out of me.  (I’m only about three hours into part 2 at the moment).  Read some good horror novels and short stories lately, too, from new talents and old masters (but I must admit that Clive Barker’s Mister B. Gone disappointed the holy hell out of me).  That’s all proof that I’ve got time, but horror flicks just aren’t holding the same allure lately for some reason I can’t place.

Are they just crap lately?  I know I quit giving a shit about “Saw” after the second one, and I’m not even a tiny bit interested in the return of “Scream” this weekend.

To be fair, it’s not just horror movies.  I haven’t watched much over the past two months other than the whole run of “Deadwood” for a third time.

Is this just me?  Am I growing too old and jaded, or just too busy?  Would I rather immerse myself in the horror by writing it or playing it in a game?  I shudder to think.

Any other horror lovers lacking the motivation to watch something in the genre?  If so, let’s figure out this problem so I can get back to it.  If there’s something new out there that’s worthwhile, point me towards it.  Because I truly do miss my horror movies.

Maybe I need to just rewatch “Dead Alive” and “The Thing”, maybe a little “Phantasm”….

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Writing can be a bitch…

Posted in Writing on April 10, 2011 by bryanhallfiction

If you’re here, then maybe you’ve already visited my website, where this blog is essentially reproduced along with other stuff like free fiction, updates on where to find my writing, etc.  If you haven’t been to http://www.bryanhallfiction.com, feel free to go check it out.

Whether you’ve been or not, essentially, I’m hoping to let these words reach as many people as possible not only to promote my writing, but just because it makes me feel all warm and tingly knowing people are reading what I write, even if it’s just a blog post.  I’m currently lucky enough to be making a living off of writing, and I constantly keep my fingers crossed that my fortune will continue.  This blog will mainly focus on my thoughts on writing, but will probably delve into other stuff as well.

So here we go, then, down this dark-ass rabbit hole that is my mind.  I’ve picked a fairly easy topic to start with, just to get a feel for this.  Again, I’m hardly an expert on this and probably shouldn’t attempt it, but my blog lacks focus and I’m trying to reel it in before it runs away and turns into one of those strange, pointless, wild internet deformities destined to become a horrifc legend that we’ll all tell our kids about one day.  (Go to sleep Timmy, or the “Leave Britney Alone Guy will break into your room and scare the holy bejesus out of you”).

So whether you’re an author (and if you are, I’m sure you either agree with me or think I’m as bad as the aforementioned “Britney Guy”), want to be one, or simply want to see if I’m as odd as you remember, read on.

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What’s the hardest thing about writing?  It damn sure isn’t coming up with story ideas – I’ve got more of those than I’ll ever have time to write down.  And for me, it isn’t even really dialogue or “getting into a character’s head”.  I’m getting a lot better at that.

For me, it’s simply starting.  Getting the ball rolling, as they say.

A short story and especially a novel without a single word down is a daunting thing.  Like Everest, almost.  In the wintertime.  During a whiteout blizzard that exists only to destroy anyone idiotic enough to attempt to conquer it.

I can know every single thing that’s going to happen in a story or novel, but that first paragraph is sometimes harder to birth out than a baby.  And I’m a guy, so birthing a baby can be a difficult and risky proposition.

Once that first paragraph is down, what follows isn’t so bad.  I can usually crank out the first fifteen thousand words within a couple of weeks or less.

And then it grinds to a halt.

I start questioning my skills, and the story.
“It’s too similar to this”,
“It’s a half-assed attempt at making a statement about this”,
“It’s getting too broad, covering too much ground”,
and the big one: “Why in the hell would anyone want to read this thing?”

Remember the whole “I can know every single thing that’s going to happen in a story” thing I just said?

Yeah, that changes.  Especially once your story grows beyond three or four thousand words.

Characters start to do things you didn’t think they would.  More and more questions pile up that you have to answer (or not).  More obstacles are thrown in the paths of your protaganist that changes the entire direction and outcome of the book.

And much more.

I know you think since I’ve got control over them I can make them do what I want, but it really doesn’t work that way.  (We’ll get into that in a future post).

And as these issues pop up like pimples on the skin of my planned out, once perfect literary skin, I stare at the screen again, trying to figure out the best way to pop those little suckers.

For hours, sometimes.

I try to work on another story, but the nagging questions of the first one keep overtaking my brain until I’m forced to come back to them.

“What’s next?”
“How can I explain that?”
“Is that gonna mess up the conclusion I had planned?”

In the end, it isn’t that I don’t know what’s going to happen – it’s just that I’m doubting myself again.  So I throw down (or throw up, depending on how you look at it) a couple of lines just for the hell of it.

And lo and behold, those lines turn to paragraphs and those turn to pages and I read them and you know what?  They ain’t that bad.  So….I’m off and running again.

Until one of my characters does something I wasn’t expecting.  And then I’m back where I began.

Vicious circle?  Sure.  But the point is, getting that snowball rolling down the hill is usually all it takes to make at least a few thousand word’s worth of progress.

Sometimes it just takes a shitload of snowballs.