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The Female Perspective: Horrific Halloween Entertainment Part II

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website! Or find me on Facebook at @JLMetcalfAuthorArtisan!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


Welcome to Part II of my Halloween Movies extravaganza!!! Okay, maybe a two-part blog is not quite an extravaganza, but how often does one get to use that word? Not very often! So yeah, it’s an EXTRAVAGANZA! I say.

If you missed Part I, check it out here!

Onwards and upwards my wayward readers!

I realized I left a few classic Halloween treats off my original list, and some of that is on purpose as I was trying to pick slightly lesser known flicks to highlight, rather than the usual Friday the 13th or Halloween or even Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I love all of those films dearly, but they are tried and true Halloween fare. Let’s see what else we can find. This weeks list is a bit of old, a bit of new, and a lot of fun! To start things off we will go with an old favorite of many.

The Exorcist

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I’ll admit that The Exorcist is not a favorite of mine, it tends to make me a bit sleepy (though not as sleepy as when I try to watch The Shining, I have never gotten through that one), but it has some iconic moments in it that cannot be overlooked. Pea soup will never be the same for many folks, and little girls in nightgowns who can do a full 180 with their heads are in serious need of some chiropractic help!

This was a film steeped in superstition and many deemed it “cursed” before it was even released.

The film experienced a troubled production; even in the beginning, several prestigious film directors including Stanley Kubrick and Arthur Penn turned it down. Incidents, such as the toddler son of one of the main actors being hit by a motorbike and hospitalized, attracted claims that the set was ‘cursed’. The complex special effects used as well as the nature of the film locations also presented severe challenges. The film’s notable psychological themes include the nature of faith in the midst of doubt as well as the boundaries of maternal love as a mother has to do whatever she can to save her child. –Wikipedia

Obviously, those rumors really only helped the movie as it’s a cult classic now and was a huge success in 1973 when it was released. If you’ve never seen it, I say check it out. But do so with the lights on and never alone. (Muhahahaha).

Also, there’s a new TV series based on the film/book and I am VERY curious to see that. Has anyone watched it? Good/bad/ugly? Let me know!

House of 1000 Corpses

House_of_1000_Corpses_poster

When this gem of a horror flick came out in 2003 I totally missed it. I didn’t see it for a few years after, but I know that the first time I saw it I was scared silly. One of Rob Zombie’s finest films (and his first), it’s about a serial killer cannibal family and their house of horrors. It gets REALLY weird about halfway through and when I say REALLY weird I mean it. But that REALLY weird is also totally delightful (if you’re sick like me that is, hehe).

The plot is fairly straightforward, it’s 1977 and a carload of kids are off searching of material for a book about offbeat roadside attractions. At one stop they meet Captain Spaulding and learn of the legend of Dr. Satan … Then bad stuff happens and there’s lots of screaming and blood and scares.

The second time I watched 1000 Corpses I was much less scared of it and more fascinated at the sick, twisted mind that created it. That and the fact that is stars some of the best in the horror biz today and you can’t go wrong. It’s a perfect Halloween treat…Or perhaps, trick?

The funny thing is the film was universally panned by critics, though eventually went on to make $16 million at the box office and spawn it’s AMAZING sequel, The Devil’s Rejects, which is, to me, Zombie’s finest work to date.

Night of the Creeps

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Now, this one is technically a horror/comedy film, but it still fits the bill of being a great Halloween treat. It’s got all that wonderful 80’s cheese going for it and it attempts in its strange fashion to pay homage to the B movie genre.

 While the main plot of the film is related to zombies, the film also mixes in takes on slashers and alien invasion films. –Wikipedia

So basically it’s a mix of a everything and it’s wonderfully fun. Now I know some of you might be sick of zombies, but trust me, this is well worth checking out because it’s not just zombies (as stated above), it’s got some slasher film elements and some alien invasion elements as well. It’s definitely not your typical zombie film, it was a zombie film before the zombie invasion of this century. Not to mention it has gems like this:

Detective Cameron: I got good news and bad news, girls. The good news is your dates are here.
Sorority Sister: What’s the bad news?
Detective Cameron: They’re dead.

~IMDB

The Conjuring

Conjuring_poster

Now, I know this is a relatively new film, but I have to say that this one genuinely freaked me out. Not many films have (Poltergeist is the one that sticks with me more than any other horror film), and even after seeing it more than once, I STILL jump at certain scenes and often feel the heebie-jeebies after watching it, and while watching it actually.

If you don’t already know, The Conjuring is a “true story” about a family that is possessed by evil spirits.

Ed and Lorraine Warren, paranormal investigators and authors associated with prominent cases of haunting. Their reports inspired The Amityville Horror.[4] The Warrens come to the assistance of the Perron family (Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor), who are experiencing increasingly disturbing events in their farmhouse in Rhode Island in 1971. –Wikipedia

It’s not even the fact that I live in Rhode Island, or that it’s supposedly based on true events, it’s just such a well done movie that you can’t help but be frightened at times. The filming, tone, etc are all really well done. This movie freaked me the heck out and I have yet to meet anyone who didn’t get a chill or two down their spines while watching it. I have not checked out the sequel as of yet, but I did see Annabelle and it wasn’t quite as freaky-deaky as The Conjuring. I think this may be one-time magic in terms of the story, filming and actors. We shall see. If you’ve seen The Conjuring 2, let me know what you think!

Well that’s it for Part II of my Horrific Halloween Entertainment! Let me know what I may have missed and what scares you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Female Perspective: Horrific Halloween Entertainment

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


First off I want to say this post will be less about feminism and more about the fun of the month of October and all the movies you can watch and scare yourself silly (or laugh yourself silly). I need something fun to write and hopefully you need something fun to read that has nothing to do with movements or politics or any of the current nonsense in the world. Maybe that’s burying my head in the sand, but I’ll bury it for the hour or so it takes to write this up and then continue to slog through all the insanity being spouted in the media.

That being said, let’s talk Halloween movies, do you have a favorite that you watch every October? Are you looking for a few new offerings to add to your already stellar collection of frightening fare? Here are some of my favorites! They may not be terrifying, but they are a lot of fun.

Tried and True Tales

Trick ‘r’ Treat

Trick_r_treat

One of my favorite go-to Halloween movies has to be Trick ‘r’ Treat. If you haven’t seen this treasure you should totally watch it this year. It’s a 2007 American-Canadian horror anthology film written and directed by Michael Dougherty. The stories are all a bit creepy, a big icky, and very clever. They all take place in a small fictional town in Ohio.

One common element that ties the stories together is the presence of Sam, a mysterious child trick-or-treater wearing shabby orange pajamas with a burlap sack over his head, that makes an appearance in all the stories whenever someone breaks Halloween traditions. – Wikipedia 

Trick ‘r’ Treat has gotten quite the cult following and finally, in 2013, it was announced that a sequel would one day come our way, fingers crossed!

The Descent

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A caving expedition goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators. ~IMDB

This 2005 horror gem scared the pants off of me when I first saw it. I have a thing about being underground, and trapped, and squeezed into teeny, tiny spaces while being hunted by blood thirsty creatures that can see in the dark.  So yeah, this one hit my buttons in a lot of ways. It took me awhile to re-watch it, but when I did I wasn’t quite as scared, but totally enamored of this all-girl tale of horror underneath the ground. Great visuals, nice jump scares and plenty of tension make this a must watch Halloween flick!

Poltergeist

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No, I am not talking about the remake. When I listen Poltergeist on a list of movies, I am talking about the 1982 original and I am also making sure that all the lights are on and it’s totally daylight. Ever since I saw this as a kid, it has scared me to death. As a 37 year old woman, it still scares the holy bejesus out of me. I realize the effects are outdated but damn if when that guy’s face peels off if I don’t get totally grossed out. Something about being attacked in your own home by demonic forces really terrifies me. It also doesn’t help that there’s an attack clown, I am 90% certain that the reason I hate clowns is because of this movie.

There’s one more thing. A terrible presence is in there with her. So much rage, so much betrayal, I’ve never sensed anything like it. I don’t know what hovers over this house, but it was strong enough to punch a hole into this world and take your daughter away from you. It keeps Carol Anne very close to it and away from the spectral light. It LIES to her, it tells her things only a child could understand. It has been using her to restrain the others. To her, it simply IS another child. To us, it is the BEAST. Now, let’s go get your daughter. ~IMDB

Yeah, I get all chills and fear when I think, talk or read about this movie. It’s the one that really triggers my childhood fears, but that’s also what makes it so amazing, all these years later.

*Also, looking up a picture to put in this blog scared the holy Hell out of me. I hate this movie, why am I talking about it?

Are You In The Mood For Something Italian?

Now onto something completely different! A few years ago my friend introduced me to the Italian genre of horror films. These movies aren’t so much scary as they are amazingly funny, goofy, and just plain gross. Not to mention they are completely the antithesis of my feminist ideals, but I can suspend that a bit to watch a movie.

Zombie 

zombie

Directed by Lucio Fulci, Zombie was one of the first Italian horror films I ever saw, and I have to say, it is probably my favorite. 

A zombie is found aboard a boat off the New York coast which belongs to do a famous scientist. Peter West, a journalist, travels to the Antilles with Ann, the daughter of the scientist. On the way, they meet with with Brian, a ethnologist, and Susan. When they arrive at Matul Island, they find Dr. Menard, and discover a terrifying disease which is turning the islanders into horrifying zombies which devour human flesh and seem indestructible. ~IMDB

That’s it, a nice, simple premise but what’s amazing about pretty much all of the Italian films I’ve seen, the dubbing, the dialogue, all of it is totally ridiculous. The blood saturation is high and gruesome and some of the kills are just plain disgusting, but it’s worth a viewing if you are into horror films and just how ridiculous they can be.

Cat In The Brain

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I’ve only seen this gem once so my memory of it is a big foggy, but know that the first 5 minutes are probably the best thing ever, so ridiculous you just have to see it because mere words cannot do it justice.

Also directed by Fulci, this one stars our beloved director, Fulci himself, wondering if his work is finally making him mad and tries to get help, but unfortunately, things don’t quite work out for him like he hopes …

Dr. Lucio Fulci is a director of splatterfilms. He stages a gestapo-orgy like it was any other movie scene. But he is influenced by these things more than he likes. He is hunted by bloody visions day by day. Is Fulci still normal? He asks a psychatrist. He doesn’t know that the psychatrist has much bigger problems than Fulci himself. The psychatrist uses Fulci’s visions for brutal murders in real life. ~IMDB

The film is mostly incoherent madness, with a few laughs, a lot of blood and a whole lot of ridiculousness thrown in. It’s a good watch when you need something lighter than the usual Halloween fare, or even as the backdrop of a Halloween party. Its a great bit of cinematic, nonsense fun.

And Now, For Something Really Gross…

ICK.
ICK.

For my last film, I’m going to a dark place people, a creepy place, a place that I personally will probably never go again (but never say never). That’s right, I am talking about The Human Centipede. One of the most horrifying movies I think I’ve ever seen. Truly I watched it with a blanket over my face while I yelled at the TV. I felt disturbed by it for days afterward and even though I have since watched the 2, yes TWO, sequels (which were horrible, the 3rd one was unwatchable) I have to say that the original is still the best.

The first Human Centipede is a horror, torture film interspersed with a suspense that I normally love.

A mad scientist kidnaps and mutilates a trio of tourists in order to reassemble them into a human centipede, created by stitching their mouths to each others’ rectums. ~IMDB

It’s a pretty simple (and gruesome) idea, but the mad doctor, played to perfection by Dieter Laser, really makes this movie what it is. His madness is nearly unmatched and the scene where he describes his medical plan to his unsuspecting victims is probably the most terrifying part of the movie, not the grossest, that comes later, but it is truly horrific as he lays out his plan with total scientific glee.

There you have it folks, a few (but defiantly not all) of my favorite Halloween films, what are yours? Sound off in the comments and maybe I’ll talk about them in an upcoming blog!

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The Female Perspective: Vampires, Bats and Crazy, Stuff I’m Watching

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


With fall quickly approaching that means new TV shows are coming soon, but if you’re looking for something entertaining to binge watch this weekend (or week, whatever works for you) I have some great ideas.

Now, I could go with the typical like Stranger Things which is fantastic and totally binge-worthy, but chances are you’ve already watched it. So I’m going to go a with few shows that seem to have flow under the radar, but are fantastic all on their own

Penny Dreadful (Showtime & Netflix)

Penny Dreadful
Penny Dreadful

Now, this show took a while for me to warm to. I thought it was  bit overly dramatic, a bit slow, and I still think that at some points it does get a bit dry, but overall, the 3 season drama/horror show is truly fantastic. Using old-time characters like Dracula, Frankenstein (both Doctor and Monster) and even Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, you really can have a lot of fun with this show. Not to mention, the female characters are not just relegated to damsels in distress. No sir. One of my favorite plots was when Dr. Frankenstein created a bride for his monster and … Well, let’s just say things didn’t go as he planned. Instead of her being a docile housewife type, she declared a war on men and started an entire revolution against the men that had been using the women for so very long. It was fantastic, and horrific the methods she used to get what she wanted. There is so much mythical goodness wrapped up in this show it’s hard to summarize and still do it justice, sufficed it to say, if you have fond memories of old-school monsters, this is a great show to revitalize the myths and maybe change your perspective on these characters while also getting a heavy dose of horror, drama and feminism.

Ray Donovan (Showtime)

Ray Donovan on Showtime
Ray Donovan on Showtime

This one might be a no-brainer since Donovan has been on for 4 seasons now, but I have heard about this show for quite awhile and only just got to start watching it. I’m on season 3 now and zipping right along and I have to say, this is a terrifically written show not afraid to face challenging topics like child abuse, alcoholism and more. It’s a show about a family and the mess they are along with the insane work Ray does as a “fixer” of sorts in LA. He’s like the Olivia Pope for the Hollywood elite. It makes for some mighty fine TV I have to say.

Not to mention, in the role of Donovan we have Liev Schriber, who is one of my faves. He has a way of acting with his face that conveys exactly what he is thinking without him having to speak, it’s dynamic and exciting to watch. Not to mention, every time he gets out his baseball bat, you know something big is going down! Add to Schriber’s fantastic portrayal of Ray, we have Jon Voight as his father, Mickey Donovan and he is brilliant. He is a horrible, horrible father and human being who  you also fall totally in love with because he is such a mess.  I have to say though that my favorite character is Ray’s little brother, Brendan, aka Bunchy, played by Dash Mihok. Bunchy has been through the ringer and is sweet and kind and I just want to hug him all the time! This is not to say the women don’t get their fair share of screen time. I love how the women are written on this show! They are strong, capable and just as messed up as the men folk. Again, as with Penny Dreadful, the women are not damsels in distress, they are smart and their growth in the last few seasons is amazing to watch (especially Abby, Ray’s wife. I can’t decide if I feel bad for her or if I love her or if I hate her, that’s how awesome this show is!).

My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Season 1 is on Netflix)

https://youtu.be/AIuh1mMKsEs

I started watching this show because I was curious after doing a transcription with one of the show runners. I had passed on this show originally because I wasn’t interested in a show about a crazy ex-girlfriend honestly. I thought the term was sexist and that did not interest me in the least bit. After learning that the title is meant to be a joke of sorts, I thought, okay I’ll give it a go.

Color me surprised when first, they had musical numbers. MUSICAL NUMBERS in the middle of the show. The musical stuff is hilarious and often extremely clever and I have to applaud them on that. I’m still trying to decide if I actually like the show as it deals with, as expected, the main character being in love with her ex-boyfriend from camp when they were kids. I have issues with the way she runs about desperately trying to get his attention even though he has a girlfriend (who’s equal parts horrible and kind of hilarious, see video above for her song about Yoga).

I’m about 2 episodes away from the end of season 1 and I have to say that this show is worth a watch if you like musical numbers and can distance yourself from the stupid, unbelievable stuff she does or at least find it mostly funny. I’m willing to give it a chance because the supporting cast and their stories are pretty engaging (one character just outed himself as a bisexual and it’s pretty funny and also kind of amazing) and I am hopeful that by the end she will be over her ex and onto something more interesting.

So those are some of my faves, what are YOU watching?

What are you looking forward to seeing in the next couple months? I’m pretty psyched about Luke Cage on Netflix and the return of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D!

 

 

 

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The Female Perspective: Book Review Time!

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you know I’ve been watching Game of Thrones and I also just began the task of re-reading the books. Before I began reading that series, I finished re-reading (what can I say, it’s been a re-read kind of summer) one of my favorite Stephen King books, 11/22/63.

11-22-63

I wanted to re-read it because I had watched the Hulu TV series made from the book and while I liked the show quite a bit at first, as I got deeper and deeper into the book I realized that I the show really wasn’t that good. In fact, when compared to the book, I got seriously bummed out about what was left out.

Now, before I get into things you should know there are spoilers afoot and that also, I quite certainly realize that they can’t put everything into an adaptation. I just have to wonder at the choices made is all and why they would leave out some of  (what I think) are the best parts of the book in order to make a multi-part TV “event”.

The Beginning

In the beginning we get a moment with Jake Epping where he tells us;

I have never been what you’d call a crying man … I wish I had been emotionally blocked, after all. Because everything that followed–every terrible thing–flowed from those tears. ~Stephen King 11/22/63

Epping is a teacher and he reads a theme one of his students rights, an older man named Harry who is off, a little slow, a little different. It’s because his father, in a drunken rage, killed his family with a hammer and while not killing Harry, he whacked him in the head and gave him some brain damage. This moment, this small, few pages of talking, is what sets into action the events that unfold in 11/22/63 and while that’s touched upon in the TV series, it’s not given the importance it should have gotten.

I also think that James Franco was bad casting, but that’s a different blog post.

Regardless of casting, what unfolds in the first portion of the book is that Jake is told by his buddy Al that there is a time traveling portal in a closet at his restaurant and Al needs Jake to do something for him, something big, something world changing.

Al wants Jake to go back in time and prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Why can’t Al do it himself? Well, because Al has cancer and he’s dying. When you go through the portal you continue to age even though in the current world (at that 2011) only 2 minutes pass by, years can pass by for our intrepid time travelers and Al is simply too sick to carry out the mission. When you step through the portal you are in 1960 and it have to then wait potentially 3 years to take care of business. After some hemming and hawing, Jake finally decides to give it a try, but first he has to know the rules of time travel.

Before Al dies, he gives him as much info as he can, he even has a notebook full of notes about Lee Harvey Oswald’s movements up until that fateful day in 1963.  But Jake wants to test this theory of what happens when you change time, Jake wants to see if he can not only save Kennedy, but maybe he can help his student too.  Maybe he can prevent the death of that mans family and his brain damage and give him a real chance at life (or so he thinks).

The thing about this portal is that every time you go through, it resets itself. So if you change things in 1960, go back to 2011 and then go back to 1960, everything resets itself, so you have to be sure you have things right or you’ll be doing them over and over again, like a twisted version of Groundhog Day. This happens to Jake as he screws up his first attempt at preventing the murder of Harry’s family, has to go back through the portal and do it all over again (but this time, he does it quicker), but not after putting a phone call through to Harry to see what happened to him and discovers it’s not such a good future for Harry after all.

card-1963

The Repercussions of Time Travel

We all think about it, or at least, I have anyway. What would happen if you changed one event in a persons life? How would things turn out? Would they still find their way to that point in time? Would they have a better life? Would the world around them be the same? In 11/22/63 we get Stephen King’s answers to those questions. What Jake discovers is that changing an element of a person’s life has a profound effect on them, but it’s not always a good thing. If Harry is never injured, he ends up at Vietnam and he ends up dead. But that doesn’t stop Jake because he thinks, if Kennedy lives, maybe there is no Vietnam for Harry to die in. Maybe he can prevent Harry’s premature death if he keeps Kennedy alive!

It’s a mind twister of a book because Jake is constantly faced with the idea that time is obdurate and that it does not like to be changed. We see that a little bit on the TV show, but not to the extent we see it in the book. Jake also ignores the advice of his friend Al who tells him not to get involved in the lives of the people in the “Land of Ago”, he ends up falling in love with a woman, making friends, establishing a life. Which of course turns out to be a big mistake. This is a Stephen King novel after all, while we don’t see the death toll rise like in a George R.R. Martin book, King doesn’t always do perfect happy endings.

For Jake Epping, his life in the 1960s slowly becomes more real to him than his life in 2011. He says, near the end of the book, after everything has gone to Hell and he has to make a choice he doesn’t want to make,

I should also tell you that I  no longer think of 2011 as the present. Philip Nolan was the Man Without a Country; I am the Man Without a Time Frame. I suspect I always will be. Even if 2011 is still there, I will be a visiting stranger.  ~Stephen King

My Thoughts

I’ve already said that 11/22/63 is one of my favorite Stephen King books, right after The Stand and Eyes of the Dragon. The reason why I love it so much is that it isn’t a typical King book. It’s not horror, it’s more of a sci-fi adventure. It’s a love story. More than anything else, it’s a toe dipped in reality, the “what-if” scenario that so many of us wonder about.

What if Kennedy had lived?

I won’t tell you what King’s answer to that question is, but it’s a hum-dinger, that’s for sure. The quick reveal of 2011 post-Kennedy Alive was a shocker to me and it is a reminder that these things happen for a reason. If presented with the opportunity to change a moment in history, would you, and more importantly should you even try to change it? Who are we to play at being God? Who are we to mess with the strings of the Universe? It’s an amazingly thought-provoking book and a great summer read. If you like history mixed in with fiction, then 11/22/63 is a great choice.

Also, read the book before you watch the show if you can. It’s so much richer and more interesting. Besides that, I am seriously bummed out that they really lessen the impact Harry’s life had on Jake. For pete’s sake, Harry is the entire reason Jake goes back! Harry is the reason Jake gives up years of his life to try and stop Kennedy’s assassination. And yet, Harry is barely a footnote in the show. To me, that was an opportunity lost to really showcase the acting Franco can do and how poignant the story really is.


Pick up your copy of 11/22/63 online or borrow one from your local library!

What do you think? Would you change the past if you could? Why or why not? What would you change? Sound off in the comments!

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Trailer Snark (November 20, 2015 Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Last Week: Spectre ruled the box office for a second straight week doing $35.4M in receipts for a total of $130.7M domestically.  Similarly, The Peanuts Movie also held on to its number two position with $24.2M over the weekend and $82.4M overall.  The highest debut came from Love the Coopers in third place with $8.4M.  Matt Damon’s The Martian was in fourth ($6.7M/$207.4M).  The 33 debuted at number five with $5.8M.  The rest of the top ten was as follows:  Goosebumps ($4.6M/$73.4M), Bridge of Spies ($4.2M/$61.6M), Prem Ratan Dhan Payo ($2.4M/$2.4M), Hotel Transylvania 2 ($2.3M/$165.2M), and The Last Witch Hunter ($1.5M/$26M).  What does this weekend hold in store for us moviegoers?  Let’s take a look…..

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part Two (Lionsgate) – Adventure/Sci-Fi
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for some thematic material
Tag Line: The fire will burn forever.
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Phillip Seymour Hoffman
Plot: As the war of Panem escalates to the destruction of other districts by the Capitol, Katniss Everdeen, the reluctant leader of the rebellion, must bring together an army against President Snow, while all she holds dear hangs in the balance.
Running Time: 137 minutes

Chris: I just don’t get the fascination with this series.  I may see it only because I have a teen kid who loves the films, but consider me kicking and screaming from the car to the front door.
Jim: How can  a series of such exciting books get turned into such dull movies? That killer cast deserves better. The trailer is well made but, most likely, I won’t be saying the same about the movie.
Jessica: I read the books and only felt “meh” about them. They didn’t grab me like everyone else. I am sincerely tired of a love triangle. I find them boring and childish but I guess that’s the world of YA. Regardless, the movies have been OK but I don’t get real excited about seeing them, though I am curious how they wrap up the series so I’m sure I’ll see this, just not in the theater.
Rob: Looks entertaining, but I’d have to watch the prior movies before it.  I think I only saw the first one.
Ken: Love J Law but the first Hunger Games just didn’t capture my imagination. Might wait until they are all out on demand and binge watch it.

The Night Before (Columbia Pictures) – Comedy
Rated R for drug use and language throughout, some strong sexual content and graphic nudity
Tag Line: Bringing joy to the world.
Starring: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anthony Mackie, Lizzy Caplan, Jillian BellPlot: On Christmas eve, three lifelong friends, two of whom are Jewish, spend the night in New York City looking for the Holy Grail of Christmas parties.
Running Time: 101 minutes

Ken: That looked funny and it incorporated all of the major holidays, Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza. Could be a Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza classic for years to come.
Chris: Seth Rogen giving the creepy looks in the limo made me laugh.  Good for a renter I am sure.
Jim: there’s just never enough Seth Rogen. Count me in.
Jessica: Oh, I’m so in. This kind of stuff makes me laugh. I enjoy Rogen and the other guys should be fun as well and I’m a sucker for a funny Christmas movie.
Rob: Funny rental or Netflix film.  Not something I’d see on the big screen.

Secret in Their Eyes (STX Entertainment) – Mystery/Thriller
Rated PG-13 for thematic material involving disturbing violent content, language and some sexual references
Tag Line: Don’t look closer.
Starring: Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Plot: A tight-knit team of rising investigators, along with their supervisor, is suddenly torn apart when they discover that one of their own teenage daughters has been brutally murdered.
Running Time: 111 minutes

Rob: Aside from the fact that a child is killed the movie looks very good.  Plus it has Nicole Kidman.  Hello Nurse!
Ken: Snooze. It had me for a second but pretty soon after…  Great cast though, might see some powerful performances.
Chris: Looks like my kind of thriller.  Great cast, and an effective trailer!
Jim: Movie certainly looks well-made and engrossing, but I have to admit that I’m tired of getting pummeled by trailers that try to get my attention.
Jessica: I hate the title of this movie but it’s PACKED with stars. I would check it out.

Legend (Universal Pictures) – Bio/Crime/Thriller
Rated R for strong violence, language throughout, some sexual and drug material
Tag Line: Love. Fight. Live. Rule like a legend.
Starring: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning
Plot: The film tells the story of the identical twin gangsters Reggie and Ronnie Kray, two of the most notorious criminals in British history, and their organized crime empire in the East End of London during the 1960s.
Running Time: 131 minutes

Jessica: Oh Tom Hardy. TWO Tom Hardy’s? I’m in love with this movie already.
Rob: Meh.  60’s crime thriller based in London.  Pass.
Ken: That looked like good fun, dinnit? Had a bit of the classic Guy Ritchie feel to it. Best YouTube Comment:  i wasn’t interested in the movie when i saw Tom Hardy in it, then i realized that Tom Hardy was in it.  Now I’m sold.
Chris: I don’t know.  I am probably going to be in the minority on this one, but this gangster flick does nothing for me. I do like Chazz Palminteri.
Jim: Think this has been made before as The Krays, back about 1990. Trailer looks good enough,  but not enough to send me running to the theater.

Carol (Weinstein Company) – Drama/Romance
Rated R for a scene of sexuality/nudity and brief language
Tag Line: Some people change your life forever.
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Kyle Chandler
Plot: Set in 1950s New York, a department-store clerk who dreams of a better life falls for an older, married woman.
Running Time: 118 minutes

Jessica: I’m intrigued for sure and Cate Blanchett is a personal fave of mine.
Rob: Looks good, but again not a big screen type of film in my book.
Ken: I’m digging the 50’s vibe and Blanchett is a fave of mine as well.
Chris: A married couple’s relationship threatened by another woman.  I don’t know.  Looks a bit too Lifetime for me….
Jim: Stylish-looking and Cate Blanchett is great, but I’m with Chris—too Lifetime-ish.

#Horror (IFC Midnight) – Horror/Mystery
Not Rated
Tag Line: None
Starring: Sadie Seelert, Haley Murphy, Timothy Hutton
Plot: Inspired by actual events, a group of 12 year old girls face a night of horror when the compulsive addiction of an online social media game turns a moment of cyber bullying into a night of insanity.
Running Time: 101 minutes

Jim: Not a lot that I haven’t seen before in a horror trailer, but creepy enough to look interesting.
Jessica: No. A thousand times no. The trailer was boring and unoriginal so I can only imagine the movie is the same.
Rob: #SkippedtheTrailer #NoInterest
Ken: #Horrible . They flashed like 10 names across the screen at the end. I didn’t recognize any of them, but I admittedly don’t watch a lot of movies.
Chris: Stylish horror genre picture from actress turned director Tara Subkoff.  It actually looks pretty intriguing and creepy from my perspective.  Could be a good one to catch curled up in bed on a cold night.

Tickets Purchased:  Two for The Night Before (Jessica and Jim), one for Secret in Their Eyes (Chris), one for Legend (Ken), and Rob continues buying up all of the pre-sale Force Awakens tickets he can find.

The opposite of Rogen and Company's prayers.  And we all hope they are answered!
The opposite of Rogen and Company’s prayers. And we all hope they are answered!

 

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The Female Perspective: IT, The Movie

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


Even though I didn't read "IT" until I was an adult, it scared the bejesus out of me.
Even though I didn’t read “IT” until I was an adult, it scared the bejesus out of me.

I am a huge Stephen King fan but I wasn’t able to summon the mental fortitude to read his book IT until a couple years ago. After having seen the Tim Curry TV movie I was honestly too terrified to crack the book. I have always been an avid reader and I know that books are almost always scarier than TV or movies. Our minds can go places no one else can and my mind can be a very scary place indeed.

That being said, I was over the moon excited about the film adaptation. They were going to split it into two films AND it was to be directed by True Detective genius Cary Fukunaga. The only sticking point was the actor they cast as Pennywise the clown, a relative newcomer named Will Poulter who was in the Jason Sudeikis comedy, We’re The Millers. I was intrigued though because Poulter, while relatively unknown, might be a good choice simply because he is unknown. I have wracked my brain trying to think who could possibly fill Tim Curry’s amazingly twisted shoes as Pennywise and could not really come up with anyone. I think a newcomer would be a welcome addition because expectations are low and therefore, the hope is that Poulter can only meet them and then some.


“We all float down here.”


 

You can imagine my disappointment when Fukunaga walked recently from being the director. He has since been replaced by  Andy Muschietti, the director behind the Guillermo Del Toro-produced Mama. 

Sigh.

Did you see Mama? It did nothing for me and I have to wonder, does this guy have the chops to take on something as huge as IT? Will the same theory about Poulter hold true for Muschietti? Maybe someone relatively unknown is better. I’m not sure because the reasons that Fukunaga left are because he and the studio could not agree on the direction of the film. Fukunaga had a “vision” people and Muschietti will do what he is told. I’m not sure how to feel about this. I know that no matter what, I will be seeing IT but until I see an actual trailer for the film, I won’t be able to decide if it’s worth my time or not.


Poulter in “We’re The Millers” – Funny, sure, but can he be Pennywise?


 

Not to mention, what about Beverly? Who is going to play what is essentially one of the most important roles in the film? Certainly, the most important female role in the film. It needs to be someone with chops, with a soft toughness that translates well for the character. If you’ve read IT you also know the bizarro ending King put in there that involves Beverly and all the boys in their group. I’m not sure if that ending would translate all that well onto film. It was strange to me in the book, though I think I understand why it was there, but it would be even stranger (and maybe even disturbing) for the film. There’s a lot about Stephen King’s IT that might be weird on film and I’m VERY curious to see how someone would bring such a strange, mystical and horrific book to life in a  way that would both terrify and intrigue audiences.

I blame Tim Curry for my hatred of clowns.
I blame Tim Curry for my hatred of clowns.

As a writer myself, I would be lying if I didn’t say that I sometimes wonder how my books would translate into film and I wonder what someone would do to adapt them. Stephen King is no stranger to adaptations of his work and some of them have even been really good (The Green Mile, Shawshank Redemption, Carrie and Pet Cemetery are just a few) and some of them have been really pretty bad (sadly The Stand (my favorite King book ever) did not stand up after all these years and the TV adaptation of The Shining was pure crap) but I think with someone like King, he has such a HUGE body of work that there’s bound to be a few flops in the mix. I just really hope that IT isn’t one of them.

What do YOU think? Did you read IT? Do you love it? Hate it? Who would you want to see play the main characters and Pennywise? Who would be your dream director? Tell me in the comments!


P.S. Come see ME and 19 other Rhode Island Authors this Saturday at Barnes & Noble on Bald Hill Rd in Warwick, RI. We’ll be there from 1-3pm signing and selling our books!

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The Female Perspective: It’s Not Thunderdome, It’s Thunderclap!

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


My next book, coming SOON!
My next book, coming SOON!

If you’re friends with me on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn or Instagram you may have noticed that I have been wildly promoting my Thunderclap campaign. As of this blog, I am at 71% of my goal which is AMAZING. Just 20% to go!

I wanted to take a minute today to step away from the feminist side of things (don’t worry, I’ll be back!) and talk about why this Thunderclap is important for indie artists like myself and why I’m not trying to be annoying, I genuinely need your help and I want people to understand be aware of what Thunderclap is and how it can help smaller artisans get bigger success.

What Is Thunderclap?

In case you’re wondering, it is NOT (sadly) Thunderdome. You won’t get put in a cage with me and we have to fight to the death (which, now that I’ve typed that makes me really happy, I’m not much of a fighter). No, the idea behind Thunderclap is WAY simpler and actually pretty awesome.

Thunderclap is a tool that lets a message be heard when you and your friends say it together. Think of it as an “online flash mob.” Join a Thunderclap, and you and others will share the same message at the same time, spreading an idea through Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr that cannot be ignored. ~Thunderclap FAQ

Basically, Thunderclap is another tool in your marketing arsenal that helps you get your message out, whether’s it’s promoting your next book (like me!) or a piece of music, art or even a cause you believe in. There is really no end to what Thunderclap can be used to promote. It’s a beautifully sweet, easy and FREE idea to help people market their message.

What happens when I support you?

You are struck by Thor’s mighty hammer! Nah, not really, it’s way more simple than that. All you do is you magnify my reach out into the internet world. You help me to promote my message so people who might not have heard about my book will. It’s pretty awesome right?

You’re allowing Thunderclap to share a single message on your [i.e. MY] behalf. This is only the case when you click the button on the campaign page to support with Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr. After the campaign is complete, we won’t post any additional messages. ~Thunderclap FAQ

What happens if you don’t reach your goal Jess?

It won’t be pretty, I’ll say that much. It will also involve tears, me in the fetal position under my desk and a peanut butter smoothie.

Nah! Life will go on, this is something that seemed like a lot of fun to try and I am super psyched about all the support I’ve gotten so far. I have 9 more days to go and need 20% more support, I am really excited that I can do this and all I ask for is YOUR help!

What do I do to support you?

Hold me close and whisper sweet nothings in my ear.

All right, all right, I’ll stop with the jokes. The thing is all that you have to do is have either a Twitter or Facebook page and you go to this link and you click SUPPORT, that’s IT! It takes about two seconds and it costs you nothing and it helps me out in a HUGE way. How can you say no?


My campaign is over on July 17th and if I reach my full funding goal, I will release my third book EARLY! I was planning for August 1st but it seems like the perfect thing to do to reward a well-run campaign is to give my supporters a gift. That gift will be the release of my horror anthology called…nope! You don’t get the title yet! I will, however, give you a teeny, tiny sneak peak of the cover.

Support me! Please! https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/28527-get-weird-with-me
Support me! Please! https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/28527-get-weird-with-me

Pretty cool huh? There is more behind that black cover, designed by artist Frankie B. Washington and it is AWESOME let me tell you.

So that’s my blog for today, I hope that you take the time to check out Thunderclap and all that it has to offer indie artists and that you offer your support for my campaign!

Drop me a line in the comments below to tell me if you offered your support and I’ll give you lots of praise and compliments! And please, SHARE this blog and the links! Thank you!

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The Female Perspective: Women, Horror and Hags

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 


Today I came across a blog about how a woman was lambasted for being in costume during one of her book signings. She was insulted by a fellow writer. Both are horror writers and he apparently felt she was trying to garner more attention by being in costume. Duh! That’s what we try to do! We WANT attention, we WANT people to come up and talk to us and buy our books! But what this guy was insulted by was the fact that she was in costume and…a woman? Hard to say really.

He said women were especially bad at trying to grab attention (“claiming” we’re horror writers when we aren’t) and most of us are hags anyway. ~Mercedes M. Yardley

Yeah, hags, women horror writers are hags. I shudder to think what he calls other female writers of other genres. This is simply yet another example of the division between the sexes. It’s why we have to have a Women In Horror Month (February in case you didn’t know) and it’s why feminism is so important. Because there will always be a man out there that thinks that women can’t write horror – um, hello, we bleed every month. We know a thing or two about horror my friend. We also give birth and if you’ve ever heard a birth story, you know it’s horrific (and beautiful). The annoying fact is, there will always be men who simply see women as “the fairer sex” and nothing more. They’ll see women as fragile and weak. Which is their failing, not ours as women even though we pay the price for it.

Women in Horror Month is more important than you think.
Women in Horror Month is more important than you think.

I can say for a fact that women kick some serious butt in both horror movies and in writing horror stories. Serious. Butt. We’ve all see Sigourney Weaver in the Alien movies or Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween. They don’t need a man to “save” them, they take care of business themselves. Women are far tougher than some men believe.

Jamie Lee Curtis in "Halloween" - a true bad ass lady in horror.
Jamie Lee Curtis in “Halloween” – a true bad ass lady in horror.

The fact is, why does anyone feel as though they get to degrade and judge another person? Why do we feel like we can assume to know what’s going on in a persons head and then judge them based upon that assumption?

I’m a writer, I’ve published two books, one a fiction fantasy novel and the other a personal memoir. I cannot speak to the world of horror except for one thing, I posted a piece of flash fiction I wrote on the wrong page on Facebook one day, I didn’t realize my mistake until I got unpleasant comments from two men on the page. It was a horror writers page. Neither man commented on my writing except to be rude about it. I was lucky in that they only insulted my writing and not me. Not a big deal but I wanted to say something about their rudeness. I decided the better and less stressful course of action would be to delete the post entirely (as I didn’t mean to post it there in the first place).

I’ve learned now that “fighting” on Facebook is a waste of my time and my braincells. As I’ve written before, trolls are out there and they LIVE for insults and starting arguments.

One of the aspects I liked most about Yardley’s post is that she doesn’t name the male horror writer who insulted her friend.  She says simply, “he doesn’t deserve the attention.” Yes! Exactly right on!

That’s the best way to combat these trolls (because yes, they are all trolls to me), IGNORE THEM.

I'd like to see these trolls say these things to my face...
I’d like to see these trolls say these things to my face…

Yardley then goes on to say something that truly struck a cord with me.

Why spend your time attacking women that are of no concern to you?

You don’t have the right.

We are here. We are beautiful. We are strong. We’re going to write what we want and how we want. If we want to do readings in libraries, good. If we want to do booksignings on a lawn, more power to us. Our path to success doesn’t concern you. It doesn’t impede yours. You don’t like what we write, where we hold signings, or what we’re wearing?

Nobody asked you. And more importantly?

You don’t get to tell us what to do.

I think she hit the nail on the head here. This is the problem with the male patriarchy. THIS is why feminists become so angry. Go ahead, call us hags or other rude names. Mock our outfits, our looks or our size. But stop telling us what to do. Stop thinking that you are even allowed to tell us what to do. This is 2015.

Women are beautiful, smart, talented, strong and complex beings.

Men are beautiful, smart, talented, strong and complex beings.

Why can’t we simply all be human?

What do you think? Tell me in the comments section!