At the start of every year, the UFO community (which is as bizarre and inexplicable as the phenomena itself) asks if this will be the year for true disclosure. It always puzzles me because as far as I know, that was done decades ago. If you’re looking for the government or ‘experts’ to claim that UFOs are real and in need of further study, well, just dig into recent history. Disclosure came and went before I was even born.
From the acknowledgement of Project Blue Book, to the serious findings and proclamations by the likes of J. Alen Hynek, Nick Pope, countless pilots, police, military and even presidents (both in the US and abroad), it’s all there. We know that there have been strange sightings in the sky for centuries, if not more.
UFOs are real, and anyone who hasn’t been asleep for the past fifty years knows that.
I think when people now talk about UFO disclosure, they mean they’re waiting for definitive proof of extraterrestrials. The problem is, UFOs and ETs are separate topics. We’re talking apples and oranges. Republicans and Democrats. To assume that all UFOS (and by this, I mean the 5-10% that can’t be explained by rational means) are flown by grays or Nordics or reptilians is to dig one’s heels in as much as an unyielding skeptic, therefore blinding oneself to what may truly lie at the heart of the mystery.
Yes, there seem to be strange objects in our skies from time to time. From Foo Fighters to discs, triangles, cigar, mother ships, scout ships, drones, and craft the size of football fields (funny how so many people use a football field as a unit of measure), exceedingly credible people have witnessed them and will swear to what they saw. We have proof in pictures, videos, radar returns and more. Again, UFOs are real.
Unidentified Flying Objects.
Not Alien Drag Racers.
This small yet gigantic distinction is what causes all of the problems. It’s what makes serious newscasters play The X-Files or Twilight Zone music in the background of a mass sighting report. It’s why people in authority cast ridicule on those who are earnestly curious about the subject and cry out for calm, rational study (as in Governor Symington, who mocked The Phoenix Lights when he was in power, but has since made a 180).
It all comes down to aliens. Mother fucking aliens. For a majority of UFO believers, they won’t be satisfied until an alien walks from a craft hovering over the White House and gives the President a high-five. Or having every media outlet crash through the gates of Area 51 and expose the various craft and bodies – alive and dead – they’ve been hiding in the desert all these years. And that makes them fair game for ridicule. Because no one knows who or what is behind these bizarre UFOs, and to make any assumptions and set them in stone is to not see the forest for the trees.
Late this past December, we were presented a powerful bit of disclosure that can and should be a game changer. In the words of many major newscasts and papers, The truth finally came out: the Defense Department has been studying UFOs for years under its Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. In a jaw dropping expose by none other than The New York Times, it was revealed that the 22 million dollar program closely examined cases of UFO encounters with our military. Armed with both credible eyewitness testimony and compelling video footage, the US government has been trying to determine what these mysterious crafts are, how they work, and where they are coming from.
Make no mistake, the government admitting to a UFO program in such a way is a seismic event. The two videos (of a reported twelve), taken by the military, are hard to scoff at. That it was pushed for by Senator Harry Reid is yet another blast in the bombshell report.
And there is more to come. There are 10 other cases that will be revealed bit by bit. Yes, most of the information gathered by the AATIP is classified, but the fact that they consider the objects a potential threat (whether from an enemy nation or beyond the stars) should give us pause and demand to learn more. This is a big moment in our history, and I’m concerned that it will be swept away like so much confetti after New Year’s Eve.
We have to keep our foot on the gas in 2018. We need forward progress and not allow this to slip back into the shadows. Forget aliens! Something has always been out there. But what is it?
There is a ray of hope. Senator Reid is calling for a Congressional hearing on UFOs.
One thing I’ve noticed and abhorred is the amount of backbiting and charlatans that are allowed to attend serious conferences or given valuable air time. For my money, I think the powers that be intentionally give voice to the kooks (Ancient Aliens, anyone?) in order to relegate UFOS to the absurd, a mere form of entertainment.
This is the time when serious researchers, the military and organizations like MUFON need to band together, not hold their ground on misinformed opinions stated as fact. Intensely study the information and videos we’ve been given and collectively push for more. Leave your agendas at the door and take an objective look at the data.
Click the video below to watch an interview with the pilot who filmed his own bizarre encounter and his opinion on its origin:
Hell, even if it all turns out to actually be swamp gas and ball lightning, I want to know. Instead of being disappointed, I’d been fascinated by the incredible things that nature can do.
Renaming them unidentified aerial phenomena isn’t going far enough to cast aside the ridicule intrinsically linked to those three letters – UFO. We shouldn’t let this moment slip from our grasp. And we shouldn’t let the crazies or hard core skeptics lead the charge. Maybe this us the year we learn to set aside our prejudices and assumptions and really get down to business.
Do I think this will happen? No. As I get older, my faith in the rationality of man grows weaker. But there’s always a glimmer of hope. If anything, this should end the cry for disclosure. Now, let’s concentrate on the real questions and find some answers.
It’s that time of the (new) year again. 2017 was a surprisingly strong year for horror flicks. Once you got past duds like the latest Resident Evil and Underworld installments, horror hit its stride with a slew of stellar releases, one of them already on most classics lists. Many of my favorites came out between January and April, which is not the norm. I had a hard time whittling my list down to 13, and some real quality movies just missed the final cut. Basically, I ranked movies based on how much they lingered with me long after the final credits rolled on. There are some controversial picks on here, so strap in and get ready…
#13 – CREEP 2
Mark Duplass is one hawk-eyed lunatic. I loved Creep and was anxious to see what he did with the sequel. Let me tell you, Creep 2 did not disappoint. Stakes were upped, strangeness got, er, stranger, and Peach Fuzz made a reappearance! Best watched in a hot tub with a serial killer.
#12 – SUPER DARK TIMES
As My Chemical Romance once sang, “Teenagers scare the living shit out of me.” This one creeped me out because it seemed so damn real…and terrifying. Set in upstate New York, it’s bleak both in imagery and tone. You’ll remember kids you grew up with that were just like the cast presented here, and you’ll think, “crap, this could have happened to me.” This is one that will stick with you for a long, long time.
#11 – THE DEVIL’S CANDY
From the director who gave us one of my favorite movies, The Loved Ones, this one was on my top 10 list for most of the year, getting bumped at the very end. Ethan Embry gives a stellar performance as a struggling artist caught between a rock and a devilish place. Filled with awesome metal guitar licks and psycho imagery, it’s a can’t miss.
#10 – GERALD’S GAME
2017 was inarguably the year of Stephen King. Unlike most people, IT won’t be on my list. But the adept direction of Mike Flanagan brought King’s most difficult book to life, anchored by the performance of the year by Carla Gugino. It also had the most cringe-inducing scene of the year, bar none. Netflix has knocked another one out of the park. I also suggest you head on over to Netflix to check out another King adaptation, 1922. It’s bleak and haunting, so have plenty of booze on hand.
#9 – SPLIT
Thanks to The Visit, I was chomping at the bit to see M. Night Shyamalan’s newest venture into horror. James McAvoy is brilliant, his multiple personalities putting us all on edge from start to finish. There’s not a wasted frame of film in this tight, suspenseful hostage drama with an ending that had people shouting “holy shit!” at the screen.
#8 – LIFE
I have to say, this one surprised me the most. When I saw the coming attractions, I was like, meh. Boy, was I wrong. Life is the best monster movie of the year. I tell folks it’s like Alien, only brighter and prettier. The creature in this space opera is terrifying and there are some super-sweat-inducing moments. Best of all, they nailed the ending. Life breathed life into the monster movie!
#7 – A DARK SONG
In any other year, A Dark Song might be my top pick. How can I describe it? Dark. Desperate. Bizarre. Creepy. A grieving mother hires a man experienced in the dark arts to bring her son back so she can talk to him one more time and get his forgiveness. You never know whether the shaman is full of shit or the real deal, and what he puts her through is truly torturous. A fantastic movie.
#6 – THE SHAPE OF WATER
Having known about this movie for some time, I had penciled it in as my favorite movie of the year way back in March. It didn’t quite make it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a beautiful movie to behold. Imagine a love story between the Creature from the Black Lagoon and a mute cleaning woman. It’s lush and dreamy and at times achingly beautiful, so much so that it’s on the fringe of a true horror movie. Guillermo Del Toro is a master storyteller and his visual aesthetic is this side of stunning. I’m pretty sure I’d love this movie even if the sound was off.
#5 – THE BELKO EXPERIMENT
Now, this is my kind of horror. We all think of the work place as one of the inner circles of hell. Well, your warren of cubicles and backbiting co-workers has nothing on Belko. It’s gleefully insane, bloody and gripping. I rarely watch a movie more than once in a year, but I’ve already seen it three times. The Belko Experiment takes no prisoners. Literally.
#4 – THE BLACK COAT’S DAUGHTER
I can’t say enough good things about this atmospheric, haunting tale by Oz Perkins (son of Anthony “Psycho” Perkins). With a miniscule but fantastic cast, this is one that will linger with you for a long while. The sense of isolation in this blizzard-wracked girl’s academy will leave you shivering. I have to admit, this one bothered me for days. I watched it again to see if I could dispel the feeling, and it only got worse! It also has one of the most realistic and brutal kills of the year. Watch it now!
#3 – GET OUT
Look, I know this is going to be #1 on 90% of lists you see. Don’t get me wrong, it deserves it. Get Out is an instant classic, a Rosemary’s Baby-esque romp into dark territory and creeping dread. I loved it. Jordan Peele knows his horror and has his pulse on the stuttering heartbeat of American society. It’s crackling smart and witty and will keep you guessing all the way to the end. Everyone who loves horror needs to watch this one.
#2 – MOTHER!
I’m not going to lie, this is the most controversial movie I’ve seen in a good long while. Is it horror? It is for me. The building tension and utter confusion had my heart racing for most of the movie. Jennifer Lawrence is simply amazing in her portrayal of a woman in love beset by people and events of Biblical proportions (there’s a hint for you). No movie has set my brain on fire more than Mother! – ever. Not to mention, there are a few scenes that left me breathless and wishing I’d averted my eyes. And that’s coming from an old, jaded horror hound. I can’t recommend this for everyone, but I feel in my gut it’s going to be the kind of movie people talk about and dissect for generations.
#1 – RAW
Yeah, I’m just as surprised that this French import has made the top of my list. Set in a veterinary school that looks like a post-apocalyptic academy run by MDMA-fueled lunatics, Raw was a punch to the gut. Again, we have a small yet killer cast (the Oscars never looking to the genre for best actors is just one of many reasons it’s a sham), off-kilter storyline and moments of incredible gross-outs that easily made it my movie to least forget in 2017. Subsequent viewings have only made it even better. Raw will be on my steady viewing rotation from here until I’m rotting and raw meat.
HAPPY DEATH DAY
Just like The Autopsy of Jane Doe from a couple of years ago, I didn’t see this one until recently, after I had compiled my list. Rather than revamp the entire list, I decided to give it an honorable mention. A self-aware horror take on Groundhog Day, this is witty and fun and guaranteed to make you jump a few times. Shit, even out cat hit the ceiling at one point. If you’re a fan of The Final Girls, you’ll love this.
What do you think of the list? How does it compare to your own? How many have you already seen?
But wait, there’s more! Still looking for more horror movies to catch up on? Take a gander at my Final Guys podcast where I present a slightly different list, along with my partners in crime. Happy bingeing!
The miracle of Christmas from a horror writer’s perspective…
This time of year, I see a lot of signs and bumper stickers that declare we need to “put the Christ back in Christmas.” Even if you’re not a Christian, I’m sure you can agree that the birth of Christ is the true reason for the season. It’s just a matter of historical perspective. The secularization of the holiday has created a backlash, though it gets drowned out by frantic shopping, bright lights, and lying to children that elves on shelves and fat old men are watching their every move. We CAN put the Christ back in Christmas, if the Catholic church so desires. I’m going to propose a very unconventional way to go about it.
Faith seems to be in very short supply these days. It gets harder and harder to keep the faith as we are bombarded with more and more distractions. Our 24/7 news cycle is designed to only show us the worst of humanity and the unfairness of life. It’s not only depressing as hell, it also makes you question whether there can be a Creator God who would allow such things to happen to his (or her) children. Add to that an abundance of material and opinions on religious history and it gets to the point that you don’t know who or what to believe. So what do you need to pull your head from the orgy of Christmas excess to the true meaning of this time of year?
And like I said, faith is getting pretty hard to come by.
Even during the time that Jesus walked the earth (kinda like Kung Fu) and was performing miracles, there was a lack of faith. The Apostles and his disciples needed constant reminders of his divine origin. Remember good old Doubting Thomas?
From John 20:24-29 :
24 Now Thomas , one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Thomas, who was alive when Jesus was healing the lame, turning water into wine, and bringing the dead back to life, still needed concrete proof. His faith wasn’t strong enough, even though JC was in his midst doing what JC did best. Thomas needed that extra bit of proof.
So why are we expected to have so much faith two-thousand years and endless atrocities later? It’s nice to be blessed, but it isn’t easy to attain, even now, during what is supposed to be one of the happiest and most holy times of the year.
People need proof. And short of the second coming (which, if you believe the prophecy, will not be all wine and roses), we need concrete evidence of divine forces working here on earth. You might say “we need miracles!” and run to your book of saints, pointing out the oodles of miracles performed in their names over the centuries. Or the stigmata of Padre Pio, who was with us all the way until 1968, stunning believers and non-believers alike. Tales of angelic intervention and miracle cures abound.
But it’s not enough to cut through the noise. Not for us. Not for this world we’ve shaped.
We feed off the negative. I know it’s hard to say, but it’s true. If we didn’t, our newscasts would be vastly different, Jerry Springer would have been on the air for 25 days, not years, and civil discord would be the norm, not the exception.
So, in light of what we are and what we need, I propose this:
Show us an honest to God exorcism.
We have endless ways to document and record the fantastical feats performed by the possessed. From speaking in strange languages in bizarre voices, to vomiting objects such as nails, insects and small animals (people have been known to throw up frogs and mice), levitation, and so much more, these are things that will frighten us into belief. Imagine the visuals and audio of an exorcism, presented to us not just through tacit approval of the Catholic church, but also independent sources (especially if we can get an atheist on board, which shouldn’t be hard to find in the media).
I was told by a monsignor that had performed several exorcisms that true evil does exist. We all know that. We see it, and want to see it, everyday. What we need proof of is that evil exists as an entity separate from man. We may not be able to see the good around us, but if you take the time to show us the bad, people will take notice. Film a miracle and I doubt it will make the news (if it does, it will have X-Files music playing in the background). Show the terrors of an exorcism in living color, and it will be the headline story.
All of this says more about us (and me), than it does about God (or whatever name you want to hang on the entity that made us…if you believe). But as any parent will tell you, we learn through fear. Parents instill a fear of putting your hand on a hot stove, leaping off the edge of the tub, talking to strangers, taking drugs, and hundreds of other things. That fear keeps us safe. If you want the most incredible Christmas in history (okay, the second most), frighten us. Put the fear of God and the Devil in us. Prove to us what awaits a shallow, secular life and we will sing praises, open our hearts to love, and spread joy at Christmas. We will believe because just like Thomas, we will have been given proof. Maybe we won’t be as blessed as those who never needed proof, but we’ll be on the right path.
Sure, this won’t work for everybody. Nothing can. People will claim the proof is fake, or a ploy to get fannies to fill church pews. There’s no such thing as a cure all. But the impact will be seismic. Is it sad we have to cater to our base nature to elevate our souls? Perhaps. Or maybe we just have to accept what we are and find a way to improve our lot in life (and the afterlife), no matter how much it makes us cringe.
Maybe we’re the little Whos down in Whoville that needed proof of evil in the form of that nasty Grinch to strip away the distractions and noise and show us that we better get our acts together. His heart may have grown three sizes that day, but what impact did his evil have on them?
Something to consider.
And speaking of the Grinch, I’ll leave you with Dr. Seuss’s parting words:
“Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be, just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart, and hand in hand.”
With the help of some demented elves at Severed Press, I’m happy to announce the holiday release of my latest deep sea horror-adventure, FURY OF THE ORCAS! We wanted to make sure we got this killer whale of a tale out just in time to stuff your stocking (hope it can absorb all the blood).
They call them the wolves of the sea.
From marine parks to the deepest oceans, the world’s killer whale population has turned against man and beast alike. Orca show trainers are ripped to pieces before stunned audiences. Ships are capsized. Oil rigs are bashed without mercy. What has driven the apex predators stark raving mad?
Chet Clarke has dedicated his life to preserving the health and dignity of orcas in captivity. Along with orca trainer Rosario Benitez, he embarks on a whirlwind journey across the globe to witness unconscionable carnage and uncover the mystery for the sudden outbreak of mania. Is this the start of a catastrophic pandemic? Or do the clues lead to an enigmatic experiment in the wilds of Alaska and shadow operations in a Russian ghost town? Time is running out faster than the lives of those in the path of the orcas.
Put a little ho-ho-ho in your holiday and grab a copy today. Out in ebook with print to follow in the next few days. Click here to play with the orcas.
The new year, with all its resolutions, is just a few weeks away. I’m going to tick one of my resolutions off the list right now with this announcement that I’m starting an editing and writing coach business. If your goal is to have a completed manuscript or get published in 2018, we can kick some resolution butt together.
Writing is a lonely endeavor. Writers need support and encouragement (along with a stiff drink every now and then). Getting to THE END isn’t always easy. Neither is polishing that manuscript into a diamond. All successful writers have a stable of people with critical eyes dissecting their work well before you ever see it in print.
The big question is, why me? Well, aside from having written and traditionally published over 20 books in the past decade, I’ve also been senior editor for a trade magazine, have coached and edited several books for struggling authors and secured their first book deals.
I may have railed against the nuns in school who drilled grammar, spelling, reading, and writing into my thick head, but I thank them now. And so can you.
So, what kind of services am I offering?
- Setting goals and accountability to meet them
- Sounding board for ideas and turning them into action plans
- Feedback and editing
- Deciding whether to publish traditionally or self-publishing
- Agent and publisher searches
- Writing query letters
- Building author platforms across social media and blogs
- Creating fresh and consistent content
- Creating mail lists and vital newsletters
- Finding reviewers
- Curating sources of inspiration to keep you writing
If your goal is to become a working writer, you want help from someone who’s not only been there and done that, but is still doing it. My advice and expertise is current, which is vital in publishing since it has changed dramatically over the past five years alone!
Ready to take that next step? Let’s do it together. Contact me at email@example.com for a free 30 minute consultation and let’s make those writing dreams come true.
I’m very proud to be part of prestigious UK publisher FLAME TREE PRESS’S debut horror line in Spring, 2018. Reunited with legendary editor Don D’Auria and my pals Jonathan Janz and John Everson, we’re ready to upend the world of horror.
The name of my book is CREATURE, and right now, Flame Tree Press is gathering a list of reviewers and bloggers to include on the extensive book tour. So, if you’re an established book reviewer (either on your own site, posting on other websites or print publications, or an Amazon verified reviewer) and want to be one of the lucky ones to get free advance reading copies and/or host an interview or article on your blog/print outlet, please reach out to me either here or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll make sure you get first crack at the book. 🙂
Here’s a little about CREATURE :
The monsters live inside of Kate Woodson. Chronic pain and a host of autoimmune diseases have robbed her of a normal, happy life. Her husband Andrew’s surprise of their dream Maine lake cottage for the summer is the gift of a lifetime. It’s beautiful, remote, idyllic, a place to heal.
But they are not alone. Something is in the woods, screeching in the darkness, banging on the house, leaving animals for dead.
Just like her body, Kate’s cottage becomes her prison. She and Andrew must fight to survive the creature that lurks in the dead of night
**Yes, I got my headshot to Flame Tree too late to make the press release. Oh well.
If there’s one holiday that’s been largely ignored by the horror genre, it’s Thanksgiving (hmmm, maybe I need to capitalize on that!). I mean, how scary can you make a holiday that centers around killing giant birds, indulging in unabashed gluttony, watching bloodsports on TV and recalling the calm before the genocide of a nation?
When it comes to movies, there are slim…and terrible…pickings. We’re talking scraps of meat on a turkey leg at best. You have THANKSKILLING, BLOOD RAGE, aaaand, well, not really much else.
However, if we keep with the land fowl theme, there is a little gem that is so bad it’s good – POULTRYGEIST : NIGHT OF THE CHICKEN DEAD. It’s brought to us by the fine, demented minds at Troma, the gang that brought us The Toxic Avenger and Surf Nazis Must Die.
When a fast food chicken restaurant is built on the site of an ancient Native American burial ground, the displaced spirits unite with the ghosts of exterminated chickens and transform into Native American chicken zombies seeking revenge!
So, if you’re tummy is full and you’ve had enough of football, settle down and get ready for utter insanity, comedy and gore with my Thanksgiving pick, POULTRYGEIST!