In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to admit that I was one of the few people who didn’t particularly like Max Brooks’ breakout novel, World War Z. Like I hope that I’ve made it impossible for my wife to find other men to measure up to me, just about everything in the zombie pantheon has fallen shy of the original Dawn of the Dead for me. Everything that was right with DOTD was wrong with WWZ. More on that in a moment.
I’d heard that there were all kinds of productions issues with WWZ and if memory serves correct, this should have come out a lot sooner. Sometimes strife on a move set leads to greatness, like Predator (a movie that was said to have more issues than a NYC newsstand). But most times, chaos behind the scenes transforms into chaos on the screen. It’s very easy to see that WWZ had a lot of bad shit go down between the star and producer, Brad Pitt, and everyone else connected with the film.
I’m going to summarize WWZ quite easily. It’s a series of chase scenes that carry Brad Pitt from the US, to Africa, Israel and Wales. Brad goes somewhere, soulless zombies appear, Brad runs. He survives so many impossible situations, I was beginning to think he was Daffy Duck. And for a guy who was in 90% of the scenes, he said about 20 words.
It was like watching a 2 hour car chase, which gets very boring after a while. Unlike Dawn of the Dead, there are no real personalities here, either on the living or the dead side. There’s no one to connect to here. At one point, I was rooting for an asteroid to slam the earth and put everyone out of their misery. Like the zombies, the script has no pulse, no heart, nada.
The only cool part, for me, was the way the zombies, perhaps the fastest and angriest since 28 Weeks Later, piled atop one another to scale any height just to get at human flesh. So, I got two scenes that raised my adrenaline level up a tick, and then I was rocked to sleep until the end credits.
And here’s something else that blew my mind – here we are with a zombie flick on an epic scale and there is almost no blood, certainly no gore! What the hell? Was this intentionally made for grade school kids?
Guess I’ll have to wait for the new season of The Walking Dead to get a real zombies fix, and that’s a show I think we’ll look back at and try to pinpoint exactly where in season 3 it jumped the shark.
Anyone else plunk down their hard earned cash for World War Z? Feel free to tell me I’m a small minded elitist a-hole or that you agree with me. I can take it. 🙂
First of all, as a New Yorker, my heart goes out to everyone who has lost someone or something close to them in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. I’ve never experienced anything like it, and my family is thankful that we came out of it unscathed, though the same can’t be said for millions of others. It’s going to take a long time to get back to normal, especially with a nor’easter in the forecsast this week.
Thanks to my main man from Amsterdam, author Paul Dail, I get to talk a bit about something that is not necessarily a work in progress. More on that in a moment.
I want to take a small break from all things Swampy (before the 3rd & most massive part of the tour starts December 3rd) and spotlight a story I had published last year called The Dig. I’m a big archaeology buff and I’d always wanted to write a ghost story centered around some remote site. The Dig follows the terrifying exploits of Felicia Tang on an expedition to Mongolia. What looks like a normal burial mound is actually the entrance to a centuries old chamber housing countless urns within rough hewn niches. Who built the vast chamber and why? What remains lie within the urns? Most of all, what is still very much alive in the dark? The Dig is only 99 cents and free for Amazon Prime members. I have big news coming up in the next month on the short story front, but this should keep you until then. 😉
I’m not a big TV guy, but there are a few shows out there that I love and some that have surprised me. So, what is Hunter rushing to watch On Demand these days?
I’m sure it’s no surprise that I’m a huge The Walking Dead fan. I’ve loved the comics since almost the beginning and AMC is doing a great job keeping even us hardcore fans guessing. I dressed up as Dale for Halloween in his memory. R.I.P. Mr. Bucket Hat.
Of course, I’m back for more from American Horror Story : Asylum. So far, this season has felt like an acid trip through a haunted house at Playland. I’m hoping it starts to make sense soon. Are there really aliens adbucting people???
I’ve added 2 new shows to my weekly viewing and both have flipped me out with how good they are. The first is the newest take on Sherlock Holmes, Elementary. Lucy Liu as Watson? Sherlock in NYC? What idiot thought this up? Turns out, a pretty damn smart idiot with some of the best writers on TV. I can’t get enough of this show.
The biggest surprise is Nashville. Normally, I despise this soapy kind of stuff, but damn the music is good and the various story lines have sucked me in. And hey, if I can’t see Connie Britton on American Horror Story, I’m happy top get my Connie fix right here.
And of course you all know I’m counting the seconds until the return of Justified.
1. What is the working title of your book?
Swamp Monster Massacre
2. Where did the idea for the book come from?
I was talking to my editor late one night and he asked me if I had a novella in the old desk drawer that he could use. I didn’t, but a tiny light bulb lit up over my pointy head. I had recently done an episode on Bigfoot on The Monster Men podcast. My buddy Jack and I are Bigfoot fanatics. I decided it was time I wrote my own Bigfoot book, but with a twist. So, I added a crime novel element to it and let the words fly.
3. What genre does your book fall under?
4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Boy, this could be fun. For my hulking criminal, Rooster Murphy, I think I’d go with Chris Hemsworth. He rocked as Thor and has the size and wry sense of humor that can pull it off. For the super hot and darkly dangerous twins, Liz and Maddie, I’d have to go with Amanda Seyfried playing a dual role. Those eyes! I also think Sam Rockwell would nail the Jack Campos character. As for the crazed skunk ape clan, well, if I could find an actual Bigfoot family for the movie, I’d be one happy man.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis for your book?
Small-time crook on the run from pissed off mobsters kidnaps tour boat in the Florida Everglades only to find the monsters in the swamp are way more deadly than the killers on land.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It is published through Samhain Publishing, my home away from home. They’ve done a great job over the past year building a horror brand and getting the word out. Just a fantastic publisher to be with.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript.
This was a true lesson in meeting tight deadlines. I needed to get the story written and revised many times all in under a month. The first draft was done in 2 weeks where I did nothing but write. I spent the next 2 weeks revising. I think the frenetic pace I had to keep in writing it is reflected in the story. Thankfully, I picked something that was a blast to write.
8. Who or what inspired you to write the book?
Well, my editor asking for a book pronto lit the fire under my ass. The fact that I can’t shake my fascination with monsters gave the subject to me on a silver platter.
9. What else about the book might pique a reader’s interest?
I like to think that I did something with Bigfoot that hasn’t quite been done before. First, not much love is given to skunk apes. Making them bad yet sympathetic, just like their human counterpart, Rooster, was an interesting way to approach the book. In the end, whether man or beast, we all have our light and dark sides. And God help us when darkness descends.
Before I talk about the topic du jour, I wanted to let you all know that there’s some exciting news on the near horizon that I hope to share in the coming weeks. I’ll give you a hint. I’ve been writing quite a few stories for various anthologies and things are lining up quite nicely. Over the holidays, I also finished the first draft of a follow up to Forest of Shadows and I’m putting the finishing touches on an adventure series for kids. Yet, I still found time to watch the entire first 2 seasons of Justified, which I now declare the best show on TV. (American Horror Story and The Walking Dead come in a close second) Raylen Givens is a complete, all American badass.
As I look up at my Vampirella calendar, I can’t believe the Super Bowl is already here. I was out and about today picking up food, beer and selecting some damn good cigars for the big day’s festivities. As a Seahawks fan, I have no skin in the game, but you can’t beat a day of drinking and eating with family and friends. And no, I don’t live in Seattle or the west coast, for that matter. I grew up a Steve Largent fan, plus the helmets were bitchin’.
OK, on with the show….
I’m going to attack this particular subject from the angle of a horror writer, but this applies to anyone who creates something, whether it be a book, painting, video game, whatever, and gives it up to the world to see and, inevitably, critique. As human beings, we all just want to be loved. That’s why the Beatles are the greatest group of all time. They understood. When we create something from our soul or gray matter if you want to be pragmatic, putting it out for general consumption is a lot like streaking through the quad at lunch time. (Feel free to chant Frank the Tank at this point.) You’re utterly exposed, your stomach cramping, waiting for the worst, and odds are, there’s some shrinkage.
Every writer needs a very thick skin. (Gift idea for those of you looking to get the person who has everything!)You have to absorb rejection like a Shamwow. You have to work with agents and editors as they pick apart your words, fine tuning it until it’s something not only readable, but saleable. And when you’re done putting a spit shine to your book or story or poem, presto!, it goes out into the great beyond, available for all to read.
From that point on, all that’s left is the feedback, reviews, tweets, posts, and on and on. You pray that it will all be good, but you know deep down you can’t please everyone. There will always be people who don’t like your book. Hell, some will even hate it and ask Jesus in their prayers why He ever let you think you could become a writer in the first place.
And this is exactly what stops a lot of aspiring writers dead in their tracks. Sure, some of them will say they just need to give their manuscript a little tweak (possibly the 132nd revision in what seems as many years), but deep down, they’re terrified of what people will say. So they never get to THE END, constantly worrying that it’s just not good enough for everyone. Some folks will even change their theme or message, worried that it may offend some or cause even the slightest controversy. Any writer will tell you, you can literally tweak a work for the rest of your life. It’s up to you to end it.
For those of you who are struggling to face this fear, the only thing I can advise is to just stare it down with your best Raylen Givens squinty eyes and tell it to get lost. Even the very best writers have their critics. I think we can all agree that Stephen King is at the top of the horror game, and he gets a healthy dose of crappy, some downright nasty, reviews. Whether it’s love or hate, it’s an emotion, and isn’t that really what art is about; evoking an emotional response? So let it rip, scatter it to the winds of public opinion, and get to work on your next book. The End is just six key strokes away.