Friday, June 23, 2017

Updates and such...

Hey, kids! 

I'm still here.  I'm still watching horrible movies but my life has been upheave-eth-ed again and I had to take a little break while I continue to write TROPEFEST 2.  Hopefully things will calm the fuck down again so I can concentrate.

I miss you!

Uncle Bob

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Haunters Against Hate

I know it's early, yet, but Halloween season is coming up soon and I thought I would spread around some good news.

Because of the Pulse massacre in Orlando, many folks exhibited, shall we say, less than polite reactions to the slaughter of 50 LGBT Americans to the tune of "Let's give everybody guns so they can wipe out the rest of the faggots."

A group of haunted houses/SFX artists/actors/graphic artists/etc. have banded together in the Ohio Valley to stand against this hate.  Because we all know that hate, in any form, is wrong and it really is the scariest thing of all.

They call themselves Haunters Against Hate and they straight up asked the Ohio Valley Haunts Review team to stop coming to their haunts because of their remarks.

Apply cold water directly to that burn.
I fully support this organization and, frankly, will help them in whatever they do.  They are heroes in a country where hate crimes are on the rise (fuck you, Trump... you AND your campaign trail stochastic terrorism).

Check them out.  Buy a t-shirt.  Attend their haunts.  Do some good and have a spooky good time doing it.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The World’s Biggest Trigger Warning

This title is not a joke. This post is without pictures for a reason.  If discussion of rape in fiction, or in general, upsets you due to personal reasons, I do not blame you for an instant and would much rather you skip this chapter than find yourself in an uncomfortable situation. This chapter will be as snarkless as I can make it because when it comes to this subject, I. Do. Not. Play.*

Barring murder, which is a crime that really won’t go unreported for long, rape is probably number two on our list of heinous things that human beings can, and sadly will, do to one another. Rape statistics, though, can be wildly misleading depending on the country one is in. Inconsistent definitions of rape can take 0.2 reported instances per 100,000 people in Azerbaijan to a whopping 132.4 per 100,000 reporting rape in South Africa (oddly, one of the countries with very progressive laws regarding rape in several circumstances which came about due to local superstitions claiming that having unprotected sex with a virgin will cure AIDS which caused grown-ass men to rape BABIES, sick motherfuckers).

It is a supremely under-reported crime and this is what makes people think that it isn’t actually a problem. Statistics can’t even really be considered accurate because there are SO many reasons why it will go unreported. Fear of retaliation. Not wanting to get the offender in trouble (Wait, what?). Unsure if a crime was actually committed or if the local laws will consider it rape (many countries will only recognize “male-female” rape and almost NO studies have been performed in regards to “female-female” or “male-male”). Not wanting others to know because of shame and stigma. A lack of trust in local law enforcement. Not knowing HOW to report the crime.

And, as a big detractor. in many countries, a person who reports rape but cannot prove it will suffer criminal penalties themselves (alongside those countries where extramarital sex has its own set of punishments, thanks, self-righteous Abrahamic religions). In Africa, several countries have laws that institute the death penalty for consensual sodomy so if a victim cannot prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they were raped and not a willing participant, guess who’s on the chopping block?

The statistics I found in regards to the US ( can also vary based on the circumstances of the incident. Was the victim forcibly raped? Was the victim drugged against their will? Was the victim otherwise inebriated or incapacitated? Was the act violent or coerced? Those statistics tell us that nearly 20% of women in the US (and 11.5 percent of women in college) have been raped based on surveys and only 16% of those crimes were reported to law enforcement.

Keep in mind that I am deliberately mostly sticking to figures regarding women, here. This is because there is one trope used in several kinds of fiction that disturbs me on a number of levels. The child born of rape.

We all know that rape is often written into a fictional work as a power-play. It’s mostly (read “99.9999999% of the time) unnecessary but can provide tension and a cause for a rape-revenge scenario. In works by female artists, it’s used as a cathartic move. In works by men, it can be either sympathetic, created out of solidarity toward women, or just a sick fantasy. (Seriously, this is the one kink I will actively shame someone for. Yes, I get that it’s impossible to rape someone who refuses to withhold permission but there are going to be those times when you say no and if people don’t expect it, there’s gonna be a problem.) A lot of times, particularly in bad Mary Sue fanfiction and despite what some politicians would have you believe regarding the human female’s ability to “shut down” a pregnancy, that fantasy extends to a child born of a violent and unnecessary union.

As a sub-trope, though, the child of rape can bring us to some interesting places. Most often because the child of rape is largely portrayed as the evilest evil thing that ever eviled evilly.

We all know that marital rape is actually a new concept and even serial killers don’t always have horrible childhoods so we know that "rape children are evil" REALLY isn’t true. Thing is, though, it does provide a thought-provoking facet to an otherwise two-dimensional character’s life, whether the victim or the child. In Night of the Demon, a girl is raped by Bigfoot and bears his child. Even the Final Girl isn’t immune, as seen in The Prey.

In terms of just the children, though, on the heroic side, we have those characters that are wholesome and good despite their parentage. Of course, on that same side, we have the character that wants to white knight for their wronged mother and slaughter the son of a bitch that hurt her. And, on the other hand, we’ve got the villains.

Oh, yes, the villains.

The ones who kill for fun. The ones whose parents treated them as if they were a curse. The neglected and abused children who, through no fault of their own, get back-handedly blamed for the crime committed against their mother and grow up believing that they are monsters so they act like it.

We all know that Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm St) was called “The bastard son of 100 maniacs”. The deformed murderer in Dario Argento’s Phenomena is a product of such a union. The killer from Cherry Falls was the child of a woman that the local police chief (and father of our Final Girl) and his jock buddies decided to “have a little fun with”. Eleanor from Byzantium, while not technically a villain, is still a vampire. In rare cases, because fiction usually assumes that a rapist is male, the child is the result of the mother raping the father, such as La Morte D’Arthur where Mordred is the result of Arthur being tricked into getting Morgan Le Fey pregnant and in Black Christmas where jaundiced and yellow-eyed Agnes was conceived in much the same way.

It may not be right to almost celebrate rape with the enjoyment of these characters but their origin does give you something to think about no matter how bad the rest of the movie is. Would they be different if their parentage was legitimate? What if they ended up being adopted and lovingly cared for? Are characters like this written as a subtle means of promoting a pro-choice message? Why did the creator imagine them with this particular origin?

I mean, I get it but of all of the different means of becoming a villain, why is rape kind of a go-to? Why does an innocent child have to be written with that stigma. Is the pathos worth it? If the writing is well-handled and the actor doesn’t go off the rails with it, sure. As long as it’s not a cheap shot to the nuts, go for it. If the rape itself is treated with the respect an actual crime is due then, by all means, give us the goods.

Just don’t sell us on a crappy character with this background being shitty based solely on the shittiness of their conception.

*If you are a victim of sexual assault and need someone to talk to, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or use their online chat at Hell, I can be reached on Facebook and Twitter if necessary.*

Sunday, May 21, 2017

You In Danger...

AT LONG LAST!  I have seen the brilliance that is Get Out and I have things to say.  Things that may seem like I didn't like it.  Things that may seem as if I'm tearing down this utterly fantastic film.

Are you new here?

All strapped into your comfy chairs?  Are you ready for this?

Let's begin.

So, I'm sure you've heard all about Jordan Peele's horrific vision of the face of modern racism.  Even if you only saw the commercials, you got the gist of what was happening.  Interracial couple goes home to get the black boyfriend introduced to the parents.  You expect the sobbing and the wailing and the gnashing of teeth all Guess who's Coming to Dinner style, right?  The girlfriend being super-positive and "They're gonna love you!" while our guy, played with a sassy smirk throughout the whole film by Daniel Kaluuya, is all "But... I'm black.  You told them, right?  They know what's coming, right?"
The 'Rents are looking particularly white, today.

They DO hit a deer and get racially profiled on the way there and that freaks our hero out, but otherwise the trip to the house is uneventful.

I'm going to do my best to not spoil this but it gets SUPER-weird from here on out.

So, Dad is a neurosurgeon and Mom is a licensed hypnotherapist who REALLY likes her tea.  She has that same cup in her hand throughout the whole movie, kinda like Sharon Stone in Catwoman but without the booze and smug satisfaction of doing a film for the sole purpose of buying a pool.  Sharon was the best part of that movie (which I love for its utter horribleness).  I didn't realize you could actually get paid in highballs.  BOOZE, kids!  The great motivator.

Awwww... he looks so proud of his new token *ahem* potential son in law.

There's a party but that's almost not the important part.  The important part is MOM IS A GODDAMNED HYPNOTIST!  And she's SHADY about it.  Like, doing it without you realizing it until it's too late.  But at least he can quit smoking, so, bonus, I guess.

Oh, and did I mention the Stepford servants?  The ones they say are just like family?  Yeah... hold that thought.  You'll need it at the end.

"Why, no, I didn't make a concerted effort to strand you in Upstate New York with the rich, white folks at ALL!"

There's a twist.  It's a BIG twist.  A twist so audacious, you don't even see it coming until it fucking steamrolls you into a popcorn-filled pancake.  A twist that, had it been used in ANY other manner, would have earned Jordan Peele every Razzie in existence. 

First of all, let me say this.  Holy.  Fuck.  This is fucking AMAZING!

Not as amazing as this guy.  I hate cardio.

This, kids, in the guise of a horror film with some deep comedic roots that knows when to dial back the silly, is "cultural appropriation" writ large and in fucking charge.  The line is obliterated at "appropriation" and sends you screaming straight into cultural PILLAGING.  When you watch the trailers, you think this is all about some kinda slavery thing or some way of forcing the black man into assimilating into white society but it's so much fucking worse than that.

See, these people LIKE African-Americans.  Like, a LOT.  They want to know and understand their culture.  They think that hanging out with "the coloreds" is cool and they're INCREDIBLY impressed with their physical superiority.

Wait, whut?  They did this because white men can't jump and black don't crack?  THAT'S what they got out of repeated viewings of Roots?  Fuck, Peele, you went in DEEP.

You hurt my feelings, man...

ANYWAY!  There are times, watching this film, that made it hard to remember I was watching a horror movie.  That's good.  I complain about being lulled into a false sense of security but it obviously works or filmmakers wouldn't keep doing it.  In this case, you almost expect this to go off-track into a Key and Peele sketch but it doesn't.  Those little detours are what make the actual horror pieces slap you right in the goddamn nuts and say "PAY ATTENTION!"

And pay attention you fucking should because this is, to date, the most culturally significant horror film, in regards to race relations, to come along since Night of the Living Dead.  Socially CONSCIOUS horror is a fantastic thing and this one gets the job DONE.

Go.  Watch.  Now.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Road To My 15 Minutes... maybe...

SO!  I've done some stuff, as you know (*ahembuyTROPEFESTahem*) and, in the process I've been getting around and, y'know, TALKING about TROPEFEST as if it were an earth-shattering revelation.

And, people actually wanted to hear about it!  Check out the first two, of, I hope, many interviews about myself, my writing and the book itself!

Available on Amazon!

First up, Annie's Book Stop of Worcester, MA!

And second, fellow author, Nora Jones!

I had a LOAD of fun with these and I'm hoping you enjoy them, too.  If you know anyone who wants to ask me stuff, send 'em on over.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Night of Something... I Don't Know What, But Something

I'm really going to have to stop watching things my roommate tells me I should watch because this shit is getting ridiculous, yo.  For today's little fun run, let's take a look at Night of Something Strange.

Words cannot adequately describe the revulsion I feel for this film.  Remember how actual, real, paid critics used to say that horror had no redeeming social value?  Yep.  None.  None at all to be found here.  Negative social value is the watchword of the day.  The director, here, needs to be beaten with an oar and pay US for the opportunity to do so.  Because his shit is weak.  Weak and off-putting.  I would rather put my dick in a blender than watch this again.

Because it all starts with this guy:

Jokerface McCorpsefucker
First off, asshole, if you're GONNA fuck a corpse, at LEAST read the toe tag if you're not the actual cause of death.  It says right there that she died of an STI.  But, noooooooo.  You and your creepy-ass face just neeeeded to get your dick wet.  Probably because no one else was gonna touch you.  I bet you belong to a Men's Rights group and believe that raising a daughter is the ultimate in cuckoldry because you spend 18 years spending money on a girl for other men to have.  Grooooooooss.

SO, yeah.  It all started there and, like all shit, rolled directly downhill, do not pass Go, do not collect $200 (or, rather, $3500 in today's money which I could totally use because I like nice things, go buy my book).  

Oh, and OF COURSE we have teenagers getting ready to graduate and going on a beach trip with no parental supervision.  Teenagers who can't stop at the side of the road to pee and, instead, have to use the gross toilet that Necro-Dick pissed blood and pus into AFTER eating the used tampon that was in there because we ALL needed to see that, right?

Awww.  Poor teenager in old-age makeup making sure she gets a last drag in before she cacks it.

AND THE FUN CONTINUES with everyone slowly turning because the one chick just HAD to go and she fell into the gross toilet, the fat kid finally getting laid (and getting his first STI AND his first anal experience in one go, bless him), the disgusting rimming jokes and other super-homophobic bullshit like the dude getting literally stuck in Chunky's asshole.

No, children, I cannot recommend this even as a horror-comedy (which is what it's supposed to be, I guess).  I would not even recommend watching this with a shitload of weed because it's just not that funny.  Maybe if it relied less on toilet humor, I wouldn't have a problem but, as I age, kicking and screaming, toilet humor does nothing but make me want to throw things at my very expensive monitor and that, kids, is a very bad fucking thing. 

Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE bad horror but it either has to be the kind of bad that doesn't think it's bad or the kind of bad that knows it's bad but uses the awful to it's advantage.  This movie is neither.  I mean, seriously.  If you're going to give me dick jokes, at least give me some dick and NOT the hideous fucking puppet you so graciously provided.

Don't watch it.  Just... don't.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Crime Doesn't Pay

I'd heard good things about today's piece.  The House on Willow Street is supposed to be this new, edgy, South African horror flick that's sweeping the nation via OnDemand and IFC Midnight.  I mean, LOOK at this poster art.  It's delightfully creepy, right?

So I watched it.  I got my snacks and my drink and I settled into some demonic shenanigans.

Nope.  Nope.  Nope.

So, here's the thing.  These 4 career criminals (refugees from the foster care system from the sounds of things), who all seem to be related spend WEEKS coming up with a plan to abduct and ransom a teenage girl which, for all intents and purposes, goes off without a hitch.

There's a bell.  WHY is there a bell?  Is she part cat?
Of course, this being HorrorMovieTown, this is not quite as simple as they would like it to fucking be.  (Because it never is.  It's better to learn this lesson, now, kids.  Don't take the easy way out.  EARN your shit.  If you work hard for it you don't have anyone else to blame when things go tits up but you don't have anyone to thank but yourself for the cool shit, either.  Just a tip from your old Uncle Bob.) ANYWAY, their target is all legit possessed by a demon who can project your deepest fears and has a SUPER need to physically manifest.  I'm guessing because it's dying for a Pinkberry but I could be wrong.

So, these four douchebags (yes, including you, sole female member of the team) spend the rest of the movie getting chased by people they thought were dead, getting infected with "Tha Evuls" via spiky penis tongues and generally making use of the hastily rented abandoned warehouse .

And making me continually give you the thousand-yard Cheech-stare because I thoroughly blame drugs for this movie.
Oh, come one, now!  Really?  Truly, kids?  You can't do better than this?  I thought IFC Midnight was supposed to have GOOD taste and they distribute this pile of steaming, corn-filled shit?


First of all, this has already been done and been done WELL.  Take a gander at Tales from Halloween (because it's awesome) and check out the segment called "The Ransom of Rusty Rex" and you'll get a much slimmer, much more intense, and actually FUNNY version of this movie.  This movie makes me wish I made better choices in life, for real.  It was a bland, boring mumble-fest.

Save yourself the two hours and go walk in nature with children or something.  At least then you've done something worthwhile.