Spent the last few weeks finishing up a spec script I started writing about a year ago — got about 30 pages in before I put it aside to write Pete, Drinker of Blood. It was a tough script to write, for reasons I won’t go into, but I think I’m pretty happy with the results (I never really know for sure). In any case, it went off to my manager yesterday, and I’m sure she’ll have notes (thankfully, her notes tend to be very good, too).
Meanwhile, I’m starting in on the new Boone Butters story today. In this one, Boone and Shandi head off to Los Angeles to help Boone’s old pal with the production of an — ahem — exotic film. It ties in with the previous story, The Bombay Beach Boys, as well. Of course, you can still get that one and Roomies, the first Boone story, for Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo and more. I’m aiming at having this new one out in the world around the end of this month, but we’ll see.
In other news, I stopped by a gas station to buy a couple of sodas, and I saw a guy who looked so much like Matt Moneymaker from Finding Bigfoot that I loitered around waiting for him to approach the door so I could hold it open for him, in hopes that he’d thank me and I could positively identify him by his voice. All went well with this plan, but as soon as I heard him speak, it was obvious he wasn’t Moneymaker — the man has what you might call a distinctive voice.
KISS beer is a thing now. Can Gorn Dogs be far behind? Let’s get on that, food inventors.
Will I get back in the habit of posting regularly here? I don’t know. To be honest, I’m more concerned with getting lots of writing done, and sometimes I tend to fall into the trap of convincing myself that writing for the blog = writing, and then I avoid working on the novel or the new Boone Butters story or whatever. Granted, some folks write some damn fine blog posts that actually do qualify as writing with a capital W, but I ain’t one of them. So I’ll just try to do these posts when I can, because my hope is that the folks out there would prefer to read my books (or whatever) over reading about spiders in my pants.
Here’s a cool little post at MTV Geek — it’s about Mark Dacascos signing on for the new Mortal Kombat web series, and has some nice things to say about Drive, the Markie D movie I wrote.
J.R. on right.
And over at Cheese Magnet, a blog I write movie reviews and whatnot for, you can read an interview I conducted with J.R. Bookwalter, one of the guiding forces in the shot-on-video, no-budget filmmaking revolution.
Right now I’m gonna get back to work on the new spec script — I think I’m about four days away from finishing off the first draft.
Okay, I feel like the work I did on the courtyard has been pretty darned successful — here’s the view from my office:
The Morning Glories have wound their way up through the little elm trees, which is why that tree to the right of the barn door has blue flowers in it. And yes, I realize I need to coil up the hose.
Made some good headway on part 8 of Pete, Drinker of Blood today. If all goes well, I’d say the final installment should be online within about a week. Later than I was hoping for (thanks to the nerd flu), but still ahead of my mid-month deadline. This one will feature a cover illustration by Rafael Navarro. Meanwhile, the fine folks at DangerousRomance.com posted a swell review of Pete parts 1-3, which you can check out right here.
Yesterday my samsquamtch-fighting Canadian brother Axel Howerton hipped me to Total Film’s list of the 50 Greatest Indie Horror Movies, where The Stink of Flesh, the little zombie movie I wrote and directed, placed at #35 (just behind James Gunn’s Slither, starring Nathan Fillion). Not bad for a flick that cost $3000, I guess. I’m proud to say that zombie on the cover there is Jeremy Owen, who you may have seen trying to sell a sword to Nick Frost in Paul, and lead actor Kurly Tlapoyawa is not only Luis Guzman’s stunt double in the new Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, he’s currently doing stunts on the new Denzel Washington movie.
The offer I made yesterday — that I’ll give a free book to the first person who shows up at Bubonicon in a Space: 1999 costume? Well, I’m opening that up a bit: I’ll also accept a Planet X costume from Godzilla vs. Monster Zero.
It’s been a weekend of weeding, in an attempt to help Pat and Scott get things ready for the Bubonicon pre-party. Of course, yanking weeds outta the ground always riles up the allergies, so I’ve been dealing with that.
The only writing-type stuff I’ve done this weekend is some more work on the eBook version of Unsafe On Any Screen. It’s a massive undertaking but I think it’s gonna be cool when it’s all done. Meanwhile, Pete, Drinker of Blood part 8 is percolating and I should be rolling on that as of Monday (don’t forget to read parts 1-7 right now!).
I watched an interesting documentary last night called You’re Gonna Miss Me, about Roky Erickson, former lead singer of The 13th Floor Elevators. Until about 1992 when my buddy Chris Chaffin hepped me to ‘em, I had heard one song by Roky (on the Return of the Living Dead soundtrack) and nothing by the Elevators, but they were terrific. I’m not as big a fan of Roky’s later stuff but it’s good, too. The documentary, about Roky’s mental troubles and his brother’s fight to try and help him out, is really worth seeing. Here’s the trailer:
And here’s Roky and the Elevators doing You’re Gonna Miss Me:
…And I missed posting yesterday. Sorry about that — got nailed by a wicked headache, as well as a heap o’ household chores what needed doin’.
Anyway, as promised, here’s that post I’ve been building up to for the last week. And also as promised, it ain’t that big a deal — in fact, I didn’t mean to build up to it at all, I just didn’t have the time until now to sit down and write the damn thing.
All right — so the magazine cover below?
I went ape bananas when that issue of Starlog came out. Rick Baker surrounded by stuff he made for The Incredible Melting Man? Life just doesn’t get much better than that. Sure, the movie itself was pretty dreadful (a fact my dad never let me forget, after I dragged him to it on its initial release) — the point is, I didn’t go for the movie.
I went because of Rick Baker.
I didn’t go see Ghost Story because I thought it was gonna be an awesome movie. Well, okay — I was hoping.
And therein lies the question behind this post: Do people still have effects heroes that drive them to the theater, whether they give a damn about the movie or not? Back in the 1970s and 1980s (and into the 90s, even), there was a pretty good handful of effects guys I went to the movies for: Ray Harryhausen (of course, although his output was pretty slim by that point), Dick Smith, Rob Bottin, Tom Savini, Jim Danforth, Douglas Trumbull, and more. Certainly, a lot of the flicks these guys worked on had me excited to see them regardless of who did the effects, but if one of their names was attached, brother, sell me my ticket now.
Admittedly, I’m somewhat out of the loop these days, but that’s why I’m writing this post — I’m really curious about this. With CGI being so prevalent I just don’t know how many effects heroes there really are. I see lots of good CGI stuff from various digital effects companies but do they really count as effects heroes? Please don’t get me wrong: I don’t mean to malign any of those people — there are a ton of talented artists working in the digital effects industry, but how many of them get magazine covers and send kids screaming to the theaters to see their latest work? As much as I loved the effects in Iron Man or Transformers or The Avengers, I couldn’t even tell you the names of the effects companies who did ‘em. If I’m correctly mistaken (as Murray Hewitt might say), Stan Winston’s company did the practical Iron Man suits, but I’m not sure about that.
Obviously a lot of the old-school guys are still at it (and still doing incredible work), but I recently heard a godawful rumor that Rob Bottin left the biz and is now selling real estate. I guess some of them have transitioned to CGI work (Phil Tippett, for instance). I know there are plenty of talented makeup and creature effects people out there — my good pal Steve Wang, for one (and I try to see anything he works on, but he’ll punch me if I don’t). And there’s my other good pal Ken Hall, who runs Total Fabrication and also appeared in my low-budget movie, Gimme Skelter. I guess the KNB guys would count as being the sort of effects heroes you’d check out a movie for whether it was something you were interested in or not, right? And WETA would definitely count, I’d think. But is it the same today as it was for us kids in the 70s and 80s?
Lemme hear the names of your effects heroes — current or past — in the comments. Meanwhile, here’s a trailer for a flick I went to entirely because Tom Savini worked on it (but it turned out to be a cool little movie, too):
I’m running behind again this week, so instead of a real post, I’m giving you the trailer for a movie I wheedled my parents into taking me to back in 1977. It’s safe to say that other than Rainbeaux Smith’s topless scene, my dad didn’t enjoy this one as much as he liked Star Wars. We saw it at the ol’ Montgomery Plaza Mall theater, where Active Imagination is today.
Bear with me, though — this post will pay off in another, better post next week (probably).
I’m bearing down on Pete, Drinker of Blood part 6 and don’t have the steam for a real blog post tonight, but I noticed today that a handful of cool Roger Corman flicks from the ’70s and ’80s have found their way onto Netflix streaming, including a couple of my favorites, Eat My Dust (starring Ron Howard):
and Galaxy of Terror (starring Sid Haig and all kinds of cool folks). If you have Netflix and you’re a fan of such things, I highly recommend both of these, and you should also check out the other Corman-produced offerings on Netflix streaming, like Hollywood Boulevard and Big Bad Mama, for instance, as well as some of the ’60s-era Corman classics like The Pit and the Pendulum.
As for Pete, Drinker of Blood — I’m on target to finish part 6 Tuesday. Should be available soon after that.
…And to follow up on the events of Monday, I had what the kids like to call a Hard Day’s Night. I was utterly wiped out by the time I hit the sack (early, I might add), and to settle in, I watched some of The Legend of Bigfoot, a “documentary” from 1976 wherein Ivan Marx recounts his adventures on the trail of the Sasquatch. I bailed out just after the scene where Interpretive Dance Bigfoot did his bit:
Not that I didn’t want to see more, mind you — I was just too sleepy. I read a little (one of F. Paul Wilson’s Repairman Jack novels, for those of you keeping score), then conked the hell out.
And woke up less than an hour later. And then my mind went off in every possible direction and there was no getting back to sleep. Eventually, somewhere in the middle of the night, I turned on the TV and watched some of Godzilla’s Revenge (a.k.a. All Monsters Attack), arguably the lamest of the Godzilla movies (not counting the godawful American flick, of course), but I figured it might help clear my head.
I know, it LOOKS cool, but…
If you’ve never seen it, Godzilla’s Revenge is the tale of Ichiro, the ubiquitous Little-Japanese-Kid-In-Uncomfortably-Short-Pants, who escapes his dreary existence by imagining visits to Monster Island, where he hangs out with Minya, Godzilla’s chubby-faced and annoying kid. Ichiro and Minya have meaningful discussions and bond over their respective bullies, both named Gaborah.
You are truly fortunate, for you cannot see the pants.
One particularly dreadful thing about the American release version is that the kids are dubbed by adults doing terrible little-kid voices, and I find it impossible not to wander around imitating them.
The monster scenes in Godzilla’s Revenge are made up largely of stock footage from other, better Godzilla movies. Despite its crappiness, I have a real soft spot for this one, probably because I first saw it on Creepy Creature Feature when I was about Ichiro’s age. I never went in for the short pants, however.
Anyway, Godzilla’s Revenge didn’t do what I was hoping it would, and I spent the rest of the night tossing and turning. Now I’m sort of delirious and my eyes are burning. I tried to take a little nap awhile ago, but just flopped around thinking about all the stuff I need to do.
Perhaps tonight I’ll watch Nazis at the Center of the Earth and sleep like a baby. Or maybe I’ll just strangle myself with my own intestines.
Short post today — I’m working feverishly in order to get Pete, Drinker of Blood part 6 out into the world before the San Diego Comic-Con…
I’m slowly getting some of the cheesy short films I’ve done with my buddy John Howard up on YouTube. The most recent upload is Captain Frump in The Fanatic, the second crappy super-8 movie we made together. This was done during the same visit to Kentucky that spawned our first epic, Replica. I think I was 14, maybe 15.
Howie plays Captain Frump, a character he’d been drawing for the school paper, if I remember right. The mask he’s sportin’ is the same pair of underwear-with-the-leg-holes-stitched-up that he wore in Replica — our costuming and props warehouse was not vast. I played The Fanatic, and my mask was a hunk of shiny fabric and a pair of Howie’s old glasses with the lenses colored in. I could barely see.
It’s a little hard to tell what’s going on in the opening sequence, thanks to our amazing cinematographic skillz, but it’s me, peeling a banana and throwing the peel in the road. A passing car hits the peel, wipes out, and bursts into flame. It’s like Michael Bay or some damn thing.
And even though I posted it over at Cheese Magnet awhile back, here’s Replica, for your viewing pleasure. Since we couldn’t get anybody else to be in our movies, I play an army of clones (you can tell us apart by the numbers on our t-shirts) that Howie slaughters in various ways.