Fiction Writing and Other Oddities

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving, or just, Happy Holidays!

I have to admit, I love the holidays, although not for any normal reasons. I love the holidays because starting in October, my very favorite sorts of movies start coming on television, and they aren't the kind of movies most people, except a nutjob like me, would consider good, solid holiday movies.

But really, the tradition for these sort of things started way back in the mid-nineteenth century, if not earlier. I'm speaking of the grand tradition of ghost stories during the holiday season. Or, more recently, horror movies. Naturally, there are always a new crop of horror movies around Halloween, then they sort of die back a bit, but if I'm very lucky, another bout of horror movies comes back around Thanksgiving. And if I'm very, very lucky, there is a full day of horror on Thanksgiving, so I can properly give thanks and totally gross out any and all guests who may have been unwise enough to join me on this extremely festive day.

Unfortunately, after that, instead of continuing the grand tradition of ghost such as The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, we are then left with those disgustingly heart-warming tales of yuletide joy, instead. I relentlessly avoid any book or movie described as heart-warming. They make my skin crawl. Although, Jean Sheppard has done a lot to help with his wonderful writing and what has to be one of the best Christmas pictures of all time that doesn't involve spilling a lot of blood: A Christmas Story.

Personally, I think despite his oft-times sickeningly sweet characters, Dickens had a soft spot for horror, and in fact made quite a good deal of pocket-change writing traditional ghost stories each year for publication at Christmas time. There is something about that season from Halloween through Christmas that just inspires...horror.

Now for a few recommendations for those who are similarly inspired to watch dismemberment around the Christmas tree during the holidays, instead of having to put up with all that nasty good cheer.

I don't normally like werewolf movies, with the possible exception of An American Werewolf in London, but I saw a movie done in 2002 which I loved. I'd never even heard of it until it popped up one day on our satellite dish, and I'm now considering giving in to my degeneracy and buying the DVD. And sure, addicts are already guffawing up their sleeves, trying not to blow pumpkin pie out their noses, it is:

Dog Soldiers
Released in 2002, with a cast including Sean Pertwee, Kevin McKidd, Emma Cleasby, Liam Cunningham and Thomas Lockyer. The plot is rather silly: a British squad is sent into the Highlands of Scotland and they come across the remains of a Special Ops Squad. There, they are hunted by...well, who knows what? It certainly howls a lot and there is a lot of disembowling going on.

Still, I love this movie. It had tension and a great bunch of guys, and there was this absolutely fabulous moment where one of the squad goes to try to get their vehicle to try to escape the terrible pickle they are in. He drives it up to the door of the house where they are hiding, and...he hears something behind him. With the sangfroid the British do so well, he remarks, "You're behind me, aren't you?"

Rip, gush of blood.

How could you NOT love that?
It doesn't hurt that Sean Pertwee is in this movie. I adore him, and he also played in The Event Horizon, another terrifying horror movie that you can't help but watch, mesmerized as it all goes so agonizingly wrong out there in deep, cold space... No to mention that the lovely Sam Neill also starred in The Event Horizon. Sigh. On an even more thrilling note, I'm looking forward to the upcoming Bermuda Triangle stuff on the Sci Fi channel, although it's a little annoying that I wrote a Bermuda Triangle manuscript about three years ago and could never sell the dang thing. (Let's be honest, it probably needs a wee bit of work, but still, it's just irritating to have missed being at the crest of the wave on this one...)

Right now, Sci Fi is running Bruce Campbell's The Army of Darkness, another gem I have on DVD because...well, what's not to love? A pit geysering with blood, a guy with a chain-saw instead of a left hand, honestly, you've got to see it. It's priceless. You also get to see Bruce Campbell with his shirt unbuttoned/ripped open at various opportune moments.

I'm a sucker for a cheerful attitude combined with a nice, manly chest. Stiff upper lip. Do or watch-others-die-in-an-absolute-orgy-of-spectacular-mayhem. That's really what holiday movies are all about, isn't it?

Have a great holiday season and don't worry. It'll all be over soon.

No comments: