Sunday, March 28, 2010

Musical Inspiration: Tenebre

Today's musical selection is the theme from Dario Argento's 1982 giallo-thriller, Tenebre (also known as Unsane). Tenebre or Tenebrae is a Latin word for darkness or shadows. The film follows a writer who arrives in Rome only to find somebody is using his novels as the inspiration for committing murder. As the death toll mounts the police are baffled, and the writer becomes more closely linked to the case than is comfortable. The music is by the legendary band Goblin, who provided music for many a horror film, including George Romero's Dawn of the Dead. The Tenebre theme has a very disco-like vibe to it and I can't help but picture guys in leisure suits dancing to it or chicks on roller skates zooming around to it. Needless to say, it is currently the one piece of music that I cannot get out of my head. Give it a listen:

The French electronic music duo, Justice, sampled the music for their songs Phantom (which you can hear below or here) and Phantom Part II. This leads me to wonder, when is sampling a good thing, if ever? Some artists only sample specific beats and riffs, while others sample larger pieces. Where is the line drawn between being so creatively challenged that one has to lift music from others and the desire to take an older piece of music and put a modern spin on it? From all accounts, Justice had Goblin's blessing, so die hard Goblin fans cannot get too irate. Personally, I prefer the original version, but that's just me. Oddly enough, this sampling theme fits with the movie Tenebre, where a writer has his words co opted by a killer and used in several bloody murders. Now I just need to snag a copy on DVD. Fortunately, a newer special edition is available, since the original edition went OOP quite some time ago.

Review: One Million AC/DC

Simply put, this movie sucks worse than a malfunctioning sex doll. A tribe of cavemen deal with horny apes and hungry T-Rexes while simultaneously inventing pornography, wine making and BBQ. When not engaged in one of these activities, you'll find them screwing non stop. Hey, at the rate these morons get themselves killed, the Earth needed repopulating real quick.

Made in 1969, this film was nothing but a cheap "nudie" made to play on the grindhouse circuit. Nowadays the only grinding will be your brain as it comes to a crashing halt when watching this utter mess. This is the very first film in The Graveyard's history to score my lowest rating possible: The Toilet. Seriously, all copies of this film need to be consigned to the sewers along with the alligators and cannibals.

Lessons imparted by this film include:

1. "Going Ape" had an entirely different meaning a million years ago.
2. Even in prehistoric times, blondes were trouble.
3. All cavemen were capable of copulating without having to remove their fur clothing.

Go to review, if you're willing.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What's In A Name?

For the last couple weeks I've been outlining the story for Lair. Everything is going along great, but I am experiencing something that for the life of me I cannot seem to surmount very easy: naming my characters. Oh, I can shut my eyes and see them in my head. The color of their hair, their families, their jobs, their personalities, their quirks....but not their names. I have never had so much difficulty coming up with names for these folks. I've tried random name generators on the Internet, but while that has given me some names, I tend to dislike most that are suggested. I've tried mixing up the first and last names of people I know, but am afraid that if they do ever read the finished product, they'll be offended somehow. What to do? How do you come up with names for your characters?

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Character Pool

Throughout most of the year 1997, I crisscrossed the country as a long haul big rig driver (or over the road driver using industry jargon). You know that song, "I've Been Everywhere?" Well that was me, darn near. I made it to 44 out of 48 contiguous states and visited every major metropolitan area with the exceptions of Miami, New Orleans and Washington D.C. I met a lot of unusual people in the many places I passed though and started jotting down notes on some of the more quirky/memorable ones for use as character outlines. These characters went into a file I referred to as my "Character Pool." I had no specific story in mind for them and often they had no name, but I maintained the list for future reference.

Alas, that file was one that went bye-bye in the tragic hard drive crash of 09', though to be truthful, quite a few of the characters in that pool had hardcopy backups. Since then, I've jotted a few more down in a new (and properly backed up) file. Lately I've been going over them, trying to decide which ones I might use in Lair, the novel I will be attempting to write soon. Some fit my general idea for story setting while others do not. Still, even these may help spark some creative mojo in crafting new characters. Fleshing out these people and their backgrounds has turned out be a rather fun task and I find myself already imaging certain scenes and dialog exchanges based solely on their personalities and relationships. Of course, some are going to come to some very bad ends. Hehehe. Time to take some notes and refill the Character Pool.

Does anyone else have any specific ways for creating characters?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Review: The Angry Red Planet

New at the Graveyard this week is the 1959 (or 1960, depending on source) scifi flick, The Angry Red Planet, which tells the tale of four utter morons and the first manned expedition to the planet Mars. Too bad the Martians didn't tell us to stay off their lawn before we put all that time and effort into making the trip.

Lessons imparted by this film to remember include:

1. Bombers are used to ferry Generals from base to base.
2. Hot girls are always more important than the threat of radiation.
3. Rockets are like a TARDIS: bigger on the inside than on the outside.
4. Loafers are standard issue foot wear for rocket crews.
5. Bulova is a contractor for NASA.

Go to Review

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Time To Reel Them In

I'm the type that nearly haunts Duotrope when I have more than three or four pieces out in submission land. I'm on that site constantly to see if any new responses have been reported from the same markets to which I subbed. When I went on my temporary break from writing a few months back, I had five stories submitted to various places. Sometime in December, one was accepted. The other four are still out there. They had already been out for some time when I went on my break. During the time I was focused on the movie site, I paid no attention to how long they had been out, but now I am seeing that the four stories have been out for 170, 225, 324 and 374 days, respectively. Two are zombies stories, one is a flash piece and the last (the one that's been out the longest) is a time travel story.

The time travel story is gonna stay where it's at. It went to the Time in a Bottle antho where it was promptly lost. It wasn't until K.C. Shaw mentioned to them that I had also subbed that they found it. Since the TOC for the book was already finalized by then, I had the option of withdrawing the story or letting them keep it for consideration for volume 2. I went with the latter. The other three stories however, may need to be addressed.
Am I right in thinking it's time to query and/or withdraw them?

The new issue of Ghostlight Magazine is now out. This one features my story A Private Misery, the idea for which came to me one day when I wondered what would happen if an itch in a sensitive and private area would not stop. The awesome Aaron Polson also has a story in this issue and by my count this is the fifth time I have shared a TOC with him in a book or magazine. I guess they have to balance out his genius with my drivel.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Musical Inspiration: The Fog

When writing, there are times when I am so into "the zone" that I can ignore all manner of distractions while on other occasions I need almost complete and total silence in order to get anything done. Often I will play some music or have a movie running in the background to help get me in the proper frame of mind. Naturally, a lot of the music is rather creepy, given the genre I most frequently write in, but there are plenty of times I go for something more uplifting. Tonight's selection is the theme from the original version of The Fog.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Sometime on Sunday, the old Graveyard rolled over 100,000 hits. That's just the counter for the home page, so I'm sure collectively it's garnered a few more than that, but I've only kept track of that one page. That may not be very many for a site that's five years old, especially when compared to similar sites, but I'm rather proud of it.

On the writing front, despite dabbling with a short story over the last week, I find myself drawn more and more to the ideas I have for novel length tales. Writing short stories was supposed to help me get into a regular groove and work out some kinks. Now I find that I'm not too eager to return to smaller projects and really want to tackle something longer. Naturally, all my ideas for longer stories involve a monster of some kind. The one word titles I use to refer to these ideas are Lair, Nest, Arisen, Parts, Hunter and Jars. Aside from the creatures, I fear that the stories are much too similar and am trying to think of ways to help them stand apart. The first one, Lair, is the most developed (I actually went on a road trip to research stuff for it) and probably the one I'd tackle first. Who knows what I'll do. Any advice?