Saturday, July 30, 2011

WHY AM I WATCHING GHOST ADVENTURES?


PENNING THE PAGES WITH ZOMBIES: AN INTERVIEW WITH SCOTT KENEMORE

Let's get the fact that I'm a total Scott Kenemore fangirl out of the way.  Scott Kenemore is the author of the Zen of Zombie-series of humor/satire books, and the novel Zombie, Ohio.  He is a graduate of Kenyon College and Columbia University.  A member of the Zombie Research Society and the Horror Writers Association, Scott is a Chicago Drummer and is the drummer for the musical band The Blissters.  Scott has discussed zombies on the Fox News Channel, National Public Radio, Martha Stewart Living Radio, The Alan Colmes Show and other esteemed news outlets.  His books have been written about in the Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, Hartford Courant, Indianapolis Star, Cleveland Plain Dealer, USA TODAY, Rue Morgue Magazine, Fangoria, Gawker.com, BoingBoing.netAOL News, and the New York Times “City Room” blog.  He's even such the zombie expert that he's been been asked to discuss zombies and horror-writing at conventions like Comic-Con International, Spooky Empire, and ZomBcon. For lack of a better word, he's perfection incarnate.  Now that the formalities are over, LET'S DIVE INTO THE INTERVIEW!

BJ-C: Your most recent book "Zombies vs. Nazis" comes out next month, I gotta ask...are you actually interested in the concept or is this just schtick?

SK: I'm actually interested in the concept. I get approached about doing many zombie-related writing projects that I eventually turn down because they just don't feel right. But when my publisher came to me with a very open ended request ("Could you do something for us with Nazis and zombies?") I instantly knew that, yes, this was a book that I could and should write. Also, I grew excited by the challenge of doing a book where there are NO GOOD GUYS. It's something you don't see a lot. The narrative structure of my book is taken in large part from "The Pardoner's Tale" by Chaucer because that's my favorite story that has no redeemable characters. (I've had a negative reaction from agents who sell film-rights for this very reason. They're all like: "I can't sell THIS to a movie studio. There's no good guy for the audience to cheer for. This is just a bunch of racists Nazis encountering horror and depravity and zombies." And I'm like: "Yeah, exactly.")


BJ-C: Okay, let's make the obvious comparison. What's your opinion of the film Dead Snow?

SK: I thought the Nazi zombies in Dead Snow were wonderful, but I wished they could have been used to tell a more coherent, nuanced story. I hope Dead Snow inspires future horror directors to make new, even better zombie Nazi movies. (I wrote a review of Dead Snow on my blog last year, if you want a more in-depth version of my thoughts.)


BJ-C: Of course the author would want a coherent, nuanced story.  You are a very gifted writer, but out of all of your books, which one was your favorite to write?

SK: Zombie, Ohio was my favorite. Satire and humor are fun, but I like novel writing the best. It's more difficult, but more satisfying in the end. I'd written four novels prior to Zombie, Ohio. Some of them had come very close (I think) to being published, but, in the end, never were. I remember once going smoking in a hookah bar in Manhattan with an editor from Random House who was interested in a novel I wrote back in 2002. I was thinking: "Random House can't take EVERY writer out hookah-barring. They totally must be interested in me!" But then, for one of a million reasons, it fell through. Getting a novel published is about tenacity. You've got to keep trying. I'm proud, also, that I stuck to my guns in terms of content. I never tried to write a novel that would fit a current trend-- I just wrote the kind of horror/mystery novels that I liked and would want to read myself.

BJ-C: The book itself is vastly different from your satire books.  How did you transition from writing your zomcom books into your more serious book Zombie, Ohio?

SK: I had always been writing novels all the time-- alongside the satire-- I just hadn't yet convinced a publisher to print one of them.


BJ-C: You recently had a kickstarter campaign for your next book, what can we expect from Zombie, Illinois?

SK: I don't want to give too much away. The novel has three narrators-- a twenty-something female rock drummer, a thirty-something male news reporter, and a sixty-something African American pastor. Zombie, Illinois follows these three characters as they interact with one another, fight zombies, and negotiate the difficulties of a zombie outbreak in Chicago, Chicagoland, and larger Illinois. Many of the themes and locales are drawn from my own experiences-- being a drummer in Chicago bands, working in the media, and working for six years with community-improvement organizations in African American neighborhoods on Chicago's South Side.

BJ-C: That's going to be incredible.  Speaking of incredible, how was it speaking at comic-con?


SK: Great fun! Our panel was a marvelous exchange of ideas (about zombies), and I got to catch up with many of my friends from the "horror/zombie circuit."

BJ-C: I can only imagine the amount of nerdgasms.  While I'm on the subject, what is your nerdiest obsession other than zombies?


SK: Hmm. Things my friends make fun of me for liking include Rush, Phil Collins/Genesis, and Sherlock Holmes.


BJ-C: Phil Collins?! Oh no. We can't be friends. We'd be perpetual enemies.  I hate Phil Collins with a fiery passion.  Rush, that we can share but not Phil Collins.  Sorry, I digress.  What do you want to see come from the modern zombie film?

SK: I would like to see zombies used for great storytelling!


BJ-C: I think we're still too new into the zombie psyche to figure out a way to do that just yet.  Do you think that zombies will ever get the disgusting facelift that the vampires have (aka-will there be a twilight style zombie)?

SK: Honestly, yes--I think at some point, unfortunately, some out-of-touch Hollywood producer will greenlight something like that. And it will fail utterly, and lose a bunch of people a bunch of money.


BJ-C: That's depressing, yet inevitable.  I agree with you on that one.  Maybe it's the Chicagoan side of us.  We're lucky that way.  So, I gotta know.  How has Chicago shaped your zombie obsession?

Chicago is a great, dynamic, exciting town. It's unique. It has guilds and trusts and racial-clusters like Ankh-Morpork. It also has a tradition of beloved writers who don't always get the national attention they deserve (Mike Royko, Studs Terkel, Roger Ebert, Timuel Black, just to name a few). What I want to do with Zombie, Illinois is to write a horror novel about Chicago and Illinois that people FROM Chicago and Illinois will actually like. Too many "important Chicago books" get named as being so by book critics in New York City, and not because actual readers in Chicago are like: "Yes, this guy/gal got it right!" I will have succeeded with Zombie, Illinois if local readers feel like I captured something real.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A ZOMBIE PANEL OF EPIC PROPORTIONS

For all of us who missed comic-con (raises hand in shame) we not only missed the plethora of cosplay brilliance, but some of the best panels and debates. Everyone knows that I'm a straight up Scott Kenemore fangirl, so I'll watch just about anything where he's talking. Unfortunately this is sort of overtaken by Max Brooks (who's a total windbag, as it seems) but this panel of Zombie Authors has brought some interesting arguments to the table. Thoughts?

Oh Scott Kenemore...you fox.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

THE TOP FIVE REASONS HORROR MOVIES HAVE RUINED THE HOTEL EXPERIENCE

 In the darkest hours I reside on the interwebs as BJ-C, but during the daytime, I am Brittney-Jade: Front Desk Extraordinaire at a hotel in my hometown.  I absolutely love working in the hospitality business, but my little fears established from years of watching horror movies seem to rear their ugly heads whenever I'm at work.  In the same way that JAWS ruined swimming in the ocean for most people, horror movies have completely ruined the hotel experience.  Maybe it has something to do with the hundred other people sleeping in the same building as you or the eerily quiet hallways, but something about hotels are extremely chilling and horror films have done a great job at exploiting that factor.

First of all, thanks to The Shining, it is IMPOSSIBLE to look down a hotel hallway and not instinctively fear a pair of Grady sisters awaiting you at the other end.  If you've seen this film and don't experience that whenever you stay at a hotel, you're either insane or a liar.  Tonight I had to bring up towels to a room at the very end of the hallway.  The second I got the room number, I immediately had a pit in my stomach because I knew I was going to have to walk to the complete end of the hall to deliver it all.  I could almost hear them asking "Come Play With Me" as I stepped off the elevator.  Thanks, King/Kubrick. Thanks.
Second, I've become extremely paranoid that I'm being watched.  I'll be the first to admit that sometimes I wish there were cameras in the rooms just to prove if people really are just trying to scam there way into a free night, but that's super illegal.  However, I can't help but wonder that there is a camera hidden in the room and there's someone watching my every move.  This paranoid has been brought to you by the film Vacancy.

You know something? I'm really bad with things out of my control.  I'm the kid that gets nervous on an escalator when wearing shoes with laces.  Do you know what every hotel has? An elevator. Do you know what every hotel elevator does? Creaks like a mofo, moves unbelievably slow, and makes loud beeping noises when you try to hold the door open for someone.  I don't know about you, but these all sound like warning signs for an elevator to come crashing down and demolishing all of those inside of it.  Tower of Terror may be based off of a Disney World ride, but it doesn't change the fact that falling to your death in a giant metal box isn't one of the most horrifying thoughts in the world.
I'm going to be really obvious here. I'm always afraid the place is haunted.  While my hotel is less than a month old and no one has died in it, I can't help but feel that every hotel has a little bit of haunting going on.  There seems to always be this lingering sense of despair in every hotel.  Maybe it's the forced silence mixing with the murmurs of television sets attempting to muffle adultery and prom night virginity loss, but I can't help but always feel extremely uncomfortable with hotel rooms.  The Lakeview Hotel from the Silent Hill games has easily made me weary of every strange occurrence, and has made it almost impossible to stay a night in a hotel without having the creeps.
Most importantly, I'm horrified to shower at hotels for obvious reasoning (note the infamous shower scene from Psycho above).  Not only does it gross me out to think of how many people have used the shower before me, but damn it if Hitchcock didn't ruin showers for me forever.  He didn't just ruin hotel showers, he ruined all showers together.  There's a reason I only shower at school during awkward times of the afternoon/evening is to prevent this sort of anxiety.  Hotels are easily the worst.  They're small, unfamiliar spaces, and there are workers who could create keys and barge in and stab me whenever the felt necessary.  Thanks, but I think I'll stay home.

Friday, July 15, 2011

THE THING: A PREQUEL RECIPE FOR SALVATION

Okay, first of all, watch this.
You done yet? Now? Now?! Okay. Let us begin. 

Today the Gods of all things horror released to the public the trailer for the prequel to John Carpenter's masterpiece of the same name, The Thing.  While many have been up in arms since the announcement of the prequel about anyone going anywhere near his film, there are those (like myself) who have remained somewhat optimistic.  My opinion on perfection is that it's pretty hard to screw it up.  The best remakes/prequels usually pertain to films that were downright perfect to begin with.  For example: last year's dreaded remake of Let The Right One In was seen mostly favorably by horror fanatics and the infamous quote by THEoDEAD from Bloody-Disgusting that "the only problem with Let Me In is that LTROI exists," does nothing more than further drive the point I'm about to make about this prequel.  Based on the trailer alone, there are some key elements that are beginning to make me think that this film could be something we've needed in a very long time.

The thing that initially drew me in was the even balance of something old, and something new.  Hardcore horror audiences will enjoy the familiar feeling of the pool tables, poker games, and "mom's basement walls" in the setting of the sanctuary in the tundra.  We must remember that this movie is intending to take place right before Kurt Russell and Diabeetus sans stache accidentally let the ThingDog into their safety zone.  However, thanks to advancements in technology and just about everything James Cameron has touched, we now have the ability to create some mind-bending creatures that can be scary enough for the new millennium.  We'd be lying to ourselves if we didn't admit that twenty-something years later, the actual "thing" can at times look a bit amateur.  Today's audiences don't have the proper appreciation for that sort of thing, and our updated special effects may be what it takes to instill a few nightmares. 
While this film is meant to scare us, the original also brought us some of the most bad-ass uses of flame throwers and sci-fi action sequences.  They've kept the flame throwers in tact and this will appeal not only to die-hard fans of the original, but to today's violence obsessed audiences.   It isn't every day that films use a flame thrower for anything but ironic 1980's hair-metal concerts...or fighting Asian drug lords while filming a movie.  Regardless, the film looks pretty bad ass.  Where they could have taken it a traditional modern horror route and had most of the cast just run away in fear while scantily clad, they are keeping the snow suits and flame throwers and (hopefully) the Jive Talkin' arguments.
To add the icing on top of this cupcake, this film is delivering something I've been BEGGING for for the last three years.  It seems that we may very well have a strong, powerful, clothed, leading lady.  It's not every day that we're able to see a strong leading lady that isn't also melting with sexuality.  While Alice in Resident Evil is quite the bad-ass, she's also half naked and oh yeah, a fucking supermodel.  Mary Elizabeth Winstead has the capability to be extremely sexy, but this trailer showed her more than fully clothed the entire time.  Thank. God.  It is with that very decision alone that I feel this film will retain the true heart of the original because it is failing to conform to the modern horror film.  Long live the long sleeves and puffy coats.


Oh. And to those that think it looks too much like a remake, shut up.  It's in ANTARCTICA. What were you expecting, sand castles? It's what happened before they got there, I highly doubt the circumstances could be any more similar without it being a remake. Let it be.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

SHOCK VALUE: THE HORROR FAN'S GUIDE TO SOME OF THE GREATEST FILMS EVER MADE

After mother nature gave me a perverbial bitch slap by not only destroying the homes of those I love but also taking away my power AGAIN (check out the northern suburbs of Chicago online. It's what M. Night Shamalahymen wishes The Happening was like) It's BJ-C, bitch.  I'm back and after a horror high from the PJ Soles blogathon, I'm about ready to take on the world.
While I was without the use of the internet or basic lighting, I was finally able to use my time to do something productive rather than stalk people on a certain bookfaced social networking site for hours on end. Yes, I finally had time to read a damn book.  Let me tell you, I finished this one in a single sitting.  Jason Zinoman's book SHOCK VALUE is like reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for horror fanatics.  As one of the babies of the horror blogosphere, I was born in a time of bad teenage slashers and was only able to access the glory of the 70's from whatever my mother deemed worthy for my eyes to see.  A book like this isn't something I can reminisce over nostalgic distances, it's something I NEED to fully grasp what I missed by being conceived nearly two decades too late.  While Universal and the black and white films of yesteryear were the originals and the classics, it was the horror of this era that truly established the proper canon of horror films.  
Zinoman isn't concentrating solely on the films themselves, but digs deep to deliver us the true inner workings of films that we cherish so intensely.  He discusses not only the creative process, but also the underlying meanings of the films that are often overlooked due to the gore, scares, or killers.  This product of the Penguin Press doesn't just analyze what it is about these films that helped define an entire golden genre of film, it gives us as horror fans an entirely new level to appreciate when watching these films. 

I find it remarkably difficult to try to describe what this book is truly all about without 1) completely ruining it for you and 2) going into an extreme fangirl mode and writing a novel of sorts on this page.  All I have to say is trust me when I say this book is by a true horror connoisseur, for horror connoisseurs.  Zinoman has managed to bring out the heart as well as the brain that went into changing not only the horror genre, but the world of film as a whole.

SHOCK VALUE is now on sale
and you'll be doing yourself a grave disservice 
if you do not find a way to pick it up.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

THE VAULT OF HORROR GOES ABOVE AND BEYOND FOR THE PJ SOLES BLOGATHON

I've said on here a few times that without B-Sol and The Vault of Horror, this blog and my entire horror blogging lifestyle wouldn't exist.  Sometimes, you've really just got to give credit where credit is do.  And so, it was no surprise to me when B-Sol did not just one, but three articles for my PJ Soles Blogathon.  I was truly blown away to see his commitment, and you will be too. Enjoy :)

First on the list, he took his regular TRAILER TRASH series and featured the trailers from all of PJ Soles' major roles, non-horror included.

The following day he allowed PJ Soles to take over his weekly Top 10 list with "The Top 10 Favorite Lines by PJ Soles"

And with full conviction, he finished his week off with an excellent article on how PJ Soles starred as the slasher victim prototype in Halloween.


I want to take this time to thank everyone involved with the PJ Soles blogathon.  Here at Day of the Woman, I'm always willing to showcase the underdog in any situation.  I feel that PJ Soles is an icon and an extremely underrated one at that.  Here's hoping this blogathon was able to shed some light on one of the most looked-over scream queens in horror movie history. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

CINEMA GONZO TAKES A STAB AT THE PJ SOLES BLOGATHON


I was recently contacted by the mind behind Cinema Gonzo who was just tickled to help participate in the PJ Soles blogathon.  Rather than focus on the films that made her famous, he decided to showcase one of her more underrated ditties, Innocent Prey.

Enjoy his post

Saturday, July 2, 2011

TO: PJ SOLES-FROM MIDNIGHT, WITH LOVE


Every once in a while, an actor comes into our lives and completely changes us for the better.  Ahead is a submission from The Mike of the blog From Midnight, With Love on how


Friday, July 1, 2011

And Your Little Blog, Too...


* PLEASE STAND BY *

This is B-Sol of The Vault of Horror, dropping by to let you know that our poor BJ-C has been struck powerless by a tornado, and thus the continuation of the P.J. Soles Blogathon may be slightly delayed. Only the brute force of Mother Nature herself could hold back BJ-C's awesomeness, but stay tuned, for DotW will soon return to its regularly scheduled shenanigans.

In the meantime, check out what's been done thus far in the Blogathon...
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