A pair of horrible gems; XTRO and Pontypool

There’s no fighting the 40s and I choose to age gracefully. That means coming to terms with; I’m no longer in DC Comics target demo, cholesterol is not my friend, and I’ll never be scared by a movie again.

Actually, horror movies haven’t scared me in a long time because most are written for teenagers and I’ve written them off as such. But I’m trying to appreciate horror the same way I do other media. As jaded as I’ve become I now find satisfaction in the pleasant little surprises. The stories that impress me now are the ones that make me think ,”Where’d they come up with that?”

Here are two:


I discovered this one from a segment on Red Letter Media where they go looking for the worse movies for mocking diagnosis. They had to admit that XTRO was a pleasant surprise.

And who can blame them for thinking that this was 100% bad. Judge that movie by it’s poster. Instead XTRO is a well conceived, crafted and really creepy film about abandonment by a father. If they had bigger effects and promotions budgets this would be considered a classic.

There’s no messing around from the start. Dad is abducted by aliens in front if his son. Years later he returns as a psychic parasitoid, like you do, with a plan to take his spawn to the stars. The father rapes himself back to his human form by way of an innocent woman who just wanted to feed her dog and steps back into his old life so casually it makes him more alien rather than coming across like sloppy storytelling expediency.

Xtro on DVD


I’m burnt out on zombies. But this is an excellent execution of Our Zombies are Different… well I don’t want to spoil it.

What if Talk Radio was a horror movie? And like Talk Radio this movie owes a lot to its lead, Stephen McHattie, as the charismatic Don Imus type.

The setting is a news radio station in a small Canadian town. Which makes for a locked room horror movie. Instead of excessive rampaging hordes the news is trickling into the scene. Calls from listeners, reports from their helicopter reporter. Like the shark in Jaws they don’t show the monster too soon.

But the spin isn’t pure novelty and by the end you see why a man with a mic is humanities best hope.

Pontypoolon DVD

Plug: Supergods

Grant Morrison’s Supergods is part history, part philosophy, part autobiography and an incredibly deep discussion of superheroes role in society as medium and message.

Personally, it reminded me of the Sekhmet Hypothesis which, sunspots
aside, holds that the culture oscillates between punk and hippie on an 11 year cycle.

1944 Beatniks – Hippie
1955 Rock n roll – Punk
1966 Hippie
1977 Punk
1988 Acid House
1999 Numetal

In that case we’re just starting a hippie phase and I’m taking that into consideration as I outline my next book.

Buy at Amazon

It’s always been bad, everywhere.

Man I really needed this RabioLab, The Good Show, about the science of altruism. I just finished reading Armageddon in Retrospect which includes more of Vonnegut’s experiences outside of Dresden during and after the bombings of WWII and I was feeling a little down, mass murder does that too me.

I often find myself getting cynical about the state of the Earth, that cruelty is the norm and kindness is a recent aberration. But there is some science out there that suggests that kindness will win in the long run. And maybe civilization isn’t flawed and fake. Maybe we’ve created a little pocket of kindness that’s going to spread worldwide.

Escaping the Fallout shelter

Fallout 3 is exactly the kind of game that’ll trap me for days or even weeks. I know I’m coming late to this but the early hype on Fallout: New Vegas got me worked up and the Game of the Year Edition was too good a value to pass up. The setting is just so damned cleaver in that “Why didn’t I think of that” way. Take a 1950’s vision of the future, convenient and self-righteous, and do horrible things to it, famine, plague and war.

And it’s got me on a level. That the problems I face in Postapocalyptia, radiation, mutation, raiders and slavers, are easier to solve than the problems I face in the real world. It’s a whole lot easier to fight my way though the Enclave’s base than it will be to get last year’s taxes straightened out.

Ah well, I should suck it up and face reality. After I finish this level…