Category Archives: #amwatching

FIGHTING NIHILISM WITH EEOAO

Have I mentioned that Everything Everywhere All At Once is my favorite movie of all time? This show made me happy, joyful and all the best parts of confused. It came at a time in my life where I was wondering what I was doing and if it really mattered.

TLDR: No, it doesn’t matter. But that’s why it’s worth doing.

The comprehension of it comes in waves. The more I think about it, the more I love. I’ve watched it 2.5 times now with every intention of watching it many times more. If you haven’t seen it or you have and you are wondering WTH just happened to you, here is the best take on what this movie is about. Then if you can, go watch the whole thing.

You’re welcome.

The Definitive, Indisputable, All Time Top 5 (my favorite Horror(ish) Movies Ever Released… In June

Written by Briant Laslo

Briant Laslo

My goal here is to go throughout the year and each month pick out five of the best films, in my opinion, that in some way or another fit into the horror genre. They may not have been box office smashes. They may not have been critical successes. Some of them might even be more funny than scary. But, all of them will have made some kind of contribution to the genre or, at the very least, made their mark on me personally.

As I began doing my research on the movies released in June, it quickly became apparent, June may be the premier month for quality horror movies! There are a number of solid months coming up between now and the end of the year, and of course October has a huge number of releases. But June had a really surprising number of quality movies that fit the horror genre. It also has a fair number of potential dishonorable mentions, so this will be the first month that has both honorable and dishonorable!

Top five lists are, by their very nature, subjective and meant to be fun, conversation starting pieces. So, I encourage everyone to get involved in the comment section. Give us your top five, or talk about any of the films I mentioned. So, without further ado, here are the Top 5 Horror (ish) Movies Ever Released in the month of June!

Poltergeist, June 4, 1982. I vacillated a good bit on the number five spot because there are definitely at least six movies that could be in the top five spots, seven if you count the Annabelle sequel listed below. Ultimately, I went with Poltergeist because of its combination of startling special effects makeup, overall story, and performance by the cast.

I can still remember the first time I saw the scene where the character Marty hallucinates about pulling his face off in the mirror, and the effects at the time were terrifying. Throw in a number of well-timed jump scares, some good legitimate scary moments, and the creepy, and ultimately haunting, performance of Heather O’Rourke who played Carol Anne, and Poltergeist earns its spot in the top five of one of the most competitive months for horror movies.

The Thing, June 25, 1982. 21 days after the original Poltergeist came out, The Thing was released. I mentioned how the effects in Poltergeist were terrifying at the time, and that lasted approximately 21 days because the creature makeup and special effects of The Thing took it to a whole new level!

This was way, way before any kind of CGI was being used in moviemaking and, while you might not be familiar with his name, Rob Bottin pushed special effects makeup beyond where it had been previously. Just some of the movies where he has been designer of special effects makeup: Twilight Zone the Movie, Robocop, Witches of Eastwick, and Se7en. Those kind of effects combined with lots of tension, shocking transformations, and plenty of goo has The Thing edging just past Poltergeist into number four.

The Purge, June 7, 2013. This is another one of those movies that I feel has fallen victim to the “franchise” label. But the original The Purge movie is actually a pretty great movie. It makes a lot of commentary on our society specifically and humanity in general. For me, it really feels like a zombie movie without the zombies.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, any great zombie movie eventually makes the point that the humans are the bad guys. This has been done in other kinds of post-apocalyptic stories, but The Purge pulls it off without any kind of virus, natural disaster, or Armageddon of any kind. It simply presents the idea that many humans, by nature, are violent and depraved. Not necessarily angry, not necessarily outraged, but that some part of them inside needs to destroy something; to hurt someone.

The movie does a great job of setting the scene and making sure everybody understands what the rules of this world are: for 12 hours, once a year, everything is legal. I’ve noticed that overall film reviews of this movie are fairly low, and that’s why I say I wonder about the franchise affect, where sequels grow progressively worse and that winds up having people view the original in a lower light. To me, The Purge is a solid storyline, good tension building, a number of scary scenes and jumps to qualify as horror, and a good bit of blood as well.

Jaws, June 20, 1975. Wait a second… How is Jaws second on this list? This is the highest grossing horror movie ever released in June, and its sequel is the second! Jaws is the second highest grossing horror movie EVER! But, here’s the thing: I don’t really think it’s that scary.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this is an amazing movie. Unbelievable cast, great storytelling, lots of blood for sure, yes, a few jump scares. I just never got the “scary” vibe from this movie. It doesn’t present to me as a horror movie. It presents to me as a great action/adventure movie with an extremely formidable antagonist, but apart from 2, maybe 3, scenes there’s really no outright suspense or make you jump moments. And I love this movie, it’s one of those movies that if I see it on TV, I pretty much have to watch it. I just don’t think it’s a horror movie.

Despite that, it has garnered its place on enough horror movie lists and made enough people afraid to go in the water that I couldn’t keep it off of this list. So, even though I personally don’t view it as a horror movie, because of how it is perceived by so many others and how great of a movie it is, it earns the title of second best horrorish movie ever released in June.

28 Days Later, June 27, 2003. Without question, the best zombie-ish movie ever created by anyone not named Romero. 28 Days Later brought the zombie movie back into the mainstream, even though, technically, and from a zombie fan’s perspective, they are not zombies. There are a lot of similarities to zombies, they want to eat you, if you get bit or otherwise infected, you become one of them. But, you don’t need to shoot these zombies in the head, you don’t need to destroy their brain. If you put enough bullets into them, they will eventually drop. They are “infected with the rage virus” so they are not really the undead.

All that being said, this is a great zombie movie! First, the main update, the zombies are fast. Like really fast. Like sprinting at top speed never going to give up until I eat you fast. For some zombie purists that either takes a while to get past, or it’s a showstopper. For me, I just took a moment to accept this new world. Also, as a note, it’s my belief nobody survives a fast zombie outbreak. With your typical, plodding zombie, they might catch you off-guard before you know what is happening, but once you are aware of the situation, it’s just about being smart. With fast zombies? In the immortal words of Bill Paxton’s private Hudson, “that’s it, man! Game over, man! Game over!”

Ultimately, this movie revolutionizes the appeal of the zombie movie genre, tells a great story, ups the horror of what a zombie is, and still manages to ultimately make the point that the humans are the bad guys! Throw in plenty of blood, plenty of jump scares, lots of tension building, great acting, and one of the best scores for a horror movie ever, you’ve got the best horror movie ever released in June.

Honorable Mentions: Annabelle comes home (June 26, 2019, but it involves an evil baby doll and that makes it ineligible to appear on a list I create), The Omen (June 25, 1976), Twilight Zone: The Movie (June 24, 1983), Rosemary’s Baby (June 12, 1968), George A
Romero’s Land of the Dead (June 24, 2005)

Less Than Honorable Mentions: (remakes and sequels that failed compared to the
original) The Omen (June 6, 2006, 30 years after the original, same month, vastly different results), Psycho 2 (June 3, 1983. Seriously?), Jaws 2 (June 16, 1978. This is the second highest grossing horror movie EVER released in June, and that pretty much tells you just how good the original Jaws was!)

And there you have it everyone, inarguably, the best 5 horror movies ever created and released in the month of June! Look forward to your comments and I’ll have another one out for you all next month.

CAKE & HYPERBULL JUNE 2022

NEW! Go here to visit the new LEAGUE OF MAD POETS Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/19392…

Come chat about life, lyrics, and mad poetry love with Amy Zoellers and Angela Yuriko Smith. Tomfoolery, shenanigans, electric ecleticisms and the usual literary lunacy. Drop your links in chat and share yourselves and your own work.

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SPOFEST OPEN MIC LINKS:
SpoFest featured reader event link:
http://www.oicstudios.com/SpoFest-onl…
SpoFest Writing Prompt and Rough Draft event link:
http://www.oicstudios.com/SpoFest-pro…
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Haipoo: 7 Poospectives in Pooetry https://amzn.to/39jx7N8
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Pete Kelly’s video readings:
The Ghost: https://youtu.be/e9VpiCaCjzI
The Collector: https://youtu.be/m0hIQSEk4KY
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Amy Zoeller’s YouTube, Etsy and other links:
https://linktr.ee/hipnessandoutrage

The Definitive, Indisputable, All Time Top 5 (my favorite) Horror(ish) Movies Ever Released… In May

Written by Briant Laslo

Briant Laslo

My goal here is to go throughout the year and each month pick out five of the best films, in my opinion, that in some way or another fit into the horror genre. They may not have been box office smashes. They may not have been critical successes. Some of them might even be more funny than scary. But, all of them will have made some kind of contribution to the genre or, at the very least, made their mark on me personally.

May has been an interesting month for horror movies. It boasts a few of the all time great classics, but it also has a number of sequels and remakes that are disastrous when compared to the originals. Because of that I’m replacing the Honorable Mentions section in this month’s article with a Less Than Honorable Mentions.

Top five lists are, by their very nature, subjective and meant to be fun, conversation starting pieces. So, I encourage everyone to get involved in the comment section. Give us your top five, or talk about any of the films I mentioned.

So, without further ado, here are the Top 5 Horror(ish) Movies Ever Released in the month of May!

The Chernobyl Diaries, May 25, 2012. This is a somewhat controversial selection as this movie has run the gamut when it comes to opinions about it over the years. It’s been called everything from “disaster porn”, disgusting, and inhumane to genius. While I don’t go so far as to say genius, I am in the minority of those who feel this is more than a worthwhile movie. Location and scenery go a long way in setting the atmosphere and the movie doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to blood and gore. The film had a small budget, in the neighborhood of $1 million, and used every bit of it to try and maintain the atmosphere. If you’re looking for several jump scares and gruesome mutants, give it a shot.

The Monster Club, May 27, 1981. There’s a decent chance you’ve never heard of this movie, but it holds a place in my childhood and therefore gets a spot on this list. But, beyond that, it earns its spot simply by having Vincent Price, Donald Pleasence AND John Carradine all in the same film! The movie is basically three separate short stories and has a very interesting set up where each of the stories is separated by… A band giving a musical interlude at the “monster club.” It’s kind of humorous, but there is still something creepy about each of the stories. It’s kind of like one of those things you watch and laugh at when you’re watching it, but then occasionally, late at night as you are about to fall asleep, something slips into your mind and starts eating away at you, making you feel uncomfortable, not allowing you to fall asleep, and then you realize it’s something from this movie! Now, that might just be because I was 10 years old when I first saw it, but it still has that kind of feeling to me. It’s also only slightly over an hour and a half long, so check it out.

Friday the 13th, May 9, 1980. I recently re-watched the original Friday the 13th and have forgotten how disturbing it was. Over the decades the whole Jason character has morphed into a caricature, almost becoming synonymous with horror movie monster/villain. But, the original Friday the 13th is really something that took what Halloween had done a couple of years previously, and threw in a twist to make the whole thing a bit more twisted. It’s amazing how many people forget that Jason was NOT the terrorizing force in the original Friday the 13th, but that it was his mother. While Halloween is the grandfather/originator of the modern slasher movie genre, the original Friday the 13th had the potential to spin off and be something greater. The sequels got progressively worse and went down the easy path of sticking with the formula and just focusing on trying to come up with more outrageous murder sequences, but that doesn’t change the fact that the original had something else to it that is often overlooked or forgotten. Plus, I do have a tie in with the Jason character, having met the actor who played him in several movies. Check out my story here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/meeting-jason-66698467

The Shining, May 23, 1980. Let me preface this by saying there are certainly some flaws in this movie, the confusing rewriting of the demise of the character Dick Hallorann chief among them. However, this is one of those movies where you’ve got two fantastic actors at the top of their game almost exclusively carrying the entire movie. Jack Nicholson gets tons of adulation and kudos for his performance as Jack Torrance, and rightfully so. But, Shelley DuVall is right there with him the entire way. Throw in the off kilter atmosphere that only Stanley Kubrick is able to create, and you’ve got yourself this classic. Tension, jump scares, literally gallons of blood, and some of the most unexpected and nightmarish images are all here. Don’t compare it to the book, and don’t try to analyze too much the photograph at the end. Just turn off the lights, grab some popcorn, and enjoy.

Alien, May 25 1979. There aren’t many movies that would beat out The Shining for the number one movie in any of these months, but Alien is one that does. There are very few movies that can redefine a genre. There are even fewer movies that can redefine multiple genres. Alien does this for both Horror and Science Fiction AND introduces the concept of a female action hero! While the original chest bursting scene is undeniably bloody, the movie does an amazing job of making you think it is much gorier than it actually is. There is a ton of tension and the atmosphere is so palpable that while I am not claustrophobic in my day-to-day life, some of the scenes in the crawlspaces during this movie made me believe that I am. This movie is 43 years old this month and is still as enjoyable and scary as it was when it was released.

Less Than Honorable Mentions: (remakes and sequels that failed compared to the original) Poltergeist (remake) May 22, 2015. Poltergeist II (sequel) May 23, 1986. 28 Weeks Later (sequel) May 11, 2007. Friday the 13th part VII: The New Blood (sequel, but also gives me my tie in to the Friday the 13th franchise)

And there you have it everyone, inarguably, the best 5 horror movies ever created and released in the month of May! Look forward to your comments and I’ll have another one out for you all next month.

REVIEW: SPIRIT KEEPERS TAROT PLUS

As promised, I share my thoughts (aka gushing praise) for not only Benebell Wen’s limited release of the SKT deck, but also a number of her books and how they have impacted my craft studies over the past year. If you want to know more about esoterica, you can find a treasure trove of well written, excellently documented info at benebellwen.com.

I HAVE A YOUTUBE CHANNEL. REALLY.

It all started in 2020 when Amy Zoellers asked me to do a poetry event with her live on Instagram. I was a little terrified, but we survived it and it turned out to be fun. So we kept at it.

After about a year of those I said I wanted to branch off and do a similar event, but stream to YouTube. Thus Poetry, Cake & Hyperbull began. The shows have been spread across three YouTube channels, mostly because I didn’t know what I was doing. FYI: I still don’t, but we’re having fun.

At some point I was talking to Maxwell I. Gold about his book launch for Oblivion in Flux and the lack of open venues. How do you do a book launch party when everything is closed due to the pandemic? I offered to do a launch show and that began a whole series of author interviews, launch panels, readings, a convention and a literary news show.

Up until now these things shows have been spread across an old channel I didn’t know I had, Space & Time’s channel and the channel I was supposed to be sharing to. Now that I have a minute, I’m downloading and consolidating all the videos on to one channel.

Coming up this Saturday will be a Lit Up interview with Alicia Hilton, an author, law professor, arbitrator, actor, and former FBI Special Agent. I’ll be doing two readings next week from recent anthologies I have work in, and the next PC&H will be Saturday, Dec. 4 at noon. We still do the poetry live on Instagram every 3rd Sunday on Amy’s hipness_&_outrage channel.

If you want to catch some of this or see what I’ve been up to, consider subscribing to the channel so you get updates whenever I post a new video. Here’s how to find it:

Magic link to my YouTube channel here.

BIRTHDAY THANKS TO EVERYONE!

Thank you to EVERYONE for the birthday messages. I feel incredibly blessed with good wishes coming at me from all sides… so this is my one big thank you because answering all these individually is going to take awhile… but I will try. Also, I will be scolding the Beyond Meat company for the migraine.

LIT UP: DONALD ARMFIELD of HYBRID SEQUENCE MEDIA

I recently had an opportunity to chat with CEO and Founder Donald Armfield of Hybrid Sequence Media about his upcoming HYBRID, MISFITS MONSTERS & OTHER PHENOMENOM anthology. Who’s in it so far, how can we help and when do submissions open? All will be revealed…

Hybrid Sequence Media is a diverse publisher focused on poetry, story collections, novellas, novels and writing in all its glorious forms. You can find them at hybridsequencemedia.com.

If you are looking for a more involved way to become involved with this project, visit their Kickstarter. All the funds raised will help pay the writers, artist and the creation of Hybrids: Misfits, Monsters, and other Phenomena. Artwork from Luke Spooner.

You can support the Kickstarter (and get lined up for some very cool prizes) here.

TAROT JUMPER CARD DEFIES SHUFFLE…?

A while back I was thinking about doing tarot readings on Instagram. I did one test run to see how it would look. I was just going through the motions, not actually reading. I shuffled and pulled three cards. During the shuffle I had a jumper—a card that pops out of the deck during a shuffle. I typically take note of the jumper in case it turns up later.

My jumper card was Key 11, Justice. I showed it to the camera out of habit and continued with the shuffle and spread. Justice turns up as the first card in the spread. This isn’t unusual when reading tarot… that’s why I take note of incidents like this. It’s how Justice got at the top of the deck I’m wondering about. As many times as I play this video and follow that card, it doesn’t seem possible for it to show up on top.

What do you think? Am I missing something?

GHOST HUNTING IN MY BASEMENT

When we first moved into our house there were some strange things going on, so a friend and I took some equipment in the basement to see if we could get some ghost action. As I recall, we had some activity with the dowsing rods and the cameras kept dying even with fresh batteries.

Th3 Black3st Sh33p recently put together this short video of that night. Check it out, and consider giving her a like and subscribe.