Haven

haven

I love the horror genre. I grew up with it, staying up late, watching bad horror flicks and even badder ones, sometimes alone, sometimes with my grandma. “Alien” had been my first real taste of horror, when the chestburster blew out of John Hurt’s heart. Last night, the wife and I watched “Aliens” and it was her first time to, and she was terrified. That’s a timeless piece there, folks. It’s not much data, but to me, it’s proof why “Aliens” is highly regarded as the best in the entire damn franchise.

Tom Deady, winner of this year’s Bram Stoker Award for his debut novel, “Haven” has that timeless feel swirling in me. Anybody who’s new to this might say it’s reminiscent to Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” which is, to me, a tribute to some dude named Stephen for his stories “It”  and “Stand by Me” (Originally, “The Body”). Both are excellent stories that should become required reading in schools.

The story begins with Paul Greymore walking out of prison as a free man, where he returns to his hometown called Haven, the place where he was arrested 16 years ago, accused of murdering children.

Let’s not kid ourselves here. We know Paul is innocent all along and it’s just a matter for us to find out what’s really happening. Deady drops hints early in the book to confirm that, so we don’t overthink things through.

What I loved about the book was the depiction of the monster. Better yet, monsters. A lot of people in Haven are pissed that Greymore has returned, and many of them are wary, paranoid, and ready to kill.

While in a way book feels like “It,” “Haven” is much shorter, and points you toward the action without introducing too much backstories from random people that would no longer be breathing and be in one piece by the chapter’s end.

“Haven” is a story about family. Yes, there is a monster in the book, and don’t be surprised by that. But it plays more in the sidelines, always hidden in the dark, compared to the real horrors humanity may inflict on to each other: The horrors what an angry lynch mob can do, domestic abuse, police brutality, and bullying.

I love this book. I gorged through it in two nights. And it’s exciting what other things Tom Deady can come up with.

To wrap things up, here’s “Dead Memories” by Slipknot. Cause, Paul Greymore reminds me of Paul Gray.

Best Mom

I love my mom. I love my grandmother, though it was she who raised me. And both did fine jobs in making sure to get to where I am today. I owe them a lot and they both made monumental sacrifices in their own choices in life only to ensure my well-being.  Just thinking about them pushes me forward and always do better. We’re all the best of friends and we each seek out each other’s counsel in this long, wayfaring called life.

Both are my Sarah Conners and Ellen Ripleys. They would have killed to defend their children, and they both are badass women in my lives. My wife is a recent addition to that, and we’re all looking forward to the day she becomes a mother, and me, a father.

However! However, I’d have to point out that the best mom, ever, should, fall under the shoulders of Ellen Ripley in “Alien: Resurrection.”

Spoilers for the films.

In the climax of the film we are introduced with the Newborn xenomorph that has embraced Ellen Ripley as its mother. And what did she do? She flushed it down to space in probably the most macabre and graphic thing I’ve seen on the screen.

Congratulations Ripley, besides the awesome catchphrase, “Get away from her, you bitch!” in “Aliens” before engaging in epic mecha combat, you launching your kid to space at such a young age, gives you that top-spot.

To everyone: Happy Mother’s Day and cherish every moment with your mother, grandmother, or any woman who has become a mother-figure to you or anyone you cared about.

For now, I’ll just leave this pretty neat scene from “Alien: Resurrection.”

Alien: Covenant

I didn’t know what to expect from “Alien: Covenant.” I had hoped it would be similar to the older films that were each directed by Ridley Scott and James Cameron. A friend and colleague from GameGulp, a gaming and film website I’ve helped a little to procure content, had claimed it was a good film.

In a lot of ways, “Alien: Covenant” pays homage to “Alien” and “Aliens,” by re-using old elements from both films. And these elements that played out were so strong, it’s impossible not to smile and think back about those moments that made the franchise fun and terrifying.

At the same time, “Alien: Covenant” feels so alien that it is more “Prometheus” than it is to the main series. And I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, or even be complaining about it. I imagine, studio executives, enforcing the call to slap the popular brand into the title rather than simply call it: “Covenant.” (Especially that, there was a film called “Covenant” released in 2006 and it was horrible.)

By the time the credits started rolling, it felt like a chestburster had come out between my ribs, leaving me in hollowed silence. What I’m getting at here, this is a pretty decent film, but it could have been better, had it been more intelligent and clever.

I understand that “Alien” and “Aliens” were galleries that shows in sequence the consequences of making bad choices. The characters’ panic and hysteria were so emulated in Covenant which, from the outsight, made them look the stupidest bunch ever. It was almost as if, these films are saying, you need to be punished for your bad decisions.

I have watched the first four films a small number of times. Covenant steers clear from this and has, instead, provided a series of answers. Though none of them bridges the gap to “Alien” as what people seems to be clamoring about. And if the internet is to be believed, Scott intends to bring out two more Alien prequels before bridging it with the first film. We’re so much closer now to the first film more than ever.

The first half of the film was engaging. You have a crew that is responsible for the safety of the entire colony. And the second half just falters with countless mistakes and random acts of stupidity. Were the characters afraid, which is why they made all these mistakes? In some cases, yes. However, there were those who were actually bold enough venture out into the dark and just be plain stupid.

“Alien: Covenant” at most, is a B film with triple A budget. I really wanted to like this film since I grew up watching these. Not to mention “Alien” had been my introduction to horror and space when I was a kid. But I just couldn’t find any more reason to. I’ll still be a sucker for all future films though.

UPDATE: Reflecting back on the film. Covenant doesn’t only take elements from the first two films, but also from the climactic scenes in “Alien 3.” I probably missed a lot more, so I’ll just wait for the Blue-ray.

Victorian = Steampunk?

I’ll jump straight to the point. I don’t like it when presented with a “Victorian-era style” people go, “Oh shit, same old business steampunk”.

It’s funny how I made this experimental novel proposal to the writing community. My first sentenced mentioned “Victorian-era clothes”, and everyone assumed it’s steampunk. I don’t really find their reactions detestable, many of them showed great interest in this weird idea. What annoys me, is many of them stopped reading at “Victorian-era clothes”, when I clearly said at the end that it doesn’t limit to that era, and will have several eras from both the old and new world.

Does the word “Victorian” in writing sci-fi/fantasy automatically triggers the eject button toward steampunk? Let’s take a look at Dave Grohl’s Jay Kristoff’s, Stormdancer. In fact, Mr. Kristoff has made a very interesting statement about steampunk right here.

I tried explaining it in my own words and it came out as shit compared to how mister Kristoff has put it, so go ahead and check it out. It opens some perspective.

Anyway, hurrah for the new ideas, while Tunnel Crow Town has been shelved, again. The new project name is No Good and it’s my first, real attempt, to enter science-fiction. Actually, there are spaceships, alien monsters, and all that shit, but I’m labeling this as “Space Western Fantasy” and is mostly inspired by Trigun, Cowboy Bebop, Borderlands, and The Good The Bad And The Ugly. It’s going to have a lot of weird shit, but nowhere near the bizarro genre.

No Good is on 100% production with all Foo Fighters songs shuffling in the laptop.