science fiction

REAL HORROR: The Road Virus: Reading Is Infectious

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Good morning Boils and Ghouls. I have a special treat for you today that does not deal in horror movies, but rather horror books. Reading horror has always been a medium in the genre that I took a while to get into, but as soon as I met friends like Stephen King or R.L. Stine, horror took a new turn in my life: it became almost educational. After a crazy work week involving staying slightly later than being scheduled and finishing my application to school; [September 2017] I received an email from a fellow reader about something that he and his friend are doing. It is something I had never heard of and I am definitely backing them..as soon as I get paid next week.

Introducing The Road Virus: a mobile [fringe] bookstore with a specialty in horror. [now you’re talking!] Meet Em and Sade, two best friends who love books. It makes sense, as the two spent their childhood[s] in bookstores and libraries. With Sade being an author, and Em being a former librarian, the two set out on a course – a lifelong dream to own their very own bookstore[s]. However, due to their location, it became almost too difficult to do from scratch; especially for two people. So they came up with an idea: buy an ex-bookmobile and convert it into a full time living space and bookstore, which would in effect get rid of the need for pricey rent of space. The chance to combine the ideas of running their own bookstore as well as living in a self-sustainable manner is exceptional, and a really fantastic way of looking at things. Focusing on mainly horror, the duo also carry other genres such as sci-fi, fantasy, crime/thrillers, true crime, queer studies/lit, and more.There is, however, a catch. [isn’t there always?]

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The simple fact is that owning such a vehicle [bookmobile] is no cheap task: in their KickstarterSade and Em explain that they put a lot of money into their [lifelong] project, and I don’t mean just buying the bookmobile itself; we are talking about vehicle fixes, as well as stocking up on books themselves. [because they are bound to sell out fast!] They know exactly what they are planning, as well as having the massive drive – no pun intended, but doing something like this is no easy task. The biggest risk is a single point of failure; their home, business, and vehicle will all be in one place. Because of this, we fully intend on sharpening our personal mechanical and general home-repair skills. Not to mention that one of, if not the biggest challenges facing independent bookstores these days, is the constant growth of online stores like Amazon which has books are available almost immediately; not to mention they are shipped right to you at home!

So here’s my request: help out The Road Virus. I am not asking you to donate your life savings or even $100, but even just ten dollars [or anything you can offer] is plenty. The two involved, Sade and Em, are great people who deserve everything that they have planned. It is a great idea that needs to recognized, it will be an adventure that is for sure, but they understand the risks involved. Again, I will be helping them out as soon as I get paid [next Friday] and if you could help out as well, I – as well as The Road Virus – would be eternally grateful. Be sure to check out their Kickstarter as well as their Website for more information on the project. And if you are reading this Sade and Em, keep fighting the good fight – there is not enough of us horror/sci-fi fans who appreciate good literature. Thank you for everything you are doing/continue to do.

Be sure to also go and follow me over on my Facebook page! [we’re at over 170+ likes – let’s get to 200!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been “gone live” online; and I also share links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. So go follow over there too!

Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! I’ve also been writing way more reviews on my Letterboxd account, this is because I’m trying to review every single movie I watch  – with each review [usually] posted the very next day after viewing! Are you interested yet? Check me out over there and click that “follow” button! I’m just bound to follow you back because I like reading other people’s thoughts on film, as well as writing reviews myself!

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[this is pretty relevant actually!]

THANKS FOR READING.

WARRENISWEIRD’s TOP 05 ‘ALIEN’ Rip-Off Films:

alienripoffThere’s no point in going into detail about just how great Alien was, and still is in the eyes of horror and sci-fi fans alike. With it’s stylistic direction, the feeling of loneliness in space, and the fear of the “perfect” being stalking it’s prey; it’s still pretty damn scary in it’s own right. But of course, among Alien‘s perfect and dynamic cast [Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, and Ian Holm – just to name a few] giving life to the script, it was none other than the late artist H.R. Giger, and his animal-humanoid monsters: the Xenomorph who gave Alien that edge: their design and their dripping world that the species calls home really struck a chord with audiences in the early 1980s.

After it’s release, Alien was a huge international success and would spawn three official sequels, a prequel [Prometheus], a sequel to the prequel [the upcoming Alien: Covenant], a ton of video game spinoffs, a comic book series, and even some double franchise features [see Alien Vs. Predator] It’s influence is literally everywhere and its reputation as one of the greatest dark fantasy movies ever made is well-earned and deserved! Of course, with great success comes rip-offs: exploiting what was selling well in Hollywood, and making their own “versions”; hoping to make some extra money off the unsuspecting movie-goer who accidentally walked into the wrong theater. Oh yes, there was many of these shameless Alien rip-offs running free in the ’80s, they were tasteless, strange, and most of all: cheesy.
Naturally, being a huge fan of the original Alien film[s], I took my cue from these copycats [some of which are on Netflix!] and have complied my top 05 Alien rip-off films, complete with their plot! Can you tell why these were considered Alien rip-offs? : ENJOY!

“A former astronaut helps a government agent track the source of mysterious alien pod spores, filled with flesh-dissolving acid, to a South American coffee plantation controlled by alien pod clones.”
Fun Fact: this movie was sold as “Alien: Contamination” in the USA as a way to try and sell as part of the Ridley films!

“In the distant future, a federation marshal arrives at a research lab on a remote planet where a genetic experiment has gotten lose and begins feeding on the dwindling scientific group.”
You can’t tell me that the “mutant” in the poster isn’t a Xenomorph..

“A crew of scientists arrives on a far, cold planet to examine archaic artifacts of unknown origin. They discover that their German enemies already have a ship there. When they seek their help after a failed landing, they only find the Germans’ bodies, obviously slaughtered by one of the creatures. Now the alien is after them.”
Sound familiar? I swear I’ve seen this one before, maybe on late night television..

“A spacecraft travels to a distant planet to rescue the crew of another spaceship that crashed, but their own craft, damaged in the landing, needs repair. While one by one, rescue team members are killed in weird situations materialized from their own fears by an ancient alien pyramid.”
The movie’s poster even mentions Alien! Also, Robert Englund is in this film!

“Two campers in the New Jersey woods have their outdoor fun interrupted by the arrival of a meteorite crashing nearby. They go to investigate the crater, but are suddenly attacked and devoured by alien parasites who have hitched a ride to Earth.”
The aliens in The Deadly Spawn look like the Xenomorph‘s cousin or something..

As you can see from the list above, there has been many rip-off Alien films, and they still continue to be released to this day! While the above films aren’t necessarily “good”, I wouldn’t put them in the “bad” category either; they’re just obscure. The Directors of these films were trying to cash in on what was relevant at the time, and for that; I understand. It’s kind of like those “The Haunting Of..” films you see at HMV. There’s a ton of those, but people like haunting films; so they keep coming out with more. Same plot, different person being possessed. You have to give the above movies credit, they’ve definitely become “cult classic” cinema! [Some are even approved by Roger Corman!]

Now I turn to you, do You like the Alien franchise? Are You excited for Alien: Covenant? Let me know in a comment below, and if you enjoyed this list; go and follow me over on my Facebook page! [we’re at over 150+ likes – let’s get to 200!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been “gone live” online; and I also share links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. So go follow over there too!

Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! I’ve also been writing way more reviews on my Letterboxd account, this is because I’m trying to review every single movie I watch  – with each review coming the very next day after viewing! Are you interested yet? Check me out over there and click that “follow” button! I’m just bound to follow you back because I like reading other people’s thoughts on film, as well as writing reviews myself!

[wrong XENOMORPH..]

THANKS FOR READING.

STRANGER THINGS Season 01: REVIEW and REFERENCES

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I have a confession: I loved season one of Stranger Things. It’s a show I had been putting off watching since it’s original release, mainly because I had class Monday to Friday for three weeks, and I felt that if I get caught up in a TV show; [albeit, only eight episodes] I’d fall behind. Now, with class being done since July 27th, I finally watched this show in it’s entirety.. and holy fuck, this show was fantastic!

Let’s get one thing straight first though, Stranger Things isn’t the first TV show/movie to try and recapture the feeling of the 80s horror/adventure films. Think of  J.J. AbramsSuper 8 – the difference here is that you’ve never seen anything quite like this series. The show is essentially genre-less too, with numerous references and allusions to the 80s, allowing itself to become a mysterious sci-fi horror complex story that ends up being something extremely unique and individual. Some of the things that happen are Weird, others are Strange. It’s a really refreshing feeling to see story telling like this. We see many throwbacks to the 80’s Sci-Fi and Horror genres respectively, with heavy influences from John Carpenter and Stephen King. It doesn’t only look like an 80s time capsule, but feels like one too! I have to hand it to the Duffer brothers, they really captured the essence of the 80’s – and I wasn’t even born yet!

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“there’s how many references in STRANGER THINGS?”

As I said above, there are a lot of references in Stranger Things, some obvious; but some are more cleverly hidden. Most notably, Stranger Things gives a ton of nods to films that I grew up with – films like E.T. and The Goonies: the bikes, the dark backyards, the group of kids, and the flashlights. But if you were to look at the lighting and sets, you’ll notice there’s so much that feels like Alien, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and Firestarter. Other homages include Poltergeist, Explorers, The Shining, Stand by Me, and Carrie. Of course, this is only some of the “Easter eggs.” There are still so many more, although you will just have to re-watch Stranger Things to see them all! Below, I’ve included some of the ones that I noticed. [Did you notice other ones? Let me know in the comments!] As expected, these references include major spoilers for Stranger Things: Season one so make sure you watch all eight episodes first.


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UNDER THE SKIN:

Whenever Eleven uses her powers to read other people’s minds, she seems to enter a dark, featureless world that is gives off the same eerie feeling that the “black room” in Jonathan Glazer‘s artsy film Under the Skin had. In both cases, the enigmatic female character is seen to walk across a mirrored black surface that behaves like both a solid and as a liquid.

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STAR WARS:

This one is fairly easy to notice, but there are plenty of Star Wars references in Stranger Things – and I’m not just talking about the poster. Mike owns a Yoda action figure, and is in awe at Eleven‘s “Jedi powers”. When Lucas thinks Eleven is lying to the gang, he calls her “Lando” – after Lando Calrissian. [For those unaware, Lando is the character who betrays Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back]

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ALIEN:

Eager to investigate the gooey [and gross looking] inter-dimensional portal in their basement, the team at Hawkins Laboratory send in a disposable technician [Right] to check it out, with only a flashlight. The whole sequence is a call back to the first act of Alien, when the similarly-outfitted Kane [Left] explores the surface of the planet with his crew. Both characters are attached to a safety-cable which, in the end, does absolutely nothing for their safety.

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E.T.

E.T. is probably the most important reference in Stranger Things because there are just so many of them! From the moody flashlight search sequences, to the general logic of kids on bikes outrunning a shady government organization who are after them. When she is left to her own devices at Mike‘s house, Eleven is often seen exploring the world with the same child-like fascination as E.T. Even during the scene where Mike and his friends “disguise” Eleven in a dress and wig to help her blend in at school is a clear call to a scene in E.T. in which Gertie gives the alien a “makeover.” [The only real question here is: who wore it better?]

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A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET:

The final episode of Stranger Things, which sees Jonathan and Nancy try to kill the “demogorgon”, matches up exactly with the climax of the original 1984 A Nightmare On Elm Street film: in both films, the teenage heroes trick a dimension-shifting monster into going into a house filled with traps, before setting it on fire. Meanwhile, in episode two [titled “The Weirdo On Maple Street”] sees the the “demogorgon” stretch the wall of Will Byers‘ room, which was also recalling a similar scene in Nightmare.

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THE GOONIES:

The tone that Stranger Things sets owes a lot to Steven Spielberg‘s adventure story, The Goonies which sees a group of misfit friends discover a long-lost treasure map. As one could easily see, there are similarities between The GooniesChunk [top, right] and Stranger ThingsDustin. [below, centre]

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STAND BY ME:

 The sequence in which Mike, ElevenLucas, and Dustin walk along an old railway track is a reference to the 1986 coming-of-age film, Stand By Me – which is based on a Stephen King short story called The Body. [Oddly enough, this was also the title of the episode when this happened..] In both, a group of friends work together to track down a missing child.


AND FINALLY..


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ALTERED STATES:

If you look carefully enough, The Sensory Deprivation Chamber Eleven uses in Hawkins Laboratory [left] closely resembles the isolation tank William Hurt‘s character enters in Altered States. [right] Both Altered States and Stranger Things play with the idea that sensory deprivation can awaken dormant parts of the brain.



Again, these are just some of the references/call backs to various science fiction and horror films from the 80s. As expected, I wouldn’t be able to write all of them here, because I would never leave my chair. [I didn’t even talk about the Movie Posters on the kids’ bedroom walls, or the movies playing on TVs in the background!] The question is though, which references did You see? Which ones stood out the most for You? Let me know in a comment or two below! [if you haven’t seen Stranger Things yet, I strongly recommend it!]

As always, if you find yourself to enjoy what I do on here, then please take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [we’re at over 150+ likes – let’s get to 200!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been “gone live” online; and I also share links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog.

Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! I’ve also been writing way more reviews on my Letterboxd account, this is because I’m trying to review every single movie I watch  – with each review coming the very next day after viewing! Are you interested yet? Check me out over there and click that “follow” button! I’m just bound to follow you back because I like reading other people’s thoughts on film, as well as writing reviews myself!

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THANKS FOR READING.

these vintage WAR OF THE WORLDS illustrations the COOLEST thing you’ll see today!

Let’s step away from horror for a minute and look at another genre I greatly enjoy: sci-fi. I grew up loving Star Wars [a film series that I still love to this day!] and watching episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation [even if I didn’t entirely “get it” at the time] , but if there’s one thing I remember hearing a lot about [from my Grandfather] – it was H.G. WellsThe War Of The Worlds. From what he told me, it was a radio show which was played [live] as a Halloween episode on October 30, 1938. It became fairly famous for allegedly causing mass panic, to the point where listeners actually thought aliens were invading, and one particular listener went so far as to shoot at a water tower – believing it was an alien warship!

The War Of The Worlds is considered heavily to be one of the most famous sci-fi pieces in history: It has been adapted into several films, video games, a TV series, and more. As a “series”, it has been analyzed, reviewed, and dissected more times than can be counted and its story has proven to be timeless.

In 1906 however, a Brazilian artist named Henrique Alvim Corrêa had created several illustrations based on the story and these pieces of art are absolutely breath-taking. They embody everything that is The War Of The Worlds: these images capture the terrifying nature of the aliens, the story with beautiful detail, and these illustrations feel like it’s representing the story in it’s own, unique way. You can even buy these “drawings”, but don’t expect them to come cheap – as several of these drawings are up for auction, but they come at a pretty steep cost – The cheapest one being around $1500.. but looking is free though, right? So be sure to check out Corrêa‘s art below: cause they’re out of this world [I am so sorry..]






So the moral of this story is before you go and assume that aliens are invading..check what radio station you’re listening to first, it may just be a radio show: H.G. Wells style! Also, on an ending note, if you found yourself to enjoy this piece, please take a minute and follow me over on Facebook where you can click the “like” button on my Facebook page. By clicking “like”, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted. I also share things that will not be featured here on the blog.  So be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share the page with family and friends!

THANKS FOR READING.