AFTERGLOW: THE VOID

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Gravillis Inc.

Okay, so I was genuinely worried about this one. I’ve waited a long time for it, and I knew it could go either way—as the last film with a similar throwback to practical creature effects at its core and such I got attached to didn’t live up to my expectations. I won’t be unkind, but even with the best intentions all around, it was very much a letdown.

So, I’m relieved to say that—while not without its flaws—The Void more than delivered in the arenas I was most concerned about—atmosphere, scares, and messy, gruesome practical effects I could take seriously.

The flaws weren’t even glaring. The performances were good to great—the main villain wins just for his frequent perfectly done voice work after a certain point. The mains were strong, and I really enjoyed the main deputy actor. I think he was maybe the guy who died in the shower in the first Final Destination, but I’d have to check—and that goes against the forced spontaneity of this mini-impressions review series, right? ha

(UPDATE: It wasn’t. Still liked him ha)

Some of the writing is trope-y as was expected but rarely dipped into the painfully cliche.

Atmosphere was very pleasantly reminiscent of a few things for me. The shrouded cultists really gave their understated all as something like the almost-ghostly gang members in the original Assault on Precinct 13 and more than provided enough motivation for the characters to stay in the increasingly weirder hospital. Obviously there were elements of  The Thing‘s loving approach to amorphous nastiness, as was expected and more than paid off. Also, I really enjoyed a great sequence with maximum gore and creature showpieces, one of which reminded me—in a good way—of one of the main loping monstrosities in a personal favorite Lovecraft film adaptation, The Resurrected—directed by Dan “ALIEN” O’Bannon himself, and an adaptation of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.

I’d make a Baskin comparison as well, but I think they were produced in parallel, so I don’t think there was any actual influence. Could be wrong, I know. Either way, being able to compare something to Baskin at all is a compliment, I feel.

Also, what seemed to be an homage to The Beyond, which I loved.

And last thing I’ll say since these are just for first impressions is that I was very happy with it and want to watch it again without the anxiety of is-this-going-to-be-good-at-all? in my head.

If you were attracted to this specifically for its practical effects, grimness, and loving, deliberate Lovecraft fondness, I think you could do a looot worse than The Void.

pml

P.S. My wife Vv says it reminds her of Beyond the Black Rainbow, aesthetically.

P.P.S. I see what she means.

P.P.P.S. Also a good thing to be comparable to, in my opinion-ation

SIRENS CALL #29 — “Not Cavities”

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So, another free ezine I have a short story in for your enjoyment ( I hope ). This story sat around for a few years in my head. I’d kicked it around here and there, but never committed to actually writing it. I almost did write it a couple Halloweens in a row—and once almost as a ‘drabble’—then I realized the Sirens Call Ezine was the perfect spot for it. They were having a special Hween issue and everything.

This is another piece that cheekily fits into my personal universe, but it’s focused enough that the connection is unimportant, and I feel like it’s a great little standalone, as-is.

It’s also fun to have a Halloween story to share again and again ( until I think of another one to write ha ). 😉

Sirens Call Ezine #29 ( my story: “Not Cavities” )

P.S. this is also the story I narrated and put up on youtube, just FYI. It’s one of the earlier posts on this page, in fact. That is its own experience, but I think I did an okay job, for a first try at least. ha

Not Cavities, A #halloween #horror tale written & narrated by Patrick Loveland @PMLoveland

SIRENS CALL #28 — “R-Day for Mr. D”

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I’m still working up to getting a better account where I can fully customize and set up a place for checking out the books I have stories in (and soon I will have one all to myself) and such. For now, there are two stories I have totally free in the fantastic Sirens Call Ezine put out by Sirens Call Publications.

This one has a semi-interesting origin. It was actually written for an anthology about the Wu-Tang Clan. That’s a long story. I enjoyed that version… but it really came together when it wasn’t selected for that project and I decided to absorb it into my own personal fledgling mythos. I’m very happy with the result. It won’t change lives, but I think it’s a fun, quick piece.

So, this is a lot of fiction, poetry, and art for the lovely price of Free.99, and also includes the story I’ve just described.

Sirens Call Ezine #28 ( my story: “R-Day for Mr. D” )

My Favorite Failures

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I’d been out of the mental ward four days when I opened my throat on the left side, going for the jugular but I guess just cleaving through lesser veins on the way to it. After a debridement surgery weeks later, the surgeon had told me there were definite scratches and thin gouges on the artery, but all the veins around it got it way worse. I’d used a box cutter—wasn’t the best piercing tool. Hey, it was the only thing in my room, and not leaving that room was sort of the point. Not leaving in my body, anyway. At the time, I was so disappointed and mad at myself that I’d gotten to the jugular, only to fuck up by slicing everything but that. Typical me.

Continue reading “My Favorite Failures”

Dark Designs: Tales of Mad Science

Dark Designs: Tales of Mad Science

Great piece up at Thomas S. Flowers III’s Machine Mean blog about a new charity anthology I have a story in (“Beluga”) ^_^

Machine Mean

Science without limits. Madness without end.

All proceeds from the purchase of this ebook will be donated to Doctors Without Borders / Medicins Sans Frontieres.

This is a warning. What you are about to read violates the boundaries of imagination, in a world where science breeds and breathes without restraint. A world very much like our own.

Within these shadowy corridors you will discover characters seeking retribution, understanding, power, a second chance at life—human stories of undiscovered species, government secrets, the horrors of parenthood, adolescence and bullying, envisioned through a warped lens of megalomania, suffering, and blind hubris. Curious inventors dabble with portals to alternate worlds, overzealous scientists and precocious children toy with living beings, offer medical marvels, and pick away at the thin veil of reality.

You can run. You can look away. But don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Witness our Dark Designs.

David Cronenberg, infamous director…

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AFTERGLOW: KIN-DZA-DZA!(1986)

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[AFTERGLOW: a mini-review series of my just-finished-this impressions]

I’d been meaning to watch this film for the last few years. Can’t remember where I stumbled onto it, but it could’ve been while I was researching the backgrounds of favorite novel Roadside Picnic and novel-reading-stiiill-in-progress Metro 2033 (it’s great, but I don’t get to read much and it’s a dense book full of world-building).

So, Kin-Dza-Dza! is a Russian sci-fantasy film from the 1980s, and I’m sure there’s a lot of analysis I’m not familiar with and symbolism and such I could study and really get more layers out of it on a second viewing. But this is Afterglow, and it’s all about fresh impressions.

This film is unlike most things I’ve ever watched. I’d say elements of it could be loosely compared to the weirder aspects of Monty Python (especially Terry Gilliam’s animations), possibly by-way-of Road Warrior-light. Yeah.

Two random unrelated men, a Russian man walking to the store for his wife and a Georgian carrying a violin case, speak to what seems like a crazed homeless man who says he needs help getting home in another part of the galaxy. Turns out, he ain’t crazy. He transports the two men to a desert planet with some strange people of different segregated groups, very odd flying and driving machines, and deadly sonic weapons (demonstrated continuously by pieces of metal in the environment being sliced clean apart after these weapons are fired toward them).

This film is in no hurry, for better or worse. It could be accused of being slow, but in a way I think that’s one of its charms. It takes its time pulling you in, which by the end made a stronger bond, I feel. It also doesn’t hold your hand, and the audience learns about the people on this strange planet (and others) in step with the two Earthling characters.

I really enjoyed Kin-Dza-Dza!. The characters really grow on you and by the end, you’ve definitely had an otherworldly experience. It’s odd on a level that had to be a deliberate vision, and the characters and oddness combined to win me over.

Also, it has a great, simple soundtrack. Reminded me of another favorite soundtrack (and film), The Third Man—more in its recurring use as a theme than its actual sound.

A good friend told me there’s also an animated version of this film that came out more recently, so you might be seeing another of these mini-reviews sooner than later.

“Koo!”

pml

Creature Features in Review: The Blob (1988)

Creature Features in Review: The Blob (1988)

Machine Mean

!! CONTAINS SPOILERS !! CONTAINS SPOILERS !! CONTAINS SPOILERS !!

 The Blob (1988) is my second-favorite 1980s remake of a classic monster horror film, The Thing by John Carpenter being the first—and if the ALIEN Trilogy (yeah, I said ‘Trilogy’) didn’t exist, JC’s The Thing would be my all-time favorite film. Now, I’m usually the first to say that JC’s The Thing is not strictly a ‘remake’, because of its alternate take on Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell, Jr.—but in his great Creature Features in Review piece on JC’s The Thing, William D. Prystauk beat me to it. John Carpenter’s take was a more accurate, more paranoid version of that novella than Howard Hawks’—and Christian Nyby’s and Edward Lasker’s and others’—The Thing from Another World, while also bringing in elements of amorphous, madness-inducing creature moments that—when paired with the snow-blasted, isolated Antarctic setting—came to…

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