Monday, October 20, 2008

Various Halloween Type Things

The new Shantytown Anomaly is out for Halloween. There are a couple of my horror haiku in it, and our own Greg Schwartz has a piece in it as well.

I’ve been enjoying the spate of horror movies that always show on TV around this time of year. One of my favorites is John Carpenter’s The Thing. I’ve seen it many times by now. Alien is another great one. I think of it more as horror than SF. Predator is the same kind of movie for me. One of the things that all three of these movies have in common is that they take a small group of people and isolate them in hostile environments—outer space, arctic cold, and the jungle. The first two achieve the greatest amount of isolation and are, accordingly, the most powerful.

A movie that achieves a notable degree of isolation despite taking place in a populated setting is Invasion of the Body Snatchers, both the original and the first remake. In some ways, the isolation is even greater because the small band of normals are surrounded by other people but have no idea who they can trust. The Thing capitalized on this sense of paranoia as well.

I used the small, isolated band idea in Cold in the Light. I’d like to revisit it in a future book. Isolation is important in horror. The hero or heroes need to be stripped bare of defenses and support. They have to stand on their own. And if the heroes can be turned against each other, even better.

I’ll have another Halloween Horror Flash up in a day or so. In the meantime, we have more flash fiction offerings from our colleagues in the blogosphere. The newest ones are below, along with some nonfiction links, but check my post from Wednesday, October 15 if you still haven’t read the older ones.

Trick or Treat by Mark C. Durfee.

Inspire by JR.

Loop by Donnetta Lee. This is a micro flash in 55 words.

analine by Laughingwolf.

Chocophobia by Writtenwyrd.

Investigating a Mysterious Ending by Travis.

And for a longer piece, but definitely a nasty one, see Little Friends by Ferrel D. Moore.

And for those of you looking for markets for horror fiction, check out:
Marketing Horror, put up by Writtenwyrd.



Heff said...

I haven't seen Invasion of the Body Snatchers in years. I may look for that one on the tube Halloween night.

Lana Gramlich said...

I've totally been enjoying the Halloween Horror flash fiction writings, hon. So cool that your readers have taken up the torch! Great idea. :)
Jaws is another great movie, where isolation (& a certain amount of paranoia,) is concerned.

SQT said...

I never liked horror movies. Which is weird since I like horror fiction. I guess it's because I can't stand watching a movie with my hands over my eyes.

I haven't done anything to celebrate Halloween on my blog yet. Maybe some flash fiction of my own would be in order. But I'm not very good at the super short stories I've been seeing pop up. I will have to mull this over.

Charles Gramlich said...

Heff, I thought the first two were really excellent. Very much about paranoia and isolation.

Lana, thank you sweetems. Yes, Jaws has that isolation as well. I didn't even think of that.

SQT, I'd much rather read horror than watch it myself, but I've seen a lot over the years anyway. You should give it a try. No one will hold it against you if it's not the scariest thing ever penned.

Rick said...

I'd never really thought much about the isolation concept til you broached it, but you're right- it's essential to strong horror writing. Now I'm going to put it to work!

Thanks, Charles.

laughingwolf said...

love all the great new tales, too...

chomping at the bit for your next one :)

Sarai said...

I was planning on making a list of movies I must watch this time of year but never got around to it. I might want to snatch some up before Netlix gives them all away!

Chris Benjamin said...

does the recent rash of adam sandler movies on tv have anything to do with halloween?

David Cranmer said...

The Thing has always been a favorite of mind... I agree with Lana, I've been enjoying these stories. It's not what I normally write but I've been inspired to give it a try next year. Maybe I can come up with a Halloween Noir classic!

Charles Gramlich said...

Rick, it's definitely something I want to do more of.

Laughingwolf, it'll be up Wednesday. I'm pacing myself until Halloween.

Sarai, I would like to see more variety. They always show the same ones.

Benjibopper, I know they horrify me.

David Cranmer, we're definitely gonna run it again next year. It started well this year.

the walking man said...

Along with Benji's comment I think one horror genre in film that is always miscast is just about anything with Chevy Chase in it. Especially re-runs of all of his "Vacation" films.

Thanks for linking up my first ever horror flash Charles.

All are invited over for a quick read and critique. Mark C. Durfee

Greg said...

thanks for the mention! i liked your two haiku just as much the second time.

laughingwolf said...

sounds good, charles...

forgot to mention: i'm REALLY looking forward to the next 'cold in the light' installment, you so hooked me with the first :D

Miladysa said...

Some great films there Charles, all of them favourites of mine.

Never considered the isolation theory before but like most things it is pretty obvious when someone points it out to you :D

Travis Cody said...

I don't usually write horror, but I have used that isolation technique to try and make my heroes more heroic. Strip them of everything, even their friends and supporters, and see how they stand up and still overcome.

Thanks for the shout for my little scene too! I wish I could figure out a real story for it.

Charles Gramlich said...

Mark, Chevy Chase is not quite as horrific to me as Adam Sandler but he is quite frightening.

Greg, thanks. Much appreciated.

Laughingwolf, I've been thinking of it. I've got a plot in mind for sure. Though time is the problem.

Miladysa, maybe because I grew up in the country, some six miles from the nearest kid my age. Maybe that's why it occurs to me.

Travis, I've had flashes that turned in to bigger, more complex stories so maybe this will as well.

Steve Malley said...

John Carpenter's THING was a rare case (for me) of liking the remake better than the original.

Trivia: The monster in the first version was Michael Landon in his first-ever movie role...

Miladysa said...

I grew up in the countryside too. I wonder how many of us did?

Vesper said...

I love horror movies and fiction, including the ones you've mentioned, with an important element of fantastic in them. Horror that comes from the deeds of a mad serial killer is just not my thing. :-)

Thanks for pointing out the isolation concept.

Charles Gramlich said...

Steve Malley, I always heard the monster in the original "Thing" was James Arness. Hum, may have to look into that. Yeah, the remake was way better. The monster in the first movie just looked like a carrot.

Miladysa, I think growing up out in the country tends to lend itself to a contemplative lifestyle so maybe that is it.

Vesper, the only serial killer movie I ever really enjoyed was Silence of the lambs. Other than that I'm with you. I don't find serial killers very interesting.

BernardL said...

For some reason 'The Thing' from the fifties scared my kids more than Carpenter's. I think it had to do with the music and black and white filming. The isolation concept is always an interesting premise.

Michelle's Spell said...

Hey Charles,

I think I'm going to have to check out some horror movies this month despite my usual anxiety and bad dreams. I loved slasher films as a kid and still love the classics -- The Shining and Carrie get to me. And Misery -- God, when the writer gets hobbled, I always freak out.

Charles Gramlich said...

Bernardl, I can see that for kids maybe. Though I really liked the music from the Carpenter version.

Michelle, Misery was really horrific and a great example of realistic horror. Oh that sledge hammer scene. *shiver*

Rick said...

Hey, Charles. Yes, James Arness was the original "Thing." It wasn't Chester.

writtenwyrdd said...

This is up at and I thought you might want to link to it, it's pretty cool.

laughingwolf said...

are you sure, steve? i heard landon's first film role was in 'i was a teenage werewolf'....

laughingwolf said...

Michael Landon

* Born: Oct 31, 1936 in Forest Hills, New York
* Died: Jul 01, 1991 in California
* Occupation: Actor, Director, Writer
* Active: '60s-'80s
* Major Genres: Western, Drama
* Career Highlights: Bonanza, Us, Love is Forever
* First Major Screen Credit: I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957)

Rachel V. Olivier said...

I'm going to watch Sleepy Hollow and Practical Magic. I watched Charlie Brown this weekend.

Erik Donald France said...

These are all great movies for sure! (And I need to make the rounds on the flash feuilltons)

Invasion of the . . . is terrifying, both versions (The Invasion, less so).

Cheers, happy Halloween month!

Charles Gramlich said...

Rick, I'd almost forgotten Chester. I liked Festus and his sayings better.

Writtenwyrd, I'll check it out.

Laughingwolf, I thought it was Arness.

Rachel, Sleepy Hollow was pretty good, I thought. Loved the tree.

Erik, "Invasion" had a happy ending. I couldn't believe it.

Barbara Martin said...

I'm working on a short horror tale and will advise when ready. The Halloween Horror flash fiction stories have been really good, Charles, and a great incentive to write short fiction.

Charles Gramlich said...

Barbara, thanks. Do let me know. Thanks for your kind words.