• bookshelf books

    The Books I Read: September – October 2020

    The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal A true sequel to the first–it’s a race against time to keep humanity alive after a meteor has crashed on Earth, giving it a much closer expiration date. The only solution is to travel to space. All of this was all in the first book. Now that the space program’s been established, it’s time to put a colony on Mars. And our hero protagonist is part of the team making the year-long journey to the future with 1960’s technology. It’s not a complicated plot, but it’s still very good. Better than the first. Since the majority of the book takes place on the…

  • super mario minus world

    Sub-Worlds in Horror

    Since I’m noticing trends these days (and why not, I’ve got nothing to do but stare at the ceiling while contemplating civilization and life and the meaninglessness of time), here’s another one. Is it just me or is there a thing about horror movies and thrillers hinging on some kind of subworld? Especially since the year 2000. Stranger Things has the “Upside Down”. Insidious has the “Further”. Coraline has the world of the “Other Mother”. Get Out has the “Sunken Place”. Even Us had a subworld with its secret lab maze under the carnival. I didn’t see Don’t Blink, but I guess that has some kind of Bermuda Triangle thing…

  • kindertrauma

    My Kindertrauma: Tales from the Darkside’s “Inside the Closet”

    So for my final Kindertrauma, I bring you one of the most obscure, but most trauma-causing pieces of media I was much too young to see. Some people had Pennywise. Some had Chucky. I had the creature from Tales from the Darkside‘s “Inside the Closet”. Tales from the Darkside was like a cheaper, milder version of “Tales from the Crypt”. Less gore, more reliance on twist endings and psych-outs. But still, it had its share of monsters. Don’t mistake my description to think I watched the show. No, once again this lovely little memory comes courtesy of my mother, who rented it from the Hollywood Video for her class on…

  • kindertrauma

    My Kindertrauma: Tidbits

    For my second-to-last entry regarding Kindertrauma, I thought I’d go over some of the moments that didn’t warrant an entire article, but were still evoke shivers when I think of them. “Recorded Live”(one of HBO’s Short Takes; also known as “Flesh Eating Film Reels”) I have no idea where or when I saw this, but I know I must have. Because when I was perusing old short horror films available on YouTube, this little gem came back, and I immediately had a Vagrant Story reaction (that’s an inside joke I don’t expect you to get). My dad must have recorded this off of HBO (he recorded everything, we had over…

  • poison cackler fraggle rock

    My Kindertrauma: The Poison Cackler

    The first thing I remember being scared of was the Poison Cackler from Fraggle Rock. Early in life, we all learn what death is. The raccoon laying on the road shoulder. The crushed ant doesn’t move anymore. The grandfather laying in the casket and he looks so strange, unnaturally still, kinda plasticky. And as a child, you know of only a few things that cause death–being old, an unfortunate disease, extreme bodily trauma, and poison. Poison is the scariest of these because it’s the least predictable. It works fast, and it could come from anywhere–an apple, a sword, a battle of wits with a Sicilian. But most of all, all…

  • more scary stories to tell in the dark alvin schwartz

    My Kindertrauma: Wonderful Sausage from “More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”

    How about a change of pace? Let’s hit the pause button on films and go for some literature. Now, I’ve never found reading very scary. It lacks the visual punch and timing. The best you can get is a sense of dread. I know some people say that when your imagination takes over, things are scarier. But for me, I know I have nothing to fear from my imagination — it’s in my head, the monsters can’t affect me there. It’s only as scary as I can make it. Lovecraft can’t stop me from giving Cthulhu a flowery hat like Mrs. Nesbitt. But sometimes at night, when the shadows are…

  • large marge pee wee's big adventure

    My Kindertrauma: Large Marge

    Probably the definition of true kindertrauma. I can’t think of anything more iconic than this nightmare fuel. I remember distinctly fast-forwarding through this part when I watched it on VHS. It was just too scary. It’s bad enough that stop-motion is creepy-looking as hell (see House on Haunted Hill for a great example). There’s not much I can say about it that hasn’t been said. Let’s break it down, see if that helps. The movie’s had some dark areas up to this point, but nothing ridiculous. Pee Wee hitchhikes with a criminal, but has to dress in drag to get past a roadblock. There are a few odd visual gags…

  • ghoulies video box cover

    My Kindertrauma: Ghoulies

    When I was little, there was a video store not too far from our house. I can’t remember what it was called. Mr. Movies? Video Update? I know it wasn’t a Blockbuster because the color scheme was red and white. Anyway, as those who grew up among VHS knows the place was like an art museum. It wasn’t bad enough to have enough selection to give a nine-year-old option paralysis or sucker him into picking “My Pet Monster“. But they had to make every rectangle a beautiful magical portal to another world, each more enticing than the next. And no section had more intrigue than the Horror section. I mean,…

  • bookshelf books

    The Books I Read: November – December 2014

    Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews It’s kinda funny. It eschews notions of romance, and really, it’s more about the friend, who reminds me of Tony Goldmark. I couldn’t get that image out of my head — the deadpan, Internet snarker-troll, self-deprecating, black comedy hamball. And that’s what the book is really about. This guy is an amateur filmmaker and it talks about his love of weird, foreign, independent cinema and his friendship with Earl, a black urban youth. And in the background is Rachel, an acquaintance who is forced by Tony’s mother to hang out with because she’s dying of cancer. The story’s not about…

  • five nights at freddy's fazbear jumpscare

    Why Am I So Damn Fascinated By Five Nights at Freddy’s?

    I think it got popular because of the Let’s Plays. It’s always fun to watch people freak out. Bill Cosby said when a person is scared, that’s the only time they’re really being themself. I’ve been watching Let’s Play’s, reading the entire FN@F wiki, playing the memes. Yet I don’t own the game, and don’t plan to. It’s all jumpscares. I hate jumpscares for two reasons. They’re cheap and meaningless ways to control the audience. And I hate the way jumpscares make me feel, like a weak little kitten, manipulated, afraid of everything. Just like elementary school. Yes, I have a double standard. Deal with it.* So why am I…