I make it very clear that some of my writing is not for children. I have no qualms and no regrets. They have plenty of entertainment options. My primary portfolio is for readers sixteen and up. By that point, their parents should be aware of what their children are watching/viewing. Now, not all of my work is an exploitative gore-fest. Readers know that.
When I first began writing in full in high school, I was concerned with the number of what I thought were unoriginal movies. And then I read about an author saying that a lot of them start with fan fiction of sorts. I do not personally read too much fan fiction. A lot of it just gets too… weird and perverted, and that’s saying something if I’m worried about seeing it. Who knows, I could just be looking in the wrong places. None of that really matters now anyway. I write my own fan fiction, or that’s where some of it started!
Humans have always been capable of extreme violence, but as stated in my last post, not everyone has to experience it. I do not like physical conflict and try to avoid it at all costs- so far I have been successful. Although I joke with myself and others that I watch enough impromptu street fight videos to know how to fight now…
Personally, I don’t mind gore in visual media. It can be hilarious; most notably in Tucker and Dale vs. Evil. Or, it can be frightening- a most recent example (that I have personally seen) would be many scenes in Late Phases. In literature, if you see me reading something gross, you’ll see it on my face. Even though I am a gorehound, I still have the reaction the filmmaker/author/artist is expecting. Unless I’m online, I don’t see too much gore in art.
I’m editing pieces of Ruby Caves and some of it is even too much for me. I’ll give some prime examples below. On my documents I highlighted the offending sentences, and when I’m done writing them in the blog, they will be erased.
Earlier this week I was fifteen pages into the cabin attack of Ruby Caves. Everything was just starting to go to hell for the family when a furry animal got in my way. The family dog Murdoch. I could probably blame burnout on why I stopped in the middle of the scene. I had burned through five pages that day…
In my recent go at writing Ruby Caves I made a connection to Mutant Cowboy Space Pirate without realizing it. Mackenzie the antagonist is exceedingly nice to the officers who are looking for the kidnapped boy. And then he bites one of them. The antagonist from Ruby Caves, Daniel, creates a life altering drug. And then he does some really, really, nasty things to people.
See the comparison? My villains are good guys on the side (sometimes) because a truly evil villain wouldn’t be as fun to watch. The Joker is funny in his manic episodes. Hans Gruber is a gentleman. Gus Fring… Well, he had his good side.
Now, this isn’t like the jealousy I spoke about in The New Wolf. These are recurring themes throughout my stories. Another theme is what I’ll call Public Interest (for lack of a better term). This is how my characters interact to people in public. Something might go wrong- in Dave’s case in the first chapter, or the Nutmegs in general. Other times it’ll be a background event to set the scene.
A couple of more themes will be some kind of reality twist, like talking animals. The Ostrich is an instance of this. However, these will only take place in some of my goofier stories. Werewolves may talk, but they only say a few words at a time and it comes off as creepy, not funny. A werewolf will used be for comedic uses in one of the sequels to Mutant Cowboy Space Pirate, but until then, they’re scary.
Now, a narrow theme in anything with Dave in it will be his reluctance to work with cops. Unless he absolutely needs to, he will avoid the cops like the plague. This will be the exact opposite of Reacher constantly using the cops in his stories.
To end this real quick, I’ll go off topic and tell everyone to go see 22 Jump Street. It is a really, really funny movie. Hill, Tatum, Stromare, and Cube kill it.
After the chaotic bloodshed of The Devil’s Brood, I couldn’t wait to experience The Devil’s Night. Oh man, this is a story to put a smile on any fan of the oldies. The book itself is almost seventy pages shorter than Brood. This leads to breakneck pacing because all of the principle characters have already been introduced. David Jacobs also had lessons in sentence structure, apparently. They are more fluid and the action more clear than anything Michael Bay can dream up.
It is an extremely violent novel and the gore is ramped up to eleven. Glendon, the Wolfman, starts the book with a little over a dozen casualties. Limbs and organs fly and he’s still the good guy. Countess Marya has her work cut out, but she’s no light weight. Below sort of represents the relationship between Marya and Glendon.
Dracula and Frankenstein monster take the forefront too, with a battle that’s so powerful it takes out the front half of a fort. That was a rather fun scene to read. Both kill large amounts of people throughout the book, and almost none of them are innocent. Keyword almost. Neither are afraid to slaughter the local population. However, neither are worse than the corrupt police. Remember that scene in Dredd where Mama takes the Gatling gun and uses it on a whole floor… it happens to rioters who want their homes back. The villain pays his debt gloriously, but not until near the end.
After fighting Dracula and being thrown into an underground tunnel, the Monster drifts in a bay off of the coast of the island and has to swim back. On his maritime little (BIG) way, he has to punch out a shark. And then that shark is eaten by its fellow shark brothers.
You heard that right folks, Frankenstein’s monster punches out a shark.
Soto came back as a zombie, and he doesn’t show up for the longest time. However, when he finally does, his return is as glorious as the Monster’s shark punching. David doesn’t joke around with romance either. Soto and Dorian like each other, but both explicitly say the only reason they hang out with each other is survival. There is no love between them.
Everyone left alive meets up with Marya in her castle and all hell breaks loose. And so does the story. Instead of having a climactic battle, David sort of ends the story with a massive explosion caused by the Wolfman tinkering with equipment. It was just a little disappointing, but, I won’t take points off. The journey with all of these characters, good or bad, was too much fun.
Now for Return of the Wolfman, the first book in the trilogy…
****1/2 of *****; would read again, under a moonlit night with the werewolf’s howl at my window, the Monster in my kitchen, Dracula and his daughter catching up in front of a grand fire, and Soto the zombie chilling with some human brains at his side.
… And it’s glorious fun. From the get-go of the story it is a battle royale between Dracula, The Wolfman, and Frankenstein’s Monster. They kill each other. Lawrence Talbot (the Wolfman) survives and goes back to London. Mayra, Dracula’s daughter, views this and plots world domination- I think she has daddy issues. The three most famous monsters in movie history are then brought back for another battle.
I liked the heroes:
Steve Soto: an American gangster on business on the island of Magdalena. He’s strong and smart and once weird things begin to happen he takes the correct arms.
Dorian: a beautiful young woman who lives with her “uncle” in the high class society.
The Zombies: they aren’t particularly evil, they’re just doing their job (eating brains) and are featured in one of most chaotic- read, fun- sections of the story. Their role is larger than I had imagined when first reading it, but I’m not complaining.
Wilfred Glendon III: he takes the role of the Wolfman from his grandfather after Lawrence Talbot is shot and killed. He’s a good man, a scientist, finally introduced in the second half with a powerful psychological role and history that was thrilling to read.
The villains were fun too.
Countess Mayra Zaleska: woo-boy, this lady is evil in its purest form. The scenes revolving around her are usually always bloody or frightening in some sense of the word. Her madness starts slow in the beginning. As it goes on…
Major Quantez: asshole, asshole, asshole all the way. There is nothing good about this ruthless warlord who rules the Magdalena islands with a harder-than-iron fist.
Dracula: oh man is he back alright; fun all the way. His dialog needed work but he doesn’t speak much. He just kills, and kills some more. I’ll get to him later.
Frankenstein’s Monster: he’s only there for a short period (like Dracula and Glendon) but his scenes are impactful. Don’t think he’s the sympathetic beast of Mary Shelley’s story. He plays out more like something Bram Stoker would have created.
Frankenstein’s Bride: forthcoming, soon-to-be-revived, but she has a part in one of the most thrilling scenes in the book.
I get to Dracula again because of what he turns into. After dying he turns into a cloud of dust and drinks the blood of Frankenstein, recently gutted by wolves. He becomes an insatiable bloodworm which eats every living thing in its path. David Jacobs (the author) calls it the Drakon which is quite fitting. It is a completely unstoppable creature which sucks people up and digests them. The Drakon is transparent, so you can see everything going on as flesh dissolves and clothes are ruined…
David Jacob’s writing style can be a bit repetitive. Words (like blood, or table, or room, for some examples) would be used more than once in the same sentence. He’s devilishly good at setting a scene though. The violence is clear and drew me in. It wasn't obscenely gory but Marya definitely has the dirtiest job. There is some nudity and a little sex, but nothing too graphic. If made into a movie this would still be a very heavy R.
Midway through there a few chapters dedicated to Steve and Marya's characterizations. She’s a bit more sympathetic than she first appears. She does care about the people working for her but she offsets it by ruling them like a dictator- she’ll kill them without hesitation or warning. And whatever you do, do not try to explain science to her! Steve is a likable guy who just wants to get back home until a deal even he can’t resist is made. I cared about Glendon as much as I did the original Wolfman Lawrence Talbot. He didn’t ask for the curse; he just to live with it as best he can.
The pace is quick and the dialog- while a bit stunted around Dracula and Mayra (jeez guys, come on, it’s the 21st Century) witty. The Devil's Brood reads off like a pulp novel from the forties and fifties. I can’t really describe it. At only 316 pages long it goes into a lot of detail and history but I never got bored.
Again, the pacing and violence is great. The writing itself needs some work. The story had mystery, thrills, genuine characters, and horror. This is the first time a story has really spooked me. That freaking Drakon… The dialog for the more human characters is good but the monsters can’t seem to get out of their respective ages. They dress like they’re in the 1800s too, which in Mayra’s case, is pretty hot. I enjoyed this. I’m moving on to the sequel, The Devil’s Night.
**** of *****
I first saw this movie- or the end of it- on SciFi a few years ago. My mom liked it while I was still frightened of werewolves then. After ninety minutes of howling, ripped limbs, and gutted humans I finally got over my fear. Do you really want to ask why I didn’t fear this? Well, I was sitting next to my mom. Mamma Bear can kill any werewolf just by slapping it in the face. Werewolves don’t exist, but this movie almost put my fear back into them.
In the Scottish highlands a squad of British soldiers is on a training mission- or so I gathered. Unbeknownst to them a team of someone(s) was there to trap a werewolf and… I’ve said too much. Let’s just say they all grossly underestimated how many beasts were stalking them. After a lone survivor (Liam Cunningham) of the second group is found, all start hauling ass to get out of there. The werewolves have arrived. More saviors- a pretty woman (Megan Cleasby) and her dog Sam take them to a cottage.
After this the initial shock response is handled very well under the circumstances. The military men can’t grasp the concept of werewolves until a second attack. Between the increasing number of strikes and rapidly depleting soldiers there is talk of werewolves, werewolves, conspiracy, and more werewolves. Dark comedy is strewn about- such as the dog gnawing on one of the soldiers’ exposed intestines during an attack… What? I told you it was dark…
Every event in this movie has purpose. It moves the plot along and nothing is tedious, as some horror movies tend to be. For a bunch of tough guys they are either sissies- well look at their situation, I’d be pissing my pants all over the place-, funny, or even enigmatic at points but we care about all of them before they die… Werewolves are used as men in suits (with stilts for height) and animatronic features (such as moving the muzzle and ears for realism). Director Neil Marshall was brilliant in his use of lighting, giving enough for the violence to set in.
What I’m trying to say is he doesn’t shy away from showing the audience what they’re up against with the soldiers. These werewolves are just so downright scary, brutal, and smart. Instead of going all out each werewolf goes out in waves, hiding in the dark, or other things I don’t want to ruin. Door handles aren’t a problem either. Megan reveals a neat little history for the werewolves and an unexpected event lets the wolves in.
Did I mention they're (werewolves) smart? Warning, gore and language. And an explosion, I mustn't forget the explosions.
The gore isn’t glorified even when it is in droves. This is realistic for a low budget. Like my writing, the movie just shows in an objective manner what happens in certain situations. Under the right conditions this movie is just creepy with the atmosphere too. You’ll hear the werewolves grumbling about in the dark. The constant fog and moonlight leaving the werewolves in silhouettes; which leads to terrifying jump scares.
You’ll never be bored in this movie. It simply isn’t possible. Oh and before I forget, the acting is phenomenal. Bad-ass veterans (sorta-kinda) Liam Cunningham as Captain Ryan and Sean Pertwee (holding his intestines in) as Sergeant Harry Wells are unforgettable in their roles; both men can clearly lead an entire army based off of their stern looks alone. Sam the Dog is adorable and no one would or should want that little fuzzy guy to die.
Overall this is an astounding movie which deserves far more credit. It has spirit, it has heart thudding action, and suspense. To add in there are special effects which rival CGI and blow it out of the water. The dialog is tight and realistic. Dog Soldiers is just fun-a-moment movie for adults who don’t want the experience ruined by kiddies.
***** out of *****
To finish my story on how to hunt werewolves I needed to research two different topics. The pack mentality of wolves and a komodo dragon's venom. Wikipedia was not part of this. You can't really trust that site can you? So I chose more along the lines of National Geographic and Animal Planet.
In my lore, werewolves follow normal wolf pack behavior. With more talking in between.
No more is to be spoiled about werewolf packs. Komodo dragons get my reverence and annoyance for tonight. I wrote this scene on the venom of werewolf pups while sitting at an Oodles N' Noodles or Nothin' But Noodles (we have both here in Charlotte) for a solitary lunch.
... Within the gland is a fast acting virus containing components which brings upon: respiratory difficulties, inflammation and degradation of the vocal cords, and a shut down of central arteries leading to a final paralysis of all bodily functions.
Komodo will not be accused of lying because of my ignorance. I am not a biologist. Snakes are my new, closer striking problems when dealing with venom. Without realizing it, I wasn't writing about a Komodo dragon these few months ago. Thinking back on it now, I remember a fact sputtered out from a show on The Animal Planet.
A baby copperhead's venom is far more potent than that of the parent. Deadlier, if you were so inclined to use less words. Those symptoms above are actually that of a neurotoxin. So this works. A pup has more potent venom within the glands above their teeth.
All joking aside, 1)the Komodo above has a truly beautiful coloration, and 2) I'm glad I found the truth. I have to put some basis (one of my nifty words for facts) into the stories. Even if they do involve creatures which shouldn't actually be around.
I am an author. I am a fan of horror, thrillers, and comedy.