Posted on November 15, 2018
John Carpenter is one of the top three people in horror who most influenced the genre for me. The other two would be Stephen King and Peter Straub. Other people out there rang the bell once or twice, but Carpenter just hammered it for a solid twenty years.
What better way to cheapen the impact of his work on me than to rank his (horror) movies by how they affected me when I first saw them? All kinds of spoilers follow.
I was a big horror fan throughout the first half of my life, but my interest really peaked in the 70s and 80s when I discovered Stephen King and Peter Straub, two of the genre’s true literary writers. Back in those days, horror aficionados would whisper of films so terrifying they could only be seen at the midnight showings of questionable theaters. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Last House On The Left, The Town That Feared Sundown, etc.
I didn’t go to midnight screenings back then because if I was going to stay up until two in the morning, I was going to do it drinking not sitting in a crappy movie house that smelled like vomit and farts. But I did eventually get around to seeing those movies and they were mostly disappointing, low budget fails except for Massacre which remains starkly terrifying.
The one I never managed to catch in a theater was The Wicker Man. People talked about this movie as if it were some sort of life changing pilgrimage into the South American jungle. It was terrifying. It was hallucinatory. It was insane. When I finally did get to see it sometime in the 80s I took an aisle seat to make sure I could make a quick bolt for the door if it got too intense.
That was a precaution that proved entirely too unnecessary. I found the film boring, badly written, and predictable. It was a huge disappointment. But just to be sure, I watched it again on Blu-Ray this week and took notes. It was so bad that I then turned around and watched the Nicolas Cage version to see what the remake was like.
Spoilers for the Wicker Men movies follow.
After talking about Bond in the previous post and noting that my first and favorite Bond film was Diamonds Are Forever, I remembered I haven’t seen that movie since sometime in the 1970s so I decided a re-watch was in order. And just to make it fun, I decided to take notes and blog them here.
TL;DR: Hold up, Doesn’t Hold Up.
One of the few pieces of common knowledge that seems (to me, at least) to be 100% accurate is that your favorite Bond is the one you first saw in the theater. Generally, you arrive at the Bond franchise at a young age and if you’re seeing it on the big screen, that actor in that version of the role is going to very likely define your impression of the character and of spy movies.
What do we call the Mission Impossible movies? The American James Bond franchise.
I like to think of myself as someone who doesn’t fetishize tools, but the truth is I can’t write without my special Microsoft ergonomic keyboard. I’m so dependent on it, in fact, that I buy multiple backups on eBay and keep them in my closet because they stopped making the model I like 15 years ago.
I use Word because I have Office. I tried Google Docs until I read the ToS and realized I was in jeopardy of having them own everything I create so I moved off of there and back to Word.
The one thing I’ve never done much of is note taking. My preferred approach to writing is to just have a general idea in my head and blast away in the word processor until I figure out what I want to do and then do another version or two. That’s fine, and it’s certainly fun, but it’s not efficient and now that I’ve challenged myself to write one new short story per month, I need to speed up the process.
I downloaded Notes today and have begun using it to organize my assault on the short stories I have planned. After a day’s use, it turns out to be a very useful little product. The interface is simple and clean and purposeful (it drives me crazy that I only use 1% of Word’s features) but the platform it’s built on is well thought out.
For instance, your stuff is private. Encrypted private. After the nasty shock of Google’s ToS, that was a very nice feature to happen across. It also supports multiple tags per note. That helps with organization. For instance, #blog for posts and #story for short stories and #working for stories or posts I’m actually working at the moment.
The most useful feature, though, is just using it. Working out the bones of a story before writing it saves a ton of time and reduces the number of drafts necessary from 10 to 2 or 3.
You can download it here.