Posted on January 12, 2019
TL;DR: A beautiful movie that makes its own kind of sense while abandoning most of the key elements of Jeff VanderMeer’s moody classic. See it, but don’t do your book report on it.
Spoilers for Annihilation (2018) follow.
TL;DR: Just tell me a story already.
Netflix released the revolutionary new Black Mirror episode called “Bandersnatch” recently and it’s going to change the way we tell stories forever. This exciting new technology that’s only been around for five decades, will upend everything we know about fiction. Even at this moment, libraries are torching their old style “books” to make room for more televisions. I, myself, am currently performing a bit-level erase of all my works in progress.
Spoilers for Bandersnatch follow.
I’m a bit of a monomaniac when it comes to writing. When I go into writing mode, I go all the way in and don’t really have a mind to do anything else. Once the draft is done, I come up for air and find I have to mend all the fences damaged due to my neglect.
By the way, until I looked it up just now, I always believed “monomaniac” was the word for an obsessive masturbator, but it turns out it’s just someone who focuses on one thing to the exclusion of all else. I suppose I could have said Otaku instead.
Normally, I will only drop off for three or four weeks, but I have two manuscripts in the last stages of their final drafts right now and I basically went from one to the other without taking a break. My podcast, “Arriving Late”, all about 1990s TV SciFi from the POV of someone who’s never seen it, will start up again on January 10th. And posts here on my lonely blog will also start coming again at the usual irregular intervals.
Things I’m looking forward to in the new year:
- Future Man Season 2
- Killing Eve Season 1
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 1
- Into the Spiderverse
- Mission Impossible: Guy On A Plane or Cliff or Something
Yes, I am behind on my genre consumption because, as I mentioned before, I was TRAPPED IN A WELL FOR SIX WEEKS.
Love to you all and wishes for a better year.
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.