Wednesday, December 21, 2016

My Top 10 Horror Films of 2016

Here it is, my awesome list of the top 10 horror films of the year. Where I rank all the horror movies I watched over the year and attempt to rank them in a list for you to enjoy. I thought 2015 was a good year for horror films, but it felt to me that 2016 crushed last year. Here is hoping 2017 will be just as good, perhaps better. (New Friday the 13th coming October 2017! Wooooo!)

I have not included my new film Terrortory. Since I appear in it, I feel it wouldn’t be right to include. (Even though it would be #1, wink wink.) However, you can still watch it for FREE.

That being said, here is my list...

10. Blair Witch (2016)

This movie got a lot of hate this year, and in my opinion the hate was unwarranted. I think Blair Witch didn’t live up to everyone's overblown hype for it. By what the marketing of the film lead everyone to believe, I think a lot of people went into this thinking it was going to be the scariest movie ever made in the history of mankind. I did find the movie creepy towards the end, but obviously I’ve seen much more frightening films. However, I’ve seen countless horror films in my life to know that judging a film on scare factor alone is just ridiculous. That being said, I really enjoyed Blair Witch. Throw all that hype away and just watch the movie, you might enjoy it.

9. Emelie

Do you have kids? Ever pay for a babysitter? Well, if you answered yes, chances are you probably won’t ever want to again after you watch this crazy movie. Emelie is about a replacement babysitter filling in to watch three young children while their parents go out for the night. However, this babysitter is downright crazy, subjecting the kids to activities that are insane and disturbing. I don’t even have children and it got to me. Things take an even darker turn when you find out the truth about Emelie and what her motives actually are. Enjoy, Parents.

8. Southbound

I really love me a good horror anthology film and Southbound did not disappoint. I don’t even know what to say without giving too much away about the movie, but what I will say it that it was good, it was dark, it was weird, and you should see it. What I found unique about this film is that each story cleverly blended right into the next one. For example, at one part a character that we had been following entered a motel room and closed the door behind them. The camera then panned over to the next motel room and a new character emerged from inside to which we began following their story. I just found them all to be really cool and creative, which only added to the this already good movie.

7. Lights Out

If you didn’t already know, Lights Out is based on a short film of the same title by the same director. Search “Lights Out Short Film” on YouTube if you want to check it out. Lights Out is about an entity that can only appear (and attack and kill you) when in complete darkness. It’s a very creative idea as the characters in the film have to think of ways to combat this force using lights. It gives a whole new meaning to being afraid of the dark. (P.S. Why is the short film not on the Blu-ray as a Special Feature?)

6. Quija 2: Origin of Evil

I have to start by saying that the first Quija is not very good. When I heard Mike Flanagan was directing the sequel/prequel, it got me excited. Quija 2 blows the first film out of the water, hands down. It did not disappoint. The story takes place in the 1960s, and the movie even feels like it was shot then as well with the retro opening logos and cigarette burns in the corner like old film reels. You have to appreciate that level of detail. I have to say that the young girl (Lulu Wilson) in the movie did an awesome job. She really pulled off the possessed creepster perfectly. Mike Flanagan is easily becoming one of my new favorite writer/directors.

5. Hangman

Hangman follows a serial killer setting up residence in the attic of a family's home. With hidden cameras he watches them as they sleep and go about their daily lives, strategically toying with them along the way. Hangman was released earlier this year and didn’t have much word of mouth around it. If you didn’t know about it before its release, chances are you probably still haven’t heard much about it; which is sad because I found it to be one the most disturbing and nerve racking found-footage movies I have probably ever seen. For this reason, I love it! If you know me or read any of my lists, then you know I love a good found-footage movie, and this one definitely stands out amongst the subgenre. (I plan to do a top 10 found-footage list one day.)

4. The Shallows

I think it is safe to say that The Shallows is probably the best shark movie since Jaws. This is how shark movies need to be. This movie keeps building the tension all the way to the very end. I prefer practical effects above CGI, but I know when it comes to making something like a shark it’s probably easier to go CG. That being said, whoever worked on the effects of the shark did an amazing job. You’ll forget you are even watching a CG shark halfway through the movie.

3. Hush

This movie kind of snuck up on me. Releasing exclusively to Netflix streaming, Hush follows Maddie, a young writer fighting to stay alive from a stalking masked killer lurking outside her isolated home. The twist? Maddie is deaf. Being a writer myself, I really enjoyed the scenes where the Maddie character was writing or when she was plotting out different scenarios in her head when it came to the killer. I also really enjoyed the scenes where there was no sound, letting us experience things how she was. It made the sequences even more suspenseful knowing there was danger nearby and that Maddie couldn’t hear it. Mike Flanagan has two horror films on my list in the same year? Damn! Also, why has Hush not been released on Blu-ray yet? I really want to own it already.

2. The Conjuring 2

James Wan did it again - scaring the pants off everyone. Although his entry in The Fast and the Furious series was okay, horror movies is where he really shines, in my opinion. The demon nun, Valak, is probably the creepiest thing I have seen all year. Hearing that it was a last minute addition to the film is crazy to fathom. This movie could arguably be the number one horror film of the year, however this is my list and I had to put them in some kind of order.

1. Don't Breathe

I absolutely love Don’t Breathe. Fede Alvarez instantly struck me as a writer/director to keep an eye on when I saw his debut feature of the Evil Dead remake, and with Don’t Breathe he did not disappoint. The simple premise of three people breaking into a house to rob a blind man quickly turns into one hell of a ride with twists and turns layered throughout. There is no other true horror than real life. Similar to movies like You’re Next, The Strangers, and even Hush, the events that transpire during Don’t Breathe’s runtime are even more unsettling knowing that they could very well happen.

Honorable Mentions: Darling, 13 Cameras

So there it is, my Top 10 Horror Films of 2016. If you haven’t seen or even heard of any of these films, then I suggest you really look into them. If you’re into horror, then you should at least give them a rent.

Disclaimer: I would like to add that although I watch a lot of horror films and I try to see everything, I didn’t get to see every single horror film that was released this year. This is not my job; it’s just a hobby of mine. So if you don't see something great on this list, it’s most likely because I did not get to see it yet. Also, this list is my opinion and my opinion only. If you do not agree with it, then that is okay. Feel free to post your top 10 in the comments, but please, let's not start a war over this. It is just a list.

Check out last years list, Top 10 Horror Films of 2015.

Check out the rest of my lists on my page A List of Lists.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Welcome to the Terrortory

Starting today and lasting throughout the month, Terrortory, the newest film I appear in, will have its premiere on Amazon Prime Video. See that guy in the poster above with the pumpkin head? Yeah, that's me!

For the entire month of October, Terrortory (trailer below) will be available, for FREE, on Amazon Prime. If you don’t have a Prime you can still watch it for a $2.99 seven day rental in HD.

Terrortory is an '80s inspired anthology horror film. If you don’t know what an anthology film is, shame on you, I’ll explain it real quick. An anthology film is a movie comprised of several short stories spanning the length of a normal movie.

This film marks a lot of firsts for me. This is the first anthology horror film I have acted in. Second, I actually got to play two roles in the film. Something that was made possible because of the fact that it's an anthology film. (And the awesome people involved of course.) Third, the roles I play are of killers. I have played zombies before, where I did kill someone on screen, but never have I portrayed a masked killer. As a die hard Jason Voorhees fan, to have the opportunity to do this was a dream come true. (And I’d do it again in a heartbeat.) Lastly, I am on the damn poster. How cool is that?

Terrortory has been a long time in the making. The scenes I was on set for were shot in September/October of 2014 and the same time again in 2015. I think I first mentioned I was filming scenes for it in this post way back in April of 2015. The world premiere screening was just last Thursday night in Baltimore, Maryland. Movies take time, and independent movies like this are no exception.

A lot of people put a ton of hard work, time, and dedication into bringing Terrortory to it’s completion. I am glad I got to be a part of it all.

I’ll keep you all posted on the inevitable DVD/Bluray release.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook to also stay up to date.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

My Top 10 Horror Films of 1980

So one day I woke up and said to myself, “Even though I watched a lot of of horror movies growing up, and watch a lot now, there are so many from the '80s and '90s that I missed.” Then it hit me, why not go back, starting with the year 1980 and watch every horror movie I can find. Not only will I get to see a lot of films I missed, but maybe I’ll find some gems in the process. On top of that, I could make a list of what I think are the best ones.

So I am doing just that. I don’t know how long this is going to take, but it’s shall be fun none to less.

What happened in 1980?
Hottest Selling Christmas Item... Rubik’s Cube
Top Song of the Year... "Call Me" by Blondie
Highest Grossing Film of the Year... The Empire Strikes Back

Disclaimer: This list is my opinion and my opinion only. If you do not agree with it, then that is okay. Feel free to post your top 10 in the comments, but please, let's not start a war over this. It is just a list.

That being said, here is my list...

10. The Children

There were a few movies I felt could go at the number ten spot. I decided on The Children, mainly because out of all the movies that didn't make the top 10, it was the one I enjoyed watching most. The movie is pretty crazy. It’s about a group of kids riding on a school bus that are poisoned with some kind of gas or something, and then go around town killing people by hugging/touching them. The special effects might be dated, sure; but I feel it just adds to the campiness of the film.

9. Don't Go In The House

Don’t Go In The House is one of the many "Don’t" titled horror movies, but DON’T let that deter you. Don’t Go In The House was actually really cool. The film is about a guy who is a pyromaniac (resulting from a not so great childhood) and decides to make a room inside his house fireproof. Afterwards, he lures women to his newly renovated room so he can then burn them alive for his own sick enjoyment.

8. Terror Train

Terror Train is similar to most other '80s slasher flicks: Something awful happened in the past and now people are dying - only this time, people are being picked off on a train. Although the killer was rather predictable, it was a decent entry into the slasher genre. The film stars Jamie Lee Curtis of Halloween fame and also stars David Copperfield as The Magician. Yes, a real life magician plays a magician in the movie.

7. City of the Living Dead

One of the more famous films by Italian director Lucio Fulci (R.I.P.), City of the Living Dead is a crazy, gory ride. After the Gates of Hell are opened as the result of a clergyman’s suicide, the dead are now rising from their graves. The film features some pretty awesome '80s makeup effects.

6. The Changeling

To sum it up, The Changeling is a ghost story set mostly inside a haunted mansion, but there is so much more to it than that. Unlike most other ghostly horror movies, this film actually has likable characters. There is also a mystery surrounding the haunting that is interesting to watch unfold as the main character pieces everything together. If you are looking for a great movie from 1980 to watch without all the gore, The Changeling is probably the least goriest film on this list.

5. Maniac

I’ll admit that I saw the 2013 remake of Maniac starring Elijah Wood before seeing the 1980 original. However, I did not enjoy the remake in the slightest. After watching the original in my quest to watch every '80s horror movie, I must say it is hands down the superior film. If you have any fascination with serial killers, like I do, then you’re going to like Maniac. The movie lives up to the name, as killer Frank Zito (played by Joe Spinell, R.I.P.) truly is a Maniac.

4. Alligator

I loved Alligator when I was a kid. I had it recorded on a VHS tape and I think I must have watched it a thousand times. (I’m surprised the tape didn’t break.) There are a lot of horror movies out there that revolve around a killer alligator or crocodile, but in my opinion, Alligator is the best of them all. You won’t see any CGI alligators in this film, just practical special effects and sometimes even the real thing.

3. The Fog

Directed by the legendary John Carpenter, The Fog is probably one of the few films of his that I somehow never saw. Well now I have, and I loved it. The story centers around a glowing fog that rolls into a small town at midnight, bringing with it death and unraveling a mystery about the town that was believed to be just folktales. John Carpenter adds his signature music once again, adding to the atmosphere of the film.

2. Friday the 13th

That’s right, the original that started it all. The iconic machete wielding, hockey mask wearing killer, Jason Voorhees, is not in this film! As Ghostface said in Scream, " should know that Jason's mother, Mrs. Voorhees was the original killer. Jason didn't show up until the sequel." Although the film is low budget, like many horror movies are, this one still holds up pretty well compared to other films released later into the '80s. Betsy Palmer (R.I.P.) really steals the show as Pamela Voorhees.

1. The Shining

This is hands down the best horror film of 1980. We can argue all day about which movies represent the top ten from the year, but there is no arguing The Shining is number one. Jack Nicholson stars as Jack Torrance, a writer that accepts a job as Winter caretaker of the Overlook Hotel. He settles in, along with his wife and son, hoping to finish a new novel. As the time goes by, it seems as though the isolation and the hotel’s dark past takes a toll on Jack. The only thing he manages to accomplish is going completely insane. Directed by Stanley Kubrick (R.I.P.) and loosely based off the novel by Stephen King, The Shining is a wild physiological ride.

Honorable Mention: Macabre

So there you have it, now on to 1981.

Check out more of My Top 10's.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Book Update #3 – Summer 2016

Book at 80%

It has been about six months since my previous Book Update. As you can see from the fancy progress bar above, I am now 80% complete the writing portion of my book. What does that mean? That means I have finished two more short stories for my book since my last update back in February.

As I mentioned before, having a full-time job and other responsibilities limits how much time I have to devote to writing. This is another reason why I aim for only one blog post a month. At least I am progressing though, that’s saying something, right?

Writing a little each day is still better than nothing at all.

"first day of summer" by paul bica is licensed under CC BY 2.0

When I originally set out to write this book, my plan was to write ten short stories. My progress bar at the top is based on me writing those ten stories. Lately however, I have been contemplating the idea of expanding it to thirteen. Thirteen has always been a favorite number of mine.

I am not completely sure if I am going to commit to this change or not. It’s not that I am at a loss for ideas. I have more than enough ideas to add three more stories to the lineup. To me, it’s more about the fact that this book has been a long time in the making. Adding three more stories is going to take more time. I guess this is something I can decide when I hit that 100% mark.

What would you all do if it was your book? Let me know in the comments.

In Other News...

I added a new page to the sidebar a while back. If you haven't noticed, it’s called A List of Lists. This page is a collection of all the lists I have compiled here on my blog. All on one page for easy reading. Check it out!

Next month I’ll be adding a new Top 10 list (my opinion) of something I have been working on for the past several months. Just part one in a long adventure. You’ll understand when you see it. Be sure to check back for that.

This Summer has been way to hot. Can it be Fall now, please?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Please Stop Ruining Our Horror Movies

Going to the movie theater has always been a thrill for me. Seeing a newly released film on the big screen will always be truly amazing. I treat it as if it were an event, or some kind of special privilege, so much so that I keep all my movie stubs.

That being said...

I saw The Conjuring 2 recently, it was a great movie, but I had an awful theater experience. People talking, shouting, cell phones ringing, just making all kinds of noise in general during the movie. So much in fact that at certain points in the movie the suspense was ruined, or the dialogue could not be heard clearly.

After doing some thinking about this, I feel it’s no wonder that people pass on seeing movies in the theater and opt to wait for them to release on Blu-ray/DVD, Video On Demand (VOD) or some other internet streaming service.

A part of me says, why don’t I just skip the theater from now on and simply watch them when they become available for me to get at home? That way I can watch them in peace and quiet. I mean, I do have a nice size television and an awesome surround sound system. There isn’t anything really stopping me.

However, aside from the fact that my television will most likely never match the big screen experience the movie theaters offer, my love and passion for the genre IS what stops me from skipping the theatrical run. I want to support Horror in every way I can, and I feel the best way to do that is to see them when they are released theatrically.

"waiting for the film" by BMiz is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Talking (or just being disruptive) in the theater during the movie isn’t anything new. It has happened to me in the past (and sadly will probably happen again), but this time it really got to me. It also made me realize something: It is usually Horror movies that are the most susceptible to this kind of inconsiderate behavior.

Whenever I go see an Action movie or Comedy, people seem a little more behaved. There aren’t many distractions or disruptions. I saw Captain America: Civil War (also a great movie) a few weeks back and did not have any issues. I feel like no one made a peep. I really don’t know why this is, but I feel it has a lot to do with sound.

Horror movies revolve a lot around sound (or the lack thereof) to build tension and suspense. When a scene gets eerily quiet to build up a frightening moment and someone in the theater is talking, or their phone starts ringing, or (my favorite) they yell “Ahh!” in hopes to scare a nearby friend; it ruins the scene and takes you out of the movie.

With something like Civil War for example, the action scenes are filled with loud fights and explosions. Things that can mask the audiences talking or rude distractions. Someone would have to be pretty loud for you to hear them over scenes like that.

In the end, it saddens me how many people can be disrespectful to others when inside a movie theater. We all paid our hard earned money to watch the same film, why don’t we all just sit back and enjoy it? You don’t need to entertain your friends the whole time, that is what the movie is for. We don’t need your commentary, and I think you will survive going two hours without your phone.

It seems the true horror of seeing a horror movie in the theater is the people who ruin it.

On behalf of the horror movie fan base... I ask simply, please stop ruining our horror movies.

On the bright side… The Conjuring 2 came in at #1 at the Box Office in it's opening weekend, beating out an action Summer blockbuster. Not too many Horror movies can say that.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Writing: 20 Quotes That Will Inspire You to Write More

Need a burst of motivation? We could all use it from time to time, especially with all the stress life throws our way. Below are twenty quotes that I think will help the writer inside you feel more inspired.

Bookmark this page so you can come back when you need that extra push.

"Pen and Paper" by Dinuraj K is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.
- Mark Twain

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
- Confucius

If you can dream it, you can do it.
- Walt Disney

You can't cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.
- Rabindranath Tagore

Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.
- John F. Kennedy

Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.
- William Butler Yeats

Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.
- Julie Andrews

Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds.
- Gordon B. Hinckley

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
- Benjamin Franklin

You can't expect to hit the jackpot if you don't put a few nickels in the machine.
- Flip Wilson

Thinking will not overcome fear but action will.
- W. Clement Stone

Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.
- John Wooden

An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.
- Edwin Land

Fears are nothing more than a state of mind.
- Napoleon Hill

Action is the foundational key to all success.
- Pablo Picasso

Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall.
- Ray Bradbury

If you could get up the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed.
- David Viscott

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.
- Walt Disney

Just remember, once you're over the hill you begin to pick up speed.
- Arthur Schopenhauer

I had a period where I thought I might not be good enough to publish.
- Stephen King

Now get out there and kick some writing ass!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday the 13th: Ranked Worst to Best

Anyone that knows me, knows that the Friday the 13th film franchise is my all-time favorite series in horror and has been ever since a young age. Jason Voorhees fascinated me as a kid, I always saw him as the most ruthless killer in horror. To celebrate this Friday the 13th, I thought I would rank all the films in a list from worst to best.

NOTE: I love all the Friday the 13th films, so I use the word “worst” loosely. To me, each one of them is great in their own way, but if I truly had to rank them, this is how I would do it.

12. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)

Jason Goes to Hell will always hold a special place in my heart. It was the first Jason movie I saw in the theaters (I was 8, thanks mom!) However, it does have its flaws. Although I enjoy it, I was bummed with the whole “body hopping” concept. We want to see Jason and the hockey mask, it’s that simple. The gore in the unrated cut of the film help make up for it though.

My Favorite Kill: Deborah getting impaled with a rail spike and torn in half vertically.

11. Jason X (2001)

Jason X, or what some call “Jason in Space,” is a weird movie. To be honest, out of all the “in space” gimmick movies in horror, Jason X is possibly the most tolerable. It has some pretty decent gore and a high body count to make up for its non-camp setting. Jason X is fun to watch if you don’t take it too seriously, but compared to others in the franchise, it's pretty lackluster.

My Favorite Kill: Adrienne getting her face frozen in liquid nitrogen, then smashed and shattered on the counter.

10. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

The last film in the original series from Paramount, and the last one to be released in the 80's, Jason Takes Manhattan went in a different direction from the previous films. Removing Jason from the iconic Camp Crystal Lake and sending him to New York City. Although most of the scenes take place on a ship and the ending leaves you scratching your head, the movie is a fun ride.

My Favorite Kill: Eva getting strangled. The sounds she makes when landing on the dance floor after Jason let’s go of her. Brutal.

9. Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985)

Jason Voorhees is not technically in this film; instead the killings are carried out by an Imposter Jason, indicated by the blue markings on his hockey mask. Despite this, A New Beginning isn’t all that bad. It still holds that 80's horror movie charm, and has some iconic scenes/kills. (Damn enchiladas!) The ending was a little out there though; glad they didn’t follow through with it in the sequel.

My Favorite Kill: Eddie having his skull crushed after a leather strap is placed around his head and twisted tightly against a tree.

8. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)

The New Blood pits Jason against a teenager named Tina with telekinetic powers. It sounds goofy when you read it, but it gives Jason a match; that up to this point, he has never faced. We were introduced to Kane Hodder with this installment, the first actor to portray Jason more than once, going on to play him in three more sequels after this film. (I must say that Jason’s costume in this film is probably my all-time favorite.)

My Favorite Kill: Melissa taking an axe to the face. I love how Jason throws her across the room afterwards. Seeing her lifeless body with the axe planted in her face fly over the television just adds to it.

7. Friday the 13th (1980)

The original film that started it all. This 1980 classic is not like the others in the series. With the exception of Part V, you always know who the killer is, blatantly showing Jason dispatching his victims in glorious fashion. In the original however, you are left guessing who might be carrying out the killings, showing only close-ups of gore and the murderer's hands. This gives the movie a slightly different tone than all the others. Pamela Voorhees as we all know is the killer in the original, and the rest is history.

My Favorite Kill: Marcie getting an axe to the face. Two thumbs up!

6. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

Even though we caught a glimpse of Jason Voorhees at the very end in the original, it’s Part 2 where we are formally introduced to the crazed murderer. In this first outing, he dons a burlap sack as a mask. Although I think the sack mask from the 2009 Reboot is much scarier, the mask in Part 2 is still a little unsettling. Anyway, our good old sack head Jason roams the surrounding areas of Crystal Lake, picking off unsuspecting teenagers in the process. Although a grown up Jason might seem illogical since he drowned as a boy, Part 2 is still a classic in shaping what Friday the 13th is today.

My Favorite Kill: Mark taking a machete to the face and falling down stairs while in his wheelchair.

5. Friday the 13th (2009)

The consensus I see online is you either love or hate the 2009 Remake/Reboot. Well, I for one loved it, a lot. Some did not like the fact that they made Jason run again, but I felt it made Jason appear more ruthless and vicious in this film. Actor Derek Mears knocked it out of the park with his portrayal of the hockey masked killer.

My Favorite Kill: Chewie slowly being stabbed with a screwdriver in his throat.

4. Freddy vs. Jason (2003)

Freddy vs. Jason is a huge blast that every horror movie fan can enjoy. Who doesn’t want to see these two legends battle it out? For a movie that was in Development Hell for over ten years, I think they pulled it off pretty well in the end. Fans of either film series each get a little of something they like. (I still think Jason won the fight, I mean, he is holding Freddy’s head at the end.)

My Favorite Kill: Trey being stabbed repeatedly in the back with a machete while lying on a bed. And if that wasn’t enough, he gets broken backwards as Jason folds the bed up with him on it.

3. Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982)

Part 3 is probably the best 3D movie of all time. Okay, I might be exaggerating, but it’s awesome nonetheless. Part 3 took everything that was great about Part 2, and improved upon it. Molding it into what the series will become known for. The stars aligned and Jason discovers his favorite accessory since the machete, the hockey mask. Which has become a staple of the series ever since.

My Favorite Kill: Rick having his head squeezed until his eyeball shoots out at the screen. (in 3D!)

2. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

Ahhh, the fourth and final installment in the series. Ha, yeah right. After much thinking, I have come to the conclusion that Jason in The Final Chapter is the first time we really see Jason pissed off. Yeah, he killed a lot of people up to this point, but in this movie he is really mad, and it shows on screen. (Actor Ted White did an excellent job.) Every iteration of Jason that followed continued this trend; and in some cases, even upped the intensity. Perhaps this is why you can’t really keep the character dead?

My Favorite Kill: Jimmy getting a corkscrew stabbed into his hand and followed up with a meat cleaver firmly planted into his face.

1. Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)

In Jason Lives, Jason is brought back from the dead with a bolt of lightning. It seems as though he gains more strength and power as a result. Remember that upping the intensity I was talking about? To me, Jason Lives is the best Friday the 13th film. I think it has the perfect blend of horror, suspense, and thrills, with just the right amount of comedy to not ruin its overall horror movie tone.

My Favorite Kill: Sheriff Garris being completely bent backwards and broken in half.

I hope you all enjoyed this list as much as I did making it.
Disagree with my list? Feel free to post your list in the comments below.

Now time to get back to writing.

P.S. Hurry up and release another Friday the 13th already!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Writing: How I Handle Writer's Block

"Road Closed" by ricky montalvo is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
Writer’s block happens when you least expect it. It can be most troublesome, and can really throw a monkey wrench into your progress.

Here are three techniques I use to handle writer’s block.

Make an outline.

When I first started writing, I never really made outlines. I had many ideas; they were all in my head, so I just started writing. This might work for some people, but not for everyone. What I found out fast was that eventually I would find myself stuck somewhere with no clear direction on where to go next. My project would stall.

Then I started making outlines.

Ever since I started making outlines, I barely ever found myself stuck anymore. In these detailed outlines, I will map out every scene of the story. Therefore, I always have the outline to look at for reference to keep me moving along. I might find myself stuck on how to word something, but I hardly find myself stuck on what to write next.

Write out of order.

You are in the middle of writing and you find yourself stuck. You are at a loss for what to write. However, you have tons of ideas brewing in your mind for a later part in your story. The solution is simple, skip the part you are on, jumping ahead to the part you have ideas for, and writing there instead.

This has worked for me many times. Here are two main reasons I recommend this…

One, if you jump ahead and write the ideas you have in your mind right now, you will not forget them. If you wait, some of the ideas you have could be hard to remember and could get lost forever.

Two, although it might be out of order, at least you are writing. You are still moving along on your story regardless of where you are.

Take time away.

The last way I handle writer’s block is taking time away from my writing. Do something else to clear your mind of everything. Watch a movie, catch up on a television show, play some video games, read a book, anything that will get you away for however long you need to relax and clear your head.

When I return to my writing, I am much more refreshed and less stressed about being stuck. This creates a perfect recipe to get the creative juices flowing again.


In conclusion, I wish you luck with whatever it is you are writing. I am not an expert, just a guy with a passion for writing, but hopefully some of the things I stated here can help you get past that pesky writer’s block.

Have any other ways to handle writer's block? Tell me in the comments below.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Why I Love Horror

Although I pretty much enjoy all genres of film, my passion for the horror genre is like no other. Ever since I can remember, I have been addicted to watching horror movies.

When I was young, I use to hang out at my grandmother’s house as she would babysit me during the day when my mom was away at work. My uncle still lived there at the time, and he was into horror movies. He would end up showing me many films, most of which I can’t even remember. However, I have a distinct memory of watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. I turned it off after the opening bridge scene, because I was so freaked out.

I’ll never forget watching the Friday the 13th series and loving the brutal force of Jason Voorhees. He became my favorite and to this day, it has never changed.

My uncle had a huge stack of Fangoria magazines under a table in his bedroom. In the land before the internet, Fangoria, a monthly horror publication, was possibly the only way to learn about upcoming horror releases or get a behind the scenes look on your favorite horror movies.

When most kids my age or older would sneak into bedrooms to look at nudie magazines, I was sneaking into his to look at the photos in Fangoria. It was there, flipping through those pages, that I first got an intimate glimpse into the world of horror filmmaking.

With my young eyes, I saw the makeup process that transformed Robert Englund into the iconic Freddy Krueger, or some of the men behind the mask of Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers. I believe this is where my fascination with horror really blossomed into more than just a love for the movie, but a love for the craft of horror filmmaking and the grotesque special effects that are designed to terrify the viewer.

Growing up over the years with separated parents, I have the fondest memories of going to the local video store when visiting with my father. I always went to the horror section and tried to pick something out. Although he would not let me rent everything I wanted to see, it was still fun to go there and see all the VHS tapes standing on the wall. I discovered a lot of new (to me) horror movies this way. Sadly, this is something that the new generations will never be able to experience, but I am grateful that my dad took me and gave me that experience. Thanks Dad!

My mother used to let me stay up late, much later than my proposed bed time, just so I could watch new episodes of Tales from the Crypt. As you could tell, I was not like most kids my age. I do not believe I was even ten years old yet, but I loved the hell out of that show and the Crypt Keeper. Thanks Mom for letting me watch it.

I attended my first horror convention in 2003. (My uncle took me.) The first celebrity I met that day was Gunner Hansen (RIP), the actor that portrayed Leatherface in the 1974 classic, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I was nervous, and I did not talk to him for very long, because meeting him was so surreal. I could not even tell you how many times I have seen The Texas Chainsaw Massacre growing up.

From that first time in 2003, until now, I could not even tell you have many conventions I have attended. Before I started regularly going to conventions, my love for horror movies was high, but not as high as it is now after attending dozens of them. Having the pleasure of meeting almost all of my favorites has pushed my love for horror to new heights.

So why do I love horror?

People ask me this from time to time. I never actually sat and thought about it, until I wrote this.

Perhaps it’s all of those family connected memories growing up. I believe they slowly molded me into the fan of horror that I am today. What started as a taboo by simply viewing a movie that your parents did not want you to see because of your age, has matured into a passion. One that arguably grows as each new day passes.

Since 2012, I have compiled a top ten list of what I think are the best horror movies of the year. Not only is it fun, but it also gives me an excuse to watch as many new films as I can. Although the newer ones don’t scare me as much as the older ones did when I was younger, because every horror fan undoubtedly grows a tolerance, I still enjoy every minute of them.

Horror sometimes gets a bad rap. People periodically think differently of you, just because you’re a fan. Well, say what you’d like about the horror genre, but it’s my genre, and I love everything about it.

- Matt

Do you love horror? Leave me a comment and tell me why.

The idea for this post came from reading this post.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Book Update #2 – Winter 2016

Book at 40%

It has been almost an entire year since my previous Book Update. As you can see from the fancy progress bar above, I am now 60% complete the writing portion of my book. What does that mean? That means I have finished two more short stories since my update last Spring.

I know it seems like it is taking forever for me to finish my book (or at least it does to me), but I think I am progressing pretty well considering I have a full-time job and go to the gym four days a week after work. No matter how busy I am, I try to find the time to at least plop down in my chair for one hour a day and put some words on the screen.

Sometimes I wish I could do this full-time. Wake up each day, and just write. I wouldn't even have to change out of my pajamas. Okay, maybe not that last part, but one can daydream.

Also, still contemplating on a title. I have a few ideas, but not set on anything just yet.

In Other News...

I have made Official Facebook page that everyone can follow.
Also if you are on Twitter (which I tend to post more) you can follow me @mtsmith85

This past September and November I filmed yet another short for the anthology feature film Terrortory, (Movies also take a long time to make.) A teaser trailer is online for your viewing pleasure. If you are interested, I have posted a link to it on my Facebook page.

Stay tuned and keep writing!

- Matt