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Tag: science fiction

My Favorite Horrors: ALIEN

I’ve written about the film Alien a couple of times here, but I’ve yet to come out and say that it’s my favorite horror movie. I wrote about how the alien creature itself has given me more nightmares than anything else, and how much I think of the big, out-of-nowhere twist involving Ash. Within the former piece, I go into what I feel makes the monster more frightening than any other I’ve seen on a screen or read about on a page. In the second piece I go into not just the unexpected revelation that Ash is a robot, but also how the film is built around escalating and unexpected threats. READ MORE

Movie Review: THE VAST OF NIGHT

Knowing the little bit I do about the budget and constraints of The Vast of Night, and then seeing what appears on the screen, it’s a little difficult to properly assess the movie, because it does so very much with that apparently limited budget that it doesn’t feel like it warrants a pass for some of its missteps.

But let’s lead with the positive: this movie looks great to me. I’m not exactly a technical film genius; I know that in Chris Stuckmann’s review, he notes that the color-grading in some scenes isn’t what it could be. That sort of thing largely escapes me, so I’d have to take the word of people with a better eye for it. What doesn’t escape me is when a film looks amateurish to one degree or another. The Vast of Night doesn’t look like amateur-hour at all. I wish I could’ve seen it in a theater. I plan to rewatch with my VR headset in the near future, in Amazon’s theater-replicating environment. READ MORE

TERMINATOR is Faltering Without its Horror

Kyle Reese was a rightfully scared man. He had an intensity and urgency that a healthy fear can bring out of someone. A soldier of the post-apocalypse, he’s prone to nightmares of the cold, brutal future he’s been sent from.

He was battle-tested, brave, resourceful and resilient, but don’t confuse courage and cunning for an absence of fear. Kyle was nakedly afraid of what he had to face in order to save Sarah Connor.

Sarah, understandably, was even more terrified of the T-800 (and Kyle, initially), being a civilian stalked and hunted in the middle of the Los Angeles by something even a station full of policemen can’t protect her from. By the second movie, however, that which (barely) failed to kill her has made her stronger. She becomes a hardened survivalist, more fighter than runner, willing to break bones to secure her future, her son’s future, and by extension humankind’s. She is fearsome and fearless during her escape from the hospital… until she once again sets eyes on the thing that hunted her in the first film. READ MORE

Today’s Short Story: “I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon” – Philip K. Dick

Details can be vital to a story. Details allow worlds to feel lived in, characters to breathe. But details needn’t be intricacies.

In Philip K. Dick’s science fiction short story “I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon” the details enrich the story’s future, planets and technologies with plausibility, but eschew needless complexity. This isn’t to say the story is “simple” (hardly) or basic, just that it’s direct. I’m also not saying that complexity and intricacy are inherently bad. They can be misplaced, however. Or abused to mask story flaws, like an overly complicated cologne might be an attempt to overwhelm your sense of smell, trying to hide that the fragrance simply isn’t appealing. READ MORE