2013 in review (my blog results)

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,000 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in Uncategorized

My favorite horror films – UPDATED

It’s the season for chills, scares and things that go bump in the night.  As Halloween approaches, each year I try and keep my mental video library up-to-date filling in gaps and rewatch classic horror films.  This year I decided to compile a blog post of my favorite horror films.

The Collins English dictionary defines “horror” like this:

horror [noun]
1. extreme fear; terror; dread
2. intense loathing; hatred
3. (often plural) a thing or person causing fear, loathing, etc.
4. (modifier) having a frightening subject, esp a supernatural one a horror film

[According to them and the American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, it's etymology is:  Middle English horrour, from Old French horreur, from Latin horror, from horrre, to tremble./trembling with fear]

The following films are presented in chronological order and are the ones I most often come back to for visceral thrills.  Some are classics that might not be nail biters, but more Gothic horror in nature, some are gory and some are scary as hell.  Many cross genres (Science Fiction in particular), but in one way or another, these are the films I come back to and exploring dark matters.  I’m also partial to films that try something new and are fully committed to their vision even if some flaws are present.

And before the attacks begin, there are some “glaring” omissions, but those are due to either my personal preferences or not getting around to certain films (which I’m intending to see asap such as Hostel, Audition, [REC] and [REC]2, The Poughkeepsie Tapes (now have it – will review shortly) etc.).  This list is based on films I’ve seen only not just ones I know are great by ratings/reviews/reputation.

Please feel free to comment and offer your thoughts on the list, your personal favorites, but again-these are my personal favorites.  I’m not saying this is a “best” list because that is subjective, but I did review a TON of sites’ “Best” lists to refresh my memory.  Some of those links appear at the bottom of the post for reference.

Without further ado…

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Frankenstein (1931)
King Kong (1933)
The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Psycho (1960)
The Haunting (1963)
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
The Exorcist (1973)
Don’t Look Now (1973)
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Jaws (1975)
The Omen (1976)
Eraserhead (1977)
Halloween (1978)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
The Fog (1979)
Alien (1979)
Phantasm (1979)
The Shining (1980)
The Fog (1980)
The Evil Dead (1981)
Poltergeist (1982)
The Thing (1982)
The Dead Zone (1983)
A Nightmare of Elm Street (1984)
The Terminator (1984)
The Fly (1986)
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)
Aliens (1986)
Angel Heart (1987)
Evil Dead II (1987)
Fatal Attraction (1987)
Predator (1987)
Prince of Darkness (1987)
Clownhouse (1989)
Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
Misery (1990)
Nightbreed (1990)
The Silence of the Lambs (1990)
Candyman (1992)
Cronos (1993)
Fire in the Sky (1993)
Jurassic Park (1993)
Interview with the Vampire (1994)
The Addiction (1995)
The Prophesy (1995)
Se7en (1995)
Species (1995)
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Scream (1996)
Cube (1997)
The Devil’s Advocate (1997)
The Lost World:  Jurassic Park (1997)
Starship Troopers (1997)
Blade (1998)
Bride of Chucky (1998)
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
The Sixth Sense (1999)
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Ginger Snaps (2000)
Pitch Black (2000)
Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001)
Jurassic Park III (2001)
Session 9 (2001)
Signs (2002)
28 Days Later (2002)
Blade 2 (2002)
Underworld (2003)
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Hellboy (2004)
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Saw (2004)
Chainsaw Sally (2004)
The Descent (2005)
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
30 Days of Night (2007)
Grindhouse (2007)
Paranormal Activity (2007)
Deadgirl (2008)
Let the Right One In (2008)
Quarantine (2008)
Dead Hooker in a Trunk (2009)
District 9 (2009)
The Final Destination (2009)
The House of the Devil (2009)
Jennifer’s Body (2009)
Suck (2009)
Black Death (2010)
Black Swan (2010)
Monsters (2010)
The Mutilation Man (2010)
Stake Land (2010)
Trollhunter (2010)
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010)
Red State (2011)
Prometheus (2012)
Sinister (2012)

Rotten Tomatoes – Best Horror Movies (2012 Update)

Rotten Tomatoes – Top 100 Horror Movies

best-horror-movies.com – Top 100 Horror Movies (2012)

IGN’s Top 25 Horror Movies of All-Time (2010)

Boston.com – Top 50 scariest horror movies of all time

AMC Movie Guide – The Best Horror Movies and Horror Movie Rankings

The 100 Most Popular Horror/Suspense Movies of All Time

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Posted in Halloween, Horror, Movies I recommend, Musings on art, Musings on movies, Terror, Undead, Vampire, Vampires, Werewolf, Werewolves, Zombie, Zombies

My “American Mary” review – 4.5 out of 5 stars

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I’m going to start this review a little different. I want to begin with copious praise for the people behind the scenes who make the actors/actresses/movies look their best, handle F/X, costumes, music and such. The look and feel of the movie, its cinematography and editing in particular, are superb. This film is light-years beyond the Soska Twins’ freshman effort (“Dead Hooker in a Trunk“).

While their first film is, by their own admission, a love letter to grindhouse films, “American Mary” is their tribute to Asian/European horror films. But even so, the way the people behind the scenes made this film’s look really needed a call out. Watching one film and then the other you see a major upgrade in quality and style. I HIGHLY recommend you watch the HD version (currently available region-free from Amazon.co.uk or in the US shortly (pre-order).
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The Soska twins, owners of Twisted Twins Productions, rose to fame (or infamy as the case may be) with the release of their first film “Dead Hooker in a Trunk.” While that was raw, edgy and rough, their sophomore effort “American Mary” is mature, polished and darker. The twins have a cameo in the film that’s delightfully nutty, though it didn’t go where I thought it was going (thought we were about to see twins who wanted to become conjoined, maybe that’ll be in the sequel? Call me we’ll flesh it out – pardon the pun).
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As portrayed by Katharine Isabelle (she of “Ginger Snaps” fame-all kinds of awesome-LOVE HER), Mary is a slow-building storm of surgical terror. We watch her get pushed to the breaking point and respond with the kind of “Kill Bill” snap/revenge streak I always love. She’s presented as almost a sociopath throughout. She’s generally numb or detached to things around her (loved the scene where she’s tested to see how she would deliver bad news to patients). There’s humor throughout, but overall sadness lingers over each moment.

As with any film there are a few very minor quibbles. Things move a little fast at the beginning. I got that Mary had some money issues, who doesn’t, but it almost seemed she was took quickly looking into answering questionable online ads for easy money. At some points maybe a little too slow-paced, some of the club scenes with Billy and Mary, his fantasy of her dancing was a little prolonged (ok to be honest that was the best part of the movie…just kidding…so not). [Note I rewatched this amazing film at Fatality Fest and I missed some of the initial cues (must have been sleepy first time I watched) to her financial issues so I'm adjusting my rating higher to reflect my missing what was clearly there.]

I also didn’t realize that the men at the club were afraid of Mary until Beatress told her that (noting a great, great performance by Tristan Risk as a Betty Boop-wanna be). But I have to rewatch as I might have missed some subtle cues prior to that. [Still feel this was a surprise but again so minor a thing, but even MORE blown away by Tristan on a second viewing. What a performance. We need a prequel with her story!]
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I really loved that it’s clear these gals did serious research into medical practices, surgery, and body modification. The film was well done so things don’t feel phony/fake (often an issue in indie horror). I really appreciate that they reached out to the “body mod” community and their involvement kept this from being a mockery of that world. Instead it’s inclusive and honest giving the film a solid core of respect to build the  horror onto.

Another direction choice I really loved was the use of “silence” throughout. After the “party” we see Mary get up, riding in an elevator and until the doors of it close there’s silence. In the above mentioned scene in the hospital the camera stays with the doctor while she goes in the back to practice giving bad news to families-we see her and them but don’t hear them. The constant unnecessary cutting (again pardon the pun) so prevalent in movies is absent here and that’s a very welcome thing to me as an avid film watcher. Often silence does more than a lot of unnecessary dialogue and sound f/x.

“American Mary” is not “oh my God” scary, it’s not as relentlessly gory or bloddy as you might expect. What it is, is a solid, bar-raising, bad ass indie horror film you won’t soon forget. In the hands of anyone else (well four hands I guess) or starring anyone less than someone as great as the always reliable, talented and gorgeous Katharine Isabelle it could have been direct-to-cable junk.

I definitely recommend anyone into indie horror, strong supporters of female filmmakers and women-centered films show their support. The only way the horror genre will survive and evolve is rewarding those out there taking chances and challenging the rest of us.

4.5 out of 5 stars – it’ll put a smile on your face for sure.

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Posted in author, blog traffic, body mod, body modification, Horror, Movies I recommend, Musings on art, Musings on movies, Terror, writer, writing

New year, new ereader? I’ve got some horror books for you!

I have books available (print or ebook) for the horror lover in you or those you love.

Have a Kindle (or Kindle app)?
http://www.amazon.com/Robert-Ropars/e/B004FRP8CY

Have a nook (or nook app)?
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/robert-ropars

Most are free, all under $3 (ebooks).  Stories include all manner of horror, well-reviewed, have strong female characters and even my edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

If you like my books please help me spread the word on Twitter/Facebook and/or give me a “Like” and if you really like them a review is always greatly appreciated.

I was excited for my flash fiction horror story “Jenny Got Sick” to be featured in the horror compilation 100 Horrors (review: http://snakebitehorror.weebly.com/21/post/2012/03/100-horrors-by-various-authors-rating.html).

My short story “The Propagation” was featured in Sirens Call eZine issue 1 that can be downloaded here: http://www.sirenscallpublications.com/ezine.htm

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Posted in author, Horror, New Original Material, On Writing, poem, poems, poetry, Terror, Undead, Vampire, Vampires, Werewolf, Werewolves, writer, writing, Zombie, Zombies

Excerpt – Horror short Lupus in Fabula (winter tale I wrote for SuicideGirls)

On a dark and bitterly cold winter night in Scotland, snow fell and the wind howled. Several members of the SuicideGirls headed north from Dumfries to the massive Forest of Ae. As they traveled along the A701, Lass, Gogo, Sash and Radeo shared coffee while they laughed, sang and tried to stay warm.

Lass was somewhat familiar with the area, but Gogo helped navigate with both a map and her phone’s GPS. She frowned and turned the map around and back again while taking a drag on a cigarette. Lass reached out and Gogo passed it to her. Lass refocused on the road, took a drag and exhaled. Gogo meanwhile repositioned the map so it made better sense and saw they were near their next turn.

“A few more miles than turn left onto Hillview. It’s just before the river…the…Water of Ae? Seriously? The Forest of Ae? The Water of Ae? What’s next, the Village of Ae?”

Lass smiled as she took another drag and handed the cigarette back to her friend.

“Follow Hillview up from the highway.” Lass continued to smile and reached for her coffee.

Gogo traced her finger along Hillview which ran north from the A701 and parallel to the river known as the Water of Ae.

“Fuck me….Ae Village…Not too original around these parts. Where’s the Hill of Ae? Are we staying at the B&B of Ae?”

Radeo was asleep; her head resting on Sash’s left shoulder. Sash smiled at the conversation in the front and drank her own coffee. She moved slowly and carefully so as not to wake Radeo.

Lass turned briefly to Gogo as they turned onto Hillview.

“I told you were staying at a friend of the family’s cabin in the woods. Our guide is waiting to take us there and we’ll have all weekend to shoot.”

Read the whole story:

http://suicidegirlsblog.com/blog/suicidegirls-lupus-in-fabula/

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Posted in Horror, Terror, Undead, Werewolf, Werewolves

Excerpt – Horror short Augmented Reality (Halloween story I wrote for SuicideGirls)

A black sedan drove slowly down a long, gravel driveway. A group of models was being driven from Chicago’s O’Hare airport to a remote farmhouse ninety minutes southwest of the city. The seven passengers were Suicide Girls: Gogo, Radeo, Milloux, Spliff, Tita, Moxi, and Bradley.

It was late October, and even though it was only dinner time, the sun was already near the horizon about to set. A long summer drought had left the various Autumn Blaze maples lining the long driveway nearly stripped bare of their foliage. A chilly wind blew some of their multicolored leaves across their view, illuminated by the limo’s headlights as they drifted past like spirits.

In the back, the Suicide Girls had now begun to gather their things. Gogo finished a cigarette and flicked it out the window while exhaling. Her breath turned into a smoky whistle as she saw the ancient farmhouse coming into view as the last trees were passed and they turned to approach the front porch.

“So that’s the Bellingham estate?” Gogo looked at Milloux and smiled. “How the hell did you find this place?”

Milloux smiled at her and replied, “I was in Chicago earlier this year and was looking up haunted places for our shoot. This one was remote enough for us, but not too far to get to.”

Radeo looked up from her phone as she finished a text message. “What happened here? You still haven’t told us.”

Read the whole story:

http://suicidegirlsblog.com/blog/fiction-friday-halloween-special-suicide-girls-augmented-reality/

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Posted in Ghosts, Halloween, Horror, New Original Material, Terror, Undead

My favorite horror films

It’s the season for chills, scares and things that go bump in the night.  As Halloween approaches, each year I try and keep my mental video library up-to-date filling in gaps and rewatch classic horror films.  This year I decided to compile a blog post of my favorite horror films.

The Collins English dictionary defines “horror” like this:

horror [noun]
1. extreme fear; terror; dread
2. intense loathing; hatred
3. (often plural) a thing or person causing fear, loathing, etc.
4. (modifier) having a frightening subject, esp a supernatural one a horror film

[According to them and the American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, it's etymology is:  Middle English horrour, from Old French horreur, from Latin horror, from horrre, to tremble./trembling with fear]

The following films are presented in chronological order and are the ones I most often come back to for visceral thrills.  Some are classics that might not be nail biters, but more Gothic horror in nature, some are gory and some are scary as hell.  Many cross genres (Science Fiction in particular), but in one way or another, these are the films I come back to and exploring dark matters.  I’m also partial to films that try something new and are fully committed to their vision even if some flaws are present.

And before the attacks begin, there are some “glaring” omissions, but those are due to either my personal preferences or not getting around to certain films (which I’m intending to see asap such as Saw, Hostel, Audition, [REC] and [REC]2, etc.).  This list is based on films I’ve seen only not just ones I know are great by ratings/reviews/reputation.

Please feel free to comment and offer your thoughts on the list, your personal favorites, but again-these are my personal favorites.  I’m not saying this is a “best” list because that is subjective, but I did review a TON of sites’ “Best” lists to refresh my memory.  Some of those links appear at the bottom of the post for reference.

Without further ado…

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Frankenstein (1931)
King Kong (1933)
The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Psycho (1960)
The Haunting (1963)
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
The Exorcist (1973)
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Jaws (1975)
The Omen (1976)
Eraserhead (1977)
Halloween (1978)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
The Fog (1979)
Alien (1979)
The Shining (1980)
The Fog (1980)
The Evil Dead (1981)
Poltergeist (1982)
The Thing (1982)
The Dead Zone (1983)
A Nightmare of Elm Street (1984)
The Terminator (1984)
The Fly (1986)
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)
Aliens (1986)
Angel Heart (1987)
Evil Dead II (1987)
Fatal Attraction (1987)
Predator (1987)
Prince of Darkness (1987)
Clownhouse (1989)
Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
Misery (1990)
Nightbreed (1990)
The Silence of the Lambs (1990)
Candyman (1992)
Cronos (1993)
Fire in the Sky (1993)
Jurassic Park (1993)
Interview with the Vampire (1994)
The Addiction (1995)
The Prophesy (1995)
Se7en (1995)
Species (1995)
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Scream (1996)
Cube (1997)
The Devil’s Advocate (1997)
The Lost World:  Jurassic Park (1997)
Starship Troopers (1997)
Blade (1998)
Bride of Chucky (1998)
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
The Sixth Sense (1999)
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Ginger Snaps (2000)
Pitch Black (2000)
Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001)
Jurassic Park III (2001)
Session 9 (2001)
Signs (2002)
28 Days Later (2002)
Blade 2 (2002)
Underworld (2003)
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Hellboy (2004)
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
The Descent (2005)
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
30 Days of Night (2007)
Grindhouse (2007)
Paranormal Activity (2007)
Deadgirl (2008)
Let the Right One In (2008)
Quarantine (2008)
Dead Hooker in a Trunk (2009)
District 9 (2009)
The Final Destination (2009)
The House of the Devil (2009)
Jennifer’s Body (2009)
Suck (2009)
Black Death (2010)
Black Swan (2010)
Monsters (2010)
The Mutilation Man (2010)
Stake Land (2010)
Trollhunter (2010)
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010)
Red State (2011)
Prometheus (2012)
Sinister (2012)

Rotten Tomatoes – Best Horror Movies (2012 Update)

Rotten Tomatoes – Top 100 Horror Movies

best-horror-movies.com – Top 100 Horror Movies (2012)

IGN’s Top 25 Horror Movies of All-Time (2010)

Boston.com – Top 50 scariest horror movies of all time

AMC Movie Guide – The Best Horror Movies and Horror Movie Rankings

The 100 Most Popular Horror/Suspense Movies of All Time

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Posted in Halloween, Horror, Movies I recommend, Musings on art, Musings on movies, Terror, Undead, Vampire, Vampires, Werewolf, Werewolves, Zombie, Zombies
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