Monsterwatch

(Probably) The Greatest Halloween Signing Ever…

Yes, it’s not quite Halloween, but what’s a couple of days between friends?

Come along to the Great Halloween Signing in the Forbidden Planet Megastore in London tomorrow (Saturday 25th October) and hang out with Actual Proper British Horror Writers (and me. Who will be basking in the reflected glory and trying really hard not to grin like a loon.)

We’ll be signing between 1pm and 2pm, and afterwards there’s a BFS Open Evening taking place in the nearby Bloomsbury Tavern.

I’m there as a contributor to ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE! ENDGAME, the third of the ZA! series of mosaic novels.

9781472106421

If you’ve not come across the series – or any other mosaic novels before – think of it as a cross between an anthology of short stories and a novel in dossier form, with each contributor taking one aspect of it. (One of my favourites is the zombie-related app store, complete with developer comments.) My “story” is the diary of a teenager caught up in the zombie outbreak – the catch being that she wasn’t one of the lucky ones. So if you’ve ever wanted to know what goes through a teenage zombie’s mind…

 

Merry Crispmouse

Christmas is coming, and we all have that one person who’s impossible to buy for, don’t we? The one who already has everything, or always says they don’t want anything. That one.

Well, here’s the solution. The gift for someone who has everything.

A taxidermy mouse chess set.

(Failing that, why not try the taxidermy Pulp Fiction rodents, or the utterly terrifying monster pendants -not taxidermy, before you ask…)

 

It’s Aaaalive!

I’ve been away. I know. There was Nine Worlds (which was brilliant, by the way, and if you weren’t there, why weren’t you?) and then I went on holiday and then I Just. Needed. A. Break. Which is fine. Because – let’s face it – I do go on a fair bit.

So. Hello. Still alive.

And what is it, you might ask, that has roused me from my rubbishness? Is it some fantastic piece of news?

Well, no.

It’s this.

 

The trailer for I, Frankenstein.

Right.

I’m conflicted.

There’s no two ways about this. I just don’t know what to feel.

We’ll get the obvious bit out of the way. I adore Aaron Eckhart. I really, really do. I love him in basically everything (even The Core. Yes. Especially The Core. My love of terrible disaster movies knows no bounds, so hush now). He also happens to be in Possession, which is one of my very favourite films, and an adaptation of one of my very favourite books – so we’re going into this with a hell of a lot of Eckhart-shaped credit.

I do also love my monsters: be they Dracula, mummies or Frankenstein’s monster himself. So, again, lots of credit going in.

On top of that, there’s what look to be a few strong fight scenes going by this trailer (punch-up in a cathedral! Lots of fire! Eckhart carrying some really shiny looking weapons! Also: flying mid-air punch. I love a deeply impractical mid-air punch)  and it could be fun…

But.

I cannot possibly be the only person looking at this and thinking: “Oh. Van Helsing.” Because, boy, did we all get burned by that one.

I want to like it: I really do. But… are those angels? Not that I’m a hard sell on angels and fighting and stuff because *cough*, but… seriously?

I mean… seriously?

So there you go. Conflicted.

Still. Monsters. Plus Aaron Eckhart. How can that be a bad thing?

 

(Yes. This entire post was, basically, just an excuse to talk about Aaron Eckhart. My blog. My rules. Innit?)

As you were, chaps. As you were.

Tasting notes (for zombies): wine to serve with… people.

 Matching the right wine to your food can make all the difference to a meal. The right red, for instance, with a steak. A chilled white with a fish-dish.

But what about today’s zombie-about-town; the urban cannibal looking for the ultimate free-range foodie experience?

Never fear: for those needing advice on the perfect wine to accompany human flesh, help is at hand. So to speak…

Huffington Post: Zombie Apocalypse Wine Pairings

Gizmodo: Which Wines Go Best With Human Flesh?

I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking… maybe a nice Merlot?

Postcards from the Edge

My friend Will Hill went off on a big American road trip last year, and while this still leaves me gnawing my knuckles in envy, he’s written an amazing blog post on one part of his trip, over on his blog: his visit to (or as close to it as he could get!) Area 51.

So if you’ve ever wondered just what Dreamland really looks like, head over and have a read…

The Answer is Always Dean.

Running in (and, sadly, out again) to wave and say hello, and yes, I’m a very bad person because I’ve still not updated the blog.

However.

Hopefully this will put me in your good graces for a while. Especially if – like every right-minded person in the world – you know that Dean is by far the better of the Winchester brothers. And this is why.

The Definition of Irony

… would be me, coming home from Hoxton Street Monster Supplies with this.

Because we all know how easily I tend to fluster, don’t we? Even so, I couldn’t resist it.

Want one? Then go here for your very own tinned fear in a variety of strengths, or for any other monster needs…

You Know What You Love…

I have a Shiny New Thing. I do. Once Upon A Time.

I watched the pilot last week, and completely fell for it. It’s both terribly, terribly sweet and really quite dark. However, the reason I’ve fallen quite so hard and quite so fast is this:

 

Rumpelstiltskin.

He’s always been one of my favourite fairy-tale characters (his story, The Juniper Tree & Baba Yaga being the three I love… most)  so I wasn’t quite sure what to think when I spotted Once Upon A Time. But it’s brilliant. And having checked the writer roster, I can see why I’m enjoying it: given my unashamed love of Lost, Tron: Legacy and – basically – anything Jane Espenson touches, this one was a pretty safe bet.

If you’ve not come across the show – and without giving anything away – it’s two interlinking stories, set in two different worlds: the world of fairy tales, and the real world: specifically the town of Storybrooke, Maine, with actors playing roles in both.

Rumpel, and his decidedly creepysexy real-world counterpart Mr Gold, are both played by Robert Carlyle, who looks like he’s having an indecent amount of fun.

 

If you’re already watching it, you’ll know exactly what I mean. And if you aren’t, you should really think about starting…

Please.

No Exit to Kansas

Settle down, everyone. Teacher’s back in the room. I hope there was no messing around while I was gone–I’ll be checking the cupboards later, you know.

I’ve been hamstrung time-wise by (a) two family birthdays, (b) yet another Random Virus, Probably Brought Home By Small Boy, And Which Required Tea, Stroking Of Hair and General Soothing Noises to see it off, and (c) finishing a book.

The latter has seen me spending the last few days getting up at somewhere between 5 and 6 in the morning to work–which thankfully, has paid off. After rattling round in my head on and off for just over a year, it’s done. Well. The first draft is, anyway. I’m not actually going to consider that for a few days.

So. While I was on hiatus, I finally managed to see Red Riding Hood.

Gosh. Now there’s a film that doesn’t know quite what it wants to say with its subtext… and ends up saying something rather icky as a result.

I also watched Labyrinth, for what must have been the hundredth time, because it is wonderful and funny – and if you look closely at the scene where they storm the goblin castle, you’ll see there are two pints of milk sitting on the doorstep. How can you not love a film which does this?

[SPOILERS]

[and seriously, if you need a spoiler warning for Labyrinth, you really do need to sort that out. Go and watch it.]

There’s something about the way these films end that bothers me. I’m not the only one, either: during a recent Twitter conversation, someone pointed out that were she in Sarah’s position at the end of Labyrinth, there’s no way she could go back to the normal, everyday world. A heated discussion ensued in which several of us debated the merits of staying in the Goblin Kingdom as Queen (and which inevitably wound up discussing David Bowie’s costume. As you do) but the sticking point was this: in the midst of Jareth’s little speech, he asks her to “Let me rule you,” – which he promptly follows up with “Fear me. Love me. Do as I say.” That’s Jareth all over for you, isn’t it?

The thing, though, is could you go back? Yes, I know it’s all about Sarah taking responsibility for her actions and discovering her power as a young woman rather than as a girl–but… yeah.

Kingdom. Magic castle. Floating bubbles with ballrooms in them. Would you go back to the real world, or would you stay put and arrange for Jareth to fall off a high tower sometime soon…?

Red Riding Hood has a similar issue, but is much more frustrating. While Labyrinth‘s Sarah is essentially finding her own identity, Red… isn’t. She decides to take on someone else’s, and hole up in her grandmother’s house in the woods.

The problem here is that the narrative is actively set up to discourage this. It literally makes no sense. Everything we have been told in the lead up to those final moments is suddenly chucked out the window, for the sake of… what, exactly? The least satisfying film I’ve seen in a long time. I’m not kidding when I say I actually sat up and shouted at the television at that point. Really shouted at it. I probably would’ve thrown something if I hadn’t known my husband would take a rather dim view me hurling objects at the household electronics…

Here’s the thing (and this is uber, mega, massively spoilery).

We already know that it’s the last night of the blood moon, and that someone bitten will become a werewolf instead of dying. We already know that Peter is the love of Valerie’s life, and they were going to run away together. We already know that Peter has been bitten. We already know that Valerie already has werewolf blood, and that this would make her stronger than previous generations of werewolves were she to be bitten…

So why, why, do we then watch her letting Peter go with the promise he’ll return someday? There’s virtually nothing left for her where she is, and we can’t even assume she’s staying for her mother, because she takes herself off to live outside the village.

Simply put, why doesn’t she go with Peter? We could have had some kind of happy lupine montage: a pair of wolves running through the forest or something. The film’s general attitude to who was a good guy or a bad guy was so cavalier that it wouldn’t have made a blind bit of difference to a man v. monster debate–they were all as bad as each other.

Aargh. Look at me: I’ve got all cross again just thinking about it.

So, I’m curious. Have you seen Red Riding Hood? If you have, what did you think of the way it ended: did it make sense, or like me, would you really rather have left it with her eating half the village (they bloody well deserve it, if you ask me.)? Why can’t the girl join the monsters?

And what about you: if you were the protagonist in either of these films, would you go home at the end…?

Zombie Safe-House

We live in strange days. It’s true. We have many things to worry about: the economy, the state of the planet, the near-constant assault on our ears by X-Factor finalists…

But you can consider one thing to be taken care of: come the zompocalypse, if you need somewhere to hide, you’ve got options.

Ladies and gentlemen. For your most apocalyptic appreciation… the winners of the 2011 Zombie Safe House competition.

Made. Of. Win.