One of the highlights of last month’s HorrorHound Cincinnati was getting to meet people I’d only known from profile pictures and pithy comments on Facebook. Author Glenn Rolfe was one of them. Glenn’s relatively new to the Samhain stable, but it took him no time to throw himself into the community and start making an impression (a positive impression, helping a lot of authors behind the scenes, liaising with Samhain staffers, he’s been a big help to many).
Since HorrorHound is a predominantly film-focused, in spare moments where I wasn’t trying to sell people books, conversation behind the table was often turned to movies.
Glenn will freely admit that he’s not as much of a movie guy as he is a book guy. And I will less-freely admit that I may have had a bit of fun at his expense when he fell out of the conversational loop and couldn’t keep up with nerds like Kristopher Rufty and I.
Flash forward to this week when he asked if I’d be interested in letting him guest here on my blog. I’m fairly easy-going with this kind of thing (I don’t have guests often, I’ve got to like an author’s work and like them on a personal level to let them come shill at my shilling place), so I just said: yeah, write up whatever you want and I’ll throw it up.
The guy who I’d been giving a hard time about not knowing movies wrote a movie post!
And it’s not bad! Not bad at all! I mean, I’d move Alien up to tie with The Thing and I’d certainly throw Mars Attacks!, Contamination, and Galaxy of Terror on there (Signs out the airlock, for me), but ya know: not my list.
So find that below and enjoy. One last thing, before we get to that, is that Glenn’s here promoting his new novella, Boom Town. I haven’t read it yet (I do have it pre-ordered, though), but I know Rolfe can write and ain’t lying when I say I’m looking forward to what he does in this sub-genre. Book’s out April 7th and you can order it right here. And if you want to find out more about the guy (and punk singer!) you can find his website here.
Glenn, take it away:
8. Predator– Arnold takes on one bad ass body heat readin’ creature from another planet. This one creeped me out when I was a kid. I actually feared for Arnold’s survival.
7. Invasion of the Body Snatchers– Starring Donald Sutherland, Jeff Goldblum, and Leonard Nimoy, among others. This one is a classic that had a hand in my Boom Town story. When aliens start wearing humans, it gets pretty damn scary.
6. The 4th Kind- I totally thought this was a real thing. I mean, I knew it was a movie, but I watched it late at night by myself and when I heard the alien speak in Sumerian…the hair stood on the back of my neck. I didn’t want to see another white owl again.
5. Alien– Another classic. My numbers 2-5 could all be tied. I actually never saw this from start to finish until I rented it like three years ago. It’s scary and gross in all the right places. Sigourney Weaver is awesome and I want to watch it again right now.
4. Close Encounters of the Third Kind– I’m sure this one had the effect on people of my generation that the early black and white movies had on kids in the fifties. Close Encounters…really made me want to know about aliens and UFOs. When Richard Dreyfuss is sitting in his truck and everything goes haywire and we see the ships fly by–it’s awesome. His obsession on the screen was absolutely palpable. I think we were all on this journey with him and up on the mountain, too.
3. Signs– M. Night Shyamalan was still riding high off The Sixth Sense (minus a slight dip with
Unbreakable) when Signs came out. The first time I watched it, I knew it would stick with me. There are so many things going on in this movie that I admire. For instance, the tragedy that Graham is dealing with raising two kids after a drunk driver hits and kills his wife. He is a reverend at the time of the accident and gives up on God in the aftermath. I love the scene where Graham and his brother are chasing the alien around the house thinking it’s the troublesome skull brothers. Another aspect that really resonates with me is his children: “Daddy there’s a monster outside my window, can I have a glass of water?” and the section when Graham is in the field and the sheriff says “what’s wrong?” and he replies, “I can’t hear my children.” I love the scene when he goes to the drunk driver’s house and finds the alien in the closet. I like the invasion, and the alien’s coming, and the family gathering to have their last meal. Pretty much all of it works for me…except for maybe the aliens just retreating, but I love the rest of the film so much I let that go.
2. Fire in the Sky– The true story of the abduction of Travis Walton. This is the best abduction movie. Period. Travis is abducted when he and his tree chopping co-workers see a red light spread out in the woods before them on their way home. When they see the source of the light, they stop dead in their tracks. Travis gets out, ignores his co-workers’ demands for him to get back in the truck, and gets hit by a beam of light from the ship in the sky. The police think one of the co-workers killed Travis, until Travis calls Mike (the foreman and Travis’s best friend) from a payphone. Travis is back, but he’s not the same. Traumatized and paranoid, Travis struggles to deal with the flashbacks haunting him, while at the same time trying to get back to his normal life. It’s in these flashbacks that we see the hell these beings put him through. These are some of the creepiest scenes I’ve ever watched. To this day, I flinch and squirm at the images on the screen: the goop they stick in his mouth and the instruments they use on his throat and his eyes. Then, there’s the weird casing they use to hold him in place. It’s a horrifying experience that perfectly, if uncomfortably, transfers off the screen to the viewer. I had nightmares after seeing this movie for the first time. Creepy. Awesome. And a word to the wise: If you see a large spacecraft overhead, DO.NOT. GET. OUT. OF. THE.VEHICLE!
1. The Thing– The ultimate in alien terror! What other movie could top the list? John Carpenter’s 1982 masterpiece is terrifying, suspenseful, and outright gory in just the right spots. The classic special effects in this movie are amazing. There’s something much more real, much more organic about effects done without CGI. I wish more modern, bug budget films would go back to the art of special effects. It seems everyone has watched this movie and has their favorite scenes. I’m particularly fond of the kennel scene, the part when they discover the weird two-faced, frozen man at the Norwegian camp, the scene where Kurt Russell’s character has the rest of the guys tied to chairs as one-by-one he checks their blood (the suspense!), and of course the nasty scene when the doc tries to use the defibrillator only to have it end HORRIBLY. The Thing’s secret is really the psychological horror that’s happening. No one can be trusted. People are acting strange, but in a fucked up situation like this, who the hell wouldn’t be? Combine the great screenplay, the terrific acting, and just the overall look of the film and this movie has everything you could ever want in a Horror/Sci-Fi film. Unless you’re looking for a hot chick alien thing…then I guess you can rent Species. The Thing is the best.
There you go. My top 8 favorite alien flicks. I hope you’ll all check out my new Horror/Sci-Fi novella, Boom Town, from Samhain Publishing when it comes out this Tuesday, April 7, 2015.
And thanks to my friend, Adam, for having me on his blog!