Snowed In (a.k.a. links, plus some re-heated thoughts on HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS)

It’s been awhile since my last blog, so this will most likely be a babbling outpouring of links and incoherence.

First it’s got to be mentioned that some incredible press has dropped for Video Night since we last spoke. I’ll try to off-set each blatantly self-promotional link with something that has nothing to do with me then finish up with a movie write-up, that way you’ll keep reading…or you’ll just scroll to the end.

Anyone who’s stopped by here before knows how big a fan of Stephen Graham Jones I am. I blab about his work every chance I get, so imagine my surprise when British site This Is Horror ran a review of Video Night penned by SGJ!!! Not only is it a positive, intelligent review, but to me it feels like a real upset of the natural order because I hold his work in such high regard.

Speaking of Jones, he was featured on the Booze and Books podcast here and stopped by Lit-reactor to drop some knowledge about writing here. Both of those are well worth your attention and both are certified 100% Cesare-free.

While we’re on the subject of kind words from authors I respect, Shane McKenzie (author of All You Can Eat, Infinity House, and publisher at Sinister Grin Press) had this to say about Video Night:

“Adam Cesare’s VIDEO NIGHT took me back to when I was a kid begging my parents to take me to Blockbuster so I could rent and re-rent every horror movie on their shelves. If you grew up watching horror flicks, you’re going to love this. A blast from cover to cover.”

Big thanks to Shane!

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That’s another gorgeous sketch from Nick Lopergalo, this time it’s Rhonda in repose with several of her babies. I’m in love with this. Look at that late 80s color!

In the unrelated-to-me category, I really enjoy this essay by Nate Southard in which he rebuts Brian Keene’s equally engaging tract on full-time writing. Both essays are from writers whose work I enjoy (Southard’s Down is loaded up on my kindle right now) and both are well worth the read even if you’re not in the field.

Fun fact: Southard is also writing the fifth Sam Truman mystery. What better way to lead into that than reading Bound by Jade: The Fourth Sam Truman Mystery? Here’s the cover:

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Okay, last bit of self-promo.

Cult movie site (one of the best on the web, if you ask me), Daily Grindhouse, ran a review of Video Night a few days ago and it is off the hook. Big thanks to DG and John Abrams for the kind words.

What I’ve found myself doing over the last few months is writing up semi-elaborate reviews on facebook when I come back from the movies. I do this to keep my film school muscles limber and so that I have someone to talk to the movies about (sometimes, other times people keep their distance because I wind up sounding kooky). It recently dawned on me that this “movie journaling” is probably counter-intuitive since it’s writing done for such a tiny audience.

Here’s the post I put up after returning home from Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, a movie that I didn’t actively seek out, but it was playing and I was near a movie theater and things like that happen sometimes:

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The most disappointing thing about HANSEL AND GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS is not that it’s bad (although, I don’t want to imply that it’s good, either*), but that it has some pretty great practical effects and makeup that get squandered by a lame script.

For a movie that has its very title revel in excesses, how can it be this boring? It’s a silly concept executed in the most square, humorless and milquetoast way imaginable. There’s a ten minute bright spot right before the end, a sample of what the movie could have been, but then it’s over.

Tommy Wirkola’s last movie, DEAD SNOW, had this exact same problem.

That movie got its joke out of the way in the logline: Nazi zombies verses teenagers. If you were to complain that the movie had a boilerplate script with all its best gags–although they may have been serviceably executed–lifted from better films, I imagine that Wirkola would reply: “Hey there’s Nazi zombies verses teenagers. That’s all I promised you. What more do you want?”

Next time spare yourself the vanity of the “Written and Directed by” credit and get someone to write you a couple jokes. Seriously, there seem like there are set-ups for witty zingers already in the script, but they just don’t exist. It’s like a Mad-Libs book without the blanks filled in.

*It’s ironic that there’s been a bunch of straight-to-video Hansel and Gretel cash-ins hitting shelves, because the movie itself feels like it’s about three bucks and one Jeremy Renner away from the DTV market.

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